Tag archive for "The Husband"

Valentine’s Day at Candle Cafe West

GF Friendly Restaurants, New York City, Vegan

Valentine’s Day at Candle Cafe West

8 Comments 19 February 2014

On Valentine’s Day, the Husband took me to one of the vegan restaurants in our neighborhood that we hadn’t yet been to together. I was thrilled to be wined and dined at Candle Cafe West with my love on this special occasion, and he definitely knocked it out of the park with the restaurant choice. We had to chuckle when the waiter asked if either of us had ever been to Candle before. I had been there with some girl friends, but the Husband had not. So the waiter looked at the Husband and said, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. This is vegan food for people who like food.” Obviously he had no idea who he was dealing with!

There are two Candle restaurants in the city. We had a wonderful experience at Candle Cafe East several years ago, so I knew this was going to be an incredible dinner.

We had the option of ordering dishes off the prefixed menu or going for the whole kit and kaboodle by choosing a soup, an appetizer or salad, an entree, and a dessert.  There was also an option to have each course paired with a different wine. Guess which one we chose!

Every single item we ordered was outstanding. There were at least two gluten-free options in each category, so there was plenty for me to choose from. We both ordered something different so we could enjoy more of the menu.

The Soups

Both soups were creamy and unique, starting off our meal with warm tummies on a cold evening. The portions were huge, but they were so delicious I just couldn’t help eating the entire thing! I wondered how in the world I would be able to eat 3 more courses. Don’t worry, I managed.

Valentine's1Gluten_Free_Cat

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Arame Caviar and Truffle Oil

Valentine's2_Gluten-Free_Cat

Smoked Red Pepper Soup with Bread

(The soup was gluten free, but the bread was not.)

I appreciated that there was plenty of time between courses to enjoy the wine and actually start feeling ready for more food. We weren’t rushed on this busy night but were given time to savor and anticipate the next course.

The Appetizers

Again, the appetizers were ample. Mine was almost a mixture of an appetizer and a salad. The Husband’s was almost a lunch portion entree.

Valentine's4_Gluten-Free_Cat

Grilled Artichokes with Green Beans, Hearts of Palm, Kale, English Peas, and Red Pepper Aioli

Valentine's5_Gluten-Free_Cat

Yes, I actually ate peas! There are few foods that I dislike, and peas are one of them, but these weren’t bad disguised in the delicious flavors from the rest of the dish.

Valentine's3_Gluten-Free_Cat

Spinach Ravioli with Tofu Cheese, Sauteed Spinach, Garlic, and Roasted Plum Tomato Sauce

(This was not gluten-free, so the Husband enjoyed this one all by himself.)

The Entrees

I actually can’t say which entree I liked better. I thoroughly enjoyed both of them in the restaurant as well as the leftovers the next day. I am determined to improve my tempeh and tofu-baking skills after tasting what can be done with them! The tempeh tickled my tastebuds with spiciness while the tofu had a Asian flair similar to Suzanne’s Dragon Sauce at Hello Veggy.

Valentine's6_Gluten-Free_CatVegetable Stuffed Tempeh with Grilled Tempeh, Sauteed Peppers, Shallots, Oyster Mushrooms, and Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce

Valentine's7_Gluten-Free_CatSesame Crusted Tofu with Ginseng Infused Black Rice, Sauteed Snow Peas, Edamame, Ginger, and Sake-Miso Sauce

The Desserts

Love. Love. Love. Three out of the four desserts offered were gluten-free. So we narrowed it down to chocolate and chocolate. I’m a firm believer that if there is a chocolate option there’s no need to look further. I’m sure we ordered the best two desserts, because I can’t imagine a dessert tasting better than either of these.

Valentine's9_Gluten-Free_Cat

Almond Joy – Chocolate and Almond Mousse, Candied Almonds, and Raspberry Coulis

Valentine's10_Gluten-Free_Cat

Brownie with Candied Pecans, Strawberries, Kahlua Ice Cream, and Chocolate Sauce

It was a delightful evening with incredible food and wine and great service. I would highly recommend Candle West for a special occasion or just a fun dinner out. Put it on your list!

Candle Cafe West
2427 Broadway
New York, NY

Readers, dish!

  • What did you do for Valentine’s Day?
  • Which of the above dishes would you order?
  • Have you ever been to Candle Cafe?
Dining Out While Juicing: Day 24

GF Recipes, Healthy Living, New York City, Raw Foods, Vegan

Dining Out While Juicing: Day 24

5 Comments 26 January 2014

I can’t believe that I’m almost finished with my New Year’s Juicing Challenge. It has been much easier that I thought it would be, but juicing does curtail your social events, and when you’re doing it alone it can feel kind of isolating. But going out and having fun isn’t out of the question when you’re juicing in NYC.

That reminds me, do you remember how excited I was on Day 1 about doing this challenge with a group of friends? Well, I’m the only one who actually started it! So I’m doubly thankful for supportive readers like you. I appreciate your encouragement and enjoy hearing how your juicing endeavors have been going.

Everyone goes to brunch on Sundays in New York City. It’s not a matter of if you’re going to brunch. That’s assumed. It’s where you’re going to brunch. We have several restaurants in our neighborhood that serve gluten-free, vegan meals, and thankfully they also happen to serve juice too. So going out for Sunday Brunch hasn’t changed while on this juice cleanse.

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These juices are from Blossom, my absolute favorite vegan brunch spot. I have sampled every juice on this menu, and it’s hard to say whether the Pink Lady or the Ruby Red is my favorite. The green juices are good too, I just make them a lot at home so the others are more fun for “out for juice” drinks.

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Last weekend I asked the Husband if he wanted to go hang out at a bar. His response was “I feel like this is a trick question.” It was and it wasn’t. We did hang out at a bar, but it was a juice bar at Peacefood Cafe. I was excited to try their Asian Roots juice with green daikon, sweet potato, apple, and ginger.

Asian Roots_Gluten-Free_Cat

I loved this juice and can’t wait to make it at home.

Hangover_Cure_Gluten-Free_Cat

They call this one The Hangover Cure with apple, orange, carrot, celery, and ginger.

Perfect for brunch.

Last night we went out for dinner with friends at Spring Natural Kitchen, another favorite neighborhood restaurant. They serve cold-pressed juices along with a beautiful menu with many gluten-free, vegan options. They even have homemade gluten-free bread!

Watermelon_Gluten-Free_Cat

I meant to try several of their juices, but the Watermelon Pineapple was so good that I had to have two.

I realize that I’m in a unique situation in New York City. Not everyone has 5 different juice bars within a few blocks of their home. But on Day 24 I’m incredibly thankful to be living in such a juice-friendly city!

Juice_Badge

Readers, dish!

  • Do you go out for brunch?
  • Do you have juice bars near you?
  • What’s your favorite juice bar?
Paleo Giveaway #1: Gather, the Art of Paleo Entertaining

Book Review, GF Recipes, Paleo

Paleo Giveaway #1: Gather, the Art of Paleo Entertaining

17 Comments 11 June 2013

Paleo friends, do I have a treat for you! After my recent announcement that this blog is going raw vegan, I hope that a few of you are still with me! I’ve actually found that Paleo and Vegan folks make good friends. In fact, I’m married to a paleo guy, so I ought to know. While I don’t eat his meat and he doesn’t eat my legumes, I can make meat for him, and he eats my raw vegan dishes as sides. For us, it works. In fact, I use several paleo books and blogs to find recipes that work for both of us.

But before I completely dedicate this blog to all things raw vegan I have 3 paleo giveaways for you.

Let me start with a book that many of you are salivating over. And for good reason. Paleos have been buzzing about Hayley Mason and Bill Staley’s Gather, the Art of Paleo Entertaining. And now I understand why. They have created a book that speaks to the soul. Regardless of how you eat, you will open this book and instantly want to create an event, a meal, a snippet in time where food is savored and memories are made.

Gather is organized by season and presents creative meal themes with flavorful menu plans and recipes that paleos typically only dream of. It begins with fresh springtime menus such as Casual Sunday Brunch and a more formal Easter Lunch and continues on to summer with A Night in Tuscany and A Taste of Cuba. Fall highlights include Harvest Dinner that ends with a Pumpkin Torte with Cream Cheese Frosting and Caramel as well as a creative plan for a Thanksgiving Feast. The books concludes with winter celebration themes including birthdays, holidays, and a New Year’s Cocktail Party. Gather paints pictures of memorable moments the whole year through and makes them accessible to paleo diners.

This book is for those who desire to create special moments in their homes where friends and families gather. But it also provides inspiration and possibilities for paleo eaters who no longer eat grains. There are recipes for Pizza Margherita, Chocolate Chip Biscotti, Apple Pie with a Lattice Crust, and even a section called Takeout Fake-Out including a recipe for General Tso’s Chicken.

I’m giving this gorgeous hardback book away to one lucky reader.

All you have to do is make a comment below to enter. You can leave up to 2 entries today by answering 1 dish question and letting me know in a separate comment that you either shared the giveaway on Twitter (tagging @glutenfreecat) or “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page and shared the giveway with your Facebook friends. Makes sure that Gluten-Free Cat is tagged so that I can approve your comment.

Giveaway Guidelines:

  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents 18 and older residing in the continental U.S.
  • Enter by leaving a comment on this post.
  • You are limited to 2 entries.
  • The giveaway begins Tuesday, June 11, 2013 and ends at 11:59 pm central time on Saturday, June 15, 2013.

No purchase is necessary.  Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.  The winner will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.

Can’t wait for the giveaway? You can order Gather, the Art of Paleo Entertaining right here through Amazon. I’ll even get a few pennies if you do!

Readers, dish!

  • Why would you like to win Gather?
  • Are you a paleo eater?
  • Do you have different types of eaters in your home? How do you handle that?
Raw Vegan in the City

Raw Foods, Travel

Raw Vegan in the City

14 Comments 04 June 2013

Notice anything different today? Go ahead, look around.

Thank you, Heather Peters, for redesigning my blog banner. And thank you, Kevin Banks of In Color Creative, for making it visible to you. Left to my own devices I would have wallowed in YouTube how-to videos for a month to figure out how to switch the banner!

But why the changes? Several life-changing reasons.

If you hadn’t already heard, you may have picked it up from my Liebster Award post. In just a few weeks, we will be leaving our sweet city of Nashville and moving to New York City. This is something that we’ve talked about doing for a while, and now it’s time to make it happen.

Will my location have an effect on this blog? Absolutely!

Last Fall I give you a glimpse into my temporary gluten-free kitchen.

This is an apartment kitchen that I had already downsized from a house kitchen. So the thought of cutting my workspace and storage space in half yet again is a bit terrifying. It will change the way I cook and create, but if I can eat gluten-free and healthily in cramped quarter, so can you.

(Now my Monday Lovin’ Gluten-Free Cookbook Giveaway is making a little more sense, isn’t it? Thanks for helping me as I downsize my incredible library for this move! If you haven’t entered this week, go check it out!)

Another big change is that this blog is going high-raw vegan. Why? Because those are the only recipes that I create anymore. I have jumped around in my journey and experimented with all sorts of foods in search of what is best for my body. And I always seem to come back to my love, raw foods. So it’s time for the blog to change along with me. I have removed all non-vegan recipes from the recipe list. I have not deleted non-vegan posts as they are all part of my journey. Of course this will remain a gluten-free blog as that is the only way that I can eat. But it will focus on raw and vegan food that is naturally gluten-free.

I also can’t wait to explore the raw, vegan corners of New York City and share my findings with you!

Raw Chocolate Banana Crepes at Pure Food and Wine

I am so thankful for every one of you who contributes to this blog. You all have made Gluten-Free Cat what it is today because of what I have learned from you. The gluten-free blogging community, the vegetarian and vegan community, and the raw foods community have all given me support and encouragement through this growing process. Thank you! And I hope that you’ll come along with me on the next step of this journey.

Here are a few things that I’m really looking forward to in NYC.

Union Square Farmers Market

The Brooklyn Bridge

Walking Everywhere

Raw Foods Restaurants

Grab and Go Juice!

Cashew Ice Cream

Central Park

And now back to packing!

Readers, dish!

  • What is something that you’ve always wanted to do?
  • Have you ever dreamed about living somewhere else?
Paleo Week and Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs

GF Recipes

Paleo Week and Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs

12 Comments 03 December 2012

It’s Paleo Week at Gluten-Free Cat!  This is probably the last thing you expected to find here. But while most of my recipes for the past year have been raw, vegan, or vegetarian, the Husband has been eating Paleo. Plus, I’ve found that my body has been asking for animal protein. I love the idea of being raw vegan, but I’m finding that my energy level and my physical performance is so much better when I incorporate some meat in my diet.

So I thought that I’d share some of the gluten-free, paleo recipes that we’ve been enjoying. Plus, I’ll be ending the week with a Paleo Giveaway. Make sure you stop back on Friday!

How does a non-meat eater begin cooking with meat? She goes back to childhood with good ol’ spaghetti and meatballs.

These meatballs are made from bison and the noodles are actually spiralized zucchini. I believe that this is the way a Paleo Guy and a Raw Foods-Loving Girl can eat together happily.

I love raw zucchini, so these noodles are not warm. But served room temperature with piping hot meatballs drenched in tomato sauce, you won’t even notice that the zucchini isn’t hot.

In fact, I even enjoy the crunch of the zucchini noodles with hot marinara sans meatballs. Delicious.

A spiralizer isn’t required to make raw noodles, but it makes the job so much easier and it’s loads of fun! You can use a vegetable peeler to create fetuccini-like noodles as well.

Paleo Spaghetti with Spicy Meatballs

by Heather

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground bison
  • 1/2 c. almond flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 small red peppers and 1 jalapeno pepper (or 2 jalapenos)
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 c. stock (chicken or veggie)
  • 2 15-oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • salt to taste

“Noodle” Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, eggs, diced onion, minced garlic, and oregano. Then add the bison and mix by hand until well combined. Form into 10-12  meatballs and place them in a 9×13 casserole dish.

3. Heat all sauce ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Then pour the sauce over the meatballs.

4. Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for about 45 minutes.

5. While the meatballs are cooking, spiralize two zucchini. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a vegetable peeler to create fetuccini-like noodles.

6. Serve meatballs over zucchini noodles and top with additional tomato sauce.

Yields 10-12 meatballs

Enjoy! And don’t forget to stop by on Friday for the Paleo Week Giveaway! (Hint, it’s a cookbook!)

Readers, dish!

  • What is your favorite childhood meal?
  • Have you ever tried bison?
This recipe will be shared with:
Laughing Seed Cafe: Gluten Friendly Vegetarian Food

GF Friendly Restaurants

Laughing Seed Cafe: Gluten Friendly Vegetarian Food

9 Comments 13 August 2012

I have a new favorite restaurant.  In the South. Of course my favorite Northern restaurant is Pure Food and Wine, a 100% raw restaurant in New York City.  But I’ve found a Southern restaurant that has given me a taste of Pure Food and Wine without the grittiness and the price tag of the Big City.

Every other time we’ve been to Asheville, we’ve dined at Posana Cafe more than once. In fact, we’ve driven to Asheville with the sole objective of eating as many meals at Posana as possible in 36 hours.

But since we now eat almost exclusively vegetarian, it is more challenging to find gluten-free meals that are also meatless when dining out.  We enjoyed the few vegetarian options at Posana Cafe this trip.  But our selection was limited, so we decided to give some other restaurants a try.

And I’m glad we did.  Otherwise, we never would have tried Laughing Seed Cafe, a global fusion vegetarian restaurant.

Thankfully, we came on a night when dining alfresco was refreshing instead of stifling. Laughing Seed Cafe has a quaint little front porch for catching a refreshing mountain breeze.

We had the opportunity to dine at Laughing Seed Cafe twice in one weekend, and we still only sampled a small portion of the gluten-free options.

Drinks

Laughing Seed Cafe has some incredible drinks including some creative cocktails, beer (Green’s Dubbel Dark Ale is all natural and gluten free), and wine.  But they also have smoothies, teas, fresh juices, and tonics for those looking for healthier options.  While I enjoyed a nice white wine one evening, the other night I was attracted to a tonic called The Superhero.

I would have paid much closer attention to the ingredients listed on the menu if I had known that they don’t have these drinks on their online menu. Just trust me that it was a healthy, delicious combination of herbs mixed with seltzer and a splash of agave nectar. Refreshing.

Appetizers

The Indian Pakoras are naturally gluten-free vegetable fritters batter-dipped in spiced chickpea flour and served with Punjabi chutney and organic yogurt.  I’m not typically a fan of fried food, but these were really tasty.

My favorite appetizer was the Miyabizushi, literally translated as “decorative” sushi. These little bites of flavor made my taste buds sing for joy.

We also sampled the Local Cheese Plate which features a selection of artisanal regional cheeses, fig chutney, and fresh strawberries. Normally served with house-made bulgar oat bread, they brought us organic blue chips to make it gluten free.

Main Dishes

I only a have a few entrees to share as the Husband ordered gluteny food!  Can you believe it?  He normally orders gluten free so we can share our meals.  But there were just too may amazing options to chose from. I don’t blame him for enjoying the entire menu.

But I’m only going to share the gluten-free entrees with you.

One evening I enjoyed the Harmony Bowl complete with organic brown rice, organic black beans, grilled organic tofu, steamed vegetables, and their self-proclaimed “addictive” sesame ginger sauce.  This warm, comforting dish made my tummy happy for sure, but the sesame ginger sauce was more than addictive.  I’m just not sure that I can live without it.

But my favorite entree was a raw dish.  I had such a hard time deciding which raw entree to order as all four options were naturally gluten free, and they all looked amazing.

But I finally settled on the Spinach-Pesto Manicotti.

Not only was it a feast for the eyes, it was the best raw meal I’ve had south of the Mason-Dixon line.  The cashew ricotta was ridiculously decadent and creamy while the sunflower-spinach pesto added an Italian flavor that made you forget you were eating zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Pasta? Who cares about pasta when vegetables taste this good? The chunky sun-dried tomato marinara sauce and marinated olives brightened the dish so that every bite was perfectly balanced.

Desserts

There was no way I was saving room for dessert with such incredible appetizers and entrees. Yes, two nights in a row I forgot to save room.  But for those of you with more self control than I do, you’ll be happy to know that there are three gluten-free dessert options on the menu.

  • Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Coconut Cookie
  • Raw Dessert Sampler – fudge-date brownies and coconut-mint macaroons, served with fruit
  • Coconut Cream Tart - coconut cream, slivered almonds and a crispy oat crust

Maybe next time.

Laughing Seed Cafe gets two paws up from the Gluten-Free Cat for local, organic, vegetarian, gluten-free food that will blow your mind!

Laughing Seed Cafe on Urbanspoon

Laughing Seed Cafe
40 Wall Street
Asheville, NC 28801
828-252-3445

Readers, dish!

  • Have you been to Laughing Seed Cafe?
  • What is your favorite gluten-free, vegetarian restaurant?
  • Do you save room for dessert when dining out?
The Green Sage: Gluten-Free Dining in Asheville

GF Friendly Restaurants, Travel

The Green Sage: Gluten-Free Dining in Asheville

5 Comments 08 August 2012

On a recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina, we were pleasantly surprised to run into another restaurant that did gluten free extremely well.  The Green Sage is a restaurant that creates healthy options using natural, local, and organic ingredients. They provide meals for those who are gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian.  The Husband I were thrilled to come across this sign while milling through the streets of Asheville.

We had no idea just how many gluten-free, vegetarian options there would be.  Every wrap can be made gluten free with a brown rice wrap, and every sandwich can be made on gluten-free bread.  Vegetarians are provided for as well, as every meat item can be substituted with tempeh.  And on top of it all, they will work with you to make vegetarian choices vegan.

The Green Sage is more than just a coffeehouse and cafe.  In fact, they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  In addition to wraps, sandwiches, and burgers, they also serve fresh pressed juices, smoothies, rice bowls, soups, salads, burritos, and organic beer and wine.

I had to try the Sunshine Juice made from juiced carrots and oranges.  It was a perfect refresher on a hot summer day.

I chose the Curry Cashew Salad Wrap with grilled tempeh, cashews, raisins, apples, and lettuce on a brown rice tortilla.  This sounds a little pompous, but it was so incredible that I couldn’t believe I was eating this in a restaurant and not in my own kitchen.  The Husband even commented on the fact that I was excited about eating something I would make for myself at home. EXACTLY!  They key is that I didn’t have to make it!

The Husband enjoyed his sweet potato fries as well as the Chipotle Jack on a gluten-free bun with tempeh, lettuce, red onion, roasted peppers, serrano peppers, pepper jack, guacamole, and chipotle sauce.  He was in heaven.

The dessert case held too many gluten-free treats for me to photograph.  I wish I could have ordered a single bite of each one. Here is a sampling of their gluten-free desserts.

I didn’t sample any of these, but I did come back later for a Double Chocolate Walnut Cookie the size of a dessert plate.  It didn’t last long enough to photograph, but it was incredible. It tasted more like a soft, rich brownie with crispy edges than a cookie, and I was perfectly okay with that.

I would highly recommend The Green Sage to anyone looking for a gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan meal.  They have two locations.  I tried the downtown location and was extremely pleased.

The Green Sage on Urbanspoon

DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE
5 Broadway Street
Asheville, NC. 28801
828.252.4450
 
SOUTH ASHEVILLE
1800 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC. 28803 
828.274.4450
 
Readers, dish!
  • Have you ever been to The Green Sage?
  • What is your favorite gluten-free, vegetarian restaurant?
Finally a Good Gluten-Free Beer

GF Product Reviews

Finally a Good Gluten-Free Beer

22 Comments 18 July 2012

The Husband has never had a gluten-free beer that he’s liked.  Ever.  He’s tried New Grist, Redbridge, Estrella Damm Daura, but he usually can’t take more than a few sips before his attempt comes to an end.  The taste test is over.  He just can’t do it.  They just taste like bad beer.

I, on the other hand, have never tasted any beer that I’ve liked.  ALL beer tastes bad to me. In fact, it’s worse than bad.  To me, all beer tastes disgusting.  Therefore, I do not review gluten-free beers.  If I did, I would proclaim that they all tasted like dirt.

Before

After

But the Husband is a good taste tester.  And the only reason I’m doing a post on gluten-free beer is that the Husband finally found one that he enjoyed.  Not only was it good gluten-free beer.  He proclaimed it to be really good beer — gluten free or not.  Now that says something.

So if you are a gluten-free friend who likes beer, and you miss the taste of a good one, you might want to read on.

When we were at Posana in Asheville, the Husband hesitantly ordered a Brunehaut gluten-free amber ale.  It’s a Belgum import that won a gold medal at the 2011 US Open Beer Championships.  Our waiter insisted that he would like it because of the yeastiness.

Of course, I knew from every other taste test since age 21 that I wouldn’t like it despite the accolades.  I decided to stick to a tried and true cider.  I was glad that Posana carried Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider.

But the Husband loved this beer.

 And you might too.

So next time you see this bottle, give it a shot.  And let me know what you think.

Readers, dish!

Raw Energy Gel (and my first marathon)

Fitness, GF Recipes, Raw Foods

Raw Energy Gel (and my first marathon)

15 Comments 02 June 2012

You can do anything you put your mind to.  It sounds a little cliche, but there’s a lot of truth to it, especially when running a marathon.

For the past 5 months I’ve been training for a marathon.  My first marathon.  Right now I’m thinking that it will be my only marathon.  I haven’t been too vocal about it, because I wasn’t sure that I’d be successful.  I’ve run many half marathons, but 26.2 miles is a heck of a lot longer than 13.1.  Okay, mathematically I know it’s exactly twice as long, but a full marathon (or “the full” as people from a running town like Nashville call it) might have well been 4 times longer.  It just seemed unattainable.

But last weekend, the Husband and I finished the Buffalo Marathon!  And oh did it feel fantastic!  (Well, after the days of hobbling and icing.)  I now have so much respect for those who run marathons to improve their time and for those who run marathon after marathon because they love it.  I have no idea how they do it.  But I’m thrilled that we were able to finish “the full” in under 5 hours.

Even if it’s just this once.

But this is a food blog.  What does running a marathon have to do with food?

Everything.

Fitness is all about food.  Without food there is no fitness.  Fitness starts with choosing the right food to fuel the work that you ask your body to do.

When I started training, I was eating a high raw diet.  While the mileage was low, I had enough energy to teach kindergarten, lead 4-5 fitness classes, and run three times each week. But when the mileage reached double digits I needed more fuel.  Carbohydrate fuel.  So I started adding brown rice, beans, quinoa, and quinoa pasta (my favorite pre-long run meal), and suddenly those long runs felt better.

Another issue I had to face was nutrition during those long runs.  In the past, I’ve used Hammer Nutrition Gels, GU Energy Gels, and Jelly Belly Sport Beans, all gluten-free products, to give me a boost when training longer than an hour.  But since eating a clean, mostly raw, vegan diet, I had a hard time with the idea of sucking down a package that contained processed ingredients.

So I made my own Raw Energy Gel, and over 5 months of training, I tweaked it until I found the perfect recipe.

This Raw Energy Gel not only took me through the training months, but more importantly, it fueled me through 26.2 miles on race day.

These are the power ingredients.

For many of my runs, a tablespoon of chia seeds was all I needed, but when the mileage increased, the sugar in agave nectar, honey, and dates did the trick.  (Read this post for more information on the power of chia seeds.)

Carob powder makes this gel taste like a Rolo.  Do you remember those?  Gooey caramel encased in chocolate.  ***Note, Chatfield’s Carob does not claim to be gluten-free.  See comments below.

Just toss the ingredients into a mini-food processor and let them sit for an hour to allow the dates to soften and the chia seeds to gel.

Then puree until it’s smooth.

I found that 1 1/2 tablespoons of gel was the perfect amount for every 5 miles.  Any more and I was too full to run.  Any less and I bonked.  Hard.  Play with the serving size to see what works for your body.

I scooped 1 1/2 tablespoons into a Ziploc Snack Bag and stored them in the fridge.

While running, I squeeze the gel into the corner of the baggie, bit off the baggie tip, and squeezed the gel right into my mouth.  Instant energy.

This recipe makes 5-6 bags of Raw Energy Gel.  Store them in the fridge, but take them out a few minutes before shoving them in your running shorts. Brrrrrr!

Raw Energy Gel

by Heather

Ingredients:

  • 6 raw dates
  • 1/2 c. raw agave nectar/honey combination (I use 50/50, but play with the ratio to find your ideal combination.)
  • 1 T. chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 T. carob powder

Directions:

1.  Place all ingredients in a mini-food processor, and let them sit for 1 hour.

2.  Process until the mixture is almost smooth. (Leaving the dates a little chunky gives you something to chew while running…a nice distraction from the running.)

3.  Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoon of gel into each snack-sized baggie.

4.  Press the air out of each baggie, zip them up, and store the baggies in the fridge.

Makes five 1 ½ T. servings

Run well, run fueled, and run raw!

Readers, dish!

  • Do you have a dream goal that seems unattainable?
  • Endurance athletes, what do you eat during training?
  • What physical accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • What could you do if you put your mind to it?
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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, friend, fitness fanatic, foodie, high raw vegan, child of the King, and Mama Cat. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. And now I have another challenge ahead...I'm moving to New York City! I look forward to Living Raw Vegan in the City and sharing my experience with you.

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