gluten free


I have discovered something wonderful!


The past 3 weeks I have fallen in love with a simple dish that is really a canvas for a variety of flavors.  Congee is popular in Asian cooking and is often feed to people who are ill because it is easy to digest.  So, what is congee?  In short, rice porridge.  Traditionally congee is rice that is slowly cooked in a LOT of water.  But, you don’t have to limit this technique to rice alone…you can do this with a variety of whole grains.


  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Rice (all varieties)
  • Quinoa
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • OR a combination of any of these!

You simply put 1 part grain with 5-7 parts water and cook on low heat in a crock pot for ~8 hours….so simple, so delicious!

My first go at congee was beautiful, delicious, and strangly addicting. 

Purple Rice Congee


  • 1 cup Purple Rice
  • .5 cup Barley
  • 7 cup Water


  • Place all ingedients in a crockpot
  • Cook on low for 8 hours
  • Enjoy!

Couldn’t be simpler…and the combination of grains is endless.  For this batch, I chose to top my congee with pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, blackberries, and a drizzle of agave syrup.  The purple rice is a little sweeter then some of the other grains so it lent itself well to a sweeter breakfast. 

When making congee, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be only a breakfast dish…you can make this a savory dish as well!  Some suggestions for toppings:

  • Nuts or seeds
  • Eggs
  • Fresh, roasted, or sauteed veggies
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Berries
  • Stewed Fruits
  • Dried Fruits
  • Coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Curry
  • Agave Nectar
  • Honey
  • Coconut Oil
  • Nut Butters
  • Chicken/Beef/Tofu

Soooo good!  I hope that if you try this recipe you find it as delicious and versitile as I have. 




Please forgive me for my LACK of blogging this past month.  Life has been busy, and my NOOK has taken the majority of my free time.  I am guilty, and I promise to be better at creating in the kitchen and posting about my food adventures.

With that said…

Socca Inspired Raisin Crackers

These crackers are inspired by Edible Perspective’s Cinnamon Coconut Raisin Bake and they came about by accident.  I really wanted to try her socca bakes for about a month and finally went into the kitchen and mixed up a batch.  After mixing the ingredients, I realized I didn’t have a 9×9 pan so I threw the batter on a parchment lined bar pan, threw it in the oven, and discovered a great new cracker! 


  • 3/4 c. Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 1/2 c. fresh ground Oat Flour
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1T sucanat
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1c water
  • 2T unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3c currants or raisins
  • 1/4c unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions –

Preheat your oven to 375* and line a bar pan (I think they are 9×12) with parchment.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients listed above.  Stir until all flour is incorporated.  Just a note, the batter is a little runny.  It’s okay.  Go with it! 

Bake for ~20-25 minutes.  These are crisp on the outside…a little soft.  Perfect spread with almond butter!  Mmmmm…great flavor and texture.

*After I baked these crackers, I went back to Ashley’s blog to find the link and discovered this.  She was smart and flipped her crackers mid bake.  This will make them crisper then the ones I cooked.  I will be doing this next time!



It’s been a while since I actually baked something…the weeks since Christmas have been busy and in turn have kept me out of the kitchen.  Bummer, I know.

So, when my brother called and said we would be meeting tonight for his birthday, I decided this was the little kick I needed to get back in the kitchen and prepare him a special treat.  However, I haven’t been shopping in a while and am out of LOTS of things.  What to make with a limited pantry and NO time to run to the store…For my answer I head to the food blogs.  

Type, type, type…OH, this will do!

 a cookie recipe on Angela’s blog that included ingredients I had on hand (well…with a few substitutions).

Crunchy Cashew and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

(see here for Oh She Glows’ Salt-Kissed Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies)

  • 1 1/4 c. Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/4 c. Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Cacao Nibs
  • 1 tbs. Mini Vegan Chocolate Chips
  • 1 tbs. Cashew Butter
  • 1/2 tbs. Chopped Cashews
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla or Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 1/4 c. Agave Nectar
  • 4 tbs. Safflower Oil

Mix in a small bowl (with fork) the following:  sugar, agave, oil, vanilla, cashews, and softened cashew butter.  In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Combine wet ingredients with dry and mix with hands.  This dough is crumbly but should hold together when you roll it in a ball.  Add your chocolate chips and cacao nibs.  Roll into 12-14 balls.  Place on cookie sheet sprayed with oil. Press cookie dough with a spoon.  Sprinkle with salt and/or turbinado sugar.

Bake on preheated oven, 350* for ~16 minutes (my oven is a little off, so check your cookies after 12).  Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Super easy, super fast….REALLY tasty!

Thanks for reading…I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your weekend.


Foodbuzz 24×24 – Tamales Together

(A non-Traditional Thanksgiving)

On Thursday, November 25th, 2010, my family gathered together in my home to celebrate all the blessings we’ve been given this year.  In the spirit of thanks, I thought it would be fun to have a non-traditional Thanksgiving and share the gift of tamales (specifically, tamale making) with those I love.  Together we mixed, spread, and steamed DOZENS of tamales and shared in a feast of tamales, enchiladas, rice and beans…a feast for both vegans and carnivores alike!

Many thanks to Foodbuzz for the opportunity to host this dinner with my family!  They also provided a $250 stipend to help pull the dinner off!  THANKS, THANKS, THANKS!!!!

Prep Work

 In order to have a successful make-and-take AND still be able to have a sit-down meal there needed to be a decent amount of prep work completed before hand.  Thank the good Lord I have an amazing mother who was willing to prep all the meat tamales and enchiladas on Wednesday while I was having Turkey Day dinner at my in-laws (sis-in-law is a police officer and she couldn’t join us on Thursday so we had pre-Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday afternoon).  So early Wednesday morning I headed over to my mom’s and prepped the vegan enchiladas, cooked up some sweet potatoes for the in-laws, and helped mom get a few things ready for her prep work. 


When it came down to making vegan enchiladas I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do…enchiladas are typically LOADED with cheese…vegans don’t eat cheese…hmmm, a problem (my brother and sister-in-law are vegans, and I do TRY to stay away from lots of dairy products).  What do I do about the cheese?  I remembered seeing a cheese sauce recipe on Oh She Glows and thought I’d give it a try.  The results were decent but NOT at all like cheese.  

Roasted Veggie Layered Enchiladas


  • 2 large Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 medium Rutabega
  • 1 medium Parsnip
  • 1 medium Acorn Squash
  • 1 bunch Kale
  • 1 large Onion
  • 2 cups Brown Rice
  • 1 bag Frozen Corn
  • 1 15oz can White Beans
  • 24 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups Veggie Broth
  • ~2 Tbs. Arrowroot Powder
  • 2-3 Tbs. Chili Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • EVOO
  • Triple Batch Cheeze Sauce

Directions –

1.    Cut the first 4 ingredients into small, bite-sized pieces.  Throw in a roasting pan or cookie sheet, coat with EVOO and salt and pepper.  Throw in the oven at 400* for 40-45 minutes (stir once half way through).

2.    While the veggies are roasting, prepare your rice (I used brown rice, I think this adds a nice nutty flavor that pairs well with the veggies).

3.    When veggies are ~15 minutes from being done, saute the onion and then add the kale and “steam” it.

4.    Once roasted veggies are finished, pull from the oven, stir in the following: beans, kale/onion mixture, rice, and corn.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Sprinkle with cumin.  Stir and set aside.

Veggies Pre-Roasted

Veggies After Roasting

5.    Prep your enchilada sauce (or you can buy canned red enchilada sauce).  Before getting started with the enchilada sauce gather up all the ingredients – EVOO, Garlic Powder, Cumin, Chili Powder, Veggie Stock with 2 Tbs. Arrowroot Powder (mix this ahead).  In a pan, at medium heat, toast your chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder in a dry for ~45 seconds (be careful that it doesn’t burn), you will smell a difference when it is ready.


6.    Add EVOO to your chili powder and mix well.  Pour in your Stock/Arrowroot mixture.  Cook until your stock thickens.  You may have to add more liquid or more arrowroot (mix with a bit of water first) to get a nice consistency.  Whisk away.  Taste, if it needs more seasoning this is the time to add it.

7.    Dip your corn tortillas in the enchilada sauce one at a time, layer 6 tortillas on the bottom of a pan, spread 1/3 of the veggie mixture on top of the tortillas, pour 1/3 of the enchilada sauce over veggies.  Repeat layers 2 more times.  Add cheeze sauce and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

***The enchiladas tasted good, but I think next time I would add less cheeze sauce or add it after cooking.  I think too, that it would be TONS better with the Cashew Ricotta that I’ve used in pastas (or with the real deal – Dairy Cheese, if you are not a vegan or dairy-free).  Experiment and let me know what you think.

Tamale Making

The process of making tamales can be LONG and LABOR intensive…but the outcome is always worth the time and effort put into them.


  • 4 cups Corn Masa (I use Maseca)
  • 3 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 cup Oil
  • 2 1/2 cups sauce (red – enchilada sauce, green – green chili enchilada sauce)

In your Kitchen Aid Mixer (or any large stand mixer) add all the ingredients until all ingredients are well incorporated.  You’ll know it is ready when you can pinch the masa together and it holds a shape.  If it’s dry or crumbly, add more enchilada sauce.

IN THE MIX (fillings, that is)

Meat – shredded Beef and/or pork – 1/2 pound per 1 dozen tamales, cooked and seasoned (garlic, salt, pepper), add about 1/3 cup enchilada sauce to the mix (you can buy canned or make your own using the recipe for enchiladas above).   OR substitute turkey for the beef/pork mixture and green chili enchilada sauce for the red…EQUALLY delicious!

After spreading  ~2-3 Tbs. masa on soaked corn husks (spread it on the smooth side, it will make your life easier), starting from the open edge and spreading down (leave 2″ or so at the bottom with no masa), spoon ~2 Tbs. meat into center of the tamale and roll the tamale up and fold the edge over.  Place in a steam pan. 

Once your pan is full, steam your tamales for 30 – 45 minutes.  Testing?  The dough will be firm and will NOT stick to the husk when your tamales are finished.  Check frequently ensure you have enough water, you don’t want to steam tamales in a dry pan, trust me, I know this from experience!

Meet Tamales – Plated and Ready to Eat!

Vegitarian – Directly into the masa add the following: 1/2 bag frozen corn, 1 can black beans, 1 cup green chilis, and shredded cheese (dairy or dairy free).

Once your masa is well mixed, simply spoon 3-4 Tbs. masa into center of a soaked corn husk (smooth side) and roll up.  No need to spread here!   Same cooking directions, except this will probably take longer to cook through.

Mom and family friend, Dave preparing veggie tamales for steaming!  See the consistency of the dough…this is what you want.

My brother Rubin working away!

Here we are, ready to steam!  One pot of vegetarian tamales were devoured ~ 45 minutes after this photo was taken!

Extreme close-up!  Mmmm, so tasty!

Pumpkin Dessert Tamales – These tamales are a work in progress.  They taste best straight from the steamer, drizzled with honey!

In your stand mixer, mix the following:  7 c. masa, 2 1/2 c. puree pumpkin, 2 c. oil, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 2-3 Tbs. cinnamon (depends on your taste), 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. clove, 1/2 c. agave nectar, 1/2 c. vegan chocolate chips, 1/2 c. coconut flakes, 3/4 c. chopped walnuts.  

Follow same prep and cooking instructions as vegetarian tamales.

Pumpkin Dessert Tamales Pulled Straight From the Steamer

There you have it!  Each member of my family was able to leave with about 7 dozen tamales…meat, vegetarian, and pumpkin!  Tamales freeze beautifully and heat up WONDERFULLY when they are re-steamed.

Still Time to Recycle!

Hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving and that the rest of the holiday season is full of love, family, and blessings!


Several weeks ago I saw a chili recipe on (never home)maker’s blog…and I knew I had to give it a try.  Like many people in the blogging worlds I am a HUGE fan of the big orange squash and am willing to try just about ANY recipe with pumpkin. 

So, the day before Halloween my family (my side as well as Joe’s) got together to carve pumpkins. 

Perfect day for chili making.  You can find Ashley and Stephen’s recipe here but I made a few changes based on what I had on hand.

My take on Pumpkin Chili

Serves 8-10 hungry people!

  • 2 cans Pumpkin
  • 2 cans White Navy Beans
  • 1 can Black Beans
  • 1 can Kidney Beans
  • 1 bag Frozen Corn
  • 2 cans (28 oz) Crushed Fire  Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2 cans (14 oz) Veggie Broth
  • 1 large Onion, diced
  • 3 large Carrots, diced
  • 1 large Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbs. EVOO
  • 5 cloves Garlic, pushed through garlic press
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs Hungarian Paprika
  • 1.5 Tbs. Chili Powder

Heat oil in pan.  Cook onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic in pan until tender.  Add the remainder of ingredients into a LARGE crock pot, turn on high and cook for 3-4 hours. 

Our Topping Bar Included:

  • Chopped Avocado
  • Cubed Smoked Chedder
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Cooked and Crumbled Italian Sausage
  • Gluten Free Corn Bread Crumbles

Verdict – HUGE success.  Lots of compliments and only one bowl left for lunch!  I will be putting this in my regular winter meal rotation…so comforting!  And when I told people there was pumpkin in the chili they were floored!

Go out and make this chili NOW…I’m sure you could throw everything in the crock pot first thing in the morning, set it on low, and have a hearty, healthy, DELISH meal ready when you walk in the door.

We also had this deliciousness inspired by Angela at Oh She Glows:

(more on this tasty bit later this week)



I love the “Clean Food” cookbook my mom and dad gave me for my b-day…and have made several delicious bites inspired by the recipes found on the pages.  And I love the fact that everybody I know can eat what I’ve cooked when I use one of Terry’s recipes.  I was EXCITED to see a recipe for butternut squash soup…and it sounded delicious…simple…and I had EVERY ingredient on hand: Butternut squash, apples, onion, oil, nutmeg, veggie stock, and coconut milk.

Just look at these:

With ingredients like these this soup was destined for greatness.  I followed the directions to a T – except for the simple fact that it took WAY longer than 20 minutes to soften up that butternut!  I had to leave mid cooking to go see an allergists (no fun…and now I’m on Zertec and Flonase everyday for the rest of my life, JOY) and left my mom to finish the soup. 

When I got back to my mom’s house I asked how the soup was…her response was simple, “I must not be a butternut squash soup person.”  Hmmm…what does that mean?  I took my goods home (the soup was prepped for my lunches this week) and thought nothing of it.  Tuesday afternoon I sit down with my soup, SUPER excited to sip this creamy deliciousness and found myself DUMPING half my soup down the drain. 😦

So disappointed…I was so sure this was going to be “THE SOUP” I love butternut and have had some DELISH soups at restaurants but I have never found a recipe (or canned butternut soup) that I like.  HELP!  If you have any suggestions please send them my way.

With that I think it is time for….


Ginger Bread Spiced Almond Butter (a la Ashley)

Ashley calls this “Pumpkin Spiced Almond Butter” but it reminds me more of gingerbread cookies than pumpkin pie…so I changed the name.  I only made a few changes to her recipe…I LOVE cloves and HAD to include that in the mix…here are my measurements –

  1. 4 C. Raw Almonds
  2. 2 Tbs. + 3 tsp. Maple Syrup
  3. 2 Tbs. Molasses
  4. 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  5. 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  6. 1/2 tsp. Ginger
  7. 1/4 tsp. Cloves
  8. Safflower Oil as needed (added in 1/2 – 1 tsp at a time)

I roasted ~20 minutes.  Stirred the almonds once.  Cooled and then blended in 3 batches!  SO FREAKING GOOD!!!!

Okay, I have to get going…my family is getting together in an hour to carve pumpkins and I have to get laundry done (geez…seems like that is all I do!).


Edited to Add – I just wanted to say that these almonds are DELISH right out of the pan too!  You might try giving these as a gift or setting them out for snacks at your next get together with friends. 

AND…be on the look out for a GIVEAWAY later this week!

Here is a little of what I did the past 3 weeks…

Sweet Little Girl

Stewie helps lay tile in the bathroom.

Kayden's first Frozen Yogurt!

He picked the toppings!

Pumpkin Patch...Ashlynn was cozy in my arms.

Kayden enjoying pumpkin picking.

Holding Baby Ashlynn Again!

So….that doesn’t look like much, but with work and my mouth/allergy issues I’ve been busy and haven’t really cooked much.  It’s no fun cooking when you can’t eat much and don’t know what is causing the problem.  I’m hopeful that next week I’ll get some answers. 

Breakfast and I haven’t been friends of late, but I found myself in the kitchen the past few days making yummy, creamy hot rice cereal.  If you are gluten intolerant this is a great alternative to oats!  The pictures not very pretty…I was in a RUSH this morning as I was already running late to work! 

Pumpkin Hot Rice Cereal

Ingredients –

  • 1/4 c. Hot Rice Cereal
  • 1 c. Water
  • 1 pinch Sea Salt
  • 1/4 c. Pumpkin (or squash of choice…sweet taters are AWESOME here too)
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 c. Almond Milk
  • 1.5 tsp. Chia Seeds

Bring water to a boil, add salt and hot rice cereal.  Stir well.  Decrease heat to medium low.  Cook 3-5 minutes until thick and creamy.  Add in Chia seeds and almond milk about half way through cooking.  Add pumpkin the last minute, stir through.  Add spices and vanilla.   Top with favorite ingredients and Enjoy.

Mine is topped with – Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Homemade Peach Butter, Chopped Crystalized Ginger!  MMMMMMM! 

Have a great night all!