Sunday, December 14, 2008

Product Review - TJ's Tom Yam Rice Snacks

it's been a month or so since i've been to Trader Joe's, and I was excited today to see all of the new GF items that they have in the store! They've always had them, but now the new products all have a little "g" for gluten free and a "v" for vegan. they just need one for the soy and i'm set ;)

among them, i quickly grabbed a "rice snack" called Tom Yam Rice Snacks. They're great little individually wrapped Thai snacks (10 to a bag). Flavored with lemongrass, kaffir lime, and chili, topped with cashews, they're definitely great if you like thai food!

oh. and did i mention they were only $1.69?

anyways, this little treat i give two thumbs up

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Food From Your Childhood - The 'Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free!' November Roundup

i am so happy to host this month's 'go ahead honey, it's gluten free!' i announced a little while ago that this month's theme would be: "Food from Your Childhood" - and oh my - people did not disappoint! we have a great roundup this month as always with nine tasty treats. the submissions allow you to take a step into some of our neighbors' homes from around the world to get a glimpse of some of their favorite dishes from back in the day. be sure to visit the individual sites for the full stories!

First up, we have Lauren from Daring to Thrive with our appetizer -

Lauren shared memories of tasty marinated 'Chinese Chicken Wings' that her mother used to make when she was a child. There were never any leftovers, and i can imagine why! (These are especially exciting for me because they're even soy free!) When you check out the recipe be sure to participate in Lauren's survey for her dissertation!

My gluten-free cousin Sholeh at Sliding Thoughts shared her recipe for Butternut Squash Soup.

This rich and creamy soup has some tasty additions to it that could warm you on those cold winter days!

Vittoria from Deliciously Gluten Free wanted to share a 'special occasion' meal from her childhood and that she did!

Presenting her gourmet skills, she recreated her great grandmother's Veal Scaloppini. This recipe replicated her early memories of home with reminders of working in the kitchen with her mother.

Kelly at The Spunky Coconut brought us a classic side dish with a totally new twist. Looking for a healthier, minimally processed gluten-free, casein-free version of the dish, she incorporated local organic green beans and onions, as well as homemade cashew milk for her Green Bean Casserole.

Like her mother did, she plans on making this dish every year. Green bean casserole has never sounded so good (look out Campbell's Soup!).

Sarah shared her Pumpkin Whoopee Pies with Cream Cheese Filling using the handy Google Documents application (good idea for anyone without a blog!)

These whoopee pies reminded Sarah of her days of eating Little Debbie's Oatmeal Creme Pies before going gluten free and were a big hit!

A truly creative dish from Nick the Peanut Butter Boy is his Peanut Butter Bird's Nest Cookies.

A vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free treat, Nick's mother used to make these treats for Easter. Bringing together the flavors of peanut butter and coconut, these easy to make treats remind Nick of his childhood.

Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness reminisced of her grandpa who loved rice pudding when she made her Spiced Forbidden Rice Pudding:

Blending Chinese Black Rice with coconut milk and fragrant spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and a touch of ginger, this dish has a warm and comforting feel to it.

And now for the wonderful Naomi of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried, the creator of 'go ahead honey'...

Naomi took us back to her childhood with her secret delight of Magic Lemon Pudding. The airy sponge on top with the lemony creamy goodness below sounds irresistable. Without the flour, milk and sugar of her childhood, Naomi was able to recreate the magic to share the recipe with her own son - much like her own mother had with her.

Finally, here is my own submission at For the Love of Food! - my grandmother's Sweet Potato Pie.

This pie meant a lot to me growing up, as my grandmother taught it to me at a young age. I make it each year in her memory and is a favorite in my family on both sides. I love it for dessert or breakfast :)

So thank you to everyone for allowing us to have a glimpse into your childhoods and your homes... it is truly an inspiration how creative and diverse each of these dishes are!

***For information about next month's theme: "Foods that bring good fortune" - please visit Heather at Life Gluten Free who has posted more on the theme and the deadline.***

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sweet Potato Pie (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Naturally Sweetened)

well i have finally decided on my 'go ahead honey' submission for this month... it was a tough call, but i've decided it's actually going to be the first of a three part series of 'my childhood+home.'

so growing up in my household was an adventure, and food was and is a huge focus. and good food. for my last submission i posted a recipe for the slow cooked food challenge that was persian- from my mother's homeland of iran. this month i wanted to pay homage to my other half- my african-american side. the story goes something like this... when i was fairly young, i'm guessing around 8/10 years old, my grandmother took me on a grocery shopping adventure because she wanted to teach me how to make some of her dishes. she was known for her pies, rolls, corn pudding, fruit cake, caramel cake, and more - all from scratch. the idea of using a boxed mix was unheard of and something that i carried on. her north carolina roots taught her real southern baking without measuring, but rather an eye that she wanted me to learn by watching and doing alongside her. and learn i did- she wouldn't have it any other way. she was an incredibly strong and beautiful woman, mother to nine wonderful and unique children, and i remember her each thanksgiving when i make her sweet potato pie.

i felt the real challenge of making this pie would be recreating it in a way that was 'healthier' and suitable to my diet (no refined sugar, crisco in the crust, gluten, or dairy) while still capturing the rich and tasty elements of it. i warned my dad about these changes at thanksgiving, and he acknowledged that it might not taste as good. then after he took his first bite he smiled and told me that the taste was not sacrificed and it was still 'good.' :)

so anyways, the recipe is really not that complicated, and the taste can be as strong or simple as you like it, depending on the spices and sweetness of your sweet potatoes. to me, it's more of the memories that come with it and remembering how proud it made my grandmother that i learned her recipes, and how proud i felt to stand by her side.

Annie Mae's Sweet Potato Pie - Adapted

*note- this was my first time trying to measure the recipe, so it actually turned out as two and a half regular pies, or it could be two deep dish ones.

5 1/2 cups cooked sweet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
5 Tbsp melted butter
3/4 cup honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar
3/4 cup coconut, almond, or hemp milk
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp mace
1.5 tsp saigon cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp orange juice
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
optional: 1/4 cup sucanat or coconut sugar (if you want it sweeter)

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare your pie crusts. I used my crust recipe from my Apple Pie but used a stick of butter chopped up instead of the oil.

While still hot, peel and mash your sweet potatoes. Add the rest of your ingredients and mix with a stand mixer. Taste and adjust spices if you wish. If you're opposed to tasting raw egg, you can add everything except that, taste it, and then add the beaten eggs in. The flavor of your sweet potatoes will change the flavor of the pie, so i recommend organic sweet potatoes with a strong, bold, and sweet flavor.

Pour pie filling evenly into crusts and bake in oven for approximately 45 minutes-1 hour, depending on oven, etc.

Eat warm as dessert, cold for breakfast, with coconut milk ice-cream as a snack... ;)

PS--- Don't forget to get your submissions into me by December 5th!!!

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