Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Roasted Root Vegetables with Quinoa

Even though the official first day of winter is not until December 21st it feels like it is in full swing here in Chicago. The best thing you can do to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy and strong so you can beat all the colds, flu, and winter blues is fill your diet with nutrient rich foods. It is even better to eat foods that are grown locally and seasonally because they will give your immune system a boost when it needs it the most. Check out your local farmers market or grocery store for these delicious winter veggies: carrots, butternut squash, parsnips, beets, rutabagas, turnips, and sweet potatoes. Choose organic whenever possible for the highest quality produce and the highest nutrient value minus all the harmful pesticides and herbicides.

The great thing about this meal is it is not only gluten-free but it is also dairy, corn, soy, and nut free as well. Meaning this meal is safe for anyone with a food allergy or intolerance and it uses one of my favorite grains: quinoa (pronounced qeen wa ).

Roasted Root Vegetables and Quinoa

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Chop selected winter vegetables into 2 inch pieces
I used butternut squash (peeled first), carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips
- Chop 1/2 onion
- Peel a whole head of garlic
- Place vegetables, garlic cloves, and onion in a large bowl and season with:
- Salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme
- Spread veggies evenly on a roasting pan and drizzle with:
- Unrefined extra-virgin olive oil
- Roast veggies in the oven for 45 minutes (stir every 15 minutes)

Quinoa cooks like rice just double the water to the desired amount of quiona and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Serve roasted veggies over quinoa and enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Gluten-Free Organic Turkey Salad

I absolutely enjoy the after effects of Thanksgiving with all those leftovers, a break from cooking, and relaxation with my husband. After my first Thanksgiving with my husband he asked me if I was going to make Turkey Salad. At the time I had never made it and was not convinced it sounded like a good idea to use all the Turkey leftovers for it. He promised me it would not disappoint and told me to call Mama Boonie (my mother-in-law) for the recipe. Fortunately I did and now it is my favorite part of having Turkey during the holidays. So I must thank and give credit to Boonie for helping me create some of my favorite gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes (Turkey Salad, Cornbread Stuffing, Sweet Potato Pie) they would not have turned out so delicious without her influence!

Turkey Salad
- 4-5 cups of turkey
- 1/2 organic white onion
- 2 cups organic celery
- sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder
- 2 or 3 spoonfuls of organic mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
I like Spectrum mayonnaise made with cage free and hormone free eggs.
They have egg free mayo options available at Whole Foods.

Chop turkey meat, onion, and celery and mix together with mayo or yogurt in a large bowl.
Add salt, pepper, and garlic to taste.

Top turkey salad over lettuce and enjoy!

I told you it was easy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Organic Gluten-Free Apple Cobbler

After living through two Chicago winters and now on my third I have learned to come up with many ways to stay warm. I have a new appreciation for comfort foods and love the way cooking not only warms up our apartment but my belly as well. I had some apples I wanted to put to good use before they went bad (because I hate to waste food) and that I did last night!

Here is my recipe for my organic and gluten-free apple cobbler, you will not be disappointed.

8 organic apples ( I used a mix of granny, golden, and gala)
- Core and cut the apples into 1 inch squares
- Combine the diced apples and 1 cup evaporated cane juice into a large bowl
- Place apples in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes so the sugar can draw out some of the juices

I a separate bowl combine:
2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup almond meal
1 cup evaporated cane juice aka sucanet
1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside a 1/2 cup to add to the apples.

With the remaining mixture:
Cut up cold unsalted organic butter and mix into the flour mixture with your hands until you create a coarse meal.

Take the apples out of the refrigerator and drain the sugar syrup from the apples into another bowl.

To the apples add and mix well:
1/2 cup flour mixture
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Tbs lemon juice

Place the apple mixture into a buttered casserole pan

To finish our flour topping in another small bowl beat together:
1 organic egg
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla

Mix this with the flour mixture with your hands and spread evenly over the apples.
Top off by drizzling agave nectar over the cobbler.

Place the dish into a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.

The smell this dish creates in your home will be 100% better than those scented glade candles. Not only will your nose appreciate this aroma but your taste buds will as well!

Optional topping:
I added 1/2 cup chopped pecans into the apple sugar syrup
I placed the drained pecans on parchment paper and baked in the oven for 10 minutes
Then sprinkled the roasted pecans to the baked cobbler

You can also top your cobbler with gluten-free whipped cream or gluten-free / dairy free ice cream.

This is soooo delicious and really easy to make, I guarantee it literally melt in your mouth!

More healthy tips:
Choose organic and/or locally grown apples
Use hormone-free butter and eggs
Use organic ingredients whenever possible
Use natural sweeteners like evaporated cane juice, agave, and honey.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Happy and Healthy Holiday Feast

Last night I walked to the French Market to buy some grass-fed beef for dinner so my husband's appetite would be more satisfied after having vegetable soup the night before. I prepared a broccoli beef stir fry with brown rice and it was delicious. I will be sure to share that recipe too.

While at the French Market I was excited to find a Turkey that suited my needs for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. Many people are not aware that most frozen turkeys are processed with additives, preservatives, and a flour based broth that is not gluten-free. While that is damaging to someone with a gluten intolerance it is just not healthy for anyone to eat a bird with all that extra stuff. So planning a healthy and gluten-free thanksgiving starts with selecting the right bird. Look for a turkey that is free range, with no pesticides or hormones, and no flour based broth. Here are some Brands to look for:

Empire Kosher, Plainville Farms, and Bell & Evans. My turkey came from an Amish Farm in Illinois

The way you decide to cook your turkey is based on individual preferences and family traditions, there are so many ways to do it and I don't believe there is one right way. You can create a rub and bast your turkey while it roasts in the oven, you can brine your Turkey, you can stuff it, and you can even deep fry it (careful with fires!). The important part is not how you do it but what ingredients you are going to use. I like to simply rub my turkey with unrefined organic extra-virgin olive oil and desired herbs like rosemary and thyme. I also like to save the neck and giblets to make a turkey broth for my stuffing as well as gravy. I then roast my turkey in the oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes per pound usually about 3-4 hours depending on how big the bird is.

Turkey gravy
Use the drippings from the cooked turkey and turkey broth from the turkey neck
Add the drippings and broth to a pan
In a separate bowl mix together 1 cup cold water and 1/4 cup gluten-free potato or bean flour until lumps are gone.
Add mixture to the pan with drippings and whisk one medium high heat until sauce thickens
Add kosher or sea salt and pepper.

The next dish on the menu is the cornbread stuffing and it is not only gluten-free but dairy free as well, not to mention mouth watering! I start off by making my own cornbread the night before.
Bake in cupcake pans or 8x8 pan at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

1 cup organic polenta
1 cup organic corn flour (masa harina)
1 cup organic brown rice flour
1 teas. kosher or sea salt
1 teas. baking soda
1 cup organic almond milk
1/2 cup organic butter
1/2 cup raw honey
1 organic egg

Cornbread Stuffing
gluten-free cornbread
1 chopped organic onion
2 cups organic chopped celery
Chopped turkey giblets (boiled)
1 Tbs. kosher or sea salt
1 Tbs. ground pepper
1 Tbs dried sage
4 beaten organic eggs
2 Tbs. unrefined olive oil
2 Tbs organic butter
4 cups turkey stock (made from boiled turkey neck and giblets)

Stuffing Preparation
Saute the chopped onion and celery in olive oil and butter for about 5 minutes
Add the chopped turkey giblets (optional)
Saute for about 5 more minutes
Add salt, pepper, and sage
Add crumpled cornbread
Add beaten eggs
Add turkey broth
Mix well
Transfer to baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees until it turns a golden brown on top.

Let's get to the mash potatoes. They are not only easy to make but they are a taste bud pleaser as well. You won't be disappointed! I prefer the red potatoes and I always leave the skin on because that is where all the nutrients are. All you need is:

12 organic red potatoes
1 container organic sour cream
(read the label to make sure it is gluten free, dairy-free options are available)
1/2 cup organic butter
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Boil potatoes in a large pot until soft
Drain the water
Add sour cream, butter, salt and pepper and mash away!

Don't forget your favorite vegetable for a side dish

I like to roast brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Don't worry, I have not forgotten about dessert and I love pumpkin pie but after trying my mother-in-law's sweet potato pie, I was sold. If you still prefer a pumpkin pie it won't hurt to have both.

Sweet Potato Pie

3 organic sweet potatoes (boiled and mashed)
1/2 cup melted organic butter
1 cup agave nectar
2 beaten organic eggs
1 cup almond milk
1 Tbs. cinnamon
1 teas. nutmeg
1 Tbs. vanilla

I have used a gluten-free pie crust I found at Whole Foods market, although I want to attempt to make my own crust because nothing tastes quite as good when you make it yourself.

Bake for 80 minutes at 350 degrees.

I can't wait to enjoy this delicious feast and I hope you do as well! It is important that we all enjoy food when celebrating good times or holidays and chances are if you do not have a food allergy or intolerance you probably know someone who does.