Holidays: celiac, dairy/egg/nut free style!

Happy Thanksgiving!

turkey

My favourite holiday.

Yesterday my mom [dad had to stay home sick], her best friend + family and my best friend + financee joined us for a turkey dinner, making for 10 of us total.

Hosting holiday meals enables me to eat without having to be meticulous/ feasting on only vegetables (If another restaurant offers me salad with oil and vinegar implying that it is a real meal, I will probably loose it on them). I also find cooking cathartic.
[besides the fact that our stupid oven only has one rack]

A delicious turkey dinner really can be prepped in only one hour in the morning, and one hour pre-feast. I would suggest getting up to do all of your prep in the am, then near meal time when you are busy mashing potatoes and making gravy you have little to do.

Our menu this year and how I altered it to be suitable to my dietary needs[everything is approximate as I did not measure]:

Turkey– defrosted two days in advance, I woke around 0730 to prepare the bird for the oven to be ready at 1700. I cleared out it’s guts, and then prepared it’s massage oil: aprox. 1/2 a cup of vegan butter [Costco has a brand containing soy, or earth balance has soy free], about a tbsp of salt, about 1/2 tbsp poultry seasoning, 1 tsp dried parsley, 2 tsp garlic powder, combined.
**Please remember if you are celiac or cooking for a celiac to check the poultry seasoning’s ingredients, all are not the same. The no-name brand at Sobey’s is gluten free. Spices only.**

I threw a chopped up apple (core and all, you won’t be eating it), 4 whole cloves of garlic and a hacked up onion in the cavity of the bird, choosing to cook the stuffing separately for more even cooking [ie; no dry meat-stuffing sucks the moisture out of the meat, and also retains the core temperature low, for longer, causing the outside of the bird to over cook].

Next I sliced a tiny slit to separate the skin from the breast of the bird, and massaged aprox. half of the massage oil into it’s flesh. Then I replaced the skin, and did the same with the entire outside of the bird.

Popped her in the oven at 325 degrees F covered in tin foil, 6 hours and 30 minutes later, all areas were at a perfect 85 degree celsius {I got a fancy new meat thermometer which would beep when approaching perfection- if you don’t have one the correct cooking time for poultry is 15 minutes per pound of fresh or defrosted meat, adding up to 50% the time if frozen. My bird’s core remained slightly frozen still (0 degrees C in the centre, 1 degree near the surface), even 48 hours later taking only 1 extra hour to reach safe eating temperature}. This brought us to 1430 which was too early for dinner so I wrapped the bird in tin foil, and then covered with dish towels to retain the heat-she was still PIPPING hot by dinner time.

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I know what you are thinking “Turkeys are so much work! You have to baste, and brine and BLAH BLAH BLAH….”

Nope, I don’t baste. I’ve heard it doesn’t actually make a difference [from food TV and personal experience]. Brining scares me with a 20-something pound bird and keeping correct storage temps so I didn’t do that either. The turkey was moist, and flavourful despite all of this.

Turkey Gravy– A total flop in my opinion. No one complained, but I think they were just being polite. I used the drippings from the bird, and just combined them with a gluten free mix (clubhouse). HUGE mistake.
Traditionally I would use a bit of corn starch, the drippings, garlic, salt, and the good old fashioned bubble until thick method….but I decided not to due to the amount of people at my house and felt I would get distracted from it with visiting and it would be lumpy. Next year, back to old faithful. The mix was gross in my opinion.
** Note: all gluten free gravies will become jello as leftovers due to the corn starch. Just heat it up and it will melt just wonderfully**

Mashed Potatoes– peeling optional (I usually don’t for added vitamin content, but know your audience, I peeled them this time) boil them up until soft, drain, add a huge spoon of vegan butter- I would approximate 1 tbsp for every two potatoes, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper and throw into the kitchen aid mixer until smooth. I made such a huge batch this year I had to do many batches in the mixer-became impatient, and thus some of the taters are lumpy.
Patience. My husband always tells me I have none of that…. whatever that is….

Balsamic Shaved Brussel Sprouts– I bought a few bags of pre shaved brussel sprouts for ease on cooking day, drizzled them in honey garlic balsamic and olive oil and baked at 325F until they were slightly crispy. Meh. I’ll slice my own sprouts next time. These were too fine for baking.

Corn– frozen, boiled, bam!

Roast Carrots– local farm carrots, sliced up (left the skins on, vitamins people!), mixed with EVOO and salt and then spread thinly on an oven tray and baked at 325F for one hour (until the edges are becoming caramelized. Had I not made the turkey so early, I would have thrown these into the turkey pan in the last two hours of roasting for a better flavour.

Stuffing– 1 bag of vegan gluten free bean bread cubes from The Griffin takeaway + 1 half cubed loaf of The Northern Bakehouse bread + aprox. 1/3 cup melted vegan butter, 1 boullion chunk (not all are made equal, Knorr Homestyle Boullion is the only GF one at my grocery store)  +1 cup water, poultry seasoning and garlic to taste, 5 stalks of celery sliced thinly, one apple diced finely, one carrot diced finely and then mixed up with your hands in a big bowl, packed into a pan, covered with tin foil  and baked at 325F for 40 minutes. Next time I would add 1/2 cup more broth water as some bits of bean bread weren’t as soft as I would have liked. Otherwise I think this one was a success.

Cranberries– from a can, good ol’ Ocean’s Spray brand. I was expecting up to 14 guests, and the nostalgia from my childhood makes me prefer these to home made anyways. Maybe one day I’ll make them again… [if you want to: cook up fresh cranberries + white sugar + lemon juice + chia seeds+ only enough water to keep the bottom of the pot wet until it resembles jam. All to taste of course-thanksgiving is about cooking from your soul, not a book. Been there, done that. It tastes good…but nothing beats the gelatinous can-shaped ones. HA!]

Rolls– Gluten-full from the grocery store [which no one ate, so I will just skip next time and be 100% GF], and gluten free from The Northern Bakehouse brand.

Sparkling Juice and Cranberry Gingerale provided by our guests [most of whom don’t drink alcohol]

Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Spiced Whip Topping [ordered from The Griffin Takeaway; an amazing gluten free bakery in Saskatoon, and brought by some of our guests] + Vegan Ice-cream by So Delicious brand (and regular vanilla for non-dairy free guests)

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***Take caution, The Griffen Takeaway is NOT nut free, but they take allergies and cross contamination seriously. I have never had any reactions ordering their food. Buy at your own risk…. But also…:) Live a little. ***

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

I am thankful for: a job which challenges me, a supportive family, my loving husband, the oodles of caring supportive wonderful friends in my life, and you sweet sweet blog readers! 

 

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GF Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

Gluten Free, Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

Have a house guest coming with a ton of allergies? Have allergies yourself? Never fear, brunch is here!

PANCAKES

I don’t know about you, but brunch is my favourite meal. When I learned I could no longer tolerate eggs I was devastated thinking I would never enjoy breakfast or brunch again. Okay, I am perhaps being a little dramatic, but really-I used to eat eggs on a daily basis! It has taken me about 6 months to finally produce the PERFECT fluffy butter-milk-style pancakes which are free of gluten, egg, and dairy. There was MUCH trial and error. I can’t even tell you how many pinterest recipes I tried that were just A BIT off. Finally, I just had to take it into my own hands. These will fool even the most gluteny eaters-ask my husband who thought he hated pancakes before these!

Makes aprox. 8 large pancakes.

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (this is essential-must I tell you my woah’s about gluten free flour trial and error?!)

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup oil (I used half coconut half canola as I was running out of coconut)

1/4 cup icing sugar (I was out of regular, and this ended up being GENIUS)

2 chia eggs (1 tbsp chia seed + 2 tbsp water, let sit for 5 minutes = 1 egg)

1 1/2 cup coconut milk (or any other milk or non-dairy milk)

1 quart fresh blueberries (or chocolate chips, or bananas, really anything, go to town!)

Whisk or blend everything together except the fresh berries. Put a non-stick pan on stove at medium-high heat until hot. A hot pan is essential to golden pancakes. Use whatever oil/butter/etc. you like to grease the pan. I used about 1 tsp canola oil. For each pancake use aprox. 1/3 cup (I used a partially empty 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter) to pour the batter into the hot pan. I fit two side by side in my pan. Push fresh blueberries into the surface of the pancake which will be starting to get firm around the edges. Once the pancake starts to bubble, flip it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Store in oven at 190 degrees while making the rest of the batch. Eat! If you aren’t going to eat them all, these store beautifully. I pack two to a freezer bag and smack ’em in the freezer for easy microwaving or toasting later! 🙂 Serve with back bacon, sausage, hash browns and fruit for the best darn brunch an allergic kid could ask for!

Lo Mein [Gluten Free, Vegan]

Two weeks until the last marathon of the year. This means its time to clean up my diet, and put only good things in. This also means it is time to start introducing a few extra carbs! Here’s a way to do both, while satiating a chinese take-out craving [something that doesn’t come gluten-free in my city].

Low Mein [Gluten Free, Vegan]

All Veggie servings are approximate as  you can just use what you have/need to use up for this recipe. I just kept adding until my pan was too full! This recipe takes about 20 minutes start to finish and reheats well.

Makes 4-6 servings

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400g Rice noodles

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp canola oil

3 cups stir-fry mix (Mine had broccoli, carrots, sugar peas…all pre-chopped)

1 cup bean sprouts, chopped

1.5 cup baby bokchoy, chopped

1 can drained water chestnuts

1 can drained mini corn

2 cups broth (I used vegetable)

2 tbsp corn starch

Sauce

3 tbsp tamari + extra according to taste

1 tbsp minced ginger (I used ginger paste)

2 tbsp raw cane sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

Heat frying pan over medium heat. Add oil and onion and cook until onions are translucent. While onions are cooking, make rice noodles. Cover noodles in a bowl with boiling water + 1 cup broth, drain once noodles are slightly firmer than al dente. Whisk sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Once onions are translucent, add stir fry mix and cover with lid. Cook until crisp but tender, aprox 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, including water chestnuts, as well as the final cup of broth. Add sauce. Allow vegetable to soften, aprox. 2 minutes.

Drain vegetables, reserving the sauce. Add sauce back to pan along with rice noodles and corn starch which has been dissolved in a small amount of water. Allow rice noodles to finish softening. Once noodles are soft, toss in vegetable mixture. Heat until sauce has reduced slightly, aprox. 1 minute.

Once removed from heat, drizzle with sesame oil and serve. If you desire more flavour, drizzle with extra tamari.

To reheat, add a few tbsp warm water to a pan with serving, or put in microwave with a cup of water beside dish to retain moisture.

NOTE: If you would like to add some protein, chopped firm tofu, scrambled eggs, or chicken would be best added with onions at the beginning. I prefer to keep it vegan.

Buh-Bye Sugar!

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Due a general interest in increasing my energy, mood and health, I have decided to challenge myself to one month free of refined sugar or carbs. If you remeber from last summer- I began seeing a naturopath. Part of my journey to health involved cutting out refined sugar and carbs (as well as about 15 allergens and caffiene) for 6 weeks….but slowly over the year all the sugar snuck it’s way back in. I have been indulging in soda WAY more than appropriate (having a soda stream dosen’t help), as well as other ‘junk’. Being summer, it’s the easiest season to eat healthy…so why not! I’ll be travelling this week, so I am planning to start my plan May 29 and go until June 19. Wish me luck!

As I learned last year around this time, success is all in the planning. I know that cravings will come and I need to be prepared for both salty and sweet snacks. I also will need to amp up protein and fat to keep me satifsfied. I will try to share my meal-planning in case any of you want to follow along!=) I work shift work, so if I can do it…all of you 9-5er’s certainly can as well!=) FYI: I usually plan leftovers for lunches, hence no lunch categorie. For the 12 hour work days- I also bring leftovers for one meal plus eggs for another and tons of fruit and veg typically.

Breakfasts:

Omelettes (2-3 eggs + salt + pepper + almond milk + spinach + onion + mushroom + pepper + tomato)

Egg Cupcakes (bake shredded yam hash + sausage + eggs in cupcake tins in oven)

Monkey Salad (cashews + coconut chips + banana)

Fruit

Coffee and Vegan Creamer (Coconut Milk + dates + vanilla)

Snacks:

Monkey Salad

Fruit

Boiled Eggs with Salt

Dill Pickles

Turkey Wraps (Turkey + avocado + spinach)

Dinners:
May 29: Travelling, 7km run- Cobb Salad (bacon, egg, rotisserie chicken, tomato, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, black beans + vegan ranch)
May 30: 12 hr Day Shift
May 31: 12 hr Day Shift

June 1: 12 hr Day Shift

June 2: 12 hr Night Shift, Yoga- Baked Salmon (lemon, salt, pepper) + Kale/Mushrooms/Onion + Yam with coconut oil

June 3: 8km Run(last 4 race pace)- Yam Hash, Eggs, Sautee Kale or Spinach

June 4: 4km Run- Salad + Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken + Guacamole

June 5: 16km Run- Creamy Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Happy Eating!

Lately

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This week and next I work quite a bit, plus I am taking a two day course so it will be quite hectic. I have been trying to really relish all my free time/husband time and get in a lot of exercise before the chaos begins. [I also got this fun app called ‘Over’ to add text to my pics…]

I started the week by demolishing these INCREDIBLE gluten free + vegan black bean brownies. I promise you can’t taste the beans… And I may or may not have eaten 11/12 all by myself in 4 days….I made up for it by eating relatively healthy the rest of the time. Lots of smoothies, fish, and avocado(salted).

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I made a seriously delicious cajun fish recipe….I could eat it every single day. I actually might-since I bought a bag of 30 fish fillets from costco. =) I also was working at one of the other ER’s in town, which happens to be just blocks away from my favorite coffee shop in Saskatoon. It has so many beautiful details and some hipster charm. They make the World’s Best London Fog…in my opinion. If you are ever in Saskatoon, check out City Perk!

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I used a late start at work one day as an excuse to take my hubbie for the first time to enjoy  gluten free quiche + almond milk latte (for me) and a strawberry parfait + full fat latte (for G). Ready to go into this busy busy week with healthy food in the fridge, tons of hubbie time spent, and sore muscles from multiple gym days. =) Hopefully I can get a few days in at the gym despite work.

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Juice Flurry

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Week one was a great week of runs. With the first week of real COLD weather (one day was -26 C), I was glad to have just finished. The above picture was taken on that really cold day- It is a great reminder of why I run. It was a miserable temperature, but once the adrenaline hit, and I warmed up a bit I was able to just enjoy the gorgeous winter views. Seriously, this city is gorgeous. My runs all had slow paces this week which I blame on the weather and layers of clothes, goal for week two is to get back to my normal pace.

Week Two:

5 min warm up + 4.8 km at a comfortable pace + 5 min cool down

Cross train for 45 minutes

4.8km at 10km race pace

5 min warm up + 5.6km at a comfortable pace + 5 min cool down

35-40 minute easy run

Next race is The Salvation Army’s Santa Shuffle, December 7th. It is just a 5km race, so my plan is to really push myself and try to set a new 5km PR. *Fingers crossed*

 

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Since having a cold float through our home for almost two weeks (2 days for me, a week ish for my hubster), I have been juicing a TON. Grey Robin, one of my best girlfriends suggested juicing when my turn with the cold came around. I followed her advice and juiced grapefruit + beet + carrot + ginger, plus supplemented with echinachea + zinc + oregano oil and felt better by the next day. My hubbie refused, and suffered for a week before trying it…he felt better the next day too! Miracle cure? Since then, I have been attached at the hip to my juicer. For two, almost three weeks now I have been juicing anywhere from 5 times a week to twice daily! LOVE.

 

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Though I have been resisting the Christmas itch around here (can’t get excited until after my birthday, December 12), I was definately excited to find some vegan egg nog today! I seriously LOVE lattes, baking, and breakfasts made with nog instead of milk through the winter months. I can not WAIT to try this!

 

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Loving that cold weather calls for more nights IN with the hubbie, warm scarves, knit blankets and makeup-free days. Off to watch Happy Endings on Netflix-anyone seen it? I have only watched the pilot so far. So far, so good.

Happy Running!