Tips for Tasty Gluten-Free + Dairy-Free Holidays:

For making gravy, use arrowroot starch or sweet rice flour; these thicken better than wheat flour, anyway. Less lumps. I like to add a dash of dry sherry, brandy or wine.

For a non-dairy sub in pumpkin, squash and sweet potato recipes try coconut milk- it’s delicious (full fat tastes best).

Cook carrots in orange juice for a non-dairy flavor boost. Drizzle with a touch of pure maple syrup.

Use raw organic agave nectar or pure maple syrup for adding just the right touch of sweetness to veggies and sauces.

For stuffing, simply follow your favorite recipe and substitute toasted cubes of gluten-free cornbread, or a loaf of store-bought gluten-free white bread.

As an all-around basic flour substitute keep a bag of Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix in the fridge and use it to thicken soup and chili, to coat and dredge pan fried cakes.

If you avoid dairy or nuts [Pamela’s contains buttermilk and almond flour] try an all-purpose gluten free flour blend from Whole Foods, Bob’s Red Mill or Gluten Free Pantry.

For a classic cookie crumb pie crust use Pamela’s cookies (Lemon or Ginger or Chocolate, depending upon the filling) processed into crumbs; I use Joy of Cooking’s classic cookie/cracker crumb recipe and simply substitute with gluten free cookies.

Add turkey leftovers to nachos, soup, chili pasta, and frittata recipes. Or bake up a Turkey and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole:

 

Turkey Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole
*Note:  Ingredients change all the time, so please double-check all processed ingredients with the company before using to be sure they are gluten-free.

1 – 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
1 jar Newman’s Own Black Bean Corn Salsa
1 can La Victoria Green Enchilada Sauce
1 can La Victoria Red Enchilada Sauce (I used hot)
1 small can fire-roasted green chilies
2 sweet potatoes (I used some leftover mashed sweet potatoes, and then cut up another and boiled it in slices)
8 – 10 small Mission white corn tortillas

In a small casserole dish, layer the following ingredients until the dish is full: Black Bean and Corn Salsa, spoonfuls of green and red enchilada sauce, 2 – 3 corn tortillas, shredded turkey, sweet potatoes, green chilies, salsa, green and red enchilada sauce, etc. I did not use any cheese substitute, and honestly, these were flavorful enough on their own. But obviously, if you want to add some shredded cheese or cheese substitute on top, it would also be delicious.

Bake at 400 F for 40 – 50 minutes until the sauce is bubbling. Serves 4. Could be served with Spanish rice.

Chia pudding

I’ve recently been busy telling patients about the benefits of both chia and hemp seeds and continue to try new variations of ways to use them. Hemp seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids as well as protein. Try to get a couple of tablespoons in the morning for lasting energy. They are great in yogurt, in a smoothie, on a salad or even right of the spoon. Chia seeds are a little more tricky as they are quite small and will absorb many times their weight in liquid. They make a wonderful pudding. They are also high in fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. I will share with you an easy basic recipe that you can vary to your liking.

Chia pudding

4-5 tablespoons Chia seeds – available at Whole Foods, New Seasons, Amazon.com
2 cups of milk (coconut milk makes a nice creamy base but any milk is fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
several drops of stevia or 1-2 Tblsp maple syrup
1 mason jar or container with tight fitting lid

Optional ingredients -Banana, cinnamon, star anise

Directions:
Pour the milk into the jar or container
Add vanilla and stevia
Add chia seeds
Shake vigorously for a minute
Continue to shake intermittently for about 20 minutes (I tend to do this while doing other things around the kitchen – for example, I will shake it up in the beginning and then start unloading the dishwasher, then a few minutes later shake it up again on and off for about 20 minutes.)
During this time the chia seeds will absorb all of the liquid and you will end up with a tapioca style pudding.
If you aren’t one for tapioca you can throw it in the blender and it will make a smooth pudding. At this time you can add the banana if you like – I wouldn’t add any sweetener if you are using the banana. It’s super nutritious and easy to make. To your health. Renee

Sunscreen

Now that summer has finally arrived patients are asking what type of sunscreen to use when out in the rays all day long. Despite the increased use of sunscreens over the past 30 years, the incidence of skin cancer continues to rise. There are different views on why this is so including the fact that people stay in the sun longer thinking that they are protected from the harmful rays that cause sunburn. Unfortunately, some chemical based sunscreens such as oxybenzone and 4-MBC are powerful hormone disrupters and should be avoided especially in children. Also avoid Vitamin A or Retinyl palmitate which may increase skin lesions and tumor development when exposed to light. (Hmm I wonder if we might be exposing our sun-screened skin to light?). Mineral based sunscreens are the best options and provide a natural barrier to the harmful UV rays. If you can’t find a mineral based sunscreen such as one containing titanium or zinc oxide then avobenozone (3%) is a safe one that is not a hormone disruptor. There are many available at Whole Foods or New Seasons. A few good brands are Badger and Jason. Be cautious though as even some of the “organic” brands contain the harsh chemicals. For a full list of the good guys and the bad guys refer to EWG Happy Summer!