Monday, February 13, 2017

DIY Study Snack: Candied Walnuts


It's that time of the semester when every assignment is due on the same day! Last week I was slowly preparing for my Friday which was full of assignment submissions! But that's what college is all about, and what better way to cope with all of the homework than with study snacks? This is one of my favorite study snacks to make, because it is simple to make but at the same time is a step up from raw walnuts.

Ingredients
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of cinnamon (depending on how much of a cinnamon-y taste you want)

Procedure
1. Melt the butter in a small pot.
2. Add the sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.
3. Stir everything together (keep stirring so nothing burns) until the sugar has caramelized and coated the walnuts.
4. Immediately transfer the walnuts to a plate, separating them. If you just leave it in the pot, you'll have a huge clump of walnuts!

Voila! You have a delicious study snack to consume as you finish all of the work you have to get done.

Enjoy!
-Sema

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Gluten-free Chex Mix

The last time I had Chex Mix was well before I was diagnosed, which was over 10 years ago! Today I decided to create the iconic snack to enjoy while I completed my plethora of homework. In college sometimes it's easy to eat comfort food, so during the month of February I'm going to share with you all several study snacks that will get you motivated to study!

Ingredients
4 1/2 cups Rice Chex
4 1/2 cups Corn Chex
1 1/2 cups Gluten-free bagel chips (I used Glutino)
1 1/2 cups Gluten-free pretzels (I used Snyder's)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6 tablespoons melted butter

Optional for Cheddar Chex Mix:
Nacho cheese popcorn seasoning
Gluten-free cheddar crackers( I used Van's)

Procedure
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
3. Combine the melted butter, garlic powder, and Worcestershire Sauce.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cereal, bagel chips, and pretzels.
5. Slowly mix in the melted butter mix into the large mixing bowl.
6. Spread everything out onto the baking tray.
7. Bake the Chex Mix in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes.
8. Let it cool down.

For the Cheddar Chex Mix, sprinkle the nacho cheese popcorn seasoning and add gluten-free cheddar crackers. 
I loved these snacks, as they weren't too greasy as I was working on all my homework, yet they satisfied my snack cravings.

Stay tuned for more study snacks!
Enjoy!
-Sema

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gluten-free Jam Thumbprint Cookies

With a new year comes new recipes! Today my day started with a blanket of snow that created such a cozy view outside my window. It's one of those days when baking just makes sense. This recipe is a twist on the usual sugar cookie that looks like it took much more effort than it did (shhhh, you don't have to tell anyone). It's the perfect indoor activity to do with your family or friends, just put on a little music and bake away!

Ingredients
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 3/4 cup of gluten-free flour (I used Outrageous Baking flour.)
2 softened sticks unsweetened butter
Jam (I used homemade blackberry jam.)

Procedure
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Mix the butter and sugar together. Add in the vanilla and egg.
3. Mix in the flower and baking powder until you reach a cookie dough consistency.
4. Depending the size you want the cookies to be, section off the cookie dough and roll it into little balls.
5. With your thump, create an indentation deep enough to fit the jam. Carefully fill the indentation with the jam.
6. Bake them in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookie becomes golden brown. I found that over-baking them made them a little crumbly, so create a test batch in the beginning!

Voila! You have a fancier version of the sugar cookie!
Enjoy!
-Sema

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Importance of Contacting the Caterer

With the year coming to an end, it's crazy to think how much has changed this year. I just got done with my first round of finals in college, and while it was a stressful period, I feel like I've picked up on some good study habits that I'll definitely utilize next time around.
This year I finished high school and started college which is quite a transition in addition to gaining an internship over the summer. I met so many wonderful people throughout my endeavors and created a strong support system in college. While I did catch the worst cold I've gotten in a while and partially tore my achilles jumping for joy (yes, you heard that right, I literally jumped when happy), I'd say that I've had a wonderful semester and am looking forward to the next one!
Towards the end of the semester, the business fraternity I am in held a banquet. I didn't think there would be a problem with the food, but when I was informed that nothing would be gluten-free I immediately took action, contacting the caterer. To my relief, Chef Mike from Mateker's Meat and Catering immediately responded, letting me know which options were gluten-free. The menu was as follows:
-Vegetable medley (naturally gluten-free)
-Salad (they prepared a separate one for me without croutons)
-Pasta and rolls (obviously not gluten-free)
-Tri-tip and Au Jus (naturally gluten-free)

I could eat almost everything, which was a wonderful feeling!
Taking that extra step to contact the caterer, while it might be intimidating to do so, will ensure that you won't go hungry at an event. Nothing is worse than watching other people eat and you don't want to bring a lunchbox because it won't go with your outfit! I had a wonderful evening dancing the night away and taking fun photobooth pictures with my dear friends knowing that I wouldn't get sick!

All in all, I want to thank everyone for such a wonderful year, cheers to another year of blogging!
-Sema

Monday, December 5, 2016

Apple Crisp

'Tis the season of finals. This week is my last week of classes, and as my professors are wrapping up their lectures I'm realizing how close finals really are. In the stress that is finals, it's always a good idea to make sure you are eating well. Having said that, it's also ok to have some comfort food! One of my favorite recipes to make in the cold weather is apple crisp, because it is easy enough to stick in the oven and it gives you a nice break from studying to prepare it!

Ingredients
1/3 stick of butter
2-3 apples
1 cup certified gluten-free oats
1 tbs of cinnamon
A handful of walnuts
1/3 cup of brown sugar

Procedure
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Slice and peel the apples.
3. Put the oats into a blender to make your own flour. Blend them until they reach the consistency of flour.
4. Crumble the butter in the oat flour.
5. Stir the brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts into the mix. 
6. Add the mix to the apples.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the apples are soft and tender. 

This apple crisp recipe will give your kitchen a calming aroma and will give you a nice study break! 

Enjoy!
-Sema

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving and a Quick Dessert Idea

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you to everyone who has supported and read my blog! I always enjoy the kind notes and the amazing support I get from my wonderful readers. Today I have a very easy recipe to share with you all. It's a perfect last minute dessert that everyone knows and loves. It's a quick cinnamon applesauce recipe that is also the perfect study snack (finals are coming up soon, and that's what's mainly on my mind right now)!

Enjoy!
Sema

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Switch Witch


Today is the spookiest day of the year: Halloween! Some of the candy your child receives might not be gluten-free, so what do you do? The Switch Witch must come tonight and magically whisk away the unsafe candy and replace it with safe candy. Check out Allergy UK on facebook, as they were the ones who posted this great idea!

"We heard a great Halloween idea today!

Introduce the 'Switch Witch' to your little one's Halloween excitement. Let them know that if they leave their collected treats out when they go to sleep, the Switch Witch will fly in on her broomstick and swap all the things they shouldn't have for an even better (and safe) pile of goodies!

The Switch Witch will bring you peace of mind whilst making their Halloween memories even more magical. The Switch Witch could even leave a toy in place of the sweeties!

Good luck Switch Witch, it will be a busier night for her than the Tooth Fairy!"
-Allergy UK

Happy trick-or-treating!
-Sema

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Roadtrip to Chicago

This weekend I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Chicago with my suitemate Emma. I booked my return train ticket, packed some snacks, and drove up with a few friends to the windy city. The night before we left, we decided to order some pizza, and I suggested we get pizza from Pi so that I could take the leftovers on the road trip. While I managed to eat over half the pizza by myself that night (it was so delicious I couldn't stop eating it), I packaged the rest of the pizza in wax paper and set it in my fridge overnight. I have learned from experience to always bring emergency food, because you never know what's going to happen (and it's no fun to be stuck on the road when you're hungry).

On the way, we stopped at a Culvers, where I ordered a hamburger and a side salad. The bun came in a sealed package, so I knew there was no cross contamination. Since the fries weren't fried in a designated frier, I ordered a side salad. After that hearty meal, we continued on our way to the suburbs of Chicago, where I got to meet Emma's family and see her hometown. Once we got to Chicago, Emma took me to a gelato place called Frost, where I inquired about their gluten-free options. They informed me that my best bet to avoid cross contamination would be to go with a fruity gelato, so I ordered one that was banana flavored. While it got pretty chilly that night, we still enjoyed a nice walk in the frisk air with our cold gelato (because we're still hanging on to the concept of summer).

I had a wonderful time in Chicago, and ate a delicious gluten-free Japanese dinner with Emma and her family. I also got to visit a dear friend from high school who is currently studying at Loyola. They have a beautiful lake at Loyola, and I wish that WashU had one, as there's nothing more calming than doing your homework next to the water.

Right before I got on the train back to St. Louis, my friends took me to Blaze, where they make pizzas very quickly, but ensure that the gluten-free pizzas are baked on a designated pan. That tided me over for the train ride that was inevitably delayed. Overall, I had a wonderful weekend and most importantly didn't go hungry!

-Sema

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What's in my Fridge/Pantry?

Hello everyone! It's been a crazy last few weeks, complete with a lot of calculus and homework. It's crazy to think that over a month has gone by since I moved into my dorm in August! As promised, today I will be showing you all what is in my pantry, because let's be honest, I prefer not to go hungry.
I know what you're thinking, what is the pasta sauce for? I can't exactly cook pasta in my dorm room, but I can create tortilla pizzas in the microwave! If I have too much on my plate (pun intended), and I can't make it to the dining hall, I'll take a tortilla, spread some pasta sauce and cheese over it, and heat it in the microwave. 
I keep sweet tea, sparkling lemonade, and Coke Zero so that I have an array of options :)! This morning I actually put iced tea in my coffee travel mug since I was too tired to brew the coffee.
I keep peanut butter, Nutella, applesauce, tea, and mugs on top of my fridge. I do enjoy a cup of tea after a long day of classes, and I actually started something called "tea time" on my floor. We all catch up with a good cup of tea and a few snacks, which is the best way to bond as a floor!
I keep an array of dried snacks in my basket, and it contains anything from pretzel thins to regular assorted chips. I also have a jar that contains energy bars and fruit snacks for those hectic mornings when I have to dash out to class.

Sometimes it's easy to forget to eat in the dining hall, and since I don't have a kitchen to just whip something up, it's great to have a bunch of options so I don't go hungry.

-Sema

Friday, September 16, 2016

An Update from a Gluten-free College Student


Going into my third week of college, I took a moment to realize how fast time has gone by. In the blur of meeting new people and getting used to the college life (and my dorm room), I have really enjoyed my time here at Washington University in St. Louis. During orientation week, I received an email that informed me of an information session the university's director of nutrition was giving to students with allergies. That meeting really put my mind at ease. She introduced us to all the chefs, and everyone was very understanding about the food preparation. They even have a separate area in the kitchen where they prepare all the gluten-free meals! When one parent asked when the worst time to ask for a gluten-free meal was, due to the fact that lunch and dinner time are very busy and have long lines, the chef said, "there is no bad time to ask for a specially prepared meal."

Our residential college had a kick-off dinner, and I didn't even have to ask what items were gluten-free (makes my life a lot easier)!

We can order ahead using the Get Food app, which allows me to specify my dietary restrictions as I order ahead. I don't have to wait in line, and I can specify what time I want to pick my meal up.
Take a look at this delicious pizza I had on my first day of college! It was definitely a wonderful way to celebrate :).

Stay tuned next week to learn what I keep in my fridge and pantry in my dorm room!



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

College Update!

August has been a crazy transition month for me! I can't believe how fast it has flown by. I have just finished packing for college and will be moving in tomorrow. While I won't be leaving St. Louis, I will be living in the dorms this year. Washington University in St. Louis is very good about food allergies, and they have already reached out to me since they know I am gluten-free! As for how I configure my room to make space for tasty snacks--stay tuned. I am so excited to share my journey with you all!

-Sema

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cantaloupe Popsicles

 The perfect way to beat the heat is with an ice cold popsicle. But why buy them when you can make them? With cantaloupe season upon us, it's not hard to find them in the grocery stores. But instead of just cutting them up to eat them, you can spice things up and turn them into a healthy popsicle! This recipe only requires four ingredients, and can be eaten in popsicle or sorbet form.

Ingredients
1/2 a cantaloupe
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 tablespoons water
Juice from 1/4 of a lemon

Procedure
1. Cut the cantaloupe into small pieces and lay them on wax paper. Freeze it for a few hours or until frozen.
2. Add the cantaloupe, honey, water, and lemon into the blender. I didn't add all the cantaloupe at once, since adding it gradually helped the blender work better.
3. Add the mixture into popsicle molds with a popsicle stick and freeze until completely hardened.

Voila! You have a refreshing snack to enjoy out in the sun!

Enjoy!
-Sema

Monday, July 18, 2016

Three Years of Blogging!

 Hello everyone! I just recently celebrated three years of blogging! I can't believe it's been three years since I sat down to compose my first blog post, not knowing how big a part of my life it would become. Thank you to everyone (especially all my readers) for supporting me all these years! I couldn't do it without all you guys.

On Saturday, we took a trip down to Texas (looks like I'm not getting away from the heat just yet), and had a fabulous experience flying! When we went to get our seats chosen, I got upgraded to first class on our second flight!

I chose the following snacks to include in my backpack:
-Gratify Sesame Thins
-Chocolate covered raisins
-Skinny Cow
-Lance Gluten-free Cheese Crackers
-Billy Goat Chips

When we got to the Atlanta Airport, there were so many gluten-free options! In the terminal our gate was in, we found a Qdoba among other restaurants. I asked if they could change their gloves as they took us down the line and got enough to eat so that I wasn't hungry on our second flight.

As for this week, I'll be relaxing by the pool and enjoying spending time with family :). This morning my aunt made me a protein smoothie, and I enjoyed it while sitting next to the pool with a good book. Life is good!


-Sema

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Smoothie Bowl Recipe


Hello everyone! With the hot and humid weather upon us, sometimes we need a refreshing snack. Today's recipe is an easy smoothie bowl--a cool and delicious treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth!

Ingredients
2  cups frozen berries
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 banana, frozen and chopped
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
A dash of coconut water
Your choice of toppings

Procedure
1. Blend the frozen berries, chia seeds, banana, Greek yogurt, and coconut water together.
2. Add your choice of toppings!

Voila! It was as easy as that!

Enjoy!
-Sema

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Gluten-free Cinnamon Swirl Cookies


Hello everyone! I have a delicious cinnamon swirl cookie recipe for you all today! With this little trick you can put a delicious twist on ordinary sugar cookies!

Here's the recipe:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pxg1jksM3M

Enjoy!
-Sema

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Potato Pizza

 
Hello everyone! The weather here in St. Louis has gotten almost unbearably hot in the last week. I feel like it was just yesterday when I was pulling my sweater closer around my shoulders, shielding myself from the icy wind. Well you know what this means--now I can stay inside and cook. One recipe caught my eye in particular on Tastemade, so I decided to try it and found that I love it! Today's recipe is a potato pizza, and it's perfect for those days when you want to make a pizza but don't want to fire up the oven in the excruciating heat!

Ingredients
Half a Potato
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Basil
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Tomato Sauce

Procedure
1. Slice the potato into very thin slices.
2. Drizzle the olive oil on a skillet and line the potato slices in a circle as pictured below.
3. Cook it on medium high heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the tomato sauce, cheese, and choice of toppings and cook on medium for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted.
5. Transfer your potato pizza to a plate, add some basil, and voila! you have a delicious pizza that didn't require too much effort to make!

Enjoy!
-Sema



Friday, May 27, 2016

GFAFEvent Recap


Thank you so much to everyone who came out yesterday to the GFAFEvent to meet with me and hear me speak :)! I got to meet so many awesome people, and had a great time talking to all of you.

If you couldn't make it to the event, here are a few links you can check out:
I got to see my friend CJ from Tumbling Gluten-free, you should definitely check out her blog at www.tumblingglutenfree.com!

If you haven't stopped by the Schnucks next to West County Mall in Des Peres, I urge you to do so. They have the largest gluten-free section I've ever seen, and you'll get to talk to these lovely ladies. Stop by to talk to Katie Mueller, the registered dietitian, who can help you select some delicious gluten-free snacks!

This is the first time I've tried anything from Outrageous Baking, and I can tell you, I was not disappointed. Their cakes were SO moist and delicious, and my absolute favorite was their pumpkin bread. They are located out in Boulder Colorado, but they ship their products out! Visit them at outrageousbaking.com!

If you live in St. Louis, you have probably heard about Andrea's products. They are spectacular! Check out her website at andreasglutenfree.com!

These are possibly my favorite chips ever. I usually find them at Schnucks, and they are absolutely delicious!! Check out their website at www.billygoatstl.com!

I got to chat with Dr. TJ Williams and Mark Ludwig from The Institute of Natural Health here in St. Louis! Check out their website at www.theinstituteofnaturalhealth.com!

So thank you for everyone who came out to speak with me, I really enjoyed all of the conversations!

-Sema





Monday, May 16, 2016

High School is Over!

Hello everyone! I can't believe that my years of high school have come to an end. Last night, as I threw my cap into the air, it finally dawned on me how much change is about to come. While we've been getting ready to graduate for a while, and senioritis kicked in, I never really realized that this chapter in my life is closing. That being said, I am VERY excited for everything to come, and can't wait to share my college experiences with you all next year.

I think this is a good time to bring up my gluten-free school lunch program. While nothing beats a home-cooked meal, it's always nice to be able to have the option to eat at school. After a late night of studying, I'm not always on top of things in the morning, so it's nice to be able to grab a bite at school instead of preparing something while I'm rushing out of the house.

You have three options for school lunch:
1. Bring from home
2. Starve
3. Eat lunch prepared by the school.

I bet you are looking at option three and raising an eyebrow in confusion. Federal law requires public school to substitute meals for students with life-threatening food allergies and celiac disease.
Many of the meal options at your school might already be naturally gluten-free. Sometimes all that's needed to be done is use GF breads and exchange the cookie with a fruit cocktail. Food handling procedures, however, will have to be in place in order to ensure there are no cross-contamination issues.
Some examples of possible gluten-free lunches offerings can be:  
1. Beefy GF Tacos, Mexican Rice, Buttered Corn and Fruit Cocktail + choice of milk
2. Stuffed baked Potato, Mexican Salad, Carrot & Celery Sticks and Pudding + choice of milk.
3. Hamburger with GF bun/without , Potato Smiles, Corn and Chilled Pineapple choice of milk
4. Hamburger, Mashed Potatoes, Peas and Applesauce/Apple/Orange + choice of milk
5. GF pizza, Garden Salad w/light ranch, orange wedges, chocolate pudding + choice of milk.
6. GF pasta, salad, corn, pears + choice of milk.
7. GF blueberry muffins, corn, warm sliced apples choice of + choice of milk.
6. Salad, Mexican Rice, Carrot and Celery, Fruit Cocktail + choice of milk.
You can enjoy all these meals at school thanks to food labels and food handling procedures! So stop starving; this might be the right option for you!
NFCA provides great information on how to request a gluten free school lunch in your school district. check out the information: 
Training and education of foods service personal is extremely important! 
Here is a link to a great training option that your school district might want to consider pursuing:
So, what are you waiting for?  There are so many options out there for you!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! I just wanted to take the time to show my appreciation for my mom--she really has been there for me through everything! She always shows me how to have a can-do attitude, and this attitude has really transferred to my positive attitude about the gluten-free lifestyle. Ever since I was diagnosed, she made sure that I was never left out and she taught me to really love food. I love her dearly and am happy to call her my best friend! I really don't know where I would be without her!

You can see what an integral part she was when I was diagnosed here:


Thank you so much Mom!
-Sema

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Gluten and Allergy-free Wellness Event in St. Louis 2016


Hello everyone! Last year I had a wonderful time meeting all of you who came out to the St. Louis GFAF Wellness Event! I am looking forward to May 21st, when I will be speaking about living on the gluten-free diet as a teenager! If you are in the area, be sure to come hear me speak! Click here to read my recap from last year.

Click here for more information about the event in St. Louis.
Click here to go to the event's homepage.
Click here to go to the event's Facebook page.

Happy Celiac Awareness Month!
 -Sema

Monday, April 18, 2016

Prom 2016 Recap!

Prom has come and gone once again! I had a wonderful time this year with my friends and date, and of course got to enjoy a delicious meal. When I first approached the school to find out about the menu, they told me that they had already decided on a meal, and this meal was not naturally gluten-free. The only item that was making the meal not gluten-free was the potatoes. Yes, you read that right, the potatoes!
Fortunately, a week later, they came back and informed me that they had decided to eliminate the bread crumbs from the potatoes, making the main course entirely gluten-free. The salad was served with a cracker on top, but they made sure mine never touched the cracker. When I checked in at the front desk at the beginning of prom, I was handed an index card with my name and the words "gluten-free" written on it. I gave this card to the server, who then made sure that everything was gluten-free, as seating was random. I did make sure to double check with the server to make sure that everything I was eating was gluten-free, because no one wants to be sick on prom night!
 The main course consisted of steamed green beans and carrots, chicken with a tasty sauce, and ~fancy~ potatoes. The naturally gluten-free potatoes ended up being delicious, and everyone talked about how good the potatoes were after prom. Thankfully, everything went smoothly, and I got to enjoy a fabulous prom!
Prom pictures are not complete without the pinning of the boutonniere of course :).

-Sema