Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Spinach Goat Cheese Quiche with a Spaghetti Squash Crust

I was browsing through Pinterest when I came across a Spaghetti Squash Crusted Quiche Recipe. It perked my interest. I am always looking for ways to be creative with vegetables while reducing starches. This recipe is from PaleOMG website. Though I do not follow the Paleo Diet, many Paleo recipes compliment my eating style.

FYI: According to The Paleo
" The Paleo Diet is based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors. The following seven fundamental characteristics of hunter-gatherer diets will help to optimize your health, minimize your risk of chronic disease, and lose weight.

  • Higher protein intake 
  • Lower carbohydrate intake and lower glycemic index
  • Higher fiber intake–
  • Moderate to higher fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats
  • Higher potassium and lower sodium intake
  • Net dietary alkaline load that balances dietary acid
  • Higher intake of, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals"

Back to the point of this post - I decided to use my quiche filling and use the spaghetti squash as a crust.  It turned out much better then I thought it would. The combination of the filling and the squash was excellent. The squash added a nice crunch to the dish. The only issue was that with all the veggies the quiche had a little too much liquid. I cut the first slice and then drained the excess liquid. 

I have 2 thoughts about the extra liquid. First, I could reduce the amount of milk in the filling. Second,after cooking the squash, I could scoop out the threads and place it on a cookie sheet and place it back in the oven to dry a little. I will let you know which works better.


  •   2 tablespoons Earth’s Balance
  •   1 onion, minced
  •   1 teaspoon minced garlic
  •   2 cups chopped fresh spinach (or alternative vegetable)
  •   1 1/2 cups shredded goat cheese   (I use ¾ cups grated goat cheddar & 3 ounces of  soft goat cheese)
  •   4 eggs, well beaten
  •   1 1/2 cups milk  (I use ¾ cup of almond milk & ¾ cup of coconut milk.)
  •   1 teaspoon salt
  •   1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  •   1  tablespoon butter, melted (Earth’s Balance)
  •   Coconut oil, butter alternative, or oil to grease pan with.  
  •   1 medium spaghetti squash (approx. 2 pounds)  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

1. Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise and  remove seeds and excess strings. Place in a glass cooking pan. Add approximately 1/2 inch of water.  Bake 20 -25 minutes or until the outside of the squash gives a little.
2. Remove squash from oven and allow to cool. Scoop out the threads of squash. I use a fork.
3. Press the squash into a well greased pie pan forming a crust. Try to make sure it is evenly spread out.

1.Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and vegetable.  Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. Shut off heat and place soft goats cheese in saucepan and stir until melted.
2.Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with cheese.
3.Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30 minutes. or until center has set.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wedding Cake Tasting - Gluten-Free Style

Special occasion cakes are no longer out of the questions for those needing a gluten-free cake. Being gluten-free can feel like a burden especially when planning a special occasion such as a wedding. Planning being the operative word. I am helping someone research gluten-free wedding cakes. Though it takes more research, we are having a lot of fun  wedding cake tasting. 

At first I was a little nervous about taste testing cakes that were not from a dedicated gluten-free bakery but with some direct questions and solid answers, I went for it. I was assured that the equipment was thoroughly cleaned before baking any gluten-free items. So far I have not been glutened and have only  experienced several sugar rushes. 

Sensitive Sweets is the only local 100% dedicated gluten-free bakery. Their philosophy is :

"Sensitive Sweets is a dedicated Gluten-free and Nut-free BAKERY.  We specialize in custom cakes and desserts for those who have food sensitivities or dietary restrictions. Wheat (gluten)free, dairy (casein) free, egg free, soy free and nut free custom cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes and breads...just let us know what you need. We truly believe that EVERYONE deserves a treat!"  

Sensitive Sweets Wedding Cake        
Sweet and Saucy is a specialty bakery in Newport B, CA.Their cake tasting consists of a lovely tray of mini cupcakes. 10 gluten-free flavors of mini cupcakes to be specific. The only issue was that they brought the gluten-free samples on the same tray as the gluten-filled samples. 
Sweet and Saucy

"Sweet and Saucy" uses coconut flour as the main ingredient in the cakes. Their toppings are distinct yet a little sweeter than I prefer.

It's All About the Cake in Dana Point is also a specialty bakery. Their cake tasting was very unique. They brought a delicious tray  filled with cubes of red velvet cake, chocolate cake and vanilla cake. In addition there was dabs of butter cream, whipped cream, fudge, chocolate mouse, lemon curd etc. Then our host careful prepared each bite so we could experience the perfect bite. 

It's All About the Cake

The cakes at "It's All About the Cake" are by far the best gluten-free cakes I have tasted. The texture is delicate and light and the flavors are elegant. They seem to understand the needs of people eating gluten-free. They brought out 2 separate trays and had us sample the gluten-free first. Then those that wanted to try the gluten-filled cakes could do so. 

You can now enjoy the cake and the taste testing experience whether you are gluten-free or not.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

My niece asked me to make gluten-free oatmeal cookies. I have tried before but was not satisfied until now. This recipe was inspired by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, Silver Plate Good Times Cookbook. 

  • Serves       Cook Time       Total Time       Prep Time
        24 cookies       15 minutes       30 minutes      15 minutes
  • Ingredients

    1 cup butter alternative such as Earth Balance or Coconut Oil
    1 cup of packed dark brown sugar
    3 tbsp honey
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 cups of gluten-free all purpose flour mix such as Trader Joe's or King Arthurs
    1 tbsp cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon of salt
    4 cups of gluten-free oats
    Chocolate Chips
    Chopped Nuts
  • Instructions 

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
    2. Cream butter alternative and brown sugar. Add eggs and honey.
    3. Sift flour, cinnamon, and salt together. Add to cream mixture and stir.
    4. Add oats and any options, stir until well mixed.
    5. Put 2 inch cookie balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
    6. Bake for 12-15 . Immediately remove on put on wire rack to cool.
  • Notes 

    Gluten-free cookies brown quickly on the bottom of the cookies. parchment paper helps prevent this.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Japanese Food Ingredients: Are They Gluten-Free?

I started looking for gluten-free Japanese food recipes and realized I needed to know more about the basic ingredients used in Japanese food. I began researching this a year ago and but it aside to complete the books. With the temperature at 104 degrees, I thought Japanese food would be fun to make but I had forgotten how many of the ingredients needed to be altered.

For those adventurous chefs out there, here is what you need to know about cooking Gluten-Free Japanese food:

Basic Japanese Ingredients that contain gluten:
Fish Stock Powder (hon Dashi): Contains *MSG or Mono-Sodium Glutamate.
Japanese Mayonnaise: Ingredients vary and may contain Gluten.

Imitation Crab:Can be made with wheat
Panko: Made with Wheat
Rice Vinegar: May Contain *MSG or Malt Barley 
Sushi: Ingredients in sushi vary and could contain Gluten. Ask before eating
Sushi Rice: When cooked may contain rice vinegar or wheat
Tempura: Made with Wheat

Basic Japanese Sauces that contain gluten: 
Chili Sauce: Can Contain *Modified Food Starch
Fish Sauce: Ingredients vary from brand to brand - Read labels
Hoisin Sauce: Contains Wheat
Hontsuyu Sauce: Contains *MSG & Soy Sauce.

Oyster Sauce: Can contains *MSG and/or Wheat
Plum Sauce: Is usually gluten-free but read ingredients to be sure. 
Ponzu Sauce: Contains *MSG & Soy Sauce
Soy Sauce: Contains Wheat
Teriyaki Sauce: Contains Soy Sauce
Wasabi: Prepared in a tube and can contain lactose (dairy) It is usually gluten-free

Basic Japanese Ingredients that are Gluten-Free (GF):
Jasmine Rice: GF
Mirin Sauce:  GF
Nori Warps: GF
Potato Starch: GF
Saké: GF
Tamari Sauce: GF 

Go to Thank Heavens: The Gluten-Free Lifesaver, for a GF Hoisin Recipe  


* Modified Food Starch: In the United States Modified Food Starch is gluten-free, unless labeled otherwise. Modified Food Starch imported from another country will contain gluten.

*MSG or Mono-Sodium Glutamate is typically made with wheat especially if imported from another country.

* Soy Sauce can be replaced with Gluten-Free Tamari


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar

Have you ever noticed that even if you do not eat sugar for months, the minute you start, the cravings increase and the urges take over. That is exactly what happened this weekend.

I woke up this morning dragging. 
The Santa Ana winds are blowing, reeking havoc on my sinuses.
I had 2 events this weekend and ate way to many treats laced with sugar.
And I am helping another friend pack and move.
I am tired.

ALL I want to do is rest and eat sweets. 
Of course neither will happen, especially the caving into the cravings. 

I am grateful I know enough to stop myself from further sabotage.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all those wonderful mothers here on earth and those who have gone before us. Though it has been 30 years since my mom has passed, she is always close to  my heart. Today is a reminder of all the love and care she shared with me and my siblings.

I have had several careers and many job related adventures in my life BUT none as fulfilling, loving , caring and satisfying as being Alex's mom.

Being a Mother is the best thing I have ever done!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Favorite Gluten-Free Magazines

May 5, 2014
I woke up this morning  to a soft, cool spring breeze blowing in from the window The birds were chirping as if to say, thank God the weather has changed. The strange thing is, here in Southern California, it is not the brutal winter we are happy to see move out, it is the extreme 95 plus temperatures, the 20-30 mile an hour winds and the dry, dry air. And yet I am so grateful to live here.

I have been creating a recipe section for the book and most of the recipes have been winter oriented.  The crazy heat wave that came to visit for the last week now has me thinking about lighter, more refreshing meals. So when I woke up this morning to 58 degrees and damp air, I found myself caught between warm, cozy stews and the beautiful summer recipes that I have been reading about in all the new editions of the GF magazines. 

I am curious:
Which are your favorite gluten-free magazines and why?

Roasted Vegetables

My family really enjoys roasted vegetables of any kind. Use firm vegetables such as; zucchini, squash, carrots, beets, asparagus etc. I prefer red onions but shallots, white and yellow onions all work well. 

  • Serves    Cook Time     Total Time   Prep Time
    6    35-45 minutes     1 hour    15-25 minutes
  • Ingredients 

    4 cups: any firm vegetables: squash, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus
    1 medium onion (peeled and chopped or sliced thin)
    2 cloves of garlic (minced)
    3 tbsp olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 tsp thyme
    1/4 tsp oregano
  • Instructions

    1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
    2. Peel, cut and chop vegetables. (I like to make them small, approx. 1/2 inch cubes, so they cook quickly)
    3. Prepare onions and garlic.
    4. Place vegetables, onions and garlic in large bowl.
    5. In a small bowl prepare dressing: olive oil, and all spices ( I change up the spices as desired)
    6. Add dressing to vegetables and toss well.
    7. Place on cookie or baking sheet
    8. Roast for approx. 35 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  • photo by

Friday, May 2, 2014

Kicking 4 Celiac: A Story of Devotion to Celiac Awareness

As I was working feverishly to get  my 3rd book, Gluten-Free Living 101: A Step by Step Handbook , to the editor, I was also trying to figure out how I wanted to honor May's, Celiac Awareness Month .
This morning I was reading the article, Craig Pinto, Kicking 4 Celiac in Simply Gluten-Free Magazine. This was the first time I had heard of Craig Pinto and I wanted to know more, so I went to his website. 

After reading the information on Craig's website, it was easy to decided how I want to honor Celiac Awareness month, by honoring the people in the forefront of the awareness movement.

What I discovered was a truly wonderful man and his journey to developing and supporting Celiac Awareness. Craig Pinto was diagnosed with Crohn 's at the age of 12 and celiac at the age of 22 years old. Though Craig went through both physical and emotional challenges after being diagnosed, he still became a professional indoor football player and later achieved 2 Guinness Book of world Records.

In 2010, Craig decided to bring awareness to celiac disease and raise money for the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University by kicking the most field goals kicked in 12 hours. He achieved this by making 717 forty yard field goals." He repeat this in 2011by making 1,000 forty foot goals in 18 hours. (source)

He called the Guinness Book Record challenge, Kicking 4 Celiac, a name he soon gave to his foundation.
Now almost 3 years later,  Kicking 4 Celiac, will be renamed, National Celiac Disease Society. Craig hopes that the name change will give it global awareness.

Kick 4 Celiac has 3 programs under it's umbrella:

Cleat's for Kid's: 
Pinto wanted to educate children about celiac disease and the need for exercise and healthy eating. Cleat's for Kid's, is a fairly new program that collects soccer cleats for children in under-served areas.
" Each organization that receives these items not only will get some great equipment to enjoy, but will also learn about nutrition, proper eating, as well as living healthy through our guest speaking engagements with them." (source)

College Scholarship Program:   In 2012, Kick's 4 Celiac started a college scholarship for new college students with celiac disease. The scholarship is meant to help the student offset the cost of living gluten-free at college.Currently the scholarship program is able to choose 2 students each year. With our support, this number will grow.

Student Ambassador Program:
"Our Student Ambassador Program works with students interested in reaching out to their local elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as to those in college, to discuss the importance of allergy awareness and tolerance in schools." (source)

Kicking 4 Celiac Facebook page
Kicking 4 Celiac Homepage

Thank you to all the people out there who are making such an incredible difference.