Curry is becoming known as a bit of a superfood. The spice blend's famous color is from one of its ingredients, turmeric. Turmeric is now known to reduce inflammation- brain, systemic, and joints. Here's a great way to use up some leftovers in a flavorful, healthy way!
Curry has an affinity for sweet, so it mixes perfectly with sweet potatoes or yams.
When I was in college, I lived in the cheapest off-campus apartment around. There were several foreign students in the complex, and one day we had a potluck dinner together.
One of the first foods on the table was an amazingly yellow... something. So I asked what it was. "Curry," she responded, "It's a food from Korea.".
Further down the table was another bowl of yellow food. I asked about it. "Chicken Curry," she explained, "The Jamaicans invented it."
Another friend walked up with a now-familiar color. I asked.
"Curry. It's from Africa."
It was good. All three were. Good enough I could see why everybody claimed it was from their own native country.
Since my roommate was the Jamaican, that's whose recipe I got, though I had to watch her make it and estimate the amounts at the time. This recipe is based on hers, though she used bone-in chicken thighs, less onion but added a couple green onions, potatoes instead of sweet potatoes, and serve it not only over rice, but also with thick, chewy 'Jamaican Dumplings'. The recipe is flexible.
Curry. From America.
Sweet Potato Curry with Turkey- makes about 6 cups
2 Tbsp. oil
1-2 Tbsp. curry
2 medium onions, sliced into rings
1 c. cooked turkey, cubed (can use chicken instead)
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed*
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4- 1/2 tsp. pepper, to taste
*I used raw sweet potatoes, but feel free to use cooked ones- you can even get away with using leftover Thanksgiving baked sweet potatoes as long as they're not too saccharine; reduce cooking time accordingly.
Heat oil on medium-high heat until shimmering-hot. Add the curry powder- amount depends on how strong you like it. (I like it strong.) Stir, and let it heat for about a minute to 'bloom' the flavor. It's done when it starts to smell delicious and a little toasty. DON'T burn it. (Nasty, bitter flavor!...) Reduce heat to medium, add onion; cook until they are tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in turkey, then add sweet potatoes, salt, and pepper. Add water until the food is nearly covered. Put a lid on the pan and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until just tender. Remove lid, increase heat and gently boil until liquid is reduced by about half.
Serve hot by itself or over rice.
Optional:sprinkle with any of the following:
mandarin orange segments
dollop of sour cream or unsweetened yogurt
chopped hardboiled eggs
bits of dried fruit
See the bottom of this post for photos on making the heart-swirl pattern.
A friend of mine has to avoid dairy, wheat, and oats- and we were going to be together at a potluck lunch on Thursday. The pumpkin cheesecake last week
(for a different group) was such a hit I decided to adapt it so she could enjoy it too. But with a bit of chocolate. Like pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies.
I wanted it to be relatively inexpensive- no quart of coconut yogurt! -that stuff's pricey. Coconut milk and coconut cream, sure. I have that on hand.
No recipes using those appeared to be online anywhere, though I found the chocolate-version crust here
. There were some cashew-puree based ones- but not only did I not have time to soak nuts, but wanted this to be a recipe even the nut-allergic could use. So I started with my tried-and-true 'normal' recipe, and adapted. And I was willing to buy one 6-oz cup of coconut yogurt to put in the (optional) topping.
You won't taste the apple cider vinegar, but it adds both the tartness and savoriness you'd get from cream cheese. If you have 2 (14-oz) cans coconut milk and a 19-oz can of coconut cream, that will be exactly enough for the filling, the topping, and the ganache.
If you want to use honey in the filling instead of sugar, use just 1 cup honey plus 1 Tbsp. Since this also adds about 1/4 cup of water, add about a tablespoon additional pumpkin powder OR a tablespoon oat or coconut flour so the cheesecake won't be too soft.Gluten free, dairy free Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 c. fine-shred coconut, toasted
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 ½ Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ Tbsp. cocoa powder
Stir together and press firmly onto the bottom of a 9” springform pan. Set aside.
For a fall-spice crust instead of chocolate, omit cocoa powder, and instead use ½ tsp. cinnamon + ¼ tsp. cloves + ½ tsp. ginger Filling:
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. (slightly heaped 1/3 c.) pumpkin powder
2 (14-oz) cans coconut milk
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 c. coconut cream
Mix all together, in order. Don’t overmix or whip air into it, or it may crack while baking. Bake at 350 F for 75-90 minutes in a water bath, until center jiggles like Jello and internal temperature is 145-150 F. Cool in oven or on counter, then chill, covered, in fridge 4 hours or more. Rum-flavor Topping:
1 cup coconut cream, well chilled
½ cup coconut yogurt
½ cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. rum extract
Whip cream until just beginning to thicken; add all else and whip. Spread over chilled cheesecake. Chocolate Ganache drizzle
¼ c. (1 ½ oz) dairy-free chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. coconut cream or coconut milk
Heat gently to melt chocolate chips; whisk until smooth. Drizzle on cheesecake.
Today I have a free e-book offer for you, a cookbook, “The Egg and I.” It has tons of recipes for making omelets and frittatas, along with great tips on mastering eggs in the kitchen.
It's just over 40 pages of recipes for all kinds of omelets plus pages of frittatas
You can get it here
, and you'll get to choose from four formats: PDF, Microsoft Word, HTML, or Kindle.
Here's what Dennis Weaver, the cookbook's author, says:
The difference between a frittata and an omelet is that the ingredients in the frittata are mixed into the eggs instead of folded into an omelet. Usually a frittata is started on the stovetop and then baked in the skillet in the oven. They are sometimes called flat omelets or farmers’ omelets. They are larger and cut into slices to serve.
This is not your ordinary e-Book
! It has 31 different scrumptious omelet recipes. Omelets you won’t find anywhere else plus more than $30 in recipe books. Plus it tells you how to make them and gives video instructions. Start making omelets like a pro. You can
eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The last time we visited my son and his family in Minnesota, we stopped at Keys Café in Saint Paul where I had “The Loon Omelet” which personifies how versatile an omelet can be. The Loon Omelet is made with wild rice, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, turkey, and topped with a hot mushroom sauce.
You can even make a party out of omelets, or host the next family gathering with an omelet bar. You’ll learn how here
Omelets are easy, you can make one in as little as five minutes. You can make American omelets, Italian omelets, puffy omelets, and Irish omelets; even an omelet casserole.
Breakfast at your house will never be the same.
Or Cherry Cheesecake Frosting.
Yes, if you've noticed a common thread in the last few frosting recipes, I have a thing for cheesecake!
Once again, the basic recipe is the no-cook Ultra Gel frosting, though you can use cornstarch or flour if you're willing to cook the initial mixture.
The difference between this and the others I've tried is that the earlier ones all used pureed fruit
or else jam as part of the ingredients. This time I used concentrated fruit juice- in this case, a delicious cherry-pomegranate blend- the kind that comes frozen in 12-ounce cans. This opens up all KINDS of possibilities! Use lemonade concentrate- or orange passionfruit mango- or whatever else is in your grocer's freezer.
In the photo above, after spreading the frosting on the cake top, I mixed 1/4 cup of jam with about 1- 1 1/2 Tbsp. water, dribbled in parallel diagonal lines, then ran a butter knife lightly through it, alternating directions every other time, to create the chevron pattern. Then I added the border.
To protect the frosting from drying out overnight, since this one was made ahead of time, I stuck mini marshmallows on the ends of toothpicks, poked them into the cake, then rested plastic wrap on top of the now-blunt toothpicks. Works great.
Cherry Cloud Frosting
2 sticks butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1 c. sugar
1/4- 1/2 c. Ultra Gel* (higher amount if yours is fluffy like powder snow, lesser if dense like baking soda is)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. (8 oz.) juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
Beat the butter until smooth, then add everything else at once: sugar, starch, salt, juice concentrate, and extract. Beat on low for one minute, until combined, then beat on high 5-6 minutes, until fluffy.
*to use cornstarch, use 1/4 cup. To use flour, use 1/2 cup. Either way, mix this with the sugar in a small saucepan, then gradually stir in juice concentrate. Bring to a boil, stirring often; cook and stir until thick, about 4-5 minutes. Cover and cool to room temperature, then add all other ingredients and beat until fluffy.
To make the 'cheesecake' version, use only 1 stick of butter, and one 8-oz block of cream cheese, softened.
The sauce in this filling is from my great-grandmother, who I hear was an excellent cook. She lived in the ‘Mormon’ colonies in Mexico, left in 1912 to avoid Pancho Villa
and other warring factions, returned after the Revolution, and earned money through millinery (making hats) and sewing. Her last few years were in Arizona, where she cooked and sewed at the LDS Mesa temple
. This recipe was her enchilada sauce, only she used 3 cups of water and 3 Tbsp. chili powder when using it over enchiladas, since more liquid is needed for those.
These are gluten-free if you use cornstarch and not flour in the filling. Using shredded meat instead of burger makes these a little more authentic, but ground meat is awfully convenient. Unless you happen to have some leftover roast available to shred.
Individual Tamale Pies Makes 12 muffin-sized ones, or can be made into a 9" pie pan Crust
2 c. masa harina (OR use 1 c. cornmeal and 1 c. flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. coconut oil or other fat (oil, butter, lard, etc)
about 3/4 to 1 cup water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all together to form a moderately thick dough. Grease 12 muffin cups. Shape a ball a little bigger than a ping pong ball (3 Tbsp. dough), then press dough in a muffin cup, making a layer about 1/4"- 3/8" thick. Repeat until finished. Set aside. Filling
2 cups cooked burger or shredded beef, pork, or chicken
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. butter, optional
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder or to taste
1 Tbsp. cornstarch OR 2 Tbsp. flour
Mix together the meat, tomato sauce, butter, salt, sugar, and chili powder, and bring to a boil. Stir the cornstarch or flour into 1-2 Tbsp. water, to form a slurry. Gradually mix the slurry into the boiling mixture, cook and stir until thickened, about a minute. Taste it and add a little more salt if you like.
Spoon 1/4 cup of filling into each of the lined muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is set and the filling just starts to bubble around the edges. Let sit for a couple minutes, then remove them by placing an upside-down cookie sheet on top, then flipping the whole thing upside down (see slideshow below).
Serve with plain or with shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, or anything else that sounds good.
A friend sent me instructions for making Easter Story
Cookies. I tweaked the ingredients, tweaked the instructions, and changed some of the scriptures to ones I thought my younger ones would relate to. (In other words, I don't know whose idea this originally
was, but should no longer be considered plagiarism.:) This is a sweet way to bring some of the real meaning of Easter into your home! For more Easter ideas, click on the "Easter" category on the right.
Mix these cookies the evening before Easter, they sit in the oven overnight, as an Easter morning surprise.
You will need:
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 3 large egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup pecan pieces
Waxed paper or parchment
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. (This is important, so don’t wait until you’re half-way done with the recipe).
Smell the vinegar
. Put 1 tsp. into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30
or Psalms 69:21
Add egg whites
to the vinegar.
Explain that eggs represent life. Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:9-11
Sprinkle a little salt
into each hand. Taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.
Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and bitterness of our sins. Show the wooden spoon, it represents the cross he carried and was nailed to.Read Luke 23:27
With a mixer, beat on high speed until soft peaks form.
Explain that the color white
represents the purity of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 3/4 cup sugar
, a tablespoon at a time, as you continue to whip. Keep mixing until they reach stiff peaks.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. It wasn’t the nails that kept Him on the cross because nothing earthly could have. It was His love for us! Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16
Fold in the nuts
using the wooden spoon. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60
Put the cookie sheet in the oven and close the door and turn the oven OFF! Each person places a piece of masking tape
and seals the oven door. Read Matthew 27:62-66
Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20, 22
On Easter morning, watch the 4-minute video “He is Risen
”, then open the oven and give everyone a cookie.
Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow!
Explain that on the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Suggested scriptures to read: John chapter 20
(5 minutes), 1 Corinthians 15:22
(two lines), Mosiah 16:6-9
Happy Easter, Everyone! Christ Lives & Loves Us!
These have fiber, protein, and much lower in sugar than almost any baked treat! And they really are good. My family snarfed down this batch.
Besides all that, they're also wheat-free and dairy-free.
Healthy Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Banana Bars
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (one can, drained and rinsed)
2 ripe medium bananas
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. brown sugar or honey (1/2 c sugar. if you like things on the sweeter side)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 c. chocolate chips (the darker the better)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Put the beans, eggs, bananas, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a food processor or high-powered blender. Run until very smooth. Stir in the baking powder, salt and oats. Spread in a greased 8x8 pan then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 30 minutes or til test done with a toothpick. Cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. These are even better the next day.
For a variation on this, substitute pumpkin puree for the banana, increase sugar/honey to 1/2 c., replace almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter, then add 1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.
Why is it almost Taco Salad? Because there's no tostada or chips with it. If you want full-blown Taco Salad, just add some. Pretend they're corn-chip croutons. I didn't use those because of a sudden urge to make roasted potatoes and didn't want a lot more carbohydrates in the meal. Besides, if I opened a bag of chips, the whole thing would disappear, and that's anywhere from $1- 2.50, depending on if we're using cheap tortilla chips or Fritos. The potatoes, as our carb, cost about $ .50 instead. Yum.
½ lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. tomato powder
2 Tbsp. chili powder
Salt to taste
1 head of lettuce (or a half head each Iceburg and red leaf lettuce)
½ green bell pepper
½ red bell pepper
½ c. shredded cheese
1 tomato, cut in wedges
Optional: thin-sliced onion, sliced avocado, jicama cubes, cooked black beans, drained canned corn, canned green chilies....
Cook the beef until browned. Meanwhile, wash and chop lettuce and veggies. Put the lettuce in, then add the vegetables and most of the cheese; mix slightly. When the burger is done, drain off grease, then add tomato powder and chili powder. Stir to coat, taste and add salt if needed. Spread out the meat on a plate to cool more quickly. When it’s cool, top the salad with it and the remaining cheese.
My family thought it was good without salad dressing, but if you want something to drizzle on top, Ranch is a good choice- especially if you mix a little chili powder into it-, OR this:
Creamy Garlic Dressing:
¼ c. plain yogurt or sour cream
1 Tbsp. water or milk
½ tsp. garlic powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. dried parsley, optional, if you want it to look prettier
Whisk until smooth.
Serve with oregano-roasted potato wedges and vegetable sticks.
Apparently these have been popular in the food world for about a year... but I first saw them last week. My oldest son, the pickiest eater in the house, had noticed the printed recipe sitting on the counter for several days, grimacing everytime he walked past it. So when a batch of brownies appeared out of the oven, he cocked an eyebrow at me, asking "Are these what I think they are?", then declared he would NOT eat them.
After everyone else begged for seconds, though, he decided he'd try just one bite. Then a whole brownie. Then he had seconds too.
(YEAH!)Black Bean Brownies
1 1/4 c. cooked black beans, rinsed (about a 15-oz can or 1/2 c. dry beans- cook first)
1/4 c. melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2- 2/3 cup honey OR 3/4-1 cup sugar (brownies with the higher amounts are sweeter and more moist)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup whole wheat flour, OR 1/2 c.gluten-free flour plus 1 tsp. xanthan gum
½ teaspoon almond extract or orange extract, optional
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a 9x13 pan. Combine beans, eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and almond/orange extract (if using) in a food processor or blender. Puree until very smooth. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the puree over top, then mix both together. Stir in walnuts if using. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake about 25 minutes or until center tests done with a toothpick.
To make these into Chocolate Truffle Brownies, omit the chocolate chips and frost with my favorite-ever chocolate frosting: creamy, soft, oh-so-smooth Chocolate Blender Frosting
Surely many of you are in the same boat.
Out of the eight of us in the house, we've learned that one child can't have wheat. She's so sensitive that eating one 1/4" piece of bread caused her arms to turn hot pink and start to weep. But the rest of us are fine. We're still in the process of determining if she reacts to gluten, or to just the wheat itself, so for now everything must be wheat-free AND gluten-free. And dairy-free, while we're figuring out if that's an issue too. For some strange
reason, I prefer to cook only one meal, per meal. And special 'gluten-free' foods are pricey. Really pricey. So I'll let you know how I've adapted. Hopefully it'll help you or someone else having to adapt to whatever allergy or special needs diet strikes just one or two in your family. Eight Tips for feeling (more) normal when someone has special dietary needs1- Plan on preparing most of your family's foods
Unless you have nothing against quadrupling your family's food budget. Not kidding. If you didn't cook much before, brush up on the basics
. They'll do for now. And for a while.2- Eat naturally wheat-free foods
Keep a list around so you can focus on what CAN be eaten rather than all the CAN'Ts. It's empowering and encouraging. While you're still getting used to what's okay and not, go through your kitchen and pantry, and write down everything that is GF already, including all plain spices and herbs (blends might not be; check), canned/fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables, rice, plain beans, flax, buckwheat, meat in its natural state, eggs, peanut butter, olives, potato chips, popcorn, jam, ketchup...
See a bigger list here
, halfway down the page. There's a GF year-supply list here
. You know, I've been telling myself for years that we oughta eat more rice and beans. They're cheap, store well, and are filling. Those have suddenly become more popular at my house.3- Make a list of 10-15 meals your family likes
that are gluten/wheat-free and can be made using what you typically have on hand. Include both super-quick meals and more involved ones. Be willing to spend about an hour doing this; it'll save you much more time than that in the long run. Get input from your kids. Tape the list someplace handy like the inside of your cooking supplies cupboard. No more panic or feeling helpless at a change of dinner plans!4-
When you cook some specialty gluten-free food, go ahead and make a big batch. Then freeze
the rest in individual serving sizes. For my 10-year-old, the ziptop "snack size" baggies are the perfect size. There's a gallon-sized ziptop bag labeled for her in the freezer. What's in it changes often. Right now it has GF waffles and breadsticks, spaghetti (made with specialty GF pasta) and sauce, seasoned rice, dairy-free homemade ice cream (made in my blender), and GF chocolate chip cookies. Remember treats. They've saved my daughter from feeling deprived with all these new "don't"s. Whenever my husband pulls out the ice cream, she pulls out her freezer bag and gets something sweet too. I also keep one loaf of GF bread in the freezer, for sandwiches and toast. She pulls out a couple slices whenever needed.5- Keep a small plastic bin full of GF baking supplies
, like the photo above. It's handy for all kinds of things. My 'essentials' include a bag of GF flour mix
or storebought), xantham gum
, some white flour
like rice, tapioca, or potato starch, and a whole-grain GF flour
like brown rice, lentil, oat, or sorghum. Mine also has a bag of dairy-free chocolate chips in it, good for a lot more than just cookies. I've found flours like tapioca, potato starch, and rice flour at the Asian market for a fraction of the price.6- Try a new GF recipe at least once a week.
And maybe only once a week, depending on how overwhelming it is to you. Have that other family member cook with you, so she'll learn to cook for herself later. If you love bread, stick with the quickbreads for a while. They're much simpler. I think the easiest way to learn, other than just trying a new GF mix each week, is to buy a copy of of Living Without magazine
. Or sign up for their free weekly newsletter, which includes a recipe. I love the magazine format because you can learn in 5-minute increments.7- Remember to watch out for cross-contamination
I think this is actually the hardest one. You might want to have TWO jars of mayonnaise and jam open, one of each labeled as GF. Otherwise it's really easy for bread crumbs from one person to end up in the jar, where they'll cause the allergic person grief. Remember that toasters carry crumbs. Wipe the counters really well. Consider having a second set of measuring cups, possibly mixing bowls and cooling racks too, depending on severity of reaction. If you have a regular wheat grinder you can grind your own GF flours, using things like rice, beans, oats, lentils, quinoa, etc, BUT only use a mill that has not been used for wheat. Unless you want to invite problems. Some things can be ground in a blender, like oats, if those are OK for your family member.
And,8- Read labels. Always. Always.
Learn which ingredients have hidden gluten. You'll be surprised at what you find. Sometimes good surprises. Sometimes lame ones. Realize too that sometimes companies change their ingredients, and something that didn't have gluten/wheat in it before, might
the next time you buy it. Knowing exactly what you're eating is a good idea anyway.
You can do this! :D