Friday, October 28, 2011

Celebrating Halloween candida-style

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays even though environmental and food allergies (and now candida) prevent me from enjoying some of the traditional festivities, such as hayrides, corn mazes and eating lots of goodies. The trick to having a good Halloween and other holidays, despite your issues, is to stick to foods you can eat and create new traditions.

Replace traditions that won’t work with new ones. The past few years I have been growing a huge pumpkin patch. When the pumpkins are ready, I invite friends with their kids over to pick a pumpkin or two for their Halloween jack-‘o-lanterns. The extra pumpkins are donated to the Salvation Army for families in need.

Some others Halloween activities I’ve tried are a scary movie night with “safe” snacks and goodies, going out to a favorite restaurant and movie, and hosting a gathering at my home (this can be with or without costumes). For a child with food allergies, plan a Halloween scavenger hunt instead of trick or treating.

Don’t wait until the last minute to make "safe" treats, or plan a Halloween menu if you or family members have food concerns. This year, I've already tried out a few "spooktacular" recipes.

Sunflower-seed encrusted apples
For a healthier take on candied apples, I made sunflower-seed encrusted apples. If nuts work for you, try almonds in place of the sunflower seeds.

1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 tsp. apple pie spice
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 gala apples, halved and cored
1 T. coconut oil
1 cup water

Grind the sunflower seeds in a coffee grinder. Combine the ground seeds with spices and sugar in a small dish. Wet the apples lightly and press into the spice mixture.

Heat the coconut oil in a heavy skillet. Brown the cut sides of the apples in the oil for 1-2 minutes. Turn the apples over, and add the water and extra spice mixture. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes, or until the apples are tender and sauce is thick.

Place an apple half in a small dessert dish and top with extra sauce and vegan yogurt.

Vegan pumpkin squares

I also tried Vegan pumpkin squares.

1 cup amaranth or quinoa flour
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut kefir milk
1 T. chia seeds with 4 T. of water
1 1/2 tsp. gluten-free baking power
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 X 8-inch baking pan. Mix all ingredients in food processor. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 20 minutes or until fork inserted comes out clean. Cool slightly and serve with dollop of vegan coconut yogurt.

Pretty spooky: a dog with a cone head

3 more days with hood

My pup, Misha, will be celebrating Halloween in an extra special way---cone-free after 15 long days. It's been a long period of confinement for not just Misha, but all of us. You can see from the pix above that Kona will appreciate the cone-less Misha more as well. We were thinking of dressing Misha up as a megaphone for Halloween but somehow I don't think he would appreciate it!

More great recipe ideas at:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Herbed flax-quinoa crackers

I'm just a little hooded husky!

I can't get this cone off no matter what position I'm in.

I feel so trapped!

My husband and my husky, Misha, have a common bond. They are both ADHD! Now, imagine putting one of them--the six-month-old husky--- in a cone for two weeks while he recovers from surgery. I've been called a saint for putting up with my husband but this is really testing my mettle.

Misha is usually bouncing off the walls but the cone has added a whole new dimension. He reminds so much of my husband after he has been concentrating on something for a few hours. He's like someone ready to come out of his skin.

He (the animal ADHD'er) can't chew any of his toys or play with his animal buddies, Kona and Bailey. He has no peripheral vision which means he can't be allowed to have any unstructured play. His lack of vision also makes him a total klutz when it comes to chasing a ball or even sniffing for a bathroom spot. I wish I had a time machine to transport him 10 more days into the future when he gets his sutures out.

I've noticed a stronger bond between my human and animal ADHD'ers since Misha had his surgery. I think my husband can empathize much better than I can because he feels trapped like Misha does in the cone. But his human entrapments are the constraints of job, time schedule and other demands. He really comes to Misha's defense when I'm about ready to phone for doggie day care (not really).

There are certain advantages of having to provide only structured activities for a hooded husky. The biggest one is all the walks I've been taking the pooch on. I call this an advantage because all of the delicious recipes I've been trying recently have packed on the pounds.

I guess that's one of the problems of being a recipe blogger. You are constantly experimenting with and trying new recipes, many of which are desserts because after all, what do we all love. But, I need to get real. There are only so many desserts any human who wants to maintain or lose weight should be eating.

Another problem is no one else in my family wants to eat vegan, no-gluten desserts. You guessed it. I have to finish all of it which is not a good plan. This is why I have challenged myself to try only one new dessert or snack recipe each week. I guess what I am saying is we need more low-calorie vegan options out there. I would challenge all of you (who are fellow bloggers) to rethink what we are putting on our blogs. Are we contributing to obesity or does everyone out there have self-control?

This week I made some healthy crackers, instead of a dessert. They are lower calorie but not calorie-less. I'm guessing a serving would be about four crackers (120 calories). That's assuming you cut 48 crackers. Mine are extra thich because I am not good at rolling stuff out. I only got 24 crackers.

I also made a sweet, low-calorie chocolate spread to go with the crackers but my human ADHD'er snagged the camera before I could snap a picture. (He put the camera out in the car because he was going to need it the next day. It's one of his ADHD memory tricks. Put things in the car or in your backpack the night before.)
Flax-quinoa crackers

Herbed Flax-Quinoa Crackers
(makes 4 dozen if you are good at rolling out the dough)

  • 1/2 cup ground golden flax
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 T. melted coconut oil
  • 1 T. dried cilantro or parsley (your choice)
  • Optional: other dried herbs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened hemp milk
  • pan spray
  • ground black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put flax, flour, baking powder, salt and coconut oil in a food processor and mix until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • Stir in herbs. Pour in milk and mix until dough comes together.
  • Divide dough in half. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to a nine-inch square. Transfer to sprayed baking sheets. Cut each square into about 24 crackers with a pizza cutter.
  • Spray with pan spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake until slightly firm about 20 minutes.
  • Flip crackers and continue baking until firm and brown. About 10 more minutes.
  • Check often to account for differences in oven temperatures.
  • Transfer to wire racks to cool.

I am submitting this recipe to Weekend Wellness at:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kale apple salad

Kale apple salad
Kale has been recognized as an incredibly nutritious vegetable since ancient Greek and Roman times. It's rich in health-benefiting polyphenolic flavonoid compounds such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.

Best yet, kale loves cool fall weather which makes the vegetable sweeter and more flavorful. I love kale which is a good thing since I have a plentiful crop in my garden. Three years ago, I planted some kale and ever since then my crop has spread to cover two-thirds of a 16-by-20-foot garden area. You probably guessed kale has some great self-propagating qualities.

Here's a simple-to-make recipe using kale and other fall crops.

Kale Apple Salad (4 servings)

  1. One bunch kale, washed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  2. 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  3. 1 gala or other sweet red apple, cored and diced
  4. Optional: 2 diced green onions
  5. Lime sunbutter dressing: in a food processor, combine 1/4 cup sunbutter, 2 T. sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup lime juice, stevia, 1 tsp. sesame oil, 1 T. Bragg's amino acids, water to thin if needed.
  6. Optional: toasted sunflower seeds for sprinkling on top
  1. Combine kale, carrot, apple in a large salad bowl. Toss ingredients and drizzle 3 T or more of the lime sunbutter dressing. Reserve the rest for later.
  2. Give the salad another toss to mix the dressing.
  3. Sprinkle on the sunflower seeds if desired.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Vegan brown rice pudding with pomegranate and chocolate

Jerusalem artichokes in bloom

Jerusalem artichokes at 12 feet in height
Vegan brown rice pudding with pomegranate and cacao nibs

I decided to try growing Jerusalem artichokes this summer for the first time. I didn't know quite what to expect and was totally overwhelmed when they bloomed just like sunflowers (pictured above). I have always loved sunflowers and decided to snap a few photos before the blooms faded away.

Now, I am waiting to harvest the artichokes which are actually tubers that grow underground like potatoes but are lower glycemic. I can't have any artichokes just yet as they cannot be harvested until after the first frost but I can still enjoy their beautiful blooms. In the meantime, I have no recipe with Jerusalem artichokes but I did get a inspiration for a dessert/breakfast from a pomegranate I found at the market.

Vegan Brown Rice Pudding with Pomegranate and Cacao Nibs

  1. 2 cups regular coconut milk
  2. 4-5 T. coconut nectar or substitute less agave syrup
  3. 2 T. chia seeds
  4. 2 cups brown rice cooked
  5. pomegranate seeds
  6. cacao nibs
  1. Place the coconut milk and nectar in a pan. Heat the mixture.
  2. Add the precooked rice to the milk mixture and bring to a low simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chia seeds.
  3. Place in a container and cool in the fridge.
  4. To serve, spoon into dessert dishes and top with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and cacao nibs or shaved chocolate.
More great ideas here: