wheat free

Thank you for the suggestion!  I also love to use Spaghetti Squash in place of pasta. -L

P.S. Watch out for Pad Thai sauce; it often contains fish.

can i suggest using carrots/zucchini instead of noodles? get a juiliene peeler (like $4 from the grocery store or walmart) and use that to juilliene your veggies, and saute that with some fresh veggies and tomato or whatever kind of sauce you like! pad thai sauce is good too! yum! yum!

Cranberry and Wild Rice Cookies

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

This is not my own creation, but an adaptation from an existing recipe from Vegetarian Times.  As I continue to learn more about vegan and wheat free baking, I am turning to this awesome magazine for ideas and inspiration.  All I did here, is change a few of the ingredients to make it vegan, and a little more personal.  I wanted to share, because I was very surprised at how well they turned out; and their pictures are pretty!

Click this link for the original (non-vegan) recipe: Vegetarian Times

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Creamy Wild Rice and Eggplant Soup




Happy Friday, everyone!

This week has been the first cool week we’ve had of the fall season.  Sitting in front of the window in the morning, I can see the steam rise from my tea.  When I go to bed, I find I need long sleeves to stay warm and cozy.  When I take my nephew to daycare, I wonder if he is warm enough without his hoodie that I forgot (so not mother material yet!).  I start thinking about bringing out my “man-made materials” boots.  I begin to want soups, cookies, and all things pumpkin.

According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing philosophy, Autumn through Winter are “Vata” seasons.  Characteristics of “Vata,” are dryness, roughness, coolness, and mobility; so, when you find yourself wanting something warm and smooth to eat (like soups and stews) it might just be more than a “comfort food” craving.  You might actually be trying to balance the “Vata” in your life.  I find this fascinating.  You can read more about Ayurveda here: Yoga Journal – Intro to Ayurveda

Foods to favor in Vata season include rice, milk (of course, I use non-dairy), well cooked vegetables, and nuts.  This soup is wild rice; well cooked eggplant, parsnip, and carrot; almonds; and almond milk – all in a savory and thick vegetable broth.  Curry is also favored, so I seasoned it with typical curry seasonings.  It is inspired by the creamy chicken and rice soups we always see on menus this time of year.  Also, I had some wild rice from Minnesota that I was dying to use in something. {Shout out to the boss lady for bringing some back with her!  She knows me well.}

Sometimes, even though cooking is a passion of mine, it takes this shift in season to get me thinking creatively again.  I’ve been in the kitchen a lot this week, since it has been my last week off work before the holiday season hits me like Rocky. 

I put a lot of heart and thought into this one.


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Noodles, Red Cabbage, and Carrots in Peanut Sauce

My goodness, it is hard to want to cook when it is so hot outside!  This past week, I wanted something cold to eat.  Pre-vegan, I would have made (and enjoyed) my mom’s pasta salad with a mayo based dressing, tuna, and veggies in it. 

Enlightened to the suffering of many forms of sea life for the tuna trade, as well as the affects of egg, dairy, and sea food on my health, I’ve thrown together something new.  This pasta salad comes through on the really hot days, when all you want to do is pull something out of the fridge and eat it.  I don’t have a picture of this one, because it was so tasty I just wanted to eat it!  Next time, vegan buds!

I used the vegetables I had on hand and it turned out great, but it would be yummy with broccoli and other veggies too.

What You Need

1 package rice or buckwheat noodles (4 oz. dry), cooked according to package directions

1/2 red cabbage, sliced

3 carrots, sliced

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon unrefined sugar

2 teaspoons curry paste

1 clove garlic, finely grated (I use a zester)

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 cup natural, creamy, peanut butter

What You Do

In a small bowl, combine the water through the peanut butter.  I used an immersion blender for this, but it is just as easy to use a whisk.  To make it even easier, you could mix it in a food processor.  Be sure it is smooth and mixed extremely well.  Place in refrigerator to chill.

Meanwhile, bring  a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook the rice noodles according to package directions - about 5 to 7 minutes.  You can also use buckwheat soba noodles here.  Both would be delicious.  In a pan, sauté the cabbage and carrots in a bit of vegetable broth or water.  Add some salt and / or garlic, to taste.  Do not overcook. This is a cold salad and you will want the cabbage to crunch.

Mix all ingredients together.  If you need more moisture, add a little water or vegetable broth, but don’t overdo it.

Chill for at least an hour, until nice and cold; and enjoy!

Smoky Tofu, Lettuce, Tomato on Sourdough Sandwich

Another hot day in Illinois and all I want is sandwiches.  I also worked all day and wanted something quick, that was nutritious, tasty, and readily available.  Since I did not have time to make smoked tofu, I bought some from Common Ground Food Co-op.  Actually, I bought everything there - the smoked tofu, heirloom tomatoes, salad greens from a local farm, and sourdough bread from a local bakery, Pekara!  Thank goodness for my co-op!

Next time, I am going to try making my own smoked tofu, but the Soyboy Smoked Tofu is organic and only contains natural, vegan flavors; so, it is a solid choice for a quick meal.

What You Need

4 slices fresh, sourdough bread, toasted

4 ounces smoked tofu

A couple of handfuls fresh greens mixture (your choice)

1 heirloom tomato, sliced

1 tablespoon vegenaise, divided

What You Do

Slice the tofu, thinly, and cook in a skillet until hot and a little crisp on the edges.  I didn’t use any oil, because my cast iron is well-seasoned, but you sure can if you want to.  Toast the bread to your desired toastedness.  Assemble two sandwiches, each with two slices bread, two ounces tofu, handful of greens, two or three slices tomato, and 1/2 tablespoon vegenaise.  Side with some organic sweet corn and a pickle!

Eggplant Roll-ups with Brown Rice Penne in Olive Oil and Garlic

These are so good!  They are full of flavor, light, and healthy.  Grilled eggplant slices envelop an Italian white bean and spinach mixture.  Set atop a homemade red sauce, aside brown rice penne with olive oil and garlic; this meal covers it all.  It is also wheat free and soy free!

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Mean Sauce (As in, “My Momma makes a mean sauce!”)

Use this recipe for anything that asks for a red sauce: pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, eggplant “parm,” gnocci, whatever you like!  I have worked on this for years.  Sauces evolve and only get better the more you play with them.  That’s why Italian grandmothers make the meanest of all sauces!  Hopefully, this one continues to evolve and get better also; but for now, it is what I use on everything.  Make a big batch and store it for an easy meal during the week!

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Wheat Free Challenge

Today, I read a disturbing article that said today’s wheat is toxic and addictive!  I was so surprised; as a vegan, I viewed whole grains (including wheat) as a diet staple.  Whole grains are a diet staple, but the wheat we have today is so far removed from the wheat of our ancestors.  This modern creation of genetics research has many adverse affects on our systems, including: addictive properties, holding onto and creating visceral fat, and many digestive disruptions.

Upon further research, I learned of Dr. Davis and his book “Wheat Belly.”  The book suggests that a protein in wheat attaches to the same brain receptors as opiates, causing wheat to be addictive and appetite inducing (http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/are-you-addicted-wheat-pt-1).

Further, we are already finding illegal strains of Monsanto’s GM wheat in U.S. crops (http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/05/30/2079071/illegal-monsanto-wheat-contamination/).  

I’ve challenged myself to go wheat free for 60 days.  I’ll teach myself to bake, cook, and create - sans wheat.  I’m looking forward to learning new things!  Of course, I’ll share all my findings with you.

First, I’ll rid my cabinets of wheat.  Then, I’ll dig i - probably next week!

Here goes!

When I discovered Palm Oil destroys habitat for Orangutans, I decided to ban Earth Balance. I loved it on my baked potatoes, so I invented a Palm Oil free sauce. It is happily delicious! Recipe to follow!

When I discovered Palm Oil destroys habitat for Orangutans, I decided to ban Earth Balance. I loved it on my baked potatoes, so I invented a Palm Oil free sauce. It is happily delicious! Recipe to follow!