Easy Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms Side Dish

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The unsung heroes of many a delicious dish are it’s sides.

Here’s one of my favorite, healthy, paleo, gluten-free sides: (Garlic) Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms. It only takes about 10 minutes to make and goes great with chicken!

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Ingredients for Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms:

  • baby spinach (10 oz package)
  • 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
  • 2-4 garlic cloves (to taste–I love garlic, so I go on the heavy side)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

How to Make Sauteed Spinach and Mushroom Side Dish (2-4 servings)

1. Heat olive oil in a medium/large skillet over medium heat.
2. Add mushrooms to oil and cook for approximately 5 minutes.
3. Add minced garlic, salt and fresh pepper to the mushrooms and let cook for two minutes before adding the spinach.
4. Add spinach and sauté, stirring until wilted.

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Beer, beer, every where, Nor any drop to drink…. Hard Cider: a Gluten-Free Beer Alternative

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The beer section at Constantino’s Market in Cleveland, Ohio.

I think most  of my gluten-free friends would agree, beer to someone who is gluten intolerant (has celiac, or is GF by choice) is like ice-cream to someone who is lactose intolerant. You know, you know, you shouldn’t have it, but when your group of friends invite you out for some, you feel yourself start to waiver… It sounds so good and refreshing, doesn’t it?

Well, no fear! Increasingly bars, brew houses, liquor stores and local grocers are starting to carry gluten-free beer alternatives, including a wide variety of delicious hard ciders.

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Hard ciders have become increasingly popular in the last few years, and breweries across the country seem to be taking notice. Sales increased an average of 27.5 percent annually during the last five years (according to an estimate by IBISWorld), and I can only imagine a good chunk of this can be attributed to the growing gluten-free population! With the growth in demand has come and influx of choices, so how does one navigate the cider section? Below, I’ve created a little reference chart of some of the most popular cider brands (and included my own description of each)!

Cider Brand Alc Content Calories per serving Description
Hornsby’s 5.5% 200 has a bright, sweet apple flavor
Redds 5% 150 has good balance to the apple’s sweetness, more of a beer-like experience
Angry Orchard 5.5% 190 literally tastes like alcoholic apple juice
Original Sin 6% 143 very light in color, almost a champagne-like taste
Ace 8% 135 golden color, more on the tart side of the cider family
Strongbow Cider 5% 140 a very dry cider, a wine-like experience
Crispin 6.9% 140 has a bold and fresh apple taste
Woodchuck (Amber) 5% 154 smooth, sweet and crisp–a very popular choice

Hopefully this helps give you a starting point to base your upcoming cider purchase upon! Happy tasting! (And let me know what you think!)

Lo

For more fun facts about hard cider, check out this article from Food Republic!

The quest to find the best gluten-free products…

scampi

Shrimp Scampi made with Heartland gluten and wheat free spaghetti, fresh shrimp, olive oil, fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, pepper and lemon juice

It’s not like gluten-free products are ridiculously expensive, but when each product is marked up 50 cents to a dollar, that difference can easily add up. It takes time to build up a new catalog of favorite, trusted brands. And there’s a lot of trial and error involved because, trust me, there are a lot of less-than-savory gluten free substitutes. So I’m here to be a taste-testing guinea pig, and hopefully save others from buying products that don’t fulfill our high GF expectations! I’m on a mission to find the best products–pastas, breads, flour, granola–all the carbs that a new GF individual feels that they can’t live without.

Yesterday, I branched out from my normal, go-to brand for gluten free pasta to try something new. As I browsed the specialty diet section of my local Giant Eagle, I noticed a brand I had never tried, Heartland.  I liked the packaging as was interested in it’s claim of “Traditional Pasta Taste!” So I snatched up a package of the corn and rice blend spaghetti and headed home to make a scampi.

pasta

Product:

Heartland Gluten Free Spaghetti

Serving size:

  • Dry Pasta: 2 1/8″ (circumference)
  • Cooked Pasta: 1 cup

Nutritional Information:

  • 200 calories per serving
  • 0g Saturated Fats
  • 0mg Sodium
  • 0g Sugars

Cook Time:

9-11 minutes

Rating:

★★★★☆

Cook time for the pasta was pretty true to what was directed–about 11 minutes boiling until it reached the perfect texture. As usual, I used a tablespoon of olive oil to help keep the pasta separated–a trick I learned from my childhood best friend’s chef father. Like most gluten free pastas, this one caused the water to become cloudy and starchy as it cooked, but no worries, this is normal! If you use oil too, it will help keep the pasta from sticking to itself.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the taste of the pasta and how it held up once cooked. Many gluten-free pastas fall apart once you try to toss them with sauces, veggies or protein, but these noodles remained intact. I would highly recommend this brand to anyone who wants the same pasta eating experience as before they went gluten free. You can barely tell the difference! Good work, Heartland!

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Alternative Eating | Lo Martinez
exploring gluten-free, paleo & clean eating

Gluten-free doesn’t have to mean “no bread”

Gluten-free french toast made with Udi’s Whole Grain Bread and topped with greek yogurt and GF blueberry granola

When I tell people that I’m gluten-free, I usually get the following response:

“So you can’t eat bread?” (…of course, that’s only in lieu of the alternate response, “What in the world does that mean?!”)

If you are gluten-free, you avoid products with wheat and gluten. Luckily, that doesn’t eliminate all grains and starches (and this carb-o-holic thanks the universe for that)!

Here is a list of some of the grains that even the gluten-free can enjoy:

  • Buckwheat
  • Corn and cornmeal
  • Flax
  • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
  • Hominy (corn)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Soy
  • Tapioca

But GF’s beware, make sure to read the labels for hidden gluten-y compounds. If you don’t feel like taking the chance, check the packaging for the the GF stamp. Some of my personal favorite brands include Udi’s, Red Mill, Tinkyada (for pasta!), and Glutino.

About Alternative Eating

Welcome to my new blog, Alternative Eating!

If there’s one thing that my finicky stomach has taught me, it’s that not all foods work for all people. I’ve learned that by adopting a specialized diet, a person can experience significantly positive side effects–from weight loss to increased energy and improved mental health. I tried out the gluten-free lifestyle and I’ve (almost) never looked back!

Here’s my theory:

Happy tummies lead to happier lives!

If your diet isn’t working for you, try something new! Explore different diets and ingredients to find the foods and flavors that work best for you. That’s what this blog is all about. Exploratory eating. Alternative Eating.

Here’s to eating, drinking & loving life,

Lo