Sunday, May 31, 2009

Boats and Beer Batter

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Some of the best days are spontaneous. Parrish and I enjoyed a day on the lake…but not relaxing. We rowed for well over an hour. Rowing on a large lake is SO much better than rowing out in the ocean (right Alex!?!).

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By the end our arms were burning, and we had really worked up an appetite. So in the spirit of spontaneity, we tried out a new recipe: Gluten Free Beer Battered Onion Rings!

onion rings

You’ll need:

Onion slices 1/2 inch thick

1 egg white

1 cup gluten free flour

1 cup gluten free beer (or sparkling water)

Hot oil for frying

With a whisk, beat the egg white. Measure out one cup of gluten free beer, not including the foam.

onion rings 1 cup

Add in one cup of gluten free flour. I used Beth’s All Purpose. Whisk until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper. Drop in 6-8 onion slices at a time, coating well. Allow the rings to sit in the batter for a few minutes to fully coat. Heat 3-4 inches of oil in a large pot. You want the oil to be around 375 degrees. If you’re making a big batch of onion rings, you’ll have to decrease the heat after a while so that it doesn’t get too hot. When you drop in the onions, you want them to float, not sink. Give the rings a stir when you first drop them so that they don’t stick to each other and let them fry until golden brown.

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Serve with your favorite dipper! Halfway through the first batch, Parrish and I decided that we would probably need to make two batches… :)

onion rings second batch

These rings are SO GOOD! The batter is light and crispy, salty with a hint of sweet. Ten times better than any glutenous onion rings I’ve ever had! I used Redbridge gluten free beer in my batter. Yum!

onion rings red bridge

Like most things fried, these should only be enjoyed every once in a while. It always makes me happy when I successfully recreate a dish that I enjoyed pre-Celiac diagnosis, now sans gluten. However…Parrish and I may have gotten a little carried away!!

onion rings piles stacks

We’re going to have to call in some recruits!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The BEST chicken…ever


Goya is not a brand that I often buy. Not for any particular reason, I just seem to always overlook it. My best friend Krista and her husband Darren were the first to introduce me to Mojo Criollo, one of Goya’s BEST marinades. It’s a mix of garlic, onion, and citrus; plus it’s completely gluten free!

shred goya chicken

(I used boneless, skinless Organic “smart” chicken breast and let it marinate for 4 hours. I did stab the chicken 15-20 times with a fork and used a shallow bowl to meld the chicken and sauce. Be sure to cover the chicken completely with the sauce.)

I took the chicken over to a friend’s house for supper. We did a serve yourself taco bar. I enjoyed my Criollo chicken on an openfaced crispy corn tortilla with fresh cilantro, diced tomato, cheese, and 0% fat plain Greek yogurt.

shred chicken openfaced taco

So GOOOOOD!!! This chicken is mouthwatering tasty. Literally. My mouth is watering right now.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Restaurant Review: Tyler’s Taproom


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I hate choosing where to go for dinner. I’m still not comfortable breaching the “gluten” subject with the wait staff, but I’m getting there. However, it’s AHHMAZING when the menu has a gluten free selection and even better when they have a gluten free beer LIST. Not just one option they keep in the back off ice, BUT multiple selections!!

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Green’s!! I’ve had the Green’s beer before, but I hadn’t tried the Quest. A Tripel Blonde Beer, it was light tasting with a hint of fizz. I loved it!

For my meal I ordered the pulled chicken BBQ sans bun with a side of garlic fries. I asked my waitress if the BBQ sauce was gluten free and she went to ask the chef. Indeed it was!! She said they make the BBQ sauce from scratch, so they could trace all the ingredients. Score!

It was so good…that I didn’t have time to take a picture.

I give Tyler’s Taproom 4 stars!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thank You Starbucks!!


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I had heard a rumor that Starbucks was going to start offering a sweet treat for their gluten free customers, but to be honest with you I didn’t believe it. I thought that even if they did offer something, that there was no way that it would trickle down to my local Starbucks. So on Saturday when I ordered my iced tea latte, I didn’t even look in the case. I’m at the point in my gluten free life that I don’t even browse the gorgeous pastries in the case. But when I went to grab my straw, I saw it: A gluten free Valencia Orange Cake on a tiny silver pedestal…smiling at me.

gluten free starbucks

Delicious!! Sweet, moist, with a hint of orange.And I love that they’re individually wrapped to protect against cross-contamination. It’s funny how just having one food item on a menu that I can eat makes me so happy! I should add a disclaimer though, this is a sweet treat that I enjoyed thoroughly and will definitely enjoy again BUT at 290 calories, 16g of fat, and 23g of sugar it doesn’t fit the criteria for my regular rotation. But it will be enjoyed on very special occasions…like Mondays!! :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Crop Mob…rain or shine


My friend Trace and his partner Kristin live on Circle Acres. Circle Acres is a farm that they started with their close friends Noel and Danielle. They all live on the farm with another friend Gray who came to apprentice and I’m pretty sure fell in love. Also living on the farm are three pigs, some fowl, and two goats. This is the first year farming this land, and it’s amazing to see how far they have come.

A Crop Mob is a group of willing workers who hear the call and come together to help out on someone’s farm. Today was first time working with our local mob, and I was glad it was at Circle Acres.

Putting out “the call” is as simple as an email:

Who: Crop Mob
What: a million things, eating good food, building community
Where: Circle Acres farm
Silk Hope, NC

Why: why not
When: 10am-3:30pm Sunday May 24th

We (Danielle, Gray, Kristin, Noel and Trace) at Circle Acres farm are planning a work weekend for May 22nd-24th.  We are also calling out for a Crop Mob on Sunday the 24th from 10-3.

We have plenty of camping space available for both Friday and Saturday nights.  Parking at the farm is interesting, so please fill vehicles to the max…

Here are some of the things we might get into -

- sheet mulching “lumps” for the pumpkin patch
- removal of privet and bio-char demonstration
- building sheet mulch beds
- prepping land for a living fence
- untangling and testing used drip tape
- plugging mushroom logs
- pulling new electrical wire in the house
- ripping out plumbing
- digging a gray water trench
- building a solar shower
- playing around with cob mixtures

For food, please bring snacks, drinks and whatever you think you might want to have on hand for the weekend.  We will cook for the Saturday dinner and Sunday Crop Mob lunch; we’ll do our best to provide for other meals, but any help is appreciated.

Please RSVP as soon as you can and let us know what days you will be at the farm.  Also let us know if you have any special needs, dietary or otherwise.

Parrish and I worked on laying down cardboard, and then mulch in between rows.

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Another group worked on the bio-char pit, and a third group worked on plugging mushroom logs.

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An hour into working, it began to POUR rain. A few workers were prepared with rain gear, but most took cover underneath the lean-to with the goats. Parrish and I kept working. We welcomed the rain.

Once the rain subsided, Kristin and Danielle served everyone lunch. It was an amazing spread!

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Everything on the table was either grown locally, or salvaged.

I enjoyed the fresh greens and tomatoes. I love fresh salad greens! Toss in some tomatoes and you don’t even need dressing!

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Sprinkled with rain drops :)

The best part of lunch BY FAR was an amazing soup Danielle made from scratch. And being the thoughtful lady she is, it was even labeled with ingredients!

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After lunch, everyone went to visit the piggies. Trace and his crew use them to root and till the earth. They do a great job! PLUS they’re adorable!!

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They also loved the rain.

Spending a day on a farm makes me grateful…and tired. But it was a great way to spend a Sunday, rain or shine. Especially when you see what all that work and rain will create with a little patience.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Love, Love, Love


**A Max and Ella inspired post**

Max loves…

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his girlfriend Chola. They’re currently in a long distance relationship, but he’s pressuring her to move.

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He really loves feeling the breeze in his ears, and…

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Max loves fresh, cool water after a long hike.                                    

Ella loves…

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pretty much all new foods,

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playing dress up, and…

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she may love her feet. She’s not sure.

I love…

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green monster last

green monsters, and…

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I love food. I love to eat food…write about food…watch shows about food. And when you love food, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be hard, and I’m often too hard on myself. Some people will say you should take one day a week to “cheat”…but I never really bought into that. The whole term “cheating” implies that your behavior is wrong! (which will inevitably bring about guilt) So on instead of cheating on days when I  need a little break from food, I just focus on other things in my life. Like those I love :)

Don’t forget to check out my new publication: Gluten Free Bride to Be 

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!! I’m going to a Crop Mob tomorrow at my friend’s farm. I’ll recap tomorrow night!

Friday, May 22, 2009



When I worked at the food co-op, I was constantly thinking of new ways to prepare fresh produce in a way that would be kid approved. I often would “hide” veggies in a recipe by pureeing them in the sauce. For example, there’s a simple way to make veggie macaroni and cheese that would leave your own kids none the wiser. I’ll share that recipe soon :)

So this morning when I was making my gluten free steel cut oats, I thought about all my Surprise! recipes, and decided to add a little to my own.

Strawberry Surprise Gluten Free Oats

strawberry oats

These are SUPER simple to make. I only make one serving of oats at a time, so the measurements are relative. Boil 1/2 cup water. When the water comes to a boil, add 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten free steel cut oats and two strawberries sliced into small bits. The boiling process will puff up the strawberries. Stir occasionally, until all the water is evaporated and the strawberries have melded.

I serve my oats on a pillow of Oikos 0%fat vanilla yogurt. Tasty!

Another Surprise!!!


I’m launching another site! Gluten Free Bride to Be Love Struck

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It’s just that easy…and it’s just that hard


The best part of living close to a Farmer’s Market is that I can easily fill my once pathetic fridge with fresh fruits and veggies. The worst part about living close to a Farmer’s Market is that I can easily fill my fridge with a ton of fresh fruits and veggies…

Wasted food hurts my feelings. When I see that 1/3 of my strawberries have started to mold I cringe; partly because I’m highly allergic to mold, but mostly because I wasn’t quick enough. This past week I challenged myself to use every bit of the produce that I bought…it’s mid week and I’m not even close! Of course it doesn’t help that I bought a head of leafy green lettuce that is equal in size to a 30 pound turkey.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not holding a grudge with my full fridge. I’m actually excited, I just hope I’m able to find the time to come up with new recipes!

caprese salad long

Simple Summer Salad

Slices of fresh tomato layered with mozzarella from The Chapel Hill Creamery, sprinkled with roughly chopped basil from our garden and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

summer sautee

Simple Squash Sautee (Alex’s recipe)

Thin slices of yellow squash sautéed with chopped garlicky onions. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet and toss in the squash and onion. Cook on medium until the squash begin to caramelize.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bun-less Burgers are the BEST


tomato and cilantro

A burger without a bun can often seem depressing. It can seem less than. It can seem like you’re missing out, going without. But most things are not how they seem. This weekend I had a burger that was so delicious, a bun would have just brought it down.

Roasted Tomato Burger with Fresh Cilantro

roasted tomato burger

Parrish bought some locally raised all-natural ground beef from Cane Creek Farm at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market on Saturday, and I roasted the tomatoes. Paired with fresh cilantro from our garden and a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese. Perfection!

roasted tomato burger close 

Served with a fork, you’ll never miss the bun…or the calories!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Economic Eats


When folks find out that I’m gluten free, they often ask me what I can eat. And so I’ll pull up my website and show them how well I eat, without gluten. However, when one of my new volunteers asked me what I eat today, and I showed her my website she said, “Hominy?!” I could see the disgust in her face. And I realized I haven’t really been blogging that much lately, which is what I explained to the volunteer  as I pulled up older posts for her to see.

I’m fairly sure that I convinced her in the end that gluten free is delicious, but tonight when I opened my fridge I was reminded of her face.


My fridge is seriously sad!! As most of you know, Parrish I moved a month ago, and my last day at the co-op was March 31st. I didn’t start my new job until the end of April, and I don’t get my first check until…this Friday!! So, Parrish has been supporting a family of three (Me, Parrish, and Max of course!). My parents and Parrish’s parents have helped us a ton over the past month and a few weeks, but we’re getting down to the bare bones. (And YES I know there is a lot of yogurt in our fridge, but I LOVE Oikos and it’s on sale at Whole Foods)

So hopefully through this new home hiatus, I haven’t lost all of you as readers. I can assure you, we’re going to the Farmer’s Market this weekend and I’ll have a TON of new recipes to share with you. But until then, I leave you with some Economic Eats. A dessert made with gluten free brownies that were given to me by my future brother and sister law.

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Whole Foods brand gluten free brownies and a tablespoon of peanut butter.


I also wanted to let you guys know that I’m not the only member of my family with a website! My niece Ella has been nominated for the Baby of the Month over at Happy Heiny. I’m not trying to sway votes, but come on! Look at this puddin’!! (She’s the cutie in the rocking chair sporting her Silly Monkey reusable diaper)

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hump Day Hominy


Hominy is one of the least used ingredients in my kitchen (Beets are #1). I was first introduced to hominy by my best friend Alex. She had found a recipe for a soup that called for hominy. You may remember it from an earlier post.

I had a can of hominy in the pantry left over from January, and I thought it was time to experiment. Hominy is used in a lot of recipes with spicy flavors, so I thought a South of the Border style casserole was the way to go. Plus, I had a can of tomatoes with chili peppers. The result: Hump Day Hominy Hodgepodge!

hump day hominy

I wouldn’t say that this dish is necessarily a recipe…more just proof that classic flavors can be easily replicated. I used a can of hominy drained, a can of tomatoes with chilies, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, and a can of spinach. I would normally NEVER use canned spinach, but it was all I had in a pinch. Mix together and bake at 350 for one hour. Top with fat free plain Greek yogurt. Is it just me or does plain Greek yogurt taste just as good as sour cream?!! Parrish isn’t  convinced, but I don’t taste any difference.

In other happy hump day news, I want to give a TON of gratitude to Erin from Gluten Free with a Purpose, Linda from Gluten Free Homemaker, and Gluten Free from A to Z!! They each awarded me the Attitude of Gratitude Award!


Thank you ladies SO MUCH!! I’m glad that you feel like I am positive about my gluten free life!! (I’m glad you didn’t know me in my first few months after my Celiac diagnosis!!) It’s such an honor when blogs I love love me back!

I can’t wait to share this award with some of you who are making lemonade out of lemons at your blog!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Seasonal Tomato Strata


tomato strato first

Tomatoes and basil are a summer staple for me. They’re easy to grow and hard to mess up in the kitchen. I have always loved tomato and basil salads with a balsamic glaze, so when I found a recipe for a warm tomato strata I tried it right away. The original recipe I tried a few years ago included a dressing with red wine vinegar and shallots. I didn’t have either of those on hand today, but I did have some tomatoes I needed to use and some fresh basil in the garden. So to make this simple summer strata you’ll need:

Two ripe tomatoes

1/8 cup fresh basil diced

1/4 cup balsamic glaze

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced

thick slices of fresh cheese – it would be best with mozzarella, I used the Chapel Hill Creamery smoked farmer’s cheese

tomato strata second

Slice each tomato into 4 slices. Discard the bottom slice. This will allow the layers to sit flat in the pan. Roughly dice the basil and garlic; combine with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

tomato strata third

You don’t want to make a dressing, it should be more of a paste. Once you have the balsamic glaze, mix in the balsamic glaze. Spray a pan with non stick spray. Layer the tomato with the basil glaze and cheese.

tomato strata fourth

Once you have your tomatoes layered, you can drizzle any leftover basil balsamic over the tops. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes or until the skin of the tomato begins to detach. If you use fresh mozzarella, be sure to keep an eye on how quick it melts. You want the cheese to be gooey, but not soupy. Serve alone or on top of fresh spinach.

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So good! And naturally gluten free :)

Look at who I found in my spinach bag:

tomato strata spinach friend

The spinach is supposed to thoroughly washed, so I typically don’t rinse it or even look through it! I wonder how many of these ended up in my green monsters??!!