Beyond Zucchini: Spiralize Your Apples!


Like most people I know, the stories and accompanying photos of the wonders of low-carb spiralized zucchini sold me on the Paderno spiralizer. I bought one and for the longest time used it only for zucchini pasta. Then I graduated to sweet and russet potatoes for curly fries.  Even with this change, however, I was caught in a spiralized vegetable rut. One day, however, I decided to see how the spiralizer worked with fruit. I had a large apple with which I experimented, using all three blades of my spiralizer (incidentally, I hear that the new, improved Paderno spiralizer has four blades). What happened next was a revelation: the spiralizer churns out apple spaghetti as easily and prettily as it cranks out zucchini spaghetti! Moreover, the flat blade turns out a beautiful, thin apple ribbon! Continue reading


Eating Lightly: Savory Gluten-Free Roasted Red Pepper Tart

Today is August 8th, which means that depending upon whether we go by the Anglo-IMG_4347Saxon tradition or the Old Farmer’s Almanac, we are either in the midst of (July 15-September 5th), or the end of (July 3- August 11), the heliacal rising of Sirius, the dog star, in the constellation Canis Major: the dog days of summer. Regardless of whose calendar we adhere to, modern weather pattern knowledge notwithstanding, we’ve entered the hottest, most uncomfortable part of the year. Down here in South Texas, the weather is downright hostile. The heat and humidity assault people as soon as they leave the refuge of their air conditioned homes, causing labored breathing, hair to frizz or fall flat, sweat to gush from every pore, and clothes to stick to skin. Just walking through the parking lot from the car into the grocery store becomes overly laborious in such harsh summer conditions. The August heat saps one’s motivation to do much of anything, including spending much time in over a hot oven cooking a large meal. Fortunately, the heat also discourages one’s appetite for large, heavy meals. A simple meal that requires minimal preparation can, however, be both flavorful and elegant. This deglutenized roasted pepper tart recipe from Chowhound is just such a recipe. Continue reading

Excellent Find: Del Destino Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad

While walking down the rice and bean aisle in HEB recently, I spotted product I had never IMG_4262noticed before: Del Destino Ready to Eat Quinoa Salad. On the off-chance that it might be gluten-free, I picked up a package and read the label: Quinoa, Hearts of Palm, Artichoke, Water, Sunflower Oil, Piquillo Pepper, Onion, Basil, Jalapeño Pepper, Sugar Cane Vinegar, Garlic, Salt, Ginger, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid. So far, so good. No gluten. Then I read the allergy warning: Produced in a facility that also uses milk, pine nuts, almonds, chestnuts, nuts, mustard, sulphates, and lysozyme. (I actually had to look up lysozyme, which is an enzyme found in tears, leukocytes, mucus, egg albumin, and certain plants. It destroys bacteria and functions as an antiseptic.) Again, looks good! No wheat! I picked up two flavors, the artichoke and hearts of palm and the piquillo peppers, to try. Continue reading

Tres Latin Foods Gluten-Free Pupusas: Delicious For Snacks or Meals

Every week, I receive dozens (yes, dozens!) of emails from marketers offering me free samples of this, that, or the tresother food or drink so that I will review their products on my blog. I ignore most – actually about 99.9% – of these promotional opportunities. The most prominent reason for my refusal to respond to the marketing emails is that I am not interested in the products being offered. Some of the products have nothing to do with following a gluten-free diet, and many of the gluten-free products I’m offered for review sound unappetizing. A couple of months ago, however, I received an email offering me free gluten-free pupusas in exchange for a review of the product on my blog. I actually answered this email, and agreed to accept the offer: two coupons, each for a box of free pupusas. One reason I accepted this particular offer is that the company, Tres Latin Foods, is a small, family-owned business. As an individual finally reaching the launch date of my own small business (early March! Whoo-hoo!), I am interested in helping out other small business owners when I can. The other reason I accepted this offer is that when I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease, Walmart actually carried a brand of gluten-free pupusas. I don’t remember the name of the brand. As I adjusted to life without gluten, the gluten-free pupusas I bought at Walmart were a mainstay in my diet. Within a couple of years of my diagnosis, though, the pupusas disappeared from the Walmart frozen section. By that time, I had adjusted to eating, cooking, and baking gluten-free so I managed to live without them. Continue reading

When Life Gets Busy : Cheat With These Gluten-Free Products

If we’re to be honest, and one always usually wants to be honest, home-cook meals and dishes are far more satisfying in flavor and quality than yogurt blueberry 2processed or mass-produced foods. At times, however, life gets so busy that one has little choice but to save time by purchasing ready-made foods. Thankfully, we in the United States are blessed with a variety of good quality ready-made foods that, although they might not measure up to home-cooked standards, are fairly tasty and healthy. I’m taking advantage of our fortunate selection of convenience foods while work on my ATX Ultra Eats website content and training for the Cloudsplitter 50k take up the majority of my time (I am endorsing these products of my own volition – I am not receiving any compensation from any of the companies whose products I mention in this blog post). Cloudsplitter is in just under three weeks away now, and my running mileage is currently at about 60 miles a week. I’m not under any illusion that my high mileage and hill work will help me finish that 50k in an impressive time, but the arduous training does help with the illusion that I’ll actually feel strong when I do finish! To keep up with my training, regardless of how well it will help me survive complete Cloudsplitter, I do have to take in some quality calories. Ironically, working on my muffin mix business is partly what has kept me from finding time to bake the muffins I usually keep in ready stock in the freezer for my quick pre-run breakfast.My fallback breakfast is yogurt mixed with dried blueberries and shaved chocolate. Continue reading

Easy and Delicious Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Pasta

While perusing some of my favorite blogs one day, I happened across this post about a gadget that turnszuchini pasta 4 zucchini into spaghetti. Now, skads of kitchen gadgets exist for imaginative use in the kitchen, and I’m usually wary of being seduced by photos and descriptive writing into purchasing gadgets that, no matter how clever or charming, will end up stealing valuable space in my so-small kitchen after having been used only once or twice. This particular gadget, however, can help me to lower the amount of carbs I eat daily. Here I need to mention that I do not mean demonize carbs in themselves. The only foods I truly demonize are industrialized or manufactured processed foods. I have never understood the appeal of food products such as Cool Whip, a non-dairy whipped topping, or those processed shakes or shake powders people ingest instead of food so that they can lose weight or work out harder, or whatever the case may be. If half and half can be made fat-free, how can it still be half and half? (Hint: It can’t be – the fat is replaced by less desirable ingredients much more hazardous to one’s health than fat.) Every once in a while, one may choose to eat queso made with Velveeta processed cheese or drink a soft drink, but in general, industrialized foods shouldn’t make up a large portion of anyone’s diet. I follow this rule for myself and my family; however, I won’t press the issue with others who choose to ingest the foods I generally avoid. Continue reading

Deglutenized, Delicious, and Definitely Healthy Slow Cooker Meals

The Healthy Slow Cooker 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness, Second Edition (Robert Rose Inc, 2014)

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.

Judith Finlayson
ISBN: 978-0-7788-0479-6
352 pages, 135 recipes

Recently I read about the possibility of cartilage regeneration in a column by Mark Sisson, on his website Mark’s Daily Apple. In this particular article, Sisson recommends drinking home-made bone broth as a possible aid to the regeneration of cartilage. This information was still fresh in my mind when I first explored the pages of the second edition of The Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness (Judith Finlayson, 2014), I happened upon a recipe for slow cooker hearty beef stock; in a box entitled Natural Wonders (115), opposite the hearty beef stock recipe (114), author Judith Finlayson has written detailed information about the health properties of home-made beef broth. She mentions the nutrients and the healing properties of gelatin, the beneficial ingredient in well-made bone broth. The recipe for beef stock sounds delicious; its presence in a cookbook is, though, unsurprising. The nutritional information about bone broth that appears on the opposing page is, however, an unexpected find in a book devoted to slow cooker recipes. Many such nuggets of nutritional information appear throughout this book, all under the headings of either Natural Wonders or Mindful Morsels. One Natural Wonder’s note even explains the dangers of hidden gluten to people with Celiac and details ways to identify and avoid these hidden dangers. This type of information is an exciting addition to a cookbook; with it, one can easily relate the nutritional value of the ingredients she uses to the healthy meal she serves her family when she prepares slow cooker recipes from this cookbook. Continue reading

Mi-Del Gluten-Free Candy Cane Cremes, Gluten-Free Cashew Spinach Fontina Cheese Pancakes, and Such

Today I have two things to say to anyone who wants to listen: Mi-Del’s Gluten-Free Limited Edition Candy Cane Cremes and Trader mi-del candy caneJoe’s cashew meal / flour. I’ll try to cover these topics quickly: the temperature is supposed to reach a whopping high of 40 degrees within the hour, the ice is melting, and I HAVE to get out and run before the temperature drops and darkness falls.

I’ll begin with Mi-Del gluten-free Candy Cane Cremes. These cookies are chocolate sandwich cookies filled with a peppermint cream filling. DO NOT BUY THESE COOKIES, unless you have will-power of steel. Oh, one cannot stop at just one of these chocolate peppermint cremes, or two, or a few! Considering that these cookies are store-bought, as well as gluten-free, they are exceptionally delicious. Mi-Del released this flavor just before Christmas; however, on a recent trip to Whole Foods (at The Quarry in San Antonio) I found some still in stock and picked up a box or two (Ok! Three boxes! But don’t judge me until you’ve tried the cookies . . . . ). Not one to habitually purchase cookies off the store shelf, I am relieved that these cookies are seasonal. I fear I lack the will power to resist buying boxes of these cookies often were they on store shelves all year long. I’m thinking of using these cookies for a Christmas-y dessert; perhaps I’ll develop a recipe for gluten-free peppermint bark cheesecake and use Mi-Del Candy Cane Cremes for the crust. I’m working it out in my mind right now. Of course, I’ll have to buy more boxes of the cookies for research and development purposes. Um, yeah. I’ll need a few more boxes for experimentation, and for no other reason. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Continue reading

Simple Gluten-free Summer Salads

X.Caprese Salad with Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
So, on I went. I think I never saw
Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
For flowers—as well expect a cedar grove!
But cockle, spurge, according to their law
Might propagate their kind, with none to awe,
You’d think; a burr had been a treasure-trove.

No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In some strange sort, were the land’s portion. “See
“Or shut your eyes,” said nature peevishly,
“It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
“’Tis the Last judgment’s fire must cure this place,
“Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.”

If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk
Above its mates, the head was chopped; the bents
Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
In the dock’s harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to baulk
All hope of greenness?’tis a brute must walk
Pashing their life out, with a brute’s intents.
(Robert Browning, “Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came”)

South Texas is a capricious region. She seduces us with her sunny, mild winters and colorfully floral, sometimes delightfully cooling springs, so that we think we live in paradise and wonder who would ever choose to live elsewhere? Oh, but then: suddenly summer. Overnight, without warning, late spring turns to something akin to Hell. Death steals the blooms from the wild flowers that just the day before had abundantly crowded any patch of grass visible in every field and pasture, alongside every path and trail, and parallel to every back-road and highway. The air heats up to triple digits, so that even morning runs are Hellish as the insensitive sunshine aggressively pours itself out on the land, assaulting anyone caught without shade or shelter, making it seem much as desolate and hopeless as the wasteland described by the hapless speaker in Browning’s unsettling poem. When sunset arrives and the outside temperature falls from 102 at 7:00 pm to 95 at 8:00 pm, the condition finally seems cool enough to get in a decent run for the evening. Though still hot, with the humidity rising at this point, the slight twilight breeze that often accompanies the setting of the sun creates an environment more conducive to running or biking. Continue reading