Friday, August 31, 2012

Gluten-Free Brown Butter Mizithra Pasta

This week we finally finished our drywall!  It feels so good to actually have walls and a place to prepare food.  We are getting pretty sick of eating out.  And, by the end of next week, we should have our kitchen cabinets up and ready to go.  But that means we are having a massive "paint party" this weekend. And that also means that my remnants of a kitchen were moved outside.

Since it's such a nice night out, I decided to take advantage of my new "outdoor kitchen" and do a little cooking.  With limited prep space, I wanted to make something simple.  During my first week back at school, my friend Lynn and I talked about how much we love Spaghetti Factory Brown Butter Mizithra Pasta.  She also told me that it was super-easy to make.  All you need is:

  • 1 box of your favorite gluten-free pasta, cooked
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (make sure it is gluten-free)
  • 3/4 cups mizithra cheese
After you cook the pasta, place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Melt the butter until it starts boiling.

Once it starts boiling and frothing, you need to stir it continuously for about 5 minutes until it stops frothing.  Make sure not to let it boil over because if the butter catches the heat, it will catch on fire.

Once the butter stops foaming, it will start to turn a light brown color.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the butter starts to smell like carmel.  Then, remove it from the heat and pour it through a strainer on to the pasta.  Mix it well. Then, add the mizithra cheese and serve.  
This is super-rich and tasty meal.  I think I will share it on Allergy Free Wednesday and Gluten Free Friday....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Favorite Gluten-Free Breakfast Spots

This has been a very exciting weekend for us:  we finally have walls!  The drywall has finally gone up in our kitchen and dining room.  It is such an exciting process for us because we can now get a real vision of what our house will look like when the remodel is done.  

While I am so excited to see the drywall go up, I have lost any ability to cook or do any sort of food preparation.  Our sink looks like a crime scene so we can't even do dishes after cereal or something simple.  Not that I am complaining. ;-) So my wonderful husband took me out to a lot of meals this weekend.  One thing that we did that we don't usually do is go out to breakfast.  I absolutely love going out for breakfast on the weekends!  But, as people with gluten intolerance know, going out to breakfast gluten-free can be tough.  Most breakfast foods have some sort of gluten in them and, even if they are made gluten-free, you still have to worry about cross-contamination when eating out. Luckily, Portland has a lot of wonderful gluten-free breakfast restaurants that are knowledgeable about cross-contamination.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Bob's Red Mill:  This is a combination grocery store and restaurant.  As many of you probably know, Bob's Red Mill makes a lot of gluten-free flours and products and they put those products to use in their restaurant.  They have a gluten-free menu where you can get biscuits and pancakes made in a separate pan.  They also have a case of gluten-free and vegan pastries that are amazing.

2.  Slappy Cakes: This restaurant it so much fun I can hardly stand it!  They have gluten-free batter to which you can add any toppings and fillings like bacon, cheese, sausage, chocolate, berries, peanut butter, and more that I can't remember. Then, they bring the batter to your table and you grill the pancakes right at your table! You can also order delicious organic eggs, omelets, breakfast meats, and healthier fare.  My favorite thing about this restaurant is the care they put in to preventing cross-contamination.  They steam clean each table after use and they will make your pancakes in the kitchen in a gluten-free safe pan if you don't want to make yours at your table.  When you go, try one of their speciality cocktails, they are to die for!

3.  Singer Hill Cafe:  This place is actually in Oregon City but I had to mention it because they have amazing pastries and gluten-free wraps.  I went there with my in-laws once and had the most incredible egg, cheese, and bacon wrap and smoothie.  Their brownies are amazing, too. :-)

Any favorite gluten-free breakfasts?  Share in them in the comments section!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gluten-Free Maple Nut Waffles

Happy National Waffle Day!  Well, actually it is tomorrow.  I had no idea something like this even existed but, as a huge waffle lover, I am all ready to celebrate.  Today, in an effort to use up as much of our food as possible before the drywall instillation, I decided to try making a new type of waffle I have not tried before.  I am calling them gluten free maple nut waffles.  They actually turned out really well and I think they would have turned out better had I dug out my mixer from the basement instead of mixing by hand.

I started off by playing around with my usual gluten free waffle flour mix. I usually opt for a crispier waffle and only use gluten free starch and brown rice flour in my waffles, but I thought I would need a denser waffle to hold the nuts and the oats.  And with the addition of the oats, they still has a little bit of the crispiness I like in waffle.  :)  To make this recipe, you need:

  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups milk (cow, almond, soy should all be fine)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
Start by sifting together the flours and starch.  Then, use a whisk to add the baking powder and the salt and whisk until everything is well-combined. Use a mixer or stir vigorously by hand while adding the milk, butter, eggs, and maple syrup.  While still mixing, add in the oats and the nuts until they are well-mixed in the batter.
 Let the batter sit for a couple of minutes to thicken while you preheat the waffle iron to medium heat.  Then, add 1/2 cup of batter to the waffle iron and cook for about 5 minutes.  If your waffle iron is not non-stick, you'll want to grease the iron before adding the batter.  When they are done, remove from the waffle iron.  They taste great with jam, whipped cream, or maple syrup and butter.
Any recipes to celebrate national waffle day?  Share in the comments section!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gluten Free Walnut Pesto Pasta

As the summer ends and the school year creeps upon me I am coming to terms that I am going to have less time for cooking and need more time for grading papers.  Especially with the kitchen torn apart and  some serious construction coming our way.  Drywall, anyone?:)  Today as I was working on my calendar for the upcoming year, I kept thinking about what I was going to make for dinner on little time and almost no space.  I try to make dinner with a healthy amount of protein in it as I have been running a lot and my husband comes home from work and immediately puts sweat equity in to our house.  Since I had no time nor space to make meat tonight, I tried to think of an alternative.  Since I had a large jar of pesto in my fridge that I needed to use, I thought it might be fun to see if toasted walnuts tasted good with the pesto and pasta.

Walnuts have a lot health benefits.  Research has shown that eating just a few walnuts per day can lower your levels LDL (Bad) cholesterol and improve the blood flow for people with Type 2 Diabetes. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamins B and E, and they act as a natural anti-inflammatory, which really benefits people with autoimmune diseases.

The recipe I made tonight is super-easy to make and really tasty.  All you need is:

  • 1 box of your favorite gluten-free pasta
  • 1/4 lb walnuts 
  • 3 tablespoons Summer Pesto (click link for recipe)
  • Salt to taste
  • Parmesan to taste (optional)
Toasting walnuts is really easy.  Heat up a dry pan over medium heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the walnuts.  Toast for about 3-5 minutes or until you start to smell the toasted taste.  Remove them from the heat.  Cook your pasta as instructed and then add the pesto and walnuts, stirring until the walnuts and pasta are covered.  Top with parmesan and enjoy!
As you can tell, we love parmesan!
Any quick, gluten-free meals?  Share in the comments section!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gluten Free Peanut Sauce with Chicken and Broccoli

After last night's barbecue fiasco, I felt the need to redeem myself, i.e not burning dinner.  So, I set out to make a dish with one of our favorite things: peanut sauce.  We have been eating fresh rolls and gluten free peanut sauce from Chaba Thai in NE Portland at least twice per week.  I thought I could make the peanut sauce healthier (and cheaper) at home.  I found a great recipe on the blog Cooking with Amy and I just made some revisions to make it gluten free and fit to our taste. To make this recipe, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 small lime, squeezed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chile sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts, sliced in to thin strips
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • White or brown rice, cooked
Start by marinating the chicken in 4 tablespoons of the soy sauce.  You can also marinate the chicken in curry and it goes well with the peanut sauce; I just don't tolerate curry well.  Cover the chicken and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Then, start making the peanut sauce.  In a medium sized saucepan, whisk together the peanut butter, remaining soy sauce, coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar, chile sauce, ginger, and red pepper flakes.  Then, add the water and mix until you have a liquid substance.  Transfer the saucepan to a burner set at medium-heat.  Heat the sauce until it is think and bubbling, stirring occasionally, then set aside:

Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the chicken to the oiled pan and cook until all of the pink is almost gone.  When the chicken is almost done, add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and then add the broccoli.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the chicken and broccoli are completely done.  Then add the peanut sauce.  Stir until all of the chicken a broccoli are covered and remove from the heat.

Serve over rice soon after it is finished.  This dish also makes for great leftovers!:
I think this recipe will go on Allergy Free Wednesday and Gluten Free Fridays!  Any family favorite recipes?  Share in the comments section!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gluten Free Barbecued Pizza

We are heading in to our 5th month without a working kitchen.  I shouldn't complain as we at least have a fridge, sink, and a little counter space.  But, as we grow weary of takeout and I run out of creative ideas for the crock pot and camp stove, times are getting desperate.  Well, desperate may be a strong word, but we are running out of ideas.  Tonight I decided to try my hand at the barbeque.  My husband is usually the "grill master"  but I thought it would be fun to try gluten free barbecued pizza. I have heard of people doing it and we were excited to try something new.

Now, I will preface this recipe with the fact that I usually make my own gluten free pizza crust.  In fact,  I make quite delicious gluten free pizza crust and I will eventually share the recipe.  But there was no way that I could make it myself tonight as we only have about two square feet of counter space left and most of my baking utensils in the basement.  So, I did the unthinkable and bought pre-made gluten free pizza crusts.  I say the it is the "unthinkable" because pre-made, gluten free pizza crusts are really hard to manage.  They are fragile and tend to crumble easily.  If I had to do this recipe again, I would make my own dough.  For the rest of the pizza you need:

  • About two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Your favorite sauce (marinara, olive oil, pesto, or whatever you like on your pizza)
  • Your favorite blend of Italian cheeses (mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, etc.)
  • Your favorite gluten free pizza toppings, anything goes!
Get all of your ingredients together before you heat your grill.  Take the olive oil and lightly brush all sides of the crusts with the olive oil. This prevents it from sticking to the grill:
(Do you like how we are using our siding as a prep station?)

Contrary to what I did, you should heat your grill to a medium-low heat.  The crusts will burn quickly if the coals get too hot.  Once the grill is heated, cook your crusts for about 2 minutes without adding the toppings.  Once the crusts have firmed up enough to where they are not crumbly, add your sauce, cheese and toppings.
(I over-handled the crusts and they broke :()
Cook for about another 2-5 minutes until your toppings are cooked.  If you are using uncooked meat, you will want to cook it before adding it to the pizza.  The same is true for veggies, although that can be considered a matter of taste.  

Pros of barbecuing pizza:  It really bring out the flavor of all the ingredients and you get a nice, wood-fired taste to the crust.

Cons: You know the saying, "the sauce is the boss"?  When you barbeque a pizza, the crust is the boss.  So you need to get it perfect to truly appreciate the barbecued taste of the pizza.  And, in this case, pre-bake crust just wasn't doing it for me.

Any new, gluten-free barbecue ideas?  Share them in the comments section!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gluten Free Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

I am down to my final week of summer vacation, sigh.  This week will be a week of lesson planning, house cleaning, laundry, and waking up earlier.  Even though I do love having the time off during the summer, there are a lot of things that I look forward to in the fall.  I can't wait for college football (go Ducks!), the holidays (yes, I start celebrating Christmas November 1st), Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte, and, actually, anything with pumpkin.  Today, to kick of my countdown to going back to school, I decided to make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast to remind me of all of the things I love about fall.  Also, I don't have an oven yet to make pumpkin bread.  :)

Pumpkin is actually pretty healthy as it has a lot of fiber and it is filling.  It is also easy to incorporate in to a lot of recipes. Today, I actually used my Gluten Free Oatmeal Pancakes as a base for making pumpkin pancakes.  To start, all you need:

  • 1/2 cup certified gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pecans (optional)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl until there are no lumps of pumpkin.  Take 1/4 cup scoops of the batter and place in a well-greased pan over low-heat.  Cook for about 5 minutes and then flip over and cook for 5 minutes on the other side.  You can eat these with whipped cream and more pecans, apple butter, or traditional maple syrup and butter.

Any favorite fall recipes?  Share them in the comments section!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Running a Half-Marathon and Garage "Saleing"

I've been a little bummed because I don't think I'll be able to run the Eugene Women's Half-Marathon this year.  We have too much going on with the house this week and I need to get ready to go back to work.  But, on a garage "saleing" (we turn everything in to verbs) with my friends Lynn and Amy, Lynn's lovely niece Shelby told me about a half-marathon she is running in October called the Girlfriends Half Marathon. It sounds a lot like the Eugene Women's Half-Marathon, girl-power, massages, and chocolates, but it is closer to home.  I'm going to sign-up to keep myself accountable and I am feeling super-stoked to get back to distance races!

Shelby was asking Amy and me for advice on running in a half-marathon as it is her first.  As we started to give her our old, stand-by tips, we started noticing similarities in running a half-marathon and garage "saleing".  While it may seem like a stretch, the advice you would give someone on running a half-marathon has a striking similarity to the advice you would give someone when they first go garage "saleing".  If you will indulge my zen-buddha-yoda moment, read these tips and see if you agree.

  1. Eat a good, easy to digest breakfast, but don't try anything new:  When you are running in a distance race, you need to give your body good fuel to make it all of those miles.  While l like to eat gluten-free pancakes, as you may have noticed, Amy likes to eat a bagel with peanut butter.  Either one is a matter of taste, but they are both easy to digest and won't weigh you down.  It is also important to eat something that you know agrees with your body.  You don't want to get creative race-day morning with something you have never tried before based on advice someone gave you.  You risk not tolerating the food and ending up with stomach pains half-way through the race. (Been there.)   If you are a seasoned "garage saler", that is also good advice to give a novice "garage saler."  Think about it: garage "saleing" can be something of an endurance sport. You have to get up early, look at your route, and try to make good time so you can hit every garage sale.  Most likely, you will travel in a pack of people and no one is going to want to be around you if you are getting "hangry."  You need a solid breakfast before you head out so you are sustained to make it to as many sales as possible.  You also want to make sure you are eating something that agrees with you because when you once you are out "saleing", it will be very difficult to find a bathroom stop.
  2. Bring a cell-phone or a way to get ahold of someone in an emergency: If you are running your first long-distance race, it is a good idea to bring your cell phone with you in case something happens.  You may not know the course well and you may incur an injury away from an aid station.  It's a good idea to have someone on standby that can get you help just in case this happens.  The same can be said for garage "saleing".  You may encounter unfamiliar territory on your route and you need to have someone to call in case you need directions.  You also might get a flat, run out of gas, or see scaffolding that your dad needs and need to get ahold of him immediately so he can purchase it.  Right, Lynn?  :)
  3. Hydration is key: Drinking a lot of water up to and during your half-marathon is essential to making it through well.  My dad, who is an awesome distance runner, always tells me to get water, sports drinks, or gel at every stand that I come across, even if I don't think I immediately need it.  There is nothing worse than feeling dehydrated during a race; that is why there are usually a lot of water stands.  Hydration is also key to having a successful garage sale outing.  If you are not drinking enough fluids, you will not effectively negotiate or make it to the afternoon sales. Make sure that everyone in the car has a bottle of water with them at all times.
  4. Pace yourself:  When you are running your first half-marathon, you'll probably have the urge to jump right out of the gate and start with a fast pace.  That is normal given the crowds and the excitement of the starting line.  But remember that you have a lot of miles to run and you need to save energy for the end of the race.  With your first race, remember the goal is to just finish and enjoy the race, not set a world-record.  Again, I would advise a first time "garage saler" in the same way.  Don't buy everything you see at the first couple of sales.  Pace  yourself, watch what people around you are buying to make sure you are getting a good deal, stop and think if you really need what you are buying, and learn negotiating tips from the seasoned "garage saler."  
  5. Protect against chaffing: This tip can save your race: make sure to wear Vaseline, Body Glide or something similar in your "sensitive areas".  Jogging bra or running shorts chaffing is not fun during a race so make sure you protect yourself beforehand.  While this might seem like an odd tip for garage "saleing", you might want to consider bringing something to protect against chaffing on this outing as well.  Because the driver of the car you are in might get overly excited about seeing a sign for a sale and drive over a CURB to turn around to find it.  And in the process of driving over said curb, you might get flung in to the DOOR causing a major BURN on your arm.  And then you will wish you would have protected yourself.  Not that this happened to me before. ;)
  6. Bring your best crew:  It's so important to have a good crew cheering you on to the finish line when you run your first race.  I would totally recommend running with a friend or having a group of friends and family willing you to the finish line.  That makes the race that much sweeter.  It is also true of garage "saleing".  You'll have so much more fun if you have a group of friends to go to lunch with when you are done, talk about your finds, gossip about weird houses, and laugh about your burn marks. :)
Any good half-marathon or garage sale tips?  Leave them in the comments section!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

No-Bake Gluten-Free Nutrition Bars

Yesterday was my second boot camp class with Antje Fimmel  from BeneFitnessPDX.  I was definitely feeling it today but I am starting to feel stronger.  Today, I am trying to keep their mantra, "Eat Clean, Train Dirty", in mind as I plan my meals for today.  I was not, however, remembering that mantra as I scarfed down JellyBellys at the movies last night. :(  But today is a new day and I thought it would be fun to experiment with making my own post-run nutrition bar.  After doing some research, I found a really easy way on to make a nutrition bar at home with natural, healthy ingredients.  I just modifications to make them gluten-free and for my own taste.  And they turned out quite delicious; better than the store-bought brands if I do say so myself. :)  All you need is:

  • 3/4 cup natural almond butter 
  • 1/2 cup honey (maple syrup works, too)
  • 1 1/2 cup certified gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup cashew pieces
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Heat the honey and almond butter over low heat until they are just combined and easy to stir.  You don't want to "cook" them or have the mixture start to boil.  You just want to get it warm enough to mix with other ingredients.  Then, stir in the oats 1/2 cup at a time until a dough-like texture is created.  

Add in your dried cranberries, cashews, and chocolate chips.  You can really use any dried fruit or nut combination you like; these are just my favorites.  And you don't have to add the chocolate chips as they are not exactly "eating clean."  But sometimes I just can't help myself!  You can also add whey protein powder to them if you want them to be a "protein bar".  The almond butter and the cashews were enough for me. Spread the mixture in to an 8x8 greased pan.  Make sure the dough gets really pressed in to the pan so it is flat and feels like a solid surface.
Refrigerate for about 3 hours until they are firm.  Then you can cut them in to any shape you like!  I recommend putting plastic wrap around each bar as they will stick together if they are stacked on each other.  They really are a post-workout great snack .  I had one after a run today and it did the trick!

I think I will add these to Allergy Free Wednesday! Anyone else have any snacks to fuel-up before or after a workout?  Share in the comments section!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crock-Pot Flank Steak

The temperature is quickly rising as we brace for 100 degree temperatures. I shouldn't be complaining considering what the rest of the country is going through. But I am worried that the first month of teaching will be scorching, which is no good for anyone involved. Today, in an effort to keep the house cool, I decided to give our little camp stove a break and go back to what I know best: the crock pot.  We had a bad experience grilling a flank steak a couple of weeks ago (wrong seasoning and the butcher over-tenderized).  So, on advice from my mom, I decided to try it in the crock pot.  I decided to try it "carne asada style" as I have been having good luck with Mexican food lately.  And we also have about 12 bags of chips in the house right now needing an excuse to be eaten.

We bought a .75 lb flank steak yesterday, but it would probably have been easier to make with a 1-1.5 lb steak as we had a lot of left over sauce and seasoning.  To make the seasoning for the steak, you need:

  • 1 tablespoon  chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 jar of your favorite salsa (chopped tomatoes and onions work too if you add water or beef broth to the pot)
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
In a bowl, whisk together the chile powder, cumin, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Make sure all of the ingredients are mixed well so you don't have overwhelming flavors of one.

Coat each side of the steak thoroughly with the seasoning mix and then place the steak in the crock pot:
Add in the salsa, lime, and garlic to the crock pot.  You may want to add a little bit of water to prevent burning.  Cook the steak on low and check after 6 hours.  It may take up to 8 to cook, depending on your crock pot, but mine was done in about 6.5.  This steak recipe works great for tacos, nachos, and even as a salad topping, which is how we ate it tonight.

This may be one I add to Allergy Free Wednesday...

Any favorite hot weather recipes?  Add them in the comments section!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Going Back to School Gluten Free

I hate to admit it but it's getting to be that time of the year: it's time to get ready to go back to school.  And with back to school time comes a lot of planning.  For me, that means lesson planning, seating charts, first day if school activities, and planning some sort of organization scheme for my classroom.  I'm sure, for parents, back to school means planning on how to get your kids up in the morning, finding out their teacher, and getting all of the school supplies they need to start the year.  And for parents of kids with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it means planning on how to keep your students healthy while out school.

I can't imagine being a kid trying to avoid gluten during the school day.  As a teacher, it's hard enough to keep myself from eating gluten and cross-contamination and I'm an adult who packs their own lunch.  With class birthday parties, cafeteria food, candy during holidays, and kids sharing lunches, it must get really stressful making sure your child is gluten-free during the school day.  But after working in schools for more years than I care to mention, I have learned a few tricks for staying gluten-free during the school day:

  1. Make sure the office knows: Most schools will have parents fill out some sort of registration and health update when children go back to school.  It is really important to include on this information that your child has an intolerance to gluten.  This may seem obvious but I have noticed that some parents forget to put food allergies on those forms.  When you fill out those forms, all of your child's teachers will have access to that information and will be alerted to the allergy.
  2. Still, talk to the teacher: Even if the office knows, it is important to talk personally to your student's teacher about their food limitations. Let the teacher know that they simply can not have any contact to gluten as it will be damaging to their health.  Many teachers like to give their students treats from time to time, so instead of listing all of the foods your child can not have, I would bring a bag with your child's name on it filled with celiac-friendly treats.  That way the teacher will not have to memorize the daunting list of food with gluten and you'll have peace of mind knowing that your child's health is being taken care of.  I would also ask the teacher to mail a list of days where there may be class parties (birthdays, holidays, etc.) Teachers, especially elementary teachers, make these anyways and then you can bring in a gluten-free cupcake or cookie for your student on party days so they are not left out of the fun.
  3. But do tell the teacher about school supplies with gluten: You do need to tell the teacher about potential school supplies with gluten in them, like papier mache and Play-Doh.  I believe that there are gluten-free versions of Play-Doh but the teacher needs to know as this is not common knowledge.  Ask if there is something else they can do if these types of projects are in the curriculum for the year; most teachers will accommodate. :)
Any other ways to stay gluten-free at school?  Share in the comments section!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Easy, Gluten-Free Stir Fry

Today, things seemed to be running smoother.  The eye is healing, we are putting in insulation, and we can see drywall in our future.  To make a push towards our next objective, we had another one of our famous "work parties."  I like how you can add "party" to something to try and make it sound fun.  Maybe next I'll have a "toilet-cleaning party" or a "going back to work party."  Anyways, I digress.  To keep the "party crew" energized, we need to provide sustenance.  I have been craving my mom's delicious stir fry from when I was a kid and  stir fry seemed like a nice counterbalance to all of the barbeque and Mexican food we have been eating.  But, with my wok buried in the basement with the majority of my cooking supplies, I needed to get creative and keep it simple to make a stir fry.

I figured I could make it easily enough in a frying pan as long I watched it carefully.  The ingredients I started with were:

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut in to thin slices
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in to pieces (you can add most any vegetables that you want as long as they equal about 4 1/2 cups worth)
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 6 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup salted cashews
  • White or brown rice, prepared as instructed
I started by taking the sliced chicken breast and marinating in 3 tablespoons of the gluten-free soy sauce for about 3 hours.  It makes the chicken more flavorful and tender if you marinate it.
Once the chicken is done marinating or your "party crew" is hungry, mix together the rest of the soy sauce, the gluten-free chicken broth, the gluten-free brown sugar, the gluten-free corn starch, and the crushed red pepper flakes until they are well-combined.  You will need to keep stirring the sauce occasionally to keep the soy sauce from settling at the top.

Then, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to a skillet.  Heat the oil on medium heat and then add the chicken, stirring constantly.  Once the chicken just starts to turn white on the outside, you can add the garlic.
This is where the recipe gets a little trickier.  If I had a wok, I would just push the chicken to the sides and start cooking my vegetables.  But since I don't, I had the options of removing the chicken and cooking the vegetable separately or cooking the vegetables with the chicken and hope not to make a mess.  I chose the latter of the two and it worked out fine. I only made a little mess.  You'll probably want to add another tablespoon of oil to the mix to prevent things from sticking.  Cook your vegetable 3-4 minutes:

Once the vegetables are done, add the cashews and a little bit of the sauce to the mix. Reduce your heat to low.  You don't want to add all of the sauce at once or your vegetables will get soggy.  Keep stirring and adding sauce until all of the sauce is added.  After all of the sauce is added, continue cooking on low for about 2 minutes.  Then, remove the skillet from the heat.  Let it cool for about 3-5 minutes and serve over rice.

That is the gluten-free version of one of my favorite childhood recipes! This may go on Allergy Free Wednesday. Do you have any childhood recipes you've made gluten-free?  Share them in the comments section.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gluten-Free Pulled Pork Tacos

Today was one of those days.  It was a both spouses getting colds, no one got any sleep, falling way behind on house projects, someone going to urgent care for a metal sliver in the eye kind of a day.  Not to mention since I was a big baby about getting a cold yesterday, I really needed/wanted to get a long run in today.  So with two cranky spouses, a longer than anticipated visit to the urgent care, and a long run on the agenda, I needed to turn to an old, trusty friend for dinner: my crock pot.

If I haven't emphasized this enough, I love cooking with a crock pot.  There is something so wonderful about coming hope to the wonderful sound of a bubbling pot and the smell of a lovingly prepared dish that can make anyone believe they are a master chef, when, in reality, you just pour some ingredients in a pot and pray.  After I rushed visit to the grocery store and a sale on pork shoulder butts, I felt this day called for some delicious, and gluten free, pulled pork tacos.

We love having pulled pork for dinner but I have never made it for tacos before.  Still I figured that this was a dish that the crock pot and I could handle. I bought a 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder butt at the store (I usually like to get bone-in but they were out).  Before doing any seasoning, I cut the roast in to four parts so I could easily trim the outer layers of fat.  Some people like to cube the roast in to small pieces before cooking it but, pork shoulder shreds so easily, I didn't think that was necessary.  You don't want to try and trim all of the fat off as leaving some fat will make it more flavorful:
(Before I started trimming the fat)

After your pork is trimmed, you are going to need:

  • 4 tablespoons gluten free taco mix
  • 1 table spoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 limes
  • 1 jar of your favorite salsa (if you make your own, that's even better.  My step-father-in-law makes an awesome salsa that I'll post sometime but I didn't have the energy today)
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Your favorite taco fillings
First, pour about 1/3 of a jar of salsa in the bottom of the crock pot.  Then cover one side of each piece of pork with half of the gluten free taco mix and half of the other spices.  Place the pork in the crock pot and cover the other side with the remaining seasoning and spices.  Once the pork is covered in spices, you need to squeeze in the lime juice.  This step is important as it helps break down the meat and make it more tender:
(Husbands are a really good help for this part!)

Once all the lime juice is on the pork, pour the rest of the salsa on top of the pork.  Pork can take a while to cook so leave 6-8 hours of cooking time on low. 

You'll know the pork is done when it shreds easily with a fork and you see little fat holding it together.  Once it is done, remove the pork from the crock pot and shred it with a fork, removing any large pieces of fat.  You can return the shredded pork to the crock pot to soak up more of the salsa.  This gluten-free pulled pork works great in tacos, nachos, or on salads.  We tried all three tonight!
The joys of comfort food!  What are your favorite gluten-free comfort recipes?  Share them in the comments section!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Pancakes

Saturday is quickly becoming known as my "pancake day".  But, after eating chocolate-peanut butter pie this week, I felt the need to make my pancakes healthier. I love having gluten-free oats in some form for breakfast. They are a good source of fiber and energy as well as being heart healthy, which is really important for me to take in to account.  Today, I decided to make gluten-free oatmeal pancakes.  They do not have any flour or refined sugars and you can easily make them dairy-free if that is what you need.  These pancakes are also really simple to make if you need a quick breakfast.  To start, you need:

  • 1/2 cup certified gluten-free oats (I like Bob's Redmill)
  • 1/3 cup of milk (cow, soy, and almond milk all work fine)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (Optional)
In a bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, and cinnamon. Then add the milk, egg, vanilla, and honey and stir until all the ingredients are well combined:

Blueberries taste great in this mix if you have them.  I didn't have any today or I would have added them. Spray your pan with gluten-free cooking spray and turn your burner to low-heat.  Add about 1/2 cup of the batter to your skillet.  

Cook on one side for about 3 minutes and then carefully flip and cook for 3 minutes on the other side.  This recipe makes about 3, good-sized pancakes. The best thing about these is that you can top them with really anything you like.  If you want a higher protein breakfast, they taste great with peanut-butter or almond butter and jam.  You can also eat them like traditional pancakes with maple syrup and butter.

Now, if I can just get the motivation to go on my run....

If you have any quick breakfasts you like, share them in the comments section!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Portland Boot Camp Class

I mentioned yesterday that my friend Amy took me to a boot camp class in SW Portland.  And, while the class kicked my butt, the trainer, Antje Fimmel, is amazing!  She works you hard but she also encourages you and makes it fun.  I worked muscles in my body that I never knew I had!  The hour goes fast, even though you are sweaty and sore at the end.  The class I went to was broken in to three section:

  • We started with a dynamic warm-up of jogging, skipping, high knees, lunges, bear crawls, and lateral side-steps in a squat position. 
  • Then, we did agility training in 10 second bursts.
  • Finally, we broke in to three groups and competed in relays with sprinting, lunges, burpees, push-ups, planks, mountain climbers, and squats.
If you are looking for a really great workout, you need to give one of her classes a try.  They are reasonably priced for such a great work out.  The name of her fitness company is BeneFitnessPDX, and I believe she offers classes Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Thanks, Antje, for a great workout and thanks Amy for getting me to go!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gluten-Free Pasta with Zucchini and Olive Oil Sauce

Tonight my friend Amy convinced me to go to boot camp class with her.  The words "boot camp" make me nervous as I am picturing carrying boulders on my back with someone screaming in my ear as I sob (I can be a bit dramatic).  Not to mention, Amy is super-athletic and I eat chocolate-peanut butter pie. But I am never one to shy away from a challenge, so I am going to give it a shot.

To do a workout like this, I need to have a light dinner before I go; something that will give me energy but won't weigh me down.  Pasta with fresh vegetables sounds so good but traditional pasta sauce tends to upset my stomach when I work out.  I like to eat pasta with an olive oil pasta sauce that is super easy to make.  To make this dish, you need:

  • 1 12 oz box of your favorite gluten-free pasta (I like Schar penne)
  • 1 zucchini, chopped into thin pieces (you can really use any vegetables for this recipe; peppers, broccoli, even asparagus work)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled, one minced
  • Crushed red peppers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan (optional)
After you boil and drain your pasta, saute the zucchini, or vegetables of you choice, with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, minced garlic cloves, and salt and pepper, until the zucchini is slightly brown.

Once the zucchini is done, add it to the pasta.  Pour the olive oil in a frying pan and place over medium heat.  Take the remaining garlic cloves and add them whole to the olive oil.  Cook the garlic cloves until they just start to turn brown and then remove them.  This adds a nice garlic flavor to your sauce.  

Once you remove the garlic cloves, add 1-2 tablespoons of crushed red peppers.  You can adjust the amount depending on how spicy you like your sauce, but I wouldn't go under 1 tablespoon or your sauce will be a little bland.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Then, add salt and pepper to taste and the sauce from the heat. Allow the sauce to cool for about 5 minutes and then add to your pasta and vegetables.  

I also like to add 1/2 cup of parmesan to make the pasta take a little more sharp.  But this is totally an option.  This dish keeps really if you have left-overs.  You could also add sauteed chicken for a little more protein.

Wish me luck at boot camp!  If you have any favorite pre-workout recipes, add them to the comments section. I think I will add this to Allergy Free Wednesday

National Hair Loss Awareness Month

August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month.  Having gone through hair loss myself, I thought it was important to stop for a moment and reflect on how hair loss can really affect one's life.  I know alopecia is not life threatening but going through life without hair can damage a person's self-worth, especially when it comes to children. I read an article today about a young girl who had plastic surgery because she was bullied and taunted at her school because of ears.  Kids tormented her to the point that she had physical pain at the thought of going to school.  We live in such an appearance-driven society that having any physical abnormality can make you feel like you are walking around with a spotlight on you.  So today, after reading that article, I got to thinking about kids who have alopecia and have to go to school and face the questions, the stares, and the teasing; let's face it, kids can be really mean.  So in thinking about those kids, I just wanted to share a few of the resources I found when I lost all of my hair.

Two great books for people who are going through hair loss are The Girl With No Hair and If Your Hair Falls Out, Keep Dancing!  The Girl With No Hair is a children's book chronicling a young girl's diagnosis with alopecia to learning how to cope and be accepted socially with this condition.  And it's written from the point-of-view of the girl as a grown woman.  Perfect for a child who just started losing their hair.

If Hair Falls Out, Keep Dancing! is written by LeaslieAnn Butler, a woman who went through alopecia, lost all of her hair, and found her confidence again.  She offers amazing beauty and style tips, covering up spots, buying wigs, and even medical advice from her own experiences.  This book is perfect for teen girls and young women who are suffering through hair loss, whether it be from alopecia, chemotherapy, or some other cause.  She was my lifesaver when I first lost all of my hair.

Wigs for Kids is also a great resource if you are a family who needs a wig for a child but can not afford it (wigs are expensive!).  I really like this organization as they do not ask the family to pay anything for the wig; it is all done through charity.  And you can donate by donating hair (I believe you need to give 10 inches) or by sponsoring a child who can not afford a wig.

This is a pamphlet I found on how to help kids deal with the inevitable questions and stares that come up when they first lose their hair.  If you are a parent whose child is going through hair loss, this is not only something that you should show to your child but with your child's teacher as they need to know what is going with other students.  I personally found this helpful as an adult, as well, because, let's face it, adults can be rude, too.  I actually had an adult come up to me and check to see if I was wearing a wig, without asking.  I felt like saying to him, next time you look fat, I'll grab your stomach to make sure that you really are!  But, I didn't say that.

If you have any resources for people going through hair loss, share them in the comments section.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

No-Bake Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie....Not for the Faint of Heart!

Lately I have had separation anxiety from KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  Not only it is a Kitchenaid Mixer, it's a pink KitchenAid Mixer.  I wanted one forever and my beautiful husband got it for me as a gift when he was still courting me.  Now, I think he is regretting getting me the pink one. ;)

Since today was a "construction break" day,  I decided to sneak the mixer out of solitary confinement and have a little fun in the kitchen.  Now, being that I only have one day with the mixer, I decided to make my most decadent dessert, No Bake Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (that's a mouthful). This pie is like buying a Tiffany's Necklace, Chanel Perfume, an Hermes bag, or a Burberry coat; it's an indulgence. But, if you are up for treating yourself, you should give this dessert a try!  I am also linking this to the Allergy Free Wednesday blog hub so others can enjoy.  To start, you need:

For the Crust:

  • 24 gluten-free chocolate-cream sandwich cookies (I like Mi-Del)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
For the Whipped Cream
  • 1 Pint whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free vanilla
For the Pie Filling:
  • 1/2 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 pack of Philadelphia Milk Chocolate Indulgence Cream Cheese (I called the manufacturer; it's gluten-free)
  • Half of the whipped cream that you mad
You need to start by making the crust.  Take the 24 chocolate sandwich cookies and put them in a food processor or in your mixer.  You need to blend the cookies until they are in crumbs and look like this:

After the cookies are blended, mix in the melted butter and combine until all of the cookie crumbs are coated.  Once all of the cookies are coated, press them firmly in to the bottom of a pie pan so the entire pan is coated with the cookie crumbs.
You need to refrigerate the crust for at least 1 hour so it firms up and will not crumble when you put in the filling.  If you can refrigerate longer or even over night, that would be better.  While the crust is chilling, make the whipped cream.  Attach the whisk to your mixer (if you can refrigerate the whisk attachment before you make the whipped cream it makes for whipped cream).  Pour the pint of whipping cream in to your mixing bowl and mix on high speed until it just starts to stiffen.  Right when it starts to stiffen, add the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla.  Then, continue mixing until the cream is stiff:
Once you have allowed the whipped cream and the pie crust to refrigerate long enough, start making the pie filling.  In your mixing bowl, combine the Philadelphia Milk Chocolate Indulgence Cream Cheese and the confectioners' sugar.  
Then mix in the milk and peanut butter and blend until it is completely smooth. Take half of the whipped cream that was previously made and fold it in to the peanut butter-cream cheese mix.  When you are done folding, you should have a nice, fluffy pie filling.

Spread the pie evenly filling over the pie crust you made until in comes up to the top of the pie pan.  

Cover the pie and freeze for about 2 hours or until the filling is firm.  Once it is firm, take the pie out of the freezer and cover with the remaining whipped cream.  I also like to add some chocolate chips to the top, as if this pie did not have enough sugar.  Once you are done, you can refrigerate or enjoy immediately!

Allergy Free Wednesday

In my usual blog search for new, gluten-free recipes, I came across a blog that, with 6 other blogs, hosts a "blog hop" called Allergy Free Wednesday.  The idea is that people share recipes that are in some way allergy-free whether they be gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and/or vegan.  When you submit your recipe, if it meets the standards of being allergy-free, it is posted on all of the 7 blog sites.  And each blogger will pick their favorites from each week to feature on their site.

I think this is such a great idea!  It is so nice to have a place to find recipes if you have a food intolerance of some sort.  I know I am going to share a recipe today!  If you want to know more about Allergy Free Wednesday, check out one of these blogs: Whole New Mom, Tessa the Domestic Diva, Gluten Freely Frugal, The Tasty Alternative, The Willing Cook, Real Food, Allergy Free, or the Gluten Free Pantry.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Favorite Gluten-Free Restaurants in the Portland area

Since we have moved in to our house and started renovations,  we often depend on the local restaurant scene to keep us nourished.  And as people with celiac disease know, it can be really hard to find restaurants that are "celiac safe."  You not only need to worry about finding gluten-free options but you also have to worry about cross-contamination.  I hate always being that annoying person at the restaurant asking if what I order will come in to contact with any gluten or share space with gluten-containing food, especially while everyone at the table is waiting to order with "hanger" pains setting in. You can imagine what a hot date I made!

But, living in Portland, OR, I found that there are a ton of restaurants who are ready and willing to accommodate people with celiac disease.  And since Portland is the land of foodies, you not only get gluten-free food, you get really good tasting food. There are not only restaurants but bakeries, cafes, and even food carts that offer gluten-free safe options.  Since going gluten-free, I have developed my own "little black book" of celiac friendly places to eat.  These places don't just offer gluten-free options but, in my opinion, people are educated about what celiac disease is and know how to prevent cross-contamination. The food is also good enough to please celiacs and non-celiacs alike.  Here a few of my favorite option:

  1. New Cascadia Traditional Bakery: This bakery is special in that it is entirely gluten-free!  There are no gluten-containing products that enter in their kitchen.  And they offer everything from pastries, cakes, cookies,  sandwiches, pizzas, calzones, pies, and more than I can list.  You can also buy loaves of sandwich bread in a wide-variety of flavors.  Not only do they cater to people who are gluten-free, they also have options for people with all different food allergies.  The offer vegan, nut-free, dairy-free food options that are made with hemp milk.  They are only open until 5pm Monday-Saturday.  You also want to get there before the end of the day as they start to run out of certain products after lunch.
  2. Andina:  This is arguably one of Portland's best restaurants and the majority of the food on their menu is gluten-free.  The food is Peruvian and they offer everything from fresh fish, oysters,  and  all-natural, grass-fed chicken, pork, beef, lamb, and even some specialty meats like duck and quail.  They also have a vegetarian menu that offers many gluten-free options as well.  I have heard their happy hour is awesome but I have never been as it gets really crowded really fast.  Speaking of getting crowded, you need a reservation to get in no matter which night of the week you want to go.  We went last May for my mom's birthday on a Monday with a reservation a week in advance.  I am glad we had it because you would have thought it was a Saturday night, New Year's Eve party in there.  If you want to go on a weekend, I recommend getting a reservation at least 3 weeks in advance.
  3. Mi Famiglia:  Ok, so technically this restaurant is located in Oregon City.  But a really great pizza place located near Portland was too good not to list.  This restaurant offers salads, soups, pizza, calzones, and traditional Italian dishes in a wonderful, intimate atmosphere.  You can't get all options gluten-free but they do have a great gluten-free pizza crust.  What I like about their pizza is that they make it in a separate location and package it on a cooking safe place so when the bake it in their wood-fired stove, it will never come in contact with gluten.  They also have a couple of good gluten-free beers on the menu, and what can be better than gluten-free beer and pizza?!
  4. Nuestra Cocina : This restaurant has a special place in my heart as it was where my wonderful husband took me on our first date.  :)  And, knowing that I had celiac, he researched restaurants that had gluten-free options. What a guy!  Nuestra Cocina offers traditional Mexican cuisine and the whole menu is almost entirely gluten-free.  The only thing that is not gluten-free is their drunken beans, which contain beer.  When you get there, you will promptly get fresh baked corn tortillas with the best salsa you will ever have.  Also, try the margaritas; they are amazing!
  5. Divine Pies: When I was going to Portland State University for grad school, I often had to go to Saturday session classes that lasted all day.  That gave me a chance to explore the downtown food cart action and I came across cart called Divine Pies.  They offer gluten-free, dairy-free pies with crusts made from hazelnuts.  They make all of their own flour separate from anything containing gluten or dairy so you don't have to worry about cross-contamination.  Their pecan pie was about good enough to make me enroll in school again.
  6. Pix Patisserie: This funky bakery is all-Portland!  Their SE location is home to more toy monkeys than I think any other restaurant you will find.  They also have a lot of really great gluten-free desserts that are made separate from gluten-containing desserts.  My favorites are the creme brulee and the French macaroon.
  7. P.F. Chang's: Ok, P.F. Chang's is a chain restaurant.  But sometimes you need just need to have some good Chinese food and that is so hard to find gluten-free.  P.F. Chang's is great about accommodating to people with celiac disease.  You will get your own soy sauce mix in special bottles and they have separate plates for gluten-free food so you feel safe when you eat their cuisine.  There is something so great about their gluten-free lettuce wrap and flour-less chocolate dome.
  8. Bridgewater Bistro: Again, technically this place is not in Portland; it's located in Astoria, OR. But this restaurant was such a savior on our last trip home from the beach I had to mention it.  The majority of their menu is gluten-free, they even have gluten-free fish and chips, and the food is really good.  You also get to enjoy a nice view looking out on the sea in a super-cool atmosphere.  The restaurant is located right next to the Cannery Pier Hotel, a beautiful seafront hotel with a spa.  Perfect for a romantic evening away, right honey.
Any favorite gluten-free restaurants?  Feel free to share in the comments section!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pros and Cons of Gluten-Free Nutrition Bars

I usually get my afternoon "hanger"* pains around 2:00pm.  And, while during the summer I can grab whole foods like nuts and berries to snack on, during the school-year I need to have something that I can inconspicuously eat at my desk.  I am sure most people have the same issue if needing a mid-afternoon snack but not wanting to draw attention to themselves.  That's why, I think, nutrition bars are so popular.  They're easy to eat quickly and quietly, they taste good, and they are good at staving off the "hanger"* pains.  But, unfortunately for celiacs, most of the popular nutrition bars contain some sort of gluten ingredients.

Recently, however, there have been a whole bevy of companies marketing gluten free nutrition bars.  They have become so common you  can usually buy at least one brand of gluten free nutrition bar at any grocery store you go to. But just because something is "gluten-free" doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you. And  just because something is labeled a "'nutrition bar" doesn't necessarily mean it's nutritious.  (Snickers anyone?)

Since I am so dependent on my afternoon snack to get me through the end of the school day, I decided to investigate which of the most common brands of gluten-free nutrition bar would give me the most bang for my buck. I was looking for bars that were high in protein and fiber to keep me full and give me long-term energy and low in sugar and saturated fats.  I also wanted to find bars that were comprised of mostly whole ingredients, contained no hydrogenated-oils, and had little to no high-fructose corn syrup.  I picked 9 bars that I usually see at the grocery store and here are the pros and cons I found for each:

  1. ThinkThin High Protein Bars:  These bars come in several flavors from Creamy Peanut Butter, Chocolate Brownie, White Chocolate, and Chunky Peanut Butter.
    • Pros:  These bars are sugar-free (wow!) and contain 20 grams of protein per bars.  And while the large bars have 230 calories, you can by smaller versions of the bars for portion control
    • Cons: They are low in fiber (only 1 gram) and higher in saturated fat (3.5 grams).  They also contain a lot of processed ingredients and a main source of their protein is soy protein isolate, which can be tough on the digestive system.
  2. NuGo Free Dark Chocolate Trail Mix: These bars are from the same company that does NuGo Organic.  I have tasted both the carrot cake and the Dark Chocolate Trail Mix both of which tasted great!
    • Pros: They have 9 grams of protein, which is good for a gluten-free bar, and they have a fair amount of whole ingredients ( 3 seeds and 3 fruits)
    • Cons: The seeds and fruit are lower on the ingredient list than I would have expected.  And I still felt hungry after eating one.
  3. KIND Bars: There are too many flavors of these bars to list!  But everyone I have had tastes great especially like the Blueberry Cashew and the Dark Chocolate Peanut.
    • Pros: The bars are made of almost entirely whole foods including many nuts, seeds, and fruits.  They are also made with no GMOs and you get a good amount of Vitamin A, C, and E in each bar.
    • Cons: It is hard to evaluate the bars as a whole as there are so many flavors with many different ingredients. But each bar has around 4 grams of protein and I thinkg that is a little low to keep you full. And, as good as it might taste, I would avoid the ones with chocolate as they add extra sugar.
  4. Bora Bora: I have only tasted one flavor of the Bora Bora bars, Paradise Walnut Pistachio.  But it tasted great!
    • Pros:  These bars are made with almost all whole foods.  They also have a good amount of potassium and contain no high-fructose corn syrup.
    • Cons: They only have 2 grams of fiber and I did not find them particularly filling.
  5. SoyJoy: These soy-based bars come in a wide variety of flavors, my favorite being Mango Coconut.
    • Pros: They are low in calories if you are watching your waistline.  They also contain almost all whole food including a lot of fruit.
    • Cons: They have 3.5 grams of saturated fat which seems like a lot for a small bar.  They also contain malodextrin, which can spike your blood-sugar levels.
  6. Lara Bars: These all-natural bars have a ton of flavors to choose from, of which my favorites are Cashew Cookie and Apple Pie.
    • Pros: The only ingredients in the Cashew Cookie are cashews and dates.  All of the brands contain only fruit and nuts.
    • Cons: 220-240 calories per bar seems like a lot for an afternoon snack, especially considering their small size.
  7. Go Raw:  These bars are all 100% organic and raw (everything is dried under 105 degrees). The only flavor I have tried is the Banana Bread Flax Bar.
    • Pros: These bars are also only whole foods.  The Banana Bread Flax only contains banana, coconut, flax seeds and dates.  The Banana Bread Flax also has 5 grams of fiber in each bar.
    • Cons: 2.5 grams of saturated fat is also a little high.  You also have to refrigerate them all day.
  8. Pro Bar Fruition: This line of Pro Bar  is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.  My favorite flavor is the cherry.
    • Pros: There are no saturated fast and 4 grams of fiber in these bars.  They are also lower in calories than most gluten-free bars.
    • Cons: They are higher in sugar (18 grams) and they only have 3 grams of protein per bar.
  9. Can Do Kid: This is a line of bars especially made for kids.  They have just gone gluten-free.
    • Pros: These bars have a lot of protein (9 grams) and 1/5 of the recommended dietary amounts of many vitamins.
    • Cons:  Less than 1 gram of dietary fiber which makes me think you would be hungry soon after you ate them.  Also, there are a lot of processed ingredients in each bar, more than the whole foods they contain.
Any favorite gluten-free nutrition bar?  Share in the comments section!

*Definition of Hangry: Anger that is caused by one's overwhelming hunger.  (Thanks Mishler and Jefferson!)