Veggie Burger

I am always looking for fun stuff to do with Quinoan and since finding a gluten free veggie burger can be hard I figured I would give it a try. The combination of nutty quinoia and naturally sweet butternut squash makes this a fun fall dish.

1 Small Butter Nut Squash
1 Tbs Honey
1 Egg
2 Cup Quinoa cooked (Ancient Harvest Brand Original or Red http://www.quinoa.net/)
4 Tbs Chestnut Flour
1/2 Red Pepper chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tspn Nutmeg
1/2 tspn Onion Powder
1/2 Tbs Garlic Powder
1/2 paprika
1 Pinch Chile Flakes
4 Gluten Free Hamburger Buns ( As always Sweet Christens brand is my favorite http://www.onlinebakery.co/ )

Peel and cut squash in to cubes. Place into a small non-stick over safe dish with a tiny bit of water at the bottom. Roast at 500 degrees for about 30 minutes until cubes are soft. Remove and drain as much water as possible while you allow them to cool completely. Once cool, mash squash on a bowl and add cooked Quinoa, egg, honey and all spices. Stir well and then add flour. I use chestnut but any nut flour would do the trick. Combine all ingredients and place in the fridge over night to firm up. When ready to serve just form patties and cook on a pan. Serve with your favorite topping!

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Ancient Harvest

Quinoa has always been a favorite of mine. It super health benefits, unique nutty flavor and its unique ability to be used many different ways. I use it recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner and both cold and hot.

A few weeks ago I was in the store looking for quick meal to make and I was craving mac and cheese. Until this day I had never found a gluten-free pasta I liked. Kt always cooks into a mush. The employ at the store explained that rice pasta often does that and I should try this quinoa version of mac and cheese in a box. I figured why not.

He was right! This stuff was amazing! The pasta cooked great and held its shape. The powder cheese is exactly hot I remember from when I was a kid. Even Jay liked it and he will never eat my store bought gluten free stuff. The next day I wrote the company to express my love for this product. Thankfully the company makes a ton of different stuff which I am working hard to try it all. From all kinds of gluten free pasta to polenta and even quinoa flour.

Is quinoa gluten free?

As a grain, quinoa is gluten free. Our Ancient Harvest Quinoa is grown exclusively in the high Andean Altiplano regions of Bolivia. Our quinoa is grown at 12,000+ foot elevations in very arid conditions which will not support traditional gluten bearing grain production, therefore insuring us no possibility of potential field contamination with such grains. Our Traditional, Inca Red and Black whole grain quinoa is then cleaned, processed and packed in our quinoa-only organic and gluten free facilities.

Are your products produced in gluten free facilities?

Our Ancient Harvest Quinoa, Quinoa Flour, Gluten Free Pasta Corn/Quinoa Product Line and Food Merchant Polenta are all processed in specialized gluten free facilities in the United States. This assures us of the highest quality integrity and frequent shorter production runs for fresher product delivered to our customers. Our Quinoa Flakes are now also processed in a gluten free facility.

Playing with this stuff is a blast. I will be posting everything I make but Next time you are at the store pick up a box and give it a try.

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Tour Stop: Los Angeles

Tour Stop: Los Angeles

Next stop on the Guilt Free Foodie Cutie Tour was Los Angeles CA. This was my first time to California and it was well worth the trip. I always think of Philly as the most unique laid back city but LA was just as great. The culture, the people and of course, the food. I only had pre-planed one stop before hand because I was unsure of my plans but with a little research while I was in town I found some great spots.

The first place I visited was Addiction Bistro. I had found some great stuff on line about this spot and after a long conversation with one of the owners over the phone it was my first stop. Both owners are gluten free them selves so no need to worry here. Practically everything on the menu has a gluten free alternative from gluten free buns, pasta and dessert. They are even making homemade sauce, hot dogs and sausage so you really have no need to worry. The menu includes a large variation of burgers, hot dogs, sausage, chili and Italian dishes. The owners take a lot of pride in what they do and it shows. I arrived before the doors opened and they had people already waiting outside to get some chili. My favorite thing on the menu was the Thai dog which is a homemade chicken hot dog with bacon, peanut sauce and slaw. Our table tried a whole bunch of stuff and the photo’s are all below. Soon they will be making the gluten free buns in house which would make this place over the top. Check them out and make sure to leave room for the gluten free desserts and homemade ice cream. Website: http://www.theaddictionbistro.com

Next stop, was Cafe Buna a great cafe of that likes to be called “Del Rey’s Best Kept Secret”. This place was packed and with good reason. The menu is huge and creative. They even had gluten free pancakes and corn bread french toast which was like a hidden treasure for me. The choice of breakfast sides alone are something to talk about including things like plantains, applewood bacon, chicken apple or chicken tequila sausage, wings, soyrizo (tofu, tomatoes and onions), lox, collard greens, ostrich patty and the list goes on. The meals are just as creative. I had to try the cornbread french toast because I have not had french toast since I have been gluten free. Jay had the burrito that was filled with eggs, rice, chicken and toped with mole sauce and avocado and it was the size of a small baby. Check them out at 3105 Washington Blvd Marina Del Rey, CA 90292. Phone 310-823-2430

Last stop, 26 Beach Restaurant for a big brunch before a 6 hour flight. This menu was the most unique and creative brunch list I had ever scene and along with decor of a partially covered out door patio it was really something special. The menu started with a list of like about fifteen french toast options including tiramisu, Reece’s and some that they actually made with croissant toast. They may have not been gluten free french toast but had to be noted. The two other sections of this brunch list included pasta scrambles which were different egg dished mixed with pasta and fun toppings like bolognese or chili. Best on the list was what they called “The Royals” which are unique eggs dishes over rice inherently a creative brunch dish that is gluten free. I had the egg Diablo which is scrambled eggs over brown rice and beans topped with corn, peas, onion and served with amazing homemade salsa. They also made a crab royal which had avocado, cheese and crab mixed in the scramble and served over brown rice. I took a peek at the lunch menu and they had a ton of creative salads with fried goat cheese or even a rack of lamb along burgers toppings I have never seen like one with peanut butter and jelly. Website: http://www.26beach.com

LA is a great city and totally worth a trip. If your looking for your next beach vacation I cant think of any place better.

Next stop on the tour is back to my roots with a trip to Upstate New York to make a fun fall weekend something for anyone to enjoy.

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Guilt Free Gluten Free Cannoli

Living in the Italian Market its hard to resist the creamy, sweet and crunchy homemade ricotta cannoli. The ones in the bakery’s are clearly not gluten free and are not very fit friendly. I changed up this classic and cut the calories in half and took out all the gluten. Great for a crowd.

Ingredients:

5 Gluten Free Sugar Ice Cream Cones
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese (Fat free to lighten it up)
4 Tbs Sugar ( Feel free to adjust your sweetness or use splenda)
1 tsps Vanilla
1 Cup Cool Whip ( I like the light version best)
1/2 Cup crushed nuts or chocolate chips ( I think crushed pistachio’s work best)

Place the cheese, sugar, vanilla and 2 Tbs of topping in to food processor and blend well. Place in bowl and fold in Cool Whip. Place mixture in zip lock bag and seal. Allow it to firm in fridge for 4 hours. When your ready to serve just cut corner of bag and pipe filling into cones. Dips ends in nuts and serve.

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Chicken Nuggets

The infamous chicken nuggets. The ones we all remember from childhood. The ones in the the box that comes with a toy. Easy to dip and fun to share. We always have a box of the store bought kind in the freezer for my boyfriend but they clearly are not gluten free. I wanted to make some that I could enjoy. This is a kid pleaser for sure.

Ingredients –
2 Skinless and Boneless chicken breast
1 Cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour
1 Tbs Onion Powder
1 Tbs Garlic Powder
2 tsps Salt
2 tsps Pepper

First place bead crumbs in a food processor with spices and half the sat and pepper. Blend it well and place on a plate. Next, puree chicken breast in food processor to form a paste along with the other half of the salt, pepper and 1 Tbs of the bread crumb mixture. For 1 inch balls with the paste. Coat each ball with rice flour, then dip in egg and finally in the bread crumb mixture. Place on a lined cookie sheet. Press each ball down half way to form the tradition nugget share. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes but check frequently. If you would like to freeze, cook for 5 minutes and once cooled place in an ziplock bag. Then just remove frozen and cook an additional 8-10 minutes. Serve with some homemade ketchup or fresh honey.

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Orange Marmalade

Everyone knows I love to put things into jars especially jam. The idea that you can make it at home without putting any of bad artificial stuff in it is great. Making anything in a jar may be time consuming but once you taste the difference you will never go back to the stuff.

It went will orange marmalade this time because I love to use it in many recipes especially in a salad with lemon and oil for a great dressing. And the ingredients are super cheap so you can make a ton and give some away. I used the preserving process as my blueberry jelly from a few weeks ago but with different ingredients.

The trick with the orange is to determine the level at tartness you would like before you start. Orange marmalade can be very tart or very sweet and it truly depends on your taste. I prefer more tart but I will explain how to adjust.

Ingredients:

Four Large Seedless Oranges
2 Cups Sugar
3 Cups Water
1 Lemon

Start by washing And drying oranges well. If you prefer a more tart result leave ALL the peels on which is what I prefer and more recipes recommend. But if you would prefer to take the peel of one or two then you can do it now. Next you slice the whole orange in super thin rounds. A mandolin whould be great I used a knife with no issues. Slice the rounds in to quarters and place in a bowl. Slice the lemon in half and remove seeds. Slice half the lemon the same way with peel on and add it to the bowl along with the juice of the other half of the lemon. The next step is the most IMPORTANT. Add the three cups of water to the bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This will make the peel soft and more sweet. Believe me, I learned my lesson on this one.
The next day pour the oranges and all the water in a big pot, add the sugar and cook for about 45 minutes until it reduces and slowly runs off the back of spoon in large stain glass like clumps. Once finished allow it to cook for a few minutes before continuing the preserving process.
What I like about jelly making over pickling is that you can taste the final product while preparing. You can always adjust the sugar as you go to get it exactly where you would like.

I copy and pasted my preserving process below.

This recipe was a small batch and made 3 small jars worth. Start with the three pot set up below:

Pot 1 – Medium size pot non-reactive surface to make the jam. Continue to stir and watch the mixture so that it continues to bubble but not burn or boil over. You must stir it every few minutes. Your goal is for the mixture to become thick. It should get to the point that it wont create droplets or run easily off a cold spoon. You are looking for a consistency that slowly forms large clumps that look almost like glass forming on the spoon. Many recipes say this will take 10-15 minutes. It took me about 45 minutes but weather plays huge factor.

Pot 2- The next pot should be small with hot water for cleaning the lids. When you preserve anything in jars, the metal circle part of the lid is not re-usable. Each time you must use new lids.This is because they have a rubber lining that helps form a seal but it only works once. The jar and twisty top are good for many uses but not the flat part of the lid. In order to active the new flat top you must heat the lids to help soften the rubber. Do this by putting just the flat part of the lid in the pot with very hot water but not boiling and allow it to sit for about ten minutes before processing.

Pot 3 – Place water into the pot high enough to cover the jars with a little extra water because water will evaporate. You should use the biggest pot you own for this one like a lobster pot. Place a small towel in the bottom of the pot. This acts like a pillow to avoid the jars from breaking in the pot. Place the jars and lids in the pot and bring water to boil. Boil for ten minutes and then keep the jars in the hot water until your ready to fill.

Once the jelly cooks down and is ready to go, shut the heat off and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Remove jars from hot water and drip dry. Fill each jar with jelly about one half inch from top. Clean the tops of the jar well with a clean towel to insure that you will make a good seal between the jar and lid. Place the lids on jars. Its important not to twist the lid on to tight because you want air to escape. A good rule is to make it finger tight.

Next, place the complete jars in the big pot of water on high heat for ten minutes. Once the water is boiling you may want to lower it a bit to keep the jars from moving to much. After ten minutes CAREFULLY remove the the jars with tongs from pot and place on counter. Its important not to put the jars on a cold surface because the sudden change in temp from the hot water to the cold counter can break the glass.

The final step is my favorite. I call it the canning musical. Once jars are out of the water you want to hear each lid make a pop sound. This insures a good seal. The sound is like the what you hear when you open a glass juice bottle. This can take up to 15 minutes depending on room temp. If you don’t hear the pop or see an indent on the top of the lid then you should keep that jar in the fridge and use it first.

Jam can stay shelf stable for up to a year but once opened should be stored in fridge. Enjoy!!!

Update Recipe:

I re- made the recipe trying to make a double batch and a little less tart.

8 Seedless Oranges ( Cut like above but removing skin from two)
Juice of two lemons
6 Cups Water
4 Cups Sugar

Place oranges, lemon juice and water in big pot and bring to boil. Allow to simmer for 5 min and then shut of heat. Allow to sit for 18-24 hours preferable in the fridge. The next day bring to boil and add sugar. Boil for about 30 minutes until the correct constancy is achieved. Then follow the canning process the same way as before.

This recipe gave me 6+ 8oz jars.

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General Tso Tofu

General Tso chicken is one of the most popular dishes at any fast food Chinese take out. I always liked the tofu version better. I was totally in the mood for it the other day and since I have never seen a gluten free version I decided to try out making my own. It really worked out great.

Ingredients

General Tso Sause (recipe below)

4 Cups Blanched Broccoli Florets

2 blocks Very Firm Tofu Cubed ( Chicken could be used instead if you prefer)

2 Tbsp Cornstarch

1 Tbsp Rice Flour

1 tsp Ginger Powder

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Onion Powder

Salt and Pepper to Taste.

Sauce

1 Tbsp Corn Starch

1/3 Cup Water

1 Tbsp Gluten Free Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar

1 Tbsp Honey

1 Tbsp Sherry Wine

½ Tbsp Chinese Chile Paste (this adds a lot of heat)

1 Tbsp Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce

Place all the ingredients for sauce in a sauce pan and mix well. Simmer on low until it starts to thicken. You may need to add a little water if it gets to thick.

In a separate bowl combine the 2 Tbsp cornstarch, Rice Flour, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Onion powder and salt and pepper. Mix well and toss in tofu. Place the coated tofu in a well sprayed pan and cook on each side till golden brown.

Drain broccoli well and combine with half the sauce. Gently mix in tofu cubes. Place in serving dishes with rice if you would like. Top with extra sauce when serving and garnish with sesame seeds. This will make two large servings.

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UNREAL and UNJUNKED Candy

As the guilt free foodie cutie I think it is my job to expose some of my great product finds. I normally am not one that will pick up a candy bar or anything you would find on the check out line but when I heard about this stuff I was impressed.

Imagine your favorite candy made with real sugar, no corn syrup, no artificial preservatives, really milk, extra protein and fiber with no hydrogenated oil or fats. Your not dreaming, this stuff is real. They are making some great products that can hold up against the well known unhealthy competitor. The peanut butter cups with the true old fashion filling we all remember. Chocolate sugar coated candies similar to M&M’s that are perfectly sweet and crunchy, great solution to the munchies. Best of all a Chocolate Peanut Bar just like a Snicker Bar but at only 200 calories and 5 grams of protein it will get your hunger under control in minutes and not leave you feeling guilty.

Are UNREAL™ products gluten-free?

Our candy is made with all gluten-free ingredients, but produced in facilities that handle gluten.

The best part is you can find this product at the same location and price level as the competition. Find it at CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Target, Rite Aid and many more places.

For more info check it out at:

http://www.getunreal.com

http://www.facebook.com/unreal

@getunreal #getunreal

Guilt Free Mocha Java

Every-time I am in the local coffee house I try to justify giving into the decedent sweet and chocolate infused mocha coffee. Not only will I get my caffeine fix but my chocolate craving will be under control. Just adding sugar free chocolate syrup won’t compare to a gooey creamy 350 calories beverage on the menu. Its my goal to always recreate things like this into something I don’t feel guilty about. Well, after many attempts I did it. Give this one a try to fill that craving next time.

Ingredients:

2 Cups Fresh Coffee
1 1/2 Tbsp Splenda
1/2 Tbsp Agave
2 Tbsp Coco powder
1/2 Cup Almond Milk

Place all ingredients in a pot bring to boil while whisking. Then lower to a high simmer and allow to reduce for about 15 minutes. Serve warm or cool over ice.

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Ketchup

Ketchup:

I have always been a fan of the homemade ketchup that I have had at all the fun brunch places in the city. Since the store bought ketchup is filled with preservatives and high fructose corn syrup I figured it’s the guilt free foodie cuties job to change that. My version is so good you will eat it out the jar. Its low sugar but you would have no idea.

Ingredients:

2 (6oz) Cans of tomato paste

¾ Cups of apple cider vinegar

2 ½ Cups Water

1 Tbsp Onion Powder

1 Tbsp Garlic Power

2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon or all-spice

Place all ingredients in a pot and mix well. Cook uncovered at a low simmer for about an hour until it is at the thickness you desire. Allow it to cool and then place in a jar in the fridge. It should last at least 3 weeks.

As always, feel free to take it up to the next level and get creative. Try making it spicy or adding some fun spices and give it your own spin.

Ketchup does not need to only be a condiment, try using it in some fun recipes like my family’s favorite honey chicken.

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