Friday, November 14, 2014

Creamy Italian Stuffed Summer Squash

Ok, so technically summer ended a while ago, but I had this HUGE squash from my mom's garden that needed to be eaten and I also had a craving for something Italian.  Plus it's never a bad thing to reminisce about how warm and cozy the world used to be before winter came along (For those of you who don't know, there are only two seasons in Utah, winter and summer).  The only problem; how does one make something Italian with no garlic, no onion, no tomatoes, no pasta, and no dairy?  Due to my daughter's allergies, pretty much every ingredient that makes Italian food amazing was out.  I also had to make the recipe corn free as if this wasn't going to be a big enough challenge on its own. 
I was determined to overcome this challenge, however, since I really want to have more meals that both taste good to me and agree with my daughter's allergies.  Currently the list of meals that meet both those requirements is quite short.

Despite it's lack of many things that make great Italian food, this stuffed squash doesn't disappoint.  I kept the ingredient list short so as not to overcomplicate things.  I was actually surprised by how much flavor I was able to pack into this dish with just a few ingredients.  It's savory, but not overwhelming, which makes it the perfect dish for someone who is sensitive to strong flavors or who has allergies to garlic and onions.  Unfortunately my daughter didn't care much for it, but I feel like it's progress nonetheless.   I wasn't sure if I could learn to cook without garlic and onions.  To be honest, most of my garlic and onion free recipes still come out tasting not quite right, but I now know that if I put some serious thought into it, I can make good things happen.

Creamy Italian Stuffed Summer Squash
½ cup uncooked millet
1 pound ground pork or chicken
½ Tablespoon red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1 large yellow squash or 2-3 small squash
1 cup mushrooms
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon Tahini
Salt to taste
Vegan Cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a medium saucepan, roast the millet over medium heat until it begins to pop and turn golden brown.  Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.  Try to resist the urge to lift the lid.  The millet will cook up fluffier if you leave it alone.  You can also add a little oil to the boiling water if you wish but it isn't absolutely necessary.
  3. While the millet is cooking, combine the pork, vinegar, salt, sugar, and Italian seasoning in a frying pan or skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat until the pork is cooked through.  Drain off any excess grease or liquid.
  4. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and hollow it out using a spoon or ice cream scoop.   Chop the squishy squash insides into smaller, bite-sized pieces and set aside.  Place the hollowed out squash shells on a baking sheet and set aside.
  5. Chop the mushrooms and add to the pork mixture along with the squash insides. Continue cooking until the squash and mushrooms are tender.
  6. Add the milk, tahini, and cooked millet to the pork mixture.  Cook a few more minutes until the liquid has thickened slightly.  Add salt to taste.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the hollowed out squash, lightly pack the mixture down as you go.  (I had a lot of extra filling so I piled it as high as I could without it falling all over the pan.)
  8. Sprinkle vegan cheese on top of the stuffed squash (if using).  I thought it tasted great both with and without the cheese.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and the tops are slightly browned.  Serve with salad and bread if desired. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Kamut Graham Crackers

This recipe came about as sort of a necessity.  There is an Oh She Glows vegan pumpkin pie recipe with graham cracker crust that I've wanted to try for like a year now.  However, when you are a single mom with a 6 month old baby that has multiple food allergies, making such things becomes too much of a hassle.  Now I have a 16 month old who LOVES graham crackers and snacks in general.  In fact, she is getting to the point where she has to have snacks to get through the day.  Usually we just have dried fruit or Arrowhead Mills Kamut puffs, but those get old fast, even for a toddler.  Sometimes as a special treat we have plantain, potato, or lentil chips but those are expensive and are not very fulfilling as snacks.  My daughter is also in daycare now that school is back in session, which means she gets to watch all of the other kids have snacks while she has none.  It only seemed right to expand our snack repertoire. 

 I almost never make snacky stuff because it's all I can do to get breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the table, but when she got a hold of a wheat and corn filled graham cracker at daycare the other day, I figured what the heck; why not make some for her and have some for my vegan pumpkin pie recipe as an added bonus. Win, win!

This recipe worked out quite nicely with the Kamut flour and it's pretty easy to make.  I went from start to putting it in the oven in under 20 minutes which is another win since that's about how long I can keep my daughter from going into hysterics because I'm cooking and not giving all of my undivided attention to her.  It ends up being worth it though because these delightful crackers are 100% kid approved.   

These crackers are mildy sweet with a light, airy crunch and they are healthier than your traditional store bought graham crackers, which is yet another win.  I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure they would also taste great with a glass of non-dairy milk or with some melted chocolate and marshmallows.  I can't wait to try them out on my pumpkin pie recipe.  I'll let you know how that goes.
Kamut Graham Crackers

½ Tablespoon ground flax seed meal
¼ cup coconut oil
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk
1 ½ Tablespoons water

1 cup Kamut brand flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flax seed meal, coconut oil, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, and water.  Let sit for a few minutes while the flax meal sets.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Mix well.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until there are no dry spots.  The dough should be slightly crumbly but should stick together if you mush it with your hands.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil (I didn't have much success with wax paper).
  6. Place another piece of parchment paper or saran wrap on top of the dough and roll the dough out until it is fairly thin (approximately 1/4- 1/8 of an inch).  The baking soda will make it puff up a bit so rolling it thinner will help make the crackers crunchier. 
  7. Cut the crackers into your desired size and shape using a pizza cutter, cookie cutter or pastry slicer and poke a few fork pricks into each cracker.
  8. Bake the crackers at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown.  The crackers will be slightly spongy when you first pull them out of the oven but they will crisp up as they cool down.
  9. Store the crackers in an air-tight container or zip lock bag to keep them fresh.

Note: If you prefer not to use coconut oil you can sub another oil, preferably a light oil in its place.  You may need to make some adjustments to cooking time and wet to dry ratio, however, to get the same light crisp that the coconut oil provides.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dairy Free Chicken Alfredo Pizza with Kamut Crust

Ok so I've been totally slacking on the blog for the past several weeks.  It's just been so crazy trying to start a new job, new daycare, a new schedule, and balance regular every day life as we know it.  I've actually been on a soup kick the last several weeks because it's easy and cheap, and there are a ton of great recipes out there.  However, after a month of soup, I find myself craving home made pizza more and more.  This particular one was inspired by Papa Murphy's Chicken Bacon Artichoke DeLite pizza.  Although I usually prefer my pizza loaded up with vegetables, I will always make an exception for the Chicken Bacon Artichoke pizza.  It really is one of the best pizzas ever invented in my opinion.  The whole time I was breastfeeding, I was craving it like crazy.  So I took on the challenge of making a dairy free version that was also safe for my little one to eat.  It actually ended up being a lot easier than I expected.  With an alfredo sauce inspired by a recipe by Angela Liddon, auther of "Oh She Glows," and a pizza crust recipe that my brother brought home from home ec in school (I found that this particular recipe works well with Kamut), I was easily able to create what just might be the greatest dairy free pizza ever.  I made this pizza for my dad and step mom and I think I blew their minds.  They totally weren't expecting a dairy free pizza to taste this good.   It is time consuming to make so I don't make it often, but the finished product is well worth the work.  P.S. sorry about the funky coloring on some of the pictures.  I got caught taking them at an awkward time of day. 

Dairy Free Chicken Alfredo Pizza

 For the Kamut Crust
(Makes two 14 inch pizza crusts)


2 cups warm water
6 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/4 cups Kamut flour

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Mix water, sugar, oil, and yeast in a mixing bowl and let sit for a few minutes to activate yeast.
  3. Add the salt and flour and mix until combined.  The dough should be firm but slightly sticky. You may need to add more or less flour to get this consistency. 
  4. Divide the dough in half.  Roll out each half to fit the pan (approximately 14 inches).  You may need to use extra flour or oil as you roll the dough out to keep it from sticking. 
  5. If using a stone pizza pan, sprinkle the pan with a little Kamut flour to prevent the dough from sticking.  If using a regular pan, you can either use flour or spray the pan with oil. 
  6. Place the dough on the pan.  If desired you can fold up the sides for a thicker crust. 
  7. Add sauce and toppings to the pizza.

* For a gluten free option, use gluten free crust of choice

For the Sauce


6 cloves garlic
1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight and drained)
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon tahini
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons Braggs Amino Acids or Soy Sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
2G Tablespoons almond milk or non-dairy milk of chioce

  1. Place the garlic in a food processor and blend until finely minced.
  2. Add the cashews and blend until smooth being careful not to over blend (you do not want cashew butter).
  3. Add the nutritional yeast, tahini, lemon juice, Braggs, salt, and almond milk.  Continue blending until you have a nice creamy consistency.  If the sauce is too thick for your liking, just add a little extra almond milk.
  4. Spread the sauce over the crust and add toppings

Optional Pizza Toppings

Really any toppings would taste great on this pizza, but here is a list of suggestions.

Green or Red Onions
Bell Peppers
Vegan Cheese (I used Vegan Gourmet)
Marinated Artichoke Hearts (I used Reese's Grilled Artichoke Hearts because they are free of citric acid)

Any other toppings you would like

Cooking Instructions:

Once the pizza is assembled, bake at 450 degrees for 8-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Grain Free Hoppin' John

I actually eat this stuff for breakfast.  The inspiration came from a few sources actually.  The first was my mother who suggested that I start thinking outside the box in terms of breakfast food.  Restrictions on eggs, grains, and dairy left me with few good, quick options in the morning.  This has bacon in it so it totally counts as breakfast.  The second inspiration came from my sort-of southern roots.  I've known about Hoppin' John since I was a kid.  I loved the American Girls series and my parents had gotten me some of the cookbooks for Christmas.  Traditionally it's made with rice, but since that wasn't an option, I decided to add more beans.... plus some veggies and spices.  After living in Virginia for 4 years and then going on an allergen friendly diet, I was actually craving some good old Southern cooking.  Unfortunately in the South, everything gets breaded, fried, dipped in cream, and smothered in butter.  While all of these things make Southern cooking the wonderful cuisine that it is, they are not on the approved allergy list.  That made Hoppin' John, a good option for a blog post.  Just a side note, I'm presently attempting to think up a recipe for fried chicken with Kamut flour and no dairy.  I'll let you know how that works out.  Until then, enjoy some grain-free Hoppin John for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, or all three.  This dish is both easy to make and budget friendly so you can eat a lot of it and feel great about it because it's good for your body, and your pocketbook.

 Traditionally, Hoppin' John is made with rice.  If you would like to add rice feel free.  Just substitute any amount of beans for an equal amount of rice.  I also use pickled jalapeño.  It adds a great flavor to the dish, and it tends to be a little milder than fresh jalapeño.  It also keeps for long periods of time (we aren't big jalepeno eaters here).  However, I have used fresh jalapeño in a pinch and it came out great.

Grain Free Hoppin' John
3 slices bacon
1 clove garlic
1 green pepper
1/2 cup onion
1 Tablespoon pickled jalapeño (or fresh)
3 cups black eyed peas (2 cans)
1 cup black beans (1 can)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste 
  1. In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until it is crispy.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, pepper, jalapeño, oregany, thyme, salt, and maple syrup to the pan and sauté until tender.  I just use the bacon grease to sauté the veggies.  It really enhances the flavor of the whole dish.  However, if you are looking for a leaner option, you can just use a little olive oil. 
  3. Drain off the extra grease.
  4. Add the beans, and heat through.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School Special: Chocolate Almond Power Smoothie

This week marks the start of the 2014-2015 school year for the students here in Salt Lake.  It is also the week that I return to work after a summer that was way too short.  I can't believe it's already time to go back.  There were so many things I still wanted to do, most of which involved cleaning, sewing, and going to the zoo.  Oh well, perhaps next summer I will get more done.... maybe.... probably not sewing.... and who am I kidding, I'm not going to clean either.  Anyhow, this post is a Chocolate Almond Power Smoothie.  It's loaded with protein, omega-3's, and essential fatty acids that will jump start your brain and give your body energy so that you can focus on learning.... and recess.  It's also super quick and easy to make, which makes it the perfect before-school breakfast that your kids will love.  I used my dad's vita mix to make this one and it turned out amazing!  I must get one as soon as I have funding to buy a $300 blender.  Fortunately any blender or food processor will work in the mean time.
Chocolate Almond Power Smoothie
1/3 cup almonds (soaked)
1/2 of a banana (frozen)
1/2 of an avocado
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon raw sugar (or sweetener of choice)
2 teaspoons hemp seeds
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1/2 cup almond milk
Fresh fruit, granola, whipped cream (optional)
  1. Soak the almonds in water for 4-8 hours or overnight. 
  2. Drain the almonds and place them in a blender or food processor.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
  4. Serve with fresh fruit, granola, or whipped cream if desired.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Millet and Chia Seed Breakfast Porridge

When I found out that my daughter was allergic to basically every grain except for kamut, millet, teff, and amaranth, I was at a complete loss as to what I was going to do.  Grains make so many wonderful things, especially things that are easy to grab for a quick snack such as cereal, crackers or granola.  I had no idea what to do with ANY of these grains.  It's not like they make crackers made out of only teff or only kamut (although they really should).  After doing some research on kamut, it quickly became my grain of choice.  As a form of wheat, I could pretty much sub it in place of any recipe that called for wheat and have it come out ok.  Unfortunately it's a little dry, but it's organic and non-gmo so I really can't complain too much since gluten free cooking can be a bit more problematic.  That still didn't solve the problem of what to do with the other grains, however. Teff is good but incredibly dense, and I didn't care much for the amaranth.

When a colleague suggested that I use millet as a replacement for rice, I jumped at the opportunity to try it out.  One of the things I had been craving like crazy was my grandmother's rice pudding.  It was actually more of a custard than a pudding; creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, goodness.  Sadly, the three main ingredients were milk, eggs, and rice, all of which were forbidden foods.  I decided I'd try to make it anyway without the three main ingredients using millet instead of rice.  The end result (this recipe) was nothing like my grandmother's pudding, but it is still very tasty and has become one of my favorite breakfast foods.  I like to make a big batch of it so that I can eat it for a few days.  It's easy to fix and keeps fairly decent in the fridge, although you will need to add a little extra milk to it as millet also tends to dry out a bit.  Millet is also incredibly cheap which is also a plus. 
In addition to being a good replacement for rice, the cooking process is also similar.  The only difference is that millet comes out better when toasted first.

I think that soy milk gives this recipe the best flavor, but I have used other milks in a pinch and it tastes just fine.

Add some puréed banana (Believe me you don't want to skip this part... unless of course your are allergic to bananas).

Millet and Chia Seed Breakfast Porridge
1cup millet
2 1/4 cups water
1 1/3 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice)
1 Tablespoon Chia seeds
1 Tablespoon raw sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup raisins
1 banana
  1. In a saucepan, toast the millet over medium-high heat until it begins to turn golden and smell fragrant stirring frequently.  It will burn quickly so keep a close watch on it.
  2. Add the water and a drop of oil (optional) and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.  Try to resist the urge to remove the lid as the millet will come out better if it is left covered.  Millet tends to be a bit crunchy so cook it longer if you want it a little softer.  Just don't overcook it or it will turn into mush.
  3. While the millet is cooking, heat 1 cup of the soy milk and the chia seeds over medium-high heat stirring continuously until it reaches a low boil.  Do not heat too hot or it will boil over.
  4. Add the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and raisins to the soy milk mixture.  Set aside.
  5. In a blender or food processor puree the banana and the remaining 1/3 cup of soy milk.
  6. Add the banana mixture to the soy milk mixture and stir well.
  7. Add the soy milk mixture to the millet and mix thoroughly.  If the porridge seems dry add a little extra milk until it reaches your desired consistency.
  8. Top with fresh fruit if desired.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Broccoli Cheese-less Soup

Panera Bread has the best broccoli cheese soup ever!!  It's so rich and creamy.  It's also ridiculously bad for you and loaded with ingredients that are on the do not eat list.  When I first started this diet trying to make anything with cream or cheese without the cream or cheese came out tasting.... well let's just say I gave up on trying to make it taste like cream and cheese.  Although I think that's really the point.  It's not dairy so why should I expect it to taste that way. I love cheese.  To this day it's the hardest thing I had to give up and the thing I would pick if I got to choose to have one thing back.  No offense to the vegans, but no vegan cheese will ever replace the real thing in my opinion.    However, I have to hand it to them for their creativity.  The discovery that I could use cashews (or any nut really) in place of dairy was a major breakthrough.  For the first time in almost a year, I was able to eat faux dairy and not cringe at how horrible the taste and texture was.  In fact, it was one of the most enjoyable meals I'd had in a long time.  Even if it didn't taste like cheese, it still tasted amazing.  This broccoli cheese soup is a product of that discovery.  It's fairly simple to make, and if you buy the cashews in bulk, it can be budget friendly as well.  It's vegan, grain free, and with some minor tweaking, it could also meet the paleo guidelines. With a side salad or a piece of homemade Kamut bread, it makes a wonderful meal that warms your soul just like the soup at Panera Bread.

 The basis for making delicious broccoli cheese soup without the cheese is pretty much the same as making it with the cheese except for one major difference.  It requires some advanced planning since the cashews will need to be soaked for several hours before you can make them into delicious cheese sauce.  Once you've done that, you just whip them up in a food processor with a few other things and you've got yourself some really awesome vegan cheese sauce.
Then you just proceed to make broccoli cheese soup just like you would if you were using actual cheese.

Broccoli Cheese-Less Soup
Vegan, gluten free, grain free, oil free
For the Cheese Sauce:
1 Cup raw cashews soaked
3 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon potato starch
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon tahini
3 teaspoons Braggs Liquid Aminos
A Splash of almond milk
For the Soup:
2 cups carrot sliced
3/4 cup onion chopped
1 bunch broccoli (6-8 cups) chopped
32 oz. vegetable or chicken broth (5-6 cups)
1/2 cups almond milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Vegan Cheese (optional)
Crackers (optional)
  1. Place Cashews in a bowl, cover with water and let soak for 4-8 hours or overnight.
  2. Blend the garlic in the food processor until it is finely chopped.
  3. Drain and rinse the cashews.  Add them to the food processor and blend until a thick, chunky paste forms.
  4. Add the nutritional yeast, starch, lemon juice, tahini, and Braggs to the food processor.  Blend until creamy.  If the mixture seems to thick or isn't blending well, add some almond milk as needed to thin it out.  It should have the consistency of hummus when it's done.  Set aside.
  5. In a large pot combine the carrots and onions.  Add just enough broth to cover them and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer over medium heat until the veggies are tender adding more broth as needed.
  6. Add the rest of the broth and stir in the cheese sauce.
  7. Add the broccoli and bring the soup to a boil.  Simmer on medium-low heat until the broccoli is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.
  8. Using a blender or food processor, blend the soup in small batches until it reaches your desired consistency of creaminess. 
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with vegan cheese and crackers if desired.
Tips/ Substitution Suggestions
  • Replace the potato starch with another starch of choice (corn, tapioca)
  • Replace the Braggs with soy sauce or a soy free alternative such as coconut aminos for a soy free option.
  • Replace the almond milk with non-dairy milk of choice