Review: Food For Life Gluten-free Brown Rice Bread

Gluten-free and vegan lunch: Hummus, avo, cukes, tomatoes, olive oil on toasted Food for Life Brown Rice Bread

You know when it is about to snow and everyone runs to the store for bread and milk? Well, I ran to the store to stock up on veggies. Then I remembered a picture on Pickles and Honey's instagram; she had posted a photo of gluten-free bread by Food for Life purchased at Trader Joe's. After being sick for almost two weeks, I had gotten a bit derailed from eating gluten and dairy-free, so I wanted to pick up a loaf to aid in my GF-inspired cleansing.

I was actually pleasantly shocked at how good it was toasted! FFL's bread has no eggs (unlike many GF breads) and is vegan, so it suits my lacto-vegetarian needs. I will definitely be picking up more when this loaf runs out!

A Day of Gluten-free & Vegan Meals (& A Raw Brownie Recipe!)

Breakfast: Raw brownies and tea

Surprisingly, I am finding eating gluten-free, dairy-free, coffee-free, sugar-free(ish), prepared foods-free(ish) pretty doable. Trust me, I love my bread, but the more I do "cleanses" like this, the easier I find them to do. Each time, I pass a point of craving my former indulgent foods and actually start to crave things like purple cabbage (really!).

I did, however, have a sugar freak out, and to stay cleanse kosher, I decided to make a small batch these raw banana brownies one night. They became my breakfast the following morning with a cup of green tea. I was having smoothies for every breakfast, so this was a welcomed treat!

Here's a quick and easy recipe for raw, vegan banana brownies:
In a coffee grinder, grind 1/4 cup of raw cacoa nibs.

In a small food processor, add: 
2 TB raw organic coconut oil
1/4 cup of raw nuts (I used walnut)
1 TB raw pepitas
1 TB sesame seeds
1 TB hemp hearts
4-6 raw dates (depends on their size),
1/4 cup of dried cranberries (or cherries)
1/2 banana
dash cinnamon
dash sea salt
1/4 cup of the previously ground cacoa nibs.

Blend in food processor until well combined. It will form a ball. Keep shutting off machine, press the ball down, and turn back on to make sure everything gets fully incorporated.

Grease a small glass container (like the size a bread pan) with coconut oil and press your mixture firmly and evenly down. Sprinkle it with nuts or sesame seeds and cinnamon. Place in freezer for at least 20 minutes. Cut and enjoy! Store leftovers in the freezer.

Lunch: Lentil soup with rice

Tired of salads or green juices for lunch, I decided to have leftovers from the night before for lunch. Green lentil soup with a little bit of rice added and I thinned it out so it wouldn't be as heavy as it was the night before. It feels good to have warm food on cold days!

For snacks, I had blueberries, a couple of chocolate chips, nuts, and a banana.

Dinner: Broccoli with lemon juice, salad, tofu fingers, and roasted veggies.

Part of my cleanse is also my children's cleanse. I'm trying to wean them off prepared foods and breads and they have been very veggie heavy right along with me. For dinner, I baked potato slices, brussels sprouts, and slices of red bell pepper with spices and olive oil (425 for about 30 minutes). I also made a green salad with baby spinach, romaine, purple cabbage and topped it with roasted walnuts and Goddess Dressing. I hadn't had tofu in a couple of weeks, and felt like I needed some protein, so I fried baked, smoked tofu in "fingers" (they both loved that) and served it alongside steamed, organic broccoli topped with lemon juice; it sounds weird, but the two flavors are awesome together. Overall, everyone is feeling pretty healthy and I am enjoying being in the kitchen again. I may just stick with this for longer than I planned!

This Weekend: Quinoa, Cat Cake, Candles, Gardens & Sushi

This weekend actually seems like it has been a week long, probably because it has. Ever since the kids have been on winter break, I've been uncertain of which day of the week it is. Vacation haze!  Post-Christmas around these parts doesn't mean that there is any less celebrating because my son's birthday is a few days after, and then mine quickly follows. We had a quite party for him on New Year's Day complete with a Garfield cake.

I found a vintage (1983) Wilton stand-up Garfield cake pan at Goodwill a few weeks ago and thought I would give is a go. It was wrought with disaster from the get-go. The cake didn't cook all the way through on the bottom half of the cat's body, so instead of continuing to cook it (and subsequently drying the whole confection out), I hollowed it out by removing any under-cooked cake. When it cooled, I filled the cavity with chocolate tofu mousse.

I thought decorating it would be quick and easy. Well, let's just say, my buttercream needed lots of dye and was pretty uncooperative. I probably piped over 1,000 stars, my hand cramped, time ran short... it was a rush job. In any case, it still turned out pretty cute, but I will never make a cake like that again.

Then the snow and ice came, trapping us inside. The kids went out to play, my son came back frozen. His cheeks were so red, we were afraid he had gotten frost bite!

And of course, the sins of the holidays means reverting to a dairy-free, gluten-free, coffee-free, simple, unprocessed diet. I have probably consumed more veggies in the past three days than I did all the week of Christmas. I cheated on the coffee... I had one cup yesterday and it made me feel like I was having a heart attack. Back to green tea today!

In celebration of my birthday, we toured the beautiful grounds of Longwood Garden. Thankfully, the conservancy is enclosed, so despite the frigid temps, we were still able to stroll without turning into icicles.

Longwood is still bedecked in holiday finery!

Birthday selfie, of course. The last year of my 30s! Yikes!

I kept to my gluten-free commitment even during my birthday! Su Tao in Malvern makes being GF easy. Those baby bok choy were so smokey awesome!

I've been having lots of smoothies, green juices, and quinoa. Here's a shot of a breakfast on my cleanse: cooked quinoa with dates, stewed apples, cinnamon, turmeric, and walnuts. I should have used white quinoa for this dish; the tri-color is a bit too hardy.

Now the kids are headed back to school, and that means back to work for me. Have you checked out my new shop, New Sweden Vintage? I've got to get back to restocking since Christmas shopping wiped the shop out. All items are on super sale in the Scissors and Spice shop too, so be sure and stop by there too!