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My BIG FAT Grain Free Life: September 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby Oh-Oh Baby....

You'd have be a Karen Carpenter fan, either listen to retro music or be born in the 1970s to get the humor behind my post title...
Since my BIG FAT life is centered around a little 8 1/2 month old diva right now, I thought I'd do a little post about what I'm up to my elbows in - baby food!  
In an attempt to save some time, I'm taking an hour or two each week to make a big batch of baby food.  I try to make something orange (either butternut squash or steamed carrots) and green (steamed green beans, spinach and/or Swiss Chard), and then mix them together at feeding time. These cute little two-ounce containers I got from Babies R Us make it a pinch to freeze ahead AND they're BPA and Phthalate free.  
My recipe-ish follows at the end of this post.  PLEASE don't let these recipes take the place of your pediatrician's recommendations for your kiddos.  My baby tolerates cashew milk well, but ask your doctor before giving ANY nut milks to your babies...(whew, I feel better now).
Butternut Squash Baby Food
1 butternut squash
couple of spoonfuls (or is it spoons-ful?) of ghee
cashew milk
Preheat oven to 375F.  Line oven rack with aluminum foil. Prick squash in several places.  Bake until a knife or fork easily slides into squash.
Remove squash and carefully cut in half.  Scoop out seeds.  Scoop squash innards (love that word) into food processor.  Process with ghee and enough cashew milk to desired thickness.
Spinach/Swiss Chard Baby Food
large package spinach
2 bunches Swiss Chard
extra virgin olive oil
cashew milk
Wash and coarsely chop spinach and Swiss Chard.  Heat a saute pan to medium.  When hot, add a few swirls of olive oil.  Add spinach and Swiss Chard and stir.  Cover pan and allow to steam until soft.  Keep checking so it doesn't get too dry.  Add water if needed.
Drain greens in a colander and press with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add to food processor along with 1-2 scoops of  ghee and cashew milk to desired consistency.
Mangia baby! 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Not Your Mother's Ambrosia (dairy free)

I mean no disrespect to any mothers or grandmothers out there in regard to my post title today.  I'm just not a traditional ambrosia person.  For me, the name alone conjures up a vision of canned fruit mixed with "whipped topping" (what IS that stuff anyway?) and sugar-laden flaked coconut - not exactly healthy.  (I believe during my childhood I had versions made with instant pudding...) 

The following recipe is my BIG FAT version of ambrosia. Lately, I've been a little obsessed with this dessert.  It's so simple to make and refreshing.  I've served it to a variety of guests who all gave it the thumbs up.  One friend even thought the sauce was yogurt-based.  But don't worry - it's completely dairy free.

As an aside, I have to apologize, yet again, for not posting very often.  Baby is 8 1/2 months old now.  She's crawling, pulling up, walking around the house while holding onto anything she can get her hands on, and taking up all of the energy I ever thought I had. (She's worth it though...)

With that in mind, is it just me, or have you ever had one of those days when you think you're doing pretty well keeping all the plates spinning?  I mean things are crazy-busy in life, but you've got it ALL under control, baby.  You're showered, hair done and makeup on.  In fact, you haven't looked THIS good since you sported big hair and acid wash jeans back in 1992.  Not bad for an old lady.  Kids are taken care of, house is clean.  You got it goin' on!

I had one of these days recently.  In the midst of it all, I decided to run to my local health food store for some grocery shopping.  I mean NOTHING could break my stride on this day, people!  After strolling around the store, shopping, and getting an almond milk chai tea latte from the familiar coffee barrista in the store, I get in the car and realize I've had dried baby food stuck to my pants the WHOLE time.

Yeah.  I still got it... 

Not Your Mother's Ambrosia (dairy free)

1 cantaloupe melon, seeded and cut into chunks
1/3 to 1/2 of a pinapple, cut into chunks
grapes, halved (eyeball it)
2-3 oranges, peeled, sectioned and sections cut into thirds
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
shredded unsweetened flaked coconut (optional)

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 3 hours
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

If time permits, make sauce in advance and refrigerate.

For the sauce, drain cashews and pour into a high-speed blender.  Add coconut milk, honey and vanilla and process until very smooth. Place in a sealed container (I use a pint-sized glass canning jar.)

In a large bowl, toss together all of the fruit ingredients.  Pour on the sauce and mix.  Top with toasted pecans and shredded coconut to taste.




Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pizza Night! (again)

We've been on a little Friday night pizza kick lately, perchance because eating grain free doesn't afford much pizza-roo in the diet.  Pizza happens to be this girl's favorite (along with about 87 of my other favorite dishes).  So I like food, okay??

I sincerely hope that two back-to-back grain free pizza reviews isn't a blogging faux pas, but I had to share another incredible crust - this time from Against All Grain.  This girl is nothing short of a culinary genius.  Her blog makes my mouth water (strawberry shortcake cupcakes - for instance) and also makes me wonder what in the world I'm doing with a grain free blog.  Seriously.  But I digress.

The topping I chose for this pizza is one of our favorites.  I use leftover or rotisserie chicken, refined sugar free BBQ sauce and raw sharp cheddar.  Once it's out of the oven I toss on some chopped fresh cilantro.  It's easy peasy to throw together for a yummy, laid back family night...


cooked chicken, diced small
raw sharp cheddar (if tolerated - but it would still be good without)
fresh cilantro, chopped

Follow the instructions for the Pizza Crust.  After par-baking the crust, spread the BBQ sauce on.  Next, toss on the diced chicken and cheddar.  

Bake again as instructed.  Once out of the oven, top with fresh cilantro.