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Dem Wedges from Cooking Comically

If you like your cookbooks a little saucy (with a cuss word or two), check the new upcoming release from Tyler Capps: Cooking Comically: Recipes So Easy You’ll Actually Make Them.

CookingComically

Tyler writes/draws at Cooking Comically. The recipes are easy, hilarious and fun to read.

DemWedges

And check out his website for this recipe in all its glory, with the comics and whatnot! You will love it! OK, I loved it.

DemWedges2

I adapted the recipe a wee bit, doubling everything, since we have 5 hungry mouths to feed 😉 I cut the salt back and left out the called for onion powder…as…oops, I am out. No loss though, these potato wedges were some of the best I have ever had. creamy inside, golden tasty on the outside. I am thinking some Old Bay seasoning would be phenomenal as well. Oh, and make a big batch! The leftovers go great into breakfast burritos, just sayin’…..

Dem Wedges

Ingredients:

  • 3’ish pounds red potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Wash and dry the potatoes, cut into thin wedges, place in a large bowl.

Toss with the oil (hands work best), sprinkle on seasonings, toss again to coat.

Spread into an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 55 minutes, top rack.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy.

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Gingerbread Cake Drizzled with Lemon Sauce

It was a birthday in the house this week, and yes, I know that gingerbread screams of fall. Yet, that someone with a birthday loves a spice cake.
Gingerbread

An adapted recipe from the recently released Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking: Includes 250 Delicious Recipes, from Robert Rose. I was reading through the cookbook, looking for inspiration and happened to see the gingerbread. I liked that it wasn’t a frosted cake – and was only one layer.

Easyeverydaygluten

An interesting full-range gluten-free cookbook which kind of brought up something for me, that happened last weekend. I had heard a lot of good about Haley’s Corner Bakery, a few miles from where we live. It is a gluten-free bakery. I was hoping I’d find something for Alistaire, even if it was just a loaf of bread. Well…maybe I needed that sharp dose of reality – that I probably won’t be able to walk into a restaurant or bakery ever for him, for a treat. A lot of gluten-free recipes are bound with eggs. And I don’t blame them! The recipes with eggs work better most times. If one wants to bake vegan and gluten-free, you have a real learning curve. (It didn’t help either that the items with nuts were parked next to the nut free ones. Pretty cookies. Ah well!)

So, as I flipped through the cookbook…I got thinking about what we and the baby would all equally like, minus the eggs. I like when my mind has to tinker.

Gingercake1

I adapted the recipe I chose to be not only gluten-free, but vegan, so that Alistaire could enjoy it as well. I was trying to decide between Ener-g Egg Replacer or flaxseed meal, and after talking it over on Facebook, I realized Ener-g would make for a lighter cake.

Two little boys fighting over who was getting bites. Alistaire was miffed that Walker was jumping in his way 😉 I was quite happy with my adaptation. The cake was moist, mildly spicy and rich with molasses.

Gingercake5

Gingerbread Cake (Adapted from page 272)

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°, lightly oil an 8×8″ glass baking pan.

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over shortening. Set aside to melt and cool slightly.

Beat Ener-G Egg Replacer with warm water, set aside to thicken.

In a mixing bowl, sift together bean flour, sorghum flour, tapioca, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Resift and set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat Ener-g mixture, molasses and sugar. Add shortening mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients. Mix until just blended. Pour into prepared pan.

Let stand for 30 minutes before baking.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Flip over onto a plate, then onto another plate, to serve.

Serve with warm lemon sauce.

Gingercake2

Lotsa Lemon Sauce

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 small/1 large lemon)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter or Earth Balance Buttery stick

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add water, lemon zest , lemon juice and butter. Heat over medium for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Serve warm preferably.

Makes about 1½ cups.

Gingercake3

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy of the book.

Book Review: Homemade Snacks and Staples

Homemadesnacks

Homemade Snacks & Staples (Living Free Guides) is a new cookbook that feels just like me. As the authoress, Kimberly Aime, puts it “I grew up in the 1980’s, when processed foods were the norm and quicker was always better.” How she came to eating a clean diet parallels mine. You have to find out why it is good for you, before you accept the life change. While her book has a few meat and fish recipes, overall the book is vegetarian friendly. And the book does deliver – every staple item you could want/need for your pantry and refrigerator, along with small bites, snacks and even meals. This is a keeper of a cookbook, and a great gift for anyone who is learning to cook!

So, in all that I passed over the sunflower butter (I will be making it once I can source peanut and nut-free sunflower seeds!) and many other tasty items…and enjoyed one of my rare fish meals, which I enjoyed quite a bit. It was crunchy, moist and the artichokes/water chestnuts? Wow, why hadn’t I thought of that before? Way better than say celery…..

ManateeTunaSalad

Manatee’s Tuna Salad (Page 125)

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-ounce can tuna packed in water, drained (used 2 7-ounce cans Albacore)
  • ¼ cup white onion, diced
  • ½ cup water chestnuts, chopped*
  • ¼ cup artichoke hearts, drained and diced (used canned ones)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (regular, preferably organic, or egg-free for allergies)

Directions:

Flake the tun into a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Season to taste with ground black pepper, if desired.

*OK, I used an entire can of water chestnuts. I drained and rinsed, then drained again (it really cleans up the flavor). Try to find a brand with only water chestnuts and water and no additives.

We served the tuna salad over a bed of romaine hearts, thinly sliced. Each plate had one hearts worth.

Serves 3.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received a copy for potential review.

Book Review: The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook

Allergycomfortfoods

I have really enjoyed Elizabeth Gordon’s cookbooks, as I explore more possibilities for cooking gluten-free/vegan/allergy-friendly. Her 2012 cookbook, The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook: Every Recipe Is Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs, is a great read, especially if you have anyone in your household with severe food allergies. The wide range of types of recipes will inspire you to think a bit differently, even if you don’t need to be careful with your ingredients.

After going through the book, I ended up coming back to a simple dish of rice and beans. I loved the warmth of the beans and the brightness of the rice. Try it rolled up in fresh corn tortillas! Which leads me to something: I always hated corn tortillas. Dry, bland and crumbly. Then I had raw ones that you cook quickly in a hot pan. The difference is amazing. I am hooked. There is no comparison! I had fresh tortillas like 3 times in the past 2 days…that good!

Yellowriceblackbeans

Black Beans and Yellow Rice (as adapted from page 121)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp (or more ) fresh lime juice
  • fresh cilantro leaves, minced

Directions:

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add oil, onion and garlic, sauté until they have softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add rice, broth and turmeric and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover tightly and let cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine beans, cumin and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan, heat over low heat until just heated through. Stir in lime juice (I used a Tablespoon juice).

Fluff the rice, serve topped with beans, and a pinch of cilantro.

Notes:

The recipe called for ½ tsp salt added to the rice. My broth had around 500 mg sodium per cup. I didn’t feel it needed any extra salt, so left it out. Your taste may vary of course!

We topped the rice and beans with sautéed vegetables (not pictured) – a green and a red bell pepper and a large sweet onion.

~Sarah

Book Review: Outside The Lines

The PR pitch was that children would enjoy coloring Outside the Lines: An Artists’ Coloring Book for Giant Imaginations. Kids? Pfffttt! How about me. Hehehe.

Outsidethelines

My Mom loved to color with me when I was little. She would lay on the floor and patiently color, while I had the patience of a squirrel, unable to stay within the lines. I am sure it pained her 😉 Thankfully, as with many things in life, I got more patience. There was a reason she had the big box of Crayola Crayons, and I had all the lumpy, half-broken ones. Now I get the big box and Walker gets the broken ones 😉 And I got to spend a lazy Sunday, on the floor, coloring!

I love the concept of taking coloring books to a new level, take modern art and let the reader bring it alive. Brought to life by Penguin Books and curated by Souris Hong-Porretta, it is coming out in early September.

Me? I bought a 96 count box of Crayola’s and had fun. Even with Walker squawking loudly that he should have my crayons and book 😉

coloring

East River Tattoo, by Duke Riley. And this piece is the work of art on his tattoo parlor’s website front page, East River Tattoo, in New York. And I’ll admit that I didn’t research Duke Riley’s works before having fun doodling. I wanted it to not be affected by what I might learn. I went as fanciful and bright as I could imagine it. And my box of crayons even had glittery ones. I had forgotten how much I just love coloring!

Coloring modern works of art? Beyond fun! And hey, at least I wasn’t being forced to color Elmo or dinosaurs….

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy.

The No-Wheat Cookbook: Tuna Noodle Casserole

NoWheat

With the family falling into a mostly-gluten-free way of life, so that Alistaire can eat with us, I picked a recipe we might all enjoy from The No-Wheat Cookbook: Easy, Delicious Recipes for a Wheat-Free Diet. I hate sounding like I am getting on the bandwagon for no-wheat…but honestly, I have to say my stomach has felt better as I move us off wheat pasta (and all other forms of it….). We are eating less pasta, be it GF or not, and my stomach doesn’t feel like a lead balloon and I might add, this week we got home late, and I made a fresh tomato sauce tossed with wheat spaghetti….it was delicious and my gut hurt after it. Lesson learned. Once you wean off, you notice things. Which is a huge bummer, because as Kirk can attest, I reeeaaalllllyyyyyy love pasta. Maybe Alistaire’s allergies are a blessing? Kirk would say yes 😉 It is the pasta that does me in, not bread. Sheesh!

I grew up on casseroles, as I have mentioned before. Many involved cans of cream of mushroom soup and a lot of pasta. Our casseroles were heavy on carbs, low on protein (pasta is cheap, tuna not so much). I reversed that formula and Kirk loved it. One of our realties with a plant-based diet and a child with allergies is fish/meat has had to come back into our diet, so that he can get what he needs. I am OK with using a little here and there, if it is ethically sourced. Between Wild Planet tuna and making it gluten/dairy free with Go Veggie cheeze, we had a great casserole. All it was missing was a bag of crushed potato chips on top 😉

PS: Here is an option though – it would have been great with a can of drained garbanzo beans as well, instead of the tuna.

TN

Tuna Noodle Casserole (as adapted from page 166)

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces brown rice noodles (used twists)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups milk (used unsweetened So Delicious)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp dried majoram
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 (5 ounce) cans albacore tuna, drained and flaked (see above for a veg option)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (used Go Veggie, Dayia would work for a full veg option)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°, lightly oil or spray a 9×13″ baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, cook pasta as directed, drain when just al dente (I took a minute off the cooking time).

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-low, add in oil, onion, carrots, red pepper and garlic, cook for 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, and continue to cook for 5 minutes more. Take off heat, stir in tuna.

In a medium saucepan, whisk the milk, broth, marjoram, and cornstarch until smooth. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper/ Take off heat and stir in cheese.

Add cooked pasta to skillet, toss with vegetable mix, add in sauce and stir to coat. Transfer to baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. If desired, top with ¼ cup more cheese, and serve.

Serves 6.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy.

Zucchini Bread From Learning To Bake Allergen-Free

When I need inspiration that isn’t coming from the ever-growing stack of cookbooks waiting to be reviewed…I go wandering on Amazon. Amazon rarely fails in this: if I know a cookbook I like, I have many others presented to me that are similar. Then I go to the library’s website and start searching. Being that our county library system is massive (how big? 48 libraries!) and one of the most used in the US (it is a yearly battle between KCLS and one in New York – 22 million items circulated alone in 2012!)…well most times I can get the books I see on Amazon. It gives me a chance to find authors I might have missed and avoid stinkers (which is one reason I like the luxury of getting so many review copies of cookbooks!)l My goal was to find more inspiration in baking for Alistaire and the family. Finding gluten-free books isn’t hard, but those that are also egg, nut and peanut free? It gets a lot thinner in choices. Real thin. I picked up a pile of books and started flipping through. The first two went back into my library bag. One claimed to be nut free but wasn’t (really??), the second one used a GF flour mix in every recipe that was nearly all garbanzo bean flour (my stomach said nooo thank you!).

The third in my pile had me happy. It was that special-needs diet cookbook I was dreaming of. How had I missed it before? Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: A Crash Course for Busy Parents on Baking without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts by Colette Martin. And more so, it follows pretty closely to how we eat, unprocessed and plenty of whole foods. And will walk the shaky/nervous/overwhelmed through it (yes, it is a crash course, but there isn’t a learning curve  with allergens…ugh). And this is a relatively new book, having come out last year, with plenty of color photos, sprinkled throughout.

cookbooks-learning-to-bake

This made the most ethereal loaf of zucchini bread.

Zuke2

Ummm…this was beyond fantastic. Consider it this way: zucchini bread is usually a heavy loaf that is dark in flavor, texture and heavy in the stomach. This wasn’t that. The vanilla slips through, mingling with the sugar. It doesn’t taste gluten-free. Or allergy-friendly. If you brought it out and kept quiet, it would disappear quickly. Walker and Alistaire happily had it for dessert, and Walker ate what baby didn’t finish.

Zuke3

 

I took the boys out to the garden, and we picked a couple of small zucchini to use in it. There is something so cool about having fresh produce on the vine, waiting for you!

Zuke1

 

It never got above 65° today. What a way to celebrate the first day of August. No measurable rain in all of July, first day of August and it opens up dumping and cold. Loved it! The plants did as well….

The bread pulled together quickly, and was in the oven before we sat down to dinner. This could become a go-to for all those squash plants 😉 Yellow squash would be so pretty.

Zuke4

 

Zucchini Bread, pages 102-103 (adapted for our dietary issues)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour blend (see notes)
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum (see notes)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + ¼ cup warm water, mixed
  • ½ cup oil (called for grapeseed, used olive oil)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (called for hemp, used coconut milk)
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups zucchini, shredded

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°, spray or lightly oil a 9×5 bread pan.

Mix together the flour, xantham gum, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Blend together the egg replacer mixture, oil, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl, with a hand mixer on medium speed, for 1 minute.

Gradually add the flour mixture, blending on medium speed until the batter is smooth.

Add the zucchini and mix for an additional 2 minutes, until combined.

Scrape batter into the loaf pan, smoothing out. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or thin butter knife comes out clean in the center, and the top is turning golden. My loaf took a full 60 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes, gently flip over to remove, let cool on a wire rack before slicing (a serrated bread knife works well). Once cool, store covered, eat within a day or two for best taste!

Notes:

I used Trader Joe’s all-purpose gluten-free baking mix, a comparable version is King Arthur’s.

If the GF flour mix you are using has xantham gum, do not add any to the recipe. I used the GF mix I have, it imparts a light flavor, where other ones such as Bob’s Red Mill have a heavier taste (it has beans). Use what you prefer, but keep that in mind.

Overall, I bake with So Delicious coconut milk. I like the texture/flavor. My husband prefers to avoid Hemp products. As for the oil, I cook with only two oils: olive and coconut. Maybe I am used to it, but I love olive oil in baked goods. I don’t fine it strong at all.

~Sarah

Inchilotta Casserole & A Dilemma

The irony in Alistaire’s allergies is it took away my lazy cushion for cooking. Many of my vegan/plant-based diet tricks were not there anymore. Nut “meat”balls? Nope. Wheat pasta? Yeah, nope. Finely ground nuts in oatmeal? Sigh. Gluten-based faux meats? And a big fat no. There have been days where I honestly feel pretty sorry for myself, then I remind myself that of all the kids to have allergies, he is pretty fortunate. At least he has a Mom that can learn to adapt not only his diet, but ours. At 17 months he wants to eat with us now, not just have a pile of “baby” food. No dummy there. Even then, I can’t cook with many ingredients anymore around him, so that means I have removed most everything he is allergic to from the house. From spelt flour to pecans, to my lazy-evening dinner solution: marinara sauce with faux-ground beef tossed with whole wheat pasta. He eats that, we have issues. And I got the bill for his last two ER visits and gack, no thanks on that. Oh well, at least we have met our yearly deductible, must look on the bright side.

So my dilemma is how do I get protein into him? I would fall back on faux meats about once a week and the rest of the time it was heavy on legumes and nuts before Alistaire was eating solids. Baking has to be vegan/gluten-free still, to avoid eggs. But I am also realizing we will have to have some meat, until I can get his diet under control. Trust me, I do NOT like cooking meat, nor buying it. This recipe does contain meat, although it can easily be converted to using faux-chickn’ strips chopped up. This will I am sure lead to some issues with readers, as I have primarily posted vegan and vegetarian recipes the past couple of years. I am not one to hide though and pretend to be something I cannot be. If my using organic meat offends you, I apologize, but what choice do I have until I can figure out my baby’s health issues?

Still, I am happy to be able to make my son a whole foods meal that he can enjoy with us. My inspiration? A copy of, Eating Gluten Free: Delicious Recipes and Essential Advice for Living Well Without Wheat and Other Problematic Grains, published in 2004, that I came across in our local library this week. I found it gratifying to read an older book on GF cooking/eating, being 9 years old, it doesn’t have a lot of hard to find ingredients, that are now in style for cookbooks (don’t get me wrong, I love hard to find ingredients…but hey, it makes it easier with allergies to avoid them). Picking through the recipes I found a number that were good to use as-is and many I could adapt for B’s allergies.

eatingglutenfree

The Inchilotta recipe on page 41 caught me eye. It is the stuffing of a vibrant enchilada, and can be eaten as a salad, or baked as a casserole with corn tortillas. Yum! I had to try this out, so I got my shopping list ready and went to the farmers market.

EP2

Inchilotta Casserole (As adapted)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic chicken breasts (see notes)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans organic black beans
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 package corn tortillas (gluten and allergen-free), about 9
  • 8 ounces finely grated cheddar/jack cheese (see notes)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°, line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, spray liberally.

Add the lemon juice to a glass mixing bowl, place chicken in, turn to coat, let rest for 10 minutes.

Mix the salt, pepper and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Transfer chicken to baking sheet, discard lemon juice. Sprinkle the seasoning on top, flip over and sprinkle on the other side. Bake chicken for 30 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and tomatoes in bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Rinse and shake off beans, add to onions. Add the spices, toss to coat. Stir in cooked chicken.

Eat as, or add chopped romaine hearts and make a salad, it keeps great in the refrigerator chilled – or better? Make a hot casserole!

EP1

To make a casserole:

Preheat oven to 350°, oil a baking dish (I used a 9×13″). Lay down a layer of corn tortillas, spread half filling on top, sprinkle on 1/3 cheese, then another layer of tortillas, remaining filling and 1/3 of cheese, ending with another layer of tortillas . Sprinkle last 1/3 of cheese on top, bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

– To fit tortillas in dish, cut 3 of them in half, and use 2 whole ones and 2 half-moons on each layer.

Notes:

Use a favorite faux-chicken strips, chopped up, for a veg-friendly version. You won’t need the lemon juice. If your strips must be baked before, sprinkle the spices on, before baking. If going vegan, use a favorite faux-cheese.

~Sarah

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