Posts tagged ‘Gluten’

May 11, 2015

Sweet Plantain, Maple and Brown Sugar Cake – Ashley’s back!

by ashley

Do you ever just get in a rut? You feel sad, overwhelmed, unable to concentrate on things that you once loved. Daily stresses combine with big stresses and everything that doesn’t involve laying on the couch becomes too much to handle. That’s how I’ve felt for the past six months. Many things happened in my life that just snowballed into this overwhelming feeling of just not wanting to do anything at all. I don’t cross promote, and still won’t, but I do write a couple of other blogs. All of them have had the same theme lately: either incredible sadness or absolutely nothing at all. When I fall into these bouts of depression I tend to write for myself more than anything else, and being a perfectionist, I cannot just throw something on a page and not be proud of it. I wrote a lot of poetry over the past few months, none of which will ever be shared with the public at large, but it helps if you’re suffering from the same feelings.

The point of telling you this is that I haven’t forgotten about you. I have thought a lot about this blog, and Jessica, over the past few months. I just couldn’t force myself to write. It’s foolish, I know, but it is the truth. But I’m here now. And I had a lot of extra plantains that were about to rot in my house – so I decided to make up a recipe for you J

The plantain is a staple in most Latin households. It can be eaten green or yellow, unripened or ripened. Green plantains are used mostly for frying – in my house either for cutting in slices, frying, mashing and then refrying into tostones or patacones (we are a mixed Caribbean/Central American household, so yes we do use both words). I also mash them up into a vegetarian mofongo (the most delicious thing on earth when paired with a robust tomato or vegetable broth – make sure to add some smoked paprika to imitate the flavor that meat imparts on the traditional mofongo). Sweet (also called yellow/ripened/black plantains) can also be sliced and fried into maduros or tajadas, or you can make a pastelon, or plantain “lasagna”, with strips of fried sweet plantains instead of noodles. There are also plantain empanadas (which I have already given you a recipe for here), plantain soup, simple boiled and mashed plantains instead of potatoes – the plantain is a very versatile vegetable.

Well, I could have done any of these things with my blackening plantains, which by the way is the best way to use sweet plantains – when they are almost completely black. But instead of the traditional, I decided I had a craving for banana bread. And of course I didn’t have bananas, only sweet plantains, so I made Sweet Plantain, Maple and Brown Sugar Cake. It’s very sweet, with a nutty flavor from the flaxseed, and completely vegan. It also can easily be made gluten free by using a gluten free flour instead of the whole wheat flour.

Sweet Plantain, Maple and Brown Sugar Cake

2 very ripe plantains, black almost to the point of rotting

1 cup cane sugar (I like to use Sugar in the Raw)

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ tsp kosher salt

2 tsp vanilla extract (I like to use Madagascar)

2 tsp maple syrup (use pure, real maple syrup, if you can)

¼ cup ground flaxseed

¾ cup water

½ cup almond milk

½ cup melted butter (I used Earth Balance Coconut)

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

2 cups whole wheat flour (or a gluten free flour of your choice)

Preheat oven to 350’F.

Start by combining the ground flaxseed with water until incorporated. Set aside. Cut up the plantains into small slices and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the cane sugar, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, maple syrup, flaxseed mixture, almond milk and butter. Mash and mix together until a batter is formed. Add baking soda, baking powder and whole wheat flour. Continue mixing until fully incorporated.

Grease your baking pan (I used two small loaf pans) and pour in the batter. Bake until golden brown and set in the middle, about 30 minutes.

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January 6, 2012

Vegan Zucchini “Pasta” with Tomato and Spinach Cashew Cream Sauce

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan 

My number one goal for our vegan bodybuilding challenge is finding healthy, protein-filled recipes that are fun to eat. This is the only thing that will keep me out of the trans-fat laden cheese and potato chips. I’ve been wanting to make zucchini “pasta” for quite some time now, however just never had the energy to cut it up. If you buy a spiralizer, this process will be much easier. As it is, I used a mandolin to cut the zucchini in strips, and then julienned them into small noodle-like strips.

My fiance is trying to go vegan with me for a while. Although I know he isn’t planning on sticking to it 100%, it is wonderful that he’s learning that every meal does not have to revolve around un-healthy meats and dairy products. His favorite sauce just happens to be vodka sauce, so I decided to make a vegan version, sans the vodka. I originally didn’t have high hopes for this recipe and was debating making a dairy version for him separately, however when I took my first bite it was heavenly. I hope he likes it, it’s all he got in his lunch today =).

You’ll need to start the cashew cream before you can begin on anything else. While the cashews are soaking, cut up the zucchini.

Cashew Cream

1 lb raw cashews (imperative that they be raw, unsalted)

2-3 cups coconut water

Seasoning (optional)

Boil regular water in a medium saucepan, enough to cover the cashews. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat, add cashews and cover. Set aside for 30 minutes. (Now is the time to start cutting your zucchini noodles.)

After 30 minutes, drain cashews in a colander and put into a food processor, blender or Vitamix. I used a food processor and it worked perfectly, however I’m not sure how well this would come out in a regular blender. Of course, the Vitamix is made for this sort of thing – but I haven’t found a huge need for one as of yet.

Add the first cup of coconut water and blend until all water is incorporated. It will probably be pretty thick still, but this is where your tastes come in. To thin out the cream, keep adding coconut water until you reach your desired texture. I like mine pretty creamy, like a sauce, so I added about 2 ½ cups or so.

Once you’ve reached your desired thickness, now is the time to season. If you’re making the zucchini pasta, you’ll want to add some garlic, a little salt, maybe some pepper. Get creative with it. It doesn’t have to hold full flavor by itself, just have a little kick of savory (or sweet if you’re making a dessert).

Makes about 6 cups cream, depending on amount of water added.

 

Zucchini “Pasta” with Tomato and Spinach Cashew Cream Sauce


2 large raw zucchini squash, washed and dried

4 cups fresh baby spinach

2 cans stewed tomatoes (I use the basil/garlic seasoned kind)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

¼-1 cup cashew cream (recipe above)

While you were soaking the cashews for the cream, you should have been slicing up your zucchini noodles. This is how it should be done, either use a spiralizer (the easy way out) to make noodles from the fresh zucchini or julienne them into long strips. You can use a mandolin to make it easier, cutting the zucchini first into long, wide strips, and then cutting from there into noodles. Set the zucchini aside once cut. 

In a large sauteé pan, heat the cans of stewed tomatoes, minced garlic and spinach over medium heat until bubbly. The spinach should start to wilt. Make sure to stir frequently. Once the mixture boils for 1-2 minutes, add the first ¼ cup of cashew cream and stir generously to incorporate. Taste and keep adding until there is a nice balance, all according to your tastes. Let simmer for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly and making sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the pan.

Once it looks nice and thick, add the zucchini noodles. Stir for about 2 minutes and serve.

Makes about four servings.

 

January 3, 2012

Alternative Flours for Any Recipe

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Trying to cut out white flours? Or maybe you have a wheat allergy? I stumbled across this link earlier today while trying to find a healthy alternative to white flour for a recipe and thought I’d share. It is the most complete resource for flours I’ve found yet.

http://www.foodsubs.com/Flour.html

Baking, making pancakes, coating veggies for frying – it gives answers for all. It also tells which flours contain gluten and which do not.

Let me know if you find any better/complimentary resources and I’ll add them here.


May 19, 2011

EnviroKidz Organic, Gluten-Free, Gelatin-Free Crispy Rice Treats

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

It’s rare to find a product that is sold nationwide, but still holds that family oriented, local farming mentality. Founded in 1985, but with much older roots dating back to the 1930’s, Nature’s Path (the owners/creators of EnviroKidz) have built a company through years of dedicated organic farming and family values. I was impressed reading through their quaint, but ample website that they have such strong connections with their workers and farmers. If you have a few moments, I would suggest you read through it a little too. I’ve included a link at the bottom of this post.

When you can place a story with the product you pick up in your hands, whether in a farmer’s market or in a grocery store, something special happens. The product is no longer just a cereal bar, just a piece of fruit, just a bag of rice – it becomes your connection with the hands that made it. And that makes enjoying the product just a little sweeter.

Opening the packaging of the crispy rice treat this morning, I was immediately greeted by the wafting scent of fresh fruit. I turned over the package and re-read the ingredients, noting that the bar contains both fresh freeze-dried raspberries and blueberries. Freeze-dried doesn’t always invoke the most pleasant of thoughts, but in this bar they are lovely. All ingredients are also USDA approved organic and gluten-free. While I don’t have children, I immediately thought why other products aren’t this health-conscious. This is what we should be feeding our children – not chemicals and preservatives, basically poisons.

Nothing artificial, almost vegan (it includes organic honey), made from gluten-free organic brown rice flour and tastes better than any other crispy rice treat out there. I don’t think a healthier sweet snack exists.

Visit http://www.EnviroKidz.com/ to check out their site, I really was impressed with the scope of their dedication to organic farming. Nature’s Path will also donate 1% of all proceeds to an environmental or children’s educational charity for every product you purchase.

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