Happy Trail Mix Day!

Monica and Daria say:

What can you do with a bunch of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate (yes, most definitely, chocolate)?

You can make your own trail mix!

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We grabbed a variety of nuts that we always have on hand… ½ cup of each of walnuts, almonds, and pecans.

Then we added in ½ cup of pumpkin seeds, and ½ cup of sunflower seeds.

We LOVE dried cranberries so we put in ½ cup of those and topped it all off with ½ cup of Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips!

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What is easier and nutritious to boot?

It has a great combo of carbs and energy. Trail mix is THE snack for hiking, biking, and exploring!

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Trail mix is so versatile that your ingredients are only limited by your imagination! Some of our favorited additional ingredients include puffed rice cereal, M&Ms, pretzels, unsweetened coconut, or anything else that is trail mix worthy!

Just make sure that your ingredients are gluten-free, and you are set to go!

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And did you notice that our trail mix is in a collector Pyrex bowl? Just picked it up at our favorite antique shop, The Shop 2….check them out!

Have a great day…wherever your travels may take you!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

A gluten-free getaway!

Monica and Daria say:

Oh how we love the end of July!

“Why?” you ask.

In a word….Bedford!

Well, maybe two words…Bedford Springs!

Lewie (hubby and daddy) always attends a conference here and he is so nice to invite us to tag along! He is busy during the day with meeting people from around the state of Pennsylvania, and we busy ourselves with leisure activities…..swimming, reading, antiquing, etc.

Is it any wonder that we look forward to this conference???

This year we couldn’t have asked for any better weather, either. The days were hot and sunny and even though I, (Monica), am not into tanning, reading under the umbrella and sipping something yummy was simply delightful! Daria gets enough sun for both of us!!

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Even though this is the fifth year that we’ve accompanied Lewie to Bedford Springs and have gotten to know the area quite well, we always look online for any new restaurants (before we leave) that may have opened since our last visit.

And to our surprise, we usually find something!

This year we investigated via findmeglutenfree.com and were not disappointed!

What a great resource for people who need to eat gluten-free!

This web site offers the user an insight into gluten-free friendly businesses in cities around the United States and even some cities in Canada! You can go online from your computer or download the free app to your cell so that you are connected wherever you go!

For those places that we had eaten at in previous years and wanted to dine there again, we made a reservation using Open Table. For the new places, we stored the information (address, phone, hours and days of operation) in a memo on our cell and were we happy we did!

This info was right at our fingertips when making inquiries and reservations when we arrived. We didn’t have to take any extra time to look anything up a second or third time! What a timesaver!

Here are our new favorite places!

Our dinner at Eat2Live Bistro was perfection! This wonderful little place in New Paris, is a dream come true for gluten-free diners! From soup to dessert(s)…we enjoyed every second!

Our server Tina was so friendly and knowledgeable about eating gluten-free; she truly added to our dining experience!

We started off with fresh blackberry infused water….Daria chose to add some coconut palm sugar to sweeten it a bit!

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Then we looked over the extensive menu!

Daria enjoyed the chilled Gazpacho which consisted of local tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, and watermelon…so refreshing!

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Monica and Lewie had the Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Chowder which boasted creamy, roasted sweet corn and red bell peppers with potatoes and nitrate-free bacon! Amazing!

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We each ordered a different entrée and had so much fun tasting each other’s. That’s what families do!

Daria had the Chicken ‘n Pesto which featured seasoned, grilled chicken breast topped with a roasted garlic and herb feta. It was served over house made quinoa pasta tossed with marinated local tomatoes and butter pesto sauce.

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OmG! So delicious!

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Look at that quinoa pasta!

Monica chose the Roasted Pineapple Pork Chop. This local pasture raised pork chop was topped with roasted pineapple salsa and served over a creamy mushroom wild rice risotto.

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In a word…delightful!

Lewie decided on the Trout Almondine (a local spring water fed trout, of course) which was presented on a creamy mushroom wild rice risotto, with seasonal veggies and toasted almond butter.

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Melted in your mouth!

Tina’s suggestions were spot-on and we were delighted to have found such a great eatery.

We were so full after our dinners, but managed to share the Three-Berry Cobbler with house made ice cream….gluten-free of course!

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It was simply delicious!

Since we rarely ever find an establishment that has ALL gluten-free desserts, we decided to take home the other selections….it’s so nice to have a refrigerator in the hotel room!

And when you are on vacation…dessert is breakfast!

So here are the other desserts….

A delicious Cheesecake….so creamy on an oatmeal walnut crust…we chose the caramel drizzle!

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Spring Carrot Cake…moist and delicious with cinnamon and walnuts, this cake had a house made lemon cream cheese frosting! Yum!

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Chocolate Truffle Cake…a decadent two-layer cacao (dark chocolate) beet cake with cacao avocado truffle icing. Just the right amount of sweetness and definitely chocolatey!

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We ended the evening with some sangria on the porch of the Bedford Springs Omni just chatting and reminiscing about vacationing together!

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Lunch at the Bedford Springs Omni was great, too!

Cheese plates, fruit plates to start!

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A gluten-free Rachel sandwich (which is a variation on a Reuben) with turkey, and coleslaw along with some gluten-free veggie pizza hit the spot!

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And here are some gluten-free shrimp rolls that were so good! The rolls were accompanied by a ham, cheese, and pea salad that is a local favorite. Not one of ours though…sorry!

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SO happy that we were able to spend a little time together!

Monica says:

While Daria couldn’t continue on the way with us to Greensburg to attend the Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp, we really wish she could have, because she missed some GREAT gluten-free food!

On the evening of our first day there, we found a great little place called Noviello’s Sunset Café. What a fabulous Italian restaurant!

As soon as we walked in and smelled the Italian sauce, we knew we were in for a treat!

Since most Italian restaurants serve bread and dipping oil immediately upon ordering, I was so happy when our waiter brought me this little veggie plate! He even apologized that they didn’t have any gluten-free bread and hoped that this would make up for it!

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The house salad featured red beets, fresh grated mozzarella, and a house dressing that was a white wine concoction. Very good!

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I ordered the polenta with marinara sauce and it may have been the fluffiest polenta I ever ate! It seriously melted in my mouth!

Add your grated cheese and that’s it!

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Heaven!

The best was yet to come!

While we were eating the evening before at Noviello’s a gentleman at the next table was talking about being gluten-free….well, one thing led to another and he suggested a pizza place for me to try!

Before we went to the Steelers’ Friday Night Lights practice in LaTrobe, we found Little E’s Pizzeria…and my day was made!

I had to take a picture of the window….so exciting!

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Organic and gluten-free selections were so numerous I couldn’t even believe it!

I settled on a Margherita pizza with red pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, drizzled with extra virgin oil and fresh basil. Lewie decided on a gluten-free meatball hoagie that was made with homemade grass-fed Texas Longhorn meatballs, provolone cheese and red sauce.

We were so shocked and delighted that the meatballs were gluten-free!!

While we waited for our selections to be made, we had some Woodchuck Amber on tap….the flavor was so much crisper than the bottled!

The meatball hoagie came out first…two huge pieces and with extra dipping sauce! Can you see the steam from the sauce?

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Such great flavor in the meatballs and the bread…oh, the bread!

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And now the pizza!

I think this pizza was the best gluten-free pizza I ever had! (even though I raved about the one in Rome!)

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The crust was herbed and so incredible!

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I wondered if the pizza crust and the hoagie bread were made on site. So I asked!

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Our server told us that they bought the gluten-free items from a place called Herbalicious in Mt. Pleasant…

we will be  looking into their products!

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Do you think we enjoyed our pizza?

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All I kept saying to Lewie was “I wish Daria was here!” and “I wish these people would come to eastern PA!”

Our evening ended with Lewie seeing his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers and a beautiful “blue” moon to boot!

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A great trip and tons of great gluten-free food!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

To see our gluten-free adventure in Bedford in 2014 link to:

https://glutenfreedoubletalk.com/2014/08/09/a-lovely-little-place-called-bedford/

 

 

Veggie Lasagna…gluten-free and gorgeous!

Monica says:

Is your mouth watering looking at this picture?

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If so, then you need to make this gluten-free lasagna and make yourself happy!

Lasagna has always been a favorite meal in our household.

The saucier and cheesier the better!

But when Daria and I were diagnosed with celiac disease, our meals changed quite a bit….especially the Italian ones!

In 2002 the products that are on the market today were virtually non-existent. We ate very blandly and endured many a boring meal while we educated ourselves about this thing called a “gluten-free diet!”

We did have the occasional pasta but it was made by my hubby and Daria’s daddy who grew up making cavatelli with his Nana! He used Betty Hagman’s cookbook, The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy, like a bible. Thank God for Lewie because we were still getting used to our new lifestyle and were often sick!

Fast forward to today….gluten-free products abound! But we still find ourselves shying away from the commercially produced and processed items because we feel better eating “whole” foods.

Not to say that we aren’t grateful for the strides made in gluten-free food….we are! We just know what’s best for us…

as I’m sure you know what is best for you!

That being said, I have developed a recipe for gluten-free veggie lasagna that incorporates

all of the fresh and wonderful vegetables that I love.

Hope you give this recipe a try!

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Gluten-free Veggie Lasagna

This recipe has five parts…first, make the sauce…second, blend the cheese mixture…third, boil the noodles…fourth, sauté your veggies…and fifth, put it all together!

Sounds like a lot of work but it is so worth it!

Let’s get started…

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped fine

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2-28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes

1-15 oz. can tomato sauce

Sprinkle of basil

Sprinkle of oregano

Dash of cracked pepper

Directions

Sauté the onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a rolling boil.

Then reduce heat to medium low and cook for an hour making sure to stir every now and then.

After one hour, simmer for an additional hour.

MEANWHILE, while your sauce is getting lovely….

Cheese Mixture

Combine these Ingredients

32 oz. of Ricotta cheese

1 egg

Pinches of parsley, oregano, and basil

Dash of salt and pepper

Set the mixture aside and place in refrigerator.

NOW it’s time to make the…

Pasta

Boil ONE box of gluten-free lasagna noodles according to the package directions.

Cool.

Time to chop and sauté the…

Vegetable Blend

Ingredients

2-3 T extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2-8 oz. packages of mushrooms, chopped (baby bellas)

3 large carrots, chopped

3 small to medium zucchini, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 bag organic baby spinach

Mozzarella cheese, grated

Romano cheese, grated

Directions

Sauté mushrooms and onions in extra virgin olive oil first. When translucent and semi-soft, remove to a plate.

Next, sauté the carrots, zucchini, and garlic until semi-soft.  Add in the spinach and stir through the veggie mixture until it wilts slightly.

Remove to the plate with the mushrooms and onions.

And now it’s time to assemble the lasagna!

Get your favorite 9 x 13 pan out and get ready to layer! (I use a non-stick ceramic baking dish)

Place sauce on the bottom of the pan, followed by noodles, followed by veggies, followed by ricotta mixture topped with a sprinkle of grated mozzarella and Romano cheeses.

Repeat.

Make sure you end with a layer of noodles on top, covered with sauce and topped with Romano cheese!

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 whisks   © 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

So the next time you are craving lasagna, why not try a vegetable version?

You can really pump up your recommended veggie intake for the day and have fun doing it!

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Buon Appetito!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Antiquing in Rhinebeck, NY!

Monica says:

We really lucked out on this trip!

The weather was perfect, the company sublime, and I found great gluten-free food along the way!

My dear friends, Carmine and Margie, responded with a resounding YES when I suggested we take a road trip to the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY, way back in February.

We planned and planned and the weekend finally arrived….we put on our matching sunglasses and we were READY!

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When we were all young mothers with little ones, one of our saving graces was to go “yard-sailing” every Saturday morning throughout our geographic area. It was bonding time for us to just laugh and share our lives with one another. We had so much fun!

There are so many “treasures” throughout my home (and each of them would agree) that make me smile when I look at them, because I can remember the exact story that brought me to that piece!

We had never spent an entire weekend looking for “treasures” so we knew we were up to the challenge!

Our first stop was the CIA, Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, where we needed to have a small bite to get us going! The girls were so excited as we wandered around the beautiful grounds of the campus!

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My choice this morning was coconut tapioca featuring a lemon curd & poached pineapple garnish….

it was delightful and of course, gluten-free!

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Even my tea, Jasmine Dragon Pearl, hit the spot!

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Day One…and we were off to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck to find the fair! 

How happy we are to be together and make memories again!!

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Walking around, talking with vendors, and getting ideas….just spells H-A-P-P-Y!

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Our evening dinner took us back to the CIA, Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici, where we dined for hours!

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We were so busy that I forgot to take pictures of my entrée, which was Brodetto Pesce e Verdure, roasted seabass with an aromatic broth and spring vegetables.

Thanks to Chef Coppedge (Daria’s mentor), once again, for the gluten-free breadsticks!

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We were exhausted since we had been awake since 4:30 am…time for bed!

Day Two: We started our adventure with brunch at the famous Hyde Park eatery, the Eveready Diner!

This 24-hour establishment has been a landmark in the Hudson Valley for nearly forty years! It was even featured on an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri!

Daria told me that this place was a “must-see” for the ladies….she has great memories of this diner from her days at the CIA!

We open our menus and here’s what we saw….there is “Ed’s Breakfast” and “Carmine’s  Omelette!”

Too funny since our Carmine is married to Eddie!!

Hence the photos below!

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And did I forget to say that the ham and cheese omelette with the side of grilled home fries was served with the best gluten-free toast ever??

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It was a pillow of yummy!

With our bellies full, we were off to the fair for round 2!

Along the way, we searched in several antique shops for treasures, too. Me… I found an old chicken coop that I plan to upcycle into a coffee table! That’s another post!

We once again, saw some great ideas and made a few purchases! How could we not?

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Gigi’s Trattoria in Rhinebeck, was our choice for dinner. I had read about this restaurant online before the trip and I knew that they had gluten-free pasta and pizza, so we ventured in to satisfy our hunger for something Italian.

We decided to split a salad called Rughetta, which featured baby arugula, Parmesan, lemon, and olive oil. And what a good choice!

While the girls enjoyed Tagliatelle, featuring house-made fettuccine with a Gigi Bolognese and fresh ricotta, I decided to try the gluten-free gnocchi. Sadly, our waiter informed me that they had run out of the gluten-free option, so I ordered a gluten-free pizza, or as they called it a Gigi Skizza ™ .

My choice was a pizza called the Rustica, featuring a ricotta-roasted garlic spread, sausage, broccoli rabe, shaved Parmesan, and chili flakes. It was a crispy gluten-free flatbread. Not bad!

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Since Margie’s sweet grandkids call her Gigi, we only thought it appropriate that this picture highlight only her!!

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Time to return to the hotel and crash! Another day of laughter and great fun!

Day Three: Our last day in the Hudson Valley….we are ready to pack in as much as we could before we hit the road for our three-hour ride home!

We decided to try the hotel’s breakfast to get started and unfortunately, I found very little to eat. I chose a banana and ran back up to the room to get a gluten-free bagel that I had packed for the trip! Grabbed some peanut butter and jelly and I was set for the morning!

While we headed back up to Rhinebeck and began looking for a parking space, we stumbled upon a fantastic farmer’s market (which happens every Sunday all year long!). We wished that we had packed a huge cooler…they were selling everything from fresh produce to seafood and garden plants!

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We continued our exploration of Rhinebeck and discovered some great little shops and considered taking a Pilates class…nah, only kidding!

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Soon our appetite alarms sounded and we decided on a Thai restaurant called aroi Thai.

Voted the “Best Thai restaurant in the Hudson Valley in 2014,” this quaint little place did not disappoint!

My entrée choice was Pad Kee Mao with shrimp, which has flat rice noodles sautéed with basil chili sauce, bell peppers and green onions….

it was superb!

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I always make sure that the soy sauce used in any Asian dish is gluten-free….just ask! People are so accommodating! Or better yet, check the menu ahead of time and consider emailing the chef to ensure ingredients are gluten-free!

Our last stop before we headed home was the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park. I had been on the grounds before but never had gone inside, so we decided to take the tour and enjoy the sights!

The tour began in the Visitor Center which was originally the home for the family used when the main house was being built.

We started off by snapping a picture of a huge chandelier and enlisted the help of a bison!

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This fifty-four-room mansion, which was described as a cottage in comparison to the other homes owned by the Vanderbilts, is a remarkable example of the gilded-age of architecture.  It includes 14 bathrooms, 10 guest bedrooms, and several rooms for male and female servants.

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We were completely flabbergasted at the opulence of this home!

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One word can describe the mansion….eclectic!

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Its contents remain virtually unchanged from the time the Vanderbilts lived there!

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Carmine (her Daddy was a great plumber) LOVED the indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water and flush toilets…

again, a first in the area at that time!

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My favorite chandelier….this home was the first in Hyde Park to have electricity!

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Just enjoying this tour so much!

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A few pics of the floor below where the staff and servants lived and worked!

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LOVED the staircase….both down

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…and up!

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The grounds of the mansion were beautiful and we could only imagine how much care went into keeping an estate like this looking its best. The formal gardens were meticulously planned and what a wonderful feast for your eyes!

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Here is the gorgeous view from the east bank of the Hudson River!

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“Buh-bye” Hudson Valley….we enjoyed EVERY single minute!

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The car is packed to the max! Thanks, Daria, for letting us borrow your CR-V!

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Margie only has ONE seat going home (funny, she had TWO going up)….the rest is our treasures!

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So sad to go, but we will be back…promise!

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If you’ve never visited the Hudson Valley, plan a trip soon! It is a very welcoming area and there is so much to see!

And eat!

And buy!

And most of all, a great place to make happy memories!

We had an easy and incident-free ride home, thankfully….and we are grateful to be home safe and sound!

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Thanks for reading about

The misadventures of  3 ladies who love to antique OR 3 antique ladies who love to go…”Where are we going?”

 

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get your apple pie on!

Monica says:

Nothing tops off a meal like a piece of pie.

Truth be told, I prefer pie to any other dessert…I just love the crust and fillings and the fact that pie can be served à la mode ….it doesn’t get better!

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So when I looked in my refrigerator’s fruit bin and realized that I had way too many Granny Smith apples, I decided to take care of the problem.

My solution?

Bake an easy apple pie!

This recipe calls for a bottom crust only so you can make your pie crust from scratch or buy a ready-made one! Your choice!

We previously posted a recipe for a gluten-free pie crust so if you want the recipe go to our post on this blog, “It’s National Quiche Lorraine Day!” which includes “Mom’s Water Whip Pie Crust”   

And now time to make your tummy happy!

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Open-faced Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 375˚ and prepare a gluten-free pie crust for the bottom of your pie.

Ingredients:

6 large Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/8” slices

¼ cup light brown sugar

2 T granulated sugar

sprinkle of Turbinado sugar

2 T Arrowroot starch

1 fresh lemon, zested

1 T fresh lemon juice

2 T orange juice

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

2 T melted butter

1 pie crust (bottom only)

Directions:

Once you’ve made your pie crust and placed it in the pie plate, cut your apples and set aside.

Next, combine the light brown sugar, granulated sugar, Turbinado sugar, Arrowroot starch, zest of one lemon, lemon juice, orange juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Mix well. Add apples to coat and let rest for 10-20 minutes, stirring at least 2 times.

Once the apples have become coated, place the mixture into the crust. Pour the melted butter evenly over the top.

Place the pie pan on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes @ 375˚ and then reduce the temperature to 350˚. Continue baking until apples are tender, about 45-50 minutes or so.

Cool on a wire rack.

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Serve with whipped cream or ice cream….whatever your little heart desires!

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Just enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk   whisks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

Monica says:

When Daria was a little girl, she always wanted to BE Irish!

It was so hard to explain to her that this was not something that was going to ever happen…

We always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and one year, two of my students (sisters) introduced her to Irish step dancing and a star was born! We quickly became involved in the world of competition and traveled to places that we had not seen. It was fun and certainly great exercise for her!

Daria says:

Even though I always loved my heritage (Croatian, Polish, Italian) there was just something always intriguing about being Irish! Not necessarily the beer or the food, but the green eyes, red hair, and intricate Celtic designs

I loved watching Lord of the Dance and was determined to try it out someday. Then I met the Brown sisters – Breighann and Mallory….next thing I know I am going to lessons every Sunday night and LOVING it!

We performed and competed and I LOVED every minute of it!

The little CroPoTalian jigged her way to the top and beat all of the little Irish girls….14 first places and one silver!

I still have my ghillies!

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Monica and Daria say:

The one thing that we baked every St. Patrick’s Day was Irish Soda Bread. And yes, it was full of gluten and made us feel ill (like everything else did).

So here is a gluten-free version of a great soda bread…hope you try it and enjoy!

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Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread

Preheat oven to 350˚ and spray a 9-inch springform pan with Pam (non-stick cooking spray).

Cut a piece of parchment into a round to cover bottom of pan. Spray parchment on it, too!

Dry Ingredients

3 ½ cups of brown rice flour

¼ cup Arrowroot Starch

5 tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients

2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter

2 large organic eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups of buttermilk (you can use unsweetened Almond Vanilla Milk OR Silk Light Vanilla Soy Milk with 2 tsp lemon juice added to either; your choice!)

Splash of pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups raisins

Directions

Whisk all dry ingredients and set aside.

Cream butter, eggs and sugar for a minute or so until fluffy (if using a stand mixer, on medium; if using a handheld mixer, on high).

Place one-half of the dry mixture into the mixer and combine on low speed.

Next, add the buttermilk mixture and vanilla and stir until well combined.

Now add the remaining dry mixture. Stir to combine.

Add raisins. Stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 1 ½ hours or until a knife inserted into the center of the bread, comes out clean (ours took 1 hour and 20 minutes and started to get very brown on top so we placed aluminum foil on top at about 1 hour baking time).

When bread is done and ever so sweet-smelling, remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Remove from the pan after about 5 minutes and let cool completely on rack.

 

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Serve with butter or your favorite topping or jelly!

Yum!

     whisks    © 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

It’s National Crab Day!

Monica and Daria say:

We just love when Lewie (hubby and daddy) cooks!

He is great in the kitchen…will try any recipe that looks intriguing and his food is always delightful!

We are very luck women!

In honor of crab day and since we posted our crab cakes in an earlier post, we wanted to share a crab soup or bisque that Lewie whipped up for a cold winter evening.

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This soup uses FRESH lump crab meat…that really makes the difference! The crab is so sweet and tender; it literally melts in your mouth!

So without further ado…

Crab Bisque

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cook time:  45 minutes

Servings:  6

INGREDIENTS

1 cup onion, minced

1 cup carrot, minced

21 ounces of chicken broth (we like College Inn low sodium in the box)

4 tablespoons GF arrowroot starch

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup heavy cream

1⁄2 cup cooking sherry

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like spicy!)

Fresh chives, minced (optional)

Pinch of kosher salt

1⁄2 pound fresh lump crabmeat

 

DIRECTIONS

Sauté onion and carrot in 2 tablespoons butter until soft. Set aside.

In a 4-quart saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter and add arrowroot starch, whisking constantly over medium heat until roux becomes light brown (about 5 minutes). Make sure it doesn’t burn!

Slowly add chicken broth, whisking constantly to ensure mixture stays smooth.

Add onions and carrots, cover, and simmer for 1/2 hour.

Add cream, sherry, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, and crab and simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Garnish with fresh minced chives if desired.

Note:  Adapted from a recipe on http://www.food.com

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Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

“Buh-bye” February!

Monica says:

As I begin writing this post, we are in the midst of yet another snow storm to be followed by ice…March is certainly carrying the bad weather forward!

I had a very busy end to February and luckily, it included some sun and a lot of fun!

Yes, my sister and I went to “The Sunshine State” of Florida to visit some wonderful friends and get some much needed rest and relaxation.

And even though Florida was experiencing some very cold weather, the last few days of our trip were in the 70s while our northern families and friends were in a deep freeze. So let’s just say we felt very blessed!

While visiting the Seminole/St. Petersburg area, I was able to find some gluten-free goodies! Here are a few of my finds!

Double Tree @ North Redington Beach had a gluten-free menu!

Turkey Reuben with roasted turkey breast, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut on toasted GF caraway seed bread! Accompanied with Strawberry Lemonade with beach umbrella….mandatory!

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Horiatiki Salad @ Hellas in Tarpon Springs….garden fresh tomato wedges, cucumbers, onions, green peppers, Greek olives, and feta cheese. I had mine with oil and vinegar to be safe.

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The “best Gyro in town” without the pita @ Hellas! A blend of lamb and beef, broiled….melted in my mouth with tzatziki sauce! Delightful!

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We had to go to Florida to find a Pizza Hut that carried gluten-free pizza….was a treat but didn’t have the taste I remember! I guess I was really missing that gluten-filled crust….oh well!

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A visit to the Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Pete was the best place yet! We could have wandered in this place all day! Everyone was hustling and bustling about….great fun!

Of course, I had to have dark chocolate gelato and look at these Italian salamis and pepperonis!

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February ended on a very high note when Lewie and I attended the wedding of our dear friends’ son, Ian who married his high school sweetheart, Sarah. Lewie and I (also high school sweethearts) celebrated our own wedding anniversary just a week prior and were so happy to be invited to this celebration! And the weather cooperated!

Ian’s mom, Dori, and I first met when I was hired as an elementary librarian at a school district in the Poconos where her children attended school. She was hired as my library assistant and our friendship was cemented right off the bat! We had so much in common and have been close ever since….19 years and counting!

Later, when I transferred to the high school, I was again connected with Dori’s children….just loved having them!

Luckily our husbands are good friends too….Mike and Lewie have a lot in common as well….both LOVE food and are great cooks! Lucky us….although we aren’t too bad in the kitchen, either!

Anyway, Ian and Sarah chose what proved to be the absolute best place to have their wedding reception….The Brownstone in Paterson, New Jersey.  It was stunning in every way!

The food was phenomenal….by far, the best wedding reception food we’ve ever eaten! It truly did not taste like mass-produced food at all….it was fine dining!

And even if I couldn’t eat some of it…I admired the smells and beautiful presentation of the appetizers, the drinks, the salads, the entrées, etc.

To say that we were “stuffed” is an understatement! You just couldn’t help yourself….so much to eat and so little time!

Thank goodness for the wonderful DJ and dancing!

The evening began with appetizers too numerous to recount but here are a few of my gluten-free favorites!

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Our dinner was a Mediterranean dream….the wait staff asked you to choose your salad, pasta, and entrée.  I did not choose pasta for obvious reasons, but here are my other choices.

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And c’mon…..how about this dessert table?

Italian zeppole (doughnuts), wedding cake that tasted like strawberry shortcake (or so I was told by Lewie), Italian cookies, fruit, and coffee (with your choice of liquor) that was so pretty, you just didn’t want to drink it…but I was told it was incredible! Even though I could only choose fruit, it was delicious and satisfying!

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Let’s face it…there’s nothing like an Italian wedding! If you’ve never been to one….I hope you get invited to one of these amazing celebrations!

Just love this picture of Mike, Sarah, Ian, and Dori!

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Much happiness for Ian and Sarah!

Thank you for letting us share this glorious day with you!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

February Foods We LOVE! Quinoa!

Monica says:

Several years ago if you would have asked me what quinoa was, I would have had the “deer in headlights” look on my face!

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is probably the most perfect plant protein that can be found!

Naturally gluten-free and wheat-free, this is THE perfect food for those of us who suffer from celiac disease or have gluten-sensitivity.

Nutrient-rich, quinoa has anti-inflammatory properties, contains all of the essential amino acids, and is a great source of manganese (migraine sufferers often are lacking this)!

Fast forward to now…

I am comfortable cooking quinoa and anyone who knows me, will tell you that I LOVE to collect recipes and will try any recipe at least once. That being said, I discovered this amazing breakfast quinoa.

Being a “Martha Stewart Wanna-be” (as far as crafts and recipes go), I learned that she has a video series called Eat Clean with Shira Bocar, the Martha Stewart Living food editor.

The recipes in this series are simple and nutritious.

Here is a link to my new favorite quinoa recipe, called Quinoa Porridge!

http://www.marthastewart.com/1072187/eat-clean#1100582

I wrote down the recipe as Shira spoke on the video, so here it is!

Quinoa Porridge

First:

½ cup rinsed quinoa (rinse through 3 changes of water)

¾ cup almond milk (I used Silk Vanilla Almond Milk)

½ cup water

½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp cardamom

¼ tsp sea salt

Swirl ingredients and then bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover for 16 minutes.

When done, fluff with fork and set aside.

Now:

Chop half of a pear into bite-size chunks. Grab a handful of toasted sliced almonds.

(I toasted sliced almonds on parchment paper in a 350˚ oven for about 5 minutes….as soon as they are fragrant, remove from oven)

Assemble the porridge by placing quinoa in the bottom of a bowl. Add some almond milk, place chopped pear on top and garnish with toasted almonds.

©marthastewart.com/eatclean

So let’s recap….

Quinoa can be eaten for breakfast!

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Quinoa is a seed, not a grain!

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Quinoa will keep your tummy happy!

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Let’s dig in…

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

February Foods We LOVE! Italian Wedding Soup

Monica and Daria say:

Everyone has an idea of their perfect comfort food. Maybe it’s chicken and dumplings, mac ‘n cheese, or apple pie.

We have several….and one of our favorites on this “National Homemade Soup Day” happens to be Italian wedding soup!

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“For me, it reminds me of my Aunt Kate,” says Monica. “She raised my Dad when he lost his Mom as an infant, and she really was more of a Grandmother to me and my sisters, than an aunt. The fact that this wonderful Italian woman lived right down the street when we were growing up, impacted our relationship. And best of all, she was a great cook!”

“Italian wedding soup will always remind me of snow days!” says Daria. “Since my Mom was a school librarian, she would have off when we did, and our ‘jammy days’ were celebrated with lots of cooking, baking and great food. We absolutely loved our ‘next-doors’ and would exchange our snow day creations with them (they were cooking and baking, too) and just play and eat all day! Such great memories!”

We have our Aunt Kate’s “original” Italian wedding soup recipe, which she called “Chicken Endive Soup” but had to update it when we became gluten-free. And remember, she was Italian and cooked by instinct, so it was more “a little bit of this and a little bit of that!” We really had to try and pin down the amount of each ingredient!

So the recipe we present here is based on the original and even though it’s gluten-free, it has the same flavor profile.

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Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients

For soup base:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 celery stalks, chopped into bite-size pieces

6 chicken cutlets (thick-cut) or 2 chicken breasts (we use organic), cut into bite-size pieces

3 boxes of chicken broth (32-oz.); low sodium/no MSG (we use College Inn)

2 cups of additional chicken broth (use Herb Ox chicken packets to season)

For bite-sized meatballs:

1 lb. ground chuck

½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs

3 T Locatelli (Pecorino Romano) grated cheese

1 large egg, organic

For later:

1 bag fresh baby spinach (8 oz.)

1 cup Schär Anellini gluten-free pasta

3 large eggs, organic

2 T Locatelli (Pecorino Romano) grated cheese

Directions

Chop all ingredients for soup base first. Then in a large stock pot, sauté onion and garlic in 1-2 T of olive oil until fragrant on medium heat.

Add carrots and celery and continue to sauté for a few minutes while stirring every so often.

Next add chopped chicken and sauté until each piece is slightly browned on all sides.

Now add the 3 boxes of chicken broth and the additional 2 cups of broth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined and cook for at least ½ hour.

In the meantime, mix the bite-sized meatballs by combining the ground chuck, gluten-free breadcrumbs, grated cheese, and egg until well combined. Roll the mixture into small balls and place on a plate.

Turn up the heat a notch to a rolling boil, and place the meatballs into the pot. Stir and let cook for 5 minutes. The meatballs will become nice and brown.

Lower the heat now to low, cover, and let the soup cook for at least one hour to allow the flavors to infuse.

Now it’s time to add the pasta!

Increase the heat to medium and place pasta into the pot. The pasta will only take a few minutes to cook, so keep an eye on the soup and when you are satisfied with it, turn it down to low. Cover and add the washed baby spinach and let it wilt. Keep soup on low heat.

Right before serving
Beat 3 eggs with a fork and add 2 T grated cheese into it. Beat until combined. Add this mixture into the soup on low heat now and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes.

Ladle soup into large bowls and serve with gluten-free bread of your choice.

Have additional grated Locatelli cheese on hand for your family and guests to add to their delicious bowl of soup!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk   whisks

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Note that the original endive was replaced with fresh baby spinach. Spinach provides more vitamin A and protein, so it seemed a logical choice!

The pastina (tiny pieces of pasta) was replaced with gluten-free Anellini pasta by Schär….perfect for our soup!

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We hope you try making this great soup and realize that it really isn’t that hard!

It’s so worth the effort!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk