A Great Addition to Long IsIand: Strictly Gluten-free

Long Island now has a new Gluten-free addition! Strictly Gluten-free, a store dedicated to serving those with celiac and gluten-sensitivity.

The weekend I came home from school my mom and I took a ride to Northport, to check out this new addition. Not only was it the grand opening weekend of Strictly Gluten-free, but ” Glow-Gluten Free was at the store. Glow Cookies have been one of my favorites since the beginning, and I thought it would be awesome to meet the people behind these delicious creations.

Unfortunately,I just missed Jill, but on a positive note my mom tried Glow Cookies for the 1st time, and loved them!

I was really impressed by the product selection that Strictly Gluten-Free had. Everything from bread to snacks. Even gluten-free cosmetics and supplements were sold there. Strictly GF carried many of my favorite gluten-free products including Le Veneziane Pasta, Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bread and of course Glow cookies! In addition to these products they carried many products that were new to me, including Sharkies – Organic Fruit Snacks, and Kur Organic Superfoods.

I love that Long Island has many Gluten-free stores and love shopping at different stores, because it allows me to be exposed to many different gluten-free products (preventing food bordom). I look forward to going back to Strictly Gluten-free and am excited to try other new products that they have to offer!

Strictly Gluten-Free is located on Larkfield Road in East Northport. For more information on Long Island’s newest addition, visit their website, or find them on Facebook and Twitter!

Pacific Foods: What’s Pho Dinner?

Before I write this post, let me state that it is long over due! As many of you know in June I attended Food Fete, and during this wonderful event I met representatives from Pacific Foods.

At the event they were promoting their newest soup starter creation Pho (inspired by Vietnamese Pho)! After the event I was sent a package from Pacific Foods, which contained their vegetable and chicken Pho starters. I was excited to try this new product, since I love Pacific foods’ broths.

 

Before I left school, I realized that I had never made the Pho! I didn’t know what to expect, since I had never had Pho, but was excited to try it. After trying the Pho, I have decided that it wasn’t for me, but I am glad I tried it!

Though I didn’t have the pallet for Pho, I love so many of the other products that Pacific foods has to offer. Their chicken broth is always on hand in our house!  We are actually using it tonight, when we make our chicken and vegetable soup for our cookie party.

I love that Pacific foods clearly marks their gluten-free products, and has made a great chart which indicates what allergens are in their products (I love when companies make it that easy!)

Thank you again Pacific Foods for allowing me to try your Pho and for creating delicious gluten-free broths. To learn more about Pacific foods, visit their website and be sure to find them on Facebook and Twitter!

Living My Best Gluten-free Life!

A few weeks ago, I went on a school retreat. I was nervous, and did not know what to expect, but told myself I was going to remain open about the whole experience. For those of you that know me, I am a very reflective person and know a lot about myself. Before I went on the retreat I thought, “what possibly more could I learn about myself”, but again remained open for what the weekend would bring.

The weekend I had on the retreat seriously changed my life. It made me realized things that I didn’t realize were effecting me, and allowed me to lift so many of the burdens that I had been carrying on my shoulders for years. There are still some things that I am trying to sort through, but one thing I realized is I don’t want life to pass me by.

To understand this more I need to share a bit more of my story. We all have dreams about what high school will look like as a freshman. For me those dreams and visions did not come true, since I was sick all four years. As I crossed the stage and graduated, I thought “things are going to be different, when I went to college.” That statement was wrong again too. I spent freshman year away from home and sicker then ever. Then between the summer between freshman and sophomore year came the diagnosis. My world was turned upside down, I had to learn so much. The first semester was great, but then towards the end of the semester I got really sick again. Six months of searching and we finally determined I was getting sick because I was using mouth wash that contained gluten. That finding did not happen until 2 weeks before I headed back to school for junior year. That semester was pretty good, and my body was beginning to heal, until I was hit with the foot injury (same one I am currently dealing with). I was home every other weekend of second semester junior year to go to doctors or have tests done.

Now I am finally recovering from things, and seem to be finally moving in the right direction.I don’t share this to make you feel bad for me, I only share this to give you insight on where I am coming from. Many people look at everything I am doing and are amazed at what I do, but to me it’s what has to be done. However, as I was reflecting during the weekend, and since then, I have realized I haven’t been living my best life.

Though I have embraced the g-free lifestyle I feel at times I looked at certain situations, and feel held back because I am GF. Even after reading Allergic Girl, I was still putting up walls. They are walls I am ready to take down! No longer do I want to be afraid of new situations because I don’t know what to expect. One of my dreams in life is to travel to europe, and though I still want to do it, I feel that for the past 2 and 1/2 years I have been doubting if that dream will every come true. I worry about dating and work situations, but through having two internships it has helped me deal with particular situations. I have realized that I can no longer have expectations, and just need to start living

As I am approaching my final semester at college, it saddens me that because of particular situations I have missed out on a lot.Some were because of walls I had up, and others were because of outside circumstances that I have had to deal with.  However, we can’t go back nor do I want to. I realized I was living my life, being prepared for “what was going to happen next”, with my guard up at all times. I have accepted things are going to come up; just like I have always done, I will deal with them. However, no longer will they hold me back.From this day forward, I am truly ready to live my best gluten-free life!

Pizza with Bob Red Mill

For the longest time I have had Bob Red Mill’s GF pizza crust in my cabinet. My parents got it at last year’s  Suffolk County Celiacs vender fair ( FYI: The 2012 vender fair will be held on May 5 & 6th!).

Tonight seemed like the perfect night for pizza! I decided I needed break from all my work, and broke out my Kitchen Aid mixer.  The mix was so easy to make and makes a TON of dough. Not only was I able to make a large pizza, but I had left over dough as well.

I opted to make a traditional pizza, (with one modification – DF cheese), using Rao’s marinara sauce and Daiya mozzarella cheese. The crust itself was great, and reminded me of the homemade pizza I use to make! The best part, is I have a ton of left overs. In the freezer they went. With finals coming up the more pre-made meals I make the better!

To learn more about Bob Red Mill’s gluten-free products, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter!

I LOVE Peanut Butter!

If there is one thing I couldn’t live without it would have to be PB&J sandwiches. No kidding when I first went GF, I was so sad I would one longer be able to enjoy my favorite sandwich. (That changed very quickly once I found Udi’s Gluten-free Bread!)

The thing I love about peanut butter is there are so many ways you can enjoy it. Add to that most peanut butters are g-free, and it’s a win, win situation! When I shop for peanut butter, I opt for natural. It’s so much better then the process stuff!! (Trust me once you switch, you will notice a HUGE difference). Below are a few more ways I like to enjoy peanut butter:

Peanut butter on apples/ pears
“Ants on a Log” – Celery with PB and raisins Peanut Butter on crackers/Joan’s multi-grain English muffins
Peanut butter with Snyder’s GF  Pretzel sticks/ Lentil Chips

My peanut butter of choice = “Smooth Operator” from The Peanut Butter Co. I don’t know what it is about this peanut butter, but it honestly makes the best PB& J sandwiches. However, there is one tiny issue, I can only find it at my local Whole Foods at home, and I ran out this past weekend! Up at school, Wegman’s carries some of the Peanut butter Co.’s peanut butter, so I decided to step away from the norm and try their Cinnamon Raisin Swirl PB. I love making PB & J on Cinnamon Raisin bread so I couldn’t see how I wouldn’t like it. The first time I tried this peanut butter I put it on a Udi’s Cinnamon

RaisinBagel. While the texture is a bit more grittier then your traditional peanut butter, the combination was delicious

In addition to “Smooth Operator” and “Cinnamon Raisin Swirl” the Peanut Butter Co., makes a variety of unique flavored peanut butters including, “Dark Chocolate Dreams”, “Mighty Maple”, and “White Chocolate Wonderful”. In addition to selling jars of PB, I just found out the Peanut Butter Co. also sells individual packages of PB, which would be great when traveling. To learn more about the Peanut Butter Co. visit their website, and be sure to find them on Twitter

Have you tried the Peanut Butter Co’s peanut butter? If so, what is your favorite variety? What is your favorite way to enjoy peanut butter?

A Sleepover Tradition

When I think of childhood sleepovers, one thing comes to mind – Fried Pizza Dough. This is a something that my grandma made for my mom when she was a child during her sleepovers, and is a tradition my mom carried on. While it may not be a healthy meal, boy is it good!
I haven’t made this is years. However, since I had left over Bob Red Mill Pizza dough, I just had to try it!

I’ll take you step by step. First round the dough and be sure to poke a small hole.

After, heat vegetable oil in large pan

Place dough in fry pan. Let fry until golden brown. Turn to other side.

Place on paper towel to get rid of excess oil.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy.

This is probably the unhealthiest meal I have made in a long time, yet it was so good. Despite regretting my choice after (I tend to not do well with fried foods, and will probably not make this again for this reason), it brought back many fun memories of sleepover breakfasts, and I am happy I was able to try it again.

Tired of Planning…

With the gluten-free diet comes A LOT of planning. No longer are the days were I can just pick something  up “on the go.” This was tough when I first was diagnosed, but it’s something I have since accepted. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t times were it gets tiring. Today is one of those days!

Not only do I have to plan what I am going to cook this week, but I must think ahead to next weekend. Next weekend I will be going on a retreat. Though I am so excited to spend a weekend away from technology and school, this opptunity to has come with a bit of nervousness. I haven’t spent many weekends away where I don’t have access to a supermarket if I run out of food. My plan is to pack EXTRA food, because we all know there is nothing worse then not having something to eat!!

Sunday: Leftovers!
Monday: Happy Halloween – Lemon Seasoned Flounder, Quinoa
Tuesday: Oven baked chicken fingers, homemade Fries
Wednesday: Late Night of Classes – Egg Sandwich
Thursday: Zucchini Quiche, Salad
Friday: (Retreat) Bell and Evan Chicken with Apple and Salad
Saturday: (Retreat) Zucchini Quiche, Salad

Another Success from Cooking For Isaiah!

This week I promised myself that I was going to try out a new recipe. I have been wanting to make a new recipe from Cooking for Isaiah for sometime, and finally got around to doing it this week. All the recipes that I have made from this cookbook thus far have been great, so I was excited to try out another one this week.

I decided to make grilled ketchup-glazed chicken with potato slabs. The chicken was really good, as were the potatoes. However, I think I may of microwaved the potato for a few seconds too long, because when I sliced it, most of it fell apart. (It may not have been the prettiest looking dinner, but it tasted good. Here is the recipe for your enjoyment!

Grilled Ketchup-Glazed Chicken with Potato Slabs
(Recipe taken from Cooking for Isaiah)

1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp chili powder
salt
8 chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/2 lbs) – I actually used a chicken breast
2 baking potato
Lime wedges, for serving

In a reaseable plastic bag, combine the ketchup, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, chili powder and 1 tsp of salt; reserve about 1/4 cup for basting. Add the drumsticks, seal the bag and let marinade for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat grill or grill pan to high. Microwave the potatoes on high until slightly softened, 5-7 minutes. Slice lengthwise and drizzle both sides with olive oil.

Grill drumsticks, basting occasionally and turning, until skin is golden and crispy and juice runs clear, 25-30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, grill potatoes until grill marks appear, about 4 minutes each side. Sprinkle with salt if desired.

Hope everyone has a great Halloween weekend!!

Taking Sometime to Bake!

These past few weeks have been a bit hectic. Even over fall break I felt that I was constantly “on the go.” I don’t hate this aspect of my life, in fact I rather be busy.  However,  we all need those moments to just take a deep breath. This is how the cycle usually goes: I do what I have to do, keep a positive attitude and then eventually I end up crashing. For the amount of times this has happen to me, you would think I would learn!

By no means is this something that I am happy to admit, and is something that I am trying to work on. This semester I was doing so well. I was managing the stress and the heavy workload, and the breakdowns were minimal! Finally I thought, ” I’m finding balance.”

Well not quite, over break I broke down. I don’t like that this occurred, but  caused me to reevaluate. Working myself till I hit “rock bottom” isn’t healthy, but each time I try and take something from the experience. What did I learn?

I recognized that at times I feel as though I am carrying the “weight of the world on my shoulders.”  Between being a student, being a “patient” (dealing with a foot injury), and managing the diet. I feel as though I have to give everything 110% all the time. We all have “stuff” we have to deal with, but it is the choices we make that are going to help us get through it all.

For myself, I realized that I hadn’t baked in three weeks, and I was not as consistent with my blog this month.   Right now, these are things that I need (other then daily workouts) to keep my stress levels under control.  Yes, sometimes we have to make choices (i.e. What more important writing that paper that is due next week or blogging? Unfortunately, the paper has to come first), but I need a have a balance work and play.

One of my goals this semester was to take more time for myself. I have been doing this, but it unfortunately means  my nights don’t end until the early morning hours (that’s part of the college experience, right?!) I’m working on it, but in the weeks of high stress, “I” takes a back seat and school comes first.

Despite having work to get done, I decided I needed to get back into blogging, get in the kitchen baking, and get in a good solid workout. I told myself, “on top of homework you NEED to do these things!” I did just that yesterday, and it allowed me to re-energize myself.

Let me just say this before I make my next statement: I know it is only the end of October, but when I was trying to figure out what to bake I started thinking about baking Christmas Cookies! I know, way too early, but it put a smile on my face

I settled on making Banana Bread Cake from the GF cake doctor ( w/o carmel glaze – not DF), but wanted to add my own twist, so I topped the cake with crumbs! The outcome was delicious. It was like I was eating banana bread in a cake form. To be honest, I didn’t really need to add the crumbs, but it was a nice touch. Next time I bake this recipe I might opt to top the cake with some DF Chocolate Chips instead of crumbs. Below is the recipe for your enjoyment:

Banana Bread Cake with a Twist
(Original recipe from the GF Cake Doctor)

Cooking spray, for misting the pan
1 tbsp of cinnamon sugar. for dusting the pan
1 package (15 oz) yellow GF cake mix ( I used Betty Crocker GF Mix)
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1 heaping cup very ripe bananas (about 3)
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted ( I used Earth Balance)
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350* Lightly mist bunt pan with spray. Then dust with cinnamon sugar. ( Shake out excess)

Place cake mix, sugar, mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon in large bowl. Beat in an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated. Stop machine and scrape sides down with spatula. Increase mixing speed to medium, until smooth. Pour cake batter into pan. Cook for 20 minutes

Here comes the twist: While the cake is in oven prepare the crumbs. After 20 minutes take cake out ( should not be loose) and sprinkle with crumbs. Bake for another 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Note: If opt not to use crumbs cake takes about 38-42 minutes to bake.

Let cake cool. Slice and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Season Kickoff!

One thing I love about living in the Northeast is that we get to experience all four seasons. However, this does not mean that I favor all equally. There is just specific elements that I like of each season.

I’m not the biggest fan of fall. I hate being cold, so as soon as the air gets crisp I am not a happy camper! I love the “heat of the summer.”  However, with fall comes the family traditions of apple and pumpkin picking. This is a tradition that I cherish very much. Even at my sickest moments it was something that I insisted our family continue to do, and is a tradition I plan on continuing when I have a family of my own in the future.

Another reason I enjoy fall is because it marks the season of pumpkins – It is now acceptable to make pumpkin bread and pumpkin pancakes! Not only are these foods delicious, but after baking it leaves the apartment with a  smell that warms my heart!

With the pace of school picking up I have started to feel the stress. An easy solution to calm my nerves, is baking. I was so excited to make the pumpkin bread that my mom use to make me, so there was no question about what to bake!

This recipe originally came from All Recipes. The recipe was simply adapted by using Jules all-purpose gluten-free flour, and tasted just as I remember. When one of my roommates and I tried the finished product, we literally had to resist from eating the entire loaf!

However, the true test was when I brought some muffins over to my toughest critic (aka: my brother).  The verdict: He thought they were really good, and enjoyed them. The next day I brought some to a staff meeting that I had at internship. Before I offered the muffins to them, I didn’t make any mention that they were gfree. After my supervisor ate the muffin she said they were great, and then asked what I did differently (she is aware I am GF), so they eventually found out they were gfree. However, everyone said they could of never told the difference, they were just really good muffins!

Those two experiences are a true testament to how delicious this recipe is. I love the feeling when people can’t tell that my baked goods are GF! It makes me happy knowing that I can leave them with a positive association to GF food. (I often find people have a negative opinion about GF foods). Below is the recipe for your enjoyment!

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread
(Originally from All Recipes)

1 (15 oz) canned pumpkin
4 eggs 1 c. vegetable oil
2/3 c. water
3 c. evaporated cane juice
3 1/2 c. Jules GF Flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Note: I use
McCormick SpicesandLibby’s Pure Pumpkin. Remember to always check ingredients!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Note: This recipe will make 2-3 loafs depending on pan size. I made one loaf, and 18 muffins.)