Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Betty Crocker Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest

As my first gluten free contest is winding down I am excited to announce that I already have another lined up! I received an email last week about entering The Betty Crocker Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest.

Woo. That is a mouthful. And I hope I will be serving you dear readers up a delicious gluten free mouthful of holiday goodness here soon. I have been brainstorming and a few goodies have popped in my noggin over the weekend. I am back to the lab (well um, my in-laws kitchen) and will share my recipe closer to entry! Time to expand that dessert or bread category on my recipe page…

So…Hold the gluten, grab your aprons, and start your ovens! The Betty Crocker Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest, Betty Crocker’s first ever gluten free recipe contest, is now open for entries!

From now through June 30, 2011, gluten free bakers can enter online at:


For the chance to win the grand prize of $5,000. Using any Betty Crocker Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick Gluten Free, entrants will be challenged to create an original gluten free holiday-themed appetizer, bread, or dessert recipe, and will be judged on five key categories including:

• Taste
• Creativity
• Ease of preparation
• Consumer appeal
• Appearance

Tell one, tell all about this contest and opportunity, and I’ll tell you my recipe once refined and submitted. I am excited to take on another challenge with a new gluten free product. Oh oven please don't fail me now...the challenge is on!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Vegan ‘Cheeze’ Sauce. Hmmm. A recipe worth tackling. Worth Tweaking. Worth Trying. Trust me. Nutritional Yeast and I have become practically besties over the last few weeks so I thought it was about time to break out the big guns. I have tried the faux blocks of cheese and while they taste decent at best, I am not the biggest fan. Maybe I need to try it in different recipes. I just hate the idea of eating something so processed especially when I know there is a recipe out there I can try.

I came home from my golf lesson the other night to find that my boys had taken it upon themselves to order pizza. The smells emanating from the box threw me into a pizza craving fit. Luckily I knew I had a leftover Rudi’s pizza crust in the freezer! I would make my own pizza and I
 would make it better than the saturated saucer in the take out box. I am calling a duel. ON GUARD!

A veggie pizza was an easy choice, and I had some marinara in the fridge I could smear for the base. But there was the question of cheese. I have baked with soy cheese in the past and it honestly didn’t provide the cheesy goodness flavor I desired. “It’s time…” my mind murmured to me while I caramelized my onions. I puttered over to the computer and pulled up a few vegan cheese recipes. I decided on Angela’s from her blog Oh She Glows. I am pretty dedicated to her these days as she has really helped me on my path to wellness through food.
I accidentally misread the amount of mustard to be put in but it tasted delicious. The cashew flavor was pretty prominent however so I think I will play around with it some more. It did taste like cheese though and brought great flavor to the pizza. Ok vegan cheeze, I surrender.

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Medley Pizza

• One gluten free pizza crust
• ¾ cup marinara (I used a bell pepper, black olive classico one)
• ½ package organic mushroom medley (cremini, Portobello, shitake)
• 1 sweet onion, cut into half moons
• Pinch kosher salt
• Black pepper to taste
• Angela’s vegan cheeze sauce (see recipe below)
• Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Place your gluten free pizza crust on a pizza baking sheet. Smooth marinara evenly, leaving a quarter inch of edge for your crust. Lightly brush olive oil on exposed edges.

In a sauté pan on medium high heat add 1 tbs of EVOO and toss your onions in to coat. Add a pinch of kosher salt and constantly sauté and turn your onions until they have begun to turn a dark brown color. It took me about 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and toss until softened, about another 5 minutes. I added a little Cajun seasoning because quite frankly I am obsessed but that is optional!

Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Begin your cheeze sauce (recipe below). After taste testing…twice over here with absolute delight!...top your pizza with the veggies and finally drizzle the sauce on top. I added a little black pepper on top.

Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until your crust is golden brown.
Serve with a smile and say CHEEZE!

Angela’s “Cheeze” Sauce

Ingredients• 3/4 cup raw cashews
• 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened + unflavoured soy milk), or more to thin out
• 3 garlic cloves
• 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
• 6-7 tbsp Nutritional yeast (provides the cheesy consistency)
• 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1/2 tsp or a bit more of dried Italian seasoning
• 1/4-1/2 tsp Tumeric powder, optional (gives the orangey color)
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

InstructionsAssemble your cheeze sauce ingredients (cashews, non-dairy milk, garlic, lemon, salt, nutritional yeast, pepper, mustard, seasonings) and add just the cashews to food processor. Process until a fine crumb forms similar to corn meal. Now add in the rest of the cheese sauce ingredients and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

**This recipe is vegan except for the pizza crust which contains eggs.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rudi's OH-some Onion O's

My entry for Rudi's Gluten Free Cooking Contest:
Rudi's OH-some Onion O's
Gluten free, Baked, Kid and Adult Tested and Approved!

I am so excited to share with you my entry for Rudi’s Gluten Free contest. I have come up with a recipe that can be used as an appetizer, snack, or side. It can be dressed up for the party with its accompanying dipping sauce, or hang out beside you on a casual football Sunday. Whichever you choose, I can promise you that these little O’s are oh so delicious.

I wouldn’t necessarily call fried food a foe, but it is certainly not a friend of mine. For one, those oils can be contaminated and two they don’t often sit well in this Indie’s tummy. So, since I have been mastering the art of using cooking alternatives I have come up with a gluten free, healthier onion ring. Now, who can resist the leaning tower of crispy onion goodness glistening from my menu? Especially if you take out the frying and replace it with baking. A classic southern concoction that cuts calories and adds flavor is something I know that I personally cannot resist!

I experimented in the kitchen with many different ingredients and recipes. One of the challenges I ran into was deciding on which milk would bring the best flavor to the rings. I decided that since I feel better when I do not indulge in a lot of moo-cow dairy that I would use soy milk in my recipe, however please feel free to use whatever milk your little heart (or tummy!) desires.

These little O's were so delicious! I had to beat away my husband and inlaws so I could snap a picture for the contest before they gobbled them up. Yum to the last crumb!

Please go online to Facebook and vote for my recipe! The first round is based on facebook votes and I would love to have the chance to be considered by the panel of judges!

Rudi's OH-some Onion O's

•2 slices Rudi's Orginal Gluten Free Bread
•2 Vidalia Onions
•1/2 cup rice flour
•Kosher Salt
•Black Pepper
•Italian Seasoning
•1 tbs Canola Oil
•Olive Oil Spray
•Ground Chia or Flax seeds
•Soy Milk (or milk of choice)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

Place 2 slices of day old Rudi's Gluten Free Bread in your food processor with 1/4 cup of rice flour. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, itlaian seasoning and cayenne. Pulse a few times then add oil. Process for about 30 seconds or until crumbly. Place your delicious homemade breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.

In a bowl combine 1/4 cup rice flour, chia egg (1 tbs ground chia and 3 tbs water), and 1/2 cup soy milk. Whisk until combined and formed into batter consistency.

Slice your onions into 1/2 inch circles and separate into rings. Wipe tears away from handling onions! Keep the larger rings and save the others for later. Place all your rings in a bowl and cover with milk, letting them soak while your oven finishes heating.

At the sound of the 'beep' dip your onion rings into the batter then the bread crumbs. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray and place your little O's on the sheet. Spray the top of the rings as well so they crisp nicely.

Bake for 8 minutes then flip and bake for another 6-8 or until they are golden brown.
Serve warm and enjoy the compliments!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why do you Build Me Up Butternut Baby...

I am still deciding between a couple recipes for the contest. It’s so hard to choose! I have come up with some tasty ideas though so after I submit expect a whirlwind of recipe posts with Rudi’s bread products. In the meantime I am coming across other weeknight recipes you have to try. Lucky for you and me!

Monday morning rolled around with a bit of the jet lagged, no more vacation time blues so I decided that a homemade soup with fresh veggies would turn us around. Plus, it took care of dinner for the next couple nights when I knew I would be supremely pooped from the travel and lack of sleep. I remembered I had some frozen cubed butternut squash in the freezer that I need to use, and I have also been wanting to make red lentils ever since my lentil soup epiphany. I did a search online through many vegan/vegetarian blogs and found a soup that caught my eye. Home cooked and delicious in 30-40 minutes? Done.

I ran my eyes over the list of ingredients and almost added/changed a couple but I resisted. I knew it would be delicious just by looking at it and I also knew my heavy hand in adding spices so I ran to whole foods at lunch and plucked the night’s produce in a excited tizzy and began to stew a bit myself until 5:30 hit.

This soup was unbelievable. Yes, I am bragging because I am confident you will love it too. Sometimes husbands give a little white lie but I must boast that mine is purdy honest with my cooking. He makes a good critic. Plus, since we are living with my in-laws while our house is being built I got their praise for the soup as well. And in case you're wondering, yes, I added more spices to the recipe I found. Must be the European in me. That and my love for doubling all olive oil in my recipes.

I adapted this soup recipe from eatingbirdfood.com. She has some really great and healthy recipes. So here is my soup recipe that I concocted from hers. Perfect if you are living in the rainy springtime right now in Tulsa! Click here for the original recipe: EatingBirdFood's red lentil butternut squash soup

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup with “Cheesy” Spiced Crostinis


• 1 medium sweet onion, slicked in half moons
• 1 cup chopped carrots
• 3 cloves of freshly minced garlic
• 2 tsp of olive oil
• 1 cup of dry red lentils (washed and picked through for stones)
• 1 bag of frozen cubed butternut squash-thawed
• 4- 5 cups of Pacific vegetable broth
• Tbs dried basil
• Tbs dried oregano
• Tbs dried thyme
• Tbs kosher salt
• Tbs freshly ground black pepper
• Tbs or two cayenne pepper – depending on what you can handle
• Optional Tbs Cajun seasoning – it’s a favorite of mine and is a great spice blend!

• Optional 1-2 Tbs nutritional yeast

I forgot to snap a picture of mine so here is hers!
Heat oil in a large soup pot, and add your minced garlic. When you can smell its aroma add the onion and sauté for a couple minutes. Add carrots and sauté until onions are translucent and tender. Add lentils, squash and 4 cups of the broth to the pot. After about 25 minutes add your yeast and adjust seasoning to taste. Add the seasonings and let simmer for about 30 minutes. I let mine simmer for closer to 40.
As her blog predicted “the lentils soaked up a lot of the broth so at the end to make it less thick I added the extra 2 cups of broth. I like my soup to be less thick, but you could forego the extra broth if you like it that way.” I added about another half cup/cup to it. I like mine on the thicker side.

“Cheesy” Spiced Crostinis

I love to have a little bread to soak up the soup dregs or enjoy during my meal. These little slices of heaven paired perfectly with the soup and I enjoyed the flavors of the lentils lumped onto the crostini. Yes I used my Cajun seasoning but feel free to add whatever spice blend your little chef heart desires. I make this toast a lot at home. I used my nutritional yeast for a topping and baked it until melted giving it a delicious cheesy flavor! You may still be hesitant but I suggest it. I made 2 with the yeast and two without for my husband. He tried mine and requested his have the melted goodness on his toast the following night for leftovers.

• Food For Life’s Rice Almond Bread (or bread of your choice-this was in my freezer!)
• Louisiana Cajun Seasoning
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place bread on a cookie sheet and drizzle lightly with the olive oil. Dust with the seasoning. Top with desired amount of nutritional yeast. I used probably about a tbs per 1 slice of bread.Bake at 350 for 10 minutes then flip. Bake for another 5 or until you see the yeast turned to melted cheesy consistency. Serve with you soup!

Monday, May 9, 2011

An American in Paris & Bruges

"France, and the whole of Europe have a great culture and an amazing history. Most important thing though is that people there know how to live!" Johnny Depp

Bonjour! I have returned from Europe and am bursting with new ideas, recipes to revamp, and well bursting at my hemlines as well! I was thrilled to see such interesting food culture and how they prepare and enjoy a meal. From grabbing a sandwich on the street to sitting down in luxurious, romantic settings boasting 4 hour meals, I was thoroughly exposed and inspired by the French and Flemish.

We first arrived in Belgium. Bruges to be exact. This quaint and colorful town was peppered with pretty buildings, glistening canals, specialty shops, and delicious fare from the sea. The cobblestone streets, preserved buildings, and lego structured rooftops left us feeling like we were on an ornate movie set, set back in time.We lived on a diet of mussels and frites with no complaints. That, and beer which was cheaper than water and a large part of the culture. The weather was perfect, the people friendly, and the food was incredible.Our last day in Belgium we rode our bikes up to Netherlands and created our own bicycle beer tour of the small town pubs on the way back. No worries gluten free vacationers, they have a gluten free brewery in Brussels!

Falling in love yet? That was just the beginning. We then took a train to Paris and spend a week emerged in the culture.

The good/bad for me thing about France is they LOVE THEIR BREAD. Love it. With everything. So, it wasn’t as easy for me to partake, however I did mentally collect how they used it in their meals and how I can twist it and make it gluten free.

View from our balcony
I was asked a couple times if I would be sticking to the vegan diet when I went to Belgium and France. I went more of the vegetarian route when I could. It was my first time oversees and there were a couple things I have always been dying to try. To be honest, it wasn’t as satisfying as I thought to eat dairy and what not again, but it was something I thought necessary to try. After 6 days of 12 course dinners every night this Indie is READY TO DETOX! I enjoyed tasting and diving into the diverse food culture but I am craving healthy salads and fruit. Not that they don’t have that over there by any means but I was an American in Paris if you know what I mean.

I digress. Staying up for 22 hours traveling and sitting here jetlagged with my words falling off the document may propose a comprehensive block for you dear readers. That said, I will leave you with one of my favorite blogger’s recipes. It’s big. It’s green. AND it’s loaded with nutrients. Sounds good after what I have put my body through the last ten days ;)

Classic Green Monster
from Oh She Glows

• 1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
• 1 ripe banana, preferably peeled + frozen
• 2 handfuls organic spinach
• 1 tbsp chia seeds OR 1 tbsp ground flax
• 1 tbsp nut butter
• 1-3 Ice cubes

Starting with the liquid, add in 1 cup of milk of your choice. Now add in the chia or flax and nut butter. Next, add in the spinach followed by the banana on top. Blend until smooth. Add in your ice cubes and blend some more. Serves 1- about 2 cups.

Don’t freak out about the spinach. You cannot taste it I promise :) You can however taste kale. Feel free to add different fruits or spices! This recipe is easily adaptable.