As I mentioned in the “Why Gluten Free?” section of my blog, I was diagnosed with lupus during my senior year of college and have been working on managing it to the best of my ability for the past four years. While I’ve been extremely lucky and have seen a drastic improvement in my health since my initial diagnosis, it still will pop back up when I least expect it, usually in the form of migraines, severe joint pain and overwhelming exhaustion. Unfortunately, some days I push my body a little too far and will regret it the next morning when I wake up to flare ups of my lupus symptoms. For me, these mini-flare ups can last weeks, and pretty much mean that during any “free-time” I’m asleep (and “non-free-time” I wish I was asleep), which drastically cuts back on my cooking and food prep time.
When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I essentially only left my dorm room to go to class, and would often opt out of walking to the dining hall for meals. This resulted in me eating a lot of contraband peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that my friends stole for me from the dining halls, and a disgusting amount of ramen noodles from the vending machine outside my room. Ramen became my quick and easy comfort food to keep me going during those periods of exhaustion when I didn’t have enough energy for anything else except binging Netflix.
Since then, I have opted to follow a gluten-free, vegan diet which has eliminated ramen from my life. I’m also a lot more aware of how important continuing to eat healthy and exercise is, even when I’m feeling my worst. Despite this, something about flare ups leave me missing that quick and easy comfort food on days when I am just too exhausted to spend time prepping meals. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to come up with an easy alternative for myself, and my Easy Microwave Spiralized Potato Ramen recipe was born. It has been the perfect quick and easy meal for me and has been a life-saver during flares. This recipe can really be as easy or as complicated as you want (or can handle, based on exhaustion level) and is so easy to customize based on what foods you have in your house, for when I’m too tired to make it to the grocery store.
The basis for this recipe is really just using a spiralizer or julienne peeler to make “noodles” out of potato (I highly recommend the spiralizer, it makes this ridiculously easy). After that you just add the potato to your broth of choice, microwave, and season to taste and the job is done! I’ve also been loading mine up with a bunch of extra vegetables, since it makes it a little more interesting, and I’m a bit more aware now of how eating healthier will help me feel better. For this version, I made up a miso broth using miso paste, but feel free to sub in any vegetable based broth that you have on hand!
Extra veggies will help bulk up your meal and keep the ramen interesting
- 1 peeled potato spiralized or julienned
- 2 cups water
- ½ tbsp miso paste
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Any mix-ins you have on hand (Possible mix-ins include: scallions, hot peppers, red pepper flakes, baby bok choy, cabbage, sliced peppers, sliced carrots, edamame, tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, peanuts, cashews, onions, curry paste, sesame seeds, etc.)
- In a microwaveable bowl, combine water, miso paste, tamari and sesame oil (or 2 cups of a vegetable based broth broth of your choice)
- Add “potato noodles” from one spiralized (or julienned) potato
- Cover the bowl and microwave for ~6 minutes, or until “potato noodles” are softened
- Add any mix-ins you have on hand. For the bowl pictured I used baby bok choy, red cabbage, thinly sliced peppers, thinly sliced carrots, edamame, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and scallions. You can make it as simple or complicated as you want!
- Enjoy lazily while binging Netflix.
I started my dietetic internship in January, which means between working in the hospital, commuting and studying I have barely had time to sleep, let alone to cook. This weekend, I finally found myself with a few free hours and decided it was time to stress-bake. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I figured it would be a good time to get in touch with my Irish heritage and try to re-create a classic Irish soda bread.
While gluten-free bread may require a few more ingredients, one plus side is that you don’t have to knead the dough. Normally, kneading dough is essential for making a gluten matrix that traps air and allows dough to rise. Leaving out the gluten means you can skip the extra work of kneading, and you don’t have to worry about over or under kneading your dough. With this recipe you just have to mix the dough with a spatula until well combined and then throw it in the oven!
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup corn starch
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 2 cups non-dairy milk (I used cashew, but almond or soy would work as well)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 tbsp melted Earth Balance
- ½ cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Mix together milk and apple cider vinegar and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
- Add the melted Earth Balance and milk + apple cider vinegar mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well using a rubber spatula.
- Once batter is mixed add in the raisins and mix until well distributed
- Using floured hands (the dough will be sticky) , form the dough into a round
- Place the round on a cast iron skillet (or a regular baking sheet if you don’t have a skillet)
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown
- Once finished, transfer bread to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.
For me, starting up a new school year wouldn’t be quite complete without a bout of procrastination baking. Baking is definitely my #1 form of procrastination, and has gotten me through many stressful periods of grad school. It is the perfect vice: once I’m done procrastinating, I have a batch of something tasty to stress eat when I realize how little time I have left to finish my homework. I’ll admit it is a pretty messed up system, but it’s worked well for me for the last two years, so it’s only proper that I start off my last semester of grad school the same way.
Since my past three CSA boxes have had peaches in them, I’ve been trying to incorporate them into my baked goods before they all go bad (see my previous post for Peach Blueberry Cobbler). This time I decided to go for something I could easily grab in the morning on my way to the gym at 5:15, or take with me to class for a mid-day pick-me-up (because I obviously need one after waking up at 4:45 😴) . These spiced peach muffins were the perfect fit. They pair sweet peach flavors with warm fall spices, a perfect match for these late summer, early fall September days.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m making an effort to make recipes with smaller yields and less processed sugar and these muffins fit both of those requirements. This recipe makes six medium-sized muffins and contain no processed sugar (they are sweetened with maple syrup and the peaches themselves). Having a smaller yield recipe not only stops me from eating a dozen muffins by myself, it also cuts down the amount I spend on baking supplies (which is going to be essential if I keep testing out new recipes while putting off my school work).
Instead of using applesauce as my egg replacer, like I normally would for muffins, I switched it up a bit and used fresh pureed peach. This really brought out the peach flavors in the muffins, and worked wonderfully at replicating the moisture, structure and texture of a standard muffin. [Similarly to with applesauce, the polysaccharides in the peaches form a starch gel when baked, allowing them to mimic the protein networks formed when eggs are used in baking]. The peach puree allows for the functional characteristics that eggs normally provide, with some additional sweet peachy taste and none of the cholesterol or animal cruelty.
- 1¼ cup gluten free flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour)
- ½ tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Optional: 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, pecans or crystallized ginger
- ¼ cup cashew milk (or your dairy-free milk of choice)
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup pureed peach (~1/2 a peach)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- ½ peach, diced
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a large bowl combine gluten-free flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt.
- In a separate bowl stir cashew milk, coconut oil, peach puree, and maple syrup until well mixed.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth
- Fold in diced peach, and any other optional mix-ins (ex. walnuts, pecans, crystallized ginger).
- Evenly distribute batter into a muffin tin (this recipe should make around 6 muffins).
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
- Remove muffins from the muffin tin and allow them to cool on a cooling rack
Back to school season is here, which means a reprieve from the blistering heat (hopefully), my last semester of graduate school, and the promise of pumpkin spice and fresh apple flavored foods in my near future. Unfortunately, it also means exhaustingly long days, hectic schedules and a goodbye to anything resembling free time.
Once September rolls around I am back to leaving my apartment before 6 every morning, and often not getting back until around 10pm. Between classes, getting to the gym, working as a research assistant and getting my homework done, my schedule is pretty much booked solid during the week. Not only does this leave me very little time to cook, it also means I eat almost all of my meals away from home either while sitting through lectures, in my office or while commuting. This means a lot of meal prep over the weekends, and a backpack full of food at all times.
Farm fresh broad beans from my weekly CSA box
For my first week of class I decided to make a simple dish using the produce I had left from my weekly CSA box. I needed something that was easy to make, and that I would be able to easily pack as meals on the go. I paired up my farm fresh potatoes and broad beans with some wild rice, toasted pecans, fresh figs and a sherry vinaigrette inspired by a dish my sister-in-law has made me before. It was a perfect combination of flavors, and lasted well in the fridge all week to help get me through my long first week of classes.
I’ve been kind of obsessed with figs recently, and thought they’d be a perfect sweet addition to this rice salad, but feel free to use dried cranberries or another sliced fruit instead!
This recipe allowed me to mix a bunch of different ingredients I had around the house, and is really very versatile.
- Don’t have pecans? Try roasted walnuts, or slivered almonds, or omit the nuts all together.
- Don’t have broad beans? Try green beans, or snap peas.
- Don’t have figs? Try dried cranberry, or sliced pear, or sliced apple
It’s an easy dish to throw together with delicious results, even during those busy weeks.
Wild Rice Salad
- 1 cup dry wild rice, prepared as instructed on package
- 1 lb flat beans, trimmed and cut into ~3” pieces
- 5 small potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 5 figs, chopped
- 1/3 cup pecans
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 small clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Toss potatoes, beans, garlic and olive oil in a large bowl until evenly covered, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Distribute the vegetables evenly on a baking sheet and cook for around 35 minutes, or until the potatoes start to get crispy.
- While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the dressing by whisking together the sherry vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Remove the baking pan and lower the oven temperature to 350.
- Spread pecans on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and allow to toast for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked wild rice, roasted vegetables, chopped figs, and toasted pecans.
- Drizzle dressing over the top, and toss until well distributed
- Enjoy! (or in my case, pack up into individual sized portions, and enjoy throughout the week at my desk or during lectures)