Monday, April 29, 2013

Product Reviews: EVOL Gluten-Free Burritos & Essentia Water

As a food blogger, I get offered lots of products to sample. I'm picky though. I only accept products that fit the mission of this blog—and I only write about the ones that I love. So today, I thought I'd break from my normal recipe posting to let you know about two of my recent favorites.


First up, a company called EVOL sent me a variety of their frozen Gluten-Free bowls and burritos to sample. Unlike many frozen products, these bowls and burritos fit within my eating parameters. Real ingredients that I can pronounce, dairy-free in many cases, gluten-free, natural products, compostable packaging. Oh, and they were really taste. I loved that the Chicken Burrito came with a hefty packet of guacamole. These were quick to heat up and tasty in a pinch.

But even more than the burritos, I loved the bowls. My favorite flavors were the Bean & Cheddar Enchilada Bake, Fire Grilled Steak, and best of all, the Chicken Enchilada Bake. All these bowls are high in protein and fiber, and importantly, gluten-free. They carry EVOL products at Whole Foods Market, Costco, Kroger, Safeway, and Publix, among other retailers.

For more information on EVOL:


The other product that I've tried recently and loved is Essentia Water. While there are many bottled water products available, the difference with this water is the pH. This water has a pH of 9.5.

Essentia is different from other high pH brands and the enhanced waters that simply add minerals to their water. Essentia removes acidic ions and increases the alkaline earth minerals resulting in an optimal higher pH of 9.5 and therefore faster hydration. Drinking Essentia can neutralize the body’s acidic condition and restores it to a more balanced state. High acidity can result in loss bone density, muscle and strength and can impact critical organs like the kidneys. 

My mother first got me interested in alkaline water when she added special filters to her house, but since I live in a rental property, that wasn't really an option for me. So that's why I jumped at the chance to sample this water. I'll be drinking it regularly from now on.

More more information:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blueberry Coconut Breakfast Quinoa (Gluten Free)

As my adventures in gluten-free eating continue, I was craving an oatmeal-esque breakfast.

I'd heard of quinoa being used as a gluten-free breakfast hot cereal, so I decided to give it a shot. Quinoa is packed with protein and has a great, nutty flavor. I cooked mine with rice milk (though you could use regular milk or even water). In the last five minutes of cooking, I stirred in dried blueberries and cinnamon. I served it with chopped walnuts, toasted coconut, and maple syrup. 

However, you could try many different variations. The resulting dish was delicious and super filling. A nice change of pace from the usual breakfast suspects.

Blueberry Coconut Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 2 people
Cooking time: about 20 minutes
Gluten-free; vegan


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water or rice milk
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dried blueberries 
1 tablespoon toasted coconut
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
maple syrup for serving


1. In a saucepan, bring water or rice milke to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until three quarters of the liquid has been absorbed (about 15 minutes). 

2. Stir in the dried blueberries and cinnamon. Cook for another five minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. 

3. Spoon into two bowls and top with chopped walnuts, toasted coconut, and maple syrup. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Coconut Macaroons (Gluten Free)

My adventures in gluten free eating continue.

I'm fresh off a trip to Vegas, where I stayed at the Encore (part of the Wynn) and also the most gluten-free friendly place I've ever been. They had gluten-free menus at every single restaurant in both hotels. That removed a lot of the stress of traveling. I also had a fabulous meal at Cut Las Vegas. The wait staff and chef were also super-accommodating to my dietary restrictions.

One reader wrote in to ask if I'd noticed any health benefits from my strict gluten-free eating. And
the short answer is—yes! My gums and skin are much healthier. It's been almost three months, and just this week I feel like I'm turning a corner. My sinuses are finally clearing up. In full disclosure, I've been eating mostly dairy-free also (a little cheese here and there). I've also been working with a holistic allergist to rebalance my system. My first treatment was two weeks ago.

I've read that gluten antibodies can stay in your system for three to four months (that's so crazy!), and gluten is now in about eighty percent of food. Even so, it's never been easier to be gluten-free with so many products now available. However, it's still important to read labels (gluten-free does not mean it's healthy). But I'm still on some medications and not 100%. I plan to visit my allergist again in a week or two for another treatment and to continue to work to improve my health.

Before I left for Vegas, I baked a batch of my mother's Coconut Macaroons. Not only was it Passover, but I knew that making them gluten-free was an exceptionally easy modification that wouldn't alter the taste. They only require two teaspoons of flour per a huge batch. I'd also been wanting to play around with King Arthur's gluten free products. I used their Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. They're also dairy-free (and I usually try to avoid dairy when possible).

Mostly these addictive little nuggets are made with coconut, organic sugar, and organic egg whites. They can be served with dark chocolate for dipping and/or fresh berries. Thanks to my mother for the recipe! Everybody loved them!

Coconut Macaroons

makes about thirty macaroons
baking time: about 15 min. per batch
gluten-free; dairy-free

4 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons gluten-free flour
14 ounces shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add egg whites to a stand mixer, or whisk by hand, until they have soft peaks. Then add the sugar and flour, mixing into the egg whites, followed by the coconut.

2. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spoon one tablespoon mounds of the mixture. Bake them for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until nicely toasted. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn on the bottoms. Using a spatula, transfer to a rack or plate to cool.

3. Serve with dark chocolate dipping sauce and/or fresh berries and whipped cream. Enjoy!