Recipe: Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Photo Courtesy of
I owe this recipe to a dandy little site I came upon via, Babble. Well, technically I owe
Hemming.  Before reading about quinoa on Babble’s food blog, I only thought I knew two two things
about quinoa… 1. I went around pronouncing it QUIN-oh-a. I soon realized that it is pronounced KEEN-
wah. Good thing a lot of non-Celiac people I talk with don’t know what quinoa is, let alone how to
properly pronounce it.   2. I thought it could only be used as a side dish, in the way that rice or beans
usually are . I was very wrong about this. Who woulda thunk you could use little seed as a replacementfor flour?? Well my friends, not only is this possible, it is easy peasy and delicious!

Ok, so this picture is not my best but I promise you, the cake is amazing!
I made this cake myself and LOVED IT. The cake was much more moist than any other gluten free cake
I’ve had, the quinoa added an added crunch texture element (whether that was intended or not, it tastes
good!), and the flavor is rich and super chocolate-y! I don’t even own any flour besides Bob’s Red Mill
Gluten Free Flour so I loved being able to bake a cake without needing to purchase and sort 2893748
different types of flours. Win!
Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of
Flour-Free Quinoa Chocolate Cake (courtesy of 365)
2/3 cup white or golden quinoa
1 1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round or square cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Add 2 cups cooked quinoa and the butter and continue to blend until smooth.
Whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add the contents of the blender and mix well. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and bake on the center oven rack for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely in the pan before serving. Frost if desired. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.
Tips & Tricks

G-Free Alcohol: What is "Safe"?

DISCLAIMER: I do not promote or advocate irresponsible underage drinking. This post is intended for 21+ college students, and underage students who decide to partake in drinking at some point in their college career. (If you’re gonna do, might as well go into it prepared!)

Alright, so now that that’s out of the way…

Let’s be honest… college is usually that time of our lives where the world of parties and alcohol is exposed to us more than it ever has been before. Many of us will take the “dry” route, choosing alternative nights out but I encourage everyone to at least have a bit of knowledge in regards to what a Celiac can or cannot drink when it comes to alcohol… just in case.

Here’s a list of popular alcoholic beverages that are Celiac “safe”   (of course, in responsible moderation)

Vodka: *most vodkas are make from potato or corn. Grain vodkas are ok since they are distilled.
-Non-flavored Smirnoff
-Absolut Vodka
-Cold River

Tequila: *Real tequila is made from a Blue Agave plant and is part of the lilly family of plants.

-Jose Cuervo

Rum: *Most rums are made from sugar cane.

-Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

Whiskey: *Most whiskeys are naturally gluten free because of their distilling process. 

-Scotch whiskey
-Jack Daniels

Wine & Champagne: *Nearly all are gfree since they are made from grapes. Wine coolers may not be gfree since they often contain barley malt.

-Kendall Jackson
-Rodney Strong
-Five Oaks

Gluten Free Beer: *Most beers are made with barley, wheat, or rye so they most definitely contain gluten. Fortunately, there is a growing list of gluten free beer that have been approved (and even raved about) by non gluten free-ers. Gluten free beer uses two substitute grain plaints: sorghum and buckwheat. 

             Drink responsibly, folks. I love you too much for you to be stupid when gettin’ yo’ drink on. 

Fitness, Tips & Tricks

Healthy Snacks for Movers & Shakers

            As students, we are pretty much busy all the time. We squeeze homework and studying in
between classes, club meetings, gym sessions (maybe), hang out sessions (definitely), and sleeping. How are we supposed to fit eating into this tight schedule, let alone eating healthily?? Well, it’s easier than you think. Being the super artsy person that I am not, I’ve made a little collage of snacks that a. take about zero minutes to prepare  b. will be fitting for any food budget and  c. will make your tummy happy.
one. {Green Tea} Ok so I know green tea isn’t a food, but it has too many health benefits to be unmentioned– speeding up metabolism, burning fat, and maximizing exercise output are just a few perks to making this your morning drink of choice.

two. {Almonds} It’s all too easy to choose to snack on that big bag of M&Ms stashed in your desk, but by simply replacing this with a big bag of almonds you will be saving yourself an obscene amount of sugar and fat. And don’t try to tell me that almonds have fat therefore they aren’t good to eat: yes, they have fat but it is the kind of fat that your body honestly needs. 

three. {Apples} An apple a day keeps the doctor away: a true statement. The great things about this fruit is that they are naturally sweet-great for that sweet tooth that has been nagging at you. Pair an apple with some cheese slices or natural peanut butter and you’re all set! 

four. {Spinach} You’re natural instinct to spinach may likely be “why would I ever choose to eat spinach, voluntarily?”. We are only human, and unfortunately we are kind of programmed to cringe at spinach. However, spinach can be made super delicious with two simple additions: cheese and turkey slices. Wrap the cheese are turkey inside the spinach and it turns from being a bland bunch of greens to being a seriously tasty snack. 

five. {Black Beans} I love black beans. So much so that they have made their way onto my top 10 favorite food list. It’s so easy: open a can, enjoy the vegetarian goodness. Throw some in with scrambled egg whites and salsa for a satisfying breakfast, load up a brown rice wrap with a bunch of them, snack on them straight outta the can– whatever floats your boat! These beans are super versatile and help improve digestion, give you some fiber, and supply you with some serious protein. 

six. {Oatmeal} I’ve been eating Glutenfreeda Banana Maple Flax Oatmeal for breakfast for the past few weeks, and I have to say, I have never felt more energized throughout the day than when I start it with oatmeal. All that is required is some gluten free oats, water, and a microwave. It doesn’t get much easier. 

seven. {Avocado} Another one of my favorites. Like black beans, this creamy green fruit has oodles of healthy fats you need. Slice some as a toast topper, dice it up into an omelette, or mash it up with something spicy for guacamole. YUM

eight. {Berries} Step 1: Defrost mixed berries. Step 2: Put berries in a bowl. Step 3: Plop some fresh whipped cream on top. Step 4: Devour without guilt, only joy. 

nine. {Eggs} I storm through a carton of eggs like nobody’s business. Eggs are cheap, versatile, easy to make, delectable, and a great source of protein! Fry one up in some olive oil and sea salt, scramble with veggies and cheese, boil a couple for a grab and go snack. In my book, eggs can do no wrong. 


Let’s Get Physical.

While this blog is not necessarily a fitness blog, I would consider it to be a health blog. After all, isn’t that why we’re eating gluten free? To be healthy? It’s for this reason that I’ll be writing the occasional fitness/health related post. Maybe once a week. Fitness Fridays, anyone? 

About a year ago, I wasn’t able to run a mile. Last night, I ran 5 miles. I credit my newfound ability to run long and far (at least according to me) entirely to my diagnosis with Celiac Disease. No matter how “healthy” I would try to eat in the past, the gluten in my foods was wearing me down: making me tired, unmotivated, malnourished, and just not good. Now that I’m finally eating foods that are actually nourishing my body, I feel myself becoming stronger every day. It makes me wonder why so many disease-free/naturally healthy people don’t take advantage of all the magnificent things our bodies can do! Being sick for so long has made me appreciate and respect my body much more than I ever have. Has anyone else felt this way since going gluten free?

Sooooooo… how is this related to living gluten free in college?

If you’re going to a university, there is a good chance that there’s a gym at your school that you’ll get free membership to as a student. Take advantage of this. Keep in mind that most gym memberships cost anywhere in between $20/month to $80/month which can really add up! Milk this free unlimited access for all it’s worth and you won’t regret it! 

As students, we spend a large amount of time abusing our bodies in one way or another; sitting hunched over homework for hours at the library, staying up obscenely late, potentially drinking past a normal amount, eating too much/too little, you get the idea. Between all this and the stress that comes with school, it is vital to make time for yourself to move your body. Whether it’s for 20 minutes or 2 hours, you will feel 10 times better physically and mentally, guaranteed! 

I’ll be posting more posts like this in the weeks to come, so stay tuned to some advice/tips regarding healthy snacking, decoding the gym, how to fit fitness into a busy schedule, and more! 

Tips & Tricks

Stuff You Really Should Take Care of Before College.

As of this month, it has been about a year since I left Seattle, Washington to Denver, Colorado for my first year college endeavor. It also happens to be my 1st anniversary as being gluten-free! Yay! I anticipate some festive party hats and GF cake in my near future…mom….

Anyways, I have taken it about myself to create this realistic, not-yo-mamma type of back to school check list that I wish I had had possession of myself when I was a young lass leaving the nest a year ago.

Read on, young grasshoppers.

A Celiac’s First Year Checklist:

  • Find out the details about your dorm’s kitchen/cooking situation. {does your residence have a communal kitchen? Personal kitchen? No kitchen? Microwave? Mini fridge? Be that obnoxious kid who needs to know all the nitty gritty details about the place before getting there.}
  • Email the dining hall manager and see if you can set up a meeting with him/her. {take a look at the sample contact e-mail I wrote}
  • Buy needed cooking utensils. Do this AFTER you get to college if you are flying there so that you don’t have to worry about somehow getting all those pots and pans to your destination. {click here for my basic list}
  • Do some online research about gluten free restaurants and grocery stores near your campus so that you have some options of places to eat out/grocery shop once you get there.
  • Talk with parents about a monthly or yearly budget for food/groceries. {Are they willing to pitch in for your food, aside from what is offered at the dining hall? Can you negotiate a budget for food spending money?}
  • Consider what foods you like to eat at home, and think about how you can make (or modify) these foods at school. {This process will make you consider what kinds of kitchen utensils/equipment you need, which ingredients you should have on hand, etc.}
An In-General College Student’s First Year Checklist:
  • Uncover the magic of 8tracks. {Mixes on this website have gotten me through hours upon hours of studying.} 
  • If possible, rent your textbooks online a week or two before classes start. {Are you really going to need “Calculus For Life Sciences” after the course? No.}
  • If you are flying to school, try to take an airline like Southwest. {They allow you to check in 2 bags for free! This is a godsend when you are pretty much moving your whole life.}
  • Go on to be ahead of the game when it comes to knowing what to expect when you enter the classroom.
  • Buy lots and lots of comfy but cute lounging clothes. {Chances are, if you are at all like me, you end a long day of classes with a change into very un-sexy pajama type clothing. This can become a hindering of your friend-making capabilities when you are living in a dorm with fellow students and possibly peers of the opposite sex (gasp!). Trust me and invest in some cute yoga pants, nice sweaters, and slippers that aren’t bunnies.}
  • Check out the gym for the first time during off hours. {Wandering in confused and overwhelmed while the place is crawling with fit college students makes you look like an obvious new freshman, therefore making you look less cool.}
  • Don’t don’t don’t go into the showers without flip flops. {No lie, some dumb boy who had too much to drink one night decided to go #2 in my hall’s girl’s showers. Blehhhhhhh.}
  • Bring enough quarters to attract attention from airport security. {Quarters are like gold to students with dirty laundry that has been sitting around for weeks.}
  • Expect to encounter that one fraternity where all they seem to do is sit out on their porch day-drinking and blasting music while everyone else is trudging to class, feeling a little less cool than they did earlier. {When do these people actually go to class?}
  • Anticipate meeting some weirdos, seeing some things you wish you hadn’t seen, learning a lot {or a little}, encountering some of the smartest {and stupidest} people you’ve ever known, and experiencing one of the most exciting parts of life!

Quick n’ Easy: Fish Tacos

Everybody loves tacos. Especially this girl right here. Give me a corn tortilla, some guacamole, beans, some sauteed veggies, and I’m a happy camper. I have a feeling that I will be making a lot of tacos this coming school year, seeing as they are so quick, easy, inexpensive, and almost always delicious! It was a Julie-makes-dinner night in my household about a week ago, so I chose to whip up some fish tacos. Anyone who really knows me knows that I actually hate fish (I know, what kind of Seattle-ite am I? I don’t drink coffee either…). BUT when it comes to tacos, I feel like you can literally make anything taste good once its wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla with an obscene amount of guacamole smothered all over it. I’m also trying to eat healthier these days, and fish is pretty much on the top of everyone’s “healthy foods” lists, so I’ll give it a shot now and then.

Fish Tacos (note that many ingredients listed are interchangeable. Basically everything tastes good in a taco so feel free to add things like corn, fresh cilantro, salsa, etc.)

Ingredients: (Serves 2 people)
– 1/2 lb fresh or frozen cod
– a squeeze or two of lemon juice
– a dash or two of olive oil
– a couple shakes of chili powder
– a little cumin
– pinch of salt
– pinch of pepper
– corn tortillas (can be hard or soft shelled. I like soft.)
– Black or pinto beans
– Guacamole (avocado, tomato, hot sauce, cilantro, red onion, salt/pepper)
– Fresh extra ingredients of choice (tomato, corn, chopped lettuce, etc)

Step 1: Thaw the fish, if its frozen. Arrange the fish in a baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper, and then pour the mixture over the fishies. Cover it and let it sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Step 2: Remove the swimming fishies from the fridge and drain the liquid (carefully). Get a medium sized pan nice and hot on the stove with some olive oil in it. Cook the fish. Fish cooks really quickly- you can tell that its done when it gets flaky and white (rather than luminescent or pink).

The kitty cat wants some.

Step 3: Heat the tortillas. This can be done in a number of ways: microwave, oven, whatever. I chose to heat them in a pan over the stove in some oil. I like the slight crisp texture this gives the tortillas.

Step 4: Layer the tacos! I did it like this: tortilla, fish, guacamole, beans, tomato. Simple. Quick. Delish.

Tips & Tricks

Celiac Friendly Colleges: Leading by Example

As I’m sitting here, watching The Social Network with my dad, I’ve become inspired to write something back-to-school/college related (uhhh Julie? Isn’t that sort of the point of your blog? Why yes, it is. Thanks for the input.). For high school celiacs looking to attend college, the availability of gluten free food can be a major factor in deciding where to apply and ultimately attend. In my curiosity to see what different colleges are doing to facilitate the eating experience of celiac students, I did some research on the topic. Here are some stand out universities that I came upon:

Columbia University
The dietitian at Columbia goes the extra mile for gluten free students: orientating them around nearby markets, introducing the chef, and even teaching them how to read nutrition labels! The chef prepares two 100% gluten free meals every day, and takes special requests! I don’t know about you, but this sounds like gluten free heaven to me!

University of Colorado: Boulder
Boulder, Colorado is known for being one of the healthiest cities in the U.S. There is a certainly no shortage of gluten free options in the area surrounding the college. So what about the college itself? The school identifies the top eight food allergen (fish, eggs, dairy, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat) AND gluten on all their menu items. They have also cracked down on creating stricter cooking environments to ensure that a food marked as gluten free is truly 100% gluten free- an easy detail that many universities let slip by!

Yale University
Yale is prestigious both in academics and, as their dining services website signifies, their accommodation to students with food allergies as well. Their website describes each allergen in detail and claims that they can specially order gluten free breads, cereals, pastas, and more. They will also take extra measures to follow gluten free preparation requirements for you. All you have to do is ask!

University of Connecticut
The head chef at this school sets the perfect example for what all college chefs should be like. He acknowledges that one student’s unique dietary needs is just as important as another’s, so he is sure to educate his staff on the preparation and serving of gluten free foods. They have everything available in gluten free from bread to pasta, even desserts (which are not baked on site due to risk of cross contamination). They have separate toasters in all their facilities, designated for gluten free bread only, and they have a dietitian who checks up on students with special diets several times a year. Sounds good to me!

Some honorable mentions: Brown University, College of the Holy Cross, Franklin and Marshall College (they’ve all opened allergy free kitchens and offer made-to-order meals prepared by specialty trained cooks!)
Here’s some more celiac friendly colleges
And here’s a really great article from USA Today related to this topic, “Colleges Accommodate More Students With Food Allergies“. Enjoy!