Category Archives: Gluten Free

Leone’s Lentil Hot Pot

I met the sweetest soul, my friend Leone, when I lived in Singapore. She’s one of the kindest humans I have ever known (I’m not exaggerating). It doesn’t hurt that she has the. most. amazing. Aussie accent that comes with the. most. amazing. smile. that comes with the. most. amazing. hugs! My time in Singapore was often met with challenges and spending time with Leone was life to my soul. If ever I needed a pick-me-up, she was my girl. We usually met over a good meal or coffee, as you do in Singapore. Good food shared with good friends is a healing balm.

She shared this recipe with me and it was an instant favorite comfort food dish. In Singapore, finding fresh pumpkin was easy but it’s not so easy in the US outside of the fall/autumn season. I’ll share her recipe below as she has given me permission to do. I’ll add my thoughts and necessary adjustments in ().

I hope you’ll try this. It’s SO easy and INCREDIBLY delicious!

Ingredients:
McCormicks Middle Eastern spice blend, (Harissa) but you could use cumin, coriander and or ginger (ground or fresh) if you wish.
2 small diced onions
2 cloves chopped garlic (or more if you’re like me and can never get enough garlic)
Olive Oil (for sauteeing)
2-3 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock if you’re going for vegetarian)
2 cups Red lentils
2 cups fresh cubed pumpkin (can use butternut squash)
2 cups cubed potatoes (can eliminate these and use extra butternut squash)
1 can diced tomatoes (can use chopped fresh tomatoes)
Salt to taste

Basmati rice (or your favorite rice option)
Cilantro/Coriander leaves for garnish

Instructions:
Brown two small chopped onions with 2 cloves garlic (or two teaspoons) in olive oil or spray the pot well with a ‘cooking/oil spray’.

Add two small teaspoons of Middle Eastern spice (Harissa) and some Turmeric or you could add a teaspoon each of cumin, ginger, and coriander.  Brown this mix stirring constantly. Do not overcook.

Add two to three cups of stock, it can be vegetable or chicken. If no actual ‘stock’ available, then use water with stock cubes.

At this point, you can transfer this mix to a ‘slow cooker’ or leave it in the stove top pot.

Add 2 cups each of red lentils, diced pumpkin, and diced potato.

Add one can of diced tomatoes. Stir well.

*If using stove top pot, stir gently and often. The lentils may stick to the bottom of the pot if you don’t. You may need to add more water at this stage too.

It will take approx 35 mins of cooking time.

If you have transferred it to a slow cooker, allow about three hours of cooking time, but at least you can go away and leave it. No need to keep stirring!

Serve with chopped fresh coriander, steamed rice, and a garden salad. Delicious!

Hope you and your family enjoy the above recipe, that I have named: Leone’s Lentil Hot Pot

Leone's Lentil Hot Pot

Photo Credit: Leone

Texas Caviar

I’ve been making this tasty treat for almost 30 years. My friend, Kristi, introduced it to me and it became a quick favorite. I love making it because even though we don’t live close together anymore, I think of the gift of her friendship and all the life we’ve shared while I’m chopping and chomping. We’ve served this all over the world and even served it at our daughter’s wedding reception.

Besides chopping the tomatoes and olives, it’s ridiculously easy!

Texas Caviar

The measurements I listed below make a large bowl. You can half it if you’d like but I don’t advise it. You’ll have plenty to share and you’ll definitely want to share.

Finely chop and place in a large mixing bowl:

About 8-10 firm Roma tomatoes
3- 4.25 oz. cans diced black olives
1- 10 oz jar green olives (save the juice)
4 bunches green onions (use only the white portion with a little of the green)
1- 4 oz. can of diced green chiles

Mix veggies together with the olive juice saved from the jars above.
Add enough red wine vinegar to add some liquid to it.
Cover the top with a generous layer of garlic salt.

Stir. Refrigerate. Serve with tortilla chips.

In your taste testing, if it doesn’t make you want to dive in and swim in it, you might need a little more red wine vinegar and/or garlic salt.

Muddy Buddies (Puppy Chow) – The Not So Messy Way

Muddy Buddies

We’ve been making Muddy Buddies for as long as I can remember. I can’t even remember where I got the recipe but I sure am thankful for it! Holidays are not the same in our family with this sugar-coated yumminess. I made it for years and dreaded making it until I finally figured out a way to keep it from being so messy.

Plan to double the recipe. Making a double batch takes the same amount of time and it’s something you’ll want to share.

P.S. This is not calorie free but it is gluten free. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 12 oz. pkg (2 cups) semi sweet chocolate chips

1 stick butter

1 cup creamy peanut butter

9 cups (21 oz. box) rice chex cereal

3 lbs powdered sugar

Melt chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter in a microwaveable bowl. 30 seconds at a time and stir until melted.

Put the cereal in a very large bowl and pour the chocolate mixture over it. Stir gently until all cereal is coated with chocolate mixture.

A little unconventional but brilliant…  this keeps this from being incredibly messy… Pour the coated cereal in a clean, unscented trash bag. Then pour the powdered sugar in over the cereal mixture. Twist up the bag tight and carefully toss the cereal inside back and forth. You can peek inside to make sure you have enough powdered sugar to coat and add more if needed. When you’re tossing, feel around for any large clumps from the outside of the bag and break them apart. Toss a little more to make sure they get coated.

Then cut a hole in the corner of the bag and pour into your storage container(s).

Throw away the messy bag.

Enjoy! And of course, share!!

Homemade Cashew Butter

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I realize this is the millionth recipe out there for homemade cashew butter but it’s the one I like and it works for me. After trying out making it just with cashews, it worked for sure but it took an eternity. It also didn’t have much flavor at all, kind of just tasted like cashews. 🙂 Anyway, although it made good bread, delicious Coconut Flour Bread, it wasn’t good on celery so I decided to add a little honey and coconut oil. That helped speed up the process significantly and it’s tasty! Feel free to leave out the honey when making the bread if you prefer.

This is so yummy eaten  with apples or celery or by the spoonful for a quick grab ‘n go bite. It’s packed with protein and good fat so be sure to note that it’s not low fat but it is healthy.

You’ll need a food processor for this one. I don’t have a fancy one and it works just fine. It took me 47 years to buy a food processor. Not sure why because now I couldn’t live without it. Even if you got one for this recipe it would be worth it.

Throw in the food processor:

16 oz raw cashews
2 Tbsp raw unfiltered honey
2 Tbsp organic coconut oil 

Blend away. It will take a while. It will go from cashews to grains to a big lump to smaller lumps to creamy butter. The whole process takes about 30-45 minutes or so but just make sure you give your food processor frequent rest breaks to cool down.

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It makes about 2 cups of cashew butter. Store in an airtight container in your pantry just like you would regular nut butters for about a week. If it lasts that long. Enjoy!!

Cranberry Butter

There are lots of recipes out there for Cranberry Butter. I read a few and did my own thing. Shocker, I know…

I’m using this to give as gifts to our neighbors this Christmas. And of course saving some back for me. 🙂 Here is what I’m printing out to add with the gift.

Cranberry Butter
Enjoy this on toast, biscuits, scones, or add it to a cheese plate. Use it as a glaze for grilled chicken or pork, or on sandwiches. Or just eat a spoonful of it. Merry Christmas from the ***** family!

P.S. It will be good kept in the refrigerator for up to a month – if it lasts that long.

Cranberry Butter, Andrea Stunz

Yields 4 half pint jars (ok to double to recipe)

  • 2 12-oz bags of fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar or coconut sugar/crystals (palm sugar)
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups organic apple cider

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put all the ingredients in a crockpot and stir to combine well. Turn on high. Let it cook for about 2 hours or until the cranberries are soft.
  2. Remove the cinnamon sticks and puree until creamy using the emersion blender.
  3. Replace the cinnamon sticks and cook with lid ajar until thickened, approximately another 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Using a large strainer and ladle (like a really large tea strainer) or straining cloth, strain out the stringy bits.
  5. Put the cranberry butter into clean jars with tight fitting lids and let cool. Store in the refrigerator and use within a month.

cranberry butter

Festive Cranberry Poppers

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(This is a picture of the “in progress” cranberries before the powdered sugar. I’ll track down a picture of the finished product soon and update.)

I don’t know when or why I started making these but it’s been many years. Every time I make them people are fascinated by them. They ask what it is. I smile and say, “try it”. They say, “Is that a cranberry?” And then, “Oh my goodness! These are SO good!” And then, “How did you make these?!?!” And then again, “Are these FRESH cranberries???”  I hear all the time, “I didn’t know you could eat fresh cranberries.” The thing is, who would want to? haha! They are so tart they have to be in something…. or coated with sugar. 🙂 The antioxidant goodness outweighs the sugar badness, right?

So here is how I make these. They make a huge impact treat with very minimal effort.

Ingredients:
2 egg whites
1 bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries
1 2lb bag of powdered sugar

Prep: wash the cranberries ahead of time and give them plenty of time to dry completely. If they are wet the egg whites won’t stick.

1. Beat your egg whites with a whisk or electric beater until they are light and fluffy, not too stiff.

2. Carefully fold the fresh cranberries into the egg whites just enough to coat.

3. Place half of the bag of powdered sugar in the bottom of a gallon sized ziploc.

4. Give the cranberries one last quick fold in the eggs whites and then spoon them on top of the powdered sugar in the ziploc. Leave any excess egg whites in the bowl.

5. Put the rest of the powdered sugar on top of the cranberries.

6. Seal up the ziploc really well and gently toss the berries around. Carefully try to break up any clumps. You might need ot open the bag to find clumps by hand and break them up. Then reseal the bag and gently toss some more. Repeat this until they are all individually coated. You’ll end up leaving a decent amount of powdered sugar in your ziploc to throw out. Does that make you feel any better about the sugar part? 🙂

7. Put them in cute holiday dish and serve and enjoy the smiles as these little sweet and sour surprised pop in your mouth.

They will be nice and pretty for about a day before getting soggy. Don’t put them in the refrigerator as they will get soggy as they get back to room temperature.