Thursday, October 27, 2011

Canyon Bakehouse

Have you heard of Canyon Bakehouse?  I hadn't until I noticed their burger buns next to Udi's in my local grocery store.  See that picture up there?  The buns actually look like that, and they don't fall apart when confronted with ketchup or pub sauce.  And you know what?  They taste fantastic!  I may be risking blasphemy in the GF community when I say I like these buns better than Udi's, but... I like these buns better than Udi's!

Lately I've been living off the San Juan 7 Grain Bread.  It stays moist over several days, enough so that I can just make a sandwich without toasting the bread.  The nutritional profile is similar to Udi's whole grain bread and though they're both a little low in fiber for my taste (2 g per slice for Canyon Bakehouse, 1 g per slice for Udi's Whole Grain Bread), both companies are doing their best to get us GF folks a tasty, nutritious bread.

Thus far, the only Canyon Bakehouse products I've seen in the store are the bread and buns, but I'd be interested to try more of their products.  

Have you tried Canyon Bakehouse?  What do you think?

* Picture above from Canyon Bakehouse website,
** I have no affiliation with Udi's or Canyon Bakehouse and I am not paid to endorse either company.  The opinions expressed above are my own, as a consumer of their products.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chicken Taco Salad

Cooking is certainly more of an art than a science in my household, and I look at recipes as general guidelines that I'm free to change.  Actually, if you ask Ben, I never follow a recipe exactly.

Why is this?

I think recipes are one person's way of doing things based on taste preferences and what food is available.  I don't like mushrooms and Ben doesn't like bell peppers, so I eliminate them or substitute other vegetables.  I don't have broccoli rabe, but I have three tons of kale, so guess what?  I use kale!  It's a rare day that I go to the store and buy all the food I need for an exact recipe because more often than not, I've spontaneously decided to make something based on the ingredients in my fridge.  I consider it a win if I have even 50% of the recipe's original ingredient list.

Which brings me to chicken taco salad.  Chicken taco salad is my ultimate spontaneous meal.  I generally need lettuce and chicken (though I've used ground beef, making it just taco salad) but the rest of the ingredients are up for grabs.  We usually have canned corn and some type of canned or frozen beans.  Tomatoes?  Often.  Salsa?  Usually.

We tend to use salsa for the dressing but if we don't have any AND we don't have the ingredients to make it, I'll whip up a lime dressing using lime juice, flax or olive oil with chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and sugar.

What else can you put in your taco salad?  Avocado, carrots, tomatillos, a little cheese and/or a touch of sour cream.  If I give you an ingredient list, can you whip this up on your own?

I bet you can!

Chicken Taco Salad

Mix and match ingredients based on what you have available in your home and what you love!
  • Chicken breast, cooked and seasoned to taste (in summer I grill, but in winter you can poach, pan sear or bake)
  • Lettuce, washed and chopped
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Beans (black, pinto, or kidney) rinsed and heated
  • Corn, heated
  • Avocado, chopped
  • Cheese, shredded
  • Sour Cream
  • Carrot, chopped
  • Salsa
  • Tomatillos, chopped
  • Dressing (any type you love)
What else would you add to this taco salad?  Leave a comment!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Environmental Tricks for Weight Loss

What can you do to help yourself loose weight if you don't want to count calories?

Find out in under 2 minutes?

Give this podcast a listen and tell me what you think!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Coconut Chicken Soup

Have you caught the first cold of the season yet?  I know I have!  I caught mine while traveling to Michigan last month, and the dang thing keeps hanging on.  While I’m not sick sick, I’m sure I’ll have sniffles for the rest of the winter.

When I’m sick, there is one soup I crave above all others, though really, I make this soup almost every week in the winter because it’s so tasty: Coconut Chicken Soup.  This is the meal I bring to my friends after they give birth or if they're suffering from a cold.  This is the soup that I make on a chilly fall night or when I’ve had a bad day or when I’m feeling pressed for time.  My family eats this soup a lot!

The best part about Coconut Chicken Soup is that while my base remains essentially the same, the ingredients vary with what the CSA delivered or what’s left in my fridge.  If the directions seem vague, I apologize, but really--it’s soup!  Throw in what sounds tasty to you.

Now, why is this soup so great when you have a cold?

I add a little chili pepper and I swear it helps burn the snot right out of me (admittedly, ewww).  The well-cooked chicken and rice are easy to digest, and the bit of lemon adds antioxidants.  Carrots and greens add vitamins and minerals, and the coconut milk is a great source of medium-chain fatty acids that your body can absorb directly without its lymphatic system or bile salts. That means it's an easy meal to digest when you're not feeling tip-top.

My favorite garnish for this soup is salty ume plum vinegar, made from umeboshi plums.  In Japan umeboshi plums are a folk remedy for colds and are thought to combat fatigue.  

 Basically, coconut chicken soup is easy on the tummy, packed full of nutrients, and delicious to boot!

Coconut Chicken Soup

½ medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press
¼ teaspoon of red pepper chili flakes (adjust to personal taste)
1 quart chicken broth (homemade, canned, or bouillon)
2 medium carrots, diced
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (or use skinless thighs or skinless bone-in chicken breast)
½ cup white rice, any type
1 bunch greens, roughly chopped (I recommend kale or chard)
1 T lemon juice
1 can coconut milk
Ume Plum Vinegar
Spicy Sesame Oil

  1. Sautee onion 5-10 minutes, or until soft.  Add garlic and chili flakes and cook another 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant, but not burned.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  2. Add carrots and chicken breast, reduce heat and simmer covered 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken and let cool on a plate.  Shred or chop.
  3. Add rice and cook 15-20 minutes.  In the last few minutes of cooking, add leafy greens, chicken, lemon juice and coconut milk.
  4. Garnish with ume plum vinegar, spicy sesame oil and cilantro.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mini Blackberry Muffins (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)

Gluten-free dairy-free mini blackberry muffins
Can you believe it's October?  I know I can't.  Everything has been just a little bit crazy here in FoodWise land and the poor little blog has suffered for it.  My love and I went on vacation for a week, then to two weddings in two weeks.  And then my office flooded.  And then off to Michigan for a family visit.  Somehow it went from August to October, and I didn't notice.  Yeesh!

It's raining here in Seattle and I miss summer.  I miss the warmth and the sun and the fruit.  Usually I love fall (my name is Autumn, after all) but the summer was so cool in the Pacific Northwest that I'm not ready for the bone-chilling damp of fall, winter and spring.

But like it or not, it is fall, and that means it's time for muffins!

I'm going to admit a little secret: I baked these muffins at least a month ago with blackberries fresh from the bushes.  We take Duncan the dastardly dachshund to Magnuson Park several times a week to play with the other puppies, and once you leave the dog portion of the park, its 350 acres are covered in blackberries!

Muffin Reason #2

I know it's no longer blackberry season but I guarantee these muffins will be lovely with frozen berries of any sort.  I had great fun creating these muffins and I know you'll love eating them!

What resources did I use, you ask?  I started with Ratio by Michael Ruhlman and looked at his Basic Quick Bread/Muffin Batter recipe.  The theory behind Ratio is that these recipes work, no matter what, because they contain the correct ratio of fat to to liquid to flour.  Now, GF baking is its own special beast, so I used Gluten-Free Girl's flour mix ratio: 70% whole grain, 30% starch.

Easy peasy.  Get to it!

Mini Blackberry Muffins (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)

3 oz sorghum flour
3 oz brown rice flour
1 oz tapioca flour
1 oz potato starch
4 oz sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
8 oz almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
4 oz eggs (2 large eggs)
4 oz grapeseed oil (or any neutral oil)
1 1/2 cups of blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flours, sugar, salt and baking powder.
  1. Whisk together eggs, milk and oil and combine with dry ingredients.  Gently mix in blackberries.
  2. Fill prepared mini-muffin tins to top and bake 14 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Cool and serve with tea or coffee.