Posts tagged: gluten free

Make Your Own Sushi

By , January 17, 2012

We love sushi at our house, though we don’t often go out for it. Actually though, I prefer to make my own — because then I know the source of the fish (which I think is important if you’re eating it raw). And of course it’s also much cheaper to make your own at home. It’s simple and fun, too!

Let’s begin!

To make one batch of sushi rolls, you’ll need the following. This can easily be multiplied. Today we’ll be making a Raw Salmon-Avocado Roll. But you can fill your sushi roll with anything! That’s part of the fun!

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You’ll need:

1 sheet of toasted nori seaweed

1/4 cup raw sushi rice or short-grain rice + 1/3 cup water. (This will make enough rice to fill one sheet of nori. To fill about 4 sheets of nori, use 1 cup rice + 1 1/4 cups water.)

half an avocado

about 2 ounces of raw salmon from a company you trust (I always use Lars Larson Trophy Salmon — they’re a Colorado company selling wild, line-caught Alaskan salmon that they process and freeze right on their boat.)

soy sauce to serve with sushi (Nama Shoyu raw soy sauce is our hands-down favorite)

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1. Cook your sushi rice. You do want to get the actual sushi rice/short-grain rice because you need that sticky texture for your sushi to turn out right. Combine the 1/4 cup rice with 1/3 cup water in a saucepan. Salt the water. Bring to a boil and cover the saucepan. Turn to a very low simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Don’t lift the lid at all during that time.

It’s best to cook the rice right before you plan to make the sushi. Fresh rice gives the best results.

2. While the rice is cooking, slice your avocado and salmon.

Halve the avocado, then cut into slices

Peel the slices

I like to buy the pre-toasted Nori sheets

3. Let the rice cool a little and then spread it all out onto your sheet of nori, except for 1″ at the end.

4. Arrange your salmon and avocado down the middle.

5. Wet your fingers with water, and moisten the entire 1″ strip of nori that you didn’t cover with rice. This will be your glue and will hold your roll together.

6. Beginning at the opposite end (not the moistened strip), roll your sushi up. It’s effortless; you don’t need any fancy bamboo sushi rollers or plastic wrap or any other tool. Just your hands! (I threw away my sushi roller many years ago; I found that it just got in the way.)

7. Your roll will end up seam side down, and while you slice it, the gentle pressure will help glue the seam shut.

8. Slice the roll. To get nice clean slices without squashing the roll, work with a nice sharp knife. Wetting it first also helps, as does cleaning it off under running water after every couple of slices.

9. Arrange on a plate and eat it up!

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Avocado-Quinoa-Scallion Salad!

By , January 14, 2012

I have to share with you this totally awesome little salad I made up the other day! So good!!! Everything is to taste; I use roughly equal quantities of quinoa and avocado (though a little heavier on the quinoa). And we use Nama Shoyu because in our opinion it’s so much better tasting than any other soy sauce or tamari out there!

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cooked quinoa

chopped avocado

sliced scallions

Nama Shoyu raw soy sauce

red wine vinegar

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“Make” Your Own Brown Rice Chips or Crackers

By , January 10, 2012

Have you ever bought brown rice crackers? They’re surprisingly expensive, and often have unnecessary ingredients and are wastefully packaged.

So I’ve devised a very easy way to make my own. We love them! They’re nice and crunchy — great for dipping, or just eating plain.

1. Purchase a package of Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas from your local health food store. (The above 12 oz. package of 6 large tortillas was $2 at my local store.)

2. Cut the tortillas into triangular wedges or rectangular strips.

3. Arrange them on a cookie sheet.

4. They’re yummy just plain like this, but if you’d like to add salt (or any type of fun seasoning blend — Penzeys Spices is my favorite place to go crazy with seasonings!), just brush the top of each strip lightly with water and sprinkle with salt. (The salt will adhere surprisingly well after baking.)

5. Bake at 275°F for 30-35 minutes until lightly golden and crispy-crunchy (and no longer leathery). You’ll probably need to add another 5-10 minutes to that bake time if you brushed them with water first.

6. Let them cool, and then store in an air-tight container (at room temperature is fine). Done!

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Three perfectly baked brown rice chips, against a raw brown rice tortilla, so you can see the color difference.

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How to Juice a Pomegranate (without a juicer)

By , December 2, 2011

Have you ever tried fresh, raw pomegranate juice? It’s incredible! Pomegranates are in season now, so give it a try sometime!

You can easily juice a pomegranate without a juicer; in fact, even though we have a juicer, I prefer to do it this way. And it’s only a little more effort above and beyond the task of separating the seeds from the pith. One large pomegranate will yield roughly 1 cup of juice.

Now when you’re doing this, I suggest wearing black — or at least a big apron. The distance a juice splatter will travel seems to be directly proportionate to how much you love the shirt you’re wearing; this phenomenon also appears to be heavily influenced by the color of the shirt — with white inducing bigger and more far-reaching splatters than any other color.

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1. To peel your pomegranate, make perpendicular cuts (both going all the way around the fruit) — deep enough to cut through the skin, but not through the seeds underneath:

2. Grab a section and break it away:

3. Over a large bowl, gently separate the seeds from the white pith. This is the most time-consuming step.

4. Discard the pith & peel:

5. Empty the seeds into a blender or food processor:

6. Pulse them quickly about 8-10 times; we just want to burst the juicy outer red part without grinding up the crunchy white inner seeds:

7. Empty the contents of the blender into a mesh strainer over a bowl:

8. With clean hands, squeeze the seeds to get the rest of the juice out:

9. Pour the juice from the bowl into a glass. Enjoy it!

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Tomato-Quinoa Soup

By , November 1, 2011

When I was a kid, I used to love Campbell’s Tomato-Rice soup from a can. While I don’t buy canned soups anymore, I found myself wanting something similar this past week. Within minutes, I had a delicious and much more healthful rendition.

I used Bionaturae Organic Strained Tomatoes because it’s the perfect tomato soup consistency; just pour from the jar into a pan and add a little water. You could also whizz a can of tomatoes in the blender till smooth.

Add as much cooked quinoa to the pan as you like, and heat until hot enough for you.

Add salt & pepper if needed. (If I buy canned tomatoes, I like to get salt-free so that I can add my own unrefined sea salt.)

Yum!

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Free Shipping Through Monday, October 24th at Tropical Traditions!

By , October 22, 2011

It’s Free Shipping time at one of my very favorite companies, Tropical Traditions! Free shipping will save about $10-15 off your order, so it’s a good time to stock up, or try them out if you haven’t before. I really love this company’s products, and use them daily. Now through Midnight EDT on Monday October 24th, they’re offering free ground-only shipping when you enter coupon code 241011 at checkout.

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Tropical Traditions has a wide range of high-quality products; here are my favorites:

Moisturizing lotion – I use this every day on my face and hands. It’s the most luxurious stuff, and very gentle since it has only a few wholesome ingredients. Definitely my all-time favorite lotion.

Moisturizing cream – Much thicker than the lotion, this is another favorite. Also great for use on face and hands.

Virgin organic coconut oil – Great for cooking, eating, and also for skin! Has a much better taste than other unrefined coconut oils I’ve tried. I just love this stuff.

Organic raw honey – This is the best-tasting honey I’ve ever had. I like to buy and taste lots of different honeys, and this one always wins, hands down. When I first tried it, my eyes got big and my mouth dropped open; it just has the most amazing taste! Quintessential, flowery honey taste. This stuff is a staple in our house!

Coconut cream concentrate – I love this stuff. LOVE it. The “format” is a little strange, because when you receive it,  it will have settled out into a hardened layer of coconut oil and a layer of dried/finely ground coconut meat. You’ll wonder what to do with it at first; what I do is put the jar into a pan of simmering water and let it sit there until the contents have softened and liquefied, and then I can easily stir it up. Then, I put it in the fridge until it’s hardened again. Once hardened, you can then store it in the fridge or at room temperature (it won’t separate again unless it gets really hot in your house). I usually just eat this stuff plain, it’s so good; I break it into chunks with a knife, and eat it as a snack. Sometimes I’ll eat it dipped in the raw honey, which is a very decadent and extremely delicious snack!!!

Laundry Detergent – This detergent is all we use, now that I’ve discovered it. It works very well, gets the stains out, and lasts a long time, making this a very economical purchase.

Oxygen Bleach – Like OxyClean. If you need a tough stain-fighter/deodorizer for laundry and everywhere else around the house.

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Now, I’ve also tried their organic bar soap, and though it was really nice soap, Hubby and I have never seen a bar of soap get used up so fast! It was weird. It just seemed like it was gone in record time. So I wouldn’t get it again. (Though my mom has the liquid soap and really loves it.) I haven’t tried every single product that they sell…but the ones I listed above, I make sure to never run out of!

Also, I bought the Atchara once out of curiosity, and it was extremely strong (even for this vinegar lover!), and a little weird. Not quite a favorite.

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And if you’re a new customer and have never bought from them before, you can also get this Virgin Coconut Oil book, with information  & recipes, for free (any time, not just today) by entering my User ID, which is 6032410. When you’re going through the checkout process and you’ve added your shipping address and phone number, you will see the question “How did you hear of us?” Just choose “Referred by a friend” and then a new “User ID” field will appear below that where you can enter my User ID. (See screen shot below.)

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Homemade Concord Grape Fruit Leather

By , October 17, 2011

I wish I could give you all a piece of this fruit leather to eat right this minute! It has the best, truest grape flavor I think I’ve ever tasted. This leather is sugar free and made with nothing but ripe concord (or “wild”) grapes. And although the process is really easy — and you need nothing except the grapes themselves — it takes time. This is special stuff; the taste is so worth it, and when you take a bite and think about the process from start to finish, you’ll appreciate this fruit leather even more.

I find that it feels really good to deeply savor each morsel of food like this; so different from mindlessly feeding our faces, isn’t it. I bet if we were the ones responsible for the extensive work required to prepare everything we ate, we’d slow right down and savor every single bite!

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Concord Grape Fruit Leather

Concord grapes (that’s the only ingredient!)

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1. Begin by making my Grape Freezer Jam with your concord grapes. But go ahead and leave it unfrozen…or, thaw it out if it’s already frozen.

2. Preheat oven to 200°F. (You could also use a dehydrator.)

3. Tear off a piece of parchment paper the size of your cookie sheet. You could also generously oil your cookie sheet, but parchment is a lot easier to peel the leather off of.

4. Using a spatula, spread your Freezer Jam onto the cookie sheet, taking the extra time to spread as thinly and evenly as possible; it takes a few minutes to get it just right. Spreading it as evenly as possible is important because otherwise some parts will be overdone and other parts will be underdone.

5. Put into the oven and let it dehydrate until the fruit leather is pliable…not wet, but not hard & brittle either. Mine usually takes about 2 1/2 hours.

6. Remove from the oven, cool for a while, peel your fruit leather off the parchment, roll it up, and cut into strips! Store either at room temperature or in the fridge. I like to keep mine in a mason jar in the pantry.

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When I’m on the go and need a good snack, I’ll often pack a roll or two of this fruit leather, along with a bag of homemade kale chips. It’s perfect!

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Incredible Homemade Wild Grape Freezer Jam — Sugar-free & Pectin-free!

By , September 29, 2011

Finally, here’s my recipe for the best wild (or “Concord”) grape jam ever! The flavor really is incredible.

I’m not a big jam-maker normally. And maybe that’s because nobody ever told me that jam doesn’t have to be complicated, the way most publications make it seem. This is the easiest jam you’ll probably ever make…because I discovered by accident that you don’t need either sugar or pectin to make it!

And because it’s “freezer jam” (meaning you store it in the freezer), you won’t be sterilizing jars or canning anything. You’ll just be cooking the grapes way down, allowing the natural sugar and pectin that’s already in the fruit to do the job for you. (To give you an idea of how much jam you’ll get, 9 lbs of grapes yields about 1 quart of jam.) Then, you eat it! And if you’re going to keep it around for a while, just pop it into the freezer to extend its life.

This jam is also what I use to make my delicious Concord Grape Fruit Leather. Try it sometime!

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Wild Grape Freezer Jam

Wild, or “Concord,” grapes — nice and ripe. (That’s the only ingredient!)

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1. De-stem & wash your grapes.

2. Put them into a large pot, and turn to medium-low heat. No need to add any water to the pot — they’ll provide plenty as they heat up and burst. Stir frequently to prevent burning at the bottom, and to get all the grapes heated up.

3. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until most grapes have burst. The unripe ones won’t burst.

Cook the grapes until they burst…

4. Turn heat down to low, and simmer, uncovered, until the grapes have cooked down a bit. Turn off the heat and let the grape slurry cool off a bit until it’s handle-able.

5. Strain your slurry through a mesh sieve with holes just small enough to prevent the seeds from going through. A food mill can also be used here; I bought a $30 Italian-made one from Crate & Barrel several years ago to use for this purpose. When it broke, I was actually sort of glad. I went right back to using the circular sieve pictured below, and this continues to be my tool of choice — it seems quicker and more direct, and the irritation of seeds jamming up the mill is not there. I prefer it.

This is the most labor-intensive part of the whole process because you’ll really want to stir a lot and press the pulp firmly against the sides of the sieve to separate all the liquid from the seeds and skins that will be left behind. Really scrape the pulp against the sieve so that you get some of the pulp pushed through the holes into the juice. This seems to help the jam thicken up. This is also a time when you could use a blender. Before pouring the grape slurry into your sieve, pulse it several times in your blender, then pour it into the sieve. You don’t want to blend up the seeds, but the blender does help break up the grapes and pulp, making it easier to strain.

After most of the juice is strained out of each batch of pulp in the sieve, I like to put the spoon down and get my hand in there to squeeze the rest of the juice out of the pulp-and-seeds.

Once this process is complete, you’ll have plenty of soupy liquid and the pile of seeds & skins will be surprisingly small.

Strain your grape slurry through a metal sieve. The large one is nice for big batches, but the small one is my favorite, and what I use even for large batches.

Strained liquid on the right, ready to cook down into jam. The skins & seeds are on the left, ready to be tossed.

6. Now that you’ve got just the liquid, you’re ready to cook it down into jam. Pour it back into the pot and turn the burner back onto low heat. Simmer on low, uncovered, until it’s thick like…jam! This will probably take several hours especially for a big batch. Stir it fairly frequently, especially toward the end when it sticks to the bottom of the pot more readily. And turn the heat down lower when it starts to thicken; you really don’t want to burn this stuff, because of how much effort you’ve put into it. Keep it at low heat. You’ll know it’s done when you can drag your spoon through the middle of it and the track doesn’t fill back in. (EDIT 9/26/16: I have been taking it off heat even before I can see the bottom of the pan while dragging my spoon through it. It has set up well once cooled & refrigerated. So when it’s been cooking down for hours, and looking bubbly and sorta thick, and the volume has been reduced to maybe about 1/3 of the original volume of strained, soupy liquid, try cooling it and it may set up fine for you. I’m going to do more experimentation with this.)

You know it’s done when your spoon track doesn’t fill back in.

7. That’s it! Cool & store in the fridge (it’ll last a couple weeks before starting to go moldy), or in the freezer for long-term storage. You can also can this using the water bath canning method. I have been canning this grape jam for the past several years and it is my preferred storage method. It does, however, tend to crystallize for me (must be the sugars) when it’s canned. I don’t mind, but if you don’t want that, you may just want to keep it in the freezer.

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(Get your family to help you de-stem those grapes!)

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Today’s Delicious Food

By , August 4, 2011

Feeling grateful for today’s food delights!

Mmmmmmmm….

Breakfast salad with butter lettuce, pineapple, dried cranberries, & macadamia nuts, with macadamia nut oil, lemon juice, salt/pepper for dressing:

Papaya…yum!

Sprouted lentils cooked in rich beef broth, and steamed homegrown beet greens:

Homegrown cucumber:

Tomato, Kerrygold Dubliner grassfed cheese, parsley & oregano:

Molasses ginger cookies made with (homemade) sprouted flour:

…and of course, multiple cups of tea!

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What food-blessings are on your menu today?

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