Pasta Veggie Soup

As the kiddo would say, “Mom, this is more pasta than soup.”

So be it.

Pasta? Soup? Soupy Pasta?

Pasta? Soup? Soupy Pasta?

2 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 T. minced fresh herbs (I used rosemary and thyme) (You could swap in a teaspoon or so of dried herbs de Provence, too.)
6 cups veggie broth
1 /4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
1 8 oz box GF pasta of your choice. (I used Ancient Grains elbows. I’ve used shells before, and I prefer those.)
salt and pepper to taste
2 large handfuls spinach, chopped

In a stock pot, saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Add everything except the pasta and spinach. Boil until carrots are beginning to soften (10-15 minutes). Add the pasta and boil for 10 minutes until pasta is al dente. Toss in spinach and stir until wilted. Serve immediately.

Warning – the pasta will continue to soak up the stock. So, after a little while you’ll definitely have pasta with veggie bits, not soup. We like it that way, too, though.

Posted in main dish, vegan | 5 Comments

Spaetzle Mac

Well, I’m still in a cast. And, generally, that means I’m still avoiding the kitchen.

But, I can only feed my kid hummus and carrot sticks for just so long before he revolts and says, “would you please cook something?”

[Side note: he can now cook his own scrambled eggs, pancakes, and grilled cheese with tomato soup. And, there's been a lot of raw spinach-eating. Hey, it's a vegetable.]

So, tonight he asked for spaetzle mac, and I obliged.

What, you might ask, is spaetzle mac? Well, it’s a weird combination of spaetzle and mac and cheese. Only it’s grain-free and dairy-free. And, yes, yes, I know that the spaetzle actually replaces the mac part of mac and cheese. So, it should rightfully be called “spaetzle cheeze” or something.

But, the kiddo called it “spaetzle mac” and that’s what it henceforth shall be.

I’ve only made this with an actual spaetzle maker. One of these things:

Loaded Spaetzle Maker

Loaded Spaetzle Maker

But, I hear tell you can use a large-hole colander, too.

Spaetzle Mac

2 eggs
1 t. salt
1.5 packed cups almond flour
1/2 packed cup tapioca starch
1-3 T. water

2 large handfuls broccoli (optional)
1 batch of sauce (see below)

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Mix everything together except the water. Gradually add in the water until you have a thick dough. You may only need 1 tablespoon, depending on how humid it is and how moist your almond flour is. 

When the water is at a full rolling boil, load your spaetzle maker and “grate” the dough into the water. (If using a colander, you push the dough through and then slide a knife on the outside of the colander to cut off bits of dough.)

Boil until all the pieces are fluffy and floating – about 5 minutes.

Optional: I usually throw a couple of handfuls of cut up broccoli florets right in the boiling water with the dough. When the broccoli is tender, the spaetzle is done.

Drain. If using right away, you don’t have to rinse. If storing, rinse with cold water.

When ready to eat, toss spaetzle and broccoli with cheezy sauce and gently heat.

Cheezy Sauce

2 T. lemon juice
2 T. tahini
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 T. olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground yellow mustard (powder)

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. (Note, I usually have this ready to go so that as soon as the spaetzle is drained, I can mix it with the spaetzle and broccoli in the same pot I cooked the spaetzle in and serve right away.)

The end result is not gorgeous.

Grain-free Spaetzle with Vegan Cheeze Sauce

Grain-free Spaetzle with Vegan Cheeze Sauce

But, it’s the kiddo’s new favorite comfort food.

The recipe is really forgiving. I usually eyeball all the sauce ingredients. And, sometimes I add other spices or flavorings. And, I’ve used various proportions of almond flour to tapioca starch, too. So, no stress on this recipe, okay? Give it a whirl!

Posted in broccoli, grain-free, main dish, nightshade-free | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

So, this happened.

Broken-footed mommy.

Broken-footed mommy.

Yes, yes I do have a broken foot. *sigh*

Needless to say, I haven’t been doing much recipe development lately. Or, actually, I’ve been throwing stuff together that’s quick and easy and never writing anything down.

Popcorn for dinner? It’s not so bad.

But, last night the kiddo looked at me with big eyes and said, “Mom, I need cookies. With peanut butter. And oatmeal.”

Who can resist big eyes?

Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Oat Cookies

Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Oat Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 cup GF oatmeal, ground in coffee grinder
1/2 cup oatmeal, not ground
2 T. almond milk

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a medium-size bowl, blend all ingredients together in order listed. Drop by tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes.

Posted in cookies, oatmeal, peanut butter | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Your Stories Are a Gift

“Your stories are a gift,” she said. “A gift for all those who don’t yet have the courage to tell their own stories. And for all those that never will.”

I heard those words just hours ago at the first read-through for the 2013 Madison Listen To Your Mother show.

And, as I listened to each person’s story – stories that made me laugh, stories that made me cry, stories that made me think “I know exactly how that feels,” and stories that made me think, “I hope I never have to know how that feels” – this idea of our stories being a gift kept coming back to me.

A gift.

The perfectionist in me wants every gift to be well-planned, personalized, the perfect thing at the perfect time. All wrapped up in the perfect paper. With a Martha Stewart bow.

The kiddo has never made a Martha Stewart bow. He’s never wrapped anything in perfect paper. His presents to me sometimes come with the worst possible timing – like every time he’s handed me a hand-picked bouquet of dandelions, sap pouring out onto my already-full hands, no water or vase in sight, with the expectation that I will love and cherish these weeds for all eternity. And, while I can’t say I haven’t surreptitiously “replanted” those dandelions, the gift was no less loved.

Maybe gifts don’t have to be perfect. Maybe the best gifts are the ones that are slightly flawed, but given with love.

And so it will be that I will offer my words as a gift on Mother’s Day this year. My messy, jumbled, heartfelt words. They will be so imperfectly perfect.

Listen To Your Mother is happening in 24 cities on or near Mother’s Day. What a gift to mothers everywhere.

 

Posted in Random Thoughts | Tagged | 8 Comments

Whipped Coconut Butter Frosting

Remember the coconut cake? I teased you then and said I’d post the recipe for the frosting soon. Today’s the day! Alas, there are no photos. You’ll just have to refer back to the cake and picture what it might look like on your favorite cake. Or here, let me remind you:

Coconut Cake (grain-free)

Coconut Cake (grain-free)

This is a variation on a family favorite, whipped chocolate frosting.  Eventually, I’ll post that one, too.

Whipped Coconut Butter Frosting

6 T. coconut oil
4 ounces coconut butter (You can make your own by whizzing 4 ounces unsweetened, dried coconut in the food processor until liquid.)
2 cups powdered sugar (I’ve not tried this with powdered palm sugar.)
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs (I used the pasteurized kind, as they will be raw in this recipe.)

Melt the coconut oil and coconut butter in a heat-proof bowl. Fill your sink with ice water to half-way up the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and whip, with the bowl sitting in the ice water, until light and fluffy.

This is a soft frosting. It should be spreadable and slightly hold its shape, but you won’t be able to pipe flowers with it.

Enjoy!

Posted in coconut, desserts, grain-free, nightshade-free | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Coconut Cake (grain-free/paleo option)

This is the season of birthdays in my house. We’ve got one in February, one in March, a couple in April…. It’s a cake extravaganza around here. And, now, finally, I can say there’s a cake I like. Okay. A cake I love. That, of course, means that this is a dense, moist, not very cake-like cake. Just the way I like it.

Two options here – a grain option and a grain-free option. Both are delicious. I couldn’t really pick a favorite. You choose.

I did learn something really interesting while baking 3 versions of this cake. Coconut palm sugar does not act exactly like regular sugar. I’ve always assumed it was a one-for-one sub, with a slightly different flavor. Yes, yes, the texture is coarser than cane sugar, but that’s nothing a quick whiz in the coffee grinder can’t handle.

But, as I was making this cake, I discovered that coconut palm sugar sucks up moisture way more than cane sugar. The cane sugar version of this cake had a more traditional cake batter – more liquidy and baked up into a nicely rounded top. The palm sugar? Well, it’s verging on cookie dough consistency. And, the sugar was the only difference between those two versions. Once baked, though, and slathered with some sort of amazing frosting (recipe for that coming soon), it won’t matter. If you can eat cane sugar, go for it. If not, you’ll still be happy with the palm sugar version.

Sorry vegans. This one uses a whole lot of happy little chicken eggs. But, if anyone wants to try to convert it, be my guest. Let me know what you do!

Coconut Cake (grain-free)

Coconut Cake (grain-free)

Coconut Cake

Group 1
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1.5 cup full fat (canned) coconut milk
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Group 2
1 cup sugar (palm or cane – your choice)
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 cup finely shreded unsweetened coconut

Pick one of these 2 options:
Grain option: 4.5 ounces superfine white rice flour + 4.5 ounces sweet white rice flour + 2 ounces sifted coconut flour

Grain-free option: 3 ounces sifted coconut flour + 4.5 ounces tapioca starch + 4.5 ounces blanched almond flour

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 13 cake pan. In a large bowl, beat the group 1 ingredients together. In a small bowl, whisk together the group 2 ingredients and one of the 2 flour options.  Pour group 2 into group 1 and beat until fully incorporated. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes. (The grain version will be on the lower end of that scale, the grain-free version the higher end.)

Cool completely and frost with your favorite topping. Or, come back soon and get my recipe for whipped coconut butter frosting!

Posted in cake, coconut, desserts, grain-free, nightshade-free | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake (grain-free, vegan)

Recently, Iris from The Daily Dietribe contacted me asking me if I’d like to make a grain-free version of a recipe she was working on for a reader. It also happened to be a vegan recipe. A vegan baked recipe. Grain-free and vegan and baked? That’s a challenge. But, I was willing to give it a go.

The majority of this recipe is really Iris’. To make it grain-free, I reduced the liquid a little, swapped out the grain-based flour, and amped up the vanilla. Mostly, I added extra vanilla because there’s a tipping point for me with psyllium husks. It seems to be at about 2 T. Anything beyond that and I can taste them, and I’m not a huge fan of the taste. But, I tried to sub in some flax seeds. Nope, it doesn’t work as a cake. A gooey pudding, yes. (And, honestly, the kiddo devoured that version.) But, it wasn’t a cake.

Truth be told, this final version still isn’t quite what I want. It will fall a little bit as it cools. But, once fully cool, it has a firm, tight cake crumb. (It really is better the second day. This photo was taken the first day and it was still a bit moist.)

If grains do not bother you, be sure to check out Iris’ version.

Grain-free and Vegan Coffee Cake

Grain-free and Vegan Coffee Cake

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Topping:
6 tablespoons (84 g) Earth Balance
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon (go wild if you like cinnamon)
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life) (Or sub in 2 T cocoa nibs for a refined sugar free version)
1 cup coconut palm sugar (granulated and brown sugar both also work)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional – but really better with them)

Cake:
3 tablespoons whole pysllium husks
1 cup non-dairy milk
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 T pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup (85 g) coconut flour
2/3 cup (94 g) tapioca or arrowroot starch
1 packed cup (128 g) blanched almond flour
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar (granulated cane sugar works, too)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions:

1. Prepare filling in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease/flour a tube pan.

2. Mix psyllium, milk, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract in a food processor.

3. Stir together flours/starches, sugar, baking soda and baking powder in a medium sized bowl. Pour into wet mixture and process until well mixed.

4. Add in coconut oil and process until completely mixed.

5. Pat half of batter into tube pan (it will be sticky), followed by half of topping. Repeat. Bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool completely before taking out of pan. (Really. Seriously. You have to wait. Make it the night before if you want it for breakfast the next day.)

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