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Get Your Nutrients from a Dairy-Free Life

Many people are living the dairy-free lifestyle whether out of choice or because of food allergies or intolerances. This Vitacost guest post addresses ways to ensure you are getting the vital nutrients we often get from dairy. Thanks again Vitacost, very much appreciated!!

Guest blog by Liz Lotts

I scream. You scream. We all scream for…non-dairy ice cream! A dairy-free diet doesn’t have to mean skipping cookout classics like cheeseburgers, potato salad and ice cream. Though your favorite comfort foods contain milk or milk products, they aren’t totally off-limits thanks to the wide selection of dairy-free alternatives now available. But not all alternatives are created equal – some are more nutritious than others.

You probably know milk and milk products offer a range of essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and vitamin D. But did you know an eight-ounce glass of milk provides 18 percent of the daily value for vitamin B12 and 16 percent of the daily value for protein? When you’re lactose intolerant, have a milk allergy or simply prefer not to consume dairy, you could easily miss out on more than those American staples. Ensure your dairy-free diet doesn’t skimp on dairy’s nutrients with these guidelines:

Calcium – It’s an essential mineral that supports bone health and must constantly be replenished. Dairy may be the best known source, but there’s a pool of other foods that provide sufficient calcium. For instance, fortified foods and beverages can be dairy free and calcium rich. Because fortified soy milk has more calcium per cup (368 mg) than milk (306 mg), pour it over your cereal to start your day on a nutritious note. Still screaming for ice cream? Mix coconut milk with fruit, agave nectar, vanilla extract and silken tofu; then freeze in a cake pan until firm. You’ll have a decadent, calcium-packed, non-dairy dessert in no time – homemade, to boot!

Other dairy-free sources of Calcium include: dark leafy greens (kale, collard and turnip greens, bok choy), broccoli, ground sesame seeds (tahini), almonds, beans, and wild salmon (with the bones).

Vitamin DA glass of milk provides more than 25 percent of the daily value for vitamin D to help support bone health and nervous system and immune function. That’s hard to top – unless you’re hooked on salmon (112 percent of the daily value in three ounces!) or swordfish. The truth is there aren’t many natural food sources of vitamin D, which may be why the U.S. government implemented a fortification program in the 1930s. Today, you’ll find many cereals and other ready-to-eat breakfast foods fortified with vitamin D. Just a few minutes of natural sun exposure can help boost vitamin D3 levels. However, your best– and the safest – dairy-free alternative may be a vitamin D supplement. (Tip: Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the optimal D variety due to its greater potency and greater long-term impact.)

Protein – Protein in milk is considered a “complete protein,” because it provides all the essential amino acids that help maintain the health of muscles and tissues. To meet these same standards, stick to lean meat and poultry, which can provide 30 grams of protein per three-ounce serving. When you’re craving a cheeseburger, choose the leanest ground beef, or spare some calories by making it a turkey burger. Instead of cheese, top your burger with sliced avocado or guacamole – you’ll get the same creamy texture without the dairy.

Other great sources of proteins can be from plants, check out this past Vitacost guest post: http://www.totalhealthcounseling.com/2012/pick-your-protein/

Vitamin B12This vitamin is essential for proper red blood cell formation. Vitamin B12 is naturally found mostly in animal products with levels in trout, tuna and clams topping the charts. However, if you’re allergic to fish or live a vegan lifestyle, these options aren’t appealing. To ensure you’re getting enough vitamin B12, you may want to start a daily supplement routine. Methylcobalamin is the preferred form of this vitamin and comes as a capsule, tablet – even a fruit-flavored lozenge.

This article has been provided by the folks at Vitacost.com. Offering more than just vitamins and supplements, Vitacost.com has a wide selection of over 35,000 organic, natural products for your healthy lifestyle. From organic foods and bath & beauty items to sports nutrition favorites and pet essentials, Vitacost.com has your needs covered – for less! Take your shopping list to Vitacost.com and take the cost out of healthy living. Vitacost.com is not affiliated with this blog and isn’t responsible for content outside of this article.

Eat Well At Wicked Awesome Snackbar

I have to admit I love the name of this place, Wicked Awesome Snackbar! Being from the Northeast, I grew up saying wicked awesome or wicked cool. I believe the roots of those sayings are from Boston, but they somehow made it to my small upstate NY community.

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If you are out and about 441 & Glades in West Boca, you have to stop in for some amazing food for lunch or dinner! My husband and I stopped there for lunch on a Saturday afternoon to replenish and take a quick break from our adventures. There is a unique selection of house made salads, sandwiches, pizzettes, and meatballs(?). I highly recommend The Leftover, which originates as a sandwich on the menu, but I ordered it as a salad. My husband ordered The Leftover sandwich and was equally delighted with his choice. The turkey is roasted in house, topped with bacon and avocado, served with house made cranberry relish over a bed of organic and greens with a side of dressing. This dish really blew us both away!! The turkey meat was succulent, juicy, and incredible paired with avocado and cranberry relish – a perfect marriage of flavors.

I also want to compliment Wicked Awesome Snackbar for serving hormone free meats and organic fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. Yes it can be done. The lunch portions were just right too, we were both happily satisfied.

Most of their dishes are tapas, which is a great idea, because you will want to try multiple items on the menu. They also make their own breads, cookies and cakes. I spotted a whoopie pie on the counter, how often do you see one of those! My husband enjoyed the fresh baked brioche bread for his sandwich. If you are into craft beer, you will be pleasantly surprised by their large selection, including local Florida microbrews. All of their beers are currently served in bottles.

The staff is very friendly and accommodating. I told them I am allergic to gluten and dairy and was served a wonderful meal to meet my needs and was absolutely delicious!

Wicked Awesome Snackbar: http://wickedawesomesnackbar.com/

20642 S State Road 7 (441) Glades and 441, store front Facing 441

Boca Raton, FL 33498

561-883-3200

A Memorable Evening At The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille is well known for their high quality food, wine, and wonderful service. For my husband’s upcoming birthday I wanted to take him somewhere very special and when our friends raved about The Capital Grille it was set that we would go there. We checked out their menu online and I called to make reservations. They asked if it was a special occasion and I said yes, my husband’s birthday. It must be common that people go for a special occasion and now we understand exactly why. They told me for birthdays they offer a complimentary flourless chocolate espresso cake, perfect!

The menu looked great to me, but I wanted to make sure there were gluten free and dairy free options, it’s hard to tell when it comes to sauces and preparation methods aren’t always explicit about ingredients. I filled out a contact form on their website with my concerns and they sent me an e-mail from the head chef the very next day. They explained how they would keep everything separate to avoid contamination as much as possible. They gave me a list of gluten free foods by appetizer, salad, entrée, and dessert selection. I was so pleased by their response and was confident we could dine there worry free.

Below is what they wrote:

Dear Mrs. Higgins:
Thank you for taking the time to contact us and for your interest in The Capital Grille.  Please notify the Chef or a manager upon arrival of your food allergies and we will use new tongs and pans to prepare your food and take extra steps to keep your food away from items with gluten.  While we do have flour, dairy, soy, and corn in our kitchens, and as such, cannot guarantee an absolutely allergen free experience, the items listed below are made from recipes that do not include gluten.
APPETIZERS
– Wagyu Carpaccio
– Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella ordered without croutons
– Oysters on the half shell
– Shrimp Cocktail
– Cold Shellfish Platter
SALADS
– Caesar Salad ordered without croutons
– Garden Salad ordered without dressing
– The Wedge Salad
– Spinach Salad
SIDES
-Roasted Crimini, Portabella, Shiitake, Oyster Mushrooms
-Baked Potatos are typically available upon request
-Fresh Asparagus with Hollandaise
-Sams Mashed Potatoes
ENTREES
– Any steak ordered without sauce
– Lamb Chops without Cherry Mostarda
– Fresh Lobster
– Fresh Seared Salmon fillet ordered without citrus glaze
– Fresh Swordfish with lemon shallot relish
– Sesame Seared Tuna ordered
– Roasted Chicken
DESSERT
Crème Brulee
– Fresh Berries with Vanilla Cream
– Sorbet
– Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake
-Handcrafted Ice Cream ordered without the biscotti
We look forward to serving you. Please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to further customize a meal that suits your needs.
Sincerely,
Jim Nuetzi
Corporate Executive Chef
The Capital Grille
407-245-5199

We were immediately seated when we arrived and they had a birthday card and metallic confetti on the table waiting for us. A printed gluten free menu was waiting for me and we were offered a complimentary Champagne toast to start off the evening. Thank you! The server was very helpful and let us know they could accommodate all of our needs. We asked a few questions and took our time ordering a bottle of wine. An outstanding selection with several different types of wines and wines by country and regions. We selected a Mark West Pinot Noir which was an excellent choice.

Dining at The Capital Grille was an experience similar to what we remember from our vacation in Paris a few years ago. There was no rush to order, the evening was relaxing, and you never feel rushed by any means. This is how dining is really meant to be. Turning tables is not the point at this establishment, creating a memorable experience is the whole intention, and that’s exactly what they did for us.

My husband ordered a cup of the French Onion soup to start which was filled with rich caramelized onions, draped by a blanket of bubbled up broiled cheese on top and the signature piece of bread at the bottom of the cup. He was delighted! We were served bread at the table with butter, my husband enjoyed a few slices of what looked like focaccia bread with soft butter.

I ordered the Filet Oscar without the sauce Béarnaise Sauce. My husband ordered the special of the evening, Filet with Butter Poached Lobster. We also ordered half portions of the sides, Sautéed Spinach cooked with olive oil and whole roasted garlic cloves(yum!) and Au Gratin Potatoes. The server let us know we could place half orders of the sides since the portions are large and it was just the two of us. This worked well as my husband had the Au Gratin Potatoes to himself, since they are filled with cheese and topped with bread crumbs. He said they were the best he ever had! I remember eating Betty Crocker au gratin potatoes from the box when I was younger, these looked absolutely delicious – no comparison.

The filets were cooked perfectly, medium rare, they were lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, nothing more was needed. A good quality piece of meat needs nothing more than a little S+P, quite amazing! The crab meat on top, tender and moist chunks, quite excellent!

We just had to save room for dessert so a take home box for dinner was needed. Dessert arrived with a lit candle and the server took our picture, another complimentary offering! We also each had a single shot espresso that went perfectly with the flourless chocolate espresso cake. The cake was moist with a rich chocolate espresso flavor, not overpowering by any means, the flavors were just right.

The evening was wonderful, we could not have wanted for anything more. My only request is to go back for my birthday in September!

The Capital Grille

Boca Raton Town Center Mall

6000 Glades Road

Boca Raton, FL 33431

561.368.1077

Turkey Stew

Crockpot to the rescue with this delicious homemade meal I call turkey stew.

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These are two turkey thighs, I prefer them over cooking with chicken thighs. These do well when cooked for 10 hrs.

Ingredients:

2 turkey thighs, about 2#

4 small red potatoes

1 cup baby carrots or two carrots cut into 2 inch pieces

1 cup celery, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 medium onion, cut into semi-circles

spices: sea salt, paprika, black pepper, oregano

Method:

1. Peel and cut onion into semi-circle pieces. Place in bottom of crockpot.

2. Rinse well and cut potatoes in half, then half again.

3. Rinse carrots and celery, baby carrots can be tossed right into pot, if using whole carrots, cut carrots and celery sticks into 2 inch pieces.

4. Toss all veggies in crockpot.

5. Remove turkey thighs from packaging and place on top of veggies.

6. Sprinkle on sea salt, paprika, black pepper, and oregano. Feel free to use your favorite spices.

7. Cover and set to Low, cook for 8-10 hours. I typically cook for 10hrs and it comes out great!

8. Pull apart turkey and places meat and veggies in serving bowl.

9. Enjoy!

Dinner is ready in about 10 minutes when you get home, what could be better than that?

Serve with a green salad for some crunch!

Time Saving Tip: Prep and fill your crockpot with ingredients the night before and put into fridge, then you can just pop into crockpot heater, set to Low and head out the door.

Decadent Chocolate Valentine’s Cake

Valentine’s Day treat for your sweetie! This chocolate delight is both dairy free and gluten free for your special loved one.

Serve with lots of hugs and kisses XOXO!

 

Recipe adapted from my Birthday Cake!

Ingredients:

* 1 cup millet flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour

* 1/2 cup quinoa flakes

* 3/4 cup unrefined turbinado sugar

* 4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

* 4 Tablespoons applesauce PLUS 2 Tablespoons canola oil

* 1 cup water

* 1/3 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Sift flour, quinoa flakes, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa together into an 8×8 inch ungreased cake pan.

3. Make three depressions. Pour applesauce and oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour water over all, and stir well with fork.

4. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of batter in pan.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

6. Cool completely, then cut into 16 small squares.

Moist and delicious, the perfect Valentine chocolate treat for your sweetie!

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