Friday, December 30, 2011

Grace & Gratitude ~ Happy New Year!

As this year of 2011 comes to a close, I am feeling an array of emotions brought on by days past and an excitement to eagerly step into the New Year. It is needed; it is time. This year has evoked every human emotion for me, all the symptoms of life choices and important journeys taken. Each emotion and feeling has stretched, pulled, pushed and tugged me in every which way, but all, as I sit here today in reflection on a bumpy flight from the east coast to west, have left me breathless and sated with two feelings that outweigh the others, grace and gratitude.

I do my very best in every life situation to handle whatever comes my way with grace. I certainly don’t always succeed and sometimes I fall, but the simple word itself conjures such inspiration and tranquility that it makes you want to try even harder to incorporate its true essence into your life.

can prove more challenging than grace, or so I’ve experienced. We can all focus on what didn’t happen, what dreams didn’t quite come to fruition or live up to our expectations. We can choose to live in those empty spaces of unfulfilledness or realize that a journey is a journey and along the way life shows up to offer guidance or shift our glance, always knowing better than we. I have learned in 2011 what it means to consciously wake up every day and choose gratitude. It has become an inherent part of my life and it’s as powerful and important as choosing a life-partner, or making an important decision that alters your course.

I can honestly say that the combination of choosing to live a (gluten-free) life of grace and gratitude has opened me up to see the abundance in my life and within the lives of all those around me. It has reminded me again and again to embrace every soul that I’ve drawn to my life, whether they are close-by for the duration, or leave their individual mark of influence while passing through.

Just the other day I toured the Tennis Hall of Fame Museum in Newport, Rhode Island with my brother. I’ve been back east for Christmas with my family and exploring my brother and his family’s new city of residence. My brother and I have shared a deep love for one another and tennis our entire lives. One of my fondest childhood memories was spending hour upon hour hitting tennis balls against our wooden garage door together, honing our shots, saving our competitive juices for when we hit the court. He usually beat me and still does to this day, but the bond that one sport can form between siblings is priceless and enduring. Wandering through the museum we arrived in the “Andre Agassi room,” a special section dedicated to Andre’s career and accomplishments due to the fact that he was inducted this past July. As we made our way through the room we were both stopped in our tracks by Andre’s induction speech that was being played as a loop on a TV monitor above. Taking in only part of his speech would not do…no, we listened and watched the emotional speech in its entirety.

Having read Andre’s book, “Open,” this past summer, I felt a stronger connection to the heart-felt words of life that he was so eloquently expressing, while fighting back his own tears the whole way through. One of the most moving parts of his book and consequently his speech, was the story of his encounter with Nelson Mandela, while visiting Africa en route to safari. The words that Mr. Mandela imparted on Andre were life changing and helped guide him to the next steps of his journey, but this time by making more “careful choices” along the way and living a life with more care. That really stuck with me. By the time Andre’s speech came to a close my brother and I felt tears welling and were so moved by the transformation of a life that one man was so willing to share with all of us, with the world. Whether you’re a great athlete, famous author or a simple person moving through the world while struggling, growing, stretching each and every day, none of us can truly find our greatness until we’ve “spent a little time at rock bottom and gotten comfortable there,” as Andre so perfectly expressed. For it is from that space that we all find ourselves and relearn what is truly important to take with us on each of our journeys.

If you haven’t read “Open” read it. The book struck me to the core and has lingered in a very significant way. Now, I realize that at one point I had a raging crush on the guy and my brother in turn, only dressed in Agassi gear (yes, we were obsessed), but the point it this…we can all get in our own way, we can fight destiny, we can even choose to ignore the whisper of our authentic self until it bursts through, but without question and as difficult as this is to grasp at times, everything in one’s life happens for a reason. Period.

Along those lines, I wanted to share two of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year that have come to me through other blogs I so enjoy reading, and both arrived at just the right time. I hope these powerful quotes fill you up in a way only you can know, as they have for me. How life changing a quote can be. Words, powerful words.

“Expectations are premature disappointments”

“Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty"

A very blessed, abundant, and gluten-free New Year to you and yours ~

Happy 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gluten Free Christmas ~ Gifts For All

It's Christmas week, or so the calendar and insane amount of Christmas sales splattered on every media outlet are proclaiming. Being in California, it's tough to gauge what month we're in since temperatures still climb into the balmy 60's each afternoon and no rain has fallen or is in the forecast...quite different from snowy Christmases past. But I'm not complaining.

As the old saying goes..."better late than never," which is also the motto I've adopted for this holiday blog post. I know there are many of you out there still caught up in the last minute rush of Christmas gift shopping, and if there's a Celiac on your list or a gluten-intolerant elf or two, this helpful list is for you...and them!

Cosmetics/Products ~

Every woman (or man) can appreciate finding gluten-free cosmetics and products that are "safe" and free of any kind of gluten/wheat bi-products. Recently I began researching many products that I previously thought were safe and free of all gluten, only to find out through more research that it wasn't the case. Visit this list and research what you are using on face and body to put yourself and skin at ease. After years of trying product after product that wouldn't cause a skin rash and just plain worked, here's a few of my favorites that are really great:

Erbe Dermacosmetica

This wonderful company is from Italy and has created the most nourishing and awesome products. The fact that I'm sharing their name and website is quite the Christmas miracle, as I swore to keep this one to myself! The Chamomile line is totally GF, along with their essential oils, cleaners and body washes. The product line is tough to find. The easiest way to order is through their website and if you have any questions about gluten in any products, pick up the phone and call them in New York City. Their customer service is wonderful and they'll thoroughly review any product with you.


If you are looking for really nourishing and balancing essential oils for the face, then look no further. I've been using their chamomile eye oil and essential oil for dry skin for years. They come in a prefect travel size bottle, as well. Once you try these oils, you'll never be without.

Gluten Free Savonnerie

This little mid-west company is a true find with consistent, healing products. Gluten Free Savonnerie carries a really pure and wonderful line of the perfect stocking stuffers. From GF soaps to lip balm to the absolute best GF lotion I've found, and that's saying a lot! They are reasonably priced and a great company to boot.

Goodies for the Tummy ~

Oh boy, where to start? This is a very condensed list of some fun treats and places to find those treats that will make any GF boy or girl very happy this holiday season.

Pure Pantry

I have to admit that I literally was just introduced to this fantastic on-line company this week by a friend's mother. The site offers a wide range of GF products, cookbooks, educational information and wholesale pricing.

Kara's Cupcakes ~

Who says that Santa only gets cookies and milk? If I were Santa, I can promise you that I'd want one of Kara's Cupcakes waiting for me on the hearth with a nice glass of almond milk! I ate my first GF cupcake from Kara's this past weekend. It was literally five minutes in Heaven as I politely devoured a sweet vanilla, coconut cake. Wow. Find a location near you. They would make a wonderful Christmas dessert or breakfast...or a snack. Kara's has seven location throughout the greater Sand Francisco Bay Area.

Tieton Cider Works

Never mind that my fabulous Aunt and her amazingly talented farmer husband founded this hard cider company, the fact is, their cider is just damn good! Fresh from their beautiful orchards in the Yakima Valley of eastern Washington, Tieton Cider Works produces some of the most organic and delicious apples and pears in the Pacific Northwest. All naturally gluten-free, TCW offers seven wonderful varieties to choose from and it's not too late to sign up your loved one(s) for their Tieton Cider Works Cider Club.

Shibumi Knoll Vineyards
Shibumi Knoll Vineyards is the dream-come-to-reality of my "second father," who envisioned his passion for years then made it his reality. Perched atop a gorgeous knoll in the heart of St. Helena, CA, Shibumi is a site to behold...and their award-winning Chardonnay that's featured at The French Laundry is one you won't forget. Shibumi Knoll produces very good to outstanding wines, all at a fair price, with Don's vision of bringing the grace that is Shibumi into your life...and every glass of his wine.

There are two protein/snack bars that I can't live without; Think Thin Crunchy Peanut Butter (thanks Mom!) and Kind Bars; Cranberry is the bomb. They make perfect stocking gifts and both come in a variety of flavors and to crunch, or not to crunch. Try them all!

Gift cards to your favorite grocery store are always a hit, especially given the increased costs of gluten-free foods. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods both carry a huge selection of GF foods, as well as offering handy gift cards you can load and share.

Beautiful Food to Read About ~

I still love the tangibility of holding onto a magazine and turning actual pages glittered with beautiful photos of tantalizing foods and great articles that cause you to pause, fold pages of favorite tips to revisit, and pile up on a night stand or coffee table. Here are a few favorites that make the best gifts during the holidays!

Sunset Magazine

Bon Appetit Magazine

Edible Magazine

Sun Valley Magazine

Gift of Apps ~

I'm one of those people who professed to never purchasing an iPad...ha. Well, five months later I'm hooked and believe that iPads are actually meant to be staples in one's kitchen. It's so much fun to cook interactively, watching videos, receiving virtual tips inside every recipe, and being inspired by amazing photographs. There are also some fairly good GF apps that make the life of a Celiac just a little bit easier and definitely more educated. Here's some fav's:

Jaime Oliver's app is gorgeous and awesome. Super interactive and includes a library so you can shelve your favorite recipes then when you purchase new ones they're automatically stored for you. Love Jaime!

Epicurious - Seriously, if you don't have this on your iPad ask Santa! It's so easy to use and the shopping list that melds all your chosen recipes into categories makes it a breeze when hitting just the right aisles at the store, not missing a beat or an item.

Food52 Their new holiday app is beautiful and deserves a large chunk of time spent perusing the recipes, photos and awesome tips for the home cook. I found this app via one of my favorite GF blogs, Gluten Free Girl and The Chef. To pull a well-written description of this app from her site..."This app not only contains recipes for the holidays like Le Bernadin’s Crispy-Skinned Fish, Kale with Pancetta, Cream, and Toasted Rosemary Walnuts, and Tipsy Maple Corn, but it also has a photographic guide to the most basic cooking techniques, baking 101, and prep for drinks. There’s also a holiday tip sheet for how to survive these crazy weeks. And, if I were more adventurous and had more time this year, I’d make the gingerbread house according to the specifications they provide."

Last but not least...I had to mention the new GOOP City app featuring NYC. Just came out this past week and though I don't live in NYC, nor maybe do you, this app put together by Gwyneth Platrow is loaded with really great finds, hot spots, delish eateries and shop-'til-you-drop ideas for your next long weekend on the Island.

Art/Jewelry ~

You can never go wrong at any time of the year giving art and jewelry to someone you love. Here are two recent finds that make giving both more affordable and realistic, as well as hip and stylish.

BSDA (Buy Some Damn Art): Funny, no? Buy Some Damn Art brings a hand-picked selection of some of the best independent art directly to buyers, arriving in their inboxes every week, with the intent to bridge the gap between prints and far-too-expensive originals for a new generation of art buyers.

Shibumi Gallery
- Located in the art district of Berkeley, CA this lovely little industrial-style gallery sells some of the most intriguing and lovely pieces of jewelry I've seen. From affordable dangles to more complicated, expensive pieces, the variety of artists are as varied as the prices. If you can't get to Berkeley, give them a call or visit their site where you can view and shop from your laptop or iPad.

Perfect stocking stuffers ~
For Your Health ~

Finally, for that active, healthy, gluten-free gal in your life visit Women's Quest and check out the inspiring adventures for body, mind, and spirit they offer. They can accommodate gluten free guests and are understanding of all celiac dietary restrictions. Their trips look amazing and the company was developed and refined over 16years by world champion triathlete, Colleen Cannon.

Yoga Works has become a favorite place of mine to reunite with my body, mind and spirit after a long day at work. If you or those you are shopping for are living in California or New York then you're in luck. With beautiful studio locations located throughout both states the variety of classes offered, including mat and reformer Pilates make every workout challenging and new.

In reviewing this list it's clear there are some wonderful products and offerings however, I would be remiss if I didn't mention (from my heart) where the true meaning of Christmas and giving comes from for me. This Christmas season I'm counting my blessings and all of the abundance in my life that can't be bought in a store or wrapped and beautifully placed under the tree. I'm thankful for my faith and for that tiny baby boy that was born one cold night in Bethlehem long, long ago.

A very Merry Christmas to you all and a blessed New Year!

See you in 2012! Can't wait to see what the New Year will bring.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all a blessed and wonderful gluten-free Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Globus - Ketchum, ID

Fall is here and I love it. Crispy leaves on the ground, colors abound and golden sunsets (like the one I'm watching now) remind me every day to breathe and stop for a moment or two to notice all the beautiful, changing light.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Sun Vally, ID - and as you might know, is seriously my favorite place to be on the planet. The weather was perfect and we caught the last weekend of gorgeous leaves, blue skies and crispy sunshine, making hiking to the Ketchum lookout on Mt. Baldy a dream.

All this hiking and fresh air worked up a serious appetite and I knew just the place to revisit (after many years) for a deliciously fresh and gluten-free meal...Globus! Located on the west side of Ketchum (at 6th and Warm Springs), Globus is this cozy, alluring, dark-painted walls (and ceiling) Asian-fusion,organic restaurant owned and operated by Wendy Muir along with her Executive Chef, Ryan Stadelman...and I love this acknowledgement as stated on their website; We are proud supporters of Idaho farmers and use local organic produce and all natural meats.

Ordering gluten-free at Globus was a dream. Our waitress was so attentive and aware, making great suggestions as to how I could modify my meal choice to be completely safe and enjoyable. And I had choices...several of them! If your taste buds are watering by now, then I'll share what I ordered, adding to the hunger pangs. My starter was the lovely cucumber "Noodle" salad with mint, cilantro, roasted peanuts, rice wine, and shallots. It had just the right amount of mint and the veggies were so fresh. My entree choice was even more unique and really delicious; Harissa marinated organic chicken breast which included quinoa and black lentil pilaf, shaved corn, walnuts, celery root puree (to die for), goats milk yogurt, preserved lemon, Golden raisin. The chicken literally melted in my mouth and the root puree is definitely a recipe I'm considering adding to this year's Thanksgiving table. Amazing.

I normally don't ever order chicken when I'm dining out, but I was assured that this little organic organic bird was going to be a very different, and it so was. There were also dessert options for those of us gluten-free'ers, however I was so sated and happy there was no way that I could eat another, we had a bag of goodies from the Sun Valley Chocolate Foundry waiting for us later :)

Next time you are in SV/Ketchum, ID treat yourself to a hike or most likely for the next five months, a run down Baldy, and a wonderful, romantic, and deliciously safe gluten-free meal at Globus.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Worth the wait...

After walking by Blue Bottle Coffee's never-ending line EVERY time I was at SF's Ferry Marketplace on the Embarcadero, I finally decided to endure the wait for what must be the world's best coffee, right? I mean you folks who have been there know what I'm talking about...and to top off the wait last weekend was Fleet Week so needles to say, I've never seen that many people packed in to SF at one time!

We waited in line...and waited...30 minutes passed before we were able to mutter the words to our order..."two cafe lattes please"...

Does it look worth the wait to you?

It WAS and it's gluten-free, of course. Warm and frothy in-hand, it tasted like a latte one can only find on the other side of the Pond...very Euro, very delish and really good. So good, that we carried our cups around for a couple of hours even after the last drops were consumed; it just felt right to hang onto that paper cup that we had earned donning the simple, yet clearly effective logo - Yeah for marketing and getting a cup of Joe right!

I'll be back next Saturday and yes,...patiently (or not) enduring the loooong line for frothy goodness.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Grilled Pork Tenderloin ~ A Delish Dinner

Last month I finally succumb to the iPhone - or as my best friend, Dr. William likes to tell me, "ahhh welcome to the 21st century - it's about we can face time." If you have an iPhone, you'll understand that last sentence. You see, he lives in Sydney, Australia and with our matching phones we can now chat on camera and share recipes - it's Skype without the issues!

This best pal of mine is also responsible for the recent uploading of more Apps than this woman needs, but I'm doing my best to delve in and learn them all! By the way, there are some great gluten-free apps available that are really helpful and useful at the grocery store...but I digress.

The best App that Dr. William added is Epicurious! Wow...I'm totally hooked and sliding through more amazing recipes at the touch of a finger. What captured my attention was how easy it is to search and then...are you ready...add your favorite recipes to the shopping list in one touch. The App combines every ingredient and lists them by grocery store sections so there's no need to repeat aisle 12 for mayo after you already had to pick up your garlic salt! LOVE IT. (All this info. is leading somewhere, I promise).

Two weekends ago, while visiting my parents we spent the afternoon playing golf together. It was really enjoyable, and as I was killing time on the first tee I asked my mom what I could cook for dinner that night? You see, my parents seem to love my cooking (no bias of course) and they eat almost exclusively GF, with or without me. So, I started scrolling through the Epicurious App and by the fourth hole I had our entire meal planned, saved and categorized on my shopping list. It was super easy and the combination of recipes I discovered were wonderful. In between drives and chipping I shared my meal idea with the folks who were equally as excited to try the new recipes, yet a bit frightened by the idea that my iPhone had such gastronomical capabilities! (Me too).

One of the best parts about the recipes I pulled together was they required little to no gluten-free tweaking in order to make them 100% safe. My only complaint-turned-suggestion for the Epicurious App people is that they add a gluten-free listing because they don't currently offer one. There's everything else under the sun, but nothing specific to gluten free recipe lists. Just be extra diligent when preparing meals in this way and substitute items with safe options, just as you always would when using a new recipe.

The meal my mom and I created is meant to be shared, enjoyed, and cooked again. Gather some good friends or family around the BBQ, pour a refreshing and lively Rose', sit back and let the meal unfold and listen for the "yummms and ohhhs" as you and your guests share this special and delicious meal together...the only credit I can take, is putting the combination of flavors together! :)

Grilled Ceasar Salad
Herbed Quinoa
Grilled Port Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa
Fresh Fruit Shortcake (on GF scone)

Serves 4

Grilled Caesar Salad ~

- 1/2 Cup bottled GF Caesar salad dressing (try Annie's)

- 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

- 1 Large head romaine lettuce (thoroughly washed)

- 1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes halved

- Grated Pecorino Roman cheese

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk dressing and mustard in a small bowl to blend. Half cherry tomatoes and grate Pecorino (as much as desired). Toss halved romaine (both sides) onto BBQ - grill both sides for 2-3 minutes just before leaves become too crispy. Remove and plate. Drizzle with dressing, place tomatoes and add grated cheese and serve.

Herbed Quinoa ~

- 1 Cup Quinoa

- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

- 1/2 Cup thinly sliced scallion greens

- 1 Tsp. fresh thyme leaves

Cook quinoa in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 12 minutes. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water. Toss quinoa with oil, salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Cool, then toss with scallion and thyme.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa~

For an even quicker meal, you can make the sauce and marinate the meat the day before.

- 1 Cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, divided

- 1/2 cup minced shallots, divided

- 6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, divided

- 1/4 Cup vegetable oil

- 2 Pork tenderloins, about 2 1/2 lbs. total

- 1/2 Lb. fresh cherries, stemmed, pitted, halved

- 1 Fresh green jalapeno, thinly sliced crosswise

- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Combine 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup minced shallots, 4 tablespoons lime juice, and vegetable oil in resealable plastic bag. Add pork; seal bag and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup shallots, 2 tablespoons lime juice, cherries, chile, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season salsa lightly with salt and pepper and set aside to let flavors to meld.

Remove tenderloins from marinade and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill tenderloins, turning frequently, until a thermometer inserted into meat registers 145F, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into thin slices and serve with salsa.

Fresh Fruit Shortcake~

This delicious treat is super easy to make - I bought fresh GF scones at Whole Foods, sliced them in quarters, topped with a wonderful organic Vanilla bean ice cream and fresh berries, then sprinkled with a touch of cinnamon. YUM!

Bon Appetit!

Friday, July 8, 2011

With Awareness...Comes Hope ~

I was especially intrigued and moved by a story that arrived via my Google Alerts today regarding a study finding that a low adherence to proper biopsy guidelines may be contributing to the under-diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Wow. I was so bothered by this article I had to Tweet it earlier today, believing that this kind of study and its paramount findings could be hugely important to the uber-necessary increase in swifter diagnosis time that's still plaguing the United States.

The study released this month (July 2011), and authored by renown celiac doc, Dr. Peter Green, Director of the Celiac Center Columbia University Medical Center, has found that most patients undergoing biopsy of the small intestine do not have the recommended number of samples taken during the procedure (recommended being four) to diagnose celiac disease.

Having undergone the very unpleasant Endoscopy procedure (more than once) in an effort to be diagnosed in 2000, I was fortunate that my results were positive the second time around. With that said, I was also an incredibly sick young woman, fading fast even at the hands of my capable Oncologist who believed I had the beginning stages of Leukemia and was only hours away from ordering me a blood transfusion. When my second set of biopsy results revealed that I did indeed have "Celiac Sprue," I cannot tell you how relieved my doctors, family, and I were to finally...after nine agonizing years, have a concrete result and answer. So as I read this study and article today I could feel the weight and struggle of all those patients out there right now fighting for their lives and for a diagnosis, one that could be easily overshadowed by the dare I say, negligence or oversight of doctors STILL lacking the knowledge to truly understand the gravity of this disease. It's not a diet, people!

I found this particular paragraph from the article to be most compelling and telling; "The investigators identified 132,352 individuals who underwent biopsy between 2006 and 2009, for a variety of medical indications, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, esophageal reflux, and anemia. Only 35 percent of this group had at least four specimens submitted, and the most common number of specimens submitted was two. But adhering to the recommendation of submitting at least four specimens more than doubled the diagnosis rate of celiac disease."

I truly urge you to forward this article to anyone you know who is struggling with any related symptoms to those of celiac disease, with the hope that more and more patients continue to bring informed questions and information to their doctors therefore, shining more and more light on this very, very important subject.

It really is a matter of life and death, so be your own advocate and one for those whose voice has yet to be discovered or diagnosed! :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone!! I hope this special summer day and weekend finds you enjoying delicious gluten-free food, outdoor fun in the sun, and celebrating with friends and family.

Today has found me lounging in a beautiful park in the shade of some huge, life-giving trees (along with our cruiser bikes), and enjoying the fluttering of a profuse amount of butterflies that seem to be following me around lately. This afternoon, two yellow and black-winged beauties actually ran into me in their fit of play. It was a delight to be touched by such divine little creatures. A butterfly can truly entrance me and bring me to the present moment as I watch their beauty - so free and authentic. What we forget is their struggle that comes first in the cocoon, only making their transformation that much more amazing and breathtaking.

Speaking of amazing...I wish you a wonderful 4th night filled with the vision of shooting stars, colors and loud pops!

Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Roasted Carrots ~

Happy Summer! Today is officially the start of the sunshine season; Summer Solstice.

So here's my summer news - Gluten-Free Bowl of Soul is back, with more soul and more fun stories, recipes, restaurant recommendations, etc. We (the blog and I) just needed a brief...(well, not so brief) hiatus to regroup and find our collective selves, spirits included. We thank you for your patience and understanding. You see, sometimes life's journey comes between a person and their creative juices, only to find out later that the interruption was of course, by design to help foster even more creative goodness and inspiration.

Carrots have inspired me this June...funny, huh? Recently I picked up the June issue at an airport, of Bon Appetit with Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover eating one of her pasta dishes. The issue is loaded with delicious recipes, stories, tips, and one particular recipe for roasted carrots that caught my eye. You think...awww, roasted exciting can that be, right? Wrong!

I've been picking up fresh, organic carrots now every Saturday at Farmer's Markets and roasting up a storm. Now, I know what you are thinking..."It's too hot to be roasting in the kitchen in June"...well, I'll just say in response, where else are you going to sacrifice a little bit of cool air in return for 475% of the RDA's recommended serving of Vitamin A in just one bunch of little carrots, huh? Amazing! If we could only teach everyone in America (Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution is trying) the true importance of eating what the earth provides for us, packaged in a rainbow of gorgeous colors, flavors, intensities,'s pure abundance. To know and appreciate the value of real food is a gift to be shared.

So, here's a super easy, delicious recipe that I'm hooked on for roasted carrots with dill. I have of course, added my own little spin to these leggy, tangerine-colored beauties, as I'm sure you will too.

Roasted Carrots With Dill:
Serves 2-3 (depending upon how many you are willing to share - I can eat them all!)

- 1 Bunch of large carrots

- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil

- 1 Tbsp. Unsalted butter or herb butter

- Sea Salt

- Freshly ground black pepper

- 1 Tbsp. chopped, fresh dill

In a roasting pan, toss 8-10 large carrots with enough olive oil to coat the top. Top with 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (this is where I use dill or garlic butter). Cut butter into small pieces, kosher (sea)salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven to desired tenderness, then turn the broiler to high and cook carrots until lightly browned. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill over carrots.

We (the blog and I) would love to hear what your favorite way(s) to prepare and eat carrots is...please send in your recipes and ideas.

Happy Summer everyone!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Blossoms Abound ~

As I gazed out my window this morning I was stopped in thought by the vision of these gorgeous blossoms that have suddenly come to life. The light was perfect, so I quickly grabbed my camera and skipped outside to try and capture the beauty of these sweet, delicate pedals and blossoms through my little lens.

The sunlight reveals beauty to us each and every moment of the day, but it's up to us to stop and take notice of what's being illuminated before our eyes. It is a gift to be halted from our mindless chatter and brought front and center to the present moment. The power of one blossom. It's the same in life and in our relationships. Stop and notice the ones you love every day. Compliment them, as you would a beautiful blossoming flower and relish in the beauty of spirit. Imagine the shift of light on our plane, and the amount of joy that would abound every day if we would remember this one, small and powerful sentiment.

This post and photos are dedicated to my Mother in honor of Mother's Day on Sunday. My Mom is so beautiful in spirit, both inside and out. Her love and patience continue to teach me to grow and become a better woman every day. I admire her essence and faith, which guide my family through the light and dark to joy.

Let's all stop to remember the incredible women who gave us life and say...Thank You.

Happy Mother's Day weekend!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Homemade Chicken Salad & New Books ~

Lately, I've been cooking much the old days, and really feeling the creative juices starting to flow once again. Part of the inspiration I must say, is due to the awesome package of new gluten-free and regular cook books that good old Amazon delivered to me the other day. There is just something so special about opening up a package of books, smelling that new-paper-smell, and diving into each cover like it's a gift just waiting to be discovered under the Christmas tree. Some of these books I've had sitting in my "shopping cart" just waiting for the right time, while others I've discovered more recently through on-line reading.

I've followed BabyCakes NYC success since they opened in Manhattan a number of years ago, founded by Erin McKenna. I have to say, I'm a little envious of her rise to success, having always wanted to open my own gluten-free bakery. The great news is they now have locations in Los Angeles too, so shipping their yummy treats is much easier and less expensive. Erin's cookbook titled after the shop, "BabyCakes" is mostly vegan but does have quite a few gluten free goodies to make and eat - I really can't wait to delve into this pretty little book and start baking away. The next time I'm in NYC, BabyCakes is one of the fist stops on my list!

The other gluten-free lovely that arrived is titled, "Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free," by baker Karen Morgan. I love this hard back for its gorgeous photos and perfect size, along with what look like some really delicious and mouth-watering treats. The recipe that really caught my eye, being the huge lemon fan that I am, was the lemon and rosemary buttermilk cookies with lemon icing...delish!

Moving away from strictly gluten-free, I am anxious to sit down with a nice cup of tea after work and dive into "Urban Pantry," by Amy Pennington. I first learned of this book from Gwyneth Paltrow's blog, GOOP, where she listed some of her favorite cookbooks. There's even a article out by the Christian Science Monitor regarding how Ms. Paltrow's mention of this insightful book helped it reach such success...and though I would love to hate her (just kidding), I can't...she's too cool and shares too many of the same joys and pleasures in life that I do, which is hence, why I also bought her inaugural cook book that was just released titled, "My Father's Daughter."

After work the other night, I nestled up with my favorite tea and literally read every single page of this beautiful book. I was especially moved by a certain page where Gwyneth paid tribute to her father and reflected upon a special dinner they shared together, their last, in Tuscany. I've shared a similar moment with my father, though thankfully, not my last. The love and admiration that she radiates towards her father is exactly how I feel about my amazing dad and in that moment, I had tears in my eyes...and yes, my stomach was growling, as well. It's a well-done book with a great layout and really interesting, fun recipes that even we "non-celeb" cooks can put together in our not-so-glam kitchens.

So there you have it...some great reading and creative, yummy dishes and desserts to inspire and feed. This week I decided on a whim to create a homemade chicken salad. I had an idea in mind because really, how tough can this dish be, right? But I wanted to create something with a tangy flavor that was nutritious and organic.

This dish would make for a great summer salad and definitely can feed a larger group when you just double the ingredient list. I even ate the leftovers for lunch the next day and the flavors were still fresh.

Homemade Chicken Salad ~
Serves 4

- 1 Head of red butter leaf lettuce

- 1/2 Cup of red seedless grapes

- 3 Large organic chicken breasts, or 4 medium

- 1/2 Cup of feta cheese

- 1/4 Cup of fresh walnuts, halved

- 1 Small Jar of Best Foods Mayonnaise(it's GF) - Will use two measurements

- 1/2 Cup of favorite Dijon mustard

- 4 Sprigs of fresh rosemary

- 1/4 Tsp. dill

- 1/4 Tsp. garlic salt

- 1/4 Cup Balsamic vinegar (which ever brand you love)or white wine vinegar

- 1/4 Cup Olive oil (I love Spanish oils but any you love will do)

- Pinches of sea salt and pepper to taste

- 1 Tsp. sesame seeds


The first step is to combine in a small bowl a 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard, a splash of balsamic (to taste), 2 Tbsp. olive oil and salt and pepper. Whisk the ingredients together and taste. Add more of any particular ingredient to your liking. Baste the chicken breasts with marinade on both sides.

Lay chicken flat on a non-stick baking dish and add sprigs of rosemary. I shucked the sprigs all over the chicken then placed the remaining two sprigs in the baking dish for extra flavor. Sprinkle chicken with dash of garlic salt. Bake chicken at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Set aside until cool, then chop in bite-size squares.

Wash and chop lettuce and place in a large serving bowl. Wash grapes and halve them. Place in side bowl. Chop walnuts in half and place in own bowl. Feta, the same.

Take 2 large Tbsp. of mayonnaise and mix in bowl (this will be the dressing for the chicken and ingredients) with 1 Tsp. of Dijon mustard, another splash of balsamic, 1 tsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Depending upon the tanginess you desire, use more or less balsamic or white wine vinegar. Whisk together then pour over chopped chicken and blend all together. After, add grapes and walnuts to chicken and mix.

Final step, add chicken mixture to lettuce and mix / fluff together until ingredients are evenly dispersed. Sprinkle feta on top, sprinkle on sesame seeds and serve. My version required another splash of balsamic/olive oil mix to the lettuce just to give it an extra something.

Enjoy and if you find other fun ways to modify this salad, please share them with us at Gluten-Free Bowl of Soul.

Next week - A flavorful restaurant review

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Edible Nutrition ~ Living Gluten Free

Be sure to pick up the new spring 2011 issue of Edible Reno-Tahoe Magazine at Whole Foods in Reno or at a ton of other locations throughout Northern Nevada/Tahoe. Not only does this beautiful issue highlight women involved in the local food movement of No. Nevada, featuring fellow Basque-o Nicole Sallaberry, (co-founder of the Great Basin Community Food Co-op in Reno) on the cover, along with a great story on free-range eggs, but my gluten-free article, Edible Nutrition, Living Gluten Free, is also featured on pg. 22. The goal of this article was to provide readers who are either Celiacs or avoid gluten in their diet, a guide to eating and shopping safely and gluten-free throughout Reno and No. Nevada. We have more resources than one might have previous thought. If there are other restaurant locations or great finds not included, please let me know so we can continue to grow this list.

It's such an honor to be included in this magazine and my good friends, editor/creator Amanda Burden, and her fabulous photo partner, Jaci Goodman have put together once fine publication!

Pick up your copy today and enjoy a wonderful read and serves as a great resource guide that will further enhance life and great eating in No. Nevada.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Blue Sky Snow Day ~

It's such a beautiful day to admire the gifts of nature and to be so grateful for such a blue sky!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spinach with Quinoa ~

So I am kind of on this spinach kick lately as you can see. I'm a huge fan of spinach and love using it in so many dishes, salads, soups, sautés, you name it. There's something magical about cooking an entire head of spinach in a sauté pan and watching it shrivel down to a handful of goodness, toasted with garlic and olive oil.

My favorite grain now is quinoa and I also find ways to use it with many meals. I've often created salads with both quinoa and spinach, along with some feta cheese and toasted walnuts, and just recently found an improved version of my salad creation in Sunset Magazine. A reader had added some lemon and red chili flakes to my same salad, creating a zestier version that's really quite delicious and so easy to make for lunch or as a side dish for dinner.

Citrus, quinoa, and spinach salad ~
Serves 4 to 6

- 1/2 Cup quinoa (I really like Ancient Harvest brand)

- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

- 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

- 1/2 Tsp. red chili flakes

- 1/4 Tsp. kosher salt

- Pinch of pepper

- 6 Oz. baby spinach

- 1/4 Cup sliced green onions

- 1/4 Cup crumpled feta cheese

Cook quinoa according to the package directions. Meanwhile, whisk together the zest, juice, oil, chili flakes, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Then add washed spinach and onions. Mix in the warm quinoa and sprinkle on top of the salad with the feta.

Easy. Delicious. Healthy. Gluten-free!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Growing Pains ~

Change and growth help to make the world go round. They allow for life to spring forth and the sun to shine down upon us each and every day as our planet spins around the solar system, yet they are also the verbs (to change; to grow), that can cause pain and fear, trepidation and angst, are they not?

I've been in the middle of huge change and painful, necessary growth for some time now. There are times when life calls from the depths of our souls and though we might try to deny those faint cries, eventually, they surface and we are faced with choices, paths, and decisions. The hardest part for me is in needing to take a journey of growth that's calling, yet wanting those I love the most to come with me. To keep up…that's not fair. Growth is a journey one can only take alone, in a sense, and asking those we love to follow not on their own accord, is pushing for changes and outcomes that are not yet ours to know. I'm learning that real love is the kind that lets go, sets free and does so with only the most honorable of intentions. Yet selfishly speaking, also hoping that the ones we love might see our change, my change, and are inspired to sprout new buds of their own. It would be really nice if they were to sprout buds in a similar direction and meet again in the sun, heads turned toward the light in symmetry. One can only hope, believe and maybe inspire, knowing that in life we are all both teachers and students throughout the journey. Being mindful of that simple and profound fact is in itself, a magnificent lesson to honor.

I've learned the hard way that if we don't take a chance, step out from behind our shells, our protective armor and hiding places, then we can never truly be immersed in light. Be seen. Vulnerability equals clarity and light. It is such a hard path at times, choosing ourselves and walking forward towards the emptiness. Sometimes that's what having Celiac Disease feels like to me. You can either embrace the differences we face and jump into a life of challenges and joy, or stay stagnant on the side of the pool, treading water waiting for a life vest to be thrown in. We all tread water most of the time, but it's in the crucial moments when we choose to either reach for the end of the pool, gasping and choking and pushing our way there, or remain clinging to the wall with our safety belt on.

Having a disease that alters the way you view every morsel of food is put into your mouth, your body, is much more psychologically challenging than most can comprehend. I find myself constantly weighing the risks of eating in new locations or food prepared by someone, even in-kind whom I have to trust, knows what they are doing.

With all the new gluten-free products available on store shelves it has become "enjoyable" for a Celiac shop for food. I've become keenly aware that there's now a certain level of comfort a Celiac can acquire, stocking pantry shelves with goodies and supplies, buying take-away pizzas, baking Betty Crocker cookie mixes, you name it. It's funny to me how quickly we humans can grow accustomed to abundance and how painful it becomes when that abundance fades or is no longer available. We love ease and why wouldn't we? Transitioning from less to more is essentially how the world is set up to thrive, and as I look back over the past ten years of life living with Celiac Disease, I see clearly how growth of a product, of a line of crackers, of the gluten-free industry is propelling so many who live sans-wheat to a different level of comfort, of life. Is it better this way? Probably, but what defines "better?” In my humble opinion, as long as the new-found abundance of gluten-free products don’t cross over into “junk food,” and are able to remain true to some authentic form of nourishment, and that we Celiacs are reminded to cook fresh foods, not falling into the tundra of “frozen foods,” then what’s transpiring is better and actually, really great. Imagine being a celiac toddler who will have the distinct advantage of growing up her entire life with safe food, that’s readily available. Growth.

As my world view adapts and changes in the midst of my growing pains, I feel the instinctive need sometimes to seek shelter and rest. Then I watch a sunflower. Even when the skies are cloudy and dark they will instinctively seek the sun’s rays. Through whatever Mother Nature throws at them, they turn their magnificent heads upwards and stretch towards the light.

What could be more inspiring, more beautiful or more challenging?

Use the Force. Seek the light.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spinach and Radicchio ~

What's your first memory that comes to mind when you hear the word spinach? For me, it's the immediate picture of Popeye the Sailor man, from the cartoon with those metal cans of spinach being consumed whole by Popeye in moments of peril, when he needed instantaneous strength to ward off any evil-doers. It brings a smile to my face just remembering him gulp-ing down those cans of spinach, which always and miraculously migrated directly and immediately to his biceps, suddenly bulging to life with strength...if only the spinach I eat would offer me those same dynamic effects!

All kidding aside, I do love spinach (and kale) and try to cook it often and incorporate it into my diet through a variety of recipes. Spinach has quite a robust history for such an unassuming, flowering plant. Spinach is thought to have originated in ancient Persia (modern Iran). In AD 827, the Saracens introduced spinach to Sicily. The first written evidence of spinach in the Mediterranean are in three tenth-century works...but here's my favorite tid-bit... after it arrived in Spain, by the latter part of the twelfth century it was nick-named the "captain of leafy greens," by the great Arab agronomist Ibn al-'Awwam. Isn't that the truth, though it's going to have to duke it out with Kale first, for that title.

My most favorite way to cook and eat spinach is finding it fresh from someone's garden - No store-bought brand can really compare unless it's truly organic. Recently, I cooked up some spinach and mixed it in with some gluten-free pasta and sun-dried tomatoes for a tasty and nutritious meal.

Spinach & Sun dried tomato pasta ~
Serves 4

- 2 Heads of fresh spinach, washed, sliced and stems removed

- 3 Cloves of fresh garlic

- 1/2 Cup sliced or chopped sun-dried tomatoes

- 1 Bag of gluten-free pasta (I used Penne)

- 4 Tbsp. olive oil

- Salt and pepper to taste

- 2 Tbsp. fresh, grated Parmigiano

Sauté the sliced garlic in olive oil until soft then add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook until both are tender. Add spinach and some salt and pepper. Cover with lid after mixing together and let simmer until spinach is wilted and cooked down. Continue mixing ingredients while sautéing as to not stick to pan. When cooked, set aside with lid on.

After the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain, and add a dash of olive oil with salt. Then in one large bowl add pasta and the sautéed spinach mixture from the pan. Mix together and add fresh parmigiano. Serves four.

Another beautiful and nutritious veggie that I'm beginning to become more fond of is Radicchio. Its gorgeous purple leaves are so enticing and can be cooked and used in such a variety of ways, many of which I haven't a clue yet. I know it's great in risotto's and tossed in different salads to add a bit of that chicory flavor and color. It's also wonderful grilled with olive oil, which is how I like to prepare it; simple and can be served alone or serve with a roasted sausage or milder meat.

Grilled Radicchio~
Serves 4

- 1 Head of Radicchio, leaves washed and stems trimmed

- 2 Tbsp. of olive oil

- Refined Sea Salt to taste

Place washed leaves onto a heated grill, BBQ or sauté pan (med-high heat). Allow leaves to wilt and brown but NOT burn. Quickly remove, drizzle with olive oil and a dash of sea salt. Serve.

The more years that pass living life as a Celiac, the more I realize the value, nourishment and safety in cooking and eating a multitude of fresh vegetables. Bust out of your cooking comfort zone and try some new and "strange" veggies that you don't normally cook. There are truly so many colors, shapes and amazing flavors of veggies in your produce department just waiting to be picked and brought home for dinner.

Bon appétit, gluten-free style!