Adopt-A-Gluten-Free-Blogger: The Canary Files

It seems like a long time since I participated in the Adopt-A-Gluten-Free-Blogger event.  At least a year.  For those of you new to this event, AAGFB was started by Sea Maiden of Book of Yum.  This month, it is being hosted by Kate of Eat Recycle Repeat while Sea is still in Japan.  *waves to Sea from across the sea*  The event is a great way to learn about gluten-free bloggers you haven’t seen before or maybe keep hearing about but forget to check.

Saying I’ve been busy is accurate, yet not.  My busy-ness has been me keeping my feet on ice, elevated, and stretched out to help fight the inflammation from getting worse.  Most days it sucks the life right out of me and it’s all I can do to make dinner.

So, when I saw the adoptions for this month were open, I jumped in without thought of the extra work it would be.  I only needed one dish.  Surely I can manage one dish for dinner.  Right?  Right!

I adopted Jonathon of The Canary Files.  Have you heard of Jonathan?  No?  You have now.

I remember discovering Johnathan a while back and I started following him.  Then something happened and I stopped getting his posts on my Twitter and Facebook.  Plus, I had a hard time keeping up with all the email notifications of blog posts from everyone I was following.  In a fit of frustration I unsubscribed to almost every blog I follow.   Harsh?  Well, it was what I needed at the time.  No worries.  I’m subscribed again.  Still can’t keep up either.

Anyway.  One day this past Spring or Summer, a post of his popped up on my Facebook feed.  I did a, “Hey!  Long time no see his posts!”  Which was funny because I was thinking about him.  Since then we’ve gotten to know each other a bit better.  I feel like I found another brother and a kindred spirit.  He is one of the handful of male gluten-free bloggers in our blogosphere and he’s a fellow Filipino.  It’s like finding that sock that went missing in the laundry years ago and you kept the mate in hopes of finding the missing piece.  He recently was in the Philippines visiting family and I discovered he was in Ilocos Norte, the province just North of where my dad was born (Ilocos Sur).  Small world right?

I seriously get a big smile when I see he has a new post even if I can’t read it right away.   Then there are the moments when I read his post or see an Instagram photo and leave him a, “Get out of my head!” comment because it was something I was just thinking about making.  Or some variation of it.  One day, we will be able to cook in the same kitchen.  ONE DAY!  Until then, here’s a few things I made.  Yes, I managed to do more than one.  Go me!

A huge part of Filipino families is food.  Being in the kitchen together to fix the meal together and eating together.  You walk into a Filipino home and the first thing you are asked is if you are hungry or what you want to eat.  Something along those lines.  After my grandmother passed earlier this year, one of the stories being shared with the same theme going around our family was how kids in the family would go see my grandma and immediately go for the refrigerator or pantry.  No asking needed.  If another adult scolded them, my grandmother would just laugh because the kids knew there was no need to ask her.   When I’d fly over to visit for some weekends in college, she would always have my favorite dish of hers waiting for me.

The best I could get with the low light on the DSLR. Ginisang Munggo.

One of my big food memories is Grandma Cion’s (my grandfather’s sister) munggo beans (mung beans).  It seemed like every time I went to her house (we lived on the same island), she always had munggo beans.  Her munggo beans were mostly mashed with marungay leaves (small dark green leaves) mixed in.  We always ate them on top of rice.  Jonathan tweeted about making munggo beans a little over a month ago.  The food memories came back.  I knew he wasn’t making the same thing, but I anticipated the post.   What he came up with was akin to a Top Chef challenge when the judges ask for the cheftestants to cook for them based on a food memory.  His Ginisang Munggo (Sauteed Mung Beans) was the taste I remembered amped up to a whole new culinary level.

A food writer and friend, John Heckathorn, once described Filipino food as home cooking when trying to pin down why there aren’t more Filipino restaurants back home.  Hawai`i is full of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, etc. restaurants.  But Filipino restaurants are few and far between.  We don’t go out to eat Filipino food.  We go home or we fix it ourselves.  It’s like Asia’s soul food.  It’s just not the same coming from a restaurant.  Yet there is a younger generation out there bringing Filipino food to the masses via food trucks on the West Coast.  I tell you all this because I’m betting most of you haven’t even heard of Filipino food unless you happened to catch one of my recipes as I posted it.  Jonathan took this simple “home cooked” dish and elevated it to the level of fine dining.  My picture doesn’t even do his dish justice. Just take a look at his picture.

Gluten-free Vegan Crepes with Dreamy Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

I made the next dish on a whim.  He tweeted a picture of his gluten-free vegan crepes the weekend before my birthday.  Forget pancakes on my birthday!  I’m going to make crepes!  Wait.  I’ve never made crepes before.  But, I’m an expert home chef.  I CAN DO THIS!   I’ll use the Dreamy Chocolate Hazelnut Spread I’ve been making and make a sauteed ginger apple concoction.  Best birthday breakfast ever!

My crepes were turning out gummy and messy and there was no way they were going to be blog worthy.  I thought I was going to take a picture of the gloppy mess and tell you, I tried.  I was fast running out of batter and was on my second pan.  I was frustrated and gave up on even trying to make the sauteed ginger apple concoction.  Finally, I got it.  I figured exactly when to turn the crepe.

They crepes were chewy, pliable, and just as Jonathan says, eggy.  I don’t get how either, but they were eggy.  I was in egg heaven without the accompanying itchiness it would have caused me.  They were still the same the next day after warming them, too.  I made sure to place parchment paper between each crepe before I put them in the refrigerator.

The gummy mess.  I put a mess of the Dreamy Chocolate Hazelnut Spread all over it and ate it.  It was just as good.  Just not as pretty.

Jonathan’s crepe recipe comes with his recipe for lumpia filling.  Lumpia is the Filipino spring roll.  Back home, it’s the first thing gone.  Get it while you can because it doesn’t last.  Even when I make it just for me and Chaz.  It never lasts.   His version is unfried, thus the use of the crepes as a wrapper.  My version is fried, which is why I don’t make it often.

Pancit Bihon

Lastly, I made Jonathan’s Pancit Bihon.  Pancit is a stir fry of noodles, vegetables, and depending on the cooking, chicken or pork.  This is another dish that everyone always had in the refrigerator.  Never underestimate a Filipino’s willingness to eat pancit with sticky rice.  It does happen.  I’ve done it.  I don’t do it anymore, but that’s how I grew up.  When I was doing all the cooking while still living with my parents, my father insisted that I make rice if I was making a pasta dish.  Rice was a must at every meal no matter what was being served.

There is something about pancit though.  There’s a flavor to it that you don’t find in other Asian dishes.  I goofed a little and didn’t use more broth even though I used more noodles so they were a bit sticky.  However, they had that flavor.  I’m not ashamed to say that I would make just the noodles to have that taste of home because while I was eating the dish, that flavor of the noodles was what I wanted.  To say I’m in love with this dish is an understatement.

I don’t have pictures of two other things I made of Jonathan’s before the AAGFB event for the month was posted.  His Curried Gluten-free Vegan Tortillas were just as pliable as he says and did not break the day after either.   I made his Cantaloupe Ginger Granita not long after he posted it.  It was one of those get-out-of-my-head moments.   It is based on a Filipino drink made from cantaloupe and calamansi (Filipino lime) I was thinking about making for the heat of Summer.  I had some frozen calamansi concentrate and used that in place of the lemon juice.  If you know you can find calamansi in your area, go for it.  Otherwise, just use lemon juice.  I can find some pretty difficult to find Asian foods here thanks to Jungle Jim that even the large Asian supermarket doesn’t carry, but calamansi and marungay leaves still remain evasive in Cincinnati.

Check out Jonathan and The Canary Files.  You won’t be sorry.   At all.  I mean it.  I’ll hunt you down if you don’t.

And now, I must get dinner together.

Mangantayon!  (Let’s eat!)


Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Adventures Of A Gluten-Free Mom

Taco Burgers & Sliced Mango

I finally got a chance to adopt Heidi Kelly, Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom!  Woot woot!  Heidi is an inspiration for anyone who keeps looking for why they are still sick after going gluten-free and not getting 100% better.  She is a wonderful advocate for herself and her family, and she encourages others to do the same.  I have a special place in my heart for anyone who advocates and encourages it.  I was really happy I got to meet her at the Gluten & Allergy-Free Expo back in April.  She is a hoot and then some!

I intended to make her Gluten-free Goldfish Crackers, but the week I was going to make them, the heat and humidity was stifling.  There was no way I was turning the oven on.

Instead, I made her Taco Burgers.  I was thinking to myself, why didn’t I think of this for burgers?  I mean, I used sprouted corn tortillas instead of bread when I first went gluten-free to make my veggie sandwiches.  So why didn’t I think of taco shells to replace burgers?  I don’t know, but I’m sure glad Heidi did.  I enjoyed them so much, I was pretty sad when I ate the last of it for lunch the next day.  It’s dishes like this that make me glad I plan for leftovers for lunch.  Sometimes, having it for one meal is not enough and you want more.  I sliced up a mango and served it on the side.  It was a nice compliment to the Taco Burger.  I couldn’t find any green chili sauce (imagine that), so I wound up using tomatillo salsa instead.  It wasn’t hot, but it had a kick to it from the jalapeños in it.

Gluten-free Reuben Sandwiches & Veggie Sticks

The next night I made her Gluten-Free Reuben Sandwiches.  Other than turkey, pastrami and corned beef are my favorite sandwich meats.  I was over the moon since this is something else I never thought to do since I don’t make sandwiches much anymore.   I made this all on my countertop grill/griddler (it’s gotten a lot of use the last few weeks), so I didn’t have multiple pans to wash and I wasn’t standing over a hot stove burning things.  I sliced up a cucumber, some carrots, and a red bell pepper to serve along side.  I felt we needed something cold and raw to balance the warm sandwich.  The best part was I had enough leftovers for several lunches.  Oh yesssssss.  I did make one change and that was to use provolone instead of swiss.  I’m not a big fan of swiss cheese.  It’s right up there with bleu cheese.  I also forgot the caraway seeds the first time I made it, but remembered it for the lunches.  If I had been thinking, I would have used my Katz Gluten-Free Wholesome Bread rather than the Katz Gluten-Free Whole Grain Bread.  The Wholesome Bread is a bit heartier and would have been more “rye-like” with the added caraway seeds.

Me, Andrea, Jennifer, Lauren-Lucille, and Heidi

Heidi has so many wonderful recipes on her site that I still need to try.  So many recipes from my blogger friends to try and not enough time!

Special thanks to Sea of Book of Yum for creating this event and hosting it this month!

Adopt-A-Gluten-Free Blogger: She Let Them Eat Cake

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Smoothie

I’ve been wanting to adopt Maggie Savage, She Let Them Eat Cake, for a few months now.  We both have a love of chocolate and peanut butter.  Who doesn’t?  I mean, other than those of you reading this that have nut allergies.  We both also love to use raw cacao powder.  Heavenly stuff.

Of course I had to make her Peanut Butter & Chocolate Smoothie.  Aside from being a fan of chocolate and peanut butter, I love using hemp protein powder in my smoothies, as well as adding cinnamon (or even garam masala).  Maggie uses both of those ingredients in this smoothie.  Delicious!  Mine ended up with some chunks in it (I think my blender is about to die), but it didn’t stop me from drinking this right up.

I finally got to make her Chocolate fRAWstie.  I’ve been wanting to make it since she posted it for April In The Raw.  Why such a long wait to make it?  So many recipes to make, not enough time!  I made it on a rather warm afternoon and enjoyed it with a spoon to help keep myself cool.  It’s really like a treat that you can’t get anywhere but your own kitchen.  So much healthier than anything you get elsewhere, too.  It’s loaded with protein and iron.  Well, as long as you use raw cacao powder and not the chocolate powder that you grew up using because it’s what your mother had in the pantry.  I

Chocolate fRAWstie

use Navitas Naturals.

Then there was her Caesarish Salad Dressing.  I had been thinking about Caesar Salad when she came out with this recipe.  I find if I’m thinking of something and another blogger comes out with a recipe for it, that means I have to make it.  Chicken Caesar Salad went on the menu board!   Her recipe was a great reminder to me about the use of nutritional yeast.  I was first introduced to nutritional yeast quite a few years back when Chaz was traveling a lot for work to different major cities in the South and Mid-West.  He was in Atlanta frequently and his clients would take him to The Grit.  He loved the food so much, he bought their cookbook and made a few things from it for me.  This means, I’ll be dragging out the cookbook more.  I did use brewer’s yeast instead of nutritional yeast for the dressing because I have a bunch of it that I need to use up.  The only difference I find between the two is that brewer’s yeast has a ton of amino acids that the nutritional yeast doesn’t have and all the same vitamins.  In the middle of making the dressing, I discovered I didn’t have capers.  I thought I did.  Nothing like having everything else in the blender and discovering you’re missing the last ingredient.  I could have run to the store (pretty much a 2 minute drive), but I was trying to get dinner fixed before I had to get ready and head to work.  So, I just gave the blender a whirl and hoped for the best.  The dressing was edible, but

Chicken Caesarish Salad

the capers would have balanced out the cheesiness of the yeast and the sweetness of the honey I used.  Yes, I will be making this again.  Perhaps a Shrimp Caesarish Salad next time.

Blueberry Buckle.  Blueberry.  BLUEBERRY!   I love blueberries.  Well, I love berries period.  I happened to have some fresh blueberries on hand.  It was really easy to put together and smelled wonderful while baking in the oven.  I had a hard time waiting for it to cool enough to handle to get out of the springform pan for cutting up.  It’s a great marriage of blueberries and coconut oil.  The taste of the coconut oil with the texture of the buckle kept reminding me of a Filipino dessert I grew up eating, but I can’t put my finger on which one it was.  There are a lot of Filipino desserts with coconut in them!   I admit I ate the whole thing myself in under a week.  I had it out on the dining room table in the cake server, but Chaz didn’t try it.  I was eating it for breakfast, snack, and dessert.  Yes, that means I was eating more than 1 piece per day.  It’s good stuff!

Lastly, Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies (With A Twist).  Sometimes I feel bad that I bake all kinds of stuff that Chaz doesn’t want to try or ends up not liking.  Then I remember all the times he eats stuff I can’t have and I figure we’re even Steven.

Blueberry Buckle

I hadn’t baked cookies in a while and I really wanted to make these cookies when she first posted the recipe, but didn’t have time.  Plus, I was still recovering from sugar/baked goods overload from the Expo.  It’s funny that my blender didn’t want to make things nice and smooth for me and then my mini-prep wouldn’t make the secret twist ingredient in the cookies smooth.  I was tiring of opening it up and scraping down the sides.  So, I just used my immersion blender to cream the coconut oil and raw local honey.  Then, added the ingredient and continued to blend it with the immersion blender.  I wound up making different sized cookies.  The first pan I dropped them smaller than the second pan.  By the time I got to the second pan I realized I would have enough for a third pan and I didn’t have a third one prepped.  Call me impatient.  The smaller ones set better than the bigger ones.  Of course.   But, they were all soft and chewy.  I used the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and forgot about the sugar content in them until I ate the first cookie.  It was so sweet I had to drink an entire glass of water.  Next time I’ll use my usual dark chocolate chunks to cut down the sugary sweetness.  Chaz seems to like them enough to eat more than one.

Maggie has a lot more recipes I would have loved to make for this, but I can only handle so much baked goods at one time in the kitchen.   Instead, I’ll just make them in the future and then rave about them on Twitter and Facebook!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (With A Twist)

Me & Maggie

I’m so glad that I was able to finally take the time to make some of Maggie’s wonderful recipes.  I’m also glad I was able to spend some time with her at the Expo!