Thursday, June 27, 2013

Three Things Thursday

So, this week has been nutty, and my Three Things are sort of random. Stay with me on this.

1. Y'all know I dig on Erica from Celiac and the Beast. She's funny, well-informed and a GREAT advocate for our community. So, I'm doing all I can to spread the word about her Kickstarter campaign - she's fundraising to write a book, and it's going to be awesome, just like her. If you want to throw a few bones her way, just click on the link. She's got some great incentives, too.

2. We're big hockey fans in our house, so when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on Monday night, there was much rejoicing. Fun fact: My favorite bakery, Sweet Ali's, sends gluten-free cookies on the road with the team when they travel. I'm not sure if it's because a lot of the management hangs out in Hinsdale, or because they dig GF cookies, but either way, I think Sweet Ali's plus Blackhawks is a pretty great combo.

3. Next week is Fourth of July already. Heading to a BBQ? Check out my friend Frannycakes' blog tomorrow (Friday) for a Great Gluten-Free Barbecue, to get fun recipes from some of your favorite GF bloggers.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

DIY Sorta Sangria

I'm hanging out at a Great Big Gluten Free Barbecue this week. Head on over to FrannyCakes for some other fab recipes from my bloggy friends
I feel like Sandra Lee, 'cause it is Cocktail Time here at Breaking Up with Captain Crunch. Nothing beats relaxing on the back porch, sipping a delightfully adult concoction. And since summer screams fruit, seems like sangria would be an excellent choice.

I call this Sorta Sangria, because it doesn't contain any brandy, which traditionally, most Spanish sangrias do. Also, instead of just adding a sweetener and a ton of fruit, I use fruit juice and less actual fruit, because who wants to spend all that time cutting up fruit? That's just time you could be spending getting wine-drunk out back  enjoying a refreshing beverage.


Here's what you need:

A bottle of red wine (I like mine cheap and sweet. Clearly I am a wine snob)
1/2 bottle of 100% cranberry juice - not cocktail, not blend, the real deal
A small bottle of seltzer water
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 pint of raspberries
Fancy pitcher (or non-fancy pitcher, I just like to put my wedding presents to work)
Wine glasses

Get your pitcher out (mine reminds me of the Kool-Aid Man's older, more-refined cousin Wine-O Man). Pour the wine (whole bottle, glug glug), juice (just a half a bottle works perfectly) and seltzer. Stir. Throw in ice and fruit. If you are feeling really fancy, you can garnish your glasses. If not, just put some ice and a couple pieces of fruit in each wine glass. Pour. Enjoy. Pour again.

Clearly we should all enjoy responsibly, and we can feel good about this, because of all those yummy antioxidants in the wine and cranberry juice, and the citrus will definitely help stave off scurvy (assuming you are an 18th century pirate).

*A disclaimer: Clearly, this is intended for readers who are 21 and older. Don't do stupid things, kids. Also, there's some debate about wine, sulfites and celiacs. I go by the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center's ruling that celiacs DON'T have to avoid wine. If you have a sulfite issues, you can find wines that are sulfite-free.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

I'm hanging out at a Great Big Gluten Free Barbecue this week. Head on over to FrannyCakes for some other fab recipes from my bloggy friends

Well, kids, we are pretty well into backyard BBQ season. I'm lucky, because the folks I usually dine with al fresco are all down with the gluten-freeness that has to happen. At my house, it's pretty much all GF, all the time, but even when we head to my parents', there are so. many. precautions. in place to help prevent cross-contamination and let me have a safe and yummy time. Plus, it gives me a chance to try out new gluten-free recipes on "normies" to see if they work.

My old stand-by used to be pasta salad. You know the kind, swirly noodles, Italian dressing, the works. I would make huge batches for just about every picnic I'd attend, and nosh on leftovers for days afterward. Last summer, I tried to modify my old "recipe" by just swapping out wheat noodles for some Schar rotini, and it was good, but I thought I could do better.

So I did.

This year's update features something I never thought I would make - salad dressing from scratch. And it was super easy. You can double the batch and keep it in the fridge, but I'm giving specs for just enough for the salad.

Here's what you need:
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
3/4 c. olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Just put it all in a bowl and whisk, or, put it in a mason jar and shake. It tastes a lot like the store-bought stuff, but without all the unpronounceable junk. And you get to feel like Ina Garten while making it, so that's cool.

For the pasta salad itself, you need:
1 box GF pasta
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 small can of black olives
Carrot shards (missing from picture)
2 big bell peppers, or several smaller ones, diced

I use Schar rotini for this, not only because they are my favorite, but because the corn pasta seems to hold up a little better than the rice or quinoa pasta does. You want to cook it a little al dente, too. If you overcook the pasta, you are just going to have a mess. When it's done cooking, run some cold water over it to cool it down, then throw it in a bowl with your other add-ins. I love tomatoes, so I go a bit heavy on them. Same with black olives. I love that you can by the sliced ones - it saves a lot of tedious sous chef work. Usually I throw some carrot shards in, but sadly, when I opened up my bag of carrots (newly purchased, no less), they were wearing some unsightly slimy coats, so they didn't get to come to the party. As for peppers, I'm hooked on these mini sweet peppers. They are perfect for salads, and just general noshing, and I love that you get a big bag of different colors.

Last is the dressing - make sure you mix thoroughly, but gently. Stick that bad boy in the fridge to chill, and you're golden. A word of warning, though - while wheat-based pasta salad lasts for daaaaaaaays in the chillbox, GF pasta salad has a pretty limited shelf life. This is definitely a one-day, two-day at most food. I'm sure it's fine, food-safety wise, to eat it for a few days, but the acid from the vinegar and lemon start breaking down the starch and it just starts to look and taste gunky after day two. But for those first two days, it's money, and everyone will devour it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Three Things Thursday

Holy gluten-free cannoli, I can't believe it's Thursday again already. Since last week's was sort of a cop-out, here's my attempt at a more GF relevant Three Things:

1. Next week, I'm participating in a Backyard Barbecue, blog style. My friend Mary Fran is hosting, and I'm providing recipes for GF pasta salad and sorta sangria. What's your go-to BBQ dish?

2. If you have a Trader Joe's near by, try to get your hands on some of the new gluten-free Joe Joe's. Erica did a review on them, and I agree with her glowing rec. They are essentially GF Oreos, and they are amazeballs. I can't wait to create some cookies and cream ice cream concoctions with them soon!

3. My attempts at growing my own food have once again failed pretty spectacularly. My poor tomatoes got some sort of stem rot, and have passed over into tomato heaven. Since it's still early, I'm thinking of trying again ... but also, I'm thinking about just buying from my local farmer's market. Ugh, I think this falls under #firstworldproblems.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Congrats to Red Apple!

Get ready for some gushing. I will start this out by saying that while I have been comped some Red Apple product before, I still willingly hand over real monies for RAL products. I believe so strongly in this company that I bought my first giveaway ever from them, out of pocket. I know I'm always skeptical when bloggers gush, because I feel like they're just freebie pirates, but honestly, I wouldn't post nearly as much about RAL as I do if I didn't genuinely love them.

I like make-up. I like rooting for the little guy. And I like when good things happen to good people.

So when I found out that the team at Red Apple Lipstick just won Best GF Cosmetic Brand from GFREEK, I was thrilled for them. It's a pretty huge deal that this small, husband & wife operation beat out some big companies. To me, it means that people are starting to vote, not only for awards like GFREEK gives out, but with their money, for companies that have an interest in selling high-quality, awesome products with the consumer's health in mind.

I don't have kids yet, but this is akin to the feeling I imagine I'll get when they get on the honor roll. So why do I feel like such a proud parent? I feel like a total hipster saying this, but I was way into Red Apple before they won this mega fab award, so if that doesn't give me GF cosmetic street cred, I don't know what does.

A little bit about Red Apple: Not only are all of the products gluten-free, they are also paraben-free and vegan. Right now, just lip and eyeshadow products are available, but I'm hoping (begging?) for more soon. Not celiac? You should STILL check them out. My non-GF little sister picked up some gloss and loves it. There you go, RAL. Teenage girl seal of approval.

My RAL collection. Loves.
And yeah, there are a lot of great GF products out there, and I don't compose love ballads to all of them (except Sweet Ali's). What makes RAL special to me is that the folks behind the brand are just so dang nice. They have been so encouraging to bloggers, like moi, and have donated to people in need (the campaign they recently did to help a celiac in need was, for lack of a better term, Kleenex-worthy). After meeting Andrea once at the GFAF Expo in 2012, she recognized me ON SIGHT a couple months ago, and remembered the first lip color she sold me (Strawberry Fields, in case you were wondering). Since that first meeting, my RAL arsenal has grown, and I will continue to encourage folks to check out this amazeballs company.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Three Things Thursday

Confession: This week, I'm feeling particularly frustrated with celiac. It's not that I'm having a flare-up, because (knock on wood, fingers crossed and all that jazz), I've been feeling pretty good after my P.F. Chang's glutening last month. It's just that I feel like there is so much more to my life than my illness, and it all tends to get thrown to the side because of celiac. I still get to DO the things that I like, but since all I write about now is my disease, I feel like I'm not being true to all my other sides. So, this week's Three Things is just a few non-celiac things about me. Because, you know, we're all multi-faceted little gemstones, even when we feel like we're just walking autoimmune diseases.

1. I'm a huge nerd. Like, bigger than I've even talked about here. As in, "I have a Dungeons and Dragons group" big. I haven't gotten in to Doctor Who yet, but I know more about the genealogy of the Game of Thrones houses than I do my own family tree. I can recite, almost verbatim, the dialogue from both Ghostbusters films, and my nametag lanyard at work boasts flair from so many fandoms it makes my head spin.

2. I have a not-so-secret dream to be a published author. But not for anything gluten or celiac related. Mad props to my girl Erica, who's working on her own book, but even though I love blogging about the GF experience, I'm writing my best stuff when I get to make it up as I go along. So, while I don't plan on shutting down my blog any time soon, fiction is where my attention will be for a while.

3. One of my goals for the next five years is to start up a community theater group. Theater is such a big part of my background (fun fact: Luke proposed to me onstage after a rehearsal for a show we were both in), and there isn't a lot available out in my neck of the suburbs. I'll be working on an evening of one acts for March to see what the interest level is out my way, but I'm really excited to have a new project.

Now it's your turn. I want to know who YOU are, besides gluten-free or celiac.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Three Things Thursday

Pardon my lack of non-TTT posts lately, my lovelies. It's been a busy few weeks, and it looks like that trend is going to continue.

1. If you are in the Chicago suburbs, check out Gusteau's Gluten-Free Shoppe's grand opening on Saturday from 9-1. They've got a ton of merch, as well as a whole menu of yummy GF goodies.

2. If you are in the city proper, make sure to head over to Printers Row Lit Fest on Sunday to see April Peveteaux (aka the blogger behind Gluten Is My Bitch) do a demo and signing. There's also a ton of non-gluten related authors talking, so if you are into books, it's a fantastic event.

3. Luke and I celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary tomorrow. So here's some gratuitous wedding photo-ness.