Polenta with vegetables

Polenta is a corn-meal porridge. You can top polenta with anything you like which makes it a delicious options for breakfast, lunch and even dinner.

Polenta is identified as a yellow corn-meal. The way it’s process produces a more whole form of what many know as grits and contains 6 g of fiber. ( The most popular form of grits only have .7 g – yet I believe there is a white corn that can be used to create white polenta “grits” which reserves the whole kernels.

If cooking on the stove-top it takes about 30 minutes. Use 1 cup of polenta to 6 cups of water.

But I prefer the much easier option of using an Instant Pot. This recipe makes 4 – 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 6 cups water or broth

Vegetable Toppings:  (in photo)

  • `1 bell pepper
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 4 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cups spinach
  • Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions: (for Instant Pot)

  1. Add polenta, water and sprinkle with a little salt (optional) into Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Cook for 10 minutes (manually set or use ‘Rice’ button).
  3. After time is up, Press ‘Cancel’ to switch to ‘Off’ and allow natural pressure release (usually 10/15 minutes).
  4. Stir to combine water and corn-meal. Using a whisk makes this easier.

Cooking Vegetables:

  1. Heat griddle or pan on stove-top.
  2. Add 1 tsp of oil and/or 2 TBS water to the pan.
  3. Add all vegetables except for spinach and stir-fry (stir-steam) until desired tenderness, sprinkle with seasonings of choice.
  4. Remove vegetables to a plate, turn off heat, add spinach and allow to wilt. (Adding a bit of water to create steam will help spinach wilt.)

Serve by adding polenta to a dish and topping with the vegetables.

Buckwheat and Millet Pancakes

This is my go-to recipe for breakfast (in addition to a morning smoothie which I usually have while cooking pancakes). Notice there aren’t any sweeteners, gums or extra fillers in this gluten-free recipe. Just the basic ingredients and I enjoy them with unsulphured molasses, a touch of maple syrup and cold-pressed flax seed oil (an optional boost of Omega-3’s).

Ingredients:
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup millet flour
2 TBS ground flax seeds (can add up to 4 TBS)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
2 cups nut milk (or water will work just as well)
2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. Heat a hot griddle or skillet over low to medium heat.
  2. Mix all ingredients together well, except for the baking powder
  3. Allow to sit about 2 – 3 minutes for the flax seeds to help bind the mixture. (The ground flax seeds is a plant-based substitution for eggs.)
  4. Add a bit more nut milk or water to attain the consistency needed to pour the pancake batter onto a griddle.
  5. Add baking powder and mix slightly. ( You can add another tablespoon of water to help the powder dissolve easily.)
  6. Add just a touch of oil if needed(I prefer coconut oil when needed) to your griddle or skillet.
  7. Cook the pancakes. (They should be easy to pour from the bowl and form round circles on the cooking surface. If not, you can use a spoon to spread a bit or add more liquid).

Note: I make my own buckwheat and millet flours using a Vitamix grain container that has a specific blade for grinding grains.

Suggestion: Mix all the dry ingredients together and store in an airtight container. To use, add liquid of choice in 1:1 ratio of dry mix. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Then, if using, add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Cook on hot griddle.

Black Bean Corn Tortilla Tacos (Plant-Based, Vegan)

I usually cook a large batch of beans and freeze whatever I don’t use immediately. So, for this recipe the only ingredient that I had to make was the “Not-So” Cheese Sauce that I found in the Vitamix recipe book. If you have the opportunity to purchase a Vitamix you should definitely do so. You won’t regret it. I think I’ve owned mine for about 7 years and the only part I have replaced is the rubber top recently because it wasn’t fitting as snugly as it did when I first purchased it (6 years ago).
I pulled these tacos together rather quickly. The corn tortillas are Tortilla Land brand that I find in my local. The are uncooked and I prepare them on the griddle that I keep on the left side of my stove-top mostly for this purpose (and cooking pancakes just as often).
Ingredients:
  • Tortilla Land corn tortillas (or make your own using masa flour)
  • black beans (red beans or pinto beans would also be good, canned is fine – just rinse them)
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • green onions
  • avocado (or guacamole – see recipe below)
  • Not-So Cheese Sauce (the recipe I follow uses potato starch to create a thicker version) or Forks Over Knives No Cheese Sauce
Other possible toppings: salsa, cilantro, pico de gallo, your favorite vegetables, etc
Directions:
  1. Cook tortillas according to package directions
  2. Warm the beans on the stove top – using a bit of water to prevent from burning
  3. Add your toppings

My Guacamole Recipe

Add all of the following ingredients to a food processor and give it a whirl!

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 lemon or lime, juiced
  • 1 green onion stalk (Low FODMAP and I like them because they are milder.)
  • 1/2 – 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 of jalapeno (I usually remove most of the seeds for a milder version.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of “tightly packed” cilantro

Oatmeal Options

Oatmeal is my preferred breakfast food. Unfortunately it’s not allowed on the Candida Free or SCD/GAPS healing diets.  So I just make it for my husband instead.

It’s fast and easy to prepare and can be flavored anyway you like.  I add 1/2 cup of rolled oats (gluten free) and 1/8 tsp salt to 1 cup of water and allow to cook just until it starts to boil.  (You can easily double this recipe.)

Then I turn off the heat and with a little stirring it’s done.  Oatmeal cooked in this manner will be creamy, but if you want more cream you can add almond milk.  I haven’t purchased almond milk in the store for over 5 years, I didn’t buy it often, but I don’t remember it being as creamy as the one I make on my own. You should try some home made almond milk.

Oatmeal with Creamy Almond Milk, Raisins, Cinnamon and Coconut Oil

So, sometimes I have oatmeal with almond milk, raisins, cinnamon and coconut oil.

Then if I want a more “fruity” version.  I add fruit (like strawberries or blueberries), dates/raisins a little water (or almond milk) and sometimes cashews (if I want added protein) to the Vitamix and mix until smooth and creamy.

Oatmeal with Blueberry Sauce

So, my goal is to use fresh natural sugars to sweeten my oatmeal. My daughter who likes oatmeal and totally loves blueberries thinks it’s the best flavored oatmeal she’s ever had (much better tasting and surely better for us than any boxed version).

The basic oatmeal recipe can easily be doubled. Also, make sure to cook over low heat so it doesn’t burn.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 cup water

Instructions:
  1. Add all ingredients to a pot over low heat for creamy oatmeal or wait for water to boil to keep oats separate.
  2. Stir frequently
  3. Enjoy with some recipe add-ins.

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Warm Quinoa Asian Salad/Wraps

I used to blog about every meal/creation that I would prepare, but I have been failing to do so. I always take photos thinking that I will “get to it later”. Well, that hasn’t worked. I just finished eating this mini meal (a meal in between my lunch and dinner), so I figured I better get to it right away.

I apologize, but just about every measurement listed below is an approximate. But, hey, that’s what cooking is all about right? – making adjustments to suit your own taste buds (well, if you are comfortable with cooking anyway).

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FINALLY, I have added this one “grain” back to my diet. It’s
quinoa  (pronounced keen-wah) and Wikipedia describes it as an edible seed that’s not a member of a true grass “cereal” family. All I know is that, so far, it’s not causing any symptoms of brain fog and my digestive system is handling it just fine. It’s not a sticky grain like rice. It’s gluten free. It stays separated when cooked. It’s also a nice grain that can be soaked, sprouted and eaten raw.

Today I wanted to eat quinoa and I wanted to make some wraps. Because, just a few days ago, I ate lettuce wraps at Ruggles Green in River Oaks and they were so yummy and filling that I decided that I would make a recipe of my own. I didn’t try to make the exact recipe…although I will definitely do so in the future. My taste buds had a mind of their own today.

Ingredients:
  • SaladDressing/Sauce (1 to 2 servings):
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 thin slice of onion (about 1/8 cup)
  • 1/2 inch knob fresh ginger
  • 1 to 1/2 tsp fresh garlic
  • green onion tops from 1 green onion
  • 2 TBS fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed is best
  • juice of 1 lime wedge and/or 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Salad/Wraps
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • lettuce for salad or wraps
  • Other possible Add-ins:•nori seaweed, dulse, kelp
  • daikon root, Reishi (mushroom), cucumber, cabbage, bell peppers – ALL candida friendly
  • carrots, other mushrooms, chestnuts – NOT Candida friendly
  • Kim-chi (naturally fermented of course)

Instructions

  1. Add vegetable broth, onion, ginger and garlic to a small saucepan – bring to a boil, then simmer 2 – 3 minutes.
  2. Add broth mixture and remaining dressing/sauce ingredients to a blender or Vitamix. (To prevent it from becoming a green sauce, add the green veggies last and don’t mix fully.)
  3. Assemble salad and place quinoa on top or scoop quinoa plus other ingredients into a large lettuce leaf and cover with the warm sauce.

Notes:

This recipe is totally safe for anyone on the Candida “Free” Diet. But, if not following the diet you might use rice vinegar instead and/or add “wheat” free Tamari sauce to your recipe. There are so many possibilities to increase the “Asian” flair of this recipe.

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