Everyone has that go-to dish that is easy to make and always a hit. This is mine. I’ve made it a hundred times, taken it to friends after they’ve had surgery or when a baby is born. It’s gone with me to potlucks and has been our quick and hearty stand-by when I don’t have time to cook. Most recently, I made it for a girlfriend whose son had surgery. Her husband said I can cook for them anytime. The truth is with this dish it’s only a matter of putting the ingredients together and letting your CrockPot do all of the work.
And, yes! I used canned tomatoes, even in the middle of summer. My preference is fresh but if I have no tomatoes or no time, I grab the can opener and get to work. Quite honestly, I used to feel guilty about this and slightly inferior because I couldn’t do it all – work a full-time job, do the laundry, take care of my family, manage the household, do the grocery shopping, cook healthy meals, exercise, blog, meet our community commitments, have some me time, AND always have the freshest seasonal ingredients on hand. But today I accept that I am human with limitations and give myself a break.
I’m shooting for that middle of the road where living well and sanity meet. Doing it all is no longer on my radar. Instead, I focus on living true to my values and with integrity. That includes being good to me.
Let’s talk about the recipe –
As for the ‘choose your own salsa’ part of this recipe, I don’t like anything too hot and the kids don’t either. We’re all about flavor but are happy to skip the heat. One day we were at Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon. I needed a jar of salsa for this soup and was debating about which brand to buy. My husband and I are not big on crowded stores. He grabbed the mild jar of Sam’s Club Salsa, told me that it was going into a soup, and walked off. I have never liked cooking with just any old ingredient, especially an off-brand that I’d never tried before. I quickly decided that I’d let it go if it meant that we got to check out and go home. I was shocked when the salsa was full of great flavors and enhanced the soup. So, that’s what I use. For all of the budget conscious cooks –it’s cheap, too. If you like heat, add your favorite salsa and make this your own.
Let me leave you with this – be good to yourself today. Whether it means you do some meal prep to free up time later in the week, make a healthy meal, go on a walk, call your best girlfriend – do something good for you. If we don’t take care of us, we can’t take care of anyone else.
Sending you much love and a warm bowl of soup,
Yields Serves 6
Shredded Chicken Tortilla Soup: A Cool Kitchen
2 (14.5 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans of chicken broth
2 -3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup salsa – use your favorite brand
½ cup chopped cilantro
4 carrots, peeled and chopped in ¼ inch thick rounds
2 tablespoons cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, uncooked
1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips – Xochil is gluten-free & my hubby's favorite
8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded or your favorite dairy-free alternative like Daiya
8 ounces light sour cream or your favorite dairy-free alternative
1 avocado, sliced
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Combine all of the soup ingredients except the chicken in a 4 – 6 quart slow cooker. Mix well. Add chicken. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
At this point, the chicken should be cooked and easy to shred. Remove the breasts from the soup and shred with forks. Return to the slow cooker and mix well.
Serve with your choice of topping ingredients. To reduce fat content, you can use reduced fat cheese or no cheese at all. You can also eliminate the avocado. This soup doesn't need any toppings to taste delicious.
I’ve got the creamiest gluten-free, dairy-free mac and cheese recipe for you. And no, we’re not going to use butternut squash. It does make a mean mac & cheese but I’m going to share a recipe that your family and friends will confuse for the ‘real deal,’ if you know what I’m talking about.
This recipe comes from Allergy Free & Easy Cooking by my friend Cybele Pascal. She’s a master at creating textures and flavors with foods that aren’t in the top 8.
I’ll be completely honest – I didn’t think Daiya could make a creamy mac and cheese. I love Daiya. It’s one of my go-tos but I’d never stretched myself far enough to think that it would make a creamy cheese sauce.
If you look at any traditional mac & cheese recipe you’ll see that the base of the cheese sauce is some kind of fat, flour and milk. This is called a roux. Basically, you cook the fat and the flour to help develop flavor and cook out some of the starch. Then you add the milk to make a the roux, which thickens the sauce.
The longer you cook the roux, the more flavor that you develop. For mac & cheese, you don’t need to cook the roux long.
Cybele’s recipe calls for a cup of rice milk – I ended up mixing in somewhere between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 cups rice milk. I know how my kids like their mac and cheese. This is something I’m always trying to teach y’all – a recipe is a guide. You can make small changes to accommodate the people you’re feeding. It’s something you get more comfortable with the more you cook. And, at some point you intuitively know what changes you need to make just by looking at the food. Note that I said small changes – big changes will likely end up disastrous.
I also added about 1/2 cup breadcrumbs tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper to the top of my mac and cheese because we love that crunch! If you have an allergy-friendly bread you love, use that. If not, check out BFree Breads – that might work for you.
And – don’t stop at just mac & cheese with this dish. Add in bacon, cooked ground turkey, veggies, cubed ham. There is no limit to what you can do with this recipe.
You really can have this dish on the table in 30 minutes or less. Add this recipe to your ‘quick and easy meals’ list. It will be a favorite!
We all know mac ‘n’ cheese is the ultimate American comfort food. And it’s no secret that homemade mac
‘n’ cheese is much better than the boxed or frozen stuff. In this recipe, I’ll teach you how to make a dairy free,
gluten-free roux. A roux is the basis of a cream sauce, which is essential to giving mac ‘n’ cheese that
coveted creaminess. Adding Daiya vegan cheddar cheese turns the cream sauce into a cheese sauce, and
you’ve got yourself a classic American staple. Tinkyada brown rice penne is my favorite for this recipe.
6 ounces brown rice penne
1 cup rice milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated yellow onion
2 tablespoons superfine brown rice flour
1 bay leaf
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Daiya vegan cheddar
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the
pasta according to the package instructions, until
tender. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the broiler on high.
Once the pasta is cooking, scald the rice milk—
heat it in a saucepan until hot but not boiling.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy
saucepan. Add the onion and cook, stirring often,
for 2 minutes. Add the brown rice flour and cook,
stirring, for 2 minutes more, until golden. Don’t
burn it, and don’t worry if it clumps a bit. This is
Add the rice milk a little at a time, whisking
continuously and vigorously until smooth. Add
the bay leaf, a big pinch of cayenne, and the white
pepper and nutmeg. Add the salt and mustard,
stir, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low
and cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about
4 minutes. Whisk again to smooth if necessary.
Add a few turns of pepper. Add 1 cup of the vegan
cheddar and stir until melted, about 4 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir
Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of an
8 by 8-inch baking dish. Pour in the pasta. Top with
the remaining 1/2 cup vegan cheddar. Put under the
broiler for 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted
and is browning up a bit. Remove from the oven,
and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking, by Cybele Pascal, 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography copyright 2012 by Chugrad McAndrews.
Do you ever get bored of plain water? I do. We’re supposed to drink at least eight (8-ounce) glasses of water a day. And according to this water intake calculator, if you workout you need even more water to stay hydrated. Often, I want something a little different than plain H20. It gets boring after a while.
If you’ve landed on my blog, I know you and I agree that there’s no sense in bogging your water down with unwanted sugar and calories to make it taste better. I would bet that you’re also at least a little focused on wellness and would love a little wellness in your glass of H20.
There are some amazing health benefits to the ingredients in this recipe. You’re going to love it.
Let’s look at the benefits of ginger:
supports digestion and helps with nausea – and it can even help with bloating
helps with detox, which in turn gives you an immune boost
contains the compound gingerol which can help reduce inflammation
Grapefruit has some incredible benefits too:
excellent source of vitamin C, which supports the immune system
helps prevent free radical damage
can help reduce inflammation in the bones and joints
high in antioxidants, which can reduce free radical damage
I’ve also added some lemon to the recipe, which is another power-packed food and has many of the same benefits of grapefruit.
So you’re in, right? You’re grabbing your blender right now and mixing up a big batch of this water.
If you’re like me, you probably want to read more about the benefits of ginger, grapefruit and lemon. Go for it.
There’s nothing better than a simple, delicate guest-worthy dessert. Everyone needs a few of these in her back pocket. It doesn’t matter if you’re making dessert for a romantic dinner at home or if you’re having a dinner party.
The other group that will go crazy for this dessert? Kids.
Panna cotta is a lightly sweet, egg free custard-like dish. I used gelatin, which is the traditional way to set the dessert. You could also use agar agar. The idea is to thicken the milk just enough to make it slightly firm and creamy but not so much that it’s like jello.
It’s traditionally made with heavy cream. I opted for coconut milk to make this dairy-free. And, instead of white sugar I used honey. You could use maple syrup or another liquid sweetener.
Since panna cotta isn’t overly sweet, adding sweetened berry sauce is the perfect compliment. I used frozen berries, thawed them and then pureed them.
My boys loved it, and I was thrilled that they were getting the healthy coconut fat. Me? I’m a chocolate kind of gal. But oh my. This panna cotta is silky smooth with every single bite.
Like jello, this dessert should be served chilled. If you let it sit at room temperature too long it will soften and though it’ll still taste great it will be more like a pudding and less like a custard.
Who’s making this? Or at least putting in on their ‘simple dessert’ list?
Simple food is often the best, and these chocolate covered strawberries are no exception. They’re easy to make and taste incredible. There’s no refined sugar and they’re naturally gluten free, too. Bonus, right?
I made them in honor of my favorite hair dresser. She’s the sweetest person on the face of the earth. She also cuts my boys’ hair and let me tell you – that wasn’t always an easy task. She worked her magic and now hair cuts are usually simple. I’m so grateful for her.
Back to the story – I was at the salon getting my hair done and we were chatting about our plans for Valentine’s Day. Neither one of us had big plans but my hair dresser said she was going to splurge on chocolate covered strawberries. I told her she could make them.
I don’t know how your brain works, but mine always starts thinking through how to make the dish. It comes naturally to me now, but that’s after more than a decade of eating gluten free and refined sugar free.
I used a combination of unsweetened chocolate, coconut sugar and palm shortening. I wanted to make sure that the chocolate would stay firm at room temperature. Though I love coconut oil, it melts at room temperature (76 degrees Fahrenheit). Palm shortening has a higher melting point and works great.
The chocolate tastes totally different on the strawberries than it does on a spoon. This is a lightly-sweet, dark chocolate. Once it’s on the berries it’s perfect. If you like your chocolate sweeter, mix in a little more coconut sugar or add a little stevia.
You can share these or keep them all to yourself. And don’t limit yourself to strawberries – try any fruit. My boys love chocolate-dipped banana slices. We keep them the freezer as a treat.
If you love chocolate and fruit, you’ve got to see these dishes:
Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.
Chop the chocolate into pieces. Place in a small microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until mostly melted. Or, melt chocolate over a double boiler. Remove from heat.
Stir in powdered coconut sugar and palm shortening. Continue to stir until until combined.
Tilt the bowl to the side and dip the strawberries into the chocolate, shaking off any excess chocolate. Set the strawberries on the waxed paper.
To make the chocolate harden quicker, pop the strawberries in the refrigerator until the chocolate is firm. Once firm, store in an airtight container.
To make powdered coconut sugar, put your coconut sugar in the blender until finely powdered.
One of the things y’all often ask for is a recipe with simple-to-find ingredients. It’s so much easier to get your hands on gluten-free ingredients than it used to be – and with Amazon Prime you can snag just about any product you want. Even if it’s a couple dollars more than the store across town, I’ll ante up just because of the time it saves me. Full disclosure: I’m a shameless Amazon addict. The time I save using Amazon is invaluable.
But – you can pick up all 4 ingredients for this cake at almost any grocery store. It’s totally flourless, easy, moist chocolate cake. And though I don’t eat a paleo diet, this cake is paleo as well.
My local Wal-Mart even carries coconut sugar. The one ingredient that might require a little recon on your part is Hershey’s Sugar Free Dark Chocolate. If you can’t find it locally it’s a simple snag from Amazon. You can use their sugar-free chocolate or Hershey’s Kitchen’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chips. For this recipe, I prefer Hershey’s Sugar Free Dark Chocolate because it’s less sweet. I like bold chocolate flavor that’s not overwhelmingly sweet. If you want, feel free to reach for your favorite low-sugar chocolate.
I tried this cake in an 8″ and 9″ spring form pan. There isn’t much difference in the taste or how the cake bakes, but I like how the cake looks much better in a 9″ pan. It’s supposed to have a rustic, imperfect shape so it’s the cake for you if you’re worried about your baking skills. You can’t mess this one up.
Ingredients. Scan the list, y’all. This is a special occasion cake. Like one slice on a special day. It’s rich and full of flavor. Just a few bites will give you a serious chocolate fix.
I’ve got a couple of gluten-free chocolate torte recipes – both are less indulgent than this recipe but still amazing:
Put the coconut sugar in a blender and whirl until powdered. Set aside.
Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon pieces. Chop or break the the chocolate into pieces. Melt the chocolate and butter on the stove top in a double boiler or in 30-second intervals in the microwave. If you opt for the microwave, stir well between intervals and take care not to overheat or you'll burn the chocolate.
While the chocolate is melting, put about half of the powdered coconut sugar and the egg yolks in a medium bowl and beat until the egg yolks have doubled in size and are thick. The egg yolks will fall into a ribbon-like stream and disappear into the mixture when you lift the beaters.
Wash the beaters well. Put the egg whites in a large bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in the remaining coconut sugar in 2 additions, and beat until the egg whites are smooth and glossy.
Gently stir 1/4 of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks and then fold in the remaining chocolate.
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in two additions. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Place spring form pan with batter on a sheet pan and gently place into the oven. Bake for 35 - 38 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
Let the cake cool, then run an offset spatula between the cake and the pan.
Serve at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Thank you all so much for filling out my the 2016 Reader Survey. We had nearly 500 responses which is more than I expected. I’m so grateful for my online family and the community we have.
I want this to be a helpful part of the internet for all of my readers. Your feedback is essential.
After looking through all of your responses and common threads, I decided to make three goals for my readers – three things that I want you to be able to accomplish by the end of this year. Three things that I will focus on teaching in 2017.
I used to be a teacher, and while writing lesson plans I always kept in mine what I wanted my kids to be able to do independently. So here are my objectives, goals, and hopes for all of my readers this year.
1. Make Any Recipe Gluten-Free
Have you ever come across a recipe that looks so good, only to discover it isn’t gluten-free? Happens all the time, right? I want to give you the tools and skills to be able to make the necessary changes for the recipe to work for you. I have been cooking gluten and refined sugar-free for over 10 years now, and I have lots of experience with great substitutions – I want to share that knowledge with you! To start, here are my favorite flour blends.
2. Make a Great Loaf of Bread
Here’s the thing- great is really subjective! Some people want a soft loaf, some people want sourdough, other want a nice hearty bread. Whatever type of bread you want, I want you to be able to make. We are going to explore the different ways of making gluten-free breads, the challenges, and of course the flour blends. I am also thinking about maybe offering a class – would anyone be interested?
We all need more time- and one way to get it, is to stop asking yourself what is for dinner! By having a list of go to meals that you and your family love (with ingredients you always keep in your pantry!), you will be able to cross that item off your list! You guys asked for more slow cooker recipes- so I rounded up ten easy ones here!
Three goals doesn’t sound like too many, but that will be plenty to fill up my calendar for the year! We have lots to learn!
Did I miss something that would make your life easier? Please leave a comment or hop over to our Facebook community and share there!
I’m a baker. That’s my groove – that’s where I get lost in time and space. I’ve got a high powered blender but I’ve not mastered it. Not close. Tess has. She’s been making blender recipes for a decade now, if not longer. Her latest vegan, gluten-free book, The Perfect Blend, is no exception. It’s packed with all-time favorite recipes with a healthy spin to support your body in being it’s best. You’ll find dishes like Kale! Ceasar, Classic Cheesecake that’s totally dairy-free, Thai Slaw, Nosh on Em Nachos, Punched Up Potato and Leek Soup to name a few.
Let’s get honest – we need food that sustains us. Tess has optional nutrition boosters in every recipe – it’s an easy way to amp of the good-for-you-stuff! We all need whole foods to help us be our best – and I’m thrilled have Tess’s recipes in my kitchen to share with my family.
You’ll love the way that Tess infuses flavor into these recipes. You’ll use your oven, your stove top, your cutting board and yes – your blender!
Tess’ book will become a must-have in your kitchen. Her recipes have become that for me over the years. I know she will always give me good, healthy food that I can serve to anyone.
Ricki pushes the boundaries of what you think you can do with food. This is the key to living well on a specific diet. Can’t eat diary? Eggs? Sugar? Are you vegan? No problem. Ricki shows you how you can still eat well regardless of your needs. She’s got this uncanny ability to take healthy, whole-foods ingredients and put them together in a way that is truly unique and delicious.
When I made Ricki’s vegan chocolate buttercream, I tested it two ways. I used it immediately after mixing it up and I also chilled it and whipped it in my KitchenAid stand mixer. I preferred the way it piped and spread after being whipped. So, if you want to use this frosting for a cake or cupcakes I’d go that route. If you want to ice cookies or just dig in with a spoon (I did that too…) you can use it straight out of the food processor.
It’s in my nature to get excessive. Ask Joe. If a little is good, a lot is better. It’s just how I’m wired. So, of course I doubled Ricki’s vegan chocolate frosting recipe. My Cuisinart food processor had to work really hard to get the double batch mixed up just right. Next time, I’m going to make two batches as outlined in the recipe. My kitchen equipment will be happier.
I also sprinkled my cupcakes with a little Maldon Sea Salt. Lordy. I love that sweet and salty combo. Don’t you?
Want to grab the recipe for those gorgeous Golden Vanilla Cupcakes? It’s part of our Gluten-Free Cookbook Club exclusive content this month. If you’re a member, you’ll get the information via email and you can find the post here. If you’re not a member yet, you can join us here.
Yields makes about 1 cup, enough for 1 layer cake or 6 cupcakes
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Whole-foods based chocolate buttercream frosting that uses no butter and unrefined sugars ~ super rich, creamy and melts right in your mouth! Reprinted from Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free with permission from the author, Ricki Heller from rickiheller.com, and Sellers Publishing, copyright 2013.
10 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
1/2 cup (120 ml) plus up to 2 tablespoons more canned or unsweetened sweet potato puree
Place sweet potato puree, coconut sugar, stevia, vanilla and salt in a food process and process to blend. Add the cacao powder and process to combine. Set aside, but leave the sweet potato mixture in the food processor.
In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the chocolate, sunflower seed butter and coconut oil over low heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate melts; remove from heat. Turn the mixture into the food processor and blend everything until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary. If the coconut oil begins to separate (the mixture will appear oily and a bit curdled) OR if you find that the mixture is too thick, add 1 tablespoon more of the sweet potato puree at a time and blend again; it should come together in a spreadable frosting.
May be used immediately as a fudgy frosting, or else refrigerate until firm then beat with electric beaters until fluffy and lighter in color for a buttercream frosting (it will resemble milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate when beaten). In either case, avoid the urge to eat most of it straight from the spoon. Store covered, in the refrigerator, up to five days.
May be frozen; defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature and stir well (for fudgy frosting) or beat with electric beaters (for buttercream) before using.
Note: If you can tolerate additional sugar to get a more chocolatey frosting, use cocoa powder and add more coconut sugar or even a couple of tablespoons of agave nectar. For a lower-glycemic frosting, use cacao or carob powder, or a combination, along with stevia. Because raw cocoa powder has a milder flavor than cocoa powder, it can be combined with stevia without producing a bitter aftertaste that sometimes occurs with stevia and cocoa powder. Combining the cocoa with part carob powder (use between 25% - 50% carob) has the same effect, enabling you to use stevia without a bitter aftertaste.
You can also use natural smooth cashew butter in place of the sunflower seed butter or tahini, if you can tolerate nuts.
I get so many requests for gluten free crock pot meals, and for good reason, too. They’re easy, healthy, and so good! I’ve gathered up my favorite crock pot recipes for you in one place – from meals, drinks, desserts and side dishes. I’ve got them all right here!
Everyone has that go-to dish that is easy to make and always a hit. This is mine. I’ve made it a hundred times, taken it to friends after they’ve had surgery or when a baby is born. It’s gone with me to potlucks and has been our quick and hearty stand-by when I don’t have time to cook.
There are few things Joe loves more than coming home from a long day at work to a house that smells delicious. And, there are few things that I love more than a delicious, simple, inexpensive meal with little clean-up. This Chicken Posole Stew makes both of us very happy.
I love this tasty Pulled Barbecue Chicken! We eat it in sandwiches, omelets, and tacos. It’s incredible to throw some ingredients into a pot and have a sugar free, gluten free barbecue chicken sandwich hours later.
I wasn’t sure what to do with the fresh black eyed peas we got in our CSA box. But I whipped us this recipe, and they were so good that I was almost full from ‘tasting’ them so I could ‘adjust the seasoning if necessary!
I’m a sucker for creamy oatmeal during the chilly winter months. Especially with warm, spicy cinnamon and fruit. I am not a fan of cooking things for too long on the stove top- I forget about them and then.. over boil! The crock pot services me much better!
I love to have a really tasty coffee drink to share with friends especially when they like their coffee a little less intense than I do. I’m also a CrockPot fan – it makes it so simple to throw something together and walk away.
Some people look at me sideways when I tell them I make my own ketchup. To them, it’s crazy to make something you can buy off of the shelf. Personally, I think it’s exciting to be able to make something much healthier for a fraction of the cost.
Simple, delicious, and easy. Just how apple butter should be. The best part? You know when you have apples about to turn bad? All you have to do is throw them in the slow cooker. They’re perfect for this recipe.
What are your favorite crock pot meals? Any recipes for the slow cooker you’d like to see made gluten and refined sugar free?
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