Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bacon and Pumpkin Soup

I love fall.  I love crisp autumn mornings and the beautiful colors of fall leaves.  Most of all, I love pumpkin.  It is one of my favorite foods.

There is just nothing like a warm bowl of soup on a cold wet day.  I have been collecting pumpkin soup recipes on Pinterest.  Last week, I tried the Creamy Paleo Bacon Pumpkin Soup recipe Cassy shared on Fed & Fit.  (Click here to check out the recipe and her post.)

This was a great opportunity to use some of the fresh sage growing in my garden and some of the homemade chicken broth from my freezer.  Pork is one of the foods I may only eat on occasion, so this was a fun treat.  The fact that it is dairy-free and grain-free (therefore, gluten-free) meant I did not have to make any adjustments to the recipe.

I liked the soup.  My husband and 17-year-old son thought it was amazing.  My picky eater did not care for this one.

If you try it, I would love to know what you think!  Do you have a favorite pumpkin soup recipe?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

3 Home Made Fruit Roll Ups and Fruit Leather Recipes

This week we picked 21 pounds of blueberries and bought a pint of fresh honey, 6 pounds of pears, a basket of fresh figs and a flat of freshly picked peaches.  My 14-year-old remembered the peach leather we made last summer and asked if I could make it again.  So, I went on a Pinterest search and found 3 recipes to try. 

Blueberry Fruit Roll Ups

Blueberry Fruit Roll Ups using this recipe from the Sugar Free Mom.  Of course, we used a tablespoon of honey as our sweetener, as we purchased some fresh at the berry farm!

These were a big hit.  (I admit, I only rolled 3 of them.  My tape did NOT want to stick to the parchment paper, and the additional paper felt a bit wasteful to me.  So, I cut the rest into strips and sealed them in a Ziploc bag.

Peach and Pear Fruit Leather

Next, we made a batch of this Peach and Pear Fruit Leather with this recipe from WikiHow to do Anything

I put both trays in the oven and set it at the lowest temperature - 170 degrees Fahrenheit - and set a timer for 7 hours.  The blueberry finished early and the peach/pear took longer.

I also made the mistake of scooping two small spoonfuls of the peach/pear batch for my youngest and I to sample before it baked.  Umm... YUM!!!  That resulted with the two of us whipping up a second batch of this flavor and popping it into the refrigerator to bake the next day.  It was a very wise decision, as the first tray was devoured in a day.

Triple Fruit Leather

The third recipe was the only one we cooked beforehand.  We made Triple Fruit Leather using this recipe for Triple Fruit Roll Ups at Food Well Said.  We had strawberries in the refrigerator - leftover from some I bought for a fruit salad I took to a dinner gathering on Saturday night.  The blueberries and honey, we picked/purchased on Saturday.  And the rhubarb came from our backyard.  (It was our first time harvesting any!)  This was my husband's favorite recipe.  I like the tart flavor from the rhubarb.

Unlike fruit roll ups sold in the stores, these have
no processed sugar, no partially hydrogenated oils - or any other ingredients you might read and wonder what they are.  They only take a couple of minutes to prepare. Pop them in the oven for roughly 7 hours and they are done.  They are THAT easy.  Using locally fresh ingredients (with the exception of the strawberries and lemons) also kept our cost down, so they were pretty inexpensive for the amount we made.

Do you have a favorite naturally sweetened fruit leather or fruit roll up recipe?  I would love to know what it is!

Thanks for stopping by


Friday, April 25, 2014

Easy Potato Sausage & Spinach Hash

Easy Potato Sausage & Spinach Hash
Eliminating eggs, oats, dairy and gluten from my diet made breakfast quite the challenge for me.

I spent the winter drinking fruit smoothies (made from frozen fruit.) I playfully made fun of myself as I shivered through breakfast which generally left my hubby chuckling at me.

For Christmas, the love of my life bought me an amazing (to me) cookbook: The Healthy Gluten-Free Life: 200 Delicious Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free Recipes by Tammy Credicott.  It was the first cookbook I had seen eliminating 4 of the many foods I had to cut from my diet. (There is also a website I should check out again one of these days called The Healthy GF Life.)

This recipe is not from that book, but it is one of several potato hash recipes I have made that were inspired by 2 breakfast recipes within the book.

I usually made this dish with fresh potatoes (baked in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, cooled, peeled and cubed.)  However, a few months ago while my mom was in the hospital (about 45 minutes away), I found myself lacking time and energy.  (I did find it interesting the hospital did not have gluten-free, dairy-free options available in the cafeteria aside from the salad bar - and I cannot eat lettuce, but that is another story...)  So, I decided to try frozen hash browns - even though they contained dextrose. (If you are like me, and wonder WHY sugar is added to frozen hash browns, apparently it assists with the browning process.) To be honest, I prefer to bake potatoes in advance to skip the dextrose and other ingredients in the frozen variety - but occasionally, it is nice to save some time.

This was quick to make, and I could easily make a big batch so there were leftovers for the next day.  Bonus!

My picky eater dislikes potatoes, for the most part, so he is not a fan of this dish.  Some days, I save a bit of the sausage and spinach and make him an egg scramble instead. Other days, he gets a small serving of the potato hash, but is able to reheat a frozen home-made waffle to enjoy with it.

The recipe below may easily be cut in half. This is great served with a fruit smoothie!

Easy Potato Sausage & Spinach Hash


1 bag hash browns (shredded or diced)
1 lb. gluten-free breakfast sausage (I use chicken or turkey GF breakfast sausage)
3-4 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped
2-3 Tablespoons cooking oil (I use light olive oil, avocado oil or safflower oil)
Rubbed Sage (optional)


1. Add oil to large pot and heat over medium-high heat.
2. Add potatoes and cook according to package directions (or until browned to your liking if using diced baked potatoes, turning after 5-7 minutes)
3. Meanwhile, cook breakfast sausage in another pan, stirring to crumble the meat, until fully cooked and browned to your liking.
4. Add cooked sausage and chopped spinach to browned potatoes.
5. Reduce heat to medium
6. Stir to mix and cook until spinach has wilted.
7. Remove from heat.
8. Sprinkle with a touch of rubbed sage for additional flavor, if desired, and serve.

1. Saute diced onions until transparent, but not browned, before adding potatoes. 
2. Substitute hash browns with diced baked potatoes (peeled or unpeeled.) Heat over medium to medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes (until brown on the bottom), turn with a spatula and cook another 3-7 minutes (until browned to your liking.)
3. Substitute sausage with diced ham or turkey-ham (preferably uncured.) 
4. Add shredded cheese (I use Daiya cheese shreds in either cheddar or pepper jack, as they are free of dairy, gluten and soy.) 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Apple Peanut Butter Quinoa Flakes

Last year after learning I should stick to a gluten-free diet, I frequently turned to oatmeal for breakfast. During that time, I discovered The Oatmeal Artist (I believe through Pinterest.)

In October or November, I was told I also needed to cut oats from my diet. Although I could not eat them, I prepared a couple of baked oatmeal dishes to add to our traditional Christmas morning brunch. One variety I fixed was Apple Nut Butter Baked Oatmeal.  It sounded SO good.

In January, I tried making quinoa for breakfast - in hopes it would satisfy my oatmeal cravings.  However, the texture was not a big hit in my household. Then, I discovered quinoa flakes.  (My husband picked some up for me at Whole Foods Market.  I also found them at Fred Meyer, but they cost a couple dollars more.)

Quinoa flakes cook a lot faster than oats, so I am making some adjustments as I try adapting some of my favorite oatmeal recipes.

Variations: For those with nut allergies, I am sure this would be great with Sunbutter (I cannot eat sunflower seed products either...)  You can also omit the cinnamon or cut it to 1/4 teaspoon.  (I am supposed to increase my intake of cinnamon, oregano, and garlic, so I actually used about 3/4 teaspoon in mine.) This would also be great with a mashed ripe banana instead of the maple syrup (but, you guessed it, no bananas for me.)

Apple Peanut Butter Quinoa Flakes
1 cup almond milk (milk or milk substitute)
1/3 cup quinoa flakes
1 small apple, diced (I peeled mine, but you do not have to)
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup (honey, or favorite sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Place diced apples and almond milk in a small or medium saucepan.
2. Bring almond milk to boil.
3. Add quinoa flakes and stir or whisk into almond milk.
4. Continue to boil for 90 seconds.
5. Remove from heat.
6. Stir in cinnamon, peanut butter and maple syrup.
7. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lack of Posts

Hello, all!

I want to apologize for my lack of posts.  To be honest, 2013 threw me a curve-ball.  After months of health problems and medical tests, I was encouraged by a specialist to see a naturopath.  Under his care, I finally learned there were a whole slew of foods causing me issues.

For the most part, I think I have done a pretty good job at taking this well.  Although, I will say this, if you have family or loved ones you frequently invite into your home for meals that have food allergies or sensitivities I strongly encourage you to take the time to provide a couple of things they can eat so they feel included.  (There is nothing like watching everyone around you sating their hunger on the appetizers you cannot eat while your stomach is growling and you are praying the main course will soon be ready so you can eat the meal you prepared and brought along for yourself...)

I have missed the Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers Challenges.  At the moment, I am focusing on finding healthy meals that exclude all dairy, gluten, eggs, oats, rice, bakers yeast, beef, pork, honey, sugar, artificial sweeteners, bananas, blueberries, and the list goes on...

On the bright side, ever so slowly, my stomach is healing.  I've dropped more lbs than I care to mention (I have no doubt cutting dairy, gluten, sugar and honey played a big role in that!). And, best of all, I have had a lot of time to work on crazy quilting - my favorite hobby.  If you are interested, my projects may be viewed on my first blog, Living My Dream at

Eventually, I hope to learn enough to be able to adapt the meals in the Daring Kitchen Challenges so they fit my current dietary guidelines.  This month's Daring Cooks Challenge looks amazing!  It is called Arancine, and it looks quite tasty.  To see for yourself, CLICK HERE.

I hope 2014 is an incredible year for you!