My First Giveaway!

When I started this blog, I never thought this is where it would end up.  Then again, I never really knew where it would go which is why I don’t have any kind of kitschy blog name.  I knew if things changed (as they are wont to do) I wouldn’t be pigeon holed by a silly name.

I started off with just needing an outlet for my writing, focused on health.  Then I went gluten-free.  Then friends wanted me to share recipes.  Now I’m dairy-free, too.

For anyone who doesn’t know the story, I did an egg and dairy-free trial at the same time I did my gluten-free trial last year in March.  My reaction to dairy was just a little extra mucous production.  I know.  I should have just cut it out there.  But, at the time I didn’t feel it was as serious as my reaction to gluten and I figured cutting back would suffice.  Which it did.  Until recently.

I don’t like milk.  Never have.  I disliked milk so much that one time while my dad’s best friend’s parents were babysitting me and his best friend’s daughter, I cried when they tried to force me to drink it.  I’m sure that made me dislike it even more.  I cringe when I see milk commercials.   From the dislike of the stuff and the mass lies the ads perpetuate.

Alternative milks (mostly coconut) have served as my replacement in cooking for a while now.  Cheese is another thing.  I love cheese.  While I didn’t eat it daily, there were times that I just wanted a slice of colby-jack or a schmear of Camembert on a cracker with fig spread.  I’ve never really cared for yogurt either.  I’ve downed it now and then simply because I believed what marketing told me.  That I needed it.   Sour cream and cream cheese never really were my thing but they both make my rather awesome mashed potatoes as awesome as they are.  And cream cheese, well…have I mentioned how much I love cheesecake?  Whipped cream, far from my favorite.  Ice cream, quite another story.  Butter.  Well, butter makes everything taste better, right?  True, but I used it sparingly.

It was about a month ago that I decided I needed to heed my body’s protests against dairy.  For a few months I noticed my reactions were becoming more like my reactions to gluten.  I believe I’ve either developed an allergy or the multiple accidental glutenings I’ve had since end of April have created this problem.

My initial thought about doing this was, I need to get Alisa Fleming’s Go Dairy Free book.  So, I hop on to a popular bookseller’s website and order the book.  And a few others.  Have I mentioned what  bookworm I am?  All is good.  Free 3 day shipping.  I won’t have to wait long.

If you saw my post on Facebook or Twitter, this is where the snafu enters.

The books got shipped to our previous address.  I seriously don’t know how it happened since I’ve ordered books since our move.  So, as soon as I realize this, I email them they fix things.  Everyone is happy.

Or so I thought.

When the book shipped again, they sent it to the previous address AGAIN.  This is after the numerous emails that included me giving them the correct address after they asked for it.  I immediately email them AGAIN and this time express my extreme displeasure at them screwing up AGAIN and copied and pasted the aforementioned emails into the email.  It didn’t take long before I got an email saying my account would be credited.

This is about the time I started kicking myself for not buying it at the Expo.

So now, 3 weeks later, I was still bookless.  I hopped on to another popular website and ordered the book.

It came in Tuesday. YIPPEE!  Along with one of the books that was shipped to the wrong address.  Free book to giveaway!   Then, Wednesday when I got home from work a third book was waiting for me!  Yes, the replacement that was sent to the wrong address finally made it, too.  I thought they were lost in that black hole of wrong address mail.

Go Dairy Free by Alisa Fleming

So, what better way to make use of a bookseller’s double mistake and to celebrate my dairy-free adventures than do a giveaway?  This book is chock full of information on dairy, what it does to our bodies when we are allergic to it or intolerant to lactose, and the foods we eat (or should be eating) that contain the higher amounts of calcium.   Many of you who may have this book already or are familiar with it also know there are wonderful dairy-free recipes.  It’s a great starting point for different ways to make your own dairy-free butters, sour cream, and the like.  This is something I know I will make great use of since I really don’t want to buy the over processed substitutes when I want or need them for a recipe.

Two of these books are up for grabs!

How to enter the giveaway: 

  • Leave a comment below.
  • Share this post on Facebook and/or Twitter and leave a comment that you did so (does not need to be a separate comment, the less comments I have to moderate, the better!
Giveaway ends Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, at 8pm Eastern.

Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars

Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars

I’ve had raw foods on my mind lately.  Not salads and such.  But hearty, wholesome, healthy desserts that can also be a snack or part of a well-rounded breakfast without any of the guilt.  I could say it’s part of thinking ahead to Andrew Wilder’s October Unprocessed event at Eating Rules.  But not really.  It’s more likely related to the fact that I had to give up dairy about a month ago and I’m trying to widen my repertoire even more.

After a few tries, I wound up with these Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars that I was pleased with.  I was eating them for snacks, with breakfast, and as a dessert.  Now, if I could only get the Raw Banana Pudding to come together like it should…

One word of warning, store these uncovered in the fridge.  The condensation from covering it will make the crust soggy.  These will keep for at least a week in the fridge.

Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars

Crust: 2 cups almond meal/flour

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon raw local honey, optional (or other sweetener for vegan option)

Filling: 24 ounces blueberries

2 tablespoons raw local honey (or other sweetener for vegan option)

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon agar agar flakes

1/2 tablespoon lavender, plus more for garnish

Wash blueberries and lay out to dry.   In a small bowl or 1-2 cup glass measuring cup, pour in the water and agar agar.  Mix just a little and set aside.  You want the agar agar to expand quite a bit.  In a medium mixing bowl, add the almond meal, coconut oil, and optional sweetener.  Cut the oil into the almond meal with a fork until small crumbs form.  Transfer the crust mix into an 8 x 8 pan.  Press the crust out to the edges of the dish, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes.  In a large food processor or a blender, place the blueberries, sweetener, and lavender.  Process for at least 30 seconds.  Stop and add the water agar agar mix and then process another 1-2 minutes.  Pour over prepared crust and chill at least 30 minutes.  Cut and serve cold.  Garnish with a pinch of lavender.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix at The WHOLE Gang. 

Cookbook Review: The Pure Kitchen

Hallie Klecker's first cookbook, The Pure Kitchen

One of the wonderful benefits of this blogosphere is making friends with fellow bloggers.  I have many blogger friends (some of whom I’ve had the fortune to meet in person) that I’ve made in the last year and a half.  Another benefit, testing recipes for the friends coming out with cookbooks or those who want someone else to try their recipe out before posting it on their blog.  The only thing I love more than developing my own recipes that I dream up in my head, is testing recipes for friends.

September 12th, 2011, Hallie Klecker of Daily Bites released her first cookbook, The Pure Kitchen.  I started following Hallie on her blog last Spring and immediately fell in love with her Carrot Cake Bites.  I dislike carrot cake.  I think it’s more the cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake that I really dislike.  But, if you presented me with carrot cake or zucchini bread, I’d choose the latter.  Hallie’s Carrot Cake Bites made me love carrot cake.   Okay, not really carrot cake, but lets just say, I’d be willing to give carrot cake a second try.

I eagerly volunteered to test recipes for The Pure Kitchenbecause I love Hallie’s whole foods approach.  Her recipes are straight-forward and easy

Black Bean & Quinoa Patties with Fiesta Guacamole

to make.  I tested Fiesta Guacamole, Black Bean & Quinoa Patties, Meatballs with Quick Braised Collards, and Berry Bowls with Fudgy Pecan Crumble.  The Fiesta Guacamole goes wonderfully with the Black Bean & Quinoa Patties.  Her Black Bean & Quinoa Patties inspired me to stop thinking about how to make black bean burgers and start playing around with black beans and veggies.   The Meatballs with Quick-Braised Collards was the first time I fixed collard greens and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Berry Bowls with Fudgy Pecan Crumble

The Berry Bowls with Fudgy Pecan Crumble with ridiculously quick and easy to make.  In fact, Chaz was eating ice cream or something and I just wanted something sweet.  So, I got up and made the Berry Bowls with Fudgy Pecan Crumble a day earlier than I planned.  I took leftovers to work with me for snacks because it’s so much more than a super healthy dessert.  It’s a super healthy snack, too!

I received my copy of The Pure Kitchen today and the most difficult part of going through it, is trying to figure out which recipes I want to try for my menu next week.  And not just

Meatballs with Quick-Braised Collard Greens

dinner recipes, but breakfast and desserts, too!  My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures of the dishes I tested.  I have a feeling I’ll be using The Pure Kitchen for my meal planning for quite some time.

You don’t have to be gluten-free to enjoy Hallie’s recipes.  You just need a desire to want to eat healthier whole foods.  If I was still able to eat gluten and just doing a whole foods diet, I would definitely buy The Pure Kitchen.  Oh wait.  I did!