Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter recipes

Easter is such a great holiday. I love celebrating what Jesus did for us...what he did for me. It overwhelms me every time to think of what a great sacrifice He made for me. I don't deserve that kind of love at all, but He gives it to me! It's my greatest pleasure and honor to take that gift of love, and hopefully to give some love back to Him by spending time with Him, getting to know Him, serving Him, obeying Him and living my whole life with Him as my ultimate prize.

Our family has a tradition of Easter egg hunts and Easter desserts after our church's morning service. It's been something we've done since we were little, originally with the Pitcher family, but now it's evolved into a party of 32 people (sadly, without the Pitchers now)! With so many people over, what better opportunity to bake my heart out?! I love baking, so this was a mass baking time for my grandma and me! So fun.

We had lots of friends over, including the Bozon family, the Till family, the Rumbold family (all the way from Slovakia!), the Lobels with their one-month old baby boy, Carter, Katka, and our dear friends the Nemcovi who are living in our guest apartment at our house right now. Of course my grandparents were a part of our celebration as well!

I thought I'd share some of the recipes that were a hit at Easter. It was such a joy to host people and to offer them what I have to give.

First off...

Grain-free peanut butter banana muffins (by Carol Kicinski at www.simplygluten-free.com.)

4 large eggs – separated
¾ cups creamy peanut butter
2 ripe medium bananas – sliced in ½ inch slices
¼ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey
1 ½ cup walnuts – chopped -I used pecans here. Nuts are optional.
2/3 c. chopped chocolate or chocolate chips- my addition, and I definitely recommend it!

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Place muffin baking papers in muffin pan.
-In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
-In another large mixing bowl beat egg yolks with electric mixer until they start to lighten in color, about 2 minutes. Add peanut butter, sliced bananas, salt, vanilla and agave syrup or honey. Mix until well blended and the bananas are incorporated. Some small chucks of bananas are ok.
-Take a large spoonful of the egg whites and mix into the peanut butter mixture with a rubber spatula. Add the peanut butter mixture into the egg whites and fold in well. You want to mix until no more white streaks are visible.
-Fold in 1 cup of chopped walnuts (or pecans!) if using.
-Fill muffin baking papers until almost full, if using nuts sprinkle additional ½ cups over the tops of the muffins. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and set. A tooth pick inserted will come out clean.

Makes 12 gluten free muffins.


Next up...

Silvana Nardone's chocolate chip cookies (taste just like the real thing!)

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes: 18 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons Silvana's All-Purpose Flour (or a store-bought gluten-free flour blend) - For Europeans- I buy my gluten-free flour at Marks&Spencer's! It's perfect!
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup all-vegetable shortening, at room temperature - Use real butter here if not lactose-intolerant or vegan
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. In a large bowl and using a fork, beat together the shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually mix the flour mixture; stir in the chopped chocolate.

3. Using a 1½-inch (3.5-cm) scoop or a rounded tablespoon, drop the dough 2 inches (5-cm) apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Baked until golden at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer to a brown paper bag-lined surface or a wire rack to cool.
*Recipe from Cooking for Isaiah...I love that cookbook so much! It's just inspiring. You would never think that gluten-free food was bland after her recipes!
And the famous...

Raspberry Lemon muffins with lemon drizzle (Sorry, I absolutely cannot find where I got this recipe! I'm sorry I can't give credit where credit is due! These muffins are amazing though!!) 

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 c. rice flour or sweet rice flour
1/2 cup of corn starch (+1 TBS to coat raspberries)
1/2-1 tsp guar gum or xantham gum (depending on how you like the crumb to be on your muffin)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other light tasting oil)
1 1/2 cup sugar (use organic if you can!)
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 TBS lemon juice (zest lemons first before juicing them!! I made that mistake twice!) 
1/2 cup of milk
two lemons zested

1 cup of raspberries (I used frozen)

1 cup of icing sugar
2 TBS of lemon juice
1 TBS of water

- Preheat over to 350 F (180C)
- Line your muffin tin with papers
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: 2 1/2 cups almond flour, 1 c. rice flour, 1/2 corn starch, guar gum, sea salt, baking powder and set aside.
- In a new bowl mix together wet ingredients: 3/4 c grapeseed oil, 1 1/2 c sugar, 3 large eggs, 2tsp vanilla extract, 4 TBS lemon juice, 1/2 cup of milk and two lemons zested.
- Get out 1 cup of ftozen raspberries and toss together with ! TBS of cornstarch 
*This prevents the raspberries from overly bleeding into the muffin batter and making them pink
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combines. Add the raspberries in and mix until distributed throughout (be careful not to over mix or they will bleed!)
- Use a cookie scoop of 1/4 cup measurer and put a scoop of batter into each of the lined papers. Fill almost to the top of the paper.
- Bake regular muffins for 24-26 minutes

To make glaze:
- Mix together all ingredients until well combined. When muffins are cool to the touch, lightly drizzle the glaze over the top of the muffin. Delicious!
These are soooo good! They're Bapa's favorites- and he's not even on a gluten-free diet!!

Stay tuned for recipes by Grandma!

Claire's note: Don't know how to make almond flour?? Check this guide out! It's great! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The littlest things can be all it takes to make your day. On a day like yesterday, when I was feeling tired, stressed and on the verge of a cold, Bapa knew that I needed a perk.

There are just some moments when I am forced to slow down and smile, appreciate the simplest things in life. 

Here's how our conversation went:

Bapa: How are you today?
Me: Uhh...actually not so good. I'm feeling a little sick.
Bapa: Oh, you are! That's not good!
Me: Yeah...  I just want to crawl into bed and fall asleep...but still have stuff I have to do for school. Ugh...
Bapa: Well, I'll cheer you up. *Smile*
Me: Ok...  maybe it'll help... What could he possibly do?

In about 20 minutes I hear Bapa coming up the stairs.
"I've got something for you!" he says.

And then...

Bapa walked down to the little stream by our house and picked me a bouquet of buttercups! Is that sweet, or what?! That definitely was not was I expected...it was so much better! Just what I needed. Thank you Bapa!!

To accompany such happy flowers, listen to this song. It's perfect! (Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations)

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Cookie Monster and celebrating

Last night after dinner I baked some chocolate chip cookies/scones and left them out on the pan. Little did I know that during the night, something mysterious would happen to some of those unfortunate cookies...

But the cookie monster didn't fool me! I know my brother's hand-writing when I see it! (Nice try Caleb!)

On another note, I just realized that this is my 101 post (I missed the 100 mark just by a little bit). Time for a celebration! Any ideas or requests?

Sunday, April 10, 2011


For some of you, when you see the word "oatmeal" you squirm. You're thinking slimy, sticky, tasteless oatmeal. Some of you, on the other hand, get that warm feeling in your tummy of comfort and contentment. For you, oatmeal is smooth, creamy, rich and sweet. Hopefully if you don't like oatmeal, you will enjoy this recipe anyway, and if you do like it...enjoy!

First of all, I have to admit something. Yep, I'm the one that keeps the container of brown sugar close to my bowl so that I can keep adding it to sweeten each "layer" of oatmeal. No shame. I just love that melted goodness that flavors every bite. But lately I've been trying to figure out other ways to sweeten my oatmeal, without sacrificing that joy from brown sugar. I finally found the solution! It's subtle, but delicious.

Banana Oatmeal (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Recipe by Claire Patty
Serves: 1
 1/2 cup Certified gluten-free oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
 1/2 cup milk of your choice- almond, rice, dairy... (I used a rice-soy milk)
 1/2 cup water
 1 tsp cinnamon
 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 1 banana- mashed (really mash it!!)
 2 tsp pure maple syrup (I didn't measure here...just poured a little in!)

For topping: 2 tsp brown sugar, nuts, cut up fruit, flax seed (really good for you, and hardly adds any flavor), a splash of milk

 1. In a small saucepan at medium heat combine all ingredients and stir.
 2. Stirring occasionally, let the oatmeal come to a bubbling point (but don't let it full out boil, because you could risk it burning)
 3. Stir continually until the oatmeal is the consistency that you want it. (Some people like it more like porridge, some like it sticky, some like runny...you get the picture)
  4. Top with some brown sugar and anything else you want. Pour a little cold milk around the outside of the bowl to cool off your oatmeal, and enjoy!

For more breakfast ideas, check out some of these delicious recipes:

Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins by Karina Allrich
Cranberry Banana Smoothie by Karina Allrich
Almond flour pancakes by Elana Amsterdam
Cinnamon bun muffins by Elana Amsterdam
Raspberry Scones by Katie

Have a nice morning!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Grandma and Bapa

For a while now, my grandparents (on my Mom's side) have been wanting to come visit us. It's been five years since they've been here, and they love coming here! So now, finally, they are here! They're staying for a little more than a month, which means they'll be here to Easter too.

Let me introduce my grandparents to you.

First, this is my Bapa (the name given to him by Tyler when he was a little kid):
He is so kind, hard-working, generous, and loves to have a good laugh. When he comes to Czech he can't get enough "kolaci" (as he calls them), which are typical Czech pastries. Bapa is actually half Czech (his grandparents were both from Czech), so he feels right at home here. His hobby is yard-work, which he does marvelously! Good thing he likes working in the yard, because there's never ending work to be done in our yard! He adores my grandma, and often tells me how beautiful she is. He is totally still in love with her. It's so sweet the way he treats her.

When Bapa is at home, he gets terrible headaches, so has to have couple shots of espresso a day to ease the pain. Somehow, miraculously, when he's here in Czech, he doesn't get headaches! Praise God! It's been fun to see him full of energy and health.

Now, meet my Grandma:
I wish I had a picture where you could see more of her elegance, but in a way, this one captures her beauty too. Her blue eyes are striking!
Grandma is one of the most elegant women I know. She carries herself with such poise and beauty. She is an amazing cook, and always makes sure we're taken care of throughout the day. One of her hobbies is taking pictures with her old little Canon. She doesn't know much about cameras, but despite that she just loves capturing memories! She is also very interested in healthy living, and does everything she can to support her and Bapa's health. She takes care of Bapa well when he's not feeling good! Grandma loves all things that are pretty, whether it be a simple necklace, a pink flower, or a crystal bowl... those things all make her so happy.  

It's great having them here with us. It's not very often that I get to see my grandparents every day! We love making memories together. I love them!