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Saturday
Mar192011

Ginger Umeboshi Broth & Black Bean Noodles

Use this Ginger Umeboshi Broth in place of Miso Soup. Serve over gluten-free pasta and fresh veggies.

A friend of mine at Navan Foods introduced me to the the tasty and wonderful Explore Asian Organic Black Bean Spaghetti. This gluten-free, grain-free pasta cooks up al dente—beautifully.

And, here is the ingredients list:

Organic Black Beans
Water

Now how simple and wholesome is that?

With Black Bean Spaghetti in hand and craving an Asian noodle soup, I mixed up a batch of this Ginger Umeboshi Broth and served it over the cooked pasta along with some raw veggies. It was delightful! Light. Fresh. Nourishing. The kind of meal the body thanks you for. This broth is quick to prepare. I use it as I would miso soup.

Ginger Umeboshi Broth

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-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 | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Easily Vegetarian | Easily Vegan

Serves:  2-4
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients:

6 small dried SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, rinsed
2 teaspoons UMEBOSHI PASTE or 4 UMEBOSHI (pit removed)
2 teaspoons minced GINGER ROOT
2 cups CHICKEN or VEGETABLE BROTH
4 cups WATER
2-4 cups prepared BLACK BEAN SPAGHETTI
4-6 cups VEGETABLES (I suggest carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, bok choy)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, simmer mushrooms, umeboshi, ginger, broth and water for 10 minutes or until mushrooms are plump. Using a slotted spoon, remove two of the mushrooms, slice and reserve for garnish.

Allow broth mixture to cool a bit then transfer to a blender and carefully blend on high until smooth (blend in batches if necessary). If your blender has left undesirable chunks, strain using a wire mesh strainer. Return to saucepan and heat through.

Divide and arrange pasta, vegetables and sliced mushrooms into two deep serving bowls. Ladle 2-3 cups broth into each bowl.

Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

Vegetables pictured were prepared using a Joyce Chen Spiralizer. I am moderately happy with this model. There may be better ones out there. A spiralizer is a fun kitchen gadget to have for making raw vegetable "noodles" and garnishes (see my post on Zucchini Noodles).

What is Umeboshi?

For those unfamiliar with umeboshi, it is a salty and sour fermented species of apricot. For centuries, Japan has hailed umeboshi for its medicinal properties and alkalizing effect on the body. It is known to be a natural remedy for headaches, a natural antibiotic, a digestive aid and a detoxifier. It may be purchased in the form of the whole fruit (with seed) or paste. Take care in the brand you purchase. Some brands contain monosodium glutamate and food coloring (tsk tsk). Eden Selected Umeboshi products are a safe bet and can be found at most natural food stores and on Amazon.

Navan Foods | The Allergy Friendly Food Shop

Explore Asian also makes Mung Bean Fettucini and Soybean Spaghetti. All are gluten-free, high protein and low carb. The place to order these products is from Navan Foods. Navan Foods is a great online allergy free food shop. Visit today and explore its expansive allergy-friendly grocery offering.

Other Umeboshi Recipes to Try:

Homemade Umeboshi over at Just Hungry
Umeboshi Cucumber Dressing
over at Elana's Pantry
Umeboshi Rice over at The Whole Wheat
Umeboshi & Avocado Salad
over at Tokyo Terrace 

Wednesday
Mar162011

Peter Rabbit's Smoothie

The grievous events taking place in Japan, the flu that besieged our home this week, and Sunday's time change have left me a little out of sorts. I have felt a special need for a "pick-me-up."

Feeding of the spirit has helped as has nourishing the body—with green smoothies.

I love smoothies for the simple reason that they can pack and hide so much in them. In this smoothie a whole handful of parsley is camouflaged by a host of other vegetables and fruit. It's frosty, creamy and tastes like anything but vegetables or ... parsley.

Parsley is the world's most popular herb and it's benefits go beyond freshening of the breath.

  • The chlorophyll in parsley is known to purify and rejuvenate the tissues of the body—notably the liver and kidneys.
  • Parsley is a member of the umbelliferous vegetable group (others in the group include; Caraway, Carrot, Celery, Cilantro, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Parsley and Parsnip). In their research, The National Cancer Institute has identified the dozen, or so, foods with the highest anti-cancer activity. Umbelliferous vegetables are among them.
  • Parsley is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, several B Vitamins and Vitamin K. It boosts the immune system, helping to fend off infection, colds and disease—and the FLU!

  • When Peter Rabbit overindulged in Mr. McGregor's garden, he went looking for parsley to ease his aching belly. One smart bunny. He knew that parsley aided digestion.

So take a tip from Peter Rabbit. Add some parsley to your diet ... and what better a way than in a green smoothie.

Peter Rabbit's Smoothie

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Easily Citrus-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 | Easily Vegan | Raw

Serves:  2-4
Active Time:  3 minutes

Ingredients:

1 large handful SPINACH
1 small handful PARSLEY
1/2 small ZUCCHINI
1/2 PEAR, quartered and seeded
1/2 BANANA
1 small handful raw CASHEW NUTS
1 tablespoon CHIA SEED or MEAL
1 cup WATER
1-2 cups ICE
Optional:
Splash LEMON JUICE
Optional: SWEETENER (stevia, honey or natural sweetener of choice)

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender, except ice, until super smooth.
2. Add ice and blend until smooth.

Notes:

1  If you are new to green smoothies, you may want to add an entire banana and pear or sweeten with your choice of sweetener.
2. Use organic produce as much as possible. Peel any non-organic fruits and veggies.
3. To ease digestion, cashews may be soaked 4-6 hours and rinsed well.

Saturday
Mar122011

Spiced Yam Fries


When we make a batch of these spiced yam fries, Papa Bear, Mama Bear and the Little Bears dig in. We serve them with hamburgers and salad for a simple weeknight meal. They are jazzed up with some good-for-you spices (like tumeric, read about that here) and baked versus deep-fried.

Spiced Yam Fries

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

Serves: 2-4
Active Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

3-4 pounds GARNET YAMS (red-skinned sweet potatoes)
4 tablespoons extra virgin COCONUT OIL, liquified
2 teaspoons each CORIANDER, CARDAMOM and TURMERIC
3/4 teaspoon SEA SALT (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon GRANULATED ONION
Dash CAYENNE

Directions:

1. Peel and cut yams into 1/4" "fries."
2. If time allows; soak fries in salted water 4-6 hours, drain, pat dry.
3. Toss fries with remaining ingredients.
4. Spread fries out in a single layer on parchment lined baking sheet.
5. Bake at 420˚F for 40 minutes flipping once.

Sunday
Mar062011

Lexie's Kitchen Adopts Healthful Pursuit

Click Here to view the full round-up of the
February edition of Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger.

Cinnamon Bun Balls with Cream "Cheese" Frosting from Healthy Pursuits

This month I have had the pleasure of hosting the February 2011 edition of the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event. While I continue compiling the photos and links for the big round-up (scheduled to post this Friday), I thought I would go ahead and introduce the talented gal I adopted and the sweet treat of hers that I made—and ended up making twice because it was so good!

This month I adopted Leanne of Healthful Pursuit and made her Cinnamon Bun Balls with Cream "Cheese" Frosting. When you visit Leanne's site, prepare to duck. This gal, with the infectious smile, rapid-fires out posts. We're talking one a day! And the thing is is that they are all quality posts—great writing, great recipes, great photography. I was stumped as to how she did it (and still am) so I asked and this was her response:

"Ha ha I guess you could say I have a lot of energy. I have a full time job + run my own nutrition practice. Out of everything I do though, nothing beats chatting with the visitors to my blog about the foods I’ve created or my approach to healthy living. It’s truly rewarding!"

Leanne is a Holistic Nutritionist, a graduate of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and is Board Certified in Practical Holistic Nutrition with the Canadian Association of Holistic Nutritionists. She is a yogi, athlete, recipe creator and self-proclaimed substitution nerd (she loves remaking recipes so that people with allergies/intolerances can enjoy them)—love it!

"I have a passion for preparing food, sharing it with friends, and best of all, educating others on the role it plays in their life. Food is such a key aspect of our lives, something that took me years of food deprivation and sickness to figure out. I’m here to share with everyone that our relationship with food CAN be healthy, fun, and exciting."

And what could be more fun and exciting than a Cinnamon Roll [Balls] recipe that's low in sugar and free of all the bad stuff you'd find [and I say this in my best SNL Church-Lady voice impression] say, in a Cinnabon®!? So when I saw this recipe, I knew had to try it.

What I love about these bite-sized wonders is that 1) I can whip them up in under 40 minutes and 2) they perfectly satisfy my craving for a full-blown cinnamon roll with their doughy and cinnamon-y goodness! No raising dough, no rolling dough, just a cinnamon roll fix that was quick and easy. Oh and Leanne says to roll the balls and place on a cookie sheet. I was making mini-muffins as well so just threw mine in the empty slots ... hence the not-so-round, but muffin shape : )

Healthful Pursuit and Leanne's collection of gluten-free (and other "free") recipes is a goldmine! Be sure to check her out.

Here is the link to her Cinnamon Bun Balls with Cream "Cheese" Frosting recipe.

________________________________________________________________

Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger is a great monthly event started by Sea over at Book Of Yum.

Tuesday
Mar012011

Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Autism

Congratulations Sharmista! You are the winner of the Nourishing Hope Autism Diet Handbook, Cookbook and DVD! Please email your full name and mailing address to lexieskitchen[at]gmail.com and I will get these shipped out to you. Enjoy and thank you for sharing that "diet has been a huge factor" in your daughter's recovery. Thank you moms, teachers, grandparents, aunts, and school counselors for sharing your personal stories. You are heroes!

Could this breakfast be having an opiate-like effect on your child?

This post is the third in a series of guest posts from my friend Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope. Julie is a  Certified Nutrition Consultant and Autism Diet Specialist based out of San Francisco, California. She offers consulting in-office and around the globe via video-conference.

Julie Matthews | Guest Post 3
Autism Diet Effectiveness: Food Allergens and Sensitivities


Food allergies and sensitivities (and their accompanying symptoms) are common in children with autism.

A FOOD ALLERGY—IgE reaction—is an immediate immune response (sometimes life threatening) that includes symptoms such as a rash, hives, sneezing, or anaphylaxis.

A FOOD SENSITIVITY—IgG reaction—is a delayed immune response that includes chronic symptoms in the areas of inflammation/ pain, digestion, and energy/mood such as: headaches, GI inflammation, gut pain, diarrhea, constipation, hyperactivity, or anxiety to name a few in these areas. Food sensitivities can also trigger asthma attacks, migraine headaches, and eczema.

Because food allergies and sensitivities affect so many bodily systems, reducing them can make a significant difference in how a child feels and behaves. Parents routinely report that when they remove certain problematic foods from their child’s diet, common symptoms improve, like diarrhea and hyperactivity, and that children feel better and have greater capacity to pay attention. Clear of these immune system reactions, they often make big gains in language and other areas of learning and behavior.

The Most Problematic Foods/Substances—Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn


Autism parents are becoming familiar with the omission of gluten and casein, two of the most problematic substances in foods for children with autism. Gluten is the protein in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and commercial oats, and casein is the protein in dairy. Wheat and dairy sensitivities are commonplace today, and not just with autism. Nine million people have gluten intolerance in the US.

Removal of gluten and casein—the gluten-free and casein-free (GFCF) diet—is one of the most beneficial dietary interventions for autism. In addition to gluten and casein being food sensitivities and inflammatory, these foods can also turn into opiate-like compounds that directly affect the brain. These opiates produce foggy thinking, inattentiveness, irritability, addiction to the food, and constipation—all symptoms of morphine use/addiction. Therefore, you can imagine the enormous benefit most children experience when they remove gluten and/or casein from their diets.

When following a GFCF diet however, people commonly over substitute corn and soy in place of gluten and casein. Note though, that soy and corn are also common food sensitivities, and removal of these foods as well can make a profound difference on health, behavior, and attention for many people.

Soy is broken down in the digestive systems by the same enzyme that digests gluten and casein. It is common for parents to substitute soy for dairy. Soy is inflammatory to the gut, it’s known to inhibit thyroid function, contains strong estrogen compounds, and decreases absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc and other minerals. For these reasons and more, I recommend avoiding soy whenever possible.

Corn is also a common allergen and food sensitivity. Corn is often substituted in place of gluten in many gluten-free foods and snacks such as: cold cereals, tortilla chips, popcorn, cornstarch, pasta (corn-quinoa), and other snack foods that often use corn or corn flour. In addition you can find corn in: dextrose, xanthan gum, xylitol, ascorbic acid (certain forms of vitamin C), caramel color, citric acid, and natural flavor. If you cannot fully avoid corn, ensure that the corn you do consume is organic, non-gmo corn.

Identifying and removing food sensitivities helps the body heal naturally and can improve digestion, behavior, sleep, rashes, and headaches (to name a few) in children with autism. If you have not started any dietary intervention for a child with autism, I suggest you begin with gluten-free and casein-free. If you have been on GFCF for a while, consider doing an additional trial of soy-free and corn-free and see if you find further healing and benefit.

Dietary intervention for autism requires development over time and identifying and removing food sensitivities are essential to overall effectiveness. While reactions/regressions can come and go, removing these common food sensitivities can help create a new level of consistency that allows you to see how you’ve progressed with diet, what is left to investigate. You may be pleasantly surprised how well everyone feels when you refine the consumption of these foods in your family’s diet.

Julie's Previous Posts Here at Lexie's Kitchen

Julie Matthews | Guest Post 1: Nourshing Hope for Autism
Julie Matthews | Guest Post 2: Food Matters for Autism