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Slice of Life

  • Sprouts add low-calorie nutrition
    When mung bean sprouts first made their appearance as a healthy, natural food in the 1960s and ’70s, many people dismissed them as a food fad.
  • Shortcake is a perfect dessert
    Desserts are always on the menu at our house, not that we need them after most meals. But still this is me cooking, so dessert is, well, expected.Cookies? Sure, always good but been there, done that. Cake?
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    Its barbecue time and in my house this poses a bit of a problem, since two of the couples we typically invite have children that are “almost” vegetarian with a nod to eating fish, which technically makes them pescatarians.

Gluten-free but not flavor-free recipes

Some of my friends and family are gluten-intolerant and others actually have celiac disease. For gatherings, I have to have specific kinds of dishes available so that everyone (not just the gluten lovers who’d eat the stuff raw if they could) can eat too much.

The following gluten-free recipes include a salad, main course and even a dessert.

Pecan and Squash Quinoa Salad

2 cups quinoa (prepared according to the package directions)

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced

1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, halved or chopped

1/2 of a medium red onion, diced fine

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Pancake syrup, to taste

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

A dash of ginger

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (toasting gives them better flavor)

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1 to 3 tablespoons olive oil to drizzle

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook quinoa according to directions on the package.

Grease a roasting pan with the oil. Add the squash, cranberries, onion and garlic and toss to coat. Sprinkle the top of the vegetables with the syrup, salt, pepper and ginger. Toss everything together. Roast until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. In a large serving bowl, combine the quinoa and the cooked butternut mixture. Add in the toasted pecans, chopped parsley and a little olive oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, toss to combine and serve. Great warm or cold. Serves 6.

Sort of Gumbo

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 to 2 pounds salami or Italian sausage, cut into bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon sugar

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons tomato paste

6 large tomatoes, chopped with juices reserved

3 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon marjoram

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until it starts to brown. Add the sugar, mushrooms, onions, and peppers and cook for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juices, chicken broth, oregano, basil, marjoram and bay leaves. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Can be served over quinoa or as a soup. Serves 6 to 8.

Strawberry Pie with Almond Crust

1 cup ground almonds

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

3 cups sliced strawberries (you can use them whole with the tops cut off if you prefer)

3 tablespoons apricot preserves, heated

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch glass pie plate or tart pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground almonds, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Press the mixture into the pie plate and press lightly (with moist fingertips) to form a crust. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the crust and lightly press down any puffy areas then continue baking for an additional 5 minutes, until the crust is firm and slightly golden. Cool and press down the puffy areas while still warm (if needed). Cool fully before filling. Fill with the sliced strawberries (you can use raspberry, blueberries, blackberries or any combination of these instead of the strawberries). Pat down and drizzle or brush the warm apricot preserves over the top.

Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.