Gluten Free Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple weeks and I’m both excited and anxious, with a little bit of sadness mixed in.  The holidays are always hard for me – my family lives thousands of miles away, and we always had big family dinners growing up.  Since moving, I’ve been trying to find something to fill that gaping hole in my life.  Enter my friend Patricia.

For the last few years, Patricia has been awesome enough to invite me to her parent’s house for the holidays, and they’ve always made me feel at home.  Mrs. Carlucci has tried to accommodate my dietary needs (she made an awesome broccoli casserole when I was trying to switch to vegetarianism).  I’ve been invited over yet again for early dinner, and now I have to plan for eating dinner while still staying relatively gluten free.

I’m planning on picking up a bottle of gluten enzyme pills from Walgreens to take, just to make myself doubly safe in case I accidentally eat something I shouldn’t, but she usually has a wide variety of foods to choose from, and now that I’m not eating vegetarian, it should be easier this year than in previous years.

I’m also going to try cooking this year, which ought to be an adventure.  Since I can’t have stuffing, I decided to try a recipe I found on Pinterest for a Cranberry Orange Quinoa Salad.  This recipe looks so yummy with cranberries and pomegranate and orange, and so colorful!  I figured this would make a nice stuffing substitute.  I’m also planning on making a cobbler, so that I can have dessert with everyone else and not feel left out of the joy that is pie.  I’m up in the air on whether to make peach or berry cobbler?  I’m not sure which will be more acceptable, so I’ll research filling options.  I know it’ll have a gluten free oatmeal crumble on top, which I’m looking forward to making.

This is going to be a bit of an adventure, since my cooking skills are mediocre at best.  I just hope the food is edible, and people (other than me) enjoy it.  I don’t like the idea of being an inconvenience to people because of my dietary problems, so I really want to help as much as I can.  Hopefully, this works out for the best.

In case I don’t post before then, I hope you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

School Update: Exams, Registration for Spring 2015

Hello!

Today I had a European History exam that I don’t think I did too well at.  It covered the Middle Ages, which is a period in time I have the hardest with.  I’m not too confident in how I did, but I won’t get the grade back for around 2 weeks.  I adore my professor, he’s enthusiastic and fun, and makes learning the material easy.  I am just not good when it comes to names and dates.

Registration for the Spring semester was last week for me, and I got everything I needed to complete my AA.

schedule

I’ve got the Humanties, Science and Math requirements I need for graduation, and the Weight Training class I needed another 2 credits to stay full time, and I felt that it would be a good way to hold me accountable for my fitness goals.  I also need to check what’s going on with my financial aid after I get my classes completed.  If I pass with at least a C my financial aid should come back?  I hope so.

For now I need to focus on getting ready for final exams, which come up the first week of December – rapidly approaching!  Right now our math class is studying Statistics, and I’m not too sure how that’s going to turn out, and History will start it’s focus on the Renaissance and the Reformation.

That’s it for the time being.  Everyone have a great week!

Tampa Bay VegFest and Review: Foods Alive Flax Crackers

Today was the 5th Annual Tampa Bay VegFest, hosted by Florida Voices for Animals.  Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park on the Hillsborough River downtown was packed with animal lovers and vegetarian food lovers aplenty.  There were lots of food trucks and tents of every (vegetarian!) stripe, animal rights groups, adoption groups, vegetarian advocates, and tons of products to try out – along with the occasional coupon.  The weather was gorgeous, not sweltering hot, and overcast.  I purchased, from Foods Alive, a bag of flax & chia crackers and some nutritional yeast.  I’ve always wanted to buy nutritional yeast and give it a try, now I was able to get an affordable opportunity to do so.  But the big reason we’re here today is the crackers…

foods alive flax cracker ginger snap

These were actually a pleasant surprise.  I hadn’t had much luck with gluten free crackers, they all end up dry and flavorless, but my friend Angie insisted that I try them.  I first tried their Maple & Cinnamon (normally my favorite flavor), and found it nice and mild.  I tried their Italian Herb flavor, and while nice, just wasn’t what I was looking for.  I always find myself in short supply of sweet snacks.  Then I tried Ginger Snap and fell in love!

It’s gingery without being too spicy or overpowering, there isn’t a strong scent of artificial ginger like you get with some products, and it’s a nice, mellow sweetness that doesn’t just disappear once you start to chew.  It’s sweetened with coconut sugar and molasses.  The product is USDA Certified organic, gluten free, 70% raw, Non-GMO, Kosher and Vegan.  It’s high in Protein (6g per 5 crackers) and Fiber (6g/24% DV).  The product has about 140 calories per serving – one serving is about five crackers.  Each cracker is approximately 1.5″ x 3″ ish.

I love the texture and the taste, and I think it’ll be the perfect fix for my sweet cravings.  I’ll have to watch how often I eat them, because I’m concerned about their high fiber content with my IBS-D, and I don’t want to exacerbate things.  For now, however, they’re a lovely snack which I would highly recommend and will definitely be purchasing more of in the future.

Once I get cooking with the nutritional yeast, I’ll get a review up for that as well.

Please remember:

I am in no way compensated for my review of these products.  I purchased the products with my own funds and provide reviews as a service to the community.

Review: Against The Grain Gluten Free Pizza

against the grain

I am not compensated by the company for my endorsement of their product.  I paid for the product out of my own money and am reviewing it for the betterment of the community. Thank you!

I think one of the biggest cravings I’ve had so far, since going gluten free, has been pizza. I have been DYING for some pizza.  I only just today discovered that Domino’s Pizza has a gluten free crust option, but for a 10″ pizza, they wanted more than $15!  Outrageous!

So the other day while shopping at Publix, I was browsing the frozen pizza section and came across Against The Grain Gourmet Three Cheese Pizza.  I was hesitant.  I had eaten gluten free pizza once on a visit to Baltimore, and while the pizza toppings and sauce were ok, the crust was just not good.  The cost wasn’t bad (about $7) so I decided what the hell? I bought it and brought it home.

I cooked the pizza directly on the rack in an attempt to crisp up the crust, and it came out a good texture, with a bit of crisp to it, and the Three Cheese had LOADS of cheese on it – bonus!  The pizza is 12 inches, which is still bigger than Domino’s, and half the cost.

The crust is made of tapioca starch, and while I didn’t find it greasy, it seemed a bit… buttery?  Definitely not a complaint, mind you, more of an observation.  The company states that their production facility is both gluten and nut free.  The ingredients list is incredibly simple - Tapioca starch, mozzarella cheese, eggs, tomato paste (vine-ripened fresh tomatoes, and naturally-derived citric acid), parmesan cheese, non-GMO canola oil, cheddar cheese, water.

I will definitely be buying this product again, and look forward to finding their other flavors in the future.  I’ll make attempts to purchase some of their other bread products to give them a test run, and report back what I find.

Readers – Do you eat GF pizza, and if so, what’s your favorite brands?  Or do you make your own?

Fashion Fixation

Anyone who knows me really well knows I’m a lover of fashion. I’m positively addicted to anything Tim Gunn and Project Runway. The biggest problem I have with fashion is the clothing I love – and wish I could wear – is expensive, hard to come by, and too small. I have a sewing machine now, and hope to start making and doctoring my own clothes soon. For now I’m collecting ideas on Pinterest. I’ll post some of my favorites below!

Here’s where you can find the entire Fashion board, and the entirety of my Apocalyptic Fashion Pinterest board:

“Audio Doodling”

So for those who don’t know, I have this hobby that I like to call “audio doodling”.  Using FL Studio II, I make what could loosely be called “music”.  I consider myself a music hobbiest rather than an actual musician.  I figured I’d take the time to actually share some of my favorites with you all!  Some are kinda techno, some are a bit tribal, I try to vary things up a bit.  The entirety of my collection can be heard at Amphetamine Crash on Soundclooud.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh Speaks With Oprah Winfrey