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?

 

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The Return of Fave 5 Friday

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a great week and now it’s finally the weekend! I thought that in honor of putting a new post up on a Friday (it hasn’t happened in quite a while) I’d bring back Fave Five Friday!

1. 2012 National Figure Skating Championships!

(That’s last year’s gold-medalist, Alissa Czisny!)

Tomorrow my mom and I are going to the National Figure Skating Championships which just so happen to be held in San Jose this year! We got tickets about a year ago and have been looking forward to it ever since! We get to see the Championship Free Dance, Ladies Free Skate, Pair’s Free Skate, Men’s Free Skate and watch it all conclude with something called the Skating Spectacular! It’s going to be so much fun and since I have been so busy lately, I’m so excited to spend this time with my mom (and Daddy Jeff who’s coming for the last event) and catch up.

2. Pinterest!

Ok, so I’m a little late to the game, but I’ve finally jointed Pinterest! I never really understood the attraction before I joined but now I want to make boards of everything and pin all day long! I feel like it is also a blogger heaven as I keep discovering great quotes, fashion, recipes and workouts!

3. Blender Bottle!

I have the purple one 🙂

I’ve had my blender bottle for a few months now, but forgot about it in the back of my cabinet. The other night when searching for something edible (no, I still haven’t gone grocery shopping) I found it and thought I’d give it a try. Since I don’t have a blender at work (nor would my coworkers appreciate the noise pollution) I figured a blended faux-smoothie would be a great lunch option and the perfect way to use my new tool. My favorite combo so far is: vanilla protein powder, cold coffee, vanilla almond milk and reduced fat, unsweetened coconut. It tastes like a non-icy, healthy frappuccino and is pretty amazing!

4. Dine About Town in SF!

We sat at the long red table!

On Wednesday night I went with some sorority sisters to celebrate San Francisco’s Dine About Town– a time when pricier restaurants create an affordable, multi-course, prix fix menu. Given that we had a large group, Cupola Pizzeria created a feast for us that consisted of an antipasta, salad, cheese course, prawns, 3 different pastas, 3 different pizzas and a sampling of all dessert. Oh yes, and multiple wine carafes. Needless to say, I was a bad blogger and didn’t take any pictures but let’s face it, I was too busy chatting and eating!

5. The Daily Puppy!

My dream dog!

The other day I discovered a new-to-me website, The Daily Puppy. To be honest, I don’t understand the point of the website, other than to highlight adorable puppies. Get ready for your new time suck as they feature a different breed every day and each one is more adorable than the last.

Questions:

-Do you ever watch ice-skating?

-Are you on Pinterest?

-What’s your favorite type of dog?

A Blogger Breakfast

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend!

I had a great time at the LOFT event on Saturday and had a very relaxing Sunday. I slept in and then decided I couldn’t ignore my grumbling stomach any longer. But when I couldn’t decide on what to make for brunch, I thought, where better to turn, the the blogs! After all, one of the best part about this community are the delicious recipes bloggers post! So after a little browsing, I decided on the Fitnessista’s Coffee Berry Smoothie and made a few little changes like halving the recipe, omitting the kefir and adding a bunch of spinach. This has quickly become of of my favorite smoothie recipes, I think in part to the espresso as it gives the smoothie such an incredible flavor.

And seeing as it was around 12 when I was finally eating, I decided to also make Itty Bits of Balance’s Vegan Wheat-Free Oatmeal Pancake. This was my first time making an egg-less, wheat-free pancake and I loved how dense it was! Plus the flax egg gave it a nutty flavor that was delicious! Next time, I think adding chopped up nuts would make it even more better!

Sorry for the blurry photo... I was too eager to eat to be concerned with it at the time!

I spent the rest of my Sunday relaxing outside in the sun while I finished The Year of Fog and you can expect a review next week!

Questions:

-How was your weekend?

-Have you made any blogger recipes that you loved lately?

-I just got an invitation to Google+, are you on it? I’m confused by it!