All posts in Gluten-Free Chicago

Coconut Lentil Curry by Chef Susan Pachikara of Cardamom Kitchen

Coconut Lentil Curry by Chef Susan Pachikara of Cardamom Kitchen

This month I welcome Chef Susan Pachikara of Cardamom Kitchen who shares her recipe for Coconut Lentil Curry. Trust me when I say this recipe is AMAZING (and EASY to make!)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

1 cup masoor dhal (red lentils)
½ cup diced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups water
1¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground cumin
10 to 15 fresh curry leaves (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cups coconut milk
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/8 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds
1 dried red chili, torn in half

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the dhal in a medium size saucepan. Rinse it several times and drain.

Add ¼ cup onions, garlic, water, salt, cayenne, cumin, curry leaves, and turmeric to the saucepan. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the dhal softens and expands, about 15 minutes. If foam forms on the surface, skim it off with a spoon.

Reduce heat to low and stir in coconut milk. Cook for 2 minutes.

Place the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, immediately add the remaining ¼ cup onions and dried red chili and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions begin to brown.

Swirl the seasoned onions into the dhal.

 Want to learn more from Susan about Indian cuisine? Sign up for her Culinary Tour of Devon Avenue! 

About Chef Susan:

Through cooking classes and culinary tours of Devon Avenue, Chef Susan offers home cooks and food lovers a portal to the authentic flavors of India. Her classes feature hands-on instruction for individuals or groups who want to bring the flavors of India home. Come discover the wonders of cardamom and curry leaves. Leave your passport behind. See www.cardamomkitchen.blogspot.com for a sample of Susan’s favorite family recipes.  To schedule a cooking class or culinary tour, contact Chef Susan at cardamomkitchen@gmail.com.

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Vegan chipotle bean burgers

Vegan chipotle bean burgers

Chipotle  Bean Burgers (Vegan)

Need a break from meat?  Lighten it up with meat-free options like these vegan chipotle bean burgers. Serve with a side of greens or a homemade sweet potato fries.

This recipe makes 6 patties

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 c broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 c peas
  • 1/4 c white mushrooms, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce (use gluten-free tamari for GF version)
  • 1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 c red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 GF quick cook oats
  • 1/4 c whole wheat flour (use almond flour for GF version)
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder (add more for spicier burger)
  • 1-2 tbsp oil, for cooking (coconut or grape seed are good options)

Directions:


  1. In large mixing bowl, combine beans, broccoli, peas and mushrooms. Mash with potato masher or large spoon
  2. Add soy sauce and vinegar. Mix well.
  3. Next add peppers, walnuts, rice, oats, almond flour and chipotle powder. Mix until you have a mushy consistency.
  4. Form patties. Don’t make them too thick.
  5. Heat oil on medium in large pan on stovetop.
  6. Cook patties until lightly brown on both sides.
  7. Enjoy!

Looking to incorporate more healthy recipes like this into your  food routine? Not sure how to get started? Contact me to schedule an introductory health coaching session and we’ll create your next steps!

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Gluten-free & lovin’ It! Why my life is better (and yours will be too) without gluten

Gluten-free & lovin’ It! Why my life is better (and yours will be too) without gluten

As a health coach, I help clients get rid of gluten. But we never talk about it as a “sacrifice” or “giving something up.” So please repeat after me:

“It’s not about what I can’t eat.  It’s about what I can eat! And my options are endless!”

I know…sounds cheesy, right? But go ahead, say it out loud (you know you want to!). Then check out this list of naturally gluten-free foods, which proves that your options on a gluten-free diet really are endless. (And note that my list doesn’t even begin to cover all the foods in the world that are naturally gluten-free!)

If you’re reading this, you or a family member probably is gluten-free or at least considering it. And if you’re like most GF people, it’s because you’re looking to improve your health.

You’re not alone! The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness says 21 million Americans have gluten-related disorders. Or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you don’t have a medical condition, but still find the diet appealing because you’ve gotten wind of how great it’s made others feel. Just recently, the New York Times published the article “Gluten-Free Eating Appears to Be Here to Stay” which features a top New York chef who has even embraced it in his Italian restaurant.

But back to “sacrifice.” You know from your own experience that going gluten-free sounds like giving up something you really, really love to eat. That’s how it made me feel in the beginning. And it’s true, at first, a life without gluten seems like a tremendous loss. For starters, who doesn’t love baguettes and homemade pasta?!

But who enjoys feeling sick?! If, like me, you’ve struggled with issues like irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or eczema, or even received a definitive diagnosis of Celiac Disease, you’re the first to trade those awful symptoms for your beloved bread or beer.

I remember the day I was talking with my healthcare practitioner, glumly listing all the stuff I couldn’t eat, and he said to me, “Why not look at it from a different point of view? Focus on what you can eat.” From that day on, I did exactly as he advised, and my relationship with food changed forever.

Before, I was an unhealthy vegetarian eating a diet full of processed foods, fake meats, and gluten-containing grains. On that great day I began to open myself up to a world of variety and flavor! Today I’m a fearless eater and I’m more open to trying new foods than I ever imagined I could be. My food life is simply grand, and it all started when I committed to a gluten-free diet and adopted my personal mantra, “It’s about what I can eat!”

What made adopting this mantra possible? A commitment to what really matters – my health. Not only did I have to reprogram my attitude toward food, but also ask myself the question “Why does my health matter?” and now I want you to do the same.

Your answer to this question will be a personal one, and undoubtedly linked to what matters to you in your own life. This could be your children, your spouse, your pet, your work…again, it’s personal. And when you have figured it out, you’ll find it much easier to prioritize your health, which includes a gluten-free diet.

Having trouble making the connection? Think about your life with gluten and without gluten. The former works against your health, while the latter works in favor. And when you don’t have your health, you can’t live your life to the fullest.

For example – going gluten-free helped me regain energy and healthy digestion, and diminished my joint pain. But for me personally, these health benefits meant so much more – I literally gained my life back. I could go to work without the fear of falling asleep at my desk or in a meeting (gluten made me extremely tired). I could enjoy dinner with friends and family and not worry that my stomach would become upset (I suffered from severe IBS for nearly 15 years).

Best of all, my husband and I began enjoying the outdoors with vacations out west. Before going gluten-free, I had agonizing knee pain and a lack of energy, which limited my interest in an active lifestyle. Today, outdoor activities like biking, hiking (and even surfing!) are mainstays in all of our travels. Last year alone we traveled to Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona.

My clients have also experienced positive life changes after adopting their new mantras. Take my client Kate, for instance. Going gluten-free meant relief from excruciating eczema that she’d been suffering from for years. Once off the gluten, not only did her skin begin to improve, but she also started down a path of paying attention to the foods she put into her body with the goal of eating for her health. Today she is at her ideal weight, frequently working out and a member of a soccer league. To her, a Celiac diagnosis and a gluten-free diet helped her create the active and healthy lifestyle she’d always dreamed about.

What I’m getting at here is that going gluten-free can literally give someone his or her life back. It did for me and it has done the same for many of my clients. And for someone with Celiac Disease or a non-Celiac gluten-sensitivity, there is so much to gain with a gluten-free lifestyle.

So, if you’ve convinced yourself that a gluten-free lifestyle is too hard, or not worth the pain, or something to feel bad about, think again. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Why does my health matter?” This will lead you down a more positive path, and empower you to embrace a gluten-free lifestyle. What’s more, you’ll be taking control of your health and in turn, your life.

Enjoy your gluten-free life – it’s going to be AMAZING!

 Need support going or staying gluten-free? Check out my Gluten-Free Coaching program.

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Crispy Baked Chicken Legs

Crispy Baked Chicken Legs

This month I welcome guest author, Tiffany Hinton, whose blog Gluten Free Mom Certified inspires moms everywhere to make delicious and nutritious gluten-free meals for their families. Today, Tiffany shares her most recent kitchen creation – crispy baked chicken legs!

Ingredients:
3-4 lbs chicken drumsticks or wings
1 tbs marjoram
2 tbs oregano
1 1/4 tsp smoked salt
1 1/2 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp dried chipotle ground
1 GF chicken boulin cube, crushed
2 tbs oil

Instructions:
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken in a large bowl, with all the spices, and then drizzle with 2 tbsp oil. Cover chicken completely with paste. Line a baking pan with foil; top with a wire rack. Arrange chicken legs out in a single layer. While the chicken legs are baking, oil will slowly drip to the bottom of the baking pan. Bake chicken legs until cooked through and skin is crispy, about 45-50 minutes. Rotate wings half way through – roughly 20 minutes. Rotate drumsticks and cook additional 30 minutes. Remove and serve with yogurt sauce or African pepper sauce.

About Tiffany Hinton
Tiffany started blogging in June of 2010, while going through treatments for fertility. Like many others, she struggled to talk about her experience, leading to an online journal for sharing emotions and heart. Following the birth of her first child she began to share gluten-free substitutes for her favorite family recipes on her blog, GFmomcertified.com. After three children in just three years, gluten free coking has become a necessity. Discovering she was not alone in the challenge to feed a gluten-free family opened the path to writing Gluten Free Mom Certified. She creates and shares recipes each week on her blog to help GF mothers meet the challenge of GF cooking.

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Gluten-Free Labeling in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Mariano’s

Gluten-Free Labeling in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Mariano’s

 

Whole Foods Market
I recently submitted questions to each of the mainstream grocery stores in my area (north side of Chicago – Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Mariano’s) where I frequently do my grocery shopping to determine what their in-store Gluten-Free labeling really means. As you may or may not know, currently there are no FDA regulations in place that require a food manufacturer to prove a food is really gluten free (i.e., contains less than 20 PPM) even if it is labeled as such. There’s good news though – the FDA passed a new rule in 2013 that will go into place in August 2014 that will make this a requirement. (You can learn more about the labeling law on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness website). In the meantime, we should all know what these stores’ policies are in relation to the foods they label as gluten-free in their stores.

Here’s the question I submitted to each store:

I’m gluten-free (by medical necessity) and I’m curious how your gluten-free labeling works. I’ve noticed some of your packaged foods are labeled with a “gluten-free” sign. As you probably are aware, right now there are no FDA regulations in place that require a food manufacturer to prove a food is really gluten free (i.e., contains less than 20 PPM). The FDA passed a new rule that will go into place in August 2014 that makes this a requirement. Can you tell me if the foods in your stores marked with the signs fit within the “less than 20 PPM” category” (therefore most likely certified by an accredited agency like GIG) or if they just mirror what’s on the label, which wouldn’t necessarily mean it was GF at this point in time.

Here are the responses I received:

Whole Foods Market

From Whole Foods:

Thank you for contacting us about in-store “gluten free” labeling. Our policy is to only make in-store “gluten free” claims via shelf tags, signage, etc. for products that have been reviewed and approved by the Global Quality Standards Team. Our position is that a Gluten Free claim should mean that the gluten level in the product is below 20 ppm, and that any Gluten Free product claims should be substantiated by quality assurance and testing protocols that verify the gluten level.

We also have a store specific Gluten Free Shopping list that is continuously updated and only contains products that have been approved and are available in our store. For your convenience I’ve inserted the link that will take you to the online Halsted Gluten Free Shopping list. If you like we can gladly print out a copy for you the next time you’re in the store.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/service/gluten-free-products-list?store=6563

Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any other questions or concerns

From Trader Joe’s:

Hi Joy,

Thanks for the inquiry. All of our products labeled with the words “Gluten-Free” have been laboratory tested to meet the required 20ppm or less per serving. The “No Gluten Ingredients Used” List is for products that are made WITHOUT gluten, but have not been tested for ppm.

You may call us at 626.599.3817 with any questions you have.

From Mariano’s: Note – I have not received a definitive response from Mariano’s yet but did receive a phone call within 24 hours of my request letting me know they are looking into it. I will update this post when once I receive their response. 

 

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Mariano’s Market is Gluten-Free and Organic-friendly!

Mariano’s Market is Gluten-Free and Organic-friendly!

Large mainstream grocery stores can be overwhelming to those of us who need to shop for allgery-friendly products like gluten-free or dairy-free foods. And, if you’re focused on organics, it’s often difficult to find a range of options to keep you satisfied. Today my neighborhood – Ravenswood – celebrated the grand opening of the new Mariano’s, located at Lawrence Ave. and Ravenswood, conveniently located right next to the Ravenswood Metra stop. Being that I fit into all three of the above food categories – gluten-free, dairy-free and organic – and help my clients transform their diets to include healthier foods and allergy-free options, I wanted to check out this new store to see what it has to offer. I especially wanted to see if I could rely on this store for my gluten-free and dairy-free staples.

My verdict?  This store is a great addition to the neighborhood, even for those of us who have special dietary requirements. The proof? See my finds below. And what’s more – the employees were friendly, willing to help and well-informed – all great things for those of us with specific grocery needs.

Here are my top Mariano’s Finds!

Lots of Organic Produce!

Organic Kale

Organic Produce

Organic Produce

A Dedicated Wheat & Gluten-Free Section

GF Grocery

Dairy-Free Yogurt 

Diary Free Yogurt

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Gluten-Free, Organic and Vegan Food Markers (These are part of Mariano’s Wellness program, Health KeyTM)

Organic Olive Oil

Gluten Free and Vegan Food

 Organic Coffee!

Organic Coffee

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Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding (gluten-free and dairy-free)

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding (gluten-free and dairy-free)

This gluten-free and dairy-free pudding is an easy recipe and a crowd-pleaser! Your kids will love it!  Plus it contains chia-seeds, which are packed with soluble fiber and contain beneficial Omega-3 fats. (Check out what Dr. Oz has to say about these seeds.)

Ingredients:


  • 1 can coconut milk (Trader Joe’s sells an option that does not contain any added thickeners)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For sweeter pudding, add:

  • 
1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1-2 tsp raw honey

Directions:


  1. Combine and mix all ingredients.
  2. Pour contents into mason jars and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  3. Once ready, spoon out into bowls. Top with favorite nuts for a little added crunch!

Looking to incorporate more healthy recipes like this into your  food routine? Not sure how to get started? Contact me to schedule an introductory health coaching session and we’ll create your next steps!

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Homemade Peanut (or Almond!) Butter Cups

These kid-approved peanut butter cups are a great alternative to store-bought versions like Reese’s. Plus, they’re super easy to make, which makes them mom-approved too!

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 ounces mini chocolate chips (~ 1/2 bag of chips; Enjoy Life is a great brand free of soy, gluten, dairy and nuts)
  • 1 cup of natural crunchy peanut butter or almond butter (Trader Joe’s raw crunchy almond butter works great! If you don’t like crunchy nut butters, creamy is fine too.)
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Place 10-12 mini cupcake liners onto a plate or in a muffin pan (you’ll place it in the freezer, so make sure whatever you choose fits!)
  2. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips in the bottom of the liners until they are 1/3 full.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in the microwave (~20 seconds) or on the stove until melted. In a small bowl, mix the oil with peanut or almond butter and stir until well-combined.
  4. Pour the coconut oil/nut butter mixture into the cupcake liners over the chocolate chips. Fill to the top
  5. Place cups into the freezer until frozen, about 45 minutes.
  6. Enjoy! Make sure to keep uneaten peanut butter cups in the freezer – once you take them out they will start to melt

 

 

 

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PB&J and Banana Smoothie

This gluten-free and dairy-free smoothie is refreshing and loaded with goodness. It’s great for kids who love peanut butter and jelly, and moms who’d rather pass on the processed bread and jam.  You can use fresh or frozen berries. If you choose fresh, you may want to add a little ice to cool it off a bit. You may opt to add more greens…don’t worry, your kids won’t even know they’re there!

1/4 cup frozen or fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
1/2 cup greens (kale or spinach)
1/2 banana
3 tbsp whole flax seed
1 tbsp natural almond or peanut butter
1 1/2 cups filtered water
Optional: replace 1/2 cup of water with plain organic milk (non-dairy works too) to make it creamier.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and enjoy your gluten free breakfast! Great as a snack too!

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