Thursday, July 31, 2014

Light Loaded Potato Soup

My roommate loves potatoes! In everything. So, we eat potatoes several times a month if not several times a week. We have our favorite staples, but every now and then we like to branch out and try our hand at something new. Both of us were in the mood for soup, so we decided to try a lightened-up version of loaded potato soup, and we very accidentally created this yummy concoction.

Light Loaded Potato Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 6

  • 4 medium-large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth*
  • 2 cups almond or goat milk
  • 5-6 oz goat cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  1.  In a non-stick stockpot over medium-high heat, add the chopped onion and stir until fragrant and starting to brown, 3 or so minutes. 
  2. Pour in the vegetable broth, and stir to remove any stuck pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes and boil over medium-high heat until tender. Add the milk, goat cheese, salt, and pepper and stir to incorporate. 
  3. Remove the soup from the stove and either blend in a food processor or use an immersion blender to blend the soup. Return to medium heat and heat through. 
  4. Top with sliced scallions, and season with salt and pepper, and enjoy. Can be served with crispy bacon and cheddar cheese if you desire.
If you do not have vegetable broth (I never bother buying it), then just add the following:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/4 tsp  salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • dash of sage

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rustic Buckwheat Tart with Cherry Compote Filling

This recipe makes a delicious, rustic, crust that is great with any fruit filling. So good! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Rustic Buckwheat Tart With Cherry Compote Filling

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients for the Crust:

  • 3 Tbs Triple Sec
  • 3 Tbs iced water
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tbs cold butter, sliced thinly
Ingredients for Cherry Compote Filling: 
  •  4 cups sweet cherries, pitted
  • 3 Tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs Triple Sec
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a food processor, combine the flours, cornstarch, sugar, xantham gum, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse to combine. 
  2. Sprinkle in the cold butter, and pulse until the butter has formed small crumbles in the dough. 
  3. Add the Triple Sec and iced water alternatively, one tablespoon at a time through the feed tube. Continue to add the liquid until the dough comes together and forms a ball. 
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. 
  6. Dust a work surface with buckwheat flour, and dust the dough disk with extra buckwheat flour. Roll out the dough into the shape of your tart pan. Place the removable tart pan bottom under the dough and fold the sides of the dough onto the pan (see the picture below). Assemble the tart pan and unfold the sides of the dough, pressing the dough into the corners. Place the dough in the freezer until firm, 15-20 minutes. 
  7. While the crust is setting, add cherries, sugar, cinnamon, triple sec and cloves to the food processor bowl and process with 10 one second pulses to form a chunky sauce.
  8. Pour the contents of the food processor into a small sauce pan and simmer on medium heat until reduced by about 1/3 and the liquid has thickened, approximately 20 minutes.
  9. While the cherry mixture is reducing, remove the crust from the freezer and bake for 20 minutes at 425 F. 
  10. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 F.  Fill with the reduced fruit filling and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes until fruit filling is cooked through. 
  11. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool or serve warm. Feel free to fill the tart with an apple and cinnamon filling. Get creative and have fun with it! 

Adapted from The Bojon Gourmet

Simple and Healthy Peanut Butter

Have you ever stopped and read the ingredients on a jar of brand-name peanut butter? There are so many oils and other unnecessary products in there! One of my favorite snacks is peanut butter, it closely trails dark chocolate. However, I don't want my peanut "spread" to contain only 60% peanuts. What's the other 40% of my peanut butter comprised of?! I didn't feel like finding out, I just felt like fixing the issue.
Peanut Butter is one of those snacks I could sit down with a spoon and eat half a cup before I realized the damage I had done. Once I started making my own, real, peanut butter, I could only eat a few tablespoons before I was full and satisfied. How's that for real food doing its job to nourish your body and fill you up? It's incredibly simple and much cheaper than store bought butters. Needless to say, I won't be going back to store-bought peanut "spreads"...

Healthy, Real, Peanut Butter

Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Makes about 1.5 cups of Peanut Butter

  • 1 16oz bag of raw blanched peanuts
  • 4 Tbs Honey (or maple syrup for vegan option)
  • 1 tsp salt (I use Himalayan pink sea salt)
  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F. While the oven is preheating, spread the peanuts out on a baking sheet. Once oven has heated up, place the sheet of peanuts in the oven and roast until they start to turn light brown, approximately 15 minutes. Remove once they start to turn brown, because they will continue to cook once they are removed from the oven. 
  2. Allow the peanuts to cool for 10 minutes. Once the peanuts have cooled, place them in a food processor and process until they form a grainy flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the salt and the honey and continue to process until smooth butter is formed. The amount of time this will take will vary based on the food processor, approximately 10 minutes. 
  3. Store peanut butter in a Tupperware container in the fridge. The oils in this butter will not separate like store-bought "Natural" Peanut Butter.

Homemade Hummus

Most hummus recipes call for olive oil, however my sister and brother-in-law try to avoid oil whenever possible. day I made my homemade hummus recipe without oil and it was incredible! I also played around with a few additives and found that every flavor combination was incredibly delicious. Essentially I made 1 batch of plain hummus, then divided it into three batches and added different herbs/veggies, resulting in a mini trio hummus sampler. So yummy! Below are full recipes for an entire batch of hummus, and a full batch of the variations. In the picture, I had one scoop of each flavor of hummus (not plain) and shredded cucumber strips. Makes for a delicious and light lunch!

Homemade Hummus (with 3 variations)
-Pesto Inspired
-Cilantro Jalepeno
-Roasted Red Pepper

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Classic Hummus Ingredients: 
  •  3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 14oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I like to use pink Himalayan sea salt)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • dash of cayenne
  1. To make the classic hummus base, combine the lemon juice and water in a measuring cup. Measure out the tahini and set aside. 
  2. Add the chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne to a food processor and pulse until the chickpeas are almost fully ground. 
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With machine running, add the lemon juice-water mixture through the feed tube. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pour the tahini over the chickpea mixture. Process until smooth. 
  4. If you like plain hummus, then you are done! Refrigerate and enjoy. If you like a little variety, three varieties are below. 

Pesto Hummus:

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  1. Follow Classic Hummus Recipe and add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice to the water mixture. 
  2. Add the pine nuts and basil when you add the chickpeas. Process and enjoy!

Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus:

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbs pickled jalapeno slices, drained
  1.  Follow Classic Hummus Recipe, adding the cilantro leaves and jalapeno slices to the processor with the chickpeas. Process and enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus:

  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, rinsed and dried
  1.  Follow Classic Hummus Recipe, adding the roasted red peppers to the processor with the chickpeas. Process and enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Winning Pan-Seared Lemon Pepper Salmon

This is my dad's signature recipe. Anytime I go home to visit him, you can guarantee that we will be having salmon, and you won't hear me complaining either. It is DELICIOUS! Definitely one of my favorite family recipes, and it's time to share it!

Pan-Seared Lemon Pepper Salmon

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4


  • 1.5-2 lbs salmon fillet or fillets (one larger piece of fish is easier to cook at one time, less turning over)
  • Lemon pepper
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbs olive oil for the pan
  • 1-2 lemons

  1. Liberally season all sides of the salmon filet or filets (if using multiple small filets). 
  2. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and cut into large chunks. 
  3. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tbs of olive oil over medium-high heat.  
  4. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chunks of garlic and brown. Once the garlic is goldon brown, remove the garlic from the pan.
  5. Add the salmon to the now empty pan, skin side down and brown for approximately one minute. Flip the fish and brown the pink side for one minute. 
  6. Reduce the heat to medium low (3 on an electric range) and flip the skin side down again. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and allow the fish to cook for about three minutes. 
  7. After the fish has cooked about three minutes, squirt lemon juice over the length of the fish (a larger piece of fish requires more than 1 lemon) and top with the browned garlic pieces. Cover again and reduce heat to low (1.5 on an electric range). 
  8. Cook on low for 10-15 minutes until fish is bright pink and tender. My dad likes to serve it with rice, but feel free to serve it with any of your favorite sides. I like to serve it with my Summer Melon Salad. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Summer Melon Salad

Sometimes you are struck by a crazy idea, and it works! That's what happened here. I was home visiting my dad, and I wanted to use the produce that was already at his house while still having a light, healthy, and cool meal option. Thus, this little star was born.

Summer Melon Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves 4-6


  • 3 ears white corn 
  • 1 ripe cantaloupe
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh basil leaves
  • dash of cayenne


  1. Shuck corn and break in half. Boil water in a deep pot and add teaspoon of sugar and corn. Boil the corn until a knife inserted into a kernel enters without great difficulty, but the kernel is still firm.
  2. When corn is cooked through, drain the pot and fill it with cold water and a handful of ice cubes and allow to cool. This stops the corn from cooking any more and cools it off for handling later. 
  3. While the corn is cooking, carve melon into little balls using a melon baller or round teaspoon measure and place in a large bowl.
  4. Once the corn has cooled, cut the corn from the cob and add to the bowl. 
  5. Add the lime juice, chopped basil leaves and dash of cayenne and toss to combine.
*Feel free to add about a cup of fresh pineapple or strawberries to the mix. So delicious!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Best-Ever Chocolate Quinoa Cake Revisited

I'm on the gluten free bandwagon. I do not have Celiacs disease, however I am gluten intolerant and since having quit gluten (nearly 2 years ago) my asthma is essentially nonexistent. That being said, before starting my gluten free lifestyle, I had been addicted to baked goods for two reasons; the carbs and the sugar. At the time, I was a Junior in college and a half and full marathon runner. Thus the love of carbs. I am very sensitive to caffeine and therefore required an alternate stimulus to stay up and study, thus the addiction to sugar. I realized that eating 4 cups of white rice followed by 3 servings of sugar coated cake was not a nutritious or sustainable diet, nor did I particularly enjoy my regular sugar-withdrawal headaches.
It was right after finals, having eaten gummy worms and ice cream for dinner all week that I realized this had to change. I gave gluten free a month-long trial period and substituted my unhealthy sugar cravings with peanut butter. After gaining 5lbs and realizing that my whole diet needed a tune-up, I recommitted to my health on January 1, 2013. Sure, new year resolutions are quaint and rarely followed through, however, in my mind if it's worth my time it's worth all of it. That being said, I've been gluten-free ever since and I don't regret it. I'm still learning to control my addiction to sugar and refined carbs, but I've made leaps and bounds in my progress to improve the overall health of my diet.

That being said, I can still go for a bit of chocolate cake every now and then. I am, and ever will be a chocoholic and have no intentions of changing that. Why? Because I don't care for Hershey bars and sugary treats. No, I love dark bitter chocolate and in moderation, not excessively.

Therefore, when I cam across a recipe for Chocolate Quinoa Cake (I love quinoa too!), I had to give it a go. Unfortunately, I don't care for excessive oils in my food, and I recently found out I'm slightly lactose intolerant as well. As this cake called for coconut oil and butter, I had to work around that.

So...I adapted the recipe and wasn't disappointed.

Best-Ever "Healthified" Chocolate Quinoa Cake

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

Serves 16



  • 2 cups cooked quinoa*(I prefer red quinoa)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or preferred milk)
  • 4 whole eggs (or 4 tablespoons ground flax and 1/2 cup water for vegan option)
  • 3/4 cup plain applesauce (preferably no sugar added) 
  • 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice or white sugar(or 1/2 cup honey)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Ganache
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 4 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup almond milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and then line two round cake pans (or a 9x13” pan) with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine the eggs (or flax and water), almond milk (or preferred milk) and vanilla extract then blend for ten seconds to combine.
  3. Add the cooked and cooled quinoa along with the apple sauce and blend until completely smooth, about thirty seconds to one minute.
  4. With food processor running, add the dry ingredients (cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt) through the feed tube.
  5. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool 10 minutes. 
  6. While the cakes cool, melt the chocolate chips over medium-low heat in a double boiler. As they melt, slowly stir in the cocoa powder and almond milk until incorporated. Remove ganache from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Cut around the cakes in the pans with a thin knife and invert one round onto intended final surface. The cake rounds are quite fragile, so avoid moving them around too much. Pour approximately 1/3 of the ganache onto the top of the cake.** Stack the second round on top of the first and pour remaining chocolate ganache on top of the stacked cake. Allow the chocolate sauce to cool, then cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
* 3/4 cup dry quinoa will yield approximately 2 cups cooked quinoa. I rinse my quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer then add it to 1.5 cup boiling water. After adding the quinoa, I cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium low, allowing it to cook for 10-12 minutes or until all of the quinoa is fluffy and translucent, so as to avoid any uncooked crunchy pieces form being incorporated into the cake.
**Instead of icing the middle of the cake with chocolate, fresh fruit or fruit preserves can be layered between the two rounds. I like to blend about 4 tablespoons raspberry preserves with 1/2 cup raspberries and spread the mixture between the cake layers for a different approach. Thin strawberry slices are another great alternative.

Cake adapted from making thyme for health

Homemade Horchata

It's summer. It's hot...and I love carbs. Naturally this means it's horchata time. Horchata is a Hispanic rice-based agua fresca or milk-like beverage. I haven't made a good batch of horchata in a long time. By that I mean, I forgot how to make this drink years ago and just recently recreated it with great success! This recipe does require some prep time, but it's not intensive, and it's worth it.

Homemade Horchata

Prep Time: 10 hours/ overnight
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours

Serves 10


  • 1/2 cup white rice (I used Basmati rice)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup white sugar or alternative sweetener
  • 10-12 cups water


  1. Measure out the rice and place it in a bowl with 2 cups of water and allow it to soak overnight on the counter at least 6 hours. 
  2.  Drain the rice and place it in a food processor or high-power blender. Blend until a thick paste forms. Gradually add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water to the mixture and continue to blend until all of the rice is finely ground. 
  3. Add the cinnamon to the rice mixture and blend until incorporated. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add another 2 cups of water to the rice-cinnamon mixture. Allow it to sit for 2-4 hours. 
  4. Thin the mixture with 4 more cups of water and mix it all together. 
  5. Strain the mixture into a pitcher through a very fine tea strainer or cheese cloth.*
  6. Heat 4 cups of water and add the sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. 
  7. Add the sugar water to the pitcher. Taste and add extra sugar water if you want it sweeter.
  8. Pour over ice, sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top, and enjoy!

*If you use a tea strainer, I found it helpful to let the mixture sit for a while to allow the larger rice particles to settle to the bottom of the bowl. I strained the top liquid and reserved the bottom liquid containing the larger particles. I then strained the bottom liquid through the strainer into a separate bowl and repeated the process several times to remove as much of the large particles before adding it to the pitcher.

Fish Tacos

I absolutely love fish tacos! When ordering fish tacos, the fish can be battered and fried, blackened, or grilled. I am not a fan of frying my food, but I have perfected an easy, not fried, at-home, no-grill-required, weeknight staple. This recipe came about as a weeknight experiment that, unlike several other culinary experiments, went really well. Without further ado, I present to you my version of fish tacos.

Fish Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Serves 4


  • Tilapia fillets (16 oz. total), thawed if using frozen
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup flour (I use GF oat flour to keep mine gluten-free)
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • Corn tortillas (I prefer Banderitos) 
  • Homemade Guacamole 
  • Salsa
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the tilapia fillets. Evenly salt both sides of the fish and allow to sit for 5 minutes. 
  3. While the fish is sitting, combine the flour and spices in a gallon Ziploc bag.
  4. Cut the tilapia into 2 inches wide and 3 inches long strips and place in the bag. 
  5. Shake the bag to coat the fish evenly with the flour and spice blend.
  6. Place the coated fish pieces on the prepared pan. Bake for 6 minutes, flip the fish and bake for until the flour has turned golden brown, approximately 6 more minutes.
  7. Fill 2 corn tortillas with baked fish and top with guacamole, salsa, and any other favorite taco toppings. In the picture, I added chunks of blackened pineapple and sauteed onions.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie

Okay, imagine blending Reese's peanut butter cups and oatmeal cookies (without the raisins) in a blender, adding almond milk, and drinking that for breakfast. Okay, now imagine it without all the refined sugar, butter, etc. that would make it a terrible breakfast food and you have a healthy breakfast smoothie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Serves 1


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats (Use GF oats to keep gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup PB2 powder
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs ground flax seed
  • 1 tbs honey or alternative sweetener (to keep vegan)
  • 1 cup ice (optional)
  1. Place all of the ingredients, except the ice, in a high-power blender and blend until smooth. 
  2. If you would like your smoothie chilled, add the ice and blend again until smooth. Enjoy!
Add 1/2 tsp mint extract for a mint chocolate chip style smoothie.
Adapted from Desserts With Benefits

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

So...I have been following a gluten-free diet for over 2 years now. However, there was a time that I did eat gluten. During that time, I filled every second of my free time baking. One recipe that was always a favorite among my friends was my homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Recently, I was out of town and received a phone call from my roommate/best friend. She painted a picture of her scenario to me, and the conversation went something like this..."You are out of town, which means I have to entertain myself. Work was overwhelming and I've already had a mojito. In order to completely enjoy my girls night in, I need to watch Sleepless in Seattle and bake cookies. My plan was going very well, until I couldn't find your cookie recipe. So now I must know where you are hiding it!" In order to avoid another such scenario, I've decided to share that recipe to make it more accessible. I hope you enjoy it!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Yields approximately 40 small cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, blended
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz. chocolate chips, I prefer Ghiradelli or Guittard
  • 4 oz grated chocolate, can be milk or dark*
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (optional), I prefer walnuts

  1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. Measure the oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
  3. Mix the oatmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. 
  4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and both sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  5. Add the eggs, beating after each addition, and the vanilla. 
  6. Add the oatmeal mixture to the butter mixture and mix until combined. 
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and nuts if you are using them, with a wooden spoon. The dough gets pretty thick.
  8. Wet your hands and roll dough into golf-ball sized balls. Arrange on the cookie sheets 2 inches apart. 
  9. Bake one sheet at a time for 5 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 5 minutes. This allows for even browning, and avoids burning the cookies. 
  10. Remove promptly from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on wire racks.
  11. Repeat the process of baking one sheet at a time until all cookies have been baked. 

*I like to freeze Hershey bars and grate them in a food processor to a fine powder, keeping the powder in the freezer until I need it. This allows you to add the chocolate to the cookie dough without it melting, resulting in small flecks of ground chocolate in the dough.

Hearty Trail Mix Pancakes

I've tried to like Bob's gluten free pancake mix, but I haven't been successful in that endeavor, until now. I previously thought the mix was too earthy and reminiscent of high-fiber cereal. It didn't taste bad, it just wasn't the consistency and flavor that I desired in my pancakes...until now. Instead of trying to combat the earthiness of the mix, I decided I'd roll with it by adding trail mix-like ingredients. A combination of tart, sweet, and crunchy proved to be great additions to this batter.

This morning reminded me of the episode of Friends where Rachel tries to make the trifle for thanksgiving and adds custard, meat, and peas all in one entree. Joey's remarks are, "What's not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!" Although the combination of ingredients in these pancakes is not nearly as far fetched as Rachel's custard, my roommate's comments were similar to Joey's. As she sat down to breakfast and tasted the pancakes, she said, "I really like these! I like cranberries. I like chocolate chips. I like sunflower seeds. What's not to like. They don't even need a topping, you could use a jam, but that's not even necessary."

I hope you are as pleasantly surprised by them as she and I were!

Hearty Trail Mix Pancakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 (3 pancakes/serving)


  • 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats (use GF to keep gluten free)
  • 1 cup Bob's gluten free pancake mix
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk (I used Almond Breeze original 30 cal)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil, plus more for pan  (can substitute apple sauce)
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

  1.  In a food processor or high-power blender, combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. While the machine is running, add the almond milk and olive oil in a slow steady stream. 
  2. Pour the batter into a mixing bowl and add the chocolate chips, cranberries, and sunflower seeds and mix to combine. Allow the batter to sit for at least 5 minutes to set.
  3. Heat 1 Tbs olive oil on a non-stick skillet over medium-low (4 on my electric stove). Pour the batter onto the pan and flip after the pancakes begin to form bubbles around their rims, approximately 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook another 2 minutes. Mix before you pour out the next batch of pancakes as the trail mix ingredients will settle to the bottom of the bowl. Yields about 12 three inch pancakes.
  4. They are delicious by themselves, but feel free to top them with apple butter, syrup, jam, or any of your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Best Homemade Guacamole

I'm a purist when it comes to my guacamole. In high school, my soccer coach was from Mexico and he taught me how to make great Mexican staples, one of which was guacamole. Muchas gracias tio Tony! I have never looked back since. That being said, I don't often order guacamole at restaurants for two reasons. One, it's pricey and two, I don't like red onion or other assorted vegetables in my guacamole. Like I said, I'm a purist when it comes to my guac, and everyone who has tried it, has asked me how to replicate it, so here it goes.

Homemade Guacamole

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves 4

  • 2-3 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I use kosher because its larger and imparts more saltiness)
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • Any additional spices*
  • Corn tortilla chips

  1. Cut up the avocados and place them in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the lime juice, cumin, and salt* to the cut avocados and mash with a fork to break up larger chunks of avocado. 
  3. Add the chopped cilantro to the bowl and whip all ingredients together like whisking eggs. 
  4. Either serve immediately with corn tortilla chips (my favorite chips are Xochitl Sea Salt corn chips) or press saran wrap to the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate until ready to serve. The guacamole will start to brown if the saran wrap is not pressed to the surface, or if it is refrigerated for several hours.
*my sister likes to add a dash of paprika and cayenne to her guacamole and it's a delicious addition, especially if you don't favor the flavor of cumin. 

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Pastina-Style Mac-n-"cheese"

Good news and bad news. I recently found out that I am slightly lactose intolerant. This is both good and bad because I've been trying to pin down what often causes me to feel bloated and I think lactose is the main culprit. This is bad, because I love cheese! Especially mac-n-cheese! So...naturally I was thrilled when I accidentally made an excellent lactose (and gluten) free substitute.

Gluten-Free Pastina-Style Mac-n-"cheese"

Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Serves 1


  • 1/2 cup gluten-free brown rice pasta (I use Tinkyada brown rice shells)
  • 1 cup Almond Breeze original almond milk
  • 1/8 tsp herbamare plus more to taste


  1. Pour almond milk and herbamare in a small saucepan. Cover and heat over medium heat until simmering. Pour in the shells and simmer until almond milk thickens to consistency of thin custard and noodles are cooked through (see picture below), about 10 minutes. 
  2. Remove from heat and add more herbamare to taste. Enjoy promptly, the pasta will dry out the longer it sits. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Quinoa Southwest Tacos

Between food allergies, nutritional motivation, and dietary restrictions, finding a suitable meal to please everyone can be a challenge. My roommate and best friend, Claire is about as easy to please as they come and very accommodating to my zany gluten-free, healthified lifestyle and diet. Throw in my vegan, oil-free, and gluten-free sister and brother-in-law and the real challenges begin. I live for moments like this! I love to be challenged and rise victorious with a fresh new recipe to try. When I came across this one, I had to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did. It has become a go to recipe for us and even pleases picky eaters!

Quinoa Southwest Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth*
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8 corn tortilla (I prefer Banderitos) 
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (omit for lactose-free diet)
  1. Heat quinoa and 1 cup water in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes
  2. Stir in diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, minced garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in beans and corn until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in lime juice and top with cilantro. 
  4. Heat either a non-stick or iron skillet on medium high. Toast the tortillas on each side until they develop small black spots, about 30 seconds each side. Remove the tortillas and wrap in a clean dish towel to keep warm and moist.
  5. Spoon quinoa mixture into the center of each tortilla. Top with avocado and sour cream, if desired.
Adapted from Damn Delicious

Friday, July 11, 2014

Smash the Champaigne

Well, this is my first ever blog post. I'll try not to be too long winded. Essentially my goal is to try new recipes, improve upon them, and "healthify" them. Recipes and gastronomical explorations on the way.