Monthly Archives: August 2012

Thai Basil Guacamole

Sometimes, missing an ingredient forces you to think outside the box. For example – I made plans to make beef fajitas/fajita salad (this means fajitas for the hubby, a salad for me) for dinner last night. I marinated the skirt steak the night before, so I was good to go. Or so I thought. When starting my prep work, I realized I didn’t have cilantro. I’d used what little I had in my marinade. How could I made the required (yes, it’s required!) guacamole without cilantro? I adore the freshness that it adds, and I’ve simply omitted that ingredient before and have been disappointed. Not wanting to go to the store (after all, I had this Live Chat to attend to in less than an hour – by the way, you can read the entire chat through this link if you missed it), it suddenly occurred to me.

Why not use some of the bountiful supply of Thai basil growing in my garden?

So I dashed out to cut a bit of basil (it’s been growing like crazy lately!) and tossed it in. The result?

A unique, but pleasantly bright and fresh new guacamole!

I love that Thai basil has anise-y flavor to it, different than the sweeter Italian basil (that is also taking over my garden), allowing the guacamole to really pop.

This might just be my new favorite way to enjoy guacamole.

Print Recipe

Thai Basil Guacamole (gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, soy-free)

2 avocados (or 1 extra-large avocado)

1 T finely chopped red onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (you can cut back the amount of jalapeno if yours is really hot or you’re not a fan of heat)

1 T chopped fresh Thai basil

juice of 1/2 lime

Salt to taste

Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl. With the tines of a fork, mash the avocado until no large chunks remain. Stir in the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste.

Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap (pressing the plastic wrap so that it makes contact with the guacamole entirely) and refrigerate for a few hours.

Serves 4, unless you have real guacamole fiends, and in that case, 2.

Meal Planning For Successful Healthy Gluten-Free Living

I will be co-hosting a LIVE CHAT over at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community tomorrow, Tuesday, August 28, at 7 PM CDT. We will be talking about meal planning. After all, fall is a busy time for many families. Meal planning is a great way to keep your family eating healthy, balanced meals, not to mention it saves time, money, and your sanity! We’ll be chatting about the benefits of meal planning, sharing tips and tricks, and even some recipes and meal ideas! Join me, Penelope of Penelope’s Oasis, Anne-Marie of This Mama Cooks! On a Diet, Rachel of Finding Joy, Lorraine of Run, Wifey Run on Tuesday, August 28 – just click this link at the time of the chat to join – it’s free!

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: And Love It Too!

Guess what time it is, kids! Time for another Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger post!

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger (which I’m hosting this month – yippee! You can still sign up, by the way…) is a blog event originally created by Sea at Book of Yum, in the interest of allowing gluten-free bloggers the opportunity to get to know one another better.

Seriously, I love this event. You see, all of us in this event are gluten-free for a myriad of reasons, and some are “free-from” other foods, such as dairy, eggs, grains, soy, and so on. But the way we all go about nourishing ourselves, indulging ourselves, and creatively coming up with ways to enjoy “safe” versions of foods we once loved is unique. Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger gives us an opportunity to crawl inside another gluten-free blogger’s head, so to speak, by way of making one or two of their recipes, giving us a glimpse of their ingenuity.

Sunny of And Love It Too!, my adoptee for this month, is definitely not short on ingenuity.

It’s almost a necessity to be creative in her home. With five kids, a husband, two dogs, and a mother-in-law, plus multiple food allergies/intolerances throughout the crowd, I’m sure she constantly has to be on her game to keep everyone satisfied.  And from the looks of things, she is. For example, this month she is hosting a Healthy Lunchbox series, where every day a different blogger shares tips and/or recipes for healthy lunchboxes. And she still finds time to whip up a roasted tomato tart or a Chinese chicken salad.

I opted to try two of her genius recipes. The first was her roasted red pepper paleo hummus, pictured at the top of this post. While hummus is a gluten-free dish, I still can’t eat it – my body doesn’t like chickpeas one bit. So I’ve remained hummus-less for a while now. So when I saw this hummus, which used cauliflower instead of chickpeas, (hence the reason this recipe is genius) I knew I just had to give it a whirl. Oh, my, I was in heaven! The cauliflower transforms into a nuttier, creamier version of itself once roasted, and the end result is a flavorful, creamy dip, perfect for raw veggies, or your favorite gluten-free cracker. I will be hummus-less no more – this stuff is determined to become part of my regular lunchbox routine.

Next on my list to try – Sunny’s vegan sweetened condensed milk. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll have to say I’ve made this before. But because I love you guys and wanted to share it with you (who am I kidding? I just wanted an excuse to make more of this stuff!), I made it again. It’s simple – you add the ingredients into a saucepan (make sure it’s big enough so that it won’t boil over – not that I’d know about this or anything) and heat, whisking pretty often, until reduced by half or so. That’s it. Then you’re ready to stir this stuff into coffee (which is what I love to do) or bake with it. Or eat it with a spoon. I won’t tell.

Be sure and check out more of Sunny’s recipes while you’re on her site, and keep in touch with her Healthy Lunchbox series. Even if you don’t have kids, there are some great ideas for adults. I’m taking some of them to heart for my own lunches!

Winners of Simply Gluten Free – The Magazine Subscriptions!

The winners of the two subscriptions to the new Simply Gluten Free Magazine are:

Commenter #21: Elaine L


Commenter #3: Laura


Congratulations Elaine and Laura! I will be emailing you shortly to request your mailing information. Thanks to all who participated, and remember, you can subscribe now if you didn’t win, and your first issue will be out in November!

Dairy-Free Sweet Corn Ice Cream

For a few summers now, I have seen recipes float around for corn in ice cream. Come to find out, this isn’t exactly a new concoction – it’s been around for quite a while. But it was new to me. While I’m not accustomed to corn in sweet dishes, I do like my cornbread a tad sweet, and I love creamed corn, so the thought of corn in ice cream wasn’t too much of a stretch. So when fat, fresh corn cobs showed up everywhere in the farmer’s market, I couldn’t let the season pass me by once more. I knew it was time to try this for myself.

Dairy-free, of course.

I grabbed two large fresh, luscious organic corn cobs from some of my favorite farmers and tucked them into my bag. By about 4 PM that day, my ice cream was already in the freezer, chilling and getting ready for an after-dinner treat.

And a treat it was. A bite of the cool cream was full of corn-y goodness, permeated with a touch of citrus from the orange liqueur and lime. The balance of flavors was nice, if I do say so myself.

Mind you, I don’t really eat corn often. I find I feel better with less grains, and corn is included in that group. However, once in a while, I indulge. And what better way to indulge than to grab the freshest, local organic cobs you can find – and then throwing them in ice cream?

No, I can’t think of anything better at the moment either.


Sweet Corn Ice Cream (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free), adapted from Rick Bayless

2-3 ears fresh sweet corn

1 1/2 c non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

2 egg yolks

3/4 c sugar or sweetener of choice

1 can coconut milk (full-fat)

1/2 t ground cinnamon

2 T orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

1 T freshly squeezed lime juice

Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs and measure out 2 cups. Place kernels and almond milk in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Set up a double boiler (or do as I do – place a stainless steel bowl over a small saucepan with an inch or so of water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer). Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, and add this and the corn mixture from the blender to the double boiler bowl. Whisk almost continuously over the simmering water until the mixture is thick, about 20 minutes. (It should coat the back of a spoon.) If your mixture has any curdles/chunks, strain the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer. (I didn’t do this)

Fill a larger bowl halfway with ice. Place the smaller bowl into the center of the ice and whisk regularly until cool.

Whisk in the can of coconut milk, the cinnamon, the Cointreau, and the lime juice. Process with an ice cream maker according to the ice cream maker directions. Scrape into a container and place in the freezer for several hours to firm up.

Print Recipe

Summer is almost over! What summer foods or recipes are you hoping to try before the season is gone? Share at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!


Announcing Simply Gluten Free – The Magazine (and a giveaway!)

Hello gluten-free people – there’s a new kid in town! Carol Kicinski, author of the blog Simply…Gluten-Free (and two great books, Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts and Simply…Gluten-Free Quick Meals, both of which I reviewed) has teamed up with Wendy Gregory Kaho of the blog Celiacs In The House, magazine editor and freelance writer, plus a group of twenty great gluten-free minds to create a new gluten-free magazine – Simply Gluten-Free – The Magazine!

Yes, that’s right – a magazine written by people living with food sensitivities, for people with food sensitivities, focusing on the simplicity of a gluten and allergen-free lifestyle. The magazine will center around the idea that allergen-free lifestyles are not complicated; rather, there is an abundance of delicious food made easily and simply.

Simply Gluten-Free – The Magazine will focus not only on special diets and recipes, but subjects such as homekeeping, beauty, travel, crafts, fitness, nutrition, medical, entertaining and eating out as well.

I don’t know about you, but as much as I love reading a multitude of blogs (and I do read a ton!), there’s just something about a shiny magazine in your hands. You can flip the pages, tuck it into your bag and take it with you, dog-ear the pages and gawk at the photography. I can’t wait to have my hands on the first issue!

Speaking of, the first issue will launch in November 2012, so it’ll be here soon. You can subscribe today, but I am also giving away a subscription to two of my readers!

To enter, simply leave me a comment telling me what you’d like to see in an issue of a magazine like Simply Gluten Free. That’s it! See, simple!

This giveaway will end at 11:59PM CDT on Saturday, August 25, 2012. The winners must be 18 and older. No purchase is necessary.  Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.  The winners will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email.  The winners will have 48 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.

Best of luck to you all! Of course, you can subscribe today for a 100% chance that you’ll receive your copies! Also, keep tabs on the latest with Simply Gluten Free – The Magazine by “liking” them on Facebook or following on Twitter!

Sprouted Buckwheat Granola with Cinnamon and Raisins

I’ve never been a big cereal fan. I grew up eating it – everything from corn flakes to Cheerios to raisin bran – but if given a choice, I’d rather have something else. (A frittata, pancakes, muffins, smoothies, or maybe all of those things!) However, I make an exception when it comes to granola. In my mind, granola is not the same thing as cereal.

Especially when granola doesn’t mean oats. I like oats (the gluten-free ones, of course), but I really can’t tolerate them much. So I substitute. Who said granola had to mean “made with oats” anyway? I hereby declare the definition of granola to mean “any combination of dried fruit and crunchy yummy healthy stuff, commonly served for breakfast or as a snack.” Sound good? Okay. Let’s move on.

This granola is packed with nutrition, as it is nearly raw and made with sprouted buckwheat. Sprouting increases the digestability of grains, nuts and seeds, and if you’re like me, you could use all the digestive help you can get. Besides, sprouting buckwheat is super-easy, and once dehydrated into granola, it’s light and crisp and delicious. What’s not to love?

Yes, I said sprouting buckwheat is super-easy. Because it is. I am a newbie when it comes to sprouting anything. In fact, the idea kind of scared me – I was worried I’d kill my sprouts or otherwise screw it up. Needless to say, my fears were unwarranted, as buckwheat is one of the easiest things to sprout, and it’s a relatively quick process.

To sprout buckwheat: Start with some raw buckwheat groats. I buy mine in bulk from Amazon, as I use the groats quite frequently to make granola like this as well as grinding them into flour. (Raw buckwheat, ground into flour, is much milder in taste than the traditional store-bought buckwheat flour, which has a strong flavor that is disliked by some.)

Place those groats in a colander with holes small enough to not allow the groats to fall through. Rinse the buckwheat, and then place in a bowl or container and cover with at least 2-3 inches of water. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.

Drain the groats into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Place colander over a large bowl (or something to catch the water as it drips off). Cover with a cotton towel and allow to sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours. Rinse again and allow to sit for 4-6 more hours. Do this every 4-6 hours for about 24 hours, or until you see little tails sprouting out of your buckwheat.

(By the way, I successfully sprouted my buckwheat even though I didn’t rinse every 4-6 hours, which is what is recommended. I would rinse it right before I left for work, and again as soon as I got home – and that was more like 10 hours. It still worked like a charm. So if you can’t be home in time to rinse, don’t stress. In my experience, you can push the envelope a bit.)

Buckwheat sprouts – see the little tails? (forgive the quality, this is an iPhone photo!) 

Once your buckwheat is sprouted, then you can use it in your granola recipe. This recipe is more of a guideline. I can see endless variations just by substituting the dried fruits, using other fruit purees in place of applesauce, or even adding nuts in place of the sunflower seeds. The sky is the limit on this one. I loved the basic, familiar flavors of cinnamon and raisin, and both ingredients supply ample sweetness, making it easier to keep the amount of added sweetener down. The end result is crisp, crunchy granola that’s tasty as a snack, but in my opinion, even better in your favorite non-dairy milk.

Sprouted Buckwheat Granola with Cinnamon and Raisins (gluten-free, dairy-free, optionally vegan, nut-free, soy-free)

2 c raw buckwheat groats, sprouted according to the directions above

1 c raw sunflower seeds

1/2 c applesauce

1/2 c chia seeds

3/4 c raisins

1/2 c dried apricots or dates, chopped

1 T cinnamon

scant 1/2 t kosher salt

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

1/4 c honey (or agave nectar for vegan)

In a large bowl, gently toss all of the ingredients together until well-mixed. Spread granola out onto two Teflex-lined dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 110 degrees for about 10 hours or until granola is crisp. Store in air-tight containers.

(No dehydrator? While I haven’t tried it, I imagine this granola would do well at the lowest temperature in your oven. Just spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake on the lowest setting (mine goes down to 170). I imagine it will dry out more quickly, so you might check it in 4-5 hours and see how crisp it is.)

Print Recipe

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

Juices and Smoothies on a Busy Schedule – The Balanced Platter

I am sharing how to incorporate fresh juices and smoothies into your daily routine, even on a busy schedule, over at The Balanced Platter today! Head on over and check it out!

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger, August 2012 Sign-Up

Cashew Granola I made for Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger June 2012 

I am excited and honored to host this month’s Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger event! If you are new to Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger, it is the brainchild of Sea at Book of Yum. The goal is to allow gluten-free bloggers to get to know one another a bit better through reading their blogs, featuring them, and of course, testing out their recipes. It’s one of my favorite events, as I get a chance to try out recipes that I’ve so long drooled after.

Sea is in Japan this summer, working on her dissertation, so several of us have offered to help her out. It’s my honor to be the host this month!

How do you participate?

Here’s how (if you aren’t a blogger but want to join in, you can! Read the info at the bottom of the post).

1) Pick a gluten-free blogger whose recipes you admire and adopt them by commenting on this post with your name, blog name and their name and blog name.

*Blogger’s recipes must all be gluten-free or have a way to sort and read ONLY gluten-free recipes

*Please pick a different blogger every time you participate

*Please pick a blogger that has not been adopted yet this month!


2) Pick one (or more!) of your gluten-free blogger’s recipes to try.


3) Make the recipe, photograph it and write a post in your blog introducing the blogger and their recipe.

*Follow the recipe as written, as closely as possible. And please don’t print their recipe on your post-just provide your reader a link to their original recipe.

*Provide a link to this event announcement page


4) Email me at: alta (at) tastyeatsathome (dot) com with a photo of your recipe, the URL of your post, name of the recipe and the URL of the original blogger’s recipe post.  PLEASE SIZE PHOTO TO BE A MAXIMUM OF 500 PIXELS WIDE. (Pretty please)


5) Post YOUR POST’S URL in a comment to this post, and if possible try to visit two other blogger’s posts that are posted here (and comment!).

*The goal is to make this event interactive and fun!


Sign up BEFORE August 28th (loose deadline; late sign-ups are OK)

Post your review and e-mail me by September 5 (firm deadline, no foolin’)

Now, this is a cool option if you don’t have a blog.  You can still sign up to adopt a blogger, then snap a photo of the dish you’ve made and email me your name, the recipe’s URL and title, and the photo.

I will start the adoptions by adopting Sunny of And Love It Too!.  Now it’s your turn!

Adoption Sign-Up Sheet:

1) Sunny of And Love It Too! (adopted by me, Alta of Tasty Eats At Home)

2) Laura of The First Mess (adopted by Ellen of Gluten-Free Diva)

3) Deanna of The Mommy Bowl (adopted by Shirley of Gluten-Free Easily)

4) Sugar And Spice Market (adopted by Jenny)

5) Unrefined Sweet Life (adopted by Susie)

6) Danielle of Against All Grain (adopted by Paula of Live Free, Gluten-Free)

7) Alta of Tasty Eats At Home (adopted by Rachel of The Crispy Cook – thanks Rachel!)

8) Naomi of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried (adopted by Shannon of Enjoying Gluten-Free Life)

9) Beth of Tasty Yummies (adopted by Brooklynn of The Lean Gourmet Kitchen)

10) Ali and Tom of Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen (adopted by Alyssa of Queen of Quinoa)

11) George of Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations (adopted by Kate of Eat, Recycle, Repeat)

12) Jenni of The Urban Poser (adopted by Sunny of And Love It Too!)

13) Next?

How to Go Dairy-Free: Making the Transition and Tasty Dairy-Free Substitutes

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream

So maybe you’ve been toying around with the idea of giving up dairy for a while. You know you need to give it up – it’s causing you or your family health issues (see why I gave up dairy). You have started to research how to go dairy-free, so you can learn what to look for on labels and how to navigate the grocery store. You can even plan meals with the best of them. What’s holding you back? It’s that emotional tie. Those dairy-full food favorites – ice cream, yogurt, milk, butter, and the most common – cheese.

What will you do without cheese?!

I’m here to tell you – you can live without cheese. Not only live, but you can thoroughly enjoy your meals, and not feel like you’re missing a thing.

Yes, really.

I received some great feedback from some of you last week on my How To Go Dairy-Free post. One commenter, Alisa, shared:

“The words of advice I always offer to newbies are: Focus on the foods you CAN eat. Stop worrying about what you are ‘missing out on.’ and focus on all that you can enjoy. Dairy is just one, single, component.”

Such excellent advice, and so true. Dairy is just one single component in a diet. There are so many other delicious foods available out there that you can work to incorporate into your diet, and your meals can be much more exciting and nutritious! This time of year, when so much excellent produce is in season, it’s even easier to make bright, flavorful dishes that are naturally dairy-free – but it can be done effortlessly anytime.

How? Rather than relying on butter, cheese and cream to flavor your dishes, think “outside the cow” and try some new spices. Some of my favorite go-to spices are smoked paprika, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and chipotle chile powder. They’re different – not the usual salt and pepper variety – and they add some lovely depth and dimension to a lot of dishes. Make sure you buy fresh spices. Often natural foods groceries will have bulk bins that allow you to buy various quantities of spices at a fraction of the cost at the traditional grocery store, and they’re fresher too. I also love to buy spices at ethnic groceries – the Indian grocer near me always has cumin, and it’s unbelievably fragrant and fresh.

Also, try to incorporate fresh herbs into more of your dishes. Rosemary can really make a roasted chicken sing. Basil and mint make any salad or dressing taste bright and full of summer. Just about anything can benefit from a handful of chopped parsley, and cuisines from Thai to Mexican to Indian cuisine incorporate a lot of cilantro. But don’t stop there – dill, tarragon, oregano, and thyme are all also wonderful additions to many dishes. If you have even the tiniest of spaces, you can grow a few herbs in a pot, allowing you to snip off fresh herbs for any meal. They’re easy to grow, and will save you a ton of money compared to grocery store prices.

Other flavorful condiments and ingredients can elevate the flavor in any dish. I love adding sun-dried tomatoes to casseroles and sauces. Olives add a briny, salty component to dishes that used to benefit from a salty cheese. An easy dairy-free pesto can add a burst of flavor to pasta or chicken salad. And of course, guacamole and avocados add a creaminess and are welcome (in my opinion) just about anytime. Try spreading your favorite nut butter on your (gluten-free) toast or biscuit, or whip up some coconut butter. Add that nut butter to your baked sweet potato – I promise, it’s delicious! And you may find that using a touch of coconut oil on your green beans is your next new craving, and butter is only a distant memory.

When you first go dairy-free, don’t cheat. Many of us have dairy cravings, especially at first. (Did you know sometimes cravings can be a sign of an intolerance?) The first 30 days are the hardest. But rather than give in to your cravings, remind yourself why you are no longer eating dairy (you want to feel well, you want to have energy to work/run/play, etc) and instead seek out an exciting, enticing dairy-free alternative that you will look forward to eating. Those cravings will subside, and you’ll find that your tastebuds will adjust. You might even find your tastes are more receptive to the many flavors of various foods that were previously “covered up” in a layer of cream and cheese. Be sure to plan your meals, and stock up on your favorites, including snacks. Then you can feel satisfied, and even look forward to the next planned meal, rather than wishing you were able to eat something that makes you sick.

While there are many dairy-free products out there intended to substitute for dairy products, take your time introducing them into your diet. The dairy-free milk substitutes shouldn’t be an issue – there is an increasingly wide variety of “milks” made from soy, almond, hemp, rice, oat, coconut, and more, and many are very tasty. I personally love almond milk and coconut milk beverages – and sometimes even make my own almond milks. But as for some of the trickier “substitutes”, such as cheese, give yourself some time to allow your tastebuds to adjust to dairy-free eating. You’ll be more accepting of those substitutes, and will find them pretty tasty and satisfying, if you give it some time before you try them out.

Once you’re over that initial “hump” though, and are interested in trying out some substitutes, you’ll find that most substitutions are fairly easy, not just in simple cooking, but even in baking.

Dairy-Free Substitutions

Milk: Almond milk, Rice milk, Soy milk, Coconut milk, Coconut milk beverage, Hemp milk, Oat milk (be sure to check labels for gluten, if you are gluten-free as well)

Cream: Coconut milk (refrigerate can and scoop the hardened cream from the top, leaving the watery part behind), MimicCreme

Butter: Earth Balance buttery sticks or buttery spread, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee (not dairy-free, but it is casein, whey and lactose-free)

Buttermilk: non-dairy milk + vinegar or lemon juice (1 cup of non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, let sit for 5 minutes)

Sour cream: Coconut cream + vinegar or lemon juice (1 cup of coconut cream and 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, let sit for 5 minutes) or Tofutti sour cream

Cream cheese: Tofutti cream cheese or cashew cream cheese

Cheese: Daiya, alternative cheeses, nutritional yeast flakes, almond flour, cashew cheese

Ice cream: coconut milk ice cream, soy milk ice cream

Whipped cream: Soy whip, whipped coconut cream

In case you can’t deduct from this list, I regularly stock a lot of cashews and cans of coconut milk in my kitchen, just in case I need to whip up any of these ingredients. Honestly, though, on a day-to-day basis, dairy-free alternatives aren’t even used. It’s easiest to simply eat naturally dairy-free. Good to know, however, that these things can still be part of your new and improved, dairy-free diet!

If you are already dairy-free, what dairy-free substitutes do you enjoy? If you’re looking to go dairy-free or are newly dairy-free, but looking for a replacement for your favorite dairy-full food, share! We can all learn from one another as we take this journey towards healthier living together!