Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oatmeal cookies

A fresh cookie, still warm from the oven is a thing of beauty.  These bad boys are a masterpiece!  Once again, Karina, at Gluten Free Goddess, has out done herself.  These are really, really good cookies!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy:

2/3 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
1 1/2 cups organic brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract (I used regular old vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons agave or honey

In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients:

1/2 cup rice flour or sorghum flour
1/2 cup oat flour [certified gluten-free Lara's Oats]
1/2 cup potato or tapioca starch
1/4 cup vanilla rice protein powder [I used Nutribiotics] (Karina noted that if you don't have or don't like rice protein flour you could sub in another GF flour, I used millet flour)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, beating to combine.
When the dough is smooth, add in the following, by hand, and mix well:

2 cups rolled oats- certified gluten-free Bob's Red Mill or Lara's Oats
1/2 cup raisins

Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to measure out the dough, and using your palms make 28 to 30 round balls. Place the balls of dough on a cookie sheet about two inches apart. Don't flatten them.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, until they are golden. They will be quite soft until they cool.

Using a thin spatula, remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes approximately 28 to 30 cookies.

For Karina's witty commentary click here, her photos of the cookies are to die for too!  Then when you're drooling sufficiently go into your kitchen and bake some gluten free oatmeal cookies, you will not regret it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A lunch for little P

In the never ending quest to find fun, interesting, and healthy lunches I turn once again to What's for Lunch Wednesday.  I always enjoy looking at the super cute lunches that some kids are opening up around the country.  For Paulo on this day he feasted on baked potato sliced up, a couple of carved carrots-the carving was a huge hit with him and with his lunch buddies-and some grape tomatoes in the main section.  Some raw goat cheese-we're experimenting with goat dairy!-and dried cranberries to satisfy his sweet tooth and the last section has strawberry coconut yogurt with a sprinkle of gluten free vanilla cereal on top.  Not pictured, for snack, was a rice cake with sunbutter and jam on top which, interestingly, he's decided he doesn't like.  He loves rice cakes with Tofuti cream cheese and jam but the sunbutter was not a hit....note to self, no sunbutter on rice cakes....check!

For more lunch inspiration visit What's for Lunch Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maple Brussels Sprouts and Rutabaga

I'm always looking for different ways to eat Brussels Sprouts.  It's one of those vegetables that I despised as a child.  Really, really hated!  As an adult I tried them again and found that they weren't as terrible as they used to be.  Now, I actually like them.  I think though one of my favorite ways is the raw Brussels sprout salad, but this was good too.  The maple is not overpowering but you can definitely taste it.  Rene loved it, Paulo....well he tried it.  Sometimes that's as far as we get!

Maple Brussels Sprouts with rutabaga and walnuts
Brussels Sprouts trimmed and halved
2 rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 tablespoons dry cranberry
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 tablespoon earth balance butter spread

Steam the Brussels sprouts until fork tender.  Boil the rutabaga in salted water for around 10 minutes, also until tender.

Heat the butter in a saute pan, add the shallot and saute until soft.  Add the steamed Brussels sprouts and rutabaga.  Drizzle on the syrup and toss with the dry cranberry and walnuts, stir well to combine.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes, serve hot.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spicy coconut rice

Shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup brown rice, soaked and rinsed
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In an oven safe pan, saute the shallot in olive oil until tender, add the garlic and saute for one minute more.  Add the brown rice and allow to toast for two minutes, stirring frequently.  Pour in the broth and coconut milk, stir well.  Add the paprika and cayenne and stir well to combine.  Place the pan in the oven and bake for one hour, stirring after 30 minutes. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Plan B

Sometimes you think you've done everything right when you leave for work in the morning.  Meat defrosted? Check.  Beans in the crock pot?  Check.  Crock pot turned on?  Check.  Crock pot plugged in????  Whoops.  I was supposed to come home last night to a pot of cooked beans, instead I came home to an unplugged crock pot and a pot of soaked beans, beans that had soaked for a long, long time since I started them soaking Wednesday night!  I actually picked up the phone and dialed Pizza Caboose.  It rang twice, then I hung up.  For one, it was already 5:30 and it would probably take until 6:30 or 7 for them to make, bake and deliver my pizza-that's just too late for a little guy that needs to be in bed early for school.  Two, I didn't want to spend the money.  Three, I had enough food to figure out a plan B.  This was my plan B:

Steamed broccoli with honey dijon sauce.  Fingerling potatoes simmered and then broiled for a crispy shell.  And tempeh, sauteed, topped with red onion, portobella mushrooms and a few slices of raw Cheddar style cheese.  Paulo's was the same except he had some thin steak and no onions or mushrooms.  Rene, I turned his steak into a sandwich with the mushrooms and onions when he finally made it home-long day at the shop yesterday. 

What I was reminded of though was the importance of having a well stocked refrigerator and pantry.  I was able to improvise and everyone was happy, well fed and, best of all, I know where everything they've eaten came from.  I cannot say that about Pizza Caboose.  Don't get me wrong, we love their pizza, but ever since Paulo's allergy diagnosis it's been harder and harder to go out to eat.  There are simply more things on the menus that my son cannot eat than there are that he can.  And he gets frustrated, which upsets me, which upsets him, it's a vicious cycle.  That's one of the reasons I cook as much as I do, this way I know I can give my son something that will make him happy-he is a very appreciative eater-and keep him healthy. 

So, what's your go to plan B dinner?  What do you do on those nights when dinner does not go according to plan?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spinach and quinoa salad

Leafy green vegetables are so important and yet seem so hard to get sometimes.  This is a quick and easy, very filling, dinner salad that is loaded with greens in the form of baby spinach.  Baby  spinach is very tender, mild tasting and a good way to start getting more greens in your diet.

To a bed of baby spinach add:
1 3/4 Mandarin oranges peeled, separated and sliced in half
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
5 radishes, quartered
1 cup cooked quinoa, to sprinkle on top

In a blender combine the following:
1/4 Mandarin oranges
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup basil leaves
sea salt
Blend until smooth, pour over the quinoa and spinach salad, toss well and add more dressing if desired.  Serve by itself or with sandwiches for your hungry boys.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday

It's that time of the week again! I love Wednesday, I get loads of inspiration from the What's for Lunch blog.  I enjoy perusing other moms and dads' attempts at getting their kids to eat good healthy, whole, REAL food. 

This is Paulo's lunch today, he has a dish of potato gnocchi soup, I am loving the glass containers my mother in law gave me for Christmas, he can warm up his lunch in the classroom microwave and I don't have to cringe at the thought of him eating plastics.  In his divided container he has a Mandarin, some vanilla coconut milk yogurt, blueberries, grape tomatoes, green olives and some new chips we're trying.  They are actually yams and carrots but we'll see if he figures that out and A. loves them or B. hates them or C....somewhere in between. 

For more lunch time inspiration visit What's for Lunch at Our House.

Gnocchi soup

Here's take two and creating some new soup recipes.  I really enjoy soup but hadn't really tried to create any of my own recipes.  In fact I was much more likely to open a tetra box of soup than bring out my soup pot, soup can really take a lot of time to make.  But this soup was so easy there's no excuse not to make it on a weeknight.  I think all in all it took less than 30 minutes to get on the table.  Perfect weeknight hearty soup!

4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
24 oz jar, low sodium, strained tomatoes
1 package frozen, gluten free, Conti's potato gnocchi
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
6 mushrooms, quartered
2/3 head Swiss chard, washed, stems and greens diced separated
1/4 red onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
sea salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot, add the onion and the chard stems, saute until softened.  Add the garlic, saute one minute more.  Pour in the vegetable broth and the strained tomatoes, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, add the potato gnocchi, zucchini and the mushrooms.  Season with basil and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 8 minutes.  When the gnocchi are done add the chard greens and remove from heat to soften the greens.  Season with sea salt if desired.  Serve with warm toasted bread.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tofu stir fry

We've been making up for our culinary sins this week, eating tons of fruits and veggies and good whole grains-I'm hopeful that will absolve me from the dozens of gingerbread cookies I've eaten.  And the fudge, don't forget the chocolate could we forget the fudge?!  I know I won't soon forget it...

To shock our systems back into health I whipped up a veggie and tofu stir fry this week with brown rice.  Served with steamed bok choy I felt very, very healthy and could almost forget about all the dark, festive, beer I've been drinking!

The inspiration for this stir fry sauce was found here on The Food Rules Cooking blog I like to read.  Someday I will try her actual recipe for the Phad Thai, it looks amazing!

1/4 cup wheat free soy sauce
2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Sesame oil
Extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
Assorted veggies (stir fry is an outstanding way to empty out the crispers) I used julienned carrots, sugar peas, steamed broccoli and mushrooms
Brown rice, preferably cooked over the weekend to save time
Toasted cashews

Combine the soy sauce with the lemon juice and brown sugar and set aside.

Heat the sesame oil in a pan and saute the tofu, add the veggies and rice, pour in the sauce, stir to heat through, taste, add salt if needed.  Add in the toasted cashews and top with the cilantro.

Serve with steamed bok choy drizzled with rice vinegar.

Sauteed spicy kale

2010, the year I met, and fell in love with, kale.  I really had no idea I would love it as much as I do!  I love it in my green juices, I love it baked, blended and sauteed.  Here we have a spicy kale saute.  I added a little serrano chile for a hint of heat.

One bunch of kale, cleaned, deribbed and sliced thin
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 serrano chile, deseeded (or partially deseeded as the taste buds may be)
the juice of one lemon
olive oil
sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion and the serrano, cook until softened and translucent, add the garlic and continue to saute for a minute.  Add the kale to the pan, wet, and stir well, season with sea salt and cover with a lid.  Remove lid and stir after a few minutes, squeeze the lemon juice into the pan and mix well.  Serve hot.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Creamy roasted potato soup

This dish met two of my New Year's resolutions, to make soup and to use what I buy.  I had an assortment of potatoes in my pantry and I didn't want them to go to waste so I decided I would experiment with a creamy roasted potato soup.

  • 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • assorted fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • basil
  • 2 cups plain rice milk
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (chill a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator then open and scoop out the cream that separates to the top)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Lay the above on a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt.  Roast at 350 F until soft.  Transfer to a large pot and add the rice milk and 1 cup of the broth.  Bring to a simmer and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.  Add in the remaining cup of broth and the coconut cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a spinach salad.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Spinach and butternut squash salad

I've had a big butternut squash staring at me, accusingly, on my counter for a while now.  I bought it on a whim, not sure what I was actually going to do with it.  It sat, forlorn, in my kitchen...until Sunday night.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to use what I buy, seems simple enough, but we waste a lot of food in this country.  Depending on who you ask, it's estimated that we throw out between 14-40% of the food we buy!  That's a lot of money being tossed out in Thursday's garbage pick up, and that's a lot of food wasted when so many are going hungry.  So last night I made good on my promise to myself about using what I buy and cooked the squash.

Spinach and squash salad
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed and steamed lightly (I used 1/2 of it and saved the other 1/2 for later)
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
Steam the squash until fork tender and keep warm. 

Mix together the vinegar, oil and sugar. 

Put the spinach in a large serving dish, add the tomatoes and pine nuts, add in the squash and drizzle with the dressing, I used roughly 1/2 of my dressing, I didn't want the greens to drown.  Serve immediately.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Stollen inspired gluten free bread

Once again, Allyson at Manifest Vegan, enticed me to bake another of her fabulous recipes.  She posted, a week or so ago, a recipe for a gluten free and vegan stollen inspired bread.  Unless you never set foot in a grocery store you've been bombarded by stollen bread at every turn, and it looks good!  But for us, it's filled with naughty list food.  With this recipe though, I don't have to worry at all about it being unsafe for my son and, like all of Allyson's recipes I've tried so far, it is amazing!

Stollen Inspired Holiday bread
Allyson at Manifest Vegan

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked overnight in 1/4 cup dark rum and 1/4 teaspoon scraped vanilla bean
  • 1 cup very warm non dairy milk
  • 2 packets dry active yeast (or equivalent measured from the jar)
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup teff flour (I used millet flour since that's what I had on hand)
  • 2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon agave, or sugar
  • 2 tablespoon flaxseed meal mixed with 4 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted pistachios
  • confectioners sugar for dusting
Prepare the cranberries the day before in the vanilla rum.

The next day:
In a medium sized bowl, proof together yeast with the warm non dairy milk and sugar until frothy.  Once frothy add in the olive oil, agave, prepared flasxeed meal and soaked cranberries, including the remaining rum.

In a separate, larger mixing bowl, sift together the sorghum, brown rice and teff flours with the potato starch, xanthan gum, salt, cardamom and cinnamon.  Form a well in the center of the flours and pour in the yeast mixture, stirring well to make a thick batter.  Fold in the chopped apricots and pistachios. 

Grease a standard sized loaf pan and spread the batter into the pan, smoothing the top with a touch of water on your fingers if needed.

Cover lightly and allow to rise in a warm area for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is dark golden brown.

Let cool slightly and then dust with (or douse in) confectioner's sugar. 

Slice thinly and serve toasted, or as is.

Paulo declared me to be the world's best baker as he devoured his bread last night for dessert.  Ahhh, sweet praise of my beloved baby boy makes it all worth while....

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Black eyed pea salad

Apparently if you want luck in the new year you need to eat Black Eyed Peas on New Year's Day.  I've heard this superstition for years but had never eaten black eyed peas, not on New Years Day or any other day.  Until yesterday.  They were good!  Will they bring me luck?  Only time will tell but when they did bring was a very filling, light, healthy salad that was the perfect start to 2011.

In an effort to avoid cans and BPA lining I cooked my black eyed peas in my pressure cooker for about 25 minutes-at full steam.  To be honest I think that was too much time, next time I'll go shorter, maybe 18 minutes or so and then release the steam to check them. 

Black Eyed Pea Salad
Down Home with the Neelys
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (I removed most of the seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions (omitted because I forgot to buy them)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black eyed peas, drained (used about 2 1/2 cups of uncooked black eyed peas)
Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar through the salt and pepper.

Toss all together and marinate up to 8 hours in the refrigerator (mine marinated over night)

Stir before serving and hope you get lucky!