Practical, healthful eating and living.

Sites I’m Grateful For November 22, 2013

Going gluten free is the best thing I’ve ever done. A lot of people mistakenly assume that it’s a health tip that anyone can try. I’ve learned that people who don’t truly get sick from gluten may miss out on key nutrients if they go gluten free. But for me, it’s not a choice. My body completely rejects gluten, every bit as much as a a body allergic to shellfish, or peanuts would.

Living gluten free is a lot of work. I cook almost all my own food. Travel is limited unless I have confidence that I can truly steer clear of gluten on the road. I carry my own emergency food stash with me where ever I go, even if it’s just out for errands.

I don’t know what I’d do without the bloggers below. They provide me with delicious recipes that are safe for me, and easy to make. They provide me with variety, and expertise, and their online sharing is a generous gift.

1. Elana’s Pantry

The simplest gluten free recipes for breads, cookies and desserts that I’ve found. Lots of good tips on Paleo cooking. Her recipes always turn out and I get lots of compliments especially when I take them to a potluck.

2. Angela’s Kitchen

Angela is a busy mom with a gluten-free household to feed. She is organized and a genius with pre-prep. One of my favorites from her site is a tip to buy a month’s worth of chicken, then make three or four different marinades, divide the chicken among the marinades and then freeze until ready to bake. Quick, easy, nutritious meals. Much more tasty than store-bought any day.

3. David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz is a professional chef based in Paris. He travels a lot and takes amazing photos of food markets, restaurants, dishes and his own cooking. Not every recipe he posts is within my range of skill or gluten free, but his guidance is inspiring and visiting his site like taking a little trip without leaving home. Both last year and this year he’s happened to provide naturally gluten-free cookie recipes just in time for the holidays. Last year it was a hazelnut cookie. This year it was almond-flour based amaretti. Both recipes were delicious, elegant and perfect for winter celebrations. I also love his ice cream recipes (I have an ice cream maker), and yes, there’s a part of me that wants to be an American chef in Paris, too.


Can you bring that again? Arugula, Fig & Fennel Salad October 29, 2009

FigsThe last two years I’ve had special requests to bring this salad to Thanksgiving. The fresh fennel is the perfect compliment to turkey.  The figs and arugula dress up the table, and after mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, creamed green beans and all the favorites, it’s refreshing to have something crisp and green!


1 quart fresh arugula leaves or spring salad mix

1 or 2 tablespoons walnut oil (or olive oil)

1 or 2 tablespoons bland vegetable oil

1 or 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced

6 to 8 ripe figs, cut into halves

6 ounces Roquefort cheese or blue cheese, broken into bite-sized bits

1/2 to 2/3 cup walnut bits or halves, toasted

Optional: 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil

Place the greens in a salad bowl.  Toss with the oils and vinegar.  Arrange the fennel and figs on top and scatter the cheese and toasted walnuts over all.  Top with chopped fresh chervil, if using.

From “The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook.”


Pumpkin Cookies September 19, 2009

Filed under: Cookbooks,Energy,Party Season Game Plan,Recipes — beansandyoga @ 8:51 pm
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Pumpkin Cookies 9 09I wasn’t sure if I would like these, but this is why I love to try new recipes.  This one is a keeper!

The pumpkin flavor is mild.  Rather than bake all the dough, I set aside one portion in the refrigerator, and I froze a separate portion into spoonfuls on a tray, then transferred them to an air tight container.  One portion, of course, was immediately baked.  Of the immediately baked cookies, a few were tucked away for the next day.  I noticed that the first batch almost tasted bland.  The cookies that were tucked away, however, had a stronger spice taste.  So did the dough I’d stored in the refrigerator.  The next time I make these, I’m going to let them sit a day because the flavors seem to need a day to fully blend.

The cookies stay moist, and seem to get better after sitting a day.  After that, they go fast!


1 cup butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg slightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped peanuts or walnuts, slightly toasted

1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt, and add to the mixing bowl.  Stir well to form a soft batter.  Stir in the chipped nuts, raisins and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a large, unoiled baking sheet, allowing a little space for the cookies to spread as they bake.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cookies just begin to brown slightly on the bottom.  Mine did not spread; they baked into cake-like sturdy mounds.  Use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack or plate.

From the “Moosewood Restaurant New Classics” cookbook.


Picnic Friendly Fare – Lemon Chicken Salad July 6, 2009

Barefoot Contessa Lemon Chicken Salad 7_09This was a hit at my 4th of July picnic.  As there are many more opportunities for picnics to come, I’d thought I’d share it.  This is from The Barefoot Contessa cookbook by Ina Garten.

Note: Give yourself an extra day so that the chicken breasts can marinate overnight before grilling.

There are two parts to this recipe: the grilled chicken, then the assembling of the salad.


3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons) (Yes! Fresh makes a difference!)

3/4 cup good olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, halved and skin removed.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.  Pour over the chicken breasts in a nonreactive bowl.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.

Grill for about ten minutes on each side.  Allow to chill in refrigerator.  Slice into 3/8-inch-thick slices when ready to assemble salad.


1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 large lemon) (Yes!  Use fresh!)

1/4 cup good olive oil

1 cup raw sugar snap peas, stems and strings removed

1/2 red bell pepper, julienned

1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Toss all the ingredients into a bowl, including the chilled, sliced grilled chicken.  Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.


Easy Elegance April 3, 2009

Filed under: Easy food prep,Party Season Game Plan — beansandyoga @ 9:05 am
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Having people in?  Sometimes it’s nice to keep things simple.  Last night I threw together a platter of cheese, tapenade, fresh grape tomatoes and sugar snap peas, thai-spiced cashews and rustic cheese crackers.  Trader Joe’s has great spanokopita that heats in the oven in just 20 minutes.  Add a bottle of pinot grigio, and we couldn’t have been happier.


Swordfish with Tomatoes and Capers February 14, 2009

Need something elegant yet easy to serve on Valentine’s Day?  Here’s an option that I’ve found wonderful. valentines-day-091


1/2 Cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 Cup chopped fresh fennel

1 1/2 Tablespoons good olive oil

1/2 Teaspoon minced garlic

14 Ounce can of plum tomatoes, drained

1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 – 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon chicken stock

1 Tablespoon good dry white wine

1/4 Cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1 Tablespoon capers, drained

1/2 Tablespoon unsalted butter

2 1-inch-thick swordfish fillets (may also use cod or red snapper)

For the sauce, cook the onions and fennel in the oil in a large saute pan on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the drained tomatoes, smashing them in the pan with a fork, plus the salt and pepper.  Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock and white wine and simmer for 10 more minutes to reduce the liquid.  Add the basil, capers, and butter and cook for 1 minute more.

Prepare a grill with hot coals.  Brush the swordfish with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill on high heat for 5 minutes on each side until the center is no longer raw.  Do not overcook.  Place the sauce on the bottom of a plate, arrange the sworfish on top, and garnish with basil leaves.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

(May also pan fry, bake or broil the swordfish.)

Serve with a salad of fresh greens and a dessert of ice cream, sorbet, good chocolate or your local bakery’s most enticing Valentine’s Day offering.

From: “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” by Ina Garten


A Happy Holiday December 20, 2008

Filed under: Energy,Party Season Game Plan,Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 10:28 am
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gingerbread-house One Christmas, a few years back, while cleaning up brunch so that we could start cooking dinner, I realized I was sleepy.  We’d had a big dinner the night before, stayed up late, and I still had another 24 hours of Christmas to go!

I’m not a big drinker, but I do enjoy a glass of wine.

I decided to do something radical.  I decided to make a tradition of not drinking on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

It made a big difference.  Obviously, I had more energy.  And I was more relaxed, and less likely to become frustrated by little things.

In the end, like so many other things, I realized that what I get out of my holidays is what I’ve put in.  (or left out!) 🙂