Creative Salad Presentation

Kumquat Cucumber Salad

The Art of a Creative Salad Presentation

I’ve often thought that half the battle in trying a new food is in the presentation. Have you ever looked at something on the plate and the mere fact that it looks like something your dog dragged in is enough to push the plate away? I remember as a child, my dad butchered a steer. My industrious mother, not wanting to waste any part of the animal, boiled the tongue for dinner. The presentation was, well, something to be desired. The whole large tongue, taste buds and all was presented on a plate ready for carving. I still remember all of us kids shaking our heads and saying, ‘I’m not eating that!’ We gagged our way through a bite or two, then the next day she sneakily ground it up, added mayonnaise, pickles and seasonings and served it as sandwich spread, or in my case on top of lettuce. It was delicious! It looked like tuna fish or chicken salad. We ate the whole thing!

There are a few ways to spruce up a salad. Mere lettuce on a plate with a few added garnishes can be a little boring, so next time you have guests coming over, present their salad with flair by making a creative salad presentation.

Kumquat Cucumber Salad

Kumquat Cucumber Salad

Huckleberry & Feta Salad

Huckleberry & Feta Salad

Both of these salads use a cucumber wrap for the base. Slice a long strip the full length of a large cucumber or English cucumber. Take a handful of lettuce and trim it even on the bottom. Stand the lettuce upright and wrap the cucumber around the bottom of the lettuce, forming a base. Sprinkle condiments such as kumquats and sliced almonds, or huckleberries and feta. Sprinkle a vinaigrette of your choosing over the top and around the plate and serve a creative salad presentation at your next dinner party.

 

A Gluten-free Tax Deduction?

Celiac Tax Advantage

 

A Celiac Disease Tax Break

We all know what April 15th stands for…Tax Day. That dreaded day when your hard-earned cash heads to Washington. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could get a gluten-free tax deduction for being Celiac?

You just might qualify for a tax deduction if you are Celiac. If a doctor has placed you on a special food diet due to medical reasons, there are tax deductions available not only for food but for travel expenses involved in obtaining gluten-free items. Specific deductions pertaining to someone diagnosed with Celiac Disease are obtainable, so be sure to check with your accountant or other tax professional to know what type of documentation you might need in order to qualify. The Celiac Disease Foundation has a Step by Step Guide on how to receive your deductions.

Ways to Save on a Gluten-free Diet

We know that living on a gluten-free diet can often raise the monthly grocery bill from 1/3 to 1/2 higher or in some cases double the monthly food bill! When an average loaf of gluten-free bread costs $5-$7 and gluten-free noodles are more than double the cost of whole wheat noodles, it can send a food budget through the roof! Nancy Lipid, a Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity expert wrote an article on How to Limit Your Gluten-free Food Costs. She also wrote an article on 35 Basic Ingredients You Can Make at Home. Every little bit helps when switching over to a gluten-free household and hopefully that tax deduction will be one you can take advantage of as well!

Gluten-free in Portland, Oregon

A Visit to New Cascadia Traditional Bakery

There are several gluten-free bakeries in Portland, Oregon, and someday I hope to visit them all, but if you only have time to search out one during your visit, don’t leave the city without stopping by New Cascadia Traditional a dedicated gluten-free bakery located at 1700 SE 6th. Their products may also be found at the Portland Farmer’s Markets, Whole Foods Market, and several other venues in and around Portland.

GF Artisan Bread

GF artisan bread at New Cascadia Traditions

They specialize in artisan breads, pastries, pies, cakes and cookies, and if you like coffee, they carry Stumptown, which is an added bonus! I came home with two loaves of Honey Gold bread that is excellent for sandwiches or a slice of toast; the texture and taste are both tremendous. But it’s all the other treats that are so hard to resist. Everything is baked fresh daily and I don’t know for certain but I imagine they sell out of most items. One of my favorite’s was a small little puffed pastry called a brioche. Inside the brioche was a nice little tasty treat of sausage and cheese, not over-powering, jut an added boost of yumminess in the center.

GF Brioche

GF Brioche from New Cascadia Traditional

New Cascadia Traditional GF Cake

New Cascadia Traditional GF Cake

Why you should visit New Cascadia Traditional Bakery

The texture in their cakes and muffins alone is worth the visit. I would love to get my hands on a few of those recipes, but that’s what makes them special and will make me come back for more the next time I visit. If you are planning a trip to Portland don’t forget to carve out a little time to stop by New Cascadia Traditional Bakery. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Savory Gluten-free Bacon Gouda Scones

Savory Gluten-free Bacon Gouda Scones

Bacon, who doesn’t love bacon? My son loves bacon so much someone bought him bacon flavored mints once. Okay, that might be going a bit too far, but add it to these Savory Gluten-free Bacon Gouda Scones and you have a recipe for perfection. This simple gluten-free recipe can be baked up in no time and the results are so delicious. Perfect with scrambled eggs in the morning or with a nice hearty soup for lunch or dinner.

Savory GF Bacon & Gouda Scones

Savory GF Bacon & Gouda Scones

Gluten-free Yummy has finally entered the techy world! I have my very own APP now. If you have a smart phone, or a tablet, you can download it for free using this link: GlutenFreeYummyAPP. You can reference recipes at anytime. If you allow push notifications it will show a number 1 in the upper right-hand corner of the app letting you know a new recipe has been published. The marvelous team at Woväx created this app. Check them out if you have need for a website or your very own app. I highly recommend them!

GFY APP

Gluten Free Yummy APP

I also attempted to create my first video this week. I can tell you this, it was not easy creating a video with my phone, holding it with one hand and attempting to cut, chop, and stir with the other! It was a bit like patting my head, rubbing my tummy while balancing on a large rubber ball. You think I’m joking? I think I dropped my phone into the dough three or four times! I called my husband to tell him I created my first video and how difficult it was. He said, ‘Why didn’t you use our selfie stick?’ Hand slap to my forehead!!! Why didn’t I think of that? We picked up a selfie stick while in Europe; a long telescoping pole that holds the iPhone on the end. It even has Bluetooth capabilities, so all you have to do is push a button at the end of the mono-pod stick and it takes your picture. But even though I may have produced a few gray hairs on my head, I did have fun attempting my first food video. I would love some feedback from you. Please let me know if you would you like to see more how-to videos in the future by leaving a comment below.

Savory Gluten-free Bacon Gouda Scones Instructions:

 

Savory Gluten-free Bacon Gouda Scones

Serves 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 17 minutes
Total time 32 minutes
Dietary Gluten-free
Meal type Bread, Breakfast
These savory gluten-free bacon Gouda scones will not last long after they come out of the oven. Perfect with scrambled eggs or a hearty bowl of soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free baking flour blend (Both Pamela's or Bob's 1 to 1 GF baking flour works well)
  • 6 tablespoons butter (cold & cubed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar)
  • 1 Large egg (cage-free)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives (chopped)
  • 3 pieces bacon (sliced)
  • 1 cup Gouda cheese (cubed)
  • 1 Large egg white (for basting)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (sprinkled over tops of scones)

Directions

Step 1
Slice three strips of bacon into small pieces (1/2 inch) place in a small frying pan and fry until crisp. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel to absorb grease. Set aside.
Step 2
Chop Gouda cheese into 1/4 inch cubes and set aside.
Step 3
Take 1/2 cup milk and add lemon juice or vinegar to curdle milk. Set aside.
Step 4
In a medium bowl add gluten-free flour blend and baking powder. Stir until blended.
Step 5
Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Place cubed butter into the flour blend and cut in with a pastry cutter. Flour should resemble small pea-sized bits.
Step 6
Mix curdled milk and large egg together. Place in flour mix and gently fold a few times with a wooden spoon.
Step 7
Add chopped chives, bacon and Gouda cheese and mix a few times with wooden spoon, then mix with hand until dough ball forms.
Step 8
Mound dough into a half dome on a flat surface. Using a large bladed knife, cut into 8 equal triangular slices, similar to slicing a pie. Space evenly on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Baste tops of scones with egg wash from egg whites and sprinkle with sea salt.
Step 9
Bake for 17 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Remove from oven when tops of scones are golden brown. Serve warm.

 

This post was also shared on the following blogs: Poor & Gluten Free

Gluten-free Orange Cardamom Biscotti

Orange Cardamom Biscotti

Do you have a spice that you really love? I know I’ve said it before but I love cardamom. The smell of cardamom is powerful and inviting; I don’t quite know how to describe it. It is sugar and spice and everything nice and visions of sugar plums all rolled into one. When we visited the Spice Market in Istanbul, Turkey, the smells were overwhelmingly intoxicating. Mountains of spices flooded the aisles with bright, vivid color in every direction.

Mountains of Spices

Mountains of Spices

It is definitely hard to pick out the smell of one particular spice because they are all displayed together, but the aromatic smells lure you in like an enticing dessert. I came home with delicious bags full of all kinds of spices. Truly a foodies dream!

Spice Market

Spice Market

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up? I have the same routine every morning in my home. I put on my housecoat, bedroom slippers, and head straight to the kitchen to turn on my espresso machine. I can’t wait for that first sip of latte. This reminds me of a Winnie-the-Pooh Story I heard once by A. A. Milne.

‘When you wake in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘What is the first thing you say to yourself?

‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’

‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully, ‘It’s the same thing,‘ he said.

Yes, I’m probably in agreement with Pooh. Breakfast is usually the first thing I think of when I wake up. And making that latte is at the top of the list. I love adding a pinch of cardamom to give it a spicy bit of added warmth. When deciding on what type of biscotti to make, combining orange peel, cardamom and dark chocolate seemed like the perfect match. And this recipe is gluten & dairy-free!

Biscotti Pin

Biscotti Pin

The secret to a good biscotti is in the baking. Biscotti needs to go through a second baking process in order to make it nice and crunchy. While this recipe is both gluten and dairy-free, you can have a lot of leeway in how you prepare it. Use the dough as your base and change it up a bit. Add dried cranberries, almonds, or perhaps lemon peel and dried blueberries. The possibilities are endless!

Making Gluten-free Biscotti

GF Orange Cardamom Biscotti in Dark Chocolate

Serves 16
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 55 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Dietary Dairy-free, Gluten-free
Enjoy this gluten-free Orange Cardamom Biscotti Dipped in Dark Chocolate with your favorite cup of coffee or tea. A delicious treat anytime of day!

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons Oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1/3 cup Maple Syrup (pure)
  • 2 Large Eggs (cage-free)
  • 1 Large Zest of Orange (Organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom (powdered or grate from pods)
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 GF Baking Blend)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder (non-aluminum)
  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (melted for dipping)

Note

May substitute Milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate if you prefer.

Directions

Step 1
In a medium-size bowl whip together oil, maple syrup, eggs, and zest from orange.
Step 2
In a separate bowl blend gluten-free flour, cardamom, and baking powder. Gently add flour mix to liquid mixture and fold in all ingredients until a moldable ball forms.
Step 3
GF Biscotti Logs
Split dough in half. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and form two long rectangular logs side by side.
Step 4
Bake in a 300 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove biscotti from oven and allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 250.
Step 5
Browned Biscotti
Before returning biscotti to the oven, cut individual slices on the diagonal. Turn each biscotti slice on its side and place back in the 250 degree oven for another 20 minutes or until biscotti is golden brown.
Step 6
Dipped Biscotti
Melt dark chocolate in a double broiler or in the microwave. Place chocolate in a flat bowl that allows room for dipping the flat surface. Dip biscotti half way up the side. Place chocolate-side up on parchment paper and allow to fully dry before placing in an air-tight container.
Step 7
GF Biscotti & Coffee
Enjoy with a delicious cup of coffee or tea.

Find my recipe on the following blogs: vegetarianmamma

 

 

 

 

Paleo Grain-free Pasta

Plate of Paleo Noodles

Have you ever wanted to make your own grain-free pasta? In many ways it sounds like an oxymoron. Pasta has always been flour, eggs, and olive oil, so to make pasta without flour, even gluten-free flour, it seems impossible. I have a grain-free pasta recipe for you that proves it is anything but impossible! When I visited Italy with my husband back in October I felt a bit deprived when dining at the local restaurants; similar to how I felt years ago when there were minuscule gluten-free products on the market. When you tell an Italian restaurant owner that you are allergic to his pasta he just looks at you like you’re crazy, then offers you a plate of meat & cheese or a buffalo mozzarella salad. I ate a lot of both. Don’t get me wrong, I would eat all the mozzarella salads in the world to see the beauty of Venice again, okay maybe not all, but I wouldn’t miss seeing Italy just because I couldn’t eat their pasta.

Italian Gondola

Traveling down a Venice waterway on a gondola.

Beautiful Venice

Beautiful Venice

As I walked along the streets of Venice staring into the Italian storekeeper’s windows, I came across a small bakery where the bread looked slightly different from other bakeries I had seen. Could this possibly be a gluten-free bakery? I took my card out of my pocket that told of my gluten allergy in Italian and showed it to the storekeeper. She read it and then started waving her hands wildly and shaking her head NO! There was a customer in her shop who spoke English and asked to see my card. She then said, ‘Go out this door, go over the first bridge, go down the alley and go over the bridge to the right. Then go down the next alleyway and over one more bridge then on your left you will find the store for your problem.’ Ha ha, I had to laugh. I never really thought of my allergy as a ‘problem’ but then again, I was in Italy and I guess one could say it is a problem finding anything to eat when all they serve is pizza and pasta on every street corner. We tried to follow her directions, but if you have ever been to Venice you know how every bridge and every alleyway start looking the same. We never did find the little gluten-free bakery, so once again I ate mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.

The Grand Canal in Venice

The Grand Canal in Venice

I have never made homemade gluten-free pasta but today I tried my hand at it and I must say, it is really delicious. The trick is getting it thin enough, so if you have a pasta machine or a pasta attachment to your Kitchen-Aid, you will be much better off. I rolled my grain-free pasta free-hand, which is how many of the chefs prepare it in Italy, but it’s a little tricky getting it rolled even and thin.

Fresh Paleo Pasta Noodles

Fresh Paleo Pasta Noodles

I decided on a grain-free linguine noodle made with almond flour, arrowroot, tapioca starch and eggs. Because the pasta is fresh it only needs to cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Boiling Paleo Pasta Noodles

Boiling Paleo Pasta Noodles

It may not be quite as good as the Italian’s pasta, but for this gluten-free gal it comes pretty close! I tossed my fresh grain-free pasta in a little butter, Italian seasoning, and fresh Parmesan cheese but you could easily add your favorite pasta sauce on top. Enjoy!

PS: I love hearing from my readers, so please comment below if you like. I don’t mind suggestions for future recipes either. If there is something you’d like to see or a recipe you would like me to make, just post some suggestions.

Paleo Grain-free Noodle

Paleo Grain-free Noodles

 Grain-free Pasta Directions:

Grain-free Pasta

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 3 minutes
Total time 23 minutes
Allergy Egg, Tree Nuts
Dietary Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Paleo
Meal type Main Dish
There is nothing quite like freshly made grain-free pasta. Cook up this quick & easy grain-free pasta recipe, good for all gluten-free and paleo diets.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almond Flour (extra-fine)
  • 1 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1 cup Arrowroot Flour (2/3 for noodles, 1/3 for rolling dough)
  • 2 Large Eggs (cage-free)
  • 4 Large Egg Yokes (cage-free)
  • 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil (for cooking pasta)

Note

If you do not have arrowroot flour, substitute tapioca starch in its place.

Directions

Step 1
Place a medium saucepan full of water on the stove. Add the olive oil (to prevent pasta from sticking) and bring to a boil.
Step 2
Place all dry ingredients (only 2/3 cup of arrowroot) in a large bowl and stir about 2 minutes by hand to fully blend all the dry ingredients.
Step 3
Make a crater in the center of the flour mix and add the eggs and egg yokes to the center. Whisk the eggs and slowly start pulling in the dry ingredients from the sides. Only partially combine the eggs and dry ingredients.
Step 4
Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of arrowroot flour on a cutting board. Add pasta mixture and begin kneading the dough. Knead the dough for about 4 minutes or until it is smooth. If your dough is too sticky add a little more almond flour. If your dough is too dry add a teaspoon of olive oil or water at a time until proper consistency is met. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap while working with one section, so it won't dry out.
Step 5
If you have a pasta machine or pasta attachment, run the dough through once on a zero setting then cut the pasta on a linguini setting. If rolling by hand, roll out dough with a rolling pin until desired thickness about 1/8 to 1/16" thickness. cut individual strips with a pizza cutter.
Step 6
Drop noodles into boiling water and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Strain noodles and place desired topping on hot noodles. Serve immediately.

 

How to Make Kombucha Tea

Kombucha Title

I’m veering away from food today to bring you something slightly unusual but very good for you, especially if you suffer from gut issues…Kombucha Tea. Maybe you have seen it in the grocery store where it sells for about $2.50 per bottle! I am going to teach you how to make this incredibly easy tea at the fraction of the cost.

Blueberry Apple Kombucha Tea

Blueberry-Apple Kombucha Tea

WHAT EXACTLY IS KOMBUCHA?

Kombucha is a slightly fermented, slightly sweet tea, that is indisputably full of probiotics, which are very good for your gut. Kombucha starts out as a surgery tea, which then slowly ferments as the “scoby” feeds on the sugar. Hmm, sounds weird, right? Well it is, but really not much different from how vinegar is made. The scoby eats up a majority of the sugar, leaving a slightly sweet, ever so refreshing fizzy drink.

THE SCOBY

The Scoby

Scoby stands for symbiotic culture of bacterial yeast.

Okay, before you say anything, I agree with you! It looks like something your kids brought home from a science experiment at school. Well, that’s not far off. “SCOBY” is actually an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacterial yeast. This rubbery, sponge-like mass floats, grows, eats sugar, and brown stringy bits hang from it. Sounds gross, right? But in reality it is so awesome! This little amoeba-looking scoby is the power and life behind creating the delicious probiotic fermented kombucha.

WHY IS IT GOOD FOR YOU?

Fermentation is good for your body period. If you want to know why, read here: Fermented foods and why they are amazing for your body. Kombucha goes through a fermentation process that gives the drink its natural carbonation. Kombucha, like yogurt, is full of probiotics, which again, are fantastic for making a happy gut. And any of us suffering from Celiac or a Gluten Intolerance can attest to wanting a happy gut!

IS KOMBUCHA ALCOHOLIC?

This is a good question because it is a fermented drink. But kombucha contains less that 1% alcohol, so do I call it an alcoholic drink? Personally I do not, but you should be aware that due to its fermentation process there is a slight amount in each batch of brewed kombucha.

HOW DO I MAKE A SCOBY?
Brewing Kombucha Tea

Brewing Kombucha Tea

Unless you know someone who makes kombucha tea, you will need to order a scoby. My daughter was brewing kombucha long before I ever started making the tea, so I was able to get a starter scoby from her. Every batch of Kombucha produces an extra baby scoby, which can be passed on to friends. In the image above you can see where the extra scoby is forming. The tea takes about 7-10 days to brew, then after it is bottled it goes through a second fermentation resting period of about 5-7 days. What happens if you forget about your fermenting kombucha? Well let me tell you, you end up with the mother of all scoby’s! Here is what happened when I brewed a batch and forgot to bottle it before we left for our 3 week European trip! It was like birthing a baby trying to get this gargantuan scoby out of the jar! I sliced off about a 1/4 inch thick piece and started again.

Mother of all Scoby's

Mother of all Scoby’s

WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE KOMBUCHA
  • 16 oz EZ cap bottling jars
  • 1 gallon glass jar for brewing
  • Large Cooking Pot
  • Funnel
  • Wooden Spoon
  • 1 scoby (symbiotic culture of bacterial yeast)
  • Sugar
  • Black Tea
  • Fresh cut fruit/no citrus (optional)

Most of the supplies you need for brewing Kombucha, including purchasing a scoby, you can find in my GF Market on the left-hand side under Making Kombucha.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 1/2 quarts water
  • 8-10 black tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar (raw or white)
  • 1-2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha or from store-bought scoby bag.
  • Fresh cut fruit (no citrus)

Process:

Place large cooking pot on stove and fill with 3 1/2 quarts of water. Add 8-10 black tea bags, 1 cup of sugar and bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Once tea comes to a boil remove from heat. Allow to completely cool.

Once tea has completely cooled, remove tea bags. Place cooled tea in a large one gallon glass jar. Add scoby and starter tea from last batch (or store-bought batch). Place plastic lid or coffee filter with rubber band over opening (this is what I use so I can put the date I need to bottle on the filter with a permanent marker). DO NOT USE METAL LID OR METAL STIRRING SPOON. For some reason, metal disturbs the fermenting process. Place covered jar in a dark place (I keep mine in my pantry) and let it sit for 7-10 days. If you like more sweetness bottle after seven days, more even balance between sweetness and tartness bottle after 10 days (I always go 10 days). You may notice the scoby on the bottom, floating on the top or even drifting sideways. All these positions are perfectly normal. Sometimes the new baby scoby will grow completely detached from the mother scoby or it may attach itself, in which you will want to pull it apart before beginning a new batch.

Making a new scoby

Making a new scoby

After the 7 to 10 days have passed you are ready to bottle! Remove the lid and take out the scoby. I place my scoby in a glass bowl with 1-2 cups of the tea and set it aside. Take the baby scoby and place in a plastic Ziploc bag with a cup of tea and place in the refrigerator to give away or keep as a back-up scoby.

You will need about 6-7 16 oz bottling jars. I like to use the jars with the EZ lid stoppers because they can be used over and over again. Now you get to be creative and think of all kinds of fruit combinations to place in your kombucha. Here are a few of my favorite combinations:

  • Asian Pear & Ginger
  • Blueberry Blackberry Raspberry
  • Apple Blueberry
  • Ginger Peach
  • Raspberry Peach

I cut the fruit small enough so when it soaks up a bit of the tea it won’t get stuck in the mouth of the jar (about the size of a blueberry). When I use fresh ginger, I cut a long strip. For some reason, the citrus fruits disturb the fermentation, so I have been told not to use them. I generally place about 10-15 pieces of fruit in each jar and only one slice of ginger when adding that. Place your fruit in the jar first, then add the tea just above the bottom of the neck of the jar by using a funnel. You should notice the first signs of bubbly carbonation when filling the jar.

Filling Bottles with Kombucha

Filling Bottles with Kombucha

Kombucha Carbonation

Kombucha Carbonation

Wipe the top rim of the jar with a damp cloth before sealing the cap. After you are done bottling, your jars are ready for the second fermentation. Let your bottles rest on the counter for another 5-7 days before placing them in the refrigerator, which stops the carbonation process.

After you finish bottling, it is now time to start your next batch. Follow the beginning steps of brewing the tea and placing the scoby you have resting in the dish into your cooled tea. Place in a closet and this new batch will be ready to drink in a few weeks!

Making Kombucha Tea

Making Kombucha Tea

Now you are ready to drink your first bottle! Strain the kombucha (I use a tea strainer) At this point it doesn’t matter if your strainer is metal. But you do want to strain it before drinking so you can remove any fruit or bits of brown stringy cultures that may be still in your bottle, although it would not hurt you if you drank it. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

World’s Best Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

World's Best Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

Spaghetti squash is one of those remarkable vegetables that does something amazing when it’s cooked. It actually produces strands of spaghetti-like fibers that take the place of high-carb noodles. Even if you are not a huge squash fan, you may be surprised at how the spaghetti squash actually has very little flavor, so it’s not like getting a mouthful of squash with some spaghetti sauce on top.

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

The other bonus is you don’t have that heavy pasta feel sitting on your stomach after the meal. Honestly, I can’t wait to use it in some other recipes. The sauce I created is slow-cooked, rich and deep with flavors of red wine, garlic, and fresh basil; truly the makings of the World’s Best Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti! The Kitchn has a great recipe for Spaghetti Squash Baked Carbonara you might want to try as well.

I mentioned in my last post that my husband and I were heading on a short marriage cruise with Family Life called Love Like You Mean It. We left out of Miami, traveled to Key West, Cozumel, a day at sea, then back to Miami. We saw many seagulls, but were thrilled to get up close and personal with a pelican! A fisherman threw a small fish at the pelican, then it was all over for the posing. Two other pelicans joined in and they fought for the little fish. The fisherman threw another, and then he realized that was not a good idea. The pelicans started chasing him for more! He eventually packed up his pole and left.

Posing Pelican

Posing Pelican

Pelican Eating a Fish

Pelican Eating a Fish

We enjoyed our time in Key West, goofing around during the day and a highlight of the trip was renewing our wedding vows out under the stars over the Atlantic Ocean late at night. I wish I had a picture of that, but it’s nice to know after thirty years of marriage, we still really enjoy being a little crazy together.

Goofing Around

Goofing Around

Most cruise lines have fairly good options for the gluten-free diet. Bread was offered at every meal. Some were a little funky tasting; maybe too much garbanzo bean flour, which has a very strong presence in baked goods. I think the only gluten-free dessert the cruise kitchen knew how to make was gluten-free molten lava cake. Don’t get me wrong, it was very tasty, but having it four nights in a row, I felt like I was living Ground Hog Day over and over again!

After the month of January eating nothing but clean food, no sugar, no processed foods, we are trying to maintain that as much as possible. This recipe is a good eating clean recipe, with baked squash and homemade sauce. Once the squash is fully cooked, take a fork and gently pull the flesh away from the skin, creating spaghetti strands. Pull from all sides, so you end up with a pile of ‘spaghetti’ filling the inside of the squash.

Forking the Squash

Forking the Spaghetti Squash

Add the World’s Best Spaghetti Sauce on top, a little Parmesan, and some fresh basil and enjoy a fantastic meal without all the carb guilt!

Spaghetti Squash Pin

Spaghetti Squash Pin

World’s Best Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Dietary Gluten-free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Nothing makes spaghetti better than a deep, rich sauce, unless you put it on top of spaghetti squash! Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti equals no bloated tummy!

Ingredients

  • 1 Large spaghetti squash (sliced in half length-wise)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Large sweet onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (sliced or minced)
  • 1lb turkey (ground)
  • 2 cans chopped organic tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can organic tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (or other red wine)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (raw)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Step 1
Preparing Spaghetti Squash
Cut spaghetti squash in half length-wise and remove seeds and loose fibers. Rub one tablespoon of olive oil onto each halve. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn flesh-side down onto cookie sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.
Step 2
Onions & Garlic
Add remaining olive oil to saute pan. Chop onion and garlic and add to pan. Saute on medium high until onions begin to soften (about 5 minutes). Add turkey and saute until fully cooked.
Step 3
Sauce
Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, balsamic vinegar, honey, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and cayenne pepper (optional). Stir until fully blended. Turn heat to medium low stirring occasionally.
Step 4
Forking the Squash
Remove spaghetti squash from oven and turn squash over. Gently fork the inside flesh causing "spaghetti" strands to appear. Fill the spaghetti squash with the strands.
Step 5
Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
Scoop a heaping spoonful of sauce on top of strands. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and freshly shopped basil.
Step 6
Half
Slice each half down the middle and serve. Eat the insides of the squash but not the outer skin.

This recipe was shared on the following blogs: TheChickenChick

 

 

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Bite of Grain-free Cheesecake

Is it possible to create a chocolate decadent dessert without using any grain, dairy, eggs, or sugar? If you don’t think it is possible this recipe will change your mind. My Chocolate Mousse Cake is truly allergy friendly, unless you are allergic to tree nuts, and in that case I am so sorry, because this has to be one of the most delicious allergy-free desserts I have ever made! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and this may be the perfect dessert for that special someone in your life, and if there’s not a special someone, then that special someone is you, so indulge!

Ganache Drizzle

Ganache pooling at the base of a deliciously silky Chocolate Mousse Cake.

My hubby & I are continuing to celebrate our 30th year of marriage. For Valentine’s Day, actually the week leading up, we are attending a marriage conference cruise via Family Life called Love Like You Mean It; a time to relax, refocus, and enjoy a little romance. In this picture below we are standing among the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey. Thankfully our marriage isn’t in ruins but I can tell you it has taken a lot of hard work to keep it that way. Faith, family and forgiveness are a few of the key components! I love this man and am especially thankful that he enjoys eating my gluten-free creations, even when occasionally they’re not blog worthy. And yes, I have had plenty of those through the years! He gently says, this probably isn’t my favorite, which is code for I wouldn’t be disappointed if you never made this again. Haha, he doesn’t say that often but when he does, most of the time I am in agreement.

30 years of marriage

30 years of marriage

Before I had him taste my new Chocolate Mousse Cake I told him it had no grains, no dairy (including butter), no eggs, and no sugar. Can you call that dessert? he asked. But after one bite he said, People are going to love this! I had him try to guess what was in it. I told him there was a surprise ingredient that he might not figure out. And I was right, he didn’t come anywhere close. When I told him I used an avocado, he was amazed. He took another bite. I can’t taste it at all! he said. Yep, the cocoa powder and other ingredients completely mask the avocado flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love avocado, but avocado and chocolate? Who would have thought those two could go together so well?! This recipe is adapted from The Comfy Belly, which uses hazelnuts in place of the avocado. If you decide to try this option, just note the hazelnuts must be soaked for several hours before grinding into a paste. I personally love the creamy texture the avocado gives.

Making Faux Cheesecake

The faux cheesecake mix whips up to a nice consistency.

The avocado produces this rich, silky texture that is absolutely perfect for the filling. I can’t wait for you to try this dessert. And don’t let the finished picture fool you. It may look like it’s difficult to make but it is quite easy. The great part is your guests or family members will be amazed! My hubby also said it was restaurant quality, which is quite a compliment. You see why I love this Man?

Grain-free crust

Forming the grain-free chocolate crust.

I used English muffin rings for my mold but I was thinking a large heart-shaped cookie cutter would be so great for Valentine’s Day. I just couldn’t find mine. I scoured through my cupboards but no luck. I got rid of a lot of kitchen gadgets and utensils last year and somehow my heart-shaped cookie cutter may have found its way into the wrong box. But I soon came across the English muffin rings and knew those would work for making an individual size Chocolate Mousse Cake. If you have a small spring-form pan, that would work great too.

Removing the Chocolate Faux Cheesecake

Run a sharp knife along the edge to loosen the cake.

A spring form pan has a release latch that naturally pulls the form away from the sides but English muffin rings do not, so I used a knife to run around the edges before lifting the ring off.

Pouring the Ganache

Spoon the ganache on top and slightly over the edges.

After making your ganache, spoon a large amount on the top, then drag the ganache toward the edge with a knife or the back of a spoon, allowing it to spill over and pool slightly around the edges.

Bite of Chocolate Faux Cheesecake

Take a bite and indulge in the rich chocolate taste.

This is a very rich dessert. We shared one and still were unable to finish it all. If not for Valentine’s Day, I hope you get a wonderful excuse to make this sometime soon. Just remember to plan ahead because it goes into the freezer for a total of at least two hours. It is the perfect dessert to make the night before a dinner party though.

Mousse Cake Pin

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Chocolate Mousse Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Serves 3-4
Prep time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Dietary Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan
Meal type Dessert
Misc Freezable, Gourmet
Chocolate Mousse Cake with Chocolate Ganache is the perfect allergy-free dessert. A delicious grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free & egg-free dessert!

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup Raw Almonds (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup (pure)
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla (pure)

Filling

  • 1 Medium Avocado (ripe)
  • 1/3 cup Maple Syrup (pure)
  • 1/3 cup Almond Milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil (softened)
  • 1/3 cup Almond Flour (ultra-fine)
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)

topping

  • 2 tablespoons Avocado Oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup (pure)
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla (pure)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Directions

crust
Step 1
To make the crust: finely chop raw almonds. Add maple syrup, cocoa powder and vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Step 2
Using an English muffin ring or a large cookie cutter mold (such as a heart shape) place enough mixture to cover the bottom up to a 1/4 inch high. Or use the whole mixture to fill the bottom of a 7" spring form pan.
filling
Step 3
To make the faux cheesecake: in a blender or food processor add flesh of avocado, maple syrup, almond milk, softened coconut oil, almond flour, and cocoa powder. Blend until smooth.
Step 4
Place enough filling on top of nut crust to fill to the top edge of the English muffin ring, cookie cutter, or spring form pan. Smooth the top by sliding a large knife blade across the top surface. Place in freezer for 1 hour.
topping
Step 5
To make the ganache: in a small saucepan add avocado oil (or coconut oil) maple syrup, cocoa powder and vanilla. Place on medium low heat stirring frequently. Slowly heat until mixture slightly thickens. Do not allow to boil.
Step 6
Remove faux cheesecake from the freezer and place it on a serving dish. If using the English muffin tins or cookie cutter, use a knife to loosen the edges before lifting the mold away from the cheesecake. Place a large spoonful of ganache in the center top. Take a small spoon and gently push the ganache to the outer edges allowing it to spill over and slightly pool. Sprinkle a small amount of sliced almonds in the center.
Step 7
Return the faux cheesecake dessert to the freezer for at least another hour before serving.

This recipe was shared on the following blogs: TheChickenChick

Grain-free Banana-Blueberry Pancakes

Grain-free & Dairy-free Banana-Blueberry Pancakes

As many of you know, I live in the beautiful Palouse Region; land of rolling hills and an endless sea of farmland. It’s quite fascinating to watch the combines maneuver the rolling hills during harvest. Wheat, barley, and legumes grow on this fertile land and can produce on average up to 100 bushels of wheat an acre, almost double the national average! This gluten-free gal of course does not consume any of the wheat or barley, but I do consume other grains such as rice, quinoa, amaranth, teff, and numerous other gluten-free grains.

Palouse in the Springtime

Palouse in the Springtime

There has been some interesting research lately on how grains affect the body, particularly when it comes to inflammation; not just wheat grain, but all grains. I am keenly interested in inflammation because my mom, who passed away a little over a year ago, suffered greatly from inflammation, which was directly related to her five auto-immune diseases. I’ve been doing a bit of research and like all things some say whole grains reduce inflammation and others say all grains increase inflammation. Here is an article written by The Wellness Mama called How Grains are Killing You Slowly. Her article basically boils down to grains are not healthy and are toxic to the body. And of course we’ve all heard about the arsenic in the rice we eat! She states that a no grain diet can reduce inflammation, not to mention lower blood pressure, reduce heart disease, and clear up acne, to name a few.

Grain-free Pancake on the Grill

Grain-free Pancake on the Grill

I have a dear friend who was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  Many people who suffer from Hashimoto’s also suffer from leaky gut syndrome. One of the proponents to healing or slowing Hashimoto’s is heal the gut slow the Hashimoto’s. One of the more popular diets for those suffering from Hashimoto’s is the Paleo Autoimmune Diet. One of my favorite websites for no grain recipes is Against All Grain.

pancake on the grill

The grain-free pancake grills up nice and brown.

Do I advocate a grain-free diet? I’m still on a journey to find what is the best for the symptoms my body produces. Aside from being celiac, I do experience inflammation, in which my joints often hurt. Can that be controlled through a grain-free, dairy-free diet? Like I mentioned, I’m on a journey to find out. I would love to hear your thoughts? What have you tried? What works for you? Please leave a comment below.

Hot off the griddle

Scalloped edges form from a hot griddle.

So here is my attempt at making grain-free, dairy-free pancakes, and they turned out pretty tasty. The bananas and blueberries blend for quite a flavorful pancake. I hope you enjoy them!

Grain-free Banana-Blueberry Pancakes

Grain & dairy-free banana-blueberry pancakes hot off the griddle.

Banana-Blueberry Pancakes (Grain & Dairy-free)

Serves 4-6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Dietary Dairy-free, Gluten-free
Meal type Breakfast
Enjoy these delicious grain-free and dairy-free Banana-Blueberry Pancakes hot off the griddle. The blend of fresh blueberries and bananas make a perfect pancake.

Ingredients

  • 3 Large eggs (cage-free)
  • 2 Medium bananas (ripe)
  • 2/3 cups almond flour (ultra-fine)
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey (raw)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (pure)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (for griddle)

Directions

Step 1
place eggs, bananas, almond milk, honey and vanilla in mixer and mix on high until all ingredients are fully blended.
Step 2
Slowly add almond flour and blend. Check consistancy of batter and add a bit more almond milk, or almond flour if needed.
Step 3
Slightly grease griddle with oil and heat griddle on medium high heat.
Step 4
Pour a small amount of batter onto griddle and plop 5-6 blueberries onto pancake. Cook until bubbles start to for and edges turn slightly brown. Flip over and cook until bottom side is light brown and center is fully cooked.
Step 5
Serve with dairy-free butter and pure maple syrup.

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