Dinner With Disney….


Get out your Mickey Ears and don your aprons! It is time for this months’ Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free blog event, Dinner With Disney!


In honor of this months’ theme, bloggers were asked to choose their favorite Disney movie or character and create a Gluten Free meal using their chosen Disney icon as inspiration. Really, it was just an excuse to watch cartoons! The submissions ranged from whimsical and childlike to elegant and refined. Either way, this month’s participants created kitchen magic that would have made Walt Disney, himself, proud. Now, get ready! It’s time to celebrate the magic of Gluten Free eating with Walt Disney and Friends!

1)
Jenn, of Jenn Cuisine, chose The Little Mermaid as her inspiration. Her delicious recipes never cease to inspire. This one is no exception!
Recipe: Bouillabaisse

2) Chaya, the Comfy Cook, decided to choose a character rather than a movie. Her meal is devoted to the iconic Mickey Mouse! Get ready to “Say Cheese”!
Recipe: Mickey’s Macaroni and Cheese

3) Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free has once again out done herself. She contributed a dessert inspired by the movie Ice Age that is sure to freeze anyone in their tracks. Amy… adopt me!
Recipe: Individual Baked Alaska with Chocolate Cake and Cacao Nib Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

4) Tracee of Mrs. Ed’s Research and Recipes, presents us with a quick and easy recipe for busy mom’s on the go! Here’s wishing you a delicious dinner!
Recipe: Wish Upon a Star Burgers with Looney Sauce

5) Christine, from Without Adornment, posted a recipe inspired by one of my all time favorite Disney movies, The Emperor’s New Groove. Who can forget poor Kronk and his excitement over preparing an elegant dinner. He is a Foodie after my own heart!
Recipe: Spinach Puffs a la Kronk

6) Karen, from Muffin Fixation, really jumped feet first into this month’s event. She and her son submitted 2 recipes! The first was inspired by Monster’s Inc., and the second was Toy Story. I love how they turned Dinner With Disney into an excuse for a mother/son date night! Now that is real Disney magic!
Recipe #1: Sulley Burgers, Mike’s Mac n’ Cheese, Boo’s Berry Fluff, and Abominable Melted Snowcones

Recipe #2: Ranch Noodles, Buffalo Chicken Balls, Rootinest, Tootinest Root Beerinest Cheesecakes

7) Our fearless Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free creator, Naomi Devlin of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried, recreated a magical moment from her favorite Disney movie as a young girl, Alice In Wonderland.
Recipe: Eat Me Alice Cakes


8)
Kim, the Food Allergy Coach, submitted a dish perfect for the fall. Her inspiration was the movie Pocahontas.
Recipe: Indian Pudding

9) Shirley, of the Gluten Free Easily blog, submitted a recipe that completely inspires me! It is a tribute to all of Walt Disney’s dog-themed movies.
Recipe: POMerdoodle Ice Cream

10) I, Katrina of Gluten Free Gidget, chose a classic Disney movie, as well as a classic foodie moment, in honor of my puppy Dickens. That’s amore, and that’s Lady and The Tramp.
Recipe: Turkey and Spinach Meatballs

Thank you to everyone who helped created Disney magic this month with their wonderful recipes! And, thank you to Naomi for creating such a fun, inspiring Gluten Free blog event!

Next month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free event will be hosted by Heather of Life, Gluten Free. The theme is “Pumpkin Treats”. I don’t know about you, but I ADORE pumpkin! I can’t wait to see all the delicious, fall inspired creations!

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Java, Java, Java, Java, POM…..

About a week ago, the wonderful folds over at POM Wonderful sent me samples of their new coffee drinks. I was super excited until I realized they contained dairy. Then, GF Guy was super excited because they now belonged to him!

GF Guy LOVES his lattes. Interestingly, he hated coffee until we started dating. Then I got him hooked. My bad! I used to drink an entire pot of black coffee, by myself, every morning. The story of my downward spiral into coffee addiction started at 9 years old. I wanted to appear more mature and grown-up. It seemed all the adults drank coffee, so that is what I did. Fifteen years later, I still enjoy the occasional cup of coffee in the morning. But, it’s no longer an addiction… or an entire pot!
Back to the product review…
POM Wonderful Iced Coffee comes in three delectable flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, and Cafe au Lait.
I put them in the refrigerator for GF Guy. Then, every morning, I would pull his frosty stein out of the freezer, pour a POM Iced Coffee into his man mug, and put it back into the freezer until he returned from walking Dickens. The verdict? GF Guy LOVED THEM! His favorite was Vanilla. What can I say, I married a “Vanilla” kind of guy! “These taste like an Iced Latte!” Was his enthusiastic review. Two thumbs up! It was a sad day when he drank the last one. Overall, the POM Wonderful Iced Coffee drinks are a wonderful morning treat! If you love lattes you will love POM Iced Coffee.
Thanks again POM for allowing us to sample your wonderful new product!

Tune in tomorrow for Dinner With Disney!

Makin’ a "Pest"o Out of Myself…

I have this problem. I buy certain foods with full intentions of using them to make all sorts of delicious sounding and unusual recipes. Then, inevitably, I end up never making the recipes I intended. The food items either go to waste or smother me with guilt every time I look at them pitifully sitting on my pantry shelf.
My current nemesis…

A GIANT Florida Avocado! This bad boy was easily the size of at least 2 Hass Avocados. Tita brought it over last Sunday and it ripened throughout the week. Yesterday morning, I put it in the refrigerator to slow its ripening process a bit. It was becoming evident that I would have to “use it or lose it”, if you know what I mean. I decided to use it!

The picture is awful, but the taste is utter bliss!

Avocado Pesto



Ingredients:

– 1/2 Avocado, diced
– 1/4 cup of a mixture of fresh Italian Parsley and Basil Leaves (or one or the other)
– 1 tablespoon Chives, chopped
– 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes (or Vegan Parm)
– 1 clove Garlic, minced
– 1/2 teaspoon Herbamare
– freshly ground Black Pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon)
– 1/3 cup Hot Water (may use more or less)
– 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine Avocado, Herbs, Nutritional Yeast, Garlic, Salt and Pepper, Oil, and 1/4 cup of the Hot Water in a food processor.
Process until smooth, adding more water if needed.

GF Guy and I enjoyed our pesto over pasta with leftover Turkey and Spinach Meatballs. Delish!
I was honestly surprised this pesto turned out so well. The smooth, creamy texture was so rich and flavorful and not at all oily or greasy. I bet it would be killer over Spaghetti Squash!

This week I was given the opportunity to donate a gift basket to a silent auction, which means I have been baking non-stop in all my “free time”. Here is the finished product, chock full of all sorts of gluten and dairy free goodies!

– Harvest Muffins (Pumpkin, Corn)
Monkey Muffins (Almond Butter, Banana, Chocolate Chip)
– Berries N’ Cream Muffins (Blueberries, Tofutti Sour Cream)
– Banana Bread
Cranberry Nut Bread

I have also been busy creating new meals and recreating old ones to suit certain dietary needs. I am particularly proud of this little beauty:

Broccoli and Rice Casserole (Gluten Free, Corn Free, Vegan, Low Sodium)


I figured out how to make Gluten Free, Vegan Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup in order to make this recipe! Do you know why this excites me so much? Because now I can make my favorite childhood casserole recipes!!!!!!!!!!! Get ready for some seriously nostalgic meals in the weeks to come. Comfort food at its finest!

Well, I should probably get some rest. I haven’t stopped buzzing around since last Saturday! Sleep is seriously needed! Good night!

I Cheated…


I admit it! I cheated! I just wanted it so badly, but was too tired to do it the proper way. So… I cheated. I admit it. I did the unthinkable….

I used frozen English Muffins to make Garlic Bread!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, even I, the “over achieving 1950’s mom wanna be”, in a moment of weakness, used a frozen, pre-made bread product, and guess what! I LIKED it! HA!

You know those evenings. You arrive home after a long day of work too exhausted to take your shoes off, much less cook a meal for yourself. Then you look over at the hungry faces of your family members (aka GF Guy) and know you must create a mini kitchen miracle that somehow resembles a meal. The catch? It must take less than 15 minutes to prepare or you will fall asleep in your plate!

My quick, go to meal is Tinkyada pasta topped with steamed veggies, Bove’s Marinara Sauce, and a little Nutritional Yeast (GF Guy uses parm) and served with a side of whatever bread we have on hand.

I began preparing the aforementioned meal until I made a startling discovery. We were completely out of homemade GF bread! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I desperately swung open the freezer door, peered inside, and began rooting around. That’s when I found it, a bag of Kinnikinnick English Muffins. Eureka! I defrosted two, cut them in thirds, added a little of this and a little of that, and popped them in the oven. The resulting “Garlic Bread” was the perfect side for our 15 minute feast!

15 Minutes to Garlic Bread


Ingredients:
– 2 Kinnikinnick English Muffins, defrosted and sliced into thirds
– GF, dairy free margarine
– Basil
– Oregano
– Garlic Powder
– Nutritional Yeast Flakes (for a “cheesy” flavor)- optional
– Foil

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Spread margarine on all sides of muffin slices.
Sprinkle with spices and nutritional yeast.
Place slices back together and wrap in foil.
Place in oven and allow to heat until warm.

There you have it! All that’s left to do is eat and leave the dishes for GF Guy (or whomever) to clean while you go take a hot shower! Perfection! 😉

This post is linked to the Holiday Food Fest hosted by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

That’s Amore…

You are on your first date with that rakishly handsome guy from the “other side of the tracks”. The moon is glowing, the stars are twinkling, and you find yourself falling just a little bit in love. Dinner is a casual, yet romantic, affair at a cozy little Italian cafe where he is a regular. You decide to share a meal, claiming you are not that hungry, but knowing he can’t really afford to pay for two meals. You can tell everyone adores him, which only adds to his appeal. The strains of an Italian love song begin to play as you gaze into his deep brown puppy dog eyes. He playfully nudges the last meatball in you direction. You nudge it back. He slowly leans forward and licks marinara sauce from your nose…. WAIT A MINUTE!

This sounds like a scene straight out of Lady and the Tramp! It must be time for Dinner With Disney!!!!!!!!


In honor of this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free theme, Dinner With Disney, I decided to recreate a classic Disney meal, Meatballs! Who can forget spaghetti scene between Lady and the Tramp?

My twist on the recipe is probably quite a bit healthier than the meatballs they enjoyed, but just as tasty.

Turkey and Spinach Meatballs


Ingredients:
– 2 pounds 94% lean, Ground Turkey
– 12 oz. frozen Spinach, defrosted and drained
– 1/2 small Onion, diced
– 3 medium clove Garlic, minced
– 1 large Egg
– 1/4 cup low sodium Vegetable Stock
– 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
– Toasted Breadcrumbs from 2 slices of Gluten Free Bread (I used 2 sheets of Van’s gluten and dairy free mini waffles, toasted them and processed them into a crumb in the food processor)
– 2-3 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes (Redstar is Gluten Free)
– 1/2 teaspoon Rubbed Sage
– 1/2 teaspoon Rosemary
– 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
– 1/3 teaspoon Nutmeg
– Salt to taste
– freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet (with a lip) with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Now, it’s time to get messy! Roll up your sleeves, take off your rings, and dig in! Use your hands to thoroughly combine the ingredients in a large bowl. No liquid should remain.
Roll meatballs into balls about 1 inch in diameter and place on your prepared baking sheet.
Bake in a 400 degree oven about 20 minutes, until cooked through.
Serve over pasta or as a sandwich.

These meatballs freeze beautifully! Just let them cool completely, toss them in a freezer bag, label and date them, and place them in your freezer. Simple as pie1

Enjoy!

Childhood Memories…

Until recently, I had not discovered the many joys of Coconut Milk. Like many, I shunned it due to the Saturated Fat content. (…which I now know is metabolized differently than regular saturated fat, because coconut fat is a medium-chain fatty acid.) Why, oh why did I ever shun you, Coconut Milk?
Turtle Mountain has a line of Coconut Milk products that include, Ice Cream (think GF/DF Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, people!), Yogurt, Kefir, Refrigerated Milk and flavored Milks, and Ice Cream Novelties. So far, I have had the pleasure of trying the Coconut Milk Kefir and Unsweetened Coconut Milk. Both have been spectacular. BUT… I have found a new favorite Turtle Mountain product…..


Coconut Almond Minis!!!!!!


These little gems of perfection on a stick remind me of the ice cream bars I used to eat with my dad. He called them “Brown Cows”, though I’m not sure if that was the technical name.

Either way, I had a moment of nostalgia as I used my teeth to delicately crack off the exterior shell before licking the decadent coconut ice cream interior. Then, the taste began to register. FORGET ABOUT THOSE “BROWN COWS”! THESE COCONUT ALMOND MINIS ARE THE BEST EVER!!!!!!!!! Sweet without being too sweet, decadent without being too heavy, and just the right size. I can not recommend these enough! Thank you Turtle Mountain. You continue to amaze me with you brilliance! I can not wait to try the Coconut Milk Yogurt.

Everyone:
Don’t forget to submit your Dinner With Disney entries. These are due by the 27th, so get in that kitchen and create some Disney Magic!
-AND-
Don’t forget to submit your articles/recipes/product review, etc… for the Gluten Free Blog Carnival. Follow this link to the submission form. Entries for the GF Lifestyle Blog Carnival are due by the 28th.

"Viital"-y Important…

A new Allergy Free Cafe/Bakery is coming to town! Viitals, is a company devoted to creating healthy, high protein, gluten/dairy/egg/nut/soy/etc… free snacks, and soon they will have a permanent home!

The owner of Viitals, Ivan Nikolov, is not a Celiac. In fact, he is a former body builder! But, he understands the plight that faces those with Celiac’s and has a strong passion for health and healthy eating. I had the pleasure of meeting him and chatting about his products. Viitals provides high protein crackers and muffins with staggeringly good nutritional stats.

Viitals protein packed muffins are meals in themselves, and you won’t have to feel guilty about enjoying them.

The crackers come in flavors such as Cinnamon Agave Graham Crackers.

The thing that stood out to me was the artisinal quality of each product. The crackers are hand made. No two are alike!

Talk about a commitment to your products! Ivan, himself, makes each product by hand! I encourage you to check out Ivan’s website to see all of his products. Currently, you can order your products online. Viitals will ship to anywhere in the US. But soon, Viitals will be opening a cafe/bakery here in Tampa! Help support new businesses like Viitals! I know I will definitely be frequenting the cafe once it opens. I some of you will too!

I’m Back and Only Slightly Broken…

Hello, Everyone! Thank you so much for your “get-well” wishes. I appreciate it more than I can say. I am on the road to recovery, but it is going to be a much slower healing than I had hoped. I can cook, work, and exercise. BUT, I can’t lift anything, I can’t run or jump, and I am still on some pain meds. As a proud member of Over Achievers Anonymous, I will be the first to admit I tend to “over do-it” in most aspects of my life. I can’t do anything “simply” or “half way”. This tenacious approach towards life is proving to be a bit of a hindrance in my healing process. For example, yesterday GF Guy and I had our extended family over to watch a football game. I should have cooked something simple for such a large group and called it a day. BUT, NOOOOOO….. I had to make Pulled Pork, Baked Beans, Collard Greens, 3 different kinds of Corn Muffins (2 of them were new creations), and S’More Brownies. (All gluten free, dairy free, and made from scratch.) The party was a success, but I spent the evening lying on the couch strapped to a heating pad. I “over did-it”. Today, I met my mom at the gym for our double personal training session. (Don’t worry. I was careful.) Then, I spent the rest of the day grocery shopping and cooking for my “personal chef” families. Here are some pics of a few of today’s creations.

Turkey and Spinach Meatballs

Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole (before and after adding homemade breadcrumbs)


Both meals are new creations!

In addition to working a 40 hour work week at the health food store, cooking for my “families”, and writing the blog, I am donating a gift basket of baked goods to a silent auction this week. I am feeling VERY overwhelmed! Would someone mind breathing for me? I don’t think I’ll have the time! Wish me luck! I’ll try to keep you all posted.

Don’t forget to submit your recipes for Dinner With Disney!

Ouch….

I will not be posting anything food related tonight. I am in too much pain to focus. I was practicing yoga with my little sister (she’s 8). We were working on Candle Pose/Shoulder Stand. This is what i was doing…

Then, I slipped, and this is what happened…

They are worried I might have a stable fracture of my spine. Personally, I think it’s just muscular. All I can do now is take the pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers and try not to move too much.

What did I learn from this?
– Yoga can be dangerous and to always focus on my core muscles!

One of Those Days…

Today started off as one of those days. You know the kind I mean. The kind of day when your Vegan Banana Bread sinks in the middle…


The kind of day when you realize you are out of Raw Almond Milk after you pour yourself a big bowl of cereal.

The kind of day when you are mocked by a vegetable…

That’s right, folks… I had an Eggplant stick it’s tongue out at me!
You would think after a morning of kitchen mishaps I would be steering clear of such a rude vegetable. Well guess again! I took that curly little tongue as a challenge! I was determined to show that little guy who was boss in this kitchen! Unfortunately, I had never cooked Eggplant. I decided to try two simple methods of cooking. The first, sauteing.

I sliced the Eggplant into 1/4″ thick rounds. Then, I laid the rounds on paper towels, lightly salted them, and let them sit for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture.
After, drying off the rounds, I whisked together a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Thyme, Rosemary, and Sage, and lightly painted the Eggplant rounds with the mixture. Next, I heated a small skillet over medium-high heat and sauteed the Eggplant about 3 minutes on each side, until browned.

I then sliced the Eggplant and built a salad that would have made any “Veg-Head” proud:

– Romaine Lettuce
– Raw Corn
– Carrots
– Tomato
– Sauteed Eggplant
– Kalamata Olives
– Balsamic Vinegar
YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I TOTALLY SCHOOLED THAT EGGPLANT!

Tune in next time for Eggplant; Episode 2!