Friday, September 18, 2009

Lemonade Cookies

     Summertime here in Texas can be sweltering, to say the least. The temperature stays above 100 for weeks on end and there is little rest at night with lows remaining in the upper 80s.

     Despite these soaring temperatures, there are ways to beat the heat. Ice cream and popsicles abound in our household during the summer months. Freshly squeezed lemonade and homemade sweet tea are also essential must haves during the summertime. This summer, the lemons we were getting seemed to be lacking a bit and I only made two pitches of lemonade the entire summer.

     The summer heat has broken now, the winds are blowing a bit cooler and everyone is anxious for sweater weather to be here. I always secretly hold out that there will be one last heat wave before winter sets in, but it rarely happens. In my efforts to hold onto the summertime magic, I decided it was high time to make some lemon cookies.

     I was disappointed in them the first day and was hoping they would come out much better than what they were, but after leaving them out overnight they were the perfect lemon cookie! Slightly crumbly and not too wet. Just one half cup of sugar in these cookies lets the lemon zest and juice shine through in a wonderfully mouth puckering desert.

Lemonade Cookies

1/4 C potato starch
1 1/2 C sweet sorghum flour
1 t xanthum gum
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 egg
1 lemon zest
3-5 t lemon juice
1/2 C olive oil
1/3 C soy milk
1/2 C evaporated cane juice

Heat oven to 350. Mix 2t of lemon juice with soy milk, stir and let stand for about five minutes. Mix flours, xanthum gum, baking soda and baking powder together in large bowl until mixed well. Remove 1/2 the flour mixture and set aside. Add oil to remaining flour and mix well. Add egg, sugar, zest, milk mixture to dry and mix well. Add remaining flour to bowl and stir well. Add lemon juice to taste.

Grease a sturdy piece of aluminium or a cookie sheet and drop by the spoonful. Bake for about ten to twelve minutes or until slightly browned on the otter edge. Use any remaining lemon juice and mix with sugar to create a glaze and top cookies with mixture as they cool on racks.

Leave out over night and store in an air tight container the following day.
Continue Reading...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making Life a Little Easier

     So I've pulled this old laptop out of the closet that has been sitting here for who knows how long and it works! How awesome is that? The cable got repaired on it a few months ago and it would never turn on, but suddenly it works. I'm taking it as a sign that the laptop was destined to be mine.

Onto the important stuff now...

     So how many of you lug your cell phones everywhere you go? They are so convenient to have to look things up on the road like what diners are near when you're on the go, what's fun to do in the area, and so much more. There are all kinds of things they can do, plus with all the home-brewed applications that users are able to make for others to use the possibilities are endless.

     I stumbled across this the other day from a plurk post (you did know I plurked, right? TheGlutenFreeAssistant - look me up!). There has been an application made for the IPhone by the same people that create
d the Let's Eat Out series. The name of the new application is iEatOut Gluten & Allergen Free™ and it allows you to imput what allergens that you have and it will populate a list of safe restaurants and diners that you can eat at! This is a lifesaver for those of us with multiple allergies and concerns.

     One of the t
hings I find difficult about eating a gluten free diet is the fact that when going out to eat, I ALWAYS have to pick the restaurant. Not that I mind always getting my way, but it can become a hassle when you have no clue what is in the area or what the preferences of those with you are. I enjoy Indian and Thai restaurants as most of their cuisine is naturally gluten and casein free (some are up in the air over ghee and it's reported gluten free-ness), but knowing where those places are when you are in a new city is almost impossible.

     This application lets you find allergy friendly places to eat anywhere you go in the United States, how great is that! Now you can just say, 'Let me think about it,' while you plug your info into this handy app and let it do the worrying for you.

     Check out their website over at to see their new IPhone application as well as their awesome series, Let's Eat Out. Their whole goal is to help those of us with food allergies live a little easier, something that I give huge kudos to!

     Their website also has a search built into it, so checking that out would be well worth it, too. I ran a search for the restaurants here in Austin and most of the ones I expected came back with the search results, but a few important ones were left off like Mr. Naturals on south Lamar that serves a gluten free menu everyday.

     Are there any applications that you use to help make your life a little easier? Leave a comment and let me know!
Continue Reading...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Austin Ice Cream Festival

      It's 100* here in Austin, Texas right now and there aren't too many thing available for doing outside. There's canoe and kayak renting for $10 per hour on Lake Lady Bird. Add a six pack and a couple sandwiches and you've got a great afternoon!

      If canoing is not your forte, then there is still time to make it to the Austin Ice Cream Festival going on today at Waterloo Park, just east of the capital building. Enjoy an ice cream eating contest, a screaming for ice cream contest and a popsicle stick building contest. Oh, and mountains of ice cream to be devoured!

      There will be vegan selections so those with dairy problems can still enjoy the festival. There is a small charge of $5 to get in the gate, but sponsor donations will go to help out the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Austin, a great organization to support.

      You know where I'll be for the rest of the afternoon! Also, if you're looking for some real food while you're in the area, check out some of the amazing Thai places downtown or head up to the University of Texas campus near 19th and Guadalupe and check out Veggie Haven next to Brave New Books. Freebirds is also just south of Lake Lady Bird on the south east corner of Riverside and Congress. Excellent places for the gluten-free vegetarian!

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Continue Reading...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Indian Inspired Spinach and Red Lentils

      One of my favorite ingredients to cook with when I have no clue what to make for dinner is red lentils. They're flatter than normal lentils, cook fairly quick making, and they go really well with just about anything else making them perfect for using up the rest of whatever you have. Just like in this instance where I threw in the remainder of various leftovers into this. It turned into a tasty and satisfying dinner for me and the boyfriend.

Indian Inspired Spinach and Red Lentils

1 C Chopped Spinach
½ C Red Lentils
3 Shallots
2 tsp Butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 C Vegetable Broth
½ C Water
Salt, Cumin, Coriander and Turmeric to taste

      Heat skillet over medium high heat and saute shallots until softened and slightly browned. Add lentils and stir until lentils are evenly coated in oil then add liquids and stir well. Add spices plus salt and spinach and let cook until most of the water is gone. Taste to see if anything needs to be adjusted and continue cooking until lentils are soft – about 15 minutes total. Serves 2.

      Also, I just got my Vegetarian Times subscription in my mailbox yesterday evening and was thrilled to see it. I've been on a cupcake baking binge recently and little real food cooking has gone on (like cupcakes aren't real food?), but this issue gave me tons of new ideas to help get me back in the mood for real food again. Really, there is nothing wrong with two days of cupcakes.

Continue Reading...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Creamy Pasta Dinner

Just a quick post this evening to give you an equally quick recipe to make tonight. Yesterday's post where I raved on and on about Sabra's Hummus, I said that I would give you a great idea to use up the rest of the hummus once all the carrot sticks and chips in the house are gone. Hope you enjoy this soon, it's well worth it!

Ever since I stopped eating dairy I've missed pasta with cheese sauce of any kind and have tried various replacements for this craving. I tried doing the nutritional yeast route, but I purchased it from the bulk section of Whole Foods and it was contaminated from being near the flours and I would break out in rashes any time I ate a dish with the nutritional yeast included. I've also tried those almost unpalatable soy cheeses that turn gritty once they begin to cool down on the plate, but one my absolute favorite way to get that cheese fix I'm looking for is to add about one to two tablespoons of hummus right before I serve the pasta. It sounds so simple, but the creamy texture of hummus lends itself nicely to giving the pasta that cheesy texture I'm looking for.

Creamy Pasta Dinner

2 C cooked pasta shells (I use Tinkyada)
1 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic
1-2 Tbs Hummus
Italian Seasonings of choice
cherry tomatoes

Once you have boiled your pasta, set it in a culinder to drain while you use the pot the pasta was boiled in to get your 'sauce' ready. Turn the heat off on your stove top and place the pot back on the burner. Add the butter and garlic to the bottom of the pan to melt and throw in the hummus once the butter is good and melted. Toss the pasta back in the pan and stir until all the shells are coated evenly. Sprinkle on any seasonings you might want and add five or six olives and a couple cherry tomatoes for good measure. Serve and enjoy!

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Heart Died a Little...

     On a recent trip out on the town with The Artsy Tartsy Jeweler we stopped by Sugar Mamma's Bakeshop here in Austin hoping to find some delish gluten-free brownies to go along with the vegan cupcakes they make on a daily basis. I showed up only to discover they had discontinued their gluten free line! I spoke with the owner and he assured me that they were selling, but to truly be gluten free they needed a dedicated bakery to process the delicious treats in and that at this point in their business venture, it just was not a viable option for them. Totally understand and I really wish them the best so maybe one day they'll bring back the gluten-free line!

      The trip panned out well, however, despite the disappointment at the bake shop. I brought the boyfriend home some delicious Black and Tan cupcake - Guinness Stout cupcake and Irish cream frosting! He loved it to say the least.

      If you are ever in Austin, this is for sure one of the places you should check out on south first street. They do not use shortening and they are wind powered, how cool is that?

     If you're still looking for your gluten free sweet tooth to be satisfied, head up to Amy's Ice Cream and try out some of their vegan ices - very nice with the ridiculous heat we've been having the past few weeks. Each store carries different ice flavors, but they're all vegan so check em out! They've also got some of the best ice cream you can find in Austin. They've got a ton of locations, so there is sure to be one in your area.

     I've been dabbling with videos for the site, so you may be seeing one of those soon! Enjoy the rest of your day!
Continue Reading...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sweet Dreams

     It's almost time to turn in around here, but I was doing some last minute internet business and came across a rather interesting blog article over on Mommy Goggles about a new gluten free product by none other than *Betty Crocker*. That's incredibly mainstream and that makes me incredibly happy!

     There are four products coming out; a chocolate and yellow cake, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies. All very much a welcome sight on the baking isle. Go check out Betty Crocker's gluten free page, too!

      Sweet dreams!
Continue Reading...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pad-Thai Knockoff Power Lunch

...or dinner.

      I abhor thinking about what to make for a meal. I like to plan things out before hand so that I know what I'm making in advance giving me plenty of time to prepare anything in advance that needs it or make a quick run to the store for something I forgot to buy. It makes things go so much smoother for me.

      I planned out a quick meal a few days ago, but wasn't sur
e when it would get made. I ended up making it for lunch today and am bringing the leftovers for dinner tonight at work. It took 30 minutes from the time I got the ingredients out of the refrigerator until I was eating it. Perfect for when you're in a rush and need something more filling than soup or a sandwich – high protein, low sodium and even your vegan friends will approve this one! Give it a try for a surprisingly easy nutrient packed meal.

Pad-Thai Knockoff Power Lunch

1/2 Block firm tofu, drained and cut into bite size pieces
1 Green onion, chopped
2 c Boiled pasta of choice
Spoonful of peanut butter
Pinch of cayenne
Chili powder
Ground pepper
Garlic powder
Olive oil for frying tofu

      Fry tofu in oil over medium heat with pepper, chili and garlic powder until crispy on the outside. While tofu is frying, boil pasta to desired tenderness. Drain pasta, return to pot and add tofu, peanut butter, cayenne and green onion. Mix well and serve.

Continue Reading...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Gluten-Free Magazine

      It strikes me as odd that this past Christmas I bought a subscription to Vegetarian Times over any gluten-free magazine available. I did this for a number of reasons, but mostly because the gluten-free magazines are filled with articles I do not care to read and recipes that I cannot eat or modify easily. I happened to stumble across this gem of a magazine, however, and am quite impressed at what I have found inside and wanted to share it with you quickly before I run off to work.

      Delight Gluten Free Magazine is a newer magazine based out of Boulder, CO that covers all things gluten-free. They have a doctor Q&A section and an awesome start on a recipe collection - check out this 100% non-intimidating recipe for gluten-free Tiramisu. The gluten-free popovers look just as appetizing and they give a diary free version, as well. Starting in May they will have a full travel section to help you along the gluten-free trail no matter where it takes you. They also have a section called Healthy Living that shows you how to make ordinary meals a bit more healthful and looks like they're even having a Get Healthy Challenge for the readers. I think the best part of all is the Gluten Free Meals on a Budget section - just as much of a life saver as it sounds!

      Browse their website, read their articles, check out some recipes and let me know what you think! I might even have a picture up soon of some of my own popovers from their recipe!
Continue Reading...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gluten-Free Austin

      I had a great time out on the town with one of my sisters this past weekend. We saw a movie, toured a museum, hit a local bar for some darts and ate at a couple Austin favorites of mine. Also this past week, I got in an awesomely comfy tee from NadaMoo! I wore it out on Saturday with the sister and several people made a comment about the great dessert it was. People in Austin know their local businesses – especially when they're as good as NadaMoo!

      Speaking of local Austin business, if you live in Austin or plan on visiting and have never been to the Alamo Draft House, you need to make a point of going to this town icon. This weekend we caught the pre-screening of the final Futurama movie at a free showing. They serve tons of food and drinks while you watch movies there. They do some theme nights like Rocky Horror showings and 80's sing-a-longs and even Saturday morning cartoons served with cereal, but they also show some of the current movies out. It is an Austin favorite and worth the slightly long lines to see the good shows. (Get there early!) As a bonus to all us Celiac's, they serve ACE cider and have plenty on the menu that's gluten-free. My sister, who is not a Celiac, shared some chips and queso with pico, guacamole and jalapenos. Everything was tasty, reasonably priced, unlike some movie houses, and best of all did not make me sick.

      Another Austin favorite we hit up this weekend was Freebirds for the best burrito in town. For the Celiac crowd, they serve tacos or nachos made with 100% corn chips and tortillas. They only put in what you want and have a wide selection of ingredients. When my sister finished up she told me she understood what everyone was talking about when they gushed over Freebirds being so great.

      We had dinner out at Whip-In and while there is much potential in their homemade Indian food and newly acquired on-tap beer selection, the newly expanded staff isn't always the most helpful and the menu tends to change quite often making this hard to still call a favorite. It's a great place to stop on the way home from work and pick up to go Indian food with your beer or wine selection. They also stock lots of chips, salsa, frozen vegan and gluten free tamales, desserts, and baked goods from local bakeries making this a great way to support the local economy.

      We also got pretty silly drunk at The Dog and Duck Pub playing some form of darts. While this pub does serve a pretty serious lunch almost everyday of the week, their dinner menu is scaled back a bit to mostly finger foods making it not very Celiac friendly. On the brighter side, however, they do serve Woodchuck's Apple and Pear cider on draft at a reasonable price per pint. The atmosphere at the pub is a slightly older crowd than what you would expect for downtown Austin and offers darts, pool, boardgames and a pinball machine that seemed pretty popular. My arm is still sore from the epic dart games.

      I am hoping to showcase more things gluten-free around Austin in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
Continue Reading...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Heart Healthy February

      Happy February everyone! I hope the chill of winter is beginning to lift for most of you. I know the weather here has been gorgeous the past several weeks with only one or two days of dreariness. February always seems to be a busy month with people buzzing with the knowledge of spring just around the corner start escaping from the closed doors of winter. Many new developments have already happened this month - I have been doing more research on the link between Dermatitis Herpetiformis and iodine and have found some interesting things to share about that. Also, I just got in the mail my first shipment from an awesome online grocery store and things in the kitchen have been going well, too. I have been testing out new recipes and trying to do some sort of meal planning to make things a little easier on me when I get home at 2AM from work. I have been working on a few things for the Etsy shop, too when I get some down time (haha).

Goats to the Rescue?

      Recently on the internet I have been hearing some buzz about genetically modified goats that are producing human proteins in their milk so that medicines can be made from these collected proteins. Poking around a bit, I found that there are several different places around the globe that are using goats for this purpose. An ABC news article explains how at the UC Davis campus researchers have been able to make goats produce lysozyme, a protein that fights bacteria, in their milk. They never actually state the purpose of the drug they are making, but they do reference third world childhood disease in the article. This same article also references, but does not name, other drugs that are being made from a different set of goats that prevents clotting of the blood. This anti-clotting drug is being made for patients who lack antithrombin due to a genetic condition according to this article from the Washington Post.

      By far the most interesting article I found on this topic must be this one from the Telegraph. The article tells of a similar goat farm outside of Moscow that is trying to get a high level of a protein found in human milk, lactoferrin, from goat milk. The benefits of this would be broad – from helping women who have difficulty breastfeeding to treating cancers and digestive disorders. The last paragraph was what I found particularly interesting - the author casually mentions how similar studies are going on in China and Netherlands. I suppose it just strikes me as odd that the food industry is making a big deal about not having ingredients made with GMO (non-Genetically Modified Organisms), but the drug industry is promoting genetically modifying goats to make drugs. While I realize there is a potential good side to all of this testing and experimenting, it does leave me wondering why one side says go for it and the other says stay far away?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis and Salt

      I've read several forum posts at the boards relating salt and iodine intake to dermatitis herpetiformis or DH. Iodine is needed to produce the actual skin reaction of DH and the theory is that the less iodine you consume the less outbreaks of DH you will have. This sounded crazy at first but the more I researched it and the more I found that supports this idea, the more convinced I became. I've been using less salt for about a week now and I must say that I do notice a difference. I'm not itching everyday like I was and when I do it seems much less intense than before. I'm hoping to continue to see improvements in this area. I've been dealing with fairly constant DH outbreaks for the last two years as I'm incredibly sensitive to gluten and casein. (The carpet shampoo in my new apartment actually set off DH on my feet for the first few days we were here!) I've gone to no dairy even after losing my first loves, cheese and ice cream, so what should be so hard about cutting out the salt? I
do not really loose anything from cutting it out other than the pleasure of the taste. There are plenty of salt substitutes out there and the good news is that I've just recently fallen in love with one of them. Bragg's Liquid Aminos is a natural salt replacement and tastes wonderful to boot! I've been going a little nuts with it and using it in nearly everything. This will certainly be a challenge, though – much more so than going gluten and dairy free has been. I thought gluten was in everything, but salt really is in almost everything. I will be sure to keep updates on things that do give any sort of relief to DH – I know the nightmare it can be! For some good tips, check the forums for DH at!

Online Grocery Store (that is actually worth it!)

      A few days ago, the boyfriend and I got in our first order from, an online grocery store based out of Tuscon, AZ. We ordered right around $100 worth of groceries and got over 15 pounds of dry goods including nuts, cereal, quinoa, black and anasazi beans. We also purchased regular groceries such as apple sauce, gluten free bread and pasta, pudding mixes, a few canned goods and various glutenous items for the boyfriend. I was impressed with the quality and the wide selection they offer for the gluten-free diet. The site even offers cleaning products with labels you can read making it less likely to get glutened from your cleaning supplies.
      What I'm hoping to accomplish with these online orders is to purchase primarily bulk items as needed and visit the grocery store only for the produce we need. Hopefully some of this will be supplemented by the farm subscription and any patio gardening we do.

Glutened From Tea!

      Scouring the vending machine at work while famished the other day, I paid $1.70 (!) for a bottle of Lipton's White Tea with Raspberry to try out. Bad idea. Less than half way through the bottle I was light headed with a horrible headach
e and the beginning of hives. I contacted the company when I got home that night and they responded with the following email:

“Hello Patricia,

Thanks for stopping by!

Gluten is found in wheat rye, barley, and oats.

Because our products are formulated for use by the majority of our consumers, and not specifically for those on restricted diets, it is possible our product formulations may change at any time. As a result, we cannot provide a list due to several factors:

- Lists of this type reflect products as formulated at a specific time
- Possible that more products/varieties may have been added
- More important, changes in existing products may have occurred

Therefore, we suggest reading all ingredient labels carefully.

We hope this information is helpful.
Your friends at Lipton”

Thanks for nothing, Lipton. Too bad I'll never buy another Lipton product with 'natural flavors' on the label.

A Recipe or Two

      First off, I wanted to s
hare where I found the Mung Bean Flatbread recipe I posted earlier on the site. I could not find the source at the time of posting and had just gone from memory. I had suggested the recipe to a coworker and she reported the recipe I gave her came out a little wet, a problem that I have since ran into a couple times. This has led me to track that recipe down and share it with you so that you can enjoy it.
      Valentine's weekend I made a pot of white bean chili that lasted until noon the next day. The boyfriend and I ate and nearly all the company we had ate some, too. It went pretty fast and being it was such a hit, I wanted to share the recipe.

White Bean Chili

1 c Dried White Beans, soaked overnight or all day
1 chopped onion
3 stalks celery sliced finely
3 medium carrots chopped
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 stock cube
3 cloves garlic minced
oil for frying

Boil white beans for around 45 minutes with stock cube before starting pan for frying vegetables. Heat large frying pan with oil over medium high heat and add onion, celery and carrots. Saute for 5 to 8 minutes or until vegetables become tender and slightly browned. Transfer vegetable mixture, garlic and tomatoes to beans and continue to boil another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot with favorite gluten free crackers or toast.
Continue Reading...

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Blur of a Month....

      The past few weeks have been a complete blur for me. The last week and a half of January was spent moving and unpacking. Cleaning and dusting and getting settled in as quick as I could before I had to start a new job working an odd shift that puts me home close to 2 AM. I've had to rearrange my schedule a bit, but it didn't take long for me to get used to it. By nature I am a natural night owl and I do enjoy the hours. The boyfriend and I are also trying to get in shape for two races in March – the Texas Independence 5k and the Statesman 10k. I've been biking to work which gives me nearly 18 miles a week on the bike on top of grocery store runs and the like. The actual running will start sometime in the next week or so.

      I've stayed just as busy in the kitchen with new ideas and recipes to try as I
have been outside of the kitchen. Even now, I'm enjoying fresh baked chocolate macadamia cookies that I made earlier this evening and the boyfriend is eating a second plate of the quinoa stuffed peppers we had for dinner. There have been so many wonderful things come out of the kitchen lately that I'm not sure where to begin it all.

      The one dish that sticks out the most from this past month has to be the fettuccini with kale and pesto sauce from earlier this week. The hardest part was making the pesto sauce – other than that it was boil, sautee and mix together. Simple and delicious! Just the way I like it.

      Another success was curried cauliflower. A few months ago the boyfriend and I picked up some amazingly tasty curry powder that has the perfect amount of heat to it – I've been overlooking it for a while now, but when I needed to use up some extra cauliflower last week it was one of the only thing I had on hand. The combination of still crisp cauliflower with spicy curry and savory rice was wonderful. The curry sauce was a simple mixture of 2 tablespoons of curry powder dissolved into 1 cup of milk. I added the cauliflower to this and let it simmer for around 5 minutes. I dumped in a mixture of 2 teaspoons of sweet rice flower mixed with a half cup of water into the simmering pan and turned the heat off. The residual heat kept the sauce cooking long enough to let it thicken up, but not get too thick.

      We also got hold of some of the hottest cayenne we have ever tasted. The first night that we had it we added one half a teaspoon to a skillet of fried potatoes and onions we were having and neither of us were able to get through our meal without a sweaty brow, runny noses and a few tears. It's lasted us quite a while and we are trying to use it up, but it's proving a little difficult. We love spicy foods, but this cayenne is almost over the top.

      Collards have been in three of our last four produce pick ups from the local farm and I've had to find new recipes to keep things interesting. I tried a gluten free collard calzone that turned out a little dry and not very appetizing. The best way I've found of cooking the collards is to just boil them for about 45 minutes or so in some spicy, salty water. The collards will absorb the flavor and this gives you time to whip up something else to go with them. My meal of choice with the collards was beans and rice, as you can see.

      Most of the meals I've made as of late have been as simple as possible. Not only does it make things easier to make, but the closer the food is to the natural state the better it is for you. Lots of avocados, fresh fruit, salads and raw food bars have been our main snack foods with one large meal and one or two smaller meals during the day. Eating this way is best for our lifestyle – it keeps us going with all the energy we expend on a daily basis.

      I am toying with a peanut sauce recipe that should be coming up in a post soon. Also coming out of the kitchen soon will be some delicious pierogies and white chili! I have found a great recipe for a cheese sauce made from nutritional yeast, but the yeast I got is laced with gluten – I got it from the bulk section of Whole Foods, but the bin was surrounded with flours of various sorts and I get hives every time I try to eat it on anything. More on that when I find a better source. Until then...
Continue Reading...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mung Bean Flatbread

      This next week and a half or so I'm going to be absorbed in moving to our new apartment. We're getting a substantially larger place for cheaper than what we are paying now. It's a good move and I'm looking forward to it.

      Coincidentally, all this packing up has left me little motivation to cook anything substantial and I'm finding myself going for the easiest thing to fix in the cabinet. Several varieties of soups and polentas have been regular as of late with the weather change and abundance of vegetables we have had since our farm subscription. On the stove now? Boiling potatoes for
mashing later; tasty, little effort and highly satisfying.

      Here's another amazingly simple recipe I've been eating on for a few weeks now. This makes some deliciously crispy flatbread in about two steps. Amazing.

Easy Mung Bean Flatbread

1c dried mung beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 ½ c white rice flour
enough water to make a thin pudding like batter
dried basil
1 tsp salt
3 whole cloves garli
oil for frying

      Place the soaked mung beans, salt, garlic and basil in blender and puree for about two minutes adding enough water to blend into a smooth, thick mixture. Stop blender, add the w
hite rice flour and gently fold in with a spoon (this will help from flour flying all over the top half of the blender). Puree for another 15 to 30 seconds and add enough water to make a thin pudding like batter. The amount of rice flour and water can be altered to achieve a good consistency.

      Heat a little under 1 tablespoon of oil in bottom of nonstick skillet. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of batter to the oil, spread as thin as you can get it without holes and fry for 3-4 minutes per side before removing onto paper towels.

      This batter can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you're ready to fry one up.

      These also make great gluten-free pizzas and are amazingly easy to make. The hardest part is not eating the whole batch!

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

As Vegan As I'll Ever Be

      I'm about as close (if not too close for comfort) to being a vegan as I will ever be. I consider myself a strict vegetarian when I talk about my diet, but I find it easier to just say vegan when I am in a restaurant. The only animal products I consume, read ingest, are eggs and honey. Milk is out due to severe symptoms of Celiac's or else I would eat cheese like there was no tomorrow. I did for quite sometime until I realized the loves of my life, cheese and ice cream, were making me sick.

      Getting over cheese took several months for me. I realized it was the milk around April and gave it up for close to two months, but I went back until early October when I finally walked away for good. Now, even getting a single shred of cheese in my burrito bowl at Chipotle will leave me feeling like I just got punched in the stomach. Drinking a bottle of Vitamin Water containing magnesium lactate and calcium lactate left me with a hot, swollen face and hives down both legs.* It sometimes takes incidents like tha
t to make me appreciate the effort it took to give cheese up.

      Getting over ice cream, now that's a different story all together.

      If anyone knows Texas or knows anyone from Texas, you know Blue Bell. When I was fairly young my mother took me to t
he Blue Bell creamery in Brenham and I can still remember the excitement of getting to taste what seemed like dozens of flavors. My family grew up with Blue Bell and moving away from Texas found me missing it with a passion.

      Not a lot can beat a cold bowl of ice cream at night during the summer here. Or the winter, for that matter. That is one of the reasons I was so happy to find these two things at Whip-In:

      Nada-Moo is a grea
t dairy alternative ice cream started right here in Austin when Amy, the founder, working as a pastry chef and baker, decided to make a desert for her sister who suffered from serious food allergies.

      They use coconut milk, brown rice, chicory root and organic flavorings like maple and chocolate (watch out for the barley in the mint chocolate chip!). These natural flavors come together to make the smoothest, creamiest dairy free ice cream I have eaten. I normally have the same complaint from most rice-creams that they're too frozen – too hard to eat and enjoy and not creamy at all. Never have that problem with this brand. My only complaint, if you could even call it a complaint, is that most of the flavors come off a little coconutty, but this is seriously good ice cream. I love their slogan too – “When having a cow is out of the question” - vegan and dairy allergy friendly!

Ciao Bella Gelato:

      This gelato is alarmingly good, albeit a little expensive. With food prices what they are for me being on such an 'alternative' diet, I really didn't blink at the $4.99 price tag. Blood Orange is my favorite flavor I have eaten been able to get my paws on and with only three ingredients and 98 calories per ½ cup, this gelato is a true hit!

      The company started in New York's Little Italy and grew to
become a sensation in The City (NYC) having multiple store fronts as well as being served in some of the best restaurants in town. Go to their website and drool over the amazing flavors they have come out with. With another tasting tour coming up later this year, minimalist ingredients, real Italians making real Italian food and flavors like Pomegranate Champagne Sorbetto, what's not to love? The company has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Oprah's Favorite Things and even Rachel Ray has proclaimed her love for the Ciao Bella brand.

      While I realize these brands are not nation wide as of yet, they are available for ordering from their respective websites. The best companies to deal with, I have found, are the small family owned companies that actually care about their individual customers' opinions still. One of the main rules I live by is that if I cannot get a straight answer from the company, or contact them for that matter, then I refuse to do business with them. Shopping at small local grocers can increase your chances of finding little niceties like real Italian gelato. Go explore and see what you find!

* I contacted Glaceau, the company behind Vitamin Water and they informed me that their products are considered vegan and vegetarian and their calcium lactate and magnesium lactate are derived from sources other than milk. I am not arguing with the company over this, but I had a severe reaction while watching UFC 92. I was drinking XXX Vitamin Water and eating Frito Lay honey roasted cashews. I continue to eat the same cashews with no reaction.
Continue Reading...


Follow The Author