Tag Archives: gluten free

Walnut “Meat” Tacos w/ Cashew Sour Cream

Let me just say something. If you knew me prior to my little food transformation, you knew that if there was one thing I HATED with a passion it was Mexican food.

The smell of it made me gag, and I refused to go to any such restaurant.

Everyone who was cool liked Mexican food, and I definitely wasn’t cool. (I know, I know, it’s a generalized statement, but I promise it’s how I felt).

My reason was simple. I threw up once when I was ten when my aunt made me eat a quesadilla.  So, a lifelong hatred was warranted, right?

Later in life, this hate relationship I had posed a big issue.  The problem wasn’t that my taste buds were unpopular. It was that Mexican food is my husband’s favorite food group–like lick the plate kind of favorite.

If you’re friends with me now, you know taco night is one of my favorites.  So, what changed?

Well, to be quite honest, my taste buds.  As I continued this journey to real foods, my taste buds CRAVED fresh foods.  I ate jalapeno for the first time.  Now, I actually know what cilantro is.

I still won’t eat Mexican at the very Americanized versions of it.  1. Because they are really unhealthy 2. They aren’t fresh at all.

If I find myself at a social function and can’t avoid it, I order the vegetable fajitas and fresh guacamole and chow down.

But now, Mexican food is on the main rotation. I can’t go too long without it before I really miss it and our newfound love starts to waiver.  I need it in my life. Lots.

My idea of a fresh taco night is some homemade corn tortillas, fresh and preferably local veggie toppings, some guacamole, and a nice protein (refried beans, walnut meat, or some good quality local meat).

I know Walnut Meat sounds weird. But it’s really not.  What’s weird is the nasty ground beef in a log. Yes, things I used to buy.

If you are looking for meat free options, or just wanting to try something different, give this a shot.  I know it will surprise you.

It’s really, really good.  Well, to my crazy taste buds 🙂

Here’s how to build the tacos:

  • Get a good tortilla.  I prefer to make my own using this recipe, but you can also get some good quality sprouted corn tortillas at the grocery store.  The biggest thing here is to use organic–since corn is a top GMO crop.

Three options for store-bought tortillas or shells:

  1. Food for Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas.  One of the best options with incredible ingredients. (I find at Earthfare and Kroger).
  2. Garden of Eatin Shells (I have found at Earth Fare and Kroger). My only hesitation with this is the oil isn’t organic, and I don’t like that….But for a treat–would be nice.
  3. Late July Chips.  If you can’t find a shell you like, try making “nachos” out of this meal!  I love that this is a family company that uses all organic ingredients.  Plus their product is amazing! (I find at Costco and Earthfare)
  • Get some great toppings.  We love: refried beans (so easy & cheap to make!), black beans, spinach/lettuce, onions, avocado, mushrooms, peppers, jalapeno, organic corn (frozen, then cooked), tomato or salsa, mango OR anything else your heart desires.  Be creative & let the family get involved.
  • Top with Organic Sour Cream (if you’ve got no problems with Dairy–or make the cashew sour cream [recipe below] if you’re dairy free!)

Ingredients

To make the “meat,” you’ll just need a few ingredients.  Pulse them in the food processor, and heat on the stove for a few minutes.  Then, you get this:

Walnut Meat

Looks pretty similar, huh?

Assemble your ingredients, and voila–an incredible, filling meal!

1

Since going dairy free, I’ve discovered cool ways to make “dairy” like things without using milk, and sour cream is one of them.  Who woulda thought I could still enjoy these things?  I love using this Cashew Sour Cream with soups, tacos, or even this Mexican Lasagna (recipe coming soon).

Mexican Lasagna

Cashew Sour Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked about two hours* (see note)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • ¼-1/2 t sea salt
Instructions
  1. Drain cashews.
  2. Put all ingredients in a high powered blender.
  3. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape sides down if necessary.
  4. Refrigerate immediately to thicken.
  5. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Notes
Put the cashews in a large bowl and cover with filtered water. Cover with a dish towel and set aside for 2 hours or up to overnight.

 

Now for the Walnut “Meat” recipe:

2

Walnut "Meat" Tacos
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, soaked 8 hours to overnight* (see note)
  • 2.5 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 large pinch of cayenne pepper (omit if you don't like heat)
Instructions
  1. Drain walnuts.
  2. Put all ingredients in a food processor.
  3. Pulse a few times until walnuts are broken down, spices are mixed, and the consistency is like taco meat.
  4. (optional step) Transfer to a saucepan and cook on medium, stirring frequently, until heated through.
  5. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Notes
1. Put the walnuts in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Cover with dish towel and set aside for 8 hours or overnight.
2. This is a family sized portion. Feel free to cut the recipe in half for less, or double for more.

 

You will need RAW, UNSALTED nuts for these recipes.  I usually buy mine in the bulk bins at Earthfare, although Trader Joes has much better prices if you are near one 🙂

Enjoy 🙂


Berry Cobbler

The South Carolina heat is definitely moving in.  It’s the “I’m standing still outside, and I’m pouring sweat” kind of summer so far.  And I have a feeling it’ll be around for a while.

So, we might as well get used to it, have some friends over for a cookout, and eat things like watermelon and berry cobbler.

Cobbler Final

Except for my husband–he won’t eat watermelon.  Serious question, who doesn’t like watermelon?

In my book, it’s almost like the symbol of summer, and I’m the only one in my house who eats it.  Hey, at least I don’t feel so bad when I eat a whole watermelon by myself.  Quite a different feeling than the bag of chips 🙂

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Forks Over Knives.  I made some adjustments to make it fit what we normally have on hand, and the taste we prefer.

I hope this makes your summer cookout a little nostalgic–but without all the bad stuff.

I like to serve mine with homemade coconut whipped cream.

The cooked filling:

Cooked Berries

The biscuit batter:

Batter

Final product:

Cooked Cobbler

Berry Cobbler
 
Ingredients
Filling:
  • 2 10-ounce bags of frozen mixed berries, thawed out some
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 T arrowroot powder (or organic cornstarch)
  • pinch of salt
Topping:
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 cups oat flour (I make my own in my blender)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ t salt
  • 3 T applesauce
  • 2 T almond butter or sunflower seed butter
Sprinkling:
  • 1 T coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ t cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8 x 8 pan with coconut oil.
  3. In a bowl, mix together all of the "Filling" ingredients.
  4. Pour in prepared pan, cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together the almond milk and vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes. Then add the vanilla extract.
  6. In a bowl, combine oat flour, baking powder, coconut palm sugar, and salt.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together applesauce and almond butter.
  8. Cut the applesauce mixture into the flour with a fork, until it becomes crumbly.
  9. Pour in the milk mixture and stir until just combined.
  10. Once the filling has cooked, reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
  11. Remove the foil from the pan.
  12. Plop spoonfuls of batter on top of the berry filling until all batter is used.
  13. Combine the Sprinkling ingredients and pour on top of cobbler.
  14. Return to oven and bake for 20 more minutes.
  15. Serve warm!

 

 


Spicy Asian Kale Salad

This is one of those posts when I really wish one of my talents was photography.

The beauty in this salad cannot be captured with my phone. Period.

If you want an amazing blog AND amazing photography, I highly, highly recommend following Oh She Glows. It’s just beautiful. She’s beautiful. The food is beautiful. It’s beautiful.  (Get it?)

I know, I know, I have so many photographer friends. But who has time to coordinate? Plus, I work at midnight.

I know, I know, I could learn.  But does it make me crazy if I don’t want to? You mamas with little ones know how limited time is….I have to pick…and right now, I pick music.

Ok, so that’s out of the way.

Here’s the picture.

Imagine this Kale salad tasting about 40 million times better than the picture can even portray.

The taste is strong and brilliant.

What I love about kale (I mean, can I really break this down to just one thing?!) is that is doesn’t wilt.  That means making kale salads ahead of time are perfect.  And in fact, they get better when marinated.

Oh snap, clean eating just took the lead.

Spend a few minutes making this salad and you’ll have dinner for two and some leftovers for lunch or a week full of lunches. Pair it with some soup or fruit, and what a wonderful, clean lunch you have!

This recipe will come in stages!

The first thing you’ll want to do is prepare the things that need to be cooked:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Trim the bottoms of half of a bunch of asparagus and place on a pan.

3. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle salt and pepper generously.

4. Mix and roast in oven until browning, about 15 minutes.

5. While that starts roasting, put 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds and 3 Tablespoons of crushed raw almonds on another pan.  Roast until browning and a nice aroma fills the room, about 6-8 minutes. Watch carefully so you don’t burn them.  These go from perfect to burned very quickly!

6. Meanwhile, chop the shallots. Heat pan and a small amount of olive oil on medium heat. Saute the shallots, stirring frequently, until soft & browning. Use a splash of water if they stick to the pan.

7. Cook 1 cup of edamame to package directions. Drain & rinse with cold water.

Next, while these ingredients are cooling, prepare the salad ingredients:

1. Wash, de-stem, and chop 8 cups of curly kale (for me, it was about 1.5 bunches)

2. Peel & shred 2 large carrots.

3. Chop 6 green onions.

4. Grate 3 small radishes.

5. Peel & dice one ripe avocado.

6. Peel, seed, and dice one orange.

Make the dressing (adapted from Detoxinista):

Put 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup tamari (gluten free soy sauce), 3 T raw honey (or maple syrup for a vegan option), 1 T lemon Juice, 1 teaspoon of sriracha sauce, and 1/2 t garlic powder in a blender and blend until smooth.

Now, for the easy part.  Throw all the ingredients in a large bowl, and TOSS!  Store leftovers in the fridge for a few days, but it probably won’t last that long!

Asian Kale Salad w/ Spicy Almond Butter Dressing
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • (Refer to above instructions on how to prepare each step)
  • 8 cups curly kale, washed, stemmed, and chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled & diced
  • 1 orange, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 3 small radishes, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • ½ bunch asparagus, roasted and chopped
  • 1 cup edamame, cooked to packaged directions
  • 2 large shallots, sauteed
  • 2 t sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 T raw almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 3 T honey or maple syrup
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t sriracha sauce
  • ½ t garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Combine last 6 ingredients and place in a blender. Blend until creamy.
  2. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Pour dressing on top and stir until well combined.
  4. Stir leftovers in an airtight container in fridge for a few days.

 

*You could make this recipe soy-free by omitting the edamame (soybeans) & using coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce!


Vegan Ranch Dressing

Writing this post about Ranch Dressing helps me remember how far my sweet husband has come in his journey!  Ranch dressing was just HIS thing.  Every salad needed a thousand croutons, bacon, and a mound of Ranch Dressing. I don’t think he ever had anything else before he met me.

Then one day, he tried a vinaigrette, and I’m pretty sure that’s when I knew I was going to marry him 😉

The point is–I realize Ranch Dressing is a food group to some. I was never big on Ranch, but for me it was BBQ sauce.  So–I get it!

The real thing is atrocious. Like, really, really bad. It has no place in our diet. But there’s good news, I promise.  Most of the ingredients are FAKE anyways, so there’s always a way to make fake stuff the REAL WAY.

This looks innocent, right? (Photos taken from www.hiddenvalley.com)

Hidden Valley

Well, let’s take a look at what’s REALLY going on. This is some bad mamma jamma:

hvr_orig_nutrients_ranch

For the very first ingredient, you see soybean oil.  Soybeans are one of the top genetically modified crops in the United States. Sugar is most likely made from GMO sugar beets.  You see chemicals, and MSG, and artificial flavors.  Think about that. Artificial flavors.  That means they are fake. They are made in a lab.  And remember, if it’s made in a lab, it takes a lab to digest.  We aren’t labs. We’re people. We’re human, and we can’t process these kinds of foods.

Feel blah after you eat? Feel tired?  Your body spends most of its energy digesting food.  So what you put in your body DOES matter. If it spends all day trying to digest foreign ingredients, it doesn’t have much room left to get you through your day.

Here’s the good news.  You don’t have to give up ranch dressing.  That’s the cool thing about this journey. We aren’t giving up stuff (well, except the bad stuff!).  You just have to find a better way to eat the things you love.  I mean, I don’t know about you, but I can’t live without chocolate chip cookies!

Here’s an EASY, quick way to have Ranch Dressing.  Use it on a salad, as a vegetable dip, or make something fancy like these Beer Battered Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (I used gluten free beer and gluten free flour blend).

Read this recipe to hear my thoughts on Vegenaise!

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegan mayo like Vegenaise or Just Mayo
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • ½ t dried dill
  • ¼ t garlic powder
  • ¼ t onion powder
  • ⅛ t black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

 


What I Ate Wednesday 5-21-14

Oh, this day was glorious.  It was like the best of both worlds.  I got to work while the kids were in school, still hangout with them after that, go to McCall’s baseball game, eat dinner as a family, and hang out with my favorite man in the world 🙂

Here’s how it went down!

It’s no secret I’m starting music back.  I can’t share details quite yet, so until then, you get this teaser: an awkward selfie at a red light. In my minivan. I was on my way to a photo shoot….honestly, what a fun morning!  I mean, I got to wear fake eyelashes!

selfie

While this particular morning was a blast, it reaffirms my suspicions that I’ve got a serious problem.  I’m so socially awkward.  I mean, what do I do with my HANDS?!

I need classes at this. Or more practice. Or something!

I always get little butterflies every time I do something a little out of my comfort zone–and putting food on top of the butterflies makes it pretty bad. Stomach grumbles. Burps.

I decided just to bypass it all and be hungry for a bit.

So, I drank about 30 ounces of filtered water throughout the morning, and counted down the minutes until it was over and I could chow down.

I left here to run some errands, so I stopped by one of my favorite places to eat in Augusta, DiChicko’s Organic Cafe.

I got this Happy Goji Smoothie and sucked it down in about 10 seconds.

smoothie 1

I don’t mind drinking smoothies in the car, but I’m a firm believer in sitting still to enjoy eating food, so I saved my actual lunch until I got home from picking up the sweet babies from school.

Once they were down for naps, I relaxed for a bit with this huge bowl!  The original bowl has rice, red onion, tomato, black beans, avocado, chicken, and cheese.  But since I’m doing a vegan trial, I asked for no chicken and cheese and added all that grilled broccoli!

lunch

I’m not sure if you can tell, but this is a HUGE portion of food. I ate less than half of it for lunch! (But that was nice for the leftovers!!)

I spent the afternoon unpacking bags, and repacking for baseball.  Oh the little things that I love 🙂

I drank a classic smoothie (blueberries, banana, spinach, & almond milk) on the way to the ballfield.  I really do need nourishment, so I have enough energy to scream 😉

whatiatewed

I honestly can’t comprehend what it’ll be like when these little boogers play high school ball. I already feel like I’m gonna lose it, I never agree with the calls, and my baby always does EVERYTHING right.  And he’s in a 6 year old league. OH my.

Andrew’s been at his new job and on his new schedule for a couple of weeks now, and I can’t even describe how much it has already changed the dynamics of our family. There is a LOT less stress, and even more time together. It’s beautiful, and it feels normal.

God knows we need a little normal.

I no longer feel like I won’t make it. I feel hope. I feel possibility. I feel freedom. I feel like I can do something for myself (hence the perfect time to start music again.)

Oh thank you Lord for the blessing of time.  Just time to be together.

And to be around the dinner table together as a family, something we’ve longed for for years. These small, normal, simple things we’ve needed for so long…. The bliss.

We had five different dinners around the table, but this was mine (and Beckham ate this too, plus chicken & sweet potato).

dinner

I could not eat all of it…..but this Gluten Free Vegan Mac & Cheese is the best! It’s made with cashews, so it’s healthy AND filling! It’s perfect for people dairy free, especially kids who don’t want to miss out on mac & cheese!

Typically, I would rather eat many more leafy greens in a day, but I’m just like you. I’m on the go. I’m SO busy.  I don’t have tons of time to prepare.  I don’t beat myself up. I do what I can, and on not-so-busy days, I eat more leafy greens.

…Until next week 🙂