Back to the Blog!

It’s been awhile and my apologies, but life (in its inimitable way) intervened and disrupted my blogging. Part of this disruption was a flu that flattened me and left me unable to smell anything for about three weeks. The only things I could taste were sweet and sour. Not helpful for a food blogger. However, I kept on trudgin’ and here’s what I learned.

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Tomato Quinoa-Bean Squares

Today I’m writing to you about a culinary triumph and a baking disaster.

Disaster first. Those who follow this blog may recall that I planned to experiment with my gluten-free angel food cake recipe to bring down the carb and calorie count. Well, experiment I did, substituting erythritol for some of the sugar. Erythritol is granular like sugar, has no calories or aftertaste, and is very low on the glycemic index.

sadfaceSo what happened? The erythritol (1) melted and created a messy, black residue on the bottom of the oven that had to be scraped off, (2) sealed the tube section to the rest of the pan so tightly that the spouse had to pry it loose with a knife—good-by pan, and (3) resulted in a very crumbly, nowhere near as delicious, version of the real thing.

The cake did rise and stay that way, but…sigh. Upwards and onwards…

Now the triumph—A tasty, filling, low-cal, vegetarian bake!

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This dish is packed with protein via the beans, quinoa, and cheese. As well, the quinoa can  help you fill your daily whole grain quota, which is not always easy to do on a gluten-free diet.

This is also a great way to get rid of quinoa leftovers. In fact, it was the cooked red quinoa hanging around in my fridge that got this dish off the ground along with some recipe-surfing on the Internet.

And what’s more, it is flexible.

  • Not quite enough quinoa? Not to worry.
  • Want to add more beans? Go ahead.
  • Prefer tomato paste to pizza sauce? Do your own thing and throw in some basil and oregano.
  • Like it hot? Go for it.

But most of all, enjoy!

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Rutabaga and Pear Puree

IMGP1976Many eons ago the spouse read somewhere that you could add pears to a rutabaga to mellow its taste.

Since he is a pear aficionado and I am not, this purée became his dish to make and consume. I still found it too bitter.

So when he said he was going to make it for our Easter meal, I was somewhat less than enthusiastic. I think I shrugged.

Hence you can imagine how surprised I was to discover that this dish was light and delicious! What had changed? The spouse had used canned pears in water instead of real pears.

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WOW! Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake

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Every once in a while, I get a real thrill when baking for this blog, and this is one of those times. Why? Because what I’ve made not only exceeds my expectations, it proves that gluten-free cakes and breads can be just as good as those that include wheat. (Other thrills were cornbread, a loaf of yeast bread, and non-yeast mini-bread loaves.)

So…ta-da! I’m utterly thrilled and delighted to be able to bring you a gluten-free angel food cake that rose beautifully in the oven and didn’t sink while cooling. This success was wonderful in itself because I’ve tried other angel food cake recipes and had major flops (pun intended).

Best of all, this cake tastes like the real deal—sweet, moist, light, and delicious. Mmmm.

The credit for this marvel goes to the Taste of Home website and what you see here is 99.9% of their recipe (somewhat rewritten for clarity). My .1% contribution? I added cocoa powder because one of my mottos is “Chocolate Whenever!”

Speckled swirls?

Speckled swirls?

I thought I could get a black/white swirly thing going. Instead I got a speckled somewhat swirl, but…well, who cares? It’s still…Mmmm.

However, I have plans for this recipe. Right now, it is not a low-carb version. It has 1¼ cups of sugar and, if you slice this 16 ways, each piece has 23 g of carbohydrate. (For more nutrition info, see below.)

I’d like to bring the carbs down because I’m pre-diabetic and need to be careful about my carb intake. I plan to experiment with creating a cake that has a sugar/xylitol or sugar/erythritol combination.

Both of these sugar alternatives have the crunch of sugar but are much lower on the glycemic index and, thus, will have less impact on my blood sugar levels. An added benefit? A lower calorie version as well.

I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, bake…eat…enjoy!

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Roasted Radishes

dsc01559Many, many thanks to Christine at The Perky Poppy Seed blog for discovering that radishes roast so beautifully. As she says,

When you roast a radish something happens to that in-your-face-bold radish taste. The radish becomes an elegant vegetable, with a mild delicate taste. Roasted radishes are lovely on their own or in a salad.  I like mine on top of a spinach salad with a bit of of lemon zest and a nice simple vinaigrette.

After reading her post, I bought 3 bunches of radishes (on sale—extra bonus), roasted them, and they were delicious! I had no idea that your could roast radishes and, probably, daikon as well.

This blog has her recipe, adapted from The Silver Palate cookbook, and her lovely photos. (Stars are mine.)

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French Toast Sans Bread

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This recipe was inspired by the kitchen in our rental casita in Tucson, AZ.

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The kitchen’s cute, but the lack of space and basic gear limited my culinary endeavours. Moreover, who wants to spend time in the kitchen when the sun is shining and the mountain trails beckon?

Still, I got a baking urge now and then although I had no supplies for baking. Which got me thinking about egg custards. Which led me, after a little research on the right ratio of egg to liquid. Which brought me to this very easy, very low-calorie dish and variations of it.

Oh, and the spouse also likes it. Also, we both agree that it doesn’t seem to matter if you use regular eggs (higher calories) or liquid egg substitute (lower calories).

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Tucson Tale #5

This is my final Tucson Tale. I tried to publish this before leaving Tucson, but my blog app went on strike. So we’re back in Ottawa and I’ll soon be returning to my primary subject—food.  Dealing with the tiny kitchen in the casita has taught me interesting strategies and compelled me to create some interesting dishes.

For this final tale, I want to pull together the loose ends of the southwest hiking experience. Therefore, I will answer a question that I know has been niggling, if not at the front of your minds, then way at the back:

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Tucson Tale #4

As some readers may recall, the last letter described my first major hike which left me 1) feeling like over-boiled legumes, 2) looking like a beet, and 3) considering the benefits of spouse-icide.

Well, today I have a very different story to tell—one of triumph over body, spirit, and hiking poles. It all began on a not-so-ambitious hike in Sabino Canyon. A little bit up and onto a cliff, a little bit of a zig-zag down to the road—maybe 2 miles in all.

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