Twice Baked Potato Casserole

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This casserole is very easy to make and you can use any combination of cheeses, herbs, and seasonings you like. I went with goats and sheep’s milk cheeses because cow dairy doesn’t agree with me. I also omitted the typical sour cream in a potato casserole for obvious reasons but after some thought, have decided the next time I make this that I’ll try a home made high fat dairy free plain yogurt and see how that works as a stand in for sour cream. I’ll let you know!

There are also other potato options you could try. You can use packaged frozen hashed browns if you don’t want to go through the process of baking the potatoes first and then scooping out the filling. I’ve also seen recipes where they cube and bake the potatoes. I like mine to seem more like a mashed potato casserole with some chunky potato texture, so I prefer to use baked potatoes and do a light mash.

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Even though I forgot to take pictures of everything coming out of the oven and the food on the table on Easter, I did manage a shot of the table and a shot of a little bit of all of the leftovers the next day. Next time I’ll have to write myself a note to remember to take food photos!

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I absolutley love 2nd day leftovers for breakfast, and clearly that morning my priority was the cherry fluff.

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Twice Baked Potato Casserole

10 Large Russet Potatoes Washed and Wrapped in Foil, baked

About 3/4 Cup Dairy Free Milk, heated (I used diluted full fat coconut milk)

3 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

3 Cloves of Garlic, minced or grated

3 Tablespoons of Mixed Herbs (I used oregano, rosemary, and a little thyme)

3 Heaping Cups of Cheese (I used goat cheddar, goat gouda, and Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese)

5 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

Sea Salt & Ground Pepper to taste

6 Slices of Crispy Bacon

1/2 Cup of Green Onions, sliced

Bake and cool the potatoes. Scoop potato meat out of skins into a large bowl. Add the heated coconut milk and 3 Tablespoons of butter and lightly mash the potatoes.

Spray a 13×9 inch casserole dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Fold in the 3 heaping cups of cheese, the garlic and herbs, and season generously with sea salt and ground pepper. Dollop the top with the 5 Tablespoons of butter. Transfer to the casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes. While the casserole is baking, slice the onions and fry the crispy bacon (or you could prepare the bacon the day ahead like I did).

Remove the casserole from the oven and top with the onions and bacon. 

Cherry Fluff Salad

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I made this for Christmas with cranberries and with cherries for Easter and it got rave reviews both times. Everyone loves a traditional “fluff” salad that takes us back to holiday meals at Grandma’s house.

Cherry Fluff Salad

16 ounces of Pitted Dark Cherries, thawed & drained

8 ounce can of Crushed Pineapple, drained

1 Cup of Sugar

2 Cups of Mini Marshmallows

6 ounces of Soft Goat or Sheep’s Milk Cheese

1 Tablespoon of Sugar

Zest of 1 Lemon

2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

2 Cups of Sweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk Whipped Cream (I make this the night before so it has time to really chill and set up. Some coconut water will separate, just pour it off before folding the whipped cream into the other fluff ingredients)

Chop the thawed, drained, cherries and toss them in a small bowl with the drained pineapple and 1 cup of sugar, chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Drain off excess juice.

While the fruit is chilling, bring the goat cheese to room temperature. Beat the cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1 TBS of sugar until smooth and fluffy. 

Remove the coconut milk whipped cream that’s been in the fridge chilling over night and drain off excess coconut water. Fold the cheese and whipped cream together carefully. Don’t overwork it. Fold in the fruit mixture and marshmallows and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. 

Easter Breeze

2018-03-31 15.35.06Easter weekend has come and gone and still, our typically warm spring is nowhere to be found! At least the Robins have arrived so we there’s some guarantee that warmer weather is around the corner.

We were hoping to have our Easter meal, or at least cocktails out on the patio with a nice fire this year but the weather didn’t cooperate. But high winds and a nip in the air didn’t stop me from going ahead with a fun spring cocktail.

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Easter Breeze

2 Large Whole Pineapples (peeled & juiced or you can use store bought pineapple juice – about 20 ounces)

15 ounces of Organic Pure Cranberry Juice

2 Limes (one for rim slices and one sliced for the cocktail mix)

15 ounces of Ciroc Vodka (more or less depending on how strong you like your cocktails)

Sparkling Apple Cider

Sea Salt & Sugar For Glass Rims

Make this cocktail mix the night before serving so the flavors have time to come together. Juice the pineapple and add the cranberry juice, lime slices, and vodka. Refrigerate over night. Rim the cocktail glasses with the sugar and sea salt mixture and a slice of lime. Fill the glass 3/4 full and top with a little sparkling apple cider.

Had to have a little taste test before the mix went into the fridge for the night.

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Pomegranate Crunch Salad

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Well, in true form I forgot (once again) to take photos of all of the Easter food when it hit the table. I did take some photos as I was going along on IG and did a few Stories, but as for “professionally” staged and delicious looking photos…I’m sorry to say there aren’t any. So bear with me on my next few blog posts as I present to you pictures of leftovers so that I can at least get the recipes we love to you and you have an idea of what they look like. The leftover photos don’t do them justice of course, but I can promise you that I never share anything with you that I don’t absolutely love.

Pomegranate Crunch Salad

1 Package of Brussels Sprouts, bottoms trimmed, peeled, and sliced (About 2 Cups)

1 1/2 Cups of Red Cabbage, thinly sliced then cut in half

1/2 Cup of Parsley, chopped

1/2 Cup of Green Onion, chopped

1 Large Honey Crisp or Gala Apple, cored and cubed

1/2 Cup of Pomegranate Seeds

(For The Dressing)

1 Avocado

Zest of 1 Large Lemon

Juice of 1 Large Lemon

1/4 Cup of Olive Oil Mayo

1/2 Cup of Fresh Parsley

1 Small Knob of Fresh Ginger

2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Raw Honey

A Few Grinds of Pepper

Pinch of Sea Salt

Toss all of the salad ingredients together and chill while making the dressing. In a blender or NutriBullet, add all of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Toss the salad with the dressing and let chill for 1 hour before serving. 



Cranberry Pepita Bread

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This makes a really delicious, dense, loaf of semi-sweet bread. My husband doesn’t like nuts in his food so I had it all to myself. He really missed out!

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One day I had it with breakfast topped with dairy free butter and raw honey. The next day I toasted it and topped it with sliced avocado. The other afternoon I was craving something sweet so I toasted it and topped it with dairy free butter and a little bit of raspberry jam. Another day, I ate it plain with a salad. It’s very versatile. And of course, you can add any fruit and nut/seed combo you like. Or all fruits or all nuts, or chocolate, or dried ginger, you could add cacao to the recipe to make it really dark and chocolaty, or you could also lower the coconut sugar and make it savory with herbs and garlic.

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It’s egg free, grain free, refined sugar free, and dairy free. I’m going to work on more egg free, limited ingredient breads over the next couple of months. Most of us with food allergens have the basics on hand but I really love a simple, delicious recipe that we can whip up easily whenever we get the craving.

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Cranberry Pepita Bread

2/3 Cup of Arrowroot

1 Cup of Chestnut Flour

3/4 Cup of Coconut Flour

2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum

3 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

3 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

3 teaspoons of Cinnamon

3 Tablespoons of Active Yeast

1/2 Cup of Dairy Free Butter

3 Tablespoons of Grass Fed Gelatin

1 Cup of Warm Water

1 Tablespoon of Vinegar

1 Cup of Organic Dried Cranberries

1/2 Cup of Raw Pepitas

(You’ll need parchment paper and a dutch oven for this recipe.)

Cut two pieces of parchment to line a medium bowl and set aside.

In an electric mixer whisk the arrowroot, chestnut flour, coconut flour, xanthan, baking powder, coconut sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, and yeast to combine. Work the butter through until it resembles pea sized crumbs. Measure the cup of water and add the gelatin into the water mixing quickly with a fork so it doesn’t clump. Microwave for 30 seconds. Add the gelatin mixture and the vinegar to the dry mixture. Beat on medium for 1 minute scraping down sides once or twice. Fold in the cranberries and pepitas.

Lightly form the dough into a ball and place in the parchment lined bowl. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees, cover the bowl with a light towel and set it on top of the stove to rise for 1 hour. At the 30 minute mark, place your dutch oven in the oven with the lid on. If the lid handle isn’t metal, remove the handle by unscrewing it.

At the 1 hour mark, carefully pull the rack out and remove the dutch oven lid. Set it somewhere safe because it will be HOT. Pick up the sides of the parchment and transfer the dough and the parchment to the dutch oven and replace the lid.

Bake for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove bread to cooling rack before slicing.

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Asian Style Beef & Vegetable Soup – Instant Pot

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I woke up at 2:30 this morning. Wide awake. I don’t know why that happens sometimes. So I laid there for about 45 minutes trying to go back to sleep but one of the dogs – Romeo, was farting and my husband was snoring. No matter how many times I jiggled the bed, poked him with my toe, or moved the pillow that he sleeps with over his head…the snoring (and dog farting) just continued at a steady pace.

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Abigail wanted in and out of the covers numerous times. Then of course, I started thinking – which is never a good idea when you’re trying to fall back to sleep. Pretty soon I was planning my summer garden, rearranging the house in my head, then I’d try to divert myself from that and just envision myself laying on a hot sandy beach. Then I was thinking about paying bills and the laundry that needed to be done, and how I was going to manage getting into swimsuit shape by summer (which is more like a nightmare than a daydream)…so I finally just got up! I made myself a cup of tea and did my little morning bible study. I’m also reading Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Uninvited, and it is SO GOOD! I’ve read all of her books and have never been disappointed. So at least my early morning wasn’t wasted.

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So now here I am. It’s 12:30 and I’m truly thankful that I had this soup on hand. It made for an effortless lunch and probably a good pre cat-nap meal. Warm and soothing and the ginger, sriracha, and cilantro really give it something special.

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Asian Style Beef & Vegetable Soup

1 Sirloin Steak, sliced thinly on the diagonal – fat trimmed and reserved

1/2 Onion, diced

6 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced

About 2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

28 Brussels Sprouts, outer first layer peeled and bottoms trimmed

1 Cup of Red Cabbage, roughly chopped

1/2 Cup of Celery, sliced

1/2 Cup of Red & Orange Bell Peppers, sliced (I used the minis)

1 Cup of Multi Colored Carrots, sliced

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Vegan Pesto

1 1/2 Cups of Sliced Cremini Mushrooms

2 1/2 teaspoons of Freshly Grated Ginger

1/4 Cup of Cilantro, roughly chopped

5 Green Onions, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt

1/4 Cup of Coconut Aminos (Or tamari sauce)

2 teaspoons of Sriracha (If you like heat, if not, less)

1 1/2 Boxes (48 ounces) of Beef Broth

Saute (in the Instant Pot) the Beef fat, onions, garlic, and avocado oil for about 6 minutes. Add the sliced steak and saute quickly until the steak is medium rare. Add the brussels, cabbage, celery, bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, pesto, and ginger. Stir to combine. Add the coconut aminos, sriracha, and beef broth. Stir to combine. Secure the lid and Manually set the Instant Pot timer for 5 minutes (it will take time for the pressure to build up, so the finished time will probably be closer to 15 minutes or a bit more).

As soon as the timer goes off immediately begin releasing the pressure. Remove the lid and stir in the cilantro and green onion and serve.



Grain Free Crispy Chicken Tenders

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Every now and then I need something fried. There’s something about that salty crunch that is so satisfying! These crispy chicken tenders are simple to prepare and are much healthier than you’ll find in most restaurants that serve this type of food.

When I have the opportunity to eat things like this it makes me really miss Legal Seafood Harborside in Boston. It was only about 90 minutes from our home in New Hampshire and always well worth the drive. They have a spectacular gluten-free menu and even bring gluten free rolls to the table. If you ever have the chance, make sure to set aside some time to sample their menu. They offer fried clams, fish and chips, calamari, fisherman’s stew, a wide array of choices…all the things you’re typically never able to eat  when visiting a coastal city and dealing with food sensitivities and allergies.

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If you don’t want to fry these chicken tenders they can also be baked. You can use gluten free or grain free bread crumbs, whatever fits with your current dietary needs. When I make my home made grain free bread, I also set aside a few rolls or slices to dry and crumble for crumbs to store in the freezer. Then they’re handy whenever I need them.

If you’re not into making your own bread, there are gluten free Panko crumbs available in many natural food isles along with gluten free bread that you could dry and crumble into crumbs. If you’re looking for a grain free bread that you don’t have to make yourself, I’ve heard good things about Predominantly Paleo’s Legit Bread Company but haven’t had a chance to try it myself.

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Grain Free Crispy Chicken Tenders

*Amounts will vary depending on size of your family. This recipe is based on 6 chicken tenders.

6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders

About 1/4 Cup of Avocado Oil

2 Eggs

1/4 Cup of Full Fat Coconut Milk, or any milk you like

About 1 Cup of Grain Free or Gluten Free Bread Crumbs

1 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt

Several Grinds of Fresh Pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder

1/2 teaspoons each of Thyme & Oregano

1/2 teaspoon of Paprika

Pat the chicken tenders dry with paper towels and set aside. Whisk the egg and milk. Add the crumbs, salt, pepper, and herbs to a bowl and whisk together. Coat the chicken in the eggs and milk mixture then roll in bread crumb mixture. Transfer to a plate to rest. In a large skillet add the avocado oil and heat on medium to medium high. Add the chicken tenders and fry until browned on both sides and chicken is firm to the touch.

If you’d like to bake instead of fry: Line a baking pan with parchment and add the coated chicken tenders. Drizzle lightly with olive oil or avocado oil. Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.

If you’re craving breaded dishes, here’s another tasty recipe you may enjoy for Baked Halibut and Sweet Potato Fries.

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