Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aqua Reef Las Cruces' Hidden Gem

Aqua Reef - EuroAsian Cuisine is Las Cruces' Hidden Gem

       You wouldn't guess by the understated exterior that a fine dining experience awaits the special needs diner (non special need diners as well) but I assure you, you'll be blown away. 

      Aqua Reef features Euro Asian cuisine offered in an east meets west theme. From the elegant floating boat sushi bar to the intimate dining room, the unique and warm ambiance will keep this gluten free explorer coming back. 

      Let me tell you about the AMAZING 100% GLUTEN FREE MEAL I shared with my husband this past weekend. We started out our meal with hot sake for him and Moscato for moi. 

     For our appetizer we shared a Baja roll (shrimp, avocado, cucumber, and sesame seeds wrapped in rice and nori) and a smoked salmon and mango roll (smoked salmon, mango, cream cheese, and scallions wrapped in rice and nori) served complete with pickled ginger, wasabi, and gluten free soy sauce.

     For our entrees, he had rice paper salmon (pan seared salmon wrapped in rice paper with cilantro, pesto, and spices) and I enjoyed green tea curry chicken (Chicken and vegetables in a coconut green tea sauce with jasmine rice).

     I can tell you that I really did not want to stop eating that curry, the sauce has such a depth of flavor that kept me saying mmm.  However, I knew if I ate all of my curry I wouldn't have room for dessert and nothing was going to keep me from  the kahlua chocolate mousse (a delectable pillow of chocolate mousse that has been infused with rich kahlua and topped with fresh whipped cream served in a spectacular smoke and ice display. 

       I will be completely honest and say when I saw that mousse heading to our table, I did not want to share any of it with my Mr. Being the loving life partner I am,  I did share nicely. As long as I am being honest I will also let you know that I had quite an inner struggle going on when we reached the end of the mousse. I really wanted to lick that bowl clean. I managed to rein myself in and be content with making sure I  got all of it off of my spoon and okay maybe I trailed my finger along in the bowl a little bit.

      It was a great experience. The food was truly wonderful, the service was attentive, and the prices we very fair. It is this explorer's opinion that Aqua Reef has set the bar pretty high Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Suite B
900 South Telshor Boulevard, Las Cruces, NM 88011
(575) 522-7333

Open Mon-Thu,Sun 11am-9pm; Fri-Sat 11am-10pm

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gluten Free Polenta Crust Pizza

                                             Gluten Free Polenta Crust Pizza

Talk about MMM Good! I let this sweet baby bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or so allowing it to get golden and firm. It was so worth the wait!

1C course ground cornmeal
1 egg beaten until foamy
2 TBS cornstarch
3C Veggie Stock ( I make my own but any gf stock will do)
1tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp oregano

Mix 1 cup of cold veg stock with cornmeal and starch in bowl.  Heat on medium in a pot 2C stock, red pepper flakes, and oregano Add cornmeal mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Remove from heat and add parmesan. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before adding egg so it doesn't scramble in mixture. poor in to a large spring form pan. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes. (baking time may vary from oven to oven. I recommend checking frequently after 30 minutes.)

Add whatever toppings you like on your pizza and bake for 10 more minutes to get things melty.


Cheese Giving Celiac's the Blues

Cheese Giving Celiac's the Blues

I don't really care for blue cheeses but I have just recently learned that blue cheeses including gorgonzola, stilton, and roquefort are often made with a mold from wheat. 

Here is a list of reported gluten free blue cheeses:

BelGioioso gorgonzola

Marin French Cheese Factory 

Maytag blue cheese

Montforte blue cheese and gorgonzola

Pt. Reyes blue cheese

Rosenborg blue cheese 

Paladin MonSalvat blue cheese

   Sorry to those of you that loved this stinky food and can't find gluten free options in your area.

I know it is hard to give up the tasty treats we are into.  (This week I am mad at anyone that can eat sopapillas. Let me know if you have a GF recipe. I will <3 you forever!)
There is a whole world full of really smelly cheeses out there (do your research before you eat them) and just maybe you will find something to get your taste buds singing again.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

**Gluten Free Harvest Hash**

                                                             Gluten Free Harvest Hash

Today's lunch was a yummy hash I made with delectable local produce. In a little bit of sunflower oil with a hot skillet I browned up some halved brussel sprouts and onions. I threw in some cubed butternut squash that I had roasted whole the day before. I added some sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, pressed garlic, and caraway seeds. I let the browning continue on medium heat for about 10 minutes. I then added some  tomato cut into large chunks and some fresh minced rosemary.  (about 2 small sprigs, stems removed). When everything was all caramelized and my mouth was watering at the smell, I deglazed the hash with a couple good shakes of balsamic vinegar.  

While all that goodness was happening over on one side of the stovetop. In another pan I was simmering the remaining butternut squash in some veggie stock with some paprika, sea salt, and pepper. When it was fork tender I used my immersion blender until it was smooth, thick, and creamy. I then grated some fresh parmigiano reggiano into the squash for a rich and creamy sauce.

It was pretty awesome. It didn't take more than 30 minutes to cook and was a great way to use up the surplus of veggies I still had hanging out from last weeks farmer's market.

Good stuff!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Balsamic Apple Sauce *Quick and Easy*


                                                  Balsamic Apple Sauce *Quick and Easy*

Hey there!

I got a bunch of beautiful apples from Freecycle the other day. I requested surplus fruits, veggies, or nuts from gardens and got a response right away. I came home with 3 bags full of fresh, pesticide free, homegrown goodness. I have been making many apple delights and wanted to share this quick and easy dish with you.

First I peeled, cored, and sliced 12 small apples (or 6 large).  I threw them into a pot with 1/2 a cup  of water.  Then I added the following: 2 TBSP of  cane sugar, a pinch of sea salt,  2 TBSP of cinnamon , some fresh grated nutmeg (Just a few swipes of the nut. A little goes a long way!), 1 TBSP of Balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp of lemon juice. I boiled these covered on medium heat for 30 minutes. Blended with an immersion blender. Presto! Tangy apple goodness for your rumbly tumbly!

100% gluten free


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gluten Free Pound Cake Made to Order!

Looking for a gluten free pound cake? Place your order here:

Welcome to Gluten Free Explorer!

Hi there,
My name is Angee and I have started this blog to reach out to all of those in their various stages of gluten free exploration. In this blog I will share with you: relevant news, tips as well as experiences on gluten free travel and dining, recipes, product info, and personal insights. 
Maybe you are curious about all of the fuss surrounding gluten and being gluten free. Perhaps you have an interest in a healthier gluten free life style. Maybe you have a sensitivity or you are a member of the celiac/sprue community. All are welcome to explore here!

For this first post I would like to share some information about what celiac disease is, the symptoms, the treatment, and my personal story.
I have celiac disease and have been gluten free for about 3 years now.  Great news, there is life after gluten! Many find that it is a much happier and healthier life style. I know I sure do.
Celiac Disease or Sprue is a genetic autoimmune disorder in which the body incorrectly reacts to gluten ( a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye)  as if it were a toxin. On average celiac disease or gluten sensitivity effects about 1:130 people, many still undiagnosed. Those that go undiagnosed maybe high risk for an array of maladies and disorders.
Some symptoms of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity are: gas, diarrhea, bloating, weight loss or gain, rash, fatigue, weakness, headaches, infertility, abnormal uterine bleeding, gall bladder troubles, kidney issues, liver problems, depression, anxiety, abdominal cramping, bone pain, anemia, muscle spasms, and nerve pain. This disease effects people of all ages, genders, and nationalities.
To receive a diagnosis you must, while still eating gluten, have blood tests followed by a biopsy of the small bowel to see if the intestinal lining has sustained damage. Once diagnosed the only recourse is to follow a gluten free diet. There is no quick fix pill to take.
This is a drastic life style change and it is normal to experience a certain amount of grief. It helps to take a step back an appreciate the trade off...for me, though I will tell you sometimes I am heartsick for yummy foods I used to adore, it is worth it!

 At the height of my celiac distress I believed with all my being I was going to die. I was having  constant muscle pain and spasms, nerve pain, intestinal distress of all sorts, rashes, debilitating weakness and fatigue, headaches, uncontrollable uterine bleeding, fertility problems, IgA Nephropathy, and yes depression and anxiety. 

Doctors couldn't figure out my problem and so many times I was told I was simply depressed, I had fibromyalgia, I needed to lose weight. None of the physicians wanted to hear " I am depressed because not a one of you can tell me what is wrong. No I don't believe it is just something to be written off as fibromyalgia, and I bet my diet is better than yours." Many docs thought I was just looking for pain pills. I couldn't get them to hear me. 
My husband had to do research from the home-front. After many long hours he discovered celiac disease and we became armed with info that I believe saved my life. Being informed forces busy doctors to hear what you have to say! 

For those of you still struggling for answers as to why you feel so poorly, you are paying for these Doc's services. Make sure they are willing to work for you or shop around and find one that is willing to put in the work towards getting your needs met.  If you think this might be the root of your aliments tell them you want to be tested and start on your path to wellness!
I look forward to exploring this lifestyle with you!
*This information is not intended to be medical advice. Please seek medical advice from a physician.

(Katz)Marble Cake French Toast and Vanilla Saffron Salted Caramel with Brûlée Figs

Happy Sunday Gluten Free Kids!

I really love Sundays.Why? One Word. BRUNCH! I became addicted while living in Madison, WI and partaking in this delightful pastime with some very dear friends. However, we are on a tight student budget these days in Las Cruces and brunching at home is so much more budget friendly.

Decadent and blissful is what we had for brunch today. Gluten free doesn't have to be tasteless or boring!

 Today I started out with a marble cake made by Katz ( I dipped the cake slices in a mixture of 2 eggs (you can use egg substitute), almond milk, and vanilla bean paste. I grilled these for a few minutes.

I then cut in half and sugar coated the figs and brûléed them. (use a brûlée torch or if you don't have one you can sear them on a very hot pan for a minute) Figs are such a lovely looking fruit but this just transforms them into divine!

I made my caramel by adding two tablespoons of cane sugar into a hot sauce pan. I let this hang out and get toasty for a few minutes until starting to boil, then I added some vanilla bean paste, saffron threads, 2 Tbsp of butter, and a pinch of salt. I allowed all these guys to hang out in the pan for a minute or two getting to know each other and then I added almond milk (about a half a cup). I brought these guys back up to a rolling boil for two minutes and then let cool.

It is a great way to make a gluten free product work for you and a quick 30 minute gluten free breakfast or brunch!

Now for a bike ride to work off those calories!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Product Review: Pamela's Products, Inc " Simplebites Chocolate Chip Mini Cookie"

Product Review: Pamela's Products, Inc " Simplebites Chocolate Chip Mini Cookie"

Greetings Explorers!

I have something important to tell the Gluten Free Folks around the world about this product. Oh my gosh, FREAKING YUMMTASTIC! 

This is the chocolate chip cookie I have been missing these past few years. 

These cookies are so wonderful that non gluten free noshers keep coming back for more. If you pop these babies in the oven for a minute or two, so that they get warm and gooey, you will be transported to a place in time where life is simple and a glass of milk (or milk alternative) can solve the problems of the world.  Kids, cookies just don't get much better than this.

 Another great thing about Pamela's products, Inc. donates to Celiac Sprue & Autsim Support, and Research Organizations! 

Peace and dreamy, chocolaty noshing,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dr.Hauschka Skin Care Fits the Gluten Free Lifestyle

Dr.Hauschka Skin Care Fits the Gluten Free Lifestyle

This is good news! 124 of 130 Dr. Hauschka skin care products are gluten free per the German Celiac Society. To take a look go to or

"Dr.Hauschka, a holistic skin care brand founded by Dr. Rudolf Hauschka and manufactured in Germany by WALA Heilmittel, still stands true to its original mission ingrained from the beginning—to Heal Humanity and the Earth. Dr.Hauschka Skin Care created a company powered by compassion, maintaining its interest of fostering well-being in the world, from ecologically sound methods of growing and sourcing ingredients to one-of-a-kind manufacturing processes and international fair trade initiatives. The brand's product offering encompasses an overarching message to consumers that their purity and efficacy are helping people to nurture their health and beauty as well as inspiring them to recognize and foster beauty and well-being in others." Source:

A Site Every Gluten Free Person Should Follow

Howdy Fellow Gluten Free Explorers,

Just wanted to drop a quick note about a site that I feel is a must have in any Gluten Free Kid's repertoire;

This site has priceless info to gluten free health.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Product Sensitivity and Sadness

Greetings Fellow Gluten Free Explorers,

Today I am a little bummed to report that I have discovered other new sources of gluten in my life. After my lotion discovery I decided to look at my newly purchased line of shampoo, conditioner, volumizer & thickener, and hair spray. I am sad to report they all have gluten in them. Specifically wheat starch, and hydrolyzed wheat protein.

So I urge you to check all your products and fire the ones that don't play on the gluten free team!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Itching and Scratching in Las Cruces

Greetings Fellow GF Explorers!

I have had a pretty mild but irritating and widespread skin rash for the past week and was having difficulty finding the culprit.  The offender to my derma turned out to be my new and lovely lotion that I had been enjoying tremendously. So a word of caution, Friends! Make sure that all products that you come into contact with are safe for you to use!