Back to School
It’s that time of year again. Early morning alarm clocks, the rush out the door, and then the quite after the storm. Back to school time can be rough, but even more so when you have to worry about a gluten free lunch for your little one, or for yourself.
There is good news though! There are so many products that make taking a gluten free lunch to school quick and easy! I whipped up all 5 of these lunches in under 15 minutes (and it would be faster if you were not stopping to take pictures!)Get out of the school lunch rut with these 5 #glutenfree school lunches! Click To Tweet
One of my favorite way to make things a bit easier is to use a combination of prepackaged gluten free products and fresh fruits and vegetables. Last year I made a handy printout with lots of ideas (which you can get in my Back to School Lunches Post HERE!), this year I thought it would be nice to give you a few examples.
Now, I didn’t go out and buy anything special for this post, because let’s face it. You don’t have time to go out and by anything special and neither do I. Everything I used can be found in your local grocery store.
5 Gluten Free School Lunches
When it comes to lunch you want a nice variety of protein, whole grains, and veggies that will keep your child going throughout the day. Hopefully these ideas will give you a great start to packing gluten free school lunches this year!
I have a little girl who loves Octopuses. She walks around saying “Octopus!” and waving her arms, so she was thrilled with these hot dog octopus. They were so simple to make. Just a few little cuts and voila! The Toufayan pita chips are a family favorite! I also included a yogurt pouch, some broccoli and an Enjoy Life Rice Milk Chocolate Bar. Plenty here for lunch and snack time!
Hummus with Frontier Bites and I Hear Keenwah Puffs
I love individual sized snacks like these Frontier Bites and Hummus, but if I can’t get a snack in an individual size, then I use my Allermates reusable bags. I won a lunch box set during MI Gluten Free Gal’s Celiac Disease Awareness Month contest and I love it. There will be no accidentally eating my I Heart Keenwah Puffs when they are in my reusable Allermates snack bag. I added a bit of broccoli and some crackers to make it a complete lunch.
Confession time- up until the time I was diagnosed with Celiac I loved Lunchable Pizza’s. I know they are awful for you, so much sodium and who knows what that bread was, but for some reason I loved them. I recently discovered that if you toast a Glutino English Muffin, add some pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, it is amazing! Plus it is perfect for a school lunch. I used one of my reusable squeeze pouches for the pizza sauce (You can find them HERE). For snacks I added a package of Goodie Girl Chocolate Chip Cookies (LOVE their Go-Bags!) and some apple slices.
Gluten Free Pita Bread Sandwich
It’s not back to school if you don’t have at least one sandwich. BFree bread has a new gluten free pita bread that is amazing! I added some First Fresh Chicken Sausage and it was delicious. Some Frontier Bites for a wholesome snack, a cheese stick, mini no bake cheesecake (recipe coming next week!) and a tangerine make it a complete lunch.
Cheese with Gluten Free Multi Grain Crackers
As a kid I loved having cheese and crackers for lunch. I was never a huge sandwich fan, so it was a meal I had often. I packed this with nut free trail mix from Enjoy Life, and applesauce pouch and a Goodie Girl Cookies go pack. Both the Enjoy Life Trail Mix and the Goodie Girl Cookies are nut free, which is so important in many classrooms. These are great snacks because they are tasty, without the worry of allergens.
I find snacks to be a very important part of gluten free lunches. Some of my current favorite snacks are pictured below. Some are healthier than others, but they will all give you that little push you need to make it through the day!
Hopefully these gluten free school lunches give you some fun ideas and help you think outside the box a bit when it comes to preparing lunch for your kiddo. What’s your favorite gluten free lunch? Let us know in the comments!
Happy Gluten Free Eating!
Review- Sun Basket- Fresh Organic Meals, Straight to Your Door
The End of Fast Food
I am so over fast food. Given, there isn’t much I can eat from Fast Food Joints, but the few things I can generally are so expensive. For myself, my husband, and my toddler I easily spend $20.00-$30.00. For the same amount I can get a real meal, with fresh organic ingredients delivered to my door.
Sun Basket offers a wide variety of choices (8-12) each week of gluten free, paleo, and vegetarian meals, with allergens clearly listed. All ingredients are organic, with wild caught fish, and grass fed meats. All meals take under 30 minutes to prepare and are nutritionist approved with an average of 500-800 calories per meal. .
The Sun Basket Experience
Sun Basket cares about their impact on the environment. Boxes came with clear instructions on recycling and ingredients such as beans, crushed tomatoes and spices came in these great reusable plastic containers with lids. I saved all of them because they are perfect for using for lunches or making dressings in.
All the ingredients came in a bag labeled for each meal, with meat and fish packaged separately at the bottom of the box, securely placed between ice packs.
The recipes were simple, but the flavors are outstanding. Sun Basket also offers “Customer Favorites” that you can reorder if you love a recipe and want to try it again. There were so many choices, including a breakfast dish.
We chose 3 dishes to try- Salmon with Roasted New Potatoes and Green Beans, Chipotle Chilaquiles with Black Beans, and Pork with Fennel Plum Salad.
This dish was my favorite. The combination of flavors are amazing, with mint, lemon and a drizzle of greek yogurt, I would have no issues eating this meal once a week. I have been craving it ever since I made it. I will be ordering this again.
Chipotle Chilaquiles with Black Beans
My husband chose this dish, and honestly wasn’t even sure I wanted to try it. I am glad I did, it was so good. Tons of flavor, with just the right amount of spicy and so easy. It took about 15 minutes to prepare. For my toddler I just gave her some of the chips, black beans and queso fresco separate because it was a bit too much spice for her.
Pork with Fennel Plum Salad
This dish was toddler and parent approved, without any adjustments. Lots of flavor with a pan sauce, roasted sweet potatoes and plum salad. We all devoured it. I had no idea my child would eat plums, but she loved them. So simple and so much flavor.
Clean up was very simple. Just a few dishes and it was done. Because everything is proportioned, there was not any waste.
Is it Enough Food:
Yes. It is enough food for 2 adults to have decent sized portions and my 20 month old toddler. My husband sometimes would have liked seconds, but next time I will probably have some rice or a big salad available.
Sun Basket uses best practices when preparing ingredients. All allergens are clearly listed. They are not a completely gluten free facility, but are very careful in ingredient preparation and I had no issues or reason to think I would.
Meals cost 11.50 each which is enough for 2 adults and a toddler. I actually tried buying the ingredients to make one of the recipes myself, and it cost me almost the same amount, so I was fairly impressed with the pricing, especially since all the ingredients are organic. For 21.00 a dinner, it is definitely cheaper and healthier than eating out and ready in less time.
I love choosing my meals online and having them sent to my door. It may just be the stage of life I am in (work at home mom, with a toddler, who also is involved in a ton of community activities), but it is great. I also feel confident that my family is eating healthy meals when I use a service such as Sun Basket.
Try it Yourself:
Nothing says summer like afternoons by the grill. Living in an apartment, we don’t often get the chance to grill out, but when we do it is so much fun! Recently we spent a weekend house sitting at my husband’s Tia’s house and she has a great little porch perfect for grilling.
Now, we didn’t actually have a grill, but since it is getting towards the end of summer we were able to pick up a little portable one for really cheap.
Grill+peaches+corn= Grilled Peach Salsa= Summer Perfection! Click To Tweet
It was such a blast grilling everything we could find. I figured if we were going to grill, we might as well grill meat for the week. When I was shopping for meat I saw some beautiful peaches and inspiration hit. Everything else in this salsa are things I already had in the fridge. It was one of those recipes where you just start thinking,
This might be really good!
and you luck out and it’s perfect! The flavors meld together so perfectly, it tastes like a bit of summer heaven!
Fresh ingredients are key to grilling fruits and vegetables. There is just something about a bit of time on the grill that brings out the natural sweetness and gives a hint of smokiness. It doesn’t take very long to grill peaches. Just brush with a little oil to make sure they don’t stick. The oil also gives them a bit of char. You could use a basting brush to keep things oiled, but we use the husks from the corn. It works great!
Our little grill is a propane grill, but it has a space where you can add some charcoal, so we did. Charcoal really adds to the flavor. You could also use cedar chips or other wood to add a bit of flavor.
Grilled Peach Salsa
A Few Recipe Notes
I cheated. I microwaved it in the husk for about 10 minutes and then put it on the grill, just to finish it and add flavor.
This recipe is naturally gluten free and top 8 allergy free, however, if you are sensitive to corn, it is perfectly fine to add more peaches and leave it out.
What would you put this peach salsa on? Let me know in the comments!
Happy gluten free eating!
Strawberry Sauce is a delicious addition to pancakes, ice cream, or to just eat with a spoon!
A History of Strawberries
My father loves to tell the story of the strawberries he grew in the garden when I was just a toddler. I refused to try them, until one day he would not let me out of my high chair until I ate one. From that point on there were never any strawberries in the garden. The second they started to turn pink, I would pick them and eat them.From strawberries in the garden to strawberry soup, this sauce was a lifetime in the making! Click To Tweet
My history with strawberries doesn’t end there. In high school we had been given tons of frozen strawberries, and I, thinking I was Martha Stewart, decided that I would make a strawberry pie. I made the crust from scratch, taking my time to make sure it was perfect, added in the strawberries and the sugar, and put it in the oven. I was so proud of myself. The thing is, these were frozen strawberries. I had no idea you were supposed to thaw them first. My beautiful pie turned into strawberry soup, mind you, it was the best strawberry soup any one had ever tasted, probably because no one has ever made strawberry soup before, but regardless it wasn’t to bad.
I’ve always loved strawberries.
In South Florida the height of our strawberry season is actually January, but thanks to the ease of transporting fruits and veggies all over the Unites States, we get to share in summer strawberry season with everyone up north. Strawberries have been incredibly cheap this summer and I always grab several containers when I’m at the store. Sometimes, I buy more than we can actually eat.
It was during one of those times I got the great idea to make homemade strawberry sauce. My husband loves strawberry ice cream, so I knew he would be head over heels for this. I started researching different recipes and I was shocked at the amount of sugar that was used to make the sauce.
You could go into a diabetic coma just reading some of these recipes.
So, of course I had to try making my own version without all the white sugar. Turns out it was not that hard and my family loved it. When my husband came home from work and saw strawberries cooking away on the stove, he was very excited!
For this recipe, I chose to use just four ingredients- strawberries, lemon juice, agave nectar, and a splash of vanilla. By reducing the amount of sugar used (I went from 1 cup of white sugar to 1/3 cup of agave), it really allows the strawberries to shine through.
Plus, we put the sauce on gluten free pancakes (I used GF Jules Pancake Mix) and ice cream, both of which are already sweet. My dad and stepmom came over for our pancake feast and were in love with the sauce. They were especially excited that I had packaged some in cute little jars so they were able to take some home!
Just a few little notes:
Hot or Cold:
You can serve the strawberry sauce hot or cold. If it is still warm, it will be thinner. It thickens as it cools.
Get a mason jar!:
This strawberry sauce makes the perfect take home gift for a brunch or ice cream social. I bought the little jars at Target for a $1.00
What are your favorite things to put Strawberry Sauce on? Chime in, in the comments!
I know, I know, my first experience (see below) with Blue Apron was so so, but I was offered a chance to check them out again, so of course I did.
My experience this time was much better than my past experiences:
- More naturally gluten free recipes, or ingredients that were easily changeable with items I keep on hand.
- Better packaging, still a lot of plastic, but the produce stayed fresh, even when it took me an extra day to get to cooking.
- Quality fish and meats.
- You can view menus several weeks in advance.
- Ingredients and instructions are listed for each meal.
- Allergens aren’t listed on each meal, you can see the ingredients, but until you get the package you can’t know for sure.
- There are a lot of sandwiches, which are of course, not gluten free
- Some ancient grains, like Freekah, and they are not gluten free. I found Quinoa to be a good replacement.
Final Updated Thoughts:
This time around I found the prep to be much easier and the over recipes to be better tasting. I didn’t have to make any expensive swaps, so I still felt like I was getting a decent deal. Because they use so many whole food ingredients, many are naturally gluten free, and there was a detailed nutrition paper included with each meal. It isn’t something I would use consistently because there aren’t always enough gluten free options, but if you love trying new things, you may want to give it a shot.
Trying it one time isn’t too expensive if you follow these steps:
- Sign up for Ebates HERE. You will get $7.50 back on your first Blue Apron order,, plus if it’s your first time signing up for Ebates (which I love!- getting cash back on things I’m already buying is a win!), they will also give you a $10.00 gift card. Make sure to download the widget to your toolbar, anytime your on a site that gives cash back; it will alert you.
- Use this link to get $30 Off Your First Blue Apron Order.
Blue Apron Review
As part of my journey through boxed meal services, I could not leave out Blue Apron. Blue Apron is a well-known meal service that allows you to pick the meals you would like to try and they deliver the ingredients and recipes to your door.
Blue Apron offer several naturally gluten free options each week and several that can easily be converted.
Overall, I enjoyed the food and recipes, as did my husband.Have you tried Blue Apron? What was your favorite thing? Click To Tweet
The Blue Apron Experience
I was not thrilled with the Blue Apron packaging. Every item comes wrapped in plastic, even the squash. It seemed a bit unnecessary. However, I did like that the meat was double packaged. With the exception of the “knick knacks” everything was just in one box, so I had to sort out all the ingredients. While it is nice that everything is included, things like mayo were in little plastic bottles, and it was practically impossible to get out.
The recipes were clear and concise. No fancy tools required. The recipe had to be read carefully ahead of time and make sure that everything was prepped. It felt like there was a lot of prepping. While the recipes were easy and didn’t take long actually to cook, it did feel very involved, which is a bit difficult when you have a toddler running around.
Is it Enough Food?
Yes. It is enough food for two adults to have decent sized portions, as well my toddler. The dishes were not kid friendly, but I was able to make it work. Blue Apron does offer family meals that I think I would look into next time.
Everything is individually sealed, and allergens are clearly labeled. There was little concern for cross contamination.
It is about 20.00 a night for enough to make two adult meals and feed a toddler. This seems to be about average. The meals were very tasty, and we did try some things that I would make again, such as the Catfish with Ponzu Sauce. However, for me, with boxed meal services I am looking for ease more than complex flavors.
Blue Apron is a little bit hard for me to justify purchasing. The food is delicious. If you would like to expand your cooking skills and taste buds, this is for you. For my family, it was just to involved, and I had to adjust to much to make it gluten free (though I now know how to make buttermilk biscuits using gluten free Bisquick, so that’s a win!). I hope this Blue Apron Review helps you determine if it is something that will work for your family.
Try it yourself:
If you want to try it out, I got a code for you. I have several friends that swear by Blue Apron, so give it a try for yourself and let me know what you think! Click the banner and get three meals free (basically half off one week, so it’s not a bad deal if you want to try it out!)
South Florida meets Peru in a twist on Aguacate de Palta with this tropical shrimp salad stuffed avocado.
Aguacate de Palta
Summer is winding down in South Florida (though you wouldn’t know it with the heat!) and this means the end of avocado and mango season. While the rest of the United States is eating squash, zuchinni and strawberries, we are feasting on more mangoes and avocados than any one person can eat. The only time of year better than mango and avocado season is that one day in January where the temperature goes under 70.Tropical Shrimp Salad stuffed in fresh Florida avocado, what could be better? Click To Tweet
Unfortunetly summer is ending and we are coming up on the end of the season. In Peru they make a fabulous dish called Aguacate de Palta, which is basically a stuffed avocado. It can be stuffed with anything, chicken salad, tuna salad, but being that it is mango season and I’m living in Miami, I thought a tropical shrimp salad would be amazing inside an avocado.
Tropical Shrimp Salad
The key to this recipe is the fresh ingredients. The shrimp alone are to die for. Even if you don’t have avocados and mangoes, make the shrimp and just eat them with a fork or put them on tacos. They are that good.
However, if you have access to mangoes and avocados, this is the ultimate in summer dishes. Fresh and light, with sweetness from the mango and tang of lime juice make it perfect. It is a simple dish with complex flavors.
Quality shrimp are crucial to this recipe. Always be sure your shrimp don’t have a fishy smell and clean them well. I would strongly suggest using wild shrimp if you have access to them. They have such a great flavor.
I hope you enjoy this end of summer recipe! Happy gluten free eating!
Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto is a delicious twist on traditional pesto, served with gluten free pasta, topped with First Fresh Chicken Croquettes.
This post is part of a series of sponsored recipes created with First Fresh Foods. All opinions and recipes are my own, enjoy!
Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto
I love pasta with pesto, but my husband is allergic to basil, so I haven’t had it in years. When First Fresh Foods sent me their brand new Habanero Chicken Croquettes, I was quickly in love with their flavor and ease. They are so good and that pepper flavor is just the perfect amount of spice. When I was trying to decide what would pair best with the cheesy, spicy flavor I first thought about Huancaina Sauce. It’s a classic Peruvian Sauce made with queso blanco and aji amarillo. It’s wonderful, but I wanted a bit more freshness.
That’s when I got the idea to make a Latin spin on pesto and it worked fabulous! The Cilantro and parsley, paired with the jalapeno and queso blanco is amazing! Fresh and a bit salty. The underlying spice of the jalapeno and the garlic is just perfect. I could honestly eat it with a spoon.
Habanero Chicken Croquettes
If you have been following My Gluten Free Miami this summer, you know I have fallen in love with First Fresh Foods Chicken Sausage. It is so good, low in fat, lean protein and easy to read ingredients made in a celiac safe environment. They were the first sponsor I began to work with, just because I love the chicken sausage.
Now they are branching out into cheese stuffed chicken croquettes, and they are still gluten free! I was so excited. They are delicious. Still a great source of protein, and they are so simple. Just throw them in the oven and your good to go.
If you can’t find them in your local grocery store, you can use sliced chicken breast (or any other protein), but I strongly recommend you ask your grocer to carry First Fresh products. They are delicious.
The great thing about this recipe is it’s ease.
All you do is the throw all the ingredient in a food processor or nutri bullet. If you want it a bit spicier, leave the seeds in the jalapeno. Super simple, super yummy.
Obviously, I used First Fresh Chicken Croquettes. They pair so well, but if you don’t have access and your in a pinch, some sliced chicken breast would be ok….but once you try the croquettes, you will fall in love with them!
For this recipe I used Barilla gluten free pasta, you can use whatever is your favorite. I am also a big fan of Trader Joe’s quinoa/brown rice blend.Before draining the pasta, set aside a cup of the water to use when tossing the pasta with the pesto.
If you love pesto, but are looking for something with a twist, check out this Avocado Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad from Food, Faith, and Fitness. It will not disappoint!
Thank you to First Fresh Foods for sponsoring this past and making such incredible Celiac Safe Chicken Croquettes!
Happy Gluten Free Eating!
Watermelon Spritzer with Gluten Free Vodka, perfect for a hot summer night!
I received Stoli Gluten Free Vodka free of charge, there was no obligation to write a review, it just happened to work great in this drink!
Hot Summer Nights
Miami summer nights are hot. Not just a little hot, a lot hot. The kind of hot where you take a shower because your sweating, and you are sweating in the shower. You would think that this sweltering heat would keep Miamians inside, but it doesn’t. Summer is full of cookouts and beach outings at all times of day.Hot summer nights call for refreshing drinks, spiked Watermelon Spritzer will hit the spot! Click To Tweet
This past 4th of July I was at a cookout at some friends house. During the afternoon, while kids were swimming and adults were barbecuing, there was a huge bowl of watermelon that everyone was snacking on. Watermelon is perfect on hot days. As the afternoon turned into night, someone had the idea to soak the cubes of watermelon in vodka and it was a hit.
Now, like most adults, I like a drink now and then….especially when we are outside at night and the spiked watermelon cubes gave me a great idea. They were a bit strong for me, but the flavor was there.
I had been sent a bottle of the new Stoli Gluten Free Vodka by Breakthru Beverage Florida and I had been trying to figure out what to do with it. Stoli Vodka is different from a lot of Vodka’s because it is made with corn and buckwheat which are naturally gluten free grains.
The only thing I had ever made with vodka before was Penne with Vodka Sauce (which is amazing, go and check it out!). The 4th of July party gave me the perfect idea of a drink to make with the vodka, thus the Watermelon Spritzer was born.
I’m going to admit it. I don’t like strong drinks. Where most people have a mimosa that is Prosecco with a splash of orange juice, I have orange juice with a splash of Prosecco. This isn’t a very strong drink, however feel free to adjust to taste.
My favorite part of this drink is that is really simple…Just 3 ingredients. Watermelon, Vodka, and Sprite. Have kids? Leave out the vodka. It is really good as well! I found that it doesn’t need any other sweetener because of the watermelon and the Sprite. I added the mint for just a little bit of color.
This is the perfect, simple, refreshing drink for summer. Enjoy!