Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tasty Tilapia Topped with Lemon-Dill Dressing

Herb Garden Looking so Fresh (and so clean clean!)
Dill dressings are most commonly paired with salmon, but although I didn't have salmon, I had a LOT of fresh dill growing in my garden that was ready for the harvest. 




Not being one to waste, I decided to pair my dill with what I had in my fridge—tilapia—and it worked great! Here's what I made:



Ingredients: 
1 lb tilapia
3 teaspoons lemon juice (separated 2 + 1)
2 tablespoons butter
3/4  teaspoon garlic salt (separated 1/2 + ¼)
½ cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh dill weed
1/3 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon canola oil

Directions: 

1. Prepare the dressing first because it will take 30-60 minutes to marinate for the full dill flavoring! In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, dill weed, ½ teaspoon garlic salt, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and sour cream. Set aside if you’re immediately preparing tilapia, or refrigerate if preparing your meal for later.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a pan with tin foil, and lightly grease with canola oil (or grease of your choice!). Place tilapia on foil, and sprinkle remaining lemon juice (1 teaspoon), onion powder, pepper, and ¼ teaspoon garlic salt. Top with butter (cut into small chunks).

3. Cover the tilapia with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover tilapia (carefully, it will be full of steamy goodness!) and turn oven to broil. Broil uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, until flaky but not dry!

4. Let tilapia cool for five minutes before serving, with dressing either poured on top of fish or for dipping on the side. Put a fresh sprig of dill on top of your fish for extra fanciness.


Every time I make a recipe that sounds questionable but turns out great I'm like: 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jaycee Dugard’s Tomato Dumpling Recipe

“I don't believe in hate. To me it wastes too much time. People who hate waste so much of their life hating that they miss out on all the other stuff out here.” 


I read “A Stolen Life” when I was a community education and outreach volunteer speaker for an anti-sex trafficking of minors non-profit.  Although I’d read many books about sex-trafficking at the time, Dugard’s story was especially moving. I think her writing is so powerful because she is so brave and open in the way she shares her story. I really admire her courage, and the way she has transformed her life is nothing short of phenomenal. Her spirit is undeniable.  

I remember being surprised when I saw a recipe towards the back of her book. It didn’t really seem to fit in with her story, but then, after I thought about it, it was so reflective of her wonderful character. Most of her story is heartbreaking, but the end is full of hope. I think its such a genuine and thoughtful thing for her to want to share something she loves with her readers—in this case, a recipe she made with her grandmother.



So I tried it out. And honestly, I’m not sure it translated that well to gluten-free (due to the nature of the dough). But I will say this, it tastes much better than it looks! It was different than anything I’ve ever made, that’s for sure, and it was a fun experience.



My hope is that whatever brought you here, be it pinterest, twitter, facebook, google, whatever, that you will take a moment to learn more about the huge problem of sex-trafficking and sexual slavery, both domestically and internationally.  Here are some links to some great resources:

Jaycee's foundation, check it out!




(the organization I volunteered for)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Food Reads: Stacey Ballis "Good Enough to Eat"

“I hate those books where the heroine faces loss and desperation with a total lack of appetite.” 


As a self-professed lover of chick lit, Stacey Ballis has been on my radar for a while now, but “Good Enough to Eat” was my first experience with her writing. And I’ve got to tell you, she lives up to her master-of-chick-lit reputation.

When I look forward to a book and its better than I hoped:
image

I read GETE in one sitting--a plane ride full of spit-your-drink-out-laughs, lots and lots of tears, and plenty of salivating over delicious descriptions of yummy eats…come to think of it, that’s a lots of bodily fluids expelled in a very confined space.  I’m sure the person sitting next to me was very happy when that plane finally landed.

But anyway, let’s talk about what made GETE so great. First, the concept behind the book is original and slightly mind-blowing. Living in a culture that has a “get skinny and all your happily ever after will land right in your lap” attitude, it was so shocking and refreshing to read about a protagonist who worked her ass off (literally) to get into shape, and then her life promptly falls apart because of it. And I definitely cared about Melanie’s life falling apart, because she was such a full and loveable character for me.

Melanie really drove this novel. I felt completely invested in her and her struggles with heartache, food, and creating the life that was right for her. And creating the life she wants isn’t easy. My biggest pet peeve is when a protagonist in a chick-lit books flaw is “clumsiness.”

Please.

Real girls have real flaws.

Ballis doesn’t try to feed us (no pun intended) that clumsiness shit. Melanie is flawed. She gets grouchy, she has a bad attitude sometimes, and she is honest. One of my favorite ‘Melanie moments’ is this, “I pull into my parking lot of my gym, and am immediately irritated that the only parking spaces are at the opposite end from the entrance. Because lord knows that just because I’m about to work out for forty minutes doesn’t mean I want to walk an extra fifty steps if I don’t have to.”

I’m pretty sure Melanie is my spirit animal.


Melanie works hard on her life, and things don’t come together in a typical-chick-lit way for her. I don’t want to give too much away, but I admire a character who pushes for her own happiness, and doesn’t rely on a knight-in-shining-armor or a streak of good luck to solve all of her problems. Because ladies, life isn’t like that.

The message I took away from GETE was that you are the chef of your own life. You don’t always get to choose the ingredients you’re given, but you choose what you do with them and what kind of culinary masterpiece you create out of your life.

Okay, I’m getting sentimental here.

And hungry.


Speaking of hungry, Ballis adds recipes from the book as an afterward, because she clearly loves her readers and wants us to be happy (and well-fed).


I had the "Macaroni and Cheese for Every Day" for lunch and it was incredible. I'm going to make the Turkey Meat Loaf tomorrow! 

Macaroni and Cheese for Every Day
(should probably have been called "Amaze-Balls Mac and Cheese")
(made with gluten-free pasta of course!)
If you want the recipes, here is where you can buy Ballis’s book. Trust me, its “Good Enough to Eat.” (Although don’t actually eat it. Especially if you buy it on kindle.)





I read Stacey Ballis's "Good Enough to Eat" as part of my summer "food books" reading list. Feel free to read along with me!


***Note: Not all of Ballis's recipes are not gluten-free, but easily adaptable. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cover Reveal: How to Date Dead Guys: My Most Anticipated Book of the Year!

"Dead people don't scare me. 
At least, not as much as live ones do."


Alright, I admit this isn't a gluten-free blog post, but I couldn't help but share my excitement for this incredible new book, out July 15th, 2014.

Ann Noser is an extremely talented author (and dear friend) whose debut novel is the first in her new-adult, urban-fantasy series "Under the Blood Moon," published by Curiosity Quills Press. 

Find out more about this can't-put-down series in my interview with Ann, which I'll post August 5th as part of her blog tour. And yes, we'll definitely talk about food!

In the meantime, check out the How to Date Dead Guys Goodreads page for more about the book, and follow Ann on Twitter for up-to-date information!


How to Date Dead Guys--The Spooky Synopsis:

College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice:  “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”.  But when charming Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.
Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back.  Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell.  The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury.  As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he sn't the only one.  
Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a desperate victim determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first.  More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows.  Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.
Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will ignite the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.


All About the Amazing Ann M Noser:

My to-do list dictates that I try to cram 48 hours of living into a day instead of the usual 24.  I’ve chosen a life filled with animals.  I train for marathons with my dog, then go to work as a small animal veterinarian, and finish the day by tripping over my pets as I attempt to convince my two unruly children that YES, it really IS time for bed.  But I can’t wait until the house is quiet to write; I have to steal moments throughout the day.  Ten minutes here, a half hour there, I live within my imagination.

Like all busy American mothers, I multi-task.  I work out plot holes during runs.  Instead of meditating, I type madly during yoga stretches.  I find inspiration in everyday things:  a beautiful smile, a heartbreaking song, or a newspaper article on a political theory.  For example, a long drive in the dark listening to an NPR program on the SMILEY FACE MURDERS theory made me ask so many questions that I wrote HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS to answer them to my satisfaction.

I’d love to have more time to write (and run, read, and sleep), but until I find Hermione Granger’s time turner, I will juggle real life with the half-written stories in my head.  Main characters and plot lines intertwine in my cranium, and I need to let my writing weave the tales on paper so I can find out what happens next.


Social Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

That Time I Made Recipes from the Titanic Menus

Like every other girl from age 12 to 20, I spent the winter of 1997 pining over Jack Dawson and desperately wishing I’d been able to sail on the Titanic (minus the whole iceberg thing). I was into everything Titanic that year—the real passengers, the construction of the ship, the food, the fashion—if it was titanic related, I “asked jeeves” the hell out of it.  And when that video finally came out on VHS--don’t even get me started. I think my sisters and I wore it out in mere months (as well as our Titanic soundtrack). I especially loved the first half of the movie, and rarely watched the second, because there was always that brief, misguided hope that the ending would change. Alas, it didn’t, and eventually my heart did go on, as teenager hearts tend to do.

Then Titanic came out on 3D and I had to take advantage of seeing it in theaters again, if no other reason than to find an excuse to wear jellys and strawberry flavored lip gloss again.

Its kind of funny to watch that movie as an adult. Suddenly Jack looks less great boyfriend material, and more like a man who is dangerously impulsive, scarily obsessive, unemployed, and inclined to prostitutes… 


Harsh, I know. 

Age has made me jaded! Still a good movie though, in case you were wondering. And even as an adult, I still wished in a corner of my heart for a happy ending.

After all this time, I still find the Titanic fascinating. It has all the wonders of a great story—man versus nature, man tempting God, the wealthy versus the poor, luxury juxtaposed against destruction. So when I saw a Titanic cookbook on goodreads called Last Dinner On the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner, I knew it was something I had to read for my summer food reading list.

Now I’m not an expert chef by any means. I still manage to burn gluten-free toast every once in a while, even though I think I’m a decent cook. And although it was master chefs working on the Titanic, a lot of the recipes were easy enough for me to follow. So don’t let the extravagance of the Titanic turn you off from trying this cookbook—the second and third class menus have recipes that even beginners can achieve.

If you’re wanting to know what it must have felt like to dine on the Titanic, this book creates that experience for you. From descriptions to the formal wear, the layout of the dining rooms, and the food (oh man, that glorious food), reading this book feels like being a guest to dinner on the Titanic. But if that isn’t enough for you, the book has instructions on how to throwing your own Titanic dinner party (I would love to do this, but am WAY too lazy), or simply making your own Titanic themed meal (Bingo.).

So many recipes looked amazing, so it was a hard choice where to start, but like Rose’s mother said, “We’re women—our choices are never easy” (hardy har har).

(click the picture to go to the amazon listing if you want a copy!)

I ended up making a handful of the recipes, some turned out okay, but some were so good that even fancy Rose couldn’t turn up her nose to them. I’m not posting the recipes here, because I believe in supporting artists and encourage you to buy the book yourself. 

The unexpected favorite? Minted Pea Timbales. I NEVER would have come up with this combo (mint…plus peas???). But as Rose said, “It doesn’t make any sense. That’s why I trust it.” And it definitely worked.




The other recipe I really enjoyed was Vegetable Marrow Farci. This one was absolutely delicious, and I kind of love that they are “vegetable boats.” (No, the book doesn't call them boats. The book is much classier than I am...)


The Spring Asparagus Hollandaise was tasty as well, but I couldn't get the sauce right (very runny) and I followed the directions precisely, but oh well. I’d make this one again, but buy the hollandaise from the store (or try different instructions).



Lastly, I made the Roast Sirloin of Beef Forestiere. Although I did enjoy the gravy, I am definitely a plain steak kind of girl, and I didn't feel like the time I spent on this one was worth the outcome. Give me a grill over an oven for my steak any day. 




Overall, it was a really fun experience reading from the Titanic menus and impressing my spouse with Edwardian delicacies. I’m a history buff, so a history food fusion is something I’d love to try again. Any suggestions?

Here are the other books on my summer food reading list, feel free to read along!

Food Books on My Summer To-Read List:
(you're welcome to read with me!)

The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J Adams

Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free by April Peveteaux

Good Enough to Eat by Stacey Ballis 

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis 

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef by Shauna James Ahern, Daniel Ahern

Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner by Rick Archbold

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Thoughts on the "No-Poo" Hair Movement, and What Worked For Me

Red Hair! Now featuring bangs!
About four months ago I dyed my hair a bright, gorgeous (in my less-than-humble opinion) shade of red. I get bored with my hair a lot, and the usual new curling iron or accessory wasn’t cutting it. I went for a big change, and I was very happy that I did. But there was a catch: the red didn’t last long. Now, I understand that red rarely lasts long, and my hair is particularly stubborn about retaining color. But less than four weeks in and my hair was almost back to its natural shade.

After a quick google search, I knew what the main issue was: I’m an everyday poo-er. No, not poo like that. Shampoo. Which brings me to a side-note, but isn’t the no-poo movement a terrible, terrible name??? From now on I’m calling it going “shamp-less.” I talk about poo enough with celiac disease, I’m not bringing the word poo into my hair conversations.  

So I brought my problem to the great social think-tank known as facebook, and received a wide variety of helpful and/or interesting responses from my beautiful friends on how to shamp-less. From baking soda, to egg wash, to creatively placed headbands and braids, I got a lot of ideas and feedback on different methods to try.

But I did have two big concerns about being “shamp-less.”

1. On a scale from 0 to C-diff, how bad would my hair smell without washing it everyday?

2. Would I look presentable enough to go out into the world, or would I look like I dipped my hair in a Cracker Barrel fryer?

Three months later and I am down to washing my hair every two to three days. I smell good (hopefully?) and my hair is more manageable than ever! Plus, my second coloring has lasted much longer (although still less than 8 weeks, so I’m probably going to switch to a less pesky shade).  And although I still shower everyday, I do love how getting ready in the morning takes way less time, and with California in a drought, I also feel good saving water.

So if you are wanting to wash your hair less, here is what worked for me. For reference, I have thick, very straight hair, and my natural color is dark blonde with red tones.

1) Dry Shampoo. 

I had a few reservations about dry shampoo, which I’d only dabbled in before. Would it turn my hair as blond as Khalessi? Would it look like I had walked through a fresh snowfall in the middle of spring?

Umm, how completely relevant is this gif???

My reservations were unfounded, and I am completely obsessed with dry shampoo. Not only does it keep me looking grease-less all day, but it puts body back into my hair. I tried multiple brands, and the one that worked best for me was Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo Powder, 1 Ounce(link will take you to the amazon page if you want to try it!). I am half-way through the 1 ounce bottle and started using it in Feb, so it lasts a loooong time. Also, I like the lemony smell. Although I do consider myself a bit of a hippy at heart, I’m not a huge fan of the “smells like plain hair” route. I like a little pazazz for my senses. And I couldn’t find an essential oil that I really liked (I know, I’m actually a pretty lame hippy).

Here is a grease comparison of day 3 hair with and without dry shampoo. Lets never speak of this again. 
Day 3 hair without dry shampoo. Help!  
Day 3 hair with dry shampoo. Much better! 

I found that sprays made my hair feel like a helmet (even after brushing them out), and baby powder reminds me too much of a bedpan (nurse problems…). Cornstarch with a touch of cinnamon (for redness) looked great as well, but I have a really odd issue with cornstarch—I can’t stand the feel of it. Its like nails on chalkboard through my fingertips. But if you’re not a complete weirdo like me, cornstarch might work well for you.   

Lastly, a brilliant suggestion that I received for maintenance that I will now share with you: powdered makeup on the roots when you need to de-grease on the run. You’re welcome.

2) Do it Up. 

When in doubt, curling my hair makes the greasy look disappear. I have no idea why it works, but it works. Only Dumbledore probably knows the advanced sorcery behind this little trick, but it has de-greasified the look of my hair every time. 
tumblr_mqs6l2GxS41syeot2o1_500

And BONUS, I get less sick of my hair by changing up the style.

Day 3 curls, no grease!
The pony tail is also a winner, but I’m forced to wear my hair in a ponytail everyday for work (you know, the dragging your hair in bodily fluids thing), so I avoid this style in my personal life.  

I found headbands weren’t for me, but only because I have an odd pumpkin shaped head that the headbands always seemed to slowly pop off of. Sad, because they are cute and this tactic seems to work well while your hair is adjusting. Braids were another loser for me, only because those damn braids look so easy on pinterest but when I try them in real life I always seem to fumble around until my fingers are so tangled into my own hair that my spouse has to come scissor me to the rescue.


3) Hurry Up and Wait. 

One of the hardest, and most successful tactics that I used when trying to shamp-less was just toughing it out. Dry shampoo and fancifying my hair both work great to decrease the grease, but ultimately what brought the greasiness down in the long-term was just sticking with it.

Honestly, it took about 6 weeks before I stopped feeling greasy, even though my efforts meant I didn’t look greasy on my shamp-less days.  Truthfully, I still feel a bit greasy when I stretch it to day 3, but #1 & #2 really help.

Ultimately, I love the smell of freshly shampooed hair, so I will likely never cut out shampoo entirely. I don’t think I could commit to the baking soda-vinegar route that is all the rage right now, because I genuinely enjoy trying out different shampoos (but I am very conscious of the type of shampoos I try to buy—sulfate and cruelty-free). But I’m also never going back to washing my hair every day. The amount of time I save, the benefit to the environment, and the decreased cost is all too awesome to give up.

I've been asked a lot about the specific products that I use to help people just starting out, so here info about the products that have worked well with my hair recently without costing a lot! Click on the pictures to check them out on amazon. (You can also usually find coupons for the L'Oreal shampoo on target.com or coupons.com)

1. Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo

Why I like it: Great lemon scent, but most importantly, it works really well with my hair. It absorbs the oil almost instantly and lasts all day. Perfect for Day 3 unwashed hair. 





2. L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Color System

Why I like it: It is inexpensive yet has everything I want from a shampoo. It is sulfate-free (sulfates damage colored hair and are a suspected carcinogen), vegan, and not tested on animals. Also, it smells great and works really well. One common complaint about sulfate-free products is that they don't bubble up and clean well enough, but with this shampoo that is definitely not true. I've bought this product repeatedly and my hair loves it!





3. Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner

Why I like it: Gluten-free, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free...the list goes on! Organix is affordable, ethically solid, and smells amazing. 







Saturday, April 26, 2014

What To Do When Your Loved One Gets Glutened

Does someone you love have celiac? Then you are bound to come across this minor tragedy at some point—the infamous glutening. When someone you love says “I got glutened,” your reaction can say a lot about your relationship. You might be have this initial feeling...


But instead of reacting with confusion, or understandably, fear, please refer to this survival guide. Your special celiac will thank you for it.

1. Embrace the initial angst. 

Reaction GIF: no, angry, scream, Gollum, The Lord of the Rings

You loved one will probably want to loudly, and with many swears, list off everything they’ve eaten that day, guessing what could or could not have contained secret gluten. Just nod and listen. Also, have a seat. This rant might take a while, but your silent participation is appreciated, trust me.

2. Prepare the heating pad. 


One of the most comforting thing to a rumbling tummy, or, you know, stomach issues on par with Mount Vesuvius, is heat. Get your special celiac tucked in to bed with a heating pad, a shit-ton of tums, and a glass of water.  Be prepared for a night in binge watching your favorite shows on Netflix (hey, there are worst ways to spend a Friday night!).


3. Get ready for a better tomorrow. 


Stock your favorite celiac’s kitchen with super-safe gluten-free foods. Eating gluten-free can often feel frustrating, limiting, and complicated. These feelings are most poignant after getting glutened, especially if the cause is unknown. Show them that you care about their health and happiness by making eating gluten-free seem a little bit easier. If you need some suggestions, here are my favorite intentionally gluten free foods. 


So, how do you take care of your special celiac when they get glutened?