Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meatballs Sans the Meat?

As some of my followers know, I try to stay away from red meat completely. I fill my protein void with poultry, beans, lentils, chickpeas; whatever and however I can get my protein fill!
My soon to be sister-in-law is vegan, so cooking for her (when I seldom do) and also being able to eat what she's eating can be a challenge! Obviously, she stays away from milk, but she does eat gluten as far as I know, so I have to be creative when it comes to entertaining her. She's living in Spain until about June of this year, but I think that she will appreciate my creative meatless efforts at least when it comes to my cooking!
These Meatless Balls are made with tofu. Tofu often comes up when I speak with people about French Onion Soup Blog or my cooking and/or diet. Most of the time, I get the nose wrinkled in disgust; Tofu?
My response? "You have to know how to cook it, and you have to get creative with it!"

Kath's Saucy Meatless-balls
1 pkg. (500 g) extra firm tofu (I like Sunrise brand)
1 can (about 540 mL) chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup Kinnickinnick panko-style gluten free bread crumbs
2 egg whites (vegans use egg substitute or vegetable oil)
1/8 cup water
2 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp curry powder

1/2 cup gluten free, reduced sodium beef broth (vegans and veggies use vegetable broth or vegetable bouillon)
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp cayenne powder (optional)

In large food processor or blender, blend first four ingredients until a thick paste. If mixture is too thick, add more water (keep in mind that you have to roll that mixture into balls!). Either sift or stir spices together in a small bowl so that they are thoroughly combined and add to tofu mixture in blender/processor. Blend spices into tofu mixture until thoroughly combined. Roll mixture into balls of desired size and set aside.
Heat a small saucepan on medium heat on stove. Whisk together first four SAUCE ingredients and bring to boil. Add remaining ingredients and stir until sauce begins to thicken. Cover and turn heat down to simmer.
Heat oil/cooking spray in large stove-top pan over medium heat. Place balls in pan and cook on medium heat until sides are browned. Turn heat down to simmer. Pour sauce over top, distributing sauce evenly on top of balls. Cover pan and let simmer for 30 -40 minutes.
Once ready to serve, spoon any remaining sauce over top of balls on plate. Serve with vegetables and/or rice.


Living and Listening Zen!

"Pursue not the outer entanglements, dwell not in the inner void; be serene in the oneness of things, and dualism vanishes by itself."


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pet Of The Week!

Image courtesy of Brenna J.
This week's Pet of the Week comes from my sister Brenna about one of her cats. Both Brenna and I pulled a bit of a one over on my Dad... well, twice... and both brought home cats without him knowing. Thankfully, he was a pretty good sport and we never had to worry about my mother being opposed to it as she had done the same thing to him when they were first married!
Below, Brenna has submitted a paragraph about why Boo is our French Onion Soup Saturday Pet of the Week!

Image courtesy of Brenna J.
"I never realized how much animals help to heal until I got Boo; she has been my
snuggle buddy through some pretty dark times. I truly believe that animals can sense
our different emotions and cling to us when we need them the most. I’ve had Boo since
she was 5 weeks old and, although she was too young to go home, I took her anyways and
now she is now just about 3 years old! Boo is half Siamese and half tortoise-shell, meaning that she is loud, in charge and, man, does she have “tortitude”! For those of you who don’t have tortoise-shell cats, “tortitude” is a certain attitude they carry: they are loud, talkative and
very sassy! 
Boo’s favorite things to do are: sit on the ledge of the bath tub during my bath time, chasing my other cat Moe around the apartment, chasing/playing with the laser pointer, eating strawberries, raspberries and salmon and, of course, napping! Boo brightens my every day, she has snuggled me through many ups and downs, break ups and new beginnings and I’m pretty lucky to have a cat like her!"
Courtesy Brenna J.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Power of Eating Right

"We have to practice mindful eating. We should eat in such a way that compassion can be preserved in us." - From Under the Banyan Tree by Thich Nhat Hanh
 What does "mindful eating" mean to you? Something to think about today

Time for a Dose of "Vitamin Me"!

When I was a bit younger, I thought mantras were silly. I thought that chanting the same thing over and over was never going to work; that it was a waste of time to try to alter your way of thinking by repeating a word or phrase. I know now that it didn't work for me because I was so hesitant to let it work for me. Once I gave it a chance, it (surprise, surprise!) started to work for me, and now I use mantras almost every day.

All humans have bad days - where they hate the world, or they feel that the world hates them. We're allowed to have these, but it becomes different when it affects someone physically or even begins to take over their life... much like what I struggled with earlier in my life.
Mantras should be something like steps; start out small and work up! By this, I mean starting with an easy mantra like, "It will be okay today."
Then, "I will be okay today."
Or, "Today will be a good day."
Remember that you should start trying to improve your perception of your situation. Don't overreact. Don't take things personally. Perceive that things are being done either innocently or to your benefit and see what happens. Keep in mind that this will not be an instant or overnight epiphany. It is a process, much like anything else. You will find that improving your perception thus improves your mood and your outlook.
Give it a try, and good luck!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dip It, Dip It Real Good!

Often, there are days where I get home and I don't feel like cooking or even eating a full meal for that matter. Sometimes, I just need a quick, easy snack to get me through!
Behold, a deliciously easy and quick dip! Gluten & dairy free as always:
Kath's Delightfully Delectable Dip
1/2 cup gluten and dairy free, low sodium beef broth - boiled
3 tbsp. gluten and dairy free mayo
1/4 cup Kinnickinnick gluten and dairy free panko style bread crumbs
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. rosemary
pinch of salt and pepper
corn chips (optional)

Boil beef broth in small saucepan. Once boiled, stir and set aside. Combine rest of ingredients in small bowl with fork or small whisk until thoroughly combined.
Add beef broth and stir until mixture has a texture like a thick paste - not runny! If it becomes runny, drain excess broth.
Serve with corn chips or tortilla chips and enjoy!
Remember to read ingredients and everything in moderation - this is addicting!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Crunchy Casserole!

One of the things I feel very privileged to have found was Mrs. Leeper's corn pastas. They cook quickly, easily, and they don't get mushy and sticky and, they make a delightful addition to a crunchy casserole!
Now, I find that you can put whatever you want into a casserole and it usually turns out pretty good. That being said, though, I promise I won't fill the blog with different casseroles that I say are the "best" ever - just keep in mind that you can get creative!

Kath's Crunchy Corn Pasta Casserole
2 cups Mrs. Leeper's corn rotelli, cooked
1 1/2 cup gluten free chicken broth
1/2 red onion, chopped1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
1/2 cup peas, cooked
2 tbsp. gluten and dairy free mayonnaise
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. cornstarch
handful of Edward & Sons' Toasted Onion Brown Rice Crackers, crushed
shredded mozzarella-style dairy free cheese (optional)

Heat oven to 350F. Bring chicken broth to boil in stove top pan, and add noodles until fully cooked. Layer 1 cup of noodles on bottom of ceramic casserole pan and evenly distribute onion, peppers, corn and peas and layer last cup of pasta over top.
In small mixing bowl, mix together mayo, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, flour and cornstarch until thoroughly mixed together. Pour mayo mixture over top of noodles and stir, mixing evenly.
Sprinkle crushed rice crackers evenly over top of noodles. Bake for 10-15 minutes. After timer rings, sprinkle dairy free cheese on top and place in oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and gently crispy.



Got Gluten-Free? (Or Dairy Free?)

I love being creative in the kitchen... and it's a good thing, too, because I have to be now!

We love the gluten and dairy free blogs out there, helping to support and assist those afflicted with allergies like Go Dairy Free or Sandra's Original Gluten Free General Store! I hope that my recipes have filled your bellies and maybe inspired you to get cooking!

So, if you have a fabulous gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, allergen-free recipe that you would like to share, please do! You can email me at frenchonionsoupblog@gmail.com or post a comment here on how to contact you!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Something To Think About

"Buddhist teachings are not a religion, they are a science of mind."

-The Dalai Lama


Sweets for The Sweet!

Let's start our New Year off sweet! I hope that all of our readers had an amazing Christmas/ holiday season and a fabulous new year!
Below, you'll find that this recipe is similar to my Chocolate Coconut Banana Breakfast Quinoa, but I've merged it with gingerbread! Now, I think that this recipe can be used at any time of the year- why not substitute banana or zucchini bread for the gingerbread in the summer? I dreamed this up when I was thinking of a suitable dessert that I can actually eat for Christmas Day dinner at my future mother-in-law's. I just Googled a gingerbread recipe online and substituted the flour for a gluten free blend and used original almond milk. It's actually extremely simple!

I sprinkled crushed candy cane on top of this pudding to keep in the Christmas theme.

Kath's Chocolate Banana Gingerbread Pudding
1 cup gingerbread, fully baked
1/2 cup light coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen)
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1 tbsp. honey 
1 banana, mashed
Bring coconut milk to boil on stovetop. Stir in cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, honey and banana. Whisk ingredients together until mix develops a pudding-like consistency.
Crumble gingerbread over pan (I used a disposable Christmas tree, Dollarama pan). Pour chocolate mix over gingerbread and let cool; about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle crushed candy cane over top of pudding (optional) and cover. Refrigerate until need to serve or serve warm. Either way, it's delicious!