Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sweet and Savoury

Thanks Martha (Stewart), for giving me such a wide variety recipes and ideas to keep things interesting, despite my restrictive diet.  This week I also made for the second time ever, peach gazpacho.  Light meal or snack it was super easy to make and super delicious.  It's going in my permanent recipe bank for sure!  Summer heat, meet your match with this no-cook soup.  I cook for just myself so I halved the recipe with success, oh, and because I couldn't find champagne vinegar in my local grocery stores I subbed with white wine vinegar too!  Three servings of goodness. 

Ok, so I filled it up past the fill line, but it still worked!
Even better after the flavours had time to mingle.  Give it a few hours or a day to let the garlic to shine.

Mingling with the Middle East

I was flipping through an Allergic Living magazine and took a second look at a recipe I had previously written off.  When I saw the recipe again for chickpea burgers with tabbouleh salad I thought, 'why couldn't I make that???'  Yes, I can't have lemon juice or tomatoes but why not use apple cider vinegar and double up on cucumber instead?  The chickpea burgers were an easy sell with no substitutions necessary so I took a chance with the tabbouleh.  You know what?  It turned out great!  I am so pleased and I will make it again.  The chickpea burgers were tasty but crumbled a bit, just like every other chickpea patty I have made, maybe next time I will add a flax "egg."  The tabbouleh needs to marinade in the dressing for a few hours but then it has the acidity just as if it had lemon in it and I didn't miss the lemon at all.  I most definitely recommend this recipe!

Preparing the chickpea patties....
While cooking the buckwheat....
Mixing all the ingredients together for cooking the patties....
The finished, delicious product.

Shhhhh don't tell the homeopath....

When I first started seeing a homeopath earlier this year, my liver results were almost off the charts bad.  He gave me a sheet of paper with more dietary restrictions to live by.  It actually wasn't too hard since it seemed to build on my allergy diet by taking away just a few extras like sugar and alcohol.  But since learning of my allergies, my friends have had me try a few things like unsweetened apple cider and certain wines without added sulphites.  Now I find it a little difficult to follow the diet in the alcohol respect so I try to keep it to a minimum, purchasing small quantities so that I only partake once every week or two.  At the liquor store last week, I was in purchasing my favourite apple cider when a point-of-purchase taster wine bottle caught my eye.  Thanks to it's light, tropical description of the Yellow Tail Moscato in-store I was sold, and waited for a special evening to crack it open.  While it doesn't appear to be organic or suphite-free I didn't get a headache or nausea from having a small glass of it and it was indeed light and refreshing.  It will definitely be a wine I can bring as a hostess gift and something I would serve with a group of friends.  I had to share my happiness with you, just don't tell my homeopath!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Any volunteers?

Some days I can really create a big mess in the kitchen.  For a person who doesn't cook much, I'm not always sure how I manage to do it.  Often the mess grows worse as I try to clean it up, terribly ironic, no?  Today I had a couple dishes leftover from last night and then added to it with the prep for my lunch tomorrow (the o-so-yummy roasted beet with edamame and arugula salad) and vanilla coconut milk ice cream to bring for dessert to my friend's house tonight.  I managed to do a sinkful of dishes only to return home and make roasted chickpeas for the movie I'm seeing tomorrow and my tropical oat bars 'cause I was officially OUT of them.  Finally, well past my bedtime, I am collapsed here on my sofa reflecting on my afternoon and evening with full knowledge now of where my mess came from.  Perhaps next time there will at least be a volunteer to do the dishes....

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Tasty, But Not Pretty.

Desperate for pancakes a couple nights ago (I love breakfast anytime of the day) I searched high and low online for pancakes I can make, preferably with oat flour.  I buy Bob's Red Mill Oat Flour, so I figured they might have something.  Sure enough, Oatmeal Pancakes was there for me.  I made some alterations and while my cooking method made them unpretty (not a word according to the blog's dictionary, but I'm pretty sure there was a TLC song entitled 'Unpretty' so I reserve the right to use the term), they tasted great!    
 vegan (dairy and egg free), wheat free, peanut free, tree nut free (unless you are unable to have coconut, then sub the milk), potato, corn and rice free. 

I used coconut milk this first time.  I only had full fat milk at the time, but I would say it would work possibly even better with the light coconut milk.  My rational brain said it would help them be lighter next time.
MMMoats, and allowing it to sit for five minutes as per instruction.

Dry ingredients, before being mixed, including coconut sugar instead of cane sugar.

Adding the cooked oats and milk mixture to the flour mixture.

This is where I varied from the recipe big time.  I added oil, as per instructions.  I had to omit the eggs, and the fluffy egg whites would definitely add fluffiness to the pancakes, and use two flax eggs instead (2 tbsp flax eggs and 6 tbsp water blended until a thick, glob). 

Once it's all mixed up, with all my changes, was really thick so I had to pat it down into a patty and make it look like a pancake.  I didn't grease my skillet, as it was already non-stick, but I think it really would've helped it in the end, mental note for next time!!  Next week I want to do breakfast for dinner so I'll make some changes and let you know if it works!

Like I mentioned, kinda ugly.....

But almost biscuit-like inside, and super delicious!

Oatmeal Pancakes, just waiting for me to dig into them!

Pasta Salad Pizazz!

This past week was extremely busy and while I was able to cook and take pictures, I had no time to post them, so here I am, Sunday afternoon, trying to make up for it.  On busy summer weeks I enjoy having easy, cold meals that can last a few days.  Pasta salads are always really good for that, but my diet didn't seem to allow for anymore pasta when I had to cut out wheat and rice.  It wasn't until my friend spotted Eden Organic Rye Spirals at a specialty grocery store that I had hope once again of consuming pasta salad.  All I needed was a recipe that worked well with the flavor.  Enter, Martha Stewart.  With a few alterations to the recipe, I made the Minestrone Salad.  It was delicious and it seemed to get better even better with a day or two under its belt to allow flavours to mingle properly.  Take a look, even the pictures make my mouth water!
vegan (dairy, meat and egg free), nut and peanut free, wheat free (if you use wheat free pasta)

As I mentioned before, I used my rye pasta instead of wheat.  Because of my allergies I left out green beans, corn and tomatoes and doubled up on the carrots and zucchini and added some celery in its place.  Filling and delicious.

Muffin Mania

When I saw a dietician very early on this year I was expecting a lot from her, I will admit.  I expected customized meal plans and a plethora of recipes or book recommendations.  What I got was a couple of recipes and a pat on the back assuring me I lost too much weight too soon and to expect some of it to come back.  I did not gain weight back, in fact I lost 15 more pounds while on my diet.  But I did find one recipe helpful in adding baking back into my life.  I make these muffins once every couple weeks and they're a great treat or perfect roundabout to a snack or meal.  They're on the sweet side but not too sweet.  A little dense and gummy, but it's close enough for my liking!

Wheat, Egg, Dairy Free Rye Pumpkin Muffins
adapted from the Gluten Free Carrot Pumpkin Muffin recipe from Gluten-Free Diet-A Comprehensive Resource Guide (as my recipe is made with rye flour however, it does contain gluten!!  The original recipe uses the same amount of gluten free flour mix and 2 tsp xantham gum, as well as it also uses eggs and sugar).

makes about 18 normal-sized muffins
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 flax "eggs" (4 tbsp flax meal and 12 tbsp water blended into a thick and creamy concoction)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups cooked pureed carrots or 3/4 cup crushed pineapple (pineapple is of course my favourite, as I love anything that reminds me of Hawai'i)
3 cups rye flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking sode
2 tsp baking powder (I use my own special mix that's corn and potato free **see end of post)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Whisk together maple syrup, flax eggs and oil in large bowl until well combined.  Add applesauce, pumpkin, vanilla and carrots/pineapple.  Sift dry ingredients together and slowly fold into the batter. Scoop into paper lined muffin pans (I used a 3tbsp scooper twice over in each muffin cup).  Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then place on cooling rack.

I use paper liners in the muffin tins, but they do tend to stick to the paper if not cooled completely.  Next time I will try to bake directly in a greased muffin tin and see what I end up with.  I always freeze them so that I don't polish them all off in one or two days.  They thaw very well.

There's also a variation in the original recipe that calls for eliminating the pumpkin and increasing the applesauce to 2 cups if you want to make a carrot cake, in case you were curious in trying that!

Makin' flax eggs...looks gross I know, but does the trick as a binder!

All the wet ingredients....

After folding in the dry ingredients....don't overmix!

Two scoops in each tin for regular looking muffins (always my aim).

The finished product: a moist and delicious muffin that's low in fat and low in allergens!

**all of the baking powders I could find contained corn or potato starch.  Thank you internet searches, which produced a recipe for corn-free baking powder at home that I make at relatively small batches at a time and use with success: