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Gretchen’s Green Goddess and Carrot Ginger Dressings {Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Gretchen’s Green Goddess and Carrot Ginger Dressings {Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Green Goddess and Fresh Cucumbers

Green Goddess and Fresh Cucumbers

Making your own dressings is a much simpler endeavor than many people realize.You not only have absolute control over your ingredients which assures that there won’t be any allergens or unwanted additives, it’s also 100% better tasting and you can tweak it to your own personal tastes! Most will last a week in the fridge, and if you eat as many salads and veggies as we do, you’ll get through it in plenty of time!

GREEN GODDESS: Traditional Green Goddess dressing is actually not made with avocados, but when you have something as green, creamy and full of nutritional goodness as an avocado is, why not include it! This dressing is pretty zingy from the green onion and garlic, so if you prefer something a little calmer, just use less. My son is a huge fan of ranch dressing, and he LOVES this one. I used fresh parsley as the herb because that’s what I had on hand, but when my herb garden is flourishing this summer, I would also add tarragon, chives, or perhaps even make a version with Basil, as the Barefoot Contessa has done here, though I would still add my beloved avocado πŸ˜‰ And speaking of ingredients, I’ve discovered that not all sour cream is created equally (or healthfully!) Many have a long list of ingredients which include additives. The commercial brand I buy is Daisy, which contains only Grade A cultured cream. Yay, Daisy!! They get an A+ from me, and they get my business!!

Gretchen’s Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 C chopped green onions (white and light green parts)
  • 1/2 C chopped fresh parsley (or blend of herbs such as tarragon, basil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C half and half if needed for consistency

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Store in refrigerator in airtight container up to one week. Makes about 2 cups. (10g net carb per batch, 1.25g net carb per 1/4C)

Green Goddess, Carrot Ginger and Simple Salad

Green Goddess, Carrot Ginger and Simple Salad

CARROT GINGER: Most of us who have been to sushi or hibachi restaurants have tried their simple iceberg salad with a Carrot Ginger dressing (most likely eaten with chopsticks!). I’ve always enjoyed the color and spirited flavors, and decided to give this one a try as well. I did steam the carrots slightly to make them easier to blend in my Ninja, but if your machine is powerful enough, you could just use them raw. I don’t think this is an exact replica of the dressing, but we sure enjoyed it last night on a simple salad to accompany a Broccoli Beef stir fry! I use light olive oil in this recipe because extra virgin olive oil has a much stronger taste that I do not prefer with the other flavors. Of course, use whichever olive oil you like. I prefer to get the flavor from a little bit of sesame oil… just be aware, sesame oil has a very strong flavor, and a little goes a long ways!

Carrot Ginger Dressing

  • 3/4 C chopped carrot, lightly steamed
  • 1/2 C onion, diced
  • 2 Tb fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/2 light olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 5Tb rice vinegar
  • 1Tb tamari
  • 1/2 tsp sweetener (optional, I used Truvia)
  • 2Tb lemon juice

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to one week. Makes about 1.5 cups. (22g net carb for batch, about 1g net carb per Tb.)Β 

Carrot Ginger Dressing

Carrot Ginger Dressing

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Fast Lunch! Spinach Patty with Sauteed Greens… Happy Spring! (even with all this Michigan snow)

Spinach Patty and Sauteed Greens

Spinach Patty and Sauteed Greens

What says **Spring** more than fresh greens? Well, green grass might be nice, but since all we have in Michigan is snow, this green-based lunch will have to do for now πŸ˜‰

Swiss chard and baby bok choy

Swiss chard and baby bok choy

 

I LOVE growing greens in my garden, though I admit I am still learning what they like best to thrive. These greens are from the supermarket (I was lucky enough to find organic on sale, less expensive than regular produce prices… be sure to look at the organic section, don’t assume it’s *always* pricier!)

 

 

Spinach patties cooling

Spinach patties cooling

So this lunch is not only pretty, it was super-quick! Yesterday I made a batch of the spinach balls that I posted on St. Patrick’s Day (omitted the bacon and reduced butter by half this time) and I made some of them into patties. (Patties were my husband’s idea! We thought they might make nice buns, but even though sturdy, they were a bitΒ  heavy for that.) So today, I was looking at some of the pretty greens in my fridge, and thought that a quick saute of baby bok choy and a couple leaves of swiss chard (in coconut oil and a splash of vinegar) would be a perfect complement to the patty with a little melted cheese, tomato and gomasio!

It was delicious! I’m thinking that I’ll make this for dinner soon, keeping it light with a few shrimp or a bit of fish.

Spinach Patty and Greens!

Spinach Patty and Greens!

 

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Spinach Balls for St. Patty’s Day {Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Spinach Balls for St. Patty’s Day {Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Gluten-free Spinach Balls

Gluten-free Spinach Balls, a great appetizer for St. Patrick’s Day or any time!

I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary of being totally wheat-free, but it was last year at a dear friend’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party that I first heard a story from a mutual friend about how how her health and life had been transformed by getting rid of “gluten.”

Gluten??? I didn’t even know what it was… except that I had seen it sold in the baking sections of grocery stores, and I knew it was sometimes added into flours to make better bread. Hmmmm.

She told me how her headaches were gone, her general wellness had improved, she dropped weight, had less hunger, and basically just felt fantastic! I was intrigued to say the least. I had been fighting chronic headaches since my teens, so if there was ANY chance that getting rid of this mysterious GLUTEN could make me feel better, I was 100% open to it. This year, I was able to give her a big hug and tell her that our conversation last year had changed my LIFE, the lives of my guys, and that I had even started a food and health blog which was helping to spread the word to even MORE people! She was touched and happy to have made a real difference. I know just how she feels because I have that warm feeling with every comment I get from readers who let me know that they appreciate this blog!

At last year’s shindig, she browsed the fantastic spread of food, looking for options that were gluten-free. I had brought my traditional spinach balls (made with stuffing mix), and she obviously couldn’t eat those. She settled on some cheese, veggies and dip, and some of the corned beef and vegetables, but the vast majority of foods that people had brought to share were off-limits.

This year I was deciding what to take, and decided to MODIFY my spinach balls to make them gluten-free and low-carb! (I adapted this base recipe.) I replaced the stuffing mix with some extra cheese, smashed pork rinds and a little coconut flour… Success!! They disappeared just as quickly as the original version, and satisfied the growing number of people who were gluten-free! Last year there were a couple people who did not eat gluten… this year there were probably 6 of us, and on top of that, our friends who still eat wheat had taken our needs into consideration and had made some things that were safe as well. What progress!! In addition to the corned beef and cabbage provided by our most fabulous hosts and dear friends, there were the spinach balls, a chocolate cake mint trifle (that I will be posting next πŸ™‚ ), peanut butter cookies, bacon-wrapped BBQ water chestnuts, a variety of cheeses including an amazing Irish goat cheese with herbs, spinach artichoke dip, shrimp cocktail, and a variety of crackers. While not everything was low-carb, it was still fair game for a party in my opinion, and I enjoyed a bit of everything!

Gluten-free Spinach Balls

  • Ready to steam in mircowave

    Ready to steam in microwave

    20oz frozen spinach

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2Tb coconut flour, sifted
  • 1C Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1C mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2C plain pork rinds, well-chopped
  • 3/4C butter, melted
  • 1/4C fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Draining excess water

    Draining excess water

    1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb Cooked crumbled bacon

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place spinach, onion and garlic in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cook at full power for about 6 minutes or until the spinach is cooked and onions and garlic is steamed. (Carefully remove plastic wrap to prevent steam burns.)

Spinach mixture

Spinach mixture

Remove excess water from spinach by pressing through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon or with your hands if cool enough. Alternately, you could wrap spinach mixture in good quality paper towels and “wring out”Β  the excess juice. After spinach is drained, combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, making sure to thoroughly mix together. Make balls 3/4″ to 1″ in size, placing on cookie sheet to bake. Bake approximately 10-12 minutes or until firm and lightly browned at bottom edges.

Ready to cook

Ready to cook on silicone cooking mat

All done!

All done! My son is already asking for me to make these again, when I WON’T be taking them to a party πŸ™‚

 

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Sinfully Healthy EASY Chocolate Pudding (with a secret “super” ingredient!)

Sinfully Healthy EASY Chocolate Pudding (with a secret “super” ingredient!)

Silky, rich, creamy and nostalgic! Chocolate pudding has been enjoyed by many since childhood, but the varieties that we can purchase at the store in single-serving containers or powdered box form pretty much all contain ingredients that we either don’t want in our healthy diet, or worse yet, don’t even recognize!

The following is a recipe that I lifted from my Facebook friend, Carol (with her permission, of course!) and that she adapted from this one that is surely delicious, but is higher in carbs. Thank you, Carol! She has shared it freely on the Wheat Belly Facebook page, and it has gotten rave reviews from just about everyone who has tried it, including ME! It’s so simple, low-carb and borderline genius, that I had to share it with my readers here, because I believe everyone should know how to make it!

By now most of us know how many benefits there are to including avocados in our diets, and this is yet another way to use them, albeit somewhat anonymously πŸ˜‰ . The upside is also that I used a VERY ripe avocado (ummm questionably ripe), and it still turned out amazingly good! This can be vegetarian, sugar-free and dairy-free, though I made it with organic vitamin D milk.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Easy Healthy Chocolate Pudding made with Avocado!

I think that there is a lesson to be learned with this recipe and others like it…
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX when it comes to including healthy ingredients in our diet.
Some foods that we may not be crazy about in their original form, can be incredible when used in unexpected ways. Avocado and cauliflower are two that come to mind right away. My recipe for cauliflower cream (soup base) is similar, in that it takes a mild food (that many don’t care for), that also has many nutritional benefits and changes it into something neutral that capitalizes on texture more than anything else.

Carol’s Chocolate Avocado Pudding/Frosting

  • 1 medium avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sweetener (like xylitol)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 T. unsweetened almond milk (or any type milk you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Better if made an hour or so ahead. Stores well for several days. If large avocado, increase other ingredients accordingly. A few drops of peppermint extract can be added if desired.

To use as frosting, omit milk.

(Notes: I made a double batch, used dark cocoa, regular milk and slightly less sweetener, as the Truvia I used is on the sweeter side.) I’m wondering how this might be in a wheat-free low-carb pie crust, chilled with cream on top?!

 

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Hollandaise Sauce…. Lemony, Buttery, Eggy Low-carb Goodness!

Hollandaise sauce is one of those treats that used to be a guilty indulgence, before embracing a lower-carb lifestyle that includes a healthy amount of fat. NOW however, there’s no reason to be afraid to serve it up to enhance even a weekday meal.

Haven’t had Hollandaise? It’s the sauce traditionally served with Eggs Benedict… you know, the fancy breakfast of an English muffin topped with a poached egg, Canadian bacon and that lovely lemony sauce? (To make it WB compliant, how about Instead of an English muffin, we use an All-in-one Bun?) We also love Hollandaise for dipping steamed artichoke leaves alongside a succulent grilled steak and a bottle of wine. Oh My!!

Parmesan-crusted pork medallions, roasted Brussels sprouts and sauteed mushrooms with a side of homemade Hollandaise sauce.

Parmesan-crusted pork medallions, roasted Brussels sprouts and sauteed mushrooms with a side of homemade Hollandaise sauce (with a few capers thrown in.)

It’s really fabulous with just about any vegetable, and last night it was a complement to roasted Brussels sprouts, Parmesan crusted pork medallions and sauteed mushrooms, MMMM! I wish I was having it again for lunch right NOW! Since the single batch of Hollandaise uses 2 egg yolks, I made use of the whites for dipping the pork medallions before dredging them in a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese (1/2C) plus a couple tablespoons of almond flour and seasonings, before pan frying them in coconut oil. (My son says that this is the perfect way to make pork chops, and that they should all be this way, haha.)

There are only 3 simple ingredients to Hollandaise sauce: egg yolks, fresh lemon juice, and butter! If you want to kick it up a bit you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or stir in some herbs, but the basic recipe is… well, basic!

And yet many people I know (and BEWARE, MOST restaurants) use the packets you can purchase at the grocery store instead. Why? Well, I’m not sure exactly. I think there is a misconception that it’s a very difficult sauce to make. It does take a little attention, but it’s actually quite easy, even if you’re not a seasoned home chef. Personally, I almost always have these simple ingredients on hand.

So, what are the ingredients in packaged Hollandaise? Let’s see…

hollandaise sauce mix.ashxMcCormick Hollandaise Sauce Mix:

WHEAT STARCH, CORN MALTODEXTRIN, WHOLE EGG SOLIDS, EGG YOLK SOLIDS, YEAST EXTRACT, SALT, ONION, SPICES (INCLUDING MUSTARD, PAPRIKA, TURMERIC), SOY LECITHIN, CITRIC ACID, AND NATURAL FLAVOR (INCLUDING LEMON EXTRACT).

Hmmmm…. looks like toxic sludge for those of us who are avoiding grains!

Here is the simple recipe that I always use for Hollandaise from Betty Crocker (I have added a few small edits in italics.), though there are many variations of the recipe, using different ratios of egg, lemon juice and butter, as well as some that first clarify the butter. This recipe is heavier on the lemon than many others, which is how we prefer it. I’ve made this many, many times and it’s always turned out perfectly and gets devoured πŸ˜‰

Classic Hollandaise Sauce

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup firm butter (cut into small chunks)

In small saucepan, stir egg yolks and lemon juice briskly with wooden spoon (I use a whisk.) Add half the butter; stir over very low heat until butter is melted.
Add remaining butter, stirring briskly until butter is melted and sauce thickens. (Be sure butter melts slowly as this gives eggs time to cook and thicken the sauce without curdling.) Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

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Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Shirataki Noodle Salad

 

Either you like crispy chicken skin, or you don’t… we DO! Mmmmm! It’s such a wonderful combination of texture and taste, and a good source of healthy fats. So, for the crispy-skin-lovers out there, I hope you enjoy this simple chicken recipe!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Most of the recipes I post here are for foods that traditionally contain wheat or high carbohydrate content, and that have been modified to fit into a grain-free, low-carb way of eating. This tends to include lots of baked goods… not because we eat lots of goodies (we don’t) but because that seems to be the hardest thing for people to convert within a new lifestyle.

This is a recipe that is just plain yummy, and it’s something I would have made in the pre-wheat-free days as well. If you enjoy a crispy skin on tender chicken, this recipe is a great base which can modified in numerous ways to fit the seasonings that you prefer or have on hand.

In this case, I was using Tamari, which is the gluten-free version of soy sauce, and it inspired me to season further with ginger, garlic powder, some fresh tarragon (because I had it on hand) and my homemade Gomasio. (If I’d had some green onion, I would have used it in place of the tarragon, but the tarragon was great!) Take note in the recipe that I pulled the skin back on the chicken to get the herbs and seasonings underneath. This helps to infuse the meat with wonderful flavor, and the skin to become nice and crispy, mmm. Don’t be afraid to mix up the flavors if you prefer lemon/garlic, blackened/cajun or any other combination you enjoy!

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki Noodles

To accompany the chicken, I made a simple chopped salad of romaine lettuce, fresh avocado, cubed cucumber, shirataki noodles, slivered almonds and Gomasio, topped with a dressing I threw together that my husband ended up being crazy about. It’s very fresh tasting and was also an experiment in using the shirataki noodles in this way. Shirataki noodles are still a new ingredient to me, though I have been hearing about them for quite some time. They are in the refrigerated specialty section in some larger groceries, though they don’t carry them in my small town, so I picked some up when I was in a neighboring Kroger the other day. They are gluten-free and grain-free, and made of tofu, though I wouldn’t say that they have a tofu taste or texture. I quite liked them in this salad, and I also added some to a nice hot bowl of miso soup the other day, and enjoyed that as well!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken quarters (thigh/leg)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup tamari
  • 2Tb each fresh tarragon and parsley, finely chopped
  • garlic powder to taste
  • powdered ginger to taste
  • gomasio to taste
Seasoning under the skin

Seasoning under the skin

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Gently separate the chicken skin from the meat (leaving it attached at the sides) and brush under the skin with the tamari, season with the herbs and spices as desired (except gomasio). Pull the skin back into place and brush the chicken on both sides with tamari, season with herbs, spices and tamari. Bake for 45 minutes at 375, rotating the pan partway through cooking. Raise temp to 425 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165. Serves 4.

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Asian Inspired Salad with Shirataki Noodles

Chopped Salad

Chopped Salad

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 2 cups chopped romaine hearts
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 C slivered almonds
  • 1 bag shirataki noodles, rinsed and drained
  • gomasio to taste

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 2-3 TB tamari
  • juice of one lime
  • 2TB honey/ginger balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 TB sour cream
  • 1 tsp honey or sweetener to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1TB fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Combine all dressing ingredients, and use as desired on salad.

 

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Easy! Creamy Veggie Soup with Bacon {Grain-free, Low-carb}

Creamy Veggie Soup with Bacon

Creamy Veggie Soup with Bacon

My previous post was about how to make Cauliflower Cream for a soup base. Even if you aren’t a low-carber, getting more veggies into your lifestyle is likely a positive move, so I hope you give this a try!

Thick, creamy and healthy! Soup made with Cauliflower Cream

Thick, creamy and healthy! Soup made with Cauliflower Cream

The recipe below is just ONE of probably hundreds of possible combinations of ingredients for using the Cauliflower Cream soup base. I used the shredded veggies because they were on sale and free of preservatives, and saving time whenever possible has its own value! Feel free to modify, swap out, invent or otherwise make this recipe work for you! Clam or seafood chowder will be coming soon in my kitchen πŸ™‚

 

 

Creamy Veggie Soup with Bacon and Ham

  • 1 recipe of Cauliflower Cream soup base (4-6C depending on size of cauliflower)
  • 1C diced bacon
  • one onion, diced
  • 1- 12oz bag mixed shredded veggies (broccoli hearts, cabbage and carrot)
  • 32oz container of chicken broth, or make your own stock to use
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 oz shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • crispy ham to garnish (optional)
  1. Prepare one recipe of Cauliflower Cream soup base and set aside.
  2. In a stock pot or dutch oven, Saute bacon until nearly crisp and fat is rendered.
  3. Add onions to bacon, cook and stir 3-5 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Add shredded vegetable mix and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
  5. Add broth to pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked.
  6. Carefully add Cauliflower Cream to pot and gently mix together, bringing the soup back up to temp.
  7. If using cheese, add it a little at a time, stirring after each addition to melt the cheese.
  8. Serve in bowls, topped with crispy ham if desired.
Adding onion to the cooked bacon and fat.

Adding onion to the cooked bacon and fat.Β 

Adding shredded veggies to pot.

Adding shredded veggies to pot.Β 

Adding Cauliflower Cream to pot after simmering.

Adding Cauliflower Cream to pot after simmering the veggies and broth.

After the Cauliflower Cream is mixed in, it becomes a rich cream soup!

After the Cauliflower Cream is mixed in, it becomes a rich cream soup!

 

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