Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

I like that this dip is so versatile. It can be dressed up as an appetizer for a friend gathering and it can be a quick on-the-go snack food to have at the office. This happens to be one of my favorite recipes to make. It’s super quick and so easy.

I was trying to replicate a non-dairy version of spinach artichoke dip and wound up with this. It’s made simply by using a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, fresh baby spinach (3-4 cups), a couple cloves of garlic, a few shakes of some nutritional yeast; about 1/4 cup, a little salt and a dash of fresh ground black pepper. Give these ingredients a whir in a food processor and you’ve got yourself a delicious dip.

Think party appetizers, quick snack or movie night dip!  I sometimes get a little crazy and use this as the base spread on flatbread pizzas!  However you enjoy it, I’m sure you’ll find it tasty. 

I like to use Trader Joe’s brand of rice tortillas and cut them into triangles to make chips. I place them on a baking sheet, brush a bit of olive oil over the pieces, sprinkle salt on them and bake in a 325 degree oven for just a few minutes. They bake quickly so watch them close.

The next time you’re looking for the perfect snack dish give this a try. You be glad you did! Enjoy!

 

The Sweet Life Of Raspberries

My friends, do you know what time of year we are coming into?  Raspberries, people!!  20160602_174445The precious short season of the raspberry is here and I am so happy! They are a bit early this year and growing abundantly.  I’m so fortunate to have family that share their bountiful harvest.  In fact, picking the berries is most exclusively done by me.  If I don’t they will dry up on the vine.  Age and health issues keeps my loved ones from tending to them as they have in the past.  These happen to be my favorite berry so for the next few weeks, I’ll be a raspberry picking fiend as I pluck as many as I can before they disappear.

Of course, these delicious raspberries must have a coming out party and what better way than with these fantastic scones?20160602_185952  One of my favorite recipes; I’ve made them so many times with different variations.  This time the only change I made was substituting the maple syrup for raw sugar.  Turns out that was not the best choice, but it was all I had and I’m using up my cupboard staples before I buy more.  They are good, but maple syrup is way better.  There’s a reason it’s in the recipe title.  That’s my opinion.  It certainly won’t stop me from munching on these for a mid-morning snack!

I’ve posted this recipe many times before here and if you haven’t given it a try, I highly recommend it.  Go ahead, you deserve this treat!  Happy Friday, y’all!!

http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2009/07/gluten-free-maple-raspberry-scone.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Traveling outside of my familiar city always brings into question the types of foods that might be available for me to eat.  It can be difficult eating safely in areas that do not have the abundance of choices available to me that Portland offers.

Whenever I fly,  one of the most important planning tasks I must accomplish is food preparation.  I want food for my flight and a bit to have on hand in case choices are slim in Charlotte.  Honestly,  I just prefer my own food.  I focus on making snacks and breakfast foods.  I find that lunch and dinner are easier meals to enjoy at restaurants because I can almost always find something on the menu to eat.  It is rare that I find nothing, though it has happened.  Remember that failed cross country road trip I took?   I wrote about it here:  Hello From Wyoming!  My goodness,  what an experience that was!  Currently,  plans are being created to try again,  this time for a successful cross country road trip later this year!   That awful trip is also my reminder to always have plentiful supplies of my kind of food on hand when traveling!

For my latest travel adventure,  I’ll be flying to Charlotte, NC.  In less 24 hours I’ll be hanging out with my boy!   I am so excited!!!   I have not seen my son in over two years and it has been about three and a half years since I have visited him.   This is a long over due trip and visit!!   Even better;  my daughter will be traveling from Boston to join us in Charlotte.  I get to be with both my kids!!!  Did I say I am excited?!!   I am elated we’ll all be together again!!   This time it will be in happiness;  the last time being my mom’s death when we were all together.  We have all kinds of fun things planned and I am looking forward to playing for days with my kids.  Gosh,  do I need this vacation!!   I have taken several small trips over the past year,  but it has been nearly a full year since my last big adventure to Boston.   Remember that trip?  Boston Bonanza  was a blast!   Check out all the food I enjoyed!!   I’ll see how Charlotte has progressed in that area in the years since I have visited.

I make and bring food I know can travel well and remain relatively intact after getting knocked around in my bag.   I have breakfast for the plane,  lunch to eat at my layover,  or more likely run like a champ to my next gate and eat on the plane!   We will see how this lay over goes!   I have a few of my kind of  “essentials”  I like to have on hand tucked away in my carry on.   I am ready for my east coast adventure!

Check out some of the yummy food I am bringing along for my trip!  I didn’t get a chance to grab a picture of the egg and turkey bacon mini casserole I’ll be eating for breakfast in the morning once I settle on the plane.  You know I’ll be eating good!

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savory breakfast pancakes

 

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layover lunch pizza!! YUM!!

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two kinds of hearty, nutritious breakfast cookies!

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can’t forget the treats! gf/df snicker-doodles! Oh, yeah!!

 

 

Be Kind. Eat Kind. My Kind of “Kind” Bars

Last week was a huge challenge and stress for me.  I had some pretty crazy things happen and it has thrown me off balance.  My focus has been pulled in many directions.  This week I’m struggling with the after effects of said craziness.  I have truly appreciated the kindness of friends, family and complete strangers recently.  I am purposefully noticing kindness.  Have you ever taken the time to notice random acts of kindness?   I’m not talking the grandiose gestures that get media attention.  I’m talking about the genuine kindness of everyday people you cross paths with as you go about your day. The grocery clerk who wishes good thoughts to you and your family during a difficult time, the person who holds the door because your hands are full, or the couple on a walk who stop to ask if you’re okay and stay to help when it’s clear you need it.   There really are genuinely good and kind people in this world.  When we are constantly bombarded with other types of messages about our fellow human beings,  we tend to forget kindness truly does exist.  I would rather focus on that than be sucked into the negative culture of our world.   So, I focus on the positive things happening around me, take in kindness and give kindness.

As I have mentioned many times in past posts, when my life gets hectic and stress filled, interrupting my usual routine I often forget to eat.  Having ready made, quick foods on hand are essential.   I was motivated to re-create a version of my favorite grab and go bars I spend too much money on when I shop.  You know those bars in grocery stores, KIND bars?  They are an energy type bar made of nuts and dried fruits.  I’m addicted to them.  They have been a regular shopping item that goes into my basket for a long time.  I like the protein punch and energy it provides.  It’s a fantastic portable snack for me.  However, in my ongoing attempts to cut back on expenses so I can save money toward my goals, I am trying to lower my grocery bill.   I decided to get creative and try to make my own kind of bars.

I think they turned out pretty fantastic.  They even got a thumbs up from my colleague.  I cut them into nine bars similar in size to the actual store brand, wrapped them individually and stored them in the fridg. It is the perfect on-the-go snack for me.

Give these a try.  You’ll be happy you did!  Enjoy!

Kinda Kind Nut Bars

Prepare a square or small rectangular baking dish.  Mine was an 8×6 glass baking dish.  Line with plastic or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl mix:

1 cup toasted almonds

1/4 cup toasted cashews, chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2 Tbsp hemp seeds

1/2 cup puffed rice cereal

1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut

Stir until combined

On the stove top, add to a pan:

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla

pinch of salt

Melt on low heat and stir until combined.  Let cool a bit and pour over nut mixture in bowl.  Mix with hands to incorporate fully, making sure all ingredients are coated.  Dump mixture into prepared baking dish and spread it evenly across the pan with fingers, pressing it down just a bit to mold it together.  Store in fridg until firm.  Cut into bars.

These have a lot of sugar!  Enjoy in moderation!  Ha!  Look who’s talking…..try to anyway!

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Gluten Free, Dairy Free Banana Pecan Bread

I have had four bananas getting more ripe as each day passes.  Each morning I silently tell myself to make banana bread before they are too far gone.  My reluctance has been my inability to find my favorite recipe and the ordeal that I know could make this activity incredibly frustrating.  I am still working with limited kitchen counter space and honestly, I find making food in my little kitchen more frustrating than not.  That is just no fun for me! Additionally, I still have many of my kitchen supplies in storage due to my lack of space.

Once I decided to take this task on, I was determined to keep a positive attitude and looked at it as somewhat of an adventure.  I was not going to let my lack of kitchen supplies bring me down so I bought a disposable bread loaf tin.  I decided I would just make up a recipe, feeling confident I could pull off a decent bread.  I have been studying up on the best gluten free flours to use together to create most desirable end result.  Wow, I sure got this one right!

I  managed to get my bread in the oven after a lot of maneuvering.  Gosh, it really should not be so difficult!  I look forward to the ease a kitchen island will bring to me once I find just the perfect one for me.  I was so impressed with my banana bread I am glad I had the determination and patience to give this a try.  I think you should too.  It is a fantastic bread.  In fact, I must say this is one of the best sweet breads I have made.   The texture and  consistency is spot on and the flavor is perfect.  Not too sweet, very banana like with the perfect crunch of the pecans.  It has been a lovely morning snack with my tea.  And, it was an excellent choice for travelling food as I discovered when I packed it with me for my Boston trip.  Stay tuned for my next blog where I share all about Boston gluten free and dairy free eats!!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Banana Pecan Bread

1 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1 Tbsp xantham gum

1 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup raw can sugar (this could have been omitted. The bananas make it sweet!)

4 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup applesauce

1/3 cup sunflower seed oil

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp pure vanilla

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Measure all dry ingredients into one bowl and whisk to incorporate.  Measure all the wet ingredients into another bowl and mix to incorporate.  Add mashed bananas, mix well. Pour mixed wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just blended, add chopped pecans and fold into batter.  Pour batter into greased loaf pan.  Bake for 50-65 mins.

Makes one large loaf.

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The Journey Begins

The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind of preparations and incredible anxiety as I loaded up my car and headed out of Oregon on my adventure across the country.

I have anxiously awaited this trip for so long and dreamed about it for even longer.  Now it is here; my road trip across middle America has begun!  Gluten Free/Dairy Free Across America  {http://wp.me/p4cJfr-ph}  is my blog that highlights my trip.  I had intentions to blog my beginnings yesterday morning before I hit the road, however anxiety and my overwhelmed state of mind made it pretty impossible to accomplish anything other than getting ready to leave and even that was incredibly difficult!

I had a few stress related glitches and there were a few moments when fear paralyzed me from going further.  I left home a lot later than I had anticipated, forgot a few things in my haste, most importantly-all my maps and travel books!  Yeah, that was cause for severe panic.  Feeling very disoriented and after some brief encouraging words from my sweetie, I decided to continue on and pick up maps along the way.  My first night was near Ontario, OR at a very peaceful campground.  I met a super neat guy who had the same vehicle as me.  He gave me some sound wisdom on how to baby my engine over the steep mountain roads so I won’t have overheating issues.  He also was kind enough to show me some maps so I had an idea of what I was going toward.  He even highlighted some choice spots to check out beautiful sights.  And so it begins….

I am currently enjoying a little air conditioning in a Whole Foods Market in Boise, ID.  I needed some time to orient myself and this store feels familiar, so here I sit.  I also need to be available for a phone appointment so I’ll hang out and find my center again.

I am sure there are plenty of options for my kind of eating since this is a Whole Foods Market, but I am plenty stocked with food at the moment.  I am not impressed with my 12 Volt cooler, but I may have it over full.  It is just too warm to have mediocre cooler temperatures so I have decided to purchase an insulated cooler for food safety (and my health!) sake.

Here’s a few pics of some yummy road trip food that I have enjoyed so far.  I promise recipes later!  It’s all in the car right now!  So far, I am happy with my road trip food choices. Now, I must seek out some additional cooling before it all goes bad!  More to come as I journey along!

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