Practical, healthful eating and living.

Gluten-free chocolate chip scones February 2, 2013

choc chip scones

I am indebted to Elana Amsterdam, whose blog, Elana’s Pantry, has become my go-to source for easy, satisfying gluten-free recipes.

First of all, her recipes’ ingredient lists are usually short and simple. Whereas the typical gluten-free baked goods recipe from other sources requires multiple types of flour and expensive xanthan gum, Elana’s come out beautifully with usually one type of flour (often coconut or almond), mixed with a few eggs, shortening and natural sweeteners like honey or agave syrup.

It’s been the coldest week of the year in my wintry city. In need of a baked good for a potluck tomorrow, I pondered between two of Elana’s recipes. One was an almond-flour slightly sweet drop biscuit, the other was the recipe below for chocolate chip scones of coconut flour. Luckily, I had both types of flours on hand and had the luxury of deliberating. Since I hadn’t had a chance to try the chocolate chip scones yet, I succumbed to curiosity knowing that in case I didn’t like the way they turned out, I’d have a back up. Luckily, they were delicious and I am certain my potluck crew will love them! So easy that making a second batch was no trouble at all.

Note: The instructions reflect how I made these, which is slightly different than the instructions on Elana’s site.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Scones

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup vegan shortening
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup (about 3 ounces) chocolate chips
    1. Combine coconut flour, salt and baking soda
    1. Mix in shortening, honey and eggs
    2. Fold in chocolate chips
    3. Scoop batter onto a parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet
    4. Bake at 350° for 10-14 minutes
    5. Cool and serve

Where’ve I been? July 21, 2012

Filed under: What I'm eating now — beansandyoga @ 9:14 pm

New floors, new work assignments, challenge, and change have kept me distracted from blogging this past year. My apologies. Through it all I’ve honed in on what’s been making me sick all my life: gluten.  It’s inspired a comprehensive lifestyle change including a discipline of making my own lunches for work, something I never thought I’d accomplish on a regular basis.

I know, there’s a lot of skepticism over the recent uptick of gluten-free talk and products. But once I put it all together, it became clear that whenever the symptoms came back, upon re-evaluating what I’d eaten, the common denominator was gluten. Hiding in places like soy sauce, salad dressing, chicken broth at times, and other products, I’ve learned the hard way that I am overcome by sleep within about twenty minute of eating it.  It wipes me out, and it takes about 48 hours to completely recover.

Moving forward, my guiding principles continue to include simplicity, seasonal foods, and organics when possible.  Half the battle is in finding recipes for foods that I can make in bulk, freeze, and/or easily transport to work for lunch.

Lately, my staples have been:

  • Pre-washed lettuce by Earthbound Farm Organics (stays fresh about a week in its original container).
  • Rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods (I worry that chickens from other sources may have been injected with gluten-containing flavoring or moisturizers).
  • Nature’s Path Eco Pack gluten free cereals; a basic flake and raisin cereal.
  • Frozen berries
  • Plain organic yogurt (usually served over the frozen berries).
  • Watermelon
  • Home-made granita
  • Baby Bel mini-cheese, a convenient snack at work.
  • Nuts, dried fruit and chocolate; another convenient snack at work.
  • Corn chips
  • Shredded carrots (for salads)

Future posts to include favorite recipes, tips and will of course be focused on gluten-free eating.


Easing into Autumn – Cheesy Lentil Hash August 29, 2011

After a June of cold rain and a July of sweltering humidity, we’ve finally got those ideal days of blue skies that are warm enough for shorts, but make you reach for long sleeves at night.  With great delight, I am pushing aside summer salads and grilling.  I am ready to be gently re-acquainted with my oven.  This recipe is one of my absolute favorites.

Filling, cheesy, high energy, and good if you’re craving something with a salty flavor, this is easy to whip up.  Enjoy with warm tortillas, tortilla chips or as a side to any dinner. It also packs well, and is a great bring-your-own lunch.

Nutrients: Red lentils are reported to contain fiber, folate, magnesium and iron.


1 vegetable bouillon cube or 2 teaspoons of granular bouillon

3 1/2 – 4 cups water

1/2 cup split red lentils (must be red, not green or brown.)

1 Tablespoon soy sauce. (Or Tamari, which is gluten free.)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons tomato paste (Did you know you can freeze leftover tomato paste in a Ziplock bag?)

3 1/2 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Dissolve the bouillon cube in 3 1/2 cups boiling water. Stir well.  Add the lentils.  Bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding more water if necessary, until all the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are soft.

Meanwhile, heat the soy sauce and 1/4 cup water in a saute’ pan.  Add the onions, celery, and garlic and saute’  for 8-10 minutes, or until soft.  Add the lentils and the tomato paste to the pan.  Heat, stirring, until piping hot.

Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle with the cheese.  Heat under a hot broiler for about 2 minutes, until the cheese begins to melt.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

Credit: This recipe is from “The High Energy Cookbook” by Rachael Anne Hill




Cool Breezes July 28, 2011

Hot, humid, shut the door, turn on the AC sweet July.  Here’s a bit of what I’m dipping into to stay cool!

Frozen Granitas

Pour juice, sweetened tea, or nearly any kind of beverage into a freezer-friendly container. I use Ziploc containers because I know they’ll keep me from spilling on the way in and out of the freezer.

After about an hour, take your granita out of the freezer and scrape the frozen sides down and stir into the middle.  Repeat after another 30 minutes to an hour a couple of times until there are flakes of ice throughout and you’re ready for cool, sweet refreshment.  Depending on the size of the container, allow 2-5 hours for freezing.

Alternatively, create a simply syrup of 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water by heating until the sugar is dissolved.  Add to taste to freshly squeezed lemon juice or other fruit juices. Freeze as above.

Home-made Popsicles   

Take the same as above and freeze in popsicle holders.  If you don’t have popsicle holders, freeze in paper cups covered with aluminum foil with a popsicle stick inserted through the middle.

Experiment with adding simply syrup to your juice, blended fruit, whole berries, kiwi slices, or your tea of choice to get the flavoring you like.  I don’t particularly like highly sweetened juices.  Lately, I’ve been going with 8 ounces of unsweetened coconut juice, mixed with the juice of one freshly-squeezed lime and chopped fresh mint, with but a tablespoon or so of simple syrup.  Restorative on a hot day after a bike ride.


Buy a big seedless watermelon. Chop into bite-sized pieces. Store what you can in a refrigerator-friendly container. Freeze the rest on a flat tray lined with saran wrap and covered with saran wrap. Once frozen, store in a Ziploc bag, then blend, frozen, to create an instant watermelon slushie.

Cucumber slices in water    

Peel and slice fresh cucumber. Drop slices into a pitcher. Fill with fresh, cold water. Refrigerate.

Get creative: sometimes I add slices of lime or sprigs of mint. Go with what calls you.


I don’t know why. Something about the saltiness, the coolness of the refrigerated jar, makes me crave pickles in summer.  I keep a jar in the fridge all throughout the summer.



Summer Break June 12, 2011

Filed under: Easy food prep,Recipes,Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 4:16 pm
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So glad you stopped by.  Web sites are taking on a greater presence in my day job lately so my creativity has been landing there, rather than here.  But I’ll be back.  In the meantime, please enjoy some of my favorite summer recipes!

Ukrainian Gazpacho

Cannellini all’ Insalata

Marvelous Meusli

Favorite Summer Salsa

Curried Quinoa


Homemade Granola Bars April 11, 2011

Filed under: Easy food prep,Energy,Recipes,What I'm eating now — beansandyoga @ 2:12 pm
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I’ve always been intimidated by recipes for homemade granola bars.  I was suspicious that they’d turn out hard.  Sometimes they called for ingredients I don’t like.  But the recipe below seems just right.  It’s flexible.  Any type of dried fruit or nut will do.  It’s easy to halve the recipe, or double it, if you like.  I admit my bars did not cut into perfect squares, but I was not deterred.  They crumbled a bit, but were moist and chewy.  It’s delightful on its own, or sprinkled over fresh fruit and plain yogurt


    • 2 cups quick rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup almond flour or wheat germ
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
    • 1 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, peanuts, sunflower seeds)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with wax or parchment paper. Stir together the oats, brown sugar, almond flour, dried cranberries, apricots, nuts, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl, being sure to break up any clumps of sugar or dried fruit. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, mix the honey, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown.

Remove from the oven and lift the wax or parchment paper from the pan. Let the granola slab cool for 5 minutes before removing the paper and cutting into bars.

Cool completely before eating or wrapping.

GLUTEN FREE: Be sure to buy oats from a plant that does not process wheat or other gluten containing products.  Do not use wheat germ.

Thank you to for sharing this! (The above version is a slight modification of theirs.)

Follow the Nutrients February 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 8:50 pm
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When you crave something, have you ever thought that maybe it’s the nutrients in that food that you’re craving? Sometimes, if you stop and think about what nutrients ARE in the foods you’re craving, you can then start to look for super healthy foods that have the same nutrients.  For instance, if you crave a hamburger, maybe your body is telling you it needs more iron.  But if you don’t want the fat associated with a burger, perhaps you could have a big spinach salad.  This week, I’m amused to find I’m craving spinach, mushrooms and eggs.  Is it because I’ve been indoors so much? Do I need more vitamin D (eggs)?  Do I need more potassium (mushrooms)?

So I brought home a bag of baby spinach salad, a package of sliced mushrooms and a dozen eggs.  As soon as I got home, I made a dish of pasta covered in sauteed mushrooms, garlic and onions, added to canned tomatoes.  The spinach was added during the last moment of cooking; just enough to wilt it ever so slightly.  Delicious!

The next day I made a fresh salad of spinach, raw mushrooms, chunks of thawed mango from a Trader Joe’s frozen pack, sliced almonds and dried cranberries.  Topped with a boiled egg, I was in heaven.  A salad like this is wonderful with a poppy seed dressing, blue cheese, or an Asian ginger/sesame blend.

It just so happened that there was enough of each to last at least another day, so the next dish was an omelet of sauteed mushrooms, and lightly sauteed spinach.  Each meal less than 15 minutes, except for the actual boiling of the pasta.  (More like 20 minutes; not too bad.)