A Gluten-Free Recipe, Okay?

GF BananasJust because I like you, here’s a gluten-free snack recipe that’s (a) easy to make, (b) cheap, (c) made with ingredients that are usually hanging around, and (d) kid-friendly. Oh, and they’ve got that “Ooo-I-saw-these-on-Pinterest” vibe because of the popsicle sticks. (We always have popsicle sticks around, courtesy of the Job Lot which sells them in packs of, oh, 5,000.)

Naturally, these would be even better prepared with real chocolate but then we’re defeating the purpose of this “healthy snack” (a term I loathe, only because people are always asking me for healthy snack ideas. When I snarkily suggest an apple, they recoil in horror. Healthy eating is pretty easy, you know.)

So, we’re going to forgo the melted chocolate (boo-hoo!), and use non-fat yogurt instead. We use vanilla, but you could use chocolate yogurt, or any other flavor. The cereal here is Chocolate Rice Chex, a nice GF cereal that’s low in sugar. But bananas are sugary enough, so if you want to really bring it down, choose a crispy brown rice cereal, like Erehwon.

GF Banana Pops
(4 servings)

1 Cup rice cereal
4 large bananas, peeled and halved crosswise
4 popsicle sticks
5-ounce container vanilla or plain non-fat yogurt

Place the cereal in a ziploc bag and crush it to fine crumbs. Pour onto a large plate.

Insert a stick into the cut end of each banana half. Use a knife to spread yogurt on the bananas. Immediately roll in the cereal crumbs, pressing gently to make the cereal adhere to the bananas.

Arrange on a plate and refrigerate them for 15 minutes. Or eat them right away. Or put them in the freezer – they’re great frozen. In fact, why don’t you double or triple the recipes and freeze them solid before transferring to a ziploc bag and storing for quick snacks?

Our Famous Grain and Nut Salad

Quinoa is the current darling of the grain world. It’s the only grain that’s also a complete protein so vegetarians like it (although it is not protein-dense, making it a healthy grain option but not a protein substitute) . Gluten-free eaters love it, too. We’ve been using it for years and really love it in this salad of ours which is rich in all kinds of good things. We’ve been toting this mixture to events forever; it’s a good introduction to quinoa and people always love it. (Except for one person who I saw discreetly dispose of it and then swigging a can of Coke. Oh, well.) Of course, if you put fresh blueberries in anything, people tend to go nuts. Read more

A Honey of a Hummus

Rosh Hashanah is here! 

Okay, it arrived last night, but I’ll share one of my favorite recipes to celebrate the day, since there’s tons of it left! This is a variation on that old stand-by, hummus. Everyone seem to like the ubiquitous chickpea mash: it’s great for the GF and vegetarian crowd and it’s easy to make. (It’s even easier to buy, but commercial varieties manage to be creepy, bland, and expensive.) The original recipe here was from an old National Honey Board recipe pamphlet picked up at some long-ago aggie fair. As usual around here, the original recipe has been tweaked!

Tahini is an essential ingredient in hummus, a sesame seed paste – sesame “peanut butter”,  so to speak. Because honey has the same viscosity as tahini, it’s a great substitute. This hummus has a little kick, too, from the harissa, a North African condiment that can be pretty fiery. If you can’t find harissa, use ground cayenne pepper or Sriracha sauce to taste.

Because honey and Rosh Hashanah are traditional (for a sweet new year), this hummus is my favorite variation for this fall holiday. Good Yom Tov!

Hummus for the New Year
(1 Cup)

15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon (or more!) harissa
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

In the food processor, puree garbanzo beans, honey, lemon juice, garlic, harissa, cumin, and salt until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning – it should be sweet and a little spicy. If the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon of water to thin to the consistency you like.

Scrape into a bowl and stir in the cilantro or parsley. Serve with apple slices for dipping.