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.

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.

Healthier Apple Oatmeal Muffins

In the past couple of months, I’ve gotten back in the habit of making a fresg batch of muffins for my husband (almost) every weekend, so he has breakfasts for most of the week. (Pina Colada Muffins and Cardamom-Pear Streusel Muffins have been some of the biggest hits lately). It’s a lot of fun to run wild with it, creating new recipes for him.

We’re talking about cleaning up our diets and aiming to get healthier in the coming months, and breakfast is a great place to start. I created this recipe to suit a few of his requirements – low fat, ease up on the sugar, and raise the fiber content.

One of the things I’ve done with this is substitute a lot of the all purpose flour with oats – both in rolled and flour form. In addition to being very heart healthy (Thinking of you, Mairlyn Smith!), oats are lower in carbs than all purpose flour, lower glycemic, have fewer calories, AND contains more fiber. Plus, it adds flavor – Score!

In addition to the flour substitutions, I cut the amount of processed sugar, relying on natural sweetness from the apples and oats. The butter in my normal muffins was swapped out in favor of apple sauce.

What this gives you is a wonderfully moist, dense muffin with a ton of great flavor. It sounds so cliche, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s “diet” from eating these… SO good!

As my husband puts it:

“They’re super good, they’re not just a healthy version of something, they’re something good that happens to be good for you :-)”

Enjoy!

Healthier Apple Oat Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 apple, peeled and grated
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners, or spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flours, flax meal, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and cloves. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, apple sauce, grated apple, and vanilla extract. Add wet mixture all at once to the flour mixture.

Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.) Divide batter between 12 prepared muffin cups, filling each to almost full.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

Hearty Corn and Black Bean Soup

Spring is on its way, but there is still time to take advantage of “soup season”! This recipe – from my upcoming corn cookbook – won’t disappoint: it’s thick, warm, rich, and satisfying!

Hearty Corn and Black Bean Soup

2 large onions, chopped
1 lb bacon, chopped
2 lbs dry black beans
12 1/2 cups chicken stock
1-2 bottles of a light tasting beer, such as Corona
6 ears fresh corn, husks removed.
Juice and zest of 2 limes
6 ribs celery, chopped
3 green bell peppers, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a large, heavy pot, saute onions and bacon until bacon is cooked but not crispy. Add black beans, chicken stock, and beer, bring to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, stir it once, cover it with a lid, and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 1 hour.

Once an hour has passed, bring pot to a boil once more. Reduce heat, simmer for one hour, stirring frequently.

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut kernels off the ears of corn, add to a pot along with lime juice/zest, celery, peppers, garlic, and seasonings. Continue to simmer for another 20 minutes, or until beans and all vegetables are tender, and soup is THICK.

Serve hot, topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and /or crumbled bacon.

Note: water or chicken broth can be substituted for the beer, if so desired.

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 Chickpeas

Yesterday marked day one of a one month long challenge that my husband and I are attempting – we’re going to attempt to stick to a healthy diet AND work out consistently for one entire month.

As usual, this requires some serious planning. As I’m currently working on two cookbooks – neither one of which are particularly healthy – I need to weed through the recipes, decide what CAN fit in with the next month’s diet. We decide on a meal plan, go grocery shopping, and plan for things like “What’s a healthy alternative when I am seriously craving sugar?” (Dried fruit, btw)

As we tend to get “snacky” in the evening, we have two go-to snacks: Kale Chips, and roasted chickpeas. The kale takes the place of potato chips, and we look at the roasted chickpeas as a substitute for popcorn.

Not only is this a really tasty snack, it’s healthy: Fairly low calorie, has some protein and fiber, and the only fat comes from the olive oil. It’s also quite filling, which goes a long way to taking the edge off hunger. We love this, even when not dieting!

Roasted Chickpeas

1 large can chickpeas / garbanzo beans
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Drain chickpeas well – shake the strainer a few times to get rid of any extra water.

Transfer chickpeas to a clean baking sheet. I like to use a few sheets of paper towel to roll that beans around on the pan, removing as much remaining surface moisture as possible – this will result in a crispier final product.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the chickpeas – I use about 1 Tbsp. Sprinkle salt and pepper* over it all. Stir it up a bit, to evenly coat the beans with olive oil and seasonings.

Roast for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir well. Return pan to the oven to roast for another 15-20 minutes, or until beans are as crunchy as you want them. Serve hot!

* Salt and pepper are a great way to give some basic flavor to the beans, but feel free to mix it up a bit. Try curry powder, chili powder, dill… anything you’d like! Also works really well with flavored/infused olive oils.

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.

Booze Bouquet Tutorial

As you may know, my husband and I are not really Valentine’s Day people. We don’t really have any need for the traditional V Day gifts (and I am SO not a jewelry person!), it ends up feeling pretty contrived, so we usually just hang out and chill. Of course, external pressures usually have us checking in with each other every year, with “do you WANT to do anything…?

It always feels like we *should*. This year, we decided that we’ll be brewing a small batch of a red, “Valentine’s Day” wine or mead. I think we’re leaning towards a sweet raspberry mead. Anyway, I digress…

Last night we were eating dinner and discussing the various funny stuff we’d seen on the net, when I mentioned a booze bouquet I’d seen on Pinterest. The person had affixed mini booze bottles onto sticks, and made a little bouquet of it.

As we’d recently been reminiscing on how much fun we’d had doing V-day ceramic mugs for each other a few years back, the idea of making booze bouquets for each other came up. Like many of our crazy ideas, it went from “wouldn’t it be fun…” to DONE in no time flat!

We headed to a craft supply store to pick up all kind of crazy Valentine’s Day craft stuff on clearance. Neither one of us really knew what we were planning to do as we poured over ever manner of red, pink, and sparkly V Day nonsense, discussing ideas, and ultimately purchasing our respective supplies. After that, we went to our favorite liquor store, and each bought a dozen mini bottles for each other, each not letting the other see the surprise selections.

The whole time – and on the way home – we excitedly talked about our ideas and plans, actually looking *forward* to our little V Day celebration. Neither of us could WAIT to get home and dig into the craft supplies, and seeing what we could come up with.

We had a blast. Weird crafty projects with my husband are always a ton of fun (Pi Day Pi-natas, Chocolate Zombie Easter Bunnies, and epic Pysanky using Crayons, for instance!).

Also? Men + Booze + Craft supplies are a pretty epic combination. Just WAIT til you see what he came up with!
(more…)