Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fried Shrimp and Stir Fried Veggies in the Wok!!

Mom knew just what I needed for Christmas - a Wok!!  It's really neat and versatile, and after seasoning it and cooking in it just once, I would recommend it to everyone.  You don't have to have a Wok for this recipe, but it really does make everything quicker and easier.  Each of the tasks in this recipe can be done in separate pans if you don't have a wok.  Before I get in to the ingredients for this one, I hope everyone has had a wonderful Holiday, and as a New Years resolution for everyone - wash your sprouts well!!  If you have missed my entries, then blame it on three days of me suffering with salmonella from some store bought alfalfa sprouts!  Don't be one of those tough people like me who says, nah, I don't need to wash them cause my immune system will nip it in the bud.  It won't....and you will be miserable.  OK, let's get right down to what we need for gluten free fried shrimp and stir-fried broccoli, mushrooms, onions, leeks, garlic, and cashews.  This makes a nice little Asian style dish - Mandy and I opted not to use rice, for we are trying to stay as low carb as possible.
1 cup raw mushrooms
1 sm white onion chopped
1 leek chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cups broccoli uniformly sized and frozen
1/2 pound raw, peeled shrimp w/ tails on
3/4 cup cashews (we used roasted/salted but raw will do fine)
1/4 cup teff flour
1 egg beaten
Peanut oil
Gluten free soy sauce w/ no additives (easy to find)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Before you do any cooking, get all of your veggies cut up uniformly so that they cook evenly, put your teff flour in to a small bowl, and beat the egg in another small bowl.  In another small bowl combine about 3 tbsp soy sauce, a couple of squirts of lemon juice and a dash of red pepper and set this to the side.  Keep your mushrooms separate from the other veggies because we are going to want to cook them a little before we cook the other veggies.  Go ahead and toss the shrimp around in the mix of  teff flour and pinch of salt, then dip them in the egg and set them all to the side for later.  If you are using a wok, shout out to Kelly Snider because I know you have one, be sure and have a place to dump your cooked veggies out of the wok while you fry your shrimpies.  OK, get the wok nice and hot, between med. and high heat - you can put some non-stick stuff in it but I didn't need it and my wok is new.  When its all hot throw the mushrooms in with just a pinch of salt.  Toss them around until they seem soft and rubbery and then throw your other veggies in there and start stirring them around.  Add another pinch or two of salt.  When the veggies get cooked but crisp, dump them out of the wok.  It's time to fry up some shrimp!!!  Pour about an inch of peanut oil in the wok and let it get hot.  If you have a candy thermometer, get the oil to 375, but if you don't just toss a little beaten egg in the pan and when it sizzles immediately and swims around quickly you are probably ready to go.  Place the battered shrimp one by one in to the oil (if they don't violently bubble and sizzle, the oil isn't hot enough) and count to 20 and flip them with some tongs - count to 20 again and take them out - they're done.
Alrighty, after your shrimpies are all fried up, dump the oil in a container to use again or down the sink if not, and put the soy sauce mixture in the wok, let it get hot and then dump your veggies back in the wok along with the cashews and stir it all up until it is hot again.  Make sure the whole mixture gets coated with the sauce.  Turn off the heat and serve with the fried shrimp on the side.  Enjoy!!

Thanks Mom!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tofu and Sprout Sandwich for Today's Lunch

Today's lunch is a sprout, avacado and tofu sandwich on brown rice bread, some bell pepper with hummus, some walnuts, an egg, and half a banana.  Total calories is about 600 with 50% calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 30% from carbs.  Thanks for looking!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Today's Vegetarian Lunch

Broccoli with a pat of butter, 1/4 cup red lentils with butter and salt, 1 small carrot with about 2 tbsp peanut butter (peanuts, salt), hard boiled egg and a few slices of cheese.  This one packs a lot of veggies while still maintaining calories from fat!!  Total calories on this lunch is about 780 - 56% of calories from fat, 18% of calories from carbohydrates, and 22% calories from protein.  No refined carbs - not even refined sugar!!  If you're trying to lose weight and still eat great, this is a good gluten free, balanced, vegetarian, low carb., no tofu or tempeh lunch.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Almost as Promised.....Salmon Quiche

Low carb., gluten free delicacy right here - the salmon quiche.  I know I promised tuna, but I wanted to try something new and I've been there done that with the tuna.  Either way, who knew fish quiche could be so dang good?  This one smells awesome while cooking in the oven - gets the mouth all watering and stomach growling and I can't even eat it tonight 'cause it's for tomorrow - I already had dinner tonight.  It's OK, this one is worthy of dreams, and I'm sure I will have a few bites before I even wake up.  OK, I'll shut up now - here is all the great items you will need:
3.5 cups pink wild Alaskan salmon (2 regular sized cans)
5 eggs
1 cup whole milk (I used raw milk from the new store in Easley, Back to Nature)
2.5 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup mushrooms (I use canned organic)
1 pack of frozen chopped spinach
1 white onion chopped and 3 cloves garlic chopped also
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

OK, here we go....saute the onion and garlic for just a few minutes in a little olive oil and about a tbsp butter.
Throw the thawed spinach in the pan along with the shrooms and the salmon (eat the bones first, they are delicious!!).  Stir it all up and let it all warm up nicely and incorporate together.  While this is going, beat the eggs and the milk together in a bowl and set to the side.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter a baking pan liberally, about 9 X 13, salt and pepper the salmon mixture and pour it in the buttered pan.  Grate the cheese and mix it in well with the salmon mixture.  Pour the egg and milk mixture over the salmon mixture and mix it all together, and then evenly distribute the mixture in the pan.  Put it in the oven for about an hour or until it doesn't jiggle anymore when you shake it a little bit.  I actually turned the oven down to 300 after about 40 minutes so that it would cook more evenly.  That's it, you are done with salmon quiche and now, well after it cools for a while (unless you are Mandy, and then you can eat it straight from the oven because you have no feeling in your tongue) you can eat salmon quiche and experience one of life's little amazing joys!!  Sorry, that was way too dramatic...the salmon quiche is really, really good.  Enjoy!!
The rundown - I cut the whole thing in to about 15 individual pieces about 2.5" by 2.5".  Each piece has 3.8g carbohydrates, 20.5g protein, 18g fat. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fish Night, Baby Fish Night ba da ba ba ba da da...sorry about that

Alright, so gluten free and healthy doesn't always have to be complicated.  Tonight is fish night, and although most of my meals are vegetarian, tonight is an exception.  I am going to get back to some basics tonight with a meal that is, by the proper definition, about as balanced and healthy as you can get.  So relax, pour the red wine, and take a load off while cooking this simple, but sensational meal. 
I am cooking for 2 - so these amounts represent enough for 2 - You will need:
1 lb of salmon fillet, skin on. (We got Norwegian from Publix) Half the fillet before you cook it.
3 tbsp butter
1/2 of a fresh lemon
Salt and Pepper
3 cups of broccoli
4 cups baby mixed greens
2 hard boiled eggs (we get ours from our local store, Back to Nature - they are pastured and fantastic!!)
1/2 cup pecans
About 8 thin slices red onion
A little bit of mozzarella cheese
Some homemade vinaigrette dressing - I included this recipe below

OK, the fish is only as good as the method with which it is cooked, and tonight I think I have nailed it.  If you're using a stainless steel pan, put in the butter and turn the heat between low and med, closer to med.  If you're using Teflon or something non-stick, you should probably turn it to med.  Let the butter melt, and start to make a little noise, then lay the two salmon fillets in the pan skin down.  Get yourself some good tongs and move the fillets around just a little in order to prevent sticking.  While they're sizzlin' a little, sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice on the top, and put a lid on it for about 2-3 minutes, but don't forget to scoot the salmon around every now and then to prevent them babies from stickin'.  After a few minutes, flip them suckers over.  Now it is critical to move the fillets around now and then to prevent sticking, because the skin is not there to help this.  Sprinkle some more salt and pepper and lemon on the top and put a lid on 'em for another 3 minutes or so.  At this point, you should be able to flake a little piece off one side of a fillet to see how done the inside of the salmon is.  Cook it however done you like it, but it is in my opinion that it is best when the very center is just a little pink and shiny each his own.  Flip them one more time to really crisp the skin and take them off the heat.  Squeeze a little fresh lemon on top and you're done with the salmon.

Steam the broccoli during the salmon cooking or after, but don't over-steam it.  It should be bright green and a little crisp to go best with the salmon.  The broccoli only needs a little salt when serving.  The salmon will have plenty of flavor to compensate.

Mandy made the salad, and it is questionable whether the salmon was better than the salad or the salad better than the salmon.  She took two bowls of baby organic greens and topped them with a few rounds of red onion, one quartered hard-boiled egg and a half a handful of pecans or so.  We topped the salad off with some Dijon mustard vinaigrette.

This meal is where it's at.  The butter makes it, so don't use olive oil!!  780 calories, 77.4grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, and 46.4 grams fat all per serving.  Remember, a large percentage of this fat is monounsaturated fat in the butter, fish, and oil.  The only thing left is a pic (which doesn't even capture the beautiful pink color of the salmon) and the recipe for a darn good dressing for your salad.  Enjoy, and stay tuned for tuna quiche, gluten free teff flour banana bread, lentil and red bean recipe, and if I have success...gluten free pitas!! 

Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette Salad Dressing:  These proportions are ratios, for instance 1/4 red wine vinegar means 1/4 of the total volume of dressing is the vinegar.
1/4 Red wine vinegar - buy some that is just red wine vinegar - Pompeian brand works
1/2 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The last quarter is honey or agave nectar, pinch of salt, a couple squirties of spicy Dijon mustard (again, make sure you get some without additives - publix brand organic works) and some fresh lemon juice all to taste.  You can vary these last ingredients based on how you like your dressing to taste - hell, feel free to vary all of the ingredients - this is just a good basis for a darn good salad dressing!!!

I am way behind so look out!!! Oh yeah, here is today's lunch!!

Alright, I have got some serious new reipes to get up here, so I am behind.  Here is today's lunch to hold everyone over until tonight.
Today we have broccoli with a pat of butter and a little salt, my Indian lentil and red bean recipe (will post this later), the familiar sprout sandwich with refried black beans, hummus and cheese on brown rice bread, and a half a handful of nuts with dried cherries!  By the way everyone, I am reading a book called Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.  This is a must read if you want to be extremely enlightened as to how research on the human diet is done in the United States, and it will open your eyes to what didn't make it in to the reports that we have heard for the last 100 years.  I'm telling you, this book is the ultiimate book if you want to get to the bottom of many questions about our food.  I am not done yet, but it has got me hooked.  I would encourage everyone to read this one.  OK, I promise to get my latest posted asap.  Enjoy!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bean Soup Recipe and Today's Lunch

Today's lunch is bean soup, carrots with hummus, leftover tuna quich again, and some pineapple.  I have included the recipe for the bean soup. 

Bean Soup:
4 cups water
3 cups veggie stock
  1.5 cups 15 bean mix (we got ours at the Asheville Farmer's Market, but you can pick up the mix at the grocery store)
1/2 stick butter
3 med. carrots chopped
5 wild onions chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
4 celery stalks chopped
Salt and Pepper

Put the veggie stock, water, and butter in a pot along with all the beans and heat to a boil and then cover and simmer until the beans are almost completely soft.  When the beans are almost soft, put all of the rest of the ingredients in and simmer until veggies are soft.  Salt and Pepper to taste and you are done.  This makes a hardy, easy soup with a buttery, tasty broth.  Enjoy!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Leftovers and Lentils - Today's Lunch

I'm excited today.  You see those two little squares of goodness in the bottom right of my box?  That is leftover tuna quiche!!  Yeah, and it is the stuff.  I've also got some carrots with hummus and refried black beans, green lentils, and a banana.  I would eat it right now, but then I wouldn't have lunch.  Stay tuned for some fabulous banana bread made witih teff flour - don't know what teff is?  Look it up and get ready to make some serious holiday banana bread.  Have a great day!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Today's Lunch

Sprout, carrot, and homemade hummus sandwich on Rudi's gluten free bread, red lentils, refried black beans with a little sour cream, and pineapple!!  Gluten free, vegetarian lunch in the Bento Box - it doesn't get better than this. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fancy for Friends...a gluten free, vegetarian killer!!

When true friends come from out of town to visit, you have to pull out all the stops, am I right?  Well I've been working on gluten free, vegetarian calzones now for a little while and I finally perfected them enough to try out on some innocent bystanders. So when our friend Lisa came to visit from good ol' Tennessee I served them up.  You can stuff these guys with whatever you want, and you can save extra or leftover dough for another time.  However you fix them, this is sure to be a favorite, just make sure you stock up on the tunes and beverages because the prep on this one is one of those preps you save for special occasions such as this one. 
For these spinach, broccoli, artichoke, and mushroom calzones you will need the following:
For the dipping sauce:
3 cans crushed tomatoes
2 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp onion powder
3 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
For the filling:
1/2 large red onion chopped
2 cups broccoli chopped
1 package frozen chopped spinach
1/2 can mushrooms or 1 cup fresh
1/2 can artichoke hearts
3 cloves garlic minced
Olive oil and butter
1 egg beaten w/ a splash of milk
(you can do this right before the oven so wait)
Mozzarella cheese
Feta cheese
For the dough:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
1 cup warm water (not hot!!)
3 cups Bob's Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour and a little extra for dusting
Must Have this!!! 6 tsp xanthan gum - Bob's Red Mill sells this, but this will not work without xanthan gum!!
First thing is first.  Take your warm water and add the salt, honey, and yeast to it, stir it a little bit and set it off to the side for 10-15 minutes.  While that is sitting, put your gf flour and xanthan gum in a bowl, and go ahead and get all of your other stuff out and ready to go, and by the time you get it all ready, you will be ready to pour your yeast mixture in to the flour and mix it up.  The yeast mixture should smell like beer and have a nice layer of foam on top. If it doesn't look and smell like this - (the picture is scratch and sniff so go ahead and scratch it) you may have something wrong.  Try again, but yeast is almost foolproof so you shouldn't have a problem unless it is ridiculous cold in your house.
 If the mix is too dry and doesn't form a nice sticky ball then add a little water, if it is too wet, add a little more flour.  Once you get it to a nice doughy consistency, knead the ball for at least ten minutes.  No crazy technique here, just mush it around and fold it up and mush it some more for ten minutes.  After the kneading, get a clean bowl that the whole ball will fit in to nicely, put about a tsp olive oil in it and then roll the dough ball around in the oil and then leave the ball in the bowl, cover and let it rise for about an hour.  That's right, an hour, so now you have time to complete the rest of the recipe, and drink some wine, talk to your friends, let your dog lick your face.....OK, set the bowl of dough to the side in a warm place for an hour and it should almost double in size, and after a while should make little popping noises - that's just carbon dioxide popping out of the dough from the yeast - no the yeast is not trying to tell you ANYTHING.  While this is going on let's complete the rest of the stuff.
Get all of your filling ingredients except for cheese and egg and milk and saute them in about 3 tbsp olive oil and a couple pats of butter.  While this stuff is getting soft, pour the crushed tomatoes in a sauce pot, turn it on low heat and add the seasonings.  When all of your filling ingredients get warm and soft, turn them on low heat, and just keep an eye on your dipping sauce.  You can take a little break now just keeping an eye on your filling and sauce from time to time.
After the hour is up, take your dough out and cut it in to quarters.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Roll one of the quarters out with a rolling pin on some flour so it doesn't stick.  Get it good and thin as you want it and then add some filling in the center along with some mozzarella and feta and roll one side over the filling and press it on to the other side.

 Take a pizza cutter and cut off the excess dough and roll the edges up and pinch them tight.  Move the calzone to a greased baking pan, and slice a small breathing hole right in the top.  Repeat these steps for however many more calzones you want.  This recipe usually makes 4 large ones, but you can make 8 small ones if you'd like.  After you get them all stuffed and folded, take that egg and milk mixture and brush the top of each one liberally.  Pop 'em in the oven and bake until golden brown.  Take them out, let cool for a little bit while you divide your dipping sauce in to some small saucers and it's time to eat.  I left some pics that should help with all of this stuff.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Early Merry Christmas to Me!!!

It's time to get mushy...I have the best wife in the world.  Go ahead and gag, but it's true.  If you read this blog you will benefit too though because Mandy got me a Bento lunchbox!!  This is the coolest thing ever, and it is microwave safe, BPA free, and it has an insulated sleeve to keep it in!!  Are you serious?  Oh yeah, how do you benefit?  Now I can show you all of my on the go lunches in style, so here is the first.
Is this not the coolest thing you've ever seen?  We've got a carrot and half an apple w/ peanut butter, (I dripped some lemon juice on my apple to keep those enzymes from browning up my apple)  a sprout sandwich with cheese and horseradish hummus on brown rice bread, and some teff flour banana nut bread.  I don't even think I'll be able to eat it all.  This thing even came with silverware and little tops for the containers, and a little condiment container!  So, if you're on the go but you want to ensure that you get a great homemade lunch then I would either get a Bento Box or go get the second best wife ever. (I have the first).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Homemade Hummus

For chips, for sandwiches, for veggies, and for just about anything - Hummus makes an all around spread that adds good flavor when you want to replace a fattening dip or condiment with a healthier and I think tastier alternative.  Here is how you can make it yourself to ensure that the only stuff in your hummus is the stuff you want in your hummus.  Feel free to add all sorts of different spices to yours and customize your hummus for you!!  In the blender combine:
1 12 oz can chick peas (garbanzo beans) along with about 1/4 of the juice in the can
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp cumin

Puree and you're finished - eat on this for several days, but my guess is it won't last one.
Today's work snack

Thursday, December 2, 2010

And pasta of the year goes to....

Are you serious?  This one goes in to the hall of fame in the category of good stuff mixed up with some noodles.  This thing is creamy and roasted garlicky and olive oily with a splash of parmesan cheesy.  Not to mention all of the fine vegetables all up in the mix.  This one is a winner, so don't even think twice, just grab a pen and paper and plan on fixin' this for dinner like yesterday.  It is decently quick too, but you may want to grab a beer or a glass of wine and crank up the Christmas tunes anyway.  Start out with roasting up some garlic again by cutting the top off of a head, pour some olive oil in there, wrap it in foil and bake it at about 350 for about an hour or a little less.
For this recipe you will need the following:
One leek
1 can artichoke hearts
Half of a red onion (chopped but not too fine)
1/2 cup(dry) mung beans cooked in veggie stock
2.5 cups rough chopped broccoli (I used frozen)
5 cloves roasted garlic and 3 fresh cloves
The juice of about 1/2 lemon
2 cups collard greens (I used mine from the garden but frozen will do fine)
A couple pats of butter and some extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup milk or cream and about 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella and some parmesan cheese.

Saute your onions, a couple cloves of minced garlic, broccoli, sliced leeks (white portion), and collards all together in butter and olive oil while the mung beans are cooking.  Go ahead and salt the mixture a little and give it a few splashes of that fresh lemon juice.  As all the veggies start getting a little soft turn them to low heat and mix in your milk or cream along with a small pat of butter and incorporate together.  After the mung beans get soft, dump them along with their juices in to the veggie mixture along with the shredded mozzarella and stir it all up well.  Go ahead and get your noodles of choice going while the veggie mixture stays on low heat.  I used brown rice spaghetti noodles.

After the noodles get done, drain 'em and transfer 'em in to another bowl, and then take out the roasted garlic from the oven and squeeze some of that fine smellin' mess right over the veggie mix (about 5 cloves will do just fine).  Salt and pepper to taste and if you're like me you'll add about 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper and then add some fresh lemon juice and dump the whole mix over the pasta and mix it all together in to a big heapin' pile of I don't know what.  Grate some fresh parmesan over it before you serve it and dang - that's right on.  This one didn't even need a salad.

One last thing.  I took some of those mung beans and sprouted them as my first attempt at doing some sprouts here at home instead of buying them.  It worked pretty darn well, so I left a picture or two here for you to check them out.  It's not hard to do at all and I'm sure you can figure it out, but my advice is don't do mung bean sprouts unless you have accquired a taste for them.  I'll be honest, I can get used to alot of things, but mung bean sprouts just won't do.  I had to smother them in refried black beans just to get them past my tongue.  The pictures are cool anyway - stay tuned for broccoli sprouts!!


Monday, November 29, 2010


I can't remember.  Is the saying 3rd time is a charm or is it 4th time is a charm?  Anyway, I've been testing these in the home kitchen lab and this time it is 4th time is a charm.  I did all the hard work so that you guys could enjoy gluten free peanut butter and honey cookies with chopped pecans.  These things are addictive so be careful...they might even be outlawed if the word gets out, and then we'll have to pay premium price for them and people could get hurt or go to jail over these things. 
You will need:
1 cup of chopped pecans (plus some whole ones for the tops of the cookies)
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (peanuts and salt - smuckers makes a good one)
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1/2 cup honey (raw, unfiltered if you can)
1 egg beaten
5/8 cup gluten free all purpose flour (Bob's Red Mill)this is just a smidgen more than 1/2 cup
1/4 tsp baking SODA
1 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
Mix all ingredients together, grease a baking sheet and dollop some of this batter in spoonfulls on the sheet.  Pop a little pecan on the top before you pop them in the oven.  I baked them at 350 until they were golden brown and then I just took them out and let them cool before I ate like 5 of them with milk, ohhhhh did I say that out loud?  If not, I just took them out and let them cool before I ate 2 of them with milk.   These are some good cookies, and you can make them a little more crispy by finishing them off in the oven at 450 for a couple of minutes.  Try them out and let me know how you like 'em.  Also I left a pic of my plate from Thanksgiving at my family's house - it was absolutely fabulous!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Noodleless and Vegetarian LASAGNA!!!

If you're Italian then you may need to cover your eyes and hit the back button quick!!....OK, now that the Italians are gone it's safe to unveil what I will call lasagna, even though the word lasagna is a big-time understatement for what I am about to share.  I realized that some reading this blog may actually be trying to make these dishes, and that it is really annoying when I list ingredients right in the paragraph as I usually do, so from now on I will list them...sorry about that.  For this you will need the following scrumptious ingredients:
2 large potatoes
3 large carrots
1 large white onion
1 1/2 cups mushrooms (I used canned organic)
1 can plain artichoke hearts
1 or 2 packs frozen leaf spinach
1 large container crushed tomatoes (Pomi makes them in a box instead of a can, but they only come in smaller containers so if you go this route you will need about 3 boxes.  Also, the amount of sauce you use can vary depending on how much sauce you like in your lasagna.)
1 whole head of garlic
3 cloves of garlic separate from head of garlic
Mozzarella cheese
Cheddar cheese
Feta cheese
1 large container cottage cheese
Fresh Italian herbs (oregano, thyme etc.)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (first cold press)
salt and pepper
Having a block of Parmesan on hand wouldn't hurt

Are you still awake?  I know, that was a huge list, but a lot of these things may already be on hand if you cook on a regular basis.  If many of these items aren't already on hand, it's no problem because most of them are pretty cheap.  Just remember that buying fresh produce does not mean more "nutritious" and that frozen items may still have more intact nutrients than some of the "fresh" stuff because the frozen was more than likely frozen directly after harvest whereas the "fresh" stuff in your produce section has been travelling from California, or another country and most of the available nutrients have been oxidized, not to mention the fact that many of them have been sprayed by who knows what during the trip in order to preserve the cosmetic quality of the produce.  I would go on, but the main point here is to not get fooled by "fresh produce" because truly farm fresh items, that should be our first choice for produce, is rarely sold at our supermarkets.  Let's move on.

I will make this quick -Do not forget to do this first - heat the oven now to 350 and slice just the very top off of the head of garlic.  Pour some olive oil in to the top of the garlic head until the head is full, wrap in tin foil and put it in the oven for about an hour or the time it takes you to do everything else in this recipe. Finely chop the carrots, and onions, and 3 cloves garlic and saute them in the EVOO until soft.  While this is going pour your tomato sauce in a saucepan and add some salt, pepper, and about 2 tablespoons of Italian herbs and keep on medium heat stirring occasionally.  Peel the potatoes and slice them cross ways (so you are left with something resembling chips) about 1/4" thick.  Put those in a pot, cover with water and boil them until almost soft, but with a little crisp left.  OK, give your big fat lasagna pan a little pep talk about what is fixing to happen and then proceed to the following:

Lather the bottom of the pan with a smidge of your Italian tomato sauce (you are going to use the sauce three more times so make sure and conserve it throughout this process)
Mix in about half of your cottage cheese in a  fine layer over the sauce
Ring the water from the spinach and layer it on top of the cottage cheese
Randomly crumble feta cheese on top of spinach
Grate a little mozzarella on top of this
It is a good idea to lightly salt the top at this point
Now for the kicker, layer half the potatoes on top of this first layer series
Now layer more sauce and the rest of your cottage cheese
Layer the sauteed carrots and onions and garlic on top of this
Layer the artichoke hearts and 2/3 of the mushrooms on top of the sauteed carrots and onions
Crumble more feta and grate more mozzarella on now
lightly salt
Use the rest of the taters to make another layer on top of this second layer series
OK, at this point, take the garlic out of the oven.  It's hot, but carefully squeeze the garlic out of its skin in to the remaining tomato sauce.  Mix in well with the sauce to make an Italian roasted garlic tomato sauce, and layer it on the top of your potatoes.
Grate mozzarella and cheddar with long strokes (so the cheese doesn't dry out and burn) to cover the sauce.  Lay the remainder of mushrooms all over the top of the cheese and if you have it, grate some fresh Parmesan on top of this.
Bake on 300 degrees until the cheese is all melted and bubbly, and then crank it up to 450 for just a few minutes to brown it a little.  All in all you should only have to bake this for 20-25 minutes.  Take it out, let it cool a little and serve some up, but remember, it is about twice as good the next day.  I know this is a lot to do, but it is worth it.  Gluten free, vegetarian, and minimally processed food.  Remember that when you go shopping for all of these ingredients, whatever brand you buy, you should be looking for 5 or less ingredients, but on most of the stuff here you should really shoot for 3 or less.  So do you want to see it?  By this point, if you're even still reading you are probably thinking that in order to tackle this you are going to need some real it is, Enjoy!!

Also, here is a pic of some goodies Mandy and I picked up at Whole Foods on our way to see Harry Potter last night.  Mung beans, red lentils, french green lentils, and California brown basmati rice!!! Wooohooo!!  I encourage everyone to check out the nutritional data for this stuff through this link .  This site is really cool and can really enlighten you as to the value of what you are eating.  Please check it out!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Throw it together and chew it up

I was hungry.  I was in a hurry.  This is my typical excuse when I have eaten something odd that was put together at the last second because I wanted something, but the "on the run apple and peice of cheese" wasn't cutting it today.  I told you I wouldn't share it if it wasn't worth eating, and I really started to not show you this one, but I thought to myself that this is exactly what eating for wellness is all about - making the effort to find a few wholesome things, throw them together, spice 'em up and chew it up.  I enjoyed this lunch, and it's a good example of something you can do with leftover noodles from the night before.  I took some frozen green beans from this summer's garden and cooked them soft with salt, pepper, and a touch of oregano to give the beans a little italian flare.  We had some rice noodles leftover from last night's dinner, so I tossed them in a little oil and salt and slapped them beans right there on top of them there noodles and dang!  Like I said, it was good.  We got the rice noodles from Trader Joes - they look clear in the package, but they cook up white and they're really good the next day too.  Try it out and let me know what you think.

New food options in Easley...

Hello, I wanted to share a new small business in Easley called Back to Nature.  I have included a link to the facebook site for this store.  Here is the link:  Just copy and paste the link into your url box and check this out.  I haven't been yet, but Mandy has.  This is a great resource in Easley for natural, unprocessed foods as well as gluten free products, so if you're looking for a place in Easley to get some good ingredients then you have a new option.  Just wanted to pass this along, and remember, support local, independently owned business if for nothing else, these are the people who are actually passionate about what they are selling, and developing a real relationship with a local store is very rewarding in many ways.  Support your community, even if it is a dollar or two more expensive - collectively, it will pay off in the end.  One more thing - y'all need to be watching out for gluten free peanut butter cookies soon!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The scoop on some serious soup

Thick, creamy, extra tasty and cheap with a twist.  This is the potato soup that you always wish you could make but you didn't know the SECRET ingredient to make it thick and hearty without adding the dreaded ingredient that all of the other "soup makers" out there use....flour.  Not here.  Plus, you're gonna get a huge extra portion of vegetables in this one.  Have I held you off long enough?  OK, here it is, but don't squish up your face and say eeeewwww that's gross because if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't even know the secret ingredient was in here - just savory, filling, buttery potato soup.  Ready?  It's pureed cauliflower, that's right, I said pureed cauliflower.  No more carrying on and on, here is the recipe - and I won't bug you with calories, and fat and all that mess this time because when it comes to potato soup, does it really matter?  The answer is no. 
Start out with 3 good sized potatoes and peel them ( I normally wouldn't, but Mandy says so, and plus you get to make really awesome fried tater skins with these.)
Cube the potatoes up into as uniform as possible 1/2 inch cubes.

 Put the taters in a good sized pot and just cover with water and add one stick of butter to them (just throw it in) and a good pinch of salt and turn the heat on high.  As you are doing the next step, keep an eye on those taters because you only want them to actually boil for about a minute or two and then turn the heat to low - that way the taters won't turn to mush later on.  Next you want to steam two bags of frozen cauliflower.  Don't use fresh unless you have farm fresh which means it was from a local farm and hasn't been on a truck from South America for the last week.  After you steam the florets, stick them in the blender with a clove of garlic per bag (2 cloves total) a little salt and pepper, and some of the liquid from the pot of potatoes and then puree.

 Add the puree to the pot of taters, mix it all up, salt and pepper to taste and you have the ultimate potato soup.

  Note, if I ever make something that isn't good (to me), I will not trouble you with it, so when I say it was good, I'm not just blowing smoke.  I think eating healthy absolutely has to be eating tasty too or how can you really make a lifelong habit of it?  We want food that tastes great, so we have to be creative in order to find ways to combine ordinary food to make fabulous concoctions that we could eat over and over again.  I used to think that eating for wellness was gonna be all about making myself eat things I didn't want in place of things I did, but now I know that it's about creating the things I want the way I want them instead of buying the things I want that were prepared with things my body doesn't want.  OK enough already, enjoy the soup.

P.S. - that orangey (not an actual word), handsome looking stuff is cheddar cheese - as if I had to tell you I sprinkled a little cheddar on it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Best Sunday lunch...

Who needs meat on a sandwich like this one?  Mandy and I have decided to go as much vegetarian as we possibly can, which makes us what they call flexitarians.  As of right now we are probably eating meat once every two weeks or so.  I love a tall sandwich that falls over and apart when you look at it the wrong way, but unfortunately, most of those types of sandwiches are piled high with slices of processed meat and loaded with condiments like mayonnaise (which I love, no seriously, LOVE).  Since I did not have time to dive in to making my own mayo. today, and the mayo. in the fridge has natural flavors and soybean oil in it (two things I personally am trying my darnedest to avoid) I have opted to take a different approach in my quest to make a vegetarian, gluten free, mighty tasty, wicked good for you sandwich.  The idea came to me yesterday, and it had been tweaking and building in my mind until today.  I got stuck on the mayo thing because until I checked out the mayo. we had, I was not aware that the natural flavors and soybean oil were present.  Mandy comes to the rescue and says, "oooh, why don't we put hummus on it?"  Pure genius.  We had a fresh container of horseradish hummus from Trader Joe's ($1.99) just waiting on me to spread it all over a piece of toasted millet and flax bread.  The rest of the sandwich?  Here you go:  Melted mozzarella and sharp cheddar on a slice of millet and flax bread (wheat free from Sami's Bakery and available at Earth Fare), piles of fresh broccoli sprouts, red onion, fresh tomato from the garden, baby greens, and yes...a thick spread of horseradish hummus on the other piece of bread.  Mouth watering?  There's more.  We happened to have some fresh potato skins lying there, which you'll find out the reason for that tomorrow, and I said mm mm, fried potato skins-so that became our naughty little side for this rockin' sandwich.  At this point you might be thinking that I am getting a little too excited about a sandwich, and that my choice of adjectives to describe it make you want to vomit, but I am this excited because the sandwich was truly that good, not to mention the fried potato skins that went with it.  Throw in a glass of honey sweetened sweet tea, and that's why I say, best Sunday lunch....ever.

One more thing.  I harvested a few collards today, so I left a few pics here for you to check out.  Collards weren't on the menu for this week so these went to the freezer.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dinner and some pictures (instead of a movie)

 My wife (who I will from now on refer to as Mandy... because that is her name) said this would be good and she was right.  No meat here for the vegetarians, sorry vegans but this one needs sour cream and cheese.  I won't go in to all the nutritional facts on this one, just know that it's awesome good and stupid easy.  2 cans each garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans, Rotel original, diced tomatoes, fiesta whole kernel corn, throw in some cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic, salt, and pepper heat it up and you're done.  Just don't forget the shredded cheddar and plop of sour cream.  All of these items should be easy to find with little to no additives.  Get ready for your mouth to water.  After the dinner I've added some random pics taken today from the garden.  Enjoy!!
Almost time for collards

Oh yeah, peas
The fall green bean experiment
Once again, oh yeah, peas
Still getting tomatoes
Mandy's favorite
Okra still hangin' around