Showing posts with label gluten-free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gluten-free. Show all posts

Paleo Coconut Crepes with Seasonal Berries

Berry season has arrived in our neighborhood with a profusion of gorgeous strawberries and dark-as-night blackberries. I wait in anticipation every year for local berries to appear at our market stands. These are the real deal -- bright, sassy and full of flavor. Not those tasteless varieties that have traveled, say, thousands of miles and were most likely picked unripe.

Low in calories yet high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, berries are one of the best foods you can eat in terms of nutritional value. Bursting with phytochemicals and flavonoids, berries help prevent certain forms of cancer, protect eye health and slow the aging process. Many are low-glycemic to boot, adding another sweet benefit. And berries just happen to be a terrific complement for crepes.

{Gluten-free} Huckleberry New York Style Cheesecake

A very dear friend of mine recently celebrated her birthday—and a cheesecake was in order. Mind you, this couldn’t be one of those run-of-the-mill type cakes. It needed to be special. And dense. Not to mention absolutely decadent. You only live once, right? The final requirement was that the cake would have to be gluten-free—an easy task, really, with so many products available now that are void of this troublesome protein.

The huckleberries were hand-picked locally by the small hands of her children. A delightful activity all around. If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating a fresh huckleberry, it’s quite similar to a blueberry. Only smaller. With more flavor. If you have a problem locating huckleberries in your neck of the woods, blueberries are a fine substitute. The recipe here is straightforward, but allow for a languid afternoon of cooking to put it together.

The Hidden Dangers of Going Gluten-Free—Here's How to Avoid the Pitfalls

Gluten-free diets are sweeping the nation as more people become aware of the dangers of the problematic protein found in wheat, rye and barley. While their intentions may be for the best, many are falling into the trap of "junk gluten-free" -- foods high in sugar, starch, additives and genetically modified (GM) ingredients. Concerned health advocates believe that in the quest to eliminate gluten from the diet, individuals are, in actuality, exchanging one problematic food for another.

The role GMOs play in food intolerance

Gluten sensitivity is certainly on the rise, and GM food is firmly placed as one of the main aggravators of the condition. As reported in the article "Incidence of gluten sensitivity skyrocketing in the U.S. - Are GMOs to blame?":

"Jeffrey Smith's documentary Genetic roulette: The gamble of our lives reveals how GMOs destroy the digestive tract of mammals. Smith believes that the Bt toxin found in genetically modified food actually creates holes in the gut lining, leading to leaky gut syndrome. This may explain why gluten intolerance has become prevalent since GMOs were introduced into the food supply."

Late Summer Green Bean Salad with Feta, Cranberries, and Walnuts

As we enter the last hurrah of summer around here, a bumper crop of lovely green beans are making their showy appearance at our local farmers market. Sure there are the standard beans, glorious in their plump greenness, but there are also the more unusual varieties arriving onto the scene. The deep purple, almost midnight black numbers. Broad beans that are flecked with a red that mysteriously disappears once cooked. The fashionably thin French selections. All delightful and unique in their own way.

Mix any combination of these beauties with brain boosting walnuts along with the tang of feta and the sweetness of dried cranberries and you have the beginning of an enchanting late summer side salad. For our vegan friends, skip the feta. An inspired raw version can be created by shredding the uncooked beans, switching out lemon juice for the balsamic and Dijon, omitting the cheese and leaving the walnuts in all their raw glory. 

Maple Glazed Cabbage with Bacon {adaptable paleo, gluten-free, salicylate-free}

Cabbage. The word doesn’t exactly bring up images of high cuisine. Nor is it especially exciting. And yet, if you participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) like we do, cabbage is the order of the day—literally. It came into season a few weeks ago, and since then, we’ve had more cabbage than we know what to do with. I mean, really, there’s only so much coleslaw one can tolerate in a lifetime. I think we reached that limit after the first bowl. A new spin on an ordinary (somewhat tasteless) vegetable was needed. And this recipe fit the bill. 

Savor the Heart Healthy Benefits of Raw Almond-Cherry Cookies with Cacao and Hemp Seed {Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan}

Heart health can easily be cultivated by intelligent choices of specific nutrient dense foods. Certain nuts, fruits and seeds, as well as cacao, create a winning recipe for vibrant health.

Rich in the antioxidant vitamin E along with an abundance of flavonoids, monounsaturated fat, and fiber, almonds supply fantastic nutrition for maintaining a strong and healthy heart. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the consumption of almonds with their skins significantly lowered cholesterol levels. The synergy of vitamin E and flavonoids in the skin of almonds appears to be the key. Almonds also reduce C-reactive protein, which is an indicator of inflammation that damages the arteries. By soaking nuts overnight with a pinch of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, nutrients are preserved and digestibility is enhanced.

Thrive Short-Order | Scapes with Eggs, Bacon and Artisan Salt {Paleo and Gluten-free}

We received a tangle of scapes with our CSA box last week and I decided to throw together a quick lunch utilizing this gorgeous vegetable. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this relative of garlic, you are in for a treat. Keep an eye out at your Farmer’s Market for slender, corkscrew-shaped green stalks that are topped with a white ‘Russian dome.’ Possessing a more complex flavor than standard garlic, you can use the entire stalk and bulb in any culinary creation where you would like a hint of flavor, without it being overpowering. The white bulb caramelizes beautifully, just make sure you don’t over do it since it can burn and turn bitter just as easily.

I also came across several varieties of artisan salt at our local natural market the other day—both black and pink Hawaiian, along with an applewood smoked number. I decided to use a pinch of each to lend a bit of mystery and depth to my humble fried eggs. Why not? Feel free to grind the salt. I chose not to from sheer laziness, and it worked out just fine.

This recipe comes together in a snap—the perfect compliment for busy and fun-filled summer days where the last thing in the world you want to be doing is slaving over a hot stove.

Spicy Tomato & Sweet Potato Bisque {gluten-free and vegan}

I first tasted a version of this soup at Whole Foods in the San Francisco Bay Area. It quickly became a favorite, especially in the cool of winter. This bisque also does quite well as a refreshing chilled version during those hot summer months.

This is a surprisingly creamy, yet healthy, tomato soup which is simple to prepare. The sweet potatoes add a a bit of balance to the acidity of the tomatoes while also lending a wonderful smoothness. Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic rating than standard potatoes, an added bonus for those of you watching your carbohydrate intake.

Wheat madness- Is this popular grain provoking mental illness?

A mainstay in most Western diets, wheat is normally not associated with mental illness. Yet research has shown an intolerance to compounds within the grain can cause major neurological issues, including psychotic breakdowns. Far from a benign food, wheat has been linked with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and even diseases like multiple sclerosis along with Alzheimer's. In the spirit of physical and mental health, many are realizing wheat is not a food to be consumed lightly.

Dangerous triggers lurking

One of the main health-harming culprits is found with wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), a category of lectins. Regardless if the wheat is soaked, sprouted or cooked, these compounds remain intact. Tiny and hard to digest, lectins can accumulate within the body and wreak havoc on physical and mental well-being. WGA is neurotoxic, crossing the blood brain barrier and attaching to the myelin sheath, consequentially inhibiting nerve growth - a serious consideration for those suffering from degenerative neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's. Lectins also destroy the villi in the intestinal tract, creating an inflamed, leaky gut. Since there is a strong connection between the gut and brain via the vagus nerve, intestinal ill-health strongly affects the mind, mood and behavior. The gut is also considered a 'second brain', pumping out its own source of feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin. If normal functioning of the intestinal tract is hindered, production of serotonin dips along with stable mental states.

Thrive Short Order | Caramelized Italian Plums with Mascarpone and Almond {Gluten-Free}

We have some beautiful Italian plums in season at the moment - firm, dark and mysterious. With a slightly tart-sweet flavor, they are absolutely perfect for caramelizing and pair wonderfully with the richness of mascarpone. And cardamom makes an appearance here as well. Used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 5,000 years, modern science is now verifying the healthy usefulness of the spice. More than just a flavorful favorite, cardamom also has many surprising benefits. It's a potent antidepressant, aphrodisiac and relaxant. But these are just a few of the reasons to use the spice. Find out more here.

Evelyn's Raspberry-Apricot Tartlets

This recipe is inspired by Evelyn, our vivacious 16-month-old. She loves raspberries. I mean, this little girl can power-down an entire pint of berries if I let her. For Evelyn, raspberries are only second to avocados. And even then, it is a close match.

We are lucky enough to live in an area that grows seasonal, organic, real raspberries. Not those overly-perfect, yet totally tasteless kind. Ours are the real deal. If you can track down locally grown raspberries, it is well worth the effort.

The slight tanginess of the berries are paired with the sunny sweetness of apricots. And grounded with the richness of almonds. If you have not had a truly raw, unpasteurized almond lately, you are in for a treat. Tread carefully here. Many so-called 'raw' almonds have actually been flash pasteurized due to regulations in some states. Look specifically for unpasteurized on the label. There is no comparison in quality or taste. Think fresh marzipan with authentic almond character.

Autumn Yam, Collard, and Tofu Sauté with Ginger-Cilantro Pesto

The weather has turned crisp in this neck of the woods, hinting autumn is on its way. A little shocking, actually, as just last week the temperatures hit close to 100ºF. Instead of cooking up a dish of simple collards with a bit of olive oil as I had intended, the sweet potatoes, tofu, and cilantro in the refrigerator caught my eye. Before I knew it, I was involved in a full-fledged cooking session. This recipe has overtones of Thai flavor, but with a twist of Western sensibility. 

The highlight here is the ginger-cilantro pesto. Ginger for a bit of warming kick and cilantro for its healthful qualities. Cilantro is abundant in antioxidants, a wonderful heavy metal detoxifier, and a plentiful source of cleansing chlorophyl. Also, super-nutritious sunflower seeds are used instead of the traditional pine nuts. Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamins E, B1, B5, and folate as well as minerals such as copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and zinc. These mighty seeds are also a fantastic source of dietary fiber, linoleic acid, and cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.

The orange brightness of the yams against the more subdued green collards is embellished nicely with the tofu. Personally, I like the colors of cooking to accent one another so the pesto is tossed lightly with the greens; the yams and tofu are used as a crowning touch. 

Ginger-Cilantro Pesto
1  clove garlic, crushed
2  tablespoons chopped ginger
1  teaspoon sea salt 
1/4  cup raw sunflower seeds
1  cups chopped cilantro, loosely packed
1/4  cup coconut oil, melted

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic, ginger, salt and sunflower seeds six times. Add cilantro and pulse about nine times until mixture forms a coarse paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with coconut oil. 

Yam, Collard, and Tofu Sauté
2  medium yams, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
2  tablespoons coconut oil
1/2  cup water
1  14-oz package of extra-firm tofu, sliced into 1-inch cubes
4   tablespoons lime juice
1  teaspoon sea salt
1  tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6  collard leaves, sliced in 1-inch wide ribbons
3  green onions, thin slice
1/4  cup coconut milk
1  tablespoon red pepper flakes

In a large covered skillet over medium heat, sauté yams with water and 1 tablespoon coconut oil for 8 minutes or until just tender. Remove from heat and transfer to a small mixing bowl. Next, sauté tofu over medium heat with remaining coconut oil for 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Add to yams and toss lightly with lime juice and salt. Sauté collards with olive oil and green onions for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro pesto and coconut milk. Remove from heat and place collards on serving plate. Top with yams, tofu, and red pepper flakes. Bon appétit.

Shaved Beet and Pecorino Salad with Apricots

I wanted to publish this recipe during spring as this is the best time to cleanse the liver and beets are a fantastic vegetable for this purpose. However, life had gotten the better of me and I am just now able to share this post. And really, the mighty liver can always use support in the form of good nutrition. If you choose a super-healthy vegan version, shaved fennel or jicama would be a nice substitute for the pecorino.

The focus here is color, but not hastily mixed. Care and attention is needed to lightly grace the marinated beets with the apricots, pecorino and green onions so the colors remain pure for each element. Also, as with most things in life, fresh is best so do not allow this salad to sit long. Enjoy!

4 medium red beets, peeled
1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 green onions, 1/4 inch diagonal slice
1oz pecorino cheese, shaved
3 semi-firm apricots, quartered wedges

Using a wide vegetable peeler or a mandolin, shave beets into paper thin slices and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add beets and toss. Transfer seasoned beets to serving plate and arrange apricots across the top.

Lightly sprinkle the beets and apricots with shaved Pecorino and sliced green onions.

Generously serves two.

Millet Polenta with Spinach & Aged Gouda

Recently, I was craving something savory and satisfying yet healthy. I love polenta but so many people are sensitive to corn that I wanted to find a good substitute that was gluten free. This recipe is the answer.

Millet, although considered by many a humble grain, is actually a seed and a nutritional champion. It shares the spotlight with buckwheat & quinoa as being one of the few alkaline forming "grains". Millet does not feed candida, is a good source of fiber, and is a fantastic source of magnesium which helps with migraine headaches, constipation and supports heart health.

For a vegan version of this recipe, omit the gouda and mix in two tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes after the millet is finished cooking. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups millet*
3 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup neutral flavor coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup shredded aged gouda

Cook millet with salt, oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in 3 cups water over medium-low heat for approximately 55 minutes, covered, until the consistency of a soft porridge. Stir often.

Remove from heat. Stir in fresh spinach and shredded gouda. Spread millet mixture into a 9-inch ceramic quiche pan and cool completely. Cut into 8 wedges and serve.

*Make sure to soak millet for 8-10 hours and rinse before cooking to remove the phytic acid which can make millet hard to digest and can bind to minerals in the system.

Italian Spring Tabbouleh

As spring is beginning to peek through the final days of our brisk Montana winter, fantasies of light, cleansing salads come into the forefront. Even though it is a little early season-wise for tomatoes and cucumbers, one can find a good, local hydroponic heirloom tomato in this neck of the woods with a bit of persistence. And fresh basil to boot.

For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa, think Peruvian superfood. An excellent source of vegetarian protein, this grain is difficult to match. Quinoa makes a fantastic substitute for couscous or cracked wheat, which is shown in the recipe below. Enjoy!

3 cups cooked quinoa*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 heirloom tomatoes, medium chop
1 English cucumber, medium chop

Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, basil, and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Add cooked quinoa, tomatoes, and cucumber. Toss gently and serve.

*Rinse quinoa before cooking to remove any bitter oils present.