Tuesday, November 22, 2011

gobble up!

  • Gluten Free/Dairy Free Cornbread


  • 2/3 cup Smart Balance Butter [or other butter product] 
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups almond milk [or other "milk" product]
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour [gluten free pantry brand]
  • 1 cup cornmeal [arrowhead mills brand]
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and agave. Combine the eggs and milk. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture. 
2. Pour into a greased 13 in x 9 in x 2in baking pan. Bake at 400 degree for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut and serve warm.

I used vanilla flavored almond milk because I was too lazy to go back out to the store and get plain, but it actually came out really tasty and added a nice touch!

Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup


1 package cubed butternut squash [I cheated:)]
1/2 thinly sliced onion
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 1/2 cups chicken brother [imagine brand organic free range]


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay squash evenly out in a baking dish and back for about 45 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Mix in onion, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cinnamon. Cover pot and cook until onion is tender, about 15 minutes. Add squash and chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Discard cinnamon.

Working in batches, purée soup in blender. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.) Return soup to pot. Season soup with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer, thinning soup with more broth if necessary. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

We put this in the freezer and are taking it camping!

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce


1 12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 cup pomegranate juice [I got sparkling from Trader Joe's, yum!]
1 container of pomegranate seeds


In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries with the sugar and pomegranate juice. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have burst, about 10 minutes. Scrape the cranberry sauce into a medium bowl and let stand until cool, about 2 hours. Fold in the pomegranate seeds and serve the sauce chilled or at room temperature.

for whatever reason my phone won't let me upload a photo right now, so I'll post it later. I put the sauce in a mason jar, 
super cute and classic!

have a happy and healthy thanksgiving!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

less goo with your gobble..... (5 thanksgiving items not to buy)

So if you know me, you know that I'm not a big Safeway shopper. If I'm there I'm usually getting pickles (love Clausen) or wine. While on the hunt for the ingredients in some Thanksgiving items, I decided to go straight to the source and do a little homework. Safeway made this very easy because they have all the Thanksgiving items right in the front on display. Picture me walking around the display in a circle picking up every item, reading the labels, and then putting it back down only to come out of the store with some corn tortillas and sponges! People probably think I'm a total freak, 
good thing I live in San Francisco, everyone's a freak. 

1. Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce 

I was a little shocked to discover there was high fructose corn syrup in this sauce! Ocean Spray has been around for years, they should know better! Cranberry sauce is so easy to make from scratch, you don't need to buy it pre made! But if you must, Pacific Natural Foods makes an all natural version using pure can sugar. 

2. Stove Top Stuffing

Stove Top Stuffing not only has high fructose corn syrup, but also contains MSG. Again, stuffing is pretty easy to make yourself, but if you want to get store bought, buy from a natural foods store like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods; WF also has gluten free stuffing cubes!

3. Comstock Cherry Pie Filling

Surprise, surprise Comstock cherry pie filling has high fructose corn syrup in it. Interestingly, their apple filling does not and is advertised across the can, so they obviously know it's no good! They also have "no sugar added" varieties; look for these, it might take a little extra effort, but it's worth it! I haven't been able to find a natural pie filling at a store, but I did find this company online that uses agave nectar. I know it's a little late to be ordering online for Thanksgiving, but keep this idea in mind for Christmas!

4. Safeway Brand Turkey Gravy

Add another point on the scoreboard for Pacific Natural Foods! Safeway brand gravy contains MSG. Also known as Monosodium Glutamate, MSG can cause a number of health issues. My brother, a five time cancer survivor, has been advised by his doctors not to eat any foods containing MSG, yikes!

5. Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup 

...not the best photos, but you get the point.
Pacific Natural Foods is owning this post today!
I was saddened to discover that Campbell's cream of mushroom soup contained MSG. My mother always had this in the cupboard growing up and is the base on some of her great recipes. I've used Pacific's mushroom soup and I will advise you to alter the amount of liquid you use in your recipes because it is a little runnier than the Campbell's. I just picked up some from Trader Joe's so I'll let you know how that works out in the green bean casserole! I also wanted to point out that I did not check the ingredients of Campbell's "healthy request" or other varieties they offer, they might be better? After using the natural stuff, that goo in the can just freaks me out now!

My sincerest apologies if I ruined any of your Thanksgiving recipes or if you have to go back out to the store! On the bright side, you will feel so much better about serving your dinner guests a wholesome meal and maybe even teach them a little something about healthy food alternatives!

Now go get your goo free gobble on!  

for Pacific Natural Foods coupons click here

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

turkey time!

So by now I'm sure you all have realized I have a laundry list of criteria for buying food. One of the major ones is buying LOCAL. 

Since we're two weeks into November I'm sure most of you are nailing down your thanksgiving menu and stocking up on supplies. Now for the biggest and most important question of all:

Of course, I did a little turkey research. 

Up in San Francisco, both Whole Foods and my favorite little local organic grocery Noriega Produce, are stocking turkeys from Diestel Farms in Sonora, California; just out past Stockton, about a 2-3 hour drive from me. 

Because many of my blog viewers are also from my hometown of good ol' Escondido/San Diego area, I found some local turkeys for you all too! I searched the Whole Foods of Encinitas website and they are selling turkeys from Mary's Organic Farms in the San Joaquin Valley. I like this company a lot and buy my chicken from them! I also suggest going to your local butcher shop and asking where they get their turkeys from because it's most likely a local buy. If you find a better/closer option than Mary's please let me know!

Take a look at the two photos above. Now I searched for photos of major turkey supplier's farms (like Jennie O) and I can't seem to find them. Most likely because they're dark indoor, depressing facilities filled to the brim with turkeys that all look exactly alike. I also can't seem to find exactly where their farm is located, best I can tell is Wisconsin?

Here's a link to a video of Jennie O's story.

I hope you take this post into consideration when making your turkey purchase this year. Whatever you decide, I beg you not to buy that $5 turkey Safeway is advertising.

...if you get what you pay for 
and you are what you eat,

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Monday, November 14, 2011

dyes? I would rather die!

I've been putting this post off for awhile now. I put a lot of time and research into my informational posts, so they don't happen all too often, but I hope you find them interesting and helpful. 

In addition to trying to stay away from gluten, dairy, and sugar; I also try to stay away from foods that contain artificial ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors. Today we're talking dyes!

The most common type of dye you will find in food is Red #40. Sadly it is also referred to "coal or tar dye" because that is what it's made from; petroleum that has been refined over and over so that your body can "process" it. I've quoted "process" because this dye (among others) causes some major health issues like tumors and lymphomas. It has also because a very controversial issue among children with ADHD. In a nutshell, kid's brains absorb about 50% of what they eat and food not only fuels your body, but your mind. The dyes in food get absorbed into the brain and can the immune system (lymph nodes, as stated above), neurotransmitter functions and other ways that have yet to be discovered. Seriously, google "red dye and ADHD" and you will be surprised at how much comes up. Another interesting point is that red #40 is banned in Canada and Europe. So if it's not okay in other countries, why is it ok in ours? Oh yeah, we're cheap!

Other commonly used dyes:

1. Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue) – an unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice. Used in baked goods, beverages, desert powders, candies, cereal, drugs and other products.
2. Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine) – causes a statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. Used in colored beverages, candies, pet food and other food and drugs.
3. Citrus Red #2 – it is toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors of the urinary bladder and possibly other organs. Used in Skins of Florida oranges.
4. Green #3 (Fast Green) – caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats. Used in drugs, personal care products, cosmetic products except in eye area, candies, beverages, ice cream, sorbet; ingested drugs, lipsticks and externally applied cosmetics.
5. Red #3 (Erythrosine) – recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. Used in sausage casings, oral medication, maraschino cherries, baked goods and candies.
6. Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) – this causes sometimes-severe hypersensitivity reactions and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. Used in pet foods, numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts and many other foods as well as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
7. Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow) – caused adrenal tumors in animals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. Used in color bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin deserts, sausage, cosmetics and drugs.

I don't want to overload you with lists, so for more information

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

...because rules were made to be broken!

So as I've mentioned before, I try to stick to foods with 10 grams of sugar or less. This means I try not to eat fruit, candy, cookies, ice cream...anything fun. So last Saturday evening as I'm wandering the aisles of Whole Foods, stop in the frozen section and gaze longingly at all the delightful looking ice cream and ponder...to buy or not to buy? After some serious thought, I look down in my cart and see I already have fresh mozzarella and a gluten filled baguette (caprese, my weakness), so I decide if I'm gonna do something wrong, I might as well do it REALLY wrong. 

Of course I sat there and read all the labels (about 4 employees ask if I need help, no I don't need help picking out ice cream, but I do need help getting F word out of this store!)...20 minutes later, I've made my choice and I really don't feel that bad about it! 
Check out this little gemstone: 

beautiful right? LaLoo's Mexican Caramel and Texas Toffee goat's milk frozen yogurt. It's all natural, lactose free, and contains live probiotic cultures. It's made from 100% goats milk; Sonoma goats = local :) Goat's milk is naturally lactose free and has tons of health benefits (listed on their website).

 It's a little pricey, about $6-7 for a pint, but from what I've read this is a really great company. LaLoo's is a certified "B Corporation" which means they believe in use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. 
B Corporations are unlike traditional businesses because they: 
Meet social and environmental performance standards
* Institutionalize stakeholder interests
* Build collective voice with unifying brand

I have no problem shelling out the cash when it's awesome supporting companies like this! go LaLoo's!

I don't eat ice cream very often so when I do, it better be good. This flavor was absolutely amazing and goes really well with gluten free chocolate cookies, just guessing, hehe (recipe to come!) It has 21 grams of sugar and is definitely worth bending the rules for!

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Great Find -- Tj's Rolled Oats!!

Living in San Francisco means more often than not, you're going to have a chilly morning. Which is why I LOVE OATMEAL. Not only do I find it comforting it's also loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and a good source of vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese, and magnesium...kind of a great way to start the day right?

I practically screamed when I found this at Trader Joe's! I get a lot of criticism for spending so much money on food, but I'm all about finding a deal! For $3.99 you get this huge RESEALABLE bag of gluten free oats. I was buying Bob's Red Mill, but it can cost up to $5-6 and you have to transfer it into another bag or canister to keep it fresh. I also stopped buying that brand because fatty over here starting making 2 servings for breakfast; so I started using Glutenfreeda individual packets for portion control. Hopefully, I can get it together.

In researching for this post I found out that gluten free oats are a very controversial topic. how riskayy...

Gluten Free Oats Controversy: 

"The suitability of oats in the gluten-free diet is still somewhat controversial. Some research suggests that oats in themselves are gluten free, but that they are virtually always contaminated by other grains during distribution or processing. However, recent research indicated that a protein naturally found in oats (avenin) possessed peptide sequences closely resembling wheat gluten and caused mucosal inflammation in significant numbers of celiac disease sufferers. Some examination results show that even oats that are not contaminated with wheat particles are nonetheless dangerous, while not very harmful to the majority. Such oats are generally considered risky for celiac children to eat, but two studies show that they are completely safe for celiac adults to eat. People who are merely gluten-sensitive may be able to eat oats without adverse effect."

**from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten-free_diet#Controversy_over_oats

Yes, I just quoted wikipedia.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

RIP rainbow tube :(

Sadly this thing finally broke down and had to be replaced...

If you know me, you have probably seen me bust out this gadget and take a slew of pills. Most people ask what the heck I am taking and why. 
Well here you go...

Hyaluronic Acid
I take this stuff for anti aging. They use it in skin injections. Inside your body it binds to water creating a gelatinous fluid that hydrates the surrounding tissue and keeps the collagen (responsible for keeping the skin tight) nourished and healthy. As you age, your body loses it and skin begins to sag. So by taking it internally, I can insure my future cougar status. 

Rainbow Light Everyday Calcium:
Women generally need to take more calcium and given that I don't eat dairy, I'm probably lacking in my calcium intake. I like this brand because it's combined with magnesium, so it's easier to digest. I used to take an enzyme from this brand as well because (are you ready for this?) I'm not perfect. Yes, I slip up. To the extremes of eating 6 slices of papa johns or simply just a bagel when hungover (only 5 so far this year, yes I keep count)...so I need an enzyme to help digest the foods my body is sensitive to. This was a great find because not only does it have the calcium I need to take, but the enzymes as well. 

This stuff is great. It's used to: prevent premature aging, provide better physical fitness, relieve stress and hypertension (yes I'm kind of a stress case, shocker...I know), strong aphrodisiac and rejuvenator (wow did not know that), possess anti inflammatory property, promote restful sleep, reduce high cholesterol levels, enhance overall brain functions(I need that too lol!)and more...

Green Tea

Great antioxidant and supports cardiovascular and immune systems. I take 1-2 capsules around the girls naptime/after lunch to give me the extra boost of energy to get through the rest of my day. It's not proven but, green tea supplements also boost your metabolism and help your body burn fat.

Whole Foods OmegaForce 3-6-9 Complex:

I can't find an image of this one, but you can find it at any Whole Foods. It's a blend of 400 mg Organic Flaxseed Oil 400 mg Borage Seed Oil 400 mg Fish Oil (50% Omega-3). Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, which means is cannot be manufactured by our own body and therefore must be obtained through our diet alone. The thing is, most people’s diets contain an insufficient amount of omega 3.

Renew Life Probiotic
A daily maintenance probiotic formulated specifically for people aged 15 - 49, with the probiotic strains adults need for daily maintenance. Ultimate Flora Adult Formula contains 15 billion live cultures of 10 diff strains of bacteria. The 10 strains were carefully chosen for their proven health-promoting benefits and their prevalence in the healthy digestive tract. Sounds gross, I don't eat yogurt or other foods that contain these bacterias that your body needs, so this does wonders for my digestive system!

There you have it! Please people, I am in no way shape or form a doctor so don't go run out there and start popping these supplements. I'm simply just answering a question I get asked a lot. If any of these supplements sound like something you want to start taking, please consult your doctor first. 

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

more great recipes from pamela's!

I have a giant bag of this stuff so I'm trying out all the recipes listed on the back. So far, they've all been a success! 

Pamela's Zucchini Bread


2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups grated zucchini, blossom end removed
Optional 2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Optional 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Yield: one 8x4-inch loaf

Whisk together Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, and sugar for one minute on medium. Stir in vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients to form a batter. Fold in grated zucchini (along with optional lemon zest and chopped nuts)

NOTE: Baked zucchini loaf will be moist. You can lessen moisture by squeezing grated zucchini in paper towels to absorb some of the water before mixing into the batter. Turn into greased loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.

Sour Cream Apple Cake 

This recipe is adapted from the "sour cream coffee cake" recipe from Pamela's. I really wanted to make a carmel apple cake and figured this was the best way to go about it off the top of my head! 


1 cup walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix
2/3 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream 

1/2 cup diced apple

Preheat oven to 350°.
To make the cake, soften butter, add sugar, then cream together on medium for about 4 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs one at a time scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in vanilla. Reduce mixer to low speed and alternately add Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix and sour cream three times each. Mix just enough to incorporate. Butter or grease a 9-inch bundt or spring pan. Spoon the cake batter into pan, completely covering the pan bottom. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and while still warm, run a knife around the edges of the pan (and center if using a bundt pan). Let cool and remove from pan.

For the frosting I melted down some caramels and incorporated them into cream cheese frosting...amazing!!

I would definitely invest in a bag of this baking mix! All of the recipes are pretty easy and so yum! This is such a great way to start getting into gluten free cooking, 
after all who doesn't love some baked goods?!

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