Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Oatmeal Banana Cookie Smoothie

Another thing that our kitchenless week has brought about is the return of the smoothie breakfast!  Hubs has been generously cooking delicious egg-white omelet breakfasts for us every morning these past few months, but this week we had to put that on hold.  I opted for the smoothies since I have my handy-dandy Magic Bullet blender and can assemble, blend and drink the smoothies in the same cup, and then wash it out at the office where I actually have a kitchen sink available.  

I brainstormed this smoothie recipe yesterday, and was so happy with the results that I had to share it on the blog!  I used the ever-popular overnight oats concept and prepped part of the smoothie the night before, let it sit in the fridge and then added the last couple ingredients and blended it this morning.

Oatmeal Banana Cookie Smoothie

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Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen sliced banana
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3 oz plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Generous dash of cinnamon

Directions

The night before, put the frozen banana slices, oats, flax and almond milk in your smoothie up.  Cover and set in the fridge.  The next morning, add the Greek yogurt and cinnamon, and more almond milk if needed to fill the cup.  Blend until smooth.

This smoothie came out tasting pretty much exactly like an oatmeal cookie in liquid form, it was absolutely delicious - and since it's very low in fat and has no added sugar, it's a much healthier way to indulge than a cookie!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Meal Plan Monday: The Kitchenless Week

So this week is the first week in a long time that I haven't put together a specific meal plan - and I have a really good reason.  Here is an iPhone panorama of the current state of my kitchen:

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The good news is, this empty room should be filled with gorgeous new cabinets and counters by the end of the week.  We are both really excited about the facelift - our former kitchen was functional enough, but definitely not what two people who believe the kitchen to be the most important room in the house think it should be!  I will post some pictures once we have it done, but for now I thought I'd share some tips for eating gluten free when your kitchen is out of commission.

 

  • 08262013 - 1Use the grill - we use our grill a lot anyway, but when you can't cook inside or wash dishes, outdoor cooking is crucial!  Our microwave is currently sitting on the floor of our office and have no counters, so I also bought a lot of easily grillable veggies for the week that also don't need much prep, like zucchini and corn on the cob, that we could throw on the grill along with the meat. 

 

  • 08262013 - 3Stockpile - I always bring my lunch to work since there aren't a lot of GF-friendly options around my office, and I wanted to get that food prep out of the way right away.  This weekend before the demo I defrosted a whole bunch of chicken breasts and we grilled them all at once along with our dinner last night, so I have a guaranteed protein for salads that'll last the week as I have no idea what we will have in the way of leftovers each day.

 

  • 08262013 - 2Take advantage of small appliances - in our case, a rice cooker and toaster oven.  All the rice cooker needs is a tiny bit of space and a plug, and the bowl of the cooker cleans easily by just rinsing it.  I've also got our toaster oven set up on the floor in the living room for quick reheats of leftovers or to make baked potatoes or heat up our favorite Ore Ida potatoes (the floor is tile, so no risk of heat damage).

 

 

  • 08262013 - 4Minimize dirty dishes - no kitchen sink and no dishwasher means my washing options involve the bathroom sink or tub, so this is the one week of the year I will eat off of paper plates every meal with impunity!  Also, a great tip to avoid unnecessarily dirtying pans is to line baking sheets or casserole dishes in tinfoil - this is something I do regularly and we still always get good results.  For the dishes we do have to use, we're rinsing them off in the bathroom and putting them in a big plastic tub we set up in the guest room. 

 

  • 08262013 - 5When in doubt, get takeout! - this is definitely a last resort for us, since eating restaurant food is not only more challenging when gluten free, it's also significantly more expensive.  But on our big demo day Saturday, we ordered in Domino's pizza for lunch (despite all the negative publicity, I have had Domino's gluten-free pizza several times without any glutening incidents) and that night we went out for dinner to our favorite local Thai restaurant, Siam City - my absolutely delectable pad thai is pictured.  I'm also thinking I'll hit up Boston Market this week for one of their family meals, since I know I'll be trying to put as much time as possible into getting the kitchen back together after each step of the installation process.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cinnamon Banana Coconut Mini Muffins

This past weekend I had a couple of overripe bananas hanging around, and I already had a bunch in the freezer so I chose to use them up instead.  One of them went into my Sunday morning pancakes (delicious by the way) and the second I decided to use in a half-batch of muffins.  Making them mini size was a great way to make them more of a snack portion, and stretch the half batch to make over a dozen muffins.  I recommend using Pamela's Baking and Pancake mix, my go-to gluten-free basic blend of choice as everything I make with it turns out great. 

The secret ingredient that gives it a mouthwatering scent and just the right hint of coconut flavor?  New Chobani coconut yogurt!  

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I really enjoyed this recipe because it's lower in sugar than the average muffin recipe, so they're not overly sweet, and the low-fat yogurt is a great substitute for oil.  

Cinnamon Banana Coconut Mini Muffins

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Yields 16 mini muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 6-oz container coconut Chobani yogurt
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups Pamela's Baking & Pancake mix (or gluten-free baking blend of choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • Cinnamon and sugar blend for topping (optional)

Directions

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small mixing bowl, stir the yogurt, bananas, and honey until blended.  Stir in the almond milk and egg.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the baking mix, cinnamon, and flax seed; stir to combine.  Add the yogurt mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing gently until the batter is just mixed.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar blend.  Bake at 425 degrees F for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 degrees F and bake for 15 more minutes.  Allow the muffins to cool in the tins 5 to 10 minutes before removing.  

You could go with any flavor of Chobani with this recipe to change it up - there are so many awesome ones to choose from!  I have always been a huge fan of banana applesauce bread, so I'm going to try my next batch with the apple cinnamon flavor.  Other choices I think would work really well are strawberry, blueberry, or peach.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal PlanThis past weekend I enjoyed a couple of absolutely delicious dinners (check them out on Instagram), which inspired me to scour my Evernote Recipes to Try folder to get some new recipes for this week.  Doing the same meals repeatedly is easy and relaxing, but definitely not too exciting for the tastebuds!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Crispy Jack Daniels Glazed Salmon (adapted from this Bourbon Glazed Salmon recipe from How Sweet It Is)
  • Green Beans
  • Brown Rice

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Friday, August 16, 2013

Gluten-Free Friday: Vanilla Chex

Very excited about today's product review - new Vanilla Chex!  I was a fan of Chex pre-gluten free and now that it's one of my only easily available cereal options, you can usually find a box in my pantry.  Up until now, the Cinnamon Chex was my favorite, but the new Vanilla flavor is definitely giving Cinnamon a run for its money.

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I wasn't sure exactly what to expect when I tried the new flavor, since I don't have much experience with vanilla flavored food aside from ice cream.  It pretty much tastes exactly like vanilla frosting.  It's very sweet, but like with the other sweet Chex cereals it's a mix of some coated pieces and some plain, so the sweetness is not totally overpowering.  

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I'm not sure I'd pour a bowl of this and enjoy it for breakfast - I don't like starting my day with a ton of sugar and nothing else, I'd be hungry again in an hour.  But as a snack, it's fantastic!  I've been mixing it in with nuts and dried fruit for a sweet trail mix.  I think it would also be really good as a topper for plain Greek yogurt along with some fresh fruit.  And you can bet it's going to make an appearance in my holiday Chex mix frenzy!

Two thumbs up to Chex for adding a new flavor to their gluten-free line - always fun to have more choices in our world!

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Just a reminder to all you NC folks - tomorrow is the big Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event in Durham!  Don't miss it!!  I really wish I could be there this year, but the trip from here in South Florida is not exactly quick...but I will be there in spirit as you check out all the fantastic offerings and enjoy the speakers and communing with your fellow gluten-free folk.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal PlanCouple new recipes planned for this week - also been in the mood for Asian lately, so I've got 2 meals with that theme.  And Hubs and I have a gift card to spend, so going to treat ourselves and go out to dinner on Friday!

Monday

Tuesday

  • Pan Fried Barramundi with Fresh Peach Salsa (this has become a new favorite in our house!)
  • Green Beans
  • Brown Rice

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

  • Dinner Out - thinking of checking out the new Bonefish Grill in Vero Beach

Saturday

Sunday

Friday, August 9, 2013

Gluten-Free Friday: Goldfish Puffs

I love it when familiar brands come out with new gluten-free products, so when I saw Goldfish Puffs advertised recently, I knew I had to find a bag!

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Goldfish were a regular snack in my life for years.  I loved their perfect amount of cheesy flavor, their small size, and of course the cute little fish shape.  I have wished for a gluten-free version of them to come out, and was super excited to see the new Puffs line.

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Now, if you're buying them expecting them to taste like Goldfish, you're going to be disappointed.  They are most definitely a different product, in both texture and flavor.  Granted, the flavor difference could be attributed to the fact that I bought the Cheddar Bacon flavor - I am a girl that can rarely resist bacon in any form - so maybe the Mega Cheese would be more on par with regular Goldfish.  But the texture is more like a slightly denser puffed cheese doodle.  As I am also a cheese doodle fan, I was fully on board.  They also have a nice smoky flavor that is definitely reminiscent of bacon, even if it's not as good as the real thing.

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Bonus that they are also not super expensive like some gluten-free snacks - they retail for $2.99, and right now on Target Cartwheel they've got a 20% off coupon.  Think I'm going to try the Mega Cheese next.  I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to spice though so I'm not sure on the Buffalo - if anyone has tried them and can estimate the spice level for me, let me know!  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal PlanTrying a new recipe tonight, plus I worked in a few of my favorite recipes from the blog that I haven't made in awhile.  Should be a tasty week ahead!

Monday

Tuesday

  • Grilled Pork Chops
  • Broccoli
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Friday, August 2, 2013

Gluten-Free Friday: Five Guys

I have been hearing about Five Guys for years now, but had never actually eaten at one.  A few weeks ago I finally made that happen when Hubs and I went out unexpectedly and needed a quick bite before meeting up with some friends.  It was definitely an indulgent meal, but also a very tasty one!

They are actually really gluten-free friendly, thanks mostly to their super-simple menu.  Since the only fried item they serve are fries, the oil is not contaminated and they are perfectly safe.  They also have a Bunless Burger on their menu, so it's not a challenge for them when you order it that way - it comes in a nice little foil container with the lettuce and tomato, and is very easy to eat or take on the go.

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My only complaint would be the huge portion sizes - Hubs and I shared a small order of fries, pictured above, and even together still weren't able to finish them!  Also since I wasn't as familiar with their menu I didn't even see the Little Hamburger - turns out the regular that I ordered is two patties, while the little version is just one, which would have been a better size for me.

It was definitely worth the calorie splurge - the burger was hot and juicy, with high-quality meat and amazing flavor.  I was not as big a fan of the fries though, since they were a little on the soggy side, I'm guessing the oil was likely not hot enough.  Still fairly good, and honestly I didn't need to eat them after two giant burger patties anyway :)

So if you're looking for a quick gluten-free meal in your area, be sure to see if there's a Five Guys around!

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