Monday, April 26, 2010

Blueberry Cobbler (Sugar-Free)



Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free
was the first blog carnival I entered as a newbie blogger, so it holds a special place in my heart. I was delighted when I read that this month's theme is Breakfast in Bed, because that's my favorite meal of the day. As a child, breakfast was usually a quick bowl of cereal in bed...not at the table, mind you. I was so grumpy in the mornings that my mom let me stumble into the kitchen, get my cereal, and bring it back to my room. No one wanted to talk to me first thing in the a.m. Seriously. I like to think I've gotten a little better these days. At least I hope so. I make my green smoothie or grab a baked sweet potato, and often still eat it in bed. But that's because I live in an apartment in Brooklyn, and I don't have a kitchen table. Not because I'm too grumpy to look at anyone. But I digress. That wasn't the point of my story.

Where was I? Oh yes, breakfast. When I think breakfast, I think sweet. As a kid, occasionally on the weekends my mom would make pancakes, or on a really special day, she'd break out the waffle iron. I'd load my waffles with real maple syrup and butter, and eat until I couldn't manage another bite. If we had sleepovers with our friends, my parents would buy Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. And if you know my parents, you know that was really a treat. I still remember the taste of those doughnuts, even though I haven't had one in years. So now, when I think of special breakfasts, I think of sweets. I make waffles often, and have a few recipes like this one and this one. But for today, I wanted to try something different. Something sweet but a tad healthier than doughnuts and without the sugary addition of maple syrup. I started with this recipe from Celiac Teen and used an idea from The Frugally Rich Life for sweet milk, and came up with a blueberry cobbler. I usually think of cobblers as desserts, but this one is exactly what I was looking for in a breakfast. It's sweet and carbalicious, but also sugar-free and chock full of healthy fruit like blueberries and apples. Add in some quinoa flakes for a little protein punch and you've got a breakfast you can enjoy every day, and not feel the twinge of guilt you might have if you were to stop at Dunkin Donuts for a cruller.



Blueberry Cobbler
Print-Friendly Option

Ingredients:
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced apples (1 medium apple)
1 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup raisins soaked overnight to two days in 1 cup Trader Joe's unsweetened organic whole grain drink/your preferred milk or non-dairy alternative
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/3 cup amaranth flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch + 1 tsp. for the blueberries
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Take your milk and soaked raisins out of the fridge and add the vinegar. Allow to sit while you prepare the flour mixture.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the quinoa flakes and milk/raisin mixture. Stir in the egg and oil.
  5. Pour flour mix over quinoa flakes and fold together until just combined.
  6. Fold in the apples. This is your topping.
  7. Pour the blueberries in an *8 x 8 in. greased pan. Sift the tsp. of tapioca flour over the blueberries and shake the pan to coat them evenly.
  8. Use a spoon to put the topping on the blueberries. You can use your fingers or the back of the spoon to pat it evenly over the blueberries like a crust.
  9. Bake for an hour or until the crust is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the crust comes out clean. If the edges begin browning too much before the middle is done, you can put tinfoil over the edges.
* This makes a thick "loaf-like" topping that takes a while to bake. If you like your topping crumblier, you can use a larger pan. Just add more blueberries and spread the topping out thinner. It won't take as long to bake and will be more like a traditional crumble.

Serves 8-10

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

And now, for some fun news. Diane of The W.H.O.L.E Gang has been inspired by Jamie Oliver to start her own food revolution. From today until June 4th, 30 different bloggers will be posting their recipes and tips on how to cut down on the junk and eat more real food. The revolution begins today with one of my favorite bloggers, Shirley of Gluten Free Easily. Stop by to see what Shirley has to tell us! And come back every day to see what new tips you can find. I'll be at The W.H.O.L.E Gang with my own tips in June, and who knows, maybe we can even convince Jamie to stop by? Here's hoping...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Creamy Tomato Basil Shrimp Pasta (And Birthday Love)



April 19th is a special day. Not just because it was a year ago today that I wrote my first blog post (which also means it was a year ago yesterday that I started eating gluten free), but because it's my little sister's birthday. She's five years younger than I am, but probably far wiser. She will also happily eat anything I cook, which makes it even more of a shame that she lives across the country from me. She would be the perfect taste tester!

Happy birthday, Grace! I can't be with you today, so I'm cooking in your honor. Next time we're together, I'll make you my tomato basil shrimp pasta and a gluten free, sugar free cake...if I can figure out how to make one!

xoxo




My recipes evolve a lot from start to finish. Although I always have a plan in mind when I begin cooking, it usually changes as I go along. A taste here and there assures me that I'm on the right path or leads me in a new direction. This dish was originally going to be a shrimp and spinach salad, but after tasting the marinade, I decided it would be better cooked. I began imagining a wilted spinach salad, but then I remembered the Bionaturae pasta I had bought (SO worth the extra $), and decided to add it. But a quick taste had me thinking it would be better if the sauce were a bit creamy, so in went the milk and flour. And voila. A rich and creamy pasta dish. It's almost like going to a fancy restaurant. One where they make you wash your own dishes.

Tomato Basil Shrimp Pasta

Print-Friendly Option

Ingredients:
3 cups dry Bionaturae Penne (or your favorite gluten free pasta)
45 medium shrimp, pre-cooked (and thawed if frozen)
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 sweet onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, diced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. wheat free tamari
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
large handful fresh basil, chopped (approx. 1 cup)
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
10 grape tomatoes, whole + 10 grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. Trader Joe's Unsweetened Whole Grain Drink (or milk/non-dairy alternative)
1 Tbsp. white rice flour
sea salt to taste

Directions:
  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the whole grape tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari, and red pepper flakes. Put in a bowl and toss with the shrimp. Put in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain the water and set pasta aside.
  3. When shrimp is done marinating, heat a large saute pan over medium low. With a fork or slotted spoon, take the shrimp out and put in a bowl (it will overcook if put in the pan now). Pour the marinade in the pan and simmer 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whisk in the milk and flour and allow to thicken slightly.
  5. Add the spinach, basil, and chopped tomatoes and stir about a minute, until the spinach is wilted.
  6. Add the pasta and shrimp and stir in until they're evenly heated. Add sea salt to taste. Serve hot.
Serves 4

Stop by Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays for more delicious recipes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Balsamic Chicken With Sweet Mushroom Gravy




I'm sure I've mentioned before that chicken's not really my thing. Many of the recipes on this blog are vegetarian because that's how I prefer to eat ninety percent of the time. But I've always relied on dairy for much of my protein. Cottage cheese on my salad makes me so happy. Mac and cheese has me at hello. And a grilled cheese sandwich has me in heaven. The problem? Except for yogurt, dairy triggers my IBS (hello, lactose intolerance!). I've always known this, but my love for cheese was stronger than my IBS pain. However, after doing the elimination diet, I'm much more in tune with what my body does and doesn't like. I've also been having a flair up of the headaches and fatigue that made me decide to do the diet in the first place. Because of this, I'm realizing that my body needs to be treated with a lot more kindness than I've given it. After years of bingeing and eating foods that weren't helping my digestion (like gluten and lots of sugar), I'm trying as hard as I can not to be tempted by the Dunkin Donuts commercials (Can you tell I'm watching TV while I write this?) and to give my body what it needs.

Unfortunately what my body wants and what my brain wants are not always the same thing. My brain wants carbs and sugar. My body's crying out for more vegetables and protein. I feel best when I include a small amount of carbs and protein in each meal, but lately it's been too many carbs, not enough protein. Part of the reason for that is that I haven't adjusted yet to not eating dairy for my protein fix. I'm still having plain yogurt, and I love chickpeas, but other sources of protein are hard for me to get in. I used to love eating nuts, but I realized they were making my headaches worse, so I'm avoiding them now. I grew up on tofu, but I haven't enjoyed it lately. And for whatever reason, while I can eat most other food until there's no tomorrow, I'm easily turned off by seafood, chicken, and turkey. Beef? Well, I was never turned onto that in the first place. I harbor a secret love for pork, but since I also always wanted a pet pig, I won't buy it (which doesn't mean I won't occasionally eat it if it's in front of me). So the dilemma? Come up with more vegetarian sources of protein or learn how to cook chicken so that I like it. What's the best way to make me like meat? Smother it in gravy! So that's what I did. While I might not love meat so much, I do love gravy and I happened to have some homemade chicken broth left over from my roasted chicken last week (again, attempting to get that protein in). While I'll admit that I'm still not sold on chicken, I am sold on this meal (especially the gravy). The gravy is perfect ladled over your favorite vegetables and it's the kind of meal that will make meat lovers (like my boyfriend) go for seconds.



Balsamic Chicken With Sweet Mushroom Gravy
Print-Friendly Option

Ingredients:
4 4-oz. organic free range chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 lb. sliced baby bella mushrooms
4 prunes, diced
2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1-2 Tbsp. sweet white rice flour (You can use regular flour if you're not gluten free)
black pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add chicken breasts and saute 3 minutes on each side. Set aside on a plate.
  2. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute lightly. If the garlic looks like it's going to burn, add a tablespoon of the chicken broth.
  3. Add the prunes, balsamic vinegar, chicken broth and bay leaf and whisk briefly.
  4. Add the chicken breasts. Turn heat to low and simmer with a cover on for approximately 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Turn the chicken breasts halfway through for even cooking.
  5. Take the chicken out and arrange on plates.
  6. Turn the heat up to medium-high and whisk in the rice flour, allowing the liquid to come to a simmer. Keep simmering, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens into a gravy. Ladle over the chicken. Add pepper if desired.
Serves 4

What's your favorite way to get your protein in? Do you have a chicken recipe that you love and think I should try? What are your favorite vegetarian sources of protein?

This post is linked to Gluten Free Wednesdays and Real Food Wednesdays.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Vegetable Soup



On a warm day like today, I bet you're probably not thinking about soup. Strangely enough, though, hot days make me crave hot food. I'm an ice cream in the winter, soup in the summer kind of gal. Although, as you might have noticed, there's really no time I don't eat soup. The inspiration behind this dish though was the lovely weather. I wanted to keep it light and simple to go with the fresh, breezy day we had. I had roasted a chicken a few nights ago, so I used my chicken broth from that, which I think gives the soup a richer flavor than store bought chicken broth. However, I buy chicken broth all the time, and if there's a brand you particularly like (or a vegetarian broth), that would work just as well. This soup can also be dairy free if you want to use a non-dairy alternative for the milk. I've been using Trader Joe's new Organic Whole Grain Drink but I think unsweetened almond milk would be delicious in this soup. And as for the vegetables, onions, carrots, and celery are a no-brainer for soup, but you can use whatever you have on hand. I think that's one of the reasons I like cooking it so much. Unlike my trials and tribulations with gluten free and sugar free baking, it's really hard to go wrong with soup. A dash of this, a spot of that, throw in whatever vegetables you have, add some random spices, and there you go. Dinner's ready!



Spring Vegetable Soup
Print-Friendly Option

Ingredients:
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk (or non-dairy alternative)
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
2 handfuls fresh spinach, chopped
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium-large saucepan. Add onions and saute 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and celery and saute 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Add spinach and cook, uncovered, another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Puree half of soup in the blender and then return to pot. Stir in 1 cup milk and reheat. Add spices and heat gently approximately 5 more minutes.
Serves 4

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