Monday, June 6, 2016

Scone Me!! Gluten Free Blueberry Scones!!

I have to admit I haven't been blogging a lot lately.  It's been a combination of life business, life changes, abnormally hot weather here in Portland and trying to keep up with life.
This weekend the temperature has been a high of 100 on both days.  Ughhh....this is very much not the norm for this area.  
I am also working on a career change and have been both stressed and preoccupied.
I've always loved scones.  Years ago, I came up with a scone recipe after looking at different cookbooks and it was a winner!  I was fond of using currants back then and had one good friend in particular who was enamored with them.  A few years ago, she asked if I still had the recipe, but I didn't.
When I found this fairly easy recipe online, I decided to try making them without gluten, sugar or dairy.  And they turned out...fantastic!!

Trust me.  If you think you don't like scones, you just haven't had properly made, fresh ones.  They are soft and delicious!  
Those dry, gross ones they sell at that place whose name rhymes with Tar Tucks and sadly, at many local coffeehouses as well, just don't cut it. 
Give these babies a try, you'll thank me!

Lemon Blueberry Scones
Original Author: Budget Bytes 

  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free baking mix or other gluten free flour
  • 2 Tbsp granulated Swerve sweetener
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 5 Tbsp vegan margarine or ghee
  • 3 Tbsp soy or nut milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup powdered Swerve sweetener
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Heat oven to 450.  In a large bowl,  mix the flour, 2 Tbsp sweetener, salt, baking powder and grated zest from the lemon.  Mix well.  In a small bowl, mix the milk and eggs. 
Cut the margarine into chunks, mix into the flour with your hands or a fork.  The flour should look like coarse sand when mixed well. 
Stir the blueberries into the wet mixture, then pour into the dry ingredients.  Stir everything together until well combined. 
Spray oil onto your counter top or a large cutting board.  Place the wet dough on to the counter top and pat the dough into a circle, several inches wide and about one inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into eight even wedges.  
Place the wedges on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. 
While the scones are baking, make the icing.  Place the powdered sweetener in a bowl and juice half of the lemon into it.  Mix well.  It it's still too thick, juice the other half of the lemon into it until  you have a spreadable icing/glaze. 
When the scones are golden brown, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes.  Frost with the icing and serve.  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Asian Dinner: Pork Hoisin Bowls with Cucumber Salad! Gluten and Dairy Free!

So what's my problem?  I start a new food blog and then I abandon it for a month.  The short answer is that life really started getting to me. It's busy season at my job, which has been incredibly stressful.  Add to that the daily demands of being in a relationship, taking care of pets, trying to keep up with friends, etc, and I just hit the wall.   I was exhausted, burned out and a week ago, I ended up in urgent care with severe, burning stomach pain.  The doctor couldn't really find anything wrong, except that it could have come from stress, eating poorly and a different doctor had put me on a new medication that might have given me a bad reaction.  
So, I've re-adjusted.  I took the stomach meds and am feeling better.  I'm working on adjusting my diet, cutting back on caffeine and trying various ways of relaxing.  I'm also a person who puts too much pressure on myself and turns too perfectionistic.  I want to have the best food blog in one week or less.  Well, that just turned it into a stressful grind and no longer fun.  
So I'm back to blogging, but my posts will be once per week, on occasion, twice per week if I feel like it and I am having fun with it.  End of story, life is too short. 

I love, love, love Asian food!  My favorite is American-ized Chinese food.  I say American-ized because most of the Chinese food we eat here isn't what people eat in China.  I found this great recipe for Hoisin Pork Bowls and just had to try them.  To me, they are a combination of Chinese and Thai ingredients, and flavors.  They are spicy, sweet, filling and delicious.  They were also fun to make.  The cucumber salad is refreshing, slightly sweet and slighty spicy. It's definitely going into my summer repertoire.   Hope your weekend is refreshing and relaxing for you!

                                                  Asian Cucumber Salad
                                             Original Author: Budget Bytes

For the dressing: 

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Swerve sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the salad: 

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped


Combine the rice vinegar, sweetener, sesame oil, red pepper and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. 

Slice the cucumbers into rounds or half rounds and place in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers, add the green onions and peanuts, and stir.  You can serve right away, but I recommend refrigerating for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. 

                                                      Hoisin Pork Bowls
                                              Original Author: Budget Bytes


For the peanut sauce: 

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp Swerve sweetener
  • 3 Tbsp hot water

For the pork and vegetables:

  • 1/2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 pound ground pork or other meat
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the bowls:

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 3 green onions, sliced


Make the sauce first so the flavors can blend.  Mix the peanut butter, sriracha, soy sauce, ginger, sweetener and hot water in a small bowl. The sauce should be a consistency that will drizzle.  Set aside.

Mince the garlic and grate the remaining tsp of ginger. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium.  Saute the ginger and garlic for about one minute, then add the pork.  Saute until the pork is thoroughly cooked.  Add the mushrooms and cook for about five minutes.  Then add the carrot, bell pepper, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Cook until everything is heated and covered in sauce  

To make the bowls:

To each bowl, add one cup of cooked rice, then top with 3/4 to 1 cup of the meat and veggie mixture.  Sprinkle a few green onions on top, then drizzle  with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the peanut sauce. Finish with one tablespoon of chopped peanuts and serve. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ciao Bella! Spumoni Cheesecake: Dairy, Egg and Gluten Free!

Another busy week!  It's been raining and chilly every day and I ended the week by being a little sick, though I'm feeling a bit better now.  Work has been crazy busy and it seems like the news is full of all kinds of wild happenings.  Poor Beau keeps having issues.  This week, we discovered he has a bunch of fleas!  So we had to treat both him and Gus, even though we couldn't find any on Gus(It's challenging though, he's mostly black.)

We were looking forward to a family birthday celebration this weekend since Dan's birthday is in February, his sister's birthday is in March and mine is in April.  But his sister got really sick so we're going to postpone.
On the plus side, some new Steve Madden tennis shoes I ordered came in, they're not only sharp looking but are super comfortable. They also have leather uppers, which are almost a necessity in this rainy Portland weather.  They're preppier than my usual taste, but I decided I can live with that since they're so incredibly comfortable.

I've loved spumoni since we first met.  When I was a child, our family went out a few times to Italian restaurants that served it and I thought it was completely delicious!  What's not to like about ice cream that's made up of layers of cherry, pistachio and chocolate flavors?
Then, when I was in my early twenties, I worked for a short time as a server at an Italian restaurant in Memphis.  When business was slow, and we were bored and hungry, we'd often grab a little dish of spumoni.
More recently, a handful of years ago, my local Safeway was carrying spumoni and we got reacquainted.  For some reason, I was thinking about it recently and since I've been into making cheesecakes these days, I wanted to see if I could make a spumoni cheesecake.
The history of spumoni is shrouded in a bit of mystery.  It's believed to have originated in Naples, Italy, as a layered ice cream that included fruit and nuts.  It sometimes surrounded a sponge cake, but evolved into an ice cream dessert and was a predecessor of Neapolitan ice cream.  Not much else is known about it.  Spumoni is no longer popular in Italy, but remains popular in the U.S in areas with large Italian immigrant populations.
When I was toying with the idea of a spumoni cheesecake, Dan was less than thrilled.  He remember having it as a kid and hating the cherry layer that always had maraschino cherries.  But I was determined to make a more natural version using real cherries and no food coloring.  The first night we ate it, Dan insisted that we have seconds.  He doesn't have a big sweet tooth, so I took this as a huge compliment.  He later said it was the best cheesecake I've ever made.  Need I say more?
For the crust, this was my first time using Bob's Red Mill's newer 1 to 1 gluten free baking flour.  I have to say it's incredible.  The crust was like a soft, tasty cookie.
I also should let you know that this recipe is very complicated and time consuming.  It's worth it, but I'd definitely call this one a special occasion dessert.  I used a spring form pan, which makes pretty thin layers of cheesecake.  If you want thicker slices of cheesecake, you could use a pie plate, but I felt this was risky and might be too much cheesecake for the pan, but feel free to experiment.  You could also use a smaller spring form pan, I think mine is 9 to 10 inches.
Hope your weekend is layers of fun!

                                                   Spumoni Cheesecake
                                     Adapted from a recipe by Beer Girl Cooks

For the crust:

  • 2/3 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp Swerve sweetener
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 Tbsp water

Lightly spray a spring form pan with oil, set aside.  Combine the dry ingredients, then combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  Mix the dry and wet ingredients, if the crust mixture seems too dry, add almond milk, one Tbsp at a time, until the mixture is moist and holds together.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan.  Set aside.

For the filling:

  • 3 containers Tofutti cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Swerve sweetener
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries, thawed

For the pistachio paste:

  • Scant 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 1/4 cup Swerve sweetener
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract


Place the Tofutti cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer for about two minutes.  Mix the flour and sweetener in a small bowl, then gradually add it to the cream cheese until thoroughly mixed.  Add the vanilla until blended.
Divide the cheesecake batter evenly between three bowls.
Place the thawed cherries, including any juice, in a food processor and blend into a puree.  Mix the cherry puree into one of the bowls of cheesecake batter.  Pour the cherry batter over the crust and spread out evenly. Place this into the freezer for 20 minutes.
While the cherry layer is freezing, make the pistachio paste by putting the pistachios and the 1/4 cup sweetener in a food processor and grinding into crumbs. Then add the 2 Tbsp water and process until you have a chunky paste.  Add the pistachio paste to one of the bowls of cheesecake batter, add the almond extract, and mix well.  Once the 20 minutes have passed, pour the pistachio batter over the cherry layer, spread evenly and gently, being careful to not mix the layers.  Put this back in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350.  Now, make the chocolate layer by melting the chocolate chips and the 1/4 cup almond milk over low heat in a saucepan, stirring until it becomes a smooth chocolate sauce.  Add the chocolate sauce to the remaining bowl of cheesecake batter and mix well.  After the 20 minutes, remove the cheesecake from the freezer and pour the chocolate batter over the pistachio batter, spreading it out evenly and carefully.
Put the cheesecake in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool at room temperature for two to three hours, then refrigerate for at least several hours, preferably overnight.  Serve.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

French Herbed Mustard Chicken! Gluten and Dairy Free!

Dan's off work this week so he's been cooking and while I enjoy making food, it's also nice to get a break sometimes.   I haven't been feeling great the last couple of days, so I've been having brain drain and forgetting to photograph food for the blog.  Dan made an amazing honey chicken that I didn't get photos of and I made some terrific cookies this past weekend and also forgot to take pics.  Sooo...guess we'll have to make them again soon....darn!  (Haha, I can't wait!)
These were pretty simple recipes and sometimes simple pleasures ARE the best.  Often, after I've been making a lot of more complex, gourmet recipes, I just want something more basic, like a simple burger or a roasted chicken breast.  That's how I think of this herbed mustard chicken, it's delicious but easy.  And it's gluten free!  We've been using Glutino bread crumbs and they're great!  Dan has used them in a few different recipes and they always work well and provide a nice, little crunch.  The topping is hard to keep on the chicken breasts, so he added a little extra before putting them in the oven.  For a side, we bought one of those prepackaged, chopped salads from the grocery.  I find they're super convenient for busy days and they're full of cabbage, so they're very healthy. 
Hope your day is full of simple pleasures and not too much crunch!

                                                              Herbed Mustard Chicken
                                                           Original Author: Skinnytaste


  • 16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp chopped, fresh herbs(basil and oregano are good, but use what you like)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup soy parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • chopped parsley for serving

Preheat oven to 400.  Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise, place between plastic wrap and lightly pound it to thin it out.  Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, mix the herbs, garlic and mustard.
On a plate, mix the bread crumbs and parmesan.
Brush each piece of chicken with the mustard-herb mixture, then dip each breast in the bread crumb mixture.
Heat a skillet over medium high and add 1/2 Tbsp of the olive oil.  Place chicken in the pan and brown each side, about 2 to 3 minutes each side.
Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until done.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Easy Nachos! Dairy Free!

Another busy week has flown by, I'm so glad it's Saturday!  Our basset hound, Beau, has a tendency to get cysts.  They're generally harmless, but he suddenly had one come up on his back that was huge.  A few nights ago, it started bleeding, so Dan took him to the vet.  They were able to drain it as much as possible and now it's on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory medication. It's already much better but the first day or so, it was still draining, so we had to put him in a t-shirt.

We thought he looked both hilarious and adorable in his white T.
We've had tons of rain this winter, but the last few days have actually been sunny.  Yesterday morning, as I was walking to the train to go to work, this was my view.

Gorgeous, huh?  I do enjoy the rain.  You have to if you want to live in the Northwest.  But after having so much of it, it has been nice to have a bit of warmth and sunshine.
My job was crazy busy and stressful this week. Sometimes, when you're tired and busy, you just don't feel like cooking a meal from scratch.  So I love this easy nachos meal, it's really more of a preparation than an actual recipe.
I like to make a dairy free queso sauce to pour over the nachos.  It's creamy, melt-y and tasty.  But if you're too worn out to even attempt queso, you could always just put some shredded Daiya on top of the nachos.  It won't look very melted but it will still taste great.  I like to use canned turkey chili, but you can use any type of chili you want, even homemade if you're feeling up for it.

Here's to lazier days and to easy meals!

                                                      Easy Nachos


  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • 1 can turkey chili
  • 1 recipe dairy free queso
  • 1 container Tofutti sour cream

Any optional toppings you like such as salsa, black olives, guacamole, etc.

                                                           Dairy Free Queso
                                            Adapted From a Recipe by Skinnytaste


  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes with chiles
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 3/4 cup shredded Daiya cheese

Put oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, cook until soft, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Season with salt, then add the chicken broth and the almond milk. Bring to a boil and cook for about three minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low, add the tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Stir in the shredded Daiya. Cook until it's smooth.  

To make the nachos:

Preheat oven to 400.  Put as many tortilla chips as you want per person on a baking sheet and top with the chili.  Put in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until chips are slightly browned on the edges and the chili is hot.  Remove from the oven.  Using a spatula, put the chili covered chips on plates.  Top the nachos with the hot queso and a few spoonfuls of the Tofutti sour cream per serving.  Add any other toppings you want and serve.  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies! Sugar Free! Dairy Free!

We're having a few days of beautiful, sunny weather here in Oregon.  It' s a nice break from the rain, which is supposed to start up again on Sunday and last for at least a week.  And the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, which is great.  I'd love to say it makes me feel like a kid, but it's busy season at my job, so I'm tired, but enjoying the warmth.

As a child, I always loved sweets and still do.   Fudge was frequently a holiday treat, but that doesn't mean you can't have it any time of the year.  My grandmother sometimes made it, but I most remember a family friend who always brought some over at Christmas.  She would make chocolate, peanut butter and maple varieties of fudge.  It was rich and tooth achingly sweet.
The great thing about these fudge brownies is that they're sugar and dairy free.  They are called brownies, but reminded me more of fudge.  And they're very rich, but very satisfying.

When I looked at the portion size, I initially laughed, but no, it's correct, it's plenty of fudge.   This would be a great treat for a party, a dinner or any special occasion.

Happy Thursday, we've almost made it to Friday!

                                                   Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies
                                                Original Author: All Day I Dream About Food


For the brownie layer:

12 Tbsp Smart Balance or Earth Balance
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup Swerve sweetener
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 eggs

For the peanut fudge layer:

3/4 cup peanut butter
6 Tbsp Smart Balance or Earth Balance
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup powdered Swerve sweetener


For the brownies:

Preheat oven to 325.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, chocolate and cocoa powder together.  Stir until smooth.  Add the sweetener and vanilla, then cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.  Pour into a lightly oiled, 8x8 pan.  Bake 15 minutes until slightly set, the middle will not quite be done.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

For the peanut fudge:

Melt the peanut butter and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the vanilla and salt.  Add the sweetener, a little at a time, until it's mixed in and you have a spreadable consistency.  Spread over the brownie layer and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Cut into 18 pieces and serve.  Store leftovers in the fridge.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Romantic Dinner: Steak Diane and Garlic Green Beans! Gluten Free! Dairy Free!

It's the beginning of another rainy week here in PDX, though we're supposed to have some sun by midweek and it's going to last for at least a few days.  I enjoy the rain, but after so much of it, it's nice to have a little fair weather.
The past weekend was terrific!  I felt like it was the first truly relaxing one since I moved a couple of weeks ago.  It was the perfect blend of a few social events with friends and a lot of down time yesterday.  There's nothing I love more than spending some free time hanging out with my guy.
And's Monday....I don't think anyone's really thrilled about Monday.  But if you  are feeling excited, or even like you have a little energy to spare, you should try this dinner for your loved one.  It's pretty spectacular, yet simple to make.

For the two birthdays that I've known him, I've made Steak Diane for Dan's birthday.  It's a somewhat retro dish and one of his favorites.  I have seen it recently on one restaurant's menu in Portland, however.
Steak Diane is an American dish of pan fried beefsteak with a sauce made with the pan juices.  It was popular on restaurant menus in the 1940s and is believed to have been created by Chef Beniamino Schiavon of the iconic Drake hotel in Chicago.
The sauce is mustard-y and booze-y, with great flavor.  This version is lightened up a bit, but always tastes terrific!  I love to accompany it with garlic green beans, which are simply steamed green beans tossed in some salt, pepper, minced garlic and a little olive oil.  

                                                                   Steak Diane
                                                     Original Author: Eating Well


  • Two servings of filet mignon or other steak(I used a sirloin I found a good price on.)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup brandy or sherry( I used red wine, which also works well.)
  • 1 15 oz can, reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 tsp Smart Balance or Earth Balance
  • 1 tsp gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp chopped green onions

Season steaks on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil over medium high in a large skillet.  Place steaks in pan, reduce heat to medium, cook 3 to 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add mushrooms to the pan and saute for a few minutes, until they are turning golden brown.  Add the brandy and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add the beef broth, bring to a boil, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the sauce is reduced by about half.
While the broth is cooking, combine the butter and flour to form a paste.  Break this into bits, gradually add them to the reduced sauce and cook for about one minute.  Reduce heat to medium low, return the steaks to the pan, cook for about one minute on each side to heat the steaks.  Serve the steaks topped with the sauce and the chopped green onions.

                                                                   Garlic Green Beans
                                                           Original Author: Skinny Taste 


  • 1 lb fresh green beans, cleaned
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


Fill a large saucepan with about one inch of water.  Bring to a boil, add the green beans, cover and let steam for about 5 minutes.  Drain the beans.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and cook for one to two minutes, be careful not to burn it or it will be bitter.  Add the beans, salt and pepper, and toss well.  Serve.