Quinoa + Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, Almonds




Gluten free spring side dish of quinoa with Brussels sprouts


It might be love. And just in time for the holidays.


If you've been hanging with me for awhile here on Gluten-Free Goddess, you already know how much we dig quinoa. It's one of our favorite gluten-free grains. I've grown to love- even crave- quinoa's distinct smoky-nutty flavor. More assertive than rice or oatmeal, the taste of quinoa gives gluten-free baked goods and grainy side dishes a certain je ne sais quoi that feels nourishing, healthy, and satisfying all at once.

In a very understated, happy blue skies kind of way, I mean.

Not in a pious eat-this-it's-good-for-you kind of way.

Though I'm sure there are plenty of quinoa converts that proselytize its admirable qualities in the nutrition arena (and why not? Its protein profile is a vegan's wet dream) I prefer to love my quinoa on its own unassuming terms. Even though folks have dubbed her Queen of Grains and Mother of all Vegan Goodness in the Bunny Scampering Universe, I love her just because. Without projection. Without expectation. Or assumption.

I meet quinoa where she stands. I accept her for who she is. In all her cute as a button faux grain glory. After all, her botanical name is Goosefoot. Not a very glamorous moniker. Imagine being saddled with that one.

Hey, you! Goosefoot.

That's right. I'm talking to you.

Sweet Mother Mary. Can you imagine? No wonder she chose to change her name. "Keen-wa" is so much sexier.

So Quinoa, honey. What are you doing tonight? Wanna come over? I've got some Adele.

You can even stay for breakfast.


Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes & Tips


Scones, pie, pumpkin bread, acorn squash, quinoa salad with pears...

Thanksgiving. Nothing sends shivers of trepidation up a gluten-free dairy-free girl's spine like the mental image of Grandma's white bread dressing, or shimmying slabs of Aunt Ida's pumpkin pie. It's a butter and wheat flour gorge fest with danger at every turn- the gut-twisting threat of thirty-six hours chugging Pepto Bismol poised to strike on every holiday decorated plate. Jovial forkfuls of tradition and conviviality aside.

It can be a nightmare, Darling.

If you're lucky, your family is tuned in to the ins and outs of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, and they are well aware of the angst and anxiety food centric holidays can trigger for those of us who need to be vigilant about each and every spoonful of food that enters our quirky gluten-free universe. 

If you are blessed, they are thoughtful and well schooled in where gluten might lurk (turkey broth, marinades, gravy, seasoning packets, spice blends, traditional stuffing, cornbread mixes, crackers, pie crusts, soy sauce). And they don't ask questions like, You can eat "whole" wheat crackers, right? with the emphasis on the word whole as if somehow, the word itself makes the wheat magically safe for gluten sensitive folks to consume (it doesn't). They won't sigh when you politely decline a slice of Aunt Ethel's pecan pie and say, Why don't you just eat the filling and not the crustThey won't hold up a pitcher of turkey gravy and whisper, A little bit won't kill you. Or my own personal favorite, Oh, go ahead... I have food allergies and I cheat.

Right.

If these persuasions are foreign to you, then you, Dear Reader, have much to be thankful for this holiday season. You are blessed with a clan that gets you, loves you without judging you, and honestly cares about every morsel that enters your fragile autoimmune universe.

So this post is for them...


The attentive Moms and Dads, compassionate Aunts and Uncles, smart-as-a-whip Grandmas and Bubbes, sisters, brothers and best buds who believe that if food is love, Thanksgiving should be fun and worry-free and delicious.


For everyone.  


No big whup.

Because after all- we know true love has great taste.



Pumpkin Bread Pudding - Gluten-Free

Fabulous pumpkin bread pudding - gluten-free and dairy-free - from Gluten-Free Goddess®


A Bread Pudding Worthy of a Party.

I rarely even think about food these days (I seem to have returned to my art school habits of running on fuel comprised of coffee, painting, and music). I don't daydream of desserts or breakfast, or intricate candlelit suppers. I do not spend much time at all on the Internet lately.

I am hungry instead for inspiration. For autumn's burnished light and shadow. Rusted jewel colors and texture. Pattern. And rhythm. I am walking the local woods and creeks, listening, breathing in. Fed by the foggy morning softness and water sounds, and leafy, wet wood smoke. Gathering images and emotions for markmaking and paint slinging. Food- for better or worse (I'm not a judger)- is simply not on my radar these days.

But this weekend I woke with a curiously strong hankering for old fashioned pumpkin bread pudding. And gluten-free goodness ensued.


Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach, Pecans + Maple Vinaigrette


Quinoa salad with pears spinach chick peas and toasted pecans is a delicious and light gluten free vegan side dish





Vegan Gluten-Free Bliss, Ya'll.

And it makes a fabulous (beautiful!) Thanksgiving offering for all your guests that shun gluten, dairy, eggs, and critters.

From the archives, in the nick of time...

If you're looking for a fresh idea to liven up your ho-hum salad plate, Sweetcakes, have I got a recipe for you. Light, vegan, and packed with protein, this is no ordinary bunny food. It's got quinoa. Studded with nutty, buttery chick peas and crunchy toasted pecans and succulent jewels of ripe, juicy pears. And did I mention, in a bowl licking maple vinaigrette?

In fact, this is a salad even salad haters would eat. You know, those stalwart gotta have my meat and potatoes aficionados who eschew anything leafy. Who snicker at fiber. And mock carrot sticks. The sort of individual who gets misty eyed for melted butter and bacon martinis. To said individuals, salad could never be anything but rabbit chow. But this lovely mélange of flavors just might pique their interest. The sheer luxurious deliciousness of these autumnal flavors might coax them into flirting with bunny food goodness. Just this once. Then- who knows what could happen? They might settle in, fork poised, all dubious and dreaming of rib eye. They might take a bite. And then another. And another. And before you can say blueberry pancakes on a stick- they might actually smack their lips and grin and hold out their empty plate for more.

And you.

You could smile back, sly and slow, as you reach for the serving spoon to comply with their new found desire.

And feed their craving.



Vegan Pumpkin Pie Praline in Coconut-Pecan Crust

Gluten free pumpkin pie with praline and coconut pecan crust


Don't let yourself succumb to pumpkin spice burn-out just yet, Babycakes. Because this luscious vegan pumpkin praline pie (with coconut pecan crust!) is worth your renewed optimism. Your regained enthusiasm. Your re-ignited cravings for something autumnal and luxurious. 

This isn't your ho-hum standard recipe with evaporated milk and a frozen pie crust.

This pie is radical.

Dairy-free.

Gluten-free.

Gorgeous.

Delicious.

Yep.

Love,

Karina

***

Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

Grainy and crusty gluten free dinner rolls

Let it roll, Baby, roll.

We've been slurping lots of soup this week while the temperatures hover well below my chilly bones' preference of 72 degrees. I hate to complain about 42 degrees, but, honestly. I'm shivering like a kitten in a Steve Martin movie. This is PDX, not New Hampshire. Where is my sunshine and technicolor blue sky? Hiding its good humor behind wrinkled duvets of fuzzy gray clouds, that's where.

So we make our homemade gluten-free soup.

But the soup needs a companion. Our potage is lonely. And so I play matchmaker. I've been inviting gluten-free roll recipes to come and play. I've been flirting with their quirks and grainy idiosyncrasies, trying to be a good host. Coaxing their prickly little batters into behaving. As in, taste GOOD. And I've had some almost there success. But nothing to brag about. Nothing blog worthy.

Until today. These rolls are a balance of whole grain flavor and softness. Just crusty enough. These were tender and lovely warm from the oven. Not gummy. Not heavy. Not too grainy.

Just right.


Pumpkin Quinoa Cookies - For Breakfast?

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Quinoa Cookies with Nutmeg Icing
Pumpkin cookies with quinoa flakes. Like oatmeal- but better.


Iced Pumpkin Quinoa Cookies. Yum.

Dear Reader (yes, Babycakes, I'm talking to you)- you know how I feel about you, right? I'm crazy about you. I read your kind and thoughtful comments on various social media. I am humbled by your generous,  warm and giving e-mails (I save them). 

Your feedback and support keeps me going and inspires me.


I started this whole crazy blogging adventure back in a village on Cape Cod famous for quaint. One of those slow paced leafy communities with whitewashed churches and a town grist mill. Salt weathered shingles and white picket fences and roses in June. You know, historic. Beachy. The magical stuff of regional painters and windswept poets prone to melancholy.

Then an empty nest ignited the urge for going and my husband and I moved west to the rural high desert of New Mexico where the cobalt beauty of an oceanic sky met the hot iron of isolation and a certain individual's proclivity toward brittle bones. My broken hip changed my body forever.

Four- er- now thirteen!- years later (relocated to Austin, Texas) I am profoundly grateful. And I am wrestling with new ideas and facing certain limitations post-you-know-what (still waiting for Margaret Mead's promise of post-menopausal zest). Days are often a stew of conflicting realities, losses and gains stirred so close together they emulsify.

There are days I feel thirty and days I feel eighty

Sometimes in the same single moment. 

Forgive my habitual drift into philosophical territory here, but here's the thing. A growing, deepening awareness of how little we actually control has sparked my need to surrender. And shake loose some assumptions. Including the perception of Other (risking a messy and complicated expansion of the heart, the awareness of Yeah, I am that too). Which startles you with a sharp clean view of what is valuable and true. 

What is bare bones rock bottom important.

Important not in some airy-fairy PC New Agey or even dyed-in-the-wool religious way. I chafe inside any system and its man-made rules. I'm old enough now to look back upon entire decades with an estrogen-free seasoned eye. I see the need behind belief. I see the old paradigm. 

I see why people judge and separate, critique and belittle. 

I see the reason why unruly concepts are snipped down to size and labeled and tucked safely into rehearsed little packages of fear whisked with a pinch of faith. 

The Ego rules. And the Ego loves conflict.

I also see the powerful few at the top doling out platitudes to the millions who struggle with so much less. 

And we are not blameless, either, we who are so willing to consume what masquerades as inclusion and progress when it is anything but.

So here's the thing.

Before I share my recipe today, before I conjure words about cookies and yummy flavors and how much vanilla to beat into the dough, allow me some food for thought, if you will.

We are all given moments of grace.


Far too many of these moments are missed, floating by the fuzzy edges of momentum, a stream of invisible assumptions. And needs. Life guarantees change, but really, what else? Opportunity (what are you going to do with what you've got?). Choice. Self explanatory, right? We cut a swath of choices every single day. Trivial choices (would you like whipped cream on that?). And loaded choices (some requiring nothing less than moral courage to execute). Each and every choice spins us off in a direction, a trajectory with consequences.

And what I am coming to realize, even cherish, now more than ever, is this. The choices boil down to a choice between love (connection) or fear (separation). 

So what will you choose today?

Think about it.

As for me?

I vote for love.


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake, Darling.



Quick question. It is officially Autumn. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. The annual Pumpkin Spice Love Fest has been tickling our tastebuds for weeks. So I ask you. Are you tired of the sensible, traditional pumpkin pie? Wanna kick things up and create some gluten-free love food for the vegans and dairy-free folks visiting this holiday season? Every family has one. Or two. Or six.

Are you with me?

Because I am here to lure you- with a silver fork-worthy dessert recipe totally worth baking.

This is a silky, creamy pumpkin cheesecake that begs for a party. Or a family rumpus. One of many last hurrahs as daylight dwindles darkly toward the Winter Solstice low point, flickering her last sigh Northward before the pale glare of January dawns in all her cold and sober glory (and I step- ever so gingerly- on the reality check scale). And maybe sigh. A little hint of a sigh.

Because even though it is pre-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas, pre-Hannukah and all the pre-holiday jazz I can already see that the annual jean shrinkage has begun. It's that time of year when (mysteriously!) my favorite jeans come damp-dry out of the dryer a size too small. And that familiar jolly pie roll affectionately known as Doris is itching to start rolling her merry way up and out of my favorite black leggings. It's rather comical. And honestly, she makes me smile. I pat her affectionately.

Like a pet bunny.

Because the truth is I am not about to start counting calories.

Though I admit I may possibly probably definitely feel the need to cleanse my palette in the bright new year that lurks and leers around the post-holiday corner. Detox mulligatawny is surely in my future, come 2017.

If for nothing else, for the sheer love of shedding old stuck energy. A fresh start feels good.

If you do it with a big dash of humor.

And humility.

I know from experience that January will ignite the urge to clean out closets, chase those dust bunnies and walk off our collective Doris's. Or would that be Dori, for plural? We'll have ample time, come 2017, for detoxing and courting virtue with ginger laced green soup, and recipes that will encourage our lovely pinchable pie rolls to skedaddle. I promise. I'll be first second third in line with fresh whipped smoothies and cleansing soup recipes come January.

But this month? Nah.

There's a vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe to share.


Easy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Recipe


Easy. As. Pie.

This will be one of our little secrets, okay? Just make this impossible pumpkin pie recipe and serve it with a smile. No apologies. No caveats. No waffling or waggling. You don't have to label it vegan. Or gluten-free. Or lactose-free. Which it is. Because no one will ever know. It tastes that good. And you'll score serious points with your vegan guests. You'll be a hero to gluten-free pie lovers. A goddess to egg-free pumpkin-cravers. A rock star to dairy-free angels.

My secret? It's in the details.

First- no tofu (yes, Babycakes, my pumpkin pie is soy-free so you won't have to put up with your cousin's tofu jokes on Thanksgiving).

Second- it's also rice-free. No gritty rice flour (which, come to think of it, I am hardly using any more). No cornstarch (for those of you avoiding corn).

In a sweet little virtual nutshell-- it's very food allergy friendly.

Even your Aunt Sadie who is allergic to Wyoming might be able to eat this. Unless she's allergic to pumpkin. 

Then you're screwed.

My secret ingredient? My favorite grain of late. Buckwheat. I thank my lucky stars every night that I can eat buckwheat, not only because it's deeply familiar, ingrained as it is in my semi-Ashkenazi bones (while the Scot-Irish half of me pines for Guinness), it's a cereal-free "grain" with a soft, sweet nutty taste and a higher protein content than many other gluten-free flours. And it is drop-dead sexy in baking (have you tried my Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies? My Pumpkin Raisin Cake?).

Buckwheat? In a pumpkin pie? you ask.

Affirmative. You see, this is a crustless pumpkin pie- a close relative of my crustless quiches (though they contain eggs which helps beyond imagining- but vegans, keep the faith, because I'm also working on an eggless quiche slash kugel). As impossible as it seems (okay, allow me, please, a corny nod to the old Bisquick trick) the buckwheat flour helps create a tender and barely discernible crust, which- for a quasi-baker like me is a high-fiving relief because there is nothing I have less patience for than wrangling with fall-apart-when-you-sneeze gluten-free pie crust dough. Well. 

That's not entirely true.

I have even less patience for the fear-spiking sensationalism media corporations serve up as news when it is anything but. It's enough to give any sensitive soul severe schpilkis.

Which is why I disconnected my cable TV.

One hundred and twenty-eight dollars a month to get heartburn?

I don't think so.


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Icing

Gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese icing.

A Pumpkin Cupcake that doesn't taste gluten-free. Seriously.

But before I get to the recipe, I need to wander off a bit. Because it's who I am. A person who wanders. Ponders. Finds solace in books. I've been like this since girlhood. Curious. Serious. No good at catching balls. Or dressing dolls. I am beyond inept with hair. And eyeliner. Nail polish. I get anxious and non-verbal if I have to wear anything that isn't a pair of jeans.

I hold the opinion that there is more to life than collapsing in front of the television and microwaving hot dogs. I think that beauty- as Steve Jobs believed- is important, has value. That we are deeply interconnected. That life on Earth is precious- from the house sparrow to the living sea. That we are part of a vast and mysterious collective- not merely of our absurd egos (who natter inside our heads and squander our attention on drama, conflict, acquisition and the need to control)- but of a newly unfolding awareness of astonishing inner space and outer space. Infinity in every direction.

Which begs the question.

Who am I? Really. I know I am not the car I drive or the laundry detergent I use. I know I am not what I identify with. I am not what I embrace- or reject. Though for years I thought so. I believed my opinions created a self. Made me Me. Now that I am old enough to have lived through countless opinion reversals, I realize opinions are temporary. And not defining.

Just as I am not my baby teeth. Or my once lactating voluptuousness. Or my sprouting silver hair. Or what music I listen to. Or what jeans I outgrow. I am not even the woman baking pumpkin cupcakes for her readers. Or am I? Well, maybe I am. Just a little. But wait. Doesn't that make me the sum of what I do? I bake therefore I am?

I am trying lately not to be so much of a human doing. And more of a human being.

It's not as easy as one might think.

And therein lies the trouble. The whole thinking thing. Our brain. Our wired hardware. It disconnects us. It addicts us. It overrides the heart and soul of what is really going on. The being we really are. Beneath the seductive and glossy surface of things. The spark that burns from the greater whole.

I see that spark in you.

It's why I made you cupcakes.


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