Sometimes when I embark on something new and big, I usually crave something comfortable and familiar to keep things feeling balanced. Like gluten-free blueberry pie. Warm, juicy and naturally sweet, it pairs perfectly with a scoop of sugar-free vanilla coconut milk ice cream. One of my favorite blueberry pie recipes is gluten-free and dairy-free from The Spunky Coconut. I’ll be indulging in a similar blueberry cobbler (above) today, as I just finished a two-day long overhaul of my blog (as you’ve probably come to notice). I’m now completely self hosted and couldn’t be happier with the new design! To top it off, my fiance just finished graduate school and starts his new job next week. He’ll be spending more time at home this summer, something I know we’ll both cherish. So what’s not to celebrate? I hope you’re looking forward to the long days of summer as much as I am.
I used to be a wild child of sorts. I say of sorts because somewhere in my excitable nature, that lively and unfiltered strain of myself still lurks. You know, the part that spontaneously dances like mad with the grace of an uncoordinated five year old. Well, I suppose you don’t know but rather my sister does. Or the part that picks the most obnoxious parts of obnoxious songs and sings them loudly and repeatedly without thinking twice (Sorry Lindsey). Or the part that occasionally likes to split a bottle of wine on a Wednesday night and frolic around in the park and play on the playground. Yes, that slightly wild and silly part that I suppress sometimes (a lot more than I should) not only exists, but reels like crazy deep down. And I’m okay with that, now more than ever.
The past few months of this winter really had me feeling older than my years, down to aching joints and grumbling mornings to boot. I found myself suppressing my inner happy go lucky self in order to be taken more seriously and try to be more productive. Over the last few years actually, that has been the trend. After college graduation, I thought it was time to “grow up”. But I think the opposite of what I wanted to happen, happened. And I didn’t expect it. I became less interested with myself, more tired, and frankly more boring. I was working hard, and had some successes, but wasn’t really happy. I felt like a stifled, shushed, whiny, and tired-of-it-all woman. At my own hand no less.
This year, and even more so with the recent coming of spring, I find a familiar feeling bubbling up inside of me; something that makes me take a step back and wonder, “Hang on, where the hell have I been??” The other morning, I woke up with “Another One Bites The Dust” stuck in my head (don’t ask), and suddenly found myself belting out some Queen and shakin’ it like nobody’s business–like it was automatic. And it is, because it’s who I am. I’m dancing like crazy. I’m not being overly cautious. I’m not catering to what “they” might think. I’m finding more and more happiness with letting that wild vibrant spirit of mine come to light with the realization that I was perfectly imperfect before I tried to “grow up” too much. Perhaps I tried to suppress that part of me to make up for the time I thought I’d lost. My battle with undiagnosed gluten issues, food allergies, and ADHD made being successful difficult. Really difficult. I managed, but I had to work around these things for a long time and had to work A LOT harder than I do after diagnosis to make it all jive. Maybe I tried to kill that wild, silly, lovely part of myself because it reminded me of more hazy, uncertain, and unhealthier days. But the fact is, I’m not unhealthy anymore. I’m bursting with life and heart and crazy big opportunities that demand my inner vibrancy! It’s been a long time coming, but now I’m just finding I’ve reached that refreshing balance of being young at heart while still being a capable professional gearing up to take on the world. This is my crazy state of grace.
By the way, this really has nothing to do with gluten-free Breakfast Quesadillas, other than the fact that they’re also quite bold and pack a punch of spicy flavor. Oh well. I feel like my own authentic self now more than ever before. There’s something to be said for that.
And no one said it better than Pink Floyd… so shine on you crazy diamond.
Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!”
Gluten-free Breakfast Stuffed Quesadillas
This recipe is free of: Gluten, Soy, Lactose (contains Casein), Peanuts, Legumes, and Refined Sugar.
Yield: One large Quesadilla
- 2 brown rice tortillas, or gluten-free tortillas of choice (I use Food For Life brand).
- 1 cup grated almond jalepeno jack cheeze (contains casein, but no lactose. I use Lisonatti Foods brand)
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 eggs, scrambled
- Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne (optional) to taste
- 1/4 cup green onions
- Salsa of choice for serving (I use Mrs. Renfro’s Medium Salsa)
- In a small fry pan, saute diced onion and green bell pepper with spices.
- Add 3 eggs and cook until it becomes scrambled. Remove from the heat.
- In a larger fry pan over low/medium heat, add the first tortilla to the pan and cover with shredded almond cheeze. Add the scrambled eggs on top and sprinkle with a bit more cheese.
- Add the second tortilla on top and press down until the cheeze starts to melt. After about 3 to 4 minutes, carefully flip over the quesadilla and allow to cook the rest of the way on that side. The edges may get a little crispy, but just keep them pressed down with a pancake flipper or spatula.
- Remove from the heat and sprinkle with chopped green onion and salsa. Serve hot.
One thing I appreciate about my food allergies is how they enable me to eat a lot more healthful than I might otherwise. That’s not to say I never indulge in treats now and again, but I’m of the mentality now that treats can be made quite healthy and beneficial. I regularly like to hide veggies in my homemade desserts and stay away from refined sugars. Most of the time, my trusty taste tester can’t tell the difference.
With all the hype around the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake returning this March for St. Patrick’s Day, I definitely wanted in on the creamy minty goodness. Since I’m lactose intolerant, I knew that wasn’t going to happen; not conventionally anyway. I was inspired by Emily over at Cupcakes and Cashmere to embark on creating my own homemade dairy-free and vegan version of this coveted shake. With no added sugars, fresh mint leaves, almond milk and SO Delicious vanilla bean no sugar added dairy-free ice cream, this shake came out better than I anticipated and was pretty close to how I remember the original tasting. The best part? I even added a handful of baby SPINACH to increase the green hue of the shake! It can’t be detected at all in the taste! This would be a great trick to get an extra serving of veggies in for the kids. I topped it with my own Coconut Whipped Cream recipe featured in Delight Gluten-Free Magazine’s Winter 2012 issue which can be found here on Delight’s Recipe page (I substituted 15 drops of liquid stevia instead of xylitol in this recipe).
So I might be a lot more French than Irish, but from a partially Irish girl to all of you, have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day!
Vegan Homemade Shamrock Shake (Dairy-free)
This recipe is free of: Gluten, Soy, Dairy, Eggs, and Peanuts. Can be modified to be free of tree nuts.
- 2 cups SO Delicious No Sugar added Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- 1 cup almond milk
- 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
- 1 handful baby spinach (optional, but adds great nutrients and natural green color)
- Add all ingredients to a high speed blender.
- Blend until creamy and smooth consistency is reached.
- Top with my Coconut Whipped Cream (dairy-free) recipe. Enjoy chilled, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint leaves.
My mom is an excellent baker. She might tell you otherwise, but that’s expected. She’s so humble and extraordinarily kind…I wish I was better at emulating her example. When my sister and I were little, she would get us both involved in baking pastries and cookies. I specifically remember her teaching me to roll out the dough for pie crusts, and me sneakily nibbling on the forbidden dough. I’d usually get caught doing that or licking the cookie dough bowl and get a stern, “Bethany Marie! There’s raw eggs in there, you know better than that..” Whoops…sorry Mom.
I remember us loving her lemon poppy seed muffins and classic blueberry muffins. My own version of the blueberry muffins has a sweet citrus twist from organic orange oil that I think plays well with the berries and hints of warm vanilla and cinnamon. My mom doesn’t live near here, but I’d like to think they’d be Mom approved. And you’d be proud, mom. I didn’t lick the bowl….this time. I love you for all you’ve taught me through the years. You’re simply the best.
Almond Orange Blueberry Muffins (grain-free)
This recipe is free of: Gluten, Grains, Soy, Dairy, Peanuts, Legumes, Yeast, and Sugar.
Yields: 9 or 10 muffins.
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 30 – 35 drops Stevia (liquid) or more if you like it sweeter.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange oil. I use Simply Organics orange flavor. If you like it fruitier, add 1 teaspoon instead.
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup almond milk (other non-dairy or dairy milks can be used instead).
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup blueberries (or about 4 to 5 blueberries per muffin).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine dry ingredients (except blueberries) and set aside. Combine the wet ingredients (except blueberries) and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined. I did not need to use an electric mixer. Carefully stir in the blueberries until combined, being sure not to squish them too much. (**An alternative way would be to pour the batter into the muffin tin first, then add 4 to 5 blueberries per muffin).
- Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or lightly oil the tin to prevent sticking. I used liners, but the muffins did stick a little to them until they cooled completely. I was able to peel the liners with no problem after waiting several hours for cooling.
- Pour the batter into the muffin tin evenly. I used about 1/3 cup measuring cup for this.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until muffins have risen and are golden brown on top. Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin to make sure they’re done. If the toothpick comes out clean, they’re ready. Let cool and serve with butter or orange marmalade.
I find it the sweetest thing when someone makes something for you, whether it’s a card, a hand-crafted gift basket, or a meal from scratch. While writing my fiance a Valentine’s note in his native Russian language, I got to thinking about how last year’s Valentine’s day. Around that time, I was making gluten-free heart shaped ravioli and experimenting with different delicious fillings. This year, I’m surprising my fiance with homemade buckwheat soba noodles. He actually was the one who introduced me to buckwheat years ago. He would recall his childhood memories growing up in Belarus (eastern Europe) and often eating buckwheat porridge with his grandparents. I thought I’d bring back some of those familiar flavors for him with this earthy al dente pasta from scratch. And really, what beats fresh pasta? Especially when it’s protein rich, delicious, & secretly healthy.
Top buckwheat soba noodles with a classic spicy red tomato sauce or dress it with a refreshing dill yogurt sauce for a Greek twist. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day, and remember; it’s only a Hallmark holiday if you let it be one! Make something from the heart <3
Buckwheat Soba Noodles (Vegan)
This recipe is free of: Gluten, Soy, Dairy, Peanuts, Eggs, Processed Sugar, & Legumes.
Yield: About 2 large servings of pasta
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed meal
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Optional: 1 teaspoon garlic powder or onion powder for flavor
- To make the dough, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Grab the dough and press together to form one large ball of dough.
- Kneed the dough using your hands for a few minutes. If the dough seems too dry, add a little more water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time). If it’s too wet, add a little more buckwheat flour.
- Dust a cutting board with buckwheat flour (and optional garlic/onion powder) to prevent sticking. Roll out dough until it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick. Trim the sides until you get a nice rectangle shape. Take a chef’s knife or pizza cutter and slice the dough into desired thickness for noodles (about 1/8 inch across).
- Let the noodles sit for a few minutes while you bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and drizzle some olive oil into it to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
- Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft, but still a little firm. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Immediately drizzle with olive oil or other desired oil to prevent sticking. Top with desired Red pasta sauce or Easy Dill Yogurt Sauce (recipe below!)
Easy Dill Yogurt Sauce (Dairy-free)
- 1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt, or dairy-free Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill (I used dried dill, 1/2 tablespoon for a more subtle flavor)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Serve on the side of buckwheat soba noodles or drizzle on top.