Chili Fritos

I found this recipe at the Minimalist Baker’s blog. It is definitely a good alternative to those brand name chips. (Hey, I hear ya….I was addicted to those chili Fritos too, but….hear me out.) Here is my personal review:

I give these 3.5 out of 5 stars. Knowing that the reason they didn’t score higher is likely because this was the first time I tried making these. The seasoning was SPOT ON! (Confirmed by another family member.) Yet, the texture or crunch was not quite right. I intend to try various tortillas to get the desired outcome I’m looking for.

Ingredients:

  • 6 yellow corn tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s corn tortillas)
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive or avocado oil (I used a blend of these)
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder (I used taco seasoning instead, didn’t have any chili powder)
  • 1 tsp each cumin, onion powder, garlic powder*
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional, for a chili-cheese flavor)
 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use convection setting if available.
  2. Add all seasonings to a large bowl and mix/whisk well. Set aside.
  3. Use a pizza cutter or kitchen scissors to cut the tortillas into Frito-sized strips. To accomplish this I cut the tortillas first into three parts using two horizontal cuts. Then I made the vertical cuts which resulted into the perfectly sized strips.
  4. Place corn strips onto a baking sheet. I covered the baking sheet with parchment paper. Add oil and toss the strips around to get them thoroughly coated in oil.
  5. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until crispy and be careful not to burn during the last couple of baking minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and immediately toss the tortilla strips into the bowl with seasonings.
Something to consider: I think the next time I make these I will toss in the seasonings before baking. I season my sweet potato bites prior to baking and I think these will turn out just fine too. This way, I believe the seasonings will stick to the chips much better (without the need to add any additional oil). I will report back to you on this in the near future.
If you try it, let me know what tortillas you used for this recipe. Happy crunching!

Apples and Dip Party Platter

I’ve had the opportunity to share this recipe at quite a few parties this Christmas season and it has received great reviews. Most are very surprised when they discover that the ‘caramel’ dip doesn’t contain any sugar or dairy. (Surprise…it’s made using dates!)
Ingredients:
  • 4 large Fuji or Gala Apples (I think I would even enjoy Granny Smith)

Date ‘caramel’ sauce:
  • 8 Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond (recipe says that coconut milk is also an option)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (alcohol free vanilla extract is also an option)
  • dash of sea salt

Other toppings:
  • Walnuts and/or pecans
  • Raisins and/or dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp tahini or almond butter

Directions:
  1. Blend together all the ingredients for the caramel sauce until smooth. If not using a high-speed blender, it would be best to soak the dates in the water prior to blending
  2. Cut the apples into thin wedges, arrange on a platter, pour on sauce and add toppings.

Note: This was adapted from the  ‘Apple Nachos’ recipe from the Medical Medium’s website. 

Tex-Mex Casserole Without Cheese? (Vegan)

Do you think it would be impossible to make a casserole, a Tex-Mex Casserole without cheese? Well, let me show you how I did it for this recipe.

I chose corn tortillas to keep the recipe wheat-free (aka gluten-free).
And guess what? If you have someone that just loves cheese, they can top their serving with the cheese of their choice (…even vegan cheese 🙂

Alternative to cheese, but creamy?  Add avocado, guacamole or this cashew cilantro cream sauce.  

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (or 2 cups freshly diced)
  • 1 15 oz can of pinto beans (or 2 cups home-cooked), rinsed
  • 1 15 oz of black beans (or 2 cups of home-cooked), rinsed *
  • 1/4 bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 small onion
  • 8 ounces of your favorite salsa
  • 1 15 oz can (2 cups) of enchilada sauce (or see homemade recipe below)
  • 6 corn tortillas (or flour)
Directions:
  1. Cook onions and bell pepper.  If using ground meat add at this step too.
  2. Add other ingredients except for the enchilada sauce and tortillas, mix together.
  3. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 casserole dish. 
  4. Tear (or cut) the 2 tortillas into smaller sizes and place on the bottom of the dish.
  5. Layer 1/3 of the filling over the tortillas.
  6. Try to repeat steps 4 and 5 twice, but it doesn’t have to be that structured.
  7. Mix the enchilada sauce and thickener of choice together and pour over the casserole.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 20  – 30 minutes, until bubbly and sauce has thickened.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar (really almost any vinegar can be substituted here)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (or 2 Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (or even Italian herb spices)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 – 2 TBS chili powder (or TACO Seasoning works well too)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 – 2 slices of jalapenos for added flavor
  • 1 TBS of thickener (tapioca, potato starch, gluten free flour or cornstarch -organic/Non-GMO please)
Directions: Place all ingredients into blender and blend well. You can  also add a tablespoon of thickener at this point for easy mix-in.

Served topped with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Popcorn

Popcorn is an easy, quick and satisfying REAL snack food.

I use a POPCO Popcorn Popper to make popcorn. I am not normally an advocate of the microwave, but when it comes to making popcorn I am. I can make oil-free popcorn easily using this popper.

Feel free to use oil, but be careful if you are having IBS symptoms because oils can cause adverse reactions.  I don’t recommend that you eat popcorn while  experiencing painful IBS symptoms, but once you get your symptoms under control, popcorn makes a good snack. Most can have up to 7 cups popped.

Ingredients

  • POPCO Popcorn Popper (or similar)
  • 1/4 cup of un-popped kernels.
  • oil is optional
  • salt (or other seasoning) to taste, if desired

Directions: (Using Microwave Popper)

  1. Add kernels to popper (and any other desired ingredients)
  2. Cover with lid
  3. Put in microwave and press the ‘popcorn’ button (about 2/15 minutes?)
  4. Eat directly from the bowl or transfer to another heat safe bowl.

Note: Since popcorn is a grain it should be avoided while on all healing diets. Yet, popcorn is a great REAL FOOD snack . Try using NON-GMO and organic ingredients when possible

Every thought of crumbling your favorite Low FODMAP Kale Chips over poporn? YUMMY!

Popcorn and Kale

Salad Dressing No/Low Oil

So, why would anyone want a no oil salad dressing*?

  • Eliminate IBS Symptoms (Oils can trigger IBS and acid reflux)
  • Difficulty digesting fats. Perhaps you don’t produce enough of the lipase digestive enzymes, you need to give your gall bladder a rest, or had your gall bladder removed.
  • Reduce calories – just 1 TBS of oil contains at least 100 calories.
  • Savings – if you use oils in your salads, you want to use the best possible oils so that you get the best nutritional benefit. Never use hydrogenated oils in your salads because they overload your digestive system.  A healthy, cold-pressed oil, such as extra virgin olive oil, cost more than hydrogenated oils, but are better for your health – or you can  just leave oils out and save on your food budget.
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (raw apple cider vinegar is my top choice)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3/4 cup filtered or spring water
  • 2 – 3 fresh sprigs of parsley
  • 2 – 4 drops of Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 – 2 TBS color bell peppers (or 1/2 – 1 TBS dried)
  • 1 – 2 TBS chia seeds (this will thicken the dressing)
  • 1 tsp dried herbs (use an Italian blend or mix single herbs of oregano, rosemary, dill, etc)
  • up to 3/4 tsp salt (I wouldn’t use anymore than that)
  • dash to 1/8 tsp pepper
* If you desire a garlic flavor though, the best way is to opt for a modified “low-oil” version and add 1 TBS of a garlic infused oil for flavoring. This would still be low-calorie since you won’t be using the entire recipe on one serving of salad.
 
Directions: Blend all the ingredients together in a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix.

PB Quinoa and Oat Bars (Low FODMAP)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (peanut butter smooth style without salt)
  • 1/8 cup brown rice syrup (maple syrup or other sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (coconut palm sugar)
  • ¾ cup, 20 grams rice cakes, crushed
  • 1 cup (90 g) oats (soaked would be best)
  • 2/3 cup (100 g) quinoa, soaked (quinoa uncooked)
  • 1 TBS chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBS ground flax seeds
  • 3 TBS water
  • 1/3 cup (30 g) walnuts
  • 1 TBS sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seed
  • 1 TBS coconut oil (or similar oil)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and oil baking (6 in x 8 in) dish with coconut oil.
  2. Mix ground flax seeds with the water and set aside.
  3. Melt first three ingredients together, add flax seed mixture.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
  5. Press mixture into pan.
  6. Bake about 12 – 15 minutes.

NOTE: This bars contain oats and sugar, so my recommendation is – do not eat more than 2 at a time.

Coconut Milk Rice and Veggie Soup

I needed a quick meal and this is what I came up with. It’s a one-dish meal that’s easy to prepare. See notes below for optional add-ins and suggestions.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped and broken into small bits
  • 1/2 cup frozen collard greens
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 1/2 small green bellpepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice (I used Basmati rice)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • Suggested seasonings: onion powder, garlic powder, dash of cumin, salt and pepper (to taste)
  • cashew cilantro cream sauce (optional)
Directions:
  1. Add cauliflower, onion, bell pepper and garlic to a pot.
  2. Saute using a bit of coconut oil or steam saute (using a bit of the coconut milk) until onions become translucent
  3. Add all of the coconut milk and continue to cook vegetables until they are well-cooked. (I cooked in my Instant Pot for 5 minutes, 4 would have been enough.)
  4. Add cooked rice, frozen peas, cashew cilantro cream sauce (if using) and other seasonings to your desired taste.
Notes:
  • I think next time I will add some mushrooms and perhaps a bit of wild rice too. Some celery might be a good addition too…and lentils/chickpeas (my favorites).
  • It’s a whole, plant-based dish that is easily adaptable to accommodate everyone in the family.  In my family, vegetable dishes are the main meal and meats are side items.

Cashew Cilantro Cream Sauce

I had just bought a new bunch of cilantro and I removed all the stalks and leaves that were loose because I didn’t want them to go “bad” at the bottom of the jar. (This is how I keep my herbs fresh in the fridge.) So I was left with a bunch that I wanted to use up in a hurry. I decided to make an alternative to the cheese topping for the variety of plant-based tacos that I eat very often – so I searched the internet looking for a cilantro sauce. This was the first to appear. I found it at The Baking Fairy’s website (see below), but here is my recipe. I think next time I will definitely try fresh garlic (1/2 to 1 clove) and fresh onions (1/8 inch slice), yet this recipe is still a good one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/4 cup cashew milk (or any unsweetened nut milk, I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup or more of cilantro (packed tightly)
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 1/2 jalapeno (I only had jalapeno juice from my homemade pickled jalapeno peppers)
  • 3/8 – 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/8 – 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 3/8 – 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • a little pepper is also a nice addition
Directions:
  1. Add all ingredients except for the nut milk to a blender and blend.
  2. Add nut milk as needed until you get to your desired consistency.
The original recipe for this sauce was found at https://www.thebakingfairy.net/2017/05/sofritas-tacos-cashew-cream/.

Buddha Bowl using Leftovers

I think I have been creating these all along prior to the term “Buddha Bowl” becoming popular. This is my second “go to” option when trying to determine what to eat next. My first is plant-based Tex-Mex meals. (I live in Texas y’all!)

The Buddha Bowl I prepared today uses quinoa as the base! I love quinoa for so many reasons and healthy ones too. It’s gluten-free and high in protein (a concern for some when embarking on a plant-based eating plan). I had roasted sweet potatoes using my favorite recipe. I had a bunch of colorful Swiss chard that I needed to prepare and hummus (which I practically keep on hand at all times). So I threw all of these “leftovers” together and created a very satisfying lunch.

Preparation Notes:

Quinoa
pre-soak 1 – 2 hours for better nutrient absorption

Sweet Potatoes
Diced and seasoned with cumin, turmeric, salt, paprika, chili powder, garlic (sprinkled on as you like). Toss with a little coconut oil (barely oil them) and bake 350 – 400 degrees Farenheit
Swiss Chard
Saute green onions and bell peppers in water until soft. Add tomatoes and Swiss chard until wilted. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top

Hummus
Seasonings: cumin, lemon juice, tahini, roasted red peppers, salt/pepper and sometimes olives
Hey, here are some ingredient ideas for a Tex-Mex Budha Bowl!
  • Mexican “brown” rice
  • Black or pinto beans
  • Fresh spinach, kale or romaine lettuces
  • Roasted corn
  • Salsa or Pico de gallo
  • Lemon/Lime Juice
  • Avocado (or guacamole)
  • Cilantro
  • Green onions
  • Not-so cheese (a Vitamix recipe)

Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Marinara Sauce

This was really yummy. The texture of the eggplant mixed with diced tomatoes was right on target in this marinara sauce. I made the sauce in my InstantPot (love that appliance).

I cut the eggplant into cubes and just added it to the pot along with tomatoes and other seasonings and voila! I was done…

…except for the cooking of the pasta. Sometimes I cook the pasta in the Instant Pot too, but lately I seem to have trouble with getting perfect pasta …and my guess is that it’s probably because I was cooking gluten-free pasta. I think the better outcome has been with wheat pasta. (If anyone has any helpful hints on cooking gluten-free pasta in the InstantPot, please let me know. Thanks in advance.)

Back to the sauce..I cooked the eggplant until it was mushy. I liked it best this way because it was easy to combine with the tomatoes. The mixture of these two vegetables are superb. Yet, I call this a marinara because it’s very light vs. being more dense and doesn’t have any tomato paste which would make the sauce thicker.

This recipe makes about 2 – 3 servings. You can easily double it.

Ingredients:
1 small eggplant
1 small can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onions
1/8 cup of chopped bell peppers (your choice)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp or so of dried herbs (basil, oregano, Italian herb mix,

spinach to stir into pot after cooking or directly onto the plate (I prefer fresh)

Instant Pot Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into the inner pot.
  2. Press manual, then adjust settings to 6 minutes.
  3. Allow natural release (if you have enough time to wait)
  4. Adjust seasonings
  5. Stir in spinach (optional)
Stove-Top Directions:
  1. Cook onion and garlic on low heat until soft. I prefer using water to steam the vegetables, so that I don’t have to add oils to cook with.
  2. Add eggplant and a little salt to help soften, then cook about 5 minutes while stirring frequently.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and remaining seasonings. Cook, covered over low heat until everything is very soft and (I prefer) mushy. Make sure your pan isn’t too high and use a small burner so the sauce doesn’t burn. This step may take about 10 more minutes. 
  4. Adjust seasonings
  5. Stir in spinach (optional).
Note: That is a corn-based pasta in the photo. Gluten free pastas that contain corn seem to cook the best.