Viva Las Vegas Gluten Free! (Part One)

My review on the gluten-free meals I enjoyed on my recent trip to Las Vegas!


My clothes are still in my suitcase but I just had to write this post while the excitement and flavors of Vegas are still fresh in my mind! I had an amazing time, and it was a lot of fun sharing my trip with those of you who follow me on Instagram along the way. I got a lot of questions about where I was eating and I tried to answer as much as I could, but I’m dying to go into much greater detail for you guys!

First let me start by saying if you’re just doing research by going online and looking for gluten free menus you might miss some amazing places. The best meals I had on the entire trip made no mention of having a specific gluten free menu, but because they sounded so great, I emailed ahead of time for confirmation that they could accommodate my allergy. Most places were more than happy to! So if there’s a place that sounds like something you would love to try, don’t be discouraged by the lack of a gluten free menu, or else you might miss out on an awesome meal!

Mon Ami Gabi in Paris (Brunch):

 

This is really the only breakfast I had on the whole trip (My body and stomach couldn’t get used to the three hour time change so I never actually craved breakfast foods, LOL). I had this on my list to try for dinner, because they have a designated gluten free menu for dinner, but when we flew in I was starving and figured even though they didn’t have gluten free items listed on their brunch menu, I could probably find something. I was super excited when the waitress informed me that they could do the French toast, waffles, and eggs Benedict completely gluten free. I’m a French toast kind of girl, so I jumped right on that, and I wasn’t disappointed! It came with three pieces of French toast dusted with powdered sugar, blueberry syrup and fresh, hand-whipped cream. It looked and tasted so perfect, that if it had not come with an allergy marker on it, I would have panicked for a second thinking I was eating the real, gluteny thing!

The Palm Restaurant in Ceasars Palace (Lunch):

 

Do you want an amazing deal while you’re in Las Vegas that doesn’t involve sitting through some three hour timeshare meeting? The Palm restaurant has a three course, $25 meal called “The Power Lunch”. I got the mixed green salad, Atlantic salmon fillet with mango salsa and a side of steamed vegetables, and a slice of flourless chocolate cake. There was perfection in the simplicity of the meal. The salad was just radishes, carrots, and mixed greens with a garlic vinaigrette, but it was so perfectly composed and dressed, that it was one of the best salads I’ve ever had. The flourless chocolate cake was like a big slice of chocolate truffle, it was so dense and fudgy! Make sure you get a cappuccino with it!

Shake Shack in New York New York (Lunch):

  

I have to admit that I had actually never heard of Shake Shack before, but because my husband was so excited about it, I had to try it! They have a really simple menu, which is always a good sign, because they clearly focus on doing a few things very well. I ordered a single shack burger without a bun, fries, and a chocolate shake. Let me tell you, the fries were some of the best I have ever had! I’m not sure if they’re made in a shared fryer, but that doesn’t usually bother me, so I was fine. Be sure to ask though if you’re really sensitive to that.

Well that’s it for part one of my meals in Las Vegas! Click here for all the amazing dinners that I had on the trip!

Fall Recipe Roundup Part Two

Paleo, vegan, and clean eating recipes perfect for fall weather.

  

Well, it’s my favorite time of year again! I’ve got long sleeves on, I’m drinking a pumpkin chai latte with almond milk, and I’m looking out over the tops of the trees in my neighborhood as they change from green to yellow (in a very trendy ombre way, I must say!). Time for boots, long sweaters, crisp mornings, and comfort food! Here are some of my favorite recipes to warm you up this season!
 

Pastelon (Caribbean Shepherds Pie)– paleo, dairy free, gluten free, one pot meal

Chipotle Orange Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes– paleo, dairy free, gluten free, one pot meal

Buffalo Cauliflower “Boneless Wings”– paleo, vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free

Spicy Kale and Andouille Sausage Soup– paleo, dairy free, gluten free, one pot meal

Chipotle Roasted Butternut Squash Soup– paleo, dairy free, gluten free, can be made vegan

Cranberry Sauce– paleo, gluten free, dairy free, vegan

Black Bean Brownies– vegan, gluten free, dairy free

 

 

 

Summer Recipe Round Up

Gluten free, vegan, and paleo recipes for summer cookouts and picnics! 

  Well, The Fourth of July has passed, and that means one thing to me: It’s officially summer!!! I’ve gathered some of my recipes up that have all of the delicious flavors of the season, and most of them you won’t even have to turn your oven on!

Strawberry Milkshake– paleo, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, grain free, no cook

Orange and Beet Salad– paleo, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, grain free, no cook

BBQ Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Sliders– paleo, gluten free, dairy free, grain free

Cucumber Mint Margarita– gluten free, dairy free, vegan, grain free, no cook

Chilled Strawberry Cracked Pepper Soup– paleo, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, grain free, no cook

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies– vegan, gluten free, dairy free

Chocolate Berry Pavlovas– gluten free, grain free

Kickin Strawberry Lemonade– vegan, gluten free, dairy free, grain free, no cook

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownie Cookies– gluten free, grain free

Smore Icebox Cake– gluten free, no cook

Keylime Icebox Cake– gluten free, no cook

Salty Chihuahua– gluten free, dairy free, grain free, vegan

RAW PALEO SEA SALT FIG AND PISTACHIO ENERGY BITES

Raw, vegan and paleo sea salt, fig and pistachio energy bites are the perfect no bake protein snack on the go!

(null)

I’ll admit, the healthy lifestyle I’ve embraced recently isn’t incredibly on the go friendly.  I’m constantly looking for a snack I can grab quickly on my way out the door, that’s equally as quick and easy to eat.  We’re talking no heating up, mixing or anything, just open a package and it’s ready to eat.  It’s a tall order but one that is imperative to fill, on a busy day at the salon snacks (and coffee) are what keep me going, and chances to sit down and enjoy a meal are nonexistent.  Let’s be honest, time at home is precious as well, between spending time with my husband, meal prepping, cleaning, and working on this blog; making the snacks needs to take minimal time and effort as well.  So I’ve been experimenting with different combinations of nuts and flavor enhancers, to make something so delicious that I would want to eat it even if I had time to make something else! These raw paleo sea salt, fig and pistachio energy bites are my favorite flavor combination so far!

*Makes about 25

Ingredients:

2 cups almonds

3/4 cup shelled pistachios

3/4 cup dried figs (with stems removed)

1/2 cup pitted dates

3 Tbsp honey

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Place 1/4 cup pistachios and 1 tsp sea salt into a food processor; pulse until finely ground but not powdery, put in a small bowl and set aside.

Place almonds into a food processor and pulse until they’re the consistency of crumbly sand (not quite as fine as almond meal).  Add the remaining 1/2 cup of pistachios, dates, figs, honey, the remaining 1 tsp of sea salt and cinnamon to the ground almonds.  Pulse until the ingredients start to cling together and form clumps.

Form mixture into bite sized balls, a little more than a Tbsp size.  You can use your hands, or I have a silicone cookie scoop (kind of like this one) that I pack the mixture into.  If it seems crumbly at first and doesn’t stick together, keep working with it, the warmth of your hands will heat the honey and dates up to help it stick together.  Then roll the balls into the sea salt pistachio grounds you set aside earlier until coated.  Place on a piece of parchment and continue until you’re out of the mixture!

These will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 7 days, in the refrigerator for a month, and in the freezer for 6 months! Enjoy!

PALEO CRANBERRY SAUCE

This paleo cranberry sauce (or chutney) only takes about 30 minutes to make and its gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegan and grain free!  Put it in a cute mason jar and give it as a hostess gift at your next holiday dinner!

IMG_0023.JPG

My first thought after making this Paleo cranberry sauce was “If it’s this easy, why do people even buy the nasty canned stuff?!”
Either people don’t know it only takes 30 minutes and minimal effort to make this beautiful, fresh cranberry sauce that is the perfect balance of tart and sweet, OR with everything else you have to make for Thanksgiving it’s just easier to grab a can and slice it up so there’s one less thing to make. Well, now you know it’s super easy because I just told you, and I’m also going to let you in on another secret: You can make this weeks ahead of time and freeze it, before you even begin to worry about the one million other things you need to get done before Turkey Day! Did I mention how impressive it looks?

 

Ingredients
4 cups fresh cranberries
2 pears; cored, peeled and diced
2 Granny Smith apples; cored, peeled and diced
1 and 1/4 cups water
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
1 cup pitted dates; chopped
1/3 cup crystallized ginger; finely chopped
1/2 walnuts; chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt

*Makes approximately 3 pints

In a large sauce pan over medium/high heat (I used a Dutch oven) combine cranberries, water, maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, cloves and salt; bring to a boil. Allow to boil until cranberries pop, stirring occasionally; about ten minutes. Lower to a simmer and remove cloves and cinnamon sticks. Add remaining ingredients except for the walnuts and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in walnuts.

I store mine in glass mason jars in the freezer until ready for use, thaw and keep refrigerated. Enjoy!

PALEO VEGAN CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Paleo vegan chocolate pudding is not only gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free and egg free, it has a secret healthy ingredient: avocados!

20141112-214614-78374421.jpg

This paleo vegan chocolate pudding is the bomb! Do people still say that? Well, if they don’t they will again once they taste this!

The hardest thing about going paleo is taming my sweet tooth. I know sugar is addictive, and I have cut out all processed forms of it, but I will not give up maple syrup, honey or dark chocolate! You can pry them from my cold dead hands!!! (I know that’s extreme but I really feel strongly about sweets!). With that being said, sometimes I just get the craving for something creamy, cold and chocolatey, and it doesn’t go away until I get a fix. (Again, I know sugar is addictive, but let me have this one thing, damnit!). Out of this craving paleo chocolate pudding was born!

I recently had a dinner party where I wanted to try this out on some of my non-paleo friends to get their feedback, I realize I’m an adventurous eater so it’s always good for me to get a second opinion that isn’t my loving husband’s. I also like to see if someone who didn’t choose this lifestyle would still choose to have paleo chocolate pudding when they could easily have jello! Anyways, at the party I told my guests that the pudding was dairy free and that they had to try to guess what it was made from instead of milk. No one could figure it out. The secret ingredient is…..*drum roll*….. AVOCADOS!!!! (You have to say avocados like Oprah is introducing a guest there, that is how it is written in my head). That’s right, my favorite omega 3 packed super food is the base for this chocolate pudding! Avocados have been shown to lower bad cholesterol and improve heart health, so if someone asks you what you’re eating, tell them “medicine!”. This is healthy right? I mean it’s practically a salad. A chocolate covered banana salad…. Mmmmm….

Ingredients:

4 Avocados; peeled and pitted
2 Bananas; peeled
1/2 cup dairy free/soy free dark chocolate (melted)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp honey

In a mixer with a whisk attachment (or in a bowl using a hand mixer, or in a food processor) combine above ingredients and mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours before serving. Optional: top with whipped coconut cream. Yup, it’s that easy, there’s no excuse not to make this.
Enjoy!

PALEO CARROT CAKE COOKIES

Paleo carrot cake cookies, gluten free, dairy free, grain free cookies made from almond pulp left over from homemade almond milk. 

 IMG_4616.JPG

 

These paleo carrot cake cookies were born out of the fact that I hate to waste anything!  My wonderful husband has recently started making us homemade almond milk every week from the recipe found on the blog Against All Grain, and I have started trying to find ways to use the almond pulp you are left with.  After the last experiment of turning the almond pulp into grainless maple cinnamon granola  (which I would say was very successful!) I decided to continue treating it as oats in a recipe, since the textures are similar.  I’m only three weeks in on my new paleo lifestyle and the sugary cravings I would once give into are in full force, so I decided to try to turn the almond pulp into something that only seems indulgent, and still follows the paleo guidelines.  I was unsure of how these would turn out, but I’m happy to say they are the perfect marriage of healthy cookie and delicious carrot cake!

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups of dried almond pulp (if you don’t have almond pulp, just send 1 and 1/2 cups of almonds through a food processor until coarsely ground)

3/4 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup dairy free/soy free chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup maple syrup

pinch of salt

To dry almond pulp:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place almond pulp on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spread out in an even layer, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

Turn oven up to 325 degrees.

Combine dried almond pulp, chopped pecans, grated carrots, chocolate chips, cinnamon, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and an egg.  Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and stir until completely combined.

Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for a half an hour.

Once chilled, pack the cookie dough into a tablespoon and drop onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with coconut oil cooking spray (flatten the top of the dough out a little bit).  Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow to cool completely before storing (that is if you don’t eat them all off the cookie sheet as they’re cooling!) Enjoy!

 

Makes 20 cookies.

 

 

KEEPING ALMONDS, PECANS, WALNUTS, MACADAMIA NUTS AND PISTACHIOS FRESH

 How to keep nuts fresh when you buy them in bulk

20141017-155850-57530418.jpg

Are you eating rancid nuts?! Lol. Let me explain:

Let’s say you’ve got the good intentions to start replacing potato chips and candy by snacking on nuts. You buy a 48 oz bag of almonds at your favorite big box store (can’t beat it for $13!), go home, open it, eat a handful, pop a chip clip on them and stick them on the counter or in your pantry. Now the recommended serving size of almonds is 1 oz, if you are diligent and have a single serving every day, you still didn’t eat them fast enough before they started going bad sitting on your counter top, in fact, they were rancid for the last two weeks of snacking. Gross. Not many people know that nuts contain oil that can go rancid if not properly stored. Once opened from their original packaging nuts will go rancid in about 4 weeks if kept at room temperature. I don’t know anyone who can eat that many almonds that quickly, so if you aren’t going to use them right away, make sure you store them properly!

I divide mine up into little snack packs and place them in the refrigerator where they’ll keep for 9 months, the rest in mason jars for the freezer, where they’ll keep for an entire year! Feel free to use your favorite storage, Tupperware, freezer bags, mason jars; just make sure they’re air tight and kept cool!

FALL RECIPE ROUNDUP

20140919-211327-76407667.jpg

I had my first pumpkin flavored item of the season yesterday so I’m going to go ahead and officially declare that fall is upon us! Since my world revolves around food, what better way to kick off autumn than a recipe roundup full of the flavors that make this my favorite time of year: pumpkin, cinnamon, cranberry and sweet potato!

Breakfast:

Morning Glory Muffins– One more recipe to try and put a dent into all the zucchini you still have coming out of your yin-yang!

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes– If ever there was a breakfast to eat before going to pick out the perfect pumpkin, this is it.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding -This also might be a good pumpkin/apple picking pre-game breakfast.

Almond Milk Chai Tea– Drink this and you can hear leaves crunching under your boots.

Sides and Appetizers:

Mountain Green Beans and Potatoes– I have a freezer full of green beans from clients’ gardens (I have the best clients!) and this is my favorite way to eat them.

Cranberry Sausage Bites– All of the comforting flavors of Thanksgiving in one bite without having to listen to your crazy aunt complain about Obama.

Sweet Potato Biscuits– Pair these with any soup you make for a little extra comfort.

Entrées:

Buffalo Quinoa Bites– The perfect tailgating treat! (You might also enjoy the Super Bowl recipe roundup I did for more tailgating ideas!)

Bean Soup– I’m working on a meatless, but still hearty, version of this recipe so stay tuned!

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili– There’s nothing better than coming home to a crockpot of this chili after a long day.

Dessert:

S’more Icebox Cake– All of the flavors of a bonfire, without your hair smelling like smoke.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies – Thanks to my lovely clients once again, I have lots of strawberry preserves at my disposal, and these are my current obsession.

Pumpkin Icebox Cake– You had better make this before you’re sick of pumpkin flavored everything.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALING MEAL PLAN UPDATE

20140902-195336-71616437.jpg

Well it has been two weeks since I wrapped up my week-long digestive system healing “cleanse”, similar to the GAPs diet and I am happy to report that I still feel great! I have been able to pinpoint a few things that upset my digestive system and give me heartburn and I have found that as long as I stay away from them I feel amazing!

My digestive system irritating culprits are:

Raw onion- Immediate sickness, I’m talking the worst heartburn EVER and almost flu-like symptoms. (Yuck!)

Black coffee- It isn’t so bad if it’s more almond milk than coffee, but I had a cup of straight up black coffee and thought I had ruined all of my hard work. My stomach became super inflamed and I was sweating like crazy! I can’t give up coffee (it goes hand-in-hand with my workaholism) but I’m definitely going to dilute it from now on.

Dairy- It was never my friend in large amounts, I get an ear ache and super mucousy, ew.

I’m still avoiding most raw fruits and vegetables since they’ve always taken a toll on my digestive system, but the few salads and the amazing cantaloupe right out of my uncle’s garden I had didn’t seem to make me as sleepy and crampy as usual!