Thursday, November 29, 2012

Restaurant Review: Fahrenheit

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!  I’m a little late on my post this week, after Thanksgiving I got caught up in Christmas decorating (I’ll share a sneak peak when I’m all done.)  As for Thanksgiving ours was delicious and although I had lots to cook it ended up being fun.  Even (most of) the carnivores liked my vegan dishes (check out the staples of our Thanksgiving Dinner here.) 
Thanksgiving Dinner wasn’t the only delicious food we ate over the holiday.  While visiting family we (and my brother and sister-in-law) took Mr. Darling’s parents out to dinner to celebrate their 30th Wedding Anniversary!  
We took them to Fahrenheit a fabulous restaurant in Cleveland, more specifically Tremont Ohio. 
I’m still fairly new to being gluten free and even more of a novice to eating out gluten free (GF).  Up until this point I had only eaten at restaurants that tout their GF food. 
So I did what I read to do, call ahead and see if they could accommodate my vegan and gluten free diet.  I was more concerned about the GF part; I’m pretty good at navigating the vegan thing.  So I called, and asked if there was any thing for me to eat if I couldn’t eat gluten.  I was fully prepared to begin explaining what gluten free was but, they were on top and all over that!  The greeter transferred me directly to the person who would be our waiter, George, he was awesome.  He knew all the dishes that were safe for me to eat and ensured me that they were very careful about cross contamination.  It turned out when I spoke to him later at Fahrenheit that he had gluten sensitivity too! There weren"t any vegan dishes on the menu but that wasn’t a problem.  The sides for the tuna, edamame and tomato fried rice (it did not have egg in it) with greens, sounded delish.  They had absolutely no problem making the dish that way and they made it huge.  Seriously, see that big mound of rice, veggies, and greens the picture below, ya that was all mine!! They also served the curry sauce on the side. 
How was it?  Freakin’ amazing!! It.was.delicious every bite of it !!! Everything was fresh and flavorful, not to heavy which I love and the curry sauce was delicious with a bit of heat.  I get hungry just thinking about it. I loved it so much I already put my spin on the dish and recreated it for dinner this week.
 Fahrenheit was so accommodating to my diet needs, the staff was kind and knowledgeable (George was awesome!), and the food was heavenly.  If you’re in the Cleveland area and can splurge a little on a delicious, safe meal I recommend making your way to Fahrenheit you won’t regret it!
**I have not been paid, perked, or otherwise compensated for this post. 
As someone who is vegan, gluten free, or has other allergy needs isn’t it nice to find somewhere safe (and ahhhmazing) to eat?  Do you have a favorite gluten free restaurant?  Do you have any restaurant dishes you have recreated in your kitchen and how did they turn out? 
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Thankful!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving with lots of good friends, family, and food!!! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Determined Darling's Thanksgiving Staples

This ain’t your Mama’s Thanksgiving and these aren’t your Mama’s Thanksgiving staples, unless of course your Mama was a hippy then, maybe. 
This is actually the first year I will be cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal and my first gluten free Thanksgiving.  I am so excited!! I kept it pretty traditional for two reasons.  One tradition is comfortable and on Thanksgiving some traditions like stuffing and mashed potatoes must be followed! Two neither of our families (brothers and sisters not included) is very adventurous with their food.  New foods must be introduced slowly as not to cause heart palpitations and immediate dislike.  And under any circumstance do.not.use. the word “vegan” unless of course you want them to avoid your food like the plague. 
Since I’m not quite finished finalizing our feast (I’m such a procrastinator) I wanted to leave you with some recipes for the staples of our feast.    
Determined Darling’s Gluten-Free, Vegan Thanksgiving Staples
Lentil Loaf
Forget the turkey and enjoy this yummy loaf!
Garlic Parsley Mashed Potatoes
Hello creamy garlic heaven!
Lovely Lady Stuffing
Bright pink lady apples make this stuffing amazing!
*** Click Here for a printable document of all these delicious dishes***
Lentil Loaf
2 cups cooked lentils
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 large onion diced
8 oz mushrooms halved
2 medium carrots grated
¼ cup Nutritional Yeast
½ cup garbanzo flour
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper
dash of salt
1.)    Preheat oven to 375 F
2.)    Sautee onion and garlic until golden
3.)    Add mushrooms and sauté covered until tender 8 minutes
4.)    Meanwhile grate the carrots  and combine with quinoa and half the lentils in a large bowl
5.)    Remove mushroom mixture from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes
6.)    Add mushroom mixture and half the lentils into a food processor, pulse until thick and combine but with texture
7.)    Add the mushroom lentil mixture to the bowl with the quinoa, carrots, and whole lentils. Stir to combine
8.)    Add nutritional yeast, Bragg, and spices, stir to combine
9.)    Add garbanzo flour and stir to combine *The mixture will be wet and stick but hold together well
10.)    Place parchment paper in a 9 x 5 loaf pan and oil the paper
11.)   Add mixture into the loaf pan and bake at 375 F for about 90 -100 minutes or until a knife stuck in the center comes out clean 
12.)   Remove from pan by lifting out using the parchment paper, allow cool for a few minutes, slice and serve!
Garlic Parsley Mashed Potatoes
5 lbs Russet Potatoes, skins on!
3 cloves garlic minced
½ cup vegetable broth
¼ - ½ cup finely minced fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 tbsp Earth Balance (or other butter substitute)
1.)    Clean potatoes, cut into large chunks, place in a large bowl and cover with water
2.)    Bring to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes until tender
3.)    In a small pan saute the garlic in Earth Balance until fragrant (about one minute)
4.)    Drain the potatoes and put in a large bowl mashing slighting with a potato masher
5.)    To the potatoes add the garlic butter, 1 cup veggie broth, salt, and pepper
6.)    Mash until desire consistency is reached, ( I like mine lumpy!) adding more broth if needed
7.)    Add parsley and stir to combine
Serve immediately!
Lovely Lady Stuffing
11 cups 1 inch homemade croutons (check out my recipe here)
2 cups onion diced
2 cups celery chopped
2 pink lady apples, cored, then diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp sage
½ tsp salt, to taste
½ tsp pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
2 -3 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.)    Preheat oven to 375 F
2.)    Put croutons into a large bowl
3.)    Saute onion, celery and garlic in extra virgin olive oil until golden
4.)    Add apples, parsley, and a dash of salt and pepper
5.)    Saute for 3-5 minutes until soft
6.)    Add sautéed veggies to the bowl with croutons
7.)    Add oregano, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine
8.)    Add veggie broth and stir to combine.  Mixture should be soft
9.)    Put the mixture into a baking dish and bake at 375 F for 30 minutes covered with foil and 15 minutes uncovered. 
10.)   Remove, Serve, and Enjoy!
What are your favorite vegan Thanksgiving dishes?  And what are you most looking forward to on Thanksgiving Day?
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Better Than the Bag Croutons

Can you believe Thanksgiving is a week and half away? I have been cooking like mad to finalize my Gluten-Free Vegan Thanksgiving Staples! I'll be sharing them with you near the end of the week accompanied with a printable version so you can easily print it out and use some or all of the recipes for your Gluten-Free and Vegan Thanksgiving dishes!

Why buy a bag of little rock hard stale bread pieces, I mean croutons, when you can make them yourself? 
This easy peasy recipe can be whipped up in a few minutes using store bough or homemade bread.  FYI homemade is better!  I wish I could say I have created awesome gluten free bread recipe but I haven’t.  I am still fairly new to gluten free and baking.  I’m slowly learning and hopefully someday I will have my own recipe to share.  Until then I needed some freakin’ bread to eat I couldn’t stand those store bought excuses for gluten free bread one more second.  Thankfully I found this healthy gum and glutenfree bread recipe (I make the vegan version) from Gluten Free Girl and The Chef.  It is pretty darn good and makes delicious croutons!
Better Than the Bag Croutons
6-7 cups gluten free bread cut into 1 inch cubes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp thyme  
½ tsp pepper
1.)    Preheat oven to 400 F
2.)    Place croutons in a large bowl
3.)    Drizzle EVOO over bread to coat
4.)    Sprinkle spices over bread and toss to coat
5.)    Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes – check after 10 since oven temperatures vary and you don’t want them to burn
6.)    Remove when browned* and crunchy on the outside. (* The bread pictured is already brown in color because of teff and buckwheat, your croutons don't need to be this brown.)
Use these delicious croutons to top salads, soups, and make heavenly stuffing (recipe coming later this week!) 
What do you love to do with croutons? Top soup or salad or just eat them like Mr. Darling does? 
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Creamy Dill Chickpea Salad

Had quite a scare with our little Bow this weekend.  She's been fighting cancer since March.  Saturday she seemed in so much pain and wouldn't stop shaking or wimpering so we took her to the emergency vet.  They think the pain she's been having may be a tumor in her brain.  I have lots of Vet appointments these next couple days.  So please keep our little furbaby in your thoughts. 
Looking for a fast, versatile, and oh so good recipe?  Well this is it!  As long as you have the beans cooked this dish could be thrown together in about five minutes.  It’s one of my favorite lunches.  We often pack lunches when going on trips to save money and avoid gluten, this dish makes a great dish to pack.  This recipe is a great base and I love adding whatever veggies I feel like or have on hand.  So feel free to add your favorites. 
Creamy Dill Chickpea Salad
gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
½ avocado diced
¼ - ½ cup (soy free) Vegenaise (or other vegan mayo)
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tbsp dill
½ tsp salt
½ tsp lemon pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
1.)    Mash garbanzo beans with the backside of a fork until at least ¾ of the beans are mashed
2.)    Add avocado and mash in with beans
3.)    Add Vegenaise, lemon juice, spices, and any other ingredients you choose to add
4.)    Stir until combined and serve.
Eat it on a sandwich, on a big green salad, or just it eat it! It’s delicious any way!
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Friday, November 2, 2012

Hot Steamy Pick-Me-Up

I'm talking about drinks, geesh what did you think I was talking about!

I don’t know about you but I need something hot to drink in the mornings.  I love the idea of smoothies but there just not my morning thing, it has to be hot and steamy!  
Coffee, black thank you very much, use to be my thing. Writing this right now makes me miss it so much.  You might as well have given me an IV drip of coffee during Grad school. I drank two cups in the morning, then the clinic always had coffee brewed so another 3 cups there, and then of course I would have to stay up till 3am writing a paper or studying so another 2-3 cups.  Coffee was my catnip I couldn’t see it, smell it, or wake up without drinking it.  I loved it just as much as Lorelai Gilmore does.
So why are coffee and I “taking a break?”  Well, after months of heartburn, feeling shaky, and jittery I realized I had to stop drinking so much coffee. I still drink a cup or two of coffee on weekend mornings because I couldn’t not drink it at all!  So if I couldn’t drink coffee in the morning what the hell was I going to drink!  Tea? Tea has definitely grown on me now that I drink loose leaf instead of those paper tasting bags.  Tea definitely makes it appearance in my morning routine, but it's not the “go to” morning drink I wanted. 
My steamy morning pick-me-up is hot lemon water! 
It meets all my requirements, hot, steamy, refreshing, and doesn’t give me jitters or heartburn! Hot lemon water touts a lot of health benefits, such as, cleansing, aiding in digestion, and improving skin.  Being a fruit, lemons contain lots of good vitamins like C and B.   I feel refreshed, warm, and energized drinking this in the morning. 
Hot Lemon Water
1-2 large lemon slices (more if you want more lemon flavor)
1 mug hot water
natural sweetener of your choice like agave or local honey (just a little bit.)   
Combine all ingredients squeezing the lemon juice into the water before putting the slice in and enjoy!  (If you use conventional lemons please be sure to clean them thoroughly before putting them in your drink (organic lemons should be washed too!))
What’s your favorite way to start the day?  Is it a hot, steamy drink like me?  Or do you prefer a big smoothie?  Or something else?  I would love to know. 
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