The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag

A website celebrating and enumerating Juneau, Alaska's food culture

Archive for the ‘2011’ Category

Gluten Free Banana Walnut Pancakes

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flap jacks

I’m not the biggest pancake fan in the world, but I woke up with a craving for banana walnut pancakes. I suppose I was thinking of the pancakes at the Cup & Sauce in Portland, Oregon – even though they’re made with real flour. It’s been ages since I had a flap jack. Even more challenging than the gluten free aspect of these tasty rounds, is the fact that I made them dairy free. I used organic low-fat coconut milk instead of milk or water.

Fear not Dear Feedbag Reader, these aren’t tasteless hippie frisbees. These delicate perfect rounds are loaded with tiny banana and walnut bits in almost every bite. They’re made perfect with a little smart balance spread and a smatter of maple syrup.

This recipe makes enough pancake batter to feed your friends. If you’re not feeding a crowd, get an empty yogurt container to put the extra in the fridge. I’m even thinking about using the left over batter for muffins.

Dry Ingredients:
– 2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients & Extras:
– 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
– 1 banana, diced
– 1/2 cup of apple sauce
– 2 cups of organic low-fat coconut milk (or 1 cup regular milk, one cup water)
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 tablespoon honey or raw agave nectar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 or 2 dashes of cinnamon


Combine the dry ingredients first – mixing well before integrating the wet ingredients, bananas, and nuts.

I used a non-stick pan and I’d recommend it. A nicely greased up iron skillet would work just fine too. Get your pan greased up, heated up on medium heat, and ready for a ladle full of this delicious batter. When little bubbles start forming on top of your pancake, it’s probably time to flip that bad boy over. I’d say I found a 1.5 – 2 minute interval for each side made the perfect pancake.

These gluten free flap jacks are better when they’re hot off the press.

Serving Suggestion: Top with a little smart balance spread and some warm maple syrup for a delicious breakfast treat.


Written by Patrice Helmar

November 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm

The Best Wheat Free Granola Bars, ever!

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Wheat Free Granola Bars

Going to school full time and working at a school makes meal planning difficult. Commuting to and from school for graduate school and student teaching makes meal planning essential. I always make my lunch in the morning or the night before. I don’t have time to leave school for a quick fix meal on the go during lunch time, so packing good food is important. I’ve noticed that on days that I go running, that my energy is pretty low after a full day of student teaching.

Have you guys seen the price of wheat free products? They’re ridiculous! Seriously, I can’t rationalize (or afford) paying seven dollars for a box of lame bars or cereal. I’m stubborn and I love whole foods. Which means that my life is a little more difficult, but often a lot more delicious.

I think these little granola bars are the perfect after school snack for days when I’m training for my first 10K run. I’m happy to report that this last week I was doing four mile runs!

My inspiration for these bars came from a recipe via All Recipes that I modified to suit my tastes and wheat free ways.

Don’t forget to cut these bad boys after letting them sit for a couple of minutes! If you don’t cut them into long rectangles, they’ll turn into one giant rad granola bar of goodness.

– 2 cups rolled oats
– 1/2 cup of maple syrup
– 1/2 cup of olive oil
– 1/2 cup of apple sauce
– 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon of allspice
– 1 teaspoon of nutmet
– 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF flour
– 3/4 cup raisins (optional)
– 1/4 cup of dried apricots, diced
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 cup of shredded coconut
– 1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped
– 1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
– 1 egg, beaten
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

– Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan (I used olive oil to grease my pan).

– In a large bowl, mix together the oats, spices, gluten free flour, raisins, apricots, pecans, walnuts and salt.

– Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients: pour in the maple syrup, apple sauce, beaten egg, oil and vanilla.

– Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

– Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges.

– Cool for 2 – 4 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm.

– Don’t let these bad boys cool to much before cutting.

Variations on a theme & serving suggestions: These granola bars are versatile, allowing for different ingredients. Imagine if you will peanut butter & chocolate chip granola bars, dried cherry & almond granola bars, or banana & walnut granola bars. All totally possible by tweaking a few things with this recipe.

These bars are so decadent you could serve them as a desert with a little scoop of sorbet or ice cream. Instant win!

Happy Eating!

Matty’s Law & Order Soup

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Puréed acorn squash, beet & leek soup

Puréed acorn squash, beet, & leek soup.

In the soup world, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups:  The cooks, who make the soup; and consumers, who eat the soup.  These are their stories:

This is the time of year to harvest all your hard work in the garden.  Not only am I an avid soup eater, I also love to cook using fresh ingredients obtained from our garden.  I had some success on our garden this year, with enough greens and snap peas to last us through the summer.  We have been enjoying fresh salads consisting of cabbage, Kale, and carrots this fall.  Some of the less successful crops this season were the leeks, broccoli, and potatoes.  I read that it’s best to plant leeks indoors in the early spring and then transplant as soon as the soil can be worked.  I think next year I’ll take this advice more to heart.

My biggest disappointment was my potato crop.  Potatoes grow great in Alaska.  I’ve usually had good luck when it comes to potatoes. This year I think I didn’t plant them deep enough.  This resulted in smaller and not as many spuds.  So I have been thinking about what to do with my failed crops.  I hate to waste anything so Kim suggested I make a potato leek soup.  I thought this was a great idea and decided to expand on it.

This last Saturday I was balls deep in a Law and Order marathon when I got the sudden urge to make some soup.  I had a bunch of little leeks, beets, and carrots that I managed to salvage from the garden.  These would form the base of my soup.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough potatoes for the potato leek soup that I was craving.  I realized I needed something else to make the soup magical.  I put some pants on, loaded up the old pom-chi, and headed to the local store.

I ran the gauntlet that we call Foodland, avoiding eye contact with people so I didn’t have to do the dreaded stop and chat.  It was during one of these moments that I spotted what I knew would be perfect.  Squash!

It’s fall after all. What better way to warm the soul than a hearty cup of squash soup?  I carefully picked through the many varieties of squash and stumbled across an orange acorn squash.  Just like the Dude, I knew this squash would tie the soup together.  I rushed home to begin preparation.  The first thing to do when preparing a squash for soup is to cut the ends off and remove the peel using a vegetable peeler.  Then carefully cut squash lengthwise and remove middle part making sure to save the seeds for a healthy snack later.  Once the squash is de-turded you can begin to make the soup.


-2 tablespoons butter of olive oil

-1 leek chopped into fine pieces

-1 small beet diced

-1 diced carrot

-1 diced celery

-2 pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 ½ -inch chunks

-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

-3 cloves garlic

-2 sprigs fresh thyme

-Pinch of nutmeg

-1/4 cup fresh basil

-1/2 cup coconut milk

-Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


1. Begin by heating the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the leek and cook until softened, about five minutes or so should do the trick.  Then stir in the beets, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, thyme, basil, nutmeg, and chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until squash is softened about ½ the episode of a Law and Order should do the trick.

2.  Once the squash is done remove the pot from heat and discard thyme sprigs and puree soup with an emersion blender, food processor or any old kind of blender.  If the soup is too thick, you can always add more stock until you get the desired consistency.

3. Next you add the coconut milk and bring back to a brief simmer and then remove and add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy your soup with some warm bread and a nice fresh garden salad.  I would also recommend this soup on a cold wet fall afternoon while in the midst of a Law and Order Bender.  Garnish with fresh basil & enjoy!

Wild Yam Noodles with Coconut Milk and Vegetables

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Autumn is beginning the ever too quick fast forward in Juneau. The leaves are falling, if not fallen. The chill of winter lingers in the sharp morning air. It’s time to get the house ready for winter: fill the oil tank up, get the flannel duvet out, and cook comfort food.

After over five months, I’m still entirely gluten free. I’ve also miraculously stayed off the coffee. I haven’t fallen into the sweet embrace of cheese again. In fact, the only dairy in my diet is organic low-fat yogurt. What may be the biggest surprise is that I’ve started running. I started the Couch to 5K app on my smart phone a little over nine weeks ago. Yesterday, without being chased by bear, I ran 3.5 miles on my own accord. It’s a little weird to write in my food blog about how much I look forward to running now.

This meal was inspired by a hungry trip to the grocery store after my run yesterday. The trail I ran in the valley is close to a nice market with fresh-ish vegetables and “ethnic” food. In Juneau, Alaska “ethnic” food means in most grocery stores, a single aisle filled with a league of all nations hit list of foods. These ethnic foods may include: curry, Asian noodles, Latin American hot sauce, couscous, hummus, tea, and maybe the odd can of dolmas.


– 1 package of wild yam or rice noodles

– 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
– 1 shallot, finely diced
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
– 1 bunch of green onions, white part finely chopped with green tops reserved for garnish
– 7 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
– 1 orange pepper, thinly sliced

– 1/2 block of extra firm tofu cubed, to garnish
– 1/2 can of coconut milk
– sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
– 1 Tablespoon of Madras (yellow) curry
– 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
– sriracha sauce to taste, to finish


– heat a sauce pan of water to boil and cook wild yam or rice noodles for specified time
– in a sauté pan, heat olive oil
– add chopped white part of green onions, shallot, and garlic
– season with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and turmeric and cook 3-5 minutes
– add chopped mushrooms, orange pepper, add yellow curry powder, cook another 3 minutes or so
– when noodles are finished cooking, drain (don’t rinse)
– slowly add noodles to large sauté pan with tongs
– add 1/2 can of coconut milk, add a bit more sea salt and fresh ground pepper
– toss noodles and veggies with tongs and cook for 2 to 3 minutes
– plate in a shallow bowl
– garnish with tofu and green part of onions
– add sriracha to your taste

Serving suggestion:

If you don’t have a nut allergy chopped peanuts might also serve as garnish. Fresh cilantro and lemon grass would also work well with this dish. Unfortunately, the market I went to was out of all herbs other than parsley.

Pair this dish with a Czech Pilsner or a Japanese Kirin brew in a tall cold glass for delicious beer fun time!

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Grilled Sweet Potatoes

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Grilling season may have come and gone for many of my fellow Alaskan friends. It’s pouring down rain today in Juneau and it doesn’t feel like it’s letting up any time soon. This post may be a little tardy in that regard. For folks living the dream down south, or brave enough to bust out the grill under the cover of driveway or porch, this post is for you.

Some time back, between beginning my Master’s program and working almost full time, our friend Amanda made these delicious foil packs of sweet potatoes and I’ve been meaning to blog about them. It’s a simple enough recipe that requires few ingredients and only 20 or so minutes of grilling time.


– 2 to 3 sweet potatoes (or yams if you prefer)
– 1 to 2 teaspoons of cumin
– sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil


– Make fun little foil packets for your sweet potatoes, folding the edges as shown in the photo above
– Peel & cube your sweet potatoes and group them in a large bowl
– Add olive oil, cumin, sea salt, & pepper and toss potatoes
– Add a reasonable amount of potatoes to each foil wrapper (you’ll probably have about 4 foil packets)
– Poke holes using a fork on the tops of the foil wrappers
– Throw the foil packets on top of the grill, turning a few times, for around 20 minutes

Serving Instructions:

These cumin grilled sweet potatoes are dreamy with grilled chicken, veggie burgers, or vegetable skewers. Happy Eating!

Written by Patrice Helmar

August 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Feedbag Harvest

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Our garden has been amazing this year – we finally built PVC coverings around our three raised beds. When I say “we” built, I mean Matty built. This is a small garden basket full of haul from this past weekend. We’ve had fresh greens, kale, and sweet peas in our salads for around four weeks now. It’s a blessing to have such an awesome man in my life that can build, grow, and fish.

The other day Matt took his new salmon rod out and caught four pink salmon off the docks near the salmon hatchery in town. Pinks or humpy salmon aren’t considered the best of the best here in Alaska. King salmon, or even white king might be more sought after types of salmon. Honestly, there’s nothing better than pretty much any kind of fresh caught salmon, drizzled in olive oil and grilled up. In abundance, pink salmon is great smoked, or home canned with a pressure cooker.


I’m so busy with school and work right now that most nights I haven’t had much time to cook let alone blog. We were both so tired the other night when I took these garden haul photos. I’ll try to get creative this week, while I have a little time off and make something delicious to write about. I’d like to make some dolmas or some gluten-free Greek food (is that possible)?

I’d love more than anything to some how get out fishing and bring home a big halibut to keep us eating well all winter. My favorite thing in the world right now is smoked halibut, seriously.

I’m just happy to report that operation growing and harvesting our own food is going super well this summer. Here’s another photo of our garden bounty! And yes, miraculously that is an onion ->


Written by Patrice Helmar

August 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Gluten & Dairy Free Chocolate Cookies

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gluten free vegan cookies

Dear Feedbag Readers,

I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting you. The past couple of months have been so busy it’s not even funny. I’ve stayed true to my new way of eating since my spring cleanse. I’m primarily dairy free (other than organic yogurt), gluten free, sugar free, and off the coffee. I think it’s kind of a miracle considering I’ve been working at a restaurant and going to grad school. I’m super excited about being a in a grad program – but when I get home from school and a restaurant shift the last thing I feel like doing is cooking.

These cookies have saved me on mornings where I don’t have time to make a healthy breakfast. I’ve had more than one morning when I wake up from only having a few hours of sleep after reading or working on a project all night. I grab a cookie and make a quick cup of green tea (maté is my favorite thing in the world right now) and head out to school. Initially, Matty put this recipe together as a hybrid of a recipe he found online and adapted. The original recipe is here.

I’m not such a fan of stevia and so instead we used bananas and a little honey as sweetener. Also, we added a few other ingredients, like raisins and shredded coconut which helped with the texture.

– 1 cup of brown rice flour
– 1 cup of garbanzo bean flour
– 1/2 cup of dutch cocoa powder
– 1 teaspoon of baking soda
– 3/4 teaspoon of salt
– 3/4 cup of coconut milk
– 1/2 cup of almond butter
– 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup of cashews
– 1/2 cup of raisins
– 2 bananas, mashed
– 5 teaspoons of honey
– 1/4 cup of shredded coconut


– Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

– In a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients, and then add the wet ingredients – saving the almond butter for last (as it’s the stickiest)

– Using two spoons, dish out cookies about two inches in diameter about an inch apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

– Bake for 10 – 15 minutes (you can check the doneness by using the old tried and true toothpick method – also your house will start to smell awesome!)

– Let these babies cool off a bit and eat warm or store in an airtight container for a quick treat on the go.

Serving Suggestion: For a totally decadent dessert serve with a scoop of Coconut Bliss Ice Cream and a homemade cup of chai!

Makes about 2 dozen radtastic cookies!!!

Written by Patrice Helmar

July 19, 2011 at 8:33 pm