Monday, December 27, 2010

Blanched Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Green Apple Dressing

Are you in the mood for something a little cleansing after the holidays? Me too. This blanched kale salad is uber nutritious and easy on the digestive system. Pomegranates are almost out of season so eat 'em up while you still can. Our children go through one to two every morning this time of year.

This salad can also be used as part of Phase 2 on our Elimination Diet. It makes a great quick, healthy lunch. Blanch the kale ahead of time and keep it in a container in your fridge. Use leftover salmon or none at all. I toss all ingredients for the dressing into my Vitamix without ever measuring and blend it up in a snap. Toast some sunflower seeds and season them with coconut aminos or use raw seeds. It's a basic salad with great flavors and textures, plus it will keep you energized all afternoon!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Maple Caramel Corn

If you are craving something sweet and simple this holiday season then this recipe might be quite perfect. Making your own caramel corn using maple syrup is quick and easy! Bring a bowlful to your next holiday party or place it in a holiday tin and give it as a gift to a teacher. All you need to make this is an 8-quart pot, a small saucepan, two large bowls, and a large cookie sheet.

I've made this recipe using both butter and coconut oil. Using butter creates a more traditional caramel flavor, however, using coconut oil creates a bouquet of flavors that makes the caramel corn quite addicting.  Pictured here is the recipe made using coconut oil.

I have two more giveaways to share with you today, so please scroll on down and leave a comment to enter to win one of these amazing cookbooks!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Salmon Puttanesca

Today I am sharing my mother's Puttanesca sauce recipe. Nearly every Christmas Eve that I can remember, she makes this sauce to serve over pasta. Can you imagine what it would be like to not be able to feed your family this Christmas? I can't. This is why I am excited to tell you that I am one of over 60 food bloggers participating in a campaign to increase awareness of childhood hunger this holiday season.

Share Our Holiday Table is a virtual, seven day progressive dinner to help raise funds for children in need. Did you know that nearly 17 million children, or one in four, live in homes without sufficient food. As a mother of four, I want to make sure that my children are well-fed daily with healthy, nourishing foods and I know that I am not alone. All parents want this for their children.

Children need proper nutrition for their immune systems to function well, for proper brain development and growth, to be able to pay attention and learn in school, and to be able to run, skip, hop, and jump all day long!

Now we all have a chance to help nourish a child in need. Donate today. Even five dollars if that's all you can do. Every little bit helps.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Curried Root Vegetables

Our pantry and refrigerator are brimming with root vegetables this time of year. What better way to enjoy them than with a savory curry sauce? This recipe is vegan though it could be modified to add chicken or beef if desired. Another option would be to add a few cups of cooked garbanzo beans. Mmmmm, yum!

To continue on with the spirit of the giving season I am giving away another wonderful cookbook today. Stephanie O' Dea has written a bestselling slow cooker book entitled, Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. It is the perfect book if you are looking to eat healthier, are on a gluten-free diet (yes, all recipes are gluten-free), and don't have much time to prepare home-cooked meals. I have one signed copy for one lucky winner! Just leave a comment below to enter.

If you would like to preview some of her recipes you can go to her very popular blog, A Year Of Slow Cooking, which began in 2008 as a resolution to cook everyday that year using her slow cooker! Stephanie also has a new cookbook being released later this month, More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow: 200 Brand-New, Budget-Freindly, Slow-Cooker Recipes. The following curried vegetable recipe is one of mine, though Stephanie has a number of fabulous-looking curry recipes in her book.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Coffee Cake

This scrumptious gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free coffee cake recipe comes from Kelly Brozyna's new cookbook, Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts! It is one of those recipes that is nutritious enough to stand alone at breakfast time, though I prefer to serve it with a Green Smoothie! It is filled with cooked white beans, coconut flour, eggs, and a little honey and stevia! My children love this recipe and as the neighbor girl who was visiting today said, "I can't believe this is gluten-free, it is so good!"

As a kick-off to the giving season, I have one signed copy of her book that I am giving away today! In fact, every post in the next three weeks will have a book or product being given away to one of you! All you need to do is leave a comment below to enter.

Last year I reviewed Kelly's first book, The Spunky Coconut Cookbook. A year later, I am back with more praise for her second book! I love how nutritious and kid-friendly all of Kelly's recipes are. As the title describes, this book is grain-free, but also completely casein-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free. Many of the recipes are also egg-free. If you are vegan or are sensitive to eating eggs then you will still find plenty of recipes in this book to suit your needs. This book also works well for diabetics and others with blood sugar metabolism issues.

Both of Kelly's books are filled with beautiful, color photos. My children like to sit down with the new book and page through it picking out all of the recipes they want me to make! They also think it's pretty neat that I wrote the foreword for her book. Below is one of our favorite recipes from her book, enjoy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to Make Gluten-Free Gravy

Making gluten-free gravy is so simple. No need to add butter and make a roux. I have a few tips for creating rich, flavorful pan juices from cooking a bird, whether it be a turkey or chicken. These photos use a local, pastured, organic chicken, but I cook a whole turkey the same way using a larger stainless steel roasting pan. And if you want nothing to do with cooking a turkey this year then check out my recipe for this vegetarian main dish: Butternut Squash Casserole with Sage and Shallots.

To create rich pan juices, place your rinsed bird in a glass baking pan (9 x 13-inch for chicken or 10 x 14-inch for turkey). Chop up a large onion and a few stalks of celery. Toss them with a few teaspoons of Herbamare. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the celery and onions. If you are cooking a turkey you can use your favorite gluten-free stuffing recipe. I use my Wild Rice Stuffing.

Place the remainder of the celery and onions around the bird in the bottom of the pan. Add plenty of sprigs of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage, and marjoram. Add a few chopped carrots and a whole head of garlic, cut in half cross-wise.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Cranberries

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a few Thanksgiving side dish recipes to share. I don't have time to share all of the recipes I will be preparing this year but here is my menu.....squash from our garden stuffed with a Red Quinoa, Cranberry & Apple Filling; a Yam Casserole topped with Chopped Pecans & Cinnamon; Sesame Crackers; Roasted Red Pepper Dip served with plenty of raw veggies; Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls; Cranberry-Pear Sauce; Cranberry-Orange Punch; Herb Roasted Turkey; Wild Rice Stuffing; and Mashed Red Potatoes with Roasted Garlic. I will make my Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake and an apple pie for dessert. A friend of mine is bringing a few raw salads, and of course, I will be making this divine Brussels Sprouts recipe. The combination of the almonds, dried cranberries, and shallots creates a balanced, flavorful dish that is worthy to be part of any Thanksgiving Dinner.

Last week we harvested our Brussels Sprouts, just before the cold temperatures hit. This was the first year that I had grown them and I definitely plan to allot a larger space in the garden next year to grow more. We love brussels sprouts prepared most any way!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa Recipe

The wintery blast that hit us last night brought snow and hot cocoa too. I had some vegetable side dish recipes to post for Thanksgiving....but hot cocoa calls when the wind is whipping and the snow is falling! We woke up this morning to a couple of inches of snow on the ground and the kids decided to go out early to play. After a few hours of sledding and a couple of snow ball fights, they came inside with frozen hands and hungry bellies. I made them some snacks and a batch of this rich and creamy dairy-free hot cocoa.

This recipe uses maple syrup as the sweetener and a combination of coconut milk and cashew milk to create a rich, warming drink. Make sure to add the salt as it balances all of the flavors. If you have a finely ground sea salt then you can add the lesser amount below, but if you use a coarser ground salt then use the full 1/4 teaspoon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Quinoa Cornbread Recipe

This pumpkin cornbread recipe uses quinoa flour as part of the ingredients, though the overall cornbread flavors are not overpowered by quinoa's strong taste. Adding in a whole cup of pumpkin puree adds a touch of sweetness that creates balanced flavors and a wonderfully moist cornbread.

This cornbread recipe is naturally gluten-free and doesn't require any gums or starches. It only has a few ingredients and can be whipped up in a snap! Serve it with a spicy chili recipe or your favorite warming bean soup. This recipe would also be a fantastic accompaniment to this Black Bean and Yam Stew recipe.

For detailed instructions on making pumpkin puree you can view a recent blog post I did on How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree. If you are gluten-sensitive then be sure to purchase a gluten-free cornmeal. Many companies grind their cornmeal on equipment that also grinds wheat flour and other glutenous grains. Bob's Red Mill offers a gluten-free cornmeal but make sure to read the label because they also offer a cornmeal that is not gluten-free. Arrowhead Mills also offers an organic gluten-free cornmeal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gluten-Free Almond Spice Cookies for Martinmas!

This past evening we celebrated Martinmas, the day of St. Martin, with a lantern walk. My daughter's kindergarten class all made their own lanterns using watercolor paper and tissue paper. With their candles burning bright, we headed out into the cold, starry night to walk the wooded trails, singing our lantern songs. This time reminds us to bring light into the world at a time of year when the Earth is beginning to turn inward. We carry this light with us as we journey deeper into the colder, darker winter months.

Typically, the end of the lantern walk is celebrated with hot cider and sugar cookies cut into the shapes of stars and moons. Our kindergarten classes opted out of this part of the festivities this year but my other daughter's 3rd grade class will be needing a gluten-free, egg-free recipe to accommodate everyone in her class. So I created this recipe for the next lantern walk coming up in a few days.

This is another xanthan gum-free recipe. It is also egg-free and can be made dairy-free as well. I used organic butter in my test batches. To make this dairy-free and vegan, I would consider using Earth Balance buttery sticks in place of the butter. Another thing to note: you can use either organic cane sugar or coconut sugar in this recipe. If you use coconut sugar, or even Sucanat, be sure to give it a whirl in your Vitamix or coffee grinder to create a finer, more workable texture for cookies.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Deep Dish Apple Pie ~ Gluten-Free & Vegan

Before I get into describing this luscious apple pie, I wanted to mention that our blog has a whole new look. I've added an About Us page and the ever-important Recipe Index! Now you'll easily be able to find the recipe you are looking for. Thank you everyone for your feedback through emails and comments over the last two years!

And now onto this nutritious gluten-free, vegan Apple Pie! I first created this crust for a potato-pea samosa recipe. Everyone loved it so I decided to create it into an apple pie. The dough isn't your normal pastry dough because I don't use a saturated fat. Instead I use a mix of grapeseed oil, applesauce, ground chia seeds, and baking soda to create the flakiness. This dough only requires two flours, one of which is Superfine Sorghum Flour. You'll want to purchase this flour, don't be tempted to use a regular sorghum flour. The end result will be very grainy. The Gluten-Free Mall sells this flour. It isn't sold anywhere here in Bellingham that I know of so I have to order it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chipotle Chicken & Rice Stuffed Squash

I think I'd be missing the blogging boat if I didn't post a stuffed squash recipe this Autumn! This recipe veers away from the usual wild rice or quinoa mixed with nuts, cranberries, apples, and herbs. Not that those combinations aren't perfectly comforting and festive this time of year....but I was thinking of something a little spicier.

I was snuggling my 5 year old daughter after school yesterday and at the same time was trying to think of something for dinner. We are in desperate need of a large grocery shopping trip but before I embark on one of those adventures I like to use up whatever ingredients might be lurking around our pantry and refrigerator. I had a cooked chicken breast in the fridge from a whole chicken I cooked into soup the other day and a pot of brown rice on the counter. The peppers I purchased at last Saturday's market and the kale was from our garden.

I like to use Bionaturae Strained Tomatoes any time I would generally use tomato sauce. This is because it comes in glass and not a can. Canned tomatoes are still lined with plastic and can leach potentially dangerous chemicals, such as BPA, into the tomato product. Though it is still debatable how much of these chemicals are actually present.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Making your own pumpkin puree is really very simple. But there are a few important steps to ensure a thick puree. The water content of fresh pumpkin puree and canned puree can vary widely. Cooking pumpkin with water creates a thin puree, which will then cause your breads, muffins, cookies, and pies to be overly moist. Roasting pumpkin without any added water creates a thick puree that will most likely match the consistency of canned pumpkin. Plus, freshly made pumpkin puree tastes so much better than canned. It is sweeter, smoother, and just down-right delicious! Once you have made your own pumpkin puree, you can freeze it in containers for later use or store it in the fridge for up to a week.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recipe Round-Up: Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch

Well, the time has come to share some amazing recipes from some very talented bloggers. This month I am hosting the blog event, Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten-Free, created by the lovely Naomi Devlin. My theme was of course, Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch. I received so many submissions for this event that you may want to make yourself a cup of hot tea, sit back, relax, and enjoy what is to follow (or come back later when you have time). I know you'll leave the computer with oodles of new recipes and ideas for your child's lunchbox (or you own)!

My children go to a school where there isn't a hot lunch program so they have to pack their own lunches, although I know many children do indeed have an option for hot lunch. Unfortunately the majority of hot lunch programs throughout the United States offer food that is not conducive to health or mental attentiveness at all. For a look into daily meals of a typical hot lunch program please check out the lunch lady's blog, Fed up with Lunch: The School Lunch Project. Reading her blog churns my stomach and saddens me to view what children across the country are served in schools. On a positive note, there are people and organizations working right now to improve the health of our children, reduce obesity, support local farming, and strengthen the community with programs such as the Farm to School Program! Yes!

My girls pack their lunch every morning (sometimes they are super organized and work on it the night before, but not usually). I have created a handy chart that you can post on your fridge to help as a guideline. When children pack their own lunch they are more likely to eat what is there. For example, if I were to pack a salad in my daughter's lunch...would she eat it? Maybe. But chances are, if she packs it and it was her idea, she'll eat it. Packing a lunch and having the opportunity to choose healthy foods is very empowering for young children!

The above photo is a typical school lunch that one of my daughters might pack (minus the cherry tomatoes, I added them for color). It consists of an almond butter and Homemade Honey-Sweetened Jam quesadilla (on a steamed brown rice tortilla) placed into a reusable sandwich bag from (I just ordered some). They might also pack some fruit and greens and maybe a trail mix and place everything into a wicker basket with a cloth napkin.

Now, on to many ideas for packing a healthy school lunch from some fabulous blogs.......

First off we have Kim from Affairs of Living. She shares healthy, gluten-free, allergy-free recipes on her blog. For this event, Kim devoted a whole post to Packing a Healthy, Allergen-Free Lunch. Within her post are links to many of her fabulous recipes, such as her Yeast-Free Pumpkin Seed Teff Sandwich Bread or her Cashew Cheese recipe, plus numerous ideas for creating a healthy, balanced meal.

Next we have Carrie from Ginger Lemon Girl. Carrie has shared her recipe for Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili. Just in time for Autumn! Carrie has many gluten-free baking recipes on her blog, including a recipe for Crusty, Vegan Gluten-Free Bread and an amazing Peach Crisp Recipe!

And now on to Sea from Book of Yum! Sea shares healthy gluten-free, allergen-free recipes on her blog as well. Many of them are Indian-inspired such as this post for Indian Tiffin Recipes, including a recipe for Indian Quinoa with Peas, Baby Zucchini Curry, and Squash Blossom Pakoras. Can you pack my lunch Sea? Seriously though, my children love anything curry! Her Quinoa Masala recipe is fabulous too!

Next we have Elana from Elana's Pantry. Elana shares wholesome gluten-free, grain-free recipes on her blog. She has also written a cookbook based on almond flour entitled The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. Today she shares a typical Healthy School Lunch that her boys would pack and her recipe for Spicy Power Bars. If you would like an alternative to grain-based sandwich breads then check out her recipe for a very nutritious Grain-Free Sandwich Bread. She is also giving away a copy of our cookbook right now, so head on over and leave a comment on her blog to enter!

Next we have Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom. Heidi blogs about all things gluten-free, including many Gluten-Free Product Reviews. For this event she has shared her recipe for Spring Rolls with a Vegan Pumpkin Dip. I like her tip for keeping the rolls moist until lunchtime!

And now on to Shirley from Gluten-Free Easily! As you probably guessed, Shirley shares recipes that are gluten-free and easy! She uses ingredients that most folks can find at their local grocery store and keeps ingredients to the minimum. Today she shares a mouth-watering Protein and Fruit Bar Recipe using quinoa flakes, a fresh apple, and nuts and seeds all baked into a bar at a low temperature. I can't wait to make them! You might also like Shirley's easy dessert recipes such as her Crustless Apple Pie or her Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies.

Next we have Naomi Devlin from Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Naomi in the creator of this monthly blog event, Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten-Free. Naomi has shared a beautiful and nutritious gluten-free Pumpkin Pitta Bread Recipe! Wow, they sound amazing! Naomi also shares plenty of super nutritious filling ideas for these lovely pittas in her post. While visiting Naomi's blog be sure to check out her Grain-Free Pizza recipe or her Grain-Free Cheese Crackers.

Next we have Debbie from The Gluten-Free Dish. Debbie shares gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free recipes on her blog. Today she has shared a raw Date Bar Recipe created by her husband. Full of warming spices, dates, and pecans, I'm sure this nutritious recipe will be a hit with your children! While visiting her blog you might also want to check out her recipes for Quinoa Black Bean Burgers and Stevia-Sweetened Black Bean Brownies!

And now on to Alisa from One Frugal Foodie! Alisa is the author of Go Dairy Free, a cookbook and resource guide packed full of information on dairy-free living with yummy recipes! Read a review I wrote here on this blog about her book if you would like. Alisa has shared an easy and nutritious Banana Oat Bar recipe that children love! If you are interested in more information on Dairy-Free living then check out her very popular Go Dairy Free website.

Next we have Valerie from City | Life | Eats. Valerie has so many simple and super nutritious lunchbox ideas and recipes on her blog that you'll definitely want to check out her Healthy Lunchbox Series! For this event Valerie has shared her recipe for a non-dairy Chocolate Milkshake made with Sunbutter, raw cacao, spinach, and a few more key ingredients. Having a smoothie in your lunch is such a treat!

Next we have Melissa From Gluten Free for Good. Melissa is a lover of anything veggie and has a host of nutritious gluten-free recipes on her blog. For this event she has shared a kid-friendly Healthy Power Bar recipe. Oh my goodness do these sound amazing! Melissa has four grown children and spent many years packing healthy lunches for them....oh how I love to hear her stories. Having four young children myself, her perspective and wisdom go a long way. You might also want to check out her recipes for Gluten-Free Veggie Pizza and Homemade Vegetable Soup Stock!

And now onto Nicola from G-Free Mom! Nicola has shared a post she wrote on Easy Kid Lunch Boxes. She shares 13 lunchbox ideas in this post all with photos. It is very helpful to be able to visually see each lunch! While visiting her blog be sure to check out her recipe page, which is full of easy, gluten-free family-friendly recipes.

Next we have Zoe from Z's Cup of Tea. Zoe blogs about gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free food! Today she has shared her recipe for Flourless Apple Pancakes. Although we tend to think of pancakes as a breakfast food, this super nutritious recipe would be perfect for a lunchbox! While visiting her blog you may also want to check out her recipe for Pumpkin Muffins made with nut butter, eggs, and pureed pumpkin...oh they sound so yummy and nutrient-dense....the perfect treat for a school lunch.

And now on to Maggie from She Let Them Eat Cake. Maggie blogs about gluten-free baking and living. Today she shares her recipe for Vegan Chocolate Almond Cupcakes (just in case you want to add a healthy treat to the lunchbox)! Yum! These cupcakes are full of almond meal, sweetened with maple syrup, and have a yummy raw cashew frosting to top them all off! You might also want to check out Maggie's recipe for Vegan Apple Bread!

Next we have Kim from Cook it Allergy Free. Kim blogs about all things allergy-free For this event, she shares her post entitled: Allergy Free Lunchbox with Brain Power! Kim literally has dozens of ideas for packing a healthy lunchbox, allergy-free or not! While visiting her blog you might want to check out her recipe for Pumpkin Pie Waffles: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free! Mmmm!

Next we have Hallie from Daily Bites. Hallie shares very nutritious, gluten-free recipes on her blog. For this event she created a Sweet Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus. It gets its sweetness from the addition of sun-dried tomatoes. Anything dip-able usually goes over well with children. My children are big hummus fans and I'm looking forward to trying her recipe. While visiting her blog you might want to check out her recipes for 5-Minute BBQ Sauce and Vegan, Flourless Pumpkin Pecan Cookies!

And now on to Diane from The W.H.O.L.E Gang (whole organic living every day). Diane blogs about real, gluten-free food that is simple and delicious! She has shared her recipe for Roasted Chickpeas for this event. I think it would be the perfect addition to a child's lunchbox! Diane also has a post with School Breakfast and Lunch Ideas that you might want to check out. Diane has also written a cookbook entitled, The Gluten-Free Diner available as a PDF download on her site!

Next we have Andrea from Phyto Foods sharing her recipe(s) for Kale Chips. She says parents are often amazed to see their children eating one of these, and then another, and another.....and so on. Yes! Kids do eat kale when it is offered! Andrea shares healthy, whole food recipes that are often raw and always gluten-free! While on her site be sure to check out her recipe for Brown Rice Lentil Dosas! They look amazing! And don't miss Andrea's Easy Raw Chocolate Torte!

And now on to Kelly from The Spunky Coconut! Kelly shares gluten-free, casein-free, sugar-free, and ofter raw recipes on her blog. For this event she has shared her recipe for Teriyaki Veggie Cakes. Full of beans, vegetables, hemp seeds, and chia seeds, this recipe would be a super nutritious addition to your child's lunchbox. I love how Kelly has created a kid-friendly balanced lunch incorporating lightly steamed cauliflower, guacamole, and rice crackers. While on Kelly's site be sure to check out her recipe for Vanilla White Bean is out-of-this-world amazing! Kelly has also published a cookbook entitled The Spunky Coconut Cookbook that is full of nutritious gluten-free, casein-free, and sugar-free recipes. You can read a Review I wrote here on this blog of Kelly's book if you would like.

Next we have Carol from Simply Gluten Free. Carol shares fabulous gluten-free recipes on her blog including many baking recipes. For this event, Carol has shared a post she wrote on Allergy Free Lunches for Kids which includes a recipe for Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps. Yummy and easy! Her post lists dozens prepared foods that are gluten-free, something that can be easily overlooked if you don't pay close attention to labeling! While on Carol's blog be sure to check out her recipes for gluten-free, dairy-free Cream Puffs and Polenta Chicken Pot Pie.

Next we have Alta from Tasty Eats at Home! Alta shares delicious, family-friendly, gluten-free recipes on her blog. For this event she has shared an uber nutritious Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe. Her recipe is grain-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free! I can not wait to try these! While on Alta's site be sure to check out her recipe for Vegan Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote and her recipe for Gluten-Free Cornmeal Pancakes with Maple Orange Butter.

And now on to A. Fisher from Homemade Inspirations. She has shared her recipe for Homemade Delicious Salsa! Mmmm! She says she likes to use the salsa as a dressing for a bed of lettuce and will sometimes add a hardboiled egg and tortilla chips on the side. While visiting her site be sure to check out her recipe for Homemade Salad with Steak and Potatoes.

And last but not least, we have Jennifer from The GFCF Lady. Jennifer has shared A Week of Lunches...with photos of each lunch! And Another Week of Lunches complete with more photos! There are plenty of fun ideas here for school lunches! While visiting Jennifer's blog, be sure to check out her recipe for Green Chicken Curry and Homemade Coconut Yogurt.

I also received a few submissions from non-bloggers but I was having difficulties copying and pasting their recipes into this post so I will save them for later this Fall.

Thank you all for your submissions to this wonderful blogging event! I think we can all walk away with many new ideas for improving our children's lunches!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Raw Caramel Dip for Apples

Happy Autumnal Equinox! As the evenings become as crisp as the apples, darkness begins to triumph over light. Today we celebrate the closure of summer, the dying of the light, and prepare ourselves for a new season. Autumn. As the trees shed their leaves and the plants die back, shedding old beliefs or thought patterns and going inward to feel our roots, our connection with the earth, can be quite powerful at this time.

Last night I was part of an equinox celebration (albeit a day early). The night was crisp and the sky crystal clear with the moon almost full. A warm fire, songs, and good food shared amongst friends composed most of our celebration. One friend brought a delectable raw caramel dip and sliced fresh apples. It was so tasty that I tried to recreate it today. Success! It tastes very close to her version (thanks Janet). Enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Asian Chicken Salad with a Soy-Free Dressing

With school starting and all of the after-school activities that go with it, our schedules have been very full lately. Posting to my blog seems to be on the back burner for now. Though I recently created this very easy salad recipe that I wanted to share with you. The soy-free dressing is scrumptious and the salad can be prepared in a snap. It actually stores well in the fridge in separate containers ready to go for a quick lunch!

I make often make my Asian dressings and marinades using Coconut Aminos since we have one family member who cannot tolerate soy at all. It is dark and rich and very similar to tamari though with a hint of sweetness. I also used coconut vinegar in this recipe though you could substitute brown rice vinegar if need be.

All of the greens in these photos are from our garden except the cabbage. I ran out of space this year and didn't plant any cabbage! Our garden has been thriving this year and we now have a forest of tender kales, collards, bok choy, chard, and lettuces. It is so much fun to walk out the back door and harvest your lunch!

For info on how to cook chicken so it is tender and shreds easily, please visit my Chicken & Wild Rice Salad post. You can use a whole chicken or chicken parts (thighs, breast, wings). I used about eight chicken thighs with the bone and skin today and now have a few quarts of rich chicken stock. I freeze the stock in quart jars to use in soups later on.

Reminder: If you would like to participate in this month's Go Ahead Honey it's Gluten Free roundup on Packing a School Lunch then email me your recipe link and attached photo by September 27th, 2010. I have received some great entries so far! At the end of this month I will put all of your photos and recipe links into a blog post to share.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch!

Well, September is here, school is beginning and it is time for packing
lunches once again! The above lunch was made by my 8 year old daughter. It is composed of a quesadilla made with refried beans and two brown rice tortillas, blackberries and sliced nectarines, sliced carrots and cucumbers, raw cashews, almonds, and chocolate chips. As you can see, very simple and nutritious, full of key nutrients for a growing and developing brain.

This month I am hosting a wonderful monthly blogging event called Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free! This event was created by the lovely Naomi Devlin of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. And my theme, of course, is: Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch! This is a way for you, a reader or blogger, to submit a link and photo of your recipe and/or ideas to me by the end of this month (please, no later than September 27th) and I will post them all to my blog on the 30th of this month. If you don't have a blog, please feel free to submit a short recipe or list of ideas with a photo and I will post it along with the links from other bloggers. Please email me your post attached with a digital photo to ali@nourishingmeals (dot) com.

In the meantime, (while we are waiting for all of your lovely ideas) I have a few ideas myself to share. First off, if you haven't read the post I did last year on Packing a Healthy School Lunch you might want to check it out. I have a colorful chart with pictures of foods in each food group that you can download, print, and post on your refrigerator for a quick reminder of what to pack. This way your child can choose a food from each category to create a healthy, balanced lunch.

Main Dish/Protein Ideas:
Summer Black Bean Salad (made without the spicy peppers)
Rice, Garbanzo Bean, and Kale Salad (my kids love this one!)
Spring Herb Quinoa Salad (my 5yr old daughter's favorite!)
Garlic Rosemary White Bean Dip on sliced bread with cucumbers
Slices of Roasted Chicken
Moroccan Chickpea and Potato Soup (an absolute favorite of my kids)
Quesadilla slices made with brown rice tortillas, refried black beans, and spinach

Green Smoothie (poured into a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid)
Mixed greens with a small container of Salad Dressing on the side
Slices of cucumbers, carrots, and celery (my kids like simple best)
Celery sticks with almond butter spread into them
Any in-season whole or sliced fruit

Sticky Brown Rice in nori rolls (all-time favorite of my kids)
Whole Grain Flatbread (yeast-free)
Carrot Raisin Buckwheat Muffin (my kids beg me to make these!)

We don't always have treats around but when we do it would be some of the following (fruit is sometimes the best and easiest treat of all):

I am really looking forward to sharing your post on Ideas for packing a Healthy School Lunch. Please remember to submit it with an attached photo by September 27th, 2010! Thanks! :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fish Curry with Garden Vegetables

We love anything curry here. Thai curries, Indian curries, curry roasted potatoes, you name it. Our kids love curry too. Those flavors are passed through breastmilk, so they became addicted quite young. One of my favorite things about making a curried dish is the fact that it is fast, easy, and of course, a one-pot meal.

This Thai fish curry recipe uses fresh garden veggies, halibut, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai basil. The key to a good curry is timing. I like to keep the veggies all evenly cooked and not over-cooked. Carrots and onions take a little longer to cook, so I start with those. I will test a carrot, and when it is about halfway done cooking, I will add the other faster cooking veggies such as zucchini and bell peppers.

When purchasing the fish, I usually buy 1.5 to 2 pounds and then ask to have the skin removed. When I am ready to make the curry all I need to do is cut the fish into cubes. It is much easier this way, especially when you have twin two-year-old boys chasing each other below you arguing whether each is an airplane or not ("I'm an you're not....yes I am....zoom!").

This curry has another key ingredient that is very beneficial to your health: Turmeric. This orangish-yellow spice will stain your clothes forever but is an excellent anti-inflammatory. In Tom's words: "Curcumin is an amazing compound found in turmeric that can change our gene expression. It has a tendency to lower inflammation, increase detox enzyme expression, and increase antioxidant protein expression. In short, it lowers the impact of life's insults, and increases your innate buffering mechanisms to minimize the residual effect of those insults."