anti-Candida diet (ACD)

Recipe: Paprika Rice (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

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If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring two spices with you, what would they be?

For me, this answer is simple: smoked Spanish paprika and cumin. The rich color, intense flavor, and incredible fragrance of smoked paprika makes my heart swoon, and the complex acrid flavor of cumin makes me weak in the knees. Without these two spices, my kitchen would seriously suffer. So would my taste buds!  They make everything taste good, working wonders on roasted vegetables, meats and poultry, and grain dishes. 

My most recent spiced rice dish exhibits my adoration of smoked Spanish paprika and cumin. It also displays my love for the coriander plant, combining both the dry ground seeds and the fresh leaves (a.k.a. cilantro). These herbs and spices enliven simple ingredients and create a wonderfully flavored dish that accentuates any meal. 

Spiced grain dishes like this one are a great staple for your weekly meal rotation. They are easy to prepare, affordable, nutritious, and wonderfully satisfying. If you have a rice cooker, making grain dishes is even easier, as you can simply flip the switch, walk away, and return to find perfectly cooked rice. I hardly ever cook rice on the stovetop anymore!

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Paprika Rice

yield: 6 servings

The rich, alluring flavor of smoked Spanish paprika flavors this dish. It is easy to prepare and very delicious, making it the perfect side dish for just about anything. The flavors are especially good with Mexican or Spanish inspired meals, grilled chicken or tilapia flavored with lime juice and chile powder, or Mexican chorizo. For a quick meal, top hot paprika rice with a fried egg - keep the yolk soft for an extra delicious twist - and serve with sauerkraut. 

  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups water, broth, or mix (I did half and half)
  • 3/4 tsp unrefined salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro, or more to taste
  • unrefined salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • optional garnishes: extra virgin olive oil, chopped cilantro, smoked Spanish paprika

Soak rice in 6 cups of water for 6-12 hours. Drain rice in a fine colander, and discard water. Rinse rice very well. Place rice in a rice cooker with vegetables, broth/water, olive oil, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander.  Stir together, then place cover on rice cooker and cook per manufacturer's recommendation.

If you don't have a rice cooker, do the same thing but place in a pot on the stovetop. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Let cook about 45 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Remove cover and toss rice with a fork. Add fresh cilantro to hot rice and stir, seasoning with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, and if desired, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with additional chopped fresh cilantro and a dusting of smoked paprika. Serve.

Store leftovers in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Recipe: Braised Greens with Black Olives (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

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The other night when I opened my refrigerator, I was greeted by an eccentric mix of edibles. I had jars of rhubarb pickles, pickled beets, sauerkraut, preserved lemons, diluted coconut milk, and two massive bags of rhubarb crowding the lower shelf. Homemade mayonnaise and mustards, flax oil, hemp oil, cod liver oil, curry pastes, anchovies, and miso crowded the compartments on the door. I had beet kvass, kefir grains, a tiny amount of yogurt, a gnarly nob of fresh horseradish, lots of eggs, two kinds of hummus from the food swap, three (three!!!) varieties of homemade rhubarb sauces, and one package of elk pork sausage on other shelves. In my crisper drawer, I found a stray bulb of kohlrabi, lots of spinach, 1 bunch of kale, 2 stalks green garlic, and the requisite carrots and celery.

Gah!

My generally spastic lack of meal and ingredient planning seemed to be exhibiting itself in full form. Goodness gracious. I looked at that colorful assortment and wondered what in the world I would make for dinner. I had a ton of food, but it was all unusual. A woman can't live on rhubarb or fermented vegetables alone (although the last few weeks, I've been awfully close).

I wasn't terribly hungry, so I defaulted to sauteed greens, dotted with onions, those green garlic stalks, and oily, rich black Moroccan olives. Those olives absolutely win me over, day or night, and I thought they would add a wonderful richness to light spring greens. I added a little broth, a little splash of balsamic vinegar, and - voila - a beautiful dinner was made!

And, as a side note, while the greens cooked, I managed to eat a buckwheat muffin, snack on some cashews, and finished up two of the waning rhubarb sauces. I served them over leftover yogurt on different sides of the bowl. Geez. So much for not feeling "hungry". I felt like a fancy compost pile, absorbing whatever tasty foods needed to be cleaned out of the fridge! Finally settling down with a big bowl of these greens was a delightful end to my rather, uh, scattered dinner. 

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Braised Greens with Black Olives

Yield: 2-4 servings

You could easily substitute either the spinach or kale with equivalent amounts of another dark leafy green, such as Swiss chard, collards, dandelion greens, or mustard greens. I would recommend getting oil-cured Moroccan black olives, as the recipe calls for, if making this recipe. They have a very rich rich, oily, figgy, salty flavor that sets them apart from their conventional brine-packed black olive cousins. Find them at co-ops, natural foods stores, gourmet markets, or middle Eastern markets. They will not be packed in brine, and are considered a "dry" olive. Sometimes you can find these dry olives packed with thyme, Herbes de Provence, garlic, or red pepper flakes - any of those flavors would also work very well. If you cannot find Moroccan oil-cured olives, you could always substitute kalamata olives, which will have a very different flavor but will be better for this recipe than canned black or green olives.

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 stalks green garlic or 2 small leeks
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured Moroccan black olives
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth, divided
  • 3 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 3 cups packed fresh kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • pinch aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice)

Slice onion. Trim the long, darker green leaves off the garlic stalk, and finely slice the head and light green portions of the stalk. Finely chop the pitted black olives.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add onion and green garlic (or leeks) and saute for 5 minutes. Then add olives and 1/2 cup broth, stir, cover, and braise for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and replacing cover. Onions should be quite tender at this point. Add greens on top of onions, add remaining broth, and cover. Braise for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until greens are tender. Then remove cover and let cool for 3-5 more minutes, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate. Remove from heat and sprinkle with aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes and balsamic or lemon, if using. Serve warm.


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Quick Roasted Kabocha Squash (gluten-free, ACD, vegan option)

Quick Roasted Kabocha Squash (gluten-free, ACD, vegan option)

Quick Roasted Kabocha Squash

Kabocha squash is my favorite squash. Also referred to as the Japanese pumpkin, kabocha squash look like a cross between a pumpkin and an acorn squash. The dark green skin becomes very soft when cooked and is very much edible (no peeling needed!), and the flesh inside is sweet, dense, creamy, and richly flavored. Kabocha is one of the first foods I turned to when I changed my diet over three years ago, and we have been in a true romance ever since.

Very similar to the nutritional make up of other winter squashes, kabocha is an excellent choice. Winter squashes are full of complex carbohydrates and digestion-stimulating fiber. This means that they have a relatively low glycemic index, so your blood won't sugar spike and your metabolism will remain more level. It is jam-packed with loads of nutrition, boasting admirable amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and even some protein. From an energetic standpoint, kabocha squash is extremely warming and grounding, and helps to nourish and support the spleen and pancreas. Therefore, it is often suggested in Chinese medicine or macrobiotic diet plans as a way to strengthen digestion and support overall health.  

 

Gluten-Free Birthday Party Ideas: making "potions" at a Harry Potter party

Gluten-Free Birthday Party Ideas: making "potions" at a Harry Potter party

a happy child with his "potion"

A few weekends ago, I traveled to Northern Iowa to participate in a cob oven-building workshop. My friends were hosting the workshop at their home and I took advantage of the opportunity to stay the weekend with them and their three kids. One of the highlights of the weekend was participating in their 9-year-old son's Harry Potter-themed birthday party. 

The minute I arrived, my friend told me I was going to be the Potions Master and lead the kids in an activity to make their own smoothies (a.k.a. "potions") from fresh fruits. Awesome! We prepared the fruits before the party and displayed them in trays and bowls. To label each magic ingredient, I drew out the names of each on paper with a water insoluble pen, tore it around the edges, and lightly singed each torn edge to make it look old. We grownups came up with some fun ideas for the "magic" equivalents of common ingredients: 

After the kids finished a rousing game of quidditch, it was time for potions. Each child was given a goblet and instructed to fill it up with their choice of fruit and juice. I put the ingredients the Vitamix with a handful of ice, asking them (in a terrible British accent) to tell me what their magical "potion" will do, then flipped the switch. As it blended, I waved my wand (oh yeah, I had a wand) and made crazy sounds for dramatic effect. Then I poured their "potion" it right back in their goblet. A quick rinse of the blender container, and I was ready for the next one!

dragon hearts and eyes of giant newt

Cultured Curried Carrot Sticks (gluten-free, ACD)

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I love making cultured (also known as lacto-fermented) foods. After taking about 6 months off from fermenting (save a battle with 20 heads of cabbage that resulted in 7 gallons of kraut), I'm back at it. Last week I made some lovely Cultured Curried Carrot Sticks, and now I've been bit hard by the fermentation bug. 

Cultured and lacto-fermented foods - such as sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, yogurt, miso, kombucha, and kvass - are rich in probiotic bacteria, enzymes, and amino acids. These foods aid digestion, increase immunity, and help alkalize the body. While everyone can benefit from consuming fermented cultured foods, they are especially beneficial if you are recovering from chronic illness, allergies, yeast infections, or have taken antibiotics recently. Many natural grocery stores and co-ops offer wonderful cultured and fermented foods, but they are often costly. I prefer to make most of mine at home - it is simple and much more affordable! 

These cultured carrot sticks can easily be made year-round. Make them now using sweet and tender young carrots from the spring garden, and use larger carrots as the summer goes on and as summer wanes to fall. If you can store carrots in cold storage for winter, or actually get local carrots through the colder months, you're in luck, and can make this even when the snowflakes start to fly! But if I were you, I'd make lots of jars through spring, summer, and fall, and take the winter off and rely on your stash. Jars of cultured carrots will last 6-8 months when kept in cold storage! And besides, the longer they sit, the better they taste; cultured foods age like fine wines.

I took a few jars of these carrot sticks to the second MPLS Swappers food swap over the past weekend (if you want to read more about the MPLS Swapperscheck out our blog). I organize this event with my friends A-K and Mandy, and it was a big success once again! All my jars of carrots were swapped in no time. Thankfully, I reserved a couple of jars at home for myself and let them ferment a few days longer, to get nice and sour the way I like them. And when I opened that jar after 7 days, those carrots bubbled. 

It's aliiiiiiive, ha ha ha ha ha!

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Cultured Curried Carrot Sticks

yield 6 pints or 3 quarts

These carrot sticks are slightly sour, slightly salty, slightly spicy, and plenty crunchy. They have a beautiful bright orange color, due in part to the addition of curry powder. Serve along side sandwiches or wraps, Indian-style meals, as part of a relish tray, or eat straight out of the jar. Cultured carrot sticks can also be finely chopped and added to relishes, salsas, or chutneys for a healthful probiotic kick.

Metal reacts with fermented foods, so remove carrot sticks from jars with wood or plastic utensils and serve in non-metallic bowls/trays.

  • 4 pounds carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 fresh cayenne peppers, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
  • 6 Tbsp whey***
  • 3 Tbsp unrefined salt
  • 3 tsp whole coriander seeds 
  • 30 shelled whole cardamom seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • filtered water

Heat a small heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds and lightly toast, stirring often, until they are golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl to cool.

Slice carrots into 3-4 inch lengths about 1/4-inch x 1/4-inch. prepare other vegetables as directed. Thinly slice one of the halved cayenne peppers cross-wise. 

If using pint jars...

Add 1 sliced garlic clove, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, 5 cardamom seeds, 1/4 tsp curry powder, 1 Tbsp whey, and 1 1/2 tsp salt to jar. Then tightly pack with carrot sticks and one of the cayenne pepper halves. Sprinkle with a few slices of cayenne pepper. Then fill with water within 1 inch of the top.

If using quart jars...

Add 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 10 cardamom seeds, 1/2 tsp curry powder, 2 Tbsp whey, and 3 tsp salt to jar. Then tightly pack with carrot sticks and two of the cayenne pepper halves. Sprinkle with a few slices of cayenne pepper. Then fill with water within 1 inch of the top.

Tightly close jars, and shake lightly to distribute ingredients and dissolve salt. Then place jars in a tray and set on the counter at room temperature for 4-7 days.  Try them at 4 days and see if you want them to be more sour or not, to get them more sour and softer leave them out at room temperature longer.  While I enjoyed them at 4 days (they were very crunchy and a little tart/sour), I liked them best after 7 days (softer but still crunchy and more intensely sour). If you let them sit for 7 days, they will bubble quite a bit when you open them - that's live food, friends! In warmer weather, your carrots will ferment more quickly, so be sure to check in on them periodically.

After fermenting at room temperature, keep in your fridge. If you can, wait a week or two before eating them - the flavor will intensify. The longer they sit, the better they are! Like all ferments, these will last for 6-8 months when kept in cold storage.

***A Note on Whey

Whey is the watery liquid remaining after milk has been curdled (yogurt) and strained. Full of enzymes, probiotic bacteria, vitamins, and minerals, whey can be used for making fermented foods and beverages, and is also a healthful drink on its own. Whey can be made easily at home by straining yogurt. Strained yogurt is thick, rich, and creamy, and has a more intense flavor than unstrained yogurt. 

To strain yogurt, I generally line a medium sized fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a large coffee filter, place it on top of a bowl, and put 2-4 cups of yogurt in the lined strainer. I cover lightly with a towel and let strain for 12-24 hours. You can do it on the counter, or you can put it in the fridge. The site Wonderful Ingredients also offers up two good methods for straining yogurt.  

If you are intolerant to lactose, whey is probably not a good choice for you. Some individuals who are casein sensitive may be able to tolerate whey, but cross contamination is highly likely. So, if you are intolerant or don't have whey (or plain yogurt) on hand, you can make this recipe without whey with success. Simply omit the whey and double the amount of sea salt - the increased quantity of salt will help preserve the carrots and stave off unfriendly bacteria in the whey's absence. 


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!