Infused Olive Oils make really great and beautiful gifts for the food lovers in your life! They are also great to have on hand in your own kitchen for your own cooking adventures. The flavor possibilities are endless and it is truly a fun and unique gift.
There are lots of great options for simple homemade gifts here on TY: Healthier Hot Cocoa Mix, Homemade Chocolate Bark, Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar, DIY homemade Vanilla Extract, Essential Oil Holiday Room Sprays, Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter, Coconut Butter, Nut Butters, Candy Cane Hot Cocoa Mix, Chai Concentrate, just to name a few of my favorites.
A handmade gift, made with love, packaged up sweetly with beautiful custom labels and a thoughtful note, to me, is what the season is all about. Sharing something you created with your own two hands, especially for the person receiving it.
There are so many various ways you can infuse olive oil and there are just as many posts floating around the web telling us about them. Some heat the oil, while others just throw it all together in the bottle and call it a day, some leave in the ingredients in, others strain them out before bottling. I have done a lot of reading and no matter what method you choose, there are a few concerns we have to take into account when making infused olive oils.
With the holidays upon us, it’s time once again that I share with you some of my favorite, simple homemade holiday gifts. This wintertime staple is a quintessential way to deal with the frosty cold weather. This homemade version is made with only a few, all-natural ingredients and the bonus to making it yourself, besides the obvious, is the free reign to add whatever you’d like to it. If you like less sweet, opt for unsweetened chocolate, looking for a little more sweetness try bitter or semisweet chocolate instead. You can add cinnamon or cayenne or any other flavors you’d like (see the bottom of the post for flavor variations). Today I am sharing my recipe for a basic hot cocoa mix with a few suggestions at the end for extra add-ins, as well as a free printable label for you to print out, customize and add to your gift.
There’s nothing like giving the gift of tasty treats, made with love this time of year, but especially cozy, heart-warming decadence like this homemade Hot Cocoa Mix. Rich and luxurious without being excessively sweet. Download the included printable, customizable label, throw in some mini marshmallows, this is a great recipe if you want to make your own. Package it all up in a cute jar, include a tablespoon tied with a little ribbon or string and voila, the perfect holiday gift.
How-to Make Hot Cocoa Mix
This Dairy-free Eggnog is creamy, rich, frothy and can be made with or without alcohol for a delicious holiday treat!
Holiday traditions of the edible and drinkable persuasion, those are as powerful and important as any others. But the traditional, seasonal foods of today, they pale in comparison to those our grandparents enjoyed. Store bought eggnog is generally loaded with tons of sugar and corn syrup, artificial flavors, pasteurized and denatured dairy, theres gums and other stabilizers and who knows what else. Even the vegan nogs at the store, the amount of sugar in there is just insanity and there’s so much non-food products hidden within. For me, it’s just not worth it, even if just once a year, especially when you can make your own and kill it!
While I prefer to avoid most dairy and have developed a pretty solid vegan eggnog recipe in the past, I realized recently that I was shorting myself on a pretty rad eggnog experience by skipping out on the eggs. Like, why was I doing that? I mean, after all, it wasn’t called “cashewnog” for the last however many decades. Why had it never dawned on me to meet in the middle with my nog, drop the dairy, keep the eggs, sweeten accordingly.
This homemade dairy-free eggnog has the same creamy, richness of a traditional eggnog, with a really, nice, light frothiness that I prefer to a super duper, heavy cream-loaded nog. Thanks to the separated yolks and whites (inspired by this recipe), it’s simple to make but the texture is perfect every time. It’s the perfect balance of creamy and frothy. This is a really solid base recipe and from here you can play with spices and flavorings. Try a Bourbon Maple version, or maybe a Pumpkin Spiced rendition, add in some pumpkin puree and pie spice, maybe cinnamon liquor in the mix. Or Gingersnap inspired with a little molasses and ginger or gingersnap liquor.
When it comes to entertaining, boards are the ultimate in wow factor without a ton of fuss. More specifically I am a HUGE fan of cheese and meat boards. Selfishly when entertaining, since I prefer to avoid grains and greasy chips and snacks, cheese and charcuterie boards offer a great, pretty low maintenance way for me to have everything that I want, while still making all of my guests happy.
My cheese and charcuterie boards are generally focused around being totally grain-free and then depending on my guests, I will often have a generous pile of toasted crostini, that I serve to the side, separately for the non gluten-free or grain-free folks. I simple arrange sliced crostini in a single layer on a cookie sheet, brush both sides with olive oil and toss under the broiler for a few minutes on each side. Add a sprinkle of sea salt. It’s the fastest way to lots of toast.
Follow along for all of my tips on How-to Build an Epic Grain-free Cheese and Charcuterie Board.
Sleeping in on the weekend, rolling out of the bed at a leisurely pace and enjoying a feast of a brunch, this is something we all long for.
Inspired by local and seasonal fare, the new Saturday brunch buffet at catalina kitchen, at Terranea Resort, goes beyond bacon and eggs to bring you the ultimate weekend brunch experience. A culinary adventure that is sure to satisfy every palate, the epic spread celebrates the best of what California has to offer, through fresh, inspired dishes.
I literally cannot believe that after nearly 7 years of blogging and sharing recipes here with you, that I have never shared this one. It’s literally one of my MOST favorite foods ever. Gluten-free Pastitsio (pa-STEE-tsee-oh), a Greek-Style Baked Pasta / Lasagna, of sort, this is 100% my kind of comfort food. A Christmas dinner tradition, this is the food I grew up eating for the holidays. My Yia Yia always made an incredible tray of pastitsio and since her passing, we can always count on my mother to manage the task and do it as if she herself was the Greek one. Years ago, when I discovered my gluten intolerance, my mom so graciously tweaked the family recipe to be made gluten-free and I never had to be without. Overtime I have made it myself and continued to slightly adjust things and I am so honored to be sharing it with all of you, finally.
With layers of ground meat (beef or lamb) and pasta and a creamy, puffy, eggy, cheesy béchamel on top, there are hints of warming cinnamon throughout the entire dish and then it’s baked to perfection. This dish steps in where casseroles and lasagna leave off. Traditionally made with bucatini, a long tubular pasta laid out going in the same direction, I make mine gluten-free using instead an organic brown rice penne. In place of regular flour in the béchamel, I use a gluten-free all-purpose blend.
15 Homemade Holiday Gifts
With the holiday closing in on us, I am sure many of you are doing the last minute gift scramble so prevalent in these final days before Christmas. Rather than throwing money at the wall and going with whatever it sticks to, instead of just grabbing another gift card from the big box stores, why not get creative and craft up some beautiful, thoughtful homemade gifts this year?
Drop the cottonball snowmen, leave the popsicle sticks in the popsicles and leave the salt dough for the kids. Finally put away, I repeat, put away the glitter. Spread the holiday cheer with some of my favorite sweet (but sometimes savory) and simple handmade holiday gifts.
We made a list, but there is no need for you to check it twice. 25+ Gluten-free and Grain-free Holiday Cookies, Treats, Sweets and Cocktails! Everything you could need for a tasty and indulgent, homemade, real-food-inspired holiday is right here! From cookies, sweets and treats, to hot cozy drinks and spiked boozy cocktails, you can rest easy with all the planning already done for you. More time for you to finish up that last minute shipping and perfectly wrap all those thoughtful gifts.
Sweets and Treats
Hemp Heart Peppermint Chocolate Fudge (pictured)
How-to Make Chocolate Bark (with customizable printable labels)
Drinks, Smoothies and Cocktails
Spice Infused Winter Sangria (pictured)
Don’t send a Thanksgiving lynching mob after me, but I generally don’t care too much about pies. I am already not a huge dessert person, but if I am going to have a little something sweet, I’d probably always opt for chocolate. Gimme this Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Tart and I’ve got everything I need. But, I am fully aware that pies are part of holiday spreads for a reason, pies go with Thanksgiving like peanut butter to jelly. I am currently also painfully aware of baking’s ability to heal and it’s important role in relieving stress, something I have personally been in great need of since the election. So here we are, with an epic pumpkin pie that will change the minds of even the greatest pie skeptics.
I have always loved the idea of a pumpkin pie, as I am a big fan of pumpkin-spiced everything, but generally I find many pumpkin pies to be just a tad lacking. First, it’s just your standard pie crust, nothing too special there, not a ton of flavor, then the pumpkin filling gets a little spicing and maybe you top it all with a little whipped cream. To me, it just always feels like it’s missing a little something. It lacks a little dessert flair. I also find that when you add adequate spices and a sweetener with some depth, beyond just standard refined white sugar, the color of a finished pumpkin pie just ends up pretty drab. Beigy brown toasted edge crust, a orangey-brown filling. I dunno, I feel like we can do better than this you guys!
Disclosure: Post sponsored by Crock-Pot® brand slow cooker & Mirum Shopper, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.
I always feel very divided when planning the Thanksgiving menu. Mostly I want a classic, traditional menu (obviously with some changes made to accommodate my diet and the diet of any of my guests, if I am hosting) but every year I like to mix it up a little with at least one dish, bringing in unexpected flavors or a new method of preparation. As part of my continued partnership with Crock-Pot® brand slow cooker, and in conceptualizing a holiday recipe using it, I knew it was the perfect tool for creating the best cranberry sauce this holiday season has ever seen. This here cranberry sauce was born to be the star of the show, rather than the unloved side that so many know it to be.
I asked over on Snapchat a while back, what holiday recipes people wanted help with. There was an abundance of requests for stuffing recipes for Thanksgiving. Particularly grain-free stuffing recipes.
I have several other stuffing recipes here in the archives if you are looking for other renditions:
This particular recipe is a holiday classic, the perfect stuffing – moist in the middle and crisp on the top. For me, this is exactly the stuffing I grew up eating, but rather than white bread so many of us can’t have or even the overly process gluten-free stuff, this is made with a super quick, homemade (nut-free) grain-free bread, that you can throw together ahead of time.
This Whipped Sweet Potatoes recipe is shared with permission from Diane Sanfilippo’s Practical Paleo 2nd Edition
For many of you that have followed Tasty Yummies and my ongoing health journey for some time, you know that this website, my passion and my recipes were all born of my own quest to find health. In discovering a severe gluten intolerance nearly 12 years ago, to my autoimmune disease diagnosis and a slew of other digestive troubles along the way – I have always chosen to let these challenges be the catalyst to me educating myself, empowering myself and in turn hoping to help others do the same.
From the very start, I have always embraced and preached the idea of nourishing your individuality, that there is no one-size-fits all approach to health and that if you can quiet down the outside influences enough and tap into your own intuition – all of the answers are there. When the paleo movement began to come to fruition and came more to the forefront, I admittedly found myself viscerally opposed to this idea – just as I always had been with any other diet that contained strict labels, rules and a very black and white approach to health. It wasn’t so much that I was against the idea that it could work for some, it was more that I was witnessing very dogmatic activity from many of it’s supporters, which turned me off. It was feeling to me like some vegans’ approach to health and their belief (and often consequent judgement) that “their way” was the only way. Despite following a diet fairly close to what was labeled as “paleo” and having some interest in the idea that it could continue healing my body using a paleo diet, I stubbornly rejected the notion of slapping a label on my heath journey, this blog and my continued autoimmune struggles.
I think what I love so much about the holidays, is that it’s a time for us to come together. To sit amongst the people we love, to share nourishing food, to (hopefully) put our differences aside, to express our gratitude and simply just be with one another. I think we can all agree that this is all so very much needed this year.
I love that with every person I speak to, their version of holiday traditions and gatherings vary so vastly. From restaurant meals and take-out to large feasts of over 50 people. The common thread: gratitude, love and of course, food!
If you haven’t noticed, it’s become Thanksgiving central around here. We’re tackling the the traditional dishes, as well as some unique and creative takes on this often very classic meal. Mostly, I want to remind you that comfort food doesn’t have to be synonmous with “bad for you” or “junk”, you can have comforting cozy foods and not pay for it later. But, we also need to remember that the holidays aren’t about perfection and rules, of course food allergies and intolerances and making choices that are appropriate for you and your healing journey is one thing, but go easy on yourself you guys. This is just one day. As I always say, honor your individuality and your personal path to health, love your body and treat it with respect – whatever that looks like for you, is right!!
I am excited to be partnering with Nuts.com for today’s Thanksgiving recipe, bringing you a completely new autumn-inspired, comfort food side dish, that is bound be a favorite for years to come.
This Grain-free Savory Butternut Squash and Kale Crumble bridges the gap between stuffing and starches, veggies and gratins. Instead of the usual pureed or roasted squash, that will get left behind, rather than steamed greens that no one gets particularly excited about, this comforting, creamy, hearty crisp is a new way to enjoy a crumble and a tasty option to enjoy your squash and greens. With a creamy sauce, smokey, crispy bacons, fresh herbs and a golden topping this is truly what comfort food is all about.
In an effort to lighten things up, I have definitely made mashed cauliflower as a swap for mashed potatoes in the past. Listen, I am not going to lie to you guys, mashed cauliflower it’s not “faux mashed potatoes”. Mashed cauliflower is mashed cauliflower. It’s really freakin’ good, but it’s also fairly flat. It lacks the starchiness of mashed potatoes, it lacks the heft! It doesn’t hold up to a thick, luscious gravy.
Today is an exciting day! Well yes, it’s election day. Which is obviously HUGE, I hope for my American readers that you’ve already gone out and voted. But, it’s also book release day for my friend Alexis of Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. Her debut book Lexi’s Clean Kitchen hits stands today and this is an absolute must for your kitchens. Featuring over 150 delicious paleo-friendly recipes to nourish your life, this cookbook brings the focus to achieving health and happiness through the simple concept of eating clean. With a collection of fresh, creative yet practical and approachable recipes, Lexi makes eating at home, easy, tasty and fuss-free.
For those of us with gut issues, Lexi has a similar path to her healthy lifestyle, so her story brings feelings of familiarity and with that that instant connection. Lexi’s Clean Kitchen delivers an abundance of healthy meals packed with amazing flavor, like Thai Meatballs, Classic Chili, One-Pan Arroz con Pollo, Maple-Glazed Salmon, and Sriracha Lime Chopped Chicken Salad, with healthier options of your favorite indulgent foods, like French Toast Sticks, Perfect Waffles, Birthday Cake, Easy Sandwich Bread, and more!
As we head into the holidays, the focus obviously shifts to any and all dishes for entertaining. Side dishes and treats, mains and snacks. ‘Tis the season of all the eating! The Miso Roasted Brussels Sprouts are begging to be the star at your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal! Trust me, this is a veggie that can steal the show!
I enjoy creating the sweets and treats recipes, because let’s be real, the joy that healthy treats can bring is palpable. I’d like to wrap that feeling up with a pretty bow and give it as a gift. That said, when it comes to the holidays, my heart will forever remain with sides and veggies. I love a good, plant-based side dish. So much room for creativity in the vegetables. The mains are usually pretty traditional, those are generally on lock down. I just truly enjoy the challenge of creating exciting enough veggie dishes that will please the masses and especially those that won’t be the forgotten soldier at a table full of meaty mains and their carb-loaded friends. I literally have made it my mission when I feed people to make the vegetable(s) the first thing to disappear from the plate, rather than the last. This dish 100% is successful at doing exactly that.
Clearly, as evidence by my recent posts, we are coming up on the season of sweets and treats. With all the upcoming holidays, I think less is more when it comes to this encore course. I find most desserts to be far too heavy, too sweet and generally just too indulgent for my tastes. As with most everything in life, I truly believe that a little goes a long way.
If you follow me on social media at all, you may know that I am currently in London. We have 10 days of travel between London, Paris, Leeds and back to London before we head back to LA. A for-real vacation, just the hubby and I.
So far, it’s been an adventurous trip. Unfortunately the adventures started off on a truly sad note for us. Here’s a strange and very somber story for you, it’s affected me greatly and it’s been weighing so heavy on my mind, even amidst this exciting time of international travel with my guy.
We had a direct flight from Los Angeles to London, on Thursday evening. It was meant to be approximately an 11 hour flight. A few hours in, somewhere over the middle of the country I drifted off to that strange, blurry-headed, plane-induced half-sleep, when there was a call over the loud speaker for any doctors or nurses. A short time later, another call.
Suddenly several hours later, with about 3.5 hours left of our 11 hour flight, the bright lights turned on, a jarring way to wake. We received the pre-recorded notice that we were close to our arrival and that we should prepare for landing. ‘Trays and seat backs to the upright positions.’ ‘Bags stowed.’ It didn’t make sense. The map showed we were in the middle of the Atlantic, somewhere near Greenland. In the fog of sleep and slight confusion and with the pull of an extremely abrupt direction change, I opened up the digital map on the glowing screen in front of me. The flight path showed a very abrupt u-turn in the middle of the blue sea. Mark said “we’re turning back around, we’re going back.” Our plane was headed back in the very direction we had just come from and the arrival time now showed as just over an hour.
Christmas cookies seem to get all the love this time of year, but I personally think that fudge is the often forgotten sweet. I have a feeling Santa would be extra good to any house that left out for him this delicious, rich and creamy peppermint fudge.
Traditional fudge can include tons of dairy and sugar, oftentimes even corn syrup. While I don’t think the holidays should be all about going without or depriving yourself, I also firmly believe if you have to be mindful of your health and your ongoing path towards healing, indulging a bit too may leave you sorry, come January 2nd. Besides all the less than stellar ingredients, most traditional fudge also requires heating and many tedious steps, including keeping the chocolate at specific temperatures and all that complicated stuff. This simple fudge recipe requires a food processor or high speed blender and that’s it. No heat.
The best part about crafting and reimagining classic recipes, is that I can indulge in the classic flavors I love, while also bringing an extra nourishing element to them. A little sneaky sweet, if you will. This fudge is exactly that. Rather than dairy and corn syrup, this fudge relies on a creamy, rich Hemp Heart butter to bring the decadence. With all that rich decadence, the Hemp Hearts also bring a surprisingly large serving of plant based protein, you get an ample sized and properly balanced serving of Omega 3 + 6 essential fatty acids. Per a 30 gram serving of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts, (approx. 2 heaping tablespoons) you get 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of Omega 3+6s.