Greens and Garbanzos

Today I’m sharing my lunch with you, fellow readers. I made myself two of my favorite foods for lunch: steamed kale and oven toasted chickpeas. The name “steamed kale” doesn’t stir feelings of excitement in many people, but I’ve recently grown fond of the green superfood. The chickpea recipe is one of my absolute favorite foods to make. It’s easy and absolutely delicious- a definite alternative to a greasy chip snack. Ok, here we go- recipes galore!


Steamed Kale and Dressing

Ingredients needed: Uncooked kale (found at any supermarket)

Chosen seasonings/dressing


Take a sauteé pan and pour in about 1 1/2 inches of water and boil. As the water is brought to a boil, wash kale by hand in sink and tear pieces in quarters off of the stem. By the time you finish doing this, the water should be boiling and ready to go. (note: Kale reduces once cooked, so you may want to prepare more kale than you may originally imagine eating.)


Slowly set pieces of kale into the boiling water and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for five minutes. Uncover and stir kale, cook for another five minutes. Kale has a distinct vegetable smell once cooked, indicating that it’s ready! Drain water and serve. Pretty simple!


Now, for the seasonings… I myself love seasoning my kale with either seasoning salt or this fantastic lemon herb creole vinaigrette dressing from Olivier’s Creole Restaurant in New Orleans. (They ship across the USA- it’s pricey but absolutely worth it) Check it out here.










And now, for the roasted ranch chickpeas

Ingredients needed:

1 can of chickpeas (you can buy them raw/uncooked, but you’ll have to soak them and cook them. I prefer to buy them canned!)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 packet of dry Ranch Dressing

Parchment Paper


Preheat oven to 420 degrees. While oven is preheating, open and rinse chickpeas from can. Wrap them in paper towels in a bowl and pat dry.





While chickpeas are drying a bit, place parchment paper on cookie sheet. (I recommend parchment paper- it makes the entire process easier!)







Take dried chickpeas and place in plastic bag, sans paper towels. Put 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in plastic bag; toss bag to coat chickpeas in oil. (I eyeball the olive oil!) Then take 1/2 of a pack of dry Ranch dressing and dump into plastic bag. Again, toss chickpeas around in bag to coat in dressing.


Place greased up, seasoned chickpeas on parchment paper and cook at 420 degrees for 20 minutes.





At 20 minutes, remove chickpeas from oven. Shake pan; this allows for the chickpeas to be evenly cooked. Check on chickpeas every 10 minutes and remove from cooking when they have reached their desired crispness.




Ah, and the final product is wonderful. I cooked mine for about 40-45 minutes because I like mine crispy.







And behold, greens and garbanzos. The combination give you protein and vitamins that will power you through any workday. *Tip: Make a double batch of chickpeas and you’ll have enough to eat for lunch and afternoon snacks! (Or your co-worker’s snacks, these puppies don’t last a day in the workplace.)
Happy Monday, GF eaters. Be the best version of yourself that you can be!

Monday Run Day!

Monday Run day!

This morning I ran in my neighborhood instead of going to the gym. It was a truly perfect morning- the breeze was cool but the sun was just warm enough. Rain is supposed to enter in this afternoon and cold will dig its claws into the earth very soon. Oh, how I already long for the warm weather.

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GF Snack Packing: hoarder, or savvy?

Do you ever get “the shakes”? That moment where your blood sugar is too low and you only then realize that you haven’t eaten in several hours? Well, this happens quite frequently, I lament…which is the topic for today’s blog entry.

I had a very strenuous weekend filled with work consuming my every moment, thus preventing me to be able to eat. I try to sneak a bite or two here and there, but it’s not easy- I work in the wedding business, so I’m in churches most of the weekend. It makes for a difficult snack sneak.

This Sunday was particularly difficult, not simply because of my church-eating ethical dilemma, but also with what filled my time this afternoon. I attended an ethnic festival called “Polish Fest” at the local university. Being a strong Pole (lubię uczyć po Polsku! = I love to study how to speak Polish), this was an event that I looked forward to. However, my gluten allergy did not. Do you know how hard it is to find ethnic food that isn’t covered in dough???

Sigh. I ate a “kielbasa sandwich”- sans the bread- and prayed that it would tide me over until dinner. It, of course, did not. There were pastries all around, and yet i could not snag one free bite.

I left the Polish Festival to finish up my work hours, but at this point, I was ravished. My blood sugar was drastically low, my hunger pains were imminent, and I needed food. I desperately needed to eat. But what could I eat? The first place I discovered was a Burger King (nope). I was on a time constraint, so I couldn’t sit down at a restaurant and have food prepared for me. Lo and behold, I discovered an Aldi’s along my path and staggered into the store, purchasing almonds, fruit bars, and mini Babybel cheeses. I tore the red wax off of my first Babybel in the car as fast as I could. I barely made it to the car. In short, I looked like a crazy person.
But as my blood sugar began to rise and I drove back to work, I thought about the struggle of finding food. I’ve been known to bring entire bags of raisins, boxes of Luna bars, and cups of almonds wherever I go. Some of my friends lovingly tease what seems to be a constant fear of not finding food. I originally thought that this “food phobia” originated to my World Youth Day pilgrimage in 2005 (if you don’t know what that is, Google “World Youth Day”.) We had very little to eat throughout the eight-day journey, and for this reason, I absolutely never took food for granted when I came home. I simply thought that my constant stock of food in my purse derived from WYD 2005.

And yet, today reminded me why I “hoard” food in my purses. There are many instances when I either cannot make gluten free food given the time constraints of my weekend work hours or I cannot find a place in the vicinity that does not sell adequate, nutritional food that I can eat. Don’t get me wrong, I really am okay with eating unhealthy food, especially in “emergency” situations, but I do like to make sure that I can eat things that don’t surrender my body to hunger one hour later. A moment like today has happened many times before, when I was in-between classes in college and couldn’t eat Pop Tarts out of the vending machine like so many others. When I would travel to Europe, there were countless times when I sat in a subway car, longing for the baguette that wafted in the Underground station, but resisted nonetheless. I can almost never trust the food at a holiday party, since most dishes require flour as an almost-necessary ingredient. I developed a dependency upon myself for food on-the-go.

How can we, GF eaters and non-GF eaters alike, prepare for hunger strikes no matter what we are? How can we avoid fast-food restaurants to satisfy our immediate cravings, leaving us greasy and weighed down? Here are my tips for a sustainable, gluten free food pack:

1. Don’t be afraid to pack snacks! The looks I get when I reach into my purse and grab food is amazing.

2. Don’t be afraid to bulk up on Lara Bars, Luna bars, etc! If you buy them on, you’ll probably get a much better price buying a pack of twelve than you would at your local supermarket. These items will not go bad quickly, and you will always have something on hand to grab as you run out the door.

3. Find your favorite “baggy snack”. Mine depends on the mood I’m in- craisins, raisins, popcorn, almonds, peanuts, etc. If you can buy it in a bigger bag and put it in a sandwich bag to store in your purse, it’ll give you something little and sweet to munch on if you are stuck in traffic, stuck in a boring class, stuck in a meeting…just stuck!

4. If you’re in a bind, fatty snacks may be the answer! Lay’s potato chips give me enough starch/oil to keep me going sometimes. It sounds crazy, but it will definitely do in a pinch. Your body needs calories to function, and it’s better to grab a bag of chips than pass out on the floor. Admit it.

5. When all else fails, stop. If you are too hungry, you need to find food. Running a few minutes late will not be the end of the world once you have something in your stomach to keep you going.

Has this ever happened to you? Do you have any tips to eat on-the-go?

Happy Sunday, and goodnight, everyone!

CBS News Article on Gluten Free Diets

I came across this article from a Pittsburgh CBS article about Gluten Free diets being the local trend. You can read onward here.

I must admit, Mandy’s Pizza is my absolute, number one weakness food at the moment. Their GF pizza tastes like a reputable non-GF pizza and always leaves me satisfied.

Fellow readers: What’s your favorite weakness food?
Have a fab weekend!

Fiber Friday, c/o

I found this article today on’s health portion of their website. I thought it may interest those who want to know why eating more fiber is so important. There’s also a shout-out to us Gluten Free eaters as well.
You can check it out by clicking here.


Happy Friday!

Gluten Free Recipes: Pumpkin Muffins

I love pumpkin. The naturally sweet taste of pumpkin has always captured my senses, even as a child. I used to long for Thanksgiving just to eat as much pumpkin pie as I could. There was one November where I was sick and my mother made me my own pie as comfort food. Ah, those were the days…


Now that my GF choices are more limited when compared to non-GF ones, I have to think more creatively to get my pumpkin fix. I recently found this recipe on the Sweet and Free Life Blog and think they are mighty tasty and carry almost no guilt for eating three at a time!


Here is my recipe, altered slightly from the one on the blog: (yields 7-8)

1 cup almond flour/meal

1 cup canned pumpkin (note- NOT 1 can of pumpkin. Again, another mistake I made. 1 can of pumpkin holds about 1.8 cups- just another reason I like to double my batches!)

2 eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce

1 tbsp honey (the blog calls for 1/4 cup, but I usually don’t have enough in the house to budget for this!)

1 tsp baking powder (don’t forget this ingredient- I did on batch one and it makes a difference!)

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp Allspice (the blog calls for Pumpkin Pie Spice, so if you have that, wonderful! I always forget to buy it.)

1/4 tsp salt

If you don’t have a nut allergy, I suggest adding 1/2 cup of diced pecans. They will be reduced to smaller pieces once mixed together.


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl
-fill muffin tins to the top (greased w/ coconut oil or lined with muffin liners)
-Bake for 25 minutes, then pull out one tray and try the toothpick test. I find that these puppies take about 35-40 minutes, and we have a new gas stove, so you’ll have to do some trial and error after 25 minutes.


Other things to note:

-These babies can be frozen. I like to make a double or triple batch and put three or four in separate sandwich bags and freeze them. A few days later, I grab one of the sandwich bags out and let them thaw during breakfast. I then bring the bag to work and find that they’re gone by lunchtime. 🙂

-I recommend refrigerating your batch if you will not be freezing them. Since the muffins are so moist, it seems best to preserve them just a bit in the fridge.


Give them a try and let me know how they turn out! Thanks again, Sweet and Free Life!



Posted on November 8, 2012

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My very first post: Who I Am, What I Do, Why I Do

Today is day 1 of my Gluten Free Advocate blog. How did I get here? Why am I doing this? Here’s my story:


In the fall of 2008, I contracted Mononucleosis (ie. “Mono”) and suffered through it during my sophomore year in college. While I was told that I would sleep more than usual, I found that I had trouble falling asleep (my body felt as if I had consumed several cups of coffee prior to bedtime). My heart would be beating so fast, and I struggled to fall asleep until 4 or 5 in the morning.

These sleep problems did not go away. As a matter of fact, they continued on for a year after my Mono diagnosis. Furthermore, I struggled with digestive problems (bloating after small amounts of food) and frequent headaches. I decided to look into the issues (admittedly, via the internet). I found article after article pointing me to a gluten intolerance. I thought, “could I really develop a gluten intolerance from Mono?” and decided to eliminate gluten from my diet for two weeks.

Within two weeks, my headaches and bloating were gone, and for the first time in a year, I slept deeply and peacefully. However, my medical tests and bloodwork said that I do not have a full-blown allergy or Celiac’s/Sprue Disease.

Nevertheless, I have taken this into my own hands and decided to eliminate gluten from my diet and have been successfully doing so since June, 2009.

Why am I doing this?

I recently decided to take my health in my own hands and analyze what I’ve been eating that is “gluten free”. I only recently realized that many gluten free items are white rice flour and are severely processed foods! I never second-guessed my gluten free pasta, but now I realize that I can take another step in the right direction with my health. And with this, is born!

I plan to document my fitness goals with my gluten free eating and hope to support others while others continue to inspire me.

And so the journey begins…