Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gluten-Free Baked Stuffed Shells Recipe...Just a little shout out to one of my fave. "Go-to" GF blogs ( Gluten Free Goddess) I had to repost this Gluten AND dairy free Baked Stuff Shell's Recipe. Seriously mouth watering! And yes,there are vegan notes below, and info for those of you that want to use dairy. ENJOY!! <3

Gluten-Free Baked Stuffed Shells Recipe

These gluten-free dairy-free Italian stuffed shells are lighter than traditional cheese-stuffed shells- and so fresh tasting. Chopped herbs, garlic, and crunchy bread crumbs work serious magic. This recipe is our current favorite comfort food. We make it once a week. Perfect for a chilly winter's night.


1 8-oz box gluten-free grand pasta shells
4 breakfast sized sweet Italian sausages, chopped
2 cups baby spinach leaves, stemmed
1 14-oz tub organic soft tofu, drained, pressed to release water
1 large free-range organic egg, beaten
2 tablespoons Vegenaise (just trust me)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mild GF curry powder
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
16 ounces good marinara sauce (Italian red pasta sauce)

For topping:

2 slices gluten-free sandwich bread, torn into several pieces
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons almond meal
Sea salt, to taste
Chopped fresh parsley


Bring a large pot of salted water to a medium rolling boil, add the GF shells, lower the heat to medium-high and cook on high simmer for 6 minutes, gently stirring now and then, till softened but still firm. Drain well, separate the shells and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ.

In a skillet, saute the sausage briefly, till golden and starting to brown a bit.

Rinse the spinach leaves and drain well. Add them to the sausages and stir till wilted; remove from heat.

Place the drained tofu in a bowl and use a potato masher to break up the tofu into "curds". Add in the egg, Vegenaise, parsley, nutmeg and curry. Stir briefly to combine. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, to taste.

Add in the sausage-spinach mixture and lightly stir.

Pour 3/4 cup marinara sauce into the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish and spread evenly.

Spoon the tofu mixture into the par-cooked shells and place them in the baking pan stuffing side up. Cover with remaining marinara sauce. (The sauce will help cook the partially cooked pasta shells.)

In a food processor, make the topping by processing the gluten-free bread into crumbs. Add in garlic, dried basil and thyme. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil into the crumbs and pulse until the crumbs are moist and fall away from the sides of the processor.

Sprinkle the top of the sauced shells with the breadcrumb mixture.

Sprinkle with almond meal; season the topping with sea salt.

Sprinkle with extra chopped parsley.

That's a lot of sprinkling. Welcome to my world.

Cover with a piece of foil and bake in the center of the oven until the shells are tender, the stuffing is piping hot, and the sauce is bubbling.

Makes 4 generous servings.

Karina's Notes:

Yes, you can use moo-cow dairy cheese instead; blend 14-ounces of ricotta cheese with a cup of shredded mozzarella, and use grated Parmesan on top.

If you must be egg-free, omit the egg from the filling.

To keep this vegan, omit the egg and Italian sausage. You might have a few unstuffed shells.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

Sunday, January 6, 2013

EATING CLEAN with KIDS (an old post I just forgot to publish!)

Kids Food Thats Good AND Healthy

I have been asked a lot about how I feed my kids healthy. I have to think back, because I wasn't always the best "Clean" eater. Then I found my answer... If I eat Raw/Clean/Nutritious foods, its not a stretch that my kids eat too. Why?  YOU DO NOT BUY THE BAD FOOD!  Oh, was that in caps?

I know it is hard to change bad habits. I have been eating very clean for almost 3 years now, and it has been a process. Now it is second nature and I don't ever think to buy processed junk be it food or beverage- it literally passes though my mind with disgust. But changing bad habits is hard and takes dedication, and perseverance. Its a mental change too. We know bad foods do bad things to us, but  bad often is easier, and what were used to do we just keep doing the same thing over and over.

Children will not starve themselves. You can not expect a child ( especially an older one, set in the habits of the "American Diet" to just accept new foods, and totally forgo all the stuff they are used to over night. Like I said before, its a process. Make little, but important changes, adding in more and more and eventually the old stuff becomes old, bad news and the new foods become normal.

Here are some Ideas of traditional foods, turned healthier and more nutrtious!

Breakfast: Eggs! Make the switch to farmed organic eggs. See if you can find a local farmer, because you will get then at 1/2 the cost as Organic Free range in the store. An egg is an egg to a child, but an egg is NOT an egg in reality. Farm-Fresh- Free range organic chickens feeding on kitchen scraps ( think fruit and veggies scraps galore), grass, bugs, worms, etc. are getting fresh air, vitamin D, and lots of nutrition in their diet... all of which is passed to the egg.

Add Healthy Oil to your Eggs, toast, frying, etc. Find Organic, Cold-pressed, Unrefined Extra virgin coconut oil. It does great in high eat, and is loaded with essential fatty acids that our brains need to funtion. I personally  have found the best price is swansonsvitamins.com but you can also find it in health food stores and in the natural section of grocery stores ( double the price) Eat a spoon for a burst of energy, or add it to a fruit smoothie!

OATS! Ditch the Quick Oats and Prepackaged Sugar/chemical Oats.. Get some Old Fashioned Oats and Soak em! That is right... Oats ( like all whole grains) have a tough outer layer on the brain with Phytic Acid. This acid makes the oats not absorbable so you can't get the good nutrients when eating and it also has to pull minerals and vitamins OUT of your body just to digest it. Solution? Place your oats in a bowl, cover with water and a couple tbsp of Vinegar ( we use the kind with 'The Mother'), cover and soak overnight. In the morning rinse well ,and pour in pan with equal amount of water and cook! No one buy you will know they were soaked, you can add that good oil I mentioned above, or butter and some cinnamon and brown sugar or honey, and your set!

Milk. - In the Raw.  Now this scares some people because Raw milk is not pasturized ( heated to extreme killing all bad and GOOD pathogens, nutrients, and important digestive components. Raw milk is loaded with nutrients, tastes so much better, and you can feel good about using it! Did you know you are 35,000 times more likely to get a food born illness from any other food then from Raw cow milk from a grass fed Organic Pasture?

Make Fruit Fun  We make fruit fun by throwing all kinds of things into a blender, adding a little flax or coconut oil and blending away.  Take a glass cup and make parfaits with Yogurt in between the layers. Make faces using berries, and bananas for the little ones.

Lunch-Grill better.  Example? Use healthy oils for making Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Like High fat butter oil, or coconut oil, or grape seed oil.  We make Grilled Almond(or peanut) butter and Honey Sandwiches with local honey. Just think of the warm Almond ( or peanut ) butter and honey with the crispy whole grain, or sourdough grilled bread! YUM! I also like to boil my own soup bones ( which I get from a local organic farm) and make my own beef broth ( loaded with minerals!)

Cook your pasta, your veggies, potatoes, and even your meat with a cup or two of your bone broth to add in more nutrition! I did this today with Fresh green beans and tossed in some cooked turkey bacon. YUM!

Make Lunch Colorful We do BIG Breakfasts here in our home, and good sized lunches, and small dinners. But lunch for my kids is always full of color. I try to always include something green, something fruity and bright, a starch like beans, or rice or bread, and some nuts/seeds or cheese. Plates with dividers are fun and keep things separated. Add in a little sweet treat like some chocolate chips or frozen yogurt. If you do this when adding in a new veggie, I always add just a little of the sweet treat, with the promise of more once they try their new veggie, or finish this or that. Works well here, they still have a choice, and yes, sometimes they may decide not to finish that healthy weird thing, but it still always goes on the plate, and soon it becomes normal.

Dinner De-LITE I think kids should go to bed with satisfied tummies, but not stuffed full. They need good rest and we all know their little brains work hard to learn all they do so fast! Why bog down their gut (loaded with nerves) with a heavy unhealthy meal before the body goes to sleep and refresh mode?  We sometimes do the easy breakfast for dinner thing on long or hot days. Mostly we do a protein, a starch and a veggie, like clockwork and in many different forms. We are not a family that forces children to eat all that's on their plate, but we do have a no tolerance for not trying something. And that means,every time. If they didn't like eggplant last month, who is to say they wont like it today, prepared in a different way? Taste buds used to a bland diet need time to adapt and change, so you are giving them that opportunity by having them continue to try new and healthy foods over and over again. Your job? Prepare them differently and mix it up. My little ones love green beans with garlic, they go crazy over them. But they are slow to eat broccoli seasoned the same way.  Sprinkle a little Parmesan on that broccoli, and again they love it. We adults like things prepared in different ways  so it makes sense that little ones would too.

Another Week Of Meals

Sunday's are  "Meal Planning" days. Thinking since we are gluten free now, I would post our meals this week for more ideas to share with friends and family that are also Gluten Free or are looking for ideas. So here is our week of meals.

gf Spaghetti w/Meat Balls, Garlic Bread & Green Beans..
because these 3 things always go together don't they?
I was blessed to have a friend bring me a loaf of Gluten Free French Bread from a local GF bakery in her area. So for the bread, this is "how we do"
Soaked Garlic French Bread
4-5 Cloves of garlic, peeled and minced. (Fresh is best!)
1/4 cup light olive oil
1/2 tsp Real salt
Butter or Coconut Butter, to spread over bread
Dash of Garlic Salt and Parsley flakes
*Add the chopped garlic and salt to the olive oil and heat over low heat until warm  (not hot)
*Butter bread, then drizzle garlic/oil combo over both sides of loaf. Sprinkle with a little garlic salt and parsley. * Optional if you are really feeling "Cheesy" and can have dairy: Sprinkle some fresh parmesean cheese. Broil over med/high  heat until bubbly and brown on top!
Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta Spaghetti - 8 oz box Prepare as directed.
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped or pureed in blender
1 jar  Amy's Organic Pasta Sauce,(gf) Premium, Family Marinara - 24.5 oz size
2 cloves garlic minced, 1/2 onion chopped fine, 1 tsp each of: basil, oregano, garlic powder,and 1/4 tsp. salt - Combine all ingredients together in crock pot over low, add cooked pasta.
1 lb. ground turkey or organic grass-fed beef
2 tbsp onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
1  minced garlic clove
 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon real salt
(+) grape-seed or coconut oil

Combine all ingredients well in bowl, then form meat balls about the size of golf balls ( or a little smaller) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil. Working in batches so as not to crowd the skillet, and adding more oil as needed, cook the meatballs until they are browned on all sides, then add to crockpot with sauce and pasta. Keep on low heat 30 mins-then change to warm and serve when garlic bread and cooked (steamed) green beans are ready.

Pecan Brown Sugar Crusted Salmon with Rice Pilaf & Cauliflower Gratin
So easy to prepare, and just adds a sweet and crusty topping to delish salmon.

4   6-8 Ounce Salmon Filets ( Lucky us we have fresh Alaskan Salmon caught by family in Alaska!)
1  1/2 Cups Finely Chopped Pecans
2     Tablespoons Brown Sugar
Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste

Dry the salmon and place on a sheet pan, skin side down.
Mix the Pecans, Sugar, Salt and Pepper in a bowl.  Sprinkle over the salmon.  Press the nut mixture into the salmon to keep it in place.
Bake in the over at 350 degrees about -12-15 minutes.  Do NOT turn the salmon over, leave it on it’s skin.  When the fish is flaky it is done.  Don’t over cook the fish or it’ll be dry.

Cauliflower Gratin: 
3 slices white gluten free sandwich bread, torn into large pieces
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
1/3 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
 2 cups original or unsweet coconut milk
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and cut into small florets
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup mozzarella  cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine bread and Parmesan. Pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 3 to 4 times; set aside.

In a large saucepan with a lid, melt butter or oil over medium heat. Add flour; cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Whisk in milk.

Add cauliflower, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover, and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually stir in mozzarella.

Pour mixture into a 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Cover; bake until cauliflower is soft ,about 20 minutes. Remove cover, and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 20 minutes more. 
Easy Rice Pilaf
serves 4 as a side
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, 1/2 cup diced onion 1/4 cup chopped carrots,
2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 cup uncooked white rice 2 cups chicken broth 

Melt the butter or oil in a lidded skillet over medium-low heat. . Stir in carrots and onion and cook until onion becomes translucent, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the rice and chicken broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Browned Buttered Mizithra Cheese Pasta with Baked Coconut Oil Glazed Garlic Chicken and Veggies
this is my favorite meal. Its not low carb, its not low fat, but combined with a hearty bowl of steamed broccoli and a side salad of kale with pecans and pineapple, I don't feel so bad indulging in this dish!
You will need:
 1 cup grated (finely) of Mizithra Cheese ( Its a dry, white cheese  made from Sheep Milk, and is found in the specialty  cheese section at groc stores all over)
1 box (8oz) size of gf pasta, spaghetti style ( again we like ancient harvest quinoa blend)  
1/2 cup ( 1 cube) salted butter
2 Chicken Breasts, Cooked in oven with glaze of Coconut oil and fresh minced garlic, salt and pepper. Cut into 4 pieces and serve with pasta and veggies.

Cook pasta in large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain.

When pasta is almost done, start slowly melting butter over medium heat until golden brown, and bubbly on top. Toss pasta with butter. Sprinkle with cheese to taste.

Serve with side of Chicken, broccoli, and baby kale salad tossed with pineapple chunks, pecans, and light dressing.