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Entries in gluten-free (12)

Wednesday
May202015

Still Working on My Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I've been fascinated with the cauliflower craze: mashed, rice, pizza crusts. I've pinned all the recipes but as usual I'm late in the game, so I just recently tried a cauliflower crust from The Lucky Penny Blog for "The BEST Cauliflower Crust Pizza." She does a great job demonstrating each step with photos. I followed her directions exactly and took the time to squeeze and wring out a half cup of water from the cauliflower to ensure a firmer crust.

A head of cauliflower is placed in a food processor to make "rice." Then it is microwaved and squeezed of excess water. Cheeses, spices and an egg are mixed in with the cauliflower until a dough forms that you can shape into a crust.

The crust is pre-baked at 450 F for 10 minutes until the edges brown.

After pre-baking the crust, I added marinara sauce, baby spinach, Trader Joe's Reduced-Fat Mozzarella (which melts beautifully and tastes fantastic!), and Lightlife Pepperoni Style Veggie Protein Slices.

I was excited when I pulled the pizza from the oven. It looked delicious! My first bite was a mixed reaction though. The flavors sang pizza but the crust was ...chewy, soggy. It did hold together fine but it tasted like pizza toppings on an overcooked omelet. I tried the recipe a few more times adding ingredients that might solidify the crust, such as ground flaxseed and then a little flour. These did help. But I still need more tries to get the right ratios. Next time I'm even thinking of adding some toasted quinoa.

This is a low-carbohydrate high-protein recipe that is great for people with diabetes or if you just want a less heavy pizza. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable full of fiber and cancer-fighting plant chemicals, so an excellent nutrition powerhouse. But the crust just doesn't taste quite right...yet!

Have you mastered a cauliflower pizza crust? Please let me know your ingredients! I am eager to try ๐Ÿ˜Š.

Tuesday
Apr072015

Quick and Easy Granola Bars

If I can take any kind of shortcut with cooking, I will find it! So when I say these bars are quick and easy, you can trust they are. This recipe has four ingredients and needs only a saucepan and baking dish. Goes into the oven for about 20 minutes. I eat a packaged granola bar every day because it's convenient and satisfying, so I loved this homemade version from Diary of a Fit Mommy. She used three ingredients that most people already have in their kitchens. I only changed it by adding one more ingredient of a chia/flaxseed blend sprinkled on top of the bars before baking.

Easy Granola Bars

Ingredients

3/4 cup honey

1 cup peanut or almond butter (or sunflower seed butter if nut allergies)

3 cups old fashioned oats

Chia, ground flaxseeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. On low heat, add peanut butter and honey into a medium saucepan and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour oats into the mixture and stir well until combined. 
  4. Pour batter into a 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until top is firm to touch.
  5. Cool well before cutting into squares.

The one downside with these bars is that they're crumbly. When trying to cut them into squares, some fell apart. So I saved the crumbles in a Tupperware and have been sprinkling them into my Greek yogurt and oatmeal...or just eating a spoonful when I need a quick pick-me-up! 

 

Sunday
Mar152015

Black Rice with Edamame, Sweet Potato and Cashews

Have you checked out the whole grains section of your supermarket? No more will you only see brown or white rice, but quinoa, millet, farro, freekeh and even black rice. My Asian parents have mentioned black rice but never cooked with it because of the higher cost. This black-purplish rice is also called "forbidden rice" because only the richest of society in ancient China (i.e., emperors) were allowed to eat it.

Thankfully times have changed; I easily found it at Trader Joe's and a client Patrick had bought it at Ocean State Job Lot! Patrick first inspired me to cook with it. He had come to me moderately overweight with cholesterol levels in the 300s and said that despite drinking green smoothies from a Magic Bullet and walking more, his cholesterol wouldn't budge, which he wrote off as being genetically inherited. He refused to take a statin so we tweaked his diet to increase the fiber with more whole fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds and whole grains while avoiding saturated fat and excess cholesterol. He started a regular exercise regimen (he chose P90X which could be done at home). After 4-5 months, his cholesterol dropped to 165better than mine! Patrick is just one of several folks I've counseled who were convinced their genes caused the bad numbers...but were proven wrong when adjusting their diet and exercise level. Some but not all were also using medication. Food is healing!

Black rice is colored by its anthocyanin content, an antioxidant that also pigments blueberries, purple grapes, red wine, tart cherries, plums and eggplant. Black rice, similar to brown, retains the outer high fiber bran layer so its texture is chewier and nuttier than white. Research shows that anthocyanins can decrease inflammation in the body, and therefore may reduce the risk of inflammatory conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Nutrition-wise it's comparable to brown rice with more fiber, protein and iron than white rice. I simply love the taste! 

Patrick shared this favorite cholesterol-lowering recipe for Forbidden Rice Salad by the Get Off Your Tush & Cook blog, which I made today as you can see in the photos. Very easy to prepare with a quick dressing. The only things I changed were using canola instead of sesame oil, and adding cashews instead of sesame seeds. Also, though I would have loved the flavor of roasted sweet potato, I didn't feel like turning on the oven so I microwaved them for 6 minutes. The edamame, crispy bell peppers and green onion rounded out the flavors and textures. The dish tasted great warm, chilled or at room temperature. 

A few notes about preparing the black rice: Because the package didn't specify to rinse the rice, I only rinsed quickly before cooking. I noticed the water immediately turned purple throughout cooking. I used a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part rice. After the 30-minute cook time, the texture was perfect but it looked gloppy. So I rinsed off the excess glop and it was fine. In the future I plan to rinse the rice well before cooking and reduce the cooking water (1 3/4 water to 1 cup rice). Try out the recipe if you enjoy brown rice, I'm sure you will love it!