Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Homemade Vanilla Almond Butter

Talk about a cinch to make! I think this recipe took me about two minutes to put together, and that includes cleaning my Vitamix. 

I'm a big fan of nut butter of any sort, so when I saw that Kath of Kath Eats Real Food was sampling some vanilla almond butter that a company had sent her, I knew it was something I had to try and make. And I did, and it was okay. So I tried again, and this time: score! 

The last batch I made was too crumbly and you could taste the alcohol from the vanilla extract, so I had a quick fix: use vanilla powder and add a little oil. And voila! Homemade vanilla almond butter. 

It's good on rice cakes, apples, in cereal, or by itself. I may even try roasting the almonds slightly and adding a bit of agave as well. 

Vanilla Almond Butter (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
2 (+/-) tablespoons mild tasting oil (I used light olive oil) 

Place all ingredients into a Vitamix, blender or food processor and process until smooth.

*To make an almond butter crunchy I will usually reserve a bit of the whole almond and add it in at the end until lightly chopped.  

Friday, May 22, 2009

Photo Phriday: The End of a Chapter

Big news in the life of Liz: not only am I getting married in two weeks, but I am leaving my job, moving to Virginia, and then moving to Illinois to begin a Master's program. Phew.

That's a lot of change. 

It's incredibly bittersweet for me. I love my job and I love the community that I live and work in, but in order to live like a married couple, I had to move. My co-workers and members from the tv station I work for threw a party for me yesterday. I was overwhelmed with the support I received from everyone and never will I forget this place and these people. 

My folks even attended and brought a giant, delicious cake from Celia Cakes -- it was absolutely amazing and no one could tell it was gluten-free.  

And in honor of SNL's Weekend Update, I threw my pen at the tv camera during my very last show today. I'm going to miss this place.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gluten Free Fried Calamari

To make gf/cf fried calamari is soooo simple as I learned this past weekend. All you need is squid, cornstarch, salt and pepper and oil for frying. This is by no means a healthy meal, but it was a good way to celebrate Mother's Day this past weekend. 

I don't have a "recipe" for this because nothing was measured (my dear Dad made it), but the technique will work for sure: 

Cut squid into rounds, dredge in cornstarch and salt and pepper, fry until crispy. And voila, gluten free fried calamari! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gluten-Free Handmade Dog (and cat) Treats

How cool is this? Sugar Selections Gluten Free Dog Treats.

My sister passed this Etsy seller along to me with the heading "Henry's getting a wedding present!" so I have a feeling the little guy will be taste-testing these for you all soon. Here's what the baker has to say about her liver and flax seed biscuits:

Made with the folowing human grade ingredients:chicken livers and ground flax seed meal. Completely free of wheat, other grains containing gluten, corn, and dairy. Each biscuit is approximately 1.5" wide and each batch is made to order. Biscuits are very lightly baked and then popped into the dehydrator for 12 hours. The result is a fantastic treat for your dog with the taste (and stink!) of liver and all the health benefits of flax seed.

I'm sure you have all heard about the poisoned wheat gluten in dog food a few years back; that surely got people on the anti-gluten bandwagon, but there's another reason to stay away from it in my opinion: dogs aren't meant to eat wheat -- much like many humans. Sure, a lot of people do, and a lot of dogs do -- and they're just fine. But when you think about it, no dog would take down a stalk of wheat and nibble on it. It's just not edible in that form and they, of course, do not have the means to turn it into an appetizing cake or cookie (though that would be a funny sight -- cathcing Henry in the kitchen whipping up a pie).

I'm certainly not knocking people for feeding their dogs commercial dog food. I feed Henry the commercial stuff (though his is gluten-free) and in this economny when you have to decide between feeding your children healthily and feeding your dog healthily -- choose your kids. I'm simply saying that the less fillers (including gluten) that you feed your dog, the better.

And instead of leaving you with a photo of Henry enjoying these treats, I'll post one of the Etsy seller's adorable pooch enjoying one of her treats:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Red Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Finally! A recipe! After tasting the delicious sweet and sour cabbage over mashed potatoes combination a few weeks ago, I've come up with a super simple and healthy way to make it myself.

The jarred variety that I recently had was good, but a bit too sweet for me and it was made with red cabbage (and corn syrup - yuck). I didn't have any on hand, and I knew that aesthetically speaking, regular cabbage simmered would be kind of ugly, so I threw in a shredded beet and it gave the dish a beautiful color. This recipe calls for only a handful of ingredients and only takes a few minutes to put together, but FYI, about an hour to simmer.

Red Sweet and Sour Cabbage (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

(serves 4 as a side dish)

1 medium sized cabbage, shredded
1 small onion, sliced
1 beet, peeled and shredded
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons agave (can use brown sugar instead)
freshly ground salt and pepper (about a teaspoon of each)
1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

In a saucepan on medium high heat, add all of the ingredients, mix and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down heat to a simmer over low-medium. Continue to simmer for 45 to 55 minutes and check occasionally and stir. Serve immediately warm, or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold over mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bad Blogger: Sweet and Sour Cabbage and Mashed Potatoes

I really thought I could keep it up during wedding crunch time: coming up with new recipes and blogging a handful of times a week. I thought "The major stuff has been booked, so really, what else do I need to do?" SO MUCH, as I am learning.

It is a second job. But I'm not complaining. I like being busy, but unfortunately the time and energy that I usually spend on my blog is being used to pick out flowers, linens, and programs, coordinating with friends and family about the logistics of the day, going to dress fittings, picking out music for the ceremony, dinner and reception, going over the food options, figuring out what shoes I can wear for seven hours, writing the ceremony and keeping the people involved happy.

So, while I have no recipe (though I have been cooking) I want to share with you one of my new favorite things: sweet and sour cabbage over mashed potatoes.

Seriously. It's amazing.

Or in the photo above, sweet and sour cabbage over hash browns made from the same mashed potatoes.

The dear A-man was so proud when he presented this combination to me. He was in Germany recently for work and mentioned the combination in passing a few times, but just this past weekend we made it. And it was heaven. I'll make some homemade sweet and sour red cabbage soon I'm sure, and I'll post about that, but for my first cabbage/mashed potato experience, jarred was what he had.