October 28, 2014

5 Gluten and Dairy Free Halloween Treats

Oh my heavens, it looks like I will be joining the ranks of dairy free individuals!  This is a fairly recent discovery, but it seems that dairy is causing focal seizures just like gluten does for me.  Back to the neurologist!  In the meantime, toss on your Halloween costume from last year and whip up one of these gluten and dairy free treats.  I may be investing in a vegan chocolate company soon...

5.  Mini Vegan Butterfinger Cheesecakes

 Peanut butter and chocolate.  That's all you need to know.

 4.  Vegan Pumpkin Truffle Pops

Food on a stick has never looked this good.

3.  Chocolate Ghost Cupcakes

Sweet and simple.  I think Martha would approve.

2.  Chewy Pumpkin Cookies

None of us are immune to the cult following that is pumpkin pie spice.

1.  Monster Halloween Candy Bark

Nothing says "Halloween" like homemade vegan googley eyes.

Happy Haunting!

October 23, 2014

Healthy Banana Pancakes

I love browsing sites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker to get ideas for new recipes to try, and recently I kept seeing one breakfast recipe that stood out.  Healthy Banana Pancakes.  Pancakes are easily in my top 5 favorite foods, so hearing of a healthy recipe for them, I was intrigued and very skeptical.  But more importantly, I was hungry, and since I already had all of the ingredients in my kitchen, I decided to try them.

The first time I made them, I was amazed by how much they really look like pancakes, though a little disappointed by the fact that they don't have the same buttery, flour-y goodness of pancakes.  Perhaps this is because they don't contain any butter or flour.  However.  They are actually really good!  I make them almost every morning now, and William has even requested them for a breakfast-themed dinner.  This is no small feat as he is not usually a breakfast-for-dinner kind of man. The last great thing about these (besides the fact that they are quick, cheap, healthy, and delicious!) is that there is really no recipe!  Doctor them up however you like.  Add spices like cinnamon, vanilla, or, my favorite, almond extract.  Top them with blueberries or chocolate chips.  Mix in nut butters, granola, or pumpkin.  Endless possibilities, my friends.

Healthy Banana Pancakes (Original Recipe)
-1/2 banana
-2 pinches baking powder
-small pinch salt
-1 egg

Mash all ingredients until completely smooth.  Cook and top as you would a pancake.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes ...I'm slightly embarrassed I did this, but that stopped once I tasted them.
-1/2 banana
-2 Tbsp canned pumpkin
-2 pinches baking powder
-1 pinch pumpkin pie spice
-small pinch salt
-1 egg
-maple syrup

Mash banana and pumpkin until it has the consistency of pudding.  

Then add the baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and mix well.  

Finally, add the egg and whisk until completely smooth. 

In a skillet, warm a small pat of Earth Balance or butter.  Mmmm...Great buttery taste...

Spoon the batter into the hot pan--mine usually makes 6 pancakes.  

Flip once bubbles form on the tops of the pancakes. 

 Remove to a plate and top with maple syrup.  Enjoy!

October 10, 2014

Asian Barbeque Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are a staple in my apartment, due to the fact that they are cheap, fast, and really tasty.  The first thing to know is that they do not have a recipe attached to them.  Absolutely no measuring was involved while making this meal, but that is one of the joys of wing making:  just throw everything together and stick it under your broiler--everyone in your life will be extremely happy you did

Combine chicken wings, minced garlic, grated ginger (not pictured--oops!), brown sugar, tamari, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and a little sesame oil in a large mixing bowl.

 I let mine marinate for several hours because I had the time, but if time is of the essence, move onto the next step.

Place wings on an aluminum lined broiler tray if you have a gas stove like mine or baking sheet if yours is electric.  Set aside the remaining marinade in a small sauce pot for making your wing sauce.  Broil the wings for 8 minutes, then flip over and broil for another 5 until they are nice and charred.

While the chicken wings are cooking, bring your marinade to a boil.  Next, see what the sauce needs.  I added water, tamari, brown sugar, lime zest, and a little cornstarch slurry to thicken it up.

When the wings are finished cooking, place them in a large mixing bowl and toss with some of the sauce.

Serve them with a fancy garnish of chopped scallions and a cold, gluten free beer, and you'll feel like you're in the middle of a sports bar, minus the hell of it all.  Eat up and keep 'em comin'!

October 8, 2014

Spicy Coconut Curry with Poached Salmon

William and I are notoriously terrible at coming up with ideas for dinner, but lately we have both been craving soup.  If someone just suggests "soup" to me, my first thoughts are of vegetable or chicken soup:  two American classics that I would really rather pass on.  Sure they're fine, and I know a lot of people would think I'm blasphemous for saying that, but when I want soup, like soul-satisfying, curled-up-in-a-blanket, serve-me-a-mixing-bowl-full-of-that soup, I want Asian soup every time.

 Usually I want the Vietnamese classic pho when I have a soup craving, but I don't personally have the patience to roast beef bones in my oven for 5 hours.  Thai curry, on the other hand, can be made in under 30 minutes and with minimal ingredients (yes, I'm basically Rachel Ray), and it is ridiculously satisfying.  Follow the recipe, but then taste away.  Keep out your lime, fish sauce, sugar, and cayenne, and play around with the curry until you love it--and trust me, you will!

Spicy Coconut Curry with Poached Salmon
-1 inch of peeled ginger
-4 cloves of garlic
-3 Thai chilies
-zest and juice of 1 lime
-1 stalk of lemongrass (softer inside part only)
-1 Tbsp canola oil
-2 cans coconut milk
-2 tsp fish sauce
-2 tsp sugar (palm sugar is best; I used turbinado; I've also made it with white--use what you have!)
-1/2 lb salmon, cut into large-ish bite sized pieces for re-heatability purposes
-cilantro and scallions for garnish
-rice for serving

Combine the ginger, garlic, chilies, lime zest and juice, lemongrass, and canola oil in a food processor and blend until a paste is formed.

Add this paste into a sauce pan and cook over medium high heat until very fragrant--this will make your kitchen smell absolutely insane!

Pour in the coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar, and let everything simmer together for a while.  This is also the time to adjust the seasoning to your liking.

When the curry is all balanced out, reduce the heat to medium low and add the salmon.  Allow this to simmer very gently until the salmon is just cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Serve over rice, topped with chopped cilantro and scallions.  Such a comforting meal!

-Don't use low fat coconut milk!  All of the spices and aromatics in this dish need a little fat to cling onto and make their way to your palate.  Plus you will be avoiding several sketchy ingredients like guar gum and carrageenan that are used in the low fat kind.
-Make sure you have extra lime, fish sauce,  sugar, and even a little cayenne on hand when balancing out the curry.  This is a great recipe for getting to know your palate, and as long as you just add a little at a time, you certainly aren't going to mess it up.
-Curry tastes better the next day, so make extra! 

September 25, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

If you are gluten free, then you are very familiar with the feeling of defending some of your favorite gluten free foods.  If you are down-to-earth and gluten free, you can also freely admit that you would not enjoy many of your favorite gluten free foods if you did not indeed have to.

These gluten free brownies are seriously the best brownies I've ever had!  I mean, considering that they are made out of tapioca starch and black bean paste and carob powder, and also because I literally cannot remember what a real brownie tastes like....They are awesome!!!

These peanut butter cookies on the other hand do not fall into this sad category.  Non-gluten free eaters devour them, not even realizing that they do not contain gluten.  They don't even contain dairy.  They are a gift from God. 

Peanut Butter Cookies
Ingredients you'll need:

-2 cups creamy peanut butter
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-1 cup white sugar
-2 large eggs
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Add all of the ingredients together

And mix well to combine
Shape dough into balls (about 1 tablespoon each) and place on ungreased baking sheets that are a bit scary looking and old like mine

Using tines of a fork, flatten each ball of dough, creating a crisscross pattern
Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until puffed and golden, 10-12 minutes.  Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Here is where things got really crazy.  I had already used half of the dough when I realized I had some dark chocolate chips in the pantry.  I added about a 1/2 cup to the remaining dough.  Then I continued the cookie making process, just skipping the crisscross part.

Oh my.  I didn't know these cookies could get any better, but I guess dark chocolate can do that to just about anything.  Here's to gluten free desserts and never suffering through a black bean brownie again.

September 4, 2014

Against the Grain: because there's more to life than what's on our plates


Reruns of 30 Rock are on constant replay on my Netflix.  I can't get enough of ol' Liz Lemon's inner dilemma:  try to have it all or  just stay at home and work on her night cheese.  It all hits me way too close for comfort.  I get it, Liz.




Ok, how am I just learning about The Head and The Heart?  Because I live under a rock in the middle of Atlanta.  Fortunately I made it to Nashville to hear them with my sister Caroline and 20,000 of our best friends at Live on the Green, and I'm very happy I made the trip.  They are delightful.





Well, it's  September and time to start transitioning into fall wear.  Light scarves are definitely my favorite way to do this.  They're perfect for layering over summery pieces and don't add additional warmth on these still steamy afternoons.  This faded blue number from Honest Alchemy came from William's wonderful mom Kent for my birthday (via an Anthropologie gift card).  She knows me too well!

September 1, 2014

Pakoras with Cold Cucumber Salad

One of my favorite Indian dishes is the pakora.  Essentially any deep fried veggie or protein, it is meant to be eaten as an afternoon snack with tea.  I would choose to eat delicious pakoras over finger sandwiches with my afternoon tea any day, but tonight I decided to make pakoras my main meal. 

William and I have tried to make pakoras a few times before, but they've always turned out doughy.  We wanted them to be light and crisp, and we finally found the perfect recipe for them.  Honestly, they couldn't be easier!  Here's what you do...

Chop whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator into small, bite-sized pieces.  Some great options are:
  • cauliflower
  • zucchini
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • onions
  • whatever!
Mix these in a bowl with garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, and salt.  Then toss with chickpea flour and water, alternating until the veggies just stick together when pressed into a ball.  Then fry them in oil at 350 degrees until crispy and brown.  This video taught me how to make them perfectly, and the woman is adorable.

I also made chicken and kale pakoras, and the kale were definitely my favorite!

To lighten things up (since we were eating plates full of fried food for dinner), I made a spicy cucumber salad.  This was a perfect, refreshing side-dish, and it's so fast to make.

Chop 2 cucumbers, a little cilantro, 1 chili pepper, and 2 scallions, and combine in a mixing bowl.  Then in a small dish dissolve 1/3 cup sugar and a sprinkle of salt in 1/2 cup white vinegar and pour over the cucumber mixture.  Refrigerate until cold, and you're done!  This is the perfect summer dish--so cold and spicy!  Enjoy!