Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pizza Quinoa

A slightly healthier form of pizza. This yummy dish is only 150 calories for a half cup serving. With a side salad, you have a quick, easy and healthy meal! Best of all, it's gluten free!! I always keep a couple of cups of cooked quinoa in my fridge. You can throw together a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner side if you keep some on hand.
Pizza Quinoa
Active, 5 minutes

1/2 cup cooked quinoa
4 pepperoni slices, diced
2 mushrooms, diced
4 basil leaves, chiffonade
1 tbsp tomato sauce or pizza sauce
1/2 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan
1/2 tbsp fresh grated Pecorino Romano

Heat in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave on high for 30 secs to 1 min or on the stove top in a small pan until warm, stirring constantly


Pizza Quinoa

A slightly healthier form of pizza, this yummy dish is only 150 calories for a half cup serving. With a side salad, you have a quick, easy and healthy meal! Best of all, it's gluten free!! I always keep a couple of cups of cooked quinoa in my fridge. You can throw together a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner side if you keep some on hand.

Pizza Quinoa
Active, 5 minutes

1/2 cup cooked quinoa
4 pepperoni slices, diced
2 mushrooms, diced
4 basil leaves, chiffonade
1 tbsp tomato sauce or pizza sauce
1/2 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan
1/2 tbsp fresh grated Pecorino Romano
Heat in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave on high for 30 secs to 1 min or on the stove top in a small pan until warm, stirring constantly.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Super Moist Banana Muffins, GF & Vegan

These are the moistest, yummiest banana muffins I think I have made. That includes it's glutenous counterparts. This got the seal of approval from the entire family. My husband, Mark is the hardest to please when it comes to baked goods, especially when they are gluten free or vegan. He proclaimed "Holy crap, those are AMAZING muffins". Always a good sign! They do take a little extra time than a typical muffin. I like to bake them at a lower temp for a little longer so they stay moist and delicious.

Banana Muffins
Active, 10 min; Inactive 18-20 min
Makes 12-15 muffins

1/2 cup Gluten Free Oatmeal
1 1/2 cups Gluten Free Muffin Mix*
1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
3 tbsp Ground Flax or Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/2 cup Water (needs a bit extra water than the usual egg replacement, due to coconut flour in muffin mix)
1/2 cup Canola Oil
3 Medium Ripe Bananas, Mashed
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Raw Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tin with liners.
In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients well. In a separate bowl mix the ground flax and water. Add canola oil, mashed bananas, vanilla extract and sugar. Mix until well incorporated and sugar begins to dissolve. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until incorporated. Do not over mix.

Using a medium size batter scoop or 1/3 cup dry measure, scoop your batter in to the muffin tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Muffins should be slightly springy, not firm to touch. Let cool and enjoy.

*Gluten Free Muffin/Pancake Mix
1 cup Almond Meal
1/2 cup Coconut Flour
1/2 cup Sweet Sorghum Flour
1/2 cup Corn Starch
1/4 cup Tapioca Starch

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits

My Aunt Fern could make biscuits quicker than a hot knife goes through butter. I used to love to hear her and my Aunt Gaye carry on. They had a southern saying for everything like "Those pants are so tight...I could see her religion." or "He couldn't find his ass with both hands in his back pockets.". I loved visiting with my southern family. I couldn't get enough biscuits and gravy and southern gossip. They were the type of breakfast that would "stick to your ribs". I eventually learned to make them for my children. I thought the days of making and eating biscuits were over when I went gluten free. I discovered after a little experimentation with my regular biscuit recipe, I managed to come up with a buttery flakey biscuit. I hope Aunt Fern would approve, even if I am a Yankee.
Biscuits may not be the healthiest thing I make, but it's definitely food for the soul. Enjoy them with the people you love, and try saying a southern saying or two :)
Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits
Active 15 min, Inactive 20 min
Makes about 18 biscuits

1 1/2 c brown rice flour
1 c corn starch
1/2 c sweet sorghum
1/2 c potato flour
1/2 c tapioca flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick frozen butter, grated*
1 egg, room temp
1/2 c plain yogurt*
1 c well shaken buttermilk*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Mix starches & flours together. Add xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and whisk well. Add grated butter (freeze butter for 15 minutes, use a box grater on the smaller shred side), mix until the flour appears crumbly. In a separate bowl or measuring cup stir in, egg, yogurt and buttermilk. SLOWLY add the buttermilk mixture, 1/4 of the mixture at a time stirring until absorbed by the flour. The mixture should be sticky, but not wet. Use less of the buttermilk mixture if necessary to get the desired dough consistency.

Scoop 2" balls onto baking sheet (I use a floured medium size cookie scoop) 2" apart. Bake on bottom rack for 15-20 minutes or until the bottom edges of the biscuit appear golden brown.
*If you are egg or dairy free, try your favorite subs. You can curdle soy or rice milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Just let it set for 10-15 minutes before using.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Flu Bug Bites!

Four days of the worst flu bug ever! I'm sad to say the flu hasn't flown the coop yet but, I'm hopeful that with a few more days rest I'll be as good as new. I miss the days when my Grandma used to bring me a tray of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, cinnamon toast and rub Vicks on my neck when I was sick. Of course, now that I'm gluten free, I can no longer use some of the remedies I remember from childhood. I do miss Grandma's loving care, but thankfully, I have my loving husband and children to see me through this nasty bug.

Though Grandma's remedies were great, here are a few alternatives:

I try to drink a green smoothie every day. It is the ideal fast food packed with tons of nutrients. I typically replace breakfast or lunch, since they are pretty filling. A nutritionist friend of mine recommended sticking to yellow, orange and green fruit and vegetables while I was sick. Yellow and orange fruit and veggies are high in vitamin C and help fight free radicals. She especially recommended pineapple for it's anti-inflammatory properties for body aches associated with flu. Pineapple contains the enzyme Bromelain, which is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory. Pineapple also contains Vitamin C, which has been proven to reduce the severity of an infection.

Tropical Green Smoothie
Active 5-7 min, Inactive 1 min
1 cup frozen tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, papaya)
1 banana, peeled
1 tbsp raw coconut creme
10oz cold water, coconut milk or rice milk
1 large handful of greens
4-6 ice cubes
*Optional (I like mine on the "earthy" side, but if you don't try adding these)
1 packet of stevia
1/4 tsp vanilla

Add all ingredients with the greens on the top to your blender, preferably a vitamix or blendtec for the best result. Blend on medium at first and then on high until completely liquified. Add more liquid if necessary.

My recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup is loaded with orange and yellow veggies. I also use a great deal of fresh cilantro. Cilantro is an excellent source of vitamins, including vitamin C. It is an anti-oxidant and it may help you to have more restful sleep. It has also been shown to help those with cardiovascular issues and diabetes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Active 15-20min, Inactive 4 hours
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
4 cups homemade chicken broth
(I also like the Costco organic chicken broth)
1 can organic diced tomatoes, 14.5 oz
1 can red enchilada sauce, 10oz
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup canned black beans
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin
2 bay leaf
Juice of a lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with tortilla strips, diced avocado and cilantro

Place all ingredients in the crockpot except last four into crockpot. Next, add cumin, bay leaf and lime juice. Cook for 3-4 hours on high, 6-8 on low. Remove bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve and garnish with tortilla strips, cilantro and diced avocado.

Whenever possible, I try to use more natural products. Especially since I have had a particularly difficult month with illness and asthma yuk. I have used way more western meds than I normally would (which may be why I have been sick 3 times in 2 months, but that is another story). After reading all the unnatural chemicals in the commercial vapor product, I decided to make my own.

Homemade Vapor Rub
Active 5 min
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
10-20 drops eucalyptus oil
5-10 drops peppermint oil

Add the eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil to the melted coconut oil. Start with the least amount of drops of each oil and make the mixture as strong as you are comfortable. Be sure to test the strength by rubbing a small amount on your skin and smelling it. Pour mixture into a small lidded container.

Although, I hope you don't need these recipes because you are under the weather. I hope they will help anyone who may need them. Flu season is almost over!! Yay!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Oatmeal Monkey Bites

These delicious little bites are my kids' favorite. Healthy enough to eat for breakfast, but delicious enough to eat for dessert. These bite-sized snacks are a nutritious alternative to a cookie, no matter what time of day. I have been making different versions of these for the family since my eldest son was in kindergarten. He was quite a picky eater as a little guy, but what child would turn down a cookie?? Sneaky!!
Gluten Free Oatmeal Monkey Bites
Active 10 min, Inactive 20-25 min
Makes about 36 cookies
2 c gluten free rolled oats
1 c almond meal
1/4 protein powder
2 stevia packets
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c allergen free mini chocolate chips
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c rice milk (or your favorite DF milk or dairy milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mix first seven dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix mashed banana, milk and vanilla extract. Pour banana mixture in to the dry ingredients bowl. Mix until all ingredients are wet. Let stand for 5 minutes so the dry ingredients can soak up the moisture. Using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon place the scoops two inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool on a rack. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa

I LOVE Mediterranean cuisine. It is definitely a family favorite too. I love the flavors, the aroma, and the health benefits. I think my love affair with this cuisine began when I worked for a local family owned Greek restaurant in high school. The restaurant made everything right there in the kitchen, some of which I actually got to prepare. It was my first experience with trying new and unfamiliar ethnic food. I was always a cheeseburger and pizza girl in high school, so trying new things like moussaka, falafel and souvlaki was a stretch. By far, my favorite dish there was the chicken souvlaki. It is a grilled marinated chicken that is so flavorful a and so moist, it practically melts in your mouth. This dish is my homage to that time in my life and my own take on some of the things I learned.
Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa
Active: 30-45 min, 4 hours inactive

4 chicken breasts, cut in to strips

1/4 c red-wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 c quinoa
1 1/2 c chicken stock
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp white truffle oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, julianne
1/2 medium onion, strips

1/4 c feta cheese
2 sprigs of Italian parsley for garnish

In a gallon size storage bag, marinate chicken strips in the marinade for at least 4 hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Prep and cut bell pepper and onion.

Soak quinoa fine mesh sieve inside of a large bowl of cold water. Rinse the quinoa in cold running water. This will release any of the saponin remaining on the quinoa which can give it a bitter flavor.

In a 2 quart pot, bring quinoa, garlic and chicken stock to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on. Add white truffle oil, fluff quinoa gently with a fork, salt and pepper to taste. Keep covered until chicken and vegetables are cooked.

Over medium-high heat, cook your chicken in a ridged grill pan (Cook half of the chicken at a time and cover cooked chicken with foil if the pan will not fit all the chicken at once.) or plancha grill for approx 4 min on each side, until chicken temp reaches 165 degrees. Cover chicken with foil and set aside.

Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil in your hot pan and add the bell pepper and onion. Grill vegetables for approximately 4-5 minutes until onions become slightly translucent.

Serve chicken and grilled vegetables over quinoa and garnish with feta cheese and Italian parsley. Enjoy!!