Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pinto Beans {Slow Cooker}

Who loves pinto beans?  I do, I do.  I must admit, in the interest of time and with two little boys and a third on the way I usually opt for canned pinto beans or vegetarian refried beans {gasp}.  My sweet hubby is always trying new things, which I love because it gets me out of a cooking rut.  He decided to try making pinto beans in the slow cooker, much like our very popular Peruvian Bean recipe.  They, of course, turned out wonderfully delicious and oh so much more tasty than anything out of a can.  Best part...they're easy to make, just soak the dried beans overnight then put that slow cooker to work.  We had ours with our Baked Chicken Taquitos and Spanish Rice. *TIP* It's especially tasty to use the broth from our Crock Pot Chicken, if you're using that to stuff your taquitos, in the Spanish Rice, in place of the chicken broth and water (2 1/2 cups)! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Recipe: (serves 8)
3 cups dried pinto beans
2 pieces of cooked bacon and 1 pieces worth of grease
2 T agave nectar (or 1 T brown sugar)
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
3 c chicken broth (low sodium)
1-1/2 cup water

1. Soak beans overnight in a pot with 6 cups of water.  In the morning, drain and rinse the beans.
2. In a large pot, bring about 6 cups of water to a boil.  Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the beans and boil for about 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse the beans.  (This flash boiling is an optional step, it really helps remove the {ahem} excess gas from the beans)
3. Place beans into your slow cooker and add remaining ingredients, stir to combine and cook on high for 4-6 hrs.
4. About a half hour before serving, check the consistency of your beans.  If they are too liquidy, remove the lid of your slow cooker for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.  Stir beans a few times near the end of cooking to mix well and to make the beans creamy.  Serve hot.  These reheat well and are great for leftovers too. here for the recipe!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Banana Bread {Gluten Free, Dairy Free}

It's been awhile since we've had banana bread so I was excited that my hubby wanted to make some. He came up with this recipe and you'd never guess it's gluten free and dairy free! It was so moist and dense and flavorful and the whole loaf was eaten in one day, yum! You may also like to try our Low Fat banana bread or our Low sugar, Vegan banana bread. Enjoy!

Recipe: (makes one loaf, 10-12 slices)

{dry ingredients}
3/4 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1 Tablespoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

{wet ingredients}
3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (or use 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil for dairy free)
1 1/3 cups oat milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs

extras: 1 cup walnuts (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350'F.
2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl or stand mixer, beat wet ingredients together until well combined.
3. Slowly (by the 1/2 cup) add the dry ingredients into the wet with your mixer on low speed.
4. Gently fold in walnuts by hand with a spoon. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan (about 9"x5" size), or use a Stoneware loaf pan like us, then no cooking spray is needed. Bake at 350'F for 60-70 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 170'-200'F and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes and then enjoy. here for the recipe!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken Almond Satay and Veggie Spring Rolls {Gluten Free}

This is a tasty dinner with an Asian flair.  Traditional satay is generally prepared with peanuts or peanut butter but why not try it with almond butter?  I love the more subtle flavor of the almond butter and the great richness it has as a tasty dipping sauce. Get your chicken in the marinade a few hours before dinner to really infuse some great flavor. We had our chicken almond satay with some steamed jasmine rice and some fabulous veggie spring rolls on the side. The spring rolls were stuffed with delicious veggies and are baked not fried. Check out our fun tip for adding some extra savory mushroom flavor to your recipes. Try this Make Your Own Take Out Dinner (MYOTO) tonight. Enjoy!

Chicken Marinade Recipe: (serves 6-8)
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp Tamari
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp ground ginger powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp agave nectar
16 chicken tenders

1. In a medium bowl combine broth, Tamari, rice vinegar, ground ginger, garlic powder and agave nectar. Place chicken tenders in a large resealable bag or shallow baking dish and pour the marinade over the top so that the chicken is mostly submerged. Allow chicken to marinate for 2-4 hours in the refrigerator.
2. Grill chicken on outdoor grill or grill pan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160'F. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Almond Satay Dipping Sauce Recipe:
4 tbsp smooth almond butter
2 tbsp agave nectar
4 tbsp oat milk (or coconut milk)
1-1/2 tbsp tamari
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp Sriracha hot sauce

Directions: In a medium bowl whisk together all ingredients for the sauce until well combined and smooth. Drizzle sauce over chicken and bring more to the table for dipping.

Spring Rolls Recipe: (makes 12 rolls)
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cups mushrooms, sliced
4 heads bok choy, julienne
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp tamari
1 tsp mushroom powder, optional (ground dehydrated mushrooms see *TIP* below)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of edamame, shelled (frozen is okay too)
12 spring roll papers (rice or tapioca paper)

Finely grind dehydrated mushrooms in a food processor or spice grinder 
and add the fine powder to your dishes for added savory flavor
1. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and mushrooms.  Saute mushrooms until they are tender and browned, about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add the bok choy, carrots, celery and radishes to the pan and saute for about 2-4 minutes more. Add the chicken broth, tamari, mushroom powder, ginger, and salt and saute over medium heat about 7-10 minutes or until the liquid evaporates.
3. If using frozen edamame, place shelled edemame in a small bowl and cover with water; microwave on high for 3 minutes. Add edamame to the veggies in the pan.
4. Soak the spring roll paper in luke warm water until it starts to soften ~1 minute then shake off the excess water and place on a clean surface. Put 2-4 tbsp of the veggie mixture on the spring roll paper and wrap tightly. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the roll with the end of the wrap down to hold it in place. Repeat for all 12 rolls. Bake at 450'F for 20 minutes or until heated through and golden brown. here for the recipe!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken Teriyaki {Crock Pot}

I'm sure you have noticed that we have been making mostly gluten free dinners (& sweets) around here and this is another one. My hubby decided to go gluten free about 9 months ago and has noticed a huge improvement in how he feels, particularly in the fact that he no longer has dry itchy skin or insomnia! Our boys and I are not 100% gluten free at all but when it comes to family dinners we feel strongly about eating together. We have never made "special kid food" for our boys, so for our dinners we all eat the same thing, which for now means gluten free.

One of my hubby's most favorite go-to meals is chicken teriyaki. It's high in protein, low in fat, gluten free and the rice is easy for him to digest. I decided to try making some at home. It turned out great and got the whole family's seal of approval. If you're feeling like a little Asian take-out try this instead. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4)
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen is okay)
fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

For the sauce:
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 1/2 teaspoons water

1. In a medium bowl whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, water, ground ginger, garlic powder and pepper until combined. Place chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker and pour sauce over the top. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.
2. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.  Pour the sauce from the slow cooker into a shallow saucepan over medium-low heat (be sure to skim off and discard any fat or small pieces of chicken first). In a small dish, combine the corn starch and water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce in the pan and whisk gently for 5-7 minutes over low heat, allowing it to come to a gentle bubble until the sauce reaches desired thickness.
3. Plate chicken over some steaming Jasmine rice and pour thickened teriyaki sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh cilantro.  We served ours with some steamed fresh organic broccoli. here for the recipe!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Ginger Snap Cookies {Gluten Free}

We have been enjoying this fall weather so much! This is my favorite time of year to cook. Sounds silly but I love to make soups, casseroles and generally warm and comforting dinners when it's chilly out. This week we had an old favorite, chicken enchiladas, but mixed it up with corn tortillas, yummo! We also had taco salad, wild rice stuffed acorn squash, tamale pie and our tasty pumpkin chili! This week I'm going to try out a couple new dinner recipes, if they turn out, I'll be sure to share. What yummy dinners have you had lately?

We also love our sweets around here. When I showed my hubby a picture of some ginger snap cookies online he said, "those look awesome!". I decided to set out to come up with a gluten free version with a fall twist. I enlisted my husband's help since he's our resident expert on gluten free baking. Together we came up with this recipe. Ginger snaps have such a great warm smokey flavor from the molasses and ginger and our addition of fresh pureed pumpkin gave them a wonderful fall flavor and an extra fluffy chewiness. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, which is good because they won't last long. Enjoy!

Recipe: (makes 34-36 cookies)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar, plus some for garnish
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (we used fresh roasted pumpkin using this method, or you can use canned, just be sure it's plain pumpkin puree)
4 cups Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground all spice

1. Cream together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Add in egg, molasses, vanilla and the pumpkin and mix until well incorporated.
2. Slowly, one 1/2 cup at a time add in the flour to the mixing bowl and continue to mix until well combined. Add in the ginger and all spice and mix another few seconds to incorporate.
3. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a cool cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 350'F oven for 14-16 minutes, rotating trays halfway through, until cookies are crackled on top and have a slight give to the touch. Remove cookies from the baking sheets to wire racks to cool. here for the recipe!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blueberry Muffins {Gluten Free}

My hubby made these tasty little muffins for breakfast and they were a treat! I especially love the mini muffin size (I can eat more that way). These are a delicious gluten free alternative to our other Blueberry Muffin recipe. The crispy streusel topping is my favorite part, yummy.  Enjoy!

Recipe: (Makes 48 mini muffins or 24 standard muffins)
Wet Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup Gluten Free oat milk (you can substitute with any milk or milk substitute)
1/2 banana, smashed (slightly green banana works best)

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1 cup sorghum
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
1 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375F'. In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl whisk all the wet ingredients together until well combined.
2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in frozen blueberries.
3. In a small bowl combine topping ingredients together and cut in cold butter using a pastry cutter or two forks
4. Scoop batter into a muffin tin coated with cooking spray, fill cups 3/4 full, sprinkle topping evenly over all the muffins. Bake at 375F' for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. (Increase bake time to 20-25 minutes if preparing standard size muffins) here for the recipe!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jack-'O-Lantern Fruit Plate {Halloween Party}

This is more of an idea inspiration than a recipe. Just wanted to share the fun little fruit Jack-'O-Lantern my 4 year old and I made together this morning for his Preschool Harvest party. I peeled all the little Mandarin oranges (which are SO sweet and delicious this time of year) and together we arranged the fruit. All together it only took about 20 minutes (lots of peeling), which was good since we did it in a mad dash before school this morning.  I didn't want those oranges getting dried out.  It was a fun and tasty project and one that I hope all the preschoolers will enjoy as well.

Tip: We used an orange "Pumpkin-shaped" plastic platter, with slightly upturned edges, to help with this. Any circular or oval platter will work. We used just about 1 bag of Mandarin oranges, 1 celery stalk, about 8-10 strawberries, two handfuls of grapes and a 1/2 handful of blueberries.

Update: We've gone on to make this multiple times and every single time it's been a huge hit for both kids and adults alike. It's so fun and attractive to look at and everyone loves to see fresh fruit at an otherwise candy-overloaded party. It is important to wait until the last minute to peel the oranges and I like to keep them covered with plastic wrap until it's time to serve to keep them from drying out. here for the recipe!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Black Bean Brownies {Gluten Free}

Are you ready for the best chocolaty, delectable, light and cakey gluten free brownies ever?  My amazing hubby came up with this "from scratch" recipe and these are delicious!  Have you ever tried adding black beans to brownies?  We've tried it a few times before and I was never a big fan of the beanie taste.  By blending the beans with the wet ingredients in a blender and using good quality chocolate the "bean" flavor is really undetectable.  I'm sure if you don't reveal the secret ingredient no one would ever guess they were enjoying the added fiber and protein of black beans in their dessert.  If you are wanting a sweet chocolaty treat these should be next on your list to try.  Enjoy!

Recipe: (makes about 9 brownies)
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate flavored Rice Dream rice milk, may also substitute milk or any other milk substitute
1 (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Ghirardelli premium unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup Gluten Free flour (we used the Gluten Free Pantry brand all purpose Gluten Free flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup good quality semi sweet chocolate chips (we used Guittard)
1. In a blender add melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, rice milk and black beans (drained and rinsed), blend until well combined and smooth.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients; cocoa powder, GF flour, baking powder, sugar and salt until combined.
3. Add the liquids from the blender to the dry ingredients in the bowl and stir until well combined.
4. Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with cooking spray and pour batter in evenly. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and bake in a 350'F oven for 24-28 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. here for the recipe!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

I am really excited about all the great fall produce in the market, such great colors and flavors and a sign of the changing seasons. Butternut squash may look a bit daunting but it's really easy to prepare and has a delicate sweet flavor that's delicious. Tonight we added it to a simple risotto and it turned out to be the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Sage is sometimes known as the Thanksgiving herb and it's because it pairs so well with squash and turkey and it is a great addition to this as well. The risotto requires a bit of attention and frequent stirring but it's worth it. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4-6)
1/2 of medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (~3 cups)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (*Be sure you get Arborio or risotto rice, which has great starchiness, substituting another type of rice will not give the same results.)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2-3 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

Cut off the end of the squash so it stands up easily and carefully
run knife along all sides to peel through the thick skin
(my hubby demonstrates so well) :)

1. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat, add the cubed squash and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 8-10 minutes until tender.
2. Add broth to a saucepan over medium high heat to warm it up.
3. Add rice to the skillet and 1 cup of warmed broth, stir frequently until broth is absorbed. Continue to add warm broth by the 1/2 cup, stirring each time until the liquid is absorbed, cook about 15-20 minutes until all broth is absorbed and rice is tender.
4. Add Parmesan and chopped sage and stir to combine. Serve hot with some grilled chicken and steamed veggies or green salad. here for the recipe!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Turkey Pumpkin Chili {Crock Pot}

I've been hearing about pumpkin chili lately, seen some tasty looking pictures on Pinterest and there are recipes all over the internet, I decided to try making my own. I know you're thinking, "pumpkin?", "in chili?", that's what I was thinking too, but it's actually really great. Be sure you're using straight pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Plain pumpkin puree is like most any other squash puree, delicious but not overly sweet.

I waited until half way through dinner to ask if anyone could guess what the "secret" ingredient was and no one could name it. They were all pleasantly surprised to learn it was pumpkin.  I also wanted to try using dried beans and they were so delicious and easy!  This hearty chili is tasty, nutritious and perfect for fall. Enjoy!

Recipe: (Serve 4-6)
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice bacon, diced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 pound dried small white beans (~1 1/4 cups)
1 (15oz) can organic pumpkin puree (or make your own as we did here)
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
cilantro, chopped for garnish
cheddar cheese, shredded for garnish
salt & pepper

1. Bring a small pot of ~3 cups water to a rapid boil.

2. In a separate large skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground turkey breaking it up as it cooks. Once the meat is browned and no longer pink, push it out to the sides of the pan and to the middle add the minced garlic and diced bacon, stir until fragrant and bacon begins to render (2-3 minutes). Sprinkle cumin, chili powder and Italian Seasoning over meat mixture to lightly toast the spices and bring out their flavor.  Remove meat mixture from heat and add it to the bottom of your slow cooker.

3. To the pot of boiling water add your dried beans and boil at a rapid boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain off all the water. Add the beans to the slow cooker.

4. Add the pumpkin puree, chicken stock and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Fish out those bay leaves, season to taste with salt and pepper if needed and garnish with shredded cheese and cilantro. We had some tasty gluten free cornbread on the side.

*Edited to add: (12/2/13)
Lately I have been substituting a large can of white hominy for the white beans and it is delicious.  Cook as per recipe above, omitting beans and add the rinsed and drained hominy when you add the pumpkin and stock, for a tasty twist on a favorite! here for the recipe!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Millet Cookies {Gluten Free, Low Fat}

My hubby created another awesome cookie recipe that got some rave reviews. These cookies have a moist cake-like texture and great flavor all while being gluten free. These aren't your ordinary chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. The sorghum and millet flours offer a great subtle sweetness and nuttiness and an unripe banana (bright yellow with a little green still) adds a light and moist texture without the fat.  Hulled millet is not just for birds. It's a healthy, easily digested whole grain that's high in protein and fiber and adds a great nutty crunch. These are tasty, you may need to make two batches. Enjoy!

Recipe: (makes 28-30 cookies)
Dry ingredients:
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup hulled millet
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 1/2 cup quick-cook oats (not instant)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Wet ingredients:
1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1 banana (not yet ripe)  *a very ripe banana will impart more banana flavor and result in a less fluffy cookie
1-1/2 cup brown sugar (loosely packed)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350'F. In a electric mixer, cream butter, banana and sugar together on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. At medium-low speed add eggs one at a time then add the vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl whisk dry ingredients together, except chocolate chips. With your mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly in 3 parts allowing each part to be fully combined before adding the next. Lastly fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, spoon dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, space at least 2 inches apart. Bake at 350'F for 12-14 minutes or until slightly brown on top. Remove, let cool and firm up on the baking sheet. here for the recipe!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Carrot Buckwheat Muffins {Gluten Free}

My hubby has been baking again! Our little 4 year old guy had to stay home sick from Preschool today, which was a real bummer because today was "bring your Daddy to preschool day". Boo. The dads were invited to go and have donuts with their preschooler. My hubby is so great, he hung out at home alittle later than normal since he had planned on going to the school and he and our big boy made these muffins together, just the two of them, melt my heart. It was sad to miss school but special Daddy time still happened.

Don't be deterred by their color, these muffins have buckwheat flour in them and that makes them turn out dark but still very tasty! They are hearty and still have the perfect balance of sweetness and moisture thanks to the raisins. I love the clever and delicious addition of applesauce, which is a great low-fat alternative. These are a fun, healthy and gluten free treat. Enjoy!

Recipe: (makes 30-34 mini muffins or 14-18 regular sized muffins*)
1 1/2 cups organic buckwheat flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg
2 cups apple sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water for 5-10 minutes to plump
1 cup finely grated carrot (~2 medium carrots)

1. Preheat oven to 375'F. In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients buckwheat flour through ground ginger, whisk to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, oil, vanilla, raisins and carrots. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Scoop using a small ice cream scoop into a muffin tin coated with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 375'F for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
*You will need to increase the baking time to 20-25 minutes if using a regular sized muffin tin or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. here for the recipe!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pumpkin Buckwheat Pancakes {Gluten Free}

My hubby made some dee-licious pumpkin buckwheat pancakes!  They are such a fun fall variation on plain old pancakes.  The pumpkin puree made them so tasty, moist and fluffy and the mix of warm spices were perfect.  You can buy organic pumpkin puree or make your own.  Check out our pumpkin pie bread recipe to see how we made our own puree.  The buckwheat adds some great nutrition too, it's high in protein, iron and fiber.  Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and it IS gluten free.  Enjoy!
Recipe: (makes 18-24 pancakes)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup rice milk (or you can use skim milk instead)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic pumpkin puree (~7 oz)
1 egg
1 tablespoon canola oil

1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisk together.  Next, in a separate smaller bowl, combine the wet ingredients (rice milk, pumpkin puree, egg, oil) and stir until well mixed.
2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour a small amount of the wet ingredients into the well, stir gently.  Continue to add the wets to the dry, mixing slowly so the batter stays aerated and fluffy.
3. Once fully combined let sit for a couple minutes while you heat up your griddle over medium-high heat.  Pour batter by the 1/2 cup onto the grill pan and cook as you would any other pancakes.  We generally flip when tiny bubbles appear around the edge of each pancake then cook an additional 1-2 minutes on the second side until done.  Serve hot with syrup, powdered sugar and fresh fruit. here for the recipe!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Ribollita Soup

Ribollita is a famous Tuscan soup, although I must admit I'd never heard of it before. There are many variations but the main ingredients usually include leftover bread, cannellini beans and inexpensive vegetables such as carrots, root veggies, potatoes and cabbage. The name Ribollita literally means "reboiled".  I say "usually" includes leftover bread because I skipped that.  I was afraid that our tasty gluten free bread may disintegrate into the broth.  It would be wonderful with stale French or Sourdough bread added if you aren't eating gluten free.  We had our gluten free cornbread on the side instead, perfect for dipping.  Add in whatever yummy fall veggies you have on hand and enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4)
2 slices uncured bacon, diced
3-5 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cubed
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary leaves only, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bunch organic Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves finely shredded
2 cups organic fresh spinach leaves, chopped
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
1 (14oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4-5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated plus more for garnish

delicious organic Swiss chard

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat add the bacon and brown for 2 minutes.  Add the cubed potatoes and cook another 2-3 minutes until potatoes are browned and bacon is rendered.
2. Add the carrots, garlic, celery, bay leaf, rosemary, salt and pepper and saute together, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes until just tender.  Add the chard and spinach and sprinkle of nutmeg.
3. Stir in the beans (*and 2 slices of stale bread, cubed, if using) and add the chicken broth and water.  Add more or less broth for the consistency you prefer.  Bring to a gentle boil then reduce to a simmer and cover for 5-7 minutes.  Uncover and stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, remove from heat and serve in soup bowls with an extra sprinkle of Parmesan on top. here for the recipe!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tamale Pie with Turkey, Black Beans and Corn {Gluten Free}

I have been craving chili and cornbread lately but it doesn't really fit into our whole gluten free, dairy free, tomato free way of eating that we've adopted in recent months for my hubby's sensitive tum.  I used to make this killer chili cornbread casserole that is! If you're interested...make up my turkey chili recipe in an oven safe pot then mix up a box of cornbread mix and pour the cornbread batter all over the top of the chili. Put the whole thing in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cornbread is set and golden brown then sprinkle with cheese and cilantro. Every scoop has some chili and some warm crusty cornbread.  Yummo.

Anyway, I digress. This post is an ode to my chili cornbread casserole and is quite tasty in it's own right. If you don't have a stovetop-to-oven-safe pot you can do the first step on the stove then transfer the mixture to a baking dish to finish in the oven. I hope you try it and enjoy this hearty, warm, one pot wonder perfect for fall.

Recipe: (serve 4-6)
1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 (14oz) can cream style corn
1 (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish
cheddar cheese, shredded for garnish (I cheesed up just half)
red onion, diced, for garnish

For the topping:
1 1/4 cups finely ground corn meal or polenta
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 400'F. In a large oven safe pot over medium high heat, brown the ground turkey breaking it up as it cooks, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper to the turkey and saute another 2-3 minutes. Add in the creamed corn, black beans and spices and stir to combine. Season with 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, simmer over low heat while you prepare the cornmeal topping.

2. Bring chicken broth to a simmer and slowly add in the corn meal whisking constantly so it doesn't clump. Stir and mix for 3-4 minutes until the cornmeal thickens but is still pour-able. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine.

3. Pour the cornmeal "batter" right on top of the turkey mixture and gently smooth with a spatula. *If you don't have an oven safe pot, transfer the turkey to a baking dish before topping with cornmeal. Bake in a 400'F oven for 10 minutes then turn the oven to BROIL, add cheese if you're using it and broil for 5 minutes more until cornmeal is set, golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes. Top with cilantro and diced red onion, enjoy. here for the recipe!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Berry Agave Smoothie {Dairy Free, Low Fat}

My hubby makes the best smoothies! I think they taste better than anything you can buy and how great to know exactly what you are drinking. Here's his latest creation, it's completely dairy free, gluten free and packed with protein and fiber. This is calorie dense so if you are watching your intake of liquid calories you may want to cut the recipe portion in half. Here's what my super creative hubby has to say...

A while back I set out trying to find a healthy late evening snack. I needed something low in fat and low acid forming with a good amount of protein, making smoothies is now a nightly ritual for me. They are much easier to make than I originally thought. It is also a great way to get some healthy calories with lots of vitamin C and much much more! Smoothies taste awesome too!

This smoothie has been perfected by a long process of trial and error. The agave nectar gives it a unique flavor that makes a good smoothie - amazing - It is a flavor that you can't get from a smoothie shop. What's with the hemp? I have a thing against dairy products (more personal than physiological) so the traditional smoothie proteins such as whey or yogurt don't make the cut. I used to try flax meal but it was too fatty and soy is mostly GMO (genetically modified). So now I use Hemp protein which is a super food, packing in lots of healthy stuff. And no, this is not the same hemp as you may be thinking of - you can't get high from this stuff. All the ingredients are easy to find organic and inexpensively at many markets..

Recipe: (22-oz smoothie)
1 1/2 cups of frozen organic berry mix (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
1 1/2 cups of frozen organic strawberries
1/3 cup of frozen mango (small handful)
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 Tbsp organic hemp protein powder
2-1/2 to 3 cups of cold water or fill with water to about 1-2 inches below the fruit [I like my smoothies thick]
Blend in a blender until fully combined. I usually have to assist the blender a couple of times with a spoon because of how thick it is. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts:
22 ounce serving contains: ~465 calories, 14 g protein, 23 g fiber, 100 g total carbs, 3 g fat here for the recipe!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mushroom and Kale Quinoa with Chicken {Gluten Free}

Who doesn't love a simple supper?  This is an easy and delicious one pot meal for dinner tonight. Have you tried quinoa yet?  Quinoa is a nutritious, protein packed, gluten-free grain that we love and it's a great addition to this dish. You could also try millet or even a pasta such as couscous if you prefer.  Kale is a great fall veggie that really stands up well and offers a healthy punch of vitamins and minerals. I used Lacinato Kale also known as "dinosaur" kale, which is a fitting name as it looks a bit prehistoric.  Swiss Chard or spinach would be yummy also, just reduce the cook time a bit.  Go ahead, try a few new ingredients for dinner tonight. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4)
olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or about 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
salt and pepper
8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 slice bacon, chopped (optional)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped, or you can use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or Italian Seasoning
1 bunch Lacinato Kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped (after washing kale try holding the stem end in one hand and running your fingers down the stalk removing the leaves from the stem as you go, this is a bit faster than trying the cut the stems out)

1. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper cook, turning occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes until they have some nice color on them. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
2. Reduce the heat and to the same pan add the mushrooms and garlic and an additional drizzle of olive oil, saute 2-3 minutes. Add the bacon and continue sauteing until bacon is cooked and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add dry quinoa to the pan to lightly toast for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add lemon juice, chicken broth, herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces back to the pan, placing them down into the quinoa, bring to a gentle boil. Cover pan and reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through to an internal temperature of 165'F.
4. Add in the chopped kale with stems removed, stir gently. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes until the kale is tender. Serve hot and enjoy! here for the recipe!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Here is another yummy winter squash dish, this time with acorn squash. Acorn Squash is so delicious and has a wonderful sweetness to it. It would be great baked with a little butter and brown sugar and nothing else! Tonight though, I thought some wild rice and vegetables would make a tasty stuffing. My hubby and I always chat on the phone as he drives home from work and when I told him what I was fixing, he suggested I add some chicken sausage to the filling. Great idea! It was delicious. Enjoy!

Recipe: (Serves 4 - one half squash per person)
2 small acorn squash
2/3 cup long grain wild rice
2/3 cup brown rice
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 chicken sausage links, chopped
salt & pepper

1. Carefully cut acorn squash in half length-wise and scoop out all the seeds (you can discard the seeds or roast them for a snack later). Place cut side down on a dry baking sheet and bake at 350'F for 40 minutes.

2. Meanwhile prepare your rice. Add wild rice, brown rice and chicken broth to a small pot over medium high heat and bring to a gentle boil. Once mixture boils, reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
3. In a large saucepan add olive oil, garlic, zucchini, bell pepper and celery (mushrooms would be tasty here too) and saute over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes until veggies begin to soften. Add chicken sausage and let brown.
*I used chicken sausage that is already full cooked so I just needed to heat it through and brown it. If you're using raw sausage be sure to cook it thoroughly!
4. Once the veggie and sausage mixture is heated through and the rice is cooked, combine the two in a large bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the acorn squash from the oven and, using tongs, carefully turn each half over. Using a spoon stuff the rice filling mixture into each squash half, mounding it as much as possible. You may have extra filling left but this makes a tasty side dish all on it's own or can serve as seconds!
5. Once your squash halves are stuffed, place them back into the oven and bake at 350'F for 20-25 minutes until the flesh of the squash is very tender and the tops are golden. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Here is a shot of the inside (cut in half) Mmmm. here for the recipe!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Turkey and White Bean Ragu over Spaghetti Squash

As we are on the verge of fall we're starting to see some tasty fall and winter squash in the market. My four year old asked if we could "puh-leeease" get some spaghetti squash. I'm not sure he remembered what it was exactly but both kids loved it and gobbled it up! You can serve the spaghetti squash up solo as a side dish with a little salt & pepper or Parmesan cheese, or like we did, serve it as a base for a yummy sauce or ragu filled with vegetables. I prefer to cook the squash in the oven but you can also microwave it for a faster prep time. Here's an article on Spaghetti Squash that may be helpful. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4-6)
1 medium Spaghetti squash
1 pound lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms (or your favorite mushrooms)
1 (14oz) can Cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
salt & pepper
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cups fresh spinach leaves

1. Get your squash cooking first. Preheat oven to 375'F. Slice squash in half lengthwise, careful not to cut yourself the skin is thick and tough. Scoop out the seeds just as you would with a pumpkin. Place in a large glass baking dish cut side down, fill dish with water to about 1 inch deep. Bake at 375'F for 40 minutes until outer flesh is slightly tender to the touch or the tip of a knife can easily pierce.

2. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, brown your ground turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. When the turkey is just about cooked through, add the garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Saute for about 10 minutes until meat is completely cooked (no longer pink) and veggies are just tender.
3. Add Italian Seasoning, a few twists of fresh ground black pepper and about 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste), saute 2 minutes more. Finally, add your chicken broth, spinach and rinsed beans. Cover the pan and steam about 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted down and the beans are warmed. Season to taste.
4. Once your squash is cooked through, remove from pan of water and allow to cool slightly. Using a fork, scrap down the inside of the squash, which will naturally form long strings like spaghetti. Transfer all the squash "strings" to a bowl and lightly season with salt and pepper. Serve as a side dish or top with your favorite pasta sauce or ragu. here for the recipe!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lemon Rosemary Chicken {Crock Pot}

I made this lemon, rosemary chicken a few days ago and it turned out great! I modified the recipe I found on the A Year of Slow Cooking site since I didn't have a whole chicken on hand that night. I love the way the lemon subtly infused into the meat!  The beauty of the slow cooker is the delicious, flavorful results you get from cooking meats low and slow.  It was great that night with rice and vegetables and equally delicious the next day chunked up in a tasty green salad. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4-6)
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen is okay too
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
5 sprigs fresh rosemary, wash well & leave whole*
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker, top with chicken broth, rosemary, garlic, salt and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Arrange lemon slices on top.
2. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. *(I suggest leaving the rosemary on the stems to make it easier to fish out when the chicken is done, I just added the leaves and it was a bit tedious to remove at the end) here for the recipe!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chicken Vegetable Stew {Crock Pot}

I've been on a bit of a slow cooker kick this week and this chicken veggie stew did not disappoint. I'll admit it was alittle odd to be eating stew and warm bread when it was 95 degrees outside but we sat in the cool house and pretended it was fall. Add whatever vegetables you have on hand or family favorites and make it your own.  We all loved the addition of cabbage to this and my hubby actually commented that there could have been even more since it cooks down quite a bit.  One unusual addition I tried was some balsamic vinegar, which gave it a great subtle zip.  This was a great one pot dinner with the addition of some warm crusty gluten free bread on the side. Give it a try or tuck it away for a cooler day. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 6)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen is okay here too)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
3+ cups of cabbage, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
10-12 small dutch baby potatoes or similar, cut in half or leave the tiny ones whole
1 medium zucchini squash, chopped
1 crooked neck summer squash, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cups Low sodium chicken broth
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

1. Start layering in the Crock; add chicken breasts first, top them with the garlic, bell pepper, squashes, cabbage and potatoes.
2. Add in the dried herbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few twists of pepper.  Gently toss vegetables to incorporate the seasonings.
3. Finally, pour in the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth and arrange lemon slices on top.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.  Add more chicken broth as needed to achieve the consistency you prefer. here for the recipe!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shiitake Mushroom Rice

My whole family loves mushrooms! They add such great depth of flavor to any dish. Shiitakes are a favorite around here. I used a combination of Shiitake and baby bella (small portabello) mushrooms for this dish, white button mushrooms would work too although they have a less intense flavor. This made a great side dish for our turkey and spinach with white beans entree. This is a fun way to jazz up your rice, Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4)
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel, sliced
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups white rice (I used jasmine) *You can also use brown rice for added fiber, just lengthen the cooking time to 30-35 minutes and add another 1/2 cup of broth
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
salt & pepper

1. Over medium high heat melt the butter in a medium saucepan that has a tight fitting lid. Add the mushrooms to the melted butter and saute until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir frequently until it's slightly toasted, 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the chicken broth and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and cover for 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Check it for doneness at 15 minutes to avoid burning. Remove from heat and serve hot. here for the recipe!

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