Monday, July 11, 2011

Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger (Tasty Eats at Home): Birthday Cake, Blueberry Smoothies, and Cucumber Salad

On June 28th, I turned 29. I had an amazing birthday party, complete with one fabulous birthday cake. Inspired by all the the cakes in my June Birthday Cake Challenge, my housemates made me Alta Mantsch's Vanilla Cake. Instead of her carob frosting, they chose a strawberry coconut cream. There was only one slice left the next day, which I happily gobbled for breakfast. I mean, it was a pretty healthy cake, all things considered! And the fact that it disappeared so quickly amongst a bunch of gluten-eating folk is a testament to Alta's baking skills.

Ignore the bad photos and appreciate the beauty of my housemate's cake decorating skills. If only I had her talent!

Of course, after all that cake eating (and some brownie eating, not to mention all the cookbook testing I've been doing), I've been needing a lot of light meals to keep myself in check. Once again, I looked to Alta, author of the blog, Tasty Eats at Home. I've been reading Alta's blog for years now, and I knew that she would have exactly what I was looking for. One of my favorite things about Alta's recipes is that they are so versatile. She goes from baklava to gumbo to chicken curry, and she does it all gluten and (now) dairy free. I have a number of her recipes that I've bookmarked to make, but today I wanted something fresh and full of vegetables. Enter Alta's Blueberry Spinach Mint Smoothie.

I'd practically given up on smoothies since realizing that bananas give me heartburn and contribute to my headaches. I'd tried smoothies without bananas, but wasn't very impressed. Until today. This was a simple recipe, but whether it was the blueberries or just the correct ratio of liquid to fruits and veggies, it tasted perfect to me. I didn't miss the banana at all!

I followed this with a light Cucumber Herb Salad. I have a cucumber salad recipe here, but what intrigued me about Alta's recipe was the inclusion of fresh tarragon. Now, I hate to admit it, but I've never used fresh tarragon before. I didn't even know what it tasted like! But that hint of tarragon gave the cucumbers an extra depth and bite that I absolutely loved. I'll definitely be making a lot more of this salad!

As always, there were so many more of Alta's recipes that I wanted to make, but the warm winds of summer lured me outside to bask in Seattle's glory. So I'll leave you with a few of the recipes I would have made had it been cold and dreary and I were more inclined to be in the house.

Broccoli Cheese Souffle
Strawberry Blueberry Pie
Vegan Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote
Moroccan Inspired Vegan Quinoa Skillet

Thanks Alta, for keeping me inspired in the kitchen, and for the delicious birthday cake and even more delicious post-birthday detox snacks!

For more amazing recipe ideas, check out Celiacs in the House, where Wendy is hosting Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger. She adopted Brittany Angell this month, my cookbook co-author!


gfe--gluten free easily said...

I'm so happy to hear that you had a wonderful birthday cake and celebration, but not at all surprised to hear so after finding out your friends made that lovely version of Alta's cake! Great adoption of Alta, too. Those are super simple and healthy recipes and characteristic of what Alta offers her readers. :-) Oh, and I want to make her vegan cheesecake, too. That one definitely gets rave reviews!


Ricki said...

What a great review of Alta--who well deserves it! And I'd eat that cake for breakfast, too, I am sure. ;) I'm making that cucumber salad--got two huge ones in the refrigerator just waiting to be used!

Maggie said...

I love Alta's recipes, and I've tried a few. Mmmm, her cheesecake might be my favorite! You described her perfectly - she's a whiz and her recipes run the spectrum. She never ceases to amaze me! Great post Iris.

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Iris, I am glowing after reading this. Thank you so much for the kind review, and I'm so excited that your housemates made MY cake for you! And that you enjoyed my healthier, easier recipes too.


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