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Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’

Sweet Breakfasts

In Nutrition on January 13, 2015 at 9:10 pm
cinnamon sugar grinder

Pretty Little Grinders

It all started with an impulse buy at Whole Foods. That place makes me buy the craziest things that I sooo don’t need but kinda add a bit of joy to my life. I was totally drawn to these grinders of helpful spices combined with “unhealthy” things – aka sugar. I had a major cinnamon-toast addiction as a kid so I was instantly drawn to the cinnamon-brown sugar grinder. Growing up, my parents were so strictly No-Sugar that we didn’t even have ketchup in the house. The famous one-gram-of-sugar Cheerios were acceptable; however, Rice Krispies were banned because they had the nerve to have 2 whole grams of sugar!

fruity breakie

High sugar but also high fiber.

When my parents would sleep in on Saturday mornings, my sisters and I would turn the kitchen upside down looking for that sugar bowl reserved for guests who liked it in their coffee and tea. Upon finding the holy grail we would make cinnamon toast with an entire loaf of bread. First we would spread out all the bread on the counter and meticulously pick out all the walnuts and sunflower seeds – delicious bread for an adult but not when you’re in elementary school. Then we would generously spread Country Crock on each slice – this was the early 80s when butter was still evil and trans fats were celebrated.

The next step was somewhat delicate b/c although we were specifically looking for the sugar high you didn’t want it to taste all grainy and overly sugary. Shaking the cinnamon was tricky too…it didn’t come out evenly and getting a glob of cinnamon in a bite kinda dries your mouth out and ruins the experience. Clearly, we could have used the helpful cinnamon-sugar grinder from Whole Foods. I am pretty sure we arranged the entire loaf of bread on a baking sheet and put it under the oven broiler which is kind of dicey considering I was the oldest and still in elementary school. We were very serious – and efficient – about our cinnamon toast making.

Although I’m a sucker for pretty bottles at Whole Foods, I’m also known to be the sugar police so I shocked myself in bringing home the sugary grinders. Swearing I wouldn’t know what to do with them, it was just an impulse buy, etc., I immediately found two great uses for them at breakfast – ha! I’m not a fan of a sugary breakfast; however, these two recipes don’t actually have much sugar and are balanced with plenty of fat and/or protein to maintain steady blood sugar.

coconut rice porridge

Creamy, crunchy, sweet, salty.

Coconut-Rice Porridge

Cooked white rice (short-grain, white rice works best)

Coconut milk (not canned, try coconut/almond blend)

Chopped almonds – roasted & salted

Sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar or cocoa/sugar/chili

Simmer rice in milk. Add more or less depending on desired consistency. Top with chopped almonds and cinnamon-sugar or cocoa/sugar/chili and anything else really!

Eggy (Grain-Free) Pancakes (makes 8 smallish pancakes)

2 eggseggy pancakes2

1 TBSP almond butter

1 very ripe banana

Sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar or cocoa/sugar/chili

Mash and beat and whip all the ingredients together (except cinnamon sugar). Fry in coconut oil and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon-sugar or cocoa/sugar/chili on one side before you flip over! You won’t need maple syrup.

Creamy Tahini Noodles

In Nutrition, Recipe on November 18, 2014 at 7:22 am

My BFF, Amy, is so cool.

She was eating kale in the late 90s way before it was en vogue.

creamy tahini noodles

Soba noodles, carrots, and cabbage in creamy tahini sauce.

Back then she gave me the recipe for this tahini-based sauce. It was a revelation to me at the time. These days using nuts and seeds in sauces is quite common; however, if you have yet to try a tahini sauce…well, you must! It’s simple and fast to make a creamy, savory dish with no food processor required.

This speedy meal combines gluten-free soba noodles and high-fiber, high-antioxidant veggies with a rich, creamy, HEALTHY sauce made from tahini (ground sesame seeds). Tahini is a powerhouse of minerals such as copper, calcium, and iron as well as the 2nd highest plant source of tryptophan, a pre-cursor for seratonin (the “feel good” hormone).

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat whose unique flavonoid compounds are critical for vascular health. Buckwheat is unrelated botanically to wheat (it’s a fruit seed) so it’s naturally gluten-free; however, read labels, some brands add wheat flour to their noodles. Of course, feel free to sub in zucchini noodles or kelp noodles (as in this kelp noodle recipe with a spicy, coconut, tahini sauce) or soba noodles, if you so desire.

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 cup carrots – sliced into rounds

1 cup red cabbage – shredded

Soba noodles or kelp noodles or zucchini noodles or whatever

Tahini sauce (makes a lot!):

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup hot water

1 lemon – juiced

2 TBSP tamari

3 tsp maple syrup

2 tsp rice vinegar

Nutrition Info (SAUCE ONLY): 1/2 cup (4oz) = 244 kcals + 16g fat + 8g protein + 4g fiber

Directions: Whisk sauce ingredients together and set aside. Toss carrots into boiling water. Bring water and carrots back to a boil and toss in 2 servings of soba noodles (whatever that looks like to you). Cook for 3 mins, then add cabbage. Boil for 1-2 mins more (test for done-ness) and drain. Toss 1 cup (more or less) of sauce with hot noodle mixture and top with green onions. Savory, creamy, delicious…

shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms

Try this “meatier” comfort food variation: Sauté 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms, 1/2 cup diced red onion, and 2 TBSP fresh grated ginger in a splash of sesame oil and tamari. Toss with sauce and soba noodles and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. This version will be higher in fat and lower in fiber but ginger, onion, and shiitake increase the ‘healthy’ factor so dig in!

Almond Joy Cookies

In Nutrition, Recipe on October 20, 2013 at 11:50 pm
coconut and chocolate

Coconut and Chocolate

My ideas about dessert and sweets are changing…

As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. It’s not just the dressing up in costumes. It was the idea of going house-to-house, asking for candy, and actually being able to eat it! My childhood home was completely devoid of sugar – and I mean completely. Did you know there are 2 grams of sugar per serving of Rice Krispies? Therefore, only Cheerios were allowed. You know, only 1 gram of sugar per serving, so it was only half as bad for you.

I grew up putting taco sauce on hot dogs because ketchup has sugar in it. Yes, ketchup was banned but hot dogs were OK. I think we all have places in our lives where our decision-making is a bit contradictory. I have a close friend who is very diligent about consuming organic food and yet drinks Diet Coke all day long…hmmmmm…

I have a rule in my home that all desserts need to be homemade. The idea being that you must really want that cupcake if you’re going to take the trouble to bake it and ice it, thus leading to less sweets consumption.

cookies

Combine these two to make an almond joy cookie!

Until recently I subscribed to the idea that if you are going to indulge, you ought to do it right. Eat the butter. Eat the eggs. Eat the gluten. Eat the white sugar. Just don’t indulge so often. Lately, that doesn’t seem to be working for me. Now, when I indulge in a “real” cookie or cupcake, I feel like I’ve got a hangover. My system has become so finely-tuned towards simple preparations of plant-based foods that even the occasional rich dessert cannot be tolerated without consequence. So I am officially on the vegan-gluten-free-honey-sweetened-dessert bandwagon these days.

Back to candy eating at Halloween. As a kid, gathering all that forbidden treasure was a major high. My parents would let my siblings and I indulge in the candy for a day, maybe two, and then we turned the contraband over to them (I later learned they stashed anything chocolate in the freezer). I tell this to friends and they assume I have awful memories of that holiday. But I remember it as a non-issue. Two days of gorging on sweets was plenty. Of course, I made sure I consumed as many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers as I could before my 2 day limit was reached. I also remember wishing I could combine Mounds Bar and Almond Joy into one because I love dark chocolate and almonds.

I am positively giddy about a cookie that combines chocolate and almonds. And is gluten-free. And is vegan. And is not overly sweet. And is more simple to prepare than “real” cookies.

Start with the simple base batter using a food processor fitted with the dough blade.  I’m sure you could also blend with a wooden spoon and muscle.

cookie collage

Vegan, gluten-free, chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

1 TBSP vanilla

Other ingredients: finely shredded, unsweetened coconut and block of high quality dark chocolate

Directions: Combine dry ingredients (mix and blend well) then add wet ingredients (mix and blend well). The mixture is sticky and the almond flour a bit gritty but never fear – they will be delicious! Heat oven to 350 degrees. Baking time is 6-8 minutes and cookies will stay somewhat gooey so judge done-ness by bottom browning. Also, since you will be rolling them into balls to bake, after about 3-4 minutes use the back of a large spoon to gently flatten them and then finish baking.

homemade cocoroons

Homemade Cocoroons

If you prefer a coconut-y cookie reminiscent of Cocoroons or Rickaroons (for the local San Diego folks) then form the batter into balls and roll in coconut (consider adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut to batter but not too much as it gets dry).

Or add coarsely-chopped dark chocolate to make (somewhat) traditional chocolate chip cookies.

Or do BOTH and enjoy a chewy, gooey concoction that tastes awfully close to an Almond Joy candy bar but is WAY BETTER for you! Add chopped chocolate to the batter. Form into balls. Roll in coconut flakes. Bake. AMAZING.

Just because these are vegan and gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s open season for consumption. Cookies are still a treat and are highly caloric so take it easy, people.

Cool, Summer-version of Pad Thai

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 30, 2013 at 4:31 am

pad thai kelp noodlesThis cold, kelp noodle salad has a terrible name. I wanted to call it “No-cook, No Peanut Pad Thai” but that was pretty lame too. The good news is, this recipe requires NO cooking or processing only soaking, chopping, and whisking. I used an alternative to the ubiquitous peanut butter to make it accessible to everyone and change up the flavor a bit. The whole point of developing this recipe was to find a use for kelp noodles other than in soups. I have been struggling with a decent avocado sauce and now feel vindicated that I’ve finally put kelp noodles to good use with this Pad Thai-inspired sauce. Insanely low-cal kelp noodles pair perfectly with high-calorie nut-based sauces. I’m not a calorie-counter but it’s just common sense not to overload your palate or belly with a cocktail of high-calorie items…let’s keep it all in balance, people.

kelp noodles

No caption necessary…the bag says it all.

Kelp noodles are practically calorie-free (<10 calories per serving), gluten-free, and raw. Just soak in water with an acid (citrus, vinegar) and they remind one of glass noodles. Kelp noodles are made from brown seaweed, sodium alginate (a seaweed-derived salt therefore high in iodine), and water. Clear in color and quite bland, they are al-dente-like crunchy until soaked. Kelp noodles are low in fiber so if you are using them in place of whole grain noodles, up the veggie content of your recipe for balanced blood sugar levels.

This recipe is vegan and I would love to call it ‘raw’ because it’s very, very close; however, for bestowing the raw title you must drop the tofu, sub agave or raw honey (but then it wouldn’t be vegan…so many rules!) for the maple syrup, and the canned coconut milk is suspect (I believe there are raw versions of coconut milk available). Anyway, if you are a raw foodie, I’m sure you are aware of the appropriate substitutions. If you are not, carry on…

pad thai kelp noodles ingredients2

Tofu, red pepper, lime, and mint.

Ingredients:

1 bag kelp noodles, soaked overnight in water and juice of 1 lime

8oz tofu, extra firm, drained, squeezed, and cubed

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup shredded/grated carrot

Handful of bean sprouts

(Experiment with the veggies: sliced snow peas, shredded cabbage, grated beets, etc.)

Pad Thai Sauce (enough for 2 batches of noodles & veggies):

pad thai kelp noodles ingredients

Kelp noodles, ground/crushed red pepper, tahini, shredded carrot, and ginger root.

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup canned coconut milk, light

3 TBSP tamari, low sodium

3 TBSP maple syrup (agave or raw honey)

1-2 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

1 tsp crushed red pepper or cayenne

1 lime, juiced

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp grated ginger

Place drained kelp noodles, tofu, and veggies in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Combine 1/2 of the sauce into bowl of noodles, tofu, and veggies. Mix well and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds when ready to serve. Cool, creamy, and layered with flavors and textures…yum!