starting and maintaing a gluten free lifestyle

When I started eating gluten-free about a year and a half ago, I discovered how much I had to learn about starting and maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle. Over the past year and a half, I’ve packed my little brain full of tips and strategies for simplifying gluten-free life- and I want to pass my tips on to you through a seminar! If you’re interested, just sign up below!

Topics we’ll cover:

  • Why people shouldn’t pull a Miley Cyrus and jump on the gluten-free bandwagon because it’s popular right now
  • What the heck gluten is and where it’s hiding
  • Awesome online resources you should be reading
  • Phone apps to help you when you’re out and about
  • Easy and delicious recipe substitutions
  • Navigating the grocery store and product labels
  • Local and chain restaurants with gluten-free menus and options
  • Products that don’t taste too “gluten-freey”
  • How to ensure that your social life doesn’t go downhill (navigating potlucks, gluten-free beers, etc)
  • Helpful tips for saving money as a “gluten freak”
* indicates required

My recipe,

apple cheddar tartine with spicy mustard

If you had shown me this recipe or given me this open-faced apple cheddar sandwich a year ago, I would have politely

Remember how I used to make tofu masala relatively frequently? I decided to revamp the recipe to include butternut squash, which means I have another easy fall recipe for you!


  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried red chili peppers
  • Soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil (all optional)


1. Press tofu (you can do this with a tool like the Tofu Xpress or with this method)

2. If desired, marinate pressed tofu with soy sauce (gluten-free if need be), garlic, rice vinegar, olive oil, and/or sesame oil for added flavor

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half and remove seeds (put aside for my next recipe!). Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried red chili pepper flakes. Put in baking pan with about an inch of water on bottom. Roast half of the squash until tender, about 30 minutes. Cut into bite-sized cubes.

4. Trim, clean, and slice leeks. Peel and chop onion. In a skillet over medium low, saute leeks and onion with olive oil and red chili peppers until tender.

5. Add all other ingredients (tofu, butternut squash, and masala sauce) to the skillet and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Enjoy over rice (gluten-free) or with naan (unfortunately not gluten-free)!

P.S. Ever used a Tofu Xpress? I hadn’t until I moved in with my roommate, who has one. It’s a pretty convenient little contraption that presses the water out of tofu, making it better for grilling and baking. It can also be used to press water out of things like sliced eggplant (I used it for eggplant moussaka the other day) and thawed spinach or kale (which I did for this spiced lentil kale soup from Oh She Glows). It comes for the pretty hefty price tag of about $39. It’s nice to have in the kitchen, but I’m not sure I’d paid that much for it! So thanks, roommate :)

Nothing says fall to me like butternut squash. I’m so obsessed that my friend once told me if I had a word cloud for my life, butternut squash would be in big letters (“That’s what she said” would probably be in huge letters too…).

And leeks in soup? Such a delicious way to get a creamy texture without dairy. If you’re my friend, you’ve probably heard me go on and on about potato leek soup.

You could even play around with this soup by adding a potato for an even creamier texture. Or mix up the spices by subbing basil and oregano for the nutmeg.

Or just follow my recipe :)

Butternut Squash Soup!Photo credit

  • 1/2 large butternut squash (peeled, de-seeded, and chopped into bite-sized chunks)
  • 1 1/2 leeks (trimmed, cleaned, and sliced)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove of garlic (diced)
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes and 4 cups of water or 4 cups of chicken broth or 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg

butternut squash soupPhoto credit

Prep vegetables. Combine broth and vegetables in Crockpot. Sprinkle 2-3 dashes each of salt, pepper, and nutmeg on top. Cook on low in Crockpot for 6-7 hours. Allow to cool for several minutes, then blend with an immersion blender (or leave chunky if desired). Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

P.S. Do your hands ever get itchy, red, and start peeling when you handle butternut squash? Mine do and I found out why: butternut squash dermatitis! The best solution is to wear gloves or buy pre-chopped butternut squash.

I’m not going out of town this weekend (WOOHOO!), which means I did some pretty serious stocking up on groceries at Trader Joe’s and the farmers’ market yesterday. I also bought some nonperishables,

I recently had half a package of firm tofu left over from another recipe, so I decided to make an Indian meal with it. Luckily, I found a jar of Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce in the back of my pantry. After a quick Google search, I stumbled across a recipe for Quick Indian Soup from Inside the Kaganoff Kitchen.

The star of the show

Here is my adapted version:

  • Firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce (you can use another brand, but I prefer TJ’s!)
  • Onions, diced
  • Carrots, sliced
  • Broth or bouillon
  • Rice (I used Cashew Basmati microwavable rice from Target)
  • Hot pepper, chopped (optional)
  • Canned tomatoes (I didn’t have any but I bet they’d be good!)

In a pot, cook onions and carrots in olive oil over medium until onions are translucent. Add simmer sauce and two cups of broth or two cups of water with two

After a recent trip to the NC State Farmers’ Market, I had leftover tomatoes and cucumbers. Given my new obsession with rice noodles, I decided to whip up an almost no-cook lunch of cold Asian noodles with marinated tomatoes and cucumbers. It’s super easy, but I recommend preparing it a few hours in advance (if not the night before) so the vegetables have time to soak up the marinade.

I haven’t included measurements because this dish is nearly impossible to mess up.

  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Cucumbers, chopped
  • Onion, finely diced
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Rice noodles
  • Chicken or firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • Sriracha (for added spiciness)

In a Tupperware, combine chopped vegetables with several dashes of rice vinegar and sesame oil. Sprinkle sugar and salt on top, cover with lid, and put in fridge for several hours or overnight.

To add protein and staying power, add chopped chicken. I marinated mine overnight in soy sauce, red chili peppers, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and ground ginger, but you could just use salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cook using this fool-proof method. If you choose to use tofu, just marinate it and saute over medium heat with olive oil in a skillet.

Prepare rice noodles according to directions (usually you boil water, toss in noodles, boil for 3 minutes, and drain).

Combine all ingredients and garnish with sesame seeds and sriracha, if desired.


Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4

Eggs over medium with sour cream & green tomatillo salsa at Flying Biscuit

Zatarain’s New Orleans Style Jambalaya Mix

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+Cristina Roman