Zucchini Patties

gluten free / dairy free option / vegan option

There are two words I would use to describe zucchini. The first is Prolific.. The other would be Huge. I assume you see where this is going and that it goes without saying…. I have a ton of zucchini in my house. Between my mom’s garden and a few friends I find myself staring at the zuchinni wondering how many different recipes I can create or find with zuchinni as the main ingredient. And since zuchinni bread is the poster child of Zucchiniville, and I like to walk off the beaten path whenever possible…. I decided to start off with a savory dish like the patties you see above.

These zucchini patties are crazy good!! And minus the shredding which can be a bit annoying, they are a breeze to make. Both my kids devour them and will even eat them multiple times in a week!!! I mean…that NEVER happens in my house…. not unless its chicken tenders or dessert. And they are super versatile. My hubby and I make BLT  or BELT stacks with them…..ridiculously good. We take one patty and give it a swipe of Veganaisse, top that with mixed greens, bacon, tomatoes and an occasional fried egg and you would give up sex for a month to get another one. I promise. They are also superb topped with a slow cooked pulled pork and creamy slaw or make them mini and use them as a base for your own version of salmon latkes.

I ALWAYS double the recipe so I can make one batch with regular cheese and one with vegan cheese….I live in a divided household when it comes to cheese. For true vegans….I have never made these completely vegan and removed the egg, But I assume a flax-seed egg or other egg alternative would work just fine.

Enjoy!! nom nom

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini**

1 small onion shredded (grated)**

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, I use Daiya shredded cheese

1 egg or flaxseed egg

1/2 cup gluten-free bisquick (or regular bisquick if you are GF friendly)

salt and pepper to taste

**The quickest and easiest way to shred the zucchini and onion is with a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Make sure you scoop out the seeds from the zuchinni before shredding. Once they are shredded, squeeze all the excess water from both the zucchini and the onion.

Instructions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until completely mixed together
  2. Heat enough oil to coat your skillet (I use grapeseed or canola) to medium heat.
  3. Drop mixture by the spoonful to make approximately 6 patties
  4. Let them cook on each side until brown, appx 5-7 minutes per side.
  5. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain off the excess oil

 

Would love to hear of any awesome zucchini patty concoctions you come up with!

Crispy Tofu

gluten free / vegan / dairy free

 

Meat. I don’t know about you guys but I have a love/hate relationship with it. I try to go meatless at least 3-4 times a week. Primarily, because it is the best for our bodies to be on a plant based protein diet rather than an animal based diet. And while I could spend hours (which I don’t have) telling you why that is I will instead just include a link to view a clip of an amazing documentary called Forks Over Knives. This documentary examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cancer and obesity that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. It is a truly eye opening film whether you are looking to go vegetarian permanently or like me are looking for the perfect balance of both. I also began to contemplate the idea of being vegetarian because since the birth of my son in 2014 I have developed quite an aversion to certain meats like poultry and sometimes pork. I can only eat chicken in certain dishes and have to vacate the room if anyone heats up poultry or pork in the microwave, as the smell makes me beyond nauseous. And finally, but not any less important is what my consumption of meat means to our environment. Unfortunately, animal agriculture is a pretty big negative when it comes to the health of our enviornment.  It requires massive amounts of land, water and energy to raise and slaughter the animals and contributes to more than half of the green house gas emissions currently plaguing our earth. If you want to learn more check out this article from PETA on the enviornment and meat. So, while I can take down a steak with the best of them I know that in the long run it is not in my best interest personally or as a member of our planet to eat meat 24/7. So, here is a great protein alternative!

My hubby, aka the Weekend Chef makes killer tofu. It is light and crispy on the outside while having a firm yet creamy texture on the inside. Since I started eating tofu more regularly I have realized this is not always on easy feat to accomplish. More often than not, tofu can turn out either mushy or like rubber. The recipe below is a basic preperation for tofu.No bells and whistles so it can be a great protein base for almost any recipe. Just prepare it as written below and add to your recipe. I use this tofu alot when I am preparing curry or asian inspired dishes. I will make the sauce and add in the tofu near the end so it can soak up some of the flavor. If I am using the tofu with a aslow cooker recipe, I add it in about 15-20 minutes before serving. Tofu quesadillas are another great (and easy) family meal!!  Let everyone choose their own toppings and dinner is served! Enjoy!! nom nom

 

1 pkg of extra firm Tofu; we use Nayosa’s organic tofu

1/4-1/2 cup of neutral tasting oil; we use Grapeseed oil

  1. Drain liqiud from package. Place tofu block on cutting board and cut it into desired shape; cubes, patties or matchstick are common forms.
  2. Place tofu on a wire rack, place in fridge and allow to dry overnight.
  3. When you are ready to cook the tofu, place your skillet on medium-high heat and add oil.
  4. Once oil is hot, place the tofu in the skillet and “fry” until crisy and light golden brown on all sides. Approximately 1-2 minutes per side.
  5. Remove from oil and place the tofu on a lined plate to drain off excess oil.

Spinach and Black Bean Casserole

gluten-free/vegetarian/dairy free option/kid friendly

Whew! What a whirlwind ending to April!!! We have been in Florida for the past week enjoying the sun and sand and having a long overdue family reunion with my dad’s side of the family. And we were super blessed to have 80 degree weather and cloudless skies the whole time we were there. The warm weather and lazy days on the beach got me thinking about dishes that are quick and easy to prepare and that highlight the yummy produce I still have frozen in my freezer that need to disappear to make room for all the new yummy produce that is coming our way over the next few months. And since Cinco de Mayo is in a couple of days I thought this recipe would be perfect!! Serve it with guacamole and margaritas and you are guaranteed to have a fantastic Cinco de Mayo gathering!

This dish was originally made as enchiladas using flour tortillas but once I became gluten-free this dish morphed into what you see today. At first I attempted to make the enchiladas using corn tortillas but more often than not they would crack and break creating more of a messy casserole than enchiladas. So instead of fighting it I went along for the ride and switched things up! I also realized that by making it a casserole and not enchiladas I shaved about 10 minutes off my prep time, which is always a good thing in my book! But if you are jonesing for enchiladas or are using flour tortillas I made some substitution notes at the end of the recipe. Enjoy!! nom nom

 

1 15.5oz can of black beans; rinsed

4 oz can of green chilies

10 oz package of frozen spinach; thawed, squeeze out excess liquid

1 cup of frozen corn; omit if doing 30 day and replace with peppers or pinto beans

1/2 tsp. cumin

2 cups of sharp shredded cheddar cheese or non dairy shredded cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 16oz salsa

1 package of small corn tortillas

  1. In a medium bowl mash half the beans. Add the spinach, green chilies, corn, cumin, 1 cup of cheese, remaining beans and salt and pepper. Mix to combine
  2. Spread 1/2-1 jar of salsa in bottom of casserole dish. I use an oval casserole dish but a 13×9 pan would work as well.
  3. Place a single layer of tortillas down, tearing if necessary to cover any gaps. Spread approximately 1 cup of black bean mixture evenly across tortillas, then 1/2-3/4 cup of salsa, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat this process again.
  4. Bake at 425 for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly

Substitution Notes: If you make these as enchiladas using either flour or corn follow steps 1 and 2 as written above then lay the tortillas flat on the counter and divide the mixture evenly among the tortillas. Roll and place seam side down in a 13×9 pan. Finish recipe as written above.

 

 

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

gluten free / dairy free option / vegetarian option

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 4-6 hours

Another fantastic (easy) weeknight meal using the slow cooker. This soup is a favorite of both of my kids so don’t be afraid of the dry sherry and the cayenne in this recipe. But if spice is a big NO NO in your fam just do a dash of cayenne to start.  My daughter is a traditionalist and pairs this with a grilled cheese. My son who is not a fan of cheese usually has crackers or buttered toast as his accoutrement and my hubby and I either do a big salad or open faced sandwiches.  This soup would also go well with the Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches I made last week. Whatever path you take you are sure to love this soup and you will have plenty for lunches throughout the week. Enoy!! nom nom

2 TBS unsalted butter or vegan butter

3 (14oz) can diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved

1 onion, minced

1 TBS brown sugar, coconut palm sugar/sucanat are great unrefined options

1 TBS tomato paste

salt and pepper

2 TBS GF all purpose flour; rice flour will work as well

3 cups chicken broth; vegetable broth if vegetarian

2 bay leaves

2-3 ounces of goat cheese, 1/2 cup non-dairy creamer or blended silken tofu

1/2 TBS – 1 TBS dry sherry

pinch of cayenne

  1. Melt butter in skillet over medium high heat. Add tomatoes, onion, sugar, paste, 1/2 tsp salt and cook until tomatoes are dry and lightly browned 10-15 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly, whisk in one cup of broth, scraping up the browned bits; transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Stir in remaining broth, reserved tomato juice, and bay leaves into cooker. Cover and cook 4-6 hours on low. Note: Due to timing issues I have cooked this for 8 hours on low and it was perfectly fine!
  4. Turn slow cooker to Warm setting. Discard bay leaves. Puree soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender then back to the crockpot. Stir in dairy, dry sherry and cayenne pepper.

 

 

Mushroom and Brie Soup

gluten free /  vegetarian

To go along with the lavender cookies and my spring theme this week, I wanted to make a spring soup that was rich enough to warm up the cold spring days yet light enough to serve with a sunny day brunch. I stumbled upon this recipe via the blog Closet Cooking. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe so feel free to check out his blog for the original! Enjoy!! nom nom

Adapted from Closet Cooking

2 cloves of garlic, minced

8 oz portabello mushrooms, bottoms cleaned, chopped

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, diced

1 tsp thyme, dried

4 cups of vegetable broth; chicken broth works too

2 TBS GF flour; all purpose or rice flour will both work

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 TBS oil

5-6 oz brie, rind removed, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 TBS butter

1/2 cup Silken tofu; blended (see #7 side note)

1/2 cup white wine

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Spread the mushrooms in a single layer on baking sheet, drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Roast in oven unti they begin to carmelize 25-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a pot over medium heat and melt butter. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about one minute
  4. Add the flour and stir constantly for one minute.
  5. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Stir almost constantly until the liquid thickens a bit
  6. Add the broth and mushrooms, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes
  7. While the soup simmers, blend the sliken tofu in a blender or food processor until it is thick and creamy. Side note: The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Unfortunately, dairy is troublesome for us and since it already called for the brie (which is what makes this soup great) I wanted to eliminate the cream to make it not only more gut friendly for us but to also make it healthier. So feel free to put the heavy cream back in, but I promise you won’t miss it!
  8. Add the blended silken tofu and brie. Stir unti the brie and tofu are melted and blended into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Puree using an immersion blender or food processor until desired consistency is reached. I like to puree mine until its slightly thicker but still leaves good pieces of mushrooms.

Slow Cooker Option: Follow steps 1-4. place everything in slow cooker except brie and silken tofu. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Add the brie and tofu, stir until brie is melted and tofu is blended in. Turn slow cooker to warm and puree.

Banana Oat Bread

Lately, we seem to always have overripe bananas laying around our house as my kids and hubby seem to be on some sort of cyclical banana eating pattern. As for me, I have a textural aversion to bananas and can only eat them in baked goods or pulversized in a chocolate smoothie. So with this weeks batch of overripe bananas I decided to try a recipe I had pinned from the Minimalist Baker blog. This banana bread is hearty with a mild sweet nutty flavor and paired perfectly with my afternoon almond latte. Enjoy! nom nom

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

4 ripe bananas

1 egg or flaxseed egg

2 TBS honey

1 1/4 cups GF oats

1/4 cup brown sugar; I use sucanat as an unrefined option.

1 1/4 cups almond flour

3 TBS coconut oil, melted

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix #1 or a store bought GF all purpose flour mix

3/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup almond milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans with non stick spray or coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the almond meal, flour, oats and baking powder together. Set aside
  3. Mash bananas in large bowl. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour into loaf pan or divide amone the 4 mini loaf pans.
  4. For the large loaf pan bake bread for 60-75 minutes; 40-44 minutes for mini loaves. The bread should feel firm and golden brown on top.
  5. Let it cool completely or it will crumble!!!
  6. Store in container for a few days. Freeze for longer storage.

Vegetarian Pot Pie

gluten free / dairy free / vegan option

Well….I am only 3 days late in posting this recipe which is honestly better than I predicted. It wasn’t necessarily a crazy week but it has been busy running around with my son trying to get his eye situation resolved. And with a huge sigh of relief I can say that he has been diagnosed with accomodative esotropia (crossed eyes). This is very common in children two and older and besides the headaches he gets from trying to focus causes him no significant pain. The first step is glasses and if that is not successful we will try patching his eyes followed by surgery as our last resort. We ordered his rubber glasses, blue ones, with the theory that since it is his fav color he might want to wear them. And yes, I know that is extremely unlikely to work since he is 2 and as stubborn a child as I have ever met. We also got state of the art indestructible, bullet proof lenses to go with them. Ok, just kidding about the bullet proof lenses, but the opthamologist did promise they would be hard to destroy. And with a skeptical look plastered on my face and my smart ass comments safely locked away I returned that promise with one of my own; “if there is even the slightest chance in hell that they can be broken, rest assured my kid will be the one to do it”.

okay…enough about me and on to the more important topic of food!! I decided to make this pot pie for a friend of mine who had recently been in the hospital for severe stomach issues. We cannot eat alot of the same foods and over the span of time we have been friends we have both slowly given up foods that we once loved. So when I found out she had been sick I reached out and asked what I could do to help. Her reply was….you guessed it, food. Whatever I made needed to be dairy free and gluten free but also be low spice and low acidity. Personally, I always veer towards comfort foods when either myself or someone else is sick. Unfortunatley, living with the dietary restrictions that myself and my friend have comfort foods tend to be off the table for us. For me, it is one of the main reasons I started this blog. On the one hand, I was more than willing to give up the gluten, dairy and refined sugar so I could reclaim my body and begin to heal. But on the other, I was devastated to think of all of my favorite foods being off limits and of all of the recipes I had grown up with disappearing in the blink of an eye. So, I did what any rational foodie would do. I pouted and moped around feeling sorry for myself. I ate what I was supposed to eat 99% of the time and here and there would go off the rails only to be slapped in the face with various unsavory ailments I won’t regal you with. And so the cycle went until one day I decided it was no longer worth the misery to eat those occasional “naughty” foods and that instead of giving up my favorite things I was just going to remake them to fit my needs. And here is one of my very first redo’s…..I am proud to introduce my new and improved vegetarian pot pie! Enjoy!

Ingredients

6 medium carrots; peeled and thinly sliced

1 large onion; finely diced

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1 tsp French Thyme; dried

3 medium Yukon potatoes or 2 large sweet potatoes; peeled and chopped into 1 in pieces

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup GF all purpose flour or gluten free flour mix #1

1/2 tsp black pepper; freshly ground

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

4 TBS olive oil; divided

2 TBS butter or butter alternative

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup white wine; I prefer a sauvignon blanc but that’s purely because then I can drink the remaining bottle. A buttery chardonnay would work really well too! If you would rather not use wine, just sub in vegetable broth.

Gluten Free Pie Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Peel potatoes and chop them into 1 inch dice. Place potatoes in medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil 15-20 minutes or until the potaoes are fork tender. Drain water and set aside in a bowl.
  3. While potatoes are cooking heat a large pot or dutch oven over med-high heat. Add 2 TBS of oil. Once oil is hot, add carrots and saute 15 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add onions and continue to saute until they begin to brown and carmelize; about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl with potatoes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add butter and 2 TBS oil to same pot
  5. When butter is melted, add in the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Slowly and gradually add in the milk, broth, thyme, salt and pepper into flour mixture. Continue to stir constantly as sauce thickens; appx 10 minutes or until mixture coats a spoon. Stir in wine and cook for an additional minute
  6. Turn off heat. Stir in cooked vegetables and peas into sauce until well combined. Taste for salt and pepper.
  7. Pour mixture into 13×9 dish. Roll out your pie crust and place on top of the pot pie mixture. Helpful Tip: Make sure the crust is appx 2 inches bigger than your dish so you have plenty of edging to make a crust and seal in the pot pie mixture.
  8. Brush the top of the crust with 1 lightly beaten egg. And sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt. This will give your crust a nice golden brown color. Bake 20-25 minutes until filling is bubbling and crust is a beautiful golden brown.

As always, if you can eat dairy and gluten feel free to add it all back in!!! NOM NOM