Tag Archives: dairy free

The Secret to Cooking Good Healthy Food

Last year a culinary instructor named Todd Mohr gave a free webinar on how to cook like a chef.  It was not what I expected.  Instead of talking about all the “secrets” and difficult recipes we think professional chefs know he talked about how home cooks make things too difficult.  The focus of his webinar was learning basic techniques, cooking methods and spices then using your own fresh ingredients to create original dishes.

My Rocky Beginnings

When Bob and I first started living gluten free I was scared to death.  There were already a number of foods we didn’t eat for health reasons and I was sure there would be nothing left to eat…  So I started with stir fry and kept working on figuring out all those difficult gluten free recipes and exotic ingredients.   I eventually began to convert my own recipes and realized it really wasn’t that difficult, but I kept collecting recipes trying to find new, different and perfect recipes that met our needs.

Already Heading in the Right Direction

When I heard what Chef Todd had to say I realized I was already heading in that direction.  I was already putting together my own ingredients to create new soups and salads. I rotisserie whole chickens and use the meat for various dishes and boil the bones to make stock. Then I realized I had my “magic mixture” which was usually black beans, onion, corn, salsa or canned tomatoes and chili spices and sometimes chicken.  This ends up on baked potatoes, gluten free pasta, spaghetti squash, salad greens and most recently with rice rolled into a gluten free wrap for burritos. Sometimes I add rice for the closest thing to a casserole I do now.  I like to make a big batch to have on hand.

The Gluten Free Wraps and a Discovery

The gluten free wraps were part of a prize package from Toufayan Bakeries which I won through a drawing at the Gluten Away Online Expo.  The first couple of days after the package arrived we enjoyed some wonderful deli style sandwich wraps.  I even made a special trip into town for good deli meat, goat cheese and condiments.

Then I started looking for different ideas and went to the Toufayan website where I found the recipe for Chicken and Black Bean Freezer Burritos. When I realized I already had the basics down all I needed to do was think a little outside the box and wrap the stuff up in a tortilla or other flat bread, I felt a little embarrassed. But this was an excellent illustration of Chef Todd’s point just a few days after listening to him.

When I made these I cut eat one in half and wrapped them in plastic wrap then put in a freezer bag.  I ended up with two bags of these. Quite a bit of work, but good to have on hand for a snack or meal emergency.

Burrito wrap w/ filling.
Copyright 2017

 

Burritos ready for freezer.
Copyright 2017

Do you Make Things too Difficult?

Home cooks do make things way too difficult. We try to impress people with our skills or some sort of secret recipe or knowledge that only we have. Add food restrictions such as wheat or dairy to the mix and things can really get crazy. It is easy to panic and wonder what on earth you are going to eat.

My suggestion.  

  • Focus on techniques. Review or learn basic cooking methods such as baking, roasting, steaming, sauteing, braising, grilling, stir frying, etc.  These I have mentioned can all be done gluten free and dairy free.
  •  Then bring in your own fresh ingredients and seasonings and mix and match to your hearts content.  You might also want to play around with sauces and toppings.

The benefit of cooking this way is that you get to choose your own ingredients.  I think this is the easiest way to cook for special diets.

All you have to do is get started. It is a different way of thinking about food and cooking than many of us are used to. Take that first step and get started. Don’t be afraid to play a little and get creative.  Things will get easier as you go along and you will eventually find yourself thinking, I really made this?  This is so good!

What is your secret to cooking good, healthy food?

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National Ice Cream Day

Cherry Fruit Cream
Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

It’s National Ice Cream Day.  But what do you do if you cannot eat the sugar, dairy or eggs in regular ice cream for health reasons?

No More Ice Cream?  Oh No!!!!

What does an ice cream lover do when forced to give up sugar, dairy and eggs for health reasons?

Well, in my case the first thing I did was cry — a lot.

Then I tried moderation. I really love my ice cream, so cutting back was having it once a week instead of every day. That didn’t work.

So I gave it up. I stopped eating ice cream and I even gave up making the wonderful family recipes developed by my mother.

It took awhile to try the ice cream made with frozen bananas because I was sure there was no way that stuff tasted like ice cream. When I finally decided to try I burned out two blenders before I found a Ninja to help me learn how to do it right. Together we discovered wonderful frozen desserts that are gluten-free, low in fat and sugar and if you use almond milk or another dairy free alternative, vegan.  I call them fruit creams with flavors such as not only the luscious cherry included here, but also chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, cherry chocolate, egg nog,  pumpkin and peanut butter chip.

Cherry Fruit Cream

Delicious fruit cream full of cherry flavor. Of course you may pit and freeze your own cherries, but buying already frozen is easier.  If you want chunks of cherries in your cream you may cut one half cup of the cherries in half and add after you turn off the blender.

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen mashed banana

1 cup frozen sweet cherries

½ cup almond milk or other milk of your choice

1 teaspoon almond extract Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to blender container.

2. Blend on high speed (# 3 if using a Ninja) until thick and creamy. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides a few times during processing.

3. Serve now as soft serve or put in a carton and freeze until firm.

Want to have some Frozen Fun?

The best thing about ice cream is that is fun to make and of course fun to eat. I put my love of ice cream and summertime fun into a Kindle book called Frozen Fun.  For more dairy free recipes as well as my mother’s old fashioned recipes with milk, eggs and heavy cream visit the Kindle Store to buy your copy today.

This post is part of the following Link Parties:

Sugar and Spice Link Party

Moonlight and Mason Jars