Welcome

Melissa-profile This is more than just a recipe blog. I am not a chef. I am not a nutritionist, dietitian, or anything else. I am a mom of a 4 year old daughter with celiac disease, wife of a Crossfit junkie, and healthy food lover. I love learning about and cooking new, healthy and delicious gluten free food. This is simply me sharing the ways I take care of my family by being aware and mindful of the food I feed them and as a result making lots of {Gluten Free Love} by Melissa.

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Grain Free Crepes!

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Want to know how long it’s been since I made crepes? Years!!! My oldest son had to be reminded what a crepe was. Shameful, I know. Since our family started eating gluten free the idea of crepes was just a distant happy memory. I mean seriously, how do you make soft, pliable, delicate, delicious crepes with gritty gluten free flour blends or nut flours?

As it turned out… these grain free, gluten free, Paleo crepes taste just like their gluten-crepe cousins!

Instead of using some complicated, starchy blend or heavy nut flours, I just picked two lightweights. Coconut flour is the dried and ground meat of the coconut – the lightest of the nut flours. However, from my experience coconut flour by itself never works. So I added some arrowroot flour (sometimes called arrowroot starch). Arrowroot is a plant, whose seeds are ground into a fine, powdery flour. It’s often used to hold gluten free baked goods together because of it’s elastic qualities.

What you end up with is the real thing – crepes!

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If you’re still wary about making crepes because you can never get them just right…don’t worry, the first one (or two in my case) are just for practice. Once you get the hang of it the rest will come out looking good. Besides, they’ll taste great no matter what they look like, so just nibble on your…uh…”practice” one while you make the rest. (Speaking from experience.)

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To get a nice smooth, even texture – one that will help the crepes look their best and flip the easiest – I whipped all the ingredients in a blender. It will also make them even more light and fluffy.

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Another tip is to use an 8″ nonstick or cast iron skillet. No matter how much coconut oil you use in a stainless steel, they will still stick! And don’t limit yourself to breakfast on these bad boys either. They may make a mean PB&J wrap, but you can also stuff them with chicken salad, ham and cheese, BLT, or whatever else you can dream up.

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 The Perfect Grain Free Crepes!

Makes about a dozen 8″ crepes

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup arrowroot starch/flour

1/8 tsp. finely ground sea salt or pink salt

3/4 cup almond milk or almond coconut milk blend

4 eggs

Coconut oil for the pan

  • Add all the ingredients into the blender and pulse until it’s completely blended. Heat your pan on med-high for several minutes to be sure it’s evenly heated.
  • Drop about a 1/2 – 1 teaspoon coconut oil in the pan move it around as it melts.
  • Pour about 1/4 – 1/3 cup crepe batter into the hot pan rotating the pan in a circular motion to move the batter, making a thin 6-8 inch layer.
  • Cook for about 30 seconds then gently lift one side with a spatula, and using your fingers to help, flip it to the other side and let it cook for another 30 seconds or so.
  • Slide onto a plate and repeat the process for the remaining batter.

Serve with any combination you want:

nut butters, fresh fruit, jam, cottage cheese, real maple syrup, whipped coconut cream, or chopped nuts

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

 

5 Reasons You Should Be Eating Chia Seeds

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I’d like you to meet my new best friend…chia seeds. Okay, not really but I keep finding myself using these tiny black seeds everywhere and with great results. So I wanted to share it with the rest of my friends (that’s you guys).

You may have heard that chia seeds are good for you so some of what I say may be duplicate information that you’re already aware of and some may be new to you. Let’s get started!

Here’s 5 reasons why you should be eating chia seeds:

chia seedsYou can buy my favorite organic chia seeds here.

1 – Ch-ch-ch-chia! The Super Food!

More calcium than a glass of milk, more omega-3 than a salmon fillet, more fiber than flax seed it’s chia seeds! These little guys are definitely considered a super food and also boast nutrients like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, folate, B vitamins, selenium (an antioxidant), and protein. It’s like taking a multivitamin.

2 – Binds Gluten Free Baked Goods

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When added to liquid, chia seeds create this gel-like substance. It may look a little strange on it’s own, but that gel comes in handy when making gluten free baked goods.

Without gluten baked goods fall apart, which is why so many commercial gluten free products contain xanthan gum (xanthan gum: fermented rice, corn, or sometimes even wheat that’s been dried and ground into a powder and used as a binder.) I’ve found that using 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds instead yields the same binding results and ups the nutritional value of the food. The chia gel also helps to keep you full longer, helping with weight control.

3 – Boosts Metabolism & Digestion

Because of the chia seeds high levels of fiber, it may help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing down the bodies process of converting carbohydrates into sugars. This can boost your metabolism as well as help lower LDLs (bad cholesterol).

4 – Benefits Endurance Athletes  

The healthy benefits of chia seeds could be a great pre-workout boost for runners, CrossFitters, or any other high intensity or endurance sport. They can provide many of the same benefits of a sports drink (and might I add, are way better for you than an artificially enhanced, sugar-filled sports drink.)

According to [one] study, chia seeds can help athletes “carb load” for endurance events, while increasing their intake of nutrients and decreasing their intake of sugar. – Authority Nutrition

5 – Tastes Good in Anything 

Chia seeds have a great nutty taste that add a wonderful flavor to whatever you put it in. Gluten free bread, smoothies, or salads. It isn’t a strong flavor so it really goes good with just about whatever you add it to.

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

Southwestern Caprese Chicken

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I sometimes get asked how I make meals that are gluten free, dairy free, and still appeal to kids. Well, the truth is…I don’t try to make the meals appeal to my kids, I try to help my kids appeal to the meal. In other words, I’ve just gotten good at tricking them into eating whatever’s for dinner.

When the kids throw out the usual question (in a mildly whiny voice) of what’s for dinner, I tell them what I’m making. I tell them how I’m making it. I ask what kind of seasoning or vegetable they think would taste good in it. And I sometimes have to be a little sneaky when I’m adding things that my more pickier eaters aren’t so sure about.

This Southwestern inspired twist on a classic caprese is a prime example of this. When they asked what’s for dinner I said, chicken. Then we started talking about the original version of this dish that involves mozzarella. However, I tell them, since we’re giving Miah’s tummy a break and cutting out cheese (a little cheese used to be okay, but either we over did it or for some reason she’s gotten more sensitive we’ve had to cut cheese out.) So I ask what else we could use instead of cheese. Miah the avocado lover chimed in with the perfect solution. Avocado!

My oldest suggested salsa instead of just tomatoes because he really likes salsa. Which left us with my poor picky eater middle child refusing anything on her chicken at all. This girl of mine has quite the sweet tooth so I suggested a sweet balsamic reduction drizzled on top. She was skeptical…”vinegar? Ewww!” But I insisted and she seemed to feel better about things when she realized there was honey involved. We served our Southwestern Caprese Chicken along with some warm seasoned quinoa and a green salad. 

So dinner became a new, beautiful, tasty dish. Something the kids helped put together despite their very different preferences. And guess what? They ate it all!

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Southwestern Caprese Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts (or one per person)

2 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil

1 garlic clove

1-2 tbsp. lime juice

sea salt to taste

pinch red pepper flakes

smoked paprika, lightly dusted

1 large ripe avocado, sliced

fresh salsa or pico de gallo

fresh cilantro

Sweet Balsamic Reduction

4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. water

In a large skillet heat the oil and garlic. Pat the chicken breast dry, season with salt, red pepper flakes ,and smoked paprika and set in the pan (*regular or sweet paprika will give it a very different flavor. Smoked makes it taste a little like barbecue. Yummy!) Brown the chicken on medium-high heat for several minutes on both sides until the outside is a caramel color and the inside in no longer pink. Half way through cooking squeeze the lime juice over top the chicken.

While the chicken’s working whisk together the vinegar, honey, and water in a small sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly for a 3-5 minutes or until it is slightly reduced. Turn the heat off and allow it to cool and thicken.

Place a piece of chicken, a few slices of avocado, some fresh cilantro if you want, and a scoop of salsa or pico on each plate. Drizzle sweet balsamic reduction over top and serve right away.

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

 

 

I Think I’ll Run A Marathon…

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A few years ago I started running. I ran track in high school a little as a sprinter, but no long distance for me! I’m not sure what changed, but I saw all these other mom’s running miles everyday and loving it! They claimed it made them a better mom, helped them refocus, recharge…”ridiculous“, I thought.

Of course I had to see what they were talking about. I started running. I worked up to a few miles and my competitive spirit was giddy with excitement prompting me to run a 5k or two.

Melissa's first 5k

 

I surprised myself by taking 2nd in the overall women’s category in my first race and 1st in my age group in my second. My oldest son ran the second race with me. He told me after the race that I had slowed him down a little. He could have run it faster. Haha! The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree I guess.

So it was true. Somehow this repetitive motion – the rhythm of your feet beating on the cement and your heart drumming in unison has an unusual effect. Maybe it’s because you’re forced to breathe deeply and concentrate on yourself and clear your mind for a few miles. For women and mothers this is especially valuable.

For years since my on-again, off-again relationship with running began I’ve wanted to run a marathon…someday. Recently as I went for a quick run I realized that I didn’t have any valid excuses why I shouldn’t run a marathon this year.

Oh, dear. Here we go again.

Training for the Marathon

I found this long-term training plan from Sport Fitness Advisor. The marathon I plan on running isn’t until October so I’ve got time to work up to it. I can replace the Farltek and X-Train days with CrossFit. Plus this is a great beginners training schedule that is totally do-able. I’ve been modifying this schedule so that Sunday is always a rest day and Saturday is the long run.

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I’m on week 3 and feeling good. For a long time the only reason I couldn’t run farther than a 5k was because my right hip, knee, and foot would start aching. Yoga has helped to loosen the tight tendons and muscles and I have to say that my shoes have made a huge difference in running properly. I’ve been wearing Vibram Merrell Bare Access Ultra Trail Running shoes (you can get them here). They give just enough support while still allowing your foot to move and flex like it would if you were running bare foot.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, diet, helpful tips, setbacks, and probably a few life lessons I learn along the way. Any advice from all you experienced marathoners out there is much appreciated!

Food Lamor by Melissa

Chickpea & Spinach Salad

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Chickpeas, spinach, some spiral cut carrots, sliced purple onion, chopped almonds, orange segments, and a simple dressing makes this salad…well, simple…and kind of addictive! It’s so easy to keep munching on it and goes great with almost any dinner. Add some grilled chicken strips to turn it into a light dinner or just as is for lunch.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) have a great creamy texture and are really filling. If you’re like me and love salad but no matter how much you pile on you’re still not full, then this legume should be your go-to. Adding chickpeas to salads will help you feel full and satisfied, not to mention adding lots of extra vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.

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This is also a great side to bring to a get together because the dressing it already on top…and because it looks so pretty! The dressing won’t make it soggy either so it’s okay to sit in the fridge for a couple days once it’s dressed.

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Chickpea & Spinach Salad

2 cans low-sodium chickpeas, drained

2-3 carrots spiral cut or cut matchstick size

2 handfuls fresh spinach, rinsed and patted dry

1 small red or purple onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup raw slivered or chopped almonds

2-3 mandarin oranges or clementines, peeled and segmented

 

Dressing:

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. raw wild honey

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

sea salt or pink salt and black pepper to taste

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Toss together all the salad fixings in a large bowl. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad just before serving.

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa