Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gluten Free Buckwheat and Rice Porridge

I don't know about you, but ever since November hit the calendar, slippers, dark skies and sleepy shivers have dominated my early mornings. Plus a craving for a big, warm breakfast of pumpkin pie oatmeal

All the love in one bowl!
Unfortunately for this celiac, oats and my gluten-shredded intestines haven't gotten back on talking terms since my diagnosis. For a while, I was riding the quinoa flake train, but I abandoned those in a desperate jump to stop the unexplainable itching that hit me a few months ago. What's an oat-cravin' gal to do? 

Buy packs of Bob Mills' rice and buckwheat flakes and hope for the best! For a little while, I was dancing the Goldilocks. Just rice was too thin; buckwheat alone tasted a bit too nutty. And then my taste buds landed on the perfectly thick, chewy, no-oat oatmeal! Having a bowl of this magic to look forward to makes my early college class schedule a little easier to swallow (food pun, of course, intended). 

Part 1 of the delicious combo!
For the base recipe, all you need is five ingredients:

2 TBSP buckwheat flakes
2 TBSP rice flakes 
1/2 mashed banana 
1-2 TBSP chia seeds for extra thickness and satiety 
Preferred amount of water (I like my oatmeal really thick, so I usually pour just enough to submerge all my ingredients. One tip: add the water and wait a few minutes to see how much the chia seeds expand, then add more water as needed!) 

Then I pop my oat-less oats in the microwave for a total of 2 minutes (one minute with just the base, then I put on my toppings and microwave for another minute to make everything a pool of melted yum!). 

The magic of the microwave!
The best part about this recipe, though? Pimping it up with the flavor add ins! As I mentioned in my last post, right now pumpkin everything has me by the taste buds. I've devoured my super pumpkin oatmeal for five weeks straight now, adding to the base recipe cacao powder, pumpkin spice, pumpkin pie stevia, a little vanilla and lots of fruit and pumpkin butter on top!

My other favorite eating accessories are maca powder, spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, fruits of all types (nanas, strawberries, blubes, and pomegranate seeds are the top 4 winners), and a waterfall of crunchy toppings like Trail mix, seeds, cacao nibs. And, of course, no bowl is complete without a pool of nut butter melted on top! For an extra special mix, melted chocolate and shredded dates are also always good choices. 

All the oatmeal, all the time!
Sometimes it takes a little creativity, but new food sensitivities don't have to kill off old favorites. By now, I don't even remember what I'm missing - and when I dive into a huge jar of this gooey goodness for a warm breakfast or night snack, "missing out" definitely isn't the first phrase to pop into my mind! (More like: Mmmmm). 

So bring it on November. With a bowl of pumpkin sun butter "oatmeal" in my belly, even walking to Linguistics at chilly 7:30 am darkness can't damper my spirits

What's your favorite oatmeal flavor? What's your favorite place to buy cute spoons and bowls fit for an oatmeal queen? Comment below! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review and Recipe: Sweet Leaf Stevia

Food-wise, a lot has changed since my celiac diagnosis. Goodbye bread, bran flakes and granola bars, hello salmon, sweet potatoes and cans of sunbutter! One thing that hasn't changed? My killer sweet tooth. So, when Sweet Leaf Stevia contacted me about reviewing their holiday recipe book and stevia flavors, I counted down the days to package arrival! 

Pages of goodies! (Source)
Cooking with SweetLeaf Stevia is a 119-recipe cookbook packed with everything from breakfasts and desserts to Christmas dinner favorites. It's not exclusively gluten free or allergy friendly, but it does include a few GF recipes and others are easily adaptable - they certainly got my tongue drooling and my mind jumping to all sorts of new edible creations!

Then comes the sweeteners. Sweet Leaf offers several kinds, including Sweet Leaf Stevia Sweetener and Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops to sweeten, cook or bake with. Both are free of calories, carbs and glycemic spikes, but packed with flavor. I may or may not have jumped up and down when I saw my drop flavors: pumpkin pie and peppermint mocha. You could say they had me falling for them right away - seasonal pun intended!

My fave new flavors!
The book offers several smoothie recipes and, having no previous experience with stevia, I decided to start out my sugar free adventure with a good old bowl of banana nice cream. Using my usual base recipe, I added the recommended 4-6 drops of peppermint mocha. I licked my Nutribullet clean

Unlike other extracts and sweeteners, Sweet Leaf's products boast a understated flavor that packs a delicious punch without overwhelming the taste buds. Admittedly, I don't drink coffee, and peppermint extract usually reminds me of throat lozenges, but I fell head over tongue! A slight hint of mint + earthy touch of chocolate coffee = one killer sugar free dessert (or breakfast!)

My Instagram is exploding with delicious treats!
The pumpkin pie stevia drops tastes equally delicious in smoothies, but I actually prefer it in my buckwheat and rice morning oatmeal. I never would have thought of adding it to my oatmeal, but when I read about their vanilla and peaches quinoa in the cookbook, I knew it had to try it out! Ever since my calendar hit November, I've been pumpkin-pimpin' out my oats with piles of pumpkin spice and pumpkin butter, but a few drops of Sweet Leaf's pumpkin pie stevia adds the final kick to my morning magic in a bowl! 

Cacao and pumpkin pie based oatmeal? Sign me up!
The one creation I can't stop eating, though? My homemade pumpkin granola! I cooked my first huge batch Friday afternoon, doubling this base recipe and throwing in some gluten free cereal, buckwheat groats, rice flakes, dairy free chocolate, sunbutter and dates to finish it off. Then I tossed it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes and perfection was born!

All the granola, all the time!
Considering that the entire pan of granola has mysteriously disappeared (into my mouth) by Monday morning, I can safely say that the granola is scary good or that I have a serious granola addiction. Or both. Oops.

The pumpkin pie stevia adds the perfect explosion of pumpkin and sweetness to every crunchy bite, making this my favorite batch of granola ever. It even had the gluten eaters in my dorm drooling. When they smelt it cooking, they all guessed "pumpkin muffins." And when they tasted? Nothing but "Mmmmm." 

Too much goodness for my tongue to handle!
For those who need a more filling snack, Sweet Leaf stevia is a great addition to my homemade "bliss balls." Also known as "protein balls" when protein powder is thrown into the mix, these are nutrition bar substitutes that are easy to make and even easier to scarf down! Though I don't follow an exact recipe anymore, the base usually followers similar proportions to this:

10-12 Medjool dates soaked overnight and pureed in a Nutribullet or blender
2TBSP coconut or other flour (more if the mixture seems too wet) 
1/2 very ripe mashed banana 
1 TBSP nut butter (I prefer sunbutter but anything will work!)
All the flavor additions of your choice

All the balls in all the flavors!
My favorite flavor additions are all kinds of nuts/seeds, with the larger kinds roughly chopped, powders (acai, maca, cacao), spices (cinnamon, pumpkin), chocolate chips, puffed cereal, dried or fresh fruit (pomegranates and blueberries are the best!) and flavorings like vanilla and Sweet Leaf's pumpkin pie and peppermint-mocha stevias

To make your bliss balls even fancier, try rolling them in extra toppings after molding them into shape. Then pop them in the freezer to chill, and keep them in there or in the refrigerator for major snackage!

Sweet Leaf took me on a sweet trip!
I didn't know what to expect when I first tried Sweet Leaf Stevia, but now that I've tried two, I'm definitely hooked! With these guilt-free droppers in hand, I can make lots of desserts and eat them all too! 

**Sweet Leaf Stevia was kind enough to offer samples of their holiday stevia flavors in return for an honest review. I was not paid for this review, and all the ideas and opinions within it are my own.**

Have you ever tried Sweet Leaf stevia? What is your favorite fall flavor? Comment below!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Writing My Own Story

I've shared a lot of stories since this blog's birth over a year ago. I'm a writing major; my fingers might as well bleed ink if cut. But, as I discovered during on my first writing conference adventure, writing is merely a reflection of living. And instructions for one can be advice for the other. 

Awkward selfie with the welcome sign!
I ventured into the world of the San Diego Christian Writer's Guild Conference two weekends ago thanks to a PLNU scholarship and a date two days after my Thursday of Death by Midterms (three back to back from 8-12).

Of course, I packed my bag with loads of goodies because I couldn't gorge on the breakfast and lunch buffet included in the ticket. Vanilla Bean Chia Pod to the rescue - and once I loaded it up with some seeds, puffed cereal and fruit, my tummy and taste buds were huge fans

Devoured this baby during the first presentation!
The first speaker that dominated the stage was Ellie Kay. A navy wife, mother of seven and national speaker on personal finances, you could say she has her hands full. She ended her presentation with a story about the comfort a woman found in the written word after her husband, a deployed soldier, was killed. "Our words and the written word carries power," she said. "literally a life or death difference."

As I sat in the "Just Saying" concert, an event held at my college to raise awareness for human trafficking, my heart beat loudly in agreement. Through their spoken word poetry, people sung out their pain, their concern and their shame that human beings are nothing more than commodities ordered over the Internet. Nothing more than flesh twisted and arranged for others' entertainment

Only one of the beyond amazing spoken word poets!
And as I sit writing this post, my fingers agree with every tap against the keyboard. Words are powerful - the fact that you're taking time out of your day to read this blog is proof. I feel the power with every reader comment, praise and shared suffering. And I feel empowered every time I identify as a "celiac." 

The first workshop that I walked into was led by Lynn Vincent. A big white board, a huge room full of desks and an hour of discussion on "every question about writing for a living that people are too afraid to ask." Money, writer's block, computer programs...she covered it all. The quote that was branded into my mind, though, is the idea that we are own "agents of destiny." 

As a celiac, I can definitely relate. I make my own food out of ingredients people have never heard of (Buckwheat pizza crust? What?). 

Le pizza!
I choose to join my boyfriend and his friends on a late-night burrito run even if all I can eat is the free tap water. And for Halloween, I painted the night orange and black first by carving pumpkins and roasting seeds with my family, and then by squealing at the Silence of the Lambs in a dark dorm room. Last year, the gluten ghoul caught me; this year, I chose to not bother with the candy, but the night was even sweeter

Happy Halloween from my folks!
By the time I dragged myself to the last workshop eight hours since the conference began, I couldn't stop yawning. And then Michael Clark began talking and I was transported into the world of game theory and the idea that "being playful is the best way to write seriously because games are limitless."

I'm not going to lie. No matter how wide my smile or how peppy my words, I'm tired. Now that I'm only six weeks out from conquering the first semester of sophomore year, yawns are my favorite accessory. And, as a result of my unfortunately intense Type A personality, I take life too seriously sometimes. Grades, clubs,'s all on a pretty strict schedule. 

Except, sometimes a girl has gotta play. I've got to spend hours hanging out in dorm rooms, fighting off persistent paparazzi.

So many photos...
I need to devour brunch with a friend at True Foods Kitchen and quest for cheap treasures at local thrift stores

I even deserve a brisk morning walk on the cliffs with the girls that have carved a special place in my life. 

Gorgeous gal pals on a gorgeous day!
Stories and my blog are inevitably entwined, but writing and life share an even closer relationship. 

My first writing conference filled my notebook with pages of writing advice, tips and tricks. The more I flip through, though, the more blatantly memories from the last few weeks stare back. The fact is, pens and humans both bleed red. So believe in your own power, take control of your own destiny and enjoy playing the game of life.

Promise me - life's a scream!
The story is yours. You just have to start writing. 

What was/is your college major? How are you making time to play in life? How did you choose to celebrate Halloween this year? Comment below! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Foster Farms Review and Giveaway: Gluten free Nuggets, Tenders andCorndogs

Tuesday started like any regular day. Classes. Homework. And a message from the mail room announcing, "You've got a package." A sample goodie bag from Foster Farms was due to arrive and I flashed my ID with a smile - until the worker asked if I was walking back to Finch and laughed when I said yes.

I've gotten pretty good at the sample dance since my blog has reached adolescence. Give an address, receive, taste and review. But when my roommate and I unpacked three crates of corn dogs, nuggets and tenders, I couldn't stop laughing. By our calculations, at one point, we had 96 corn dogs in our dorm...Bri had no idea of the adventures that come with having a gluten free blogger for a roomie

Mountain o' boxes!
In the end, we acted like Foster Farms fairies and left a box of goodies tucked in several dorm's communal fridges. The best surprise ever apparently. On the note we left welcoming everyone to free food, some hungry soul scrawled, "God bless you!" Foster Farms changing lives one midnight snack at a time. 

Honestly, the chicken tenders and nuggets have been life changing for me. When classes invade cooking time and I walk into my dorm room starving, I can pop a couple in the oven for 20 minutes and dig in

The nuggets and tenders are hands down the best gluten free versions I've ever tried. They're perfectly spiced, packing a punch without overwhelming my taste buds. The chicken tastes fresh, the crust crunchy and evenly distributed, and though I can only vouch for oven baking, they aren't greasy at all!

I love them straight out of the oven, but I might even prefer them as cold leftovers on a salad with sautéed veggies and homemade pesto. And the uses for them are never ending - I even sprinkled them in my chicken pot pie. I devoured that huge 8X8 cake pan in about four servings! And you know it's good when 4 bags of chicken disappear in two weeks from the dorm's communal fridge - gluten and gluten free eaters alike! 

Pink Chicken Pot Pie, thanks to the beets!
Now, though, for Foster Farms' newest product: the gluten free honey corn dog. I'll admit that this wasn't my favorite, but corn dogs aren't my usual jam. Actually, when I bit into this corn dog two days ago, it was my first time. Poor sheltered taste buds. Even though I don't crave one every night, I can appreciate the quality of Foster Farm's newest concoction.

The infamous corn dog!
The chicken base of the corn dog tasted fresh and juicy and the ratio of meat to breading was spot-on. Just like the chicken tenders and nuggets, after 18 minute in the oven, the corn dog wasn't at all greasy. I also loved how the breading crunched with every bite. I'll admit that the honey flavor threw me off a bit, but I seem to be the outlier

On a bed of veggies...
Everyone I've talked to - even gluten lovers - is salivating over these corn dogs. In my dorm, I walked in on one girl enjoying her breakfast on a stick. And my boyfriend over in Wiley reports that the corn dog supply is running dangerously low and requests another shipment ASAP! 

This was one crazy food review - from the shipment to joining the realm of corn dog eaters - and now it's your chance to have a delicious Foster Farms adventure! On October 31st - that's right, Halloween! - I'll pick 5 random winners to receive a voucher for a free box of corn dogs to try for themselves! 

Maybe this bite will be yours!
Have at it, everyone! Maybe you'll be one of the 5 lucky winners to find a surprise waiting in your mailbox

Have you tried any Foster Farms products? What do you think of corn dogs? Comment below! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I Scream for Banana Ice Cream!

A double chocolate brownie and two big scoops of any ice cream flavors chilling in the freezer...more often than not, that bowl of magic was my post soccer practice treat. Fast forward one year to a celiac diagnosis and a new dairy-dissing tummy, and my workout treats have gone bananas - in the best of ways!

As any of my Instagram followers know, banana "nice cream" has carved out a special place in my heart and my stomach. Dairy free, nutrition packed and adaptable to my picky taste's easy to see why I devour one huge jar everyday for my breakfast or post-workout snack. 

Be warned! Nice Cream can multiply quickly!
At popular demand, I'm finally dishing my tips to make a fruity frozen treat only a few melted drops away of passing Dairy Queen's "upside down ice cream" challenge! 

The base of any "nice cream" is frozen fruit and enough liquid to allow the blender the work. Although bananas - the namesake of this dairy free magic - are the typical poison of choice, I love stuffing my freezer with bags of various cubed frozen fruits - from strawberries to kiwi to peaches - and veggies to throw in my blender. I eloped with a Nutribullet six months ago and we are still in the honeymoon stage - this blender may be loud, but it's the perfect tool for thick, frozen smoothies! If you don't have a high speed blender, you can use fresh fruit but the result won't be as thick and frosty. 

My favorite kitchen companion!
I don't use exact recipes anymore when making my smoothies (ain't no college student have time for that!), but my base recipe looks something like this. I also refuse to eat a smoothie that doesn't need a spoon, so I include thickeners like chia seeds, coconut flour, avocado and yogurt. The amount of these can be adjusted based on the preferred spoon-straw scale. 

1 TBSP chia seeds (ground if smoother texture is desired)
2 TBSP coconut flour
A couple spoonfuls of yogurt and/or avocado
One heaping handful (or more if tolerant) of greens 
Handful of frozen fruit (chopped bananas, apples, peaches, pears, berries, grapes, etc) 
Optional extra veggies (beets, celery, broccoli, zucchini, squash, etc) - about half as much of these as fruit to keep the smoothie sweet!
Enough milk/liquid to allow blender to work (I prefer canned coconut milk - the creaminess is out of this world!)

I always pile it in!
My dad always sticks out his tongue when he sees my ingredients sprawled all over the kitchen counter, but every bite to me tastes like dessert!

But since getting the proportions of fruit-veggie-flavor extras can be tricky at first, I'm sharing the three flavor combinations - and one bonus nice cream parfait - that keep popping up on my Instagram homepage

First, berry beet. Until I few months ago, I'd never tasted a beet before. Red, round and usually dusted with dirt, I didn't exactly drool over them in the grocery store. Chocolate Covered Katie's idea to blend them into hot-pink smoothies changed all that! All I do to prepare mine is chop up a raw beet into mid-sized cubes, pop it in the freezer and add a handful when it's smoothie time!

Rockin' my favorite hamburger bowl!

The beet has a very mild taste, especially when paired with a handful of berries (any kind will work, though raspberries do pack a tart punch!), other frozen fruit, and my base smoothie recipe. Even a small piece, though, will make the nice cream as pink as a frozen flamingo. I recommend starting with a small amount of beets and adding as your taste adjusts. If you have acai powder, this is also a great add-in! Homemade acai bowls crash my breakfast party at least once a week!

One of my newer creations is the "citrus greens" smoothie that uses a couple of slices of an orange (peeled or non-peeled) and a small section of a lemon (start with a little then add more until flavor reaches desired level). This smoothie reps the typical "green smoothie" and I like to pack even more vegetables, like cucumber or broccoli, inside. 

A Green smoothie in its natural habitat

Next, a holiday favorite: the cacao-mint! I love using Nativas Naturals Cacao Powder and add about an 1/8th of a teaspoon to a lot of my smoothies for a little chocolate oomph. I also recently scored a little vile of peppermint extract that gets my taste buds ready to sing, "Merry Christmas!" For an extra luxurious kick, throw some raw cacao nibs on top. Mint chocolate ice cream without the dairy and extra sugar? Here ya go! 

A bowl of YUM!

Finally, a favorite combination of mine - a nice cream parfait! The only difference is spooning and microwaving about 3 TBSP of oatmeal or oatmeal substitute (I prefer a blend of rice and buckwheat flakes with 1 tbsp of chia seeds for thickness) and cooking it in the bottom of the smoothie jar. Put it in the freezer to cool while making the banana nice cream, then pour the smoothie right on top! It sounds weird, but the combo of cold and creamy with slightly warm and gooey kills my taste buds every time...

Parfait magic!

Honestly, though, the options are endless. One day I'll dump in pumpkin spice and cinnamon and call it liquid pumpkin pie. Another morning I'll sprinkle in maca for a hint of caramel. Playing with the proportions of fruit is another way to change the flavor - I swear frozen blended blueberries and grapes taste strangely similar to chocolate!

To top off my ridiculous ice cream feasts, I've learned that there's nothing better than a little crunch. Puffed rice always lands in there, as well as homemade granola, tons of seeds (hemp, pumpkin and sunflower dominating the bowl!) and a final sprinkling of frozen fruits like blueberries and pomegranate seeds. 

Is there any smoothie under those toppings?

Some people think I'm crazy for spending so much time preparing and beautifying my frozen breakfasts and snacks - but I eat with my eyes as well as my tummy, and with these nice cream masterpieces, both are more than satisfied

Join in on the "nice cream" Instagram fun! Post your favorite creations and tag "collegeceliacKC" in the comments! Winter may be coming, but lets get everyone screaming for ice cream! 

What your favorite flavor of ice cream? Have you ever tried making nice cream before? Comment below! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Celiac Connections

Lately, I wish I could wear a camera around my chest so I could share every wonderful moment of my life as a sophomore at PLNU blog readers. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I have been so consistently happy. And I owe it all to the connections that have weaved a blanket of joy over my life. 

19 started off a great year!
For those who joined the party and started following me on twitter, my interview with GFree Radio is old news. News that has finally stopped flooding your feeds anyway. When asked for an interview last summer, it didn't take much to persuade me. The chance to hear a British accent directed my way? Sign me up! 

The differences that popped up during our conversation were the real surprise. It ranged from the simple - What is 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Celsius? Heck, don't ask me. I'm no math major! - to the complex. They're universities, not colleges. We have a meal plan (though I fought to be released from mine) and they don't

Celiac, American vs. British edition!
Yet, despite the differences, we were also connected by the gene that turned "gluten free" into a lifelong medical prescription. The major lesson that stuck with me after I hung up? No matter if you spell it with an "o" or "e," celiacs all over the world do the same gluten free happy dance at the grocery store. Check out my interview here.

The connections have also been local,. Two weeks ago, I ventured out into Downtown San Diego for my first baseball game! The Padres played (and beat) the Giants, but even better than the game - which I am admittedly clueless about - was the chance to spend time with my gal pals. 

Petco Stadium!
We talked summers, future plans and story writing - anything but the game, basically. And when I pulled out my smuggled jar of oatmeal - a celiac's gotta eat! - nobody gave me a second glance. A random dance off by the baseball field cleaners tends to do that. 

Me and the gals
As for my food - I've never felt more blessed. My garden is in full bloom -  I'm harvesting a few baby strawberries weekly and my other seedlings are finally popping up! 

My kitchen escapades are kicking just as much bootyFreedom for the caf has pushed my culinary experimentation to the max. So far, egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free pork pesto pizza, cod stew and chicken pot pie has all landed on the menu. I'm (finally) gaining weight, loving what I'm eating and learning more cooking techniques and favorite recipes every week. 

My new fave: chicken pot pie!
And, although balancing 17 units of classes (cough cough, Linguistics), a social life (now featuring a certain boy), and a blog hasn't been easy, the motivational comments and company support has skyrocketed! I check my email every morning and new comments never fail to make my day. As for company updates, this week was full of food sampling adventures

Thanks to the generosity of Modern Oats and Foster Farms, two more product reviews are in the near future. My roommate had no idea what she was getting into when she took a gluten free blogger as a roommate...

It's raining corn dogs!
When I started my sophomore year at Point Loma Nazarene University, I knew I wanted it to be a different kind of year. Less celiac and more Casey. More friends and fun to balance out the (ridiculously pricey) books. For the first time, though, I feel like the trees I adore on my nightly walks around campus. I'm rooted in my school, my fellow students and my fellow celiacs from all around the globe

Tying yourself down to causes and communities is scary. It takes time, it takes work and a hermit lifestyle is definitely a whole lot less complicated. But, it's worth it. I'm living (and loving) proof

Have you ever talked to people with  celiac or food allergies from a different country? How do you feel connected to the world? 

Friday, September 26, 2014

True Foods Kitchen Review

There are a lot of names for food nowadays. Healthy food, junk food, organic food...and, at a trendy restaurant across the United States, true food

Before my roommate brought me to True Foods Kitchen for my second birthday lunch, I'd never stepped foot near the place. I remember vaguely chuckling pre-diagnosis at its healthy focus, wondering what crazy people paid to go out to eat at an upgraded salad bar. Oh how times have changed...

True Food = True deliciousness?
And how my expectations were blown! Bri and I drove into the mall only minutes after the restaurant opened, scoring a shady booth outside to take advantage of the (then gorgeous) weather. When our waitress came, I immediately dove into the usual celiac spiel. The surprise of the century? My waitress was a sister in gluten-free arms! Fellow celiacs unite! (And keep working at restaurants so I can feel super safe about my order!).

Like always, I'd looked up menu details before coming, but I was still lost as to what I wanted. Gluten free pizza? An inside out quinoa burger? The spaghetti squash casserole topped with a bison burger? The choices were endless!

So many options!
After asking for suggestions, my taste buds finally fell for the Street Tacos - corn tortillas topped with sea bass (or steak), avocado, salsa, and a side of Anasazi beans. It usually also has sour cream and cotija cheese, but I passed on those to keep it dairy free. My roommate Bri instead stuck to a breakfast theme, choosing the gluten free blueberry muffin and Bright Eyes smoothie

Our food appeared quickly and, if I wasn't drooling at the idea of my tacos, I certainly started when I saw my plate! My food was arranged as artfully as the restaurant's decor - fodder for this food blogger, though I was so hungry, I almost skipped the photo! The portion size was perfect - large enough to eat my fill, knowing dessert was coming, and doggy bag the rest. 

Heaven on a plate! (And I want their plates)
The sea bass tasted tender and juicy, the avocado creamy and fresh, while the slaw and salsa added a delightful crunch. I'm not a spicy person (let the jokes begin) and the tacos blasted my taste buds with flavor without lighting them on fire. As for the beans, I was a huge fan! The creamy, thick stew -  with some crunch from the salsa sprinkled on top - paired wonderfully with my bites of taco. And the leftover juice made a pretty delicious sauce, too! 

Bri enjoyed her muffin and drink. We both thought the smoothie could have been a bigger portion for the price, but I was impressed with how fluffy and moist the muffin looked from across the table. No gluten free weirdness there! 

Bri's brunch
Then, because it was a birthday lunch, we treated ourselves to several of the desserts. At the restaurant, Bri ordered a scoop of their pistachio ice cream while I chose a scoop of strawberry-rhubarb sherbet. Bri's scoop looked creamy and thick, and she loved the strong flavor of pistachio that shone through.

As for me, I couldn't have asked for anything better! The rhubarb and strawberry blended into combo of sour and sweet that caused my taste buds to tingle, and I loved its creamy texture.

Me awkwardly not looking at the camera...
For an extra treat, Bri bought me their Banana and Coconut Chia Seed Pudding to go. I've made chia pudding for myself before and, although I liked it, it was nothing to write the blog about. This bowl of deliciousness was totally different! 

The coconut milk base made it thick and creamy, the banana coins on the top added a natural sweetness and I loved the crunch of the coconut chips dispersed throughout. Hands down, one of the best breakfasts I've ever eaten! Magic really can be canned and sold...

The perfect way to start my day!
There's a lot of names for food, but, when it comes to True Food Kitchen, the only word I have left is "delicious." I left feeling safe about what I ate, and my stomach was beyond satisfied. Rest assured, I won't be waiting for my next birthday to come around before I make a return trip!

Have you ever tried True Foods Kitchen? What's your favorite breakfast treat? Comment below!