Monday, March 29, 2010

Make Ahead for Easy Entertaining

Hey everyone,  I know I seem to just be pasting links and nothing else the last few days.  I've had company and it is hard because you don't want to spend the entire time they are here pecking away on a keyboard.  So I just wrote the things I'm obligated to write and pasted them to the blog.  WHEW..I think I'm actually caught up.  What am I saying? I'm NEVER caught up!

We did have a marvelous time though.  We couldn't have asked for a nicer day to spend on Sanibel this past Saturday.  I feel so priveledged to live near all this beauty and I love taking my visitors out to see the sights.  One way that allows me more flexability when entertaining is to have meals and snacks made ahead.  I spend the day (or two) before guests arrive getting everything ready and then it's a snap to get meals on the table.  It give us more time to enjoy the sights! 

My mother and her friend Betty came down from Jacksonville.  I'm probably going to get a call threatening my life for posting this picture but here they are...they were SO disappointed over that No Nude Sunbathing thing..... 

I swear, you can't take these two ANYWHERE!!

Mom and me on Sanibel Island...a little windblown but I at least managed to get HALF my hair up in that too-small hair clip!

View of Sanibel from the and water are the same color!

The water was a little cold for a native Floridian...these people are OBVIOUSLY from up North!

Here are some pics of my make ahead foods for entertaining and lovely virgin cocktails!

Ultimate Spinach Artichoke Dip

Have a bite!

Black bean, brown rice and corn salad in spinach wraps

Semi-frozen Strawberry Coconut Soup with a hint of Grenadine

Spinach Sald with Stone Fruit and Mango Heather Honey Poppyseed Dressing

Virgin Pina Coladas...SO good!

Crepes filled with Strawberry Cream Cheese!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Detox For A Toxic World Article

Mrs. Green Jeans

Well, I am about to embark on my container gardening experiement.  I've grown herbs, tomatoes, peppers and such in other places we've lived so this isn't my first time getting my hands in the dirt!  Here, we live on a canal and wildlife is plentiful however.  My dog was chasing down an otter last week and I was screaming like a lunatic trying to get her inside the lanai.  I've always read that otter are one little critter you don't want to mess with.  Mind you this was no small otter either.  I'd say he was a good 25-30 pounder...bigger than my neighbor's annoying Schnauzer.  Hmm...if that otter is hungry enough you think he'd....nahhhhh. 

The other problem (which isn't a problem at all except for gardening) I have is the marsh birds.  I love seeing them but I doubt I get many tomatoes or peppers if they could get to the plants.  The solution is to grow everything in pots in the lanai...which gets MORE than adequate sun...except for today of course!  I had planned to pot everything today but it's down right yucky outside.  Maybe the sun will come out and chase the rain away this afternoon. 

I'm fairly certain the herbs with do okay in pots and I bought two varieties of tomato plants that are recommended for container gardening because they don't attain the height of some other varietites.  The ones I planted at our old house in Jacksonville were so huge, they towered over my head by a foot when they'd reached their peak.  I thought I never was going to stop picking tomatoes from FOUR plants.  The same was true for my peppers...8 plants and we had banana peppers coming out our ears.  I think we got a total of 3 or 4 bushels off those 8 plants.  They flowered and bore fruit 3 times! 

I've broadened my gardening horizons this time.  I always plant the herbs I use most frequently which are basil, flat leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, sage and lavender just becuase I love to dry it and put it in sachets or just have it in containers sitting around the house for the pleasant aroma.  I may try growing my own Stevia this time and see if I can figure out how to actually USE it in leaf form.  Oops, just realized I forgot to get one of my fave'  It's back to the garden center for me!

For vegetables, I've chosen two varieties of tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, three types of artisanal lettuces (butter crunch, red varigated leaf and a dwarf romaine), white eggplant, yellow summer squash and heirloom spinach (the huge, very dark curley leaves).  I LOVE that type of spinach and you can never find it in the markets.  In Orlando, I used to get it from a Hydroponic grower and it was amazing.  I don't generally prefer hydroponically grown veggies but that stuff was addiciting. 

The rain has started again so it does not look like I'll be potting my garden this morning.  There are still a couple of things I'd like to try growing but if I don't find plants (and they must be from organic seed) then I'll order some from Johnny's Seed Cataloge and raise them myself.  I'm still wanting some Collard Greens and Lacanato Kale and I wouldn't mind red Chard either.  We'll see what I can find.

One word of caution if you plan on doing any container gardening.  If you're going to buy organic seeds or plants...don't neglect to buy organic potting soil.  If you buy regular, pre fertilized potting may be getting junk that you don't want.  I know it's gross too but honestly, buy a sack of that "denatured" manure and fertilize with a little of that from time to time.  Ok...this might be one of the few times in your entire life you can say "Yes, I'll take a Sack of *&#@ please!"  LOLOL  Told you my mind goes into strange places!

Anyway...I have no pictures to post at this time thanks to the rain!  Maybe tomorrow once I've gotten everything potted/planted. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Article on ph Balance

Easy Coconut Shortbread Cookies

As with the mayo, I had a little free time on my hands the other day and decided to spend it looking online for an egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free coconut macaroon recipe.  BWAHAHAHA!!!  I came across one or two but the reviews were dim to say to the least.  After reading the recipes, I understood why.  I've been cooking a long time and can usually tell just by reading a recipe if its going to work.  As much as I love and use coconut flour, I know it will turn into sand if isn't combined with something that will bind it.

I think part of the problem is that many people don't understand the products they're using, their properties and how well they play with others!  I will say this right now...gluten-free products are not very forgiving.  A mistake will usually not turn out edible...LOL  You'll either get something that falls apart and can be used to fill a sandbox OR you'll get something heavy enough to bludgeon someone to death with.  My mind goes in strange places.  I'm envisioning an episode of NCIS in which Ducky informs Jethro that the victim died of blunt force trauma to the head inflicted by a laof of gluten-free bread! Abby finds trace evidence of fava bean flour and coconut fibers under the suspects fingernails.  Clearly, I need therapy!

Cookies can either be hockey pucks or sweet, gritty crumbs depending on how you play your cards.  Many of the recipes I came across relied on eggs for binding and of course...this homey don't play dat!  Still others used sweetened condensed milk and while not as allergenic (for me) as CEGB's, that stuff is like eating creamy corn syrup...yuck.  I hate the smell of it too.  That first whiff when you open the can is vaguely sour and sickeningly sweet at the same time. 

My little brain started spinning because somewhere up there, locked away among the cobwebs was a previously shelved idea of what to do with the commercial baker's grade coconut creme concentrate that I just happen to have a case of.  This is NOT to be confused with that crap in the market called coconut cream.  That stuff has a years worth of high fructose corn syrup in every spoonful and a little polysorbate 60 (or 80 can't remember which and does it really matter??) thrown in for good measure.  Probably has artificial coconut flavor added too.  Simple stated...bad ju ju! 

This stuff I'm talking about is made by Tropical Traditions ( and is 100% pure concentrated coconut.  It's make up is about 70% coconut oil and the rest is the fiber from the meat.  I guess you could also think of this as coconut butter.  This stuff is insanely delicious...if you are a coocnut lover that is.  You can spread it on toast like butter or (dare I admit this) just eat a spoonful out of the jar once in a while.  Its naturally sweet because well...coocnut is natually sweet and when it's very concentrated like this product almost tastes like it has been sweetened but it hasn't.  The cream is solid like butter about 75-77 degrees.  Like pure coconut oil though, beyond that temperature it becomes liquid.  It's still very thick and creamy (much like the consistency of sweetened condensed milk) but pourable.

So I know you're dying to know how the cookies came out right?  They were marvelous BUT...the texture wasn't that of a macaroon.  To me it most closely resembled shortbread...hence the title.  These are like stupid easy to make.  The biggest thing is just getting the coconut cream concentrate. can also use this concentrate to make coconut milk.  You just add a teaspoon for ever 6 ounces of water.  Use warm water and blend, the chill.  So if you order a quart online don't be worried that you have to make a million cookies.  Just use it for milk and you can cook with it was well.  It's great in curries, breads, rice...whatever.
I guess I should add that I am NOT affiliated with or compensated by Tropical Traditions in any way.  I just happen to love their products.

Gluten-Free Vegan Coconut Shortbread Cookies

A drizzle of chocolate never hurt any cookie!

  • 1/2 cup tropical traditions coconut cream concentrate, melted
  • 1 heaping cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 3 tablespoons organic coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons organic agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons melted organic coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a sheet pan with parchement paper. 
In a medium bowl stir together coconut cream and shredded coconut until blended.  Add coconut flour, xantham gum and salt; mix well.  Pour in agave and coconut oil.  Mix with wooden spoon until mixture is completely combined.  It will be very thick.
Use a small 1 ounce scoop (like a tiny ice cream scoop) to form mixture into 12 balls.  Pack into scoop well.  Release from scoop onto parment lined baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.  Cookies should only be lightly browned and baked enough to hold together. 

This recipe only makes 1 dozen because it was a test batch and I didn't want to waste a large amount of ingredients if it didn't work.  Fortunately, I was pretty sure it would...and it did!  Double or triple the amounts if you want to make more cookies.  Store cookies in airtight container.

just out of the oven...lightly golden brown

close up...shows the dense shortbread consistency

don't the look scrumptuous?

it's coconut LUV

I don't know who could have done that...really!

(c)copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

May-yo Vegan Sammich Never Be Dry Again

Just tell me what kind of disturbed mind would spend an entire day researching mayonnaise?  Honestly, sometimes I even scare myself!  The crazy thing is...I don't even LIKE mayo.  In fact, I am dangerously close to hating it.  So why the sudden obsession with mayo?  Well, there are just so many recipes that use it, from salad dressings to chocolate cake.  Now mind you I'd sooner spread the stuff at the bottom of a pond on my sammich as to glop it up with mayo but I DO use it in recipes. 

I'm not a strict, die hard Vegan (anymore) because I do eat some meat and I need intervention for my addictions to Feta Cheese and Fage Yogurt.  But as anyone who reads my blogs knows by now, Im an egg-phobe and except for those two dairy products, pretty much a dairy tee-totaler.  I  must have googled 50 different homemade mayo recipes and couldn't find ANY that didn't have some objectionable ingredient in it. 

Most of the Vegan recipes use (bleeeccchhhh) tofu!  I don't know what it is with me and tofu...I just CANNOT eat or cook with that stuff.  Besides the fact that it tastes vaguely like mold/dirt, has an icky texture (IMHO), I just don't like to eat much soy.  There are too many controversial findings regarding soy consumption.  I just feel like where there's that much smoke there has to be some fire. 

Don't call the guys in the white coats when I say this BUT...I have made TWELVE batches of mayo today in an attempt to get a totally dairy and egg free coconut oil based mayo that has the right texture and taste.  This last batch FINALLY worked.  I know you are probably saying to yourself..."if it's that blasted hard to make...why is she publishing the recipe because nobody is going to make it."  Be of good cheer!  Its really not hard to make at all.  The issue was getting the ingredients and the amounts right.  I'm quite pleased with the final results...ok, well as pleased as I can be over mayonnaise anyway!  Seriously though, even though I don't plan to be slathering up a big ole mayo sammich anytime soon...I'm thrilled at the possibilites for vegan baking and dairy free salad dressings, dips and sauces.

Soy-Free Vegan Coconut Oil Mayonnaise

This is one for which I do NOT suggest Extra virgin Coconut Oil because of it's natural sweetness and the milk coconut flavor.  Expeller Pressed Organic Coconut Oil (buy organic so you don't get denatured, bleached junk) is flavorless but still has the same healthy medium chain triglycerides as virgin coconut oil.

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 Tablespoons non gmo organic corn starch (don't sub a different starch)
Dissolve the corn starch in the cold water and almond milk in a small saucepan.  Set over medium heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly until mixture thickens.  It will be VERY thick goopy!  Whisk in an additional 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk until blended.  Don't worry about any lumps.

Pour this mixture into the blender and add:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • a tiny pinch of turmeric (for color...optional)
Blend with the cornstarch mixture until smooth.  With blender on high, gradually drizzle in 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted expeller pressed coconut oil.  The mixture will be somewhat thick and very creamy even while it is still warm.  Scrape mixture out into a jar or glass container with lid.  Cool to room temperature (uncovered so it doesn't sweat), cover and refrigerate.

I don't really know how long it will last in the fridge since this is the first time I've made it but based on the ingredients, I'd estimate 2 weeks.  I may ammend that as I study how the starch reacts as it "cures".  I can't see any of these ingredients going bad in two weeks but only time will tell how well it retains its texture.  I anticipate that it will do just fine because the coconut oil will keep it emulsified but we'll see!

The blending stage.  Wish I had thought about grabbing the camera while I was making the starch base but after 11 failed tries...I didn't have high hopes for this one either...LOL

The mayo is still warm at this point but you can already see that it's thickened and creamy.

Beautiful consistency and surprisingly light texture.

Thick enough to cling to the knife...that's good..and it's not even chilled yet!

I've scraped it out of the blender into a spring lid jar.

This hasn't even been chilled and the texture is really nice!  Almost looks good enough to take a bite...almost!
Hey...are you diggin my Tim-Burtonish nails??  These are my real nails BTW (someone asked before)...I just keep the gel coated and I LOVE goth designs!  These are rather like dead trees no??

Spreads VERY nicely.  I'm proud of myself.  Now I just need someone to tell me how it tastes!  LOL...I actually did break down and force myself to taste it in the interest of science!

(c)copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Recipe for Ground Bison Bolgnese

shown served with Gluten-Free Quinoa Pasta Elbows

(c) copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet

New Kid On The Blog...

That's right....I am now the "official food blogger" for The Cape Coral Daily Breeze!  I feel like that guy in the Highlander movie........THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

Whose got your Gluten-Free, Vegan Back Baby?

I knew it was a crazy idea because everyone knows you can't make crepes without eggs right?  Then I started thinking about all that gluten and stomach ache I was going to have even if I figured out a way to make them without chicken embryo gut bombs.  My thinking was, "they are going to be these carboard tasting, goey textured pancakes".  Which, let me add at this juncture...they WILL BE exactly that if you don't chill the dough AND if you fail to cook them long enough.

Typically crepes are made over moderately high heat (not screaming though) and they only cook a couple of minutes per side.  It doesn't matter whether you use a crepe maker or a saute pan (like I do...I don't need another electric gizmo to take up space in my kitchen), the traditional crepe cooks pretty darn fast.  But if you take note of the texture of the batter...especially right after it hits the hot skillet and you swirl it all out nice and thin, you'll notice that it LOOKS rubbery.  Now, if you know how to make them, they don't taste or feel rubbery but you can see the elasticity when they cook.  This of course if from the protein bonds in eggs and the flour. 

Gluten-free Vegan crepes will not have that.  They'll have a little bit of a protein bond from the interaction of the flour and the almond milk...but certainly not enough.  That's why I add a little xantham gum to my batter.  I tried it both ways...with and without.  The ones made without just fell apart.   The ones made with...looked and cooked up much like a traditional crepe with the exception of the cooking time.  Also, the batter doesn't "run" quite as easily when you swirl the pan.  You may need to give it a little help by filling in the gaps with a few drips of batter here and there.  As for cooking less than 5-7 minutes per side, depending on how hot your pan is.  If you get it too hot, the crepes will burn on the outside before they are cooked through so take it easy on the heat.  I kept mine set at a steady medium...dead center of the button on my stove eye.  Match your skillet size to your burner size for even heat distribution and thus even cooking also. 

I know all this sounds like one gigantic pain in the butt...BUT...if you're already a gf and or vegan cook, you are well aware that experimenting is part of the process.  Some of them work...some don't.  This one works great.  As to the taste...they actually taste amazinly close to a regular crepe which totally blows my mind because the CEGB's make up most of the flavor component of regular crepes.  Or is it just a fried bread thing?? 

You can make these sweet or savory.  Reduce the amount of maple syrup in the batter for a savory crepe though.  In this recipe, I made them for dinner filled with mushrooms and shallots sauteed in white wine.  I hope you'll give them a try. 

Gluten-Free Vegan Crepes

•1 cup all purpose gluten free flour blend
•1 teaspoon xantham gum
•2 cups unsweetened almond or rice milk
•1/2 cup water
•1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
•1/4 cup melted coconut oil
•2 tablespoons pure maple syrup - reduce to 2 teaspoons if making savory crepes


•Combine flour, xantham gum and kosher salt in medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until no lumps remain. This process can also be done in the blender.

•Cover batter and chill for at least 2 hours. Note: Chilling is important and crepes may not turn out as well if batter is not chilled.

•To Fry: Heat an 8" non stick skillet over medium heat and brush with a small amount of coocnut oil. Test by dropping a few drops of batter into skillet. Batter should blister up right away.

•Mix batter well before adding to pan. It should be about the consistency of unbeaten heavy cream. Ladle into pan and immediately tilt pan to spread batter. Fill in any holes with a few drops of batter.

•Fry until browned and set before attempting to flip. Crepe will need to cook twice as long as a traditional crepe or inside will be doughy. About 6-7 minutes per side over medium heat.

•Transfer to a plate and continue making crepes until all batter has been used. Use filling of choice.

For a delicious and simple savory filling; saute four thinly sliced shallots in two tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in 1 1/2 pounds of sliced mixed mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are tender. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup white wine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make a slurry of 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder and 3 tablespoons of water or vegetable broth. Pour into mushroom mixture and stir until thickened. Use this mixture to fill crepes.

Make a simple sauce using 1 cup vegetable broth and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk thickened with 1 tablespoon arrowroot. Bring this mixture to a boil; season with salt, pepper and herbs of choice. Serve over mushroom crepes. These are particularly good with a sprinkle of minced fresh Tarragon.

I placed my pan of finished crepes under the broiler with just a little of the sauce over them to crisp up the tops.  It made them look and taste yummy!

About to take a nice big yummy bite!

(c)copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Gluten Gluten Everywhere.....

Well, I've long susupected I have a gluten inolerence issue.  I had some tests a couple years ago that told me what my stomach already knew about dairy and eggs but the grain thing was ambiguous.  They had said that particular test was sophisticated enough to break down each and every possibility with grain related allergy so they just called it an "allergy to silo'd grain".  That lead me to believe it was a mold issue and not really a grain issue.  I do indeed have mold issues because I also can't eat...of all the weird things...SPROUTS!  Nothing sprouted.  There's some kind of microscopic mold spores (harmless unless you are allergic) on sprouts...who knew??  I THINK it's called Aspergillis...I know i didn't spell that right...but I spelled it phonetically.  Anyway...bad ju ju for my stomach!

Lately, my face has been turning beet red within a very short time of eating anything with gluten and soon after...I am uhm well...lets just say "visiting" the porcelain God.  I thought it was wheat but the same thing happens with spelt, bulgar, kasha, buckwheat groats, barley etc.  I'm not about to go have a bunch of tests that I can easily perform by just eliminating this stuff for a week or two and seeing how I feel. 

So, I started this week on my gluten free journey.  Can I just say right from the git-go...what a nightmare!  People think Vegan is restrictive...BWAHAHAHA!  I went to the grocery yesterday and it took me 2 hours to buy 4 or 5 measly little bags of stuff.  I had my granny magnifiers perched on the end of my nose so I could read all that miniscule print.  The thing is...the average lay-person wouldn't have a clue whether some of this stuff contained gluten or not.  Save your breath instead of asking store personel.  They'll just look at you with this "oh puuuleaseeeeee" kind of eyeroll, slack jawed vacant stare.  Other shoppers, taking note of the "weird" stuff in your buggy give you a wide berth in the aisles as if whatever commune-living, hairy-arm pit sporting, Jesus-sandal wearing, free-loving STD, dope-smoking, Charles Manson-following, stick and twig eating-disease you have might be contagious.  Although that can be a good thing in a crowded store.  Next time I may just start singing "Kum bah yaaaaaaaaa" as I shop. 

It's tough finding basic cooking staples that are gluten free.  Snacks...not so much.  It seems Junk Food Fever reaches every segment of the consuming population.  I had no trouble finding snacks.  A really good, high fiber breakfast cereal though...a joke.  I ended up getting these things...Jungle...Gorilla ..crunch something or other that is obviously marketed toward children and our incessant need to fill them up with sugar.  I probably shouldn't have bought them but I really wanted some cereal and that was my only choice.  I am DEFINATELY going to have to get some gluten free oats and just make my own gf granola.  BTW...the general consensus on oats is that THEY aren't the's the other grains that are picked, handled and stored along with them that contaminate them with gluten.  I don't to read up on that.  But I did see Bob's Red Mill has Gluten Free Oats.

There are SO many hidden sources of gluten that you just wouldn't think of.  Anything with the words "modified food starch" or "spices", "seasonings", "flavorings" other words all those ambiguous ingredients that should be suspect anyway...GLUTEN GLUTEN and MORE GLUTEN!!  Yeasts...fermented soy like tamari, teriaki, soy sauce etc.  Many, many, manyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy food additives.  Acutally I'll go as far as to say MOST food additive.  Food caramel coloring for instance.  That's why you have to watch when you buy extracts like vanilla.  The combination of bourbon and caramel have gluten!  That's another problem as well.  Some ingredients may not have gluten proteins (glutanin and gliadin) on their own...but in combination with other ingredients...produce gluten. 

Many gluten free products are also dairy free because of that protein, sugar hocus pocus that occurs you end up with glutens.  How do you like that scientific terminology??  You may notice on many gf products the words..."Casein or lactose free".   Those of course are sugars in dairy but along with other ingredients they can add up to gluten.  Besides...most people who are gluten intolerant seem to have issues with dairy anyway.  I know I do...and you can add eggs to that as well. 

The bottom line (don't hate me for saying this) is that if you really want/need to be sure...make it yourself!  My policy on labels is...if you can't pronounce probably shouldn't be eating it.  Short ingredient lists of easily identifiable products...that's what Im talking about.  Of course I know that's not always feasible.  Not everyone LIVES in their kitchen like I do. 

I found a few pretty decent things that store yesterday so I thought I'd share them with other glutenphobes.

Ok so it was Panda Puffs......excccccccuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me!  Either way...they are cerainly NOT the caliber of cereal I am used to eating but they are gluten free.  I was happy to see that my old standby Almond Milk is gluten free.  It actually says so on the back of the carton.  I would have bought the Pacific Organic brand but theirs did NOT say it was gluten free.  It probably is but I didn't want to chance it.  Plus...Pacific is not unsweetened.  I figured with that cereal (even though it's organic evap cane juice) I didnt need any more sugar!

Can I just tell you how thrilled I was to see that these are gluten free?  They are my favorites and the only brand I will buy whenever I don't have homemade stock.  They have no msg and are available in reduced sodium and unsalted varieties and they taste amazingly close to what you'd make in your own kitchen...better than some people's kitchen I'm sure..LOL.  These TYPES of products are notorious for hidden gluten though so watch it!

Here's another pantry staple in my house...I actually buy them for the higher protein and fiber content of Quinoa but they just happen to also be gluten free.  I've been buying these for years.  Now the pasta is a quinoa/corn blend so if you have corn allergies they won't do for you.  The canister is just dry, bulk quinoa.  Sometimes I also have red Inca Quinoa but I happen to be out of it right now.  Quinoa is a seed technically and it is high in protein (about 6g for a half cup serving), high in fiber and is naturally gluten free.  I love it!  It's very versitile.  You can use it to make pilafs, stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls, as a filler in meat loaf or veggie burgers, as a breakfast cereal with dried fruits and nuts and many other applications.

Even though this isn't an organic product, its my favorite store bought tomato product for many reasons.  Number isn't canned!  It's in a steril paper, shelf stable carton.  Number really is a superior tasting product made from San Marzano tomatoes...IMO, the best for sauces!  Number 3...the ingredient list has ONE item....tomatoes!  number is extremely low sodium because they don't add salt.  the sodium content is just the natural amount in the tomatoes...its like 20mg per serving I think (without going to check).  Now, Im not Jewish but I often look for Kosher foods because of the standards of production.  As you can see by the symbol...these are kosher. 

I like to keep some canned chicken in my pantry for quick chicken salad lunches.  I USUALLY buy this same brand only their organic version...which the store was out of yesterday.  But I've done some research on this company and even their non organic version is produced with good practices.  Again...a product like this can contain gluten in the "seasoned water" that it's packed in.  This product is packed in plain slightly salted water.  Here is another issue with most of these type products.  I compared this brand to 3 other brands....Valley Fresh has an acceptable 180mg of sodim per serving.  Kirklands, Costco and BJ's brands...close to 400mg per serving!  The same with most of the other name brands.  That's just out of control. 

Nut thins do contain dairy..but not lactose.  they are wheat and gluten free and recommended by the Celiac foundation.  Plus...they are very crispy and taste darn good IMO.  These oatmeal cookies also taste very good but I missed a critical ingredient when I was reading the list...eggs.  I won't be buying these again.  But if you don't have egg issues...they are delicious!

I know...this is a "health food-junkfood" but I've bought these many times.  Sometimes you just need something munchy.  There did not USED to be gluten free and the regular version is still available.  However as you can see by the label, they are now available gluten-free which made me happy!  The tomato ones are my favorite so I ususaly go through the bag and pick them out first.  They are so-so on the sodium but if you eat the proper portion size you can slide.  I try to keep snacks under 200mg of sodium. 

Ok...I do love blue corn chips and fortunately corn is gluten free.  However, not all corn chips are equal...especially if they are "flavored" those ubiquitous "seasonings".  I'm not a stickler for buying organic corn products per say...because they are not high on the "dirty" list BUT...unless you can verify that they are made with certified non-gmo're better off buying organic.  Some products will have a certified non-gmo label but not an organic seal and I handle that as long as they aren't full of other crap.
As for jarred need a spanking if you're buying that hideous stew of chemicals anyway...LOL.  The jarred salsas are typically ridiculously high in sodium...standard is about 240mg for 2 tablespoons.  Who in the hell eats only 2 tablespoons of salsa??  Make your own...its easy, healthier and you know exactly what's in it.

This is a new one...acutally got in the greenwise section at publics yesterday.  You can see the "certified whole grain seal" on the side but in the fine print does say they are gluten and wheat free AND low sodium.  The contain a mix of brown rice flour, sesame seeds, potato starch, quinoa seeds, flax seeds, amaranth seeds and corn.  They have used soy sauce powder which I am not familiar with but evidently does not contain gluten.  I'll look into that. 

Here's a variety of gf baking goods.  Some of these I keep on hand anyway like coconut flour, raw apple cider vinegar and arrowroot.  I bought gf all purpose baking mix and xantham gum at the healthfood store yesterday.

Pictures of the Vegan Chocolate pie with GF crust and Coconut Milk Whipped Cream will be coming later.  I think it's going to come out really good but we'll see.

(c) copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet

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Fort Myers, Florida, United States