Practical, healthful eating and living.

Sites I’m Grateful For November 22, 2013

Going gluten free is the best thing I’ve ever done. A lot of people mistakenly assume that it’s a health tip that anyone can try. I’ve learned that people who don’t truly get sick from gluten may miss out on key nutrients if they go gluten free. But for me, it’s not a choice. My body completely rejects gluten, every bit as much as a a body allergic to shellfish, or peanuts would.

Living gluten free is a lot of work. I cook almost all my own food. Travel is limited unless I have confidence that I can truly steer clear of gluten on the road. I carry my own emergency food stash with me where ever I go, even if it’s just out for errands.

I don’t know what I’d do without the bloggers below. They provide me with delicious recipes that are safe for me, and easy to make. They provide me with variety, and expertise, and their online sharing is a generous gift.

1. Elana’s Pantry

The simplest gluten free recipes for breads, cookies and desserts that I’ve found. Lots of good tips on Paleo cooking. Her recipes always turn out and I get lots of compliments especially when I take them to a potluck.

2. Angela’s Kitchen

Angela is a busy mom with a gluten-free household to feed. She is organized and a genius with pre-prep. One of my favorites from her site is a tip to buy a month’s worth of chicken, then make three or four different marinades, divide the chicken among the marinades and then freeze until ready to bake. Quick, easy, nutritious meals. Much more tasty than store-bought any day.

3. David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz is a professional chef based in Paris. He travels a lot and takes amazing photos of food markets, restaurants, dishes and his own cooking. Not every recipe he posts is within my range of skill or gluten free, but his guidance is inspiring and visiting his site like taking a little trip without leaving home. Both last year and this year he’s happened to provide naturally gluten-free cookie recipes just in time for the holidays. Last year it was a hazelnut cookie. This year it was almond-flour based amaretti. Both recipes were delicious, elegant and perfect for winter celebrations. I also love his ice cream recipes (I have an ice cream maker), and yes, there’s a part of me that wants to be an American chef in Paris, too.


Brave Any Chili Contest White Chicken Chili February 18, 2013

I fell in love with the San Francisco Chronicle’s cookbooks while visiting San Francisco nearly a decade ago. This recipe is from their 1997 edition with the yellow cover. In contrast with most of the recipes I post, this requires a bit of dedWhite Chiliication. It’s not that it’s particularly tricky. It’s more that there are a lot of steps, and you need a good, solid day to make it.

Fortunately, it’s a great diversion on a snowy day, and the reward of a steaming bowl when the day is done makes it worth while. It’s also a great recipe to make in big batches to keep in the freezer. In fact, I was thrilled to present a container as a gift to a friend last week. I simply grabbed one of the containers I’d kept in the freezer and off I went!

And for those of you with workplace chili contests, this is absolutely a contender. Whether it brings home a blue ribbon or not, you’ll be proud it was in the running, and your co-workers will thank you, too.

The ingredients that make this so special, in my mind, are the tomatillos, roasted Anaheim chiles, beer and rice vinegar. The rest are pretty common among chili recipes.. but with these additions the recipe turns from simple comfort food to gourmet fare.

White Chili


1 pound dry Great Northern or navy beans

8 cups water

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced


1 teaspoon salt


12 ounces Mexican beer (not dark) –I used a gluten free New Planet beer

2 cups diced onions

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup diced red bell pepper

2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and diced*

4 Anaheim or New Mexico green chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded**

1 tablespoon dried oregano***

1 tablespoon crushed cumin seeds***

1 1/4 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts (or the parts you like)

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth

2 tablespoons ground New Mexico chile (or chili powder)

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed by soaking

1 cup minced fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (or regular sharp cheddar cheese)

Cilantro leaves, for garnish

To make the beans, wash and pick over to ensure there aren’t any pebbles mixed in. (This rarely happens to me anymore but it doesn’t hurt to check.) Place in a large pot. Add the water, onion, garlic cloves and a grateing of black pepper. Simmer for 2-3 hours, until the beans are tender.  Add the salt during the last 30 minutes of cooking. (Adding salt too early can toughen the beans.)

To make the chili, While the beans are cooking, place the beer in a 4-quart pot.  Add the onions, garlic, bell pepper, jalapenos, green chiles, oregano and cumin.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken into strips, then dice.  Add to the pot along with the chicken broth.  Sprinkle in the ground chile and simmer for 15 minutes. (Alternatively, you can add chicken thighs and drumsticks on the bone to the broth, cook, then simply remove the meat from the bones later.)

Place the tomatillos, minced cilantro, vinegar and salt in a food processor and process to a salsa consistency.  Stir into the chili.  Add the drained cooked beans and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning: add salt, if desired.

Either sprinkle the cheese over the top of each bowl, or mix into the pot of chile until melted and blended. Garnish with cilantro.

*To handle the jalapeno chiles, use a small ziplock baggie as a glove to keep the hot oils off your skin. Otherwise, you can burn your fingers, and if your finger ends up near your eye, you could burn your eye.

**To roast and peel the Anaheim chiles, place on a cookie sheet under the broiler for about ten minutes per side. You may want to put a layer of aluminum foil on the sheet first, to help with cleanup.  Once the chiles are blackened on each side (yes, really go for black), carefully remove from the oven and drop into a large ziplock bag. Seal the bag and let them sit for about five minutes. This steams the chiles and makes it easier to peel off the skin.

Place the chiles onto a cutting board. Chop off the stem end, then slice from end to end. Prod open the chile and slide the seeds out with the dull side of your knife. Then peel the skin off with your fingers. (Anaheim chiles aren’t hot like jalapenos.)

Once the seeds and skins have been removed, dice and add to the chile.

***Spice flavorings are amplified and enriched by toasting briefly before adding to a recipe. Simply place a dry skillet (no oil) onto a lightly warmed burner. Measure your spices and sprinkle over the skillet. Allow to warm briefly without burning, just a minute or so depending on the heat of the skillet. Add to your recipe immediately.


Spice it up! Thai Green Chicken Curry July 17, 2009

Filed under: Easy food prep,Energy,Recipes,What I'm eating now — beansandyoga @ 8:42 pm
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Thai Green Chicken CurryIt’s unseasonably cold.  Normally in the 80s this time of year, the high was 61, and I’ve been bundled up in fleece, jeans; all the clothes I thought I’d put away until October!  Adding insult to injury, I had nothing but salads and fresh fruit on hand – while the chill cried out for baked goods and soup!

Perusing my options, a small, frozen container caught my eye.  Thai Green Chicken Curry sauce that I’d popped into the freezer ages ago.  I sent my former self a message of gratitude.

Into the microwave it went, then over green beans (also from the freezer) and noodles.  The spicy, hot (but not TOO hot) peppers warmed me back into motion.  I can’t wait to make it again.  You can be certain I’ll make extra to tuck away for another surprising day.


Inspired by Rachel Ann Hill’s “The High Energy Cookbook”

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 green chiles, seeded and thinly sliced. (Jalapeno if you like it hot, or green peppers if you prefer mild.)

2-3 tablespoons Thai green curry paste, to taste. (This can be hot, too.)

1 stalk lemongrass, crushed

20 oz. chicken breasts or thigh filets, fate removed and thinly sliced

2 cups hot chicken stock

2/3 cup low-fat coconut milk

8 oz. green beans, diagonally sliced (French sliced)

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saute’ pan or wok.  Saute the onions and chiles over medium heat for about five minutes.  Add the curry paste and cook, stirring frequenetly, for 2 minutes.  Add the lemongrass and chicken and cook, stirring freequently, for a further 5 minutes.

Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is tender.

Cook the green beans in boiling water for a minute or so, or in a microwave.  Drain and add to the curry.  Remove the lemongrass.  Add most of the cilantro.  Serve the curry on a bed of rice, sprinkled with the remaining cilantro.

Variation: This curry would work well with shrimp, scallops or tofu instead of chicken.  Or, do as I did and freeze the extra sauce to serve over rice or noodles later.


Picnic Friendly Fare – Lemon Chicken Salad July 6, 2009

Barefoot Contessa Lemon Chicken Salad 7_09This was a hit at my 4th of July picnic.  As there are many more opportunities for picnics to come, I’d thought I’d share it.  This is from The Barefoot Contessa cookbook by Ina Garten.

Note: Give yourself an extra day so that the chicken breasts can marinate overnight before grilling.

There are two parts to this recipe: the grilled chicken, then the assembling of the salad.


3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons) (Yes! Fresh makes a difference!)

3/4 cup good olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, halved and skin removed.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.  Pour over the chicken breasts in a nonreactive bowl.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.

Grill for about ten minutes on each side.  Allow to chill in refrigerator.  Slice into 3/8-inch-thick slices when ready to assemble salad.


1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 large lemon) (Yes!  Use fresh!)

1/4 cup good olive oil

1 cup raw sugar snap peas, stems and strings removed

1/2 red bell pepper, julienned

1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Toss all the ingredients into a bowl, including the chilled, sliced grilled chicken.  Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.


Good Eggs March 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 9:02 am
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easter-eggsScramble them, beat them, boil them, paint them.  Good eggs come from happy chickens, and that means free-range.

Why does it make a difference?  Try a taste test.  The difference may be subtle, but it’s there.  Eggs from free-range chickens taste fresher.  Other eggs have a taste of….distress?  For me, it’s a chemical after-taste.  It’s hard to distinguish and yet I notice it.

I noticed it long ago in restaurant chicken.  Chicken used to be one of my favorite foods.  My grandmother would make fried chicken, roasted chicken, and the accompanying leftover sandwiches and casseroles.

At some point, about a decade ago, perhaps longer, I stopped liking chicken.  But then I realized, it wasn’t that I didn’t like chicken, it was that something in restaurant chicken had a taste of…..chemicals.  Or maybe it was the way my stomach reacted to it.  It’s hard to describe.  All I can say is that I had a sensation of having eaten “stress.”

Free-range chicken, however, goes down just fine. Once I realized this, I considered eggs, as well.  I recently went through a  dozen regular eggs.  Then I switched back to free-range.  The free-range eggs taste fresher.  The others had that same after-taste of “stress.”

If you think about it, if an animal is under stress, that will release hormones into its system.  People are the same.  When we are under stress, we feel a sort of chemical imbalance.  (Unless we’ve become so accustomed to stress that we no longer notice it.)  If an animal is under stress, wouldn’t it have a higher presence of stress related hormones or chemicals in its meat?  And wouldn’t that also be present in eggs?  I am no scientist.  All I know is what I taste and feel.  Free-range eggs taste better to me.  I feel healthier when I eat them.