Let’s get heart healthy!

Monica and Daria say:

World Heart Day will be celebrated on Tuesday!

Since you may know that heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death worldwide, it’s important to reduce our risk for these cardiovascular diseases by making some lifestyle changes.

Why not start with the food you consume?

When you think of a traditional American cookout, what foods do you see?

Hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage patties,….well, while we love all of those foods, too, we feel the need to elevate our nutrition a bit while grilling!

So, at our cookout today, we decided to select a lean protein and surround it with some heart friendly veggies!

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Our choice was organic, free-range, hormone and antibiotic free chicken!

The vitamin B6, found in chicken, is particularly helpful to your heart. Research has shown that B6 fights cardiovascular disease by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that is affected by diet. Homocysteine is understood to cause damage to the inner linings of arteries and in turn, promotes blood clots.

We are so lucky that we have a local farmer nearby who provides us with this wonderful protein that contains essential nutrients and vitamins.

We chose to cut the chicken into tenders to make it easy to thread onto our skewers. And of course, the grill time is reduced as well.

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It’s nearing the end of grilling season, but we can still get our hands on some delicious corn on the cob. A great source of soluble fiber, corn provides heart healthy benefits. It binds with cholesterol and carries it out of your system, which helps lower levels in your blood and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.

We brushed our cobs with organic coconut oil and grilled on low to medium heat, cooking 1 to 2 minutes on each side until slightly brown. Take it easy on the salt shaker….remember, you are trying to be heart healthy!!

Last, we have our dark leafy greens.

Statistics claim that only about one quarter of all adults consumes the recommended 3-4 servings of veggies per day!

The health benefits of eating your greens are well established. They are crucial to our heart health for countless reasons including their role in strengthening the immune system, improved blood circulation and purification, and lowering cholesterol.

We buy organic and like to include organic beets whenever we can. The cleaned whole beets are simply roasted in aluminum foil until tender, cooled, and then sliced to be placed onto the salad….so yummy!

This night our salad was sprinkled with a wee bit of feta cheese, which contains calcium that helps keep your bones strong, but remember that feta should be an occasional indulgence…not an everyday occurrence, since it is high in sodium!

Let’s pump up the greens and improve your health!

 

Here is the simple chicken recipe to get you grilling, too!

Moroccan-spiced chicken skewers

Ingredients:

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp pepper

2 T olive oil

1 ½ pound of chicken tenders

Directions:

Put all spices into a Ziploc bag and shake until blended. Add olive oil and knead to blend.

Add chicken and knead to coat until blended again.

Place bamboo skewers into water to prepare for grilling.

Marinate for a few hours in refrigerator.

When ready to grill, thread each tender on a bamboo skewer.

Grill 4 minutes per side….yummy!

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Doesn’t this look so good?

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It really was a great meal to eat and to share, knowing that you were kind to your body, as well as those of your guests!

All organic and all gluten-free, of course!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

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A September Beach Getaway!

Monica says:

Oh how we LOVE the beach!

And if you’ve never visited there in September, you really need to plan a trip!

It’s much less crowded; it’s still lovely (weather-wise); it’s more affordable for accommodations!

Win. Win. Win.

Since we live on the East coast, we have our choice of Maryland, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey beaches. And while all of them are wonderful in their own unique way, somehow we always gravitate to the “Jersey Shore” and our favorite place is Cape May.

Yes, all the way down at the southern-most tip…Exit 0.

Two Christmas seasons ago, we brought our Golden/Corgi mix puppy daughter, Molly, with us for a quick little getaway to Cape May. She was a great little traveler, but since it was December and very rainy that year, we couldn’t introduce her to the Atlantic Ocean.

This time we knew we wanted to include Molly on our trip so we booked a pet-friendly hotel (with a kitchenette for gluten-free goodies from home*) and we were off!

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*GF goodies included Gluten free Cheerios, Udi’s GF Granola, Gratify GF Pretzels, homemade chicken salad, homemade brown rice salad with scallions, dried cranberries, slivered almonds and broccoli, Gratify GF Everything Baked Bites, Popcorn Indiana Organic Himalayan Pink Salt Popcorn, Schar Honeygrams, fresh blueberries and grapes, and lots of bottled water!

Our eating policy when we are on vacation is to try new places each time we visit. We absolutely have favorite eateries, too and sometimes, we just have to go back and enjoy a favorite meal there. Our first stop was the Lobster House for a quick take-out since we were beat from our long ride!

We were so tired that I forgot to take a picture of my broiled scallops, lobster, and shrimp with baked potato…oh well! But trust me, it was delicious!

The next morning we were up early and off to let Molly explore pet-friendly Higbee Beach. Her tail wagged continuously as we walked the sandy access path to the beach area.

Her nose got quite the workout! She sniffed here and there and everywhere!

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It was so much fun to experience this with my little cutie! She wasn’t too impressed with the water and in fact, couldn’t really be bothered with it!

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The Cape May – Lewes Ferry behind us in this photo is a car and passenger ferry that crosses the Delaware Bay and connects NJ with Delaware. We’ve used this wonderful ferry service and it’s an easy and fun experience!

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Later in the day, we decided to dine at the Cape May Fish Market which is smack in the center of Washington Square Mall in the historic part of Cape May.

Our server, who was familiar with celiac disease (since both of her parents have it!), explained a few of the menu items that would be gluten-free.

I decided on a fresh salad of iceberg lettuce with mixed greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes with fresh jumbo lump crab meat.

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So fresh and delightful! Can’t you just taste this???

Spending our days going for long walks with Molly and enjoying the beach, we were really ready for great food at dinnertime.

Our new favorite place is The Blue Pig Tavern, which is located within Congress Hall. This amazing place was recommended to us by our darling daughter and my blogging partner, Daria! She had eaten there earlier this summer and she raved about it….now we know why!

First, let’s talk about ambience.

This place has it! Tucked in the corner of America’s oldest seaside resort, the tavern is just magical.

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Second, let’s talk about service.

Our server was well versed about celiac disease and checked with the kitchen several times to make sure that I was taken care of.

And, how about these adorable napkins? And, of course, my favorite color, too!

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Third, let’s talk about the food.

The Blue Pig Tavern features American comfort food and uses fresh produce, herbs, and eggs from their own farm, Beach Plum Farm, which is two miles from the restaurant.

Oh my! Everything was wonderful!

Every bite!

My appetizer was the Beach Plum Farm Gazpacho. This tangy cold soup featured tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, garlic, cilantro, and olive oil.

Absolutely amazing!

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My husband Lewie’s appetizer was PIE (Prince Edward Island) Mussels. The mussels were accented with spicy chorizo and cilantro, in a spicy tomato broth.

These made us so happy!

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My entrée was a culinary delight! I chose the Seared Rainbow Trout which was served with truffle and chive smashed potatoes, roasted red pepper coulis, and sautéed Swiss chard.

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Perfectly prepared and perfectly devoured by me!

We always try to save a little bit of room for dessert! After all, we raised a pastry chef!

We know from personal experience that pastry chefs put their heart and soul into their desserts.

Our Daria certainly does! So proud of that girl!

The gluten-free choice at The Blue Pig Tavern was a flourless chocolate cake…so exciting!

This rich and dense chocolate cake was covered in chocolate ganache and served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream with a strawberry…so scrumptious!

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We wandered around Congress Hall a bit after dinner and I was so impressed with this resort.

It reminds me of Bedford Springs as both have such rich histories.

Take a look!

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We are so NOT GOOD at selfies! But we try!

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Our last beach day had another early beginning and late ending! And of course, it had to include something Italian…and it had to be gluten-free pizza!

We had noticed a few days prior that Blue Moon Pizza had a sign for “GF Pizza and Wraps” in the window. So we decided to check it out!

Please NOTE: the link to Blue Moon does not clarify that they have GF pizza available; don’t know why they don’t publicize this!

The young man at the counter told me that the GF pizza is made in a dedicated oven with its own utensils and bakeware. So, I ordered a personal pan-size gluten-free pizza with a crust covered with fresh ricotta, fresh sliced tomatoes, and spinach. Of course, mozzarella, garlic, and olive oil rounded out the taste!

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It was so tasty and mouthwatering!

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My husband ate his meatball hoagie and helped me finish the pizza! Yum!

Our last day was Sunday and after early Mass, we went to one of our favorite places in West Cape May that we discovered several years ago. It’s a small café that seems to expand every year. Bella Vida, which means “Beautiful Life” offers many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Please NOTE: If you click on the MENU tab from the link above and then click on Vegetarian/Gluten Free you will see a pdf that talks about these options. They DO explain that they do NOT have a gluten free kitchen. They stress that it is very important you let your server know the extent of your allergy.

It is such a great find off the beaten path and one that brings us back year after year! (I personally have not been glutened here)

Here is my “million calorie” breakfast that lasted me most of the day! I usually wake up starving and I can only tell you that this really hit the spot!

I ordered the Double Header which featured two eggs, two gluten-free pancakes, and homefries with peppers and onions. And, I had to have a cup of caffeine free Lively Lemon tea!

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Doesn’t it look so appealing? You should have tasted it! Wow!

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My pancakes look so happy, don’t they? They were so fluffy…I need to know the secret to the fluffiness!

So sad to say goodbye to the Jersey shore…one of my favorite places on earth!

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Needless to say, Molly really enjoyed her “vacay” and had a relaxing time!

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Special goodbye to this little guy who lost his foot but had so much spirit!

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Hope to see you next year!

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xos

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have processor, have pudding! GF, of course!

Monica says:

 

Who loves chocolate?

Who loves dark chocolate?

Who loves dark chocolate pudding?

If you are yelling, “Yes!” “Yes!” “Yes!” …I have a recipe for you!

It combines healthy dark chocolate cocoa with avocado and banana.

That’s right. Three powerful foods full of antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients.

And best of all, making this wonderful pudding is so incredibly easy.

If you have a food processor, you are in business!

Get ready for gluten-free yumminess!

 

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Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:

2 avocados

2 ripe bananas

½ cup milk (used Lactaid Milk)

¼ cup raw unfiltered honey (can use maple syrup)

1 T maple syrup

1/3 cup cocoa powder (used Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 ½ tsp pure vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Process all ingredients until smooth in a food processor.

whisks  © 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

That’s it!

No kidding!

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Pour the pudding into a bowl and set in refrigerator for a few hours covered.

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To serve, I split the pudding into two ramekins and topped it with slivered almonds and dark cocoa nibs.

What a delight!

The cinnamon really brings out the dark chocolate, while the banana and avocado make it super silky smooth.

You just want to keep on eating and eating it!

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Luckily, this recipe only makes two servings. Because you might eat yourself into oblivion!

I know I would!

So give this recipe a try and let me know how you like it.

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Gluten free doesn’t have to be boring, you know!

Happy blending!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk