Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ten Best Gluten Free Backpacking Foods

As backpacking season begins, here are the ten healthiest vegetarian and gluten free foods to throw in your pack.

1. Almonds
Weighing in at 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per ounce, these heart-healthy nuts are a great source of long term fuel and perfect for muscle rebuilding.   Best of all, they are very versatile. Throw them in trail mix or toss them in oatmeal to help keep you full and give you fuel for the day ahead. In addition, they are full of calcium to help keeps your bones in optimal health.

2. Red Lentils
This variety of lentils is full of protein - 13 grams -- per 1/4 cup. In addition, they are full of fiber to help keep you fuller for longer. They take about 15 minutes to cook, which makes them a perfect source of protein at dinner. Toss with rice or quinoa, or try mashing them with garlic, cayenne pepper and salt to make a tasty dip with whole-grain corn tortillas or gluten free crackers.

3. Chia Seeds
This trendy new seed from Mexico contains the perfect combination of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants, which will help to repair your body for the next day. If you are feeling adventurous, try putting chia seeds in your water. Keeping hydrated and consuming chia seeds will keep your energy levels stable throughout the entire day. If that's not your style, try adding chia seeds to a number of foods, including oatmeal, rice, and granola.

4. Quinoa
This quick-cooking, gluten free grain cooks quickly and can be very versatile. And what's not to love about it? It is one of the only plant sources that is a complete protein, which means that it contains all of the essential amino acids. Quinoa contains a beautiful combination of complex carbohydrates and protein that will help your body stay healthy and give you long term fuel throughout the day. Quinoa can be eaten at breakfast in a porridge with dried fruit in nuts, or for dinner with dried beans or lentils.

5. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter (or sunflower butter for those with nut allergies) is one of the most versatile foods to take on the trail.  It contains  healthy fats which are full of long-burning energy. Peanut butter can be put on just about anything, or even eaten straight out the bar. My favorite? A simple spicy peanut sauce over brown rice or quinoa. Warms my tummy after a long day on the trail. Try peanut butter in oatmeal, on tortillas, or gluten-free pretzels.

6. Blueberries
This dried fruit is my favorite to throw in trail mix, granola, and oatmeal. Blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants which are very beneficial for soothing your sore muscles. Try freeze dried or sundried- either will do the trick!

7. Gluten Free Oats
Oats are another one of those great combination foods. They contain complex carbs, fiber, and protein which will help fuel you all day long on the trail. Their versatility is another one of their great attributes. Eating oatmeal at breakfast will provide you with good, healthy fuel to get you through the day feeling great. Making granola with oats is another way to snack on this great food throughout the day.

8. Sundried Tomatoes
Sundried tomatoes are light and easy to pack, and can transform any meal into "gourmet." They are full of vitamin C, which can help rebuild and repair the connective tissue that you break down while hiking with that heavy pack. Toss in gluten free pasta or quinoa with some parmesan cheese and herbs to create a delicious Italian meal in the backcountry.

9. Dark Chocolate
When deciding what chocolate to put into your trail mix, lean towards the dark chocolate. It is full of magnesium, which is required by the body for proper nerve and muscle function. In addition, this essential nutrient is important for immune function and for building strong bones. Dark chocolate morsels taste great in granola, trail mix, and oatmeal...or just by the handful!

10. Sweet Potatoes
While this food may tend to be a little on the heavy side, the nutritional benefits definitely outweigh its weight. These orange gems are high in potassium, which is a mineral that helps combat muscle cramps. At home, prewrap the potatoes in foil and when at camp, toss them in the fire for about 30 minutes. You'll have a perfectly delicious food to help your post-hike muscle cramps.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fresh, New Focus

Hello! It has been a LONG time since I have blogged on this site. I guess that's what happens when you are a busy grad student who takes on too many commitments. This long break has given me some time to think about this blog and what I really want to focus on. All breaks aren't bad, right? I have a new focus  and from now on I will create and post vegetarian, gluten-free recipes that ya'll can use when you are hiking, climbing, running, cycling, and paddling in the Great Outdoors. As both a vegetarian and celiac myself, I know that I am always on the hunt for new, creative, DELICIOUS, HEALTHY, gluten free AND vegetarian recipes (phew) to make while backpacking.

So here it is, May 22, 2012: Gluten Free-Dom in the Woods. A collection of gluten-free, vegetarian recipes to fuel your outdoor passions.

Happy travels!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lean Green Quinoa

As a busy grad student with a job and a dietetic internship, time can be hard to come by. I love easy, quick, nutritious dinners that will fill me up after a long day of class and clinicals. My favorite "grain" to make? Quinoa. Well, technically, it's not a grain, but a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. This stuff is great- complete protein, naturally gluten-free, full of fiber...what's not to love? This recipe is simple, quick, and full of so many vitamins and minerals, sure to keep ya kickin' day after day.

Lean Green Quinoa

-1 c quinoa
-2 c reduced sodium vegetable broth

-4 c chopped spinach, fresh
-2 c broccoli, chopped

-3 cloves garlic, chopped

-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsp lemon juice
-1/2 c walnuts, chopped

-parmesan cheese

makes 4 serving
-Add quinoa and broth in a pot, bring to bowl. Reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is done, about 15 minutes
-Lightly sautee vegetables in olive oil for 2 minutes and add lemon juice. Sautee for another 2 minutes, or until broccoli is tender
-Toss vegetables with quinoa

-Add walnuts and parmesan cheese (to taste) before serving

-Add sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

-Enjoy your meal in less than 20 minutes, start to finish!

See, healthy food can be quick, cheap, and delicious!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

German Chocolate Cake Balls

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Heart shaped boxes of chocolate are soooo 2011. What's trendy in 2012, you ask? These delicious, chocolately, sticky-sweet German chocolate cake balls. Little bite-size cake nuggets of deliciousness, full of pecans, caramel, coconut, and chocolate, that are super easy to make. They give the illusion of chocolate truffles!

I know how it is- you want to do something special for your loved one, but don't have the time to make an impressive, gourmet dessert. Well look no further. Cheap, easy, tasty, gluten-free, impressive... what's not to love?

German Chocolate Cake Balls (gluten-free)


-1 box chocolate gluten-free cake mix (love Betty Crocker)
-1/2 c coconut pecan frosting
-dark chocolate chips
-shredded, unsweetened coconut


For detailed, step by step picture instructions, click here.

-Bake cake according to instructions. Let cool, and crumble into small pieces
-Add frosting and mix well
-Roll cake into small balls and freeze for 30 minutes
-Melt dark chocolate. Using a toothpick, dip cake ball and "knock" off excess chocolate
-Roll in coconut and let dry in a styrofoam block

See how easy? Just wait until you taste them...simply delicious.
Enjoy my friends, and have a blessed Valentine's Day with your special someone.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Raspberry Peach Macarons

When I was little, my favorite thing I owned (besides my Little Tykes Kitchenette) was my box of 96 crayons. I've always had a love for color, and the box of crayons had about every single color imaginable to my curly-haired, 4 year old self. Purple mountain majesty, macaroni and cheese, robin's egg blue...they helped my creative, right-brained juices flow. I think that's why I am obsessed with macarons. Aside from being so cute, they can take on almost any color and flavor imaginable. They really let you express your creativity. And best part? These little morsels are naturally gluten-free. Gluten-lovers are even fans of them and they don't get the "EWWW this is gluten free?" reputation. Crispy but chewy with a special filling- everything is right about this delicious French cookie. Trendy as they may be, they are perfect for just about any occasion. Have fun with them as they are blank canvases for color and flavor! I love raspberry and peach, I think the combination is just divine. Try chocolate, orange, lemon, mint, caramel, or whatever fun flavor you can imagine. Getting macarons right can be a little tricky. I've experimented with a few recipes, and have made my own recipe based on the recommendations of many. This recipe is fool proof, so for all of my friends who get intimidated in the kitchen but want to impress friends/family/coworkers/strangers with a beautiful dessert, this recipe is especially for you.

y Peach Macarons


-1 c powdered sugar
-3/4 c almond meal

-2 large egg
whites, room temperature
-1/8 tsp white vinegar
-1/4 c caster sugar (1/4 c granulated sugar can be substituted)

-1/2 tsp raspberry extract
-Food coloring
-Peach preserves


-Preheat oven to 375F.
-Pulse powdered sugar and almond meal in a food processor until combined.
-Add egg whites to bowl and beat at medium speed until foamy. Add vinegar and beat until soft peaks form. At this point, reduce mixer speed to low and add caster sugar. Add food coloring and extract. Beat until stiff peaks form.
-Add almond/sugar mixture to egg mixture, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
-Using a gallon sized bag, cut a small hole in the tip. For those of you who have a pastry bag/tip, use that. Use the bag to pipe 1 inch rounds on the baking sheet, spaced about 1 inch apart.

-Tap the baking sheet against the counter and let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
-Before baking, turn oven down to 325F. Bake for 10 minutes, until macarons are crisp and firm.

-Let cool on tray and transfer to wire rack.

-Spoon about 1 tsp peach preserves between two cookies, and poof- you've got a macaron.

Enjoy my friends, and most importantly- be creative and have fun.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cherry Berry Antioxidant Granola

Some of my friends think I'm a granola-eating, tree-loving, barefoot hippie. I can't argue much here, except for the fact that before today, I wasn't really a fan of granola. It has always been too sweet, or too crunchy, or too just hasn't been right. Trust me, I've tried so many different types because it's one of those things I just felt I had to like. But then Superhero Johanna came to the rescue and gave me this awesome granola recipe. I met this fantastic gal over the past summer in San Francisco, at one of those "hippie-type" conventions. She's just about as cool as they come, so I knew it just had to be good. Johanna swears by this recipe, and I can totally see why. It's not too sweet, not too crunchy, not too's just right.

The different kinds of dried berries in this granola give it the perfect amount of sweetness (And don't forget their added antioxidant value!). Don't like berries? Fine with me! Just substitute them with your favorite fruit, or leave them out completely. That's the beauty of this recipe- you can tailor it to exactly how you want. Walnuts are my favorite nut, but if you prefer cashews, or peanuts, or almonds, by all means use those instead. It's like making your own custom-made car, but a hell of a lot cheaper and tastier. Another great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to make! You can whip up a batch quicker than it takes to pick out all of the raisins in your store-bought granola.

Try this tasty oat concoction in yogurt, cottage cheese, or on top of sliced fruit...or my personal favorite- by itself! It's seriously so delicious that you may be tempted to eat all of it. At only 160 calories per serving, it's the perfect snack! Throw it in your gym bag for post workout, bring a bag with you when hiking (perfect backpacking snack), or toss some in your desk at work for that 3 pm slump. Or you know, all of the above!

Cherry Berry Antioxidant Granola


3.5 c gluten free oats (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 c water
1/2 c canola oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c agave nectar
1/4 c honey
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c dried cherries
1/4 c dried blueberries
1/4 c dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 200F
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (easy cleanup, yay!)
Lay mixture on baking sheet, and bake for 1.5-2 hours, while stirring every 20 or so minutes
The granola is done when the oats are slightly browned

Enjoy, my friends!