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Building a Gluten-Free Dinner Party Menu: Well-Balanced

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A recent gluten-free dinner party dish: Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice.

Over the past several years, gluten has become something of a hot-button topic as the number of people with intolerances, allergies, and celiac disease has sharply increased. I have more than a few friends who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, and plenty of others who steer clear of gluten for health or tummy reasons. As someone who is generally geeky about food and nutrition, I’ve been following the trend and reading everything I can on it—I especially like this thoughtful piece from the New York Times

I myself have zero issues with gluten, but I’m a pro at cooking for friends with allergies—in large part because I have a standing monthly dinner party with three good friends, including one with celiac disease. We try different recipes almost every time (with the exception of this olive oil cake, which makes an appearance anytime Meyer lemons are in season). Because of that, I’ve amassed quite the repertoire of recipes and ingredients. Here are some of my favorite tips, resources, and ingredients—they make it easy to cut out the gluten without sacrificing anything.

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My Non-Resolution For 2013? Cook Up a Storm: Well-Balanced

You wouldn’t know it from how much we talk about cookies, but Birchbox staffers are a pretty healthy bunch. We love our veggies and mind-clearing workouts, and are always up to try the latest fitness class or nutrition bar. Which is why we have new regular column: Well-Balanced. Check back weekly for our latest wellness obsession.image

This week’s brown bag lunch, adapted from chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

Last year, around this time, I vowed to write a weekly wellness-focused column. Let the record show that I only made it eight posts before Well-Balanced quietly bit the dust. Well, dear readers, it’s a new year and I am back.

And what better time to focus on wellness? This month’s Birchbox theme is Best Year Ever (don’t forget the accompanying fist pump). It’s not about drastic resolutions—we’re more interested in the small changes we can make that add up to major daily happiness. For me, that means refocusing on the things I love, starting with the kitchen. One of my non-resolutions for 2013 is to cook more. Since I tend to gravitate toward colorful, seasonal recipes (more veggies, less meat), it automatically helps me eat more healthfully. I also save money by bringing leftovers to lunch (and really, I can out-salad a veggie bar like Chop’t or Tossed any day). 

The best way I’ve found to stay motivated to cook is to surround myself with delicious inspiration. Click through for three of my favorite new cookbooks (and some must-try recipes!).

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