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Food inspiration? YES!

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Food inspiration? YES!

I know I’ve been gone from this blog for awhile. It wasn’t intentional, but rather…. I felt a lack of inspiration to write about food. Until recently. I’ve been thinking about food in general… okay, I do that ALL the time. But more specifically, I thought about what about food excites me? EVERYTHING. So why haven’t I wrote anything? When analyzing myself, the answer was simple. I was too busy and too lazy. I was focused on getting licensed at my job, welcoming a new niece, getting ready for my best friend’s wedding and just enjoying life in general!!!

But know what? I’ve been trying SO many new recipes! I’ve come up with a few on my own but I will save that for another time. I wanted to share what I DID try and loved! I mean, I’ve had times where I’ll take a bite and I’ll groan with delight, declaring it’s my favorite. Over and over.

How’s that for somebody with 8 food allergies? A few years ago if you’ve told me that I would have had a culinary adventure while exploring food sans gluten/dairy/sugar/corn/soy/sesame/cranberry/baker’s yeast, I would have laughed at you. Seriously. Flat out laugh in your face. It sounds horrible but it was difficult for me to even imagine enjoying food. Well, guess what! I proved myself wrong.

Here’s a few recipes, or more accurately, links to recipes that I’ve fell in love with and strongly encourage you to try!

http://paleomg.com/peanut-butter-and-jelly-ice-cream/

(I used actual peanut butter… I loved it!)

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/butternut-squash-and-macaroni-casserole

(I adapted the recipe, using quinoa rice pasta from Trader Joe’s- WIN!)

http://www.agirlworthsaving.net/2013/01/paleo-garlic-bread.html

Garlic bread/rolls

I added freshly dried oregano and extra raw garlic to this recipe and it was HEAVENLY!

I found that recipe through Pinterest. I also found another one for zucchini lasagna at http://healyeatsreal.com/lasagna-rolls-vegan-paleo/

Both vegan and paleo! My husband and I were amazed by this recipe!!! I loved layering up both eggplant and zucchini together. And I highly recommend using raw garlic when making the cashew cream. Yum!

Both vegan and paleo! My husband and I were amazed by this recipe!!! I loved layering up both eggplant and zucchini together. And I highly recommend using raw garlic when making the cashew cream. Yum!

But seriously… I found so many more recipes! But I won’t bore you with them all. I take that back. Bore is the wrong word. Overwhelm is more like it. I’m amazed by the options I have before me! What I’ve posted here’s not even… 0.000000001% of what I’ve found. I’ve tried so many more! Invented a few (they weren’t all successful) but basically I had FUN with food. I hope you did as well! Keep exploring and share what you’ve found that works for you!

Enjoy your next bite, otherwise what’s the point?

Now it’s time to go off backpacking and enjoy our new finds! Tip for backpacking- pack bags of quinoa with spices in it. All you have to do is boil water and throw it in, wait maybe 10-15 minutes and viola!

 

I’ll be back SOON and that’s a promise! Not just to you all, but to myself as well!

My newest addiction

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Paleo food. Not because I’m following the trend, but because it FITS me! With one exception- sometimes it’s just too much meat but I love their recipes. Especially for sweets and sides. How come? NO SUGAR. No dairy. No gluten. So far that fits my allergies!

A very spicy, filling and absolutely aromatic dish. And see the word crockpot? Means it's EASY!!!

A very spicy, filling and absolutely aromatic dish. And see the word crockpot? Means it’s EASY!!!

I’m pretty much obsessed with this blog, I’m sure you may have heard of it: PaleOMG . Just check it out at http://paleomg.com/  . I love how she writes and her recipes. I recently cooked her crockpot pulled pork chili. Very spicy but wow!!! Super easy and so Dru-able. There was her gingerbread brownies that left my families raving over Christmas. Her roasted red pepper and avocado soup with sausages topping? I drool about it just thinking about it.

My best friend Jenn also shared this Paleo recipe for tapioca rolls that’s SUPER easy to make. I made it twice already and I ate the second batch in two days. Actually I’m not sure if it was even 24 hours… It was so buttery and that’s thanks to olive oil. I made a SLIGHT adjustment but it truly was a treasure find by her!!!

I’m sharing this recipe for one incredibly selfish reason: so you’ll have it ready for me when I come over for dinner!

 

Tapioca Rolls

1 C. tapioca flour

1/3 c. coconut flour

1 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 C. warm water

1/3 c. olive oil

1.) Mix the dry ingredients and slowly add in the wet.

2.) I prefer a muffin or cupcake pan and I can make 8 rolls this way. Be sure it’s UNGREASED.

3.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

4.) Try to pace yourself. Repeat steps if you just ate it all and need to make some for others.

 

PS. The rolls tastes AWESOME with the pulled pork chili! If you turn it upside down, it’s almost hollow and you can scoop the chili into it and have a “bread” like bite!

Also today is January 2nd so here’s a belated Happy New Year!!! Here’s to a wonderful 2014!!! I anticipate an exciting year filled with joyous events as well mouth-watering meals!!!

Until the next time.

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Last week, I was all about fall flavors ESPECIALLY apples. I go ga-ga for apples, specifically Granny Smiths. There’s something about the tartness that I just love. So naturally I looked for recipes and noticed there were many dessert recipes. I thought to myself, why not switch it up and make a dinner dish out of it? So I pretty much… thought up flavors I love and just… bought a few things and threw it together. I have a ROUGH recipe so you can do what I did. So I can make this again since we loved it!

What is this recipe? Stuffed apples. Sausage stuffed apples. We used chicken sausage but you could use whatever you prefer. Pork sausage will taste AMAZING in this recipe!

Okay, here goes:

Ingredients

Prepared apples, the "bowls" for this dish

Prepared apples, the “bowls” for this dish

4 apples (I used Granny Smiths), cut in 1/2, scoop out insides and mince the insides into a separate bowl

1 stalk celery, minced

1 TBSP rosemary, chopped

1 TBSP oregano, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced (I used black garlic, a delicious find in a co-op in Burlington, Vermont!)

*1 package cooked sausage (I used Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage), minced

2 TBSP olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) After the apples have been cut in halves and scooped out, place the skins (which will act as bowls for this recipe) and place in a greased glass plan. Also lightly spray olive oil over the apples.

3.) In a medium mixing bowl, place 1/2 of the minced apple insides**, sausage, celery, rosemary, oregano, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Combine well.

4.) Spoon mixture into apples. Try to stuff as much as possible. If any spills over into the glass pan, that’s okay! Once the apples have been filled, pour the rest of the mixture around the apples in the glass pan.

5.) Bake for 20-25 minutes until apples have soften.

6.) Serve with greens (we had kale on the side, yum! Balances out the sweetness, savory and tartness of the apple dish)

*If the sausages are raw, just cut them up in slices and cook until ready then mince as the recipe calls for.

**I used the rest of the apple insides to create an apple crisp type of dish. Yum!

Stuffed apples with chicken sausage

Stuffed apples with chicken sausage

Please feel free to mess around with this recipe! A recipe is never final it’s always up to a person’s taste. If I cooked this for my mother, I’ll omit the rosemary and add more thyme and maybe even sautéed shallots. She’s not a fan of rosemary, not the way I am.

One thing I do recommend: cook within the season. If there’s an abundance of apples, take advantage of it! I’m already looking forward to my dinner on Thursday night which will include butternut squash.

What’s your favorite fall recipe?

Homemade Lipton noodle soup

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I haven’t been feeling well for a few days. A bad cold which left me nauseous, light headed and stuffy. When I’m like this, all I want is broth. Or Lipton Noodle Soup. But alas! Lipton is full of gluten. So that’s out. I cannot remember the last time I had some time. But it still stands out as my ultimate comfort food for times when I’m sick. It’s easy to eat, easy on my stomach and easy to make.

Yesterday afternoon I told my husband that I wanted Lipton soup (for the second time in two days?). He wanted to help me out but also knew I couldn’t have Lipton. So I did my research aka google for recipes.

I found a fairly simple one but it still wasn’t “Dru-able”. So I decided to make my own.

I bought a box of Pacific organic vegetable broth, Thai kitchen thin rice noodle (thin is key here!) and after searching the shelves at Whole Foods, I also found Seitenbacher Vegetarian Vegetable Broth and Seasoning.

I filled a pan with water and let it reach boiling as I cut the rice noodle into pieces with a kitchen scissor (IN the bag otherwise dry pasta will fly everywhere). I filled another pan with the broth and added two heaping tablespoons of the vegetable broth and seasoning and whisked it up. The water was boiling so I shut it off and put the pasta in (this specific kind requires only hot water to cook in).

I drained the pasta and transferred it to the broth. I then let that reach a boil to allow the flavor infuse the pasta.

Now it was time for the taste test. I took my first taste. YES! Success! I felt as if I was eating Lipton noodle soup instead of a mock version! And it’s every bit as delicious and healthier for me! Not to mention super easy to make.

I call this a win, even though I still have a box of tissues with me.

    Homemade Lipton Noodle Soup

-32 oz. vegetable broth
-One package Thai Kitchen Thin Rice Noodles (8.8 oz)
-2 heaping TBSP vegetable broth/seasoning

Cook pasta as directed. In another pot, heat up broth and add seasoning and whisk until smooth.

Drain pasta and transfer to broth.

Allow soup to reach boil before turning it off.

Cool slightly so you don’t burn yourself and enjoy!

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Cookies!

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My cooking library! Cookbooks, folders with cutout recipes, magazines... I actually got rid of a lot already so this is probably half of what I had before!

My cooking library! Cookbooks, folders with cutout recipes, magazines… I actually got rid of a lot already so this is probably half of what I had before!

I have so many cookbooks on my bookshelf, and I have a few favorites from them all. Especially Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. You can find her blog at www.elanaspantry.com . Pretty much all of her recipes use almond flour. She recommends blanched almond flour. I personally find almond meal to work well with all of the recipes I’ve tried. Since I have a habit of writing in my cookbooks, something I learned from my mother in law, I know I’ve tried 15 recipes. Almond meal seems to work for them all. Maybe it’s because I don’t know how they’re SUPPOSED to be? But then again, I’m all about flavors. If it tastes great, that’s all that matters. A happy tummy makes for a happy me.

Seriously. Delicious food makes me grin, savory food makes me relaxed, spicy food makes me giggly and desserts makes me dance (along with picadillo).

Yesterday, my husband and I were walking around Whole Foods, picking up a few things. I was trying to figure out what I was craving. I walked by fruits. Nah. Through the baking section. Eh, there’s not many pre-mixed packages I can buy that’s sugar-free along with gluten-free and dairy-free. The frozen section? Coconut ice cream didn’t appeal to me. My favorite kombucha chia drink? Didn’t jump out at me. I frowned at my husband, somewhat whining. Yes, I’m a grown woman and I whine. I confess, I’m actually a 5 years old on the inside.

Then it hit me. I wanted HOT cookies fresh out of the oven! I prayed that we had everything we needed at home. So we walked back home and put away the food.

I grabbed the almond flour cookbook and put it in my clear plastic cookbook holder. I searched through my kitchen for all needed ingredients. YES. I had everything I needed to make chocolate chip cookies. But wait a minute, I can’t have chocolate chips since they’re made with cane sugar. Mmmm… substitution time.

There it was. A cardboard container filled with raisins. Oh yum. Deliciously sweet if you eat one at a time and chew for a few seconds. The juice is actually sweeter than any chocolate. At least I think so, it’s been awhile since I’ve had chocolate.

And walnuts!

Cookie dough, all ready to go, cooling in the fridge

Cookie dough, all ready to go, cooling in the fridge

So I made the dough, which took me approximately 10 minutes to make. Then it was 20 minutes in the fridge. The oven was warming up. My mouth was watering. Come on, come on! Finally it was time. The baking sheets were already lined with parchment paper (a HUGE time saver when cleaning up after yourself in the kitchen). I spooned on the cookie dough on the two prepared sheets.

And placed it in the oven, baking for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. The delectable aroma was beginning to waft through the kitchen.

Ding! went the timer. Or so I pretended in my head, since I can’t actually hear the timer. But regardless, I pulled out the first cookie sheet and put in the second. I forced myself to wait, promising myself a cookie in a few minutes.

And it was time.

I grabbed a hot and soft (NOT crumbly! I know, it’s gluten-free, I promise you!) cookie.

My reaction? I’ll sum it up in one word. Or rather sound.

MMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMM! (goes back for a second one… a third…)

Walnut-Raisin Almond Cookies (modified from Elana's Chocolate Chip Cookies in The Gluten-Free ALmond Flour Cookbook)

Walnut-Raisin Almond Cookies (modified from Elana’s Chocolate Chip Cookies in The Gluten-Free ALmond Flour Cookbook)

Just because you cannot follow a recipe exactly doesn’t mean you can’t use it! No chocolate chips, but got raisins? Go for it! No walnuts, but got pecans? By all means, go right ahead! No grapeseed oil, but you’ve got a bottle of olive oil? That works. What about eggs? No eggs, ah that’s easy. 1 TBSP flaxseed meal mixed with 3 TBSP cold water and let it sit for a few minutes.

Chances are if you google for a substitute, you’ll find it. I know I have. Even for spices! Need allspice but don’t have any? Nutmeg will do. Et cetera, et cetera. The possibilities

are endless!

Loving it in Hawaii!

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Traveling is normally difficult when it comes to finding food that I can eat. So imagine my delight at locating Whole Foods a few miles away from my hostel! That took care of my backpacking trip. We came back from Haleakala yesterday (which was an incredible experience and you HAVE to see if you’re ever in Maui!) and wanted to relax. So we went to Lahaina beach and walked around.

We came across a small cafe called “The Bamboo Fresh Express”. Looking at their menu, I was somewhat doubtful since a lot of combinations included cheese. Then we saw a gluten-free option- TWO of them! Either a rice wrap or a rice box (box with rice not a box made of rice!). So I asked the sweet woman who worked there- showing her my food allergy card.

Lo and behold! She was able to create a Dru-friendly Da’Green Pig wrap! A kalua cooked pig with spinach, avocado, jalapeño, honey, tomatoes, etc… It was mind blowing delicious! My husband said I looked as if I was in heaven savoring the meal. I also had a fresh fruit smoothie with pineapple, coconut and mango. YuM! What a way to reward ourselves after an intense backpacking trip!

And the woman? Also from Rhode Island! What a small world! She also commented on the food allergy card saying it really helped her figure out alternatives. Yay! It really does help me out. A lot. Takes away any potential misunderstanding and people often respond better when it’s written down as opposed to listening.

Bonus? Everything was organic and GMO-free! Sweet! A delicious wrap that’s also good for me?! I call that a win!

Then we walked over to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach. I’m loving it here in Hawaii. Time to get back to my vacation!

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Aloha!

Spiced Blueberry sauce

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It was Easter and I wanted a nice breakfast for both my husband and I. For us, that meant pancakes. But I didn’t want the usual. I bought fresh blueberries the previous day thinking I would make blueberry pancakes. Well I did, but that wasn’t it!

I pulled out a sauce pan and put in blueberries, maple syrup, nutmeg and cloves. I heated it up until it was bubbling, using a masher to mush it up. I could have stop cooking it after a few minutes but I wanted the sauce thick. I turned the heat to low and kept stirring it while flipping pancakes (I’ve never been good at that).

Breakfast was served! Instead of regular maple syrup, I poured the blueberry sauce over it. I was very sweet! I can definitely see this as a delicious topping for ice cream. Ooh!

    Spiced Blueberry Sauce

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
1/4 cup maple syrup (I used grade A)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove

1.) Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat to medium.
2.) When it starts bubbling, carefully mash the berries (don’t let the juice hit you!).
3.) Lower heat to simmer and keep on stirring until you reach desired consistency. I cooked for 10 minutes.
4.) Serve hot and enjoy!

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I admit I didn’t think to take a picture of the finished product. I was too busy eating!!! Just a recommendation- make this for regular pancakes otherwise it will be a flavor overload. I have a favorite recipe for almond pancakes from Elana’s Pantry- her cookbook is Gluten-Free Almond Cookbook. Yum!

Do you add anything special to your pancakes?