Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Gluten Free Week 3 - Desserts!

Way to Go! You've made it to the 3rd week of being Gluten Free.  

Provided you are staying completely Gluten Free you should have even more energy this week.  The cravings for traditional bread and pasta are starting to really subside. Congratulate yourself!  Give yourself some credit for taking a different path and doing it well.  If you slipped a time or two, forgive yourself and move on.  We do not punish ourselves here for past mealtime mishaps!  Shake yourself off and start again.  

To start week 3 we are going to discuss Desserts.  Why did you skip supper you ask?  I know you can't wait to see what gluten free desserts have to offer and I don't want you going to far astray on your journey to find replacements for all your old favorites.  Plus, let's celebrate your accomplishments.

Let's talk about Desserts that have some nutrition involved in them, otherwise known as Fruit!

Spring and Summer abound with numerous varieties of fruit to eat. 

Fresh Strawberries
Fresh strawberries from the farmers market or better yet your own garden. What's better than a bowl of fresh strawberries, cleaned and trimmed, with some Coconut cream whipped cream on top.  

Strawberries from my garden.

Fruit Salad
Take strawberries, blueberries, peaches, bananas, apples, grapes (the list goes on and on) and mix them up into a huge bowl, sprinkle with a bit of sugar, add sugar to taste since fruit is naturally sweet, add some sparkling water or orange juice to keep the fruit from browning. Serve in chilled bowls with some fresh mint sprigs and enjoy the delightful taste of summer.

Angel Food Cake
Angel Food Cake has to be my all time favorite dessert.  My favorite recipe is from the Gluten Free Homemaker.   You can read my review about her angel food cake here.   I cannot tell you how many times I have made this cake and it was always a success.  Everyone raves on how delicious it is and cannot believe that it is gluten free.  This recipe is a must to have in your dessert line up.

Beautiful Angel Food cake baking. 

Lemon Coconut Cupcakes
If you have a special occasion coming up you need to make these beautiful lemon coconut cupcakes.  This is a recipe I came up with for my mothers birthday, find the recipe here.  I added a basic lemon curd to them and a basic butter cream icing.  Everyone had more than one cupcake, that equals success to me.  I used coconut flour in these cupcakes and it is a little different to bake with so be sure to read my tips on using coconut flour in baking.  

Watermelon Slices
Let's get back to basics folks.  If it's summer time skip the pie and head straight to a big ole beautiful watermelon.  Everyone loves watermelon and most don't want to mess with them these days and that is a true shame.  You can buy watermelon already cut up at most markets these days but I only suggest that if you are in a true hurry.  I believe that the fresh cut watermelon tastes the best plus it’s great for picnics, family reunions, 4th of July and a summertime dessert.

I know pies are a big deal for a lot of people so I will add it to my list.  Not all Gluten Free pie crusts are created equal.  I use the  Pie crust from Elana's Pantry with great success.  I've used it for fruit pies and savory pies and it's been great for both.  Pillsbury also has a pre-made crust you can buy.  I haven't used it yet but I've seen good reviews for it.  From personal experience I'd avoid any pie crust recipe that uses mostly rice flour.  Rice flour is gritty and gross.  In small does it adds some texture to its recipe but being a main ingredient can be an unpleasant experience.  

This should give all of you some delicious ideas for Gluten Free desserts. 

 Please keep in mind - desserts are treats - they are not meant for everyday consumption (unless it's fruit).  Cakes, cupcakes and pies are meant for special occasions and if you do consume them regularly then you will see your waistline expand.  

This is exactly why I added fruit to my list of favorite desserts.  People make things harder than they have to be these days.  Fruit by itself can be extremely satisfying to your sweet tooth, and it's better for you.  I am always happy when someone shows up to a picnic with a fruit tray.  It's so perfect and doesn't require much preparation.  Bonus, a lot of  fruit we get is seasonal and therefore at its peak and full of nutrients.  

Now you have some sweet goodies in your recipe line up to pull out at a moment’s notice.  

What are your favorite Gluten Free Desserts? 

Keep up the good work and I'll see you next week. 

Lots of Love,

Monday, May 18, 2015

Gluten Free Week 2 - Breakfast without Gluten

Welcome to week 2 of being gluten free!  

Congratulations!  At this point the bread cravings should be lessening greatly.  You shouldn't feel that "need" to have bread or bread products.  It probably sounds good but you don't "have to have it".  I so hope that you are in this spot.  It is a place that can be so freeing, but you have to be constant in your journey to give up Gluten.  Also at this point you should start to feel that you have a bit more energy.  If you don't feel this way yet don't worry, it happens differently for everyone but it will happen if you continue to follow this path.

Let's dig into the world of Breakfast.  Breakfast is historically known as cereal, bagels, donuts and biscuit sandwiches.  This can be a tough meal to crack but it's not impossible.  If you have a sweet tooth then this will sting a little for you because there are so many sugar loaded breakfast products out there. However, how good were those sugary foods for you anyway?  Not so much!

Remember last weeks "sandwich roll ups"?  Why not have some of those breakfast?  They are just as good in the morning as it is at lunch.

Eggs and Bacon
The classic breakfast, eggs and bacon.  If it means getting up a few minutes earlier to have fresh eggs and bacon then do it.  Just hold the toast.  Add a side of fruit instead if you feel like your plate is partially empty.  There's a reason our great grandparents didn't die of heart disease, eggs and bacon are good for you, and they didn't sit in front of a computer screen all day.  Don't eat a pound of bacon at each meal, use some common sense.

One of my favorite breakfast items is a frittata.  Plus they are even better the next day as a leftover.  Most frittata's consist of eggs, meat, veggies. sometimes potatoes and a little cheese.  Slice it up like a pie and reheat for a delicious, nutritious breakfast.

Stupid, Easy Paleo has an amazing recipe on her site for a Chicken, Sweet Potato Frittata.   After you've made your first fritata you'll be ready to make them all the time.  Plus you can swap out any of those small bits of leftovers you have laying around in your fridge.  Have some leftover taco meat?  Why not make a taco based fritata?  They are delicious.

Gotta have your sweet fix?
Try my Gluten Free Chocolate Donuts.   These have the consistency of a cake donuts which have always been my favorite.  Remember, these are a treat and shouldn't be eaten everyday.  We are shooting for real foods not processed.

Love pancakes and waffels?
Check out one of my "girl crushes" Brittany Angell's site and then run out and buy here book "Every Last Crumb".  This woman has gluten free/paleo pancakes and waffels down to a science,  It's no joke that we usually have her waffels at LEAST once a week.

Leftovers, any and all leftovers.
You have some left over pork chops and sweet potato from supper?  Eat it for breakfast!  I mean seriously, do IT!  Breakfast does not nor has it ever had to be all the sugar filled, processed crap that we can get at the fast food place or even at a gas station. This morning I had leftovers of my Pork Chops with Onion Gravy for breakfast.  I swear that dish is better the next day.  LOVE IT!

Love to get all your breakfast in a glass?  This is a great option for those mornings when you are running out of time to sit down and have a relaxing breakfast.  Add some spinach and kale to your smoothie to up your veggie intake.  I do this a lot to get extra vegetables in my diet.  I still don't "process" greens very well and this really helps me get the vitamins and minerals out of them without putting excess stress on my gut. This Beginner Berry Smoothie is a great way to get started making smoothies.

See, breakfast without gluten isn't quite so bad is it?

What are your favorite gluten free breakfasts?  Share in the comments section below.

Till next time,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gluten Free Week 1 - The Sandwich Reinvented!

Welcome Back Friends.
 Let's build off of last weeks post about the 10 steps to take to become gluten free and address the biggest question of all for the gluten free newbie.
What will I eat for lunch if I cannot use bread to make sandwiches?
I feel your pain on this concern.  It is completely valid if you have a child in school or a spouse who is on the run and needs a portable lunch.  However, it's not as hard as one might think, we just need to adjust our thinking.

Now I could encourage you to go out and try all the GF breads and try to find the one you like.  You will more than likely do that anyway.  Note, this will be an expensive process.  GF bread is expensive and you don't get as much of it as you would for a conventional loaf of bread.  GF bread also has an extremely different texture.  I don't blame you or judge you for doing this.  I did this and have a couple I use as a fall back on when I just want to eat bread.  However, the sooner you can get off bread the better you will be.  So much of the time it's wasted calories, why not use those calories for something really delicious.

Here's how we eat our "Sandwiches"now.

The Lettuce Roll Up.

What do you need?  Start with lettuce as your first layer and work up from there.

- Lettuce - Bib Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce.
     Romaine does not work well work this.
Google images
- Meat  -  Meat (Turkey, Beef, Chicken, Tuna,          etc.)
- Veggies - Sliced Peppers, Onions, Tomatoes,             etc.)
- Cheese -  If you can handle dairy add some                delicious local cheese.
- Condiments - Be careful here.  Make sure            these are GF.  Mustard, ketchup, mayo....

Once you've added your favorite sandwich materials then roll everything up, wrap it in some parchment paper, foil or put in a sandwich baggie.  Done!

The added benefits of excluding bread to your sandwich making is that by adding lettuce you can get more vegetables into your diet.

Google images
The Meat Roll Up.

What do you need?  Use the same ingredients as above but leave out the lettuce.
This roll up only works well with sliced meat.  If you want to use something like Tuna you will need something as a vehicle.  Forks work well for that.  LOL

The sliced meat will be your base layer, add your condiments or veggies, roll up and enjoy.

I pray that this helps you start thinking about food a little differently and realize that eating gluten free can be easier than you thought.  Use your imagination, your stomach can be your guide.

And if you find any awesome gluten free breads please let me know about them in the comments below.  FYI - I'm not a fan of sponges disguised as bread or sticks and twigs disguised as bread.  LOL!

Enjoy some tasty "sandwiches/roll ups".