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Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie

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Have you had enough pumpkin yet? Of course not, it’s only the end of September. I, for one, LOVE pumpkin, and when I was pregnant with my son, I couldn’t possibly put it in enough dishes. I’d often eat it straight from the can, or mixed with yogurt and agave.

Well, I wouldn’t say I’m THAT fanatical about it still, but I still love those big orange globes, so this year, I’m indulging in a sensible way.

Who doesn’t love a smoothie?

This is actually an adapted recipe, but feel free to tinker with it on your own as well!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie:

1 banana cut into medallions and frozen

4-6oz vegan yogurt (depending on how thick you like it, and I use homemade soy yogurt which is unsweetened and unflavored, but other plain yogurt would do)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/8tsp ginger

1/4c pumpkin puree

splash of non-dairy milk (depending on how thick you like your smoothie, you can actually mix it first and THEN determine if you need milk)
Put all of this in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add more milk if it is too thick. Enjoy!

 

Pst- In case you’re wondering where I got that sweet mason jar lid, you can buy it here or on Amazon. Their website also supplies glass and stainless steel smoothie straws!

Harvest Bread (gluten free, vegan, nut free)

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I love fall. It is my FAVORITE season. But this year, it’s my favorite season because I am REALLY exhausted from preserving the harvest. In Maine, usually harvest season begins mid-summer with berries, and ends late fall with apples and pears. But this year, with the exception of the latter, everything came at once- in only 3wks time. We had a very late start to spring, and a very early end to summer. It’s already only 70 degrees here during the day, which are typically late September and early October temps.

In addition to that, we doubled our harvest this year because everything was much cheaper. Last year, green beans were going for around $3.50/lb and this year, they were $.39/lb. That’s an incredible price- so we not only did extra produce this year, but we did double.

This is our harvest this year, with the exception of applesauce. We’ve decided not to do carrots this year because I’ve been ill. We have green beans, tomatoes, pickles, peaches, kale, strawberry jam, blueberry preserve, blackberry jam, beets, piccalilli, squash, zucchini, frozen blueberries, and rhubarb.

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And so, to celebrate, I recreated this old time favorite of mine. It’s traditionally called Harvest Loaf Cake, and contains a myriad of sins, including WALNUTS (*shudder*- my son is TERRIBLY allergic), but I’ve adapted it here to be healthy and allergy/Celiac friendly. Enjoy!

 

Harvest Bread:

1 3/4c all purpose gluten free flour (My pre-mixed blend is made of 1c brown rice flour, 1/2c tapioca flour, 1/2c potato flour, and 1tsp xanthan gum, but 1c brown rice and 3/4c garbanzo flour would work fine if you don’t have an all purpose on hand)

1t baking soda

1t cinnamon

1/2tsp salt

1/2tsp nutmeg

1/4tsp ginger

1/4tsp cloves

1/2c unsweetened applesauce

1c raw sugar or succanat

2 flax eggs (mix 2T flax meal with 6T boiling water and let set 5min.)

3/4c cooked puree pumpkin (canned is ideal)

3/4c dairy free chocolate chips (Rice Dream, Enjoy Life, or Ghiradelli semi-sweet is fine)

3/4c raw pepitas (they are the raw, shelled, green pumpkin seeds, unsalted, but alternatively walnuts can be used)

 

Grease a loaf pan and preheat your oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients, including spices and sugar. Then add your wet ingredients, including your flax eggs, applesauce, and pumpkin. Then mix in the chips and seeds. Pour into a loaf pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Bake approximately one hour. Cool outside of the loaf  pan to allow the edges to breathe.

This toasts up great in a toaster oven for breakfast!

Soothing Molokhia and Spiced Rice

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My significant other is um. Not really open to broaden his horizons in the matter of food. And let’s be real- I eat some pretty different things. In other parts of the world, bean burgers are felafels, and almost everything is meat based. An example of this would be his home country of Egypt.

Don’t get me wrong- he gets an A for effort when it comes to eating gluten free vegan noms. But the man can only take so much. So every so often, he cooks.

He’s actually a really skilled cook, and it’s obvious that someone along the line, probably his mother, taught him well. He even is pretty creative when it comes to accommodating our eating habits. The hardest milestone has been involving oil. I don’t consume oil as a rule because it’s bad for your heart. The middle east is known for it’s fried food and olive oil.

One day, I was not feeling well. I don’t usually feel well. So he told me to go take a nap and he would make dinner. I’m not going to lie- this sounded like one helluva deal, especially since he cleans up after.

When I woke up, he made this. Molokhia is a very popular Egyptian vegetable which is otherwise known as jute in the US. It’s a green leafy vegetable that you can find in the freezer section of your middle eastern or halal market. He paired it with rice, but he tells me that the broth is traditionally made by boiling chicken, and then you add the chicken as a side to the rice.

To make this dish, first begin by chopping up an onion and sauteing it until it’s slightly brown.

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Then add 3 cardamom pods that have been cracked open.

 

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Add a couple teaspoons of cumin,  liberal salt and pepper, and about 1/8c dried parsley. Then add 4c water and bring it to a boil. When the water is boiling, add your 2 cups basmati rice and bring it to a boil. Turn down your heat to low and put a lid on it. Leave it alone.

Sometimes a chopped tomato is added to this.

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See this? Add 3 teaspoons of it to 8c water in a large pot. If you’re using Edward and Son’s boullion, add 2-3 cubes. You want 6c broth and 2c water. Bring it to a boil.

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In a separate small skillet, saute an ENTIRE HEAD OF GARLIC that has been grated.

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It should be this color. Scoop some of the broth you’ve made in the 8c water, into this skillet to get the oil and garlic from the pan. Make sure it all goes into the broth.

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When the water is boiling, add the molokhia. Stir until completely thawed and evenly in the broth.

 

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Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Stir before ladeling out to serve.

And by now your rice should be done. You’ll know it’s done because it will be moist but not sticky. Stir it to evenly distribute the spice and onion, then serve alongside the molokhia.

Alternatively, you can mix the two dishes.

Enjoy!

Divide and Conquer: Oat free Yankee Apple Crisp

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I’ve been busy. It’s spring, which means yard cleanup, planting early spring crops, spring crafts, spring cleaning, and spring adventures (like my recent cluster of trips to the swamp looking for pussy willows…).

Mom finally got me some.

But you know how spring works- you start cleaning out your winter barrels to make room for fresh spring produce, and that usually means extra apples. What a perfect time for apple crisp!

Unfortunately, yankee apple crisp calls for oats, and due to avenin sensitive enteropathy, I cannot eat oats.

I threw together this lovely dish and baked it in my toaster oven! Here is our time-honored family recipe for apple crisp.

 

Ingredients:

4c peeled, cored, and sliced apples (about 6)

3/4c brown sugar, packed

1/2c all purpose gf flour (any)

1/4c puffed quinoa or puffed millet

1/4 quinoa flakes/brown rice flakes

3/4tsp cinnamon

1/3c softened vegan butter, margarine, or coconut oil (You can even use unsweetened applesauce, but it won’t be as crunchy)

 

Preheat your toaster oven 375.

When peeling and preparing your apples, if you’re not quick or do not have help, you can put the apple pieces in cold water with a dash of lemon juice to keep them from browning.

Mix together your sugar, flour, puffs, flakes, and cinnamon. Then add your butter. The mix will be crumbly.

Drain your apples well and put them in an 8×8 or 9in. pie plate. Using your hands, sprinkle the sugar mix over the top, spreading it evenly.

Bake 30-45min. This will brown a little dark when using vegan butter or margarine, but if it starts to burn, you can simply cover it with foil or an oven safe lid. I BEGIN baking this with a lid on, and then halfway through, remove the lid so the top becomes crunchy (this is unnecessary if making it with applesauce instead of butter).

This is done when the inside apples are soft and are bubbling under the crumble. I use a toothpick or chop stick and stick it into the center to test the firmness of the apples.

Serve hot or cold.

 

Hot porridge three ways

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This is a continuation of my “oats are evil” rant. For more on that, see this post.

The long and the short of it is, I have avenin sensitive enteropathy from my Celiac disease, and I abstain from oats because they make me really ill. That being said, I have had to work out a lot of “oat” substitutions, because oats are a great source of protein and whole grain in a vegan diet.

I have tried a lot of rice and hot cereals, but by far, my favorite is Bob’s Redmill Mighty Tasty Hot cereal (my mom SWEARS by Arrowhead Mill’s Rice and Shine Original). Bob’s, however, is made of brown rice, corn, buckwheat, and amaranth, which I appreciate because it adds diversity to my diet and they’re whole grains.

This porridge is really versatile and is perfect for THIS Irish girl in cold, damp, Maine springs. I’ve made it two ways here, but the possibilities are as numerous as oatmeal. I think though, that the difference you’ll find is that oatmeal has more of a wheat like flavor, and the corn in this makes it a bit more buttery tasting.

Begin by making this porridge as directed. You bring 3 1/4 cup water to a boil, then stir in your porridge. Whisk it. Then, you will add your additional ingredients before turning down the heat and covering it to simmer.

For pink berry porridge, add 1-2c mixed berries (we get a frozen package at the dollar store that is just strawberries, black berries, and raspberries), 1tsp vanilla extract, and 1/4c maple syrup. You can add a pinch of cardamom to this if you’re feeling jazzy. Stir in well before covering.

For peach porridge, add 1-2c sliced peaches, either fresh or frozen, 1/4-1/2c maple syrup (the peaches aren’t as sweet as the berries), 2tsp vanilla, and a few liberal dashes of cinnamon.

For blueberry porridge, add 1-2c fresh or frozen blueberries, 1tsp vanilla, 1/4c maple syrup, a few liberal dashes of cinnamon and a pinch of ginger, or 1/4tsp lemon zest.

Enjoy!

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Soaking, sprouting, and fermenting for gut recovery

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I ousted oats from my diet just recently when I discovered that I had Avenin Sensitive Enteropathy. This proved to be a terrible obstacle for me, since I enjoy baking with oats and oat flour for their elasticity. I have been working to convert some of my favorite recipes that contain oats, to healthier and safer recipes.

Additionally, I have been working harder to soak and ferment more of my food. I haven’t reached the stage of sprouting because I don’t grind my own grain and I don’t eat a lot of raw foods (raw foods are hard on the gut and the latest research suggests that our body requires cooking of many foods to make their vitamins more accessible for absorption. Dr. McDougall posted a speaker to his site here). Sprouting seeds is a process, and particular seeds are bought for sprouting.

As far as fermenting goes, every year we make pickles, and I also make this gluten free vegan sourdough.Believe it or not, making homemade yogurt is considered fermenting. I’m not into the water-keffir fad yet however, or kombucha, both of which are fermented.

I’m very interested in sprouted and soaked flours, however. I did some research and found some amazing gluten free sprouted flour companies!

The first one I found was To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. They say on their site, “Our new GLUTEN-FREE facility is open. We offer 12 gluten-free sprouted grains and flours! All of our sprouted gluten-free products are Elisa tested to ensure 10 ppm or less gluten.” They literally have EVERYTHING!

The second site I found was by Shiloh Farms, and they have a line called “Pure Living Sprouted Products”, which contains 11 different sprouted flours. They too are certified gluten free and test to be under 10ppm. Their products are also found through Vitacost.

I don’t have a cupboard full of these lovely flours, so I had to read up on how to soak my things. I prefer not to post the links to those sites, because while I had some odd questions answered, the authors are predominantly WAP followers (re: Sally Fallon groupies) and I don’t want to give their bad science any blog traffic.

So here’s the long and the short of it. All grains, nuts, seeds, and beans can be soaked. You can use yogurt or apple cider vinegar. You can soak your grains, strain and rinse them, and dehydrate them, or you can cook them. Soaking times vary depending on the food. I wrote a post on beans and how to soak and cook them, and cooking soaked rice is pretty much the same ratio to water, cook time, and method as regular unsoaked rice.

Flours are different though. I don’t exactly want to soak or sprout grains and grind them, nor do I want to soak flours and dehydrate them. There’s a shortcut. You can add your yogurt and wet ingredients to your flour and let them sit in a bowl, covered, in a warm place,  just like you would soak grains or beans. I added yogurt to this cookie recipe when there was none, and it turned out just fine. If you’re worried about liquid, you can reduce the amount of water or milk and replace the amounts with yogurt, or do half yogurt and half liquid. It didn’t make a difference that my flour had other additives like roots (tapioca and potato), which don’t have to be soaked. I also love Happy Herbivore, but too many of her recipes have oats in them, which I cannot have. So I have been adapting some of them, and this one just happened to be on her site:

Happy Herbivore’s Butter Bean Cookies, Adapted for soaked flours and oat elimination:

In a bowl, add:

1/2c brown rice flour, 1/4c potato starch, 1/4c tapioca starch, 1/2t xanthan gum (all purpose flour mix)

1/4c plain yogurt (I use homemade soy yogurt)

1/4c unsweetened applesauce

Mix well until all flour is moist, adding a tablespoon or so more of yogurt if needed. Cover with a plate or lid, and let sit 7-12hrs. You can sub the flour mix for any all purpose flour blend.

Add to the mix:

1c quinoa flakes* (I use Ancient Harvest brand which are small flakes and don’t require pulsing in the food processor)

1tsp baking powder

1/2tsp baking soda

1/4tsp cinnamon

1/8tsp cardamon

1/2c demerara sugar or sucanat (I use sucanat which is Dr. McDougall approved)

Mix well.

Then in a food processor, add 1/2c cooked/canned old navy** (white) beans and 2T of the bean juice or water with 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I use Frontier alcohol free, which is vegan/halal). Pulse the beans until they’re mooshed. Alternatively, you can do this with a fork.

Add this mix to your dry ingredients with 1/2c chocolate chips (some Ghirardelli chips are gluten free and vegan).

Make two dozen balls that are approximately a heaping tablespoon. Smoosh them with your hand into cookie shapes- you can moisten your hand with water if the dough is sticking to it.

Cook on parchment at 350 until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown. The cookies won’t turn completely golden like other cookies, so once the edges start to turn golden, pull these out, lest they become hockey pucks, and cool them on a rack.

*Quinoa flakes are cooked and don’t require soaking

**Side note: Butter beans are canned white lima beans, and I don’t prefer to use them here.

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Going Green pt.4: Learn how to prepare dry beans

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Beans, beans, the magical fruit…

Someone once asked me how I eat beans every day and don’t have gas. The answer is simple- I don’t eat canned beans. If you don’t know why canned beans give you gas, let me explain. Beans have a protective outer layer that protects it as a plant from pests, and they are high in fiber. When beans are canned, they are simply cooked on high, under pressure, for an extensive period of time. Additionally, canned beans are in an aluminum can that is coated with BPA. Aluminum is a neurotoxin, and BPA is an endocrine disruptor.

No, no, I soak my beans and cook them myself, but few people really know how to do this, or think it’s time consuming. This post is about how to do that!

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Did you know that dry beans are $1/lb? That’s the cost of one can premade. Depending on the bean, a pound of dry beans can yield 3-6 glass pint jars. Since cooking a pound of beans yields this much, you can either make a big batch of beans as a meal (think baked beans), put them in the refrigerator (if you think you’ll use them in a weeks time), or put them in freezer safe storage like mason jars (don’t forget to leave a bit of head space). To stack mason jars in your freezer, you can use clementine boxes.

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Beans are high in fiber, protein, folate, iron, b-vitamins, calcium, and much more. They are one of the healthiest alternatives to meat and a world-wide staple. It is far healthier for all vegans and vegetarians to consume beans instead of fake meats.

Think you don’t like beans?

Yes you do. You probably don’t like the tin-like gross canned beans. And you probably eat beans in more things than you realize. You undoubtedly like hummus, chili, baked beans, tacos, minestrone soup (or this Moroccan soup), Dominican beans and rice, black bean burgers…and much more. If you haven’t tried any of these recipes, I can’t recommend them more! (I recently discovered a cold dish called Cowboy salad that I LOVE! I also enjoy three-bean salads in the summer- a quick Google search will lend a thousand recipes of each). I even put chickpeas in my spaghetti!

So you’ve gone to the store and you get some beans. It’s ok if you don’t know which beans to choose. For soups, you’ll want chickpeas for ethnic soups, white beans for Italian soups, and kidney beans for meaty soups. For chili you’ll want black beans and/or kidney beans. Hummus is made from chickpeas and tahini. Tacos go well with black beans or chickpeas, and beans and rice usually use any kind of bean besides chickpeas. The rest is self-explanatory. I do NOT recommend that your first bean project be with chickpeas, and I’ll explain why later. (chickpeas=garbanzo beans)

If you have food allergies or Celiac disease, check to make sure your beans are not cross-contaminated by checking the label.

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Once you bring your beans home, put them in a large bowl, and rinse them a few times (you can also use a strainer). Then fill the bowl so that it has at least a 1:3 ratio of beans to water. I recommend that you fill the bowl as much as you can without spilling it. Chickpeas are very different. They are hard and take a lot of water. You will need a 1:5 or 1:6 ratio of water for chickpeas. They will also have to be soaked for a FULL 36 hours.

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Place the bowl in a warm place. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt (I use homemade plain soy yogurt). Cover the bowl with a lid or plate and leave it there 24-36 hours. I know what you’re thinking…won’t it rot?

No. It won’t rot. It won’t sour. You will not get food poisoning. The bacteria in the yogurt is going to break down your beans so that they don’t make you so sick and gassy when you eat them, and so you can absorb all of their nutrients. It’s one of the few things that wack-job Sally Fallon got right in her stupid book. Additionally, they must be covered and not open so that air debris and germs don’t get in and disturb the healthy bacteria that is partially digesting your food for you.

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Sally Fallon also failed to mention that you don’t have to be so paranoid about soaking, because one of those things in beans is called phytic acid, which we need to prevent disease, and it is often mostly cooked out of food, but folks with digestive disorders benefit from soaking, sprouting and fermenting. I am one of those people.

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I digress. After 24-36hrs, put your beans in a strainer and rinse them. Then put them in your crockpot or pot of choice, and either season them into a dish, or boil them until they’re soft. From there you can eat them or store them. In a pot stovetop, beans can take about 25-45 minutes, depending on the bean. It’s helpful to cook them in a large pot on medium high with the lid on. Beans foam when they cook, but it’s not a big deal. Chickpeas take FOREVER to cook- I mean an hour to three hours, depending on how many you’re cooking. How do you know when the beans are done? I use the “smoosh test”- I smoosh them with a spoon. If they’re mooshy like the ones I buy at the store in a can, they’re done.

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dish

This is my new favorite dish! It’s a carrot-ginger potato bowl with chickpeas and chard.  Link here!