Ratatouille

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The second 37 Cooks challenged that I participated in was for Sciabica Olive Oil. Sciabica Olive Oil is a family run business which prepares their olive oil in the Italian tradition of old-world quality and they say that their oils are “California Sunshine in A Bottle”. Sciabica proves that you do not need to go to Italy or Spain to get good quality and fantastic tasting olive oil. Sciabica generously provided each of the 37 Cooks with two bottles of their choice. I chose the Manzanillo Variety Fall Harvest and the Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Both of which were simply delicious. I always like to taste my olive oils by themselves before using them in either cooking or baking – this helps me get an idea of what I want to use them for and what flavors I think would go well together.

For this challenge we were asked to again prepare two dishes with the olive oils that we choose. Below is my first recipe and I can’t even count how many recipes I made after this which made it difficult to choose my second one (will be posted soon). This olive oil was so delicious and I’m happy but surprised I have any left!

Please check out 37 Cooks (here is a link to my bio) and Sciabica Olive Oil.

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Ratatouille – Serves 4
Ingredients:

Sciabica Garlic Olive Oil*                       3 tablespoons, divided

Eggplant, 3/4 inch dice                           1 cup

Onion*, White, 3/4 inch dice                     1/2 cup

Garlic, Minced                                         2-3 large cloves (1-2 tablespoons)

Red Pepper Flakes                                 1/4-1/2 teaspoons

Baby Bella Mushrooms, quartered         1 cup

Bell Pepper, Yellow, 3/4 inch dice           1/2 cup

Bell Pepper, Orange, 3/4 inch dice         1/2 cup

Zucchini, 3/4 inch dice                           1/2 Cup

Tomatoes, Roma, 1/2 inch dice             4-6 each

      or pasta sauce of your choice         1/2 – 1 cup

Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated        To taste

Salt, Kosher                                          To taste

Pepper                                                  To taste

Gluten-free pasta – we use corn or brown rice pasta.

Method of Preparation:
  1. Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  2. Trim ends from eggplant. Cut eggplant into  ¾ inch dice. Sprinkle with kosher salt and allow to drain for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. Cut mushrooms in halves or quarters and set aside
  4. Cut onions, peppers and zucchini in to ¾ inch dice and set aside.
  5. Cut Roma tomatoes into 1/2 inch dice, remove seeds and set aside.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or sauce pan. Add onions, garlic and chili flakes. Sauté until translucent.
  7. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil the eggplant and sauté until lightly browned.
  8. Add all other vegetables.  Season generously and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in basil chiffonade.
  9. Stir in tomatoes or tomato sauce and cook for additional 10 minutes.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve as is or over pasta.
  12. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese

*B was out-of-town so that is why there are onions in this dish, but if you are cooking for someone who suffers from onion allergy like B does then just omit those and add some additional vegetables. You can also use regular olive oil if you can not find the garlic olive oil.

What Is A Serving Size?

Image from: blturlock.blogspot.com

I am on a mission this year to get in shape and to become healthier. I’m doing this for several reasons but one in particular is that if I plan to become an RD I need to be healthy – no one, including myself wants to take advice about health and wellness from someone who is not healthy and practicing what they are preaching.

One of the biggest things that I have found is really being conscious of the serving sizes. I don’t know about you but I don’t tend to carry around my food scale and measuring cups with me everywhere I go to measure everything I eat. So below is a list of examples for you to keep in mind. You can find more information about healthy eating on my Healthy Eating page , Choose My Plate. There are also many more examples and references along with various images out there for serving sizes, but these are a few that I have found to be helpful.

Confused about portions sizes? Try relating them to everyday items to help you out!

  • A rounded handful – one 1/2 cup vegetables or fruit, 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta, or a snack serving of crisps or pretzels
  • Woman’s fist – another way of visualising a serving of vegetables, or one piece of whole fruit
  • Small handful or golf ball – 1/4 cup of dried fruit or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • A matchbox – a 1 oz serving of meat, or a serving of cheese
  • Deck of cards, – a 3 oz serving (recommended serving = 3-4 oz) of meat, fish or poultry, or ten chips/french fries
  • Check book – a serving of fish (approximately 3 oz)
  • Tennis ball – 1/2 cup of pasta, or a serving of ice cream
  • Computer mouse – a medium baked potato
  • Compact disc – one serving of pancake or small waffle
  • Thumb tip or one dice – one teaspoon of margarine
  • A ping-pong ball – two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • Small milk carton – 8 fl oz glass of milk
  • A baseball – 8 fl oz cup of yogurt, one cup of beans, or one cup of dry cereal

Are you wondering how much you should be consuming of each food group on a daily basis? Visit this great resource, Personalized Daily Food Plans from Choose My Plate.

For more resources be sure to visit:

WebMD.com  – Portion Size Plate

MIT – Serving Sizes

Spark People – The Portion Distortion Guide

Art of the French Macaron

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Last night the Sans Gluten JWU club was privileged to have Chef Lumi, master of French Macarons  share her vast knowledge and experiences of making these delicate little treats.

Chef Lumi is originally from Transylvania, Romania and moved to the United States in 2001. When first moving to the United States, she lived in Chicago where she enrolled in Culinary School at Kendell College. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Baking & Pastry in 2008. Over the years she gained much experience in the field of baking & pastry arts, and we are fortunate to have her as a Chef at Johnson & Wales and learn from such an amazing and accomplished Chef.

Below are some photographs I took last nights demo and production of French Macarons. This was the first time I had ever tried a French Macaron and oh my goodness these little gems are delicious! Still kind of nervous to make them at home, mostly because I don’t want to be dissapointed in the final product!

Thank you Chef for taking the time to share your tips and knowledge with us, it is truly appreciated.

Poached Peaches with Raspberry Sauce and Pecan Tuile Cookie

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Each term of school I take either one or two culinary labs. This term I took a culinary lab called Designing Healthy Desserts. This course is broken up in to six groups with three students each. Each group chooses a dietary restriction from the following list: Gluten-Free/Celiac, Strict Diabetic, Pre-Diabetic/Celiac, Vegan, Vegetarian-Lacto, and Lactose Intolerant. I was asked to not be in the Gluten-Free/Celiac group because lets face that it would have been rather easy to do seeing as I live it on a daily basis so we created the Pre-Diabetic/Celiac group instead. Each class we were assigned a subject matter and had to create a dish with five components (main item, two sauces, crunch factor, and garnish). We were asked to use or create recipes that did not meet our dietary restrictions and then recreate them so they would meet our guidelines.

My group consisted of two other members, Lauren (who is AMAZING and her father is diabetic), and Peter (again he is AMAZING, and also has Celiac!). I loved working with the two of them. Probably the best group I have worked with since being in school. We all were on the same page and just had so much fun, wish we could have all the same labs for the rest of our time here (which is only a year!!!).

Below is one of my favorite recipes that we created. It is a poached peach recipe in a delicious raspberry sauce and served with a pecan tuile cookie. Seeing as our group had to incorporate not only gluten-free components but also had to be suitable for a pre-diabetic so we came up with a flour blend that worked very well in the cookie recipe we found, and instead of sugar we used xylitol. We didn’t want to use splenda in any of our creations so we used mostly xylitol and frutose which worked out very well for what we were trying to achieve.

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~Poached Peaches with Raspberry Sauce!

Adapted from “Poached Peaches with Raspberries.” Poached Peaches with Raspberries. Yummly, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

These peaches are poached in a flavorful blend of white wine and spices, which is then reduced to a sauce.  The sugar is substituted with xylitol, making it a low sugar dessert.

Yield: 8 servings                                                                      Serving Size: 5 ounces

Ingredients:                                                                             U.S. Standard

  • Water                                                                                       1 1/3 cup
  • Xylitol                                                                                     7/8 cup
  • White wine                                                                               ½ cup
  • Salt                                                                                           1/6 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon stick                                                                        1 each
  • Lemon zest                                                                              1 lemon
  • Peppercorns                                                                             1/8 teaspoon
  • Peaches                                                                                    4 peaches
  • Raspberries                                                                              4 ounces
  • Mint leaf                                                                                  8 each

Method of Preparation

  1. Put all of the ingredients except the peaches and raspberries into a large pot.
  2. Halve the peaches and remove the pit.
  3. Add the peaches and bring the pot to a boil.
  4. Cover the pot with parchment paper and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook the peaches in poaching liquid for 7-10 minutes (time depends on the ripeness of the peaches.)
  5. Take the peaches out of the cooking liquid.
  6. Add half of the raspberries to the cooked peaches.
  7. Add the remaining raspberries to the pot and bring it back to a boil.  Reduce the cooking liquid to about half.
  8. Strain the poaching liquid.
  9. Pour the poaching liquid over the peaches and raspberries. 

~Pecan Tuile Cookies~

Adapted from “Pleasant House.” Pecan-Bacon Lace Cookies. Pleasant House, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

These cookies can be used to add a crunch to a dessert that might otherwise be lacking.  They are made with xylitol, making them suitable for diabetics.

Yield: 8 servings                                                                              Serving Size: ½ ounce

Ingredients:                                                                                       U.S. Standard

  • Unsalted butter                                                                                    2 tablespoons
  • Milk, 2%                                                                                              1 tablespoon
  • Bourbon                                                                                               ½ tablespoon
  • Pecans, very finely ground                                                                  3/8 cup
  • Brown rice flour                                                                                   1 teaspoon
  • Potato starch                                                                                        1 teaspoon
  • Tapioca starch                                                                                     1 teaspoon
  • Xylitol                                                                                                 ¼ cup

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat.  In a saucepan, combine the butter, milk, and bourbon over low heat.  In a small bowl, combine the ground pecans, flour, and Xylitol.  Once the butter is melted, add in the dry ingredients all at once.  Cook until gently bubbling.  Remove saucepan from heat but keep warm
  3. Drop small spoonfuls of the batter onto the lined sheet pan, leaving at least two inches between each cookie as cookies will spread.  Bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove cookies from oven and cool on sheet pan slightly until cookies can be lifted off the pan and hold their shape but are malleable.  Cook cookies on a cookie rack, or mold into desired shape and cool until set.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa

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I would grill all year-long if I could. This year we had so much crazy snow drifts that it was a bit impossible to do. I love my grill dearly…great flavors, you can grill pretty much anything, its outside with the sun and the fresh air, easy clean up, and less fats are used! We grill steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, hot sausages, shrimp, fish, pizza, and veggies…tons of veggies! Last year I bought one of those little grill baskets for I think $3.00 and it works like a charm, especially for mushrooms.

Last week we got the tank refilled and have used it quite a bit since. We are both trying to get in better shape and eat healthier (a follow-up post to my I’m on a mission…post will appear soon, I promise!). So the grill comes in very handy for this, because like I mentioned I use way less oils or fats when cooking. We have switched from eating red meat weekly (sometimes multiple times a week) to about monthly and started eating more chicken (breasts, no skin – which we have always done), shrimp, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

Since starting to work out and now that I have gotten on a schedule with a program I really like I have been craving much healthier foods…funny how that works huh? Snacks include slices of yellow, red, or orange bell peppers, or carrot sticks with hummus and mandarins! Seriously I never ate peppers or any form of oranges, but loved orange juice. Now I can’t seem to get enough of them. For lunch I have been buying Boar’s Head low sodium meats and making little “roll-ups” with some low sodium cheese, and baby spinach. I’m really like this craving of healthy foods! More to come on all of this in my follow-up post mentioned above, but for now let’s get back to the Grilled Shrimp Tacos…

These are SO easy to make, light, and delicious – we are loving this little creation of mine. As with the majority of my recipes please feel free to adjust the seasonings and spices to your flavor likings!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa

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Salsa

Ingredients

  • Lime Zest                                                                  1 lime
  • Lime Juice, Fresh                                                     2 limes
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                      ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                                             1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground                                   1/8 teaspoon
  • Corn, rinsed & drained                                             1 can (14oz)
  • Black beans, no salt added rinsed, & drained          1 can (15.5 oz)
  • Red Bell Pepper, small dice                                      ¼ cup
  • Orange Bell Pepper, small dice                                ¼ cup

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a medium bowl zest one lime. Zest the second lime used later for juicing and set aside zest for the shrimp marinade.
  3. Juice the two limes into the bowl
  4. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, mix until well combined. Set aside
  5. Open cans of corn and black beans. Drain and rinse corn first, and then add to a medium bowl.
  6. Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the bowl with the corn and lime juice mixture.
  7. Dice bell peppers and add to the corn, black beans, and lime juice mixture.
  8. Mix well, cover and store in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  9. Mix well before serving.
  10. Serve with grilled shrimp tacos and/or corn tortilla chips.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos – makes six tacos

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil                                                                      2 tablespoons
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                        ½ teaspoon
  • Lime Zest                                                                    1 lime
  • Salt, Kosher                                                                1/8 teaspoon
  • Jumbo Shrimp, peeled, deveined, cleaned                 10 each
  • Corn Tortilla, soft                                                          6 each
  • Avocado, halved and sliced                                        1 each

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a small bowl combine first four ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add shrimp and toss to evenly coat all shrimp.
  4. Cover and marinade in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat grill to medium high
  6. Either skewers your shrimp or use a grill basket to cook shrimp.
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Shrimp should be opaque and cooked throughout.
  8. Remove shrimp from grill and cut up into large chunks or leave whole.
  9. On the cooler part of the grill add the soft corn tortilla shells.
  10. Grill until you see grill marks – about 3-4 minutes per side (this all depends on how hot your grill is, and how crispy you want them…at this stage they are still quite pliable).
  11. To assemble your tacos add 2-3 tablespoons of corn and black bean salsa on each grilled corn tortilla shell.
  12. Top with equal portions of diced or whole grilled shrimp and slices of avocado.
  13. Enjoy the extra salsa with some gluten-free corn tortilla chips.

Conscious Box {Giveaway}

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The giveaway is now closed – Sara A. is our lucky winner! Thanks to all who entered and don’t forget all Creative Cooking Gluten Free readers can receive 25% off by using the code LOVELIFE!

There are so many wonderful subscription boxes out there that cater to various diet restrictions, healthy eating, and eco-friendly products. Have you heard about Conscious Box? They combine all three of those ideas and more into one awesome box that is delivered to your doorstep each month.

I had not heard of them until the other day when I received an e-mail saying that they now offer Vegan & Gluten-Free boxes (Just select your dietary preferences). In the e-mail they informed me that the founder also has Celiac Disease! To celebrate their new gluten-free and vegan boxes they have offered a giveaway to one of my readers…a 3-month Conscious Box subscription – that’s a $59 value! AND we’d also like to offer your readers a 25% OFF discount for any Conscious Box subscription. Use code: LOVELIFE (giveaway entry rules are below…)

Below is a little bit of information on how Conscious Box works and what they include in each box.

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How Does Conscious Box work?

Conscious Box is the best way to discover the most ethical and sustainable products on the planet! Focusing on strict tenets of organic, fair trade, and pure and natural products, each month Conscious Box will introduce you to healthy and honest alternatives for every aspect of your life and for every member of your family. Discover the best natural products, earn points for leaving feedback and reviews, and buy your favorites at incredible discounts!

  • Get a variety of unique pure & natural products every month!
  • From organic food to vegan beauty products, you’re sure to find new favorites!
  • Discover ethical and purpose-driven businesses of all sizes!
  • Get content on daily living tips, exciting monthly themes, and creative ways to use your box!
  • Easily earn points you can apply to full size products for unbeatable discounts!

Want to win a 3-month Conscious Box Subscription? Follow these simple rules below. Do not forget they are also offering all readers a 25% OFF discount for any Conscious Box subscription. Simply use code: LOVELIFE when checking out.

  1. Head to ConsciousBox.com and create a profile! This is totally free!
  2. Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook
  3. Head to their Facebook Page and like it! While you are there tell them that you have entered the giveaway on @Creative Cooking Gluten Free (you can do this daily)
  4. Share on Facebook – you must tag @Creative Cooking Gluten Free or share Creative Cooking Gluten Free’s post about this giveaway on Facebook
  5. Follow Conscious Box on Twitter
  6. Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (@Creatively_GF)
  7. Tweet about the giveaway (use the little twitter button below) be sure to mention @Creatively_GF

Be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of the above entries!

Giveaway starts on Thursday March 28th and ends on Friday April 5th at 11:59 pm EST.

Disclosure: I received an e-mail from Conscious Box regarding their new gluten-free and vegan options. I was not compensated in any other manner. The opinions expressed above are my own.

Red Apple Lipstick {Review}

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When I started my website I really wanted to include a page for cosmetics and beauty products that were gluten-free. I didn’t realize how difficult it was to read the labels on those things because prior to being diagnosed I never had to read them. So when I find a company that clearly states what they have is gluten-free or not I will continue to post it up there…and if any of you have suggestions of companies that I have missed, PLEASE let me know and I will be happy to get the info up.

I’m going to admit, I’m not the biggest makeup person out there, and a lot of that has to do with I can’t really wear makeup to school (culinary), but I wear a little bit anyway😉 It normally consists of some powder, eye liner, and mascara with some chap-stick. Exciting, I know. I never really wear lipstick…it scares me a bit. I never know what color will look good, and its hard because for the most part you can’t try them on so I tend to stick with chap-stick of a light gloss. Every once in a while when we have somewhere to go and need to get all dressed up I do the whole look, with eyeshadow and everything, but it doesn’t happen that often.

Recent though I have heard so much about Red Apple Lipstick (RAL) from other bloggers and how much they LOVE their products.So when one of the lovely ladies over at Red Apple Lipstick asked if I wanted to give their products a try, I was quite excited about it. She told me to pick out three items to try. It took me a little while (and even asked for her help) to pick a color that would look good…we ended up picking Drama. I also have really bad chapped lips so I asked for the Exfoliate and the Rallye Balm. They also sell eye-shadows, pallets, lip glosses, and lip pencils.

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I use the exfoliate about twice a week to help with my chapped lips…this stuff is unbelievably amazing. So easy to use, and if my lips are really bad I’ll do it a few more times during the week as needed. The Rallye Balm is probably my favorite item so far. You can buy it in a tub or a regular lipstick, you can even get a 3 month supply of this bad boy. It ends dry lips, stops lips from cracking, and protects lips by surrounding them with a moist, protective shell. Head on over to their website to read about this amazing product in more detail!

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And last but certainly not least is the wonderful lipstick in Drama! I never knew I would enjoy lipstick so much. I know that sounds funny but this is a beautiful color, stays put, keeps my lips moist, and it is Gluten Free • Paraben Free • Allergen Free • Vegan • Mineral Based • Cruelty Free – seriously what could be better than that? Needless to say RAL has won me over on in the lipstick department.

RAL offers a Lipstick Exchange program – where you send them a lipstick you don’t like, from any manufacturer and they’ll send you a tube of Red Apple Lipstick at a reduced price!!

Red Apple Lipstick is currently running a contest called Red Apple Girl Contest!! Read the information below (copied from their website)

Red Apple Lipstick is launching a photo contest for Red Apple Girls to showcase their style while wearing their favorite lipstick! The contest begins on Friday, March 1. Entering is easy—simply take a photo of yourself wearing your favorite Red Apple Lipstick products and add the hashtag #redapplegirl. We also encourage you to include a hashtag with the name of the color you’re rocking (example: #Red!)

Ways to enter: Use your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Tag Red Apple Lipstick’s Instagram @RedAppleGirls in the photo description. Tweet your photo to @RedAppleLipstic or Facebook it and tag @Red Apple Lipstick, in either case with the same hashtag (#redapplegirl).

Red Apple Lipstick founder Jay Adam Harper says, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what walk of life you’re passing through. Every girl deserves a chance to show the world their beauty—inside and out!” The grand prize winner will receive a $200 RedAppleLipstick.com gift certificate, plus the chance to be a new face of Red Apple Lipstick. The second place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate, the third place winner will receive a $40 gift certificate, the fourth place winner will receive a $30 gift certificate, and the fifth place winner will receive a $20 gift certificate. Please note that Red Apple Lipstick will not be able to see your photo if your account is set to “private.” The contest will close on Friday, March 29, and winners will be tagged on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter soon thereafter.

Snap away!

The Fine Print:
Photos must be appropriate for all viewers. By entering, you agree to give Red Apple Lipstick, Inc. permission to use your photographic likeness, basic location and name in all forms and media for advertising and trade. By entering you agree that the product/gift certificate received in exchange, if you are selected, is the only consideration you will receive. You must be 18 years of age or older in order to enter. If you are located outside of the Continental United States, you will be responsible for paying for the shipping of the products purchased with your gift certificate.

Thank you for making such amazing products!

Disclosure: I received Exfoliate, Rallye Balm, and Drama lipstick from Red Apple Lipstick in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other manner. The opinions expressed above are my own.

Chocolate & Coffee Mini Cupcakes {37 Cooks & Lock-N-Load Java Challenge}

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As mentioned in my previous post I am doing a food challenge for 37 Cooks and Lock-N-Load Java. Please head on over to that post to learn more about Lock-N-Load Java, what they stand for, who they support, and why and also to learn more about the challenge.

For my second entry I made rich mini chocolate cupcakes with a mocha cream cheese frosting. I made them mini so I wouldn’t feel so guilty on my journey to getting in shape. I’ll also be bringing these into school so I will not be tempted at home! But they are so dang tasty, it is kind of dangerous to have them hanging out for another day.

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes

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Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes:

Organic granulated sugar                                          1/4 cup

Sucanat                                                                      1/2 cup

High Quality Gluten-Free Flour Blend                         3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons

(if your blend does not have xanthan gum already incorporated in it add a scant 1/2 teaspoon)

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder                                      1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons

Baking Powder (gluten-free)                                       3/4 teaspoons

Baking Soda (gluten-free)                                           3/4 teaspoon

Salt, Kosher                                                                1/2 teaspoon

Sniper Choice, ground                                                1/4 teaspoon

Double Barrel Black, ground                                       1/4 teaspoon

Egg, Large                                                                  1 each

Soy Milk (unsweetened)                                             1/2 cup

Canola Oil                                                                   1/4 cup

Vanilla Extract, Pure                                                   1/2 teaspoon

Hot Brewed Coffee*                                                     1/2 cup

(*hot brewed coffee – brewed with half snipers choice and half double barrel black)

Method of Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • In a large mixing bowl add all dry ingredients (organic granulated sugar, sucanat, gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if required), cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and coffee grounds). Mix well.
  • Add in egg, soy milk, canola oil, vanilla, and hot coffee.
  • Whisk until well combined, but do not over mix.
  • Line a 24 cup mini cupcake tin or a 12 cup regular cupcake tin with paper liners.
  • Fill each tin 3/4 the way.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes (for mini cupcakes, and 28-30 minutes for regular cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cook in pan for five minutes and then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack until completely cooled. Frost with a mocha cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting

Hot Brewed Coffee*                                                     1/2 cup

(*hot brewed coffee – brewed with half snipers choice and half double barrel black)

Sucanat                                                                       2 teaspoons

Cream Cheese, 1/3 fat                                                8 ounces (room temperature)

Organic Powdered Sugar                                           1/2 cup

Vanilla Extract, Pure                                                   1/2 teaspoon

Method of Preparation

  • In a small sauce pan add coffee and sucanat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until reduced by half. (You are looking for a thick syrup to coat the back of a spoon).
  • Set aside and let cool.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add softened cream cheese and turn mixer on to low. Add in powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
  • Add in vanilla extract and mocha syrup, mix on medium-low until incorporated.
  • Spread on cupcakes and enjoy.

If you have someone that isn’t a huge coffee person (this has a very rich coffee flavor) then reserve a small amount of the cream cheese frosting and then add in the mocha syrup and use that for their cupcakes (pictured above).

Enjoy

Be sure to check out both 37 Cooks (find us on Facebook and Twitter) to see what everyone else created and Lock-N-Load Java (you can also find them on Facebook)

Vegetarian Burrito Bowls {Take-out At Home}

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We both love Chipolte, Cilantros, and Pancheros (both similar to Chipolte) but eating out adds up and we don’t have the money to do that very often so I make as much as I can at home and call it “Take-out At Home”. When we do eat out at one of the places listed above we both tend to go for the vegetarian option – I always get a bowl because it is gluten-free (the corn tacos are as well, but I like the bowl better) and Bryan goes back and forth between a bowl and a burrito. We are not vegetarians, although we do try to eat several meals a week that are vegetarian, but we always order the vegetarian option at these places. Why? Because you get free guacamole (except for Pancheros)! Go ahead and laugh but I would rather save the extra $1.00 – $1.50 and get the guac instead of meat. It’s a much healthier fat anyway.

These are so simple to make at home and cost way less money! Below is a simple, quick, and delicious way to prepare the vegetarian bowls at home. This is also a great recipe for those on a budget because it utilizes what you have in your freezer and cupboards! You can however feel free to use non-instant brown rice, or dried beans (soaked, and cooked), and fresh corn on the cob (if in season).

Vegetarian Burrito Bowls (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • Brown Rice, boil-in-the-bag                         1 bag
  • Cooking Spray                                             As needed
  • Corn, frozen – defrosted                               1 cup
  • Black beans, canned, no salt added            1 can
  • Cumin, ground                                              1/2 teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper, ground                              1/2 teaspoon
  • Lime, juice and zest                                      1 zested then sliced into wedges
  • Avocado                                                        1 pit removed, and flesh scooped out
  • Cilantro                                                          2 tablespoons chopped
  • Salsa                                                             1/2 cup, divided
  • Lettuce, mixed greens                                   1/2 cup, divided
  • Cheese, shredded                                         1/2 cup, divided

Method of Preparation:

In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the brown rice (boil-in-a-bag) and cook on medium high heat for 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove from water and drain slightly over the sink. Divide evenly between the two bowls.

Lightly spray a small sautee pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add corn and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You are looking for a nice roasted color on the corn, you may need a little more or little less time depending on your stove. Be careful not to burn them.

In a small sauce pan add the canned beans (no salt added or low sodium is best). Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, a pinch of lime zest (1/4 teaspoon), and the juice of 1/4 of the lime. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.

In a small bowl add the flesh of the avocado and mash it up with 1/8 teaspoon cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Squeeze 1/4 of the lime into the bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Add the remaining 1/2 of the lime juice, cilantro and lime zest evenly into the bowls with rice and mix well.

Top the rice with roasted corn, black beans, guacamole, lettuce, and shredded cheese. Serve with additional lime wedges if desired. Also great served with tortilla chips.

Looking for other Take-out At Home dishes? Check out these delicious recipes below:

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Starbucks)

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Blackened Shrimp Nachos

“Wendy’s” Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Mozzarella Sticks

Szechuan Beef (P.F. Chang’s)

Popeye Risotto {Marx Foods Blogger Challenge)

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Voting is now open! Click HERE to vote

Voting begins today, Tuesday February 12 and ends at 11:30pm PST on Thursday February 14th. Two winners will be chosen, one by popular vote and one from internal votes. Winners will be awarded $100.00 credit to Marx Foods each! And I could really really use some vanilla beans😉 Thanks!

A few weeks ago I signed up to take part in another Marx Foods Challenge. This one was called “Its Easy Being Green” and for those who know me really well I’m a bit obsessed with green. Some have been known to call me Kermit. In addition to my love of all things green (which includes my favorite animal, turtles) I love my green veggies: broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans…well almost all – I truly despise peas, except for in my homemade fried rice.  I received samples of bamboo rice, dill pollen, green eston lentils, whole cardamom and mint herb crystals from Marx Foods and was asked to create a dish using at least two of the above ingredients.

Life has been a bit hectic the past few weeks with school, my first chef’s table, and of course blizzard Nemo where go figure we lost power! We seem to lose power on Aquidneck Island when the wind blows but the past few days have been miserable, with loosing food (again), and no heat (we have electric everything), so my original recipe idea for this was scratched and today I made a very green inspired risotto using the bamboo rice, cardamom, and some spinach.

You may have noticed on Creative Cooking Gluten Free that I also love risotto because it’s a blank canvas and you can do so much with it. This one is packed with flavor and color! This is also a great way to get that extra serving of vegetables (especially the leafy greens) that you may be lacking in your diet. Highlighted below are the two ingredients I choose – you could even add a little of the dill pollen to this as well.

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Popeye Risotto

Spinach Stock

  • Olive oil                                         2 teaspoon
  • Garlic                                             2 tablespoons
  • Baby Spinach                                 9 oz (1 Bag)
  • Grey Salt                                        1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper                                  1/8 teaspoon
  • White Wine                                      1/4 cup
  • Cardamom                                      2 Whole – crushed and seeds removed
  • Vegetable Stock                               2 1/2 cups

Risotto

  • Olive Oil                                            1 tablespoon
  • Butter                                                 1 tablespoon
  • Bamboo Rice                                    1 cup
  • Ground Ginger                                   1/8 teaspoon
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated                 1/4 cup

Method of Preparation:

  1.  Gather all ingredients and equipment.

  2.  Peel garlic and rough chop it, set aside.

  3.  In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat.

  4.  Add chopped garlic and saute for 1 minute.

  5. Add cardamom seeds and baby spinach.

  6. Cook over medium heat until spinach has wilted.

  7. Add white wine and cook for an additional minute.

  8. Season with salt and pepper

  9. In the pitcher of a blender add 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock and spinach mixture.

  10. Blend on high-speed until well blended.

  11. Add spinach stock to a medium sauce pan and keep warm over low heat.

  12. In the same skillet as before add remaining olive oil and butter over medium heat.

  13. Once the butter has melted add the bamboo rice and stir until well coated.

  14. Sprinkle ground ginger and stir well.

  15. Stir in 1 cup of spinach stock – just enough to cover the rice.

  16. Stir well and continue to stir until the rice has almost completely absorbed the stock.

  17. Continue this until all stock has been added to rice and absorbed. This should take about 20-30 minutes.

  18. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.

  19. To serve top with grated lemon zest and pine nuts (optional)

Chef Notes:You can use arborio rice instead of the bamboo rice, it will have the same texture and consistency. I have made a similar recipe with the arborio rice and it is very delicious and flavorful.

It is easy being green…and delicious too!

Kabocha Squash Soup

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This past week as “lacto-ovo” week in my Vegetarian Cuisine lab. With that being said, the following recipe originally did not have either lactose or egg in it but I had to make a quick decision at the end to add a dollop of cinnamon sugar sour cream to the top before presenting it because it didn’t meet the criteria for that weeks lesson. But honesty, this soup needs no such additions, it is naturally creamy with a bit of spice so the additional of the cinnamon sugar sour cream help off set that a bit for those who do not enjoy so much spice.

I picked up the kabocha squash (aka, Japanese pumpkin) which is an Asian variety of a winter squash. The outside of the kabocha is rough and dark green in color and may have some off white lines through it. The flesh is a beautiful yellow-orange. I would have to compare the flavor of this squash to that of a butternut squash, maybe a tad bit sweeter though and I found the texture to be similar to a pumpkin or sweet potato. Once blended, this was so thick and creamy…I was tempted to lick my bowl.

Kabocha Squash Soup

Yields about 40oz, Serving Size: 8oz, Number of Servings: 5

Soup Ingredients:                                                                              U.S. Standard:

  • Olive oil, extra-virgin                                                                      2 tbsp.
  • Kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, large dice                                35 oz.
  • Carrot, peeled, large dice                                                               5 oz.
  • Celery, large dice                                                                            5 oz.
  • Apple, granny smith, peeled, seeded, large dice                            4 oz.
  • Onion, white or yellow, large dice                                                    5 oz.
  • Garlic, rough chop                                                                           2 tbsp.
  • Ginger, grated                                                                                  1 tsp.
  • Paprika                                                                                             1 tsp.
  • Cayenne pepper                                                                               1 ½ tsp.
  • Cinnamon, ground                                                                            1 ½ tsp.
  • Vegetable stock, divided                                                                   4 ½ cups
  • Salt, kosher                                                                                        1 tsp.

 Toppings:

  • Pine nuts, toasted                                                                               ¼ cup
  • Mushrooms, crimini, sliced and blanched                                           4 oz.
  • Sour Cream                                                                                         ¼ cup
  • Cinnamon                                                                                            1/8 tsp.
  • Sugar                                                                                                   ¼ tsp.

Method of Preparation:

  1. Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  2. Wash, peel, and wash the squash, carrot, celery, and apple. Set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat.
  4. Add onion, and cook until translucent. This should take about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Next, add in the kabocha squash, carrot, and celery.
  7. Cook for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened.
  8. Add in paprika, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon, stir to coat evenly.
  9. Next add in 4 cups of the vegetable stock. Reserve the remaining ½ cup – this will be used to blanch the mushrooms.
  10. Bring stock pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
  11. While the soup is simmering, take a small dry sauté pan and add the pine nuts.
  12. Cook over medium heat until lightly toasted but do not burn them.
  13. Remove the pine nuts and set them aside to garnish the soup with.
  14. In the same sauté pan add the remaining ¼ cup of vegetable stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  15. Once the mushrooms have finished cooking, set them aside in a small bowl to garnish the soup with.
  16. Add the mushroom stock to the simmering stock pot.
  17. To create the sour cream topping place the sour cream in a small bowl.
  18. Add the cinnamon and sugar and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  19. Turn off the stock pot.
  20. In a heavy-duty blender puree soup (in batches if needed), until smooth.
  21. Return back to the stock pot, season with salt.
  22. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  23. Soup temperature must reach 165°F before serving.
  24. Soup should be held at 135°F
  25. Serve immediately in a large bowl topped with mushrooms, pine nuts, and a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar sour cream.
  26. Cool remaining soup to 41°F as quickly as possible, by placing the a container of the remaining soup in an ice bath to help with the cooling process. Store in a refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  27. To reheat the soup, place it in a stock pot and cook over medium-low heat (do not boil) until it has reached 165°F for 15 seconds.

 Chef’s Notes:

  • This is a blended soup, so using a rough chop on the vegetables is a good way to save some time during preparation.

  • For a vegan option you may substitute out the sour cream for vegan sour cream such as “Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream”

Spicy Tofu and Cold Noodle Salad

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I love soy products and sadly I don not consume enough of them, but that will be changing soon. I actually fell in love with soy milk when I lived in China.  I would wake up early to head down to the dining hall on the campus where I was working just so I could grab as many of the cups of fresh made soy milk that I could. I love both warm and chilled so I would drink one or two with my breakfast then put the rest in my refrigerator for later.

To me tofu is like risotto. By that I mean they are both blank canvases and you can do so much with them. Tofu is very versatile it can be used in smoothies, soups, desserts, stir-fries, fried, enjoyed as is, and so much more. It also takes on the flavor profile of whatever you marinade or cook it in. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, you really should. I feel like tofu gets a bad rap some times, people say they have had it and hate it but I wonder how they had it? Was it a not so good preparation or recipe? If so maybe this recipe will change your mind?

Here is a little information about Soybean and Soy Products

(information take from lecture notes, Vegetarian Cuisine lab at JWU with Chef Cwynar)

  • Soybeans are a wild plant from East Asia and have an edible seed.
  • The seed colors can vary from yellow, green, brow, black, or multicolored – here in the US we consume the green beans.
  • Soybeans are oilseeds – which are mainly grown for oil extraction.
  • Soybeans are great sources of protein and their composition is: 33% protein, 39% fat, and 28% carbohydrates. 1 cup cooked soybeans = 28 gm of protein (about 1 ounce)
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Great sources of protein for diabetics
  • Low in saturated fat
  • FDA recommended soy food intake: “25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease”
  • Soy protein is one of the only plant proteins that is equivalent to animal protein.
  • Contains all 9 essential amino acids with high digestibility (.91)
  • Other benefits of soy: Reduces Cholesterol (could cut heart disease risk by 25-30%), Slows Artery-Clogging (neutralizes the ability of LDL cholesterol to infiltrate artery walls and trigger plague buildup which aids in avoid a heart attack), Fights Cancer (soy isoflavones – genistein, suppresses the growth of cancer cells), Strengthens Bones (new evidence that soy foods can cut the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in later years),  Eases Hot Flashes (because soy has estrogen like activity, a decrease of hot flashes may occur), and Helps Equalize Blood Sugar (for diabetics).
  • Isoflavones – studies show that as little as 25% grams of soy per day (less than 1 ounce!) reduces the risk of: heart disease, breast cancer, digestive disorders, eases symptoms of menopause, eliminates the problems of lactose intolerance, prevents symptoms of milk allergies, and is beneficial in diabetic diets (equalizes blood sugar)

Tips on ways to add soy products into your diet

  • Soymilk – don’t expect it to taste like cows milk, it has a nutty flavor, comes in many varieties such as: plain unsweetened, sweetened, vanilla, and chocolate
  • Tofu: use silken tofu in soups (miso soup), smoothies, and custard like desserts, it takes on different flavor profiles, if you marinate it before cooking it will have a deeper more intense flavor, you can grill it, bake it, fry it.

Last week was soy week in vegetarian cuisine and below is the recipe that I created.I like to make different noodle dishes at home, some warm, some cold, and I never write down how I make it because usually it is one of those “what do I have in the house” type meals. So when I knew that I had to make a salad for class that night I thought, “oh this is the perfect opportunity for me to actually write it down!”. I tend to change up the ingredients based on what I have on hand so feel free to get creative with this. Sometimes I drizzle in a little toasted sesame seed oil, and chili oil (we like spice in this house!), and even top with some toasted sesame seeds.

This salad works great for summer cookouts because there is no dairy. It travels well and the longer it sits the more intense the flavor. I would suggest eating it within a day or two though (if there is any left).

Spicy Tofu and Cold Noodle Salad

IMG_4496(close up)

Sauce/Marinade (divided)

  • Ginger, fresh, grated                                                                                       1 tsp.
  • Garlic, fresh, grated                                                                                        1 ½ tsp.
  • Tamari, gluten-free, low sodium                                                                      4 tbs.
  • Chili paste                                                                                                       1 tsp.
  • Hoisin Sauce, gluten-free                                                                                1 ¼ tsp.
  • Agave or honey                                                                                               ½ tsp.

Cold Noodle Salad

  • Tofu, extra firm, diced                                                                                      6 oz.
  • Mushrooms, baby portabella, diced                                                                10 oz.
  • Zucchini, diced                                                                                                10 oz.
  • Bell Pepper, red, diced                                                                                    4 oz.
  • Bell Pepper, yellow, diced                                                                               4 oz
  • Water, tap                                                                                                        1 qt
  • Rice noodles, Medium                                                                                     12 oz
  • Green onion, cut on a bias                                                                              ½ oz
  • Bean sprouts                                                                                                   4 oz
  • Cilantro, chopped (divided)                                                                             1 tbsp.

Method of Preparation

1.   Gather all the ingredients and equipment.

2.   Peel the ginger and garlic and grate them into a medium bowl using a microplane.

3.   Add remaining sauce/marinade ingredients (Tamari, chili paste, hoisin sauce, and agave), mix well.

4.   Check sauce/marinade for spice level and adjust if needed.

5.   Take 2 tablespoons of sauce/marinade and place in another medium bowl. This will be used to marinade the tofu.

6.   Gently wrap tofu in a several paper towels and press it lightly to remove any additional moisture.

11. After you have pressed the tofu, dice it into ½ inch chunks and add to the second bowl to marinade for 20 minutes.

12. Gently wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt.

13. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and set aside.

14. Wash the zucchini and pat dry. Cut in half, length wise, then cut in half, length wise again. Dice into ½ inch pieces and set aside.

15. Wash peppers. Remove tops, seeds, and ribs. Dice into ½ inch pieces and set aside.

16. In a large sauce pan add 1 quart of water and bring to a boil.

17. Once the water is at a boil, add the rice noodles and cook for 7 minutes.

18. Add all mushrooms, zucchini, and red and yellow bell peppers to the boiling water. Continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes.

19. Strain all contents of the pot in to a chinois and run cold water over the noodles and vegetables to stop the cooking process. Drain well.

20. Add the noodles to the first bowl with the sauce/marinade and mix well to make sure all the noodles are coated with the sauce/marinade.

21. Add in the green onions, bean sprouts, and ¾ tablespoon cilantro, mix well.

22. Place the noodles and vegetables on a serving dish and top with marinated tofu and the remaining ¼ tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

Chefs Notes:

A)    The medium rice noodles work very well in this dish, they absorb the sauce nicely, however you may substitute thin or thick rice noodles, buckwheat noodles, or gluten-free spaghetti (Sam Mills corn pasta works great in this).

Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Risotto

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Below is a recipe that I created a few weeks ago while in my vegetarian cuisine lab at school. Each week we are all assigned a component of the meal and we need to create a recipe based on that and what our lecture and demo are on that day. Right before break our lecture and demo were on fruits and nuts and I was assigned the entrée portion of the meal. One thing I really love about this class is that we have the freedom to create recipes each week instead of being handed a recipe and asked to make it, or our twist on it. It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to make that I could incorporate fruits and nuts in it.

I decided to start with my favorite “blank canvas”…a risotto! The idea just grew from there. I looked around the kitchen saw some golden raisins, pine nuts (one of my favorite nuts), baby spinach, and sweet potatoes (another favorite of mine!). I didn’t want the risotto to turn out sweet (because of the raisins), so I added a bit of cinnamon and grated Gruyere cheese instead of the traditional Parmesan cheese.

My chef and class really enjoyed the flavor combination and I can’t wait to make this again. Hope you all enjoy it.

Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Risotto

A hearty risotto with sweet potatoes, pine nuts, golden raisins, and spinach, a savory dish with a hint of sweetness.

Yield: 3 cups      Serving Size:  ½ cup     Number of Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • Vegetable Stock                                                                4 cups
  • Sweet Potato, brunoise                                                     4 ounces
  • Shallot, fine brunoise                                                         2 teaspoons
  • Garlic, fine brunoise                                                           2 teaspoons
  • Olive Oil, divided                                                                4 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon, ground                                                             1/8 teaspoon
  • Ginger, grated                                                                     ¼ teaspoon
  • Arborio Rice                                                                        1 cup
  • Pine Nuts, toasted                                                               ¼ cup
  • Golden Raisins                                                                    ¼ cup
  • Spinach, fresh                                                                      ½ cup
  • Wine, white                                                                           ¼ cup
  • Pepper, white                                                                       1/8 teaspoon
  • Gruyere cheese, grated                                                        ¼ – ½ cup
  • Parsley, chopped                                                                  1 tablespoon

Method of Preparation

  • Gather all ingredients and equipment.
  • Heat vegetable stock in a medium pot to a simmer, then lower heat to keep warm.
  • Wash and peel the sweet potato, then wash again.
  • Brunoise the sweet potato and set aside.
  • Peel the shallot and garlic. Cut brunoise and set aside.
  • In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add brunoise sweet potatoes and cook until lightly browned.
  • Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with cinnamon and toss to coat. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
  • In the same skillet add the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add shallots and cook for two minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add rice and stir to evenly coat with oil. Cook for one minute, until there is a slight nutty aroma, you do not want the rice to brown.
  • Add 1 cup of stock to rice and stir constantly until almost absorbed.
  • When the stock is almost absorbed, add an additional cup of stock. Repeat until the grains of rice are tender with a slight bite to them. About 20 minutes.
  • Add pine nuts, raisins, spinach, sweet potatoes, and wine. Stir until evenly incorporated and spinach has wilted.
  • Season with pepper and stir to incorporate evenly.
  • Remove from heat and add in cheese. Stir well.
  • Add parsley, and stir to incorporate.
  • Serve immediately.

Soft & Fluffy – Rudi’s Gluten Free Contest & a Giveaway!

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This giveaway is now closed – a winner has been chosen using random.org and e-mailed. Thank you to all who entered!

Have you been feeling like you are missing out on something? Have you been feeling like you are missing out on Soft & Fluffy bread? I bet if you were to check your freezer you’ll see that Soft & Fluffy is nowhere to be found…until now! Yep, that is right!

Rudi’s Gluten-Free has launched a new line of softer and fluffier Gluten-Free Sandwich Breads and now needs your help in finding the bread through a Missing Soft & Fluffy $1,000 Reward sweepstakes and Lost & Found Facebook campaign.

To enter to win the $1,000 Reward sweepstakes and Lost & Found Facebook campaign all you detectives out there who stumble across Soft & Fluffy can text “FOUND” to 304-52-RUDIS (be sure to type out all the numbers!). To help spread the word, Rudi’s Gluten-Free fans can share Missing Soft & Fluffy notices on their Facebook wall or download a poster to share in their neighborhood. To prove they’re assisting in the search, fans can share photos on the whereabouts of Soft & Fluffy on Rudi’s facebook page to be entered for that weeks prize! So where is Soft & Fluffy hiding? Is it in the toaster? Your freezer? The grocery store freezer? Weekly prizes include: a Garmin GPS, Nikon CoolPix camera, soft and fluffy bathrobes or a Rudi’s Gluten-Free T-Shirt. Don’t worry, NO detective goes unnoticed, Rudi’s Gluten-Free will show appreciation by awarding everyone with a $2 off coupon good for the new “Soft and Fluffy” Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bread products.

So head on over to their Facebook page for more details, and to see how the other detectives are posting their photos! Don’t forget to give them a like and enter for your chance to win these great prizes. The contest ends on February 8, 2013, so don’t waste anymore time.

But keep reading…there is more, including a giveaway!!

Here is what Doug Radi, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Rudi’s Organic Bakery has to say about the new Soft & Fluffy bread:

“Our gluten-free fans deserve great-tasting, soft and fluffy breads that don’t leave them feeling like they’ve missed out on the good stuff. We’re excited to announce that we used our baking expertise to improve our Rudi’s Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread recipe so it’s now softer and fluffier. These sweepstakes give our fans a fun way to discover they now have a better choice when they’re looking for bread that tastes, looks and feels like the real thing. Fans can see, taste and feel the difference in the full line of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Sandwich Breads, including Rudi’s Gluten-Free Original, Multigrain, and Cinnamon Raisin. Always free of artificial chemicals, preservatives and GMOs, the revamped recipe was selected as the favorite bread against a top competitor when it came to flavor, aftertaste, texture, appearance and everyday usability. The new Sandwich Breads are quickly become a fan favorite for their yummy taste, longer shelf life, double the fiber content with 2g per serving, and the presence of the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) seal.”

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Giveaway!!

Rudi’s is one of my favorite brands out there! I love their products, the textures, quality, and flavors. I am very excited about the new Soft & Fluffy and can’t wait to go on my own detective journey!

Thanks to Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery, one lucky Creative Cooking Gluten Free reader will win the following prize package which is valued at $100.00!! (You do not have to enter the Rudi’s sweepstakes to enter the following giveaway) Tools for finding soft & fluffy GIVEAWAY

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Giveaway is open to United States residents only!

To enter the giveaway please read below. For each entry you must leave a separate comment for each one!

1) Tell me what will you use the new Soft & Fluffy bread for first? (Mandatory)

2) Like Rudi’s Gluten Free on Facebook

3) Follow Rudi’s Gluten Free on Twitter

4) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook

5) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter

6) Share this post on any social media site and leave a comment below saying you did so with a link.

Best of luck to all who enter!!

Giveaway begins today Saturday January 19, 2013 and will end on 11:59 (EST) on Saturday January 26. Again this is open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen by using Random.org and will be notified by e-mail. Winner will have 24 hours to respond, if no response is received a new winner will be chosen.

Spring Rolls

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Last month I graduated with my degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University and also started my bachelors degree in culinary nutrition with a concentration in clinical dietetics. This degree is more heavily focused in academics with a handful of culinary labs. The first one is Vegetarian Cuisine. At the beginning of the term we were given recipes for each week and everyone was assigned a different item…starch, veg, dessert, entrée, etc. However to change things up a bit our Chef said that we can use these recipes as guides (which in my opinion that is what recipes are for), and then create something from there. Which, I think is a great idea because this encourages us as students to be more creative and produce something that we have created. Instead of looking at the recipes I look at what I am assigned and go from there. I want to be able to create recipes that I can share with all of you so I haven’t been using the recipes that were provided to us. So far I have made a curry mango smoothie (this was on the legumes week – I was assigned beverage), these delicious vegetarian spring rolls (grains week – I was assigned vegetables), and this past week I made a sweet potato and pine nut risotto (fruits and nut week – I was assigned starch). These other recipes will be posted soon.

These spring rolls are pretty easy to make. You can always buy pre-cut vegetables to save you some time and you can use which ever vegetables that you like. I wanted to include as many colors as I could with what we had in the kitchen that week. I call it…eating the rainbow! The spring rolls are made with purple sticky rice instead of the traditional rice noodles. As I said I was given vegetables on grains week and we were provided with so many wonderful options of grains, but I really wanted to stick with something gluten-free so I could enjoy them as well. Plus, this purple stick rice has a beautiful color and texture to it. If you can’t find this rice you can always use the rice noodles, brown rice, forbidden black rice, etc. Be creative and keep it colorful (a great way to get your kiddos or picky eaters to eat their veggies). This is also a great recipe to make with your kids, its hands on, gets them to learn about the different vegetables out there and try new things.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

A spring roll, loaded with an assortment of vegetables served with a sweet spicy dipping sauce.

Yield: 8 Rolls      Serving Size:  2 Rolls     Number of Servings: 4

Spring Rolls

Purple Sticky rice, cooked and cooled                  1 ½ cups

Summer squash, julienne                                       1 ounce

Asparagus, julienne                                                1 ounce

Carrot, julienne                                                       1 ½ ounce

Bell pepper, red, julienne                                        1 ½ ounce

Red cabbage, julienne                                             1 ½ ounce

Water, warm                                                             6 cups

Rice Paper wrappers                                                8 sheets

Dipping Sauce

Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, Tamari  (San-J)                  ¼ cup

Ginger, freshly grated                                               2 tsp

Garlic, freshly grated                                                1 tsp

Agave or Honey                                                        1 Tbs

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes                                       ¼ tsp

Method of Preparation:

1.    Gather all ingredients and equipment.
2.    Cook rice according to package and set aside to cool.
3.    Wash all vegetables, peel carrot, and wash again.
4.    Julienne all vegetables and set aside in small bowls.
5.    In a large bowl, add the warm water.
6.    Soak each sheet of rice paper in the water until it becomes pliable, about 30-45 seconds.
7.    Remove rice paper wrapper from water, and gently squeeze off any additional water.
8.    Lay rice paper wrapper flat on a large cutting board or damp tea towel.
9.    In the center of the wrapper add 3 tablespoons of rice, and equal portions of squash, asparagus, carrot, bell pepper, and red cabbage.

10. Fold down the top end of the wrapper over the center tightly, fold in each of the sides over the center (should look similar to an envelope), and roll up tightly. Set aside and repeat with the seven remaining wrappers and remaining rice and vegetables.

11. To prepare the dipping sauce combine the soy sauce (tamari), ginger, garlic, agave or honey, and crushed red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

12. Stir well to combine and serve along-side the spring rolls.

13. To serve, cut each roll on a bias and serve alongside the dipping sauce.