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Confetti Quinoa with Garbanzo Beans

Here is another Meatless Monday Recipe.Even though it is meatless it is protein packed by using quinoa and garbanzo bean (chick peas). This is one of my favorite meatless dishes because it is loaded with color and flavor. Oh yeah, nutritious too. It is a winner.

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  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 zucchini, medium, diced
  • 1 yellow squash, diced
  • All-purpose seasoning (see website)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 oz. baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 c quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 c vegetable broth

In a large dutch oven, over medium heat, add onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Sprinkle All-purpose seasoning over onion mixture and stir. Cook onion mixture until veggies have softened and onions are translucent. Add lemon zest and juice, scraping bits off the bottom of the skillet.

Add zucchini, squash, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and spinach. Sprinkle with more All-purpose seasoning. Stir well. Remove once all veggies have been heated through and set aside.

Add quinoa. Toast quinoa in pan for a couple of minutes. Add broth and cook until quinoa is cooked through. The quinoa will look like it has burst with little rings. Return veggies to quinoa and stir well.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Gluten-Free Veggie & Herb Pasta

This is my first Meatless Monday Recipe, of hopefully many more to come. I enjoy coming up with all kinds of Clean Eating recipes: Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free and Paleo. This recipe I have made for a long time. Depending what I have in my refrigerator it may vary a little bit.

One of my favorite types of meatless dishes is pasta. I can’t help it. It is so good, and a perfect blank canvas. This particular recipe has garbanzo (chick peas) beans. They still have a bite to them and it gives you the chew factor that you are looking for. My favorite dried pasta is Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta. There are two ingredients: white rice flower and quinoa flour. It holds up well. I have found a lot of the gluten-free pastas break apart and the flavor is off-putting. You do not feel like you are eating gluten-free or flavor-free pasta.

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  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • all-purpose seasoning (see website)
  • 2 oz. baby kale, chopped
  • 10 oz. grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 15 oz. garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Alouette Garlic & Herb Spreadable Cheese
  • 1 c pasta water
  • 8 oz. Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta
  • 1/4 c parsley, chopped, garnish
  • parmesan. garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven over medium heat warm avocado oil. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Stirring occasionally, add all-purpose seasoning to your taste. Cook mushroom mixture until there is some color on the onions and mushrooms.

Add kale, tomatoes, garbanzo beans. Stir well. Deglaze pan with lemon juice. Stir well.

Add pasta to boiling water, stir occasionally and cook for 15 minutes.

Add cheese, stir until well combined. Add pasta water and stir occasionally. Reduce heat if necessary.

Drain pasta, do not rinse. Transfer to veggie sauce . Stir until well combined. Plate and garnish with parsley and parmesan. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

This was the first thing I made with my new gluten-free flour blend. The house was filled with delicious aromas. Smells that had been absent from my kitchen for months. It smelled just like a bakery.

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Note: Make sure the gluten-free flour blend is at room temperature before using in recipe.

  • 1 1/3 c warm water, plus 1 tsp
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 15 oz. gluten-free flour blend (3 1/3 c)(see website)
  • 1 1/2 oz. nonfat dry milk powder (1/2 c)
  • 2 tbsp powdered psyllium husk
  • 2 tbsp honey granules
  • 2 1/2 tsp rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea slat
  • 6 tbsp butter, cut into pieces

Grease 8-inch cake pan. Set aside. Whisk water, lemon juice and 1 large egg plus an egg yolk in a bowl. Set aside. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment mix flour blend, dry milk powder, psyllium husk, honey granules, yeast, baking powder and salt. Mix until well combined.

Slowly add water mixture and continue to mix until well combined. Add butter to dough mixture and mix until dough is sticky and uniform.

Using wet hands shape dough into 7 evenly distributed balls. Place in prepared cake pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size. About 1-1 1/2 hours. Lightly beat egg and water. Brush risen dough with egg mixture.

Bake in a 375 degree oven on the middle rack of the oven. Bake until tops are golden brown 30-40 minutes. Make sure to rotate pan half way through the baking time.

Let rolls cool in pan for ten minutes. Turn out rolls onto cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend -Vegan

I have tried many Gluten-Free breads and baked goods with little satisfaction. Most of them were absolutely flavorless, just like the proverbial cardboard. This began my adventure of finding the best gluten-free all-purpose flour blend with superior results. I think I have a winner here.Paleo All-Purpose Flour Blend

  • 24 oz. white rice flour
  • 7 1/2 oz. brown rice flour
  • 7 oz. potato starch
  • 3 oz. tapioca flour
  • 3 tbsp soy milk powder

In a large bowl whisk together all the ingredients. Transfer ingredients into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

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Chicken Chasseur

How can something so comforting and luscious be light and tasty all in one bite? That is what happens with this Chicken Chasseur. You get an earthiness from the mushrooms, and a freshness from the sprinkling of parsley. This dish makes a complete bite.

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  • 1/4 c all-purpose paleo flour ( see website)
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 oz. red wine
  • 1/2 c chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c flat leaf parsley, chopped

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and coat with the flour mixture.

In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat warm the oil until hot, but not smoking. Carefully place chicken into the chicken and brown. You will need to cook the chicken in batches so that the pan is not over crowded. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Turn heat down to medium and add the onion and mushrooms to the pan. Stirring frequently cook onion mixture until onions have softened and are starting to brown, and the mushrooms have released their liquid.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add the broth, tomatoes, and herbs de Provence. Stir to combine, bring to a boil. Add chicken and reduce heat to a simmer stirring occasionally. When the liquid has thickened to a thin sauce turn heat off and stir in butter. Garnish with parsley. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Green Beans

This is such a colorful and delicious plate. Roasting is my favorite way to cook veggies. One reason I like to roast veggies in the oven is because that enables me to multi task in the kitchen. I am able to slice, dice and prepare other foods while my veggies are roasting away. The other reason is that they turn out deliciously. Roasting caramelizes the veggies and enhances their flavors.

Rainbow carrots are my favorite type of carrot because they are so colorful, and each color of carrot has a different flavor. I like to think they have more bang for their buck. I served these with pan seared salmon. Delicious.

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  • 12 oz. rainbow carrots
  • 12 oz. green beans
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Quarter the carrots to about the same thickness as the green beans. This will ensure even cooking.

On a large baking sheet combine all the ingredients, stirring so that the veggies are well coated.

Roast veggies in oven for ten minutes. Stir, and then continue roasting for another ten minutes. Veggies should be tender with a little bite still. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.




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The Three Letter “F” Word

The three letter “F” word? What is that? FAT. Yep, I said it, F. A. T. – Fat. That three letter little word can induce many emotions and responses. It can bring about a sated feeling or even a repulsive response. Depending on the context it can be a defeatist or a wonderful thing. The context here revolves around the culinary arena. Fat in the kitchen is not always good or bad, but it is essential.

Fat comes in many forms. Let us look at in the form of cooking oils. There are so many different types of cooking oils out on the market it can be overwhelming. I try to stay informed on most things related to my culinary pursuits. Many years ago, any type of oil or fat was bad. Everything was fat free. Then it went to the other extreme and all fat was good. It is like watching a good tennis match. Back and forth, back and forth. And now we are in the “right kind” of fats. I believe this is more of where I belong. Some fat is good if you choose wisely.

I use three main kinds of oils in my cooking and baking: Avocado, Olive and Coconut.  All three of these are vegan. I use mostly Avocado oil for anything that requires heat, especially in the oven. Avocado oil has a high smoke point. In another words it does not burn very easily. I find avocado oil work well for roasting vegetables in the oven. It also makes a great homemade mayonnaise. If you have not tried making your own mayonnaise give it a whirl, (sorry for the pun) it tastes so much better than the commercial fare.

The second oil I use is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I also make sure that it is cold pressed. I use this for most of my vinaigrettes. My favorite vinaigrette is so simple and delicious it should be harder to make. All you need is olive oil, a lemon and some sea salt and pepper (or all-purpose seasoning).

The third oil I use most often is coconut oil. I use the extra virgin coconut oil mostly for baking. I really like them for cookies and cakes, oh and my donuts, yum.

These are the three oils I use most often. Each one lends itself to a different purpose, and is essential to healthful tasty cooking.


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Travel and Buffets

My husband and I just returned from a 7 day cruise. We had a very relaxing time. It is one of our favorite ways to vacation. Even during the relaxing we did a lot of observing. Observing people in all sorts of environments is one of my favorite things to do when traveling. Let’s just say, a cruise gives you many opportunities to people watch. It is just like getting a dinner and a show all at one time.

One thing that I noticed over the course of the 7 days is that most people do not have control when it comes to vacation buffets. Really. This is not scientific, however, my guesstimate is about 80% of the people I observed went crazy when they went through the breakfast buffet. I had never seen so much bacon on any given plate. Truly shocking and amazing at the same time. It got me thinking a lot about the food and body connection.

When I thought about food I thought of how blessed our country is with the availability of accessible food. Not only how blessed, but also how overindulgent and wasteful we have become. Does one person really need a half a pound of bacon in one setting? The servers are so accustomed to dishing out large portions I had to tell them I wanted less. No wonder people gain 5-10 pounds when they go on a cruise. I can honestly say we did not gain any weight and we exercised. It was a great week that we got to focus on body,  mind and spirit.

What really bothered me was the wastefulness. We would be leaving the dining area and I would see hundreds of plates half full of uneaten food. Why? If you are not going to eat it, why take it?  One word comes to mind, that has become a buzzword – mindful(ness).

Sometimes I wonder if we even give any thought to what we as a people put in our mouths and bodies. Are we being mindful of our actions and the results of those actions? From the observations I made that week I would say, probably not. Once again, this is just a matter of observation, but my guesstimate is that 75-80% of the people that were cruising were overweight to morbidly obese. This was somewhat shocking to me. It made an impression on me that I probably will never forget. We are only given one body and how we treat that body will respond in like. This trip strengthened my resolve to treat my body as a special gift and treat it with respect. It is the only one I will be given for my entire life and it deserves the best I can give it.


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Confetti Quinoa

Quinoa (Keen-wah) is a gluten-free, whole grain, plant based complete protein. Some people have called it a superfood. It is a versatile grain that can be made for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. Like I said, versatile. If you know how to make rice, then you can make quinoa.

This recipe has been one of my family’s favorite. This is a great recipe for meatless Monday; one full of color and flavor.

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  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 c quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • All-purpose seasoning (see website)
  • 1 c assorted peppers: red, yellow, orange, diced
  • 1 c kale, chopped
  • 1 lemon, tested, juiced
  • 2 c vegetable stock
  • goat cheese (optional), garnish

Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic and peppers. Season with all-purpose seasoning; stirring occasionally until vegetables have softened. Add quinoa to vegetables. Toast in skillet for about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and juice of lemon; stirring and scraping any bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add more all-purpose seasoning and stir.

Add vegetable stock and kale; cover skillet and cook until the quinoa looks like it has burst open. It will triple in size. Garnish with goat cheese. The goat cheese adds a nice tang and creaminess to the quinoa. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Shrimp Spaghetti

This is such an easy dish because you do not have to make a separate sauce. The veggies and shrimp release enough juices to make a delectable sauce.

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  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 yellow squash, medium, diced
  • 1 zucchini, medium, diced
  • 3 c grape tomatoes, quartered
  • All-purpose Seasoning (see website)
  • 12 oz. shrimp, shelled, deveined
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 8 oz. gluten-free pasta,cooked
  • Basil, fresh, garnish

In a large dutch oven, over medium heat warm avocado oil. Combine mushrooms and tapioca flour in a medium size bowl. Stir mushrooms to coat with flour. Add garlic and mushrooms to dutch oven. Cook mixture until mushrooms begins to soften. Add squash, zucchini, tomatoes and seasoning. Stir occasionally and cook until zucchini begins to soften. Add lemon zest and juice to veggie mixture; scraping bits from bottom of the skillet. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp is pink.

Add cooked pasta and basil stirring thoroughly. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.