Planning A Gluten Free Road Trip

 I'm in planning mode (which starts out as panic mode, then once I have a moment of clarity to get me in gear, get my to-do list organized, then it finally turns into planning mode. It's my process). In one week from today we will be doing some serious road tripping. A five hour drive to Salt Lake City to record a cooking segment on channel 4 Good Things Utah (go check out my first appearance on the show making Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies), a wedding, then a 2 day drive to Arkansas to visit my grandma and relatives there! With four kids...9 years down to 10 months old...in a vehicle...driving for days...Ahhhh! Sorry, moment of panic.My worry isn't so much the car ride (although it should prove interesting trying to entertain a baby for hours a day who hates being in his car seat and isn't interested in movies yet). No, my biggest anxiety is keeping my gluten sensitive daughter fed while away from my safe gluten free kitchen. This morning as I sat on the floor with Dax while he played with his toys, Miah came and sat beside me and simply said, "I wish I could have gluten too." She wasn't upset, just thoughtful. "It's not always easy being different," I said with a smile, "but different is good too." Different is good, but I can make it easier by planning ahead and being prepared with knowledge and gluten free food ready to go. So now that panic mode has passed, I am preparing so we can make wonderful memories.

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Summer Veggie and Herb Salad

  Fresh tomatoes still warm from the sun. Kale, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and green onions crisp and bright green. Carrots that grow in funny shapes; some long and skinny, some as wide as they are tall. Fresh herbs like basil and parsley that grow so fast you can hardly keep up with them.  Homegrown veggies straight from the garden...these are a few of my favorite things. Summer is upon us and I can't wait! 

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Paleo Chocolate Quinoa Bread

  Okay I have to admit this "bread" may be more closely related to a brownie, but it's a gluten free, dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free, delicious bread/brownie something!

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Plum Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

 The first little sunburn of the year after an afternoon playing at the park reminds me that spring is coming to an end and summer is almost here. It also reminded me of this time a year ago, right after Miah was released from Primary Children's Hospital for Celiac crisis. They had just removed the PICC line that had been sending nutrients straight into her veins and she was finally gaining weight and eating again. My sweet neighbor at the time, Guilma - who also happened to be a chef and mother of a child with Crohn's disease - invited us over for a tea party and to teach me how to make some yummy gluten free dishes. She walked me through making tapioca rolls and spring rolls. We ate them all as we sipped raspberry tea sweetened with big globs of honey.  

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6 Must-Know Gluten Free Grains

Alright, I've spent the last year tasting, experimenting, and making different gluten free grain breads. Before we started out on this journey  to me "grains" were wheat in the form of bread and pasta, rice and occasionally quinoa.  Not a bad list, but wow I was missing out on some amazing grains! This is not to say that organic whole wheat isn't a good grain. It is! Just not if you have Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease, or a gluten intolerance.Just like getting a variety of different colored vegetables and fruit on a daily basis provides our bodies with all the varied and necessary nutrients, it's important to eat a diversity of grains as well.

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Poached Egg on Kale Caprese Salad

Eggs never look so good as when they're sitting atop a pile of sauteed veggies and greens! Poached eggs are one of the simplest ways to enjoy some protein and when you set it on top of these caprese style sauteed kale, tomato, and mushrooms you'll forget you're eating something healthy. Alright I know what you're thinking...Poached eggs? Simple? Yeah right! Trust me, you don't need any special egg poaching utensils or pans; just a little practice to get the yoke just the way you like it. 

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Gluten Free Applesauce Muffins

  I got a message from one of my very best friends that she would be in town in the morning. It's been almost 2 years since the last time I'd seen her and I was excited to catch up and let's face it, anytime I can have an adult conversation it's like Christmas. So last night before bed I made these sweet gluten free applesauce muffins with buckwheat, brown rice, and oatmeal flour. Hardy enough to fill my kiddos up before school and less mess for me to clean up on an already busy morning. They turned out so yummy and were all eaten in less than 10 minutes! 

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Thai Coconut Carrot and Corn Soup (Gluten Free)

 

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GF Chicken Tacos with Garlic Lime Black Beans & Guacamole

   Do you know what I've discovered over the last few years? It's that happily ever after is a pretty relative term. Happiness in its simplest form is being at peace despite the circumstances of your present situation. It's being okay with the imperfections, the mess, the not-so-happy predicaments we find ourselves in, but finding joy in the midst of it all anyway. Not in spite of it, but in it. Not a roll your eyes, grit your teeth, and pretend you're fine superficial happiness, but a sincere inner peace. That's why I make dinner from scratch and use a slow cooker. So I don't have to waist my time standing in the kitchen preparing food all day when I have my happily ever after to enjoy.

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Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies

    These peanut butter cookies are simple, healthy, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and packed with protein! 

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Gluten Free Cilantro Lime Coconut Quinoa

  "Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." - Marcus Aurelius 

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Five Body Balancing Gluten Free Smoothies

I believe that when our bodies are balanced and healthy then it is that much easier for our souls and spirits to be balanced as well. Instead of trying to do a balancing act with all the obligations we place on ourselves (talking to me here) I'm going to make a little more effort to create a balanced life instead of juggling my life in an attempt to keep myself from losing my balance and dropping the ball (figuratively speaking).  So I'm sharing these five gluten free, yummy, body balancing smoothies to get you and me a little balanced start. Lynsay Caylor Russell shares this easy berry paleo smoothie for those busy mornings on the run.  Here's another clean eating berry smoothie from Tiffany at The Gracious Pantry. Love the purple! Gaby from What's Gaby Cooking shares this yummy green machine smoothie made with some Greek yogurt. I'll be making mine with my homemade greek yogurt. Nicole from Gluten Free on  a Shoestring has some great gluten free recipes and shares this Paleo Chocolate Banana Smoothie. Yum! And here's one of my favs, Citrus Ginger Green Smoothie I posted here on Food L'amor a little while ago, but it's worth sharing again ;) Why all the talk about balance? I picked up a book the other day, one I'd read before, but it'd been long enough that as I read the words felt new and fresh. It's called, A Quiet Heart by Patricia T. Holland (wife to Jeffrey R. Holland. An apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.) Reading it is like having a conversation with my soft spoken, surprisingly funny and deeply wise grandma.  In it she quotes Anne Morrow Lindbergh about the tumultuous conditions woman today struggle with in an effort to have a quiet heart at peace: "The Feminists did not look...far [enough] ahead; they laid down no rules of conduct. For them it was enough to demand the privileges...And [so] woman today is still searching. We are aware of our hunger and needs, but still ignorant of what will satisfy them. With our garnered free time, we are more apt to drain our creative springs than to refill them. With our pitchers, we attempt...to water a field, [instead of] a garden. We throw ourselves indiscriminately into committees and causes. Not knowing how to free the spirit, we try to muffle its demands in distractions. Instead of stilling the center, the axis of the wheel, we add more centrifugal activities to our lives -- which tend to throw us [yet more] off balance...[For women] the problem is [still] how to feed the soul" (Gift from the Sea, 20th anniversary edition, with an afterword by the author [Vintage Books, 1978], 51-52). Holland sums up this balancing act with this great analogy. "The analogy is of the soul -- a human soul, with all if its splendor -- being placed in a beautifully carved but very tightly locked box. Reigning in majesty and illuminating our soul in this innermost box is our Lord and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the living Son of the living God. This box is then placed -- and locked -- inside another larger one, and so on until five beautifully carved but very securely locked boxes await the woman who is skillful and wise enough to open them...Success will then reveal to her the beauty and divinity of her own soul, her gifts and her grace as a daughter of God." Now to unlock the boxes.   

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Gluten Free, Clean Eating Costco Shopping List

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Blackberry Yogurt Dipped Watermelon Pops (Gluten Free)

That's kind of a mouthful to say, but that's okay since you'll probably kind of have a mouthful of these clean eating, gluten free, healthy, homemade treats! These are perfect for a cinco de Mayo party, a simple dessert at a barbecue, or just as a healthy alternative to the sugar and food coloring Popsicle for the kids this summer. 

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Grain Free Pineapple Pies with Banana Ice Cream

  Mother's day is coming! If it was me (hint hint) I'd love to get spoiled on mother's day by just being able to relax! Maybe in a lawn chair out in the sun, a glass of lemon water (with a straw), a big floppy sun hat, a good book, and a yummy treat just for me. Just saying.

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Life's Harmonies

My senior year of high school I stood in the choir room with the rest of our senior chamber choir. It was the early in the year and even though we had all auditioned and were considered the "elite" singers, we weren't sounding so great. A little more like nails on a chalkboard, actually. We were singing the right notes for the most part, but our voices were just not blending. It was that song. I don't remember what the song was now, but I remember I didn't like it and was annoyed as we rehearsed it again. By this time everyone was feeling annoyed with this particular song and annoyed that our choir director Mrs. Doxy (but we just called her Nina) was still insisting that we perform it. Nina, stopped us in the middle of one refrain and we all breathed a sigh of relief when she said to leave our music and follow her. She led us into the auditorium and asked us all to stand in circles according to our sections: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.  Then after a stern lecture about appropriate behavior and all the giggling and obnoxious remarks quieted she turned off all the lights and had us sing the song again.In the pitch-black, without our music, without the piano, we were forced to focus our attention on only what we could hear. On each other. We sang the refrain again.  I was surprised how much better it sounded. After a couple more times the harmonies were beginning to really come together and our voices blended beautifully.Nina turned on the lights again and asked us to stand in one big circle, facing each other. Before she turned off the lights again she said something that would completely change my thinking. She told us that when each voice sang in perfect harmony and with the right acoustics something incredible happens. “There is music that sometimes can be heard above the notes being played or sung. I've heard them called by many names” Nina said reverently, “overtones, phantom voices, ghost harmonies…angels. You can't always hear them, but sometimes, when every chord, every voice is in perfect pitch and harmony you can hear them singing above the chorus, notes that no human voice or man made instrument could ever imitate.”We sang the passage again and this time through the blackness of that auditorium our voices blended, moved, soared.  We held the final chord. Listening. Tuning. And then...I heard Them. Faint, yet clear as bells above the sound of the choir. These heavenly voices so high and pure seemed to whisper their approval in our moment of perfect harmony by joining in and adding to our song, notes yet unnamed and unreachable by human voices. I blinked back the tears as Nina turned the lights back on and ushered our silent group back to the choir room.From that moment on this song changed for me. I loved it now. But of course the song hadn't changed at all! It was the same notes I'd been singing the whole time. My perspective had changed. I've been thinking about this experience lately. I'm getting a little metaphoric, but for me at least, it makes life's experiences a little easier to understand.Sometimes we get stuck in a rut with our song of life. We're unhappy with the melody, the rhythm, the overall feel of it. We're annoyed with how things are sounding and just want to pick a different song. But, unlike trading out one sheet of music for another, we can't always immediately change our circumstances. I wish all the best-laid plans and good intentions turned out the way we envisioned them. That everyday was as picturesque as a postcard. 

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Fresh Veggie Southwestern Salsa

  Need something quick and yummy for a get together? This is my go-to. It's super simple and is a great appetizer for your holiday dinner, a summer barbeque, or whenever. It's also a very tricky way to get your kids to eat their veggies since they can scoop them up with corn tortilla chips! (F.Y.I. just because it says "corn" chip, doesn't mean it's gluten free. Be sure to check where they were made or better yet, make your own out of some quinoa tortillas by adding a little extra coconut oil on the griddle and cooking them till they're crispy. Cut them in fourths and sprinkle with sea salt.) 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped 2-3 roma tomatoes, chopped 1 ripe avocado, pitted and chopped 1 bell pepper; red, green, yellow, or orange 1 cup frozen corn, thawed or grilled corn on the cob, corn cut off 1 green onion, sliced lime juice few sprigs fresh cilantro leaves dash or two smoked paprika sea salt and pepper to taste chili powder to taste This is such a simple throw-together that I never measure the spices. Just sprinkle, dash, stir, taste, and repeat until it tastes good to you. I chopped my veggies a little big, but chopping them smaller will make it a little easier to scoop.  This recipe was featured on Good Things Utah!  Enjoy!    

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Gluten Free Amaranth Bread

  Busy days with sports, science fair projects, springtime to-dos, and everyday must-dos call for chowder in a crockpot. Tonight I made my savory (and according to my friend Nicole, even better the next day) Chickpea Chowder. The problem, was that I had nothing to dunk and soak up all that yumminess. I used to make THE best focaccia bread from scratch that was perfect with a dish like this. So I had to come up with something dunk-worthy that was equally as savory on it's own.

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Stuffed Smashed Potatoes

I love eating whole, unprocessed, real food. Eating gluten free and subsequently discovering all the wonderful benefits from eating food that is as close to it’s natural, original state has been an enlightening and …but let’s be honest here…sometimes I mourn for the loss of my ignorance.  (*Beware: venting in process)

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GF Carrot Cupcakes With Greek Yogurt Frosting

  You knew it was coming...I mentioned an upcoming birthday and I made homemade Greek yogurt. What else is there to do but make some gluten free carrot cupcakes with homemade Greek yogurt frosting?! These little guys are going to be perfect for a certain little girl's birthday tea party and would also be a great Easter dessert - you know, cause the Easter bunny loves carrots ;)

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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