Monday, August 30, 2010

Apple Mini-Loaves and Breakfast away from Home!

This week I will be traveling to Washington, D.C. for the annual American Political Science Association (APSA) Conference. For those who don't know, I'm a graduate student in political science. I happen to be in my last year of graduate school, and I'm just entering the academic job market. The APSA conference is my first shot at job interviews, so it's a pretty big deal.

However, given my many food sensitives (wheat, dairy, sugar, and eggs), in addition to preparing for my professional activities, I've also been working to make sure I have plenty to eat - especially for breakfast - during my trip. On Thursday morning our flight leaves at 6:30am and we have a two hour layover in Milwaukee, so I'm planning to make a banana and nut butter sandwich out of two buckwheat waffles to eat during our wait. I've packed plenty of my homemade granola to eat Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. I've mapped out the route to Whole Foods from my hotel, so I can buy some almond milk to have with my granola. I've gotten lots of nuts and fruit to take for snacks. I've found several gluten free dinner spots and I'm planning on sticking to salads for lunch.

With any luck I'll be doing more job related traveling over the next few months, so I welcome any tips from other gluten-free travelers!

Alfred is making the trip with me, and we'll be pretty pressed for time in the mornings, so I've also baked him some mini-loaves to nosh on for breakfast. They take advantage of the yummy apples beginning to make their way into our farmer's market; they also contain lots of warm autumnal spices and plenty of whole grains. So all of you wheateaters enjoy!

Apple Spice Mini-Loaves*


1 Cup Unbleached All-purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar (preferably evaporated cane juice)
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed or Wheat Germ (optional)
2 eggs
1 Cup Plain Yogurt
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
Topping:
3 Tablespoons Sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees, grease mini-loaf pan or line with paper liners

2) Sift together flours, sugar, spices, leaveners and flax seed/wheat germ (if using).

3)In a large bowl combine the eggs, yogurt, applesauce and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and yogurt mixture, gently but thoroughly combine. Fold in the diced apples.

4) Evenly distribute the batter in the mini-loaf molds. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar topping evenly over the unbaked loaves.

5) Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6) Remove mini-loaves from the pan and allow to cool to room temperature before storing (or in our case, packing them for the journey).

*My mini-loaf pan holds 8 mini loaves. You could also use a muffin pan, just reduce baking time to 18-20 minutes.

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free and Healthy, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Peachy Keen

I mentioned a few posts ago that we visited a local orchard and picked some peaches, around 20 pounds.



One of our favorite activities this summer has been picking our own produce. In addition to the peaches, we've visited local u-pick farms to pick raspberries, blueberries, and green beans. We're also planning to pick apples in the fall! If you are interested in finding a u-pick farm near you visit this website.

Like the berries we picked earlier in the summer, I froze most of the peaches for using later in the year, but we kept plenty out to eat this week. On their own, with some yogurt and granola for breakfast, or made into a jam for my sweetie - peaches are yummy in my our tummies! Inspired by the dozen or so recipes for peach salsa I came across on various blogs this week I decided to give that a try too. I've made salsa with mangoes before, this was very reminiscent of that. We really love the combination of sweet and spicy flavors, so this was perfect for us. I served our peach salsa atop a salad of greens and grilled chicken breast. It would also go well with fish or some simple tortilla chips!

Peach Salsa


3 Ripe but firm Peaches, peeled and diced
1/2 Red Onion, diced
1/2 Jalapeno, diced (if you like more heat include the seeds, if not leave them out)
1/2 Bell Pepper, diced
Juice of 1 lime
Large handful cilantro, chopped
Sea Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients and enjoy!


P.S. If you're looking for a good peach dessert. this strawberry and peach crumble is a healthy, but very scrumptious option (it is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free). I've also made this raspberry almond cake with sliced peaches instead of berries, it is not gluten free so I didn't sample any of it, but Alfred and my dad loved it!

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free and Healthy, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fruit Sweetened Granola Recipe and Other Healthy Breakfast Ideas!

A while back I did a breakfast "recipe" round up - I've decided to do another one because I love breakfast and I really think that it is important to start the day out with a good meal. For many of us, schedules are about to get extra hectic as school starts back. Hence, we all need some quick and easy to prepare breakfast options. A bowl of prepackaged cereal is okay (well some of them are okay), but there are lots of other speedy morning meals to choose from! The ones I offer below require putting in a little work before hand to make things super speedy in the morning, but they are well worth the effort!

1) Purely Fruit Sweetened Granola: I have been making granola for a long time. I used to use honey or agave to help the oat mixture stick together and to sweeten the granola. Now I use a mixture of applesauce and mashed ripe bananas. The result is a cereal that is very crunchy, only slightly sweet, and very nutty. I serve my granola with almond milk or soy yogurt and fresh fruit - the fruit provides plenty of sweetness for me. You could also add some dried fruit to the granola after it is cooled for extra sweetness and feel free to substitute whatever nuts you like for the ones I have listed below. FYI - this makes an extra big batch!


Fruit Sweetened Granola
5 Cups of Old-Fashioned Oats
3 Cups of Puffed Millet (you could use rice or whatever other puffed grain you like)
1/2 Cup of cracked buckwheat, aka Kasha (optional - could substitute ground flax seeds)
1 Cup Finely Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
1 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup Pepitas
1 Cup Walnuts, Chopped
1 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 Very Ripe Bananas, mashed
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Ground Spices (I use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and coat two large baking pans with a little oil to prevent the granola from sticking to the pans. In a large bowl combine the grains and nuts. In a separate bowl combine the applesauce, banana, vanilla and cinnamon. Add the wet mixture to the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Spread the granola evenly over the two pans. Bake the granola for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring it every half hour, until it is golden and crunchy. Let the mixture cool completely before transferring to an air tight container for storage.

2) Buckwheat Pancakes: I use this recipe for buckwheat blueberry waffles, minus the oil (they don't need it!) and blueberries. These are the easiest (fewest ingredients) and tastiest whole grain gluten free pancakes I've come across. They also happen to be vegan (and therefore, egg and dairy free). I make a full batch on the weekends, let them cool, wrap them in foil and then pop them in the toaster (just like an Eggo) on weekday mornings when I need an easy, but tasty and filling breakfast.

My favorite topping is nut or seed butter (I love tahini) and sliced bananas! It makes for a very happy plate.


Berries and pure maple syrup are also a sure crowd pleaser.


I'm picking up a waffle maker this weekend (I love Craig's list!), so I'll be making these as waffles very soon!

3) Stuffed Sweet Potato with Sauteed Greens: This one is probably the weirdest, because it's not something you would traditionally think of as "breakfast," but it is so very satisfying. The creamy sweet potato, crunchy toasted pecans and savory greens are the perfect combination.



This is another recipe a partially prepare ahead of time. Whenever the hubby grills (we use a charcoal grill) I wrap a few sweet potatoes in foil, and when we're done with grilling for that night I stick the potatoes on the grill, close the lid and let the residual heat bake them (a usually leave them in for at least a hour - it will depend on how hot your coals are). Of course, you could also bake or steam the potatoes inside. In the morning I spend about five minutes chopping and sauteing some greens (spinach, turnip, chard) and reheating my potato. I then split open the potato, toss in some pecans and stuff my face!

4) Fruit or Veggie Oatmeal: I love oatmeal - especially in the cooler parts of the year. While cooked oats are great on their own, they are also the perfect medium for sneaking some extra fruit or vegetables into your morning. One of my favorites options is this Zucchini Bread Oatmeal.



I also like to add mashed bananas or finely chopped apples and dates to my oats. Then no sweetener is needed! In my book, toasted nuts are a must for sprinkling on top - they add some much needed and much loved protein!

Happy back to school everyone and I hope these breakfast ideas help you start each day off with a happy belly!

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free and Healthy, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup



We love summer for a lot of reasons; at the top of the list is the bounty of produce available at our local farmers market this time of year. This week Alfred picked up 10 pounds of less than perfect looking (though PERFECT TASTING) tomatoes for $3! We’ve been enjoying salsa, cucumber and tomato salads and simple sliced tomatoes all week. Of course, the huge bunches of basil we’ve been purchasing weekly are also a perfect match for tomatoes both cooked and raw. For lunch today, I married these two in a lovely soup. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup


6 Ripe Tomatoes
1 Medium Onion, cut into large wedges
1 Large Carrot, peeled and quartered
1 Shallot, minced
3 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Honey
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt (plus more to taste)
2 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
½ Cup Fresh Basil, chiffonade
Olive Oil

Step 1: Roast the vegetables.
I roasted the tomatoes on the grill over medium-high heat for just a few minutes per side until the skin started blackening and bursting open. You could also do this under the broiler or over a gas flame.
I roasted the carrots and onion by placing them in foil and cooking them on the grill over medium heat for about 20 minutes (I did this the night before, while I was grilling some chicken). You could also roast them in the oven or sauté them until they are very tender and slightly browned.

Step 2: After the tomatoes have cooled, peel, core, and tear them into pieces.

Step 3: Coat a pot with a little olive oil. Sauté the shallot and garlic until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add roasted vegetables (tomatoes, carrots and onions), tomato paste, dried basil, salt, and stock to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, let simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.

Step 4: Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender (or use an immersion blender) to puree the vegetables. Return the puree to the pot, add the fresh basil. Taste the soup and add more salt as needed. Let the soup simmer another 15 minutes to bring out the basil flavor.

Step 5: Enjoy!


I served our soup with breaded zucchini strips (I coated them in seasoned corn meal and baked them - by the way they are the little "sticks" in the soup picture) and a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette. The soup and zucchini strips were inspired by this post on the blog "today I ate," but I put my own spin on it!

Side note: The cute glass cups the soup is served in were a birthday gift from my wonderful friend Karla. Thanks again Karla, I love them!

P.S. Today we picked 20 pounds of peaches – so look forward to some peachy recipes in the near future!!!

As usual, I've also included this recipe as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free and Healthy, Friday Foodie, Friday Foodie Fix, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chelo Kabob

Persian cuisine is one of my favorite ethnic foods - this probably has something to do with the fact that Alfred is Iranian and he is a fabulous cook. There are many wonderful Persian stews (khoresht) and rice pilafs (polos) that I really enjoy, but of all the Persian foods I’ve eaten, I especially love Chelo Kabob, a seasoned ground meat kabob (Kubideh kabob) served with steamed basmati rice. Chelo Kabob is the Iranian national dish; it is the quintessential Persian meal. A simple comfort food akin to the all-American meat and potatoes. I don't eat much meat these days, so Chelo kabob is an occassional treat that I really savor! You can use any ground meat to make the Kubideh - you will find beef, lamb and chicken Kubideh on the menus of most Persian restaurants. We like to use lean ground dark meat turkey because it is healthier than beef, but has a richer taste than chicken. All meat for Kubideh is lightly seasoned and mixed with grated onions, which makes it especially juicy. It is simple to make and simply delicious. A good Kubideh will literally melt in your mouth. It is also a perfect summer meal for the grill!

Chelo Kabob is traditionally served with sumac (a sour and salty red spice), grilled whole tomatoes and grilled onions. Cucumber salad (shirazi salad), a bowl of fresh herbs (sabzi), and pickled vegetables (torshi) are also common accompaniments.



Chelo Kabob

For the Kubideh (or Koobideh) Kabob:
1 Pound Ground Meat (Turkey, Chicken, Beef or Lamb)
1 Medium Onion, grated (use a box grater or food processor attachment, or put it through a meat grinder while grinding your meat)
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Cumin (optional)

Steamed Basmati Rice (see instructions here)

For the Kubideh Kabob, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients and refrigerate the mixture at least 1 hour. Shape the kabobs just before you are ready to grill them. To shape the kabobs you have a few options: the meat is traditionally molded around a long metal skewer (seehk); since those are hard to come by, you can use soaked wooden skewers or form the meat into strips (which you would grill as you would a hamburger). Whichever way you choose, the kabobs should be around 2-3 inches wide, 1-1.5 inches thick and 6-8 inches long. For a pound of meat you should get 2-3 large kabobs (I eat only half of one - Alfred eats a whole one). Grill the kabobs over a medium flame about 8 minutes per side, until cooked through and nicely browned.

Noosh-e-jan (Bon apetite)!

*You can also serve Kubideh with pita bread rather than rice for a yummy wrap style sandwich or use the Kubideh meat to make the best burger ever!

As usual, I've also included this recipe as part of a couple of weekly recipe sharing events: As usual, I've also included this recipe as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Just Something I Whipped Up, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!