Posts filed under holiday

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

It’s been 3 years that I’ve been 100% gluten-free. I’ve lost that sense of ‘missing out’ when it comes to birthday cake, 3am pizza, and bread baskets. If anything, I am glad I can’t partake because those aren’t exactly high vibe healthy foods. One exception to being glad would be when you’re drinking on a belly full of salad because everything else was breaded and in turn get wayyy more drunk than expected….yeah, I think every GF person learns that lesson at one point or another.
*GF Tip: pack gf crackers or even a slice of gf bread in your purse when you’re not sure what’s on the menu at a function {with an open bar}. Don’t be proud-it will SAVE you.

All that being said, I AM an Irish lass who has grown up on soda bread and refused to be denied my cultural carbs on the very day I’m most entitled to them. So after consulting with the Irish soda bread master, my Grandmother, and tweaking the recipe a few times, I finally was able to replicate the taste and texture to perfection. I hope you enjoy this delicious Irish classic with a noice cupa tea laughing with the ones you love. And don’t be alarmed if you polish off the loaf in one sitting- it’s expected.

Irish Soda Bread (Gluten & Sugar-FREE)

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (TJ’s and Pamela’s brands work well)
1 tsp. xanthum gum (KEY ingredient to mimic gluten)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 Tbsp. butter, softened (aka 1/2 stick)
1/2 cup raisins
2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a pan. I used a cast-iron skillet but you could also use a spring-form or a straight up cookie sheet.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl and add softened butter. I used 2 knives to “cut” it in until I eventually dove in with my hands to incorporate throughout. When done, the mix will look like course cornmeal.

Then beat 1 egg and add it to the dry ingredients along with the buttermilk. Mix thoroughly then knead lightly with flour-dusted hands.

Form dough into a ball and place on pan. Shape into a dome and strike a bold cross across the top with a knife. Then use the other egg’s white to brush a thin layer over dough to give it that golden glow.

Bake for 40-50 minutes –set your timer to 40 minutes and don’t open the oven until it goes off, then test center with a knife or cake tester. If completely dry, remove. If you think it could use more time, check at 5 min intervals to prevent drying out. Let it cool a bit before slicing with a bread knife. Because it’s a dry bread, a bread knife is necessary… as well as copious amounts of Irish butter, jam, and tea. My mouth is watering.

Enjoy!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
4 cups broth (low-sodium veg or chx)
2 cups coconut milk (or half & half)
¼ pure maple syrup (grade B is best!)
2 Tbsp. red curry paste
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
Fresh Rosemary (optional for flavor/garnish)

Roasted Chickpeas:
1 can of garbanzo beans aka chickpeas
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet/pan with parchment paper. Half the squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place halves flat side down on sheet. Bake for 1 hour and allow to fully cool.

While the squash is cooling, up the oven temp to 400 degrees. Then drain, rinse, and dry chickpeas. Toss them in a bowl with olive oil and seasoning to evenly coat. Use the same pan with a new sheet parchment paper and lay the chickpeas out in a single spaced-out layer. Bake for 20 min or until golden brown.

Once the squash has cooled, scoop out all pulp and put into a food processor, blender, or mash by hand to get a smooth puree. Place squash puree and all other ingredients into a large soup pot and set heat to medium (If you have an immersion blender, place all ingredients in the pot and blend away!). Mix all ingredients thoroughly and cook uncovered to desired temperature. Optional: I placed a big sprig of rosemary in the pot as it cooked to infuse some flavor.

Pour into a bowl and garnish with few chickpeas. Voila, Fall in a bowl!
Enjoy!

MYOG (make your own granola!)

Granola is one of those things that’s great to have on hand butttt is a little pricey and often packed with sugar. You cook at home to control the ingredients, so why not add your favorite breakfast treat into that category?! Save some bucks, get wild with the flavors, and gather your nutritional ingredients- because you are about to make this over and over again. Below is a basic vanilla almond recipe that could easily be supped-up or ingredient-swapped into anything you can imagine. For Christmas I like to do a gingerbread version where I add chopped candied ginger and loads of spices- it’s a real hit.

As always, the quality of your finished product will depend on the quality of ingredients you use. Buy organic when possible and be weary of extra sweetener added to dried fruits, etc.

Vanilla Almond Granola

Ingredients:
5 cups rolled oats
2 cups brown rice crisp cereal (Erwhorn is a good brand)
1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chia seeds and/or hemp hearts
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup agave or maple syrup
1 tsp. sea salt

Directions: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil and agave- especially if the coconut oil is solid. Place the oats in a large bowl and drizzle over the agave and coco oil mixture while stirring to coat the oats. Then throw in your cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and stir that up.

Line 1 or 2 baking pans with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Spread granola out in a thin (1/2 inch) layer and sprinkle on the chia/hemp to stick on the wet oats. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and lightly turn over granola and move the outer portions into the middle and vice versa for even baking. Bake 8-10 minutes more until all is a golden brown. If not dried out enough, reduce oven temperature to 250 and bake for a final 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven when mostly dry- it will crisp up more as it cools down so don’t fret if its not completely crisp right out of then oven.

Let cool completely. Toss in brown rice crisps, raisins, and almonds to cooled granola and store in air tight containers or jars. Will keep 1-2 weeks.

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under breakfast, holiday, gluten-free, easy, vegan, vegetarian.

How Kale Made the In-Crowd at Thanksgiving

A huge meal without any leafy greens, Thanksgiving or not, just feels off to me. Because I already wanted to create my dish or claim to fame for the annual feast, I volunteered to make “creamed kale”…whatever that meant. I knew I could sell the group with anything including ‘cream’ and thought it’d be easy to figure out the rest. However, when my sister requested that it be dairy-free, my easy-peasy (aka cheesy) plans went out the window. So to make it “kreamy” (sans dairy) I decided to use tahini for the texture and topped it with gluten-free breadcrumbs to give it that French’s Fried Onion effect.

Faking-it-til-I-made-it, a huge bunch of kale, tahini, and GF bread turned out to be a winning combo that I was proud to place next to the veteran turnips, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and the alike. And because it was such a hit, I had to share so you too, could sneak kale onto a traditional Thanksgiving table.

Kreamed Kale

Ingredients:
1 very large bunch of kale
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 pieces of bread (gluten-free or regular)
Optional: 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast to top with bread crumbs

Directions:
Wash, de-stem, and rip kale into small pieces. Steam kale in a large pot until tender and just cooked through (not soggy). Toast sesame seeds dry in a frying pan over medium heat constantly tossing to prevent burning. Place aside. Sauté garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat then add to a bowl with the tahini, olive oil, balsamic, salt, and sesame seeds. Mix thoroughly to make your sauce!
In a large 13 x 9ish size baking pan, mix the kale with the sauce to coat all leaves. Then pat down kale with a fork to make it more cassarole-esque. Toast your 2 pieces of bread and chop finely. Sprinkle over kale with nutritional yeast and pop into a 350-degree oven for 20 min. Finish off under the broiler if your bread crumbs didn’t crisp up enough. Now rest easy my health-seeking friend; a leafy green is next to your turkey and the traditional crew is showing it mad love.

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under vegetarian, vegan, side dish, holiday, Thanksgiving.