Gluten Free Strawberry Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Peaches

Breakfast al fresco! #glutenfree Strawberry Ricotta Panakes with Sautéed Peaches!

I made these in an attempt to use up some summer fruits that were rapidly approaching their use or lose stage. There are endless summer fruit combinations you can use, so go wild. I think strawberries and peaches go together amazingly, but I could imagine raspberries, blueberries, pluots, apricots and all sorts of other fruits working perfectly.

These pancakes are perfect for brunch! If I was making these for a weekend brunch, I would definitely add a glug of bourbon to the pan when you add in the peaches, just to give it an extra decadent, boozy, brunchy feel.

I will say, I had a hard time getting these pancakes to cook through, hence the crispy looking edges. I think I was being slightly impatient with heating my pan (there really is only so long a girl can wait for breakfast after spin class…), so I had to sacrifice give a few utter failures to my official tasters (aka the pups). The crispy edges did not have a burnt flavor, which was lucky, just a different texture.

Gluten Free Strawberry Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Peaches
Adapted from Gluten Free Scallywag.

For the Pancakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (145g) full fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup (100g) rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk
  • 6-10 strawberries (depending on size)
For the Sautéed Peaches:
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large, fresh peaches, thinly sliced
  • A generous dash of nutmeg

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

I will fully confess this salad was made out of desperation. I got a little overzealous at Costco and bought a 5 pound bag of baby spinach. It was $3.79, seemed like such a great idea at the time. Do you know how much baby spinach is in a 5 pound bag of baby spinach? FIVE pounds. Do you know how hard it is to come up with new ideas to use up 5 pounds of baby spinach? Real hard. There are only so many green smoothies and sautéed spinach one can consume. I have gotten to the point I just google spinach and any other random ingredients I can think of and hope something worthwhile comes up. I’ve been hitting a lot of duds, but I really lucked out with this one.

I personally don’t like super oily vinaigrettes (or oily anything), so I tend to skimp on that. I just couldn’t get a taste I liked with just the limes for acidity, so I added in a bit of white wine vinegar to try to get the flavors to blend a bit better. Perfect fix. I added the feta at the last minute (an other Costco purchase that needs to be used… I need to stop doing this to myself). I think it gave the salad a tangy bite that worked really well with the other flavors, but it’s not essential. Leaving it out would still make this one amazing (and vegan) salad.

I also have to admit I am totally embarrassed by the fact that I took the time to cut the strawberries into hearts. Who does that? It’s a cheesy cute idea for a Valentine’s Day salad if you have the need for such a thing. This salad is definitely tasty enough to share.

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied walnuts
  • 1 cups strawberries, halved (cut into hearts if you’re crazy)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I don’t like oily vinaigrettes, use more if you do)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large serving bowl, add the spinach, strawberries, shallots and feta.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, grainy mustard, salt, and pepper.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Sprinkle on the walnuts and add the diced avocado.

Thirsty Thursday: Strawberry Sake Cocktail

Strawberry Sake Cocktail

When I was in Tokyo a couple months ago I got to drink a lot of sake. A lot of really good sake to be more precise. It was wonderful. Fast froward, I was in the grocery store here the other week and saw a display of sake bottles. I went over to investigate and once I saw the price, I knew I had to buy a bottle. $2.79 for a bottle of sake. I figured, I survived drinking Transylvanian moonshine and Burmese rum, how bad can something approved for sale in the state of California actually be? Worst case scenario, I end up with organ failure and possibly blind, best case, it might be decent enough to use in a cocktail, and somewhere in the middle, I decided at the least I now have a bottle of lighter fluid/paint stripper/weed killer all for the low, low price of $2.79. It seemed like a bit of a risk, but I’m crazy stupid enough to take it. Luckily it worked out in my favor. I really enjoy sake because, generally speaking, it’s very light and refreshing. Those qualities make it perfect for a summertime cocktail.

 Strawberry Sake Cocktail (adapted from Serious Eats)

  • 2 strawberries, sliced plus another for garnish
  • 3/4 ounces fresh juice from 1 to 2 limes
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (see note above)
  • 1 sprig of mint, plus another for garnish
  • 2 ounces sake
  • 1 1/2 ounces seltzer water
  1. In a mixing glass, muddle strawberry, lime juice, and simple syrup in the bottom of a tall glass until the strawberry is completely dissolved. Add mint leaves and gently tap 5 times with muddler. (Do not over-muddle mint or it will taste bitter and muddy.)
  2. Fill glass with ice and add sake. Stir until the fully incorporated. Pour unstrained into serving glass, top with seltzer and garnish with a sprig of mint and a strawberry.

Aguas Frescas

aguas frescas

Perhaps your Cinco had a bit to much drinko involved with it. These should help alleviate some of the problems you are facing today. These drinks are actually good any day, especially when it’s hot out. And the are super easy to make. Aguas frescas are really popular Latin American drinks, but there are some variations from country to country. Living in Southern California, I am most familiar with the Mexican variety. You can find them served at pretty much an taqueria you go to and even most of the ‘fancier’ Mexican restaurants will have some version of their own. There are even bottled aguas frescas, but trust me, you are better off sticking to the fresh stuff. Aguas frescas are traditionally just fruit purée, water and a bit of sugar. I find that most of the restaurants add way too much sugar. If you get fresh, in season fruit, I think that’s usually sweet enough on it’s own. I also like to make mine with sparkling water to give them a little more of a refreshing feel.

Strawberry Aguas Frescas

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled
  • juice of two limes
  • water, sparkling or flat, of choice (I used La Croix Coconut)
  1. Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor. Push purée through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds.
  2. Pour purée into a large pitcher and add lime juice. Stir together. Top with water and stir (lightly if using sparkling water) to mix.
  3. Serve and enjoy!
Pineapple-Mango Aguas Frescas
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cored and sliced
  • 2 fresh mangoes, chopped
  • juice of two limes
  • water, sparkling or flat, of choice (I used La Croix Lime)
  • generous dash of cayenne pepper (optional for when you are feeling a bit crazy).
  1. Blend the pineapple, mangoes and lime juice (and cayenne pepper if using) together.
  2. Pour into a large pitcher. Top with water and stir (lightly if using sparkling water) to mix.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Thirsty Thursday: Champagne Punch

Champagne Punch

This a delightful little concoction I came up with over the weekend. It was light, fruity and perfect for an 80/27 degree Easter day. I really liked the fruit combination I used ( strawberries, raspberries, and mandarins), but you can use absolutely any fresh fruit you have on hand. My only suggestion would be to let it sit a little bit before serving. The first glass I had was only so-so, but the second glass was a million times better. It definitely improved as the flavors had some time to mix together.

Champagne Punch

  • 2 750 ml. bottles of champagne/sparkling wine/cava
  • 1/2 cup amaretto
  • 1/2 cup orange liqueur/triple sec/cointreau
  • fresh fruit (I used sliced strawberries, raspberries, and mandarins)

Pour the amaretto and orange liqueur into a large pitcher, add fruit and top with champagne. Let sit about 15 minutes before serving.

Balsamic Strawberry Popsicles

Balsamic Strawberry Popsicles

So this is what started my whole strawberry craze. My friend Amy (hi Amy!) posted on my Facebook about how delicious strawberries and balsamic are. True story. It’s a delicious combination. I remember making a strawberry balsamic dessert in high school and I felt super grown-up and sophisticated. That phase didn’t last long. Amy’s comment made me really crave some kind of strawberry balsamic combination, but I wanted to try something a little different.

These popsicles are super refreshing and so easy to make. I definitely plan on making these a lot over the summer. Next time though, I would change a few things. I would probably either cut back on the sugar or up the balsamic a bit.The strawberries were definitely sweet enough on their own and didn’t need a whole 1/4.  The vinegar flavor was there, but I would have preferred it to stand out a little more.  And the freshly ground pepper… I love pepper, but every now and again I would find myself biting into what I thought was a little strawberry chunk only to be (rudely) surprised by pepper. Definitely make sure your pepper is finely ground.

Balsamic Strawberry Popsicles (from Epicurious)

  • 2 cups sliced, hulled strawberries (from about 1 pound berries)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place the strawberries and sugar in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture is finely chopped and juicy but still chunky; you don’t want a smooth purée. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the balsamic vinegar and a few grinds of pepper.
  2. Spoon the mixture into ice pop molds and insert sticks. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 week.
  3. To unmold the pops, run hot water over the outsides of the molds for a few seconds, then gently pull the sticks.

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Crispy Shallots

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Crispy Shallots

In my never-ending quest to use up six pounds of strawberries, I have been forced to make the berry an acceptable addition to every meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, nothing is off-limits when it comes to strawberries.

I made this delicious salad for lunch and I loved it. The strawberries and goat cheese were sweet and tangy and contrasted each other perfectly. I am kind of obsessed with the vinaigrette I made to go with the salad. I don’t give any exact measurements below for the dressing, mainly because I like mine to be really vinegar-y and that might not be everyone’s thing. Just use whatever ratio sounds best to you.

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Crispy Shallots

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Crispy Shallots

  • 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • Roasted garlic vinaigrette (recipe below)
  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the sliced shallots and toss to coat with oil. Allow shallots to cook on medium-high until they start to soften and get a bit of color. Turn heat to low and stir ever 5-8 minutes until they are golden and crispy. Remove pan from heat and allow shallots to cool and drain on paper towels.
  2. Divide spinach between two plates, top with strawberries, goat cheese, shallots and vinaigrette.

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette 

  • 2 heads roasted garlic
  • white wine or champagne vinegar
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into a food processor, add vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, along with the mustard. Blend until smooth.

Gluten Free Strawberry Nutella Muffins

Gluten Free Strawberry Nutella Muffins

There’s a man with a van who hangs out around the closest big intersection to my house. He sells things out of the back of his van. Primarily berries and cherries, but sometimes there are avocados and mangoes or pumpkins and pineapples; it kind of just depends on the season. I live about 40 minutes away from one of California’s biggest strawberry growing regions, so we pretty much get them year round. They are just starting to come into their main season at the moment. The berry man has become my go to source for strawberries and other various items, because 1. he’s cheap, 2. he has a hand painted sign that says ‘Picked Fresh Today’ and 3. they are always delicious, which makes me believe the sign and love the price even more. I drove by the berry man the other day and got the genius idea of buying a full flat of strawberries, which turned out to be able SIX pounds, which is sort of a lot. I felt pretty proud of myself getting 6 pounds of strawberries for just over $2 a pound, especially considering how expensive they are in the grocery store, but as soon as I got home, I realized I had to figure out what to do with six pounds of strawberries…

My first strawberry endeavor was this delicious muffin recipe. It’s perfect for a sweet breakfast treat and also makes a pretty satisfying dessert. Quite frankly, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with Nutella. The fresh strawberries only make the Nutella even more enjoyable. My favorite part of these muffins is the little Nutella line that runs through the center. It basically ensures you get a bit of Nutella in every bite!

Gluten Free Strawberry Nutella Muffins

Strawberry Nutella Muffins (adapted rom Prevention RD)

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together canola oil, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into flour mixture. Add slowly and gently stir, you don’t want to over mix. The batter will be very thick; fold in the strawberries.
  4. Fill each muffin cup half way with batter. Next, add a small spoonful of Nutella to each muffin cup. Cover the Nutella filling with the remaining batter.
  5. Bake muffins for 22-26 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack. Yield: 12 muffins.

Thirsty Thursday: Champagne Jello Shots

champagne jello shots

Make these. Make them right now! Seriously, you need these at your New Year’s party. Everyone will love them.

They can also make a cheap (and easy!) addition to any party. You don’t need to use fancy, expensive champagne for this. I used a 7 buck bottle of prosecco from Trader Joe’s. No one will know the difference.I  also used frozen strawberries only because the fresh ones looked gross and were a dollar more.

Champagne Jello Shots (from That’s So Michelle)*

  • 1 box of jello (the big 8 serving size box) – (I used peach)
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 1/2 cups champagne/prosecco/sparkling wine
  • strawberries (optional) (I used frozen)
  • 2 oz. plastic or glass shot glasses – (I used 10 ounce plastic glasses and filled them half way-ish and got 12 shots.)
  1.  Mix your jello and boiling water in a medium sized bowl, stirring until jello powder has all dissolved. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in champagne and refrigerate for another 30 minutes or until jello has just slightly thickened.
  3. Set aside about 3/4 cup of your jello and champagne mixture for creating the foam top and put it back in the refrigerator. 
  4. Pour jello and champagne mixture into your shot glasses, then drop a few sliced berries in each glass.
  5. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving whip your 3/4 cup left over jello until it becomes white and fluffy and resembles foam. Spoon “foam” on top and serve.
* – NOTE: I did not find step 3 and the 2nd half of step find necessary. My jello shots foamed up when I poured them into the cups (maybe because they are bigger than shot glasses?) and stayed foamy looking overnight.