Saturday, November 22, 2014

Simple Plantain Waffles

Here is a recipe for some no-fuss, budget-friendly, gluten- and grain-free waffles that you can make in your blender. They are crisp, golden and savory with a flavor reminiscent of potato hash browns. The best thing about them (if you have experimented much with grain-free baking) - they don't fall apart!

You can find green plantains at most large supermarkets, Aldi, or international food stores. The skin is thick and fibrous and best removed by scoring and prying off with a sharp knife.

Simple Plantain Waffles

1/2 cup water or non-dairy milk
2 large, green, plantains, peeled and chunked
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Preheat waffle iron. Place all ingredients in blender and process till smooth. Pour onto waffle griddle and cook according to your waffle-iron directions until waffles are golden. (Isn't 'waffles' a delightful word?) Serve hot with butter or gravy.

Optional batter add-ins:

Chopped walnuts
Caraway or cumin seeds
Minced dry onion
Garlic powder
Sesame seeds

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hearty Spice and Flax Cookies - grain and milk free

I've found the trick to getting coconut flour products to be fluffy and light - flax meal, baking soda and vinegar. Having just pulled some of these gorgeous plump, brown cookies, steaming with spicy aroma out of the oven, here's an attempt at remembering what I put into them:

In a blender, grind: 
1/4 cup flax seed
Add to blending flax seed and continue to process until creamy-looking:
1/2 cup water

Add and continue to process after each addition:
1 large yellow plantain, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup oil or butter, soft or melted
2 eggs
1-2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1-2 tsp grated fresh turmeric root (optional)
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Sift into a small mixing bowl:
2/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a large baking sheet. 
Add wet ingredients from blender to flour mixture in bowl. Add an additional 1/2 cup of water to blender jar and whirl briefly to rinse out and collect remaining batter before adding to mixing bowl. Stir with a spoon or heavy whisk until mixture becomes a stiff batter or soft dough. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet, about 3/4 inch apart. Bake at 350 for 15ish minutes or till puffy and golden brown. Remove immediately to plate or rack and enjoy warm or cold.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fresh Marinated Red Beets

After living most of my life unacquainted with the beauties of raw beets, I finally discovered them last month and I'm hooked. Not only are they bursting with nutrition and enzymes when raw, but you are also saved the time and energy (and mess) of cooking them. If you've ever nibbled a bit of raw beet by itself, you might have thought what I did - This is rather unpleasant, and I'll have them boiled and buttered, thank you. However, marinating the fresh beets gives the starchy roots a great improvement and they are as good as your favorite pickle, so give it a try. Here's what's marinating in our fridge right now:

Marinated Fresh Beets:

Combine marinade in medium glass or metal mixing bowl:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp dry minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dry dill weed

Add to marinade and toss:
1 very large red beet (or 2 small) peeled, quartered and sliced as thinly as possible

When well combined, pack the beets and marinade into a quart mason jar or other glass storage container, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or 1 week. Serve as a side dish or mid-day snack.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Herby Turkey Quinoa Meatballs - Turkey Burger 7 Ways #2

The best way to get a head start on this recipe is to soak your quinoa and sesame seeds the day before (just do it when you're making today's supper and plan on making them tomorrow) in water double the amount of seeds. 24 hours makes it easy planning for me, but it could be shorter if that fits your schedule.  I soaked the quinoa in the cooking pan with a 1/4 tsp salt, and the sesame seeds in a jar on the counter with a dash of salt. The quinoa should be cooked (in soaking water) before making the balls, and the sesame seeds simply strained. Soaking the sesame seeds not only makes them more digestible but allows the flavor to blend more into the meatballs. But if you forgot to do that, you could just quick soak them by pouring a cup of hot water over them to sit for 10 minutes, or just use parmesan or romano cheese, for which the sesame seeds are a non-dairy substitute.

Herby Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

1 lb. ground turkey
3/4 - 1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2-3 tbsp soaked sesame seeds
1 egg
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash of cayenne pepper

Mix all together in a bowl. Heat a large skillet on medium and grease with preferred oil or butter. Add large tablespoon sized balls to pan, about 1/2 inch apart, and brown, turning with spatula to brown all sides (usually it's about three sides - they won't be balls exactly). You could also put the meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 in the oven for 25 minutes, but it's August right now and I didn't want to turn on the oven, so I chose the fiddly way. Makes about 2 dozen tasty meatballs. The fresh basil and sesame make an outstanding combination for enhancing otherwise bland turkey burger. Use however you like meatballs - in pasta sauce, with mashed cauliflower or potatoes, in soup, or just with a fork and your favorite condiment.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cuban-Style Casserole with Whole Grain Butter Biscuits

Lauren of Climbing Grier Mountain shared a fantastic recipe for Cuban Casserole which I made tonight for dinner. Well, sort of. I modified it so much for various health requirements that it was almost a different recipe. It was still so good with all the changes that I had to post my wheat-free, tomato-free re-fashion of the recipe here.

Cuban-Style Casserole with Whole Grain Butter Biscuits
Serves 4

NOTE: If making this for evening meal, prepare the first step of the biscuit dough in the morning, or the night before if desired.


1 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp sea salt
¾ cup lukewarm water
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

In a glass mixing bowl, combine flours, salt, water and vinegar to form a ball of dough. Cover tightly and allow to sit for several hours (6-24 hrs - whatever works, I did about 8) to promote breakdown of anti-nutrients. When ready to add to casserole, knead or fold into dough the butter and baking powder till well combined. Sprinkle tapioca, potato or arrowroot starch on a work surface. Pat the dough into a 1/2 –inch thick circle and cut out 3" rounds with a biscuit cutter.


2 strips of nitrate-free bacon
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 carrots, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded, diced
1/2 cup cooked (canned) kidney or red beans
1 cup fresh or frozen cut green beans
2 tsp. dry minced onion 
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp dry basil
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp prepared mustard (any kind - I used spicy brown)
2 tsp. tamarind paste concentrate -or- 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
Dash of ground allspice

Fresh chopped parsley, garnish

Preheat a large Dutch oven or covered skillet to medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook till browned. Drain off most of the grease (save that good stuff for later recipes) reserving a 'coating' in the pan, snip the bacon and add back to pan. Crumble in ground beef and cook till brown, stirring to prevent sticking. Add salt, and other remaining ingredients Stir and continue to cook for another couple of minutes, then cover and continue to cook on low while preparing the biscuits (below). Add the biscuits rounds to the top, replace lid and cook covered on medium/low 20 to 25 minutes or biscuits are puffy and golden. (OR, bake in oven per original recipe: Pour the beef mixture into the casserole dish. Add the biscuits rounds to the top and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.Garnish with fresh parsley and butter.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

One-Pot Chicken and Lentil Dinner

Cook 1 lb. bag of lentils according to directions on bag, with addition of bay leaf, and 1 tsp. salt.
Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid (basically, enough to make the lentils a little soupy, but not floating in liquid).

In large, covered skillet or Dutch oven, brown
6 chicken drumsticks or thighs
1 Tbsp butter

Grind or mix together (I use mortar and pestle):
1 tsp dry rosemary
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/2  tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt

Sprinkle over chicken while it browns in pan, turning to sprinkle and brown all sides When chicken is browned, or no longer pink on all outside surface, spoon cooked lentils with liquid evenly over chicken. Heat till bubbling, then turn to very low. Cook, covered 1 hour.

2 carrots, diced
Cook another half hour, covered.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, oregano or basil before serving. And parmesan cheese if you like that stuff.
Excellent paired with a salad of spring greens and red wine vinaigrette.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Peaches and Cream - Pure Fruit

Starting the day with a fresh fruit smoothie is worth the effort, especially when it's as delicious and healthy as this 99% fruit-based bowl of creamy goodness. Peaches are delicious with cream, but cream, or even non-dairy alternatives like coconut or almond milk, tends, in my opinion to cut the pure, clean freshness of raw fruit on the morning belly. So I decided to try this banana alternative. It's almost 100% fruit, but with just a splash of vanilla to make it extra yummy. And it's super simple.

Pure Fruit Peaches and Cream

1 frozen banana, sliced into 1" chunks
1 fresh peach, halved and sliced
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cold water

Place frozen banana, half of the sliced peach, vanilla, and water into blender jar and puree till smooth. Dump mixture into a small (cereal) bowl. Top with remaining half of  fresh peach cut into bite size chunks. Eat with a spoon. (And don't try being fancy and adding berries or cinnamon or that kind of stuff - it won't be right.)

It's peach ice cream for breakfast. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yummy Salad Dressing

A pleasant, tangy dressing for a simple lettuce salad, spring greens, tomatoes etc.

Zip Creamy Dressing

1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower, which is soy-free)
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dry or 1 tsp fresh finely minced parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
Ground black pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a small jar with watertight lid and shake to blend. Refrigerate and use within a week. This is a small recipe so it is easy to use up on just a couple of salads.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili - Turkey Burger 7 Ways

This chili is easy, healthy, inexpensive and filling. Best of all, for those with allergies, it is tomato-free. It keeps well as leftovers. I like to make a big pot of it early in the afternoon and just let it sit on the stove till dinner time. Would probably be good in a slow-cooker too.

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

Brown in large pan or medium soup pot over medium high heat:
2 slices nitrate-free bacon

Remove bacon when crispy and set aside. Then add to bacon grease in pot:
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped
Saute for several minutes, then add:
1 lb. frozen turkey burger, thawed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

When meat is cooked, add:
1 cup/can cooked kidney beans
1 cup/can cooked white or pinto beans
the cooked bacon, snipped into small bits
1 large (or 2 small) sweet potato, peeled and cut to 1" cubes
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk (or 1/4 c coconut cream concentrate in 1 cup water - don't bother to dissolve separately since it will do that in the pot)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne powder, chili powder or dash or tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

Turn to very low and cook for 1 hour. Before serving, stir in:
Handful of chopped fresh parsley

Monday, March 31, 2014

Savory Chicken Gravy - GF, DF

I experimented with a grain- and dairy-free 'biscuits and gravy' dinner this evening using homemade cashew milk for the chicken gravy, and it turned out beautifully. It was my first try with making cashew milk from raw cashews, and I'm sure this won't be the last. If you're tired of coconut products, and want something creamy but dairy-free that doesn't taste like coconut milk for once, cashew milk is a great alternative as it has very little flavor, but lots of creamy texture.

Chicken Gravy with Cashew Milk

Cook and stir over medium-heat in large saucepan, till meat is either cooked through or re-heated. (I used leftover chopped, cooked chicken breast.)
1 Tbsp fat/oil/bacon grease
2 cups chopped chicken, turkey, or sausage
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. white pepper or powdered dry sage

Add (optional)
1 c. chopped kale leaves, stems removed
Cook till wilted and tender over lowered heat.

For the gravy
Combine in blender and whirl till fine-textured and milky:
1/2 cup "raw" (blanched) cashews 
3/4 c boiling water
1 clove fresh garlic
1 tsp. salt (more or less, depending on if your meat is salted)

Add cashew puree/milk to saucepan along with
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder dissolved in 1/3 c water or reserved cashew milk - I used water that I put in the blender to rinse out the cashew milk residue.

After adding all liquids to the meat mixture, raise heat back to medium. Stir well until mixture is heated through and thickening and bubbling and then turn heat to low and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Serve over biscuits, waffles or pancakes. I hope to post my grain-free pancake or waffle recipe another time!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lemon Fenugreek Waffles

Fenugreek is a unique pungent spice that has both culinary and medicinal properties. Most people have eaten it ground up as one of the many spices in curry powder, but it is also a frequent ingredient in herbal tea for lactating mothers. I was attempting to make fenugreek sprouts, which can be a tasty addition to stir fries, but had to travel before I could wait for them to sprout, so I stuck them in the fridge. Unsure if they would still sprout after their sojourn in the cold regions, I decided to put them into a waffle recipe, and the result was quite tasty.

Grain-Free Lemon Fenugreek Waffles

Puree in blender until smooth:
2 T fenugreek seeds, soaked 24 hrs in water, drained (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup almond butter
1/2 lemon - juice and pulp
2 eggs
1 cup water or milk
1/2 c oil
1 T honey

Sift together into medium mixing bowl:
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat waffle iron. Add blended ingredients to flour ingredients in bowl and stir. Add additional 1/4 cup water to blender, whirl briefly to rinse and add to bowl also. Stir together with large spoon or whisk till well blended. Cook waffles according to regular procedure for your waffle iron.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Carrot Gingerbread Bars

2 T flax seed
1/2 cup water*

1 cup water, divided in half
1 large carrot, chopped roughly
1 inch ginger root, peeled
1 T blackstrap molasses
1 egg
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 T grated orange peel, optional
8 drops liquid stevia extract, optional

3/4 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Ground cinnamon

In blender, whirl flax seeds until beginning to be powdery. Add 1/2 cup water and blend until well combined - about 30 seconds. Allow to sit while you prepare remaining ingredients (or for 5 minutes). Add remaining wet ingredients to blender, one or two at at time and blend until smooth, about 5 minutes, reserving second half of the 1 cup of water for rinsing out the blender.

In large mixing bowl, sift together flours, soda and salt. Add blended wet ingredients, then add 1/2 cup water to blender, whirl briefly and add also. Stir together thoroughly. Should be the consistency of thick cake batter - very soft, but not at all runny. Add more water as needed to achieve the consistency.

Spread on to greased cookie sheet or large cake pan and spread to about 3/4 inch thickness. The batter does not need to reach the edges of the pan - it is easier to slice and remove that way. Sprinkle top liberally with cinnamon. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or till edges are lightly browned and center is springy. 

Cool on baking pan before slicing into 2-inch squares and removing to covered container.

*The flax seed and water can be substituted with 2 eggs, and likewise the 1 egg may be substituted with an additional 1 T flax seed and 1/4 cup water.

Simple Green Smoothie

This is a light green refreshing smoothie with ingredients that nearly everyone has in their produce drawer. It's delightfully simple to make and it is fruit/sugar free!

1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup green cabbage
1/2 cup cold water

Whirl in blender till smooth and drink immediately. Makes 1 serving.