Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Tomato-Free, Nut-Free, Yeast-Free Pizza Sauce

If you're gluten-free, you're in luck. Tomato sauce and cheese are naturally gluten-free.

If you're dairy-free, nut cheeses are amazing! I used to make them all the time before realizing nuts were a problem for me.

If you're tomato-free, you can still have the cheese. Which is really the best part of pizza, right?

And if you're nut-free, once again, you can have tomato sauce and cheese. Lucky you!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I try to avoid yeast too, hence the lack of nutritional yeast... (Ignore the fact that I'm eating this on a pizza crust made with yeast. Sometimes I do things that don't make sense.)

What if you try to avoid all of these things? (Note I said "try" because the only food I avoid at all costs, all the time, is gluten. The rest I do my best not to eat on a regular basis, but it still happens.)

For the gluten-free, dairy-free, tomato-free, nut-free, yeast-free crowd, there's got to be something other than Daiya! Don't get me wrong, it's been long enough since I've had real cheese that Daiya has started to taste pretty good to me. But the truth is, I don't seem to digest it any better than I do other processed foods. In fact, I'm not digesting much of anything well these days, but that's a post for another day...

Today is all about pizza. About pizza and not feeling left out. I've been making pizza crust like you wouldn't believe. I'm determined to uncover the secret of gluten-free pizza dough. I've made vegan pizzas, yeast-free pizzas, yeast pizzas, pizza with egg whites, you name it. And I've watched while my friends smothered their pizza crusts in tomato sauce, cheese, peppers, mushrooms, and all other sorts of melty, cheesy, ooey gooey goodness. I've been jealous. I've felt left out. I actually had to leave the room one night because the smell of melting cheese in the oven was more than I could handle.

But no more. I finally kicked myself in the butt and said, "Well geez Iris, stop whining about it and make yourself some sort of pizza topping that will make you happy!"

And I did.

Now, I make large batches and freeze them so that I have this on hand any time there's pizza. It's ooey. It's gooey. It's not cheese and I'm not going to try to tell you it is. But it's pretty damn good. And when I'm having a slice of pizza with this sauce, I don't feel so left out.

And the best thing is, it only contains four ingredients, is so easy as to not even need a recipe, and is a simple base that you can play around with to your heart's (or stomach's) desire.

I like to call it: Iris's Pizza Sauce.

What? You were expecting a more creative name? I'm sorry, I'm too busy eating pizza.

Iris's Pizza Sauce (Gluten, Dairy, Tomato, Yeast, Nut-Free)
This sauce is really too simple to have a recipe, but here you go. 
Play around with it to suit your taste buds.

Zucchini, cut into chunks (enough to fill an 8 x 8 inch baking dish)
5-8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Fill your baking dish with zucchini, garlic, a generous drizzling of olive oil, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Keep it simple, or sprinkle on any other herbs or spices you think might taste good (suggestions: basil, oregano, marjoram, and thyme; paprika and chipotle pepper).
  3. Bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, tossing the zucchini about halfway for even roasting. You'll know they're done when the zucchini and garlic are both easily pierced with a fork. Let cool for a few minutes before pureeing in your blender or food processor. Make sure to add the liquid at the bottom of your pan too!
Can be kept in the fridge for days or frozen for future pizza/lasagna nights.  

My pizza crust recipe

More pizza sauce ideas from around the blogosphere:
Red Onion and Squash Pizza Topping from Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried
Apple and Onion Marinara at Low-Amine Recipes

Have a recipe you love? Leave the link in the comment section and I'll add them here!

This post is linked to Seasonal Sundays at Real Sustenance. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to School Breakfasts: Gluten-Free Quinoa Porridge

I went through a period of loving quinoa. I was obsessed with it. Quinoa pizza crust. Quinoa salad. Quinoa porridge. Then I came down with a 24-hour bug the same day I'd eaten a lot of quinoa. Haven't been able to stomach the stuff since! In fact, it was so bad that my cookbook co-author, Brittany, took on all of the quinoa recipes so I wouldn't have to experiment with it!

Luckily, my taste for quinoa is slowly returning just in time for the back-to-school craze. I've been sitting on this quinoa porridge recipe for a while because I wanted to be sure I had the ingredient amounts down (which seems silly seeing as how there are only two ingredients). Today I had my first quinoa porridge in months. I'll admit, I still think the taste of quinoa is very strong. I added blackberries, strawberries, gluten-free rolled oats and stevia to mine. If you like the flavor of quinoa, you can just eat it plain. If, like me, you think it's a bit much, you can add a little sweetener and a variety of nuts, fruits, seeds, and more. Like oatmeal, it's really just a background on which you can paint your own flavors.

Quinoa Porridge

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, soaked in water overnight
2/3 cup unsweetened milk (dairy, soy, almond, hemp, etc.)

  1. Drain your quinoa and rinse thoroughly. 
  2. Blend quinoa in a food processor for about 20 seconds, scraping down the sides if necessary. 
  3. Add quinoa and milk to a small pot on the stove. Turn heat up to medium-high and let milk come to a simmer. Once milk begins to bubble, begin stirring and stir continuously until porridge is thickened to a consistency similar to oatmeal (3-5 minutes). 
  4. Take off heat and stir for a few more seconds. Add in any suggested toppings you like. 
Makes 2 servings

Suggested Toppings:
Sweetener of choice (honey, stevia, coconut palm sugar, etc.)
nuts/seeds or nut/seed butter
fresh or dried fruit
coconut flakes
flax seeds/chia seeds
gluten-free rolled oats
pureed pumpkin or sweet potato
cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice

Have some more topping ideas? Add them in the comments below!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School Breakfasts: Gluten-Free Baked Buckwheat Pancakes

I haven't had a TV for the last year, and I can tell you one thing I definitely don't miss: Back to School commercials. As a kid, I cringed every time those awful JC Penney commercials came on. You know, the ones with happy kids dancing around in their cool new clothes. I didn't like shopping in the first place, and I certainly didn't want to shop for school clothes, or even worse, new notebooks! Today, I still feel a sinking in my gut whenever I hear that phrase.

Back to School. Shudder. 

Back to school means summer is coming to a close - which doesn't seem fair to those of us in the Northwest who are only just now getting summer weather. On the other hand, it also means butternut squash will be back in season soon and apples will be ripe to make pies. It means I'll start craving warm breakfasts and hot soup for dinner. It means pancakes.

On a hot summer day, I want fresh fruit for breakfast. But when the weather starts to turn cool, pancakes beckon once again. However, when I'm getting ready for work (or when you're getting the kids ready for school), I don't want to stand at the skillet flipping pancakes. With a little preparation the night before, these pancakes can be put in the oven while you're busy with your morning routine. They're so simple, they barely need a recipe. And once you've got the basic ingredients down, you can play around with making your own variations. They're made from raw buckwheat groats that are soaked in water overnight. In the morning, you rinse them well, drain them, and can put the batter together in five minutes. They take 25 minutes to bake in the oven, which is the perfect amount of time to get dressed (or get your kids dressed) and be back at the table for a hot breakfast.

Baked Buckwheat Pancakes print-friendly option
These dense, baked buckwheat pancakes have the hearty taste of traditional buckwheat pancakes, and are a perfect canvas for a number of toppings. With no added sugars in the recipe, you have a little wiggle room for combining it with something a bit sweet. Try melted butter and maple syrup, dip them in yogurt, or spread a layer of almond butter and honey on top.

1 1/2 cups raw buckwheat groats, soaked in water overnight, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil (substitution: any mild flavored oil, butter, Earth Balance)

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 
  2. Add all of the ingredients except the coconut oil to a food processor. Puree for 30 seconds, until a batter is formed. 
  3. Add coconut oil to two 9-inch round cake pans (1 tablespoon in each) and put in the oven until the oil is melted. 
  4. Take pans out of the oven and pour batter evenly into both pans. 
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. 
  6. Take out, turn over with a spatula (it might take a little finessing, but should come out pretty easily) and bake another 5-10 minutes. 10 minutes will make it a little crispy, but I prefer it that way. 
  7. Serve hot with suggested toppings.
Makes two 9-inch round pancakes.

Try pureed pumpkin, pumpkin pie mix, or pureed sweet potato in place of the applesauce. If using unsweetened pumpkin, add in a little sweetener of your choice.
Add 10-20 drops of liquid stevia for a sweetened sugar-free version.
Add in cinnamon, raisins, and a sprinkling of sugar for "cinnamon raisin" pancakes

Suggested Toppings: 
Nut or seed butters with jam or honey
Butter and maple syrup
Fresh fruit with whipped cream/coconut cream

For more "so simple they don't even need a recipe" recipes, check out Gluten-Free Easily for the August edition of Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten-Free. And for more recipes with 5 ingredients or less, go to 5-Ingredient Mondays at Sift, Stir and Savour.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I've Missed You

Before I say anything else, I have to say one thing: I've missed you. And by you, I mean all of my readers and also the space that this blog occupies in my brain. Does that make sense? Let me explain. I started The Daily Dietribe as a mental respite, a creative play space for when I was feeling drained in other areas. While it has become so much more than the online journal it originally began as, it is still in many ways a place for me to come and rest. Despite having more readers now than just my mom, there is still something wonderfully "anonymous" about writing a blog. While you may know who I am, may in fact be friends with me on Facebook (or might be a good friend or relative), I can still pretend that I'm writing these words into a great abyss. Thoughts magically leap out of my brain and onto the computer screen, a button is clicked and something called a post is published. Simple. Yet there is so much power in that little orange button that says, "publish post." With the click of a button, I can choose to share my thoughts with the world or erase them from your eyes. I have the ability to write the truth of my life or to sugarcoat it and top it with a pretty bow.

Although really, the truth of my life is quite wonderful. I don't need a lot of sugar to coat my stories. They're actually very sweet as they are, even the sticky and somewhat salty ones. The story that has been weaving its way into my tapestry these days has perhaps been more salty than sweet. But I've been experimenting with sucanat, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, honey and stevia, and I think I'm learning the balance of flavors. It's a lesson I've learned over and over again, when a loaf of bread is baked too long and the crust becomes dark and bitter. When an apple crisp turns to mush and begins to boil over in the baking dish. There is a balance - in life, in baking, in blogging. I'm learning it. Again. I'll probably be learning it again a year from now. Hopefully I'll get a bit wiser each time.


Here's what I've learned in the past few months about writing a cookbook, about blogging, and about life:
  1. Writing a cookbook is not easy. Anyone who says differently is selling something. 
  2. Gaining weight is inevitable when writing a cookbook. Again, anyone who says differently is selling something. Probably their cookbook. 
  3. No matter how healthy your baked goods are, there is nothing healthy about eating (ahem...taste testing) three or four muffins a day. I might say differently when my cookbook comes out and I'm trying to sell it. 
  4. You can't please everyone. If three people test a recipe, one of them will say it has too much salt, one will say not enough salt, and one will say it has just the right amount. If you're lucky, all of the testers will agree on one point. But that rarely happens.
  5. Sometimes someone will tell you they threw your food into the trash because it was so bad. Then someone else will send you feedback that they loved the very same recipe. This is when it's time to take a break and go for a walk. 
  6. Recipe testers are amazing. Without their feedback (even especially the negative feedback), I would never know what direction to go in or when to cut out half of the oil in my recipes. 
  7. There will be days when everything you bake turns out bad. This is another sign that it's time to take a break and go for a walk.
  8. There is nothing like the pride of making a recipe and knowing it will be a hit. These recipes are few and far between, but they make all the tweaking and retesting worth it. 
  9. Writing a cookbook is exhausting and time consuming - and one of the most exciting things I have ever done.
  10. There's a good chance I'll want to write another cookbook after this one. There's an even better chance my friends and family will disown me if I do so.
And now for non-cookbook lessons: 
  1. A life without yoga is no life. At least not for me.
  2. My health is non-negotiable. I learned this from Christine Kane. Regardless, I continue to try to negotiate.
  3. The bestest of friends can be made through the internet, but there's still nothing like sitting at the table with a girlfriend and a glass of wine and talking into the dark of the night. 
  4. Wine is high in amines and will likely give me a headache. Every once in a while I decide to ignore that fact. Same goes for chocolate. 
  5. Saying goodbye to canine friends can be just as hard as saying goodbye to two-legged friends. Sometimes harder. 
  6. The grass will always be greener on the other side, and if you camp out in a tent for the week, the grass under it will turn yellow. Then the grass is really greener on the other side. I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make here.
  7. If you take a break from life, life will just go on without you. So will your friends. Daily mini-breaks are probably a better idea than one giant break.
  8. Some friends will always be there, no matter how much of a basket case you are. 
  9. Your sisters will always be there. No matter how grumpy you are. 
  10. Your mom will always be there and she'll be grumpy with you if it will make you feel better.
  11. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Unless you're on a low-amine diet, in which case you should probably trade them in for limes.
  12. As I'm sure you all know, appearances can be deceiving. Case in point? That strawberry muffin looked really pretty. It tasted like mush. Don't judge a muffin by its appearance and don't judge yourself by what you see in the mirror on a bad day. In fact, just stay away from all mirrors if you're having a bad day. 
I'm not sure what the purpose of this post was. Partly to let you know I'm still here and I have recipes to share once I find the time to retest them. Partly to let you know, in some strange way, the thoughts that have been swirling through my monkey brain. And partly for myself, just to let that monkey swing through the branches of my brain and peer into the fascinating jungle that is The Daily Dietribe.

Friday, August 5, 2011

V's Reviews: Bakery On Main's TrueBars

Happy Friday Lovely Readers! Today, we have our monthly gluten-free review from V. She was lucky enough to get to try out Bakery On Main's new TrueBars, and here's what she thought:

Snack bars have become a convenient staple for many of us who lead busy lives and occasionally work or play through meal times. With so many bar options on the market it can be tricky to select a bar that is right for you and your mood. Connecticut’s Bakery on Main recently added to their repertoire a line of health conscious, gluten-free bars to spice up the competition, especially with their Apricot Almond Chai flavor!

Truebars are available in six flavors – Hazelnut Chocolate Cherry, Walnut Cappuccino, Fruit & Nut, Raspberry Chocolate Almond, Coconut Cashew and Almond Chai. Part healthy snack bar and part candy bar, Truebars satisfies the sweet tooth while being a good source of fiber, naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Plus they have many low-GI ingredients (agave, brown rice syrup, chia, and nuts) so are gentler on the blood sugar than many other bars. I love the sticky sweetness followed by the crunch of almonds or cashews, and the flavors such as raspberry, dark chocolate, coconut, and chai. Yum!

Truebars make for really quite a delightful 150 to 190 calorie snack to keep in the purse or backpack for whenever hunger strikes whether on the trail, at work or school, or braving the long commute home. Sampling these bars happened quite naturally as the inkling for a snack arose; the Truebars seemed like just the thing to hold me over! My favorite thing about Truebars is that several of the flavors are quite a good source of naturally occurring vitamin E! My favorite flavor Raspberry Chocolate Almond has 15% DV, and the Fruit & Nut and Apricot Almond Chai (second favorite) flavors have 10% DV! The Apricot Almond Chai in addition to being the most exotic flavor is also the most nutrient dense with 15% DV of vitamin A, 4% DV vitamin C, 6% DV calcium and iron, and 10% vitamin E. Not bad for a simple little 160 calorie, unfortified bar!

Since so many Daily Dietribe readers are gluten-free, you’ll be happy to know that Bakery on Main takes food safety and contamination seriously with ingredient quality controls, full product traceability, in-house gluten testing, metal detection, and standardized allergen and sanitation cleaning procedures.

Thank you to Daily Dietribe readers for reading my review and to Bakery on Main for the tasty snacks!

Visit Bakery on Main’s website for more information.


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