Monday, August 31, 2009

Veggie soccas (garbanzo bean flatbread)

I've made it through Phase 1 and part of Phase 2 of the Anti-Candida Diet (ADA)
but I still crave dessert, not necessarily sugary desserts. I've eaten so much carob tofu or carob chia pudding, sweetened with stevia, (see previous post for recipe) that I'm surprised I haven't turned into carob pudding. Another of my favorite treats is carob-coconut-tahini balls. You just mix in a food processor about 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut with 1 T. of carob powder, 2-3 T. of tahini, 1 T. of chia seeds and 1 T. of toasted sunflower seeds. Roll the mixture into balls and freeze before eating (if you have enough willpower) because they are better cold.
Something else I crave is garbanzo bean flatbread, known as soccas in southeastern France and farinata in Italy. It's hard not to consume it all when it comes out of the oven, all crispy around the edges from olive oil. I recently discovered a variation that allows me to use veggies in it which makes it healthier. This version also gives me a chance to use a lot of fresh produce from my garden. You can use zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, onions or even broccoli in it. I like to eat soccas with a veggie burger on top or as a cheeseless pizza or even in place of a piece of toast at breakfast. An added bonus is they are super easy to make. You can whip some up in less than 30 minutes.
Veggie Soccas (enough for a large cookie sheet)
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. each ground turmeric and ground cumin
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 T. soy milk
1 onion, chopped
1 green or red or yellow peppers, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of fresh herbs, basil, cilantro, parsley, thyme, etc.
2 T. olive oil
pan spray
1 1/4 + cup water
Combine in a large bowl, garbanzo bean flour, soda, salt and pepper, spices, 2 T. olive oil, soy milk and water to make a pancake-like batter. You may need additional water. You want the batter to be flowing. Stir in the chopped onions.
Heat the oven to 480 degrees. Preheat a cookie sheet, sprayed with pan spray and drizzled with 1-2 T. additional olive oil in the oven. Remove the heated pan from the oven. Pour the batter on the pan. Tilt the pan from side to side to spread the batter around. Evenly sprinkle the diced veggies and chopped herbs over the top of the batter. Place the pan in the oven and set your timer for about 12-15 minutes. Remove the soccas from the oven when the batter is set.
Soccas are best eaten warm in fact, I can hardly wait to get them out of the oven to have a taste. Cut the soccas into whatever size rectangles or other shapes you want. While best eaten immediately, the soccas can be stored in the fridge and reheated in a skillet, sprayed with pan spray. They are still absolutely delicious!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chia seed parfait

Ch-ch-chia! I recently discovered that chia seeds are edible and incredible, and not just for Chia Pets, those clay pot designs that sprout "hair." Chia seeds have become one of my favorite foods. Packed inside them is all kinds of healthy stuff (protein, omega-3 oil, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and calcium) but the thing I like best about them is they are good for your digestive tract.

Anyone with digestive issues might want to give them a try. They contain 90 percent soluble fiber which aids in digestion. I've had a slow digestive system for many years but since I started eating chia seeds, my stomach actually empties instead of food hanging around for hours and hours.

Some other benefits: the seeds provide energy, improve hydration, lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease, stabilize blood sugar, and provide the daily requirement for fiber and vitamins.

Another advantage is the seeds form a gel when added to water and are allowed to sit for 30 minutes. This property of the seeds provides all kinds of culinary opportunities because you can use them to thicken liquids or batters, and they really have no taste of their own. You can sprinkle them on cereal, oatmeal, salads, smoothies or yogurt, or mix them in muffin or other baked recipes.

My favorite recipe for chia seeds is chia seed pudding, which is basically like tapioca pudding with chia seeds doing the thickening. You can make the basic chia seed pudding or get fancy and try a parfait, pictured below, or add shredded coconut, whipped topping or fresh fruit. It's all good, even for someone on the anti-candida diet, like myself. I just use liquid, alcohol-free stevia as a sweetener.

Basic Chia Seed Pudding


2 T. chia seeds

1/3 to 1/2 cup liquid of your choice: plain or flavored soy, rice, hemp or other milk

1-2 tsp. agave nectar or 5-7 drops of stevia liquid

Options: add 2 tsp. carob powder or cocoa powder, pumpkin puree.


Place the chia seeds in a container and add the liquid. Stir well to submerge most of the seeds. Allow to sit 20-30 minutes but continue stirring every 5-10 minutes. Stir again before eating.

Tips: You can mix up the chia and liquid and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator. I also found that heating your liquid before adding the chia speeds up the thickening process.

To make a parfait: prepare vanilla chia seed pudding, and carob or chocolate chia seed pudding and layer. Sprinkle shredded unsweetened coconut between layers. Ch-ch-chialicious!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Roasted vegetables with fresh herbs

For those of you who haven't visited my blog in awhile, I thought I should explain that my recipes have taken a new direction. I have embarked on an anti-candida diet for the past three months. This means my recipes have to follow the guidelines of that eating plan, rather than be strictly gluten-free or on a rotation schedule. The anti-candida diet (ACD) is basically a nutritional means to reduce candida albicans yeast that's present in our bodies, food and environment. In some people (those who have taken excessive amounts of antibiotics or who have comprised immune systems), the yeast can multiply out of control.
The ACD program recommends starving the yeast by cutting out any foods that feed it or encourage it to grow to reduce the candida to a "normal" level. The strictest version of the diet would eliminate:
  • Anything containing sugar;
  • Simple carbohydrates, such as flour, cakes, cookies, breads, etc.;
  • Foods that contain mold or fungus, such as yeast, mushrooms, peanuts, cashews, cheese;
  • The most common food allergens, such as dairy, eggs, wheat, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts;
  • Foods that are fermented (alcohol, vinegars, all condiments including ketchup, mustard, soy sauce);
  • Anything artificial, processed, containing chemicals or additives, imitation or artificial seasonings flavorings and colorings;
  • Soda pop, fruit juice, pre-sweetened drinks, coffee, tea (except herbal teas).

What's left to eat, you are probably wondering? Actually, there are quite a few healthy, tasty choices including:

  • All vegetables except starchy ones (winter squash, and heaven forbid, no corn. It's not really a vegetable anyhow);
  • Whole, gluten-free grains (brown rice, quinoa, amaranth);
  • Beans and legumes;
  • Some nuts and most seeds;
  • Water;
  • Natural, cold-pressed oils, such as olive oil;
  • Lemon and lime juice;
  • Stevia (a natural herbal sweetener that does not affect blood sugar levels as long as it's alcohol-free);
  • Unsweetened alternative dairy beverages, such as soy milk;
  • Some fruit that has a low-glycemic index such as berries and cantaloupe.

There are quite a few slightly different versions of the ACD eating plan. One suggests you follow a rotation diet, where you never eat a particular food more than once every four days. It's a bit impractical, especially where you've already cut out a number of foods. However, I continue to try to rotate grains, proteins and some veggies but I'll admit not very faithfully, especially during the gardening season where certain ones are in profusion.

I do love fresh vegetables (zucchini and green beans) and fresh herbs (basil), and all are permitted on the ACD plan. Both also happen to be in abundance in my garden right now. And fresh herb nut that I am, I also have basil growing in my indoor aero-grow garden, pictured above.

Roasting veggies with basil or other herbs is something simple and delicious I enjoy making. The roasting process imparts a completely different flavor to veggies for a change of pace from steaming.

Sheree's Recipe for Roasted Veggies


  • 1 pound of fresh veggies, such as zucchini, peppers, green beans, yellow squash, asparagus
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil or other herbs
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 T. olive oil
  • pan spray


  • Preheat the broiler or outdoor grill;
  • Spray several cookie sheets with pan spray;
  • Peel and chop veggies and herbs as desired;
  • Place veggies in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil;
  • Spread veggies on pans and sprinkle with chopped herbs and garlic;
  • Place in the oven or grill for 5+ minutes until veggies are tender crisp.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fast veggie burgers with food processor

I recently invested in a new food processor, and I decided to go for the kingsize model. I learned the hard way that a small food processor really doesn't save you much time when you constantly need to be re-loading it.

A small one also is much noisier because it's working harder to get the job done. In the past, I always had to warn household members that I was about to launch the noise machine because otherwise, it could be quite startling. Even my feline pal, Pumpkin, would run for cover when I turned it on. Now, as you can see by the photo, above, Pumpkin could care less about my activities in the kitchen.

Fresh salsa was a snap with my new purchase, pictured left. Then, I decided to venture into making veggie burgers which has always been a time-consuming chore with my petite food processor. I picked a ton of fresh produce from my garden and decided to put the new machine to the test. Not counting the time taken to pick and wash the produce, it took me about 15 minutes to have the veggie burgers ready for the oven. In the past, I could plan on at least 45 minutes prep time.

My blog has taken a bit of a shift since I went from IBS/gluten-free/rotation diet to low carb/candida cleanse diet. I haven't been sharing many "carbilicious" recipes, although I continue to follow a gluten, dairy-free plan. But these veggie burgers are great because they will fit with any of these diets. Check out the recipe and directions below.

Fast Veggie Burgers


1 cup cooked, drained beans ( I used pinto beans made from scratch but canned ones such as garbanzo, black or white beans will work.)

2 cups chopped veggies ( I used carrots, celery, red and green bell peppers, 2 medium zuchinis.)

1 small red onion, cut into chunks

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 T. raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup fresh cilantro (no need to chop)

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/2 tsp. each dried tarragon and dill

1/2 tsp. salt and black pepper

1 tsp. ground flax seeds

1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour (You also can use any other mild-flavored gluten-free flour.)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a pan with nonstick spray.

Throw everything except the flour in the food processor. (Previously, I had to chop the ingredients in batches.) Blend the ingredients until almost smooth. (This part was so cool especially working with such a large amount of ingredients.) Begin adding the flour and pulsing to combine. If the mixture is too wet, add a little more flour. (I was seriously impressed by how easily everything was mixed.)

Shape the mixture into about 12 large burgers and place on the sprayed cookie sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, flip them and continue baking another 10 minutes until lightly browned on the other side. Extra burgers can be freezed.

Serve on gluten-free buns or flatbread or roll into a tortilla f you are not eating low carb. Or roll into a large lettuce leaf for low carbers. Try putting a little Thai red or green curry paste on top for a really zingy veggie burger.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cacao nibs/chocolate stevia: my new chocolate fix

Cacao nibs and chocolate SweetLeaf liquid stevia are my two new favorite ingredients for getting my chocolate fix while on an eating plan with certain restrictions. With these ingredients, I can still enjoy a chocolate treat while still staying dairy, gluten and sugar-free.

Cacao nibs are absolutely amazing. They have a nutty taste, almost like coffee beans, and are packed with lots of nutritional benefits and antioxidants, and are low in carbs, and high in fiber and protein. Nibs are actually bits of cacao beans before processing. It doesn't take many to satisfy your taste which is a good thing since they have approximately 160 calories per one ounce and cost about $8 per pound when bought in bulk.

Another way to get your chocolate fix is with chocolate liquid stevia. You can add it to soy milk to create chocolate drinks or to silken tofu to make the delicious pudding pictured below.

Chocolate tofu pudding with cacao nibs
1 pkg. silken tofu
3-4 T. cocoa powder
4-5 drops chocolate liquid stevia
1 tsp. espresso powder
cacao nibs
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until blended. Version 1: blend in some cacao nibs before chilling. Version 2: chill and garnish with cacao nibs when serving.