Happy New Year! Soup for you!

We hope 2017 is off to a great start!

It seems that every time I turn around, a week or two has passed! Yikes!

Do any of you feel the same?

I have been on a mission to make a more concerted effort to eat as organic as possible and have been busy in the kitchen. Since my Daria continues to bring me wonderful organic food from the Lancaster Co-op, I have been creating recipes to satisfy our appetites and souls.

Here is a creation of a butternut squash soup with apples….all organic and all delicious!

And did I say it was easy?

All you need is a saucepan, a bit of time, a blender, and you are set!

Enjoy!

 

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Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 whole butternut squash, peeled, cut and cooked

1 apple, cored, cut and cooked

2 T olive oil

1 small onion, cut

1 peeled garlic clove, minced

10.5 oz veggie stock

¼ tsp thyme

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

NOTE: In order to infuse the flavors, you need to cook the ingredients on the stovetop before blending.

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Add olive oil to large saucepan and when hot, saute onion and garlic until translucent.

Add the squash and apple and cover with the veggie stock.

Add the thyme, cinnamon and salt.

Cook until fork tender.

Now put the squash mixture into your blender and blend until smooth!

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Y*U*M!

Hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do!

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whisks © 2017, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

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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

 

Cucumber soup…so cold and delicious!

Monica says:

While I wasn’t too thrilled to go to the doctor the other day, I was pleasantly surprised when I found a great recipe in the waiting room!

I almost ALWAYS have a book with me (you never know if you get stuck in traffic!)… but this day, I forgot it on the dining room table! So, I kept myself amused reading articles in various magazines.

Much to my surprise, I found this cold soup recipe in the June 2015 issue of WebMD. And since, my  Doctor subscribes to this magazine, he has several copies for his patients to take home if they so choose.

Guess what?

I chose!

The magazine featured several cucumber tidbits and recipes and this cucumber soup, in particular, caught me little eye!

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As I read over the ingredients, I said to myself “I have every ingredient at my house right now….this is going to be an addition to my supper!”

So I went home and gathered some mint from the garden.

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And I assembled the blender, and pulled out all of the other ingredients.

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And then I followed this lovely little recipe that I share with you here!

I omitted the scallions because I forgot that I didn’t have them on hand and just didn’t feel like running out to the grocery store again!

Special thanks to WebMD for inspiring me (and hopefully, you!)

 

Creamy cucumber soup with avocado

(Recipe reprinted from the website, ©June 2015, WebMD, to aid you in your shopping!)

Makes 4–6 servings

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers, seeded and chopped

2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (plus a few sprigs for garnish)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

White pepper to taste

2 scallions, chopped

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped (prepare just before serving)

Directions

  1. Place cucumbers, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, mint, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate 3–4 hours. Then spoon soup into chilled bowls. Garnish with scallions, a drizzle of olive oil, avocado, and a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 4 servings): 194 calories, 14 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 4 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 355 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 39%

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Go ahead and make a cold soup this summer…

it’s easy, enjoyable, and really hits the spot!

© 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

A lovely little place called Bedford…

Monica and Daria say:

When we tell people that last week we were so fortunate to accompany Monica’s husband and Daria’s dad, Lewie, on his business trip to Bedford, their first question is “Oh, where’s that?”

How is it that this beautiful little gem has not been on our vacation radar?

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The Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa, where his conference was held, is located in western Pennsylvania at the foot of the Allegheny Mountains, just two hours east of Pittsburgh and two hours west of Harrisburg.

What an exquisite place with such a great history!

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Bedford’s seven mineral springs, which boast of healing properties, made it an acclaimed destination as early as 1796. Its reputation grew and throughout the 19th century it became a full-service resort. Celebrated guests, including at least six US Presidents, many senators and congressmen, Civil War generals, and countless other dignitaries, fill the hotel’s ledgers through to the 20th century (the ledgers are on display in the main lobby!).

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Later in the 1980s, the hotel, although listed on the National Register for Historic Places, fell into disrepair and endured major flood damage which forced its closing. Then in 2003, an architectural firm from Richmond, VA, 3north, was commissioned to restore the resort to its previous splendor.

Now the transformation can be seen throughout the property…and what a grand property it is!

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We could seriously have designed a brochure ourselves with all of the pictures we took! The 28-acre site is just incredible! We enjoyed the pool, hiking trails and the great atmosphere Bedford offers.

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Of course wherever we go, we are on the lookout for great gluten-free food and we were not disappointed in Bedford or its surrounding area!

Take a little tour with us as we share some of our food photos….

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A taste of gluten-free chocolate flourless cake to end my meal of a grilled chicken Caesar salad at the Frontier Tavern located on the resort premises….notice that there is no picture of the salad!

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Daria’s friend, Chef Thomas (a present colleague of hers) was employed at Bedford Springs Resort and Spa several years ago, and sent these delights to our room……gluten-free chocolate flourless cake with ganache and a fruit plate….yummy treats to munch on!

It’s so nice to know chefs!!

Dinner at the Jean Bonnet Tavern, circa 1762,….such a historic place that takes you back in time.

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Grilled pork chop with a blueberry/blackberry sauce, fresh green beans, and whipped mashed potatoes.

All gluten-free and oh so tasty!

And we saved the best for last! Our favorite meal, hands down, was at 10/09 Kitchen.

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Here we had the gluten-free brandy mushroom cream soup (packed with wild mushrooms) as an appetizer. Yummy flavor and the perfect temperature!

And then, our amazing gluten-free entrees…

3, 2, 1…

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Lewie had lemon thyme chicken which, of course, was roasted chicken, three cheese polenta, and asparagus.

What great flavor and the polenta was so creamy and delicious!

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Daria had the pan-seared halibut with tri-colored fingerling potatoes, artichokes, and broccolini.

Such a flavor profile! Delightful!

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And Monica had the seared scallops with a forest mushroom risotto and asparagus.

Oh my heavens….it was to die for!

Voted the best entrée of the night by us three!!

Two very happy bloggers, for sure!!!

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The morning we departed Bedford, we stopped at the cutest little place in the downtown called the Bird’s Nest Café & Bakery. And while we didn’t take a picture of our gluten-free eggs and toast, here is a picture of the place.

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Adorable, right?

So if you are looking for a beautiful and quiet retreat… check out the lovely little town of Bedford…now you know where it is!

© 2014, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

Our salads were a hit!

Monica says:

Just wanted to share a few pictures and links for recipes from our salad offerings yesterday at our picnic! Our main protein was my husband’s famous chicken on the grill which was simply wonderful, too!

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Everyone gave rave reviews for these veggie delights and I was thrilled to be able to boost everyone’s nutritional intake for the day….rather than the traditional picnic fare!

Let’s start with a salad that I saw in Better Homes and Gardens magazine while at the hairdresser’s!

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It was super easy and could even be easier if you used a bag of frozen sweet corn (obviously, thawed); you would eliminate any silk that you tried so hard to remove, but when stirring the salad, you see that some still sneaked in! Oh well….

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http://www.bhg.com/recipe/corn-peach-salad/

Same source for this mouth-watering salad….Better Homes and Gardens…..this time got a link to it in my BHG email newsletter that I receive daily.

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This salad was so refreshing and had a nostalgic taste for me and my sisters. Our grandmother used to make a salad that featured fresh dill, like this one. It had such a lovely taste! And topping it with a little feta just added another dimension!

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http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cucumber-honeydew-salad-with-feta/

We love asparagus in our house and when I caught this recipe on the Leafy Cauldron blog, I had to see if I could replicate it! Oh my….it was so unusual and delicious! A marriage between fresh tarragon and fresh mint made this salad amazing…..

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http://leafycauldron.net/2014/05/28/fresh-asparagus-salad/

Another salad that is a must-have when we get together is your basic (and did I say fabulous?) Italian Tomato salad! This one is just from scratch….from my head you might say!

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I cut about a dozen fresh tomatoes “on the vine” (that’s how they are advertised in the store) into small bite-sized pieces and sprinkled salt and pepper on them. Then I peeled and cut one medium-sized onion into slivers and added it to the tomatoes. I seasoned it with ¼ cup of virgin olive oil, 1 T dried oregano, and fresh basil (about 6 leaves chopped). I marinated it for several hours at room temperature on the counter.

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This tomato salad was served with fresh Italian bread to sop up the goodness! Of course, I didn’t eat the bread, as it was for “regular people” as we refer to them!

Finally, as promised, here is a picture of our gluten-free blueberry cobbler with homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries….what a way to end the day and make your tummy so happy when viewing fireworks!

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Hope everyone enjoyed their Independence Day celebrations!

© 2014, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

The juicy taste of summer!

Monica (mom) says:

How happy was I when I spotted this lovely little fruit at the farmers’ market the other day?

It’s the pluot….a plum/apricot hybrid with a huge flavor!

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Developed by Floyd Zaiger, who crossed plums and apricots, the flavor palette of this juicy wonder is mostly plum, with the feel of an apricot in your mouth! He also came up with and trademarked the name “pluot.”

Once these little treasures are picked from the tree, they continue to ripen. So if you turn them upside down on your kitchen counter, somewhere out of direct sunlight, let the magic happen. Once they are as ripe as you want them to be, store them unwrapped in your refrigerator for up to three days.

Most people claim that the pluot should be eaten at room temperature, but I prefer mine cold. If you are going to use them in a recipe, however, it is best to have them at room temperature because the skin can taste bitter.

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I remember climbing and eating plums from our trees as a little girl….the pluot is the next best thing to that memory!

© 2014, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk