Sunday, May 26, 2013

RECIPE: Gluten-Free Almond Flour Pancakes

These pancakes have become a favorite in our household. My husband who is not gluten-free actually prefers THESE pancakes to traditional buttermilk pancakes. These are light and fluffy with a crepe like crispy texture on the outside. Totally delicious!

I did not make my pancakes from scratch, because honestly, gluten- free baking still confuses me and drains my wallet. Also, I have found a product that is so wonderful that I have no desire to look elsewhere. I use Pamela's Baking Mix which is AMAZING. I add: coconut oil and fresh orange zest and juice of one orange into the batter.

For the topping:  I used to buy maple syrup, but I have found that I MUCH PREFER using seasonal, local fruit simmered in Kerrygold butter and cinnamon.

I can buy this mix at Whole Foods. If you do not have access to a local co- op that carries this brand, you can buy Pamela's products here:

Here are some other delicious gluten free pancake recipes if you are adventurous to try gluten-free baking:

Friday, May 10, 2013

An Update: My Health, Career and an Exciting Announcement!!

HELLO to all of my favorite foodies! I have been writing this blog for almost two years now and in that time we have created quite a wonderful community of nearly 4,000 strong and growing everyday!! Thank  you for your continued support! I started this blog, as a way to reach out to the gluten-free, REAL FOOD loving community. I have worked in the food industry for the past 16 years and in 2010 was working as a professional chef, when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.This was a huge life altering experience for me as a self proclaimed 'die-hard foodie'. Suddenly, my world became very narrow and bleak with all of these major food restrictions. I was sick, lost and needed was a community to help navigate these new gluten-free waters that I knew NOTHING about. Around the same time that I created this blog, I enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Program at The Nutritional Therapy Association, to understand holistic nutrition, and selfishly understand HOW to heal my sick body. Many of you have followed me from all the way back during that time.( thank you!) I graduated in June of 2011 as a Certified  Nutritional Therapy Practitioner with a new lease on life, a mind buzzing with amazing information and most importantly RESTORED HEALTH!!!

A little more background for the newcomers:
(**image: This is the salad bar at the school, 16 organic veggies offered each day. My school kids ages 5-14 DEVOURED this daily. <3)

For the past 5 years I  have been working for the Epicurean Group, a San Francisco based company that brings organic farm fresh, local food (everything sourced within 100 miles) cooked from-scratch to local school lunch programs. I was a chef that prided myself in making stock, sauces, pretty much everything from scratch and cooking beautiful food for children. I have often joked that I had traded in my catering career to become a lunch lady.

(No worries, I never ACTUALLY wielded a scooper while wearing a hairnet and blue eye shadow, smoking a Virginia Slim, while claiming food to be "extra sloppy"-- ha!) 

Unfortunately, with my new found celiac diagnosis, it made it near impossible to work in a industrial kitchen. My body was so sensitive that the very flour spores in the air from the baker would cause me to break out in hives. It was terrible! My company offered me a  dream job last summer to become a General Manager at an all girls private school in San Francisco. I would be responsible for running an all organic meal program for 500 daily, monitoring the food allergies of the students by preparing their meals daily ( I had 30 kids that had varying allergies everything from: celiac, salicylate allergy, GAPS and FODMAP). I was also responsible for running cooking classes, planting a garden and educating kids about the importance of GOOD FOOD! Perfect! This was a way for me to still be on the forefront of the food scene, work with kids and do what I LOVE without getting sick! 

Unfortunately, the job was too good to be true. I loved my school kids, I loved the school, I took pride in nourishing children and I had a lot of FUN doing it. In reality, it came at a really high price, it meant that I was working 14 hour days, 6 days a week. It was TOO BIG of a job for even me, no stranger to the demands of the food industry's tireless schedule. All of my prior visions of the cooking classes, gardening projects and education pieces that I drempt about NEVER happened. I was running a food program for 500, with on average 11 additional caterings each week. There was just NO TIME to do any of the things that I wanted to do. Me being me, I sought out any and every educational teaching moment possible, educating the faculty on the power of: probiotics,organics,enzymes, magnesium, hydration, gluten, soy, GMO's,ferments, CSA'S,copper toxicity, apple cider vinegar, Ph, pulse testing,adrenal stress, mineral tissue analysis, aromatherapy, raw milk- you name it!! I would have these one-on-one consultations with inquiring faculty members during lunch and coffee breaks. They would seek me out on the streets,in the hallways, in my office and email me at home over the weekends. Those were the moments that fueled my tireless days. It turns out you can dress a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner up as a General Manager, but they forever will be a NTP. :) 

I began to notice that 3 months into the job, that I was losing my life balance. I was exhausted! I was so fearful that I would become really sick again because auto-immune diseases like celiac flare up under stress. This was a huge concern to me, I had worked SO HARD to reclaim my heath. I voiced my concern to my company who were supportive in me hiring an assistant. I entertained that idea for a few weeks, interviewed 6 candidates and came up with a surprising truth about myself. The weekend before I was going to hire an assistant, I was home sick on the couch "glutened" from cooking at the school once again, with hives on my legs for the 'ump-teenth' time and I realized I just cannot physically work at the school anymore. My true passion is to educate people on how to heal their bodies, maintain wellness and eat tasty REAL FOOD. Here I was once a poster child for reclaimed health and vitality- suddenly sick, adrenally fatigued and not being an advocate for my own health; in that moment I realized the hard truth that I needed to quit my job. After 7 months of running a wildly successful food program, I put in my 6 week notice at the school to the shock of everyone. I needed to follow my passion and open up my own practice and educate others. Most importantly I needed to get and stay healthy.

My last day of work was March 8th, I was bombarded with child-made cards, flowers and gifts from the school and kids. I don't think I have ever been hugged that much or have personally cried that much in one day. I will forever LOVE all 500 of my school kids...

*Unforeseen Plot Twist*
What I didn't anticipate is that on my last day of work I would find out that I was 5 WEEKS PREGNANT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not to divulge too much information but, I have been married for 7 years and have never once been pregnant despite no preventative measures. The undiagnosed celiac piece I believe had A LOT to do with me not getting pregnant in the past. I absolutely believe that my 3 year journey of healing, fueled by eating nourishing healthy foods, healing my gut, identifying and eliminating allergens (which turned out to be  quite extensive:chicken, soy, corn, gluten and most grains) and the addition of juicing and acupuncture for the past 6 months healed my body enough to conceive!!!
NEWSFLASH: Real FOOD makes babies!!

For the past 6 weeks I have been at home, sleeping, eating, reading, relaxing and growing a human.:) HA! I have been working with a few clients during my waking hours, but even that has been minimal. I will tell you that pregnancy is SO much more then I ever anticipated. It turns out, growing a baby-- totally a BIG DEAL!! I am so glad that my body waited to get healthy before it got pregnant. I cannot tell you how intense and overwhelming the first trimester was for me. I slept 16 hours a day ATE more food daily then I have ever consumed in my entire life. For being mostly grain-free for nearly a year and a half, this baby shockingly undeniably wantED CARBS!!! I have been consuming a fair amount of gluten free pancakes, pasta and sandwiches for the past two months. Fortunately, now in the second trimester my craving for carbs and my insatiable appetite have both diminished to a healthy more manageable level. :) I would highly recommend that if you are a woman who is thinking about getting pregnant, take the TIME to get HEALTHY FIRST. Growing a baby takes a HUGE toll on your body. Knowing what I know now, I can see why my body refused to get pregnant- it takes all systems firing and then some to grow a human.:) 
(**I will post some sources and books that I have been reading about pregnancy here next week.) 

So now you are up to date! I apologize for not posting my own personal blogs, dinners, recipes and foodie adventures like I have in the past. I am in my second trimester now and have SO much more energy and SO much information to share with all of you!! Keep on the look out for new exciting blogs and posting in the coming months. Thanks for all of your love and support over the past couple years! 

Be Well!!
- 'Food For Thought' - aka Kate <3