A Gaggle of Girls
I'm a divorced mom of 3 gluten-free daughters. We've outgrown dairy, soy, egg, and corn allergies, but still deal with a berry allergy in my youngest.
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Archive for the ‘vegan/vegetarian’ Category

postheadericon Polenta that’s kick-yourself simple

We, like everyone else we know, are finding ourselves on a tighter budget because of the cost of gas and heating oil. My daughters love polenta, and while I am Italian, I always thought it was too tricky to make from scratch. I mean really, would they be selling it in rolls at the store for $3 or more if it was easy?

Yes.

Polenta is incredibly easy to make, and while it requires a bit of time, it’s done in under an hour. You need to simmer your marinara for a while anyway, so let it simmer while the polenta bakes. There’s very little work involved after the first few minutes other than being in the house while the oven’s on. I have adapted a recipe for polenta from The Silver Spoon, a fabulous cookbook for anything and everything Italian. I bought the cookbook for everyone at Christmas a couple years ago, and we’re all still cooking our way through it!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

Ingredients:

Home-made polenta
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 cups cornmeal (I use fine-ground, but a courser grind is more traditional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • (optional)2-3 shakes basil or oregano or Italian seasoning
  • olive oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 400F

Bring the water and salt (and spices if using) to a boil in a large saucepan or medium-sized soup pot. Make sure you have enough room in the pot to add the cornmeal.

While the water is boiling, drizzle olive oil over the bottom of a 9×13 pan or two smaller pans.

Whisking Polenta

When the water boils, sprinkle in the cornmeal with one hand, and whisk it into the water with the other hand. Whisk carefully so there aren’t too many lumps, and watch out for spitting cornmeal, it can burn. (You may want to don your Kevlar® gloves for this part!)

Once all the cornmeal has been whisked into the water, you will have a nice cornmeal mush. Pat it into the oiled pan(s) with a spatula, then drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Slide it into the oven, and set the timer for 45 minutes.

Polenta with marinara and sausages

Check the polenta – the top should be a bit crisp, and the edges golden brown. Slice and serve with a sauce. You’ll never buy the other stuff again!

Serve this with a lovely side salad and marinara and sausages (if not vegetarian). Mmmm… One of my daughters prefers the polenta plain, then eats the red sauce and sausages with a spoon!

postheadericon Creamy vegetable curry

My family loves my tomato-based curry, and I vastly prefer coconut milk-based curries. I tried to mix a few ingredients they love in the tomato curry, but using coconut milk. It seemed to work – everyone ate it happily! Any meal where people finish without an argument is one that is worth repeating a few times!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe. The recipe can served vegetarian and vegan, or with meat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS Patak’s curry paste
  • 1 head cauliflower, or 1 16oz bag frozen cauliflower
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14oz can coconut milk
  • 2 handfuls red or brown lentils
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 14oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1-2 lbs pork cutlets, pork loin, or just pork, cubed (optional)
  • Cooked rice or cooked lentils on the side

Method

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions soften.

Add the pork (if using) and brown, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.

Stir in the curry paste. Add lentils, coconut milk, and water.

Turn the heat up, and add vegetables. Break the cauliflower into florets directly into the pot, or pour bag of frozen cauliflower into pot. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. If needed, add more liquid – the vegetables and meat should be somewhat submerged.

When the sauce begins to boil, cover loosely. Lower the heat slightly, and cook at a low boil for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.

After 20 minutes, the sauce should be somewhat thickened, the pork tender, and the cauliflower will have broken into small pieces.

Serve this with lentils or brown rice beneath to absorb the sauce. Delicious!

postheadericon Creamy vegan lasagna

This is a delicious, family-friendly gfcf, gluten free recipe! It is also wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, corn free, vegetarian & vegan recipe. It could be OK for South Beach phase 1 by serving the filling as a side-dish. If you use whole-grain pasta, this should be OK as is for South Beach phase 2.

We serve this with a side of Italian sausages, as there’s no meat in it. You could probably put ground turkey in with the vegetables, but I like it being Vegan, as then I can serve it to vegetarian friends. We all love this recipe, and it takes care of my need for something creamy and Italian without eating dairy.

Creamy Lasagne

Ingredients

  • 1 batch White sauce
  • 2-3+ cups marinara sauce (how much you use depends on how soupy you want it)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 bag baby spinach (10 oz) (or 1 lb of regular spinach that has been cleaned, de-stemmed, and torn into pieces)
  • 1 package crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (7-10 oz)
  • 1 package GF lasagna noodles (we like Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagne)
  • olive oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F

Heat olive oil in skillet over low heat and let garlic simmer for a few minutes – watch to make sure it doesn’t brown.

Turn heat up to medium and add eggplant and mushrooms. Cover and cook until eggplant is very tender (almost mushy), stirring occasionally. This takes about 5-10 minutes.

Make the white sauce while the eggplant & mushrooms are cooking.

Lasagne and Sausage

Add spinach to the skillet, stir and take off heat once spinach has just wilted. Add 1/2 of the white sauce to this mixture, and stir to combine.

Barely cover the bottom of a 9×13 (or so) baking pan with marinara sauce. Lay 3 uncooked lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan. Spoon half the spinach/eggplant/mushroom mixture over the noodles. Ladle some marinara on top of the vegetables. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles. Repeat with another layer, and top with 3 more lasagna noodles.

You will have now used 9 lasagna noodles. Put the rest away for something else – sometimes we break them up for use in soup.

Pour white sauce on top of the final layer of noodles.

Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Take off cover, and bake additional 10-15 minutes until everything is browned and bubbly (I sometimes turn on the broiler for the last 2 minutes to brown the top).

This ends up tasting like it has cheese in it. YUM. No one ever even notices that there’s eggplant in it or that it is gluten & dairy-free. Serve with a side of some sort of protein (we like turkey Italian sausages), and you’re ready to eat!

postheadericon Chocolate-Covered Peanut-Butter Balls

This Recipe Contains Peanuts!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegan recipe.

My grandmother makes a recipe similar to this, but hers has graham cracker crumbs in it. I adore hers, and these are pretty darn good, and without the gluten or dairy!

Chocolate covered peanut butter balls

Ingredients

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 stick margarine (aka 1/2 cup), melted
  • 2 cups (or 1 18 oz container) chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (use the thick part from a chilled can)
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 bags (12 oz size) chocolate chips/chunks (aka 3 cups)
  • 3 TBS shortening (we use Spectrum)
  • several lightly salted peanuts

Method
Combine ingredients through salt. Mix well.

Scoop into walnut-sized balls, and place on waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator (or back porch in winter) for at least an hour.

Melt the chocolate & shortening together, and use a fork or spoon to dip the peanut butter balls in the chocolate.

Decorate each one with a peanut on top. Chill again, then eat! Mmmm….

postheadericon Easiest Banana Muffins Ever

These are delicious and totally allergy friendly. These are incredibly yummy and amazingly easy. They make a great banana bread, too – just bake it in a bread pan for a little longer.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

Easy, yummy Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup banana – mashed (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or brown sugar)
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 2 cups gf flour mix
    • 1 1/3 cup GF flour (such as brown rice, millet, or sorghum flour)

    • 2/3 cup starch (such as tapioca or arrowroot starch, or white rice flour)
    • 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum
    • (if not gluten-free, use 2 cups “regular” flour and omit the xanthan gum)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 12 cup muffin pan, or use muffin cups. Keep a 6-cup muffin tin ready, sometimes this works out to be 18 muffins. Mini-muffins work great with this recipe, too.

In a blender, combine banana, juice, syrup, oil.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Add banana mixture and combine, using as few strokes as possible so that you do not overmix the batter.

Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling each one 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes.

Let muffins cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.

If you are OK with nuts, you can replace some of the flour with a nut meal/nut flour. Or add 1/2 cup chopped nuts to the batter at the end.

postheadericon Baked Stuffed Shells

This is a delicious, family-friendly gfcf, gluten free recipe! It is also wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, corn free, vegetarian & vegan recipe. It could be OK for South Beach phase 1 by serving the filling as a side-dish. If you use whole-grain pasta, this should be OK as is for South Beach phase 2.

We serve this with a side of italian sausages, as there’s no meat in it. You could probably put ground turkey in with the vegetables, but I like it being Vegan, as then I can serve it to vegetarian friends. We all love this recipe, and it fills my creamy, Italian goodness spot.

A tray of Baked Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

  • 1 batch White sauce (if you’re doing South Beach, you might want to use 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 broth (or just Lite coconut milk, which is simply watered down coconut milk)

  • 2-3+ cups marinara sauce (how much you use depends on how soupy you want it)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 bag baby spinach (10 oz) (or 1 lb of regular spinach that has been cleaned, de-stemmed, and torn into pieces)
  • 1 package crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (7-10 oz)
  • 1 package GF pasta shells for stuffing (we like Tinkyada)
  • olive oil
Baked Stuffed Shells filling

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet over low heat and let garlic simmer for a few minutes – watch to make sure it doesn’t brown.

Turn heat up to medium and add eggplant and mushrooms. Cover and cook until eggplant is very tender (almost mushy), stirring occasionally. This takes about 5-10 minutes.

Make the white sauce while the eggplant & mushrooms are cooking.

Add spinach to the skillet, stir and take off heat once spinach has just wilted. Add 1/2 of the white sauce to this mixture, and stir to combine.

Ready for the oven

Barely cover the bottom of a 9×13 (or so) baking pan with marinara sauce. Take the uncooked pasta shells and stuff them with the veggie mixture. Sometimes this is easy when the shells are open, but sometimes it requires creatively poking filling through openings. You can boil the shells for a couple minutes to make this easier if you want, but then they are wiggly.

Fill each shell until overflowing until you run out of shells, placing them in a rows of 3 across. I piled some broken shells in the corner of baking dish and heaped the remainder of the filling on top. Cover with a scant layer of marinara sauce, then drizzle the second half of the white sauce on top – it will look remarkably like melted cheese!

Cover tightly and bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Take off cover, pour white sauce on top, and bake additional 10-15 minutes until everything is browned and bubbly (I sometimes turn on the broiler for the last 2 minutes to brown the top).

Italian dinner

This ends up tasting like it has cheese in it. YUM. No one ever even notices that there’s eggplant in it or that it is gluten & dairy-free. Serve with a side of some sort of protein (we like turkey italian sausages), and you are ready to eat.

Being gluten & dairy free (and whatever else free) doesn’t have to be traumatic – look how good it can be!

postheadericon Asian Rice Salad

This recipe contains peanuts! You could easily substitute pea butter, sunbutter, or soynut butter for the peanut butter, though. Do not despair! The top 8 allergen I can’t avoid in this recipe is soy, as the soy sauce is integral to the taste. If you have a good soy sauce substitute you use, though, try it – and let me know!

One day when we were having lunch with friends, my oldest daughter tried this salad, and promptly scarfed down the entire container! I was quite excited, as cold dishes aren’t a big hit in our family, so my friend sent me the recipe. This is my adaptation of the original.

Taste Testing Scoop

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also a wheat free, dairy free, egg free, tree nut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked short grain brown rice

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 1/2 TBS sesame seeds
  • 3 TBS peanut butter or substitute
  • 2 TBS rice vinegar (cider vinegar works fine)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 TBS soy sauce (LaChoy is GF, Braggs is GF and corn free too)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (toasted is ideal)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
Asian rice salad

Method
While the rice is cooking, combine everything else in a large bowl. Mix together well.

Add rice to the rest of the ingredients while still warm – this will help the rice soak up the flavors. Taste and adjust seasoning (it might need more soy sauce or vinegar).

Chill, then serve. This makes a great dinner with some stir-fry; or in summer serve it along side some cole slaw and something off the grill!

postheadericon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

These are surprisingly delicious – sweet and mouthwatering. You won’t believe how fast brussels sprouts disappear if you roast them!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach safe recipe.

Great dinner plate

Ingredients
1-2 lbs brussels sprouts
kosher salt
olive oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 400

Rinse brussels sprouts, and cut the ends off, and then make an X in the bottoms.

Lightly oil a baking sheet, then toss the brussels sprouts with the olive oil and add a little kosher salt.

Roast for 10 min, then shake. Cook another 10 minutes, and eat. Make sure you sneak a few of the crispy leaves before someone else snags them!

Once you’ve wowed your family with these, don’t forget other roasted vegetables!

postheadericon Fruit Crisp

This is a wonderfully easy and delicious dessert that looks trickier than it is.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

Peach Crisp

Ingredients:
3/4 cup GF flour mix (or a nut meal works well here too)
1/2 cup cold margarine, Spectrum Shortening, or lard
3/4 cup sugar (brown, white, maple, whatever)
1 tsp cinnamon
a few grates of nutmeg to taste
4-6+ cups fruit chopped into 1? cubes (approximately) (if using rhubarb, toss 1/3 cup sugar in with the fruit)

Method:

Fruit Crisp

Preheat oven to 350

Put fruit in pie plate (glass works well) or another oven-safe container

mix sugar, flour, fat, spices together with a pastry blender so it is like little pieces of cornmeal pour that on top.

Bake for 45min-1 hour, until crispy on top

Good Flavors

* 8 apples or pears
* Peaches or plums
* 2 lbs Rhubarb
* mixed berries
* whatever your imagination lets you think of

postheadericon Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Coconut milk has a fat content (the good fats, according to scientists) that gives coconut milk ice cream a mouth feel that is very similar to dairy ice cream.

The flavors other than vanilla or plain chocolate chip don’t taste coconuty. It is MUCH better than any commercial non-dairy ice cream I have found. And sooo easy!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

Ice Cream 3

The Basics:

  • 2 14oz cans coconut milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan or guar gum
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Add-ins

  • 1/4 cup cocoa

  • 1/4 cup instant coffee, add 1/4 cup sugar to a total of 1c sugar
  • 1/2-1 cup fruit – peaches work really well
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2+ cup chocolate chips

Method

In a blender, combine coconut milk, vanilla, xanthan gum/guar gum, and sugar. Blend until well combined. Add any add-ins other than coconut or chocolate chips, and blend again.

Chill for 1 hour in the blender jar.

Blend the chilled mixture for a moment, then add to ice cream maker. Follow ice cream maker directions for time in the ice cream maker.

Add chocolate chips or coconut at the end of ice cream maker cycle

Scoop into a container with a lid and put in the freezer until ready to serve

Variation:
If you can’t use coconut milk, use 4 cups of your milk substitute in place of the 2 cans of coconut milk. The mouth-feel isn’t quite as creamy as coconut milk, but it still tastes great!

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