Sugar-Free For You and Me….

As promised, here is another “Holiday Head-Start” recipe! November is Diabetes Awareness Month, which I find to be rather ironic due to the gross amounts of sugar and carbs consumed over the holidays. Be that as it may, I have taken it upon myself to develop a Gluten-Free, Vegan, Sugar-Free Pie recipe that can be enjoyed by all. This is the first pre-mutation. I am not 100% satisfied with it yet. It still has a bit of a Stevia aftertaste. I think I know what can be done to rectify that situation. Until then, here is Attempt Number One. Any suggestions are welcome!

Pumpkin Pie (Take One!)
(Gluten-Free, Vegan, Sugar-Free)
Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Vanilla Hemp Milk
  • 2 Tblsp Flax Seed Meal
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 Tblsp Cornstarch
  • 1 can Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a glass pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a blender until well combined.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour into prepared pie plate and bake about 1 hour until edges are lightly browned.
  6. Allow to cool completely on the counter.
  7. Refrigerate over night before serving.
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"Lentil" There Be Pumpkin….

Get ready for another Gluten-Free, Vegan experiment! I am working on some recipes to further fuel my pumpkin obsession (as if it needed any fodder! HA!). This recipe popped into my brain on Friday. I meant to add some chopped apples to the mix, but forgot. Next time, I will definitely be adding them. All in all, not a bad first attempt. The flavors could use a bit more honing, and I think fresh pumpkin would have a better flavor profile than canned. Either way, this recipe is packed with protein, iron, and lots and lots of fiber! Bon Appetit!
Pumpkin Curry Lentils
(Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Green Lentils
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 1/2 Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped Yellow Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tblsp Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 cup frozen Peas, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, combine Lentils and Water and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, add the Turmeric, cover and simmer until tender, 30-45 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet, saute onion in oil until it begins to brown.
  4. Add the celery and carrots, and saute until soft.
  5. Remove from heat, add garlic and spices.
  6. Reduce heat and return skillet to the burner.
  7. Add the pumpkin and cooked lentils.
  8. Adjust seasonings to taste.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays!

    A Holiday Head Start….

    In anticipation of holiday leftovers, I have begun playing around with some new recipes!
    Not one to simply rest on my laurels, I decided to challenge myself. This afternoon was all about gluten-free, vegan cooking with unusual gluten-free flours! Now, I know what you’re thinking, “since when has Quinoa Flour been considered ‘usual’?”  I guess that is a matter of perspective. My kitchen has never even seen “normal” all-purpose flour, so, in our house, Quinoa Flour is a rather blase’ ingredient! Be that as it may, I had a grand old time rolling up my sleeves and getting down and dirty with some new-er ingredients!
    This recipe will come in handy after Thanksgiving as a way of using up leftover Cranberry Sauce AND as a way of getting a head start on your Christmas cookies! Have fun!
    Cranberry Chestnut Cookies
    (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
    Yield: 5 1/2 dozen



    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup Chestnut Flour
    • 1 cup Sorghum Flour
    • 1/2 cup Tapioca Starch
    • 2 tsp Baking Soda
    • 1 Tblp Flax Seed Meal + 3 Tblsp Warm Water
    • 1/2 tsp Ginger
    • 1 tsp Cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
    • 3/4 cup Non-hydrogenated Organic Shortening (Spectrum brand)
    • 1 cup Agave Nectar
    • 1/4 cup Molasses
    • 1/2 cup canned Whole Berry Jellied Cranberry Sauce (or homemade)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except for the cranberry sauce.
    3. Blend well.
    4. Stir in the cranberry sauce and mix thoroughly.
    5. Chill dough at least 1 hour.
    6. Place on a baking sheet by rounded spoonful.
    7. Bake 13-15 minutes.
    8. Allow to cool on a wire cooling rack.

    Pumpkin Time!….

    If you need to know anything about me it is this…

     
    I AM OBSESSED WITH PUMPKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This obsession goes far beyond enjoying pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. On no my friends, that is only the tip of the iceberg! In addition to the normal pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pie, I make and eat dairy free pumpkin pie ice cream, pumpkin chili, pumpkin “fries”, and even eat pumpkin puree plain for breakfast or dessert! 
    I have even gone so far as to ask for cans of pumpkin puree for every occasion in the past few years that involves gift giving (ie birthday, Christmas), but have yet to be taken seriously! (…and I am, people… VERY serious!)
    I haven’t been blogging much lately because I haven’t been very inspired in the kitchen. I’m not one to force a new recipe for the sake of a new post. Cooking should be a joyful and inspired process! 
    As I was walking Dickens this morning, a recipe idea came to me. That is how it should be! I immediately returned home to whip up said idea. The result, a delicious and nutrient packed breakfast muffin perfect for any Gluten-Free Vegans out there! 
    These muffins are not very sweet, but are bursting with fiber, omega-3s, and iron! Though remarkably healthy, many vegetarian and vegan diets lack some essential nutrients, including omega-3s and iron. Finding ways to include foods with these nutrients is key to being a healthy veg-head! (For more information on the nutrients that are often lacking in a vegetarian or vegan diet, follow this link! It’s another blog I write for work!)

    Pumpkin Spice Comfort Muffins
    (Gluten Free, Vegan)
    (Yield: 12 muffins)

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Certified Gluten Free Quick Cooking Oatmeal
    • 1/4 cup chopped Walnuts (#1 source of Omega 3s for Vegans!!!!)
    • 1/4 cup Raisins (great source of Iron!)
    • 1 Tblsp Baking Powder
    • 1/4 cup Light, Brown Sugar
    • 1 Flax Egg (1 Tblsp Flax Seed Meal + 3 Tblsp Water = 1 Egg)
    • 1 1/4 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Hemp Milk
    • 1/4 cup Organic Pumpkin Puree
    • 1 HEAPING tsp ground Cinnamon

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    2. In a medium bowl combine Oats, Walnuts, Raisins, Baking Powder, and Brown Sugar.
    3. In a separate, small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.
    4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
    5. Spoon into prepared muffin tin.
    6. Bake in preheated oven 11-13 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out moist, but clean.
    7. Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating. (Little hint: These taste even better the next day!)
    Some people ask for caloric breakdowns. Here is one I created for this recipe on Calorie Counter.-
     (Calories: 114; Total Fat: 3.3g; Saturated Fat: .6g; Carbohydrates: 18.5g; Dietary Fiber: 2.3g; Sugars 6.4g; Protein 3.8g)

    Because these muffins do not contain any preservatives, keep them in a ziplock bag in your refrigerator for up to 1 week.

    A Chip off the Old Block….

    I have seen Kale Chips all over the place for the past year or so. Personally, I have enjoyed eating them, but had never gone as far as to attempt to make them myself. Last night I decided the time had come. I had a bunch of Curly Kale starring at me from the back of my refrigerator, a hankering for something crunchy, and a pantry devoid of snack food. It was time!
    I actually try to keep chips and other snack-y foods out of my house. I tend to eat when I get bored or stressed. By not having trigger foods in the house, I am forced to snack on things like baby carrots and cucumbers. They are much healthier options when hit by a snack attack. 
    Kale Chips are an excellent way to eat your greens without feeling like you are! Feel free to play with the spices. If you don’t like Curry, stick with Sea Salt! Go crazy with Cumin! The sky is the limit!


    Curry Kale Chips

    Ingredients:

    • 1 bunch Curly, Green Kale, washed and dried
    • Non-stick Cooking Spray
    • 1/2-1 tsp Curry Powder

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Tear Kale into “chip size” pieces.
    3. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
    4. Place kale onto cookie sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.
    5. Sprinkle with curry powder.
    6. Roast about 10 minutes in preheated oven.
    7. Chips are done when the edges are nice and crispy.
    Do you eat when you are bored or stressed?
    What are your tricks to curbing unhealthy snack attacks?
    What are your favorite snack foods?

      Ciao Bella….

      I was putting together a little foodie slide show this afternoon and came to a shocking realization. I have been with-holding a delicious recipe from all of you! I don’t know where I got this recipe. I may have made it up, or I may have found it in a cookbook or magazine. Either way, this is one dish you must try! Bon Appetit!
      Ciao Bella Quiche

      Ingredients:
      Crust-

      • 10 oz Long Grain Brown Rice
      • 2 Tblsp Pesto
      • 1 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast (or Vegan Parmesan)
      • 1 Egg

      Filling-

      • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
      • 1/2 cup Egg Substitute
      • 1/4 tsp Salt
      • dash Black Pepper
      • dash Red Pepper
      • 1 Egg
      • 3/4 cup Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Shreds
      • Baby Spinach, de-stemmed
      • 3 Plum Tomatoes, thinly sliced
      • 2-3 Tblsp chopped Fresh Basil (or more!)

      Directions:
       For crust-

      1. Cook rice according to package instructions.
      2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 9″ pie plate with non-stick spray.
      3. In a medium bowl, combine cooked rice, pesto, nutritional yeast, and egg.
      4. Press rice mixture into bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie plate.
      5. Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
      6. Remove from oven and set aside.

      For filling-

      1. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
      2. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond milk, egg substitute, salt, peppers, and egg until well combined.
      3. Sprinkle half of the Daiya Mozzarella, half of the spinach, and 1/3 basil into the bottom of the rice crust.
      4. Top with half of the tomato slices.
      5. Repeat procedure with the other half of the mozzarella and spinach, 1/3 of the basil, and the other 1/2 of the tomatoes.
      6. Pour milk and egg mixture over the spinach and tomatoes.
      7. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
      8. Without removing the quiche, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
      9. Bake an additional 35 minutes, or until set.
      10. Cool 10 minutes before serving. 
      11. Sprinkle with additional basil and serve.

      Makin’ Whoopie….

      Pies, that is!
      I had some of you awfully curious, now didn’t I!
      I am going to get to the recipe, but first I need to clear something up. A few of you, after reading/watching my last post, thought I was married to Constantine Maroulis. 
      I am not! My husband, GF Guy, is one of the stage managers for the show Constantine is starring in, Rock of Ages. Click here to check out the tour website and see if they will be playing a city near you!
      GF Guy and I are on the far left. Constantine is the 3rd one from the end on the right. See, even opposite sides of the segway tour group!
       My momma taught me well. Always marry the management! 😉
      Anyway, back to this post….. a little known fact, I lived in Lancaster, PA for about 1 year after college.
      While there, I learned to appreciate the culinary wonder that is the Whoopie Pie. For those of you who have had the great misfortune to have never heard of this delectable morsel of joy, here is the technical definition:
      “A whoopie pie (alternatively called a gob, black-and-white, bob, or “BFO” for Big Fat Oreo) is a baked good made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, sometimes pumpkin cake, with a sweet, creamy frosting sandwiched between them. While considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition, they are increasingly sold throughout the United States. According to food historians, Amish women would bake these (known as hucklebucks at the time) and put them in farmers’ lunchboxes. When farmers would find these treats in their lunch, they would shout “Whoopie!”
      At 10PM Tuesday evening, I decided to attempt to recreate this recipe to be GF and Dairy Free. Don’t ask me why… it was a bad decision. Not to say these are not worth the time and effort, I am just still trying to recover from the sleep deprivation! Next time, I will make the cookies about half this size. They were all huge! But, that didn’t stop me from “hoover-ing” one down in one sitting! 
      Now sit back relax and enjoy the makings of a dessert of epic proportions!
      Whoopie Pies

      Ingredients:

      • 1/2 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
      • 1 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
      • 1 Egg
      • 1/4 cup Carob Powder
      • 3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
      • 3/4 cup Sorghum Flour
      • 1/2 cup Tapioca Starch
      • 1 tsp Baking Powder
      • 1 tsp Baking Soda
      • 1 tsp Xanthum Gum
      • 1 tsp Salt
      • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
      • 1 cup Almond Milk
      • Whoopie Pie Filling (See my Fluffy Vanilla Frosting Recipe)

      Directions:

      1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
      2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, egg, and brown sugar until smooth.
      3. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, carob, and remaining dry ingredients.
      4. In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and vanilla extract.
      5. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the almond milk mixture to the shortening mixture, beating until smooth.
      6. Drop by about 1/8 cup scoops (I did 1/4 cup scoops) onto prepared baking sheets.
      7. Bake about 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
      8. Allow to cool completely on a wire baking rack before frosting.
      9. Spread prepared frosting on the flat side of one “cookie” and sandwich with another “cookie”. Repeat with remaining “cookies”.
      10. Individually wrap Whoopie Pies in saran wrap. May be frozen.
      These would also be amazing with my Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting!!!!
      Have you ever had a Whoopie Pie? What is your favorite dessert?
      Mine is, hands down, Pumpkin Pie!!!!!!

      A Little Mustard and a Little Rock & Roll….

      I’m back from Chicago and missing GF Guy terribly. We had so much fun together. It was the first time since he left that I haven’t felt like a stressed out mess! I think that’s a good sign. We must really need each other! (says Little Miss Positivity)
      GF Guy’s new show was featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday night and Boston’s local FOX affiliate this morning (I couldn’t get the FOX video to embed… dang it!). Check them out!


      I hit the ground running as soon as I got back. My work email inbox was packed, there were little bonfires to put out all over the office, and I have yet to dig out from under the mountain of laundry that has taken up residence at the foot of my bed.
      What I have accomplished:
      • 2 loads of laundry
      • a bath for Dickens
      • baking a birthday surprise for a friend (it’s a bit time intensive, so I will post the recipe later)
      • unpacked my suitcase
      • worked about 27 hours
      • attended a youth group core team meeting
      • ….I have to stop here because I think you get the picture
      Things will get done. I’m not going to stress about it, but if anyone comes over don’t judge me by the state of my house! 
      Tonight, I made a quick, random stir-fry-ish meal. And trust me, it’s random! You see, I wanted a bunch of veggies, but I didn’t want an Asian stir-fry. I also didn’t want plain steamed vegetables, and didn’t have the time to roast them. Thus the following creation was born. 
      I took a picture, but accidentally erased it… it’s going to be one of those weeks!
      Col. Mustard’s Stir-fry

      Ingredients:

      • dash Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      • 1/4 Red Onion, chopped
      • 2 Carrots, chopped
      • 1 small head Broccoli, chopped
      • small handful Brussel Sprouts, steamed
      • 1/2 Orange Bell Pepper, julienned
      • 1/2 Zucchini, chopped
      • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
      • small bunch Kale
      • small handful Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
      • 1 Tomato, chopped
      • 1 Tblsp Dijon Mustard
      • dash Hot Pepper Sauce
      • Herbamare & Black Pepper, to taste
      • dash Thyme
      • dash Rosemary

      Directions:

      1. In a large skillet, or wok, heat oil over medium high heat.
      2. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add the vegetables one at a time in the order listed, sauteing briefly between each addition.
      3. Add the mustard, pepper sauce, and spices.
      4. Cook until heated through and all the vegetables are tender.
      See! I told it was random! It was also yummy!  So… What randomness have you been up to lately?

      My Kind of Town….

      Hello everyone! I am still in Chicago visiting my wonderful Hubby! I have been a bad blogger and not taken many photos. 
      I made a decision to spend this time focusing on my husband instead of taking pictures for the blog. Sorry, but I decided to be selfish on this one.
      Since I am hanging out at the hotel tonight while GF Guy is at the theater, I have a bit of time to do a quick mid-trip post.
      Food wise, I have only gotten sick once! I know, I know.. that’s one time too many. But, considering all we have done is eat out, it’s not too shabby. 
      The culprit was a breakfast place called Yolk. I called ahead and spoke to the manager over the phone and after I arrived. We discussed cross contamination, etc… but to no avail. I ended up stuck in the hotel room for the remainder of the day. 

      Aside from Yolk, the food and service has been wonderful! Maybe I am having a charmed trip, but I’ll take it! Our favorite restaurants from this trip to Chicago include:

      • Big Bowl (GF menu and awesome service- Get the Tofu & Vegetable Pad Thai!!!!)
      • Flat Top Grill (GF menu and again awesome service)
      • Epic Burger (no special menu, but the only thing “unsafe” are the buns; just ask for extra lettuce or bring your own)
      • Su Casa (no special menu, but plenty of options)
      • Noodles & Co. (they messed up my order, but apologized profusely, the manager made me a new meal, & gave me a voucher for a free meal)
      • Argo Tea (they sell GF/DF cookies in addition to having some amazing herbal teas!)
       It is so much easier to eat out here, in Chicago, than it is at home! Most of the restaurants have GF menus or are, at least, knowledgeable about it. 
      I also stocked up on Glutenfreeda Instant Oatmeal packets and Larabars and have been eating fruit like a little champion!
      But enough about the food, on to the fun!
      I spent a few days exploring the city by myself because GF Guy had matinee and evening shows. The first day I visited the Adler Planetarium. It was about a 2 to 2.5 mile walk to the planetarium, not a bad little jaunt!
      I haven’t worked out much since coming to Chicago. I am rationalizing my laziness by saying that I am walking a lot more than normal, which is true. I am walking at the very least 2 miles a day. That is if I go straight from the hotel to the theater and back, with no stopping in between or veering from the main path for food, etc…. 
      The following day, my favorite museum, The Art Institute, was calling my name! I spent four hours visiting my favorite painting by Georges Seurat 
      and reveling in the beauty, color, and light of the countless other great works of art housed in that wonderful building.
      Don’t worry, I haven’t spent all my time by myself! I tagged along with GF Guy and the cast of Rock of Ages for a few Broadway in Chicago sponsored activities! My favorite by far was a 3 hour guided Segway tour of the city by Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours. 
      There is no better way to see the city! We were surprised to find a few news crews waiting for us at the Segway Tour location. They interviewed Constantine and a few other cast members and followed us around filming and taking pictures. We also took an architecture boat tour that was delightful. This city has some of the best, most diverse architecture!
      Today, the weather was gorgeous so GF Guy and I took our lunch to a small park by the “beach” and Navy Pier for a picnic
      It’s days like these that make me wish I was touring with him again. **sigh**
      Okay, I will catch up with you all later!