Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pumpkinut Bread Puddin'! GF & DF!

Hey Happy Tummies!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I just love when the family is all together:)

So we had a treat this weekend. We had the AMAZING Anna May come to our house and take family photos.

She is seriously the most talented photographer ever.

She's based out of Louisville, but will travel to capture beautiful moments for your family, or engagement or wedding.

So thank you Anna May Photography for such gorgeous photos!

Look at that little goober:)

Light and shadows with yours truly :) onto a show stopping recipe!

I made this for my family for breakfast on Thanksgiving, but it could also be dessert. :)

Here's the secret: it's actually pretty doggone healthy!

It's made with Gluten and Dairy Free ingredients, and can easily be made sugar-free by subbing agave or honey for the sugar in the recipe!

I call it: Pumpkinut Bread Pudding! (get it -- pumpkin and coconut :) )

Here's what you need:

1 loaf (14 slices) of Udi's gluten free bread

3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp salt
1 can of pure pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut milk

coconut milk
sprinkle of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250. Place your bread slices on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes per side, until the bread is dry and toasty.

Turn up the oven to 350.

In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Then, stir in your pumpkin and coconut milk. ((This all can be done the night before, and refrigerated overnight.))

About 2 hours before you plan on eating, assemble and bake your bread pudding.

Thoroughly spray a deep casserole dish with coconut oil spray. Spread a layer of the custard mixture on the bottom of the pan.

Break your toast slices in half, and arrange in a shingle pattern in the casserole dish, like so.

Then, spoon the custard over the toast shingles until everything is thoroughly smothered in the custard.

Let the dish sit for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the bread to absorb the custard. (If you let it absorb and soak overnight, the gluten free bread will become gummy.)

Bake for 1 hour - 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the custard sets. Rotate the pan if any dark spots develop.

Before you serve, mix some coconut milk with a dash of cinnamon. You can also add some honey, stevia or sugar if desired to taste.

Also, chop some pecans or other nut of choice for a garnish.

Serve warm, and liberally drizzle with the coconut milk.

OK, you guys. This was a winner.

To be completely transparent, I could not eat this, because I can't have the ingredients in the gluten free bread, but it gave me so much joy to prepare a dish that my family loved. And boy, did they love it! My entire family (G-Free'ers and gluten-full-er's alike) polished it off!

I can attest to the custard and WOW, the flavor was amazing. Rich and creamy, and perfectly sweet -- not too sweet, but juuust right.

And the texture was great. The bread was wonderfully spongey and light. Gluten Free bread can become notoriously gummy when soaked for casseroles or bread puddings. But the trick is to really dry it out, and then soak it shortly RIGHT BEFORE you cook and eat it.

My sister-in-law said that it tasted so light, yet decadent. "Light, airy, comforting, and warm, with soft palate flavors -- not overwhelming at all. SO GOOD!" -- and this is coming from a woman that's NOT gluten free!!

And my dad (also not gluten free) loved the coconut drizzle. He said it made the dish so luxurious and moist. I think he had three helpings ;)

So there you have it, folks - the proof is in the pudding :) hehe

And one last thing -- look at how sweet my bro and his wife are: They know I don't eat turkey for Thanksgiving, so he made me a veggie turkey!! Isn't that so sweet?! And look closely at the feet -- he even used celery tops for the "toes" haha!! I'm a spoiled baby sister :) hehe

Alright, until next time! :D

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Note on Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving Post:

Two years ago, if you would have asked me what I would be thankful for today, I would have never in a million years thought that I’d be saying that the hell I endured during my last Ulcerative Colitis flare would top my list in 2014.

But that’s exactly what I’m saying. I’m sitting here on an airplane flying back to Cincinnati from NYC, where, since my flare, one could say that I am living life abundantly.

If you’re new to my blog and don’t know my story, you can read about it here in depth, but here’s a short recap:

In 2012, while I was in the midst of a show in NYC, my Ulcerative Colitis reared its ugly head and I entered into a severe flare that would last 11 months.

I had to move home, and went to dozens of doctors. No pill, potion, or powder could kick me out of this flare. I tried everything from prescription drugs, natural medicines and remedies, faith healers, mega drugs – but my body rejected everything. The last option was surgery. So finally, after 8 months of frustration and misery, I decided to try to heal myself through diet. I adopted the Specific Carb Diet, and with the grace of God, I was healed of Ulcerative Colitis flare.

Back to the present, one would think that I am bitter about that year that derailed my life. That I’d resent the fact that I had to spend the year on bed rest, away from my friends, and coping with the excruciating pain from a flare and its complications.

However, two years out, I am filled with a sense of peace and serenity about the situation. And as Thanksgiving draws near, and I have 2 hours to kill on the plane, I’ve come to realize that these feelings I have towards that year are none other than gratefulness.

There is a grossly overused phrase that “you can’t get to the rainbow without the rain.” Other variations include, but are not limited to: “April Showers Bring May Flowers,” or “you don’t appreciate the light until you’ve been in the dark,“ or “if life gives you lemons….” Blah blah blah. But truth be told, these quips hold more weight than we like to admit.

Allow me to elaborate: there really are no words to describe the intense appreciation of life and joy and happiness, until you’ve truly been in a very dark place. Since my flare, my motto has become “always say yes.” ((I’ve discussed this with my friends, and with chuckles they always say, ‘don’t say that around boys’))…but come on, guys, where’s your mind. I mean that, I want to take advantage of everything life has to offer. I want to suck the nectar out of life and live it to the absolute fullest. That year taught me that life can literally change in the blink of an eye and everything you know can be taken away: so belly up to the bar and LIVE!!

Another aspect of that year that I am grateful for is that I learned how to truly take care of myself. As a 22-year-old woman, I learned exactly what my body needs to thrive. I learned that I am not invincible, and that I have to put my health first. For that, I am grateful. So many young twenty somethings exist on liquor, ramen, and pizza. My flare taught me that I, unfortunately, cannot live like that.

Lastly (there are many others, but this is getting lengthy, so I will end here), I will always cherish the time that I had at home with my family. Living at home as 22 year old, was a) humbling, but also, it allowed me to get to know my parents as an adult, which is very different from how I left for college at 18. Our relationship reached a whole new level, and I am so grateful for that time together. I got to spend time with my brothers and their wives. I was shown just how much our family pulls together when someone is in need. It strengthened the foundation that had been built since day one, only this time, as adults that are no longer fighting over the Nintendo 64, or controlling the remote.

My flare made me grow up. It made me into a woman that takes care of herself; a girl that has dwelled long enough in the dark that now appreciates the light with an intensity that rivals a scene from Cast Away.

But in closing, I want to offer this tidbit: sometimes, the painful experiences that we’ve closed off or bottled up and hidden away, deserve a second look. Sometimes, where we are today has been formed by the lessons we’ve learned from those experiences, whether we realize it or not. Maybe it takes an airplane ride with Thanksgiving looming to realize it, or maybe just the power of suggestion.

I wish you all a beautiful Thanksgiving. May we remember today all that we have been blessed with, and be grateful for it. And may we remember all those who are in need, of things either materially or emotionally.

Happy Thanksgiving, my Happy Tummies.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Harvest Stuffed Butternut Squash! GF, V, SCD & Paleo!

‘Twas the week of Thanksgiving and all ‘round the blogs,
The masses were hunting for pie and eggnog.
The posts were all hung on the pages with care
In hopes that their readers would enjoy them with flair!
The foodies were ready with pencils and pad
To jot down some recipes they were craving “real bad.”
When what to their wondering eyes did they find?
But a turkey-free main, of the Gluten Free kind!
With an ingredient list so wholesome and free,
They knew in a moment, “this dish is for me!”

We’ve arrived, friends! It’s officially Thanksgiving week!

Time for everyone to channel their inner Julia Child and whip up a meal that will be talked about for the next several family gatherings!

Thanksgiving has gotten, well, more complicated in the modern day.

With food allergies and preferences becoming more and more common, meal planning can be strategically challenging.

Well, I’m here to offer a vegan main that will rival even the best deep fried turkey.

In fact, this dish is Vegan, Grain and Gluten Free, Specific Carb Diet friendly, and Paleo!

What is it? I call it my Harvest Stuffed Butternut Squash!

A roasted butternut squash, filled with a bountiful stuffing of fall flavors: pears, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and pistachios; all smothered in a peanut butter drizzle.

Salivating yet? Haha

Here’s what you need: (Serves 2)

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise

1 beet, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
1 pear, small dice
leaves of 4 Brussels sprouts
½ red onion, minced
handful of spinach
2 dozen pistachios

1-2 Tbsp peanut butter (or almond butter)
3 Tbsp water
½ tsp honey (optional) (or a drop of stevia)

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the top and tail off your butternut squash. Carefully cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Brush with olive oil, and place cut-side-down on a tin foil-lined, olive oil - sprayed baking sheet. Bake for about 35 minutes, until tender.

On a separate tin foil-lined, olive oil-sprayed baking sheet, spread out your beets and carrots in an even layer. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize.

Meanwhile, prep your Brussels sprouts by tearing the leaves off. You will be sautéing them.

In a large frying pan, sauté your onions in 1-2 Tbsp EVOO, salt and pepper. Let them cook for about 3 minutes, until soft. Then, add your Brussels sprouts leaves and spinach. Stir them around for about a minute until the Brussels sprouts leaves have become bright green. Immediately remove the contents of the pan from the heat and set aside. (You just flash-sautéed the leavesJ)

Chop your pear and make your dressing by combining the dressing ingredients. Add enough water until it becomes “drizzly.” Add honey to taste. I added one drop of stevia.

When your beets and carrots come out of the oven, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and toss with the pears and Brussels sprouts leaves, and pistachios.

To assemble: scoop a generous portion of the stuffing into the butternut squash cavity, and drizzle liberally with the peanut butter sauce. Garnish with pistachios.

Happy Tummies, beware: if you serve this, you will be the source of food envy from your turkey-gobbling dinner companions. Be prepared to give half of it away, because EVERYONE will want to try it :D

Why? BECAUSE IT’S FREAKING AWESOME!! Not only is it visually stunning with the purples and oranges and different hues of green, but it tastes SO. GOOD.

There is this subtle sweetness from the beets and the carrots and the butternut squash, which is complimented perfectly by the nutty and rich sauce. The Brussels sprouts provide a wonderfully savory note, while the pistachios give this pop of salty nuttiness. And the pears. OH, THE PEARS! Chiming in with this intensely sweet note that takes this dish to the next level.

And the textures! Oh my, oh my. The squash is creamy and soft, while the roasted veggies are chewy and beautifully caramelized. The pears provide an amazing juiciness, and the pistachios give this amazing crunch! Very satisfying :D

Alright, I could go on and on, but I think I’ll just let you experience it for yourself.

Do you have any vegetarians coming for dinner on Thanksgiving? If so, do you make a special dish or ask them to bring their own dish to share?

Alright, well I hope you all have a fantastic and joyful Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for each and every one of you. Cheesy, I know, but I am so grateful for the lovely friends I’ve met though this wonderful and wacky “blog world.” :)

Happy Cooking! And may the odds be ever in your favor! :D

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tangy Ginger Lime Apple Ribbon Salad! GF, V, SCD & Paleo!

Hey Happy Tummies!

I hope everyone is staying warm with these plummeting temps around the country!!

I have to admit: I love getting all snuggled up and watching a movie, knowing that it's blustery and freezing outside:)

Speaking of movies, I cannot WAIT for the new Hunger Games movie to come out on Friday!

I'm going to see it with my fam when I go home next week for Thanksgiving.

I can't wait to see my little niece!! Isn't she just the cutest ever?!

And I guessss I'm excited to see this little princess too :) haha

SO tonight, I made a particularly delicious and colorful meal.

I used my fave gadget...the spiralizer! (You can make this without a spiralizer, just chop the veggies into small pieces and it'll be a chopped salad!)

I call this colorful pile of deliciousness the Tangy Ginger Lime Apple Ribbon Salad!

Now friends, don't take the word "salad" lightly --- this dish PACKS. A. PUNCH!

"Noodles" of carrots, beets, zucchini, and cucumber smothered in a nutty ginger lime sauce, and kissed with cilantro and honey crisp apples!

Now, if you've been following my blog, you'll know the special place honey crisp apples have in my heart:) I mean, I love them, like woah.

I even made an entire post about them a while back :) haha

And let me tell you, those sweet little nuggets of honey crisp glory really shine in this dish.

And it's gluten and Grain Free, Vegan, Specific Carb Diet friendly, and Paleo!

Here's what you need: (Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side)

1/2 zucchini, made into noodles
1/2 cucumber, made into noodles
1 carrot, made into noodles
1/2 beet, made into noodles
1/2 honey crisp apple, diced
1/2 red onion, sliced paper thin
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro, minced

1/3 - 1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated on a micro plane
3 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
8 drops pure liquid stevia alcohol-free (SCD use 1/2 tsp honey)
2-3 Tbsp water

Spiralize (or chop) your veggies and put them in a large bowl.

After you slice your onions, let them soak in a bowl of ice water for about 5-10 minutes. (This gets rid of that harsh, onion-y bite that raw onions have)

Combine your sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add enough water to thin out the sauce until it is "drizzly" - about 2 - 3 Tbsp.

Toss your veggie noodles, onions, cashews, and cilantro with the sauce until evenly coated.

Garnish with cashews and cilantro.

My goodness, you guys. This was SO GOOD! This dressing. I'm serious, I could drink it it was so delicious! Tangy, fresh, a little gingery, nutty, sweet -- AMAZING!!

It pairs so wonderfully with the subtly sweet veggie noodles, the buttery cashews, and the bright and fresh cilantro.

And it's so crunchy and fabulous. My favorite part was the honey crisp apple bits -- super sweet and juicy.

Finally, it really is a beautiful dish with all the colors. Red, Orange, Green, Purple -- it's a rainbow of nutritious goodness!

With this cilantro and lime action, all I need is a margarita! :D

Do you like trilogy movies like the Hunger Games, or Twilight, or Lord of the Rings?

Until next time!

Also -- be sure to follow GlutenFreeHappyTummy on Facebook or Twitter for instant updates!!