Grain Free Pizza

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2016-04-21 18.42.10

We are pizza fanatics.

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I’m just going to be up front with you and say that my pizza…is my favorite. 

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We try gluten free pizza often when we go out. In Seattle, in Idaho, in our hometown…but honestly, nothing compares so far to what we make at  home. 

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For some reason, restaurants can’t think out of the Udi’s pizza crust box. Every single time we spend $20 or more each on a gluten free pizza meal at a restaurant, I cannot wrap my mind around how a chef or restaurant owner would be OK grabbing an Udi’s pizza crust out of the freezer and serving it to their customers. Blows. My. Mind.

It’s dull. It’s flavorless. It is as exciting as cardboard on your plate. And don’t even get me started on the tasteless pepperoni, and overcooked sausage. Or the fact that none of these restaurants (even high end) understand that there is a readily available (even locally made!) vast assortment of goat and sheep’s milk cheeses other than the same old stand by, feta.

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Every time we eat pizza out, my husband and I spend a large part of our mealtime talking about how we would run a restaurant. From the quality and type of food we would serve, how we would treat our staff, and most importantly, how we would treat our customers. We are serious about customer service and all it entails.

One can dream.

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Last weekend we had high hopes for a little local restaurant we found. Outdoor seating (my favorite), smells of fabulous wood fired pizza…turns out, the server and the person making the pizza, weren’t educated about the ingredients in their gluten free crust, or in the pepperoni or their sausage…or even their sauce! We opted out of the meal. I choked down a really bad glass of Riesling and we moved on.

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This time however, instead of just opting out, I explained to the server why we decided to eat elsewhere. I told her that it’s my opinion that the servers and the people preparing the food should be well versed with what’s actually in their food. As a person with food allergies, I take a chance every time I eat out. I know that’s my responsibility, but a restaurant with knowledgeable servers and staff, makes me a repeat customer. She ended up being very kind about it, apologetic, and said she would speak to the owner about the entire restaurant becoming better educated. I was happy with her response. We tipped her and left and who knows, maybe in a few months we’ll give them another chance.  

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Pizza doesn’t have to be complicated for it to taste amazing. I’m all about easy food! Easy or not though, it has to taste fabulous, be a treat for the eyes, and have high quality ingredients. You can use crust mixes or come up with your own crust recipe, but either way, make it unique with all of things you love. 

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I like to use Chebe Foccacia Bread mix as my base. I add a little of this and a little of that, and before you know it, it makes the perfect pizza crust. It’s soft like “regular” pizza crust with crispy crust edges, has great flavor, and gets rave reviews every single time I make it. 

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Chebe mixes are gluten free, soy free, corn free, rice free, potato free, yeast free, peanut free, tree nut free, egg free, lactose/casein free, iodine free, sugar free, non GMO, and kosher certified.

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Grain Free Pizza

*Makes two 13″ pizzas

2 Boxes of Chebe Focaccia Mix

6 Tablespoons of Non Filtered Organic Olive Oil

4 Large Organic Eggs

1 Cup of Filtered Water

1 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Oregano

1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Basil

1 Tablespoon of Organic Garlic Powder

1 Can of Organic Tomato Paste

1/4 Cup of Vegan Pesto 

1/2 Cup of Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese, grated

3 Other Types of Cow Free Cheeses About 1 1/2 to 2 Cups of Each (We used two types of goat mozzarella – low moisture and Brazilian Breakfast and a Dutch Style goat cheese that is similar to sharp white cheddar), grated

About 3 Handfuls of Organic Baby Spinach

1 Organic Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced thinly

About 1/3 of a Medium Organic Red Onion, sliced thinly

About 8-10 Large Organic Cremini Mushrooms, sliced

1/2 lb. of Gluten Free, Dairy Free Pepperoni (We have Applegate sliced at the deli)

4 Gluten Free, Dairy Free Hot Italian Sausages (also purchased at our deli)

Avocado Oil

1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Oregano

Arrowroot or other GF flour for dusting hands, dough, and rolling pin.

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  1. Line two pizza pans with parchment. I lay it on top and cut it in a circle. Nothing fancy.  Set aside.
  2. Empty the hot Italian sausage from their casings and lightly brown in a medium pan with a little avocado oil. Drain on paper towels if necessary.
  3. Empty both Chebe mixes into a medium bowl. Measure in the oil, add the eggs, water, herbs, sea salt, and garlic powder. Stir with a fork until all the ingredients come together. 
  4. With floured hands, knead the dough until ingredients are fully incorporated and the dough is mostly smooth. Cut the dough in half and set each half on the parchment paper. (Remove the paper from the pans to make rolling easier.) Pat out each mound into a small circle, flour rolling pin and top of dough and roll to the edges of the paper. You can leave the edges as is, roll them up a bit for a thicker end crust, or crimp them. Whatever you like.
  5. Slide the parchment and pizza crusts back onto the pizza pans and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Spread the tomato paste – half a can each, (I use the back of a spoon) around each crust all the way to the edges. Do the same with the vegan pesto.
  7.  Sprinkle each crust with the Daiya cheese. Then sprinkle the oregano on both crusts.
  8.  Next, top both crusts with the peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
  9. Choose one of your 3 remaining cheeses and sprinkle over the mushrooms.
  10. Add the sausage to both crusts. Then the remaining two cheeses. Then the pepperoni.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

2016-04-21 18.42.10

 

Baked Potato, Spinach, & Egg Scramble

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2016-04-19 09.55.01

I am an early riser. Usually around 4:30 but no later than 5:30.

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This morning I wasn’t hungry when it was time for breakfast so instead, I waited until about 10:30 to have breakfast when I would normally be craving a mid morning snack.

So I was starving.

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Something weird is still going on with my stomach. I think I told you about all of the oysters and other seafood I ate while we were in Seattle a few weeks ago. I really miss all the fresh seafood we had living on the east coast. So…while in Seattle, I went a little overboard.

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I came home very sick and it lasted about a week. Now, a few times a day I’m still getting some strange stomach twinges. It’s messing with my love of food. I’ll have to increase the curcumin I’m taking I guess and the kefir to kill off any unwanted creatures hiding out in my gut. My husband is experiencing something similar.

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Needless to say, it hasn’t completely hampered my overall appetite for all foodie lover type things. Like big breakfasts. And this one has potato in it which is a special treat for me. I try not to eat them too often as they are high on the inflammatory scale.

The next time you make baked potatoes, bake a couple extra and put them in the fridge. They keep for several days. I used one in this scramble and it was delicious. I also like to use them for potato pancakes. When I bake my potatoes I lay it on a square of foil and drizzle avocado oil, sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt, and any other seasonings I like. I do this because I love the skins. Baking them this way makes for a very tasty baked potato with dinner or a very tasty baked potato breakfast!

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Baked Potato, Spinach, & Egg Scramble

*The majority of our diet is organic so while I don’t always list the food in my recipes as organic, it almost always is. It’s a good idea and a healthy way to live to strive to eat organic as much as possible. Potatoes are very high on the pesticide list, and don’t even get em started on the health issues concerning conventional eggs.

*This would probably feed two people a light breakfast.

1 Leftover Seasoned Baked Potato, cubed

About 2 Tablespoons of Diced Red Onion

1 Clove of Garlic, diced

About Two Handfuls of Baby Spinach

2 Eggs

Avocado Oil

Drizzle a little avocado oil in a medium skillet. Saute the potatoes until they begin to brown and add the onion and garlic and continue cooking. Add the spinach and toss until the spinach is wilted. Scoot the potato and spinach mixture to one side of the pan. Drizzle a little more avocado oil and add eggs. Scramble the eggs and toss with the potato and spinach.

Apple & Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

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How was your weekend?

Ours was fabulous! Spring has sprung in the best of ways. Warmer than normal temperatures and lots and lots of sun.

You know I love the sun.

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I’m sitting here in my office in front of a big window as I get this blog post situated. The sun is just coming up. Outside up to the left, there’s a mama Robin building a nest between an eve and the crook of a downspout. It’s amazing how hard and how quickly they work.

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She was here last spring and summer too. Unfortunately, another mama kept destroying her nest. Good mama kept rebuilding it and fighting her off.

Perseverance or instinct?

per·se·ver·anceˌpərsəˈvirəns/ noun
 Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

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Mean mama even tossed out all of her eggs. So there were no baby Robins to be heard last year. It tugs on my heart strings.

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This year she’s back with new energy and hopefully a new plan to fend off bad mama.

And believe it or not, I recognize her.

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I choose to believe that she’s back and building another home because of perseverance, not so much the result of instinct.

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She and I have that in common. We like to stay positive and keep trying, despite difficult conditions or “bad mamas” (anything or anyone)  who try to interfere with life. I  love seeing that perseverance in animals and people.

There’s a huge payoff in persevering.

Hopefully for her, the payoff will be peace in her new nest and new babies we can watch grow in a few weeks. Maybe she’ll continue to make our home her home and we’ll be able to keep track of how many babies she’ll have over the years.

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For me, the payoff for striving to stay positive and persevere despite “difficult conditions”, is always that I become stronger. Perseverance also makes us wiser, more joyful, able to count all kinds of blessings regardless of any situation, and then we can share that attitude in the form of positive support and love for others.

Apple & Cinnamon French Toast Casserole
1 Apple (I used Gala), Cubed (1 1/2 Cups)
8 teaspoons of Dairy Free Butter
6 Eggs
2 3/4 Cups of Full Fat Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray an 8×11 baking dish with coconut oil. Add the bread cubes, apple, and dot with the 8 teaspoons of dairy free butter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, coconut sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract.
Pour egg mixture over the bread mixture. Using a wooden spoon, press down lightly on the bread and apples to make sure all of the cubes have been coated. Let sit for 15 minutes, pressing down with the spoon now and then.
Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is browned. It should still have a bit of jiggle but not be runny in the middle. Keep in mind it will also set up a bit more upon standing so don’t overcook!
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Grain Free & Dairy Free Dinner Rolls

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What’s the first thing you crave when you have to go gluten free or grain free?

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Bread, of course.

I think it’s human nature.

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Not only do we want what we can’t have, but bread is comfort food. It pretty much has love and grandma’s house written all over it.

It goes with almost anything, it’s satisfying, and it makes your house smell amazing.

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Living on salads and meat on the Paleo diet or any grain free diet gets boring very quickly. When we’re bored with our food we do naughty things like eat foods that aren’t good for us.

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It’s my opinion, and the reason why I started this food blog, that people with food allergies should be able to enjoy foods like they always have.

Which includes bread.

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The only difference is that the foods we enjoy now don’t make us sick. They’re healthy for our bodies and don’t contain all of the fillers and preservatives and other unhealthy things we’ve eaten in the past.

I love these dinner rolls because they aren’t just designated to dinner. I use them for hamburger buns, sandwich buns, I cut them in half and toast them, and in the next couple of days, I’m going to show you something  extra special to make with them.

See you soon!

Grain Free & Dairy Free “Dinner” Rolls

*Makes about 15 rolls

2/3 Cup of Arrowroot

1 1/2 Cups of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

4 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum

4 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Sea Salt

2/3 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, cold

3 Tablespoons of Yeast

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup of Warm Water

6 Eggs, Separated

3 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Tablespoons of Grass Fed Gelatin

1/2 Cup of Cool Water

Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Measure the arrowroot, sweet potato flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk until combined. Measure in the dairy free butter and work through lightly with fingers until the butter is broken up throughout the flour. Set aside. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs to stiff peak.

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Warm the 1/2 Cup of water and add the sugar and yeast. Whisk quickly and set aside. In a ramekin or small bowl, measure 1/2 cup of water and the gelatin. Work quickly. Whisk together with a fork and microwave for 20 seconds. Set aside.

Add the egg yolks to the whipped egg whites and mix on medium to combine. Add the apple cider vinegar, the yeast mixture, and with the mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the gelatin mixture in.  Change the whisk to a paddle. Turn the mixer on medium and slowly add the flour mixture. Turn the mixer on medium high for 1 minute.

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The dough will be wet. With a spoon, scoop out 15 mounds of dough onto the baking sheets. It helps to get one had wet to remove the dough from the spoon in a round semi ball form. I like mine to look rustic, but you can also smooth out the dough a bit with a wet hand once it’s on the baking sheet if you like.

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Place the baking sheets on top of the stove. Spray two sheets of plastic wrap with non-stick spray and lay lightly over the dough. Cover each baking sheet with a light dish towel and let rise for 40 minutes.

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Remove the dish towels and plastic and bake for 20 minutes.

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Spicy Pork Loin Soup & Cheesy Jalapeno Flat Bread

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2016-03-13 18.16.38

Spring has finally arrived in our neck of the woods and it’s proving to be a really wet and gray one.

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Excuse the grainy pictures…last night’s pictures were brought to you with little natural light for photography by my iPhone.

I’ll admit we need the rain because we didn’t have a lot of snow over winter but those gray skies and buckets of rain leave me longing for sunlight and make me feel like hibernating.

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Spring usually brings lighter meals for us with a lot of grilling and salads but with this wet and chilly weather, a hot bowl of soup and delicious cheesy bread was just what we needed.

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Along with spring come the ticks. Make sure you’re protecting yourself and checking your pets thoroughly after walks and hikes before bringing them in the house.

We’ve already had one tick inside the house and two ticks crawling on Tony after hiking with the dogs. As soon as the rain lets up I’m going to be spraying the yard with the all natural spray we used last year in hopes of stopping the mass infestation that we dealt with the last season. We sprayed late as the ticks took us by surprise. I’ve never seen so many in one area and we had several in our house, it was very unsettling.

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If you’re bitten by a tick, be sure to go immediately to the doctor for antibiotic treatment. Most doctors are ill informed and will tell you that unless the tick has been attached to you for a certain period of time or unless you have the red ring rash, you don’t need to be treated. That is untrue and unproven.

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Most doctors will also ask that you or the tick be tested before treatment which is also a mistake. The CDC has already admitted that current testing is bunk and more often than not gives false negatives. It’s just simply better to be safe than sorry. If you’re worried about taking antibiotics, I don’t blame you. But keep this in mind, treating at the time of a bite will result in less medication and less antibiotic “damage” to your body and far, FAR, outweighs the consequences of living a lifetime dealing with chronic Lyme Disease.

Treatment in the early stages isn’t foolproof, but many people have found if they they are treated right away, they don’t have any future issues.

Keep in mind also that ticks don’t just carry Lyme Disease bacteria which in itself causes horrible issues. They can transmit many other devastating diseases and bacteria (called co infections) that when left untreated can cause a lifetime of very unpleasant symptoms and even death.

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That’s my public health warning for this season, please be safe and Happy Spring!

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Spicy Pork Loin Soup

1 Pound of  Pork Tenderloin (or chicken), cubed in bite size pieces

1 Medium Onion, chopped

3 Large Cloves of Garlic, chopped

1/2 of a Large Red Bell Pepper, chopped

1 Tablespoon of Cumin

2 teaspoons of Dried Oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons of Chipotle Chili Powder

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 15oz  can of Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed

64 Ounces of Chicken Broth

1 Cup of Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped 

In a dutch oven lightly brown the pork, onion, bell pepper, oregano, chipotle, and garlic. Add the garbanzo beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and simmer for about 1 hour. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Cheesy Jalapeno Flat Bread

*Makes 12

2 Boxes of Chebe All Purpose Bread Mix (it is grain and dairy free)

2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder, plus more for sprinkling

3 teaspoons of Dried Oregano, plus more for sprinkling 

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt, plus more for sprinkling

6 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

4 Eggs

1 Cup of Filtered Water

Arrowroot or other gluten free flower for flouring hands

2 Fresh Jalapeno, sliced into rounds

Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese

Sheep’s Milk Mozzarella

Sheep’s Milk Feta

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

Grate the Daiya cheese, mozzarella, and crumble the feta. The amount of cheese will depend on how many pieces of the flat bread you want cheesy. I did 6 out of the 12 and probably used about 3/4 cup of the daiya, 1 cup of mozzarella, and maybe 1/4 cup of feta.

Measure all ingredients except the jalapeno and cheeses into a large bowl and stir with a fork until thoroughly combined. Scoop 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheets and then flour hands and pat each dough mound into a circle. Sprinkle each  with sea salt, garlic powder, and oregano. Bake for 35 minutes and remove from oven and turn on broiler.

Top with cheeses in this order: Daiya, mozzarella, and feta. Place slices of jalapeno on top. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted and mozzarella is beginning to bubble. 

Grain Free & Dairy Free Crepes

2 Comments

2016-02-22 15.07.54

I can see these crepes becoming my new favorite thing.

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Crepes are so incredibly easy to make.

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Seriously.

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And versatile. I’m big into versatile foods.

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Crepe batter is made with few and simple ingredients and they are kind to whatever you top them or fill them with.

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Crepes can be dressed up with anything you like.

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Sweet or savory.

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Layered, rolled, flat…topped with mounds of coconut whipped cream, syrup, powdered sugar and lemon, filled with fruit, filled with chocolate, filled with vegetables, filled with meats…you name it, your options are only limited to your imagination.

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Monday, I topped mine with ripe bananas sauteed in dairy free butter and coconut sugar. Amazing.

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Tuesday, I topped them with coconut sugar powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Delicious and refreshing. 

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They keep well in the fridge if you don’t use them all, but I doubt you’ll have a problem with that.

Grain Free & Dairy Free Crepes

*Makes 8 Crepes

1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Flour

3 Eggs

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

Dash of Sea Salt

3/4 Cup of 100% Coconut Milk 

2 Tablespoons of Water

Dairy Free Butter for Frying

Whisk the flours, eggs, vanilla, salt, coconut milk, and water together well. I also whisked it every time I scooped batter to make a crepe.

Heat a non-stick skillet or crepe pan on medium heat. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of dairy free butter to the pan and allow it to melt. With a 1/4 measuring cup, pour crepe batter into the pan and swirl lightly to coat bottom of pan. After a minute or so when you can see tiny bubbles begin to form, flip crepe. They fry very quickly.

For the Banana Topping:

2 Ripe Bananas, sliced

2 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

1/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

Heat the butter and sugar in a small pan until melted and lightly caramelized. Add the bananas and toss gently.

2016-02-22 15.07.54

Poached Cod with Vegetables

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2016-02-22 13.12.10

I’m trying to be diligent about getting more fish into my diet. I ate a lot more fish and shellfish when we lived in New Hampshire.

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It was readily available and always fresh. Here, we basically live on the border of Washington and Idaho where “fresh” seafood means a little something different.

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We were spoiled in NH so it’s hard to get excited about seafood when it comes frozen (or previously frozen) in the grocery store. But I’m trying.

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I’m definitely a red meat kind of girl. In fact, if you put a rib-eye in front of me a few nights a week you wouldn’t hear any complaints.

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However, because I deal with inflammation issues related to Lyme Disease, my diet has to involve a  lot of vegetables and lighter meals as well as the occasional bloody rib-eye.

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It’s easy to get in the rut of baked fish dishes, but poaching brings a little something different to the table.

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It’s very easy and fast. If you poach it properly, the fish is amazingly moist and flaky. You can poach a large variety of fish with a large variety of ingredients which make the options endless. And lastly, I think it’s gorgeous.

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The contrast of the fish with the broth and whatever other ingredients you use can make for a really beautiful dish. Great for company because it looks so fresh and bright and like you really know what you’re doing.

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When in reality, all it takes is a few minutes to slice some vegetables, a quick saute, and then about 6 tiny minutes to poach the fish. Easy and delicious!

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Poached Cod with Vegetables

1/2 of a White Onion, sliced

1/2 of an Orange Bell Pepper, sliced

3 Large Cremini Mushrooms, sliced

4 Small (thin) Carrots, sliced

About 25 Heads of Asparagus

2 Large Swiss Chard Leaves, sliced

3 Cloves of Garlic, diced

2 teaspoons of Avocado Oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of Fresh Rosemary, minced

2 teaspoons of Fresh Thyme Leaves

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

Several Grinds of Pepper

4 Cod Fillets

32 ounces of Chicken Broth

Fresh Lemon & Parsley For Garnish

Prepare all of the vegetables, herbs, and garlic and set aside. Heat the avocado oil in a large pan and add the vegetables and garlic.Saute over medium high for a few minutes until the onions and peppers begin to soften. Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper, and herbs. Bring the broth and vegetable mixture to a simmer. Add the cod, cover with a lid, and poach for 6 minutes.

**Serve immediately. If you leave the fish in the broth on the stove, it will overcook and become tough.

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