Goin’ Gluten-Free…and $25 Gift-Certificate Giveaway

Avoiding gluten, the protein found in wheat as well as grains rye and barley can be a challenge, but there’s no need to wave goodbye to your favorite foods.  If you suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, you can build your diet from vegetables, rice, corn, legumes, fruit and other tasty gluten-free foods.


Vegetables, Fruits, Seeds and Nuts

All fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts are gluten-free.  Be aware of packaged, processed vegetables and fruits such as jellies, preserves, soups, nut butters and processed, pre-made meals, which may contain gluten.  You can easily prepare homemade soups, salsa, smoothies, dressings, marinades, parfaits, casseroles, salads, chutneys and nut or seed butters using fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts in their natural state.  Green, leafy veggies such as kale, collards, chard and spinach are great options steamed as a side dish or tossed into a green smoothie.  Hearty veggies such as carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, squashes, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower and legumes are perfect for making chili or stew, while artichokes, avocado, asparagus, celery, Brussels sprouts, corn, peas and peppers are tasty in a stir-fry or stuffing.  As for fruits: apples, oranges, grapefruit, berries, melons, bananas, pears and peaches are a flavorsome addition to smoothies, desserts or parfaits with yogurt and nuts.  Try freezing grapes for a satisfying, refreshing treat and create a homemade trail mix using nuts, seeds and dried fruit for a convenient snack.  Looking for flavor? Fresh herbs add a powerful aroma and zesty taste to any dish; toss rosemary into marinades or cilantro into gazpacho.

Dairy, Eggs, Meat

Eggs and meats are gluten-free, however, be sure to read the ingredient list for processed meats such as luncheon meats, breaded variations and sausage, which may contain traces of gluten.  Dairy is gluten-free, as well, however processed dairy such as ice creams, yogurts and butters may contain gluten.  Enjoy any of the following in their natural state: chicken, beef, bison, ham, turkey, eggs, seafood, lamb, fish and wild game.

Flours and Grains

All forms of wheat, barley and rye contain gluten; however, there is a vast array of naturally gluten-free flours available, which are created from beans, seeds or nuts.  Oats are naturally gluten-free, however, cross-contamination may occur during processing, therefore purchase oats with the certified gluten-free label.  The following gluten-free flours and grains can be enjoyed guilt-free: rice, buckwheat, teff, corn flour, corn meal, lentils, flax seed, potato, polenta, millet, soy flour, tapioca, quinoa, amaranth, almond meal, arrowroot and gluten-free flour blends.  These gluten-free options require easy prep and can be used to create a hot breakfast, casserole, stir-fry or dessert.  If you have trouble adjusting to gluten-free varieties, try adding fruit puree such as canned pumpkin or prune to moisten and add flavor.

As a rule of thumb, steer clear of processed foods and reach for foods as close to the original source as possible.  Using fresh ingredients rather than pre-made, processed options is a safe way to ensure a gluten-free lifestyle.  Your best bet is to prepare meals at home so you have control over the ingredients and ensure there is no cross-contamination with gluten.


Regarding my $25 Give Certificate, the nice folks over at Open Sky are offering a limited time $25 Gift Certificate Promotion…so head on over to Open Sky and check out my fabulous products to use your $25 free gift certificate.   Here’s the information you’ll need to get shoppin’ at Open Sky and receive your $25 certificate:

The Healthy Apple’s coupon code is: talli2509

Rules:
–          $25 off coupon
–          Good for any OpenSky item
–          No minimum purchase
–          Free shipping
–          Limit one per customer
–          Starts: Monday, November 30, 2009

Sweet Roots

This recipe is one of my favorites to make on a Sunday afternoon…it’s quick, simple to prepare, and leaves you with a soothing tonic of sweet sauce once cooked to perfection.

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Ingredients

Use as many of the following sweet veggies as you wish:

  • Corn
  • Rutabaga
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Beets
  • Winter Squash
  • Sweet Potato
  • Yams
  • Parsnips
  • Turnips
  • Red Radishes
  • Daikon Radishes
  • Green Cabbage
  • Burdock
  • For added protein- add Beans and/or Tofu

Directions

  • Chop the hardest veggies (carrots and beets) into smaller pieces
  • Chop the softer veggies (onions and cabbage) into larger chunks
  • Use a medium sized pot and add enough water to barely cover the veggies. Check the water level while cooking and add more water if needed. The veggies on the bottom will cook faster than those on the top, therefore stir every few minutes.  Cook until desired tenderness. The softer the veggies get- the Sweeter they become!
  • You may wish to add tofu or beans for extra protein
  • Season your veggies with seaweed or spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, black pepper, white pepper, chili powder, and cayenne
  • When veggies are cooked to your satisfaction, empty the ingredients into a large bowl, flavor as desired.
  • The leftover cooking water makes a delicious, sweet sauce, and is a healing, soothing tonic to drink by itself.
  • Enjoy!

Product Review: Don Sabrosa Salsa

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A big thank you to Donny over at Don Sabrosa Salsa for sending free samples of his All-Natural, Gluten-Free and Low-Sodium salsas!

Donny offers three delicious flavors that are incredibly tasty, chunky and fresh.  Each flavor comes in Hot and Mild so you can pick your hotness based on your taste bud’s preference.

Blueberries, Peaches & Honey

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Black Bean & Corn

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Roasted Garlic

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My favorite flavor was the Black Bean & Corn;  I enjoyed the chunky bits of corn and beans in my tasty fajitas and fish tacos.  This salsa was also the perfect accompaniment atop my lunchtime garden salads with roasted veggies and salmon.

I was shocked by the unique flavoring of the Blueberry, Peaches and Honey Salsa as I was expecting it to be incredibly sweet, however, the taste was just right and it had the perfect hint of sweetness on my tongue.  This salsa would be perfect for a summertime BBQ atop grilled fish for a fruit-inspired, warm-weather platter.  I paired this fruity salsa with my Greek yogurt and gluten-free granola for a tasty parfait dessert.  Yum–it definitely hit the spot.

As for the Roasted Garlic flavor, I topped my Eggplant Parmesan with a few dollops…I’m a sucker for garlic and I’ve been known to eat a few cloves raw each day (it’s a natural antibiotic but it sure does kill my breathe, I must say).  Donny’s Roasted Garlic Salsa was the perfect touch of garlic and tomatoes; I’m excited to try this garlic salsa with my homemade sweet potato fries and bean burgers–it makes a tasty topping and adds a rich garlic taste to a hearty meal.

Thank you again, Donny for sending me free samples of your tasty salsas..it’s ashame these tasty salsas aren’t sold right here in Manhattan, however you can easily order directly from the Don Sabrosa website.

Tasty Tortillas

These babies are tasty enough to knock your little socks off, I just couldn’t get enough of them last night and after one bite, I was in tortilla heaven.

I love experimenting in my tiny Manhattan kitchen with odds n’ ends that I have in my pantry. It keeps my meals exciting and my taste buds curious… to say the least.  Last night, I simply reached for a jar of salsa, refried beans and tortillas-the rest was left to my imagination, which always seems to run wild with condiments and mix-ins.  I had a nice pint of strawberries in my fridge, which added a perfect touch of sweetness to my dish.

I hope you enjoy this warm n’ tasty tortilla; the best part is the melted soy cheese- a the perfect way to warm up on a chilly September day.

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Ingredients

  • Tortillas (Gluten Free/ Whole Wheat)
  • 1 can Amy’s Organic Refried Beans
  • Fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Fresh or Frozen Spinach
  • Slivered Carrots
  • Greek Yogurt
  • SoyaKaas Gluten Free/Dairy Free Cheddar Cheese
  • Fresh Scallions, chopped
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh Avocado, sliced
  • Amy’s Organic Corn and Bean Salsa

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Place tortilla onto center of plate and spread re-fried beans over the entire surface.
  • Add sliced strawberries, carrots, scallions, avocado slices, cilantro, cheese and spinach atop of the beans.  Top with another tortilla.  Press down on the tortilla gently.
  • Place tortilla in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and tortilla is crispy.
  • Finish off with a few dollops of salsa, mashed avocado and Greek yogurt.
  • Enjoy!

Simple Bean Spread

Yes, this is another bean spread recipe.  As you all know…I love my beans not only for their delicious taste but because they are packed with fiber!  In this recipe, I used re-fried beans, which have a nice smooth consistency – perfect for a dip or a spread.   I enjoyed this bean spread with whole grain chips and veggies alongside salsa, Greek yogurt and guacamole.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can Re-fried beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 Roma tomato, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 Teaspoons Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Ripe Avocado, cored, peeled and mashed
  • 1/4 cup Grilled Corn Kernels (I roasted my corn in-husk on the grill first)

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Mix well.
  • Transfer to serving dish and serve alongside Greek plain yogurt, guacamole and salsa.  Enjoy as a dip with your favorite veggies or whole grain snack or as a spread on your sandwich.

Let me know how this bean spread delights your taste buds.  In what ways to do you incorporate bean spreads/dips into your meals?

Chilled Gazpacho Chili

This is a great dish for a warm August evening such as tonight…the next time you’re in the mood for the intense flavor and hearty taste of a chili but with a light, cool taste…be sure to whip up this refreshing gazpacho chili.

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Ingredients

  • Protein of choice (Ground Turkey, Chicken, Bison, Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, etc.)
  • 1 can Eden Organic Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Red Onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Scallion (chopped)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/2 cup Corn
  • 1  Poblano Pepper (chopped/seeded)
  • 3 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tbsp.  Ground Cumin
  • 1 can Eden Organic Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can Eden Organic Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 can Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 Avocado (chopped)
  • 1 Mango (peeled and sliced)
  • 8 Lime Wedges
  • Nu-Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add chicken broth, onion, poblano pepper, garlic and protein of choice.  Cook for 10 minutes or until protein source has fully cooked; stir frequently until protein starts to crumble.  Remove from heat.
  • Stir in chili powder, cumin, tomato paste, Nu-Salt and pepper, corn and both cans of beans.  Mix well.
  • Remove from heat and let cool in the refrigerator.
  • Transfer in to serving bowls and top with cilantro, mango and avocado slices.
  • Serve with limes.
  • Enjoy!

Grilled Tofu and Corn Salad

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This is a wonderful cool, summertime salad that I love to make…the crunchiness of the peanuts and grapes add the perfect texture to this healthy meal.

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 3 ears corn, husks and silks removed
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
  • 1/3 cup red onions, chopped
  • 1 cup red grapes
  • Large bed of spinach greens
  • 2 Tbsp. peanuts

Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • Dash of ground white pepper and Nu-Salt
  • 1/2 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions

  • In a food processor/blender puree orange juice and avocado.  Add the Greek yogurt, basil, honey and pepper. Process until smooth.
  • Spray grill with cooking spray and pre-heat grill.
  • Season the tofu with Nu-Salt and pepper.  Thread tofu onto metal skewers; leave a 1/3”  between each piece.  Cook for 4 minutes per side. Remove the skewers and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Cook the corn in a large pot of boiling water for 4 minutes. Remove and place on teh grill for 6 minutes; turning often until the corn shows golden brown spots.  Set aside to cool.  Slice the kernels off the cobs and add to the bowl with the tofu.  Add in the tomatoes, red grapes, peanuts and onions.
  • Toss gently with the dressing.
  • Serve over a bed of fresh spinach greens.
  • Enjoy!