Mixed Vegetable Panang Curry with Tofu from Bangkok Cuisine
I recently attended a four-day Xocai Healthy Dark Chocolate
convention at the Atlantis Resort and Casino in Reno, NV. Before heading there, I introduced myself over the phone to chefs Bob and Dennis, who gave me tips in navigating the conference culinary offerings, and where I would have the best chance for success in the half dozen or so restaurants that are part of the casino. They were both very nice, and I did enjoy a nice conference salad one day. However, I mostly relied on provisions of apples, oranges, bananas and raisins as well as carrots and hummus from the grocery store across the street, and the powdered peanut butter and gf amaranth rolls I brought from home. And let's not forget the Xocai protein shake! One of my roommates brought her bullet blender, so breakfast was a snap.But of course there were opportunities to eat out. One evening we wanted to eat al fresco -- a natural result of having been inside a casino meeting room all day when the weather outside was sunny and 80. We lucked into the Great Basin Brewing Company, having picked it on the basis that they had outdoor seating. It was a short cab ride from the resort and they had a fairly well-endowed gluten-free menu (though I thought it strange that they didn't appear to carry any gf beers.) I enjoyed the La Flaca Rice Bowl sans chips, which was essentially rice and beans with a spicy salsa, topped with avocado. It was just what I needed and it really hit the spot! The service was a bit on the slow side, but we WERE a party of eight, so I will not judge them on their usual service time based on our experience. Our server was delightful, attentive and very helpful. Sadly, I've forgotten her name.The next night we decided to eat out again, and so I set out to find something interesting that could meet the needs of our group. Usiing UrbanSpoon.com, I spotted Bangkok Cuisine, which was also a short cab ride from the Atlantis. I called in advance and learned that they didn't have a gluten-free menu but that they could easily and safely accommodate me.
When we arrived, Veronica our server was super helpful and guided me through their extensive menu. Our group of eight decided to do a family-style meal sharing, but I kept mine separate until I'd filled my plate then put it on the go-around with the other dishes. I had the mixed vegetable coconut soup -- spicy, light and refreshing -- and the mixed vegetable panang curry over rice. No problem with the service here -- the food came out quite fast. There is nothing like fresh and authentic Thai food to really buoy my spirits, not that they were low, but I just hadn't had Thai food other than Pei Wei (a chain restaurant that is owned by the same people who run PF Chang's) since my celiac diagnosis. Who knew Reno would be the place for reintroducing me to excellent Thai food?I do want to note that before I went I identified a couple of places to eat that were an easy walk from the casino that looked promising. Zpizza offers a gluten-free crust and delivery, so I would probably have ordered in if I hadn't been traveling with a posse
. The Aroma Club
also had some possibilities, though their hours didn't match well with my free time from the conference.All in all, I had a great trip and was really pleased with my dining out experiences. Thanks, Reno!
La Flaca from Great Basin Brewing Co.
I meant to shout about these from the mountaintops before now! I no longer need to schlep my tasty treats with self-conscious gluten-free designation done with blue painters tape and sharpie marker. Cute tooth picks and pan tags bring my gluten-free fare out of the closet for potlucks and block parties. I especially love that the pan tags are oven-safe, microwave-safe and dishwasher safe. Check out the whole line at www.glutenfreelabels.com.
I tend to do variations on my culinary creations, so if this looks kinda familiar, it's because I'm borrowing and altering from my own recipes. These bars have no added sugar, and I reduced the fat by using powdered peanut butter and some actual chopped peanuts, rather than getting out the jar of Jif. I hid some Xocai healthy dark chocolate power squares within for an added boost. You could use other chocolate squares, but you owe it to yourself to try Xocai
!) Banana Peanut Chocolate Oat Bars
1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats (I use Trader Joes)2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter (I like a brand called JustGreatStuff and I found it recently at my local supermarket in the health food section. There's another brand out there that's good too, called PB2)
2 tablespoons chopped roasted lightly salted peanuts
9 Xocai Power Squares
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 6" X 9" baking pan with non-stick parchment paper. Combine all the ingredients except the chocolate and mix well. Pour half of the mixture into the pan. Arrange the 9 chocolate squares so that you'll get one square per serving. Spread the remaining oat mixture over the top.
Bake for 22 - 27 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Let cool and cut into 9 bars. Great for a quick pre-fab breakfast or on-the-go snack!
Here's the middle layer with the chocolate squares before the top layer was added
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We had such great success at our holiday gf meetup cookie swap that we thought we attempt a springtime reprise with a baked goods potluck brunch. I had a hankering for strawberries, and I’m very into dark chocolate, so I created some muffins to share with the group. The ones I shared with my friends were pretty mild-mannered, but two muffins that didn’t make the lineup for the potluck were my (very successful) trial of adding A LOT of chocolate to them. I call them Strawberry Chocolate Bomb Muffins. My partner Jenn reports that eating them is like having fudge without having to go to one of those touristy places that make you watch them spread it on a slab of marble. If you wanted to make these muffins and were stranded on a desert island and had to forego the chocolate, you could, but you’d be sad and you’d have to change the name. Strawberry Chocolate Bomb Muffins
1 ¾ cups all purpose gluten-free baking mix (I used Arrowhead Mills, which contains xanthan gum. If you use a blend that doesn’t include xanthan gum, I’d advise 1 ¼ teaspoons of it for this recipe.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or the milk-like product of your choice)
½ cup sugar
½ stick of melted butter
¼ cup vanilla yogurt (if you don’t have this, you can double the butter and add an additional ¼ cup sugar)
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, cut into smallish chunks
18 Xocai Dark Chocolate Nuggets (or do a mix of some with chocolate, some without)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and set aside. In a bowl, mix together the milk, sugar, butter, yogurt and eggs. Fold in the strawberries. Add the flour blend a bit at a time and stir until moistened. Pour batter into lined muffin tins 2/3rds full. Push an unwrapped nugget into the middle of the chosen muffins. It’s okay if it
doesn’t get completely covered with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes out clean. Let cool enough for the molten lava chocolate to not scald you – maybe ½ an hour or more. Makes 18 muffins.
For you Philadelphians interested in learning more about the gluten-free diet, register for the Mt Airy Learning Tree Class Why and How to Go Gluten-Free
. I am leading the workshop, which will be held at Food For All Market and Café
, and in addition to some delicious samples of their gluten-free fare, I'm including my ebooks Gluten Free: Practical Advice for a Happy, Healthy Gluten-Free Life
and So What CAN You Eat? Gluten-Free Paleo Vegan (mostly) Recipes for Health and Weight Loss
(which I will have printed out for your benefit, of course!)
Here's the course description:
Do you feel lousy and don't know why? Have doctors not been able to figure out what's wrong? Have you recently been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Do you wonder if going gluten-free can help you lose weight? Do you want to know what all the buzz is about? During this fun and interactive hour and a half session, you'll get facts and practical tips for eating gluten-free safely and well.
Tuesday, May 7th, 6:30 - 8 pm
Food For All, 7127 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19119
$20 for the class, $5 Materials fee REGISTRATION THROUGH MT. AIRY LEARNING TREE IS REQUIRED
I hope to see you there!
I have become a healthy dark chocolate cheerleader. You can read all about why it's a great fit for a healthy lifestyle here
. I am so impressed with my brand of dark chocolate (Xocai, pronounced show-sigh) that I want to everyone to know about it. So, for a limited time, if you sign up for my mailing list and provide me with your address in the contact form
, I'll send you a sample. No pressure, no hype, just a chance to try this high-quality chocolate. Sweet!
My sister-in-law Kim told me about cauliflower crust pizza awhile ago, but I just hadn't gotten around to trying it. I did look it up on the internet, and I noticed that a number of examples shown in photos had quite crispy edges. I must confess that I've had one too many gluten-free pizza crusts that were a bit burned around the outside, and I don't particularly like the carbonara flavor. I decided to try something crazy and make little tartlets in a muffin tin using foil liners so that they could be a bit better contained and maybe reduce the likelihood of becoming too crispy. I'm also in the middle of reading Joel Fuhrman's book Super Immunity
, in which seeds get lifted up as a must-have in any super-high nutrient diet. I had picked up some roasted pepitas earlier in the day, and I decided that grinding
them and adding them to the crust would provide some healthy fat and let me reduce the amount of cheese in the crust.
Success! These little babies are delicious! I could even have used less cheese, and they would have been fine. The crust was a little puffy and nicely crustly, with no burnt edges. I had several for dinner, but these would be pretty fun as a party food too. You can't really tell from the picture because of the cheese, but two of them have mushrooms, one of them has mushrooms and tomatoes, and two are just plain cheese. I liked every combination.
Ingredients:1 cup grated cauliflower
(I used a cheese grater, and it went pretty fast)1 egg2 tablespoons roasted salted pepitas
, ground (I ground them in my coffee grinder. If you don't have this around, double the cheese in the crust to 1/2 cup)1/4 cup cheese for crust, plus ~1/4 more for topping1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
(I used this because we were out of dried basil and the oregano was at the back of the cabinet, but you should use whatever pizza seasoning you like)~1/4 cup pizza sauce
(I used jarred sauce from the pantry)Pizza toppings
(I had fresh mushrooms and some grape tomatoes on hand, and Joel Fuhrman likes them too)Directions:Preheat oven to 450. Line a muffin tin with 6 foil muffin cups and spray them with non-stick cooking spray. Grate enough cauliflower to have a cup of it (around half a head). Put it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for 4 minutes. (Almost everyone else on the interwebs says to nuke it for 8, but that's WAY TOO LONG in our microwave. I also saw a recipe that didn't microwave the cauliflower at all, so I split the difference and went with 4 minutes.) Let it cool for a couple of minutes so that when you add the cheese and egg it doesn't get weird. Stir in the ground
pepitas, cheese, herbs, and egg and combine thoroughly. Divide evenly among the 6 muffin cups until it's evenly divided.
Bake for 10 minutes, until the crusts are a little puffy and starting to brown on the edges (but not too brown!). Remove from the oven, turn the oven up to broil, and while it's heating, top your crusts with a spoonful of sauce, toppings and cheese. Put under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly.Remove. Let cool for a couple minutes to let the cheese set up, then pop the tarts out of the foil cups. Enjoy!
My random collection of gf breads in the freezer
I have so much to celebrate! After a kajillion fun but long work days for my Day Job, I have FOUR DAYS OFF! Woohoo! My Happy Healthy Gluten Free facebook page
hit 500 subscribers. Sweet! I'm feeling great, the family is fine, our dog is cute, and all is right with the world.So of course it's time for a recipe to share!I'm a little self-conscious that I use bananas in so many recipes, but its not unusual for us to have some geriatric specimens around that need to get used up. In their (and my) defense, they are a great source of natural sugars and fiber and they taste great. Additionally, after 18 years of not eating chocolate, I'm putting my toes in the water of baking and cooking with healthy dark chocolate.[Besides tasting great, I'm totally sold on the health benefits of dark chocolate, so much so that I've become a distributor of Xocai Healthy Dark Chocolate. Learn more about the health benefits and how to get some for yourself here.]The weather forecast for today called for major dreariness -- rain, sleet and hail with a little snow mixed in. In this part of the country, that usually means a run to the store for eggs, milk and bread. For me, it means it's time to use up the weird collection of gluten-free baked odds and ends in our small above-the-refrigerator freezer. Since we already had eggs and (almond) milk on hand, I decided to go for a gluten-free chocolate chunk banana bread pudding. Having made gf bread pudding before, I have to note that milk, sugar, eggs, bananas and chocolate can go only so far to fix dreadful-to-begin-with bread, so if you saved some awful tapioca-based loaf at some time in the past, just throw it out. It can't be salvaged. Life's too short. Ingredients:Approximately 10 cups of gf bread, cut into cubes (I didn't use the raisin bread you see in the picture, but did use some muffins, rolls and random slices of both light and dark-colored breads)2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk4 eggs1/2 cup sugarTablespoon of vanillascant 1/8 teaspoon of salt1 ripe banana, mashed1.5 oz dark chocolate chunks (I used 7 Xocai Power Squares broken into pieces)Directions:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a rectangular baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. (I lined our 9" X 13" baking pan with parchment paper because we don't have dedicated gf
baking pans and a girl can't be too careful.) Put the bread cubes in the baking pan.Combine the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl and
mix thoroughly. Fold in the banana and chocolate. Pour it over the bread cubes. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to allow the liquid to soak into the bread. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until it's cooked through and through. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Because I could, I lifted mine out of the pan by its parchment paper and let it cool on a wire rack. For the photo opp, I cut back the parchment paper, but that was purely cosmetic. Anything for my art.I think it might qualify as irony, but I let it cool and put half of it in the freezer to reduce the risk that I would eat it all in one sitting
I used a variety of gf breads and baked it up in a 9 X 13 pan lined with parchment paper
Not a bad way to spend a dreary Saturday afternoon!
I will be traveling to Atlanta tomorrow for a two day work trip. I have been in touch with my hosts who are arranging meals to make sure that I won't be caught high and dry. I feel pretty confident that everything will go well, but just in case, I will make my usual precautions. Check out my YouTube video for how to stay happy and healthy on the road. (blogging from my phone... Sorry it is not prettier!)