Blog Posts by Caroline Shannon-Karasik

  • Gluten-Free Black Forest Cupcakes: Life's A Chocolate Bowl of Cherry Filling


    Truth time: I've never had Black Forest Cake before. Can you believe it?!

    But when I asked a question the other day on my Facebook page about what treat people still had yet to learn how to make gluten-free, I had a fan say, "Black forest cake! :("

    And I thought, "Hmmmm ..... I think now's the time!"

    So, I set about researching black forest cakes, ingredient options and so forth, and happened upon this guy. It seemed like the right fit. It didn't require too many alterations and I thought it would be a great jumping off point.

    I had no idea it was going to be pure heaven.

    I opted to make cupcakes instead of a full-sized cake, seeing as how this was my first time making the recipe and I also like the idea of having individual portion sizes. This meant I had to find a crafty way to put the filling inside the cupcakes, so I decided to cut a hole in the center and put the cherry filling inside. I've always had a sick obsession with the As Seen On TV Betty

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  • Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies — Working with An Old-Time Fave


    When I was younger, Lorna Doone Shortbread Cookies were my favorite treat. In fact, up until I found out I have Celiac disease, I could easily toss back an entire sleeve of them (oops!) in one sitting.

    I love the shortbread cookie's simple, buttery taste, and the way the crumbs just sort of melt in your mouth. It's heaven.

    The funny thing is, my mom started giving me these cookies when I was younger because I couldn't tolerate the "normal" cookies, like Oreos or Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have always suffered from allergies and intolerances that would upset my stomach or skin, and these seemed to be the one treat that I was A-OK to eat. Of course, at the time we had no idea that its ingredients would be something I would someday find out were the root of my problems.

    At the time, they just ... worked.

    So, for me, finding a recipe that would fill my shortbread cookie void became a necessity upon going gluten-free. I guess that's one of the trickier

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  • The Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie That Loosened Me Up A Bit


    I've never tried shepherd's pie in my life. In fact, if you would have asked my a few days ago to try a slice of shepherd's pie, I might have turned up my nose at it, like the little guy in Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.

    I do not like it here or there, I do not like it anywhere!

    But when I began to research a dinner to make for today's wonderful Irish holiday, I kept coming across recipes for that bugger of a dish. And so, I clicked on it, and I decided to see what all of the fuss was about.

    After reading through several recipes, I realized the dish really sounded quite delicious and the only ingredient I would have a problem with would be the meat. Who would have thunk it?!

    Lo and behold, I found myself choosing to make one for Day 19 of the Gluten-Free with Rachael Ray Challenge!

    I, of course, made a few swaps to make this recipe gluten-free and vegetarian, but it turned out wonderfully. Gosh, I feel silly for being so judge-y, judge-y about this tasty

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  • Health Expert Shares Top 4 Unhealthy Habits, Recipe for Secret Weapon Kale Salad

    Good afternoon and welcome to another installment of our "5 Questions, 1 Expert" series! Today we're featuring Michelle Van Otten, one of California's most sought after and in-demand executive weight loss coaches and lifestyle experts. She is a passionate speaker, author, mentor and Peak Performance Coach to the Silicon Valley's business owners, top CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, physicians, coaches and trainers. Her coaching, strategies and solutions have been called the "Secret Weapon" for success and are second to none.

    We did a bit of a switch up today and, instead of asking Michelle five questions, asked her to give us her top four unhealthy food items and habits, plus her #1 golden health rule which, when added together, gives us five juicy health tidbits!

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    The Top 4 Unhealthy Foods and Habits:


    1. Sugar! Consider that the average Starbucks "froofy" drink such as a Venti Carmel Macchiato (which is isn't even the worst one) has 300

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  • User Post: Gluten-Free Eating Is Not A "Fad" ... And I Hope It Never Is

    I have a bone to pick.

    That's right: I have some concerns about people and media outlets who are dubbing the choice to eat gluten-free as "the latest fad" or as a method for losing weight.

    A recent article in Women's Health magazine particularly stirred my worry pot. Sure, they address the real issues that lie within a Celiac disease or gluten intolerance diagnosis, and they differentiate between choosing gluten-free and not having a choice if you want to live healthfully (as in the case of Celiac disease or gluten intolerance).



    But they also point to Hollywood starlets, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham who are said to have chosen to eat gluten-free because the lifestyle has been "said to contribute to increased energy, thinner thighs, and reduced belly bloat."

    It's statements and stories like this that make me worry the legitimacy of a serious condition is being undermined.

    If a gluten-free lifestyle is becoming a "fad", then how will a server in

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  • User post: Gluten-Free Mushroom Risotto Recipe


    Want to work a little voodoo fungi magic? Then, give this recipe a try. We whipped up another risotto dish last night (we're kinda hung up on it lately), using mushrooms this time. It was perfection.

    I always eat meat-free dishes (with the occasion of the occasional piece of fish), but I love eating ones that still makes you feel like you should have had a steak knife in hand. This risotto was so fulfilling and tasty ... I had two helpings!

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    Gluten-Free Mushroom Risotto Serves 2-4 people (2 as a main dish; 4 when served as a side)

    ** Recipe is based in Jamie Oliver's Asparagus, Mint and Lemon recipe in his book, COOK with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook.


    Ingredients:

    • 32 oz. gluten-free vegetable broth
    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 5 Tbsp butter (in total, spread throughout recipe)
    • 1/2 cup of onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
    • 1 cup white arborio rice (We use Lundberg Farms.)
    • 6
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  • Gluten-Free Herb Fish Sliders: Coast Right On Into My Tummy!

    Last Friday brought the fantastic news that one of my favorite gluten-free store-bought bread brands, Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery, has released gluten-free Multigrain Hamburger Buns, Multigrain Hot Dog Rolls and Original Pizza Crusts. Woot, woot!

    I know it might seem a bit much to get so excited about bread, but if you are gluten-free, then you know finding a substitute for sandwich bread is hard enough, let alone trying to find an acceptable bun or pizza crust replacement.

    Dan has pretty much perfected our homemade gluten-free pizza crust, but let's face it -- sometimes picking up something pre-made from the store is just easier. Plus, what I am really excited about is the buns! Gluten-free veggie burgers with topping galore here I come!

    In honor of our good friend Rudi's delightful news, we decided to make sliders for Day 17 of the Gluten-Free with Rachael Ray Challenge. Dan found a recipe for Herb Sliders and we decided it was perfect for saying sayonara to gluten-free

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  • An Interview with Sheila Viers, Co-Founder and President of Live Well 360

    Good morning and welcome an installment of The G-Spot's "5 Questions, 1 Expert" series! Today we're featuring Sheila Viers, the co-founder and President of Live Well 360, a company that is re-inventing the fitness bag because on the road to health and fitness you need a worthy companion. Live Well 360's first bag, the Core, has been featured in Oxygen magazine and Shape magazine, as well as, on top fitness sites like FitSugar.com and dailySpark.com. The company's blog has also been named one of FITNESS magazine's favorite health blogs.

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    1. Tell us, Sheila Viers, founder of Live Well 360, what's your favorite way to workout? Why?

    These days, I don't have one favorite way to workout because I like to vary the type of workouts I do on any particular day depending on what I am feeling that day. On some days circuit training feels best, and I have an arsenal of go-to workouts that I choose from, and other days a really good sweaty session of

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  • Gluten-Free Pancakes: Fat Tuesday Style

    Hell-oooo, Fat Tuesday.

    What's the point of having a day like today if you don't celebrate a bit, right? You can imagine then, my excitement when Dan told me he would not only make me pancakes this morning, but whip 'em up Rachael Ray style -- just in time for Day 13 of the Gluten-Free with Rachael Ray Challenge.

    He used this Strawberry Pancakes recipe as a base, and created his own spin on it for the cinnamon and sugar version that I was craving. Here's the gluten-free swaps he came up with:


    RR's Ingredients The G-Spot
    • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons baking
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  • User post: It’s Easy Being Green When You’re Delicious

    Today was another wonderful weather day. I love when I look outside and see blue skies, and the air looks crisp and fresh. I know 60 degrees doesn't seem hot enough for a lot of people, but I have always preferred fall weather over hot and humid.

    The kitt-os were delighted that I put the screens in the windows and let the air flow inside. Madeline loves to feel the wind in her hair.

    I went for an early run today, so I had a day full of getting work done, taking Dan to physical therapy, grocery shopping, making gluten-free rolls and preparing this evening's dinner (hint, hint ... the key ingredient is in the top photo).

    I love when I can get everything ready for dinner early in the day. That way, when six o' clock rolls around, and I am still staring at the computer or my hands are covered in my latest flour mixture, all I have to do is pop it in the oven or on the stove.

    Tonight's dish is one of my all-time favorites, a creation that was actually originated

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