Gluten-Free Chicken Mushroom Tourtière

Thanksgiving was a couple days ago… for Canadians like me!

My husband is always happy to celebrate both – twice the turkey! Twice the pumpkin pie! – but this year, he presented me with a challenge: He can’t handle eating pork or beef anymore. You know, the two main ingredients of my traditional tourtière!

There was NO way I was going to forgo a tourtière, so I decided to try for a workaround: I would develop a tourtière recipe that didn’t have the pork or beef, but still tasted proper.

Starting with the meat, I went with ground chicken: he prefers it to turkey. I decided to add a TON of mushrooms to it, both for taste and texture. I was originally going to get really weird with it and add a sweet potato, but decided against that at the last minute.

… it turned out amazing! I was actually a bit disappointed that it didn’t actually taste like mushrooms. I figured the mushrooms would be my consolation for not having beef or pork, and was actually looking forward to a mushroomy pie. In the end, though, it just tasted like my normal tourtière!

The mushrooms provided the right texture and umami that I would normally be getting from the pork and beef, while the use of the vegetables and seasonings worked together to camouflage what was actually in it. It’s hard to be too disappointed in the lack of mushroom flavour, when confronted with that kind of … sorcery … in accuracy.

Not only was it great fresh out of the oven (and, let’s get real here, with all of the filling that disappeared to “quality control” before making it into the pie), it reheats very well as leftovers.

So, yeah. Not going to stress out about dietary issues getting in the way of tradition again – super happy with how it turned out.

Enjoy!

Chicken-Mushroom Tourtière
Serves about 8 as meal, or more as a small part of Thanksgiving feast

Crust:
3/4 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz) brick cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup cold water
1 egg

Filling:
1 1/2 lbs sliced crimini / baby bella mushrooms
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb ground chicken
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated or finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into ~ 1/3″ cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp dried savory
2-3 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth

1 egg
1 Tbsp cold water

Measure flours, starches, and xanthan gum into the bowl of your food processor, blitz to combine. Add cream cheese, butter, and egg, blitz a few times until mixture resembles gravel. Stream in cold water as you run the food processor, just long enough to start to bring it together as a dough – you may need to use a little more or less water. Do NOT over-process it!

Remove dough from processor, knead lightly to bring it together as a ball. Wrap in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Finely chop mushrooms – I like to use a food processor, in batches. Combine mushrooms, olive oil, chicken, vegetables, and seasonings together in a large pan or pot. Break up ground chicken into, stir until everything is relatively uniform. Add the milk and the broth, stirring once again.

Bring mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer – stirring often – until the liquid has cooked off, and the meat has broken down almost to a paste. This should take about an hour, give or take. Once it’s ready, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 425 F

Divide dough into 2 parts – one slightly bigger than the other. Roll the bigger section out, use it to line a large and/or deep-dish pie pan – carefully working it into the corners. Fill pie pan with meat filling, spreading it into the corners and mounding it in the center, packing it down as you go.

Roll out the second part of dough, cover the pie filling. Crimp the edges as desired, poke a couple of slits in it. If desired, roll any extra dough very thin, cut into shapes, and apply to the crust for decoration.

Whisk the remaining egg together with water, use a pastry brush to coat the entire crust with a thin wash of this glaze.

Bake at 20 minutes, turn heat down to 375 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Serve warm or cold.

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Vegetarian Chorizo Burger with Grilled Poblano & Cilantro Pesto

My husband’s recent inability to handle eating pork or beef has certainly been a learning experience for both of us – new ingredients to work with, figuring out how to use them, how they differ from meat based counterparts, etc.

Recently, I was in the mood for a chorizo burger. I had some fun ideas, and didn’t want him to feel left out. So… we came up with a vegetarian chorizo burger for him.

I wasn’t able to actually try these – on account of my own dietary issues – but he was THRILLED with them. He loved the taste and texture, and even preferred it to the real thing. He especially loved all of the contrasts and complimentary flavours / textures in the overall burger.

If you don’t have smoked serrano powder, you can skip it if you would like- it’s good for a little extra kick, but isn’t absolutely necessary!

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chorizo Burgers with Grilled Poblano & Cilantro Pesto
Makes 4 burgers

14 oz pack soy chorizo (we used “LightLife” brand)
14 oz pack meatless vegetarian sausage (we used “LightLife” brand)
½ small onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
pinch smoked serrano powder
2 poblano peppers
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 hamburger buns of choice
Queso Fresco , sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
Cilantro Pesto (Below)

Heat grill.

Crumble chorizo and sausage into a food processor, blitz until broken down and well combined. Squeeze excess moisture out of the grated onion, add onion to processor along with garlic and serrano powder. Blitz to combine.

Remove sausage mixture from food processor, divide into 4 equal sized balls. Form balls into patties – slightly bigger than your buns. Set aside.

Cut poblano peppers in half, lengthwise. Brush poblanos and burgers with olive oil, sprinkle poblanos with a little salt and pepper. Grill until burgers and peppers are seared and heated through.

To assemble, stack a poblano slice, burger, cheese slice(s), onion, and avocado on each burger bun. Top with cilantro pesto, serve immediately.

Cilantro Pesto

3 cups cilantro
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 green onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
salt and pepper

Combine cilantro, garlic, onion, olive oil, and lime juice in a small food processor, blitz until a sauce is formed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and chill until use.

Rainbow Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing

Last week, I was doing my social media chores on Facebook, when I came across an ad for some takeout place way down south. I have NO idea why it was in my feed – driving 12+ hours for takeout isn’t reasonable! – but it featured a photo of a salad that I needed in my life.

I noted what I could see in it, and planned to make something like it at home. I made a few additions, based on our tastes – edamame, green onions and (optionally) avocado.

For dressing, I decided to throw together a carrot-ginger dressing. Not only were we both in the mood for something like that, it would go really well with the flavours in the salad. Also, I thought that the bright orange of it would be extra pretty against such a vibrant background. I was not wrong!

It actually took me two tries to get the dressing to where I wanted. Hit the flavour perfectly on the first go, but the texture left a bit to be desired. I’d used fresh carrots and pureed them, thinking that would be the easiest for people – not everyone has a juicer, after all.

I really wasn’t happy with the mouthfeel on it, though… so I went back to the original plan, and it was *perfect*. Freshly juiced is best, but if you don’t have a juicer – just buy some carrot juice in the produce section at your grocer.

Finally, this makes a ton of salad – a big, sharable bowl worth. We make it up and keep it in the fridge, picking away at it through a few meals. That is the ONLY reason I’m not including avocado in it – avoidance of brown avocado bits. If you’re making this up as a single serve thing – for a gathering, maybe? – I would recommend including an avocado or two. I love the texture and flavour of it in this!

Enjoy!

Rainbow Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing
Makes 8+ Servings

4 cups Shredded Brussels sprouts
4 cups Shredded red cabbage
2 cups bite sized broccoli florets
1-2 cups shelled cooked Edamame (Thawed, if frozen)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 zucchini, sliced
2 large radishes, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 oz Pomegranate seeds (or 1 pomegranate worth)

Combine ingredients in a large bowl, cover and chill until use. Drizzle with carrot-ginger dressing before serving.

Dressing:

1 1/2 cups carrot juice
1/3 cup rice or apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp sesame oil
½ small yellow onion
1 tsp sugar
2 clove garlic, pressed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper in a blender, blitz until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to an appropriate container (we use a large mason jar), chill until use.

Separation will occur, so shake well before serving.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Wild Rice and Edamame Salad (Gluten-free)

Just realized it’s been slightly over 2 months since I posted anything – whoops!

It’s been pretty insane here, between Convention season, the upcoming release of Hedonistic Hops (Pre orders now available!), and development work on Beyond Flour 2.

I’m here with a new recipe now, though!

When my husband had to go vegetarian a few months ago, we started spending a ridiculous amount of time looking through local co-ops, trying to come up with ideas for him to get more protein in his new diet. At one point, we came across a ready-made wild rice and edamame salad that was SO good.. but could be better. I swapped out some ingredients, tweaked the dressing to be more to our tastes… and here we go!

Once you have the rice cooked, this salad comes together quickly and easily. It will last about a week in the fridge, but will probably be gone long before that. We were constantly snacking on it – it’s a bit addictive!

This recipe is inherently ALMOST gluten free – all you have to do to make it actually GF is to use a gluten-free soy sauce. Easy!

Enjoy!

Wild Rice Edamame Salad

Makes about 8 cups

2.5 cups prepared brown rice
2.5 cups prepared wild rice
10 oz shelled frozen edamame (thawed)
2 red peppers, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sriracha
1 clove garlic

Prepare brown and wild rices according to package directions, allow to cool before measuring 2 1/2 cups of each into a large bowl. Add edamame, chopped red peppers, and sliced green onion, stir gently to mix well. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over rice mixture, stir well to coat.

Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Porter’s Yogurt & Ice Cream Topping

True story: When I was a little kid – long before developing gluten problems – I used to love getting into my mom’s jar of wheat germ in the fridge. I’d sprinkle it on cereal, put it on yogurt, even top ice cream with it. I loved the texture, and the almost nutty flavour it added to things.

As an adult, I may not be able to have it anymore, but my husband can… and he’s someone obsessed with getting enough fiber. We’re old like that! 🙂

So, I created this yogurt topping for him. Not only does it have wheat germ, but also flax meal – one of his favourite things (OLD. I feel OLD typing that!). He’s also been getting into using chia seeds recently, so those are in there also. He keeps a canister of this at his desk at work, and some at home – right on hand, to spoon onto yogurt whenever he wants.

This is super easy to make, it whips up in just a few minutes. For a gluten free version, substitute gluten free oat bran for the wheat germ.

Healthy Flax & Wheat Germ Topping for Yogurt
Makes… however much you want!

1 part chia seeds
2 parts flax meal
2 parts wheat germ

Combine ingredients in a nonstick pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted.

Remove from heat, transfer to glass dish, allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Enjoy!

No-Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe (Gluten-Free)

I love quinoa. The taste is decent, and it’s a fun texture to eat. When I first started eating it like a decade ago, it was mostly in soups, as a healthier (and more fun!) alternative to noodles or rice. Sometimes I’d serve it on its own, almost like a rice… but it was only a few years ago that I started using it in what’s now my favourite application for quinoa: tabbouleh!

Even before discovering that I need to be gluten-free, I found that I actually preferred the taste and texture of quinoa to the traditional bulghur wheat used in tabbouleh.

Beyond being inherently gluten-free, this recipe was created with another need in mind – my husband’s utter hatred of tomatoes. I wanted a tabbouleh I could share with him, rather than hoard for myself. So: red peppers.

Usually, I’d consider this more of a summer thing, but I’ve been craving it lately, so did up a batch yesterday. Sitting here on Christmas eve munching on some… it has green, red, and mint involvement. I’m officially declaring it holiday canon.

So say we all?

No-Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
Zest and juice of 1-2 lemons (1/3-1/2 cup fresh juice)
1/3 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a pot, bring quinoa and 2 cups hot water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Stir well, remove from heat, and transfer to a mixing bowl to cool a bit.

After 10-15 minutes, toss to fluff. Add peppers, cucumbers, green onions, parsley, mint, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingedients, whisking to combine well. Pour over salad, toss to combine. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours before serving.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Wild Rice & Sausage Stuffed Peppers

After the past few months of takeout, convenience foods, and generally processed crap, it feels really good to have my schedule freed up enough to get back to cooking for fun. Add in the fact that we’re now trying to eat a bit healthier – more veggies, less processed stuff, etc – AND the fact that the cooler temps make me want to spend a bunch of time in the kitchen.. and we’ve been eating WELL lately.

Last night, I put together this recipe to satisfy a few things. We hadn’t had wild rice in AGES and it sounded good. We had some spinach that had seen better days, and I wanted to use up the last little bit of our sage plant outside, before the temperature killed it. Hubby had mentioned stuffed peppers while at the farmer’s market this weekend, and this seemed like a good way to make use of everything.

… the filling ALMOST didn’t make it into the peppers. I think we would have been perfectly happy standing over the stove and just snarfing the lot of it straight from the pan! SO good.

Enjoy!

Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4

4 green bell peppers*
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 oz sliced mushrooms of choice (We use Baby Bella)
3 garlic cloves, pressed
12 oz sausage chub**
3 cups fresh baby spinach, ripped up
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 Tbsp finely chopped sage
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken stock or broth

Preheat oven to 350 F

Carefully slice the tops off each of the bell pepper, scoops seeds out and discard. Arrange seeded peppers in a small baking pan – I use an 8 x 8″ square brownie pan.

Saute onion, mushrooms, and garlic until vegetables are soft. Add sausage meat, continue continue cooking – breaking up sausage into small bits – until sausage meat is browned. Add spinach, cooking until spinach is well wilted. Stir in wild rice and sage, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff filling into peppers, arrange any extra filing in between peppers. Pour chicken broth over peppers.

Bake for about 40 minutes, serve hot!

* We like our stuffed peppers warm but crispy. For softer stuffed peppers, cook seeded peppers in boiling water for about 5 minutes, and drain well before stuffing.

** I love using the Papa George’s brand of sausage. It’s about a million times better than anything else on the market, is perfectly seasoned and flavoured, and has almost no fat in it. We’ll use either the regular, hot, or sage flavoured sausage chubs in this recipe

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Con Food – Hotel Room Smoothies!

Today is day two of a week long feature I’m running on my Facebook Page – Convention Food.

Yep, with Convergence just over a week away… it’s about time to start planning for our hotel room cuisine: Food that’s easy to make (possibly make ahead), uses very little in the way of equipment to make/serve in the room, and that supplements some of the nutrition that we tend to miss out on during a 4 day long party.

The featured recipe yesterday was my “Convention Sloppy Joes” – our favourite con food to date, and the recipe we’ll be doing up once again for our room at Convergence.

Today’s recipe is more of a non-recipe, but an outline of what our plans for breakfast are: hotel room smoothies.

Breakfast is generally seen as the most important meal of the day… and that’s doubly true when you’ve got long days of costuming, panels, and parties ahead. Also: when you had a looong night of partying ending just a few hours earlier!

Smoothies are what we settled on for our go-to hotel room breakfast this year. They’re done up quickly, require very little equipment (just a blender!), and many of the ingredients don’t require refrigeration / cooler space.

They’re easy to customize, and easy to scale. Make one for yourself, or enough for your roommates too!

Done right, you’ll hit a few key nutrition needs, as well. Protein, vitamin C, some calcium… good stuff!

Here is what I recommend to bring:

– A good protein powder, vanilla or unflavoured. (We use Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein, Vanilla Ice Cream flavour).

– Plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (more protein!)

– Orange juice

– Frozen berries (Pack a few baggies worth – they double as ice!)

– Bananas

– Powdered peanut butter, if that’s your thing (We use PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter)

– Wheat germ (allergies permitting, of course!) or Flax meal (Fiber!)

Per person, this is what I blitz together:

1 scoop protein powder
1/4 cup yogurt
3/4 cup orange juice
½ cup frozen berries
½ banana
1 Tbsp powdered peanut butter (optional)
1-2 Tbsp wheat germ or flax meal (optional)

… and that’s that. Be sure to rinse your blender out well if you won’t be washing it right away, because – in the words of my husband – the smoothie residue is “like cement” when it dries.

Enjoy!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Roasted “Convention” Chili Recipe

It’s just a few short days til Marscon – our first convention of the year!

For some brilliant reason, I decided at the last minute that I should make a Klingon costume for the occasion. This was with a trip to Dallas looming, and – unknowbeknowst to us at the time – a bout of stomach flu on the way!

So much for having enough time – am racing like a madman to get everything done on time, which is NOT a common thing for me… being a logistics freak. I definitely prefer being prepared far in advance, and walking into a convention well rested for the weekend to come.

Part of the preparation for any convention we go to is figuring out the food situation, so we don’t end up paying a fortune for bad hotel food. This is especially important when one is under dietary restrictions for allergies.

As you may recall, last July we decided to create “Convention Sloppy Joes” as a way to ensure easy access to healthy proteins and veggies throughout the weekend.

It was perfect! Making it ahead and freezing it not only freed up time immediately before the convention, but also provided efficient “ice packs” for the cooler. We left it to simmer all day in a crockpot in our hotel room, so it was easy to go up and grab a bite to eat whenever we had a minute. (Well, realistically… whenever we started feeling gross from NOT eating, and could drag ourselves away from the fun!).

Best of all… it was the first convention we’ve been to where we did NOT get Con Crud. I’ve got to think that proper nutrition had a big hand in that!

We decided to go a bit of a different route this time, so I created a “Convention Chili” recipe. I just don’t want the hassle of dealing with crappy gluten-free buns, and really.. it’s been too long since I put on a pot of chili.

With this recipe, we decided to just go insane with the vitamin C. Red peppers are much higher in it than tomatoes are, after all. Sounds good, right? In reality, my husband just hates tomatoes, so red peppers are a great, healthy, and tasty way to make chili delicious for him, too. All that vitamin C can’t hurt, when facing down the possibility of con crud… especially during cold/flu season! The protein from the meats and beans, and all the fiber from the beans and veggies make this a really healthy food to live on for a weekend.

A few notes about this recipe:

– I created this recipe specifically to be made ahead and frozen, specifically for use in a slow cooker. See the end of the recipe for how to tweak this for immediate use – it would be great for a party!

– If you want to swap out types of pepper, swap the red peppers for tomatoes, add or subtract onion, etc… go nuts 🙂 It’s a very versatile recipe. Just try to keep the weights/volumes of substitution relatively similar to what it’s replacing.

– This is suitable for a wide range of dietary needs and allergies. It’s inherently gluten free, dairy free, etc.

– While you can peel the roasted peppers after broiling them if you want, we don’t. Too fussy, you lose some nutrition/flavour, and the texture isn’t noticeable in the final dish anyway.

– Red bell peppers can be expensive.. so we used canned. If you have access to a big-box discount store like Costco – you can get canned red peppers for much cheaper than fresh. Farmers markets can be another great option.

Roasted “Convention” Chili
Makes … a lot. Probably a gallon and a half?

2 poblano peppers, seeded and sliced into large chunks
4 green bell peppers, seeded and sliced into large chunks
5 jalapenos, halved (seeded if you choose)
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
Olive oil
3 lbs lean ground beef
2 lbs ground pork
6 stalks celery, sliced
2 lbs sliced mushrooms
5 carrots, peeled and grated
3 cans (~30oz each) tomato sauce
2 cans (~15oz each) light red kidney beans, drained
2 cans (~15oz each) dark red kidney beans, drained
2 cans (~15oz each) black beans, drained
10 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed/minced
6 lbs red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cups beef broth
2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp+ smoked serrano powder*

Drizzle a broiler-safe pan with some olive olive, and arrange your poblano, bell, and jalapeno peppers on it, along with the onions. (This may take more than one batch to do!). Drizzle with a little more olive oil and broil under high heat until peppers are nicely roasted and blistering. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, chop into small, bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a large pot, add ground beef and pork. Cook until browned, add celery and mushrooms. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until celery is translucent and mushrooms have softened. Add carrots, tomato sauce, beans, garlic, and half of the red pepper. Stir well.

Puree remaining red peppers with beef broth, add to the pot. Continue cooking until everything is warmed up, season with salt, pepper, and smoked serrano powder, to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Cool to room temperature, transfer to freezer safe containers, and freeze until use.

To use:

– Thaw out (At a convention, place it in your bathroom sink in the morning when you’re done with it, fill with cool water)

– Around noon, transfer mixture to Crock Pot (doesn’t need to be fully thawed), heat on high for a few hours, stirring every hour or so (Good to coordinate this with roomies!)

– Once mixture cooks down to a nice thick consistency, turn heat down to low until serving. If mixture gets too thick, see if a vending machine has a bottle of V8, add a little to thin it out.

For immediate, non-CrockPot use:

Rather than removing mixture from heat after seasoning, turn heat down to medium and simmer until sauce cooks down to a nice thick consistency.

* We buy smoke serrano powder from a local homebrew supply store – Midwest Supplies. You can order it from them online HERE, or find it in specialty spice shops. Great stuff!

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Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Serrano Drizzle

This past weekend, we decided to attend the Minneapolis Farmers Market right after it opened at 6 am. It was still dark out, so the market was all lit up under the canopies – we didn’t even know they did that.. it was beautiful! The air was crisp and fresh, the moisture from the recent rain really carried the scent of the fresh produce through the air, and it wasn’t crowded or noisy at all. We were able to enjoy the feel and smell of the air, without the sensory overload of noise and crowd… By far my favourite farmers market experience to date!

Without having to rush to get away from noise, we were able to stroll the aisles, buying a TON of produce. I had it in my head that I wanted to go on a soup making binge, and we walked away WELL equipped for it!

The two soups and the stew I made this weekend were all fantastic, but this one stood out for its ease and simplicity.

This roasted cauliflower soup took very little effort – and not many ingredients – but became an instant favourite. I basically wanted to make a soup version of cauliflower mash, but roasted. Roasted onion and garlic adds flavour and complexity, and the white wine brings just a touch of acid and refinement to it. The thick, creamy texture of the soup is accented with a drizzle of smokey serrano pepper oil… oh, this is GOOD.

While it’s easy enough to make pepper oil by infusion, I wanted something quick and easy… and wanted to use what I had on hand.

I love, love, LOVE hot pepper powders! We pick them up at our local homebrew supply store – Midwest Supplies – who stocks them as part of their hot sauce supplies. My favourite lately has been their Smoked Serrano Powder, but I’ve always loved their jalapeno powder. (You may remember it from my husband’s “Epic Popcorn” recipe!). Seriously, pick up a few powders – they do mail order! – and have fun with them.

Anyway.

Stirring the powder into the oil is quick and easy, but’ll probably make purists cringe. Whatever.

This makes a fair amount of the oil, but it keeps well in the fridge – just stir well before use. You can drizzle as much or little of the oil as you want – pretty, kinda fun to be able to customize, AND the smokiness really works well with this soup.

Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Serrano Drizzle

2 heads cauliflower
1 onion
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 cups chicken broth*
1 cup milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp smoked serrano powder

Preheat oven to 400F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Remove any leaves from the cauliflower, chop into large florets. Peel and slice onion, peel garlic. Arrange cauliflower, onion, and garlic on baking sheet, drizzle generously with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 50 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes or so until golden brown.

Transfer roasted veggies and garlic to a large pot. Add chicken broth, milk, and white wine, mash lightly with a potato masher. Bring almost to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree soup mixture until smooth – you may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor or blender. Transfer smooth puree back to the pot, add heavy cream and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir smoked serrano powder into oil, drizzle over individual servings of soup.

* We used this amount of chicken broth, knowing we like our soup THICK. If you’d like a thinner soup, just add a bit more chicken stock!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.