Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkins and Chocolate... Something comforting

Lots of personal details of my life first... Scroll down for the recipe...  GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, SOY FREE, REFINED SUGAR FREE, VEGAN Chocolate pudding...

In the last few weeks our family has been going through a lot. As some of you may know, or remember, I announced in my last post that we are planning to adopt a child from Ethiopia. In addition to all that comes along with getting prepared for our home study and dossier preparation, we have decided to add a little more crazy to our lives and buy a house too! So, there has been no end of stress for us in the past few weeks. More stress was piled on with the announcement from our adoption agency that Ethiopia, in the hopes of cleaning up the corruption within it's adoption program has slowed to a crawl the number of referrals it is processing per day to 5 (instead of 50). What does this mean for us? It means that our adoption wait time has jumped from 9-18 months to 36+months... Yes, that's 3 years. It has been truly devastating to me, and though we still feel that adoption from Ethiopia is right for our family, it also means that our plans for our family are not going to happen the way we had hoped they would. At this time, I would like to ask for your prayers, or your good vibes, (depending on your own beliefs on the subject). We will gladly accept all good feelings and thoughts for our family (including our son whom we wait anxiously to be united with) and for the Ethiopia program itself to speedily recover from the devastation of finding corruption within some of its orphanages. They are trying to clean things up to make sure that children are coming in to the system appropriately, and not being trafficked. It is so sad. Money ruins so many lives. I also ask for prayers that the U.S. embassy will not shut down the international adoption program with Ethiopia.

So, in addition to that particular stress, as those of you who have purchased homes before understand all the headache that goes along with it... Things are going fine, then they aren't, then they are, etc... Hopefully that will be over quickly and we can move in to our house by the end of the month. But along with that, we have the added insanity of having to pack up the entire house, and try to figure out if there is anything we can sell in a yard sale, as well as try to sell our rental lease...

Now my mind wanders to the family I want to grow and all the ways in which I can do that. Our insurance will fully pay for IVF (3 tries) and I wonder, is this something I should consider? I so desperately want to be pregnant one more time. Then, if it works, and our adoption is completed, we will have 3 miraculous children, and we will be complete... Only time will tell. So many things going on and so many heavy things weighing on my mind. In all of this fog and confusion, I need some things to bring me comfort and help me feel that all is well. Here is a small list of things that are helping me right now...

Brandon Flowers' Solo album, FLAMINGO (I am in love with his voice)
My vintage dishes from the 1970's... I seriously love the earth tones
My clearance orange throw blanket from IKEA
Hugs and kisses and cuddles from my son
Being held by my sweetheart, (who lets me sob and doesn't judge me for it)
The crisp Autumn air

Oh yeah, that's what this post is supposed to be about... This is a food blog after all...

So, back in January when I started this little blog I wrote a post about how to make homemade Chocolate pudding out of Avocados...

Well, I've been feeling stifled creatively as of late due to the simple reason that I am incredibly (understandably) distracted by my world being thrown upside down... I almost forgot that this time of year is my favorite time of year, and the one time of year that I thoroughly enjoy the variety of pumpkin flavored items everywhere you look... Here are some amazing examples as of late from some of my favorite food bloggers, (and all around amazing people)...

The INCREDIBLE Amy Green over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free has shared a VEGAN PUMPKIN BREAD!
The WONDERFUL Maggie Savage over at She Let Them Eat Cake  has shared PUMPKIN AND PEAR STREUSEL MUFFINS!
The TALENTED Karina Aldridge over at Gluten Free Goddess has shared too many posts to count about pumpkins lately... Just check out her blog and scroll through them! One after the other! 

They all have my head spinning... How can I ever compete? Well, I decided to re-invent my pudding recipe using pumpkin instead of avocado... Here is what I came up with. 

Chocolate and Pumpkin (A match made in heaven)

You will need:

12 pitted dates
1/2 Cup HOT water
2-3 Cups of Canned (unsweetened) pumpkin
3/4 Cup Cashew Milk (or other unsweetened non-dairy milk)
1/4-1/2 Cup RAW ORGANIC Agave Nectar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/3-1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder (start with 1/3 C then add if it needs thickening)
2 Tbsp Pure Gluten Free Vanilla extract
1/2-1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or to taste preference)
Pinch of mineral rich Sea Salt (1/4-1/2 tsp depending on taste)

Boil some water on the stove top, (I use my teapot) and put your dates in your Vitamix. (You can use a regular blender, but it might not get as creamy of a consistency). When your water is boiling, add 1/2 cup of that water to the dates and let them sit for 15-20 minutes. (If you want this to be a RAW recipe, don't boil the water, and let the dates sit for about 45 min-1 hour).

After that time, add the rest of the ingredients, and blend on high until it is a nice, thick, creamy consistency and tastes good to you. Then put it in a container and store it in the fridge. It should last about 3-5 days, (if you don't eat it first).

I must say that my son, who is notoriously fond of pudding LOVES it. He likes it more than the Chocolate/Avocado pudding I have made in the past.

One bite, and I feel better already.

Much Love,

Friday, August 26, 2011


Okay, first things first. IT HAS BEEN SO LONG SINCE I POSTED! I am so sorry! But, I am back. I went on a hiatus from eating like I should, (rest assured, I never strayed from my gluten free diet) and now I am back, omitting dairy and sugar from my diet, and MOSTLY soy too. I have decided to eat a little bit of soy, but don't worry, I will ALWAYS tell you when a recipe has soy in it. I want to look out for my friends who absolutely can't eat soy! My recipes will continue to have substitutions for omitting eggs, (which I am limiting for myself too now) and soy.

So, there are a few things I want to talk about. As some of you may know, I have fertility issues... It took us 2 years to get pregnant with Z, and here we are 4 years later, and we can't get pregnant again... It has been a long, heartbreaking road to haul, and honestly, I have been angry a long time, as well as very very sad. There is a large amount of grief attached to not being able to have a child when you really want to. And, when you finally come to grips with it, you have to let go and really mourn... Once you do that, it makes the next few steps a lot easier. You have to get to a good place in your mind and in your heart to truly move forward. The truth is, I would love LOVE to get pregnant again. I loved being pregnant. Even when I was pretty miserable, I loved that I was helping to create a life. It was the most incredible thing I have ever done. Honestly. But, I have to admit that that may not be in the cards for me again. So, I got angry, I got real sad, and you know what? One day, I just decided to turn a negative in to a positive.

In the world, there are over 147 MILLION orphans. And you know what? Lately it seems that there are a LOT of people being diagnosed with infertility. What is the one way that these numbers can be alleviated, and BOTH parties are happy? ADOPTION!

In Ethiopia alone, there are over 5 million orphans. Adoption could be the difference between life and death to one of those 5 million children. After a long time meditating and praying, my husband and I have decided to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia. A child who is waiting for a family. I know that many people have strong opinions about inter-racial families, and international adoption, and I want to clear something up. I am in no way shape or form against domestic adoption. EVERY FAMILY needs to find their own path in life. Our path just happens to be taking us to Ethiopia. We really feel that we have a son there waiting for us. As for the strong opinions about inter-racial families, I say this... We are not adopting from Ethiopia because it is trendy, or because we want to appear above racism or to seem as if we are better than others because we care more about third world countries. That is truly sad to think that ANYONE would ever adopt for those reasons. The truth is, we don't care about the race of our children. We realize that hearing people's opinions is going to become a big part of our lives once our son comes home. We are not taking this lightly. We want to make sure that we keep the culture of Ethiopia alive for him, as well as incorporate different aspects of that culture and mesh them in to our own traditions and everyday life. But we are opening our hearts to a nation that is numbered among the world's poorest and most in need. I really don't see anything wrong with that. I don't plan on "white washing" him, or disregarding the country he comes from. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I want to embrace it, and help him celebrate it.

So, that is something very very big going on in my life right now, and we are very excited about it!

Now, in honor of this announcement on my food blog, I am giving you a recipe for the traditional Ethiopian Flat bread, Injera. This was my first experience both in making and eating injera! I wanted to keep it as close to the original recipe as possible. So, without further ado... I give you, INJERA!

Injera is often served with a stew like meat called Wot (sometimes spelled WAT). Injera, as I have read and understand, is used often in place of utensils. It serves as a means to get food from the plate to your mouth. It soaks up the sauces, and compliments the dishes with it's earthy flavor.

Last night I started it. (You have to start 1-3 days before you want to eat it)! Since it is still summer(ish) around these parts, I only needed it to sit out for about 16 hours. It worked very well!

What you need:

1 1/2 Cups Teff flour (naturally gluten free)
2 Cups water
sea salt to taste (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
oil of choice (I used olive oil)

Mix the teff and the water in a bowl and cover for 1-3 days. You can cover it with a lid or a dish towel. I used a lid. Leave it out on the counter to ferment. It will start to look puffed up and bubbly. When it looks bubbly, you know it is ready. I would check it once a day until it looks like you want it to. Mine just had formed a mound on top that almost looked like a crust, and when I got the spoon out to tap it, it collapsed and was all bubbly underneath. This is the same method people making sourdough use. It is safe. Just make sure it doesn't get moldy! That's why you should check it once a day.

Once your injera is bubbly, it is time to cook it!

Use a cast iron skillet if you can, (I tried a few failed attempts with a non-stick pan... didn't work) Turn the heat up to about Medium, or Low-Medium. Let it get hot. Pour some oil in the pan, take a paper towel and rub it around so that it is evenly coated. I got the sides of my skillet too.

Pour in just enough injera in to the pan to be thicker than a crepe, but not as thick as a pancake after you roll it around. (If you have ever made crepes before, that probably makes more sense to you). So, what I did was take a ladle, poured it in the middle of the pan, took another HALF ladle full, and dumped it in there too. Then I grabbed the skillet by the handle and rolled the injera around until the entire bottom of the skillet was covered. Then I let it cook.

You will know it is finished cooking when the dough on the upside looks the same color all around, and when you take a spatula to pull it up, that it comes up easily without any tearing or crumbling. It takes about 2-4 minutes to cook.

DON'T FLIP IT. Just cook one side, and then put it on your plate.

Then you can add whatever dish you want to on top of it, (I made home made garlic shrimps to eat) and enjoy the flavor of a traditional Ethiopian sourdough flat bread! And while you do, send good vibes to my family during our adoption process!


It passed the Z test! 
He gobbled it up!


With Love,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes!

THESE ARE NOT REFINED SUGAR FREE! THE CUPCAKES CONTAIN "RAW" TURBINADO CANE SUGAR (technically unrefined but still cane sugar), And they are topped with Sugar Crystals (you can leave those out if you want to keep it Refined sugar free)... I do have notes at the bottom for substitutions...

This weekend I am going to be a part of a charity/fundraiser bake sale for a sick little boy named Cole and his family.

For the bake sale, I decided to make my Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Red Velvet Cupcakes. Mmm... Red Velvet is our family's favorite. I like it for the aesthetics, my husband likes them for the taste, and my son loves them because, well, they are sweet and RED.

Look at how moist that cake is! 


2 Cups "Raw" Turbinado Sugar (or you can substitute Coconut/Palm Sugar for this)
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 Cup Soy Free Earth Balance Margarine
1/2 Cup Palm Shortening
1/3 Cup Vegenaise Original Mayonnaise (seriously) (Can be omitted to make SOY free)
1 1/8 Cup UNSWEETENED Applesauce
1 Cup Non Dairy Buttermilk (1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar + enough unsweetened Coconut milk to equal one cup... let sit for 5 minutes before using)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp - 2 1/2 tsp Red food coloring (some are weaker than others... you just want to make sure you have a nice deep red color or else you will end up with chocolate cupcakes.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line cupcake tins with paper liners and set aside.

Prepare your "buttermilk" by adding 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg's) and enough unsweetened coconut milk to bring your mixture to the one cup mark, and let sit for approximately 5 minutes. 

Whisk together Flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in medium sized bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the margarine, palm shortening, sugar, vegenaise, vanilla, and food coloring until creamy.

Take dry ingredients and add about 1/3 of the mixture to the wet ingredients.  Mix with hand mixer. Add about 1/3 of the buttermilk, continue mixing. Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk until everything is well mixed together.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 way, and cook for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Take cupcakes out of oven at that point and allow to cool in the pans.

This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes.


1/2 Cup Palm Shortening
1/2 Cup Butter flavored Palm Shortening
1 lb Confectioners Sugar (You CAN make your own using Palm sugar or Turbinado sugar... see my notes below)
1 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla
2 Tbsp unsweetened Coconut milk
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 drops of food coloring of choice (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well blended and creamy. Spread on cupcakes and enjoy!

(make however much you need)
1 Cup Turbinado (or palm sugar)
1 Tbsp Arrowroot starch

Mix together on high in a high powered blender until the consistency of powder. (Don't let the blender get too hot or the sugar will start to stick to the blades).

A word about using Palm Sugar: It will speckle your frosting with brown flecks. To avoid this, use a different sugar.

Eat and Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chocolat Covered Chips

Now, this is NOT, I repeat, N-O-T a healthy food by ANY MEANS. This treat should be considered one of those, once in a great while treats... definitely not a staple.

I was perusing a site that has become a new obsession of mine, Manifest Vegan, and discovered among the archives a post about Chocolate Covered Potato Chips... I was intrigued. Very intrigued. What a BIZARRE sounding idea! But, one that I decided to try.

Now, my chips don't look nearly as amazing as Allyson's, but they are tasty none the less.

All I did was melt some Baker's UNSWEETENED chocolate, (3 oz.) along with 3 TBSP NON HYDROGENATED PALM SHORTENING, and 2 1/2 TBSP RAW Agave Nectar... (You can use less agave if you would like. For a thicker chocolate, you can use a little less shortening as well.

For instructions on how to melt chocolate correctly, please see my CHOCOLAT post.

Once melted thoroughly, remove from heat, and let cool slightly. It will thicken a little more at this point. Then take some chips, (I used Classic LAYS) and dip them in to the chocolate... Next time, I might just dip HALF the chip to get more of the salty flavor added with the sweetness of the chocolate.

Then set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 45 minutes. Then, eat and enjoy... in moderation! ha ha.


HFCS... making people fat is just one of the perks

I have been trying to avoid High fructose Corn syrup like the plague... but it is in SO MUCH! I can't believe all the products that have it in it. Why? It's a cheap alternative to other sweeteners.

People wonder why obesity has reached epidemic proportions among our children, and why Type 2 Diabetes is no longer considered "adult onset" Diabetes. What about all this hullabaloo about our children's generation being the first in a very long time not expected to out live it's parents. That is a SCARY SCARY statistic.

A short answer could be HFCS. There are MANY more factors involved obviously, but the fact of the matter is, if you cut out HFCS from your diet, you will see better health (maybe not perfect health)... I know from personal experience.

Here is just a little video that I thought was hysterical, and spot on about the attitudes towards HFCS, and the accompanying results those attitudes can lead to.

I also want to say that I am not trying to offend anyone. I mean, this is mostly a dessert site, and I am not perfect. I may give my son more treats than he should have. I do believe in moderation when it comes to sweets, and I am picky about the types of sweets he has. I am refined sugar free, but that doesn't necessarily make me the healthiest person in the world either. I just think we need to understand what we are putting in to our bodies, (and the bodies of our children) and make informed decisions about it. We shouldn't turn a blind eye to the effects of certain food products because of lobbyist propaganda...

I am NOT a nutritionist, a dietitian, or a doctor... just a parent, a human being, and a person who genuinely cares about the nutritional decline in our society.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

I entered my grasshopper pudding recipe over on Simply Sugar and Gluten Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays today. You should check it out! It's a great meet up of food bloggers.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

toffee-esque almond flour cookies

Tonight I made my sweet little boy some delicious cookies. Cookies that were so yummy, that my picky, anti-sweets, gluten eating, dairy loving, carnivore husband said were AMAZING. Yup. 

I recently purchased a book called The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. It looks a little something like this: 


This book is FILLED with amazing information on the benefits of almond flour, and natural sugars. She is a wealth of knowledge. In the book, one of the recipes really caught my eye. It was called the TROPICAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. They sounded amazing, but I decided to tweak it tonight and try something a little different. 
Instead of shredded coconut and chopped cashews, I substituted my homemade Candied Nut Crumble.

Here is what I came up with: 

2 1/2 Cups almond FLOUR (Check out Lexie's Kitchen to find out how to make your own!)**I made my own in an old blender on pulse and then sifted it.**
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 Cup coconut oil, (melted over low heat) (you can also use palm shortening)
1/2 Cup RAW ORGANIC Agave Nectar
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract (gluten free)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda, and mix together until well blended. 

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, agave nectar and vanilla and mix it until it is well mixed together. 

Combine ingredients and mix until a batter forms and you feel that it is well mixed together. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the chocolat chunks and candied nuts crumble until it is evenly dispersed. 

Using a cookie scoop, or a regular spoon, spoon the dough on to the cookie sheets leaving at least two inches between the cookies as they will spread. No need to flatten. 

Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the sheets for 10-15 minutes before letting them cool completely on a paper bag. 

Eat and enjoy!  


Candied Nut Crumble

I am a big fan of candied nuts. I didn't used to be. My mother would eat candied nuts and I would gag. But as I grew to be an adult, I converted to a love of candied nuts. But what to do when you can't have butter or refined sugar? Say goodbye to carnival candied nuts in those little paper cones. But tonight, while making a new batch of cookies for my son, I decided to try being creative, and VOILA! Refined sugar free candied nuts were born right there in my kitchen!

This recipe is my own. I didn't borrow it from anyone. I didn't tweak someone else's hard work. From start to finish this is mine. I think this would make an EXCELLENT topping to an apple crisp or peach cobbler to make it gluten free and A-MAY-ZA-ZING! (I would just add the crumble topping to the cobbler during the last 10-15 minutes of baking to prevent the nuts from burning).


1 1/4 Cup whole or chopped nuts of choice (I used chopped cashews and macadamia nuts for this)
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp gluten free vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 Tbsp (or to taste) ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp palm sugar

In a medium pan, melt the coconut oil over low heat until melted. Add the chopped nuts and stir constantly. Make sure all the nuts are coated with oil. You will probably have excess oil. That is okay.

Next add the vanilla, and stir, stir, stir! Make sure you get vanilla mixed in with all the nuts. (You can add more vanilla if you like).

Next add the cinnamon, by dusting it over all the nuts, giving it an even coating, then stir again making sure that the cinnamon gets mixed in well.

Add the Palm sugar in 1 Tbsp at a time, to absorb the excess oil. You can stop adding sugar once you feel that all the oil is soaked up by the dry ingredients, or add all of the remaining palm sugar. (You can add more if you need to).

Stir until the nuts are a little more brown, and then scrape all contents on to a plate to let cool. You can put them in to the fridge to cool off faster, or just leave them out until they are cool enough to eat or put in to a plastic storage bag. Store in the fridge. (Try to use it within a week).

This is great to add to granola, or trail mix or just to eat by itself. As I said already it would be excellent in cobbler recipes too. I think it is pretty rich and sweet, so I don't need many to curb my cravings for sweet and crunchy!


Thursday, March 3, 2011


That was my Homer Simpson impression... And for your viewing pleasure, I present the pictures of my latest creation...

Okay, okay, I'm sorry about the sprinkles. I just added them to make them prettier. The sprinkles are NOT refined sugar free, but my son asked for them, and so I obliged.

These donuts were made in my BRAND SPANKIN' NEW Wilton DONUT PAN! (It just came today from Amazon)!

We opened the box, and my little one said, "DONUTS! Can we make donuts for MEEEE?!" How could I resist that?

So, I scoured the internet, (Starting with my side bar) for a gluten free donut recipe, and came across the amazing Cybele Pascal's recipe for gluten free, VEGAN donuts! SCORE! I had to adapt it slightly because of the refined sugars, and here is Cybele's recipe with a few of my own tweaks:

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons rice milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup GF All Purpose Flour 
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Spectrum Organic Palm Shortening
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 Tablespoons rice milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Glaze (my own recipe below)

Here are Cybele's directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine rice milk with lemon juice and set aside.
  3. Measure out flour mix by spooning flour into a dry measuring cup, then leveling it off with a straightedge, or the back of a knife. (Do not scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup or you’ll wind up with too much flour for the recipe). Combine flour mix with xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk well. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, egg replacer, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Sift in the flour mixture in three bathes, alternating with the rice milk, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 30 seconds.
  6. Using a teaspoon, spoon the batter into an ungreased non-stick donut pan, filling  each donut cup about 7/8th full. Do not over fill them or they’ll rise too much. Smooth down batter with back of teaspoon to even surface, then wrap pan firmly against counter a few times to really settle batter into pan.
  7. Bake 15 minutes in center of oven until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 5 minutes on a cooling rack.  Invert onto rack and wrap back of pan lightly to dislodge donuts.  Let cool on rack to room temperature.  

Here is my very own recipe for a chocolate glaze. I thought chocolate and coconut would go well together as a topping for this donut. I hope you enjoy!


1 oz Baker's 100% chocolate
1 heaping TBSP cocoa powder
1 1/2 TBSP Coconut Oil
1 1/2 TBSP Raw Agave Nectar (or to taste... use your best judgment).

Melt all ingredients in a double boiler or in two pots as described in my Chocolat post.

Stir constantly, until completely melted. Remove from heat, and let sit for approximately 5 minutes. Dip the donuts in the chocolate glaze, let the excess drip off, and set the donuts aside to cool and set.

Then, add your own embellishments, or leave them plain like me.

Eat and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Exit Soda, Enter Smoothie

Yes, I am one of "those people" who drinks a green smoothie every day. Well... I try. Most of the time it is every day, but there are days when my time gets the best of me and I don't get it that day... Usually on those days I don't have nearly as much energy or feel like I've done as good for my body. It's strange what your body starts to crave when you change your diet all around...

You see, I used to crave chocolate all the time. ALL THE TIME. Or cookies or something equally bad for me. I was addicted to sugar. If I went a day without Coke I thought I was going to die. Nowadays, I don't even miss candy bars or the nectar of the Gods Coke. Now, I crave good things like fruits or my green smoothies. I still miss pizza and sometimes cake donuts, and cookies, but those days are fewer and fewer as of late. I have found that I am much more sensitive to sweetness now. But, I think that with anything, it has to become habit. The more you eat well, the more you want to.

In our house, we call green smoothies, "REPTAR JUICE." My son who is 3, was introduced to the Rugrats, and quickly became just as obsessed with the dinosaur Reptar as Tommy, Chucky, Phil and Lil. Don't worry though, we nixed that pretty fast because of how mean Angelica is, but the Reptar obsession remained. Which, I think, is kinda cool.

(REPTAR picture is not my own. I found it on the internet here).

So, how do you make REPTAR JUICE?

Well here in my kitchen it goes a little something like this:

(Makes enough for 1-3 people)
1 Cup NON DAIRY MILK (Usually Cashew Milk)
1 Cup 100% Apple Juice or Apple Cider
2 handfuls of FRESH BABY SPINACH (My handfuls are big)
1 Cup Frozen fruit of choice (I LOOOOVE WAWONA... I get a big bag at Costco)
1 Medium ripe banana
(Add more juice or milk if you need to)

Add all ingredients in to a high powered blender such as my beautiful, amazing, glorious, handy dandy, Vitamix 5200. Blend until smooth. Pour and enjoy.

If this is what "healthy" tastes like, why did I wait so long?!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Choco Peanut Butter Cookies

This is a recipe I had blogged about over on my personal blog last year. I just made these babies again today, and thought I would share them with you. I am keeping my original post, which will follow this little note, but wanted to add some new substitutions...

In place of the powdered honey, you can use regular sugar or coconut sugar. You might consider lowering the amount to 2/3 cup instead of a full cup to cut down on the sweetness. (These guys are really sweet).

In place of eggs, you can use unsweetened applesauce, (I am following a vegan diet as of late, and so tonight when I made these I used 1/4 cup + 1/8 Cup applesauce instead of the eggs and it worked perfectly). A word to the wise, adding applesauce in place of eggs adds sweetness to an already sweet cookie.

In place of the Peanut butter, you can substitute almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter or natural peanut butter. I would recommend using a nut butter that is less sweetened than commercial nut butters. I always prefer to make my own, but you can of course use commercial products with great success. Because of my sugar issues, (and if you want to make this refined sugar free) I would recommend using either an unsweetened nut butter, or one sweetened with either agave or palm sugar, or (if you like) something like turbinado or "raw" cane sugar.

For the chocolate chips, you can either use regular chocolate chips, (as shown in the pictures) or a product like Enjoy life semi sweet chocolate chips, or make chocolate chunks from my Chocolat recipe.

My husband who eats what he pleases ate quite a bit of these tonight when he came home from work. So, if you don't want anyone to know that these cookies are "allergen friendly" then don't tell them. I have found that when you introduce something that you have made, no matter how delicious it is, as "gluten free," "Dairy free," etc people decide right then and there that it isn't going to taste good. So, if it comes up, tell them, but if not, let them enjoy it, and you can smile to yourself that you made something that JUST ABOUT ANYONE CAN EAT that is delicious. 


Well, nothing says delicious like chocolate and peanut butter! I received a cookie recipe that is FLOURLESS from my husband's step-mom, but it is just peanut butter. Although they taste good, I am always looking for ways to add more deliciousness to existing recipes. I love to tweak things and make them my own.

We're lucky I got what pictures I did! Husband came home last night and saw them in the fridge and scarfed down half of them! Then, this morning, my sweetheart let me sleep while he took care of little man, and by the time I got up there were only two left. That's right, Ez had a LOT of cookies for breakfast. That's okay. It's not like mommy hasn't been guilty of chocolate cake breakfasts, or cookies for dinner.

So, on to the recipe!

1 Cup powdered honey (or you can use sugar)
2 eggs (I use Large eggs)
1 Tbsp gluten free vanilla (no caramel coloring allowed!)
3/4 Cup Peanut Butter (I use Skippy Natural-Delicious!)
1/3 Cup cocoa powder (I buy it in bulk at the Natural food store)
1 Cup Semi Sweet chocolate chips

Put powdered honey, eggs and vanilla in a bowl and mix it for about a minute or two until it's nice and creamy. Then add the peanut butter, and cocoa powder and mix for another minute. Add the chocolate chips and just mix until they are well mixed in.

If the cookie dough makes it from this stage to the pans, GOOD JOB!

With whatever dough you have left, (ha ha) use a teaspoon to put down some dollops on to an ungreased cookie sheet, (I have wilton non stick cookie sheets, but I don't think it really matters) flatten them a little, (mine were about 1/4 inch thick) with the back of a spoon or fork, (or wet fingers) and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Pull them out and make sure they aren't gooey. You can continue to cook them for another 2 minutes if you think they aren't finished yet. Be careful though, because they can burn pretty fast!

Now, pull them out, let them cool, eat and enjoy. (If you get one before they are scarfed up by your family!)


With Love,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If you are new to this...

I wanted to write a post about some things that maybe will make the transition to the gluten free lifestyle a little smoother. When we found out my son couldn't have gluten, (even a tiny bit) he was two months shy of his 2nd birthday. I went gluten free to help him transition, so he wouldn't be eating foods that were so different from Mom and Dad... then I figured out that I too have a problem with gluten.

Now, I haven't been diagnosed a Celiac, and neither has my son, but both of us have multiple symptoms of the Celiac "Disease", in fact my son has ALL symptoms of childhood CD. But at the prompting of his pediatrician, we decided not to have the test done. There were numerous factors involved in this decision. Our doctor helped us understand what would be at risk if we were diagnosed. My son could potentially have problems getting insured because CD is only managed by following a gluten free diet. Because there is no magic pill, a lot of insurances consider it a pre-existing condition. We would have to let him eat Gluten for a while before he is tested, so that the test can be as accurate as possible. This would not only make him very sick, but do damage to his healing intestines, and even then, the tests aren't always accurate. Then our doctor asked me the question that cinched the decision. "What are you going to do if he tests positive?" I said, "Do what we are already doing." He said, "Exactly. If there is a need in the future, do it then, but as of right now, you don't need a diagnosis to do what is best for your son." I wanted to hug him right then and there. I had struggled for a while with what to feed him, and scrutinizing every last ingredients list, and I was feeling like I was failing my son in some way. It was then that I realized, because the doctor told me how pleased he was with my son's growth and recognizing it was because I was doing everything I could to ensure his health was where it should be, that I can do this. I absolutely can do this. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it downright sucks, but the benefits of this lifestyle have far outweighed any downsides.

So, for those of you who may be in the boat I was in a little while back, I want this site to be a place that brings you that comfort that my visit with the pediatrician brought me. YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING!

When this all started, we ate only rice. My husband was cheap, and I was astounded at the cost of pre-packaged GF foods. So, we started with the basics.

We cook a larger batch of BROWN RICE, and store it in the fridge, so that it is ALWAYS on hand for a quick fix. That way, we can add all sorts of things to it.

Here is a list of foods I keep on hand in the pantry:
DON JULIO CORN TORTILLAS (I keep these in the fridge)
LA CHOY SOY SAUCE (It can be found in most grocery stores. It doesn't contain wheat)
CANNED BEANS (Check labels always on canned goods)
GUAR GUM OR XANTHAN GUM (Guar is less expensive)
FLAX MEAL (You can keep this in the fridge)
PURE MAPLE SYRUP (I buy Spring tree)
AGAVE NECTAR (raw only)
DRIED FRUITS (Check ingredients)
COCONUT OIL (I don't use this a ton, but it's nice to have on hand)
PALM SUGAR (I am refined sugar free, so this is the sugar I keep on hand)
BOB'S RED MILL MIGHTY TASTY HOT CEREAL (I use this in place of oatmeal)
CHEX CEREAL (Rice, Corn, Cinnamon, Chocolate)

Here is a list of foods I keep on hand that are NATURALLY GLUTEN FREE:
All sorts of fresh FRUIT (organic)
All sorts of fresh VEGETABLES (organic)
MEATS (un-marinated)

Some of my favorite pre packaged foods/snacks that I buy that are GLUTEN FREE:
LARABARS (Or make them yourself)
SIMPLY FRUIT ROLL-UPS ( just fruit and fruit juice)
TREE TOP FRUIT SNACKS (These are GF, but I rarely buy them anymore)
SWEDISH FISH (These are usually SPECIAL treats for my son... I don't keep them in the house)
DUM-DUM'S (These are also occasional treats for my son)
RAW TRAIL MIX (You can make your own)
UDI'S GLUTEN FREE BREAD (Both the multi grain and the white are awesome)
CHEX CEREALS (obviously not Wheat Chex)

One thing that you should DEFINITELY DEFINITELY have on hand ALWAYS:
PROBIOTICS!!! This will help heal the damage that has been done to the intestine. In our house we use: GARDEN OF LIFE RAW PROBIOTICS which are gluten/dairy/soy free. KEEP THIS REFRIGERATED.


I want to say something that I only found out after I transferred my son to soy milk. TOO MUCH Soy can be harmful to the development of hormones in little boys. Soy contains phyto-estrogens, which can hinder their reproductive health. (I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, but this was told to me by a nutritionist). My son is now off of all soy, and is now on rice milk, or homemade almond or cashew milk.

CHECK ALL INGREDIENTS IN PACKAGED FOOD. WHEAT IS IN SO MUCH! Here is a list of ingredients that contain gluten. 

A few of my favorite BOOKS:
COOKING FOR ISAIAH (this book is GREAT for people cooking GF for children)

I hope this post helped. I honestly wish I had found a list of things to keep on hand when I was first starting out. But if you have more questions, there is a big list of my favorite gluten free blogs in the side bar. ALL OF THESE SITES ARE GREAT RESOURCES!

Good luck! And I promise this change will make all the difference!



Example: NO FAST FOOD HASHBROWNS ARE SAFE FOR CELIACS! And McDonald's french fries CONTAIN WHEAT STARCH! Just double check before going out.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Godfeather pizza

This is my entry for the Pizza Fest 2011 over on ATX Gluten Free.

In my hometown of Chico, California, there is a kitschy little pizza joint called Celestino's, where the service is bad, but you keep going back for the pizza slices. They have an AMAZING pizza there called the Godfather. It is the most glorious gluten filled deliciousness you've ever had. (I LOVE PIZZA). It has a relatively thin crust, (which is gigantic), red sauce, pesto, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and sun dried tomatoes.  It is a large slice of heaven, I assure you.

Well, I haven't been back home in a long time, and even if I had been back, I wouldn't be able to enjoy my favorite pizza place.

But there is one thing that I DO NOT MISS about eating my favorite food. The heaviness I felt afterward, and the immense stomach problems that were inevitable, followed close behind by my unexplainable headaches... (This was before I realized I couldn't tolerate gluten or dairy)...

So, here is my version of the Godfather. I call it the Godfeather because it is a featherweight compared to it's opponent. It's smaller, pint-sized in comparison, and much healthier... it also happens to be gluten, refined sugar, and dairy free. Because it is something my body doesn't try to reject, I feel a hundred pounds lighter after I eat a slice of mine, versus how I felt when I ate the "real" thing.

So, without further ado... I offer you


For this pizza crust, I simply followed the instructions for making Silvana Nardone's pizza crust in her book Cooking for Isaiah. (I highly recommend this book. It is absolutely 100% worth the investment)!

I made my own pesto, following my pesto recipe, though this time, I omitted the cheese. 

I used about a 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes from one of my favorite stores, (SUNFLOWER FARMERS MARKET).

I also used some freshly diced white mushrooms, (about 1/4-1/2 cup)

I omitted the heavy red sauce that the original Godfather calls for, as well as the ricotta cheese. 

So, take your pizza crust, spread the pesto like you would sauce, then add the sun dried tomatoes and the mushrooms, and top with as much daiya cheese as you want. (By the way, you can add as MUCH or as LITTLE of the toppings that you want). 

My 3 year old, who (heaven knows how this happened) isn't a big pizza fan, scarfed it up. That says a lot, people!

Pop it in the oven, wait as patiently as possible for it to cook, slice it and enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Win a Cuisinart!

Simply... Gluten Free is GIVING AWAY a BRAND NEW FOOD PROCESSOR! Follow this link to the contest to enter!


Good luck! See you soon with a new recipe! :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE BLOGS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD is Simply Sugar & Gluten Free, which is written beautifully by Amy Green. (She has a book coming out in March, and it's on Pre-order right now through Amazon- I ordered mine already and can't wait for it to get here)!

Every week Amy gets people from all over to post links to their blogs. It's called Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. And this week, I am joining in! I love her blog and so this is a perfect opportunity to invite you to check it out.

My recipe for Chocolate Chunk Cookies is over there today! I'm so excited to share in this!

Check it out here.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Chocolate and Avocados

What can you make with Chocolate and Avocados? A delicious Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free, peanut free, egg free, corn free Chocolate pudding of course!

My son loves pudding. LOVES it. Whenever we go to the store and he sees the snack packs, he says something along the lines of, "please please pleeeeeeeeease?" Because of his food sensitivities, the answer is always "no."

So, I looked online to see if I could find a good chocolate pudding recipe and try to adapt it to my lifestyle, and lo and behold, I found a recipe over on one of my FAVORITE BLOGS, Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.  Ali is a WHIZ in the kitchen with her AMAZING RECIPES.  But I will tell you this, her recipe for Avocado Fudgesicles is what got me hooked on her blog.

So, I decided to add my own twist to her recipe, and this is what I came up with:

**For those uninterested in "grasshopper" pudding, substitute more vanilla in place of the Peppermint extract.**


8 pitted dates
1/2 Cup water
3 medium Avocados (or one jumbo)
1 Cup Cashew Milk
1/4 Cup RAW ORGANIC Agave Nectar
5-7 TBSP Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp Pure Gluten Free Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Peppermint extract
Pinch of mineral rich Sea Salt

You will do best with a high powered blender such as a Vitamix, but you will probably do fine with a regular blender, you may just need to blend the ingredients longer.

Put dates in to the blender, and cover with the 1/2 cup of water. Let soak for 30-45 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend on high until you have a creamy, non lumpy mixture.

You can either pour in to individual sized bowls and serve as pudding, or pour in to Popsicle molds and make fudgesicles. If you freeze them, freeze them for AT LEAST 6 hours, as Ali says in her recipe.

Any way you do it, it's delicious!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I don't know about you, but I have ALWAYS loved cookies. Baking cookies reminds me of the days of my childhood, when my mother would let me lick the cookie dough off the beaters, and the smell of sweet cookies baking on a cool evening. Cookies cooling off on a brown paper bag just takes me back to simpler times. Times when my grandparents were both still alive, and after my grandmother died and my grandfather (who happened to be my best friend growing up) would still bake me delicious cookies just because he loved me so much. (I still use the cookie sheets that they used my whole life, because for some reason it makes me even happier to bake with them).

When I went Gluten free, I thought my days of cookies were gone. And then I searched online and found gluten free cookie recipes, and thought I had died and gone to heaven! But then I would bake them, and taste them, and all the dread came back. I was never going to have a tasty chocolate chip cookie again, and my son would never have those memories when he's an adult... the memories of baking cookies with mom and anxiously anticipating the moment when they got out of the oven and all the hard work payed off with the first delicious bite.

Then I discovered Silvana Nardone's All Purpose Flour Mix, and took an old Chocolate Chip cookie recipe I had and through a little trial and error, adapted it (deliciously) to my dietary limits.

Are you ready to taste heaven again? Here are some pictures to get you ready...

This recipe makes about 18 cookies... And no one but you and I have to know that they are Gluten and Refined-Sugar free! (They wouldn't believe you anyway).

1 Cup plus 3 TBSP GF All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Corn Free Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp mineral rich sea salt 
1/2 Cup NON HYDROGENATED Palm Shortening
1/2 Cup packed Refined sugar free light brown sugar
1/4 Cup Coconut/Palm sugar
1 medium egg + 2 TBSP unsweetened applesauce (**please see notes below marked with **)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Cup Chocolate chunks made from my chocolat recipe

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium glass bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well blended.
3. In a separate bowl, mix (with your mixer) together the shortening, brown sugar, palm sugar for about 2 minutes. Then add the egg and applesauce and vanilla. Mix together for another 2 minutes until the mixture is creamy.
4. Add the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredient bowl, and mix together until it is well blended and there are no chunks of flour left. Add the chocolate chunks to the mixture and mix it in with a wooden spoon. You can also add raisins, or nuts at this time if you would like to.
5. Using a 1/2 inch ice cream scoop, or a rounded tablespoon, drop the cookie dough on to the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
6. Place the cookie sheet in oven (one sheet at a time) for 8-10 minutes. You can go a minute or two longer if you like a crunchier cookie. I like mine soft.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet for about 2-3 minutes. Then using a spatula, place the cookies on to either a wire cooling rack or on a flattened brown paper bag. (I prefer the latter for both memories and for soaking up any extra oils).
8. Let cool a few minutes longer, eat and enjoy!

I eat mine with a nice glass of cold Cashew Milk.

 **OR enough ENER-G egg replacer for one large egg, OR 1 TBSP ground flax meal + 3 TBSP Warm Water, OR 1/4 Cup applesauce (The recipe calls for one large egg, but you can use any one of these options)

My own Pesto and a Daiya Cheese review

So, being gluten and dairy free, and being the obsessive researcher that I am, I look at lots of blogs on this topic. There is all this buzz about the blogosphere on Daiya cheese... I had never heard of it, and couldn't find it anywhere...

Lo and behold, today, while at one of my favorite fresh markets, (Sunflower Farmer's Market that is) I walked by the dairy ("dairy") aisle and saw in brand new fashion a package of DAIYA CHEESE sitting there... granted, it is a little pricier than regular cheese, but at $3.99 a bag, I thought I would try it and see what all the kerfuffle is about.

Here are some pictures of the package so you can get an idea about what I am working with:

As you can see, it's definitely not NOT a whole food, but it is definitely not something made from scary ingredients either. But does it taste good?

Well, I tasted it, and I have to say it tastes a LOT better than the rice cheese I have used in the past. So, I decided to make a dairy free (vegan) Pesto. And, let me just say, that the finished product is DELICIOUS.

So, I love pesto. I don't know about all of you, but it happens to be my favorite thing at Italian restaurants. But, pine nuts? $19.95 per pound? Yeah, right. I instead use RAW sunflower seeds. Much more cost effective, and just as tasty if you ask me.

I also get my fresh basil at Sunflower Market, which just so happens to be right up the street from me, making my life so much easier... It's about $4.95 for a big bag of ORGANIC Basil!

So, typically, the recipe calls for, (and I want to note that up until the last month, I have been using) PARMESAN SHREDDED CHEESE, but since going Dairy free, that's not an option for me. So, in steps the Daiya... Here is the recipe and some pictures for you.

2 cups PACKED fresh basil leaves
1/3-1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (or pine nuts)
3 cloves of fresh garlic (or I use the minced garlic, and use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of it)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheese (or Parmesan)

In a food processor, add the fresh basil leaves and sunflower seeds and garlic and pulse it a few times until everything looks really chopped up. Then add the salt and pepper, pulse again. Add the cheese and turn the food processor on, while pouring in the olive oil fairly slowly.

That's it. Taste it, make sure it's the consistency you like, and then just eat it and enjoy it!

It will stay good in the fridge for about a week, but it freezes really well. I like to freeze mine in individual snack size plastic baggies and then just defrost it with warm water when I want to use it. I don't cook mine, because I like the raw pesto best, but you can definitely cook yours if that is the way you like it.

Me personally? I like to put it on toast and devour. :)

If you are curious about the bread that I use, it is called UDI'S WHOLE GRAIN BREAD. It is SO SO SO GOOD.

I think that I can safely say that Daiya Cheese is now among Udi's Bread as the only product of it's kind that I will buy when I buy it.

With Love,

**DISCLAIMER** Udi's Bread is NOT sugar free or egg free. Please make a note of that before purchasing.