Category Archives: Gluten Free

Pureed Fresh Ginger

  • Difficulty: easy
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Time to toss the grater, folks!  This is the fastest and easiest way to process ginger.

Ingredients


3 cups of fresh ginger root

Directions

  1. Wash (no need to peel) and cut 2-3 cups of fresh ginger root.
  2. Place into Vitamix container and secure lid.
  3. Select Variable 1 and turn machine on.
  4. Quickly increase speed to variable 10, then High.
  5. Using the tamper, press the ginger into the blades and blend for 1-2 minutes or until completely smooth.

Food Tip:  As most of us know, ginger root makes an excellent tea and seasoning for a wide variety of dishes.  When using it in tea, make sure to stir occasionally.  Mixed in, the particles go unnoticed. But, if you leave it sitting and then drink it, you will find that the particles settle to the bottom making your last sip pretty grainy.

Time Tip: Freeze ginger puree in “mini cube” ice cube trays and store them in labeled freezer bags.  Each cube is about 1/2 teaspoon so there no guessing when it comes to measurements.  Don’t bother peeling it.  The Vitamix is powerful enough to blend the root and the skin so smooth that there are no fibrous strands in the puree.  Plan ahead and keep some on hand in the refrigerator for easy mixing.

Money Tip:  I looked up Ginger puree on line and it was going for $9 a pound.  Fresh ginger root runs about $6-7 .  Because of its strong flavor, only a small amount is needed.  Keeping it in the freezer means less waste in the refrigerator and the convenient cubes are ready when you are.

Matthew’s Green Smoothie

ATTENTION: Make sure to get clearance from your doctor before trying any blenderized diet.

My Helper
My Helper

1 cup of peppermint or chamomile tea
2 oz of Avocado
2 oz of fresh Aloe Vera (optional)
3 cups of greens
Makes 2 cups

Bolus Feeding Syringe
Bolus Feeding Syringe

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to 10, then to High.
Blend for 1-2 minutes or until very smooth (no visible leaves).

Night Feeding Via Pump
Night Feeding Via Pump

Food Tip: When using this smoothie in the enteral feeding pump, it is vital that there are no leaf particles. Because the bag tubing, extension tubing and g-tube are all small in diameter, small bits of leaves can get caught and cause the pump to alarm and stop the feeding due to “No flow out”. Green smoothies do not work well without some type of fat in them. Outside of the health benefits, that’s why the avocado is added.Also, if formula is normally given, it is best to combine the smoothie with the formula and mix well. It has been my experience that straight green smoothies without the formula mixed in tend to separate. The pureed greens are lighter than the water so the water will go though the pump leaving the greens stuck in the feed bag.  If Aloe Vera is used it must be food grade.  Do not use fresh Aloe Vera unless you know how to properly prepare it.

Time Tip: How much smoothie to give depends on total volume and tolerance. It is best fresh within 2-3 days so I store the remaining smoothie in a container that allows me to shake it up before pouring.

Money Tip: Since they are going to be blended, buy greens in bulk and freeze any portion you do not use within 3-5 days. That way there is no waste from greens gone bad in the refrigerator.  Fresh frozen greens such as kale and spinach break up easily once frozen allowing for easy measuring and blending.

Sunrise Green Smoothie

This makes for a great eye opener but It’s refreshing any time of day.

Sunrise Green Smoothie
Sunrise Green Smoothie

1 cup water

1cup romaine lettuce

1 cup fresh spinach

thin slice of fresh lemon (including the peel)

4 frozen pineapple cubes (or 4oz frozen pineapple)

2 frozen mango cubes (or 2oz frozen mango)

1 Stevia packet (or more to taste)

  1. Placed all into the Vitamix container in  the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached.  Use the tamper if needed to push the ingredients into the blades.

Food Tip:  Any of your favorite greens will work in this smoothie.  Spinach and romaine lettuce are good starters for the novice green smoothie drinker because the fruit masks the taste of the greens.  As you get more accustomed to the taste, try removing the Stevia and some of the fruit.  That will retrain your palate into not always needing food to be sweet to taste good.

Time Tip:  As with my other smoothie recipes, I save time by pureeing the fruit and freezing them in ice cube trays.  No need to separate large chunks of frozen fruit. Also, I can add exactly the desired amount of fruit keeping the flavor just like I like it or give me option to change it up a bit.

Money Tip:  Buy your greens at a food warehouse such as Costco or Sam’s Club.  As soon as you open the bags, fill  gallon-sized freezer bags, label and date them, then put them straight into the freezer.  Use up the fresh greens in the refrigerator then begin using the frozen greens.  No more tossing half of your greens in the trash 3 days after you bring the home and running out to by more.  No waste ALWAYS means more money in your pocket.

Hummus

Hummus

2 cups cooked chick peas (according to the package)
¼ -½ cup bean liquid
3oz (1/3 cup) tahini (see recipe)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup of lemon juice or a 2oz peeled section of lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-3 tsp garlic salt

Hummus prep

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
4. Blend for 1 minute using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades (if necessary).

Food Tip: Hummus is an Arabic word meaning chickpeas or garbanzo beans. The complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is hummus bi tahini. So can you make hummus without tahini? Yes but, in my opinion, the flavor is lacking. Tahini is roasted sesame seeds that are blended to the consistency of creamy peanut butter. Eaten by itself, it has a rich nutty flavor. If you buy it in the jar it tends to have a bitter aftertaste. Blended with the chick peas it gives life and body to the spread. Traditionally, hummus is the consistency of yogurt but add the liquid to make it as thin or thick as you desire. Serve with fresh veggies, pita chips or as a spread for a pita sandwich or wrap.
Time Tip: 2 cups of sesame seeds makes about 1 cup of tahini. Make it in advance and keep it the refrigerator for future fresh batches. Another time saving technique is to make 3 batches (1 pound of dry beans cooked). Blend each batch individually and freeze them in various size plastic containers. After they are frozen, pop them out into a large Ziploc Freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. That way you can defrost as little or as much as you need. Amazingly, it tastes as if it were just made after it’s been defrosted and warmed up a bit.
Money Tip: Buying dry beans is always less expensive (and tastes better) than canned beans. Making your own tahini in your Vitamix is way less expensive (and also tastes better) than buying it in a jar. Last but not least, freezing your hummus not only saves time but money. You only defrost what you plan to use in the next 3-4 days so there is none to throw away.

Nine Layer Bean Dip

Nine Layer Bean Dip
Nine Layer Bean Dip

This recipe has some serious history behind it.  It all started about 16 years ago.  We had been invited to join my husband’s best friends family for a Fourth of July barbecue/swim party.  It was a pot luck for a fairly large group so I thought the nine layer bean dip would work well as an appetizer.  The dip was a hit and so began a Barton Family Bean Dip legacy.  At first it was just 1 pan but then I found out a family member had an allergy to avocados so I added a small pan that had no guacamole in it.  Soon the dip was disappearing as fast as I brought it out.  Come to find out, people were skipping lunch just to eat the dip when we arrived.

9 layer dip dos

 

9 layer dip

 

 

Fast forward to the present.  We now bring 3 varieties of the dip all weighing between 5 and 7 pounds each to all of our Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day gatherings.  Three parties every year plus a couple of extra events thrown in by special request.  That’s a lot of dip!  One year we had to miss Memorial Day because Matthew was in the hospital.  One family member jokingly asked, “Well, can you at least bring the dip?”  Yeah.  It’s that good!

GE

Well, now it’s football season and the holiday season is quickly approaching.  The next time you are invited to a party bring “the dip”.  Word of caution, be prepared to be stopped at the door when you are invited back and you decide to bring something else!

3 cups of non-fried re-fried beans
2 cups diced green chiles
2 cups guacamole
1 cup taco seasoning
2 cups chopped olives
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups chopped green onion
2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese

Guacamole directions: Peel, pit and mash 4-5 avocados. Mix in ¼ cup sour cream and salt, Cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste.

Dip directions: Layer each ingredient into a large lasagna pan (13-1/2 in. L x 9-5/8 in. W x 2-3/4 in. H) in the order listed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Food Tip: For those allergic to avocado, eliminate that layer. For those who like a spicier dip, use chopped jalapenos in place of green chiles. This size dip is excellent for parties. If you want a smaller dip, choose the desired size pan and evenly layer all of the ingredients. The beans should measure about ¾ inch deep and each successive layer should completely cover the one below it.

Time Tip: The beans puree and spread much easier if they are freshly cooked and blended. Spread the non-fried re-fried beans into the pan, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Also chop the olives, tomatoes, green chiles and/or jalapenos the night before and store in airtight containers. It is best to chop the onions and make the guacamole the day the dip is to prepared and eaten.

Money Tip: When making this dip for a large group it is best to buy the ingredients at club stores or stores that specialize in catering. Making the non-fried re-fried beans fresh from beans purchased at a bulk food store is always more nutritional, less expensive and better tasting than canned.

Nonfried Refried Beans

Non-fried Re-fried Beans
Non-fried Re-fried Beans

1 lb dried pinto beans
6 cups of water
2 tsp beef bouillon
Salt (to taste)

Quick soak- Place washed and sorted beans and the water into a 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low for 1 hour. After 1 hour stir in the bouillon. Continue cooking the beans for 1-2 hours or until they are tender. Properly cooked beans should easily mash with the back of a spoon. Stir in salt to taste and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve 1 cup of the broth.

  1. Place 3 cups of drained beans into the Vitamix.
  2. Select variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10.
  4. Blend for 30 seconds using the tamper to press the beans into the beans. Add small amounts of the bean broth to reach the desired consistency.
  5. Repeat steps 1-3 until all the beans are pureed.

Food Tip: Use them as a side dish, to make burritos, tostadas or as a base for 9-layered dip. Add them to soups and stews as a natural thickener with the added benefit of adding extra protein.

Savings Tip: Because they are inexpensive, buy beans in bulk and store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. Under these conditions, dry beans can last up to a year. Also watch for sales in Mexican or farmer’s markets. These markets often have sales that are better than buying pre-packaged beans.

Time Tip: Cooked and pureed beans can keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. Double the recipe and freeze them in 1-3 cup size containers. When defrosted, use within 3 days. If using them as baby food, freeze them in standard ice cube trays covered in plastic wrap. Once frozen, put them into labeled and dated freezer bags for fast, fresh, individual portions.

Mango Ice cream

So what do you serve for dessert when it’s 102 degrees outside?  Ice cream, of course!  This is a fresh and fruity twist on an old time favorite.  My husband likes his with a sprinkle of shredded coconut while my girls prefer it without the banana.  With the Vitamix I can make 2 servings at a time in less than a minute so everyone gets exactly what they want!

Mango Ice Cream
Mango Ice Cream

1 coconut milk (or fat free milk) cube
1 pureed cottage cheese cube
2 oz frozen banana
6 pureed mango cubes
6 pineapple cubes
(Makes 2 servings)

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase to Variable 10, then High.
4. Use Tamper to press ingredients into the blades.
5. In about 30-60 seconds, the sound of the motor will change and four mounds should form.
6. Stop machine. Do not over mix or melting will occur. Serve immediately.

Food Tip: I have found that using frozen pureed cottage cheese cubes makes for a smoother ice cream that is higher in calcium and lower in fat than using half n half or heavy cream. This recipe is very versatile. Try mixing and matching any frozen fruit and “milks” you have to create your own healthy fruit “ice cream”.

Money tip: Buying a 3pound container of cottage cheese may seem like over kill but I use it to replace almost all of the milk products in my recipes. At Costco it only costs $4.99 whereas the 16oz container can cost $2.50 in the grocery store. After the larger container is opened it will keep for 5-7 days. Freezing a portion when it is opened will ensure freshness and minimize waste.

Time tip: Using Frozen fruit and cottage cheese cubes takes the guess work out of balancing flavor and texture. Preparation time is shorter because there is no need to measure anything. Also you won’t have to spend extra time making the ice cream trying to break down cottage cheese curds.

 

Ratatouille and Brown Rice Dinner

I made this for the family last night and offered it to Mathew for the first time.  He was hesitant at first but, after I fed him the first spoon, it was all bright eyes and smiles!

Brown rice:
1 cup of brown rice
1 tablespoon of butter
2 cups of water
2 tsp chicken bouillon

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

GE

Ratatouille:
½ pound each sliced yellow summer squash and zucchini (about ¼ inch thick)
½ large onion-sliced
1 medium tomato-sliced or 1 15oz can stewed tomatoes-drained
1 clove of garlic-minced
½ tsp Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp of ground pepper
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions: In a medium bowl, toss all vegetables EXCEPT the yellow squash in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside. In a large skillet, sauté yellow squash in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 minutes turning once. Add remaining vegetables and seasons to the sauté pan and stir to blend evenly. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Turn off heat and mix in the cheese.

Sautéed Chicken Breast:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8 oz each)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
Dried basil leaves

Directions: In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Season both sides of the chicken breasts and place in the skillet. Cover and cook about 5 minutes each side until it is firm to touch.

Puree:
1. Place 1 ½ cups of the “ratatouille”, 1 cup of the brown rice and 4oz-6oz of cooked chicken breasts into the Vitamix in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
4. Blend for 30 seconds or until the desired consistency is reached.

GE

Food Tip: Pureed meals can seem bland because of the texture. To make it more appealing I use fresh vegetables and garlic along with a fair amount of seasons. Some individuals have digestive tract issues and/or hypersensitivity to flavors that require a bland diet. Reduce or remove the seasoning to meet their needs.

Money tip: Buying brown rice from a bulk food store like Winco’s is the best way to go. Because of the oils in it, it will keep in the pantry for about a month opened but will keep longer in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Buy only what you need based on how you will store it to avoid waste. This is a great meal to make in the summer because zucchini and yellow squash are cheaper this time of year.

Time Tip: This was dinner for the family. All I did was to puree a portion of the leftovers. The added time was about 5 minutes. Freezing them in ice cube trays and storing them in labeled Ziploc bags ensures quick well balanced meals. Defrost what you will use the next day in the refrigerator and warm it in the microwave before serving.

GE

Mellow Yellow Power Smoothie

I whipped this up after a trip to the gym with my husband.  He tasted it and loved it.  He suggested I add a bit of nutmeg to it and use it as a replacement for eggnog during the the holidays.  That’s saying something because he REALLY loves eggnog.  He might just have something there.  Keep your eye on my blog during the holidays.   You never know.  But for now:

GE

½ cup water
12 raw almonds
½ cup low fat cottage cheese
2/3 cup yellow squash
1/3 cup raw baby (or sliced) carrots
1 tablespoon flax seed
4 (about 4oz) frozen pureed pineapple cubes
4 (about 4oz) frozen pureed mango cubes
1TSB whey protein

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and increase to Variable 10, then High.
4. Blend for 30 seconds or until the desired consistency is reached.

Food Tip: This recipe makes 2 cups and contains 26 grams of protein. It is great as a post workout meal replacement. For individuals on a pureed diet or as a healthy snack, remove the whey protein and use as two 8oz servings. It’s thick enough to be eaten with a spoon even though you can drink it through a straw. The yellow squash adds vitamins and antioxidants and is very low in calories. It has a mild flavor so it blends well in any smoothie while adding to the creamy texture.

Money Tip: Yellow squash in season is very inexpensive but I prefer to grow my own because it’s fresh AND it’s free! As I have said in my fresh fruit puree entry, buying mangos in bulk when they are in season, pureeing them and freezing them is an excellent way to save money. flax seed is less expensive when buying it from a bulk food store plus you only buy what you need so it doesn’t go bad.

Time Tip: This smoothie only takes about 5 minutes to prepare and using the individual pureed fruit cubes shortens the time even more.

 

Mixed Fruit “Pudding”

Orange/Banana "Pudding"
Orange/Banana “Pudding”

3 cups frozen (thawed) or fresh fruit
4 tsp Ball Instant Pectin

1. Place the fruit into the Vitamix container and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
4. Blend for about 30 seconds or until the fruit is well blended and completely smooth.
5. Turn the machine off and remove lid.
6. Add the pectin and replace the lid.
7. Select Variable 1.
8. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 3.
9. Blend for 3 minutes.
10. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or a mason jar for 3-4 days.

Food Tip: Some fruits can cause severe allergies. It is wise to wait until a baby is at least 12 months old to try fruits like strawberries and avocados. Be sure to test them in small amounts for about a week. This recipe works well with a meal, as a snack or as a dessert for those restricted to a pureed diet. You can also blend this with a portion of applesauce. Babies and those on pureed diets can have a hard time with strong flavors.

Time Tip: Thaw any frozen fruit to be used in the refrigerator overnight for quick processing the next day.

Money Tip: When fruits are in season you can save lots of money by cleaning, preparing and freezing them yourself. Bananas are not seasonal but you can save money by peeling and freezing the “freckled” ones before they go bad and end up in the trash. Have fun experimenting with whatever fruit you have and nothing will go to waste.

Footnote:  It is summer time and I have tried this recipe with fresh peaches and nectarines.  For some reason the instant fruit pectin is not thickening it as with other fruits.  I will continue to work on other ways of thickening these and add a separate blog entry.  I am not in the habit of giving up so keep your eye on this blog for “Peach and Nectarine Fruit Pudding.