Category Archives: Appetizers

Roasted Beet “Hummus”

It’s no secret I love beets. I’ve proclaimed my love for them before. Well, here I am again, sharing yet another beet recipe with you all. But this one’s different. Yes, you still get that vibrant, amazing color, and yes, you still get all the nutritional benefit of beets, but this “hummus” has a more approachable flavor than some other beet-centric recipes. Dare I say, it’s one of those that could convert a beet-a-phobe!

Check out this recipe and more over at The Balanced Platter today!

Lamb Liver and Wild Game Terrine with Pistachios and Cranberries

Okay, okay, one more little offal recipe before we move on. This one’s a special treat, perfect for company, a date, a picnic (you know, for whenever spring might decide to show up) or even just a night when you want to stay at home and enjoy a simple but special meal, because all of the work is prepared in advance. The beauty of a terrine like this is that it looks impressive, but truly, is simple to put together.

What’s a terrine? Simply, it’s similar to a pâté, but the meat is more coarsely chopped. Pâtés often have finely ground meats and some variety of liver (like my chicken liver pâté) and are often spreadable. This terrine, in contrast, has some texture to it, and is best served sliced alongside a crusty bread, crackers, pickles, Dijon mustard, or other small, tasty little morsels. It’s traditionally a French dish, originally created not to impress guests at holiday parties so much as to act as a method to preserve meats prior to those days where refrigeration was common. Now, we can take advantage of the creativity of long ago and just use it for the “guest-impressing” factor.

What I love most about a terrine such as this is not only is it tasty, but it’s completely make-ahead. A couple of mostly unattended hours in the oven, and a stay in the refrigerator, and all you have to do prior to serving is slice it and set it on a plate alongside the condiments of your choice. This makes it perfect for entertaining, when you don’t wish to spend all of your time in the kitchen. I loved that I could bring some of it to work for lunch. It definitely made lunchtime something to look forward to!

You can certainly substitute to your heart’s content with this terrine. I used ground venison, boar sausage and lamb liver, as that was what I had on hand, but just about any ground meat and regular pork sausage will do, and beef or even chicken liver would work just fine here. You do want some source of fat, so don’t go too lean on your sausage or bacon. And a little tip – to be sure you have your spices balanced and that you have an adequate amount of salt prior to cooking, make a tiny little patty (about an inch in diameter) from the meat mixture and sear it in a skillet for a few minutes and taste it. If your meat is bland, bump up the spices a bit. This is my trick when making meatballs and meatloaf (which is actually a form of terrine!), and it works well in this instance too.

I opted to serve this terrine with cornichons, gluten-free crackers and a touch of coarse mustard.

Print Recipe

Lamb Liver and Wild Game Terrine with Pistachios and Cranberries (gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, paleo)

1 lb ground venison

8 oz lamb liver, finely chopped

4 oz bacon, finely chopped

6 oz wild boar sausage (fresh, not smoked)

Zest of 1 lemon

20 juniper berries, crushed and chopped

3/4 c dried cranberries, chopped (I used fruit-juice sweetened)

1/2 t ground black pepper

1/4 c cognac or brandy

2 T ghee or olive oil

1/2 c finely chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 T chopped fresh sage leaves

2 T chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t ground nutmeg

1 egg, beaten

3 T coconut milk

1/2 cup (about 4 oz) chopped shelled pistachios

10 oz sliced bacon

In a large bowl, combine the venison, liver, bacon, sausage, lemon zest, juniper berries, cranberries, salt, pepper, and cognac. Stir together well and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat the ghee/olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add the herbs and spices and stir in, cooking for another minute. Turn off heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator and stir in the onion mix, the egg, the coconut milk, and the pistachios.

Line a loaf tin with the bacon.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and press down. Fold over the bacon slices over the top, and add an additional slice or two if not completely covered.

Cover the terrine tightly with a double layer of foil. Poke a few holes in the top to vent.

Fill a 9″X13″ glass baking dish halfway with hot water and place the terrine in the center, making sure the water comes up about halfway along the sides of the loaf tin. Bake for about 1 1/2-2 hours or until a thermometer inserted diagonally into the center reads 155-160 degrees.

Remove foil and allow terrine to stand on a rack for 30 minutes to cool.

Place terrine still in its mold in a cleaned baking dish. Place a piece of parchment paper cut to fit over the top of the terrine, and place another same size loaf tin (or piece of wood or heavy cardboard cut to fit, wrapped in foil) on top of paper. Put 2-3 unopened cans (I used some cans of coconut milk – always on hand at my house!) on top to weight the cooked terrine. Chill with weights for at least 4 hours. Continue to chill terrine, with or without weights, for at least 24 hours to allow flavors to meld.

To serve, place loaf tin in a baking dish with an inch or so of hot water for about 2 minutes. Run a knife or offset spatula around the inside edge of the mold. Tip the mold to drain any excess liquid, and then invert over a cutting board. Let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, and then slice and serve.

Crazy For Kale Launch Party, and a Lemony Kale Salad with Candied Black Walnuts

Today is the official release day for Hallie Klecker’s (author of the blog Daily Bites and of two amazing books, The Pure Kitchen and Super Healthy Cookies) newest creation – the Crazy For Kale e-book! This e-book contains 40 recipes using kale in everything from salads to main dishes to snacks, and yes, even sweet treats.

It’s really no secret that I adore kale. I use it in my green juice. I make salads with it. I even have some growing in my garden. But for those of you who are new to kale, or even seasoned kale veterans looking for some new kale inspiration, this e-book is definitely handy to have in your arsenal.

This book, which will have 40 recipes (33 are Paleo/grain-free, 31 are vegan or have vegan alternatives) includes recipes such as:

Orange Greensicle Smoothie

Tropical Asian Fusion Salad

Kale in Almond Cream Sauce

Burgers with Avocado Kale Slaw

Green Goddess Tart

And much more! This e-book goes for only $5.99, so purchase your copy today!

Of course, in honor of this release, I’m sharing a kale recipe that’s fast and easy to make – Lemony Kale Salad with Candied Black Walnuts. This is something you could throw together to serve alongside any meal. It would pair perfectly with a soup for a light lunch, or could accompany a simple seared fillet of salmon, and everything in between. I couldn’t get enough of it, personally!

Print Recipe

Lemony Kale Salad with Candied Black Walnuts (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

5 oz of baby kale (I used Earthbound Organic’s Mixed Baby Kales, but you could substitute 1 bunch of any variety of kale and tear the leaves from the stem into bite-sized pieces)

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 T extra virgin olive oil

salt to taste

1/4 c black walnut pieces

2 T coconut palm sugar

1 t water

Place the kale in a large bowl and drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Gently massage the leaves, tossing, until the lemon juice and olive oil coat them all. Massaging the leaves will make them more tender. Set aside.

In a small nonstick skillet, add the black walnut pieces and heat to medium heat. Stir the walnuts and allow to toast for a minute, and then add the coconut palm sugar and water. Keep stirring until the sugar melts and clings to the nuts. Remove from heat and allow the nuts to cool and for the sugar to crisp up. Break into smaller pieces if needed.

Add the candied nuts to the salad, toss, and serve immediately. Serves 3-4 as a side salad.

To purchase your copy of Crazy For Kale, visit here!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Balsamic Lamb Heart Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette

Hold on, hold on…hear me out. I know that titling a blog post with “lamb heart” is likely to instill fear in many readers, or at the very least, cause them to leave and hope that more Ding Dong recipes come their way soon. I promise, I’ll be sure to share more desserts again shortly. I can’t stay away from them for long.

But for now, let’s talk about lamb heart.

Still with me?


Heart, along with many other offal (organ) meats, are quite nutritious. Over at Mark’s Daily Apple, he discusses the benefits of eating all sorts of offal. Heart in particular is an excellent source of lean protein, thiamin, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, CoQ10, and several B vitamins. I’m no stranger to offal, and I’ve posted about making barbacoa and liver and onions before. We eat liver and onions fairly often at our home, and it’s one of my husband’s favorite dishes. Lamb heart (or the more easy-to-find beef heart) is not as common, but after this salad, it very will could be.

As far as the flavor of heart is concerned, it’s definitely more approachable than many other cuts of offal. Many newbies to organ meats try it by grinding it along with ground beef and serving it in hamburgers, thus “disguising” it. I promise you, heart is so mild, if you wanted to start by taking that route (use a 1:4 ratio of heart to ground beef), you’d never notice you were eating it. To me, though, eating heart even in this salad isn’t too “weird”. Heart is tender when cooked quickly and left at a medium or medium-rare temperature, and nearly has the taste and texture of a super-lean steak. There is no “livery” taste or texture to it, which is what tends to turn people off to much offal. And when combined with some strongly flavored greens, spicy radishes, and a creamy vinaigrette, it’s simply heaven. This is the kind of thing I could eat every day – no joke.

I opted for lamb hearts because that was what was easy for me to obtain from my local farmer, and honestly, I find lamb heart and lamb liver to be milder in flavor when compared to beef. You could certainly substitute beef for the lamb in this recipe and it would be delicious as well.

The list of ingredients might seem a tad long on this recipe, as you’re making a marinade, a dressing, and a salad, but in all honesty, it doesn’t take long to come together. The marinade takes moments to make, as does the dressing and the salad. The last time I made this, it was on a weeknight and I served it with sweet potato and rosemary flatbread. It was an easy and delicious dinner. In fact, as we were starting to eat, my husband confided to me that he’d been looking forward to it ever since the previous time I’d made it. (He also mentioned that he preferred this vinaigrette over ranch dressing, which in my book is a definite WIN.) I think it’s time to order more lamb heart, so we can experience it one more time.

Print Recipe

Balsamic Lamb Heart Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, sugar-free)

For the lamb:

1 lb lamb hearts, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (can substitute beef heart)

2 T balsamic vinegar

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t ground black pepper

1 t freshly picked thyme leaves

Combine all of the ingredients in a plastic zip-top bag and toss to coat evenly. Allow to marinate, refrigerated for at least 8 hours.

For the dressing:

1/2 c mayonnaise (I love to make my own using this recipe)

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

1 t honey

1 t sherry vinegar (can substitute white wine vinegar)

1 1/2 t Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy.

For the salad:

1 head of green leaf lettuce

1 bunch watercress

1 c flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked

1 c celery leaves

A handful or two of alfalfa sprouts (or your favorite sprout)

1 bunch red radishes, sliced

Tear the lettuce leaves into small pieces and divide among 3-4 salad plates. Top each plate with watercress, parsley leaves, celery leaves, sprouts, and radishes.

When the dressing and salads are ready, remove the lamb from the marinade, lay it out on a plate, and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high heat and add a bit of coconut oil, rendered lard, or your favorite cooking oil and swirl about. Add the lamb, spreading out into a single layer, and allow to brown for a minute or two. Toss and allow to brown on the other sides for another minute, and then remove. Divide among the plated salads and drizzle with dressing. Serves 3-4.

Do you eat offal/organ meats? Chime in on this topic (and more) at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!

Sweet Potato and Rosemary Flatbread

I know it’s not really the height of sweet potato season. That being said, it’s sweet potato season around our house for much of the cooler months. Plain and simple – they’re healthy, easy, and we love them. Most often, we enjoy them in the form of a sweet potato puree. Of course, as evidenced by this recipe, we often end up with leftovers. That’s when I get creative.

In fact, I was so excited by the crust from that quiche that I’ve since been playing with the recipe, coming up with various ideas based on the same theme. In fact, I made sweet potato puree just so I could have “leftovers” for this flatbread. I highly suggest you do the same. This flatbread is that good. It’s perfect with a salad, but really shines alongside a soup, or even roast chicken with some gravy or au jus, so you can use it to mop up the soup or some sauce. You could definitely use it as a pizza crust. Whatever you do, you’ve gotta try it out.

Print Recipe

Sweet Potato and Rosemary Flatbread (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

2 egg whites

1 egg

1 T psyllium husk powder

1 T ground flaxseed

1 c sweet potato puree (follow instructions on how to make sweet potato puree here, omitting maple syrup)

2 T coconut butter* (also called creamed coconut or coconut cream concentrate)

1/2 c white rice flour

1/2 c blanched almond flour (I used Honeyville)

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t baking powder

1 T chopped fresh rosemary needles

Additional coarse salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the psyllium husk powder, flaxseed, sweet potato puree and coconut butter (warm this a bit if it is too hard) and stir until well-blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice flour, almond flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until well-blended. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and press out evenly into a rectangle about 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. If the dough sticks to your fingers, oil them with a little olive oil before pressing. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the bottom is browned and the middle springs back when pressed lightly. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and cut into 8 pieces. (I found using a pizza cutter to be the easiest way to do this.)


*NOTE about creamed coconut/coconut butter/coconut cream concentrate: It’s all the same thing; it just depends who makes it. Let’s Do Organic calls it creamed coconut , Artisana calls it coconut butter, Nutiva calls it coconut manna , and Tropical Traditions calls it coconut cream concentrate. Lexie of Lexie’s Kitchen made some from scratch. I have used several of these brands with success, and have even made my own. Any of those will work just fine in this recipe.


Chorizo and Chard Quiche with a Sweet Potato Crust

So here I was, on a Friday night, with no plan for dinner. Apparently my usual meal planning ways had failed me. Hubby and I had no plans, and I didn’t have a soccer game that night. Still, there was some food in the house, so I nixed the idea of grabbing something on my way home, and instead decided to do what seemed the best plan of all:

I winged it.

With some leftover sweet potato puree (sans maple syrup) that needed to be used, along with some eggs and a bit of fresh Mexican chorizo, I started to develop a plan. I grabbed random ingredients in hopes of making a pie crust of sorts with the mashed sweet potato, with little-to-no idea whether it would actually work.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how well it actually did work! (This isn’t something that usually happens with experimental gluten-free baking – typically you have to tweak, tweak, and tweak some more to get something just right.) This crust isn’t a typical flaky pie crust. In fact, it’s rather bread-like, almost akin to a pizza crust in texture. (which ought to be my next experiment – sweet potato pizza crust!) It baked up well, so I proceeded with filling it with eggs, cooked chorizo, and swiss chard. Back into the oven it went, and what emerged was quite lovely indeed.

This quiche is perfect for a brunch or weekend breakfast, or alongside a salad for a light dinner. Personally I just ate two slices and called it dinner that night. What I was particularly fond of, however, was how well the leftovers were. I could reheat a slice for breakfast the following morning and it was delicious – the crust didn’t suffer in the least. This was a pleasant surprise, and ensured none of this quiche went to waste.

As we typically end up with leftover sweet potato puree, I’m sure this crust will reappear in some form again in the near future. Of course, I’ll be certain to share with you the successes. Until then, I hope you enjoy this simple quiche.


Chorizo and Chard Quiche with a Sweet Potato Crust (gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free)

For the crust:

2 egg whites

1 egg

1 T psyllium husk powder

1 T ground flaxseed

1 c sweet potato puree (follow instructions on how to make sweet potato puree here, omitting maple syrup)

2 T coconut butter* (also called creamed coconut or coconut cream concentrate)

1/2 c white rice flour

1/2 c blanched almond flour (I used Honeyville)

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a glass or ceramic pie pan and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the psyllium husk powder, flaxseed, sweet potato puree and coconut butter (warm this a bit if it is too hard) and stir until well-blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice flour, almond flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until well-blended. Transfer the dough to the pie pan and press out evenly. If the dough sticks to your fingers, oil them with a little olive oil before pressing.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before filling.

For the filling:

6 oz fresh Mexican chorizo (not dried/Spanish chorizo - and check labels. I find that the chorizo purchased at the butcher’s counter is gluten-free; the cheap stuff found in the prepared deli meats section usually isn’t.)

4 large leaves Swiss chard, stems and leaves chopped

6 eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

Meanwhile, while the crust bakes, heat a large skillet to medium heat and add crumbled chorizo. Brown until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add the stems of the Swiss chard and sauté for a minute, and then add the leaves, sautéing for another minute. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Once the pie crust is cooled, add the chorizo-chard mixture to the crust, spreading out evenly. Season the beaten eggs with salt and pepper and pour over the chorizo-chard mixture evenly.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the eggs are completely firm and no longer wobbly in the center. If the edges of the crust begin to brown too much, you can cover the edges with foil. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then slice to serve.

Serves 6-8.

*NOTE about creamed coconut/coconut butter/coconut cream concentrate: It’s all the same thing; it just depends who makes it. Let’s Do Organic calls it creamed coconut , Artisana calls it coconut butter, Nutiva calls it coconut manna , and Tropical Traditions calls it coconut cream concentrate. Lexie of Lexie’s Kitchen made some from scratch. I have used several of these brands with success, and have even made my own. Any of those will work just fine in this recipe.


Turnip “No Potato” Salad with Grainy Mustard, Bacon, and Pickled Red Onions

Potato salad is a staple side dish in just about any household. I’ve had many versions – salads heavy on the mayonnaise, versions with a ton of pickles and yellow mustard (like my Mom’s recipe), German-style potato salad, and I’ve even made a dill and caper salad for a Daring Cooks’ challenge. I imagine that there are as many recipes for potato salad as there are summer barbecues in the United States.

But what if you are trying to stay away from potatoes? Many people on gluten-free diets also steer clear of nightshades as well in order to keep inflammation down. Many people following a paleo diet also stay away from potatoes. In those cases, how do you satisfy that potato salad craving? If you’re like me and a) have several turnips lying around from your local box and b) are looking for a unique twist on this traditional comfort food, this might just be the answer to a “no potato/faux-tato” salad!

I’ve used turnips before as stand-ins for traditional potato dishes, like in this turnip-rutabaga mash. They’re a great budget-friendly root vegetable, and one that stands up to longer-term storage quite well. They’re tasty in pickles and are lovely roasted. But I do believe that this salad has become my new favorite way to enjoy them.

Of course, part of what makes this salad so bright and fresh (even when it’s still winter, and bright and fresh aren’t descriptors for much of our food this time of year) are the pickled red onions. Many times, I forget how a simple pickle can transform a creamy, heavier dish into something that really pops. The tart, sour taste of the pickle balances out the fat in a creamy sauce so perfectly. Such is the case with these simple pickled red onions. They’re not just good for this salad, though – I enjoyed them on top of some pork carnitas the other day, and I can imagine they’d be wonderful on a burger or to garnish a pot roast. The recipe makes plenty, so you’ll have some for enjoyment on all sorts of dishes.

But back to this salad. It’s a relatively simple mix of some of my favorites – a good, grainy mustard, homemade mayonnaise, bacon, and the red onions. You get a mouthful of creamy, salty, piquant, sweet and sour, all in one bite. Pair this with some barbecue, with roast beef, or with a good soup, and you have a delicious, simple comfort food. In fact, this is my contribution to this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! – Comfort Foods. (It’s not too late to join us, either! Just check out how to participate here.) This salad will definitely show up at a future barbecue around these parts, as I gear up for spring and break out my smoker!

Print Recipe

Turnip Salad with Grainy Mustard, Bacon and Pickled Red Onions (gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly)

4 c diced turnips

3 slices bacon, diced

¼ c mayonnaise (I used homemade, based on this recipe)

¼ c coarse/grainy mustard

½ t freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

3 T diced pickled red onions (recipe below)

¼ c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add turnips and reduce to medium-high heat. Boil until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain turnips and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium heat and add bacon. Cook bacon, stirring every minute or so, until crisp. Remove and set on paper towels to drain.

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, and black pepper. Add the turnips and bacon and toss well to combine. Add salt if needed and toss again. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 2-3 hours.

Once chilled, add the pickled red onions and parsley and toss again. Serve.

Serves 4-6.


(This recipe makes a lot more pickled onions than are needed for this salad. Enjoy these onions on burgers, in other salads, on tacos, or as a garnish on top of rich, heavier dishes such as pot roast or chili.)

Pickled Red Onions (gluten-free, vegan)

¾ c apple cider vinegar

¼ c red wine vinegar

2 T lime juice

1 T natural cane sugar (for vegan) or honey

1 T kosher salt

1 bay leaf

½ t black peppercorns

½ t cumin seed

½ t coriander seeds

½ t whole allspice

1 large or 2 medium red onions, sliced thinly

Combine everything but the onions in a medium saucepan and whisk together. Add the onions and bring to a light boil over medium-high heat. (It’s okay if the onions aren’t covered by the liquid at first. They’ll cook down.) Reduce to low and partially cover. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft but not falling apart. Transfer the onions and liquid to a glass lidded container or a jar and allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Italian Herb Crackers (Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)

On a day-to-day basis, I am a simple eater. It’s partially by choice, but very much driven by necessity. Trying to eat a whole foods-based, mostly grain-free, dairy-free diet with a full schedule means you often choose the fastest option. Snacks are often simply a handful of nuts or some fruit and vegetables. In fact, it’s rare when you can’t find some nuts in my desk drawer at work – right now, there are macadamia nuts. These kinds of things are my “fast foods”.

But when I do have a bit of time, I try to make up something that’s a bit different. Something that feels a bit more special. Like beef jerky, (although most of that goes to my husband, as it’s his favorite snack.) or a trail mix. This time, however, I wanted something a bit different. Savory and satisfying. I was drawn to crackers.

I’ve made crackers before (they’re really pretty easy!) using almond flour. Only this time around, I wanted to challenge myself and make some crackers that are even more allergen-free and omitting the nuts. So I reached for the stash of pumpkin and sunflower seeds in my fridge.

Both of these seeds can do wonders for grain-free, nut-free baking. I’ve played with pumpkin seeds before (making some pretty awesome chocolate cherry cookies!), and so I figured I could try the same with sunflower seeds. Little did I know that simultaneously, Matt from Paleo Parents was playing around with sunflower seed flour! It’s one of those little wonders of the universe. Maybe it’s a sign of a new revolution in grain-free baking? Who knows. In any case, it seems sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are making quite the splash.

I can see why. In just a few moments, I was able to throw together some incredibly satisfying crackers. These crackers have the mouthfeel and look of a rustic “multi-grain” cracker, with a wonderful herbed punch. They’d be a great base for a bruschetta or a tapenade, a macadamia nut “ricotta” cheese, or alongside tomato soup. For me, as most of these things are, it’ll be most likely that they will be in my snack stash, eaten out of hand as a quick snack. They’ll be a welcome change from the usual!

Print Recipe

Italian Herb Crackers (grain-free, nut-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

1 c raw, hulled pumpkin seeds

1 c raw, hulled sunflower seeds, divided

1/4 c ground flaxseed meal

2 t Italian seasoning

1/2 t garlic powder

1/2 t onion powder

1/2 t paprika

1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 t salt

1 T coconut palm sugar

1 T coconut oil, melted

3 T water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pumpkin seeds, half of the sunflower seeds, the flaxseed meal, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, red pepper, and salt. Process until ground and no chunks of nuts remain. Add the remaining sunflower seeds, coconut oil, water and coconut palm sugar and process again until the dough comes together and the sunflower seeds are in smaller chunks.

Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter and transfer the cracker dough to the paper, “smooshing” it together with your hands to form a flattened ball. Cut another sheet of parchment paper and place on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper, lifting and repositioning the paper as needed, until the dough is about 1/8 inch or less and is as rectangular in shape as you can get it. Peel off the top piece of parchment paper. Using a pizza cutter, cut a grid of 1-inch squares.

Carefully transfer the entire sheet of parchment to your baking sheet, keeping the grid of crackers in tact. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until crackers are golden brown. Remove from oven and run the pizza cutter along the cut lines again. Allow to cool, then separate and serve.

Makes about 30 crackers.


25 Gluten-Free (and More-Free) “Big Game” Recipes

This coming weekend is the “Big Game,” and it’s time to get your menu together! While we’re not typically huge SuperBowl watchers, (that is, until the Cowboys start playing some decent football…) I’m all for some party fare. Of course, the typical spread includes lots of gluten and dairy, and therefore is off-limits to someone like me. But with some creativity, a completely gluten-free (and more-free) party can be had! Just check out these allergen-friendly recipes for party dishes that will be good for any of your guests!

Chipotle Butternut Dip


Green Pea “Hummus” (grain-free, vegan, soy-free, sugar-free, nut-free)

Roasted Red Pepper Paleo Hummus (grain-free, vegan, soy-free, sugar-free, nut-free)

Creamy Chipotle Butternut Dip (grain-free, vegan, soy-free, sugar-free)

Naturally Gluten-Free Pizza Dip (gluten-free, dairy-free option, nut-free)

Perfect Guacamole (grain-free, vegan, soy-free, sugar-free, nut-free)

Gluten-Free, Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms, photo courtesy of Simply…Gluten-Free 


Rosemary Caramel Almond Popcorn (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

Spinach Balls (gluten-free, nut-free)

Veganzola Cheese Ball (grain-free, vegan)

Stuffed Mushrooms Two Ways (gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, nut-free)

Guacamole Bacon Bites (grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free)

Buffalo Spiced Nuts (grain-free, sugar-free, soy-free)

“Cheddar” Salsa Stuffed Cocktail Tomatoes (grain-free, vegan, sugar-free, soy-free)

Hold the Cheese! Jalapeno Poppers (grain-free, easily vegan, sugar-free, soy-free)

Swedish Meatballs


Oven-Baked Zucchini “Fries” (gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free)

Mushroom Pesto Pinwheels (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

Swedish Meatballs (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

Simple Quinoa Pizza Crust (gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, sugar-free, nut-free)

Wings with Mole Sauce (grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free)

Thai Chicken Wings (grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free)

Crispy Artichoke Hearts with Caper Aioli (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

Raw Cinnamon Apple Chips


Chocolate Peanut Butter Meltaways (gluten-free)

Raw Cinnamon Apple Chips (gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, sugar-free, nut-free)

Maple Syrup Sweetened Marshmallows (grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free)

Oreo Cookies (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free)

Flourless Almond Butter Cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

Beet and Parsnip Soup with Cashew Cream

Sometimes, the universe has a way of allowing the stars to align. Like when you walk into a store to realize that your favorite sweater you’ve been longing for is on sale 50% off. Or as you’re leaving late in the morning on your daily commute to the office, but for once, the traffic is going smoothly, and you make it on time to your oh-so-important meeting with the boss. Or when, almost as a sudden image, a mere flash of clarity in your mind, the idea for this soup appears in your head, and the next thing you know, you realize you have all of the ingredients available to make it. Beets, beef stock, parsnips, and just enough cashews to make a delicious cream for garnish.

And when you make it, first allowing the beets and parsnips to roast, putting off the sweet scent of caramelizing sugars throughout the house, then simmering until everything is tender and merry, and finally, tasting a spoonful, you know. It’s as if it was meant to be.

Okay, maybe that’s a little too poetic for a soup from humble beets and parsnips, two of the ugliest winter vegetables of the world, but just look at it. With a little love and a quick puree, homely root vegetables become silky and vibrant. That color alone is enough to chase any winter blues away. Perhaps it’s a bit soon to be thinking of Valentine’s Day meal ideas, but this could be a perfect simple dish to share with a fellow beet-lover. (Or possibly even convert a former beet-hater?)

This soup is easily adaptable. I think that’s the general nature and beauty of most soups – that you can add, change, and omit ingredients to your liking. Want to make this vegan? Just substitute the lard and beef broth for olive oil and vegetable broth – it will be just as lovely. I also think it would be delicious with even more parsnips, but it’s entirely up to you. Whatever you do, be sure to give this a try. It won’t disappoint.

Print Recipe

Beet and Parsnip Soup (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan-adaptable)

1 lb beets, peeled and cut into chunks

3-4 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks

3 T melted lard (made from pastured pork fat – here’s a tutorial on how to render lard) or olive oil, separated

1/2 of a large yellow onion, chopped

2 pieces green garlic, chopped (or 4 garlic cloves)

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

8 allspice berries

1/2 t fennel seeds

2 c beef stock (homemade is best - here’s a tutorial on how to make beef stock), or vegetable stock for vegan

1-2 c vegetable stock (again, homemade is best)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley and Cashew Cream (below), for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the beets and parsnips with 2 tablespoons of the lard and season with a bit of salt. Roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of lard in a stockpot over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring, until softened. Tie the thyme, bay leaves, allspice berries, and fennel in a piece of muslin to make a bag. Toss the bag along with the beef and vegetable stock into the stockpot. Allow to simmer on low heat until the beets and parsnips are ready, and then add the beets and parsnips to the soup. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the muslin bag from the pot, and then remove from heat for a minute or two. Pour the soup into a blender (or use a stick/handheld blender) and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve, garnished with parsley and cashew cream.

Serves 4-6.

Cashew Cream (gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)

1 c raw cashews, soaked in water for a few hours

1/3-1/2 c filtered water

juice of 1 large lemon

About 1/2 t of salt (to taste)

Drain the soaked cashews and place in a high-powered blender along with 1/4 cup of the water, the lemon juice, and the salt. Blend on a medium-low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides, until smooth. Add additional water as needed to thin the cream just enough so that it can be drizzled over the soup. Store remainder, refrigerated, for 3-4 days.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.