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I’ve written in the past about the cold beet soup I discovered on my trip to Lithuania a few years ago. In fact, I have been making a dairy-free version of it for a while. I figured since I’ve got it nailed down, I should probably share, since it is vegan, paleo-friendly and Whole 30.

I started with this recipe from Arousing Appetites, and modified the heck out of it. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients Big bowl o’ soup is ready to chill!
  • 6 small roasted beets (from one box found in the produce aisle at the grocery store)
  • 3-4 pickle spears
  • 1/2 a medium-sized cucumber
  • 2 cups coconut yogurt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 handful fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • 2 green onions, mostly the green part, finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
What to do The best part of this soup is the fried potatoes on top!
  1. Grate the beets, cucumber and pickles into a pretty big bowl. (I diced the pickles because I was about to grate my finger)
  2. Add the coconut yogurt and stir it all together.
  3. Take a big scoop of the veggie and yogurt mix and put it in the blender with the coconut milk. (This is a good chance to pick out any large chunks and pulverize them.) Pulse to combine. Then pour it all into the bowl.
  4. Add the herbs and onions, then squeeze the lemon juice in. Stir it all up! Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. I used a fair amount of salt but very little pepper.
  5. You can eat it right away, but it’s better with some time for the flavors to combine. At least 20 minutes in the fridge is nice, but I think this soup tastes better the next day!
  6. Stir it up well before serving. I like to top mine with fried, diced potatoes.

Would you try this cold beet soup? What’s your favorite soup to make? Tell me in the comments!

The post Lithuanian Saltibarsciai recipe (vegan/paleo) appeared first on Gluten Free Fab Life.

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Yes, it’s March and I’m just getting my top ten from 2018 together. It was a year, ya’ll, and January tried to kill me.

If you’re keeping track, this is the third year of annual recaps: check out
2016 and 2017 if you’re curious about my past greatest hits. On to this year’s favorites!

#10 Whole 30 approved vegetable side dishes

Who wouldn’t love a few Whole30-compliant vegetable side dishes? I feel like so many of the recipes out there are meat-heavy, so finding a few vegetable-only dishes (ok one has bacon in it) was a relief. Apparently you like your vegetables, too!

#9 Fun with Amazon Prime Day 2018

Amazon Prime Day is in July, and there are so many deals that it can be overwhelming to sort through them all. I took the best of what I could find and linked them up here.

#8 Hiking in the Sandias: how I got started

I started hiking in old sneakers and regular gym clothes. I learned what I needed on the fly so you don’t have to! Get all my tips on the early equipment you’ll need here. (Since this article, I received a hand-me-down backpack that I bought a water bladder for, and I recently bought microspikes for snow hiking.)

It is pretty life-changing to be able to see everything in the drawer, though.

#7 Learning to let go and make space

I Konmari-ed my dresser drawers six months before it was cool/before the Marie Kondo Netflix show.

Does anyone else just get stressed out watching other people sort through their hoards? It does not bring me joy.

#6 Gluten free news: junk food edition

A bunch of new gluten free goodies hit the market all at once. I am sorry to report that my market did not get the new gluten free Girl Scout cookie, so I have a box of sad Toffee-tastic cookies in my desk drawer right now.

#5 Chickpeas changing the allergen-friendly food game

From flours to pasta to meringues, chickpeas are turning up everywhere. See why this legume is so popular with allergen-friendly foodies.

#4 It’s my second blog-iversary

This was my celebration of my blog’s second anniversary. February 1, 2019 was my third blog-iversary! I should write that story too.

Magic Bullet Old Fashioned

#3 Magic Bullet cocktail: the Bullet Old Fashioned

My dad sent me home with a case of Magic Bullet, so I phoned a friend and got to work inventing a cocktail.

#2 My favorite Instant Pot recipes

Who isn’t on the Instant Pot train at this point? Just about everyone I know is pressure cooking everything. I have tried several recipes found online and rounded up a few that I really liked.

#1 Magic Bullet: hangover prevention?

As mentioned, my dad is selling this hangover preventing beverage, so I did some research on the ingredients to see what it’s supposed to do. It does seem to work and has saved me a couple times already!

If you’re still reading this, thanks so much for your readership over the last three years! While this never became profitable in the way I’d hoped, it sometimes pays for itself and it’s been such a learning experience.

What do you want to read about in 2019? Tell me in the comments!

The post 2018 in review: Top ten articles appeared first on Gluten Free Fab Life.

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It’s my favorite time of year! I love coming up with great gift ideas for your friends and family with dietary requirements. This year, I’m going all the way paleo with my recommendations. This means all the recommendations will be about the grain-, dairy- and legume-free lifestyle. Here we go!

Cookbooks

When I did the Whole 30 last year, one of the first things I learned was that I would be doing a whole lot of cooking for myself. Your paleo pals that are new to the lifestyle, or looking for new recipes to try out, will love any of these cookbooks.


Cooking equipment

With all that home cooking, your friends and family might need a bit of a kitchen upgrade. I have loved my Instant Pot, as I’ve mentioned a time or two, but there are lots of things your paleo chef may need.


Snacks

Who remembers the airline sad banana story? Since paleo eating can be challenging out in the real world, it is best to be armed with emergency food at all times. Here are some fun options.


Specialty

Here are the miscellaneous ideas that don’t really fit anywhere else!


For even more ideas, check out my gluten free gift guides from over the years:

What are you hoping for this holiday season? Tell me in the comments!

*Products featured in this article are linked via the Amazon Associates program. I receive a small percentage of purchase totals when things are bought via these links, which helps offset web hosting fees. It costs you nothing! If you’re going to buy these or other items via Amazon, please consider using one of my product links to make your purchase. Thank you!

The post 2018 gluten free (and paleo) gift guide appeared first on Gluten Free Fab Life.

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After almost six years gluten free, I had to give up dairy a couple months ago as well. I wondered if perhaps my sensitivities had changed, so I decided to re-try gluten over the long holiday weekend. My mom and I made tortillas with organic all-purpose flour and to my surprise, I had no stomach issues. However, after four days of eating a little bit every day, I started having some pain and inflammation issues, and that has gotten progressively worse every day since. I stopped eating gluten again as of yesterday, and I’m hoping this clears up soon. My skin’s not happy, either!

If you decide to retest gluten, I recommend that you start with an organic flour, and that you keep your first try as simple as possible. We made flour tortillas and made sure there was nothing else there that could cause a reaction. This recipe is pretty similar to what we made, but instead of 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, we used 1 tablespoon of canola oil and about 4 tablespoons of soy-free Earth balance. We also added 1 teaspoon of oat milk to the mix. I thought I was in the clear after a couple days of no trouble, but then the body pain set in.

Small consolation

Left: turtle cheesecake
Right: cherry cheesecake
Both: Daiya (& delicious)

So it looks like I will remain gluten, dairy and soy free for the near future. On the plus side, Daiya makes a “cheesecake” that fits all the requirements, so we made two different versions of it for Thanksgiving dessert. On one piece, we used cherry pie filling, but on the other, we used a vegan caramel sauce, chocolate syrup, pecans, and crumbled chocolate cookies to make a turtle-style cheesecake that was crazy good.

Have your food sensitivities changed over the years, or are you pretty much stuck with them forever? Do any of the supplements for eating dairy actually work? I guess I should try that next and report back… tell me in the comments!


*Products featured in this article are linked via the Amazon Associates program. I receive a small percentage of purchase totals when things are bought via these links, which helps offset web hosting fees. It costs you nothing! If you’re going to buy these or other items via Amazon, please consider using one of my product links to make your purchase. Thank you!

The post Retesting gluten with mixed results appeared first on Gluten Free Fab Life.

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The temperatures finally dropped here and it’s beginning to feel like fall. In fact, as I was typing this, I got a weather alert warning that it may snow early next week! From leaves changing to pumpkin spice everything, ’tis the season to make comfort foods. There’s something about autumn that makes you crave warm, filling meals and traditional seasonal treats. I’ve rounded up my fall favorite recipes!

Hearty meals

Green chile corn chowder (make it dairy-free by swapping the cream for coconut cream)

Green chile enchiladas (make it dairy-free with coconut yogurt and your favorite cheese substitute)

Gluten free pocket pies

Lentils and rice (make it dairy-free by subbing margarine for butter)

Yellow split peas with spinach (make it dairy-free by subbing margarine for butter and using coconut yogurt instead of sour cream)

Seasonal desserts

Gluten free apple slab pie

Gluten free Rice Krispies Treats turkeys (dairy-free but watch your ingredients carefully. Marshmallow Fluff contains eggs!)

And don’t forget to order some pumpkin spice coffee K-cups while you’re at it!

We had so much fun making those turkeys last year with my nephews. That was a great little project for them!

What are your fall favorite recipes? Have you had a pumpkin spice latte yet? Tell me in the comments!


*Products featured in this article are linked via the Amazon Associates program. I receive a small percentage of purchase totals when things are bought via these links, which helps offset web hosting fees. It costs you nothing! If you’re going to buy these or other items via Amazon, please consider using one of my product links to make your purchase. Thank you!

The post Fall favorite recipes appeared first on Gluten Free Fab Life.

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I mentioned in my last post that I’m giving up dairy (again) and for real this time. So I’ve been doing a lot of my own cooking, because eating gluten and dairy free out in the wild is a bit difficult. I have been modifying recipes I find online to mostly good results. Here are a few recipes I’ve tried and modified to fit my needs!

Beef Stroganoff (a new recipe)

Beef Stroganoff over mashed potatoes

I made a pretty good beef stroganoff about a year ago when I first started the Whole 30. This one comes from Instant Pot Eats and is easily modifiable to be dairy free. I swapped 1/3 cup of coconut yogurt for the sour cream, left out the peas and parsley, and added a tablespoon of coconut aminos to the cooking liquid. It was awesome, I served it over mashed potatoes made with chicken stock and Earth Balance (the soy and dairy free one.) I will definitely make it again.

Beef Gyros

Y’all, I have been craving a gyro for months, but between the gluten in the pita, the gluten in the meat, and the dairy in the tzatziki, none of that was going to happen outside of my kitchen. So here’s what I did. I found this recipe for beef gyros from Tastes Better from Scratch, which I cooked in the Instant Pot. The only modification was that I used beef broth instead of water, and I made about half of what the recipe calls for.

I thought the tzatziki recipe there was a little odd since it didn’t have any cucumber in it, so I found this one from the Food Network. Instead of a cup of greek yogurt, I used 1/2 cup of coconut yogurt and 1/2 cup of coconut cream (put your can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for a day and the cream will separate from the liquid. You want the thick stuff here.) I blended that together in my Magic Bullet (the blender, not the hangover prevention drink) and then followed the directions exactly. It’s so good, I’ve been eating it on things that are not gyros.

The pita I used is from MyBread, and it’s gluten and dairy free. I found it at Sprouts in the refrigerated bread area. I toast it in a dry frying pan for about a minute on each side, just to get a little color on it – it’s really good. It is not paleo, but the meat and tzatziki (as modified) are.

So I just used all of the above, plus some sliced tomatoes and a bit of lettuce, and it was heaven. It was so good that I forgot to take a picture – whoops!

Apple Cinnamon Carrot Mini Muffins

Apple cinnamon carrot muffin with dark chocolate chips is this week’s breakfast of champions!

I know, it sounds a little crazy. Bear with me. For the longest time, I ate that apple-sweet potato bake I discovered during the Whole 30, but I just got sick of it. I’m not eating completely paleo (as evidenced by the pita bread!), and I’ve tried a few different breakfast options. I did bagels and peanut butter for a while, then made a tater tot casserole (that got old quick), and was even making bacon and egg tacos in the morning for a while. None of it has been the right mix of filling, convenient and easy. Enter the muffins full of fruits and vegetables.

I found this recipe for Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Mini-Muffins at The Comfort of Cooking, but couldn’t find a sweet potato at the grocery store. Thankfully, I remembered reading that carrots could be used, so I went that route. I swapped the flour for Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 Baking Flour, cut the brown sugar down to 1/4 cup, and used applesauce and carrots in the places there are options. I ran out of mini-muffin paper cups, so I made half minis and half “regular” –  I have those Ikea silicone cups that are a weird shape, so they are a little tall and skinny. I topped some with dried cranberries before baking, and I threw a handful of dark chocolate chips in to the end of the batter for the last three muffins. They are awesome. I made them yesterday, and today they were already getting kind of sticky/too moist in their bags. Some are in the freezer, so hopefully when I bring them down one by one, I’ll avoid the sticky phase.

I managed to grate three carrots and an apple with no injuries, then promptly grated a knuckle while doing dishes.

Knuckle grating aside, these dishes have been my biggest successes over the last week of cooking. I also made an unremarkable Hungarian Goulash that I probably won’t repeat, and threw together a baked potato soup that was just okay. They can’t all be home runs, right?

What are you eating these days? Have any favorite recipes or bloggers that are gluten and dairy free? Let me know in the comments!


*Products featured in this article are linked via the Amazon Associates program. I receive a small percentage of purchase totals when things are bought via these links, which helps offset web hosting fees. It costs you nothing! If you’re going to buy these or other items via Amazon, please consider using one of my product links to make your purchase. Thank you!

The post Adventures in gluten and dairy free cooking appeared first on Gluten Free Fab Life.

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It’s been a few months since I decided to let go of some stuff to make space, and my closets (and slate?) remain clean. However: I gained back 16 pounds of the 25 I lost last year (argh), and my stress levels have been through the roof. A couple weeks ago, I started up round two of cleaning up my act, this time focusing on diet and stress management.

Diet

Lithuanian Saltibarsciai is a cold beet soup traditionally made with kefir. I made this non-dairy with coconut yogurt and rice milk. It’s delightful.

I learned last year from the Whole 30 that I am sensitive to dairy. But, I’ve been eating it anyway, and over the summer, I just pretty much went for it. That, and I was drinking alcohol almost every day. All that cheese and cider really adds up in terms of calories, so even though I was still exercising 3-4 times a week, the weight crept on.

I’ve been back off dairy for two weeks (with an accidental oops in there), and I’ve cut the drinking down to about 2 times a week and only a drink or two each time. I’ve been dealing with a weird neck injury (from sleeping, naturally) for about a month, and since kicking my bad dietary habits, I’m finally starting to heal. Inflammation is no good! And, despite the fact that I’m exercising far less due to pain, I’ve already lost four pounds. 12 to go to get back to this year’s lowest weight (plus another 9 I’d really like to ditch.)

Stress management

One of the things I love but haven’t been able to do lately is hiking. With my neck all messed up, I haven’t been up for carrying a pack or being too far from home. I’m going to get back at it this weekend, hopefully, and perhaps regain a little sanity out in nature.

So in place of that, I’ve been doing lots of creating at home. This has mainly been focused in two areas: cooking and fixing up furniture.

Cooking

My experiment in faux mozzarella looked pretty good!

Since giving up dairy, I find myself slightly obsessed with cheese-like substitutes. I have tried Daiya and its ilk, but it tastes weird and doesn’t melt right. So now, I’ve been dabbling in making cheese-like things from cashews and nutritional yeast, with mixed results. Anything made from cauliflower is a lie, FYI. I did like this Easy Vegan Mozzarella Cheese from Minimalist Baker, and I made a decent nacho cheese sauce from potatoes. So now I’m doing things like soaking raw cashews and going through loads of nutritional yeast, and wondering why no one can make fake cheese that melts.

Fixing up furniture

My other new hobby is taking sturdy but cosmetically unattractive furniture and making it pretty again. With instruction from my mom (shout out to Gluten Free Grandma T, who is actually Dairy Free Grandma T now) and a little assembly assist from my stepdad, I’ve finished two things and have another two in progress.

Before and after – the yellowish dresser

The first project was to beautify a free dresser I acquired. It was kind of an ugly yellow wood, and was pretty dirty and beat up when I got it. The insides of the drawers had kid drawings in pen, and there was some kind of rodent poo in the bottom. Lovely. So, we cleaned it up and my mom taught me how to sand. She also glued the top of the dresser back down (yay.). I then painted the whole thing white. Finally, I lined the drawer bottoms and the outside of the drawer sides with contact paper. It looks so clean, I love it!

The second project was to build a small bookshelf out of two wooden crates I found on my street (with a “free” sign on them!) My stepdad put a piece of wood between the two crates, and attached legs with more wood at the bottom. The wood was scraps in the garage, and the legs came from an old desk they had. He assembled the whole thing for me.

Before, during and after – two wooden crates become a little bookshelf.

I took it home, cleaned it up, and sanded it with my orbit sander that I got for my birthday (thanks, parents!) I then painted it the same white as the dresser and used the same contact paper to line the back of the shelves on the inside (the crates had some pretty big cracks and holes.)

All in all, I’m really happy with both of those projects and they look nice in my guest room. My next two projects-in-progress are an end table with a veneer top that I am in way over my head with, and another little end table with a drawer that started out bright blue but will eventually be gray with a contact paper drawer.

What do you do to deal with stress? I even stress clean, though lately I haven’t had the urge! Have you ever given a piece of furniture a makeover? Tell me in the comments!


*Products featured in this article are linked via the Amazon Associates program. I receive a small percentage of purchase totals when things are bought via these links, which helps offset web hosting fees. It costs you nothing! If you’re going to buy these or other items via Amazon, please consider using one of my product links to make your purchase. Thank you!

The post Still cleaning and letting go appeared first on Gluten Free Fab Life.

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From Trader Joe’s to the Girl Scouts, it seems everyone’s adding new gluten free products this month. Here’s a roundup of interesting new gluten free junk food offerings on the market!

Dunkin’ Donuts: Gluten free chocolate brownie

You’ve probably heard by now,  but Dunkin’ Donuts is offering a gluten free chocolate brownie nationwide. It comes individually wrapped so there’s no fear of cross-contamination. According to Hannah Drown of cleveland.com:

“Oh boy is this brownie good. No crunch here, this soft gooey chocolate treat practically melts in your mouth.”

And at only $2, that’s a treat I can actually afford. I must confess, I work across the street from a Dunkin’ Donuts and I haven’t managed to drag myself over there to try it. Mostly because if it’s good, I’ll be over there all the time.

Trader Joe’s: Gluten free macaroni and cheese

This shining endorsement comes via Popsugar:

“The introduction of this gluten-free, four-cheese meal is a definite game changer. While TJ’s used to offer a different, two-cheese option for gluten-free eaters, the brand went back to the drawing board and modeled its newest creation after the oh-so-popular Diner Mac ‘n Cheese, which is famously thick and creamy.”

Even though I am mostly avoiding dairy these days, I must have this.

Milton’s Craft Bakers (via Costco):
Gluten free cauliflower crust pizza

I am already a massive fan of Milton’s Everything Crackers. So when I see new things from them, I am inclined to give them a go. However, I am without a Costco membership! Readers, if you have seen these anywhere else out in the wild, please let me know.

Again, Hannah Drown of cleveland.com is dropping knowledge:

“This pizza is not just good, it’s really good. So good in fact I almost forgot it’s a cauliflower crust. It’s so doughy and sturdy at the same time, I wouldn’t believe this was a cauliflower crust if I hadn’t put it in the oven myself.”

She goes on to note that the roasted vegetable version has “high-quality and abundant toppings.” Seriously, who do I know with a Costco card?

Girl Scouts: a new gluten free cookie!

photo credit: Photographing Travis Those went quickly via photopin (license)

I was relatively unimpressed with the Girl Scouts’ Toffee-tastic gluten free cookie, and we apparently don’t get Trios in my region. So I remain hopeful that their newest offering, Caramel Chocolate Chip, makes its way into my region… and my possession. From Fortune:

“Caramel Chocolate Chip—which is comprised of caramel, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and a hint of sea salt in a chewy cookie—will be available in select areas during the next cookie selling season in 2019.”

Cookie selling season starts in February, so we have a mere six months to wait. In the meantime, if you’re missing Thin Mints, check out my review of Goodie Girl Mint Slims!

Have you tried any of these new junk food items yet? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!


*Products featured in this article are linked via the Amazon Associates program. I receive a small percentage of purchase totals when things are bought via these links, which helps offset web hosting fees. It costs you nothing! If you’re going to buy these or other items via Amazon, please consider using one of my product links to make your purchase. Thank you!

The post Gluten free news: junk food edition appeared first on Gluten Free Fab Life.

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Ok, this is not your usual Fab Life post. Amazon Prime Day is Monday, July 16, and boy do they have a load of deals coming up! Amazon describes Prime Day as “an epic day and a half of deal for our Prime members.” Not a member yet? Sign up for a free trial here!

Before Monday, you can earn a $10 Amazon credit for Prime Day a couple of different ways shopping at Whole Foods. The easiest is to spend $10 at Whole Foods by July 17. Get the full details (and the other way to do it that I don’t quite understand at The Takeout.

I thought I’d gather up some deals that may be of interest to my readers. As you know, I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program, which means I receive a small percentage of purchase totals when things are bought via these links. It helps offset my web hosting fees, and it costs you nothing! If you’re going to buy these or other items via Amazon, please consider using one of my product links to make your purchase.Here we go!

Food and beverage

Gluten free K-cups! Not flavored, but the brand is safe:

Magic Bullet (the hangover prevention drink I wrote about, and made a cocktail from) will have a 20% off coupon for Prime Day (7/16 and 7/17):

Entertainment

My stepdad got me a subscription to Reader’s Digest, and I really enjoy it! This is a great deal:

I’m sure there will be loads more announced in the next few days, so check the Amazon home page for more deals on July 16!

Do you have your eye out for anything in particular on Prime Day? Do you find yourself buying stuff just because it’s a great deal (I totally do this)? Tell me in the comments!

*Products featured in this article are linked via the Amazon Associates program. I receive a small percentage of purchase totals when things are bought via these links, which helps offset web hosting fees. It costs you nothing! If you’re going to buy these or other items via Amazon, please consider using one of my product links to make your purchase. Thank you!

The post Fun with Amazon Prime Day 2018 appeared first on Gluten Free Fab Life.

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