Tag Archives: gluten free

Chocolate Pistachio Energy Bites [gluten free]

I’m such a sucker for any kind of place where high-quality food is the focus. Farmers’ markets. Gourmet food shops. Italian markets. Bakeries. I love it all. It’s no secret that I love experimenting in the kitchen, and finding new foods and ingredients gives me inspiration to try new recipes… plus I just love eating food, obviously.

A few weeks ago, I was walking to a Starbucks to work for awhile before meeting a friend for dinner, when I passed by a spice shop. I’ve seen it before when it was closed for the day, but this time it was open.

Naturally, I walked in the shop and moseyed around smelling and tasting things. I wound up leaving with some goodies – all that were new to me, with the exception of local cinnamon infused honey (I pretty much buy that whenever I see it!).

For San Diego area locals, the shop is called Savory Spice in Encinitas, and it’s super fun to pop into if you’re a spice nut like I am!

One new-to-me thing that I bought was pistachio extract. I’m a fan of pistachios, but for some reason they’re a forgotten nut to me sometimes. I’m constantly all about peanut butter, almonds + almond butter, cashews + cashew butter… but pistachios seem to fall by the wayside. Then I make something with them and am reminded that I dig em.

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Potato Black Bean Soup [vegan + gluten free]

Lately the weather in the San Diego area has been nuts. Rain, rain, and more rain for the past month! This is usually the “rainy” season – though I use that term loosely – but this has been more rain than I’ve seen in my 7+ years in California.

For the state, this is good news! California’s reservoirs are swelling for the first time in half a decade, and the drought we’ve been in for years might be over if Mother Nature keeps it up.

With all of the rain lately, a few things have been happening in my world.

For one, my dog has been super whiny and energetic. She literally does sprints around the house when it’s raining out, and cries at the door yet doesn’t want to go outside and get wet… not that I blame her, I’ve been missing our outdoor workouts too.

Secondly, my backyard has been getting a little out of control. A few of my trees were close to falling over last week due to flooded soil and strong winds, and we did our best to temporarily secure them. My pool looks like it may overflow with a few more big rain storms, and I have about an entire tree’s worth of leaves in there. There are also a ton of oranges that have fallen off my front yard tree and gotten smushed in my driveway. Now you guys know a few of the things on my to-do list to take care of this weekend! 

And third, I’ve been obsessed with eating soup. There’s nothing better on a chilly, rainy day than a big bowl of healthy, hearty soup with a hunk of fresh bread. Add a fire crackling + hit play on a good movie, and that’s my idea of a perfect night in.

I realized that I haven’t posted any soup recipes this winter yet, and knew that had to change this month.

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Healthy Apple Almond Crumble {vegan + gluten free}

Happy Friday!

I felt like this work week has gone by so fast – not quite as fast as last week’s three day work week, but still quick! I have a feeling that’s how the entire month of December is going to feel.


I don’t know about you guys, but I always get in sweet tooth + baking moods on the weekends – especially in the fall and winter when it gets cooler out. One way that I satisfy it without getting off track with my daily macro and calorie goals? Baking healthy of course!


A few of my healthy swaps are using fruit and cinnamon to naturally sweeten baked goods up, using oats instead of white flour, and including sweeteners like maple syrup instead of refined sugar. Today’s recipe includes all of those tricks!

I first made this apple almond crumble a few months ago. The next time I made it, I tweaked a few ingredients to reach baking perfection…but for some reason I’ve been sitting on the recipe for a solid month. So here I am finally sharing it today!


This crumble makes for a great healthy dessert or breakfast. It’d be perfect to make for family brunches this holiday season – and with no refined sugar, no dairy, and no gluten, it’s suitable for a variety of dietary preferences!

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Apple Pie Banana Bread {vegan + gf}

Hello, hello!

Today I have what’s quickly becoming a new favorite recipe of mine to share with you guys, so let’s dive right into it!

Banana bread is one of my favorite ways to use ripe bananas, and I’m sure a lot of you would agree with me on that! There’s just something so comforting and yummy about a banana bread fresh out of the oven. I like to eat a slice with a cup of hot tea.

Today’s recipe takes a twist on banana bread – a cinnamon apple twist, because hello October! This is my last recipe creation using the fruit from my apple picking excursion in Julian. There’s been lots of apple eating and baking in my kitchen over the past month!  apple-banana-bread-9 Continue reading

Zoodles with Basil Cherry Tomato Sauce, Pine Nuts & Lemon Zest

Hi there!

Happy 4th of July weekend to all of my fellow Americans! I am certainly looking forward to a 3-day holiday weekend. Whose got fun plans for the 4th? I’ve got a beach yoga class and hanging out at a friend’s house on the agenda, and I’m hoping to catch some fireworks on Saturday night.

Today I’m sharing a new recipe that will probably become a go-to dinner in my kitchen. Packed with veggies and flavor, it’s a healthy meal that revolves around my recent favorite kitchen gadget: my spiralizer!
summer zoodles-4

I’ve seriously been a spiralizing maniac. My hubby and I have eaten zoodles so often in the last few months, he’s started joking around and putting the letter ‘z’ in words where it shouldn’t be.

For instance, we started saying ‘zauce’ instead of tomato sauce.

He told me I created a ‘zess’ after I made quite a mess making this meal. Get it, a zoodle mess?!

We also said I should start calling it a ‘zoodlizer’ instead of spiralizer because I have only been putting zucchini in my new favorite gadget lately. Note to self: Branch out and get more creative with my spiralizing ASAP. 

summer zoodles-1

But for right now, zoodles are my love. Speaking of things I love, a flavorful tomato sauce is on my list of things I’m forever obsessed with. I like to make my tomato sauce zoodle dishes really saucy so that I can dip pieces of fresh bread in, but you can conserve some of the tomato sauce for another occasion if you aren’t quite as obsessed with it as I am (no hard feelings).

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Chocolate Mint Oatmeal Flax Cookies [Gluten Free]

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

Holiday Decor Collage

My weekend was full of holiday related activities: buying a tree and decorating it, buying outside lights and decorating my front yard, shopping for gifts, and starting this DIY craft…

DIY cork wreath

…a wine cork wreath! I’m not all that crafty but I’ve been wanting to do something with the many corks I have around, so I decided to give it a go! I’ll be sure to share the final product, which I’ll hopefully have done later this week. Chances are I’ll be glue gunning corks at 11 pm tonight!

Coinciding with my holiday cheer, I also did some baking last weekend.

mint cookie baking

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Dark Chocolate Drizzled Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats [Gluten Free & Vegan]

Today is the birthday of the wonderful, amazing man that I’m fortunate enough to spend my life with.


7 years ago, celebrating the first birthdays we were dating by skydiving together… We were just college kids!

Birthdays are celebrations, and celebrations call for dessert, so today I’m sharing with you guys a new sweet tooth creation I’ve come up with. Meet my latest food obsession: chocolate drizzled salted caramel rice crispy treats.

crispy treats-4

Lately, as I stand in my kitchen deciding what to make for a meal, I find myself somehow breaking off a piece of one of these rice crispy treats as a pre-meal snack.

While having a conversation with my hubby the other night, I all of a sudden found myself with one of these babies in my hand. It was like I blacked out and awoke with a sticky, delicious treat in my possession.

Okay, perhaps I’m being dramatic… but I just love these!

crispy treats-3

The recipe all came to fruition after making these salted caramel granola bars via Oh My Veggies. Oh my deliciousness, every time I read her blog I’m practically drooling because every recipe looks so good!

fleur de sel

After I originally bookmarked the granola bar recipe, I nabbed some fleur de sel salt for the first time, which is a sea salt hand-harvested in France. After buying it and having full intentions of making the granola bars ASAP, I got caught up with a little thing called moving to a new city and becoming a homeowner, and I forgot about the bars for awhile – that is until I had my father-in-law in town and was looking for fun treats to whip up.

Green juice with salted caramel granola bars

Green juice with salted caramel granola bars

I found the idea of making “caramel” by throwing mainly almond butter, maple syrup, a few dates into a food processor to be a genius idea. For this recipe, I modified her caramel into my own by using brown rice syrup, almond butter, fleur de del and vanilla extract. The crispies in this recipe are Barbara’s brown rice crisps — the healthier version of Rice Krispies cereal.

crispy treats-1

crispy treats-5

Rice crispy treats remind me of childhood, along with fruit roll ups and those sour straw things I would eat at my school’s rollerskating night. But these rice crispy treats are better than the ones I would uncover from those shiny blue wrappers as a kid. These are sweet and salty, with a hint of almond butter flavor and a drizzle of chocolate on top. They’re made with simple ingredients I can pronounce – minus the fleur de sel, but we’ll just refer to that as fancy schmancy sea salt!

crispy treats-2

This recipe makes a big batch of rice crispy treats. I feel like I just keep eating them, and I still have a few left!  Kid friendly and healthy foodie approved, these treats will make for a great dessert or snack that everyone in the family can enjoy.

cripsy treats-6

Chocolate Drizzled Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats [Gluten Free & Vegan]
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
  • 1-1 lb 5 oz jar of brown rice syrup
  • 1-10 oz box of brown rice crisps cereal
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter
  • 1 TSP fluer de sel
  • ¼ cup (vegan) dark chocolate chips
  • 2 TBSP chocolate soy milk (any kind of milk can work)
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  1. Melt the brown rice syrup in a small saucepan over low heat until it's liquified.
  2. Add the almond butter, vanilla extract, and fleur de del. Mix well until smooth.
  3. Pour the brown rice crisps into a large bowl. Pour the "caramel" sauce on top. Mix with a wooden spoon until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Pour into a 8x11 pan and press into the dish well.
  5. In another small saucepan, add the chocolate chips and soy milk. Melt over low heat, constantly mixing with a spoon. When chocolate is fully melted and smooth, remove from heat. Evenly drizzle on top of the rice crispy treats.
  6. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 90 minutes before cutting into squares. Cut into 12-18 treats, depending on how large you'd like each to be. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

Review: ProCakes High Protein Pancake Mix

It’s no secret that I love pancakes. I regularly include them in my diet on at least a weekly basis, and I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own healthy batter.

I often add protein powder or throw Greek yogurt into the mix, especially if it’s a post-workout meal. I think it’s important to include some protein in every meal to keep it balanced, and what some pancake mixes on the market today are missing is a good amount of protein.


Say hello to ProCakes – a gluten free, no added sugar, high protein pancake mix. Recently launched by, Caren Magill, a fellow FitFluential ambassador, ProCakes pancake mix is made with whey protein, organic coconut flour, gluten free baking flour, and almond flour, and sweetened with xylitol, a naturally occurring sweetener derived from tree bark.


A ProCakes sample was recently sent out to me to try, and I was happy to get my hands on my first protein pancake mix. I made my pancakes by combining the ProCakes mix with a flax egg and almond milk, then adding banana slices to the pancake batter.

ProCakes ingredients

I topped my pancakes with warmed chopped apple + more banana slices with cinnamon, plus a drizzle of honey.


Here’s what I thought:

Nutrition-wise, ProCakes are great, especially for someone like me who sometimes wants breakfast for dinner, but also needs a protein boost in my meal. The mix is fully made with recognizable ingredients, which I can always appreciate.

Taste-wise, I liked the ProCakes mix. I’m not the biggest fan of bean flour flavors in general (ProCakes contains fava and garbanzo bean flour), but I didn’t think the taste was overpowering or too-proteiny. Sometimes high protein products such as this are dry and cake-like, but my ProCakes had the consistency of normal pancakes.


My only negative feedback on ProCakes was that the batter stuck to my pan a bit when I tried to flip the pancakes over. It took a bit of finagling to get the pancakes flipped over without them falling apart.

Overall, I think that ProCakes make for a nice kitchen item to have handy when you want to make pancakes in a jiffy!

Questions: Have you ever had protein pancakes? What do you typically top your pancakes with?

Meatless Monday Recipe Idea: Black Bean Veggie Tacos with Cashew Cream [Gluten Free]

Hi friends!

Another weekend has flown by, and it was a good one for me. I kicked off my weekend with a much needed massage at the student massage school near me, San Jose National Holistic Institute. The students perform whatever massage they’ve been working on in school, and this time it was a Swedish massage. The masseuse did a good job of working on all of my achy muscles for an hour — for $20. Needless to say, it was awesome!

Afterwards I headed over to the mall to spoil myself a little, and I picked up a new Athleta workout top and some beauty loot from LUSH and Benefit Cosmetics. I’m kind of in love with LUSH. I spent some time in there playing around with things and wound up nabbing a facial cleanser and seaweed mask that I tested out and loved this weekend. I don’t go shopping often, so it was a treat!

shopping loot

Other highlights of my weekend included a mountain biking trip with gorgeous, peaceful scenery of rolling green hills…

biking trip-2


biking trip-1

…long walks with happy puppies…

Harley in car

…and bright & beautiful meals like this one:

fennel salad

Fennel & arugula salad with dried cherries, honey roasted almonds and an EVOO + honey + white balsamic + sea salt dressing

It always seems like the weekends always zip by and Mondays are here before we know it right? And speaking of Mondays, today I’ve got a Meatless Monday recipe to share with you.


One concern I hear often with people who want to make more meatless meals or go vegetarian is that they just aren’t sure what to make. For me, some dinners are planned out ahead of time when I go grocery shopping, others are decided the morning of, and some are figured out as I’m staring at my fridge, hungry and ready for dinner about 15 minutes prior. 


Sometimes I like to just get creative with whatever’s in my cabinets and fridge. These kinds of meals can be the best kind of surprises. Last week, this recipe came together in 20 minutes flat.


These tacos are easy to substitute different ingredients to suit your liking. It can be made vegan if you leave out the cheese, and you can skip the cashew cream and use regular sour cream or plain yogurt if you prefer.


I ate one taco vegan-style, and one with shredded cheese. Both were yummy!


Black Bean Veggie Tacos with Cashew Cream [Gluten Free]
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP green onion
  • ¼ white onion
  • 2 TBSP cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 vine ripe tomato
  • 8 small gluten free corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese, optional
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • Juice from ½ small lemon
  • 6 TBSP water
  • 1 TSP salt
  • ½ TSP chili pepper
  • ¼ TSP black pepper
  1. Mince white onion. Warm olive oil in a large skillet, and sauté onion until lightly browned.
  2. Dice red pepper, zucchini, cilantro and green onion. Add to the skillet, and cook for 7 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  3. Dice tomato and avocado.
  4. Add black beans into the pan. Season with ½ TSP salt, chili pepper and black pepper. Stir until everything's well combined and the beans are warm. Remove from heat and add tomato and avocado into the veggie mixture.
  5. To make the cashew cream: Combine the raw cashews, remaining ½ TSP salt, lemon juice and water into a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth. You may want to add in more water to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Spoon veggies onto corn tortillas. Top with cashew cream and cheese, if using. Enjoy while they're warm!


Question: What was the last meatless dinner you made? 

My Gluten Free Experiment Ends + Favorite GF Finds

My friends, check out my dinner a few nights ago:


Regular fettuccine pasta in a lightened up cream sauce with spinach and tomatoes. Why? Because my experiment with eating gluten free is officially over!

I talked about it in length here, but to make a long story short, I decided to give up gluten for a solid month (it wound up being an almost 6 week stint) to determine if I had a sensitivity to it. I suffer from allergies, which cause sinus aches and skin issues, and was curious to find out if gluten could be the culprit. The short answer: It’s not!

Aside from 2 minor mishaps – eating a cookie around day 7 before it even dawned on me that it most likely had gluten in it, and caving in and eating a piece of warm bread at an Italian restaurant in Lake Tahoe – I was completely diligent with keeping a gluten free diet. I’ve heard all sorts of benefits that people reap from losing the gluten in their diet, from better digestion and more energy to unintentional weight loss and a reduction in psoriasis, which I mildly suffer from…. but I experienced absolutely none of that. I felt pretty much the same, which is great in general besides my annoying allergies. I kept up the gluten free diet for a bit over the month-long point just to be sure, but I think it’s safe to say, I don’t have a sensitivity to gluten.


Coincidentally, my father-in-law decided to try being gluten free around the same time as me, and he has experienced lots of positive results. Every person is different and reacts to different foods and diets in their own individual way, and as it turns out, gluten is a-okay with me. I definitely feel like this experiment has helped me learn more about gluten and all of the foods that contain it. While I’m going to be eating gluten again, I’m now more conscious of how much of it I’m eating. I don’t think that too much of anything is good, plus gluten’s effects on the body are controversial, so I’m reintroducing it into my diet only moderately. I can live easily without eating gluten daily, but I do think I’ll enjoy some gluten-filled food a few times a week.

Part of me is disappointed and would like to have found a solution to my skin and allergy issues, but part of me is relieved too. Because I have to tell you guys, oh how I missed bread.

fresh bread

I know I know, there’s gluten free bread around, and I’ll get to my favorite one that I tried in a moment, but it’s just not the same to me. I guess the gluten is what gives it that “yum” factor! 😉 If I had to continue eating gluten free, I think I’d wind up losing my love for the occasional PB & banana sandwiches or grilled cheese.

Wanting to find some gluten free substitutes during these weeks, I tried a good number of GF foods. I thought I’d share my favorite ones, so here we go:

I liked a few of Van’s Natural Foods products in their gluten free line, including their Lots of Everything! crackers:

Vans Crackers

I loved these with some hummus and will probably continuing buying them.

I’m also a fan of their apple cinnamon waffles:

Vans waffles-2

A couple of times I ate a few waffles for breakfast and topped them with things likes chopped apple, granola, honey, cinnamon, banana… ya know, all of my usual favorite kitchen staples!

Vans waffles-1

…which leads me to KIND Healthy Grains Clusters:

KIND cinnamon clusters

As I mentioned in my last post about granola, these KIND cluster products are addicting! My favorite flavors are peanut butter and cinnamon oat with flax seeds. The clusters are made with 100% whole grains like amaranth, quinoa, oats, millet and buckwheat. My favorite way to eat KIND clusters is to sprinkle some over yogurt with fruit. Yum!

Barbara’s Puffins Cereal:


Cereal is my go-to snack to eat a few handfuls of when I come home from the gym starving and am waiting for my dinner to cook, so when I started my gluten free experiment, I knew I needed to find a good cereal substitute. I found that in Barbara’s Puffins cereals. I also ate a bowl of the cereal with blueberries or banana for breakfast a few times.


Med. Pasta-4

I mentioned this last week when I posted a recipe for Mediterranean Pasta with Lemon Ricotta, but Tinkyada and TruRoots brands were my favorite of the GF pastas that I had. A few of the pastas I tried had a weird texture or tasted too much like corn, but I’d definitely recommend these two brands. TruRoots makes their pasta with brown rice, quinoa and amaranth. Tinkyada is made from brown rice.



A lot of the gluten free breads seem to be either in the frozen food section or hard as a rock, so coming across Canyon Bakehouse 7-grain bread at Whole Foods was a good find. It was the best bread substitute I tried by a long shot!

Do you have a favorite specialty gluten free food?

If you’re not gluten free, what would you miss the most if you nixed the gluten?