Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ginger and Sesame Stir Fry with Kelp Noodles (gluten free, soy free, dairy free, grain free)

With my recent reduction in grain consumption has come more modifications and researching and wondering... What about noodles? I sometimes use sweet potato starch noodles that I get from the Asian grocery store by us, but someone also recommended Kelp Noodles to me and of course I was eager to try.  I recently found them on iHerb and quickly ordered a bunch!

If you're not familiar with, they're a great company that sells over 19,000 natural products and offers UPS Ground Shipping for free to orders over $40.00.  The best thing about them is that if you use my link or referral code, you'll get $5 off with your first order! In case you don't use the link, my referral code is "LEP856"
iHerb sells two types of kelp noodles for only $2.79 a bag:

Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles
Kelp Noodles with Organic Green Tea

 Kelp noodles are mineral-rich and totally raw, so you can eat them as is- they're crunchy and tasty. You just rinse them and toss with whatever you want. Or you can make them softer and enjoy as a regular noodle. To soften them, you can do a variety of things: either soak in lemon juice for about 10 minutes and rinse, dehydrate for about 20 minutes, or mix them with any sauce you cook and let it sit for a few minutes. The sauce will soften the noodles nicely.
This month's 'Go Ahead Honey, it's Gluten Free" is the Chinese Lantern Festival, hosted by The Daily Dietribe, and this is my submission.

Ginger and Sesame Stir Fry with Kelp Noodles 
(gluten free, soy free, dairy free, grain free)

1/2 lb. broccoli, cut into florets
6 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
8 medium cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp finely chopped ginger (or grated if you are opposed to ginger chunks)

3 Tbsp sesame oil
6 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1/8 tsp chili pepper (or more if you like it spicier)

1 lb organic chicken breast, sliced (optional)
4 Tbsp coconut oil

sesame seeds to taste
2 tsp corn starch (or other starch) melted in a bit of cold water (optional)
1 package Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles

Mix your sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp coconut oil in wok. Add 1 of your sliced onion and cook for a minute. Add 1/2 your chopped garlic and 1/2 your chopped ginger.  Stir for another minute, careful not to let them burn.  Add all of your veggies except for the bell pepper and mix well in the wok.  Add a few spoons of the sauce to coat the veggies while they cook.  As the sauce gets absorbed, continue to add a few spoons while it cooks, just don't let it form a pool on the bottom of the wok until you've added about 1/2 of the sauce. Cook until the veggies are soft but still firm and set aside.

In the same (now empty) wok, heat the rest of your coconut oil and add the other onion. Cook until soft, then add the rest of your garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute, then add your chicken and a few spoons of sauce.  Mix well and continue to cook until chicken is almost done. Add the rest of the sauce and the veggies to the chicken and mix well.  If you want the noodles mixed with the rest of the dish, add them in with the veggies so that they can become soft while they cook.  If you would like your sauce a bit thicker and coating the food, add the melted cornstarch now and stir well. Cook for a few minutes, serve, and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  If you are enjoying the noodles separately, place them on the bottom of your bowl and cover with the stir fry. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

October Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten Free: Spiced Desserts

 Welcome everyone to October's theme for "Go ahead honey, it's gluten free!"  If you're not familiar, this wonderful blogging event was created by the lovely Naomi at Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried.  This is my second time hosting, and I am honored to participate again, not only as a contributor!

So- for October's theme I decided to go with "Spiced Desserts".  What does this mean?? Well with the coming of fall, we tend to crave more soothing and aromatic foods to warm us, so I thought I would choose something along those lines... I also love using spices in everything, so why not desserts?? :) So many spices can have healing attributes as well, so why not give your dessert a healthy boost?? So go ahead and branch out - I can't wait to see what people come up with - and yes, beverages are okay for desserts as well (see a great example below).

Here are a few examples in case you're looking for inspiration or scratching your head thinking I'm crazy:

Here is one of my own:
Cardamom Rosewater Tarts

And some others from fellow bloggers:
Spiced Vegan Chai Cocoa
Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies
Caramel & Indian Spice Poached Pears with Honeyed-Crème Fraiche & Honey Roasted Almonds
Chocolate Chili Truffles

Want to join in? Here's how:

  • Come up with a recipe for a gluten-free spiced dessert. Post your recipe by October 26th, linking back to this post. Send me an e-mail with the link to your post and a photo of the recipe and the subject of "Go Ahead Honey"
  • If you don't have a blog, just e-mail me your recipe and a photo, and I'll add it to the round up of recipes at the end of the month.
  • Submissions should be sent to me at [nooshins at gmail dot com] by October 26th for a round up of all the recipes at the end of the month.
  • Please be sure to let me know if you have any questions – feel free to email me or you can ask them in the comments section of this post.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

No Bake Apple Crumble Bars (Gluten free, Egg free, Dairy free, Grain free)

And just like that- Fall is here!  As much as I love the warm/hot weather, what I love most about the fall is the food that comes with it.  One of my favorites for baking is fresh, crisp apples.  I made this yesterday morning for breakfast in a hurry and loved the results!  It's super simple to make and great for breakfast or a dessert.

I've been staying away from grains recently (in addition to my usual plus eggs now as well) so I've been playing with a lot more coconut and nut flours.  The coconut/almond flour combo is so creamy and delicious and is a natural sweetener in itself, so I barely used any in the actual recipe. I used blanched almond flour from Honeyville, but I'm sure it would taste fine with regular almond meal as well- just a different texture. 
Feel free to double it and use an 8" pyrex- I used an 8.5"x5" glass loaf pan. I didn't bake mine, but if you do, let me know how it comes out!

No Bake Apple Crumble Bars
(paleo, gluten, soy, dairy, egg, grain free)

Apple Filling
3 organic apples (I used granny smith- a tarter flavor)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp water (add more if you like it more gooey)
1/2 tsp saigon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

1 cup Blanched Almond Flour
1/4 cup Coconut Flour

3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp Alcohol-Free Vanilla
1/8 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

Slice and peel apples- I used my apple slicer and then cut them one more time in half and peeled them.  (Next time i might use my handy apple corer/peeler/slicer :))

Place them in a pan with the rest of the filling ingredients and cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until fork tender. If you want a more gooey or sweet apple, you can add more maple syrup (or honey) or water.

While your apples are cooking, put your almond and coconut flour and salt together in a small bowl and stir with a fork, breaking up any clumps. Add the oil, honey, and vanilla and stir well.

Press a little over half of the mix into your pyrex and top with the apples. Take the rest of the topping and sprinkle it evenly on top of the apples and press lightly. 

Place in the refrigerator and chill until firm.  If you cut it immediately it will still taste great, but it will fall apart when you try to cut it and tastes a bit different warm than cold. Both are great though!

When chilled, cut into bars and enjoy with a nice warm cup of tea!
(makes 6 bars)

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Milk Alternatives - Make your own!

So to follow up on my last post about milk, I wanted to provide a few alternatives to moo-cow milk. My husband bought me a Blendtec for my last birthday which has reallllly helped with my being able to make these drinks. If  you have a Blendtec, Vitamix, or other high powered blender they will definitely be easier to make, but I'm pretty sure you can make these in a regular old blender, it just might take a little longer.  My best guess is that the Magic Bullet would work well for a cheaper option.  Haven't tried the Ninja yet, but I've heard great things.

**One product I will refer to and LOVE are my jelly strainer bags. I use it to strain the coconut or almond milks and they're really cheap and fantastic - and not messy.  Click Here to see which ones I use- the best deal I've found and 2 are included. I throw them in the wash and they're still fine.


Coconut Milk
So my number one favorite dairy-free "milk" is coconut milk. It's delicious, nutritious and has the best consistency in my opinion.  Also bakes the best (tied with hemp milk for consistency) in cow milk recipes.  You can buy fortified coconut milk drinks (or other nut/seed drinks) from a variety of companies now including Trader Joe's, So Delicious and Silk in a variety of flavors- sweetened with stevia or cane sugar, unsweetened, chocolate, vanilla, or unsweetened vanilla.  There are also a great variety of coconut milk products for sale (ice cream, yogurt, kefir, and more) but I won't get into that :)

I make mine using shredded coconut from Tropical Traditions.
They have great untreated organic coconut in a bucket or 1lb bag and tend to have coupons and deals available.  If you buy from them, make sure to use my Referral Code: 5685168 so we both get something free!

Here is my recipe based on a number of others I've seen:
Coconut Milk
1 cup shredded organic coconut (see above)
5-6 cups boiled water*
1/2-1 tsp guar gum (optional)
Place coconut and about 4 cups of the boiling water in blender.  Blend a few minutes.  Pour into jelly bag held over a pitcher and squeeze until most of the milk comes out. You probably want to wait until it's cooler or use gloves. Pour the pulp out of the bag and back into the blender with around another cup of water- just enough to make it blend.  Repeat the straining process. You now have coconut milk!
If you wish to serve it immediately, go for it. If you want to keep it in the fridge, I recommend using some guar gum. Pour the milk back into the (cleaned) blender and add 1/2-1 tsp guar gum** (depending on how thick you want your milk). Blend and then pour again into your jar.
Shake/stir before serving.

*If you want your milk thicker/more creamy use less water. You have to play around with it to find your desired amount.
**Guar gum is an extract of the Guar bean found in India and Pakistan. I find it cheaper and better than Xanthan gum (derivative of corn). If you don't use it, your milk will separate and be thinner after standing for a while.

Here is Tropical Traditions' recipe for coconut milk

Here is another recipe from Elena's Pantry

Almond Milk

Here is Elena's recipe
Kelly's Almond Milk video

Cashew Milk

I use the recipe at the Spunky Coconut:
Kelly's Cashew Milk recipe

Sunflower Seed Milk
1/c cup raw sunflower seeds
2 cups water
1/4 tsp guar gum (optional)
soak your seeds 4-5 hours or overnight. drain and rinse them. place in blender with water and blend until smooth. if serving immediately stir and drink. if not, add guar gum and blend again. stir before serving.
Before Guar Gum
After Guar Gum

Hemp Milk

Here is a simple, straightforward recipe

Let me know if you have any questions!

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Gluten Free Baby Edition Pt. 3 - No Milk??

I've been having a lot of conversations recently about cow milk alternatives and of course what I have been giving to my daughter to drink and why... For now we're staying away from dairy and she is loving a variety of coconut, sunflower, cashew, hemp, and almond milks.  They are all super healthy and while her main beverage of choice is still breast milk she loves these as a snack or with food as well.  Store bought milks are fortified with vitamins so in that way are more of an equivalent to cow's milk, but I tend to make my own a lot of the time.

So why not give milk?  I'm not even going to start to touch on the issue because there are so many many reasons why people believe this.  If you just google "why is milk bad?" you can turn up hundreds of results and check it out yourself.  I am not a nutritionist and in no way have I researched all there is to know on the subject, so please do your own. I should note- I am not totally anti-dairy- I don't judge you if you drink it/eat it, etc., I just prefer to stay away from it (and so does my body :)) Here are a few reasons for avoiding it though:

To start- the fact that most of the world is lactose intolerant is definitely something to consider... perhaps our bodies were not meant for cow's milk and that it was just meant for baby cows??

Milk increases the amount of mucus in your body- definitely not good for you when you're sick and contributes to you getting sick.
Some say that since dairy products contain lactic acid it causes bone erosion. This is related to why statistics show that women who consume dairy products are more likely to develop osteoporosis. It has also been linked to numerous other diseases and illnesses - diabetes, stroke, etc...

My main reason- it's just not necessary.

American culture thrives off of unhealthy eating and is what people love to promote. I hear all the time how people get excited about how much junk food they ate and how their kids love it so much- and I hear pride in that.  It will take a lot to shift our minds to being excited about things like how we grew great veggies and made our own food out of it instead.  Because of unhealthy eating, milk has become a great way for kids to get their nutrients- vitamin D and Calcium in particular.  Were kids to eat a well balanced diet, this would really not be necessary.

Vitamin absorption in veggies is actually better than in milk, and you can get all of the nutrients necessary out of diet- no pills, no drinks.  Vitamin D might be the only exception if you're not in an area of the world that gets enough sun (and spending enough time outside). To deal with that, I give my daughter a few drops of Vitamin D each day (except during the summer).  Fish, liver, and egg yolks do provide a good source of vitamin D as well.

So what are good sources of calcium to replace that milk?  Spinach, broccoli, collard greens, molasses, tahini, and more. 
Here is a link of the top 10 veggies for calcium.

I really like this Canadian list of food sources as well as intake recommendations for both calcium and vitamin D as well.

So I never like to dismiss something without giving alternatives, so stay tuned for my next post about how to make your own nut and seed milks! (Found HERE!)
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nutty Cacao Energy Balls

Due to my daughter's recent sleep (lack of) habits, i've been running pretty low on energy these days... I've been looking for a non-caffeinated pick me up as well as snack to keep me going, so I came up with these little yummies to help out.  I researched Maca a bit and decided it was a great addition to my diet so they're featured in these.  I also use the herb Shatavari but both the Maca and Shatavari are optional if you're not interested! You can also add your favorite protein powder in it as well.

For the nuts/seeds- I switch up here and there what I use.  I normally add cashews as well, but didn't use them this time. Feel free to add/subtract your favorite nuts or seeds!

Nutty Cacao Energy Balls

1/2 cup each: almonds, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup chia seeds
3 Tbsp Maca powder
2 Tbsp Shatavari powder
5 Tbsp Cacao powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp saigon cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil
5 medjool dates

Place nuts, seeds, and powders in food processor and pulse until powdery. Add dates and coconut oil and continue to pulse until the dough starts to hold together a bit.

Roll into balls- you can either use your hands, or I also took a heaping Tbsp and formed it into balls in the spoon and then put it in a container. I layered them between parchment paper and put in the refrigerator until chilled.

Makes approximately 26 balls.

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