Eating healthy and gluten-free on a budget

I had a friend message me a couple weeks back asking how I afforded to eat the way I eat. It’s a great question! For sure most products advertised as being gluten-free cost more than the products they imitate. And certainly organic gets expensive. But I believe that eating healthy (and gluten-free) is possible with any budget. Here are a few tips that have worked for me.

  1. Find a farmer’s market near you that is open at a time you can go, and get the majority of your produce from there. Eating seasonally and locally when it comes to produce can really help drive down the cost. Also, plan on putting a good chunk of your budget here… it is worth it. Stock up on dark leafy greens that will fill you up and give you lots of nutrients. Talk to the farmers at the market too. While not all of them can afford to be certified organic, many are still pesticide free. And it’s just nice to talk to them.
  2. Shop sales and coupons. I rarely go into a grocery store with a list. I find what is on sale that fits in my lifestyle and I focus on that. I also focus way more on purchasing nuts and nut butters with my budget than on pastas or other grains. Always be on the lookout for protein powder on sale if you are as obsessed with smoothies as I am. And stock up on cheap staples like beans, frozen fruit (when on sale), and frozen vegetables.
  3. Buy from the bulk department. especially with rice/quinoa/nuts (DON’T DO THIS IF YOU HAVE A SEVERE INTOLERANCE as cross-contamination is somewhat inevitable). And don’t forget POPCORN (perhaps the only reason I refuse to be completely grain-free).
  4. Purchase flours online (swanson and amazon are both great resources for this).
  5. Cook from scratch, and avoid prepackaged gluten-free products. It is a little more time consuming, but cheaper and almost always healthier. Stick with simple meals, or set aside an afternoon to cook a big dish of something you can freeze/store for the week. Curries are great for this.
  6. Make breakfast for dinner. This was a recommendation by karina allrich, aka the gluten free goddess, and I love it. You can get wonderful fresh local eggs from the farmer’s market for $3.50 or less a dozen. Breakfast is filling and delicious and, budget put aside, one of my favorite things to have for dinner.
  7. Choose to spend more on your grocery budget and cut something elsewhere. It is that important! We generally go out to eat less than once a week. We find a free show at a coffeeshop versus going to a ten dollar movie (supporting local AND saving money). Those little budget savers can make a huge difference in your grocery budget.

What are your strategies for staying on budget when it comes to food? I know there are many more creative solutions out there!

Also, something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, how do you connect community and food?

 

Gluten-free Falafel with Vegan Tahini Yogurt Dressing

Before I get to my post and recipe, I wanted to briefly plug an event happening tomorrow outside of Greensboro. Peacehaven Community Farm is having their Annual Harvest Festival, and it would great to see any local readers out supporting this great nonprofit. Peacehaven “is a sustainable farm located on 89 beautiful acres of organic gardens, rolling pastures, and lush woodlands that connects people with disabilities to their community”. The event is from 4-7pm tomorrow, October 21st. Visit their website or Facebook page to learn more about this event, and the work they do!

I will return to our trip in posts to come, but I wanted to break away to share a super simple recipe I made last week that I am super excited about. For a few reasons.

  1. I fried something (Laugh it up or shake your head, but this happens about once a year. Which is good… all things in moderation)
  2. I did not shop specifically for this recipe; the ingredients are simply things that are consistently in my cupboards and refrigerator.
  3. I LOVE falafel. Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe in Winston-Salem makes my favorite falafel, but most local restaurants use gluten-filled flour in their recipes. I always get the sampler platter at Mooney’s with falafel, fried cauliflower, baba ghanouj, and fettoosh. It is one of my favorite date nights, on the sidewalk with lights in the trees.

This recipe was born out of almost having popcorn for dinner, only to glance at the chickpea flour and know. Know that I was destined for something better than popcorn. Even popcorn with coconut oil. This is what happens about four days out from me going to the market. I never plan out meals further than three days in advance.

Based on this recipe off of the back of the bag of flour, this falafel is simple and quick, with some herbs and such added in that I had on hand. The first time I made this I did not have any canned chickpeas, They were missed, and added into the second version of this recipe, but they weren’t missed so much as to stop me from eating half the batch I made in a matter of minutes.  If you don’t have the beans on hand, make it with all flour. I love simple solutions.

Gluten-free Falafel with Vegan Tahini Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients:

1/2 cup garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, processed thoroughly with a blender or food processor
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small shallow, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cumin, ground (fresh ground with a mortar and pestle if possible)
1/4 tsp coriander, ground
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup hot water
2-4 tbsp 0live oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together until thoroughly combined
  2. Add the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, hot water, onion, shallot, and cilantro to the dry ingredients and stir until combined
  3. Allow mixture to rest for at least ten minutes (this could be a good time to assemble the dressing)
  4. Heat oil in a large saute pan or skillet on medium high heat
  5. Divide batter into twelve even balls and fry on each side until golden brown
  6. Blot off on paper towels and serve hot with vegan tahini yogurt dressing for dipping (see recipe below)


Vegan Tahini Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients:

3 tbsp unsweetened non dairy yogurt (I used soy)
2 tbsp tahini
1 fresh lemon, squeezed
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine the first three ingredients. Season to taste and serve.
Like I said, simple but delicious. Enjoy!

Framer’s Market Tacos with Cashew Cheese Sauce

The west coast gets me. Gluten free beer ON TAP. Separate gluten free menus. Explicit knowledge of what is actually in the food I am eating. I have never found wait staff so willing to help find food that I can eat.

It’s nice to feel like someone cares. Like you’re not in this alone. It’s funny how simple gestures can be the most profound.

Our first day in san francisco was exhausting. We walked for miles. I got grumpy (unavoidable when I have inadequate sleep and/or food. In this case both). I was in search of Cafe Gratitude. What we found was Gracias Madre, a sister restaurant, and I didn’t hide the fact that I was pissed. Until we got inside.

We caught the last moments of happy hour, and I was brought a $3 glass of organic sangria, with fruit from a local farm. The farm where they grow ALL of their produce. All organic, all vegan, all sustainable, mostly gluten free goodness. When that sangria hit the table I felt my shoulders relax and my temper settle. I was suddenly home. Because I love mexican food, but generally end up ordering off the a la carte menu, still wondering if I am doing some harm to my body. Not here. Here I was safe in a delicious blanket of nourishment.

This is a long story to say that we returned to Gracias Madre on our last day in San Francisco. It was that good. And I came home on a mission to recreate their seasonal vegetable tacos.

My first attempt, in all humility, was pretty damn good. Jump below the photo for the recipe.

(at Gracias Madre for the second time)

 

Farmer’s Market Tacos with Cashew Cheese Sauce (dinner for two)

Because I don’t currently have a productive garden I call these Farmer’s Market tacos, as this was the source for my vegetables. Note that this is not a quick meal to prepare, especially if you make the tortillas yourself, which I highly recommend. Each element takes time and attention, but it is well worth it.

The beauty of these tacos, like the rest of the menu at Gracias Madre, is that the vegetables can change with the seasons. Use summer or winter squash, broccoli, different peppers, or even try roasting fruit (peaches, yum!) depending on what season you are in. Keep it simple, and nourishing, and local. Love the food you eat.

Ingredients:

6-8 handmade corn tortillas (in lieu of a tortilla press I used two flexible cutting boards and my dutch oven)
6 medium collard leaves sliced into 3-4″ strips
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1 small serrano pepper, halved
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2″ rounds
olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 cup cashew cheese sauce (see recipe below)
1 small handful raw pepita (pumpkin) seeds
salsa verde for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500F
  2. If you haven’t ahead of time, prepare your cashew cheese sauce
  3. Place eggplant on an oiled pan, brush with a coat of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste
  4. Roast eggplant in oven, approximately 5-7 minutes per side
  5. Once eggplant is in, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat
  6. Saute the onion with a bit of salt and pepper in the heated oil
  7. Add the serrano pepper and greens, bring heat down to low and cover, stirring frequently until greens are wilted and tender, approximately 7-10 minutes. Don’t forget about the eggplant!
  8. Remove the greens from heat, and discard the serrano pepper. Keep covered until ready to plate
  9. When the eggplant is finished, remove from oven and dice into 1/2″ cubes
  10. In a smaller oiled pan individually heat the corn tortillas

Assembly:

To assemble the tacos, place the heated tortillas flat on large serving plates. Place a small amount of one of the fillings on each tortilla, and drizzle on desired amount of cashew cheese sauce. Sprinkle pepita seeds over the tacos with sauteed greens. Serve with a side of organic refried black beans. Rice could also be served, but we find the tacos and beans to be more than filling. Keep salsa verde and extra cashew cheese sauce on the table with the meal.

 

 

Cashew Cheese Sauce (thanks to Cafe Gratitude for the base recipe)

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/3 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)

Directions:

Place ingredients in a high speed blender and blend for 1 minute. Taste for flavor and texture, and adjust accordingly. I had to blend mine several times before I got away from the grainy texture of the cashews, but I also don’t have the best blender.

 

I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sesame Roasted Vegetables

Did I mention Prestogeorge Coffee & Tea when I posted about Pittsburgh? This great shop resides somewhere in the middle of the strip district. The walls are lined with jars of coffee beans and loose leaf teas. Intense, pungent, fresh. There are coffee roasters in the very back of the shop, the shop actually being named after master roaster John Prestogeorge, but just before these is where we lingered; tea.

As I shared in my about page, we have repurposed our french press to brew loose leaf teas. Joshua gave up coffee with me. He is a good man. In Prestogeorge, I did not flinch nor grimmace walking past the wall of coffee beans. The aroma is still one of my favorites, but feeling healthy is completely worth resisting this once favored beverage. And the tea. Oh, the tea. There were sections of black, white, green, matcha, white, and chai. There were whole cloves, catnip, and orange rinds. There was so much more.

During our first visit, I purchased a couple of ounces of classic chai (this being the morning staple), coconut black, and herbal double mint. Sister purchased a mango green. We returned the day before I left Pittsburgh so I could purchase additional chai, and a mango matcha.

I sit drinking the mango matcha, in perfect contentment. Just a pinch of stevia. Perfect. I bet it would be great iced too in these upcoming warm months. I love that the sun has returned to the evening hours now.

But to the vegetables.

I’ve posted a recipe with roasted vegetables before. I go through seasons where I make them nearly daily. This is a slight divergence from my normal routine. The addition of sesame oil and sesame seeds. A delicate nutty flavor. A whim.

Enjoy.

Sesame Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
1 large handful baby bok choy
1 handful baby carrots
1 can baby corn, drained
1/2 yellow onion, chopped in 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F
  2. Wash and prepare the vegetables. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Add oils to the bowl and coat vegetables evenly.
  4. Lay vegetables out on a baking sheet, with minimal overlapping.
  5. Season the vegetables to taste.
  6. Roast for approximately 25 minutes, or until the bok choy leaves crisp, and the other vegetables begin to brown. Turn vegetables every 7-10 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve hot.

Serving suggestions: These vegetables could be served over brown rice, quinoa, or rice noodles. They would also make a great side dish, or go nicely on a salad.

Oh, and don’t forget to follow me here, on facebook, and on pinterest for more recipes and resources.

Carrot Muffins with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

What is your relationship with stevia? In my baking and sweetening, stevia and I have gone steady. It is a bit romantic, I won’t lie. This little herb provides sweetness without the calories or the crash, and I swear my unending devotion.

It’s not a perfect relationship.

My husband really cannot get past the bit of bitter in stevia. And as with every other sugar replacement, I am sure I will awaken one day to discover stevia is as safe and natural as sweet ‘n’ low. For now, we keep dancing, and I make separate desserts for Joshua.

I don’t pretend I don’t notice the bite that stevia sometimes delivers, it is especially prevalent in the cream cheese frosting I made today. You could use agave nectar or another low glycemic sugar substitute in it’s place, but I honestly don’t mind the taste. I don’t feel it overpowers the other flavors, and I swear the muffins are all the better for it.

Enough of my defense.

This afternoon I baked up a batch of light and nourishing carrot muffins. I like my muffins to be slightly sweet, and not too cake-like. The textures of coarse grains draw me in, and I almost always include a vegetable in my baked goods. Sometimes four. My major beef with many gluten-free mixes and pre-baked goods is the overwhelming ratio of starch to any other ingredient. No thanks.

These pair perfectly with a cup of coconut black tea.

Carrot Muffins (makes 12 medium muffins)

Ingredients:
3 large free-range eggs
3/4 cup cup-for-cup stevia
1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or apple juice (if you like sweeter muffins)
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/3 cup mighty hot cereal (Bob’s red mill)
1/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
2/3 cup sorghum flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder (GF)
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup ground coconut (grind unsweetened coconut flakes in a food processor for 2-3 minutes)
1 1/2 cup finely grated carrots (can be chopped in a food processor)
1/3 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Slowly beat in the stevia, and the following ingredients.
  3. Set beaters to a lower setting, and add the flours, leavening, salt, and coconut.
  4. With a wooden spoon, fold in the carrots and raisins.
  5. Spoon batter into non-stick muffin pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time.
  7. Cool completely before frosting.


Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
6 oz. vegan cream cheese (CHECK FOR YEAST)
2 tbsp. vegan spread (I used smart balance light)
3/4 cup cup-for-cup stevia
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp coconut milk (or addt’l tbsp almond milk)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and vegan spread.
  2. Slowly beat in remaining ingredients.
  3. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

 

The carrot muffins can be stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours. After that store in the refrigerator. I recommend storing the frosting and muffins separately, and frosting just before serving.

Thai Style Fresh Spring Rolls

This past weekend, we had a get together to celebrate my graduation from University. It was a lot of fun! And I felt a lot of love, because as I looked down the appetizer line, I could eat everything on that counter. There was mayo-free egg salad, roasted vegetable dip, hummus, fruit salad, pico de gallo, and fresh spring rolls. I’m a lucky lady.

The spring rolls were the hit of the night. I sent my dad the recipe, and he put them together that afternoon. Because they were the success of the evening, I thought I would share the recipe with you here.

Fresh spring rolls are quite diverse. A variety of vegetables and proteins can be added to taste, this is just a base recipe. I like browned tofu, and extra basil in mine. Countless sauces can be used for dipping. They’re great in peanut dressing, or a simple combination of Brigg’s liquid aminos, sesame oil, and lime juice.

Ingredients:
rice paper (available at any asian/international market)
1/2 cup of bean sprouts
1/3 cup green cabbage, thinly chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
2/3 cup precooked rice vermicelli
1/3 cup carrots, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil and cilantro, chopped, to taste
1 tbsp. Brigg’s liquid aminos
2 tbsp. lime juice
fresh grated ginger to taste

Directions:

  1. toss all of the ingredients, except for the rice paper and noodles, together in a bowl
  2. submerge each rice paper in hot water for several seconds until the paper softens and becomes pliable
  3. place a small amount of the noodles, and 2-3 tbsp. of the vegetable mixture, onto the rice paper
  4. fold like a burrito and serve fresh

Dinner Party Nachos

Today is Joshua’s birthday. We had a sleepy morning, logically enough followed by a lazy afternoon. I am sipping on some hot green tea with Kombucha and listening to Blind Pilot. We want snow.

Our friends David and Noemi came over for dinner this past week. In life before food allergies, I would make dough and set out a variety of toppings for people to make personal pizzas. It was perfect. But life changes and we have to adapt. Sadly, gluten-free yeast-free pizza dough is not yet something I’ve mastered, although I have tried. So instead, now, we make nachos.

It’s the same concept as the pizzas. We make or buy tortilla chips, chop fresh vegetables, reheat leftover quinoa, and ready a number of other toppings. The toppings change based upon what’s in the refrigerator. This was what we had this past Thursday.

Toppings:
Homemade guacamole
Beans from leftover chili (black and navy)
Leftover quinoa
Salsa Verde (WATCH FOR VINEGAR)
Fresh roasted red and poblano peppers
TVP (equal parts tvp and water, browned and seasoned to taste)
Spinach and lettuce
Tomatoes and onions
Fresh cilantro
Cheese (for those who can partake)

To roast the peppers, I simply coated them lightly with canola oil, and placed them in the oven with the broiler on. I checked every four or five minutes to see if they needed to be turned, and took them out when the skin started to blacken.

My plate usually starts with more spinach than chips. Thursday this got covered by a generous portion of guacamole, some of the roasted red peppers, tvp and quinoa, and finally a little salsa. Perfect.

And never doubt that great company makes good food that much better.

Spinach & Tofu Ricotta Stuffed Shells

It’s easy to get into a food rut. Even without food allergies. For most of this week I ate the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner consistently. Life gets busy, and I begin to miss the ease of pre-packaged dinners.

Which makes me miss the recent cruise I took with my family. On the ship, our dinner hostess Jurga took incredible measures to ensure I had a three-course dinner with a dessert every night, and whatever I wanted for breakfast and lunch. If you have food allergies, cruise Carnival.

Missing the cruise made me miss my sisters.

Back to yesterday.

Saturday was a sleepy day spent in pajamas, editing photoshop files for an old teacher, and searching for something new to eat. I needed to shake off the monotony of the week. Stuffed shells were a meal made often by my grandmother growing up. Before yesterday, however, I had not given much thought to trying to recreate the dish. Then I stumbled upon Tinkyada’s gluten-free pasta shells. Unfortunately I found them because they were on the discontinued shelf at Earth Fare. Damn. But I believe Whole Foods carries them, and if not, you can always order them online. Their lasagna noodles are also excellent.

The recipe that follows was inspired by about seven online recipes, and a bit of creativity. I wasn’t looking to go super bold or out of the box. I wanted classic. There are many renditions to follow I am sure. It was made and eaten with Bon Iver and Jill Andrews playing in the background. There was also candlelight involved.

And it passed the husband test. Joshua will have one serving of just about anything I make. When he has three, I know we’ve found a new staple recipe.

Spinach & Tofu Ricotta Stuffed Shells (for two really hungry people)

Ingredients:
1/2 box Tinkyada gluten-free pasta shells
Tofu Ricotta (recipe follows)
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup frozen broccoli, thawed and mashed
Jar of your favorite pasta sauce (Arrabiata is delicious and spicy, watch for sugar)
Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet, mozzarella-style, shredded (NOTE: watch for yeast in vegan cheeses)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions on box.
  3. While pasta is cooking, assemble the tofu ricotta (recipe follows).
  4. Combine the tofu ricotta, frozen spinach, and broccoli.
  5. Drain the pasta, and rinse quickly with water to make it easier to handle.
  6. Stuff the shells with the spinach mixture.
  7. Cover the bottom of a 9″x9″ baking dish with sauce (a dutch oven works well).
  8. Place the shells carefully in the dish, and cover with sauce.
  9. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, and bake an additional 5-8 minutes.
  10. Serve immediately.

Tofu Ricotta

Ingredients:
7 ounces extra firm tofu, pressed in a cheese cloth or paper towels and crumbled
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried basil
dash of nutmeg
red pepper flakes (to taste)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse the food processor a couple of seconds at a time, stopping to stir frequently. You want a crumbly but consistent mixture, but nothing too creamy.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Homemade Guacamole

I believe, with fair resolution, that cooking dinner should usually be done with a drink in hand. Nothing is better than having a glass of red wine while making italian, and slipping a little splash of that wine into the marinara. Tonight, I was cooking with limes, so naturally I went for gin.

But I digress. My husband Joshua eats meat. I would be perfectly content living off of bok choy, walnuts, and smoothies, while he eats a large pepperoni pizza in a sitting.

It keeps life interesting.

And it’s a good thing. Interesting means looking outside of my salads, and drawing inspiration from dinners with meat. Interesting means combining ingredients and seasonings to make a meal that we both love, and that has enough substance that he won’t be reaching for the chips 30 minutes later.

This is one of those meals. The quinoa and tvp together provide a powerhouse of protein and fiber, as do the black beans I usually cook up as a side dish. If you have never roasted a pepper, please enlighten yourself to the incredible sweetness of a roasted red bell pepper soon. You won’t regret it.

I put a layer of cheese on top of Joshua’s pepper for the last five to ten minutes of baking for added flavor and protein. I promise it doesn’t need it though to be completely satisfying. Even without the cheese this was the perfect meal for my crazed metabolism today. I’ve started running more and lifting weights, and as a result it takes about twice as much food to keep me from feeling hungry. I might have overcompensated here a bit, but at least I saved part of my pepper and some guacamole for my salad tomorrow.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (For two)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. water
2 medium red bell peppers, washed and deseeded with the tops removed
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 large handful baby spinach
Olive oil (as needed)
1/2 cup tvp (WATCH FOR GLUTEN)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 small roma tomato, diced
salt and chilli powder to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, stir, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F
  3. While quinoa is simmering, saute the yellow onion in a small amount of olive oil. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.
  4. Combine the tvp with the boiling water and allow to stand for several minutes.
  5. Add the tvp and onion mixture to the quinoa along with the tomato. Season and stir until the ingredients are well integrated.
  6. Stuff the peppers with the quinoa mixture. Replace the tops on the peppers.
  7. Place peppers in a shallow baking dish and bake for 40 minutes. The peppers should be tender and some browning may occur.
  8. Serve immediately

Homemade Guacamole

Ingredients:
1 avocado, mashed
1/2 roma tomato, finely chopped
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 a lime
salt to taste

Directions: Combine all the ingredients well and serve slightly chilled.

Serve the peppers on a plate of greens with a side of black beans and guacamole, and a lime for garnish.

 

Thai Stir Fry, Mixed Greens with Peanut Dressing, and a Passion Fruit Smoothie

I love cooking lunch when I’m home. It makes up for the apple and peanut butter lunches I have so often when I am at the studio or out running errands. I love eating lunch at home too. It is a pause. I sit and eat quietly at the kitchen table by myself. Some days are easier to be still than others, but I am learning to make this quiet a priority.

Today was warm enough to even make a smoothie for dessert. During the summer I live on smoothies, and I am reluctant to put the blender away as the temperature drops. But with February staying in the sixty-degree range, and I still warm from my run and shower, I figured it was a good day to unhibernate the blender. Take that, groundhog.

My  new favorite way to saute vegetables or brown tofu is in coconut milk. I heat a saute pan over medium high heat and cover the bottom with coconut milk. As the milk heats it caramelizes a bit and adds a delicious flavor to whatever cooks in it. Or at least I think it is caramelizing. This is not quite my area of expertise. I just know it is delicious.

Now for the Recipes-

Thai Stir Fry (for one)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut milk (approx.)
1/2 shallot, diced
1 spoonful chopped lemongrass (from a jar or fresh)
1 tbsp. chili paste with basil leaves (CHECK FOR VINEGAR, I use the brand Maesri, which I get at my local int’l foods market)
1 handful bok choy
1 handful cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 handful baby corn (from a can)
cooked glass noodles (to taste, I used about 1/2 cup; CHECK FOR GLUTEN, I use the brand Assi, which is made from sweet potato starch and also found at my local int’l foods market)

Directions:

  1. Heat pan or wok over medium high heat. After a minute or two add coconut milk just to cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. After another minute throw in the shallots and lemongrass and mix with a wooden spatula for two minutes.
  3. Add the bok choy and mushrooms. Stir the vegetables until they are evenly coated with the thickening coconut milk.
  4. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring every minute.
  5. Add the baby corn, noodles, and chili paste. Add a little more coconut milk to coat the noodles.
  6. Cook until the coconut milk begins to brown the stir fry, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve immediately.

Mixed Greens with Peanut Dressing

Ingredients:
Large handful mixed greens
1 hardboiled egg, peeled and chopped (I only use about 1/2 the yolk)
Kara’s Peanut Dressing from the Gluten-Free Goddess Blog (Most recipes call for rice vinegar, but not this one! The only change I make is to use stevia in place of the agave)

Passion Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients:
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2-3 tbsp. coconut milk
1/2 banana
1 packet/1 tsp. stevia
1/3 cup frozen passion fruit pulp (also found at my local int’l foods market, are you sensing a trend yet?)
crushed ice (to desired thickness)

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in blender and, well, blend.

ENJOY

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