Monday, August 30, 2010

Who said grain free had to be bland & tasteless?

My husband works the graveyard shift so we often have 'dinner' for breakfast this morning was no different, and my hubby graciously fixed everything by himself....what a guy!  We had steak, sauteed mushrooms (yummy), steamed broccoli w/cheese sauce, and garden salad w/homemade dressings.

We made Homemade Barbeque Sauce yesterday without sugar, it turned out really good, so tonight for dinner we are having:

Barbeque Chicken
Quinoa Pilaf
Steamed Veggies
Garden Salad w/homemade dressing

This was my first time cooking with Quinoa and eating it, it turned out really good, I didn't have a green onion or almonds so I substituted a little dried chopped onion and that worked well.  It really tasted good especially since we can't have Rice or Pasta (grains).  This new way of eating is teaching us how to flavor/season our foods a lot better.  Which is exciting and fun.  I don't know who is having more fun, Rob or I.  It's great trying new recipes and substituting things so we can have them.

1/2 cup carrot, diced                             6  cups quinoa, cooked (basic recipe)
1/2 cup green onion, diced                   1/4  cup olive oil
1/4 cup celery,  diced                            2  cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup green pepper, diced                    1  cup almonds, sliced
1/4 cup sweet red pepper, diced           1/4  tsp oregano
salt to taste

Sauté chopped vegetables in olive oil until clear, yet crisp: stir in oregano. Add sautéed vegetables to cooked, hot quinoa, mixing well. Add salt to taste. Dry-roast almonds in heavy skillet until lightly golden. Add almonds and mix. Serves 6-8. Quinoa pilaf served as a side dish with fish or chicken is delicious. Vary the pilaf using your favorite vegetables, or by cooking the quinoa in chicken, fish or vegetable stock instead of water.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cream of Mushroom Soup

We tweaked the recipe found in Betty Crocker's cookbook
1 lb Fresh Mushrooms
1/3 cup Butter (or margarine)
3 T Flour (we used arrowroot flour)
1/2 t salt
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 can (14oz) chicken broth (we used previously made chicken stock)
1 T dry sherry (if desired)
Freshly ground pepper

Our Tweaks:
1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon onion powder
Additional salt to taste once cooking
Additional Arrowroot flour to thicken so it was more 'creamy'

1.  Slice enough mushrooms to measure 1 cup, chop remaining mushrooms

2.  In 3 qt saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Cook sliced and chopped mushrooms in butter about 10 minutes (we added salt, minced garlic & onion powder here), stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown.  Sprinkle with flour & salt.  Cook stirring constantly until thickened.

3.  Gradually stir in whipping cream & broth heat until hot.  Stir in sherry.  Sprinkly with pepper.

Buckwheat Pasta Noodles & Mac N Cheese

Homemade Buckwheat Flour Noodles:
Equal Parts of
Buckwheat Flour/Tapioca Flour (we added 1/2 cup each)
1 Egg
1 teaspoon xanthan gum ---> the secret ingredient ;-)
1/2 eggshell of water (we had to add about double that)
**We think it may need an extra egg next time as it went soft & slimey, but still yummy!

Macaroni & Cheese
1/2" chunk off Velveeta Cheese,
1/4 cup of milk cook in microwave until cheese is melted.
We also added a little bit of pepper but that's optional :-)

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Raspberry Vinaigrette
3 T Rice Vinegar
1/3 cup of light flavor olive oil
2 T raspberry freezer jam
1 t dijon mustard
1/4 italian seasoning
1/4 t black pepper

Oriental Dressing

1/2 cup vegetable oil (we used light flavor olive oil as we can't have veggie oil)
1/3 cup Light Agave
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (we used 3 T rice vinegar for more of a kick)
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (we added 3/4 teaspoon instead)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gun (optional)

1. In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients.

2. Cover and chill.

Makes 1 & 1/4 cup

Grain Free Buckwheat Pancakes

1 c Buckwheat Flour
1/4 c tapioca flour
1 teaspoon Xanthum Gum
1 tsp Baking Powder (grain free)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp melted butter (or margarine --> margarine is inflammatory so we had to switch to butter)

***It thickens pretty quickly so may have to add a little more water here and there for 'easy' pouring.

Preheat griddle or large skillet (if electric) to 375 degrees F.  Grease lightly with oil.  Griddle is ready when small drops of water sizzle & disappear almost immediately.

Mix dry ingredients together; add egg, milk and butter or margarine, beating well after each addition.

Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto hot griddle. Cook 1 to 1½ minutes, turning when edges look cooked and bubbles begin to break on the surface. Continue to cook 1 to 1½ minutes or until golden brown.
Serve immediately.

Agave Syrup:
1 cup Agave Nectar
1/2 teaspoon Maple Extract

Orange Syrup:
1 Orange Juiced
Zest of Orange
Agave Nectar
Squirt of Lemon Juice
Ultra Gel (Modified Food Starch)

Strawberry or Raspberry Freezer Jam
1 16oz bag of strawberries or Strawberries took a hand blender to them
Agave Syrup to taste sweetness
Ultra Gel Modified Food Starch (thickener), as we didn't want to use Pectin as we didn't think it would set up right without sugar.

They puffed up extremely well and were very yummy!

Grain Free Baking Powder

Well we have starting exploring a bit, and since Baking Powder has Cornstarch in it we wanted to come up with something else, so we found this blog post:
And made our own grain free Baking Powder.  Using
1 part Baking Soda
2 parts Cream of Tartar
2 parts Starch (we used Arrowroot flour) 

The more we become conscientious about searching for things the more amazed I am at how many 'commonly used items' contain grain, such as Baking Powder.  But I am also excited and grateful we can find substitutions.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Seasoned Pork Chops

Since we can't use breadcrumbs any more (grains), I tried something new tonight, I tweaked this recipe:  I used our flour combo (Arrowroot, Buckwheat & Quinoa Flours Combo) and added the following:
1/2 t Onion Powder
1/2 t Garlic Powder
1/2 t Basil
1/2 t Parsley Flakes
1/2 t Italian Seasoning
1/4 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper (my hubby LOVES pepper)

The only thing I left out of the recipe was sugar, by accident, I forgot, I was going to add some agave to the egg mixture to give a slight sweetness to the mixture.   I also added the basil as I found it in another bread crumb recipe.

Then dredged the meat in eggs & then coated with the flour seasoning, and fried with Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the stove top.  It turned out pretty good....I'll let you know what hubby thought of it.

We also had Mixed Veggies, (I picked out & tossed the corn individually --> in the future we will buy the mixes without corn we had just bought this on Saturday) & a Garden Salad w/Romaine/Spring Mix, shredded carrots, shredded radishes, cheese, and a chopped fresh garden tomato.  See living Grain Free can be yummy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Harvest Pumpkin Spice Cake

Here is our first 'tweaked' recipe:  Even though they say 'bars' they turn out more like a cake. 

Here are our 'tweaks'
Bars/Cake Recipe:
4 Eggs
2 Cups Granulated Sugar (we used 1 & 1/2 cup Blue Agave Dark Syrup)
1 Cup Vegetable Oil (we used 1/2 cup Grapeseed Oil--> even before this we have never used the full amount of oil called for in cakes as we like a 'lighter' textured cake)
1 Can (15oz) Pumpkin (not the pie filling)
2 Cups All Purpose Flour (we used 2 cups of flour mixture (buckwheat, quinoa, & arrowroot)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 cup raisins (if desired)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (if desired) we used 1/2 cup Almond Meal Instead of Walnuts
***We also added Pumpkin Pie Spice to the mix (not sure how much just added to taste)
In tasting it after it was cooked we probably will add a little more Agave next time as well as a little more Pumpkin Spice, but it turned out delicious!

We did not make the frosting so no tweaks there (we didn't have any cream cheese)
1. Heat Oven to 350 degrees Lightly Grease Bottom & Sides of 15x10x1" pan (we used normal cake pan) and used an Olive Oil Spray to grease pan.  We also floured the pan with our above flour mixture.  In large bowl beat eggs, sugar (agave), oil & pumpkin until smooth.  Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger & cloves.  Fold in Raisins.  Spread in Pan.

2.  Bake 25-30 Minutes (Because we used Agave which is 'wet' and has an easy 'browning' temp, we cut the temp back to 325 and cooked for about 60 minutes total, but checked every 10minutes after 30 minutes.

The Journey Begins...

So it has been a tough few days.  On Tuesday we cleaned out a good portion of our pantry, and donated the items we won't be eating any more to Rob's brother Jim.  It was a lot of food as we had just stocked up several times in the past few weeks.  Among the things we gave away were rice, rice-a-roni's, instant potatoes, augratin potatoes in a box, cereals, breads, flour, cake mixes, tortilla chips, tortillas, some crackers.  It was about 6 boxes worth, and we probably have a good 2 or 3 more boxes that we have found.  We also shouldn't eat Margarine so had to switch to butter, we had 2 large tubs of margarine spread so we'll see if his brother wants that or not.   Then Yesterday we went to Good Earth, Rob was really struggling with wanting a piece of his Birthday Cake we had picked up on Monday from Costco (Carrot Cake w/filling), and so we went to go get some of the ingredients to make a cake at home.  We picked up several types of grain free flours Buckwheat, Almond, Tapioca, some Agave Nectar, found some Cod Liver Oil, that doesn't have a nasty fish taste since Rob is supposed to take that now too.  We came home and made a cake. 
We are Rob & Heather, have been happily married for 8 years. Well the day before (August 23rd, 2010) Rob's 40th Birthday we got some scary news from the Dr, he felt that Rob is sensitive/allergic to grains and they were creating a constant inflammatory process in his body. So this is our journey to be Healthy while Living Grain Free! What exactly is a grain free diet? Click Here to see what a Grain Free Diet is All About

Favorite Substitutions

These are some of our favorite substitutions:
When we say we use Baking Powder we use a substitution
Baking Powder Substitution
Our Favorite Sugar Substitute: ZSweet Natural Sweetener
Replacement for regular flour