Monthly Archives: January 2012

Creamy Chipotle Butternut Dip – Superbowl and Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free

It’s that time of the year – time to gather around friends and family and watch football! Superbowl is one of those events that draw football fanatics and non-football watchers alike. After all, it’s a big party that often includes booze and delicious-but-unhealthy snacks, and it’s an opportunity for people to get together and have fun.

But what if you are following a gluten-free or other allergen-free diet? Or are simply trying to eat healthier? What do you do to combat the beer, pizza, wings, and chips-and-dip-fest that occurs at a Superbowl party? Bring your own healthier, wholesome, nutritious snack, that’s what! This dip is creamy and slightly spicy, but packs a good amount of vitamins from the butternut squash, and healthy fats from cashews, tahini, and olive oil. It’s also addictive – I love it paired with gluten-free crackers, but it really works well with raw veggies, such as celery sticks.

This is like an indulgent party dip, but in fact, it’s full of whole, healing foods, and for that reason, I’m sharing this recipe also as part of Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free this month, hosted by Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake. The theme this month is Foods That Heal.

While I’m a huge fan of vegetables in all forms (I do green smoothies and love them), I realize not everyone shares the same enthusiasm. However, veggies are an integral part of healing your body – something many of us on a gluten-free diet are working to do. When the opportunity comes along to eat something healing and nourishing that feels like party food, well, that’s a win-win for everyone, as even those that usually shy away from veggies can be enticed to indulge!

Of course, this isn’t a Superbowl party-only treat. I have been enjoying it in my lunch lately. I even shared it on Instagram the other day.

See that orange in the background? Yep – it was an orange-y food kind of day.

Anyway, this dip is easy to throw together in advance, and will store in the fridge for a few days (tastes great cold), so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t find a reason to make it. It’s like a sweet-and-spicy orange hummus. Only better.

Creamy Chipotle Butternut Dip (Gluten-free, Vegan)

1 ½ c cooked butternut squash

½ c raw cashews

¼ c tahini

2 garlic cloves

1 lime, juiced

2 T olive oil

1 T maple syrup

½ t cinnamon

½ t chipotle chile powder

¼ t ground cumin

½ t salt


Roast butternut squash – either cut in half and scoop out seeds, and roast cut-side-down in an oven at 375 degrees until soft (about 45 minutes), or do like I do – poke holes in the squash with a knife, place on a plate, and microwave until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool, and then cut in half and scoop out seeds.

Place cashews and tahini in food processor and puree until smooth. Scoop out cooked butternut squash and add it, the garlic, lime juice, olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, chipotle chile powder, and salt. Puree until smooth. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve with gluten-free crackers, chips, or raw vegetable crudités.

Looking for more gluten-free Superbowl recipes? Check out this forum discussion at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community, or these recipes:

Texas Chili

(Dairy-Free) Nacho Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos

Adzuki Bean Spread

Deviled Eggs

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Spicy Roasted Cashews

Quinoa Pizza Crust


This post is linked to Allergy-Free Wednesdays at Tessa the Domestic Diva.

Collard Greens with Crimini Mushrooms and Smoked Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

I am a Texan. I grew up here in the Lone Star State, and I still live in the Dallas metroplex, not very far from where I grew up. Does that make me a little less worldly than some others? Perhaps. I’d like to think I make up for it with adventurous dishes with international flavors, like this beef curry or a big bowl of menudo. Sometimes, though, I love embracing foods a little closer to home.

I didn’t grow up eating much Southern food. My parents aren’t from the South, and so foods like grits, okra, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, or collard greens were mostly foreign to them. I discovered these foods as I grew older and started eating outside of my own home, and let me tell you - I’m hooked. A great many Southern foods are humble and simple, making them the ultimate comfort food.

Collard greens are fairly common in my home today, and for good reason. Of course, they’re a delicious comfort food, as previously stated. In fact, this isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about them. But they’re also inexpensive and healthy, packing a good amount of vitamins A, C, E and calcium. I love them prepared in the traditional manner – simmered for a long time with some smoked ham hocks or bacon and onion, and doused with a bit of Tabasco when served – but  I also love them prepared in a speedier and lighter manner. Surprisingly, this version is just as tasty, without the ham or bacon.

My fellow Southerners might lynch me for considering such a notion, but hear me out. There is a product out there in the world that is smoky and delicious and is not bacon. The secret to my collard greens? Smoked sun-dried tomatoes. I find mine in the Italian food section of my specialty grocery (They’re California Sun-Dry brand, and no, I’m not being paid by this company to write about these babies, I just love this product.) They’re like vegan bacon, and they’re addictive. Try sprinkling some on salads, or incorporating them into a dip. Just try not to eat them all straight out of the bag. I dare you. If you don’t have access to this ingredient, you can always substitute regular sun-dried tomatoes (or even make your own!), but you might want to include some smoked paprika or something similar to add a depth of flavor to your greens. I encourage you to seek these out though.

The other main player in these easy greens is crimini mushrooms. I love them for their meaty texture and rich umami flavor. Slice a few of these up, and you’ve added a great element to a delicious dish.

There’s not much else to it. I intentionally wanted to keep this recipe fairly straightforward, so it could still speak to the simplicity of the more traditional version. Contrary to popular belief, Southern food doesn’t have to be all butter, deep-fried, and heart-attack-inducing. Traditional foods of the South never were about those things at all. Many people in the South simply learned to create delicious dishes on very humble, inexpensive, local ingredients, and nothing went to waste. If you ask me, this should be the philosophy of any great cuisine (and is the foundation of many traditinal foods!). Serve these up alongside some gluten-free cornbread, as a side dish, or as I often do with greens, as part of a warming breakfast. But whatever you do, make them soon!

Collard Greens with Crimini Mushrooms and Smoked Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

1 T olive oil

4 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced

1/3 c smoked sun-dried tomatoes

1 large bunch collard greens, cut from stems and chopped

1-2 c vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms and dried tomatoes for 5-7 minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Add collard greens and sauté for another minute, tossing to coat them in the remaining oil. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until greens are wilted, opening the lid to stir occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

This post is linked to 5-Ingredient Mondays at The Daily Dietribe.

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Stew (with optional added ham!)

This soup is a bit random. Chicken, a lot of different vegetables, and even some ham all found their way into my soup pot this past weekend. But often times, isn’t that the beauty of soup? You might have a kitchen full of various bits and bites, leftovers, and odds and ends, and with the right combination and a little simmering time, you have a rustic, comforting meal. It’s not culinary extravagance, but it’s good, particularly when a cold wind is blowing outside.

This particular soup started because I wanted to find something to make using the ham bone from Christmas that I’d thrown in the freezer. I didn’t want a bean soup (although leftover ham bones make beans taste delicious), nor did I want a potato or greens soup. Instead, I opted to go rogue, and create a random soup using a chicken that was also in my freezer, dried shiitake mushrooms, and whatever veggies were knocking about in the fridge. I wanted it to be creamy and comforting, but I didn’t want it to be heavy.

What resulted as a humble soup relying mostly on long-simmered, pureed vegetables as the “cream”, plus more veggies for texture and interest. Not to mention tasty bites of chicken and a lovely ham flavor accenting throughout. It wasn’t beautiful, and it wasn’t fancy, but it warmed my belly and satisfied my soul. (It didn’t hurt that it was a bit nutritious too.)


Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Stew

1 ham bone with a bit of ham left on it

1 whole chicken

1/2 yellow onion, peeled but left in one piece, studded with 6 cloves

2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into a few pieces (don’t bother to peel)

1 stalk celery, cut into a few large pieces

1 bay leaf, 1/2 t coriander seeds, and 1/2 t peppercorns, tied into a bag with a small piece of cheesecloth

1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms

2 c vegetable broth

1 lemon, sliced

2 T olive oil

2 T arrowroot starch

1 c non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk)

2-3 c water

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 zucchini, chopped

3 c chopped kale

1/4 t cayenne pepper

salt and pepper tp taste

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 c chopped flat-leaf parsley


Place ham bone, chicken, onion, carrot, celery, bag of spices, mushrooms, and vegetable broth in a slow cooker. Lay lemon slices on top. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Strain broth from meat and vegetables. Skim fat from broth, and place broth and the carrot, celery, and mushrooms (as many as you can pick out, don’t get too worried about getting every last one of them) in a blender and puree. Set aside. Pick meat from bones and tear into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, add olive oil. Heat to medium heat and whisk in arrowroot starch. Add non-dairy milk and whisk in. Bring to a slow boil, whisking frequently, until thick. Add broth mixture from blender, water, and carrots. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add meat, zucchini, kale, and cayenne. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water if needed. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice and parsley.

Serves 6.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

The Balanced Platter, Simplicity, and Braised Cabbage

Have you checked out The Balanced Platter yet? It’s a brand-spanking-new website, just launched on January 1. It’s an amazing resource for reliable, comprehensive, accurate, and easy-to-access information about balanced, healthy living, and is the creation of two of my most favorite gluten-free bloggers, Amy Green of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free and Maggie Savage of She Let Them Eat Cake. This site will feature tips and recipes for healthy living, whole foods based recipes, helpful hints for living a full and balanced life and a lot more. I feel particularly blessed, as I’ve been asked to be a regular contributor to The Balanced Platter.

In fact, today is my first post! If you visit, you can read a bit about keeping things simple when trying to maintain a healthy diet, and you can check out my recipe for braised cabbage.

It’s not the most glamorous of vegetables, for sure, but it’s comforting, easy, and delicious, which makes it perfect for keeping your “must eat more vegetables” plan on track. It’s so simple, it barely needs a recipe, in fact. To read more about it, visit The Balanced Platter. Check back often – there is a lot of valuable information to come!

Gluten-Free Living Tips – Live Chat on Wednesday!

Just a quick note to let you know that I’m hosting a Live Chat over at the Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community this coming Wednesday, January 4, 2011, at 9PM EST. We will be discussing tips for successful gluten-free living, so whether you’re a seasoned “gluten-free-er” or a newbie to the gluten-free lifestyle, stop by here and chat with us!

If there’s any questions you’d like to bring to the party, let me know and I’ll see that we ask them! Hope to see you there!

2012, Balance, and Shrimp Cauliflower Curry

Gosh. It’s been a week and a half since I’ve graced you with any tasty eats. I hope the scalloped potatoes were enough to keep you sustained through the holidays. I didn’t anticipate taking so much time away from here, but with the rush-rush-rush of the holidays and a busy work schedule, I was glad I did.

How was your holiday season, by the way? Merry, I hope, and full of warmth and family and friends, worthwhile indulgences and comforts. We spent the holidays here in town (as we usually do – we are lucky to have most of our family members here in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex), feasting for what seemed like days. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with so many loved ones. We rang in the New Year with family as well, enjoying a retro-yet-fun fondue party in our home. The perfect ending to the holiday was a trip to the Winspear Opera House to see Les Miserables on New Year’s Day. (If you are ever in Dallas, I highly recommend checking out the AT&T Performing Arts Center. I’m ecstatic that Dallas finally has such a gorgeous area for the Arts.) While this isn’t my first time seeing Les Miserables (heck, I practically have the thing memorized), I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, soaking up all that I could from this spectacular performance. It was gorgeous.

And now, I’m transitioning back to “normal” life. While I didn’t post a list of “resolutions” this time around, I did take a look at my 2010 goals. Actually, I was rather surprised - I have achieved nearly all of those. I haven’t posted my very own bread recipe yet, so I imagine I’ll still focus on that goal, but I have worked towards improving the design here at Tasty Eats At Home (more still to come!), and I posted a menudo recipe in 2010, and I attempted puff pastry/phyllo. As for the work/life/blog balance thing, I’m repackaging that into my 2012 focus.

Instead of a list of “resolutions”, I’ve opted for a singular word. A theme, if you will. Balance. I struggle with balance on a regular basis. I think many of us do, always trying to do too much, too fast, too often, and many times ignoring other areas that need our attention as well. Personally, I forget to give myself permission to be still. Most days, I’m up before 5AM, and I am busy-busy-busy, getting my workout in, packing breakfast and lunch to take to work, getting ready for the day, and I’m out the door at 6:30AM or so. I commute about an hour to/from work, and then I’m home, and busy-busy-busy making dinner, washing dishes, doing other chores, and gosh, before I know it, it’s bedtime, and the whole process repeats itself, and I feel I can’t find the time to contribute to the blog, to keeping the house clean, to doing special things with the kids, much less “relaxation” time! I have to remind myself that it’s okay to let things be from time to time, to remain still, to balance the crazy-busy with the calm-happy parts of my life. So, for 2012, balance is the theme.

It only makes sense that on a grander scale, The Balanced Platter launched yesterday!

This is an exceptional place you can visit for balanced, gluten-free eating. You might notice me around there, as I’ll be contributing posts from time to time. I’m extremely excited about this site and its future!

Balance also carries into my diet. While I’m not joining the millions of others in a New Year’s diet, I do want to achieve balance in my eating. I feel best when I am eating in a balanced manner. For me, that means many fresh vegetables, a healthy dose of protein, very little grains, and healthy starches such as sweet potatoes and pumpkin. And fats. I feel satisfied when I have lots of good fats. For me, coconut oil and coconut milk suit me well, and I love to incorporate them in a lot of recipes. In this curry, (which is somewhat a variation on gobi masala) I use both. The result is not nearly as creamy or indulgent as some other curries I’ve shared, but the coconut milk provides a lovely body to the sauce as it clings to the shrimp and cauliflower. It also gives the dish a dose of comfort without being overly heavy; the perfect balance of healthy and satisfying. You might find this dish in need of a bit of extra heat – when I make it again, I’ll likely add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (we like a bit of kick). However, even without the heat, this curry was delightful.

Shrimp Cauliflower Curry (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

3 T unrefined coconut oil, divided

2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used large shrimp)

1/2 t kosher salt

1 T black mustard seeds

1 medium onion, chopped

2 T red bell pepper

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 t grated fresh ginger

1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

2 t ground turmeric

1/2 t ground cumin

1/4 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t garam masala

pinch asafoetida (hing) (make sure it’s gluten-free; many contain wheat)

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets

3/4 c coconut milk

1/2 c water

salt to taste

chopped cilantro

Heat skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Season shrimp with salt and lightly cook (in batches if needed), 1-2 minutes per side, until shrimp is pink but not cooked all the way through. Remove and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add the mustard seeds and saute for about 30 seconds. Add onion and red pepper; saute 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlid, ginger, and serrano chile. Saute another minute. Add the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, and asafoetida and stir once. Add the cauliflower and stir into the seasonings to coat. Add the coconut milk and water and stir to coat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally. Add back the shrimp and season with additional salt to taste. Cook for another 2 minutes or until shrimp has cooked through.

Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with steamed basmati rice if desired.