Gluten-Free Gingerbread Muffins

gluten-free gingerbread muffins

Breakfast is one meal, as important as it is to get the body ready for the day ahead, that I don't typically trouble over unless I have a lazy day to indulge. I tend to plan ahead and have healthy quick bites on hand throughout the week to nourish and keep me going — the sort of thing you can sit down and enjoy without rushing and without fussing. Muffins are always a good choice, as I stay away from sugary, overly processed breakfast cereals, and as much as I enjoy porridge, I do like some variety in my diet too. Besides, muffins are an easy and satisfying take-along solution.

gingerbread muffin

These moist and flavorful muffins are gluten-free, sweetened with a small amount of molasses and heightened by the inclusion of some fresh zesty ginger to complete the aromatic experience. The raisins, which are optional in this recipe, I found to be a nice contrast to the other textures and these reminded me of a really good bran muffin with a gingery twist.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread MuffinsGluten-Free Gingerbread Muffins
Recipe by
Published on February 27, 2013

Simple, moist and gluten-free gingerbread muffins loaded with spice flavor

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Dry ingredients:
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup besan (chickpea) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Other ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup yogurt or milk and yogurt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used grape seed oil)
  • dash of vanilla (optional)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • Grease 12 standard size muffin cups and preheat an oven to 375°.

  • In a large bowl, sift together the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

  • In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt (or milk and yogurt) and molasses. Stir in the ginger, oil, vanilla if using, and raisins if using.

  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet ingredients until just combined.

  • Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the muffins are lightly browned and set. Let sit in the pan for a few minutes after removing from the oven and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 muffins

gingerbread molasses muffins

More gingerbread ideas from Lisa's Kitchen:
Pumpkin Gingerbread Waffles
Guinness Gingerbread Cake
Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing

Creamy Thai Coconut Mushroom Soup

vegetarian cream of mushroom soup

Think of this creamy dish as a vegan alternative to chicken noodle soup. Here chicken stays on the farm, where it belongs, and succulent and earthy mushrooms are the meaty component. Throw in some fresh bean sprouts and some rice noodles and you have a silky, comforting bowl of soup to be enjoyed anytime of year. Red curry paste is, of course, an essential component of this and so many other Thai dishes. You can use store-bought curry pastes if you like, but nothing beats the fresh taste of homemade curry paste — take a little time to make your own batch and you'll have plenty to keep on hand for weeks afterwards in the refrigerator.

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Vegetarian Chili with Kidney Beans, Black Beans and Rye Berries

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
spicy chili

Perhaps I should call this dish "Fire in a Bowl". I drafted this recipe on a chilly afternoon and when I got to making it, well, I guess I was quite liberal with the spices and chilies. Writing up the recipe here, I have adjusted the ingredients, but of course feel free to cut down on the heat according to your preference. It was delicious and warming all the same, with a wonderful added chewy texture from the cooked rye berries. Fresh herbs certainly add a bit of flare to dishes like this, but dried herbs will work just fine too. Serve with some yogurt and sprinkle with some fresh grated Cheddar cheese as desired. This fusion-style Mexican-Indian dish also goes well with homemade tortilla chips.

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Indian-Style Potato and Pea Salad with Tamarind and Chat Masala

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian-Style potato salad

This potato salad is probably not what many of us would think of when a potato salad makes its appearance on the dinner table. Often we envision Mom's famous potato salad with eggs, mayonnaise and paprika, perhaps, and some green onion. Don't get me wrong — I loved my Mom's classic potato salad and it was always a favorite of mine. Potato salads can however be dressed up further and this one might even be considered a sort of sweet potato and white potato hash with peas and spices. Tangy, spicy and slightly sweet, this dish is a welcome surprise with a variety of textures in each bite — I am quite content to grace it with a salad label. It's vegan friendly too.

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Avocado Chickpea Hummus

avocado hummus

Hummus is something that I like to have on hand often. Not only is it delicious and good for you, but it always encourages me to eat raw vegetables too. It makes for a perfect appetizer, lunch, snack or accompaniment to your dinner table. I've made several different hummus recipes in the past as it is such a versatile dip and varieties and serving possibilities are endless and certainly inspiring. Here there is an extra boost of healthiness because of the addition of fresh avocado. Hummus also reminds me of summer patio dining that I am especially nostalgic for as this seemingly never ending Canadian winter continues to frost up the windows.

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Cinnamon Spiked Black-Eyed Peas Curry

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
cinnamon black-eyed pea curry

This an easy dish to make, making use of staples that most of us who cook Indian dishes on a regular basis will likely have on hand, and thus especially suited for busy weeknights or just days when you really don't feel much like cooking and failed to really plan ahead. Let me assure you though, it is delicious and the layering of spices with aromatic cinnamon really complements the natural earthy and nutty flavor of the black-eyed peas. Easy does not mean you have to sacrifice taste or nutrition. It can be served as the main dish for a rather simple meal with rice and flatbreads, or as part of a grander spread, because it is that good and will shine on the table and have your diners ready to eat once the lovely scents start coming from your kitchen.

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Blueberry Lemon Cake Cookies

blueberry lemon cakes

I suppose these are really more like miniature cakes rather than cookies, but they are baked like a cookie and essentially can perhaps be best described as cake, muffin and cookie all rolled into one. You can't get much better than this I figure, if you want to indulge without completely overdoing it. And no, I am not claiming that these are good for you, because they're not particularly, despite the presence of fresh blueberries and lemon juice, but I CAN claim that they are delicious. Just in time for Valentine's Day too in case you wish to make a somewhat decadent treat. Even if you don't observe cupid's day, which I don't really, after a few long months of winter and spring still too far away, sometimes a little comforting indulgence is just want is needed.

I promise my next post will be much healthier, but in the meantime, have a cookie.

blueberry lemon cookies

Blueberry Lemon Cake CookiesBlueberry Lemon Cake Cookies
Recipe by
Adapted from Miss Karli Brae
Published on February 14, 2013

Soft, sweet and heavenly lemony cookies with fresh blueberries

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Wet ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • scant cup of white sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • juice from 1 lemon
Dry ingredients:
  • 3 1/4 cups cake flour or soft unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • zest from 1 lemon
Other ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and fresh lemon juice.

  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and lemon zest.

  • Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries and chocolate. Chill the dough for an hour or longer in the refrigerator.

  • Preheat an oven to 350°. Spoon rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared sheets, about 1-inch apart. Bake until the bottoms are lightly browned — about 12 to 14 minutes. Let sit on the sheet for a minute, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. The little cookie cakes will keep in a well-sealed container for a few days.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen 2-inch cookies
blueberry cookies

More treats you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Chocolate Orange Cookies
Quick and Easy Healthy Peanut Butter Balls
Spicy White Cheddar Shortbread Crackers
Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

On the top of the reading stack: Feeding the Hungry Ghost by Ellen Kanner

Audio Accompaniment: Luomo

Cornmeal-Oat-Quinoa Pancakes with Dried Cherries

cornmeal quinoa pancakes

Years ago when I worked in a bookstore the Dummies series of how-to books were everywhere to be found on almost every subject available. I had quite forgotten about them until I was recently sent a review copy of Cooking with Quinoa For Dummies, which goes to show that the supply of how-to subjects is not yet exhausted.

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Mushroom Polenta Pizza

mushroom polenta pizza

This is not exactly a pizza as we would normally think of a pizza, as the "crust" is made up of a soft polenta base. Nonetheless, it does rather look like a pizza and it even rather tastes like one too. Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's invaluable Plenty, the texture of the soft polenta crust is a welcome treat and the rich and earthy herbed mushrooms could not fail to please fungus aficionados.

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Valentine's Day Ideas for your Sweet

Valentine's Day isn't something that I bother much with myself even though I do have a very special person in my life. I show and tell my husband each and every day how much I love him and value him, and I certainly don't relish occasions that make people feel compelled to dash off to the store to purchase things that aren't really needed, such as overpriced roses and treats, or spend an excess of money at expensive and crowded restaurants. My husband is very fortunate to get special meals and treats on a regular basis as part of my food blogging project and just because I like to provide good nourishing meals. And he likes to treat me too, all year round.

But Valentine's Day is an excuse for many people to prepare special foods for their sweethearts, and if you're looking for ideas you may want to try some of these vegetarian recipes that will certainly illustrate your passion for your honey. From breakfast to dinner right through to tempting treats and desserts, there's no shortage of opportunity to make this a special day for your most loved one.

You will find many more ideas to celebrate any occasion by browsing through the recipes that I have shared with readers including some nourishing and delicious side-dishes to go along with your meals. Though this list of suggestions was written for those in mind who enjoy Valentine's Day, I was also considering creations for any special occasion or for no reason in particular except for wanting to have a lovely meal along with some delights to treat your loved ones.

So let's start with some rather decadent sweets and desserts!

guinness gingerbread cake
This is a new favorite, a rich, moist, flavorful and not-too-sweet Guinness Gingerbread Cake made with Guinness stout beer and fresh ginger.

ricotta cheesecake
This Blueberry Ricotta Cheesecake is a winner and a very special way to say I love you. If your sweetie likes cheesecake, you must try this recipe.

goat cheese cheesecake
Cheesecake is always a favorite and I offer up this Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Mixed Berries that will earn you lots of hugs. One of my favorites.

berry ricotta cheesecake
Here is yet another cheesecake that is especially suitable for special occasions. This lovely Ricotta Cheesecake with Mixed Berries and Balsamic Vinegar is a perfect choice to end a special meal.

And of course there is chocolate. These Brownies with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Icing combine some of the finest ingredients for a most satisfying treat.

peanut butter cups
There is nothing more pleasing than a combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Your sweetie will be craving these homemade Peanut Butter Cups for months after tasting them.

nanaimo bars
Here is another special decadent treat that originated in Canada. These rich Nanaimo Bars will have your loved one's mouth watering, so best to hide them until after dinner.

peanut butter squares
Chocolate is usually a welcome treat for most of us and I warn you that these Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares should be eaten in moderation but self control with a plate of these in front of you will be a challenge indeed.

spicy cayenne cookies
If you really want to spice things up, try these unique Cayenne Peanut Butter Cookies. I know my sweetie thought these were some of the best cookies he has ever eaten.

gluten-free honey lemon cake
For a gluten-free treat, this Honey and Lemon Cake with Poppy Seeds should be on the top of your list. Honey for your honey.

lemon pudding
This Lemon Sponge Pudding for Two is so pretty to look at and sure to please the palate of your honey. Romance = elegance.

french toast
I can't think of a better way to start the day then with this Eye-Opening Blueberry French Toast. Warming and filling it can be prepared the night before and popped into the oven in the morning.

pumpkin gingerbread waffles
Light and chewy Pumpkin Gingerbread Waffles with a dark and rich molasses and gingerbread taste, these are a wonderful treat to share between the two of you on a special day, and the aroma is simply heavenly.

Indian-Style Baked Eggs Florentine
One of the tastiest breakfasts I have ever enjoyed with my sweetheart, if you enjoy some spice in your life, be sure to consider trying Indian-Style Baked Eggs Florentine.

baked strawberry pancake
These Baked Strawberry Pancakes are especially easy to make and a real delight for a very special breakfast.

egg pakoras
For something a little different, give these scrumptious Egg Pakoras a try. Delicious anytime of day but truly a delightful breakfast.

Greek feta olive frittata
If you and your loved one enjoy eggs and cheese then this Greek Feta and Olive Frittata will be sure to impress both of you.

Jalapeño Breakfast Burritos
For an extra jolt in the morning, these Jalapeño Breakfast Burritos are a must. Healthy and filling and you just know that if your sweetheart likes some heat, he will be asking for more.

Tempeh-Miso Breakfast Patties
Here is a good alternative for those who wish to enjoy a vegan breakfast with their mate. Give these Tempeh-Miso Breakfast Patties a try.

Chickpea Flour Dumplings Simmered in a Spicy Yogurt Sauce
For a spicy and hot romantic dinner, these Chickpea Flour Dumplings Simmered in a Spicy Yogurt Sauce are a perfect way to share your love.

Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon
This Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon is ideal for serving to your sweetheart if he shares a passion for plump mushrooms simmered in a rich, thick and delicious red wine sauce.

Baked Gigantes Beans in Tomato Sauce
Baked Gigantes Beans in Tomato Sauce served with a glass of robust red wine and some soothing music is a choice that must be considered for an enjoyable and relaxing evening meal for just the two of you.

Looking for a gorgeous and nourishing soup starter for your special meal? This White Bean and Mushroom Soup with Butternut Squash and Kale is everything you and your sweetheart could ask for.

mung beans with paneer cheese
One of my favorite dishes, if your valentine likes Indian food, you will have the key to their heart with this zesty and spicy Mung Beans with Paneer.

Scalloped Potatoes with Best-Ever Mushroom Sauce
Perhaps potatoes don't sound like the most romantic of meals, but I assure you these Scalloped Potatoes with Best-Ever Mushroom Sauce are really rather gourmet when it comes to the versatile spud.

Everyone loves risottos, don't they? This Mushroom Risotto is a rich, earthy, creamy and perfect risotto to savor over dinner for two.

spicy chickpea koftas
Served along with a tomato based chutney and side dish, these Spicy Chickpea Koftas combine into a meal that would certainly warm my heart.