Saturday, August 20, 2011

Spicy Homemade Tortilla Chips

2As a child, I shunned spicy things – I would put my dinner in the fridge for a few minutes before eating so it wouldn’t be hot. I even had a very strange habit of dunking Chinese food in a glass of water – what I was  thinking on that one even I don’t know. What can I say; I had quirks, and a very obliging mother.

But in recent years, I have begun to love spicy foods, and really, what’s not to love? For one, spicy foods contain capsicum, which helps fight pain and improves blood circulation. I also read a study that proves spicy foods help rev up your metabolism and promote calorie burning (of course, this only helps if you make healthy spicy food; taco bell is probably not your best bet).

However, shopping for spicy chips is not always so successful; they’re either full of fat, full of dairy, full of gluten, or have those mysterious “natural flavors,” and who the hell knows what those are?  My very favorite brand is tasty, but threatens the fit of my jeans.

Solution? Take matters into my own hands. It’s seriously simple: all you need is a bit of oil, corn tortillas, and seasonings – no deep fryer needed. You can control how much oil and salt is used, and by baking them they’re so much better.


Spicy Homemade (and Baked!) Tortilla Chips

Makes about 3 servings (or one really big one)  

3 large corn tortillas (about 90 cals each)

1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil,

or a few generous sprays of Pam

For spicy version: 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tablespoon seasoning blend of choice (or Costco’s Organic  No-Salt Seasoning), salt and pepper to taste.


Mix oil and spices together in a large ziplock bag. Slice tortillas into triangles and throw into bag; shake bag until chips are evenly coated. Lay chips out on a baking sheet in a single layer, bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, until golden and not too soft in the middle.




  • Three large corn tortillas will fill up a large baking sheet (I say 90-cal size because who knows what “large” could be).
  • If you want to use less oil you can lay the chips out, spray them  with oil, and sprinkle on seasoning.
  • For a non-spicy version, sprinkle oiled chips with salt and give them a squeeze of lime after baking.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gluten-Free Blackberry Crisp


It’s getting to that time in the summer when blackberries are not only ripe, they are so ripe that they threaten to melt in the hot sun. And there’s only one thing to do: pick them!

This is a great recipe that’s simple to make and has all the charm of a pie, without the hassle (or calories) of a crust. The oats and brown sugar also lend a lovely, crisp texture to the topping. The crisp is dairy-free and vegan, and can be easily adjusted depending on how many blackberries you have. And it’s fantastic over ice cream!

Enjoy the end of summer, my friends.

Gluten-Free Blackberry Crisp

*Adapted from the Cook Book*


For Filling:

  • 8 cups fresh blackberries

  • 7 tablespoons granulated sugar, or sugar substitute

  • 5 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch (or other starchy gf flour)

  • squeeze of lemon

For Topping:

  • 1 cup gluten-free oats

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch

  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour

  • 1/2 cup butter substitute (one stick)

  • nutmeg and cinnamon to taste

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

For fruit filling, stir in sugar, flour, spices, and lemon. Pour evenly into baking dish or pan. Most large baking dishes – anything larger than a pie pan – will work here; I used a 10 x 10 square pan. If you have a smaller amount of blackberries, say 5 cups, you can adjust the recipe, and a pie pan will work. photo 1

For topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, and spices. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the nuts. Sprinkle topping over berries.


Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until filling bubbles and topping is golden. For an extra-crispy topping, put under broiler for a few minutes.

Serve warm over ice cream, or cool in fridge overnight for a very tasty breakfast.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Tasty Thursday!

I have the habit of repeating food; once I find something I like I tend to eat it over and over until I get sick of it. Apparently doctors say this isn't a good habit to have, since you may restrict your nutrients, but like many people I have my food-moods.

Example: for the past few months I have been on a salad kick, and before that I hadn't made a salad at home in quite awhile. This particular salad was made without lettuce, since bagged lettuce usually has "taste" and I'm too lazy to wash my own lettuce - it always goes bad, what can I say? Instead I used cucumbers, carrots, green onions, and sometimes a bell pepper, dressed with a mixture of Bragg's aminos, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. (If you haven't tired Bragg's yet, do! It's a great GF alternative to soy sauce and makes a great seasoning.)

But recently I've eaten some tasty things, and I thought I'd share some of my new favorites!

Trader Joe's Hummus Salad Dressing

The past couple dressings I've tried have been complete losses, so color me happy to find this fantastic hummus dressing! It's like the better version of thick hummus because it can go on salads and still work as a dip, with less chance of me eating the whole container in one sitting.

Amy's Gluten-Free Lasagna

I was always a fan of Amy's Dairy-Free Lasagna, but how happy am I they have a GF version now?! I stumbled upon this on a rare trip to Safeway (normally they have a very poor selection of GF foods), and I discovered they carry a large selection of Amy's meals that are a little cheaper than my usual store. Who knew? And hey, it's pretty good, and only 290 calories. Win.

Yoplait Go-Gurt

I know what you're probably shaking your head at this, because Yoplait's prime advertising directive (very "Borg" of them) is to encourage moms to put this in their kid's lunch. But seriously folks, freeze them. It is the only way to ever get store-bought yogurt to turn into something resembling frozen yogurt from an ice-cream shop. Putting a whole 6 oz container in the freezer gives you a dairy rock; freezing a Go-Gurt tube makes for creamy, tasty frozen yogurt. Plus, it's cheap and comes in kooky flavors.

Fresh Summer Fruit

The view inside my fruit cup

Ok, so this isn't a "new" find, but this is the time for fruit. And this morning I had just about the best fruit cup I've ever had with actual fruit in it - you know, other than melon and half a strawberry. Plus my yard is on blackberry overload - no complaints here!

Salmon and Jicama Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Usually my school/work has rather limited food options, but their summer grill menu is quite lovely, and made outside to boot.  Fresh grilled salmon with almonds and honey-mustard? Good. Jicama? Good. Dressing? Good. Overall, Fantastic.

So, in the words of one of my Facebook friends, "Knock off this whole, 'Make me jealous with food' business." Sorry folks, but sometimes I feel obligated to show how a gluten-free diet is anything but dull!