Tag Archives: Gluten-Free

Refried Beans: Easier Than You Think!

I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile, but I can’t ever seem to remember to take a picture.  Which is why I have no picture accompaniment – but I’ll add one next time I make this.  After all, Sarah asked for the recipe.


Let’s start by saying that I love beans in just about any form.  I’ve eaten beans nearly every day of my life, which is probably why many of my recipes involve them.  I used canned refried beans when cooking them until this last year, though, because it seemed easier.  Not tastier, though, if you’re used to the real thing – and when you’re buying the Amy’s brand, they can be pricey.


As with many things I post, this hardly seems post-worthy – but it’s easy, frugal, nourishing, and most of all, flavorful.  The spices really should be added to taste, so please adjust as needed or start with smaller amounts and taste as you go.  This is really just a guideline as to what flavors should be present.


Refried Beans


1 pound dried pinto or black beans (or mix of both – but the black dominates)

Pinch of asafoetida or epazote

¼ cup olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander seed

Salt and pepper to taste (I use a lot)


1. Soak beans for 24 hours (or overnight if that’s all the time you have).  The next morning, drain soak water, add new water and a pinch of asafoetida or epazote, and cook on low in a crock pot all day until dinner time.  Don’t add any of the other seasonings yet – the salt, especially, will slow down cooking time.  (You could also cook the beans in a pot on the stove; adjust cook time accordingly.)


2. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven, adding the onions when hot.  After onions have softened, add garlic, cumin, and coriander and sauté about two more minutes. 


3. Add cooked beans, salt, and pepper.  Mash the beans (still in the pot) with a potato masher until they look the way you like them – Husband prefers not to see a lot of whole bean, so we mash quite a bit – and taste for seasoning.  I’m always needing to add more salt here.




– Chicken broth could be substituted for the water during the bean cooking step.

– If you opt to cook the beans on the stove instead of the crockpot, just sauté the onions and garlic in a small saucepan then add them in with all the seasonings to the cooked beans.  I’ve done this before and it works fine.

– I’ve tried to make this entirely a crockpot thing, but it never seemed to taste as good.


So what’s next?


Well, following my obsession with sprouting, I’d love to come up with a sprouted and refried bean recipe.  I don’t imagine it would change much except in the cooking time.  So expect that to come soon.


Also, I would like to try making them with lard – the most traditional preparation.  I don’t, however, have access to high quality lard (just the hydrogenated stuff at the store – yuck!), and I haven’t yet tried to render it myself. 


How do you make refried beans?

Part of the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.


Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Meatloaf

I have no picture today.  Let’s blame it on how good this was, how fast it went.  No leftovers!  I usually take pictures BEFORE I sit down to eat.  Alas, the four vials of blood drawn from my arm this morning are taking their toll.


Meatloaf usually isn’t my thing, but this had just the right flavor.  I also wanted to post something to prove (to two people in particular – you know who you are) that I’m human, and I don’t make every single ingredient from scratch.  Maybe someday, eh?


Why the need for a gluten- and dairy-free meatloaf recipe?  Well, normally I use breadcrumbs to bind with the egg, and before my daughter came along I added parmesan cheese.  This isn’t a dish I make too often, but it was Husband’s request, and I like to cook only one dinner.  It’s just easier that way.


Meatloaf (gluten-free, dairy-free)


1 egg

1-2 tbsp brown teff flour

1 ½ lbs ground beef

¼ cup green bell pepper, diced

½ cup onion, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cup ketchup (organic, no HFCS)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


2.  Whisk egg in a bowl, then add teff flour and combine.  Add meat to the bowl and fold the egg mixture into the meat.  I used my fingers – disgusting, but more effective.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and combine well.


3.  Press the meat mixture into a greased baking dish.  At this point, you can add some more ketchup to the top of the meatloaf if you wish.


4.  Cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the middle reads 155 degrees.


I hope you enjoy this!


Oh, and you know how I said I thought the menu plan would end up getting changed?  Well, I remembered today that we’re travelling this weekend.  So next week will have lots o’ repeats again.  But at least I should have some fun pictures to share!


Part of the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Pepper



Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, you name it – just about any vegetable is great roasted.  In The Art of Simple Food, Alice Waters sings the praises of roasted vegetables when she explains her guests’ astonishment that all she did was “toss them with a bit of oil and salt and throw them in the oven.”


A couple years ago, Husband and I ate dinner at some friends’ house we had just met (shout out to JW!).  I was pregnant with my son, and they made Indian food – a reliable indicator that we would get along well.  Roasted cauliflower was one of the side dishes, and it made such an impression that now my preferred method of preparing cauliflower is roasting.  I wish I could remember how theirs was seasoned, but (unfortunately) the pregnancy fog takes over from there.  Some kind of curry?  I wonder if she remembers. J


I usually go Alice Waters’ route when roasting vegetables – tossing them in olive oil and seasoning with sea salt.  Really, it’s a foolproof method for veggie success.  Tonight I mixed things up a bit with fresh lemon and pepper, but this is still so simple that I shouldn’t even be calling it a recipe.  If you try it, though, you will enjoy it.  Because roasting is the formula for gustatory awesomeness.


Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Pepper


1 head of cauliflower, washed

Olive oil to coat

Lemon wedges

Freshly ground pepper

Sea salt


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Chop the cauliflower into equal bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.  Toss in enough olive oil to coat, but not so much that it pools up at the bottom.  Squeeze a couple of lemon wedges on the cauliflower, add in some freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste, and toss again.


2. Spread the cauliflower out on a baking sheet and roast until the edges start browning (20 minutes? I’m terrible about timing).


3.  Serve as a side dish with salmon and millet pilaf if your toddler doesn’t eat it all first!




Part of Fight Back Fridays and the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Mardi Gras

Hopefully that title didn’t make you think I was posting about king cakes – if so, sorry.  Today is Fat Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras), and tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.  I’ve decided to give up chocolate this year, which means I won’t be able to indulge in my beloved chocolate milk, so why not go out with a bang and post my chocolate syrup recipe?


This chocolate syrup is no different than any other one you’ll find out there, except that I’ve made substitutions on the sugar.  Most recipes call for white sugar, but I used half sucanat and half dark muscovado sugar.  The muscovado is new to me, so by all means substitute brown sugar instead or use mostly sucanat and add a small amount of maple syrup or molasses.  I’ve heard that sucanat can be used in place of both brown sugar and white sugar, but I find that it needs a tiny bit more molasses to be substituted with conventional brown.  You’ll have to play with it anyway to get it just to your taste, but it’s nearly impossible to make a bad batch – you just add more of whatever is lacking.  And do not omit the salt – it just won’t taste right.


Why the unrefined sugars?  Well, I’m sure I’m not the only one out there with blood sugar issues.  Sucanat and muscovado sugar won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar like the refined ones do, plus they’re loaded with vitamins.  Who knew sugar could kind of, sort of be good for you?


One last note – this is not supposed to be a thick sauce.  This is best in milk or coffee, and maybe on ice cream, but don’t expect a fudgy sauce.


Chocolate Syrup


¼ cup cocoa

¼ cup sucanat

¼ cup dark muscovado sugar, tightly packed

A couple pinches of finely ground sea salt

½ cup water

Dash of pure vanilla extract


1. Measure out the first four ingredients and mix together well.  These are things that like to get clumped together, so break up the clumps as well as you can.




2. Add the water and put on the stove at medium heat.  I like to work out any remaining clumpiness at this step, too.




3. Bring to a boil, and let it stay there for a minute.  Then turn off the heat and pour the syrup into a liquid measuring cup.  After it’s cooled a bit – like when it’s not too hot to touch – add the vanilla and stir.  It is now ready to serve, or you can wait until it cools to room temperature.  Enjoy it with a glass of raw milk or some almond milk.




If you’re in possession of self-control, you can make a larger batch and keep it in a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator.  I, however, am a profligate chocoholic and can’t handle having too much of this around at one time.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Just so you know, this is one of my all-time favorite soups.  It can be modified to be completely vegan (although I prefer it with cheese on top) or loaded with lots of chicken.  I will start with a recipe for how I made mine last night, detailing other substitutions I’ve made below.


Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced (seeds = heat, so remove seeds if you don’t like it hot)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp chili powder

2 quarts vegetable broth

2 cups crushed tomatoes

3 cups black beans, cooked

1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded

2 cups corn, frozen (use fresh when in season)

¼ cup fresh cilantro


Suggested toppings:


Tortilla chips

Grated cheese (I like pepper jack – adds even more spice!) or crème fraîche

Sliced avocado

Chopped scallions


1.  In a dutch oven/stock pot/whatever you make soup in, heat the olive oil on medium.  When hot, add onion and jalapeno, sautéing until onion changes color.  Add garlic and sauté a little longer, being sure not to burn garlic.  Then add broth and crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.


2.  Once it comes to a boil, add beans, chicken, corn and cilantro and heat through.  Since I used precooked ingredients (all leftovers!), this was all quick and easy.


3.  Top with your choice of toppings and serve!




This batch is on the brothier side because I don’t measure.


Now here are my copious notes – I have been making this for a long time, so I kind of have a lot to say. J


         I make at least one large batch of beans every week for various meals.  Often I have a little more than I need, so I freeze the cooked beans in three cup portions so I can just thaw them in the refrigerator as needed.  You could also use canned beans or turn this into a slow cooker meal to cook it from dried beans and uncooked chicken.  Just don’t add the corn until close to the end or it will get mushy.


         I’ve made this using boneless, skinless breasts before, but it’s more expensive that way – which is why I just cook a whole chicken now and portion out the meat.  Just sauté the chicken with the onion and jalapeno if using uncooked chicken.


         Fire-roasted corn is great in here, too.  Many months from now, when fresh corn is easy to come by locally, just roast some on your grill and cut it off the cob to add in.


         For a milder flavor, use a milder pepper than the jalapeno.  Or use a 4 ounce can of chopped green chiles.


         For a beanier soup, omit the chicken and substitute the chicken for some pinto beans.  I would switch to bone broth for more nutrition, too.


         In the summer, roasted red bell peppers are a great addition, too.


I’m sure there’s more, but I’ll have to add to it later.  Let me know if you make any fun substitutions!


This recipe was submitted to the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Black Bean Soup with Chard and Sweet Potatoes



We postponed date night until Friday, so my menu will be a bit off this week.  But it always is. J


I went ahead and made the black bean soup, since I knew the chard and sweet potatoes would get eaten for lunch if I waited too long.  I love the combination of the black beans, chard, and sweet potatoes – something I discovered by accident while combining leftovers – so I continue to plan my menus with this in mind.


These instructions are for a slow cooker, but this could be done on the stove with a dutch oven, as well.


Black Bean Soup with Chard and Sweet Potatoes


1 pound of dried black beans, rinsed and soaked 24 hours

2 quarts chicken bone broth (or enough to come 2 inches above beans)

3 pinches of asafoetida (scroll down through this post to see why)

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 cups sautéed chard (leftovers – I made extra last night just for this)

1-2 cups roasted sweet potatoes (also leftover from last night)


1.     Place beans, broth, and asafoetida in slow cooker, cooking on high for three hours – or low for 7-8 hours – or until tender. 

2.     When beans are done, add salt and pepper to taste and the leftover chard and sweet potatoes.  Don’t worry about preheating the vegetables before adding to the pot – just stir them in and let them sit with the beans for a few minutes (with slow cooker still on) and they will warm up.


We ate the soup with gluten-free banana muffins. The muffins are based on this recipe, since it was the best one I could find using the Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Mix and not calling for xanthan gum.  They were light and banana-y.  Much better than I expected, since I’m very new to baking — especially gluten-free baking!  I really wanted to make them with coconut flour, but I only had about a teaspoon of coconut oil and no other suitable substitute (we can’t use butter because of dairy allergies).  Maybe next week!


For more nourishing soups and stews, visit the Nourishing Gourmet.  For more gluten-free ideas, visit the Gluten-Free Real Food carnival at Cheeseslave.

Curried Chicken and Quinoa with Chard and Sweet Potatoes



This is easy week.  So if you’re looking for something elaborate, this is not it.  Very tasty, though, which is all that counts.  The prep was all done ahead whenever I found time, and putting it together was easy.  This is the basic timeline:


In the morning:


Soak three cups quinoa in almost twice as much water, plus add a swig of raw apple cider vinegar to help break down the saponins.  You could soak it overnight, but I wanted a sturdier grain with more of a couscous texture – unfortunately, I cooked it a little too long and it turned to mush anyway.  On the plus side, quinoa is a quick sprouter, so at least the nutrition is enhanced.


Slice chicken (I used boneless, skinless breasts, but any part would work well) and marinate in raw apple cider vinegar (still on the counter from earlier!), toasted sesame oil, and curry masala powder.  Store in the refrigerator until later.


About an hour before dinner:


Drain and rinse quinoa and put into a dutch oven with fresh water.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer until the water is absorbed, stirring periodically.  If you add too much water or cook it too long, it turns into mush (like mine did tonight!), but the leftovers can be eaten for breakfast.


Chop sweet potatoes into cubes and coat in olive oil.  Place in an even layer on cookie sheets.  Roast at 375 degrees until pleasantly browned.  I also cut a butternut squash in half and roasted it along with the sweet potatoesthis will probably end up being for my 1-year old.


Rinse chard well.  Because I want to puke anytime I taste a rogue grain of dirt, I like to give leafy things a quick rinse under the water in the sink, then submerse them in a bowl of water for ten minutes, then thoroughly rinse each leaf under the sink water again.  This is not as labor-intensive as it sounds, and it’s MUCH better than biting into dirt.


Cut chard into bite-sized pieces and spin in a salad spinner.  Sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil – I used this citrusy olive oil from my hometown –




with a clove or two of minced garlic and some sea salt.  This cooks quickly, so I just pulled it out after it wilted enough and cooked the chicken in the same pan.  The chicken also cooks quickly because I cut it into small pieces.

This might seem like a lot of steps, but I cooked large batches of everything but the chicken.  I will use the extra sweet potatoes and chard in some black bean soup, and the quinoa will be tomorrow’s porridge.  If it had turned out better, it would’ve shown up at dinner again later in the week.  Oh well – it’s not a complete disaster!