Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Purple Cabbage and Carrot-Apple Salad

I was craving something cold and fresh the other day and wasn't thinking a spinach salad or lettuce salad, so I bought a head of organic purple cabbage. It has taken me a while to really like cabbage, but making a salad-slaw is the best way I have found to eat it raw and actually love it. So, I pick purple because it is one of my favorite colors so maybe it will be more exciting to eat, right?! Not to mention that adding deeper-colored fruits and vegetables to your plate will probably be adding more antioxidants and vitamins without you really thinking much about it. I think my body was craving cabbage as well because it helps in the detox process of getting toxins out of your liver and gut. Cabbage (a cruciferous family vegetable) has so many health benefits that I have no problem adding it to my diet at least once a week. A great website that I found that gives more details and research for woman's health and gastrointestinal health regarding cabbage is : 

After reading an article like that, you must be thinking that you need to try some cabbage. I recommend trying to keep it raw this spring because it will only help give you more enzymes to aid in the cleansing and detoxing process. So here is a recipe to try out:

Mix it up:
1 small head of purple cabbage ( or half of a large head)
4 medium carrots
2 medium apples
handful of fresh parsley
handful of fresh sage (if you have it available, it is ok without it as well)
3/4 cup of organic mayonnaise ( or at least one that does not contain any preservatives, I don't mind using Hellman's original because it has more whole ingredients with no extras).
1/4 to 1/3 cup of agave nectar
1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
cracked pepper to sprinkle

Finely chop the cabbage. I like to make most pieces small and a few larger pieces to mix it up a bit. Peel carrots and keep peeling until you shave off pieces for the whole carrot. Cut these slivers in half if they need to be smaller, but you end up with over a cup full of curled shaved off pieces of carrot. I cut the apples with the skins on for extra vitamins, but you can add them in any way or size that you want. Finely chop the herbs and then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until creamy. You may want to add more agave or vinegar depending on how the salad is mixing up, add according to your taste and don't be afraid to experiment here.

This salad is best the first day you make it, but it stays good for a few days. It makes about six  1 cup servings, so you may want to make it smaller if you are making for one or two. The thing you will notice though is that the dressing starts to turn a purple color after awhile. I love that bits of apple and carrot with this because it adds the perfect crunch and sweetness to the cabbage. Even if you think a bit of apple may be not so great with cabbage, try it out....unless you are one of those people that is adamant that fruit should not be on salads. Hope you have fun making this and enjoy all the colors and vitamins.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Almond Blueberry Pancakes

This recipe is a revision of my Mom's recipe that she used to make us as kids. Mind you, as a kid they were made of white/wheat flour and cow milk. She also used to make them in large quantities to feed my large family and whoever else was hanging around at our house on a Saturday morning. I guess you could say that we were a family that loved a big hearty breakfast together over the weekend, and we all took part in the making of it. I was usually in charge of the pancakes and/or the scrambled eggs. I would stand there over the stove with 3 hot frying pans, making sure each one turned out just right. Which would seem to take hours (especially if you were making 30-40 pancakes). I usually would just make them plain, but then I started getting requests for chocolate chip pancakes, mickey-mouse head pancakes, blueberry pancakes, cinnamon pancakes... and the list goes on. So, to say the least it gave me some experience when I was trying to convert this famous recipe into a Gluten-Free nutritious one. I still love to have some variety of whatever fruit is in season, or make a lot of them if we are away with friends at a cottage. Pancakes for breakfast remind me of good times and slow, restful mornings, so enjoy!

1/2 cup organic buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup of organic brown rice flour
1/2 cup of ground almond (in the coffee grinder) or almond meal
1/2 cup of gluten-free oats
2 TB of baking powder
1 ts. of arrowroot powder (or gaur gum works too)
2 TB of sucanat, or raw sugar cane
1/2 ts. sea salt
1/8 cup of light oil (olive oil or walnut oil)
1 cup of almond milk
1 large cage-free, grass-fed chicken egg

I mix the batter thoroughly and make sure the batter consistency is thick to pour, and not too watery. If it is watery add a little more of one of the flours.... or if it is a bit thick, then add a bit more almond milk or lemon/orange juice for flavor as well. Let the batter sit a minute so that the baking powder starts to activate and it starts to have a few bubbles on top of the mix. 

I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure and pour into my lightly oiled frying pan. I like to oil my pan with either a light baking olive oil or walnut oil is my favorite because it has such nice flavor. Make sure that you let the pan warm up a bit and then turn down the heat just a tad when you are ready to pour in the pancakes. Pour at the most 3 little pancakes in a pan, you want to make sure yo have enough room to flip those babies.

I sprinkle a handful frozen organic blueberries onto the pancakes when they are in the frying pan, about a min after you pour the batter in. Let the sides of the pancake and the bubble holes on top of the pancake tell you that it is probably ready for flipping. Take is slow and easy and try and flip the pancakes without blueberries flying all over. I found that sprinkling the blueberries on top after you pour the batter allows the blueberries to sink into the pancake and cooks the blueberries to release their juices and flavor better. 

If you desire you could sprinkle some cinnamon or nutmeg in this batter to add some spice, but it is good without as well. 

They are done once you can't see any more uncooked batter and the juices from the berries are starting to pour out. I top these babies with a little agave nectar instead of syrup, but I have also had just a touch of pure maple syrup on them as well. Which is heavenly!

I have varied the fruit, with cherries and chocolate chips, apples and cinnamon, and peaches... so really add a little of this and that when you want, but the base recipe of the pancakes themselves has always worked for me. This GF version is actually a 1/3 of the recipe of my Mom's. So you can triple this recipe and make enough for 30-40 people. But this recipe will make about 10-12 pancakes, so usually good for 3-4 people. Hm, now settle in on your weekend and enjoy a special gluten-free breakfast for me. 


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Early Spring Pesto Pasta

I love pasta. It's true. I love trying new sauces for all the seasons, and new varieties of vegetables, or even having sweet and spicy marinara, and then a garlic-filled marinara sauce...maybe not in the same week. I made this recipe up quickly the other day because I was craving the summer variety of fresh basil pesto pasta. So.... without the amount of fresh basil on hand I blended some kale and spinach to try this early spring pesto pasta variety out for an experiment. It turned out delicious and was so green that I felt like it wasn't missing an ounce of vitamins and chlorophyll for sure. Perfect for adding to the spring cleanse menu. I made this dish along with some cooked salmon and light salad. It is also a great leftover for the next day's packed lunch. Once again, I love pasta. Living gluten-free is much easier because I can eat pasta that is filled with nutrients of fiber, whole grains, and even protein. So here is a simple pasta sauce to spring up your menu this week.

1 8oz. bunch of kale
1 8oz. bunch of spinach
handful of fresh basil
6 cloves of garlic
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of cracked black pepper
3 TB of agave nectar
1/3 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 squeezed lemon
optional 1/4 cup of water to help it blend/process

After you blend the above ingredients in the blender (you may need to add 1/4 cup of water through your blender or food-processor to get it to start blending) , you can put it in a sauce pan and cook until it boils and simmer for 10 min. Add to your favorite gluten-free pasta variety. My favorite is Tinkyada that works great in all pasta recipes. I have a picture link on the left of the blog. I am sure you can kind it in your local health store.

I like to cook this recipe in bulk, so I make like 16 ounces of pasta and then start by pouring half of the pesto sauce over the pasta and see if it covers it fully, and then add more if it needs more flavor. Or then I save the rest of the pesto sauce in a glass container in the fridge or even freezer for future meals.

Make sure you add some pine nuts for topping before eating, and if you eat dairy a little Parmesan cheese would taste wonderful over this dish, but I don't eat dairy so I also recommend this pasta without it. It's fabulous!

Servings may vary on how much pasta you decide to make, but it for sure will make enough pesto sauce for about 8 servings. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Red Lentil Tacos or "Bean-Dip" {Revised} (vegan)

I actually posted the first version of this recipe over 2 years ago, and it was proudly one of my first recipes to post. I recently was making this recipe again because tis the season when avocados are "in-season" and on sale. So, what better way to eat avocados than with tacos?! This recipe has been around for a few years, but this revised edition is a little bit easier to read and I made some adjustments to the seasonings and ingredients. Nothing major. Just revised it to be better after making it again and again. I have gotten so many compliments on this recipe alone. I think if you are looking to add more vegan recipes to your diet, this is definitely one to try.
It is a really basic, simple, flavorful and... it could pass as a "fake" meat. Or, don't even think about it like that. Think about how lentils are filled with beneficial plant protein, minerals, vitamins, and delicious-ness. So this is just a new way to eat tacos, and you may not really care about ground meat any more...

Lentil Mixture Recipe
1/2 cup of diced onions
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1 TB of olive oil
1 1/2 cup of dry organic red lentils
3 cups of pure water
1 TB of ground cumin
1 TB of ground paprika
dash to 1/2 ts. of ground cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)
2 ts. of ground turmeric
1/2 ts. of sea salt, or more or less to taste
1/2 ts. of ground black pepper, or more or less to taste
1/3 cup of crushed tomatoes (I used canned, but fresh could work)
2-3 TB of non-dairy milk, I use unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk (or 2 TB of organic butter or ghee would work too)
huge handful of fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
fresh lemon or lime juice to serve

Saute the chopped onion garlic in the olive oil in a large pan. Wait until the onions are clear or a little crispy, then pour in the red lentils with the pure water and stir and let simmer till it boils. It will take about 15-20 minutes for it to soak in and become a thicker texture.

After the thickening happens, you can add the spices, tomatoes, and non-dairy milk. You are constantly stirring at this point so that the mixture doesn't burn. It will start to become almost like a ground-meat texture. If your mix is a bit watery, just keep cooking on medium heat and it will thicken up as you go. I like to throw in the fresh cilantro in last to add some fresh flavor and color. I also add some fresh lemon or lime at the end to cool down the spices. Not too much, just a splash and lets the flavors dance together. Hm, it smells delicious!
Now serve up how you wish:

You can pile the mixture in a soft gluten-free corn taco shell that has been heated up in a pan with a touch of olive oil and salt. When you warm up the shell a bit it makes it easier to stretch when you are putting the insides in. You really only need to take about one minute to do this. If you over warm it up it will probably become a crispy chip that won't let you fold or wrap. If you want a crispy chip, then by all means... I liked having a flexible taco shell with this specific recipe. Load your vegan taco with lentil mixture, leftover brown rice (or quinoa), lettuce or greens, salsa, and avocado. Then splash with lemon or lime and eat!
Or, you can use this lentil mixture as a "bean-dip-bowl" kind of meal. You could pile on a plate some rice or quinoa, add the lentil mix and top with lettuce, avocado and salsa. Use gluten-free corn chips to scoop up your layers of flavor. Or forget the chips and just eat with a fork.

I made up this lentil mixture as a meat replacement for tacos and it actually turned out to be a very tasty comparison. I actually like it better! It has the legume flavor and texture of a burrito, but the fun of a messy and hand eaten taco.

Now that wasn't too hard... now, enjoy!

Servings, usually can make up to 8 tacos, so can serve anywhere from 4 to 8 people.

Much love to you today!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tahini Roasted Cauliflower (vegan)

This is one of my favorite recipes in the whole world. And, my husband asks for it all the time. Which would explain why I probably make it about once a week for supper. Roasted cauliflower in all it's glory. I usually eat it by itself for supper, or match with some sweet potato fries, or with some baked salmon. Cauliflower is in the same family as cabbage and broccoli (cruciferous family) and has large amounts of calcium and rich in antioxidants that protect against colon cancer and build-up. There are also compounds and enzymes that help promote natural liver detoxification. Cauliflower lacks the chlorophyll of other cruciferous family vegetables, but it doesn't miss a beat on being full of beneficial nutrients to promote better digestion and detoxification. Ok, enough already of the nutrient info, and on to the simplicity of this recipe that will have you making it once a week like me.

Tahini Roasted Cauliflower Recipe (vegan) 2-4 servings
1 large head of local or organic cauliflower
1/3 cup tahini, with oils (sesame seed butter)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 TB of hungarian paprika
1 TB of dried garlic powder
2 ts of turmeric
sprinkled cracked black pepper
pinches of sea salt

Cut up the head of cauliflower into pieces and soak and rinse it in a strainer over the sink.

Try to get all the water off and then dump in a mixing bowl and drizzle the tahini and
olive oil evenly all over. If you need to use a little more olive oil and tahini to cover a large cauliflower head then go for it. I actually usually eyeball it, so putting a measurement on it was a guess based on experience. Then sprinkle sea salt and black pepper all through (to your own taste).

Sprinkle the spices in the bowl and roll up your sleeves and use your hands to throughly mix the oils and the spices evenly all over the cauliflower pieces. This is the best way I have found to truly cover each piece with the delicious flavor.

Pour out the mixture on a baking pan with parchment paper on it and shove it in an oven at 375 degrees. I usually cook for about 40-45 minutes. But, it may take longer or shorter depending on your oven. I like it a bit crispy so I tend to leave it in longer and keep checking it every minute or so to make sure it doesn't burn, but it is getting crispy. Or, if you rather not crispy then even after 30 minutes in the oven it is baked enough. Bake it as much as you desire.

A good condiment is some organic ketchup. It is best right out of the oven. Be careful you might just eat it all and lick your fingers clean. Oh and... it also is a great lunch leftover the next day.


Peaceful Pear Muffins

If you are like me, a committed gluten-free eater, then you probably every-now-and then want to sink your teeth into a warm piece of bread or muffin. I love to bake. I practically grew up in a bakery in high school and college where I was given the permission to bake large batches of brownies, muffins, breads, and more. I love being in the kitchen, I love creating new twists on recipes, or more commonly known for not using a recipe at all. I do have to say it has been a bit challenging to recall or even write down some of my recipes because I more often throw together something and not measure or think about it. I made these on a whim, and they turned out pretty good. They are best if you eat them right out of the oven. And for the name...

I guess I like to bring peace into my life as much as I can, and if baking some muffins calls for some creative time in the kitchen and something sweet smelling coming from the oven, then how else could you fill your house with peace. So that's the name.

dry mix:
1 cup of Bob's Red Mill sweet sorgum flour
1/2 cup of organic brown rice flour
1/2 cup organic buckwheat flour
3 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of arrowroot powder ( or guar gum)
1/2 ts of sea salt.
1 ts. of cinnamon
1 ts. of nutmeg
dashes of allspice

wet mix:
drizzle 1/4 cup of local honey
1 mushed ripened banana
2 cage-free, grass-fed chicken eggs
1/3 cup of almond milk
1/3 cup of light oil ( olive or walnut)

2 large skinned and chopped bosco pears

After mixing the wet all together and adding it to the dry mixture, you can add in the 2 large chopped bosco pears to the batter and slightly fold the pears into the mixture.

This will make about 18 smaller muffins, or about 1 dozen med/large muffins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. I always check with a tooth-pic to see if the middle doesn't come up goey and if it does, leave it in the oven, checking ever minute or so to see if it is burning.

There is always the option to add a little nut flavor by sprinkling walnut pieces or add some date pieces or raisins. Be creative with your combo, or just stick to the basics. 
Enjoy with a cup of hot tea!