Image

Exchange of the Cookies: Vegan and Allergy Friendly (GF, DF, Peanut Free)

Ever get ahead of yourself? This morning I did. Lofty Monday goals to finish this post and life did not agree, so I panicked at my alarm when an unfinished post went out. Much like making five dozen cookies to bake this weekend, I set goals and got in over my head. This is the final product of vegan cookies that my whole family can eat. That is a victory. The allergy count as of now? No gluten, eggs, dairy, peanuts, most tree nuts (coconut is okay), most fruits with digestive issues. So what’s left? Uh not a lot. In my experimentation, I have come to love oat flour and brown rice flour. They are easier flours to digest but not the only ones. All purpose is great for most things but I find making cookies with g free all purpose flour tends to be chalky. Ack. Oats expand and hold it all together which is great when eggs are not invited. There are egg substitutes but less is more for me. Especially in the nuances of baking. I was completely confident in my abilities to make purchases in a bakery years ago. But when vegan is the best option for allergies… it’s expensive. The years of baking frustrations followed but it’s paying off. Now, I am a straight forward and un-sophisticated baker, who has cookies for “Santa.”

My kids know Santa isn’t real. Mom and dad take credit for the presents and these cookies.

Iced Sugar Cookies

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cup Brown rice flour plus 1/4-1/2 cup extra 
  • 1/2 cup Oat flour*
  • 1/2 cup Vegan butter, soften to room temp plus 1 Tbsp set aside
  • 1/2 cup Sugar (for sweeter 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla 
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp of Salt
  • 3-4 Tbsp of coconut milk**
  • Clean space to roll out dough
  • Cookie sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters
  • Basting or pastry brush
  • Optional: food coloring

*You can opt to ground plain quick oats to a fine powder.  ** Coconut milk is best, but any milk or plant-based milk can be used to accommodate allergies or lifestyle. Rice milk is nut free and dairy free but thin. Half the amount of milk the recipe calls for.

Icing Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp Coconut milk or milk*
  • 2 cups Powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Vegan Butter

Making and Baking Cookies

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  
  2. Mix sugar and butter. 
  3. Add in Vanilla Extract and 2 Tbsp of coconutmilk
  4. Dry ingredients: In a separate bowl combine brown rice flour, oat flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix.
  5. Combine dry ingredients with sugar, butter, extract, and milk. Add in food coloring here.  
  6. Mix with hands or use a baking spatula.  The consistency should be that of play dough- firm but easy to shape.  Additional Tbsp of milk may need to be added- add in on Tbsp at a time.
  7. Spread 1/4 cup of brown rice flour over clean surface for dough 
  8. Place dough on flour covered surface and roll out dough to around 1/4 of an inch in thickness.  
  9. Use cookie cutters to create cookie shapes and place on parchment paper and cookie sheets.  
  10. Unused dough can be mixed and rolled out again to create more cookies.
  11. Melt 1 Tbsp of Vegan butter in a separate bowl.  Then use a basting or pastry brush to place a thin coat of butter on each cookie.  In a pinch, use clean hands to spread butter on each cookie.  Let’s be real, having basting brush was coincidental but I am not chefy enough to have a pastry brush.  Real cookies for real people. 
  12. Place in oven for 10-12 minutes.  It should be firm on the cookie surface but slightly soft.  As they cool they will harden.

Mixing the Icing

  1. This is fairly straight forward. Whisk powdered sugar, butter, and 1 tbsp of milk of choice.
  2. If it’s too thick, that extra tbsp of milk held back can be used. You can add food coloring while whisking or just leave it plain.

Now I will be honest. Straight foward right? I am crazy sensitive to sugar and knock it down a lot, especially considering the use of icing to add in sweetness. If you have a crazy sweet tooth, add in extra sugar at your own risk. Also, the texture is going to be… well not Loft cookies, those super soft ones. It’s is supposed to be a firm outside, soft in the inside and middle. (After it cools) If your conscious, food relationship, or loved ones with either are in need of a holiday treat. This is it.
I’m heading back to the kitchen for more cookies and ideas to share. Look for more soon or hit the “yes” but to the right for it to come to you.

Extra love points. Mark your boxes of what is and isn’t there.
Extremely helpful for those with dietary needs.

Namaste. Love your light in this holiday season.

Advertisements
Health Foodie: Messing with a Classic Side dish

Health Foodie: Messing with a Classic Side dish

And just like that Thanksgiving was here. We are incredibly fortunate as my husband and I’s may be far from our families, they are close to each other.  This made our long awaited ten day, Southern Thanksgiving tour much easier.  Less care time and more face time. It still left room for lots of traveling stories (one captured at the end of this post).  

As we created new memories on old traditions, new dishes came to the table.  No one messes with the green bean casserole.  We love it just the way it is.  My mom made these delicious avocado deviled egg with an egg bar.  Avocado + Bacon = Love   .   I couldn’t leave the mac and cheese alone this year.  Since gluten free is the name of our game, it would seem a simple pasta switch out is all one needs.  Not really.  I do have my fav ancient grain gluten free pasta; however, I wasn’t taking chances with crunchy or sticky.  Yes it happens alot with the g free pasta. Ew.  I opted with a caulimac that is creamy and more bacon.  This “side dish” started out as a main dish with some veggies.  Then I was in love.  It made its Thanksgiving debut.  The best part of this relationship- easy.  Put it together.  Bake or crock.  Stir and done.    

Notjusthealthnut among other nuts
#archieR and #cobycoby waiting for the drop.  Messy food love.  

Gouda and Bacon Caulimac

⚠️ Warning ⚠️ Addictive

Serves 6-8 as a main dish

Ingredients and Prep

36 oz of frozen cauliflower

2 8 oz of Neufchâtel cream cheese, cut into cubes

3 8 oz of Gouda cheese, cubed

1 16 oz package of bacon (cooked and cut)

Cooking

Oven

1. Take one baking dish (size) throw in frozen cauliflower

2. Throw in cubed cream cheese and Gouda

3. Bake on 375 for 15-20 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir. Add bacon on top

5. Cook for 15-20 minutes until melted and bubbling. Stir again

Crock pot

1. Dumped it all together in 7 quart slow cooker or crock pot

2. Cook on high for 2-3 hours and stir half way between

You know it’s done when all the cheeses are melted together and a bubbly personality.  

Make your food relationship deliciously easy with out skipping out on the nutrition you need.  

Namaste #notjusthealthnut

One of many adventures in my parent hood. Follow me @realaparentyogi on instagram for more
Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

As my love affair with all things spicy cools off, I have to find ways to live in between.  I am between my love of food relationship exploration and the need for it not to kill my stomach.  Creole food is one of those perplexing situations for me. About a year ago on a pinning spree I took on gumbo and LOVE it.  I love the earthy and fiery flavors with the simple base.  Recently, a more palatable version found my bowl as tweaking to remove shellfish allergy and reduce reflux triggers.  This reworking of a Creole icon reduces the spice, lowers fat content, and switches to a low acid tomato.   Make your shopping list, grab your pots, and find the zydeco music.  It’s time to channel that not so spicy but spiced up food encounter.

Gumbo/Stew

Ingredients and Prep

Roux

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour or all purpose gluten free flour

Gumbo

  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 tsp of Creole Seasoning (cayenne will do in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (1 tbsp dried parsley can be substituted)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 lb of chicken cooked and diced
  •  oz of smoked turkey sausage (if you can handle the spicy go for chicken andouille sausage)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 9 ounces of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Optional add ins: crawfish or shellfish

Cooking

  1. Roux: this mystical beast is the wonderment base.  The key is to never leave it alone and constantly stir.
    • Heat skillet to medium heat then add in oil.  Gentle stir in flour with a whisk and keep stirring.  The goal is a medium to medium dark brown.  Once you reach the desired color, give your arm a break and head to step 2.
  2. Add in: garlic, red bell pepper, celery, and tomatoes.  Cook for 10 minutes
  3. Add in broth, meat, and spices
  4. Simmer on low for about an hour

How you address or dress this dish when it’s done is up to you.  The classic is with rice.  We went for corn polenta (pictured), but it’s up to you and any idea you dream of.  Classics like this have staying power as it carries tradition, memories, and iconic flavors.  It doesn’t mean you can’t mess around a little in your food relationship.

Namaste

Check out part two next week!

Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Spicy foods and I have had a long time love affair in our food relationship.  It seems that now we are at least on a separation if not headed for limited contact relationship.  Our relationship literally burns my heart, among other things.  Heart burn, acid reflux, and bile reflux are serious conditions that do more than irritate.  Due to high acid production, it can erode your digestive system from mouth to intestines.  It can be painful and may even cause esophageal spasms.  Not being able to use your esophagus sucks at the very least and scary at times.  To find balance in your food relationship, you need pH balance- acid vs alkaline.  This doesn’t mean acidic food are bad all together, many have amazing nutritional value and for some people, acidity is needed.  For us fiery, acidic bellies- we need to tone it down and tailor our relationship.

It’s starts with “we’re on a break.” For some time or all the time or on a limited basis you need to quit these foods: caffeine, citrus fruits, cocoa beans (coffee/chocolate), tomatoes, spicy, hot temps, high fats, processed, fried foods.  A relationship with a medical professional may help you decide what that relationship will look like.  These foods are either high in acid or cause more stomach acid production.  If you are extra sensitive then avoiding most fruits, gluten, dairy, and onions may be of benefit.

So now what do I eat?  I truly did have a spicy food addiction.  In treating and making new relationship routines I have become a humongous fan of oats.  I like oats before, but it’s a whole new love now.  Oats are excellent for regulating blood sugar among many things but for the sake of stomach acid- it absorbs acid and helps regulate the guts.  Every morning I have oatmeal with raw honey and sliced bananas.  Every. Freaking. Morning.  Raw honey, it HAS to be raw, has amazing healing properties and bananas are on the helpful with the acid list.  Ginger in tea or added to a meal is another pH balancing friend.  Probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha will tip the pH scale in your favor.  And veggies.  Veggies are alkaline which is the yin to acid’s yang so to speak, especially those greens and carrots.  Avocados, herbal teas, nuts, seeds, tofu, amaranth, and legumes are other alkaline options for daily contacts in your food relationship.

Love red sauces.  Me too! What do I do with tomato based sauces to combat acidity? Carrots.  These handy veggies in a puree aid in leveling out tomato’s acidity.  Cooking time is important too.  It need to be limited and I do not cook my sauces over thirty minutes.  More cook time, more acid.  Spices and herbs can contribute to raising the pH level.  An example is enchilada sauce.  I either eliminate the chili powder completely or reduce it, the up the cumin by half more.  This can be applied to any enchilada sauce recipe or pin you see.  Below I have included how I make my carrot puree plus a recipe for a reduced acid pasta sauce.  The carrot thing really does work.

Carrot Puree

2 carrots peeled and diced in 1 cup of water.  Cook until soft and blend or food processor until smooth.  You can double to make extra to store or freeze for later use.

Reduced Acid Pasta Sauce

  • 2 ( 29 oz) can of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of carrot puree
  • 2 bay leaves (cue 90’s kid in school lunchroom memories)
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

img_1285.jpg

Cooking: measure it, dump it, stir it, and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes.

You can cook longer if you can stand higher acidity.  TBH- I love longer cooked sauces; however, they are not loving me back at the moment.  Care for your gut as it cares for the rest of you.

Please like share or pass along!

Namaste

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

Summer time is our busiest; however, for many this is the reverse when school starts.  To keep that amazing gut feeling in your food life we have a couple of recipes to add to the food relationship.   These recipes at substance, healing power necessary to sustain you, but not weigh you down either.   I find veggies and herbs are an excellent way to get the nourishment without a heavy gut discussion afterwards. These recipes of my favs in the food relationship, nourishes well and not complicated.

Mediterranean Inspired Pasta Dish- aka “I’m obsessed with olives and herbs”

Feed approximately 4 people

Ingredients

  • Pasta or “Pasta”: (pictured) g-free linguine or zoodles, linguine, fresh pasta, etc.  12 oz pasta or 2 zucchini
  • Olive oil 2-3 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves: 3 cloves, diced
  • Fresh parsley: about 1/2 cup chopped (optional add in dried parsley 2 tbsp)
  • Green olives: 1/2 cup diced
  • Roma tomatoes, 3 diced
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Cooking

  1. For packaged pasta cooked as directed and set aside.  For zoodles, saute in 2 tbsp of butter for about 5 minutes or soft and firm.
  2. In a skillet pour in olive oil, garlic and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes
  3. Add in diced tomatoes, green olives (if using dried parley add here) and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in pasta or “pasta” and fresh parsley.  Cook for about 3 minutes
  5. Plate and mix in parmesan cheese in preferred amounts (I love cheese, no judgement from me)

Pasta and veggies are a favorite combo but I love tzatziki like none other, that with grilled veggies and flat bread, it’s an upbeat gut feeling.

Grilled veggies with Rosemary Flat Bread, Tzatziki Sauced

Feeds 4-5 people

Minus picky veggie eaters

Ingredients

Rosemary Flat Bread

  • Gluten free all purpose or Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour (g free),  all purpose flour (for g)
  • Dried Rosemary  2 tbsp
  • Garlic, 2 cloves diced
  • 1 egg
  • Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Olive oil

Cooking flat Bread

  1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Mix dried ingredients first (flour, rosemary, baking powder, garlic)
  3. Stir in egg and milk
  4. Slowly pour half the water in to mix.  Each flour is different and some absorb water more that others.  As you mix, slowly add in the rest of the water.  Stop when the ingredients are mixed well but the dough isn’t sticky.  If it does’t become sticky, add a touch more flour.
  5. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet (it can be placed on a baking stone with no oil)
  6. Take a 1/2 cup size portion, roll into a ball and press flat.  All of this can be done with your hands.  No other tools required.
  7. Bake flat bread for 8-10 minutes on each side.

Just the Basics Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

  • plain Greek yogurt 5 oz
  • Dill, dried  1 tsp
  • lemon juice 1 12 tsp

Cooking

  1.  Mix all ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours

“Grilled” Veggies

Ingredient

  • Zucchini  2, sliced long ways
  • Yellow squash 2, sliced long ways
  • Tomatoes on the vine 4, cut into quarters
  • Mushrooms 8 oz
  • Fresh oregano  1/2 cup chopped
  • Fresh parsley 1/2 cup chopped
  • olive oil
  • Optional addtions: olives (yes plz), red onion, eggplant, bell peppers, carrots

Cooking

There are two options here.  Throw it on the grill or bake.  Since our grill is O-3 (out of order) these directions are for baked.  I know the ultra professional tip is to give temperatures but if I’m honest-  I forget half the time (ADHD). Much of our relationships don’t have measuring tools, cooking veggies can be one of those instances.

  1. Oven preheated to 375ºF
  2. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet then lay out veggies on baking sheet(s).  Zucchini and squash cook the fastest, place them together.  Place tomatoes and mushrooms together as well.
  3. Sprinkle chopped oregano and parsley over veggies.
  4. Put in tomatoes and mushrooms first.  They need a good 15 minute head start.
  5. After 15 minutes place zucchini and squash. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Check veggies to make sure they are soft but firm to touch with a fork.  Or knife. Please don’t use your fingers.  Trust me.

Now.

Throw it all together in any combo you like.

Cooked veggies are easy to digest.  With herbs, vegetables reduce inflammation from gut to brain.  Grain sustains and adds fuel.  It’s a food relationship to satisfy and provide great gut feelings.  Come back next week for simple ways to deal with the aches and “pains in the neck.”  Subscribe and then your tools for an exceptional life comes to you. 🥘💌

Namaste 🥙🥐🍽

P.S. I am not a fan of spam- the “meat” or email.  Pinky-promise for only the good stuff- no email, app, or phone invasions.

Aside

Health Foodie, the Moody Eater

Your mental health to function at it’s best requires a multi-faceted care routine.  Physical activity is one essential part.  The input of human connection is another.  Your brain needs creative exercises.  Self care is important.  Proper sleep is crucial.  Professional support may become part too.   Our food relationship plays into our mental well being too.    At times our emotions start to over ride the food choices we make, “eating your feelings” or “moody eating.” This can lead to body and mental harming decisions.  Or it could be telling us something important we need.  What if you could flip your food life and eat for your moods?  Give your brain and nerves what they need ahead of time and enhance their function.

When you eat for your brain,  think “whole rainbow.” If it doesn’t require an ingredient list or has very few ingredients, eat it.  Avoid chemical, dyes, etc as much as possible.  They can harm your physical body then affect your mental health.  Then aim for variety in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.  Super food is a gimmick.  There are some foods like avocados, spinach, kale, berries that are dense in nutrients.  More bang for your buck.  But their impact on your health is limited if you limit what you eat with them.  The variety doesn’t have to be daily and balance is key.  Eat seasonal or rotate.  For us this week it’s mangoes, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green lettuce.  Next week will be a different story.  Go “whole rainbow.”

This is where my food life gets serious.  I LOVE herbs and spices. Recently, a well meaning comment was made on a food item not having any flavor because it didn’t have salt.  No salt doesn’t have to mean no flavor. We have much work to do in our food life if we believe that.  Seasoning is more than flavor.  Just as your food is rich in brain and nervous system nutrients, herbs can do the same.  The herbs used in the recipes/ideas below have a variety of key nutrient players for mental wellness.  We will cook with chives, parsley, ginger, dill, and garlic.  These offer magnesium, iron, choline, potassium, calcium, vitamin C,  copper, and zinc.  All of these are important for your mental functionality.   I come across magnesium and zinc often as natural options people use for mental wellness.   Three out of six of our household members take magnesium for mental focus and help with migraines as a part of our medical conversations and care routines. Do caution with mixing with other meds and zinc should by food digestion only; just because it’s on a OTC shelf doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Other herbs and spices help with brain and nerve function: rosemary, basil, cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, bay leaf, etc.

Let’s start with the A.M.  Eggs and I have a love hate/relationship.  I love eggs, the yolk hates me back.  Pictured are egg whites due to this relationship but this works with scrambled eggs/omelet too.  It’s as easy adding a teaspoon of dill/ teaspoon of chives to your eggs while cooking.  You can do fresh herbs.  In this case I did dried dill and 3 chive stalks chopped.   Chives give a onion taste (similar to a green onion)  with dill adding lively flavor.  Another way to take your A.M. lightly.

This dish can go so many ways.  The base consists of lightly cooked veggies such as zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, onion, bok choy, etc.  I cooked them in a tablespoon of butter with two cloves of garlic chopped and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger.  Not all veggies require the same amount of cooking.  Carrots, onion, mushrooms take longer.  After cooking five to seven minutes, add in things like zucchini and bok choy to cook a few minutes more.  You can add rice, I chose rice noodles.  Often I leave meat out of this part of the food relationship.  However, meat can be added.  I broke the routine by adding teriyaki marinated chicken in this case.

In all honesty, I thought all my children would hate this following meal.  Redreignofterror did not disappoint but the feedback I got wasn’t half bad.  The adults loved it.  This adult loved the simplicity and cheese.  Watching fats and getting in the good fats are important.  This was part of a day with very low fat.  A creamy, cheesy meal was well deserved.  Herbs make the encounter interesting with a balanced, light flavor.

A couple of notes about the recipe.  Dried herbs can replace fresh ones. I seriously did put in a packaged food.  I truly did not feel like cooking and chopping bacon, I don’t like grease or touching grease.  However, bacon can be cooked and chopped instead of the suggested ingredient. Dealers choice.

cheesy herb cauliflower and blt salad

I am currently glued to culinary videos and trying out new recipes.  Look out for more recipes and ways to liven up your food life soon.

Namaste in your mental health and food life journey

Image

Health Foodie Fast Food: Mexican Chicken Bake

chili lot
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

It’s about as Mexican as in you’re driving down the road hungry craving “Mexican” and you stop at some taco place. As much as I love cooking, there are times when I want something quick that stops just short of drive through. This is less sketchy and healthier- A “not a drive through- that satisfies my need for spiciness plus throw it in a pan” creation.

 

What you need

Pre cooked chicken diced

* cook it your self (1 lbs)  or buy rotisserie, packaged. No judgement zone

Brown Rice 1 dry cup cooked

* get the “it takes 5 minutes kind”

Diced Tomatoes   1 14.5 oz can

* no salt added, machinery may be involved

Corn 1 14.5 oz can, no salt added

Onions  1/2 cup diced

Cilantro 1 Tbsp

Garlic  2 Tbsp or 2 cloves diced

Cumin 2 Tbsp

Cayenne 2  Tbsp

Shredded Cheddar Cheese 4 oz, reduced fat

* separate into half – 2 oz and 2 oz

Reduced Fat Cream Cheese 8 oz

Turn oven on to 350 to preheat

Making it

Step one- get it prepped and together.  If your chicken isn’t cooked, cook it.  If your chicken needs to come off the bone, do it.  Cook your rice. Open your cans. Open your packages. Measure your stuff.

Step two- dump it all but 2 oz of cheese.  Then stir it together.

Step three- Sprinkle the remaining 2 oz of cheese on top

Step four- shove the dish in the preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 mins.

This can be vegetarian converted- replace chicken with two 14.5 oz cans of kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or a combo.

Namaste your hunger quickly