We often forget about that oh-so important fueling aspect of keeping us fit and active. Of course we eat, but you take one slight misstep and you’ll be paying for it no matter what you’re doing.
In triathlons, the ‘fourth’ discipline has become a very important component of being able to perform at your best. The Apres ski beer and burger on the mountain is a ritual I wouldn’t trade for anything. However, you do that enough though, and the system will revolt and the pounds will start packing on. Hence, I was excited to put the Living Luxe Gluten Free cookbook by Michelle Lee to the “test”. Although focused on the Gluten Free diet, this is the perfect cooking guide for Vegetarian, Paleo, Vegan, or low sodium diets. And just because I don’t follow those diets, I am seeing that this is a perfect addition to my cooking arsenal as well.
Initial Thoughts on Living Luxe Gluten Free
Now I have to be honest, I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to the Gluten Free scene. I understand that many people do have quite a time of it finding food that will work for them. Many folks do need this Gluten free diet, and this is their guide to doing it right. Gluten is a protein, and those on a gluten-free diet must forgo all products containing wheat, barley, rye, and anything that contains a derivative of these grains. This means that your pasta, bread, cookies, cereals, and yes, even beer is off the table. Not so fast my friend. Gluten free flour, pastas, and breads are readily available, so you can still enjoy all of your favorite dishes. And yes, Gluten Free beer can also be found and enjoyed. Phew, I was worried there for a little bit.
Let’s Get Cooking
I started flipping through Living Luxe Gluten Free, and at first glance all the recipes looked very doable and the ingredients were simple everyday items. I could immediately pin point a few dishes that I had all the ingredients for. Aside from the specific Gluten Free flours and pastas that is, but I figured I could at least start trying some out.
This is a cookbook with substance. I don’t mean the actual dishes and recipes, but the actual physical book. It has a cool square format with 244 pages, and exciting close-up photos of each and every dish. The book is broken down into categories: Appetizers, Entrées, Salads & Sides, Breakfast, Desserts, and Cocktails. Each recipe has a cool story to add to the excitement of preparing your favorite dish, and takes the pressure off from having to slave away in the kitchen.
Two things were very evident and appealing. The beautiful full page color photos with close ups of the particular dishes really enticed me to read on. That lead me to the ingredient list which is very basic and I pretty much had everything in my pantry or fridge.
At my household, we have enjoyed a handful of wonderful dishes, but I will focus on a couple for this review. I think Breakfast is my favorite meal, but my go-to options have kind of stalled out, and I was excited to bring a new spin to my morning palette and palate.
The Penelope Sandwich
Breakfast rocks in my household. My 2 and 5 year old are always helping. Either stirring the pancake batter, or telling me to put more crazy stuff into our smoothies. I had to stop them at Gummy Bears! Anyway, Living Luxe Gluten Free provided a very simple Omelet on Bagel which seemed quick and easy. And it was! Again, I simply added my own touch with some baked onions and garlic. The consistency of the egg batter is something I always struggle with to be able to make it nice and fluffy, or in this case having to fold it over onto the bacon, cheese, onion, and garlic.
As you may or may not be able to tell from the above photos is that it actually worked as planned. It folded over, and everything stayed in one place. Check out the melted lactose free cheddar cheese. Mouthwatering. The one slight adjustment I will have to make for next time, is use my large skillet instead of the medium. The consistency was a little thicker than desired, but in the end, who really cares, right?
Roasted Figs with Walnuts and Honey
My second dish focused on dessert. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like a good dessert?!? Figs are chocked full of vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants. This took me about 15 minutes when all said and done, and most of that was the figs baking and bubbling in the oven for about 12 minutes. No walnuts, so I substituted pecans. I figured I might as well take some creative license opportunities when I can without compromising the integrity of the dish.
Oh man, the multitude of flavors was amazing! The chewy yet crunchy figs combined with the salty bacon, roasted pecans, and sweetness of the honey created for a wonderful bite each and every time. The author suggests a pairing for each dish like a Pinot Grigio with a pasta dish. In this case, ice cream was the recommendation. You don’t have to ask me twice to add ice cream to my desserts. The hot figs and nuts slowly started melting the ice cream, and now it became a gooey goodness of richness and deliciousness. Some friends are going to get a nice treat for dessert over the Holidays.
Final Thoughts on Living Luxe Gluten Free
Granted, this is not going in my pack for backcountry excursions, but it will find a place in my library of cuisine creations. When I wasn’t as active, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted without too much thought about nutritional value. 40 pounds seems like a distant ugly memory. Having stepped up my endurance athletic game, I have had to take proper nutrition preparation more serious to be able to continue at a level where I can compete. Living Luxe is a fantastic cookbook that will aid anyone in preparing simple, well thought out meals to make you feel good while bringing excitement to the table.
May it be fueling with a pasta meal for the following days’ long run, or a scrumptious desert to top it all off, Living Luxe Gluten Free provides great options with easy to find ingredients and simple instructions. If you happen to have certain food restrictions or sensitivities, this is a wonderful book to provide tasty and healthy meals. What was great about this cookbook is that it provided enjoyment in preparation. I didn’t have to search for exotic ingredients with long shopping lists. Most of the items were in my cupboard or fridge, and very easy to prepare.
For more scrumptious recipes, information, and purchase please visit: www.livingluxeglutenfree.com, or ‘like’ the Facebook page HERE for exciting new updates as well as seeing if there’s a book signing near you to meet the lovely Michelle Lee.