Wednesday

Quick & Easy BBQ Beans

This is one of my husband's favorie recipes. I thought I'd share it with all of you in time for your end of summer barbecue parties. It's so simple, I almost feel guilty...almost.

Quick & Easy BBQ Beans

The measurements are not exact because I have never measured them and really, it's mainly by taste anyway. If you prefer it sweeter, add more maple syrup...more tangy, add more tomato paste/ketchup...not too spicy, then add less garlic. I'll be sure to post a pic of this fab dish soon!

4 strips thick-cut applewood bacon, cut into small strips (I use kitchen shears for this and it's a snap)
2 cans small white beans (GF), drained and rinsed well
2 spoonfuls tomato paste (or in a pinch you could use ketchup - GF of course)
dash or two salt, to taste
1-2 tsp. crush fennel seeds, optional but we really like the flavor
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup (more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
6 cloves garlic, pressed (again, more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
a little water to thin (especially if using tomato paste)

Place bacon in a medium saucepan and heat over med/high, stirring, until cooked thorugh but not crispy. Remove from heat and add the beans, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan (take care not to over stir or the beans will become mushy.) Add remaining ingredients and heat over low just a minute or so until warm. Taste and adjust flavors to suit you.

*Feeds: 4/side dish OR 2/main dish

Tips:

*To make this recipe even easier, cook the bacon, mix in the beans and then stir in some Organicville BBQ Sauce (which is GF and oh so delicious!) Add just a little maple syrup, fennel and garlic - bam! You've got amazing beans!!!

*Try adding some cut up hot dogs for a new and flavorful twist on franks and beans!

Sunday

Sun Butter is Just Better!

I confess...I used to stick my finger in the jar of peanut butter. Hey, my hands were clean!!! I couldn't help myself - all that lovely, velvety, sweet smoothness with a touch of crunch and saltiness that would stick to the roof of my mouth in that weird yet endearing way... pure heaven!

Sadly though, since discovering my various food sensitivities over the last few years, I noticed my tummy not appreciating the attributes of P.B. anymore and, therefore, have been denying myself of this sticky seductress. Until now.

I recently discovered something that I dare say is actually better than my good old P.B. It is slightly sweeter and has that yummy, velvety texture with just a hint of salt...and it can be crunchy too, if you like. And here's the real clincher, it's much healthier! I'm talkin' about Sun Butter!!!

This amazing spread is made from the humble sunflower seed! And although it is made from such a tiny kernel, it packs tremendous flavor! One of my favorite snacks is to dip apple slices into crunchy sun butter with a drizzle of pure honey - amazing! And my latest exploration has led me to Sun Butter Ice Cream...mmmmm! So very rich and creamy with the sweet/salty taste that leaves you wanting more. I use this recipe from Karina Allrich as my base. Here's what I do:

2 cups unsweetened So Delicous Coconut Milk (the one in the green carton)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. 1/4 tsp. coconut flour (instead of x.g.)
large pinch sea salt

-Whisk it all up really well, especially if using the coconut flour, so there are no lumps. Pour into ice cream maker and let it go for about 10 minutes. Add:

2 very generous soup spoonfuls crunchy sun butter (in the last 10 minutes of the ice cream cycle)

-Let in whirl about another 5-10 minutes until it's very thick. Eat right then (soft-serve style) or place in container and freeze.

So, so good!

Pizza and a New Hair Cut

So what is new in the world of Tammie? I'm so glad that you asked!

First, let me just say that it has been years since I have been able to have pizza (FYI: I don't count all the crappy cardboard attempts at GF pizza that I have endured nor my last BJ's gluten-contaminated pizza but that's for another blog post...), I mean really good PIZZA! But now I have found it, and I'm going to share it with all of you...ready?
I've only got eyes for this pizza pie

Ta-da! Conte's GF Pizza Shells are awesome! I get mine at Whole Foods. They're so good that I now keep a couple of packages in the freezer at ALL times.

Here's what I do: I make a quick pizza sauce by mixing tomato paste with some agave and crushed garlic. Sometimes I add a little dried crushed fennel or oregano... it's all good. Then I spread it all over the frozen shell and top it with real whole milk mozzerella cheese. Now I know what you're going to say, "Hey, wait a sec - aren't you dairy-free? What gives?" Well, truth be told I am 90% dairy-free. Occasionally, I indulge in some real dairy goodness and will suffer the consequences. However, for some inexplicable reason I don't have any trouble with real-deal mozzerella, or feta for that matter. (Can I get a "Woo-hoo"?) And besides, I only have it occasionally - see how I can rationalize with the best of them? ;)
Pesto and sausage - perfecto!
So back to the recipe, I top it with the gooey-cheesy goodness and pop it straight onto the oven rack. I let it bake at 450 for about 10 minutes and when it comes out,  crown it with some fresh basil leaves from the garden. Voila! PIZZA!!!

Now, my husband is more into meat so I made him a pesto and sausage version that he said was delicious (pictured above because I scarfed mine down before I remembered to take a pic - sorry.) I've also tried just brushing the shell with olive oil and topping it with crushed garlic and some cheese. Excellent as an appetizer with wine.

These crusts are crisp on the outside but still slightly chewy on the inside - just like pizza should be. (And I think it's even better the next day reheated in the microwave!) No crumbly, dry, tasteless, cardboard crusts here folks. These are the real deal! It's just so exciting to be able to have pizza in my life again...*contented sigh* Yes, my life is small but my dreams are big...and my food is delish! (lol)

Trying to give you a serious thinking type of pose...ha!
So on to the other new thing in my life...I have a new hair cut! Yep, I decided to whack it off for summer and give my locks a break from the bleach. What do you think? BTW - I love black and white photography...it forgives all the imperfections - and a violet photo filter helps too!

Saturday

Rice Dream Ice Cream Bites

I am hooked. Period.


Don't be afraid - they're actually really good!

Why have ice cream when I can have these little morsels of pure joy!

Usually I detest rice milk products. (Well, maybe detest is too strong of a word. How about mildly despise?) They are just watery and unflavorful to me. I say why bother when there's almond milk (sweet and smooth) or coconut milk (creamy and silky) to turn to for my dairy-free needs. So, the other day when it was 100+ outside and I was in need of a cold treat, I found these in the freezer aisle and decided to give them a try. They just looked so good (in spite of the whole rice milk thing.) Truthfully, I figured if I hated them - oops, I mean mildly despised them - I would just leave them for my husband to eat. He'll eventually eat almost anything in the fridge...


Only 11 left - what is a girl to do?

So, once home and feeling the California heat, I decided to try one. Mmmmm...dark chocolate followed by a light vanilla ice milk-like lightness. Perfection! Of course one led to two, and then three, and eventually 8...ok, maybe more like 15 BUT they're tiny so 15 make up one serving. Honest! I did however finish these little babies off in less than 72 hours...

I've yet to buy them again. I know doing so would be extremely dangerous...they're just that good! Take it from this rice milk (mild) despiser - you'll never know it's rice milk hiding in there, just pure awesomeness!

Sunday

GF Vegan Doughnut Bread

Yum. That is the perfect word to describe this recipe because it really does taste like a delicious crumb cake doughnut.
Doughnut Bread warm from the oven...

I found this recipe at Gluten Free GiGi. Check out her blog - it's filled with tons of wonderful recipes like this one...and because it's vegan and gluten free, this is a treat you can feel good about too.

Try making these into muffins for a quick morning treat!

The only changes I made were to use toasted pecans in place of the oats in the streusel and coconut flour in place of the xanthan gum. My bread is quite a bit darker than GiGi's (I left it in the oven about 10 minutes longer than I should have *sigh*) but it still tasted wonderful!

Friday

GF Brownies

I had a chocolate craving today and have been wanting to try this brownie recipe from Karina, The Gluten Free Goddess. And let me just say, these brownies are spectacular!


Rich, moist and oh so chocolaty!!! I decided to cut the recipe in half (because I figured there would be less temptation that way...) and they came out perfectly (I baked them in a small glass pan for only 35 minutes.)


I had (notice the word "had" instead of "have" used here...) six extra large fugdy and delicious brownies. Oh my! So, so very good :)


So the next time you get a chocolate craving, go ahead and give these a try! You'll be in chocolate heaven! Here's the recipe.

GF DF White Bread

I have finally, finally found a decent delicious gluten free "white" bread. I'm totally speechless!
Just look at this squishy white deliciousness!
Basic gf white bread is usually not very good - inevitably, it is usually heavy, dry, and grainy in texture.
Lookin' good - yum!


But this tasty white bread is delicious! Completely worthy of taking on any regular gluten-laden sandwich bread on the market.

This is the real deal folks :)

And don't let the "Coconut" in the recipe fool you here - this bread has just the faintest taste of coconut. All you really taste her is lovely bread. Yummmm :)

GF DF Coconut White Bread

1 1/3 cups warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 package instant dry yeast
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup oil (coconut oil - melted, or canola)
1 cup sorghum flour (or superfine brown rice flour)
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch (or flour)
1/2 cup corn starch
1 cup ground toasted coconut
2 tsp. xanthan gum

Grease bread pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 200 degrees, then turn oven off.

In bowl of stand mixer, combine water, sugar and yeast. Set aside until mixture foams.

Place flour, starches, coconut and xanthan gum in a large bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

Add the eggs and oil to the mixer and blend on medium speed for 1 minute. On low, slowly add the flou mixture in four or five additions, letting it mix well after each addition. Once the dough begins to thicken, mix on high for 1 minute.

Place dough into prepared bread pan, smoothing top of dough. Sprinkle with extra ground coconut, if you like. Place in oven and let raise until top is just above edge of bread pan, about 30 minutes.

Remove bread from oven and let it preheat to 350 degrees. Bake 30 – 40 minutes until top is brown. Turn oven off and leave door open slightly. Let bread cool for about 30 minutes, then remove from oven. Let cool for another 30 minutes. *Makes: 1 loaf

 

Thursday

Greek Quinoa Salad

It's a tradition in our family to have Easter at my brother and sister-in-law's house. Everyone gets together to have lunch and brings a dish or two. There's usually the ham, Freeport Bakery breads, fresh fruit, roasted veggies and (of course) there's dessert! But we tend to bring a variety of salads. We are salad people but not necessarily the traditional types of salad - we like to have fun and experiment with new salads and flavors.
My beautiful niece holding the salad.

This is where being GF is easy! It's so simple to create great tasting and easy gluten free salads. And because I kind of threw this dish together at the spur of the moment, I didn't do any exact measuring. But, actually, I don't think it's really necessary anyway - just go by the taste - add/delete what works for you! This Greek Quinoa Salad can be easily modified to be 100% vegan by omitting the feta and chicken. With all of the wonderful flavors in this salad, you really wouldn't miss them and the quinoa has all the protein you need!

Greek Quinoa Salad

-Chicken Marinade-
4 organic & hormone-free (boneless/skinless) chicken breasts

1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 heaping tbsp. each: chopped fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme and garlic
salt and pepper

-Slice each of the breasts in half to form a steak. Blend all of the marinade ingredients together in a large plastic baggie; add the chicken and seal. Place in a bowl in the fridge and let marinate at least 4 hours but not longer than 8 hours (otherwise the acid in the lemon juice will start to cook the chicken resulting in a mushy mess.)
-You can either grill the chicken or bake on a sheet at 350 and 45-55 minutes. Let cool and chop.

-Quinoa-
2 cups golden quinoa, rinsed well
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or water)

While the chicken is marinating, you can make the quinoa. Place the rinsed quinoa in a rice cooker with the stock or water. Set it and forget it! Once it's done, remove the pot from the cooker and fluff. SO easy!

-Salad-
1 large cucumber, peeled/seeded/large dice
1 smallish jar roasted red bell peppers, drained/diced
1/2 of a large jar of capers, rinsed
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained/chopped
1/2 jar kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (I forgot to add these but I know they'd be awesome!)
1/2 cup good Feta, crumbled
1 cup toasted pine nuts or roasted cashews, chopped (I used the cashews-it's what I had)

-Once the chicken and quinoa are cooked, blend together with the above ingredients (you may want to leave out the nuts until just before serving so that they're still crunchy.)

-Dressing-
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or you could use the oil from the artichoke hearts)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
2 tsp. each: chopped fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme 
about 3 cloves garlic, minced

-Blend the dressing together and pour over the salad; toss together. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Finish the salad by adding:

about 8 large mint leaves, chopped

-Blend in. You can chill this for several hours or eat right away. Amazingly delicious either way!

Tuesday

Lunch with Mom at Il Fornaio

Mom outside Il Fornaio on the Capitol Mall

Today, my Mom and I enjoyed a delicious, leisurely lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Il Fornaio. 


Spinach Salad with Bacon, Walnuts and Champagne Vinaigrette

We love it because the food is incredible and they're always willing to accommodate our gluten allergy (they make their own GF pasta daily too!) 


GF Salmon & Asparagus Pasta in a Brandy Cream Sauce


They use fresh, wholesome ingredients and cook everything to order.


GF Chicken with a Lemon-Celery Sauce and Tuscan Salad

And the staff is just amazing - so friendly and helpful! 


My Mom with C├ęsar - best waiter ever!

I love the feeling whenever I go there - it's special, you know? 


Zabligone with Peach Sorbet and Fresh Berries

And everyone deserves something special every now and then, right?


Vanilla Bean Gelato with Dark Chocolate Sauce

 Go treat yourself to a delicious GF evening out - you deserve it!


Monday

GF Fresh Fruit Tart

Easter was just beautiful - what could be better than spending time with family and enjoying wonderful food! I made a delicious Greek Quinoa Salad (I'll be posting the recipe soon!), Tiramisu and this yummy Fresh Fruit Tart. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


Fresh Fruit Tart

-Crust-
1 pkg. Schar shortbread cookies
2 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup finely shredded coconut
1/3 cup softened butter

-Pulse/process cookies in food processor until ground. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined and starting to hold together. Press into a 10'' tart pan. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool.


-Filling-
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar (vanilla sugar would be terrific here)
2 tsp. lemon, lime, or orange juice OR use 2 tsp. vanilla extract (or more to taste)
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
assorted fresh fruit 


-Blend the cream cheese, sugar and juice (or vanilla extract) with mixer until very creamy and smooth. Add the chilled cream and beat on high until light and fluffy. Spread into cooled crust. Top with fresh fruit. *Optional: you can mix 1/4 cup apple jelly with 1 tbsp. water and brush over tart to give it a shiny sheen (it will last longer this way too - keeping the fruit looking fresher longer.) Garnish with fresh mint. Keep chilled until ready to serve.


*Serves: 8-10

Thursday

Karina Allrich - The Gluten-Free Goddess

I am a BIG fan of Karina at Gluten-Free Goddess. She has absolutely the best recipes! Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan...whatever you need, she has you covered!

She has written a wonderful article about how to go Gluten Free that I thought would be great to share. Her Gluten Free Cheat Sheet is also very helpful. And she has some tips on how to make eating Gluten Free more budget friendly. Last, but not least, I really enjoyed reading her 56 Things To Remember - guaranteed to make you smile!

Wednesday

GF DF Vegan Apple Spice Muffins

Hello Everyone! I'm a few days late in posting this recipe....sorry. What can I say except that life happens :)

The recipe I promised you is for Apple Spice Muffins. A moist, delicious muffin that is gluten free, dairy free, vegan AND contains no white sugar whatsoever. All of this and it tastes AMAZING! Can you believe it??? These delicious morsels are not dense and crumbly, not too sweet, and are loaded with fiber. This is a muffin that you don't have to feel guilty about!
Apple Spice Muffin drizzled with wild honey

I borrowed the original recipe from Kelly at 18 Hour Kitchen and tweaked it here and there just a bit until I came up with this version. Kelly's original recipe calls for Xylosweet and stevia. I haven't tried Xylosweet yet and I'm just not a huge fan of stevia. It seems to impart a strange aftertaste in my baked goods. Perhaps it's because I haven't been off of white sugar long enough yet. Not sure. (I've been told that the longer you're off of the white stuff, the better stevia will taste.)

For now I like to use agave, honey (for non vegan recipes), pure maple syrup and coconut sugar. Yes, they do have higher glycemic index rates but they are still better than standard white/brown sugar by far and have that yummy sweetness sans any odd aftertaste. As an FYI, here's a list of common sweeteners and there GI value:

White/Brown Sugar (64)
Black Strap Molasses (55)
Pure Maple Syrup (54)
Sugar Cane Juice (43)
Coconut Sugar (Palm Sugar) (35)
Raw Honey (30)
Brown Rice Syrup (25)
Agave (11-30) *Depending on brand
Xlyosweet (7)
Stevia (less than 1)

Some of these may be a bit higher on the scale but take longer for the body to metabolize so they do not lead to crazy blood sugar spikes like white sugar will produce. I'm new to using coconut sugar but love the fact that not only does it have a low GI, it is also full of nutrition and also does not cause spikes in blood sugar. It is very similar to brown sugar in it texture and appearance but has a more mild flavor and sweetness. Be sure to measure it as you would brown sugar, packing it into the measuring cup. And due to it not being as sweet, you may want to add a little more than what your recipe usually calls for until you are used to it.

On to the recipe...
My lil' helper!

I had a special helper in the kitchen on this particular day. My nephew (who is a much better baker/chef than I am by the way) loves to help me try out new recipes. I love how excited he is in the kitchen, creating healthy food - he's so full of passion and loves to experiment. I do believe he could be the next Iron Chef!

These muffins are really easy to make once you have all the flours. Just mix wet and dry in separate bowls and then combine...how easy is that? You could also mix together the dry ingredients ahead of time and then keep them in a baggie in the fridge so that whenever you want delicious, homemade muffins, you can whip them up in just minutes! (I used Bob's Red Mill products for the flours. Also, you'll want to make sure that the baking powder and vanilla you are using are gluten free.)
Mixing it all together!

Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease a muffin tin. Blend together the following dry ingredients in a bowl:
-1 cup sorghum flour
-1/2 cup almond flour (or meal)
-1/2 cup ground flax meal
-1/4 cup tapioca flour
-1/4 cup coconut flour
-1 tbsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt

In another bowl, whisk together:
-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
-1/2 cup vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
-1/2 cup pure maple syrup or agave
-1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Mix the wet into the dry. Stir in:
-2 cups grated (peeled) apples (about 2 apples)
*Could also add some chopped walnuts or some raisins, if you like

These are so very good!!!
Scoop into muffin cups and fill about 3/4 full (makes 15 muffins.) Bake 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack 20 minutes (otherwise they stick to muffin papers and could fall apart.) Awesome drizzled with honey!

Saturday

Celiac vs. Gluten Intolerance: Which am I?

Good Morning and Happy Saturday!

I wanted to post a couple of links about being celiac vs. being gluten intolerant today.  You can find the first article here and the second one here. These are two very good reads that can help you have a better understanding about celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

I'm currently working on a longer, more in-depth post titled "Gluten 101" in which I'll describe what gluten is in more detail and why/how to live gluten free. 

And I'll be posting my very first recipe tomorrow - Apple Spice Muffins! Be sure to drop by and check it out!

Wishing you all good health!

Thursday

Origins Ginger Souffle is a Miracle Worker!

It's late so I'm going to make this post short and sweet. I've been asked to share what hand and body moisturizer I use. I like Origins Ginger Souffle. It healed my chapped, cracked hands like no other product has. The scent is heavenly and my skin stays hydrated for hours.

And if you are looking for a fragrance free lotion, Desert Essence Fragrance Free Lotion is a good choice (I cannot say enough good things about them!)

I feel I should also mention my favorite hand soap too since soap can dry out the hands to begin with (and gluten is in so many of them out there.) I like the South of France brand (and you can find it at Raley's and Cost Plus.) The Orange Blossom Honey is my favorite but there's a variety to choose from including shea, lavender and mint.

I promise not all of my posts will be about my favorite products! But if I can help someone out in some small way then I feel like this whole gluten experience has been worth while.

Wishing you all good health!

Wednesday

GF Shampoo and Conditioner

Hello and welcome to my new blog!!! I thought I'd start with something that has been an ongoing issue for me since going gluten free four years ago. Finding a decent GF shampoo and conditioner. I'm one of the ones who has a dermatitis rash-like reaction to gluten in topical products and this has made finding a good shampoo/conditioner quite difficult. I've also experienced hair loss since going GF - not fun - so I've been on a constant quest, trying everything that I could find.

I finally had settled on The Everyday Shea Body Wash from my local Nugget supermarket and Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Conditioner (I love their products!)

The Everyday Shea Body Wash wasn't terrific but it was getting the job done (my hair was clean but still dry even with the conditioner.) And then the irritation started up again.  Ugh. As I was flipping through my latest Natural Health magazine, I saw an ad for Derma e Psorzema Body Wash. It is designed for people with sensitive skin, dermatitis and eczema.

Since I'd already been using a body wash on my hair (and this product can be used on the scalp) I decided to give it a try. OMG! This stuff is amazing! After the very first use my hair was soft and manageable again! It looked shiny, healthy and I hardly lost any hair while washing/drying - a major bonus!

I still use the Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Conditioner but the Derma e Psorzema Body Wash is now my new shampoo and new best friend! If you also suffer from gluten induced rashes, eczema, or just have very sensitive skin, consider giving these products a try.

Wishing you all good health!