Friday, October 13, 2017

The Switch Witch


I can't believe we are already in October, and the season of midterms is about to come to an end for the time being. Today I'll be heading to Chicago for my fall break, and I'm excited to take a break from the madness of exams and projects (I only have on more exam to go, woohoo!). Halloween is almost upon us, and this means it's time to bring out the Switch Witch. Some of the candy your child receives might not be gluten-free, so that's where this cute alternative comes in! The Switch witch comes in at night and magically whisks away the unsafe candy, replacing it with safe candy. This doesn't take away from the spirit of Halloween and your child can enjoy just as much candy as the others!

 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

Sunday, September 24, 2017

My Favorite Study Snack


It is Sunday evening, and I can already tell it's going to be a busy week. With several assignments due and quizzes in almost every class, I know that I'll have to work extra hard, which means I have to plan ahead when it comes to snacks. There are days when I'm so busy that I completely forget to eat, and that never ends well. I become lightheaded and hangry, losing my concentration that I so desperately need. That's why I love this chex mix recipe! It's not as unhealthy as chips, and I can grab a bag of it as I walk out the door in the morning, ensuring that I always have a snack on me.

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


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.

Enjoy!
-Sema

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Gluten-free at LouFest!

Yesterday I went to LouFest (a St. Louis based music festival) for the first time ever! I've lived in St. Louis practically my whole life, but this year was the first year I went--and I had a blast. Beforehand I did browse the rules in terms of whether or not to bring a small bag of food, and after reading their guidelines I found that you could bring food as long as it was accompanied by a doctor's note. Realizing that I did not want to lug around a lunchbox (it didn't quite go with the outfit), I instead decided that if there absolutely wasn't anything I could easily leave for dinner and come back for the conclusion of the music acts (I absolutely could not miss Snoop Dogg.) It didn't even have to come to that though, and I enjoyed delicious tacos from Mission Taco, and scouted a few stands that had gluten-free options. This made my LouFest experience much better, as I didn't have to leave the venue to eat!

When you are planning to go to events like LouFest, always make sure that you know where you are going to eat. In this case I knew that I would be able to leave the venue to eat, but if that wasn't an option, I would have definitely brought a sandwich or some snacks. Going hungry should never be an option as it takes away from your experience at the music festival. In this case I was pleasantly surprised at the amount I could eat and will definitely be back next year!

-Sema

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How to Establish a Gluten-free School Lunch Program


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!

NCFA 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!!
-Sema 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Egg Muffins


Tomorrow I start school again. I have already looked at the syllabus for each class, and have mentally prepared for the workload to come. When you're at school, it can be really hard to prioritize breakfast. By making your breakfasts for the week on Sunday, it allows you to get the nutrition you need to kick-start your day! Today's recipe is for egg muffins, a delicious option that you can customize to your taste.

Ingredients
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup mushroom
1/2 cup tomato
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
A handful of diced parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.
3. Stir in the milk.
4. Add your toppings.
5. Spray a cupcake form with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Add in your egg mixture and set it in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Eat it at that moment or put some in the refrigerator to heat throughout the week!

Enjoy!
-Sema

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blackberry Ice Cream

Summer is almost over, and school is already starting in 2 weeks for me! The summer honestly flew by, and while I'm sad that it's coming to an end, I am ready to get back into the school routine. Plus, I miss my friends at college, and am very excited to be reunited with them as they begin to move in again. Today's recipe is a 3 ingredient ice cream! It's so easy to make, and the tartness of the blackberries combine perfectly with the cream and condensed milk.

Ingredients
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup blackberry jam

Procedure
1. Whip the heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk together until it gets a heavier texture.
2. Mix in the blackberry jam.
3. Add it to a container that comes with a lid and freeze it overnight.

Voila--it's that easy! Enjoy with a gluten-free cone or on its own, with a good book outside or with Netflix inside. Eat it however you'd like, it's so delicious it doesn't matter how you eat it!
Enjoy!
-Sema

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dorm Room Tour

Happy August everyone! We are in the back-to-school season, so I thought what better way to help incoming freshman than share my tips and tricks for a cozy dorm room! I can't believe I'm already going into my sophomore year, and this summer just flew by. Watch the video for a look inside my freshman year dorm room!

Enjoy!
-Sema

Sunday, July 23, 2017

French Onion Dip

I was craving chips and dip yesterday, but didn't feel like going to the grocery store to pick up a dip so I decided to make it myself! It didn't take too long, and allowed me to control what I wanted going into the dip. Sometimes it's easier to make the food yourself instead of going out to buy it! This dip was the perfect accompaniment to potato chips and a good Netflix marathon. 

Ingredients
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise 
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure
1. Caramelize the onions in olive oil and set them aside to cool.
2. Mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and cooled onions.
3. Add in your salt and pepper.

That's it! Now you have a delicious dip for your potato chips that didn't take too long from your Netflix marathon (staying inside is the best way to beat this 100+ F heat).

Enjoy!
-Sema

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer Blackberry Refresher

An excessive heat wave is about to hit my neck of the woods, which means another week of grueling summer heat! What's the best way to cope? A delicious summer drink of course! This easy drink will help you stay hydrated while adding a touch of blackberry goodness!
Enjoy!
-Sema

Saturday, July 8, 2017

4 Years of Blogging!

Today marks my four year anniversary of blogging! Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past four years, I honestly couldn't have done it without you all. I started my blog to create a positive outlook on the gluten-free lifestyle, because I truly believe that gluten-free does not mean taste-free. I want you all to know that I am your gluten-free friend, and you can count on me for recipes and tips to help you navigate through the gluten-free lifestyle!

The gluten-free world has come a long way since I was diagnosed (as seen in this video), and it's a wonderful feeling being able to ask for a gluten-free menu at a restaurant as well as being able to implement a gluten-free lunch program at school. All of this is possible with the awareness of the diet and the emergence of gluten-free products at mainstream grocery stores. All we have to continue to do is make delicious food and reverse any negativity surrounding the diet!

I am very honored to be included in Healthline's Best Gluten-Free Cooking Blogs of the Year! Check out the other winners to gain insightful tips and awesome recipes!

I am excited to continue to share recipes and tips as I navigate through my college years. Cheers to many more years of blogging!
-Sema

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th of July Pavlova Cake

Happy 4th of July! While it is pretty cloudy in my neck of the woods, nothing can put a damper on today's festivities. If you are in a pinch and wondering what to make last minute, I highly recommend this pavlova cake! Nothing screams the 4th of July like a cake that includes the necessary colors of red, white, and blue.

Cake Ingredients
6 room temperature eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Dash of white wine vinegar

Procedure
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  
2. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks, we will only need the egg whites for this recipe.
3. Place the egg whites in a food mixer. That way you don't have to beat it by hand, because trust me, that would take a while.
4. Set the mixer on high, and start mixing until it turns into a creamy white substance.
5. SLOWLY add in the sugar in a thin stream, as to not clump anything up.
6. Add the vanilla, cornstarch, and vinegar.
7. Let it mix until it because so thick that it doesn't run out when you tilt it over.
8. Place parchment paper over a round oven pan. (I used a pizza pan and cut out a sheet of parchment paper to fit it.)
9. Evenly distribute the batter over the pan.
10. Set it into the oven for 1 hour. 


Topping Ingredients
1 pint of whipping cream
3 tablespoons of sugar (or however much you want to sweeten the cream)
Fruit of choice (I used blueberries and strawberries)

Procedure
1. Whip the cream, adding in the sugar. You want to whip it until it becomes spreadable.
2. Wash, cut, and dry the fruit. I cut strawberries into little bits, and added blueberries.

Once your cake has cooled down, add the whipped cream, and top it with the fruit. The cake will be crispy on the outside, but creamy on the inside, and once paired with the fruit and whipped cream, it creates a delicious treat.

Voila! You have a 4th of July dessert!

Enjoy!
-Sema

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Lemon Garlic Shrimp

Yesterday we finally had a break from the heat and humidity, and I was able to step outside without feeling like I had entered a sauna! It's those days that you really have to take advantage of in the incredibly humid summers of St. Louis, so I took the time to drink my coffee outside with a good book. In the summer time, I love making refreshing dinners that don't take too much time so that I can spend my time engaging in summer activities! I recently had lemon garlic shrimp at BARcelona tapas restaurant, and I figured that such a refreshing and simple dish would be easy to recreate--and I was right!

Ingredients
Olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
6-8 oz pre-cooked shrimp (it was about a half a bag of frozen shrimp for me)
Chopped parsley for garnish
1/2 a lemon

Procedure
1. Heat a bit of your olive oil in a frying pan with minced garlic. Stir the garlic around until you smell its aroma.
2. Add the shrimp and heat it on both sides for two minutes each.
3. Squeeze your lemon into the frying pan and stir the shrimp around to ensure it gains its flavor.

Add parsley for garnish and voila! you've got your lemon garlic shrimp. You can add this to rice or pasta, or you can just have it as an appetizer. Either way, this refreshing dish won't make you break too much of a sweat in the summer heat!

Enjoy!
-Sema

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Summer in Southern Norway

I recently went on vacation to Norway, exploring several different cities and visiting family. The scenery in Norway is incredible, and you can often find a body of water every five minutes. For someone who lives in the midwest, I always look forward to sitting by the ocean and hiking in the mountains. Check out an overview of my trip here:
I had an awesome time working at Quality Hotel and Resort in Kristiansand two years ago (you can read more about how I was a princess and a pirate here), so I decided I needed to visit to see how everything was two years later. They were recently acquired by Scandic, and the interior looks so cozy! I definitely felt some nostalgia as I walked through the front doors, and it felt incredible when I was greeted by friendly faces. They offer a complementary breakfast to guests, and when I went downstairs to check out their gluten-free options I was blown away.
They have expanded their selection of gluten-free options to include different kinds of breads, muffins, cookies, and if requested they have a designated toaster! The chefs are well versed in offering safe options for gluten-free guests, which makes traveling there a lot easier. Eating a delicious breakfast ensures that you'll be able to explore the beautiful town of Kristiansand without going hungry!
Over the summer, Scandic Sørlandet becomes a children's hotel, offering guests a variety of children's activities. That was actually my job when I worked at that hotel, and nothing brought me more joy than seeing how excited the kids got when the princesses and pirates showed up. They also have a play room in the basement that the kids can look forward to (my brother was definitely excited to check it out). This hotel gives off such friendly vibes, so I will definitely visit again when I'm in Kristiansand!

-Sema




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New York and Nairn's

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to New York to attend an investment banking day on the job  event. I have never been to New York previously, so all I had to compare it to was the TV shows and movies that I watch--which made it so intriguing for me to see the city. Coming from a city like St. Louis, it was very exciting for me to see a city that stays up past 10 PM, and actually get a meal at 11 PM. Wandering around, I realized how much there was to see, and unfortunately my tired feet didn't allow me to explore everything I wanted to see this time around. My favorite restaurant was Trattoria Trecolori, so if you are in the area, I would highly recommend the gluten-free Rigatoni Focaccia.

On Sunday, we ate brunch at the Peninsula Hotel, and they had a delicious gluten-free avocado toast with poached eggs. Not only was I able to enjoy a delicious lunch, but I was also able to channel my inner Blaire Waldorf (any Gossip Girl fans out there?)!

Nairn's Oatcakes sent me their product, and it was the perfect snack to bring with me on the plane. I flew with Southwest, and their snacks were not gluten-free! I am very glad that I checked the ingredients on the peanuts, because even they had wheat in them. Nothing is worst than being stuck on the plane without any snacks, so I am very happy that I was able to have these crackers with me. Not only are they delicious, but they are also very filling!

I have been doing a lot of traveling recently (I am currently in Norway), so I know how important it is to always have food on you, because you never know how much gluten-free food is going to be around!

-Sema

Monday, April 10, 2017

Drip Coffee


I love coffee. There, I said it. College is a time where some nights you just need a nice cup of coffee to help you not fall asleep on your assignments. We were going to invest in a Keurig, but I found that I didn't particularly enjoy the taste of the coffee brewed in it. I also wanted to have a tea kettle (because I love good cup of tea in the evenings), so I initially brought a French Press with me. For some reason, I just never felt motivated to actually make the coffee in the mornings with it, as it required a bit more clean-up than I was willing to commit to so early in the morning. My mom introduced me to this easy way of making coffee, and I have used it ever since! I absolutely love this method of making coffee, because I can either choose to make a pot or just a cup depending on how many people I'm making coffee for. It also doesn't take up to much time, allowing me to grab my coffee and run out the door to class!

-Sema

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Week of Festivities

Happy April! I feel like I closed my eyes at the beginning of the semester, and now suddenly we are in April. Like I mentioned last week, this week has been quite difficult and long due to the multitude of exams and papers. Thankfully, this week marked the 100th anniversary of the Olin Business School, so there was a huge celebration for it! The best part was that I didn't even have to ask which finger foods were gluten-free--there were signs on each of the trays, marking the foods that were gluten-free, dairy-free, and other common allergen-free.
That extra step that they took made my life easier, and I was able to enjoy the festivities with everyone else. Yes, these fried items were gluten-free (I didn't just have to eat the salad items). If they hadn't had the labels, I would have gone to the caterer and asked which items were gluten-fee. It never hurts to ask, as most of the time there will be naturally gluten-free items available.
Yesterday, Daya came to our campus, and I had a wonderful time listening to her perform live. With clear skies and a great atmosphere, you could say it was a really good end to my rigorous week!

Although the beginning of the week wasn't quite festive, I have to say when we got to the end I got to celebrate the hardest part being over!

-Sema

Saturday, March 25, 2017

College Update

This week was the first week back from spring break, and I am feeling the wrath of all the midterms! Next week I have two exams, one paper, and a lot of preparation for the case competitions I am taking part in. It's going to be quite a difficult week but I will have to get through it! My coping mechanism is a nice cup of tea with a cookie after a long day of classes, and I can assure you that I will be drinking plenty of tea this week!
video

Have you ever gotten really frustrated putting on bedsheets? You'd be surprised at how little I enjoy changing my bedsheets, so this video demonstrates my lack of enthusiasm actually attempting to change the bedsheets. I realized after a while that I had been putting it on sideways, but hey, at least I eventually figured it out. 

-Sema

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2 Ingredient Pancakes

We have all heard that breakfast is important, but how often do we act on that advice? Sometimes I'll be running late or I'll just grab a quick snack to sustain myself for a bit, but it's not enough! That's why I'm going to make it a goal to eat breakfast more often in my dorm. The best way to motivate yourself to eat breakfast is to make foods you'll actually want to eat/have time to eat. I am currently on Spring Break, so I finally have access to a stove again! While I miss the convenience of the dining halls, nothing quite beats a home cooked meal. Today's recipe is so simple that there's no excuse for you to skip breakfast again!

Ingredients
1 banana
1 egg

Procedure
1. Mash the banana.
2. Beat your egg and add it to the banana.
3. Mix it well (you don't want a lumpy pancake)!
4. Cook the pancake like you would any other pancake, and make sure to flip your pancake when it becomes a golden brown color.

Voila! Add some toppings and you're good to go!
Enjoy!
-Sema

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

DIY Snack: Crackers and Cucumbers

While the majority of my midterms are over, college life never really seems to slow down. Each week brings a new challenge that I must learn to overcome (the majority of these challenges come in the form of papers and problem sets). While I could resort to eating junk food (which I am not going to lie, I definitely did on occasion), the aftermath of eating chips and chocolate isn't quite as much fun as the actual eating part. That's why today's DIY college snack edition features a simple combination of cucumbers, crackers, cream cheese, and pepper.

For the crackers, I used the Gratify Sesame Thins, as they are not only my favorite snack but pair very well with the cream cheese. I got a pepper packet from the dining hall, and added a cucumber that I bought from the little market we have on campus. I recommend keeping a cutting board and sharp knife in your dorm room, as it allows you to eat fresh produce instead of consuming everything out of a plastic box.

While this seems like a very simple idea, it is a ~classier~ alternative to chips. It also doesn't take too much thought to make them, but you still get to enjoy a delicious snack that is much healthier than just grabbing a bag of chips!

Enjoy!
-Sema

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