Broccoli Meatballs? Reallly? Yes, Really.

I don’t know about you, but my preparation of, or suggestion of broccoli to the youngest members of our tribe is rarely met with an enthusiastic: “Oooooo broccoli!” I confess I find it hard to understand as broccoli was one of the only vegetables I willingly ate as a child, but I digress. When I make broccoli (despite their admission that my preparations are better than most thanks to this broccoli secret) there is usually at least a few faces that range from disinterest to disgust and either an implied or directly stated requirement that it be eaten regardless of how you feel about it because it’s broccoli. Why should they (and by they I mean all of us) eat their broccoli?

If you’re a data hound looking for reasons to eat broccoli, check this out (lots of graphs for you). If you prefer paragraphs to charts, give this one a go. The long and short of it is that broccoli is one of the richest sources of nature’s good stuff out there. It’s so great it makes the Mayo Clinic’s list of top 10 healthy foods. I’m gonna assume at this point that you at least logically believe that eating broccoli is a good idea, even if it has not been your favorite in the past. I would suggest that this preparation is a winner and just might turn your broccoli feelings on their healthy little hearts.

Vegetarian Times says: “Broccoli Meatballs.” Okay, there’s a lot of problems with that name for a dish. First of all “broccoli meatballs” just sounds weird. Secondly the fact that these little gems are called “meatballs” suggests that they have meat in them, which they do not. Admittedly simply calling them broccoli balls would likely not increase their appeal. Even I, a broccoli lover, am not particularly interested in eating broccoli balls. These little dealios, strange name or no, are really quite delicious, packed with nutrition (they include yet another ingredient on the Mayo Clinic’s top 10 list, almonds), and pretty simple to prepare. So let’s get on with… broccoli balls or bust! Okay, yeah, still no on the broccoli balls.

Broccoli Meatballs (adapted from Vegetarian Times Broccoli Meatballs with Garlic-Tomato Sauce)

  • 4 cups chopped broccoli (original called for just florets, but that’s wasteful, so peel the stems and go for it)
  • 1 c raw almonds
  • 2 t sesame seeds + 1 t salt in a 1/4 c measure – fill the rest with nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
  • 11/2 T dried basil
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh spinach (shut the door – it’s another super healthy Mayo Clinic approved food!!)
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 flax eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment. Steam the broccoli until just fork tender (maybe 10 minutes). It should be bright green and not mushy. Remove from steamer and allow to cool. Pulse almonds in food processor until ground. Place in mixing bowl. Pulse broccoli in food processor until mostly chopped. Add spinach and pulse a few more times and then add to ground almonds. Add all remaining ingredients except for the flax eggs and stir to combine. Add eggs and stir until combined. Shape mixture into meatballs.

  

We made 12, but I would make more smaller ones next time. You will have to press a little to get them to stick together. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until browning on the outside. Serve wherever you might consider serving meatballs. We had ours in mini pitas (a slight size mismatch there) with some leftover Easiest Pasta Sauce EVER, a salute to my old favorite a meatball sub. Sauteed green beans on the side made it a super green dinner bonanza. Delish! Since then I’ve had the leftovers with pasta, on a salad, and on a bed of rice with more nutritional yeast. All of them were great, so I give this badly named nutritional powerhouse a super Sis Sisters thumbs up! Eat well, be well friends!

  

(OMG) GF Fudgy Mocha Pudding Cake

Once in awhile we post someone else’s recipe as is – unchanged.  I confess that part of my just taking the easy road and making this by actually following directions was that I was in a hurry.  You see I had to come up with some GF dessert that would make non-GF son feel like his birthday had been adequately celebrated.  Following Little Sis’ lead (see another birthday cake for Bigg Sis), I turned to Angela Liddon.

It is always an honor to point anyone in the direction of Angela Liddon who has a blog and a lovely cookbook that features vegan recipes.  I do believe that her specialty is sweets.  In fact she had a shop where she sold amazing vegan bars and baked goods before becoming a successful blogger and cookbook author.  Give this to-die-for fudgy mocha pudding cake a try and then buy her cookbook because the non-sweets in it are excellent as well!

Back to the cake….. Last night we celebrated our boy, well, young man’s 14th birthday with a bunch of his friends playing football, video games, eating pizza and I’m ashamed to say, a store bought cake.  Mr. Bigg Sis and I ate some and made yucky faces at the overly sweet, oddly gummy concoction with way too much icing.  I vowed to do better the next night when the 3 of us would celebrate family style.  The headache that came soon after (yes, I am a sensitive and delicate creature for sure) was also good motivation to get my tail up and cooking the next day.

So here is the recipe – totally ripped off but heartily acknowledged.

Fudgy Mocha Pudding Cake by Angela Liddon

1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 1/2 c  oat flour (make sure its GF if you need totally GF)
3/4 c plus 1/3 c sugar (she recommends coconut – I used plain organic cane sugar)
1/3 c plus 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 c chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (she uses non-dairy choc. chips)
3/4 tsp salt (she used fine grained sea salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c almond milk
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup hot coffee or boiled water (I used decaf – not very strong)
confectioners sugar and toasted walnuts are optional toppings

Mix the ground flax seed with 3 Tbsp water in a 2 cup measuring cup, mix and set aside

Pre-heat oven to 375 and lightly grease an 8×8 pan (I used coconut oil)

In a large bowl, mix flour, 3/4 c sugar, 1/3 c cocoa powder, choc chips, salt & baking powder

Add the coconut oil, milk and vanilla to the flaxseed mixture and whisk / stir together

Mix the wet and dry together and pour into prepared pan and make even and flat with a spoon or spatula

Mix 1/3 c sugar and 2 Tbsp cocoa and sprinkle over the cake

Pour the hot coffee slowly and gently over the top of the cake

Bake for 27 – 33 minutes or until semi-firm on top and bubbly on the sides – mine was a tad overdone at 27 minutes, so check at 25.

20150125_180529-001Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes and then top if you like with sugar, walnuts or ice cream of your choice.

Now this may not look that good, but appreciate the consistency of the pudding like stuff that comes out with the cakey-like stuff.  Really quite something.  Everyone had seconds.  In fact I’m still full….. no room for the snack I usually eat at bedtime to prevent waking up at 2 am so hungry I have to go get a snack.  Okay, so I’m a rather ravenous but sensitive and delicate creature…. but I know a good real food GF cake when I eat one!

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Three Sisters Savory Cobbler – Cuz Baby It’s Cold Outside

As a direct result of my weekly meal planning initiative, when food magazines show up at my house, I actually read them looking for delicious, frugal, easy meals to include in the plan. This little number showed up in a recent Vegetarian Times. Yeah, I had to change it up a little, so I’ll share my non-dairy version with you. This is a winner – if you and your tribe like delicious stews with bread dumplings on top. Is there someone who doesn’t like such things?

This savory cobbler is essentially a vegetable stew that has cornbread baked on top of it. In addition to the ingredients that you will need, you’re going to need a Dutch Oven of some kind (no I don’t mean the horrible smelly thing that your big brother did to you when you were little – wait, was that just us?), but a large pot that can go in the oven as well as being on the stovetop. We received a beautiful La Creuset version many years ago, but this market has really grown and now Cuisinart and many other reputable brands make some kind of enameled cast iron cookware. Lodge makes one without enamel that is very affordable, and if you keep it seasoned, also nice and non-stick. It is far more affordable but, I should warn you, VERY heavy. If you are going to buy a dutch oven, please be sure that handles are also oven safe so you don’t get a melty mess.

We enjoyed our savory cobbler very much. Well, okay 75% of us did – and those of you who’ve been playing along know that this is a winning number for my household. Ms. Picky Pants enjoyed the cornbread dumplings and then stirred the stew around a lot. So, really it’s more than 75% but I’m not going to get too technical. It’s a lovely recipe and has the added bonus of some built in flexibility so you can score at least a 75% at your house too. ;-) Next time I will try to make the stew in a slow cooker – and I’ll give some speculative instructions on how I think that should be done in the recipe itself… shall we get on with it already?

Three Sisters Savory Cobbler (adapted from this version in Vegetarian Times) 

The Stew

  • Olive oil for the pan
  • 2 medium/large onions chopped to whatever fineness you like in stews
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or mashed
  • 1/4 c flour (I used WW pastry)
  • 2 cups beans (I used kidney and black because I prepped them for another meal, so they were already soaked
  • 6 c veggie broth or stock
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs fresh or 1 t dried: thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram
  • 1 medium butternut squash, chopped in about 1 inch pieces
  • 3 T dijon mustard
  • 6 oz (about 4 c) deep greens (we used kale)
  • 1 1/2 t smoked paprika (you could use a hotter alternative such as chipotle pepper or even a hot sauce if that works for you – I was attempting to get 100% approval)

The Topping

  • 1 c coconut milk (or whatever kind you like)
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour (or GF flour)
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder (I am realizing as I type that I left this out and it was still great, although the dumplings were a little dense and would have been more biscuity)
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 egg (I used flax)

Procedures

For the stew, if you are working from dried beans, you will need to soak them overnight before hand (and you will not need the full 2 cups as they expand) AND precook them a bit so you don’t have to cook the stew for a terribly long time. Warm olive oil in a dutch oven. Add onions and a sprinkle of salt. Saute until they are just starting to brown. Add red pepper and cook for another minute. Add garlic and give it a couple of stirs. Then sprinkle flour in and stir to coat the veggies in flour. Cook for a minute or two but stir constantly so flour doesn’t burn. Add water, beans, tomato paste, herbs and paprika (If I were going to use a slow cooker, I’d do it here and add the squash and mustard, leaving the greens to add at the end). Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until your beans are tender (time will vary according to canned vs. dried, how long you precooked if dried, etc.). Remove herbs if you used fresh. Add squash, mustard and greens. Return to simmer until squash is tender.

  

While simmering, preheat the oven to 425 (arrange racks so there’s enough room for the Dutch Oven). Combine dry ingredients for topping in medium sized bowl. Whisk milk and “egg” together in smaller bowl. Add wet to dry and stir until just combined. Remove filling from heat. Use cookie scoop or soup spoon to drop topping on top of the filling. Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes or until topping is browned.

Serve a few dumplings with a hearty ladleful of stew and be warm head to toe. We enjoyed ours with a green salad. Delish!

Tabil Spiced Chili over Roasted Potatoes

I am still on a quest to share uses for Tabil spice mix with the world – particularly the subset to whom I gave home roasted Tabil as a Christmas gift.  The presence of cumin and red pepper flakes speak to chili, and the rest of the tabil ingredients (coriander, caraway and garlic) seemed different enough to twist the chili up a bit.  I also thought that a different base than rice would be nice.  We do fall back on rice a lot around here, and although I’m glad to have it (and my son could probably eat it 3 times a day), nutritionally speaking, variety is indeed a spicy and healthy thing.  Enter the much maligned potato.  Potatoes have been bred into giant, dry, starchy behemoths that are meant to be smothered in fattening dairy products.  However, the little colored potato with all of it’s positive nutritional status is turning up in all kinds of places.  I recently got 5 lbs. of organic little red taters for 4.99.  That’s cheaper than the rice I use.  Woo hoo!

I’m thinking that all of you are as ready for simple as I at this time of year, and the Tabil helps keep this simple.  If you don’t have any Tabil, it is pretty easy to make* and once you have it…. next time will be really easy!  (Or you can buy it here).  If roasting potatoes does not seem simple, then by all means make some rice – but the rest of this recipe is really quick and easy.

Tabil Spiced Chili

About 2 lbs. red potatoes cut into small chunks for roasting or rice
Oil for sauteeing onion
1 Red onion, diced
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Tabil spice mix
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen because the cans do not have BPA in the liner)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste (Muir Glen again – same reason)
1 bunch swiss chard (or other hearty green) washed and cut or torn into pieces
1 – 2 colored peppers cut in chunks
1 small can (15 oz. ) black beans, rinsed and drained

Potatoes:
If roasting potatoes – allow 30 – 45 minutes at 400, depending on how small you cut the potatoes.  I made these bite sized because they are the base of the chili, therefore they roast faster and get crispier.  We snuck some before adding chili and I think I will roast potatoes this way always :-)
Either toss it all in a bowl with oil to coat (I prefer avocado because it withstands high heat), or just stir oil in right on the roasting pan.  Add some salt to taste and stick in the oven.  Stir after 15 or 20 minutes.

20150113_174450-001Chili:
Saute onion until becoming translucent
Add spices and stir until fragrant
Add tomatoes & paste, stirring occasionally over medium low for 10 minutes to heat
Add swiss chard and cook until wilted
Add peppers and beans and let simmer for another 5 or so minutes

Steamy!!

Steamy!!

Serve over the potatoes

The peppers were crunchy, everything else soft and spicy.  We all enjoyed this very much.  My son, who is a charter member of the no-food-touching club chose to eat his potatoes on the side.

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My husband and I mixed it all together and then argued – gently discussed – who would get the leftovers for lunch.  I won!

20150113_175352-001Stay warm friends – soon it will be time for seed catalogs and dreaming of warmer days.  For now, I’ll try to heat up my insides a bit with food and laughter.

* If you do decide to make your own Tabil, I have since made it in my Vita Mix which was faster and an easier clean up than my coffee grinder.  In addition, I recommend not adding garlic powder until after grinding to avoid sending a cloud of garlic dust into the air ;-)

In addition – we are starting a new series on Well-Being which Little Sis opened a week or so ago.  I’ll be posting the second soon.  If you or someone you know is wanting to eat better and feel better check out our e-book, Baby Steps to Better Health: Winning the Battle with Junk Food for Families and Individuals.

Roasted Squash Bowl w/ ‘Parm’ (GF/DF)

I love for my son to have a bunch of friends over to eat pizza and play games.  But I don’t like eating a bunch of pizza – and my husband cannot eat a bunch of pizza, so while the kids were racing Kartts around the track (4 people / 4 corners of the screen – how DO they do that!?), the kitchen was filling with the enticing aroma of roasting butternut squash, onions and garlic.

This is not a new combo around here.  In fact I posted a recipe for such a concoction that includes walnuts and red potatoes from an original made with pasta a parmesan, but I decided to try using my parmesan substitute made from sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast flakes and salt and we were both very pleased with the results.

DSC07947 See how pleased we were?  This is actually a picture from the post that includes the walnuts – back in my young and frivolous days when I had time to draw with a sharpie on the outer layer of a perfectly good onion.  Ah youth!  But seriously – this is an easy fix and ’tis the season to pick up some squash for a little less.  The recipe is on the small side – enough for a good meal for 2 plus a large leftover lunch.  I’ll pick up a couple of squashes next time!

Roasted Squash Bowl with ‘Parm’

1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cubed
1 onion, cubed
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 Tbsp high heat oil (I used avocado)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
Cooked brown rice
Vegan parmesan (recipe here along with other dairy free pasta toppers and below)

Pre-heat oven to 375
Toss squash and onion with garlic, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper flakes
Spread on pan and roast for 30 – 45 minutes or until tender
While roasting, cook rice according to package directions

Prepare vegan parmesan:
Moo-less, Flavor-full Parmesan sprinkles
-adapted from Angela Liddon’s vegan parmesan cheez

1/2 c sunflower seeds
3/4 c sesame seeds (I used raw rather than toasted)
1/4 c nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in blender
Blend until powdery – don’t go too long or the sunflower seeds will start to turn into sunflower butter!

Place rice in a bowl, top with squash mixture and ‘parm’ to taste.  My parm has black specks because I used black sesame seeds.  I also didn’t grind the parm long enough because there are intact sunflower seeds.  Yikes – how did I have time to draw on vegetables in the past, now I don’t even have time to grind the sunflower seeds?  Ah well – it still tasted terrific.

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We have a new series starting this year on wellness.  Check out Little Sis’ first post in this series….
2015: A Year of Well Being  We’ll be adding to this as the year moves along – and it will, probably blindingly fast at times.  May we all pay enough attention to see the beauty and love that we encounter in the kitchen, at the table, in fellowship and in the world around us.

Dipping Into a Healthier New Year

If you’re looking for salt, sugar or fat then our culture is rife with choices and temptations.  You can easily acquire all the salt, sugar and fat you would like most anywhere you go.  But January often brings thoughts of trying to cut back on these tried and true sensations.  I find that it is helpful to me to replace, not simply extinguish behaviors or foods that are problematic.  Exploring fabulous new flavors is a good way to open the palate to alternatives to salt, sugar and fat.  If you can also throw more vegetables into your life in the mix, well, that my friends is a win-win taste and nutrition sensation!

You may recall that I recently shared a GF carrot cake with the notion of shoving more vegetables into a sweet treat.  By the same token (and the same vegetable) I’d like to share a way to shove more vegetables into your dip :-)  In addition this recipe utilizes an even more simple version of harissa which we introduced in a post several summers ago.  Harissa is a North African spicy condiment that makes mere carrots (and other things) something exotic and exciting.

The carrot dip comes from Vegetarian Times, June 2013.  You will need tabil spice mix to make your own harissa, or if you live in a cosmopolitan place, perhaps you can find harissa in a store.  I make tabil spice mix to use in this dish and others and in fact it made a nice gift for some friends and family this Holiday season.  The tabil recipe is available on our old post here.  Harissa is really easy to make from tabil and chili garlic sauce.

Short cut harissa:
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (I use vietnamese)
1 Tbsp tabil

Mix ingredients together

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And here is my very slight variation on the recipe for Carrot Dip with Crushed Walnuts (and Black Olives)

1.5 lbs of carrots washed and chopped (I did not peel)
3 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped in half
1 tsp ground coriander (the original recipe has instructions for roasting and grinding fresh seeds)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp harissa
1/2 cup chopped / toasted walnuts
the original used black olives as a garnish.  I did not.

Cover the carrots and garlic by 2 inches with salted water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 or 20 minutes or until the carrots are very tender.
Place everything but the walnuts in a food processor and pulse to a smooth consistency.Serve with walnuts on top with crackers / pita bread, other veggies or on a sandwich.

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20150103_175604-001And if you or someone you know is interested in changing the way you eat ….. and improving health or well-being via diet, Little Sis and I have published an e-book that can help!

“Better nutrition is a goal for many people. This book provides sensible, achievable steps that guide families or individuals in the transition to a healthier diet. The authors are 2 sisters who, using their experience as a nurse and a teacher, guided their own families to accept a real food diet. The results they saw in improved health, weight management and behavior, along with the delicious recipes they created (and include in the book) have helped make the changes both welcome and permanent. Humor, encouragement, economy and common sense carry the reader through reflections and actions for sustainable change, one baby step at a time.”

Baby Steps to Better Health: Winning the Battle with Junk Food for Families and Individuals

by the Sis Sisters – and if you’ve been longing to know our real names, they are listed at the link ;-)

Even Better Butternut Squash Soup

It can be dangerous to try and make something wonderful even better…. I guess.  Some might warn, “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?”  Well, in this case, pushing the limits of good leaves us with 2 yummy alternatives…. and 1 caveat.  (I’ll get to that later)

Little Sis and I offered you some easy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup a couple of years ago.   I wanted to take it to a women’s group for which I offered to bring soup and decided that I wanted something with some protein as we were pairing it with bread and salad.  I also thought that some roasted garlic would enhance the experience as well, so…. cashews and garlic are part of the adapted version.  It got rave reviews.

Now for the caveat…. Apparently roasted onion, squash and cashews can be a potent digestive combo for some who are inclined towards affecting greenhouse gas levels in a rather socially unacceptable way.  Will I eat this soup again?  Indeed.  I will do a little math, figure out where I have to be in about 20 hours after eating it and adjust accordingly.  Will I ever let my husband eat it again?  Indeed NOT! :-)  Luckily he has many fine qualities, so if he eats some of the leftover soup I will forgive him.  So let your digestion guide you, but I promise you won’t regret trying this soup!

The recipe is for 2 butternut squash and of course size will vary so add stock a cup at a time and see what you think of flavor / consistency.

1 cup raw cashews soaked in about 2 cups water for at least 6 hours
2 butternut squash – cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out.
2 med – large onions, peeled and cut in half
4 – 6 cloves of garlic (I used 4 enormous cloves) left in their papery shell
2 – 4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cored but unpeeled apples (I used Gala)
1/2 – 1 tsp sage
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Roast the squash, onion and garlic at 400 degrees for 40 – 60 minutes or until tender.

after roastingRemove the garlic at about 20 minutes and peel when cool.
Once everything is tender, remove from oven and let cool so you can handle a bit to scoop the squash out of the skin.
I heated the apples in the microwave to soften them, but you could probably roast them for the last 10 minutes or so as well!
Drain the cashews.
Place batches of all the ingredients in a power blender or into a pot with a stick blender.  Make sure you put some liquid in each batch of the blender to help it go.Pour back into a pot and stir.  Warm if necessary and serve.

Your taste buds will love you for this one! – caveat and all.  Caveat is a nice polite word for it, don’t you think?

in the bowl

Mushroom Gumbo (GF/V)

Don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods, but we’ve settled into pretty sustained soup and stew weather around here, which is just fine by me. I could eat soup every day and be totally happy about that. Unfortunately not all the members of my little tribe feel as universally friendly to soup as I do, so I am pretty constantly trying new versions to try to draw the resisters in. This week I thought I’d rely on the appeal of tomato based recipes and try something new. And so we did.

I found a gumbo recipe in my More With Less cookbook, which tends to offer a wide variety of flavor profiles in fairly simple recipes that don’t tend to rely on too many exotic ingredients. Sounds like a good way to go, eh? The original recipe was for chicken gumbo, but I decided to use sautéed mushrooms instead. We often replace meat with lentils or a lentil bulgur mixture, but having had a fair amount of those recently, I thought we’d put the umami of the mushrooms to work for us. The result? An approval rating of 75%, which is an A- for the cook in our house. Yes, we grade on a sliding scale based on reality. This gumbo, while originally called “spicy” was not particularly so, so if that’s your thing you should crank it up a bit in the chili department. On to the gumbo…

Mushroom Gumbo

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  • oil for the pot
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 T flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1 large can or box chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c frozen okra
  • 2/3 c tomato paste
  • 3 c veggie broth or stock
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce or Bragg’s
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • pinch dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • about 12 oz mushrooms, chopped into rough quarters (I used cremini)
  • 1 T gumbo file (no idea why I had this in the pantry, the original recipe says it is optional)
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  • cooked rice for serving

Warm the oil in a large pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add green pepper and sauté for an additional minute or so. Add 2 T flour and stir in, cook for another minute or so, stirring to prevent the flour mixture from burning. When peppers have begun to grown tender add the rest of the ingredients and bring to gentle boil. Drop heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes.

While stew is simmering, sauté mushrooms in a pan of warm oil with a dash of salt. Let them sit to brown a little – which means don’t turn them too much. When the mushrooms are browned, add to gumbo pot to simmer together. When gumbo is warmed through and flavors have developed, serve over rice with a sprinkle of parsley. Delish!

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Pumpkin Biscuits (GF/DF)

What to bring or serve for the bread portion of Thanksgiving that is gluten free? Those that eat gluten will probably not enjoy the GF standard version, so usually I supply corn bread or corn muffins to round out the meal for GF and non-GF eaters alike.  I have been hankering for my GF Banana Biscuits and was tempted to introduce banana to the Thanksgiving menu despite all evidence that residents of New England have never found a banana anywhere but in a modern grocery store.  So, in true Little Sis fashion, I decided to just change up a good recipe to create a more appropriately seasonal biscuit.  Which of course leads us to pumpkin…. No, not the 4 that are still sitting on my porch in lieu of the Christmas decorations that are already springing up all around us…. I opted for the can of pumpkin in the pantry.

Turns out pumpkin puree makes an easy substitute for banana, add a little sugar (if you like) and voila.  The three of us really enjoyed these biscuits (which I had the sense to test prior to Thanksgiving Day) with our ‘Not Just Kramer’s Mulligatawny’ – Vegan Curry Soup.

As an aside, I was inspired to make this delicious soup because I have been horning in on Little Sis’ weekly meal plans.  She has kindly published her weekly meal plan for the last 3 weeks (here’s week 1 and week 2) and oooh is it nice to just check it out and make what she picked ;-)  She is so smart that Little Sis of mine.  I want to be just like her when I grow up.

At any rate – back to the biscuits as I’m sure you have plenty to do today!

Pumpkin Biscuits (GF/DF)

1 1/2 cup gluten free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp guar gum
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 – 1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond)
3 Tbsp hard coconut oil (Cool it down a bit first if it is not firm)

Pre-heat oven to 375
Mix the dry ingredients and zest together.
In a separate bowl (or large glass measuring cup), mix the pumpkin and milk.
Cut the coconut oil into pieces and mix in with a pastry cutter or a large fork if you don’t have a pastry cutter.
Add the mixed pumpkin and milk and stir to combine but don’t over-mix or mash.
Now I just pinched off big pieces and patted them slightly into biscuit shape and laid on an ungreased baking sheet.  If you want more uniform biscuits I guess you could roll them out and cut them.
Place on a cookie sheet
Bake for about 12 – 14 minutes or until browning just a touch on top
Eat warm.

20141125_174802-001  I doubled the recipe because we LOVE leftovers and they stacked up neatly in a tall container:

20141125_201439-001Have a wonderful and very Happy Thanksgiving!

Healthier Holiday Foods: Thanksgiving Edition

It’s coming. The great big Thanksgikuhmas. We will be doing a lot of celebrating, and I assume many of you will be as well. I want to make it clear, despite our occasionally ascetic sounding screes about food in the modern world, Big Sis and I both do really love to eat. And most of all we really love to eat with family and friends. Over the years we’ve found that it is particularly helpful to have an arsenal of healthier foods to either create a super buffet out of or to bring as a contribution to someone else’s meal to help decrease the likelihood that we will not only overeat but we will not have any nutrition whilst we do that.

If you are leaning in a similar direction, or are just trying to stay out of elastic waisted pants this winter, you may find these suggestions helpful as part of your holiday scene. I’ve leaned in the Thanksgiving/Harvest/Fall flavor profile direction for this post since Thanksgiving is coming up so very quickly. I’ll try to offer some similar assistance during the later cold and dark time of December. For now, let’s all go make some hand turkeys and be grateful for friends and family, for our health, and for bountiful and delicious choices!

Starters

 

1. Mixed Grain Bread

2. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

3. Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Sides or Veggie Banquet Fare

4. Naturally Sweet Sweet Potatoes

5. Creamy Non-Dairy Mashed Potatoes

6. Bulgur PIlaf with Pine Nuts and Cranberries

7. Creamed Kale 

8. Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash

9. Waldorf Saute

Desserts

10. Healthy Pumpkin Cookies

11. Sweet Potato Crusted Apple Pie 

12. Cranberry Apple Pecan Crunch