Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sesame Studded Onion Bread (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to fall in love with a recipe and then make it nonstop for weeks. I never make it exactly the same way twice though. When I made my vegan, whole-grain bread, I knew I was going to be experimenting with it a lot. To date, I've made the original version twice, plus a carrot juice pulp version that did not turn out so well. Last night, I decided to try a new flavor medley. Roasted onions and sesame seeds. The results did not disappoint.

Because this is a quick bread, I like to keep the leftovers in the fridge, so I tasted it this morning to see how it tasted cold. Eh, decent. Then I toasted it. Wonderful! I definitely recommend you eat this one fresh from the oven or toasted. The roasted onions lend a sweet undertone to this savory bread. I topped mine with a fried egg, which I know defeated the purpose of making a vegan bread. My housemate noted that it would be delicious dipped in gravy. Again, not exactly going along with the whole vegan thing. But it doesn't really matter. I make this bread because it tastes great. It just happens to be vegan and gluten-free, which makes it a great option for feeding lots of people, no matter their dietary needs. Although, that being said, this makes two mini-loaves, so if you want to feed a lot of people, you'll have to double (or triple) the recipe.

Now I want gravy.

Sesame Studded Onion Bread
Print-Friendly Option

1 cup diced white onion
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. flax seed meal
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water + 3 Tbsp.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. Put the onions, cumin, coriander, sea salt, and 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a small casserole dish. Toss the spices and oil to coat the onions. Put aluminum foil over the dish and bake for 45 minutes. 
  3. While your onions are baking, in a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sesame seeds, baking soda, baking powder, and xanthan gum.   
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the flax seed meal and 3 Tbsp. of water. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes. 
  5. Whisk the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, coconut milk, and 1/2 cup of water into the flax seed mixture. 
  6. With a fork, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well combined. 
  7. Once the onions are done baking, stir them (and any oil in the dish) into the bread mixture. 
  8. Pour into two greased mini-loaf pans.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Slice and enjoy hot from the oven or toasted the next day. Refrigerate leftovers.

Stop by the SOS Kitchen Challenge for more sesame studded recipes. I've been trying to come up with a kitchen challenge recipe for months, and I finally made the deadline!  

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's For Lunch?

Happy Wednesday! We've made it halfway through the work week, and aren't you wishing for Friday already? I've had a quiz and an exam this week, and I'm studying for another exam next week. But all of this work isn't getting me down; I've already learned the science behind why I crave carbs so much, and even better, I'll be interning soon at Green Lake Nutrition. This is pretty much my dream job, so I can't wait to begin. One of the nutritionists, Julie Starkel, is even connected with the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, so you can imagine how excited I was to hear that! During my interview, I got to sample gluten-free cornbread. When's the last time you got to eat anything at an interview, much less something gluten-free? I'll be sure to pass along any healthy tidbits of information I learn there.

Now, today I'm sending you over to City|Life|Eats for a guest post. My good friend, Valerie, has been helping her readers come up with creative lunch box ideas, but she's going on a much needed vacation (to Switzerland, lucky woman!), so I'm taking over for a day. What am I eating for lunch? You'll have to check the post out to see, but there's definitely an apple in there.

In other news, I'd like to share with you a couple of blogger recipes I've made lately. My pictures are not exactly stellar, but the food was delicious! First off, I made a recipe I've been eyeing for a while now. Gluten-free naan from Brian at Fire and Salt. Because I was cooking for my housemates, I veganized this recipe by replacing the egg with flaxseed meal and water, and the butter with coconut oil. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. It wasn't as light as I remember naan being, but isn't that often the way with gluten-free? It might be that the flax instead of egg made it more dense, or it might just be that whole gluten-free thing going on, but either way, these still made me very happy. I served them warm from the oven with soup and dip, and they made a perfect side for our meal.

For dessert, my housemate and I made an upside down pear cake using this upside down pineapple cake recipe. We replaced the pineapples with pears, used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Mix for the flour, and added a dash of cardamom spice. The result? Scrumdiddlyumptious. I tried valiantly not to eat the leftovers because of how much sugar is in this recipe. I failed. Valiantly. I can honestly say though, I don't know the last time I enjoyed a piece of cake quite so much.

What recipes have you been trying lately? Are there some on your list you've been dying to try, but never get around to? Maybe this is the week to give it a go! You might discover an amazing new recipe that will become a weekly standby. I would suggest starting with Valerie's Teff Kefir Flatbread - after you read my guest post of course!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Apple Cider Mini-Muffins And Evolving Thoughts On The Binge Monster

I thought I would share a little experience with you today. It doesn't have a conclusion, and there's no neat bow I can wrap it in. I have no tidbit of wisdom to give you, only an idea that's been winding it's way around my legs the way a cat might curl its tail around you. Do you remember me talking about my "binge monster?" Since I've been writing this blog, I've had an image in my head of a furry creature, much like Mercer Meyer's Little Critter. I know, not exactly a big scary monster, right? But that's the image that came to me, and I've stuck with it. This summer, I was reading a book on food addiction, and the author recommended doing some visualization. He wanted me to imagine myself vanquishing that monster. So I tried. I pictured myself as my favorite book heroine, beating the bad guys. I tried picturing myself with a sword (no guns - even in my fantasies I don't like them), attacking the monster. Well, can you imagine what happened? I started feeling really bad. Poor little critter, right? I'm just not a vanquishing monsters kind of girl. I mean, monsters have feelings too.

So I gave up on the visualization. I've never been very good at that anyway. Ask me to picture a peaceful stream and I'll see crashing waves. My mind is pretty stubborn and doesn't like to be told what to do. Maybe there's a lesson in that? Anyway, I went for a walk one day, and my mind began to wander. I can't remember what I was thinking about. Bingeing, visualizations, little critters, biochemistry exams, my impending move to Seattle...take your pick. Suddenly an image came to me. It was my binge monster. Except it was a tiger. Not a scary tiger, but a sweet, cuddly, soft tiger that only wanted to be petted.

Huh. So all this time I've been demonizing something in me that only wanted love. Now, at this point you might be thinking, "Well duh, Iris. I could have told you that. We overeat to fill a space in ourselves that's missing something." Okay, yes, I knew that. But there's knowing and there's knowing. My mind clearly did not like me running around with a sword, swinging at everything with abandon. So it gave me an image I could work with.

What do I do with that image? That's something I'm still working on. I've got a lot of ideas, I'm doing some work, and yes, even some visualizations. But no swords this time. Just lots of love. And part of that is allowing myself to enjoy comforting food. Which is where my "fluffy clouds of goodness" come in.

Quite an introduction for muffins, right? These puff up while they bake and are best warm from the oven. However, they settle into a perfect "muffin" texture, so you can definitely save some for your lunch the next day.

Apple Cider Muffins
3/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup sweet white rice flour 
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup coconut cream (see note*)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, apple cider, coconut cream*, agave nectar, and grapeseed oil. 
  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Spoon into greased mini-muffin tins. 
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes. 
*I learned this tip from Shirley. If you put coconut milk in the fridge, the cream will rise to the top. I scoop the cream from the top for this recipe.

Have you tried visualizations before? Does your mind go where you want it to or wander willy-nilly through the forest of your imagination?

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gluten-Free, Vegan Whole-Grain Bread (Yeast-Free)

I was trying to post a recipe for muffins tonight. I have two I want to share with you. But try as I might, I just couldn't seem to muster the enthusiasm. It's not that the muffins aren't good; on the contrary, my housemate called one of them, "fluffy clouds of goodness." That's pretty high praise for gluten-free, right? But no, my heart's not in a muffin kind of place tonight. Rather I'm hung up on bread. Fresh from the oven, soft, chewy bread. A hearty, whole-grain bread like I haven't tasted since I gave up Vermont's glutenicious 10-Grain Bread. Finding a whole-grain gluten-free bread is much easier said than done, and while I've enjoyed some of the store bought breads  - and not enjoyed some too - I haven't found any gluten-free bread that I felt was particularly healthy or good for me. Now that's changed.

This recipe came about one night when my housemates and I were sitting around chatting. It was getting late, and one of them asked me if I was in the mood to bake. I definitely was not in the mood. I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed. But then the topic of fall foods came up, and she mentioned apple fritters. Without even thinking about it, I suddenly found myself taking ingredients out of the fridge. I knew we had apple cider that needed to be used up, and I began imagining an apple cake. Of course, I didn't have apples on hand, and I didn't want to make anything sweet since I'm doing my best to stay away from too much sugar these days. But I thought, armed with apple cider, I must be able to come up with something. A mildly sweet cake, perhaps?

What I ended up with was nothing like I had planned, but it's been one of my favorite baking "mistakes" so far. My apple cider cake tasted like whole-grain bread! I made this again yesterday with some adaptations and it turned out just as tasty the second time. It's a quick bread, so it's probably not the best option if you're looking to make a turkey sandwich, but for breakfast, it's perfect with a pat of Earth Balance or nut/seed butter. It's also perfect for lunch, dinner, an evening snack... I admit it. I was so enamored, I had some with every meal yesterday. Now I want to make more.

Gluten-Free, Vegan Whole-Grain Bread
Print-Friendly Option

2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup millet flour
2 Tbsp. sweet white rice flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. flax seed meal
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. apple cider 
2/3 cup cooked quinoa, mung beans, or a combination of both
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, and sea salt.   
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flax seed meal, coconut milk, and 1 Tbsp. of apple cider. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes. 
  4. Whisk the grapeseed oil, apple cider, and quinoa (or mung beans) into the flax seed mixture. 
  5. With a fork, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well combined. 
  6. Pour into two greased mini-loaf pans (I haven't tried this yet with a regular bread pan, but if you do, let me know how the baking time worked.)
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.
Slice and enjoy! 

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gluten-Free, Vegan Cinnamon Snickerdoodles

I have always loved to bake, but I never really learned to experiment until I started eating gluten-free. Until then, I simply followed recipes, and I'm not sure it ever occurred to me to play around with them. At least not to the extent that I do now. But with gluten-free baking, how can you not experiment? There are so many ingredients that I never even knew existed before. Amaranth flour, quinoa flour, millet... There are endless possibilities.  Did you know there's a difference between potato flour and potato starch? I didn't at first, but I can guarantee you that if you ever use potato flour in a recipe that calls for potato starch, you'll figure out the difference and you won't make that mistake again!

This here is an adaptation of an adaptation. First, I baked the original snickerdoodles and absolutely loved them. Then I made my own version by swapping in a few healthier ingredients. Now I've made them vegan so my housemate can eat them. Making these vegan was as simple as can be. The old flax meal trick has been working wonders for me. If I had known a few years ago that I would be able to make gluten-free, vegan snickerdoodles, I would have been surprised. Actually, if I think about it, I don't think I knew what gluten was a few years ago, so surprise might not be the right word. Stupefied. Nonplussed. Confused. What is this gluten of which you speak, and how does one become free of it? 

Gluten-Free, Vegan Cinnamon Snickerdoodles 
Print-Friendly Option

1 3/4 cup sweet white rice flour (make sure you get sweet white rice flour, not regular white rice flour; it makes a big difference!)
2/3 cup. potato starch
1/3 cup sorghum flour
2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon (or more if you like your cookies with a strong cinnamon flavor)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup Earth Balance
1 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (I prefer maple syrup but I've made it with both and they're delicious either way)
2 Tbsp. flax seed meal
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
1 Tbsp. water

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flax seed meal, coconut milk, and water. Let it sit a couple of minutes. 
  3. Mix the agave nectar and Earth Balance in with the flax seed meal until smooth.
  4. Stir the flour mix in with the liquid mix completely.
  5. Chill dough in fridge for an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Form the dough into balls with your hands, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Don't flatten the balls, as they will spread while they bake.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges just barely begin to brown.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Be forewarned. These go quickly. You might want to hide a cookie for yourself.

This post is linked to Calling All Cookies, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Gluten-Free Ramen Noodles

Ramen Noodles are the ultimate fast food. They're cheap and take absolutely no effort. As healthy as I like to think of myself, I have always loved Ramen Noodles. I still do; I just can't eat them anymore. When I'm wanting something with that same taste, ease, and quick cooking time, I reach for Thai Kitchen Rice Noodle Soup. You can easily add some vegetables and protein to turn it into a complete meal, like this Easy Thai Noodle Soup or these Basil Thai Noodles. But when I have the time and am really craving a soup with the intensity of flavor that Ramen Noodles have, I use a new recipe that calls up those flavors without any of the non-pronounceable ingredients. The broth for this soup is so good that I drank it straight from a coffee mug, without bothering to add anything else. And the ingredients are so healthy that you can feel good doing that. Or you can add some rice noodles, shrimp, and cilantro as I did the next day, and have a deliciously warming meal.

The best thing about this recipe - aside from the taste? It's two recipes in one, because it also makes marinara sauce. Perfect for your next homemade pizza!

The bad thing about this recipe? It calls for 10 tomatoes, so you're more likely to want to make it during the summer when tomatoes are ripe and can be bought locally. I meant to post this a month ago, but got caught up in moving. Nonetheless, if you don't have any tomatoes right now, you're going to want to postmark this recipe for the summer. It's worth it! If you do have tomatoes, go for it, because it's a perfect comforting meal for a cold night.

Tomato Broth and Marinara Sauce
Print-Friendly Option

10 tomatoes, peeled and seeded (tutorial on how to do this)
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 zucchini, cut in large chunks
3 small peppers (I used 1 green, 1 red, and 1 orange, but use what you have. If you're just using one type, I would go with red for the sweet flavor), seeded and cut in large chunks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 handful fresh basil, diced

  1. Place your tomatoes and vegetables in a glass baking dish. 
  2. In a small bowl, stir the olive oil, agave nectar, oregano, sea salt, and basil together. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat. 
  3. Bake at 450 for an hour. The tomatoes will give off their juices while they bake so you end up with a dish of roasted vegetables and cooking liquid.
  4. Puree the vegetables and liquid in a blender/food processor in batches. Once you have it all blended, put a strainer over a large bowl or pot. Pour the blended vegetables over the strainer so the liquid goes into the pot. You'll end up with about 3-4 cups of broth in your pot. You can drink that simply as broth or read on to see how to make the Shrimp Rice Noodle Soup in the photo. The sauce that's left in the strainer will give you about 2 cups of marinara sauce, which you can refrigerate or freeze for later.
Shrimp Rice Noodle Soup
tomato broth
rice noodles
raw shrimp, tails peeled
chopped cilantro

This is a simple recipe. Making the broth is the hard part. Once you've done that, the rest is easy.
  1. Cook rice noodles and drain the liquid. Set aside. 
  2. Heat the tomato broth in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the raw shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink. 
  3. Add the cooked noodles and cilantro. Serve hot.
Looking for some other ways to use this tomato broth or the marinara sauce? Try these:
Other thoughts? What would you use the marinara sauce or tomato broth for?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gluten-Free Final Specials: The Final Roundup (And A Little Update On My Life)

Well, September came and went, and as seems to be the case these days, everything happened in a blur. Just snapshots in time. Preparing for my move to Seattle, finally getting on the plane, and starting school left little time for anything extra. But making life simpler for me this month were a special group of bloggers: my Gluten-Free Fall Specials guest posters. As many of you know, being away from blogging creates a stress all its own. The rhythm of writing, cooking, and taking photos keeps me sane, and the idea of my blog languishing without me for a month was more than I could bear. So eleven lovely ladies stepped in and took over for a month, creating tempting fall recipes and sharing their stories with us all. I owe them a huge thank you for helping me to keep my head this month, and for providing me with a new list of recipes I can't wait to make.  I'm sure you enjoyed these recipes as much as I did, and I hope you'll come back and leave a comment letting us know if you tried any of these tasty treats.

Sweet Potato Doughnuts: Gluten-Free Flavorfull 
Vanilla Protein Chai: The Crazy Kitchen
Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Brown Rice: Tasty Eats At Home
Granola Bars and Breakfast Tips: The Gluten-Free Homemaker
Oatmeal Marble Squares: Gluten Free Easily 
Curried Sweet Potato and Pea Wraps: City|Life|Eats
Blueberry Explosion Muffins: Veganlicious
Flat Bread: Living Free 
Individual Flourless Apple Crisp: The Messy Chef 
Baked Pumpkin Cranberry Rice Pudding: Ginger Lemon Girl 
Basic Pancakes: The Daily Dietribe :)  

Lemon Squares (Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-Free): Z's Cup of Tea

And as for me and the jumbled month of September? Here are a few lot of those snapshots to show you where I've been:

I baked a really ugly, but very yummy cake. 

Luckily, practice makes perfect.

Or in this case, practice made lopsided perfection. 

Hey, it was gluten and dairy-free. I get points for that, right? 

Oh well, I learned that cakes aren't my thing. 
I really prefer cookies anyway. 

I went to a beautiful wedding 
which is where the lopsided cake came into play
and where I obsessively took photos of rose petals and wine glasses.

Moved to Seattle (really to Kenmore)
and into a house with a pear tree and two apple trees in the backyard.

Took in the Seattle sights.

Walked around like a tourist with my camera out.

Started to fall in love with the Northwest.

Check out the birds camouflaging themselves on the train tracks.
As my mother's daughter, I should know what those birds are
but I don't.

Came a bit too close to this train for my own comfort.

I'm pretty sure this was the moment I decided I love Seattle.

Or perhaps it was this one.

And finally, 
last week I began classes at Bastyr.

And that is the end. 

By which I mean, the beginning.


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