Tag archive for "The Husband"

Raw Energy Gel (and my first marathon)

Fitness, GF Recipes, Raw Foods

Raw Energy Gel (and my first marathon)

21 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?


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


  • 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


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?
This recipe was shared with:


Eating Out Gluten Free:  BYOGF

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: BYOGF

30 Comments 09 May 2012

Yesterday I shared my second tip about Eating Out as a part of 10 Days of Gluten-Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker.  Being nice to your server is key to getting him on your side before you ask him to jump through gluten-free hoops.

Eating Out Tip #3 is…BYOGF.  Bring your own gluten free.

My apologies for the longer post today, but it’s an important one.  I must share the BYO story that changed my life.

The phone rang in my college dorm room.  At the time I didn’t realize that the voice on the other side would one day be that of the Husband.  Before agreeing to go on the first date that he was proposing, I just had one question, “Where are we going to dinner?”  I cringed when I asked the question.  I didn’t want him to think that my acceptance of his offer depended on the type of restaurant he would take me to.  But I needed to know that we were going to a place where I would be able to eat. I quickly explained that I had food allergies, now sounding like a completely high maintenance college girl.  Great.

I didn’t know that I was gluten intolerant, but I had figured out that I couldn’t eat bread with yeast.  I was on the right track as eliminating yeast products naturally cut out a lot of gluten from my diet.

Our first date was at a diner, and I ordered a burger without the bun.  When our meals arrived, I pulled a long bread bag out of my purse, removed the twist tie, and slid the lonely yeast-free bun onto my plate.  I cut it in half with the dull butter knife and inserted my greasy diner burger.  Reaching for the ketchup, I caught the pre-Husband’s eye.  He was beaming.

“You brought your own bun?”

I think that was the moment he fell in love with me.

Bringing your own gluten-free food may or may not lead you to the love of your life, but it will help ensure that you’ll be eating something safe that you enjoy.

Bring your own bread, salad dressings, and condiments.  If the restaurant has a problem with it, don’t return.

While traveling, I was thrilled to find a deli that had Boar’s Head products right along the beach.  I ordered a few slices of turkey, tomato, avocado, and a packet of mustard in a takeout box.  Then I took my sandwich fixings to a table, pulled out two slices of Udi’s gluten-free bread from my beach bag, and made the most delicious sandwich on the planet.

(It’s amazing how the memories of a fantastic meal is proportionate to how hungry or thankful you were to find safe food!)

Reminder, when ordering at a deli, ask your server to change gloves, and watch for cross-contamination in condiments.  (Squeeze jars of mustard and mayo are safer than open containers.  Individual packets are best.)

BYOGF.  Bring what you want.  Eat what you like.  Like what you eat.

Have you entered to win a $25 P.F. Chang’s gift card?  I’m giving away two at the end of 10 Days of Gluten Free.  Submit another entry today by leaving a comment below.  You can leave two entries by answering a second dish question or letting me know that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter and “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page or shared this post on Twitter or Facebook.

Giveaway Guidelines:

  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents 18 and older.
  • You are allowed two entries per “10 Days of Gluten Free” blog post for a total of 20 entries on this blog.
  • Enter by leaving a comment on this post (and other 10 Days of GF posts).
  • The giveaway begins May 7, 2012 and ends at 11:59 pm central time on May 18, 2012.

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.

I’ll be back tomorrow with tip #4.  And don’t forget to hop over to these blogs today for more gluten-free tips:

Readers, dish!

  • What foods have you brought into restaurants?
  • Do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable bringing in your own food?
  • Have you ever been asked to leave for bringing in outside food?

Contest closed, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

PortaVia Italian Kitchen:  Best Gluten-Free Pizza?

GF Friendly Restaurants

PortaVia Italian Kitchen: Best Gluten-Free Pizza?

16 Comments 03 May 2012

I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to try PortaVia Italian Kitchen since hearing for the past year that they have amazing gluten-free pizza.  But I’ve been leaning towards a high raw/vegan diet, so I’ve been less attracted to restaurants claiming to have the next best gf crust.  Yawn…

Having guests in town gave us the perfect opportunity to try PortaVia Italian Kitchen.  I was astounded that they not only had gluten-free pizza, but gluten-free pasta as well.

That definitely perked up my cat ears and started me happily purring, but then the waiter brought bread.  Gluteny bread.

“Oh, no thank you,” I said quickly.  I like to refuse bread before it actually hits the table, so it isn’t wasted.  I don’t want it, but I know someone else will.  I’d rather not even have glutenous crumbs on my table, and the Husband sweet enough not to eat gluten in front of me.  “I’m gluten intolerant,” I explained.  What happened next sent me on a catnip-induced trip!  The waiter said that he would bring me gluten-free rolls.

What???  That seriously only happens for me in New York City, not in Nashville.  The waiter brought these rolls.

With olive oil.

And they were incredible.  I dare say they were the best gluten-free rolls that I’ve ever had outside of my kitchen.   They were piping hot from the oven, steamy, tender, and perfect. These were not rolls kept in the freezer saved for the occasional gluten-free diner who pops in.  These rolls were freshly made.  With such attention to the quality of the delicious free bread, I knew that the upcoming meal would have to be amazing.  (I would have paid money for these rolls.)

With not just two gluten-free options, but two entire gluten-free categories to choose from, I knew we had to order both pizza and pasta.  Thankfully, the Husband always splits meals with me, so I could have the best of both worlds.  Before ordering, I had to ask about the pizza crust.  If it was just another restaurant that put their toppings on a frozen gf crust from a restaurant supplier, I was going to calm down a little.  I’m thankful for those restaurants, but the homemade rolls set my hopes pretty high.  The waiter’s response confirmed my prediction that this was not just an average pizza place.  PortaVia makes their own pizza crust.  I haven’t found that outside of NYC.

The Fettuccinie al Pesto was delicious.  The pasta was tender, yet substantial, not mushy as many gluten-free pastas tend to be.  But the pesto sauce was ridiculous.  Memories of last summer’s perfect pesto made from freshly picked basil leaves flitted through my mind.

This photo does not do the dish justice (explanation below).  One bite and I knew that I wouldn’t be sharing this pasta with the Husband.

We also ordered the Margherita D.O.C.  And when a gluten-free pizza, or any pizza for that matter, looks like this, any thoughts of not splitting meals with the Husband are tossed aside.

The Margherita D.O.C with tomato sauce, fresh mozzerella di bufala, cherry tomatoes, and basil was worth sharing my pasta.

The poor Husband…I tortured him by snapping photo after photo.

And then he had enough.

The photo session was over.


The Husband and I tried to figure out if PortaVia’s pizza had become second to Pala Pizza in NYC or if they had replaced our number one pizza choice.  Was it possible?  Had PortaVia climbed to the top of the gluten-free pizza list?  It was hard to decide since both restaurants bake their pizzas in a wood-fired oven.  But PortaVia has been certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) organization, which has specific regulations for how Neapolitan pizza must be made.  The sauce and the dough must not contain sugar, but must consist of all natural ingredients imported from Naples and surrounding areas.  The dough must be hand kneaded and shaped and cooked for approximately 90 seconds in an Italian-made wood-fired dome oven at roughly 900˚ F.  The pizza cannot be larger than 12” with a raised edge crust and thin center, and it is served whole so that you can eat it folded over or with a fork and knife, but PortaVia will cut your pizza into slices upon request.  With that kind of Italian authenticity behind every pie, it’s no wonder we were on the fence.

One of the benefits of having PortaVia right around the corner is that we could continue this conversation over another pizza pie the very next night.  Yes, we went back to PortaVia the next evening after our guests left.  That’s how incredible this pizza is.  It keeps you coming back for more!

We tried another pasta too, the gluten-free Bucatini al Pomodoro, which had an authentic Italian tomato sauce.

(The sauce was truly a deep red, and not pink, but I’ve been forbidden from bringing the “big food blogger camera” on dates.  Sorry, but quick snap of the iPhone was all I could sneak in!)

We finished off the evening with a generous scoop of gelato.

Raw or vegan?  Not tonight.

But gluten-free happiness?  One hundred and ten percent.

PortaVia has two locations in the Nashville area.  I highly recommend that you try one if you’re anywhere close.  And if you’re not, hey, I go to NYC for good pizza.  Maybe you should come to Nashville!  I’ll meet you at one of these locations.

Porta Via Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Cool Springs:

3301 Aspen Grove
Franklin, TN 37067


21 White Bridge Road
Nashville, TN 37205

Thank you, PortaVia, for making world-class gluten-free meals and Vera Pizza Napoletana-Certified pizza for even the gluten intolerant.

Has PortaVia risen to #1?


This is really going to save on airfare to NYC.

Readers, dish!

  • What is your favorite gluten-free pizza place?
  • Where have you found gluten-free rolls offered?
  • How far would you travel to find the perfect gluten-free pizza?
A Gluten-Free Birthday from A Matter of Taste to Pala Pizza

GF Friendly Restaurants, Travel

A Gluten-Free Birthday from A Matter of Taste to Pala Pizza

6 Comments 11 April 2012

If birthday celebrations have any predicting power of the year to come, I’m in for 365 days of incredibleness!

The day started with a 15-mile training run in Nashville.  As the Husband pointed out, “That’s the furthest you’ve ever run and the oldest you’ve ever been.” I considered that to be a compliment!

On the way to the airport, we met a dear friend at A Matter of Taste for a few veggie sandwiches on the most tender, delicious gluten-free bread.  A Matter of Taste is now the only Nashville restaurant that makes its own gluten-free bread.  Sadly, our two other options (FiddleCakes and Aunt April’s Bakery) have recently closed.  Thank you, A Matter of Taste, for delicious sandwiches, and for providing vegetarian choices too.  Did you know that on your birthday, whomever you’re dining with has to order your second choice so that you can have bites?  (Or do I just have an awesome husband?)

Mediterranean Vegetarian – Eggplant, roasted red pepper, sun dried tomato, pesto & feta cheese

Vegetarian Melt – chopped romaine lettuce, tomatoes, avocado & provolone cheese with creamy ranch dressing

For more information about this delightful little lunch spot, see my first review of A Matter of Taste here.  A Matter of Taste is located at Franklin Road across from Thoroughbread Motors, and they’re open Monday through Friday from 11-3.  GO there!

Well fueled, were off to the Big City!

After a few hours of sitting on the plane, the effects of the 15-mile run on the legs reminded me that I had just gained another year.  So our tradition of walking the streets of New York to dinner was postponed until our next trip.

I’d been looking forward to Birthday Dinner at Pala Pizza for weeks.  Maybe months.  And sitting across the table from the love of my life on my birthday while awaiting the best pizza on the planet, gluten-free or not, was almost more than I could handle.

Pala has perfected the gluten-free pizza crust.  Made with a combination of garbanzo bean, tapioca, fava bean, potato, rice, and white sorghum flours, you would never believe this was a gluten-free crust.  And they bake their gluten-free pizzas in a dedicated oven, so you can be certain they are aware of cross-contamination issues.

Here are my Pala Pizzas from the past few visits.

Arrabbiata – Buffalo mozzarella, fresh cherry tomatoes, hot pepper, and garlic

Fungata – Porcini, portobello and shitake mushrooms, parmigiano cheese, mozzarella cheese, and rosemary

Romana – field mushrooms, tomato sauce, pecorino cheese, and fresh parsley

Three amazing pizza experiences, so you can imagine the agony in selecting something that we had never tried before.  We were very pleased with our choice.

Pizza Zucchina with marinated zucchini, goat cheese, cherry tomato sauce, mozzarella, and rosemary

We didn’t leave much behind.

But we did leave room for our favorite dessert.

Tortino al Cioccolato – Flourless chocolate cake with almonds and English cream

The next time you’re in New York, you must visit Pala Pizza.  They are located at 198 Allen St. between Houston and Stanton.  For my original review and photos of even more deliciousness, see this post.

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes!  From Nashville to New York City, it truly was a deliciously memorable day!

Readers, dish!

  • If you could eat at any restaurant on your birthday, where would it be?
  • What is your favorite birthday meal?
  • What is your favorite birthday cake?
Friday’s Find:  Go Picnic Gluten-Free Ready-To-Eat Meals

GF Product Reviews, Travel

Friday’s Find: Go Picnic Gluten-Free Ready-To-Eat Meals

14 Comments 20 January 2012

Many of you have just returned from Christmas and New Year’s travels, and you may have been reminded of what a pain it is to fly when you are gluten-free.  Gluten-free or not, with new baggage fees, we’re all trying to pack minimally.  Is it possible to cram everything you’ll need for a week away into a carry on?  Not if you’re packing a cooler of gluten-free food.  And you’d better not even think of transporting anything that looks remotely like a gel or a powder or you won’t get past security.

We traveled barebones this Christmas, and when you’re packing Christmas gifts (unwrapped of course), that’s quite a challenge.  The Husband and I managed to share one checked bag that weighed in at 48.5 pounds, just under the 50 pound limit.  But thankfully we were traveling to see Gluten-Free Mom, so I didn’t have to bring the pantry.

For a quick flight, gluten-free eaters can get by with a gluten-free snack bar.  But if you have multiple flights or long layovers, it gets even harder.  Why?  Because then you need a real meal in the gluten-free desert called The Airport Terminal.  Unless you want a dry, prepackaged iceberg lettuce salad with a few carrot shavings and orange tomatoes, you’re going to arrive at your destination ravenous and cranky.

But times are changing.

I was pleasantly surprised while passing through the Atlanta Airport to find GoPicnic ready-to-eat meals in one of the convenience stores.  I had first seen GoPicnic at the Allergen and Gluten-Free Expo last Spring, so I knew that some of their snacks and meals were gluten-free.  Was it possible that these would be too?  A gluten-free oasis?  Thankfully, it was not a mirage!

We bought two, the Hummus & Crackers and Sunbutter & Crackers.  They were both all natural, gluten-free, and vegan.

Each box was $5.99, but compared to other airport food prices, and considering that the Husband would no longer have to deal with a crabby wife on the next flight, this was a good investment.  I did an iPhone photo shoot on my lap at the gate so I could share this great news with you.

GoPicnic meals come in small boxes that turn into a convenient snack tray.  I felt like a kid opening my first McDonald’s Happy Meal!  I couldn’t have cared less about the nutritional value of my cheeseburger and fries in 1979, but the packaging was ingenious.  I was thrilled to find that the GoPicnic boxes contained some of my favorite high quality food brands like Enjoy Life, Crunchmaster, Endangered Species, and SunButter.

I completely enjoyed my Hummus & Crackers box.

But it didn’t just contain hummus and crackers.  Look at the variety!  Edamame, fruit and nuts mix, and even a square of dark chocolate for dessert.

The Husband chose the SunButter & Crackers.  I love that he chooses to eat gluten-free so that we can share our meals, especially since he usually shares more than I do!

Crackers, SunButter, dried fruit, seeds and nuts, and a double chocolate cookie. (He even shared the cookie!)  Now that’s much better than a dry airport salad.

GoPicnic has created four other gluten-free ready-to-eat boxed meals:

I’m thankful to have stumbled upon GoPicnic in the airport.  I hope they’re in the next airport I’m traveling through.  Just in case, I’ll be ordering a few to keep in my pantry.  The boxes are no bigger than a novel, so it will be easy to toss one into my travel purse.  You can order them online and maybe even try this GoPicnic Gluten-Free Variety Pack!

Your turn to share:

  • Have you found other gluten-free gems at an airport?
  • What are your gluten-free travel tips?
  • Need to gripe? What’s your worst airport food experience?
  • Which airports carry gluten-free food?  Let’s start a list… Atlanta, Nashville…please add in the comments and I’ll update the list.
Carrot Beet Power Juice (and the juice game)

GF Recipes

Carrot Beet Power Juice (and the juice game)

19 Comments 01 November 2011

I’ve wanted a juicer for a while, and now that I’ve had one for a few months, I feel like I can share a silly little game with you that I play with the Husband.

I knew that juicing would be a healthy choice. Juicing would allow me to absorb all of the nutrients in each fruit and vegetable that I choose.  It would allow me to get in more than the minimum veggies required for a healthy diet without consuming an entire bushel of raw greens each day.  And I would be able to increase variety.  Our tastes are our tastes.  We like what we like.  That’s why we make the same exact salad all the time.  But with juicing, I can toss in a few veggies that I wouldn’t normally enjoy eating whole and get the nutritional benefits.

But I had no idea that juicing vegetables would result in this fun little game.  This is how we play.  (Well, I play.  The Husband just puts up with it.)

I juice something, and then I ask.

“Would you like some Grape Crush?”

He knows darn well I’d never bring Grape Crush into my house, but if I offered him cabbage juice, I know the response I’d get.

Then he tries to guess what vegetable made such vibrantly purple juice.

Would you have guessed red cabbage?

“How about an Orange Julius?”

While I do have an amazing dairy-free, sugar-free Orange Julius recipe that you must try, this is not it.  It’s just pure carrot juice.

I’ve been making green smoothies with the Vitamix for a long time now.  But extracting the juice from kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, parsley, and cilantro, brings green to a new level.

Who needs drugs when you can get a JOLT of WHAT THE HECK from sipping the nutrients compacted in a glass of kale?

But some of my favorite juices come from combining the work of the Omega Vert Juicer and the Vitamix.

“Would you like some green slime?”

I was enamored with Slime in the 70’s.  Do you remember the slime that came in the little trash can?  Juicing greens, and then blending the juice with brown rice and pea protein powder, and maybe even a frozen banana, makes a creamy, powerful breakfast.

“Would you like some Hi-C?”

The beetroot is well-known for its beautiful deep color, but I had no idea that juicing the beet greens would yield even more color and health benefits.

And then there are crazy colors that come from combinations like this.

“What would you like for dessert?  Rainbow sherbet or cotton candy?”

(Doesn’t it remind you of the top of the punch at a baby shower?)

(Or a clown’s wig.)

I promise you, this is not Photoshopped (just bad night lighting).  These are God-given colors, flavors, and nutrients for the taking.

After juicing, I pour it into the Vitamix, add a little protein powder, and prepare for the incredible rush of nutrients.

The girl cat is still a tad curious.  That’s just her nature.

Such color, flavor, and goodness from a pile of organic produce.

My juice changes daily, but my favorite juice recipe revolves around this base.

Carrot Beet Power Juice

by Heather


  • 1 beet and beet greens
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 handful of alfalfa
  • 1 inch of ginger root
  • 1/2 lemon (flesh only)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder


1.  Juice all fruits and vegetables.

2.  Pour juice into the Vitamix, add protein powder, and blend until combined.

  • Are you a juicer?
  • What is your favorite fruit or vegetable to juice?
  • What is your favorite combination?

Link’s to GFC’s Favorites:

This recipe is linked to:
Easy Vegetarian Tostadas and Guacamole (vacation inspired)

GF Recipes

Easy Vegetarian Tostadas and Guacamole (vacation inspired)

12 Comments 24 October 2011

Vacation brings out the sloth in me.  I know, it’s supposed to.  But my idea of vacation is a great morning workout, a recovery juice or smoothie, writing surrounded by inspirational scenery, and memorable evenings that will be laughed about for years. Last night we fell asleep under the stars.  Tonight we biked to dinner by the light of the iPhone.  Geek adventures.

Vacation also brings out my desire for flavor. I always want to taste the flavor of a locale, but in a healthy way, of course.

We found this great little food truck in Seaside called Raw & Juicy.

(Brilliant!  Do we have something like this in Nashville?  If not, Diane and Dallas, why are we not opening one???)

While I was tempted to order one of their many delicious-sounding raw juices, I had just used my own juicer that morning to make my Carrot Beet Power Juice (recipe coming soon).

(Yes, I brought my juicer to the beach.  And my Vitamix.  Geek.)

But because of the number of gluten-free options on the menu, I had to try something besides juice.  GF Heaven!!!!

I did enjoy a several Veggie Sandwiches on their delicious raw bread as well as their signature raw tortilla chips.

And I deviated from tradition once to try the veggie spring rolls with peanut sauce.

We biked to Seaside three days in a row for lunch.  And each time the Husband ordered this:

The Costa Rican.

When he finds something he likes, he sticks with it.

And how can you go wrong with rice, black beans, tomato, avocado, salsa, and lime?

He also found a stack of corn tostadas at the local grocery store, and we’ve both become quite addicted to them.

So on the fourth day, just before lunch, I decided that I was a little too lazy to bike to town for a Raw & Juicy meal.  And I made the Husband tostadas that incorporated the same flavors of his beloved Costa Rican, hoping that his pure joy would cover my laziness.

We didn’t return to Raw & Juicy again, and we’ll take their flavors home with us, but we’ll be back again soon.

Easy Vegetarian Tostadas

by Heather


  • 1 c. brown rice cooked to package directions
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 medium organic tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 packaged corn tostadas
  • guacamole (recipe below)
  • salsa – optional


1.  Cook brown rice according to package directions.  (I normally ignore package directions and cook 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.  But what do I know?)

2.  Drain black beans and place in a small sauce pan with chopped tomato, serrano pepper, lime juice, and salt.  Bring to a light boil, and lower the heat. Cover and simmer until rice is cooked.

3.  Layer each corn tostada with a spoonful of rice, beans, and a dalup of guacamole.  You can also add the salsa of your choice, but don’t let it dominate the meal.  Allow the intricate flavors of the black beans and guacamole to take center stage.

And puhleeeeeze don’t use a guacamole mix.  Making guacamole from scratch is really quite easy.  And I love that there’s no reason why guacamole can’t be a raw food experience.

Take a look at the ingredients in this McCormick Guacamole Mix:


How about Ortega’s Guacamole Seasoning?


Grossed out?  (Are you loving that each one starts with MALTODEXTRIN?   Mmmm, yummy. Gag.)  Try this my version, and I promise you won’t miss the maltodextrin.

Easy Guacamole

by Heather


  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 organic avocados
  • 1 small organic tomato, diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp finely chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper


1.  Place garlic clove in the Vitamix (or food processor) and blend until pieces stick to the sides of the pitcher.

2.  Add avocado, diced tomato, lime juice, salt, cilantro leaves, and pepper.

3.  Blend or process until well-mixed.

Serve with tortilla chips or on top of tostadas or tacos.

It’s not Raw & Juicy.  But it’s vegan, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soooooo good. And it captures the flavors that memories are made of.

These recipes are linked to:

Italian Raw Foods Potluck

GF Resources, Healthy Living

Italian Raw Foods Potluck

11 Comments 25 September 2011

This weekend my raw food friends and I had our September raw foods potluck.  It was an incredible feast, and it reminded me that I never shared our last potluck with you.  So before you hear about this month’s event, check out our August creations.

The theme for this event was Italian food.  And with three creative girls, we came up with quite a spread.  Now that our raw food skills have been sharpened a bit, we decided to invite the guys this time.  Although they were each apprehensive about joining us, they were pleasantly surprised by the incredible flavors that we were able to create with raw food.

I made Butternut-Squash Ravioli from the book The Art of Raw Living Food.

I served the ravioli with Red Bell Pepper Puree, recipe also from The Art of Raw Living Food.

I also made Zucchini Pasta with my new spiralizer and used my Walnut Pesto for the sauce. The guys were astounded that it wasn’t really pasta.  (So was I!)

This gorgeous dish is a Raw Lasagna made by my creative and talented friend, Diane. Everything she makes is a treat for the eyes as well as the palate.  With zucchini “noodles”, raw cheese, tomato and pesto filling, this dish was a highlight!

Dallas stunned us with a delicious Eggplant Carpaccio appetizer also from The Art of Raw Living Food.

She also made a Sweet Cheese and Sweet Raw Bread that provided a palate cleanser from the intense Italian flavors of the other dishes.

One of my favorite dishes was this Sweet Gazpacho Soup made with sweet red peppers, yellow squash, red onion, and cucumber accented with parsley, cilantro, and garlic.  This recipe can be found in the book Dining In The Raw.

August’s potluck was by far our most successful Raw Foods event to date, but just wait until you see what we made this weekend!  Our theme was Mexican Food, and I’ll share the deliciousness with you soon!

Last Raw Foods Potluck post you might enjoy:  Raw Foods Potluck.

Raw foods recipe books that I recommend:

Dining In The Rawby Rita Romano

The Art of Raw Living Food: Heal Yourself and the Planet with Eco-delicious Cuisine
by Doreen Virtue and Jenny Ross

Raw foods tools that I recommend:

7 Links – Reflecting and Remembering

GF Resources

7 Links – Reflecting and Remembering

10 Comments 15 September 2011

I am honored to have been tagged by Shirley of GFE (Gluten-Free Easily) with a 7 Links blogging challenge.  For this 7 Links event, bloggers must choose their posts that best fit the following categories: Most Beautiful PostMost Popular PostMost Controversial PostMost Helpful PostPost Whose Success Surprised MePost That Didn’t Get Attention It Deserved, and Post I Am Most Proud of. Check out Shirley’s 7 Links – Reflections on Past Posts for some incredible posts that you might have missed.  I’m not the greatest at reflection, because that actually takes being still and thinking.  I’m more of a think and drive forward at the speed of light kind of girl.  But I’ll give this a shot!

Most Beautiful Post

Gluten-Free Ravioli on Christmas Eve is beautiful to me for many reasons.  First of all, just look at the picture!  Is there anything more beautiful than gluten-free Italian food after fearing that you’ll never eat pasta again?  After years of spending Christmas vacation traveling to visit our families who are all across the country, the Husband and I spent last Christmas at home.  Our Christmas Eve was magical.  It was beautiful.  And it was delicious. We played music, sipped red wine, and made the most delicious Spinach, Mushroom, Cheese Ravioli from scratch.  This post will walk you through the process, step by step, and hopefully it will inspire you to try something you never thought was possible.

Most Popular Post

Baked French Toast with Bananas and Almond Butter.  How could that NOT be one of my most popular posts?  Just the thought of it makes me swoon!  There’s even a dusting of cocoa powder on this incredible breakfast entree.  But the amazing thing about this meal is that it’s actually healthy!  Sure, you could put it over the top by stuffing it with almond butter and chocolate chips and drenching it with maple syrup, but the recipe I came up with has the perfect combination of goodness that leaves you feeling happily satisfied.

Most Controversial Post

I’m not a controversial writer.  Nobody seems to be bothered by anything I have to say. Maybe that means I play it safe.  Maybe that means my readers and I have a lot in common. But my very first Friday’s Find hit a hot button.  I chose to review Snyder’s of Hanover Gluten-Free Pretzels.  I was thrilled to have found a regular company that offered a gluten-free version, and I jumped at the chance to rave about it.  There was quite a buzz on Twitter and Facebook about cross contamination and illness from the ingredient palm oil.  I learned very quickly to do my research!

Most Helpful Post

My most helpful post was Smoothing the GF Transition with Smoothies.  I was honored that Diane of The Whole Gang invited me to be a part of the 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living blog event.  If you haven’t read the 30 incredible entries, please do.  Because this was such a popular event, my little post about my smoothie secrets got a lot of visitors.  In this post, I shared my recipe for creating a well-balanced smoothie and gave links to some of my favorite combinations as well as links to smoothies by some of my favorite bloggers.  I’m not sure if anyone but a blogger truly understands the joy in receiving comments on her blog! But the encouraging responses for this piece had me happy dancing for a week!

Post Whose Success Surprised Me

As part of my weekly Friday’s Find, I reviewed a gluten-free tortilla produced by Maria and Ricardo’s Tortilla Factory.  I really like the tortillas, and the post inspired me to come up with vegan Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos.  This post was particularly successful because the recipe was selected as the winner of the Le Creuset Gluten-Free Recipe Contest hosted by Paul of Food, Living, and Everything Else!

Post That Didn’t Get the Attention It Deserved

I could make a very long list, ha!  But I’m a needy writer.  As a blogger, I may spend hours on a post that I feel is amazing, and it might get one comment.  From my mom.  It’s so hard to know which posts are going to be wildly popular and which will be sent into cyberspace with nary a glance.  But one recent post that I was wild about was Baked Tilapia with Sweet Cherry Salsa.  Even if you aren’t a fish fan, you will LOVE this salsa.  I promise!

Post I Am Most Proud Of

This post has almost nothing to do with gluten-free food.  It is called The Terrible, Horrible, Incredible Triathlon.  Last summer, I ran my first triathlon.  I didn’t start with a sprint tri.  I jumped in and trained for an Olympic which consisted of a mile swim, a 25 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run.  I’m most proud of this post, because it summarizes one of the most challenging feats I’ve ever conquered.  There is nothing more satisfying that crossing the finish line after pushing your body to its limit!

Thank you, Shirley for choosing me as one of your five bloggers to share my 7 Links.  Now it’s my turn to tag 5 more bloggers.  I know you’ll love hearing from these five lovely girls. You may even fall in love with a new blog!

Valerie of City Life Eats

Courtney of Gluten-Free Jesus Freak

Leanne of Healthful Pursuit

Brittany of Real Sustenance

Sunny of And Love it Too!  (read Sunny’s 7 Links Post here!)

A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. 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. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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