Sunday, December 5, 2010

Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole (gluten free, dairy free, soy free)

I've been watching the food network a lot recently, and saw this recipe on the show Cooking for Real... It looked super tasty, so I decided to adapt it and make it gluten and dairy free and changed it up a bit.


One thing the original recipe had in it was mushrooms- my husband isn't a fan so I took them out and added spinach. If you want to add them, cook them down and add it, but I personally would keep the spinach- it makes a great addition and makes it much healthier :)  The other thing is that this recipe could very easily be made vegetarian- take the chicken out, add the mushrooms or maybe tofu if you're into soy.

To see the original recipe, click Here


  • 5 cups water
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TBSP sea salt
  • 2 boneless, organic skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/3 cups wild rice
  • 6 TBSP dairy free butter or coconut oil
  • 6 TBSP coconut palm sugar
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1-2 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary leaves**
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes, almond flour, or gluten free bread crumbs (I've used them all)
  • Salt 
  • 1 cup chopped organic carrots (2 large carrots)
  • 2 cups frozen organic spinach
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1.5 cups Daiya Mozarella "cheese"
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 9 x13" casserole dish.

In a large saucepan, combine the water, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the chicken and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes, depending on thickness of the chicken.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, dice into 1/2" cubes and reserve.

Return the water to a boil, add the wild rice, and cover. Cook over medium heat until the rice grains split, 40 to 45 minutes. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside.

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp of your oil/butter. When the butter is melted add the brown sugar, cranberries, rosemary, quinoa flakes/bread crumbs, and a pinch of salt. Stir until the coconut sugar is dissolved and the mixture is uniform. Transfer to the pot you cooked the rice in and set aside.

In the same large pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of your oil/butter. Add the spinach, onions, carrots, mushrooms (if you're using them) and a pinch of salt. Saute about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and the cinnamon, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer about 2 minutes to thicken slightly. Add the Daiya cheese and mix to incorporate. Add the rice and chicken to the pot and stir to combine. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, to taste, then transfer it to the prepared casserole dish.

Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the top of the casserole and bake until golden and bubbling, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot.


**in the pictures i used dry rosemary, but that was only the first time i made it. since then i've been using the fresh and loving it much more! Pin It Now!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cinnamon Skewered Lamb Kabobs

This summer has been a slow one for barbecuing on the grill for us, so in a last ditch effort before fall truly hits, I finally made a recipe I've been scheming for a while...  I figure it's still summer somewhere and we still have a few days of warmth left over here, so this recipe won't be in vain :)

I was inspired to make this recipe after we had something similar on a trip to Israel a few years back.  My husband had ordered a ground beef kabob called Kabob Halabi at a restaurant, and it surprisingly came out on a long cinnamon stick skewer. It tasted incredible and we thought it was a great idea. So- a few years later, I decided to make my own version of it, but with ground lamb.   My husband described this one as possibly the best thing ever created :) 

I used cinnamon sticks that are 6 inches long, but I would have preferred 12 inch ones to make it easier for grilling/preparing. I did find some online, but didn't have a chance to order them. The 6" ones I got from Costco.  The ground lamb I got at Whole Foods (New Zealand lamb), but if you can't find it, you can usually ask a butcher to grind lamb for you or find a halal grocer.

So here is the recipe (it's quite simple)- hope you enjoy as much as we did!!

Lamb Kabobs on Cinnamon Skewers

1lb ground lamb
2 Tbsp chives chopped finely
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
8 6" cinnamon sticks

Sprinkle your seasonings on top of lamb and stir with a spoon to break up the meat. Then mix with your hand until it is soft and sticks together. With one hand grab a meatball size piece and work onto your cinnamon stick. Dampen your hand to help the meat move better.

before grilling
I grilled my meat for 5 minutes, then turned after 2 minutes to the other side, 2 minutes the next side, and another 1-2 the next. All in all it was about 10-12 minutes total for a juicy but well done kabob. If you care about aesthetics, you can also cover the ends of the cinnamon sticks in foil to keep them from burning. Either way, the cinnamon will be nicely infused into the lamb.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Creamy Almond Pudding (paleo, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, sugar free)

i have been on a bit of a "blogging maternity leave" for the past few months, enjoying the pleasures of being a new parent.  my hands have been quite full allowing much less time in the kitchen, however i have been plotting various recipes and watching tons of cooking shows getting inspiration :)

so right after i had the baby, my husband and i were watching iron chef and saw one of the chefs making an almond pudding.  of course it was based in heavy cream and had no recipe, so he started researching and came up with this recipe.  he made it twice for me while i was recuperating, as he found it is supposed to help with lactation and female reproductive health- especially your "ojas"- sanskrit for vigor- increasing energy, etc...

anyways, the original recipe was pretty watery and used turbinado sugar which was good- it's not overly sweet, but i wanted to try it out with dates and change a few things, and i like a thicker pudding.  of course i would say you can always make it thinner as well with more coconut milk or use the original recipe i linked to, this is just my variation :)

so if your ojas needs revitalizing or if you just enjoy a tasty creamy almond pudding, this recipe is for you!

Creamy Almond Pudding
(gluten/grain free, paleo, casein free, soy free, refined sugar free)

1 cup almonds soaked in 1.5 cups of boiling water
5 dates soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water
1 can coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
¼ tsp ground saffron threads dissolved in 2 tsp boiling water
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1-3 Tbsp coconut palm sugar (depending on taste)
2 Tbsp toasted slivered almonds for garnishing

Soak your almonds in a bowl with the boiling water for at least 2 hours. Soak your dates in your blender or food processor with boiling water until soft.  Blend until smooth once soft.  Add the almonds and half of the water it soaked in to the dates and blend until smooth.  Slowly add the can of coconut milk and process again until smooth. 

Pour the contents of the blender/food processor into a pot and bring to boil. Melt your arrowroot starch in a little cold water and add to the almond mixture while stirring constantly. Turn down the heat and add the saffron, cardamom and palm sugar. Simmer on low, stirring, until the pudding is reduced and thickened (I think I reduced mine for about half an hour. If you would like it thinner, just add some more of the almond soaking water. Serve warm, at room temperature, or even cold, garnished with toasted almonds.  I even enjoyed this as a cold topping for some apple teff pancakes I made!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Coconut Biscuits (gluten free, egg/dairy free, soy free, grain free)

My recent baking activities have been limited to trying out the many wonderful recipes that other bloggers have been producing- the result- less on my own creative side, but many wonderful treats created.  I'm hoping to post soon on some of my favorites that I've tried out recently.

So for this month's 'Go ahead honey it's gluten free' (Breakfast in Bed theme) I decided to make a type of coconut biscuit/cookie/scone... whatever you wish to call it.  And really- it's not very coconutty, so maybe I should call it an almond flavored coconut biscuit ;)  Regardless of what you call it, I really enjoyed coming up with this recipe because it was REALLY simple to make, quite tasty, and a great snack, breakfast, or dessert.  The texture is really soft and chewy and they tasted even better the next day after sitting out.  There are no eggs, no grains, as well as the usuals, and sweetened just with dates and a bit of honey- pop it all into the food processor or blender and it's ready to go!

(Almond) Coconut Biscuits**

*leave out the almond extract if you're not crazy about the flavor, but I think it provides a great addition

3 Medjool Dates - torn in half, seeded
1/4 cup Boiling Water
2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds
1/4 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour
2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Organic Almond Extract
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder

Tear and seed your dates and place them flat on the bottom of your food processor (or blender).  Pour boiling water over dates.  Sprinkle Flax seeds and coconut oil in water as well.  Allow to sit for about 10 minutes to allow the dates to soften and flax seeds to gel while you gather the rest of your ingredients and pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. 

Pulse your food processor until you have a creamy date mixture.  Add in the rest of your ingredients and mix until well blended - should happen pretty quickly.  Mix it by hand a bit as well just to make sure that the ingredients are well incorporated.

Scrape out your biscuits onto a silicone (Silpat) liner on a baking tray or well greased pan.  Arrange your batter into 5 biscuits using a wet spatula.  

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 25 minutes depending on how brown you like them.    Although okay warm, I thought they tasted even better when cool.  Enjoy!

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Review

Anyone familiar with my tastes would know that I'm coconut crazy.  Especially being dairy free, coconut milk is one of my favorites.  I also use coconut aminos (like soy sauce), coconut vinegar, regular shredded coconut, coconut sugar, coconut yogurt, coconut ice-cream, coconut flour, and of course coconut oil. Call me coco crazy, but it's so versatile, healthy, and tastes great.

I was recently sent a jar of coconut oil by my new favorite company Tropical Traditions to review, and couldn't wait to try it out.  I've been using Nutiva Naturals coconut oil (I usually buy their largest jug), but I definitely saw a difference between the two.  What really stands out about Tropical Traditions' Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is its great texture.  It is smooth and creamy, and much lighter than other brands that I have tried.  The taste is great, and it also melts quickly for when you want it in liquid form.  I've used it in baking and cooking, as well as just a spread on things like waffles.  For people (shockingly) opposed to the flavor of coconuts, it is also very mild and the coconut flavor is not really detectable.  Overall I give TT two thumbs up for this product- they also run great deals on their products all the time including buy one get one free deals and more, so price-wise you can definitely be flexibly in your budget.

If you are interested in trying this or other products by Tropical Traditions, definitely take part in their Referral Program.  If you place an order with them as a first-time customer, please select “Referred by a friend” and in the box that says “How did you hear of us?” enter my sponsor ID number 5685168. By telling Tropical Traditions that I referred you, you will receive a complimentary copy of the book Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours! by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy with your first order! This book is filled with testimonies and research showing how healthy coconut oil is, and it also includes over 85 recipes showing how one can incorporate coconut into their diet.  I also get a free gift! :)

To see a recent recipe I created using this coconut oil, try out my Coconut Biscuits!

If you're still not convinced, I definitely recommend watching this video:

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Butternut Lasagna - Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free

we recently went to a party where butternut squash lasagna was being served... i of course couldn't eat any, but my husband raved about it and i was intrigued.  i have always been a lover of all things with pasta, lasagna being one of my favorites.  i looked up a few recipes online but they all use tofu so that was a big no-no.

so for my recipe i made two layers- a butternut layer and a "creamy" layer: a bechamel-type filling.  it was a really rich lasagna, and quite frankly, you can't eat huge amounts of it because it's so rich, but tasty nonetheless ;)

one thing to note about the butternut layer- it's definitely going to taste different depending on the ripeness of your squash.  mine was a little old and not as soft as one in its peak.  canned butternut will also work (i like trader joe's), but it will be a little runnier than if you use fresh.

for my noodles i used tinkyada brand brown rice lasagna.  definitely watch your cooking time, and it should be al dente because it will cook in the oven more.  i overcooked mine this time and it stuck together and ripped apart a lot.  it works best if you cook it right before you're about to start layering, rinse with cool water and go. 

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut filling

6 cups cubed butternut squash roasted in the oven with a dash of olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp (or more if too thick) almond milk
3 Tbsp olive oil

Roast your butternut in the oven at about 400 degrees until soft- mine took about 20 minutes.  Once it is done, add all of the butternut filling ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth and creamy (but not too watery). If you need more almond milk or olive oil, add it.  Remove from the food processor and set aside while you make your creamy filling.

Bechamel (creamy) filling

1 cup pine nuts soaked for a few hours
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano

Drain your pine nuts and add them to your (clean) food processor along with the nutritional yeast and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth(ish).

In a small pot on the stove, heat your olive oil over medium-low heat and slowly add the sweet rice flour mixing it with the oil but not allowing it to burn. Stir for a few seconds and then add the milk slowly, stirring continuously (a wire whisk works well here).  Add the rest of the seasoning and cook for a minute or so to get rid of the floury taste.  Add the flour mix to the pine nut mixture in the food processor a little at a time, mixing in between additions.  once it is well blended, taste the seasoning- does it need more of anything? Also, is it too thick? If so, add more milk or olive oil.


I started with a light layer of the bechamel, followed by a noodle layer, butternut layer topped with bechamel, noodle, and then butternut topped with bechamel.  i sprinkled some more dried basil and oregano on top as well.

Bake in the oven at 350F until bubbly - i cooked mine for about 30 minutes.


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Friday, January 29, 2010

Veggie Quiche (Gluten free, Dairy Free, Soy Free)

i wanted something a little different for dinner the other night and had just seen kelly's post for her pie crust using mostly coconut and almond flours and was exciting to try it out! she also just added a video on how to roll out the crust here.

i recently ordered coconut flour from tropical traditions and love it. if you decide to order from them you can use my id#5685168 as a referral and i think you get a free book :) side note- if you sign up for their emails they run specials all the time and you can get good discounts and offers as well as lots of other great products.

side note#2- anne bradshaw is giving away a 32 oz jar of coconut oil here:
so go sign up and get one! :)

anyways- so i made kelly's crust. and it was p
henomenal. my non-gf husband described it as a "really really good pizza crust" but i really just loved the richness and savory flavor of it and it complemented the quiche well even though it was designed as a dessert crust. we might just have to try out a pizza on it sometime soon and see how it turns out...

i made a simple quiche using the veggies i had in the fridge, but of course you can add whatever you like. this is somewhat similar to my leek and asparagus crustless quiche/frittata
i only had 5 eggs left in the fridge, so you can also add
more if you like. or some sort of meat if that's what you're into :)

Vegetable Quiche

(copied from the spunky coconut)

Add to bowl:
3 tbsp flax seed meal
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
8 drops vanilla creme liquid stevia
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified

Mix with electric mixer.

1 cup almond meal flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Mix again.
Roll out the dough.
See: Video on how to roll out and transfer this dough. Or flatten the dough out slightly, so it's about 6 inches wide, then put it in the dish, and press it the rest of the way out with your hands.
(you can also lightly grease and flour the pie dish first, so the crust doesn't stick.)
Bake the crust at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. You might be able to not bake the crust before baking the quiche. it depends on how crispy you like it, as mine was definitely well done around the edges by the time the quiche was cooked.

Quiche Filling

1/2 cup carrots chopped
7 stalks asparagus (or more)
2.5 cups fresh organic spinach leaves
1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup coconut milk drink or other dairy free alternative (almond, rice, etc.)
1 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash nutmeg
5 eggs (or more)

preheat the oven to 350.

heat coconut oil in pan and saute the bottom halves of the asparagus (cut into smaller pieces). reserve the top halves for the top of the quiche

add the carrots and saute for with the asparagus for a minute or so. add the seasonings. add the bell peppers. when the veggies have softened a bit add the spinach and mix for a few minutes until they are wilted.

while the veggies are cooking, beat your eggs with the coconut milk (or almond or rice).

pour the veggies into the crust and then add the eggs on top of the veggies. take the asparagus tops and make a design in the middle if you like (see picture).

bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes or until set. enjoy!

**Update: 2/15/10- i made this again and upped the eggs to 7, and switched broccoli for the asparagus and it turned out quite well... just another option!

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gluten Free, Soy Free Soy Sauce!

happy new year to all! i hope this year brings good, flavorful, and healthy eating to all!

i had to share a new product i just tried out- something i've been looking for for quite a while. for the gluten AND soy intolerant, there is little in the way of a soy sauce alternative. i have been trying to order the Miso Tamari from South River Tamari for some time, but they've been out of stock... so since i couldn't get that one, i recently bought Coconut Secret's Coconut Aminos. it's a new product that Whole Foods recently started carrying. note- not all stores carry them yet, and you might have to request it.

the company carries other products as well, such as coconut vinegar and coconut nectar (looks similar to agave nectar) but i haven't tried any of them yet.

so how does it taste? i have to say- it really is similar to soy sauce, but a bit sweeter, and less salty. i think these are actually good things- soy sauce is way too high in sodium, so the coconut aminos goes down a little easier.

now the con- the price. i paid a whipping $6.99 at whole foods in d.c. i'm hoping it comes down, because at this point this is going to have to be a special treat for me and not used in every dish or stir fry i make- more of an accent than main seasoning.

**update: 2/19/10- i bought another bottle recently at Roots Market in Clarksville, MD for a little over $5- much better!

so for my first tasting i had to make sushi... i miss having sushi with soy sauce so much and it was a great treat. being that i'm pregnant i did have to make a cooked sushi, so i did a simple carrot, cucumber, avocado, and shrimp roll. delicious! let me know if you try it and what you think!

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