Nov 17 2011

Gluten-Free Beer-Battered Fish Recipe (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free)

Published by under Gluten Free Recipes

OK so I’m going to start off by saying that I realize that deep-frying is not the healthiest way to prepare food. In fact, I have never had a deep-fryer ever in my life.

My Mom never had one in the house. I never bought one when I lived alone. Stefan and I didn’t have one when we lived together. But you know when you’re doing your wedding registry list and you’re walking around the store thinking “What might I like?” and your eyes land upon this cute little deep-fryer and you think “OH that might be fun”…and then you get one on your wedding day…and then it sits there tempting you…

So I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty, and that it’s a really nice treat once in a while, and I literally have not had any kind of battered, deep-fried anything for about a year or so and I was craving some fish so…Stef & I decided to give it a shot tonight and BOY was it ever delicious!

In order to try and make the meal slightly nutritionally redeemable, in lieu of the typical deep fried white potatoes we  enjoyed roasted beets and sauteed kale as sides. (I am a fiend for roasted beets! I must post Stef’s recipe soon!)

A note – we had leftover batter so I decided to deep fry some sweet potato slices and mushrooms (ha!) and both were DELICIOUS so this is a great, savory multi-purpose batter! We found it here. Since we’re only the two of us, I halved the recipe.

Gluten-Free Beer-Battered Fish Recipe (enough for 4 small-ish filets, feel free to double if required!)

  • 1 pound fresh fish fillets
  • 1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free all purpose flour mix (whatever you prefer!)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch (or tapioca flour/starch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of gluten-free beer, club soda or just plain old tap water works too!
  1. Heat oil in deep-fryer (or frying pan) to 350degrees.
  2. Pat fish filets dry with paper towel.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients until well blended.
  4. Add liquid of choice to your dry ingredients.
  5. Dredge the fish on both sides through the batter. Hold up and let the excess drip off.
  6. Put into hot oil and cook until golden, crispy & delicious! (depending on thickness, 6-10 minutes!)

I also whipped up a quick tartar sauce to go along with the fish too! It was pretty free-style based on what we had on hand, but DELICIOUS so use this recipe as a guide and alter as your please based on your preferences!

Dee’s Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbps dill pickles, finely minced
  • 3-5 capers, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp onion, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (I might have added more, I like it really lemony! But start with 1 tbsp!)
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix everything together. Adjust seasoning to taste. Put in fridge until ready to serve. Eat on delicious deep fried fish of tastyness! Mhhm!

 

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Nov 13 2011

Earth’s Own – Almond Fresh Milk

A few months ago, Earth’s Own approached me and asked me to review their “Almond Fresh” milk products on my blog. I was pretty excited because it meant that (a) I get to promote something I already use everyday and love,  and (b) I have a $20 voucher to give away for Earth’s Own Products to my readers!

I first tried Earth’s Own Almond Milk over a year ago when my stomach stopped being able to handle dairy and then soy products. At that point, I was desperately looking for something that was delicious and something that I could cook/bake with without having to fuss with. So I picked up a carton of Earth’s Own Original Almond Milk and have really never looked back (or felt deprived)!

Almond Fresh is delicious in *everything*. From drinking a glass with my breakfast, to making smoothies, to baking cakes and muffins, to my soups and stews, to hot chocolate and OMG cold with a shot of amaretto…OK we won’t go there. But it literally goes into *everything* and its delicious nutty flavour complements pretty much everything I’ve used it in!

Nutritionally speaking, Almond Fresh is a great alternative to dairy as it is fortified with vitamins/minerals that we normally get from dairy products. In a 1 cup serving, you are getting 30% of your recommended daily calcium intake, 45% of your vitamin D, 25% of your riboflavin and 50% of your B12 vitamins! All in a low fat, zero cholesterol product. Here’s the nutritional information for the “Original” flavour and “Unsweetened” which are my two favourites. If you’re concerned about sugar, the unsweetened is also fantastic option (Personally, I prefer Unsweetened for cooking/baking – but prefer the Original flavour for drinking/smoothies/coffee!) Easy nutrition that tastes good = win in my books!

Oh and did I mention that it now comes in chocolate flavour? (I haven’t been able to try it yet as it is always *SOLD OUT* everywhere…but when I do, expect a post with some hot chocolate recipes…mmmhm!)

So it’s delicious, it’s nutritious and multi-functional – need any other reasons to try it out? OK here’s one – you can try it FREE!

To enter simply leave me a comment telling me why you would love to try Almond Fresh.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday November 25th!

For an extra entry (and to get more great ideas for using this product & to keep up with more contests/giveaways), “Like” the Almond Fresh page on Facebook!

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Sep 08 2011

Toronto 27th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival

Published by under Dee Thoughts

 THIS WEEKEND!

The 27th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival

 

So originally this weekend was very full, but things calmed down a bit so I am *SO* excited that I might be able to (a) go shopping and (b) attend some of the lectures at this *FREE* (yes 100% FREE) festival!

I recommend this for vegetarians and omnivores alike, I mean really, good food is good food and I also find many organic/vegan/natural/whole food/gluten-free vendors attend so it’s like shopping, new food preparation ideas and then really interesting demonstrations and lectures! And it’s free. (Did I mention that?)

Want to go? Check out the schedule of events/presenters! OR just show up and browse and eat free samples!

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Sep 06 2011

Dee’s Baked Vegan Bean Burritos (Gluten Free, Dairy Free & Soy Free)

Published by under Gluten Free Recipes

So tonight started as a “leftover night” but boy let me tell you – did we have *delicious* leftovers from fajita night last night! But even after a second filling helping of fajitas, I *still* had a bunch of leftover refried beans (no biggie they freeze well). I also had a bunch of leftover store-bought corn tortillas which freeze “okay”, but really aren’t that great after freezing (they fall apart even *more* after freezing/de-thawing).

I also had a bunch of my black bean pineapple chili leftovers in the fridge (for lunch later this week). Store bought salsa. And some “Pepperjack” Daiya cheese (freezer burned to be sure, but I was willing to give it a chance!).

So I’m looking at this and I’m thinking “ooh…I can make some burritos… and then roll them and cook them with the chili on top…” mmmhmm!

And this is the deliciousness I came up with (I already ate two…I still have 3 left for tomorrow’s lunch!) So again – amounts are fairly random/what I had on hand. But AMAZING results! And from leftovers!

*brain explodes in happy bean-filled bliss*

Dee’s Baked Vegan Bean Burritos

  • 5 corn tortillas (or gluten free tortillas of your choice)
  • 1-2 cups of Dee’s Refried Beans (or refried beans of your choice – just be wary of the store-bought canned kind, they often contain gluten and/or soy!)
  • 1 cup of salsa (fresh, store bought, canned, whatever!)
  • 1/2 cup Daiya Pepperjack Style shreds (or other non-dairy cheese)
  • 1-2 cups of Black Bean Pineapple Chili (or again, really any chili or enchilada sauce of your choice)
  • Mexican/Spicy rice (if you have any – would be fantastique!)
  • Any other vegetables/fillings you fancy!
  • Toothpicks for assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ square pan with a little olive oil.
  3. Pan fry up tortillas on a hot tortilla pan/roti pan/frying pan, brushing each side with a little olive oil, until warm & soft about 20 seconds on each side. Place aside in foil to keep warm.
  4. Assembly time! Place a huge scoop of beans, a little pile of rice, a dollop of salsa and a sprinkle of Daiya. Roll the sides up and stick a toothpick in the centre to keep them together.
  5. Place the burritos into the pan and cover with the chili.
  6. Cover the pan with tin foil and place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove foil and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
  8. EAT!

I was really really pleased with how these turned out! (I mean, even the sketchy freezer-burned Daiya was mouthwateringly good and added a nice creaminess! Boy that stuff is amazing!)

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Sep 05 2011

Bean Cooking Chart

Published by under Dee Thoughts,Helpful Websites!

Since I’ve been cooking a lot with beans this weekend (and FYI  – when you use *dry* beans and rinse them well after soaking/cooking there is little to no resulting fartiness!) I thought I’d share a site I’ve found *very* useful…and that is also making me desire a pressure cooker for Christmas… *lol* WOW does that ever cut down on your bean cooking time!

This is a bean cooking chart which indicates if pre-soaking is required and how long it takes to properly cook the beans! For all kinds of beans all in one place!

Bean Cooking Chart

Enjoy!

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Sep 05 2011

Dee’s Refried Beans! (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Vegan)

Published by under Gluten Free Recipes

How’s a girl to dress her gluten-free fajitas or tacos when she can’t have dairy or soy “dairy” products?

Well, salsa(s), rice, lettuce, tomatoes and other veggies (of course) – but for that creamy consistency and “cooling” factor that normally comes from cheese or sour cream try using guacamole or refried beans (or BOTH as I am apt to do!)
Now you have your creamy/cooling sensation and a whole lotta extra flavour, protein, healthy fats…! *mmmh!* I definitely don’t feel like I’m “missing out” when this flavour fiesta is dancing across my tastebuds!

So I’ve previously discussed guacamole (I will try to measure amounts next time I make it and share my go-to guac recipe, it’s really a “taste as you go” dish though…), so below I’ll go over my refried bean recipe!

Now this is obviously *very* personal (similar to guacamole), but I think I made a good “starter” recipe here – you can definitely bump up the spices (I usually do), but this is a flavourful, smooth base that you can pump up, turn down…whatever makes you happy! Yes I use an immersion blender, and no that’s not “traditional” but it’s how I like it. Feel free to only immersion it for a short time to give it a more rough consistency! I like it somewhere between a little smooth and a little lumpy.

These also make *amazing* burritos with corn tortillas! *mmhm* and are a great base for any nacho dip!

Dee’s Refried Beans!

  • 1 1/3 cup of dried pinto beans (or 2 cans…but please use dried they are so much better!)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or grapeseed oil or whatever)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder (mild)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a bunch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 3/4 cup of water
  1. Prepare your pinto beans!
    METHOD I
    (a) Pick through beans & remove any broken ones or debris. Soak overnight in 3 cups of water.
    (b) Discard soaking water & rinse well.
    (c) Put in pot of 8 cups of water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 1.5-2 hours until tender – skim foam off top.
    (d) Rinse again.
    (e) Ready to use.
    METHOD II
    (a) Pick through beans & remove any broken ones or debris. Put beans in 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
    (b) Cover and turn off heat. Leave for 2 hours.
    (c) Rinse.
    (d) Put in a pot of 8 cups of water and bring to a boil, then simmer 1.5-2 hours until tender – skim foam off top.
    (e) Rinse again.
    (f) Ready to use.
    METHOD III
    (a) Open 2 16-oz cans of pinto beans.
    (b) Rinse.
    (c) Ready to use.
  2. Heat oil in bottom of a saucepan.
  3. Add seasonings. Stir until bubbling.
  4. Add pinto beans. Stir/mash with your spoon for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add water. Mash/mix with your spoon for a minute.
  6. Put immersion blender into saucepan and blend until consistency you desire is achieved!
  7. Taste & adjust seasonings to taste!
  8. Eat! Mhhm!

This is SUPER easy, makes a whole lot (3 cups I think…I ate a bunch and didn’t measure oops!)…seriously you will never be able to face canned refried beans ever again! These last for about a week in the fridge and freeze for a few weeks too!

(I promise I’m going to do a proper fajita post one of these days that will wrap all these little posts up together!)

Pinto beans are a great source of magnesium, potassium and folate, manganese, copper and iron as well as being full of fibre! (Who knew?) So eat up!
(Source: Whole Foods)

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Sep 04 2011

Black Bean Pineapple “Soup Chili” – from FatFree Vegan Kitchen (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Vegan)

Published by under Gluten Free Recipes

I loooove cooked pineapple. LOVE it. The sweetness…the delicious way it caramelizes…mmhm! Grill it, pan fry it, put it in an upside down cake…WHATEVER. I am a fan!

Combine that with chili (another of my staples) and I am just in heaven. Seriously. So when I saw this recipe from Susan at FatFree Vegan Kitchen, I had to try it out. (I also love the fact that it is Soup/Stew/Chili…yes! Options! Personally I prefer it more on the chili side…but that’s just me!) And also look at the pretty bowl she put it in? OMG so colourful and delicious looking with those little pineapple pieces popping out! AMAZING! Love at first sight.

It’s sweet, it’s savory & it’s spicy! Delicious! I love this as a chili for lunch – it freezes amazingly too!

Now I’ve made this a few times and have a few changes (I use dry black beans) which I am outlining below, but the recipe as is….delicious! Amazing! Mad love for Susan (even though I like fats and am not a vegan *lol*)…her recipes are always colourful, delicious, healthy and she loves curry. My kinda lady! 🙂

Again, I know that soaking/cooking beans is more work than opening a can, and yes it takes some forethought/planning, but I feel like the results are so worth it!

Black Bean Pineapple Soup Chili (original recipe by SusanV at FatFree Vegan Kitchen – modifications below by Dee!)
**Please note that in these quantities, it is more of a chili than a soup!**

  • 1 1/3 cup of dry, black beans (or 2 16-oz cans)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 1/ 2 of the more common Canadian 28 oz cans)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or water plus bouillon cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder (or other pure, mild chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano (optional)*I used 1 tsps of regular oregano – very yummy!*
  • generous grating black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 pound butternut squash, diced (about two cups of diced squash)
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced (and whatever juice you can reserve)
  1. Prepare your black beans:
    METHOD I

    (a) Pick through beans & remove any broken ones or debris. Soak overnight in 3 cups of water.
    (b) Discard soaking water & rinse well.
    (c) Put in pot of 8 cups of water and bring to a boil, then simmer 1 – 1.5 hours until tender – skim foam off top.
    (d) Rinse again.
    (e) Ready to use.
    METHOD II
    (a) Pick through beans & remove any broken ones or debris. Put beans in 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
    (b) Cover and turn off heat. Leave for 2 hours.
    (c) Rinse.
    (d) Put in a pot of 8 cups of water and bring to a boil, then simmer 1-1.5 hours until tender – skim foam off top.
    (e) Rinse again.
    (f) Ready to use.
    METHOD III
    (a) Open 2 16-oz cans of black beans.
    (b) Rinse.
    (c) Ready to use.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of a large pot at medium-high heat.
  3. Add the chili powders, cumin and oregano to the hot oil and stir for about a minute until you can smell those spices!
  4. Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened, about three to five minutes.
  5. Add the bell pepper and jalapeno and cook until softened, about two minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, stir briefly, and then add tomatoes, beans and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. While the beans are cooking, trim the squash and cut into small cubes.
  8. Add the squash and pineapple, increase the heat a little, and cover. Simmer until squash is just tender (about 10 minutes).
  9. Check seasonings, adding more to taste, and serve!

Not only are black beans nummiliciously tasty – but they are also very good for you! They’re low in fat, high in fibre and an excellent source of the B vitamin folate. Some of the other health benefits include:

They’re high in antioxidants – Black Beans crossed the finish line in first place having more antioxidant activity, gram for gram, than other beans, followed by red, brown, yellow and white beans, in that order. In general, darker colored seed coats were associated with higher levels of flavonoids, and therefore higher antioxidant activity, says lead investigator Clifford W. Beninger, Ph.D., a research associate at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

“Black beans are really loaded with antioxidant compounds. We didn’t know they were that potent until now,” says Beninger, formerly a researcher with the USDA’s Sugarbeet and Bean Research Unit, located at Michigan State University in East Lansing, where he worked on the project under the leadership of co-author George L. Hosfield, Ph.D., a geneticist who recently retired from the USDA.

The study found that one class of compounds in particular, anthocyanins, were the most active antioxidants in the beans. Based on a previously published study of the anthocyanin content of black beans, Beninger found that the levels of anthocyanins per 100 gm serving size of black beans was about 10 times the amount of overall antioxidants in an equivalent serving size of oranges and similar to the amount found in an equivalent serving size of grapes, apples and cranberries.

They’re good for your colon! – Not only are they high in fibre, recent research has shown that black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans has recently been shown to be larger than the IF in either lentils or chickpeas. It has been shown to be the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid. Cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. By delivering a greater amount of IF to the colon, black beans are able to help support this lower part of our digestive tract. Lowered colon cancer risk that is associated with black bean intake in some research studies may be related to the outstanding IF content of this legume.

They’re high in molybdenum – Black beans are one of the best sources around for the trace mineral molybdenum. Molybdenum serves the useful purpose of breaking down the sulfites found in foods which some people are sensitive to.

They’re great for regulating blood sugar – The landmark “protein-plus-fiber” combination in black beans and other legumes is also a key to their outstanding support for blood sugar balance and blood sugar regulation. As described earlier, protein and fiber can move through our digestive tract at a moderate pace. Unlike dietary sugar (which can move too quickly), or fat (which can move too slowly), both protein and fiber can move at a moderate pace. By steadying rate of movement through the digestive tract, protein and fiber help to steady the breakdown of food into component parts, including simple sugars. This better-regulated breakdown of food helps to prevent extremes with respect to simple sugar uptake from the digestive tract.

From: Whole Foods

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Sep 04 2011

Summer 2011

Published by under Dee Thoughts

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaack!

After months of last-minute planning and disasters (including losing our venue, the second venue not having power, etc. etc.), on August 27, 2011 I married the love of my life!

The day was perfect – not in that “everything went according to plan” way, but in that “we were so surrounded by love and support and we had sooo much fun” way!

Now that we’re married and life is beginning to return to normal (with the added bonus of getting little stomach butterflies whenever I talk of my “husband” *squee!*), I can’t wait to get back into my blogging and share new recipes with you!

My latest inspiration…

Canning! Preserves! Pickles! All gluten/dairy/soy free! All delicious! All organic! All natural! (I ordered two books off of amazon.ca with a wedding gift certificate and will try to review those soon! Am making lists of blog recipes too!)

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Jun 02 2011

Weekly Meal Plan – May 29 – June 4

Published by under Dee Thoughts,Weekly Meal Plan

I’m feeling some guilt for letting my blog go for a WHOLE MONTH…but at the same time, not kicking myself too hard for it. I got busy and stopped cooking. And stopped meal planning. Got lazy with my supplements…and I got sick. Had no energy. Felt like crap. First Stefan was sick, then I was sick, I had a bridal shower in there, had a massive bout of pinkeye *ew*, have been doing much wedding planning (this is what happens when you leave it all until the last minute HA!), trying to figure out what to do with my life, and have just been otherwise busy! And summer is coming…makes it harder to be inside cooking/planning and cleaning and we have a TON of stuff going on! So trying to keep on top of stuff while indulging patio/bbq desires…it’s a tricky balance!

So back on the horse I climb, hopefully to stay! May was just a tough month but June is already better!

Still posting my weekly meal plan even though we’re almost done the week! (Better late than never right?) I’ll post a few new recipes over the next few days! 🙂

Sunday:

  • Brunch: Bacon & egg sandwiches with homemade cajun homefries (mhm!)
  • Dinner: Homemade pasta sauce, homemade meatballs (without breadcrumbs! a revelation they are so much better!) and quinoa spaghetti!

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Fried eggs and asparagus (I know weird – I was starving and sauteed up some leftovers and some eggs!)
  • Lunch: Vegetarian Chili (from freezer) for Dee, Stefan has Pizza Pops (we all need treats!)
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken breast on a leafy green salad!

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Gluten and Dairy Free Hemp Protein Breakfast Smoothie (My breakfast of choice apparently this week! It’s so simple to throw together quickly!)
  • Lunch: Leftover salad/chicken for Dee, deli-meat sandwich for Stef
  • Dinner: Vegetarian curry for Dee, chicken curry for Stef

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Hot Breakfast Quinoa
  • Lunch: Curry leftovers!
  • Dinner: Meeting wedding consultant at restaurant after work. Will likely stay and eat the best gluten free pizza in town (aside from mine!)

Saturday:

  • Brunch: Eggs and bacon!
  • Dinner: More curry? TBD!

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Apr 25 2011

Weekly Meal Plan – April 25 – April 30

Published by under Weekly Meal Plan

So keeping with the theme of posting my weekly meal plans…

Monday:

  • Breakfast: Simple omelette, caffeinated tea (I slept like crap Sunday night….)
  • Lunch: Chili (individually frozen in freezer) for Dee, leftovers for Stefan.
  • Dinner: Pork tenderloin with asparagus and mustard vinaigrette, sauteed kale with chilies and garlic in olive oil with lemon juice & white wine (yes, it’s my favourite green cooked my favourite way! *squee!*)

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Breakfast quiche (recipe to be posted/determined!) Caffeine-free tea.
  • Lunch: Leftovers. Pears & grapes for snacks.
  • Dinner: Herb Roasted Chicken with leafy green salad. (Fresh whole chickens were on sale – we got one for $5.50!)

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Gluten Free & Dairy Free Hemp Protein Smoothie, caffeine-free tea
  • Lunch: Leftover chicken & salad. Apples and dried cranberries for snacks.
  • Dinner: Two lasagnas made with Stefan’s awesome vegetable pasta sauce. 1) Gluten free, vegetarian, daiya cheese, nutritional yeast, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. 2) Wheat pasta, spicy italian sausage, peppers, tomatoes, spinach & lots of cheese. (guess which one is for who? *lol*)

Friday:

Saturday:

  • Brunch: Probably bacon & eggs of some sort…
  • Dinner: BBQ at a friends place! We’ll probably take curry jalepeno burgers (recipe to be posted) and browned butter brownies (*mmhm* yes I may be a bit obsessed with these brownies…they are that good!)

I realize this is kind of similar to last week…but maybe I’ll get more creative next week! 😉

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