Tag Archives: healthy

It’s no pasta, but spaghetti squash is pretty awesome

A gluten free dish to warm you up and keep you full

A gluten free dish to warm you up and keep you full

It’s April 13, 2014, and apparently it is going to snow the day after tomorrow.

This, after a brutal and endless snowstorm-filled season that kicked my lifelong “I love winter” proclamation’s butt.

But to be honest, I think I still love winter. Maybe now more than recent years because I no longer have to drive to work. Truth be told, my highway driving commute to work for the past few years has soured the season I once thought was so magical. But now I have a new job, one on the subway line no less, which means buh-bye icy roads (and jerks who don’t adjust their driving habits to the elements).

There were many times throughout the last few months where I felt chilled to the bone. Soup was always a good soul-warming meal, but what I ended up eating a lot of was spaghetti squash. Before this year, I had never eaten it. I once had a health conscious classmate tell me it was the perfect replacement for pasta.

“No one really eats pasta for the pasta anyway,” she said. “It’s all about the sauce.”

While she may have had a point about the sauce being the crux of the pasta dish, spaghetti squash is no replacement for pasta. Sure, it looks like spaghetti when carved out with a fork, but the texture and taste are telltale properties of squash, not pasta, thankyouverymuch. When I really want a bowl (or two) of pasta, no squash will satisfy that craving pang. No matter how good the sauce it sits in is.

OK, it’s starting to look like I’m ragging on spaghetti squash. I’m not. I actually really enjoy it. I made the recipe below many, many times this past winter and it was a delicious, hearty meal that always warmed me up after a treacherous drive on the snowy highway.

Are you still getting snow or bitter cold weather where you live? Whether you are or aren’t, here’s a meal that is sure to warm – and fill – you up.

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Fresh ‘n easy g-free lemon poppy seed muffins

A quick and easy gluten free treat.

A quick and easy gluten free treat.

Thanks to these muffins, almond flour has become by new favourite flour. But sitting at around $11.50 a pound, is it ever expensive! A few weeks ago I saw it was on sale at about half that price and I’m pretty sure I squealed. Needless to say, I stocked up and got a bunch to last me a while.

Around Christmastime a friend of mine gave me a recipe for chocolate chip almond muffins, and it’s essentially what I’ve presented below. The chocolate version is delicious because, hello, it involves chocolate. But since I don’t want a daily helping of chocolate chips in my diet, I’ve tweaked the recipe to create my second favourite muffin: lemon poppy seed.

What you need

  • Almond flour, 3 cups
  • Baking soda, 1 tsp
  • 3 eggs
  • Honey, ¼ cup
  • Lemon zest, 1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice, 2 tbsp (or 1 tbsp lemon extract)
  • Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
  • Poppy seeds, as many as you desire

What you have to do

  • Preheat the oven to 300 Degrees
  • Mix everything together till smooth
  • Pour into lined muffin tin
  • Bake for 25 mins (apply the toothpick trick to ensure they are done!)

LSCicchirillo

I enjoy these because they are incredibly easy and quick to make. I’m also impressed with how good they taste considering there’s no butter or sugar, which actually helps in making these guilt-free – especially when I want to make a chocolate chip batch!

One last note: If the chocolate chip version is calling out to you, swap out the lemon and poppy seed ingredients for chocolate chips, and up the vanilla extract to 1 tbsp.

Enjoy!

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Cozy gluten free apple cinnamon oatmeal

Buy prepared flavoured oatmeal? This is an easy, less expensive, and healthy alternative.

Buy prepared flavoured oatmeal? This is an easy, less expensive, and healthy alternative.

While I, like many, many others, lovingly refer to this time of year as ‘pumpkin everything season,’ it’s also the time of year apples are at their finest. Every weekend I see someone on my Twitter feed or Facebook page posting photos of themselves ankle deep in an apple orchard, surrounded by full trees and bushels brimming with the sweet, crispy fruit. Well, I finally made it to an apple orchard myself, and now my fridge is overloaded with them. I went through a decent amount of them at a pretty impressive pace all on my own. My husband didn’t start reaching for any till I introduced him to the tasty apple-almond butter combo. After a while, though, a slight panic settled in when I realized I had just too many apples. So, I decided to chop some up and make an oatmeal dish that I could heat up every morning for breakfast.

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Bye, Bitch! My gluten free farewell to ‘Breaking Bad’

The definitive 'Breaking Bad' menu for the Gluten Intolerant

The definitive ‘Breaking Bad’ menu for the Gluten Intolerant

Warning: While there aren’t any specific spoilers in this post, some juicy tidbits are alluded to.

Like almost all my favourite shows, I got into ‘Breaking Bad’ late. How late, you ask? I started watching a month ago. Yes, just one month was all it took for it to rank up there on my list of favourite shows. My brother had been trying to get me to watch from season one, but he never said anything about the show that made it appealing. Did he say the show explored the epic, torturous downward spiral of a teacher-turned-drug kingpin? Not really.

Did he say it had the perfect blend of comedy and drama? Nope.

What did he focus on exactly? All the stuff that would make this squeamish gal not at all interested in tuning in, that’s what. How many times had I heard about ‘this person melting’ and ‘that person’s face exploding off,’ I’ll never know. And to his credit, he did insist ‘Breaking Bad’ was so much more than that, but I was too chicken to give it a shot. (Los Pollos, anyone?)

That was the case, anyway, till last month’s dinner guests saw we had Netflix and ‘wanted to see what this ‘Breaking Bad’ was all about.’ Our friends eagerly sat and watched the first couple of episodes with wide eyes as I sat there, oftentimes with my eyes shielded behind my hands, waiting for bodies to melt and faces to explode.

Fans of the show won’t be surprised to read I didn’t have to wait too long to see someone melt. Ah, that famous bathtub scene happened in episode two, I believe. And as much as that graphic portrayal of body decomposition turned my stomach, I got hooked onto the show. Indeed, there is so much more to it.

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Gluten free mint chocolate avocado brownies (I can’t believe there’s no butter!)

Mint chocolate avocado brownies, sans butter and 'real' flour.

Mint chocolate avocado brownies, sans butter and ‘real’ flour.

About a year ago I turned my eye to avocados. Up until this point, I never cared for the slimy green fruit. Nachos have always ranked high on my list of favourite junk foods, and while I enjoyed them ‘loaded,’ guacamole was never something I’d want along with them. To be perfectly honest, I still don’t like guacamole!

What finally turned me onto avocados was a salad my cousin had made. Cherry tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, olive oil, black pepper – that’s it. And wow, was it ever delicious. Since then I’ve made it every other week or so, only I make it with the delicious addition of mini bocconcini, fennel seeds, and balsamic vinegar. This salad is incredibly satisfying and I encourage you all to try it.

But the star of this post is not salad; it’s brownies. So let’s get to it. I recently got my hands on a cookbook on all-things avocado, and it’s become my favourite free goodie as of late. From breakfast to dessert, the book, ‘Absolutely Avocados’ by Gaby Dalkin, is a colourful page-turner of tantalizing avocado-based recipes. I’ve had to adapt some to make them gluten free, as this is not a g-free cookbook, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the end results.

I’ve altered Dalkin’s avocado brownies in a number of different ways, so I’m not going to post her recipe as it appears in the book. However, the book’s been a real asset in my kitchen, so I thought I would encourage you to check it out.

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Savoury gluten free stuffed peppers

The first stuffed peppers I've ever made -- without a recipe or anything. *Patting self on back*

The first stuffed peppers I’ve ever made — without a recipe or anything. *Patting self on back*

My husband and I recently got a Costco membership. Until recently we didn’t even consider having one since it’s just us two (and a kitty, but she’s a tiny little thing). But after listening to our friends go on and on about the great deals they were scooping up, we decided to check it out. In the end, we saw awesome savings were to be had with that coveted little plastic card, so we signed up.

Why am I talking about Costco when I promised you a recipe for stuffed peppers? I’m getting there! You see, for quite a few long months now, our ‘snack’ for work has been carrots. Every day, carrots. As of late, however, the carrots have been coming back home after work, still in their little unopened containers. In an effort to remain healthy, we thought we would swap out our carrots for sliced pepper sticks. So we went to Costco and bought a big pack of peppers.

…And then we got home and saw we still had a big pack of carrots sitting in our fridge. Urgh. So, for another three or four days we begrudgingly munched on carrots. In an effort to not let the peppers go to waste, I decided to make stuffed peppers. (There we are; told you I was getting there!)

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G-free party food: My go-to dishes

It’s already August and looking back I can say with confidence that this was a summer of parties. From the exciting events leading to a couple of best friends’ wedding to toasting a new home, I had an unofficial part-time job as hostess this season.

The truth is, playing hostess is a fun pastime I don’t think I will ever tire from. But wow, can it get expensive. Especially if you’re planning a unique g-free menu.  I’ll admit for a couple gatherings I took the easy way out and opted to prepare solely ‘normal dishes’ (aka, gluten-filled) just for convenience sake, but munching on veggies while my guests indulged in mouthwatering appetizers always ended up being a regret.

I think I’ve found my footing now, and it’s fun discovering new ways to satisfy my guests’ taste buds, and mine. So what were some items I served?

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Scrumptious Salads: The there’s-no-way-I’m-turning-on-the-damn-oven edition

Hi everyone! It’s been a while (busy summer and all), so I thought I would treat you to not one, but two, gluten free salad creations I find particularly scrumptious. I’ve been eating these all week because, people, it’s hot. Oppressively hot. It’s been hovering around the ‘it’s-going-to-feel-like-45 degrees-kind of hot’ all week. ALL. WEEK.

The sun. The hot, hot sun. (Flickr / jmf1007)

The sun. The hot, hot sun. (Flickr / jmf1007)

It’s the kind of heat that makes me truly uncomfortable. And drained. And irritable. I get especially irritable when I hear people gushing about how ‘beautiful’ this weather is. There is nothing beautiful about instant sweat, matted down hair, and runny makeup. This weather is only appropriate if you’re on vacation or near some kind of lake you can hop into. But for day-to-day living? No. Just no.

When my stifling heat-loving friends hear me complain they immediately make some cliche comment about winter. ‘Oh, well I’ll take this over -20 and snow,’ they always say with a chuckle.

Here’s the thing my friends don’t seem to grasp. If it is -20 and snowing, you can always add a layer of clothing to warm up. Always.

I stumbled across a YouTube video that’s making its rounds and I included it at the bottom of this post. If you’re frustrated with the heat in your area or you just want a laugh, check it out!

So, back to the reason for this long-awaited post: the salads. Here are two no-cooking-required dishes I whipped up repeatedly throughout the week to stay nourished…and cool.

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A gluten free shmorgishborg of delectable treats

The end result of my 5-hour shopping trip: A combination of free samples and items I purchased at Canada's Gluten Free Market.

The end result of my 5-hour shopping trip: A combination of free samples and items I purchased at Canada’s Gluten Free Market.

A little over a week ago I had the pleasure of attending Canada’s Gluten Free Market in Mississauga, Ont. I was accompanied by my mother and cousin, two family members who decided to give g-free living a go. It was perfect timing. What better time to try a new diet than at an event with a wide assortment of free goodies? The event was the perfect place for gluten free newbies and veterans alike: along with food, there was an abundance of information. The event ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and we arrived bright and early and left around mid-afternoon. I was wondering how big a crowd the show would draw. Of course, gluten free living has become rampant in recent years, but this type of event caters to a niche audience — or so I thought.  The venue was rammed! A massive line of people gathered before the doors even opened and the aisles and booths were packed with eager and hungry gluten free enthusiasts the entire time we were there. In fact, one vender was rushing out just as we were, promising she’d ‘be back with more products,’ as her booth was completely emptied of treats.

Gluten free enthusiasts lining up for the big event roughly 15 minutes before it even opened.

Gluten free enthusiasts lining up for the big event roughly 15 minutes before it even opened.

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Spinach carrot crust pizza. Yuuuupppp!

I haven’t been able to get enough of my gluten free, flourless cauliflower pizza; I think I’ve had it consistently for a few Friday night dinners now. I’ve been changing up the toppings and each time it’s like I’m eating a whole new delectable, guilt-free treat. But when I came across this recipe, I decided it might be time to change things up a bit. After all, and as my family is well aware, I am notorious for eating a favourite dish to the point where I can’t stand it anymore, and that’s the last thing I want to happen with my cauliflower pizza!

You'll need a fork and knife for this thin crust pizza!

You’ll need a fork and knife for this thin crust pizza!

I am not the biggest fan of spinach; I like it in a cheese dip, but other than that, I can leave it right there in the serving platter. But like my other flourless pizza recipe, the other main ingredient is cheese, so I figured I would give this a try. I made one adjustment though: I cut the amount of spinach in half and I substituted it with carrot. My husband had actually been looking forward to this dish all week, and yet funnily enough his face contorted into one of absolute disgust when I excitedly told him I would be adding carrot. Go figure.

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