Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fruited Rice Pilaf (GF and V)

A few years ago I was waiting in the doctor's office after crunching my wrist on a heavy bag workout.  I saw an advertisement for raisins that had this recipe.  I attempted to dig through my purse for a scrap of paper and a pen, and then attempted to write it down with my hand all swollen and purple.  I'm sure I looked like a freak, but I can't help it. 

Hello. My name is Nanette and I'm addicted to recipes. 

Whew.  Feels good to get that off my chest. Anywho....A super nice nurse stood and grinned at me and then finally came over and offered to make a copy of the recipe.  Actually, she told me I should just rip the page out of the magazine.  But I couldn't do that--it's just wrong.  Then she offered to make a copy.  I still have that copy and have made additional copies for friends. 

I made only a few minor changes to this recipe to make it vegan (like not making it with chicken as the recipe states).  My daycare kids seem to like this one since it is a little on the sweet side.  I love it, but the rest of my family doesn't.  I usually just make a small batch.  It works well as a side dish, but I like to add tofu chunks and make it my main dish.  This is also one of those dishes where I use (gasp!) Minute Rice.  It is quick and easy and I can throw it in a pan and let it cook while I get my daycare kids washed up and ready to eat.

2 T. soy sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
2 c. Minute Rice, brown rice
2 c. veggie broth
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/2 t. coriander (cilantro)
8 oz. dried Fruit Bits
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. fresh parsley or 2 T. dried

Put all ingredients EXCEPT rice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Add rice, stir, cover and set heat to medium low.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Turn heat off and let sit 5 minutes more.  Stir before serving.

If using real rice instead of Minute rice, adjust broth to rice ratio and cook according to package directions.

Peanut Butter Craving! PB Cookies (GF and V) and PB Balls (GF and V)

I started making these peanut butter cookies when I needed a gluten-free treat for my father-in-law.  I found the original recipe in a free magazine I got in the mail.  But, in true Nanette fashion, I messed with it.  So this final recipe is one that my family really enjoys and I make these often just because they are easy and they really are very good.  Eli likes to help press them with forks to make the "crissy-crossy" pattern on them, but it's not necessary.

I took these to the swim banquet potluck this past weekend and they were a big hit.  A mom there has a GF kid at home and took a bunch with her since they freeze well. 

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES (Gluten-Free and Vegan)
1 egg substitute (I use Bob's Mill)
1 cup peanut butter (I use super crunch)
1 cup sugar (divided)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
(chopped peanuts, choc chips, other nuts, M&Ms, etc. if you want add ins)

Mix peanut butter, 3/4 cup sugar, egg substitute, soda and vanilla together well. Scoop or roll into balls and then roll balls in additional sugar. Place balls on baking sheet. If you want, you can press them with the back of a fork to make marks on them. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.  (I like to bake them a minute short and then leave them on the pan for a minute or two to keep them chewier.)

I remember my mom having a cook book that my big brother made in elementary school.  It was made with green construction paper and the binding was a length of red yarn.  The kids in his class had written out their favorite recipes and then the book was given to parents as a gift.  I loved that cook book.  It was the first in a long line of cook books, and is probably to blame for my cook book obsession. 

There was a recipe in that book for peanut butter rice crispie balls.  I loved them.  More than just the really tasty snack, I loved getting my hands all sticky and then rolling the balls in the soft powdered sugar. I loved making a mess with my mom.  And I still prefer to cook with my hands and a wooden spoon.  I so very rarely get out the mixer, just because I love the sensory experience of baking.  If you love a yummy treat and don't mind getting a little dirty in the kitchen, this is a great recipe.  I sent it to school with Eli a couple weeks ago as a teacher snack, and they seemed to enjoy them.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 t. vanilla
2 cup peanut butter
4 1/2 cups rice crispie cereal
Powdered sugar for rolling (in a large tupperware or ziplock)

Get all your ingredients ready and measured before starting.  This one goes fast and you don't want them to cool too much before you are done rolling.  Because of that, I also recommend making individual batches instead of doubling or tripling the recipe from the beginning. 

In a saucepan, stir the sugar and syrup together and cook just until it comes to a boil.  Let boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and quickly stir in vanilla and peanut butter and then the cereal.  Being careful of the heat, roll tightly into bite-size balls.  Roll in powdered sugar. Let cool and serve.

Keep in mind that the longer you boil the corn syrup mix, the crispier/crumblier the texture.  They will be chewy if you only boil the mixture a short time.  Also, keep them covered to prevent them from getting too crumbly.