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Sugar Free Lemon Bars

I discovered something about myself several months ago that I’m surprised I never knew; lemon is my favorite flavor. I always thought it was the obvious: chocolate, but honestly, lemon always wins. It’s tart and sweet all at the same time and offers a complexity of taste that largely one-note chocolate can’t match, imho. Since I was diagnosed with Candida, I found myself craving different things, but lemon bars have been at the top since summer began. The other day, gfJules posted a recipe for her lemon bars, and for once in my life, I mostly followed it. The butter can be replaced with Earth Balance sticks for dairy free, and I replaced the sugar with xylitol since I’m not allowed to eat much (read: any) sugar right now, even natural fruit sugars.

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Lemon Bars

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Crust:

Cream together 1/3 c butter or non-dairy alternative and 1/4 c xylitol or cane sugar.

Add in 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (You can use gfJules flour, I used Namaste AP flour, or you can use my cake flour blend) and beat until crumby, but don’t over mix. Press into the bottom of an UN-OILED 8×8 pan (I used a 9 inch round).

Bake for 15 minutes

Filling:

Add these ingredients to a bowl and mix thoroughly. If using xylitol, mix it a little extra.

2 eggs (or egg substitute such as 1/2 c. extra firm tofu blended with 1 tsp baking powder)

3/4 c. xylitol or cane sugar

2 Tbsp gluten free all purpose flour

2 tsp shredded lemon zest (I used a heaping Tbsp orange zest and it turned out amazing!)

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp gluten free baking powder

Pour over crust and bake 20 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack and cut only when completely cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you want before you serve for a more traditional lemon bar look. To double, bake in a 9×13 pan!

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Crockpot Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat)

Before my GI issues started, Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana was my absolute favorite soup. Out shopping with my mom, we’d stop in for lunch and just eat soup and salad! Since then, I’ve been craving it, but knowing it has cream in it, it’s not worth the stomach cramps. I finally found a recipe for it (and I apologize to the original owner, because for the life of me, I can’t find the link to it!) that doesn’t take 3 years and more energy than I have to create! Gotta love the crock pot. I kept this as simple as possible and changed it to be gluten and dairy free so I never have to live with an unfulfilled soup craving again!

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Crockpot Zuppa Toscana

Cut 4 Italian sausages (or Andouille, which is what I used. It’s a little spicier.) in half lengthwise, then into equal sized chunks. Brown in a pan for a few minutes and sprinkle with cayenne.

Add to crock pot, as well as:

4-6 large red potatoes, thinly sliced on the mandolin slicer

1 Tbsp dried onion or 1 chopped onion

2 Tbsp minced garlic

At least 4 c. vegetable broth (I used 5 1/2), depending on the size of your crock pot, enough to cover the potatoes and meat.

Cook on High for 3-4 hours, or low 5-6 hours

30 minutes before serving, mix together so there are no lumps

1- 1 1/2 c. unsweetened original almond milk

3 Tbsp gluten free all purpose flour

Add to soup, along with 1 c. chopped kale

Cook on High for 30 more minutes, until soup thickens slightly.

Salt, pepper, and more cayenne to taste.

Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Crock Pot, Entree, Soup

 

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Hearty Hamburger Soup

You’ll want to start this soup around lunchtime if you intend to eat it for dinner. LOTS of different beans in this dry bean mix I got (32, to be exact), simmering for the next few hours with some basil, garlic, and chives, and then I’ll add carrots, corn, spices, some leftover marinara sauce as well as some browned, chili seasoned hamburger. Now, it’ll be hard to find the 32 bean variety I had, but Target carries a bag of 16 Bean Soup Starter that’ll do nicely. The one I used initially was the North Bay Trading Co. which is local here in Wisconsin. 

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Hearty Hamburger Soup

1 c. dry bean mix

8 c. water

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp chives (dried)

1 Tbsp basil (dried)

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Bring it to a boil, let it boil for 5-10 minutes, then bring it down to a good simmer for 3 hours. Once the beans are close to done, add a can of corn and a can of green beans, both drained. You can also thinly chop some fresh carrots and bell peppers and add them to the soup while it’s still simmering. I had half a jar of spaghetti/marinara sauce leftover, and added it to the pot as well. Definitely recommend it, or even just a can of tomato sauce.

As the soup simmers, defrost 1 lb ground beef and brown it, seasoning it with chili powder and Penzey’s Northwoods Fire seasoning (or any mildly spicy pepper blend). Add it to the soup and let simmer a little longer to blend the flavors. Make sure to taste the soup periodically and adjust the seasonings to you preference. 

This will serve 4 people easily. 

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Soup

 

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Heart-Warming Black Bean Soup

My dad just got out of the hospital, so I wanted to bring over some dinner, but I’m just getting over the flu and an ear infection myself. Lack of energy + hunger = resourcefulness! I rooted about in the pantry and found some canned goods; I had some leftover black beans from tacos the other day, and there was a bit of salsa left in the jar. I had also received a Cuisinart immersion blender (FINALLY!) for Christmas from my In-laws, and this was a great excuse to use it! Easiest soup I’ve ever made, and the whole house smells amazing!

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Heart-Warming Black Bean Soup in the Crockpot!

1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes (obviously, for all of these, fresher is better, as is organic)

1 19 oz can red kidney beans

2 15.5 oz cans black beans 

3/4 c. salsa

1 1/2 c. vegetable broth (Penzey’s stock and hot water)

2 Tbsp dried cilantro (if you’ve got fresh, please use that instead)

Cook on high for 2 hours, then immerse the stick blender (immersion blender, hand blender, whatever) into the pot and blend a bit until the beans are broken up some and the tomatoes are completely broken up. Leave the beans partially intact.

Add 1 15.25 oz can whole kernel corn

Mix up a bit and let cook for at least another half hour, then go ahead and stick it on low until dinnertime.

Serve with gluten-free cornbread, Food Should Taste Good blue corn tortilla chips crunched on top, or whatever suits your fancy. You could even add some shredded chicken if you’ve got some left over in the fridge.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Crock Pot, Entree, Soup

 

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“Fancy Mac & Cheese”

This…is horrible for you. BUT it’s so tasty, your body will forgive you. I swear. My husband calls it “fancy mac n cheese” and I kinda like the title, except that it sounds complicated now, but it isn’t.

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Fancy Mac & Cheese

2 1/2 cups goat milk or dairy free milk of choice

2 c. dry gluten free shell pasta

Add the pasta to the milk and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until the pasta is tender, but don’t boil the milk. Stir pretty frequently.

Add 1 c. shredded goat cheese of your choice as long as it’s firm enough to shred (goat gouda, goat pepper jack, etc) and about 1/4 c. shredded goat asaigo or parmesan. If you like it cheesier, add more!

OR 1 c shredded vegan cheese of choice. I LOVE Lisanatti’s pepper jack style almond cheese. I swear it tastes like the real thing. 

Stir it around until all the cheese is melted and mostly integrated with the creamy milk.

Add a goodly amount of black pepper and even some hot sauce if you’re into that kind of thing.

I sprinkle seasoned gluten free bread crumbs (Schaar brand, because they taste the best) on top. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Entree

 

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