Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I don't like Quinoa Nachos - vegan, gluten free

It is Tuesday and in my house that means Tacos!!  I love tacos!! I do not however, love quinoa. (thus the reason for the name)  My son recently went vegan and my husband suggested making quinoa tacos instead of our usual beef or chicken.

I do not love quinoa - I do not really even like it.  I have tried numerous time due to its powerhouse of nutrients, but I still couldn't say I like it - until now, until I had this meal!  I may now be a convert.

This healthy dish is quick easy and very versatile.  As with all my meals all measurements are guesstimates - remember - "bake to exact measurement, cook to taste"

Ingredients: quinoa, vegetable or chicken broth - or just use water, fresh veggies, salsa, taco                seasoning or cumin and chili powder, taco shells or nachos, cheddar cheese - or not!

Time: about 45 minutes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Quinoa - typically this is a 2 to 1 ratio - meaning 2 cups of liquid ( you can use water, or broth - we used vegetable broth) to 1 cup of grain.

In a medium sauce pan add a little olive oil - when its hot add the quinoa and toast slightly - this will give it a nutty flavor.  Add the liquid, cover and cook on low until the germ splits - about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile - chop whatever veggies you want - I used my veggie bullet for the zucchini and cut some mushrooms, broccoli, onion, tomatoes, kale and garlic.  Saute them with some olive oil until soft - start with the heartier veggies - the onions and the peppers, then add the garlic, broccoli and mushrooms - add tomatoes and kale last.

cooked salsa quinoa
When the quinoa is cooked, mix in about 2T taco seasoning (or a combo of cumin and chili powder), and about 1/2 cup of salsa.  Spread it out onto a parchment lined pan and pop in the preheated oven about 30 minutes, flipping over half way -  until it gets a little crispy.

Once all cooked assemble in heated taco shells or I liked my layered as nachos - add cheese or not - the choice is yours - however I do recommend shredding it yourself - tastes much better and does not have the added "keeps from caking" ingredient.

Time to enjoy this powerhouse meal - did you know quinoa is one of the most protein rich foods we can eat? It has twice as much fiber as other grains, and even contains iron.

Stay healthy and remember we are the lucky ones #happytobeglutenfree

top with cheese
vegan version

Friday, March 2, 2018

This is my why....

Recently I have been posting about taking over my moms gluten free baking business.  I am super excited about this opportunity and this is why....

For as long as I can remember my mom suffered from severe stomach issues, crippled with pain and unable to perform daily tasks.  Once my mom decided it was definitely from something she ate she started to narrow it down, never did she expect it was one of her (like many others) very favorite foods! After living on apple sauce, many trips to the doctors and numerous tests they told her it was celiac disease and the only way to heal that is a "gluten free diet".  My mom came home and told us and we were like .."A what diet?  what the heck is gluten?"  We had no idea what that was, we never even heard the word.

So the label reading started and the frustration began.  Twenty five years ago there was no "contains wheat..." at the end of the ingredient list and certainly nothing was labeled gluten free.  After going through the phone book and finding a health food store my mom was lucky enough to find a product that was "gluten free".  She was beyond thrilled...well, until she tasted it.

The product was terrible - tasted like cardboard, horrible texture, and very expensive.  Well, my mom was not about to deal with this - remember baked goods are her favorite!  So she started doing research, asking lots of questions and pulled out her baking equipment.

She baked and baked and baked until she got it just right.  There were a lot of failures, but that only got her one step closer to success!  I will never forget when we tried donuts and the "magic ingredient" decided to spread and grow and took over the entire counter, a failure we will never forget.

Well, she did get it right!!!  Soon after that, Grandma learned her kitchen was soon going to be filled with grand kids wanting to scarf up her delicious creations.  Mom decided it was time to hit the streets and supply her local great tasting products to retail locations and restaurants.

Fast forward to 2018, most of her kids and grand kids now follow a gluten free lifestyle, products are now labeled gluten free, ingredient list contain the words "contains wheat",  support groups are everywhere (she also started the Lancaster support group), and celiacs and non celiacs enjoy her products.

So, why me?  Although my mom will never fully retire and will always have a say in what happens she is ready to hand over the torch and let us "young ones" take over!!  I am proud, honored and I hope I can do as much for the gluten free community that she has.

I will serve the gluten free community as an advocate to getting safe products for us all to eat, to teach restaurants the proper way to avoid cross contamination, and to help the newly diagnosed to understand that living a gluten free lifestyle is not a punishment.  We are the lucky ones, the ones who can heal with food - my mantra, my favorite quote, "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" Hippocrates had it right.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Gluten Free Thanksgiving - easy peasy!

Hello all - the biggest food day is around the corner and you may be wondering how am I going to do this now that I am living gluten free!?  Well, let me tell you - you got this!  It is not as overwhelming as you may think.

Twenty five plus years ago when my mom was diagnosed with celiac she mentioned having a gf Thanksgiving - we all laughed and said heck no!  Fast forward to now - almost 10 of us in the family follow this lifestyle.  I host a big "friendsgiving" each year from 25-40 people and this is the one meal we can all agree tastes great - gf or  not!!

This is why Gluten Free Thanksgiving is SOOO Doable:

  • Most of the foods you serve are naturally gluten free - think corn, sweet potatoes, turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce - you got this!
  • GF stuffing is now fairly easy to find - aldi has a great one!  
  • Green Bean casserole - no problem - Aldi has the fried onions you need!
What else do you need?  Please message me or comment any questions.

So, sit back relax make your list and know that you got this!  Oh, and if you are hosting and people want non gf stuffing - they can bring it!  Cheers!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Gluten Free and Toxic Free Skin Care and Home Care Products

Hello all, think things just happen?  As you get older you have more problems?

Well, yes that is true in some cases - but have you ever wondered why there are so many more allergies, skin conditions, behavioral issues? It's just part of life right?  Well, I do not think that is the case.  I feel this has all happened because of the food we put in our bodies and the chemicals we put on our skin and use in our homes!

Many skin conditions are linked to gluten and many personal and household products contain gluten!

The FDA does not really protect us from chemicals in our everyday products.

I recently learned about a company and have decided to join them to share this important information.  PURE Haven Essentials make certified organic products that do not contain Glutens, Parabens, Petroleum, Sulfates etc.

The skin is a barrier yes, but not to everything!  These chemicals can seep into our system and overtime can cause havoc.  They can disrupt the endocrine system, cause cancer, ADHD, allergies etc etc. 

You have a choice!

Please contact me for more information

Friday, June 16, 2017

Chicken Sausage and Veggies with Spaghetti

Quick and easy meal that is just as good heated up the next day for lunch!  As with all my meals, these amounts are only suggestions - you can adjust them to fit your preference.

What you will need:
1 small onion - chopped
1-2 garlic cloves - I love garlic so I use a lot - mince it and let it sit - it's healthier this way!
Good for you oil - olive, coconut, grape seed
2 cups fresh or frozen veggies - I like using peppers, squash, zucchini (yes technically

they are all fruits but...) broccoli, cauliflower will also work, just may need longer cooking time.
1 package of chicken sausage cut into slices or pieces - any flavor will work, but the Italian, mozzarella and roasted garlic, and tomato basil will flavor best with this dish.
1 cup of chicken stock - maybe a little more depending on how "saucy" you want your dish
Half package of pasta  - I used barilla gf spaghetti
Fresh tomatoes, kale and/or spinach
Basil, fresh mozzarella or parmesan - if desired!

What to do:
Start to boil water for pasta
Saute onion in oil until it starts to soften,
Add in veggies and cook until starting to soften
Add in chicken sausage, stock and garlic (I add this later then normal since I do not want it to get brown and bitter).
Start cooking pasta as soon as water boils and cook until just shy of al dente - my package said 10-11 minutes - I cooked it about 8 minutes
Add the drained pasta (I scoop it out, not drain it - this saves some of the water and helps with to make the sauce) to the chicken mixture.
Mix in the fresh tomatoes, kale and/or spinach stir until all is well heated and spinach starts to wilt.

Top with fresh mozzarella or parmesan, basil and Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Shrimp, Andouille, Corn and Potato Grill Pack

Love the low country boil but not the hassle or the time?  A friend of mine shared great, quick and easy alternative! Unfortunately I did not get pics of all the steps, but I will update this the next time I make it.  And, that will be soon, as this is a keeper and a re-do!

Like most of my recipes, amounts are suggestions - everything can be adjusted to taste and preference.

Shrimp large size - about 2 lbs
Andouille sausage sliced 1 package
Red potatoes quartered or any other waxy potato like new, fingerling, purple etc  Be sure they are cut small enough so they cook quickly
Corn on the cob - cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Lemon - sliced
olive oil 2 Tablespoons
garlic - 2 cloves chopped
Old Bay Seasoning - to your liking

In a foil pan (or make a packet out of foil) add all the ingredients.  Mix well so the oil and seasonings coat the shrimp, andouille, potatoes and corn.
Place on the grill for about 10 minutes until all the ingredients are cooked.  Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.

This can always be cooked in the oven or even on the stove top!

That's all - easy breezy!  Quick clean up too.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 26, 2017

What's with Wheat?

Today I watched the documentary on Netflix called what's with wheat?  

It really sucked me in, but I LOVE this stuff - food documentaries are my favorite things to watch.  Then again, I am a nutritionist and health coach so I guess that makes sense.  

I feel the documentary is informative for both those who deal with gluten issues and those who do not.  I truly believe everyone can benefit from living gluten free.  But, I am self proclaimed brain washed and rightfully so.  

I have seen gluten at its worst - my mom suffering with stomach issues for many years before knowing what was causing the pain, parents devastated because their child was so sick and not knowing what it was they actually thought is was the end for him.  I have witness other family members dealing with skin rashes, headaches, crankiness and mood swings - yep that one is me, constipation, brain fog, nerve pain and so on and so on...  The best part, I have seen a gluten free lifestyle help all of this!!  The pains have gone away, the digestive system is regular, the headaches are gone (without meds), the rashes and brains have cleared and I am so happy - lol!!  Sure, every day is not perfect and not free of pain or crankiness. We are human after all but, overall our lives have all improved!

I know some would argue with me saying it is not the gluten, it is making better choices - well, yes I get that.  I also love to post about overall nutrition education - but I save that for its own day!  

However, this is a blog about living a happy gluten free life and I truly believe everyone could benefit.  The biggest question I get is, "how can something that is supposed to be healthy, be bad for me?"  Well, there are many possible reasons, the wheat from today is not the wheat our ancestors ate.  The wheat of today is so over processed, harvested too soon and stripped of nutrients. 

It is almost becoming an artificial ingredient, and as one expert said if we continue eating artificially we become artificial and can only be treated artificially (meds).  It's an interesting yet scary thought.  So, not only does this documentary talk about the benefits of getting gluten out of our lives, and healing our bodies, it discusses bringing back the truly good stuff.

I recommend watching it - it will help those of you who struggle with this often challenging lifestyle. It will help to realize, it is a benefit and we truly are the lucky ones!

my disclaimer : I am not a doctor and gluten free can not cure everything or take the place of all meds - I am simply a mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend who wants to help all those who want to lead a happy healthyish gluten free life!