Tag Archives: 2015 cookbook challenge

Gluten-Free Breakfast Bars

When it comes to health/snack/energy bars, the Englishman and I have our staples.  Me Like Bars, Larabar, and Health Warrior Chia Bars can always be found in our pantry.  The Englishman has had some early mornings at work recently, and I wanted to create a bar for him to take on the road for the mornings he doesn’t have time to sit down at home and have breakfast.  Enter these gluten-free breakfast bars.

gluten freebreakfast bars

This recipe is part of the 2015 cookbook challenge, and is brought to you by Thug Kitchen.  I’ll admit I tweaked the recipe a bit (I used honey instead of maple syrup so it’s NOT vegan), but the base of quinoa and oats remained the same.  We happen to have an abundance of quinoa in our house at the moment so this recipe worked out perfectly.

The great thing about these bars is you can customize them to your preferences.  Don’t like raisins?  Swap in dried cranberries.  Almonds not your thing?  Try pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.  I do recommend keeping in the chocolate chips because chocolate is just awesome.

If you are looking for something quick to throw together and have on hand for the week, then this recipe is for you.  Chances are you already have all the ingredients in your house.

gluten free breakfast bars

Gluten-Free Breakfast Bars (adapted from Thug Kitchen)


2 cups rolled gluten-free oats

1 cup quinoa

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup slivered almonds

2 tbsp shredded coconut

2 tbsp chocolate chips

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used the Bee’s Knees)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup honey


Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

In a skillet over low heat toast your oats and quinoa (should take about 3-5 minutes).

While your oats and quinoa are toasting, pull together all of your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Add the toasted oats and quinoa and blend well.

gluten free breakfast bars mixPut your peanut butter, olive oil and honey in a sauce pan over medium heat and simmer until the mixture is melted.

Fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and continue to mix well.

gluten free breakfast bar pan

Pour your mixture into the baking dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove and let the mixture cool before placing in the fridge.

Once the mixture has firmed up, cut into bars or squares and enjoy!

Whole Wheat Biscuits

For the 2015 cookbook challenge this week we’re going back to the basics.  Whole Wheat Biscuits from the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook to be exact.

whole wheat biscuits plate

The discussion around biscuits started after the Englishman and I watched this Key and Peele sketch where they make fun of Marshawn Lynch’s attitude during press interviews by responding “biscuits n’ gravy” to every answer.  And yes, as a football fan, I highly enjoyed this sketch.

Anyway, after watching this all I could think about were biscuits.  Warm, fluffy biscuits hot out of the oven with some butter and maybe a little honey spread on top.  No frills, no fuss, just biscuits.  So I opened my trusty America’s Test Kitchen cookbook and got to work.

whole wheat biscuits bookOh and I should mention that the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook is probably one of the most informative and helpful cookbooks I have ever owned.  Each section includes a detailed guide for how to make a variety of dishes, as well as what can go wrong and how to remedy it.  And as I mentioned above, the book is about mastering the basics, which I think is so important.

Ok so back to the biscuits.  The original recipe called for all-purpose flour and buttermilk and I didn’t have either of those things so I swapped in almond milk + lemon juice and whole wheat flour and it worked out fine.

These whole wheat biscuits are a breeze to put together and are great if you want a quick afternoon snack or light breakfast.  The Englishman oftentimes packs a couple to take to work every day to enjoy with his morning cup of tea.

Whole Wheat Biscuits (makes 12 biscuits)


2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup almond milk

8 tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt


Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Melt your butter over low heat and set aside to cool.  In a medium mixing bowl add your flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Mix until well blended.

whole wheat biscuit doughGently fold in your butter, almond milk and lemon juice into your dry mixture and continue to mix until you get a nice, sticky dough.

whole wheat biscuits pre bakeScoop spoonfuls of dough onto your baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-17 minutes.

whole wheat biscuits finishedRemove from the oven when the tops and bottoms are lightly browned.

Cool and enjoy.  Maybe even with some gravy.

Halibut with Umami Sauce

I’ve been on a seafood kick recently.  Mostly I’ve wanted to eat ALL THE SALMON, but I’m also dreaming about the fresh fish case at Santa Monica Seafood (totally normal, I promise).  So for this week’s 2015 cookbook challenge, I consulted my trusty True Food Kitchen cookbook once again and made Halibut with Umami Sauce.

halibut with umami sauce plate

Can we talk about umami sauce for a second?  It’s the signature ingredient at Umami Burger and it also happens to include tamari, which doesn’t work for someone who’s allergic to soy.  But thankfully there’s a great soy-free alternative in the form of coconut aminos, which I swapped in instead and the sauce still came out wonderful.  Plus, by using the coconut aminos, the umami sauce is paleo friendly if you are into that sort of thing.

This recipe required minimal ingredients since the fish and the sauce were supposed to shine.  We didn’t have fingerling potatoes so we used a combo of red potatoes and sweet potatoes, and aside from the sauce update, followed the rest of the recipe.  Side note: how awesome do these potatoes look?

halibut with umami sauce potatoes

Halibut with Umami Sauce (adapted from the True Food Kitchen Cookbook)

Serves 2


1/2 pound sweet potatoes + red potatoes

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 pound brussels sprouts cut in quarters

2 halibut steaks (4-5 oz)

1 1/2 tsp salt

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp olive oil (for pan)

1  1/2 cups roasted mushrooms

1/4 cup umami sauce

Umami Sauce Ingredients (makes 1 1/2 cups):

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons coconut aminos

1 cup nutritional yeast flakes

8 mashed garlic gloves

1/2 cup olive oil


Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with foil (we used a cast iron skillet instead).

Chop up your sweet potatoes and red potatoes and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 35-40 minutes or until tender.

Wash and dice your brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper.

Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Add your olive oil and put the fish in the hot pan and place under the broiler.  Cook until golden brown (roughly 10 minutes).

Heat another skillet over medium heat and coat with olive oil.  Place your mushrooms and brussels sprouts in the skillet and cook until crisp.

Serve your halibut over your brussels sprouts + mushroom mixture and your roasted potatoes.  Drizzle your umami sauce on top and enjoy!

truefoodkitchen halibut plates  This also pairs quite well with a glass of rose.  Just saying.

What’s your favorite fish dish?  Is anyone else on a seafood kick as much as I am?

Carrot Parsnip Zucchini Bread

After all of the chocolate action that happened over the long weekend, I decided to go with something a little bit lighter this week for the 2015 cookbook challenge.  So I consulted my favorite True Food Kitchen cookbook and whipped up some Carrot Parsnip Zucchini Bread.

carrot parsnip zucchini breadThe name is a bit of a mouthful and I was quite skeptical of putting parsnips in bread, but you know what?  It worked and was delicious.  This bread is packed with veggies, has minimal sugar, and I even lightened it up by swapping non-fat plain Chobani Greek yogurt in place of the apple butter.

I haven’t gone wrong with a True Food Kitchen recipe yet and this one did not disappoint.  The yogurt gave the bread a nice moist (I know) texture and it became the perfect afternoon snack to enjoy with a cup of tea.

carrot parsnip zucchini bread and teaThe original recipe called for the bread to be divided into two loaf pans, but I decided to roll with just one large loaf and it worked out great – just be sure to allow a little extra baking time.

Carrot Parsnip Zucchini Bread (makes 1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves)

Adapted from the True Food Kitchen Cookbook


1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 medium parsnip, shredded
1 small zucchini, shredded
3 large eggs
¾ cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons slivered almonds


Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line a loaf pan with cooking spray or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix until well blended.

In a smaller bowl add your carrot, parsnip, zucchini, eggs, greek yogurt, olive oil and vanilla and blend together.  Gently fold your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and continue to mix until the dough is nice and wet.

Scoop your batter into your loaf pan and top with silvered almonds (the original recipe called for pumpkin seeds).

Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes if you are doing one large loaf; 35-40 minutes if you are doing two smaller loaves.

carrot parsnip zucchini bread slicesRemove from the oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes.  Slice and enjoy!

Any other True Food Kitchen fans out there?  What’s your favorite recipe?