Step by Step Gluten-free, Dairy-free Thanksgiving Planning Guide

Gluten-free, Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes and Menu Planning Guide

Do you have family or friends or, maybe yourself, who are coming for Thanksgiving who are on a special diet or have health issues and concerns and you don’t know how to manage? Whether you just want to eat healthy and delicious food or have a food/health issue…you don’t have to spend the whole day cooking and cleaning in the kitchen this Thanksgiving! Below I’ll give you a week long planning guide along with recipes to make a deliciously healthful Thanksgiving that everyone can eat.

Everyone that has eaten my Thanksgiving recipes all said they are as good or better than traditional gluten recipes, and they did not miss the gluten, dairy or refined sugar! Wow, this is so wonderful and many heartfelt thanks!

Here is an easy guide to help you prepare things ahead of time you so you can enjoy your holiday and guests. Trust me after 20 years of doing this…it is so much easier than trying to be the Superhero on Thanksgiving…especially if something goes wrong-very embarrassing. Don’t be afraid to send the recipe to one of your guests/relatives and ask them to make it and bring it-delegate and gratefully accept the help. I know it is not easy, especially for people who like to be in control/charge! Remember, we allow others to grow and feel needed and be blessed by their contribution too. This is what helped me to realize micro-managing was stunting the growth of my employees! Let go, ah, it feels so good! There is still plenty for you to do.

I am listing all the goodies you can prepare ahead of time by day from my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem-order it now on this site!

Up to one week ahead: Pie Crust (see Recipe of the Week-15 minutes), dairy-free and Gluten Free, Cranberry Sauce(refined sugar free and way better than anything that is store bought-15 minutes)

Up to three days ahead: Candied Yams( adapted from Paul Prudhomme)-40 minutes, Mashed Cauliflower & Celeriac or Parsnips 30 minutes, Sweet Potato Pie Filling 10 minutes

Up to two days ahead: Dry Brine Rub and refrigerate Turkey(fresh or frozen)-will be the juiciest ever! See my directions for thawing turkey according to weight-must be done in the refrigerator. You can now buy a Brined or Kosher Turkey and skip this step. Now, Clean your house or have it cleaned, do laundry etc..!;)

The day before:  make salad dressing/vinaigrette, chill wine, cook Turkey neck in broth and chill or gravy, Pecan Pie Filling, toast and dice bread(BreadSRSLY.com)(GF/DF/VEGAN/EGG-FREE) for stuffing, chop vegetables(onion, celery etc…), Assemble and bake pie-Sweet Potato Pecan, Pecan, Pumpkin Pies. I highly recommend the Sweet Potato Pecan-it’s a sure winner! See my utube video for rolling pie crust and dicing an onion at http://www.youtube.comsearch under LaurenHooverAuthor and laugh out loud!;) You try being videotaped and then laugh at yourself…I did! Take a hot bath and get a good night sleep, you’ll need it. Spend quality time with those you love, play a game together, go for a walk etc… because Thanksgiving is so busy that you may not get a quality conversation in that day. It so important to remember to be thankful and tell our loved one’s how grateful we are for them-especially children…they really are not mind readers!;) If you have Vegans coming, make my Lentil Loaf.

Go to the grocery store for anything you still need. Make Crockpot Oatmeal for breakfast!

Thanksgiving day: Eat Breakfast so you are not ravenous all day and then get a stomach ache from not eating for hours-you will be so much happier and your family will be very thankful. This is a lovely time to have quality time with whomever is in your home before all the rest of the guests arrive.

Begin with a Clean Kitchen-which will keep you organized and calm. Set out ingredients, measure them out and follow the recipes. Have fun! I like relaxing or upbeat music playing while I cook.

Get the kids/husband/family/friends to set the table, build a fire,  decorate-it will keep them busy and out of your kitchen-unless they like to cook! Kids love to make the name tags for the place settings-great project to keep them entertained.

Prepare stuffing(Gluten Free) and chop herbs, Stuff Turkey and bake (see my recipe that was even good enough for a US Senator)! The secret…cooking it at a very high temperature will create crispy skin and juicy meat- not to mention-saves time and energy! Yum! Reheat Mashed Cauliflower/Celeriac or Parsnips, Candied Yams in a double boiler(or glass bowl above boiling water)  or the oven, cook and chop vegetables and wash/spin salad greens-toss at the table. Teenagers who like to cook will love to make salad or this is a good item to ask some else to bring. Try chopped crunchy Persimmons in your salad with Pomegranate seeds! Pour wine and enjoy!

I do not put out a lot of snacks…just a few to tide people’s appetite, but not spoil it for a huge dinner. Choose 2: bowl of nuts,   hummus(put in a bowl of ice to keep cold) & raw vegetables, olives, deviled eggs all of which can be made the day ahead or store bought(of course I make them myself)!

CHEF’S Secrets and Tips section of my cookbook-it will help to ensure YOUR success.

Use oven and digital read thermometers-temperature is key. See my guide for cooking times according to the weight of the Turkey. Enlist help, people love to help.

Clean(with hot water and soap) all surfaces, sinks, counters, cutting boards, utensils and hands that touch raw Turkey to prevent spreading salmonella-food poisioning.

Keep Turkey refrigerated at 38 degrees until ready to stuff and bake.

Stuff the Turkey just before baking so bacteria will not grow. You can also save time by baking bone-in Turkey Breasts instead of the Whole Bird, and baking the stuffing in a separate baking dish. Or you may like to get gourmet and stuff a boneless breast of turkey, roll it up and truss it and bake it like a roast.

Do NOT and I repeat, DO NOT leave food out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. It is best to put out smaller portions/dishes. Optimal Bacteria growth temperatures are between 40-140 degrees…yep, room temperature! It grows extremely rapidly by the hour after four hours throw it out. I hate waste…so I put out smaller portions or serve everything at once and put it away or send it home with guests just after eating. Only follow this advice if you want to avoid food poisoning or a big tummy ache-really you will be so much happier and healthier.

Final Tip/Preference: To baste or not to baste? I like to dampen a large piece of cheesecloth in avocado or grapeseed oil, fold it in half and in half again to fit over the Turkey. Cover the Turkey with it and I do not baste if you  like a crispy skin. The high temperature will crisp the skin and seal in the juices. Resting the Turkey for 20-30 minutes is the ONLY way to have the juice stay in the meat. If you cut into the Turkey right away or before 20 minutes, watch all the juice run away and there is nothing to get it back into the meat…it will be dry, I promise. While Turkey is resting, make gravy.

Let someone else, especially the teenagers, do the dishes!

BTW, I did all of this in a cooking class last week in 3 1/2 hours – I slept very well that night!  So, You can do it too. Just follow my recipes carefully-read them first. I like to read them the night before I make them. and again just before making them. Buy my cookbook even if you only use the Thanksgiving recipes!

Take a deep breath, have a half glass of organic wine, relax and have a very Happy Thanksgiving. From my heart to yours…may you have much to be grateful for this year. I am so grateful for many things/people including everyone who have been so supportive of my mission in helping you change your life  through delicious, healthful food. Thank you.

In our home, we like to go around the table, while enjoying all these dishes, and give everyone an opportunity to share what they are grateful for in their life! Helps keep things positive and feeling good! Please reply to this post and tell us all what you are grateful for now!

FOR ALL RECIPES GO TO THE RECIPES PAGE ON THIS BLOG.

In Gratitude with love and Blessings,

Happy Thanksgiving, Chef Lauren Hoover-West & Dr. Brad West

Advertisements

Halloween & Candy!

 

Happy Halloween! Sweet Treats without the sugar blues!

I have fond memories of trick or treating as a child and big hayride Halloween parties at school. Honesty, I really am not a fan of this holiday, but dressing up and eating sweets is a lot of fun!

If you are a parent, or human, you know that sugar blues that come after sugar highs can be really horrific! We know so much more about sugar these days and how it adversely affects our health. To name a few, Diabetes is a huge epidemic, and sugar is very hard on the pancreas, causes skin breakouts, cavities, mood swings, addiction, disease and more. None of the aforementioned are going to make us feel good and thrive in our lives.

So, you know me….I have a solution to this problem! I have lots of recipes and sweeteners you can use in your favorite recipes to transform them into a healthier, and tasty treat. A friend of mine says, you are not “treating” yourself when you eat something that harms your wellbeing, you are “mistreating” yourself! So true.  Go to my Recipes Page and get my kid-approved recipes that are a range of white sugar alternatives to sugar-free!

Psss, I am going to let you in on my secret of the week….I am making a Pumpkin Pie with Stevia Sweetener(www.ThriveMarket.com)  or coconut palm sugar, and I will enjoy it for breakfast! I will top it with coconut milk whipped cream! Husband, if you are reading this….I will save you some! ;P

Store bought candy. No time or interest in making your own treats? 

As a child, I loved Rolo carmel candies! I found some even better chococlate chewy caramels called Amelia, and they also make a dairy-free/Gluten-free, white sugar free version that will melt in your mouth as you are transported to Heaven!  If you like a soft carmel, and not so chewy, try Cocomels, which have coconut milk. My second favorite was Almond Joy, well I found a nut-free, dairy-free and gluten-free candy bar with coconut filling and a dark chocolate coating called OCHO(does contain organic cane sugar). Lily’s vegan stevia sweetened chocolate chips and bars are delicious. I buy all of these candies at local Health Food Stores and Thrive Market.

There are also sugar free lollipops at local health food stores that are good and without artificial dyes! Please avoid candy with artificial dyes as they cause many harmful neurological reactions in kids and adults. I have seen numerous children’s severe symptoms disappear when they are taken off all foods that contain artificial colors, dyes, sweeteners and flavors. I have even seen them taken off of Ritalin! There is always a reason for symptoms and behavior. You just need to care enough to figure it out and find experts to help you.

Note on Sweeteners: please do not use the stuff in pink or blue packets, it’s toxic and harmful to your health. Diet soda is the worst. Some of these artificial sweeteners are made from the same ingredient as ant poison!!!! YES! Try stevia sweetened soda called Zevia or Kevita Coconut Water Kefir which tastes like bubbly soda, and has probiotics. I like the pomegranate and Lime Mojito Kevita, black cherry Zevia the best. I did not like Dr. Pepper as a kid, but love the Dr. Zevia! If these are too sweet, cut them with sparkling water! I like Grolsteiner best b/c it tastes great, high in minerals and is in glass!

Soda:

Kid’s in my summer cooking camps loved Zevia! For the past 6 years I’ve been getting kids off soda by dipping a 1/4 cup measuring cup into a container of white sugar and asking them if they would pour it down their throat all at once! They all freaked out and unanimously replied, “NO WAY”! I enlightened them by telling them that a 12 ounce can of soda has that much sugar and a Big Gulp had double, 1/2 cup! Please share this with your kids, relatives and friends. Soda is one of the main reasons the kids are overweight along with the rise in diabetes and many other diseases.

In our camps we used 8 drops of flavored liquid Stevia by Sweet Leaf(variety of flavors including Root beer, Cola and Raspberry), and added it to sparkling water from glass bottles(avoiding harmful toxins in plastic bottles) and walah, you have homemade sugar-free soda that is bubbly and sweet which is what most of us love in a soda! Try this and let us all know how it goes/went! Caution: too much stevia will become quite bitter so, start slowly and add one drop at a time. Stevia is 250-300 times sweeter than sugar and is made from a leaf of a tree grown in South America.

Another sugar-free sweetener I like is Lakanto Monkfruit w/Erythritol which is ideal for people with SIBO or Candida, however some people do experience cramping, so eat it in moderation. Xylitol is great for teeth, but new research is showing that it can destroy good gut bacteria!

I still love coconut palm sugar as a 1 to 1 substitute for white sugar. White sugar is not only inflammatory, but also is bleached and often sifted through bones, so not vegan! YUCK! Have fun trying these sugar alternatives. Remember natural Real Maple Syrup is a good choice and local raw honey is also good.  If you are experiencing gas, bloating and burping seek a Naturopathic Doctor who will know how to cure it. In California go to www.CalND.org and elsewhere go to www.Naturopathic.org

Naturopathic Medicine saved my life and was able to diagnose me properly and treat me naturally with success! BTW, my husband is a Naturopathic Doctor. I am so grateful for him and Naturopathic Medicine which has been working well for years!

If you want to feel like you are back in college, get your teens or Mom’s together and go to my Video page and get educated about sugar by Dr. Lustig’s talk, “The Bittersweet Truth about Sugar”! It will blow your mind. Please share it. This can save our lives and the one’s we love. Sending you all love and hugs so you can Thrive living the life you dreamed!

Be safe and have fun! Snack Safely has a list of safe snacks that are gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free, but do read ingredients and choose wisely. Just because it is free of what you are avoiding doesn’t mean it is good for you!

Get your FREE Recipes on the Recipe Page on this blog!

Happy Halloween with good Treats! Boo!

Back to School and Fall

Wow what a busy summer! I am so ready for some quiet, cool Fall days to nest at home and recharge my body, mind and spirit! Health is mostly impacted by 3 catagories: 1. Food/Diet, 2. Lifestyle/Stress levels, 3. Chemicals/Environmental Toxins.

I have been on a nerd fest lately, and attending several medical webinars and seminars, and they all are talking about the 3 factors above being scientifically linked to illness, disease and death!

I have a confession to make, I eat really clean and healthy most of the time. I am 100% gluten-free, dairy-free, white sugar-free expect for the quarterly Mexican Coke which I have vowed to give up since it’s just not satisfying! I also eat all organic and am not eating out as much anymore and look for restaurants that use local, organic produce and meats.

My house has an Austin air filter, well-water with extra whole house filters, no chemicals of any kind in cleaning for house, pet or humans, we remove our shoes(not to drag in chemicals and toxins and gross dirt we’ve walk in) and organic furniture and so on. We have a timer on our wi-fi and tested our home and it has very low Wifi registers on the Geiger meter! We live in the woods with fresh air, nature and peaceful quiet.

This all must seem like I am an extreme whacko, but I want to control what we can and do what we can because we are exposed to so many chemicals we cannot control. So, just do what you can and make progress as you are ready. This all happened for us over time.

So my confession is that my missing or broken piece of the puzzle of health is STRESS! I do everything else pretty well most of the time, but I screw up too b/c I am human too. The one lesson I have not mastered to to surrender and know that all is well and everything always resolves itself. I know it in my head, but my body hasn’t gotten the message yet! I am a certified yoga and meditation teacher, but don’t practice it enough myself! So, this is my focus this Fall to really calm my mind. I give all my worry over to God and Angels and I let go and hope to heal my own health.

I recently was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and probable Fibromyalgia! I have suspected it for a long time, but have been in denial b/c I did not want to have those health issues! Well, I do. ;( And, I am having to slow down and adjust my lifestyle.

I have never thought of myself as an over-acheiver, but a therapist pointed out the definition and I sunk down in my chair and said, ok I am guilty. I have pushed myself very hard for as long as I can remember. I am always chronically overdoing it. I strive to be better, smarter, more loving, healthier, etc…I mistook ambition for stupidity. I thought if I just kept trying harder and harder I would somehow achieve Nirvana in all areas of my life!!! Instead, I am just exhausted with serious health issues.

The good news is that I have a lot of compassion and understanding for others who are ill and suffering. I also know the signs and symptoms to look for and the solutions. It is very challenging for me to just rest and relax when I feel I constantly have a never ending To-Do list. I need to be okay with not getting the list done and see the progress of what I have accomplished, and to be okay with just relaxing or having fun! What is that I ask? So, I will report back to  you periodically on this.

I did start playing violin this year which has become very meditate and joyful! It is never too late to learn something new or do what you’ve always longed for or dreamed of doing. Do it! I am having a ball! Again I over practiced…one hour a day for 6 months and now I have “Tennis Elbow”. So the lesson of slowing down and pacing myself keeps showing up! Now I have to play in short spurts a few times a day and I’ve taken a month off and nurtured my elbow. So, back to food…my favorite subject and thing to do is cook and eat!

I know the holidays are around the corner so I am going sugar-free until the holidays, then I will choose my sweeteners carefully to keep my health and immune system strong! I am boosting my immune system now so I stay strong and healthy this fall and winter. I have been making homemade bone broth for free, from veggie scraps and leftover bones; and soup with lots of veggies-so delicious and satisfying. And, I am really amazed at how much more satisfied I feel after a delicious piece of organic fruit than a sugary dessert.

Sugar is the root of inflammation, illness, lowered immune system and disease! See the video, The Bittersweet Truth about Sugar,  on my video page by Dr. Robert Lustig. You will be astounded! A few excellent documentaries are, What the Health and Whats with Wheat! Check them out and have a movie night at your house with friends and family. They are very insightful and motivating!

I am choosing to enjoy organic berries and organic apples that are low in sugar and high in anti-oxidants and hundreds of nutrients and health benefits. Try an organic apple with 2 Tablespoons of  organic/unsweetened nut or seed butter. I love cashew butter from Trader Joe’s, www.ThriveMarket.com or homemade. Valencia Peanut butter is the only peanut that does not contain mold so go for Valencia…at Trader Joe’s. Beans and Lentils, nuts and seeds are a great source of fiber and protein without the animal protein.

Berries and apples that are not organic/conventional have over 40 pesticides!!!! These pesticides will adversely effect health of the endocrine system, neurological and brain function and are linked cancer. If your child, or you, have ADD/ADHD or just some difficulty focusing…try removing all processed sugars and artificial dyes/colors are very harmful too.

Go pick your own if you live near organic farms…its a great outing for the family and the kids love it. If you cannot get to a farm, a farmers market is the next best thing. Also, Costco has organic berries and apples for a great price if you are on a tight budget! Remember baked apples and homemade applesauce too.

Soda is another place that is loaded with sugar! A can of soda has 1/4 cup of sugar and a Big Gulp has a 1/2 cup of sugar!!!! I have introduced many kids and teens for the 7 summers, to Stevia sweetened soda..either Zevia store bought or they can make their own! Go to http://www.Sweetleaf.com for lots of flavors of stevia and just add 6 drops to 12 ounces of sparkling water from a glass bottle. Kevita Coconut Water Keifer is even better b/c it is a bubbly sweet drink with no added sugar, and has fermented probiotics and lots of electrolytes too. Please toss the Gatorade which is loaded with sugar and artificial colors, and trade it for a natural/delicious version called Recharge. Teach your kid’s now and change your own habits and you will all feel so much better with these small changes.

Remember to buy everything in glass when you can b/c the plastics may be free of BPA, but hey are loaded with other harmful chemicals. Get stainless steel bottles to take on the go…at Bed Bath and Beyond for $10! I also put my smoothies To Go in 12 ounce glass Mason Jars.

September and October can be a time loaded with parties and holidays and sugar! So I have posted cake/cupcake & frosting recipes made with homemade alternative milk or store bought on my FREE RECIPES Page. Please send them with your bundles of love to parties and school. They are so delicious and will not give them the sugar spike, crash and overwork their pancreas and cause diabetes!

Finally, remember sugar is not only the white stuff. It is all forms of sweeteners which the pancreas has to produce insulin to process. When you eat fruit that contains fiber it will slow the absorption of sugar and blood sugar levels will be more even and steady.  High carb grains like rice, potato, tapioca convert into sugar too. Our bodies need a certain amount of sugar for fuel, but most people are eating more than they realize.

Everyone is unique and has different needs, so listen to your body and watch how your children behave and feel after eating certain foods. Keeping a food journal on an APP like Cara or on a calendar along with health symptoms can reveal so much. Kid’s need some carbs and a good amount of protein and tons of veggies for nutrition and to help them grow. Adults need less carbs typically. The exception is if you have Adrenal Fatigue and you may need a few red potatoes or sweet potatoes or root veggies at lunch and especially dinner.

I challenge you to try a new veggie each week! You will find some new favorites!

My specialty is to help people create a super tasty customized diet that meets their personal needs and that of the family to reach your best health. I want you to Thrive not just survive! I have gone from barely surviving(2 hours of energy a day) to much more energy(12 hours of energy) through diet and lifestyle. I have had a temporary set back, but I am making the necessary changes to find my balance and you can too.

I understand how it feels on both ends of this spectrum of health and illness. I am now doing phone consults, so call me to get a fresh start as we go into the Fall and Winter. See Contact for details. I am here to help and support you because I care and want the best for you.

Be Well & Thrive and Many Hugs and Blessings to you. Have a fabulous day and week! Go to the Free Recipes page now. Remember to check out the video for a good parents movie night!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Okay, I may look Irish, but I am not! Not all red-heads are Irish! I am just a mixed UK/French mut! I do have green eyes, so nobody is allowed to pinch me!;P

This holiday is fun and I love the food and Beer! This is not the day to cheat on gluten! Remember, gluten antibodies stay in the body for 6 weeks!!!!! There are so many good gluten-free beers now, but you need to know the facts. There are beers that are labeled “gluten-free”, but they are actually gluten-low because the producers start with a gluten grain(barley, wheat, spelt, rye) and throw a bunch of enzymes to “remove gluten”, but they cannot accurately measure how much gluten is left over! This is not safe in my opinion.

We really like sorghum beers and a few brands we love are Glutenberg, Redbridge and Greens and they all have several varieties(ale, IPA, dark & lager) which you can find in health food stores and some bars and restaurants. If you really have no other options when you are out partying, Corona light claims to be gluten-free. See my post on gluten-free alcohol for safe spirits.

Please remember to either not drink at all and drive or take UBER or LYFT or have a designated driver. The legal limit is very low on breath allizer tests…only one drink an hour can find you legally drunk with a DUI and yourself in Jail!!! No drunk person ever thinks they shouldn’t drive! It is so not worth ruining your life, or killing someone else, for that lousy beer or drink! Have fun safely is my motto! You are special and here for a reason, so please stay safe.

Now for the best part….the food! My house smells so good right now….I’ve got Irish Stew in the crockpot and Irish Soda Bread in the oven, and yes Glutenberg and Greens beer chillin sans/senza green food coloring! Click for the recipes https://wordpress.com/page/nowheatnodairynoproblem.com/36

 

HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY!

Lauren’s Favorites

Season’s Greetings on Christmas Eve!

New Fantastic Food:

I found a fabulous new line of nut cheezes that are made from cashews and coconut oil! I was so delighted to find vegan cheeses that have healthy, familiar ingredients! I have tried the shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar and Pepper Jack and they have worked very well in my recipes including: Quiche, French Onion Soup, Enchiladas, Lasagna, Pizza, Grilled Cheeze on SRSLY Sourdough and much more. They have hard and soft cheeses in a variety of  fabulous flavors.

Parmela Cashew Cheeze-Our nut milk cheeses are made using traditional cheese making techniques.  Rich nut milks made from blending cashews and almonds with filtered water form the base.  These are much thicker than the nut milks you would drink, and amazingly have more flavor potential than dairy milks.

It took over 2 years and 2,000 iterations to get the cultures to grow properly in the thick cashew milks and unlock true cheese flavors for the Creamy Treenut Cheese.  In crafting our new aged cheeses we up over 4000 iterations of cultures grown.

The nutmilk cheeses can be found in Whole Foods, New Leaf Markets and other natural food stores or ordered directly  http://www.parmelacreamery.com 

 

SRSL Bread-Gluten-free, Dairy-free San Francisco Sourdough Bread and Rolls! 

SRSLY Bread

http://www.breadsrsly.com

OMG, I thought I’d never be able to eat Sourdough again…until now! I did the happy dance when I found this amazing bread. I am a traditionalist so I like the classic best, but the seeded is very good and my husband loves the Kale(me too). The sandwich rolls are made out of just Sorghum flour so its great for people who have multiple grain sensitivities. She also makes a huge Pullman Loaf that you can special order!

WHY SOURDOUGH?

Bread SRSLY is committed to making nourishing bread. Each loaf is leavened with wild yeast, cultivated from the air and grain. Unlike commercial yeast, wild yeast helps to break down the grains, making them easier to digest, and adding a pleasant tang that we call sourdough.

WHY SERIOUSLY?

We created our bread only after months of research, applying traditional sourdough techniques to our gluten-free recipes. We learned that good bread takes its time to rise. Each Bread SRSLY loaf rises for more than 12 hours, making it SERIOUSLY good for you. In addition to being gluten-free, all Bread SRSLY products are free of dairy, egg, soy, nut, potato, tapioca, and garbanzo.

Available at Health Food Stores including New Leaf Market, Staff of Life, Bi-Rite Markets or Order at: http://bread-srsly.myshopify.com

 

Want to bake your own Bread?

Manini’s Bread Mix & Fresh Pasta

These pastas and breads are so nutritious and have great texture! I’ve enjoyed Manini’s Spaghetti, Lemon-Thyme Linguine and Lasagna Noodles(not the ravioli b/c they contain diary) and bread mixes which are easy and nutritious. Even my Italian friends are now loving this pasta!

At the heart of our commitment to quality is our dedication to making all of our fresh pastas, breads & bakery products and flours from naturally Gluten Free Ancient Grains. Our Ancient Grains include Amaranth, Teff, Sorghum, and Millet, plants that are essentially unchanged from hundreds of years ago. The result is a nutritious, fiber-rich, great-textured food that is delicious and superior in taste, texture and nutrition to the vast majority of typical rice and corn based Gluten Free foods.

http://www.maninis.com

Want less carbs and more protein in your pasta go for: Tolerant Red Lentil or Black Bean Pasta which have great texture and tons of protein and nutrition! Available at Health food Stores and online.

Tolerant Pasta

Sonoma Pasta SauceSonoma Mushroom Pasta Sauce. I had to stop eating tomatoes due to arthritis and was so happy to find this tomato-free sauce! They have many flavors, but not all are dairy-free. I do still make my own with wild mushrooms and sherry, but nice to have a jar in the pantry in a pinch. Available at Health food Stores and online.

 

Paleo-Cake-Therapy-Paleo-Chocolate-Cake-Mix.jpg

Cake Therapy  Paleo Cake Mix: offers gluten free and paleo baking mixes, made from quality natural ingredients, without preservatives or additives. Cake Therapy’s products are always free of gluten, dairy, soy and corn, with grain free options.

Paleo Chocolate Cake Mix Ingredients: Organic coconut flour, arrowroot, almond meal, organic coconut sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla powder, salt, baking soda, baking powder.

I’ve tried all three flavors: chocolate, vanilla and spice, and love them all! They make a moist and tasty cake or cupcakes. I used my Chocolate Ganache Frosting  with Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips and Cashew Cream Frosting with them. They have recipes and adaptations on their website too! I used the Spice Cake Mix to make a Carrot Cake and it was so delicious.

Teas to go with your dessert or just enjoy anytime:

Art of Tea: Chocolate Mint Tea which is so rich and tasty it does not need anything else. Great way to avoid sweets, drink this tea instead!  www.artoftea.com 

Numi Turmeric Teas are anti-inflammatory and very tasty especially when I add some local raw honey, ginger and homemade cashew milk! Available at health food stores or http://www.Numitea.com

Steven Smith Lord Bergamot Earl Grey Tea

A few other goodies I’ve fallen in love with this year:

Lily’s Fair Trade Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips

We love premium dark chocolate. We don’t like sugar. The addition of stevia to premium dark chocolate is a perfect fit. It makes our favorite food even better. Click to learn more about why we love stevia.http://lilyssweets.com

 

 

Chai-I

Vixen Kitchen Premium Vegan Gelato!  So creamy and delicious you will think you are in Italy!  The first time I tasted this luscious Gelato I was in San Francisco on a cold windy day, but had to have it as my teeth chattered! OMG, I was in Heaven and forgot about the cold the first lick! I love that they sweeten with real maple syrup and use cashews as the base! Again, nutritious and delicious and guilt-free! It is expensive b/c they use the highest quality ingredients and it is worth it! Available at health food stores, including Staff of Life. Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Chai, Coffee, Mint,Blueberry.  http://vixenkitchen.co

Xyloburst Chewing Gum, stays soft, sweetened with xylitol which is great for teeth and tastes good! Available at health food stores,  iherb.com and Amazon.com

My new favorite website to buy all the aforementioned goodies and many more at a 25%-75% discount/usually 25% is at http://www.ThriveMarket.com

 

Kitchen Tools:

  • Kitchen Aid 7 Quart Mixer is the largest capacity home mixer and I love my new one in Candy Apple Red! I also bought the:
  • Spiralizer Attachment that also slices and peels fruit and vegetables!

Body Care Products: Many skincare products contain gluten and dairy which go into your bloodstream within 30 seconds! Yes, it will cause you just as much trouble as eating it!

  • Nubian Heritage Soaps and Lotions
  • Evoli Body Butter & Lip Balm, made from all organic healthy oils
  • Zoya Nail Polish, free of formaldehyde and other bad chemicals available at Whole Foods
  • DoTerra essential oils: I do not travel without the OnGuard and put it on my feet every night! DoTerra.com
  • For the Bathroom: Poo Pourri toilet spray. This is so Brilliant! You spray your favorite essential oil based Poo Pourri into the toilet before you go and it acts as a barrier to help keep your bathroom smelling good! It really works, honest! I keep one in my purse and in our bathroom.

Healthcare/Natural Medicine:

  • Alpha CF Homeopathic liquid is lactose free and is what I use at the first sign of a cold or flu and it usually gets rid of it right away or at least shortens the duration to a few days instead of a few weeks. Available at health food stores, you may have to special order the liquid form.
  • Occiliccocinum homeopathic cold and flu, Walgreens, CVS and healthfood store. Pellets contain lactose so either dilute a dose in water and only take a teaspoon or find the Alpha CF liquid.
  • Deep Lung is great for respiratory infections.
  • Chestal Homeopathic Cough Medicine with honey, health food stores and CVS and Walgreens.
  • Yin Chao Chinese Medicine for colds that start with a sore throat is great.
  • High Dose Vitamin C Meyers Cocktail Infusion through an IV drip or push by a naturopathic doctor. http://www.naturopathic.org or wwwCalND.com in CA. This saves me every Christmas/Winter, including this week!

Books:

  • Can’t go to Italy this year read, Dolce di Love By Lynch
  • for Humor and belly laughs read Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
  • go to http://www.hayhouse.com for many inspirational and spiritual books, audio books and DVD’s for adults and children
  • Listen to shows on:
  • http://www.HayHouseRadio.com

Games:

  • Kids and Adults: Simon, an electronic game that lights up and tests your memory. Can be played with 2-4 people
  • Adults: Rummikub, a game with tiles and numbers. Good mental challenge and fun.

 

Clothing:

  • Nomads Organic Clothing, this Canadian company uses all organic fabrics made from hemp, soy, bamboo and cotton. It feels so good on and will not disrupt your hormones or endocrine system and it’s great for the environment. A win-win-win! Just wish they did not make them in China. Sometimes you have to compromise. These clothes feel really soft and warm; and look stylish.                                   Available at https://nomadshempwear.com
  • Synergy Organic Clothing, mostly cotton, made in Nepal. Stores in Santa Cruz and San Francisco and available online http://synergyclothing.com
  • Smart Wool Socks, wool that doesn’t itch and keeps your toes and feet warm in the coldest weather! They also make runners socks-breathable and cushiony! Available at The Sock Shop and online http://www.smartwool.com

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Healthy, Happy New Year filled with wonderful food, friends, family and goodies that improve your health and life! Love and Blessings to all! Please Comment and share with us your favorite  Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Organic food, things & products.

Be Well and Thrive into your Dreams! 

Alternative Milk Made from Nuts or Seeds

When I got diagnosed with a dairy sensitivity 15 years ago, I had no problem giving up milk. At first the alternatives had a thinner, watery texture to me, but I got use to them. I did not mind the taste of most of them. Well, alternative milks have come a long way in 15 years, and there are a lot more to choose from now. I also love coconut milk and sometimes I add an organic can or homemade coconut milk from a Thai coconut to my nut or seed milk to thicken it, but not every week.

That said, have you read the ingredients on the labels of these milks? First of all, nuts are heavily sprayed with pesticide if they are not organic. I go to great lengths to eat organic so I don’t want to drink hidden pesticides or possible GMO’s that are not labeled. I certainly do not like the added oils either. The only oils I choose to eat are coconut, olive, grapeseed and avocado. Oils to avoid because they cause damage in our bodies for various reasons are: canola, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed. I could write an article on each one of these oils, but you just need to know that they are either toxic or cause health problems or do not have the necessary ratio of omega for our bodies optimal health! To learn more you can go to hear Dr. Tel-Oren at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUS5j39cnFE

Finally, I don’t like the added vitamins(don’t know quality or quantity needed), and many people are sensitive to the thickeners such as carageenan and xanthan gum.

So, what do we do? Make or own and control what you want to consume! Mine only contains raw nuts or seeds and good quality water, then you choose what else to add such as: sweetener of your choice, gluten-free vanilla, Himalayan sea salt etc…

You can find many youtube videos on how to make nut or seed milk. It is important to buy organic raw nuts because once nuts are heated the oils go rancid quickly and become a free radical(correlated with causing cancer). You can buy them online at http://www.organicfruitsandnuts.com or at your local health food store where they sell them often. Check the expiration dates and if they smell funny they are rancid, return them and find another source.

Finally, we must rotate our food and that includes nuts and seeds. If we eat the same kind of food, in this case nuts and seeds, everyday we can become sensitive and not be able to eat them without causing health problems! Do you know where 70% of your immune system is in your body? Answer: the intestines/your gut! So, we need to take care to not create food sensitivities, especially people who have a leaky gut and many people do! The main cause of a leaky gut is antibiotics and gluten, but that is another post. The solution is a rotation diet and eating seasonally(don’t buy it if it is not in season, just because you can).

Here is what I do, I make a pitcher of alternative milk each week and keep it in a glass or ceramic pitcher in the refrigerator. Each week of the month I use a different seed or nut for example, week 1 almond, week 2 sunflower, week 3 cashew, week for pumpkin seed. I also make sesame, hemp, hazelnut, brazil nut and this is what I use for anything I would use regular milk for, smoothies, in tea or coffee, over gluten-free cereal/GF oatmeal, in my dessert and savory recipes that call for milk. Every other week I will add coconut milk to my nut or seed milk to thicken it up. You can buy organic canned w/out preservatives such as sodium benzoate or ideally, make your own from a fresh Thai coconut, see you tube for videos. They also have coconut milk powder now which is convenient especially for traveling, but nothing is better than fresh Thai coconut. See my article on this blog about the health properties of coconut. Hint: It cannot build up as plaque in our arteries because it’s a medium chain fatty acid and it convert directly into energy when we eat it. There are many other health benefits and it tastes great!

In my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem, I make a white sauce to replace milk in Bechamel with nut or seed milk which is used in other recipes including: creamed tuna, pot pies, macaroni and cheeze, stroganoff. I also use nut or seed milk in cakes, cookies, puddings and much more. For the recipe to make nut or seed milk go to https://nowheatnodairynoproblem.com/recipes/

Let us know by commenting below what nut and seed milk you make and love. Feel free to ask questions too!

A Delicious Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Thankgiving Guide!

Have family or friends or maybe yourself who are coming for Thanksgiving who are on a special diet or have health issues and concerns and you don’t know how to manage? Whether you just want to eat healthy and delicious food or have a food/health issue…you don’t have to spend the whole day cooking and cleaning in the kitchen this Thanksgiving! Everyone that has eaten my Thanksgiving recipes all said they are as good or better than what they have had, and they did not miss the gluten, dairy or refined sugar! Wow, this is so wonderful and many heartfelt thanks!

Here is an easy guide to help you prepare things ahead of time you so you can enjoy your holiday and guests. Trust me after 20 years of doing this…it is so much easier that trying to be the Superhero on Thanksgiving…especially if something goes wrong-very embarrassing. Don’t be afraid to send the recipe to one of your guests/relatives and ask them to make it and bring it-delegate and accept the help. I know it is not easy, especially for people who like to be in control/charge! Remember, we allow others to grow and feel needed and be blessed by their contribution/help too. This is what helped me to realize micro-managing was stunting the growth of my employees! Let go, ah, it feels so good! There is still plenty for you to do.

I am listing all the goodies you can prepare ahead of time by day from my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem-order it now on this site!

Up to one week ahead: Pie Crust (see Recipe of the Week-15 minutes), dairy-free and Gluten Free, Cranberry Sauce(refined sugar free and way better than anything that is store bought-15 minutes)

Up to three days ahead: Candied Yams( adapted from Paul Prudhomme)-40 minutes, Mashed Potatoes 30 minutes, Sweet Potatoe Pie Filling 10 minutes

Up to two days ahead: Brine 5 minutes and soak/refrigerate Turkey(fresh or frozen)-will be the juiciest ever!, clean your house or have it cleaned, do laundry etc..!;) See my directions for thawing turkey according to weight-must be done in the refrigerator. You can now buy a Brined or Kosher Turkey and skip this step.

The day before:  make salad dressing/vinaigrette, chill wine, Pecan Pie Filling, Cornbread for stuffing, chop vegetables(onion, celery etc…), Assemble and bake pie-Sweet Potato Pecan, Pecan, Pumpkin. I highly recommend the Sweet Potato Pecan-it’s a sure winner! See my utube video for rolling pie crust and dicing an onion at http://www.utube.com search under LaurenHooverAuthor and laugh out loud!;) You try being videotaped and then laugh at yourself…I did! Take a hot bath and get a good night sleep, you’ll need it. Spend quality time with those you love, play a game together, go for a walk etc… because Thanksgiving is so busy that you may not get a quality conversation in that day. It so important to remember to be thankful and tell our loved one’s how grateful we are for them-especially children…they really are not mind readers!;)

Go to the grocery store for anything you forgot and pack your patience-it will be crowded and filled with crying children and you(or your spouse) will circle several times to find a parking place-don’t give the teenagers the car today!

Thanksgiving day: Eat Breakfast so you are not ravenous all day and then get a stomach ache from not eating for hours-you will be so much happier and your family will be very thankful.This is a lovely time to have quality time with whomever is in your home before all the rest of the guests arrive and it is crazy.

Begin with a Clean Kitchen-which will keep you organized and calm. Set out ingredients, measure them out and follow the recipes. Have fun! I like relaxing or upbeat music playing while I cook.

Get the kids/husband/family/friends to set the table, build a fire,  decorate-it will keep them busy and out of your kitchen-unless they like to cook! Kids love to make the name tags for the place settings-great project to keep them entertained.

Prepare stuffing(cornbread or regular or Gluten Free) and chop herbs, Stuff Turkey and bake (see my recipe that was even good enough for a US Senator)! The secret…cooking it at a very high temperature will create  crispy skin and juicy meat- not to mention-save time and energy! Yum! Reheat Mashed Potatoes, Candied Yams in the oven or microwave if absolutely necessary, cook and chop vegetables and wash/spin salad greens-toss at the table. Teenagers who like to cook will love to make salad or this is a good item to ask some else to bring. Pour wine and enjoy!

I do not put out a lot of snacks…just a few to tide people’s appetite, but not spoil it for a huge dinner. Perhaps a bowl of nuts and some raw vegetables and hummus or dip and deviled eggs all of which can be made the day ahead or store bought(of course I make them myself)!

Important tips: See Professional Secrets and Tips section of my cookbook-it will help to ensure YOUR success.

Use  oven and digital read thermometers-temperature is key. Enlist help, people love to help. See my guide for cooking times according to the weight of the Turkey.

Clean(with hot water and soap) all surfaces, sinks, counters, cutting boards, utensils and hands that touch raw Turkey to prevent spreading salmonella-food poisioning.

Keep Turkey refrigerated at 38 degrees until ready to stuff and bake.

Stuff the Turkey just before baking so bacteria will not grow.

Do NOT and I repeat, DO NOT leave food out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. It is best to put out smaller batches. Optimal Bacteria growth temperatures are between 40-140 degrees…yep, room temperature! It grows extremely rapidly by the hour after four hours throw it out. I hate waste…so I put out smaller portions or serve everything at once and put it away or send it home with guests just after eating. Only follow this advice if you want to avoid food poisoning or a big tummy ache-really you will be so much happier and healthier.

Final Tip/Preference: To baste or not to baste? I like to soak a large piece of cheesecloth in grapeseed oil, fold it in half and in half again to fit over the Turkey. Cover the Turkey with it and I do not baste if you  like a crispy skin. The high temperature will crisp the skin and seal in the juices. Resting the Turkey for 20-30 minutes is the ONLY way to have the juice stay in the meat. If you cut into the Turkey right away or before 20 minutes, watch all the juice run away and there is nothing to get it back into the meat…it will be dry, I promise.

Let someone else, especially the teenagers, do the dishes!

BTW, I did all of this in a cooking class last week in 3 1/2 hours with no help- I slept very well that night!  So, You can do it too. Just follow my recipes carefully-read them first. I like to read them the night before I cook/prepare them. and again just before making them. Buy my cookbook even if you only use the Thanksgiving recipes!

Take a deep breath, have a glass of  organic wine, relax and have a very Happy Thanksgiving. From my heart to yours…may you have much to be grateful for this year. I am so grateful for many things/people  including everyone who have been so supportive of my mission in helping you change your life  with delicious, healthy food. Thank you for all your continued support and passing the word about my blog and cookbook.

Many Blessings, Be Well and Happy Thanksgiving, Chef Lauren Hoover-West