Posts Tagged ‘ Gluten Free ’

Cold Sesame Noodles

Yesterday I was good and planned ahead.  I made this recipe for cold sesame noodles in preparation for my work day lunches this week.  This is the first time I’ve made this dish in ages and I’m not sure why.  Sometimes we simply forget out old time favorites.  Today’s recipe is both gluten-free and vegan.  While I’ve given up the G-free diet I’m still trying to cut down on my consumption of gluten.  Much easier said than done.  Today I used rice noodles which is appropriate for a dish like this.  If you have regular semolina pasta go for it, it’s fine.  One of the best things about this besides the taste is that it’s served cold so I don’t have to waste time standing around the microwave waiting for it to cook.

My Sunday work day is 9:30am-8pm which pretty much covers breakfast lunch and dinner.  The cafeteria is closed on Sunday’s which isn’t much of an issue for me.  I rarely purchase anything there, although one day next week they’re going to serve rice with black beans and plantains.  That sounds pretty tempting.  Of course the true main dish is some kind of pork sandwich.  I really can’t fathom why anyone would want that when the side dish is so much healthier than the main dish.  I’m grateful that for the simple fact that there is a small salad bar that I can always take advantage of if need be.  For the most part I prefer to pack my lunch bag and know exactly what I’m eating.  What is your typical work or school day lunch?  Are cafeteria’s getting any better with their selections?

  • 1/2 pound rice pasta cooked according to directions
  • 1/4 cup Tamari dark soy, perhaps a little more to thin sauce
  • 1/4 rounded cup smooth peanut butter, soften it in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (cider vinegar if you don’t have rice)
  • 1-2  tablespoon dark sesame oil, more or less depending on consistency
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Sriracha)
  • 2 cups shredded veggies such as carrots and cabbage
  • 3 scallions, chopped on an angle
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts or cashews for topping (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions or personal taste and drain well

Whisk together soy, warm peanut butter, vinegar, oil, sesame oil,pepper flakes, and hot sauce in a large bowl

Add noodles and veggies and toss well to combine and coat them evenly with sauce

Allow to cool for awhile and sprinkle scallions and sesame seeds throughout the salad saving a little of the scallion greens to top the dish

Peace, love, & greens, Lin
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Grilled Acorn Squash

It’s a sunny day and I can use my grill!  All  is good!  Yesterday I used the butternut squash that’s been sitting on my counter and today I’m grilling the acorn squash.  I love produce that can sit on the counter for some time without spoiling.  I have the tendency to purchase beautiful produce and not use it quickly enough.  It’s a bad habit I’m working on.

This morning I had a dentist appointment.  The kind where I had to open wide for over an hour while they started a crown.  My dentist is amazing but 1 hour of that with even a mildly arthritic jaw is just too much.  For the rest of the day I’m sticking to a soft  food diet.  I’m not loving the fact that I’m slowly morphing into an old decrepit version of myself.

Dinner tonight is an old favorite Fettucini Alfredo paired with the grilled squash.  While the alfredo is anything but vegan the squash recipe is easily adaptable.  It’s also gluten-free.  The one thing I don’t like about squash is cutting into it so I pierced it a few times and microwaved it for 3 minutes to soften it before slicing for the grill.  That made the whole thing super easy.

Before I get to the recipe I have to mention baby Alyssa who I got to meet today.  She belong’s to my friend Kathy and is just the cutest sweetest baby I’ve seen in ages.  Alyssa let me hold her and feed her and she slept on my shoulder for a bit.  My babies are now adults so I’ve been missing out on the enjoyment of a newborn for quite awhile!  Isn’t she a cutie!


1 medium sized acorn squash

2 tablespoons vegan margarine or butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon of rum (brandy or bourbon will do, even OJ will work)

Just a smidge (scientific term) of cinnamon nutmeg, & cardamon

Salt to taste (optional)


Pierce the squash with a knife in a few places going with the ridges and microwave for 3 minutes, cool, slice into 1-2 inch slices

Let margarine or butter get to room temperature and whisk in other ingredients

Rub mixture over each slice of squash

Place on medium high grill and cook on each side about 5-7 minutes per side or until you see nice grill marks, after turning the first time brush the remaining sugar butter mixture on top

Since it was just us with no company we ended up picking it up with our hands and eating it right out of the skin.  It was really sweet, tender and delicious.  The dogs very happily inhaled the leftovers that I placed in their bowls.

Have a peaceful day,

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Good bye Gluten-Free!

My 4 week gluten-free trial is over and I have mixed feelings about it.  Before I get into that I must say that my breakfast today will be a celebratory New York Style (which means real) bagel from a local bagel store.  Yum!!  One of the hardest things about leaving NY was giving up great bagels and pizza.  Fortunately we have found both in what I consider close to great quality.  And now I can have both!  As for my first bagel in months, it’s dressed up with cream cheese. sliced tomato, and fresh basil which makes it a very simple but delicious treat!

As for my gluten-free experiment, here’s a little f what I learned:

  • I felt the best the 1st 2 weeks when my diet was mostly plant-based
  • The one true overall benefit was the disappearance of frequent heartburn
  • My inflammation did not disappear or even reduce much, this was confirmed by my massage therapist who kinda laughed when I asked if it seemed better
  • My IBS symptoms that seemed to disappear came back as I ate less salad and greens and more processed gluten-free foods

My overall take away from this is that no matter how much nutritious unprocessed food I typically eat I need to eat more.  The results that I originally credited to g free was really based on a predominantly plant-based diet.  As I added more high quality processed foods, frozen meals for work, etc.  the more my symptoms appeared.  While gluten is re-emerging in my diet I realize that it needs to be on a lesser proportion than before.

I have read many books about health and diet and they all go back to the same basic principle.  We need to go back to eating the way our grandparents or great grandparents did.  We need to eat food that was recognized as food 50+ years ago.  We also have to read labels very carefully and make sure the ingredients align with the claims on the fancy packaging.  That’s it, it sounds quite simple.  However, in our fast paced grab and go world it’s far more work than it should be.

Have a peaceful day, Lin

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Grilled Veggies and Pasta

This evening I was craving baked pasta but the last thing I wanted to do is turn on my oven.  With the heat index Central Florida is close to 105 degrees.  In reality the temperature is in the mid 90’s.  From what I understand much of the country is feeling the summer heat as bad or worse than Florida.  I’m sure it’s not that different in many other countries either.

So the question is, how to have a baked pasta dish without turning on the oven?  The answer is easy, use your grill!  I’ve been doing this for years using glass bake-ware and the lowest setting for the grill.  I don’t actually think it’s recommended so please do so at your own risk.  I actually use the grill 2x for this recipe.  First to roast the veggies on a high heat and then again to bake the completed pasta dish.  The only indoor heat I used was to cook the pasta.

The recipe requires very little work.  I bought sliced mushrooms and broccoli florets and used jarred sauce.  I forgot the onion so that was one less thing to slice, however I suggest remembering that part, onions do enhance the overall flavor!

I actually  made 2 trays, one with a whole wheat pasta for the men and a quinoa pasta for myself.  It seems like an awful lot for 3 people but we’ll eat the leftovers for a few days so it’s fine.  I can also freeze a couple of servings in individual portion sized bags for future use.


1 lb cooked penne pasta (whole wheat or regular)

12 oz broccoli florets

12 oz baby bella mushrooms sliced

1 onion diced

1 cup frozen peas

1 large zucchini

1 large bell pepper or several small sweet peppers

1- 1.5 large jars of quality pasta sauce (I used a spicy variety)

8 oz cubed mozzarella

8 oz provolone or gruyère cheese chopped or shredded

4 oz vegetarian parmesan cheese

salt pepper and italian seasonings (I use the kind in the grinder)


Preheat grill to medium high, slice zucchini lengthwise and lightly brush both sides with oil and season, place that and the peppers directly on the grill

Slice onions and toss with the broccoli and mushrooms in a little olive oil, season and add to a grill appropriate pan, place this on the grill

Cook the veggies for about 10 minutes and turn all, remove from heat when the appear to be cooked, slice the zucchini and add to the other veggies adding in the frozen peas

When the pepper is cooled peal off the blackened layer of skin and chop coarsely add to the veggies

Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, add the veggies and sauce, mixing well

Add all the cheeses and mix again, turn into a prepared baking dish and cover with foil, bake on medium low heat for approximately 2o minutes until the cheese is nicely melted

Have a peaceful day, Lin

Cool Cantaloupe Soup

Aren’t these demitasse cups adorable?  They were my grandmother’s and I just love them.  Being I’m not a coffee drinker I usually don’t have any use for them.  I’m also a bit afraid of damaging them so usually they’re just on display behind glass.  While making today’s cool soup I thought the cups would be a great way to serve a tiny taste of the soup.  In reality I prefer larger portions but this was fun.

I had about a half a leftover melon from a couple of days ago and plan on buying another when I go shopping in awhile.  A cool breakfast soup just sounded like a great way to start the day.  In reality I’m not sure what makes this a soup versus a smoothie, but call it what you want it tastes great.

This soup would make a lovely starter to a meal with several courses or would pair well with a simple salad or veggie sandwich for a meal itself.  As a breakfast it was fine by itself but I’m guessing I’ll be hungry again in a couple of hours.

Once again, I have another toss it together meal.  In this instance it’s more of a blend it all together experience.  I literally threw everything into the blender, grated the zest and ginger right into it, covered it and turned it on.  Nothing could be easier.  This is obviously gluten-free and is easily made vegan with a quick change of yogurt.


3 cups melon cubed in small pieces
1/4 cup plain or vegan yogurt (I used fat free)
A tiny bit fresh grated ginger (powdered if you don’t have)
Zest of one lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp agave nectar  (honey if you don’t have)
2-3 lemon balm or mint leaves
2-3 basil leaves
2-3 Tbsp water if needed (use melon juice if possible)
Optional: a couple of small drops chipotle sauce
Toss all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth!

Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese

Wait!  Don’t go anywhere…  This is a recipe for anyone, I promise.  The only difference between this and a traditional mac & cheese is the rice flour and pasta.  Just make this recipe using white flour and semolina past and you’ll love it.  Today’s version is my re creation of a pretty typical version.

My new work schedule is Sun, Mon, & Tuesday’s from 9:30am-8pm.  Sunday I’ll actually work 8:30-7pm, either way I’m not cooking 3 days in a row every week.  This puts a little obstacle in both my cooking and blogging about cooking.  I’ll work it out.

Mac and cheese is a perfect cook ahead meal.  We can all eat it for several days.  I’ll put a little in some single serving covered glass bowls and have an easy to microwave lunch every day.  We actually have a nice cafeteria at work Monday-Friday, the other day I even got some plantains and coconut rice which I really enjoyed.  However, on most days I bring my lunch bag and plenty of food to last a long day.  If you have any great work lunch ideas I’d love to hear them.

I don’t think I ever make mac and cheese the same way twice.  I tend to use a combination of whatever appropriate cheese I have on hand.  Today I wanted to use cheddar and gruyere because I’ve seen a few recipes with this combination and it just sounded so good.  Fortunately, I was right.  This recipe came out so good.


16 oz package rice elbow pasta cooked according to directions (or regular pasta)

8 oz low fat extra sharp cheddar

8 oz gruyere cheese

4 oz butter

4 oz rice flour (or white)

3 cups rice or dairy milk room temperature

1 whole egg or 2 egg whites (I had 2 whites leftover from banana pudding)

1 teaspoon powdered mustard

1 bay leaf

pepper and paprika to taste


Cook pasta and set aside, In a double broiler melt the butter and stir in flour and mustard, stir until there are no lumps and continue stirring for 5 minutes, add in bay leaf

Slowly start adding milk to mixture while constantly stirring, allowing it to continue at a low boil, continue until all milk is incorporated and cook for 10 minutes while stirring frequently, add paprika,

Mix egg in a separate bowl and add a little of the milk mixture stirring to temper, then add eggs to milk mixture and stir very well for a minute so the eggs don’t scramble, remove the bay leaf

Slowly add the crumbled cheese to the pot allowing to melt well,  when ready mix in the pasta, pour this into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Have a peaceful day, Lin

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Low Fat Banana Pudding

I am quite disappointed with myself.  I almost made it to the 3 week mark of being gluten-free with no mishaps.  Yesterday I accidentally screwed it up.  I guess that’s better than all the times I knowingly sabotage my good intentions.  I bought my husband some Klondike 100 calorie ice cream sandwiches and I ate 1/2 of one.  At the time I was so proud of my restraint in only eating 1/2!  This morning I realized that I shouldn’t have been concerned over the 50 calories but the ingredients.  Oh well, live and learn.  I will not beat myself up over it.

I’m moving on to homemade desserts where I know exactly what the ingredients are.  I saw a recipe in a magazine for banana pudding and it brought back good memories.  During my childhood our neighbor Kay used to make the best banana pie!  It was such a treat.  I’m always a little reluctant to make a pudding from scratch because it seems to be all about timing and exact measurements.  I was wrong.  This recipe took a tiny bit of prep work but otherwise was quite simple.

After seeing this recipe in a magazine I decided to give it a try.  Their version has the usual vanilla wafers lining a pan and doing this in layers. My plan is to simply enjoy the pudding itself.  This recipe could easily go into a pie dish or be layered with cookies or whatever.  I used fat free milk with just a little fat free half and half but it will work fine with milk only.  Also I used brown rice flour instead of white flour to keep it gluten-free.

I had everything set up and ready to be mixed in at the right time and it worked perfectly. While the pudding was cooling on the counter I ran to the store for some bananas to put in it.  I had a couple but they’re starting to brown.  I think this requires really fresh bright yellow ones.  When I returned from the store I sliced the bananas and mixed them in the pudding and refrigerated.

A couple hours later I felt the pudding was sufficiently cooled and I dug in.  It’s rich, creamy, and delicious without being overly sweet.  I find as time goes by I dislike the fake flavors of prepackaged or instant type of foods.  Nothing beats the flavor of something that was made from simple fresh ingredients.


3-4 bananas sliced thin

3/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup white flour (I used brown rice flour)

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 1/2 cups of milk (I used 3 cups fat free 1/2 cup fat free 1/2 & 1/2

2 egg yolks beaten

2 tablespoons butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions place flour, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk to remove all lumps

Pour milk into a saucepan cook on medium high until light bubbles form around the edges, add a ladle full of hot milk into the egg yolks and mix well so the eggs blend but don’t become cooked, add another ladle full and mix again, then add mixture to hot milk,

Gradually add in dry ingredients, stirring constantly, continue until mixture is getting thick and can leave a thick coating on a spoon dipped in.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter, let cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes, place in the refrigerator, after about 30 minutes add in sliced banana, allow to chill for several hours

Have a peaceful day, Lin