Oh So Fabulous Buckwheat Chia Bread (GF and Vegan) by Allison

I’ve tried my fair share of vegan and GF bread recipes, and most of them were “no bueno” and ended right up where they belonged…..the garbage can. This recipe however is amazing, especially right out of the oven. Forget about it cooling completely before you slice into it! It’s high time to break the rules, just don’t burn your tongue in the meantime! Even your gluten-loving friends will enjoy this delicious bread. One trick…. I bake it longer than the recipe states, 15-20 minutes longer. Make it and let me know what you think!

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Buckwheat Chia Bread
slightly adapted from The Healthy Chef

Makes 1 loaf
300 g (10 1/2 oz / 1 3/4 cups) gluten-free whole raw buckwheat groats (found at DM here in Prague)
60 g (2 fl oz / 1/4 cup) whole chia seed
250 ml / 1 cup water (use half to soak chia seeds and the other half to combine in the food processor or blender)
60 ml ( 2 fl oz / ¼ cup ) olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 160 C / 320 F. (fan forced oven).

Soak buckwheat in plenty of cold water for 2 hours until softened.

Soak chia seed in 1/2 cup cold water until gel like – this takes about 30 minutes.

Drain the buckwheat and rinse through a fine sieve. Make sure all the water is fully drained.

Place the buckwheat into a food processor.

Add chia gel, 1/2 cup of water, olive oil, bicarb soda, sea salt and lemon juice.

Mix in a food processor for 3 minutes. The bread mix should resemble a batter consistency with some whole buckwheat still left in the mix.

Spoon into a loaf tin lined with baking paper on all sides and the base.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until firm to touch and bounces back when pressed with your fingers. I bake it for 1.5 hours if I use one large loaf pan.

Remove from the oven and cool for approx. 30 minutes. Remove from the tin or loaf pan and cool completely on a rack or board. The bread should be slightly moist in the middle and crisp on the outside.

Cool completely before eating. Don’t do this….try it while it is hot!

Serve delicate slices only when cold with a serrated knife. Nah….you don’t need to follow this advice!

Store wrapped in the fridge for up to 1 week. (This bread can be frozen for up to 3 months)

Delicious lightly toasted in a cast-iron pan.
Serves 12

Make Your Own Tomato Sauce

 

March 28 is the Prague Half Marathon. It will be my third time running in this event. I have been training for three months, starting most mornings with a 5am run in the cold, dark winter! It is not always fun and I am not always motivated. Of course, there are mornings I opt out and sleep an extra hour, but most mornings, I drag myself out bed knowing I will feel good when I finish.

As a morning runner, I don’t eat before hitting the pavement. My body is not used to having food before any 5 to 10km run. That is why I need to be  well fueled the night before I run! During these training months, I allow myself to include pasta once a week and usually the night before upping my mileage or doing a long run.  Baked chicken, steamed broccoli and a small amount of pasta with tomato sauce is a balanced meal fit for this runner. But that isn’t just any tomato sauce; it’s a homemade recipe with no additives or preservatives, no sugar and low sodium… And yes, it tastes great!  

 I used a variety of colored, grape tomatoes to make this batch. I want to try this recipe with plump, juicy roma tomatoes as they come in season this summer. The sauce is easy to whip up fresh during the work week- you can heat on medium for 15 minutes or if you have the time let it summer on low for an hour! I sometimes make a bigger batch on the weekend and freeze portions for later use! Whichever method you use-Enjoy! 

 Fresh Tomato Sauce 

Ingredients: 1-2 pints of grape tomatoes, 3 clove of garlic (chopped), 1 medium white onion (sliced), 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 cup vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano and salt and pepper to taste.  

Directions: 

In medium sauce pan, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes, stock, and herbs. If pressed for time, cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Otherwise, simmer for 1 hour on low heat, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, I use an immersion blender for 20 seconds to blend the sauce. Just pulse it a few times to keep from getting too runny. You don’t have to do this but this is how I reach the consistency I like… Enjoy! 

It’s Rootbeer Float time!

Summertime is meant for spending time outdoors. I grew up on a street that is above a lake and when I am home visiting my parents during the summer this lake is my oasis.

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It is a short three minute walk down the hill to spend a couple hours floating in the sunshine! But summertime is also about satisfying my sweet tooth! Usually folks enjoy a bowl or cone of ice cream to cool down and satisfy their sweet summer cravings. I usually enjoy sorbet as it is lactose free. I have a sensitivity to dairy and have not eaten real, creamy ice cream in a very long time! But after a random conversation about old fashioned rootbeer I decided I really wanted a rootbeer float! I satisfied my sweet tooth with a cold, Pacific Northwest brewed rootbeer and two scoops of coconut milk ice cream!

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This Oregon rootbeer is made with 100% cane sugar and without high fructose corn syrup and it is gluten free! Combining it with the coconut milk ice cream, I made a gluten free and lactose free treat and it honestly tasted just as good as the real deal!

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This sweet summer treat brought back memories of childhood summers with my siblings… and during this last week in Oregon, I fully intend not only to enjoy a few more “floats” on the lake but also another float with this fancy Oregon rootbeer!

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How to make your own rootbeer float!
1. Put two big scoops of your favorite vanilla flavored ice cream in a tall glass. (If you are a non-dairy or lactose free person use a soy or coconut milk based ice cream!)
2. Pour 1/2 a bottle (or can) of rootbeer over the ice cream and let it fizz! Then pour as much as you want to fill the glass!!
3. Enjoy with a spoon or straw, inside or outside and alone or with people… Just enjoy it!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Buckle by Allison

Blueberries by the basket you say? Yes indeed, I’ve been buying blueberries by the basket! Why not? Being from the Pacific Northwest I grew up with being able to have fresh berries at my fingertips. I can remember back when I was in college and seeking out “U-Pick Farms” and I got bucket loads of raspberries for 50 cents a pound! I made cartons of freezer jam that night until the wee hours of the morning! Now I’m in the Czech Republic which is also “Berry Land” and I’m lucky to be able to have access to local farmers who grow the berries. They just taste better than the kind you buy in large stores let me tell ya! So here’s one way to get some more antioxidants in your system, eat blueberry buckle!photo (4)

This is my Mom’s recipe and it is certainly a family favorite. You can use frozen blueberries as well just be sure to thaw them out before-hand and make sure they are without extra moisture. My crumbly topping sank to the bottom as I used a bit more butter than needed but they turned out great and they were very delicious!
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Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake
slightly adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free flour ( I like Schar Mix C gluten-free flour)

¾ cup sugar

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. butter

¾ cup milk

1 egg

2 cups well-drained blueberries

 

Topping:

½ cup sugar

1/3 gluten-free flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup soft butter

Mix and sprinkle over batter in pan.

 

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease round layer pan, 9 ½ inches or square pan, 8″ x 8″ pan or pour into a muffin tin.  Blend all ingredients except blueberries and topping.  Beat for ½ minute.  Spread in pan.

Sprinkle topping over batter and bake for 45 to 50 minutes if baking it in a pan or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. My muffins baked about 20 minutes.

 

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Sand Dabs… Aka Dad’s dabs!

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Summer vacation is in full swing and the fun of visiting family and friends has begun. It all started my first weekend home at Mom and Dad’s house. They still live in our childhood home so it really is “home sweet home”. They had recently spent their anniversary weekend in San Francisco where they enjoyed Sand Dabs, or breaded sole, at Tadech’s Grill. Dad decided to remake this tasty dish last weekend and it was sooooo good! Now we call this dish “Dad’s dabs.” Side-by-side and step-by-step in our family kitchen, my Dad walked me through this recipe. It is surprisingly easy! We used Pacific Northwest Ling Cod but you can use your favorite white fish to create this dish. Just follow the recipe out of Tadech’s cookbook (photo below) and you will soon enjoy your own fish dabs!

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Rhubarb, oh rhubarb! by L

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Rhubarb… love the name, the color and the tang. Therefore, on a recent visit to my local farmers market, I couldn’t resist  bringing home some stalks. However, I’m not an expert with this vegetable, (sometimes called a fruit too,) so I was a bit unsure about how they would end up on our plates.

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Thank goodness for the Internet! One thing I did have in mind was to use this herbaceous perennial in a dessert to celebrate my husband’s birthday. But, have you ever heard of a rhubarb birthday cake? Yep, me neither.

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However, a strawberry rhubarb tiramisu for a summer birthday was a fine runner-up. I found this delicious recipe from  http://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/stovetop-cooking-method/strawberry-rhubarb-tiramisu/  The only substitute  I made was to use a cup of orange juice instead of 3/4 cup of orange juice and 1/4 of Grand Marnier. It had to be a toddler friendly dessert.

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All that’s left to say is that this tasted absolutely divine. Now go and find some rhubarb before the season is over!

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies by Allison (GF, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free)

While these cookies don’t taste like my Mom’s chocolate chip cookies, they taste really good when you’ve cut out all the nuts, dairy and grains on top of the gluten! By the way, nothing can beat my Mom’s cookies. Really truly. I’m serious. She has a gift, well many gifts, but one of them being the ability to make amazing cookies. Her sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, molasses crinkles, peanut butter blossoms, and oatmeal raisin cookies are all off the charts fabulous (and I’m not the only one who thinks so)!

I haven’t always been gluten-free, but the last three years I have and I don’t miss much as far as food or treats go, but I do miss my Mom’s incredible cookies. These coconut chocolate chip cookies can’t be measured against your cookies Mom, they are not even in this same world but they are interesting. They are a totally different kind of cookie than you’ve ever had before but I still think they are worth the calories! You can buy everything you need right here in Prague as well! Whip up a batch and have it with a glass of coconut milk and tell me what you think! Enjoy!

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free – but not taste free)

recipe adapted from The Lemon Bowl

 

Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed plus 3 Tbsp. water (mix and let sit)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (melted )
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup coconut milk (I use homemade as coconut milk has a lot of additives in it)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup + 2 Tbsp coconut flour (gf )
  •  ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips (I use Lifefood 80% sugar-free chocolate)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius and line a baking sheet with baking paper or foil
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax seed and water, then set aside for a few minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl mix melted coconut oil, date sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, stir in coconut flour, chocolate chips and flax seed mixture.
  5. Scoop cookies using a large tablespoon and form a ball, flatten with the palm of your hand and place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes or until slightly browned.
  6. Let cookies cool completely before removing from pan. Enjoy!

 

Fish Tacos by Nikki

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

I looooooove tacos! Real corn tortillas, freshly cooked fillings, topped with pico de gallo and avocado- this is what I call a fresh dinner. The few times I have been to Mexico the best part has always been the food. Mole made in an authentic Mexican kitchen is like nothing I have ever tasted, but it is the taco stands that are my favorite!  They grill the meat right in front of you, fill a small corn tortilla with your choice of meat and top it simply with fresh, chopped white onion and cilantro. Just writing about it is making my mouth water!

Well, I am not currently in Mexico. In fact it has been a number of years since I have been south of the US border. But as Spring has sprung in here in the Czech Republic, it is time to trade in most of the winter food recipes for simple Spring mouthfuls of tacos! Well, recently, I made fish tacos. Of course, I prefer to use fresh fish, but this recipe is also perfect for using up that white fish that has lingered in your freezer for the winter months. In the Czech republic, they sell mainly Talapia and Pangasius in the freezer section at your local Albert or Billa. However, neither of those fish interest me. I prefer Sole or Cod that I buy frozen at Marks & Spencers. The bag I purchase has 5 single, serving pieces. It is easy to defrost in cold water on the night you will use them or overnight in the fridge. Doctored up with fresh dill and lemon, they taste great- perfect for fish tacos.

This is an easy recipe that you can enjoy on a weeknight. I often serve these tacos with a fresh, green salad, or chips and salsa! And don’t forget the cold beer… enjoy!

 

 Fish Tacos

ingredients: 2 pieces of white fish (if frozen, thaw completely before cooking), fresh dill, 2 fresh lemon or lime slices, 1 tomato, 1/2 small white onion, two slices of ripe avocado, your favorite hot sauce and small, corn tortillas

Serves 2

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F

1.Place enough tinfoil to wrap fish pieces in the bottom of a small baking dish.

2. Place fish on tinfoil. Sprinkle on fresh dill, salt and pepper and lay citrus slices on fish pieces.

3. Wrap tinfoil around the fish. (This keeps the steam inside and helps to keep your fish from drying out in the oven.)

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

5. While fish is baking, prepare your toppings! Dice onion and tomato, set aside. Slice avocado, set aside.

6. In a small frying pan, heat the tortillas, flipping them multiple times to keep from burning.

7. When fish is ready, divide the fish among your tortillas. Top with tomato, onion, and avocado. Dash your favorite hot sauce on top and ENJOY!

GF Almond Butter with Vanilla and Sea Salt by Allison

Almond butter shouldn’t have to contain a long list of ingredients but often it does unfortunately. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want hydrogenated oils mixing with my almond butter! My friend M has made almond butter and said it was delicious so I thought I’d give it a whirl! It was remarkably easy and well worth the time. I would recommend making this when you’re in the kitchen making other things as well as you have to let the food processor motor rest in-between processing times. First, gently roast 2-3 cups of almonds on baking paper in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 5-7 minutes. Place warm almonds in the food processor and begin to process for about a minute each time. My food processor is 1,000 watts full of power but it is a good idea to let the motor rest for short periods of time between grinding and mixing the almond butter. So I usually wait a few minutes and start it up again, let it cool down and repeat about 12-20 times depending on the food processor you’re working with in your kitchen.

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By the third or fourth round the ground almonds will start to stack up against the sides of the food processor. Then you’ll have to scrape the inside of the bowl with a spatula and start again. Here’s where a good dose of patience comes in handy…..good things come to those who wait right? After a few more times, add in some sea salt flakes (two-to-three pinches should do the trick).

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Then it starts to look like it is pulling together, keep processing……..

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Split and scrape the inside of a vanilla bean and add the vanilla pulp to the almond mixture. You can’t go wrong with adding a vanilla bean or two into the mix!

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And finally, you reach the texture in the picture below! It is time to taste-test it now….add a bit more salt to taste if you’d like and enjoy!

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GF Almond Butter with Vanilla and Sea Salt by Allison

Ingredients

2-3 cups of almonds

1/8-1/4 tsp. of sea salt flakes (I like to use the brand Morton which can be found at : http://www.trms.cz)

1 or 2 whole vanilla beans

tools needed

Food processor

rubber spatula

A quick dinner: Sesame Vegetables over Noodles

veggies + noodles = dinner

veggies + noodles = dinner

Sometimes after a long day, I just need a quick dinner. Of course, I want a hot, yummy dinner but quick is the key word here. A couple weeks ago, I was on my way to pilates and I stopped at one of the local potravinys. This potraviny carries the best corn tortillas not to mention some of the better produce… at least when the Farmer’s markets are not open yet! Browsing the isles for Sriracha hot sauce, I found these really great Asian noodles. I recently made a chicken soup and threw them into the broth. They were a great addition to the soup. I enjoy a lot of Asian cuisine so these noodles are a welcomed addition to my cupboard. Anyway, getting back to my quick dinner. I was really hungry and craving Thai food. But since I am nursing an injured hip and pulled muscle, I decided take out wasn’t the best option!

i love sesame oil

i love sesame oil

Instead I chopped up a few veggies from my fridge sauted them in sesame oil and threw them on top of these noodles. It was perfect and it “hit the spot.” You can throw any veggies into this that you want- I like it colorful!

My new favorite quick dinner!

My new favorite quick dinner!

Sesame Vegetables over noodles

ingredients: fresh green beans, half a red pepper, broccoli, and carrots (dice, cut, or shred them… your choice!) 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 1 tablespoons of sesame seeds and your favorite noodles.

directions: boil water and noodles, heat oil in the pan; prepare veggies as you like them and saute 6- 8 minutes; combine noodles and veggies in the pan and let the noodles soak up some of the oil; serve hot preferably with Sriracha hot sauce.

Enjoy!