The space between the refrigerator and the stove

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Gluten Free Breakfast Tortilla

Back when I was working in the Head Start kitchen, I had an assistant that would come to work with her breakfast.  A native of Ethiopia, I often got to be the recipient of her traditional dishes she brought to eat.  She would make a type of quick tortilla that she considered a decent substitute for the time intensive injera bread, an Ethiopian staple at meals.  She would eat it with Atkilt Wot or Mesir Wot.  While I completely enjoyed these two dishes, I could not try the tortilla she made with regular white flour.  They always looked so delicious, cooked perfectly with just the right amount of browning.

I was reminiscing about my old kitchen assistant, who became a wonderful friend in the time we worked together.  Remembering her food gave me a craving and I just had to give these tortillas a try.  After trying a few different flour combinations, I decided that sticking with a single type of flour works best.  I really liked the Chickpea flour version I made because the texture was spot on, but the flavor wasn’t quite what I was going for.  I ended up just trying Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour and while I am not as excited by the texture, the flavor is perfect and just what I had in mind.

They are so quick and easy to make and when scrambled eggs and spinach get added in, the combination is fantastic!  Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  It starts great with this delicious meal!

Try it for yourself.  It just takes:

3 1/2 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour (or chickpea flour)

3 1/2 Tbsp cool water

mix together until thoroughly combined and smooth in texture.  Drizzle a teaspoon of oil into a skillet.  I used olive oil.  Swirl around the pan to coat, pre-heat the pan and when ready, pour tortilla batter into pan.  Use a spatula to spread the batter about 6-7″ round.  I like mine to be crepe thin and I think it gets the best consistency.  Cook on each side for about 2 minutes.  Remove from pan, add scrambled eggs and spinach!  To prepare my egg, I cracked one egg in a pan, scrambled it up a bit, tossed in thinly sliced spinach leaves, scrambled until done.  Added a little sea salt and freshly crushed peppercorns…boom! Enjoy breakfast!



Gettin’ My Spiralizer On!!

I have finally grasped the true use of my spiralizer that I have had for months.  I just could not seem to make that thing work the way I wanted then I realized I was using it incorrectly.  I am left handed so it took me some time to master the skill of right handed spiralizing in a left handed way.  Did you get that?  Hehe….This world was not made for left handed people!

I finally made what I would consider a true success in spiralizing.  In case you don’t know what spiralizing means; it is the art of turning vegetables into noodles.  While I was working at a local kitchen store a while back I took advantage of my discount and purchased a tool that makes spiralizing a breeze.

My farmer’s market haul this past weekend included several zucchini and yellow squash so I made a plan for “zoodles” {aka: zucchini noodles}.  This morning I made them and created a fantastic salad that was my lunch today.

I was so impressed with my creation I swear that made my lunch taste even better!  It was delicious!  I ate well today.  I am feeling great for it tonight!

Spiralizing my veggies will be my new favorite way to prepare my meals!

Spiralized Zucchini and Quinoa Salad

With one medium raw zucchini and using a spiralizing tool, create long, curly threads, resembling spaghetti noodles. Use this as the base for your salad.  Top with cooked (according to package directions) quinoa that has been cooled.  I used about 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa for this salad.  To these add:

1 medium raw carrot, spiralized

2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds (heat raw seeds in skillet until lightly browned)

1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts

Drizzle with this dressing:

2 Tblsp. olive oil

2 Tblsp. balsamic vinaigrette

1/8 tsp crushed fresh peppercorns

1/8 tsp agave syrup

1/4 tsp garlic powder

dash of sea salt

Whisk in bowl or shake in jar to incorporate ingredients. (there will be more than is needed for the salad)

Enjoy!!20150720_080131 20150720_082522 20150720_082542

Gluten Free Camping Done Right

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Gluten free camping food is such fun to make!  I love coming up with unique and delicious foods that are considerably more indulgent yet still stay in my personal dietary guidelines. I just returned from my first camping trip of the season.  I am getting a late start this year. I have had too many other weekend activities that have kept me from pitching my tent. Oh wait…. I don’t have a tent!  Ha!  I did learn my car is the perfect camping vehicle and even snuggles two people in quite nicely with a bit of elbow room.  I learned a lot in this first camping trip which created moments of deep reflection.  It is one of the reasons I have such a fondness for weekends in the woods; it brings me back to a balanced place where I feel grateful and peaceful.

I certainly felt “tipped” often enough on this trip.  It is not just my first of the season, but my first since I have moved and have had my stuff stored away.  My busy week prior to leaving did not give me time to pick up my camping gear until the day before I was to head out.  I just packed it in the car and that is where it stayed until we unpacked it at the campground.  Assuring my camping friend I had everything we needed, imagine my surprise when we started setting up camp and discovering I actually did not have some things we needed.  This fell on the heels of some other pretty crazy debacles that delayed us even getting to our spot until almost dark.  We laughed a lot about all of it along the way until it became clear we were missing some vital items.  It took me some time to remember that “M” and I had gone through all of our camping gear and downsized last fall when we were done traveling for the summer.  We got rid of a lot of equipment, deciding we would replace it later with more space efficient items for the next season.  That is now and considering what happened in my life between that time and today, there is no way I would have remembered this took place.  After laughing hysterically at the craziness of everything that took place just to get to our peaceful spot, we settled in and got creative with what was available, only running to the little market down the road for propane.  We made it work.

Digging through those camping buckets unearthed a plethora of painful memories as I reflected on the journey and experiences that led me to where I am today.  “Blessing upon blessing has reigned down on you”, just said to me last night by a friend; this is true. Where I am today is nothing short of miraculous in my opinion.  I have been lifted and gifted in the most beautiful ways.  I love right where I am in my life.  Dare I say I feel like I am truly living my dream.  I certainly feel like I am on that path.  But, I had to take some time to reflect again on what happened that lead me here today.  I had to process some thoughts, rehash a few things, reflect and let go a little more.  I had my own personal burning ceremony early one morning.  After quietly celebrating to myself for creating a successful fire, I spontaneously threw a word search book “M” had given me for Christmas into the flames.  It had gone into my “take with me belongings” when I moved, but I just stored it away on a shelf forgetting about it until I was packing for camping.  I love doing word search puzzles when camping.  Sitting at the fire, staring at that book next to me dredged up only anger and betrayal.  I said a few things out to the Universe, dropped it into the fire and let it burn.  I found a long purple knit thing in a bucket that “M” had made; an aborted attempt at a scarf I think, and we had used it to tie things.  I wrapped it around my fire poking stick and dropped it into the flames as well.  I love the powerful symbolism of this ritual and upon completion I felt lighter, more relaxed.  It feels great to close the book on that chapter of my life, however, six months later I am no more enlightened on why it ended.  It matters less and less.  It still astounds me the same.  I have come to my own closure and am comfortable in my truth.  It will likely never cease to make me shake my head in dismay because while I have definitely had my share of awful experiences, what I just went through is absolutely the most cruelty I’ve experienced by another human being; one that declared their love for me on a regular basis.  It simply makes no sense and it was so wrong.  I now see even more clearly the painful world “M” lives in that would move her to be so callous.

In the flames of the past, I recreate my current experiences and my future.  Just as stunning as the ending of my relationship and what I thought was my future, is the astonishing beginnings that have cultivated since this has happened.  The doors began to open before I even moved from “M”‘s house.  I have had continued remarkable experiences.  I cannot help but be grateful, often in a deep and moving way.  When I come full circle in my thoughts, I rest in grace.  My reverence for life is more profound.  I have found my balance again.  My trips into the forest always bring enlightenment.

With some heavy stuff getting processed, I am glad we came well stocked with the fixin’s for some great gluten and dairy free meals that were delicious and comforting.  Eating this way while camping can be easy with just a little preparation before heading out.  I like to pre-mix ingredients into plastic zip bags as much as possible, making it much easier to prepare at the camp site.  There was some good food eaten around the campfire, along with plenty of enjoyable conversation.  As well, there were many opportunities for silence and reflection.  Even with the harried experience of getting to the site and our lack of proper equipment, in many ways this was a successful first camping trip of the season.  I look forward to the next time and being much more prepared!!

I did learn that I can throw stuff together pretty darn quickly and am always successful at making things work with what I’ve got.  Camping, like life, is a learning experience.   The serenity and grace of my surroundings brought me back to center.  All is truly well in my world.

Check out some of the yummy food we ate and take in the beauty of our gorgeous Oregon forest.

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Keeping It Real Farmer’s Market Ratatouille

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I rocked out one of the most colorful dishes I have created in a long time.  I was invited to a BBQ this past weekend and brought this dish to share.  I live so close to the city’s largest Farmer’s Market and the season is bountiful with gorgeous produce.  I was up early and filled with energy.  I was excited to head over to the Farmer’s Market for ingredients to prepare my dish. The morning was crisp and temperatures were refreshingly mild.  The walk was lovely.

I plucked the prettiest veggies from my favorite farmers displays with a mission.  I had my list and was prepared!  In the end I switched up what I had intended for this dish because I was drawn in by the beauty of baby yellow tomatoes.  Instead of using a marinade for this dish, I decided to use all fresh tomatoes.  ‘Tis the season for them!   Abundant tomatoes of all colors and varieties were enticing and beautiful.

It is rare that I bring a dish to an event that has ingredients I cannot eat.  However, this BBQ was different.  I would be the only one with dietary restrictions and the hostess, who is also a gracious and considerate friend, had special foods just for me.  Isn’t that so sweet? It was really fun to prepare this dish and I did pick through a bit and eat the vegetables I knew were safe for me.  It was delicious!!

It was a relaxed and enjoyable evening of interesting conversations that ranged from childhood memories of being in the kitchen with family cooking up favorite, traditional dishes to American culture and race relations. Fascinating topics went around the table! We ate, we laughed, we complained of the heat.  We went between the shaded picnic area in the backyard to the air conditioned kitchen intermittently.  It was a fun night and I am happy to say my dish received a lot of compliments so I think it was a success.

One of my favorite phrases of the night was “when we talk, we keep it real”.   As the conversations changed to more sensitive subjects, one person wanted to keep it going safely, so that was his “rule”.  Say what we feel nicely, honestly and keep it real.  I completely enjoyed that preface along with his occasional reminders that this is the best way to communicate with each other.  People must keep it real.  Seems that is becoming the theme in my life these days.  I have to say, it is a refreshing and much more honest way to move through the world when you keep it real.

I had a small container of leftover ratatouille that I took over to my bff’s house so she could enjoy the market fresh deliciousness.  I knew I would not eat it and I certainly did not want this fantastic dish to go to waste.  This dish was truly a farm to table kind of dish.  I am deeply grateful to our local farmers for their hard work in growing this healthful food and bringing it to my neighborhood market for me to enjoy.  Sowing and sharing harvest; now that is about as real as it gets.


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Stupendous Spontaneous Sunbutter Sauce

I made the most delicious sauce the other morning.  It was a very spontaneous decision while I was trying to figure out what to pack for my lunch.  I have been feeling great, getting solid sleep and have had TONS of energy in the morning.  This, coupled with my habit of early rising has given me the opportunity to do things like spontaneous sauce making before heading off to work!

I knew I wanted to use some quinoa noodles I’d purchased recently and greens from my dad’s garden I am still going through.  I wanted a chilled salad since the weather has been horrendously hot here in P-town. I decided I would try something like a peanut sauce except using sunflower seed butter.  I completely guessed on measurements and that caused a bit of a problem because the end result was a bit too salty for my liking, but still quite tasty. I got three days of noodle salad lunches from this dressing and that made me very happy!

What wasn’t so happy for me was making this sauce landed me at urgent care!  Yes, I am admitting to you all that I did one of the most ridiculously stupid things I have ever done.  Why?  I have no answer.  Momentary brain freeze? I think so because when I was done blitzing my sauce with my immersion blender I proceeded to use my index finger to wipe around the inside blade area to get excess sauce off. I forgot to unplug the thing and accidentally pressed the button with my other hand while my finger was in the blade area. The result??  One very mangled index finger!  Yeah, that one hurt like heck!!  I am grateful my immersion blender is about 15 years old and while the blade is clearly sharp, it was not sharp enough that I lost my finger tip.  I cringe thinking about what kind of damage a sharper blade could have done. The doctor I saw had quite a sense of humor and upon determining the condition of my finger, found my particular story rather funny.  I agree.  It is pretty laughable–now!

I needed no stitches and I may not even lose my nail.  I’ll just have to see how it heals.  In the meantime, it’s gory to look at and I have one more great story to tell!  I also still managed to get this lunch together!  Thankfully, I had already prepped everything else before I bladed my finger!!

I used quinoa linguine and cooked as the box directed then drained and rinsed them.  I spiralized one half of a medium carrot and cut one large collard leaf into thin strips then tossed the vegetables with the noodles.  I drizzled the sauce on top and took it to go!  The flavors tasted phenomenal together after melding a few hours.  I am roughly guessing the measurements on my ingredients and I think you could do the same.  Make it according to your tastes and drizzle it on noodles or veggies or both!  Enjoy a good summertime salad with the stupendous sunbutter sauce!  And, keep your fingers out of blenders!

2 Tblsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili oil

3 Tblsp low sodium tamari ( 1 1/2 Tblsp would have been plenty)

1 Tblsp rice vinegar

2 tsp pure maple syrup

1/4 cup Sunflower Seed butter ( or nut butter of your choice)

Whisk or blend with an immersion blender until smooth and well combined.  Store in fridg.  Makes around a 1/2 cup of sauce.


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Moms Kick Up The Health Twisted Taco Salad

This is a long overdue post for me.  I put myself on my own loose schedule of blog posting, yet I rarely follow what I mindfully intend so I’m not sure why I even do it.  I guess sometimes it does work.  Blog writing is happening in my mind a lot more than you all see it right here.  I am just having too much fun this summer and have not had the brain space or focus to get this typed.  A definite highlight of my summer was this past weekend.  My good friend; one of my favorite people in this world, came to visit from Baltimore.  I adore that man and spending time with him gives me such deep joy.  I got an extra dose of time with him yesterday, spending the afternoon lounging at my neighborhood park enjoying a very Portland annual event.  I had such a great weekend.  Refreshed and energized, I am ready to get focused on my work week.  My focus is starting now as I write this.  I have another extra busy week, with it being my last week of classes. This means being extra prepared for on the go foods that will keep me fed into the late evening hours since class days keep me from home roughly twelve hours.  I will look forward to a two week reprieve in my time before I begin another round of classes.

Thankfully, I am still enjoying the greens from my dad’s garden.  I hauled home another large harvest to share with friends and to restock my own fridg.  I have discovered an incredibly space saving way to store my abundant produce that is working quite well.  I have also been eating greens at every meal so none will go to waste!  Salads of every variety have been my lunch and dinner meals almost daily.  Green juices, kale pesto, arugula pesto, and a variety of sandwiches piled with greens, wraps made from lettuce leaves, collard leaves…you name it, I am making it!  I have been eating well and feeling very healthy.

When my son called me not long ago to tell me he made my mom’s taco salad for dinner, I suddenly had an unbelievably strong craving for just that.  I loved my mom’s taco salad as a kid.  We all loved her salad.  As adults, my siblings agree that moms taco salad made hot summer evenings cooler.  My personal favorite part of the salad was the crushed fritos she would put in it.  To this day, I admit my weakness is still fritos.  Yes, I have had one too many love affairs with that salty, crunchy, oily goodness.  I always pay for it so I am actively avoiding my desires.  My son gave me my dinner idea and I wanted to have taco salad as well.  My taco salad is a little twisted.  There are no fritos in this one.  It is definitely not moms recipe, but I enjoyed the memories it created as I prepared my version of moms taco salad.  It was super tasty.

I look forward to my week ahead and will continue to eat greens for days to come.  If this week is like my others recently, it will fly by so quickly I will be surprised by the speed at which I get to yet another fun filled weekend.  Next weekend will be spent with a friend, who I refer to as my fast friend.  We met, connected immediately and became great friends instantly.  Five years later, our friendship has developed into a connection I know will be deep and lasting.  We will enjoy holiday festivities among many more wonderful people.  Life is good.  Life is green.  If you find yourself with bountiful greens, give this salad a try, or give it your own twist.  Enjoy!

Twisted Taco Salad

Brown one half pound of organic, grass fed ground beef with chopped white onions in a skillet.  Add spices: paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper to your desired taste.  Add half cup of pinto beans, stir and heat until beans are warmed through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Fill a large bowl with romaine lettuce (about 8 cups), torn into bite size pieces.  I added some arugula because I love its spicy flavor.  I topped the lettuce with the beef and bean mixture, some daiya cheddar cheese shreds and kalamata olives.  I avoid tomatoes and avocado, but these would be great additions if you desire.  I drizzled a tiny bit of lime juice over my salad, gave it a mix and stuck a fork in it! Yum!!

IMG_3280moms taco salad

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The Short Sweet Life of Luscious Raspberries

If you read yesterday’s blog post, Let Us Eat Lettuce you will know I have plentiful greens for weeks to come.  Well, today I have an abundance of raspberries.  The short sweet season has arrived and they are ready for picking.  I am fortunate to know someone who has a plethora of these delicious jewels, my very favorite berry.  Yesterday I picked so many and that was just the first pick of the season!  These vines are mature and bountiful with beautiful red bunches ready to eat.  I plan on getting more later today.  First, I need to move some of yesterdays crop out of my little fridg.  Over half of what I plucked from the vines yesterday went to my landlady.  She is such an awesome woman who has helped me out innumerable times.  The list of wonderful and supportive ways seems endless.  I can tell some stories about this fortuitous meeting.  But, I’ll stay focused on the raspberries for now!

I have made these gluten free maple raspberry scones several times and have blogged about this recipe before.  Raspberries and Reflections was one of those stories using the same recipe.  I sometimes add my own twist on recipes, switching up ingredients for various reasons.  This morning I followed the recipe nearly exact, with the only changes being coconut oil instead of palm oil, I used light coconut milk and I added 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  You can find the original recipe here: and I also have it listed below with my variations.

I just pulled the second batch of these from the oven and I am enjoying the tantalizing sweet scent throughout my home.  I’ll fess up and say I have already eaten one from the first batch.  I could not wait to bite into these!  They are truly fantastic.  I encourage you to try this recipe yourself.  They will serve well for delicious breakfasts on the go and morning snacks with tea.

Gluten Free Maple Raspberry Scones

1 ½ cups brown rice flour or sorghum flour (I used 1 cup brown rice flour + 1/2 cup sorghum flour)
½ cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum    (my addition: 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon)
½ teaspoon sea salt 
½ cup organic palm shortening (I used coconut oil)
⅓ cup maple syrup
½ cup + 2 tablespoons cold non-dairy milk (I used light coconut milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 heaping cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and sea salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together well. Cut in the shortening with your fingers or a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs are formed.

In a separate small bowl whisk together the syrup, milk, and vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients and quickly mix together with a fork or wooden spoon until the dough thickens. Fold in the raspberries, being very careful not to over mix.

Drop by the large spoonful onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 to 17 minutes, depending on the size of your scone.

I got 8 scones from this recipe.  I believe the original authors states her yield the same.

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