Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vegan Chinese Lettuce Wrap

Vegan Chinese lettuce wrap

The Chinese restaurant , PF Chang,  has a lettuce wrap appetizer on its menu that is gluten free and vegetarian. I've tasted it, and I liked it, so when my friend Paula told me she had a good recipe for a lettuce wrap, I wanted to try making it.

I used small brown lentils for the protein, but it's the fresh spices that really make this recipe rock! It not only tastes great, it's easy to make and nutritious. Perfect for part of a vegetarian/vegan dinner or a starter for any type of dinner. Of course the recipe is gluten free.

Using lettuce leaves is a great idea. It cuts down on carbohydrates and adds some healthy greens to your meal. Who wouldn't enjoy one?

3 Tablespoons of organic gluten free Tamari Sauce or  ( soy sauce)
1 teaspoon of raw honey
2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 Teaspoons of organic tapioca starch or organic corn starch
2 cups of cooked brown lentils, drained ( do not over cook)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 Tablespoon of fresh garlic, chopped or pressed
1/4 teaspoon or more or less according to your tolerance of red pepper flakes
3-4  Tablespoons of finely chopped green onion
1/2 tsp of freshly cracked pepper
1 Tablespoon of 21 Salute ( salt free seasoning that I get at Trader Joe's) or use Mrs. Dash
3 Tablespoons of fresh cilantro , chopped for garnish
20 cup shaped lettuce leaves ( Bibb, Boston, etc) washed and dried

1. In a small bowl combine the organic soy sauce, honey,apple cider vinegar, and starch.Stir until everything is dissolved.
2. Add the mixture to the drained lentils, adding the remaining  spices and stir well . Allow lentils to marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes.Set aside.
3. In a skillet, add the olive oil and when  the olive oil is really hot, quickly add the grated fresh ginger and garlic for about 40 seconds stirring constantly. Add lentil mixture to the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon until well heated. Remove lentils and add a spoonful of filling to each lettuce cup .
Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.

Paula saw this recipe in a newspaper called the Inquirer ( Philadelphia) which credited a cookbook called Quick and Easy Chinese- I adapted the recipe to make it gluten free and vegan.

Do you have a recipe for vegan lettuce wraps?

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lentils in a pot cooking
cook lentils according to package, drain and set aside ( do not overcook) 

lentils with a measuring cup
Measure 2 and half cups of cooked lentils 

garlic, ginger, scallions, apple cider vinegar and Tamari sauce
Organic gluten FreeTamari Sauce ( similar to soy sauce)

Marinate lentils 

Lentils removed from skillet after tossing quickly  with garlic, fresh ginger, and scallions

Lentil mixture eaten in a lettuce leaf ( I used organic Romaine) 

These were spicy and delicious! Yum 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gluten Free Breadsticks

bread sticks

Cauliflower is a perfect base for these gluten free bread sticks. In the past,  I've made a pizza crust with a cauliflower base that was outrageous and loved by all. When I saw this idea for breadsticks on Pinterest,  I just knew I wanted to try it. I wasn't disappointed. It's a tasty low carb treat which is perfect for anyone who is gluten free. You can make it for parties, a healthy snack, or a side with soup.

For a party, you could top with sauteed mushrooms, red pepper, or any topping of your choice. They are wide and flat , so they will hold toppings.

1/2 medium head of cauliflower , riced ( directions will explain how)
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups of shredded cheese ( any kind)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons oregano ( or any Italian seasoning- rosemary, thyme, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cut and wash half of a medium cauliflower into large flowerettes..
 Place the cut up cauliflower into a food processor with the blade.
Pulse for a few seconds, and then for another few seconds until the cauliflower looks like rice.
 Pour riced cauliflower into a large mixing bowl and add the eggs, shredded cheese, Parmesan cheese, oregano, pepper  or any seasoning of your choice. ( I don't add salt as the Parmesan cheese is salty)

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and half of the mixture into a rectangle. ( you should have enough mixture to make two). Bake for 20 minutes and then remove from oven.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then cut leastwise into five strips and then cut each strip in half and move apart slightly.

Raise temperature of the oven to 425 degrees. Return baking sheet to the oven and allow to crisp up for ten more minutes. Remove from oven sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese if desire and enjoy with your favorite marinara sauce.

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place cauliflower in food processor with metal blade

riced cauliflower
Process quickly on and off until cauliflower looks like rice ( a few seconds) 
spread onto a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet  ( recipe makes 2)
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes

Remove from oven. Will look golden before cutting into strips Return strips
to 425 degree oven for 10 additional minutes to crisp

bread sticks on a plate
serve with a sauce  of your  choice of sauce ( I used marinara) 
may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why I Stopped Using Stevia

herb stevia in container

Two summers ago I grew a stevia plant in a container on my back deck. I was intrigued by how easy this beautiful herb was to grow, and I was surprised how sweet the leaves actually tasted. I  wasn't surprised when commercial industries started turning stevia leaves into a powdery white substance or liquid.

Although the stevia plant is not bad for you, when the green leaves are processed and converted into a white sweet powder for your morning coffee it takes lots of processing and chemicalizing. I've bought some packages of a brand called Truvia, but I really wondered how good  bad they could be for you.

While doing some research, I came across an informative article on the Dr. Axe website ( same doctor who wrote about apple cider vinegar and weight loss) about the affects of stevia products like Truvia on your health .

As I suspected, anything that is processed to become a white powdery substance will have it's drawbacks. My original concern was that white powder is so refined it usually acts as what is called an "excito- toxin" which excites the nervous system or appetite. In my case, it stimulates my appetite. Not Good for weight loss! I'll continue to use the  green leaves from the plant itself are fine from the plant or dried which have not been processed.

Dr. Axe was looking at processed stevia from another point of view. He was asking whether it could actually be unhealthy. It turns out processed stevia that we buy in little packets in the stores are not really healthy after all. Read Dr. Axe's article for additional information.

Dr. Axe
      Read Dr. Axe's article for the details: 

may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Free Ebook

Who doesn't like getting something for free? The other day I was researching information for writing my first Ebook, and I came across David Gaughran's book, Let's Get Digital- how to self publish and why you should in PDF format.

I have lots of ideas for writing a multiple E books, but I have felt stifled by the technology of how to actually format, organize, edit, publish, get an ISBN number, market etc. In other words: I didn't know what to do! I still don't , but I finally decided to spend the time to learn!

A fellow blogger and author recommended David's book. ( Thank you Vicki Lesage - love your blog)  When I searched for the book, I found that it was available on Kindle for $2.99 or the PDF version for free. Not only was it free, David stated that you could offer the link on your blog for free as long as you didn't do so for profit.

Since I decided I would like to share my E book writing journey on my blog with my readers, I'm going to start with sharing the link for David Gaughran's free PDF download for anyone else who might be interested.

  If you have written an E book and have suggestions, recommended reading, recommended programs to use , recommended editors, cover designers etc. I would be most appreciative of any information you could share with me, as I really don't know much yet..  I ( and I'm sure my readers)  would love to hear about your book and your process etc.. Please leave a comment.

Guest Post Opportunity: If you are a blogger and would like to write a guest post- even better!!
 Let me know by writing me at

Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran: 
The PDF version is FREELet’s Get Digital by David Gaughran – Free PDF Edition (Updated 19 August 2011)

may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

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