Welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I'm glad you stopped by and hope you enjoy the five years of recipes and ramblings collected here.

The inspiration for this site was my son. To learn about our journey to restore his intestinal and neurological health read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Take a peek at my cookbook.  

 

 

 


 

  

 

Monday
Jun132011

Chinese Five Spice Rhubarb Chutney

The rhubarb in the yard of the abandoned house down the way is growing crazy fast. I find myself raiding the cache daily. With so much rhubarb, I am having to get creative, and busy, finding tasty eats and treats to make with it. Yesterday I set out to make Rhubarb Chutney. And a success it was.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from my late Tutu Bee who made the best mango chutney north of the equator, and from my sister whose plum chutney is close to divine. I have the greatest admiration for these women, their culinary skill and all they have taught me.

Chutney is a savory condiment, with origins in India. It's made of chopped fruit, vinegar, spices and sugar that is simmered down to a chunky spread. Traditionally it is served alongside curry dishes and meat. For me, there's not much I don't like it on. I serve it on crackers with a dollop of dairy-free Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese or chevre. I use it as a spread on my turkey sandwiches. And I bet it would be an interesting accompaniment to a scoop of cinnamon ice cream (say what?! well you're getting a peek at how my brain works :)!

The addition of Chinese Five Spice gives this chutney a real twist. Traditionally, Chinese Five Spice is a sweet, warm, cool and spicy blend of fennel, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and peppercorns. Used in the right way and with the right foods, it's magical.

I thought the making of chutney would be complicated—turns out, it's not. It's as easy as dumping a few ingredients into a saucepan and letting it simmer, baby, simmer. Enjoy!

Chinese Five Spice Rhubarb Chutney

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan

Makes: About 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time:  30-40 minutes

Ingredients:

1/4 cup HONEY (I used Gluten-Free Easily's homestead honey ... thanks Ms. Shirley!)
1/4 cup COCONUT SUGAR
1/4 cup APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (or balsamic or a mixture of both)
1 CINNAMON stick
2 teaspoons minced fresh GINGER
1 teaspoon finely grated LEMON PEEL
1/2 teaspoon CHINESE FIVE SPICE
1/4 teaspoon SEA SALT
Dash CAYENNE PEPPER (optional)
3 cups 1" cubed RHUBARB
1/4 medium ONION, minced
1/4-1/2 cup dried, unsweetened CHERRIES (or raisins or currants)

Directions:

In medium pot, combine honey, sugar, vinegar, cinnamon stick, ginger, lemon peel, five spice, salt and cayenne. Bring to gentle simmer. Add remaining ingredients and cook down until thick and chunky—about 30-40 minutes over medium low heat, stirring frequently.

Store in a jar in refrigerator. Keeps for about a week. Chutney may be preserved as you would any jam or jelly.

Notes:

Using all coconut sugar or all honey works just as well. The coconut sugar adds a richer color as does using part balsamic vinegar.

Got rhubarb? Lots of it? Chop stalks into cubes (not the leaves, they are toxic), toss into a pot with a splash of water, simmer down 10-15 minutes (or until soft). Scoop rhubarb into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, pop the cubes out and store in a Ziploc bag or glass container in the freezer. Now you can make rhubarb sauce, rhubarb compote, rhubarb syrup, rhubarb pie, most anything rhubarb—lickety split.

Other Bloggers Bloggin' About Rhubarb

Dairy Free, Gluten Free Raw Rhubarb Cheesecake Pie over at My Real Food Life

Creamy Rhubarb and Vodka Cocktail over at Jamie Oliver (I am determined to find a way to make this one alcohol-free so that I can have one everyday for the rest of rhubarb season)

Rhubarb Scones (Gluten-Free and Egg-Free) over at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

Stewed Rhubarb with Star Anise and Ginger over at Jeanette’s Healthy Living

Thursday
Jun092011

Grant Family Farms Spring Tour 2011

Grant Family Farms Spring Tour | Wellington, Colorado

As we head into another weekend, I thought I would share our highlight of last weekend. Aside from Summer finally making its appearance, it was the weekend of the Grant Family Farms Spring Tour. Grant Family Farms is the local farm we receive produce and eggs from each week for close to six months out of the year.

Every spring they hold this family-centric event. It's a great opportunity to see a large-scale organic farm up close, and to meet people who share your passion for whole food and supporting local farmers.

It was a gorgeous day and while my husband and brother enjoyed some bluegrass, I took in a presention by the Colorado State University Extension on how to Preserve the Harvest. My boys had their share of fun herding worms, making mud seed balls, being spat on by a llama and hay bale jumping.

There were some great vendors I visited with and that I must mention:

And of course great music:

If you live in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, I hope to see you next year! If you live elsewhere, consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. Here is a site that will help you locate a farm near you. Our weekly delivery starts next week, can't wait!

Some CSAs offer “Working Shares.” You work the farm, you get a discount. Simple as that. Rewarding as that. Last year I spent 4 hours hoeing, 4 hours weeding and 8 hours picking pumpkins.

The “Art Barn” was a cool hang out on a hot day.

These hens have got it made. Isn’t this the coolest coop? These chickadees get free rides all over the farm. Wonder if they get a discount off of their CSA share? Eating bugs and fertilizing is hard work!

Herding Worms 101. My oldest is really into worms. Our backyard is full of one foot deep holes. He thought this pile of dirt was a goldmine.

Crawfish, it’s what’s for dinner. My little guy doesn’t know that yet.

Ahhh, the majestic front range of the Rocky Mountains. I love, love love it here!

And here's that dinner.

Angie Stevens and her band. Very good! She sings right to the heart of 40 somethings like me. You know like "the house is clean, the dishes are done, I wish I was seventeen again."

Dynamite! Just like our time in Texas. The Cottonwood Grove string band.

With the kids tuckered out, we loaded up and headed back north. I made my husband do a U-turn so that I could get this shot. We literally live "where the deer and the antelope play." What a beautiful site at the end of a beautiful day. They have the prettiest eyelashes.

 

Monday
Jun062011

Carrot Cake Smoothie | Dairy-Free 

My husband's love for carrot cake and my son's abhorrence of most vegetables, in their natural form, inspired this smoothie.The little one in our house that eats everything just will not eat most vegetables in their natural form. That's not to say we don't to try, beg, plead. To date we've conquered his aversion to broccoli trees, green beans and cannonball peas. For the rest, well, we rely on smoothies. You can hide A LOT in them. Today I served up carrot cake in a glass. It won his "mmmmm." Will it win yours?

Carrot Cake Smoothie

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Easily Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan

Serves:  1-2
Active Time:  3 minutes

Ingredients:

1 large handful roughly chopped raw CARROT
1 small handful raw WALNUTS
2 cups non-dairy MILK (today I used unsweetened So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage)
1/4 teaspoon CINNAMON (or to taste)
1 tablespoon LEMON JUICE
Pinch of SALT
Sweeten to taste with your favorite SWEETENER (I use 10 drops of stevia concetrate)
1 cup ICE CUBES (or more if you like super frosty smoothies)

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender (I use a Blendtec), except ice, until super smooth. Add ice and blend until smooth.

How have you won your kids over to vegetables?

Share by leaving a comment below. We'd love to hear!?

Monday
May302011

[Don't] Shake Your Kombucha

Really, what IS it? Read on to find out ...

This past weekend our little family took a drive west toward Laramie—that'd be Wyoming—to have lunch at one of our favorite spots, Lovejoy's Bar & Grill. The usual routine; lunch at Lovejoy's and then a stroll across the street for a leisurely cup of coffee at Coal Creek Coffee Company.

Coal Creek Coffee Company | Laramie, WyomingThen we trek to the top of the Laramie Railway Bridge where we wait for oncoming trains to race under our feet. One, two, fifteen, twenty, forty-five cars—what a rush!

Laramie Railway Bridge | Laramie, WyomingLastly, before heading home via Happy Jack Road, it's a stop at one of our favorite natural food stores, Big Hollow Food Coop.

This store is a gem!

It's where I pick up vanilla beans for $1.49 a piece and where I first found beet powder.

It's where I buy local duck eggs and bison.

And where I bought this here Oregon Kombucha Company Starter Kit.

A kombucha kit? Yep! Total impulse buy.

I'd tried a few of the store bought varieties of bottled kombucha, why not brew some up myself!?

For those unfamiliar with kombucha, it is a tart and fizzy fermented beverage made from sweetened tea (black or green). For the last 2,000 years, families across Asia have enjoyed kombucha for its purported medicinal qualities.

Once home, and with great anticipation, I dove into my kombucha starter kit.  I pulled out the directions, check. Then some strawberry scented green tea, check. Then a bag of yellowish liquid with a chunk of slimy white matter floating in it.

"What is that!?," my husband remarked.

I hadn't the faintest.

Back to the directions.

Turns out the slimy pancake thing was a chunk of SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). It's the tasty "mother" morsel (not!) that feeds on the sweetened tea and transforms it into kombucha. The blob almost frightened me into forgoing the experiment, but I decided to forge ahead.

With all my equipment sterilized, I got to work. I brewed the tea, dissolved a cup of organic cane sugar into it, let it cool, added the blob and the liquid it swam in to the tea, set it in a warm spot and now, well, now I wait 7-30 days.

Of what little research is out there, kombucha has shown to have antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties in lab tests. For me, the verdict is still out. Some sources have scared me into not even wanting to touch the stuff. Others have likened it to miracle water. We'll just have to see how this mad science experiment turns out. Look for an update in a week or two—if I survive the first sip.

More on Kombucha

How to Make Kombucha over at Seeds of Health
Kombucha: What It Is and Its Health Benefits and Health Drawbacks over at Body Ecology
The Kombucha Starter Kit Company Brewing Instructions over at Oregon Kombucha
What is Kombucha? over at Happy Healthy Life

DISCLAIMER: If you are going to try this at home, do so at your own risk—I am. As with anything new, read up on it. Kombucha may not be the right beverage for you. The Body Ecology article above makes the case that kombucha may not be the best fermented beverage for people following the Anti-Candida Diet and/or those with compromised immune systems. It's always best to seek the advice of a nutritionist or doctor.

Share with Us

Do you drink kombucha? What's your take on it?

Wednesday
May252011

Dairy-Free Frozen Custard

A bowl of this Dairy-Free Frozen Custard should hit the spot this Memorial Day weekend. The coconut sugar it's sweetened with imparts a hint of caramel flavor. What would you mix in?With a long weekend coming up I am excited to have some extra time to play with "mix-in's" for this basic, super creamy dairy-free frozen custard. I thought I would go ahead and post it to see if you had some tasty ideas. I'm thinking coffee, cookie dough ... hmmmmm. How about you? I'd also like to experiment with different sweeteners. The one thing I like about using coconut sugar is the color and caramel flavor it imparts. Plus it's low glycemic and can be cut back even further should you choose to use part stevia, part sugar.

Dairy-Free Frozen Custard

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian

Serves: 6
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: Approximately 7-9 hours

Ingredients:

3 EGG YOLKS
2 cans full fat COCONUT MILK (I prefer Thai Kitchen®)
1/2 cup COCONUT SUGAR
1 tablespoon VANILLA EXTRACT
10 drops vanilla LIQUID STEVIA (or 1/4 cup additional coconut sugar)
Pinch of SEA SALT

Directions:

In medium bowl, whisk yolks and set aside. In medium saucepan, combine and gently heat milk and sugar until a few whisps of steam rise from surface (do not boil). Whisk 1/4 cup cream mixture into yolks. Whisk yolk mixture into remaining cream mixture and gently heat over medium, stirring constantly, for an additional 3-5 minutes or until mixture thicken just a bit and coats spoon.

Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla, stevia (if using) and salt. Cover and transfer to refrigerator to chill 6-8 hours. Add to ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer’s instructions (I make mine in a Cuisinart). Serve immediately or for a firmer frozen custard, transfer to a glass container with an air-tight lid and freeze. Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to allow it to soften up a bit.

Notes:

Cane sugar is something I rarely stock in my pantry. For those who do, brown sugar would make a suitable replacement for the coconut sugar—maybe use a little less or sweeten to taste. I highly recommend giving coconut sugar a try. It has a lovely flavor and is lower on the Glycemic Index than cane (approximately 35 vs. 60). The Spunky Coconut has a great post on coconut sugar, so check it out. Buy it off of Amazon or at your local natural food store or from a co-op like Azure Standard (I love them!).

Other Dairy-Free Frozen Treats to Try

Basic Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream over at Go Dairy Free
Honey Cinnamon Grand Marnier Ice Cream over at Gluten Free Easily
Dairy Free Coconut Chai Ice Cream over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
Macadamia Nut & Coffee Ice Cream over at The Spunky Coconut
Vegan Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream over at Elana's Pantry