Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fish n' Chips

There is nothing like fresh fish n' chips from a street vendor in New Zealand all wrapped up in newspaper or sitting in a cozy Pub next to a fire rolling...
SO not gluten free.

Here is my version for when a craving hits for this favorite:

1. Take a pound of fish fillets (I used Cod here) and rinse and pat dry the fillets (I cut them up into smaller pieces to cook easier) and set them aside.

2. Make a batter with 2 cups of all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill) with 1 1/4 cups of cold gluten free beer, 3 tsp. of baking powder and a pinch of Old Bay (or another gluten free Creole) seasoning.

3. Dust the fish fillets in some additional flour and dip in the batter..coating the fish well.

4. Place the fish in oil at about 370 degrees (canola or vegetable oil) in either a large saucepan or dedicated (aka..only gluten free) fryer.

5. Cook the fish until golden brow...for about 4 minutes.

6. Drain on papertowels and season with salt and pepper.

7.I also whipped up some fries by boiling some sliced potatoes in salted water for about 4 or 5 minutes...draining them and letting them cool completely. After the fish is fried I cooked them in the oil (after the fish) until golden brown..a gluten free treat.

8. I served with fish n' chips with some mushy peas (from the foreign food section in the grocery store) and some sweet gherkins..for that traditional Pub feel.

Here is to good food! Salut! xo

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Red Lobster" Biscuits

As anyone living with Celiac disease or any food allergy for that matter is not a is a lifestyle. This means adapting recipes and finding new ways of making "old favorites". I love seafood as you can tell from my recipes and Red Lobster makes great biscuits..unfortunately they are not gluten free. I was craving them one day and so here is my version.

Here is how: (I adapted the recipe a bit from "You won't believe it is Gluten Free")
1. Preheat your oven to 375 and grease a baking sheet.

2. Blend together:
- 4 Tbs. of softened butter (unsalted butter is best in baking and do not bake with margarine...does not work).
-1 1/3 cup (or 165 grams) of cornstarch (a gluten free thickener)
-1 1/4 tsp. of xanthan gum (another thickener)
- 1 Tbs. of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. of baking soda
- 2 tsp. of sugar
- 1/2 tsp. of salt

3. Next add:
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 1 tsp. of white vinegar
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp of crushed garlic
- 1/2 tsp of dried dill

4. Mix well and realize that your dough is much softer and more delicate to handle than regular grains that contain gluten.

5. Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto your baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until they start to brown.

6. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter mixed with a pinch of garlic powder.

Here is to not feeling deprived! xo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Celiac..Obesity and Weight Lifting

I stated in a previous post that 40% of people suffering with Celiac Disease are considered obese. This is contrary to what many doctors believed (and some still believe) to be correct: that you must be underweight to have Celiac Disease. This is because when people with Celiac Disease eat any amount of gluten, it acts like a poison damaging the villi in the lining of the intestines. When this happens the body cannot absorb nutrients properly and over time can lead to a condition with Celiac disease called a "leaky gut". The thinking among medical professionals for a long time was that because of this malabsorption/ malnutrition issue among individuals with Celiac must be underweight to have the disease.

Totally incorrect.

Studies researching the link between Celiac disease and obesity indicate that among women..especially heading towards the "child rearing" ages..actually retain "extra weight" as an instinctive mechanism to "protect" the body (and any possible babies) from malnutrition. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that fat cells actually retain gluten so that the body is "carrying" the gluten within fat cells...(this gets into the link between breastfeeding and Celiac disease..will post on this later).

I literally went from a size 4 to a 14 in less than 2 years with no discernible "reason"...I also remember feeling hungry all of the time and being criticized for "poor eating habits" or "emotional eating". I reality severely malnourished and obese.

This gets into the next section of this post: weight lifting.
As is referenced in my earlier blog post about my "workout rules" MUST lift weights to change your metabolism and really lose weight. Lean muscle mass is what causes your body to rev up it's metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day.
As many of my friends in fitness point not depend on the scale through this process..muscle weighs more than fat and you first need to "bulk up a bit" before you "lean out".
Also, do not be afraid of heavier will not "beef out" unless you are supplementing and eating intentionally to do so. You will simply get stronger, leaner, toned and athletic. Lift hard and heavy at least twice a week (total body).

Here is hoping you feel empowered, healthy and strong!! xo

Some of the other benefits of weight lifting are: (from )

Increases HDL - High Density Lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and decrease LDL - Low Density Lipoprotein (bad cholesterol). Reduces risk of diabetes and insulin needs.
Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lower high blood pressure.
Lowers risk of breast cancer - reduces high estrogen levels linked to the disease.
Decreases or minimizes risk of osteoporosis by building bone mass.

Reduces symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
Reduces stress and anxiety.
Decreases colds and illness.

Increased muscle strength, power, endurance and size with enhanced performance of everyday tasks.  You will be able to do everyday tasks like lifting, carrying, and walking up stairs with greater ease.

By working the muscles through a full range of motion, weight training can improve your overall body flexibility.  Increased flexibility reduces the risk of muscle pulls and back pain

Strong muscles, tendons, and ligaments are less likely to give way under stress and are less likely to be injured.  Increased bone density and strength reduces back and knee pain by building muscle around these areas.

Boosted metabolism (which means burning more calories when at rest) with reduced body fat.  Your overall weight may not change, but you will gain muscle and lose fat. Over time you should notice decreases in waist measurements and body fat measurement.

The conditioning effect will result in firmer and better-defined muscles.
The way you sit and stand are influenced by the health of a network of neck, shoulder, back, hip and abdominal muscles.  Stronger muscles can help you stand and sit straighter and more comfortably.  You may notice improved balance and stability.

As you begin to notice the positive physical changes in your body and develop a regular exercise routine, your ability to handle stress effectively will improve. Weight training allows you to sleep better, i.e., fall asleep quicker and sleep deeper.  
Clinical studies have shown regular exercise to be one of the three best tools for effective stress management.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pork and Bacon Burgers

It is a gorgeous early Spring day and grilling season is underway. I found some ground pork in the freezer and decided to whip up some pork and bacon stuffed burgers..they turned out yummy!

Here is how:
1. In a large skillet (I threw my cast iron skillet right on the grill) cook 4 strips of bacon until almost crisp.
2. Next throw in a medium  chopped onion and a cup of sliced mushrooms and saute in the bacon drippings until they are slightly browned...mmm.
3. Crumble up the bacon with a spatula and take the pan off the heat.
4. Next combine a pound of ground pork, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese (yeah), 1/2 tsp. of ground pepper and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder..form into 8 patties.
5. Divide the bacon mixture on top of 4 of the patties and then top those patties with the other 4 patties and press the edges to seal tightly.
6. Then just grill them over medium-high direct heat until well done...flipping only once.

Note: I served mine on a Canyon Bakehouse gluten free bun (AMAZING) with some oven baked fries.

Here is to breaking out your grill and enjoying the outdoors! xo

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seared Scallops in a Chili Cream Sauce

This is a recipe that has been requested from me and it is a really delicious way to prepare scallops. Do not let the chili cream sauce intimidate is easy and not very spicy at all..just a hint of heat. This is also a fairly quick recipe that packs in a lot of flavor. The recipe is also lower in fat and calories and is actually quite healthy.

Here is the low down:
1. Combine a pound of sea scallops with 2 Tbs. of gluten free all purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill) in a zip-loc bag and shake to coat.
2. Take a well seasoned cast iron skillet (or a non-stick skillet) and heat a Tbs. of oil (I used canola) over high heat.
3. Add the scallops and cook for 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Remove the scallops from the pan and keep them warm.
4. Melt 1 Tbs. of butter in the pan now (lower the heat to medium) ans stir in 2 more tsp. of the gluten free flour.
5. Cook the flour for 30 seconds...stirring continuously.
6. Add 1 tsp. of chili powder, 1/4 tsp of cumin and 1/4 tsp of salt.
7. Cook for another 30 seconds..stirring continuously.
8. Slowly stir in 3/4 cup of low fat milk and cook for 2 1/2 minutes until thickened (I find that the gluten free flour thickens quicker than regular flour so watch it closely)..keep stirring through this process. I use a wire whisk to keep the sauce smooth.
9. Return the scallops to the pan and add 2 Tbs. of freshly chopped cilantro..stir everything gently to coat.
10. Serve the scallops over rice (I used Taste of Thailand chili jasmine rice)..but regular Jasmine rice would be awesome as well.

Here is to trying new recipes and adding some adventure into your cooking! xo

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chicken Maryland

This is one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite chef's: the awesome Jamie Oliver. I have tweaked the recipe a bit and it is one of my favorites. This chicken turns out so yummy every time.

Here is how:
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2. Take a baking dish out and put in 4 cups of frozen corn.
3. Next take a can of cannellini beans and rinse them well. Squish us half the beans and leave half of them whole and mix in with the corn.
4. Next take 4 to 6 chicken breasts and find the part on the breast that has a little strip/ flap of meat on the one side. Take that flap and fold it back using a knife and make a cut so that you form a pocket in the chicken breast.
5. Once you have done this to all of the chicken breasts..stuff them with half a banana each (yes is so good)!
6. Place the folded up chicken breast in your dish on top of the corn mixture and season them well with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
7. Add 1/4 cup of white wine and 1/4 cup of heavy cream to the dish and chop up 4 Tbs. of butter and scatter them around the tray.
8. Cover the chicken breast with bacon strips and bake in your oven for about 45 minutes until the bacon is crisp.
9. Serve the dish with some chopped up mint on top and pair with a chopped salad for an awesome dinner.

As Jamie says "this is southern American/ Sunshine cooking"....this dish makes dinner awesome every time.

Here is to hoping you have more sunshine every day! xo

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting Personal: Celiac Symptoms

 When you look at I look like someone who can get sick for up to a month from less than 1/8 of a tsp. of gluten? Do I look like someone who weighed well over 200 lbs less than a year and a half ago? Do I look like someone who struggles every day in every social situation to not get sick? Do I look like someone who was sick for over 15 years?

I was asked by a colleague today to write about my Celiac symptoms and I must admit that this is a post I have wanted to do but have been procrastinating on. To list my symptoms is like looking at a list of things that I have struggled with for a long time and now am finally healing from. I will be honest and say that I pray that someone else finds answers... as God answered me when I was begging Him what was wrong with me.

Please remember as with all auto-immune diseases: there are no "typical symptoms" and some will have all and some will have next to none. Being tested medically is the only sure fire way to know.

My symptoms:
1. If I have any gluten at all my stomach bloats up like I a pregnant (I used to be asked when I was "due" all of the time) followed by diarrhea and vomiting.
2. Infertility (particularly fun when people are asking when you are "due").
3. Abdominal pain like someone is stabbing you with a knife in the stomach.
4. Irritability and Depression (Mayo Clinic is currently conducting fabulous research on the Neurological impact of Celiac disease)..will post more on this later.
5. Migraines that last for up to a week.
6. Numbness in parts of my arms and hands.
7. Muscle cramps
8. Skin rash (I get lovely blisters on my bottoms of my feet: Dermatitis herpetiformis and in my nose).
9. Mouth sores (more fun).
10. Weight gain (see my earlier post on my workout rules). 40% of people with Celiac are considered obese.
11. Fatigue (I feel like I have been hit by a train if I get any gluten).
12. "Fatty" "oily" stools..gross but you know what I am talking about if you have them.

There are many sites including that list the symptoms in much more detail.
This is a serious disease that can lead to things like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and death if left untreated. The only way to treat Celiac disease is to adopt a diet completely free of gluten.

I cannot express how much better I feel now...I remember saying "If I get rid of gluten and work out I will not feel the same..right?"...there are no words other than.."I feel completely different".

Those who are struggling or think they might have this disease. My heart joins yours in prayer..xo

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fried Apples

This is such an easy side dish to go with pork meals and the apples are so delicious and add that extra special touch. This is from a recipe that is over a hundred years old.

Here is how:
1. Peel and slice 3 sweet/ tart apples (I used Fuji apples).
2. Melt a Tbs. of butter in a skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbs. of brown sugar, 1 Tbs. of Molasses and 1 tsp. of cinnamon.
3. Cook until tender/ crisp and the apples are slightly browned (only takes a few minutes).
Note: I tossed in a pinch of thyme for extra flavor in the apples.

Wishing you many happy memories around your table! xo

Gluten Free Pork Gravy

This a really easy recipe for gluten free pork gravy that you can do whenever you have pork drippings from roasted meat.

Here is how:
1. Pour your pan drippings from the roasted meat (free from any large chunks) into a large liquid measuring cup and add water to measure 2 cups.
2. Place 1/4 cup of all purpose gluten free flour (again I use Bob's Red Mill) into a saucepan; stir in the pan drippings until blended and heat over medium heat until thickened (stirring continuously with a wire whisk). I find that with the gluten free flour the gravy thickens more quickly so watch it closely.
3. Add some additional salt and I threw in some rubbed sage, ground rosemary and dried thyme for extra flavor.

See the next post for fried apples to go with pork.
Here is to some down home cooking! xo

Sweet and Savory Pork Roast

I must admit..I am a meat and potatoes girl and I seriously love a good pork roast. This one is seasoned just perfectly and turns out so succulent and juicy and it is naturally gluten free.

Here is recipe:
1. Combine 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar with 1 Tbs. of dried thyme and 1 tsp. each of garlic powder, salt, pepper, rubbed sage and dried rosemary.
2. Rub a boneless pork roast about 3-4 pounds (I used a center cut pork roast) with this mixture and place on a rack in a roasting pan.
3. Roast for about an hour and a half at 350 degrees or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

See the next blog post for the pan gravy..this roast is seriously good and makes your kitchen smell amazing! xo

Scalloped Potatoes

One of my favorite side dishes is scalloped potatoes. From scratch they are so creamy and good. Here is a great recipe for a gluten free version.

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter the bottom of a casserole dish (make sure you use fresh butter that is not contaminated with toast crumbs).
3. Peel and slice 8 medium potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold)..I used a slicer to speed up the process a bit.
4. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in the casserole dish and top with 1Tbs. of butter (diced up), and a pinch of salt, pepper, thyme and parsley.
5. Do 2 more layers just like the first.
6. Top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and some paprika for color (optional).
7. Next whisk together 6 Tbs. of gluten free flour (again I use Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour) with 4 cups of milk.
8. Pour the milk and flour mixture over the potatoes until the potatoes are just covered.
9. Bake for 1 hour. Allow the potatoes to sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

These turn out so tender and creamy.. hope you enjoy! xo

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spicy Shrimp Noodle Bowl

 Today has been one of those early Spring days where it has been rainy, cold and dreary all day. One of my favorite "quick and easy weeknight solutions" for such days is a spicy noodle bowl. I made mine with shrimp but chicken could be easily substituted as well. This recipe is guaranteed to warm you from the inside out and you can adjust the amount of spice for your palette (mine is pretty spicy). This recipe is enough for 4 servings.

Here is how:
1. Take a pound of  raw shrimp and remove the tails and shells. Saute the shrimp in about a Tbs. of oil (I used wok oil for extra flavor) until pink and opaque. Remove from your wok or skillet and set aside.
2. Next saute 1/2 cup of sliced red bell pepper, 1/2 cup of yellow bell pepper, 1/4 cup of yellow onion, 1/2 cup of sliced sugar snap peas with 1 clove of garlic (minced) and a Tbs. of grated fresh ginger. Saute for a couple minutes until the color bursts in the vegetables but they retain some firmness (al dente). Remove from your wok or skillet and set aside.
3. Now take a larger sauce pan and combine the shrimp and veggies with 3 cups of chicken  broth, 2 Tbs. of fish sauce (optional), 1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper, 1 tbs. of Thai basil (optional but gives AMAZING flavor), 1 tsp. of mined lemongrass (optional), 1/4 tsp of salt, 2 Tbs. of chopped cilantro and 3 oz of Thai rice noodles.. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 to 10 minutes until the noodles are done.
4. Serve with lime wedges and top with hot sauce for extra heat if you want.

Here is to adding some spice to a dreary day and making dinner easy and memorable! xo

Monday, March 21, 2011

Japanese Style Tuna Tartare

 One of my FAVORITE kinds of fish in the world is Ahi tuna. I always buy it sushi grade so that I can eat it just seared on the outside and rare (sushi style) on the inside. If you have not dived into the land of sushi yet..this is the fish to try. The texture and the taste is just amazing! Here is one of my favorite recipes for Ahi tuna (I have many and will post more recipes for Tuna later).

Here is how:
1. Mix together:
1/4 cup of cucumber chopped
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
2 Tbs. finely chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves pulverized
3 Tbs. wasabi paste (can buy for less than a dollar in the sushi section at the grocery store)
1/2 cup wheat free (I use San J) Tamari sauce
1 Tbs. mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1 Tbs. sesame seeds
A pinch of chili paste (I used Taste of Thailand red curry chili paste)
A splash of sesame oil
*After mixing all together place in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.

2. Prepare your grill and place the tuna over high direct heat and grill on each side just until the outside is seared (just a couple minutes on each side). You might want to brush the Ahi tuna with a little sesame oil to keep it from sticking to the grill (if your grill is not well seasoned).

3. Slice the tuna thinly and serve along side the other prepared ingredients.

This recipe is so healthy, light and will impress guests with this one! xo

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Asparagus Frittata

Today is officially the first day of Spring YAY!! I absolutely love asparagus so I thought the perfect brunch dish for this morning to welcome Spring would be this asparagus is really good and leftovers reheat well for a lunch dish the following day.

Here is how to make it:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Remove the tough ends from 5 stalks of asparagus (they will naturally break off at the right point) and discard the ends. Blanch the asparagus (which means place in boiling water) for about 1 minute until bright green and immediately run under cold water and drain well. Set aside.
3. Next beat 8 eggs together with 1/4 cup of milk, 1/8 tsp. of nutmeg (freshly ground nutmeg or East Indian nutmeg is the best) and salt and pepper to taste. Note that I use a finer milled pepper for a recipe such as this.
4. In a cast iron skillet (I LOVE my cast iron), saute 1 medium onion (I used a sweet Vidalia) until translucent in a couple Tbs. of vegetable oil (I used canola).
5. Next add 5 mushrooms sliced (I used baby bellas for a meatier texture) and saute until golden brown.
6. Next add 1 cup of chopped fresh spinach and cook until completely wilted.
7. Next add 1 chopped tomato (Roma or Plum).
8. Now pour your egg mixture into the skillet and stir briefly. Take off the heat.
9. Sprinkle 1/4 pound of shredded mozzarella on top and some chopped fresh or dried basil.
10. Bake the frittata for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. You can broil the top at the end to "finish" the top more and make it more golden.
11. I topped mine at the end with some caramelized onions for extra flavor.

May you have a beautiful brunch and a blessed Spring season! xo

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pork and Mango Skewers with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Ok..I realize this is another "grilled pork" recipe..but these turned out so well tonight that I have to share the recipe. These are "sweet and spicy" (one of my favorite flavor combinations) and bring a brightness to dinner with the burst of mango.

The recipe:
1. Start by making the dipping sauce: simply whisk together:
a. The juice of one lime (fresh squeezed)
b. 2 Tbs. of fish sauce (I use Taste of Thailand)
c. 3 Tbs. of brown sugar
d. 1 Tbs. of freshly grated ginger
e. 1 Tsp. of Sriracha sauce

2. Next: cube 1 pound of boneless pork and put in a Ziploc bag with:
a. 1 tsp. of cumin
b. 1 tsp. salt
c. 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
d. 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
e. 1/2 tsp.Chinese 5 spice powder *(make sure all of your spices are gluten free without binders that contain gluten)
f. 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Simply shake the pork in the bag with the spices to coat well.

3. Make the skewers: Thread the pork with chunks of mango (2 mangoes will be plenty) and about 12 green onions cut with the white and light green parts only into 11/2 inch lengths.
*grilling hint: if you soak your skewers in water for about 10 minutes before threading with the food the wood will not burn as easily.

4.My favorite part: GRILL the skewers over direct high heat until the pork is barely pink in the center (8-10 minutes), turning once. Serve warm with the dipping sauce on the side.

May you have a blessed day and happy gluten free grilling! xo

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops with a Memphis Dry Rub and Sassy BBQ Sauce

Winter grilling: Memphis dry rub pork chops with homemade sas... on Twitpic

I LOVE grilling..seriously it is one of my favorite activities in the world. I also love a great pork chop. This recipe gives a plain old grilled pork chop great flavor and the sassy BBQ sauce is just perfect with the chops.

I usually pair these with grilled potatoes (will post the recipe in a later post) and some grilled veggies or a side salad. Try these..they are really good.

Here is how:
1. To make the bbq sauce: In a small saucepan whisk: 1/2 cup of ketchup, 2 Tbs. molasses, 1 Tbs. white vinegar, 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard, 1 Tbs. light brown sugar, 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp hot sauce, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. pepper.
2. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. To make the rub: In a small bowl combine: 1 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. ground mustard, 1 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1 1/2 tsp. light brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper.
4. Lightly brush 6 bone-in pork chops with canola oil and season with the rub, pressing the spices into the meat.
5. Grill the chops over direct medium heat on your grill until barely pink in the center of the meat (about 8-10 minutes), turning only once to preserve the juices in the meat.
6. Serve the chops with the sassy bbq sauce on the side.

Wishing you a happy Spring season full of LOTS of grilling! xo

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Healthy Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie

Gluten free shepherd's pie on Twitpic

One of my favorite comfort foods is a delicious Shepherd's easy to do gluten free. Many versions, however, are laden with fat and extra calories. Here is a version that is much healthier but retains all of the flavor. Pair this with a nice green salad and a warm slice of crusty gluten free peasant bread and you have an amazing dinner that will warm up your heart and soul.

The recipe:
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place 6 medium peeled potatoes (Yukon Gold's work great here) in a pan with enough water to cover the potatoes. Set the pan on high and bring it to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender.
3. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl and add 1/4 cup of light sour cream (Daisy is gluten free) and 1 Tbs. of butter. Mash this all until smooth and season to taste with salt and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup of chopped onion, 2 medium carrots diced and 2 medium stalk of celery diced (organic celery has amazing worth it). Cook this until soft..about 3 minutes.
5. Add 1 pound of uncooked ground turkey and cook until the turkey is browned (break up the turkey as it cooks). This will take about 5 minutes.
6. Next add 3 Tbs. of gluten free flout (I use Bob's Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour), 1 tsp. of dried rosemary (adds the best flavor), 1 tsp. of dried thyme, 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. of pepper. Stir this all to coat.
7. Next add 2 cups of gluten free chicken broth (Pacific and Imagine make gluten free broth) ad bring to a simmer. Simmer this all until the mixture thickens (about 3-5 minutes).
8. Transfer the turkey mixture to a casserole dish and spread the mashed potatoes over the top using the back of a spoon. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and bake it all until the potatoes are golden..about 30 minutes.

Every time I make this it turns out amazing and I forget that I am eating turkey instead of beef or lamb.

I wish you warm hearts, happy homes and dinners that make you smile! xo

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gluten in Bath Products

Recipe for Relaxation on Twitpic

I am a huge bath addict. One of my routines for relaxation includes a decadent bath with candles, bath salts and oils, bath scrubs, great name it.

If you have Celiac disease, unfortunately, you really have to watch the ingredients in your bath products. Some doctors will tell you that is nonsense and that gluten has to be ingested orally. These are doctors that are not viewing Celiac as an auto-immune disease.

Our skin is the biggest organ on our body and gluten can be absorbed through the skin (studies have proven this). Any gluten for someone with Celiac disease is a big issue. Some of the ingredients to watch for are: wheat germ oil, some Vitamin E derivatives (you can email companies directly for further information), hydrolyzed wheat protein etc.

Here is a more extensive list of ingredients in bath products that are gluten derivatives:

I will also be featuring some amazing artisans that create fantastic gluten-free bath products in upcoming blog features.

Take the time and pamper yourself and indulge your senses..just be careful with what products you use. Happy bathing! xo

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gluten Free Parmesan Baked Tilapia

Parmesan baked tilapia, curried brown rice couscous and glaze... on Twitpic

I LOVE a good fish dinner (anyone who knows me well is saying...yea). I guess it is the outdoors girl in me but I love cooking fish. Tilapia is affordable and this recipe makes it absolutely delicious. I paired the fish with a curried brown rice couscous (Lundberg makes great brown rice couscous) and some glazed carrots topped with lemon zest.

Here is the recipe for the fish:
1.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place a pound of Tilapia in a buttered baking dish.
3. Brush the tops of the fish with lemon juice.
4. Bake the fish in the preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes or until the fish just starts to flake.
5. During the time the fish is baking, combine 1/2 cup of grated parmesan, 2 Tbs.of softened butter, 3 Tbs. of light mayonnaise, 3 Tbs. of finely chopped green onions, 1/4 tsp. of salt, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 1/4 tsp of paprika, 1/4 tsp of celery salt, 1/4 tsp of onion powder, 1/4 tsp of dried basil, a pop of black pepper and a dash of Sriracha sauce (optional).
6. When the fish is ready, spread the top with the cheese mixture and bake until golden brown (about 5 more minutes).

Note: your baking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish so watch the fish closely so you do not over bake it. You can also broil it for a couple minutes at the and to make the fish nice and golden.

This fish is so good and easy you will think you just went to a nice restaurant. This is one of my favorites! Here is to fishing season coming soon! xo

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My top 50 gluten free lunch box ideas

Gluten free laptop lunch with leftovers on Twitpic

Extras like greek yogurt parfaits and herbal iced tea make it... on Twitpic

How many of us struggle with what to pack for lunches?
For people who deal with food allergies it can be essential to bring "safe" food along in a variety of settings. I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of some of my favorite lunch options. Note: the lunch box system I have is from but there are many "bento lunch systems" like these.

The ideas:
1. All varieties of green salads
2. Quinoa salads
3. Yogurt parfaits with gluten free granola
4. Cheese and gluten free crackers
5. Any variety of fruit and berries
6. Cut up veggies with hummus or salad dressing
7. Stew and rice packed together to keep warm.
8. Sushi (make sure it has no soy sauce or imitation crab meat since both contain gluten).
9. Gluten free pretzels with mustard dip
10. Nuts and dried fruit
11. Cottage cheese
12. Taco salads/ nachos
13. Chicken or tuna salad
14. Beef jerky (make sure it is a kind that is gluten free).
15. Hard boiled eggs or egg salad
16. String cheese or "Laughing Cow" cheese bites.
17. Risotto
18. Lettuce Wraps (have the gluten free PF Chang recipe to post later).
19. Spring Rolls
20. Popcorn
21. Smoothies
22. Rice cakes
23. Sweet potato chips or some of the great gluten free chips they have out now.
24. Gluten free oatmeal with a little milk (almond milk if casein sensitive), cinnamon, dried nuts and berries.
25. Sandwiches and wrap sandwiches on gluten free breads (I really like the panini style ones).
26. Thai noodles
27. Gluten free pizza slices
28. Chili
29. Gluten free mac and cheese
30. Gluten free pasta salad/ potato salad
31. Deviled Eggs
32. Shrimp and gluten free seafood sauce
33. Leftover gluten free spaghetti or lasagna
34. Gluten free burrito or tamale
35.Refried beans topped with cheese and salsa with corn chips
36. Sauteed veggies over brown rice
37. A stuffed baked potato
38. Leftover Shepherd's pie
39. Tomato soup and a gluten free grilled cheese sandwich
40. Leftover omelet or frittata
41. Stuffed squash or peppers
42. Nut butters on crackers and rice cakes
43. Veggie burgers
44. "Egg McMuffins" on gluten free english muffins
45. Leftover kebabs
46. Fruit, cheese, and a great gluten free roll
47. Gluten free foccacia bread with olive oil and dipping herbs
48. Tuna sashimi
49. Other great soups like loaded baked potato, broccoli cheese, butternut squash bisque, wild rice etc.
50. Leftover gluten free casseroles always reheat easily.

Hopefully, this gives you some creative ideas. It is also healthier and cheaper to bring lunch along with you. Happy menu planning! xo

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Naturally Gluten Free Mexican Chicken Soup

Mexican chicken soup with roasted corn, potatoes, chilies, ri... on Twitpic
One of the most comforting things on a blustery day is a great bowl of homemade soup. This soup is one of my favorites and you can adjust the spices to make it as mild or hot as you want (I like mine pretty spicy). Here is how:

For the rice:
Make 1 1/2 cups of brown rice (put the rice in a sauce pan and add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to low and simmer for 45 minutes. After the rice is done add 1/2 tsp of dried chilies (more or less depending on your taste), 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 Tbs. of paprika and 1/2 tsp of salt. Set that aside to be added later.

Now for the soup:
Take a large sauce pan and put 1 cup of chopped onions, 1 cup of peeled cubed carrots, 1 cup of chopped celery with 3 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and cook until the veggies become limp.

Next add 8 cups of gluten free chicken broth (many chicken broths contain gluten so make sure it is gluten free), 1 cup of cubed potatoes (peel or not peel depending on your taste), 1/4 tsp of thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 Tbs. of salt, and 1 whole boneless chicken breast cubed. Cook for 15 minutes.

Next add 1 1/2 cups of corn (I used frozen) and the rice. Cook for about 10 more minutes.

Serve in bowls topped with salsa and sour cream. I also drizzled on some Sriracha sauce for added heat with some gluten free corn chips (Tostitos has many that are gluten free..check the labels). You could also add some cubed avocado if you wanted.
Not only is this meal a great budget stretcher but it is healthy and delicious (it also makes your kitchen smell incredible). This is also a great soup for times when you have a cold. It is so nourishing.

Wishing you warm and happy tummies! xo

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Easy Gluten Free Greek Flatbread Pizza

G free greek flat bread pizza: low-fat, healthy and super tasty. on Twitpic

I love pizza and easy flat bread pizzas are one of my "go to" meals for busy nights.
I play around with many different toppings (and will post more later), but this is one of my favorites. Here is what to do:

1. Get a premade thin gluten free pizza crust (remember this is easy...homemade pizza crust will be later).
2. Brush the crust with olive oil and rub several cloves of garlic all over it to give it some amazing flavor.
3. Saute some fresh spinach and red onion briefly (until the color bursts) in a hot skillet with a little olive oil and some garlic.
4. Place the spinach and onion on the flat bread and start to add the other toppings: crumbled feta, sliced grape tomatoes, kalamata olives diced up and some grilled chicken if you want more protein.
5. Finally, top with some fresh or dried dill and cracked black pepper.
6. Cook the pizza according to the crust directions and pop under the broiler if you want the top more toasted. Remember that gluten free crusts and grains are much more delicate by nature so follow the pizza crust directions and do not overcook (use the broiler to cook the toppings more).

Happy easy, yummy, healthy eating! xo

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Workout Rules

Workout Time on Twitpic

Over 40 percent of people with Celiac disease are considered obese (I will do a separate blog post on the science behind this later). Doctors have long thought that people with Celiac are only was I for many years before my weight ballooned for "no reason". Over 10 years of trying every diet on the planet to only lose at the most 15 pounds and struggling with "why" and resigning myself to being overweight I found answers: over 60 pounds less of answers.

After figuring out it was Celiac Disease I started with going strictly gluten free. My body initially gained weight after that (aah...nutrients). Then I did basic portion control and I started to workout. I now LOVE exercising..have regained my health and feel better than I did 15 years ago. There are no shortcuts but the rewards are amazing. I am constantly asked about my workout "routine"..I would rather give you my rules.

10. Be consistent 5-6 days a week. There is not one week I worked out less than 4 times a week in over a year.
9. Be patient. You did not gain the weight overnight and you will not lose it overnight.
8. Lift weights: muscle mass changes your metabolism and you have to change your body from the inside out (weights at least 2 times a week).
7. Do cardio with intense bursts but within the fat burning range (where you are pushing yourself but can hold a conversation) at least 4 times a week.
6. Do yoga or pilates for your core at least 1 time a week.
5. MIX IT UP! You have to keep your body guessing to get past plateaus.
4. Honour your body. If your body says rest then rest do not keep beating yourself up..just start again tomorrow.
3. Believe in your body's capacity to change and heal. I am living proof.
2. Find friends to support you in your fitness journey.
1. HAVE FUN!!! Do something that makes you feel ALIVE (my favorite is latin dance)..enjoy your body moving,,sweat and enjoy the endorphins. You will learn to NEED them. Here's to your health! xo

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gluten Free Indulgence: Mexican Hot Chocolate

Friday night treat: mexican hot chocolate on Twitpic

Mexican hot chocolate is one of my FAVORITE gluten free winter treats. I am going to give you the super easy version of how to make it.
1. Start by warming up about a cup of milk in a small sauce pan. Add a cinnamon stick or a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg (I like East Indian nutmeg), a few dried chili flakes and a tiny pinch of saffron. Heat up the milk without letting it boil.

2. Now you can strain the milk into a cup (I like leaving some of the dried chili flakes for really spicy chocolate) and add about 4 heaping Tablespoons of European drinking chocolate (or a very rich dark cocoa with some sugar to taste). I used Trader Joes Sipping Chocolate (I LOVE Trader Joes for their clear gluten free labeling and awesome prices).

3. Stir it want it thick and really rich and you can use a cinnamon stick to stir with if you want. I paired it with a Pamela's dark chocolate cookie for lots of chocolate. SO good..your winter night will be turned around! xo

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Gluten Free Pantry

I love cookbooks and vintage aprons on Twitpic

One of the things that makes gluten free living much easier is a well stocked and planned out pantry. Here is a list of what I keep can pick and choose according to your needs. One additional benefit is thata well stocked kitchen allows for creative cooking, impromptu gatherings and less need for expensive take-out or eating out.

The List:
1. Cornstarch (for thickening) and gluten free cornmeal (note: all cornmeal is not gluten free depending on how it is produced).
2. Potato starch for baking mixes
3. Rice flour, gluten free oat flour (anything oat must be designated gluten free because of cross contamination issues).
4. All purpose baking powder (I like Bob's Red Mill and Pamela's baking mix).
5. Baking powder (I use Rumford) and baking soda (any).
6. Butter
7. Cocoa powder (I use Hershey's).
8. Cream cheese (I like Philadelphia).
9. Eggs
10. Milk
11. Canola and extra virgin olive oil
12. Salt
13. Spices, flavorings and extracts (McCormick clearly labels any gluten ingredients).
14. White, brown and powdered sugar.
15. Xantham gum (for thickening).
16. Plain low fat yogurt and low fat sour cream.
17. A wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Only buy what you are going to need but vary the colors and try something new once in awhile.
18. Deli meat: all Boarshead meat is gluten free but make sure you ask the deli to clean the slicer before slicing yours to prevent cross contamination. There are several nice pre-packaged gluten free deli meats as well (Hormel Naturals is my favorite).
19. Have seafood on hand in your freezer: fish, scallops and shrimp are basics for me.
20. Keep a variety of lean proteins on hand as well (chicken breast, ground turkey, lean steaks, ground round, lean pork cuts etc).
21. Several cheeses for cooking (mozzarella, sharp cheddar, pepperjack and something fun like feta or brie).
22. Baking necessities like: chocolate chips, nuts, gluten free baking mixes, Pam cooking spray etc.
23. San-J wheat free tamari (a MUST) and your other favorite gluten free condiments. Just make sure you read the labels carefully. Kraft does a really nice job of labeling in this area.
24. Gluten free canned soups (Amy's makes great ones) and Dinty Moore Beef Stew (gluten free) I always have on hand.
25. Canned goods like beans, vegetables, coconut milk, canned fruits, tomato paste, evaporated milk etc.
26. Dried grains, beans and pastas. A variety of rices, lentils, beans, instant potatoes, pastas and quinoa are musts.
27. Snacks. Thankfully there is more variety all of the time. Lay's classic potato chips and Doritos Ranch flavor are also gluten free.
28. Gluten free oatmeal, gluten free granola and rice or corn Chex cereal (gluten free).
29. Gluten free microwave meals (Amy's organics makes fabulous ones).
30. Some gluten free goodies (Pamela's double dark chocolate cookies make your forget you ever stopped eating gluten),

This list is just a start but hopefully gives you some ideas. Happy cooking! xo

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gluten Free Oven Fried Chicken Sunday Dinner

Gluten free oven fried chicken on Twitpic

Gluten free: oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes and pan grav... on Twitpic

What says "Sunday dinner" more than a chicken dinner. One of my favorite Sunday dinners is fresh oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes covered in pan gravy made from the chicken drippings, buttered peas and jellied cranberry. This is seriously one of the easiest meals to make gluten free.

For the chicken:
Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Put 2 Tbs of oil in the bottom of your broiler pan. Wash and dry a cut up chicken and dredge in: 1/2 cup of gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten free flour) amped up with 1 tsp of salt. 1/4 tsp of pepper, 1/4 tsp of garlic, 1/4 tsp of dried mustard and 1/4 tsp of paprika (if you do not have all those with what you have). Arrange the chicken in your broiler pan, skin side down and bake for 45 minutes. Turn skin side up and continue baking for another 15 minutes. Turns out perfectly every time.
For the pan gravy:
Remove the meat from the pan. Pour off 2 Tbs. of clear fat from the drippings and put into a small saucepan. Add 2 Tbs. of the same gluten free flour and whisk together until smooth over low heat. Stir continuously so you do not burn the gravy. Gradually stir in 1 cup of water or gluten free chicken broth (yes many chicken broths contain gluten). Next turn up the heat a quarter dial (continuously stirring) and heat until it thickens. I find that that using the Bob's Red Mill flour it thickens a bit quicker and you may have to adjust the amount of water or broth a bit.

Now all you need is some decadent dark chocolate cake (will post a recipe later) and some gluten free ice cream if you can handle dairy.
Cheers to Sunday dinner! xo

Gluten in Tea?

I must admit that I love a good cup of tea. Tea, however is a hidden trap for gluten whether it is a binding agent or in barley added in many teas for flavor. Furthermore, I have found that when researching whether or not a tea has gluten there can be contradictory statements and opinions. These are my top 10 gluten free (my super sensitive stomach approves) teas. Take a moment to slow down, breathe and enjoy a cup of aromatic tea.
Make the effort to make a moment. xo

P.S. Celestial is for "Celestial Seasonings" and the other brands are Tazo, Yogi Tea, Bigelow and Oregon Chai

Gluten Free Eggs Florentine with dill sauce

Eggs Florentine with orange and dill sauce on g free english ... on Twitpic

This is an easy yet elegant breakfast to serve and you can either make your own gluten free english muffins (I will post a recipe later) or use store bought ones. I recommend Ezekiel bread brown rice english muffins.

For the dill sauce: Fill the bottom of a double boiler halfway with water and put over medium heat (or a regular sauce pan over low heat) and drop in 1 egg yolk.  Add 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice and whisk until blended. Add 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar and 2 tsp. of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. of turmeric, 1/2 tsp. salt, 3 Tbs. of butter and 2 tsp. of fresh or dried dill. Whisk until well blended and the sauce becomes thick and creamy (about 2-4 min.).

Next you can either poach 2 eggs or fry them leaving the yolks soft. Next you want to quickly blanch some spinach (get you water boiling and drop in some fresh spinach for a few seconds and immediately get under cold water to rinse). Next, toast your english muffins and put a slice of tomato (beefsteak tomatoes are good here) and top with some of the spinach, then the egg and finally drizzle on some of the amazing dill sauce topped with some more dill and fresh cracked pepper.

A breakfast worthy of being at a fancy bed and breakfast and gluten free. Have a blessed day! xo

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why go Gluten Free

Gluten Free: "the new fad diet"; "the latest food allergy craze"; "I know someone who is gluten free"

One of the number one questions I get from people when I mention that I follow a gluten free diet is "should I be gluten free?" or "what are the benefits of following a gluten free diet?"

Here is a rundown of some facts for your consideration:
1. Millions are allergic to wheat as it is one of the top food allergies.
2. Almost 3 million people have Celiac Disease. It's the most common genetic disease of mankind (yet for every person diagnosed, 140 will go undiagnosed).
3. Many kids on the Autistin Spectrum and FASD are showing great improvement on a gluten/ casein free diet.
4. Many other auto-immune diseases are showing improvement after the implementation of a gluten free diet.
5. Numbers are unknown at this time but many people are "gluten sensitive" without having full blown Celiac disease.
6. Some research is demonstrating that menopausal women should be gluten free.
7. Dr. Nicholas Perricone suggests avoiding carbs and high-glycemic-index foods (like bagels, bread, cookies, cake) to improve complexion and reduce wrinkles.
8. There are associations between high-glycemic/ starchy foods and diabetes, ovarian cancer, obesity and heart disease.

I am not here to tell you to go gluten free or not. I cannot begin to express the number of health changes I have undergone since going gluten free myself. I hope only to offer insight, knowledge and maybe for some..answers.

May your day be filled with light, love and blessings. xo