Where to Find Me

Hello anyone who may be looking for me:  I can be found at https://sweetteaandsandals.blogspot.com as of August 7, 2018.

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My Take on Chili’s Caribbean Salad

PicMonkey Collage

My favorite entree to order at Chili’s restaurants is the Caribbean Salad. I am fascinated that they combine dried cranberries with pineapple and red bell pepper.

After enjoying it several times, it occurred to me that I could probably duplicate it at home fairly easily.

The first step was to snap pictures of both my plate of food and the menu description of the salad.

When I got home I did an internet search for Honey Lime salad dressings.  I chose one that sounded good and the rest is history!

I took this salad to the Christmas party for my Sunday School class and it was a hit.  My husband gives it “rave reviews” (his words) and he told me I could say that in my blog post!

Chili’s does not advertise this as being gluten-free, but for sure, when I make it at home, there is nothing in it that disagrees with me.

Often when dining out, choosing a salad is a safe choice for those who are gluten intolerant.  Be sure to ask the waiter to omit any croutons and bleu cheese.  The mold in this cheese comes from moldy bread (who knew?!) and is therefore not gluten-free (take it from one who had an allergic reaction to it).  If all of the dressing choices are suspect for gluten, ask for oil-and-vinegar.

My Take on Chili’s Caribbean Salad

No amounts are given; just use as much as you need for the number of people you plan to serve.

fresh salad greens (I like a mixture of Romaine and spinach)

fresh pineapple, cut to bite-sized pieces

1 can mandarin oranges, drained well

cranberries, dried

red bell pepper, diced

green onions, chopped

cilantro (optional – I omit this)

white and black sesame seeds (I can’t find the black ones)

Grilled chicken strips or seared shrimp

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, mixing up well. Serve with the Honey Lime Vinaigrette dressing. (recipe follows)

Hamilton Beach blender

When making salad dressings for just 2 – 4 servings, it is often easier to use a small-base blender for the mixing. I have a Vitamix that I use (at a minimum) once daily but if the volume of a mixture is less than 1  1/2 cups, it doesn’t incorporate the small amounts very well.  It was worth it to me to buy this small-base blender for salad dressings.

Honey Lime Vinaigrette 

1 cup lime juice

2 Tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup grape seed oil

In a blender combine all the dressing ingredients. Process until thoroughly blended.

photo of my salad w/rice crackers

I served the salad with rice crackers (which are gluten-free) — something to help push the smaller pieces onto my fork!

C salad w_crackers

Airport Quinoa Salad

Atlanta's Quinoa Salad

A couple of months ago I was changing planes in Atlanta. My flight to Chicago was going to be over the lunch hour.  Since airlines don’t provide meals anymore, I scanned through the concessions in the Delta Airlines concourse for a gluten-free, vegan lunch that I could take onto the plane with me.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t remember the name of the place where I spied this salad, but if I have the opportunity to stop by there in the future, I’ll buy it again.

2 pixa doe 1

After I was tucked into my window seat, I could carefully re-read the ingredients of my lunch to confirm to myself that the salad was probably gluten-free. I snapped pictures of the salad and the label with the hope that I could re-create it in Kitchen Ambrosia.

Quinoa Salad p116 on 1_8_15 01

I had to guess at the amounts and the salad dressing, but this is what I came up with and I’m really happy with it.

Note: I used red quinoa from my pantry while the airport version has white. I don’t think it makes a bit of difference except for a color preference. Either way, it looks very festive!

Also, I forgot to put Edamame (soy beans) on my grocery list and didn’t realize that until I was assembling the ingredients to make the salad for supper.  I used frozen green peas instead. Here is my version of the recipe:

Airport Quinoa Salad

1 cup of cooked quinoa (follow package instructions)

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed well

1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well

Edamame beans (buy frozen and cook per package instructions)

dried cranberries (you determine the amount you want)

zest of one lemon, grated

green and red bell peppers, diced (you determine the amount)

Dressing

1/8 cup grape seed oil

1/8 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar

Freshly-ground black pepper and Dulse granules* to taste

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the dressing ingredients. Stir the dressing in with the salad and serve.

*or use sea salt

Quinoa salad closeup

Restaurant Review – Texas Roadhouse

Texas Roadhouse logo

Texas Roadhouse is one of our very favorite place to eat. We do our best to keep them in business by dining there about once a week.

We went there often before I was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant and to my delight, I can still enjoy it with just a couple of easy changes made to my order.

I must put a disclaimer here — my readers need to determine for themselves what they eat and which restaurants to try when they are gluten sensitive.  Whenever we eat away from home we can’t possibly know what cross-contamination may or may not be going on in the kitchen of a restaurant.

More restaurants are featuring a “gluten free menu.”  If you don’t see a gluten free section on the menu they hand you, ask your wait person and they will provide you with a copy of what they carry. Most restaurants have gluten-free entrees these days (unless it’s a fast-food, burgers-only joint).

menu

Rather than give you a review of all that Texas Road House has to offer (you can check that out online), I will tell you what I always order: the grilled salmon with a green salad with oil-and-vinegar dressing, and a baked sweet potato, absolutely plain.

The salmon and plain baked potato are gluten-free. For the green salad, I ask them to not give me any croutons. Although tartar sauce comes with the salmon, I never eat it. Chances are, there’s something in it I can’t handle.  But the moist and tender fish with the “special lemon pepper butter” give it enough flavor that I never miss the tartar sauce.

salmon @ TR

Waffles Topped with Chia Date Nut Crumble

waffles

Waffles topped with applesauce and Chia Date Nut Crumble

Most Saturday mornings we enjoy gluten-free homemade waffles for breakfast.  I like to top them with applesauce and a nutrient-dense nut mixture.

Today I’m featuring TWO recipes:

1) Waffles on Saturday morning

2) Chia Date Nut Crumble

Waffles, makes 4 four-inch square waffles

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I use Rumford’s aluminum-free)

1 Tablespoon xylitol (I use Xyla which is GMO Free, Gluten Free)

1 large egg (for a vegan version, use 1 Tbsp ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp water)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup almond milk, unsweetened (or a bit more if your batter is too thick)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Gluten-free waffles take longer to bake than those made with wheat flour.  If your waffle iron has a ‘done’ indicator, you’ll need to bake the waffle longer than indicated. They are done when very little steam, is escaping from the iron and they release easily. My waffle iron takes 9 minutes to bake these waffles.

Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Combine the two together, mixing well.

ALLOW THE BATTER TO SIT FOR 10 MINUTES TO THICKEN.

Bake the waffles per your waffle iron manufacturer instructions, allowing them to bake a little longer due to the gluten-free batter.

Chia Date Nut Crumble, a good topping to have on hand at all times

1 cup walnuts

1  1/3 cup pitted Medjool dates

2 Tablespoons hemp seeds

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a food processor pulse together the walnuts, dates, seeds and salt. Continue pulsing until the mixture is crumbly and broken down, but not sticky.

Use this topping over waffles, pancakes, fruit, or a green salad. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.