Posts tagged ‘wheat free’

April 26, 2013

Polenta with Portabellas and Asparagus and a salad

I love a meal filled with complex flavors and textures. But sometimes a simple meal just hits the spot. Last night I made Jim and I a simple dish of polenta with vegetables. We both love polenta, and granted, usually when we eat it, Jim’s step dad makes it and fills it with mozzarella and covers it in marinara and it’s to die for! But it’s not the healthiest way to eat it, especially since we’re not really doing cheese anymore.

This simple recipe uses fresh ingredients and is still packed with flavor. It may have been enhanced by adding some marinara, and I’ll probably give that a try next time.

asparagus polenta2

Polenta with Portabellas and Asparagus

1 cup polenta

1 portabella mushroom cap, sliced

1 bunch of asparagus, cut into short spears

1 tbsp oil (I used truffle oil, but you could use olive or coconut or whatever you wish)

1-2 tbsps Bragg’s liquid aminos

Salt, pepper, garlic, to taste

Cook polenta according to directions on the package. It takes about 30 minutes and constant attention, so plan accordingly. Meanwhile, saute the vegetables in the oil. Sprinkle with spices and liquid aminos. Heap veggies over polenta and serve with a small salad.

Simple, right? You can easily add a protein or some Parmesan cheese to the top of this or it’s pretty delicious just the way it is.

asparagus polenta3

And I promised a salad.

This salad is simple, let delicious and accompanied the polenta nicely. It’s light and perfect for summer.

Steph’s Spinach Salad

1 large handful of spinach

8-10 strawberries, sliced

1 large handful of walnuts, chopped

1 large avocado, cut into small cubes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp orange muscat champagne vinegar (From Trader Joes…you can use any vinegar, though. This one is just my fave!)

salt & pepper, to taste

Toss spinach with strawberries, walnuts and avocado. In a glass measuring cup whisk olive oil, champagne vinegar, salt and pepper. Dress salad.

spinach salad1

It was really a delicious and refreshing dinner. It kind of made me excited for summer, which I never am. Summer heat and I don’t get along at all. But this year I’m actually a little excited about it.

I love summer produce. We have the boat this year, and we plan on taking it out a lot. We also plan on taking Katie to the lake to see what those webbed paws of hers can do!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Friday!

P.S. I lied. I actually made this for dinner two nights ago. Eeeeeep! Don’t hate me.
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February 27, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

gluten free cupcakes

Is there anything that will cheer you up better than a cupcake? There are few things that can put a smile on my face quicker than a delicious mountain of frosting perched atop a perfectly individually sized hunk of cake.

That being said, when I found out a good friend of ours had been “couched” with a ski injury, I knew just the ticket to make him feel at least a little better about the whole ordeal.

CUPCAKES!!!

It’s fortunate for him that I suffered a wheat allergy and had plenty of random, non-wheat flours hanging around the house. And it’s fortunate for me that I got to use some of them because I’m certain they don’t last forever!

Since I’m not a full-time non-wheat-eater, I haven’t spent great amounts of time practicing and testing different combinations. I mostly stick to good ol’ Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour when I am baking because I know the combination works the way I need it to. Well, of course I wouldn’t have anymore of THAT in my box! So I had to improvise. And I have to say, I’m pretty dern proud of how they came out.

gluten free cupcakes

Gluten Free (and also, as luck would have it, vegan) Chocolate Cupcakes with (not vegan) Peanut Butter Frosting

2 cups Mr. and Meatless’ all purpose gluten free flour (see recipe below)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup coconut sugar (feel free to go ahead and use regular old white sugar if you wish. I use this because my mom is allergic to the white stuff and she usually likes to taste test)

sprinkling of salt

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 cup almond milk

Yep, that’s it. Now throw it all in your mixer and let ‘er rip! Scoop into a lined muffin pan and sort of flatten it out in there (use all the batter among the 12 spots). I also opened the oven and patted them into the correct shape just as they started getting firm on top, just to make sure they didn’t come out all hoaky. The batter is THICK, and it seems wrong, but it’ll be okay. Have a lil faith. Anyway, bake for about 20 minutes…the tops will be firm and you can poke them with a toothpick and the pick will come out not soupy. Let them cool all the way before frosting.

Mr. and Meatless’ all purpose gluten free flour

2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup sweet sorghum flour

1 cup coconut flour

1 cup potato starch

Whisk all the flours and starch together. Use what you need, then store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for ultimate freshness.

Peanut Butter Frosting

I have a hard time with frosting recipes. I keep adding stuff until it tastes right, but this is more or less the gist of it.

1 stick of butter, softened.

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup  milk of your choice

5 cups powdered sugar

Combine the butter and peanut butter in a largish bowl. Next add the powdered sugar and milk and stir until just mixed. It IS possible to overmix and then your butter gets all melty and your frosting is too soft and it’s all a big mess. This is also why I use a spoon and not my mixer. If you’ve mixed a reasonable amount and your frosting is too thick, add a little bit more milk…like a splash at a time. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.

gluten free cupcakes

Wasn’t that amazingly easy? I’ve always been intimidated by gluten free baking. But these, my friends, were both incredibly easy to make and completely delish. Enjoy!

gluten free cupcakes

January 21, 2013

Granola Balls!

I think we’ve got it all wrong. We should be working two days a week and have five days to play and having fun and work on our projects and bake and whatever else we fancy. I know that’s more or less a ridiculous idea, but hey, a girl can dream, right?

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about work lately, about how this job was always supposed to be temporary, something to get me to the next phase of my professional life, which, in seven and a half years since I graduated from college, just hasn’t happened. After contemplating it a little (and freaking out a lot), I came to the conclusion that there are three reasons why I stay at this job, which doesn’t satisfy me in the least: #1. The money. Isn’t it always a little bit about money when you dislike your job? #2. I DO enjoy working with my brother…most of the time…when he’s not throwing office equipment. and #3, the biggest of them all: I don’t know what else to do.

Sure, I enjoy certain things that have the potential to become money-making endeavors: photography, writing, baking. But none of them are go-out-and-apply-for-the-job type careers. They take time to cultivate into something that can translate into our mortgage payment. And I’ve never been patient. And honestly, I have a hard time taking an idea and converting it into action. I get the brilliant beginnings and then they fizzle out, seeming to hit a mental brick wall in my brain.

And now I’ve started ranting about it and you probably think I have some profound conclusion to present to you now. I’ve figured it out! Right? But alas, I haven’t. All I got for you is a pretty cool recipe for what I’m calling “granola balls.” Jim helped me come up with the name. They’re kind of my take on like protein or energy balls, but Jim likes to eat granola bars for breakfast, so I told him they’re granola balls so the transition would be easier for him.

granola balls1

Granola Balls!

(yes, they do have an ! at the end)

makes approximately 16 balls…if you don’t eat about a ball’s worth while you’re mixing

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

2 tbps honey

3 tbsp protein powder

handful of chocolate chips

handful of shredded coconut

Mix and mash and smush it all together. Roll into balls. Enjoy!

As for that other stuff we talked about today, I’ll keep you posted. I think I’m beyond the freaking out phase and into the lets-get-something-done phase. It’s hard for me. But I can do it. Just keep telling myself that, right? I can do it!

 

Any photographers, writers or bakery owners out there have any advise for me on how to run a successful business in those fields?

December 31, 2012

Carrot and fennel soup

As I was going through my refrigerator last week searching for things to make for dinner, I came upon a realization: I had a ton of carrots! And I had just gotten my Farm Fresh to You box which had even more carrots…and fennel. So the creation of this soup was pretty much inevitable.

carrot fennel soup1

Carrot and Fennel Soup

A bunch of carrots (I had three large and about twelve smaller ones)

1 large onion, chopped

2 small fennel bulbs, chopped

Garlic, chopped (I used about six cloves, but measure on your own taste. Garlic is kind of personal)

3-4 tbsp olive oil

Sprinkling of sugar (maybe 2 tbsp)

5 cups vegetable broth

Thyme (Again, to taste. I just sort of sprinkled a small pile in the pan)

Salt and pepper

1 cup heavy cream

Heat olive oil at the bottom of a large soup pot. Add carrots, fennel, onion, and sugar to the pan and caramelize the vegetables. After about five minutes add the garlic. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and let cook, stirring frequently for another five minutes or until veggies start to soften. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let it boil away for about 30-45 minutes or until all veggies are soft. Transfer in small batches to a blender and whip until it’s all a big pile of orange mush (or use your fancy immersion blender…you know, the one I got rid of because I didn’t think I needed it anymore?). Return it to the pot and gently bring it back to an edible temp. Mix in heavy cream (you can skip this step if you want. It’s not necessary but it sure makes it taste more substantial). Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a personal-sized baguette (courtesy of Trader Joes…as in I bought it there, not as in they donated it to my cause). If you have the energy, which I did not, make up a nice salad to go with it. Or grilled cheese when you serve the leftovers for lunch the next day.

carrot fennel soup2

I hope everyone is having a wonderful last day of 2012. My day would be better if I wasn’t working, but so far I have no complaints.

Does anyone have fun New Year’s plans tonight?

July 23, 2012

Weekend at the Beach

It was another busy weekend for the Sutherlins. Filled with good food, great friends and plenty of family we don’t get to see very often.

Friday night we packed up the truck and headed to Santa Cruz to visit Jim’s grandparents on his mom’s side. We arrived late and went to bed late after talking with his grandparents until after midnight. In the morning, his grandma made us french toast for breakfast (two different kinds: one with regular bread and one with my gluten-free bread) and we spent the first half of the day hanging at the house with them.

They were heading off on a trip with their RV group, so we left them to pack their stuff and headed to the boardwalk.

It was crazy and packed with people and it took us over an hour to find a place to park (although when we finally did it was free as opposed to the $12 fee to park in one of the Boardwalk’s lots). There were so many people, we could barely walk through the crowds as we made our way down to the beach.

Someone had made a really cool shark out of sand. It was impossible to get a photo of it by itself because for some reason, every time someone else was done taking their photo, this lady in black and white in the front had to go in and get more pictures taken of her. People are strange.

Then we went inside and played some arcade games and stopped for a photo with the distorted mirrors. As you can see, Jim wasn’t too interested, and this mirror wasn’t too crazy. Our legs are super long though. We got $5 worth of coins and then gave our tickets to a cute little girl who was there with her dad. She was stoked!

Then we walked out to the wharf. From there we got a better scope of exactly how many people were on the beach. I can’t understand how it can be considered fun to hang out so close to so many other people. But then again, I didn’t grow up in beach culture, so maybe there’s something to it that I’m just not getting.

There were tons of seagulls and pelicans on the wharf, including this fellow who found a comfy spot on top of a trash can for a nap. These guys are mean when you get up close to him. After I snapped this photo, he opened his beady little eyes and followed me with them as I walked away. I thought he might peck my eyeballs out if I didn’t move fast!

There was a display about them in the wharf and I guess they’re endangered and were close to extinction several years ago. I can understand why if they’re such jerks!

When it got too warm and we were both tired of walking in sandals (Jim got a pretty nasty blister from the sand rubbing in his), we headed back to the car to meet our friends Nic and Christie for dinner. I have mentioned Christie before. She’s the one who married us. She’s also my massage therapist. She’s quite the multipurpose friend!

They were in town for the Wharf to Wharf run. They were staying at the house of a friend of a friend. They’d brought wine and snack, and all she could find were these mason jars to serve the wine in. It was white wine, hippie-style! There’s never a dull moment with these two!

We had dinner at a restaurant called Dharma’s. They do all vegetarian and vegan food and they are very sensitive to other allergies, with many gluten-free options. Nic has an intolerance to gluten, so he and I are in similar boats when it comes to eating out.


This drippy droopy sandwich Christie is digging into was made on a gluten-free roll. I had a burrito with no tortilla. Jim had probably the toughest time picking a meal because he’s not used to going out and not having a meat option. He chose a burrito and some nachos. Nic had rice pasta with Greek toppings. We all left completely stuffed.

After dinner we had drinks and headed back to Jim’s grandparents’ house and fell into bed.

The next morning we went up to meet our newest nephew, Jim’s brother Chris and his wife Stefanie’s son. His name is Nickolas and he has the cutest chubby cheeks and more hair on his head than most adults do! I was so distracted I forgot to get a photo, so I jacked this one from Stefanie’s facebook. Isn’t he a cute little monkey face?

I only wish we lived closer to them so we could see them more often and watch this little one grow up!

The weekend was all sorts of fun, but now we’ve hit Monday morning, and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. Both of my brother’s, my sister-in-law and my nephew were all sick last week, and I think I finally caught a bit of it. I’m congested and my chest hurts and my throat hurts and I’m bundled up on the couch with tea and my dvr. Hopefully this will blow over by tomorrow. I don’t do sick very well.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?

July 6, 2012

Thai style peanut noodles

I have had the biggest cravings for something savory and creamy lately. Most things possessing those qualities are so because of the flour in them, which makes it hard for me to find something that’s safe for me.

I decided to bust out the PB2 my lovely Foodie Pen Pal, Dee, sent me and create something myself.

I’ve always loved Thai peanut noodles. I never thought peanuts would be good with pasta, but holy moly. Delicious! Since I’m home from work early today, I decided it would make a delicious little lunch.

Mr and Meatless’ Thai style Peanut Noodles

1 large handful of spaghetti style pasta (I used rice pasta, but you can use whole wheat or regular old what pasta. Tis up to you)

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin

2 medium sized carrots, sliced thin

Approx 1/2 cup frozen edamame (or fresh if that’s what you’ve got)

1/2 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)

4 tbsp PB2

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 squirt Sriracha sauce (to taste)

Cilantro, for garnish

Boil the spaghetti noodles in a large saucepan. Steam the bell pepper, carrots and edamame. Combine the liquid amino acids, PB2, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and Sriracha, whisk until smooth. If you’re using rice noodles, empty them into a strainer and rinse with cold water, then place in a serving bowl. Toss noodles with veggies and sauce. Garnish with cilantro (If I had sesame seeds, I probably would have sprinkled some of them on top too) and enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I’ll see you on Monday!

June 28, 2012

Side effects

Yesterday I posted about the foods I miss since I can’t eat corn or wheat. Today, I figured I’d balance it out by sharing with you the positive “side effects” the change has had.

1. I get ideas

I used to get these fabulous ideas for things I could do: creative birthday gifts, DIY projects around the house, new recipes, get togethers with friends, weekend plans. I think eventually my brain got tired of these ideas being rejected that it just stopped having them. I used to feel so guilty when I would come up with such a cool idea and then not have the energy to go through with it. I am finally starting to get these ideas back…and I’m doing them!

2. My apartment gets clean

I won’t say that it IS clean because I’ve been in sort of a slump. The pain from my knee kept me awake at night for a whole week. Pair that with last weekend’s adventure and I’ve been feeling less than motivated. I know, however, that it is temporary and will pass (that in itself is an amazing feeling!). And probably, with any luck, by this afternoon, our apartment will at least feel clean again.

3. I want to wear high heels

I have so many pairs of heels that I love. And in the past few years, it’s just seemed like such a pain, so much more effort than I could afford to wear them….now I just need my dang knee to finish healing.

My fabulous wedding shoes may see the outside of their box again!

4. I’ve started writing again

I think I mentioned this one before. I stopped working on my large writing project just after we got engaged. I told myself I’d be too busy planning our wedding, but beyond that there was a little nagging feeling that I just didn’t have the energy to produce anything good. And that’s partly my own self-loathing speaking (fueled by a number of rejections of my first novel… “Can I really do this?!”), but somehow, I’ve found the courage and energy to pound out some words and have started a fresh draft of my current project. Wish me luck.

5. I want to redecorate

I won’t claim to be the world’s most amazing decorator. Hell, I won’t claim to be one ounce of good at it at all, but ever since I was a kid, I’ve had this amazingly keen desire to redecorate, rearrange rooms every few months or so. I was actually a little hesitant to move into my first apartment after college because my bedroom was too small to move the furniture around. Could I really live like that? Well, I managed. And again, our room is too small to do much moving around. But for a while there, I had no desire to make changes at all, and while I still can’t move the furniture, I have this desire to freshen up the decor and find myself often cruising House Beautiful and numerous home decor blogs in my free time.

6. I want to be my best self

And I feel motivated to make the changes necessary. Not major changes. Just little things like making time for exercise every day (and not just when I already have time for it). Taking time for MYSELF every day…to read, to write, to watch a television show. And sticking with my new diet…lifestyle really…because that’s what makes all of the items on this list happen.

Prior to finding out about these allergies, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to feel “normal” again. I was sure there was a good possibility I would just be tired forever, unable to muster the energy to get through every day. The “side effects” have been amazing. Now I believe there’s a good possibility I may actually find a bit of contentment in my life, a bit of happiness that lingers rather than falling away as soon as it arrives.

Have you ever been so discouraged by something you can’t control that it feels like it may never go away? How did you cope with that?

June 27, 2012

I miss….

Since cutting wheat and corn out of my diet, obviously the food items I put into my mouth on a daily basis have changed drastically. But it hasn’t always been in the ways you might think….ways that even I would have thought. Of course things like french bread and cupcakes are more obvious, but there are plenty of not-so-obvious items as well.

1. Vegetarian meat substitutes

I can’t tell you how many meals I’ve made in the past that were centered around these sausages…or veggie crumbles….or veggie burgers. I wouldn’t have imagined they had wheat in them, but wheat protein is pretty much the #1 ingredient in most of these products.

2. Saltines

Weird, I know. But Jim and I used to eat Saltines in bed with a glass of milk for our “nighttime snack” before we went to sleep. It’s not like I’m overly in love with the crackers. It’s just something we can’t do anymore, and I miss it.

3. Baking

Baking snickerdoodles with Lil Man the first time I watched him all by myself

Before I found out about the allergies, I was a baking fool. I loved to bake: cupcakes, cookies, brownies. You name it. It’s not that I can’t bake anymore, it’s just that it’s more challenging. And there’s no substitute for a hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookie. I’m sorry. There’s just not.

4. Caramel…specifically caramel macchiatos from Starbucks

Yes, I’ve written them a friendly email stating that they shouldn’t use corn syrup in their caramel, but the fact remains: it’s there and I can’t drink it and I miss caramel macchiatos like hell. (I actually had the genius idea to make my own caramel sauce, order a vanilla latte and drizzle away! Although that may end up kind of messy…oh well, it’s worth a try!)

5. Corn…yes, just corn

Corn on the cob is so delicious. It’s one of my all-time favorite foods. Aside from that, I put corn in everything: rice bowls, pasta, soups, anywhere it can just be tossed in….at least I used to. I sure do miss corn.

Have you ever had to give up eating something you love?

June 13, 2012

Today is a “blah” kind of day

It really is. I woke up, exhausted still, rolled over and was fully back to sleep before Jim woke me up when he got in the shower. I meandered through my morning routine, making Jim’s lunch, putting together snacks for myself, making lattes and getting dressed. I almost forgot to bring Under the Tuscan Sun, which I’m supposed to have finished by tomorrow…and I’m supposed to make a recipe from the book to bring to book club. That part I’m actually looking forward to. Reading the rest of the book? Not so much. I’ll try to remember to post a review when I’m finished.

When I got to work, the Lil Man showed up shortly after I did, so that made my day a little. But then I had to take him to my mom’s house to have a nap. At her house, I weighed myself, anticipating the “losing a few pounds” that I was supposed to be doing as a result of cutting out the wheat and corn. I’ve lost 5 in the last month…it seems like it should be more. I think the hypoglycemia is messing me up there. I have to eat so often, and I think I may just be losing track of what goes into my mouth. I’m thinking I may start chronicling that here…to help me keep better track.

As I sit here typing this, I feel like I’m going to throw up, and I can’t seem to pinpoint why. I can’t think of anything I’ve eaten that would make me sick.

Today, so far, I’ve had:

a muffin I made the other day

1/2 an Odwalla Vanilla Al’mondo Super Protein Drink (a little heavy on the calories, but super tasty)

about a cup of blueberries and raspberries

a double tall soy latte from Starbucks

a handful of blueberry almond rice pops (if you haven’t tried these things, you should. I got them at costco, but you can also get them at the company’s website: http://www.180snacks.com)

And now I’ve had a cup of mint tea, hoping it will settle my stomach a little bit. So far, not so good.I’m hoping this day takes a turn for the better or it’s going to be a long stretch to 4:30.

How is your Wednesday going?

June 8, 2012

No more convenience eating for me + Tucker turns one

I remember the days, not so long ago, when I could arrive home exhausted, feeling lazy and simply order a pizza to be delivered to my door within an hour’s time. Or I could call an order of sushi in at the place down the street or a burrito bowl from our favorite Mexican place and have Jim pick it up on his way home.

But the burrito bowl has corn in it. And the pizza is obviously filled with wheat flour. And some of the sauces they use on sushi have soy sauce in them, which is fermented with wheat, so questioning must be done before I eat any of it. So any convenience eating I used to do has effectively been removed from my life.

Last night Jim really wanted pizza, so we decided to pick up a frozen one for me at Whole Foods, and get him a take-n-bake from Raleys. Well, after a small meltdown in Whole Foods as a result of their being out of my favorite rice crust pizza, we did some research and learned that our local favorite pizza place, zPizza, carries a gluten-free crust. I called them up and confirmed they used to corn products in it, and placed an order (Jim got his own pizza there…with regular crust).

Yummy frozen Whole Foods rice crust pizza

 

I was a little hesitant at first because there had been some not so lovely reviews about this gluten-free crust from this particular pizza restaurant. Much to my pleasure, the crust was quite similar to the one I had planned on getting from Whole Foods. Was it as good as the crust on Jim’s pizza? No. Was it as bad as the rice crust my mom bought last week? Far from it! I’m aiming more these days for “Satisfying” rather than “blow me over delicious.” I can’t have the things I love anymore, so I have to satisfy my cravings with alternatives that are, well, satisfying.

The gluten free zPizza pie

In other news, I don’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but my favorite Lil Man turned one year old on Tuesday. His party is tomorrow and I’m making a zillion cupcakes as well as his personal cake tonight when I get home. I’m a little nervous, I won’t lie. I’m so tired, I’m not sure how I’m going to get it all done tonight AND get my doctor recommended 30 minutes of elevated heart rate in. But I’ll do my best. Maybe a nice walk after dinner will cover it. He did say walking counted….

Eating (and thoroughly enjoying) his banana…the wrong way

Here are a few more photos for you from the first year of his life. I can’t believe it went by so quickly! It’s weird because the first few months went by slowly as I was waiting for my wedding day to arrive, but after that, time sure did pick up speed!

Me and Tuck at one week old. He was so tiny!

Probably still less than a month old

Love this one. Doesn’t it look like he’s trying hard to fart?!

He was four months old, helping me get ready to walk down the aisle

This little guy sure does bring a smile to my face. I’m so glad he came into my life a year ago. I can’t wait to see what the next year is like and the man he eventually grows into.