• What does my blog full of gluten free recipes have to do with ending childhood hunger in America? Everything, I hope. Having taken the NO KID HUNGRY pledge and participating in the SHARE OUR STRENGTH event has turned my head around. After carefully reading through the Share Our Strength website and seeing the width and breadth of what this movement is all about, of what I agreed to take part in, I promised myself that my actions moving forward will reflect the pledge I took to help end childhood hunger. This is a campaign committed to ending childhood hunger in America by 2015. That’s less than four years from now. We need to act, fast. It will take a lot of us. An army of supporters. By adding your name, your voice will be heard. Start by taking the pledge (click on the square image below this paragraph). Your signature will make a difference. It’s the first step.
    I’m honored to be included in this list of bloggers who are taking part in the SHARE OUR STRENGTH virtual progressive holiday dinner blogging event designed to raise awareness of childhood hunger in the US during the critical holiday season. There are more than 50 bloggers participating in this event which will span 7 days, 7 different categories of food (appetizers, drinks, salads, soup, entrees, sides, and dessert), and fall under one of four categories (gourmet, family friendly, vegetarian, gluten free). I hope you’ll visit the other SHARE OUR STRENGTH blogs. There will be lots of recipes and I’m sure what promises to be scores of tantalizing pictures.
    Here are the Dec. 6th Appetizer posts: The Italian Dish (Gourmet) Recipe Girl (Gourmet) Neo-Homesteading (Gourmet) Family Fresh Cooking (Family Friendly) Giving Up on Perfect (Family Friendly) Two Peas and Their Pod (Vegetarian) Smith Bites (Vegetarian) La Fuji Mama (Gluten Free) Wenderly (Gluten Free) Here are the Dec. 7th  Drink posts: Food Woolf (Gourmet) The Gringo Chapin (Gourmet) Three Many Cooks (Family Friendly) Fat Wuz Here (Family Friendly) Lexies Kitchen (Vegetarian) Simply Sugar And Gluten Free (Vegetarian) Gluten Free Easily (Gluten Free) Here are the Dec. 8th Salad posts: The Bitten Word (Gourmet) Girli Chef (Gourmet) Food For My Family (Family Friendly) Cook It Allergy Free (Family Friendly) Book Of Yum (Vegetarian) Glugle Gluten Free (Vegetarian) Add A Pinch (Gluten Free) Gluten Free Diva (Gluten Free) “I just need a few things for this blogger hunger event I’m participating in this month,” I said to my husband, after we ate sushi from the Whole Foods Sushi bar. I’ll only be a few minutes. Last night, I really didn’t think much about going into Whole Foods and spending $87.83. I needed to buy ingredients for the SHARE OUR STRENGTH event. Not $87.83 worth of ingredients. But, you know, while I was there, I picked up a few extra things. And when I got to the register and the tally was higher than I anticipated, I pulled out my credit card and paid it. Arugula $3.99, organic pear $1.99 lb., goat cheese $4.99, 2 English cucumbers $3.49, pomegranate $2.50, kalamata olives $4.99. That was just for the salad. Then I needed xanthan gum and carrots and oh yes, I’m out of cornmeal, and oh my that fresh basil looks lovely and lookey here Silk Pumpkin Spice Soymilk gotta buy two cartons ya’ never know if I’ll find it again in the little ‘burg I live in and blueberry kefir made from goat’s milk (I’ve been wanting to try it) and a bottle of wine after all it’s on sale and we need it for a housewarming gift and and and… You know how I know my husband really liked this Arugula, Pear & Pomegranate Salad? He scoffed it down without saying a word. Not one single word. He just ate it and licked his lips. Make it and I think you’ll do the same. Arugula, Pear & Pomegranate Salad click here for printable recipe Salad ingredients: arugula, rinsed and dried cucumber, sliced carmelized pear slices (see recipe below) 1 1/2 tbsp sugar 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tbsp water candied pecans (see recipe below) goat cheese kalamata olives balsamic dressing (see recipe below) Plate the arugula. Add the cucumber, pear, pecans, goat cheese, and olives. Dress the salad with the balsamic dressing. Carmelized Pear Slices adapted from 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds by Rachel Ray To prepare the pear, cut in half vertically through the core. Use a small spoon or melon baller to remove the core. Slice the pear into thin slices. Mix the sugar, cayenne, and water in a small bowl, blending thoroughly. Pour into a medium-sized skillet, preferably nonstick or cast iron, over high heat. The bubbles will start out slow, speed up, and slow down again at which point the sugar will begin to turn brown. Add the pear slices, tossing to coat them with the sugary mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a cookie sheet and allow to cool. Candied Pecans 1 cup raw pecan halves 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp agave 2 tbsp sugar 1/8 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp chili powder 1/4 tsp sea salt 1/4 tsp cinnamon pinch of nutmeg pinch of cayenne pepper Combine the pecans with the olive oil and stir to coat. Add the agave and then the sugar, stirring after each ingredient. Put the pecans in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Stir for one minute then add the spices. Stir constantly until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to parchment paper and quickly spread out. Set aside to cool. Balsamic Dressing 4 tbsp white balsamic (or balsamic of your choice) 1/2 tsp dijon mustard 5 tbsp olive oil 2 tsp agave (or other sweetener of choice) 1 garlic clove, minced Pour the balsamic into a bowl or measuring cup. Add the mustard and whisk. Continue to whisk while slowly adding the olive oil. Add the agave and garlic, whisk again. I can’t just lick my lips anymore without remembering that probably within a mile of my house, there is a child whose belly is grumbling and if he or she was lucky, dinner might’ve consisted of a bag of potato chips from the gas station convenience store. In the Jewish text called Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Tarfon is quoted as having said “It is not your responsibility to finish the work (of perfecting the world), but you are not free to desist from it either.” What will you do today? And tomorrow? Won’t you join me in taking the pledge?

    Here are a few of things you can do to share our strength and help end childhood hunger:

    1. Click on the following “Take The Pledge” image and….take the pledge! 2. Take a look at these cards which can be used for sending holiday greetings or as gift tags or decorations. They are printed on Crane’s Lettra Pearl White paper. Start with one. If you’re feeling more ambitious, buy ten. Think of how many bellies your contribution will fill. 3. Make a donation to the Share Our Holiday campaign. Here is a list of activities you can choose from to allow you to take part in the pledge, whether taking action online, or donating money, or getting involved in your community, or becoming an advocate in local or national government, or attending culinary events in your area. And finally, do you have 33 seconds? If so, listen to this PSA about ending childhood hunger. 33 seconds, that’s all. And thanks for reading all the way to the end. That means you care.
    • http://glutenfreeeasily.com Shirley @ gfe

      Congrats on your new blog, Ellen! It looks totally spectacular!

      What a moving and thought-provoking post for the Share Our Holiday Table event–thank you for it. I'm so happy to be part of this event with you and others for Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry. I hope we truly make a difference this season, and hopefully for the future.

      The salad looks downright amazing. So beautiful, delicious, and healthy–always my favorite trio when it comes to dishes. :-)

      Hugs,
      Shirley

      • Gluten Free Diva

        Thanks Shirley! I appreciate your feedback on my new blog design. And I would agree with you – beautiful, delicious, AND healthy is a great way to go:).

    • http://www.lexieskitchen.com Lexie's Kitchen

      Well HELLO Gluten Free Diva! What a Diva-ish pic of you : ) Love it. What a tasty salad. Salads are where I lose my imagination and inspiration. Thanks for this one. I envy people that can whip up delish salads. So great to be doing this event with you. And woohoo on your new site : )

      xo
      -Lexie

      • Gluten Free Diva

        Thanks Lexie! We had a blast taking new pictures for my header. I was really glad to be given the opportunity to "stretch" my salad wings. I usually go with the same old same old and my husband is always asking for something different, and this fit the bill.

    • http://www.wenderly.com Wenderly

      What a gorgeous salad! And *perfect* for the holidays! I'm so happy to be participating in this wonderful event with you! Thanks so much for putting my blog in your links!

      • Gluten Free Diva

        Right back atcha! I loved your contribution as well!

    • http://www.girlichef.com girlichef

      This sounds fantastic! The caramelized pear and the goat cheese…oh my…I'm totally salivating over here. Thank you for sharing my link and for raising awareness…I'm proud to share my table with you :)

      • Gluten Free Diva

        Salivating allowed:).

    • http://www.thesensitivepantry.com @SensitivePantry

      Ellen – the new blog looks great. I love your salad. Mmmm….carmelized pears. – Nancy

      • Gluten Free Diva

        Thanks Nancy! Good to hear from you my friend!

    • http://www.glutenfreeforgood.com/blog/ glutenfreeforgood

      Ellen,
      Love the blog design, love your cute photo, love the looks of this salad. It's nice to have some fresh food mixed in with all the holiday treats! Your mix of candied pecans (a favorite of mine) and kalamata olives is really interesting. Sweet, spicy and salty. Yum! This sounds seriously delicious.
      Melissa
      P.S. Sending good thoughts and prayer energy your way.

      • Gluten Free Diva

        Thanks Melissa, especially for the good energy. All is well!

        P.S. I've been nibbling on the handful of candied pecans that were leftover and they get better with age!

    • http://whatscookingwithkids.com Michelle

      Salad looks fantastic. Thanks for participating in our efforts to end childhood hunger with Share our Strength!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol

      Hi you beautiful Diva you! Love the new blog – congrats! Fab salad, perfect for the holidays!

    • http://giddyupglutenfree.blogspot.com/ Dorothy

      Thank you for raising awareness of childhood hunger. I really like your new look and name! Thanks so much for the link! The salad looks amazing. Pear and spiced pecans are two of my favorite salad additions, but I never thought to caramelize the pears. Brilliant!

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    • http://www.andloveittoo.com @andloveittoo.com

      Ellen- the combination of sweet and spicy seems to be a theme at this virtual party. I love the idea of caramelized pears and cayenne pepper, pomegranate and caramelized pecans? Mmmm, this dish has my mouth watering. I look forward to giving your salad a try!

      xoxo
      Sunny

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    • http://twodollardinners.blogspot.com Penny

      Hi Ellen,

      Beatiful blog….recipes and photos are amazing. MUST.MAKE.THIS SALAD!

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    • http://madrantingsofamiddleclassmom.blogspot.com Jenny

      That salad looks amazing. Share our Strength – good job!

    • Gina M.

      This salad looks like something I could eat every day and not get sick of. Delicious! :)

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