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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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Candied Orange Pecans

 

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 The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

My house smells amazing after making a few batches of this simple, refined sugar free treat! Just one pan, a few simple ingredients (gluten free of course), and I’ve got gifts for the neighbors and a bowl for my kids to munch.

It’s been busy around here lately with orchestra concerts, school programs, singing in the church choir, and ugly sweater parties. (Yes we rocked the ugly sweater party! I have two words for you…Sticky. Felt. The kids decorated their own. Can you tell? My favorite is “baby Grinch” who, true to form, refused to where his Grinch-y Santa hat.)

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I’ll admit I was struggling to get into the Christmas spirit when December first rolled around. All the extra Christmas stuff felt like another burden added to an already busy schedule. Of course Bing Crosby could be heard singing “White Christmas” throughout my house as we put up the tree and lights. Still, it wasn’t until I watched a video that showed up in my Facebook feed that I was able to really feel the spirit of Christmas. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a must! (You can watch the video below)

As goodies get passed around and presents are wrapped, I’m going to try to get more wrapped up in my family than a to-do list.  Yes, I still have my moments where I am less than angelic (Seriously. Way less!), but I know if I can keep it simple and real we’ll be able to make some great memories…while nibbling yummy treats!

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Candied Orange Pecans

2 tbsp. fresh orange juice

1/4 cup coconut sugar

dash or two ground cinnamon

2 cups pecan halves

1/4 tsp. orange zest

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Heat a large pot or skillet on high heat. Start by adding the orange juice to the pan first followed by the coconut sugar. Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Sprinkle in a decent amount of cinnamon (I like lots). By now the mixture should be bubbling. Add in the pecans and continue stirring to coat all the nuts. Spread the pecans evenly in the bottom of the pan and zest a little of the orange you juiced into the pecans. Allow them to simmer on medium-high heat for another minute or two, stirring occasionally. The liquid will evaporate leaving the sugar crystals behind. Continue stirring until the sugar caramelizes on the nuts. You’ll smell it when it’s done! There should be no liquid left as you dump the nuts onto a parchment lined baking sheet to cool. As they cool, the sugar will harden.

Scoop the cooled Candied Orange Pecans into a sack and tie it with a bow to give away as a gift….and be sure to make extra for yourself.

Merry Christmas!

Food Lamor by Melissa

Spiced Green Smoothie

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We love the holidays don’t we? The lights. The excitement. The food. Unfortunately, we live in a society that is pretty consumer driven with lots of preconceived notions about what you “have to have”  in order to experience the “perfect” holiday – Christmas or otherwise.

Well, none for me thanks. I’m attempting to slow down. Keep things simple. Experience my children and family, remembering the real reason for the season, and enjoy this beautiful time of year for all it’s worth.

I’m also trying to help my body do the same. Stress, refined sugars, and overeating can really put a lot of strain on our bodies. So even though the weather outside is frightful, this Spiced Green Smoothie will be so delightful! (No? Doesn’t work?) This smoothie is full of vitamins, protein, probiotics, fiber, and the spices of the season.

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Spiced Green Smoothie

1 apple, washed and cored

1/2 cup frozen fruit (banana, peach, mango, etc.)

1/2 cup raw pecans, shelled

1 tbsp. ground flaxseed

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt

1 – 2 cups water or milk (almond, coconut, or organic dairy)

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 nutmeg

Splash of vanilla

Drizzle of honey to taste

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Put everything in your blender and puree until smooth. It may take a few extra pulses to get all the pecan bits. Drink up, breathe deep, and have a beautiful day.

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

Citrus-Basil Coconut Chicken

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I love meals that involve one or two utensils and a skillet. They are so versatile and can be easily adjusted for however many seats are filled at the table – this is one of those meals. It’s not just any old skillet chicken dinner though. This meal is Paleo worthy, gluten free, dairy free, and oh my goodness, so tasty!

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Tropical flavors come together in a unique way that makes this a dinner kids and adults will love! It’s only 10 ingredients too (8 if you don’t count the salt and pepper. Does S&P count as an ingredient or just a given in a dish like this? Your thoughts?).  Another bonus is that this dinner is ready in under 30 minutes, which is great for entertaining dinner guests or just entertaining your kids (gotta love that on a busy weekday). Serve with rice or quinoa and some veggies and you’re done!

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Citrus-Basil Coconut Chicken

2-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (chicken tenders would also work)

2-3 tbsp. coconut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt or Himalayan Pink Salt to taste

black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste (red pepper will give you more heat)

2 tbsp. lime juice

1-2 tsp. honey

1/2 tbsp. finely chopped basil leaves

1/2 – 1 cup coconut milk (the Almond Breeze – Coconut Almond milk works good too)

unsweetened coconut shredded coconut or flakes

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In a skillet big enough for the chicken breasts (enough room that they don’t touch) preheat the coconut oil and minced garlic in the skillet on med-high to high heat. Trim fat and pat chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Generously salt and pepper both sides. When the garlic starts sizzling gently lay the chicken in. Let the chicken cook on each side for about 2-4 minutes. You aren’t looking to cook the chicken all the way through right now, just brown the outside.

While the chicken’s cooking whisk the lime juice, chopped basil, and honey together.  Once the chicken is browned on both sides pour the lime mixture over top the chicken, then pour in just enough of the coconut milk that the bottom of the pan is covered. Stir and scrape the bottom of the skillet to get up all the flavorful bits. Sprinkle the coconut flakes on each piece of chicken. Turn the heat down to low and put the lid on. The chicken will finish cooking in the simmering citrus-basil coconut sauce and the steam will help infuse all the flavors together. Add additional salt and pepper as needed and serve with rice and veggies. Delicious!

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

Immune Booster Detox Smoothie

detox-smoothie-2My CrossFit challenge is fast approaching the final challenge event and seeing the results from our 8 weeks of hard work. Finishing strong isn’t just about what happens in the gym – diet is going to make a huge difference too. So I’m going to be doing lots of detox smoothies for the next week or so. Not only are smoothies great for weight-loss, but this one is also packed with immune boosting vitamins and minerals.

detox-smoothieThis bad boy is a kick of vitamins and body purifying good stuff! I used my juicer for the carrots and oranges, or if you don’t have one you can buy a bottle of Simply Orange juice and pure carrot juice.

Here’s the breakdown of all the health benefits you’ll get from this smoothie…

Carrots (dark orange) -

Carrots are perhaps best known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient that was actually named for them: beta-carotene. However, these delicious root vegetables are the source not only of beta-carotene, but also of a wide variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients. The areas of antioxidant benefits, cardiovascular benefits, and anti-cancer benefits are the best-researched areas of health research with respect to dietary intake of carrots. – World’s Healthiest Foods

Kale (dark leafy greens) -

Kale is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable that is chock-full of essential vitamins A, C and K as well as minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. A cup of fresh kale has only about 40 calories but packs almost 3 grams of protein.
One cup of cooked kale has over 1000% more vitamin C than a cup of cooked spinach and unlike spinach, kale’s oxalate content is very low which means that the calcium and iron in kale are highly absorbable in the human digestive system.1 –   Medical New Today

Orange Juice (citrus fruits) -

Pure, 100% orange juice provides vitamin C along with other vitamins and antioxidants, reduces inflammation, balance blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol, promotes a glowing skin condition, prevents neural tube defects, and produces collagen. – Med-Health

Bananas -

Bananas are full of vitamins (vitamin C and B6) and minerals like potassium and magnesium just to name a few. Eating a banana a day promotes a healthy heart, combats depression and may improve your mood, benefits digestion and weight loss, vision, bones, and may be a good defense against kidney cancer. – Live Science 
 

Immune Booster Detox Smoothie

1 cup carrot juice

1 cup orange juice

1 banana

1 handful kale, rinsed with stems removed

4-6 ice cubes

splash or two of water as needed

Opt. drizzle of honey for extra sweetness

 

Combine everything in your blender until it’s smooth…and you’re done! Drink it while it’s cold for a mid-morning boost.

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

 

 

 

 

 


Soft Grain-Free Gingersnap Cookies

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Run, run as fast as you can…to eat some soft gingersnap cookies that are gluten free, grain free ,optional dairy free, super healthy, and delicious! Hmm, that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as the original.

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Oh well, even though these cookies aren’t exactly like the original, they are THE BEST GRAIN FREE GINGERSNAP COOKIES EVER!  I may be a little presumptuous in saying that since I’ve actually never sampled all the possible contenders. So I guess to make an accurate assumption as to which cookie is the best I’d need to do a lot of taste testing….but if I did these would definitely be at the top of the list!

Most of the time when I’m making a sweet treat I use honey, real maple syrup, coconut sugar, or fruit as a less refined sugar alternative. This traditional cookie usually calls for molasses, which conveniently enough is one of those often overlooked healthy sweeteners. Molasses – organic blackstrap molasses to be exact, is full of all the beneficial nutrients and minerals left over after the toxic refined sugar is processed from the sugar cane plant. Used in moderation, molasses can provide vitamins and minerals and aid in digestive and skin health. Combine that with all the other healthy ingredients in these cookies and you’ve got yourself a very tasty and healthy treat!

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Soft Grain-Free Gingersnap Cookies

 

2-1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt or pink salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup Blackstrap Molasses
1 stick (1/2 cup) organic unsalted butter or palm shortening
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk or 1/4 cup almond milk + 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

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In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients and stir together.

If using butter, soften to room temperature. Add it to the dry until it’s well incorporated before adding the remaining ingredients.

Begin adding the wet ingredients, stirring as you go until everything is well incorporated. If using almond milk and vinegar combo, stir the vinegar into the milk and allow to sit for just a couple minutes before adding to the mixture. Don’t be weird-ed out by the strange reaction the vinegar has on the milk. It will taste good in the cookies! I promise!

Cover the dough and set in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

Once the oven’s preheated, form the dough into balls about 2-3 inches in diameter. Place them on the baking sheet then press them flat into the shape of a cookie. (They won’t spread or flatten on their own while baking.)

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

Cover and store in the fridge or freeze for later.

 

Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

 

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