Sunday, December 28, 2014

What's For Breakfast: Gluten Free Holiday Edition

It is practically inevitable to have guests during the holidays! Having guests means that you must make extra food-and breakfast can often be a chore. I currently have two lovely Norwegian exchange students visiting for the weekend, and we had fabulous Scandinavian breakfasts. Here's what you do.

1. Set the table the night before, that way you don't have to even think about plates and forks in the morning.

2. Take the deli meats and vegetables out of the packaging and set them on a plate, it gives it a classier look.

3. Light some candles. Candles=classy.

4. Get egg cups. I mean, what's cuter than a little cup that holds your soft/hard boiled egg.

5. Charger plates add a splash of color to your place setting.

6. Add wine glasses to your breakfast table. It's more fun to drink milk and juice out of it! Bonus-add a cloth napkin.

7. Add a variety of cheeses to the table, as it allows people to choose which cheese they'd like. (We also had a variety of deli meats: turkey pastrami and roasted turkey breast.)

8. Have a starter-even at breakfast. We served oatmeal (gluten-free of course.)

9. Make sure your bread is separate from the other bread. As my guests aren't gluten-free, their bread was in a separate bowl than mine. Fun fact-my bread is actually a gluten-free crisp bread from Norway! So, if you're ever in Norway, pick some up, it's DELICIOUS. (Plus you don't need a toaster.)

Sprucing up your breakfast table really makes your guests feel welcomed and gives you bonus points as a host!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Easy Gluten-free Nacho Dinner

The holidays are a time of shopping-frenzies, so time may be limited when it comes to cooking! That's why quick-fix dinners are the way to go :)! The other day I made nachos, adding a little twist to the usual nachos and cheese dinner. I don't exactly know how much of each ingredient I used in the dish, because I ended up just using whatever I had laying around! The good thing with nachos is that you can as much of an ingredient as you want.

Black olives (I chopped up some from a pan.)
Gluten-free tortilla chips
Shredded cheese
Chopped onions
Chopped lettuce
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped garlic
Sour cream
Optional: fry some ground beef in a pan, you can add some taco seasoning if you'd like.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Bake the tortilla chips and the cheese until the cheese has melted.
3. Add all the other ingredients on top.

You have an easy dinner that is more than just nachos and cheese!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gluten-free Banana Nut Muffins

One of my favorite treats of all time is the banana nut muffin. And the good thing about it is that it's super easy to make! I used a gluten-free yellow cake mix (mine was a generic brand), and added one and a half banana and a handful of walnuts. It really made the yellow cake mix taste so much better with these ingredients! To garnish, I added some powdered sugar. I also sprinkled a few of the muffins with walnuts before I put them in the oven (I did them in two batches).

It made it eclectic, but at the same time it made it seem like I made a bunch of different muffins instead of just one kind :). All I needed to do was follow the directions on the packet! Sometimes it's just easier to get a mix instead of making it from scratch (I was in a time crunch at the time). Fortunately, ready-made gluten-free mixes are available in most mainstream grocery stores these days!

The next time you head to the store make sure you grab a ready made gluten-free cake mix and try it out! If you want step by step instructions then check out my banana nut bread recipe.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Easy Gluten-free Squash Soup!

'Tis the season for squash and soup, so therefor I have a delicious squash soup recipe for you guys (a special thanks to my dad for it)! I mean, what's better than a bowl of soup on a cold day? The awesome part about this recipe is that you don't need that many ingredients in it!

 2 cups milk
1 can light coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
4 cups squash

1. In a pot, cover the squash completely with water.
2. Boil the squash until it's tender.
3. Add the coconut milk, curry powder, and milk.
4. Mix the ingredients together with a hand blender.
5. Heat it on the stove until it's boiling. Once it has boiled, turn it off.

Add one spoon of sour cream and a little bit cilantro, and voila, you have a delicious squash soup!!

Check out my guest post on CeliacCorner, "Living as a Teen with Celiac Disease":)!
I am also Delight Magazine's gluten-free blogger of the week!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 Recap!

Thanksgiving has come and gone again :)! I got to spend it with my wonderful family, and got to eat delicious food. It actually snowed here the day before Thanksgiving, allowing us to enjoy a white Thanksgiving (it's not often that that happens...).

I was working on my next single during the day, so I was unable to make a delicious dessert from scratch this time around. That's when a pack of gluten-free instant chocolate pudding came in handy. All I had to do was add 2 cups of milk and voila, I had dessert!

I started off the day with a hearty breakfast! (And I of course drank my hazelnut creamer infused coffee.)

I actually didn't eat lunch in anticipation for the dinner :).

Here is the....drum roll....turkey!!! It's my dad's boneless turkey, and I can certainly vouch for it.

Here I am modeling the dessert.

Here is the dessert modeling itself.

Here is my fabulous family!


I have the best recipe in store for you guys! Stay tuned for it next week!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gluten-free Fruit Compote

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! In my house, my mom prepares the side dishes, my dad prepares the turkey, and I prepare the dessert :)! Here is a prospective dessert for this Thanksgiving! It originates from 17th century France and is made of whole/pieces of fruits/berries in a sugar syrup and spice mix.

1 cup sliced apples
1 cup sliced pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch diluted in 1/4 cup of water.

1. Combine the ingredients (excluding the diluted cornstarch) in a saucepan over medium, cooking until everything is tender.
2. Whisk in the diluted cornstarch mixture.
3. Let it cook additionally for about a minute, and pour the mixture into individual containers, and let it cool down before you eat it! I used a wine glass for a classy look :).

You can also add dash of Greek yogurt or  heavy whipping cream on top as well as walnuts!

Click here to check out another delicious dessert: Creme Caramel!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gluten-free Waffles

Good morning everyone! This morning I was craving waffles, and decided to try out a new gluten free waffle mix. Also pictured: My article in Allergic Living Magazine! I'm in the fall edition!! Be sure to check them out!!

Think.Eat.Live Waffle Mix, or a waffle mix of your choice
4 Eggs
1/3 cup+4 tbsp Milk
4 tbsp of oil

1. Mix the eggs, milk, and oil together.
2. Add it to the waffle Mix.
3. Spray oil onto your waffle maker (I just dipped a paper towel in and spread the oil onto it like that.)
4. Completely cover the bottom half of the waffle maker and "bake" until done!

Now for the toppings! I'm not really a syrup person, so today I created my own topping. I took some whipping cream, a tablespoon of sugar, and three tablespoons of gooseberry jam. (Click here to find out how I made my own jam.) I blended it until it had the consistency of whipped cream!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Gluten-Free Taco Dinner

Yesterday we decided we all wanted tacos, and it wasn't that hard to make :)! Check out this deliciousness!

1 lb ground beef (We used grass fed beef)
1 box of taco shells of your choice
1/2 onion
1 packet of ready made taco seasoning mix. (We used Old EL Paso Original Seasoning Mix
3/4 cup water
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Grated cheddar cheese

1. Brown ground beef in skillet  over medium heat. Drain. Add water and taco seasoning mix. Mix well. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 -12 minutes.

2. To prepare the shells preheat the oven to 350 f. Heat the shells for 4-5 minutes until desired crispness :).

3. Fill and garnish. Fill each shell with 1-2 tbs of meet.  Top with lettuce, tomatoes, sweet onions and cheese. You can also mix in sliced avocado and sour cream.

Voila you have delicious, easy-to-make tacos!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Switch Witch

Allergy UK
If your child went out trick-or-treating yesterday, you probably have a huge pile of candy stashed somewhere. Some of that candy might not be safe for your child, and thus, the switch witch must come and magically wisk 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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gluten-free Halloween Cupcakes!

As you all probably know, I love themed food! Halloween is a great time to make "spooky" snacks and at the same time indulge in them. Today, I made Halloween themed cupcakes, which were very simple to make and even more fun to decorate. All I did was buy a generic chocolate cake mix from my local grocery store. After I baked them, I decorated them with black and orange icing. At Michaels (a craft store), I found a Halloween spider cupcake kit, which came with candy eyes and cute spider legs!

Voila! It is so cute and simple to make!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Gluten-free Halloween Lollipops!

Hello everyone! Halloween is coming up, so that means: themed snacks!! I found this kit at Walmart, and I noticed that I had to supply the cookie part, so I figured I could make it gluten-free!  It was quite simple, although the bag I used to put in the candy coating did break. But that obstacle did not deter me from making these really cute gluten-free Halloween Lollipops.

1Wilton Halloween Candy Melt Kit.
1 pack of gluten-free oreo-like cookies (I used KinniToos)

1. Add the candy melts into the provided baggy, and loosely close the end.
2. Put it in the microwave and heat it for a minute. Knead the bag. 3.Put it in for intervals of 30 seconds, and knead it until it's fully melted.
4. Cut the tip of the baggy.
5. Insert the lollipop stick into the middle of the cookie.
6. Squeeze the candy melt into the mold, about 2/3 full. (make sure you don't put in too much)
7. Smooth it out with a spoon or your finger.
8. Insert the cookie into the mold, and allow it to go up over the sides.
9. Let it sit while you finish the rest, you can either leave it out or put it in the fridge for a bit. (I just let it sit out, and it hardened just fine.)
10. Use the leftover melted candy like a glue, and put on the candy face accessories.
11. Package it, or just leave it out! I used the name tags to make it personable.

Voila! You have a gluten-free snack that wasn't even made to be gluten-free :) 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's a S'mores Kind of Day!

I woke up this morning to see a gloomy mist settling over everything. I immediately decided that today I needed to make something cheerful (yes, food can be cheerful)! Looking through the pantry I stumbled over a pack of gluten-free graham crackers, some chocolate, and a pack of marshmallows. Thus sparked the idea of making s'mores!
It was really easy you see,  all I needed was three ingredients. I found that I needed to slice the marshmallow in half, as it overflowed when I tried it the first time around. I paired it with coffee that contained the Coffee-Mate Hazelnut Creamer!

Gluten-free Graham Crackers: Do not be fooled by the packaging, they are in fact very small.
A bar of chocolate
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Break the graham crackers in half
3. Add the chocolate and HALF a marshmallow (one whole marshmallow is too much) on separate pieces of graham cracker.
4. Bake it for 3-5 minutes.
5. With a knife, put the chocolate half on the marshmallow half, and press them together to create a gooey piece of goodness.
Voila! You have s'mores on a dreary day!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Atlanta Recap: How I Dealt With My Gluten Free Diet While Traveling

So as you all probably know, I went to Atlanta, GA last week :)! Here's a recap of how I dealt with my diet traveling on a school trip:

Lunch: On our way there, we stopped by Panera Bread! I ordered the Asian Sesame Chicken salad without wonton strips, and the creamy tomato soup without croutons!

Dinner: We stopped by Mellow Mushroom in Atlanta, GA! Unfortunately, there was a slight mix-up with the toppings on my pizza, but they fixed a new one right up for me! I packaged some extra pizza to take with me as emergency food for the next day.

Breakfast the next day: I was of course in contact with the hotel when it came to my diet before we stayed at the Marriot Marquis in Atlanta. The staff was very understanding and made sure that the omelette and hashbrowns were fried in a designated pan, and that there wouldn't be any cross contamination.

After breakfast we stopped by the aquarium. It was beautiful and worth a visit if you ever plan on visiting Atlanta! My lunch was enjoyed at a restaurant close to the aquarium. The chef made sure that I got a burger that had never touched a bun. I also ordered a side salad :).

That night, before our performance, we were to get a sandwich buffet for dinner. The event manager had been notified that I was on a gf diet and that my bread had to be wrapped separately and also have my name on it, so that I could be sure it was safe for me to eat.   But bread was not wrapped up with my name on it, as promised. I also had cross contamination concerns. We notified the manager, who was very apologetic and understanding. Instead of insisting that the food was safe for me to eat he offered a delicious vegetable medley with a baked potato! It was delicious. Lesson learnt: It's always a good idea to talk to someone whenever you notice a mishap, because you don't want to get sick just because you didn't speak up!

On our way home on Sunday we stopped by Chipotle:)! All I had to do there was to ask the server to change her gloves, and voila, I could eat the same thing as my friends! Loved it!

All in all, it was a great trip. I ate out a lot and it went really well!. There was some planning ahead in all, but it was a breeze when I was actually on the trip! I of course had a lot of snacks with me, so I never went hungry either :).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Planning Ahead for Gluten-free on a Roadtrip

Tomorrow I will be embarking on a 3 day school orchestra trip to Atlanta, GA. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to talk about how I handle going on school trips while being on the gluten-free diet!

In the last week, I have been slowly but surely preparing for this trip. My mom communicated with the teachers to make sure that all the stops on the bus we made would have gluten-free options! In addition to this, we called the hotel to make sure that I would be able to eat a hearty gluten-free breakfast in the mornings. I put together many snacks that I will bring along with me in case of traffic delays or genuine hunger.

Here is what I'm bringing:
1. Wellaby's Cheese Ups
2. Wellaby's Classic Cheese Crackers
3. Schar's Cocoa Wafers
4. Gluten-free Crisp Bread
5. Gluten-free Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzels
6. Gluten-free Snyder's of Hanover Regular Mini Pretzels
7. Fruit Snacks
8. Jif to go Peanut Butter Cups
9. Nature's Valley Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Bars
10. Fruit
11. Gingermints (perfect for car sickness)
12. Lifesavor Mints
13. Hand Wipes
14. Toaster Bags
15. Carrots
16. Hand Soap (for those times when there is no soap available)
17. Trash bags (no need for trash to lay around)

Stay tuned next week for a recap of my trip!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Have you ever tried making your own homemade yogurt? We do it all the time in our house, and it is DELICIOUS! It tastes so much better than store-bought yogurt, and it is honestly super easy to make :)! (Plus when you tell people you make your own yogurt, you get automatic cool points.) To make it into a healthy dessert, I add frozen fruit and sugar!

I/4 gallon of milk
1/4 cup of store-bought regular Greek yogurt (add 3 tbs of water, and mix it)

  • 1. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring and scraping bottom of pan often with a heatproof spatula (for a smooth yogurt, make sure there aren't a lot of air bubbles), until the temperature is 185° Fahrenheit.
  • 2. Cool the milk down to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    3. Add 1/4 cup of store-bought yogurt to the milk. 
  • 4. Pour mixture into a 32-ounce jar. Cover jar and place in a warm spot in kitchen for 6 hours or until the milk gets the consistency of yogurt. 

    Voila! You have your own delicious naturally gluten-free yogurt!

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Hint of Fall

It's getting a bit chilly in my neck of the woods (although the weather is still unstable; I'm not sure if I should totally pack away my summer clothes yet.) My absolute FAVORITE treat for the cold(ish) weather would have to be applesauce! Packed with cinnamon, this delightful treat makes the house simply smell like fall! To celebrate this colder weather, let's take a look at my applesauce recipe, which will surely make your mouth water :).


Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Celebration Dinner!

Wow, it has honestly been a super exciting week for me! I got to meet Magnus Carlsen, the world chess champion, released my second music video, and released my third single 'The One' on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify!
To celebrate this great week, we went to Stir Crazy for a delicious dinner! I chose to order off the menu, but as they have a "make-your-own-stir-fry station," my brother opted to make his own gluten-free stir fry. The waiter forgot to note that the noodles were to be gluten-free! When my brother's food came out, I noticed that the noodles were round, and suspected they were the wheat noodles. Lesson learnt: Always make sure that the food is gf, I should have asked to speak to the chef..........When I told the waiter what had happened, he was very understanding and allowed us to order a new meal for free, and also added a dessert on the house!

I ate the gluten-free chicken Szechwan dish, and for dessert had mochi ice cream! Here's a link to their menu.

Make sure to check out my music video on YouTube!
All in all it's been a great week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shepard's Salad

On Labor Day while my mom prepared some hamburgers for dinner she asked me to make something that would complement the dinner. Now we had run out of lettuce, so I decided to make Shepard's salad! This salad is SUPER easy to make, and is very delicious!

A few cucumbers
One avocado
Three tomatoes
Half an onion
Three tablespoons of olive oil
Salt to taste

1. Take a few cucumbers (as many as you'd like), peel them,
and chop them into small bits.
2. Cut the avocado, tomatoes, onion and pepper about the same size.
3. Add about three tablespoons of olive oil, and salt to taste!
Voila! You have a delicious yet simple salad in which you didn't even have to use lettuce!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How to Establish a Gluten-free School Lunch Program (a recap)

I wrote this blog post last year, and in case you haven't seen it, here are some tips on how to participate in your school lunch program at school :).
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. But, 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!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Easy Egg Dinner

I have been seriously under the weather for the past few days, so I really didn't want to think too much when it came to dinner today. So, I toasted some Udi's bread and fried an egg. But I wanted to take it to a whole new level, so I sautéed a little onion and tomato, added it to the sandwich with some chopped up cucumbers. I then added a little salt and pepper, and voila, I had dinner.
On the side I had homegrown grapes!! The tomato, cucumber, and onion are also homegrown!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Living Around Gluten-free

This blog is geared towards people on the gluten-free diet, but what about everyone around them? As I have mentioned before, going gluten-free is a lifestyle change, so this does not only affect the person on the gluten-free diet, but everyone around them as well.

Not everyone in my family is gluten-free (my mom and brother are not), so how do we deal with it?
 1. My brother has his own small pantry with snacks for school and bread for sandwiches.
2. We have a small "gluten zone" in our kitchen where my mom and brother prepare their sandwiches.
3. We label all our spreads with either my brother's name or my name so that we avoid cross contamination.
4. All dinners are gluten-free so that we don't need to prepare separate portions.
5. We have two different toasters- one that's gluten-free and one that is not.

Living around gluten-free is not hard at all!
-Sema :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Traveling on the Gluten-free Diet

So two weeks ago I went to Texas to visit family and film for my upcoming music video (I am also a singer/songwriter)! Visiting people and traveling while on the diet can pose challenges, but they are easily overcome.

1. My family already had an extra toaster waiting for me (because they are super awesome!), but if there is no extra toaster where you are going, then use toaster bags. These have saved me numerous times at hotels!

2. Always, always, ALWAYS have an emergency snack with you! There have been times where I thought I'd be able to buy a snack, but couldn't find anything to eat! There are even "lunchable-like" snacks by Go Picnic!

3. Check the plane's peanut packages. Now I know this might sound silly, but I checked the ingredients once and there was malt in it. Malt does seem to hide in the strangest places ;).

4. Call ahead when you are going out to eat! My cousin and I made a few phone calls to see what was on the menus, and this allowed me to make up my mind on what I wanted to eat before I got there. (Sometimes it's hard to make decisions, because everything looks so good!)

5. If you are going to stay with either family or friends, talk to them about setting up a designated area for you to prepare your sandwiches (this avoids the dreaded cross-contamination.) When I visited my aunt, uncle, and cousins, they made sure I had an area with its own cutting board and toaster.

Honestly it was a breeze traveling and visiting my family in Texas! A special thanks to my Aunt Belinda, Uncle Morten, and cousins Therese, Marius, and Vibeke (it is always so much fun visiting them.)

Here's a bonus tip :) On the plane, I actually had a cooler with me where I stored snacks. This was a good idea, because my flight was delayed! In the cooler, I had almonds, chips, a sandwich, clementines, and some mints!