Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Bean Crepes and Mary’s Gone Crackers Gluten-Free Boat Cruise

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a fabulous boat cruise hosted by the famous Mary from Mary’s Gone Crackers.  I met Mary on Sunday and she invited me to this amazing event, which was filled with gluten-free goodies from her Mary’s Gone Crackers line.  I think I pretty much ate my body weight in her tasty gluten-free crackers, sticks and cookies…but it was well worth it!

Since the cruise didn’t take off until 9 PM, I decided to bring a gluten-free snack to hold me over until we set sail on the Hudson River.  I simply created these crepes on Sunday evening and packed them with me for work yesterday…then nibbled on them on my way down to the piers.  What an amazing evening…a walk along the West Side Highway watching the sailboats ride by, the sun set, munching on my gluten-free crepes and then setting sail with my gal Mary from Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Thank you, Mary for a wonderful evening full of fun and tasty gluten-free treats!

Here is the recipe for my black bean crepes…feel free to top them with your condiment of choice.  Perhaps a nut butter, Greek yogurt, guacamole or salsa.  I’d love to hear how you enjoy them…

What topping would you choose for your crepe?

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Bean Crepes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black beans, cooked
  • 1 cup wild rice, cooked
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of curry powder
  • Grapeseed oil, for cooking

Directions

  • In a food processor or blender, combine beans and rice with some warm water to create a batter consistency; add nutmeg, sea salt and curry powder, to taste.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat with grapeseed oil.
  • Transfer batter to hot skillet until the batter fills the skillet completely.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly browned. Flip and cook for an additional minute.
  • Continue with remaining batter.
  • Serve as a breakfast wrap with tofu or eggs; a lunchtime sandwich wrap or an evening dessert topped with fresh fruit and agave nectar.
  • Enjoy!
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Super Foods on a Budget

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In this day n’ age…the economy isn’t looking too shabby.  We all have to learn to cut back on certain things, however, we should not be cutting back on our nutritious foods as we must continue to feed our bodies with healthy super foods everyday.  Here are a few of my favorite super foods that will keep you on (or hopefully under) your budget!

Swiss Chard

  • An excellent source of beta carotene (an antioxidant and pre-cursor for vitamin A), vitamin C, and a good source of potassium and magnesium.  Research has shown that vitamin C and beta carotene may prevent the oxidation of LDL “Bad” cholesterol and therefore may decrease risk of heart disease.  Moreover, research has also shown that magnesium and potassium may lower blood pressure levels.  Swiss Chard is reasonably priced- a bit more expensive then some of your other greens, but still about $2/bunch.

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Kale

  • This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium.  Not to mention a good source of potassium and magnesium.   Like most greens it is usually fairly cheep at $1.50/ bunch.

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Spinach

  • One of the best green leafies out there- it’s an excellent source of folate, antioxidant vitamins A (formed from beta-carotene) and C, and a good source of potassium and magnesium.  Studies show that folate can help prevent heart disease by lowering levels of the amino acid homocysteine.  Plus, you can usually find it year round for less than a $1/bunch.

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Broccoli

  • An excellent source of folate and vitamin C, a good source of fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, potassium and vitamin B6.   If that isn’t enough broccoli is also packed with phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.  Plus, it’s low in cost and calories.

Tomatoes

  • An excellent source of vitamins  A and C, a good source of potassium and contain the antioxidant lycopene.  Depending on the type of tomato, they can be pricey, however, review your choices in the food store and purchase the cheapest, best quality tomatoes.

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Parsnips

  • A good source of vitamin C, fiber and folate.  Fiber helps promote heart health by reducing levels of LDL “Bad” cholesterol and that vitamin C decreases risk for heart disease by preventing the oxidation of LDL “Bad” cholesterol.  These fun veggies are close in price to carrots, perhaps a few cents more, but still fairly cheep.

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Avocados

  • Rich in monounsaturated “GOOD” fats and contain potassium and folate.  Research shows that monounsaturated fats can lower LDL “Bad” cholesterol.   Avocados add the perfect touch to any meal and for the inexpensive price, you can’t beat it!

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids

  • Omega 3’s are known to lower heart disease risk, help arthritis, and may help with depression, memory loss and Alzheimer’s.  Most prevalent in fatty, cold water fish such as WILD (not farmed) salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring.  Also found in fortified eggs, flax seeds and walnuts.  All of these super foods are high in monounsaturated fats, which is a huge benefit since this can lower cholesterol.  Fresh fish can be quite pricey, however, for the nutritional punch these Omega 3’s provide–it’s worth the extra cash–treat yourself!

Bananas

  • Loaded with Potassium and fiber, these yellow treats are not just a monkey’s favorite.  Not to mention they are about 20 cents a piece–a dollar can get you a banana for every day of the workweek!

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Steel Cut Oats

  • High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have been known to lower cholesterol-and boy are they cheap! A dollar can buy you more than a week’s worth of warm, satisfying steel cut oats!

Sardines

  • These relatively cheap little fish come with big benefits such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.  And, because they are low on the food chain, they do not accumulate mercury.

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Whole Grain Pasta

  • A delicious complex carbohydrate that is high in protein and B vitamins-not to mention it’s one of the cheapest staples you can buy!

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Tofu

  • This inexpensive protein source is not just for vegetarians and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.  It’s high in B vitamins and Iron, but low in fat and sodium, making it a healthful addition to many dishes.

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Beets

  • These purple guys are sweet to the palate while their rich flavor and color make them nutritious for our bodies; they are powerhouses of folate, iron, and antioxidants.  Look for fresh beets in your food store, most beets are reasonably priced and found near the root veggies.

Nuts

  • Packed with good-for-you fats, both unsaturated and monounsaturated, these are a good source of essential fatty acids, protein, and vitamin E.  Because they are so nutrient-dense, you only need a handful or two to reap the nutritional benefits.  Although macadamias and pecans can be costly, nuts such as walnuts, peanuts and almonds are low in cost.

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Wild Rice

  • This gluten-free complex carbohydrate is a whole lot better for you than “white” rice and it’s low in fat, and high in protein and fiber.  This rice is loaded with B vitamins and potassium, not to mention the delicious, nutty, robust flavor.

Garbanzo Beans

  • No only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but they are high in iron, folate, manganese and fiber, and may help reduce cholesterol levels.  If you don’t like Garbanzo beans–try another-lentils, lima, black-the varieties are endless.  Additionally, with beans, you’re getting your money’s worth because they are much cheaper to purchase than animal proteins.

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Blueberries

  • Packed with phytoflavinoids and antioxidants, these berries are also high in vitamin C and potassium, which are anti-inflammatory and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.  The darker the berry, the more antioxidants they have.  And remember, frozen fruits are just as good as fresh.  Fresh berries get a bad rep for being pricey, however, their frozen friends are just as delish and good for you, not to mention cheaper! Head to the freezer isle if the fresh berries are too pricey.

What do you consider your Super Foods? How do their prices fair against the ones I have listed above?  Have you had to cut back at the food store due to our current economic times?

Great Grains

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Move over pasta, hit the road potatoes! Make room for my Great Grains- they’ll not only add new flavors to your meal, but will provide you with fiber, as well.

Say good bye to boring white rice, potatoes, and pasta.  Give the bye-bye to “white” starches and welcome in couscous, bulgur wheat, brown/wild rice, quinoa and barley.  These grains give your side dish a unique taste and are an excellent source of iron, dietary fiber, vitamins, and protein.  Each of these grains has its own distinctive flavor, making them as nutritious as they are yummy.

Bulgur Wheat

  • If you’re in a time crunch and want a grain that’s quick and easy to prepare.  Look no further!  Bulgur wheat’s latest and greatest claim to fame is tabbouleh salad, which is a Middle Eastern veggie and wheat salad that is very popular in the US and can be found pre-made in many food stores.  Bulgur wheat cooks by rehydration, meaning, pour 2 cups of boiling water or broth over dry bulgur and let stand for 45 minutes.  Bulgur wheat is often used as a ground meat substitute in vegetarian cuisine.  Moreover, when cooked in vegetarian chili, for instance, the bulgur texture becomes very similar to ground meat- but lends more fiber and less fat!

Wild Rice

  • Wild rice is actually not a rice-it is the seed of a grass grown in Canada and Minnesota.  Wild rice has a unique flavor,  therefore you may want to combine it with other grains before serving it alone.  Moreover, this grain is quite expensive since it is hand harvested-so in this economy you may have to stick to this grain on special occasions if you’re watching your food budget.  Wild rice uses three to four times the amount of water or broth versus grain and the rice must simmer for a full 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving, however, take my advice…this wild grain is well worth the wait!

Brown Rice

  • This is probably the grain you are most familiar with, however, try to substitute this brown rice for your old friend, the white rice when you can.  Brown rice contains more fiber and is more nutritious.  You can simply cook a batch of brown rice and store it in an airtight container in your fridge for days when you do not have time to let it cook slowly.  Brown rice cooks in double the amount of water or broth and needs to summer for a full 45 minutes.

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Quinoa

  • Quinoa has a nutty taste and aroma that is wonderful to the palate, which explains why it is commonly used in salads, pilafs, side dishes and soups.  This grain has been growing in the fields of South America for years, as the Incans called it “The Mother Grain.”  This grain only needs 15 minutes to cook on the stove top with 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of quinoa. 

Barley

  • Barley is a mild-flavored kernel-shaped grain that’s known for adding thickness to soups and stews.  This grain pairs wonderfully when added to casseroles containing winter root veggies.  The two most often types used for cooking are pearled barley and hulled barley.  Pearled barley is barley that has been milled and because of this, it only takes 40 minutes to cook.  Hulled barley is barley who’s outer layer has been removed, this is more nutritious than pearled barley, however it takes 90 minutes to cook. 

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Couscous

  • Yes, you’re right.  Couscous is NOT a grain; it’s actually a tiny pasta made from fine semolina wheat.  However, couscous is similar to a very light grain, making it ideal for those who are just starting to experiment with specialty grains.  Couscous is quick and easy to prepare with 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of couscous and it’s ready in 5 minutes! Now that’s a quick fluffy bed of couscous ready for a topping of chicken, fish, or tofu.

Here are a few of my quick and easy tips for adding Grains into your day:

  • For breakfast, cook brown/wild rice in 1 cup water.  Sprinkle the hot cooked rice with cinnamon and nutmeg. Drizzle with agave nectar. Check out my post, What’s For Breakfast for more ideas on incorporating grains into your morning meal.
  • For a meat-less chili, substitute 1 cup dry bulgur wheat for 1 pound of animal meet.  Saute the bulgur with onions and peppers.  Add beans, vegetables, and spices of your choice and let the chili simmer until thickened.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix up your grains-combining two grains in one dish packs a powerful punch of flavor and won’t leave your taste buds disappointed.  For instance, mix couscous and quinoa, or brown and wild rice.  These grains complement each others flavors extremely well and add a nice touch to any dish.
  • For a hearty dish that follows the “Cook once, eat Twice” philosophy, simply saute 1/2 cup mushrooms an 1/2 cup onions in 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a non-stick skillet.  Add 1 cup chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in 1 cup of barley and reduce heat- cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Now you have a delish side dish for dinner, leftovers for your morning porridge and just enough to mix into your hearty chicken salad with dried cranberries at lunch tomorrow.

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No matter what Great Grain you try, these babies will Not disappoint!  Try one of these fun, new grains tonight and experiment in your kitchen.  Let me know what recipes your making and share with us your favorite ways to enjoy your grains!