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November 25, 2008

Healthy Thanksgiving Treats - Day Five

Gravy, mmmmmm gravy.....  It's like the magic that brings the Thanksgiving meal together!  Here are two gravy recipes sure to delight - and they're dairy-free and gluten-free!

Turkey Gravy Recipe

  • 1 cup turkey drippings
  • 2 cups water, turkey stock, or chicken stock
  • tapioca flour
  • black pepper

With the turkey drippings still in the bottom of the roasting pan, place the pan over 2 stove burners and heat each burner to low-medium heat.  Add 1 cup water or stock and simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

Transfer mixture to a saucepan and add the second cup of water or stock.  Bring to a simmer, stirring often.

In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons tapioca flour with enough of the liquid to make a smooth paste.  Stir the paste into the simmering liquid a teaspoon at a time until the gravy is the desired thickness.

Add black pepper to taste.  The finished gravy is a dark brown color with a satiny consistency.


Mushroom Gravy Recipe

(From Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, by the Moosewood Collective)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups hot potato water (from boiling mashed potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or tapioca flour or arrowroot) dissolved in 1/2 cup water

Heat the oil in a skillet.  Stir in the mushrooms, tamari, and black pepper.  Saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender.  Add potato water and bring to a boil.  Slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook at a low boil, continuing to stir, until the gravy is clear and thick.

November 24, 2008

Healthy Thanksgiving Treats - Day Four

Here is a recipe for gluten-free and dairy-free mashed potatoes.  My kids like to make mashed potato volcanoes with gravy.  And speaking of gravy, tune in tomorrow for great gravy recipes!

Marvelous Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 large or 10-12 small russet, red, or gold potatoes
  • 3/4 - 1 cup unsweetened soy, rice, nut, or hemp milk OR water
  • 1/4 cup wheat-free tamari
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy, non-hydrogenated margarine
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper

Chunk potatoes and boil until just soft.  Drain and place in a large bowl.  Add margarine and mash together well.  Add tamari.  Add milk or water slowly until desired consistency is acheived.  (You may not use all the liquid.)  Add garlic powder and black pepper to taste.

For a vitamin boost, leave the skins on the potatoes.  For creamier mashed potatoes, peel the potatoes before cooking.

November 23, 2008

Healthy Thanksgiving Treats - Day Three

Cranberry sauce has always been one of my favorite parts of our Thanksgiving feast.  Here are three recipes that leave out the refined sugar...and the can!


Cranberry Sauce #1

(From Nikki and David Goldbeck's American Wholefoods Cuisine)

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (unfiltered is best)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated or minced orange rind

Combine cranberries, apple juice, and honey in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes until berries pop.  Remove from heat and stir in rind.  Cool to room temperature, then chill in a covered container.  Makes 1 1/2 cups.

For Crunchy Cranberry Relish, add up to 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans and/or 1/2 cup chopped celery to the mixture.


Cranberry Sauce #2

(From Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, by The Moosewood Collective)

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 - 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • grated rind and juice of one orange (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • dash of cinnamon

Wash and drain the cranberries.  Remove any soft or discolored cranberries and any leaves or stems.

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring, until the cranberries have popped and the sauce is thick.

Serve hot or cold.  Yields 2 cups.


Cranberry Sauce #3 - Cranberry Chutney

(From The Bread and Circus Whole Food Bible, by Christopher S. Kilham)

  • 1/3 cup molasses (or agave nectar or honey or maple syrup)
  • 1/3 cup barley malt syrup (or agave nectar or honey or maple syrup)
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup toasted* walnuts, coarsely chopped

Place the molasses, barley malt, vinegar and spices in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the cranberries, pineapple, raisins, and walnuts and simmer for 30 minutes or until the cranberries have burst and are tender.

Refrigerate the mixture for several hours before serving.  Makes about 4 cups.

*To toast the walnuts, bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

November 21, 2008

Healthy Thanksgiving Treats - Day Two

Here are the pumpkin pie filling recipes I promised.  Better try them out a few times before the big day.  You know, to get them just right......

Pumpkin Pie #1:  Nutty Pumpkin Pie With Honey

(From The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook, by Marjorie Hurt Jones, R.N.)

  • 1/2 cup Brazil nuts or cashews
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 2 tablespoons cool water
  • 1 baked crust

In a blender, grind the nuts to a fine powder.  With the motor off, scrape the bottom of the jar with a spatula and blend again.  Add 1/2 cup of the boiling water and process for 2 minutes.  Add the remaining boiling water and blend for 10 to 20 seconds.

Add the pumpkin, honey or agave nectar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and cloves.  Blend well.

In a 3-quart saucepan, dissolve the arrowroot in the cool water.  Stir in the pumpkin mixture.  Bring to a boil, stirring often.  Reduce the heat and cook for 3 minutes.  Reduce the heat and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat, let cool until lukewarm, and pour into the pie shell.  Chill a few hours before serving.


Pumpkin Pie #2:  Old-fashioned Pumpkin Pie

(From The Gluten-Free Gourmet, by Bette Hagman)

  • 2 eggs
  • 16 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups cream or nondairy substitute**
  • 1 unbaked crust

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs slightly.  Add pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spice.  Stir together.  Add the cream and mix thoroughly.  Pour into the unbaked crust.  Bake in preheated 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake another 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.  Cool.

Serve cold with whipped cream or whipped nondairy topping if desired.

*Substitute 1/2 cup agave nectar, honey, or molasses for the sugar and reduce cream by 1/2 cup.

**Try substituting Silk creamer or vanilla soy yogurt.

November 20, 2008

Healthy Thanksgiving Treats - Day One

Eating well can be a challenge at any time, but the holidays can be particularly difficult, especially for people with food sensitivities.  In this week leading up to Thanksgiving, I will offer a few of my favorite healthy recipes which avoid some of the common problem foods.

I will start with the ultimate Thanksgiving treat - Pumpkin Pie!  Here are two crust recipes.  Tomorrow I will put up two delicious pie filling recipes.  I  hope you enjoy them!


Crust #1:  Grain-Free Pie Crust

(From The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook, by Marjorie Hurt-Jones, R.N.)

  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/2 cup white buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup Spectrum Spread (or other non-hydrogenated margarine or butter)
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a food processor, combine the flours, arrowroot or starch, and salt, and process for 15-20 seconds.  Add the spread (or margarine or butter) and pulse a few times until mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.

With the food processor running, pour in 3 tbsp. of the ice water in a thin steady stream.  Add the remaining water slowly, stopping as soon as the dough gathers itself into a ball.

Cut 2 pieces of waxed paper, each about 18" long.  Oil one side of each piece.  Place the dough between the sheets, oiled sides facing the dough.  Pat into a 6" diameter circle.  Roll out to a 12" diameter circle.  Remove the top paper and carefully flip the bottom paper and crust into a 9" pie plate.  Remove the waxed paper.  Adjust crust and smooth edges.

This type of GF crust tears easily, but patches easily too.  Don't try to crimp the edges, just fold the extra dough under, making an edge about 1/2" higher than the pie plate edge.

Bake for 3 minutes.  Add pumpkin pie filling and finish baking as the recipe directs.

If a baked crust is required, prick all over with a fork and bake for 12-13 minutes.  Allow to cool before filling.


Crust #2:  Nut and Seed Crunch Crust

(From The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook, by Marjorie Hurt Jones, R.N.)

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup ground nuts
  • 1/2 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine the flour, nuts, seeds, arrowroot, and cinnamon. 

In a small saucepan, combine the water, oil, and honey.  Heat over low heat just until the honey liquefies.  Pour over the flour mixture, and stir with a fork until well combined.

Place in a 9" pie plate.  Press firmly into place with your fingers, spreading to cover the bottom and sides of the pie plate.  Pat top into a straight edge.

Bake for 8 minutes.  Add pumpkin pie filling, and finish baking as the recipe directs.

If a baked crust is required, bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool before filling.

November 06, 2008

What are food allergies?

Reactions to specific foods are very common and contribute to a wide array of symptoms.  Many people are familiar with the terms "food allergy," but in actuality there are several types of reaction to foods.  The term "food sensitivity" is general and can encompass any of these reactions.

Food allergy technically means that a person creates antibodies to a food.  In a Type I response, a person makes IgE antibodies which lead to histamine release and symptoms of itching and swelling.  If the response is severe enough, it can become an anaphylactic reaction, in which the face and airway swell and breathing can be obstructed.  This type of allergy is usually life-long.  Complete avoidance of the problem food is recommended with a severe food allergy.

In a Type IV allergic response, a person makes IgG antibodies to a food.  These reactions are known as "delayed" and the symptoms may take days to show up and may be more subtle than the Type I reactions. 

Another type of food reaction is "intolerance."  This generally refers to a missing enzyme.  A well-known example of this is "lactose intolerance," in which a person is deficient in lactase, the enzyme which breaks down lactose (milk sugar).  This type of reaction tends to cause digestive upset.

Celiac disease, yet another type of food reaction, is an autoimmune response to gluten in wheat and related foods.  The immune system destroys the cells which line the intestines, severely limiting absorption of nutrients. 

Symptoms from food allergies may appear within 30 minutes following ingestion of the offending food, but often are delayed up to several days, making food allergy identification difficult.  A food intolerance may be easier to identify as the digestive symptoms can be intense.  Celiac disease is often undiagnosed for years if the digestive or skin disturbances are minimal, since other symptoms (such as fatigue) can be vague.

Common symptoms resulting from food reaction include:

  • Skin symptoms such as itching, burning, hives, red spots, sweating and “allergic shiners”
  • GI symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation and/or diarrhea, stomach ache and abdominal cramps, increased salivation, canker sores and itching or burning of the anus
  • Respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, productive cough, itchy, sore, or dry throat, wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Nervous system symptoms such as fatigue, drowsiness, irritability, hyperactivity, depression, insomnia, restlessness, visual changes, numbness, dizziness, headaches, shaking and sweating
  • Cardiovascular symptoms such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, flushing, tingling and faintness
  • Genitourinary symptoms such as frequent, urgent or painful urination, inability to control the  bladder, itching, discharge, pain and water retention.
  • Generalized symptoms such as weight gain from water retention, joint or back pain, eye symptoms (itchiness, watering, redness, lid swelling), ringing in the ears and ear infections

While it is possible for a person to be sensitive to just about any food, the most common problem foods are:

  • Dairy products
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Citrus fruits
  • Nuts (especially peanuts)
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Soy
  • Seafood
  • Beef
  • Bananas
  • Methylxanthines (caffeine and chocolate)
  • Refined sugar

If you have questions about food reactions or if you think you may have a reaction to certain foods, give me a call.  I can help you figure it out!  Eliminating the problem food or foods, at least for a time, and healing the digestive system are often critical elements in resolving symptoms and creating lasting health.

November 03, 2008

Go Vote!

Tomorrow is Election Day - and thank goodness for that!  Our phone, mailbox and TV have been overwhelmed with it all.  And we have been too!  But as much as I'm glad it's almost over, I am also proud to be part of the process.  I spent a couple of hours the other day "doing my homework" on the candidates and issues and filling out my ballot.

I am encouraging everyone else to get out there and do the same.  Exercise your right as a citizen of the United States!  Be counted!  Make your voice heard!

Voting allows us all to be part of our community, a synergistic and important part of the whole.  (How naturopathic!)  Just do it - it'll make you feel good.

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