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Melissa-profile This is more than just a recipe blog. I am not a chef. I am not a nutritionist, dietitian, or anything else. I am a mom of a 4 year old daughter with celiac disease, wife of a Crossfit junkie, and healthy food lover. I love learning about and cooking new, healthy and delicious gluten free food. This is simply me sharing the ways I take care of my family by being aware and mindful of the food I feed them and as a result making lots of {Gluten Free Love} by Melissa.

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Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken

 

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Gluten free, paleo, clean eating….whatever…this is just good tasting food! Sometimes I feel like we (myself especially) get so caught up with labels. We label everything – fashion choices, lifestyles, diets, people! For some reason we like to compartmentalize until everything is separated into nice orderly groups. Maybe that’s why I like cooking so much. I can start with things that are separated into their appropriate spots in my spice cupboard, pantry, and fridge and bring them together to make something new with every meal.enchilada-sauce2

This delicious homemade enchilada sauce isn’t anything incredibly unique, except that it’s made from scratch – not a can labeled “enchilada sauce”. Truthfully, I don’t trust labels much of any kind. What’s that saying, “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover…. or a can by its label?” Something like that.

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Anyway, this enchilada sauce turned out so yummy! And as anyone knows the best thing about a slow cooker isn’t just the infusion of flavors, but the thoughtless ease of the dinner time rush. The chicken shreds apart easily after a few hours simmering in the sauce, then just pile some into a lettuce leaf wrap or tortilla and top it with my super simple Mango Guacamole!

Like I said, it’s just good food however you want to label it.


Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken

In Homemade Enchilada Sauce

*Note: Using organic ingredients will give you the best and healthiest results.

Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. oil (coconut, olive oil, or vegetable oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • cayenne pepper to taste (opt. if you want more heat)
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano or 1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried cilantro  or 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock (plus more if needed to reach desired consistency)
  • sea salt to taste

Enchilada Chicken

  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken pieces; thawed and patted dry (you can use chicken breast, tenders, thighs, etc.)
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1/2 of one lime, juiced

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Preparation:

  1. In a large skillet heat the oil and garlic until it begins to sizzle. Lay chicken pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper, in the skillet and quickly sear on both sides with the lime juiced over top. Don’t worry about cooking it through, there’ll be plenty of time for that in the crock pot. *This step just adds flavor, but if you have some time constraints it can be skipped. Just put thawed chicken in the crock pot and pour the sauce over. 
  2. Remove chicken and place in the crock pot. You may need to drizzle a 1/2 tbsp more oil in the pan if the chicken soaked it up.
  3. On medium heat add to the oil and garlic the chili powder, cumin, cayenne (if using), and red pepper flakes.  Stir until it’s all combined. Add in remaining seasoning, tomato paste, and stock.
  4. Continue stirring until everything is incorporated. Taste and season with salt.
  5. Pour the enchilada sauce over the chicken in the crock pot. Set to low and let it cook for 6-8 hours.
  6. Shred the chicken with a fork and serve warm topped with some mango guacamole.

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

Mango Guacamole

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Want something simple, healthy, and and quick to make? I made some yummy crock pot enchilada chicken with homemade enchilada sauce for dinner one night and this guacamole was the perfect topper for it. It’s really great for any taco Tuesday night special and comes together in minutes.

enchilada-chicken3 I like mine with big chunks of mango and avocado, but if you prefer your guacamole more blended then just use a fork and mash them up a bit.

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Be sure your mango and avocado are nice and ripe. The mango should give a little when you gently squeeze and have a nice sweet smell. If it smells like a pine tree it’s not ripe yet. You can tell if an avocado is ripe by this same method. The avocado pit should come out easily by using a sharp knife. Act like you’re going to chop right into the pit with your knife and when it gets stuck in the hard nut just pull up the knife and out will come the pit with it.


 

Mango Guacamole

  • 1 ripe avocado; pitted, removed from skin, and chopped into chunks
  • 1 ripe mango; peeled and chopped into chunks
  • drizzle of lime juice
  • chili powder
  • sea salt

Optional add-ins:

  • fresh or dried cilantro
  • cayenne pepper
  • smoked paprika
  • garlic powder or fresh minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced

Preparation

  1. This recipe is really just a to-taste type recipe. Make it how you like, but start with the base ingredients. Combine the avocado, mango, and lime juice together, stir, and gently mash the avocado and mango with a fork if you like. Sprinkle in the salt and chili powder (start with just a couple dashes, taste, then add more as needed).
  2. Now get creative. Toss in some cayenne or jalapenos if you want more heat, some smoked paprika for a southwestern style, or some cilantro, garlic, and onion for a mango pico de gallo type guacamole.

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

 

 

 

 

Frozen Blueberry Tart

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Remember those delicious Orange Creamsicles I made a while ago? I shared them with my friends on Good Things Utah. Well, when Miah asked me for a “Frozen” cake for her birthday those creamsicles sounded like they might, with a little tweaking, make an easy and yummy (and literal) frozen cake. It would need a crust on the bottom, so I guess it’s more of a frozen tart than a cake.

The crust is as simple as tossing almond flour, shredded coconut, and honey in a food processor. For the frozen filling I thought, blueberries to give it a blue tint (like Elsa’s ice castle, right?!) and add a little citrus would make it perfect. Well….let’s just say it took a little more tweaking than anticipated.

I’ll be honest the finished product looked beautiful, but was overly tart – especially for a half dozen 4 and 5 year old party guests who were less than impressed. The funny thing is….my kids agreed with them, shrugged their shoulders, and licked their plates clean anyway. Haha! They’ve gotten used to “mom’s mess ups” and have learned to just eat it and trust (or at the very least hope) that next time I’ll get it right. I guess that’s the price your family has to pay for a self-taught chef mother!

So after additional tweaking…I think I got it right!

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Fresh lemon juice, blueberry compote, and plenty of honey combined with the creamy goodness of coconut milk turned a simple 3 step frozen tart into a beautiful fuchsia – yeah, not blue – frozen treat. 

**Hint: Steps 2 and 3 can be done simultaneously, assuming you have two free hands for stirring and cuts the prep time down by half.

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Frozen Blueberry Tart

Step 1

Almond Coconut Crust

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. coconut oil (softened to liquid)

pinch ground sea salt or pink salt

In a food processor pulse the coconut flakes until they resemble crumbs. Add in the almond meal, honey, and oil. Pulse several more times. Press the crust evenly into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form cake pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the freezer while you finish steps 2 and 3.

Step 2

Blueberry Compote

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

4 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. honey or raw organic sugar

zest of 1 lemon

In a small saucepan heat the blueberries, lemon juice, and honey until bubbling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for about 8-10 minutes until berries burst and it’s slightly reduced. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon zest, and pour into a bowl to cool.

Step 3

Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk

2 cans full fat coconut milk

2/3 cup honey or raw organic sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

pinch ground sea salt or pink salt

In a medium saucepan heat the coconut milk and honey. Bring to a low boil. Simmer, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes until it is slightly reduced and thickened.

Allow the coconut mixture to cool for several minutes before combining the blueberry compote to the sweetened condensed coconut milk. Stir together and pour into partially frozen crust. Cover with the plastic wrap again and return the pan to the freezer for 4 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to eat, remove the pan from the freezer about 10 minutes before cutting. Gently run a knife along the edge to loosen before removing the spring form, cutting, and serving.

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

Pork Chops with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

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We don’t always have meat with dinner. Usually twice a week we skip the meat and fill up on plant-based proteins like beans or maybe when dinner is rushed I throw together a simple gluten free pasta somthing. But when it’s not a meatless night, we like our meat! (and veggies).

Pork chops are so easy to make and easy to make taste delicious. Of course, my kids call every meat chicken, so whether you have pork, chicken, or steaks you really can use this recipe for just about anything. Just swap the chicken broth for beef broth when it applies.

Having said that, it’s also easy to overcook and end up with a dry or underseasoned piece of meat. If you’ve visited Food L’amor before then you’ve probably already learned my favorite way to cook most kinds of meat and fish: pan seared and then poached in broth. Searing in a healthy oil brings out tons of flavor and then simmered in broth or stock eliminates the issue of overly dry meat. Add to that sauteed mushrooms and dairy-free cream and….mmmm….so good!

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 Pork Chops With Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Serves 4

4 pork chops (bone in or out)

Sea salt or pink salt and black pepper

1 tbsp. lemon juice + 1/2 tsp. zest

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (or 1 tbsp. oil + 1 tbsp. organic butter or ghee)

2 cloves garlic, minced

small handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped or 2 tsp. dried parsley

1 pint baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup cream (organic dairy creamer or a dairy-free creamer like this cashew cream by Michelle at Gluten Free Fix)

1/2 – 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Heat a large skillet dd olive oil and garlic until it sizzles. Add in the sliced mushrooms and sautee for several minutes until they soften and turn a darker brown then scoot them over and make room for the chops. Generously salt and pepper the chops on both sides. Place in the hot pan and sear on both sides – about 2 -4  minutes per side. Juice lemon and zest over top after the first side is cooked and sprinkle with parsley.

Don’t worry that the inside is still pink, it will finish in the poaching broth. Once both sides are seared, pour in the broth and cream. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the good stuff. Bring to a steady simmer and poach for 6 – 10 minutes depending on the thicken or until they are cooked through.

Serve pork chops with a scoop of the mushroom sauce.

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

 

 

 

 

 

Why Sprout? What to Know About Sprouting

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When you think of sprouting you probably think of planting a seed in some dirt, add water, sunlight, and all that. What I’m talking about is only half the process, but can yield wonderful healthy results. When someone sprouts a seed, grain, bean or nut they are initiating the process of germination but not allowing it become a full blown plant.

Why Sprout?

Let me explain what I’ve learned:

Plants have survival mechanisms just like a gazelle has speed and the tiger has claws. Plants protect themselves from being eaten and ensuring the survival of their seeds by making it difficult or even poisonous to digest. When it comes to things like seeds and grains these deterrents are called anti-nutrients. The reason those who follow a strict Paleo diet don’t eat any form of grain is usually because they are very sensitive to these anti-nutrients and aren’t able to digest them well. (That’s what the plant intended!)

Luckily, we’ve come a long way since the stone age and even anciently people figured out how to get rid of those pesky anti-nutrients by sprouting the grain, seed, bean, or nut before consuming them.

No you don’t want a full grown plant (you’ll run into those same deterrents again and have some digestive troubles) you just want to trick the seed into beginning the process of germination.

seed-sproutingSee the seed with the white tail, second from the left? That’s what you’re looking for. That little tail tells you that the seed no longer has anti-nutrients to interfere with digestion, and not only that, but also has released all the vital nutrients the plant will need to grow. When you sprout the seed, nut, grain, or bean you get all those extra benefits and none of the gut irritating stuff.

What Can I Sprout?

There are plenty of naturally gluten free grains, seeds, and beans to sprout that you can then dry and grind into flours for baking, like:

  • Rice
  • amaranth
  • quinoa
  • millet
  • buckwheat
  • corn
  • beans (i.e. black beans, garbanzo bean, etc.)
  • lentils
  • sorghum
  • oats (certified gluten free oat groats, not rolls or processed oats)

And, of course, if you don’t have an intolerance or autoimmune reaction to gluten (celiac disease) you can sprout gluten containing grains like:

  • wheat
  • barley
  • einkorn
  • emmer
  • kamut
  • rye
  • spelt

You really can sprout just about anything. If you want something to top your salad with then you can sprout things like:

  • alfalfa
  • mung beans
  • wheatgrass
  • radish
  • green-leaf
  • pumpkin
  • sunflower

Things like the alfalfa, mung beans, wheatgrass, radish, and green-leaf sprouts are usually allowed to grow until they are a long shoot with a little bit of green.

How to Sprout in a Jar

There are lots of seed sprouting trays and accessories you can purchase, but for a simple and cheap way to sprout, you really only need a couple things: a quart wide mouth jar and a sprouting lid or wire strainer and a clean cloth.

  1. Place what you want to sprout into a quart canning jar – about half way full
  2. Pour filtered water into the jar until it covers the seeds by about 3 inches
  3. Put the sprouting lid on the jar or use a ring lid screwed on loosely over a clean cloth.
  4. Set in the a cool, dark pantry or cupboard overnight (10-12 hours)
  5. Drain the soaking water and rinse with filtered water, draining all remaining rinse water off as well.
  6. Return the cloth covering if using or just leave the sprouting lid on and lay soaked and drained seed jar on it’s side and set it back in the pantry.
  7. Repeat the rinsing and draining process every 3-4 hours for the next two or three days. The point is to keep the seeds moist so they start to germinate. (Don’t worry about waking up every 4 hours overnight. Just give it a good rinse right before going to bed and again first thing in the morning.)
  8. Once you see the seed begin to open and a tiny white tail then they are ready to be used. Or if sprouting something like mung beans, then allow for another couple days for the shoots to grow 2-3 inches.
    • You can  use a dehydrator to dry and then grind up sprouted grains, seeds, or nuts into flour.
      • Or
    • Store sprouted seeds in the fridge and toss in salads or add to breads and other baked goods.

 

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa