Wednesday, October 29, 2014

b.good - healthy, local, delicious and gluten free


b.good is a restaurant we fell in love with on a recent trip to Portland and Wiscasset Maine. We visited the Portland store at least three times in our five days in Maine. The other two days we were in Wiscasset.

The Portland, Maine store employees were friendly and helpful in keeping our food gluten free and so delicious. The six of us tried just about every gluten free item on the menu from burgers to salads to kale and quinoa bowls. Everyone absolutely loved everything. Especially awesome are the kids meals. We loved it so much it just didn't seem worth the bother to look up other safe restaurants.

The photo on the right is our last visit up in Maine. Loved the brick and the photos of the local farmers.

So the wait for the Raleigh store seemed ever so long. But open it did last week!

Chris, Joe and I went on Friday for lunch. This was their second day open and the line started clear across the restaurant. We obviously were not the only people anxiously waiting for them to open. The line moved quickly and the young man taking our order was friendly and capable. He quickly told us the couple of items we couldn't have and assured us the rest were safe.

The look of the Raleigh store is fresh and new and the farmer photos are local to our area. I was happy to later hear that JMF Photography took their photos.

We ordered and found a spot at the counter in front of the window to sit.  While I all but stopped drinking sodas years ago, at b.good I indulge with their outstanding Maine Roots soda. My family loves lots of their flavors but I always get the root beer. It's just like what we had growing up ages ago - creamy and perfect.

The guys' burgers and my chicken sandwich were perfect. The toppings are fresh and local, as are the burgers and chicken breasts. The veggie patties are house made and vegan (but not gluten free).

But the fries are amazing. If you're gluten free you know what a big deal safe gluten free fries are but at b.good you can get sweet potato or regular fries. Both are absolutely awesome.

The next day Marc, Marie, Aiden and I ran in for lunch. We arrived just before the doors opened and by the time they did open there was another family waiting with us. Several others filled tables before long.

The crowd Friday at lunch was definitely a work crowd and the Saturday lunch crowd was mostly young families. Steve Woodward, the owner said he was pleased with the lunch turnout but also pleasantly surprised by the dinner crowds, many of whom live in the apartments above the restaurant. How convenient would it be to just pick up dinner and take it right upstairs?? It seems a perfect location for everyone.

Marc and Marie ordered burgers and I ordered the spicy avocado lime kale and quinoa bowl.  It was my first b.good bowl and I ordered it as a healthy and maybe lighter choice. It was such a great combination of fresh veggies with a very spicy and flavorful sauce that I have a new favorite. So fresh and satisfying.

One thing I really love about b.good is their kids meals. Our sweet Aiden loves to eat and Marie and Marc feed him real, whole foods. The kids meals at b.good live up to their requirements and Aiden loves them.

Saturday he enjoyed a bunless turkey burger (freshly grilled and juicy) and a side of veggies. He loved the tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots and kale.



Aiden - so happy and busy with his kid's meal.

It's so nice to be able to walk into a restaurant and know that we can all enjoy healthy, local and delicious food without a worry about gluten. I can't recommend b.good highly enough.

Happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays at Gluten Free Easily!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies


For the last year I have been making Elana Amsterdam's brownie recipe. It is so perfect in taste and texture and since calls for an entire jar of almond butter it's got a good protein to carbohydrate balance for us. Everyone who tries it likes it, it is simple and fast to make so I haven't tried another in all that time. I usually cut the honey a bit and the end result is still sweet and delicious. They also tend to stay moist and pack well without getting crumbly, unlike some I've made with gluten free flours.

Elana's Pantry is such a great resource and while I have given many of my cookbooks away, I hold on two of Elana's. They are carefully written and everything I have tried has turned out perfectly.

Yesterday I used peanut butter and upped the cocoa for a little change. While the almond butter gives a mild flavor in the original recipe, the same amount of peanut butter really jumps out. The extra bit of cocoa seemed to balance it nicely. I like to sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top to dress them up a bit instead of mixing them in the batter.

Because almonds are a high salicylate food making Elana's recipe with almond butter is Feingold stage 2, this peanut butter variation makes them a Feingold stage 1, gluten free, casein free treat.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees

16 ounces     Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
1 1/4 Cups.   Honey (yes, 1 and 1/4 Cups)
3/4 cup        Cocoa
2 large.         Eggs
1 teaspoon   Vanilla
1 teaspoon    Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan or Sea Salt
1/2 cup         Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Mix everything together except the chocolate chips. I use my KitchenAid and it takes just moments. Spread into an un-greased 9 x 13 baking pan and bake. In my oven it usually takes 35 to 40 minutes.

Enjoy!

This recipe happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays at Gluten Free Easily.

Feingold information can be found HERE.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Primal Food & Spirits

The Raleigh Gluten and Allergen Free Expo kicked off with an amazing blogger/vendor dinner the night before the expo at Primal Food & Spirits in Durham. Primal welcomed the very large group in their private room and overflow in the dining area.

Chris and I were fortunate enough to attend the dinner. The ample private dining room was nearly full by the time we arrived so we sat in the dining area with Nikki Everett's awesome family and with vendor Stephanie of SAF Organics and her husband Ken of JMF Photography.  (Nikki is the amazing woman who coordinates the GFAF events all over - check the expo site to see when one will be near you).

I could say so much about Primal but I think that photo of the bucket of bread says it all! When was the last time you had delicious gluten free bread at a restaurant? Sometimes its the little things that mean the most and make you feel welcome.

We all ordered off the menu which could not have been easy for such a large group but our server made it look simple. Chris and I shared Crab Cakes with citrus cabbage slaw and orange aioli. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I've had crab cakes since it had been a long while before I had to go gluten free.  Every bite was perfection. If I could order only one thing at Primal from now on, this would keep me happy.



Chris' fish was melt in your mouth good. Fish isn't my forte and although I grill, saute and bake it a couple of times a week I can never get it to this level of perfection.

The veggies were crisp and flavorful and the almonds were a perfect bit of crunch and flavor.

I had the veggie lasagna which was a really delicious layered dish of veggies and cheese. No pasta to get in the way of the fresh flavors.

After dinner Chris ordered a pot of French press coffee and we each picked a dessert. At this point we were both very content and probably should have skipped or, at the very
least, shared a dessert. The dessert
options were just too tempting.

Chris had the berry tart and it was sweet and creamy with a crispy crust and piles of beautiful berries. I chose the flour-less chocolate torte.

I have a beloved old recipe for a flour-less chocolate torte that I have been making for decades and it's the recipe I gauge others by. If you had me do a blindfolded taste test between the two, I don't think I could have told the difference.

It was dense and oh so chocolaty without being cloyingly sweet. Just exactly the way I love it.

So we finished our meal completely stuffed to the brim and happy. Our dinner companions were charming and interesting and we can't wait to go back to Primal Food and Spirits.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Feta & Kalmata Cheese Spread




This Feta Kalmata Cheese Spread is so simple and delicious.

It's great on crackers, melts into warm crispy bread, tops a salad, makes an instant creamy sauce on hot veggies, can be mixed into mashed red potatoes and more.

The briny soft cheese, salty olives and seasoning adds layers of flavors and makes just about anything taste amazing.

Because it's so simple your ingredients matter. Use your favorite Feta, most flavorful olives and best olive oil.

Feta Kalmata Cheese Spread

14 ounces Feta in Brine
6 to 8 Kalmata Olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Oil Oil
1 teaspoon Organic Oregano, dried
Dash Organic Garlic Powder
Dash Black Pepper

Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mashed. Use right away, but the flavor improves as it mellows.

Tonight I'll be spreading it over some delicious focaccia.

Next time I make it I will likely add sun-dried tomatoes and some chopped artichoke hearts. I think that spreading that combination over a partially baked pizza crust would be awesome.

Don't forget to enter to win a pair of tickets to the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event in Raleigh on August 9th! Comment on this post to enter.

Enjoy!

Happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays at Gluten Free Easily!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event Raleigh!



I'm so excited to share that the next Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event taking place Saturday, August 9, 2014 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in Raleigh.

The tickets are only $10.00 per adult and children 13 and under are free. College students get $3.00 off with a valid college ID. 

It will be at the convenient:
The Double Tree Hilton Brownstone University  
1707 Hillsborough Street  
Raleigh NC 27605

Whether you have been gluten free for years as I have or are brand new to all of this, there is plenty to see and learn.

There will be great speakers this year so plan enough time to listen in. Medical professionals and great gluten free bloggers will share wonderful advice. The line up is diverse and so are their specialties - check the site for the latest information.

The list of participating vendors is so much larger than last year and includes lots of new-to-me products to check out. There will even be a gluten free food truck vendor I've been dying to try. Keep an eye on the site for the list of vendors, too.

I will be giving away four tickets. We will draw two names and each person will receive two tickets to pick up at Will Call August 9th.

To enter just leave a comment letting me know you're interested. August 4th I will announce the winners. You'll have 24 hours to contact me or I will draw another name. Good luck! Hope to see lots of you there!

Happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays at Gluten Free Easily!

The winners have been selected. Marie and Gabby, you are winners!



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Honey Sriracha Madness

So this Honey Sriracha Madness is Marie's fault entirely. You see, Marie, Marc and Aiden were running in the grocery store as Joe and I were running to our car a few weeks ago. 

Marie mentioned she was making Honey Sriracha Chicken for dinner that night and I was intrigued. A quick check of Pinterest later that night gave lots of variations. All super simple and I never did go back to look at a recipe.

And since it's been way too long since Aiden has made an appearance on the blog I am sharing this photo our amazing Gabby took at his dedication last month. It's hard to believe he's going to be one in just under a month!

But back to food. So why am I giving you three? Because it was a great excuse to put up a pic of Aiden and because it's really good! I love to play around with a good recipe and make it my own varying ingredients to my family's tastes. You can adjust the honey and Sriracha to your taste to make it sweeter or milder or scorching hot! 

For the Honey Sriracha Chicken Bowls, I just let one and a half pounds cubed chicken simmer in a tablespoon of coconut oil. As the cubes were barely cooked through I added about 1/4 cup honey, about a tablespoon Sriracha and a dash of lime juice and garlic and simmered until the sauce was thick and caramelized but not dry.

Stop when you like the consistency - really saucy to drizzle over the rice - simmer a little less time. Super caramelized, go a little longer.

It was amazing over a bowl of steaming rice with some fresh herbs sprinkled on top. We used mint, cilantro and basil for a Thai-inspired flavor.





Our favorite vegetarian version is this delicious Honey Sriracha Mushroom Sauté.

It's super simple. Clean and quarter a pound of mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms in a medium skillet in one heaping tablespoon of honey and one heaping teaspoon of Sriracha. No oil is necessary. Leave the lid off and stir everything together. The mushrooms will release their juices and the sauce with start to thicken after a few minutes. We love this served over rice (fried rice in this pic) and with kimchee.








Honey Sriracha Beef Lettuce Wraps have to be the easiest lettuce wraps you can make and are amazingly flavorful. To make these simply brown one pound of organic, grass fed ground beef with about a half cup of minced onions. Stir in the same heaping tablespoon of honey and heaping teaspoon of Sriracha and sauté until the sauce is thickened.


I topped lettuce leaves with julienned red peppers and spiralized cucumber and added the beef and cilantro. Chris loved these even though our lettuce didn't "wrap" this time. 

Relax in the kitchen and be creative - it makes eating healthy much more fun.

Happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Laura's Chocolate Mousse - Gluten Free and Vegan

Topped with fresh blackberries from my brother and sister in law's garden. Yum!



Another Ode to Laura, this recipe is one she made when she came to visit Marie right after Aiden was born last summer. Sorry it's such a fuzzy shot but I love this one. Aiden was just a tiny peanut here. Laura shared her recipe in this post.  

There are so many recipes I haven't taken the time to blog lately. Life has been busier than it used to be and I've been sharing the computer and desk with my hubby so getting to it isn't always working out. This is one treat that has been a draft for nearly a year so it's time to make it blog official.

I've made it well more than a dozen times since Laura served this but was surprised to find I had actually made it and posted it earlier that year! 

My nephew told me it was already there when I mentioned I had to get it on my blog so he could find it. Oh my gosh, I'm getting old and losing my mind already. 

Check out the filling for my yummy but not so pretty Creamy Chocolate Filled Coconut Whoopie Pies

This is such a great recipe, naturally gluten free and vegan. It takes five minutes to put together, is a great make ahead dessert and everyone loves it. The recipe below is a small tweak from Laura's and from my filling.

Don't you love the way Laura packed them up to serve? I usually use smaller mason jars because I tend to serve these as part of a dessert table.

Because they are rich and creamy, a small serving is satisfying but because it isn't heavy or overly sweet a large serving is perfect, too.


 Laura's Chocolate Mousse - Gluten Free and Vegan

1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
1/2 cup (8) Organic Medjool Dates, roughly chopped
1/3 Tablespoons Cocoa or Cacoa Powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Powder

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use my Vitamix) or food processor until creamy and well mixed. There will be flecks of dates in the chocolate cream if you use a food processor. 

I like to fill tiny glasses with the mouse, chill and top with raspberries just like Laura when serving.

Enjoy!

This recipe has been happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays!