Gluten Free For Good


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Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Celiac awareness book giveaway (part 2)

Up next in my “May is Celiac Awareness Month” bookapalooza giveaway is organic chef, Leslie Cerier’s cookbook, Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook. Another vegetarian favorite of mine, this book is filled with delicious, nutrient-dense recipes that are not only easy to make, they come with added health benefits as well. Leslie specializes in gluten-free, organic, whole foods cooking and creates her recipes with healing and thriving in mind. Not only does this cookbook have traditional recipe sections (breakfasts, main courses, sides, desserts), Leslie also treats us with savory sauces, sushi party ideas, basic grain cookery, and instructions on how to make nut/seed butters and milks. She covers it all—and does it with style!

Check here for more on Leslie, her cooking classes, recipes, and other cookbooks.

If you’d like a shot at winning a copy of Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook, please do the following:

• Leave a comment on this post listing your favorite gluten-free grain and what you like to do with it. Example—Teff pancakes with goji berries and maca. By the way, this recipe is in the cookbook.

• Make sure to include your email address when prompted (it will only be visible to me) so I can notify you if you win.

• The contest closes Friday, May 18th at 6 PM. It doesn’t matter if you also entered Monday’s giveaway. Who knows, you might win twice! Go for it.

Peace, love, and gourmet food!

kitchen sink soup

I admit it.

Although I may appear normal on the surface, I’m no stranger to odd behavior (or so I’m told). Every time I sit down to write a blog post, I struggle with controlling my internal evil twin. The one who wants to launch into a long-winded political diatribe or write a geeky poem about genetic expression or transcription pathways. Maybe link to a current climb of Mount Everest, write a book review, or evangelize about the healing power of yoga.

Anything but food.

Writing recipes is not easy for me. I don’t follow recipes, how can I write one? When I cook I just throw stuff together, taste, adjust, add more stuff, taste and on it goes until I have something I like. Or something my guy Fairbanks will eat.

This soup was absolutely delicious. Explaining in a coherent manner how I came up with it won’t be easy, but I’m going to give it a try. It was that good.

kitchen sink soup – you could also call this clean out the fridge soup
what you need (whatever you have)

4 shitake mushrooms, washed well and chopped
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery (and leaves), chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup shredded cabbage
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
8 cups broth (I used a combination of chicken and vegetable broth)
1 cup cooked rice (I used a mix of brown and wild rice)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
herbs: bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, oregano
* chopped means in small 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes (something like that)

what you do
1. In a large soup pot over low/medium heat, sauté mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil until fragrant. Remove mushrooms and place in a blender. Set aside until later.
2. In the same pot (add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of olive oil if you need to), sauté onions, garlic, celery, carrots and zucchini for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently to combine flavors.
3. While veggies are sautéing, add 2 to 4 cups of broth to the mushrooms in the blender. Purée well.
4. Pour mushroom/broth purée over veggies and add the rest of the broth to the pot. Add sweet potato, cabbage, tomatoes and rice. Stir, turn heat to low and simmer for at least 2 hours. Season and taste as you go.

This is better the second day and even better the third. You may have to add a little water to it over the next day or so. Adjust according to whatever you have in your fridge. It’s kitchen sink soup, it really doesn’t matter.

One of my all-time favorite British chefs gave me some tips on seasoning soups. Miles of suggests bay as a base ingredient in cooking. From there, he says hardy herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage and savory go well in mixed vegetable soups. I don’t always follow directions well, but when it comes to seasoning, I pay attention to what Miles has to say. He’s a master. Thanks, Miles!

Go forth, clean out your fridge and make kitchen sink soup! As another wonderful mentor of mine once said, everything you need, you already have.

organic lentil stew on a budget

My last post included a recipe and price break-down for an organic and healthy low cost meal. I compared my creation with a meal from Jack-in-the-Box. For details, please check here. I’m experimenting with high-quality, organic food on a low-income budget and legumes are a perfect ingredient.

Legumes are a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils. One of my favorite things about legumes is the wide range of creative colors. I’m fascinated with food traditions, culinary nutrition, creative cooking and the cultural heritage of food. This category (legumes) fits all of the above.

This post will focus on lentils – a short exploration and recipe. Lentils are one of the oldest cultivated legumes with seeds found at archeological sites dating back as far as 8000 years. I think they’ve survived the test of time. They’re inexpensive, nutrient-dense, power-packed with fiber and help maintain balanced blood sugar levels. Plus, they don’t need to be pre-soaked and are easy to prepare and easy to digest. These little things are user-friendly all the way around. Another thing I like about lentils is the fact that they seem to soak up the flavors of other ingredients.

low-cost and incredibly healthy organic lentil stew
what you need (all the ingredients below are organic)

4 cups chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth for a vegan meal)
2 cups filtered water (adjust depending on how thick you want the stew)
2 cups lentils, rinsed *
1 sweet potato or yam, peeled and chopped into 3/4 inch squares
1 can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes (14.5 ounces) *
2/3 cup chopped onion (about half an onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Simply Organic All Purpose Seasoning *
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

what you do
Heat oil in a heavy soup pot (medium-low setting). Add chopped onions and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for another minute or so. Pour in broth, water, tomatoes and their juice, sweet potatoes and lentils. Stir well. Cover and simmer for an hour or until lentils and sweet potatoes are fully cooked. Add seasonings and cook for another 15 minutes or so until flavors are well blended. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese for a nice treat.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

* Rinse well and do a quick check for funky stuff (sometimes hard debris gets mixed in).
* I absolutely love the smokey flavor of fire roasted tomatoes, but they also contain blackened pieces from the roasting. If that bugs you, get the regular kind.
* This seasoning contains onion, black pepper, garlic, parsley, celery seed, basil, thyme, oregano, sage and coriander. Use your favorite blends. Cumin also works well with lentils.

You can make several meals out of this and it seems to get better each day. If it becomes too thick, add more water or broth when you reheat it. You can also toss in some chopped greens on day 2 or 3 to change things up. Finely chopped spinach or kale works great.

cost breakdown
organic green lentils – one 2-pound bag was 2.86, 2 cups cost 1.07
onion – .20
garlic – .14
sweet potato (I used 1 garnet yam) – .64
14.5 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes –  1.39
organic, free-range chicken broth, 32 ounces – 3.39
incidentals (seasoning and oil) – .25

Total for 6 to 8 servings of lentil stew: $7.08
That’s about $1 or less per serving and everything I used was organic and nutrient dense.
It can be done!

nutrition highlights
Check this out. I took the time to calculate and break this down into nutrition facts. It’s not a perfect evaluation because I wasn’t able to factor in the potential difference between regular and organic foods, but this is an approximation of what you’re getting with 1 bowl of my lentil stew. Not bad for one dollar’s worth of food. This is an example of low-cost, nutrient-dense food. And look at the fiber content. Plus, you can’t calculate what you’re not getting (pesticides, hormones and other icky things) with the use of organic food. That’s priceless!

Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is hosting Friday Foodie Fix. Her secret ingredient is lentils, so head over there and check out all the recipes.

Peace, love and lentils!

do you know where your dinner came from?


Although I find the subject of food politics fascinating, I’ll spare you (sort of) my comestible ranting and stick to some of the more fun aspects of farming, food and healthy living.

But first, a little background.

Okay, I admit it — I drive an SUV. I was born and raised in Colorado, what else would I drive? I ski, hike, backpack and own a 130 pound furry dog. I’m not trading in my 4-wheel drive Pathfinder for some little foo-foo, plug-in car.

Having said that, I also care about the environment. Second to cars, the way our food is produced and distributed uses more fossil fuel than any other segment of the economy. And according to some of the experts who study this stuff, our Standard American Diet (SAD) contributes over one-third of the greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere. Not to mention what that diet does to our general health.

Food travels an average of 1500 miles before it lands on our dinner plate. Most of the time we have no idea where it came from, who grew it, or how it made its way into our homes. Other than the short trip from isle 14 at the supermarket and into the kitchen.

So, to do my part, I’m keeping my 9 year old SUV “clunker” and instead of taking the $4500 in government subsidy money and trading it in on a new car, I’ll make an effort to eat as much locally grown, seasonal food as possible. Is “cash for kale” part of any of these government stimulus packages? That might fit nicely into all three of these bills currently stirring up debate in Congress; climate change, food safety and health care. Oooh, as tempting as this political thread is, I’ll resist jumping on my soap box (or fruit box, in this case) and move on to the fun stuff.

Those of us who belong to the Grant Farms CSA program know where a good part of our food comes from. At least 26 week’s worth, but most of us don’t know the finer details. Here’s a closer look, complete with photos I took last Saturday while indulging my hippie-girl roots and painting flowers and peace signs on the farm-tour buses.


. . . and eat your veggies.


Grant Farm’s Jane and Maggie – peace, love, Bob Dylan and sparkly farkle.


You’d never guess who the lady-bug painting expert was. These farm boys are gentle souls (right, Josh?).


This organic lettuce was grown with care by Andy Grant, Ricardo (lettuce scientist extraordinaire) and the gang at Grant Family Farms. It’s harvested at its peak and packed carefully into the CSA delivery boxes by Uriel (above) and his coworkers for pick-up by us, the lucky shareholders. Even knowing the basics of the process, it’s hard for me to imagine how much work actually went into growing and getting that bunch of lettuce into my hands. To be honest, I have no clue, but I can see the pride in Uriel’s eyes and the spirit behind his smile and that gives me a hint.


This is Carmen, carefully dishing out summer squash while flashing her mega-watt smile. There’s a whole assembly line of cheerful, hard-working people putting together our CSA share boxes. Visiting the farm, touring the distribution center and meeting the people who grow, care for, harvest, organize and distribute the food makes it taste all the more delicious.

And Alonzo — a delightful smile to match a pleasant attitude. Now, don’t you appreciate that squash a little more knowing where it came from? And doesn’t that make you smile too? Go ahead, I dare you. Look into these faces and try not to smile. See, it’s impossible (snicker, snicker).

Good people, good energy, good food.

Okay, I don’t want rant (too much) and I don’t want to preach (too much), but by purchasing locally grown food from folks like this who care about the land and value the goods they’re producing, we become an important part of that community — a cog in the health and sustainability of the cycle. They need us and we need them.

It’s a privilege. Thanks, Andy and gang!

Peace, love and veggies!

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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(co-written with Pete Bronski)

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