Monday, September 28, 2015

Sorta-Souffles - Italian Baked Eggs and Bacon

I served mine with raisin toast!
Yesterday's Sunday breakfast was fantastic. My husband and girls LOVED it. What I liked is that I could whip it up, and while it was baking, get dressed and ready to head out to church. It felt very relaxed, which is how a Sunday morning should feel, right?!

This is gluten-free and if you wanted to leave out the cheese, you could easily make it dairy-free.

Sorta-Souffle Minis - Italian Baked Eggs and Bacon 


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt. divided
4 ounces pancetta, cut into small pieces (Italian bacon)  (Note - I have also used Canadian bacon; you could try regular cooked bacon or even prosciutto)
olive oil spray for oiling the ramekins
6 large eggs
3/4 cup plain almond milk

1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup provolone cheese, cut into small pieces 

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 400F. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4-6 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes until the spinach is fully wilted and the garlic doesn't burn. Stir in the meat and let cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, herbs, freshly ground pepper, and remaining salt. Fold in the cooked onion mixture and provolone cheese and stir to combine well, making sure the cheese doesn't clump together.

Spray 6 ramekins with olive oil spray and divide mixture evenly among ramekins using a ladle to measure. Evenly distribute Parmesan cheese to top all mini-souffles.

Place on cookie sheet and into preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden and the souffles have puffed slightly. Enjoy warm from the oven.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

This photo is not my own but from
another blogger. This is exactly how
my dressing looks, but in case you want
to try another recipe, you can
find this one at:
I'll update with my own photo soon!

Since the last time I wrote, my husband and I packed up our family home in the suburbs of Chicago, where I've lived since I was 10 years old, and moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. I've been cooking, but a bit too busy to blog!

Where we used to live, my parents were about three miles from our house. My life resembled the TV sitcom, "Everybody Loves Raymond," where I was Raymond (I'm not kidding!). It was a fabulous life, but we decided our family was ready for a change. My husband had a career opportunity here in East Tennessee, and my in-laws live in the area, so we knew the timing was right for our move down south and so far we are enjoying it very much!

This dressing is one of my favorites because it is so easy to make and is so delicious - especially with a green that can hold up to the amount of garlic, like baby arugula - also known as rocket (I love that name!), or a mix of other hearty leaves like beet greens, dandelion greens, escarole or you can jump on the kale craze and enjoy this dressing on a baby kale salad.  

Today I hosted my mother-in-law and father-in-law for a lovely Sunday brunch and served:

Egg Casserole
Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Fresh Watermelon
Double Chocolate Zucchini Mini Muffins

Everything was organic, home-prepared in my kitchen and came out very well. I'll post a separate entry for each item I served. Because my Mom-in-law asked specifically for the dressing recipe, I decided to start there!

Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
(Dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free )


¼ c olive oil
¼ c fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp of xylitol, stevia, monk fruit, or other natural sweetener OR 1 Tablespoon organic, raw honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh oregano, minced (or ½ tsp dried)

Sea Salt to taste
Freshly ground Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a jar (Ball or Mason style), tightly close the lid and shake it like you mean it for about 15-20 seconds. Serve over any firm, greens; my favorite is organic baby arugula.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dairy Free Creamy Garlic Calamari with Wilted Fresh Spinach over Fettuccine

Yes, that's a tiny bit of organic Parmesean on top.
Leave it off for 100% dairy-free.
Oh my. This was SO good. Well... I can pretty much say that about any food I end up posting here because I only post the really good stuff!

When I was in my mid-20s I gave up dairy totally for about a year or so. At the time, it wasn't as easy as it is today because there were so few alternatives, and almost no one writing dairy-free recipes online. But when I gave up eating all forms of dairy, I noticed my seasonal allergies completely vanished, almost like magic. I felt better and didn't miss it - too much.

Milk was an easy thing. I did rice milk at the time and it didn't take much getting used to. It was similar in texture to skim milk. So that one was simple.

But then, there was cheese. Glorious creamy, melty, flavorful, cheese. The substitutes SUCKED. It wasn't even worth it to eat the fake, plasticy, artificial-tasting sort of lookalike.  Cheese did me in.

There was the Parmesan cheese I missed putting on my pasta.

And the creaminess of a beautiful bowl of mac-n-cheese.

And a slice of swiss on a turkey sandwich.

And pizza. Oh yes. Pizzzzzzaaaaaahhhhh.

So I slowly went back to dairy.

Now that I'm cleaning up my diet and looking at foods that "bother" me, of course, dairy is tops on that list. So when I cook, I seek to eliminate as much dairy as possible. When I *do* use dairy, it's organic and I use it sparingly. Or I go all-in and know I'm going to be in pain later. But it's becoming less and less worth it for the pain.

My kiddos wanted calamari (they're foodies). I was feeling like a little creaminess. And this is what I came up with:


Dairy Free Creamy Garlic Calamari with Wilted Fresh Spinach over Fettuccine


4 Tablespoons Olive oil, separated
1 onion, chopped (I used organic vidalias)
7-8 cloves garlic, minced, separated
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
1/2 cup cashews
Juice of 1 lemon
4 Tablespoons Brewers yeast
3 tsp Salt, separated (or to taste)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 bag fresh spinach
1 lb raw frozen calamari
1 package gluten free fettuccine noodles, cooked according to package instructions
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


Prepare noodles. While water comes to a boil and noodles begin cooking, prepare the sauce and calamari.

Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to skillet. Saute onion on medium heat for several minutes until translucent. Add about half the garlic and raise heat to medium high until both are slightly browned.

While onion and garlic are cooking, to high speed blender (like Vitamix or Blendtec) add wine, water, cashews, lemon juice, 1 tsp salt and basil. When onion and garlic are ready, add to blender and blend on high about 3-4 minutes.

After pasta boils, drain in colander in sink. Put pot back on the stove over high heat, add remaining olive oil and heat for 20-30 seconds. Add calamari and garlic and sauté about 1 minute until calamari is cooked. DO NOT OVERCOOK unless you want to eat rubber band-like fish. Toss in spinach and season with 1 tsp salt and stir for about 20-30 seconds until just starting to barely wilt.  Add sauce and warm through, about 30 seconds. Add pasta to pot and stir to coat.

Serve immediately garnished with red pepper flakes to your taste and with leftover chilled white wine in a lovely glass on the side.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fish Tacos

Fish tacos. Healthy, quick, delicious. This was so good tonight my girls begged for more. It was one of those times I tossed together a bunch of things and it came out as fabulous as if we bought it from a food truck. So I'm here because I have to write this down or else I'll forget what I made!

This recipe is gluten-free, and if you use non-dairy sour cream, is dairy-free, as well. Use non GMO corn tortillas and organic avocados and other fresh organize ingredients and you have an amazing healthy meal.

Prepare each component in the order listed so the slaw has a little while to come together as it sits.

For Cabbage Slaw
1 C finely sliced or shredded cabbage (green or red; I used green)
2 chopped green onions
3 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/3 Cup sour cream (or non-dairy sour cream alternative would work well, too)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
sea salt and pepper to taste

Combine cabbage and onions in a bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Reserve half of the sour cream mixture for drizzling over the finished tacos and stir remaining into the cabbage and onions. Mix well.

For the Fish
2 pounds tilapia (or other whitefish like Mahi Mahi, or snapper)
Seasoning mix:
1 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
few grinds fresh ground pepper

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Mix together seasoning mix and generously season both sides of each piece of fish. Heat non stick pan (I use ceramic) over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Pan fry both sides of fish in batches as necessary until cooked completely through and flaky, about 5-6 minutes. Split each filet in two and cover to keep warm.

For Serving:
Package corn tortillas
Guacamole (homemade is best!)

Heat the tortillas over gas range by placing directly on burner with medium to low flame and using tongs to turn about every 10 seconds until the tortilla is soft and very slightly charred in a few places. Or, if you have electric, place several on a cookie sheet in a single layer under the broiler and watch VERY closely.  Place on a plate and cover with dry cotton tea towel to keep warm and steam a bit.

Assemble the tacos in this order:
One tortilla
One half of a piece of fish
2-3 Tablespoons Slaw
1 Tablespoon Guacamole
Drizzle with about 1-2 teaspoons sour cream sauce per taco
Few drops Chulula or favorite hot pepper sauce

Make a lot of these because they will go fast!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Healthy Green Smoothie Recipe (dairy-free, gluten free)

Happy New Year!

As I write this, my arms a bit on the sore side, and my hands are shaking just the tiniest bit. You see, I just completed my customized workout designed for me and my specific body and all its issues by the western hemisphere's best personal trainer. (I was afraid if I said "best personal trainer in the known universe" that might sound hypey.)

Yes, just like many people this time of year, I'm working on getting healthy. I had some excellent excuses for getting to be completely in the worst shape of my life that go far beyond working too much while sitting on my previously-growing-by-the-day butt (I definitely do that), or my Mommy-baby weight (my youngest just turned 10 years old, so I guess I have to be done with that excuse). Two years ago I was diagnosed with -- and completely cured of! - lung cancer. But to get better I had open lung surgery (if you're into fancy medical terms it was a thoracotomy), and they removed a big chunk of my right lung. Because they had to cut through several layers of skin and muscle to do that, well, to this day, even after physical therapy my back still isn't fully recovered.

So two years ago this very month, after coming through that surgery, I decided I would get extra healthy and started doing the green smoothie thing.

That turned out to be a big mistake and ended up giving me kidney stones a few months later (I described why in this post), which sent me back to the hospital for two more surgeries. Seriously. That was a heckuva crappy year!

Now, more educated about healthy foods, I'm fully focused on getting into the best, most-rockin', HOT shape of my life. That is a tall order, considering in my 20s I wore size 4 clothing and worked out up to 6 days a week.  But that was before I was married to the best trainer ever, and before I knew about GMOs, understood why organic food is crucial, and a whole host of other things.

So, here's today's post work-out smoothie recipe.

Healthy Green Smoothie - Kale, Pineapple, Grape - Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

3-4 Tablespoons filtered water
1 cup rough chopped pineapple
1 cup packed curly kale
1 cup frozen red grapes (no stems)
1-inch piece frozen ginger
1 Tablespoon flax seeds
1 scoop unflavored, unsweetened protein powder of choice

Toss all ingredients into Vitamix or other high-powered blender, gradually increase speed from low to high, and blend on high for about one minute, tamping down anything into the blades that isn't getting pulled down right away.  Enjoy immediately!