Tuesday
Nov052013

Meat Lover's Roasted Brussels Sprouts

 

How is your Thanksgiving menu coming along? Still deciding on what veggies you'll serve? Well, here's one you'll want to consider.

Done right, Brussels sprouts are divine. And when paired with bacon—oh my! When paired with bacon AND sausage—oh, my, MY! I'll wager now that there won't be a meat-eatin' picky eater who will pass this dish up at the great feast.

To further dress up this roasted veggie dish, I've thrown in baby bella mushrooms and lovely broccoli Romanesco—that beautiful, sea urchin-looking, lime green kin of cauliflower. If you can't find broccoli Romanesco, just substitute with additional Brussels sprouts.

Meat Lover's Roasted Brussels Sprouts
 

Ingredients:

4-6 ounces ground gluten-free SPICY PORK SAUSAGE
4-6 ounces gluten-free BACON
1-1/2 pounds BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1/2 pound BROCCOLI ROMANESCO
1/2 pound BABY BELLA MUSHROOMS 
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/4 teaspoon ground BLACK PEPPER

Directions:
  1. In a medium skillet brown sausage until you have some good crispy bits. Transfer to bowl of food processor and pulse until minced. Set aside.
  2. Dice bacon and add to skillet. Cook until crisp, reserving rendered fat. Transfer with slotted spoon to plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  4. Prepare the vegetables; Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Cut in half or quarter. Quarter mushrooms. Detach florets from the head of the broccoli Romanesco.
  5. Toss vegetables, bacon, and sausage in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons reserved bacon fat.
  6. Spread onto baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Bake 35 minutes.
Friday
Oct252013

Easy 5-Ingredient Chicken Broth 

Once you begin making homemade bone broth it's hard to go back to the the storebought stuff ... for two reasons, 1) because it is so easy to make and 2) because it is so good!

Thankfully there is no one right way to make bone broth.

Go traditional with a classic flavor base of mirepoix—a mixture of carrots, onion and celery.

Or take it to a whole new "healing" level as my friend Kim does by adding chicken feet to her Homemade Chicken Bone Broth with Chicken Feet.

Some like broth that's heavy on the garlic, while others like the addition of spicy red pepper flakes. The fun in broth making is found in coming up with your own blend of vegetables, herbs, and spices.

In my own experimentation, I've been working on a broth to use with my One-Pot Asian Noodle recipe and the one I have landed on is lovely! I make it with five ingredients and it produces a delicately flavored golden broth. I especially love that it utilizes those tough leek greens that are tossed out when I make "Cheesy" Potato Leek Soup.

When I first started making bone broth I used a slow cooker or stockpot. Today I use a pressure cooker and I get the job done in 60 minutes versus 6 hours!

5-Ingredient Asian-Inspired Chicken Broth

Ingredients:

2 CHICKEN CARCASSES (from 4-pound chickens)
3 cups roughly chopped green LEEK TOPS (how to clean leeks)
2 inch piece fresh GINGER, unpeeled and sliced 
4 dried SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS
1 tablespoon SALT
WATER

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into pressure cooker pot.
  2. Add enough water to bring level of ingredients up to 2/3 full.
  3. Cover and lock pressure cooker.
  4. Cook on "High Pressure" for 60 minutes.
  5. Use immediate or natural release.
  6. Strain stock and add enough additional water to make 8 cups broth.
  7. Skim fat off top (this is easily done after refrigerating).

Notes:

  1. Don't toss the mushrooms, slice and add them to a soup. They are sooooo good!
  2. All this can be done in a slow cooker (cook on low for 8 hours) or in a stockpot on the stove (simmer gently 3-6 hours) replenising water as needed.

 

Tuesday
Oct222013

Lexie's Favorites: Best Sensory Fidget Toys

1 Sensory Stixx  // 2 Gaiam Hand Therapy Balls // 3 Chewy Tubes // 4 Sensory Brush // 5 Edushape Sensory Balls // 6 Hair Tangle Junior // 7 Banana Stress Toy

Fidget Toys for Sensory Processing Disorders

Aside from issues with certain foods, our Little Man has "definite dysfunction" in a handful of sensory areas.

I am thankful for organizations like the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation that are working to bring awareness to a condition that affects kids and adults alike, and help me better understand my child.

This year it has become apparent that Little Man benefits from carrying a fidget toy in his pocket. It helps to minimize his touching the gelled spikes on Jermiah's head and from hugging the cute little blonde sitting next to him at Circle Time!

With a fidget toy in hand, he receives some of the sensory input he craves.

This week I thought I would share some of his (and my) favorite fidget toys. In addition to offering input, some of these toys work to strengthen little hands, too. 

PRICKLY
Sensory Stixx fidgets offer hand-sized sensory stimulation and draws little attention to itself in order to avoid anxiety from other onlookers. Easily fits in pocket, purse, or book bag and is dishwasher safe.

RESISTANCE
Designed to strengthen fingers and grip, the three different color-coded Gaiam Hand Therapy Balls offer varying resistances and make great fidget toys. My son especially likes the soft purple one. Not for chewers.

CHEWY 
Early on everything went into Little Man's mouth as he sought sensory input. For a time he enjoyed Chewy Tubes. I especially like them for babies and toddlers for their handle grip. These make great teethers, too! 

SOOTHING
We first used this tool for body brushing. Our son now uses it as a pocket fidget as it mimics the texture of hair. This brush is a must-try tool for children or adults with sensory processing challenges. 

BUMPY
These Edushape Sensory Balls are great to hold onto during Circle Time as the size requires two little hands to hold them. Recommended for kiddos who know not to throw them, but quiety hold them. 

HAIRY
The Hair Tangle Jr is twisty, turny, squiggly, and squirmy. It has a unique "hairy" feel that is addictively fun to play with and manipulate. Not for chewers.

SQUISHY
The Banana Stress Toy is a replica of a real banana. It mushes, stretches and could pass for a real banana! My favorite toy by far. Not for chewers.

I wonder if someone you know uses a fidget toy? At school? At work? I'd love to know what works for them.

Sunday
Oct132013

10 High Protein Power Bars & Balls

 

I have needed some fresh inspiration in the power bar department.

Naturally I turned to Pinterest (you can follow me here) and a few of my buddies.

I can barely wait to start making my way through this tasty list.

And because I am all about trying to keep things simple, I decided to make the criteria for this recipe round-up "10 ingredients or less" as well as gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free.

I hope you are inspired to break out that food processor and join me in some power ball (and bar) fun!

Photos © (clockwise starting at left) Beard and Bonnet, The SpunkyCoconut, Cara's Cravings

High Protein Power Bars & Balls Round-Up

Pumpkin Pecan Bites
 from Kumquat Blog

Quaker-Style Chewy Granola Bars from Chocolate Covered Katie
(10 ingredients not including mix-ins. Use gluten-free oats and crispy rice cereal)

Mint Chocolate Protein Bars from Cara's Cravings

Almond Joy Raw Bars by Beard and Bonnet

Apricot Coconut Energy Bars from Shutterbean
(Use gluten-free oats)

Chocolate Banana Power Bars from Beyond the Peel

Cherry Vanilla Power Bars from Elana's Pantry

Copycat Nature Valley Granola Bars from Chocolate Covered Katie
(Use gluten-free oats and crispy rice cereal)

Readers' Favorite Bars & Balls

If you have a dynamite power bar or power ball recipe we should know about, please leave a link to it in a comment and I will add it to the Readers' Favorite List below (must be gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and contain 10 or fewer ingredients).

Quinoa Brownie Truffles from Ragdoll Kitchen

Blueberry Muffin Bites from The Veggie Nook

Lemon Coconut Hemp Seed Bites from The Veggie Nook

Dark Chocolate Doughnut Holes from Barre3

Barre Barss from Barre3

Tuesday
Oct082013

How to [safely] Open a Coconut

 

Who'd thunk Julia Childs, a master of French cooking, would be the one to teach this island girl how to properly—and safely—extract meat from a coconut? 

I love fresh coconut milk and for years have husked the puppies, cracked them open, and then painstakingly pried the flesh from the shell with rather sharp, and dangerous, instruments. So much work, and I won't even mention the number of times I've nearly severed three fingers in the process.

Leafing through one of Julia's cookbooks in my Tutu's kitchen I stumbled across instructions for doing it a better way—here's how it's done:

Pick out a fresh and healthy mature husked coconut. Give that coconut a good shake in the store. You should hear coconut water slosh around inside. If you don't, it's a bad one. Also, check the three eyes of the coconut. They should not be punctured and there should be no signs of mold. If there is, it's a bad one.

Preheat your oven to 400˚F.

Pierce the three eyes using a phillips head screwdriver (safer than an ice pick and who has ice picks these days anyway?) and a hammer.

Drain the coconut water through the eye holes into a cup and enjoy or refrigerate for later use.

Bake the coconut whole for 20 minutes or until a few small cracks appear on the surface of the shell. Let cool.

Wrap the coconut in a kitchen towel and give it a few whacks on a hard surface (like a sidewalk) or give it a few taps with a hammer.

Scoop/pry coconut flesh out with a spoon.

Voila, fresh coconut meat for snacking on or blending into thick, rich coconut milk (recipe here)—and with all fingers still intact. Thank you Julia!

Do you have a favorite way open and get the meat out of a coconut? I would love to hear your tips!

Monday
Sep302013

Spooky Little Treats

I love this time of year!

I love all things Fall. The leaves, the pies, the crisp mornings. 

And though I'm not a Halloween heavyweight (good luck getting me into a haunted house), I like Halloween.

Maybe it's because I have boys and it gives me a kick to watch them try to gross me out. Plastic snakes hidden in my pajama pant legs ... plastics spiders in my hairbrush. Mostly I laugh—sometimes I freak out.

Anyway with Halloween on the mind, I wanted to bring your attention to a little cookbook that I think you might enjoy.

Cara over at Fork & Beans just launched an ebook full of spooky treats—and like the recipes found here at Lexie's Kitchen they are gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free.

Here is the table of contents to give you an idea of the creepy treats included in the book. In addition, Cara will give you a bonus compilation of 10 of her very popular homemade candy bars. 

The e-book is for sale over at Fork & Beans.

Pick up your copy today for just $7.

On a little sidenote, Cara just quit her day job to become a full-time blogger. If you're not already a follower of Fork & Beans, you might want to become one! I can only imagine the abundance of dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free eats and treats we will see coming out of Cara's kitchen. Congratulations Cara!

Monday
Sep232013

New Book! Make Ahead Paleo

Do you ever find yourself in one of those "I can't keep up" spells? You just can't find the time to get to it all—the bill paying, the house cleaning, the errand running, the meal planning? 

Yes?

Good.

Because that's where I'm at right now and it's a lonely and desperate place. It's nice to know that someone is in the boat with me!

The part I loathe the most is the "It's-4-O'Clock-What's-For-Dinner!?" wave of dread.  

Last week I decided enough was enough. It was time to get my act together ... and along came Tammy.

It's almost as if she knew my plight—this really nice lady by the name of Tammy Credicott. Her latest cookbook Make Ahead Paleo: Healthy Gluten-, Grain- & Dairy-Free Recipes Ready When & Where You Are arrived on my doorstep that very day.

This book is chockful of easy, practical recipes that—Paleo or not—you're bound to enjoy. And the "make ahead" part is especially what I love. The entire book is focused on prepping food and meals ahead of time with each chapter reflecting this theme:

Make & Freeze: Pancakes, muffins, and meals that can be made, frozen, and reheated in a pinch.

Low & Slow: Fabulous recipes that go into the slow cooker in the morning and are ready for supper.

On the Go: Portable fare that doesn't disintegrate in your cooler! Solutions for snacks to grab and go for school, work and travel.

Room Service: My favorite chapter! Eating healthy and allergen-free on the road is a huge challenge. On your next road trip, Tammy suggests BYOES (bringing your own electric skillet) and a cooler packed with makings for her one pan, no mess in-room meals. Dinner is served—a whole new take on Room Service.

Travel Treats: Portable cookies, bars, and breads that offer a bit of sweet.

Week in a Day: Prep five dinners in one day for a stress-free work week! Brilliant.

 

I love that there is a photo for every recipe and ton of tips for simplifying meal-making.

Make Ahead Paleo is 100% gluten-, grain- and dairy-free and just a handful of recipes call for egg.

As is the focus with most paleo books, whole foods are front and center. Lots of meat, veggies, coconut flour, and almond flour. Personally, I am not keen on paleo baked goods, but the Kitchen Sink Cookies were pretty tasty.

On the savory side, the Roasted Tomato Bacon Soup (pictured above) was a hit during that rainy spell we had and my husband and I loved the Cashew Lime Chicken.

If you are looking for inspiration in the whole foods, grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free department I recommend this book.

Thanks, Tammi, for coming to the rescue!

Win a Copy of Make Ahead Paleo (This giveaway is closed)

Congratulations Chastity, you are the winner of a copy of Make Ahead Paleo!

Tammy has generously offered to send one Lexie's Kitchen reader a copy of Make Ahead Paleo. All you need to do is leave a comment below by Sunday, September 29th at 5:00 PST. Easy peasy! U.S. residents only.

Buy the Book

If you don't win, pick up your copy over at Amazon.com

Tuesday
Sep172013

Sandwich Meat vs. Shredded Meat

 

 

My son loves Applegate® hot dogs.

I tell him he can't live on them.

He tells me otherwise.

I won't lie, I love Applegate, too. Their deli meats and hot dogs are so convenient. Applegate is a company with standards and guarantees their products to be free of added nitrates and nitrites, fillers, antibiotics, and hormones. That gives me some peace of mind. 

However, that peace of mind comes at a cost. For natural and organic products like Applegate, you fork over a pretty penny. 

With school in full swing I'm back to packing lunches and this year have been paying attention to how much each lunch is costing. Not surprising, the bulk of the cost is in the meat. Organic turkey deli meat is costing me over $1 a slice!

While cruising Whole Foods the other day, I decided to pass by the deli meats and head for the rotisserie chickens. I picked up a gluten-free, organic bird for a whopping 13 bucks because ... I wanted to try something.

Here is what I did with it when I got home ...

The chicken was an average 4-pounder and yielded roughly 3 cups of meat (about 17 ounces). After shredding the meat I packaged it into 9 2-ounce servings, tossed them into a container, and froze them (I also froze the carcass for broth making when the weather cools down).

Voila! Pre-packaged 2-ounce servings of protein!

My son loves the chicken as is, but if I feel like changing it up a bit I will include a side of barbecue or gluten-free teriyaki dipping sauce with it.

Anyhow, for what it's worth I thought I would share my little cost comparison with you. I will continue to buy Applegate—the price of their hot dogs (even the organic ones) will be hard to beat—but I really like the idea of buying a whole rotisserie chicken, shredding it, and packaging the meat into 8-10 unprocessed lunch servings. 

If you have money-saving school lunch tips, what are they? I am all ears!

Saturday
Sep142013

And the Rain Came Down

The other night I lay in bed with my little boy and listened to the rain come down. 

It's raining again tonight.

More flash flooding is in the forecast.

I am stunned by the damage that has been done.

We are less than a mile from the Poudre River but are high enough and okay.

Yesterday the sun came out for a bit so my favorite walking buddies and I took a trek up behind the house to see how the irrigation canal was holding up.

It touched my heart to see the faintest of rainbows in the late afternoon sky.

 

Life has dealt a curve ball to many in Colorado this week. Schools have shut down, roads have been destroyed, towns cut off, and lives lost.

We know the sun will shine again, but tonight it's dark and there are many to whisper a prayer for—and much to be thankful for. 

 

Thursday
Sep052013

THE Best Ready-Made Pizza Crust Yet

 

The Best Ready-Made Pizza Crust Yet

I don't know how they do it, but Venice Bakery has the art of ready-made gluten-free pizza crust down! I am so enamored with the flavor and texture of these gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan pizza crusts that I just had to share them with you.

Dr. Weil's True Food Kitchens Serves Them

I was tipped off to Venice Bakery by a waiter at Dr. Weil's True Food Kitchen in Denver. Venice Bakery, is the source for ready-made, gluten-free pizza crusts for the restaurant—and where I will be sourcing mine! Though I like Udi's and Rudi's, Venice Bakery's pizza crusts beats the pepperoni off their competition.

Throw a Pizza Party!

Thanks to Venice Bakery, pizza night has made a comeback in our house—I just placed a bulk order. Our little guy, who is not so little anymore, is turning six next month and he is all for the idea of making it a Trash Pack Pizza Party. We'll set out 5" crusts, pizza sauce and all kinds of crazy toppings that all kids love like spinach, marinated artichoke hearts, bell peppers, green olives, this pepperoni—any other ideas? We'll offer shredded cheese for those who can do cheese and these cheesy shreds for those who can't.

A Bite That Can't Be Beat

My husband loved the Seasoned version. I liked the Original. The crusts are on the thinner side and offer a nice crunch and great chew with a hint of sweet.

They come in 5" crusts (great for personal pizzas and pizza parties), 12"crusts, and surf-board shaped flatbread (great for bruschetta!). See here for pricing. Each crust comes individually shrink wrapped.

Venice Beach offers a dandy sample pack of three 5” pizza crusts for $8.99.

Orders over $45.00 ship free—an added incentive to stock up!

This is not a paid or sponsored post. This simply is a great product I think more people would love to know about. 

Wednesday
Aug282013

The Cookbook is Coming

A good friend recently asked if I will ever finish and launch Everyday Classics: 68 Essential Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Egg-Free Recipes, a cookbook I have been working on for the last four years!

Well I've committed to a date ... I've COMMITTED!

This baby will launch in November.

Just in time for the holidays. [Think Amazon wish list]

I don't know why this thing has taken me so long to produce. When it's done it will be like a huge hug to all my readers because it is filled with more love than you know. I have developed the recipes, taken the photographs, and designed the entire book all while trying to care for (and not ignore) my family and keep up with my graphic design work. It will be a joy to have it done!

This book is a must-have collection of recipes for those living gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and corn-free. Sections include The Basics, Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners, and Desserts. A full-color photo appears alongside every recipe page. 

It's in the works ... I promise! :)

All along plans have been to self publish and make the book available on Amazon and via my site. Those plans still stand unless some really cool publisher steps up and wants to take a look and deems the book worthy to carry their name. Ha! Otherwise, I hope to have it up for Pre-Order on Amazon in October. Just need to figure out how all that works. Did I mention the huge learning curve?

I want to thank those of you who tested the recipes. You have been a huge, huge, huge help. And I want to thank all of you who read this blog and have encouraged me to make this book happen.

It's coming. I promise, it's coming. 

 

Wednesday
Aug212013

Chipotle Pico De Gallo Salsa Recipe

Long ago we gave up McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell. Now when we want a good meal fast we head to Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Since going gluten-free five years ago, Chipotle has been one of the few restaurants that "get us."

No eye rolling, no "what's gluten?"—just a swift change of serving spoons and gloves and they're off and running to build a satisfying gluten-free/dairy-free meal for my boy.

Thank you Chipotle!

Last week Chipotle had a booth at the Larimer County Farmers' Market in Downtown Fort Collins, Colorado and they were giving away—yes, giving away—their salsa recipe ... okay well "someone in the know" says this isn't the exact restaurant recipe (it's proprietary), but it's a good "public version." So I snagged it and came home and made a batch. I hope they don't mind me posting it here. Chipotle, if you do, feel free to contact me and I will take it down ;), but me thinks you don't mind me sharing the salsa love.

Chipotle Pico de Gallo Salsa Recipe

Ingredients:

6 vine ripened TOMATOES, diced
1/2 RED ONION, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh CILANTRO, chopped
2 JALAPENOS, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh LIME JUICE
1/2 teaspoon SALT (or to taste)
PEPPER to taste

Directions:

  1. Toss all ingredients.
  2. Chill at least an hour to allow flavors to blend.
  3. Serve with corn chips, over a salad, or in a burrito.

Notes:

  1. Chipotle recommends cutting tomatoes into quarters and removing the seeds and the pulp before chopping. That really made a difference.
Wednesday
Aug142013

Elvis Pancakes | Gluten-Free & Egg-Free 

I love my mom's peanut butter and banana sandwiches. She took this Elvis favorite to another level, making hers with my dad's homemade gluten-full whole wheat bread (I'm salivating over the memory), a spread of mayo, peanut butter, honey and sliced banana. Elvis often requested a layer of crispy bacon on his. Oh my! Oh yes, please.

One of Lexie's Kitchen's most loved recipes is this one. This morning I wanted to change it up a bit—try something fun and different. Hubby had left the chocolate peanut butter out on the counter—and there was my inspiration.

If I hadn't run out of bananas and had some crispy bacon crumbles, I really could have taken this pancake recipe over the top.

If you don't do peanut butter, I bet this would make a great replacement. Don't have chocolate peanut butter? Any plain nut butter or sunflower seed butter should work just fine. Here's one I often make.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Chocolate Elvis Pancakes

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups warm WATER
2 tablespoons CHIA SEED MEAL
6 tablespoons CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER
3 tablespoons HONEY (or agave for vegan)
2 teaspoons VANILLA EXTRACT
2 cups + 2 tablespoons BOB'S RED MILL AP GF FLOUR
1 ripe BANANA
1/2 teaspoon SALT
3/4 teaspoon BAKING SODA (be sure to add after first blending)
3/4 teaspoon BAKING POWDER (be sure to add after first blending)

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients EXCEPT FOR BAKING SODA AND BAKING POWDER to blender container.
  2. Cover; blend until smooth.
  3. Add baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Blend 10 seconds or just until incorporated.
  5. Pour 4-inch round pancakes onto oiled, preheated 350˚F griddle.
  6. When bubbles appear on surface flip and cook another 30-60 seconds.
  7. Serve warm.
Saturday
Aug032013

Pink & Green Shrimp Fried Rice

Asian has got to be my favorite cuisine. When you grow up in a melting pot in the middle of the Pacific, you can't help but fall in love.

Nothing made my mouth water quite as much as an invitation to a plantation potluck. There would certainly be Japanese mochi, Hawaiian kalua pig, Chinese chicken hekka and, of course, fried rice ... all made by women who knew what they were doing, had been doing it for decades, all following recipes that had been brought to the islands by boat (or memory) and passed down through the generations. 

Last night I thought I would attempt to come up with my own variation of that beloved fried rice. I am calling it Pink and Green Shrimp Fried Rice—green hued vegetables (okay it's all I had on hand) and succulent pink shrimp (but any protein will do).

I had three three bowls of it, an indication of how good I thought it was! It makes a great (and quick) weeknight meal or side dish. I hope you like it, too!

Pink and Green Shrimp Fried Rice

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon MIRIN 
1 tablespoon THAI FISH SAUCE (I use this one)
1 tablespoon gluten-free SOY SAUCE
1 tablespoon gluten-free OYSTER SAUCE (I use this one, see Notes)
1/8 teaspoon ground WHITE PEPPER
1/2 cup each diced/thinly sliced CELERY, ONION, GREEN ONION, GREEN CABBAGE
1/2 cup FROZEN PEAS
1-2 cups frozen cooked SHRIMP, thawed
4 cups cooked and cooled RICE
3 EGGS, beaten (optional)
OIL for frying

Directions: 

  1. In a small bowl whisk mirin, fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and white pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a wok over medium-high heat 1 tablespoon frying oil. Saute celery and onion until soft.
  3. Add shrimp and cook 1 minute.
  4. Add green onion, cabbage, peas and cook 1 minute.
  5. Add rice. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons frying oil and stir fry 2-3 minutes.
  6. Make a well in the middle of the rice mixture and add beaten eggs. Scramble eggs until almost cooked then toss with rice.
  7. Drizzle sauce over rice, toss, serve.

Note:

If you are gluten-free ("yah, hello, I am reading your blog"), I want you to decide if oyster sauce is something you want to include in this recipe. I have done some research into brands that make the claim to offer a gluten-free oyster sauce. Some brands appear to be a safe bet according to a thread on celiac.com, but please research this for yourself. What concerns me is the caramel colorLee Kum Kee green label brand is a good place to start. But please, watch for monosodium glutamate—not a good additive! This is the one I used.

Monday
Jul292013

Make Your Own Mosquito Repellent Spray

 

Is it the year of the mosquito or what?!

Either that or our yard is the designated neighborhood breeding ground for some very annoying pests—and that's not a good thing when your kid suffers from Skeeter Syndrome (this is what it looks like). No joke, folks, it's for real.

I don't think our little guy had ever been bit by a mosquito until we moved to Colorado earlier this month. The reaction to those first bites was pretty severe—big, red, hot, swollen. His last bite was just above his elbow and half of his upper arm swelled! Eeeks.

Now, whenever he heads out the door, I douse (well, lightly spray) him with this homemade mosquito repellent. So far, so good. No more bites. The formulation is similar to this brand of repellent (contains a soy emulsifier) which we like and recommend—if you aren't up to making your own. But if you are the DIY-er type, give this recipe a try.

I prefer using castor oil for its extra sticky, but not so oily, factor. Dr. Mercola has a nice write up on castor oil.

Please use therapeutic grade oils. You may shop the Lexie's Kitchen doTERRA store or try Mountain Rose HebsNative American Nutritionals, or Young Living. Some folks have a strong preference for where they source their oils and I totally respect that. The point of my essential oils posts are to show you how I use essential oils and not to sell you on a particular brand. In my research these just happen to be the most reputable out there.

If you make a double batch in, say, a 4 ounce bottle or larger, and you'd like to pretty up that bottle, there's a link at the bottom for a printable that I made. I print it out on my color printer (may have to play with size to fit your bottle) and then affix with clear tape—ensuring the tape extends beyond the edge of the label for water/oil proof protection.

Back Off Mosquito Repellent Recipe

Ingredients:

1-1/2 tablespoons WATER
1 teaspoon CASTOR OIL
8 drops ROSEMARY ESSENTIAL OIL
8 drops LEMONGRASS ESSENTIAL OIL
4 drops GERANIUM ESSENTIAL OIL

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a 2 ounce amber spray bottle, shake vigorously and spray.
  2. ***Be sure to shake well before each use.*** 
  3. Sometimes I double the recipe and use a larger spray bottle, but lately have been mixing up three bottles at a time of the 2 ounce size and keeping them by the front door, back door, and in the car.

Click here for the printable label.

Thursday
Jul252013

Fab Finds for the Kitchen

 

1 Whistling Kettle by Le Creuset  // 2 In-Drawer Bamboo Knife Block  // 3  French Bamboo Rolling Pin  //  4 Cuppow Lids  //  5 DASH Yogurt Maker  //  6 Kyocera 6" Chef's Knife  //  7 Bodum Coffee Grinder  //  8 Stackable Glass Bowls  //  9 Bamboo OCD Chef Cutting Board

There's nothing quite as exciting as closing on a new home—and nothing like it to leave you feeling dirt poor. Earlier this month we closed on a house that we were smitten with at first walk-through. But as nearly perfect as it was "as-is," we were going to have to drop more money on window treatments, paint, furnishings, and decor.

Ka-ching!

So hubby and I decided to fix this house up taking a "never pay full price" approach and we're proving that there are ways to make a house a home without breaking the bank—and shopping Fab is one of them.

If you're new to Fab, check it out. I've been scouring the site for modern, affordable, high-design additions to our new digs. 

This week my focus was on the kitchen.

This blue kettle caught my eye. Perfect for the "French provencial" look I am aiming for. Clearing counter tops has been a priority and this knife block fits perfectly into the draw. And wouldn't this bad boy look good in that knife block? [swoon] I've been the coolest mom on the park bench this summer sipping my home-brewed iced latte from a glass Ball jar topped with these neato lids. And check out this cutting board for OCD chefs (like me). What a hoot! And lastly, I'm sure Julia would approve of my weilding this French rolling pin—superior in my opinion to any other pin out there.

If you like Fab's style, sign up for their email newsletter to be the first to know about their one of a kind finds. Inventory moves swiftly so if you like something don't hesitate to pick up YOUR Fab find—fast.

This post is in partnership with Fab.

Sunday
Jul212013

Vegan Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know, it's the middle of summer and the last thing we want to do is to fire up the oven and bake in the sweltering heat. But trust me, this cookie recipe was tempting enough to get me out of bed early to do some baking in the cool of the day ... and boy was it worth it.

These Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies are the brainchild of Sarah from Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats. She is a talented gluten free baker (sometimes dairy and egg free, too) and creator of fabulous jaw-dropping treats. Sarah is one of those people that make gluten-free baking look so easy. She's gifted fur shure!

For these sinful cookies, Sarah took her chocolate chip cookie recipe and changed it up a bit. Sarah says "I have a habit of altering recipes to make them even more fabulous. I enjoy the classic chocolate chip cookie, but my heart is really fond of a CHOCOLATE chocolate chip cookie. Let's be honest here, you can never have too much chocolate."

These cookies are almost like a hand-held gooey brownie with those crispy edges that we all love. Rich, chocolatey goodness! I would give the sweetness factor a "high" mark. And since we are baking in the dead of summer, I had to chill my dough a bit because at these temperatures my coconut oil is liquid. Chilling in the fridge turned a very sticky dough into a more managable, "scoopy" dough. Enjoy!!

Click here for the recipe. 

Monday
Jul152013

SuperSeedz™ Snacks & Giveaway

I'm always on the lookout for gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free snacks to keep on hand for when we're on the go.

Second to gluten-free baking, sourcing snacks that my kids will actually eat is one of the most challenging aspects of cooking and eating the way that we do.

Empty Calorie Snack Options Abound

Sure, we love Glutino® pretzels—but they're totally empty in calories.

The kids like Enjoy Life® Cocoa Loco bars, but they're more of a "treat" as they pack only 2 grams of protein and 8 grams of sugar per bar.

And who turns down a Lara Bar®? We do. One Lara Bar can contain over of 18 grams of sugar (in the form of fructose)—a Candida flare waiting to happen in my kid's gut!

A Power-Packed Snack Alternative

So when Kathie's Kitchen contacted me to review SuperSeedz™ pumpkin snacks, you bet I jumped at the chance. SuperSeedz looked like the tree nut-free, nutritional snack that would fill the void in our pantry and glove compartment.

Kathie started making SuperSeedz in her very own kitchen for her very own family. It started with curry seasoned pumpkin seeds made in a cast iron pan on the stove and expanded from there. Today Kathie's Kitchen offers eight flavors.

8 Tasty SuperSeedz™ Flavors 

  • Sea Salt
  • Coco Joe
  • Tomato Italiano
  • Really Naked
  • Original Curry
  • Somewhat Spicy
  • Super Spicy
  • Sugar & Cinnamon

Over the 4th I served SuperSeedz at a gathering and everyone raved. They were healthy and good—seasoned just right without being obnoxiously salty or cloyingly sweet. I've been adding the savory flavors to my lettuce wraps and salads and the sweet ones to yogurt. My kids are hooked on Sugar & Cinnamon and Coco Joe—both packing no more than 2 grams of sugar per 1/3 cup serving and upwards of 8 grams of protein. Yes! 

Kathy uses only the "plumpiest" premium grade pumpkin seeds (and you can tell) for snacks that are loaded with protein, iron, are low in carbs and are naturally vegan, gluten-free, tree nut-free, peanut free, dairy-free, MSG-free and soy-free. 

Of note: Today China produces more pumpkins and pumpkin seeds than any other country (and this includes organic varieties)—and that is where Kathie's Kitchen sources theirs. I would hope U.S. sources would be considered in the future. SuperSeedz are such a great tasting snack ... if the seeds were grown in the U.S. they'd be even better.

Enter to Win a Gift Pack of SuperSeedz!

Kathie's Kitchen would like to send a Lexie's Kitchen reader a $50 SuperSeedz gift pack! Don't miss this chance to taste them all yourself.

To Enter: Leave a comment at the end of this post. For an additional chance to win, share this post via social media and leave an additional comment telling me you did. Open to U.S. and Canada residents only.

Enter By: July 21, 5:00 EST.

Where to Buy SuperSeedz

SuperSeedz may be purchased online, at select retail locations, and from Amazon.com for $6.99 per 6-ounce bag. Stopping by TJMaxx? I've spied bags of SuperSeedz for $3.99.

This giveaway is sponsored by Kathie's Kitchen. Opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday
Jul082013

GFCF Camping

I love it when I meet a "warrior mom" and that's exactly how I would describe Kim Rice—Wellness Coach and Certified Gluten Practitioner from Pleasanton, California.

Kim has been on an incredible journey back to health. Today she shares about her journey on her site Thriving Gluten-Free where she writes on the topics of gluten sensitivity, autism, depression, and life transformation. Kim facilitates a popular 30-day cleanse program to help her clients lose weight and optimize their health. She coaches parents of children with special needs, such as autism and ADHD, on dietary changes to help optimize brain function. 
Kim is a "warrior mom" in the best sense of the word.
Kim recently posted about camping on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet—a post that caught my attention and that offers a bucket load of tips on camping with GFCF kids. I've bookmarked the post and think you might want to as well after reading it!
Click here to read more ...
Monday
Jul012013

Banana Split Freezer Pops

Today I have a very sweet lady here to share a sweet freezer treat. Lisa, is a former highschool teacher turned stay-at-home mom/writer from Ontario, Canada. Three years ago, she started writing the blog Pocketfuls as a means of nurturing several of her passions. She shares her observations and reflections on daily life, warm and humorous stories about her boys, and recipes (tasty recipes) she's developed for delicious and healthy eats made without gluten, dairy, eggs, or refined sugar. 

Back in 2011 Lisa was featured here on Lexie's Kitchen where she shared her story and tips for Making the Switch from processed to pure foods. 

I am so glad to have her back and to give her Banana Split Freezer Pops some added exposure. 

The idea for these gluten-free and vegan banana split freezer pops came to Lisa on a recent hot summery afternoon when her family was wishing for a frosty treat to help cool them off. They're made with a variety of fresh fruits and some coconut milk, have no added sugar, and are finished off with a drizzle of dark chocolate and a sprinkling of walnuts.

For the recipe, click here! Enjoy!!