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Korean Bi bim bap is my favorite meal in the world. It literally means “mixed rice, and it’s topped with an egg. Life doesn’t get much better than that.  Thank you to Delta Blues for sponsoring this post and sending me your fragrant Jasmine Rice!

I vividly remember my first encounter with Korean food. My then-fiance, soon to be husband, wanted to expand my culinary palate. We visited a small Korean restaurant, a stone’s throw from the high school where we both fell in love with foreign languages and culture. I was at a loss for what to order. Our waiter, full of humor and not missing a beat, stated – “Just like Raymond, everyone love Jap Chae.” My husband and I still laugh about that 15 years later. This recipe however, is nor for Jap Chae. Today I share my love for Bi bim bap, the Korean’s version of a burrito bowl. Only better because you #PutAnEggOnIt.

To be honest, I don’t remember the first time I had bi bim bap. I do however remember my husband making this dish for me. This dish, IMO, is a labor of love. While not difficult, bi bim bap requires lots of little steps. Little steps that create a mouthful of flavor. (I’ve included a video link in my recipe if you’re a visual learner.) This dish uses loads of vegetables, a bit of protein, and sits on a bed of rice. Make sure you use a good rice- no “minute rice.”  I chose Delta Blues new Jasmine Rice for this dish. I wish I could open the bag under your nose. It is SO incredibly fragrant. I also love their white rice, which I used for my Tres Leche Rice Pudding, and their Rice Grits, which I used for my Bits and Grits Waffles.

Bi bim bap is the perfect dish for this time of year. It is traditionally eat on the eve of the Lunar New Year. Why, because Korean tradition believes that leftovers are bad luck going into the New Year. Therefore, this dish uses up all the bits of leftover vegetables and meat so you start the New Year fresh. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about “refrigerator clean out.” In addition, I  love the idea that meals like this cut down on food waste. For example, did you know that America leads the world in food waste? We pitch up to 50% of our produce! Maybe we can change that, one bowl of bi bim bap at a time.

Because bi bim bap features vegetables and rice, it becomes a dish almost naturally gluten-free. There are a few key ingredients that you want to verify though. First, the marinade for the meat, as well as some of the vegetables, traditionally call for soy sauce. I always use low sodium San-J tamari instead. Their line of products bear the GFCO certification seal and taste AMAZING. In addition, bi bim bap traditionally includes go chu jang as a side sauce. However, most go chu jang pastes on the market contain wheat. Therefore, I only buy Chun Jung One. I snagged a bottle at my local Meijer, but you can buy it on Amazon.

The visual appeal is one of the highlights of bi bim bap. While you can use any vegetables for protein you like, the idea is to place vegetables of different colors next to each other. For example, I used green vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber and spinach. However, I made sure not to place them next to each other. Or more accurately, my husband made sure I didn’t place them next to each other. You can serve bi bim bap in any bowl, but I invested the money in a “dolsot” bowl. This bowl can be heated over the stove. which crisps the rice in the bottom of the dish. If you’re a fan of “crunchy bits” in a meal, then I highly suggest getting one.

Of course, all that presentation goes out the window when you prepare to eat. As stated before, the dish translates into cooked rice (bibim), mixed (bap). Crack open that gorgeous yellow yolk and mix it into the dish for a taste that’s hard to beat. While you can eat this dish with a fork, we prefer to use chopsticks. Did you know that Korean chopsticks are different than Chinese or Japanese chopsticks? Korean chopsticks feature a “roughed up” or ridged end. This helps you hold the food better! I just love learning about foreign cultures and food, don’t you? If

What ethnic foods are your favorite? What dishes would you most like to try? Leave me a note in the comments and I’ll see about crating an International Gluten-Free Recipe RoundUp! 

**This post was sponsored by Delta Blues Rice. I was provided free product for recipe creation and monetary reimbursement for my time and energy. My thoughts and opinions are completely my own, and I have been a long time fan of Delta Blues Rice. This post also contains affiliate links.**

Bi Bim Bap – Korean “Mixed Rice” Bowl
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Delta Blues Jasmine Rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • For the beef
  • 3/4 - 1 lb ribeye beef or chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1.5 tsp)
  • For the marinated cucumbers
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thin circles
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • For the spinach salad
  • 4 oz spinach
  • 1/4 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • Other vegetables
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 pkg fresh portabella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 can LaChoy Bean Sprouts
  • 3-4 eggs, fried or poached

Instructions

  1. Marinate beef (or protein of choice) in ingredients listed and let set while other vegetables are prepared.
  2. Prepare cucumbers in marinade and let set until preparation of bi bim bap. Prior to assembling the bi bim bap bowl, drain ad squeeze out excess liquid.
  3. Cook Delta Blues Jasmine rice in water. Boil for 15 minutes, and then allow to set for 10 minutes to continue absorbing water.
  4. Prep remaining vegetables by slicing them then. Cook them separately, sauteing 4-5 minutes in a clean non-stick skillet of wok. I used canola oil to cook my vegetables so it would not discolor them and keep the colors vibrant. Lightly salt each vegetable after cooking. Cook mushrooms last, as they are the darkest.
  5. Quickly prepare spinach salad, quickly sauteing spinach and onions. Set aside.
  6. In a hot skillet, cook thin sliced beef on a high temperature. Do so quickly, no more than 5 minute, until all the deep red is gone.
  7. In the bottom of a dolsot bowl coated with sesame oil, place a helping of rice. Arrange the vegetables around the edge of the rice, and place the beef on top of the rice. Top the beef with the fried or poached egg.
  8. Place dolsot bowl on top of heat and cook until you hear the rice sizzle. I suggest cooking 5-10 minutes on an electric stove.
  9. If you don't have a dolsot bowl, simply place components in regular bowl and serve.
  10. **I am a visual learner If you are too, I highly suggest watching this You Tube Video for making bi bim bap
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The post Bi Bim Bap – Korean “Mixed Rice” Bowl appeared first on MI Gluten Free Gal.

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So my aunt messaged me on Instagram wanting the recipe for these gluten-free mocha donuts. The thing is, this recipe is incredibly easy. So easy, I imagine I could teach my niece how to make them. If you count this Better Batter Chocolate Cake mix as one ingredient, this recipe has 8 ingredients total. No dairy. Zero soy. No nuts.  So only 7 ingredients stand between you and delicious tasting gluten-free mocha donuts. So let’s get started, shall we?

The trick from turning this chocolate cake mix into gluten-free mocha donuts is one special ingredient. Coffee.(Duh, right?) You can use any coffee you like. Espresso. Dark Roast. Breakfast Blend. I used the Simple Truth Dark Roast Cold Brew Coffee my husband bought at our local Kroger. (Wow, that was a mouthful.) The Better Batter Chocolate Cake mix calls for 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Instead, I used 3/4 cup of Cold Brew and 3/4 cup of water. Then I added the rest of the ingredients as directed, and mixed it in my stand mixer. Easy Peasy. Dump the batter into a gallon-sized plastic bag, snip the tip, pipe into a donut pan, and you’re in business. Cha-ching.

As you may have read in my Gluten-Free Mocha Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache recipe, my husband loves coffee. So when I made another batch of ganache for these gluten-free mocha donuts, I again added espresso powder to the coconut cream. DO NOT ADD BREWED COFFEE. Why? Because coffee is made with water, and water makes melted chocolate seize. Nobody wants that. Trust me. To keep my ganache dairy-free, I use Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate morsels. Have you seen their new teal packaging in the store? I LOVE that they’re using the official color for food allergies for their brand. Bold and brave. Just like all of us living with food restrictions.

While I love talking about these easy gluten-free mocha donuts, I want to take a moment to talk about ethics. When possible, I like to choose chocolate and coffee that are both ethically raised and cultivated. Coffee and chocolate are two crops that are notorious for using child and slave labor. That is why when I buy coffee I look for Rainforest Alliance or Fair Trade Certified. It makes what we buy a little more expensive on our end. However, by doing so we are investing in farms and families that are raising crops the right way. Brands that utilize the Rainforest Alliance seal include Yumbutter, Kroger, and free2b Foods to name a few. If we all use our dollars to support those that make the world a better place, imagine how much good we can do in the world.

Super Easy Dairy-Free Chocolate Truffles

Want to know what else you can make with the ganache you made for these easy gluten-free mocha donuts? TRUFFLES. Deep, rich, dark chocolate truffles. The ratio for the ganache for the donuts is one-to-one, in ounces. (4 oz chocolate to 4 ounces coconut cream) Refrigerate the leftovers for a few hours and you can roll them up into truffles. They will be soft and a bit melty. Therefore, if you simply want to make truffles, and not use it as a topping for donuts, I would recommend 6 ounces of chocolate and 4 ounces of cream. Just sayin’.

So there you have it. A recipe for super easy gluten-free mocha donuts, AND an idea for super easy chocolate truffles. If you’d like other donut recipes, you can try my two-ingredient pumpkin donuts or my dairy-free coconut crusted, chocolate donuts. If you’re looking for more creative donut flavors, I highly suggest checking out these from gluten-free gingerbread donuts from Gluten Free Palate. She’s the donut QUEEN.

Easy Gluten-Free Mocha Donuts
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Ingredients

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix, prepared according to directions
  • EXCEPT subbing half of water with coffee
  • 4 oz Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels
  • 4 oz Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream (in a can)
  • 1/2 tsp DeLallo Espresso Powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cake mix according to directions, substituting half of the water called for with coffee of your choosing. Mix well and dump abtter into a gallon size plastic bag. Snip the tip and pipe batter into a donut pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Bake donuts for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan 3-5 minutes, and carefully remove to cooling rack.
  4. While donuts are cooling, warm 4 oz of coconut cream in a small microwaveable bowl. (If you can only find coconut milk, i would suggest using 3 oz of full fat coconut milk instead of 4.)
  5. Add chocolate chips to warmed coconut cream and allow to set for 5 minutes. (I usually cover the bowl with a small bread plate. Stir until all the chocolate is melted.
  6. Dunk cooled donuts halfway into ganache and allow excess to drip off. Flip over and place on cooling rack or parchment paper. Sprinkle with sanding sugar if desired.
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Who would you share these gluten-free mocha donuts with today? Do you intentionally shop for products that are certified by the Rainforest Alliance or by Fair Trade? Share your story below! 

**I was provided free product form from Better Batter. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. I highly appreciate the care they take to make products free of the 8 most common allergens, as well as powdered sugar free from corn. This page contains affiliate links.**

The post Easy Gluten-Free Mocha Donuts and Truffles appeared first on MI Gluten Free Gal.

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Don’t let Celiac Disease hold you back from enjoying treasured holidays. Find these Michigan gluten free paczki from four local bakers.

If you don’t live in Michigan, you may be unfamiliar with the word “paczki.” (Pronounced poon-ch-key, this word is also plural. So no need to add an “s” on the end.) Polish immigrants made these decadent treat popular here in Michigan. These filled pastries usher in Lenten season. The idea is that during Lent you give up fattening ingredients, such as fat, eggs and sugar. Therefore, making these rich treats allows one to use up these ingredients before they go bad.

As paczki are made with flour and are deep fried, many with Celiac Disease they will never enjoy one again. However, these four bakers are making Michigan gluten free paczki in various flavors. Some are deep fried, most are dairy-free, and all are delicious! Don’t wait too long, as these delicacies are only made for a short time.

Gluten Free Specialties – Rochester


Gluten Free Specialties started making Michigan gluten free paczki years ago. Located in Rochester, Michigan. you can buy assorted flavors from their store. (Check their Facebook page for flavors.) While they do ship nationwide, the deadline for ordering for shipment is one week prior to Fat Tuesday. If you live in Michigan, you can still place orders ahead of time for pick up.  The gluten free paczki at Gluten Free Specialties are baked, and are made in a facility in facility that does not use nuts as an ingredient. They charge $5 for 1 paczki or $13.99 for 4 or $36 for 12.  You can reach them at 248-860-0680.

Kind Crumbs – Grand Rapids


Kind Crumbs recently started offering Michigan gluten free paczki. All of their paczki are dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free. All of their gluten free paczki are deep fried and have jam fillings. You can pick up orders (which are required) at the new baking location on 3 mile road in Grand Rapids. (They do not ship paczki, but they do ship some of their other baked goods.) Various stores also carry their products. Kind Crumbs charges $6.99 for 3 paczki. You can call them at 616-881-6388.

Rise Grand Rapids – Grand Rapids

Rise Grand Rapids is a dedicated gluten-free and vegan bakery in Grand Rapids. They do not have their own storefront. Instead, they sell to many wonderful coffee shops in Grand Rapids. Per their Facebook page, they offer strawberry, blackberry or blueberry gluten free paczki. You must place an order in advance, with a minimum of 6 ordered. Order pickup will be at Crossroads Bible Church (where they bake) on February 13th between 1:30 and 2:30 pm. Orders must be placed by February 9th by 6 pm. In addition to being gluten-free and vegan, these Michigan gluten free paczki are also soy-free. They are also deep fried.

No More Belly Aching – Brighton

At No More Belly Aching, all items are gluten-free and dairy-free. Their Michigan gluten free paczki are baked, not fried. If you want some, you need to place an order, as those will be filled first. They are available in various flavors. No More Belly Aching charges $10.99 for 6 gluten free paczki. You can reach them at 810-225-9773.

Rumi’s Passion – Plymouth


Rumi’s Passion in Plymouth consistently gets rave reviews from gluten-free eaters across the state. These deep-fried Michigan gluten free paczki come both in jam and custard filled. The custard gluten free paczki contain dairy, while the fruit filled ones are dairy-free. You can pick one up this Saturday before Fat Tuesday, or on Tuesday itself. They cost $3.50 each. If you would like to order paczki, you must order a minimum of a dozen, which costs $34. They do not ship their paczki. They can be reached at 734-335-7145.

Do you celebrate Fat Tuesday by enjoying a gluten free paczki? What other special ethnic traditions do you and your family celebrate? Share your story in the comments below! 

The post Michigan Gluten Free Paczki – A Polish Tradition appeared first on MI Gluten Free Gal.

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If you love coffee and chocolate, this gluten-free mocha cake is what you’ve been craving. With espresso blended into every layer, and dark chocolate ganache, you will be transported to dairy-free dessert heaven!

My husband loves coffee. Like, seriously loves coffee. We counted, and he owns eight different styles of coffee makers. EIGHT. They all reside in our kitchen, with the exception of the Espresso maker which has been in our basement since we moved into this house 10 years ago. He enjoys coffee in any form, too. Hot, cold, in ice cream, in coffee flour chocolate chip cookies, and definitely in this gluten-free mocha cake I made for his birthday.

While I like the the flavor of coffee in general, I don’t drink it. Too acidic. However, mix it with chocolate in a dessert, and a taste sensation happens. I wanted to toy with making a mayonnaise cake, I just knew that I had to incorporate coffee somehow. And not just a hint. This mayonnaise cake uses DeLallo’s Espresso Powder in every single layer. The dairy-free mocha buttercream in this cake is phenomenally good. Like, “skip the cake and pass me the spoon” good.

Oh yeah, did I mention that this cake is dairy-free? I was always intrigued by the idea of making a mayonnaise cake. (Before you gag, remember that mayonnaise is made from eggs and oil.) I realized Spicy Southern Kitchen’s recipe for Duke’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, which I based my gluten-free mocha cake on,  contained no dairy. So I figured I’d go whole hog and attempt dairy-free frosting. I already mastered dairy-free chocolate ganache when I made my two-ingredient gluten-free donuts. Therefore I researched recipes on “the net” and came up with a foundation for a luscious mocha buttercream frosting.

So I added some softened coconut oil and shortening in my KitchenAid stand mixer, and got to whipping. (By the way, I finally bought my first one this past Christmas and now I can’t imagine how I cooked without it. Wonder how long it will take me to finally buy an Instant Pot or Vitamix?) I added the remnants of a bag of powdered sugar, about 200 grams. Then I crossed my finger that it would be “enough.” (By the way, remember to sift your sugar, or you’ll end up with lumpy frosting. And no one wants that.) I thinned it down with a bit of almond milk, and was amazed at how fluffy and DELICIOUS it tasted. Wowzer!

Now I’m going to pass on a lesson to you that I learned from my grandmother. She used to bake wedding cakes and she always FROZE them prior to frosting them. This helps the cake hold together and prevent crumbs from getting into the frosting. So I sliced my gluten-free mocha cake in half and froze it prior to making the frosting. If you don’t use the frosting immediately, it might thicken up. However, it will soften again between the layers of cake. Especially when it’s covered in that velvety ganache. Mmmm, chocolate.

Let’s talk about that ganache, shall we? This is my favorite ganache recipe in the whole world. One, it’s crazy easy. A simple one-to-one weight ratio of cream and chocolate. Two, I love using coconut cream because it comes in a can. I can buy it, keep it in the cupboard, and use it at the last minute without having to run to the store to get cream. Third, it makes the most amazing truffles if you have leftover ganache. You know, just a little sweet treat for yourself. That you don’t have to share. Wink, wink.

Speaking of sharing, this mayonnaise cake is a “small batch” cake. Made in a loaf pan, it’s meant for sharing with a small group of people. Or, to savor one piece at a time all week long. Waiting for you after a long day of work and after trying to meet everyone’s daily demands. Or is that just me? Anyway, I actually did share this gluten-free mocha cake with my husband’s family, for my husband’s 45th birthday. They loved every bite. So much so, that my brother-in-law totally forgot that it was “gluten-free.” That my friends, is #winning.  By the way, if you need a egg-free mocha cake, try this recipe from Sarah Bakes Gluten Free.

Small Batch Mocha Mayonnaise Layer Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer (or in regular bowl) add cocoa, gluten-free flour, baking soda, espresso powder, sugar and salt. Mix together until all ingredients are well blended.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine mayonnaise, egg, vanilla and water. Whisk ingredients together, then add to dry ingredients. Whisk together until all ingredients are thoroughly moistened.
  4. Pour batter into parchment lined pan and bake for 20-30 minutes. (I will admit that I forgot how long I baked it for. I say check it after 20 minutes with a toothpick and go from there. I'm pretty sure I baked it for 30 minutes.) After removing pan from oven, allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a baking rack. Cool completely, slice down the middle and freeze for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. After cake has completely frozen, make the mocha buttercream frosting. Make sure your coconut oil is soft, but not melted. Add coconut oil and shortening to clean bowl in your stand mixer. Cream oil and shortening for 1 minute until smooth and creamy.
  6. Sift powdered sugar into a separate bowl, making sure there are no large lumps. Add espresso powder to powdered sugar and then add both to the creamed coconut oil and shortening. Turn mixer and slowly start to whip together. As sugar and oils are mixing, add a drop of vanilla paste, then add almond milk, one tbsp at a time. Once all ingredients are together, whip frosting for 3 minutes on medium speed until fluffy.
  7. Remove cake layers from freezer and spread mocha buttercream frosting on bottom layer of cake. Place remaining layer on top, wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap, and return to freezer to chill prior to topping with ganache.
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What recipe have you successfully converted to gluten-free? What culinary challenge have you recently conquered? Share your story with me below!

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you decide to purchase ingredients or items through my links, Amazon credits a small portion back to me. However, this does not influence the cost of your items. Thank you for supporting MI Gluten Free Gal.**

The post Gluten-Free Mocha Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache appeared first on MI Gluten Free Gal.

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If there is one party food I miss, cheese sticks top the list. Not string cheese, but the melty gooey deliciousness that I have successfully recreated in these Baked Mozzarella Cheese Sticks. While they take some time to prepare, they are worth every single second. I highly suggest making a big batch, storing them in the freezer, and pulling them out when you need a few!

Cheese. If there is one food we never tire of in this household, it is cheese. Whether it’s baked ziti loaded with mozzarella, meatloaf made with goat cheese, or creamy gluten-free cheesecake, cheese is always welcome at our dinner table. Most of these dishes are easy to modify gluten-free with just a few tweaks What I had yet to tackle though were Baked Mozzarella Sticks. Since Super Bowl is this weekend AND I had a box of Aleia’s Coat and Crunch still to use from my American Gluten Free box, I figured this was the perfect time to get creative.

I’m not used to baking breaded items. Therefore, I spent some time researching methods. Many suggested freezing the cheese before breading. I did, but I’m not convinced it was all that important. The real science is the process of coating your mozzarella cheese sticks. Between research and a bit of trial and error, I settled on the technique My Gluten Free Miami used for her cheese sticks. Egg, flour, egg, Aleia’s Extra Crispy Coat and Crunch crumbs. This series of steps creates something similar to a paste that the crumbs can adhere to.

Once you coat your mozzarella cheese sticks, THEN you place them in the freezer. This is critical, otherwise you will have a gooey melty mess all over your cookie sheet. I froze mine for at least 2 hours prior to doing a test bake in the oven. Good thing, because I overbaked the first three just a minute too long and they were not photo worthy. Delicious, but definitely not going to win a prize for photo quality. Therefore, I froze the rest overnight and tried again in the morning. SUCCESS!

Just to clarify, you want to freeze these baked mozzarella cheese sticks flat on a cookie sheet first. However, once they are hard you can toss them into a ziploc bag and save them for a later date. Or be super awesome, freeze them, and give them to a cheese loving friend. I can just imagine how excited they will be. I mean, I would be. Anyway, I digress. When you want to finally enjoy your baked mozzarella cheese sticks, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then, bake them for 6 minutes. Not 7 minutes – trust me from experience that it is one minute too long. And not 5 minutes, because it won’t reach that level of stretchy cheesiness we all desire. 6 is the magic number for baked mozzarella cheese stick perfection.

IMO, you don’t even need dipping sauce for these baked mozzarellla cheese sticks. They really do taste delicious completely on their own. However, they pair great with marinara sauce or even ranch dressing. They do tend to cool quickly, so I highly suggest eating them promptly. Then again, they’re so delicious that they’re kind of hard to put down. So, maybe that point is moot.

Gluten Free Baked Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
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Ingredients

  • 12 ct package of Mozzarella string cheese
  • 1/4 c Bob's Red Mill Rice Flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 box Aleia's Extra Crispy Coat and Crunch (Crushed and Seasoned Corn Chex could work as well)

Instructions

  1. Unwrap cheese sticks and cut in half. Place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil to make clean up easier.
  2. In a shallow bowl, beat egg whites. Add a tsp of water to thin out if desired. Place gluten-free rice flour in a second shallow bowl and the crumb coating in a third. (I only opened one packet of crumbs at a time to keep it fresh.)
  3. Dip cheese stick in beaten egg, making sure to get the ends of the cheese dipped in the egg. Next, roll the cheese stick in the flour, making sure the ends get coated in flour.
  4. Now, dip the floured cheese stick back in the beaten egg, making sure that all parts coated with flour are now coated with egg. This will create a paste like texture that will help the crumbs adhere to cheese stick.
  5. Finally, dip the cheese stick in the breading, again making sure the ends are thoroughly coated. Place on cookie sheet and repeat with remaining cheese sticks.
  6. After all cheese sticks are coated, place cookie sheet in freezer for preferably three hours or even overnight.If you don't plan to bake them right away, place in a sealable plastic bag and store for later use.
  7. When ready to bake the mozzarella cheese sticks, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake cheese sticks in an even layer, on aluminum foil, for 6 minutes. Serve alone or with favorite dipping sauce.
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What are your favorite game day snacks? If you’re looking for more “Super” recipes, Grain Changer, Celiac Mama, and VegetarianMamma, have other fabulous links for you, too! Is there a favorite recipe of yours you’d like me to remake “gluten-free”? Drop me a comment below and I’ll see what I can do! 

The post Gluten Free Baked Mozzarella Cheese Sticks appeared first on MI Gluten Free Gal.

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Have you tried spaghetti squash? Not sure how to use it, let alone cook it? Let me share with you three ways to cook this fantastic squash, as well as a great recipe. These Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats may just be the best meal I’ve ever cooked!

Spaghetti squash derives it’s name from the pulp that, when pulled, looks like spaghetti strands. However, let’s set the record straight. Spaghetti squash does NOT taste exactly like pasta. Too often I hear people say they don’t like it, because they think it’s going to exactly replicate their favorite spaghetti. Which is sad, because this squash is delicious and needs to be appreciated for its unique flavor. Let me show you how to cook and prepare a dish that will make you realize the worthiness of this most marvelous vegetable.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

There are multiple ways to cook a spaghetti squash. Any of these methods will work for making these Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats. I prefer to cook mine in the microwave, but that’s only because I often fail to plan ahead. Which means I rarely ever choose to cook in a crockpot. This recipe for Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats worked best with roasting the squash in the oven for 30 minutes.

Microwave Method

I learned to microwave spaghetti squash from the wonderful folks at The Kitchn. (No, that’s not a typo. That missing “E” is intentional on their part.) Why do I love to microwave spaghetti squash? Because you can fully cook it in less than 15 minutes. And if I’m honest, I’m usually planning dinner 30 minutes before i need to have it on the table. #RealLife Follow this link to get in-depth directions on how to cook spaghetti squash in the microwave.

Here’s the brief version. 1) Poke holes in the spaghetti squash, place on glass dish, and then microwave for five minutes. This is to soften the outside. 2) Remove from microwave and cut in half, hot dog style. (All my teacher friends know what I mean.) 3) Return spaghetti squash to microwave. Depending on the size of the spaghetti squash, cook for an additional 5- 10 minutes. 4) Remove squash, allow to cool, and pull out strands with a fork.

Slow Cooker Method

My friend Holly at My Plant Based Family will tell you that cooking this vegetable in the slow cooker is “the easiest way to cook Spaghetti Squash.” Cut the squash in half (hamburger way), scoop out the seeds, place in the slow cooker and cook it for 3 hours. Of course, having your hands free for doing other things does make life easier!

Baking / Oven Roasting Method

Roasting spaghetti squash is just as easy. Cut it, oil it, stick it in the oven and let it cook for 30-40 minutes. I chose this method for making these Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats because I would result in a darker color of squash. The things we do for better pictures! Based on advice from Chocolate Covered Katie, I baked my squash at 450 degrees.

Regardless which method you choose to cook the squash for these Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats, you will destrand (?) the squash with a fork. (Not sure that’s even a word. Oh well.) So here is how it should look when you have pulled the insides. Nice and fluffy.

I wanted to include this photo for two reasons. One, I wanted you to see what to expect your spaghetti squash to look like prior to adding toppings. Second, I think it’s hilarious that my “regular” camera is in the bottom right corner of the picture. It’s an old “point and shoot” Canon that I still use sometimes. But in all honesty, most of my pictures are taken with a Samsung 7 cell phone. No fancy DSLR. No tripod. Just me, natural sunlinght, and prayer that pictures will turn out ok. (and a little lot of help from PicMonkey.) #RealLife

Assembling Your Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats

Now comes the fun part. In truth, you can fill cooked spaghetti squash with anything. Taco filling. Pizza sauce and pepperoni. Since spaghetti squash doesn’t truly taste like pasta, it becomes a canvas for anything. I own a large package of Full Flavor Foods’ gluten free Alfredo Sauce Mix. Simply combine the mix with water, cook until thickened, and enjoy! I will confess that I “tweaked” it a bit. Dinner time is when I add bits of items that I need to use up. Like the last two tablespoons of cream cheese, the final shakes of Parmesan cheese, and few glugs of milk.

The chicken in these Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats are pretty stellar. I coated a chicken breast with Aleia’s Extra Crispy Coat and Crunch, that I received in a previous American Gluten Free box. (It had some leftover coating from the gluten free mozzarella sticks I just made. Waste not, want not, right?) Absolutely LOVE this stuff. To that I added some cooked spinach and then drizzled that gorgeous Full Flavor Foods Alfredo sauce on top. Can I confess that I love this above picture? Like, seriously, I could make it the wallpaper on my phone.

Of course, cheese (or in this case MORE cheese) makes everything better, right? I topped these Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats with a mix of Mozzarella and shredded Parmesan, and placed it under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Spectacular, am I right? My husband thought so, when we had them for dinner later that night.

Confession. When you’re a food blogger, you make dinner at lunch time and eat it rewarmed, hours later. Because sunlight waits for no man. Or woman as the case may be. #RealLife Even rewarmed though, this dish was OFF THE HOOK. One of those moments when you wonder “How did I pull off something so amazing?!” This is definitely something I will be making again!

Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats
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Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • oil and salt for seasoning
  • 1 packet Full Flavor Foods Alfredo Sauce mix
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 -3 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 chicken breast (6 oz+)
  • Rice flour, egg and crumb coating for chicken
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 3-4 oz shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan blend

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Pierce spaghetti squash with fork and heat in microwave for 1 minute to soften squash. Cut down the middle, lengthwise, and scoop out seeds.
  3. Brush spaghetti squash with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on cookie sheet, cut side up. Bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on size of squash.
  4. While squash is cooking, make Full Flavor Foods Alfredo Sauce mix according to directions. It will thicken greatly as it cools, so don't be tempted to cook it all the way down. I added cream cheese, Parmesan and a touch of milk to stretch the sauce. I added these after the sauce had cooked, not before.
  5. My chicken breast was already pre-cooked from a different day. If you have a fresh chicken breast, I would suggest placing it in the oven for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking time, with the squash.
  6. To bread the chicken, dip it in beaten egg, then rice flour, then beaten egg again, and finally in the Aleia's Coat and Crunch. You could use crushed Corn or Rice Chex instead. Or, you could simple cook a fresh chicken breast on the stove top, and not bread it at all.
  7. Wilt the spinach to remove excess moisture. I microwaved mine for approximately a minute because I was in a hurry. You can do this on the stove top, in a non-stick skillet. I suggest using a bit of cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  8. Once the squash is finished cooking, remove from oven and allow to cool approximately 5 minutes. This prevents you from burning your fingers! Using a fork, pull the strands from the sides of the squash.
  9. Leave pulled squash in shell and top with sliced chicken and wilted spinach. Pour Alfredo sauce on top, then sprinkle shredded cheese on top of sauce. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese melts. Broil for 2-3 minutes if you would like to brown the cheese.
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What’s your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash? I’m always looking for fun new recipes to try! Share with me below! 

The post Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats appeared first on MI Gluten Free Gal.

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The biggest excitement in the gluten-free world revolves around a sandwich. By now, you have likely heard that now you can buy a Jersey Mike’s Gluten Free sub. Being part of various Facebook gluten-free groups, I have read various experiences from those who have tried it. So, I ventured to a Jersey Mike’s in Lansing, along with my father who also has Celiac Disease.

Prior to ordering, I immediately asked the staff what procedures they use to prevent cross – contact. He promptly explained that they wipe down the prep area and the slicer.

He also explained that they wash their hands and put on new gloves. In addition, he explained that the Udi’s Gluten Free sub roll is enclosed in an individually sealed bag. The staff thawed it in the microwave. (Pretty sure this was done still in the packaging.

Additionally, the employee explained they put down fresh parchment paper as a barrier and always and only cut the sandwich with a designated knife, only used for gluten-free sandwiches. I watched him complete each step just as he described. He also explained that all the meats and cheeses were gluten-free, EXCEPT the Meatballs and the Chicken Parmesan. I was thoroughly impressed. We were the only diners at the time, as we came for a late lunch after running errands. I would hope all these precautions would be followed even if it were busier.

The experience I described above has been the same from most who describe their Jersey Mike’s gluten free experience. Everyone talks about the care that has been taken to clean the surface and change gloves and lay down a barrier. The negative reviews tend to start rolling in when it comes to condiments. Our sandwich maker used a squeeze bottle for mayo, versus the bin on the line. I was VERY HAPPY about that. (Some on social media have stated their location DID NOT use a squeeze bottle and tried to use the mayo already on the line. Make sure to help your sandwich maker construct your sandwich safely.) We left off the oil and vinegar, because my dad is not a fan.

However, my main concern came to the other toppings. They did not have separate vegetable toppings for gluten-free sandwiches. They did not have tongs for grabbing lettuce and just used their hands. Which means there could be all sorts of crumbs in them, regardless of the fact if he has new gloves on. I will admit I was not good at being adamant about him getting new lettuce from the back. My dad was comfortable with the lettuce and tomatoes from the line. So we got them.

Dad and I took our Jersey Mike’s gluten free club sub sandwich back home to enjoy it. I will admit the bread was a bit dry and crusty. However, I imagine that would have not been the case had we had the oil and vinegar. I will admit that it was delicious. We ordered the ‘Giant” Club Sub, which with tax and tip came to $20. It is nice to have this option, especially if you are in group of people and need to find a safe place to eat out. As others have been good to point out, the Udi’s bread is gluten-free and dairy-free, but does contain egg.

I did contact GFFS, which is the restaurant training arm of the Gluten Intolerance Group. Many heard about this new restaurant option though an email from Find Me Gluten Free. Their email stated “After working with the Gluten Intolerance Group, Jersey Mike’s developed procedures and a training video to prevent cross-contamination.” I assumed that this meant they were “certified” through them. Therefore, I wanted to ask GFFS what steps they told the store to take.

I received a very prompt and thorough reply from them. (It’s nice to have connections.) The GFFS representative stated the following. “To date, Jersey Mike’s is not certified with us. We have been consulting with them regarding the processes and procedures they would need to adjust to be able to be certified through us. They have begun making those adjustments but that is a process in and of itself due to the fact that they have 1300 locations and thousands of staff to train.” My connection further explained Jersey Mike’s is going through the process of certification, and they will share that when it comes about.

Final Thoughts on Jersey Mike’s Gluten Free Subs

To summarize, we really enjoyed our Jersey Mike’s gluten free sub sandwich. We have a variety of options to eat, as all except two of the meat options are gluten-free. They took many good precautions in making our sandwich. I would prefer that separate toppings be set aside for those needing gluten-free. This is because any crumb of gluten is problematic for one with Celiac Disease. As Jersey Mike’s continues their certification process, I imagine that the process will become even better. While the bread is $3 more for the large sandwich, I believe this is totally reasonable as they continue to talk precautions to keep us safe.

If you go to a location and have concerns about your service, please feel free to contact Jersey Mike’s corporate office. If you go to any restaurant that has been certified by GFFS, and have concerns, feel free to contact them as well. For those without a Jersey Mike’s in their area, Erbert and Gerbert also serves gluten-free subs with similar precautions.

Have you eaten a Jersey Mike’s gluten free sub? How was your experience? Please share your comments below!

**I was not paid or compensated in any way for this meal. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please always ask questions at any restaurant establishment, regardless of my review.**

The post Jersey Mike’s Gluten Free Subs appeared first on MI Gluten Free Gal.

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I love finding new gluten-free products, especially ones that are food-allergy friendly. These Foodie Fuel Snacks a quick snack that are safe to send to school or devour all by yourself. Thank you to Foodie Fuel for sponsoring this post!

I love to snack. Working from home, I always find myself looking for something to nibble. Too many times, my hand grabs something loaded with processed carbohydrates. Not the best choice, I know. That’s why I am always on the lookout for new goodies that are good for me. I miraculously discovered Foodie Fuel Snacks while walking through Horrock’s. (Never heard of Horrock’s? Shut yo’ mouth! Next time you stop in Lansing, you must visit!)  The colorful packaging truly caught my eye.

Know what else caught my eye?
* Certified gluten-free through GFCO (and made in a dedicated GF facility!) 
* Nut-Free ###
* Vegan (i.e., dairy-free and egg-free)
* No artificial or alternative sugars
* Non-GMO
* ORGANIC!!!

I mentioned what ingredients you won’t find. However, let me fill you in on the goodness you WILL find! Foodie Fuel snacks are loaded with heart-healthy, complex-carbohydrate seeds. Love sunflower and pumpkin seeds? They make up the base of these snacks. Are you a fan of chia seeds and flax seeds? These snacks have those too! These bite-sized snacks were created to sustain your energy all day while being full of real nutrients. A touch of coconut sugar or cocoa powder doesn’t hurt either!

For all those reasons and more, these are perfect to send as an after-school snack for the clubs my teacher-husband leads. As I shared previously, his district established a nut-free environment in all classrooms. When you get a mix of kids together, sometimes finding a snack that everyone can eat provides a challenge. However, Foodie Fuel Snacks cover all the food-allergy bases. While they taste great on their own, they also pair well with dips. I almost devoured this whole bowl of chocolate dessert hummus, using the Cinnamon Ginger snacks.

Foodie Fuel Apple Tarts

When I first saw these at Horrock’s, I only purchased the Butter Toffee and the Swiss Chocolate. Because, well, CHOCOLATE! I totally passed on the Cinnamon Ginger, thinking they might have too much of a bite. Oh how thankful I am that my friends at Foodie Fuel sent them to me. They are so delicious! Biting into them, I immediately thought they would pair perfectly with apples. Therefore, I made a quick crumb crust with them, formed it into an upside down mason jar lid, and filled it with homemade pie filling. Truly, there are no words for how delicious this tastes. My husband ate every single (remaining) bite when he returned home from work. Shout outs to Dessert For Two and MyRecipes for the inspiration behind this sweet treat!

Wanting to take a bite of these yourself? Right now Foodie Fuel is allowing me to pass along a 35% discount to my readers. Just load up your cart on their website, proceed to check out, and enter the code on the final screen. Just that simple! In no time at all, you can win over your loved ones too, while fueling them with nutrients! Looking for other fun ways to use them? Check out this Foodie Fuel Snacks Review from Gluten Free Palate!

Serves 4

Foodie Fuel Apple Tarts
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Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 1 package Foodie Fuel Snacks Cinnamon Ginger Flavor
  • 2-3 tbsp butter, melted (or coconut oil)
  • For the filling
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. For the crust, place contents of one bag of Cinnamon Ginger Foodie Fuel Snacks in a food processor. Pulse until broken into crumbs. Add melted butter until all crumbs moistened.
  2. Take mason jar lids and invert inner lid so the metal side is facing up. Using fingers, push moistened crumbs into mason jar lid to form crust. You will make 4 tarts if using larger lids.
  3. Bake crusts in 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small stock pot, melt butter and add chopped apples. Add lemon juice, sugar and spices. Cook for 5-10 minutes, while crusts are in oven. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Add cornstarch slurry to apples and cook one minute more. Remove from heat.
  5. Once crusts and filling have cooled, fill tart shells with filling. Refrigerate one hour for all ingredients to set. Use fingers to pop out bottom of inner mason jar lid.

Notes

Inspiration taken from Dessert for Two, Mason Jar Lid Tarts and MyRecipes.com Spiced Apple Two-Bite Tarts

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Which of these flavors do you find most intriguing? What are you favorite food-allergy friendly snacks? Leave me a note below!

**I was provided free product and was compensated for this post. However, I fully enjoyed these products and researched this company prior to agreeing to this sponsored post. I would highly recommend these snacks regardless.**

### Allergen note- While the packaging states “produced in a facility that processes peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs,” these ingredients are NOT present in the separate production room where Foodie Fuel snacks are made.

The post Foodie Fuel Food Allergy Friendly Snacks appeared first on MI Gluten Free Gal.

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Flint continues…..

Flint continues. There are so many words I can use to finish that phrase. For certain, living in Flint continues to present its challenges. It would take all my fingers and toes to count the number of times people have suggested that we move. I’d be lying if I say my husband and I haven’t discussed it. However, there is a remnant here in Flint who envisions a better future. Better water and schools. Better economy and community. For certain, it’s not going to be easy.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not naive.  Two years after I shared about the “Flint Water Crisis”, our  water woes continue. A portion of the water pipes have been replaced. However, experts estimate it will take until 2020 to replace all of them. In the meantime, our government is telling us that our water quality is restored.. The mayor and city council canceled a previous agreement to get water from the Karegnondi Water Authority, because of concern of our inability to treat it properly. Instead, we agreed to pay Detroit for water for the next 30 years. Sadly, it may take 30 years to replace the trust our city has broken.

Flint continues to battle high crime. Police response times are terrible. Someone stole our central air this past summer. The police department never even showed up. Citizens have become apathetic in calling police for the crimes in their neighborhood. Therefore, statistics look like crime has diminished here in Flint. Flint continues to have its silence shattered by the gunshots of hateful violence. Only a few months ago, a gas station attendant was murdered in broad daylight, a victim of angry drug dealers. Only a block from my house.  It pierced my heart, and I shared about it in my gluten-free Pumpkin Chai Snickerdoodles recipe.

There are so many more negative things that I could highlight. The questionable police chief. The crooked councilman. To be honest, I have a hard time focusing on the good myself, sometimes. However, Flint continues to have bright shining moments, if you look for them amidst the darkness. New investment. Education expansion. Demolition of blighted houses, making way for new development. Sources of joy.

Flint continues to persevere. There are people here with vision. Let me share a few, and bare with me if I run long-winded.

Communities First, Inc
CFI-Empowering People. Building Communities. - Vimeo

Don’t pass this video by. PLEASE watch it. It makes me cry. It makes me cry, because the brokenness you see in this video is literally my neighborhood. The burnt out, abandoned apartments you see in the first 30 seconds is only half a mile from our house. We walk these streets. We volunteered at the abandoned, graffiti – covered Coolidge Elementary Glenn speaks of. However, it also makes me cry tears of joy. Of hope, because Communities First, Inc. has decided to take a stand. As Flint continues to rebound, it is non-profits like this that will change this city. If you want to help Flint rebound, invest in organizations like these.

St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center

The N.E.W. Life Center started when two nuns had a desire to see real change happen. What started as a concern to clothe the needy turned into a full scale sewing educational center and business. New Life Center started training women to sew and make scrubs for local hospitals. Now they clothe hundreds in Flint and beyond. Maybe thousands, as they now produce high quality vests for one of Michigan’s most iconic brands, Stormy Kromer. New Life Center does more than job training. They house a food pantry, run a lawn care business run for men looking for jobs, and so much more. You can read more about their amazing accomplishments in this Flintside article. Want to invest in their vision? Visit their page to donate time, materials or money. Buy a tartan red and black Stormy Kromer vest,  which may allow them to employ and impact even more women.

Flint Crepe Company, Robb Klaty and Coffee

In my opinion, one cannot talk about downtown Flint without mentioning Robb Klaty. During a time when others were quick to leave Flint, Robb set up shop. Quite literally. Robb opened the Flint Crepe Company location in downtown Flint in 2011. He focused on great food with locally sourced ingredients. He also chose not to focus on himself. Every Tuesday a different charity is highlighted that receives a portion of the days tips.

Klaty’s investment continues to factor into Flint’s reconstruction. What started as one small business turned into a continuing downtown expansion. He now also owns Table & Tap, which features Michigan -made beers, Tenacity Brewing, where he brews his own beer, and now Heyday Coffee. Klaty opened Heyday coffee when he realized he could provide an outlet for Blue Line Donuts, a business run by the local homeless shelter that used the project to teach men and women business skills. If you want to help turn Flint around, visit one of his businesses. In fact, visit any of these wonderful Flint coffee shops helping transform Buick City into Coffee City, USA. With their help, good things are truly brewing here.

Kettering University and the University Avenue Corridor Coalition

The transformation that Flint continues to experience along the University Avenue Corridor is astounding. Kettering University, formerly General Motors Institute, realized the positive impact they could, and should have on the community around it. Mobilizing surrounding businesses, they inspired the creation of the University Avenue Corridor Coalition. The result? Blighted, dangerous homes finally removed. A historic football stadium now resurrected to its former glory. Problematic liquor stores, breading grounds for violence, now replaced by new businesses that benefit the community. The change to the neighborhood is nothing short of breathtaking. Maybe breathtaking is the wrong word. Maybe the word is breath giving, as it restores hope. Want to help further the hope? Run in the CRIM that passes through this space. Support the businesses, like McLaren and Hurley hospitals and U of M Flint, who partner in this initiative. Donate to Carriage Town Ministries, benefiting the homeless and the poor. If nothing else, speak WELL about Flint.

Uptown Reinvestment Initiatives

Flint continues to improve, partially at the hand of major investors. Uptown Reinvestment, wanting to “build a vibrant future for Flint,” invested big bucks into our downtown. With their help we have a new Flint Farmer’s Market, voted one of the best in the country. Uptown’s investment helped create the new Michigan State University campus downtown. This campus focuses on healthcare, training interns at local hospitals. Also, they use their resources to help mitigate the effects of the Flint Water Crisis o children. Most recently, Uptown’s passion for making old things new included the grand restoration of the Capitol Theater. Originally opened in the 1920’s, a new generation of Flint residents now appreciations the beauty of the past. Want to help in the reinvestment of Flint? Visit the Farmer’s Market. Take in a show at the renovated theater. Dine downtown, walk down Saginaw, and enjoy the beauty of our city.

And So Many Others

There are so many others investing in this city, more than I can possibly name. (Flintside strives to share many of them. I highly suggest subscribing to their online newsletter.) People and organizations and businesses that chose to stand up to fear and put down roots. Support them. Come to a Flint Firebirds hockey game. Donate to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, as they feed over 330,000 people a year. Buy handmade, Flint-made clothes from GoodBoy Clothing. A business created to weave themselves “into the fabric of their communities contributing to the good.” Because that’s what Flint needs, people and businesses seeking out the good and encouraging it to grow.

As Flint continues to rebound, those of us living here will roll up our sleeves to help. You can invest in us too. Donate to those doing good. Visit our city. Run through our streets. Buy our goods. Join us for a cup of coffee. And although some gave me flack for it two years ago, continue to pray for our city. Pray that hearts and minds change, both for our citizens and our leaders. Most of all, stand up for us. When the media kicks down, when memes make fun of us, speak up for those who might be starting to lose their voice. Lend us a bit of your emotional strength, maybe your financial support, and let us show you just how amazing Flint can be.

The post Flint Continues: (Flint Water) Crisis to (Re) Construction appeared first on MI Gluten Free Gal.

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