Guest Chef - This week's guest chef is my fabulous friend Jessie, a professional baker (currently home with two charming young girls) and a talented cook. I especially appreciate the wonderful things she bakes for me...they ALWAYS look and taste like something I shouldn't be eating. The rest of today's blog entry comes straight from Jessie. Enjoy!
*oh, one extra thing. Radishes have always been one of the few veggies I didn't like. Jessie fried them for me, and they were delicious! She also pointed out you can get local radishes a good portion of the year in our grocery stores. They'll be in my shopping basket from now on.
Breakfast - Banana-Chocolate Breakfast Bars (or after-dinner sweet treats!)
Adapted from the recipe for “Wholesome Banana Chocolate Breakfast Bars” from Clotilde Dusoulier’s blog chocolateandzucchini.com. I usually just make the original recipe, but as it contains ground almonds, I decided to adapt it for this occasion to make it nut-free. The adaptation worked out just as well as the original. I make these often for quick breakfasts, snacks, or late-night sweet treats. I love that they are only sweetened with banana and a little bit of semi-sweet chocolate. They keep well on your counter for up to five days.
-2 cups wheat-free rolled oats (I get the Bob’s Red Mill variety at the No Frills on Lakeshore)
-1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
-1/2 cup ground flax seed
-1/3 cup gluten- and dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped-up a bit (I get the Cocoa Camino variety at the Metro on Lakeshore)
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-4 medium-sized bananas, mashed-up (I used over-ripened organic bananas that I had frozen)
-1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix dry ingredients together. In separate bowl, mix mashed banana, melted coconut oil and vanilla together. Mix all ingredients together. Press into greased 8” square baking pan, making top smooth. Bake at 350˚F for about 40 minutes, or at 325˚F on the convection setting for about 30 minutes, until edges start to brown. These squares will not rise.
*Please note. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so if your bananas are cold at all (as mine were, since they were recently de-thawed) it will cause the melted oil to re-solidify once it is mixed with the bananas. This is not a big deal, just stir it all together and keep going. Your squares will be fine.
Lunch - Jessie's exact words were "You’re on your own, Dielle!" So, I guess you're on your own too ;)
Dinner - Coconut-Tomato Soup (and brown rice and loads of toppings).
Inspired by Heidi Swanson’s recipe for “A Simple Tomato Soup” on her blog www.101cookbooks.com. Makes a large batch, but can be easily halved (in which case unused coconut milk can be refrigerated or frozen for later use)
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
-2 medium-sized onions, diced
-1½ teaspoons ground cumin
-3 (or so) pounds of tomatoes, in any form (this equals about two [28 oz] cans or two [22 oz] jars of tomatoes. This time I used Ontario Roma tomatoes that I had frozen in September.)
-1 can [13.5 oz] coconut milk (regular or “light”)
-salt, to taste
Fry onions in oil, on medium heat, until translucent. Add cumin and continue frying for a minute. Add tomatoes and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add coconut milk and cook for another few minutes. Blend with a handheld immersion blender (or with a regular blender or even a food processor) until fully pureed. Add salt to taste.
Serve over big scoop of brown rice. We ate this topped with sliced avocado, fried radishes, sunflower seeds toasted with Bragg’s, and fresh cilantro. For those not avoiding dairy this is also delicious topped with plain yogurt and lemon zest.
*Picky-kid option: My daughters (ages two and four) will sometimes turn up their noses at thin, pureed soups and/or things all mixed together. So with this meal you can continue simmering some of soup down to more of a sauce-like consistency and stir some into the rice. Serve on a plate and let the kids choose which topping to eat on the side.
What I Eat
I want to give you an idea of how to eat healthfully on a restricted diet, without a lot of work, by showing you how I eat! I eat strictly gluten-free. You'll find A LOT of veggies in this blog! I eat both fish and meat a few times a week (local and/or humane, whenever possible), and dairy when I'm visiting family and friends, or eating out. I hope you find this blog inspiring and interesting!