Gluten-Free Eats | Spicy Chickpea & Squash Stew

Cassie recently asked me to share a recipe on her blog. This dish happens to be a recent favorite of mine, so I knew I wanted to post it here as well! 

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Pinterest is my go-to resource for meal planning inspiration for all seasons. The meals I prepare are gluten and dairy-free (sometimes Jordan will add dairy to his plate). Jordan doesn’t have to restrain from gluten or dairy (he loves both), but he has been willing from day-one to go down this path with me!

Gluten-free/dairy-free can be synonyms of complicated and bland, but I’m learning it doesn’t have to be that way! My aim is to keep things simple and limit substitutions: soups, chills, one-pot meals etc are our go-to’s. Despite the rising temperatures, I still crave these cozy meals. 

As soon as I saw this spicy chickpea stew on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it! This meal is filling, healthy, but also extremely easy to prepare. Even as a carnivore, it’s good to have a few solid vegetarian dishes in your arsenal to serve to guests.

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Ingredients (adapted from Dolly and Oatmeal): 

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 3/4-inch pieces (about 6 cups).
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt (we use kosher salt)
freshly ground pepper
2 medium onions
8 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
3 medium carrots, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chickpea cooking liquid, or filtered water
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (I used a mixture of fire roasted + regular for extra kick)
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (roughly two cans)
shredded chicken (optional)

Instructions:

To keep things extra simple, I used pre-cut squash from Trader Joe’s.

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and toss squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Stir, and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes or until browning and cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.

Warm remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, Saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in garlic and cook for 3 minutes more.  Add cumin, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in carrots and 1 cup chickpea cooking water (or water), and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add chickpeas and crushed tomatoes, then roasted squash; simmer uncovered for another few minutes. The flavors meld together even more the second day!

Serve with quinoa or rice. Garnish with parsley.

P.S. Jordan likes to add a slight drizzle of ranch dressing on the top. He loves it.

Bon Appetite!

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Shauna Niequist’s Breakfast Cookies

Shauna Niequist's Breakfast Cookies

Shauna Niequist writes on the importance of experiencing and encouraging community around the table in Bread & Wine. I assumed the recipes sprinkled throughout the book wouldn’t align with my current food restrictions. You can’t imagine my excitement when I realized Shauna’s family eats primarily gluten-free.

I find it easy to omit/substitute dairy, but converting a fully gluten based recipe to gluten-free isn’t quite the same. I finished reading with a long grocery list ready to tackle many of the dishes!

Continue reading “Shauna Niequist’s Breakfast Cookies”

A Short Cookie

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Jordan and I had dinner with friends last week. You know you are blessed with great friends when they accommodate dietary restrictions without batting an eye. We brought dessert and I debated for a while about what to make.

I love cookies. They are my favorite dessert; you won’t have to ask me twice if I want a cookie. 🙂 I’ve baked a few gluten-free cookies and they’ve been okay, but not amazing. There are so many flour varieties to play with and I don’t feel I’ve found the right combination yet.

All of a sudden I remembered no-bake cookies. I didn’t grow up with these cookies, but they were made regularly in Jordan’s home. No-bake cookies consist of oats and peanut butter, while not exactly allergen free, they hit all of my requirements! The bonus is, you don’t need any special flours or ingredients.

Ingredient

1 stick of butter (could sub coconut oil to keep it completely dairy-free)
2 cups sugar*
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 cup of milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put above ingredients through milk in a pan and stir until butter is melted. Then bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla. Mix in oats to consistency (3-4 cups depending on how wet you want the dough to be).

Drop onto foil sheets until cooled. Store in an airtight container.

*I searched for a slightly healthier version and found one that used honey instead of sugar. Jordan requested his moms version (it was nice to bite into a familiar cookie) but next time I’d like to try this variety.

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Gluten-Free On The Go

Gluten-Free On The Go

Right before Thanksgiving, I began eating gluten-free. You might remember that I stopped consuming dairy in the spring (with a few lapses here and there) and had a really hard time adjusting. I thought limiting another food group would really complicate my life. It’s interesting though because by removing cheese, the shift towards less gluten had already started.

Preparing gluten-free meals at home wasn’t my main concern. I was a bit baffled on what I would eat at work or as a quick on-the-go snack. I can’t rely on buying a breakfast sandwich if I forget my lunch, but I also don’t want to eat leftover chicken and potatoes at 10 in the morning.

Over the last few months I’ve honed in on the best quick and easy gluten-free snacks/meals. When I am in a hurry and don’t have time to prepare a full mea, I reach for one of these!

Gluten-free waffles / / Seriously guys, these are a life-saver. I either purchase the Trader Joe’s brand or Van’s, which I find at Kroger. They are low in sugar and only 100 calories a waffle. They are my toast substitute, so I might layer them with peanut butter or make an egg breakfast sandwich. These are the only gluten-free “bread” swap I keep on hand.

Kind, Luna, or Lara Bars / / I always keep a stash in my bag/car as a backup incase we are out and about and I can’t find any alternative. When I open at work, I always start my day with a bar. It’s quick and simple, which is exactly what I need at 4 am. The Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Lara Bar is my current favorite.

Hummus / / When I have access to a fridge, I bring hummus with me. It’s delicious and filling! Hummus is also the perfect appetizer to bring to a party. It’s allergy friendly and pairs perfectly with vegetables and chips.

Quick Cooking Oats / / I eat oatmeal almost every work day. Quick cooking outs are rolled oats that have been chopped into smaller pieces so they cook in about five minutes. McCann’s is my favorite brand, but I’ve found similar options at Trader Joe’s or even Aldi’s. McCann’s doesn’t claim to be gluten-free (oats are technically GF, but it’s whether or not the plant prepares other foods), so if you have a severe allergy you might need to look into their manufacture plant specifics. I mix my oats with fruit (dried or fresh) and a bit of honey.

Rice Cakes / / Banana, honey, and peanut butter sandwiches are one of my favorite combinations. Surprisingly, rice cakes work great as an alternative to bread for this sweet, salty, and crunchy snack.

Granola / / When I make a batch of granola, I bring it to work with me and eat it like trail mix. Sometimes I’ll add almond milk, but that isn’t necessary.

Do you have any GF snacks to add? Please share, I’d love to hear!

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Weekend Links / / On The Table

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Living with my parents this summer has been a real blessing for Jordan and I. We were able to end our previous lease and live a more streamlined life before our move to Nashville later this month. One result from this transitional period has been the fact that the time I’ve spent in the kitchen has significantly decreased. As in..basically none! We contribute to the grocery bill, but my mom continues to be the main cook. At first, it was nice not to think about that age-old question, “what’s for dinner,” but I am itching to get back in the kitchen. I enjoy the process and find it therapeutic and fun!

Over the summer, I’ve continued to read food blogs and browse Pinterest for ideas, so I thought I would share what I will be making very soon.

I can’t stop bookmarking meals that contain curry or involve quinoa. I’m trying to branch out from my midwestern casserole mentality. Lasagna and anything with bake in the title, are delicious, but very tricky to eat while trying to avoid dairy. Now that our new place in TN will be closer to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, our diet will change a bit. I would like to incorporate more grain-free meals (not simply substituting gluten-free pasta) and continue without dairy.

Breakfast

Banana Bread Granola  | Buckwheat Dutch Baby

Desserts

Avocado & Chocolate Pudding | Vegan Cherry Blueberry Crumble

Main Dishes 

Chana Masala | Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas | Fried Egg Dosa with Potato Curry |  Curry Roasted Vegetable & Avocado Naan

Sides

Corn Salsa | Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Honey & Peanuts

/ / What have you been making in the kitchen this summer?

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Slow Days

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Jordan was away on business most of last week and while I missed him terribly, I enjoyed the slower pace. Our summer is looking to be a busy and exciting season, but all the planning, logistics, and impending change has started to feel really overwhelming. Instead of going crazy by trying to plan the unknown, I just chose to not think about it for a few days (some may call it avoidance, I call it sanity 😉 ). I spent time reading a new book, watching marathons of Sarah Plain and Tall on the Hallmark Channel, and baking. I acquired a rather large quantity of ripe bananas last week, which were just dying to become banana bread. And because I aim to please, I obliged 🙂

Before we get to the recipe, I must chime in with a rather exciting outcome of my dairy-free life. I have become a regular tea drinker! This is a big deal as I was missing the comfort of a warm cup of coffee (coffee without cream isn’t that appealing anymore). While I’ve always liked iced tea, I never could get into hot tea. That was until I discovered the problem wasn’t tea in general, but the kind I was generally offered. The typical you-are-sick-drink-this-herbal/green-tea simply doesn’t have enough flavor for me, but a traditional English breakfast tea with a hint of honey is my jam. The only problem is, I seem to want it at about 8 pm each night. I need to track down a decaf version.

This recipe was given to me in high school and may have been an entry at the 4-H fair (yup I was in 4-H!).

Vegan Banana Bread

3-4 ripe bananas (3 large or 4 small)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil (I used my dads canned applesauce, but coconut oil might be a good addition)
1 cup sugar (I reduced it to 3/4 cup)
2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat)

Optional inclusions (1/4 cup): chocolate chips, walnuts, raisins.

Mash the bananas and combine with oil/applesauce. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients with the wet. Add inclusions and mix until combined. Pour in lightly oiled pan. Bake at 350 for an hour.

My oven is old and doesn’t let me know when it’s preheated, so keep an eye on the loaf if you feel your oven is more reliable.

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Mango Guacamole

The Sprouted Kitchen Mango Guacamole

There are people on the internet that would like to convince us that print is dead. Despite this talk from the media, only about four percent of readers read solely with an e-reader. Print still has hope! While I prefer reading my books in print, I’m not a huge book buyer (that would be Jordan) except for cookbooks. There is something about pulling out an old cookbook with stains scattered throughout. Those creased and dog eared pages tell a story, guiding us to the best recipes.

Though I don’t mind branching out and trying new dishes, I’m also not someone who feels restricted by a recipe. Recipes give inspiration and a starting point that then helps guide me to the end result. At this point in my kitchen journey, I feel pretty comfortable. I know what can be tweaked and omitted without completely creating a disaster.

Continue reading “Mango Guacamole”

Truth Tuesday / / 002

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Thank you for all of your responses to my first Truth Tuesday! I had so much fun compiling my first list, I thought I’d do another.

Here are my truths for this Tuesday.

/ / In junior high, I had a geocities website devoted to 7th heaven. I was pretty active on message boards, making friends and enjoying the community activity. Geocities didn’t have buttons for italicizing or bolding fonts, so I even learned how to code a little.

/ / In college, a couple friends asked me to “model” for a school project. I really hope Ogden* (who also photographed our wedding) achieved a passing grade because Oy! some of my faces are priceless. This was clearly around the time I watched a lot of America’s Next Top Model 🙂

/ / I swam competitively for almost ten years. Even at the peak of my cardio ability, I barely managed running a mile without gasping for air and stretching out a side cramp. Swimming for two hours each night? No problem. Running and I simply don’t mix.

/ / Food has become super complicated lately: paleo, vegan, gluten-free, whole 30, no sugar, sugar (only if it’s unrefined!), organic, but better yet just grow your own food on your own farm. Food is taking up a lot of headspace and yet, it’s such a privilege to be able to choose to eat or not eat something. I miss the days where as long as I ate salad it was okay to eat cake.

/ / After the 1996 USA Olympic women’s gymnastic team won gold, I convinced my parents to let me take lessons. It only lasted three months before I determined I should stick with water; there’s less hand/eye coordination needed.

What are your Truths for this Tuesday?

*© o.m.f.c. photography

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An Anniversary Weekend

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A few months ago we found out our friend, Tony Rabit, was going to have his art featured at Rotofugi Gallery. The opening turned out to be the night before our anniversary so we decided to stay downtown for the night and make a weekend out of it! Tony’s work is so whimsical and fun. We can’t wait to add the piece we bought to one of our wall galleries.

The weather was perfect on Saturday. I wore my Saltwater Sandals (being hopeful that it would stay warm) and by the afternoon we were stripping off our light jackets.

My only request to Jordan for our weekend was to eat brunch together. I love breakfast food but since I’m usually working early mornings, we don’t enjoy this meal together often. We chose The Gold Coast location of the Original Pancake House (we ate there on our one year anniversary 🙂 ) and landed a table outside on their patio! My 30 day dairy-free trial run ended on Friday, just in time to enjoy diner coffee with cream…but it’s looking like I’ll be eliminating it again. My acne flared up pretty bad almost immediately!

We wanted to enjoy being outside, so we kept on walking and found ourselves in Lincoln Park (plus the walk helped burn off those pancakes). I thought we had seen everything at the zoo from our visits last summer, but we somehow had never gone inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which sits on the same property. It is so beautiful and lush; just the foliage we needed to experience after this long winter.

Most of all I just appreciated this time together: talking about the past, present and our future without the usual distractions. Thanks for another great anniversary, babe!

p.s. We played tennis on Sunday for the first time this year and oh my abs! Swinging the racquet is quite the workout. While I love practicing yoga there is nothing quite like working up a sweat outside.

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^ The colors throughout the conservatory were amazing.

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^ They had these little, prehistoric plastic animals all over. what a fun idea!

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{Dairy-free} Coconut Whipped Cream

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When eliminating a dietary group (in my case dairy), the multitasking ability of food will suddenly reveal itself with just a little poking around. Maybe it’s fairly common knowledge in tropical climates, but living in the Midwest, the different uses for coconut products never crossed my mind. Jordan and I use coconut milk in smoothies and of course coconut flakes in baking, but the creativity stopped there. Oh, how little did I know!

My friend, Lauren, mentioned using coconut cream and powdered sugar to make whipped cream (I didn’t even know coconut cream existed). I decided to give it a try and I’m so glad I did, because it is really good! Whipped cream is not something I make or consume regularly, but considering traditional ice cream is out for awhile, this will be my go-to treat for summer nights.

After searching pinterest for inspiration, I added lemon juice and vanilla to the base. This was a suggestion from the blog, Love and Lemons. I’m not sure why, but most sources that I found said to refrigerate canned coconut milk and then separate the cream from the milk. I skipped that step and used canned coconut cream.

I’m looking forward to fresh summer berries with a dash of this cream because this is seriously one of the best “whipped creams” I’ve ever tasted!

Coconut Cream

You will need:

1 can coconut cream (refrigerated overnight)
1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I like it with the extra vanilla)
splash of lemon juice

Instructions:

Cream the coconut the same way you would for a traditional whipped cream (hand-held or stand mixer). Once it has reached the desired consistency (it took just a few minutes), slowly incorporate the rest of the ingredients.

Chill and serve over berries, pie, cake, granola or alone on a spoon 🙂

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^sometimes our dining room table is for creating and not for eating 🙂

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