Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Soft Flatbread

Flatbread with jam and frozen black raspberries
Every now and then I stumble upon a recipe that I try the first time as it is without tweaking it at all just to see how easy it is, and how it will be received by my taste tester...a.k.a. my husband. I originally saw this recipe in the February 2012 issue of Taste For Life Magazine (, who in turn quoted that the original recipe came from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman (Simon & Schuster, 2010).

This original recipe was called Easy Whole Grain Flatbread, it was made with a base of flour, and cornmeal (or gluten free flour and cornmeal). It  had too much salt  and fat in it. This original did not come out like flatbread it was like a cracker and felt too oily to the touch.

Soft Flatbread

Cut into sandwich squares
2 cups flour (I used spelt, but you can use what ever you prefer, even a gluten free flour mix with no leavening agents)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 1/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk the flour, salt and Italian seasoning together in a bowl. Pour in water and melted coconut oil. Mix together until just mixed.

Spray or grease a large jelly roll pan. Pour batter in pan.

Bake in 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Depending on how soft you prefer the flat bread.

Cool on wire rack 5 minutes before lifting off with spatula or pancake flipper. Continue to cool on wire rack until cool to touch. Cut into desired size shape to use for sandwiches or be eaten alongside a nice salad, chili, soup or even toasted with jam (which happens to be my favorite way to eat it).

Flatbread right out of oven
Apple Cinnamon: Omit Italian seasoning and water; substitute 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 cups organic apple juice

Orange Vanilla: Omit Italian seasoning and water; Substitute grated orange rind, 1 1/4 cup water, 1 1/4 cup orange juice, and add 1 teaspoon vanilla

Taco/Chili Flavor:  Substitute 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, for the Italian Seasoning

Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunshine Chicken Chop Suey Salad

In the Pacific Northwest, sometimes you have to create your own sunshine. This week has been one of those "sometimes" where I am constantly looking for ways to brighten my day. Wearing bright clothes, watching movies that are filmed in the sunshine, having flowers on the table, and eating a colorful plate of food are just some of the ways I brighten my days.

I have also been frequenting the manager's specials sections of my one of my favorite grocery stores. They always have an array of different kinds of treasures there. Last week I picked up 2 packs of boneless, skinless, organic, no hormone, free range, vegetarian fed chicken thighs for only $3 a pack instead of the original $8. The assortment of meats, and chicken varies from day-to-day, but every time I am in the store I always check to see what treasures I may find, which in my case always sparks a new recipe or two. So it was with these thighs.

Sunshine Chicken Chop Suey Salad
Serves 6

1 head Romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces (set aside)
1 (8-oz) bag fresh bean sprouts
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1/2 medium zucchini, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup canned pineapple tidbits in its own juice, drained (Reserve juice for dressing)

Mix bean sprouts, cucumber, zucchini, red pepper and pineapple together in large salad bowl, set aside.

Chicken Chop Suey
2 Tablespoons non-fat, low-sodium vegetable broth
5 Chicken thighs (boneless and skinless), thinly sliced
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large stalk celery, thinly sliced at an angle
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

On med-high heat, heat vegetable broth in large skillet or wok until bubbly. Add chicken and stir fry until no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes. Drain and rinse chicken in cold water. Let drain. Meanwhile, drain liquid from skillet and return to heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and ginger to skillet, stir fry 2 minutes, Return drained chicken to skillet and stir fry until carrots and celery are fork tender. Add salt, remove from heat, let cool 5 minutes and toss with salad mixture. Set aside.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons no sugar orange marmalade
1 Tablespoon Sesame oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
6 Tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix together in food processor. Pour over salad, gently toss to combine.

Plate: Place torn lettuce on individual serving plate or large platter. Top with salad mixture and serve.

Nutrition info per serving:
Calories: 162.5; Total Fat: 4.4 g; Sat Fat: 0.8 g; Poly Fat: 1.5 g: Mono Fat: 1.5 g; Cholesterol: 38.2 mg; Sodium: 342.4 mg; Potassium: 674.2 mg; Total Carbs: 19.6 g; Fiber: 4.0 g; Sugars: 10.2 g; Protein: 11.9 g

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chicken Spinach Stuffed Corn Crepes

Sometimes going back to the basics is the best way to eat simply. Basic meals are different for each person, but the premise is always the same simple food without all the frivolities, in my case it is in using less seasonings. I love letting the taste of the food come out instead of hiding it under a spoonfuls of seasoning flavors. For this recipe I used an old stand by recipe for crepes but instead of all flour I used half cornmeal and half flour for a heartier crepe.

Chicken Spinach Stuffed Corn Crepes
Chicken Spinach Stuffed Corn Crepes
Makes 8 Crepes

4 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk (I used rice milk)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup spelt, whole wheat or gluten free flour blend
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients together in blender and let sit at least 10 minutes while you prepare the filling. Mix again and as needed while making crepes. Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium high heat. Grease pan lightly (I used coconut oil). Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons batter into pan tilting pan to spread evenly. When crepe is lightly browned and set on one side, turn and brown the other side. This recipe will make 12 crepes.


2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 half lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Melt coconut oil in large skillet, saute chicken until no longer pink. Add onion, spinach, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Saute just until spinach is wilted about 2 minutes.

Fill each corn crepe with about 1/3 cup of chicken spinach mixture. Roll up and Serve.

Serving suggestion: Serve with a side of salsa, spread crepe with sour cream before adding chicken mixture.

Nutrition per Stuffed Crepe
Calories:       242.6
Total Fat:       6.7g
Sat Fat:         2.0g
Poly Fat:       1.2g
Mono Fat:     1.7g
Cholesterol:  169.0mg
Sodium:         385.8mg
Potassium:    683.3mg
Total Carbs:  20.3g
Fiber:              4.2g
Sugar:             0.3g
Protein:          26.7g

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sweet Potatoes, Salads, and Life

What do these three things have in common? For most people probably nothing. But for this lonely blog writer it seems my life is always being mixed up into a salad. Right now I live in limbo not knowing where and if we are going to move again to yet another state because of a job transfer. With jobs as tight as they are it is better to move with what you got then to suffer the consequences. My bookshelves are packed, my cabinets are emptied. I have sorted through all the things I no longer need yet again and still can't believe that I have four boxes and 7 bags to give to anyone who wants to sell them at their yard sale.

How does the sweet potato fit in? I am the sweet potato. I feel as if I have been peeled, mashed, roasted, whipped, and even shredded at times just like that lowly potato. But just like that sweet potato I have more taste and more forgiveness, I give back more in return than is given to me. Just baking a sweet potato in the oven gives the whole house an aroma of Thanksgiving and helps me to remember all the blessings I have been given. The art is remembering those blessings everyday.

One of those blessings is my love of cooking, and the talent I have been given to adapt recipes and invent new ones that are compatible with the food allergies of my home. It is a skill and a talent to invent recipes that are pleasant to the eye and palate, and be as nutritious as it can be. So it is with the Sweet Potato Picnic Salad. The colors burst out and ignite our passion to enjoy the flavors of this unique melange of  orange, yellow, red, green and white.

This is what you will need for the Sweet Potato Picnic Salad

Start by scrubbing and dicing the sweet potato shin on. Steam sweet potato in vegetable steamer with about 1-inch of water. Water should not be touching the bottom of the steamer. Steam for 5 - minutes until just fork tender. 

Dice the mango, onion, red pepper, and avocado. 

Mix in kidney or red beans, pumpkin seeds, vinegar, flax oil, cilantro, and salt to taste.Refrigerate 1 hour and enjoy. 

Sweet Potato Picnic Salad

Serves 6

1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed, and diced
1/2 large mango, peeled and diced
1 small or 1/2 large onion, diced
1 red pepper seeded and diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
2 cups cooked red beans or 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
2 Tablespoons peach balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons flax oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup snipped cilantro (I always add a bit more, I could live on this herb)

Steam sweet potato in vegetable steamer with about 1 inch of water. Water should not touch the bottom of the steamer. Steam for 5-8 minutes until just fork tender.

Mix together with remaining salad ingredients. Refrigerate one hour to meld the flavors. Makes a great salsa for your favorite chips or a side salad. It can also be stuffed into a whole grain pita for a quick, light lunch. 

Nutrition per serving
Calories:        251.8; Total Fat: 11.3 g; Sat Fat: 1.6 g; Poly Fat: 5.2 g; Mono Fat: 3.9 g; Cholesterol: 0.0 mg; Sodium: 410.6 mg; Potassium: 655.4 mg; Carbs: 31.9 g; Fiber:  10.9 g; Sugars: 7.8 g; Protein: 6.9 g

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cilantro Pesto Rice Bowl

It has been quite a long time since I have had time to keep up with the blog. Now that I have a week off from school and I am not working I have time to catch up on everything that is cooking and my other love crafting. Tonight's meal is the kick off of yet another attempt to go low fat vegan. I tried the fat free variety but I really love my avocados and nuts. So it is a low fat vegan diet that will nourish the hubby and I during the week, and one day a week I will cook either organic poultry or fish for myself. 

I love rice bowls but since we are still nightshade vegetable and fruit free it is difficult to make these without any salsa. So I improvise and come up with unique ways to get around the salsa issue by using vegan pesto sauces. The Cilantro Pesto in this rice bowl is nut free for those of you allergic to nuts. I did not do it on purpose; I simply forgot to add my pine nut alternative, pumpkin seeds, but that is a whole other story!

I hope you enjoy this rice bowl as much as we did!! 

Cilantro Pesto Rice Bowl

Serves 6
1 cup brown rice
2 C water
Cook brown rice with water until tender and cooked, about 45 minutes

Mix cooked brown rice with:
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained or 2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 cup fresh or red frozen corn
½ c red onion diced
1 pound steamed cut green beans

Cilantro Pesto

3 bunches cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 T oregano
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper
1 t cumin
3 T olive oil or 3T water reserved from steaming green beans

Pour over rice bowl mix and enjoy.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories: 201.1        
Total Fat: 7.6 gr
     Sat fat: 1.0 gr
     Poly Fat: 0.9 gr
     Mono Fat: 5.2 gr
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 393.6 mg  
Potassium: 409.1 mg
Total Carbs: 28.5 gr
     Dietary Fiber: 8.0 gr
     Sugar: 0.6 gr
Protein: 6.8 gr

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kiwi Jicama Tangled Salsa

My husband's new allergy has led me to experiment with so many unique ways of preparing foods. We both love salsas, but alas we cannot have any tomatoes or tomatillos, so I have been dabbling with just plain fruit salsas and came up with this unique blend of taste and texture. I call it tangled because of the stark difference in the textures of the jicama and the fruit. 

I hope you enjoy this salsa as much as we did. I served it with rice crackers. But it can easily be paired with an organic blue corn chip or over a nice grilled salmon or chicken breast.

Kiwi Jicama Tangled Salsa

6 kiwis, peeled and small diced
¼ of a large jicama, peeled and small diced
3 Tablespoons unsweetened dried cranberries
2 large strawberries, small diced
½ large red onion, small diced
4 Tablespoons minced cilantro
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon sea salt

Mix together. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with organic rice crackers, or other organic chip of choice.

Serves 6

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 90.8
Total fat: 0.4 grams
Sat. Fat: 0.0g
Poly Fat: 0.0g
Mono Fat: 0.0g
Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Sodium: 199.5 mg.
Potassium: 349.2 mg
Total Carbs: 22.2 g
Dietary fiber: 5.1
Sugars: 1.6g.
Protein: 1.2 g

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Way of Cooking

It has been some time since I blogged about cooking something new. Well that's because my husband has new food allergies and I am trying to get used to cooking without the nightshade family. It is amazing at what is included in the night shade family of veggies and fruits. The veggies of the nightshade family include: Tomatoes, Potatoes (excluding sweet potatoes and yams), Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange, jalapeño, pepper flakes, cayenne, paprika, chili powder), Eggplant, Artichokes. The fruits of the night include: Blueberries, Huckleberries, and Goji berries. I did some research into the nightshade family and found that there are over 2,800 different species of nightshades. The reason they are called nightshades is  because they grow in the shade of night.

So why are the nightshades bad for us? 
There is an active alkaloid in the nightshades. It is called solanine, we all know it as nicotine. A drug is a drug no matter the form it comes in. It is believed that anyone with joint issues to stay away from the nightshade family because these fruits and vegetables wreak havoc with the system. In my husband's case the nightshade family adds inflammation to the body causing his gastrointestinal tract to become inflamed.

While my husband is missing some of his favorite foods I have been trying my hardest to invent new versions so he can once again enjoy them. The newest one is for Caponata. Caponata is the Italian version of salsa. It is usually made with eggplant. I usually made it with artichoke hearts and fennel. The newest version I still use the fennel and substituted zucchini for the artichoke hearts. I hope you enjoy this version as much as he did. He ate so much of it, I barely had enough to take a decent photo..

Fennel and Zucchini Caponata

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped including fronds
1 small zucchini chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
¼ cup dried cranberries,
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Grated rind of 1 orange
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Sauté first five ingredients in large sauté pan, till onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients. Stir and sauté another 3 minutes. Serve.

Serves 4
Makes a really good accompaniment to grilled steak or chicken breasts. 

Dean, D. (2010. January 20). Nightshade vegetables may cause adverse reactions in some people.