An almost healthy Gluten-free Dairy-free Soy-free Butterfinger

October 29th, 2011 yum Posted in Chocolate, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Holiday, JM friendly, Nuts, Peanut, Raw Food 11 Comments »

Halloween. I’ve always loved the holiday. As a kid I have happy memories of making my own costumes with my mother, and so it has been important to me to continue this tradition with baby Yum. I made her a ladybug costume last year, and this year I’m making her a girl robot costume. This two year old girl loves twirly skirts, robots, and space shuttles too, and I love that she loves these things. Who says you can’t have tonka trucks and tulle skirts too? Nobody in our house! But the other big thing about halloween is the candy, right? I was never allowed to have candy as a child, partly due to gluten and partly because of the sugar. I would go trick-or-treating, but would give back the candy or give it to my mother, and it wasn’t a big deal. Now that I have my own child and she is becoming more aware of the various traditions associated with holidays, I’ve realized I’m going to have to find my own way with the candy issue. Toddler Yum sometimes has small amounts of sugar- usually combined with healthy things, so it isn’t barred from our house, but have you read the labels on those candy labels? I’ve always been a fan of peanut chocolates like Reese’s or Butterfinger. Since I had a box of Erewhon Unsweetened Corn Flakes Cereal on my kitchen island waiting to be used that I received courtesy of Erewhon representative Alisa Fleming of Go Dairy Free, and I had made an allergen-friendly Reese’s cup in a previous post, I was most interested in the Butterfinger.

Here are the ingredients for your average Butterfinger:
SUGAR, GLUCOSE, PEANUTS, HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL, COCOA POWDER, MODIFIED MILK INGREDIENTS, MOLASSES, CORN FLAKES, SALT, SOYA LECITHIN, CORN STARCH, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR, TBHQ, CITRIC ACID, COLOUR.

Actually, I’ve read worse, but it just doesn’t sound very good or good for you. And how about that TBHQ? Yum!
So I decided it was time to re-think the Butterfinger. At its most basic, this bar is all about the sweet, sweet peanut filling, crispy corn flakes and chocolate shell. One peanut treat that we love and often eat in our house is the peanut butter lara bar, which is simply peanuts, dates, and a little salt. So I thought, why not make a homemade Lara Bar, give it a corn flake center for crunch, and dip or drizzle it in chocolate?

So that is exactly what I did.

How to make Gluten-free Dairy-free and Soy-free Homemade Butterfingers:

You’ve seen the toddler-friendly version at the top of the post, pictured with Toddler Yum’s Jack O’Lantern. Here is the sexy adult version, which I took to a pumpkin carving party.

It might be me, but I think it looks (and tastes) better than the packaged version! The Erewhon Corn Flakeswere perfect for this because the only ingredients were corn and a little salt. They were a tad plain all by themselves, but in a recipe like this where they are surrounded by healthy sweet ingredients, they are perfect! I’d buy them again, just for this recipe or to use in a savory breading recipe. This recipe was awesome, though, and I love how easy it is to adapt to various food sensitivities. If you need dairy-free but Soy Lecithin is ok and trace amounts of milk are ok, try the Trader Joe chocolate chips, which I used this time. If you need completely dairy-free and soy-free, use the Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips for your coating. If you prefer a really dark (70% cacao) type chocolate, use that. Want it strictly vegan with vegan sugar? Use a vegan chocolate bar. I think it will be delicious every way! Do store it in the refrigerator before eating, though, as the chocolates without soy lecithin are delicate and the bar will stay solid and easy to eat that way.

Here’s some fun pics from the Halloween party…

It was Toddler yum’s first experience carving a pumpkin, or rather, scooping out the pumpkin. Daddy helped, and gave the pumpkin little vampire teeth. Toddler Yum loved it, and even said “Vampire! vampire!” Oh dear, the things they pick up. And yes, there were other people at this party, including a wonderful gluten-free hostess that you might know from her blog that made wonderful sweet potato corn chowder and homemade mounds bars (yum!) I’m so lucky to know many of the gluten-free chefs around, and to be able to welcome this new gluten-free friend to our neighborhood.

Happy Halloween! I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family, with plenty of treats that work for everybody’s tummy.

Looking for more gluten-free homemade treats?
Sunflower-seed Un-peanut Butter Cups
Elana’s Pantry Healthy Halloween Candy Recipes
Homemade Gluten-free Twix Bar Recipe
Nutty Vegan Butter Easter Candy
Ali’s homemade maple-sunbutter candor (like tootsie rolls)
Ali’s Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters
Nourishing Gourmet’s Healthier Candy Recipes
Kelly’s Raw Chocolate Raspberry Candy- refined sugar and other allergens free
Elana’s Peppermint Patties sweetened with Agave

Share your favorite gluten-free candy recipes in the links and I’ll add them to the list!

PS I was so excited about this candy recipe I decided to postpone the conclusion to pumpkin week until at least Monday… Sorry guys, but I wanted to make sure people had this recipe in time for the holidays!

Shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday

Healthy Dairy-free Soy-free Butterfinger Recipe
Ingredients
Layer 1:
1 scant cup pitted Medjool dates (or regular)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp. smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Layer 2:
1 scant cup pitted Medjool dates (or regular)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (can substitute almonds)
2 tbsp. smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional)

enough Erewhon plain corn flakes to cover surface area of a quart bag

Additional smooth natural peanut butter (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 lb of soy-free semi-sweet or dark chocolate for melting
1-2 tsp. coconut oil as needed

Directions
Get out two freezer-safe quart bags and reserve.
Layer One:
Put your scant cup of PITTED dates in your food processor and process until you have a smooth paste. Add your peanuts and process until mixture comes together when you press it but there are still chunks of peanut left. Add peanut butter, salt and optional nutmeg and pulse them in until mixed throughout. Remove from food processor with a spatula and put in one quart bag, pressing the air out and sealing it. Then flatten the mixture in your bag until you have a flat sheet of peanut dough. Place in refrigerator on an even, flat surface and chill.
Layer Two:
Repeat with the second batch of PITTED dates and peanuts. You will fill your second quart sized freezer bag. Chill along with the other layer for 30 minutes or so.

Just before you are ready to take the peanut dough out of the refrigerator, put your semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on half power in 30 second intervals, checking after each interval and stirring as needed. When chocolate is almost completely melted, stir until chocolate is smooth and reserve. I found I needed to add coconut oil to have a thin enough chocolate for dipping. Just add your oil and stir in gently.

To prepare peanut bar for dipping, cut sides of freezer bags and peel off the top of the bag on layer one. sprinkle layer one with plain corn flakes. Peel the top of the bag from layer two and careful invert it on top of the corn flakes so you have a peanut bar “sandwich” with corn flakes as the filling. Gently press the layers together, remove the final layer of plastic on top and then cut the peanut bar “sandwich” in 7 logs horizontally and then cut half down the center vertically. If you are preparing this for a toddler, you can make two more vertical cuts for mini butterfinger bites.

Prepare a large cookie baking sheet with a layer of wax paper and place a cooling rack on top. Place each bar on the cooling rack with space around each bar so that you can drizzle chocolate down the sides.

Prepare each bar by putting a generous dab of peanut butter between the layers to stick them together OR a dab of melted chocolate and pressing then firmly together on the top. Don’t worry if they don’t seem very firmly attached. Once they cool they will firm up and stick together.

For adults who like a fair amount of chocolate, you can drizzle chocolate over the top and sides of the bar, using a knife to evenly distribute it. For toddlers, kids, or healthy-minded adults you can drizzle strands of chocolate on the top for a little taste of chocolate.

Place the tray in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to an hour, or until chocolate has set. Remove bars from tray with a metal spatula and put in a tupperware. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Notes
Got rave reviews from adults who couldn’t believe how such natural ingredients could taste like the real thing and have the real mouth feel. :D I raved, too.
Additional Pictures
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Gluten-free Vegan Slow-Roasted Baby Tomato White Bean Salad Recipe

August 27th, 2011 yum Posted in Dairy Free, Garlic-free, JM friendly, Salad, Soy Free, Vegan, beans, grain-free, herbs, tomatoes 10 Comments »

Here at the House of Yum we have gone from being the House of Pattypan to the House of Tomatoes! Yes, at last my precious darlings have come “on” and tomatoes have been ripening like nobody’s business. I have been obsessed with organic heirloom tomatoes ever since I first discovered Cynthia’s amazing Love Apple Farm and the gorgeous varieties she sells and teaches people how to grow. I never knew tomatoes could be so beautiful and interesting before I came to live in California. Of course, now heirloom tomatoes are at every farmer’s market and even available at chain grocery stores like Safeway, but that certainly wasn’t the case when I was a child or even a young adult. Anyway, I’d never had a chance to grow them properly until we got our first house, although I gave it a valiant try on a few sunny balconies. Those balcony tomatoes grew pretty well, actually, when I followed my tomato guru,Cynthia, and her instructions properly and babied them along. They grew like mutant tomato weeds, actually, and reached high above my head to grab onto our apartment roof- go tomatoes, go! But once we got our house and its front and back yards with real dirt (yes, we bought the house for the yards… and the kitchen) we were ready to take tomato growing seriously. Cynthia advises her students that those wimpy tomato cages you find at the nursery and discount store are not remotely adequate for supporting a truly healthy, happy heirloom tomato. She has us plant the tomato quite deep in the ground to let it develop a massive root structure, and when you do this, the tomato plant tends to grow up-up-up as well as down. We’re talking 10 feet plants or taller here, folks. So you need a REAL tomato cage. Cynthia’s preference for tomato cages is in cement reinforcing wire. What? Yes, you heard me. But guess what? If you want the real stuff that is 10 feet high (and we did) in our area, we had to buy 200 feet of the stuff. *gulp* Do you have any idea how heavy that is? We found out when we stuffed it into our amazing transformer-car, the YUM Fit, by pushing down every seat possible to make a flat platform for the stuff. Our car suspension gulped and rocked a bit, let me tell you. Oh, and that stuff isn’t cheap either. What can I say, this tomato growing thing is an obsession. Hopefully we will be able to use it over the years… and maybe open our shed to sell the stuff to our neighbors in an illicit tomato support operation. So we dutifully assembled our tomato cages, which required gloves and wire cutters. I felt pretty cool, chopping through concrete reinforcing wire like butter with my snippers. The DH looked pretty hot, too, in his workman’s gloves and outdoorsy Colorado-native apparel.
But most of all, it was about the tomatoes. Ah the things we do for love. So fast-forward a slow, cool summer. My tomatoes grew, but waiting for them to ripen in this unseasonably cool summer was agony. And then- the first marmanade turned red. And next… the hippie zebra coughed up a representative. And all of a sudden, we were swimming in tomatoes.
I took up canning for the first time in my life, and canned some beautiful jars of heirlooms in their own juices.

Besides the medium and large tomatoes (Japanese Oxheart, Russian 117, Hippie Zebra, Costralee, Berkeley Tie Dye, Marmande, Costoluto, and the gorgeous Grandma Josie) we also planted two baby tomato plants- the Black Cherry and Yellow Pear. To my delight, Toddler Yum is enamoured of the Yellow Pear and loves to pick them off the vine one by one and pop them in her mouth. She doesn’t discriminate between yellow and green, so unless I want her to eat the green, puckery ones, I have to help guide her in the harvest. Yesterday I watched a toddler dance where she would pick one (with Mommy’s help), run back to the stoop, sit down and shove the juicy tomato into her mouth until her cheeks were puffed out like a squirrel, and then get up to pick another one. Rinse, repeat.

Much as I love these baby tomatoes fresh, one can only eat so many before you start to feel like you are turning into a tomato. In previous years, I’d tried slow-roasting tomatoes and was impressed by the quality of flavor and how this savory fruit transforms into a sweet, caramelized bite of heaven on slow-roasting. So with all these adorable baby darlings, I had to try slow roasting them. I found Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes and tried my own variation. I could eat these babies like candy. In fact, I’d rather have them than candy. The only down-side is that this will tie up your oven for hours, and warm the house up a bit. But, I’m happy to suffer a little for the reward of these sweet little treats. I like to combine two mini-tomato varieties so you get the color contrast. Beautiful!
I could eat them plain by the bowlful, but I was intrigued by Deb’s casual comment about using these tomatoes in a white bean salad with fresh basil. YES! I thought, and pulled out a can of white beans post-haste. But I couldn’t just stop there. Inspired by our upcoming planned trip to Israel, I wanted to put a bit of a middle-eastern slant on things. I had a lovely bottle of lime olive oil and a new herb blend called sabzi (intended for use in koofteh a.k.a. meatballs) that I’ve been obsessed putting on everything EXCEPT meat, and I thought they would add a lovely touch to the recipe. I’ve also been obsessed with my herbamare salt blend, thanks to Ali of Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen and our friend Kelly of Spunky Coconut. I mixed it all together, thought it needed a touch of color and sprinkled a little paprika. Whalah, a beautiful and healthy salad with all the addicting qualities of slow-roasted tomatoes but with protein to boot. Nice. The DH and I gobbled it up and wanted more. If only I had more white beans! Time to stock up. I’ve made 3 or 4 batches of these slow roasted tomatoes and am planning on freezing some so I can enjoy this taste of summer in the heart of winter when the ae nemic tomatoes in the supermarket make me want to cry. Besides being wonderful in this salad, they are great on pasta, on gluten-free focaccia, on crackers, and I bet as Deb suggests they would be divine on gluten-free bagels with cream cheese. Who needs lox when you have slow-roasted tomatoes?

-I shared this recipe with Seasonal Sunday and GCC Recipe Swap .

*Note: Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger will be open for sign-ups on September 15th as we will be overseas in early September

Slow Roasted Tomato White Bean Salad
Ingredients
1/3 to 1/2 cup slow roasted baby tomatoes halves*
2 cups or 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
lime olive oil (or lemon olive oil, or plain), for drizzling
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
dried sabzikoofteh herb blend (savory, parsley, dill, leek)**
herbamare or your favorite salt
smoked spanish paprika, regular paprika, cayenne or chipotle powder
Directions
Gently fold together your roasted baby tomato halves with the white beans and drizzle with lime olive oil. Toss some fresh basil and dried herb blend on top and mix it in to evenly coat the salad. Sprinkle top with herbamare (if needed) and a little paprika for garnish.
Notes
*To roast baby tomatoes, Preheat oven to 225F. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice your tomatoes in half. I used yellow pear and black cherry tomatoes; yum! Place halves on parchment paper with the “cup” facing up so the tomato holds in its yummy juices. Drizzle with olive oil or grapeseed oil. Toss some fresh herbs on top. I like thyme and marjoram, but also usually throw on some sage and basil if I’m feeling crazy. . Sprinkle lightly with salt. Slow cook tomatoes for at least 3 hours. Don’t dry the little darlings out too much; you want them to still be moist and tender, not dehydrated chips of tomato. If your baby tomatoes are large, you may wish to cook for up to 5 hours. Remove from oven, let cool, and place in a tupperware, drizzling them with a little additional olive oil to store. I assume you will taste a few. Try not to gobble them all up on the spot. This is definitely a temptation.

**I buy this at a Middle Eastern market, specifically Caron Intl. Food Market in Sunnyvale. If you can’t find it in your area, you can blend your own and use dried chives or dried onion instead of the leek OR just use your favorite green dill spice mix.

I served this with an heirloom baked potato drizzled in wonderful tahini from a Middle Eastern Market, seasoned with herbamare and more sabzikoofteh. Delish!

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