Mesquite & Cocoa Pancakes (GF/DF/No Added Sugar)

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After reading ultramarathoner Scott Jurek’s memoir Eat and Run, the Gent suggested we experiment with mesquite flour. Mesquite flour is made from the dried, ground pods of the mesquite tree. Its fragrant, slightly nutty flavor has a sweetness reminiscent of molasses.  One tablespoon of mesquite flour contains 2g natural sugars, 1g protein, and a whopping 4g of fiber, not to mention a cocktail of essential nutrients. We’ve been having fun experimenting with it in smoothies, cookie dough balls, and gluten-free dinner rolls, but so far my favorite way to use it is in these chocolatey, gluten-free pancakes.

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Mesquite & cocoa pancakes with peanut butter and rum bananas.

The mesquite powder adds just the right hint of sweetness to these gluten-free pancakes without any additional sweetener.  The pancakes are delicious topped with cooked bananas or red berries, or sandwiched with peanut butter or coconut manna.  Don’t be put off by the apple cider vinegar in the recipe; you won’t taste it. It’s there to react with the baking powder to enhance the fluffiness of these gluten-free goodies, and also to brighten up the perception of the chocolate flavor.

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Mesquite & cocoa pancakes with cherry cashew creme and dark, sweet cherries.

Mesquite & Cocoa Pancakes

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

3 Tbsp natural, unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tbsp mesquite powder

2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

2 eggs

1 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, and vinegar. Add the wet ingredients to the dry all at once, and whisk quickly until smooth. Melt a little bit of coconut oil on a hot griddle over medium-low heat, and cook pancakes until they are bubbly and slightly dry at the edges. Flip and cook another 30 to 60 seconds. Makes about one dozen 3 to 4-inch pancakes.

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Posted in Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, berries, Breakfast, coconut oil (virgin/ unrefined), Dairy-free, dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more), Desserts, fruit, Gluten-free, legumes, Nut-free, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Anti-Inflammatory Hot & Sour Soup (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

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Hot and sour soup is one of those dishes that makes me feel, keenly, that food truly is medicine. The first time I tasted this soup as a kid, I was put off by its viscosity and potent tang. By the time I had graduated from college, however, my tastebuds had matured a bit, and hot and sour soup had become my go-to comfort food whenever I had a cold or was just feeling run down. The soup’s thick, silky texture feels great on a sore throat, and its heat and sour bite seem to cut through congestion and warm me from the inside.

Now that I’m eating gluten-free, picking up a container of hot and sour soup from our local Chinese restaurant is no longer an option. Most recipes for hot and sour soup contain a hefty dose of soy sauce, which is usually made with wheat.  My homemade version relies on easy-to-find ingredients (although I wouldn’t turn up my nose at some black mushrooms if I happened across them!) that you should be able to find in most American grocery stores, and comes together pretty quickly, because the last thing I want to do when nursing a bad cold is stand at the stove for hours on end!

So, what makes my version of hot and sour soup “anti-inflammatory”?

It’s gluten-free. An extreme sensitivity to gluten defines celiac disease, but gluten intolerance has also been linked to other autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Sjogren’s Syndrome. Not all people with autoimmune disease have to follow a gluten-free eating plan, but given the most current research on the interrelatedness of food allergies/sensitivities and autoimmune disease, if you’ve been diagnosed with one of the over-100 recognized autoimmune diseases, it might be worth talking to your health care professional to find out if trying a gluten elimination diet is right for you.

Mono- and polyunsaturated oils. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats are an important part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Grapeseed oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants, while regular consumption of toasted sesame oil has been linked to reduced risk of dementia, cancer, and osteoporosis.

Mushrooms. For such a low-calorie whole food, mushrooms are loaded with nutrients that help fight cancer and improve resistance to chronic disease. Thanks to my autoimmune issues and the fact that I live in a northern climate, I am borderline deficient in vitamins B and D, so I eat a lot of mushrooms not only because they are delicious, but because they are high in both these vitamins.

Bamboo Shoots. Bamboo shoots are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. They also contain 2.5 grams of protein per 100 g serving.

Cabbage. Like many members of the brassica family, fiber-rich cabbage offers a range of health benefits, which include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and cancer-fighting compounds like glucosinolates.

Anti-inflammatory aromatics. Red chiles, garlic, ginger root, and onion all contain high concentrations of various anti-inflammatory compounds, lending some truth to the folk wisdom that soup is “medicine in a bowl.”

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 Anti-Inflammatory Hot and Sour Soup

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

1 onion, chopped

1/2 lb crimini or white button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 lb shitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced

1 cup cabbage, finely shredded

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ginger root, peeled and minced

2 to 3 tsp Chinese garlic-chile paste, according to your heat preference

1 (8-oz.) can bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed

4 cups gluten-free chicken broth

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup gluten-free tamari (soy) sauce (such as San-J)

***

1 cup cold water

3 Tbsp corn starch

***

1 egg, at room temperature

***

1 bunch (about 5 or 6) scallions, sliced

toasted sesame oil, to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high  heat and add the chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, and shredded cabbage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and garlic-chile paste, and cook for another minute. Add the bamboo shoots, chicken broth, rice vinegar, and tamari, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat to a lively simmer. In a small bowl or cup, whisk the cornstarch into the cold water until the mixture is free of lumps. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the soup pot while stirring the soup constantly.  Return to a simmer, and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened. Remove soup pot from heat. In a small bowl or cup, beat the egg well. Slowly pour the beaten egg into the soup pot while stirring the soup constantly, so the egg will break apart into small pieces as it cooks upon contact with the hot liquid.  Garnish with sliced scallions and toasted sesame oil to taste, and serve.  This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days; reheat gently.  Makes 4 servings.

Posted in alliums (garlic/onions), Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, Appetizers, chile pepper, cruciferous vegetables, Dairy-free, Entrees, ginger root, Gluten-free, monounsaturated oils, mushrooms, Nut-free, Recipes, Snacks | 1 Comment

Gluten-Free Coconut Blueberry Coffeecake (GF/DF/NS)

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Coffeecake falls into my favorite genre of baked goods: that place where breakfast and dessert overlap. This recipe will work with many different combinations of berries.  I frequently use Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose flour, but those sensitive to legumes should be aware that it contains garbanzo and fava bean flours (along with potato starch, tapioca flour, and whole grain sorghum flour).  I like this flour for its high protein content (3 g per 1/4 cup) and for its flavor and texture. Most gluten-free all-purpose flour blends attempt to mimic white flour, which I hardly ever used to bake with back in my gluten-eating days. I always favored heartier, whole-grain flours, and I think the Bob’s Red Mill blend more closely approximates them.  (And no, I am not compensated by Bob’s Red Mill in any way. I just genuinely like their products.)

This coffecake is equally nesty served warm or at room temperature, and is the perfect accompaniment to… you guessed it, a nice hot cup of coffee or tea.

Coconut Blueberry Coffecake

1 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Flour Blend

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted and packed

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

1 cup canned coconut milk

1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

***

Topping:

1/2 cup blueberry-flavored GF instant oatmeal or plain oatmeal

1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup ground pecans and/or sliced almonds

2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″ cake pan with coconut oil and set aside. Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Puree the Medjool dates and coconut oil together in a powerful blender, like a Vitamix, or a food processor.  When smooth, add the eggs and puree until frothy and thick. Add the coconut milk and pulse until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and whisk together quickly. Fold in the blueberries.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and gently sprinkle the topping over it, pressing the topping slightly into the batter. Bake at 350 F for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and topping is golden brown.

Posted in Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, Breakfast, coconut oil (virgin/ unrefined), Dairy-free, Desserts, fruit, Gluten-free, legumes, nuts, Product Reviews, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

Go-To Anti-Inflammatory Meals: Grain-Free Okonomiyaki (GF/DF)

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The Japanese dish okonomiyaki suggests the improbably perfect offspring of a hearty winter salad and a pancake. It’s also an ideal dish when cooking a quick, healthy dinner for one (although that shouldn’t stop you from cooking it for a crowd, too!)  One of the fundamental principles of an anti-inflammatory eating plan is consuming lots of colorful veggies, and this is a delicious way to do so. Okonomiyaki was one of my go-to weeknight dinners back before I gave up gluten, so I have been determined to create a version I can still enjoy.  Okonomiyaki is usually made with wheat flour, but my gluten free version uses a blend of cassava and coconut flours to get just the right texture without any grains at all, gluten-containing or otherwise.

Okonomiyaki is traditionally served with Japanese-style mayo and tonkatsu sauce, the latter of which is, in my opinion, one of the best condiments in world cuisine, right up there with Trinbagonian green seasoning.  Most bottled tonkatsu sauce is not gluten-free, so I make my own using an easy, shorthand recipe from Serious Eats.  To ensure this sauce recipe turns out gluten-free, make sure to pick a gluten-free soy sauce, like San-J, and a gluten-free worcestershire sauce, like Lea & Perrins.  I also use a ketchup free of high-fructose corn syrup, which is pro-inflammatory.

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Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Okonomiyaki

2 to 2 1/2 cups of shredded vegetables
(such as cabbage, carrots, kale, scallions, leeks, zucchini, and/or squash)

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp cassava (or tapioca) flour

2 tsp coconut flour

2 eggs, at room temperature

 1 tsp grapeseed oil

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Shredded red cabbage, carrots, lacinato kale, and scallions.

Use a mandoline to easily shred cabbage, and a vegetable peeler for carrots, zucchini, or hard squash like butternut.  A shredding disk on a food processor would work well, too.  The fine shredding is important to this dish turning out properly.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the salt and flours. Toss this dry mixture with the vegetables until they are evenly dusted.  Beat together the two eggs, and pour over the flour-dusted shredded vegetables. Toss mixture until evenly coated.

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Heat oil in a 10-inch frying pan over medium heat.  Pour the okonomiyaki mixture into the pan and shape the mixture into a large pancake with a fork or spatula, pressing it flat.  Cook for 3 minutes, flip with a large spatula, and cook another 3 minutes on the second side.  Serve immediately with tonkatsu sauce or the condiment of your choice.  One large pancake makes two appetizer portions or one entree.

Posted in alliums (garlic/onions), Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, Appetizers, cruciferous vegetables, Dairy-free, Entrees, Gluten-free, greens, monounsaturated oils, Nut-free, pumpkin/squash/gourds, Recipes, root vegetables, Snacks, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Chocolate-Dipped Cookie Dough Bites (GF/DF/V/NS/Grain Free)

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Chocolate-Dipped Cookie Dough Bites (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, grain-free, and sweetened with whole dates).

As you may know, I have a sweet tooth, a deep and abiding love for sweets that has been a beast to tame in the transition from my former I-exercise-so-I-can-eat-whatever-I-want mentality to a more balanced lifestyle that focuses on nutrient-dense food to fuel my health for the long term. My tastebuds have shifted dramatically over the past year and a half, and treats I used to enjoy now often taste off-putting in their cloying sweetness.  However, I’m still nostalgic for that particular little ping of pleasure that a well-deserved treat at the end of the day inspires.  So, lately I have been turning to these little gems: cookie dough bites that taste oh-so-decadent, but are packed with nutrients, protein, and fiber. Unless you spill the beans (garbanzo, that is…), no one will ever guess these treats are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and low in added sugar. They’re sweetened entirely with whole dates (see Pantry Staples to learn why), and can even be made grain free!

Gluten-free oat flour will give the cookie dough a smooth, creamy texture, and is actually much easier to digest uncooked than wheat flour.  For a grain-free alternative, use coconut flour.  Since coconut flour absorbs more liquid than oat flour, the texture of the cookie dough will be a little bit stiffer and less smooth, but the Gent actually prefers it that way (while I prefer the oat flour).  If grains are not an allergen concern, then you can also split the difference and use half of each.  You can also make these with vegan buttery spread for a more “buttery” flavor, but I prefer the creamy mouthfeel when this recipe is made with coconut oil instead. Both the texture and flavor will be better the day after you make these, once the flour has had time to fully soften and the vanilla really permeates the dough. I think they taste best chilled rather than at room temperature.

The combination of fiber-rich dates and protein-packed chickpeas means you will feel pretty darn satisfied after a recommended serving of just two cookie dough bites. I like to savor them slowly, instead of wolfing them down all at once.  Sometimes it’s our brains that need the treat more than our bellies, and taking the time to slow down and savor the moment is what I actually need to feel satisfied.  So go ahead, let go of the guilt and satisfy that sweet tooth with these chocolate-dipped cookie dough bites!

Chocolate-Dipped Cookie Dough Bites

Cookie Dough:
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
8 large medjool dates (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup coconut oil or vegan buttery spread, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup certified GF whole grain oat flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill) or coconut flour*

Optional:
Fold 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips into the dough after forming.

Chocolate Coating:
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli 60% cacoa
1 tsp grapeseed oil

Blend first four ingredients in food processor and puree until smooth. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl after every minute of pureeing. When the chickpea-date mixture is smooth and uniform, add salt and flour and process just until combined.

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Above: after 1 minute of pureeing. Below: after 4 minutes of pureeing.

Dollop 1 Tbsp of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper. It will look jagged and messy, and that’s o.k. for now. Repeat until all of the dough has been used.  (Makes about 18 to 20 bites, depending on size.)  Put cookie sheet in freezer for 10 minutes to firm and chill the dough.  Roll each dollop of chilled dough lightly between palms until it forms a smooth ball. Put the cookie sheet back in the freezer while you melt the chocolate for the coating.

Just-blended dollops of dough on the right; dough balls after chilling and rolling on the left.

Just-blended dollops of dough on the right; dough balls after chilling and rolling on the left.

Melt the chocolate chips and grapeseed oil in a small glass bowl in 30-second increments on HIGH, stir, then heat for another 30 seconds. Stir chocolate for a full 60 seconds before determining if it needs another 15 to 30 seconds of heating.  Use as little heat as possible to thoroughly melt all the chocolate.

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Drop a ball of chilled dough into the bowl of chocolate and quickly turn to coat. Lift out with a fork and place it back on the same parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all cookie dough balls are coated with chocolate.  Refrigerate until firm, and then move to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

*For a unique flavor with a hint of molasses and a hint of smoke, substitute up to half of the flour with mesquite powder, the dried and ground pods of the mesquite tree. Yum!

Posted in Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, coconut oil (virgin/ unrefined), Dairy-free, dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more), Desserts, fruit, Gluten-free, legumes, Nut-free, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

What’s In The Pantry?

I often get asked what I can eat on a gluten-free, dairy-free, anti-inflammatory diet. So, I have compiled a list of our pantry staples since transitioning to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. This list is on a new reference page, aptly titled Pantry Staples, in the above menu bar.  The list is by no means exhaustive, as I often buy special items for new recipes I’m playing around with, but it does hit the basics of what I like to have regularly on hand. And I must admit, as I was working on this list, I was so encouraged to realize how many fabulous foods I can eat! It’s all a matter of perspective, and today my glass definitely looks half full.

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Posted in Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, Dairy-free, Gluten-free | 2 Comments

Curried Carrot Dip (GF/DF/V)

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I’m sticking with last week’s vegetable-based dip theme, because this recipe offers an appetizingly high return on the very small amount of time you need to invest in it. The fabulous thing about healthful, nutrient-packed dips is that they can easily double as warm or cold sauces, and this super-creamy, fragrant, curried carrot dip is no exception.  Try it with crackers, chips, or raw vegetables as an hors d’oeuvre, spread it on a sandwich in place of mayo or mustard, top a bagel with it, or use it to fill savory crepes for a delicious and nutritious vegetarian entree.

Gluten-free crepes stuffed with coarsely mashed purple potatoes, sauteed crimini mushrooms, and curried carrot dip.

Gluten-free crepes stuffed with coarsely mashed purple potatoes, sauteed crimini mushrooms, and curried carrot dip.

Curried Carrot Dip

1 lb carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1/2″ chunks

1/3 cup olive oil

1 large clove garlic, sliced

1 tsp minced fresh ginger root

3/4 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp salt, and to taste

6 oz. (about half a package) silken tofu

Steam the carrots until soft.*  Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium-sized skillet. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the steamed carrots and curry powder, and stir well until carrots are well coated with oil, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the carrot mixture, salt, and tofu to a Vitamix blender or food processor and puree until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Delicious served warm or cold.

*Note: You can steam the carrots in a steamer basket on the stove-top, but to save time, you can also put the sliced carrots into a glass bowl with 2 Tbsp water, cover with a plate, and then cook on HIGH in the microwave for about 3 minutes, until soft when pierced with a fork.

Posted in alliums (garlic/onions), Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, Appetizers, Dairy-free, ginger root, Gluten-free, monounsaturated oils, Nut-free, Recipes, root vegetables, Snacks, spices, Vegan, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip (GF/DF/V)

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Dairy-free spinach artichoke dip with gluten-free sweet potato tortilla chips.

This dip is healthy enough to be a legit side dish at dinnertime, so you can snack away with abandon and without the guilt. This is a good thing, because once you taste it, you may just want to steal away with the bowl of dip and a spoon. Silken tofu adds body and a creamy mouthfeel, but I guarantee this dip is so flavorful and nesty that even the most tofu-averse (the Gent falls into that category) won’t suspect it’s there.  You could also serve this as a flavorful, nutritious topping for baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip

10 oz. baby spinach

1 can artichoke hearts (about 8.5 oz.), drained

6 cloves garlic

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tsp mixed dried herbs (thyme, oregano, basil all work well)

1/2 teaspoon salt (and to taste)

6 0z. (about 1/2 package) silken tofu

juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large (12″) skillet.  Peel the garlic cloves and add them whole to the hot oil, and give them a quick stir.  Rinse the baby spinach with cold water and then add it — with the water still clinging to the leaves — to the skillet. Cover the skillet and let the spinach steam for about 2 minutes. Remove the lid and gently stir and turn the spinach with a pair of tongs, until it is all covered with olive oil and wilty. Continue to cook for another 2 or so minutes until the spinach is thoroughly wilted.  Stir in the herbs and salt.  Set aside to cool for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the drained artichoke hearts and the spinach mixture to a blender or food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add the lemon juice and tofu, and process until mixture reaches desired consistency. I like my spinach artichoke dip a bit chunky, but it will taste just as good with a smoother texture.  Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve warm.

Posted in alliums (garlic/onions), Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, Appetizers, citrus, cruciferous vegetables, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, greens, herbs, legumes, monounsaturated oils, Nut-free, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Product Review: Quinn Microwave Popcorn

The Midwestern Gentleman surprised me with a gift of three different flavors of Quinn Popcorn over the holidays.  He knows I love popcorn, but I’ll confess I’m also a bit of a popcorn snob. At home, I always cook popcorn the “old-fashioned” way, in a heavy pot on the stove, and my kernels of choice come from Crown Jewel. However, I sometimes really miss the convenience of microwave popcorn, especially on days when I’m craving a crunchy, salty, healthy snack at work.  Since corn is a heavily GMO product in the U.S., I have to be picky about my popcorn sources.  Also, the hydrogenated oils and nasty chemical preservatives in microwave popcorn make this one crunchy, salty snack that’s strictly off-limits for me.  Until now!

QuinnLemonSeaSaltQuinn Popcorn is gluten free, non-GMO, chemical-free, and contains no hydrogenated oils or preservatives. The popcorn alone is absolutely delicious, with a full, roasty-toasty corn flavor, but it gets even better. The company offers an array of surprising and delightful flavor combinations which come in separate pouches, so you control how much you put on your popcorn.  I have sampled three flavors, and genuinely enjoyed all of them.
Olive Oil and Herbs includes a packet of extra-virgin California olive oil and a packet of organic dried herbs and nutritional yeast to sprinkle over the popcorn. The nutritional yeast added a hint of cheesy flavor that blends nicely will the fragrant herbs. Lemon and Sea Salt includes a packet of expeller-pressed sunflower oil and a packet of dried lemon zest mixed with sea salt.  This was the most unexpected flavor combination for me, and I loved it instantly. The fresh zing of lemon really added something special to this snack. Finally, for a sweet-salty treat, there is Vermont Maple and Sea Salt.  A packet of expeller-pressed sunflower oil is accompanied by a packet of real maple sugar (no icky artificial maple flavoring here!) and sea salt. The result is a dangerously addictive “kettle corn” with a very subtle maple flavor.

This popcorn has a mid-range price as far as snack food goes, at $2.50 per packet, about the equivalent of a muffin or pastry in a local bakery.  However, I believe you pay for your health one way or another, and my personal philosophy is that I’d rather spend a little more on quality food now than a lot more on medications later.  Quinn Popcorn has made it onto my short list of delicious, safe, and convenient snacks, and taught me to love microwave popcorn again.

Posted in Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, Appetizers, citrus, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, herbs, monounsaturated oils, Nut-free, Product Reviews, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian | 7 Comments

Jam-Swirled Gingerbread Porridge for Frosty Winter Mornings (GF/DF/NS)

Groundhog Day came and went on Sunday, and no one living in the North was surprised by Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of six more weeks of winter.  Temperatures in Iowa have lingered ten to thirty degrees below average for months, with whipping winds and slick ice at every turn.  On the rare day when the weather does warm up to freezing or just above, the Midwest has been blanketed in yet another layer of snow. As winter grinds our spirits down, we stoically clench our teeth against the cold and continue about the business of living — working, playing, and of course, cooking!

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This cozy breakfast cereal comforts both body and spirit. You can use any gluten-free grain you like, but I think it’s especially nice made with buckwheat porridge (ground groats), or Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Gluten-Free Cereal, which is a blend of brown rice, corn, buckwheat, and sorghum.  The warming ginger and other spices offer anti-inflammatory properties to start the day off right.  Sweetening the porridge with sorghum syrup or molasses adds a richness of flavor truly reminiscent of gingerbread, along with iron and other essential nutrients that you won’t find in refined sugar or a stevia leaf.

To serve, try topping this hot cereal with a spoonful of coconut oil or vegan buttery spread, or (my favorite) stirring in a swirl of strawberry or apricot jam.  Then let Mother Nature bring on more winter — you’ll be ready!

Gingerbread Porridge

1/2 cup ground buckwheat or Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Gluten-Free Cereal

1 1/4 cups almond milk or other milk alternative

1 cup water

pinch salt

2 tsp sorghum syrup or molasses

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Lower heat slightly and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Serve immediately with a dollop of coconut oil or vegan buttery spread and a swirl of your favorite jam, if desired. Makes 2 servings.

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Posted in Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, Breakfast, coconut oil (virgin/ unrefined), Dairy-free, ginger root, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Recipes, spices, Vegan, Vegetarian | 3 Comments