Saturday, April 27, 2013


My life can get hectic between working different jobs, trying to run this blog, and having a social life. Having a busy day or lifestyle doesn't mean that we should make bad choices on what we are putting into our bodies. I am always looking for easy and healthy choices that can fuel my body with simple and pure ingredients. The nice folks at Rise Bar sent me some of their bars to try out and I am hooked! They come in three different types of bars, protein bars, breakfast bars and energy bars for whatever your needs may be. Not to mention the tons of delicious flavors! 

There are so many reasons to choose Rise Bar. They are all gluten free, all natural, non-gmo, free of preservatives, 0g transfat, and some of their bars are even vegan! 
100% Annie's Gluten Free Grub approved.
Check out their website and take a look around

Thanks again RiseBar!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Almond Joy Cookies

I love candy! I mean, who doesn't? Sweet, sour, salty, all of it! I am just not a fan of most of the ingredients used. Sugars, processed ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, no thank you. I got hooked on Almond Joys and Mounds recently but I feel guilty every time I scarf down one... or two...or six...I wanted to try and recreate those flavors using healthier ingredients and voila! Almond Joy Cookies! 

1 Cup Almond Meal
1/2 Cup GF All Purpose Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
1 TBSP Ground Flax Seed
1/4 TSP Xantham Gum (Unless your All Purpose Flour mix has xantham gum in it)
1/4 TSP Baking Soda
1/4 TSP Sea Salt
2 TBSP Coconut Oil, Melted
4 TBSP Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (For Cookie)
1/4 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (For Melting)
1/4-1/2 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
Almond Meal, GF All Purpose Flour, Coconut Palm Sugar, Flax Seed, Xantham Gum, Baking Soda, and Sea Salt. 

Melt your coconut oil. Add almond milk and coconut oil to dry ingredients and mix until it turns to dough. Add 1/4 Cup Chocolate chips. 

**This is a pretty sticky dough, I like to think it's what keeps the cookies moist after baking. 

Take 1 TBSP Cookie dough and roll into a ball and slightly flatten. I flattened mine a bit more during the baking process too. 

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. They will be soft out of the oven but will harden a bit more after cooling. Let cookies cool slightly and then rub a tiny bit of almond milk over one cookie at a time and add the shredded coconut. The almond milk helps the coconut stick a bit. 

Melt the 1/4 cup chocolate chips slowly in a small saucepan making sure it doesn't burn. Add the chocolate to a piping bag or a plastic bag and cut off the corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

Store in a tupperware on the counter and not in the fridge.
Enjoy! XO

Monday, April 22, 2013

Barons Market

One of the challenges of living a Gluten Free life can be finding healthy, affordable, gluten free groceries. I am always looking for grocery stores that have tons of gluten free options and that don't break my budget. The nice folks at Baron's Market showed me around their beautiful location in Point Loma. Baron's Market is a family owned store which allows them to have the customers best interest in mind. As most of you know, GF can be expensive and sometimes the product isn't even worth it! What I love about Barons is that they do not hike up the price of groceries for their benefit which makes it more affordable for us gluten free folks.

Now that we have found a grocery store that carries all of our gluten free needs, they make it easy to find what we are looking for. Most of the gluten free items are put into this little section. To make things even easier, they have put together a guide for customers. 

Not only that but everything at Barons is labeled. Yep! You heard me, they have stickers to point you in the right direction. Most of the gluten free items are in this neat little section but while you are exploring the rest of the store they have labels that catch your eye. I found tons of gluten free items that I have never even heard of!

The selection of Gluten Free products is insane! I was in heaven! 
Udis! Glutino! Enjoy Life! Bobs Red Mill! 

Barons Market has 4 locations serving San Diego. 
Point Loma, Rancho Bernardo, Temecula, and Murrieta/Wildomar
Check out their website and head over to their stores to find a huge selection of GF products at great prices. 

Thanks again to Barons Market for taking the time to talk to me about all things Gluten Free and showing me around! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Super Green Veggie Quinoa with Spinach Cashew Cream Sauce

Protein packed quinoa mixed with every green veggie I had in my fridge...perfection! This is an easy vegan dish for any meal. In my previous post, I showed you all how to make my spinach cashew cream sauce. This is one of the many ways to use it. I always have some leftover quinoa in my fridge for reasons like this. It is versatile and packed with nutrients. My favorite, of course is Ancient Harvest Quinoa company so head over to their website and check them out Ancient Harvest This dish can be served cold or warm and tastes amazing both ways! Enjoy XO

1 Cup Broccoli, Small Pieces
1 Zuchinni, Cut in Chunks
5 Asparagus, Cut in Chunks
1 Cup Kale, Small Pieces, Loosely Packed 
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
1 TBSP Olive Oil

Use leftover quinoa or cook some quinoa. 1 Cup dry quinoa turns into about 3 cups cooked.
Cut and prepare your veggies.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Quickly sauté the veggies and garlic for about 2 minutes. I personally don't like my veggies super cooked so it's all about preference on this step.

When the veggies are cooked, add in 1 cup quinoa and mix.
Add the spinach cashew cream and mix!
Easy! Vegan! Gluten Free! Enjoy XO

Spinach Cashew Cream

Holy moly! Who knew that cashews could turn into an amazing sauce! I have seen so many recipes for cashew cream all over the internet so I had to try this out. It is an easy creamy vegan substitute for a dairy like sauce. It can be turned into a sweet sauce but I took it in a savory direction. This sauce is super easy but takes planning ahead because you have to soak the cashews overnight. It is well worth the planning. You can use this sauce on so many things! Pasta, quinoa, chicken, or just use a spoon and eat it because that's what I did. 

3/4 Cup Raw Cashews, Soaked overnight
1-2 Cloves Garlic (I used 2, it was pretty garlicky but I love garlic)
1/2 Cup Spinach
1/2 TSP Sea Salt
1.5 TSP Nutritional Yeast
1/4 Cup Vegetable Broth (Make sure it's GF!)

Soak cashews overnight in a small tupperware. Make sure they are all covered with filtered water. The cashews will puff up a bit and it makes them easier to blend.

Drain the water from the cashews.
In a food processor add all the ingredients and blend! Add more vegetable broth for a thinner consistency. It's that easy!

*If you like the taste of raw garlic, just throw the cloves in the food processor.
If raw garlic is just too much, cut the ends of the garlic and add to 1 inch of boiling water for about 1 minute. This will mellow out the flavor a bit.

Enjoy XO

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wang's North Park

When I ate at Wang's North Park for my birthday in February,  I had such a great experience that I had to know more! Everything from the service to the atmosphere, and of course the Gluten Free Chinese food menu was top notch. The amazingly kind folks at Wang's let me come visit them to pick their brains on everything Gluten Free. In general, most places are jumping on the Gluten Free wagon, but that doesn't always mean it's a safe choice for people with celiac or other related gluten intolerances. I still find myself being "glutened" at restaurants from time to time, but it's a risk we take to enjoy the chance to be social and eat out. When I ate at Wang's for the first time, I was a little hesitant because most Chinese food places are pretty risky for us. I can usually tell pretty quickly when I eat gluten by accident so making it through the dinner feeling great was a good sign. I enjoyed every last bite of my food but it left me with so many questions! How are they able to make such tasty Gluten Free Chinese food safely? Why did they decide on a gluten free menu at all? Can I have a lifetime supply of it? Thankfully, the owner Tom and chef Richard Torres were there to answer all my questions.

I headed back to the kitchen to speak with Chef Richard Torres. One of the first things I noticed about him is how knowledgable he is about the Gluten Free community and all things involving Gluten Free cooking. A gluten free lifestyle hits a bit closer for him as his wife and mother in law both have to eat Gluten Free. I believe this is one of the reasons he is so successful with creating GF dishes and being an outstanding chef.  

 Chef Richard prepping some ingredients for the dinner crowd

Both Tom the owner and chef Richard came from a background at P.F. Changs which is one of the first asian food restaurants to come out with a GF menu. Using their knowledge from that, they came up with some new tasty recipes and menu options. While I haven't eaten at PF Changs recently, I do know they take precautions to ensure a safe meal. Wang's North Park takes a similar approach when cooking a GF dish. They have a dedicated area for all GF ingredients, including a dedicated fryer. They also separate the ingredients including the variety of sauces. I know this helps ease my mind and belly. 

Edamame in action 


Owner and one of the nicest people ever Tom

A huge thank you to Tom and Chef Richard Torres for taking the time to hang out and answer my questions. I am a so grateful for this opportunity to visit and learn so much from you both! Wang's is officially on the Annie's Gluten Free Grub approved list so go check it out and let me know what you order! 

Here is the Gluten Free Menu at Wang's North Park

Wang's North Park
3029 University Ave
San Diego, Ca 92104
(619) 291-7500

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Off to Coachella Land...

Heading out to the desert for Coachella 2013. I have my backpack packed full of my favorite gluten free snacks! Stocked up on Lara Bars, Kind Bars, Kale Krunch, Glutino Pretzels and Bakery on Main Granola! Hopefully the festival has a few more options for me this year. The gluten free demand is growing everyday! Have a beautiful weekend everyone. XO
If you are looking for easy GF snacks check out these awesome products.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Annie's Ginger Snap Bunny Cookies

I love when you take a bite of something and it flashes you back to your favorite childhood flavors. I miss the days of teddy grahams and all those little sugar packed cookies. Annie's homegrown GF Ginger Snap cookies remind me of the days of packed lunches, jelly sandals, and recess.  They are sweet with that slightly spicy bite of ginger. A lot of time I feel like packaged gluten free products can leave a weird taste in your mouth but these don't at all. They don't crumble apart either! Overall I would recommend trying these, plus they are cute and kid friendly. 

Another plus side of these delicious bunny cookies is they use quality ingredients over at Annie's Homegrown. They only work with suppliers that have non-GMO ingredients which is awesome! Check out Annie's Homegrown Website (Great name by the way) and see what they are up to! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chickpea Blondies

Chickpeas? What?
Yes, you read that right. Chickpea Blondies. I kept seeing recipes that used chickpeas for a sweet dessert and I just couldn't believe it could work. This is the craziest thing ever because these taste exactly like cookie dough. It's impossible really but it totally worked. Most of the recipes I saw used refined white sugar or powder sugar so I tried switching things up to make this healthy recipe a little healthier. Go ahead, eat the whole tray. If you are feeling nice maybe share one or two but I won't tell if you don't.

1 Can Chickpeas, Skins removed
1/2 TSP Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Baking Soda
1/4 TSP Sea Salt
1.5 TSP Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
1/8 Cup Ground Flax Seed
1 TSP Coconut Oil, Melted
1/3 Cup, Cup4Cup All Purpose Flour
1/3 Chocolate Chips or Vegan Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

First, rinse and remove the skins from the chickpeas. It takes awhile to do but is worth it in the end. Roll the chickpeas between your fingers and the skin should start to come off. Discard the skins.

In a food processor, blend the chickpeas until smooth. 
In a large bowl, add the blended chickpeas and combine with baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, vanilla extract, coconut palm sugar, flax seed, melted coconut oil, cup4cup all purpose flour. Mix all the ingredients until everything is combined. Add the chocolate chips.

In a glass baking dish, spray with olive oil spray or wipe lightly with olive oil.
Spread the chickpea "dough" mixture evenly into the dish.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
Let stand and cool.
Then cut.

They are fairly squishy but harden up while they are cooling. They are even better the second day if you let them last that long. 
Enjoy! xo

**This recipe can be made vegan by using vegan chocolate chips. Cup4Cup All purpose flour contains milk powder so you would have to use a different all purpose flour as well. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jalapeno Kale Almond Dip

I really can't stop combining jalapeño and kale. This dip is so flavorful, slightly spicy and packed with vitamins and nutrients. Serve it cold with rice crackers or cucumbers.

1 Cup Raw Almonds
1/2 Cup Grapeseed Oil
1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Chopped
1/8 Cup Lemon Juice 
5 TBSP Nutritional Yeast
1/2 Cup Kale, Stems Removed
3 Cloves Garlic
1 TBSP Braggs Liquid Aminos
1/2 TSP Salt
3/4 Water

Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender until smooth. 
Enjoy! Xo

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sriracha Salt

Yes, you read that right...Sriracha salt. 
I think I might put sriracha on just about everything. For all the sriracha fans out there, you know what I mean.. It really does go well with everything. I came across a picture of sriracha salt on instagram and immediately knew that I had to get my hands on some. After doing some googling, I found some online. I added it to my cart and hit check out. As I am pulling out my wallet I realize wait a second, I am about to pay $17.00 for salt. The frugal girl living inside me was smacking her head. I am so happy I didn't spend all that money because this super easy recipe costs about $1.00 to make. You can't really even compare that! Now go spend the $16.00 you saved on something special, like more sriracha. 

1/2 Cup Salt 
5 TBSP Sriracha

*I used coarse sea salt and it ended up being a little too coarse. Had to grind this down a bit more. I will be messing around more with different flavored salts so I will let you all know which kind works best! 

Option 1
Heat your oven to 200 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix the sriracha and salt until the salt is coated.
Spread out the salt on the baking sheet into a thin layer. It's okay if some overlaps but try and spread the  salt the best you can. 
Put the salt into the oven.
Turn off the oven. NOW! GO!
The salt can burn really easily.
Let the salt dry slowly in the oven but every few min take out and shake around so it doesn't stick or burn.
Store in an airtight container once dry.

Option 2
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix the sriracha and salt until the salt is coated.
Spread out the salt on the baking sheet into a thin layer.
Let the salt dry uncovered for 1-2 days.
*We have cats, so this wasn't really an option for us!

Ain't she a beauty? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Goji Almond Pretzel Bites

We all need a little chocolate from time to time, add those powerful Goji berries and you have the perfect combo. Goji berries have a ton of nutritional benefits and have been used as a super berry for thousands of years. They have tons of powerful antioxidants which can boost the immune system and lower cholesterol. Not only that but they are packed with Vitamin A. What a delicious way to get so many benefits!

1 Cup Chocolate Chips (You choose your favorite! Dark chocolate has the most antioxidants) 
1/2 Cup Dried Goji Berries
1/2 Cup Almonds, Chopped
1/2 Cup Glutino GF Pretzels, Broken into Pieces
1 TBSP Agave Nectar
Mini muffin tins/candy tins

In a small saucepan (over low to medium heat) melt the chocolate chips. It's better to do this slowly so the chocolate doesn't burn. When the chocolate is almost melted, add the agave nectar. *You can always skip the agave nectar but I used bittersweet chocolate originally so I wanted to add a little sweetness. 

In the mini muffin tins, pour 1/2 inch melted chocolate into tins.
Add the goji berries, broken pretzels, and almonds on top.
Let the candies set in the fridge until the chocolate is hardened. 
(They taste a little better at room temperature but store them in the fridge)
That's it! Too easy for so much flavor!
Enjoy! Xo