Going Gluten and GMO-Grain Free

Baking, baking, and more baking
May 26, 2010, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Going strong... | Tags: ,

May has turned out to be quite a busy month. My husband and I took two trips to California- one for a family event and the other to celebrate our first wedding anniversary! This is what I’ve been up to when we weren’t traveling….

I’ve spent a ton of my free time this month baking (and my disaster of a house shows it!). I have been working on creating some of my own recipes and not just following those of other gluten and grain free-ers. This is a huge step for a go-with-what-works kind of girl like me, but it has yielded some really good results.

My main focus in the last couple of weeks has been on making my bread recipe come out “taller” without losing the amazing flavor and good texture of my original batch. Even with my short loaf, we were thrilled to be able to have sandwiches with all of the fixings. One thing I have learned from bread making- you can ALWAYS use your failed loaves for croutons! 🙂

Here are some visuals of my works in progress:

Chocolate and coconut milk pie

Cinnamon and

apple muffins




with fresh


I must say that the cheesecake turned out DELICIOUS! The only thing I will change the next time around is the cooking time… the crust was a touch too brown on the outer edges.

P.S. Thanks to my MIL for lending me her pie pan…. I had never considered baking a pie…that is, until I had the proper pan sitting on my counter “staring” at me.  🙂


Wednesday is my third favorite day of the week!
May 5, 2010, 7:22 pm
Filed under: Going strong... | Tags: , , ,

That’s right… third! Saturday and Sunday rank #1 and #2, of course… but besides the weekend days, Wednesday is my favorite! And for a good reason… I have fresh, local, organic produce waiting at my doorstep when I get home from work. All thanks to Organics To You! My small box provides me with a variety of 14-16 different fruits and vegetables all from local, organic farms. I love opening up my box and thinking about all the recipes I could make using the unique mixture of produce that changes each week. It also gives me the opportunity to try foods that I would have never thought of buying from the market on my own.

Another reason I love Wednesdays is that I have designated it as “give the juicer a workout” day! I gather all the leftover fruits and veggies from the previous weeks delivery and juice them. It is fun having a different tasting juice each week. Today I had carrots, pears, a kiwi, pink lady apples, a few stalks of rhubarb, and a grapefruit. So delicious!

Last week, I had A LOT of produce to juice, and since juice doesn’t keep very long in the refrigerator, I decided to make popsicles. I found some great, inexpensive popsicle molds at Sur La Table that worked perfectly! These will definitely come in handy in the summer.

*Remember that fresh juice begins losing it’s nutrients almost immediately, so it is best to drink it right away.

I am addicted to baking lately and can’t decide if I want to attempt to make my first pie or stick with muffins tomorrow… hmmmm!? Decisions, decisions.

Life in Portland…
May 4, 2010, 4:34 pm
Filed under: Going strong..., Grain-free, Main Dishes, Recipes

So, we have been in Portland for about two months now and I love it here! One of my favorite things is that there are so many resources for people with special dietary needs. Dedicated gluten-free bakeries, over accommodating restaurants, and plenty of fresh, organic produce to be had. Did I mention that I live across the street from Whole Foods? Pretty spoiled… I know. All of these factors have made it quite easy for me to spend a good chunk of my free time (which is more abundant now that I am working less) cooking and baking, which makes me a happy girl! I’m pretty sure my hubby doesn’t mind either.

Here are some of the gluten and grain free meals we love for dinner:

Blackened salmon with sautéed asparagus – Just as it sounds! Simple and delicious. I usually bake my salmon for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 and I saute the asparagus in EVOO with onions and garlic.

Chicken stuffed with spinach and goat feta and baked baby red potatoes – You can either “stuff” the chicken breasts or just roll them. To roll, simply lay the chicken breast flat and add the spinach and goat cheese on top, then “roll” it up, and fasten with a skewer. I have used a few different marinades but I think our favorite was the balsamic vinaigrette. For the potatoes, I cut baby reds into 1/2 inch pieces with the skin on, dice a small onion, and season with dried herbs (I use an Italian mix) and spices. The best part about this meal is that both dishes bake at 375 for about 50 minutes.

Stir-fry – This is my go-to meal when I have a fridge full of veggies that I need to get rid of. You can put almost anything in stir-fry and it is easy! My favorite veggies for this dish are baby bok choy, kale (any variety), spinach, carrots, green beans, and bean sprouts (added at the last-minute so they are still crunchy… yum!). This is usually our one “red” meat meal during the week. I use grass-fed beef that is usually labeled “for stew” or “for stir-fry” and is already cut into small cubes. Tip: I cook my stir-fry with toasted sesame oil. Gives it such an amazing flavor and it is gluten-free!

Pot roast – Another good recipe for using up veggies! Whenever grass-fed tri-tip roast is on sale I pick one up for this simple slow cooker recipe. I usually cut all the veggies (potatoes, carrots, broccoli, etc.) the night before so that I can just throw it all together in the morning and let it cook all day (about 8 hours). Trick my mom taught me: Put meat and veggies in the slow cooker with a package of onion soup mix and fill with enough water to cover. Turns out so delicious and full of onion flavor.

Turkey “burgers” and sweet potato fries – One of our favorites! I haven’t made this since we moved because we don’t have a BBQ for the turkey patties anymore… but, at my hubby’s request, I will be trying it on the stove top this week. To make the “burger,” I take two cooked turkey patties  and “sandwich” sautéed spinach (with garlic and onions) and goat feta. For the sweet potato fries (compliments of my amazing sister), spread sweet potato spears (they sell them pre-cut at Trader Joe’s) on cookie sheet, drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 45-50 minutes at 400. This really curbs my burger cravings!

Soup – Since it rains quite often here, we have been eating a lot of soup. I am realizing that you can make soup with just about anything as long as you have broth. Sometimes I just cut veggies and let them boil in vegetable broth for about 20 minutes until tender. Other times, I will let them boil until soft and then CAREFULLY- once the soup has cooled- use the blender to puree (you may need to do this in batches). Return to the stove top, bring back to a gentle boil, and serve. One of my favorites is a combination of leeks, asparagus, and a Yukon gold potato!

This made me hungry….Off to make dinner!

February 14, 2010, 12:46 pm
Filed under: The First 30 Days

Before I get into the BIG news (and the reason for the blogging absence)  I will update on how baking went last weekend.

The cupcakes turned out really good but something went wrong with the icing… the were still gobbled up without it!

The crackers were a big fail! My niece loved them but all the adults found them to be really dry and something was amuck the flavor. I’ll have to experiment with these a little more.

The blueberry muffins were amazing!! I have a strong fascination with coconut flour now….

So, now on to the NEWS!! My husband and I are moving to Portland… In THREE weeks! He got an amazing job offer out there and his family is only twenty minutes away in Vancouver, Washington. What a change this is going to be.

I have been such an emotional roller coaster the last few days. I am overwhelmingly excited to move to downtown Portland and experience an entirely different way of life…. but heart-broken about leaving my family. This valley is the only place I have ever known…. I am a true “valley girl” (except for all of those bad stereotypes… haha)!

Well, more moving arrangements to make and a job to be found!

Just say no to eating out!
February 5, 2010, 5:33 pm
Filed under: The First 30 Days

So I’ve really been craving some Thai food from this great (or what I used to think was great) place down the street from my work. I’ve researched their menu and even called them more than once to ask about what they cook with and how certain items are prepared. I thought I had covered all of my bases, but I thought wrong!

I ordered the spicy Thai chicken (which comes with veggies) without soy sauce and substituted my side of rice for a side salad with their homemade ginger dressing. I thought I was making really good, informed choices but I learned otherwise a few hours later. My stomach has been in turmoil for the past few hours and I really don’t have a solid explanation for it, other than you can never be 100% positive of what someone else is putting in your food. Lesson learned!!

On a happier note, I am really excited for our baking day tomorrow. I can’t wait to try some new recipes from Elana’s Pantry and spend some quality time with my sis!

The baking line-up:

Herb Crackers (in Elana’s cookbook)

Gluten Free Bread 2.0

Vanilla Cupcakes (not sure which frosting we’ll use yet :-))

Blueberry Muffins

P.S. Last night my sister made a delicious version of Chicken Parmesan using goat cheese that was so delicious.  Definitely going into the dinner rotation!

I’ll update on how the baking turns out tomorrow!

What a good day!
February 4, 2010, 5:09 pm
Filed under: The First 30 Days | Tags: , ,

Today has been full of good things. A couple of the more important, food related things:

First, my sister made a perfect batch of gluten-free pancakes using some of the revisions from Elana’s website. This is so refreshing because I was really starting to get bored with scrambled eggs every morning. Even with goat cheese, spinach, onions, and bell peppers they were getting pretty tiresome. She emailed me a picture of them and they looked so delicious. Can’t wait to try them!

And second, a co-worker and I are organizing a week-long food drive at the end of the month. It will be open to customers and fellow employees and we will be collecting canned and boxed goods and vital toiletries. I’m really glad to be getting involved in something good for our community. It has definitely been too long since I have given back…

As far as my eating for the day goes, I did pretty well. So far I’ve had scrambled eggs w/ spinach and bell peppers for breakfast (of course! hehe) and tuna salad and veggies for lunch. I also munched on a delicious locally grown orange. One of the best I’ve ever had!

Hooray for good days!

food, food, food…
February 4, 2010, 4:54 am
Filed under: The First 30 Days | Tags: , ,

I baked bread on Monday night using almond flour!! The flavor doesn’t seem like it would work so well as a sandwich bread but it was absolutely delicious toasted with some strawberry jam. It was just what the hubby and I needed!

I am also pretty proud of today’s menu so I thought I would share it with you all. Maybe it will give a better idea of what we are eating…. for those of you that are still a little lost! 🙂


Scrambled eggs with ham, onions, and spinach

Slice of bread w/ jam


Brown rice (my first rice product in 4 days)

Steamed veggies w/ sea salt and pepper


Crumbled goat cheese, spinach, and onions sandwiched between two turkey patties

Sweet potato fries (baked with sea salt and olive oil)

I also had an apple and a banana as snacks today!

I am really happy to say that I didn’t notice any stomach issues after having the brown rice at lunch. That really makes things easier. Brown rice is can also be made into pasta and tortillas so my options greatly expand knowing that my tummy can handle it!

My next goal is to start paying more attention to how my body reacts to different foods. I have cut out almost all dairy (except the occasional goat cheese and greek yogurt) and I think that has really helped. Some of the other foods that I think may trigger problems are broccoli and various beans and pork products. I’ll keep you updated on what the results are.