Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gluten Free Cranberry Lemon Cookies

Today is a busy day at our house.  We’re getting ready for a party to welcome Andy home.  The house is clean, the fridge is full and the drinks are being chilled.  We're looking forward to relaxing with friends and family and taking time to realize how blessed we are.

I've prepped a ton of awesome whole food appetizers for the party and I'll be sharing a couple in the days to come.  For today, you should check out my post over at Modern Alternative Kitchen.  I baked up some amazing cranberry lemon cookies for this post. 

I made these with almond flour, my favorite GF flour and they are not only easy, but oh so good too.

You can check out the recipe here.  Make some cookies and have a great weekend!

Friday, July 27, 2012

An Intro to Gluten Free

If you haven't checked out the new site Modern Alternative Kitchen yet, today is a great day to do so.  Why you ask?  It just so happens that my first post is making its appearance there today!  This month I'm writing about the basics of gluten and gluten free diets. 

If you're wondering what all the fuss is about with gluten free, check it out.

Or maybe you want to know why so many people seem to be gluten intolerant these days.  Check it out!

Or maybe you are wondering about all of those gluten free products in the grocery stores these days.  Check it out!

Or maybe you need some pointers on how to come up with gluten free meals. Check it out!

Each month I'll be posting about more whole food topics over at MAK.  It's exciting and I've already got plans for some great posts over there so stay tuned!

Oh, and tomorrow I'll be sharing an awesome cookie recipe there as well.... So check it out!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Blueberry Salad

Yesterday I shared my new favorite salad dressing recipe with you- Blueberry Vinaigrette.  Today we need to talk about the salad.  I'm a huge fan of salads no matter what time of year it is, but especially in the summertime.  Often I feel like it is just too hot to eat anything warm.  I made this salad to go with dinner the other night but I ended up only eating the salad!

To compliment the blueberry vinaigrette, I topped some greens with red onion, apple, blueberries (of course) and sliced almonds.  Nothing fancy, everything raw, and everything fresh.  It was just what I needed on a hot summer evening.


Summer Blueberry Salad

makes 2 servings

4 cups greens of choice, washed
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup apple, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup fresh blueberries

Top greens with onion, apple, almonds and blueberries.
Pour on dressing and enjoy.

This salad is reason enough to love summer!

This is part of the seasonal recipe round up for berries at Gnowfglins.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

All over the US blueberries are in season.  Sadly, that ship has sailed here in Florida.  We had our blueberry boom here in May and it was very short lived due to lack of cold weather this year.  While I love to eat local, I also love me some blueberries and so do my kids.  We normally eat them strait up and they rarely make it into any dishes.  But I bought these bad boys especially for this recipe.

For some reason I’ve been dreaming of a blueberry salad.  Since there are still a plethora of organic blueberries in the store I had to make it happen.  The combination of blueberries, lemon and balsamic vinegar was just what I was dreaming of! 

You might have heard that eating blueberries is good for you.  But you probably don’t know all the ways this special berry can benefit your body.  From a nutritional perspective, blueberries are high in fiber and vitamins C and K, supporting your digestive and immune systems.

Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all berries.  These antioxidants have been shown to be extremely beneficial to several body systems including cardiovascular, nervous, muscular and digestive systems.  In studies the antioxidants found in blueberries mitigated damage caused by oxidative stress.

One of the really interesting things about the amazing blueberry is its potential to improve memory.  Studies have shown that consuming large quantities of blueberries has increased the memory function.  Ina addition, they have the potential slow memory problems associated with aging! Blueberries are also being studied for their abilities to prevent cancer.

If you are a Type 2 diabetic you can also benefit from regular blueberry consumption.  Blueberries have been shown to help regulate blood sugar.

For more information on this tiny but powerful fruit you can check out this website.

Blueberries are best consumed raw to preserve the antioxidants.  The good news is that freezing does not affect these levels so you can stock up when they are in season!  Remember to choose organic blueberries or berries from a no-spray farm to avoid high pesticide levels.  Blueberries were listed #11 on the EWG’s dirty dozen pesticide list.

If you buy (or pick) organic you’ll also get an added antioxidant benefit- organic berries have been shown to have higher levels of these!

Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

¾ cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup olive oil
1/8 cup water
1 tsp honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
juice from half a lemon
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Serve immediately.

Note:  the pectin from the blueberries will thicken the dressing after a few minutes.  If you need to thin it, add a little water and whisk.

This dressing is awesome over any salad, but tomorrow I'll share the Summer Blueberry Salad I made to go with it!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Zucchini Mini Muffins

It's definitely nice to have my other half here and be a whole family again.  The return of my husband means slightly more time in the kitchen and someone to run interference while I try new recipes in the morning.  This morning the distraction was bubbles.  Who doesn't love bubbles before breakfast?

While the kids and daddy were busy with bubbles I was busy making these.

I like to keep all my baked goods in mini form.  I've got four tiny hands and two tiny mouths in this house and I've found mini sizes are perfect for them.  This way I don't find a half eaten muffin at the bottom of a toy bin or under our coffee table.  Plus when we're talking about sweeter treats, the mini size is perfect for them.

I've always loved zucchini bread, even as a kid.  I needed to rework the traditional version for our household.  This version is gluten free, dairy free and there is no processed sugar.  And, of course, you're getting the veggies in during breakfast too!

Zucchini Mini Muffins

makes 24 mini muffins

1 cup almond flour
¼ tsp sea salt 
¼ tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups grated zucchini
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine almond flour, sea salt, baking soda and cinnamon and mix to remove lumps.

Whisk together eggs, oil, honey and vanilla.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.

Stir in zucchini and walnuts.

Spoon batter into greased mini muffin tin.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

These were tasty little bites of veggie filled happiness.

And they didn't last long.  Some people were too hungry to wait for the pictures.

Someone loves his zucchini muffin.

She did too.

Maybe that's why none of these were left be the end of the day...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pineapple Mango Salsa

I know I just posted this mango salsa recipe, but with mango in season here there are plenty to go around.  We were having fish again and the easiest thing for me to do is make a salsa to go over it.  Salsas are so full of flavor and you can pull them together in less than five minutes.

I kept it super simple this time since pineapple and mango have such vibrant flavors.  I really love the contrast of the two fruits- this turned out so good!  I can't wait to try it on some tacos...

Pineapple Mango Salsa

2 cups mango, chopped
2 cups pineapple, chopped
1 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup mint, chopped
2-3 green onions, chopped
juice from one lemon

Combine all ingredients and mix well.
All the flavors to meld for a few minutes before serving.

In addition to the fish, I steamed some broccoli and roasted a spaghetti squash ahead of time.  The squash got sautéed in a little olive out and fresh garlic.

It was simple, quick and tasted amazing.  What more do you need?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Five Spice Turkey Lettuce Wraps

I've got one of my favorite recipes to share with you today.  But we'll get to that in a minute.  Something far more important happened to our family this week...

After a year of being away from us, daddy is home.  We got to go meet him at the gate and surprise him as he got off the plane.  We had flags and signs and apparently we made a scene because a very nice guy offered to take our picture.

I can't even begin to tell you how happy it has made my heart to have our family whole again.  The kids are beyond thrilled to have their daddy to play with and hug... and mama is pretty thrilled too.

Of course, I've been cooking up a storm for my poor husband who has been stuck eating terrible desert food.  Our menu this week included a couple of meals that I knew he would love- including this salmon and these spring rolls.  I also had to make these.

I love a good lettuce wrap and I'll put pretty much anything in one.  These guys are special though.  One of the great things about asian inspired cooking is that it is often gluten free.  One of the hurdles for us is keeping things soy free for Aidric.  Although I've recently introduced a little soy into his diet and he hasn't reacted, I like to avoid it when possible.  

Luckily this isn't really a problem since I discovered coconut aminos.  This sauce is very similar to soy sauce or tamari but has a slightly sweet flavor.  I've noticed when I use it in recipes that I cant even tell the difference.  It gets bonus points from me for being raw.  The only adjustment I make is to use less sweetener (honey) in a recipe than I would normally.

Five Spice Turkey Lettuce Wraps

2 tsp sesame oil
1 pound ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 cup vegetable broth
1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 can water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
1 ½ cups bean sprouts
2 cups carrot, shredded and divided
1 large head boston lettuce, washed
½ cup cilantro, chopped
½ cup mint , chopped
½ cup basil, chopped
3 green onions, minced
1 lime or lemon, cut into wedges

Five Spice Sauce
1 ½ tbsp almond or peanut butter
1 teaspoon five spice powder
½ tsp honey
1 tsp molasses
1 ½ tbsp rice vinegar
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
2 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp red pepper
5 tbsp coconut aminos

Combine all ingredients for Five Spice Sauce mixture in blender and set aside.

Heat oil to medium in large skillet.
Add turkey, ginger and garlic and stir until turkey is cooked through.

Add broth, sauce, rice, water chestnuts, red pepper, bean sprouts and 1 ½ cups of carrots.

Stir mixture and bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat and spoon mixture into lettuce leaves.
Top with herbs and a squirt of lime or lemon.
(My sous chef took care of this for me)

I love these little lettuce cups, they are so full of flavor!

Lucky for me, so do the kids.

This is a fun meal for them because I let them get a little messy and fill their own wraps.

Ever notice how kids like eating food more when they get to be involved?

There were no complaints in our house tonight- maybe it was dinner, maybe it was Daddy... maybe it was a little of both.