Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to School- Recipe

Waking up this morning felt a little different. It was back to the hustle and bustle of school time. Everybody up and Adam...starting with Cody at 6am, then Devin at 6:30 and finally Liam and Aidan at 7:00. Getting dressed, backpacks, breakfast,'s back to the routine. There is always a bit of excitement and a bit of sadness to see them go.

There is something a little different about this year's back to school routine. This year my son Liam will be bringing dairy free and gluten free lunches to school with him. He has been having some problems with his immunity and because food sensitivities can really wreak havoc on the immune system I, along with my doctor, have decided that this is a good idea.

He has already been off of dairy for the summer so we've gotten used to life without ice cream and cheese. Now adding in the gluten has been a bit more of a challenge so we've had some starts and stops along the way but it is a learning process for the entire household.

Today I sent the kids off to school with leftover Asian noodles (Gluten free) with chicken, veggies, and a gluten free peanut sauce. I added some raw veggies, a piece of fruit, some toasted chipotle sesame seeds and gluten free zucchini bread I made at midnight last night. This is my second time making it and the kids love it!

I got the recipe off the website Pamela's Products. I picked up their gluten free baking mix at Whole Foods and this seemed like a good recipe to try. I am not lying when I tell you that you can not tell that there is no gluten in it. It is delicious! I think next time I will try making muffins to make it easier to send in the lunch.

Pamela's Tried & Tested Zucchini Bread
Yield: one 8 x4 loaf

2 cups Pamela's Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups grated zucchini, blossom end removed
2 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Whisk together Pamela's Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, and sugar for one minute on medium. Stir in vanilla.
Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients to form a batter. Fold in grated zucchini (along with optional lemon zest and chopped nuts)

NOTE: Baked zucchini loaf will be moist. You can lessen moisture by squeezing grated zucchini in paper towels to absorb some of the water before mixing into the batter.

Turn into greased loaf pan (8x4) and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.

Variation: For muffins, fill greased or paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full and bake in 350° oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Itsy Bitsy Yummy Pockets

I made these for the kids for breakfast today. I think it would be a great addition to the lunchbox as well or as an after school snack. I made some different variations and I personally loved the peanut butter and banana. Get creative and try them out and let me know what you think.

Mochi is a traditional Japanese food made from sweet rice. It is steamed and then pounded. When it bakes it puffs up. It is non-dairy and wheat-free. I purchased an organic brown rice product I found at Whole Foods. It came in a flat square and I cut it into 1" squares before baking.

Itsy Bitsy Blueberry Pocket
Blueberries & Honey
Natural Peanut Butter & Banana
Kiwi & Pineapple
Anything you like

Cut the mochi into 1" squares, place on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 1 minute.

Cut a slit into the mochi square and stuff with with your choice of ingredients. You can drizzle it with honey to finish it off.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't Like Broccoli? Try this!

I made this for dinner tonight and my husband, who literally gags on broccoli, ate it and said, "wow, that's not bad." I can't ask for anything more than that!

I got the recipe from Cat Cora's book Cooking from the Hip. I made the vegetarian version with the olive oil dressing option. I used agave instead of sugar. I was a little worried about the curry thinking it might be overwhelming but honestly it didn't even have a curry flavor so you might want to taste it and add a bit more if you like that sort of thing. Here is the recipe:

Curried Broccoli Salad
2 Tbl kosher salt (I used Celtic)
2 lbs broccoli florets (from about 3 bunches broccoli)
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1 cup raisins (you're supposed to use currants but I didn't have any)
1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
Fill a large pot of water and put it over high heat to boil. Fill a large bowl or your sink with ice and cold water.

When the water boils, add the salt and the broccoli. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green and still somewhat firm, barely tender enough to pierce with a knife. Use a long-handled strainer or tongs to transfer the broccoli to the ice-water bath. After 2 to 3 minutes, remove the broccoli from the ice water and place in a colander to drain. Line a bowl with paper towels, transfer the broccoli to the bowl, and set aside to drain.

Chop the broccoli coarsely. Place in a large serving bowl with the pecans, raisins, sunflower seeds, and red onion.

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbl rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbl sugar (I used 1 Tbl agave)
2 tsp Madras curry powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, mix the vinegar and the agave together until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the curry powder, the salt, and pepper to taste. Continue whisking and very slowly drizzle the olive oil into the vinegar mixture until all the oil is incorporated. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired, ten set the dressing aside and prepare the broccoli.

Pour the dressing evenly over the salad, tossing lightly to mix thoroughly. Chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nature's Sports Drink

I've always disliked the idea of giving my kids sports drinks with their artificial colors, flavors and God knows what else is in there. Sometimes when they are out playing baseball and football in the blazing sun, I feel like they need a bit more then water though.

I have known about coconut water for a while. When I was eating raw, I used to buy the young coconuts at my local market, chop the top off and add the water to my smoothies or drink it. The kids liked it too. The problem is that it isn't too practical to bring a coconut and big knife to the games so my kids could drink it.

Well, that problem is solved. They have started selling coconut water in single serving containers, like a juice box. There are several different brands and they even have some flavors like pineapple, acai, peach mango and more. I bought mine at Whole Foods and the kids really liked it. So do I.

So what is so great about coconut water? Well, first of all it is natural, it comes straight from the coconut. No high fructose corn syrup, no sugar, no colorings, flavorings, or chemicals. That alone is something you don't hear much about when it comes to sweet drinks.

Secondly, coconut water is amazing stuff. It is similar to plasma and in WWII it was given to soldiers intravenously when supplies of plasma were low. It has more electrolytes then the sports drinks that are out on the market and has 15 times more potassium. In fact it has more potassium than two bananas. Potassium is essential for the body's growth and heart function. It helps kidneys function normally and helps keep a normal water balance between the cells and body fluids among other things. It is high in vitamin C, low in sodium and even has a bit of fat to slow down the metabolism of sugar. It also contains lauric acid which is used to heal the digestive tract.

So instead of reaching for those neon colored, artificially flavored sports drinks, try a little box of nature's sports drink. Let me know what you think.
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