Stuffed Peppers

Peppers are plentiful right now in gardens ,farmers markets and grocery stores. Stuffed peppers are a family favourite and gluten free.

With an endless variety of filling recipes you’re sure to find something that will please everyone. Ground Beef can be combined with white or brown rice, quinoa,or just veggies to fill bell peppers. For fun, try using a variety of green, yellow and red peppers.Oh and don’t forget to serve with a dollop of sour cream.Here is my go to recipe.

 1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained of fat

 1 cup cooked cooled rice (I like jasmine rice)

 6 peppers any colour

 2   8 oz. cans tomato sauce

1 chopped onion lightly sauteed in butter

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (175 degrees C).

 Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward

 In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, onions and salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Pour remaining can of tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers.

Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 1.5 hour in the preheated oven or until peppers are tender. If you have time you can baste the peppers with sauce every once in awhile.

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Avocado, the World’s Most Perfect Gluten Free Food

avocado health benefits

Did You Know that the avocado has been called the world’s most perfect food and has many health benefits? It has achieved this distinction because many nutritionists claim it not only contains everything a person needs to survive but it has also been found to contribute to the prevention and control of Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions.

The avocado is a high-fiber, gluten-free food that provides nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, is rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate) — as well as potassium.

Foods naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocados, are widely acknowledged as the secret to a healthy heart, a brilliant brain and eagle eyes.

Avocados are readily available in most grocery stores.They are pear shaped and green in colour when unripe and they turn a blackish green and are softer to the touch,when ripe.If you buy them in the green state they will ripen on your counter top or placed in a paper bag in a few days.

 Here are some ways I incorporate avocados into my gluten free diet.

-The obvious is guacamole. There are many recipes online and  I serve it with gluten free corn chips

-You can add some avocado to your morning fruit smoothie.

-My favourite way is to simply scoop out the avocado and sprinkle salt and lime juice on it

-You can slice and add to sandwiches like a toasted bacon and tomato.(Chelsey’s favourite)

– And for a sweet treat try this chocolate avocado pudding.You won’t be able to tell it’s in there so your kids or you won’t know you are eating something healthy.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 2 cups avocado (about 2 medium avocados)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Optional: To make it a bit lighter (as in milk chocolate pudding) or to thin it out a bit, add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of milk or dairy free almond or other kind and blend well.

  1. Add all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and whirl until it is creamy and fully blended. Scrape the sides to get all the cocoa powder in the pudding.
  2. Chill for 30 minutes and then eat!

Gluten Free Anniversary!

Its my 6 month anniversary of havHold-the-Glutening zero gluten in my body. It feels great. At times its been tough but the more I learn the easier it becomes. New products, new recipes, new restaurants with gfree offerings help alot and now I very rarely miss it.

I still do sometimes. I love the smell of a freshly baked crusty bread. Thinking of smearing butter on that and devouring it is amazing. But, I can’t. The closest thing I have had to that experience is the French Baguette from Suzie’s Gluten Free Kitchen, and it was wonderful. I’ll have to go back again soon and pick up a loaf.

I’m not really celebrating this milestone, but I did make a gfree lemon meringue pie on the weekend (for no real reason, other than to eat it lol) so maybe that was my celebration. I’ll post a recipe here tomorrow for that. I think I really nailed it with the rice flour crust!

Is there anything you really miss since becoming gluten free?

Fruits and Veg

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I am an avid reader of www.drweil.com. A reader recently posed a question about the nutrition of frozen fruits and vegetables as she is on a budget and can’t always afford fresh. I thought this would be of interest to people following  a gluten free diet since fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten free and we should be trying to eating them daily.

This was his answer:

Ideally, we would all be better off if we always ate organic, fresh vegetables at the peak of ripeness, when their nutrient levels are highest. That may be possible during harvest season if you grow your own vegetables or live near a farm stand that sells fresh, seasonal produce, but most of us have to make compromises. Frozen vegetables are a good alternative and may be superior to the off-season fresh vegetables sold in supermarkets.

In some cases, frozen vegetables may be more nutritious than fresh ones that have been shipped over long distances. The latter is typically is picked before ripening, which means that no matter how good the vegetables look, they’re likely to short-change you nutritionally. For example, fresh spinach loses about half the folate it contains after eight days. Vitamin and mineral content is also likely to diminish if produce is exposed to too much heat and light en route to your supermarket.

This applies to fruit as well as vegetables. The quality of much of the fruit sold in retail stores in the U.S. is mediocre. Usually it is unripe, picked in a condition that is favorable to shippers and distributors but not to consumers. Worse, the varieties of fruits selected for mass production are often those that merely look good rather than taste good. I keep bags of frozen, organically grown berries on hand year-round – thawed slightly, they make a fine dessert.

The advantage of frozen fruits and vegetables is that they usually are picked when they’re ripe, and then blanched in hot water to kill bacteria and stop enzyme activity that can spoil food. Then they’re flash frozen, which tends to preserve nutrients. If you can afford it, buy frozen fruits and vegetables stamped USDA “U.S. Fancy,” the highest standard and the one most likely to deliver the most nutrients. As a rule, frozen fruits and vegetables are superior nutritionally to those that are canned because the canning process tends to result in nutrient loss. (The exceptions include tomatoes and pumpkin.) When buying frozen fruits and vegetables, steer away from those than have been chopped, peeled or crushed; they will generally be less nutritious.

Andrew Weil, M.D

Cheap and Easy

Here are some ideas for cheap and easy gluten free meals and snacks:

  • Baked  white potato or sweet  potato topped with butter, chives,  ground beef,  broccoli, cheddar cheese
  • Roasted peppers can be filled with rice, ground meat, spices, cheese
  • Rice and beans (both are cheap and can be bought in bulk)
  • Plain corn tortillas are gluten free. They’re cheap and can be filled with all sorts of stuff.
  • Apples, bananas, and celery with nut butter or with cheese
  • Salad with chicken or turkey, dried cherries or cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese, raspberry vinaigrette (check the label for gluten)
  • Cook a whole chicken in a crock pot or oven . Then use the carcass to make a chicken stock for pennies.
  • Any ground meat sauteed with any veggies of your choosing. Add chicken or beef stock to make it a soup, or add rice to stretch it out further.
  • Hamburger patties topped with cooked onion, bacon, cheese, mushrooms, laid on top of salad greens — no bun required
  • Pot roast in a crockpot — put the meat on top of a bed of onions, leave it on low all day and about an hour or two before dinner add in whatever veggies you like, such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, mushrooms. Choose an inexpensive cut like Outside or Inside Round.
  • Taco Salad: Season ground beef with cumin and chili pepper, add chopped tomatoes, avocado, cheese and sour cream all on top of lettuce greens or serve with corn chips.
  • Breakfast can be leftovers, or eggs served in various ways with bacon. Gluten Free Chex and Gluten Free Rice Crispies are two cereals that aren’t too expensive.
  • Smoothies are quick, try using canned coconut milk + frozen berries + cinnamon and sweetener of your choice.
  •  Tuna, salmon, sardines,  in a can. Serve over mixed greens and  chopped vegetables and salad dressing of your choice.

Crackers for Crackers!

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If you are on a gluten free journey you’ll soon realize that rice crackers become your best friend. They are gluten free, crispy and oh so good. They are good with pb and j, cheese and they make great dippers for a variety of hot and cold dips.

They come in a variety of flavours and price points. My personal favourite brand is SuperSlim Rice Crisps. I like the fact that they are really thin and come in three separate stay-fresh containers.

I like to pop some in my purse, because you never know when a great dip will cross your path! They usually sell for around 2.79 a box and are available at most grocery stores in Niagara.

Rice is Nice

People who follow a gluten free diet know that rice is a versatile gluten free grain used for main dishes, side dishes and desserts. Each type has its own textural and flavour differences, so experiment with them to find the ones that suit your dishes (and your tastes).

1. Medium or short-grain: Plumps up once cooked and the grains tend to stick together.

2. Long-grain: The grains remain separate and are firmer and fluffier.

3. Arborio: A medium-grain rice from Italy; it is traditionally used to make risotto.

4. Basmati: Aromatic long-grain rice grown in India and Pakistan.

5. Brown: Brown rice is not milled so it retains the bran and therefore the fibre, B vitamins and minerals that are lost in milling. As it retains the oil contained in the bran, brown rice can go rancid if not stored in a cool dark place.

6. Glutinous: Don’t be fooled into thinking this has anything to do with gluten (no rice contains gluten). The term is used to indicate that it is gluey or sticky. Glutinous rice is used in Asian cuisine, in sweet and savoury dishes.

7. Jasmine: An aromatic long-grain rice also known as Thai rice.

8. Wild: Not rice at all, but the seed of a grass grown in water. Never milled, it looks like a dark long-grain rice and has a ‘grainy’ flavour stronger than brown rice. More expensive than ordinary rice, it is sometimes mixed with other rice .

Check back tomorrow and I will post a really quick rice pudding recipe.