Category Archives: Gluten Free

Gluten Free Living Food Low Calorie Neutral Paleo Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

Bacon Eggplant Jerky – Paleo, Vegan, & Gluten Free

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eggplant jerky recipe

You can find various recipes for eggplant jerky all over the Internet. I don’t claim to have invented this one, but I do believe that I’ve worked to make it as simple and tasty as possible while giving you easy ways to alter it according to your own diet or taste preferences. There are so many ways you can change up this recipe within a certain framework that will still  end up with the chewiness of jerky and tasting like bacon.

Start with an eggplant that has a smooth and shiny skin. While I don’t like to remove the peel, its so full of nutrition and honestly, its one more step to get to the end result, but I do prefer this without the skin. My compromise is to slice it so that not every piece has skin attached to it. In the end the few pieces which were mostly all skin were the crispiest.

I tried to use a mandoline, as well as a food processor to slice it but that was a complete fail – a combination of the tough skin and the sponginess of the flesh. I tried peeling it and running it across the mandoline but the spongy flesh still fouled up the process, so out came my favorite chef’s knife and my bamboo cutting board and three minutes later I had a pile of bacon shaped pieces of eggplant. Well really you wouldn’t have thought they looked like bacon at this point, but since I knew where I was going with this, it was already starting to look like bacon to me. Do you think that positive thinking helps in the kitchen?  I do. I’ve noticed that when I’m feeling less than confident or unexcited about a new recipe it often turns out badly.

In the interest of making the recipe as simple as possible I used a Tandori spice mixture which has paprika, garlic, and salt. You can use any spice mixture which has a paprika base. I used garlic flavored olive oil, but you can of course use plain olive oil, just be sure it’s extra-virgin. Your taste buds will thank you. And I used balsamic vinegar because I love the rich flavor, but you can use apple cider vinegar if you prefer. I didn’t use black pepper but if you want to add some be sure it’s freshly ground.

I like my version of the marinade because you don’t get a lot of runoff like many of the recipes I found on the Internet. You don’t get oil dripping off into your dehydrator and you don’t have to use towels to sop up the oil after dehydrating them. Still I think my recipe would be better with a little more oil. Flavor-wise, it won’t matter much, but it will help the jerky to be a little less dry.

All of the recipes tell you to mix up the marinade, pour it over the eggplant, and stir to coat. That really doesn’t work very well when you’re working with what is basically a vegetable sponge. The first few slices soak up all the marinade and then you have to press on them to release enough marinade to coat the other slices which still don’t get evenly coated with the marinadde. So I covered the bottom of my bowl with a thin layer of marinade. Placed half the eggplant slices in the bowl, drizzled with half the marinade, added the rest of the eggplant, the rest of the marinade and tossed to coat.

I dehydrated my first batch for 12 hours and while I liked the end result, there were a few pieces which weren’t as dry which I liked even more. So my next batch will go for maybe 8 hours.

Ingredients

2 large eggplant

1/2 cup coconut aminoes, or low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Tandori or Cajun spice mixture

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, optional

Instructions

Trim the bottom and top from the eggplant. Discard.

Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Stack 4 or 5 rounds and slice into strips.

Place all marinade ingredients in a small jar. Cover and shake well.  Coat the bottom of a large bowl with marinade. Working quickly, place half the eggplant in the bowl, drizzle with half the marinade, the remaining eggplant and then the remaining marinade. Toss to combine. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours but you can leave it there all day or overnight.

Place strips on dehydrator trays being careful not to overlap the slices. Depending on your dehydrator you should have 5 to 6 trays. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8 to 12 hours. Take a few pieces out after 6 hours. Let them cool down and see if you like the consistency. If you do then stop the process. If you don’t then let them go for another hour or two and check them again.

And there you have it – your basic recipe for eggplant jerky. The next time I make it I’m going to make the following tweaks to see if I get an even better result:

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut aminoes, or low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Tandori or Cajun spice mixture

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

I’m sort of resisting adding the maple syrup because I don’t like to add sugar when it isn’t really needed, but I want to see what happens to this jerky with the addition of the rich amber flavor. I’m also going to use 1 eggplant and 2 medium zucchini. I don’t see why zucchini wouldn’t work and then the tough skin wouldn’t be an issue and it can be easily sliced on the mandoline.

I’ll update this post after trying out the new version. Happy eating!

Gluten Free High Protein Living Food Low Carb Neutral Paleo Vegan Vegetarian

Paleo Creamy Coconut Lime Salad Dressing

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coconut-lime-dressingIf you’re doing Paleo or completely off dairy, you may be missing creamy salad dressings. I was experimenting with coconut cream (I bought a TON of it when there was a sale at Whole Foods) and decided to try it in place of buttermilk in a salad dressing – and it worked!

You can substitute toasted sesame seed oil for the olive oil for an Asian flair.

This dressing is good over greens, or roasted vegetables.

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

zest from 2 limes

1/4 cup coconut cream (stir the contents of the jar first)

1 tablespoon honey, agave syrup or equivilent Stevia or monkfruit

1 tablespoon hot sauce, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Place all ingredients except oil in a blender and buzz until smooth. Keeping the motor running slowly pour in the oil until it’s emulsified into the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

$$$avers Beverages Gluten Free Living Food Paleo Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

I Made Cashew Milk Today!

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silk-cashew-milkI tried this cashew milk by Silk and loved it. Did you see on the package that it’s only 25 calories per cup! And it tastes way better than skim milk (which has more calories anyway). Only problem – it’s not organic. So I found some organic cashew milk and bought it. Not a sustainable plan though since this cashew milk, while DELICIOUS, cost $9 for a two cup bottle. Waa-waaaa!

Plan B – make my own cashew milk. However raw organic cashews cost $9 per bag, if I’m lucky and find them on sale. So homemade cashew milk was still going to be expensive, or so I thought. Take a look at the cost breakdown at the end of this post. Long story, shortened, I went ahead and made it anyway. The long story was basically me stalking a bag of cashews at Mothers Market until one day it went on sale and I bought it. After the disaster with the rice milk (which tasted like watered down water) I felt like I owed myself an indulgence – in the nondairy milk area of my life.

The whole process was pretty simple. I soaked the cashews in warm filtered water overnight. I didn’t add salt to it which all soaking recipes tell you to do, mostly, well completely, because I didn’t read any directions before soaking them. I just did it and then the next morning Googled “how to soak cashews” so that I would know if I needed to soak them longer. That’s when I saw that I was supposed to have added a tablespoon of sea salt to the soaking water. Oh well. So I drained off the water and rinsed the nuts until the water was clear. Soaking part done.

One of the other things that had put me off from making cashew milk is that I didn’t want to have to deal with the whole straining the ground nuts out of the milk issue. Besides having to buy a nut bag and adding more work to the process, me being me, I would then have to figure out a way to use those soaked, ground nuts in another recipe. Cashew Nut Brownies anyone? I decided that I just wouldn’t strain the nuts out. If you can make cashew butter from cashews then I figured that they would probably just blend into the milk as if I’d stirred cashew butter into water.

So I got out my Oster blender. Love that blender. I dumped 3 cups of cashews and 2 cups filtered water into the blender and buzzed them until the cashews were completely pureed into the water. Then I added  a large pinch of sea salt, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 2 packets of Truvia*, and 4 more cups water, buzzing until blended. I poured 2 cups of this very rich cashew milk into a water bottle to use for coffee. I added 2 more cups of water to the blender, buzzing until blended. This produced a more milk-like consistency.

Okay, so the cashew milk was just as delicious as the store-bought versions, but how did it come out expense-wise? The bag of raw organic cashews cost $9 on sale. That bag gave me 2 cups of cream and 9 cups of milk at a cost of .82 per cup. Comparing that to the cost of store-bought soy, almond, rice, or coconut milk at .63 to $1.13 per cup, homemade cashew milk is actually quite affordable. And if I hadn’t poured off the cashew cream then my cost would have gone down to .60 per cup. (12 cups of water to 3 cups of cashews, made in 2 batches.)

* You don’t need to add sweetener, but if you do you can use stevia, maple syrup, honey, Truvia, monk fruit, Splenda, basically any sweetener that isn’t as bad for you as white cane sugar, because what would be the point of making homemade organic cashew milk and then dumping white sugar into it?

Gluten Free High Protein Paleo Recipes Tips

Eat an Avocado to Lose Weight Today!

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avocadoNutrition Journal published a study showing that people who ate 1/2 an avocado for lunch ate significantly less during the rest of the day. Specifically:

“Researchers found that participants who added half of a fresh avocado to their lunch reported a significantly decreased desire to eat by 40 percent over a three-hour period, and by 28 percent over a five-hour period after the meal, compared to their desire to eat after a standard lunch without avocado. In addition, they reported increased feelings of satisfaction by 26 percent over the three hours following the meal.”

I’d say it’s worth a try to see if it works for you. There’s so many ways to have avocado that you’ll never get tired of this creamy fruit!

Garnish a green salad.

Add to scrambled eggs or an omelet.

Garnish tomato or chicken soup.

Add to quesadillas.

Wrap prosciutto around a wedge of avocado.

Mash with a little lemon or lime juice and use in place of mayo on a sandwich.

Add to your morning smoothie.

Mash and add to chocolate pudding. This will also cut down on your sugar consumption since you don’t really need to add extra sweetener.

Use in place of up to 1/2 the butter in chocolate baked goods.

Top a baked potato with chopped or mashed avocado.

Taco topper.

Add to homemade burrito.

Add to homemade California roll.

Avocado Fries

from my yet to be released 14 Days – Phase 2 – Low Carb Daily Eating Plan.

1 serving = 3.5 net carbs per serving
2 servings = 2 net carbs per serving

Ingredients

½ cup pork rind crumbs
1 teaspoon ground golden flaxseed
½ teaspoon mild chili powder
small pinch cayenne pepper
1 egg white
1 Haas avocado
cooking oil
salt

Instructions

Heat oven to 400°. Lightly oil 2 wire racks. Place on top of baking sheet.
In a bowl, combine pork rind crumbs, flaxseed, chili powder and cayenne pepper. In another bowl whisk egg until frothy. Cut Haas avocado into 8 wedges, dip each wedge in egg, press into crumb mixture and transfer to wire racks. Spray with vegetable oil cooking spray. Bake until crispy, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt.

 

Are you sold on adding an avocado to your daily diet? You can get even more avo recipes at Acapulcos Mexican Family Restaurant’s recipe page. Check ’em out, they have some really inventive ways to use avocados. You’d almost think they had an avocado farm with all of the ways they come up with to use an avo.

Gluten Free Kid Friendly Paleo Recipes Starches Vegan Vegetarian

Sweet Potato “Fries”

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baked sweet potato friesI’ve been posting a lot of recipes lately with quotation marks around them. “Fries”, “rice”, “potato”, “guac”. Oh well, this one is one of my favorites. It’s quite simple and really nothing new but I thought I’d post it anyway as a reminder of how easy it is to eat healthy and enjoy what you’re eating. Why feel deprived while eating to lose weight and get healthy if you don’t have to?

I peeled these potatoes because they were a little old, but I prefer these “fries” with the skin on. Cut sweet potatoes into fry shaped sticks or wedges. You can cut them as thin or as thick as you like, the important thing is to cut them all roughly the same size so they’ll cook evenly.

Place them on a baking sheet. Spray or toss them with your choice of oil, coconut oil or olive oil are my oils of choice with these. Sprinkle with sea salt and arrange so they’re in one layer and not too crowded. Pop them into an oven preheated to 450 degrees. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes depending on how large your slices are. Take out of the oven and flip them after 15 minutes, 10 minutes if your slices are especially thin.

Variations

1 teaspoon (per potato) of a spice or spice combination of your choice:

  • chipotle powder (small pinch)
  • wasabe powder (small pinch)
  • smoked paprika
  • fajita seasoning
  • taco seasoning
  • Chinese five-spice
  • cumin
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • garam masala
  • Cajun seasoning

Eat them as is or serve them up with ketchup, mustard, mayo or as you’ll see in the photo above I served mine with mayo to which I’d added mashed cloves of roasted garlic.

You can thank me later :)

Gluten Free High Protein Low Calorie Low Carb Paleo Recipes Vegetarian

Provincial Cauli”rice”

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cauliflower riceShredded cauliflower used in place of rice is the new Paleo and Low Carb Hero. I’ve been doing a bit of experimenting to find the easiest and foolproof way to prepare it and have come up with lots of options which I’ll be sharing in upcoming posts. Today I want to share my Provenical Cauli”rice” recipe. Warning: this recipe does not mask the taste of cauliflower. It will taste like a French vegetable dish, not like rice. I’ve found that the cauli”rice” recipes that taste closer to rice are those that are heavily spiced such as curried “rice”, Spanish “rice”, and those with tomato paste.

I’ve been shredding cauliflower for these recipes using my food processor which involves cutting the florets away from the core. Getting out the food processor and fitting it with the shredding disk. Shredding the cauliflower. Cleaning and putting the food processor away. Today I wanted to see if using a box grater would be easier – and it was – significantly easier. I trimmed away the green leaves and that was all the prep needed. I shredded the whole cauliflower with the box grater, stopping when I reached the core. It took less time than it took using the food processor (including the setup and cleanup) and I burned a few calories in the process. So in the future I’ll use the food processor if I already have it out for other projects but otherwise I’ll use a box grater.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 head cauliflower

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Trim the green leaves from the cauliflower and shred the florets using a box grater or food processor. Discard the stem and core.

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. When oil is hot add the shredded cauliflower and stir to coat with oil. Stir in Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. Cook until cauliflower is al dente. Remove from heat. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if needed.

Variation

Drizzle the finished dish with extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter. If you’re doing Paelo you’ll want to avoid the butter though.

Use Italian seasoning in place of Herbs de Provence.

Gluten Free Recipes Starches Vegetarian

Brown Rice Milk Semi-fail

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brown-rice-polentaMy attempt to make brown rice milk by using a blender to buzz cooked brown rice and water was a complete failure. It tasted like dirty water. However I decided to make this into a creative challenge and see if I could make it into something edible.

I poured the water and rice into a pot and started heating it up. After being buzzed in the blender the rice was almost a mash. Once it got hot it very quickly thickened up into what looked like a porridge. I added a vegetable bouillon cube, tasted and was in seventh heaven. What I had was a savory porridge or rice polenta. Since I’d picked up some spinach from the farmers market that morning I decided to add some curry to my rice polenta, spoon it onto a platter, top it with spinach and onions sauteed with some garlic and call it a meal.

While the brown rice milk experiment was a complete fail, I’m excited to try some variations of my rice polenta. Here are some of my ideas:

– Use nondairy milk instead of water, add some raisins or dates, and your sweetener of choice for a delicious rice pudding. Top with diced or pureed berries.

– Use canned roasted tomatoes with their juice in place of the water.

– Top with any of the following:

  • cubes of non-dairy cheese
  • sauteed tofu
  • cubed tempeh
  • soy chorizo, non-dairy cheese, avocado, salsa
  • roasted veggies
  • ratatouille
  • vegetable stew

Please share with us in the comments below if you try this rice polenta with your own spin.

 

Beverages Gluten Free Kid Friendly Living Food Low Calorie Neutral Paleo Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

Delicious Easy Nutritious Coconut Milk

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freshly made coconut milk

freshly made coconut milk

Recently I discovered that the “organic” nondairy milk that I’d been buying wasn’t so organic. It’s right there on the ingredients label, I was just blinded by the “organic” in big letters on the front of the package. I’ll add more to this post next week detailing what I learned, but for today I wanted to give you all who saw my post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter this super simple recipe for coconut milk.

Once I figured out that the only way I was going to get nondairy milk without all the junk added to it was to make it myself I started looking around for the easiest and least expensive way to do this. Almond and cashew milk are fine, but pretty expensive when you’re buying organic nuts AND it’s a little more work than I want to invest.

I’ve yet to try making brown rice milk, which I will and will post about later, but today I had a bunch of coconut flour and shredded coconut and decided to give coconut milk a try.

For my first batch I went with the coconut flour method mostly because I could skip the blender step.

Coconut Flour Milk

Ingredients

4 cups filtered hot water
1 cup organic coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Ingredients

Mix the water, coconut flour and sea salt in a large measuring cup. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Pour through a very fine sieve, cheesecloth lined colander or nut milk bag. You could also pour through a coffee filter set on top of your coffee pot. Once no more milk is coming through the sieve, press down on the flour to express as much milk as possible. Most people discard the coconut flour that’s left over but I used mine to make a nondairy cream cheese. You could also use it to thicken sauces, stew, soup, or gravy.

My Review: the milk tastes flat and watery, not a lot of flavor. I’ll use it to make a smoothie but won’t make it this way again.

 

Shredded Coconut Milk

Ingredients

4 cups filtered hot water
2 cups organic shredded coconut

Instructions

Pour the water over the shredded coconut in a blender. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or until the water has cooled enough to safely blend. Blend for a few seconds. It doesn’t take much. Pour through a very fine sieve, cheesecloth lined colander or nut milk bag. You could also pour through a coffee filter set on top of your coffee pot. Once no more milk is coming through the sieve, press down on the flour to express as much milk as possible.

The left over shredded coconut can be used in any recipe calling for shredded coconut, however it won’t have as much flavor or fat since these were expressed into the milk, but you will get the bulk and the fiber. You could also just add to your smoothies, pancake batter, home made bread, or yogurt.

My Review: the milk tastes fabulous! I don’t drink milk, even nondairy milk but I had to stop myself from drinking the whole batch and calling it breakfast. I thought I would have to add some sea salt at least, if not vanilla and sweetener, but this milk doesn’t need a thing.

The milk will separate as it sits, just shake it up before you use it. I don’t worry about skimming the fattier cream off the top because I try to add coconut oil to my diet every day anyway.

Beverages Fruit Gluten Free High Protein Kid Friendly Low Calorie Low Carb Recipes Vegetarian

Protein Smoothies – Kick ‘Em Up a Notch

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protein smoothie recipe

Breakfast and lunch – ready to hit the road.

Sometimes I get tired of protein powder shakes, add ice cubes and some water, blend, yawn. So I start playing around with the basic recipe and suddenly my mornings are a lot more interesting. I’m using stevia as a sweetener but you can use monk fruit, Splenda, or any other healthy sweetener.

Strawberry Flaxtini

To your chosen protein powder recipe add 1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries and 1 tablespoon ground flax seed. If all you have is whole flax seed add them by themselves in the blender and process until ground, then add the remaining ingredients.

Mocha Monkey

To your chosen protein powder recipe add 1 & 1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk, 1/2 banana, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1/4 cup cold coffee, 1 teaspoon stevia.

Green Energy

To your chosen protein powder recipe add 1 & 1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk, 1 cup spinach leaves, 1/2 pear or apple, 1 teaspoon stevia.

Ginger Kick

To your chosen protein powder recipe add 1 & 1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk, 1/2 pear or apple, 1/2 banana (optional), 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon stevia.

Mocha Magic

To your chosen protein powder recipe add 1 & 1/2 cup unsweetened nondair milk, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1/4 cup cold coffee, 1 teaspoon stevia.

Pineapple Smile

To your chosen protein powder recipe add 1 & 1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk, 1 cup chopped pineapple, 1 teaspoon stevia.

Cinnamon Roll Smoothie

To your chosen protein powder recipe add 1 & 1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon stevia.

Gluten Free Kid Friendly Low Carb Recipes Starches Vegan Vegetarian

Maple Cream Cheese Spread

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maple sweetened vegan cream cheese spread

I’m not going to give you exact amounts for this one because it would ruin the fact that this delish spread is so darn easy. So here’s the “recipe” – mix real maple syrup into cream cheese or vegan cream cheese. That’s it. No need to add anything else. I experimented a bit to see if adding things like vanilla, sea salt, orange zest would make it any better and they really don’t, although you could add orange zest just to give it a slightly different flavor.