7 ingredients:  gluten and dairy free

  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • bananas
  • kale
  • almond butter
  • almond milk
  • cardamom

 

stormwithpurpsmoothielowres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve found my new favorite breakfast smoothie.  This is so good and the almond butter gives it some protein so it’s extra filling.  The almond butter has a much milder flavor than peanut butter so it’s great to add to fruit smoothies.  (I’m not a huge fan of protein powders but I do like to make sure my smoothies have some healthy proteins and fats.)

Add the following ingredients to your blender:

  • 1 handful of frozen strawberries
  • 1 handful of frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 1 handful of fresh kale
  • 1 cup of almond milk (more if you like a thinner consistency)
  • 1 tbsp. of ground cardamom

Blend for about 30 seconds and it’s ready.

 

purplesmoothielowres

4 ingredients:  gluten, grain and dairy free

  • almond meal/flour
  • eggs
  • salt
  • pepper

 

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There are a lot of gluten-free products out there, which is great when you are transitioning off of a more traditional diet.  I have a 5 year daughter with Celiac so I’m always looking for crackers, breads, pastas and pizzas that are gluten-free.  She’s still a kid who wants typical kid foods.  I’ve found many things she likes but almost all of what I have been buying is made with a blend of rice flour and potato starch.  So I feel like I’m essentially just giving her loads of refined ingredients even though they are gluten-free.

The Paleo diet has never interested me much because I think it would be virtually impossible for a vegetarian to follow it.  It’s heavy on animal protein and excludes grains and legumes for the most part.  But I did stumble across some cool recipes lately that use almond flour, which is gluten and grain free and I like the idea of not using rice flour all the time.

One of my favorite new sites is www.elanaspantry.com where I came across this recipe for crackers.

These were so easy to make and they’re actually really good.  I’ve had them with peanut butter and jam and I’ve had them with creamed spinach on top.  They’re not quite as crunchy as traditional crackers  but I thought they were great and will continue to make them.

In your blender or food processor combine the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt  (I actually used 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp cracked pepper
  • Pulse a few times until it forms a dough.  Then roll it out as thin as you can on a baking stone and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees.  They suggest rolling the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper.  I didn’t have any and it was fine.
  • After the dough is rolled out cut it into squares with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife before you bake it.
  • Let them cool a few minutes and the take them off the baking stone with a spatula. They came off easily and I only broke two of them.  Mine weren’t very uniform in size but it made about 20-30 small crackers.

6 ingredients:  gluten and dairy free

  • hazelnuts
  • cocoa powder
  • rice milk
  • coconut sugar
  • vanilla
  • maple syrup

nutella2lowres

My kids love nutella.  In fact, to be honest, they love all kinds of junk food, most of which other people (grandparents) let them try for the first time.  Which really flies in the face of my goal to raise healthy children on a diet of clean, whole foods.

Although, I’m not perfect either.  They often have to come to the grocery store with me and I will gladly buy the chips or chocolate they beg for in order to avoid a couple of kids scream-crying and as I push my cart through the store.

Yet, they caught me off guard the other day when I walked into my living room to check on my two little ones who were playing so nicely and overheard my 3 year old say to my 5 year old…”Ok, my name will be Cheeto in the game, your name will be Dorito.”

UGH!

Before I had kids my plan was no sugar, no tv, no plastic toys.  Hahahahaha!

(Did I mention they were playing Cheeto and Dorito while watching a movie and playing with plastic legos?)

So my new goal is to have them mostly eat treats that I make because I can trick them and make healthier versions of their favorite indulgences.  I recently came across a vegan recipe for homemade nutella online that looked pretty good.  I had to adjust it quite a bit until my oldest finally said it was just right.

  • Roast 1 cup of hazelnuts in the oven for 10 min. at 375 degrees.
  • After they cool take the skins off.  They come off really easily, it took me about 5 minutes.
  • Pulse them in the blender until they get powdery.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients below and blend until smooth.  (Which took me a lot longer than I thought it would, about 2 minutes all together.)
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar (or any sugar you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup of rice milk or almond milk
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup

Depending on how sweet you like it you can add a little more or less sugar.  My oldest told me in no uncertain terms I did not add enough when I tried just 1/4 cup.  She also thought it tasted a little chalky at first so I kept adding rice milk and blending until it was really smooth and a little thinner than I had planned.  But after putting it in the fridge for a bit it was about the same consistency of the Nutella you can buy at the store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 ingredients:  gluten and dairy free

  • fresh spinach
  • cashew cream
  • red onions
  • grapeseed or sesame oil
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper

creamedspin2

 

This is my new favorite side dish.  I also sometimes make it in the morning and put it on toast for breakfast.  It’s quick, easy to whip up and perfect for this time of year.

 

  • Add about a tsp of grapeseed or sesame oil to a skillet over low-medium heat.
  • Add about 1/4 cup of chopped red onion and a grated clove of garlic to the heated skillet.
  • Stir for about a minute and then add two big handfuls of raw spinach.  (You could also use kale.)
  • Pour 1/2 a cup of cashew cream over it all and stir together for about 5 minutes.  If the cashew cream starts to stick to the skillet, just add a spoonful or two of water.
  • Click here for my cashew cream recipe.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

You can spread it over toast for a warm, filling breakfast or you can put it in a bowl with tortilla chips as an appetizer.

 

6 ingredients:  gluten and dairy free

eggplant

tahini

lemon

olive oil

parsley

salt

optional: smoked paprika and/or crushed red pepper

babaganush4

I don’t cook with eggplants very often, mainly because I don’t like peeling them.  They’re kind of a pain.  Also, I’m the only one in my family who likes them so it seems like a lot of trouble for just me.    But not anymore.  I watched Curtis Stone from Take Home Chef poke some holes in an eggplant with a fork and place it directly on the oven rack to cook it until it was tender.  Then he just let it cool a bit and peeled the eggplant like a banana!  I couldn’t believe it.  From there it takes about 5 minutes to whip up the Baba ghanoush.  Here is how I make mine…

  • Poke holes in the eggplant with a fork, like you would a baked potato, and place it on the oven rack to cook at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes, or until tender.
  • Let it cool and peel the skin off.
  • Cut the ends off and then cut it lengthwise and scrape out most of the seeds.  (The seeds make it bitter)
  • Take the flesh and add it to a bowl and mash it really well with a fork. You can also pulse it in the blender.
  • Add a spoonful or two of tahini, a drizzle of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and a handful of fresh parsley to the eggplant and stir well.
  • Salt to taste.  I like to use crushed red pepper to give it a little kick but you don’t have to.

Traditionally Baba ghanoush is made with garlic as well but I think it’s really fresh and light without it.  I don’t always have fresh garlic on hand and either way it’s great.

I like to dip rice chips or tortilla chips in it.  It’s delicious, full of fiber and really easy to whip up.

gfspag

 

I have tried a couple of gluten-free pastas that I like.  I prefer quinoa pasta to brown rice pasta but I’ll eat either.  My kids are a little more particular though and don’t like either of those so after my daughter’s Celiac diagnosis I had to try something new.  My kids eat pasta a couple of times a week (at least) so the search began…

I’m so happy I’ve found Bionaturae gluten-free pasta.  It’s the BEST!  It tastes just like traditional pasta, so much so that it’s the only one I buy now and all of my kids like it.

Some gluten free pastas seem a little slimy after you cook them but not this one.  The only catch is that you need to cook it almost twice as long as it says on the package, in my opinion.  Small price to pay for good gf pasta.

They have rigatoni, fusilli, spaghetti, penne, elbow macaroni, linguine and spaghetti.  (Or as my kids say, “long slurpy noodles”.

Thank you Bionaturae!

 

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I’m still wrapping my head around the phone call I recently received from my daughter’s pediatrician.  After two months of my sweet 5 year old having bouts of extreme diarrhea and vomiting, after missing about 4 weeks of school in the first two months of kindergarten, after being told she had a virus, then a stomach bug, then a parasite, we finally ran some blood work and found she tested positive for Celiac Disease.  She tested very positive.  Her numbers were so high, in fact, that after consulting with a pediatric gastroenterologist and her pediatrician I decided to forgo the intestinal biopsy, which is the recommended procedure (in the U.S.) after a positive blood test.  But there is virtually no question she has Celiac based on her blood work.  And after just two days completely off of gluten she is feeling much better and has completely stopped having diarrhea and stopped throwing up in her sleep.

I know there are far worse things than Celiac.  I have close friends who deal with many other more serious and stressful health issues with their children.  I feel very lucky that this is something I can control with diet.  But I still felt like I got punched in the stomach when my doctor called the other night.  I was in a store and I actually had to sit down.  Celiac is an autoimmune disease and she will have it the rest of her life.  And, yes, I write a gluten-free blog but my 5 year old is not gluten-free.  She is my pickiest eater.  She is the reason why I have to sneak veggies and cashew cream into my kids food.  And my children are lifelong vegetarians.  Most people I know who are gluten-free rely heavily on animal protein in their diets.

But I am not afraid.  If anyone is going to have a health challenge with their child that can be entirely controlled with diet, I’m your girl.  But I feel for her.  How inconvenient and confusing for a 5 year old.   As I started to feel sad for her not being able to get a donut at our favorite coffee shop or have pizza and cake at birthday parties, I quickly snapped out of it.   First of all, that’s just junk food and there is plenty of junk food that is naturally gluten-free like ice cream, hot chocolate, etc.  I don’t want her to have that stuff very often anyway.

The more I thought about it all the more I realized there has probably never been a better time in history to have an allergy to gluten!  Grocery stores, restaurants, even coffee shops are offering gluten-free fare.  This can be figured out.  This is a situation that calls for focusing on all of the things she can still eat, not the things she can’t.  Rice, tofu, potatoes, fruits, veggies, peanut butter, popcorn, milk, and yogurt are some of her mainstays and they are still safe.  Whew!  I have found a fantastic gluten-free pasta and gluten-free pancake mix that all of my kids love so those foods are on the table again.  (I’ll talk about those in some upcoming blog posts.)

She has been such a trooper these last few weeks.  I think, even at 5 years old, she is relieved to know what was making her so sick and even more relieved to know how to feel good again.  We just went to the first birthday party since her diagnosis where we knew she wouldn’t be able to eat the birthday cake.  But we brought her new favorite oreo-like gluten- free cookies (thanks Glutino!) and she happily liked the icing out of the middle of them while the other kids ate cake.  She’s going to be fine.

I’ll be posting my latest, favorite gluten-free finds very soon…

3 ingredients:

baking soda

apple cider vinegar

lemon and/or orange essential oil

cleaningproducts3

Don’t eat this.  You probably figured that out from the title of the post…

I’ve been making my own cleaners lately and they’re right in line with The Veggie House. Simple recipes made with vegetarian ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. I scent mine with high quality, pure essential oils which make everything smell better.  (Pure lemon oil is also a great astringent which makes it a nice addition to cleaning products.)

This really works too.  I wasn’t sure but I thought I’d try it before I bought some gross chemical drain cleaner that makes my whole bathroom smell like bleach for half the day.

Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain with a few drops of lemon essential oil and then follow that with about 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar.  It will start to bubble right away and when it does plug the drain.  If you don’t have a plug, just set a dish or something over the drain so that it can’t all bubble out.  Leave it for 1/2 an hour or so and then rinse with hot water.  Completely unclogged the drain and it has stayed unclogged. Super inexpensive, completely natural and it works.  How great is that?

7 ingredients:  gluten and dairy free

  • carrots
  • potatoes
  • coconut milk
  • veggie broth
  • onions
  • ginger
  • garlic

optional: crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper

 

carrots1lowres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is such a good fall soup and very easy to make.  I like it spicy so I always add crushed red pepper, black pepper and salt to mine.  It’s already a little spicy because of the ginger so I would add the additional spices slowly at the end and taste it as you do so.

In a large soup pot combine the following ingredients…

  • 1 32 oz box of veggie broth
  • 1 can of coconut milk (I used the lite coconut milk but you can use the full fat if you prefer)
  • 5-6 large carrots
  • 2 medium/large potatoes
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp of fresh grated ginger (I LOVE ginger and sometimes add more)

The carrots, potatoes and onion just need to be peeled and cut in half or quarters because you’ll blend it all together later.  I do grate the garlic and ginger.

Bring ingredients to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for about an hour or until the carrots and potatoes are completely soft.  Then just transfer to your blender and puree.  (You’ll probably have to transfer a little bit at a time.  I blend some, then add it to a large bowl and continue doing that until it’s all been blended.  Then I pour it back into the soup pot and stir in any additional salt or spices.

It’s so good!  Really warming, perfect for this time of year.

(And it was a big hit at the farmer’s market last weekend!)

 

carrotsoup2lowres

3 ingredients:  gluten and dairy free

plums

sugar

lemon juice

 

plums1

 

I did it!  My first experience making preserves and I’m so excited.  I have to admit I’ve been afraid of canning.  The idea of spending hours in the kitchen with giant vats of boiling water on the stove and kids under my feet just didn’t seem like much fun.  It kind of seemed like it would be a huge mess. But I’m hooked.  It didn’t take hours and hours, I made a small batch of plum preserves, mostly while my little guy was napping.  And there was only one giant vat of boiling water and it was only half full.  No big deal.

My neighbor has a beautiful plum tree in her yard and she said I could help myself anytime.  (I’ve got great neighbors.)  I found a super easy recipe for plum preserves online at http://savorysweetlife.com/2009/09/plum-jam-recipe-no-pectin-needed

There are lots of canning recipes out there but I like this one because it only had 3 ingredients, I didn’t have to use pectin (which I didn’t have on hand) and it was a small batch.  It didn’t overwhelm me like some of the canning sites .

I did double the batch because even I knew that the recipe as is wouldn’t make much.  The plums off the tree are much smaller than what you buy in the store.  This made 4 half pint jars of jam.

So here is what I did…

  • I rinsed a couple of colanders  full of plums.
  • Cut them in half and take out the pit.
  • Instead of peeling them I just kind of squeezed each half until the insides came out.  (They seemed to small to actually peel.)
  • Add 4 cups worth of the peeled plums and 2 tbsp. of lemon juice to a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add 2 cups of sugar to the plums (I used organic cane sugar) and stir over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.  It will thicken up and most of the chunks of of plums will cook down.
  • After that add them to small mason jars (I used half pint jars) and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.

A lot of people told me I would need to use pectin or it would be too runny but I thought it was a perfect consistency.  It wasn’t as firm and “gelled” as the type of jam you buy at the store but it was thick and spread easily and I definitely would not describe it as runny.  It was so delicious.  So fresh and a little bit tart and a little sweet.  My new favorite breakfast is now gluten-free toast with plum preserves.

 

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