Preparing for Hurricane Matthew

Prepping for the storm. Made a bunch of meals that are good cold that can sit in a color in case power goes out. We’re loaded with fresh fruits and veggies that can be eaten raw. Pantry is stocked with water, granola bars, applesauce, waters, shakeology, & canned good. No power is no reason to eat like crap.

oct_6941As the storm is blowing by, we are cleaning house, watching movies, and I just finished my beachbody workout. 30 minutes of dirty 30 to help keep my nerves in check. I love that 21 day fix has pushed me to clean up my diet and has helped me find balance. I don’t reach for food when I’m stressed. I breathe, hit play, and push through the emotions.

Email me for information if you’re interested in cleaning up your life šŸ™‚

iamglutenfreefl@gmail.com

In the meantime, enjoy the recipes below.

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Black bean salsa

1 can black beans
1 cob of corn
1 pt diced tomatoes
sliced green onions
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced finely
juice of 2 limes
cilantro

Serve with chips, on a salad, or as a side dish to grilled chicken.

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7 layer salad

* 1 cup romaine lettuce
* 1 Tbsp mayo
* 1 Tbsp grated parmesan
* 1 Tbsp bacon bits
* 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
* 1/2 cup peas
* green onions sprinkled on top
* grilled chicken (from earlier this week)

Fill your bowl with lettuce, smear the mayo across the top (you may need to toss the bowl), then layer all the ingredients.

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Easy Meal prep

MAY_8295Our garden was overflowing with green beans and purple & red potatos. We boiled the green beans & potatoes for dinner and pulled out about half for some easy lunches. White it was cooking, we cooked up a cup of red quinoa and sauteed some onions and garilc. Toss it all together and top with some Curry sauce from Trader Joe’s and we’re good for the week. This Trader Joe’s yellow curry makes even the most ordinary meals, extraordinary.MAY_8325MAY_8326 copy

Easy Lunches for Kids

My daughter started Kindergarten and this was hands down the best purchase we made for the year. The Yumbox made us very tuned into packing healthy lunches. On days, I wanted to send a peanut & jelly sandwich and bag of pretzels, sheĀ  would remind me that she needed fruits, veggies, and dairy. It also made for very little waste, which I loved, and my daughter loved because she got to skip the line to the trashcan at the end of her meal.

I was hesitant at first because of the price, but after a year’s use, this Yumbox will definitely last at least another year, and was worth every penny.

  1. great portion sizes
  2. no waste
  3. encourages healthy eating
  4. fits inside a standard lunchbox with icepacks
  5. no leaks even with things such as ranch for dipping veggies or yogurt

Yumbox Panino Bento Lunchbox ā€“ Pomme Green ā€“ Leak Proof | Cruisy ...

New Jersey Visit

My cousin had a baby, so little miss and I traveled to New Jersey for baby snuggles andĀ  gluten free yummies. doco west parkBroad Street Doughnut Company was first up on the list and did not disappoint. We went by Sunday morning and treated ourselves to the Boardwalk (vanilla & sprinkles), something delicious covered in cannoli cream, and my very favorite, West Park (imagine an inside out Boston cream)- plain doughnut dipped in chocolate and covered with bavarian cream. The West Park was hands down the favorite among everyone. The cannoli didn’t wow me, but next to the West Park, I’m not sure anything could.doco cannoliIt was such a nice treat to find a place with gluten free doughnuts. The rest of the trip I stunk at taking pictures, probably because my hands were busy holding babies and stuffing my face.

Other great finds:

Rook– AMAZING, perfectly roasted coffee. This no fuss coffee shop was probably the best coffee I’ve ever had. No frills….well roasted, great flavor….I grabbed a bag of beans to bring back home and even my coffee snob husband loved it.

APR_5397.JPGThe Macaroon Shop– these gluten free macaroons are to die for. My aunt mails them to me in Florida, they are that good. Those 2 pounds won’t last long, but luckily for me, other people around the world love them as much as I do, so the Macaroon Shop has them all ready to ship.

Last but not least, we went to Belmar for a trip down memory lane. I used to spend every summer visiting my grandparents. Orange italian ice & vanilla frozen yogurt was the perfect combination from Strollo’s italian ice.

Strawberry Shortcake

My daughter recently fell in love with Strawberry Shortcake, the show and the food, so naturally it was the perfect idea for her upcoming 6th birthday. In the weeks before, I found myself increasing craving a gluten free strawberry shortcake. One night, I decided I could no longer wait for the party so I went to Publix to pick up more Pamela’s gluten free flour, which they were out of. I moped over to the bakery to get my kids their cookies and on the way saw this in their freezer section. While I’m usually a bake at home type girl, I couldn’t resist.APR_5375APR_5401We grabbed a carton of strawberries and heavy cream and the evening was complete. We cut the cake and set it out to thaw while we ate dinner. The cake and filling was delicious, but I was not a fan of the white chocolate on top. Neither one of my kids would eat the cake. They said they didn’t like the filling, but that didn’t stop me from eating all three pieces while they enjoyed homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

In the future, I’d still prefer to make my own, but the convenience, presentation, and taste of this Inspired by Happiness cake was well worth the $10 I spent and I would recommend it for anyone looking for a gluten free strawberry shortcake. I do suggest adding additional cream and berries to enhance the look and taste.

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Now onto my baby’s 6th birthday…

I found some great free Strawberry shortcake coloring pages at The Suburban Mom. The birthday girl and her friends loved coloring these in. We also decorated a few before the party to make decorations around the house.

She also has a gorgeous overview of her daughter’s 5th birthday Strawberry Shortcake style. Check out her page for the cutest ideas and links to gorgeous free downloads, such as the “thank you berry much tags” and the food name plates with Strawberry & friend characters. They were a huge hit with my daughter and added such a beautiful touch to our party.APR_5363

Whole Foods Product Review

While at a birthday party yesterday, the host surprised me with these special, little gems so I could be included in the birthday fun. SinceĀ  Whole Foods brand white bread and pie crusts are two of my very favorite things, I was super excited about these cookies.

MAR_4978These just go to show, you can’t be good at everything. Sorry Whole Foods, these were not a win for me. While they were soft and full of chocolatey flavor, they had more of a bread taste and consistency. They reminded me of the Udi’s muffins you find in the freezer section. A little too heavy and lacking in the sweet department. They weren’t awful, but definitely not winners in my books.

Now, back to that gf & dairy free white bread- it is the perfect bread for grilled cheese or any toasted sandwich and the Whole Foods brand gf pie crust is just as good as homemade.

Anzac Cookies

Recently I visited The Drunken Monkey, a casual little coffee bar on Bumby Avenue, which is full of old cozy furniture, lots of windows, and a large menu of delicious coffees and snacks. They have great gluten free and vegan options, which makes it one of my favorite coffee places for meeting up with friends.

One of their star gluten free items is the Anzac biscuit. A coconut and oatmeal cookie, that is thick and soft with a rich buttery flavor. I knew one bite in that I’d either be returning A LOT or would be making these at home. MAR_4997

A quick search through pinterest told me that these cookies are a gf, vegan version of the Anzac biscuits that were thought ofĀ  with theĀ Australian and New Zealand Army CorpsĀ (ANZAC) duringĀ  World War I. It is believed thatĀ the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the biscuits kept well during lengthy naval transport. The recipe I used is modified from Megann’s Kitchen.

Its a rainy day in Florida, so the kids and I gathered up the ingredients and got to baking. They were perfect balance of buttery coconut, oatmeal goodness. We added a sprinkle of cinnamon to some, chocolate chips to others, and left several plain jane like they’re meant to be. I’ve included affiliate links to help with your gluten free shopping needs.MAR_4979MAR_4987

      • 1 cup Pamela’s gluten free baking flour
      • Ā¼ cup coconut flour
      • 1 cup rolled gluten free oats
      • Ā¼ cup brown sugar
      • Ā¼ cup white sugar
      • Ā¾ cup unsweetened coconut
      • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
      • 10 Tbs unsalted butter, chopped
      • 1/2 tsp baking soda
      • 1 Tbsp hot water

* Pamela’s Products Gluten Free Baking and Pancake Mix, 4-Pound Bags (Pack of 3)
* Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Rolled Oats, 32 Oz
* Lyle’s Golden Syrup, Original, All-Natural Syrup for Baking and Cooking, 11 Ounce
* Betterbody foods Organic Coconut Flour, 36 Ounce

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Mix theĀ flour,Ā oats,Ā sugarsĀ &Ā coconutĀ in a large bowl and stir to combine.

In a small saucepan, place theĀ golden syrupĀ &Ā butter, stirring over low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat.

Mix the baking soda and water, then add to the golden syrup mixture. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients & mix until fully combined. Roll 2-3 Tbs of mixture into balls ( I used an ice cream scoop) Place on theĀ  baking trays, leaving plenty of space between each one. Bake forĀ 8 minutes.Ā Remove from the oven & press firmly down with a flat-bottomed glass. Place back into the oven for anotherĀ 4 minutes,Ā orĀ until golden brown.Ā Leave to cool on the baking tray forĀ 10 minutesĀ then transfer to a plate or cooling rack. The cookies will harden some while cooling.

This made 10 large cookies šŸ™‚

Blueberries & Cupcakes

Its Spring Break here in Orange County, so my kids and I set off on an adventure. Turns out we had the best of luck today, with the best weather, best outdoor fun, and the greatest new gluten free discovery.

We ventured to Clermont to Southern Hill Farms for u-pick blueberries. Florida is 100 bajillion degrees 364 days of the year, but today was 70degrees, blue skies, and a nice breeze. The staff was so friendly they felt like family and the kids had an AMAZING time selecting the biggest, juiciest blueberries. It should also be mentioned, that in mid-March this is crazy early for blueberries, but they have a special variety that produces early and it made for the most amazing spring adventure. Lets be honest the end of May/early June is just too damn hot to be traipsing through a sandy farm with toddlers. So we picked our 4 pounds of blueberries, sipped our ice cold blueberry lemonade, and brought home a jar or homemade blueberry jam & local honey.FEB_4824On the way back to Apopka, we met up with a friend in Winter garden for a picnic lunch outside Plant Street Market. I’d recently found a bakery in Winter garden that had gluten free cupcakes, so as the kids started to burn out on fun, we cranked it up a notch grabbed a freshly roasted latte from Axum and ran down the streets for cupcakes.

tasty trend cookiecoughcupcakeNow-when I first saw The Tasty Trend(@thetastytrend) on instagram, I thought it was a bakery that also had a few samplings of gluten free items BUT BOY WAS I WRONG! We drove past the place and finally found it nicely tucked in a shopping center behind the Winter garden library. They had a tiny sign out front and a very minimalist approach inside. There are no tables to dine or decor to impress, but none of that is needed once you feast your eyes on ALL THE GLUTEN FREE GOODNESS! There were easily a dozen different flavors ranging from your plain jane Vanilla to Maple bacon. My (gluten loving) friend tried a sample and couldn’t resist.Ā  She grabbed a half dozen while I stood with my mouth open. I mean, as a gluten free diner, I NEVER have this many options. I also knew if I ordered a dozen I’d eat them before I got home. I have zero will power and its a major problem for my waistline.tasty trend baconI sampled the Bacon maple which was amazing. I’m a chocolate fan, so I purchased others, but the cake was unbelievable moist and carried a nice strong maple flavor with crumbles of bacon both inside and on top. I finally calmed myself down and told myself we’d be back, after all we are frequent shoppers at the Winter Garden Farmer’s Market.tasty treats cupcakesI settled on a Boston Cream and a Cookie Dough cupcake plus a chocolate chip cookies for my begging 4 year old. All the cupcakes were moist and the frosting was perfect; packed with flavor but not overly sweet. The cream in the Boston Cream was delicious and covered with a nice thin layer of chocolate ganache, but the Cookie Dough won my heart. Typically when I see gf cupcakes, its vanilla or chocolate. But this was a chocolate chip vanilla cupcake topped with cookie dough frosting, chocolate chips, and cookie crumbles. It was so delicious! I felt guilty eating it because it tasted to moist and full of flavor to be gluten free. (Clearly I’ve been let down by bakeries before).tasty trend cookieLooking for something fun and non Disney in Orlando? Check out Southern Hill farms or spend a day wandering through Winter Garden. Its super bike friendly, has a splash pad for the kids, and with Plant Street market and the Farmer’s market, its my favorite place to spend a beautiful Saturday! With this new gem, I may have to go to Winter garden throughout the week. I mean look at that menu. Watch out Chocolate Covered Strawberry! I’m coming for you šŸ™‚tasty trend menu

Goodie Girl Cookies

goodiegirlcookieslineupGoodie Girl Cookies was generous enough to send us a variety pack of their cookies after we went on an epic search through Orlando to find their slim mints. Those little cookies were worth the search. We tossed them in the freezer, closed our eyes, and enjoyed them as we enjoyed Thin Mints in our glutenness days. You’ll find affiiliate links throughout this post to help make your shopping easier. The reviews are my opinion and the very honest opinions of my kids.FEB_4078

We started taste testing the others today. I won’t lie, our expectations were high and I was ready to be disappointed. Afterall, not every cookie is as good as a thin mint. FEB_4084

First up: The bite size midnight brownies are just the right amount of sweetness with chocolate chips dotted through each bite. My daughter and I loved them, but my 4year old Vanilla ice cream loving son said they were “too sugary”.

Amazon has their “go packs” BOGO (buy one, get one) through Monday 2/29/16. These little packs are perfect for kids or snackers like me smile emoticon

Check out my affiliate link for easy shopping: http://amzn.to/1n53PmI

ggbrowniebiteskidggbrowniebiteskidhandsUpdates on the others are in the works….stay tuned.