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.


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!

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.


This recipe has been happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Olive, Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil!

If you have tried Laura's Garlic Herb Dip once, I bet you've made it several times. I still don't have the courage to add as many cloves of garlic as Laura does but we are hooked on that stuff.

It is absolutely amazing spooned over freshly baked crusty bread, but I love to drizzle it over grilled veggies, too.

The beauty of the recipe is that it really isn't a recipe. You just take a handful of fresh herbs of your choice and chop them up with some garlic, drizzle olive oil over the top and season.

Easy peasy.

Last week I had made a beautiful, crusty double loaf of Luce's New Italian Bread.

Charles Luce makes gluten free artisan bread so easy. I tweak the recipe ever so slightly and double it, baking it in a covered casserole instead of his baking bags. It comes out just right. The double sized loaf works better for my family.

We were getting ready to grill some veggies when I remembered Laura's dip.

I went outside to pick herbs and there just wasn't enough to make a nice amount so I grabbed a can of Santa Barbara Olive Company Olives. These are my favorite olives so only about 2/3 of the can made it into the dip. The texture and size of these olives are so perfect and they have several olives that are gluten free. A bonus is Santa Barbara is where my mom's family lived when I was young. The old mission on the label just makes me happy.

The result was really phenomenal. The olive texture and salty flavor worked so well with the garlic. The herbs I had on hand were fresh basil, mint, oregano and a tiny bit of chives. Any fresh herb you love works and the more flavors, the better. Because Laura loves olives I felt she'd approve of this addition. =D

We rounded out dinner with a roasted beet salad and it felt like the perfect summer meal.

Again, this really isn't a real recipe, but here's what I did.

Olive, Garlic & Herb Dipping Oil:

I chopped a handful fresh mixed herbs finely with 3 cloves of garlic.

When they were chopped I added about a cup of drained jumbo black olives and roughly chopped them.

I put the mixture in a bowl and covered with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I used freshly ground Himalayan Salt, Black Pepper and Hot Hungarian Paprika to season the dipping oil. We have kept extra dipping oil two or three days in the fridge.

Happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays over at Gluten Free Easily!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Luna's Living Kitchen Gluten Free, Vegan and Amazing!

So many friends had been raving about Luna's Living Kitchen and posting mouth-watering photos on Instagram and Facebook lately so I've been anxious to try it. It's a two and a half hour drive from us so we used a trek to IKEA as an excuse for a visit a few days ago. We are not vegan but we do eat many vegan and vegetarian meals weekly so we looked forward to checking Luna's out.

The restaurant exterior is warm and inviting. There are large planter boxes outside and most of them were full of greens. The tall ceilings, huge windows, spare decor and art make for a cozy yet bright interior. Every single employee greeted us with a smile from the moment we walked in. We sat at the juice bar because all the tables were full.

Jonathon was our gracious server and was happy to tell me which items were gluten free. There was a much better than usual selection to choose from. We ordered an organic juice for each of us. Chris chose the Volcano, a citrus blend with a touch of maple syrup and cayenne. I have an aversion to the smell of maple syrup but when I tasted it I fell in love. I ordered the Zinger which was beet, apple, orange, lemon and ginger. The ginger actually gave it more heat than Chris' Volcano. The sweet and hot combination was delicious. Luna's juices are available at our local Whole Foods, too. Pricey, but a healthy splurge.

One of our friend Josh's recommendation was the Rawco Taco Salad so I was glad it was gluten free. That was my order. How gorgeous is that salad?

Underneath the cilantro and sprouts was a large scoop of crumbled walnuts and almonds. The nuts gave it a crunchy, satisfying feel without feeling heavy. The cashew sour cream and hot sauce combination was a perfect touch - so flavorful! The hot sauce had quite a kick without being too much heat. Cool slices of avocado and crispy veggie/flax crackers made a perfect meal.

It's the kind of salad I could eat every day of the week if only someone would deliver it!

Chris ordered the Living Burrito. It was a collard leaf wrapped around sunflower seed refried beans, cauliflower rice, veggies and the same cashew sour cream and pico de gallo that were on my salad. He inhaled it shortly after I took this photo. 

He loves all things cauliflower so he especially enjoyed the cauliflower rice. Chris loved the combination of flavors and textures and found it to be a hearty lunch (he likes big food!) and also commented that he didn't feel weighed down by this large meal.

I'm going to have to get on Pinterest soon and look up some cauliflower rice and cashew sour cream recipes.

This meal makes me want to up my game when it comes to our vegetarian and vegan meals and make them more creative. Summer is a great time to take advantage of wonderful produce.

Josh had also recommended the Lemon Berry Cheesecake and we shared a beautiful slice while Chris had a coffee. 

Hands down the best cheesecake I've ever tasted and again totally vegan. Just the right amount of crunchy nut crust, plain and fruit flavored layers and perfect to share.

We both loved every part of our meal and our experience at Luna's Living Kitchen. While it is quite a drive I know we'll be back - maybe not as often as I'd like - but I can't wait.

This post has been shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays - thanks Shirley!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Gluten Free Cinco de Mayo Recipes!

Our family loves Mexican food so much we have it several times a week. It has always been a favorite of mine and is something that is so easily adaptable to gluten free life.

This year we are combining a Cinco de Mayo fiesta and Mother's Day so I have a few days to figure out our menu. It will be Aiden's first fiesta and while avocados are the only part of a fiesta he can partake in this time I'm sure by the next fiesta there will be more. 

We'll make it easy so none of the moms have much to do. While I haven't decided what I'm making yet, here are some of my favorites:

These tamales are the easiest tamales you can make and also vegetarian. Once you make your first batch you'll have fun making your own fillings to suit your tastes.

You can literally stuff the masa with anything your family loves from refried beans to sauteed and seasoned veggies to shredded and seasoned meats.

Even really simple meals are so much more flavorful topped with salsa. A simple meal of beans and rice is a fiesta when you add salsa like the bowl at the top of this post.

Salsas come in many different colors and flavors but our family tends to love these two basics. 

The red has my name but since Gabby loves the green version more than anyone I had to name it for her. 

The red is a fresh, medium-hot salsa that takes under five minutes in the blender. Follow the directions for a fast and chunky salsa or puree longer for a smoother version.

The green is a lot hotter, but not a typical green salsa at all. Totally pureed in the blender it's a combination of jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice. Hot but really flavorful. Made in my Vitamix its a smooth and pour-able sauce but made in a food processor or regular blender it will have gorgeous green flecks of cilantro.

Have you ever tried Enfrijoladas? If you haven't you are in for a treat! Instead of enchilada sauce I use a black bean sauce. It's easy peasy and great if you have to avoid things that are too spicy. I fill them just like enchiladas so feel free to use any filling your family enjoys. 

Check out this link for Gabby's cheesy rice, too. Gabby makes massive amounts of it when we get together and it always vanishes!

Fiesta Chicken and Rice Salad is one of my personal favorites. It's fresh and crunchy and so flavorful. It's great for a buffet and makes a wonderful light dinner on hot summer nights.

Another salad favorite is this one! A Creamy Cilantro and Pepita Salad Dressing is so refreshing over a bowl of mixed greens and is really nice and cooling with a spicy meal.

While not Mexican in any way shape or form, after a big meal it's nice to have something sweet but not too heavy. A square of my Praline Blondies are a quick to fix treat we all love.

And for more ideas, please check out Shirley's Cinco de Mayo recipes, too. That Sangria might just make it to our table!