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Posts Tagged ‘Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten-Free’

mixed mushroom and veggie soup

This month, Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is hosting Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free. Her theme is scary foods, or foods we’re reluctant to eat because they seem weird, strange or just plain creepy. Naomi, author of the blog Straight Into Bed Cakefree, is the creative genius-ette behind GAHIGF and if you check here, you’ll see she has an exciting list of themes and hosts scheduled all the way out to June of 2011. It’s beyond my comprehension to be that organized, but those of us who enjoy all these unique flavors and creative recipes are thrilled that Naomi keeps this party going in such grand style.

Although there are lots of foods that I find scary for health reasons, I know Diane didn’t mean nasty, processed foods full of chemicals, additives and dyes, so I had to dig deep to figure out a weird food that I’d actually buy, create a recipe for and eat.

Believe it or not, mushrooms hit my “creepy food” button. I use them occasionally, but usually in a puréed form. They add a wonderful earthy taste to soups and stews, but eating them in their slimy, cooked-but-not-puréed form weirds me out. The texture is way too booger-ish.

Having said that, here’s what I like about them (other than the earthy flavor they impart). Mushrooms have been used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for centuries for everything from immune support to anti-aging, so they’re high on the list of well-studied medicinal foods. They’re considered an adaptogen in alternative healing circles and while I doubt they’re the cure-all many tout them to be, they truly are packed with health-enhancing nutrients. Plus, they’re low in calories, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

I usually sauté mushrooms in coconut oil and blend them with vegetable broth in my VitaMix. That way I can add them to recipes and get all the benefits and none of the icky texture. I realize most people aren’t bothered by the slimy feel of mushrooms, but I’m not one of them. So, puréeing is a good way to reap the benefits and circumvent my gag reflex.

For this recipe, I used a mix of organic shiitake, shimeiji, abalone and field mushrooms from Woodstock Farms. I didn’t sauté them first, I just tossed them into my soup blend.

mixed mushroom and veggie soup
what you need

6 cups vegetable broth (I often make my own, but this time I used Pacific organic vegetable broth)
2 cups filtered water
1 onion, diced
4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
4 to 6 carrots, chopped
4 to 6 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
4 tomatoes, quartered and roasted
1 and 1/2 cup mixed mushrooms
oil (some for sautéing the veggies, some for coating the tomatoes)
seasonings (I used Simply Organic all-purpose seasonings)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

what you do
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and quarter tomatoes. Place in bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss gently. Place skin side down on a cookie sheet and place in oven for about 30 minutes.
2. While the tomatoes are roasting, heat a glug of the oil in a heavy soup pan. Add the onions and cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, celery and carrots and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.
3. Add the vegetable broth and simmer on low for about two hours.
4. Place the tomatoes (be careful blending if they’re still hot) and the filtered water in a blender and blend well. Pour into the soup mix.
5. Once the veggies are cooked, but still slightly crunchy, add the mushrooms and cook for another hour or so.
6. Add seasonings (an herb blend) and salt and pepper. Simmer for a few more minutes. Serve with gluten-free corn bread.

Peace, joy and mushroom love.

healthy power bars

When Ali (co-owner, with her husband Tom, of Whole Life Nutrition) asked me to participate in her kid-friendly “Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free” event, my first thought was, “Hallelujah, I’m not packing lunches anymore because my kids are all grown, ha-ha-ha.”

But after my initial jubilation, I had a sudden jolt of nostalgic sadness over the fact that my lunch packing days were over. Okay, if you must know, that passed quickly, but I decided it would be fun to participate anyway.

Plus, I’m into healthy environments for kids and a big part of that has to do with what they eat. My kids never bought school lunches. They went to a closed-campus high school and couldn’t wander off to MacDonalds (thank goodness), so over the years, I made a LOT of lunches. And with two boys and two girls, the lunches were often customized and large.

I love Ali and Tom’s approach to food, nutrition and parenting, so here’s my contribution to the lunch room party.

kid-friendly power bars
what you need

1 cup pecans
1 cup almonds
1 cup chopped dried apricots, unsulphured (I use organic Turkish apricots)
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped, 55% cocoa content or higher
1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats *
1/4 cup Pamela’s GF Baking Mix
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (I like organic, grade B)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

* I use guaranteed gluten-free oats from Montana Gluten-Free Processors. Oats are generally safe for most people who are gluten-intolerant, but make sure the oats you use are uncontaminated and guaranteed gluten-free. Montana Gluten-Free Processor oats are certified by both the Gluten Intolerance Group and the Celiac Sprue Association.

what you do
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans and almonds in a single layer on the prepared cookie sheet and roast for 6 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. They burn easily, so watch them and stir once or twice if needed. Let cool.
2. Place flour, ground chia seeds, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add nuts and pulse until they are coarsely chopped and well blended with the other ingredients.
3. Add oats, apricots and dark chocolate and pulse several times so everything is mixed together.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, maple syrup and vanilla. Make sure these ingredients are well blended. Add the nut and fruit mixture to the bowl. Using a fork, mash and mix them all together, breaking apart clumps of dried fruit and chocolate.
5. Spread the mixture over parchment paper onto the cookie sheet. Either flatten the mixture with your hands or place another sheet of parchment paper on top and roll out into a flat sheet, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and bake on center rack of oven for 24 to 28 minutes until nicely browned. Don’t over-bake them. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 dozen bars.

If you don’t have kids at home, make a batch of these and use them for a quick pick-me-up while out hiking or skiing. They make great back-country power bars.

Peace, love and good nutrition!

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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