Monday, November 21, 2011

Day #21: It's All About the Food (& give-away!)

broccoli salad close

A special thanks today goes out to Kelly for hosting the Clean Food Challenge this past week.  I did it! I went a whole week without eating gluten or dairy.  Granted I don't eat much dairy to begin with, so that one was really easy for me.  But, gluten - not so much. I would take a good piece of freshly baked bread over just about any other food.  Maybe, just maybe, even over dark chocolate.  

I cook gluten free for my family, but usually hide away some whole grain or sourdough bread just for me.  So I was very excited to see giving up gluten wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Granted, it was just a week.  However, I am committed to keep my home gluten free.  Sure, I may have a bagel or pastry from time-to-time.  But I really like how I feel off the stuff.

I noticed at the beginning of the week I felt really, really hungry!  So I had to make sure to plan ahead.  And towards the end of the week I noticed there was a moment when I found out some disappointing news and my first reaction was to want to go eat something, ya know, like a chocolate croissant with a frothy latte.  That'll make me feel better.  I resisted.  I passed on the pastry (although I did still stop for a dairy-free latte).  I sat with the feelings and they soon dissipated.  That was pretty cool.  It was a good reminder to watch the next time I reach for food in an emotional state.  Maybe if I stop feeding that hunger with gluten I might discover something new about myself.  

broccoli salad

Another reason I'm so thankful for this past week is that it really got my creativity going in the kitchen.  We tried different green smoothies each morning (which has now become second nature).  I made egg salad and instead of bread we used cucumber slices. Instead of toast we had brown rice cakes with apple butter.  Other snacks included roasted pumpkin seeds, celery with almond butter, popcorn, and nut crackers with hummus.  For lunches I made corn tortilla tacos, home-made gluten free pizzas and this raw vegan broccoli salad (so good).

What I learned is that eating this way takes time and commitment.  And since I continue to work on slowing down, it's probably a really good practice for me. 

black bean soup

It's been far too long since I've shared one of my creative-in-the-kitchen recipes.  Since black beans are a staple in this vegetarian home, I'm sharing today one of my favorite soup recipes.  It was a good filling option for us this week.

Black Bean Cilantro Soup (vegan & gluten-free)
2 cups of dry black beans (soak for 8 hours)
OR 4 cans of cooked beans 
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 garlic cloves (minced)
4 cups of veggie stock 
OR 4 cups of water & 2 veggie bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
4-8 drops of liquid smoke (optional)
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

black bean soup 2

Cook your beans according to the package (I use a pressure cooker).  If using canned beans - drain and rinse them.  Heat up the olive oil in a large soup pan and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes.  Add the carrots, cumin, chili powder, and a little salt. Stir to mix the flavors.  Then add the beans and broth OR water with bouillon cubes.  (If you are wanting this to be fully gluten-free, make sure to get a gluten free broth or bouillon.)  Cook on medium and then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Just before eating, stir in the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.  This meal goes great with a salad or gluten-free cornbread.  You can also top it with green onion slices or vegan cheese.

black bean brownies

Would you believe that these brownies are made with black beans?  I've wanted to try these for a while now as I'm a huge fan of sneaking in healthy food wherever possible. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  They are really good and you can't taste the beans at all.  I used this Whole Foods gluten-free flourless brownies recipe.

black bean brownies close up

And a big thank you to all those wonderful chefs (like Gluten Free Goddess and Elana's Pantry) for making up new, delicious vegan and gluten-free options that make eating healthy and working through food allergies much easier and delicious!

Your Personal Reflection:  Who in your life has been a positive influence on your health and wellness path?  Take a moment and share your thanks with them today.

And speaking of food...
Cupcakes of Happiness

The lovely, talented and super authentic Susannah Conway, is giving away this print, Cupcakes of Happiness, to one lucky reader.  This Polaroid is featured in her Polaroid book coming out in May.  It may not be gluten-free, but we can dream... 

For your chance to win - simply leave a comment on this post.  Tell us what you are thankful for in this moment.  I'll announce the winner on Wednesday!


  1. I am thankful I discovered Natalia Rose's and her books, they have changed the way I eat! I have a green smoothie daily along with lots of raw vegetables. As I get closer and closer to middle age :), I am finding what I eat greatly influences how I feel and I really want to feel engergized!

  2. That broccoli salad looks amazing as does the sweet print from Susannah! In this moment I'm thankful that I realized how out of control my eating has been so that I can get back on track before I caused myself any major health problems. I'm toying with the gluten free diet. Thank you for sharing your experience this past week!

  3. This moment right now? I'm thankful for a warm house on a cold night and a friend who just gave us an awesome sofa to snuggle on!
    That soup looks delish!

  4. I'm thankful that I am able and willing to be up at 11:22 cutting out Indian corn templates for 22 kindergartners in the morning. I love my life! :)

  5. Oh.. gluten!
    I have gone a looong way on my health and wellness path! After being diagnosed with an autoimmune desease last year I went gluten free and I worked on myself, most of all I listened to my body, I have let my intuition guide me. I spent countless hours educating myself, reading all I could and being my own doctor.
    And now.. I am thrilled to say that yesterday the joint sonogram was showing NO inflammation!!
    So I am thankful to all the wonderful people I met on line, my inspiration, my guide.
    Thank you Shannon, my journey started at the inside out e-course, thank you to Kriss Carr for her Crazy sexy approach to life for showing that anything is possible, thank you to all the doctors brave enough to embrace the marvels of Functional Medicine for teaching me that the desease is not our destiny but a call for balance.
    I now know I am in charge of my health and my destiny, doctors are my consultants. I know I am what I eat AND what I think. I know exercise and meditation are not optionals. Now I know miracles can happen, if we believe in them.

  6. This moment I am thankful for my boyfriend who is very patient for me. I had a lot of migraines lately and because of that I had a bad mood to him too, while it was not his fault. He always try to help me, even at times I don't appreciate it because of my bad mood.

    We all have our bad sides but I think he can handle my bad side in a very good way, lol! I'm very happy for that and will tell him so, as soon he's home from work. :)

  7. those photos are making me hungry! i was just thinking about how thankful i am for other bloggers and the inspiration they bring into my life!

  8. Thanks to each of you for your awesome comments. I'm happy so many of you have found your own path towards healing and have found so much to be thankful for in your life. BIg hugs and happy eats this week.

  9. how totally, totally inspiring food-wise. You've got me thinking I need to get some of these - love the sound of the apple butter! And put me forward for the give-away! yay! :)


    PS hope you're all well and PS I can't drink coffee really anymore, it makes me feel peculiar, as a result I'm a big tea-drinker :)

  10. Ohhh these are soo good! I love a good hardy bean soup ;)

    ps. I'm grateful for working at home - trying to squeeze a few extra minutes here and there between mine and my daughter's play time.... the queen went off in search of help to rescue the trapped ponies..... that bought me 15 minutes of catching up with emails! LOL
    I am lucky though that I can make a living this way and keep the little one happy ;)

    Thanks for another giveaway opportunity ;)

  11. ooh this post makes me so happy ! I'm going to try the black bean soup this weekend ..and can't wait to make the black bean brownies with the kids tomorrow!! Your pics sure look beautiful too Shannon!!

  12. I am thankful for a warm bed and safe place to stay for my family tonight. Oh and I shall always have deep gratitude for all things pink and cupcakes!

  13. I am thankful for talented people who share their work and ideas...and support.

  14. Those black bean brownies look amazing! Who would have thought?? :) I think you're rocking it in the kitchen... I'm so impressed! That's definitely where I'm lacking imagination these days... I could say 'hey, I can't be everywhere!', & it would be true, but food is such a basic need... Okay, a challenge for another day :)
    Right now I'm grateful that my little one is asleep, and I can get my paints out for an hour of something or other :) Love your challenge, love reading about how you tackle it! Have a lovely Thanksgiving tomorrow! xox

  15. What a wonderful post. All the food looks delicious!!! I love to cook and can't wait to try some of these recipes.

    I'm thankful for so much right now. For all the inspiring people I've bumped into on the web, especially YOU, Shannon. And for delicious food made with love and shared with loved ones.

  16. I love Susannah's work!! I'm thankful to be able to spend this holiday with my siblings and their families!! Happy Thanksgiving Shannon. ;)

  17. Hi Shannon, I loved this recipe of the black bean brownies so much I included it in my recipe roundup today ;)
    I hope you don't mind. xo

  18. Thanks to all of you who have entered! The winner has been posted. xo


Thanks for sharing!