Adoption Time: AndreAnna of Life As A Plate … Skinny Martinis & Stuffed Peppers


This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger is the monthly community-building blogging event created by Sea of Book of Yum. This month it’s hosted by Wendy (Celiacs in the House) and the turnout was great! I can’t wait to see Wendy’s adoption roundup in a few days. I already know that sweet Tina (Madame GF Vegetarian) adopted me. Check out her post, which includes a review of my Perfect Pound Cake and her blog, too!  (Thanks so much, Tina … your generous words mean a lot to me!)

I decided to adopt AndreAnna of the blog, Life As A Plate. I was first introduced to AndreAnna and her blog several months ago by my good friend, Elana (Elana’s Pantry). Elana had made a version of AndreAnna’s  Apple Spice Bread. Elana referred to AndreAnna, “The Primal Matriarch.” I immediately checked out AndreAnna’s blog and found out that she was eating grain free, and therefore gluten free, as part of following The Primal Blueprint. I was very intrigued. I knew about the paleo diet, but little about Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint, which AndreAnna follows. AndreAnna’s transformation as a result of eating primal and becoming a Crossfit devotee has been nothing less than phenomenal. You can read about her journey on her About page here. Even if one does not embrace paleo or primal eating, AndreAnna’s focus on real foods is something we all can admire and aspire to. Her blog’s subtitle/motto is “Real Food Makes Life Real Good.” The matriarch part comes into play because AndreAnna’s husband and children are gluten intolerant and also eating grain free and gluten free. She shares some of their transition to their new way of eating in this post, Learning Curve.

In May, I got to meet AndreAnna in person at the Gluten-Free and Allergen-Free Expo. I immediately fell in love with her very positive, high energy, but utter honesty and somewhat “take-no-prisoners” approach to life. Basically, she’s a total sweetheart who speaks her mind, and I’m a huge fan of that philosophy and of hers. I really appreciate that AndreAnna is so open about sharing her struggles and personal information, especially if it may help her readers—fighting the pull of unhealthy food (Part 1 here and Part 2 here),  what the 80/20 balance means, or just trying to be the perfect mom. (Warning: AndreAnna does sometimes use profanity in her posts.)

When AndreAnna posted her Cucumber Watermelon Skinny Martini recipe, I “oohed” and “ahhed” at my computer screen. I am super weak when it comes to a pretty cocktail made from real food ingredients with a little bit of alcohol. This drink fit the bill perfectly … made of cucumbers, watermelon, honey, orange juice, gin, and vodka. Finally, the other day I had a perfectly sweet watermelon on the counter (thank you, Mr. GFE!) and freshly picked cucumbers from Mom and Dad’s garden. ”Hot off the fire” steamed crabs were on the dinner menu. Crabs with AndreAnna’s skinny martini sounded very appealing.  With just a little chopping action and a whir of my blender, I had a lovely, “light” martini to sip while cracking claws and spending time with Mr. GFE. (Note that my martini is not nearly as pretty as AndreAnna’s version as I threw all ingredients into the blender at once.)

The other recipe of AndreAnna’s that I wanted to make from the moment she posted it was her Mexican Pulled Chicken Stuffed Peppers. The pulled chicken in her recipe comes from chicken cooked with tomatoes, green pepper, salsa, spices, and seasonings in the slow cooker. The mixture is then stuffed into a bell pepper, baked in the oven, and topped with cheese and salsa. When it came time to make this recipe, we were headed out camping. I already had slow-cooked barbecued chicken so I decided to use AndreAnna’s concept, but not her exact recipe. I also had other products on hand that I needed to use and I had to make this recipe work for camping. We don’t have electricity on our mountain property where we camp. Well, unless you count the time that we ran 250-feet of extension cords to our neighbor’s outlet for my husband’s 20th college reunion so that the rock band could perform. But I digress.

I chopped my slow-cooked barbecued chicken and mixed it with super spicy salsa, some salsa verde, and cheddar cheese. I spooned the mixture into red bell peppers, wrapped them in foil, and set them right in our campfire for about 20 minutes (same amount of time AndreAnna advised for oven baking). We enjoyed our Mexican stuffed peppers with steamed artichokes. Mr. GFE’s review of the stuffed peppers: “Delicious. Wonderful. Very good. Tasty.” Mr. GFE’s motto is something akin to “why use one word when you can use five?” (If you think I’m wordy, you must meet him one day.) I appreciated his positive feedback though and I completely agreed. This recipe was a very nice change from our normal camping dinner fare and was really easy to make.

The peppers themselves didn’t cook fully for dinner, so we just used them as serving vessels and ate the filling from them for dinner. I saved the empty peppers though and refilled them with leftover filling to eat the next day for lunch. Again, I wrapped them in foil and placed them in our campfire. That time the peppers cooked through and we ate them in their entirety. Total yum. I’m sure I’ll make these stuffed peppers exactly per AndreAnna’s recipe in the future, although if we’re camping, I’ll definitely use the campfire as my oven once again. I did like the ease of using leftover chicken, spicy salsa, and salsa verde, so I may well make stuffed peppers that way in the future, too.

Here are some other recipes and posts of AndreAnna’s that you should definitely check out:

The Best Grain-Free Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread in the History of Man

Primal Banana Walnut Bread (must try this one soon!)

Flourless Grain-Free Fig Newton Mini-Cakes

Apple Pie A La Mode Green Smoothie

Tips on Traveling on Day Trips with Gluten-Free Kids

Not just gf, but gfe!

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33 Responses to “Adoption Time: AndreAnna of Life As A Plate … Skinny Martinis & Stuffed Peppers”

  1. AndreAnna on July 11th, 2011 9:48 am

    OMG, this was the sweetest thing ever! Thank you so much for all the kind words and compliments. I’m glad you liked the martini! As usual, booze rarely fails. :)

    Thanks again, Shirley. I’m so proud to be friends with such an amazing group of people in our GF/Real Food community.

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2011 9:16 pm

      Hey AndreAnna–I’m so glad you liked it, dear! LOVE that quote, “Booze rarely fails.” I’m sooo going to be using that one! ;-) Yes, I love our gf/real food community … good way to describe it. :-)

      I had only one disappointment in preparing this post … I didn’t have a photo of you from the Expo! How did that happen??


  2. Ina Gawne on July 11th, 2011 10:12 am

    What a pretty Martini! And the stuffed peppers look delicious – great combination. And the crab? Oh, how I love fresh crab….wonderful meals!

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2011 9:17 pm

      Thanks, Ina! Yep, we had a few really good days of eating and drinking! ;-)


  3. glutenfreeforgood on July 11th, 2011 12:43 pm

    What a great post! Crabs, martinis, stuffed peppers and steamy artichokes. Boy, you covered the gamut! And it’s so nice to learn a little something extra about our wonderful co-blogger friends. AndreAnna is a perfect one to choose (plus, I love her last name!).

    I’ve never had a martini. Never in my life. I will admit to having my share of red wine over time though. =) I think this recipe might be my incentive to try one. It sounds wonderful with those fresh and cooling ingredients. Perfect for a hot summer evening. The colors are gorgeous.

    Melissa (McLean) Yeah! xo

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2011 9:25 pm

      Hey Melissa–It’s fun to cook in the mountains because heat is so much less a factor. :-) Plus, I have a stove (single burner, but hey!), grill, and the campfire. Love cooking so well for us there. Always have more than enough in case someone stops by (and it does happen). At worst case, I can always bring home leftovers for us for Sunday dinner. ;-) If you’ve stayed away from martinis this long, you must be doing just fine with your red wine!


  4. Tina @madame gluten-free vegetarian on July 11th, 2011 2:08 pm

    Thanks Shirley, for the link love! I enjoyed tasting your recipe, and would have made more (your three chocolate cake recipes were calling to me) but my husband breaking his hip sort of kept me busy. :) Better luck next time, right? As always, I love your posts, and don’t worry about being too wordy. We all love your blog, so don’t change a thing. :) Tina.

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 12:49 pm

      Hey Tina–I’m totally amazed that you made anything considering all your family had going on! Seriously, dear, no worries. You did a wonderful adoption of me and I appreciate it! :-) Sending lot of healing hugs to your “better half.” ;-) Thanks for the super sweet acceptance of my wordiness, too!

      Your friend,
      Shirley “Wordy Girl”

  5. Linda on July 11th, 2011 2:27 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to AndreAnna. Both of the recipes you made look delicious. Sounds like you have been having some great summertime food!

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 12:51 pm

      Hi Linda–I think you’ll love AndreAnna and her recipes! I don’t know why I’d never thought of stuffing sweet bell peppers, but I really loved the difference between that and a stuffed green pepper. Plus, a chicken mixture vs the usual hamburger one was right up my alley. ;-) The beauty of camping is that you can’t heat up the kitchen with making good food!


  6. Ricki on July 11th, 2011 3:53 pm

    What a great review, Shirley! All these grain-free yummies are making me want to go cook something! More and more, I’m heading in that direction, too. . . looks like a wonderful resource. :)

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 12:52 pm

      Hi Ricki–Thanks, dear! I’m with you on leaning towards grain free … those grains are just not agreeing with me much of late. Plus, I love the nutrition offered by the grain-free recipes, too. :-) Enjoy checking out AndreAnna and her blog … I know you’ll love her writing and wit!


  7. Carol, Simply...Gluten-free on July 11th, 2011 4:10 pm

    You had me at skinny martini!!! I am with you, just adore AndreAnna and this is such a great tribute. Now, I will have a martini, a pepper and some crab please!

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 12:54 pm

      Haha, Carol! I know … pretty enticing name, huh? Look at AndreAnna’s photo and you really won’t be able to resist one! Now all who have met AndreAnna are part of her fan club, how cool is that? Let’s get together for this meal soon, shall we? ;-) Oh, to be able to do that with the snap of fingers … only thing I’d like about a high-tech sci fi future!


  8. InTolerantChef on July 11th, 2011 6:24 pm

    What great looking food! Yumm…

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 12:55 pm

      Thanks, InTolerantChef! It was pretty and yummy for sure. :-)


  9. Victoria @ Gluten/Dairy Freedom! on July 11th, 2011 8:42 pm

    Wow, that martini sounds divine. I’ve never tried cucumber in a drink, refreshing!

    I’ve just recently heard about the “Paleo” diet, and I actually reviewed a new Paleo espresso bar inside a Cross Fit Gym here in Toronto. Here’s the link if anyone’s interested:

    I would love to hear more about the “Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger” event. Sounds like a great idea!

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 1:00 pm

      Hi Victoria–Welcome to gfe! :-) I like the name of your blog … so many of us are going for gluten and dairy freedom. Re: AndreAnna’s martini and cucumbers, I have to say other than for simple snacking, cocktails might become my new favorite way to use cucumbers, thanks to AndreAnna. ;-)

      You can read about the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event over at Sea’s Book of Yum and be sure to look for the roundup soon at Wendy’s (Celiacs in the House). It’s a fabulous event to participate in … hope you’ll join us next month!

      Thanks, too, for sharing your review link since we were talking about paleo a bit.


  10. Maggie on July 11th, 2011 8:45 pm

    Another great post Shirley! Looks like you enjoyed yourself with AndreAnna’s recipes! Especially the martini :) I loved learning a little more about Mr. GFE and his wordiness, as well as your party habits! xo

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 5:12 pm

      Hi there, Maggie!–Haha on our party habits (they are excessive LOL), Mr. GFE, and the martini! ;-) I actually enjoyed those stuffed peppers from AndreAnna just as much as the martini. It’s a simple recipe that can easily be made vegan. How about chickpeas in place of the chicken and skip the cheese?


  11. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) on July 11th, 2011 11:26 pm

    I have had the pleasure of meeting AndreAnna and I thought the same things you did! I love her total honesty and quick wit humor. She knows her food, that’s for sure. I will definitely check out those posts! Thank you for sharing this Shirley!

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 5:15 pm

      Hi Sarena–That’s right! You got to meet AndreAnna at BlogHer Food. Yes, she’s totally honest and very funny. When you meet her in person, you find out what a sweetheart she is, too. Yep, she’s super informed on real food and why we should be eating it. Her blog is quite a gift to us all. :-)


  12. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on July 12th, 2011 6:44 pm

    I totally love this tribute to AndreAnna. She is a total hoot and I totally adore her amazing sense of humor. I can only imagine how much fun we would all have cracking crabs together and drinking those delicious sounding martinis. Hmmm…maybe I sense an opportunity on the horizon come fall… teehee

    Oh. And those stuffed peppers also look amazing. I love your idea of saving them for round 2 the next time! What resourceful thinking! LOL ;)

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 5:18 pm

      Thanks, Kim. “Total hoot” is a perfect description of AndreAnna! Oh, it will be fun when we can all get together again! ;-) Those salvaged peppers saved the day when the gas ran out for the grill. And they were 100 times better than the hot dogs I’d planned to “fall back on.”


  13. Wendy @ Celiacs in the House on July 13th, 2011 8:39 am

    You captured AndreAnna perfectly. She is so much fun and it is so refreshing to be with someone so honest with such a quick wit. Her writing is some of the best blog writing too. Great adoption. I’m working on the roundup right now. It’s so exciting to see so many adoptions, but daunting when it comes to putting them together. :)

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 5:22 pm

      Hi Wendy–Thanks, dear! “Refreshing” is a great description of AndreAnna. Somehow she manages it all with total charm and grace, too. Even wallowing in mud for athletic events. ;-) Can’t wait to see the roundup. I hosted once before, so I know it’s quite a job to take all the entries and turn them into a lovely post. I know your summary will be great though! :-) BTW, do you have an email subscription yet? (Sorry, don’t mean to be buggy!)


  14. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat on July 13th, 2011 10:53 am

    I just love that skinny martini! I definitely enjoy a mixed drink or two, but regular martini’s are too intense for. This one looks amazing! Thanks for adopting AndreAnna, because now I’m off to explore her site!

    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 5:24 pm

      Hi Heather–I couldn’t agree more on regular martinis! Mr. GFE’s cousin’s husband makes some really “stiff” martinis. He says drinks are meant to taste like alcohol! I guess I’m just a sissy because I like this light, sweet martini a lot better. Hope you can make yours like AndreAnna did. Hers is so pretty! Hope you have fun checking out Life As A Plate. :-)


  15. Heidi @ Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom on July 13th, 2011 1:43 pm

    I love your post on AndreAnna, Shirley…I love that Jersey girl attitude of hers, she gets me all pumped up, LOL!


    • Shirley on July 13th, 2011 5:26 pm

      Thanks so much, Heidi! It’s hard to capture all that AndreAnna is. I tried to do so without putting “Jersey girl” in my description. LOL Yes, she inspires us all! :-)


  16. Alta on August 5th, 2011 11:32 am

    Great adoption! (I know, I’m a month behind reading my blogs – whoops) I adopted AndreAnna this month! She’s pretty awesome. How did I miss those peppers? Yum!

    • Shirley on August 5th, 2011 6:07 pm

      Alta–Do you keep trying to catch up? I just give up and move on! LOL But that said, I’m glad you’re reading my slightly old posts and taking the time to comment. Yes, AndreAnna rocks. She’s a creative genius in the kitchen! Her recipes are what our bodies need these days I think. ;-) You did a really great job on your adoption of her! :-)


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