Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Farewell to Winning Without Gluten

I am sitting here with mixed emotions about writing this post. I am also sitting here with shingles. Yes, shingles. Apparently it is not uncommon for young people to get shingles when run down or with a weak immune system. I know that my immune system will probably always be susceptible to things of this nature because of my POTS. But being "run down," that's my fault. That is something I can control and I am terrible at it. I go a million miles a minute and then crash. It's a new year and I've decided that I can't keep up this pace, something's gotta go.

I don't like the idea of ever saying 'never' so I won't say this is the last post I will write on Winning Without Gluten, but it will be for quite a while. Why? To be quite frank, the past couple of months I feel like I've been just trying to keep my head above water with work, travel, the blog, everything. Shingles was just the final straw. There are so many things that I love and love doing but like everything, they all require time. I love my family more than anything, but they live 2,800 miles away from me, hence travel takes its toll. I love my friends and all of our fun adventures. I love running and the amazing people that I do it with. I love cooking and baking and I love grocery stores maybe a little too much. I love my job. I love going out to eat, to the farmers market, and sitting on the couch with a good movie and a glass of wine.

I started WWGluten as a place for me to document my story and gluten free lifestyle, to share my love for many of the things above; GF baking & cooking, finding new products, discovering new restaurants, and connecting with other people living a similar lifestyle. Those things won't change. But what I've realized is that I love enjoying them in the moment and without having to think that I should be documenting this or blogging about it later. If not for anything but the betterment of my own health {the topic that started this whole blog idea anyways}, I am going to take a prolonged hiatus from the blog world so I can get back to my free time as real free time…or sleep time:)

I have loved meeting many of you through emails or comments and will look forward to staying in touch.

always keep on Winning Without Gluten…


Monday, January 6, 2014

Gluten Free Spaghetti & Meatballs with Rosemary Focaccia Bread

With the whole family at home over the holidays, we had some pretty amazing dinners. With 4 celiacs in the house, the Italian-themed dinners with pasta & bread are few and far between. I honestly can't remember the last time I had a plate of spaghetti & meatballs. But a couple things motivated us to give them a try over the break. First, my mom had picked up a package of Ian's GF Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs which we opened up and almost had to use because they smelled so fresh and delicious. And second, Canyon Gluten Free Bakehouse had kindly shipped a box of product samples up to my house in Upstate, NY so that my family could enjoy them with me…included in the box was a loaf of Rosemary Thyme Focaccia Bread. I am pretty sure I could have eaten that entire load myself, it was AMAZING!

Long story short, it was such a treat to sit down to a plate full of spaghetti {we used the Barilla corn based pasta} and meatballs. The best part was that we had enough for a second round the next day at lunch which a couple of us enjoyed over a bowl of rice in place of pasta. 

Step by step instructions for the meatballs are to the left. There are a couple important things to keep in mind when making any kind of gluten free italian dish…
{1} Don't boil the water for the pasta, it overcooks very quickly so keep it at medium/high but just below a boil. 
{2} Make sure to find the right breadcrumbs for meatballs. We bought a rice based breadcrumb to combine with the Ian's but they smelled just as terrible as that dense rice bread that I bought the day I was diagnosed with celiac. 
{3} Don't go light on the spices, park, & breadcrumbs…they are what set meatballs apart from mini hamburgers. 

From start to finish, we had dinner on the table within an hour. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

WWGluten Weekly Newsletter

I know it's never good to assume anything but I did just that when it came to email notifications for new blog posts. When I transferred over to blogger I figured the email tool would generate consistent updates to the list of subscribers. Think again. Somehow it took me months to realize that it was almost never that I would receive one of these in my inbox. So I decided to scrap it and try something new, something "cooler." Drum roll please... a weekly newsletter from WWgluten with links to recent posts, and the latest GF products, facts, upcoming events, & news. Just follow the directions in red star above and keep an eye out for a quick Monday morning read in your inbox this week...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve || 2013 In Review

December 31st, 2013. The final day of the year 2013. Crazy how time flies by. 
I feel like it was just yesterday that I moved out to Oregon but in the blink of an eye it has been over two years. 

As I made dinner with my family last night, my nearby computer began displaying recent pictures on the screen saver. We couldn't help but stop to reminisce about the different moments that were captured on camera. 

One of my resolutions for 2014 is to get better at doing nothing. To stop moving a million miles a minute. To remember to pump the breaks take a deep breath when things get crazy. New Years is the perfect time to press pause and take a journey down memory lane. Thus my night took an unexpected twist as I sifted through my iPhoto library; smiling and remembering the adventures, challenges, celebrations, obstacles, and milestones of 2013. 

2013 was a wonderful year. 

And the best is yet to come...

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Eve || Healthy Gluten Free Appetizers

Hosting a New Years Eve gathering to ring in 2014? Tired of the same old appetizers you made in 2013? I hear ya. Which is exactly why I decided that instead of conjuring up some of my own suggestions, I would visit some of my favorite gluten free & foodie bloggers and share their beautiful recipes. 

Let's be honest, NYE isn't the most ideal night to serve hearty chip & dip combos for couple of reasons…
1} That sequined dress probably took a little time to get on after months of holiday parties...
2} It's hard to look 'fancy' with seven layer cheese dripping all over the place...
3} Tide-to-go pens can only do so much…
Enough said. So here are a collection of healthy & easy to eat appetizer ideas so you can go ahead and use that other hand for a glass of champagne while dancing the night away into 2014!

Blackberry Goat Cheese Crackers by Yummy Mummy Kitchen
Cheese Stuffed Zuchinni Rolls by Real Mom Kitchen
Cucumber Canapes with Whipped Feta by Two Peas and their Pod
Paella Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers by Oh My Veggies {Paella by Beard & Bonet}

Monday, December 23, 2013

Last minute gift ideas || Gluten Free Athletes

Looking for a last minute gift idea for a gluten free athlete in your life?! Look no further. Any or all of these items would be an amazing present...not only for Christmas but any birthday or celebration throughout the year! 

Membership to Team Gluten Free
The new year brings new challenges. The Celiac Disease Foundation has an amazing network of athletes who have joined to enter various events on behalf of 'Team Gluten Free!' Apply for membership and buy gear online here.

Whole Foods Gift Card
The aisles of whole foods are stocked with natural, organic, & GF options. Everything from fresh veggies to the best gluten free mixes! Buy online gift card here.

The Gluten Free Edge by Peter Bronski
A nutrition and training guide for peak athletic performance and an active gluten-free life. Filled with stories of athletes on a gluten free diet.
Buy online at Barnes & Noble here.

LunchSkins Re-usable Lunch Kit
Keep those gluten free meals & snacks on-hand in style with a variety of re-usable bags in all different sizes & patterns. Buy individual bags or full kit online here.

KIND cube {16 bars}
A 20-pack of KIND bars, packaged in a cube that opens up into a colorful cascade of flavors. Buy cube and other KIND products online here.

LÄRABAR über Variety Pack {20 bars}
LÄRABAR über bars are a sweet and salty GF snack made from whole fruits and nuts. This variety pack has 4 bars of all 6 über flavors! Buy über variety pack and all other LÄRABAR products online here.

Itunes Gift Card
Hundreds of thousands of gluten free apps are ready to download from the iTunes store. Check them out today and never wonder if something is gluten free again! Buy iTunes gift card & explore GF apps online here

Sunday, December 22, 2013

DIY Gluten Free Gifts || Holiday Granola

This year I really wanted to find a homemade gluten free granola recipe to make for holiday gifts. I caught the mason jar bug back a couple years ago since they are the perfect re-usable container for so many things. I actually have a variety of sizes and use them as drinking glasses in my apartment. I combined a few different recipes to make this version and packaged it up for a super easy gift. I also found these cute little wooden gift tags that you can tie to the mouth of the jar with a piece of ribbon or twine. The recipe below is a double batch but it would be fine to be doubled even further so you can have plenty to enjoy yourself or with your family/friends that stop by over the holidays. The Christmas M&Ms give it a festive feel but you can really adapt it to any holiday with seasonal M&M colors or better yet make it a year-round snack to keep on hand at home, the office, or in the car...just use regular chocolate, peanut butter, and/or white chocolate chips!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

DIY Gluten Free Gifts || Christmas Treats

I will admit, I had a bit of a breakdown the other day when I realized that Christmas was only days away. I hadn't found the time to do much of any holiday baking or gift shopping. Maybe it was because Thanksgiving was so late but I swear I blinked and I was on another flight back home for Christmas. I did, however, find time to go a little crazy on some holiday baking in the last couple of days during my time in Portland. And I have no doubt that getting home to a regular size kitchen in Syracuse will even further inspire some last minute baking sessions for the family…especially with 4 out of 6 having Celiac, gluten free treats NEVER last very long in our house. 

Whether it is hot chocolate on the stove, a fresh cut christmas tree, or a plate full of christmas treats the smells of the season are charming reminders that the holidays are here. There are the standard baked goods that are a hit year after year but sometimes it is fun to change things up with a few festive additions. Below are six super easy and cute gluten free ideas that would make the perfect gift or treat to have on hand at at the house. To give as a gift, just use an assortment of clear cellophane bags with a pretty holiday ribbon and gift tag. No one will ever guess these treats are gluten free!

{1} Peppermint Marshmallow Sticks
24 Mini Candy Canes {see here for gf candy canes}
24 -regular size marshmallows {jet puffed are gf}
Crushed candy canes, holiday sprinkles
Dipping chocolate

Melt your dipping chocolates and stir until smooth. Using a skewer, dip your marshmallows in about 1/4 of the way, allowing excess chocolate to drip off before sprinkling the toppings over the melted chocolate {dipping them into the toppings can get messy!} Once you have added the desired toppings on the melted chocolate, place un-dipped side on a flat surface to harden. When cooled, add mini candy canes to the non-dipped end. Enjoy!

{2} Chocolate Christmas Pretzels
48 gluten free pretzels {square or round shaped work best}            
48 Hershey’s ‘HUGS’ chocolate kisses
48 red or green M&Ms 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pretzels on multiple baking sheets. Unwrap Hershey’s ‘HUGS’ chocolate kisses and place one in the center of each pretzel. Place in preheated oven 1 to 2 minutes, until chocolate melts. Remove baking sheets from oven and place one M&M in the center of each pretzel. Chill in refrigerator until set. Enjoy!

{3} Peppermint Puppy Chow
1 cup crushed candy canes {see here for gf candy canes}
3 cups Vanilla Rice Chex Cereal
3 cups Rice Chex Cereal
10 ounces melting white chocolate
1 cup powdered sugar

Pour Chex Cereal into a large mixing bowl. Melt white chocolate according to the package directions. Pour melted chocolate over cereal, stirring and folding until the cereal is completely covered. Quickly after, fold in the crushed candy canes. In a large zipped top bag or Tupperware container, combine the cereal mixture with powdered sugar. Shake the content until all of the cereal is coated with the powdered sugar mixture. Enjoy!

{4} Christmas Tree Rice Krispies
6 cups gluten free Rice Krispies
4 cups mini marshmallows {jet puffed are gf}
2 tbsp. butter
Green food coloring
Holiday Sprinkles

Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat on stovetop. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Add in a few drops of green food coloring until desired color is achieved. Remove pan from heat and add Rice Krispie cereal, stirring quickly to make sure all cereal is covered. Using a spatula {coated in butter to avoid sticking}, scoop mixture into a greased 13x9” baking pan and firmly press down. Add sprinkles so that they stick to the marshmallow coating. Allow the Rice Krispies to sit and harden for at least one hour. Using different size Christmas tree cookie cutters to avoid wasting space, cut out shapes and place them on a serving platter. Serve as such or add a paper candy stick into the base of the tree to make into Christmas tree pops!

{5} Holiday Popcorn
8 cups popped popcorn {about ⅓ cup kernels}
10 oz. white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons holiday sprinkles

Pop kernals over medium heat on stovetop. Microwave white chocolate chips for anywhere between 1-2 minutes, stirring every 15 seconds until melted. Pour melted chocolate over the popcorn and gently stir to coat all of the popcorn. Top with sprinkles, stirring a couple of times to evenly distribute them. Spread popcorn onto a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet and allow to cool, for at least one hour. Break apart into pieces and enjoy!

{6} Santa Hat Brownies
1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix
2 eggs & ¼ cup butter to make the brownies
24 strawberries {washed, dried and tops removed}
Lite Whipped Cream {easiest to use the kind in the bottle}

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a mini muffin pan. Prepare the brownie mix as directed on the package {batter will be thick}. Fill muffin holes about 4/5 of the way to the top with brownie mix {should fill at least 24} and bake for 20-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool completely {place in the refrigerator to speed this process up}. Once cooled, use can of whipped cream to cover each brownie top. Add one strawberry {round side down} onto the whipped topping and add an extra squirt on top to make Santa’s pom-pom for his hat!