Must-Have Appliances for the Gluten-Free Home

As a kid, I was fascinated by infomercials. While most people would change the channel, I loved hearing about all the amazing cooking gadgets out there and the numerous things these tools could do. I was constantly telling my mom all the new things we needed and how they would make life so much easier. What can I say, they worked on me. As an adult, my love of infomercials has waned (do they still exist in the age of DVR?) but my love of kitchen gadgets has not. Over the past few years of having celiac and multiple food allergies, I’ve fallen in love with cooking and finally found a way to justify having lots of kitchen gadgets. I have many that I love and own, not to mention a few on my wish list, but the below are my top three that I think are essential for gluten-free cooking. They will expand your options, allow you to get lots of nutritious vitamins and make your life all around more delicious.

Breville Juicer

Breville Juice Fountain

One of my all-time favorite things is a green drink. Not only do I love the taste, but they are the perfect way to get so many essential vitamins and nutrients. I’ve tried lots of bottled green juices from the grocery store and while most were good, none have been as delicious as fresh green juice made at home. A few years ago, my family decided we wanted to buy a juicer and after reading countless reviews, we settled on the Breville Juice Fountain Elite from Williams-Sonoma.  It’s super powerful and has a wide mouth meaning you don’t have to pre-chop a bunch of ingredients! We also love that it extracts 30% more juice than other models meaning the money you spend on produce isn’t wasted. We love it so much that my brother and his wife purchased the same one as well! (If you are trying to decide which juicer is best for you, Williams-Sonoma has a great juicing resource page that can help!) I’ll admit that it took a few tries to fine tune the perfect recipe, but what’s so great is that you can easily adjust it to suit your tastes! If you like your juices sweeter, try adding an apple, or if you prefer it tart, go for a lemon or lime or if you like a little kick (or are feeling a cold coming on) add in some fresh ginger! I’ll be sure to share my favorite recipe soon but I can tell you it is a combination of kale, spinach, collard greens, celery, parsley, green apples, lemon and ginger. If you are new to juicing, it might seem a little intimidating, but really the hard part is the prep work. To save time when you are in a rush, separate out your ingredients and prep them as much as you can in advance and store them in separate bags. That way, when the juice craving sets in, it will only take a few minutes to make! I’m a huge fan of green juice, but my family also loves carrot-orange juice. While that’s not my personal fave, I save the pulp and make muffins from it that are amazing and full of nutrients! Juicing at home is definitely cost-efficient too as the pre-bottled stuff can run up to $11 a bottle! It is such a great step to take for your health as juices are easy to digest and absorb (super important for celiacs with damaged small intestines) and full of anti-inflammatory properties.

Vitamix Blender

Vitamix

 

One of my most used appliances has to be my Vitamix. I used it yesterday morning to make my protein smoothie and last night to puree some delicious Cauliflower Leek soup (recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo). While enjoying the healthy yet creamy soup, I got to thinking about how I survived before my Vitamix. I wanted one for years but could never seem to justify the price. But that was all before I knew that the cost per use would be so low because I use it on a daily basis! Thanks to the super powerful motor, it makes creamy smoothies that leave no sign of ice cubes or spinach behind. It also allows you to make really thick smoothies which are perfect for a smoothie/acai bowl without adding tons of liquid. For pureeing soups, it’s just the best too. After a 2nd degree burn a few months ago thanks to my immersion blender/crock pot disaster, I’ve been pureeing in the Vitamix, accident free! Not only does it keep the hot liquid contained, but it purees within seconds. Oh ya, and the motor is so strong that it heats up the soup too. I mean, can it get any better than that? It’s also great for Paleo baking recipes that call for using a nut butter as a base (like these Lemon Poppyseed Muffins) because it combines the thick nut butter with the other ingredients way better than my arm ever could! If you are debating a food processor or a Vitamix, I completely recommend the Vitamix because it really can do everything a food processor can.

Spiralizer

paderno-spiralizer

Spiralizers are all the rage these days and for good reason. After all, turning vegetable into noodles is ideal for people following healthy or restricted diets! I’ve never been a big pasta person anyway, but gluten-free rice pasta was just never something I craved. But now that I use zucchini noodles for a base, I eat traditional noodle based dishes all the time. Zucchini noodles are the base of the Paleo Pad Thai I love and it’s a great recipe to start with for anyone who isn’t convinced about noodles made from squash. I also was on a Chicken Zoodle Soup kick last year and it’s the perfect thing for when you are sick. This past year I’ve expanded my spiralizing with the help of Ali from Inspiralized and have found that spiralized butternut squash might just be my new favorite thing. It also is the definition of guilt-free eating because you are ultimately eating a big plate of vegetables. I use the Paderno Spiralizer which is easy to use and a cinch to clean up. As you can see in the picture above too, it also makes three different types of noodles which is great depending on the dish you’re preparing.

Question:

-What’s your must have kitchen appliance?

 

What I Made Wednesday

Instead of doing one of the popular What I Ate Wednesday posts, I thought I’d show you some of the things I have made recently! I usually only post about recipes that I create but I cook a lot of recipes from other gluten-free bloggers. So today I’m featuring photos of my creations, a little about why the particular recipe rocks and a link to the recipe in the title! One thing they all hold in common though, is that they are all delicious and are great recipes for people who think eating Paleo means you can’t have yummy food. Spoiler alert: You can. For even more recipe ideas, be sure to follow me on Pinterest! 

Flourless Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

This is one of my favorite muffin recipes because the ingredients are super simple and ones that I always have on hand. It’s a quick and easy recipe that also happens to be delicious. I like to keep my muffins in the refrigerator and they are perfect for that pre-meal snack when you are starving but making something else, or a snack any time of day. I follow the recipe exactly but find that they take about 15 minutes in my oven, rather than the 10 the recipe suggests.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins GGGF

Paleo Pad Thai

This is a recipe that I have made numerous times now, including this weekend as my brother requested it for his birthday dinner. It really is that good. If you are new to spiralized noodles, or paleo cooking in general, this recipe is a game changer. With the tahini and almond butter in the sauce, it’s also super filling which isn’t always the case in paleo, vegetarian recipes. Another great thing is that you can prep the recipe in advance and then when guests come, or you get home from work, throw it all together on the stove and have dinner ready in 10 minutes.

Paleo Pad Thai GGGF

Paleo Nut-Free Chocolate “Peanut Butter” Cookies

Taylor makes amazing desserts and these cookies are no exception. Her original recipe calls for Sunbutter making them a great nut-free dessert, but because I can have nuts, I substitute either almond or cashew butter. I’ve always loved chocolate cookies, but there is something about the texture of these cookies that makes them unique. Even people who claim not to like chocolate cookies (I don’t understand them, but they exist) happen to love these little pillows of deliciousness.

Double Chocolate Cookies GGGF

Questions:

-What’s one of your favorite recipes right now?

-Would you like to see this as a new GGGF series?

Send Me Gluten Free

As much as I love this digital world, I still love getting things in the mail. I’ll admit that I prefer to shop in-store but there is something so fun about clothes arriving at your doorstep. Nowadays there are so many fun subscription boxes out there but I’ve always felt cut off from the possibility of a food subscription box due to having Celiac. But then I heard about Send Me Gluten Free and was so excited by the idea that each month a box of carefully curated gluten-free items will arrive on your doorstep. I’m that person who loves finding out about new products at the grocery store, so having them arrive at my door is even better! What’s great about Send Me Gluten Free is that they are a totally reputable service as they are the same people behind the Gluten & Allergy Free Expos (which I’ve previously attended and you can read about here) and the Find Me Gluten Free App which I use on a weekly basis! This company really gets what it’s like to be gluten free and you can be assured that they are going to send you great certified items.

With this service, each month you are sent 8-12 new full size and sample size gluten free products that range from food to personal care to supplements! Like other subscription boxes, you can pick how often you want to receive this box be it monthly, 3x a year, 6x a year or yearly and the cost varies from $20-$30 a month depending on the subscription you pick.

Send me GF

I was really impressed with the quality of this box and the fun products that I’ve never had before! I’d seen Nogii bars before, but never this miniture Paleo one! The flavor was Nuts About Berries and it had a great consistency, reminiscent of a Larabar and only clean ingredients like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, fruit juice and honey. I will definitely be on the lookout for these in the future! I also loved the Chocolate Apple Chips. I eat apple chips all the time but have never seen the chocolate flavor and they were delicious plus the ingredients list was only apples and cocoa powder which was definitely appealing. Although I couldn’t eat the Lentil Chips because I don’t eat beans, I’m told that they were crunchy and salty and impossible to put down! There were also some great supplements that came in my box that I can’t wait to try out.

photo (49)

The one negative for me was that because I have multiple food allergies in addition to being Celiac, I wasn’t able to eat everything in the box. However, my family stepped in and loved everything they tried as well! I think this subscription service would also be the perfect gift for friends and family and would be ideal for anyone who is recently diagnosed with Celiac or gluten-sensitivity and isn’t sure how to navigate the gluten-free world.

If you are interested in trying the service, you can receive 20% off any subscription-length with the code BLOG20!

Disclaimer: I received this complimentary box from Send Me Gluten Free but was not compensated for this post and all views and opinions are my own.  

Gluten-Free Spotlight: Mariposa Bakeshop

With Celiac and a host of food allergies, it can be really hard to go out to eat. But luckily I’ve found a few places that are safe to eat at and are delicious! So welcome to a new series on the blog where I’ll tell you about the best gluten-free restaurants, cafes and grocery stores! The first one I’ll be featuring is Mariposa, which is easily one of my favorites and one of the best GF bakeries in the Bay Area. I first visited their outpost in the Ferry Building in SF but then a few months ago was able to visit their restaurant/bakery location in Oakland.

Me at Mariposa

Mariposa1

It’s hard to describe, but when you are used to walking into restaurants and bakeries and not being able to eat anything, the experience of walking into one where everything is safe feels a little surreal and very exciting. In addition to snapping the pictures, I took my time examining each product and deciding what I was going to choose to eat. I may have wanted to get one of everything but I controlled myself. Also, not only does Mariposa offer amazing baked goods, but they also have a small section of grocery items as well! I always love when gluten-free places do this because it’s the best way to find out about new great gluten-free products on the market. As it was lunch time, I decided to split the empanada plate with my mom.

Two vegan potato curry empanadas made with organic peas and carrots baked in toasty hand pies and paired with our organic side salad (Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and vegan)

Mariposa2

Oh my goodness, I can’t even describe how delicious this was. The crust was hot and crunchy while also having a flakiness to it (which is uber hard for gluten-free goods) and filled with the most amazing curry filling. The salad also came complete with gluten-free croutons! I admit that at first I had a minor freakout thinking that I’d have to send the salad back because of the croutons but then I remembered that everything here was safe- what a wonderful feeling! I could have easily eaten the full portion of this but was saving room for dessert.

Mariposa5

Mariposa4

Mariposa has a stocked dessert case, but when I spotted the chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting I was sold. I’ve had this cupcake in cake form before and it is absolutely delicious. The cake is moist and rich and the vanilla frosting is creamy and the perfect amount of sweet. It’s very reminiscent of the Sprinkles Black & White cupcake but in gluten-free/dairy-free form! The only problem? It was over too quickly! It was accompanied by a delicious new-to-me drink, SolidariTea Blueberry Rooibos Red Tea served over ice! All in all, it was such a wonderful experience and I cannot wait to visit again soon!

Mariposa3