Heading to the Races: Gluten Free Style

17 05 2011

This past weekend was one of my favorite all time races:  REV3 Knoxville.  I did not one but THREE posts about this race last year, you can find them here.  This year I was not racing ( boo), but my husband was and a lot of my fantastic Trakkers/REV3 teammates were going to be there so it was still well worth the 6 hour drive!

Kier and I showing our non-racing excitement! (photo by Joel @trimadness)

Speaking of driving, eating gluten free on the road is not an easy task!  For this trip I used timing – I ate a big meal at home (gluten free pasta) and brought some small snacks – apples, gluten free pretzels and lots of water, for the road.  Once we arrived we went to – PF Chang’s.  (in my head every time I say the name PF Chang’s heavenly music plays)  There’s a whole post of it’s own about PF Chang’s and I’m pretty sure it’s going to include poetry about their yummy food, but we’ll save that for another day.    If I have to eat on the road and I’m headed to the races (going light on the fiber and salads) my go-to food is a Wendy’s baked potato.

IF I was racing for the weekend here are the gluten free accommodations I would make:

  • Do not, under any circumstances plan to live off the course.  (my stomach is really sensitive to sports drinks)  The only thing going in my body on race day is what I have brought along.
  • What do I bring along?  First Endurance  Again, I have several posts about their products – look them up and read more about them.
  • Bring along post race food.  Even if they have yummy fruit that looks wonderful, I have witnessed the fruit being cut by the same big knife that just cut 6,000 bagels.  Not good.
  • I tried bringing a snickers bar one time.  I ended up drinking a melted snicker’s bar and sick from all the sugar.  So, here are my two go-to bars (after I have my First Endurance Ultragen recovery shake) Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew Kind Bars and any kind of Think Thin Crunch (although my favorite is the Carmel Chocolate Dipped)

When I’m not racing (often I am working timing for an event) I pretty much live off a cooler of fruit, some UDI’s Gluten Free bagels for breakfast and lots and lots of Think Thin and Kind bars.  For the REV3 Quassy weekend, which I will be working from Thursday night through Monday morning I have already started stockpiling my bars!!

Gluten Free Spaghetti and Meatball Sauce – YUMMY!

5 02 2011

I’ve attempted making homemade spaghetti sauce before and bless  his heart my husband has even eaten the stuff I made but it wasn’t pretty.   Since I am still eating (and loving) my Paleo diet I needed to make my own sauce that was sugar free and free of extra salt.  I’m not sure if canned tomatoes are o-k on the Paleo diet, but I got organic, gluten free, salt free canned tomatoes – that’s the best I can do!

My New Favorite (and super easy) Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs:


1 can tomato paste

2 cans Tomato Sauce

2 cans Petite Diced Tomatoes (I used organic w/ fire roasted tomatoes and onions) – I like my sauce less chunky so I put in one can as is and tossed the other in the food processor for a few seconds.

1 package Mushrooms (I like mini portabello) sliced

1 med. zucchini diced

1 tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic minced

Garlic Powder (1/2 tsp.)

Crushed Red Pepper (to taste – if you like it a little spicy add more, I don’t so I just added a tinsy bit)

Italian Spices (pinch)

A good splash of red wine (I like a nice dry merlot)

Heat Olive Oil in big pot, sautee Zucchini and Mushrooms and Garlic until tender.  Throw in the tomatos (all cans) and spices.  Toss on the lid and let it simmer while you make the meatballs.


2lbs. organic grass fed ground beef (or any combination of ground meats that you like, next time I will do 1 lb. ground chicken and 1 lb. ground beef)

1/4 c. almond ground meal

1 clove garlic minced

1 or two shakes of Italian seasonings

1 egg

Throw it all in a food processor and letter whirl.  I formed the meatballs and put them directly into the simmering sauce.  (I just saw a Food Network show about this so I assume it’s safe!)  I let the sauce simmer and cook the meatballs for an hour.

I served the sauce and meatballs over Spaghetti Squash.  It was fabulous!!!

Sometimes you have to choose.

28 01 2011

Last weekend I kind of came to a crossroads with my body composition and workouts.  I have been lugging around about 15 lbs. of extra weight over the winter.  Cookies, diet soda, chips, candy – you name it I ate it.  Right before Christmas I decided I was done.  Time to get back on the workout plan.  Time to clean up my diet.  Done.

For the most part my workouts were pretty consistent.  Not Ironman (or even half ironman) training, but consistent at 7 – 8 hours a week.  I have been slow, which I attribute to both re-building fitness AND the extra 15 lbs.  Even with my fairly healthy eating and pretty consistent exercise I just have not shed any weight.  AND – it started to piss me off.

My frustration is two fold, I’m tired of running slow and dread lugging those 15 lbs. up and over hills on my bike AND I have to fit all this into a bathing suit in a few weeks.  In addition I have to put this body into a race suit in a few weeks.  Eeek. 

So brings the crossroads.  Change my eating fairly dramatically, which will probably make my training suffer or stick to the training and keep my eating as is and hope and pray that eventually my metabolism will kick in.  I did my pro’s and cons and really did some soul searching over this one.  It might be vanity, but I decided to go for the faster kick start to my metabolism.  Out the window goes the full marathon in March.  But the good news is that I am hoping by then to be rid of this horrid 15 lbs. so the half marathon should be much, much easier to do!

I generally do very, very well on a whole foods diet.  It’s pretty simple – eat real food.  It’s mostly a Paleo diet.  I didn’t go get the book or anything – but I did find some amazing recipes online that I am loving.  So far it hasn’t been too bad and I’ve dropped a few pounds.   For those unfamiliar with the Paleo diet it’s also called the Caveman diet – eat what was available to the caveman.  No grains or processed food, it even stays away from beans and legumes.  Fruits, veggies, nuts and meats.  Seems restricting but wow they’re are some a-mazing recipes that I found online.   My favorite site is EverydayPaleo.  I made stuffed mushrooms last night with steamed kale – it was divine.

I have found my energy is low for workouts.  That’s the one area that I am taking liberties from the Paleo plan.  I am using First Endurance products before, during and after workouts for some easier carbohydrates.  I have slowed my workouts down to almost 100% low heart rate base building zones until I adjust to the diet.  I am finding, in general that I like eating this way and do think that after I get to my goal weight I will stick to a generally Paleo plan.

My Favorite Post Long Run Meal Returns

16 01 2011

Seriously, my very, very favorite new meal to cook is this YUMMY-Lishous PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps.  When hubby and I were traveling for the HalfFull tri last year I got my first taste of PF Chang’s.  I love them.  I really, really love them.  Chinese food is my favorite and since most Soy Sauce has wheat I have been seriously missing real restaurant Chinese food.  And then I found this GREAT blog that has PF Chang’s recipes!

Thank you Wasabimon for giving me my favorite post-long run meal (Chinese food) back!

Wanna-be PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps Recipe (borrowed directly from Wasabimon’s blog)

Ingredients for pouring sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free tamari (or regular soy sauce if you’re not concerned about gluten)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot water
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Ingredients for stir-fry sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Ingredients for chicken stir-fry:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed to 1/2″
  • 1 – 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, minced to the size of corn kernals
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, minced to the size of corn kernals
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 6 large leaves of iceberg lettuce or nappa cabbage

To make the pouring sauce:

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup warm water, then add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and throw in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
  2. Just before serving, combine 1 teaspoons hot water with dijon mustard and garlic and mix in small bowl. Add to the pouring sauce, 1/2 a teaspoon at time to taste.

To make the stir-fry sauce:

  1. Prep the stir fry sauce by mixing soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl.

To make the chicken stir-fry:

  1. Combine oils and add to wok or large frying pan. Heat oil over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add chicken and saute until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat under the wok down to medium-high. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, wait one minute, and then add garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms have cooked through, about 4 minutes, and remove to a serving dish.
  3. Serve stir-fry with iceberg lettuce or nappa cabbage leaf wraps and top with pouring sauce.



23 12 2010

I didn’t like the Reverb10 prompt today, so I thought I would just do my own : )

What is your most important seasonal tradition?  Why?

I spent the evening prepping a horrid, non-gluten free mix of white bread, velveta, ham and butter.  My dear (skinny) husband is the only one who eats this monstrosity.  And yet, it is my very favorite Christmas tradition.  For many, many years my dear hubby’s mom made “ham and cheese souffle” for her boys on Christmas Eve.

My husband lost his mom to cancer the year that we started dating.  Just a few short weeks before our first date.  Being a boy, my hubby doesn’t talk about his mom much.  His mom was my first Sunday school teacher.  She was a pastor’s wife for many, many years.  She raised three of the best dads I have ever met.  In my eyes she is simply a Saint.

So, every Christmas Eve-Eve I pull out the real butter, buy white bread and cut up the Velveta.    There isn’t anything I can do to bring my hubby’s wonderful mom and the grandma my kids have never known back, but maybe for just a taste my wonderful hubby can have a moment with his mom.  Best. tradition. ever.

The North Pole Goes Gluten Free

8 12 2010

12-11-2010 UPDATE #2 – the contest is up!  You can vote once a day (by leaving a comment on the blog) vote often and vote for mine!  (hint, you can clearly see the North Pole sign on my houses!)

12-11-2010 UPDATE – the contest isn’t up yet, thank you all who have offered to vote!  I’ll update as soon as it’s live!

Around noon today I realized I HAD to iron a bunch of my husband’s pants.  Not because he expects it.  Not because he can’t do it himself.  Mostly because I was going to be embarrassed if everybody got home from school/ work this evening and the ONLY thing I did today was make a ginger bread house.

Most people picture a nice little house that comes from a kit and tastes like cardboard when they think gingerbread house.  Not in this house.  First you have to find a gluten free gingerbread cookie recipe.  (preferably one that tastes good!)  I found my recipe from last year that worked great at Only Sometimes Clever.  I cut my own (only partially fitting) template and whipped up enough Royal Icing to glue ANYTHING together!  

With two houses of somewhat equal size I decided to GO BIG this year and make our very own North Pole.  After raiding the candy isle of 3 different stores we I was ready to go!   I have to admit here that while the kids were at school and my hubby was at work I really spent my entire day (minus the time spent ironing pants) working on my Gluten Free North Pole.  And it – was fun.  I even let the kids help when they got home from school!

Now I might be a weeee bit over the top, but not only was it so much fun, but it has the potential to WIN ME STUFF!  I might be a tad bit competitive, so that might just have been a bit of a motivator to make it all just right.  The contest is at one of my favorite gluten free blogs, Cook it Allergy Free.  The winner gets an Ipod touch, so it’s no small contest!  So my blog friends, check out the masterpiece and beginning Friday please, please go to the blog and VOTE FORE ME!!!  (or more importantly vote for Santa and his gluten free village : )


The Elves' Toy Factory (those are little gingerbread elves on the walk way)

The frozen pond out front w/ Elves skating and Santa's sleigh in the back - it's even filled with presents!

Casa Santa and Mrs. Clause (you can see Rudolph hanging out behind the house)

Mrs. Clause getting the mail

The whole shebang! Santa and Mrs. Clause go Gluten Free : )

It’s the little things . . .

22 11 2010

It’s odd to me how emotional food (or eating) has become since being diagnosed with Celiac in 2004.  I would almost classify myself as a food hoarder now.  Want to reduce me to tears – go ahead and eat the last of any of my gluten free foods.   After I finish crying you’d better hide.  Seriously.

And then there’s the wacky emotion surrounding finding new and yummy gluten free foods.  I get down right giddy when biting into a gluten free bagel that doesn’t taste like a rock, or euphoric when baking delish gluten free cookies.  I have issues.

We have all but given up dining out since we put my son on a gluten free diet this year.  I can navigate a regular menu pretty easily by getting a plain salad anywhere, but tell an 8  year old that he has to sit and watch his 11 year old sister eat yummy buttery yeast rolls while he noshes on plain salad – not so much.  And then there was Vitos.


Hello happiness.  We went out for pizza this weekend.  And it was gluten free.  And it was sooooo good.  Mine had ricotta cheese, spinach, panchetta (sp?) and mozzarella cheese and garlic.  And I didn’t have to spend the day mixing crust and making pizza.   Did I mention it was good?

My sweet son was chosen to have “pizza with the principal” (his teacher gets to choose 2 kids per 6 weeks) today.  I told him I would bring him in a gluten free pizza to which he said “Can you get me a 12 inch cheese take out from Vito’s”  No, not at 10:45 in the morning, but it just warms my heart that he has the chance to feel a little more normal with the option of real take out pizza.  As I said, I have issues, but that’s ok, that’s what running is for right?


Our Gluten Free Thanksgiving

15 11 2010

I’m usually a BA-HUMBUG Thanksgiving gal.  Every few years my birthday falls on Thanksgiving day, mmm – Thanksgiving for birthday dinner – boo.  Then along came the big C – Celiac Disease.  Like I needed one more thing to suck the fun out of Thanksgiving?  I’m not sure what has gotten into me this year but I am actually excited about Thanksgiving this year.  I will be cooking everything but the meat, my wonderful Mother in Law will be preparing the turkey and ham.  (Which I will check to make sure it’s gluten free)

So, I am using my blogging and web searching skills to build the yummiest and tastiest gluten free Thanksgiving dinner I can!

I thought I would share my hard work with all my gluten free bloggie friends!  Here is the menu I have worked up so far.

Gluten Free Stuffing from Cook it Allergy Free (minus the rasins – I’m not a raisin fan!)

Brussel Sprout Salad from Gluten Free Girl (I LOVE Brussel Sprouts!!)

HOLY MOLY – these Gluten Free Yeast rolls by Gluten Free Steve turned out fantastic!! (I subbed King Arthur Gluten Free Flour Mix for his flour mix)

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake (made Gluten Free) by Betty Crocker

That’s all I have so far, but I’ll update my post as I go!

Product Review: King Arthur’s Flour Gluten Free Pancake Mix

3 08 2010

OH MY GOSH.  I think I might have just managed to find 10 more lbs. to put on this summer.  I grabbed a box of King Arthur’s Flour Gluten Free Pancake mix at the store last week and after a good and sweaty morning run I decided to try the new mix out.

I used oil rather than butter, mainly because I”m lazy about melting the butter.   After I finished mixing the milk, eggs and butter I took one look at the mix and thought UH-oh, runny pancake disaster.  I take my pancakes pretty seriously and for me flat and heavy gluten free flops won’t cut it.  I’ve tried just about every gluten free mix out there and so far have only found acceptable mixes.  I have found heavenly recipes, but lets face it- I’m lazy and don’t want to cook pancakes from scratch every time!

Back to my runny mix.  I was about to ditch the whole effort when I actually read the directions.  Yep, me – reading directions.  Miracles happen.  Low and behold – let the mix sit for 10 min. to thicken is #3.  Woo hoo, we’re in business!  They cooked up beautifully with no funny flakes or weird coloring.  Seems silly to note, but since I’m trying to convince an 11 year old who is NOT gluten free that these are just like glutenous pancakes the little details are important.

I wish I were witty and could make up cool new words because there aren’t words for me to describe how amazingly spectacular I thought these pancakes are!!  They were light, fluffy, golden – and OH MY GOSH they tasted yummy with a little butter and syrup!!!  We will be ditching all other pancake mixes from here on.  Next up:  King Arthur’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust!  I can’t wait!!!!

The Half Gluten Free Family

14 07 2010

I would love some feedback from any gluten free blog readers out there with a problem I have been having with the family.  My son and I are gluten free.  Both my necessity, neither by choice.  My son went gluten free this year and has done great at not eating anything he isn’t sure about, letting others know he is on a gluten free diet and for the most part not complaining about being gluten free.

My husband and daughter aren’t gluten free.  They both have a huge aversion to the taste of gluten free items and aren’t afraid to share their feeling about the gluten free yucky foods.  On the one hand life would be much, much easier if everyone in the house was gluten free.  We have separate pans, bowls and even quesadea makers.   It is a huge pain.  On the other hand it’s so much more expensive to buy gluten free things and lets face it, things do taste different – and not always good different.  If  I didn’t have to eat the funky stuff, I don’t think I would want to.

Here is the issue, my son – who is a great sport about the gluten free life gets upset when my daughter gets yummy treats like farmer’s market fresh doughnuts, that he can’t eat.  My daughter loves to bake goodies, most of which we can’t eat.  Fine with me – goodies in the house is just extra temptation in my mind, but in the mind of an 8 year old it’s just torture.

Moving along to my daughter.  Any time I insist on making the whole family eat gluten free (like when I make pasta) she gets upset and pouts.  Her favorite restaurant is one that has nothing my son and I can eat.  She gets upset that she never gets to go to her favorite restaurant and in her 11 year old mind can’t understand how crappy it feels for my son and I to sit and watch everyone else eat yummy food that is off limits for us.

I’m just plain worn out from trying to make both sides happy.  Help!