BlogHer Food San Fran … and Gluten Free Black Garlic Risotto Cakes

Words cannot describe the fun-filled 4 days in San Fran for BlogHer Food…I am a true foodie and I had an amazing time back in San Fran for this incredible conference filled with great food, talented foodie bloggies and lots of tasty eats!

San Fran in 5 Words…

Inspirational…

Magical…

Fresh…

Sunny…and Delicious…

Thank you, San Fran … I will be back soon … I assure you … I do travel for good, quality food.

In Other ‘Healthy Apple’ News This Week:

I recently won the Applegate Farms Recipe Contest … I’ll be sure to keep you posted when my winning recipe is published!

I’m also excited to announce that I won the Honorable Mention of the 2010 Angela’s Unique Recipes “Give the Oven a Rest”  Recipe Contest at Angela’s amazing and delicious blog, Amrecipes.

My winning recipe was:

Gluten-Free Black Garlic Risotto Cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 bulbs of black garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 parsnips, finely chopped
  • 2 cups risotto
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Nori flakes, for topping
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Almond flour
  • Tomato sauce, for topping

Directions

  • Coat garlic with 1 Tbsp. olive oi; puree in a food processor.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add parsnips and onion.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Add risotto and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Add wine and let evaporate.
  • When wine has evaporated completely, add vegetable broth slowly, letting each addition evaporate before adding more.
  • When risotto is fully cooked, remove from heat; add in nutritional yeast, garlic puree, balsamic vinegar and basil.  Season with sea salt and pepper.
  • Transfer into a large bowl; set aside to cool.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Shape risotto into patties; place onto a baking sheet.
  • Cover and place into the fridge for 1 1/2 hours.  Place almond flour in a dish; coat each cake with flour.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add risotto cakes and cook until golden brown and cooked through; approximately 4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Repeat with additional risotto cakes.
  • Serve warm with fresh tomato sauce and a sprinkle of nori flakes.
  • Enjoy!

Have a deliciously enjoyable weekend, foodies…

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Foods To Avoid On a Gluten-Free Diet


Gluten, the gluey protein found in wheat and grains can be a challenge to eradicate from your diet.  There’s a reason wheat is used in wallpaper paste and adhesives; it sticks to just about anything.  Whether you have celiac, gluten-intolerance or simply want to cut down on your gluten consumption, eliminating the omnipresent ingredient takes some time and patience.  But with a little dedication, your gluten-free lifestyle will soon become second nature.  With the tips provided below, you’ll be able to weed through the myriad of products and fill your pantry with gluten-free goodies.

Gluten-Free vs. Wheat-Free

Carefully reading food labels is a must; thousands of products claim to be ‘wheat free,’ however they contain gluten.  Many foods you may not think of contain gluten and the smallest amount can cause problems and trigger your immune system.  Unless the package specifically says ‘gluten-free’ and the ingredients are truly free of gluten and wheat, do not chance it. Basically, don’t consume ingredients you cannot pronounce.

Avoid the Culprit in your Man Meal

Sadly, doughnuts, croissants and bagels are out.  Not to mention pizza, pasta and warm chocolate chip cookies.  No more birthday cake?  Don’t fret.  The obvious: cereal, pasta and bread (unless noted gluten-free) should be avoided, as well as all forms of wheat and grains including rye, oats, barley, kamut and spelt. Carefully read the ingredients in soups, bouillon and blue cheese, which may contain wheat.  Furthermore, matzo flour, chicken nuggets, meat balls, baked beans, pates, self basting turkeys, crab cakes and processed meats may contain gluten. Vegetarian meals often contain gluten; steer clear of seitan and review ingredients for soy-based veggie burgers. Although vegetables are gluten-free in their natural state, when mixed in sauces or fried, gluten may be present.

Watch your Condiments

Gluten contamination is hidden everywhere.  Sharing condiments should be avoided; purchase your own and separate with a labeling system.  Beware of gravy and sauces that use flour as a thickening agent. Chutneys and pickles, white pepper, brown rice syrup, dressings and spices may contain traces of gluten and should be avoided.  The same goes for your everyday condiments such as mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise. Surprisingly, even your tasty potato chips may contain gluten.

Double Check your Beverages

Be cautious with blended and herbal teas as the flavors may be derived from gluten grains. Cocoa, tomato juice, pre-made shakes, root bear, syrups and instant coffee can also contain trace amounts of gluten.  Several non-dairy milk products contain the hidden ingredient due to the barley used in processing the natural flavor.

At happy hour, it’s best to avoid beer.  When it comes to cocktails and spirits, steer clear of flavorings, mixes and malt. Potato vodkas, distilled whisky, unflavored rums and tequilas are naturally gluten-free. You’re usually in the clear with wines, however many wineries use old oak barrels sealed with food grade paste.

Beware of Extras

Many products often get overlooked when it comes to gluten.  Survey the ingredients in your gum, peanut butter, chocolate and energy bars.  Don’t forget to check the fine print on your vitamins, medications, and cosmetics, mouthwash, and toothpaste; the culprit could be lurking in any of these.

Gluten-Free Food Shopping

For a quick and painless shopping experience, it’s always best to come up with a strategy. Before heading out the door, compile a grocery list that can be used for future trips. Remember to double check the product is in fact gluten-free—you’d be surprised at how many brands make false advertising claims. Call the company if you’re unsure and be diligent about reading labels. Ingredients can change and you don’t want to be caught with gluten in your basket.

Be sure to check out my newest StyleCaster article,

Smarter Snacking: 5  Healthy Recipes To Beat That 3 PM Slump.”

Giveaway: Purely Elizabeth Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

I am thrilled to announce my giveaway for 3 Purely Elizabeth Gluten-Free Baking Mixes to 1 lucky Healthy Apple reader!

I recently had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth (as we are both BU and IIN graduates) and chat with her about her incredible gluten-free baking mixes.  My clients and I love the pancake and muffin mixes –my favorite is the Ultimate Cacao Muffins…these muffins are so tasty and perfect for a morning breakfast with nut butter, an afternoon treat with Greek yogurt or an evening dessert with a fresh icing.  Yum…

Have any of you tried these Purely Elizabeth baking mixes? If not, now’s your time to taste them with this great giveaway.  Also, I will be selling the Purely Elizabeth products on my website through this link, so you can easily purchase the products right here at The Healthy Apple without having to search for them in your health food store.

Living a gluten-free life isn’t so easy for us gluten-intolerant folks and let me tell you, finding a gluten-free and delicious baking mix is close to impossible…I honestly have not come across a tasty baking mix until I tried Purely Elizabeth’s products…they’re easy and simple to create…just follow the directions on the back of the package and add few ingredients.  Each baking mix is purely created from whole grains, flax and chia seeds…doesn’t that sound delish?

So, here’s your chance to win this gluten-free Purely Elizabeth Baking Mix Giveaway.

To enter, ‘purely’:

1). View the Purely Elizabeth website and tell me what baking mix you’d like to try.
2). Post this giveaway on your blog. Leave a comment telling me you did.
3). Tweet this Giveaway post! Leave me a third comment telling me you did.

Each comment counts as an entry.

Good Luck; I will be picking a winner on Friday evening, 5PM EST.

And speaking of Gluten-Free, be sure to check out my latest gluten-free pastas in my store!

Squash Blossom Guacamole and Giveaway…

Last night, I had a bit of time on my hands and decided to once again get creative in my kitchen.  I recently purchased a few beautiful squash blossoms and I was yearning for a guacamole to have in my fridge for the weekend, therefore I decided to make the best of my blossoms and whip up a tasty guac with a pinch of saffron and chili powder to add a nice kick. The end result: Delishhhy.   Let’s just say there isn’t much left as I was tasting it all night long…

Ingredients

  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 4 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 3 squash blossoms
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Dash of pepper

Directions

  • Toast saffron threads in a frying pan.
  • Mash in a mortar and pestle.
  • In a medium sized bowl, mash avocados with saffron and squash blossoms.
  • Fold in remaining ingredients.
  • Serve chilled.
  • Enjoy!

Wildwood Organics Coupon Give-Away


I have 4 Complimentary Wildwood Organics Coupons to giveaway as well as many discounted coupons, therefore I will be picking 4 winners on Monday, March the 15th.

4 Lucky Winners will each win 1 complimentary coupon along with many discounted coupons!

To enter this Wildwood Organics Coupon Giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me what Wildwood Organics product you’d like to try.

Good Luck.


In The News This Week…

Avoiding Processed Foods is a Good First Step Toward a More Healthful Diet

Improving Your Diet Doesn’t Mean You Have to Break the Bank

How Healthy is Going Gluten Free?

Salty, Sweet: A Study Says Fat is the 6th ‘Taste’

Green Fish Catches On

Gluten Problems for Babies

Monday is the last day to enter the Progresso Souper You Contest at www.Progresso.com/SouperYou.

Don’t forget to set your clocks for Daylight Savings this weekend…

Spring Ahead one hour!

Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery, NYC and My Secret Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Tully, the proud owner of the fabulous Tu-Lu’s Bakery here in Manhattan.  Like me, Tully is gluten-intolerant, as well.  Tully graduated from Le Courdon Bleu school in Texas and enjoys creating her own mix of gluten free baked goods. I love Tully’s treats because she offers a vast array of gluten-free and vegan treats that are incredibly tasty.

Me and Tully at Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery, NYC

How did you come up with the idea for Tu-Lu’s Bakery?

I had been cooking professionally for about 4 years at catering companies in NYC. I left my job and enrolled in NYU’s Food Studies masters program. While taking a food entrepreneur class, I came up with my business plan to start a wholesale gluten-free company. After being 3 months in business, I quickly decided that I wanted to open a retail shop to sell my baked goods fresh and be able to interact with my customers.

Tell me about your typical day at Tu-Lu’s Bakery.

I think people have the misconception that my day is spent in the bakery. I actually spend most of my time in the office! Placing orders, emailing, dealing with payroll, paying bills, etc. take up most of my time. The best moments are playing with new recipes and talking to customers.

What is your favorite gluten-free dessert?

A Chocolate soufflé.

What is your favorite gluten-free meal to cook?

Parmesan polenta with roasted chicken and oyster mushrooms.

What is your favorite New York City restaurant?

It’s so hard to choose one! From fancy to casual, my picks are Eleven Madison Park, Little Owl, and Caracas Arepa Bar.

What is one kitchen tool that you couldn’t live without?

A microplane.

What do you see in the future for Tu-Lu’s Bakery?

I would love to expand the online ordering to include many of our other treats and perhaps cupcakes.

Describe your kitchen at home.

TINY! It’s crammed with all sort of cooking ingredients and gadgets. I’m thankful I have a dishwasher though.

Even though you are a famous baker, do you consider yourself to be more of a cook or a baker at home?

Well…I wouldn’t call myself famous! I am definitely a cook. I did not go to culinary school to specialize in pastry, but when I went gluten-free all I wanted was baked goods. That’s how it all started.

What is your best kitchen advice?

Prep all your ingredients (chopping, grating, etc.) before you being so you complete the recipe quickly and correctly.

What inspires your baking?

I try to think of what people miss eating the most. We just came up with a delicious peppermint chocolate cookie that resemble another cookie whose name I won’t mention. I hope that people will be thrilled to find treats in my bakery that they used to love!

Did you always have a passion for food growing up as a child and throughout your adolescence?

Growing up I loved being in the kitchen with my mom and taking cooking lessons. I’ve always read cookbooks like novels.

What is always in your pantry?

Olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, agave, sliced almonds, dried cherries, polenta, brown rice pasta…and so much more. Remember? I have a small kitchen that is about to burst!

Desert island cookbook?

Any of the Barefoot Contessa books. I love the simplicity of her cooking.


The next time you find yourself in the East Village of Manhattan, stop into Tu-Lu’s Bakery and taste Tully’s delicious baked goods…my favorite are the chocolate chip cookies and dark chocolate brownies..they’re quite delish and by far the best freshly baked gluten-free treats I’ve come across here in Manhattan.

And, to go along with the ‘Gluten-Free Bakery’ theme of today’s post, I thought I’d share my secret Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie recipe with all of you…Enjoy!

The Healthy Apple’s Secret Gluten Free Peanut Butter Nibbles

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground flax seeds
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Optional: Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. organic smooth peanut butter

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat egg, sugar, baking soda, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon on medium-low speed with an electric mixer.
  • Slowly add in peanut butter.
  • Spoon teaspoon sized amounts onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack for cooling.
  • Enjoy!

10 Healthy New Years Resolutions

As 2009 rolls to an end, too many of us are still eating too much cholesterol, sodium, sugar and unhealthy fats.  We’ve made resolutions each year, but daily stressors and our constant time-crunch lifestyles lead to mindless and unhealthy eating.  Here are ten simple steps to a healthier diet and lifestyle for 2010, so cross off your list of excuses and start January on the right foot.  Healthy diets don’t require a major overhaul, just a few changes here and there is all you need.

Don’t Cut Out, Simply Add In

Instead of depriving yourself of the foods you love, start slowly by adding in healthy, wholesome foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables at each meal.  Avoiding the foods you cannot live without will only set you up for disaster.  Moderation is key to enjoying some unhealthy foods, so don’t beat yourself up for savoring sweets, just be sure to keep yourself in check throughout the rest of the day.

Watch Where Your Calories Are Coming From

If you’re eating a white bagel for breakfast, a smear of Jiff on Wonder bread for lunch and a frozen entrée for dinner, it’s a smart choice to re-consider the source of these processed foods.  Aim to eat as close to the natural source as possible and revamp your pantry with whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  For instance, opt for a whole grain bagel with lox, almond butter on whole wheat bread for lunch and a tofu stir fry for dinner.  You’ll be amazed at the surge in energy these simple swaps will make in your daily life.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

Hop off the Lo-Carb bandwagon, which phased out years ago; by now you should know healthy carbs do exist.   Enjoy nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which contain complex carbs and fiber to keep you satiated longer than the nutrient-void simple carbs found in candy, soda, white bread products and juices.  Simple carbs are nothing but empty calories and will leave you unsatisfied with a blood sugar surge and crash, therefore opt for your whole grain friends in lieu of their white counterparts.

Enjoy Heart-Healthy Fats

All fats are not created equal.  Forgo the fat phobia and enjoy healthy unsaturated fats from oils, fish, seeds and nuts in moderation.  Steer clear of saturated fats found in whole milk, meat and cheese.  Make an effort to scan nutrition labels for trans fats, which are unhealthy and found in many products containing hydrogenated oils.  Moreover, limit your intake of full fat dairy and red meat; opt for skim milk or unsweetened soy milk in your morning cereal and swap ground chicken in place of beef in your evening tacos.

Increase your Fiber

Americans typically don’t get enough fiber in their diets, therefore make it a ‘Must’ for 2010 to increase your fiber intake with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat.  You get more fiber, vitamin E, B6, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese and potassium in whole wheat than in refined ‘enriched’ white flour.  Moreover, toss in fruits, beans and vegetables to your morning omelet, afternoon salad and evening chili to reap the heart-healthy benefits of fiber.  Get creative and opt for a breakfast parfait, whole wheat zucchini bread, hummus with vegetables or bean burgers.

Up Your Water Intake

It’s quite easy and free.  Keep bottled water with you all day long; one at your work desk, another in your kitchen fridge and yet another along your bedside to give your body a fluid boost and help flush out toxins.  Opt for a glass of water with fresh mint, cucumber slices, oranges or limes, which will give your taste buds a refreshing treat without the calories and sugar of soda or juice.  Avoid sodas and sugar-laden juices by slowly transitioning to a mixture of seltzer and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Create A Rainbow

Vary the rainbow of produce in your meals; try adding a new fruit and vegetable to your meals each week.  Toss an apple in your brown bag or whip up a fruit smoothie for breakfast.  When creating dinner, opt for topping your fish or chicken with vegetable and fruit purees.  Keep handy bags of frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer and create ready-to eat crudités in your fridge.  Need an emergency snack to keep in your gym bag? Why not create a mixture of dried apples, apricots, pears and cherries? Dried fruits are a tasty way to satisfy your sweet craving and add to your fiber quota for the day.

Nix Mindless Munchies

Keep yourself busy with a mint or a piece of gum.  Moreover, make a habit of brushing your teeth after each meal.  After your meal, enjoy a hot herbal tea or hot water with lemon while you digest your food and give your brain enough time to register that you are full.  Take a walk, call a friend or journal; make a list of things to do when you are ‘bored’ and find yourself mindlessly devouring the pantry.  Post this list on your fridge and refer to it each time you find yourself reaching for the pint of Breyer’s.

Forgo Temptations

Leave the chips, cookies and candy in the food store, not in your pantry.  Unfortunately these tasty treats seem to creep into our kitchens and the outcome is never enjoyable.  Instead of depriving yourself of sweets, think about what you are craving and what would satisfy your need for sweetness.  Perhaps it’s a cup of hot coco with skim milk, cinnamon and coco powder, or an apple dipped into agave nectar and sprinkled with unsweetened coconut.  If you are a chocolate fan, enjoy a square of rich dark chocolate or a few raw cacao nibs to cure your sweet tooth.

Enjoy Your Food

Create an eye-appeasing dish and sit down in an enjoyable environment while you dine.  Many people eat while standing up and end up inhaling food out of the fridge.  Turn away from the computer at lunch and savor your food, turn off the television at night and focus on your food presentation.  Taking the time to prepare a beautiful dish is the name of the game and easier to do than you think.  The only way a healthy diet will work is if you enjoy the foods you are eating so be sure to savor each bite of your meal and concentrate on your hunger and satiety levels before reaching for seconds.

In The News…

General Mills Launches Liveglutenfreely.com

General Mills To Reduce Sugar in Cereals