Strawberry and Cream Muffins with Almond Streusel Topping

Saturday, September 6th, 2014


Strawberry season is just about coming to an end. Enjoy this delicious vegan treat using fresh strawberries, or when not available, frozen can be substituted.

Strawberry and Cream Muffins with an Almond Streusel Topping

Yields 1 dozen muffins

Recipe from Spork Foods


2 cups gluten-free  All-Purpose Baking Mix from The Pure Pantry brand

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

¾ cup organic evaporated cane sugar

2 teaspoons egg replacer, dry (Ener-g brand)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup coconut creamer (So Delicious brand)

¾ cup un-sweetened almond milk

¼ cup neutral tasting oil (safflower)

¾ cup fresh strawberries, finely chopped

Almond Streusel Topping:

2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated buttery spread (Melt brand butter alternative)

½ cup toasted almonds

3 tablespoons organic powdered sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners brand)

1 teaspoon maple syrup

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons gluten-free All-Purpose Baking Mix from The Pure Pantry

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, whisk gluten-free flour, cinnamon, baking powder, sea salt, sugar and egg replacer until uniform. Add in vanilla extract, coconut creamer, almond milk, and oil. Whisk until uniform. Fold in strawberries. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray and pour about 1/3 cup batter into each section. To make streusel, add buttery spread, almonds, powdered sugar, maple, sea salt, cinnamon and flour to a food processor and pulse until uniform. Sprinkle each muffin with about 1 tablespoon streusel topping. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm. © Spork Foods, 2012

Strawberry Chocolate Dessert Crêpes

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Who doesn’t LOVE crêpes?  After experimenting with making homemade strawberry jam (nailed it, recipe here), had to make a strawberry jam filled crêpe– and add a little chocolate because: strawberry + chocolate = the best taste ever!

Strawberry Chocolate Dessert Crêpes

Strawberry Chocolate Dessert Crepes

Dairy free / Vegan option



  • 1 recipe crêpe batter made with The Pure Pantry Old Fashioned Pancake Mix (order here, see package for directions, see options for vegan)

Strawberry Filling

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, stems removed, sliced
  • 1/2 cup store bought strawberry jam  ( or Homemade Strawberry Jam Recipe)
  • 1/2 cup Nutella or melted chocolate

Garnish: Grated dark chocolate


Prepare crêpe batter according to package directions.  Optional: Add ¼ cup Dutch process cocoa and 1 teaspoon sugar to batter.
Blend well. Prepare crepes, placing between wax paper or on separate plates.

Fill crepes with 1 tablespoon of strawberry jam or Nutella (or both!) and several strawberry slices. Roll up and grate chocolate on top. Whip cream can be added if desired.

Easy Gluten-free Banana Pancakes

Sunday, May 25th, 2014


What do you do with all those over ripe, brown bananas?  Banana bread, banana smoothies, banana pancakes?  Here is our favorite, easy recipe for banana pancakes.

2 eggs

1 cup almond, rice or coconut milk

1 cup gluten-free Old Fashioned Pancake Mix from The Pure Pantry

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil or other cooking oil


1. To make the pancake mix: whisk eggs in medium size bowl.  Add half the milk and half the pancake mix and blend together.  Add remaining milk and pancake mix and mix until combined.

Blend in mashed bananas and oil.

2. Heat griddle to medium heat.  I use the Skinny Griddle as it has a non-stick surface and I don’t have to use extra oil.  They are available at Sur La Table online: Skinny Griddle.

It is always a good idea to have a dedicated “gluten-free” griddle.  I write more about gluten-free kitchen supplies here: Gluten-free Cooking Tips.

3. Ladle 1/4 cup mix onto griddle forming a circle.  Continue making pancakes leaving at least 1 inch in between each pancake.





4. Watch for bubbles forming at edges of pancakes — when they begin to pop, you will know its time to flip them over.

5. Cook on second side until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Remove pancake from griddle and serve with sliced bananas and agave nectar or pure maple syrup.




Good Morning Muffins

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014


This is my second entry to the Go Dairy Free recipe contest using So-Delicious dairy-free products.

These high fiber, low fat, dairy-free, low sugar muffins pack in protein, and a daily dose of veggies – a great way to start the day!

gluten-free and dairy-free muffins

gluten-free and dairy-free muffins

Makes 12 large muffins

2/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
1 cup So-delicious coconut milk
2 eggs
2 cups The Pure Pantry Buckwheat Flax gluten-free pancake and baking mix 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup finely grated carrots (2 small carrots) or 1 cup finely grated zucchini  (about ½ a zucchini)
1 tart red apple, unpeeled, cored, and finely grated
1/2 cup seedless raisins or 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Blend oil, agave nectar, coconut milk and eggs into a large bowl for about 1 minute to incorporate.

3. Add baking mix and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

4. Add carrots or zucchini, nuts, apples, raisins or coconut, and orange zest, to the sugar mixture and stir well.

5. Scoop batter into paper-lined muffin tin or greased muffin tin and bake 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Enjoy!  These can be frozen and thawed to enjoy another morning.

Recipe from “Fresh from Elizabeth’s Kitchen: Gluten-free and Allergy-free recipes”.


"Fresh from Elizabeth's Kitchen: Gluten-free & Allergy-free Recipes"



Gluten-free Crustless Vegetable Quiche

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014




I always feel good serving this recipe to my kids because you can hide whichever vegetables you like in the quiche.

Crustless Veggie Quiche
Serves 8

2 Tbsp olive oil
¾ cup red bell peppers, finely chopped, or ¾ cup tomatoes, finely chopped — juice drained off
¾ cup onion, finely chopped
5 spears asparagus, washed, trimmed and sliced into ½ in. pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
5 large eggs or 5 egg whites and 2 whole eggs, beaten
1 cup ricotta cheese or low-fat cottage cheese
1/3 cup The Pure Pantry Gluten-Free Organic All-Purpose Baking Mix
1 Tbsp fresh basil
1 10 oz pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350˚.  Grease a 9-inch spring form pan. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pepper, onion, asparagus, and garlic and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, drain any excess liquid and cool.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs, ricotta, and baking mix until well blended.  Add basil, spinach, feta, salt and pepper, and sautéed vegetables.

3. Pour mixture into prepared pan and place pan on baking sheet. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

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Peach Chia Oatmeal

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014



Supercharge your morning bowl of oats with chia seeds and flax. Top it with whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand.

Peach Chia Oatmeal

Gluten- and dairy-free
Serves 2

2 cups coconut water or water
1/3 cup gluten-free oats*
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons flax meal
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 fresh peach, skin removed
Optional toppings: chopped almonds, coconut milk, raw honey, or raw agave nectar

Bring coconut water to a boil. Add oats and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Add chia seeds and cook, covered, over low heat, 3 minutes more. Stir in flax and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, two 2 minutes more. Serve topped with peaches and additional toppings, if desired.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP! Combine dry ingredients in a canister (double or even quadruple the recipe). When you’re ready to cook the cereal, add ¾ cup to 2 cups boiling coconut water.

Gluten-free Easter Brunch

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Gluten-free Easter Brunch |Baked Asparagus Red Pepper Frittata, Quinoa Mango, Avocado Salad, Easter Citrus Brunch Cake, Gluten-free Raspberry Scones



Gluten-free Easter Brunch

Here is a menu that is easy to make ahead so you can enjoy the Easter festivities!  Make the Frittata in advance by blending all the ingredients and placing them in the springform pan in the refrigerator prior to baking.  Pop in the oven about an hour before you are serving brunch.   The gluten-free Raspberry Scones can be made the day before as can the Citrus Brunch Cake.  The Quinoa Mango Avocado Salad is a breezy recipe that can be make in under 20 minutes.  Happy Easter and Happy Gluten-free Entertaining!

Baked Asparagus Red Pepper Frittata

Gluten-free Asparagus Frittata – “Fresh from Elizabeth’s Kitchen” cookbook


Serves 8

2 tablespoons olive oil

¾ cup red bell peppers, finely chopped, or ¾ cup tomatoes, finely chopped — juice drained off

¾ cup onion, finely chopped

5 spears asparagus, washed, trimmed and sliced into ½ in. pieces

1 garlic clove, minced

5 large eggs or 5 egg whites and 2 whole eggs, beaten

1 cup ricotta cheese or low-fat cottage cheese

1/3 cup Elizabeth’s Flour Blend (recipe here) or 1/3 cup The Pure Pantry Gluten-free All-Purpose Baking Mix

1 tablespoon fresh basil

1 10 oz pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

½ t. sea salt

½ t. pepper

Spray 9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350˚ F.  Place olive oil to large skillet and heat over medium heat.  Add red bell pepper, onion, asparagus and garlic. Sauté until tender for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain any excess liquid and cool.  In a mixing bowl combine beaten eggs, ricotta and baking mix until well blended.  Add basil, chopped spinach, salt and pepper, cooked vegetables and crumbled feta cheese.

Pour mixture into prepared spring form pan, place pan on baking sheet.  Baking for 45-50 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before cutting.

Quinoa Mango Avocado Salad

Serves 4-6


1 ½ cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegan option)

¾ cup quinoa

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 ½ teaspoon curry powder

1 mango – peeled, seeded and half of it diced, the other half sliced for garnish

3 green onions, chopped

½ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

1 avocado, sliced for garnish


Place chicken stock, quinoa, garlic, salt and pepper and bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.

Let quinoa cool.  Place cooked quinoa in a medium serving bowl and stir in curry powder, mango and green onions.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds, garnish with mango slices and avocado slices and serve.

Gluten-free Raspberry Scones


Recipe from “Fresh from Elizabeth’s Kitchen: Gluten-free & Allergy-free Recipes”

Makes 8-10 scones


2 cups Elizabeth’s Gluten-free Flour Blend  (cookbook recipe) plus 2 tsp. baking powder

OR 2 cups All Purpose Gluten-free Baking Mix from The Pure Pantry

½ cup millet flour or almond flour

½ cup butter, chilled, or coconut oil, chilled

2 eggs or egg replacer

2 tablespoons agave nectar, preferably Nature’s Agave Amber variety

¾ cup fresh raspberries

½ cup So-delicious Coconut Milk Creamer (dairy-free) or regular cream

Raw sugar for topping (optional)


Preheat over to 375˚F.  Grease cookie sheet and lightly dust with baking mix or rice flour.

In a large bowl add the baking mix (add baking powder if using Elizabeth’s Flour Blend) and almond or millet flour.

Cut butter or coconut oil into small pieces with knife.  Add to flour mixture.  Blend butter with a fork or your fingers until it resembles course meal.  Add eggs (or egg replacer) and agave nectar, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Wash and drain fresh raspberries.  Fold in raspberries. Dough will be sticky.

Lightly dust a work surface and hands with rice flour or baking mix. Turn dough out onto work surface.  Knead lightly and pat dough into an 8 inch circle shape and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Score top of circle with knife, creating 10 wedges but not cutting all the way through dough.  Or, using a large spoon drop approximately ¼ cup dough onto greased cookie sheet, 3 inches apart.

Place coconut milk creamer or regular cream in small bowl.  Using a pastry brush, generously brush cream on top of scones.  Sprinkle with raw sugar.  Bake for 25 minutes or until scones are golden brown.  Cool completely.  If you created the 8 inch circle, cut into 10 scones and serve.


Easter Citrus Brunch Cake with Lemon Strawberry Glaze

Serves 6-8


½ cup coconut oil at room temperature (or non-hydrogenated shortening)

1 cup organic sugar

2 eggs (or equivalent egg replacer)

2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)

1 t. vanilla

1 T. lemon zest

1 T. orange zest

2 cups Elizabeth’s Gluten-free Flour Blend (cookbook recipe)  or organic All Purpose Baking mix from The Pure Pantry

1 t. baking powder

3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream coconut oil  and sugar in electric mixer.  Add eggs (or egg replacer), one at a time, mixing until well blended.  Add honey or agave nectar and vanilla.

With fine grater, grate the yellow skin of a lemon until you have 1 tablespoon.  Add lemon zest to mixing bowl.   Grate the skin or an orange until you have 1 tablespoon.  Add orange zest and blend in both citrus zests.

With mixer on low setting, add baking mix and baking powder Blend until combined. Add water and blend until smooth but do not over mix.   Pour into  greased 4 cup (small) bundt pan or 10 inch cake pan for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.   Cool.  Turn out onto plate.  Pour Lemon Strawberry Glaze on top and garnish with fresh strawberries.

Lemon Strawberry Glaze

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup agave nectar

1 tablespoon strawberry jam

1 T. lemon zest

1 cup powdered sugar


Stir together lemon juice and agave in medium mixing bowl.    Add lemon zest and strawberry jam and whisk to combine.  Sift in powdered sugar and blend together.   Pour glaze over cake.

What is Easter without beautiful flowers?   Here are a couple flower arrangement ideas.  The first one  is from my friend Jennifer Cole of Jennifer Cole Florals. She has an amazing knack for designing creative and gorgeous arrangements for weddings, showers, events and home entertaining.   I love the bright poppies and the use of star jasmine which will bring a spring time fragrance to the whole room.  Check out her blog at:

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Cole Florals


This is also a great Easter table idea from Jenny Steffens Hobick’s blog:  I love the use of live potted daffodils and easter eggs.  Jenny has fabulous entertaining ideas, although she is not a gluten-free cook, I get a lot of inspiration from her.   Photo from Jenny Steffen’s blog.


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Gluten-free Diet: Power Up Your Breakfast to Fight Colds and Flu | KUSI “Goodmorning San Diego” News Segment

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Catch me on KUSI, Channel 9 in San Diego, on Friday, February 24 at 9am discussing healthy breakfast options to fight flu and cold season!

Power Up Your Breakfast to Fight Colds and Flu!

Cold and flu season is in high gear right now.  What can you do to defend yourself?  A great way is to begin your day with a breakfast packed with powerful antioxidants to help prevent catching a cold and lessen the symptoms if you are already sick.

Antioxidants are essential nutrients and help protect your body against life’s stressors.  They are thought to play a role in the body’s cell protection system. They interfere with the disease process by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can disrupt and tear apart vital cell structures such as cell membranes. Antioxidants may take away the destructive power of free radicals, thus helping to reduce your chance of illness. They may also help you recover from an illness more quickly.

Including more raw fruits and vegetables in your diet is the best way to ensure a high intake of antioxidants. If you follow the guidelines issued by most health organizations and eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, you can easily get enough antioxidants. For example, one quarter of a cantaloupe gives you nearly half the recommended daily requirement of beta-carotene and is a rich source of vitamin C. Spinach is not only full of beta-carotene, but also contains vitamin C, folic acid, and magnesium.  Acai berries are one of the highest sources of antioxidants, while blueberries and raspberries are also a delicious and nutritious choice.

Another important choice is to eliminate dairy and gluten from your diet if you are finding you have chronic stuffy nose and/or hoarseness in your throat.  It may be that you have cold symptoms or it could be that you are allergic to dairy and gluten, found in wheat, barley, rye and through cross contamination, oats.  Dairy creates dampness in the body and causes congestion.   Gluten also causes stuffy nose and congestion.  Try eliminating these two top allergens for at least two weeks to see if your symptoms improve.

There are many tasty substitutes for dairy.  I truly love coconut milk and am so glad that it is easy to find at your local natural food store. So-delicious brand has an unsweetened variety that is perfect for smoothies.  You can also try almond milk, hemp milk or rice milk.

So instead of making an ordinary smoothie, raise the bar by adding ingredients that will provide you with all the daily recommended vitamins and minerals.  Adding ingredients like acai,  coconut milk, whole food protein powder and fish or flax oil will make your breakfast smoothie complete.

Here are two breakfast recipes to power up your immune system: a nutient rich Power Berry Smoothie accompanied by Berry Boosted Buckwheat Flax Pancakes.

Power Berry Smoothie,  (gluten, dairy and soy free)

1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries)

1 pack Sambazonfrozen organic Acai Puree

1-2 teaspoons flax oil or try Barlean’sOmega Swirl Pina Colada Fish Oil (it tastes so amazing, you won’t believe it!)

1- 1 1/2 cups So-delicious unsweetened coconut milk

1 scoop Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer (I recommend this because it is gluten, dairy, soy and animal protein free)

Place frozen fruit, acai puree, flax or fish oil, coconut milk and Vega in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add more coconut milk if too thick.

Berry Boosted Buckwheat Flax Pancakes,  (gluten, dairy and soy free)

1 1/2 cups Buckwheat Flax Pancake Mix from The Pure Pantry

1 3/4 cups So-delicious Coconut Milk or Almond Milk

1 teaspoon flax seed oil

1/4 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup fresh raspberries

Agave nectar and more berries for the top of pancakes

Preheat pancake griddle or pan to medium heat.  Measure pancake mix and coconut milk into large bowl.  Whisk together.  Add flax oil and blend.  Grease pan with coconut oil.  Pour about 1/2 cup batter to form pancake.  Drop blueberries and raspberries into pancake as it cooks on the first side.  After about 2 minutes flip pancake over and cook an additional minute.  Enjoy your super-antioxidant breakfast and stay healthy!

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The Thrill of Blueberries – Blueberry Coffee Cake

Monday, August 8th, 2011

When Fats Domino wrote the song “I found my thrill, on Blueberry Hill”, I don’t think he was talking about the health benefits of eating blueberries, but perhaps he just didn’t know the facts.  Blueberries are a super food.  A healing fruit that is high in antioxidants, blueberries provide vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper selenium, zinc, and iron.  An Ohio State University study published in 2009 found that blueberries shrunk the size of tumors and significantly improved survival rates in an animal research project.  A compound in blueberries has also been found to prevent colon cancer, according to a 2007 study jointly conducted by scientists at Rutgers University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The study’s lead researcher, Bandaru Reddy, PhD., said, “This study underscores the need to include more berries in the diet, especially blueberries.”  Maybe Fats Domino would have had a different name had he actually eaten blueberries?  Anyways, for those of us who want the thrill of nourishing our bodies with the top super foods, blueberries should be added to the list.

Gluten-free/Dairy-free alternatives

2 cups The Pure Pantry Organic All Purpose Baking Mix
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
1/2 c. brown sugar or coconut sugar
3 large eggs, beaten, or egg replacer
1/2 cup sour cream or sour cream substitute
3 tablespoons milk of choice (rice, almond or regular)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups organic blueberries, preferably fresh but frozen can be substituted if defrosted and drained

Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup The Pure Pantry Organic All Purpose Baking Mix
1/3 cup coconut oil or butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Combine baking mix, salt, and nutmeg in large mixing bowl.
In a medium mixing bowl beat coconut oil (or butter).  Add brown sugar (or coconut sugar) and cream together.  Add eggs one at a time, blending after each addition.  With mixer on low, add sour cream (or non-dairy substitute), milk, vanilla and lemon zest.
Gently fold in blueberries with spoon.  Pour into greased bundt pan or 9 x 11 inch baking dish.
Prepare crumb topping by blending coconut oil (or butter) with baking mix and sugar until mixture resembles pea sized crumbs.  Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of cake.
Bake for 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Cool before serving.

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