Archive for the ‘Gluten Free’ Category

Root Vegetable Pot Pie with GF Biscuit Topping in a Slow Cooker (and a few other things with those root veggies!)

It’s been cold here the past week.  I’m not complaining; I’ve been sorely missing winter.  Of course the tiny amount of snow we got isn’t enough and I’m really hoping for more.  Regardless, it’s been cold and I’ve been craving ‘stick to your ribs’ comfort food.  I’ve been eyeing recipes for things like potpie but my son has an intolerance to potatoes and sweet potatoes and most recipes for things like this include them.  So I decided to get creative.

pot pie3I was also trying to not have to go out to the store.  So I used what I had and this was quite good!  Remember that pot pies are definitely something you can substitute with.  If you can eat potatoes, by all means, add them.  I think the sauce and the biscuits are really what make this wonderful.  Use what veggies you have on hand.

Root Vegetable Pot Pie with GF Biscuit Topping (Adapted from a recipe in ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Slow Cooking’ by Beverly Lynn Bennett)

Pot Pie Ingredients

1 acorn squash, peeled and cut into chunks

2 leeks, cleaned and sliced

4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2 rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks

2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks

2 turnips, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 – 1 cup sliced mushrooms

4 cups veggie broth

2/3 cup garbanzo bean flour

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp herbes de provence

salt & pepper

Put all your veggies, through mushrooms, into your slow cooker.  In a bowl mix your broth with the bean flour and the nutritional yeast, mixing well.  Add the herbes and generous amounts of salt and pepper.  Pour over the veggies and stir.  Turn on low and let cook 5-6 hours or until bubbly.

Biscuit Ingredients

1 1/2 cups gf flour mixture (I make my own to avoid potato starch)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/8 tsp xantham gum

1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp nondairy milk

3 tbsp grapeseed oil or other oil

Mix everything together until starting to become a ball.  Put onto a floured work surface and knead for about a minute.  (GF flour tends to not come together as well as regular.  I have found that using a silpat is worth the investment because it really helps me with things like this.)  Roll it out and cut squares of dough.  Put those squares onto the mixture in your slow cooker, trying not to overlap very much.  Put a wooden spoon or something that will hold the top of your slow cooker open just a bit on top, and let cook for 30-45 minutes or until it’s not shiny anymore.


This baby is going to be HOT.  So spoon some into bowls and let it cool.  Use liberal salt and pepper at the table.  My picky child, at first, only ate the biscuits and the carrots.  I made him take some spoonfuls and he said “I like this.  What’s this?”  It was rutabaga.  So he then proceeded to eat all the rutabaga pieces out.  It was a step in the right direction!

pot pie2 pot pie1I don’t think things like this photograph very well, but this was a basic comfort food meal on a cold night.  You could definitely add more spices if you like that, but we enjoyed the veggies in the broth.


So, an aside.  Since you’re doing all this work making the pot pie why not help yourself and do a bit extra and have more food prepped?  As you’re cleaning and chopping the root veggies, take any you have left and chop them into small pieces and throw them into a roasting pan.  You know how, since you used 5 carrots it left 2 in the bag?  Well clean and chop those and throw them in the pan.  In fact, use up the root veggies and chop them into this pan.  Put some spices on top.  Typically I like rosemary, but this time I used one of those spice mixtures I got for Christmas.  (Now is the perfect time to try out a spice mix you found on sale!)  Pour some good oil on top (olive, grapeseed, etc.) and roast at 450 for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Use the veggies in pasta, on a sandwich, or puree them with some nondairy milk for a fabulous cream soup.

Oh, and those peelings?  Don’t throw them out.  Nope.  Put them in a soup pot.  (Don’t use any peelings that are really waxy, and clean your leek pieces so the dirt is gone.)  Make sure your pot is at least 1/3 or more full with peelings.  Add some peppercorns and water to close to the top and simmer that for an hour or so.  Strain the veggies out and you’ve got your very own veggie stock for no extra money and very little extra work.


I’m including this post in Allergy Free Alaska’s Whole Food Fridays.  Megan is not a vegan but many of her recipes are and she’s pretty awesome!


The INAUGURAL Talking About Our Thursday Food Choices

So, on my The RA Vegan facebook page, we’ve been talking about making healthy food choices.  It’s a constant theme in my life, to be honest.  I mean, things are certainly healthier since I became a vegan, but you can still be a junk food vegan.  (The day I found out oreos were vegan was NOT a good day!) In the discussion it was brought up that I’m not the only one having these issues which got me to thinking……  So very much like ‘What I Ate Wednesdays’ (WIAW) we’ve decided to have  ‘Talking About Our Thursday Food Choices’ (TAOTFC – LOL).  So, every Thursday I’ll write a post about what I ate that day.  (Or, in the event of being super busy, on Friday.) On the facebook page we’ll discuss our choices through pictures or posts or whatever we decide to use to share.  That way there is 1) Some accountability and 2) we can get some ideas about what others are eating!  You can share on your blog or through facebook; or you can just read.  Whatever you’re comfortable with! I have to admit that knowing that I would be doing this tonight *did* make me think more about my choices.  When I did WIAW I would often decide ‘well, I just won’t count today’ and would eat something crazy.  Today I had no choice!  That said, this is NOT about shame.  If you eat 5 soy ice cream sandwiches then oh well.  Not judging here. For breakfast I had leftover pizza.  This is homemade pizza on wheat crust with sauce, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, and vegan mozzarella from Trader Joe’s.  I often don’t eat much for breakfast but I ate 2 pieces of this.  Interestingly, after one piece I thought ‘I don’t need another’ but I still ate it.  I got about 3/4 of the way through the piece and decided I was done.  Next time I’m hoping I can listen to that inner voice earlier!


Then I packed my lunch for school.  As you can see, it didn’t take much!  This is leftover Easy Red Beans and Rice and 2 clementines.  I have started taking time to sit in the teacher’s lounge with others and eat the last few days.  Typically I eat at my desk, working, but really that’s not the best thing for my emotional health.  When I went to get up after just a few minutes today (I had eaten very quickly) one of the women I eat with told me to ‘sit down.”  She was right.  I need to take some time to talk with adults during the day; to think about my needs. packed lunch Not long after, though, I realized that this wasn’t enough food and went into the stash of food I keep in my desk.

2013-01-10_13-49-49_412  There was only about 2 of these left but they were definitely good!  Then I taught the rest of my day.  On my way to work with one of my special girls I enjoyed 3 of these macaroons.


YUM.  I got these for Christmas and I’ve enjoyed every pack.  Truth is, that every pack seems to be getting better!  After working with my girl and a quick trip to the thrift store (as my 13 year old said, at 7 am, that he needed more track pants.  Seeing as how I couldn’t handle this request at 7 am, I handled it at night!) I came home to an amazing dinner that Mark made.


Salad, Vegan Lasagna, and a gf/vegan brownie topped with strawberries!  (There might also have been a piece of vegan garlic bread in there that I didn’t get to photograph!)

So, all in all not the worst day or the best day.  I need to eat more fruits and veggies and less processed foods.  I have already put the leftover salad in a container to take for lunch tomorrow, and have a container of pomegranate seeds to take in my lunch as well.  I feel like the snacks I had in my desk weren’t bad, but I think maybe I should pack more in my lunch so that I have better options like some extra fruit.  And today had more vegan cheese then I think I’ve had in the last 6 months; It just worked out that way.  That won’t be normal.

So how was your day today. both food-wise and non food-wise?  I hope it was a positive day and that, whatever food choices you made, you don’t beat yourself up about any of them.  Each moment is a chance for a new beginning!  (Now I need to stay out of the brownies as I put them away!)

Meals out in the second half of 2012


As I told you in my last post, there were a lot of reasons why I didn’t post for the second half of 2012.  But I *did* eat and had always intended to share these meals out with you.  Since I don’t see myself going back and doing in-depth posts about each of them, here are some highlights.  (This makes me feel better and lets me, with clear conscious, move on to 2013 posts!)

On a trip to Ocean City MD I shared a great night with my family and some close friends, and found a new place that wants to accommodate vegans.  My friends were staying at the beach and had emailed the owner of Crazy 8’s to ask if they could handle feeding a vegan.  They were very honest about not knowing exactly what that would entail but made it clear they wanted to accommodate.  There were several choices but I went with a veggie wrap without cheese and with homemade guac added.  Wow.


My daughter and I took a vacation to Connecticut to see some friends and they introduced me to all sorts of wonderful food!  Soups by The Soup Girl and Wendy’s Bites from Shayna B’s.  Not to mention the fresh Sun Gold tomatoes eaten right out of their garden and the amazing take-out they got for me.  I don’t even know where these pictures came from, but I know they were wonderful!

pizza cupcakesdairy free ice cream

We also ate at 2 vegetarian/vegan restaurants while in CT.  The Red Lentil in New Haven was a fabulous upscale place with lots of choices.  Vegetarian with vegan options and some gluten free options.  Unfortunately it looks like the New Haven location has closed.  Bummer, but it was a great meal!

020021024025028029 (Can you tell I really liked the desserts??)

After a trip to visit the Mark Twain House in Hartford CT we had lunch at Fire and Spice Vegan restaurant.  It was a small place with an even smaller staff and, unfortunately, we entered right after a huge party who didn’t have a clue what they wanted.  This meant it took a long time to get our food, but it was quite good and the staff were really apologetic.

meal2 meal 039 036

Fall found me mostly at home, so no restaurant meals to speak of.  But winter break found us on a few outings.  This was my second visit to the Great Sage restaurant in Clarksville MD, but the first for my family.  I’m the only vegan, but my son is gluten-free so I was happy to see that they could easily accommodate that.  (A funny story:  I told the waitress that my son is gluten free but that he’s ‘not adventurous’ because I was looking for things that were not spicy.  She thought I said ‘he doesn’t eat vegetables’ and was a little concerned that I had brought him to a vegan restaurant!)

These photos are pretty rough but I don’t like using my flash in restaurants and it was nighttime, but you can see the yummy goodness!  (Obviously I made a mistake and used my flash for the ‘chicken wings’ – best picture though!)

019 018020 021023 024025 027

And we’ll end with a restaurant we found in Tom’s River NJ through Happy Cow on my phone.  Via Roma is a small Italian place with an extensive menu that includes a full gluten free menu, a full vegan menu, and a gluten-free & vegan menu!


This calzone was amazing.   And this is the small; I still had to take half home!

Ok.  I feel better now.  I’ve shared all the restaurant meals I had intended to share and now I feel better!  I can move on to 2013 with no guilt.  🙂

Where have you had amazing meals out?  Especially vegan meals!

Gluten Free and Vegan Baked Blueberry Doughnuts – Oh Yeah!

Recently I’ve been on multiple vacations and I have *lots* to share with you about those.  I’ve got restaurant reviews from Connecticut, Ocean City MD, and Virginia.  I’ve had so much good food it’s been amazing.  But what I feel most compelled to share immediately are these doughnuts.  Man.

I want to start with a question, though?  Do you own a copy of “Babycakes covers the classics” by Erin McKenna?  If you are at all interested in vegan and gluten free baking you owe it to yourself to get a copy.  Seriously.  Buy it.

Now, the inspiration for these doughnuts came from that amazing cookbook.  I’ve changed up the flours and the sugar, and added some of my own ingredients, so I feel comfortable posting these.  But I’ve got to say that so much inspiration comes from this book that it is really worth having.

Oh, and a note about doughnut pans.  I bought just one thinking I’d try it out.  I enjoyed the doughnuts, but the process was a chore because it took so long.  So I broke down and bought another regular sized pan (which makes 6 doughnuts) and a mini pan (which makes 12 minis).  It has made all the difference!  I wouldn’t necessarily buy 2 pans to start but if you like the result and see yourself doing this more than once every few months, it’s worth it to invest in at least a second doughnut pan.

Gluten Free & Vegan Baked Blueberry Doughnuts

1/2 cup organic brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2/3 cup rice flour

1/3 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup hot water

1 cup fresh blueberries, preferably organic

Preheat the oven to 325.  Grease the doughnut pans with coconut oil or your preferred method.

In a bowl mix together the sugars through the baking soda.  Mix well.  Now add the wet ingredients (everything but the fruit), mixing just until combined.  Add the berries and carefully fold them into the batter.  Take a spoon and put some batter into each doughnut space, moving the batter around so that the entire hole is full but the center is not covered.  Bake for 8 minutes, then switch racks and bake for between 7 and 8 more minutes, watching for brown.  When done take out of the oven to cool but leave them in the pan.

Let them cool about 15 minutes.  While they are cooling make this basic glaze.  This glaze makes a lot, but I store it in a mason jar in the fridge for other uses.

1 cup vegan powdered sugar

1/3 cup hot water

1 tsp vanilla

Pour the powdered sugar in a bowl.  Add the water and vanilla and mix well until a glaze is formed.

When your doughnuts are done cooling remove them from the pans.  Be careful, some make break here but we just use those as testers!  Drizzle the glaze over top and either eat warm or let cool.

A few notes:  1)   I think frozen blueberries would work but I haven’t tried them.  Please let me know if you do.  2)  I think all coconut sugar would work but again, haven’t tried it.  3)  These don’t necessarily need the glaze, but they taste more muffin-like without it.  Still tasty, though.  4)  We can’t use potato starch at my house due to an intolerance but that’s what I’d use instead of the cornstarch if you want to sub it out.

I’d love to know if you try these!  My family gobbled them down!

Papaya Smoothie-ness

Given the chance, I’m going to sleep in.  Let’s just put that out there as what it is, fact.  So during the summer and on the weekends I often sleep in.  A lot of those weekend days, by the time I’ve gotten up, Mark has already been to the store and the kitchen is clean.  I know, am I a lucky woman or what?

For me it’s sort of like opening a gift, seeing what fruits and veggies he has bought.  This weekend he brought home a papaya.  Man how I love how they look!

Usually I juice them, and they have made some of my favorite juice ever.  But can I admit something?  (Is this the ‘Jen admits her faults post??’)?  The juicer was dirty and I didn’t feel like cleaning it.  Yep.  This incredibly yummy recipe came along because I was lazy.  Oh well, grab the goodness where you can get it!

So I decided to make a papaya smoothie.  I figured ‘the worse that can happen is that it’s yucky.’  But it was good.  Really good!  And while the orange color is a little different, I thought it was beautiful!

Papaya Smoothie makes 2-3 servings

1/2 papaya

2 kiwi fruit, peeled

2 frozen bananas

1/8-1/4 cup coconut milk

I have found that when your papaya is ripe that the easiest way to get the flesh out when you don’t care how it looks is to use an ice cream scoop!

Scoop the papaya into the blender.  Add the peeled kiwis, the bananas broken into chunks, and the coconut milk.  The amount you use is determined by how thick you’d like it to be.  Blend until nice and smooth.

It looks thin right away but thickens very well as it sits.

Drinking this makes me think of sitting on a far-away island near the ocean.  Even if I’m sitting in my house contemplating the next load of laundry I need to do.  Yes.  It was that good!

Yellow Squash Chips – Or “Have Aliens Kidnapped my Children?”

I’ve had a lot of yellow squash lately in my CSA box.  A lot.  And I’ve used it in all sorts of ways; Two recent incarnations are here.

That’s chilled  yellow squash soup and summer squash paella.  While contingents of the family did enjoy them, none of them got the response of “When can you make more??” or “The last one is MINE!”  Until tonight.

And it’s the least pretty of the recipes, as well as the easiest.  But this is the one the kids fought over.

Yellow Squash Chips

One to Two Yellow squash, cleaned

Olive oil  (I use spray in an atomizer – You could put some on a paper towel as well)

Coarse Salt

Heat the oven to 225.

Using a mandolin (or a knife with very steady hands – Mine could never do this!) slice the yellow squash very thin.  Spray a baking sheet with some olive oil or rub some on with the paper towel.  Place the sliced squash on the sheet.  They can touch, they will shrink quite a bit.  Spray or rub on a little more olive oil, and then sprinkle on some salt.

Bake for 45 or so minutes.  I’d start checking around 35.  You want them to be just starting to get dark.

The kids, seriously, fought over these.  They said they tasted like potato chips (T is intolerant of potatoes so we don’t get those much here) and T begged me to make more.  This one was a win!

I’m super excited to be part of Allergy Free Alaska’s first Whole Foods Friday!  🙂

And, since this is part of my CSA haul, I certainly couldn’t forget In Her Chuck’s What’s in the box? CSA link!

It’s been awhile since I joined Wellness Weekend but I think this one fits!

And how can I resist joining something called Healthy Vegan Fridays?

Raw Veggies Corn Salad

This is the first year we’ve gone with a CSA.  We’ve chosen Taylor’s Fresh Organics and get to pick up a nice bag every week.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do so I was very excited to start this year, and it’s been wonderful.  It’s definitely helped me to “taste summer” by having the freshest fruits and vegetables imaginable.

This week’s bag, among other things, included both corn and cantaloupe.  Some corn got boiled as usual, since T begged and begged for some to be prepped this way.  I will admit that I ate it with absolutely no adornment because it was that good.  And we all (ok, I) squealed when eating the cantaloupe because it tasted fresher than any I’ve ever tried.  And let me tell you, the Eastern Shore is the home of the ‘lope so I’ve had me some ‘lope.  But I love it plain and unadorned.  For me ‘lope doesn’t get any better than that.

But with half the corn I felt compelled to make something a little special since this goodness only comes around once a year.

Last summer I read some things about eating raw corn, but knew that I would only try it with fresh organic corn.  So now was my chance.

Raw Veggies Corn Salad

4 or so ears raw organic corn

1 large organic tomato

1 raw organic zuchinni

1/4 cup sweet onion

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp lime juice

½ tbsp. agave syrup

Salt & pepper

Husk the corn and clean well to remove the silk.  Scrape the corn off the cob into a bowl with a knife.

Cut the zucchini, the tomato, and the onion into a small dice and toss with the corn.

Mix the dressing together and pour over, using salt and pepper to taste.

Let sit for several hours for flavors to meld.

This is very fresh tasting, with a hint of sweetness.  There is a definite taste of the lime but I really enjoyed that.  This is one of those recipes that’s only made at one time of the year so, if you have some very fresh organic corn, it’s worth trying.  I figure I’ll be able to make it a few more times this summer and then the taste will be a memory until next summer.  It’s kind of fun that way, to be honest!

I’m sharing this recipe with Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Walking on Sunshine, and Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party!  And I was so excited to find out that there is a blog party specifically about what is in your CSA box!  So I’m going to link this to What’s In the Box!