Monday, January 30, 2012

Quick Meals - No Time or Energy for Making a Full Meal..

The past few days have been rather strenuous for me to just go into the kitchen. So I thought about what to grab and quickly fix. Of course, all food in my home is gluten-free.

Last night, I made a  quick potato dish with julienne cut potatoes, roasted red peppers and baby bellas.  I sprinkled a bit of coriander, cumin, red pepper and salt-free Perfect Pinch spice over the potatoes.  I also sprayed a splash of garlic infused olive oil over the potatoes before cooking.

Quick Savory Potatoes
Savory Sauteed Potatoes with portabello and roasted red pepper - served


1 tsp olive oil (EVOO)
1 medium white potato. about 6 to 8 ounces
2 tbsp chopped roasted red peppers in oil
1/4 cup baby portabellas, sliced
1 splash garlic infused olive oil (I use a Misto sprayer)
1 pinch cumin
1 pinch coriander
1 pinch Red pepper flakes
1 pinch salt-free Savory Perfect Pinch spice


 Cut the potatoes into thin strips like a julienne cut.
 Place all ingredients into a non-stick frying pan.
 Sauté, stirring until potatoes begin to get translucent.

Savory Sauteed Potatoes with portabello and roasted red pepper - ready to serve

 Cook only until potatoes are soft, yet still has texture. (I heard on Dr. Oz, that the longer you cook potatoes, the higher the starch content)

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Servings: 1
Yield: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 376 calories, 9.8g total fat, 6.8g monounsaturated fat, 1.2g polyunsaturated fat, 1.3g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 67.2g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 59.1g net carbohydrates, 4.1g sugar, 29.9mg sodium, 2708.5mg potassium, 11.6g protein, 33.9mg calcium, 715.5IU vitamin a, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin b12, 83.4mg vitamin c, 1.4mg vitamin e, 5.4mcg vitamin k, 2.2mg iron, <1g lysine, 25.3mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, 2.6mg zinc, 0mg caffeine.

I avoid soy where possible, but the tuna I bought is packed in water and broth  which contains soy.  For a late breakfast(brunch) today, I made tuna salad.

Tuna Salad for Breakfast(Brunch)

Tuna Salad for Breakfast - close-up


1 6-oz can  Solid White Albacore Tuna, water packed, drained
1 pinch cumin
1 pinch coriander
1 pinch turmeric
1 tsp horseradish sauce
3 tbsp canola mayonnaise (used Hellmann's Canola)
1/3 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1 cup raw green peas


Scald the peas or cook in microwave just to get hot.

Spray the broccoli florets with olive oil, cover.  cover celery with cellophane. Microwave both together 45 seconds.

 Place broccoli, peas and celery in a larger bowl.

Tuna Salad for Breakfast - veggies
I prefer to just drop the frozen peas in boiling water and drain.  Today I microwaved 3 minutes - a little bit too much for my taste.

 Drain and press water from Tuna. Place Tuna in a smaller bowl. This drainer is for the 9-ounce can, so I had to press the tuna  with a spoon to remove the liquid.

Tuna Salad for Breakfast - tuna draining 

Tuna Salad for Breakfast - tuna after pressing water out

 Add spices to tuna and use fork to break it up. I find I use less seasonings, if spices are added to the main ingredient.

Tuna Salad for Breakfast - mix in  spices

Mix in the horseradish sauce and mayonnaise. The horseradish sauce kicks it up a bit!

Tuna Salad for Breakfast - mix in  horseradish and mayo

Mix the tuna into the vegetable bowl.

Tuna Salad for Breakfast - mixed

Serve as a side or as a meal. 

Tuna Salad for Breakfast - Served

The ingredients - sometimes I also add small (cooked) pasta shells

Tuna Salad for Breakfast - ingredients

Servings: 2 (or 1, if really hungry!)

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 237 calories, 9.1g total fat, 3.8g monounsaturated fat, 3.4g polyunsaturated fat, <1g saturated fat, 35.7mg cholesterol, 12.6g carbohydrates, 4.3g fiber, 8.3g net carbohydrates, 4.6g sugar, 0g starch, <1g fructose, <1g galactose, <1g glucose, 3.6g sucrose, <1g maltose, 520.3mg sodium, 476.3mg potassium, 24.6g protein, 49.3mg calcium, 995.3IU vitamin a, <1mg vitamin b6, 1mcg vitamin b12, 41.3mg vitamin c, <1mg vitamin e, 24.6mcg vitamin k, 2.3mg iron, 2.1g lysine, 57.9mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, 1.4mg zinc, 0mg caffeine.

© 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Whole Grains Sides - Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf

Another dish using staples in the pantry….

When I had to go gluten-free, I had no clue what to eat other than avoid wheat. I, as I am sure most in the same situation, started buying things that said ‘gluten-free’ without taking into account whether it was nutritious or just plain ‘junk food’.

As I was learning which grains to avoid, I became aware of other gluten-free grains that I had never heard of.  So of course, I went out and bought some of those grains!

I bought sorghum, oat groats, buckwheat groats, amaranth, millet, quinoa, kasha(roasted buckwheat), and hulled buckwheat (outer skin removed).

Amaranth is just too small to really make a meal, so it is best ground into flour. Millet is great added to whole grain bread.  Kasha has a short shelf-life, but is good overall.  Quinoa and buckwheat groats are very similar in cooked texture.  I like both.  The hulled buckwheat was not something I liked.  I finally just ground the sorghum into flour.

I have also tried a few other whole grains, like Wehani (whole brown rice; outer covering intact).  It reminds me of wild rice.

I have learned that when you want to try something new (and can’t find it at the local grocer), take a trip to Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s.  You will find things that may not be in your typical neighborhood grocery stores.

For instance, I bought 365 Rice & Lentil MedleyGerminated Brown Rice, Black Lentils and Black Rice (not japonica, all black).  Of those, I love the Germinated Brown Rice.  Was a bit tepid on the Rice & Lentil Medley because I do not like mushy.  Maybe I overcooked the mix.  I haven’t tried the Black Lentils yet, still looking for a good recipe.  I know I will like the Black Rice, because I love Black Japonica and Wehani.

I also bought some grain mixes at TJ’s, but had to pass on to one of my sisters, because, it was discovered that they had barley or some other member of the wheat family.  But I do love those salt-free chips and brazil nuts!

There was this small sweet potato lying on the counter, so I picked it up and decided I was going to cook it today. Well, I need to step back a bit on sweets, so that meant an meal.  I have added sweet potatoes to collards, quinoa, black beans and just shredded and sautéed.  This needed to be a little different!
Well, back to the pantry of whole grains. I use rice and quinoa quite a bit. I needed to use the Buckwheat groats before they started going rancid, so it got picked.

So the beginning of Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf came about with black beans, buckwheat groats and that small sweet potato!

Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf - served III

Buckwheat Groats Black Beans and Sweet Potato Pilaf


1 6-oz. sweet potato
1 16-oz. can black beans, rinsed drained

2 tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 tbsp dehydrated onion
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt-free spice mix (like Mrs. Dash)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 small garlic clove, cooked

1/2 cup whole grain buckwheat groats, uncooked
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon
Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf - raw groats quinoa & Better N Bouillion II A
Buckwheat groats and quinoa  compared


1. Peel and slice sweet potato very thin.  Optionally julienne the slices.

Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf - sliced sweet potatoes

2. Place the EVOO in an iron skillet and heat to hot. Add sweet potatoes and sauté for about a minute.  Reduce heat and stir a few times.

3. Rinse and drain the buckwheat groats.  Place in a pot with 1 cup boiling water.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.  When tender add Better Than Bouillon and mix.

Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf - cooked Buckwheat groats

4. In the meantime, rinse and drain the black beans.  Add to the skillet and stir.  Add all Seasonings and stir.

Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf - potatoes and beans cooking

5. Once the Groats are ready, stir into the skillet. 

Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf - mixed finishing cooking


Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf - Dished II

Buckwheat Groats Black Beans & Sweet Potato Pilaf - served II

Servings: 4
Yield: 4 sides

Nutrition (per serving): 225 calories, 8.1g total fat, 5.1g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, <1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 32g carbohydrates, 7.5g fiber, 24.5g net carbohydrates, 2.1g sugar, <1g starch, <1g fructose, <1g galactose, <1g glucose, <1g sucrose, 0g maltose, 342.2mg sodium, 394.1mg potassium, 8g protein, 31mg calcium, 1012.7IU vitamin a, <1mg vitamin b6, 0mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin c, 1mg vitamin e, 4.3mcg vitamin k, 2.9mg iron, <1g lysine, 2.2mcg
selenium, <1mg thiamin, 1.2mg zinc, 0mg caffeine.

If the cooking steps aren't coming together quite right, remove the skillet from the heat to prevent over-cooking the sweet potatoes.  It can be returned to the burner to heat to hot again, once everything is mixed.
The sweet potatoes can also be further cut into julienne strips.
Feel free to substitute Quinoa for the Buckwheat Groats.
Substitute 1 1/2 cup cooked black beans for the canned beans.

Buckwheat Groats used are the whole grain version without any processing.  They are sold by Bob’s Red Mill.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another Dish from the Fridge - Baked Vegetarian Pasta - Again

There is no comfort food better than pasta!  Almost any vegetable and some fruits can meld together to make a nice savory dish!

The fact that the cold wintry weather is upon us in Minnesota nudges more of us to think pasta.. Being the fact that spring will arrive, also makes me think “watch it!” 

There is nothing worse than not being able to fit into any of the spring or summer clothes.  Also, too much ‘junk in the trunk’ is not exactly pleasant to carry around.

There were vegetables in the fridge that I had not decided what to use them in.  If I see nice zucchini and eggplant, I will buy some.   Then I decide how to use them.  That is probably not a good way to buy groceries, but it works for me.  I always eat the veggies that I buy.

So often, fresh veggies aren’t the best during the winter months, so I get them when I can get good looking ones.  Of course, I can always drive over to Whole Foods about 8 miles away compared to less than a 3 mile radius for several grocers nearby.

My pasta dishes aren’t really recipes, just what is on hand and how I mix it up.

So this is the dish as prepared.
Baked Vegetarian Pasta - baked - Mozzarella cheese melted B

The ‘Sauce’
2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
3 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 large red peppers, thinly sliced, cut into half inch pieces
1/2 large green pepper, thinly sliced, cut into half inch pieces
Bottled Italian Dried herb mix
1 tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning mix
1/2 tsp cumin spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 can chopped tomatoes
Basically, Sauté the vegetables just until peppers are just beginning to lose crispness. Stir in the can of tomatoes and heat until hot. The ‘sauce’ may be refrigerated up to 3 days prior to making the pasta dish.
Pasta Sauce - ingredients b4 tomatoes B

Pasta Sauce - ingredients cooking II B

Pasta Sauce - cooked B

After the 'Sauce' was complete

Pasta Dish

4 ounces Multigrain Penne
1/2 large eggplant cooked and cut into cubes
1 cup cooked baby bellas
1 cup 2% cottage cheese
15 ounces v8 juice
1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded real Parmesan cheese
Final Topping
about 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese


Spray a large casserole dish with oil spray.  spread penne over bottom of dish.  pour half of v8 juice into dish.
Layer the dish in this order
half of pasta sauce
egg plant
cottage cheese
remainder of sauce
Parmesan cheese

Baked Vegetarian Pasta - Assembling B

Baked Vegetarian Pasta - Added a cup Cottage Cheese B

Baked Vegetarian Pasta - now adding parmesan cheese B

Baked Vegetarian Pasta -  parmesan cheese added B

Cover and bake at 350F for 1 hour.

Baked Vegetarian Pasta - covered ready for baking B

Remove cover, sprinkle Mozzarella cheese over top, return to oven for about 10 minutes to melt the cheese

Baked Vegetarian Pasta - baked - ready for Mozarella cheese B

Baked Vegetarian Pasta - baked - ready to go back in the oven to melt mozarella B

Baked Vegetarian Pasta - baked - parmesan cheese melted B

Remove, allow to sit about 10 minutes,

So who’s counting calories?   Not me…..


Baked Vegetarian Pasta - baked - served up B

Baked Vegetarian Pasta - baked - served up II B

Baked Vegetarian Pasta - baked - served up IV B

Basically add what you have, including spinach, artichoke hearts, sliced black olives.


Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 - No Resolutions…… Just Baking My Gluten-free Favorites

While some stew over what to change for the new year, I just embrace another year.  It’s sort of like..been there…done that…  DO instead of promising!

Late in the afternoon, I finally got around to baking a loaf of bread that had the flours mixed a week ago.  One of my favorite things to add to baked items is dried fruit.  So, a loaf of Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread was made.  Since it was the first time making it, the loaf is small and baked in a large loaf pan.  I also used a thermometer to test if the inside had reached 200 degrees F.

The Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread loaf turned out perfect.   It doubled in size, has a great texture and can be sliced thin without crumbling (with a bread or electric knife).  Even the taste is what I expected….. a slight hint of molasses and raisins.

Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread - out of oven - cooling on rack B

I had a couple slices with my morning omelet.  I also bought some Coconut Manna that I have been hearing a lot about.  Unfortunately, I had not softened and stirred it like I should have.  So it is now sitting in a container of warm water, so it can be remixed.  This is like the ‘natural’ butters that have oil on the top… that have to be stirred.

Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread - with omelet B

Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread - trying with Coconut Manna II B

Instead of the usual New Years ‘good luck food’, I made a few improvisations with one of the items.

Secret Ingredient Decadent Triple Chocolate Brownie - out of oven B

I did make one item on the ‘good luck’ food list: Black-eyed peas!

Black-eyed Peas and Okra B

Now the recipe for the bread!

Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread (Gluten-Free)


Wet Ingredients
1 1/3 cups water, 80°–90°F
3 Tbsp grape seed oil
2 Tbsp Raw Honey
1 tbsp molasses, full flavored

Add Ins6 Prunes, chopped finely
1/4 cup raisins, chopped

Dry Ingredients

3 tsp Yeast, Active Dry
Flour mix1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 tbsp quinoa flour
1 tbsp amaranth flour
1 tbsp arrowroot flour
3/8 cup millet flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup potato starch
3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup Expandex (modified tapioca starch)
4 1/2 tbsp dried milk powder (a very fine powdery brand like Sanalac)
1 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/3 tsp unflavored gelatin

1. all ingredients should be at room temperature
2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a stand mixer bowl, turn on low to mix.
3. Combine the Wet Ingredients in a large measuring cup, and stir to mix. Stir to mix in raw honey.  If not completely mixed, warm the liquids, but allow them to cool, so as not to kill the yeast.
4. Chop the dried fruits  into small pieces; add just a sprinkle of flour to assist. Set aside
5. With mixer running on low, gradually add Wet Ingredients to bowl.  Scrape down, return mixer to low.  Gradually add in chopped dried fruit, so to prevent it clumping.  After all fruit has been added, scrape down the bowl.  Turn the mixer on a 'beat' setting and allow the dough to 'beat' for at least one minute.
6. Meanwhile, grease your baking pan generously with shortening.

7. Scrape the finished dough into the prepared baking pan.  Smooth out with a damp spatula.  Smooth the top with a small amount of oil.  Cover with cellophane wrap and allow to rise to double in a warm place.  Do not rush dough.  Allow it to rise.

Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread - ready for oven B

Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread - rising just perfectly B

Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread - ready for the oven B

8. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake for  about 60 minutes or until center of loaf reaches 200 degrees F
9. Remove to cooling rack to cool.

10. Store any left-overs, unsliced in an airtight  bread bag on the counter for up to 2 days or in refrigerator for  up to 5 days.

Cinnamon Dried Fruit Bread - leftovers B

Servings: 16

Yield: 1 loaf  12 to 18  slices, depending on thickness

Nutrition (per slice): 166 calories, 3.3g total fat, &lt;1g monounsaturated fat, 1.9g polyunsaturated fat, &lt;1g linoleic acid, &lt;1g saturated fat, 1.4mg cholesterol, 30g carbohydrates, 2.2g fiber, 27.9g net carbohydrates, 7.9g sugar, 0mg stigmasterol, &lt;1g starch, 2.3g fructose, &lt;1g galactose, 2.5g glucose, &lt;1g sucrose, &lt;1g maltose, 207.9mg sodium, 140.4mg potassium, 3.4g protein, 31.8mg calcium, 65.2IU vitamin a, &lt;1mg vitamin b6, &lt;1mcg vitamin b12, &lt;1mg vitamin c, 10.6IU vitamin d, &lt;1mg vitamin e, 2.1mcg vitamin k, &lt;1mg iron, &lt;1g lysine, 1.3mcg selenium, &lt;1mg thiamin, &lt;1mg zinc, 0mg caffeine.