Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chard Taco Salad


I know I'm a bit overdue; I tried to get to this all week. But at least I'm here now and with a delicious way to get in some of those healthy leafy greens. And I'm definitely always looking for more of those. The base of this recipe came from a Chard Taco recipe over on I had never eaten chard and after a disaster with mustard greens, I have learned that not all greens are created equal, especially as far as flavor is concerned. There was a bit to tweak, but it certainly seemed do-able.

I haven't come up with a manageable bread-like wrapper yet, so I figured I'd make this a salad. Of course, if tortillas are on your menu, by all means, wrap these puppies up! I hope to try it myself, having just heard about Trader Joe's Brown Rice Tortillas (or even if I wait to try corn again). I made a pound of ground turkey ahead of time, just seasoned with a little salt. I like to have it in the fridge for a quick bit of protein for a meal or snack. Otherwise, the rest is actually pretty easy and not that time consuming (by my somewhat skewed whole food standards).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Green Soup and Black Bean Fudge

Ah! So many recipes. What a delightfully delicious backlog I'm developing. I hope to get at least a few more out this week. But in the meantime, I would like to make a few recommendations if you're looking for something nutritious and delicious. I'm not going to copy out the recipes (though I will fill you in on the changes I made). Just follow the links for the full list and directions.

First, this super healthy Detox Green Soup from Gluten-Free Goddess. This soup surprised me so much. Surely something so healthy had to be...well, you know...not something you would necessarily choose to eat for the benefits of your taste buds. But even the rest of the test kitchen was surprised by its astounding flavor. And of course, it's full of wonderful things for you. Even reheats well. The only change I made was completely on accident.

In my rush between wanting to eat healthy and actually wanting to get to the eating, my brain translated '2 Tbsp of diced onion' into '1 diced onion' And of course I didn't even see my mistake until I was far past the point of no return. With only the option to go forward or abandon things completely, I chose the former. While eating on this diet I've learned that I can stomach quite a bit and I would just deal with it if it was too onion-y. But it wasn't! That was the best part. It was still wonderful and made (what I assume to be) another serving's worth of finished soup. I topped mine with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, which was lovely, but for those that can have cheese, I understand it's a marvelous pairing.

My only other tip is manage your ginger. I have found a new love in fresh ginger so I was thrilled it was in this soup. I chopped it and added it, knowing that everything would be blended in the end. What I didn't realized at the time was that this recipe makes a lot of soup. And well, my emulsion blender was rather intimidated by this fact. I did my best, but next go around I will try even harder. Or at least cut my ginger up more before adding. There's something unnerving about expecting a delectable lump of parsnip and biting down on a face-burning chunk of ginger. Consider yourselves warned.

The other recipe I would like to recommend is the Black Bean Fudge from Cats in the Kitchen. When I first looked through this recipe, I must confess to some reservations. But it also looked cheap, fast and easy, so I figured, what was there to lose?

The answer was nothing! Just toss everything in the food processor and go. This is definitely my kind of cooking. The resulting paste was smooth and not too sweet. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't chocolate (because I'm currently cocoa-free and was limited to carob). It was still yummy! And also guilt-free. Overall, definitely something that I'll make again. I hope to translate it into a frosting recipe if possible at some point.

The only changes I made here were actually recommended variations. First, I did use the sunbutter/coconut oil blend (instead of just coconut oil). I might try the coconut oil on its own at some point, but was happy with the texture. The other addition was peppermint extract. I found it to be a vast improvement in my fudge, though that might be due to the fact that I didn't get to use real cocoa. The peppermint helped convince my taste buds that it was at least more like chocolate. Which, by the way, I haven't had since Thanksgiving. :(

Still, you might like it more with cocoa (or a cocoa/carob blend if you want to limit your caffeine intake). I look forward to experimenting with other flavor combinations and practical applications for this particular recipe.

I hope ya'll enjoy one or both of these at some point. Check out both blogs for other great recipes and ideas. And in case you didn't notice, I've also added some awesome food blogs to the side bar. Just be careful, it's easy to get lost looking through mouth-watery recipes. Have fun! :D

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Zucchini Bread I

Bread. Holy crap, I love bread. And I've been without it and its lovely derivatives for almost two months now (save an attempt at savory zucchini bread and pumpkin muffins that were both made of pretty epic fail). But I wanted to try again. I was at least armed better, sporting more GF flours, guar gum and some new sweeteners. It seemed the ideal time to try again. That's not to say that I wasn't terrified of the potential failure.

I did my research, going through tons of recipes and trying to find one that was the closest to what I was looking for. I would probably need to substitute something at some point, but at least I had some idea how to do it. I finally found this recipe over at Celiac Teen. I'd have to fudge the sugar and the sweet rice flour, but I figured it was worth a try. I also took the opportunity to change the flavorings around a bit.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

PSA (About Exercise and Other Things)

It has recently been brought to my attention that I might actually use this blog for more than just recipes, that I might also bring forward some thoughts as I'm going through this lifestyle modification. Normally I would be hesitant about things like that, as I'm a strong believer that people need to make their own decisions and shouldn't be nagged, bullied or preached at. At the same time, however, I know that a lot of information is just coming to light for me, so I don't see any reason I shouldn't pass it along. Maybe it will inspire you to make a change for the healthier. To be honest, it's becoming more difficult for me to sit by idly and see my friends and loved ones suffering when I feel that there's something they can be doing about it.

If you don't want read this series, you won't offend me. If you do read it and feel it doesn't pertain to you, that's fine. I just want to put the information out there so those that can benefit from it have the opportunity to make their own decisions.

I'll even put in a jump-cut so it doesn't take up too much space.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Carob Protein Snacks

Hi again!

I've been wandering the realms of the internet since I started this new way of eating and as of late, I've actually hit a spot of luck. Normally one can find blogs dedicated to cooking gluten-free, but that uses sugar; or a sugar-free blog that depends on the stretchy gluten. And forget trying to make any sort of bread without that yeast. ~sigh~

But hope is not lost. I have come across the awesome blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs. What's not to love, right? I haven't managed all the way through it, but I did get to try a recipe based on their ACD-Friendly, High-Protein, No-Bake Snackin’ Orbs which turned out delightfully. They apparently host a monthly Sweet or Savory Challenge as well, so I might have to give that a try in the future. But for now, I'm happy to have a quick pick-me-up snack living in the fridge.

As a quick note on carob, if you are not diet-restricted and prefer using cocoa, give it a go. I know that carob isn't 'chocolate-y' enough for a lot of people. But man, when you haven't had chocolate since Thanksgiving, carob comes in pretty close. And no caffeine, for those that are looking for that sort of thing. Apparently the roasted variety tastes more like cocoa, but I haven't tried the raw.

You can also substitute other sweeteners if you like, I'm just doing my best to be good about no sugar. It's tough, but I feel so much better!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Faux Apple Smoothie

I must confess, I love fruit. I am so happy to be past the first month of my detox, so I can have a bit of it back in my diet. It has so many nice antioxidants. But I'm still really limited on fruits to keep my sugar levels in check. During the last few months, I've been making a lot of green smoothies (I find it an easier way for me to get less palatable greens into my diet), but I confess that I've been longing for a sweet smoothie. And now I have it!

I know, it's still green. But that's one of the best parts. I can satisfy my sweet tooth, have a meal (or hearty snack), and still get a great dose of green. There's actually no apple in this (hence the faux), but there has been a general consensus in the test kitchen that it has an apple-y taste that is delightfully unexpected. Combined with cinnamon and it's got a great holiday/autumn flavor. I don't actually measure a lot when I make smoothies, so these are estimated. You're welcome to adjust them to fit your palette.

A couple of quick notes though, I use avocado instead of banana to create thicker texture in my smoothie. It's full of nutrients and healthy fat, without the high sugar of bananas (which I still can't have). I'm not a huge lover of avocado flavor on its own, but I really don't taste it blended into smoothies. You should try it out!

The other note is about sweet potatoes. There are many breeds of sweet potato. I'm most familiar with the orange-fleshed variety (think traditional Thanksgiving fare), but they only had its paler cousin the last time I was at the store. After trying both of these, I've found the orange sweet potatoes more friendly to this recipe, both in flavor and in softness for mashing. The apple taste is more pronounced with the orange variety (though it is still pleasant tasting otherwise).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coconut Smackies

Cookies? On a sugar- and gluten-free diet? Hell yeah.

Many thanks to Kelly E. Keough and her book Sugar-free Gluten-free Baking and Desserts; a book that I am super-excited to try more recipes from, by the way. Technically, I shouldn't have started with them just yet, as her recipes call for agave which I shouldn't have in my diet until the end of February. But they called for 4 egg whites and I just happened to have them from the hollandaise from the night before. And besides, there's only 2 tbsp of agave for the whole batch, so as far as being bad goes, it's still way ahead. And it's so very awesome to be back in the cookie-making/eating world. (I do limit myself to two a day.)

These little cookies are awesome! With the addition of protein powder, they actually are quite satisfying as a quick sweet snack, which is definitely something I could use more of in my life. They are sweetened with Stevia, made from the extract of the Sweetleaf plant. It does have a distinct flavor that some people don't care for/requires some getting used to. But considering it's natural (read labels, as some companies use chemical fillers) and zero calories, it's super rad. It's up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so it does take some getting used to with ratios and such. But it's such a Godsend for people looking to cut sugar out of their diet. Like me. And when used with the agave, I found the flavor to be much less noticeable.

I have included a link to a clip of Kelly Keough making them on I'm sad I don't get this station on tv, but they have a lot of clips from many of their shows. The recipe in her book and that in the clip do vary, so I've included the ratios I used.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Noms

Oh, my poor blog, I truly had the best of intentions. I had plans for a family-oriented holiday entry last week, but it was just not to be. I've found myself in a bit of bad luck as far as food experiments are concerned. It seemed like there would be no end to the frustration of failure. Even cooking directly from diet-friendly recipes just wasn't working out.

But then there was hope! In Ann Boroch's book The Candida Cure: Yeast, Fungus & Your Health, there was a recipe for Homemade Chicken Soup. It looked easy enough and had kale in it, which is super good for you, but is a little unfriendly eating sometimes. I made my list and shopped, excited to try something that should be nutrient dense and easy to reheat into multiple meals. Unfortunately, when I got home, I found that some of the ingredients had been missed. No worries though! I had picked up ingredients for other recipes and well, so I just made a few substitutions. Her recipe calls for red potatoes and tomato sauce, which I was missing, so I added parsnips (my first go with them) and left over tomato paste from another experiment. All in all, it was a wonderful success (especially after so much failure). It's easy to store and makes a healthy (if less traditional) breakfast or quick dinner. My only complaint is the difficulty I had removing the bones. If anyone has a tip, I'm all ears. Here's my modded recipe, based on hers.