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.
A bean-free hummus that’s pretty enough to be a work of art? Say what? No seriously, this cauliflower hummus features roasted beets and garlic and it’s about to take your snack game to a whole new level!
After years of working on healing my gut, dealing with a parasite and unhappy gut bacteria, among other things, I am proud to say that my gut and my digestion has never ever been better, I don’t date say that I am cured and everything is perfect, but I feel incredible and that is absolutely something to celebrate.
You may have noticed that it’s been a bit quiet over here. I have been working on a few bigger projects that are taking up most of my time, but given the current state of the world, I have also needed to just take a big step back, where I can.
It’s strange to feel that I simultaneously have so very much to say, so so much, yet I am constantly finding myself at a loss for words. Dumbfounded. Instead of being glued to my computer and my phone, rather than refreshing my social media feeds minute after minute, I have instead chosen self care and comfort. I’ve chosen to march and to focus on action. I have surrounded myself with others feeling equally as devastated and at a loss, but also very fueled to do something about it. I have been volunteering my time and donating my dollars. I have been cooking for comfort and love rather than just for work. Serving others and nourishing myself. These are the things I can control and while the world is feeling increasingly more out of control, I find myself wanting to focus inward first, to take care of myself, then find ways I can use my voice, my power and my passion in my local community to help how there I can, as well.
I have been a long time fan of chia seed pudding and it’s become a simple dish that I recommend often as an egg-free, dairy-free snack, breakfast or dessert option to my nutritional clients, especially those I recommend blood sugar control diets or sugar detoxes to. Without sweetener (or sweetened very lightly) chia pudding can be a great, nutrient-dense alternative to the more standard grain and carb-forward breakfasts. It’s loaded with omega-3 essential fatty acids, fiber, protein, and various micronutrients and chia seeds are also high in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
For those of you that follow me on social media, you likely see that I spend a fair amount of time at the Terranea Resort here in the LA area. (Full disclosure, I was selected as one of 5 influencers to be a 2016 Terranea Resort Social Media Ambassador, but my love for this place runs deep and far beyond that title.) I truly feel that Terranea is one of Southern California’s best kept secrets, yet it really shouldn’t be. Terranea sits on the coast in Rancho Palos Verdes, about 15 miles from our front door in Long Beach. The 102-acre private peninsula paradise, is like stepping into a whole new world – minutes from the bustle of Los Angeles. Surrounded by the tranquil waves of the Pacific, the coastal setting of Terranea embraces the California lifestyle and it’s Mediterranean heritage. Regardless if you are a guest at the resort the sprawling land is all open to the public, so you are free to walk the ocean-side trails, dine at the many restaurants, plan a spa day or just enjoy the views.
It only seems fair after the rash of sweets recipes that has filled this website over the last week, to give you a solid savory recipe. Seeing as savory, salty and crunchy are definitely my personal, crave-worthy foods. These 4-ingredient Grain-free Everything Bagel Crackers are my everything, this is my kind of snacking!
The amount of options for gluten-free crackers in the snack aisle at the grocery store is kind of mind-blowing to me. I still remember what it was like 12 years ago when I first shifted to a gluten-free diet. There was absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. Now there are far too many options, but the problem still exists, as it does with most processed and packaged foods, vetting the ingredients. Trying to find an option that isn’t highly processed and loaded with strange ingredients, it’s just damn near impossible.
Sometimes it’s the un-recipes, the simple, uncomplicated eats that are the most coveted around here. With fall being a hustling and bustling time, I know we all struggle to slow down, to hit pause even and enjoy the best of the season, but it’s so important. Fall will be over before we know it and we will be in the thick of the holidays. I don’t want to rush it. I want to enjoy every bit(e) of it.
While I have no issues with embracing pumpkin-everything this time of year, I also find that apples don’t get nearly enough of the autumnal love! Probably my most favorite of all the fruits, apples are impeccable this time of year and a source of so many great nutrients, including vitamins A & C and various minerals including lots of potassium, and a solid showing of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. They are high in fiber and apple pectin has detoxifying qualities, making it used often in cleansing formulas. Apples are a sweet mini-multivitamin of sorts, bringing a little bit of everything. I always recommend apples that are organic and unsprayed, as most conventional apples are heavily sprayed with pesticides.
With the start of fall and now as we enter October, I say this means it’s officially, official that we can go all-in on the pumpkin spice everything. Sure it’s considered Basic B*tch to some, but I don’t care, call me “Basic Beth” if you wish – I want to pumpkin spice ALL the things, like these Maple Glazed Pumpkin Spice Almonds.
These lightly sweetened with just a hint of salt, crunchy, crispy, coated almonds are flavored with my homemade Pumpkin Spice Blend (but of course any store bought pumpkin spice blend will work) – they get coated with maple syrup and then if you allow them time to dry slowly, they harden, up, get crispy and will wow you! Otherwise you end up with sticky, stuck together, not-so-crispy nuts.
With the end of summer not too far off, it’s time we start planning our graceful exit strategy, for me this usually includes preserving as much of the summer flavors as possible. Besides preserving fresh herbs in olive oil, I find quick pickled veggies to be an excellent way to hang on to the tasty abundance of summer, just a little bit longer.
Sure, canning, fermentation and other more long-term storage options are always available, but this is a super quick method, that you can throw together in a mere 15 or 20 minutes. No mess and no fuss.
Did you know that May is Celiac Awareness Month? I shared the following over on my Instagram account but I thought it was worth mentioning here, as well.
While I discovered my own severe gluten intolerance over 11 years ago, I was actually never properly tested for Celiac (until it was too late) and now as many years later, as additional health issues have shown up to the party, many of which you guys have read about right here on the website – I now certainly suspect Celiac to be the underlying cause. (Though I denied this truth for many years)
That said, frankly speaking, my 11 year journey of eating 100% gluten-free and guiding others on their path, no matter the need, it has always been about celebrating food, exploring ingredients and hopefully encouraging others to get excited to be in the kitchen and create. Fresh, seasonal, nutrient-dense whole foods – to me it’s all about the amazing things that are naturally gluten-free, rather than supplementing with overly processed substitutes.
That said, given the nature of my work and the fact that not everyone has the ability to work from home, cook all three meals a day completely from scratch and that many of you have a whole family to feed – I am also always on the look out for gluten-free products that will make life easier, while not being loaded with terrifying ingredients. Read the rest of this entry »
As I go deeper into learning about nutrition and food, while in school to become a Nutritional Therapist, at times feeding my husband reminds me a lot of what my friends who are mothers, go through with their children. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is no man-child, he can take care of himself, he’ll cook when I am not around, he eats his veggies and he can grill like it’s no one’s business – clearly my hubby is > a toddler. But, the man loves his sweets. If he had it his way he would eat a doughnut or a slice of cake for breakfast every single day, he will however on the average day simply settle for toast with jelly or a bowl of cereal. Of course, no matter what is selected this would all be accompanied by the largest cup of coffee. Ever. Sigh.
Recently I have been working with him not to change his diet in some drastic way, I don’t need him resenting me and my schooling, but more to understand how starting his day in this manner definitely contributes to, if not exclusively causes, those mid-day crashes he was constantly struggling with and not only that, how it also leads to additional cravings and the need and urge for more sugar and carbs to be satiated. The vicious, never-ending, sugar-burning cycle.
Truth me told, the loaded fries and the chicken wings, those are more my husband’s football food. He begs and pleads for junk food on football Sundays, so I have always caved by simply recreating the classics for him, but in a healthier way. It’s a good deal for both of us. Me, I am a bit more uppity when it comes to what I want in a party spread. Give me an epic charcuterie or crudités platter, a little homemade roasted red pepper and feta dip, some tasty, fresh homemade salsa and chips (I reach for the plantain chips these days), a simple, but flavorful chili, the best darn gluten-free soft pretzel bites or these…tasty, crispy salmon cakes!
These Grain-free Salmon Cakes with Old Bay Aioli may seem a more fancy option at your Super Bowl spread, compared to the chips, fries or wings, but don’t let these fool you. They are whipped up in a mere minutes and they are the perfect small bite, party food. A little crispy on the outside with a soft, fluffy, perfect interior. Do not, I repeat do not skip out on the Old Bay Aioli. It’s a must here.
Though salmon cakes aren’t a food I grew up eating, these are comfort food to me. They are totally fuss-free, so they actually make for a very simple weeknight meal or a quick lunch or brunch, even. We almost always have canned salmon on hand, but this recipe is also great for leftover cooked salmon, as well. I love these served over a mixed baby greens salad, but they make an amazing appetizer, as well. Make the patties even bigger and go for more of a burger vibe, if you’d like.
Today is a special one, I decided to create a second version of the Spicy Orange Sriracha Chicken Wings that I am also sharing here today, but swapping in veggies for the meat. Let it be known that I hate putting food words in quotes. It’s stupid. I will acknowledge this. But… sometimes it’s the only option. Cauliflower does in fact NOT have wings. I’m aware of this. Maybe if you fed it Red Bull, but otherwise no. OK. Not funny. Sorry. I digress, there really isn’t a good name for these. “Cauli-wings” is tempting, but let’s just be real, I don’t think this is a good choice if we’re talking SEO, google and keywords, do people even use that term? Blah blah. So here we are, another blog post with quotes. I’m rolling with it.
It may seem odd to be sharing, on the same day, a chicken wing recipe, along with a matching cauliflower “wing” recipe. But here’s the reality, I freakin’ LOVE vegetables you guys. They make my soul happy, they make my belly sing and if you are asking me, they are just always the best choice. I’ll eat the heck out of a chicken wing, don’t get me wrong, but if I can have a real-food veggie option, I want that,
tooinstead! Read the rest of this entry »
It’s Super Bowl week and according to my hubby, it’s illegal to celebrate the big game without chicken wings! I grew up in Buffalo, spent more than 30 years there and Mark spent the better part of 10 years living there, so we know a thing or two about good chicken wings. In those parts, they make their appearance at nearly every gathering, party, get together and special occasion. That said, traditional Buffalo-Style chicken wings, while always good, we’ve been there, done that. It was time to mix things up a bit. I know what my husband likes so I created this recipe with him in mind, while for me and my love of veggies, I made a second, even less traditional version, with cauliflower, which you can grab here: Spicy Orange Sriracha Cauliflower “Wings”.
After making several batches of my honey-sweetened orange marmalade this past week, I was inspired to continue creating with it, we have more than enough of it and it’s so delicious I want to put it on everything! This sticky, finger-licking good wing sauce, combines the sweet, tartness of the homemade orange marmalade with the heat from Sriracha! Now that’s a winning team. Read the rest of this entry »
The thing about being a mindful eater, about being aware of every single thing that you put into your face, for those of us who take the time to truly learn about food – is that it’s really hard to un-know what you discover as you dig deeper. While I truly believe that knowledge is power, if you allow it, that knowledge it can overpower and it can consume you. Back to that magical word you are probably sick of hearing from me, but here it is again. Balance. Aligning your knowledge and your intuition with the real world, being around other people, holidays and special occasions. It isn’t easy, but it’s totally possible.
As I continue on in school, the Nutritional Therapy Program with the NTA, I learn more and more every day. My eyes are opened and I can, in vulnerable times, find myself being fearful of food in a way that I never have before. Questioning food, where it is sourced from, the foods used in restaurants, etc., these have all been a very integrate part of my life these past 10 years, but now I truly feel like I am interrogating the wait staff at most restaurants. At times, I can see how dietary changes, strict protocols, elimination diets, etc – how they can breed disordered eating, if we aren’t careful. I know all of this will settle as I become more at comfortable with the new bits I am learning, but mostly I know I can always fall back into my old trusted way of knowing… that homemade is always better. When you make it yourself, you can always be certain you know what you are eating and you don’t have to fear the food you consume. When you want to veer off and indulge a little, you can do it without the guilt and without the worry.
This week, as I take on the Super Bowl, I encourage you to think out of the box, literally and make what you can, yourself. Swap in real foods and trust that updating a recipe to be a little bit healthier will likely be well-received by everyone else, if you are smart about it. This week, I am bringing you homemade, healthier, but still a little naughty, snacks, treats and bites. Because after all, a football party is not a football party without some good ‘ol fashioned finger food.
French fries of any and every kind, those are my true weakness. My Achilles heel. My Kryptonite. Take away all the candy, cookies, cakes and breads, I don’t care, but don’t take my fries! We’ve spent a fair amount time in school discussing fats and oils and learning that most restaurants, when frying, are using hydrogenated or worse, trans fat oils. Unless a restaurant makes their fries in a high quality fat, suitable for high heat, these days I just have to pass. It’s not easy, but it’s also not worth it. I make my consessions where I can, but I am no longer willing to do so here.
By now we’ve all seen and likely enjoyed that that tasty chocolate mousse or pudding, that is actually just avocado, cocoa and a little sweetener. (You can find my recipe for it, terrible photo and all, way back in the TY archives.) That very idea also sparked the creation of these delicious Creamy Chocolate Fudgesicles.
This past week, as I continued to collect the many avocados still available in abundance from the tree in our yard, I was dreaming up creative uses for all the avocados we have. I can never get enough guacamole and my homemade avocado salad dressing is always a favorite, but I was also craving something sweet. I am not sure how or why, but I was instantly inspired to create a creamy, luscious chocolate shake.
I have never been a fan of milkshakes!! Gasp… I know right? There is just something about that much dairy getting sucked through a straw, laced with a year’s worth of sugar that ALWAYS spell disaster for my gut, as it should.
Velvety smooth, rich and sinfully delicious, this Chocolate Shake get it’s creaminess from avocado, rather than ice cream and it’s sweetened only by a few dates and a little melted dark chocolate. It brings you some healthy fats from both the avocado and the coconut milk and a load of antioxidants from the raw cacao. Also, shhhh, there’s no dairy in there, so it’s great for all, paleo, vegans, it’s even safe for our nut-free pals. Basically in all it’s delicious glory, it’s like a nutrient-dense chocolate shake, that you can indulge in, guilt-free! I promise, it will be love at first sip.
It’s been a tad quiet here on the website and my social media outlets while I enjoyed the magic of the holidays with my family in NY. I took a little break from the constant posting and checking all the social channels, while allowing myself to be fully submerged in the short time I had with my family. Those trips back home are never long enough, they fly by in the blink of an eye and I find myself packing my bags up to come back to our home in California, in what feels like mere hours after we had just left.
I know I am repeating myself when I share this thought, but whether traveling and visiting family or in my own home entertaining guests, I very much subscribe to the notion that just like the rest of the year, the holidays should be about balance. Making mindful choices, but also not limiting yourself to such an unhealthy degree that you wander through the season feeling deprived, left out, unhappy or unable to relax and enjoy your loved ones. A few extra starchy carbs or a little extra unrefined sugar, by way of those tasty homemade gluten-free cookies or maybe a little extra dairy than normal in those traditional homemade meals your family makes, I can promise you that it won’t kill you (this is all outside of any existing allergies, of course). If you eat a little off your usual plan, doing so knowing it’s a treat, it won’t derail your hard work from the rest of the year. It’s not only about the balance but also, the energy and the emotions you harbor when eating. Dropping the guilt and the feelings of “doing wrong”, this matters and it certainly affects how your body chooses to respond to the treats, as well.
Eating healthy and choosing real food is so incredibly important and generally at the forefront for most of us, but allowing it to take a backseat to family and friends, love, laughter and memories, in my mind, this is certainly as it should be, especially during the holidays. This season I have been on a mission to create dishes that celebrate the holidays with my loved ones, yet still fall within my idea of healthy, real food. Read the rest of this entry »
I am all about the simple lately. Quick fixes, simple snack, meals without fuss. I want to enjoy the flavors of nourishing whole foods, with the seasonal ingredients I have on hand and minimal prep. It’s been a hectic month or so.
I haven’t had a moment to tell you guys, but I am back in school! As of this month, I am enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Program with the Nutritional Therapy Association to become a Certified Nutritional Therapist. I have long dreamt of finding the proper program where I could continue educating myself in a manner that would certify me to work even deeper with people, seeking to heal their bodies through a real food diet and a more foundational perspective.
I myself have been on a long and continued path towards healing my body. 10 years of trials and tribulations, ups and downs, diagnoses and at times, challenged guidance. While my own healing journey is far from over, with new discoveries on what works best for me still being made weekly, I have so much I want to share and yet, so much still I want to learn, both for myself and for the countless others whom I meet and want to help.
I could talk for hours about what I have learned already just a few weeks into the program and just what enrolling in this program means for me, moving forward, but I digress, I have a stack of homework and this post is supposed to be about dip. That said, please know that I will be sharing my experiences with this program and the curiculum here o the website. I will be sharing a monthly journal of sort, of the progress of my time in the program, for those that are curious in possibly joining yourself and for those that may just be curious in how what I am learning may be of help to you. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I have this super simple, seasonally-inspired snack for you. Read the rest of this entry »
If you follow me on social media, on apps like Instagram or Snapchat, you may have noticed that after nearly 3 years of living in California, I am back to traveling again. The travel-bug has bit this girl and this is an itch that must be scratched. I absolutely love adventure and I live for that joy you get when discovering new places.
The hardest thing about traveling, however, is doing so with dietary challenges. With limitations on my diet and wanting to maintain a healthy, mindful lifestyle, this can be hard while I am away from the comforts of my own kitchen. While challenging, it is also totally possible and I want to share with those of you living a life similar to mine, that with a little research and planning, your wanderlust can certainly be quenched, too! In the past, after first changing my diet, discovering my gluten intolerance and making other changes to my lifestyle, I had found myself scared to travel, worried that I wouldn’t be able to eat. But I always more than make it, I eat well on my travels and I am able to honor my body the way I choose to, while still being able to explore new cuisine, experience new restaurants and travel a city the way everyone else gets to. I want to encourage you guys, to get out there, to have fun, explore and travel.
For me, a big part of my travel routine, relies heavily on planning ahead and of course, packing food. Though with every passing year it gets easier and easier to find restaurants that truly support gluten-free, I also like to know that I am covered. Plus, when flying, let’s be honest, most airlines haven’t quite received the memo that gluten-free is a thing! Homemade energy bars, trail mix, dark chocolate and other healthy snacks, these are always a must for me. Plus, I don’t ever leave home without some green stuff. This girl’s gut needs the green stuff to keep things moving, if you know what I mean.
These Chocolate Trail Mix Energy Bars (gluten-free, vegan and paleo) are basically all of the good superfood stuff you love, in one magical, travel-friendly bar! Trail mix, greens and of course, chocolate. (To know me is to know, this is something I won’t leave home without). Enter ALOHA, my very best travel companion. In my world, ALOHA is as important as my passport, when I head off on adventure.
It’s quite fitting that my fifth and final recipe for this series of healthy travel snacks, I created with Albertsons, is being written from around 37,000 feet in the air. I am flying from California to the East Coast where I will be spending a total of 10 days between Maine and New York. As usual, I have a large selection of healthy snacks packed away for my travels. While I find when flying I have to be a bit more selective with my snack choices, homemade energy bars are always a must. They are super travel-friendly and so simple to whip up the night before my trips.
By now I am sure you’ve caught my tutorial on how-to make your own homemade energy bars, but if you haven’t get to it. It’s the perfect formula to create the perfect bars for your favorite flavors. These bars were one of the few that I have made more than a few times and inspired the ideas of the adaptable tutorial.
These tropical-inspired bars are a great, healthy snack for bringing along on your vacation, but they are also a wonderful way to bring the vacation to you at home. Coconut and pineapple always summons the tropics. Think fancy frozen drinks with umbrellas on the beach.
These particular energy bars are made nut-free, but you can certainly add nuts to fill them out a bit more, if you prefer. Almonds, walnuts, pecans – these are all great options.
As summer winds down, I am clinging to every last bit of the season that I can. I refuse to acknowledge it’s almost over. Keeping with the theme of healthy summer road trip snacks this Honey-Sweetened Strawberry Fruit Leather is the perfect way to take the sweet tastes of summer with you, wherever you go.
This fruit leather recipe calls for strawberries but you can use this as a guide to create fruit leather with whatever fruit you have an abundance of. Peaches, apricots, apples and so on. You can even create a blend of your favorite fruits.
Fruit leather gets a wrap for being a kids-only snack, but I can tell you, adults truly love the stuff, too. This could partially be the fact that it will instantly transport you to being a kid. It’s also great for travel and being on-the-go, just roll it up with a little parchment paper and pack it into your bag and you are ready to go. Sweet, summer berry goodness, wherever you are. Try out different berries or other seasonal fruit for additional variations. For a smoother leather, you can strain the seeds or any pulp before dehydrating, if you’d like. You can cook the fruit first if you’d like to intensify the flavor a bit.