Sunday, February 12, 2012

Recipe: Wheat/corn/dairy-free Hot Pockets

My goofy youngest childebeast scarfs a ham & vegan mozz hot pocket.

Our wheat/corn/dairy-free family has been playing with making our own version of the ever-popular hot pocket sandwiches, and we are getting pretty good at these, so we thought we'd share what we've learned so far. This is a pretty straightforward recipe, but it does get a little longish, so I'll keep the editorializing to a minimum.

Some tips:
  • You'll need a kitchen scale to measure some of the dough ingredients.
  • Prepare your fillings before you start the dough.
  • You'll need two cookie sheets or jelly roll pans, or something flat on which to bake your delicious creations.
  • Parchment paper helps, especially if you have aluminum pans.
  • You'll need a flat greased surface to assemble your hot pockets - a wood carving board works well.

The basics of the recipe:
GF dough + mayo sauce + filling of your choice (julienned lunch meats, grated cheese, sauteed chopped veggies are all good) = happy tummies

Inside the ham and vegan mozz hot pocket...
Dough: This is the current version of our ever-evolving bread dough mix. If you want to eat this as regular bread, just pop the mixed dough into a greased bread pan, cover and let rise for an hour or so, then bake @ 375F for about 30-40 minutes.

You'll notice that some of the ingredients are measured by weight - I do this because I mix up a half-dozen batches of the dry ingredients ahead of time and store each batch in a zip lock bag, and it's faster/more accurate to measure by weight. If you'd like to do the same - just combine all of the dry ingredients EXCEPT the yeast, and store in a zip lock bag - then add the yeast just before you mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.

7.9 oz. white rice flour
6.3 oz. tapioca starch
11 grams guar gum
2 tbsp. ground flax
1 oz. sugar
3/8 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. GF baking powder
1 tbsp. yeast

Combine all and mix well.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, combine the following:
1 egg
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups warm water (should be warm enough to activate the yeast, but not too hot or it will kill the yeast - test the water on your wrist)

Add dry ingredients and mix on slow for a moment or two to incorporate the dry ingredients, then mix on high for 3 minutes.

Work with greased hands, on a greased work surface (I used margarine on my hands and wood carving board) You'll have to re-grease the surface and your hands as you work.

Turn out the whole batch of dough onto the work surface and shape into an evenly shaped square or rectangle. Use a greased knife to divide the dough into 16 equal portions.

Working one at a time, roll each dough portion into a thick log, about 3-4 inches long. Pat the log flat into a rectangle, about 8" long x 5" wide.

Imagine a smaller rectangle centered on your dough rectangle, with a margin of about 3/4" all the way around. Place about 3 tbsp. of filling on one half of the smaller rectangle. I start with 1-1/2 tsp. of mayo sauce, then add meat or veg, then the cheese.

Next, fold over the other half of the dough. Work slowly and carefully, as the dough is very fragile. Gently lift the empty side of the rectangle and fold it over the filling. Roll the bottom dough edge up and over the otp dough edge and press together gently. Lift the hot pocket off the work surface and use both of your hands to gently press the whole thing together.

If the dough has come apart anywhere, press it back together.

Place on cookie sheet and finish assembling the rest of the hot pockets.

Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. As ovens do vary, watch your hot pockets carefully the first time you make this. Make note of any adjustments needed for time or temperature.

Veggie hot pockets. This pic shows how I rolled up the bottom layer of dough to meet with the dough folded over the filling.
Filling notes:
For carnivores only:
A 6 or 7 oz. package of lunchmeats cut into 8 equal portions is plenty for half a batch of hot pockets. Once divided, the portions of meat might need further chopping to faciliate the hot pocket experience.

Mayo sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2-3 tsp. Grey Poupon dijon mustard (or to taste)

Mix well.

Sauteed veggie filling:
1/2 cup minced onions
2 cups chopped mushrooms
4 handfuls of arugula

Saute in liquid from marinated artichoke hearts. When mixture cools, toss with 1/2 lb. of shredded cheese for filling. Makes enough for 8 hot pockets.

DIY vegan mozzarella that melts – makes 1.5 pounds (from Jenn Shagrin's amazing book, Veganize This!)  (I used 1 lb. for our full batch of hot pockets, and have 1/2 pound leftover for something else tasty!)

1-1/2 12-oz pkgs. silken soft tofu (18 oz total)
1 cup vegan buttermilk (1 cup almond milk + 1 tbsp. flaxseed oil + 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, stir well, then set aside)
½ tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. rice vinegar
4 tsp. agar powder (available online or from Asian markets)

Place tofu, vegan buttermilk, salt, garlic powder, and rice vinegar in a blender or food processor, and blend at high speed until completely liquid. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan, stir in agar powder, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and pour immediately into a baking dish. Smooth the top of the mixture, then place in refrigerator for a few hours until completely set. Use as any cheese. Keeps covered in fridge for up to eight days.

Bon appetit!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Movie Review: The Secret

If there is only one movie you watch this year, see The Secret. We watched it as a family, and everyone was fascinated, including my 9 y.o. son.

This powerful life-affirming movie by Rhonda Byrne offers a different perspective of how and why things in our lives happen as they do. Not only that, The Secret offers suggestions and encouragement for viewers wishing to enhance their lives using the principles introduced.

Before I saw The Secret, occasionally (and without realizing what I was doing), I used some of the strategies suggested in the movie...and they worked...almost as if by magic! I know now it wasn't really "magic," but something better: something far more accessible, and something far more reliable.

By the way - the stuff I unwittingly used the strategies on was not at all piddly. It's the big stuff in life: my perfect-for-me mate, our wonderful home, and my incredible health.

I'm thrilled to have discovered The Secret, and I enjoy using it regularly now to deliberately and consciously change my life for the better.

We found The Secret at our local public library - too, our family has enjoyed listening to the audio version of the book, The Secret, which we also found at our library.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cocoa Maca Banana Almond Buttercup Smoothies

The basics of this recipe came from Matthew Kenney's book, Everyday Raw. I'll post a photo as soon as I can manage.

The original smoothie was great, but I just can't help myself - I simply MUST fiddle with recipes...and I'm glad I fiddled with this one.

I added cocoa powder for extra chocolatey goodness (and the antioxidants), as well as maca powder for an extra kick of nutrition. Cold-pressed flaxseed oil adds Omega-3's and a "creamy" texture. These additions made the original smoothie closer to a traditional chocolate milkshake - which is helpful if you're trying to get childebeasts and the darling hubster to try new things like this. (BTW, this smoothie is now a go-to recipe in our house - everyone is ALWAYS up for it!)

This recipe is really flexible - add as little or as much as you like of any of the ingredients - but I do recommend that you follow the recipe the first time you make this, just to get the hang of it. Then, play with the proportions of the ingredients until it tastes fabulous to you. (Just don't forget to write down your measurements!)

4 cups frozen banana chunks
1/4 cup-1/3 cup cocoa powder/raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 tsp. maca powder (optional)
2 cups almond milk - add more if necessary
1 tbsp. cold-pressed flaxseed oil (or to taste)

1/4 cup agave (or to taste)

1/2 cup raw cacao nibs (optional - this gives a chocolate chip effect in the shake - add after everything else has been blended)

Blend in high-speed blender until smooth.

ETA: My new favorite source for maca powder and raw cacao powder is Mountain Rose Herbs. Maca powder, agave syrup, raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs can also be found at, or