Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thai Watermelon Salad

Watermelon is one of my favorite summer fruits and this recipe combines the sweetness with a hint of spice for a light and healthy lunch. It also packs in some protein with the peanuts and cheese. Paired with some wild berry iced tea it highlights the flavours of summer at their best. I hope you enjoy.

Here is how:
1.  Assemble together:
- 1/4 of a watermelon (skin removed and flesh cubed)
- 2 handfuls of fresh cilantro (chopped)
- 2 handfuls of baby greens (chopped)
- 2 handfuls of fresh mint (chopped)
- 1/2 red bell pepper (deseeded and chopped)
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella (cubed)
- a handful of peanuts

2. For the dressing combine:
- a thumb size piece of fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
- 1 tsp. dried chili pepper flakes
- 2 Tbs. gluten free tamari sauce (I use San J brand)
- 4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- Juice of 2 limes
- Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

Here is to summer flavors at their best! xo

Grilled Swordfish Steaks with Dijon Vinaigrette and Gazpacho Salsa

 According to the California Seafood Council: "Whether grilled, broiled, baked, poached or kabobed, swordfish is a favorite of first-time seafood initiates as well as enlightened conoisseurs. Swordfish's meaty texture and mild flavor are two reasons for its popularity. In addition to good taste, swordfish offers a low-fat, low-calorie choice for health-conscious consumers. And don't forget the heart-healthy benefits of swordfish: rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals."

This recipe combines the fresh flavors of summer heightened with the tanginess of a dijon vinaigrette. It is also really delicious. Swordfish is best paired with a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Sparkling Brut. There are also really delicious sparking pear spritzers for a non-alcoholic choice (Knudsen brand makes a great one). I truly hope that this recipe brings happiness to your table.

Here is how:

1. To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together:
- 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins classic brand is gluten free)
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2. To make the salsa, dice 1/4 of an English cucumber and drain on paper towels. Gently squeeze the seeds from 2 tomatoes (halved crosswise). Chop the tomatoes and dice 1/2 of a yellow bell pepper and 1 medium vidalia onion. In a serving bowl, mix the vegetables with 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh dill and 1/2 of the vinaigrette. Set aside.

3. To make the marinade, in a small bowl, whisk together:
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. Herbes de Provence
- 1/2 tsp. salt (I used Pink Himalayan salt for the mineral properties)
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4. Place the swordfish steaks on a large plate and evenly brush the marinade over both sides. Cover the steaks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Grill the fish over direct medium heat until the steaks are opaque in the center but still juicy, 8-10 minutes, turning once. Serve warm over the salsa with vinaigrette spooned on top.

Here is to meals with refined style! xo

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grilled Raspberry Chicken Sandwiches

I was craving a grilled chicken sandwich tonight and yet wanted something with some "sweet and spicy" flavor. This is the recipe I came across and it turned out delicious. The sauce can also be used on chicken wings or meatballs warmed up in a crock pot as well. I hope you find this recipe helpful.

Here is how:
1. In a small saucepan combine:
- 1 cup sweet Thai chili sauce (Maggi brand is gluten free)
- 3/4 cup raspberry preserves
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs. dijon mustard

2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Set aside 1 cup for serving and remaining sauce for basting.

3. Take 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 oz. each) and cut in half widthwise; place in a large resealable plastic bag. Add 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper. Seal bag and turn to coat.

4. Grill the chicken, uncovered, over direct medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until no longer pink, basting frequently with raspberry sauce. Remove and keep warm.

5. Grill 12 buttered gluten free hamburger buns (I like Udi brand), uncovered, for 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned on one side. Make sure that you use a new stick of butter to prevent cross contamination. Place a piece of chicken, lettuce and reserved raspberry sauce on half of bread slices; top with remaining bread. 

Note: I also topped mine with some grilled vidalia onions. Simply slice an onion and place in a foil packet with 1 Tbs. butter. Grill for 3 minutes over direct medium-high heat and flip the packet over for another 3 minutes.

Here is to healthy grilling with flavor! xo

Yoga to Aid Digestion

I practice yoga on a regular basis and increasingly I find that specific poses to aid with digestion are helpful coping strategies. There are some sequencing of poses that target "IBS" type symptomatology. Here is the information and I hope you find it helpful.

Yoga Poses for Specific IBS Symptoms

Symptom
Yoga Pose (Click on name for picture)
Constipation
Bow, Corpse Pose, Fish Pose, On your Back With Knees to Chest, Seated Forward Bend, Uddiyana, Forward Bend, Plow
Diarrhea
Gas
On Your Back With Knees to Chest, Wind Relieving Posture, Gentle Inversion Poses
Bloating
Bowel Dysmotility
Indigestion
Overall GI Function
Backache
Corpse Pose, Locust, On Your Back with Knees to Chest.



Yoga Posture Sequence:

1-Corpse pose

2-Reclining bound angle pose

3-Hero pose
(helps relieve stomach acidity, flatulence, abdominal cramping)

4-Reclining easy seated pose
(helps relieve indigestion, flatulence, and abdominal cramping)

5-Inverted staff pose (helps relieve diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal cramping, indigestion) (Caution, don't do if you have neck problems, migraine/headache, or current diarrhea)

6-Bound angle pose
(helps improve digestion and blood circulation to abdomen & pelvis)

7-Wide-angle seated pose
(improves circulation to abdomen/pelvis, digestion overall)

8-Downward facing dog
(helps calm nervous system, relieve constipation and indigestion)

9-Headstand
(helps relieve spastic colon, and stabilize digestive tract) (Caution: Only do this if already part of your regular practice. Don't do it if have high blood pressure, period, neck/back problems, or migraines)

10-Shoulderstand
(helps IBS, colitis, chronic constipation, or hemorrhoids) (Caution, avoid this if you have neck/shoulder problems, high blood pressure, period, or migraine/headache)

11-Half-plough pose
(helps soothe nerves and relax mind, and digestive complaints associated with anxiety) (Avoid if you have neck/shoulder problems or period)

12-Bridge pose
(helps with overall digestion, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping)

13-Legs up the wall pose
(helps soothe sympathetic nervous system, relieve anxiety-associated diarrhea, indigestion, and nausea)
Go to www.helpforibs.com to find the full article where you can click on the poses for pictures.

I hope that you find yoga as helpful as I do. Namaste.

Celiac Stomach Pain Relief

Anyone with Celiac disease knows that getting "glutenized" means dealing with severe stomach pain for anywhere from 1-4 weeks. This is one of the symptoms I struggle with the most and at times even eating anything becomes very challenging. I have been doing some research and wanted to compile a list of options that people with Celiac have used for some relief.

1. Acidophilus (a probiotic) can help balance the digestive system more quickly. I have found that the refrigerated probiotics that can be found at a natural health food store are the most effective.

2. Maalox to help with severe cramping. A couple of doses is usually necessary.

3. A really hot heat pack placed on the stomach can reduce inflammation and help ease pain.

4. Anti inflammatory foods can help somewhat as well. For example,  foods with DHA (for example salmon), omega fatty acids, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, vitamin e supplements, nightshades, kelp, tumeric, shitake mushrooms, green tea, papaya, blueberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes.

     Some anti inflammatory diet tips that I found are:
  • For breakfast, try oatmeal served with fresh berries and walnuts.
  • Snack on whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and fresh vegetables instead of cookies and candy.
  • Eat more fish and less fatty red meat.
  • Cook with olive oil and canola oil.
  • Try a tofu stir-fry or scramble.
  • Have a salad with lots of fresh vegetables as your meal.
  • Stay away from deep-fried foods; bake, broil, poach or stir-fry instead.
  • Choose dark green or brightly colored vegetables as side dishes -- they should fill half your dinner plate.
  • Drink water, non-fat milk, 100% fruit and vegetable juices, herbal and green tea instead of sugary sodas and soft drinks.

5. Some people report that Rolaids help as well.

6. Along the lines with a hot water bottle, a hot bath is also soothing and provides some temporary relief.

7. H2 antihistamine before bedtime like Pepcid or Zantac can be taken at bedtime (talk to your physician first) to provide some relief.

8. Pepto-Bismol and Immodium provide some relief for stomach cramping. My advice is to not take these for too many days as it will further disrupt the body of ridding itself from the gluten.

9. Pressure point massage can provide some relief. These are some key points to target the stomach area:

John Hickey, author of "Shiatsu Anma Therapy" , mentions two commonly used acupressure points that help with stomach pain and distention:
The "Three Yin Intersection" is located three thumb widths above the tip of the inner ankle bone, and less than one finger width toward the back of the border of the shin bone.
The "Leg Three Miles" is located three thumb widths below the lower border of the knee cap, and one finger width to the outer edge of the shin bone. There is a small notch next to the shin bone at this point.
There is also a pressure point on the groove between the two large tendons on the inside of the wrist, just above the wrist bones, that may relieve nausea when pressure is applied there.

Read more: Pressure Points for Stomach Pain | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5666319_pressure-points-stomach-pain.html#ixzz1TMKZl0KO
 
10. Finally, deep breathing methods to help relax can soothe the mind and body.
 
I pray that all who suffer from stomach pain find some relief. xo

Monday, July 25, 2011

Grilled Creole Catfish Fingers

I was craving catfish tonight and decided that this recipe sounded good. The Creole sauce was absolutely delicious and it made for a light and delicious meal. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Here is how:
1. In a small bowl, combine:
- 2 Tbs. reduced fat plain yogurt
- 2 Tbs. onion (finely chopped)
- 1 Tbs. reduced fat mayonnaise
- 1 Tbs. dijon mustard
- 1 Tbs. ketchup
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

2. Take 1/2 of the sauce and coat 1 pound of catfish pieces with the sauce. Grill, covered, in a grill basket, coated with nonstick cooking spray over medium-high heat for 5-6 minuted on each side or until the fish flakes easily.

3. Serve with lemon wedges and more sauce.

Here is to seafood with flavor..Creole style! xo

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tropical Protein Smoothie

In order to maximize workouts, we need protein. Lean muscle mass is one of the biggest factors in metabolism and women especially need lean muscle as we age. This smoothie recipe is gluten free and can easily be adapted to casein free by using a different protein powder. This is an excellent recipe for an easy breakfast or midday snack. I hope you find it helpful.

Here is how:
1. Pour 4 oz. of water and 4 oz. of coconut milk into a blender.

2. Add 1 scoop of protein powder (I use Myoplex whey protein as it is gluten free)

3. Blend for about 15 seconds.

4. Add 1 cup of frozen tropical fruit (I used mango, papaya, pineapple and strawberries) and 1 Tbs. of honey (I used New Zealand Manuka honey for the healing properties).

5. Blend until smooth and garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Here is to fitness with flavor! xo

Magnesium Supplements and Celiac Disease

As I do more research about Celiac disease and the vitamin deficiencies that occur with the disease, one of the supplements that keeps coming up in articles is magnesium.

From the Celiac forum: "It has been estimated that as much as 60 percent of the US population is at risk for magnesium deficiency" She lists diabetics, people on antibiotics, diuretics and oral contraceptives and under high stress as sometimes having depleted magnesium. "In addition magnesium may be too low in people with malabsorption syndromes or gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease" or bulimia.

"Magnesium is widely distributed in foods. Those foods with the highest magnesium content include milk and other dairy products, meat, seafood, nuts, blackstrap molasses, soybeans, and seeds. Whole grains such as oatmeal, cornmeal and rice are also good sources." She observes however that processing takes a lot of the magnesium out of foods.
I would like to note that it is important to make sure that your cornmeal and oatmeal are both designated as gluten free. Both grains are commonly cross contaminated in food processing.ABOUT MAGNESIUM

Magnesium deficiency triggers or causes the following 22 conditions; the introduction of magnesium, either by a high-magnesium diet, with green drinks, or magnesium supplements, can help alleviate these conditions:
Anxiety and panic attacks
Asthma
Blood clots
Bowel disease
Cystitis
Depression
Detoxification
Diabetes, Syndrome X,
and Metabolic Syndrome
Fatigue
Heart disease
Hypertension
Hypoglycemia
Insomnia
Kidney Disease
Liver Disease
Migraine
Musculoskeletal conditions
Nerve problems
Obstetrics and Gynecology - premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea (cramping pain during menses), infertility, premature contractions, preeclampsia, and eclampsia in pregnancy, lessens the risk of cerebral palsy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Osteoporosis
Raynaud's Syndrome
Tooth decay
Science and medicine have both turned their backs on magnesium. Science opts out because the scientific methodology is defined by being able to test one thing at a time ending up with one result. it is responsible for the correct metabolic function of over 350 enzymes in the body. The creation of ATP (adenosine triphospate) the energy molecules of the body, the action of the heart muscle, the proper formation of bones and teeth, relaxation of blood vessels, and the promotion of proper bowel function are all under the guidance of magnesium.

Why Don't We Hear More About Magnesium?

Medicine has turned its back on magnesium because most of the funding for medical research now comes from drug companies. Magnesium is not a patented drug and therefore will not be studied by drug companies, except to try to disprove its action.

While researching my book, The Magnesium Miracle, I found that doctors have been prescribing magnesium for heart disease since the 1930s. A review of seven major clinical studies showed that IV magnesium reduced the odds of death by more than half in patients suffering acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). One study, LIMIT-2, developed a protocol for giving magnesium as soon as possible after onset of the heart attack and before any other drugs. If those criteria were followed, heart muscle damage was greatly reduced, and neither hypertension nor arrhythmia developed.
Magnesium and the Heart

During and after a heart attack, people can suffer the following:
Extension of the area of heart damage as calcium floods into the muscle
Blood clotting, which blocks blood vessels in the heart muscle
Decreased blood flow as blood vessels go into spasm
Arrhythmia as the areas where muscle contraction in the heart originate are damaged

Magnesium is able to:

Dilate blood vessels
Prevent spasm in the heart muscle and blood vessel walls
Counteract the action of calcium, which increases spasm
Help dissolve blood clots
Dramatically lessen the site of injury and prevent arrhythmia
Act as an antioxidant against the free radicals forming at the site of injury 1-4
One of the main reasons that heart drug digoxin becomes toxic is because there is not enough magnesium in the body. 5

A drug trial called ISIS sought to disprove the effects of magnesium. In the ISIS trial the protocol was not followed in that magnesium was not the first drug given, and often it was not given for many hours or days after a heart attack was well established, causing widespread damage and blood clotting. Yet, drug reps can dutifully tell their doctor clients that ISIS proved that magnesium is worthless for heart disease! 6 Since the LIMIT-2 and ISIS trials, another smaller trial with only 200 people who were given IV magnesium at the onset of a heart attack, experienced a 74 percent lower death rate. 7

In spite of the fact that heart drugs, mainly diuretics, have the bad habit of depleting magnesium--along with potassium and even though magnesium is absolutely required for stabilizing heart muscle activity--magnesium is not utilized properly by conventional medicine.
Magnesium's Role in a Healthy Body

A small group of international magnesium researchers, however, have continued, against all odds, to prove the importance of magnesium not only as a nutrient for thousands of body processes but also as a medicine to treat magnesium-depleted health conditions. Drs. Bella and Burton Altura are two hard-working magnesium heroes! They have performed laboratory research and clinical research to the tune of about 1,000 studies over the past 40 years. The Alturas personally confirmed that the 22 magnesium-related conditions, listed at the beginning of this article, have a solid basis in science.

Dr. Burton Altura said that during his 40 years of research he was appalled at the lack of attention given to this life-saving nutrient. He has all but given up on conventional medicine recognizing the need for magnesium in its protocols for dozens of diseases and welcomed books such as mine to help spread the word. Without million-dollar marketing budgets that drug companies have for their latest drugs, nutrient research plods along--proving over and over again their worth but never being able to get that information out to the public.


Up to 80 Percent of Americans are Magnesium-Deficient

Another reason that Dr. Altura felt magnesium was not given its due is because there has been no lab test that will give an accurate reading of the magnesium status in the tissues. Only one percent of magnesium of the body is distributed in the blood, making a simple sample of magnesium in the blood highly inaccurate. That's why most doctors who rely on blood tests for magnesium and not magnesium deficiency signs and symptoms and realization that up to 80 percent of the population is deficient, will miss an important diagnosis.

There's even more to the actual way magnesium works. It exists in the body either as active magnesium ions or as inactive magnesium complexes bound to proteins or other substances. A magnesium ion is a group of atoms that is missing an electron, which makes it excitable as it searches to attach to something that will replace its missing electron.

Magnesium ions constitute the most physiologically active fraction of magnesium in the body; they are free to join in biochemical body processes and are not attached to other substances. 8 Most clinical laboratories only assess total "serum" magnesium, which mixes up both active and inactive types.

The Alturas took it upon themselves to develop and research a method that would test specifically for magnesium ions. It came about in 1987 and is called the Blood Ionized Magnesium Test. Its accuracy has been confirmed countless times with sensitive digital imaging microscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy and the magnesium fluorescent probe. With this test it is now possible to directly measure the levels of magnesium ions in whole blood, plasma and serum using ion-selective electrodes. 8 The Alturas have used the ionized magnesium test in hundreds of research trials on dozens of different conditions proving, for example, that the 22 conditions listed above are related to magnesium deficiency. 9-15

Unfortunately, I'm not able to tell you that the ionized magnesium test is readily available. The Alturas do ionized magnesium tests at their laboratory at SUNY in New York and the testing equipment is available through an outside manufacturer to interested labs. (I've included the Altura contact information, below.)
How to Get Enough Magnesium

How do I get enough magnesium is a question that I'm frequently asked. If there is enough magnesium in the soil where green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds are grown then we have a chance to obtain magnesium from our diet. Organic foods may have more magnesium, but only if farmers replenish their soil with magnesium-rich fertilizers. Most fertilizer used on factory farms relies heavily on nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to make plants grow and appear healthy.

However, if magnesium and other minerals and micronutrients are not introduced the plants may look good but are not packed with the nutrition we need. Growers should be required to use top-quality fertilizers and should test their crops for the long list of nutrients we need to stay healthy.

In general, to get as much magnesium as possible in the diet, eat plenty of organic leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds every day. Adding green drinks to your menu will help you achieve a higher magnesium status. However, if you are suffering from the following symptoms you may need supplemental magnesium:
muscle twitches
tics
spasms
"Charlie horse" (the muscle spasm that occurs when you stretch your legs)
stiff and aching muscles
headaches
cluster headaches
migraines
diabetes
PMS
depression
chronic fatigue syndrome
stress
anxiety
nervousness
high-strung
hyperactivity
hypertension
high blood pressure
constipation
heart attack
stroke
angina
irregular heartbeat
weakness
kidney stones
attention deficit disorder
confusion
muscle weakness
seizures
exhaustion from exercise
back pain
hypoglycemia
osteoporosis
aging
aggressive behavior
hiccups
insomnia or restless sleep
bones and joints that need continued chiropractic treatment

The Calcium-to-Magnesium Ratio

Supplementing with magnesium must also take into account the balance between calcium and magnesium. Finland, which, from 1973 to 1999 had the highest recorded incidence of heart attack in middle-aged men in the world, also has a high calcium-to-magnesium ratio in the diet at 4 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium. 16-17 Americans in general have a high calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet and consequently in their bodies; the U.S. ratio is 3.5-to-1. Our dietary emphasis on a high calcium intake without sufficient magnesium and because of the excessive emphasis on women taking high doses of calcium for osteoporosis, we are creating more imbalance between the two minerals.

Some researchers predict that the American ratio of calcium to magnesium is actually approaching 6-to-1, yet, the recommended dietary ratio of calcium to magnesium in the United States is 2-to-1. Current research on the paleolithic or caveman diet shows that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet that our bodies evolved to eat is 1-to-1. 18 In order to offset the deficiency magnesium induced by excess calcium and to treat the above 22 conditions, people may find it necessary to ingest one part magnesium to one part calcium in supplement form for a period of months to a year. Stabilization on a healthy diet including green drinks may be possible after that time.

The most commons sources of magnesium are oxide, citrate, glycinate, and malate. People use oxide and citrate if they suffer from constipation to take advantage of magnesium's laxative effect. Glycinate seems to cause little diarrhea and is the best choice for people who already have loose stools. Magnesium malate has been promoted for people with fibromyalgia to help break up lactic acid that seems to be part of the fibromyalgia picture.
So thankful for all of the help that the Celiac forum gives on http://www.celiac.com/
I will continue to research and collaborate with professionals that I know about specifics of magnesium and post more information in another blog post.

One more thing I want to note is that Magnesium also rebalances the brain to help cope with Celiac disease depression reactions.

May everyone have a blessed day! xo

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summertime Gazpacho

Gazpacho, originating from the southern Spanish region of Andalusia is a chilled tomato-vegetable based soup packed with nutrients. On a hot summer day, it makes for a perfect meal. I paired the soup with my gluten free "Red Lobster" biscuits and it was just the right amount of food to satisfy. This recipe is also vegetarian/ vegan and casein free. I hope this recipe brings pleasure to your table.

Here is how.
1. Mix together in a medium bowl:
- 2 cups tomato (seeded and diced)
- 2 cups red bell peppers (diced)
- 2 cups red onions (diced)
- 1/2 cup celery (diced)
- 2 cups English cucumber (diced)

2. Divide the mixture in half and separate in two bowls.

3. Add 1 clove garlic (minced) to one of the bowls and empty into blender. Add 1/4 cup tarragon (or red wine) vinegar to the blender and puree until smooth.

4. Add 2 cups of organic vegetable juice,  a pinch of cayenne and  1 tsp. cumin to the blender. Blend. 

5. Add the puree to the bowl of diced vegetables.

6. Garnish with diced avocado and tarragon.

Here is to healthy summer dishes with style and flavor! xo

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fresh Tuna Tacos

I am always trying new variations of one of my favorite meals...seafood tacos. This recipe turned out delicious, light, and fresh...perfect on a hot summer day. I hope this recipe brings brightness and light to your meal.

Here is how.
1. In a small bowl combine:
- 3/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. chipotle pepper

2. Rub the spice mixture on both sides of a 1 pound Ahi tuna fillet (sashimi grade).

3. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray and grill the tuna for 2 minutes on each side until medium rare (or your desired degree of doneness). Slice the tuna steaks into strips.

4. Warm 8 corn tortillas according to the package directions. Divide the tuna among the tortillas.

5. Top each tortilla with:
- Avocado (chopped)
- Fresh salsa
- Fresh cilantro (chopped)
- Cheddar cheese (shredded)
- Light sour cream (make sure it is gluten free)
- Dried chili pepper flakes
- Green onions (finely chopped)

Here is to fresh summer flavors! xo

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grilled Salmon Salad Sandwich

This was another sultry summer day and I wanted something light for dinner. My "quick and easy" answer. The watercress and cucumber are a refined combination and the yogurt sauce keeps it light. Nayonaise can be substituted and the sour cream omitted to keep the recipe casein free. I hope this recipe is helpful for you.
 
Here is how:
1. Lightly coat a grill pan with cooking spray and heat  to medium-high. Grill a 1 pound salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) until opaque in the center, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a place to cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine:
- 1 1/2 cups watercress leaves (chopped)
- 1/2 medium cucumber (peeled and chopped)
- 2 Tbs. low-fat sour cream
- 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. fresh dill (chopped)
- 1/4 cup fat free plain yogurt

3. Using a fork, flake the cooled salmon and toss well with the salad dressing in the bowl.

4. Divide the salmon salad on gluten free buns (I like Udi and Canyon Bakehouse) with more sliced cucumber and romaine lettuce.

Here is to light and easy summer suppers! xo

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot Fudge Sauce

Today is one of those super hot and muggy summer days..clearly, I needed chocolate and lots of it. Hence, I decided Moose Tracks ice cream with homemade hot fudge sauce was the obvious answer. I hope this recipe makes your day great.

Here is how:
1. In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of butter.

2. Gradually mix in the 4 cups of powdered sugar and 2 2/3 cups of evaporated milk. Increase heat to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and then stir in 1 tsp. of gluten free vanilla and 1/8 tsp. salt. Serve warm. Store in refrigerator.

Here is to summer heat! xo

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Raspberry Barbecue Chicken Wings

This is a wing recipe that I came across that combines the flavors of onion, garlic, chili peppers and raspberry for a sweet and spicy delicious combination. This recipe is both gluten and casein free and works really well for party or "football" food as well. I hope that this recipe brings some fun to your day.

Here is how:
1. In a small bowl combine:
- 2/3 cup gluten free barbecue sauce (Kraft Original is gluten free)
- 2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 3 Tbs. onion (minced)
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 clove garlic (minced)

2. Cover and refrigerate the sauce for 2 hours.

3. Remove the wing tips from 3 pounds of chicken wings (about 15 wings). Place the wings in a 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Top with 1 small onion (minced) and 1 more clove of garlic (minced).

4. Pour 1 cup of water over the wings, cover, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

5. Transfer the wings to a greased broiler pan and brush the wings with the sauce. Broil 4-6 inches from the heat for 20-25 minutes, turning and basting every 5 minutes until the wings are well coated. Serve with additional sauce to dip with.

Here is to dishes that bring fun to everyday life! xo

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros is one of my favorite breakfast dishes and fortunately is also naturally gluten free. This recipe is a healthy version of the classic and could me made for any time of the day. By omitting the cheese and sour cream this dish also becomes casein free. I hope that you find this recipe helpful.

Here is how:
1. In a non-stick skillet combine:
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can chopped tomatoes (undrained)
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans (drained)
- 1 jalapeno pepper (minced)
- 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro (chopped)
- 2 tsp. chili powder (make sure it is a blend with no gluten containing binders)
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Warm 2 corn tortillas according to the package directions.

4. Break 2 eggs into 2 custard cups and slip the eggs from the custard cups into the tomato mixture. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes or until the eggs are done. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon.

5. Place the tortillas on individual plates; top with half of the tomato mixture and 1 egg. Sprinkle with low fat cheddar cheese, some chopped avocado and a dallop of light sour cream.

Here is to breakfast dishes with style and flavor! xo

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Grilled Ahi Tuna Provence Style Sandwiches

Some of my favorite memories were of the time I spent in the Provence Region of France. The air literally smells of lavender and the rolling hills are picturesque. The region is know for abundance of amazing seafood and this recipe gives a taste of the beauty. This dish goes great with a glass of French Rosé wine  I hope you find this recipe delicious.

Here is how:
1. To make the dressing, in a large bowl, whisk:
- 1/2 cup of chopped kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs. minced shallots
- 1/2 tsp. stone ground mustard
- 2 tsp. capers
- 1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2. Take 1 pound of fresh (sashimi grade) Ahi tuna and lightly coat both sides with some more of the olive oil. Season the fish with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill over direct high heat until just turning opaque throughout (8-10 minutes) turning once. While the tuna is still warm, slice it into strips.

3. Cut some gluten free buns in half (I like Udi brand) and place the sliced tuna on top.

4. Then top the sandwich with:
- The sliced tuna
- Thinly sliced tomatoes
- Sliced hard-cooked eggs
- Romaine lettuce
- The olive dressing


"A votre sante!"( To your health ) xo

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Caserecce with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and Mushrooms

I love pasta but I need it to not taste "gluten free". This dish turned out so delicious that you would never know it is not regular pasta. The onions caramelize with the bacon and build a base of smokiness that is heightened by the freshness of the basil and the saltiness of the cheese. Paired with a glass of Chianti and a side salad of baby greens, with a light vinaigrette, it is a meal to remember. I hope this recipe brings love and warmth to your home.

Here is how:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 pound of bacon (cut into strips) (Hormel black label is gluten free) and 1 sweet onion (sliced) and cook for about 10 minutes to render the bacon fat and caramelize the onions. Add 1 pound of wild mushrooms (sliced), 2 garlic cloves (minced) and 2 Tbs. of fresh rosemary leaves. Cook for 12 more minutes until the mushrooms are caramelized as well. Season with salt ad freshly ground black pepper and move the vegetables into a serving bowl. Keep warm.

3. Add 12 oz. of gluten free Caserecce pasta (I used Jovial organic brand) and cook for 8-9 minutes until al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the vegetables.

4. Add 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 1/4 cup of grated mozzarella to the bowl. Also, add a large handful of chopped fresh basil and toss gently. Serve with more cheese.

Here is to memorable meals at home! xo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grilled Shrimp Sandwich with Basil Mayonnaise

This was a busy night so I needed something quick and easy with some flavor. This meal took less than 15 minutes and was really good.

Here is how:
1. Grill a 1/2 pound of shrimp over direct medium heat until opaque (about 5 minutes). Grill 4 slices of gluten free bread (I like Canyon Ranch and Udi) over indirect heat until toasted (about a minute on each side). Take off the grill and set aside.

2. Mix together:
- 1/2 cup of light mayonnaise (or a soy based mayo if casein free)
- Small handful of finely chopped fresh basil
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3. Spread some of the basil mayo on each slice of bread and toss the shrimp with the rest of it (making sure the shrimp are well coated).

4. Next top the bread with fresh basil leaves (whole) and some of the shrimp.

Here is to easy weeknight meals with panache! xo

White Grape Virgin Sangria

I was really sweaty after a Zumba class and wanted something refreshing...without alcohol. This is the idea I came up with and it turned out fantastic. You can vary the fruit to what you have and your preferences. I hope you enjoy.

Here is how:

1. In a large pitcher combine:
- 2 cups of white grape juice
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 peach sliced
- 1 lime sliced
- 1 mango cubed
- 1 cup chopped watermelon
- 1 cup seltzer water
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- Ice cubes

2. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and pour into glasses with some of the fresh fruit in each glass.

Here is to summer beverages...Salut! xo

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Mango- Peach- Passion Fruit BBQ Sauce

Grilled chicken is amazing vs. ordinary when topped with a homemade BBQ sauce. This sauce combines fruit flavors with the smokiness of bacon and is so good you will literally be licking it off your fingers. I hope you enjoy.

Here is how:
1. To make the sauce, wrap a strip of bacon around a bunch of fresh thyme and tie with kitchen twine so you have a secure bundle.

2. Heat 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon/ thyme bundle and cook slowly for 3-4 minutes to extract the bacon fat. Add 1/2 an onion (finely diced) and 2 minced garlic cloves and cook slowly for 5 more minutes.

3. Next add:
- 2 cups of ketchup
- 1 cup peach preserves
- 1/2 cup diced fresh mango
- 1/2 cup diced fresh passion fruit
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbs. honey
- 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs. dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste

4. Give the sauce a stir and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to blend the flavors.

5. Grill a family pack of chicken legs over indirect medium heat until fully cooked (about 40 minutes). During the last 10 minutes of grilling time, move the chicken over direct medium heat until well browned all over, turning once.

6. Brush the chicken with the BBQ sauce and continue grilling until the sauce is cooked onto the chicken (about 5 minutes). Serve with extra sauce.

Here is to the ordinary done on a different level! xo

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coconut Shrimp with Brown Rice, Apricots and Lime

I love Thai food and fortunately a lot of it is gluten free. This is an adaptation of a Tyler Florence recipe that is delicious for a light summer supper. It is not very spicy but rather has just a hint of heat tempered by the sweetness of the coconut milk. I hope this recipe makes your dinner memorable.

Here is how:
1. Heat 2 Tbs. of wok oil in a large pot over medium heat and add:
- 1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbs. minced lemongrass
- 4 shallots chopped

2. Cook until the shallots are softened (3-4 minutes) and add:
- 1 Tbs. tomato paste
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
- 1 Tbs. minced kaffir lime leaves or 1 lime halved

3. Stir and bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, until the sauce is reduced about 1/3 and thickened.

4. While that is cooking, combine 1 cup of brown basmati rice, 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup dried apricots (halved), 3 chopped scallions and a handful of chopped baby lettuce.

5. To finish, add 1 pound of medium shrimp (shelled and deveined) to the pot with the sauce and simmer gently to cook through (3-4 minutes). Add 1 cup of chopped mushrooms and stir.

6. Divide the rice and place in the bottom of bowls. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the rice and garnish each bowl with fresh basil leaves, peanuts, and a wedge of lemon.

Here is to Thai food done better at home! xo

Saturday, July 9, 2011

California Seafood Salad

I love salads in the summer that incorporate seasonal flavors and produce. This salad is filling yet healthy and packs in a lot of nutrition as well. This recipe is also casein free. I hope that you find it helpful.

Here is how:
1. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk:
- 1/4 cup tomato juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. worcestershire sauce (Lea Perrins classic is gluten free)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper.

2.  Heat up 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/2 pound of mixed seafood (I used a calamari, scallop and shrimp blend). Saute until the seafood is opaque and cooked through (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Brush some extra virgin olive oil on 2 pieces of gluten free bread and rub some garlic cloves over the bread to give it some flavor. Broil the bread until is is toasted and cut into "crouton size" cubes.

4. Arrange on a plate:
- Chopped romaine or red leaf lettuce
- The seafood
- Halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 medium avocado diced
- Mandarin orange slices

5. Pour the dressing over the salad and top with the croutons.

Here is to salads with nutrition and flavor! xo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Santa Fe Chicken Hero

We all need easy and delicious meals to get us through busy weeknights. This grilled chicken sandwich turned out amazing and was a kid "favorite". The spice can be adjusted as well to adapt to individual preferences and by omitting the cheese, butter and mayonnaise it becomes casein free as well. I served the heroes with some sweet potato fries. I hope you find this recipe helpful.

Here is how:
1. Pound 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts slightly to flatten them evenly. Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with vegetable oil.

2. Combine:
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili powder (make sure it is a blend with no "binders" that contain gluten)

3. Sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of the chicken breasts.

4. Grill the chicken over direct medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes. Turn and grill for 4-6 minutes longer or until the chicken is tender and no longer pink.

5. Top with some Pepperjack or Monterey Jack cheese. Brush 6 gluten free hamburger buns (Udi and Canyon Ranch are fabulous) with butter and grill them until toasted.

6. Spread mayonnaise on the buns and top them with:
- The chicken and cheese
- Salsa
- Caramelized onions

Here is to family meals to remember! xo

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spaghetti with Summer Squash and Tomatoes

I was hungry for a light dinner tonight and this Tyler Florence recipe, adapted gluten free, hit the spot tonight. This recipe is also vegetarian and can be easily converted to casein free by omitting or replacing the parmesan cheese. I hope this recipe warms your hearts and homes.

Here is how:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl combine:
- 1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 summer squash, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 of a sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 1 Tbs. dried oregano
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3. Place the vegetable mixture onto a baking sheet and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the squash is tender. Place the vegetables into a large pasta bowl and keep warm.

4. Add 1 pound of gluten free spaghetti (I used Mrs. Leeper's corn spaghetti) and stir to separate the noodles. Cook according to the package directions until firm yet tender (al dente).

5. Drain the noodles and add them to the vegetables. Add a handful of chopped baby greens, 3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese and some freshly ground black pepper. Taste for salt and serve with some more parmesan cheese.

Here is to summer pasta with style! xo

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Caribbean Baked Chicken with Mango

"Baked chicken breasts"...healthy, but I admit not the food item I enjoy the most. The marinade in this recipe, however, is so delicious. Furthermore, the chicken retains it's moisture and with the mango and cilantro is a meal you will want to repeat. I truly hope you find this recipe helpful.

Here is how:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and coat a 13" x 9" baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a food processor, combine:
- 2 jalapeno chile peppers, halved and seeded
- 1/2 onion, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 slice peeled fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt

3. Process until finely chopped and spread the mixture on both sides of 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

4. Place the chicken breasts in the prepared baking pan.

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer (inserted in the thickest part of the breast) reads 170 degrees and the juices run clear.

6. Place the chicken on top of some brown rice. Garnish with fresh mango and cilantro.

Here is to tropical flavor! xo

Monday, July 4, 2011

Taco Salad

I love a good taco salad but want to keep it on the healthier side. This recipe is balanced and incorporates tons of nutrition. I hope you enjoy.

Here is how:
1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat. Saute 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic until the onion is translucent (6-8 minutes). Add 1/2 pound of lean ground beef, breaking it apart with a spatula. Saute until the beef is cooked through. Add 1/2 packet of gluten free taco seasoning (I used Trader Joes) and mix in with the beef mixture. Take off the heat and set aside.

2. To assemble the salad, on a plate arrange in the amounts you desire:
- chopped lettuce
- chopped carrots
- chopped bell pepper (I used yellow for color)
- chopped tomato
- reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
- the beef mixture
- kidney beans
- chopped avocado
- crushed gluten free corn tortilla chips
- a dallop of sour cream
- chopped fresh cilantro
- a pinch of chipotle pepper (optional)
- dallops of salsa

Here is to summer salads with style! xo

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Crock Pot Bavarian Pork Loin Roast

Crock pot meals make the week run so much smoother when life gets hectic. They are also a great option for the summer when it gets really hot outside. This pork roast turned out so delicious and was so quick and easy to prepare. This recipe is also casein free. I hope you find it helpful.

Here is how:
1. Cut 1 boneless pork loin roast (3-4 pounds) in half and place it in a 5-qt. slow cooker.

2. In a small bowl, combine:
- 1 14 oz. can Bavarian sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

3. Spoon the mixture over the roast. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

4. Add 2 cups of baby carrots and 3 large tart apples (sliced) to the slow cooker. Cover and cook 2 hours longer or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

5. Remove the roast; let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with the sauerkraut mixture.

Here is to healthy, easy and delicious family meals! xo

Friday, July 1, 2011

Seafood Risotto with Shrimp, Scallops, and Calamari

Risotto is one of my "go to" comfort foods, and with seafood ..of course. Thank God rice is gluten free. This recipe does take a bit more time but the result is a creamy texture that will make your dinner memorable. Paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (Monkey Bay from New Zealand is a good one) and a side salad of baby greens topped with a light vinaigrette..perfect.

Here is how:
1. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of gluten free vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer; add 1 cup of white wine.

2. In a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil. Saute 2 onions (finely chopped) and 4 cloves of minced garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/3 cups Arborio rice; cook, stirring to coat.

3. Add 1 cup of the liquid and 2 tsp. dried Herbes de Provence; cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the remaining liquid; cook, stirring until the liquid is absorbed.

4. Add 3/4 pound calamari (cleaned) and another 1/2 cup of the liquid; cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed.

5. Add:
- 1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

6. Add another 1/2 cup of the liquid; cook, stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup of the remaining liquid; cook, stirring, until it is absorbed.

7. Bring the remaining 1 cup of liquid to a boil. Add the liquid to the rice mixture and stir in 1/2 pound of scallops and 1/2 pound of medium cooked shrimp. Cook, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the seafood is cooked and heated through (5-7 minutes).

8. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of grated Romano cheese and 2 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian parsley. Serve at once.

Here is to elegance and romance at home! xo