Winner! Winner! Carnitas Dinner!

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This is going to be a super quick post, but I just HAD to share this one! I knew it would be a long day, and we’d want something awesome for dinner. Enter a pork loin, a crockpot, a killer rub recipe, some onions and green chiles…carnitas! I borrowed the recipe from Mom Gone Paleo – and served the pork with some avocado, spicy salsa, and some chopped lettuce and tomato. Hubby had some quinoa and black beans along with his. I have to admit, I did have one taco style with a corn tortilla, but realized it was totally unnecessary. I highly recommend this recipe – exactly as is. It’s very rare this happens, but I didn’t change a thing! I did cook the pork on low for 10 hours since I wasn’t home to drop the heat down. Hope you like this as much as we did!

Paleo Carnitas

There’s No Rice In There??

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That’s what my husband said when I told him what he was eating for dinner wasn’t rice! I downloaded the book Well Fed in my quest to learn more about the paleo lifestyle, and it has not disappointed yet! I did my “weekly cookup” yesterday – I cooked a bunch of proteins, steam-sautéed some veggies, and stocked up my fridge with ready-to-go components to throw together quick meals. I was in the mood for something with curry tonight, so I took some onions, garlic, red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, pineapple, coconut milk, and curry powder and turned it into this:

Yum...curry!!

Yum…curry!!

Then I decided to try making cauliflower “rice” to go along with it. You see, my husband could eat rice all day every day. I think he could make a meal out of just rice with barbecue sauce. Actually, I think he’s done that before!! Anyway, when following the paleo style of eating, grains are a no-no. I’m already gluten-free, so rice is one of the few I still had in the house. I figured if I could get away with making cauliflower “rice” I just might be able to sneak this whole paleo thing past the hubby without too much fuss.

Here goes…. Take a head of cauliflower and cut it into florets, removing the stems. Throw it in the food processor and pulse it (10-15 times) until it looks like this:

Cauliflower "rice"

Cauliflower “rice”

Then, heat up some coconut oil in a large sauté pan and add some onions and garlic.

The base...

The base…

Now here’s where things get interesting… You can do this a million different ways. Tonight, I chose a curry version, so I added curry powder,  some chopped fresh pineapple, and a handful of chopped up roasted cashews – and sautéed that until fragrant.

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Add the seasonings…

Then add the “rice” and sauté 5 minutes or so, or until the cauliflower is tender, but not mushy. Adjust the seasonings as needed (salt/pepper/more curry), and voila!

 

Curry Cauliflower "Rice"

Curry Cauliflower “Rice”

It went perfectly with my quick curry – and I could totally see this being flavored many different ways depending on what I was making for dinner. It totally snuck past the husband until I told him it was cauliflower. Then he said he didn’t like it – but I think he just didn’t like the idea of it. He still ate more of it even after I told him!! I have a feeling cauliflower will be making more appearances as a stand-in for rice in my kitchen from now on!

In other exciting news – my blog is now included as part of the Gluten Free Global Community! I’m super excited! Just click on the button below and check out the many bloggers featured as part of this community. I’ve already found lots of great info through these folks, and I’m sure you will too!

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Have you ever snuck an ingredient past someone??

What’s your favorite “stand-in” food?

New Favorite Snack Alert!!

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I have a new favorite snack! I happened upon these lovelies in the soda aisle (don’t judge…I was getting seltzer). Usually I’m not a big fan of pumpkin seeds, but these – definitely not your typical pumpkin seeds!

They’re crunchy, sweet (but not too sweet), definitely cinnamony (is that even a word???) and all around yummy! To top that off, they are vegan, gluten free, tree nut free, peanut free, dairy free, MSG free, and soy free! Thankfully, they are definitely NOT taste free!! 🙂

Find them here at Kathie’s Kitchen Superseedz

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I Survived My First Week Gluten-Free!

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So…I made it! This was my first full week of going gluten-free! I have to say, I definitely feel a difference. I’m not sure whether it’s a placebo effect or what, but I definitely feel better. I’m not having as many issues with my stomach, and the typical “brain fog” I’ve been experiencing lately also seems to have disappeared. I know it takes a while for everything to settle down, but if this week is any indication, this was definitely the right way to go.

I’ve found plenty of things I can eat – and have been really surprised by the number of things I can’t! My in-laws (the other ones) were here for the weekend and my mother-in-law (hubby’s mom) LOVES Special K. She brought a box with her for breakfast since I didn’t have any last time, and I took a look at the ingredients. Wheat gluten – right there in the ingredients! There goes another cereal… I had to explain to her why I couldn’t have it – and that touched off the “What is gluten?” and the “What else can’t you have?” conversation. I find it really hard to explain – since I’m not so sure yet myself. I gave her the big picture – no wheat, rye, or barley, and I have to read the labels of everything pretty carefully. She was so funny – I listed so many things I can’t have that she loves – she said she didn’t think she could do it. I told her I am just learning how to do without, and how to make substitutions.

In fact, that brings me to what I wanted to share with you. Whenever we have company on a Sunday morning, I like to have some kind of a nice breakfast or brunch. Today I made a crustless quiche type of thing (eggs with scallions, tomatoes, cheese, and turkey bacon), and I tried making gluten-free muffins for the first time. I was really nervous that they would turn out like hockey pucks and I would have nothing to serve with the eggs – all of my other GF stuff is frozen! Little did I know that my muffins would be morsels of yumminess, and that they would get rave reviews from everyone! To quote my dear MIL, “If you didn’t tell me, I would never have known these were gluten-free!” SCORE!!

Here’s how I made them…

Gluten-Free Mixed Berry Muffins

1 1/2 cups King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/3 cup canola oil (maybe melted coconut oil…will definitely try that next time)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup milk (I’m sure you could use almond milk)

1 cup frozen mixed berries (I used the Welch’s Frozen Berry mix but took out the strawberries – leaving blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)

 

Preheat the oven to 400F. Either spray 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with paper liners. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients, mixing well. Fold in berries (I used them just frozen). Fill muffin tins about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes (will depend on your oven) until they are golden brown on the top.

Here is what they looked like:

YUM!!

YUM!!

So glad that my first attempt at making gluten-free muffins was a success! I’m sure I will mess up at other points along the way – there will certainly be a lot of experimentation. At least I know I have one recipe I can fall back on now!

Hope you all had a great weekend – and had a chance to relax and recharge! Time to start another week already…

What’s your favorite Sunday brunch food??

 

My First GF What I Ate Wednesday!

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Welcome to my first gluten-free WIAW! Thanks to Jenn over at Peas and Crayons for hosting – as always!

I’ve made it most of the way through my first week of eating gluten-free. It has been challenging, but not impossible. I’ve definitely been able to find plenty of things that I can eat – and even found a few things that I like better than their regular counterparts! I’m sure as I continue on this new part of my journey, I’ll find plenty of hits and lots of misses!

I forgot to take pictures of everything I had today, but I can definitely tell you what I had – and post some pictures with links where you can find out more about what I ate today!

Breakfast was an Udi’s multigrain bagel. Bagel?? Yes, bagel. I have to admit, these are not like what I’m used to at all – I grew up in New York, so bagels are typically chewy and dense. These bagels are kind of fluffy, and a little crumbly. Definitely best toasted. Worked great for an egg sandwich yesterday. Today I had one with some veggie cream cheese from my favorite bagel shop. My counter guy looked at me a little funny when I just ordered coffee and cream cheese…but once I told him why, he totally understood. Here’s what the package looks like – and I have to say, they’re not bad. Not real New York bagels, but they will do in a pinch.

Learn more about Udi’s products by clicking on this picture of their yummy bagels!

I had a hard boiled egg with a little sea salt and pepper for a snack mid-morning. For lunch, I’ve been taking a break from my usual salads. When it gets cold out, I like to have something hot for lunch. I’ve found some really great frozen entrees from Amy’s. One of my favorites – and what I had for lunch today – is their Light & Lean Roasted Polenta with Swiss Chard. It’s really delicious, gluten-free, and has only 140 calories!

Click on this picture to learn more about Amy’s Kitchen and their awesome products!

I had a couple of small clementines along with my polenta, and it was quite a satisfying lunch! Mid-afternoon, I got the munchies and had a couple of sharp cheddar cracker cuts (square slices of cheese!) with Crunchmaster Multi-Seed crackers. They’re super crunchy, and definitely stand up to cheese! They are rice based with sesame, quinoa, flax, and amaranth. They have a hint of tamari flavor. Yummy!

Click here for more information about Crunchmaster products!

 

I was craving pizza for dinner, which is a definite GF no-no…unless you happen to have one of these babies on hand!

Click here for more info about Against the Grain Gourmet!

So…I decided to get together some of my favorite pizza toppings…

Click here for more info about that delicious Applegate Farms sausage!!

Loaded and ready to go into the oven…

Out of the oven and ready to eat!!

 

YUM! It was delicious! The crust was crispy, and the toppings were cooked just enough. It took about 15 minutes in my oven – starting from frozen and cooking the pizza directly on the oven rack. I’ll definitely be trying this again with different toppings!

Finally, time for dessert. Brownies. Think good gluten-free brownies can’t possibly exist? Think again! Try this awesome mix!

Click here for info about King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free products!

I added some Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips to the batter and topped it with some chopped pecans before baking. I think these brownies are better than most of the regular commercial mixes out there. They came out fudgy, chewy, and super chocolatey. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be making them again anytime soon…not because I don’t like them, but because I like them too much!!

Well – that’s my first official gluten-free WIAW! Hope this is helpful to any of you who are starting out with GF like I am!

Do you have any favorite GF products?

 

Eating GF at PF

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Tonight was the first time since my official diagnosis that we went out to eat. I had the choice of where to go (as long as we had a gift card!) so I chose PF Chang’s. I knew from my last go-round with gluten free that they had a pretty decent selection (see my last experience here), and that I would be able to find something yummy to eat.

If you head to the menu page on the P.F. Chang’s website and click on the Gluten Free link, this is what you will see…

 

 

 

I decided on the GF Philip’s Better Lemon Chicken, and the GF Fried Rice with shrimp. When they came out to the table, they were delivered – as promised on the menu – on plates with the P.F. Chang’s logo so you can tell what is GF and what is not.

 

Both dishes were delish – and even met the approval of my non GF hubby. His favorite is Chang’s Spicy Chicken – which we noticed afterward is on the GF menu, so next time we’ll order that GF too so we can share.

All in all, this was definitely a successful first outing – and definitely won’t be the last one to P.F. Chang’s! So glad to find a restaurant that is so accommodating, and where the food is so good!

Do you have a favorite place to eat out where you know they will accomodate special dietary needs?

A new challenge in the journey…

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I can’t say this comes as a complete surprise to me, but I finally got the official diagnosis of gluten intolerant the other day. I’m still learning a bit about the range of conditions that can be caused by gluten – anything from a sensitivity to an allergy to full blown celiac disease. Although my bloodwork was negative for celiac, the biopsies taken during some other testing showed damage to my small intestine which is a pretty good indicator of some form of gluten issue. My gastroenterologist has settled on “gluten intolerance” as my particular label, and said that the more I can eat gluten free, the better off I’ll be.

Of course, many of the healthiest foods for us are naturally gluten free – lean proteins, fruits, veggies – but some of my favorite things are not. Fortunately, given that I don’t have celiac, I don’t have to worry quite as much about cross contamination, so I can still have my favorite oatmeal without too much concern. I do have to start looking out for certain tricky things on labels – anything that is related to wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and triticale (not that I know what triticale is anyway).

When I went through my first gluten free adventure a little over 2 years ago, I started a blog where I posted some recipes and reviews of gluten free products. Rather than reposting everything from there, or trying to maintain two blogs – which I just don’t have the time to do – I’ll link to some of my favorite things from that blog as we go along here. If you do want to check it out – feel free to head on over to Gluten-Free Newbie!

Thanksgiving was likely my last real gluten containing meal – and I really tried to keep it low-gluten. The only things that were heavy duty on the gluten were the stuffing and the crusts of the pies. I did make stuffed mushrooms, but I used gluten free breadcrumbs and nobody seemed to notice. One thing I did notice was that they sucked up quite a bit of moisture, so I think I’d make the stuffing mixture a little more wet next time.

Hopefully I’ll keep learning about this new challenge – and I’ll overcome it like everything else!

Do you have any dietary challenges or food intolerances?