Sweet Dijon Dressing Done Light & Easy

Salads, our new best friend for loading on protein and healthy veggies in one healthy swoop. I have had some fun trialing different dressing recipes that appeal to both my husband and I, but unfortunately, he isn’t a fan of one of my favorites, honey mustard.

But the other day when he had already inhaled his lunch, I had the opportunity to experiment for my own tastes. I looked up several recipes for this everyday dressing, but all sounded a bit muddled in my opinion. Mayo, yogurt, pepper, onion … too many distractions from the simplistic deliciousness that the basic honey and mustard combo can offer.

So, I winged it … and it was delicious! I mixed equal parts of three flavors that I thought would meld nicely, and a fat-free vinaigrette was born. Unfortunately, while the flavor was right (sweet, tangy, and with enough bite to stand out amongst the greens), it was a bit too thin. Searching through the fridge and pantry for a nice, mild, natural addition, I came upon my trusty (and cheap!) flaxseeds. A quick whiz in the spice grinder turns these seeds into gel-magic. The flaxseeds add the tiniest bit of “healthy” fat, which transforms this dressing from non-fat to light, but I think your waistline can handle that extra gram.

Sweet Dijon Dressing

I call it sweet dijon dressing, rather than honey mustard, because you really can swap in agave for equally delicious results, and … well, the word dijon just sounded a bit more sophisticated. As for the third ingredient, white wine vinegar, it may sound fancy, but it is cheap and relatively easy to find amongst the other vinegars in most grocery stores. I haven’t tried it, but apple cider vinegar might work well in its place.

Recipe: Sweet and Light Dijon Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Honey or Agave Nectar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Flaxseeds (grind then measure)

Instructions

  1. Whisk these four little ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Pop the dressing in the fridge to thicken a bit while you make the rest of your salad.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Diet type: Optionally Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy free, Egg free, Gluten free, Nut free, Peanut free, Soy free, Wheat free

Number of servings (yield): 3

Copyright © Alisa Fleming.

 

Sweet Dijon Salad

Taste & Create: Balsamic Chicken with Vegetables

Last week our favorite “farmers” market (a grocery store, but focused on produce, bulk foods, fresh items, etc.) had boneless, skinless chicken breasts on for $1.67 per lb. Since we are using more lean protein, we stocked up. Okay, that is an understatement. We packed our tiny little freezer right to the ice maker!

So, when my Taste & Create partner was announced, I ♥ Food 4 Thought, I went straight to the categories on her site and selected chicken. One dish immediately caught my eye, the Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms. Let me tell you, it is delcious! In fact, I have already made it a few times. The first time I followed the recipe exactly, and then I added in some of her suggestions and a few of my own tweeks.

Thank you Clara – this is a great light and easy dish! So light in fact, that you should be able to justify some dessert from her other blog, I ♥ Cuppycakes.

balsamic chicken

Balsamic Chicken with Vegetables
Recipe adapted from I ♥ Food 4 Thought
This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, and Soy-Free

This dish can be made on the fly, but it is best if you plan ahead, and let the chicken marinade for at least 4 to 24 hours.

  • 1 lb Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Crushed Garlic or 4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 8 Ounces Mushrooms, halved or quartered (depending on size)
  • 1 Small Onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 Medium Zucchini, sliced

Spread the chicken out in a dish. Combine the vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour 3 Tablespoons of this mixture over the chicken, flipping it to coat, and cover. Cover the leftover marinade. Place the chicken and leftover marinade in the fridge for at least 4 hours if you have the time.

When ready to cook, heat the teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, moving it around to cover (can use cooking spray instead). Add the chicken along with all of its marinade (not the reserved marinade) and cook until it is cooked through (no pink left in the middle) – I cover it to retain moisture – flipping only once. Remove the chicken and divide it among your serving plates.

Add the onions to your skillet, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the zucchini and reserved marinade, and cook for 2 more minutes, followed by the mushrooms, cooking until all the vegetables reach your desired doneness. Serve the vegetables alongside the chicken. If desired, this dish goes nicely with a grain, such as brown rice or quinoa.

Want some Broccoli?: Instead of the zucchini use 6 to 8 ounces of broccoli florets. Add the florets after just one minute of cooking the onion, along with 1 tablespoon of broth, wine, or water. Cover, and allow the broccoli to cook for a few minutes, before removing the lid and adding the reserved marinade and mushrooms.  Proceed cooking until the vegetables are done to your liking. Since the mushrooms will release some additional liquid, you may want to sprinkle on a little flour to thicken the sauce.

Note: If there is any leftover sauce that looks a bit runny, I like to thicken it for a minute or two after I plate the vegetables, by sprinkling in just a little bit of flour (your choice) and whisking over the heat then drizzling it over the chicken and veggies.

Yields 2 to 4 servings (depending on your appetite, and if you serve it with a grain)

Balsamic Chicken

The Guilt-Free Banana Bread Recipe You Have All Been Waiting For …

Okay, maybe not ALL of  you, but ever since I posted about the Breakfast-Worthy Banana Bread from my book, Go Dairy Free, I have been flooded with requests for the recipe. It is in the book (along with tons of dairy-free living info and many other awesome recipes, if I do say so myself), which can be ordered on Amazon for an insanely good price … but enough with the sales pitches … I am more than happy to share that recipe with you here!

But first, a little background on the recipe …

An important part of going dairy-free for me was turning to home-baked bread. At the time, every last loaf at my local grocer contained milk in some form (milk powder, cheese, whey, caseinate, etc.). Even when a couple specialty vegan/dairy-free brands appeared, they were way too costly to warrant regular purchase.

While I learned to enjoy pounding on dough for a good homemade yeast bread once in a while (excellent stress reliever), I don’t always have time or the patience for the process. So I set out to create a quick bread that was nutritious enough to use for my morning toast. With that in mind, this bread is completely sugar-free, using just the bananas for a hint of sweetness. I find it perfect as a base for nut butter, jam, or honey, each of which adds their own dose of flavor, wouldn’t you agree Ricki? [Ricki has a new cookbook out called Sweet Freedom – desserts without wheat, dairy, eggs, and refined sugar – so I consider her the ultimate expert on sugar-free baked goodies]

If you want a little of the sweet stuff, feel free to add around 1/4 cup of your favorite sugar (honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, evaporated cane juice, sugar straight up, etc.) to the recipe. But, if you want a loaf of sugar-loaded, dessert banana bread, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Healthy foodies who know how to savor the flavor … read on, and fire up that oven!

Mini Sugar-Free, Spelt Banana Bread Loaf

Unsweetened Breakfast-Worthy Banana Bread
Recipe from “Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living” by Alisa Fleming (yours truly!)

This Recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free and Optional Nut-Free

“Going out on a limb, I created a banana bread recipe that is completely void of added sugar of any kind, relying solely on the extra-ripe bananas for their natural sweetness. What resulted was a mildly sweet loaf of bread that my entire family adores. It is perfect for breakfast, and won’t leave you face down on your keyboard by 10am. Feel free to make this bread the night before, allowing the banana flavor to infuse and giving the bread time to take on some moisture. If you do prefer a bit of a sweeter loaf, add a bit of sweetener with the wet ingredients.” – [Yes, I just quoted myself]

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Milk Alternative of Choice
2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseed
2 Cups Whole Grain Spelt Flour or Whole Wheat Flour
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1-1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Grapeseed or Coconut Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 to 4 Medium-Sized, Very (Very) Ripe Bananas, Mashed (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups mashed)*
1/2 Cup Nuts, Dried Fruit, or Other Add-ins (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl combine the milk alternative and flaxseed and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Returning to your mixing bowl, blend in the oil, vanilla, and bananas until well mixed. Stir in the dry ingredients by hand, being careful not to over-mix; a few lumps are okay. Gently fold in the nuts, fruit, or any other add-ins, if using. Spread the batter into your prepared loaf pan, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is browned and resilient to the touch. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before removing it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mini-Loaf Option: The loaf pictured above is actually a mini-loaf. This recipe will make four mini loaves, baked at 350º for about 22 to 25 minutes. I topped the loaves with some sliced almonds just before popping them in the oven and subbed the vanilla extract with 3/4 teaspoon almond extract for a slightly almond vibe.

* I prefer to use a full 2 cups of banana for the deepest flavor and a very moist bread, but using 1/2 cup less will allow the bread to rise a bit more.

Yields 10 to 12 servings

Did Someone Say Organic Cookie GIVEAWAY?!

Way back in the day, when I first created the website Go Dairy Free, there were just a few fledgling special diet companies out there. One of the first ones I made contact with was Gak’s Snacks. Jill, the mother of a child with multiple food allergies, created a peanut-free, tree nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free bakery (also vegan and organic) that churned out the most delicious coffee cakes and cookies under the Gak’s Snacks label.

But Jill’s once little company has grown since I first met her … and with that growth, she decided they needed a new identity. So Gak’s Snacks became HomeFree Treats. While I admit to missing the old name, I am elated that Jill hasn’t changed a thing about her products, aside from adding some new ones! Trust me, everyone will want these (just ask Sarah), they aren’t simply for the food allergic (yes, even if you can eat everything under the sun, you can, AND SHOULD enter to win this giveaway).

Home Free Giveaway

homefreegiveaway2

Oh yes, the giveway…

Enter to win Organic Cookies from HomeFree Treats!

Jill at HomeFree Treats will send a sampler pack of her delicious organic cookies (also available to purchase from their website) to one of you! The package will include one full box of each of the following yummy cookies:

  • Organic Chocolate Chip [Big] Cookies
  • Organic Chocolate Chocolate Chip  [Big] Cookies
  • Organic Oatmeal [Big] Cookies
  • Organic Chocolate Chip Minis
  • Organic Chocolate Chocolate Chip Minis
  • Organic Oatmeal Minis

Here’s how to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post, and let me know what flavor of cookie you think Jill at HomeFree should come up with next. No ideas? That’s okay, just tell me why you want these cookies!
  • For a second entry, twitter and/or blog about this giveaway, making sure to link back to this post.

The winner will be selected on Friday, May 9th, so get your comment in before then. Good luck!

homefreegiveaway

 

More Giveaways (let me know if you have one going on!):

  • Win coupons for the new Soy-free and Dairy-free “Butter” from Earth Balance on The Allergic Kid.
  • Ricki at Diet Dessert and Dogs is giving away copies of her new cookbook, Sweet Freedom!

Mushroom Barley Soup – Simple Comfort Food

Well, technically, if you are making my version of Mushroom Barley Soup, it should actually be classified as a stew. Both my husband and I love barley, so I feel no need to use moderation when adding the pearly grain. So many recipes I see for this type of soup use a paltry 1/3 cup of dried barley with 8 cups of broth – ridiculous! The recipe below is filled with barley and mushrooms, and it makes a hearty meal for two, or a light lunch for three. And when I say hearty, I mean it. I am sitting here typing this with an ever-expanding belly having just downed this entire bowl …

Mushroom Barley Soup

 Also, I lost track on how much salt I used (bad I know!), but it was somewhere around ½ teaspoon, plus I added 1 teaspoon of miso paste (optional, can just add salt to taste; we tend to splurge on the salt with soups). The amount of salt you need will vary quite a bit depending on the saltiness of the broth and tomato paste you use and how salty you like the end result. I used the organic beef broth from Trader Joe’s, but I was ½ cup shy, so I added water to get to the full 4 cups. I also used a tomato paste that was simply tomatoes, no added sodium or flavors. While I do recommend beef broth, chicken broth or no chicken broth could be subbed in a pinch, and I think the mushroom broth from Pacific Foods would be good; I buy it whenever I find it for a good price, which is rare.

Okay, one last note … I was completely out of other veggies, but if you like, feel free to add in some diced carrots and/or celery for some added nutrition and flavor.

Hearty Mushroom Barley Soup / Stew

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil (I used grapeseed, but Olive or Vegetable will do)
  • ½ Medium Onion, slivered (about 1¼ cups)
  • ½ Cup Dry Barley, rinsed (I used the inexpensive pearl barley)
  • 2 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced (or about 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic)
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 8 Ounces Sliced Button or Cremini Mushrooms
  • 4 Cups (1 quart) Beef or Mushroom Broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • ¼ -1 Teaspoon Salt to Taste
  • 1 Teaspoon Miso Paste (or simply more salt to taste)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until they are translucent. Reduce the heat just a touch, add the barley, garlic, and thyme, and sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the mushrooms, followed by the broth, tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaf, and I would start with ¼ teaspoon of salt and the miso if using. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow the soup to simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the barley is nice and tender.  Season to taste with additional salt (see my notes in the post above) and black pepper to taste.

Yields 2 hearty, meal-sized servings

I had planned to make this soup crockpot-style, but as usual, I ran out of time. It should do well in a slow cooker; set on low for 6 to 8 hours, allowing the barley time to cook.