Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunflower Slaw

This slaw tastes best after the flavors have time to mix.  This is a perfect side dish to make a few hours or day in advance.


5 cups green cabbage, sliced thin
1 cup purple cabbage, sliced thin
2 cups jicama, julienned
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 to 1 tsp sunflower oil
salt to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix vinegar, oil, syrup, garlic powder and 1 tsp salt in a small bowl.  Mix green and purple cabbage, jicama and red onion in a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Toss sunflower seeds with 1/2 to 1 tsp sunflower oil and spread out on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with salt to taste.  Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them until they are lightly browned.  Garnish slaw with toasted seeds when serving.  Serves four.  Source:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Allergy Free Tex Mex

One day a week I take the extra time to cook a pot of beans, make some homemade tortillas, and prepare all the fixings for burritos.  It's time well spent that feeds my family for dinner and well into the next day.  If we're having company, it's even better, because there are options for all - gluten free, vegan, grain free, etc.


I swore off canned beans when I learned that most canned goods contain the chemical BPA - a chemical  suspected of causing a number of health problems.  Besides, cooking beans is simple and extremely cost effective.  All you need to do is rinse them, soak them overnight and then bring them to a gentle boil until they are the right texture, one to two hours depending on which variety you use.  If you forget to soak them, all is not lost.  Rinse them, place them in a pot with the water, and bring to a boil.   For every cup of beans add three cups of water.  Turn the heat off and let them sit for an hour and then cook them as usual.   Black beans lend a smoky flavor to burritos, but pinto beans also work well.  Add salt at the end of the cooking process.

Taco Meat

There are so many choices when it comes to using meat for tacos and burritos.  Ground pork, turkey, beef and bison would all work well with this recipe.


1 lb ground meat
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mineral or sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 tsp sweet rice flour (or arrowroot for grain free)
1/3 to 1/2 cup water


Place meat in a skillet over medium to medium high heat.  While it cooks place the 8 dry ingredients in a small bowl, add 1/3 cup water and mix well.  Once meat is cooked through, add the spice mixture and simmer for a minute or two until thickened.  Add up to 2 more tablespoons water if mixture is too dry.  Remove from heat and serve.  Serves 4.  Source:


You can make your own gluten free tortillas with this recipe.  Alternatively, Sonoma Teff Wraps are gluten free and do not crack like typical gluten free rice based tortillas.  Also consider gluten free corn taco shells, corn tortillas, or skip the tortillas altogether and layer everything in a bowl.


If cow's milk is out of the question, consider raw goat cheddar or monterey jack.  Raw goat milk is sometimes tolerated by those who have a sensitivity to cow's milk.  You can find raw goat cheese in some natural food stores or a local farm (go to Real Milk or Eat Wild).  Another alternative that is both dairy and soy free is Daiya cheese, however, it is a highly processed product that contains yeast, a problem ingredient for some.


Homemade salsa adds loads of flavor to this meal if you have the time.   I love making mango salsa and recently came up with this recipe for watermelon salsa to cut down on our phenol intake.  Tomatoes are high in a salicylates, a type of phenol, that is hard for some people to process.


2 cups watermelon, seeded and diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves*
1/4 cup purple onion, diced
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp jalapeno or chili pepper, diced*
salt to taste
*NOT low in phenols


Chop cilantro.  Toss everything in a bowl and serve.  Serves 2 to 3.  Source:

 My favorite store bought salsa is by Emerald Valley which happens to contain no lime.


Guacamole can really add a lot to this meal, especially if cheese is not an option.  I use a few avocados as a base, and add a clove or two of garlic, fresh cilantro, diced onion, lime juice, jalapeno pepper and salt to taste.  Make it without the lime juice by adding 1/2 tsp vitamin C crystals mixed with 1/4 cup water.

This post has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gluten Free Baking Undone: Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

 This recipe was inspired by a friend of mine, Diane Eblin at the Whole Gang, who is on a mission to show that transitioning to a gluten free lifestyle does not have to be difficult.  Diane is a master at organizing the gluten free community, and has a passion for helping others new to the diet.  This month she has organized 29 gluten free bloggers to feature tips and recipes for transitioning to gluten free life.  You can follow the schedule every day and find out what people who have lived this lifestyle are doing to make cooking easier.

If I've learned anything from the experience of going gluten free, it's to embrace food in its most natural state.  For me personally, that means natural meats, vegetables, nuts, beans, fruit and a minimal amount of grains.  The standard recommendation for people diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease is to stay away from dairy for the first six months.  This pie is naturally dairy and grain free.   My favorite way to prepare it is to fill the peanut crust with coconut ice cream by Coconut Bliss or Purely Decadent for an ice cream pie.  Coconut ice cream is hands down the best non-dairy option I have come across, and both brands are free of refined sugars.  A second, chewy, refrigerator pie option: ground up cashews, dates and cacao powder with no added sweetener.

The beauty of cooking this way, or not cooking, depending on how you look at it, is it provides quick nutritious options without a lot of extra ingredients.  Some flours and binders can be hard on the digestive tract, which may need some time to heal as you make the transition to a gluten free diet.

The Crust:

1 3/4 cups dry roasted, salted peanuts
1 3/4 cups medjool dates, pitted

Pour peanuts into a food processor and process with the blade until it turns into meal.  Add dates and process until mixed well.  Press mixture into a 9 1/2 inch pie pan.

Ice Cream Pie:

Allow 2 pints of chocolate coconut ice cream to partially thaw.  When melted enough to work with, pour into crust and smooth into a pie shape.  Cover and freeze for four hours.

Refrigerator Pie:

Make a double batch of power bars.  Press mixture into pie crust.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you came here for some baking advice, Ricki Heller of Diet, Dessert and Dogs has assured me she will be rolling out her baking tips this Tuesday.  Until then, here are a few more "unbaked" gluten free goodies you might enjoy:

Finally, if you are new to this lifestyle, know that you are not alone.   The number of people being diagnosed increases every day as doctors are becoming more aware of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.  You can find gluten free support through a local branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America or Raising Our Celiac Kids (R.O.C.K.).  This is great way to connect with people who have similar health and dietary concerns.

This post has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Food on Fridays.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dairy Free Chocolate Banana Smoothie

 It has been a long winter where I live in Oregon, as it has in many parts of the United States.  I keep thinking the warm weather is right around the corner, and maybe if I start pretending like it is summer it will get here sooner.  So, yesterday, I made this chocolate banana smoothie.  It is one of my favorite smoothie recipes.  It's sweet, with a subtle chocolate flavor, without any extra added sweetener.

I keep my freezer stocked with frozen bananas.  You know, the ones that have been sitting in the fruit bowl too long with brown spots that nobody wants to eat?  I cut them up and freeze them to sweeten up my smoothies.


1 cup frozen banana
1 cup nondairy milk (sweetened)
3/4 tbsp raw cacao powder


Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.  Serves 1.  Source:

This post has been shared with Monday Mania and Fight Back Friday.
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