Yesterday, I ventured into new culinary territory. My lil-miss was at a pool party, so my husband and I chose to get some pizza. We went to Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria. Being from NY, I am picky about my pizza. Hands down, Vincinis Pizza is the best pizza in Solano County.
While I LOVE pizza at Vincinis, their gluten-free crust lacks a bit. Amici’s has the best gluten-free crust in the area. They also offer vegan cheese. There is a pretty steep price-tag for a gluten-free pizza. There is no extra charge for substituting the Daiya vegan cheese.
The menu only showcases one true vegan pizza but several gluten-free options. I wish the vegan pizza had say an option to pick three toppings, with a gluten-free crust, for “X” amount. We ended up paying $32 just for my pizza. I’m sorry, but not every vegan or plant-based diet is in love with spinach. It NEVER belongs on a pizza! That’s my opinion of course, but salads are salads and pizza has no lettuce-like toppings.
The gluten-free crust is crispy, foldable and has good flavor. The pizza sauce is also vegan. The vegan cheese was creamier and melted well. I admit, I was apprehensive about ordering this pizza.
My first bite reinforced I can primarily consume vegan dishes, even while eating out. I didn’t miss “real” pizza at all. I will definitely return for another vegan pizza. However, strictly due to the price, the visits will be farther between because I can’t justify that cost for pizza on a regular basis.
It does prompt me to work on a homemade vegan crust. This plant-based, vegan and sometimes raw diet is still new to me. It makes it easier when I do eat out, to find restaurants who cater to dietary needs. Yes, I could just have gluten-free, but the vegan(ish) lifestyle is geared toward my cancer recovery. It’s not always easy to stick to the acceptable food, but when I do, I can feel a positive difference. I also can’t complain about a 10-pound weight loss (in just three weeks).
In the infamous words of Andrew Zimmer, “If it looks good; eat it.”
I made homemade pesto yesterday. You only need a few ingredients for a wonderful sauce that can be added to pasta, sandwiches, salads, etc. I can’t give exact measurements, as I tend to cook by sight and taste versus actual quantities.
As I am embracing a primarily vegan diet (usually about 75% of the time), this recipe works perfectly for that. I know someone is thinking, ‘what about the cheese?’. I have a response for that. You can either omit it or you can substitute nutritional yeast. It has a pseudo-Parmesan cheese flavor. I will admit, I forgot to include the nutritional yeast in the picture.
In addition to being vegan, it’s also raw and gluten-free. It’s full of flavor and blends up in seconds.
You can choose to lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet for a few minutes or just buy them already toasted (what I did).
You can try this basic recipe or Google other pesto recipes. It’s usually made with basil, however, I’ve seen a multitude of substitutions as well.
nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese; for the non-vegans)
Pinch of salt
Place all the ingredients into a food processor. Blend (or pulse) to a smooth consistency. Make sure to scrape down the sides as you go. Either add to pasta that’s already cooked or store in the refrigerator to use at another time.
There is no need to heat the pesto sauce. Hot pasta will actually warm it up. It’s a nice alternative to marinara or pizza sauce.
In an effort to stay on a (mostly) meat-free, cancer-fighting diet, I thought I would make some lentils in my Instant Pot. I used this recipe as a guide, however, I halved the recipe because I was cooking just for me.
I did adjust the ingredients and used the following:
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
small red onion; diced
(2) cloves of garlic; minced
half a can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
I did saute the onions in a bit of olive oil and added the garlic once the onions were just about done cooking. Added the rest of the ingredients, gave it a stir and set the Instant Pot to 15 minutes. Quick release when the time was up.
The lentils were full of flavor. Sadly, I was out of avocados and gluten-free tortillas, but I still plated and consumed them happily. These definitely are a great substitution for meat.
I will note, the original recipe says it’s vegetarian, but that’s only if you use water and she uses chicken stock. If you use water to cook the lentils, it actually becomes a great tasting, vegan dish.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a background in catering; esp. when I have to bring something to a potluck. However, I do and that’s why I can’t just pick up pre-cut fruit, and bring it to where ever I am going.
Recently, I made a fruit platter for our VBS (Vacation Bible School) potluck bbq. I had envisioned using a cored out pineapple as the center of the dish; however, this was not meant to be.
I laid down some red-leaf lettuce. One, it provides a nice garnish but also covers up any blemishes on the platter. When I can, I prefer to use purple kale and I like the color contrast, but I had to use what was available.
I then cut a watermelon in half and sliced the half. This gave me some straight pieces of watermelon, which I halved again and created watermelon triangles. I placed them on the border of the platter and added a second layer.
I had cubed some cantaloupe melon and made a small layer, adding it between the watermelon layers to hold up the second layer of watermelon.
Added blackberries, opposite each other, did the same with some grapes and added cherries in the center. After all, everything is better when topped with a cherry (or cherries, in this case), right?
Last touch was to sprinkle some blueberries over the entire platter.
All in all, I was pleased with the outcome. To me, it ended up looking like a flower was in bloom.
Homemade fruit platters aren’t the cheapest to make, but they are gluten-free, fresh tasting and provide a healthy alternative to some of the items that normally accompany a bbq.
What’s better than caramel thumbprint cookies? Healthy gluten free salted caramel thumbprint cookies; that’s what! Well, okay, healthier is probably a more accurate description, but with just a touch of sugar and most of the sweetness coming from agave syrup, we are definitely a long way from unhealthy. These salted caramel thumbprint cookies are made without…
My husband enjoys fried chicken. While I don’t mind making it for him, I do dislike the smell of oil that permeates my entire house and I get to relive that smell for several days.
Have I mentioned how much I love my air fryer? If not, just know I do. I am already considering purchasing a larger one because it’s just that great!
This recipe is exactly how I used to prepare chicken, before letting it cook in hot oil. I am so grateful those days are officially history. I only make “fried” chicken in the air fryer now.
Gluten-free (or all-purpose) flour
Eggs; slightly beaten (you can add a bit of water or milk if you’d like)
Various spices (salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, etc.) to mix into the flour
You can marinate the chicken in buttermilk overnight if you want. I have done it with and without, and either way it turns out great.
Dredge the chicken in the egg and then in the flour. Shake off excess flour and repeat. Set aside on a small baking dish or plate and refrigerate until the flour becomes pasty (at least 30 minutes).
I usually prep the chicken before I leave for work and just cook when I get home.
Using your air fryer, heat it for a few minutes at 390 degrees. Add chicken to the basket and cook 15-20 minutes per side; depending on thickness. Flip chicken and repeat.
You get crispy “fried” chicken every time. No oil, minimal mess and a clean-smelling house.
Definitely play with the spices you want to add to your flour. I haven’t used corn meal or other coatings, but I intend to. This basic recipe allows for a lot of modifying to your particular tastes. Enjoy a healthier “fried” chicken.
Summer is coming and so are the family cookouts. I created this recipe a few years ago. It was a painstaking process, as I normally cook by sights and taste vs measurements.
I DESPISE mayo (gag, yuck, ewww). I always have and always will. I actually published this mayo-free potato salad recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com. It’s gotten some pretty good reviews. The nice part is, it’s completely adjustable. I am always tweaking recipes and adding items or removing them. If you don’t like paprika, skip it. Like olives, add ’em.
Please don’t expect a nice “white” potato salad. If you add the paprika in the dressing mix, it will change the color a bit. I actually like the rustic color. A bonus, is it’s gluten-free. Having to be on a special diet, food can be challenging. This version of potato salad is very flavorful.
I also like using potatoes I don’t have to peel. It makes the process a bit quicker that way. Give it a go. I’d love your feedback if you do make this recipe.