Cornbread, Gluten Free

Oh my… I just had some of the Cornbread from last night. It’s so sweet and delicious, especially toasted with a little dab of butter, YUM!

cornbread

This cornbread is made with oat and corn flour so it’s gluten free but it doesn’t taste gluten free, not at all. I think it just might be the best corn bread that I have ever eaten, seriously. The honey in this recipe really brings out the sweetness in this bread.

If you prefer corn muffins, you can use the same recipe, just bake them in a muffin tin for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. You can serve it for breakfast, with some warm chili this weekend or as a sweet bed time snack.

Enjoy!

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Black Bean Enchiladas

As many of you know, we don’t eat a lot of meat in this house, as my husband is a vegetarian. Don’t get me wrong, the kids and I do get in our chicken, turkey meatballs and fish whenever we can, but most days our protein comes from beans, eggs, cheese or peanut butter and occasionally, tofu. (chuckle, chuckle… Michael and Lucas are peanut butter addicts! They eat at least a couple servings every day.)

beans

For dinner tonight, we’re making these delicious, Black Bean Enchiladas. They are packed with protein and fiber and oh, so delicious. I just love cheese so I fill up the inside with tons of cheese and sprinkle a ton more right on top.

Black  Bean Enchiladas

Today, we are using my homemade Enchilada Sauce. It’s so easy to make with just a few simple pantry ingredients. I have to be honest, this was my first time making Enchilada Sauce. I didn’t realize it would be so easy to make, but it was so simple and only took a few minutes. Plus, it tastes so much better then the canned stuff too. I don’t think I’ll ever buy mass produced enchilada sauce again!

enchilada sauce

There are so many benefits to making your own sauce. First, you know exactly what ingredients you are putting into the sauce. There aren’t any preservatives or additives, such as monsodium glutamate, soy protein or corn gluten. Second, you can make it allergen friendly, which is what I did, substituting the all-purpose flour with brown rice flour. However, I know we all lack time in our lives so if you don’t have the time to make your own enchilada sauce, I would buy it at your local natural foods store, as those brands aren’t likely to contain MSG.

With so many different types of beans, it is easy to enjoy meatless meals from these Black Bean Enchiladas to Minestrone Soup or Vegetarian Chili. The options are endless. As I am a firm believer in living and eating everything in balance, I feel it’s important to balance our intake of foods. We are so fortunate to live in a country where there are so many available food options for us. So, we should use that freedom and allow ourselves to keep an open mind to different foods.

I welcome you to replace a couple of your meat or fish meals, with a vegetarian option. Go ahead and make a couple days of your week, meatless meal days. Your body will thank you.

Welcome back Food Jules students!

It’s back to school again! The Winter 2013 session of our Food Jules After School Enrichment Programs has begun.

kids cooking cartoon

The holidays are finally over and we’re all back to school, yippee! Our winter session started up again this week at local schools. It was such a pleasure to see so many familiar faces again and some new little ones too. The students are all wonderful, full of excitement and so eager to learn (and eat)!

We have a fun curriculum planned for each of our schools. For the new ones, we’re “Creating My Plate”, learning how easy and fun it is to eat all of our five food groups. Students are learning how to create a healthy, fun and delicious meal using simple ingredients, building their own “plate” filled with vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy items.

myplate

 

In another school, we are cooking around the world, enjoying different cultures and cuisines. Students will be creating global dishes, exploring the food and culture of a different country each week from the United States, to Cuba, England, Portugal, Italy, India, Thailand and the Middle East. All the while, learning healthy eating habits and fostering a love of wholesome food and cooking.

pad-thai

Back in our home town classes, we will be enjoying cooking comfort foods that warm our tummies during these frigid, cold days. We’ll make hearty soups, chili, lasagna, muffins and even pies. Each week, this hands-on class will teach students the skills necessary to make these wholesome, savory meals, packed with tons of flavor and nutrition.

minestrone

So, a warm WELCOME to all of our students, both sous-chefs and executive chefs!

Homemade Granola Treats

I don’t know about you, but I just love granola! It’s sweet, nutty and packed with flavor, plus it’s great for you, full of  protein and whole grains. It’s a perfect gluten free breakfast or snack.

granola

We’ve been making homemade granola for quite some time now. It’s way better then the store bought stuff with just the right amount of oats, nuts, dried fruit and sweet honey goodness. It’s always so fresh too, probably because it doesn’t last too long in this house. We eat granola with everything from cereal, to yogurt, in smoothies or just by the handful.

Our Food Jules Nutty Granola recipe is so delicious, that it has become one of our most popular products at the summer farmer’s market. Once you taste the difference between homemade, fresh granola and the store bought ones, you will never want to eat the packaged granola again! Granola is so versatile too, you can pack it full of nuts or seeds, dried fruit or even chocolate chips. It is a perfect gluten free snack.

granola3

Over the past year, we’ve started making Nut Free Granola Bites that the kids take to school as a snack. These are so good and easy to pop in your mouth for a quick breakfast on the go! The kids love them so much that I’ve started to incorporate them into my cooking class curriculum. Plus, they are  nut free, which makes them a perfect, nutritious school snack, without worrying about any potential allergies.

granola bites

I’ve also been tinkering around with different granola bar recipes and even tried converting our standard granola recipes into bars, but it’s never quite worked out as well as I thought it would. Until this weekend. I tried a new granola bar recipe, made a few minor adjustments and voila, our Nutty Granola Bars have arrived. These granola bars are perfect, so soft and chewy yet you still get a little crunch from all of the nuts. Plus, they are so simple to make. Again, you if you need to keep it nut-free, you can swap out the nuts for sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or even chocolate chips.

granola2

The key to making a perfect granola bar is to bake it for just a few minutes, until it’s slightly golden. You don’t want to over bake it or it will get too dark and too hard to eat. Also, you have to be sure to let them cool completely before cutting them into bars, otherwise they will fall apart. I allowed our bars to cool at room temperature for a couple of hours before cutting them and then stored them in an air tight container.

Well, I hope you’ll enjoy all of these delicious granola recipes and feel free to share your favorite granola recipes with us. Our next granola adventure may be a dark chocolate coconut granola bar, YUM. Mike and Lilliana would love that one!

Two years without Julian

Today, on January 19th, marks two years since the death of our son, Julian.

Baby Julian 096

This day changed our lives forever. The hole in our heart will always be there. We will always continue to yearn for his touch and always wish he were still here with us. That will never change. He will always be our son, our little baby boy, who suffered so much from this terrible illness, SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). We will always think about him, dream about him, talk about him, write about him and hope to one day be re-united with him.

Baby Julian 108

A lot has happened in these two years. We have faced many difficult days, many days filled with so much sadness and loneliness. Luckily, there have also been some happy days when we have been blessed with feeling so connected spiritually to Julian. There have been numerous times when I have felt his presence, whether it’s when I put on a shirt that smells like the laundry detergent I used at the hospital, or hearing his name being called to another little boy, or feeling his eyes on me from his photos around the house or even when setting the table with Lucas and he asks to set a place for Julian.

Baby Julian 165

There have been many, many signs that have helped me get through each day. For these, I am so thankful. For having him here with us for nine weeks, I am so thankful. For having my other two children living here with me, smiling at me, giving me hugs and kisses, I am so thankful. For such a loving and devoted husband, I am so thankful. For all of my close friends and family that have been so supportive and loving to me and my children, I am so very thankful.

My three beautiful children, as they should be, "in love with each other"

My three beautiful children, as they should be, “in love with each other”

Julian was a blessing, a special gift to all of us. Now, he is our own little angel, watching over us every day, protecting his big brother and sister. For that, I am the most thankful. Lilliana and Lucas love him so much and I know for sure they connect with their baby brother too.

Losing a loved one is so very painful. Losing a child is unbearable. It is something that I do not wish upon anyone. Living each day without my child is the biggest challenge I have ever faced. The only way to continue living, is to just wake up each day and try my best to love, laugh and enjoy the moments I have here now with my family. My children have lost so much too, at such a young age, so I have to be here to continue to support and love them, unconditionally. If I’m happy, they are happy and that’s what it’s all about, helping them achieve true happiness. I thank my sweet baby boy, Julian for giving me the light and strength to move forward each other. I do it with his unconditional love for me, his mother, who will always, always love and protect him and always hold him close to my heart as I did when he was here on earth with us. I love you so much, Julian.

Julian's Birth 071

Sending lots of Love, Hugs and Kisses to our son, Julian, today, tomorrow and always.

It’s a Glorious Morning

If you’re looking for a quick, nutritious and delicious breakfast treat, you found it!

This Morning Glory Muffin is full of protein, fiber and iron. The carrots, apple and pineapple give this muffin so much sweetness with the added crunch of the oats and walnuts, it will remind you of eating a yummy carrot cake. This muffin is all you need to get you going in the morning and satisfy that sweet tooth.

morning glory muffin

This is the same recipe I use when baking with wheat flour. All I did to make it gluten free was swap out the whole wheat flour with oat and almond flour, keeping it whole grain and packing it with more protein. If you don’t have oat and almond flour, it’s easy to make. Just pop the same amount of whole oats and raw almonds in a food processor (plus a little extra) and pulse until you get a fine, powdery flour. VOILA.

The original recipe calls for a ton more sugar and oil, but as you know, both of these are not the healthiest. So, I reduced the amount of sugar and replaced it with all natural, pure maple syrup and added in some yogurt to give it that moisture it gets from the oil. My new favorite oil in baking and cooking is Coconut Oil. It’s packed with so many health benefits from heart health to maintaining cholesterol, weight loss, increased immunity, boosting your thyroid and metabolism and even hair and skin care. The list goes on! My brand of choice is the Organic Coconut Oil from Trader Joe’s. It’s reasonably priced, all natural and doesn’t have a strong flavor.

Coconut oil

So, make your morning a glorious one with these delicious Morning Glory Muffins.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies, Gluten Free

Happy Snow Day to all my friends on the East Coast!

snow day

I was under the illusion that the snow and winter were over. I know, it is only the middle of January and we are in the thick of winter right now but hey, a woman can only dream, right? As I have mentioned numerous times, I am not a cold weather kind of gal. You would never know I was born and raised in Fairfield County because I would move to the West Coast or the South in a heart beat! If only, my husband would oblige.

Well, at least I can find some comfort in the smell and taste of homemade baked goods during this snowy, cold day. These warm, chewy, Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies are the perfect sweet treat for a day like today. Plus, they are gluten free since I am still going strong on my gluten cleanse. Trust me, you wouldn’t know the difference anyway. These are absolutely sweet and delicious plus they are almost guilt free since I made them with whole grain oat and almond flour, wink, wink. However, if you’re not looking to avoid wheat, then go ahead and substitute the oat and almond flour for whole wheat flour, it’s that simple.

brownies

These brownies are quick to make with only eight simple ingredients, all of which you probably already have in your pantry. Besides, they are so much better for you then any box of brownie mix you have hidden in your kitchen cabinet. So, what are you waiting for? Get up and get baking and be sure to savor every single bite!