Gluten Free Crepes and a weekend in Belfair, Washington

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

Well hello there!  This year is literally flying by and I cannot believe it is already June!  I meant to post about my lovely weekend with my gal pals after it happened way back in April, but before I knew it two months went by!  Despite this being a bit late, I am still excited to share it with you all 🙂

In mid-April, I spent a weekend in a beautiful lake house overlooking Trail’s End Lake in Belfair, Washington.  The weekend was this year’s Social Worker Spring Break, an annual event I have been celebrating for the past 5 years with 6 gorgeous ladies I met in graduate school.  We started taking trips together during our actual Spring Break while we were in school, but even after graduation we have continued to take a break from “grown up life” in Spring.  We are all social workers, so it is vitally important that we take time to get out town, drink wine, eat chocolate, laugh until we cry and complain/rejoice about our jobs, partners, dogs, etc.  Even if we didn’t have jobs that drained us emotionally and physically, I believe everyone should have friendships that fill us up and strengthen us to keep fighting the good fight.

Dinner with the ladies - scottileona.com

We found the lake house on VRBO.com.  It was a huge home with a large deck that featured panoramic views of the lake and a hot tub.  There were stairs leading down to a dock on the lake, which was perfect for afternoon lounging, reading, and champagne sipping.  The lake was quiet and the neighbors felt well spread out, making this great for a more private getaway.  So relaxing.

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

We each sign up for a meal or snacks and spoil each other rotten.  This year I made gluten free crepes with both sweet and savory filling options.  I love crepes because the filling and topping options are endless!  You can get creative with your flavor combinations, or eat them simply with some fruit and yogurt and either way they are delicious.

The filling options I brought along were:

Savory:

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Goat Cheese
  • Arugula
  • Sliced almonds

Sweet:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Almond Butter
  • Powdered Sugar

Gluten Free Crepes - scottileona.com

Recipe

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used Namaste gluten free Perfect Flour Blend)
  • 2+ cups almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together 2 cups of almond milk, the eggs, vanilla extract and agave.
  2. Add the flour and salt and stir.
  3. Add a little almond milk at a time until the batter is thinner than pancake batter.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high and add a little coconut oil.  Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and swirl the skillet until it is covered with a thin layer of the batter.
  5. Cook the crepe until the bottom is lightly browned (about 2 minutes).  Carefully flip over and cook until the other side is lightly browned.  Continue until all of the batter is gone.
  6. Fill with whatever your heart desires and fold in half.  Add more toppings and enjoy 🙂

**Full disclosure**: I used the recipe above and doubled it for our group of 6 and I had a really hard time getting it to thin out enough.  I had many trial crepes that ended up in the trashcan before I got the batter thinned out to acceptable, but I still didn’t think it was quite thin enough (although I got rave reviews from my very sweet friends).  I am not sure if it is the gluten free flour or not having enough almond milk, but I have not had time to play around with the recipe since.  I am still new to gluten free flours and need some practice!  However, when I made it following the instructions I listed here, they turned out great.  Play around with it and let me know if you find any secrets to making a larger batch 🙂

Welcome to summer!

Xoxo – Scotti Leona

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

Vegan Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” and Baked Rutabaga Fries

Howdy!  We have been so spoiled with sunshine-y early Spring days here in Portland and it has been hard to sit at a computer and write a blog post!  I don’t know what I would do if I was still in school 🙂  Nick and I have also dived head first in to hunting for our first home and that has been incredibly time consuming!  Despite its ups and downs so far, I think it has been interesting for both of us to take stock of what is important to us (location, bedroom sizes, yard size, amount of work the house needs, etc) and where we are willing to be flexible.  More to come on that in the near future!

The other night, we tried out a vegan “pulled pork” recipe I have seen floating around the internet and paired it with baked rutabaga fries.  I was prompted to try it after stopping by our local Asian Supermarket, where I found young Jackfruit in a can.  Jackfruit is a native fruit to parts of South and Southeast Asia and is related to the Mulberry family.  It is low in calories and rich in:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • And the seeds are high in protein

You can purchase Jackfruit whole or in cans – I have seen canned versions that are ripe in syrup or young in brine.  For this recipe, make sure you grab the canned version of young Jackfruit in brine.

Now on to rutabaga!  It’s not the prettiest vegetable, but this root is nutritious just the same.  It is also low in calories per serving and provides:

  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin
  • Vitamin B6

When roasted, a rutabaga has a texture similar to a roasted potato, making it a great alternative/option for healthier French fries!  Throw a chopped rutabaga in the oven while you prepare your pulled Jackfruit or other burger, and you won’t have to put too much thought into your side dish.

Since becoming pescaterian several years ago I have not craved meat, although I have heard of many people who do crave it.  I have never really been a fan of the texture of meat so I think that is why I don’t miss it.  However, if you are one of those people that miss the texture, OR you are cooking in a combo vegetarian/meat eating household like we are, OR you just want to find more fun ways to incorporate plant based meals into your dinner rotation, this is the next recipe for you to try out!

As I mentioned above, there are several versions of this recipe featured on fabulous blogs, but I used this one from the seriously beautiful blog Blissful Basil.

We served the pulled jackfruit on cabbage with grated carrot and avocado and a side of rutabaga fries.  A super veggie-filled, gluten free plate that tasted like good ‘ol diner food!

Vegan “Pulled Pork” Recipe

Serves 3-4

Adapted from the Blissful Basil

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 can of green, young Jackfruit in water or brine
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (we used Trader Joe’s Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce – a recent favorite find!!)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Buns, cabbage, romaine – whatever carrier you would like to transport the goods to your mouth!

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic on a skillet over medium heat with olive oil until tender (about 5-7 minutes)
  3. Drain and rinse the Jackfruit in a strainer.  Cut the harder, triangular tip from the Jackfruit pieces and discard the core.
  4. Mix the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and brown sugar in a bowl.  Toss in the Jackfruit flesh and coat the pieces well.
  5. Add the seasoned Jackfruit to the skillet and saute for 5 minutes.
  6. Whisk the water and BBQ sauce together and add to the skillet.  Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
  7. Remove the lid and use two forks to shred the Jackfruit a bit.  Let it continue to simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until the BBQ sauce is reduced.
  8. Spread the Jackfruit on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and stick in the oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Enjoy on cabbage (or buns) with toppings of choice.  We used grated carrots and avocado.  The Blissful Basil recommends pickled red onion, which sounds amazing!

Rutabaga Fries Recipe

Serves 3 (depending on side of rutabaga)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large rutabaga
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375*F (if roasting at the same time as the pulled Jackfruit, it’s fine to cook at 350*F, they will just take longer so put the fries in first)
  2. Peel and chop the rutabaga into long rectangles (or whatever shape you like your heart desires)
  3. Toss on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper.  These are also great seasoned with rosemary, thyme, or add some spice with cayenne or smoked paprika!
  4. Bake until lightly browned and crispy – about 30-45 minutes depending on oven temperature.

Ground Mushroom Tacos

Nick and I have an interesting and evolving balance of eating preferences in our house.  Nick is allergic to peanuts and other related legumes, such as lentils, garbanzo beans and soy.  (Thankfully, this allergy doesn’t include all nuts or beans!)  He also appears to have an intolerance to gluten so we are cutting that out.  He eats meat and I occasionally eat fish, but prefer to eat vegetarian the majority of the time.  So we have a range of things to balance around meal times, from allergies that could cause death, intolerance that causes discomfort/illness, to preferred eating styles.  Although it sounds really complicated, it doesn’t have to be and we have found ways to make it work.

By default, Nick eats mostly vegetarian and will occasionally buy chicken, ground turkey, and occasionally sausage to have with dinner or lunch throughout the week.  I will also make foods he can’t eat, like lentils or very occasionally tofu, to have for lunch or dinner when he isn’t home.  To save time and money, however, the majority of our meals are comprised of ingredients we can eat.  The meat/no meat thing is easy and I think we have gotten really good at that.  What is proving to be a little more tricky is our new conversion to little-to-no gluten.  It’s only tricky at this point because we have quite a bit to learn, particularly around gluten free baking.  For example, I excitedly purchased a large bag of gluten free all purpose flour and thought, “well that was an easy switch.”  That weekend I made some waffles with it and after one bite Nick asked what type of flours were used (his body reacts quick!).  I looked at the ingredient list and the first one listed was garbanzo bean flour!  Doh!  So begins the process of learning the many different flours and how they work…more to come on that!  Do you have multiple eating styles to balance in your house?  I’d love to hear how you do it 🙂

Mushroom Tacos, scottileona.com

One favorite recipe of ours that is both gluten free and vegan is Ground Mushroom Tacos.  The texture and flavor of the ground mushrooms is similar to ground beef, so these are great for those meat eaters that like their textures!  🙂  Furthermore, mushrooms can act has a faux meat in so many instances (think portobello burgers, mushroom gravy with biscuits, and mushroom marinara sauce) without soy.  They are also quick to prepare and this recipe will have dinner on your plate in 30 minutes or less, making it an ideal mid-week-stressed-to-the-max dinner.  Mushrooms also boost a great number of health benefits, including:

  • Naturally low in calories, sodium, fat and cholesterol
  • Rich in B Vitamins
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Only vegan, non-fortified source of Vitamin D (important for those of us dwelling in the Pacific Northwest!)

We also topped our tacos with healthful veggies, including kale, grated beets and carrots, and avocado.  Serve them with beans you cooked over the weekend to save time and add protein.  YUM!

Ground Mushroom Tacos, scottileona.com

Recipe

By Scotti Leona

Makes 5 tacos (Serves ~2)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 red onion
  • 4 oz mushrooms (any kind will work, I used shiitake because that is what came in my CSA)
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 corn tortillas
  • Kale
  • Carrots and beets, shredded
  • Avocado

Method:

  1. In a pan, saute the onion in coconut oil until softened
  2. Pulse the mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped
  3. Add the mushrooms to the onion and continue to cook a little
  4. Add the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, and if you want a little spice, throw in some paprika or chilli powder
  5. Divide the mushrooms among warmed tortillas and top with carrots, beets, kale and avocado (or whatever you want!) 🙂