Balsamic Broccoli Slaw

balsamic broccoli slaw

balsamic broccoli slawToday’s lunch was this lovely salad!  Crisp and oh so good!  This salad makes a great side and its the best for BBQs and parties  Even people who don’t like broccoli enjoy it.

I am not a huge coleslaw fan.  Mostly because of all the mayo most places drown it in. Broccoli slaw has a little more crunch, and the dressing is so light and delicious!  The cranberries really make this recipe though.  They bring out the tangy flavor of the balsamic vinegar and add that bit of sweetness.

As I’ve mentioned, I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s.  I know that they can be hard to find in some states.  Not to worry, because most grocery stores carry all of these ingredients.  Especially Whole Foods or Sprouts.



12 oz Broccoli Slaw

3 Tbs olive oilIMG_5525

4 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tbs mayonnaise

1/2 clove garlic, crushed



1/2 cup cranberries

1/2 cup sunflower seeds



In a large mixing bowl add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, and crushed garlic.  Whisk together until blended and slightly creamy.  Add broccoli slaw and toss until all of the broccoli is coated.  Then add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in cranberries and sunflower seeds and you’re good to go!








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Sugar Cookies

sugar cookies01Found the sugar cookies recipe for these sweet treats on Pinterest the other day.  Based on a recipe by  They came out perfect! So soft and yummy!  A great little cookie for Valentine’s Day, Birthday snacks at school, or just with a cup of tea.  I frosted most of them but left a few without for coffee dipping.

Since it was a new recipe for me I didn’t want to make a full batch, so I made half. It made about 15 cookies.  I adjusted the amount of sugar because I used organic cane sugar which is more potent than white sugar.  The icing I used is different as well. You can find the original Soft Sugar Cookie recipe via this link.  If you are planning on doubling the recipe, make sure to double the flour mix as well.



Makes about 15 cookies

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup organic cane sugar

1 egg

pinch of salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups rice flour blend (see recipe below)

Rice flour blend 

1/2 cup rice flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca starch

1/2 cup potato starch



Cream butter and sugar together until completely mixed.  Add the egg and mix until it’s all blended together. Then add the vanilla, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, and rice flour blend.  Mix until combined.  Cover your mixer bowl with plastic wrap and place the dough in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once ready, you can roll the dough out between two sheets of plastic wrap until it’s about 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutters.  I wanted them to be round so I rolled the dough into a log, sliced it in close to 1/2 inch slices, and patted them down a little to get that nice round shape.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and cook at 350* F for 8 to 12 minutes. The top of the cookies shouldn’t really brown, just the bottom a bit.  Place tray on a cooling rack and cool for about 20 minutes.


For the Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

1 Tbs whole organic milk

2 Tbs butter, softened

2 tsp meringue powder



Put first 3 ingredients in mixer bowl, mix on medium/high speed for just a few seconds until they are completely blended.  Use a rubber spatula to bring down any ingredients that may be on the sides of the bowl.  Add meringue powder and mix again just until blended. Spread on cookies and let sit for about 5 minutes to let icing set.


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Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

chicken tacos 02Back in December my older daughter decided she wanted a fiesta style birthday party.  What does one serve at a fiesta? Tacos!  I mean, I have no idea but it sounded good.  We thought about hiring a food truck, but I thought setting up a taco bar would be fun.

I usually make the typical ground beef tacos in the hard shell. I wanted a little variety for the taco bar, so I decided to add chicken tacos to the menu.  After the taco feast, a few people asked for the recipe.  One little problem….I didn’t have a recipe!  I just threw it all in the crock pot and didn’t measure a thing.

The kids loved it too, so I knew I would be making it again.  After a few trials with different measurements, we have a winner!  My girls like things on the milder side.  If you like your food to have a little more kick to it add some cayenne pepper into the mix.  My husband likes to add hot sauce on top or I’ll make a batch of spicy salsa for the two of us.  The best thing about it is you can just let it cook in the crock pot, add your favorite toppings, and dinner is served!



1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbs Tomato paste

2 Tbs Taco Seasoning

1 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp salt

1 cup water

GF corn tortillas



Place first 7 ingredients in the crock pot and set to High setting.  Pour water over the top and give it a stir.  Place lid on crock pot and let cook for 2 1/2 hours.  Turn the setting down to Low and let chicken cook for another 30 minutes.  When ready to serve, shred chicken.  It should just fall apart at this point, so you should easily be able to pull it apart with a fork and spoon.

Lightly heat your corn tortillas in the toaster or toaster oven.  Serve with salsa, guacamole, shredded cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, or any other taco toppings.



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Steak Saltado

Beef Saltado

Beef SaltadoFresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, and steak!  Doesn’t get much better than that.  This recipe is my dad’s twist on a Peruvian favorite, Lomos Saltado (Steak Saltado). As a kid, this is what my house smelled like on Saturday morning.  No complaints here!  My dad would get up early to go buy the meat so that it would be ready by the time we all woke up.

As an adult, it’s still a very comforting dish but a little heavy for breakfast.  It’s become more of a dinner or weekend lunch recipe. Oh my gosh, and it took forever to get it right!  There is a yellow Peruvian chili pepper that is VERY hard to find.  So I was trying to do without it, and I finally figured it out.

Traditionally, Lomos Saltado is tossed with french fries and served with rice.  In this version, there are no potatoes and you can serve it with rice or gluten free bread.




1 lb Top Sirloin Tri Tip

1 onion sliced

2 cloves garlic, diced or crushed

1/2 cup organic mini pearl tomatoes, sliced in half

3 tsp GF Soy sauce

salt and pepper to taste

coconut oil as needed



Cut the tri tip into about 1/4 inch think pieces, kind of like you would for fajitas. Heat some oil in a large pan on medium heat and add meat. Stir fry the cut tri tip until all pieces are browned and look cooked.  Remove cooked meat from the pan and place in a bowl or plate.  In the same pan, stir fry the onions and garlic on medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Add tri tip pieces back into pan. Stir in sliced tomatoes, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.  Keep on low heat for about 5 minutes to let the flavors settle. Serve with rice, gluten free bread, or even quinoa.



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Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

carrot cake01When going gluten free, one of the things people seem to miss the most is the taste of moist crumbly cake.  Well search no more!  No one can ever tell that this cake is gluten free.  They’re often surprised to see me eating it!

So a couple of years ago, I came across a cookbook by Carol Fenster.  I was having a hard time finding a GF four blend that I really liked and she happened to have the recipe for one.  You’ll see a link for her Sorghum Blend in the recipe. Its not the only blend I use.  I’ve found that for certain recipes, some flours work better than others. For this carrot cake though, it’s amazing!

We have quite a few friends that have gone GF over the years, and this cake is always a hit. I like mine with a little powdered sugar sprinkled on top for presentation, but I’ve included a recipe for cream cheese frosting if you have that sweet tooth going on. No gluten doesn’t mean no fun, and here’s proof!!


4 eggs

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil (I use avocado oil)

1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar

3 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups Carol’s Sorghum Blend

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

3 Tbs ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 organic carrots, grated

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened

4 Tbs butter, softened

3 Tbs Organic Maple Syrup




Preheat oven to 350* F and grease and flour either a 9×13 inch pan or a standard bunt pan.    In the bowl of your mixer, beat together on medium speed the oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Add the flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum,and carrots. Continue to mix on medium speed just until its completely blended.  Do not over mix.  Fold in chopped pecans if you’d like.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.  Allow cake to cool for about 20 min.

For the cream cheese frosting, mix all 3 ingredients on high until blended.  Pour on top of cake and let drip down the sides a little, or serve on the side.






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Black Bean & Quinoa Bowl

photo (3)

photo (3)The simplest meal ever and so full of flavor!  I always have black beans on hand.  They are so versatile and it just helps for making quick meals. You can make your own and store them in the fridge, or buy them canned.  I do both, because I don’t always know what I’m making ahead of time.

This is also a great base recipe that you can add so many things to.  You could add some avocado or maybe some grilled veggies.  It’s nice to have a quick go-to meal that you can sit down and enjoy, even when you don’t have a lot of time.






1/2 cup Cooked Organic Black Beans

1/2 cup Cooked Quinoa

10 Organic Cherry Tomatoes


Shredded Cheese (optional)



Cut cherry tomatoes in half and set to the side.  Heat black beans on medium/low heat until warm.  Pour into a bowl.  Add cooked quinoa, cherry tomatoes, and salsa to taste.  You can throw some shredded cheese on top or have it as is!

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Spinach Lasagna


lasagnaA couple of years ago a dear friend of mine was throwing together a spinach lasagna while I was at her place.  It was so wondrously simple I thought I’d give it a try.  The original recipe calls for cottage cheese, but I’ve always liked using a bechamel sauce instead of ricotta or anything else in my lasagna. I kept tweaking it just because and now its become a cross between the original recipe and the lasagna I’m used to.  It’s great even for weeknights because its simpler than traditional lasagna and you can always make it ahead.

Of course fresh ingredients are always best, but sometimes this mom needs a little help!  I buy the sauce premade.  I am a huge Trader Joe’s fan and if they carry what I need, I buy it from there.  They have a great organic basil and tomato sauce that I use as a base in this recipe.



1pkg no boil Gluten Free Lasagna noodles

Canola,coconut,or avocado oil

1 25oz jar Organic marinara sauce

1 lb chopped spinach

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 1/2 cups milk (dairy or almond)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2 cups shredded cheese





Heat a large pan and drizzle with about one teaspoon of oil.  Add garlic and spinach and saute until spinach is cooked. Pour marinara sauce into the pan with the spinach, add salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for about 10 min.

While the sauce is cooking heat a small saucepan on medium heat and.  Add butter.  When butter has melted, slowly add flour while whisking.  Pour in milk, half a cup at a time and continue to whisk. Blend in Parmesan cheese.  Sauce should begin thickening by this point.  Once the sauce reaches the consistency of an Alfredo type sauce, turn off the heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Begin layering your lasagna by lightly coating a 9 inch baking dish with a little marinara sauce.  Lay down your lasagna noodles (usually 3 is enough).  Top with a layer of marinara sauce, bechemel, and shredded cheese, and lasagna noodles. Repeat to create another layer.  The top layer will consist of marinara, bechemel, and shredded cheese.  Mostly cheese.

Bake at 350* for 45 to 50 min.  Let it sit about 10 minutes before you cut into it.  This allows everything to settle a little.







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Cheesecake Bites

cheesecake bitesCheesecake, oh sweet decadent cheesecake.  Add some dark chocolate and now it’s just getting ridiculous!  That basically describes these little bites of heaven.

These are my older daughter’s absolute favorite.  Both my girls love to help me in the kitchen, and cheesecake bites are one of the many things we make together.  I think rolling the cheesecake is their favorite part.  I usually handle the chocolate dipping myself, because I’m not sure they can be trusted with a big cup of melted chocolate!



16 oz Cream Cheese (softened)

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

2tsp vanilla

12oz bag Bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon coconut oil




Preheat oven to 375* Beat egg on medium speed until blended. Add softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Keep on medium speed until nearly smooth. Pour into a 2 qt pyrex or baking dish and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until top of cheesecake is a golden color and firm.  Let cool.

When cool, put cheesecake in refrigerator for about an hour then you can start scooping it out and rolling into balls. It’s kind of like making cake pops, but cheesecake softens quickly so it is easier to mash it up and roll it little by little.  Place the cheesecake bites on a wax paper lined tray and place in freezer for at least an hour.

After the bites have been in the freezer for at least an hour, heat 6 oz of chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute.  Stir in coconut oil and mix until all the chocolate is melted.  Now drop in the cheesecake bites one at a time, remove with a spoon, and place back on wax paper lined tray.  Put them in the fridge for 15 minutes to let them set and they’re all yours!




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Rose Water Chia Pudding

Rose Water Chia Pudding
Rose Water Chia Pudding
Rose Water Chia Pudding

Having been raised by an amazing Persian woman, rose water pretty much runs through my veins.  Growing up, my mom would make a refreshing rose water and chia seed drink every summer.  We had no idea they were called chia seeds, and you couldn’t even find them in the states! Naturally the first few times I made chia seed pudding I felt like something was missing.  Then, I figured it out….Rose Water!!!

I should mention that there is also rose water in a Persian dessert that is very much like rice pudding. I usually top it with cinnamon or berries. I hope you enjoy this version of chia pudding as much as I do.


1 cup Milk (dairy or Almond)

4Tbs Rose Water

2Tbs Raw Cane Sugar

4Tbs Chia Seeds



Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, preferably one that has a lid.  Make sure to mix well so the chia seeds don’t stick together.  Put in the fridge and let sit for 3 to 4 hours. Enjoy!

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Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut Squash Soup

I eat some form of butternut squash at least twice a week while its in season, but this is my favorite! Its savory, simple, and absolutely delicious.  Butternut squash has such a wonderful flavor on its own that not much needs to be added to it.  Most markets carry it pre-cut either fresh or frozen.

This soup makes a wonderfully light dinner or appetizer.  I love it on its own, but its also a great addition to chicken, salad, garlic bread, and a variety of other dishes.



12 oz cut Butternut Squash

1/4 cup Water

1/2 cup Milk (dairy or almond)

1 clove garlic

1/2 of an onion


Cayenne Pepper

Olive oil

Pumpkin Seeds (for garnish)



Add 1/4 cup water to butternut squash, onion, and garlic. Bring to a boil. Turn down to low heat and let simmer until the squash is fully cooked.  Let squash cool.  Blend together cooked ingredients and your milk of choice  You can use a blender, Magic Bullet, food processor, or hand mixer to do so.  Pour the blended mixture back into the pot.  Heat on medium until soup is warm. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste, and its ready to serve.  Top with a sprinkle of the pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil.  Bon apetit!



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