Almond Banana Smoothie

I'm sorry for the lack of posts lately everyone.  Things are really taking off with the move and there are just loose ends everywhere that need finishing.  It's a hectic mess right now but by this time next months, things should be a lot more settled.   :)

In the mean time, I have a nice treat for you!  For these upcoming hot summer months, this is a refreshing and quick drink and it has become a recent favorite of mine.  I make it all the time - breakfast, dessert, snack, you name it! 

Almond Banana Smoothie
from Clara Ogren, Six Food Intolerance Living

1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 ripe banana
2-3 drops liquid stevia (adjust based on the ripeness/sweetness of your banana)
2 drops almond extract
sprinkle of cinnamon
ice cubes
Optional: spoonful of flax meal, protein powder or chia seeds

Pour all ingredients into a blender (I have a Vitamix) and blend on high just until ice and banana are completely incorporated.

Pour in a glass and serve.


Big Changes

I'm sorry I've been a bit MIA lately.  This have been CRAZY around here.  There's big changes in the future.

The big news is that we're moving to San Diego!  It's something that's been a possibility for quite some time now but nothing was official May 1st and since then, things are moving FAST.  We need to be out there by June 21st so we're trying to get everything lined up and set.  It's still just stressful at the moment so I haven't really had much time to get excited about it.  Plus, having spent most of my life on the East coast, I'm pretty nervous about living on the West coast.  Earthquakes, coastal breezes and lack of water have never been an issue for me.  The East coast is blessed with plentiful (sometimes all too plentiful!) water, beautiful, thick grass and trees and solid, firm ground.  Hubby, however, was born-and-raised in San Diego so he's helping me adjust and it's great that he already knows the area.  We've visited quite a bit over the years and I have a few favorite spots of my own so I take comfort knowing that I'll get to enjoy them whenever I want.  We went out there last week for a house hunting trip and found a bright, spacious condo that even had a garage - it's tandem which was a new thing to me (but apparently pretty common on the West coast) but I'm loving the storage potential! 

Anyway, posts will still be trickling in slowly for a while and will hopefully pick up as I get settled.  The blog will see some big changes too as I take out the metro-DC content and add in new San Diego stuff.  I hope you all will keep tuned in through all the changes!  :)


Let's bring people together!

If you're a gluten-intolerant reader, you've no doubt heard of Ginger Lemon Girl.  She's known for her easy, frugal and delicious gluten (and now dairy and soy) free baking.  We became fast friends a year or so ago and have chatted nearly everyday since.  Well, I'm excited to say that yesterday, I was mentioned on her blog! :)

It was also about a year ago that my husband switched offices and told me that not only were a couple of his co-workers also gluten free, but that one was also allergic to nuts and another was vegan.  Of course, my initial reaction was: "Ooooo, what can I make for everyone to enjoy?"  It definitely has to be something baked .... definitely something chocolaty (because really, who can deny chocolate?) and definitely something gluten and nut free that was also vegan.  Enter Ginger Lemon Girls Amazing Everyday Chocolate Cake (scroll down to see it, her also Amazing Everyday Carrot Cake is listed first).  Yum.  So yum in fact that Hubby downs it in a minute without one "This is gluten free, isn't it" word or look.  From the first time I made it, it's been in heavy rotation in our house - with one addition to Carries original recipe - chocolate chips.  How to make a chocolate cake even better?  Add more chocolate - 1/4 cup of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips to be exact!  I always felt it gave it just that extra bit of decadence. 

So, I knew the recipe I wanted to make for my husbands co-workers, now I just needed to convert it.  It had eggs and I often used almond milk in the recipe.  Second part - easy.  I used Tempt Unsweetened Original Hemp Milk instead of almond milk.  But eggs - how do I replace eggs?  Not being intolerant to eggs nor vegan, I had never tackled the problem.  But with a little research and creative thinking, I figured it out and made an awesome cake.  It's slightly more dense than Carries original Everyday Chocolate Cake but hey, who says that's a bad thing?! ;)  And the best part was that EVERYONE in the office could have some, enjoy it and eat together.  There's nothing more rewarding than having your food bring people together. 

And really, isn't that what all us home cooks are doing?  Bringing our families, extended families and friends together, for one moment in an entire day, together around a table.  Food in which everyone can partake and enjoy.  Hopefully, that's what my version of Carries awesome cake can do. 

To see Carries post and pictures that will have you salivating, please go to her blog.

Just want the recipe already?  Here it is:

Gluten, Dairy, Soy Free and Vegan Chocolate Cake
Created by Carrie Forbes, GingerLemonGirl
Adapted to be vegan by Clara Ogren, Six Food Intolerant Living
Makes: 1 8x8 pan (doubles well for a 9x13 pan) or 12 cupcakes

1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened original flavored hemp milk
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup allergen free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the  dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips.  In a medium bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spray an 8x8 cake pan with non-stick cooking spray or grease with grapeseed oil.

Pour batter into greased lined cake pan.

Bake cake for 18-25 minutes. Test the cake for doneness with a toothpick

Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting with your favorite gluten, dairy and soy free, vegan icing.
Enjoy!  :)

Amy's Releases New Gluten, Dairy and Soy Free Products!

On their website, Amy's announced recently that they will be rolling out several new products.  As usual, all of Amy's products are all-natural and many of them also cater to special diets.  There are many people who, in addition to gluten free, are also dairy free and some are also soy free (either completely soy free or only soy protein free).  Amy's has addressed these diets in several of their new offerings.

Gluten and soy free:
Summer corn and vegetable soup

Gluten and dairy free:
Gluten free chocolate cake

Gluten, dairy and soy free:
Rice Macaroni with non-dairy cheeze (too bad this contains yeast! :( )
Single serve rice crust roasted vegetable pizza (this is only soy protein free as it contains soy lecithin; contains yeast)
Roasted vegetable tamale (with a side of black beans)
Hearty spanish rice and red bean soup
Curried lentil soup
Tomato basil pasta sauce (which also is light in sodium)
Southwestern black bean chili

So far, I have tried the Roasted Vegetable Tamale.  It was delish!  A bit small for me (I like a big lunch), but I just paired it with a large salad and was in hog-heaven!  Yum!  I will definitely be on the look-out for the other GDSYWP-free products that I can have - especially that Hearty Spanish Rice and Red Bean Soup, that just sounds amazing to me!  :)

Saint Patrick's Day recipes

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some GDSYWP-free Irish recipes!

Cottage Pie from Recipezaar
A Traditional Irish Boiled Dinner (Corned Beef and Cabbage) from
Gluten-Free Shamrock Sugar Cookie Recipe from (sub butter with Spectrum spread)
An Irish Stew from Gluten-Free Cookery
Potato Leek Soup from (use safe milk and butter and in place of half-and-half use coconut cream, more milk or Mimic Cream!)
Irish Lamb Stew from (replace flour with an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend)

A variety of Irish Soda Bread Recipes - a naturally yeast free bread! :):
One from the Gluten Free Goddess, Karina
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Irish Soda Bread, #1 from Living Without
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Irish Soda Bread, #2 from Living Without

And, of course, who could have a Saint Patrick's Days without beer? There are plenty of gluten free options! Add some green food coloring and you're all set!

Gluten Free Beers Available in the United States.

I should preface this post with one fact: I am NOT a beer drinker.  Call me crazy, but I've never, ever liked it.  Growing up, my father used to brew his own beer in an storeroom that was immediately below my room and I got to have the pleasure of smelling the hops and yeast while he brewed it and while it fermented.  So, obviously, I definitely don't like the smell.  But, I never liked the taste either.  It's too bitter and ... well, something, for me.  I have tried many types before going GF thanks to my beer "connoisseur" father and husband, but I honestly just could never take it.  So, I am providing this information to you based soley on what I've read about them on the internet.  I can offer you no opinions on this matter but thought that it was important to share with my blog readers who may not know that even when gluten free, yes, too, beer is possible!  :)

The three most commonly found brands in the United States are:

Redbridge - Produced by Anheuser-Busch, Redbridge is arguably the most commonly found gluten free beer.  This rich, full-bodied lager is brewed from the natually gluten free sorghum grain.

New Grist - Made at Lakefront Brewery, a locally-owned microbrewery in Milwaukee, this beer is brewed from sorghum, hops, water, rice and gluten-free yeast grown on molasses.  A crisp and refreshing Session Ale.

Bards Tale Beer - Founded by two Celiacs, this company brews the "Original Sorghum Malt Beer" with their own proprietary malted sorghum.  Using only sorghum, yeast, hops and water, this American-style Lager has a medium body and an amber color.

Less popular gluten free beers that are available domestically are:

Tread Lightly Ale - Brewed by the New Planet Beer Company, this beer is made from fermented sorghum and corn, hops and yeast. This beer was inspired by the American Pilsner and has a light taste and body, low caloric content and does not have the aftertaste of other sorghum-based beers.

Ramapo Valley Brewery’s Passover Honey Beer - A blue ribbon Honey Beer, this unique beer is Kosher certified for Passover.  It is bright golden in color and has notes of honey and hop.  The main fermentable is amber honey, molasses is used for flavor, nutrients and color and noble hops add a touch of bitterness to balance the honey sweetness.

Organic B.R.A.T Wellness Drink

While the age-old, B.R.A.T (Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast) diet is popular for gastrointestinal distress, what is one to do when toast isn't an option?  Organic B.R.A.T. Wellness Drink  is made with a base of banana puree, brown rice and applesauce to be easy on stomachs while also providing electrolytes and nutrients.  At around 100 calories for an 8-ounce glass, it is comparable to other dairy-free milks and is safe for to those with any of the top eight food alleriges.

Overall, these beverages have a smooth texture with the consistency of watered-down milk, which is thin enough to help calm upset stomachs or to consume when not feeling well.  It comes in four flavors:

Original - This is similar in flavor to unflavored, original rice milk with just a hint of banana.

Vanilla - Slightly sweeter than the orignal flavor, this flavor had only a slight vanilla flavor but had a strong vanilla smell.

Cinnamon Toast - Although this had intense cinnamon toast scent, it wasn't overly "spiced" providing a light cinnamon flavor.  I imagine this flavor would be great cooked into baked goods like muffins or cakes.  This was my husbands favorite flavor.

Chocolate Honey - This was my favorite flavor despite my dislike of the flavor of honey.  Actually, I personally didn't taste honey, just a light chocolate flavor.

In addition to being an excellent product, Organic B.R.A.T. Wellness Drink company donates 10% of its profits to various food and medical charities, including St. Jude Children's research Hospital, Feed The Children, Celiac Society, Autism Speaks, and others.

Visit Organic B.R.A.T. Wellness Drink on their website, Twitter or Facebook.

Disclaimer: While I was provided with free samples of this product, my opinions are my own and were not swayed in any way by the company.

RAKU Asian Dining in Bethesda, Maryland offers gluten and soy free sushi options!

If you live in the DC Metro Area and are gluten free, you are in luck!  The Bethesda location of RAKU Asian Dining is a wonderful option for gluten-free sushi.  At the bottom of the menu, "Gluten Free Tamari Available By Request" is clearly printed in bold.  However, the restaurant does not have a dedicated gluten free menu (for more information on ordering sushi safely, please read my previous article on the matter).  I was told to speak with my server on a dish-by-dish basis to evaluate it's status.

My server that day was a gentleman named "Pong" who was very polite, attentive and accommodating.  He was very knowledgeable on what was safe but on the few things he wasn't sure of, he gladly went to talk to the chef before I placed my order.  Surprisingly, the cornmeal crusted calamari was not safe, nor were the buckwheat noodles - apparently both are made with some wheat.  There was a pumpkin soup that was safe as well as many sushi options.  I didn't mention my soy intolerance, only my gluten intolerance, because A) I did not confuse poor Pong even more and B) I was going to avoid everything with gluten in it anyway, that would include all their soy based sauces (with the exception of their wheat free tamari for dipping, which I simply told Pong I didn't need).

I recommend the Nigiri Sushi Appetizer (ask for no sauce on the eel to make it safe) and the Double Salmon Roll, which comes topped with an awesome spicy mango sauce.  It was so good, I ordered 2 of those!  Both pair well with the refreshing, not-too-sweet Peach Iced Tea.   The portion sizes are decent, the food presentation is very nice and the restaurant decor was eclectic and fun.

This restaurant has only three faults that I could find.  First, parking, which of course is an issue in general in Bethesda.  Second, and a major issue in my opinion, is the lack of a waiting area.  One is forced to stand pressed against the wall behind the hostess table or in the entry way as other patrons squeese by you.  Finally, this place can get very busy.  I luckily went right when they opened at 5:00 pm and was given a roomy booth and were well paid attention to, however, when I left around 6:30 pm, the restaurant was packed full and was pretty noisy.  For our gluten free needs, I would highly recommend going early to better assure helpful and attentive service.

A menu and contact information can be found on their website.

Squash Egg Muffins Recipe ... with Pictures!

Spaghetti squash is a wonderfully versatile winter squash.  Rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, C, potassium and fiber, it is also healthy.  Use the naturally stringy spaghetti squash in place of pasta in spaghetti, eat as a side dish topped with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, or make this healthy, portable, delicious breakfast!  And, it's husband approved!  :)

Squash Egg Muffins
from Clara Ogren,

Ingredients (for each muffin):
Oil spray
1/8 cup spaghetti squash, cooked
1/4 a piece of thick-cut Esskay Turkey Bacon (or whatever bacon you have and however much you want!)
1 tsp or 3g Daiya cheese (I mixed both the cheddar and Italian blend flavors, next time, I think I'll use 2 tsp)
1 scrambled egg
Diced scallions, optional, for garnish
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1) Spray a squirt or two of oil spray into muffin opening.
(I forgot to take a picture of this step, but I'm sure you get it.)

2) Place squash into muffin tin, pressing into the bottom and on the sides.

3) Place bacon on top of squash.

4) Top bacon with 1 tsp of Daiya cheese.

5) Scramble an egg and pour on top.  Garnish with scallions, pepper or whatever you like.

6) Repeat this process for as many muffins as you would like to make.

7) Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through.

8) Gently pull muffins out of muffin tin and enjoy!


The opinions and thoughts expressed here are purely my own and are not coerced, swayed or influenced by a company, organization or other person. The information contained here is to the best of my knowledge at the date posted. I am NOT an expert and am NOT responsible for anything that you do with this information. Please do your own research, seek out professionals and read all ingredients yourself in order to ensure that the choices you make are right for your lifestyle.

Comments on this website may not represent the views of the blog owner and their claims, advice, etc. are the sole responsibility of their original writers, NOT the blog owner.

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