Monthly Archives: October 2013

Chicken Tomatillo Chili

I can’t stand soup when it’s hot outside. I often see coworkers enjoying soup for lunch all the year round, and I’m sweating just thinking about it if the temp outside is above about 75 degrees. (But I’ll drink hot coffee on an August morning, unless I’ve made cold brew coffee the night before. I’m weird, I know.) But now that it’s cooler, I’ve been incorporating more soups again.

I am the biggest fan of a soup that satisfies as a meal. Sure, simple starter soups are delicious, but I still have to make something else to accompany them. A stew or chili is substantial. Filling. I can also freeze leftovers and have soup ready for me to grab and take to the office for lunch. This chicken tomatillo chili not only meets these requirements, it’s also a budget stretcher, thanks to the beans. It’s a big bowl of comforting, warming, hearty deliciousness.

Chicken Tomatillo Chili (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1 lb tomatillos, cut in half

2 medium yellow onions, sliced

6 garlic cloves, peeled

2 Hatch (similar to Anaheim or Big Jim) chiles (you can also substitute other fresh chiles, just mind the heat and adjust accordingly)

1 14-oz can whole tomatoes

1 3 ½ lb chicken, cut into pieces, breasts removed and set aside

6 c water

2 t ground cumin

1 t ground coriander

1 t dried oregano

2 t chipotle chile powder

1 t smoked paprika

1 t salt

¼ t black pepper

2 ½ c cooked black beans (or 2 cans, drained)

2 ½ c cooked white beans (or 2 cans, drained)

2 ½ c cooked pinto beans (or 2 cans, drained)

½ c chopped cilantro

Preheat broiler. Place tomatillos, sliced onions, garlic cloves, and chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until the skins of the tomatillos and chiles are blackened. Remove from broiler and allow to cool. Peel the skins from the chiles, and remove the stems and seeds. (It’s a good idea to do this with disposable [non-latex if you have a latex allergy] gloves on.) Place tomatillos, onions, garlic, chiles, and the can of whole tomatoes (with the juice) in a large soup pot. Add the chicken pieces (reserving the breasts) and the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 30 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for 20 minutes longer.

Using tongs, remove all of the chicken and place on a platter to allow to cool. Meanwhile, add the cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle chile powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper to the pot and puree the broth and vegetables using a stick blender, or a regular blender in batches. Add the beans.

Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, remove the meat and shred with your fingers, and place back into the pot with the beans. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until flavors meld. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Serves 8-10.

Skillet Cornbread

That first cool breeze. That first day where the temps don’t reach 70 degrees. When we can open the windows and breathe a sigh of relief. The heat is finally over. That’s when my husband and I give each other knowing looks: it’s CHILI time!

I love to make a big pot of Texas Red chili. It’s spicy, hearty, and so satisfying. It takes the better part of a day to make, but what better way to pass Sunday afternoon then to have a pot simmering on the stove, with football on TV, while the cool autumn breeze blows in? I have one idea:

Make cornbread to go with the chili.

I am a huge fan of cornbread, but I’m kind of picky about it. It needs to be slightly sweet, and it must not be dry. This skillet cornbread fits those requirements perfectly. It’s moist, subtly sweetened with honey, and has these lovely crispy edges from the skillet that are delightful. Sure, you can stir in some whole corn kernels, jalapenos, cheese, or whatever you fancy, but it’s wonderful just as is.

Especially when sitting alongside that bowl of Texas Red.

Skillet Cornbread (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1 c gluten-free cornmeal

2/3 c tapioca flour

1 t kosher salt

1 T baking powder

Juice of 1 lemon

About 7/8 c coconut milk

½ c water

1 egg

2 T honey

½ t baking soda

6 T vegan butter (Earth Balance buttery sticks)

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine cornmeal, tapioca flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk together.

Add the lemon juice to a measuring cup and pour enough coconut milk to measure 1 full cup. Add ½ cup of water, the egg, and the honey. Whisk together. Add the baking soda and whisk again.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk together until combined.

Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add vegan butter and swirl until melted. Brush butter along sides of skillet. Carefully pour the butter into the bowl with the cornbread batter and whisk to combine. Pour the batter into the skillet and spread out evenly on the surface.

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve in wedges, warm from the skillet.

Serves about 8.

Review and Giveaway: Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free


Update: This giveaway has ended. The winner is Susan McGarry! Congrats, Susan!

I first met Ricki Heller a number of years ago, when I was first getting to know other gluten-free bloggers. While we’ve never officially “met” her, we have become good friends. She’s a genuine, down-to-earth person, and we share a love of sweets, baking, and our four-legged family members. I already own her ebooks and she was a life-saver back when I was learning how to navigate a dairy-free diet. So I was super-excited when I first heard that Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free was due to arrive!

This book is gorgeous – filled with amazing photos of every kind of sweet treat, including breakfast items such as scones and pancakes, cookies, cookies, and more cookies, blondies, cakes, frostings, “cheesecakes” and so much more. Ricki prefaces her recipes with a little explanation of ingredients that she uses (and why), as some of the items aren’t mainstream. But for those looking to lower their sugar intake, these recipes are a great way to still enjoy sweet treats!

I opted to make her Coconut Macaroons. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of coconut in all forms, and these are no exception. They’re naturally sweetened with coconut nectar and agave nectar, so they have a subtle caramel note to them. My favorite part is that they emerge from the oven chewy and sweet – the way a macaroon should be.

Coconut Macaroons, reprinted with permission from Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free (page 144)

3/4 cup (135 g) natural raw skin-on almonds, preferably organic

2 Tbsp (15 g) finely ground flax seeds (from about 1 Tbsp or 15 ml whole seeds)

1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt

2 cups (135 g ) unsweetened shredded coconut, medium shred

1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut nectar

1/4 cup (60 ml) light agave nectar

20 to 25 drops pure plain or vanilla stevia liquid, or to taste

1/4 cup (60 ml) tahini (sesame seed paste)

1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure coconut extract (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.

In the bowl of a food processor, whir the almonds, flax, and salt together until they resemble a coarse meal, about the texture of cornmeal, without any identifiable pieces of almond visible. Add the coconut and pulse once or twice to combine.

Next pour the coconut nectar, agave nectar, stevia, tahini, vanilla, and coconut extract, if using, over the dry ingredients. Process again until everything is incorporated and the mixture forms a sticky ball (you may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the processor bowl once or twice). Stop as soon as the mixture holds together, to avoid grinding the coconut too fine.

Using a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon (15 ml), drop small mounds of the mixture onto the cookie sheets about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Wet your palms (or use a silicone spatula) and flatten the cookies slightly.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets about halfway through baking, until the cookies are deep golden brown on top. Cool completely before removing to a rack (the cookies will firm up as they cool). May be frozen.

Yum, right?

Now, would you like to win a copy of this book?

To enter into your chance to win, please leave me a comment telling me what your favorite sweet treat is!

Want MORE chances to win?

Then do the following:

- Share this giveaway on Facebook, tagging Ricki Heller and Tasty Eats At Home and leave me a comment HERE telling me you did so.

- Tweet this giveaway, tagging Ricki Heller and Tasty Eats At Home and leave me a comment HERE telling me you did so.

That’s it!! This giveaway will end Friday, October 25, 2013, at 11:59PM CT. The giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents ages 18 years and up. Best of luck to you!

 

Coconut Oil Kettle Corn

There are just a few days left for the State Fair of Texas. We actually visited this year – the first time I’ve been since I was a kid. It was fun – lots of things to see and do, and of course, tons of food to eat. Way more than anyone could possibly eat, much less afford. And if you’re following a gluten-free diet, there isn’t much that’s safe.

Good thing you can make a standard fair favorite at home! No, not Fried Thanksgiving Dinner (although that might be possible…). I’m talking about Kettle Corn – that deliciously salty-sweet, crunchy treat that’s so irresistible when fresh.

Sure, you can buy microwave kettle corn at the store, but it’s just not all that good. This version takes only the smallest additional effort, and it’s so worth it. Just a few ingredients in a pot, a few minutes over the stove, and a quick toss in a bowl, and you have a treat that will definitely be a favorite among kids and adults alike. It’s also an excellent, simple addition for a Halloween party snack table.

You could also fancy it up any number of ways. Toss a pinch or two of cayenne in, or cinnamon. Add peanuts or candy once you get to the stirring phase. I’d be happy with any of those variations – but the simple, basic recipe is always enough to make me happy. I’m sure you could also store the leftovers for the following day with ease, although I personally wouldn’t know. There’s never any leftovers to be had.

Print Recipe

Coconut Oil Kettle Corn (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

3 T coconut oil (I used unrefined coconut oil)

1/2 c organic, non-GMO popcorn kernels

1/4 c granulated sugar

3/4 t kosher salt

In a 3-quart saucepan with a lid, add coconut oil, popcorn kernels, and sugar. Turn on to medium heat. Stir with a spoon until sugar and coconut oil starts to melt just a bit. Once everything starts to heat up, cover the pot and shake intermittently, popping the corn, until the popping slows to 5 seconds between pops. Remove the popcorn from heat and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Immediately sprinkle the salt over and stir to coat the popcorn a bit more evenly with the melted sugar and salt. Serve.

Serves 2-4.

Why Gluten-Free? My Quest For Better Health

It was about 2004, and I started asking my doctor about some digestive issues I was having. I had an immediate family member that was diagnosed with celiac disease, so I asked for the celiac blood test. It came back negative, and my doctor sent me to a gastroenterologist. I was told I had IBS, given prescription medication, and sent on my way.

I more or less just dealt with my issues for a while, unsure of what else I could do. In 2006 I attempted a short, 3-week gluten-free elimination diet, just to see if the blood test was incorrect. I saw no difference, and reintroduced gluten. I also had a different celiac/gluten intolerance test, as well as genetic testing performed and everything came back negative. Again, no difference, and no answers.

But starting in 2007, I finally turned a corner in how I was taking care of my body. I started learning to cook from scratch and eating a bit healthier. I started trying to exercise on a more frequent basis. By 2008, I started Tasty Eats At Home, embracing my love for cooking. I slowly incorporated more and more healthy, sustainable habits into my daily life.

But I wasn’t feeling better. The IBS still bothered me. I also was dealing with terrible acid reflux. I felt run down often, getting sick more frequently than I once did. I was talking with several family members who were also gluten-free, in June 2009, I went gluten-free.

I didn’t see immediate improvement. But over time, I did notice that my acid reflux was gone, and I wasn’t getting sick as often. When I reintroduced gluten, I had a lot of digestive issues and felt wiped out. So I cut it from my life completely. My IBS never went away, but it subsided a little. In 2010, I also eliminated dairy as well in an attempt to lessen digestive issues.

Over the next 4 years I tried many things to find the root cause of my digestive woes. I had allergy testing, I did more elimination diets. None of it worked. I’d pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I’d be dealing with these issues for the rest of my life.

But meanwhile, I was gaining momentum in my gluten-free lifestyle. I was determined to find ways to make delicious gluten-free food that wasn’t just good “for gluten-free” – I wanted it to be good, period. Over time, trial, and error, I found reliable gluten-free brands for prepared foods (like Udi’s bread, for instance), and I learned how to make cookies, cakes, and breads from scratch as well. I discovered that there are SO many more flours/grains out there in the world, many of which are gluten-free. I learned how to navigate a restaurant with good success, and even had tackled the whole gluten-free traveling conundrum. But overall, a gluten-free diet opened my eyes to a wider variety of foods, and gave me the motivation to become creative with the foods I could eat.

In the past 6 months, I’ve realized that my digestive system has gotten better. I explained a bit more about it here, but finally, for the first time forever, I can tolerate more foods without adverse reactions. I can handle dairy. I am even handling gluten. That being said, I still don’t eat gluten all that often. Cooking at home is gluten-free, and many times, even eating out is mostly gluten-free. There are many more gluten-free options today than ever before, and I love that. I don’t feel the need to eat gluten all day, every day. A varied diet in my mind is a healthy one, and 3 gluten-heavy meals a day isn’t all that varied. Besides – I still have many gluten-free family members that come over for holidays and other meals, and I want to be able to serve them tasty gluten-free foods the way I always have. My mission has always been that gluten-free food should taste GOOD, and so I’m always working to discover new gluten-free food adventures so I can share them!

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

 

Escali Digital Food Scale Review and Giveaway!

Disclaimer: I was provided products from Escali at no cost. This in no way influenced my review.

This giveaway is now closed. The winner of the Escali Digital Food Scale is Faith! Congrats, Faith!

Do you have a food scale? I bought an inexpensive Escali years ago on a whim, figuring it could be beneficial for certain recipes calling for weights. I rarely used it, however, until I really got into gluten-free baking. You see, just like any baking, relying upon the weights of the flours is a much more reliable way to get a consistent product. To be sure, I’ve measured flours by volume countless times, but there are a lot of variables at play. How level did you fill the cup? Did you pack the flours or did you sift them? How finely was the flour ground? With a scale, these issues are eliminated. When I’m making finicky baked goods, such as macarons, angel food cakes, or breads, this is when I rely on the scale. Precision is key.

But my scale is definitely minimalist. So when a representative from Escali contacted me, I was happy to review some of their more versatile food scales. They sent me two different products: Their Rondo Stainless Steel Bowl scale, and their Taso Mixing Bowl scale.

The Rondo was sleek. Shiny. It was gorgeous. This scale definitely looked the most at home in my kitchen. It was accurate, and the bowl lifted off of the scale easily for a simply cleaning. It measured both liquid and dry ingredients. It was definitely an accent for my kitchen counter.

The Taso was less pretty, to be sure. It was simple and white. But it has an awesome feature – it will measure dry ingredients and liquid, but it lets you choose what type of ingredient you have: flour, milk, water, oil, or sugar and converts it to cups. While “flour” can be quite varied for gluten-free flours, it was still a really neat option.

I actually put this “flour” measurement to the test when I was making cornbread the other day. I found that as long as it wasn’t a heavy, dense, flour, the weight-to-cup measurement seemed pretty accurate. Corn meal weighed the same as flour using their scale, but corn flour (masa harina) was heavier and therefore didn’t read accurately. Overall, however, I’d imagine an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend would convert just fine.

The Taso also has an easy-to-remove bowl that’s dishwasher-safe. I liked that it also seemed easier to stash away in a cabinet, and as I have limited counter space, this is an attractive option for me.

Overall, I was impressed with both scales, but slightly favored the Taso (function and stash-ability trumps looks in my kitchen).Which is why I’m excited to share that I have one to give away!

So if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to own a food scale, or you need an upgrade, then here’s your chance to win the Taso Mixing Bowl Scale!

To enter the giveaway for a Taso Mixing Bowl Scale, do as many of the following as you’d like (do one = one entry, two = two entries, three = three entries):

- Leave a comment telling me what you’d most like to make using a food scale.

- Share this giveaway on Facebook, tagging Tasty Eats At Home (and leave me a comment telling me you did so).

- Tweet this giveaway on Twitter, tagging Tasty Eats At Home (and leave me a comment telling me you did so).

That’s it! This giveaway will end at 11:59PM CT on Saturday, October 12, 2013. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents 18 years of age and older.

Thanks and good luck!!

 

Thai Chicken Curry

The temperature is finally getting cooler around here, and so I’m pulling out the Dutch Oven and making all sorts of comforting, slow-cooking, rib-sticking meals. One of my favorites is making a chicken curry. Braising the chicken in coconut milk and warming spices makes for a perfect fall dinner. Check out my recipe for Thai Chicken Curry over at Balanced Platter!

Pumpkin Hemp Oatmeal Cookies

Thanks to all of you for your support on my most recent post. While I always want to be transparent no matter what, it’s inspiring to hear your words of encouragement. It means a lot to me. You all rock!

Now, I mentioned cookies in that post. I figured I ought to make good on that promise.

I waited until October to post something pumpkin; are you proud of me? But from now until say, February, all bets are off. I’m an intense fan of all things winter squash and pumpkin. Butternut, acorn squash, banana squash, spaghetti squash, delicate, cushaw, and so many more – I love them all. I’ll try to moderate my squash recipes around here, but don’t worry. You’ll still get the good ones.

With that, let the pumpkin fiesta begin!

The first great pumpkin treat to come out of my kitchen this fall are these cookies. They’re kinda hippie (in my mind, hemp seeds = hippie) healthy. Not overly so, (they’re still classified as cookies and all) but in my mind, they feel that way because they’re full of good stuff like pumpkin (beta-carotene and fiber), hemp seeds (fiber, protein, ALA), and oats (fiber, magnesium, zinc). They aren’t overly sweet, but instead are more of a homestyle, hearty little autumn treat. Moderate sweetness is something I actually prefer when making oatmeal cookies, and besides, my hubby prefers my less-sweet treats. He approves of these.

You can use canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin puree, or even other winter squash purees (I often love to use butternut instead of pumpkin). I opted to use a commercial gluten-free flour blend here (something I don’t use often in my recipes) – one that’s probably my favorite quick-and-easy blend. You can certainly use another brand if you wish, or even substitute a combination of gluten-free flours. Just be sure you add about a quarter teaspoon of xanthan gum if you do so (or if your blend doesn’t have it already). For a sweeter touch, chocolate chips would also be welcome here. Truth is, these cookies are endlessly versatile.

Won’t you join me in my all-things-pumpkin-a-thon?

Print Recipe

Pumpkin Hemp Oatmeal Cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free)

3 T coconut oil, liquefied

1 c + 2 T granulated sugar

1/3 c pumpkin puree (you can substitute butternut puree or another winter squash)

1 egg

1 t vanilla extract

1 c + 2 T gluten-free flour blend (I used Better Batter)

1/4 t xanthan gum (ONLY if your blend doesn’t have it included)

1/4 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t ground ginger

1/4 t allspice

pinch of nutmeg

1/2 c hemp seeds

1 c gluten-free oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the coconut oil and sugar until well-blended. Add the pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla and beat again until creamy and uniform.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour blend, salt, and spices. Add the flour mix to the liquid mixture and beat, stopping to scrape down sides, until well-mixed. Add the hemp seeds and oats and mix in until even.

Scoop dough into balls (about 1 1/2 tablespoon in size) and place on baking sheet about 2-3 inches apart. Flatten cookies down with the back of a spoon or your hand until cookies are about 1/2 inch thick. (It helps to lightly oil the spoon or your hand so the dough doesn’t stick.) Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden on the bottom and edges.

Allow to cool on a rack.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.