Monday, July 25, 2011

Grain Free Fruit Pizza

 I made this recipe for a recent family get together in honor of my sister's birthday.  Afterwards, my sister asked me for the recipe in the usual manner, "when are you going to put it on your blog?"  She is my constant inspiration in so many ways, and has been especially supportive of my efforts to document my recipes and experiences here.  When they were handing out sisters,  I won the lottery.  Here it is, Jules:


1 1/3 cup raw cashews
1 1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup honey (I use raw)
1/4 cup mild tasting oil plus extra for the pan
1 egg or 1 tbsp chia seed soaked in 3 tbsp water for 15 minutes
1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla

Fruit of your choice.  Any kind of berry works well.  Fruits that naturally brown should be dipped in lemon juice.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 12 inch diameter round pizza pan (I used nonstick).  In a food processor using the sharp blade, grind 1 1/3 cup cashews until a fine meal is formed.  Add the almond flour, baking soda and salt and mix well.  In a separate small bowl, mix the oil, honey, egg (or soaked chia) and vanilla.  Pour the wet mixture into the processor and mix.  Pour the dough onto center of pizza pan.  It will be wetter than normal cookie dough.  I find it is easiest to smooth out with wet fingers starting from the center working towards the edges. Smooth out dough until the entire pan is covered.  Bake for 7 to 8 minutes.  The crust should be lightly browned on top.  Remove from oven and let sit for 30 to 45 minutes until completely cooled.  Meanwhile add 1 cup cashews to food processor and grind into a fine meal.  Add honey, water and vanilla and mix well.  When the crust has cooled, gently spread frosting on the top.  Add sliced fruit.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Source:

This post has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bison, Cabbage and Tomato One Skillet Meal

 Bison is one of my favorite comfort foods.  It's touted as a nutrient dense alternative to beef, with lower fat and cholesterol levels.  Most bison are raised on open grassland, which is much healthier for them (and you), than cattle raised in feedlots.   If you can't find it at your local natural food store, check for a local farmer through

Recipe adapted from The Nutrient Dense Eating Plan.


1 lb ground bison
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
5 to 6 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 to 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp oregano
Ground black pepper to taste


Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium high heat and add minced garlic.  Let sizzle for 30 seconds, until aromatic.  Add ground buffalo and cook until almost all of the meat is brown.  Add salt and oregano and mix well.  Add tomatoes and cook for a minute or so, until some of the juices are released.  Mix in cabbage and cook for a couple of minutes, until wilted.  Add pepper, if desired, and adjust seasonings.  Serve grain free, or over brown rice, quinoa, or millet.  Serves 3.  Source: 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Grain Free Banana Strawberry Muffins

Lately I've been experimenting with grain free cooking.  Cutting almond flour with ground cashews produces unexpectedly good results for baked goods, and is much more nutrient dense than the starchy gluten free flours typically used in gluten free baking.

This recipe was inspired by Elana Amsterdam's recipe for Banana Blueberry Muffins in The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  These muffins are loaded with protein and only sweetened with fruit.  I like to keep any extras sealed in a ziplock in the freezer.


1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 1/4 cup raw cashews
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups mashed bananas
2 large eggs
2 tbsp oil (I prefer using coconut oil in my baking, but lately have been using sunflower to lower phenols)
12 small strawberries or pieces of strawberry


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Process cashews in food processor with sharp blade until ground into meal.  Add almond flour, soda and salt and process well.  Add mashed bananas, eggs and oil and process until fully mixed.  Pour into greased or lined muffin pan.  Place one strawberry (or piece of) in the middle of each muffin and press slightly until it's submerged in the middle.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Makes 12 muffins.  Source:

This post has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Monday Mania.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Traveling with Food Sensitivities and New Recipe for Grilled Salmon with Dairy Free Pesto

I just got home from a week at Belknap Hot Springs Resort, tucked away in the Oregon Cascades on the upper McKenzie River.  This is the third trip my family has taken in our new Freedom Machine - a 19 foot, 2400 lb kitchen, bedroom and living area - all conveniently towed by our SUV.  The trailer has given us a new found sense of freedom, guaranteeing we will always have fresh gluten and dairy free food, with stove and kitchen nearby.

To get ready for our trip, I spent hours baking like a mad woman, and ended up with bags of frozen biscuits and muffins to round out breakfast and snacks.  Here's the complete run down of what I packed:

bacon, eggs, grain free biscuits, banana strawberry muffins (recipe coming soon), buckwheat cereal, strawberry syrup

A fully stocked fridge for a 4 night stay
Leftovers from dinner served as lunch for the following day.  I brought some lunch meat just in case we didn't have enough food.

Night 1:  Burrito bowls with precooked black beans, homemade guacamole, salsa, lettuce and grilled steak with spice rub.

Night 2:  Hamburgers with slaw and sauerkraut.

Night 3:  Grilled chicken and salad.

Night 4:  Grilled salmon with pesto sauce and corn on the cob.

Carrots and celery with almond butter
Almonds, cashews, walnuts and dried cranberry mix
Peanut and raisin mix
Homemade raw goat milk yogurt
Smoothies with frozen fruit

The Secret Garden at Belknap Springs Resort
Since most of my meal preparation was done before I left, we had plenty of time to get lost on the meandering trails of the resort.  Interrupted by ponds and gardens, this is a place I didn't mind getting lost in.  We stumbled upon a beautiful place, the "secret garden", hidden from view by a wall, and accessible by a small trail.  I could've lingered here for a day or two, but my group had plans for other sightseeing, including rafting with Charlie of High Country Expeditions .  The company and scenery were amazing, but the frigid 42 degree water was a little much for some of my companions on an overcast Oregon day that may not have broken the 70 degree mark.  Thank goodness for hot springs!
McKenzie River on Sahalie Falls Trail

The most breathtaking part of the trip was our hike to Sahalie Falls.  An easy 2 mile jaunt with little elevation gain, the trail offered incredible views of blue rushing water coming down multiple falls.

The last night of our trip, I broke out the homemade pesto and grilled up some salmon.  While all food tastes better in the great outdoors, this dish tastes fantastic anywhere.
Grilled Salmon with Pesto


1 large wild salmon fillet, skin on (mine was 1.5 lbs. sockeye)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts
1/3 cup plus 1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt


Place the macadamia nuts in a food processor with sharp blade and process until fine.  Add garlic cloves and process until chopped.  Add basil, 1/3 cup olive oil and salt and process until mixed well.  Add 1 to 2 tbsp additional olive oil until pesto is creamy.

Preheat grill.  Wash salmon fillet and pat dry.  Spread pesto evenly over flesh side of salmon.  Place fillet skin side down on grill over high heat and cover.  Grill until salmon flakes with a fork.  Cooking time will vary with thickness of the fillet.  Mine took about 10 minutes.  Serves 4.  Source:

This post has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Food Sensitivity Testing Available Through Enterolab

I first learned of Enterolab's gluten sensitivity test through my son's doctor, who described it as more sensitive than traditional blood testing.   The lab's director, Dr. Kenneth Fine, recently notified friends and clients of an expansion in laboratory tests, including expanded food antigen testing based on stool samples.  Here is the relevant text from his announcement:

At the time I began prescribing gluten-free diets for non-celiac colitis patients with gluten sensitivity in 1998, I went gluten-free myself, to help myself empathize with my prescribed dietary treatment for others. Since then, my own personal diet-induced health recovery (from lumbosacral arthritis), combined with my 20 years of medical research and experience as a lab director, has led me to the understanding that there are many foods additional to gluten that cause immunologic sensitivity-induced illness. Research since the 1960’s has shown the same to be true, which is why since 2000, has offered tests for immunologic sensitivities to milk, eggs , and yeast, adding soy a few years later. Over the past 10 years, we have been researching how to best expand this line of stool testing to more antigenic foods, in a way that yielded results that would be clinically meaningful, while being affordable for you (because dealing with stool is a time consuming, laborious process). Although many labs offer similar tests of blood and saliva for food sensitivity, research for 20 years (including but not exclusively our own) has shown testing of intra-intestinal contents to be far more sensitive and accurate compared with blood or saliva (O'Mahony S,et al.  Dissociation between systemic and mucosal humoral immune responses in coeliac disease. Gut. 1991;32(1):29-35.) .

Thus, a goal of establishing a broader repertoire of food antigen testing in stool seemed worthy indeed. Over the past 3-4 years we at EnteroLab have invested in new analytical machines, technology, employees, and research to help make this a reality. The launch of this expanded food antigen panel and other new tests for parasites and pancreatic function ( with pancreatic elastase) come at a perfect time during our anniversary celebration year. We are also offering discounts on these new food sensitivity panels at, as part of this anniversary celebration, my way of showing our appreciation to you for your past patronage and support.

For more information about Enterolab's new testing options and prices, please visit their website.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Grain Free Drop Biscuits

Cashews are my new best friend since I've been on a low phenol diet.  Here, they are paired with almond flour to create a nutrient dense and grain free drop biscuit.  These not too sweet biscuits are wonderful with jam for breakfast, or as a dinner roll.

Nutritionist Naomi Devlin recently wrote about the benefits of soaking nuts, grains and legumes to aid in digestion and improve the texture of baked goods.  Since then, I've been keeping a jar of cashews soaking in the fridge for baking and to add creaminess to my smoothies.  For this recipe, they were soaked 18 to 48 hours.

This particular recipe was inspired by a Classic Drop Biscuit recipe in Elana Amsterdam's cookbook, The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  Her book provides so many possibilities to use almond flour in everyday cooking, adding a huge protein and nutrient boost to gluten free baked goods.  I highly recommend it if almonds and eggs are a part of your diet.


1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond flour
1 cup soaked and rinsed raw cashews
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 tsp baking powder (Hain Featherweight is potato based)
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3 tbsp oil (I used sunflower to lower phenols)
3 tbsp agave or honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place cashews in food processor with the blade attachment on.  Process until a fine meal forms, taking breaks to scrape off big chunks from the sides.  Add almond flour, arrowroot, baking powder, salt and soda and blend.   Scrape the sides of the food processor.  In a separate bowl, mix eggs, oil, sweetener and lemon juice.  Add this mixture to the food processor and mix well.  Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment (you can use oil in lieu of the parchment but these can be a little sticky) and spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons worth of batter at a time to make about 9 biscuits.  Bake for 13 to 15 minutes.  Source:

This post has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Fight Back Friday.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Almost Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

Peanuts are one of those problem foods so many people have to avoid.   When I originally made these bars, my aim was a sweet carob taste.   The flavor combinations in this recipe taste surprisingly close to peanut butter.  Even my husband, who doesn't usually like carob, loves these bars!


1 cup raw brazil nuts
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup carob powder
1/2 cup sunbutter
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 cup gluten free crispy rice cereal (I like Erewhon)


Place brazil nuts and sunflower seeds in a food processor with sharp blade attachment.  Process until a fine meal forms.  Add carob powder and process until mixed.  Add sunbutter and brown rice syrup and process until mixed well.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir rice cereal in with a spoon or fork.  Pour into an 8 x 8 inch square cake pan and pat down with the back of a spoon until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours.  These bars taste best cold.  Source:

This post has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunflower Slaw

This slaw tastes best after the flavors have time to mix.  This is a perfect side dish to make a few hours or day in advance.


5 cups green cabbage, sliced thin
1 cup purple cabbage, sliced thin
2 cups jicama, julienned
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 to 1 tsp sunflower oil
salt to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix vinegar, oil, syrup, garlic powder and 1 tsp salt in a small bowl.  Mix green and purple cabbage, jicama and red onion in a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Toss sunflower seeds with 1/2 to 1 tsp sunflower oil and spread out on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with salt to taste.  Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them until they are lightly browned.  Garnish slaw with toasted seeds when serving.  Serves four.  Source:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Allergy Free Tex Mex

One day a week I take the extra time to cook a pot of beans, make some homemade tortillas, and prepare all the fixings for burritos.  It's time well spent that feeds my family for dinner and well into the next day.  If we're having company, it's even better, because there are options for all - gluten free, vegan, grain free, etc.


I swore off canned beans when I learned that most canned goods contain the chemical BPA - a chemical  suspected of causing a number of health problems.  Besides, cooking beans is simple and extremely cost effective.  All you need to do is rinse them, soak them overnight and then bring them to a gentle boil until they are the right texture, one to two hours depending on which variety you use.  If you forget to soak them, all is not lost.  Rinse them, place them in a pot with the water, and bring to a boil.   For every cup of beans add three cups of water.  Turn the heat off and let them sit for an hour and then cook them as usual.   Black beans lend a smoky flavor to burritos, but pinto beans also work well.  Add salt at the end of the cooking process.

Taco Meat

There are so many choices when it comes to using meat for tacos and burritos.  Ground pork, turkey, beef and bison would all work well with this recipe.


1 lb ground meat
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mineral or sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 tsp sweet rice flour (or arrowroot for grain free)
1/3 to 1/2 cup water


Place meat in a skillet over medium to medium high heat.  While it cooks place the 8 dry ingredients in a small bowl, add 1/3 cup water and mix well.  Once meat is cooked through, add the spice mixture and simmer for a minute or two until thickened.  Add up to 2 more tablespoons water if mixture is too dry.  Remove from heat and serve.  Serves 4.  Source:


You can make your own gluten free tortillas with this recipe.  Alternatively, Sonoma Teff Wraps are gluten free and do not crack like typical gluten free rice based tortillas.  Also consider gluten free corn taco shells, corn tortillas, or skip the tortillas altogether and layer everything in a bowl.


If cow's milk is out of the question, consider raw goat cheddar or monterey jack.  Raw goat milk is sometimes tolerated by those who have a sensitivity to cow's milk.  You can find raw goat cheese in some natural food stores or a local farm (go to Real Milk or Eat Wild).  Another alternative that is both dairy and soy free is Daiya cheese, however, it is a highly processed product that contains yeast, a problem ingredient for some.


Homemade salsa adds loads of flavor to this meal if you have the time.   I love making mango salsa and recently came up with this recipe for watermelon salsa to cut down on our phenol intake.  Tomatoes are high in a salicylates, a type of phenol, that is hard for some people to process.


2 cups watermelon, seeded and diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves*
1/4 cup purple onion, diced
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp jalapeno or chili pepper, diced*
salt to taste
*NOT low in phenols


Chop cilantro.  Toss everything in a bowl and serve.  Serves 2 to 3.  Source:

 My favorite store bought salsa is by Emerald Valley which happens to contain no lime.


Guacamole can really add a lot to this meal, especially if cheese is not an option.  I use a few avocados as a base, and add a clove or two of garlic, fresh cilantro, diced onion, lime juice, jalapeno pepper and salt to taste.  Make it without the lime juice by adding 1/2 tsp vitamin C crystals mixed with 1/4 cup water.

This post has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gluten Free Baking Undone: Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

 This recipe was inspired by a friend of mine, Diane Eblin at the Whole Gang, who is on a mission to show that transitioning to a gluten free lifestyle does not have to be difficult.  Diane is a master at organizing the gluten free community, and has a passion for helping others new to the diet.  This month she has organized 29 gluten free bloggers to feature tips and recipes for transitioning to gluten free life.  You can follow the schedule every day and find out what people who have lived this lifestyle are doing to make cooking easier.

If I've learned anything from the experience of going gluten free, it's to embrace food in its most natural state.  For me personally, that means natural meats, vegetables, nuts, beans, fruit and a minimal amount of grains.  The standard recommendation for people diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease is to stay away from dairy for the first six months.  This pie is naturally dairy and grain free.   My favorite way to prepare it is to fill the peanut crust with coconut ice cream by Coconut Bliss or Purely Decadent for an ice cream pie.  Coconut ice cream is hands down the best non-dairy option I have come across, and both brands are free of refined sugars.  A second, chewy, refrigerator pie option: ground up cashews, dates and cacao powder with no added sweetener.

The beauty of cooking this way, or not cooking, depending on how you look at it, is it provides quick nutritious options without a lot of extra ingredients.  Some flours and binders can be hard on the digestive tract, which may need some time to heal as you make the transition to a gluten free diet.

The Crust:

1 3/4 cups dry roasted, salted peanuts
1 3/4 cups medjool dates, pitted

Pour peanuts into a food processor and process with the blade until it turns into meal.  Add dates and process until mixed well.  Press mixture into a 9 1/2 inch pie pan.

Ice Cream Pie:

Allow 2 pints of chocolate coconut ice cream to partially thaw.  When melted enough to work with, pour into crust and smooth into a pie shape.  Cover and freeze for four hours.

Refrigerator Pie:

Make a double batch of power bars.  Press mixture into pie crust.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you came here for some baking advice, Ricki Heller of Diet, Dessert and Dogs has assured me she will be rolling out her baking tips this Tuesday.  Until then, here are a few more "unbaked" gluten free goodies you might enjoy:

Finally, if you are new to this lifestyle, know that you are not alone.   The number of people being diagnosed increases every day as doctors are becoming more aware of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.  You can find gluten free support through a local branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America or Raising Our Celiac Kids (R.O.C.K.).  This is great way to connect with people who have similar health and dietary concerns.

This post has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Food on Fridays.
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