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

 

 

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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 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 mushrooms

While I’m detoxing, I need extra flavor and extra veggies. This recipe combines both with flair!

Spray skillet with oil of choice

Wash and slice one basket whole fresh mushrooms

Place mushrooms in skillet over medium heat

Add 1/4c GF worchester sauce 

Add 1/8c Boar’s head spicy mustard

Simmer and turn until they darken.

Eat alone or add to a bowl of quinoa kale. I used Path of Life frozen mix from Costco below.

Gluten Free Trader Joes

The staple gluten free items available at Trader Joe’s are endless and cost effective. If you are lucky enough to have access to one near your home or while traveling, you will find consistency in their offerings. 

While on our current trip to Chicago, I was able to score a room at the Homewood suites. We like staying here because one room has a living area with a fold out sofa for the kids as well as a refrigerator, stove and microwave. 

This allows us to pop into Trader Joe’s, pick up some favorites and be prepared for back up meals.

My typical buy list (at home) consists of:

Gluten free rolled oats

Gluten free pretzels

Joe Joe’s Gluten free cookies

BBQ sauce

Gluten free chicken breast nuggets (frozen)

Gluten free multi grain bread

Gluten free cornbread mix

Gluten free mini chicken tacos (frozen)

Broccoli and kale slaw (bag mix)

Organic creamy tomato soup

Taco seasoning mix!!! (I use it for chili too)

Fruit bars (variety)

Individual bags kettle corn

On the road, these help us out:


Add to it their gorgeous and affordable flowers, fresh fruit a plenty and variety of vegetables (chopped, frozen and in fresh picked form) and you have more than enough variety for a cost effective, allergy friendly diet. 

In the frozen veggie section you can also find chopped cauliflower, shelled edamame, shredded carrots, organic corn and more!

Stop in. Grab a list of gluten free options from the desk and shop a plenty!

Light and fresh smoothie

I love the plethora of fresh fruit options this time of year. If you like a think and chunky smoothie, freeze them first. This one was light and refreshing with fresh fruit. 

1 nectarine

2 slices watermelon chunked

1T honey

1scoop protein powder

1C water (or juice for additional sweetness)

This was really light and fresh and didn’t taste like protein at all. Enjoy!

Hearty gluten free smoothie

I need something filling in the morning or I will resort to carbs every time. In my desire to get fit, I’m trying to make healthier allergy friendly food choices. 

This is a smoothie recipe I put together with some of my favorite foods. It blends better than you think and the avocado wouldn’t even be detective by people who avoid eating green things that aren’t a lifesaver.

1 Avocado

1 C frozen berries

1T Honey

1 Scoop Greek Yogurtein Coconut Flavor protein powder

1T Lemon juice

2C water

Blend in magic bullet and drink immediately!

Gluten free meals, fast

I’m convinced that if my life were in TV it would be a timed cooking show. You know… here’s eight random ingredients, two hungry kids and thirty minutes until bedtime… now go!

That’s why it’s always a good idea for me to have gluten free corn dogs, chicken nuggets and frozen burgers on hand.

I’d love to say that I could think of something palatable to make out of avocado, apples, frozen hamburger meat, eggs and almond milk. Chances are pretty good, even if I were to whip it up, I would receive a big, fat “eww gross” from my mini audience.

I’ve vowed to try and take some of my kids favorite restaurant meals and replicate them in house. This will save time, money and the entertainment factor of our traveling road show, at bedtime.

Considering my narrow window for meal consumption, the prep time needs to be virtually non-existent. That’s why most of my meals can be completed in thirty minutes.

A couple of things I avoid when cooking are large prep times and mixing blends of flours. No thank you. I will be utilizing mixes whenever possible.

Check out some of my easy recipes for families on the go!

A hint… my favorite appliance is the
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Pickled Cucumbers

A part of my childhood memories stem from freshly grown vegetables, picked from my Papa’s garden and made into delicacies with ease.

One of my favorite snacks, even as an adult, are cucumbers. This recipe combines history, nostalgia and good taste for a fresh healthy snack.

4-6 cucumbers sliced

3 cups water

1 cup Apple cider vinegar

1T sugar (optional)

Marinate overnight and strain as you dish.

Kale chips

Kale is one of the more polarizing things in life. Like cold weather, lipstick and exercise, you either love it or hate it.

Being in the healthier phase of my life, sans kool aid and little Debbie cakes, I have turned to all things green. Matcha, green juice, celery, zucchini, avocados and kale seem to be among the foods that I actually prefer to munch on.

I haven’t found a prepackaged kale chip that suits me. They seem to be coated or soggy. In search of something enjoyable, I started experimenting.

The recipe below can vary based upon what you sprinkle on top but I found to be enjoyable.

2 bunches fresh organic kale, washed, destemmed and torn into bite size pieces.

Dry with a paper towel

Place kale on top of wax paper (or parchment) coated with spray oil, then spray kale, with preferred oil. I like avocado or coconut spray. 

Sprinkle seasoning of choice on top. My favorites are either Wild Tree rancher steak rub, garlic blend or onion blend. 

Sprinkle what makes you enjoy it most. Dry seasonings work best so the cook time remains consistent.

Bake at 350 for ten minutes. The kale will shrink and harden but not burn. You can cool on the cookie sheet when done. 

Best when consumed immediately. Otherwise, poke a whole in a ziplock so it can breath. If housed in a sealed storage bag it starts to lose crispness. 

Kale on.