Thursday, April 17, 2014

Primal Preview Wine Dinner

Sometimes I feel so lucky and blessed and LOVED that I just have to pinch myself!

This past week for my birthday, one of my dear friends gifted Parrish and I two tickets to the MEAL OF A LIFETIME!

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As if my post earlier this week didn’t brag enough about my local gluten free options, I am happy to say that this summer one of my favorite restaurants, Blu Seafood, is opening a COMPLETELY gluten free restaurant: Primal Food and Spirits.

Executive Chef and Owner Tim Lyons is creating a local food focused menu with delicious meat and veggies – all options are naturally gluten free, which is my favorite way to eat! Gluten free substitutes are great, but for me, I love yummy foods that are naturally safe for me to eat.

So last night Parrish and I had the pleasure of attending the Primal Preview Wine Dinner:

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To say we were excited is an understatement. I practically stalk their Facebook page for upcoming news about when they’re going to open!

The meal was four courses, and each course was paired with a wine:

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Funnily enough, I commented to Parrish that none of the wines were something I would order on my own – so I was excited to branch out and try new things.

Our first course came and we nearly died.

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Pasture-Raised Pork Belly Poached in Olive Oil with Sour Orange Mustard

It was so FREAKIN’ good! The pork belly was perfection and I literally licked up the sour orange mustard.

Second course:

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Bacon Wrapped Dates with Chevre, Spinach, and a Red Wine Glaze

Why haven’t I ever tried a bacon wrapped date?! So good. Have you had one? There is definitely something about the sweet and the smoky – the chewy and the crispy – that makes it a bite of heaven.

Parrish and I agreed that when you had a little bit of everything, the bacon, date, chevre, spinach, and glaze in one bite, it was divine!

And the wine!!!!!

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I typically turn my nose up to rose wines, but this Pinot Noir Rose was incredible! I will definitely be trying a glass again. Plus it paired with the dish perfectly.

By the time our third course came out, Parrish and I were pretty much in a trance of delicious food. How could this night get any better?!

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Thirty-Hour Braised Short Rib with Roasted Cauliflower & Mushrooms

Ummmm….. when you’re eating a 30 hour Red Wine Braised Short Rib! At this point, the sun had gone down – so please excuse the dark photos.

Honestly, I wish computers had smell-o-vision because you NEED to smell that sauce around the short rib. We considered drinking it out of the bowl like soup. Seriously. No joke.

Our fourth and final course was a delightful way to finish such an incredible meal:

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Coconut Milk Ice Cream with drizzled local honey and pistachios.

I loved taking a bite of the dessert and then chasing it with a sip of the Moscato – it had a wonderful light fizz that really spiced things up.

It truly was an amazing night. I can’t wait until Primal opens this Summer. You will definitely be seeing TONS more of their meals on the blog.

And I DEFINITELY think we should plan a blogger meet up there once they open!

And thank you so much Jessica for this sweet birthday gift! Your thoughtfulness means so much to Parrish and I! You gave us the meal of a lifetime!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My FAVORITE Quick Smoothie

If you follow me on Instagram (glutenhatesme) then you have noticed that I am on a REAL Smoothie kick lately. There really is nothing more satisfying after a tough Pure Barre class than a cool smoothie.

Plus, they’re crazy easy to make!

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My FAVORITE Green Smoothie – and I promise, you won’t taste the GREEN!

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1 cup frozen bananas and strawberries (I get a huge bag at Target)

2 scoops Vanilla Whey Protein ( OR 1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt)

1 to 2 handfuls of Baby Spinach

2 to 3 cups Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

Place all ingredients in a blender – start with 2 cups of Almond Milk and then add to get the consistency you like. I like a thick smoothie (I pretend it’s a milkshake) so I add less.


Fun Twist: Add 1/2 cup of Orange Juice! It will taste just like an Orange Creamsicle

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gluten Free Restaurants in NC–BDay Recap

I never thought it was possible, but this past week – while celebrating my birthday – I actually had TOO MUCH yummy gluten free food.

I mean seriously, gone are the days of searching out safe restaurants for me. I am so blessed here in NC to be surrounded by a handful of positively DELICIOUS restaurants that are kind enough (and smart enough) to offer ACTUAL gluten free options.

*I say ACTUAL because lately there have been a few reports of restaurants that offer gluten free but then make a disclaimer about shared workspace and urge those with Celiac not to choose their gluten free options. Ummmm seriously?! Yep. But more on that another day.

My birthday celebrations truly represent a Who’s Who list of restaurants with safe options.

First up, Bella Monica in Raleigh, NC.

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Bella Monica is no stranger to gluten free. In fact, you may have purchased their gluten free flatbread at your local grocery store. Their restaurant has SO MANY gluten free options. I’ve blogged about it before, but….

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their gluten free focaccia is to die for. Crispy, buttery, and brought to the table fresh from the oven.

I also love their Gluten Free Cheese Ravioli:

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When is the last time you had ravioli?! For me, it had been about 7 years. Incredible.

Next up, The Little Dipper in Durham, NC.

Their Pineapple Habanero Margarita is my absolute FAVORITE cocktail right now.

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It’s spicy and sweet – LOVE. Paired with a big ol’ pot of Cheese Fondue:

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where could you go wrong?!

You’ve seen it before – you will definitely see it again – Geer Street Garden in Durham:

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Their gluten free grilled pimento cheese is CRAZY good! And their fries are now gluten free too! The owner’s wife has Celiac Disease, so they are always super helpful when it comes to ordering.

My LOVE – DaisyCakes in Durham:

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I’m either stopping by for one of their delicious cupcakes, or enjoying a gluten free biscuit with a latte; I can NEVER go wrong at DaisyCakes.

In fact, I ate there TWICE during my birthday celebrations! Smile

Kimbap in Raleigh:

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Gluten Free dumplings. Enough said, am I right?!

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But I can’t forget the Bibimbap. The only thing bad about Kimbap is that it isn’t closer to my house. However, it is well worth the 30 minute drive. Well worth it.

By the end of my extended Birthday Weekend, I was DONE with celebrating. I honestly couldn’t tell when my stomach was hungry for a few days! Of course I got plenty of exercise:

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31 OverHead Ball Slams for the Birthday Girl

But my stomach was still overloaded. In addition to the above deliciousness, I also ate TWO amazing dinners at Dos Perros, and a yummy breakfast at Another Broken Egg Café. I must have been in too much of a food coma to remember to whip out my camera!

So – check your calendar and book a trip to the Triangle area of NC. We can go on a Food Tour together! But wait a few weeks, I still need to recover from my birthday!

Winking smile

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cheesy Cabot Quinoa Bites

When I accepted an invitation to become a Cabot Fit Team Member, I have to admit…. I did it for the CHEESE.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited to share my love of fitness and balanced nutrition on a broader platform. Plus, I can’t wait to meet Cabot Co-op farmers – pet a few cows -  BUT at the end of the day, it’s ALL about the cheese for me.

I LOVE good cheese. Before my Celiac diagnosis, I thought I was lactose intolerant. So actually finding out that I needed to avoid gluten instead of dairy was a bit of a happy moment. (A bit – it still sucked big time)

This month I worked on a recipe for Cabot, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you guys! It reworks one of my original recipes – improving the flavor by using a sharper cheddar.

Cheesy Cabot Quinoa Bites

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These little babies are PERFECT for a quick lunch, snack on the go, or a supper prepped ahead of time. Full of protein and fiber, I LOVE how easy these come together.


Cheesy Cabot Quinoa Bitesgluten free

You’ll need:

2 cups cooked quinoa - You can easily make your quinoa a few days in advance

2 large eggs, whisked

1 1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup grated Cabot Alpine Cheddar (or Cabot Catamount Hills if you have access to a Whole Foods)

2 scallions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs Flaxseed Meal

1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all the ingredients except the eggs. Once mixed, add in two large eggs - whisked. Mix well. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes so the flavors meld. 

Spray a mini muffin tin or brownie bites pan with cooking spray. Using a spoon, distribute the quinoa mixture into the tins, filling to the top. Bake 15 minutes - check to see if golden brown and slightly crisped. If not, bake for an additional 5 minutes. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Week in Highlights and the BEST Brownie

Happy Monday friends!

I have to admit that I am feeling particularly happy this Monday – I finally feel like I’ve got my head above water at work, and things are slowing down a bit personally too.

Last week sort of got away from me, so instead of going day by day, I thought I would just hit the highlights for you guys!

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I treated myself on Thursday night. Pookey’s Sweet Life does it again! The BEST brownies ever: Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

Crispy on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside – Plus they are CRAZY easy to make! Just oil (I used coconut) and two eggs. Boom! In fact, two of my gluten eating friends thought they were delicious too – the true test of a gluten free dessert!

I started Friday morning with an early Pure Barre class, and then rushed to work to meet up with Google.

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We had the Google 360 Team come out to do a virtual tour – I can’t wait to share the inside of our store with you guys soon!

Saturday morning started even earlier than Friday, but I actually woke up 30 minutes before my 6am alarm. It was race day!

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In fact, the FIRST race of my season!

To help raise money for our Fair Trade artisans, the non-profit I work for signed up to do a 5K/10K race. I was so excited to run for something I’m passionate about, but I was nervous about running with my knee.

Ice, Ibuprofen, and Foam rolling helped for sure – the race course was a bit hilly, AND it was raining the entire time, BUT I was still super STOKED with my time.

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Especially since it turned out that the race course was actually a bit over a 5K. My actual end time for the 5K was 29:02! I think this is a great starting point for this year, and I’m hoping that I will be able to actually ramp up my training soon. Fingers crossed PT works.

Our Board President Bruce ran the 10k in 54 minutes! In fact, the whole One World Market team was pretty impressive!

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We all ranked in the Top 15 for our Age Groups!

After the race I was ready for breakfast

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at my local favorite, Daisy Cakes! I had been looking forward to this treat ALL WEEK!

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I started with an AMAZING Vanilla Latte complete with a gluten free cookie on the side. But the real star of the show:

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An EPIC gluten free breakfast sandwich. Gluten Free bread – Two Sunny Side Up Eggs – Cheddar – Sautéed Arugula. DELICIOUS!

I really wish you guys lived in Durham and we could all eat at Daisy Cakes together – it’s just so good!

Saturday ended up being a day of treats for sure. I rested during the day and watched The Wolf of Wall Street with Parrish. It was pretty funny, but just a bit too long. That night we went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and I discovered my NEW Summer Drink!

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Tiny Sparkling Wine – complete with a mini straw!

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Love it! Between Pineapple Habanero Margaritas and these little babies, I am set for Summer Time!

Now if the weather would just cooperate!

So there you go – we’re all caught up! What about you? Did you have a great weekend?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Greek Quinoa Cakes

I’d be lying if I said I was having a great day today.

Yesterday afternoon I started having a pinch of pain in my lower back, and it’s continued until today. I’m not quite sure what I did – possibly something at PT yesterday? Either way, I’m beginning to feel like my body is waging a war against me.

Or…I’m just feeling a bit whiney this morning and can’t seem to shake it off.

Which honestly is crazy because 1. I am an OPTIMIST. 2. I had a super yummy supper last night and a delicious breakfast this morning. Good food typically makes me feel better!

But even an optimist can have a down moment, so I’m just reminding myself I don’t need to be perfect. I can be a bit grumpy. Most likely I’ll feel tons better later today, and if I’m grumpy until tomorrow – so be it. So long as I don’t take it out anyone at work – I’ll be good!

Winking smile

Now, let’s talk about that super yummy supper.

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Greek Quinoa Patties with fresh avocado and herbed Greek Yogurt.

I love it when recipes work!

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Crunchy, Crisp Quinoa – soft pillows of feta – a light lemon zest


If you’re nervous about trying Quinoa, then this is the recipe for you! It’s easy and the texture is drastically changed. You’ll get all those great health benefits and the protein punch without feeling like you’re eating tiny seeds.

Greek Quinoa Cakes – adpated from Popular Paleo and Spoon Fork Bacon

gluten free - vegetarian

You’ll need:

4 cups cooked quinoa (one cup raw makes 4 cups cooked)
2 cups Baby Spinach, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup flaxseed meal ( I used King Arthur’s Gluten Free)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup feta
5 eggs, whisked

Plus oil for cooking: I used 2 tbsp. coconut oil

I highly recommend cooking your quinoa ahead of time. You’ll need it cooked and cooled for this recipe, so you could totally make it a day or two ahead of time.

In a large bowl, mix together your spinach, scallions, lemon zest, flaxseed meal, salt, garlic powder, and feta. Mix well. Add your cooled quinoa and mix well.

Heat your oil of choice over medium to medium high heat. While your oil is heating, add the whisked eggs to your quinoa mixture and stir well to combine.

Once your oil is hot, add the mixture in heaping spoonfuls. Use the back of your spoon to pat out the burger to 1/2 to 1/4 inch thickness.

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Let the cakes cook until they are golden brown – then flip.

Waiting until they are golden brown:

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is KEY! Otherwise they won’t hold up to flipping.

Cook on the other side until golden brown and you’re ready to serve! Halfway through your batch, you may need to reduce your heat a bit. I started on medium high but reduced to medium for my third batch.

Serve with toppings of your choice!

Salsa, Tomatoes, you decide!

Enjoy! Smile

Monday, March 24, 2014

This Week’s Plan: Meals & Workouts

Another week begins – Another week of planned meals! Organization for the win! Smile

But first, let’s recap the weekend!

Parrish and I had a SUPER EARLY start on Saturday morning because we were volunteering at the Merge Records 25K Road Race.

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Our station was the first turn the runners had to take, so we were there to make sure they took the right turn. We also had to delay motorists – which sucked honestly – but luckily they only had to wait about 10 minutes total. Some drivers were totally nice and understanding, others….not so much.

Either way, volunteering was super fun. It was awesome to cheer on racers as they ran past us. And it was great to hang out with my best friend

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who makes everything way more fun!

After volunteering we headed out for our own run and ended up doing just a bit over a 5k. I’m working with a knee issue, so I’m trying not push it distance-wise. Which honestly can be hard when it’s such a beautiful day!

Later that day we enjoyed lunch with friends, and treated ourselves to milkshakes from our local ice cream shop for dessert:

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They didn’t last long.

Sunday morning was a day for rest and relaxation. I started the day the slowly – Max started the day and then decided to delay his start for a few hours.

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He’s such a sleepy old man these days.

Parrish and I also worked on finally getting some of my Lululemon workout clothes up on eBay.

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We’d been talking about doing it for weeks, and I’m glad we finally made the time. When I first started working out, I would reward every 5 pounds lost with a new Lululemon piece.

But now, as much as I love those pieces, they don’t fit. It truly makes no sense to hold on to workout clothes that were barely worn and are now to loose.

So eBay it is! You can view the shop here if you’re interested:

In the afternoon, I settled in and worked on the Menu for this week:

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This Week’s Meal Plan:

Monday: Greek Quinoa Patties

I’m going to try a spin on my classic quinoa patties but use feta cheese and olives for a new twist!

Tuesday: Crockpot White Bean Turkey Chili

We have another batch of cold weather headed our way, so it’s time to break out the crock pot once again!

Wednesday: Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

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It’s just so darn good. Enough said!

Thursday: Shrimp Tacos

I’m using the Cilantro Lime Shrimp recipe from last week and using it as a taco stuffer.

Friday: Big Salad

I like to plan a big salad towards the end of the week to use up any fresh produce that’s still in the fridge.


In addition to planning out my meals, I also checked my calendar and planned out my workouts for the week. This week:

Monday: PT in the morning; I’m dealing with an issue in my right knee. Fingers crossed PT can calm it down. Otherwise this will be a rest day.

Tuesday: Pure Barre

Wednesday: Pure Barre and a run

Thursday: Pure Barre

Friday: Pure Barre

Saturday: The Great Human Race 5k

Sunday: Pure Barre

I’ve got a busy week, but I’m happy that I’m still able to fit it all in. And yeah…I’m still loving Pure Barre!

I do miss weight training, and I hope to add that back in soon. But honestly with my knee issues, I’ve been happy to just focus on an overall balance for my body. I’m planning on signing up for the next Shred from NHerShoes in the Spring, so I’ll be picking the weights back up soon.

What about you?

What’s on the menu this week?