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!

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
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
Saturated Fat0g

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.

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)
 and Tacos of course

Nutrition per serving:
Saturated Fat0g

Nutrition as shown (salad with 1/3 cup cheese and cucumber):
Saturated Fat0.1g

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!

Saturated Fat--

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 ( 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.