A great big welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I hope you enjoy the recipes and ramblings. For the story behind this site read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Check out my recently released cookbook

 

 

 


 

 

 

Sunday
Aug242014

Gluten-Free School Lunchbox

Diggin' into the archives folks. I figured I'd post this one again because we mammas are always in need of fresh school lunch ideas! I just ordered a get up from this company, aiming to eliminate plastic completely. Me and the kids will give it a test drive and if we love it, we will share our thoughts with you in a future post.

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I have to say I admire, and secretly envy, moms with bento box super powers like these. And what about those mamma’s whose kiddos gobble down collard wraps and zucchini kabobs? All hail!

I’ll admit, the lunches I pack may not be the envy of the lunch table and could be a tad more nutritionally dense, but I’ve loosened up a bit. Getting it perfect was stressing me out waaaayyy too much. So I've cut myself some slack, figuring that I’ve got breakfast and dinner to load my kids up on green smoothies and quality protein. When it comes to lunch, if I can meet these three criteria, I’m good!

  1. Lunch will include fresh fruit and vegetables—fresh produce should be a part of every meal. I want my kids to lean that at a young age. 
  2. Lunch will include a treat—like a piece of dark chocolate, a small piece of fruit leather or a healthy cookie wrapped in gold foil. My aim is to make lunch special and combat any feelings of “how come I can’t eat what the other kids eat.”
  3. Lunch will be eaten. I try to strike a balance between healthy and tasty. What’s the point of packing food the kids won’t eat? I want my kids to be focused and have energy at school, not zoned out in the corner because they didn’t eat lunch … because they didn’t like it.

Before summer ends, I sit down with my kids and we make a list of the foods they like for lunch (we are gluten-, dairy-, egg- and nut-free). The list we compiled is taped to the fridge and provides me with quick inspiration when I’m too tired to think. At the top of this list are quesadillas—PB&J, pizza, and turkey.

Lunchbox Quesadillas

Quesadillas are great finger food and easy to make gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. And when you think outside the box (or the tortilla), you can come up with some pretty tasty variations.

THE TORTILLA

Quesadillas start with tortillas. The two brands we use are Food For Life and Rudi’s. Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas contain minimal ingredients and are thick and stout. Rudi’s line of tortillas come in three flavors, Plain, Spinach, and Fiesta. They are the closest thing I’ve found to white flour tortillas and work fabulously well for wraps. If you’d like to make your own, here is a tasty recipe.

THE FILLINGS

Pizza Quesadillas: Pizza Sauce, Applegate Pepperoni, Black Olives, and Daiya shreds.

PB&J Quesadillas: Sunbutter sunflower seed spread and your favorite jam.

Turkey Quesadillas: A dab of Veganaise and yellow mustard, Applegate organic roasted turkey breast, and Daiya shreds.

THE PREPARATION

Layer filling between two tortillas and heat in skillet with a little oil until tortillas begin to brown and crisp up. Slice into wedges.

Our Lunchbox “System”

Finally, a lunch packing “system” that works for us.

The Sugarbooger Zippee! Lunch Tote line has been a proven winner. It is BPA, phthalate, lead and PVC-free and meets or exceeds U.S., Canadian and European safety standards. They come in a bunch of cute motifs and are priced right. They are insulted to keep food cool and are easily washed by hand or in the washer.

Into the lunch tote I goes:

The food—neatly compartmentalized in a Sistema Klip It Lunch Cube

Herbal tea or water in a 9-ounce LifeFactory Glass Beverage Bottle

An ice pack to keep everything cool (I like this one this one)

A napkin and, of course, a little love note!

Tuesday
Aug122014

Grilled Peach and Almond Ice Pops

This recipe and photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com.

On the Western slope of the Rocky Mountains grow the sweetest, juiciest, most flavorful peaches you'll ever sink your teeth into—and it's prime picking right now! Palisade Peaches are being pedaled on roadsides, at farmers markets and at my all-time favorite veggie stand, Top o' The Hill.

Aren't these the most handsome, hard-working farmers you've seen in a long time? 

Top o' the Hill prices are great!

And these boys know a bit or two about bookkeeping and planning crops for next year!

And did I mention their other talents?

In honor of peach season and these salt of the earth boys who've put in a lot of hard work this season, I'd like to share this refreshing popsicle recipe from our friends at FoodNetwork.com

Support your local farmers!

Grilled Peach and Almond Ice Popsicles

Ingredients: 

One 6-inch piece fresh ginger, unpeeled, sliced into very thin rounds (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup sugar (use coconut sugar if preferred)
1 pound ripe yellow peaches (about 3 peaches), peeled with a vegetable peeler, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or dairy-free buttery spread), melted
2 tablespoons peach preserves
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
1/2 cup smoked almonds, finely chopped

Directions: 

Special equipment: four 4-ounce ice-pop molds or six 3-ounce molds, 4 or 6 ice-pop sticks

  1. Prepare a grill or large grill pan for high heat. Bring the ginger, sugar and 1/4 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Cook on medium-low for 10 minutes. Let cool completely at room temperature, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, brush the peach halves all over with the butter or buttery spread. Place them cut-side down on the grill, and grill until very charred, about 5 minutes. Flip the peaches, and grill until the rounded side is charred in spots and the peaches are tender but not falling apart, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
  3. Put the cooled peaches, preserves, 1/2 cup of the almond milk, lemon juice and a small pinch of salt in a blender. Strain the cooled ginger syrup into the blender, pressing the ginger pieces in the strainer with the back of a spoon to extract as much flavor as possible; discard the ginger. Puree the peach mixture until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender part way through if needed. Transfer the mixture to a large liquid measuring cup with a pouring spout.
  4. Pour the mixture into the ice-pop molds, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top (the mixture will expand). Insert the sticks. Freeze until solid, 5 hours to overnight.
  5. When ready to serve, put the remaining 1/2 cup almond milk in one drinking glass and the almonds in another. Unmold the ice pops, and dip the top of each into the almond milk, then into the almonds. Serve immediately.

Recipe and Photo copyright 2014 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jul192014

Sauerkraut Tuna Salad

I can't tell you how many times this has happened:

I've come up with something so brilliant, so original, so different.

I set it all pretty on a plate.

I photograph it.

I sit down to write a post—but first I Google it just to be sure my idea is SO brilliant, so original, so different. And it's not. Someone has already gone there and done it! I tell ya, it happens all the time. 

So long story short, this recipe (as it turns out) is not the first of its kind (sigh). It's not even a recipe really, just a new way we've been enjoying tuna while trying to finish off the humongous jar of sauerkraut residing in our fridge. 

We've been eating more sauerkraut because it's a very easy probiotic-loaded condiment to hide in food. I use a little in some of my smoothies—the ones that are tart enough to mask the bold flavor and pungency of the kraut. Tuna salad is another dish I've been sneaking it into. 

For the benefits of the live cultures (aka probiotics) in your sauerkraut, you'll want to pick up a brand that's kept in the refrigerated section and says that it "contains live cultures." Or better yet, make your own. It's not rocket science and it's actually kinda-sorta rewarding! Google it and you will see that you aren't the first to entertain the idea of making sauerkraut. Ha! 

Sauerkraut Tuna Salad

Ingredients:

1 small can tuna
1/2 cup minced live-culture sauerkraut
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise (choose vegan if you can't do eggs)

Directions:

Mix it all up! Serve on gluten-free bread or on a bed of lettuce.

Curious About Those English Muffins?

Aren't those lovely English muffins? It's a paleo recipe I tried out of this cookbook (great book BTW). They were pretty good. The very sad thing? While I was shooting this plate, I had the rest of the muffins I had labored over under the broiler and I incinerated them all! So sad. This one here was real good though.

 

Sunday
Jul062014

Moisturizing Body Oil Recipe

Summer is heating up and the effects of the sun, chlorine and pesky mosquitoes may be taking a toll on your skin. In the current issue of Simply Gluten Free Magazine you'll find five of my favorite diy skin care recipes—including one for body oil which I am sharing today!

Admittedly, it took me a while to wean myself off of products containing endocrine-disrupting phthalates, corrosive phenols and a bunch of other junk. Yes, these products delivered and they were all I knew—but yikes, when I learned how toxic they were, I did a 180!

The skin is the largest organ of the body—or is it the liver or intestines? Whichever, it is capable of absorbing whatever is applied to it—toxic or not. Today my skin care philosophy is simply; avoid putting on my skin anything that I wouldn't eat. Afterall, most of what you put on your skin ends up inside your body!

Though I make a lot of my on skin care products, there are two that I DO purchase and love. They are the Lovely Lady Products Facial Cleansing Bar and the Lovely Lady Products Immortelle Facial Nutrient (oil-based moisturizer). This skin care line rocks! It is no-fuss, simple and is certified gluten-free, vegan, waterless and USDA Organic. I buy mine at Whole Foods (select regions), Natural Grocers (select regions) and online at Lovely Lady Products.

Body Oil Recipe

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon castor oil
1 tablespoon jojoba oil
8 drops of essential oil of choice (I love 3 geranium + 3 Roman chamomile + 2 lavender)

Directions:

Add ingredients to a 4-ounce plastic bottle. Shake well. Apply before stepping out of the shower while skin is still wet. Pat dry.

For the following recipes, pick up the current issue of Simply Gluten Free Magazine before it's gone. 

  • A deodorant that actually works!
  • An exfoliating coffee scrub
  • A calming body mist
  • A non-toxic bug repellant

I hope you like them!

Monday
Jun162014

PureLean® Mango Madness Smoothie

 

Sometimes the body needs a little nutritional boost. Signs that I need extra calcium and magnesium are fatigue, tight traps and a nervous, restless feeling. When I feel completely exhausted it's time for adrenal support. Nutritional supplements can be powerful and I use them on an as-needed basis—listening carefully to what my body is asking for.

When I do supplement, one brand I use is Pure Encapsulations. Hypo-allergenic supplements (which this brand is) are necessary for my Little Man. He takes Pure Encapsulations' Acetyl-L-Carnitine. As for me, the last few weeks have been a wee bit stressful and so I have been supplementing my smoothies with a Pure Encapsulations PureLean® Protein Blend.

I am super picky about protein powders and this is why I like PureLean®:

  • One scoop gives me 15 grams vegetarian protein (from a rice, pea and chia seed).
  • Includes an antioxidant blend of acerola, camu camu, quercetin, açai, mangosteen and green coffee concentrate.
  • Offers a vitamin and minerals boost that's balanced for optimal absorption and metabolism.
  • It comes in two flavors; vanilla and chocolate!

This month Pure Encapsulations reached out and asked me to create a smoothie recipe using my favorite PureLean® Protein Blend Vanilla Bean Flavor with Stevia in exchange for a product sample and the chance to win a VitaMix blender. Of course I was game and knew that I had to bring out the big guns—lovely spaghetti squash.

Yep, cooked spaghetti squash is one of my secret smoothie ingredients. This wonder adds bulk to my smoothies without adding a lot of calories. I use it in this PureLean® Mango Madness Smoothie as well as in my Squashberry Smoothie. Once a week I will cook up two or three spaghetti squash. Half I serve for dinner topped with bolognese sauce and the other half I freeze, smashed flat, in a zip top bag for smoothies. The beauty of using this squash in smoothies is that it's neutral in color so blends well with reds, greens, and of course oranges!

If you're not keen on stevia, other varieties of PureLean are sweetened with evaporated cane sugar.

PureLean® Mango Madness Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
1 cup cooked spaghetti squash (my favorite cooking method)
1 cup nondairy milk of choice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 scoop PureLean® Protein Blend Vanilla Bean Flavor with Stevia
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. Add all ingredients to the container of a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth.
  2. If using fresh mango and unfrozen squash, add 2 cups of ice for added frostiness!
  3. Serves one.