Showing posts from 2017

Women's Weekend in the Woods

I am beyond blessed to know the wonderful Gina Molinari - a wonderful adventurer, yogi and downright awesome person.

How we met was a pure accident and honestly, almost didn't happen.
I had a work acquaintance that invited me to a donation based community yoga class. Since I already had a work exchange pass, I really didn't see the need to pay for a class (even if it is $5.00), but I went with it because I needed some social time in my life.

Gina was teaching the class and I actually recall that she was wearing a dark blue sweatshirt and a blue and white scarf. - Don't ask, I remember weird things.

Anyhow, I felt connected with Gina almost immediately. Her class always starts out with a question along the line of  "what do YOU need today?" and then she asks that you honor that and yourself and that throughout the practice you flow the way your body is asking you to. Not necessarily the class she is preaching, but whatever movement works for you.

Seriously, I kno…

Zucchini Bread Banana Whip (Gluten-free)

Zucchini Bread Bannan WhipIngredients:
- Spices (Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Almond Extract)

- Frozen Bananas

- Frozen shredded zucchini

- Toppings (optional, but I used fresh banana, frozen blueberries, and dates)

Vegan Rob's (Gluten-Free, Vegan, GMO Free & Plant Based)

Vegan Rob's - Live & Enjoy!

Rob has brought back the enjoyment of eating snack foods.

It has been years since I have even attempted to try new varieties, as every time I found it to come even close to being "Nicole-Safe" the product was: as hard as a rock, stale, soggy, mushy, weird tasting, full of chemicals or odd ingredients that I couldn't begin to pronounce and just overall not an appealing experience.

When I found Vegan Rob's, I started to reconsider snack foods. I started researching the product line and found the company was claiming to be able to offer a healthy option for those that love to snack but still able to focus on nutrition and compassion for all.

I was hesitant, but as my special delivery arrived, I was amused by the fun marketing. The box is adorable, the products names are catchy, and each package is brightly colored and I just wanted to rip them all open and try each one immediately!

I have somehow contained myself and this far only demo…

Carrot Banana Pineapple Smoothie

2 Cups Carrots
Fresh Ginger
1 1/2 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Pineapple
1 Ripe Banana

Blend until smooth and then enjoy!

Simple Vegan and Gluten-Free Summer Dinners

Here is a quick and simple no-cook recipe for those hot summer nights!

I spiralized some zucchini, tossed it in a basic dressing and fresh herbs and then steamed some delicious zucchini and vegetables!

Simple. Delicious. Healthy!

Not every delicious and healthy meal needs to be difficult or time-consuming - sometimes simpler is better.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Strawberry Basil Banana Whips

Need a quick and easy allergy-friendly dessert idea for all the summer BBQs coming up?!

Check out this simple, yet elegant strawberry basil whip.

Fresh Ginger
Fresh Basil
Handful of Frozen Strawberries
2-3 Frozen Banans
Spices of choice (Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, etc.)

Steps: Toss it all into a Vitamix and let it roll!

Strawberry Basil Banana Whip

Summer time is here! Oh how I welcome you with open arms and heart!

My mind has been really in need of the longer days, the warm arm hugging close and the smell of newly blossomed flowers.

Later in the evening when I am craving something sweet, I like to quickly blend together a whip of some sort.

While I knew I loved the sweet and basil combination, for some reason, I had never tried it in my whips before - so I went for it!

Couple frozen bananas, fresh ginger, frozen strawberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and basil and on my way to deliciousness!

Cooking For Others Is My Medicine

While some might choose to meditate - others might choose to go for a run -some might even turn to shopping; but for me, I find cooking for others rather therapeutic and rewarding.

I am sure I get this from my parents. When we were younger (who am I kidding, dad still does this) my dad would find the way to show others you love them and truly care is to cook for them. Mom would find that she could share her feelings in baking. Every holiday or any chance family was visiting, mom would take the time to make one her "famous" goodies. Things I recall the most would be: Fruitcake, Kolache, Sugar Cookies, Apple Pie and Blueberry Pie.

And so I guess I took these lessons from my parents and twisted them into my own unique way of sharing the love via food.
"Cooking is love made Visible." BUT since I am single and live solo these days, I don't often have the opportunity to cook for others. Especially since, when I do visit family, I don't want to compete with my paren…

Spicy Grilled Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini Rice (Gluten-Free, Vegan, & Oil-Free)

I think we all know how much I am in love with Formosa Hot Sauce.

Being that we are entering into the summer BBQ season, all the more reason for me to start backup experimenting with some new recipes!

I knew immediately that I wanted to grill the white sweet potatoes on the charcoal grill and of course some fresh grilled zucchini is always a pleasant treat as well.

I had some fresh cilantro and scallions, so I figured dry grill the potatoes and then toss with the Formosa Jalapeno Sauce and fresh herbs.

I have been seeing a lot of buzz about zucchini rice so I thought I would give it a try on the grill.

I used the spiralizer and then chopped it into smaller pieces (not perfect or uniform by any means but I was afraid to make it too small for the grilling process).

I then added some carrots, onions, garlic and seasoning and tossed it on the grill for a couple of minutes.

Overall the meal was enjoyable. I liked the zucchini rice, but need to work on perfecting that recipe some. The potat…

Gluten Free & Vegan Spring Lunch

As the seasons are changing, so are my taste buds. I find that the closer we get to warm days, I want less of the heavy cooked foods (winter squash, oatmeal, etc.) and more of the "light" cool spring foods (mango, herbs, cucumber, etc). So the saying goes, eat with the season.

After running around all day attempting to accomplish the ever-growing to-do list, I was starving and it was past my typical meal time so I wanted something quick and easy.

I had been craving protein and decided to mend this with an avocado mash. I grabbed some gluten-free bread and simply smeared some fresh avocado. I added a touch of pink salt and fresh herbs, but other than that, I decided to leave it simple. Which seems to be easier on my digestion.

To counteract the heat and heaviness from the avocado- I added a fresh zucchini noodle salad with fresh herbs and a touch of lime.

Lastly, I had some leftover fresh vegan spring rolls with a turmeric orange dressing.

For a quick meal, I must say, I out…

Peas and Zoodles (Gluten-free & Vegan)

"Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?"

As the season changes, I love simple light salads for dinner. 
This one, in particular, was one of the easiest, yet tastiest I have made. 
I simply spiralized the zucchini and then added some freshly grated ginger and lemon peel, lemon juice and fresh herbs (basil and cilantro). 
When it was just about time to eat, I warmed some frozen peas and tada- easy peasy dinner.

Greater Philly Gluten Free Expo 2017 Recap

This year marked the 2nd annual Greater Gluten Free Expo and it brought many more vendors, a larger venue space ( yes, that means larger aisles!), and additional concession foods!

A big thank you to one the Expo's larger sponsors, Wegmans, for providing a festivity of gluten free samples!

Some newbies this year
1.   Chocolate Moonshine
2.   Bella Luca
3.   Metaballs
4.   Norwex
5.   Vientiane Cafe
6.   Local Mama Catering
9.   Juice Plus
10. Good Shall's Quality Meats
11. Supernola
12. Harvest Seasonal Grill
13. Luv Superfoods
14. Tangerine Betty
15. Baba's Brew
16. Grandma's Grotto
17. Mert's Nuts
18. Grainful
19. Archer's Cafe
20. Rose Gluten Free Bread
21. Stroopies Lancaster Co. 
22. Sweet Lady Bug Bakery
23. Pure Fare
24. Avondale Natural Foods
25. VOR

Some of the old-time favorites
1. The Happy Mixer - their donuts are the BEST gluten free donuts around!
2. Luv Superfoods
3. ProYo
4. Goodman Gluten Free
5. Manni's 
6. Mom's Organic Market

Some of the…

Formosa Hot Sauce - The Real Deal! (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Formosa Hot Sauce is the BEST!

Honestly, I am so tired of paying big bucks on hot sauces and not getting any flavor!

Formosa was kind enough to send me a mix of items for review.
 - Jalapeno
 - Habenero
 - Chipotle

While each variety was flavorful, fresh, creamy, gluten-free, vegan, and sustainably sourced - my favorite was Jalapeno. This is most likely because of my love (slight obsession) for cilantro!

Regardless, they only two complaints I have, was one of my bottle's lids broke during transportation to my parents and that the ingredients list "oil" and I try to avoid oils as much as possible.

What I really liked was the flavor. Each bottle had a slightly unique flavor but all packed a nice heat to them - and not the kind that you want to eat and then cry. In addition, the sauces are creamy and can certainly be used as a marinade!

Formosa Hot Sauce is currently located in the California area but their recipe originated from Mexico where the owner's brother-in-law&#…

Plantie - Get Plant Strong

I had the opportunity to meet with Alicia from Plantie.

Alicia's HISTORY She studied biology, with the hopes to one day, become a Veterinary doctor, but changed paths early on and enrolled in Philly Univ to study fashion merchandising 
After graduation, she went to work in corporate America for QVC, West Chester, PA. Alicia worked and enjoy the company for almost 7 years but just knew in her heart that it was not her calling. While continuing to work with QVC, she enrolled and completed her plant-based nutrition and holistic health nutrition certifications
Plantie was born in November 2016.
Plantie's Goals When we dream, we dream big and it is in our dreams that things we thought once impossible, become possible. One day Alicia would like to own her own farm sanctuary and help educate others. 
Alicia can picture herself living off the fruits of your own labor and the extras going to sustain her very own plant-based cafe where all our welcome!
Plantie's Philly Favorites Vedge V…

A Visit Back to Sunset Moon and Wellness Superfood Cafe, Bryn Mawr, PA

I recently wrote about my experience at Sunset Moon and Wellness Superfood Cafe in Bryn Mawr, PA and I have to say, I may have just been overly hopeful, as I really wanted their concept to work!

It can't be that hard for someone to open the perfect restaurant for those dealing with food issues like I am - or is it really impossible!?

I went back to the cafe this time with a group of ladies to check out their brunch scene. We arrived around 12-12:30ish, which is when I think brunch is really just getting started... and we found a couple of the menu options (it's already a limited menu) were already sold out. Seriously!? No tofu scramble for us.

The cafe is small and seating is limited and I do understand that everything is made to order and with love, but there was one customer, already served just enjoying the atmosphere while she tackled some work. Then there was another two-top, my group of three, and one other two-top that walked in while we were there. There was three wait…

Gluten Free and Vegan Zoodles with Mushroom Cream Sauce

One of the more simple, yet tastiest dishes I have made in awhile.

I simply steamed some mushrooms that I had on hand and tossed in some zucchini.

Then I added my typical spices (turmeric, fennel, mustard seeds, seaweed, apple cider vinegar....) and let that simmer until tender. Then tossed it into the Vitamix, mixing until creamy.

In the meantime, I spiralized a zucchini and then mixed it all together, sprinkling some scallions ontop.


Sunset Moon and Wellness Superfoods Cafe, Bryn Mawr PA

I finally made it to Sunset Moon and Wellness Center in Bryn Mawr, PA.

I was really looking forward to it since the entire menu is gluten-free friendly and vegan!
Whoop Whoop! Thank you for offering a dedicated menu for people like me - wanting and needing to eat in a healthy manner!

BUT, just because it is healthy, I always question:

The atmosphere, is it warm and comfy - like you could sit and stay all day or is it cold and damp?The service, are the "uppity"? You know what I meanDoes the food actually taste good?Is the cost crazy??Would other nongluten-free and vegan individuals want to join me? I am slightly disappointed that they do not open to 8 am. This is 100% selfish of me, as I like to get into work early so not starting breakfast and tea time until 8 am can be a struggle for me. 

So I arranged to meet a couple friends for breakfast and we all entered the lobby area and immediately complimented that the atmosphere was very organic and welcoming.       Check on atmosp…

Vegan and Gluten Free Turmeric Honey Jackfruit Salad

When you purchase an entire fresh jackfruit, you have no other choice but to become creative!

This time around, I went with a honey-turmeric seaweed salad! Same basic ingredients I have been using (seaweed, ginger, garlic, turmeric) for most of my jackfruit concoctions, but this time around I added some local raw honey at the end.

The honey added a nice sweetness to the dish - making it a bit more warming to the soul.

Gluten Free and Vegan Easter Jackfruit Pot Pie and Avocado Zoodles

Jackfruit Pot Pie For the Stuffing Fresh jackfruit(both the white string-like pieces and the fruit flesh)Dairy-free milk (I used almond)Agar AgarTumericBlack PepperFennelCeleryGarlicCarrotsFrozen PeasGluten-free Soy SauceApple Cider VinegarSeaweedLemon JuiceWaterVegetable bouillon
For the crust 2 Plantains1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon baking powderGarlicCilantroLemon JuiceApple Cider Vinegar

Process: I soaked the fresh jackfruit in a mixture of: Vegetable bouillonDairy-free milkAgar Agar (used as a thicking agent)CeleryBlack PepperGarlicSeaweedLemon JuiceTouch of waterTumericFennel After setting overnight, I then added the carrots and begin cooking over medium heat for about 40-minutes or until carrots became soft. I added the frozen peas just in time to steam. 
I then turned the heat off, covered, and let sit while prepping the plantain crust. 
For the plantain crust, I made it simple on myself and added all ingredients to the Vitamix to blend well. 
I then scooped out my filling into my…

Vegan Jackfruit Chicken Salad (Allergy Free)

If you have not yet read about the new buzzworthy vegan meat option, here is another plug for the jackfruit.

The jackfruit, to my understanding, is in the fig tree family. The pulp is about 70% water, 20% carbs and a bit of fat and protein mixed in.

I choose to purchase the fruit itself rather than the canned variety - fresh is always better in my book!

I had no idea what I was doing! The woman at the store did let me know it would be on the sticky side, but I didn't know just how sticky!

When cutting into the jackfruit, it is coated with a sap-like consistency, thus making it necessary to cover your prep area and I also choose to wear some gloves.

I watched a couple youtube videos and off I was!

Man! This was a task, carefully cutting away the brine, peeling the white flesh, scooping out the fruit pulp and preserving the seeds (which can be boiled or steamed and consumed).
     **Please note, if you wait to cut out the fruit pulp until you are ready to consume, the flavor seems to…