And it begins…

We’re going Vegan! (I’m trying to get excited for this). My husband has EOE (eosinophilic esophagitis) and we have been dealing with severe food allergies for about 3 years. We have mastered the 6 food(dairy, soy, gluten, nuts, shell fish, eggs) elimination diet and I have learned to cook well within my new means but starting tomorrow we are going meatless as well due to continued food struggles by my husband. I’m very unsure of this new cooking rhelm, especially seeing as I still must avoid the six major food allergens but I’m going in with excitement. I plan to post my recipe for dinner daily as well as how we liked it. If you deal with any of these food allergy issues I hope to provide some food assistance and insight into how to still find passion in your food.

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Pumpkin Muffins

Wow – for being gluten, dairy, and egg free these are great.  My husband and kids loved them meaning they will most likely become a staple in our house.  They are pretty quick to whip up and stay fresh for about a week.  If you’re not gluten free I’m sure you could easily use regular flour.  We have recently discovered the gluten free pillsbury flour and it seems to do the best job of making baked goods.  Some of the other gluten free flours seems to have a tendency to not bake through all the way but this problem is avoided when I use the gluten free pillsbury flour so I will be sticking with this brand until I find something better.  We also have to avoid corn as well so I have to make a replacer for the baking powder which is listed below.  Enjoy!

Ingreditents:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour (I used pillsbury gluten free)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (I replace this with 1/2 tsp baking soda & 1 tsp cream of tarter)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I made my own – see recipe below)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned 100% pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup 100% canola oil
  • 1/4 cup rice milk (you could substitute any milk here)
  • 2 Tbsp regular molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon Sugar topping (1 1/2 Tbsp white sugar & 3/4 tsp cinnamon mixed)

Pumpkin Pie Spice:  mix together 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp allspice, 2 tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin cups
  2. In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients:  flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt
  3. In a separate large bowl mix together the wet ingredients:  pumpkin, both sugars, canola oil, milk, molasses, and vanilla
  4. Once wet ingredients are well mixed, add in the dry ingredients and stir until combined
  5. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 the way full with this mixture
  6. Once all muffin cups are filled, sprinkle each muffin generously with some of the cinnamon sugar topping.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  8. Remove from oven and let muffins cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing and eating.

 

 

Bean & Bacon Soup

It’s finally starting to feel like fall!  I love being able to make warm, filling meals during the fall and this soup does not disappoint.  If you follow the recipe as is it will make 3 large servings.  If you need more you can easily double or triple the recipe to your liking. If you can have gluten, this soup would be great with some warm homemade bread on the side.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices of thick bacon (I used Applewood smoked bacon)
  • 1 can great northern beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 carrot- peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery – chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion – diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (I use my homemade sauce)

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot cook the bacon.
  2. Remove bacon from pot and add in the chopped carrots, celery, and onions.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until tender
  3. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute
  4. Stir in the beans and vegetable broth
  5. Season soup with salt (if you feel necessary) and pepper
  6. Bring soup to a boil then reduce to simmer and heat for 30 minutes
  7. Add the tomato sauce and bacon and heat for about 5 minutes

 

Brussel Sprout Salad

I never had brussel sprouts growing up and when I first saw someone eat them in college I thought they looked and smelled disgusting.  Little did I know that years later they would be a staple vegetable in my cooking.  There’s a restaurant near us that makes a brussel Sprout salad and really should be credited with this recipe and my new found love of brussel sprouts.  It has taken me a few trials to get this salad to my liking but now that I have figured it out I would estimate that we eat this as our meal at least once every other week.  It’s a pretty easy meal to prep but I urge you to make sure you are using all fresh ingredients and find the pumpkin oil as it really makes a big difference in the finished product.  Enjoy!

Brussel Sprout Salad

Ingredients:

  • Fresh brussel sprouts – about 12-15 shredded
  • 1 medium sized shallot diced (red onion is also good)
  • 2 carrots shredded
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries 
  • 5 slices of bacon – cooked and diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin oil
  • Dash of balsamic vinegar 

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in skillet
  2. While bacon is cooking shred the brussel sprouts and carrots and dice the shallot
  3. Once bacon is cooked, save a little of the bacon grease and heat brussel sprouts and shallot in the same pan using the bacon grease…I typically heat for about 5 mins stirring often
  4. While this heats dice the bacon
  5. Once brussel sprouts and shallot are warmed, remove them from pan and combine all ingredients in a bowl.  

That’s it, quick and easy!  If you can eat nuts and/or dairy I would recommend adding some walnuts or macadamia nuts along with blue cheese or Gorgonzola to finish off the salad.

Side note: If you can’t find or don’t want to use pumpkin oil feel free to substitute regular olive oil and add a little more balsamic vinegar.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I started my own garden this year and really had no idea what I was doing nor did I do any research ahead of time.  Needless to say I planted more zucchini and squash plants than I’d ever need and ended up with tons of extra of both vegetables so I started looking for new ways to cook with them.  One of the best recipes I discovered was allergy free chocolate zucchini bread.  It’s probably the closest thing to a homemade dessert my husband has had in months!  This recipe does require some time and effort but when most breads and baked goods are not possible to create with the diet limitations we have, the effort is worth it.  

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini 
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour – I used Pillsbury Brand
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips – I use Enjoy Life brand 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda mixed with 1/4 tsp cream of tarter (this replaces 1/2 tsp baking powder which we can’t use)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs – I used an egg replacer powder here
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips – I use Enjoy Life brand
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp canola oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 325 degrees
  2. Shred the zucchini and squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible.  Set aside 1/2 cup for separate step later
  3. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave using 30 second bursts at 70% power and stirring in between til melted then set aside
  4. In a mix combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder substitute, and sugar 
  5. Remove 1 tsp of dry ingredients and mix into the semi-sweet chocolate chips
  6. Add 1 1/2 cups of the shredded zucchini to the dry ingredients and mix together
  7. In a food processor mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of zucchini, egg replacer, vanilla, and oil.
  8. Once blended add in the melted dark chocolate and blend again
  9. Add this mixture to your dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms (I use my kitchen aid mixer for this)
  10. Now stir in the semi-sweet chocolate chips
  11. Place the dough mixture in a greased loaf pan and cook for 50-60 mins.
  12. Remove from oven when a sharp knife comes out clean.
  13. Let cool in pan for about 15-20 mins

Enjoy!

Bean burrito goodness

This was a great surprise!  I’m not the biggest fan of beans and making the quinoa tortillas is time consuming, so I obviously wasn’t looking forward to this meal, but oh my!  The bean mixture was super easy and creamy!  The flavor was perfect and when the burritos were topped with my homemade guacamole the end result was delicious.  If you can eat corn, using corn tortilla or tortilla chips would be perfect.  Also, I think you could use just black beans and the overall taste would be about the same.  Due to my husband’s food allergies I have to make my own taco seasoning so I’ve included that recipe at the bottom in case you need it.  Enjoy!

Bean Burrito mixture(makes enough for about 10 burritos):

  • 1 can black beans – drained & rinsed
  • 1 can great northern white beans – drained & rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 8 oz cream cheese – I used dairy free Daiya brand
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning

Directions:

1.  Mix all ingredients in a small pan over medium heat until cream cheese melts

2.  Serve with tortillas or as a dip with chips
Taco Seasoning mix:

  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin

Stuffed Avacados

This was a make it up as I go kinda meal using some simple ingredients and some previous knowledge from other recipes.  You wouldn’t necessarily need to grill the avacados but I feel that grilling them first really added to the flavor of the meal.  Feel free to add corn to the quinoa mixture if that suits your diet.  Overall the meal took about 25 minutes and made 4 stuffed avacados halves which served 2 people.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 avacados 
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1 small zucchini – diced
  • 2-3 green onions – dives
  • 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:  

Start by bringing the quinoa & vegetable broth to a boil…reduce to simmer and cook for about 15-20 mins.  At the same time get the grill heated to medium and dice the zucchini.  Cut the avacados in half, remove the pit, and sprinkle with the garlic salt and pepper.  Grill flesh side down for about 6-8 mins.  While quinoa & avacados cook, whisk together the olive oil, juice from one lime, minced garlic, and salt & pepper to taste.  When quinoa is complete add in the black beans, green onions, and zucchini.  Pour in the lime juice mixture and toss together.  Once avacados are finished grilling scoop each half out of its skin and then top with the quinoa mixture.  Serve & enjoy!

Baked acorn squash with cranberry quinoa

What a perfect fall meal!  You could create a variety of toppings for the squash if you didn’t like cranberries and apples.  Overall the dish only took about 1 hour to make but was quite busy due to having 4 different dishes to cook at the same time.  I actually had the quinoa cooked ahead of time from a previous meal that saved some time.  The recipe below made 4 separate acorn squash serving and 1 seemed to be enough per person.

Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 apples – I used honeycrisp
  • 1 shallot
  • 6 oz fresh cranberries
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp dairy free butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Start by cutting the acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and then cut each piece in half again.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place each piece of squash on the sheet with the inside laying up.  Brush each piece with olive oil and then season with salt, pepper, and the fresh rosemary.  Bake the squash for about 45 minutes.  In the mean time, put the cranberries in a small pot with 1/2 cup of water and a cinnamon stick and start the get them simmering until they begin to pop (about 20 mins).  Next put the quinoa and vegetable broth in another pot and bring to a boil.  Once the quinoa begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and allow to cook until all the broth has evaporated…about 15 minutes.  Next peel and dice the apples and shallot.  In a small sauté pan melt the butter and then add the apples.  Cook for about 4 minutes and then add the cinnamon and shallots. Sauté for another 8-10 minutes until apples seem to soften but still are slightly crisp.  Add the minced sage to the apples, sauté for another minute or two and then remove from heat.  Once the cranberries are finished, drain the water and add them along with the apples to the cooked quinoa.  Remove squash from the oven when it’s finished, top each piece with the quinoa mixture and serve.

Quinoa & Squash salad

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new recipe but this one is worth the wait!  This is a great fall recipe and the ingredients combine for a nice sweet and salty dish.  My husband and I both agree this would be a great side dish for thanksgiving or a meal involving grilled chicken.  Since we are  Vegan we eat this as our main dish and its filling in that aspect as well.  Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 small butternut squash- peeled and diced into small pieces.  About 3 cups worth
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 cup quinoa – I use a combo of regular and red
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup green onions – diced
  • 1/2 cup roasted & salted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pomegranate – seeded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Dice up the squash into 1/2 inch cubes.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with 2 TBSP olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 25 mins.  Next place your cup of quinoa and 2 cups vegetable broth in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer an then simmer for 15-20 minutes.  When quinoa is done remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Add the squash, pomegranate seeds, green onions and cranberries.  Mix together and serve!

Summer salad with quinoa

This salad has become one of our favorite summer salads and if your quinoa is already cooked it’s super easy to whip up! I like to have a mixture of greens in my salad but you could obviously use the type you prefer.  The fruit ingredients could also be altered or added to but I do love the sweetness that the strawberries add to this salad.  We sometime top our salad with some extras like sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.  Enjoy!

Summer quinoa salad:

  • 10 oz fresh greens – I use a mix of spinach and arugula
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries – sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 peach – peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa – I used a tri-color mixed quinoa

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp pepper 

Directions:

If your quinoa is not already cooked, cook according to package directions.  Cut up all your fruit and mix with your greens.  Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.  Pour dressing over salad right before serving.

Veggie Pot Stickers

I was very hesitant to make these tonight as I knew I’d need to make my own gluten free dough and fry them myself which always makes me nervous.  I was throughly surprised at how easy these were and how well they turned out.  My husband and I both enjoyed them and are excited to try them again in other varieties.  The pot stickers did take a little bit of time to put together but it wasn’t hard, just time consuming.  Overall I’d say the whole meal took about 2 hours but that includes 10 minutes to make the dough, 30 minutes to let it rest, 20 minutes making the filling, 30 minutes putting the pot stickers together, and about 20 minutes to cook/fry them.  I think I could probably get the time shortened some with more practice making the pot stickers but either way I’m just glad they tasted good!

Veggie Pot Stickers

Dough:  

  • 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour (I use Namaste brand)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix the flour and salt together.  Then create a well in the flour and slowly add the water.  Either use a mixer to kneed the dough until a soft ball forms (this is what I did) or mix by hand until dough begins to clump.  Once dough clumps begin to kneed by hand until you have a solid ball.  Once dough is ready, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes.  

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage (I used green)
  • 1 cup portobello mushrooms – diced
  • 1/2 cup green onion – diced
  • 1 cup carrot – shredded
  • 4 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (you could also use soy sauce here)
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper

Prepare all your veggies and mix them in a bowl.  Next add the sesame oil, coconut amminos, and pepper.  Mix it all together and set aside.

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/8 cup sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced

Whisk all the ingredients together and set aside.

To make the pot stickers:

1.  Roll out the dough on a floured surface as thin as possible without getting it too thin.  You don’t want it to pull apart or get holes in it when forming the pot stickers

2.  Using a large round cookie cutter (the bigger the better) cut out the wrappers for the pot stickers

3.  Place a small spoonful of the veggie filling on each wrapper and then fold over the remaining dough and seal together.  Feel free to make fancy pleats on the closure if you’d like.

4.  Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a pan over medium heat.

5.  Add the pot stickers to the oil and begin to fry them.  Fry for about 2.5 minutes per side.

6.  Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan, reduce heat to low, and cover to allow them to steam.  You’ll need to move the pot stickers around and flip them during this time so they don’t get stuck.  Steam for about 10 minutes.

7.  When done, remove pot stickers from pan and place on a paper towel to soak up some of the oil.

8.  Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!