Category Archives: Quick and Easy

Raw Zucchini Noodles and a Thai-Inspired Chicken Curry

Do you know what this is?

It’s zucchini noodles!

What are zucchini noodles? Well, they’re not really noodles, but rather, they are very thin strips of raw zucchini. I have a spiral slicer, and thought I’d put it to use making noodles. I wanted something grain-free to eat with a chicken curry, and this was just the thing.

The spiral slicer does make this super-easy, but if you don’t have one, you can use a vegetable peeler to make wide, flat noodles. Just peel the zucchini lengthwise into long strips, rotating as you go, until you get to the seeds. If you want, you can saute the noodles really briefly (like for a minute, tops), but I even enjoy them totally raw. They make the perfect base for any saucy dish. While I enjoy spaghetti squash as well, zucchini is a lovely change. (and since zucchini is in season, why not?)

So how about that curry?

This is definitely an easy weeknight curry. I didn’t make the curry paste from scratch. (shocker, I know) I used Thai Kitchen red curry paste. This made the whole dish come together much more quickly. While it’s not a traditional Thai curry (I haven’t seen many Thai curries with red cabbage and yellow squash…I just threw them in there because I had a ton of vegetables in the house that needed to be eaten, and it sounded tasty to me.), the flavors still worked well together. It was warm, slightly spicy, and comforting – all great attributes in a curry. (Aren’t saucy curries like, the ultimate comfort food? They are to me – and it doesn’t matter if it’s an Indian curry, a Thai curry, a Jamaican curry, or a totally-new-invention curry. They all make my belly happy.) And those zucchini noodles? They kept it from feeling heavy. In the summer, that’s a definite plus.

Thai-Inspired Chicken Curry

2 T coconut oil, divided

1 T Thai Kitchen red curry paste

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

1 c coconut milk

1 5-inch piece lemongrass, smashed with side of knife (you can find this at Whole Foods or an Asian grocery, or omit)

3 Kaffir lime leaves (you can find this at Whole Foods or an Asian grocery, or sub a bit of lime zest)

1 medium yellow squash, sliced

1 ½ c sliced red cabbage

1 tomato, chopped

2-3 T cilantro, chopped

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil. Swirl to heat, and add curry paste. Stir the paste around for a few seconds to get it sizzling. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper, and add to the skillet. Stir until the paste is evenly coating the chicken, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lemongrass, and Kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened well and flavors have melded. Adjust seasoning to taste.

While the curry is simmering, heat another skillet to medium heat. Add the remaining coconut oil and swirl. Add the squash and cabbage and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until the squash is lightly browned and the cabbage is starting to wilt. Add the tomatoes and stir for a moment. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables to the curry and stir. Serve on top of zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or steamed rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serves 3-4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetables

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Life As A Plate (Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, Crockpot Chili)

grain-free primal bread

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is one of my favorite blog events. I’ve said it time and time again, but I love the opportunity to really get to know another blogger – test their recipes, read a lot of their posts, and the best part – taste their food. This month, Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is being hosted by Sea over at Book of Yum. (She’s also the creator of this great event.) I was excited to adopt one of my new favorite bloggers – AndreAnna at Life As A Plate.

AndreAnna is inspirational to me. She struggled with weight issues (her story is here), but finally has found a new life through eating primally (via the Primal Blueprint – check it out over at Mark’s Daily Apple) and through Crossfit. She’s completed a Warrior Dash. Her blogs are definitely entertaining – one minute, you’re laughing at her wit, and the next, she will bring you close to tears as she shares deep, emotional, inspirational streams of thought. She cooks amazing meals that make me drool. In short, she is a badass. (I do believe that’s the first time I’ve ever used that term on this blog, but it’s by far the best descriptor I have for her.)

So what does little Tasty Eats At Home do when adopting AndreAnna? Try to keep up! I love primal/paleo eating. I have dabbled in and out of this for a while, finding that I feel better with fewer grains, fewer starches, and much less sugar (even natural sugars). So I knew her recipes would jive with my body. But what to make? Surprisingly, I made foods that aren’t normally associated with this time of year – rosemary olive oil bread and crockpot chili. Why? Well, the bread was just calling my name – and I had rosemary in the garden – and the crockpot chili didn’t involve any heating of my kitchen at the way-too-hot-to-think hour of 6pm. (I avoided that issue with the bread by baking it early in the day on Saturday.) Both were amazing.

The bread was soft. Pliable. Moist. Brittany enjoyed it at dinner (in fact, she had 4 slices!) with butter. I enjoyed it unadorned, restraining myself from matching Brittany slice-for-slice. I omitted the parmesan cheese, but threw in 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes for a punch of flavor.

The chili was just as satisfying. In spite of the heat, I had a generous bowl (plus a tiny bit of a second helping) for dinner, and then portioned myself out some more for lunch the following day. It was even better the second day, and was a hearty meal I looked forward to eating. I didn’t put the ingredients in the crockpot in stages, as I wasn’t home to do so, but dumping everything in together and leaving it to simmer for hours worked just fine. I enjoyed it with onions and cilantro. Yum.

There are many, many more delicious recipes I could devour from AndreAnna’s blog. Collard greens? Yes, ma’am! And she and I must think alike, because she posted a kohlrabi slaw recipe too (looks SO good). And just in case you think there isn’t room for dessert on a primal diet, AndreAnna has desserts covered too.

After reading her latest post, I am further inspired. AndreAnna has the drive to push herself hard, encourage others to do so, but also has an incredible amount of grace. I think that I’ll also sign up for Warrior Dash next year- even if I finish last, I know I’ll finish. Thanks AndreAnna!

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Soups

Easy Sardine Salad – The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen (Giveaway!)

A while back, Skyhorse Publishing contacted me about a book to review. The publicist told me that a great majority of the recipes in the book were naturally gluten-free, but were also approachable to any guest at the dinner table. Her recommendation and the title of the book drew me in. The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen – Glorious Meals Pure and Simple, by Levana Kirschenbaum. The majority of my cooking is 100% whole foods, so this sounded like a perfect addition to my cookbook collection (which currently has outgrown all available bookshelf space, and is now occupying some pantry shelf space, as well as space above my kitchen cabinets, and there are more without a home right now. I may have a problem…). I readily agreed to review the book, and asked for some additional copies to share with you all in a giveaway. Of course, they agreed!  

This book was just as was described to me. There are countless delicious, mouth-watering, healthy recipes made from real, whole food ingredients in this book. Homemade harissa? Curried apple kale soup? Moroccan turkey patties in lemon sauce? Just hearing those recipes makes me hungry. I currently have about a dozen recipes bookmarked in this book to make. But late one evening, when I was on my own for dinner, I decided to whip up a super-easy recipe for sardine salad.

Sardines, you ask? Aren’t those the gross little canned whole fishes? Okay, before you click away, hear me out. To many, sardines are a bit off-putting. I understand that. But they sure pack a nutritional punch. For people like me who can’t consume dairy, there aren’t many calcium-rich foods out there. But sardines are an exception. They pack nearly half of the daily requirement of calcium, thanks to those tiny edible bones. They’re also a great source of protein and omega-3s. For the price (a can of sardines costs about a dollar), they are one of those “must-have” budget foods in your pantry. If you’re skeptical about the taste, this salad is a great way to start. The tahini, lemon, and greens cut the “pungent” flavor of the fish, and when you’re mixing the ingredients together, you won’t see the skin and bones of the sardines. If you try it, you just might find these little fishes to be to your liking. While I’ve long adored sardines (particularly in another salad recipe I found over at City|Life|Eats), this recipe further established my love for them. It definitely was the perfect light meal.

Sardine Salad, from The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen, reprinted with permission

2 cans sardines, skin and bones on, oil and all

1/4 c tahini (sesame paste)

4 scallions, sliced very thin

Juice of 2 lemons, or a little more to taste

Ground pepper to taste

Splash of bottled hot sauce

4 cups very finely chopped romaine, watercress, or sprouts, or a combination (I used spinach)

Mash the sardines with their oil and the tahini with a fork in a bowl. Add the scallions, lemon juice, pepper, and hot sauce and combine thoroughly. Fold in the greens and mix. Makes 8 servings. (of course, I ate more than 1 serving as a main meal…)

And now, the giveaway. I am giving away two copies of The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen by Levana Kirschenbaum, courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing. To enter, leave me a comment.

To gain additional entries, post about this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook, and come back and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

The giveaway will end Sunday, July 31, 2011.

Good luck!

20 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Salads, Seafood

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

A few weeks ago, my husband surprised me. Little did I know he’d been tucking away money, but he sat me down, whipped out some cash, and told me that it was for a new VitaMix. I nearly cried, I was so excited. I ordered it right away, and it arrived at my doorstep a few days later.

Of course, the first things I made with it were my morning smoothies. No real recipe there – often I toss a fruit or two, some spinach, some protein powder, and give it a whirl. But now, the smoothies are creamy. No more chewing bits of spinach! This Blueberry Spinach Mint Smoothie is even more of a delight in my new blender. Lately, I’ve been throwing fresh, ripe peaches in the blender and making creamy peachy concoctions. Delish.

But the VitaMix can do so much more than just make smoothies. You can actually “cook” soup in the blender – just blend on high speed for a few minutes, and I promise you, your soup will come out creamy, smooth, and HOT! It’s amazing. But it can also blend batters for baked goods. My first attempt? A chocolate zucchini muffin – without the addition of oils.

I wanted a little treat for breakfasts that wouldn’t be too rich, too sweet, or too indulgent. This muffin definitely delivers. You’d never know there was zucchini in the batter, as the VitaMix takes care of all of those little pieces. The muffin is denser than some, but I found it really enjoyable. Just the right amount of texture for a good, hearty muffin.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

1/4 c brown rice flour (30 grams)

1/4 c potato starch (35 grams)

1/2 c sorghum flour (60 grams)

1 t baking soda

1/2 t baking powder

2 T cocoa powder (12 grams)

1/4 t guar gum

1/4 t salt

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t allspice

1/4 c egg whites

1 t vanilla extract

2/3 c coconut palm sugar (100 grams)

2 c coarsely chopped zucchini (255 grams)

1/2 c chopped pecans

1/2 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with papers.

Combine brown rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, guar gum, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a large bowl. Whisk until completely blended.

Place egg whites, vanilla, coconut palm sugar, and zucchini into blender and secure lid. Select Variable 1, then turn machine on and quickly increase speed. Blend for 15 seconds or until everything looks uniform. Stop blender and add dry ingredients. Secure lid and continue to blend for 20 seconds or until everything is uniform. If necessary, use tamper to press any ingredients into the blades.

Stop machine and pour mixture into large bowl. Mix in nuts and raisins by hand. Spoon into muffin papers 2/3 of the way full. Bake 16-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 1 dozen.

This post is linked to Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free, hosted at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

18 Comments

Filed under breakfast, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Diet, Dessert and Dogs (Adzuki Bean Spread)

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is being hosted this month by Wendy of Celiacs In The House. I love Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger – while I love reading and trying to keep up with all of my favorite gluten-free blogs, reading, gawking, and sometimes drooling, I almost never seem to find time to actually make the recipes I salivate over. This event gives me an opportunity to slow down and actually try a recipe. Thing is, I rarely find it easy to decide which recipe to make. This is definitely the case when it comes to my adoptee this month – Ricki of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs.

Ricki is definitely a powerhouse in the kitchen. Her blog has hundreds of delicious, Anti-Candida Diet (ACD) friendly recipes, and she has published 4 books. I own them all. I love her latest – Good Morning! Breakfasts without Gluten, Sugar, Eggs, or Dairy. Her innovative ways of creating sweet, delicious, healthy recipes using healthy ingredients really gets me to think outside the box. I imagine that going through the healing process of the Anti-Candida Diet forces one to do just that, especially when cravings for waffles, cakes, or fudge strike. Ricki amazes with her ability to satisfy those cravings.

Lately I’ve been in need of good, healthy snacks to pack for lunch, so I made Ricki’s adzuki bean spread. Wow, is it delicious! I am a sucker for bean spreads/dips in any case, but this was unique. It had a lovely umami punch from the miso, and a bit of a bite from the green onions. The creaminess of the beans (I love adzuki beans – they’re one of my favorites, and have appeared here before.) brought everything together. A bit of this stuff, spread on some Mary’s Gone Crackers and enjoyed along a quickly packed lunch of carrot sticks and celery was the perfect easy-to-make lunch. I’m definitely making this again – perhaps even as a quick dip for a party.

Next on my list of recipes to make from Ricki? Her “swiss cheese“. This really has me intrigued. Homemade vegan cheese cubes? I am seeing a salad very soon in my future, topped with these little treats!

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Filed under Appetizers, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Menu Plan June 27-July 1, plus a Summer Squash Chicken Frittata

Where have the menu plans gone? You might be asking. They haven’t been posted on my blog for a few weeks now. Well, long story short, I was on vacation for 2 weeks. While I had vague ideas of what I planned on cooking, I was in the midst of testing so many recipes for my upcoming book, and our schedule was so lax, that I didn’t have an actual “plan.” (In fact, there were evenings where, after hours of cooking and testing recipes, my husband asked what was for dinner, and my only plan was something like “There are brownies, a cake, crackers, bread, some tomato jam, and I’m working on a meatloaf. Would you like any of that?”  I had tons of food around, but often, there wasn’t a cohesive meal in sight.) Last week, I was still in post-vacation recovery mode, and a lot of the meals were last-minute compilations of what we needed to use up. Finally, this week, we’re back into the swing of things.

One of the recipes I was testing during my time off was a recipe I debuted last year, albeit in a slightly different form, as an appetizer for a crowd of guests (gluten and dairy eaters) that were visiting. Originally it was called an “appetizer square”, and was made with zucchini and crumbled pork sausage, rather than summer squash and chicken. It obviously went over well, as the pieces were gobbled down fairly quickly. When I came across it again, I remembered the abundance of squash in the refrigerator, and decided to make a different version. It turned out to be even better than the first, in my opinion.

What’s lovely about a recipe like this is that it’s versatile. Zucchini or summer squash can be used – and this time of year, most of us have more of both of these veggies than we’d like, so it’s a great way to use it up! Any leftover cooked meat can be used – or even beana (I could imagine black beans tasting scrumptious here!). Spice it how you’d like. Serve it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as an appetizer. The sky is the limit here.

Summer Squash Chicken Frittata (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

½ c olive oil, divided

½ c diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t minced fresh sage

½ lb diced cooked chicken

½ t ground cumin

1 t herbs de Provence

1 t chile powder

4 whole eggs

½ c almond flour

¼ c coconut flour

1 T baking powder

3 c grated summer squash or zucchini

½ c Daiya cheese (or other non-dairy cheese)

1 T nutritional yeast flakes

½ t salt

¼ t ground black pepper

Heat a skillet to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions to skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, sage, and chicken and sauté for another minute. Remove and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Grease a 13X9 baking dish and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended, and add the rest of the oil and whisk. Add in the flours, baking powder, onion-garlic-chicken mix, grated squash and remaining ingredients. Spread into prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Makes 16 appetizer servings.

And now, for the menu for this week!

Monday

Breakfast: Healthy chocolate zucchini muffin, scrambled egg whites with spinach and tomato

Lunch: Roasted turkey breast, leftover veggies from Sunday dinner (grilled asparagus, green beans)

Dinner: Chicken with mole sauce, steamed brown rice, steamed broccoli

Tuesday

Breakfast: Smoothie with strawberries, spinach, protein powder, almond milk and chia seeds, scrambled egg whites with Daiya cheese

Lunch: Roasted turkey breast with baby carrots and steamed spinach, unless there are leftovers from dinner

Dinner: Garden salad, Meatballs

Wednesday

Breakfast: Healthy chocolate zucchini muffin, scrambled egg whites with spinach and tomatoes

Lunch: Garden salad with roasted turkey breast or tuna

Dinner: Brined pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed cauliflower and spinach

Thursday

Breakfast: Smoothie with acai berry, protein powder, banana, spinach, and chia seeds, scrambled egg whites

Lunch: Tuna, shredded carrots, and spinach in a brown rice tortilla wrap

Dinner: Grilled salmon, okra and tomatoes, grilled potatoes

Friday

Breakfast: Healthy chocolate zucchini muffin, scrambled egg whites with spinach and tomatoes

Lunch: Creamy tomato tofu soup, gluten-free crackers

Dinner: Fried brown rice with shrimp, green beans

Snacks this week will include fresh peaches, black bean dip on brown rice cakes, and apples with peanut or almond butter. I also have Tanka bars on hand if I need a bit of protein.

Want more great menu ideas? Check out Celiacs In The House and the Gluten-Free Menu Swap!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

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Filed under Appetizers, breakfast, Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Meal Plans, Quick and Easy, Vegetables

Blueberry Spinach Mint Smoothie

Yesterday was my first day back at the office, after enjoying two weeks of vacation at home. It was a glorious two weeks. We didn’t do much – we visited Lonesome Dove in Fort Worth, saw a movie, visited the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center, played with the XBOX 360 and Kinect, and I met Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free for lunch one day (which was wonderful!). Other than those things, some shopping, errands, and doctors appointments, there wasn’t a lot of schedule or planned activities. Which left me with LOTS of time to test recipes for my upcoming book!

Testing recipes starts out as fun. First, there’s an idea. It’s like a spark in your brain. This can happen anytime – many times, I’ll be immersed in another activity, such as running, watching TV (okay, so watching shows like Top Chef Masters does help get those creative juices flowing!), or chatting with my husband, and a concept will pop into my head. Then it’s as if I have little control over the mind flow that happens next – I start to envision a dish, and components fall into place. A bit of color here, some fresh herbs there, and a bit of citrus for acidity and balance…and suddenly, I need to do one of two things: either hop into the kitchen and start making my creation immediately, or else grab whatever I have to write on (or type) and jot down my ideas. During these past two weeks, many times, I had the freedom to hop into the kitchen. That was liberating and great fun.

But then reality starts to set in. Sometimes these grand ideas work the first time. But sometimes (many times), they don’t. Not that they’re all failures (although I’d had my share of those!), but they need tweaking. So I start again. And again. This is where it starts to not feel as “fun”. However, if I can persist through multiple trials, and see a successful dish arise from my experiments, then it’s all worth it. There is nothing more rewarding than working hard at something and finally feeling that sense of accomplishment.

But there’s another side to recipe testing. This is the side “they” don’t talk about. The part where you have to taste. And taste. And taste again. All day, you’re nibbling. Next thing you know, that scale creeps up, bit by bit. That fourth and fifth version of your cookie recipe is slowly doing your figure some damage! Not to mention all those nibbles are not likely to add up to a balanced diet by the end of the day.

So I am trying to balance however I can. Being back at work this week puts me back into my routine, which helps. (It also slows down recipe testing progress, but c’est la vie…) I’m also trying to incorporate a good, nutrient-rich smoothie pretty often in my diet. This is a smoothie I’ve enjoyed quite a bit lately. For some reason, the combination of blueberries, mint, and spinach works well for me. It’s fresh, just barely sweet, and with a scoopful of protein powder, it’s filling enough and has staying power to get me through the morning. It certainly helps that blueberries are plentiful this time of year, and the mint in my garden is beginning to really take off. It’s perfect on a hot summer day, when the thought of a hot breakfast just doesn’t appeal.

Rarely do I follow a recipe when making my smoothies. It’s more of a dump-random-stuff-together-and-see-what-happens event. So if you don’t have something, feel free to substitute. A banana would work well in here. So would some coconut milk or yogurt (dairy or non-dairy, your choice). Change up the greens – use kale or swiss chard instead of spinach. Or omit them entirely, and add multiple varieties of berries for a berry-mint smoothie. It’s YOUR smoothie – make the most of it!

Blueberry Spinach Mint Smoothie

About 2 cups of baby spinach

1/2 c packed mint leaves

1/2 c fresh blueberries

1 T brown rice protein powder (I’ve been using Jarrow Brown Rice lately)

1 T hemp seeds (optional)

1 c coconut water

Ice

Stevia to sweeten, if desired

Add spinach, mint, blueberries, protein powder, hemp seeds, and coconut water together in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding more coconut water or ice if desired. Taste – if it’s not sweet enough for your liking, add a few drops of stevia extract and blend again.

Serve cold. Makes 1-2 servings.

Don’t forget! You can enter for your chance to win  Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom! Check out my giveaway post here. Hurry, because the giveaway ends Saturday, June 25, 2011!

This post was submitted to the June 2011 SOS Challenge over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs and is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at Gluten-Free Homemaker.

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Filed under breakfast, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Quinoa Tabbouleh and a Giveaway – Gluten-Free Made Simple

It seemed for a while there all I was blogging about was this gluten-free book and that gluten-free book, (and this one as well!) and giving away copies of them all. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped. Well, my dear readers, it’s time for another book review and giveaway! That’s right, St. Martin’s Press has graciously allowed me to review a copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom, as well as share a copy with one of my lucky readers!

When I received my copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple, my first impression was that it was a lovely, colorful book. There are photos for every recipe – something I know is a deal-maker for a lot of people. (When chatting with my sister-in-law a while back, she mentioned that is a key thing that sells her on cookbooks – she wants to see what it looks like, and that photo will help entice her to make the recipes!) This book definitely delivers beautiful photos. But what I noticed, as a gluten-free cook and baker, was how simple the recipes truly were. The ingredient lists were short, and most recipes could be made in a few quick steps. This book was written to not only appeal to me, but chiefly to appeal to a large audience of varying levels of kitchen expertise and time. Gluten-free cooking seems overwhelming to a lot of people (hence why Shirley has dedicated an entire blog to living gluten-free easily), especially those who have limited or no cooking skills. The transition from drive-thru to being comfortable with home-cooked meals is a difficult one for many. This book does an excellent job of assisting those new to gluten-free or looking for new gluten-free recipes make that transition.

There are many delicious recipes in this book I’m dying to try – from an easy meatloaf recipe, to cinnamon rolls (that you don’t have to roll out!), pineapple muffins, and strawberry pie. But as the temperatures have been creeping up around here lately, I opted for a simple, cool salad – the quinoa tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh is traditionally a Lebanese bulgur salad with parsley, mint, tomato, cucumber, and spring onions, tossed in a simple lemon juice and oil dressing. However, bulgur is off-limits on a gluten-free diet. Quinoa makes a fine substitute (a superior one, in my opinion). It’s easy to make, and is something you can prepare ahead of time, making it a great side dish for company. It’s the perfect summer side dish (or even main dish!). I opted to use chives instead of the green onions in this recipe, vegetable broth instead of chicken, and I used some golden cherry tomatoes I picked up from Good Earth Organic Farm last weekend. This is one of those definite “go-to” recipes for this time of year.

Quinoa Tabbouleh, reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free Made Simple

1/2 c quinoa

1 c gluten-free chicken broth such as Better Than Bouillon (I used vegetable broth)

3/4 c chopped fresh cucumber

1/2 c snipped fresh parsley

1/4 c thinly sliced green onions (I used chives)

1 T snipped fresh mint

1 recipe Tabbouleh Dressing (see below)

3/4 c chopped tomato

4 lettuce leaves (I didn’t use these)

Place quinoa in a colander and rinse with warm water for 2 minutes. (Note: quinoa must be rinsed very well to remove the bitterness on the grain.) (My note – Ancient Harvest quinoa is pre-rinsed.) In a saucepan, combine quinoa and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and let cook until quinoa splits and absorbs most of the chicken broth, about 15 minutes. (The recipe doesn’t specify, but I covered my pan with a lid.) Drain and cool. (I needed no draining)

In a large bowl combine quinoa, cucumber, parsley, green onions and mint. Drizzle with Tabbouleh Dressing and toss to coat. (I didn’t use all of the dressing.) Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours. Stir tomato into quinoa mixture just before serving. Serve on lettuce leaves. Serves 4.

Tabbouleh Dressing

In a screw-top jar combine 3 tablespoons canola oil (I used olive), 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and shake well.

Now, for the giveaway part!

I will be giving away 1 copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom. The giveaway will end at midnight, Saturday, June 25, 2011. I will chose a winner via random.org.

To enter:

Leave me a comment telling me what dish you wish you could make gluten-free without a lot of fuss.

That’s it! Best of luck! And even if you don’t win, I encourage you to check out Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom on Amazon.com. It’s a great “go-to” book when you’re looking for easy gluten-free recipes.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Southwestern Omelet and a Call for Recipe Testers

I love eggs. They’re not only healthy, a great source of inexpensive protein (even happy, free-range eggs don’t cost much), and one of the speediest things to cook, they also are SO tasty. One of my favorite ways to enjoy an egg is simply cooked sunny-side up, followed closely by poached. But sometimes, I want something with a little more flair, and more ability to incorporate the plethora of veggies in my kitchen. This is when an omelet is just the thing.

Omelets don’t need to be complicated. Of course, mine aren’t as delicately fancy and thin as some, but for my everyday breakfast, that’s fine by me. Just a single fold – enough to allow the filling inside to get all warm, melty, and mingled with the egg – works for my quick and healthy breakfast. I’ll save the fancier stuff for fancier occasions.

Another bonus about omelets – each one is customizable. That way, if you’re making omelets for other family members, everyone can pick out their favorite fillings. Today, I opted for a Southwestern style – a sauteed mix of shallots, diced tomato, serrano pepper, and spinach, topped with just a tiny bit of Daiya cheese. It was spicy, fresh, and packed with powerful flavors, but light enough so that I had energy to get on with my day. My kind of breakfast.

Southwestern Omelet (makes 1 omelet)

1 T olive oil

2 T sliced shallots

4-5 slices fresh serrano pepper (or more if you’re daring – my chile was HOT!)

1/4 c diced tomato

1 large handful of baby spinach

2 eggs, scrambled

2 T Daiya (or other non-dairy) cheese, or omit

1 T fresh chopped cilantro

Heat a small skillet (mine was about 8 inches) to medium heat and add half of the oil. Saute the shallots and serrano chile for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add tomato and spinach and continue to saute until spinach is wilted. Remove and set aside in a small bowl. Wipe out the skillet and add the rest of the oil. Swirl to coat well. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the eggs. Allow eggs to sit without stirring for a minute. Once eggs start to cook on the bottom, take a flexible spatula and carefully pull the edges of the eggs away from the skillet and allow the runny part to fill the space underneath. Do this all the way around the omelet. Repeat this once or twice more, or until the egg is starting to set up more. Once nearly set, add your veggie mixture on one side of the omelet and top with Daiya cheese. Top with a bit of cilantro. Then carefully flip the empty side of the omelet over onto the filling, holding the top in place for a moment or two, if necessary, until the egg stays folded. Allow to cook for another 30 seconds or so, and carefully remove from pan and put onto plate.

Enjoy.

Okay, by announcing it here, this makes it official, right? Are you ready? (Am I ready? Eeek!)

I am working on my first e-book! This book will be filled with gluten and dairy-free recipes that are tasty and healthy for the whole family, made from whole foods and real ingredients. But I need your help to make this happen. I will be furiously working on recipes here at home, but I need testers! If you’re interested in testing out recipes, please send me an email at alta2924 (at) hotmail (dot) com. I hope to be able to have recipe testing start in the next month or so. Thank you in advance for all of your help! This is a huge step for me, and I have so many dreams for this book – I certainly hope it’s as exciting for you as it will be for me!

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Filed under breakfast, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Gluten-Free Goodness

This month for Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger I chose to adopt Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness. Cheryl’s a relatively new bloggy friend of mine; I “met” her through Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl. Cheryl is a Registered Dietitian and nutritionist, as well as a health and wellness coach. She helps a lot of people enjoy a healthy, gluten-free diet. Cheryl has several food allergies, and while that might frustrate some in the kitchen, Cheryl handles it with grace and innovation. She is always coming up with something delicious, healthy, and allergen-free. It definitely makes choosing just a few recipes to try that much more difficult!

Somehow, I managed. I had to choose one of her dessert recipes, and came across these amazing Brazil Nut Chip Cookies. Brazil nuts, however, are not something I adore, so I improvised a bit. (Okay, more than a little bit…but I wanted to use what was on hand.)I used almond butter instead of the brazil nut butter, substituted raisins for the chocolate chips, and used 1 whole banana instead of the avocado. My gluten-free flour blend was 1 part teff flour, 1 part millet flour, and 1 part coconut flour. These came out of the oven tasting like banana-y oatmeal raisin cookies – one of my favorite cookies of all time. I’m definitely making these again and again. They were superb.

Another recipe I have tried (more than once) from Cheryl is her coconut curried greens recipe. I opted to use canned coconut milk, and did not add chicken, as I made this a side dish. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients here – these greens are craveably delicious. I had to make them twice – after the first time, the flavors haunted me. It’s a good thing collard greens are arriving in my CSA box in large amounts lately!

While this is all I’ve made so far, I definitely found more recipes I want to make in the future. Cheryl has a Nana Skillet Bread that looks comforting and delicious. I can imagine it as tasty breakfast treat. Her Sniffle Stew looks like a go-to recipe, especially in the winter. (I don’t think you need the sniffles in order to eat it – I can imagine it’s the perfect lunchtime soup as well!) And who could pass up her Chocolate Raspberry Pie? That looks killer.

Need some healthy, easy recipe inspiration? Check out more of Cheryl’s recipes here. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian