Sunday, November 29, 2009

My First Gluten-free Thanksgiving

I cooked a turkey! But boy did I have NO idea just how gross a raw turkey is. All those giblets and other bloody viscera...who would have thought something as amazing as gravy could come from something so icky as that. I kept telling my mom I was going to become a vegetarian...and I was kind of serious.

Of course that was before I tasted the GRAVY. Mmm...the best part of Thanksgiving dinner! What's turkey without gravy? For that matter, what are green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing without gravy? I like to put everything on my plate, mix it all together, and top it with gravy. I followed Gluten Free Girl and the Chef's recipe for gravy and it was amazing! I melted 2 Tbsp. of butter and whisked in 1 Tbsp. of white rice flour and 1 Tbsp. of sorghum flour. When the turkey came out, I took it out of the roasting pan and put the pan with all the drippings on the two front stove burners. With the burners on low, I added in the stock (from the giblets and other funny little things that were inside the turkey), then whisked in the roux and continued to whisk for a few minutes until it was the desired consistency. Ours was a bit salty since we used salted butter, so we had to add in some extra water, which was great because we ended up with more gravy. I'll definitely be using the same method next year.

(This is actually my mom's plate of food. It looked so much prettier than mine.)

Have I mentioned yet the two things that made Thanksgiving difficult this year? First, this is my work space. We don't really have counter space, so we bought a little rolling counter when we moved in. I'm sometimes amazed at how much I can fit on that little thing, but never more so than on Thursday! I was pretty proud of myself for managing a Thanksgiving feast in my small kitchen.

And the other thing? Just a little problem with a frozen turkey! My mom told me, "We'll bring the ingredients, and you cook." So they drove in Thursday morning with bags of organic produce and a lovely 11 pound turkey from a local farm. But my mom and I got our signals mixed, and she thought we were going to do our actual dinner on Friday. But no fear! We filled up a cooler with water and defrosted that turkey, determined to have Thanksgiving on Thursday. We didn't end up eating dinner until almost 9pm, and at that point we had to save our pies for the next day, but it was a dinner worth waiting for.

The turkey itself was a little dry because we kept waiting for the little red button to pop. Alas, it never popped and the turkey got a bit overcooked. But that's what gravy's for, right? Next year, I'll know to trust my instincts over a red button. It was a beautiful turkey nonetheless; so much tastier looking after being cooked. I used this recipe.

This is probably the point where I should thank the turkey for giving up its life, and say that I watched Fast Food, Inc. last night. Probably not the best thing to watch after eating turkey leftovers. Once again, I might have to become a vegetarian. Too bad I love gravy so much.

But on to happier topics...

While waiting for the turkey to defrost, we kept ourselves busy with appetizers. Shrimp (Trader Joe's has a gluten-free cocktail sauce), olives, and celery. I should probably thank the shrimp too...

Raw celery actually makes my tongue tingle, but it's a family tradition and my mom loves it. And the olives? When we were little, we always celebrated Thanksgiving at my Grandma Higgins' house. We would sit at the kids table and giggle while my Grandpa threw olives at us and my Grandma admonished him with, "Oh John!" I like olives, but I love the memories of my Grandpa that our Thanksgiving traditions bring back.

Another tradition is the Martinelli's Sparkling Cider. For some reason, I always thought we were the only family that knew about Martinelli's. Of course, when I saw the bottle pop up in every store right before Thanksgiving, I realized it wasn't just our tradition.

Around 7pm, I started getting really hungry. The turkey was finally in the oven, and I was trying not to ruin my appetite, but I had to give in. I grabbed a Cranberry-Pecan muffin that I had made using Elana's coconut flour recipe and slathered it with butter. I don't usually use butter, but on special occasions I give myself permission to have it with abandon! The jury's still out on the muffins. I followed a reader's suggestions to replace the oil in the recipe with applesauce and the honey with agave nectar. I'll admit, I scarfed them down, but I couldn't decide if I actually liked the muffin or just liked the butter. I might end up trying them again since I still have so many cranberries and pecans left.

And finally! Dinner was served, 8:45pm.

We sat on the floor around my coffee table (I don't have an actual table), and gobbled up our dinner. Turkey, mashed potatoes, my acorn squash stuffing, green beans with slivered almonds, candied sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and cranberry-pecan muffins. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, and GRAVY.

We were too full after that for dessert. So we did what we always do after Thanksgiving. Laid down on the rug and dozed off.

The next morning, I'll admit it, we had pie for breakfast. I know, I know...I'm a weight loss consultant. But I had a salad later. That's gotta count for something!

My mom's always been the pie maker in the family. She makes the world's best pie crust! This year, she made a blueberry pie with a store-bought gluten-free pie crust. And then she made an apple pie with a homemade pie crust, also gluten-free. The homemade crust was definitely better than the store-bought, although admittedly not as good as her regular crust. It came pretty close though. And considering it was her first gluten-free pie, I was rather impressed. Doesn't it look delicious?

And look! She used her extra pie crust to make a heart on the blueberry pie! How cute is that? And fitting. My parents brought the food, and they brought me tons of love.

Now my list for next year:
  • Defrost the turkey ahead of time
  • Learn how to not overcook the turkey
  • Experiment with various pie crust recipes (or get my mom to experiment since she's such a better baker than I am)
  • Learn how to bake my own gluten-free bread for the stuffing with my new handy-dandy bread machine that my mom brought for me!
How was your Thanksgiving? Was it gluten-free? Vegetarian? What's a traditional Thanksgiving like at your house?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twenty Eight Years of Thanksgiving

The phones have been ringing off the hook today at work. Everyone is suddenly frantic to join our program and start losing weight. I had assumed that today would be a slow day, with everyone planning for tomorrow's festivities. But I guess the fear of Thanksgiving decadence is stronger than I thought.

Although everyone has their own way of handling the holidays, and even my coworkers and I all have different tips for our clients, I've always taken a very relaxed view of holiday indulgences. I figure it happens once a year, you enjoy it and then you get back to normal. Of course that doesn't mean you should stuff yourself until your jeans are popping; but if you really love pumpkin pie, then you should eat pumpkin pie! My only restriction for myself this year is that I'll be doing everything gluten-free, but that doesn't feel like a restriction to me anymore. Plus I'm lucky to have parents who will happily be gluten-free with me.

So while my job is to help people lose weight, I don't have a lot of advice for Thanksgiving. All I can tell you is to have fun and don't stress it! And most of all, enjoy being with your friends and family, and appreciate all you have to be thankful for this year.

And if all else fails, do what my coworker, Mindy, is telling everyone. Get everyone involved in a game and take the focus off the food! Try this one: Can you make a clockwise circle with your right foot and simultaneously draw a six in the air with your right hand?

On my 28th Thanksgiving, here are 28 things I'm thankful for:
  • My hippie parents, who raised me to love vegetables and dislike soda.
  • My big sister, who I always wanted to be just like.
  • My little sister, who's wise beyond her years, and is someone I can look up to. Literally and figuratively.
  • All my grandparents who made summer vacations the best times of my life.
  • My cutie patootie cousins, who are some of the smartest little kids I know. Which isn't surprising, since their parents are some of the smartest adults I know.
  • My boyfriend, who's been by my side through all my glutenous days of depression and mood swings.
  • My mom's family day care. Growing up with toddlers running around shaped me more than I can say. I miss being around babies!
  • Reconnecting with my half-sister, who's having her first baby this year!
  • My new brother-in-law who makes my sister so happy!
  • So many friends that I can call best friends. Ceci and Lily, I'm so glad you moved to NYC! (And a special shout-out to Nikki! Would you ever have thought on the first day of college that you'd still be friends with your college roommate almost 10 years later!? Is it really 10 years?)
  • Koko, the gorilla. This might sound like a funny thing to be thankful for, but I've been donating to The Gorilla Foundation since I was little (I saved up my allowance money and my mom would write a check for me), and their newsletters have always made me happy. Plus they send me nice calendars that I can use at work!
  • Learning how much better I feel gluten-free.
  • My blog. I love it. It's so much fun!
  • My new blogging friends! There are too many to name you all, but your comments all make my day!
  • My amazing yoga teacher.
  • Obama!
  • My crazy coworkers and my awesome new boss!
  • Finding peace with food. Most of the time.
  • Green smoothies.
  • The latest Diana Gabaldon Outlander installment. Haven't bought it yet, but I'm excited in advance!
  • Nature. I don't see much of it here in the city, but when I get into the country, I'm very thankful for it!
  • Gluten-free restaurants in Manhattan. Now we just have to get Brooklyn to jump on the bandwagon.
  • A sense of humor in the kitchen.
  • Twilight and True Blood. Yes, I admit it. I got into the vampire books/TV craze too.
  • Books. Just books in general. I love to read.
  • The Lloyd Alexander Prydain Chronicles. Still my favorite childhood books.
  • Wonderful clients who come in with a good attitude.
  • My whole big extended family, near and far! Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

And happy Thanksgiving to you! What are you thankful for this year?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Spicy Tomato Curry Soup

With Thanksgiving coming up, and a busy week ahead of me, I wanted something for dinner tonight that was light and easy. I also needed to use up the random odds and ends I had in the fridge before doing my Thanksgiving shopping tomorrow morning. With carrots, celery, and onions left over from practicing my stuffing, I knew soup was the way to go. As long as I have some broth on hand or a can of diced tomatoes, I always know I can come up with a delicious soup. I was out of broth, but managed to find a lonely can of diced tomatoes hiding in the back of the cupboard. I'm too short to reach so I had to use a wooden spoon to get it down! Someday I want a house with lots of low cupboards so I don't have to get a step-stool, climb on the counter, or use my utensils to get food down... Someday, when I don't live in a one-bedroom apartment and I have an actual kitchen.

A girl can dream, right?

Spicy Tomato Curry Soup
Print-Friendly Option

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced (1 cup)
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely diced
3 cups water
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
1 tsp. hot sauce
salt to taste

  1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium low heat. Add onions and saute 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add water, the can of tomatoes, spices, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer with a top on for 25 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat off. Stir in the hot sauce and add salt to taste.
Serves 4

This week I'm linking up to Slightly Indulgent Mondays at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free. Amy is also selling a wonderful kid-friendly cookbook, with 100% of the proceeds going to St. Jude's Children's Hospital. It includes one of my favorite childhood recipes, my stepdad's broccoli casserole! Mm mm good.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Roasted Chickpea And Mushroom Soup

Does this soup look soapy to anyone else? I swear to you, it's not. Nor does it taste soapy. That was just the result of blending the roasted chickpeas. It created a little froth. I actually tried really hard to scoop up the froth for a pretty picture but it kept coming back! Oh well... I hope you disregard that because this soup was actually really delicious! I love roasted chickpeas and mushrooms, but since I've been craving soups lately, I decided to turn my normal side dish into a healthier version of a cream of mushroom soup. You could use less liquid in this to make it creamier (or more chickpeas), but I think I liked it best this way. Not too creamy, but thicker than a broth-based soup. Perfect for a cold winter day (although it hasn't been that warming anyone?).

(Not Soapy) Roasted Chickpea and Mushroom Soup
Print-Friendly Option

3 cups chicken broth
1 cup canned chickpeas
5 oz. mushrooms (about 7 mushrooms), whole
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 onion, cut in big slices
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 cup pea shoots, diced
1 Tbsp. finely diced fresh parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a casserole dish, combine the chickpeas, mushrooms, garlic, onion, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss to coat. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
  3. Take the mushrooms out of the dish and set aside. Spoon the chickpeas, garlic, and onions into a blender. Add 1 cup chicken broth and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Spray a large soup pan with olive oil. On medium heat, saute the carrots and celery 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and add the chickpea blend. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. While simmering, dice the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms, pea shoots and parsley to the soup. Stir until heated through. Add pepper to taste.
Serves 3-4

This post is linked to Fight Back Fridays. Check out all the other great recipes there!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Raw Carrot Cupcakes With Coconut Cashew Frosting

When I heard that this month's theme for Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free was grain free cakes and cupcakes, I was a bit disappointed. Not because I didn't want to see what everyone could come up with, but because I haven't even figured out gluten free baking yet, much less grain free, gluten free baking! At first I thought I would just have to watch from the sidelines. Then I realized that I have been making grain free cakes; I just wasn't baking them. I had so much fun making my Raw Pumpkin Cheese Pie last month that I decided to go the raw route again. However, raw cakes are pretty intense. Their main ingredients are nuts and dried fruit, so a small piece packs a big punch. This time around, I thought I would try making a cupcake so that I could just make one at a time. Having never actually eaten a professional raw cake or cupcake, I didn't really know quite what my cupcake should taste like. What I ended up with was somewhat like a lighter larabar...not so dense but just as flavorful. And it stood up to my main held together in the shape of a cupcake! With a cake made of apples, carrots, nuts and dried fruit, and a cashew coconut frosting, this is a deliciously healthy alternative to a typical carrot cake.

Raw Carrot Cupcakes With Coconut Cashew Frosting
Print-Friendly Option

1/8 cup raw walnuts
1/8 cup raw pecans
dash to 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
dash to 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 dates
1/4 cup raisins
1/8 cup shredded carrots
1/8 cup shredded apple (I used a microplane for the carrot and apple)

1 1/8 cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
1/8 cup chopped fresh coconut meat** or dried coconut flakes
1/2 medium banana
1 date
4 Tbsp. coconut water
1 Tbsp. agave nectar

*This makes enough frosting for about 4 cupcakes. Extra frosting will keep in the fridge or freezer.

**If you've never opened up a coconut, here's a guide. This is how I did it... However, if I had known how hard it would be, I would have just bought coconut water and coconut flakes. It's a little more expensive that way, but worth it in my opinion. I had to bring the coconut outside and hammer at it on the hard cement because I was afraid I would break my floor!

  1. In a food processor, blend the walnuts, pecans, and spices until smooth. Add the dates and raisins and blend about 1 minute.
  2. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and add the carrots and raisins. Stir completely, then form into a ball with your hands. Scoop into a cupcake liner and form into the shape of a cupcake. Put in the fridge while you make the frosting.
  3. For the frosting, blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth. Smooth over the cupcakes with a knife and return to the fridge until you're ready to eat.
In addition to Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free, I'm also linking up to some of my favorite blog carnivals. Hope you can stop by and check out all the yummy recipes you'll find!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Recovering From A Day of Food Indulgence

First, for anyone in the NYC area, my friend Elise is hosting a gluten-free cookie tasting party! I met Elise months back when I went to Sambuca for my birthday. They had gluten-free bread for the diners, and although it tasted like a tough and chewy version of the homemade pretzels I made with my mom when I was younger, I ate every bite. It was gluten-free after all, and besides, I'll generally eat anything... But then Elise, their pastry chef, came out with a plate of freshly baked gluten-free bread for everyone to taste. It seems she agreed with me about the bread they were using, and wanted to come up with a better version. The bread she brought out was so much better that I had to try her dessert later, and was impressed. So when I heard about Elise's cookie tasting party, I knew I would be there! She was kind enough to give me a sampling of her cookies and cakes to try this weekend, and I was hooked! I imagine we'll be seeing a lot more of Elise's pastries in the near future. If you want to try them, join me on Wednesday at Sambuca. (You can e-mail me at for more info)

Wednesday, November 18, 6:30PM
SAMBUCA Restaurant
20 West 72nd Street
New York, NY 10023

In other news, we all know that I'm not very good at limiting myself when it comes to desserts. I ate a few too many of Elise's cookies yesterday, and knew I needed a recovery day. With Thanksgiving and all the winter holidays coming up, I know that it can be a stressful time for anyone struggling with their weight. So I thought I would share what I do after indulging.

My biggest tip for anyone who feels that they ate a bit too much the previous day is to go back to their normal routine. I used to think that if I overindulged, I had to cut way back on food the next day to make up for it. It never occurred to me that that very behavior was a part of the problem. By drastically reducing my calories, I was setting myself up to overeat again, later that day or the next. And to be perfectly honest, I think I was just confusing my body. Is she eating 2000 calories, 1000 calories, 3000? Do I need to use these calories or conserve them? What is going on here?! I think back to those days now, and imagine my body in a maelstrom of confusion. I didn't know what was up or down when it came to food, and neither did my body.

Now, I do my best to keep my eating regular. There will always be days when I indulge, and sometimes I'll indulge a little too much. But I just go back to my normal eating and let my body know it can relax. I think it breathes a huge sigh of relief every time it realizes I'm not going to try to starve it in punishment.

One change I do try to make on a recovery day though, is to add more raw vegetables to my day. Today I added some pea shoots and a leaf of kale to my green smoothie and made a big recovery salad for lunch. Tonight I feel much better than I would have had I spent all day limiting myself to atone for yesterday. And my body's much happier...and much less confused!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sweet And Savory Thanksgiving Stuffing

Mashed Potato Stuffing

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, second only to Christmas. I have warm, fuzzy memories of my mom's amazing pies, my grandma's delicious spread of traditional Thanksgiving dishes, and my Grandpa Higgins and (Great) Uncle Eddie dozing off in their chairs after the festivities. I could usually be found dozing off myself on the rug in the living room after devouring seconds of my personal favorites: creamed onions and candied sweet potatoes (This would of course be before we all roused ourselves to have pie). It's only been in more recent years that I've developed a true appreciation for the side dish no Thanksgiving should be without: stuffing. While I was only somewhat interested in stuffing growing up, it's slowly been creeping up in the ranks and now surpasses creamed onions on my list of faves.

This year, Thanksgiving will be a little different for me. It will be my first gluten-free Thanksgiving and my first Thanksgiving doing the cooking! Have I mentioned that already? I'll probably be mentioning it every day because I'm really excited! It's going to be a relatively easy Thanksgiving to prepare, with just me and my parents (my sisters will be celebrating together in California...sniffle, sniffle...), but never having cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before, I'm gearing up for the challenge.

First on my list of side dishes to practice? Coming up with the perfect gluten-free stuffing recipe. I took a cue from a coworker who makes her stuffing in muffin tins so it's portioned out in cute little balls. I made a sweet acorn squash stuffing and a savory mashed potato stuffing. The acorn squash stuffing got my vote, which I guess shouldn't surprise me. I always forget that I don't really like mashed potatoes all that much. However, if you're a potato fan, I think you'll love the mashed potato stuffing with your turkey and gravy.

Mom and Doug? What do you think? Sweet or savory?

Acorn Squash Stuffing

Sweet and Savory Stuffing
Print-Friendly Option

1 1/2 cups diced onion (1 medium onion)
1 1/2 cups diced mushrooms (approx. 7 mushrooms)
1 1/2 cups diced celery (approx. 3 stalks)
2 garlic cloves, diced
5 cups cubed gluten-free bread (I used 2 1/2 Trader Joe's French Rolls)
1 cup chicken broth
1 egg, whisked
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Mashed Potato Stuffing:
1 1/2 cups mashed/pureed potatoes (about 1 large potato, boiled until tender, then pureed)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or chopped walnuts)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
dash of black pepper

Acorn Squash Stuffing:
1 acorn squash, baked and pureed (makes about 1 1/4 cups pureed squash)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray muffin tins with oil and set aside.*
  2. Heat a large pan with the olive oil. Add the onions, mushrooms, celery, and garlic, and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.
  3. Turn the stove off and take the pan off the heat. Whisk in the chicken broth and egg. Stir in the bread cubes.
  4. Divide the mixture in two, and put one half in a mixing bowl. You can leave the other half in the pan.
  5. Using the mixture in the mixing bowl, stir in the mashed potato stuffing ingredients until completely mixed. Spoon it into the muffin tins.
  6. Using the other half of the mixture, completely stir in the acorn squash stuffing ingredients and spoon that into the rest of the muffin tins.
  7. Bake at 325 for an hour.
*This should make approximately 16 muffins.

This week, at Life As Mom, The Ultimate Recipe Swap theme is Food Allergies/Special Diet, so this is my entry. I'm also linking up to Holiday Food Fest at Tasty Eats At Home. I imagine you'll find a lot of stuffing variations there! And the theme at Friday Foodie Fix this week is SQUASH.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

We always hear about how important eating breakfast is to maintaining a healthy weight. According to The National Weight Control Registry, people who lose weight and keep it off have a few things in common: one of them is that they eat breakfast regularly. Okay. Sure. We've heard it. We know. But why? Wouldn't we be saving calories if we skipped breakfast? And if we're not hungry in the morning, why not save the calories until we actually want them?

I used to think this way, back when I was on the diet yo-yo express. But after a nutritionist told me I had to make the time to eat breakfast, I made it a regular part of my day. After a few years, and now after counseling my weight-loss clients, I've realized why breakfast is so important:
  • It sets up the tone of your entire day. If you start out the day with bacon, eggs, and hash browns, what's the likelihood you're going to be in the right frame of mind to eat healthy the rest of the day? On the other hand, a breakfast of brown coconut rice with pecans and raisins (recipe below) will make you feel so good you'll want to keep eating healthy all day.

  • If you don't eat breakfast, you're more likely to overeat later. In one study, researchers found that when people skipped breakfast, they had a stronger response to pictures of fast foods and desserts than people who had eaten a healthy breakfast. It's like a little light goes off in your brain that says, "Must eat everything with butter and sugar now." You can avoid that by starting the day off with a balanced meal.

  • Breakfast is addictive. If you're like me, and don't feel hungry first thing in the morning, just get yourself in the habit of eating breakfast within an hour of waking every day. After a week or so, your body will be so used to it, you'll start waking up ready to eat.
So what are some healthy breakfast options? I always like to start my day off with a green smoothie. No matter what else I eat that day, if I at least have my smoothie, I know I've had a serving (or two) of fruits and vegetables. Plus, if you have a tendency to be irregular, green smoothies are the best thing I've found for restoring regularity.

If you're always on the go, and have to rush out the door, you can bake some muffins to keep in the freezer, or in a pinch, grab a gluten-free snack bar. Most snacks bars have too much sugar for me to recommend for breakfast, but if you have to go that route, Larabars are one of the better options. And before you run out the door, grab a banana or an apple too!

For a while I was addicted to having gluten-free toast with natural peanut butter and almond butter. I couldn't decide between the two, so I had one with each. Sliced bananas would be a delicious addition here!

If it's the weekend and you have more time, you can make pancakes or waffles. Leftovers freeze easily, and can be toasted for a quick breakfast on the weekdays. (Just watch your portions here...)

Have you noticed yet that I like sweet food in the morning? If you want something savory, some of my clients have been making their own egg sandwiches with english muffins, an egg, and turkey bacon or a slice of low-fat cheese. They even freeze them so they can have them throughout the week. There's no need to spend the extra money to buy them at Starbucks (although of course, if you're eating gluten-free, you couldn't do that anyway).

If, like me, your tastes tend more towards hot cereal in the morning, you can make an easy breakfast with amaranth, gluten-free oats, quinoa, pureed sweet potatoes, or brown rice. I love adding fresh or dried fruit and nuts or seeds to my hot "cereal."

Quinoa with Sunflower Seeds and Blueberries

Pureed Sweet Potatoes with Dried Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds

Amaranth with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

I needed to use up some coconut milk this week, so I made Coconut Hot Rice Breakfast Cereal. I've been eating it cold for the sake of convenience (I'm pressed for time in the morning), but it's best reheated before eating.

Coconut Rice Hot Breakfast Cereal

1 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecan pieces

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a pot. Add the raisins, rice, and coconut milk. Bring to boil again, then lower heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the rice starts to get too dry, add a little extra water to keep the bottom from burning.
  2. After 40 minutes, turn the stove off and add the pecans. Stir. Put the top back on and let sit for 10 minutes.
Serves 4

Stop by What Can I Eat That's Gluten Free and Real Food Wednesdays and Healthy Green Kitchen for more healthy recipes!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

I started my day off on the wrong foot by making pancakes from a mix that I didn't end up liking. Then, to add insult to injury, I ate too many of the pancakes and felt uncomfortably full. Why eat so many when I didn't even like them in the first place? I don't know. Sometimes my brain malfunctions when in the presence of carbs. I added peanut butter, sliced banana, and jelly to the pancakes to cover the lack of taste, so that may have had something to do with my continuing to eat them.

Either way, I ended up with an upset stomach all day. I didn't even eat lunch (which is not like me at all) and ended up just having a green smoothie in the afternoon. By dinner time, my appetite was beginning to come back, but I wanted something light and nourishing to soothe my stomach. This Sweet Potato Coconut Soup was something I'd been creating in my head since I saw Linda's Creamy Vegetable Soup last week. It's a sweet soup, but a dash of hot sauce counters the flavor and gives it a tangy edge.

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 carrot, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 garlic clove, diced
3 small sweet potatoes, baked and cut in bite sized chunks (I buy organic, which are pretty small, but it's about 1 1/2 regular sized sweet potatoes)
1/2 in. slice ginger, grated
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
handful of pea shoots to garnish
red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
hot sauce to taste (optional)

  1. Spray a soup pan with cooking spray. Over medium heat, add the carrots, celery, and garlic, and saute about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the ginger into the soup. Immediately pour the chicken broth in so the ginger doesn't burn. Add the sweet potatoes and stir once.
  3. Raise the heat and allow the soup to come to a boil. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stir. Simmer another 10 minutes.
  5. Take off the heat and pour into individual bowls. *Garnish each bowl with chopped pea shoots and red pepper flakes. Add a dash of hot sauce, or more if you like it hot.
* I love the taste of the pea shoots in this soup, so I added a bunch to my bowl. You can chop them in a big bowl and serve them separately so everyone can put in as much as they like. I also loved the hot sauce with this soup. I had a bowl without it before trying it with hot sauce, and then I thought that was so good I had to go back for seconds.

Serves 4
Print-Friendly Option

This post is linked to:
Slightly Indulgent Mondays
Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays
Tuesdays At The Table
Tasty Tuesdays

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Recipe Index

Gluten-free Recipes

Apple Pie
Banana Ice Cream with Blueberry Sauce
Blueberry Cobbler (sugar-free)
Coconut Banana Sundae
Coconut Hot Rice Breakfast Cereal
Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Coconut Waffles
Hearty Apple Cinnamon Waffles
Hint O' Chocolate Banana Muffins (Sugar Free)
Quinoa Zucchini Waffles
Shrimp Scrambled Eggs
Sunshine Banana Muffins (Sugar Free)
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Cashew Cream

Side Dishes and Salads
Acorn Squash Stuffing
Basil Mung Bean Salad
Faux Sushi Salmon Rounds
Healthier Egg Salad
Mashed Potato Stuffing
Quinoa and Heirloom Tomato Salad
Roasted Acorn Squash and Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Chickpea and Crumbled Tofu Salad
Veggie Stuffed Squash

Dips, Dressings and Sauces
BBQ Sauce
Blueberry Sauce
Garbanzo Bean Guacamole
Raspberry Sauce
Rhubarb Sauce
Tomato Basil Sauce

Autumn Squash Soup
Dairy-Free Potato Soup
Easy Thai Noodle Soup
Ginger Coconut Vegetable Soup
Roasted Chickpea and Mushroom Soup
Spicy Tomato Curry Soup
Spring Vegetable Soup
Sweet Potato Coconut Soup
Tofu and Pinto Bean Soup
Turkey Noodle Soup
Vegetarian Soup for the Soul

Main Dishes
Balsamic Chicken With Sweet Mushroom Gravy
Basil Chickpea Burger
Basil Thai Noodles
BBQ Tofu Enchilada Bake
Creamy Tomato Basil Shrimp Pasta
Easy Thai Noodle Soup
Faux Sushi Salmon Rounds
Honey Glazed Salmon over Curried Lentils
Lentil Quinoa Burgers
Mediterranean Halibut and Asparagus
Mushroom and Leek Quiche with Goat Cheese
Pizza Crust
Raw Pasta with Tomato Basil Sauce
Simply Savory Collard Wraps
Spanish Rice and Beans with Turkey Dogs
Spicy Chicken Tacos
Sweet Sesame Noodles
Tuna Burger

Apple Pie
Banana Ice Cream with Blueberry Sauce
Blueberry Cobbler (sugar-free)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cake
Coconut Banana Sundae
Fruit and Nut Truffles
Fruit Roll Ups
Maple Cinnamon Snickerdoodles
Raspberry Lime Cheesecake
Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Coconut Cashew Frosting
Raw Pumpkin Cheese Pie
Rhubarb Cake
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Cashew Cream

Blueberry Smoothie
Green Power Smoothie
Pineapple Cooler


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