Gluten-Free Spotlight: Unrefined Bakery

My usual spotlights are centered around the Bay Area, but I thought it would be fun to tell you about great gluten-free spots in other cities I’ve visited. When I went to Dallas for Thanksgiving, I found some wonderful, safe places to eat, but the best was Unrefined Bakery. When I heard about Unrefined, I knew I had to check it out as they are not only certified gluten-free but they are also soy-free, all-natural and organic! As a rule I generally only eat all-natural, whole foods, so I loved that they specialize in this, making it safe food that you can feel good about. Fellow friends with other allergies, this is the place for you too, as they are 99% corn and dairy-free, as well as 80% egg-free. Basically this is a dream come true for those with food allergies. What really surprised me though, was how paleo friendly they were as well! That was something that I was so impressed with in Dallas in general, and found the city to have many more paleo offerings than the Bay Area!

Unrefined 1 GGGF

As I try to eat mostly paleo, those are the items that I really wanted to try. I’ve had paleo offerings from other places before but they are often very egg-y, due to a high number of eggs and low ratio of coconut flour. As someone who isn’t a fan of eggs, that’s not what I like when it comes to my baked goods! Unrefined got it completely right though. Their paleo pumpkin muffins were absolutely delicious! They were hearty without being dense and had the perfect amount of spice to them. I’d like to say that my family enjoyed them as well, but I didn’t share these. They were just that good! These come frozen, in a 4-pack which is ideal because preservative-free foods don’t tend to last long, so it’s nice to be able to heat them one at a time.

As it was Thanksgiving, the other items I tried were holiday specials. They offered traditional cornbread stuffing and to my delight, paleo stuffing. The paleo stuffing was absolutely delicious and perfectly flavored. It was so good that my family didn’t even realize that it wasn’t the more traditional, cornbread one! Success! Off to a great start with the muffins and stuffing, I was excited to see how their pies would fare. I tasted their dark chocolate paleo pie in-store and it was absolutely amazing, with a rich chocolately flavor and a flaky crust. If there had been room for 2 pies at my celebration, I definitely would have purchased this. Instead, I went for the paleo pumpkin pie and it was one of the best pies I have ever tasted. So good in fact, that I may have had another slice the next day before I went to the airport. And by may, I mean definitely. If you live in Dallas and are gluten-free (or just enjoy really great baked goods) run to one of their three locations. Oh, and please tell me all about it because I’m wishing I lived closer!

Unrefined 3 GGGF

Healthy Summer Ratatouille

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had an absolutely wonderful weekend! Mine was great as on Saturday I got to style the new LOFT Fall collection and take some pictures that I’ll reveal soon. The new merchandise is amazing with so many bold, rich colors and prints. I have a feeling that the gorgeous Bordeaux shade is going to be my favorite for the season. Then yesterday I got to attend the Indy Grand Prix in Sonoma with my fam! It was a fantastic race with even better company, and we ended the perfect Sunday by going to one of my favorite restaurants in Sonoma, where we went for my birthday last year.

Since I’ve been gone a lot recently, I haven’t been doing a whole lot of cooking at home. But the other night I knew that I wanted something fresh and easy while using up some of the produce I had in the refrigerator that was on its last leg. I decided to create an easy, healthy delicious meal.

Healthy Summer Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 2 Small Sweet White Onions
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 3 Zucchini
  • 3 Yellow Squash
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 C. Tomato Basil Sauce/Marinara
  • 1 T. Dried Basil
  • 1 T. Thyme

Directions:

  1. Finely chop onion (should have about 2 cups worth chopped) and mince garlic
  2. In a large pot, combine olive oil, garlic and onion. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Chop zucchini, yellow squash and carrots in chunks and add to pot. Let the veggies cook down for about 10-15 minutes or until soft.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste and add herbs, stirring until well combined.
  5. Add tomato sauce to coat all ingredients, allowing it to heat for about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

This is such a delicious recipe and so incredibly easy. It tastes delicious on its own but I served mine over quick-cooking brown rice to create a complete meal. It would also be great with quinoa or even just a fresh, crusty bread. This would be also be the perfect, easy dish to make for unexpected company as it tastes much more complicated than it actually is to make!

Questions:

-What dishes do you make when your veggies are on their last leg?

-Do you like ratatouille?

Funfetti and The Final Rose

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was full of so many fun things with great friends that it’s going to take me a couple of days to fill you in. But rather than start from the beginning, I want to chat about Sunday night. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but a group of my friends and I have a Bachelorette bracket. My team name was Em & Em, but unfortunately, thanks to Charlie getting sent home very early, I didn’t do so well.

But who cares about the results of a bracket when you have good friends, good food, and a fantastic season finale to watch, right? We all made a different dish to bring to the party and after seeing this recipe on Pinterest, I knew it would be perfect, especially because it only called for these 3 ingredients…

These combine to make the ever popular, Healthy Funfetti Dip! This recipe is so incredibly easy to make and is a definite crowd pleaser. Since the recipe basically consists of stirring the above together, be sure to note that it needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours for the flavors to combine and if you eat it right away, it lacks the true cake flavor that develops later. Also, unless you are taking this to a large party (we had about 10 people) I’d suggest halving the recipe, as this makes a *huge* bowl.

As you can see, our hostesses went all out and had red roses scattered around the apartment, candles lit, and even Jef and Arie napkins! Also, the above is only part of the dessert table as cupcakes and special yogurt waffle cones were later added! In addition to all the sweet treats, we had my friend Ashley’s famous baked brie (maybe I’ll get her to guest post and share!), quinoa stuffed peppers, spinach artichoke dip, snap pea and bean dill salad and more! Needless to say, along with our wine we were all sufficiently stuffed. But that didn’t stop us from squealing as we watched the episode together and gasping when Emily said goodbye to Arie. An Indy car driver, Arie was my favorite from the beginning and their chemistry was undeniable, but when it came to who was a better fit for Emily, I did have to agree that Jef was the right choice.

Photo courtesy of ABC

And with that another season of the Bachelor franchise is over! Bachelor Pad started last night and while I’m sure that I’ll inevitably watch it, it won’t be nearly as much fun as tuning in every week with my family and friends to see who Emily is going to pick.

Questions:

-What’s your favorite food to bring to parties?

-Did you watch the Bachelorette? Were you surprised with Emily’s choice?

Squash-tastic

Hi lovelies! I don’t know what has come over me lately, but I seem to have been bitten by the cooking bug. This has never happened before so I’m going with it in the time being! I recently bought zucchini and yellow summer squash at the store and wanted to do something a little different with it then the usual grilling or boiling.

On Sunday night, I decided to make Mama Pea’s Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna and oh my gosh, it was amazing. I followed her recipe almost exactly but omitted the onions simply because I forgot to buy them at the store. I intended to take pictures of the process or at least include the final result, but all I can show you are the ingredients.

Why? Oh, because the second it was out of the oven I went right from admiring it to diving into it, fork-first. It was a hit and everyone went back for seconds. Thanks, Mama Pea!

After Sunday night’s success, I decided to try my hand at cooking again last night. This timeI made Gabriela’s Cashew Pesto Hummus and Bon Appetit’s Shaved Squash Summer Salad. First up was the hummus. The one ingredient I was missing was the tahini, so I decided to stop at Trader Joe’s to pick some up. Well wouldn’t you know it, but they were all out of tahini! So I did a little improvising and used 1 T. peanut butter and 1/4 tsp. Toasted sesame oil. I’m not sure if it tasted different from how it would have with the tahini but it was delicious! It was fresh and creamy and the perfect dip for vegetables and multigrain pita bites.

The perfect appetizer for the first hour of the Bachelorette!

Then it was time for the squash salad- which I made during the Bachelorette. Luckily, I can stand at the edge of the kitchen counter and still see the tv, so I didn’t miss too much of the drama!

Shaved Summer Squash Salad

(Bon Appetit June 2011- Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons whole roasted almonds, crushed
  • 1 pound summer squash (a mix of green and yellow)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Baby arugula
  • Pecorino Romano cheese

 

Directions

1. Cut ends off of the summer squash and shave strips using a vegetable peeler.

2.  Mince 1 garlic clove and mix with fresh lemon juice, olive oil and salt.

3. Toss a portion of the peeled squash and baby arugula with some of the dressing.

4. Transfer mixture to a plate and shave pecorino romano cheese on top. Garnish with crushed almonds.

The PERFECT light summer salad- And yes, I went a little heavy on the cheese.

All in all, it was the perfect light summer dinner. I had originally intended to make it even more squash-tastic by making Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash risotto (I literally squealed when I saw this in the store since it is two of my favorite things combined) but after LOTS of hummus and 2 servings of salad, I was just too full. The meal was finished with a sparkling water with lime and a square of Trader Joe’s Extra Dark Chocolate with Almonds.

I think I decided that although cooking is time-consuming (I was in the kitchen the whole night!) I might be a new convert because this was one of the best fresh, healthy meals I’ve had in a while! We’ll see how long it lasts- but maybe now I can finally use my recipe binder!

Questions:

-What recipes have you made lately?

-Are there any foods that you just can’t get enough of? (Clearly I feel that way about Squash!)