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Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Thursday
Jan222009

Rich Coconut Carob Spread (vegan, raw, gluten free)

Holy yum. That's all I have to say. Rich and creamy, this spread is about as close to chocolate sauce as I can imagine. Better maybe even. It is totally luscious, vegan, gluten free, and can even be made raw. Holy smokes. Eat it on anything from rice cakes to fresh fruit, blob it into a protein shake, or spoon it right out of the jar. It would make a killer frosting/glaze on a cake, or as filling between two little cookies.

It hardens when cool, so I would not recommend keeping this in the fridge. At room temperature, it is almost like a thick, slightly crumbly fudge. For smooth, spreadable enjoyment, warm jar slightly to desired consistency, or, if you aren't worried about keeping it raw, throw a blob in the microwave.

RICH COCONUT CAROB SPREAD (vegan, raw, gluten free)

yield: approx 3/4 c

1/2 c raw coconut butter (I like this one from Artisana)
3 T virgin coconut oil
2-3 T raw carob flour (I prefer using toasted carob, but I'm not a raw foodie!)
optional: 1/2-1 T raw agave nectar

  1. Set up a double boiler. If you have one, great! If you don't, find a heat-safe bowl that sits atop a saucepan. Fill the saucepan with 1-2 inches of water, then place the bowl on top of the saucepan. The bowl should not touch the water. Bring the water up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Place coconut butter and coconut oil in warm boil, and heat until it softens just enough to mash. Stir in carob flour and agave, and stir until well mixed.
  3. Remove bowl from heat, and give it a final stir or two until velvety smooth. Transfer mixture into clean glass jar, and store at room temperature. It will harden when it cools; you may want to warm the jar slightly to use.

FUDGE VARIATION: This makes a tasty fudge! Pour warm coconut mixture into a small pan that has been greased lightly with coconut oil, or lined with parchment. If desired, sprinkle with chopped nuts, finely shredded coconut, or ground goji berries. Let cool and harden, then slice into small squares. Or, if you want small candy shapes, pour warm mixture into neoprene candy molds or neoprene ice cube trays. Let cool, and remove from molds. Serve the fudge at room temperature. Totally decadent! Store in a cool place; if it gets warm, it will start to melt.

 

Tuesday
Jan202009

Dining al desko: Wild Rice with Hijiki and Carrots (gluten free, vegan)


Susan Jane Murray, one of my favorite food bloggers, wrote the phrase "dining al desko" in one her blogs. I liked it, and am using it as inspiration.

I hate eating at my desk. But I work at a desk. And I need to eat. And sometimes, the two need to happen at the same time.

This is one of my favorite quick and tasty meals to eat at my desk. I like to use chopsticks when I'm eating and working because it makes me think more about eating and chewing and I do it more slowly, instead of mindlessly scarfing down the food while working on a project. Plus chopsticks are fun. And coworkers find it amusing and quirky. This recipe requires just a little prep work at home, but it is fast and simple to throw together if you have the necessary elements prepared.

Basic concept: cooked grain + hijiki + cooked vegetable.

My favorite grain in this dish is broken wild rice. Broken wild rice is less expensive than full grain wild rice, but has all the same benefits - the grain is just broken. Wild rice isn't really rice at all, it is a grass native to North America. It is very high in protein, is a great source of complex carbohydrates, and is high in fiber. The flavor is earthy, rich, and nutty. I love it combined with hijiki - the textures are great together, and the nutty earthy flavor of the wild rice balances well with the saltiness of the seaweed. Hijiki is one of my favorite sea vegetables; I often soak up a big batch of hijiki, or other sea vegetables, and keep them in the fridge for whenever I want them. Sea vegetables are a great addition to a diet - they stimulate the thyroid, are high in fiber, help balance healthy gut bacteria, and are a good source of calcium and iron. Combining sea vegetables with other vegetables is not only delicious, but it also helps the body apsorb all their readily available nutrients! In fact, vitamin C helps the body assimilate both calcium and iron, so carrots make the perfect addition to this dish. Plus, their sweetness rounds out the overall flavor effect.

If I know I want to eat this, I'll usually steam up some carrots the night before while I'm steaming up my dinner veggies. No carrots? Fine! Any veggies will work, whatever you have leftover that you want to use up: green beans, asparagus, green onion, brocolli, squash, sweet potato, zucchini, whatever. The final touch is a bit of flax oil, for healthy fats and good omegas. Sesame oil is really tasty too, if you can tolerate sesame. Do you know that a little healthy fat helps the body absorp vitamin C? What a marvelously balanced dish!

The end result is a high fiber, super nutritious, wonderfully satisfying bowl of goodness. And it will leave you feeling much better than corn chips from the vending machine or leftover bagels from yesterday's meeting.

WILD RICE WITH HIJIKI AND CARROTS (GLUTEN FREE, VEGAN)

Wild rice (or any other cooked grain - rice, quinoa, millet, etc)
Hijiki (soaked 30 minutes, rinsed, and drained)
Carrots (or other veggies)
Flax oil (or sesame oil if you tolerate sesame)
optional: tamari (soy-free or soy), Bragg's aminos, or ume vinegar
optional: sprinkle of gomasio (sesame salt, find at asian markets...or see THIS for my non-sesame version!)

Mix it all together in a bowl. Eat greedily, either cold or warm. Feel energized, alert, and awesome!

Tuesday
Jan202009

Triple Buckwheat Bean Bread (yeast free, gluten free, vegan)



Featuring buckwheat flour, kasha, and whole buckwheat groats, this is a whole grain bread for buckwheat lovers! It is dense and just moist enough, and has a nice crisp crust. It slices like a dream and can be whipped up in a jiffy. Perfect! The strong flavors of the buckwheat and garfava flour meld well, and give a full, unique flavor. If you don't like buckwheat, or bean flours, this is not the bread for you. 

I love baking with buckwheat flour; it is a great source of fiber, protein, and is a low glycemic, gluten-free grain that can help stabilize blood sugar. The addition of the kasha* and the whole groats add a great texture and a little crunch. Want to know more about the nutritional benefits of buckwheat? Check out this page from World's Healthiest Foods! The garfava flour adds an extra boost of protein, and flax adds healthy fiber. The end result is a high fiber, high protein, low glycemic bread. Plus, this bread is versatile - feel free to embellish with herbs and seasonings of your choice, or optional add-ins listed below! Delicious toasted or as is, serve with soups, spread with your favorite nut or seed butter, or use for mini sandwiches. Enjoy!

TRIPLE BUCKWHEAT BEAN BREAD (yeast free, gluten free, vegan)
yield 1 9"x5" loaf 

2/3 c buckwheat flour
1/3 c garfava or garbanzo flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vitamin C crystals
1/2 tsp salt
2 T ground flax seed
1/4 c uncooked kasha/creamy buckwheat cereal*
1/4 c uncooked whole buckwheat groats
optional: 1 tsp dried herbs, spices, or seasonings of choice
2 T olive oil
1 1/4 c water/juice/milk substitute
optional:
1/2 c finely grated carrot or zucchini
and/or
1/4 c ground or chopped nuts or seeds
and/or
1/2 c currants, raisins, or chopped dried fruit

Preheat oven to 375* F. Oil a small loaf pan (approx 8 x 4 x 2 1/2), and dust with garfava flour.

In large bowl, mix together flours, flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, vitamin C crystals, salt, and any optional herbs/spices/seasonings. Whisk briskly to introduce air and mix well. Add kasha and whole groats and mix again. Create a well in the middle of flour mixture.

Pour oil and water into well, and stir into flour mixture until just evenly moistened. Gently fold in grated carrot/zucchini, nuts, or dried fruit if using. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven, and allow to cool in pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and place on cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing, use serrated knife for best results.

Approximate nutritional information per serving (8 servings/loaf, made with water, no added fruit/nuts): 105 calories, 4 g fat, 16 g carb, 6.5 g fiber, 4 g protein

 

*Kasha is coarsely ground buckwheat groats. I like Wolff's Kasha the best, it is toasted and flavorful. Bob's Red Mill also makes a great creamy buckwheat cereal. If you can't find kasha, pan toast whole groats until then are brown and fragrant. Then blitz a few times in a coffee grinder, food processor, or blender until coarsely ground.

 

Thursday
Jan152009

Cashew Seaweed Gomasio (gluten free, vegan)

I'm allergic to sesame. This makes me sad. I love all things sesame, from tahini to sesame oil to the little plain old seed itself. And I love gomasio. Gomasio is sesame salt, a tasty thing used in Japanese cuisine and adopted by the macrobiotic folks. It is a combination of toasted sesame seed and sea salt, and sometimes also includes sea vegetable flakes. It is used as a condiment for grains and vegetables, and is high mineral, low sodium, totally tasty seasoning on anything and everything.

When I first cut out sesame, I made my own gomasio with pumpkin seeds, and it was awesome. Then I found out I'm also allergic to pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. WTF. So, I've moved on to making gomasio with other things, and finding it just as satisfying. While the seaweed is optional, I really like it added in the mix. My favorite seaweed for gomasio is dulse. Dulse is a super nutritious sea vegetable with a lovely reddish-purple color and a mild flavor. It is high in calcium and iron, and when purchased in flake form, is easy to sprinkle on anything from salads to soup. Dulse flakes are easy to find at natural foods markets or online, and saves the step of home grinding. You could also add any other dried seasoning - like onion or garlic, for example. The options are ENDLESS!

This recipe is the basic proportion for gomasio, so feel free to use the traditional sesame, or any other seed of your choosing. Or, mix it up and do a combination of seeds. If you will be using pre-toasted seeds, or ground flax, you can omit the seed toasting and grinding steps from the instructions. Or, if you don't want to make your own, and you can eat sesame, try one of these from Eden Organics.


Cashew Seaweed Gomasio

yield varies 

4 parts raw cashews (or raw sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp, or ground flax seeds)
.5 part sea salt
1 part dulse flakes, or any other whole dried seaweed (wakame, hijiki, dulse, kelp, etc)
optional: .5 part dried garlic flakes, dried onion flakes, dried chili flakes, or other dried seasoning/spice of choice

Toast the nuts/seeds (omit this step if using pre-toasted seeds or ground flax). Heat a heavy skillet, and pan toast seeds until golden brown, stirring, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and cool.

Grind the seaweed, if using (omit this step if using dulse flakes). Place seaweed in coffee grinder or blender, and pulse until ground evenly into a coarse powder/flakes. Set aside.

Grind the sunflower/pumpkin seeds or nuts (omit step if using sesame, hemp, or ground flax). Place cooled, toasted seeds in coffee grinder/blender, and pulse until ground to sesame seed-sized pieces.

Combine salt, seeds, and optional seaweed or other seasoning, and stir until well mixed. Transfer to tightly closed jar or shaker, and store in the refrigerator for maximum freshness.

Use as a seasoning on anything - great on noodles, cooked grains, vegetables, in homemade sushi rolls, salads, or mixed into dips and spreads. YUM!

 

Tuesday
Jan132009

When a bad hair day just isn't so bad after all.

My hair is driving me crazy. It feels overgrown. Heavy. A little out of my control. Despite a deep desire to keep my shaggy, full haircut, in this moment, I want to chop it off and release my head from the prison that is this heavy mop.

And you know what? I couldn't be more pleased about feeling like this. In fact, it almost makes me giddy.

I've always had thick hair, full of body and volume that hairdressers and stylists envied and complimented. It would grow like grass. It is easy to style - wash and drip dry, throw in a little styling wax. I don't even own a brush or a comb. Sometimes it is curly, sometimes it is straight, and I just let it do what it wants. It would get so thick and full of body that I would find myself weilding a scissors in front of the bathroom mirror, usually late at night, unable to deal with the thick mop for another week or two before my next hair cut. I'd gotten used to the ease of thick, volume filled hair, and liked it.

But last summer it started falling out. At first I thought maybe it just seemed like I was losing more hair because my hair was longer than it had been in years - I was on a mission to grow it out. Soon enough though, it became apparent that I was definitely losing more than usual - it was coming out in globs. I already felt unhealthy enough at that time, the last thing I wanted was to start losing my hair. But, it was happening, and there was little I could do about it. The harsh truth was truly brought to my attention when I tried cleaning out my drain screen and found more hair caught up in it than my father has on his entire head (love you, dad). I shreaked. And it kept getting worse. Soon it was like handfuls each time I'd shampoo. I could start to see my scalp between my hair follicles. My normally heavy bangs were suddenly a little stringy. It didn't seem to be growing at all, just falling out. And my drain screen kept clogging up faster and faster. I was totally freaked. My hair looked bad, and made me feel even worse. I resigned to pinning it back, wearing lots of headbands and scarves again.

I was losing weight, I was losing energy, I was losing the lifestyle I was used to, I was losing foods I loved, and now, I was also losing hair. Lots of it. Fuck.

My acupuncturist and naturopath told me hair loss was not unusual, that it would keep falling out for 4-5 months, and then slow down. Stress, rapid weight loss, poor digestion, prolonged illness, allergies, and a Candida Albicans overgrowth can all cause hair loss, and I had them all. Be patient, they told me, the loss will slow and it will regrow. They told me not to freak out, and told me that I was doing everything right to get my body back on track. However, losing lots of hair is, put frankly, totally FREAKY. So, sometimes I would freak out. I remember crying one day after getting out of the shower. Both my sink and bath drains were massively clogged, there was hair all over my sink and in the tub, and running my hands through my hair resulted in mats in both hands. It felt like hairs were just leaping out of my head.

So, I decided I needed to chop off my hair. It looked like crap anyway; the long, thin strands made me feel deficient and unattractive. It's not like I had bald spots or anything, or even that people would necessarily notice unless they really paid attention - I still had plenty of hair on my head. But I had lost a lot of what I had, and for me, it was weird and uncomfortable and scary. I needed a change. I gave up on growing it out, and went back to my usual short bob. My trusty and fabulous stylist agreed that I'd lost a lot, but he said he saw lots of short little hairs popping up through my scalp. He said it wasn't really thin by normal people standards - it was just thin for me. We laughed, joking that it was a good thing I had such thick hair, otherwise it would be a whole different story. He told me to be patient, because there was regrowth, a great sign. My new haircut looked hot, the shorter style made it look thicker, and it felt good to have a fresh start.

About a month ago, my 5 month hair loss streak started to slow. I started noticing more short hairs sprouting up too, creating a soft halo around my head. It started to feel thicker, not just look it. I found myself getting irritated with my hair a couple weeks before my haircut, just like the old days. My friend Amy told me that my hair was starting to have that full, crazy look that she always knew. And when I was home at Christmas, my mom said it felt thicker and looked shinier.

A couple weeks ago I got some Drano and cleared out my bathroom sink drain once and for all. One bottle didn't cut it. I need to go back and get more. My mom recommended the Foaming Pipe Snake for really bad clogs. I think I probably have a hampster size glob of hair left in that drain.

Back to today. My hair is driving me nuts. There is a thick wing that used to be nicely textured and nicely shaped, and now it has turned into a heavy blob next to my bangs. Sure, part of that is the fault of a warm winter hat squishing damp, post-shower hair. But it is also due to a much anticipated regrowth. But these bad, out-of-control hair days don't seem so bad to me right now, actually; each one is kind of a nice reminder that - YES! - my hair is growing back! I'll be so happy when it all grows in, but for more than just vanity. For me, the hair regrowth is a slow but sure sign that my body is healing, from the top of my head to the tips of my fingers and toes. And I mean that literally - my nails are thicker, stronger, and growing much faster than they had been, and my fingertips and knuckles are no longer peeling, cracking, and bleeding. It's funny; I feel like I notice healing in those small, slow things a body does almost more than anywhere else.

Sure, my hair is not back to 100%. But neither am I. This day will come, I know that it will, all in due time. Each 6-week block between haircuts is another 6 weeks of healing and positive change, and another day closer to my health being better than every. With each trim that comes and goes, I'm losing fear, concern, anxiety, and gaining reassurance, health, hope, knowledge, strength, and - of course - a new, cuter haircut. Yeah, I know that sounds totally corny. But man, is it ever nice to feel like I finally have something to gain, and not just a whole lot to lose.