KIND Bars

KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt

I’mmmmm back! You thought I was gone for good, didn’t you? My sincere apologies on the insane lapse of posting. To say the past month or so has been crazy is an understatement. The fiancé and I have traveled to Mexico and Florida, and in between we hosted my dad’s memorial here in town. So yes, I fell off the blogging wagon.

But now I’m back on. And I’ve been dying to get back to writing and sharing with you all!

OK let’s back up. Near the end of February the fiancé and I traveled to Mexico for a wedding I was in. It was a college friend reunion, which was awesome. Not to mention the beautiful weather, abundant sunshine, and unlimited food and drink (which equals trouble!). We had an amazing time soaking up the sun, hanging at the pool, enjoying some good laughs with our friends, and just generally enjoying the heck out of that place.

We even had a few “engagement” photos taken by a friend. Although he isn’t a “real” photographer with a “real” camera, it doesn’t really matter. There were a few photos that he snapped that we really liked! This was my favorite:

beach

 You seriously cannot beat that backdrop. 

And although I didn’t really snap any pictures of the food we ate (It was vacation, and my phone was in the room like it should be!), my friend caught a picture of what the boys caught (and we ate!) on their day of deep sea fishing:

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Delicious Grouper, Tuna, and Coronado. Served with grilled onions, fresh tortillas, and guacamole. Holy yum! 

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. And ridiculously hard to come back to the frigid temps of Minnesota.

What followed was a complete whirlwind. Once we got home I had a few days before my dad’s memorial. We had a great turnout; lots of people there to reminisce and remember the good times. Couldn’t have asked for a better day to say one final goodbye.

Then it was my birthday, hooray! You’ll never guess how old I am. :) (OK, I’m 28). We had an awesome time at Chino Latino in Minneapolis where we had a good sized group of 18. Although that place is a bit loud, they have solid food and a great drink menu. Annnnd they are extremely accommodating for big groups. Win win.

And then, we left for Florida (and just got back today!). We spent 5 days with the fiancé’s family in Cocoa Beach. Although the weather was cooler than in Mexico, we were still able to enjoy the ocean, pool, and Universal Studios (which I had never been to). It was my first real amusement park experience (other than Valleyfair here in MN). And boy, was it fun! Minus the part where I got motion sick during a Harry Potter ride. That was not fun.

As for food, we enjoyed some pretty darn good eats. The first was at a place called Izzy’s Bistro. Featuring authentic German food, with plenty of seafood dishes. I ordered the Lobster Pad Thai as the waitress recommended. Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise! No joke, the best (and I mean, BEST!) Pad Thai I have ever had. Maybe it was the succulent pieces of lobster, or the perfect amount of spice and generous amount of egg. Or just the combination of it all. I wish I had my phone on me that night to capture it (but going with my “less is more” on vacation motto, I only had my ID and credit card). The fiancé also agreed it was the best Pad Thai he had ever had before. If you are ever in Cocoa Beach, go to Izzy’s, and order the Lobster Pad Thai. You won’t regret it!

The other place we went to was The Mango Tree Restaurant. The fiancé saw it was ranked highly, and so we gave it a go. It was a Tuesday night, and not overly busy. An Italian place, without your typical Italian dishes. And some of the best food I’ve had in awhile. If that place were in the Minneapolis area I would go all the time. Some seriously delicious lobster bisque, melt-in-your-mouth soft shell crab, and an amazing chicken dish with chorizo, peas, and carrots. My mouth is watering just writing this!

OK, so why else haven’t I blogged besides not being home at all? Well quite honestly, I have hardly cooked all month.

Here’s where we have eaten at this past month:

Here’s what we have cooked up this past month:

  • Noodle Soup (with what we had in the fridge – nothing to write home about!)
  • Philly Cheesesteaks
  • Lamb Burgers
  • Chicken Caesar Salad (check it out on the blog here)

As you can see, we ate out A LOT more than we ate in. Yikes.

Now that we’re back home (at least for awhile!) it’s time to start cooking (and blogging!) again. 

As for today, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite traveling snacks: KIND bars. Since I have gone gluten (and oat) free (or severely restricted!), these are my new favorite “granola” bars (I still call them that, although there is no granola in sight!).

KIND bars are fruit and nut bars with all natural ingredients. Each bar contains a good amount of fiber, protein, and has relatively low sugar. They also have grain bars and grain clusters (all gluten-free).

The bar I had today at the airport was their Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt:

KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt

7g Fiber, 6g Protein, and only 5g Sugar. Amazing. 

They have all sorts of different fruit and nut combinations, and I have yet to try one I didn’t like. Check them out here or find them at your local health or grocery store (I found mine today at a kiosk in the airport!).

Whew! That’s it for today.

Stay tuned for another one of my (newly discovered!) travel snacks (which might just become a household staple). I promise it won’t be so long until next time.

And until then…

Happy Clean Eating! :)

Easy Pad Thai

pad_thai

Howdy ya’ll. And happy Hump Day! If you haven’t seen the Geico Hump Day Camel commercial, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWBhP0EQ1lA

Ahhh, so cute! Brings me back to last winter, when I was in Lanzorate visiting my dad. And making friends with camels: http://eatcleanwithkate.com/eating-adventures-abroad-lanzarote-spain/

Alright, moving off the camel subject…

We survived the coldest time of the year! (Or at least I hope that’s the coldest it will get!) Here in MN, we had not one, but two school days off due to the cold. That’s like, unheard of. I would say I’m not complaining, but we’ll be making one of those days up. You see, you can’t have two snow days and get away with it! :)

The weather finally warmed up a bit last weekend. We met out with some friends for dinner Friday night, and caught a band with some other friends Saturday night. And Sunday? Sunday I taught my first Healing through Food workshop at Yoga Sol, the donation-based yoga studio I teach at in NE Mpls. It was nerve wracking (yet super exciting!). If you live in the Minneapolis area, check it out! www.yoga-sol.com

And after consuming red meat 3 nights in a row last week/weekend (beef short ribs, tacos, and skirt steak – oh my!), I’ve been on a vegetarian kick so far this week. Eggplant Lasagna Monday night, and Pad Thai last night.

Mmm…Pad Thai, one of my favorite dishes. Here’s why Pad Thai ranks up there for me:

1) I love rice noodles. Loooove rice noodles.

2) You get to add your own toppings. Kind of like “create your own pizza”, but “create your own pad thai”.

3) It’s an easy vegetarian (not to mention gluten-free!) dish.

4) Did I mention I love rice noodles?

I have made Pad Thai many a times in the past. And although I love the dish itself, the “Pad Thai” sauce is one of my least favorite things to make. This time however, I kept it simple (i.e. no Tamarind nightmares – not that I’m totally against the stuff). And it worked.

Here’s my easy, no fuss, Pad Thai recipe.

Pad Thai

Ingredients:

8 oz. rice noodles, cooked according to directions (al dente) and drained

2 eggs, beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 TBSP peanut oil

1 lime (for juice) + 1 lime (for garnish)

1/3 cup fish sauce

3 TBSP sugar (palm sugar recommended)

splash rice wine vinegar

Sriracha hot sauce, to taste

4 green onions, sliced thinly

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1/2 cup peanuts, crushed or chopped

Directions:

1) While noodles are cooking/soaking (depending on directions), combine fish sauce, sugar, hot sauce, rice vinegar, and lime juice in bowl. Whisk until sugar dissolves.

2) In large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat, sauté garlic in oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3) Pour in eggs. Using rubber spatula, stir until scrambled.

4) Add in noodles. Pour sauce over slowly, tossing to coat noodles.

5) Add half of green onions, cilantro, and peanuts. Toss to combine.

6) Serve with remaining cilantro, green onions, peanuts, and lime wedges.

7) Enjoy!

NOTE: You can adjust the combination of fish sauce and sugar to your taste preference (salty vs. sweet). I always suggest you taste as you go and add/subtract as necessary!

pad_thai Sooo delicious.

Easy Pad Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
An easy, no-fuss Pad Thai. Gluten-free and delicious!
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. rice noodles, cooked according to directions (al dente) and drained
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP peanut oil
  • 1 lime (for juice) + 1 lime (for garnish)
  • ⅓ cup fish sauce
  • 3 TBSP sugar (palm sugar recommended)
  • splash rice wine vinegar
  • Sriracha hot sauce, to taste
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup peanuts, crushed or chopped
Instructions
  1. While noodles are cooking/soaking (depending on directions), combine fish sauce, sugar, hot sauce, rice vinegar, and lime juice in bowl. Whisk until sugar dissolves.
  2. In large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat, sauté garlic in oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Pour in eggs. Using rubber spatula, stir until scrambled.
  4. Add in noodles. Pour sauce over slowly, tossing to coat noodles.
  5. Add half of green onions, cilantro, and peanuts. Toss to combine.
  6. Serve with cilantro, green onions, peanuts, and lime wedges.

Gluten-free Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

gluten_free_pumpkin_cookies

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

And it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as well!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been running around to different Holiday parties, finishing your last minute shopping, and preparing yourself (mentally, physically, and emotionally!) for the upcoming celebrations. Being a teacher, I’m on winter break (ahh, the life of a teacher!).

Oh, sorry, I’m bragging. :)

Anyway….because of the time off I’ve had the opportunity to sub a few yoga classes at the donation based yoga studio I teach at (Yoga Sol in Northeast Minneapolis- check it out!). It’s always nice to slow down, and share the love of the practice with others. Yesterday I taught the largest class of my career (18 yogis!) and it was such a beautiful thing to be a part of.

OK, enough about yoga, and on to the real star of this show (err, I mean post)…cookies!

These were my first attempt at gluten-free cookies. I’ve made plenty of gluten-free muffins before, but never cookies. And honestly, these are the best gluten free things I’ve ever baked! Soft, moist, and full of flavor. I shared them with my co-workers and students, and everybody loved them. Not to mention, no one had a clue they were gluten-free and vegan. Tricky, tricky…

:)

Enjoy!

Gluten-free Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

Recipe adapted from: http://dishingupthedirt.com/recipes/snack/vegan-pumpkin-spice-cookies/

Ingredients:

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose  flour (I like Bob Red Mill brand)

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 cup gluten-free oats

1 cup raw cane sugar (turbinado)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (melted slightly)

1/2 tsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Combine wet ingredients in medium size bowl (pumpkin, oil, vanilla)

3) Stir together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl (flour, xanthan, oats, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, flaxseed)

4) Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined

5) Drop rounded tablespoons onto non-stick baking sheet (or use parchment paper) about 1-inch apart

6) Bake until tops are beginning to turn golden brown (approx. 12-14 minutes).

7) Enjoy!

Note: These cookies are soft and moist (not crispy!). They are almost more along the lines of muffin tops (which I am not complaining about). Also, be sure not to over bake. Gluten-free tends to dry out a bit faster than gluten-filled!

gluten_free_pumpkin_cookies

Gluten-free Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Deliciously moist gluten-free vegan cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I like Bob Red Mill brand)
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar (turbinado)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • ¾ cup extra virgin coconut oil (melted slightly)
  • ½ tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine wet ingredients in medium size bowl (pumpkin, oil, vanilla)
  3. Stir together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl (flour, xanthan, oats, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, flaxseed)
  4. Fold in wet ingredients until just combined
  5. Drop rounded tablespoons onto non-stick baking sheet (or use parchment paper) about 1-inch apart
  6. Bake until tops are just beginning to brown (approx. 12-14 minutes).
  7. Enjoy!

Real Recipe: Gluten Free Peanut Noodles

gluten-free-peanut-noodles

Well hello there. Another Friday upon us! :)

Last weekend we had a fantastic time with the Aussies in town. Dinner out, bar bingo, The Annual Ugly Sweater Party (TAUSP) (and yes, it deserves to be titled with a ‘the’ in front of it!), and Sunday brunch. Not to mention a lot of long overdue conversation and laughs!

sweaters

Celebrating in style :)

Wednesday night we had a “going away” dinner at 112 Eatery (yum!) for our friends. I believe by now they are back in good ‘ol Australia. Their time here was too short (if you ask me!), and I miss them already. Now to get to saving so we can go visit them sometime…

:)

Anyway, backing up. Monday night I made a batch of these noodles, with leftover cucumber and rotisserie chicken from the appetizers (Barbeque Chicken Dip and Onion Dip) we made for TAUSP. Both dips were good, but I’ve decided next time I’m making the barbeque chicken one with some Ranch (because everything tastes better with Ranch – all-natural of course!). I also didn’t take any pictures of it. So next time, it will have Ranch, and be photographed. And then it will be posted on here :)

As for today, I give you this: Gluten-free Peanut Noodles. I’ve made these before (here!), but altered the recipe as I used gluten-free noodles (and changed up the sauce a bit!). More of a spring/summer dish than winter as it’s served cold, but I was craving it!

Make and enjoy now, or wait until the warm days of spring/summer are upon us (not that I’m counting, yet). It’s sure to please!

Gluten Free Peanut Noodles

Ingredients:

8 oz. rice noodles or gluten-free linguine

1 cup rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

3 TBSP Tamari (gluten-free) soy sauce

1 TBSP sesame oil

2 TBSP rice vinegar

1 TBSP agave (or honey)

2 1 inch. pieces of ginger

3 garlic gloves

1 medium cucumber, sliced thinly

1/2 TBSP Sriracha sauce (more or less to your taste!)

water (to thin sauce)

cilantro, to garnish (optional)

chopped peanuts, to garnish (optional)

green onion, sliced thinly, to garnish (optional)

Directions:

1) Cook noodles according to directions

2) Rinse noodles with cold water. Toss in sesame oil.

3) Add ginger and garlic to food processor, process until minced

4) Add in peanut butter, soy sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, and agave, and process until smooth

5) Thin with warm water to desired consistency

6) Toss noodles in sauce until evenly coated

7) Fold in chicken and cucumbers

8) Top with chopped peanuts, scallions, and cilantro if desired

9) Enjoy!

 

gluten-free-peanut-noodles

Gluten Free Peanut Noodles
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
A delicious gluten-free peanut noodle dish. Light on the oil, heavy on the flavor!
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. rice noodles or gluten-free linguine
  • 1 cup rotisserie chicken
  • ⅓ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 TBSP Tamari (gluten-free) soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP agave (or honey)
  • 2 1 inch. pieces of ginger
  • 3 garlic gloves
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced thinly
  • ½ TBSP Sriracha sauce (more or less to your taste!)
  • water (to thin sauce)
  • cilantro, to garnish (optional)
  • chopped peanuts, to garnish (optional)
  • green onion, sliced thinly, to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook noodles according to directions
  2. Rinse noodles with cold water. Toss in sesame oil.
  3. Add ginger and garlic to food processor, process until minced
  4. Add in peanut butter, soy sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, and agave, and process until smooth
  5. Thin with warm water to desired consistency
  6. Toss noodles in sauce until evenly coated
  7. Fold in chicken and cucumbers
  8. Top with chopped peanuts, scallions, and cilantro if desired
  9. Enjoy!

Smart Swap: Parmesan Crisps

parmesancrisp2

Well, I survived. Not only did I make it through my friend’s bachlorette party weekend, I even managed to make it through relatively gluten-free! We stayed in this amazingly beautiful condo on Lake Delton in Wisconsin Dells. It was super nice and just look at this kitchen (but not all the junk we had thrown all over!):

kitchen

And yes, I’ll keep dreaming :)

So anyway, onto the week. On Monday after my first acupuncture session (super bizarre, but pretty cool at the same time!), I picked up some fresh-pressed juice (more to come on that in a future post!) and the bf and I went and grabbed some Mexican at one of our favorite places, Midtown Global Market. I did a posting on it ages ago (click here to check it out!), and to this day it’s still one of our favorite places to find good quality ethnic food. I had a delicious soft-shell crab taco from Sonora Grill and we split a tamale from La Loma Tamales. Mmm mmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

tamale This picture does not do this tamale justice!

Wednesday we made Chicken Caesar Salad with Parmesan Crisps. If you’re a fan of Caesar salad but can’t eat the croutons due to being gluten-free, these are the ticket. Crisp, like bread croutons, and ridiculously easy to make.

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shred some Parmesan (or whatever your favorite Italian cheese is to use with Caesar salad…Romano, Pecorino, etc.). Place some non-stick parchment or tinfoil on a pan. Place heaping tablespoons of cheese onto pan, spacing out at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 4-6 minutes or until golden brown (time will vary so keep a close eye!). Take out, let cool, and remove from pan carefully to prevent them from breaking.

Taa-daa! And now you have Parmesan crisps. I think I’ve said enough…

parmesancrisp2

Enjoy!

And until next time, happy clean eating :)

Gluten-free Banana Muffins

gluten-free banana muffins I www.eatcleanwithkate.com

Ahhh Sundays. If I’m not heading to the bf’s parents’ house to watch the Viking’s game, I like to spend the day doing a few things for myself, and getting ready for the week.

This morning I made Gluten-free Banana Muffins (there’s also these yummy Banana Muffins as well!). My first attempt with these didn’t go so well (or at least I didn’t think so, I posted about the bf liking them here). These, however, are delicious. And even better? You can’t tell they are gluten-free (or at least I can’t!). Mmm mmm mmm.

After my baking/kitchen cleaning extravaganza, I headed out for a walk/hike around Cedar Lake in Minneapolis.

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Can you see downtown? I just love having lakes in cities! It’s the best of both worlds :)

I say walk/hike because for most of the way around the lake you can take the road less traveled (aka a path created by foot traffic), weaving in and out between the trees, stopping at little lookouts along the way. Like this one here:

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And although I hate to see the warm weather go, I love the colors of fall. The leaves are just starting to change….

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Took me a little over an hour and half, and it was exactly what I needed. After doing some grade entering/lesson planning this morning, there’s nothing to refresh your mind like a long walk in nature.

So, here’s the recipe for the Gluten-free Banana Muffins (and hopefully another time, the recipe for the spaghetti sauce I’m making tonight!).

Enjoy!

Gluten-free Banana Muffins

(Adapted from www.quarterlifecrisiscuisine.com) 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup oat flour (oats blended into a flour)

1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

2 eggs

2 TBSP coconut oil, melted

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup maple syrup (I use the real stuff, from MN of course!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

chocolate chips (optional)

Directions: 

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If not using non-stick, grease muffin tins or use liners

2) Combine all dry ingredients (except walnuts) into large mixing bowl

3) Combine eggs, vanilla extract, mashed bananas, coconut oil, maple syrup in small mixing bowl

4) Slowly incorporate wet ingredients into dry until just combined (careful not to over mix!)

5) Fold in chopped walnuts (can also add in some chocolate chips if you like them sweet and chocolatey!)

6) Fill muffin tins approximately half way up with batter

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean

6) Enjoy!

gluten-free banana muffins

Gluten-free Banana Muffins
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Delicious gluten-free banana muffins. Perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack!
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup oat flour (oats blended into a flour)
  • ¼ cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (I use the real stuff, from MN of course!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If not using non-stick, grease muffin tins or use liners
  2. Combine all dry ingredients (except walnuts) into large mixing bowl
  3. Combine eggs, vanilla extract, mashed bananas, coconut oil, maple syrup in small mixing bowl
  4. Slowly incorporate wet ingredients into dry until just combined (careful not to over mix!)
  5. Fold in chopped walnuts
  6. Fill muffin tins approximately half way up with batter
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean

Gluten-free and Me

glutenfree copy

Friiidaay Friidayyy gotta get down on…oh wait. It’s Thursday. Throw Back Thursday. And yes, I’ll throw one back. Here’s me as a young pup:

babypic

Sooo cute (at least I think so!). Thanks cousin Maureen for sharing!

Anyway, it’s Thursday, and I’ve got this ridiculous sinus headache today. Not sure if it’s allergies, or something going around, or what. But I feel like poo. And I hate to say this and be that girl, but I think part of it has to do with what I ate yesterday.

Yes, I have fallen into the gluten-free “trap”. Although I no longer think it’s a trap. At first, when everyone was jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, I was like “it’s just a phase”, or “what a marketing scheme”. One of my dear friends, however, told me about how her digestion had improved since going gluten-free (a dear friend in the way that you can share those kind of things) and I thought “what the heck, why not give it a shot?!”.

So I’ve been trying the gluten-free thing for the past couple weeks, and it feels great. Before, I’d have a beer, eat something wheat-a-licious, and immediately feel like I needed to take a nap (or unbutton my pants!). Nowadays don’t feel as sluggish, lethargic, or bloated, and the I-need-to-run-to-the-bathroom-right-this-second trips have pretty much diminished (TMI? Sorry!). Sometimes, I would feel so miserable after eating/drinking out with friends, I would go home, lie on the coach, and fall asleep. That’s kind of what happened yesterday. I broke the gluten-freeness (not a word, I know) by consuming a Kashi granola bar for breakfast, eating some leftover fajitas from the bf’s dinner the night before for lunch, and having a lamb burger on a Ciabatta roll for dinner. Not only did I eat gluten at one meal, I ate it at all three. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious. And then I paid for it.

After eating my burger last night, I feel deeply into a food coma, falling asleep on our oh-so-comfy coach. This was before 10 p.m. And yes, you could tell me that I was tired (it has been a busy week with soccer!), but I had that bloated/tired/dehydrated feeling that I remember all too well.

And on Sunday, I had my first gluten-filled beer in awhile at the Vikes game (SKOL Vikes!). And I felt the SAME WAY as I did last night. Coincidence? I think not. And to think, I thought that was normal (boy, was I wrong!).

Here’s us, having a good time, drinking our gluten-filled beer :)

vikes game

So why am I sharing this? I think a lot of people are hesitant to try new/different things because of what other people will think of them, how hard it might be to keep with it, or whatever other hesitations might be holding them back. As a health coach in training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, we talk a lot about figuring out what works best for each individual. I have played around with eating less dairy (which has in fact, helped my allergies immensely) and now am trying to eliminate gluten. Sometimes I feel silly about telling people (as I’m sure they are thinking the same things I once thought!), but then I remember how good I feel. And it’s worth it. So soooo worth it.

However, gluten-free is not for everyone. If you’re interested in learning more about what to eat/not eat to feel your best, fill out the comment card below, and I’ll be happy to help!

gluten-free

Any readers have similar stories? I’d love to hear what you’ve eliminated from your diet that has helped you look/feel your best!

Real Recipe: Creamy Avocado Pasta

Avocado Pasta

Wow. I thought last time was a long break between posts, but this one was even longer.

Mostly due to this: I got a head soccer coaching job at my alma mater! :)

I found out the last week of school, and thus, my summer has been filled with a lot more soccer than I expected. However, I’m not complaining. I’m super excited about it!

Anyway, as I’ve been coaching in the morning now 5 days/week, as well as coaching soccer approximately 16 of the past 23 nights, the kitchen (and cooking!) has really gone by the wayside. We’ve been eating lots of (healthy!) convenient meals, such as wraps, salads, etc. and we’ve used the grill a few times (lobster tails and asparagus is becoming my new favorite), but nothing too crazy.

So after my last soccer game this afternoon all I wanted to do was come home, play around in the kitchen, and write on my blog. And that’s exactly what I’m doing :)

Not a lot of groceries in the house, but I saw this recipe awhile back and had everything I needed without having to go to the store (which seriously never happens!).

Creamy Avocado Pasta. Yep, a delicious vegetarian meal (the bf wasn’t home, so I can get away with this!). It was so light and creamy, a truly perfect summer dish. And did I mention easy to make? Seriously. so. easy. It takes about 15 minutes, no joke (and I’m a slow cook!).

Also, I’m currently attempting to eat less gluten, so I made this with fresh gluten-free noodles (I honestly can’t really tell the difference). Why less gluten? Mostly to see how it affects my allergies and energy levels. I’ll keep you posted on what I find! So far, so good :)

Creamy Avocado Pasta

20130630_181738-3

Ingredients: 

9 oz. favorite pasta

1 avocado, pitted and peeled

1/2 lemon, juice and zest

3 cloves garlic

5 fresh basil leaves (more or less to taste)

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup parmesan or goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

1) Cook pasta according to directions.

2) While pasta is cooking, add avocado, garlic, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper to food processor. Process until smooth, adding in olive oil as you go.

3) When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.

4) Toss with sauce. If too thick, add a bit of reserved pasta water to loosen.

NOTE: You can also add grilled shrimp or chicken if you’d like to go the non-vegetarian route. In addition, adding pine nuts or almond slivers to your food processor will make it a bit more pesto like. And finally, this is best eaten the day of due to the avocado!

Enjoy! :)

Creamy Avocado Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
A delicious, easy-to-make avocado pasta. Creamy, yet light! A perfect summer meal.
Ingredients
  • 9 oz. favorite pasta
  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • ½ lemon, juice and zest
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 fresh basil leaves (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup parmesan or goat cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, add avocado, garlic, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper to food processor. Process until smooth, adding in olive oil as you go.
  3. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.
  4. Toss with sauce. If too thick, add a bit of reserved pasta water to loosen.
Notes
Best eaten day of. Can add grilled shrimp or chicken. In addition, can add pine nuts or almond slivers for a more pesto-like sauce.

Make Your Own: Gluten-free Chewy Granola Bars

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Stayed home from work today with a sore throat and earache (teaching always proves to be extremely difficult with a sore throat!). It has been ridiculously cold/rainy here (but of course it’s sunny as I write this), and I have spent a lot of time outside coaching soccer in this oh-so-peachy weather (sense my sarcasm?). Have been fighting off the sore throat for a couple days now, but after running with my kids at practice last night (in the cold/rain of course), I was in for it.

So I slept in. Cleaned the kitchen. Did some laundry. And made these delicious chewy granola bars. I have been meaning to make my own granola bars since forever. However, time has been scarce lately (especially for experimenting in the kitchen!) and I just haven’t gotten around to it. I haven’t been buying granola bars lately either, as I’ve been telling myself I will make my own soon. And the time finally came!

These were really easy to make, and just as tasty (if not more so!) than even the best store-bought brands. Plus I know exactly what went in them, and that’s always a plus. :)

In terms of what ingredients you want to add in, the options really are endless. Here’s how you start:

Ingredients:

1 egg

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup agave (can substitute honey)

1/3 cup coconut oil (can substitute melted butter)

2 cups gluten-free oats (I like Udi’s!)

1/3 cup favorite nut or nut/seed mix (slivered almods, toasted pecans, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, etc.)

1/3 cup favorite dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, etc.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter

3) Beat egg in large mixing bowl

4) Add in peanut butter, brown sugar, and agave

5) Add in coconut oil, oats, nuts, and fruit

6) Stir to combine and fold in chocolate chips (if using)

7) Pour onto baking sheet. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly, pressing down as you go.

8) Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until edges are starting to brown

9) Remove from oven and let cool for at least an hour before cutting. NOTE: If you try and cut them up while still warm, the bars will fall apart!

10) Cut into squares or rectangles (or whatever you prefer), and enjoy!

11) Store leftovers in airtight container or bag


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These ones are made with slivered almonds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, currants, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips. Yum!

Make Your Own: Gluten-free Chewy Granola Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Delicious, gluten-free chewy granola bars that are so simple to make!
Ingredients
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup agave (can substitute honey)
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil (can substitute melted butter)
  • 2 cups gluten-free oats
  • ⅓ cup favorite nut or nut/seed mix (slivered almods, toasted pecans, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, etc.)
  • ⅓ cup favorite dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, etc.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter
  3. Beat egg in large mixing bowl
  4. Add in peanut butter, brown sugar, and agave
  5. Add in coconut oil, oats, nuts/seeds, and fruit
  6. Stir to combine and fold in chocolate chips (if using)
  7. Pour onto baking sheet. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly, pressing down as you go.
  8. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until edges are starting to brown
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for at least an hour before cutting. NOTE: If you try and cut them up while still warm, the bars will fall apart!
  10. Cut into squares or rectangles (or whatever you prefer), and enjoy!
  11. Store leftovers in airtight container or bag

Product Review: Udi’s Gluten-free Original Granola

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Although cereal was once my all-time favorite breakfast food, yogurt with granola (and fresh berries if I’ve got them!) has been climbing the ranks, and quickly! Especially since I’ve found Udi’s Gluten-free Original Granola. Now let’s be real, most granola (being it is made with oats) is gluten-free. However, Udi’s is an all-natrual gluten-free brand that makes everything from pizza crusts to bread to you guessed it, granola. And man is theirs  delicious! Unlike ordinary granola that can be quite boring, Udi’s Original includes raisins, banana chips, walnuts, cashews, almonds, and even pistachios! Seriously, yum. Udi’s Granola also comes in Vanilla, Cranberry, and Au Naturel (think regular granola). Check it out if you’re ready to ramp-up your granola experience!

And check out http://udisglutenfree.com for other products and recipes too!

And if you prefer gluten-free, take a look at my Barbecue Chicken Pizza recipe. Made on one of Udi’s gluten-free pizza crusts!

Product Review: Udi’s Gluten-free Pizza Crust

udis

Although I don’t have a wheat allergy (or at least not that I know of!) or gluten sensitivities, I do believe that there is such a thing as eating too much gluten (a protein found in wheat and related grains such as barley and rye). Because if you are eating a lot of gluten that also means you are eating a lot of carbohydrates (from grains). And a lot of carbohydrates from grains probably means that you aren’t eating enough protein and healthy fat. Or possibly enough fruits or vegetables. I know people who swear that giving up gluten (and thus the carbohydrates that include this protein) has increased their energy levels and helped them lose weight.

Although I have yet to be inclined to give up all wheat and related grain products (and most likely never will!), I occasionally buy (and enjoy!) gluten-free products. Sure there are a few products I do not enjoy or recommend, but there are also a few products I do truly like just as much (or almost as much!) as their gluten-filled counterparts. One of those being Udi’s Gluten-free Pizza Crusts.

Udi’s Gluten-free Thin & Crispy Pizza Crusts come in a pack of two. They have a very nice texture with a good crunch. A half a pizza contains 160 calories, and 4 grams of fiber. They are not only gluten-free, they are also soy-, dairy-, and nut-free! The only downfall is that these pizzas only have 1 gram of fiber per serving, a lot less than some of the whole-grain pizza crusts out there. However, if you are looking for a light, crunchy, gluten-free pizza crust, this is one of the best store-bought gluten-free brands out there.

Check them out if you are trying to eat less gluten, or if you do have a gluten-sensitivity and need a good gluten-free pizza crust. Can be enjoyed using the oven or grilled – just add your favorite toppings beforehand! :)

photo courtesy of theactorsdiet.com