This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth ‘n Soul, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Wheatless Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Food On Fridays, Friday Foodie Fix–Honey, Friday Foodie Fix–Balsamic Vinegar, and Friday Foodie Fix–Zucchini.
I’ve eaten more zucchini this summer than at any time previously in my life. I’ve added zucchini to scrambled eggs, Chicken Crepes, casseroles like Cheesy Chicken Zucchini Bake, and ”thrown together” stir fry dishes and skillet suppers. I made Potato-Zucchini Soup in my slow cooker. I baked traditional “vanilla” zucchini bread and the irresistible chocolate version as well. I’ve loved the zucchini in all of these recipes. So when our monthly beekeeping newsletter arrived the other day and it included a recipe for Fresh Zucchini Toss, I knew I had to try it right away. Although my zucchini supply through a work friend had dried up (literally) quite a while back, I knew I could easily pick up some zucchini at my grocery store.
As usual I adapted this recipe to my preferences and what I had on hand. And, to be honest, I didn’t even actually make this salad for the most part. I had run short of time in completing my “to do” list for our support group meeting this past week. So when members arrived and started asking how they could help, I handed them the recipe and all that was needed—well, almost all that was needed. I told my one friend, DeLaura, that we would not be using Iceberg lettuce (as specified in the original recipe), but rather a “spring mix” of salad greens. She nodded in acknowledgement, but then I got caught up in greeting new members and other dinner preparation (like heating Cheese Rolls, baking Oatmeal Marble Squares). Bottom line—I forgot to get out the salad greens. So the Fresh Zucchini Toss did not get tossed with anything that evening, which you can see in the photos taken by DeLaura’s daughter, Tara. (Tara just turned 13 and is in love with photography. She took at least 100 photos at our meeting and really did a nice job—I’ll be sharing some more soon.)
However, the next day I mixed in salad greens and also added roasted chicken for topping. The result was quite the enjoyable dinner meal for one while Mr. GFE was away. Another day for lunch, I ate the Zucchini Toss just as it was (without adding salad greens), as my accompaniment to leftover steamed shrimp—a perfect pairing. You really can’t go wrong with this zucchini toss—however you choose to make it!
Fresh Zucchini Toss
(Click here for a print version of this recipe.)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup honey (I used raw honey from our bees)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I used a fresh ground peppercorn medley)
2 large zucchini (about 2 cups or so), chopped into small pieces
6 cups or more of mixed salad greens (cut or torn into bite-size pieces, if needed)
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced or chopped (your preference)
1 cup gluten-free croutons (optional; diced Savory Sandwich Waffles would be ideal as croutons)
2 tomatoes (about 1 cup), chopped
Combine first six ingredients thoroughly in a jar. Shake well. Pour over zucchini. Chill 30 minutes or more. Place salad greens in a large salad bowl. Add zucchini mixture and toss lightly. Garnish with, or mix in, onion, croutons, and tomatoes.
Makes about 9 servings. (The serving bowl shown above contains double this recipe.)
Adapted from National Honey Board
Shirley’s Notes: We didn’t chill the zucchini mixture before making the zucchini toss for our support group meeting, but this recipe was still delicious. Depending upon how much dressing you like with your salad, you may be able to add more greens to the mix. With an oil and vinegar based recipe like this one, I don’t usually need a lot of dressing. There’s actually much more dressing than is needed in the photo above. If you feel the same about a lighter amount of dressing, I suggest either adding more greens or reducing the amount of dressing a bit.
And More “Salad” …
Mr. GFE often says “If you mix apples and oranges, you get fruit salad.” He is the king of such expressions. Southern upbringing can do that to a person and, frankly, I have my own share of those types of sayings, too. So in the rest of this post, I’m making “more salad,” by telling you some things I wish to share from our current gluten-free world.
Another picture perfect and taste sensation, which my assistant chefs made, was Alta’s (Tasty Eats At Home) End of Summer Peach Salsa. Alta shared this Peach Salsa recipe in a guest post over at Amy’s. I thought it was very telling that my “event photographer” took 10 photos of this salsa, including two which captured the empty bowl. How much time elapsed between the full bowl and the delightfully empty one? Not much at all! Run, don’t walk, to grab all the ingredients, chop, and mix; it’s that easy and, yes, that good. Oh, and I could find neither fresh basil nor mint at my local grocer so I just used some basil I had dried from my basil plant that expired earlier this summer. Plus, I skipped the mint. I also didn’t have a lime, so the juice from half a lemon was used. I have enough peaches and tomatoes to make another batch and I’m going to for sure! Mr. GFE and I can enjoy a small batch as an appetizer with our newfound Divers Down, Bottoms Up cocktail on our screened porch. We’re still catching up after his week of scuba diving in Saba and St. Kitts. Saba Spice, a “liqueur” of sorts made by families for generations and which can only be purchased in Saba, is the key ingredient of our aptly named drinks.
If you followed the links back to all the adoption posts from the August Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger roundup or keep up with me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably already know about my exciting news. I’m presenting at the Gluten-Free and Allergen Free Expo in the spring! Most of you know this event as the Gluten-Free Cooking Expo and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing—cooking, and sharing my gfe approach. Some of my other best gluten-free buddies will be presenting as well, but I’m not going to steal their thunder because I haven’t yet seen announcements on their sites. As I shared the other day, Jennifer (Jen) Cafferty (Gluten-Free Life with Jen) is the creator of this event, which has grown yearly in scope, size, and acclaim. This year’s Expo will be held right outside Chicago in Lisle, IL. Yes, this event in months away, but some folks really do need to plan ahead that far. I’m incredibly honored and excited to be part of this event! I’ll share much more info, including a link the new Expo website, as the event gets closer and more information is released.
Speaking of Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger, be sure to sign up for this month’s event over at Sea’s here. I already see some bloggers who are new to me in the adoption line-up, plus old friends as well—fun! Let’s set a new adoption record, shall we?
Another of my favorite, monthly gluten-free events, Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free, is being hosted by two bloggers this month. As Naomi shares in her “launch” post, “This month is bought to you firstly by wholesome Ali Segersten of Nourishing Meals, with a healthy lunch-box theme and a truly inspiring post, bursting with ideas for lunch-boxes and a useful chart for balancing the food you pack for lunch every day. Children can even use this chart to pick their own balanced meal – a very empowering experience, and more likely to ensure that they eat everything they take to school. Our second host is the chic and playful French blogger, Choupichen of C’est Sans Gluten – who stepped in at the last minute when Ali was AWOL, with the exciting challenge of gluten free bread!”
First, let’s talk about meeting the gluten-free lunch-box needs. Without a doubt this is the request that I get most often from parents of school-age children in my support group. So I hope to get up a post and offer my lunch ideas and thoughts on this topic before the deadline. One big item that’s certainly needed for lunches is healthy snacks. You’ll want to stay tuned for my upcoming review of Katie Kimball’s (Kitchen Stewardship) e-books, Healthy Snacks to Go and Family Camping Handbook. These e-books are already shown on my sidebar, if you want to check them out now. A recipe will be shared! Katie is not exclusively gluten free, but many of her recipes are naturally gluten free and she tells you how to adapt other recipes to be gluten free, and free of other allergens as well.
And, how about Choupichen’s Go Ahead Honey theme … gluten-free bread, you say? Other than bread items like Kiva’s Golden Flax Bread, Popovers, and Garlic Cheese Biscuits, I have pretty much steered clear of gluten-free “traditional” breads. But that might be changing. Linda (The Gluten Free Homemaker) just mentioned that she made her French bread using millet flour instead of sorghum with great success. As I can’t yet tolerate sorghum flour, but am a big fan of millet flour, I’m very anxious to try this variation. Who knows … that might inspire me to get creative and enter a gluten-free bread for Choupichen’s roundup! How about you? Do you have some homemade gluten-free bread that you want to share with all? Okay, you are required only to share your post with recipe and photos; no samples need to be mailed (although I’m sure they wouldn’t be turned down by Naomi, our always gracious hostess, or anyone else for that matter).
Donielle who writes Naturally Knocked Up, the blog designed to increase your odds of conception through natural living and nourishing foods, recently hosted a series on the benefits of living gluten free. Of course, as you would expect, I couldn’t be more on board with this topic. So I was very honored when Donielle asked me if I’d like to do a guest post for the series. My guest post, which simply walks one through the gfe approach as an introduction, is shown here. But be sure to check out the other posts as well: I didn’t get in my answers in time to be on the panel, but I did enjoy reading the Q&A and thought there was valuable info there for all. Everyone has a slightly different perspective, approach, and tips, but I very much appreciate the real food focus shown. Check out the Gluten-Free Panel Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four. Other notable parts of the series were Transition to Gluten Free; Gluten, Grains, and Children with Developmental Issues; and Gluten-Free Beauty. Finally, check out the opening post for the series, which included the association of gluten to infertility and many other health issues, and a podcast from Dr. Tom O’Bryan.
Further on the topic of infertility, Tiffany Janes just shared over the Celiac-Disease.com that the connection between celiac and infertility is finally getting mainstream press, but more importantly she stated that, “Dr. Green’s team at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University is now working with fertility experts in the U.S. to further educate doctors in that field about the condition.” As it stands now, education about celiac and non-celiac issues is still largely self-initiated or sort of a grass roots movement, if you will. As Tiffany said, “The reason more and more people are being diagnosed with celiac in the U.S. now is not because the average doctor thinks to test patients for celiac. It’s because people go in and ask to be tested for it.” Tiffany is absolutely correct, and that realization alone is reason enough to keep spreading awareness daily. Although numbers of those diagnosed with either are increasing slowly, they are increasing, so give yourself a pat on the back if you’re helping educate folks on gluten issues!
As I shared the other day, I also did a guest post for Iris over at The Daily Dietribe as part of her ongoing Gluten-Free Fall Specials series. Oatmeal Marble Squares were my featured recipe. I shared two versions, the original indulgent version and a new healthier iteration. Be sure to check out all the posts in the series. The latest comes from Selene of Veganlicious. I love how Selene shares her appreciation of all things fall before she delivers the goods, with a bang so to speak—Blueberry Explosion Muffins!
Dr. Rodney Ford is on a drive to increase the numbers of those who “like” his Facebook page devoted to a Gluten-Free Planet. The ultimate goal, of course, is futhering the concept of a Gluten-Free Planet. So he’s running a contest with prizes for those who bring new readers. You can read all about it here, but prizes include a consultation with him, a Food Allergy E-Clinic assessment (this e-clinic is his online allergy clinic), and some of his books. I love Dr. Ford and his mission! It is my own opinion that gluten does no body any good—separation and emphasis intended. Do not underestimate the harm that gluten can do … to the young and old alike. Please take a moment to read Amy’s (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free) post today on the difference a gluten-free diet has made to a four-year old. By reaching out in a guest post—even when it felt uncomfortable to do so—Amy made a huge difference in this child’s and his family’s lives. Again, please read, and share this story. With that in mind, I think most of us can support the Gluten-Free Planet mission, can’t we? There are plenty of non-gluten grains for those who still want to eat grains.
Finally, the winner of the Bodum products giveaway for coffee and wine lovers has been posted here! I’ll be back next week with another roundup and there’ll be some other posts you’ve been waiting for in the mean time, too.
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