Celiac Awareness Month
May is Celiac Awareness Month.

As someone who writes, blogs, tweets, and talks about gluten-free living all the time, I paused before writing this post. What will be helpful for me to write today? What can I say here to help spread awareness about Celiac disease and gluten-intolerance?

Since creating this blog, I’ve learned a lot about how to live gluten-free. Each week I approach gluten-free living with a slightly different perspective. Some weeks, the focus is on getting more whole grains and fresh vegetables into my meals, and having less processed foods. Other weeks, if I’m on the road a lot for work, my focus is on packing up satisfying gluten-free meals and snacks, and finding good gluten-free options at restaurants when I’m just too far from my kitchen for too long. This blog has been all about discovery. I hope to one day be an expert in gluten-free living, but with just two years under my belt and a much longer history of recurring symptoms and elusive diagnoses, I’m still figuring all this out myself. And hopefully that’s why you’re here reading this now. You’ve been on this journey with me, and maybe you’ve learned along with me.

So I think the best way for me to help spread awareness is to reflect on my journey to gluten-free living through some of my recipes, and to share what I’ve learned about certain ingredients that make gluten-free life even better.

5 Gluten-free Recipes for Celiac Awareness Month:

Gluten-free Scones
Gluten-free Scones
I created this recipe shortly after I first was introduced to coconut flour. Coconut flour is high in fiber, protein, and can lower cholesterol. It is a fantastic thing to add to your diet when going gluten-free, because it adds richness and bulk.

Savory Veggie PancakesSavory Veggie Pancakes
When I made my first gluten-free pancakes a couple of years ago, I was amazed and delighted at their deliciousness. Now I make them regularly without a second thought! Goes to show you that being gluten-free may seem daunting now, but it does get easier, especially if you are open to finding new ingredients and trying new things. This recipe for savory pancakes uses urid flour, an Indian lentil flour. Lentil flour is high in protein, fiber, potassium, and a slew of other essential nutrients.

Curried Spaghetti SquashCurried Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms, Edamame, and Carrot
I fell in love with spaghetti squash the first time I cooked it. It is by far my favorite type of squash, and certainly one of my favorite veggies. Spaghetti squash offers up helpful amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and potassium.

Cashew Cream Sauce
If you are like me and avoid both gluten and dairy (for instance, kids and parents dealing with autism often eliminate both gluten and casein from their diets), I hope you will rethink the role of cashews in your diet.  Cashew flour is high in good fats and iron, and has a low glycemic load, so you won’t get any spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels from this creamy sauce.

Apple Bread
Apples have been a longtime love of mine, if you couldn’t tell from the name of this blog. Apples are an ingredient that I can always come back to if my inspiration runs dry, or if I just want something that is comforting, wholesome, and that my sensitive system will not protest. An apple a day… ;)

Happy Celiac Awareness Month! Here’s to many more delicious gluten-free days!


I recently tried a gluten-free, vegan, chicken-free “chicken” product and was blown away by how close the texture and flavor were to real chicken. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’m a “vegan-friendly” omnivore, especially in my own kitchen, where I rarely if ever cook animal products (I think the last animal product I cooked with was eggs, and that was at least a couple of months ago). Also, being gluten-free has prevented me from fully diving into the world of meat substitutes, since the vast majority of them use wheat gluten to mimic the texture of meat, making them not only off limits for gluten-free eaters, but a veritable gluten bomb. I think this has been a blessing in disguise, though– eating synthetic, processed meat-like products can be a treat, but I don’t think it should be the basis of one’s diet. We still, as a country should be (and I’d like to assert, are) moving towards a healthier, more balanced approach when it comes to the amount of fruits and vegetables we consume. In my opinion, fruits, veggies, and grains should dominate the plate, with meat or meat-like vegan products taking a back seat.


Beyond Meat Chicken-free strips. And they’re gluten-free!

That said, the meat I miss the least is chicken. I remember always feeling hungry after eating chicken, the same way that I can still feel hungry after eating a big bag of salty potato chips– the lack of nutritional value just made me want to eat more. But eating more wouldn’t help, because the nutrition my body was seeking was best found in a plant-based diet. So after a while I added more vegetables and less meat to my plate, and I started feeling fuller quicker.

But we all know that eating chicken is not just about getting lean protein. Chicken is culture. Chicken is nostalgia. Chicken is universal. We have managed to tie so many of our precious thoughts, memories, and cultural identities to a bird that can’t fly. And now that we (as a culture) are hooked to that mighty little bird, I for one am grateful that there are companies out there paving the way to remove the bird itself from our cultural and social connections, so that we can still have the nostalgia, without sacrificing the bird.

Enter Beyond Meat, and now I have “chicken” that didn’t come from a chicken, but is instead made from plants. A chicken of the future, no doubt.

I’m excited to see what this company thinks up next.

Fried “Chicken”
(Gluten-free, Vegan)

For the batter, use my savory lentil fry batter recipe. Dip Beyond Meat chicken-free pieces into batter, then coat with Glutino Bread Crumbs (also vegan)

Fry in hot oil (I like to mix canola and coconut oils) until golden brown. ENJOY.

Learn more about Beyond Meat


Chicken and waffles with sautéed okra. All vegan, all gluten-free.


Fried chicken strips, using my lentil fry batter, Beyond Meat chicken-free strips, and Glutino bread crumbs.

I haven’t been home much lately. Been spending a lot of time in my car running around town, so most of my meals have been packed up in tupperware and eaten in the car. When things get really busy, it’s so easy to start eating unhealthy, cheap, and quick food. But that just leads to less energy, so I’ve been putting in extra effort to eat healthy.

I think there is a fine art to packing lunch: you want something that is going to satisfy, but it needs to be simple because you can’t do major prep or assembly when you’re out and about. Here’s one of my favorite lunch salads from last week. I think this came together nicely, especially for something I had to eat quickly in my car!

Carrot Jicama Salad w/Curried Raisin Vinaigrette

1/3 cup Olive oil
1-1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp garam masala curry powder
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup raisins
Shaved carrots
Chopped or shaved jicama

Prepare the vinaigrette the night before:
Whisk together all ingredients except for the last three (raisins, carrots, jicama). Transfer vinaigrette to a jar or an airtight container, add raisins, and refrigerate overnight. Raisins will become soaked with the vinaigrette. Combine the carrots and jicama in a different container. Add dressing & raisins to the veggies right before you eat.




It’s a Tofu Reuben, baby!!

I first had one of these at Locali, a “conscious convenience” store here in LA. Their normal vegan reuben uses deli slices that have gluten in them, so they made me one with seasoned tofu instead, and it was awesome.

And now I find myself with all the ingredients to make my own! What luck!

Tofu Reuben Sandwich
(gluten-free, vegan)

Sliced gluten-free bread
Firm tofu, drained on a paper towel
Sauerkraut, also drained on a paper towel
Vegenaise (or other mayonnaise of your choice)
Salt, pepper, and/or your favorite seasoning salt
Olive oil

Toast the bread. Spread some vegenaise on both slices of bread. Slice the tofu thin (about a centimeter) and season with salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, and/or seasoning salt (I used Adobo). Sear the tofu in a hot pan or skillet over medium heat, with a little oil in the pan. Flip the tofu to sear the other side. When both sides are seared, remove the tofu from the skillet and put it on one slice of bread. Top with mustard, sauerkraut, and the other slice of bread.

20130416-172939.jpgThis is a tough week for the city of Boston, and for all of us who are watching and hoping that there can be some healing and a feeling of safety in that town again, and soon.

These are the times when it’s most important to take care of ourselves. When things get tough, and when things happen to our fellow man that make us wonder why there is suffering. We need to remember to take things day by day.

This mango lassi, both in its nutritious content and it’s vibrant color, has healing power.

Remember to take some time for yourself this week :)

Mango Lassi
(dairy-free, vegan; serves 1)
3/4 cup light coconut milk
3/4 cup canned, sweetened mango pulp (if using fresh mango, use 1.5 cups chopped)
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
Dash of ground turmeric

Blend coconut milk, mango, and chia seeds until smooth and even in color. Pour into desired glass container(s) and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer. Remove from freezer, add a dash of turmeric, and serve.



20130410-110802.jpgI recently acquired a bunch of quinoa from my boyfriend when he went out of town for a week. He had cooked a bunch of it and didn’t want it to go to waste. So I gladly accepted the challenge of eating a ton of quinoa for the next few days. (My life is so hard.) Of course, after day 2 I wanted to do something different from my usual quinoa stir-fry with tofu & veggies.

Since I usually have quinoa in savory meals, I decided to go in a different direction. I was blown away with how delicious it was as a sort of hot breakfast cereal! One morning I decided to make a compote to go with my breakfast bowl of quinoa, and it was a match made in heaven.

Carrot Raisin Compote
1 cup of raisins, soaked in water overnight (or just until they are fully soaked)
1/2 cup diced carrots
3 tbsp brown sugar
Healthy dashes of cinnamon & nutmeg
Pinch of clove

Remove raisins from soaking liquid and put into a skillet or saucepan (Save the raisin liquid!! You can use it to cook your next batch of breakfast quinoa!). Add carrots, 1/2 cup of the raisin liquid, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, and cook over medium high heat. When most (not all) of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture becomes sticky and caramelized, remove from heat.

Breakfast Quinoa
(gluten-free, vegan; serves 1 or 2)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk
1/2 tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup, or sweetener of your choice)
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a small pot or saucepan and stir over medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.

Add compote to quinoa– stir it in or serve it on top. For extra sweetness top with more maple syrup.




20130402-112508.jpgI have fun experimenting with savory brunch and pancakes. I love savory more than sweet in a meal, but I also love the balanced format of a brunch plate: pancakes, protein, fruit, hearty vegetable. Here’s another savory brunch I put together last year: Savory Curry Pancakes

I’m back at it again with lentil flour. For these veggie pancakes, you can use any leftover veggies you might have (I used spinach and Brussels sprouts), plus leftover batter from this recipe. Or simply follow the recipe below.

Savory Veggie Pancakes
(gluten-free, vegan)
(makes about 6 pancakes)

1/2 cup lentil flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoning salt of your choice (I like Lawry’s, or Goya Adobo)
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp chia gel (as egg substitute)
1/2 cup chopped brussels sprouts
1/2 cup chopped spinach
4 or 5 chopped green olives (if they are large, only use 2)

Mix together ingredients in a medium bowl. Cook pancakes on skillet or pan over medium high heat with a small amount of oil. When both sides are cooked, serve with scrambled tofu, sautéed sauerkraut, fruit, or any of your favorite brunch sides.

Tip: Sautéing sauerkraut brings out it’s bold sweetness. This is for intense flavor lovers only.





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