Showing posts with label Gluten-free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gluten-free. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Annnnnd they're finally edible!

One of the most challenging things I have found about gluten free baking not using a mix, is getting the flour ratios right. I made a series of banana breads over the past month using different ratios and they were only edible by me (meaning, there's no way I would have someone else eat them because too much explanation on the texture would be necessary. Blah.)

Awhile back, my friend Lauren shared her Paleo Berry Muffin recipe with me (thanks Lauren!). While I do not eat a Paleo diet, my no-gluten, no-dairy, low sugar diet that works best for me happens to be very close to Paleo and I find myself using several Paleo-friendly recipes. I tweaked her recipe some to add some additional fiber and Omega-3 and used what I had on hand (agave instead of honey), but these can very easily be made Paleo (leave out the flaxseed and chia seeds - apparently these aren't approved Paleo based on what google revealed :) ).

And the best part is, I had all of this stuff in my pantry already (with the exception of the tapioca flour) so if you already eat a whole food diet and bake gluten free, I bet you will have most, if not all, of it as well. This is a great ratio of flours, the texture is spot on - but be warned, if your berries are extra juicy, the muffins may have some uber moist spots. I've heard the use of flaxseed can trap moisture so one tweak could be to leave that out.

These are amazingly tasty! I may have eaten 3 4 of them while typing this blog post. So good! I put a source list at the bottom in case you are new to gluten free baking and aren't sure where to get these things (most are available at your local grocery store now!).

Berry Muffins (Lauren's recipe with some Melissa tweaks)

Wet Ingredients

1/4c melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1/4c blue agave (I use the light gold color, but you can use whichever you prefer)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4c berries (I used some frozen ones I picked last month)

Dry ingredients

1 1/4c almond meal/almond
6 T tapioca flour
1/4c coconut flour
1 T ground flaxseed
1T chia seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

Melt coconut oil in big measuring cup. Add agave, vanilla, and eggs. Mix

In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil/egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir. If it's too dry (mine wasn't) you can add almond milk by the tablespoon until the mixture is moist.

Stir in your berries.

I used a mini muffin tin sprayed with coconut oil. I rolled ~1" balls and plopped then in the muffin spots.

Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.


Source list (these are the places I know of, I am sure there are more)

I use Bob's Red Meal Almond Meal, Coconut Flour, and Tapioca flour. These can be bought at Walmart, HEB, or Kroger. Central Market and Whole Foods carry them too. I haven't done a price comparison. My blue agave is the organic Kroger brand. The ground flaxseed can be found at HEB, Kroger, and Whole Foods. The chia seeds I buy in bulk at Whole Foods (best deal). The spray coconut oil I've bought at HEB, Kroger, and Whole Foods (I use Spectrum brand). The coconut oil I have is from Whole Foods, EfaGold brand. I don't cook often with it so it's lasted me a long time. Walmart and Kroger carry a LouAna brand non- organic coconut oil - works just as good as the other, but just isn't as high quality - personally I think that's just fine for baking (I got the higher end stuff to take as a supplement).

Monday, May 12, 2014

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

I have yet to find a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie that tastes like a gluten-filled chocolate chip cookie (and believe me, I've tried!). However, I did stumble upon this recipe and these are pretty tasty cookies! They aren't super sweet, so if that's what you are in the mood for, increase the sugar (better yet, maybe do half-white and half brown sugar, that might get you a more gluten-filled cc cookie taste.)

To make these dairy-free, just use coconut oil instead of butter and dairy-free chocolate chips. Also, if you don't like coconut, don't try these - there is definitely a subtle coconut-y flavor to them.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2c butter
2 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
~1 cup chocolate chips (I used all-nautral mini ones)

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl, set aside
3. Melt butter. Mix with sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Add to flour mixture.
4. Mix well
5. Stir in chocolate chips
6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
7. Roll medium size balls of dough (~1 inch in diameter) and place on the cookie sheet
8. Bake 13-15 minutes (tops should be just starting to brown. This made about 28 cookies.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Drawing from my Eastern European roots...

I made a soup earlier this week that called for cabbage...but only a little bit. I was staring at this head of cabbage sitting in my fridge and wondering what I could make from it before it went bad. I have purple cabbage that I also need to use this week, and I make that with balsamic vinegar, so I wanted something that would have a different flavor. I remembered the amazing cabbage my friend Jana and I had when we took our Eastern European trip ::gulp:: almost 7 years ago. I did some googling and landed on a recipe for haluska (in Hungarian) or haluski (in Czech). It's a cabbage and dumpling dish. Since I've got Hungarian blood in my veins and this is a staple recipe, I figured I should probably try my hand at it :)

It was super easy and quick. And really really tasty. I don't know if mine is traditional haluska, because I didn't have any potatoes, so my dumplings were just flour dumplings, not potato and flour, but ah well, I guess I Melissaized it a bit then ;-).

Cabbage and Dumplings (Melissa's version of haluska)

~1 head cabbage (I used Napa cabbage)
1 small-med onion
3 T butter
1c flour (I used Hodgson Mill gluten free all purpose baking flour and 1/8 tsp xantham gum)
~1/2c water
~2 cups water or chicken broth* (the broth gives the dumplings a better flavor)

Slice the head of cabbage finely (some even put it in a food processor). Dice the onion. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the onions. Sauté for a minute or so and then add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to low. Boil the water/chicken broth. In a small bowl, mix the flour and 1/2c water. You may need to add water until it becomes a consistency that you can roll into small balls. I also added some garlic salt to add a bit more flavor. Once the water/broth is boiling, drop the rolled balls of dough (I kept mine to about the diameter of a nickel) into the water/broth and let them boil for about 5 minutes. Stir the cabbage. After 5 minutes, drain the dumplings and add them to the cabbage. Stir to combine and then serve. A simple, yummy dish that takes me back to my travels through the Czech Republic and Hungary.

*I didn't have chicken broth handy, so I used a spice I bought in Turkey that's used for flavoring rice - ends up having just about the same taste as chicken broth. It has herbs in it, so that's why the dumplings have specks in the picture


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Potato and Sausage Soup (gluten and dairy free version included!)

Here's a potato soup recipe I tweaked to remove processed food items and include a gluten and dairy free version. It is super yummy, perfect for a cold winter day!

Potato and Sausage Soup

6 cups potatoes (cubed - can be peeled or unpeeled)
1/2c celery (or more if you like a lot of celery) (diced)
1/2 an onion - diced
~1lb italian sausage (can substitute ham or bacon as well)
32 oz chicken broth (I use free range organic)
salt and pepper to taste

White Sauce (regular)
5T butter
5T all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

White sauce (gluten and dairy free)
1 1/2 T olive oil
5T gluten free baking flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk

In a large pot brown the sausage. Add onions and sauté until soft. Add the potatoes, celery, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are soft. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate sauce pan, melt butter (heat oil). Add flour and stir to combine until there are no lumps (for the gf version, the oil will not adsorb all the oil, so you will have lumps and dry flour remaining, no worries). Add the milk, continuously stirring, keep those lumps away! Mixture will thicken (takes about 4ish minutes- keep stirring!).

Add white sauce to the potato mixture and stir to combine.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.

If you refrigerate the soup and reheat, I found that the soup was VERY thick so I added water while reheating until I got a soupy consistency.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gluten-free, almost dairy-free, Pumpkin Muffins

So, I've updated my Pumpkin Bread/Muffin recipe to make gluten-free and almost dairy-free (still has butter in it, you could use shortening instead and make it completely dairy-free) muffins

Pumpkin Muffins - gluten-free and almost dairy-free
Sift together:
1 3/4 C. gluten-free multi-purpose flour (I used King Arthur Flour)

1/4 tsp xantham gum for every 1c gf flour used
1/4tsp double acting baking powder (can substitute gf baking powder)
1 tsp baking soda (can substitute gf baking soda)
1 tsp salt
rounded 1/2 tsp cinnamon
rounded 1/4 tsp nutmeg
rounded 1/4tsp ginger

Preheat over to 350F.

In a bowl, beat 2/3 c brown sugar, 2/3c white sugar, 1/3c butter, and 2 eggs.
Add and beat in 1 c canned pumpkin

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl alternately with 1/3 c almond milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla. Beat only enough to make sure flour mixture/milk is mixed in- don't over beat.

Place batter in aluminum muffin cups (muffins will stick if you use just paper cups) and bake ~28 minutes - time varies depending on how full the cups are so keep an eye on them. Cool on wire rack. Eat fresh or freeze (see update below on freezing).

**Update** These also froze and thawed really well. I had them in the freezer for about 3 weeks and they still tasted great! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cupcake fail

They may look like yummy chocolate cupcakes....

But they weren't. Oh disappointed tastebuds. The texture was really off and they were super dry. They definitely tasted gluten free. Not sure if I am up for tweaking the recipe with some applesauce to try and  add more moisture because they were just that OFF (seriously, I made myself eat a few and then threw the rest away) that I am not sure if it's redeemable. Oh well...good thing there are other recipes out there...or I'll just use the ever handy and tasty Pamela's Products Chocolate cake mix :).

Ingredients...just in case you were wondering...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Eat-the-entire-pan enchiladas

Another win for Pinterest:

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas and I really wanted to eat the entire pan. Really. These are THAT good.

I think the secret is that you roast the veggies before baking the enchiladas. Great flavor with just cumin, salt, and pepper for seasoning

A food photographer I will never be - but you get the point between the plate and the pan - layers of veggie goodness.


Melissa's tweaks:
I only used 1T of grapeseed oil to toss the veggies in before roasting. The recipe calls for 3T, which honestly is overkill - 1T does the job just fine and cuts out 24o extra calories for the dish overall. Instead of baby spinach, I had some spring mix greens that were nearing their wilting date, so I just tossed those in. I only used 1 red bell pepper because I try to stay away from them (they are an "inflammatory vegetable"). I significantly reduced the amount of cheese (sorry, I didn't measure) and I nixed the sour cream. So all in all, this is a good healthy recipe with lots of different colored vegetables. The more color, the better! And, it happens to be gluten free too :)


Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas


1 poblano chile, cut into matchsticks
2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, halved and slivered
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
3 T heat-safe oil like grapeseed or coconut
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups homemade or store bought salsa/pico de gallo
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
9-10 corn tortillas, halved (try making homemade tortillas!)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar-Monterey Jack blend)
sour cream and thinly sliced scallions (green onions) for garnish, if desired


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a large shallow roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet.

Place poblanos, red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. After everything is coated well, spread the vegetables evenly in the pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Prepare an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir the cilantro into the salsa. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, spinach, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.

Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions.

Serves 4-5

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Amazing Chocolate Muffins

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Photo courtesy of

I have to blog this recipe, 'cause these muffins are awesome. It's a recipe I pinned from Pinterest. My friend Lisa made them first and I just tried my hand at them and they are incredibly tasty and healthy to boot.

I made mine gluten free by using gluten free oats (gf oat and oats are the same thing, it's just the gf oats aren't processed on equipment that also processes wheat, so using gf doesn't change the taste). I used Stevia (in lieu of Splenda) and accidentally reduced the amount (learn how to read Melissa!), I used Greek yogurt, and I also left out the chocolate chips.

I will say, they are even more amazing with the chocolate chips (like the kind Lisa made) but I was going for "little sugar as possible, something more appropriate for breakfast". I can't wait to experiment with this recipe and maybe add some nuts or flax seed. I had the roomie try them and while she thought they were good, they were too chocolately for her (she doesn't like chocolate cake things - I know, :gasp: right?). These are a very rich chocolate - perfect with a glass of skim milk to keep the whole healthy thing going :)

The website that has this recipe says that the muffins are about 58 calories apiece. I did my own calculations and got about 80, it's close.

Here you go! Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffin

(recipe from


  • 1 3/4 c oats
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar substitute (like Splenda granular) OR 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use white chocolate or peanut butter chips!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.
Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (set the rest aside). Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.
Place muffins tins in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.
Place the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. *Note, you could skip this step by putting all of the chips in the batter, and baking the muffins for 12-15 min straight, but this method gives the muffins the traditional ‘VitaTop Muffin’ look with the chocolate chips on top!
Cool muffins before removing from pan. ENJOY!!!
Servings: 12 Big Muffins or 24 Smaller Muffins

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ugly food

This is hands down the ugliest food I have ever made.

The recipe was called "Vegetarian cabbage rolls". But it really left a lot to be desired - they said to boil the veggies that go in the filling - gasp - I sautéed them instead (hello, flavor!). I used red quinoa instead of the bulgur (since bulgur has gluten in it) and decided to use the red cabbage I had on hand.

Before cabbage, when boiled, apparently goes all blue-green-mottled purple...not exactly appetizing. Next time, I stick with green cabbage. The filling is zucchini, orange bell pepper, baby portabella mushrooms, garlic, and red quinoa with thyme, basil, and marjoram. I think next time I may try ground turkey in them...

See? Ugly stuffed cabbage rolls...and I do not get how one is supposed to roll cabbage either, so mine are more like cabbage burritos/tacos that I placed strategically in the pan so they would look like rolls for the picture :)

Topped with a tomato/sriracha sauce I came up with...that wasn't bad.

In general, they are pretty tasty, as long as you don't look at them. Not sure if I am a fan of marjoram though...that was a new spice for me. I would try this recipe again, but with some more tweaking.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flourless cupcakes?

I found a recipe for flourless chocolate cupcakes.

I like the simplicity of this recipe - just a handful of ingredients.

Note to self - if I plan to do more of these "flourless" recipes, I really need to invest in a better food processor. My itty bitty black and decker one just about died trying to get the chocolate and almonds to a "consistency of coarse sand"...the mixture ended up more like semi-fine I was a bit worried on how they would bake...

Ready to go in the oven (see the 'gravel' in the center of each cup? - that's why I was worried)

And the result - not bad at all. Even my roomie liked them. They are incredibly rich and definitely didn't need frosting, but thankfully the texture ended up being nice - not too gravelly. I would make these again - maybe in a mini-size, since they are so rich...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

First attempt

First attempt at gluten free baking that is...everything I have baked prior to this has been from a mix. So I chose a simple recipe to start - it had 5 ingredients: almond flour, agave nectar, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt.

I made these for Christmas (hence the snowflake and star shapes). I wouldn't use this recipe for roll-out cookies again - the dough is incredible sticky and fragile. I had to reshape every cut out once I put it on the cookie sheet. I ended up rolling the remaining dough into small balls and flattening with a fork - still tasty! Sprinkled the cookies with powdered sugar. I'm calling them Almond Cookies :).

Ready to begin the tedious process of transferring the cut outs from the parchment paper to the cookie sheet


I made a run to Whole Foods today to get some coconut flour and white rice flour. I have two recipes I want to try: Lemon Yogurt Cake and Flourless Chocolate cupcakes. Oh yum.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gluten free - 1 year

Hard to believe, but it's true. I've been eating gluten free for an entire year.

Now remember, my definition of gluten free does not include sauces that might have vinegar, items with modified food starch, etc - I call these things "minor gluten" and don't try to avoid them. I do avoid major gluten items, like pastas, cookies, crackers, breads, etc that have regular wheat flour/gluten in them. I am thankful that I don't have to be strict gluten free like someone with Celiac would have to be.

Eating gluten free hasn't done what I hoped it would do - I wanted it to help with reducing inflammation in body in hopes that my flares would be less painful. Well, not only were my flares painful this year, but I had my longest one ever since being diagnosed. Disappointing, yes, but there still is a glimmer of gluten free hope.

I have solid evidence now that my G.I issues are gluten related. How do I know? In December, I started slowly reintroducing gluten. I ate a piece of zucchini bread. No problems. I waited a few days, ate another piece of bread. No problems. Then I went a bit crazy while putting a goodie plate together for some friends and ended up eating two pieces of zucchini bread and a piece of poppy seed bread. Oh, did I pay for that. Horrible stomach cramps and let's just call it other G.I. issues. Even days later, I wasn't processing food like I normally do. So, I stopped with the bread experiments. When I got to Arizona, I munched on these awesome non-gluten free crackers my mom makes. They are addicting. And I over did it. Thankfully, the reaction wasn't as violent, but my body definitely wasn't happy. So, the great thing about this discovery, is that I can cheat when it comes to gluten, as long as it is in small amounts. This means, I can have a cookie that someone brings into work... A cookie (not 3). I can have a small piece of cake to celebrate someone's birthday.

So, I plan on smartly implementing the cheating plan and maintaining my gluten free diet because of the benefits that I have seen. I am calling my gluten free experiment a success, despite not getting the desired results.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Russian bread...sorta

If it's made in Russia out of an American mix, does that count? I find it kinda funny that I have to travel almost 6000 miles to finally tackle the gluten-free baking projects I've been wanting to test out, but better late than never.

So maybe pictures of making bread in my hotel/apartment room aren't exactly what you think I'd post when in Moscow, but hey, I get by with what I have :)

No measuring cups. So I used a 16oz waterbottle to see where the 2 cups of liquid measured out in a coffee pot (no real coffee here either, filters are very difficult to find, so I just do instant). The recipe called for 2 eggs, some oil, and then add water to make 2 cups of liquid...hence needing to know where the 2 cup line was on the coffee pot

The recipe also said to use a breadmaker or a standmixer. I interpreted that to say "stick your hand in the bowl and "hand-mix" for 3 minutes".

All mixed (yup, another fabulous Pamela's product)

Here, the dough is resting

Oh yeah, totally squealed excitedly when I walked into the kitchen and the dough had actually risen!

It said to bake in an oven. I suppose the toaster oven will suffice (sidenote: I was deathly afraid the bread would suddenly burst into flames so I kept checking it every 2 least it felt like it).

Voila! Gluten free sandwich bread. And this stuff is downright tasty. And it's keeping really well in the funky gluten free grainy texture yet...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gluten free in Moscow

So since I am still eating gluten free, I brought an entire suitcase full of gluten free food with me to Moscow (small suitcase) and figured I would supplement with produce and dairy here. I brought several Pamela's Products mixes with me and tried one of them the other day

I borrowed some muffin pans from one of my coworkers, Carla, who stays here for months at a time and therefore has lots of domestic muffin pans. I then borrowed my fellow group-mate's, Erin, who is here supporting the mission as well, room key, because my room does not have an oven (this required her to knock on my door at 445am before heading to her shift to hand me her key).

After looking up what 350F is in Celsius (~176C in case you were wondering), I put the chocolate-ly goodness in the oven:

27 minutes later...(not the 16-22min later on the bag)...out popped these:

I sprinkled them with some sugar and voila! Gluten free chocolate cupcakes the easy way (i.e. out of a mix):

They were pretty tasty and my coworkers seemed to enjoy them (they disappeared pretty quickly). Another score for Pamela's Products!

Friday, April 8, 2011

More than 3 months gluten free...

Crazy how fast three months goes by...

Yup, and still eating gluten free. I've decided to stick with it as much as possible. As much as possible meaning staying away from things that obviously have gluten (things with wheat flour) and not really paying attention to things with modified food starch, vinegar, "natural and artificial flavors." Although, it is hard to break the habit I started with reading food labels...I keep finding myself grabbing a product from the grocery store shelves and turning it over to read the ingredient list.

I like the gluten free diet because:

1) Some GI issues I had that I thought were related to my meds have completely disappeared
2) I've found some great new ways to eat more veggies
3) I feel better...healthier in my "insides". Weird description, I know, but hopefully it makes sense.
4) I can do it - it hasn't been a hardship for me to switch to gluten free. I thank God for the easy transition.

Do I miss bread? Every so often...but then I think, "but I feel better not eating it"...and then I don't miss it so much :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

GU is gluten free!!!!!

Random, I know, but I seriously did a happy dance in front of some coworkers when I discovered that GU is gluten free. I wasn't looking forward to making my own energy gels. Go GU!!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

CA Adventures - part 1

After meeting lil Brady, I headed west...far west, like...7 hour flight sunny...and by sunny, I mean cold-rainy-freezing, California.

Again, for some reason I booked a flight that had a stop in February...but thankfully good weather prevailed and there were no delays.

I landed at LAX and my friend Angie (remember her, she and her husband housed me during all my hurricane evacuations thus far) picked me up and we noshed on some amazing healthy CA fare:

It looked prettier before I started eating it, but it's a kale and red cabbage salad with blackened tempeh. Tempeh is the amazingly delicious result of culturing and control-fermenting soybeans until it makes a solid "cake". This is thin cut into strips and cooked. Pretty much tasted like a soybean cake. Super yummy.

We grabbed a hotel in Anaheim (since Angie and Andrew live pretty far from our intended destination the next day and Angie's mom had a free hotel stay that she kindly gave to us) and woke up early to go to...


I love love LOVE this place. And it's becoming sort of a tradition with Angie and I (this was our third time going together). I was a bit nervous about how the back would hold up with all the walking and rides, but it did phenomenally well! Thank you God! We alternated motion-y rides (like Indiana Jones) with non-motion-y rides (Pirates of the Caribbean). Angie and Andrew birthday-surprised me by having already purchased my ticket! And it included a park hopper pass to California Adventures! I had never been there before and there were two things I was told I "must see": Soarin' California and the musical of Aladdin (my ALL TIME favorite Disney cartoon). Both were awesome (the musical was really impressive- about 45 minutes long, hilarious, and awesome special effects).

The library from Beauty and the Beast in California Adventures. You can determine which Disney character you are most like. Apparently, Angie is like Mulan and I am like Jane (from Tarzan). Interesting.

Warming our hands at the Disney fireplace :)

It was downright chilly the entire time we were there, interspersed with rain, which always abated...mostly. We didn't have when the rain decided to downpour at 9pm...we called it quits...but still managed to get in a solid 13 hours of the Happiest Place on Earth :)

Posing like Buzz and Woody (except the camera was zoomed in too much and you really can see what THEY were posing like, but believe, me, we look JUST like them)

(I did avoid Space Mountain and the roller coaster in California Adventures, but the back did great on the Thunder Mountain coaster- love that ride).

Mad as a Hatter :)

Disneyland has a 4 page, front and back printed, gluten free menu. It was awesome! I could eat so much stuff there and everyone was really helpful (although Angie started calling me high-matinenance every time a manager stepped out to speak with me before preparing my food). But seriously, I had a grilled chicken sandwich and a BUN (gf of course!) for lunch and an awesome veggie enchiladas for dinner. And ice cream. But not for breakfast, because apparently Disneyland doesn't believe in selling ice cream at breakfast time. Odd, no? Oh well :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gluten free - week 7

I'm getting so used to this diet, that I don't have a ton to share every week, so I am saving gf nuggets until I have enough for a decent post.

So many people have been asking me if I have noticed a difference, so I figured I owed you all a status :). So, as a refresher (in case you are just tuning in), the reason I went on this diet was to see if I noticed any reduction in the symptoms of the autoimmune disease that I have.

My rheumatologist and I have been tweaking my meds during the time that I have been on the gf-diet (started tweaking about 1 month after being gf), but in general, I have noticed no drastic changes in how I feel. I am slowly feeling better (more energy, less pain, etc), but it's the normal trend from coming out of disease flare. I wouldn't associate it with going gf.

So, right now my plan is to finish out the 3 months of strict gf. Then, I will reintroduce the minor gluten items (those with natural flavoring that has gluten- sauces, dressings, etc). I will continue to avoid the "heavy hitter" gluten items- bread products, crackers, pretzels, etc. Because, studies show that gluten and inflammation are linked and anything I can do to reduce the amount of inflammation in my body I am all for and this will sound weird, but eating gf makes me feel... my insides aren't as heavy...see, I told you, sounds weird. Not sure how else to describe it. Besides, I really have found such good substitutes that I like the taste of that I almost don't miss bread. Almost :). And I am thankful to have the option to do a "modified gf diet"...those with Celiac cannot.

Here's my creation from this week:

These gf tortillas are actually pretty tasty. WHEN HEATED. They are ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING cold. I mixed some organic black beans, corn, and chipotle roasted diced tomatoes (all gf), half a slice of muenster cheese (all I had left in the fridge) and threw it on the gf tortillas (a nice change from corn tortillas, because I am not a huge corn tortilla fan), with some spinach and zapped it until heated. Pretty tasty.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gluten free - 1 month!

Wow, has it really been a whole month of gluten free? Yes, yes it has.

And it is going well.

I went to three restaurants this week:

The Egg and I- super helpful staff who answered my questions and came out to the table to tell me how they were preparing the frittata I ordered.

BJs- love their gf pizza!

Ruggles Green- it is a really good thing I don't live closer to this place because I would eat there every day. Amazing gf fish tacos and they have a pretty decent selection of gf items as well.

This week I focused on cooking more meals:

Quinoa with yellow-curried apples, green beans and tofu. The lead-in picture to this post. Probably sounds weird but it was super yummy!

Quinoa pasta with organic chicken, sauteed in Annie's Tuscan dressing

Baked tilapia with roasted mushrooms and asparagus

Each of these took maybe 40 minutes top to prepare and cook and made about 3 servings apiece, so plenty for lunches and dinners.

Oops...gotta go pull out my baked chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and mushrooms from the oven, that's my lunch for tomorrow :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gluten free - week 3

No huge gf epiphanies this week. Feeling like I am getting into a good pattern. Recognizing how important it is for me to carry a gf granola bar or some nut crackers in my purse/keep at my desk at work, in case my schedule changes unexpectedly and meal-time is delayed...can't just swing by a Sonic or Quiznos for my dinner anymore.

My favorite meal this week is just a twist on an old-fall back: bean burritos :)

Using white corn tortillas, organic fat-free refried black beans, gf green chile sauce, fresh spinach, and a bit of cheese, I can easily whip up two burritos and zap them in the microwave.

The twist of course, is the corn tortillas and gf green chile sauce. I have never been a huge fan of corn tortillas...but I am working on it...

I had a movie night last night with some girlfriends and while I can't eat microwaveable popcorn (and alas! I have yet to find an air-popper that isn't possessed and insists on spewing popcorn EVERYWHERE except the bowl), I CAN eat Pirate's Booty- it's puffed rice and corn! Score!