Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kale Chips – Best Made at Home

A few months ago my husband gave me a Philips Air Fryer (affiliate link) for my birthday. Despite having been taught by my mother that appliances don’t count as presents, kitchen appliances are among my most favorite things. I have in the past asked for a new refrigerator, a new oven, a blender, and a stand mixer as presents – and loved them all!! This new gadget is no exception.

One of my favorite things to make with the air fryer is kale chips – oh, so much better than any you might purchase at the health food store!

Kale Chips

4 cups of kale, washed, stems removed, broken into pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt

Combine the kale and oil in a large bowl. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale and let it sit for at least an hour.

Sprinkle the kale with salt. Preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees F. Add the prepared kale into the fryer basket. “Fry” (you’re really baking) for 2 minutes. Remove the basket and mix the chips. Fry for 1-2 minutes more until crispy.

While I used the air fryer to make these, you can easily bake them in the oven: Spread the kale in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Ten to fifteen minutes at 375 degrees F should do it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Enjoy Life Foods Brownie Mix Review

About a month ago I received some complimentary samples of Enjoy Life Food's new baking mixes (yes!) for review.

The first mix that I decided was the brownie mix. I find gluten-free off-the-shelf brownie mixes very difficult to make without the (usually required) eggs.

I was excited to find an allergen-free brownie mix that is designed to be made without eggs, butter, or dairy, but also a little leery. Would this really work? The red flag for me was the sugar content -- 14 grams per serving -- which is right on the cusp based on my experiments.

The good news? The mix is top-8 allergen-free and only water and oil need to be added. The super-simple add-ins and the super-simple procedure (hand mix in a single bowl) make it the perfect take-on-vacation-or-to-grandma's house mix.

The ingredients will thrill some -- but could also complicate matters for others. The ingredients list is not just rice/tapioca/potato starch, but includes teff, flaxseed, algal protein, and a probiotic. While all of these ingredients make for a brownie with better nutritional qualities, some with multiple food allergies may need to stay away (always check to make sure it's safe for you). Happily, this list of ingredients works quite nicely for my family!

Mixing is easy, too! While I was debating whether I should add some mini Enjoy Life chocolate chips to my brownies, I noticed that they were already included. Bonus!

The directions say to bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Just 26 minutes, and my brownies were done. (Had I left them for 35 minutes I would not have been happy.)

This brownie is more like cake than what most of us think of as a brownie. It has a unique taste, but quite good. Even my gluten-eating hubby was happy to finish them off.

One quirk of this mix is that it is intended to make 14 servings. I don't know about you, but I find it virtually impossible to cut brownies made in an 8-inch-square pan into 14 even squares. Sixteen is standard, 9 would be extra-large brownies. I suspect fourteen was used so that the claim of "5 grams of protein per serving" could apply. But it's odd. I cut mine into sixteen squares.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Blackberries, Blueberries, Black and Blue Jam

More jam, please!

I had a few blackberries. I had a lot of blueberries. Instead of just plain blueberry jam I decided to combine the two. Oh my!

Black and Blue Jam

Makes 2 pints

1 ½ cups blackberries
1 ½ cups blueberries
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1-inch piece of vanilla bean

Combine all of the ingredients and let them sit for an hour. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and boil for 18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fish out the vanilla bean. Boil for another 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.

You can refrigerate or freeze the jam, or preserve it in a water bath. You can find some great instructions on how to do that in The Allergy-Free Pantry.

Inspiration for your pantry:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New Enjoy Life Foods Baking Mixes Have Arrived!

What’s that? Baking mixes? Yes, indeed.

The company that has been making us delicious top-8 allergen-free treats and snacks (and chocolate) for the last decade is now bringing us safe baking mixes. They sent me a complimentary sample to review:

But the best part is – these aren’t just gluten-free baking mixes that require adding eggs and dairy to work most effectively – these mixes are designed to be used without adding in top allergens either. Woo-hoo!!

I’ll be baking soon, but first some observations:

The mixes are higher in protein than most. This is due to the use of higher protein grains (millet, buckwheat, teff).

Only oil and water need to be added to the mixes!

The pizza mix contains inactive yeast, but doesn’t require rise. I expect this crust will be cracker-like.

The mixes contain probiotics. I’m on the fence as to whether this is a good thing. It's likely good for most, but I fear it could cause digestive issues for some.

The all-purpose flour weighs 160 grams per cup (very heavy) – be sure to adjust by weight for the recipe you choose.

I am most intrigued by the brownie mix – which clocks in at 14 grams per serving, yet doesn’t require eggs. In my experience 14 grams is borderline for successfully being able to use a brownie mix without eggs. I’m curious to see whether Enjoy Life Foods has pulled this one off!

Off to bake!