My mother-in-law makes a killer granola – better than any store-bought variety, mainly because it’s not Chocolate Frosted Sugarbombs (Calvin & Hobbes reference, anyone???) masquerading as health food. Plus, it’s quick, massively inexpensive, and smells ridonkulously good baking in the oven. Hummenah.

Here’s my version of her deliciousness.

Gluten-Free Granola

  • 6 cups gluten-free oats
  • 2 cups “crunch” (any combination of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, millet, pumpkin seeds, chopped almonds, chopped pecan, chopped walnuts, gluten-free steel cut oats, or pine nuts)
  • 1/8-1/4 c. freshly ground flax meal
  • 1/2 c. honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 2 T molasses
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat wet ingredients together with a fork in a 2-cup measuring cup (or something else equally easy to pour from). Pour wet over dry. Mix until all the oats and other goodies are well coated with goo. Bake in two pyrex dishes or cookie sheets at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, removing from oven every 10-15 minutes to stir. Keep a close eye on it – if you see the oats on the edges of the pan begin to brown, it’s time to give it a good stir. After 30 minutes, the granola should be lightly golden brown, but it may still be soft. Give it a good stir, let it stand for 10 minutes, and remove from cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container.

Ugh. I don’t mean no disrespect to carnivores, but they honestly have no inkling of how you can possibly make a meal without flesh. I can’t tell you the number of people who asked me last month whether we were cooking a tofurkey for Thanksgiving. Listen, meat-tards. If you would care to look up from your mountain of over-fattened, top-heavy, saline-injected Butterball bird, you might notice that pretty much every other dish on your table is vegetarian. HELLO! Thanksgiving is MADE for vegheads, and besides, anyone who eats fake meat should just man up and accept the fact that they crave hamburger.

Anywhoo, all this to say that whenever I go outside the confines of my carefully crafted gluten-free, veghead world for more than a day or two, I come home craving leafy greens and flave-tastic vegetarian food. In other words, give me Indian food or give me death.

With a little direction from my favorite veghead muse, Madhur Jaffries, I came up with the following version of Saag Aloo. Spinach. Dandelion greens. Inspiration.

Saag Aloo

Serves 2-3

  • 3 medium potatoes (about a pound and three quarters)
  • 1.5 lbs spinach (frozen or fresh), finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb. dandelion greens, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (ok to omit)
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1″ square fresh ginger, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 fresh green chile (serrano or jalapeno)
  • 2 tsp roasted, ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 T ghee
  • 1/4 c. milk or cream
  • vegetable oil

Cube the potatoes and fry with salt and garam masala in a deep-sided fry pan until translucent. Remove from pan. In a food processor, puree the garlic, onion, ginger and green chile with 1/4 cup of water. Place into the frying pan and saute for 1 minute. Add the cumin and saute another minute. Add the spinach, dandelion greens, and dried fenugreek leaves and cover. Turn heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a tablespoon or two of water if it begins to scorch on the bottom. Add the potatoes back into the mix and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Add the cream and butter at the last minute. Salt to taste and serve over rice.

If you can’t tell from yesterday’s little sticky rice squeal, I’m on a mission from God to cook and consume as much mango sticky rice as my little tush can handle without swelling to the size of Texas. And you cain’t have sticky rice without coconut milk. Too bad the killjoys of the world would have us know that a big source of exposure to Bisphenol-A (BPA, the nasty hormone disruptor that is getting press for giving babies boobies and men fewer swimmers) is from the lining of canned everything. And although I’ve done a dang good job of eliminating BP-tAstic water bottles and tupperware, cans and catamarans (what?), they just don’t make coconut milk in jars. But lookie what I found:

This brand specifically says gluten-free and BPA-free on the label. JOY! Now if I can only remember what store I bought it in! Dangit.

Obsessed. With. Mango Sticky Rice.

AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!

Lucky for me, it’s easy as one, two, tree. (okay, four.)

Naturally Gluten-Free: Mango Sticky Rice

Mango Sticky Rice

  • 3 cups sticky rice
  • 1 13.5-oz. can of unsweetened coconut milk plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 ripe mangos

Directions: Put the rice in a large bowl and cover with water so the water comes up at least two inches from the rice. Soak overnight.

Fill a large steamer with 3 inches of water. Place the rice in the top part of the steamer and steam for 30-40 minutes until the rice is still chewy but cooked. Scoop the rice from the steamer into a large bowl. Add the coconut milk and sugar and stir to combine. Return to the steamer (check to see if it needs more water) and steam for another 30ish minutes. The longer you cook it, the stickier it gets. Just keep testing it until you likey. Serve warm and garnish with sweetened coconut milk and fresh mango slices.

I love it when being gluten-free allows me to be totally gluttonous. For example: crustless pumpkin pie. There’s no reason why I couldn’t make a gluten-free crust, it’s more a matter of why bother? It’s the filling I’m after.

Gluten-Free Crustless Pumpkin Pie

  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 2 T gluten-free flour (all-purpose or sweet rice)
  • 1 t. cinnamon-a-mon-amon
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves
  • 1/4 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 c. pumpkin puree (save yourself the BPA and get it from a real pie pumpkin)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 T maple syrup

Combine first 8 ingredients in bowl and mix. Add wet ingredients and beat until smooth. Put in greased pie plate. Bake at 450 °F for 10 minutes. Then turn down to 325 °F and bake for another 40 minutes until set.

Quick! Groupon is offering $40 of gluten-free goodness for $20 at Lincolnshire Gourmet in Highland Park, IL. Go, go, go!

While I’m on the topic of gluten-free beer… I went into our local Whole Foods today to snag a six pack of Bard’s Gluten-free Beer, but they were out :{. A nice sales person saw my sadface and immediately brightened my day by saying that they always stock at least one of three gluten-free beers. New Grist rice and sorghum ale is one of them. Highly recommend. Niiiiiize!

Another good gluten-free beer: New Grist

I’m just beginning to explore the world of gluten-free beer. I was never a big beer person, but since discovering several gluten-free beer brands, I realized that maybe I never liked beer b/c it didn’t agree with me. Because I must admit, the last few brews I’ve had have awoken a bit of a beer monster in me. Saayyy, that tastes migh-tee-fine!

Matcha powder (image courtesy of FCartegnie thru Wikimedia Commons)

I was at the coffee shop last week and someone in front of me ordered a Green Tea Latte with no syrup. I was feeling sick of the black sludge I throw down daily, so I decided to give it a try. Hummennah-hummenah! Now that’s a-tasty, people! I ordered it without the syrup, fyi, and it was plenty sweet. Sounds like their base is matcha powder with a mildly sweet honeydew syrup. Interesting. Anywhoo, no need for the extra sugar they normally throw in. Deeelish.

Hard Apple Cider - Make sure it's Gluten-Free!

I’ve had a couple of rude awakenings lately about hidden sources of gluten in things that I assumed were gluten-free. My husband took a beer making class recently and when describing the process he noted that barley malt is a common ingredient in beer – apparently the high sugar content makes for a more alcoholic end product. Then a few weeks later, I was in the mood for hard apple cider and I just happened to pick up a bottle that said “Made without added malt.” What? It never occurred to me that they’d add malt to hard cider, but now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense if their goal was to up the alcohol content of the final product. Dangit. So add cider to the list of things to be careful about and always, always ask to see the label when ordering at a restaurant.

Look for "Gluten-Free" or the absence of "Malt" and "Barley Malt" in the Ingredients