Baked pumpkin seeds

Don’t throw them out!

The pumpkin innards might be ooky and gooky but it’s worth digging through them for the seeds. And since you are making a family activity of the carving, why not teach the kids about a healthy treat?

We used a cookie sheet with paper towels for the collection of the seeds, just so we had something to wipe them on when our fingers were sticky. Once all of the pumpkins were cleaned out, we rinsed the seeds in a draining basket under hot water and removed all of the remaining pulp.

Try to remove as much water as possible by patting with a paper towel or draining longer. I found the paper towel method to be cumbersome because they stuck to the towel.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. I used canola. Then cover the sheet with pumpkin seeds, they may overlap. Then spray a good layer of canola oil on top as well and sprinkle with salt (and pepper, if you choose) or other seasoning like sriracha for hot ones.

Bake on 350 in the oven for 20-25 minutes and cool for 10 minutes. pumpkin seeds hand

 

 

Gluten Free Subscription Box

So, I’ve tried them… various gluten free boxes with minimal products, stocked full of the same ole, same ole or worse… just a few measly samples. Ugh. 

When I had the option to try American Gluten Free @americanglutenfree I was skeptical because of these experiences. 

However, all I had to do was open the box to realize this was different. Very different. 

What a shock to see the box lipping full of products that were generous samples and even full size. Many of them were free from additional allergies too. (Which allowed me to share them with the kids). 

I was additionally surprised that they were healthy and delicious. Clearly, they take extra care in choosing who they partner with and take pride in delivering value to celiacs who need tasty and creative snack options!

If you want a fun surprise shipped to you without the hassle, check them out!

Gluten free condiments

One of the things people ask me the most about eating is, “is there really gluten in condiments?”

Yes, sadly, there is. More often than not, wheat is used as a filler, binder and (I suppose) just for good measure. I also see a lot of barley malt, which is made from barley and therefore gluten containing, as well.

Add to it the arduous task of finding them free from high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients and (for our family) pineapple and you just might be eating that burger plain.

I have recently been privileged enough to get to try @batchno2 sauces. I have to admit, I thought eh, it’s catchup and mustard… what could be so great? Until I tried them. Not only are they naturally gluten free, made with only good ingredients and a local company, but they are also FANTASTIC. Seriously.

The tomato catsup reminds me of a snappy bbq sauce. It was so good that I used it as dressing on my sons salad. Don’t be too grossed out, he eats bbq sauce on everything and since he’s allergic to dairy, it cuts out all of the dressings he would otherwise enjoy. BTW, he loved it so much, he ate it all! (sadly, I didn’t get a photo before he dig in but he ate it again, the next night, on his burger) This won’t last long in our house!


Then I tried the ballpark mustard on a hotdog. It’s amazing how enjoyable mustard can be without all of the extra sugars and the addition of some turmeric.  Sadly, I have not previously been a big mustard fan. But I have now tried their whole grain mustard and I’m convinced that I can eat it on just about anything. If you are a little daring, you will find that their purple pride mustard is the perfect pairing for wine, cheese and gluten free crackers.

 

I love their commitment to healthy ingredients, vegan and gluten free statements of faith and omission of “the cheap stuff”. Give Batch No 2 a try! 

Gluten free soy ginger chicken

In an attempt to make creative, flavorful meals that are heathy… ugh, I’m exhausted at the thought… I created something new.

I bought the chicken leg pack at Costco…


Then I split it up and put half (3 bags) in the freezer. Then I opened the 3 remaining packs and put half of them (8) in a gallon ziplock bag with a coating of:


And let it marinade for two days, flipping every time I got in the fridge.

Then I cooked them in my Pampered Chef Rock Crock slow cooker on high for 3 hours.


And the result was tender and juicy chicken infused with the flavors of soy and ginger. 

Next time I would make twice as much chicken and marinade in two separate bags. 

Gluten free D.C., Pt. 4

There is so much amazing gluten free ground to cover in D.C…. I didn’t scratch the surface of what they have to offer but I still managed to find some great eats!

There are distinctly areas of town for dining gluten free that provide more than chain type express joints, Alexandria proved to be one of those for us. We popped by on our way out of town and found these gems:

At Del Ray Pizzeria @delraypizzeria  they offer all of their pizza’s gluten free at the 10″ price. The crust is made locally by The Happy Tart. They were reasonably priced, great service and in a really cute eclectic part of town with free street parking. Bonus!

Like any reasonable family, we cruised over to Alexandria Cupcakes #alexandriacupcakes afterward to pick up dessert. They offered vanilla and chocolate gluten free cupcakes in a dedicated container, separate from the other cupcakes and they also offered a gluten free, vegan cupcake that was raspberry filled for my son. The cupcakes were made of coconut flour, they were moist and the icing was perfect (not too sweet).


What goes better with a cupcake than an iced matcha? A couple doors down from the cupcakes I found Killer ESP (Espresso, Sorbet and Pie). @killeresp   Not only did they have matcha lattes but I scored a raspberry turnover that was full of flavor, held together while I ate it and, oh, did I mention it too was gluten free? Today was a good day. 

On my way to the car I stopped in Misha’s Coffee House. @mishascoffeehouse  I love the inside of coffee houses, stores and bistros. There is always such a relaxed, inviting atmosphere and it’s always on my agenda to see if they have anything  gluten free. 


They had this rack of safely wrapped, individual portions of @katebakesbars treats which are not only gluten free but vegan! (I hear they have paleo versions too 😉

I wish I could spend a week in Alexandria alone. Love the town. Love the eats! 

Gluten free salsa meal

Quick, grab your magic pot and follow me!

This dinner was super fast, easy and delicious. Sometimes I work for hours and end up with dinner that is just so-so. I feel so redeemed to try something like this and end up with a winner that will reside on our staples meal list for years to come.

Open your electric pressure cooker and add:

1C uncooked dry quinoa 

2C water

4 frozen chicken breasts

Cover with 1/2 jar of red salsa (of choice)

Cover with 1 jar green salsa

Pressure cook for 10 minutes. It may not look pretty but it tastes fantastic! The chicken is plump and flavorful and you can tear it apart with a fork.

Gluten free D.C. Eats, Pt. 3

We spent a week in D.C. and half of it was near the hotel but we did venture out a few times, often just to try food in the neighboring communities. Honestly, that’s my favorite part of traveling.

While in the National Harbor we also had the pleasure of dining at McCormick and Schmick’s. This was unsurprisingly delightful. We have dined at their restaurants in other parts of the country and it is always satisfying. They take great care to prepare my meal, provide me with tasty options that don’t leave out the flavor and I actually get dessert!

 

In the same area at National Harbor we had lunch at Nando’s Peri-Peri. @nandosusa The kids had grilled chicken strips with healthy sides and dole whip for dessert, all gluten free. I tried their version of chicken salad with extra veggies in place of pita. This was a spicy mix with a flavor variation that made me glad I ordered a salad. How often does that happen?

 

The next afternoon we took a trek over to the MGM hotel for burgers at the Shake Shack @shakeshack which proved to be a great reminder that a gluten free burger can be done right. They had gluten free buns, a dedicated frier and could load everything up with bacon and cheese. Score!

 

 

Gluten free D.C. Eats, Pt. 2

If you are headed into downtown D.C., you will quickly notice that all of the buildings house a federal office of some sort.

Interestingly, you will not see places to eat. It’s actually very bizarre. It took us a few hours touring to realize that snack shacks were owned by The Government and food trucks lined the streets because those are the only options for refreshment, outside cafeterias in respective buildings, until you get outside the boundaries of DC and move into the neighboring cities housing businesses.

In need of some really good food, we ventured out to GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar and landed on a winner! The gluten free grilled cheese were made on @risebakerygf Rise Bakery bread. They are native to the DC area, and as I quickly found, supply many of the restaurants. They also made tots in a dedicated frier and you could get them with many different gluten free toppings, including chili.

 

Immediately after, we took a visit a couple streets over to the @wickedwaffle  Wicked Waffle. I could eat there every day! The waffles were light and fluffy, cut in half and topped with pretty much anything you can think of. They cooked ours on a separate tray and called out gluten free when they served it, for that extra peace of mind. They also had gluten free bars near the register for a take away quick snack.

 

Next we popped by one of my favorite bakeries (which we also visit in Chicago) @lepainquotidien Le Pain Quotidien USA, “the daily bread.” I found the triple chocolate cookies that the kids love and picked up a lemon poppyseed muffin for myself. This proved the be the best breakfast the following morning.

 

Last, I stopped by Pret Organic Coffee and tried one of their almond matcha lattes. While they didn’t offer any gluten free baked goods, they managed to shift my thinking when it comes to almond milk in my matcha. This was a distinct improvement in the ones I have tried in the past and I would highly recommend giving it a try!

For more info, check out pt. 3!

Gluten free D.C. Eats, Pt. 1

Where we eat depends a lot on where we stay and the purpose of our trip. 

On this trip, we are staying at the Gaylord Convention Center in Maryland. It sits on the bank of the Potomac with striking views, easy access to DC tourist attractions and has several in house restaurants.


I most cases I’m looking for ANY gluten free options to eat. I certainly don’t expect a lot of choices and I’m usually pleasantly surprised if there’s more than one. 

The marketplace store offered several varieties of prepackaged snacks that were clearly labeled gluten free as well as quinoa salad and hard boiled eggs. 

The Pastime sports bar offered several meal options on gluten free bread such as chicken, burgers, lunchmeat and grilled cheese. The fries were made in a dedicated area and they were very knowledgeable about gluten free provisions. 


The conference we are attending has some dining included but consistent markings on the buffet options are not consistent. The signs are sparatic and there are items that clearly contain allergens that are not labeled. 

In the pier area adjacent to the hotel, there are many dining options that are offered. We ate at Rosa Mexicana and were pleasantly surprised with the delightful options available. 


The chips are gluten free, fresh corn tortillas are used in cooking and they have a dedicated fryer. 

Thus far, I’ve been pleased I could eat but nothing overwhelmed me with amazing offerings. I’m hoping to get out and explore a bit more of the food options in the city as the week continues.

For more info, check out pt. 2-3

Gluten free on the road

If life is a highway and your lead foot won’t let you drive 55 on Route 66 then you have undoubtedly been on the road enough to realize it’s tough to feed the rumble in your tummy with fast food, when you have allergies. 

We have a few staple chains that we look for when traveling to give us peace of mind and provide a nourishing meal that is safe… and quick.

Hardee’s is the fastest. Although they do make your meals fresh, it will still be a great drive through option. They make their burgers from 100% beef so no worry of wheat fillers in the patties. The fries are cooked up in dedicated friers and any sandwich can be made low carb, which is wrapped in lettuce and paper so you can hold it, eat and drive!

Chipotle is our second fav. It requires a tad more stop time but all burritos can be made as a salad or a bowl (on rice and beans). They also offer a taco pack (for adults or kids) that can be made with corn tortillas or hard corn shells. Just choose your three ingredients and build away. They change their gloves, get clean utensils and use clean trays for meal prep when you let them know you have an allergy, btw.

BW 3’s is another great option and they have plenty of locations nationwide. They have traditional wings which are fried separate from the battered boneless ones and most of their sauces are gluten free. Our favorites are honey BBQ, medium and salt/vinegar. They actually have the sauce bottles on hand, for sale, so ask to read the label if in doubt!

Hope this helps you navigate the open road to a full belly. Happy trails!