Monthly Archives: April 2014

Cook Brussels Sprouts without Bitterness

Delicious Brussels Sprouts without Bitterness

Delicious Brussels Sprouts without Bitterness

Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that many people shy away from because of the bitterness that’s often associated with them. We usually have memories of mom or grandma overcooking them in a pot full of water. They came out mushy and bitter, and were served with a heavy layer of butter to disguise the taste. They just weren’t enjoyable. Yet, we were told how healthful they were to eat, so we suffered through the experience. I too have such memories. Well, we’re STILL told how healthful they are, yet it’s hard to get past those memories.  I’m a nutritionist and I love to cook, so I decided to experiment to see if I could make them more palatable. I found a way to cook them without that awful bitterness.

The secret is simple…WATER. Water is what brings out the bitter compounds. Hence, cook with little to no water and yippee (!)…you have Brussels sprouts that actually taste good! I enjoy sauteing vegetables and prefer that method over roasting. First, it’s faster. Most people have little time today to spend in the kitchen waiting for food to cook. Secondly, there’s less chance of them burning since you’re cooking at a lower temperature, and you’re also likely to watch them more closely. Vegetable oils are more healthful the less they’re heated. So, for those reasons I’m sold on pan sauteing rather than roasting vegetables.

After working with fresh Brussels sprouts a number of times, I came up with a winning method that results in delicious sprouts without bitterness. The combination of seasonings tastes good and results in healthful Brussels sprouts that are fast and easy to prepare. I made a video to show you how simple it is. And…there’s NO bitterness! Check it out below. Enjoy! Judi

Flatbread (Gluten and Yeast Free)

Gluten Free and Yeast Free Flatbread

Flatbread (Gluten and Yeast Free)

In my quest to expand my horizons into the gluten-free world, I developed this recipe for a gluten free/yeast free flatbread. I’m calling it “flatbread” for lack of a better term. Actually, it’s more like a cross between a flatbread and a focaccia bread. It’s not truly either, but somewhere in between. It’s a very low-rising bread that is baked in either an 8×8 pan (half recipe) or 9×13 pan (full recipe) and ends up about 1/2″ thick, almost like a slice of bread. Hence, after being sliced into whatever size square or rectangle you want, this bread makes a good sandwich bread or one on which to spread your favorite goo or sandwich filling and enjoy. It is even good plain! I’m enjoying it and my husband has even dared to try a slice. He did so without complaining, so it passed the “husband test.” Yippee! The recipe is in a .pdf downloadable form on my website at HandMadeInIowa.com. (Look for the “GF Flatbread” recipe.) Or, you can opt to view it below. I’ve also recorded a YouTube video to show how it comes out. See below.

Let me know if you give this a try! I’d love to read your comments. Enjoy, Judi

Flatbread (Gluten and Yeast Free)
Makes One 9×13 Pan

292 grams gluten-free flour blend of your choice*
1 tsp psyllium husk powder*
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

1 egg
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil of choice
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients. Add liquid mix to the flour mixture. Stir well until smooth. Pour batter into a greased 9×13″ baking pan. Allow batter to rest as oven preheats, about 10 minutes. If needed, the top of the batter may be smoothed out with wet fingers.

Preheat oven to 375F. Bake about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. Slice and serve. Wrap leftover bread air-tight. May be stored in freezer for extended preservation.

*The flour blend used in developing this recipe consists of the following:
127 grams sorghum flour
60 grams millet flour
63 grams white rice flour
42 grams tapioca flour

Note that the flour blend does not have xanthan gum, nor any binder added. That is why the psyllium husk powder has been added to the recipe. If your flour blend has xanthan gum in it, you may omit the psyllium husk powder. If your blend does not have xanthan gum in it and you do not want to use the psyllium husk powder, feel free to use 1 teaspoon (or equivalent) of whatever binder you prefer to use.

Spaghetti Squash with Italian Vegetables

Spaghetti Squash with Italian Vegetables and Herbs

Spaghetti Squash with Italian Vegetables and Herbs

I’ve always been intrigued by spaghetti squash. It’s such an interesting vegetable! In the raw state, except perhaps for the color, the flesh looks pretty much like any other type of hard squash. But when it’s cooked, it forms small spaghetti-like strands that can easily be flaked off with a fork. It’s remarkable and oh-so-versatile! It can be served in a number of ways, varying from spaghetti-type dishes to standard vegetable fare. What a veggie.

I felt the urge to make spaghetti squash with sauteed veggies, so hence, this new recipe! I bought a small one, since I’m only feeding myself and my husband. We DO certainly enjoy leftovers, but I don’t want to eat them for a week, so this recipe was built around a very small spaghetti squash. The other vegetables and herbs can easily be increased if you’re working with a larger squash. Feel free to cook the squash any way you want. I roasted it and made a video along the way (see below). Also, the full recipe can be downloaded in a .pdf file from my website HandMadeInIowa.com. Check it out! Let me know if you give this a try and send me comments below! Judi

Spaghetti Squash with Italian Vegetables and Herbs
Makes About 4 Side Dish Servings

1 small spaghetti squash
Extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen Italian vegetables, thawed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Cook the spaghetti squash any way you prefer. To roast it, wash the squash, cut the stem end off, then cut it from end to end. Remove the seeds and cover each piece entirely with a light coating of olive oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast at 400F until fork tender, roughly 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing the strands with a fork. Set strands aside.

Warm a skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the garlic and onion until they start to get soft. Add the diced tomatoes, thawed vegetables and seasonings (except the cheese). Saute until vegetables are slightly fork-tender, then add the strands of squash and saute until the squash has reheated. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Moist Cinnamon Muffins (Little sugar!)

Delicious Moist Cinnamon Muffins

Delicious Moist Cinnamon Muffins

In my quest to develop baked goods with less sugar, I hit on the right combination of ingredients for a delicious, moist basic muffin. This recipe is a spinoff from there, adding cinnamon and a crumb topping, like I used to put on muffins when I ran my bakery. I’ve typed in the recipe below, but you could also simply download my recipe .pdf page and print it out from my HandMadeInIowa.com website on the quick breads page (look for moist cinnamon muffins under reduced sugar/fats. To see how they’re made check out the video below!

Delicious Moist Cinnamon Muffins
Makes about 12 Muffins

5 oz (1 cup) whole wheat flour
5 oz (1 cup) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped dried dates
1/4 cup water
1-1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil of choice
1/4 cup milk of choice
1 Tbsp flax meal
1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional topping:
1-1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 oz (1/2 Tbsp) melted butter

Prepare crumb topping: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until it is the texture of sand; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon; set aside.

Prepare liquid ingredients: In a medium bowl, cover the dates with 1/4 cup boiling water and allow them to rest until the water has been absorbed. OR use tap water and place the bowl in the microwave on high for about 1 minute, or until the dates are mushy and most or all of the water has been absorbed. Do not drain any excess water. Add the remaining liquid ingredients to the rehydrated dates and stir to combine. Add liquid ingredients to dry mix and mix until dry ingredients are moistened.

Portion batter into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle with topping mixture. Bake at 375F for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then remove from pan and enjoy or allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

These muffins are truly delicious and impart far less “guilt” than the standard fare. Let me know if you try them! Check out the video below to see how they’re made. Judi