Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sautéed Romano Beans with Toasted Hazelnuts

Romano beans are similar to the standard green bean, but they are flat and grow in Mediterranean-type climates. I bought a bag from a local organic farmer at the Saturday Market. I was thrilled to see that this particular stand was using Bio Bags to sell their produce! I sure wish all co-ops and health food stores would switch to this biodegradable and compostable form of plastic!

I wasn’t sure what I would do with them when I left the market, but I knew I would figure something out. I ended up steaming them, adding them to a Thai curry, and lastly making this yummy dish. You need to be careful when cooking Romano beans because they can all turn to mush if you overcook them!

This simple side dish is very quick to prepare. The toasted hazelnuts add a luscious flavor and crunch. This recipe is perfect for Phase 3 of the Elimination Diet though could be made for Phase 2 by replacing the nuts with toasted sunflower seeds.

The inspiration from this recipe came from Heidi’s 101Cookbooks blog where I noticed a recent photo involving green beans and hazelnuts. Her photos are so lovely, worth the trip over to her blog for sure!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blueberry Syrup

Today I thought I would share a very simple pancake syrup recipe that is full of blueberry lusciousness. This antioxidant-rich, blueish-purple syrup is great atop freshly made pancakes and also can be used as a Phase 2 Elimination Diet recipe!

My favorite way to use this syrup is to pour it over a stack of homemade, gluten-free buckwheat pancakes. Though lately I have found a few additional creative ways to use it. You see, it is blueberry season out here, and every year we pick at least 100 pounds of these sweet, juicy morsels. That means every year around this time our fridge is stocked with fresh blueberries and a jar of this syrup. Usually I don't measure, but since I wanted to share it with you, I painstakingly took the time to measure out all four ingredients. I know, I work hard don't I? :)

For a Phase 2 elimination diet-friendly breakfast, try pouring this syrup over a bowl of cooked short grain brown rice or quinoa and top with toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

15-Minute Poached Salmon

The other day, while Tom was out of town, I got home from running a few errands at 5pm. The kids were all hungry and ready for dinner….like now! I had a beautiful fillet of wild Coho salmon which I had bought the previous day, ready to be seasoned and baked. My friend who was helping out with the kids thought I should use some of the blueberries we still had sitting on the counter waiting to be processed and frozen. Mashed blueberries with ginger to top the salmon was her idea. I thought yum, but I don’t have time for that right now.

I mean, I had two crying 1-year olds pulling on my legs. Poached salmon came to mind. With a thin fillet like I had, 10 minutes cooking time is all that is needed. Add five minutes of prep time and you get 15-minute Poached Salmon.

Serve it over brown rice noodles with a green salad for a 15 minute meal! How is that for healthy and quick? Grain-free? Try serving this over a bed of sautéed dark leafy greens like kale or collards, or try serving it with zucchini noodles.

Start a pot of water to boil before you prep the salmon. Add the noodles, place the salmon on the stove to cook, prep a salad or steam green beans. Dinner is done, kids in the bath, bedtime early…..ahhhh take a breath, relax.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Zucchini Bake...tastes like cheese!

The other evening, as I was preparing dinner, I thought about using up some of the zucchini that I had. Why not layer it, sort of like scalloped potatoes I thought? Hmmm, almond flour might be nice in between the layers of zucchini as would the sweet walla walla onions I had.

Sometimes I take photos of my creations just in case they are blog worthy. So as I was taking a photo of this finished dish, Tom tried a bite of it. He said: "Hey Al, this really tastes like ricotta isn't ricotta is it? What is this?" Being vegan, he was thrilled to have something taste like cheese. I didn't think it was a ricotta imitator, but you can be the judge. Either way, it was very delicious and the two of us finished it off that night.

I buy my blanched almond flour locally from Lucy's Kitchen Shop but I have heard that Honeyville is also a good place to order it.

This recipe is a Phase 3 Elimination Diet recipe. Enjoy! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Spicy Summer Black Bean Salad

The days of overflowing gardens and refrigerators full of produce are upon us! What to do with all of those peppers, tomatoes, and onions? I got it! A fresh black bean salad!

On Saturday, the girls and I went to the market to pick up what is not growing in our garden, such as peppers (mine aren't ready yet), cucumbers, carrots, and garlic. While I was picking out a few hot peppers, my girls saw some "pretty tomatoes" that they really wanted to buy. Apparently the tomatoes in our garden aren't pretty. So I bought tomatoes as well.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cold Spaghetti Salad (gluten-free, vegan)

Here is another summer recipe for you to sink your taste buds into. Refreshing, colorful, slightly salty, and full of flavor, this salad would make a great addition to a summer picnic!

The original recipe comes from my aunt Martha. While I was visiting my mom this summer, she pulled the recipe out of the old family cookbook in hopes that I would make it. I took one look at it and thought...yum! Martha's recipe used wheat-based spaghetti noodles and green bell peppers. I used Tinkyada spaghetti noodles because they don't get mushy and fall apart during cooking. Be sure to cook them al dente for this salad. For some reason I am not a huge fan of green bell peppers so I omitted them for this recipe. If you would like to use them, her recipe says to chop them and sauté lightly with the onions and garlic.

I use kalamata olives produced by the company Mediterranean Organics. I while back I wrote the company about the citric acid used in their products. Here in the USA citric acid can only be made from corn (through fermentation), but in other countries it can be made from either corn, wheat, molasses, or beets. About 25% of the citric acid used here in the USA is imported from other countries, meaning, unless you write the company to find out the source you may be getting minute amounts of gluten in your diet.

Here is the response I received from the company: The citric acid in the Mediterranean Organic Olives and Capers is produced by the fermentation of sucrose derived from cane and beet sources and purified to the highest standard. The Peppers is manufactured through a natural (microbial) fermentation process which converts corn syrup (a carbohydrate substrate) to citric acid using the microorganism Aspergillus niger . The corn syrup is GMO free. And yes, the products are also Gluten-free.

Happy Summer!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sugar-Free Watermelon Sorbet

The sultry days of summer are upon us and refreshing, cooling foods seem to be the daily mainstay. Watermelon has a high water content and is naturally sweet making it perfect for sorbet. This recipe is very easy to make and does not require an ice cream maker.

Before I give you the recipe I thought I would highlight a few health benefits of watermelon. This pink, juicy fruit is an excellent source for the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. Watermelon, as well as tomatoes, offers high amounts of lycopene. Lycopene has been found to be protective against various forms of cancers including, prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, endometrial cancer, and colorectal cancers.

What exactly is an antioxidant you say? Well, since every cell in our bodies is exposed to oxygen and other potentially harmful substances every day, we need to offer protection. Thankfully nature puts protective chemicals in whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which do a fabulous job at protecting us. These protective chemicals are called antioxidants. Antioxidants offer protection to our cells by donating electrons to counteract any damage that may have been done. This damage occurs every day so this is why it is impotent to eat fresh fruits and vegetables all day, everyday. Disease can manifest when too many cells have been damaged. What better way to enjoy dessert than with fruit!

Watermelon Sorbet

The trick to making this recipe at a moment's notice is to have your freezer already stocked with chopped watermelon. Then all you need to do is toss everything into the food processor and you can have a healthy, refreshing dessert in minutes!

4 to 5 cups frozen (seedless) watermelon chunks
the juice of one lime
1/4 to 1/3 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon guar gum (optional)

Place all ingredients into a food processor fitted with the "s" blade and pulse. Continue to process then pulse until all of the chunks have become a smooth sorbet. The pulsing is really the trick here, so if the watermelon chunks just are not breaking down, turn off your machine, then pulse. Taste and add more sweetener if necessary. Pulse again.

You can serve it right away or scoop it out and freeze for a few hours in a container. Use an ice cream scoop to serve. Source:

Please note: I have not frozen this recipe for more than a few hours because my children eat it all up right away!

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Gluten-Free Whole Grain Waffle Recipe

Today I wanted to share with you a tasty little waffle recipe that I created a few days ago. I know many gluten-free recipes and packaged products usually contain large amount of not-so-nutritious starches and refined flours such as white rice flour. Well this one doesn't. I rely on flours from super nutritious grains such as teff, quinoa, and millet. These flours not only significantly boost the nutrition, they add loads of flavor.

This recipe does contain eggs, though I do use coconut oil and rice milk which makes the recipe dairy-free. For those of you who do milk and butter you could easily use these ingredients instead. You can also make this recipe corn-free by using the corn-free baking powder recipe in our cookbook.

Over the last few days I have made this recipe a couple of times. Each time sharing it with my extended family who we are visiting right now. My 5 year old nephew asks me every morning, "Auntie Ali, are you going to make those waffles again today?" I take that as a success!

I bought all of the flours needed, except the millet flour, here in my parents' Midwest town. I used Bob's Red Mill brand. I think I gave my mom a bag of millet flour a few months ago while she was out visiting so I didn't need to purchase that one. I buy Arrowhead Mills millet flour which can be purchased online here.

Gluten-Free Whole Grain Waffles

This gluten-free waffle recipe is full of flavor and nutrition, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside - just like a waffle should be. It is also sugar-free, relying only on a small amount of maple syrup to add a touch of sweetness. If you need this recipe to be rice-free as well, simply substitute the rice flour for sorghum flour or millet flour. Waffles can be frozen and then reheated in a toaster or toaster oven for convenience. To make breakfasts even easier, plan a day to make a few batches of the dry ingredients up and store them in separate sealed containers. Place the directions and list of wet ingredients on the container. Enjoy! :)

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup dark teff flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum four
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 to 4 teaspoons cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
3 large organic eggs
6 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or melted butter)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/2 to 3 cups of non-dairy milk (or dairy milk)

Heat your waffle maker.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together well. (Start with the lesser amount of milk. Make one waffle and see if it seems too dry. If it is then add more milk. It will depend on how you measure, some of us over-measure slightly and some of us under-measure.)

Pour the batter into your waffle maker per your maker's instructions.

Other breakfast recipes you might enjoy:

Other News:
Tom was recently on the Voice America Internet Talk Radio speaking about Celiac disease. If you are interested in listening to the show you can follow this link.

I just opened up a Twitter account, though I really have no idea how to use it. I think if you have a Twitter account you can follow us. Eventually I will learn how to use it, though right now I am really enjoying the summer with my children. We are playing hard! :)