Saturday, January 22, 2011

Larabar - Best Meal Bar Ever!

Dear Larabar,

You are delicious! With your simple basic ingredients and wonderful selection of flavors, I am hooked! It was love at first taste. And you are gluten-free too! Wow! A match made in heaven.

My hunger is satisfied and my taste buds are happy.

Till next time,
Cassandra

ps. So far my favorite flavors are Apple Pie, Key Lime Pie, and Lemon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sweet Freedom Bakery, One word "AMAZING!"



I finally had a chance to go to Sweet Freedom Bakery on South Street in Philadelphia yesterday; and, I am officially hooked! It will now be my "go to" place for delicious baked goodies. As all you gluten free goers know, it's hard to find moist yummy baked treats. Well, I found the place! It's a little piece of heaven in our fare city and I can't wait to go back. Only problem is...with all these sweet treats I'm going to have to buy some bigger jeans. Haha. But it's so worth it!

The bakery is completely allergen friendly. They pride themselves on being gluten free, egg free, corn free, vegan, dairy free, soy free, casein free, peanut free, no refined sugar and kosher. (I hope I'm not missing anything.) The bakery itself is super cute and welcoming. The staff was extremely helpful and kind and all the baked goods looked amazing. As soon as I got home I opened my bakery box and took photos (which you see here) of the beautiful selection of desserts I chose. The first thing I tried was their cake balls. It's a mix of chocolate and vanilla cake covered in chocolate. It was moist, delicious and I wished I bought two! I told my boyfriend that my next birthday cake must be made by them! I also bought a chocolate chip cookie, carrot cake cupcake with vanilla icing, an oatmeal raisin sandwich cookie with vanilla frosting in the middle, an apple crisp square, chocolate chip banana bread and a fruit and oat tart with caramel. I can't wait to devour the rest, but am trying to savor each gluten free goodie.

I cannot tell you enough how yummy the baked goods are at Sweet Freedom. Even if you do not have any kind of dietary restrictions you  must go! It's truly a dream come true for me with my gluten sensitivity. 

For more information you can click their logo to the right or go to www.sweetfreedombakery.com. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Best GF Banana Bread....EVER!


This past Christmas I made gf banana bread from scratch for the first time. I googled a recipe and fell upon this one from Taste of Home. It is truely AMAZING! It was moist, soft and absolutely delicious! I have a very dear friend, Ali, who also has a gluten allergy along with corn, garlic and many others and this was the perfect bread for her. She loved it as much as I do. I will definitely be going back to the Taste of Home website (http://www.tasteofhome.com/) for more recipes. I hope you enjoy this bread as much as Ali and I did. (Just a little fyi...my notes of ingredients I used are in pink lettering.)

Ingredients:
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4 - 5 medium) I used bananas that were ripened and then frozen in my freezer.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used homemade unsweetened applesauce that my mom made this past Autumn.)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts - optional (I chose not to put any nuts in the bread.)

Directions:
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients just until moistened.

  • Transfer to two 8 inch x 4 inch loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with walnuts (if using.) Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each.)

Credits: www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Gluten-Free-Banana-Bread

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy Gluten-Free New Year! I fell a bit of the gluten-free train during the holidays, and boy did I pay for it! From an upset stomach, bowel issues, heat flashes and sore muscles, my body has once again reminded me that gluten is not my friend.

So with this new year, and many new resolutions I'm starting fresh with my diet once again. It was hard to avoid those flour filled treats around the holidays, especially the ones that are tradition. And it was my first Christmas and New Year's being gluten-free, so it was a tough one to say the least. But, my New Year's resolution for 2011 is "to take better care of myself." Whether that is to take the time to relax with a nice hot bath or to take a break during my week to meet a friend for a walk; I'm going to remember to take care of ME.

I started last night by taking the time to do the elliptical machine at my house for 20 minutes and then do a nice set of yoga stretches. It felt so good to move my body more then what it is used to these days. I then took a long hot shower and even sat in the bottom of the basin and closed my eyes and just reflected on my day. Now, if only I can keep this up for the next 360 days out of the year... As you can see, I'm not very good at keeping up with my blog these days either. But, that will be another resolution that I can hopefully stick with!

Well until tomorrow... or the next day... good luck on your resolutions!

Cas