Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smoothies, Smoothies, Smoothies...YUM!

Smoothies make eating breakfast so easy. With a blender and less than 2 minutes of your time, you can create a wide variety of healthy alternatives to skipping a meal. Here are a few recipes I use often to make some wonderful smoothies that are varied and nutritional. Each recipe is for a single serving. You can adjust recipes to make larger batches if you wish.

Before the recipes, though, I wanted to talk to you about what to do with smoothies. These tips will ensure a great experience for you as you try out your hand at creating the perfect on the go breakfast.

Smoothies should not be made ahead of time. Fresh fruit does tend to discolor and standing can cause a smoothie to separate, leaving you with a less than appetizing drink.
If you use frozen fruits, your smoothies will have a creamier texture and you will not need to add ice.

The thickness of your smoothie can be adjusted. If you find your blend too thin, toss in a little more fruit or ice. If it's too thick, add a little bit of your base liquids.

Flavor combinations are endless! Don't be afraid to try out different flavors or to substitute ingredients for what you have on hand.

If you have allergies like I do, don't assume a store bought smoothie is free of allergens.

If you are making smoothies and they are the primary reason to purchase a blender, go with a less complicated model. All your blender really has to do is crush ice and blend, not pulverize, liquefy, or otherwise pulse. Oster makes great blenders for this purpose for under $25. Stick blenders also do well with smoothies (as long as you thaw everything first) and run around $15.

Spices, used sparingly, can bring your smoothie to life! Just like in baking or other methods of food preparation, spices can enhance the flavors you are blending to create a wonderful taste experience.

SIZE MATTERS! It is very easy to create a smoothie that is very high in calories very, very quickly. To help maintain weight while ensuring nutrition, you should keep in mind that a serving size for a smoothing is 8 oz. I use the cup I am making the smoothie in to measure ingredients so that my smoothies are not over sized and therefore over loaded with calories.The recipes I have included in this post are between 6 and 8 oz.

Variety is key. You will gain more nutrition by alternating ingredients and using seasonal produce.

Vegetables can be incorporated into your smoothies for even more nutrition. Just make sure the fruits and vegetables you pair up are complementary to each other in flavor and texture.

Use Organic ingredients for smoothies whenever possible. The taste difference and better nutrition is well worth the few pennies extra at the grocery checkout line. 

Make it pretty. Appetite and attitude about foods are directly related to your eyes. If it looks good, it IS good. Take a couple of seconds each morning to make your smoothie visually appealing.

AND NOW....on to the recipes!

Banana Medly
Serving Size: 8 oz.
Calories: 215

1/2 cup sliced bananas (Frozen will be creamier, but fresh works well, too)
1/4 cup chopped peaches
1/4 cup sliced strawberries
1 banana slice
1 whole strawberry
1/2 teaspoon honey
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon flax seed
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk

In blender, build the base for your smoothie. Blend together almond milk, spices, flax seed, and vanilla. Add fruit and blend well. Add honey, pulsing your blender to mix evenly. Pour smoothie into cup. Slice half way through whole strawberry and the banana slice. Slip these onto the rim of your cup and enjoy.

Blueberry Heaven
Serving Size: 8 oz.
Calories: 380

1/4 cup sliced banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 teaspoon flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup coconut milk

In blender, blend coconut milk, vanilla, and flax seeds. Add fruit. Blend until smooth. Add honey. Pulse to mix evenly. Sprinkle a few extra berries on top for garnish if you like.

Tangerine Delight
Serving Size: 8 oz.

2 tangerines, peeled with pulp removed
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon flax seeds
3/4 cup almond milk

Blend almond milk, flax seeds, and pumpkin pie spice together. Add tangerines and blend until smooth. Garnish with a slice of tangerine if you wish.

Banana Peanut Butter
Serving size: 8 oz
Calories: 439

1 banana sliced
2 tablespoons organic peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon flax seeds
1/2 cup almond milk

Blend almond milk, flax seeds and peanut butter together. Add banana and blend well. Add honey and pulse to mix. Garnish with a banana slice if you wish.

Search for blenders for smoothies

Ok, Back on Track

Well, lately it's been impossible to post in this blog. However, now that I am officially cancer free, I suddenly have a lot more time on my hands and will be posting on a regular basis. I simply wanted to say thank you for those who patiently waited while I took care of me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Coconut Quick Bread

I started experimenting with a more Hawaiian tasting bread to use for snacks or breakfast. As allergy free flours do not react the same as wheat, it took a little bit of work to find the right mix of ingredients. Each experimental loaf was good, but didn't quite have the depth I was looking for. However, the third time really is the charm. Here's a wonderful, full flavor bread that is moist, bold, mild, and everything in between. The personality of this bread is amazing. Even I was impressed with the results--and I'm hard to impress.

Coconut Quick Bread

2 1/4 cups GF all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon almond oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup evaporated cane juice
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon black walnut extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut.

In a medium bowl, mix together GF flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in shredded coconut. Set aside

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, coconut oil, and evaporated cane juice until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well mixed. Stir in almond oil, molasses, vanilla extract, and walnut extract.Add coconut milk until well mixed.

Add the GF flour mixture to the liquid mixture. Stir until well mixed.

Use a small amount of almond oil to grease a loaf pan. Sprinkle with flour and coat pan. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake in a 375 F oven for about 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow baked loaf to cool in pan for 20 minutes. Turn out onto a flat surface and invert onto plate. Allow to completely cool before slicing.

Note: If your oven tends to dry out baked goods, you can set a pan of water in the oven while baking. This will allow you to bake in a moist heat and yield softer baked goods.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Steak Pita Tostados

1 large steak
Mesquite seasoning (can be purchased in the spice aisle.)
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups shredded lettuce

1 cup fresh salsa (see blog post here for recipe.)

Tortillas (see blog post here for recipe.)

Cut onion and bell peppers into julienne strips. Cut steak into thin strips. Mince garlic. In a skillet, warm olive oil. Add steak, garlic  and vegetables. Sprinkle with Mesquite seasoning to taste. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender/crisp and meat is done.

On a plate, place a tortilla. Spoon meat mixture on top of tortilla. Add shredded lettuce. Top with Fresh salsa. Serve. Makes 6 servings. 

Friday, June 25, 2010


Living in Texas, having tortillas is almost a requirement. We eat them in just about everything, from soups to tacos. Having celiac disease says tortillas are out of the question. As I am also stubborn, I have developed my own tortilla that uses my allergen free flours to produce a tortilla I can sink my teeth into.


2  1/2 cups gluten free flour mix of your choice
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
3/4 cup lukewarm goat's milk

One additional tablespoon butter for cooking tortillas

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. This will result in a slightly sticky dough. Turn out on a well floured surface and need for 5 minutes. Separate into 10 balls. Let dough rest for about 45 minutes. Roll out each ball as thin as possible. (almost paper thin). Place one rolled tortilla at a time in a lightly buttered skillet set to medium heat. Turn tortilla when it begins to bubble. Remove from heat when tortilla is lightly browned on both sides.

Note: Tortillas cook quickly. Be careful not to over cook. Also, these freeze well. make a large batch to have on hand.

Note: Rolling thicker tortillas results in a wonderful pita type flat bread that is wonderful for sandwiches of all types. I purposely made these for steak gyros with superb results in flavor and texture. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Seared Flounder with Stuffed Mushrooms

I used to love making stuffed mushrooms. However, the way I used to make them wouldn't fit what I can eat now. So, I did a little work on the recipe and created a great stuffed mushroom with seared flounder that works great as a filling summertime meal.

Stuffed Mushrooms (serves 2)

4 large baby portebella mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup soft goat's cheese
dash lemon juice

Wash mushrooms and scoop out stems. Set stems aside on a cutting board. Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat. Saute mushroom caps in the butter.  While mushrooms are sauteing, chop mushroom stems. In a bowl, mix soft goat's cheese, tomatoes, and stems. Add lemon juice. When mushrooms are just tender but firm, remove from skillet. Fill each cap with the cheese mixture equally. Place in broiler for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Seared Flounder (serves 1)

1 flounder fillet (thawed)
Lemon Pepper
Lemon wedge
Sea Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Place fillet in skillet. Add lemon pepper and sea salt to taste. Place heavy metal spatula over the fish. Turn fillet after about 3 minutes. Replace heavy metal spatula. Remove from pan after about 3 minutes. Serve with lemon wedge.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dinner Party

Tonight, I held a dinner party in honor of Ronnie's birthday. The menu included some of his favorite foods: Fried Chicken to be specific. As I don't eat fried chicken, I decided to make the rest of the meal friendly for me. We had, in addition to the fried chicken, baked chicken in a special marinade I make myself, pan grilled whiting, steamed vegetables (green beans and onions with red bell peppers), fresh tomato soup, and a Kentucky butter cake. I have omitted those recipes, namely fried chicken, from the recipe lists as it is the only thing not gluten, corn, soy, casein, and sugar free.

Tomato Mushroom Soup (serves six)

6 tomatoes
1/2 cup sauteed sliced sauteed baby portebella mushrooms
1/2 cup sauteed diced onion
 2 clove minced and sauteed garlic
1/2 teaspoon of each: dried rosemary, thyme, and oregano
3 cups chicken broth (I make my own)
4 tablespoon butter
3 piece gluten free bread
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

 Cut three tomatoes, skins on, into chunks. Toss these into a blender with chicken broth to puree. Dice the remaining three tomatoes and set aside.

In a skillet, melt two tablespoon of butter. Saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms together. Onions should be translucent when done.

Pour puree mixture into a medium saucepan and set on low heat. Add diced tomato, broth, and sauteed vegetables. Add sea salt, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 of the Parmesan  cheese.

Melt remaining two tablespoons butter in the microwave. Coat the bread with the butter on both sides. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top of the bread. Toast the bread on broil in the oven until golden brown and crusty (about three minutes). Remove the bread and cut into chunks.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with croutons.

 Steamed Green Beans and Onions

3 cups fresh green beans, snapped
12 pearl onions
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
Sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoon butter

In a double boiler, steam vegetables until tender. Vegetables should still have a snap but be soft enough to chew easily. Once steamed, place vegetables in a serving bowl. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Add butter and lemon juice. Stir together until well mixed and butter is melted.

Dijon Style Baked Chicken serves 6

6 pieces chicken, thawed
1 cup Dijon marinade (recipe follows)

Pierce chicken with a sharp knife in several places Place chicken in a baking dish.Pour marinade on chicken evenly. Cover with foil and leave in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 1 hour or until done. Your cooking time may vary depending whether or not your chicken has bones.

Dijon Marinade

1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup chopped onion

Pour all ingredients into a blender. Blend on hi until well mixed and smooth. This is similar to making mayonnaise, but you want to avoid creating an emulsion. Your marinade should be thin, like a liquid.  

Pan Grilled Whiting Serves 6

6 whiting fillets
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup sliced baby portebella mushrooms
4 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon Pepper
Sea Salt

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium/high. Add fillets. Use a spatula to sear the fillets on each side (about  3 minutes per side). Sprinkle each side with sea salt and lemon pepper to taste. When done, place fillets on plates.

Saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil until just tender. Onions should be translucent. Spoon evenly onto each fillet to serve.

Kentucky Butter Cake

3 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
2 cups evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup goat's milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
olive oil, for pan
Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, mix flour, evaporated cane juice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Measure out 1 cup goat's milk and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Let this sit for 2 minutes. Add to flour mixture. Add butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly until lumps are gone and butter is evenly distributed throughout. 
Grease a 9x13 cake pan with olive oil. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 60 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cake cool completely.

3/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a saucepan combine the evaporated cane juice, butter, teaspoons vanilla, and the water. Cook over medium heat, until fully melted and combined, but do not boil.

Pierce holes in cake at regular intervals. Pour the glaze over the cake. Let cool before slicing cake. Cake serves 12.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tomato Mushroom Soup

When I was last in Disney, I ate at a restaurant called Boma's. It is known for its wonderful soups and wide array of delicious buffet items. Due to my allergies, the chef made a tomato stew for me as none of the day's soups were safe for me. I came home and began working on recreating that soup as the tomato flavor was fabulous. It definitely beat any tomato soup I had ever tasted.

3 tomatoes
1/4 cup sauteed sliced sauteed baby portebella mushrooms
1/4 cup sauteed diced onion
1 clove minced and sauteed garlic
1/4 teaspoon of each: dried rosemary, thyme, and oregano
1 1/2 cup chicken broth (I make my own)
2 tablespoon butter
1 piece gluten free bread
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

Cut two tomatoes, skins on, into chunks. Toss these into a blender with chicken broth to puree. Dice the remaining tomato and set aside.

In a skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter. Saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms together. Onions should be translucent when done.

Pour puree mixture into a medium saucepan and set on low heat. Add diced tomato and sauteed vegetables. Add sea salt, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 of the Parmesan  cheese.

Melt remaining tablespoon butter in the microwave. Coat the bread with the butter on both sides. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top of the bread. Toast the bread on broil in the oven until golden brown and crusty (about three minutes). Remove the bread and cut into chunks.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with croutons.Makes 2-4 servings depending on appetite. 

Apple Strawberry Struesel Muffins

One of the things I miss are muffins. I have been working on recipes to replace this once favorite breakfast with an alternative that offered up the same amount of flavor without all the allergens I have. Here's what I came up with:

2 cups GF flour mixture of your choice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup evaporated cane juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon of each: black walnut extract and almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2-3 cups freshly chopped fruit (I like apples and strawberries together)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sea salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together all extracts, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cane juice, eggs and butter until smooth.

Chop fruit into diced sized pieces. Stir into the large bowl with the butter mixture. Add the flour mixture slowly, stirring until all ingredients are moist. Be careful not to over mix.

Line a muffin pan with liners. Fill the liners no more than 2/3 full. Set aside.

Struesel topping: 

1/2 cup GF flour mixture
3/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened

Mix all ingredients together until crumbly in texture. Spoon this evenly over the muffins in the tins.

Bake muffins for 20 minutes in a 400F oven. Muffins are done when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pan Grilled Salmon

Salmon is one if my favorite fish to prepare. It's simple and versatile in its presentation. It is unassuming, yet can make a meal special just by its presence. And, after a recent trip to Disney in which some of the chefs prepared it for me and told me how they were seasoning it, I have discovered my favorite way to have it: pan seared. This cooking method creates a succulent dish that is quick and easy with a burst of unexpected flavor.

2 salmon fillets (thawed)
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup sliced baby portebella mushrooms
Lemon Pepper to taste
Sea Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium/high. Add fillets. Use a spatula to sear the fillets on each side (about  3 minutes per side). Sprinkle each side with sea salt and lemon pepper to taste. When done, place fillets on plates.

Saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil until just tender. Onions should be translucent. Spoon half of this on top of each fillet and serve.

This goes great with a blueberry salad in a lemon vinaigrette.  

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Coconut Smoothies.

  These smoothies are great for a quick meal on the go. To make a lower calorie and lighter smoothie, substitute almond milk for the coconut milk. Almond milk will make a thinner smoothie, but with less calories. Coconut smoothies have the consistency of a thick shake


  • 1 14 oz Coconut Milk
  • 1 cup Fresh or frozen fruit
  • 2 cups Ice

  1. Crush 2 cups ice in a blender. Add 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit of your choice. Blend until well mixed. Add one can of coconut milk and blend again until all ingredients are mixed. Makes 3 smoothies. 

Spanish Quinoa

 Here's a tasty side dish that will spice up any meal. Made from quinoa, this dish is great for those with celiac and other food allergies.

1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons Butter
3/4 cup fresh salsa (recipe follows)
Sea Salt to taste

Bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and reduce heat to medium for about 12 minutes or until all water is absorbed by the quinoa. Stir in butter and salsa. Top with sea salt to taste. Makes 2 cups.

Fresh Salsa

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green chilies (I use jalapeno)
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
fresh ground pepper to taste  

Mix all ingredients together. Makes about 1 1/2 cups salsa.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Basic All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix

So many dishes use flour for a base. From bread to thickened gravies, you can bet it contains flour. Because of celiac, I can't handle the normal flours available on the shelves at my local grocers. So, I realized that I could make a multitude of flour mixtures to suit my needs using safe flours. (I like pancakes, french toast, and bread, too.)

Here's a basic flour mixture to use in  your recipes as you wish. This can be substituted cup for cup in any recipe using wheat based flours. You can use a variety of flours to make this, so this recipe is not set in stone Also, feel free to make large batches, which can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to bake.

2 cups sorghum flour
2 1/2 cups potato starch
1 1/2 cups rice flour (sweet or regular, brown or white)
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup amaranth flour
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons xanthum gum

Mix all ingredients in a large plastic bag. Use as you would any wheat based all purpose flour. This flour does cause some taste change in baked goods, but the flavor is not overpowering. Experiment to see how you like to use it. I've used it in breads and cakes with great results.

It Doesn't Need to Taste Like Cardboard

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. In the course of finding out about my body's reaction to anything wheat, my doctors also discovered I had allergies to soy, corn, and casein. I went from a processed food junkie to whole foods only overnight.

In addition, I was also diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. After a bit of research, I decided to cut out the preservatives in foods and any foods that had been refined. I figured while I was making a life change out of necessity, I might as well bite the bullet and go for the gusto.

The results of those decisions and the diagnoses I received have been remarkable. I am no longer plagued by seizures or arthritis. I feel healthier than I can remember in my life, and I don't eat cardboard.

My family and friends have almost all felt sympathy for me on my new diet when they learned of it. Their comments were along the lines of "Oh my, there's no flavor in those kinds of things." I have, of course, proved them wrong. There is plenty of flavor, texture, and color in my creations. Many of my friends and family now enjoy what I make when over to dinner, and they are always amazed at the variety of foods I eat.

I am not a vegetarian, nor do I want to be. I believe that we were made to eat meat. However, many of my recipes have no meat included, so these are great for those who have chosen to be vegetarian. I do not propose that my results with following this diet will result in the same differences in others. I am not a doctor. This worked for me; it's as simple as that.

I will be posting recipes, information on fats and transfats (which, by the way, are horrible), and suggestions for changing my recipes to match your needs or tastes. I invite you to enjoy food with me in my journey to a healthier, tastier array of choices. Let me know what you think of the recipes, tell me if you think something would work better, feel free to send me your recipes t try as well.