Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Recipe: Quick and Easy Spicy Chili

Life is busy all year, but the encroaching darkness of fall evenings nearly always throws me for a bit of a loop. Not enough time and not enough daylight. The dogs still need to get out for a run, I need to get out for a run and all of the neverending list of the other chores that must get done around here. I love quick recipes that can get assembled quickly, taste good and follow 'the rules' that I'm eating by now. No Gluten, nothing processed - whole foods and real ingredients. Chili fits into this model and can be assembled with pantry items! Prep time: 10 minutes, 20 minutes to cook and a mere 30 minutes later you've got yourself some mighty fine chili!

Ingredients:
1.5 cups organic (or natural Pasta Sauce)*
1/3 cup sliced hot peppers **
12 oz ground sirloin (or TVP, turkey or tofu)
1 can goya black beans***
2 tablespoons chili powder
black pepper to taste.

Method:
In large non-stick wok brown ground beef, breaking into small pieces as it cooks.When beef is 'done', add peppers and beans, combine. Add chili powder, tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes and serve. Makes three generously portioned servings.

*I like Amy's Organic 'Family' Pasta sauce, I feel like it's the 'cleanest' jarred tomato sauce option. It's my base for many things tomato.
**I clean and dice hot peppers from my CSA and vacuum pack them for the freezer in crock o' chili sized portions.
*** All Blue-labeled Goya beans and Peas are labeled gluten-free and processed in facilities that are entirely wheat-free.


Nutrition:
Calories357
Fat17g
Saturated Fat5g
Cholesterol70mg
Sodium945mg
Carbohydrates24g
Fiber8g
Sugars5g
Protein30g

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Homemade Honey-Roasted Nuts!

One of the things I miss about gluten-free/no processed food living is the ability to pick up something sweet (and reasonably healthy) on the road. Sure there are always fruits - but it's really hard to satisfy a sweet tooth on fruits without going off the deep end with carbs.

Enter Costco's baking section - NUTS! What's good with Nuts? Cinnamon!

Honey Roasted Nuts with Cinnamon:
Ingredients:
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw pecan halves
1 cup halved walnuts
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup water
1.5 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract - the real stuff.
sprinkle kosher or sea salt

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Line half-sheet pan with wax paper. Add honey, water, cinnamon and vanilla to large sauce pan over low heat, stirring until honey is completely incorporated. Remove from heat,  add nuts and fold until completely covered.

Spread onto wax paper in single layer taking care to break up any clusters leaving any reserve liquid in pan (not on baking sheet).

Bake at 300 for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, breaking up any clumps. Take care not to burn. Remove wax paper from baking sheets onto rack. Cool completely and pack into air-tight containers. Makes approximately 8 servings.

Nutrition:
Calories325
Fat27g
Saturated Fat2g
Cholesterol0mg
Sodium1mg
Carbohydrates17g
Fiber5g
Sugars10g
Protein7g


And at the intersection of WOW and OMG....
Honey Roasted Nuts with Cinnamon and Cocoa:

Ingredients:
Same as above. Omit vanilla and replace with 2 tablespoons of your favorite really good baking cocoa. I love Ghirardelli's variety in part because they label their cocoa gluten-free. Also, it's way better than the cheap stuff.

Method:
As above omitting the vanilla. Add nuts, making sure complete coating. Add cocoa just before spreading onto baking sheets.

Nutrition:
Calories324
Fat28g
Saturated Fat2g
Cholesterol0mg
Sodium1mg
Carbohydrates18g
Fiber5g
Sugars10g
Protein7g

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Recipe: Kale and Sausage

Kale and chicken sausage!
It's been a project weekend here around the house. Fall cleaning, sorting out the closets (and the laundry room), tidying up the garage in hopes of fitting both a van and agility equipment in there this winter. Today was non-stop go from 10am through dinnertime. I had grabbed a protein shake for breakfast and another for lunch but by 5pm I was famished and I really wanted something 'hearty' for supper!

I took a quick inventory of my fridge: Kale, squash, peppers...hummm. Need something else to go with it, but don't feel like thawing (and cooking) any of the beef or chicken that are cryo-packed in the freezer. So I decided to walk over to the grocery store (1 mile each way) in search of something compatible with squash and Kale. The result was one of the prettier meals I've had in a long while!

Kale and Sausage 
Ingredients:
5-6 cups of kale (washed, chopped and blanched)
2 small summer squash (rough chopped)
1 medium red pepper (I used half red and half yellow)
2 chicken sausages (I chose chipolte chorizo)
3-4 tablespoons feta cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Preparation
I blanched the kale for 3-4 minutes in boiling water, then drained while I browned the sausage and cooked the squash and bell pepper. When squash was fork tender I added the kale to the wok, tossed and covered for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and toss feta to combine.




Nutrition
The recipe above makes two servings, but it's very easily doubled.
Calories293
Fat12.9g
Saturated Fat4.4g
Cholesterol77.5mg
Sodium635mg
Carbohydrates25g
Fiber10g
Sugars11g
Protein25g

Monday, August 27, 2012

Recipe: Black Bean Burgers

Here we go, another meatless Monday! I've spent the last couple of weekends on the road. I've managed to stay gluten-free, but I haven't been very good. Let's face it, MACH (agility championship) chocolate cake isn't health food even if it IS gluten free with super-yummy raspberry filling :-)

So back on track this week, starting with a 6.7 mile walk tonight - the distance in and of itself is not so significant as the total mileage it represents. With a little more than 4 months to go I am more than 3/4 of the way to my 2,000 mile goal for the year. Yes, that's 1,500 (technically 1,501.5) miles on my feet since January 1st, 2012!

On the menu tonight was a black bean burger. I like the concept, don't love the ingredients in the commercially made black bean burgers. Too many weird unpronouncable things in a product marketed as 'healthy' - see list below! What the heck is green pepper juice??

Here's my black-bean burger recipe:
Ingredients:
16 oz cooked black beans (I cheated and used canned beans tonight)
1 medium sized green pepper (diced)
1/4 cup red onion (diced)
1 ear corn (medium - 2/3 cup)
2 eggs (I used eggs from my CSA which are on the small side)
1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning

Method:
Puree black beans with egg(s) and taco seasoning in food processor (I used my magic bullet), pulse in remaining ingredients to combine. Form into patties (approximately four 1/4 lb patties).

Bake in oven on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, flip and bake another 10 minutes. Alternatively prepare on stovetop in covered non-stick saute pan on medium high for 10 minutes per side.

Garnish with sharp cheddar cheese (114 calories) and/or pickled jalepeno peppers (15 calories)!

Nutrition Information
Calories132
Fat2.1g
Saturated Fat0.5g
Cholesterol53mg
Sodium586mg
Carbohydrates25g
Fiber7g
Sugars3g
Protein9g


MorningStar Black Bean Burger Ingredients:


BLACK BEANS (BLACK BEANS, WATER, SALT, SUGAR, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, FERROUS GLUCONATE), COOKED BROWN RICE (WATER, BROWN RICE), ROASTED ONIONS, TEXTURED SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE WITH WATER, TEXTURED WHEAT GLUTEN WITH WATER, ROASTED GREEN AND RED PEPPERS, ROASTED CORN, TOMATOES (DICED TOMATOES, TOMATO JUICE, SALT, CITRIC ACID, CALCIUM CHLORIDE), CORN OIL, EGG WHITES, BULGUR WHEAT, GREEN CHILIES (GREEN CHILIES, SALT, CITRIC ACID, CALCIUM CHLORIDE), CALCIUM CASEINATE, CORNSTARCH, ONION POWDER, SPICES, CILANTRO, CHIPOTLE PUREE (CHIPOTLE PEPPERS, WATER, SALT, VINEGAR), YEAST EXTRACT, DEXTROSE, GARLIC, SALT, HYDROLYZED VEGETABLE PROTEIN (CORN GLUTEN, WHEAT GLUTEN, SOY PROTEIN), SOY SAUCE (SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT), ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL FLAVORS, VINEGAR, PAPRIKA, GREEN PEPPER JUICE, JALAPEƑO PEPPERS, GARLIC JUICE, LIME JUICE, DISODIUM INOSINATE, CARAMEL COLOR, LACTIC ACID, OIL OF LEMON.

Allergen Information:

CONTAINS SOY, WHEAT, EGG AND MILK INGREDIENTS.





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wait? Gluten-Free foods are bad for you?

I pulled this article for discussion a couple of weeks ago and then, well got busy! MSNBC Health is tossing out this article stating that gluten-free foods aren't healthy! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48422462/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/#.UCFfCU1mQVB

To this I say "well duh!". If you replace conventionally processed foods (pasta, cereal, bread) with gluten-free counterparts you're still eating heavily processed foodstuffs. In many cases, the products labeled gluten-free are MORE processed to make products that look and feel like they are the same as the wheaty ones. Case in point? Gluten-Free bread: it takes an awful lot of processing, trickery and construction to make a gluten free bread that even remotely resembles the old white bread staple.

When I started this journey I said "no gluten" because it was easier for me to articulate that to the average well-meaning friend than "nothing processed". What is processed? All that stuff that is sold in the middle of the grocery store aisles. What isn't processed? Whole foods. Vegetables, Fruit, Meat, Eggs. It's pretty simple actually. It's not easy, but it's simple.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Recipe: Spicy TVP Chili

On tonight's menu, a one pan Spicy TVP Chili that makes 4 meal-sized portions. This recipe freezes well and gets better with time (leftovers!).
Incredibly yummy vegetarian chili!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup TVP (dry)
2-3 tablespoons chili powder (to taste)
1 - 13oz can black beans
2 medium poblano peppers (seeded and rough chopped)
2 medium bell peppers (seeded and rough chopped)
3 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos
1 - 14oz jar plain or traditional pasta sauce
3 tablespoons Chia seeds (optional)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Rehydrated TVP 'browning' with peppers
Method:
Combine TVP,  peppers and 1 cup water in non-stick pan - I use my flat-bottomed ceramic non-stick wok. Cook over medium until water is adsorbed. Add black beans (drained), tomato sauce, 1-2 cups of water, black pepper and chili powder. Stir to combine. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add Chia seeds, stir well. Return to heat. Simmer another 10 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of plain greek yogurt or shredded cheddar cheese (not included in nutrition below).





Nutrition per serving
Calories220
Fat2g
Saturated Fat0g
Cholesterol0mg
Sodium920mg
Carbohydrates40g
Fiber13g
Sugars12g
Protein16g

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto over Veggies

Here's another CSA inspired dinner (or side dish) featuring garlic scapes.

Garlic Scape Pesto
1 cup rough chopped garlic scapes
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil (or butter)
3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (feta, parmesesan, tomme, etc)
1/4 cup almonds, walnuts or pinenuts
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
pinch salt

Here's a recipe for the magic bullet! Combine parsley, scapes and water/oil in blender or bullet. Puree until consistently smooth. Add cheese and nuts and pulse to combine. Set aside.

Rough cut your favorite summer veggies (I used red peppers, green beans and yellow and zucchini squash) and toss into non-stick wok. Cook until tender, pour pesto mixture over vegetables, toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste! I ended up using a bit more salt than I thought I would to balance the garlic bite. Younger scapes (curlier) have less garlic flavor than the older (straighter) scapes. Keep this in mind and adjust your recipe accordingly. Serve warm. Top with additional cheese crumbles if desired.

Nutrition
Calories 438
Fat 28g
Saturated Fat 10g
Cholesterol 37mg
Sodium 264mg
Carbohydrates 37g
Fiber 14.3g
Sugars 23g
Protein 18g

Monday, July 16, 2012

Recipe: TVP Taco Salad

Here's another meatless Monday new creation! I've walked by and picked up Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) at the grocery store a few times but couldn't get over the name. Textured Vegetable Protein sounds a lot like extruded dog kibble. Adding texture where there was no texture before? It was the labeling as a meat substitute sounded the most fishy along with the concept of making a product for the purpose of pretending to be meat (a'la turkey shaped blobs of tofu) is something I find entirely unappetizing.

Where's the Beef? TVP Taco Salad
After going home and researching the product (What is TVP?), I went back to the aisle with an array of Bob's Red Mill products and in the spirit of trying something new every Monday I purchased a bag of TVP.

Now, what to do with this 'stuff'. The possibilities seemed endless - anything you would make with ground meat right? OK, let's start simple with a taco salad.

I made my own taco seasoning so that I could control the ingredients and skip the preservatives.

Taco Seasoning:
1 tablespoon. chili powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon powdered oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt

The above recipe makes about 3 tablespoons of taco mix, enough for 4 (1/2 cup) servings of  taco 'meat'.

TVP Taco Filling
1 cup TVP (dry)
1.5 cups water
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
Fresh or pickled jalapenos to taste

Combine all of the above and cook over medium heat until most of the water is adsorbed. Check out the picture at left - it really does look like scrambled meat!

I made a pretty simple salad with fresh CSA leaf lettuce, cucumbers and sharp shredded cheddar cheese (When I can't get to the farmer's market Cabot Seriously Sharp is my favorite available everywhere cheddar cheese). I found feta to be a pretty satisfying alternative to cheddar and a bit less calorically than the same sprinkle of cheddar. I topped the salad with a bit of taco sauce (commercially made) taco salad, though a red wine vinegar dressing is just as tasty.

Other uses for TVP taco mix:
Scrambled eggs and omlettes
As a meat-sauce over pasta (GF pasta of course)
Nachos
Quesadillas
 and Tacos of course

Nutrition per serving:
Calories86
Fat0g
Saturated Fat0g
Cholesterol0mg
Sodium220mg
Carbohydrates9g
Fiber4g
Sugars3g
Protein12g


Nutrition as shown (salad with 1/3 cup cheese and cucumber):
Calories303
Fat13g
Saturated Fat0.1g
Cholesterol40mg
Sodium749mg
Carbohydrates23g
Fiber9g
Sugars8g
Protein25g


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recipe: Squash with Garlic and Dill Yogurt Sauce

I started "Meatless Mondays" back in March - over time meatless Mondays turned into Meatless Most every day as I was able to figure out how to get enough protein to avoid the lousy feeling I've gone through every other time I've dabbled in vegetarianism. I was finding it relatively inconvenient to have fresh meat thawed and ready to cook after a long day at the office, training the dogs, training myself and the rest of the duties that come with a busy life. I do still eat meat at restaurants and every once in a while I DO crave a burger (hold the bun) - or ham. Damn you HAM!!! 
So in the new ritual Mondays are now the nights when I go out of my way to try something new. A new recipe, a new ingredient or both. I'll share the recipes that work, I'll mention the recipes that didn't work (a-hem). A lot of my recipes are imprecise, use your tastebuds as you go along -I rarely measure when I cook, which is probably why I pretty much suck at baking!


Here's one that really worked - I'm calling it Squash with Garlic and Dill Sauce, but the same yogurt sauce could be drizzled over chicken, cold cucumbers, steak, scrambled eggs, etc.


Dry Mix:
1 tablespoon dill weed
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon course grind black pepper
pinch salt


The dry mix can be made ahead in the above ratio and stored in an air-tight container, however the above proportions mix nicely with a single 6oz cup of greek yogurt. (I personally like the plain from "Green Mountain Creamery")


I cut up three small yellow squash and one zucchini for this recipe steaming them in a non-stick wok. Transfer squash to bowl and toss with yogurt mixture. Easy-Peasy!

Nutrition:
Calories253
Fat3g
Saturated Fat--
Cholesterol11mg
Sodium302mg
Carbohydrates40g
Fiber8g
Sugars31g
Protein19g







Saturday, July 14, 2012

Welcome to the Hitchhikers Guide to Gluten Free.

Putting pixel to blog is something I've done for a while, I've blogged since 2006 on all things dogs, dog training, canine nutrition, books (and book reviews - surprisingly not dog related) and general commentary on whatever has come to mind (blog.magicagoldens.com). This blog is a bit different - focusing partially on personal growth - but also how to eat really well while going 'gluten free'.

After years of cranky constitution, stomach aches and IBS symptoms I decided enough was enough. I feed my dogs naturally - raw meat and bones combined with gently cooked vegetables and very little grains. My dogs have long ate mostly according to Chinese medicine (cool and cooling fruits, vegetables and proteins). With all of the thought and effort I put into my dogs' diets it was time I took better care of myself nutritionally. so in January 2012 I gave up gluten  and all commercially processed foods (though not my yogurt and cheese). I cleaned out my pantry from top to bottom and I started shopping like a European - frequent trips to the grocery store for a few items at a time and cooking something for dinner every night - from scratch.

This summer I've embraced the CSA concept - excitedly ordering my weekly provisions every Sunday night. Staples like lettuce and carrots - but some new-to-me vegetables like kohlrabi, kale, beet greens and swiss chard! Experimentation keeps the chore of cooking every night from becoming boring. For the most part I am to make one-pot meals, my go to cookware is a deep non-stick ceramic skillet - part traditional frying pan and part wok. It's helped me prepare gallons of chili to handfuls of squash and everything in between!

In the process I've learned a lot about myself, broken old habits and reinvented myself as an accidental health food nut! Within this blog I hope to share some tips of the trade, some recipes and the process I went through (and am going through) to be a healthier person. Seven months later I am primarily a vegetarian (out of convenience more than taste or ethics), running and/or walking between 40-60 miles a week and have dropped more weight than I care to admit. I'm feeling better than I have since college and the stomach aches and IBS symptoms are long gone!

I intend to share my journey within this blog, I invite comments and followers. Would love to hear your recipes and tips for this "Hitchhikers" guide to Gluten Free.