Monthly Archives: February 2014

Lentil Soup

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My son and I love lentil soup at our local diner, and their lentil soup is gluten free. However, when eating out at a diner, it’s hard to really know if something hasn’t touched a potential allergen, and for someone with severe allergies, I don’t believe it would be good enough.

Trying to recreate lentil soup at home was much easier than I anticipated. This meal is full of nutrition, especially if it is made with homemade bone broth. It is sure to become a staple at our winter dinner table!

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Ingredients:

1 Cup of green lentils
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Large carrots, peeled and diced
1 Small onion, diced
1 Rib of celery, diced
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 Cup Pomi diced tomatoes (or dice your own)
6-8 Cups homemade bone broth (or use organic low sodium chicken broth)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Teaspoon turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon cumin
1/2 Teaspoon paprika

Optional add ins:
Leftover baked potatoes and leftover roasted chicken, diced

Directions:

Rinse lentils, picking out any unwanted particles. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a dutch over or heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add diced onions, celery, carrots and stir, cooking for about 8 minutes, until onions are translucent but not browned. Season veggies with sea salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, and paprika. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, broth, and lentils to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer, on low, for 20 minutes. Lentils should be soft. About 5 mintues before the soup is done, add in any leftovers you may want. I used already cooked baked potatoes and chicken, from the previous night’s dinner. Even frozen vegetables would work in this (defrost first)! Experiment with what you have on hand!

Avoid overcooking. Cool slightly before serving. Great with rice, quinoa, or my toasted allergy friendly bread!

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Sweet Potato and Tofu Curry

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All of my new meats were in the freezer last night, and I had 2 sweet potatoes that needed to be made. Plus a package of firm tofu in the fridge. Perfect night to try a new vegan winter meal! We are experiencing more snow this winter than I’ve remembered in a very long time, all the more reason to continue to come up with new winter meals.

This one started out simple, a combination of foods that are basically pantry staples in my house. I like having a stocked pantry that I can just grab whatever I need and be creative.

Ingredients:
1 Pkg firm tofu
2 Medium sweet potatoes
3 Cloves garlic, smashed
1 Inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 Cup Brown Basmati Rice, cooked according to package directions. I used Trader Joe’s
1 Pkg frozen peas, 10oz
7 Fl oz coconut cream, approximately half a can, I used Trader Joe’s
4 Fl oz pureed tomatoes, I used Pomi
1Tsp Indian Curry (sweet or hot)
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional Topings:
Parsley or cilantro
Handful of pepitas
Extra reserved coconut cream
Nutritional Yeast

Directions:
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Bake sweet potatoes for 1 hour, or until soft, but not completely mushy. Peel and dice sweet potato when cool. Alternatively, peel, dice and boil sweet potatoes until soft.

Meanwhile, prepare brown basmati rice and frozen peas according to package directions.

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In a large skillet, heat grapeseed oil over medium heat. Dice firm tofu into 1 inch pieces. Add tofu, garlic and ginger to skillet and  saute. Add Indian curry, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper. Continue to saute until tofu becomes golden, but not browned, approximately 8 minutes. Add sweet potatos, half the peas, and tomato puree, then turn heat to low. Cover and allow flavors to blend, another 15 minutes. When just about ready to serve, stir in coconut cream and heat on low 1 more minute.

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Plate curry over rice, and top with additional peas, parsley or cilantro, pepitas, extra coconut cream, and nutritional yeast.
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Butternut Squash, Carrot and Raisin Muffins

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I joined the most wonderful group, Wholeshare. It’s an online local community for produce, meats, veggies, and much of the food is organic or uses organic practices. And it’s fun! I’ve gotten some really great produce already, and one of my absolute favorites has been local butternut squash by Hudson Valley Harvest.

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The butternut squash was fresh, cut easily, and was a deep orange color. The aroma and color was closer to pumpkin than butternut, which I loved! The seeds scooped out easily, and the whole processing time was about 5 minutes. I roasted my squashes in a 350 degree oven for an hour, cut side down, with a few tablespoons of water in the pan. I didn’t add any salt or oil to my roasting because I want to use these for both savory and sweet dishes.

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I froze much of my puree (I bought 10 pounds of squash) for later use. I cooked some plain as a side for dinner, with only a light sprinkle of sea salt. Delicious!  I thought about using my already existing pumpkin muffin recipe next, but I was not happy when re-reading it. The recipe wasn’t exact and the muffins never fully set. I needed a new recipe.

I am trying to simplify the gluten free part of my recipes so that they are more appealing to a larger audience. Not everyone wants to buy so many different flours and starches. I started usinga very simple gluten free flour blend: garbanzo bean flour and brown rice flour in a 1:1 ratio. So simple to remember and use! Plus, it’s high in protein for a healthy punch!

The next ingredient I’m excited about is local honey from Hudson Valley Harvest. The flavor is outstanding!  I only used 1/4 cup in this recipe, and the flavor of the honey was still noticeable. I’ve read so much about using local honey as a way to help control allergies; this honey will be part of our diet now on.
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Lastly, I added finely shredded organic carrots and raisins to make this more of a breakfast or brunch food, rather than a dessert. It’s not very sweet, but the carrots and raisins really help with the sweetness factor. I love carrot cake, and this has a nice similar flavor. If you want glaze on them, my coconut icing from pumpkin muffins would work nicely.

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup brown rice flour
1/2 Cup garbanzo bean flour
2 Tablespoons Teff flour
1/4 Cup local honey
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon sea salt
3/4 Cup butternut squash puree
2 Tablespoons flaxmeal soaked in 6 tablespoons rice milk, allow to soak 5-10 minutes
1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted.
2 Carrots, finely shredded
1/2 Cup raisins

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak flaxmeal in rice milk and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, teff flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Next add soaked flaxmeal, butternut squash puree, honey, and melted coconut oil. Mix until well combined. Add shredded carrots and raisins last and mix until just combined. Grease or line with paper cups a muffin pan for 12 muffins. Bake for 18 minutes, until a wooded toothpick comes out clean. Cool and eat! Makes 1 dozen muffins. 

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Peabutter Dip and Preschool Art Show

peabutter dip

I loved attending my daughter’s art show at preschool this week. It reminds me of how much I loved art shows in college, and then in my early 20s in NYC. Some of the best times! The preschool artwork was sculptural, with found objects, recycled objects, and collage items.  All of the students had a very imaginative interpretation of their creations, which was fantastic! I love how they can look at bottle caps and paper towel rolls and see houses, fortresses, parks, etc. Everything was painted in bright, happy colors, and you could tell that the students were proud of their projects.

Juliana's artwork

Peabutter, made from golden peas, is my new favorite peanut butter alternative! I was using I M Healthy soynut butter for a while, but recently made the switch since I don’t want to over-do the amount of soy in our diets. I use the peabutter called No Nut Butter by the Sneaky Chef. This is also the favorite food currently for my son, who loves the creaminess and flavor.

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This peabutter is good on it’s own, but I changed it a tiny bit to make a dip. I added confectioner’s sugar and rice milk, then stirred to make it more creamy.

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons golden pea butter
1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
4 Teaspoons (or more) rice milk

Directions:
Stir all ingredients to combine. Add more rice milk if it seems too thick. It should be a good consistency for a preschooler to dip carrots, apple slices, etc in. Serve with assorted fruits and veggies. Great for parties or art shows!

Cole Slaw, vegan and super simple!

cole slaw with grapesEver since I discovered grapeseed oil based “mayo”, I’ve been looking for reasons to use it! This recipe is so simple, I added grapes to see if I could trick my kids into trying it. So far, they haven’t been willing to try it. However, my daughter loves raw cabbage, so why change it up if I don’t have to!

Ingredients:
1 Cup shredded cabbage
1/4 Cup shredded carrots
(or use premixed cole slaw mix)
1 Cup small red grapes, rinsed
1 Tablespoon vegan mayo, I use Veganeaise
1 Teaspoon raw organic apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:
Put all ingredients except for grapes in a medium size mixing bowl.  Mix thoroughly, then toss grapes in and lightly stir until incorporated.

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Slow Cooker Pork Stew

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Today I took a trip to our grocery store to return some coconut almond milk blend that my husband bought by mistake. Looks delicious, but Nathan and I don’t eat almonds or any tree nuts. Oops! I saw a 4 pound package of chopped pork shoulder for a great price, and knew I had to make a meal around it. We have a ton of snow on the ground, so a nice slow cooker stew seemed perfect for this cold winter day!

Ingredients:
4 Pounds of chopped pork shoulder, bones included
2 Large or 4 small white potatoes, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 Small onion, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 Carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 Celery stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 Cloves garlic, smashed
1 Inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 Cup brown rice flour plus more if needed
1-2 Cups water
1 Box Pomi chopped tomatoes, about 24 oz
2 Bay leaves
1 Tsp Chinese 5 Spice
1 Tsp Allspice
Fresh parsley, coarsely chopped, to serve.
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cauliflower as optional side vegetable

Directions:
Wash and chop potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, garlic and ginger.  Add vegetables to the bottom of slow cooker. Over top of the veggies, sprinkle 2 tablespoons brown rice flour and 2 bay leaves. In a large mixing bowl, combine pork shoulder chunks, 2 tablespoons brown rice flour, Chinese 5 spice, allspice, salt and pepper. Toss until meat is coated. If the meat needs more flour, sprinkle more, 1 tablespoon at a time, until nicely coated. Add meat over the vegetable layer in the slow cooker. On top of that, pour 1 or 2 cups water. (I used 2 cups and mine came out with a lot of soupy broth. Less water would make this more stew-ish). On top of all that, add the Pomi chopped tomatoes. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours, until the meat is falling off the bones. I stirred this once after about 4 hours to make sure everything was mixed well together. After 6 hours, discard bay leaves and sprinkle with chopped parsley. If you prefer shredded pork, it should easily shred now.

Tastes great with cauliflower! Cut up florets and boil in salted water for 8 minutes, until tender. Drain and serve over pork stew. Yum!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with Garbanzo Bean Flour

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It’s been a cold, snowy beginning to February and my two preschoolers have missed a bunch of school this winter due to snow days. When our public school is cancelled or has a delayed opening, our morning sessions have been canceled. Which is too bad! They miss their preschool and seeing all their friends. I’ve been experimenting with some baking techniques to make everyone happy. I had bought garbanzo bean flour at the beginning of my gluten free journey and pretty much forgot about it. When cleaning out my cabinets, I thought, I have to use this! It’s high in protein and seems to be versatile. I made two things with garbanzo bean flour today. One was supposed to be a simple garbanzo bean flour crepe, but mine came out more like a cross between a cake and a falafel! Well, I won’t be sharing that recipe – yet! Definitely needs help. My new recipe for cookies came out great! Juliana said it’s “the best cookie ever!” Woo hoo! I used left over rolled oats from breakfast that were already cooked.  I have to try this again using dry oats to see if the proportions need to be changed!

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Ingredients:
1/2-3/4 Cup cooked rolled oats, prepared with water according to package directions
3/4 Cup garbanzo bean flour
3/4 Cup brown rice flour
1/2 Teaspoon xanthum gum
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup melted coconut oil
2 Flax eggs (I make mine with 2 tablespoons flaxmeal and 6 tablespoons rice milk, soak for 5-10 minutes)
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 Cup dairy free chocolate chips
1/4 Cup shredded coconut
1/4 Cup pepitas

Directions:
Preheat oven 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the cooked rolled oats and the dry ingredients. Add melted coconut oil, flax eggs, and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined. Add chocolate chips, shredded coconuts and pepitas last. Or substitute your own favorite mix in’s!
Scoop dough about teaspoon size onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake 13-15 minutes until bottoms are slightly browned. Cool briefly and enjoy!