Glaze that Turkey….

Wow! Thanksgiving was an affair, to say the least. It was fun but exhausting, but I survived!

I planned the menu and helped facilitate all the cooking. Something I have NEVER done. I was awoken from a peaceful sleep at 7AM to get the turkey in the oven.
Who am I kidding? At 7AM I have no ability to follow a recipe. Instead, put a cup of coffee or tea in one hand and an open pantry close to the other and see what happens. That is exactly what happened Thanksgiving morning. Whether or not it is wise to make up a new recipe on the spot for such a big important meal matter not in my little head at 7AM! Luckily for me and everyone else involved it worked! Don’t wait until next Thanksgiving to try this recipe. Have turkey for Christmas or New Year’s! Even better… make this glaze for chicken! Bon Appetit!

Apple Butter Glazed Turkey
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (18-19 lb) Organic Turkey, giblets removed
  • Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper
  • 1-2 large Sweet Onions, chopped
  • 3 Braeburn Apples, chopped
  • 3 Lemons, chopped
  • 2 Oranges, chopped
  • fresh Thyme
  • fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Organic Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 cup Organic Apple Butter (I like the one by Eden Foods because they don’t add any sugar, etc… just apples.)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 Tblsp Pear Infused White Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Remove Giblets and set aside. Rinse and dry turkey and place breast side down in a roasting pan.
  3. Rub the outside and the inside of the turkey cavity with a generous amount of Earth Balance, and season with Sea Salt & Black Pepper.
  4. Stuff turkey cavity with chopped aromatics (onions, lemons, oranges, 1 apple) and a few sprigs of fresh Thyme & Rosemary.
  5. Place remaining fruit and onions around the Turkey in the roasting pan.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the Oil, Stock, Apple Butter, spices, and Vinegar.
  7. Pour glaze over the turkey and spread evenly.
  8. Nestle fresh Thyme & Rosemary on and around the bird, and cover loosely with foil.
  9. Place turkey in your preheated oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  10. Allow you turkey to cook 20 per pound basting every hour. (our turkey took about 7 hours) Remove foil for the last hour or so to encourage browning. Turkey breast temperature must reach about 180 degrees in order to be cooked through.
  11. Allow turkey to rest at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  12. Reserve the turkey juices to make gravy.

Give Thanks… For Pumpkin!

Pumpkin is the flavor of fall. 

But, did you know pumpkin is not only a seasonal flavor? WHAT?! You may be saying. It’s true! Pumpkin can be grown year-round. So, don’t wait until October and November to enjoy this fiber packed ball of deliciousness! To give you an excuse to eat more pumpkin, here is my new favorite cornbread recipe. Simple and ready in no time, it is a sure fire winner in our house! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cornbread
(Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Biscuit & Baking Mix
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 cup Almond Milk mixed w/ 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tblsp Flax Seed Meal mixed w/ 3 Tblsp warm Water
  • heaping 1/3 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Tblsp Coconut Oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined.
  5. Pour into an 8×8 baking dish sprayed w/ non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes until done. (*My trick is to press the center of the bread. If it springs back it is ready to go!)

Menu Plans….

The holidays are upon us!


Thursday is the big day… THANKSGIVING! It is less than a week away, and I, for one, have no clue how it got here so quickly!

It is time to get down to business and make our menu decisions! Check out the following recipes, get inspired, and get cooking!

Salads & Starters:

Time to Talk Turkey:

  • Classic Herb Roasted Turkey – When good looks and flavor combine! Garnish with fresh herbs and citrus slices for a show-stopping holiday centerpiece.
  • Apple-Shallot Roast Turkey – Apples and shallots lend a delicious flavor to this recipe. Switch things up by adding Organic Pears to the mix!
  • The Perfect Turkey – Clearly, the name says it all! This is a classic approach to Thanksgiving. Be sure to follow the “brining” steps for a moist, delicious turkey.

Meatless Menu Options:

Sides and Such:

Dessert!:

  • Autumn Pear Cake – Who says you must have pie for Thanksgiving?
  • Crustless Pumpkin Pie (gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free) – Using a combination of dates and stevia takes away any funny aftertaste. Your guests will never guess their dessert is good for them!
I don’t know about you, but that was a helpful post! I think I have my Thanksgiving menu planned!


It’s Ap"Pear"ently Fall….

It may not feel like it outside, but Fall is in the air!

You need only look at the produce department bursting with organic winter squash, shiny apples, and sweet pears to get in the festive Fall mood.

Pears are my particular favorite seasonal fruit. Did you know pears are an excellent source of fiber, containing 5 grams per fruit? This time of year, look for Anjou, Bosc, & Comice Pears. They are at their peak of season in mid to late November.

Tired of simply eating plain pears, or looking for a new dessert idea?

Try this recipe for Autumn Pear Cake! It is free of refined sugar, dairy-free, can be made gluten-free, and can be made completely vegan! Versatile, good for you, AND delicious?! Now THAT is something to be thankful for!

Autumn Pear Cake

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan Option) 

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Combine pears, agave, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon juice.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine baking mix, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pecans.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla, and coconut oil until well combined.
  7. Add pear mixture to the wet ingredients.
  8. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, mixing until combined. Batter will be thick.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
  10. Bake 35-45 minutes, until set.
  11. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy this subtly sweet cake topped with Larry & Luna’s Vegan Coconut Bliss Ice Cream.

It’s nice to enjoy a little taste of fall… even if it is close to 90 degrees outside!

Gluten Free Stuffing Solution….

Ah, Stuffing….


One of the mainstays of the Thanksgiving table, this delicious side of bread, onions, and spices has become almost as American as Apple Pie.

For those of us with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance, however, stuffing can prove to be a bit more complicated.

Yesterday, I received a comment inquiring about a pre-made Gluten Free Stuffing Mix. Other than one or two specialty bakeries throughout the US, I have not seen a Gluten Free Stuffing Mix. Instead, I make my own! I know, I know… It sounds complicated, but trust me! It is remarkably simple. Follow these easy steps and you will have traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing that any “Gluten Eater” will enjoy!

Gluten Free Stuffing Mix

(Gluten-Free, Vegan, Nut-Free)


Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Defrost loaf of bread and allow to sit out on the counter 36-48 hours until slightly stale.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Cut stale bread into cubes and place in a large bowl.
  4. Toss with a slight drizzle of olive oil and Frontier Seasoning of choice. Start with a small amount of oil. You can always add more if needed.
  5. Place seasoned bread cubes on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes until lightly toasted.

VOILA! You have now made your very own Gluten Free, Vegan Stuffing Mix!

Now all that’s left is to make your stuffing! I recommend this recipe for Stuffin’ Muffins! Simply substitute your homemade Gluten Free Stuffing Mix for the Arrowhead Mills Savory Herb Stuffing Mix listed in the recipe and proceed as directed!

Food Allergies & The Holidays….

Hello, Everyone!!!!! So, here’s the deal…
As many of you may know, I work for a locally owned natural market & cafe’. I absolutely LOVE my job! I get to tell people about our amazing store, come up with recipes, help people who have food allergies/intolerances find foods they can eat and enjoy, teach cooking classes, do recipe/product demos…. all for a company I love and believe in. It’s pretty much the best job ever! 
That being said, I also write a blog and spend a majority of my day on the computer as a part of my job. This has caused me to want little to nothing to do with the internet when I come home. But, that’s not fair to you. I have been making some delicious new kitchen creations and will share them soon. For now, I am going to share some of the info I posted on the other blog I write. Enjoy!

There has been a steady increase in diagnosed food allergies and intolerances in the past few years. Food allergies can make normal eating feel isolated, and holidays are even worse.

Learning to navigate a traditional holiday menu can seem like an impossibly daunting task. Trust me, I know! About 4 years ago, my body began to reject the protein Gluten (wheat, oats, rye, barley, spelt), a dairy, and a cashews! I thought I would be doomed to nibbling on lettuce and carrot sticks for the rest of my life! Boy was I wrong! I started from scratch, learning how to cook all over again. Many a day ended with an inedible mess, tears, and a dinner comprised of Gluten Free Corn Flakes Cereal and Almond Milk. BUT, I learned.
That first Thanksgiving, I was determined to cook a feast rivaling any gluten-filled affair. You know what? I DID IT! It took time and planning, but nothing worthwhile ever came easy. The satisfaction of celebrating our first Allergy-Free Thanksgiving tasted even sweeter than the Cranberry Cobbler we savored for dessert!

Here are some tips to safely navigate your way through the holiday season.

  1. Be the Party Planner!- By hosting the holiday party, you will have control over what is being served. If the attendees offer to bring something, request they bring beverages, plates, napkins, cups, and utensils. An even better option, have them bring festive games and activities!
  2. Prepare a “safe” dish.- If attending a holiday potluck, prepare one dish you know will be “safe” and filling for yourself. For example, I will often bring a Pasta Salad made with DeBoles Rice Plus Golden Flax Spirals and Sunergia Soy Feta Cheese (see recipe) or a large bowl of Buckwheat Tabbouli (see recipe). Both dishes are delicious, colorful, and, most importantly, filling.
  3. Call Ahead- Dining out can be scary, but no one wants to miss the holiday parties. If dining out at a restaurant, call ahead and ask to speak with the manager and/or chef. Make them aware of your food allergies and ask if they are able to accommodate them without the risk of cross contamination. If you still do not feel comfortable, bring your own food. No shame! No one will judge you for wanting to enjoy the party.
  4. Eat First, Party Later!- Eat at home before attending the holiday party. It isn’t the most fun option, but it is the safest. At home, you are able to control 100% what is going into your mouth. That way, you can be the life of the party!

Do you, or someone you love have food allergies? What are your tips for safely celebrating the holidays?

The Eggplant Controversy….

GUESS WHAT?!

I joined a CSA! Check this out! My father in-law’s 2nd cousin (did you catch that?) owns the local community farm, so we decided to buy a share. Thursday, we picked up our first harvest of the season. I was so excited to dig in! We received one “controversial” vegetable…. the EGGPLANT! 

 My mother in-law and sister in-law firmly declared their distaste for this defenseless little vegetable, while my father in-law praised its amazing taste and flavor…. when cover in batter and deep fried!!!!

THE HORROR!

Determined to change all of their minds, I set out to create a healthy and delicious meal featuring our eggplant, and the rest of our gorgeous, local produce.
The result was a resounding success! Everyone now likes eggplant, and we can live happily ever after!

BON APPETIT!

Ratatouille
(Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 large Eggplant, chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Zucchini, chopped
  • 2 Yellow Squash, chopped
  • 2 “palmfuls” Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 (28oz) can Eden Foods Just Diced Tomatoes (Eden cans are BPA Free and have no salt added!)
  • 1/2 cup fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Place the chopped eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to “sweat” about 20 minutes. Rinse. Dry.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggplant and saute about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the other chopped vegetables and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium, and allow to reduce, about 8-10 minutes.
  7. Serve over Polenta!

Missing My Man, Mariposa, & Miso….

This week is rushing by at a crazy pace! A complete departure from the idyllic weekend I just spent with GF Guy….

I swear… I don’t know how people get anything done! It all started on Sunday. My husband’s side of the family threw an impromptu birthday celebration at our weekly Sunday dinner. Tita (my 82ish year old Grandmother) made me a GF/DF vanilla bundt cake with homemade Dairy Free Frosting! This was a huge feat for a woman who had never heard of gluten about 4 years ago. It was also a tremendous show of love! 

I brought my latest Pumpkin Pie experiment (everyone approved, even after I asked for their honest opinions!) 

Then work began….

I worked a 12 hour day on Monday, a 9 hour day on Tuesday and again today. I finally made it to the gym after a week and a half of not being able to work out! I hurt my achilles last time I visited GF Guy and it’s been very painful ever since. It killed me not being able to hit the gym. Working out always makes me feel more normal and in touch with myself and my life. 

Upon returning home, I was greeted by a fantastic surprise. A box from Mariposa Bakery was waiting on my doorstep with delicious Cinnamon Toast Biscotti, Pumpkin Bread, and Bread Cubes! Thank you Cari!!!! I had never tried their products. So far, I’ve only tried the Biscotti…. but it is PERFECTION!!! GF Biscotti tends to be rather soft and “un-biscotti like”, not so with the Mariposa Biscotti! Paired with a cup of hot tea, it was the perfect treat.

I “borrowed” this photo from the Mariposa Bakery website.

For dinner, I whipped together a pot of Miso Soup and enjoyed it with an unlikely pairing…. Pumpkin Cornbread. Somehow, it worked! Now, sit back relax and enjoy a delicious, comforting bowl of soup. You deserve it!
 

Miso Happy Soup
(Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups No-Chicken Broth (made by Imagine Foods)
  • 1/2 cup Zucchini, julienned
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 cup Sugar Snap Peas, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cluster fresh Beech Mushrooms
  • 2 Tblsp Red Miso (made with brown rice)
  • 1/2 cup Scallions (green onions), sliced
  • 1 (12oz) pkg Kelp Noodles, rinsed and cut to desired length
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped

  Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. 
  2. Lower the heat to medium, add the carrots and zucchini, and cook until crisp-tender; about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar snap peas and cook until slightly tender, but still bright green; about 1 minute.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook about 45 seconds.
  5. Remove from the heat.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the miso and a ladelful of hot broth. Combine until smooth.
  7. Add the miso mixture to the soup. (Caution: Do not bring the soup to a boil once the miso is added or it will become gritty!)
  8. Just before serving, add the kelp noodles, scallions, and cilantro.

 I’m excited for this weekend. First, I will be manning our company’s booth at the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network’s Walk for Food Allergy. Then, I’m meeting up with my sisters and their boys. They are making me a surprise birthday dinner!
We all love cooking for each other and just hanging out. We don’t get to do it very often, so I am SUPER EXCITED!!!!!

Eureka!….

I think I have it! 

I think the second time is going to be the “charm”! I found this recipe at FatFree Vegan Kitchen, tweaked and played and have come up with what I think is a winning version of Pumpkin Pie! It is not overly sweet, but that is what I prefer. Serve with Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon and you just might be in heaven!

Pumpkin Pie #2
(Gluten-Free, Vegan, Sugar-Free)


Ingredients:

  • 3 Medjool Dates, soaked 3-5 hours in filtered water
  • 1 1/2 cups So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
  • 2 Flax Eggs (1 Tblsp Flax Meal + 3 Tblsp Hot Water = 1 large Egg)
  • 1 Tblsp Cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 can Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend (I used Amy’s blend)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Liquid Stevia
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a glass pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Place soaked, pitted dates in a food processor and process until a date paste is formed. Set aside,
  4. Place creamer, flax eggs, starch, and vanilla in a blender and process until smooth.
  5. Add pumpkin and process to combine.
  6. Add remaining ingredients (including the date paste) and pulse to combine. Then, process on high about 2 minutes.
  7. Pour into prepared pie plate.
  8. Bake about 1 hour.
  9. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
  10. For best results, refrigerate over night before serving.
On an entirely unrelated note….
Look at the beautiful flowers GF Guy sent me!!!!!


*SIGH* 
I LOVE that man!