Sunday, March 30, 2014

White Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette

I've always enjoyed a good salad, but ever since I became gluten-free about 4 months ago, I've taken my salad game to a whole new level.

Which is probably for the best, since we signed the Mini up for a "parent & me" swim class and I've had to squeeze my doughy, ghost-white body into a bathing suit two months earlier that I usually would.

It doesn't help that my partner in crime looks adorable in her bathing suit.

Ah the things we do for our children.

In any event, I am a creature of habit and when I find something I like, I stick to it.  For example, I have spent countless lunches at Panera Bread with my coworkers over the years, and have only sampled probably 4 different menu items.

Even before I went GF, one of my main go-to meals has been their Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. A-mazing.  I don't know who decided apple chips would be a good topping for salad, but I would like to thank this person for changing my life.

However, I am not much into Gorgonzola cheese, so I always ask to substitute with Feta cheese.  I also prefer almonds to pecans when I make it at home.  So it's totally up you what you put this on, but my recommendation for a salad base is as follows:

-mixed greens/baby lettuce
-grilled chicken strips
-slivered almonds (or pecans)
-crumbled feta cheese (or Gorgonzola)
-red onion
-crispy apple chips (you can find my recipe here, or use store-bought)

Either way, you can't go wrong.

White Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. apple juice (I recommend using a "natural" apple juice)
  • 3 T. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t. lemon juice 
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 2 t. honey
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. pepper
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 t. xanthan gum (optional - it just makes the dressing a little thicker)
Whisk all ingredients together, or process in a blender to emulsify.  Makes about one cup of dressing.  Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Original Recipe

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pina Colada Smoothie

Well... you know you're a parent when you catch an illness you haven't had since the 4th grade.

In fact, my supervisor put it all in perspective when he texted me Friday morning "You worked 31.75 hours in the past 2 weeks - when you come back, I may need to reintroduce you to the group."

Yup.  Between a snow day, the Mini getting pink eye, and then ME getting a random virus followed by my own case of pink eye... I did not even work the amount of hours in two weeks that I would usually work in one.


My father-in-law did warn us that a young child is like a Petri dish, and boy was he right.  Although the Mini has been fairly healthy (almost shockingly so), I feel like have not been able to go longer than a month without catching something since she was born.

The addition of the Petri Dish to our household has also spelled trouble for Mr. Vittles.  Once known for a powerful immune system my friend Joe nicknamed "Super Blood," he too has fallen victim to a surprising number of "bugs" in the past 17 months.

While he was able to avoid the pink eye this week, he was not so lucky with the virus that left us both with the worst sore throat in the history of sore throats, and a cough that still won't quit.

At its peak, the only things that gave us any relief were frozen treats.  Not only is the cold temperature soothing, but apparently the sugar is as well.  The two days that I managed to drag myself to work last week, I had a smoothie for lunch.

At home, it was more smoothies and ice cream.  Not great for the girlish figure... but desperate times call for desperate measures.  And after this brutal winter (with snow storms aplenty) I figured a little tropical treat would be good for the soul as well as the throat!

Pina Colada Smoothie

  • 1 C. full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 C. canned crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 T. sugar (optional)
  • ice

Add coconut milk, pineapple, banana, and sugar (if using) to blender with about 2 handfuls of ice cubes.  Blend until smooth.  Makes 2 smoothies, approx. 12 oz. each.

Original Recipe


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