I have officially been gluten and dairy free (per doctor’s orders not because of some new fad) since July. Most people assume that it is time consuming and quite difficult to eat this kind of diet, but in fact it really isn’t. For those of you who are new to the gluten and dairy free ways, I hope that this post inspires you or gives you comfort in knowing that eating this way is not as difficult or overwhelming as it may initially seem.
So what exactly did I eat today? Well – I woke up and made myself a Tervis Tumbler full of coffee (about 2 cups or 16 oz.) with some International Delight York Peppermint Pattie creamer. I had made some gluten free Bisquick biscuits last night for dinner, so I had half a biscuit for breakfast with a smidge of Earth Balance vegan buttery spread. (I chose to sleep in until 6:15 AM this morning so my standard breakfast of eggs was out the window).
Obviously this little breakfast didn’t keep me full for long so around 10:00 AM I had a snack that consisted of a cranberry almond KIND bar and some water. This held me over until lunch (which is scheduled at noon every day). For lunch I had brought leftovers from dinner last night. I had made Paleo sawmill gravy with biscuits. (I had made the biscuits larger than usual so one biscuit was actually more like 2 small biscuits in terms of serving size.) I also had a small piece of paleo banana cake for dessert and a clementine with water to drink.
By the time school let out, I was dragging so I stopped by Starbucks and grabbed a grande soy cinnamon dolce latte with no whip and ate a banana as an after school snack. By now it is roughly 4:00 PM.
Once I got home from tutoring (6:00 PM), I quick changed and headed to the gym for a workout which consisted of 12 minutes on the elliptical completing the “Rolling Hills” program on level 1 to warm up my muscles. Then I headed over the the row machine and completed a 2000m workout on level 6 which took me another 12 minutes. Finally I headed over to the Roman chair and completed a circuit of lower back and abdominal exercises which consisted of 100 Roman chair moves and 30 lower back raises with a 25 pound weight. After some stretching it was time to head home to heat up dinner.
By now it is 7:45 PM and luckily I had meal prepped enough food on Sunday so dinner consisted of real mashed potatoes (made with vegan butter and Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream), one good-sized piece of meatloaf, mushroom gravy, green beans, and roasted carrots and another small piece of banana cake for dessert.
My husband jokes and says that I eat like a professional athlete. But the truth is, I don’t count calories. I just eat until I’m full. Sure I splurge and have a latte or some non-dairy creamer in my coffee but the rest of the stuff I’m eating is real food and I don’t feel bad about eating it in the slightest.
Let’s face it – chocolate covered strawberries can be expensive. You order a bouquet from Edible Arrangements and you’re looking at a minimum of $29.oo for 1 dozen strawberries. $29.00?! WTF! And that is just for the strawberries and the box it comes in, it doesn’t include delivery charges. If you want them to be delivered, tack on an extra $12.00. So one dozen strawberries covered in chocolate (no sprinkles) will cost you an upwards of $40.00 when everything is all said and done. If you buy them from the bakery aisle at the grocery store, 1 single strawberry can cost you almost $2.00 a strawberry, or $5.99 for a 4 count with your Kroger Shopper Reward Card. Anyway you look at it, for a dozen chocolate covered strawberries you are still spending around $20.00. Ridiculous if you ask me.
There is a simple budget friendly solution. Make them yourself. Even making an allergy-friendly version of these decadent treats are cheaper than buying them already made. Today, this very minute, Kroger has 16 oz. containers of strawberries 2 for $4.00. So you can potentially get 24+ strawberries for $4.00. In addition to the strawberries, all you need is 1 package of Enjoy Life chocolate chips. These cost anywhere from $4.59 – $4.99 depending on where you shop. Sometimes you can get a really good buy 1 get 1 free deal from Earth Fare or $3.99 at Kroger when they are on sale. I tend to stock up when I can so I always have a bag on hand. Then you need a splash of whatever milk or milk substitute you drink at home. I drink unsweetened almond milk, but soy milk can work just fine and if you don’t have a dairy allergy – regular chocolate chips and milk work fine too.
Really – that’s all you need. $9.00 and a little bit of time and you’ve got yourself the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert, surprise, gift, etc.
1-2 16 oz. containers (depending on how many strawberries you want)
1 bag Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
Splash of Almond Milk (I used unsweetened vanilla but you can use whatever you have on hand)
Parchment Paper to prevent sticking
- Wash strawberries and pat dry, remember to leave stems as they allow easy gripping for dipping into the chocolate.
- Place 2 cups of water in a pot and top with a glass bowl.
- On medium high heat, add all of the chocolate chips to the glass bowl. Stir gently with a spatula until chocolate is smooth. You can add your almond milk at this time until you get achieve your desired thickness. I found the Enjoy Life chips tend to have a thicker consistency when they are melted than regular chocolate chips.
- Remove the chocolate from the heat to avoid burning (no one wants burnt chocolate for Valentine’s Day). Dip the strawberries into the chocolate and place onto your parchment paper.
- Allow them to cool for 45 minutes. The strawberries will get a nice hard shell.
- The strawberries will keep for 3 days covered in the refrigerator.