Throwback Sugar Cookie Recipe – Take 1

image_1Well, to say it has been a while since my last post would be an understatement. The past several months have been busy ones to be sure, but also full of exciting updates when it comes to food.

The quick version of the story is that I’ve had a very successful experience with my elimination diet, and gluten and soy are pretty much the only foods I avoid these days. Pretty crazy, right? It’s hard to believe that I’m back to eating so many foods I’ve avoided over the past 8 years, including one of the big ones: dairy!  Continue reading

Snowquester Gluten-Free + Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

photo (6)With all of the snowquester hype earlier this week, I wanted nothing more than to put on my pj’s, brew up some tea, and bake a batch of cookies. I mean, what else is a girl to do on a cold night with an impending snowstorm?! So on Tuesday night, I decided to try something new: gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookies.

I can already hear some folks saying, “But wait a hot minute, I thought oats weren’t gluten-free!” Well, the story there is a bit complicated, but the short answer is that oats are gluten-free, so long as they are certified to not be cross-contaminated with other glutinous foods.

These cookies were also an interesting experiment for me because it was one of my first times eating oats after I cut out gluten several years ago. I’ve had some cookies with gluten-free oats in the past, but never to the quantity of this batch. Though I’ve tried to exercise some will power and introduce new foods like this slowly into my diet, I have to admit that I scarfed down a few cookies as soon as they came out of the oven. I ended up not getting sick from the oats (yay!) but I definitely plan to be less ravenous with future food introductions. Continue reading

Restaurants, Recipes, and Updates!

Happy New Year! I hope you all have had a lovely start to 2013. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for me between my birthday, Christmas, and holiday travels, so I have lots of updates I want to share with you:

OUTINGS

The day before Thanksgiving, Pete and I had a great time at Medium Rare in Cleveland Park with some of our good friends. If you’ve never heard of the restaurant before, it features a pre fixe menu of salad, steak, and french fries. I learned about Medium Rare in a blog post from rockstar diaries, and though I was a little let down that the meal wasn’t all you can eat,  the two portions of delicious steak and perfectly crispy fries is enough to keep me coming back.  I can’t wait to take my family here when they visit from out of town!

Also in Cleveland Park, Ripple is sure to become one of my favorite new bars. They have a great drink menu and some of the nicest, most knowledgeable bartenders and wait staff I have ever met (shout out to the waiter with the gluten-free girlfriend!) – and the lemony tequila drink they made up for me was quite tasty. Looking forward to getting back there soon!

And have I ever mentioned how much I love Chix? It’s my go-to restaurant in the U Street area and they’re soon opening up a location downtown, which will make it my new favorite lunch spot while I’m at work. Also in the U Street Area TCB (The Coffee Bar) which could very well become my new go-to place to drink tea and get some work done on the weekends.

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Continue reading

Allie’s Fabulous Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free Pumpkin Pie

Have I ever mentioned to you that I have amazing friends? I am reminded of this quite often, but a recent dinner party with our friends Allie and Michael was a definite standout. Like so many of the awesome people who have cooked for me over the years, they went above and beyond to make sure that the meal was delicious yet “Tayler-proof” – free from gluten, dairy, soy, and all of those other pesky things my sensitive self can’t handle.

But what made this meal truly special (in addition to the great wine and conversation, of course!) was the fact that Allie and Michael made me dessert – a pumpkin pie, no less! I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned this on the blog before, but pie was my absolute favorite dessert as a kid, and I hadn’t a bite of pie in nearly seven years before that night. So, yes, I was very excited to try it.

Needless to say, the pie tasted amazing. The crust tasted just like a graham cracker crust, and I think the coconut oil went a long way to give the crust a buttery flavor and pleasantly crunchy texture. As Allie described it, the filling tasted “just like fall” Continue reading

We outdid ourselves: Smoky and Fiery Skirt Steak With Avocado-Oregano Relish

Over the weekend, Pete and I had some friends over for dinner to celebrate their recent engagement. For this special meal, we decided to break out a recipe that is a favorite of Pete’s family in Texas.  The recipe, which you can view here or at the bottom of the post, comes from Bobby Flay’s Grilling for Life cookbook.

The recipe title itself, “Smoky and Fiery Skirt Steak With Avocado-Oregano Relish” had me sold when we first tried making it for ourselves a few months ago. I mean, really, what could be better than something that involves steak, smokiness, and avocado?  But after my first bite, I knew for sure this was a recipe to be repeated and shared.

One of the best parts of this meal is the “Smoky and Fiery Dressing,” which really brings everything together. The flavor is rich and smoky without being too spicy or overpowering, and since the recipe makes more sauce than you will  use on your steak, you can keep the leftovers to put on burgers, grilled chicken, or even eggs. Continue reading

A New Favorite: Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

When the local Harris Teeter had a 2-for-1 sale on bacon this week, I knew it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. But instead of just having two week’s worth of bacon-infused breakfasts, I wanted to find a way to incorporate bacon into lunch and dinner, too. And can you blame me?

It was at this point that I decided to test out Brussels sprouts and bacon, which I had seen before but never tried myself. What resulted was one of my new favorite side dishes that I am already planning to bring to my next potluck.  I largely followed the recipe found here, though with a few small changes to make it dairy-free. I highly recommend this recipe, so let me know if you are able to give it a try!

Ingredients

1 pint Brussels sprouts
5 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into pieces
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Continue reading

First Egg in Six Years!

Some of you may have heard that I recently embarked on a new step in my food journey: eating my first egg in over SIX years! Why the long stretch between eggs, you ask? When I was first diagnosed with food sensitivities in high school, eggs were one of the foods that I reacted to in allergy tests.  I went cold turkey from that point on, only consuming eggs on occasion and by accident.  The results of those few accidents were rather unpleasant, to put it nicely, so I did my best to avoid eggs throughout high school and college.

With the food optimism I’ve gained through the elimination diet, I have really wanted to try eggs out again to see if I still have a negative reaction.  So, with my new found hope in eggs (who doesn’t want the option to eat omelets at brunch?!) I tried them for the first time last weekend. Continue reading

Elimination Diet Snacking & Spicy Roasted Chick Peas

When I started my elimination diet, I reflected on just how tough it can be to eat snacks under certain food restrictions.  Many of the typical things we all like to munch on, from chips and crackers to trail mixes, are often laden with allergens.  When you combine food restrictions, such as gluten and lactose intolerance, it only gets harder to find things to grab and eat on the go.

Just as I was starting to feel that potato chips were the only option I would have for a salty snack on my elimination diet, along came a fabulous recipe in Clean Eating Magazine for roasted chickpeas. I love hummus with veggies as a snack, but I never thought about roasting chickpeas before! Regardless, the result of the recipe below is a satisfyingly crunchy, salty, and flavorful treat.  But be warned: it’s addicting!

Spicy Roasted Chick Peas Continue reading

Avocado Pesto Pasta Recipe

One of my favorite recipes that my mom would make when I was growing up was chicken pesto pasta. I had pretty much forgotten about pesto in college and had never made it for myself, but was recently inspired to pick it back up again.

This pesto re-discovery came about when I saw that a good friend’s blog, Jessi’s Joys, published a post that included avocado pesto pasta.  To me, this was a brilliant idea: avocado would add an incredible richness to the pesto without interfering with the basil flavor – and I could make it totally without dairy!

I tried the recipe for the first time a few weeks ago, and I can easily say that it will be repeated many times over.  Though I was inspired by Jessi’s recipe, in addition to recipes here and here, I had to modify them to fit some of my dietary restrictions.  If you aren’t sensistive to pine nuts or some of the other ingredients I cut out, by all means include them when you make this yourself.  But from my experience, avocado pesto can be increedibly tasty with a few simple ingredients.

For my version, I used the following:

1/2 ripe avocado
1 small bulb of roasted garlic (I like a lot of garlic, but you can do more or less to taste)
1/2 T olive oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves (again,more or less to taste)
salt & pepper

Toss everything in a food processor or blender, and away you go! I put my pesto over my favorite brown rice pasta, and ate it along side steamed broccoli and turkey burgers with more of roasted garlic on top (see photo above).  It was filling in the best way, incredibly easy to make, and something I would love making for friends.  I hope you get to try it some time soon!

“To Find Out About Food Allergies, First Use The Right Test”

Since I’m big fan of NPR, I was excited to see that their food blog, The Salt, covered a story about testing for food allergies.  As I discussed in a recent post, food allergy testing can be a tricky task.  Blood tests are often unreliable and are not always the most effective method for getting to the source of a patient’s symptoms.  In fact, allergies aren’t always the problem, since intolerances and other digestive issues can produce similar reactions to food.

So what should you do if you suspect food allergies?  According to my allergist, as well as the experts cited in this story, the best method is trial an error.  Here’s what the NPR post had to say:

“A lot of people think they have food allergies, but they’re likely wrong.

That’s partly because it’s easy to confuse common food-related problems like lactose intolerance or celiac disease with an allergy. But it’s also because there are a lot of tests promoted for food allergies that don’t measure up. Continue reading