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Sunday, February 13, 2011

5 Star Veggie Tacos

No no no, don't get confused - this ain't no tofu taco recipe where I tell you to go out and buy some firm little square pieces of fermented soybeans so you can slap it on a corn shell and call it a taco.  No way.  This recipe actually stems from a breakfast that Mandy and I currently enjoy of quinoa, millet, and amaranth grains done up just like grits or oatmeal...but so much better, but there's more...these three grains are three of the only ones consistently listed as alkalizing on many of the "alkalizing foods" lists that you can find in books, on the internet, wherever you can find acid/alkaline balance information on foods.  Yeah, I told you that I was on an alkalizing kick, and now I will be for life...not because of all of the breathtaking evidence for it, but for the way I feel - I've never been better.  I didn't tell you that I have started letting my former enemy (grains) slip back up and make their way back in to my digestive tract.  Well, in this case, we had a little talk over breakfast one morning, and while I was telling them how disgusted I was with the sorry excuse for food that they were, the quinoa, millet, and amaranth leapt out of the cabinet and just so happened to fall in to my mouth - along with a little bit of butter...and some salt...OK OK, I shouldn't have to make excuses - so if you're going to get some whole grains in your diet, here are two excellent and perfectly tasty ways to do it.  It all started with breakfast when Mandy noticed the unique texture of the quinoa.  That is when she said "You know what?  This stuff would make awesome tacos if you seasoned it up like chili!"  That was that, and after tonight - I don't think we ever have to worry about not having a freakin' awesome taco again - here they are. (Look, don't give me a hard time about the corn - everyone deserves a real taco every now and then...or maybe once a week or so.)

For the tacos you will need:
Organic taco shells (Trader Joe's - be sure they are corn only)
1/3 cup whole quinoa
1/3 cup whole amaranth
1/3 cup whole millet
1.5 cups veggie broth
1.5 cups water
1 white onion chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped fine
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (leave it out if you don't like the kick)
Iceberg lettuce (Mandy said so)
Sour cream
1 can diced tomatos
2 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cilantro fresh (dried parsley works too)
And the usual extra virgin olive oil and some sea salt

Alright, sorry...I didn't realize that the list was so long - stay with me cause it's so worth it.  You can do this part way ahead of time, it's just the salsa.  It's tough to find a salsa made with apple cider vinegar (let alone raw unfiltered), so I just improvised my own that turned out pretty good.  Just saute half of your white onion with about 2 cloves garlic until soft, pour the tomatoes over that and add the apple cider vinegar and cilantro - let it get hot and bubbly and then take it off the heat and chill it in the fridge - that'll make a decent salsa for topping the tacos or with chips.  Now we can start on the "chili".  Start by sauteing the rest of the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.  Then add the veggie stock, water, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, paprika, turmeric, a few good pinches of salt, and all the grains.  Stir it all up, bring it to a boil and then put a lid on it and turn it on low heat to simmer until the grains take up all of the liquid and spices - about 20-25 minutes.  While the chili is going, get your lettuce chopped up, get the taco shells toasty in the oven, and get a couple spoons out for sour cream and salsa.  When your chili is finished, slap some in a shell, put down a nice portion of sour cream on that, layer on the lettuce, and drizzle on the salsa.  What you have there is the best veggie taco can thank Mandy.

OK, so really quickly - if you like your whole grains in the morning, take that 1 cup mixture of whole grains from above and just do 2 cups water for 1 cup grains, bring it to a boil and then put a lid on it and turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.  This makes an awesome replacement for corn grits or oatmeal.  Just stir in some butter and salt, maybe some milk, maybe some honey - hell, whatever you put in your grits and oatmeal.  It's organic unsalted butter and some sea salt for me...perfect.  Enjoy!!

As always, gluten free  (that's breakfast up there)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quinoa Breakfast Sliders

Inventing an interesting and tasty breakfast is not easy when you are gluten free, processed food free, sugars free (sugars free is not a typo, I say this to make a point that this is different from sugar free.  Sugars free means no sweetening sugars which right now even includes lactose - milk sugar) and blah, blah, blah free right?  Recently I have been on an acid alkaline balance kick, and it has become pretty obvious that many of us, including myself are mildly acidic or even severely acidic.  This stems from eating too many processed foods, sugar, meats, and grains.  However, not all grains are created equal, and although it seems ironic to be limiting grains to absolutely nothing in my diet and then come up with this breakfast, I challenge all to do a little research on Quinoa.  This grain goes way back and may be a smarter alternative to the beloved other grains that we all have been taught are so healthy these days.  But lets get on to the good stuff - breakfast!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Word makes me think of this....Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Puree Soup

After trying something new, have you ever wondered why you haven't been eating it all of your life?  I mean really, I'm sad because I ate the last little bit of this at lunch today.  I had never had butternut squash anything, ever, but if you ever watch any cooking shows or look through any winter recipe magazines, butternut squash seems to be a pretty popular ingredient and especially in soups.  Needless to say, I decided to give the butternut squash a spin.  I took a couple of different recipes, added my own ideas and twisted the others a little and came up with my own roasted garlic and butternut squash puree.  This one is at the top of my list for taste and ease of prep.

1 medium butternut squash
1 medium white onion
1 whole head of garlic
4 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp. organic butter
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder
Sour cream and chopped green onion for garnishing

Start out by chopping up the butternut in to large hunks, skins on but throw the seeds out. (Unless you want to toast them and sprinkle them on top of the soup - shoot! why didn't I think of that?)  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the chunks in a large baking pan and add about 1.5 inches of water.  Wrap your garlic head up in tin foil and place that and the pan of squash in the oven for about an hour.  While that is roasting, saute the white onion in a pan with extra virgin olive oil or butter until the onion is soft.  Now, if you have any friends, call them up and tell them to stop by the store and grab some wine and come on over for soup, wine, and movie night. If you have kids you must send them off somewhere else at this point, but if you have dogs then you don't have to do anything.  If you don't have friends then open the oven every few minutes and have a conversation with the butternut squash about how wonderful it will be to have it all to yourself and.....OK, by now it has been an hour and you can take the squash and garlic out of the oven.  If you don't mind searing hot squash on your hands then don't let it cool for a few minutes.  Get out a soup pot and a food processor.  Puree the squash along with the liquid left in the pan, garlic (just remove each little clove from the little skin pouch and toss 'em in), and onion all together - and don't worry if you still have a few chunks of squash in your puree - it is good that way!!  Place the pureed mixture in the soup pot along with the chicken stock and butter and bring it up to medium heat.  Add about 1-2 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp cayenne (less if you don't like so much kick) and salt and pepper it all to taste.  Let it simmer for as long as you like and serve with a dollop or two of sour cream with some chopped green onion - wipe the drool off your keyboard now.  Enjoy!!

As always, gluten free