Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spinach Pomegranite Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Pomegranites grow really well here, but surprisingly, I don't know many people who have them in their yards.  I gave my parents one two years ago and it is bearing quite a bit of fruit this year!  There is a gentleman friend of theirs who has many in his orchard and invites us to come help harvest them then take some home.  The only down side to this high antioxidant treat?  It stains--big time!  (Ask me how I know.)
We juice them and freeze the juice to use year round.  Yum!

Spinach Pomegranite Salad

6 c. baby spinach
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/2 c. pomegranite berries

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/3 raw honey
1/3 raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. red onion
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2/3 c. cold pressed olive oil
1 tbsp. poppy seeds

Combine salad ingredients.
In a blender, blend all but the olive oil and poppy seeds until smooth.  Turn blender to low and drizzle in olive oil.  Add poppy seeds.  Store left overs in the fridge.

Garlicky Green Beans

Recall a few days ago, when I mentioned that Fall had arrived and we were bringing out the fall favorites like cornbread?  Well, it's gone--reverted back to summer--which for us, had just ended three weeks ago!  But look at the forecast (or just step outside):  94 degrees F.  Indian summer ought to come in December for us.  Yes, I am running my AC.  And what's really annoying?  I just barely (as in last week!) put away the summer clothes...oh well, this recipe is actually a good summer treat as well.

Garlicky Green Beans

3 tbsp. cold pressed olive oil
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground pepper

In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add green beans.  stirring often, saute beans for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook one minute more.  Add a dash of water to the pan (a couple tbsp.) and cover.  Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper and serve.

Country Style Stuffing

This stuffing really needs a snappy name. I just couldn't title it plain ol' "stuffing", ya know? Growing up, I hated stuffing. Then one year, my mother in law made stuffing FROM SCRATCH and it was so good! Seriously, people don't know what they're missing when they use the boxed versions--and don't get me started on all the additives in that lil' ol' box!

{Apple Pecan Cornbread STUFFING}

1 day old pan of golden skillet cornbread, cubed *
6 tbsp. cold pressed olive oil
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
1 1/2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. gf poultry seasoning (I like Simply Organic's)
2 c. GF chicken broth (SO easy to make and tastes SO much better! If you do use canned, be sure it's GF!!!)
1 c. water
1 tsp sea salt

Place bread cubes and pecans in a large bowl. Set aside. In a large pan, heat olive oil and add celery and onion. Cook until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Add apples, poultry seasoning and parsley and cook a few minutes more. Pour in broth, water, and salt. On medium heat, let contents heat to a bare boil. Pour over bread cubes and stir until well mixed. Bake in a lightly greased 9x13" baking dish (covered with foil) at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

* I have also used my Golden Skillet Cornbread for half the bread and then 5 c. of day old gf/cf/ egg free biscuits. You could probably sub in any bread for this recipe, but I haven't tried anything but what I've listed. If anyone needs the biscuit recipe, I can post that, though my husband is still perfecting it--biscuits are his baby!

Homemade Almond Milk

All these years, and I never knew just how simple and easy it is to make almond milk! I've never really liked the ready-made versions simply because they seemed so processed, so with the exception of coconut milk, I've only used them on rare occasions. One day awhile back, a friend of mine mentioned that she makes hers. I thought that was cool, but didn't feel like adding another thing I have to do to my list. Fast forward to a few months ago...I finally decided to give it a try. I looked up a recipe online (thank you, Google) to get the general idea and haven't looked back. There are definately things I prefer coconut milk for, but almond milk is great more a lot of things too.
There are tons of very detailed explanations on the web, but I'm just going to give the general idea--most of my cooking is like this, which is why some of my recipes may seem vague--I'm still learning how measure, lol!

SO: Almond Milk

1 c. almonds soaked overnight
2-3 qts water
dash of sea salt (1/4 tsp.)
tad bit of honey (okay, tsbp.)

Blend almonds with 1 1/2 qts water on high for 1 minute. Strain through cheesecloth. Add almond grounds. Repeat. If your blender doesn't hold that much liquid, take it down to a qt. of water and go from there. My husband likes his milk on the thinner side. If you prefer a thicker milk, use less water. Easy peasy. Refrigerate. Drink up before 4 days have gone by...way easy there too!

Thanksgiving last year...

Last year's Thanksgiving feast was held at my husband's parents' home. I decided that instead of worrying about possible x-con issues, I would bring our entire meal, turkey included. Most "normal" turkeys are injected with broth and are therefore suspect--warning, they may contain gluten! Also, many baste their turkeys with flour and spices, or even a store bought rub, all of which would make the turkey inedible for some of us.
So I made the turkey. (But I cheated--I had my brother in law pit roast it for us.)
I was trying to mimic their menu so no one would feel deprived. (My daughter is noticing more and more how she is different, and sometimes that can be hard for a five year old to understand.) We celebrate our differences in a lot of ways, but try to be inclusive of as much as we feel comfortable with.
We had mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, garlicky green beans, cranberry sauce, cornbread stuffing, and salad. Along with pumpkin and coconut cream pies. I had a plan and spaced it over 3 or 4 days, and it really ended up not being difficult at all--in fact I had a lot of fun!

A friend asked to see some of the recipes, so I'm trying to get all these in here. A few may need some work...we'll see.

I'll start out with cranberry sauce 'cuz it's easiest.;-)


12 oz cranberries
1 c. water
1 c. turbinado sugar*

In a large saucepan, dissolve sugar in water on medium heat. Bring to a low boil. Add cranberries and turn down heat to low. Stir constantly so as not to burn. The sauce is ready when the cranberries have "popped" and is beginning to thicken, about 10 minutes. Pour into a heat safe bowl and let cool. Refrigerate to chill completely.

*I have tried honey instead of a sugar, and didn't feel like the flavors melded very well. I think agave would work better. The process took longer, as there is more liquid, and it didn't set up quite as much, but it is doable for those who don't want any sugar. Again, I think the less bold taste of agave would blend better...

Autumnal Recipes {Apple Crumble} and Thanksgiving

We have decided to stay home for Thanksgiving this year. I was a bit sad at first, but am getting more and more excited about it being just us. I envision a slow paced day and a conclusion to a month's long journey on gratitude along with time spent learning about the Pilgrims. Another perk? I won't have to have one moment's anxiety about cross contamination! Hooray!

So, here's the first recipe of Autumn for our family: We have a local orchard that we go to yearly for their yummy apples. There's just nothing like taking the family apple picking on The Mountain. And then coming home and making an apple crumble every night...or as often as possible, right?  This is sort of a hybrid--a cross between a crisp and a cobbler.



5 large apples, sliced and cored (we like Rome and Fugi)
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/3 c. agave nectar or honey, depending on how sweet you like it
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1 c. almond flour*
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 c. agave nectar
1/3 c. unrefined coconut oil
1 tsp. cinnamon, or apple pie spices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the filling ingredients. Pour into a 9x13" glass baking dish. In a medium sized bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Add the agave and oil and mix well. (You can use your hands!) Crumble or spread the topping across the apples. Cover with foil for the first 25 minutes or so.  Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let rest ten minutes before serving.

If you have a high-powered blender such as a vita mix, you can easily make your own almond flour.  I just toss in a cup of nuts and blend on high for a few seconds.  Caution!  Don't over blend or you'll make almond butter and have to make Elana's brownies instead (which wouldn't be the end of the world, eh?).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Golden Skillet Cornbread

With autumn coming on (finally!) I am turning to old cold weather favorites. One of these is my cast iron skillet cornbread. This is our go-to cornbread recipe. Gluten, dairy, and egg free and easy-peasy. We like it with chili beans.

2 c brown rice flour
1 1/2 c. cornmeal
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp Ener G egg replacer (or 2 eggs)
1 1/3 c almond or other safe milk
1/2 c. honey (can take down to 1/3 c. but may need to add a bit more liquid)
8 tbsp coconut oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat a 12" cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Add the 8 tbsp of coconut oil to skillet, turn off burner and set aside. Mix dry ingredients (including egg replacer). Add milk and honey and mix. Carefully rotate oil around to coat the sides of the cast iron. Pour melted coconut oil from the skillet into the bowl and stir well. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve in slices. This recipe can be halved and baked in a 6 or 8" cast iron as well.

I have also used millet flour in place of the cornmeal. This is a good alternative for those who are corn free.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Confetti Rice Salad

This is my version of a recipe my husband's mother made for a party. Originally, it was found in a Taste of Home cookbook. My kids all like this so I'll often make it for lunch. Last time, I roasted my own red sweet peppers from the garden--so, so good!

4 cups cooked rice (I have used both basmati brown or white)
2 cups cooked black beans
3/4-1 cup roasted red peppers
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 green onions, diced (including greens)
1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil
4-6 TBSP raw apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients. Chill 2 hrs. Serve in a large glass bowl (because it's pretty). Serves 4-6 people depending whether it's the main course or a side.