UPDATED How to Bake Challah Gluten Free…Challa-lujah!

I have previously professed my LOVE for challah I have been working hard on perfecting my gluten free challah recipe to make it even more delicious and just like we all remember prior to going gluten free. Let’s be honest living in a world without challah is not easy especially for me since I went gluten-free in 2012. For me that was one of the harder items to give-up, but the positives out weighed the negatives and I eventually learned to live without. Those that know me, know that I am a huge believer and preacher in just because you are gluten-free does not mean you need to live without. So my big question is what have I been doing for the past few years without challah?! Well the wait is OVER and NOBODY will have to live without again! Close down those laptops and open up your ovens and repeat after me, Challa-lujah!

 

Gluten Free Challah

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Pamela’s Bread Mix (Following the ratio is extremely important)
  • 1 ½ cups Gluten-Free King Arthur Bread and Pizza Mix (Sticking to the ratio is extremely important)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 – 2 tsp Honey Bare Honey Vanilla Bean (Liquid honey does not work well)
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup non-diary butter, melted (Earth Balance Non-Dairy Butter Sticks)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 ¼ tsp yeast
  • Chocolate Chips (Optional and desired quantity is up to you! Who does not love chocolate chip challah?!!!!)

Instructions

  1. Mix all together for four minutes on medium speed in a stand mixer.
  2. Once all ingredients are blended separate the dough evenly in half and fill two lightly greased bread pans.
  3. If you are looking for a perfectly braided challah I highly recommend the The Kosher Cook Royal Challah Silicone Bread Molds. While you could easily use piping bags to the braid the dough it is extremely sticky and besides the Royal Challah bread molds besides being a huge time saver, they make your challahs look beautiful!
  4. Let the challah’s rise for at least 90 minutes in the oven with the steam bake setting turned on and water in the steam tray. If you do not have that setting place in a non-heated oven with the light on and a glass bowl with warm water on the lower rack.
  5. After the 90 minutes, place both challahs molds on the middle rack in a preheated 350º oven for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and very gently flip the challah bread molds releasing the challah from the molds onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. At this point the challah will be partially baked.
  7. Brush on an egg wash (egg yolk mixed with a touch of water).
  8. Return challah’s to the oven without the molds for the remaining 35 minutes. Be sure to watch your challahs as oven temperatures might vary.
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QOTD: What is the one item that you have missed since going gluten-free?

OMG! Gluten & Dairy Free Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Almost anyone that knows me knows that cupcakes are my thing! They hold a very special place in my heart, I have even been given various cupcake type items such as pajamas and signs with cupcakes on them. I even have dreams of opening my own Cupcakery one day! Remember a dream is a wish! Now I typically prefer to bake my cupcakes from scratch with my Über secret recipe, but every now and then you need a quick and easy recipe to make those darling and oh so delicious cupcakes as well.

Cupcake GF DF
Don’t worry you will never see me using an actual mix, I consider that cheating! Do you?! 🙂 Thanks to the amazing bakers at King Arthur Flour there is a new cupcake recipe, which I modified of course to be not only gluten, but dairy free as well! While the following recipe is not cheating per say it uses King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Baking Mix. One might wonder the differences between gluten-free flour and an all-purpose baking mix. Think of the gluten free flour for using in scratch or home made recipes. You measure all ingredients out and bake. The baking mix is a blend of flour, leavening agent (usually baking powder and xanthan gum) and salt. Not too sure if this new recipe is “cheating”, it not only cut’s a few corners, but it is OMG!! DELICIOUS!! 

Cupcake

Ingredients

*Make sure you use King Arthur’s Gluten-Free BAKING MIX — NOT their Gluten-Free Flour!!!

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or line 12 muffin cups with cupcake papers, and spray the insides of the papers. I really starting to love the presentation of cupcakes without the papers, that is my new preferred method!
  2. To make the batter: Beat the soft butter and sugar until thoroughly combined and somewhat lightened in color.
  3. Add the room temperature eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated.
  4. Combine the milk and vanilla.
  5. Stir one-third of the baking mix into the mixture; stir in half the milk, another third of the baking mix, the remaining milk, then the remaining mix. Scrape the bowl occasionally throughout this process to avoid air bubbles.
  6. Add optional sprinkles until just incorporated, careful not over mix batter.
  7. Scoop the batter by level ¼-cupfuls into the prepared muffin tins; a muffin or ice cream scoop works well here.
  8. Bake the cupcakes until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and the middle springs back when pressed lightly —20 to 22 minutes for cupcakes.
  9. Remove from the oven. Serve warm; or cool completely, then spread with the frosting of your choice.
QOTD: Do you consider baking mixes “cheating”? What is your favorite flavor frosting?

Too Good to Be True Gluten & Dairy Free Rice Crispy Treats

Rice Crispy Treats

I have a major sweet tooth and the one thing that I miss at Disneyland since I have gone gluten and dairy free is the delicious rice crispy treats sold on Main Street. I never realized how easy it was to swap in and out a few ingredients to make this a sweet treat that is allergy friendly. Without further ado my very own, TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE GLUTEN & DAIRY FREE RICE CRISPY TREATS!!

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
  • 2 teaspoons Pure Madagascar Vanilla
  • 40 regular size marshmallows (I purchase fresh marshmallows made from Whole Foods Market Bakery & they are the BEST marshmallows I have ever tasted! And they are not filled with typical marshmallow junk!)
  • 6 cups One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps (I have tried A LOT of gluten free rise crisp cereals and this tastes even better than the real thing!)

Directions

1) In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat.

melted butter

2) Add marshmallows and stir continually until completed melted.

3) Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir until completely combined.

4) Add One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps. Stir until well coated.

Adding One Degree Organic
5) Using a spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

rice crispy treats

QOTD: What is one dessert that you miss since you went Gluten and or Dairy Free? (Be sure to comment as I might make be turning your favorite dessert into an allergy friendly dessert!!)

Are you Ready for ME, Rebel Alliance?

Round up the Rebel Alliance, Wookiees, and Imperial Fleet, pullout your light sabers, ear bun your hair here I come! I’m on my way to the Disneyland expo to pick-up my bib and enter the Galactic Empire know as runDisney’s Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend!

Star Wars Guide

QOTD: May the course be with you and I wish you the best of luck! Which race distances will you participating in?

A Few of My Favorite Things Friday

No I am not going to burst out singing songs from The Sound of Music, though it it definitely on a continuous running loop inside my head. Navigating the world as a gluten free, dairy free, and no high fructose corn syrup consumer is not always easy and sometimes finding products that are healthy, nutritious, and actually delicious making you crave for more is not as easy as it seems. Luckily there are ton of brands that are actually catching on to this trend and new products are always hitting the shelves in the local market. As I become more informed and discover a few of new favorite things I thought that I would start sharing them with you! I always try to have a protein for breakfast and that is a lot easier said than done. I have about three breakfast options, I’m not joking, that I currently rotate and let’s just say that get’s BORING! I mean seriously I eat hummus with veggies, egg whites, or  a protein shake. While these two items might fall under the “shake” category this definitely adds options to my morning routine.

My two newest obsessions are Svelte Organic Protein Shakes and Califia Farms Chocolate Protein Pure Almond Milk. Both are equally delicious and amazing!

Pictutre copy.001

Califia Chocolate Protein Pure Almond Milk is only 140 calories and 8 grams of protein! I love the low calorie content which allows me to throw it in a blender and combine with a banana! Can anyone say Chocolate Moo!! Yum!

These are certified NON-GMO and in a BPA free bottle. Not only does this help my dairy sensitive tummy, but they are also vegan, soy free, dairy free, and gluten free. They have an include line up of products including the best almond milk on the planet! I don’t joke about almond milk! From almond milks to pure iced coffee’s Califia Farms has you covered!

Twist and Shout Out Crohn’s Disease Take the Cha

Life is far from a carousel ride in the park and is probably more equated to a roller coaster especially if you are living life with a chronic illness such as Crohn’s Disease. While yes you might be angry or mad at yourself for getting on board, strapping yourself in the roller coaster. Sometimes the drops are terrifying and frightening not knowing what is coming around the corner, but you somehow make it through to the other end and all of a sudden are looking forward to what is next.

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The same can be said for living life with Crohn’s disease, there are times when you are beyond scared, angry, mad, feeling like your body has betrayed you, feeling like your body is the enemy. These drops and rapid turns are like a flare you never know when they are coming. Then there are other times where the living is easy and you are smiling ear to ear and BAM another drop! While this could imaginably be hard on anyone, especially if you are young, vibrant, and at a time where you should be living life to the fullest. What makes it even harder is this an invisible disease and while one might look healthy on the outside your insides are all twisted and shouting out in pain. While the advancements have been amazing there is still not a cure and each more and more people are being diagnosed.

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My New Year and birthday advice to myself was that life is all about the little bumps and bruises and the hidden curves along the way. To embark on a new outlook towards life. With intensions to be bold and follow my dreams, not settling. Listening to my inner voice. Taking chances. Dance it out in my pajamas. Understanding that yes, sometimes taking a chance gives us a second chance. Here I go with my third year fundraising and raising awareness for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

And while you can’t alway’s choose what is thrown your way, what matters is how we handle these curve balls that comes our way. I like to think that I handle it with a little bit of grace, whole lot of strength, and whole lot of dancing it out! While I can’t hop on a float in the middle of Chicago with Ferris Bueller to spread Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness I can invite you to this virtual dance floor. Join me and let’s twist and shout out Crohn’s Disease!

Will you twist and shout out Crohn’s and Colitis with me on this virtual dance floor? I dare you! I challenge you to dance it out in your pj’s and if you don’t please be sure to click on the link to donate! Every penny counts!!

To donate to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, please follow click this link! Remember every penny counts!

***Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both major categories of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). IBD affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans. These chronic diseases tend to run in families and they affect males and females equally. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition limited to the colon, otherwise known as the large intestine.

Through the Looking Glass…runDisney Dumbo Double Dare Race Weekend Expo Recap

Within the past year I have learned that in terms of racing my favourite and newest distance is the 10k, well actually 19.3 miles is the preferred race distance. To accomplish 19.3 miles however you need to run both a 10k and a half marathon and you can’t have one without the other so I am honestly loving the 10k! This distance is the newest race craze created by the amazing team at runDisney a little over a year for Disneyland’s Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare. They have now added on this race challenge distance to several other race weekends. I was getting very comfortable with running 13.1 miles and they could not have introduced this distance at a better time. In true runDisney fashion to sweeten the deal for running both races and participating in the challenge you earn three medals! YES friends THREE medals!! That is a whole lot of runDisney bling. For this diehard, obsessed runDisney running gal it is all the more reason to sign-up! Back to back days of having the opportunity to run through the happiest place on earth and three medals I simply could not ask for more!

I LOVE RUNDISNEY

I participated in the 2013 Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare, you can read about my journey here and here, and had fallen head over running shoes in love with the challenge that I have been looking forward to the 2014 Dumbo Double Dare ever since.

Seriously in love, heart stopping, LOVE!

I clearly remember at the close of the weekend last year that I was already looking forward to 2014. It is a fun filled weekend what’s not to look forward to and besides when things got beyond difficult during the year I had this as a bench mark, something to look forward to, my silver lining. This past year went by in a blink of an eye and yes I went through WAY TOO many hurdles to get to the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, but I MADE IT!  I MADE IT!!

I knew that the 2014 Dumbo Double Dare Challenge was going to be extra special, even though they are all special in my heart, this was the race weekend where I would be earning my 20th runDisney medal. Since 2009 I have run a total of 188.9 miles between Walt Disney World and Disneyland. In Disneyland alone I ran 136.5 miles and Walt Disney World I ran 52.4 miles. That is A LOT of running!! While running the 2013 Goofy Race and a Half Challenge during the marathon portion of the challenge I saw this sign.WDW Miles

While I did not run 7 full marathons in Walt Disney World I did achieve and surpass that distance of 167 lane-miles of paved Walt Disney World roads! I wonder the total mileage of lane roads in Disneyland.

To kick-off the 2014 Dumbo Double Dare a proper visit to the expo is in order. I feel that a race experience is not complete without an outstanding expo. Disneyland Half Marathon lives up to the hype and the expo they host will never disappoint. I think that each seasoned runner has a method to going to the expo. The method to madness is no different. I always pick-up my bib as I feel that will always be there as official race merchandise might not be.

This year was no exception I headed directly to the official race merchandise booth as soon as I arrived at the expo and started shopping! A few of my favourite booths aside from runDisney’s was SkirtSport’s where I purchased the most adorable compression stockings, KT Tape is a must stop for as I like to be professionally taped, being a running who has chronic joint pain due to Crohn’s disease KT Tape always saves the day, and Sweaty Bands which I always love stopping and seeing the latest hair accessories.What runDisney is all about

Once I feel that I have explored enough of the expo I had down and pick-up my race package. Since runDisney discourages attending the expo in my preferred order I need to revisit the expo area to pick-up my official race day tees.  Kudo’s to runDisney as this was the first year that they have a women’s cut race day tee in addition to the standard unisex tee that they typically provide to all runners. When I signed up for the race last January I selected women’s cut and since then I was eager to try out the new women’s cut. They did a fabulous job and I am loving the fit!Shirts

Living in Southern California and being uber close to Disneyland I rarely stay at one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels unless it is a special occasion or race weekend. Being that it was both Labor Day Weekend and the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend that meant one thing; that I will be staying at Disneyland’s Grand California Resort and Spa! I always enjoying staying at the Disneyland Resort for an extended weekend, it is not only a car free weekend, but I am able to really take my time and enjoy everything that the Disneyland Resort has to offer.

***Stay tuned for the second half of my Through the Looking Glass…runDisney Dumbo Double Dare Race Weekend Recap! Next up the 10K***

Are you Ready for ME, Dumbo? Four Day’s till #Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

In less than fours days I will be at the Disney Half Marathon 2014 Expo picking up my bib for the Second Dumbo Double Dare!! Could Thursday get here any sooner?

Picking up my bib at the Expo!

Picking up my bib at the Expo!

Here is my top 5 Disneyland Dumbo Double Dare Wish List…

  1. Have an amazing time celebrating crossing the finish line and completing 19.3 miles and earning 3 MEDALS!! I’m on my way to being PERFECTLY DUMBO!
  2. DumboNot have any GI issues during the race. This is a constant wish and theme for majority of my races!
  3. Cross the finish line not only with a smile on my face, but under the 3 hour mark for the half marathon and 1:25 minutes for the 10k.

    Celebrating with my three medals. I DID IT!

    Celebrating with my three medals. I DID IT!

  4. I am optimistic that the more elusive characters will be along the course. I would love to see Constance Hatchaway and Lillian Gracey aka The Tightrope Walker both from The Haunted Mansion. They were both along the course at the Inaugural Tinker Bell 10k while the line was long they were worth the wait!My favorite ladies!
  5. Celebrate this amazing weekend with a gluten-free & dairy-free cake made by Chef Chris at Storytellers. Since there are not too many desserts that are both gluten and dairy free in Disneyland I rarely have dessert unless it is my birthday. This wish is on Disneyland! A dream is a wish and a girl can dream right?Birthday Cake 

QOTD: If you’re running Disneyland next weekend, what are your goals?

Zero to Running…Getting my Groove Back

Doubting your abilities and feeling as if your training is way off is very common among runners, especially those coming back from injury and or illness. I would like to believe that it is even common amongst those who have not been sidelined due to health issues. Being a runner who always wants to improve their pace and stamina it makes it even more difficult to come back, both physically and mentally. Personally speaking for me, I am filled with doubt and lacking of believing in my abilities. I worry about missing my runs, losing my fitness stamina, and the most outlandish of all is that I simply will not be able to run again.

april-10k-clinic

While these doubts are unwarranted they are real, which is where establishing a new game plan comes into play.

Yesterday I completed my first run in a while with my friends from Team Challenge and needless to say I am absolutely encouraged and motivated to lace up on Tuesday to go for my second run. Lesson learned, it is not the end of the world take a few days or even weeks off from running and YES it is just like riding a bicycle you never forget how to put one foot in front of the other. Be sure to follow me along my journey and I will be sure to keep you updated on my progress! I have quite a few races this fall and I want to be ready!!

QOTD: How do you get your groove back?

National Running Day 2014

National Running Day is a day celebrate and recognize the importance of running. It does not matter if you are fast or slow as long as you lace up your running shoes and get out the door, YOU are a runner! We all run for various reason and I am positive that those reasons are all amazing. I have been known to say that I run because I cannot fly, my iPod has even been engraved with that statement. Truth be told  though I strongly feel that running not only keeps my healthy, but is a fantastic outlet to channel my thoughts, redirect energy, and to clear my mind.

Running Day 2014

Due to health reasons I have not run nearly as much as I would have liked in the past few months, while I am a bit nervous that I might have regressed a bit I am not too concerned as I have decide that the best way to get back out on the pavement is to use a new training plan. I am very excited that I will be running a half marathon with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation July 20th at the Napa Sonoma Half Marathon. I believe that this new plan will give me the confidence and guidance that I greatly need.

Be sure to follow me along me as I journey down the road to the Napa Sonoma Half Marathon!