Menu of the Week

August 25, 2014

I hope everyone had an awesome week and you are enjoying the last few days of summer. Kids are going back to school and vacations are ending. The nights and mornings are cooler and darker. All of these things have me thinking of fall and I went a little soup crazy. Among the meals this week are a soup, a chowder and a gumbo. There are also some great late summer vegetables involved as well. Enjoy!

SUNDAY

Southwestern Corn and Potato Chowder
Spring Mix Salad
Baking Powder Biscuits – easy to make gluten free


MONDAY

Tofu Pad Thai
Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Fruit


TUESDAY

Greek Diced Vegetable Salad
Roasted Cauliflower
Pita with Hummus
Optional: Grilled Chicken


WEDNESDAY

Tomato Basil Soup
Salad
Grilled French Bread (great gluten free recipe in an earlier post) or Grown Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

THURSDAY

Bean & Bean Gumbo
Corn Bread – easy to make gluten free
Fruit


FRIDAY

Pesto Pasta – brown rice or quinoa pasta work great!
Grilled Summer Squash
Caprese Salad


SATURDAY – Family Get Together

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers Or grilled meat of choice
Potato Salad with Walnut Oil Vinaigrette
Grilled Sweet Corn
Watermelon
(We also had ice cream options of Sundaes, Root Beer Floats or Mango Sorbet)

 

 

Menu of the Week

August 18, 2014

Hello! I hope everyone has had a good week and you found last week’s menu helpful. Several of this weeks recipes can be grilled so take advantage of the nice weather while it still lasts!

Once again, let me know if you would like recipes or if you have any questions or comments. Enjoy your week!


SUNDAY

Grilled Veggie Burgers or Chicken
Black & Garbanzo Bean Salad
Green Beans
Watermelon

MONDAY

Baked Falafel w/Tzatziki Sauce
Greek Salad

TUESDAY

Tofu Stir Fry
Peanut Noodles
Fruit

WEDNESDAY

Super Nachos- with lots of veggies!
– black or pinto beans, bell peppers, onions, black olives, tomatoes, cheese, avocado
Fruit

THURSDAY

Spaghetti w/meatless meatballs
Broccoli and/or salad

FRIDAY

Black Bean w/Toasted Corn Tacos
Mexican Rice

SATURDAY

Baked Potatoes w/toppings
Sweet Corn w/Chili Lime Sauce

 

Menu of the Week

August 11, 2014

I am going to try something new with this blog for the next few weeks. As you can see I am not the best at getting new recipes and photos updated. I am of course cooking, creating and trying new things all of the time. But things don’t always go as planned and I’ve decided that for now, I will be posting weekly menu ideas.

It seems that for most people making dinner is a chore. And figuring out what to make is the hardest part. So often we end up rotating the same recipes week after week until we end up getting sick of something that we used to love. Since I am already creating a weekly menu for us each week I thought I’d share and see if it helps anyone.

Some of these are tried and true recipes but I do like to mix things up so some of them may be new as well. I’ll be posting the menu the week after we have had them though just in case something isn’t as tasty as I thought it would be or to add notes or make changes if needed. I may even try to add a photo here and there.

Most of the meals are vegetarian or vegan and pretty healthy. Some can easily have meat added if you prefer. A lot of them are gluten free but you can easily use regular items instead. I tend to make everything from scratch since I think it tastes better and I love to cook, but feel free to buy already prepared items if that is what you have time for. It’s still better than grabbing fast food.

You may see some surprises if you know me. Some of the meals are not horribly unhealthy but definitely not something to eat every day – like pizza and super nachos. Yes I do eat nachos for dinner on occasion. Piled with lots and lots of veggies. :) I believe in “Everything in moderation”. If you eat healthy most of the time, its ok to relax once in a while. I know some people think of “everything in moderation” as being boring. I think it’s actually exciting. It means nothing is off limits! How cool is that!

I won’t be including recipes for now, just the menu. Hopefully you will find it helpful. If there are specific recipes that you are wondering about, let me know. I may add them here or let you know where I got the recipe or I can send it to you. If you make something and it becomes a favorite or you add a new twist, let me know. To me food is all about sharing.

So here we go! Let me know what you think!!

 

SUNDAY

Feta Pear Salad
French Bread
Grilled Salmon
Grilled Zucchini and Green Beans

MONDAY

Grilled Black Bean Burritos
Chips and Guac

TUESDAY

Mediterranean Grain Salad (Quinoa)
Pita or Chips
Raw Veggies (carrots, peppers, cherry tomatoes, green beans, etc.)
Hummus

WEDNESDAY

Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Broccoli
Lettuce Salad

THURSDAY

Black Bean Burgers with fixings
Grilled Rosemary Potatoes
Watermelon or Fresh Fruit

FRIDAY

Tofu Lettuce Wraps
Asian Cabbage Salad

SATURDAY

Grilled Veggie Pizza- (I have an awesome recipe for a Gluten Free crust if anyone is interested)
Lettuce Salad
Fresh Fruit

Brussels Sprouts Chips

November 23, 2013

BrusSprtsCps

My vegetable love this fall has been roasted Brussels sprouts. I think I could eat them everyday. I make them pretty much the same each time with only a variation in the spices I put on them. I cut them in half, cover with olive oil and either salt or an herb blend of some sort. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned. Yum!!

One thing I always do when checking on them is pick off the single leaves that have become brown and crunchy and immediately eat them. I can’t even describe how delicious they are! So last week while pulling off the usually crispy leaves and promptly eating them I had a revelation. I could make a whole pan of crispy leaves! Why didn’t I think of that before? It’s my favorite part! Why not have a whole pan? Essentially Brussels sprouts chips. To me these are so much better than kale chips and still healthy. It does take a little patience to break each sprout into it’s individual leaves but it is well worth it!

Brussels Sprouts Chips

Fresh Brussels sprouts
Olive Oil
Sea salt or herb blend of choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut each sprout in half. Core each half as you would a cabbage but on a smaller scale.

Carefully pull apart the layers. Place the leaves and the core pieces in a bowl. Coat lightly with olive oil and sea salt or herb blend. My favorite blend these days is Penzey’s Greek Seasoning.

Place on a baking sheet, separating the pieces. Bake for 10 minutes, pull off the crispiest pieces and bake the rest a few more minutes. The core pieces won’t crisp up but they are still delicious.

Eat immediately!

Vegan update…..

September 2, 2013

imageAfter 5 months of being a “transitioning vegan” I’m pretty sure I’ll continue transitioning or maybe a better word would be part-time vegan.

I definitely feel better physically when I’m eating vegan. I feel I have more energy. For the most part, I eat vegan at home. But try not to make a big deal of it if I can’t when I’m out with friends or at other people’s houses.

I know I am already a challenge for some people being vegetarian and gluten free. The funny thing about that is that I’m totally content with a plate of veggies; raw, cooked, grilled, it doesn’t matter. I truly love vegetables.

I have been enjoying converting some of my favorite recipes to vegan but I have to say that real butter is just better than vegan butter in my Banana Chocolate Chip Scones. I used coconut yogurt in place of regular and that worked well. I may keep playing with this one though.

There really isn’t a replacement for cheese on pizza. We tried a few vegan cheeses and they were not good. I have heard that making cashew cheese is pretty good for pizza but I haven’t tried that yet. For now, we either have more of a foccacia or we just put a little cheese on it – at least enough to keep all the yummy veggies from falling off.

One of my favorite converted recipes is a Gluten Free French Bread recipe I have been making for years. It calls for egg whites and melted butter. Olive oil easily replaces the melted butter. For the egg whites I used chia seeds soaked in water. It worked like a charm! It added a little extra crunch- kind of like poppy seeds do and the bread seemed a little stickier that usual but it got rave reviews from people, many of which didn’t know it was gluten free. I really like it toasted. Peanut butter, jam, honey, pesto, bruschetta. The options are endless!

So here is my converted Gluten Free French Bread recipe. It is adapted from Bette Hagman’s “More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet”.

Gluten Free French Bread
Makes 2 loaves

2 cups white rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 Tbsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp yeast

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chia seeds- soaked in 6 Tbsp water for 15 min.
1 tsp white vinegar

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, combine flours, xanthan gum and salt.

Dissolve the sugar in the water and stir in the yeast. Let foam slightly, then blend with the flour mixture. Add the olive oil, chia seeds and vinegar. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Dough will be more like a batter than regular bread dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or lightly grease and sprinkle with cornmeal. Form dough into two long french bread shapes. Slash dough diagonally every few inches.

Cover the dough and let rise until doubled- about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Bread will appear dark in color. Remove from pan and let cool before cutting.

Going Vegan?

February 12, 2013

I’ve been vegetarian for years. 15 to be exact. I’ve toyed with the idea of going vegan but frankly it seemed like too much work. And it may be, but I’m going to give it a try. Things are complicated a bit by the fact that I am also gluten free. But what the heck, I love a challenge, especially when it involves being creative with food.

So what prompted this final push? Well, a few things. I’ve noticed a connection to eating dairy and my sinus problems. I don’t easily get sinus infections but I tend to have a constant slight stuffiness. I recently did a fruit cleanse for 3 days and noticed that the stuffiness went away. Once back to my usual vegetarian diet, the stuffiness returned. Nudge #1.

I recently spotted the book “Forks Over Knives” at Barnes & Nobel and on a whim I decided to pick it up. I’m a sucker for a good cookbook and the recipes looked pretty good and didn’t have a long list of complicated, difficult to get ingredients. I read the book the next day and decided to try a couple recipes. They were delicious!  Nudge #2.

A couple days later while trying to decide what to watch on Netflix, I suggested we watch the movie “Forks Over Knives”. It’s a very convincing movie. I have believed its message for years and have been trying to get my husband on board to healthy eating to no avail. This movie actually convinced him! He decided to give it a try and now I have a partner in eating vegan at home. The final nudge.

Our first Official Vegan Meal consisted of: Falafel (baked and adapted from Homestyle Vegetarian published by Bay Books), a delicious Mediterranean Rice Salad (from gluten-free recipes for the conscious cook by Leslie Cerier) and a Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (from Allrecipes.com) with various raw veggies. YUM!

It’s a beautiful fall day in Minnesota today. It’s been freakishly warm this month. Not that I’m complaining. I love hot weather. People often ask why I still live in Minnesota since most of the year I’m wearing 3 layers – and I’m still chilly if there is a breeze. I tell them it’s because the spiders don’t get as big up here.

But as much as I really don’t like sub-zero temps and bundling up to the point that only my eyeballs are showing, I love the change of seasons. The leaves have been amazing this year. The tree in our front yard right now is a palette of green, yellow, orange and red.

I love how warm breezes blow the leaves through the street like an applause for the coming of the new season. And who doesn’t love the sound of crunching leaves under their feet? I purposely walk in the gutter where most of the leaves gather, for maximum crunch and that feeling of being carefree and childlike.

So, in going with the childlike fall theme, I decided to make some mini pumpkin pies. Bite size goodies that I wanted to make with a gluten free gingerbread crust. I had to make a trip to the store to get a few things before I started. Once back I was ready to go. Although I knew what I was going to do, I couldn’t resist looking at some cookbooks and came across a recipe for a Pecan Butter Crust.

Now I had a dilemma. Which crust do I make? I used the pumpkin pie filling recipe from the Libby’s canned pumpkin (the kind my mom always uses). It was more than enough filling for both recipes so I decided to make both. Which meant another trip to the store for the one ingredient I was short.

I made 48 mini-pumpkin pies and thinking I had more than enough bite size pies, I decided to just make a small tart with what was left. I was a little disappointed in that decision after I flipped one pan of mini-pies onto the oven door as I was taking it out. My tart was still baking so I didn’t want to keep the oven door open too long. Murmuring curse words to myself for making the mess and destroying my cute little pies I quickly scraped the pile of goo into a bowl and shut the oven door. That will be fun to clean later.

I looked at the mess piled into the bowl. It wasn’t pretty but it was pumpkin pie- even if it didn’t look like pie. I decided to have a taste. The goo tasted delicious! I couldn’t just throw it away! There must be something I can do with pumpkin pie mush…

It didn’t take long before I decided to do what I do with a lot of my gluten-free flops. It would make a great topping for ice cream. Another trip to the store.

Pecan Butter Crust
from Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly

1/4 cup pecans, toasted (place raw pecans in 350° oven for 10 min.)
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar (separated)
1 cup Basic Gluten-Free Mix*
1 Tablespoon sweet rice flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 375°.

Finely grind the toasted pecans and the 1 Tablespoon sugar in a food processor.
Mix together the ground nuts, gluten-free mix, 1/4 cup sugar, sweet rice flour and salt. Blend well. Using a pastry blender or fork work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have coarse crumbs.

Place 1 Tablespoon of the crumbs into each cup of a mini-muffin pan. Place a small amount of sugar in a dish. Dip mini-tart press in sugar then press down crust in each cup. (A small shot glass may work as well). Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven. Increase heat to 425°. Fill each cup with pumpkin pie filling. A liquid measuring cup works great for this. Once the oven is at 425°, bake another 12 – 13 minutes. It is done when a small knife poked in one comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 5 minutes before carefully removing each pie to fully cool on rack. Top with fresh whipped cream. I like mine lightly sweetened with sugar and a little vanilla.

*Gluten-free mix- 2 cups brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour

The directions are basically the same for the Ginger Snap Crust with only a few minor changes.

Ginger Snap Crust

1 bag MI-DEL Gluten-Free Ginger Snaps (8 oz bag)
6 Tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place ginger snaps into food processor and process until fine crumbs. Place in bowl and add melted butter. Stir until well combined.

Place 1 Tablespoon of the crumbs into each cup of a mini-muffin pan.  Using mini-tart press, press down crust in each cup. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven. Increase heat to 425°. Fill each cup with pumpkin pie filling. Once the oven is at 425°, bake another 12 – 13 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 5 minutes before carefully removing each pie to fully cool on rack. Top with fresh whipped cream.

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