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  • Gluten free Blueberry muffins

    I made these for my brothers birthday because he’s a gluten free muffin fanatic. He’s not gluten free officially but loves the texture of gluten free muffins. They’re very tender. So here they are!

    Ingredients (Makes 12):

    • 2 cups gluten-free baking mix or all-purpose flour (plus more)

    • 2 teaspoons baking powder

    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

    • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

    • 1 cup and 1 tablespoon sugar, divided (I used a mix of regular sugar and coconut sugar)

    • 2 large eggs, room temperature

    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    • ½ cup buttermilk

    • 1 heaping cup blueberries

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease muffin pan or line with paper liners.

    2. In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to distribute evenly.

    3. In large bowl add the butter and 1 cup sugar. Best until fluffy. Then add the eggs and vanilla and beat briefly.

    4. Add 1/2 flour mixture then ½ buttermilk into egg mixture. Stir briefly then add the rest of the buttermilk and flour. Stir just until combined.

    5. Toss blueberries with 1 Tbsp flour and then add into the bowl and gently stir in.

    6. Portion batter into muffin tins evenly. Sprinkle with a little sugar on top (May not need full tablespoon).

    7. Place in the oven and immediately lower heat to 375F (*don’t forget this step!). Bake 26-32 minutes or until slightly golden brown on top.

  • Healthy Apple Pancakes

    Hello brunch! Here’s a super simple recipe for brunch that’s a little healthier. I originally wanted to make apple muffins but I was out of apple sauce so I found the next best thing- pancakes.

    These come together quickly. It’s nice to find a recipe for pancakes that doesn’t make like 2 dozen pancakes. I love my pancakes… but don’t like standing over the stove for 30 minutes flipping pancakes when I’m already hungry. These make only 9 so you’ll be done by the time your coffee is brewed!

    Apple Vanilla Whole Wheat Pancakes

    Ingredients (makes 9 pancakes)

    • 1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
    • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
    • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, optional
    • 1 Whole Eggs , well beaten or Flax meal Egg Replacer
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    • 1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice, cold
    • 1 Apple, peeled and grated (grater of choice)
    • 1 tablespoon Oil
    • maple syrup for serving
    • sprinkle of cinnamon, optional

    Directions

    1. In a medium bowl, stir together wheat flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.
    2. Add eggs (or the flax eggs), milk, vanilla extract, grated apple, oil, and cinnamon (if using) and whisk just until blended.
    3. Heat a large pan on medium heat. Spread a thin layer of oil or butter in the pan if not a nonstick pan. Pour a ladle full of the apple vanilla pancake mixture on the skillet. Do not spread the mixture on the skillet.
    4. Cook until bubbles form and edges start to fry and turn lightly crisp, 3-4 minutes. Flip over and cook until lightly browned.
    5. Serve the pancakes with toasted walnuts, maple syrup or fruit of choice. I used blueberries.
  • Mexican Red Rice

    When I asked my mom how she learned how to make this moist, Mexican comfort food, she said she learned by watching other Mexican mothers and from my father. She has finally mastered the art of cooking Mexican rice (a requirement for my dad!) and now I am trying to learn from her. I finally convinced her to measure out her ingredients to make it easier for me to remember, and now I can share this recipe with you.

    The recipe is fairly simple, just blend up most of your ingredients to make a tomato sauce, and then mix it with the rice. There are two tricks to good Mexican rice: first, be sure to toast the rice grains slowly in the beginning; second, keep the lid on the pot for 10 minutes after the rice is done cooking. This ensures the moisture will be trapped inside, and your rice grains will open fully and make for a nice fluffy rice.

    Serve the rice with some of the beef or chicken juices left in the pan if you are making either for the entree, and you will be enjoying my father’s favorite meal!

    Ingredients (Serves 4):

    • 2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    • 1/4 coarsely chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup water + 3 cups water
    • 2 low-sodium chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes*
    • 1 T vegetable oil
    • 1 large garlic clove, halved
    • 1 1/2 cup extra long grain rice
    • 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional, included in nutrient analysis)

    *Substitute the chicken cubes for 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth. You won’t need to add the 2 1/2 cups water if you choose to do this.
    1. In a blender, blend tomatoes, onion, 1/4 cup water, and low-sodium chicken cubes, if using. Blend for 30 seconds. Set aside.

    2. Place oil in medium saucepan with lid. Heat, then add garlic halves. Brown garlic slowly, then immediately add the rice and stir well with slotted spoon or fork. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. This part takes time, but you need to make sure the rice gets a nice even golden color, about 3 minutes.

    3. Then, add the tomato mixture over a low heat. Stand back and be careful, it will smoke a little. Stir mixture for about 15 seconds to mix in the rice. After that, stir in 3 cups water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking if desired. After 25 minutes, keep rice covered for at least 10 minutes. Rice will be moist when done.

    The perfect accompaniment for Steak con Chiles


    Additional Information: appropriate for Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian (if vegetable bouillon is used), Vegan (if vegetable bouillon is used) and Gluten Free diets.

  • Chicken Tinga

    Chicken Tinga with cilantro lime rice

    This is a meal prep favorite. If you’re having a big group of guests over it’s a great dish to serve. Just double the recipe. I serve it with Mexican red rice, cabbage slaw, limes, guacamole and cotija cheese. for tortillas I love using Tortillaland tortillas.

    It keeps amazing in the fridge for a couple days so it’s a great dish to make on the weekend or a day you have some more time to spare.

    Chicken Tinga 

    Serves 6

    Prep time: 1 hour Cook time: 45 minutes

    Ingredients:

    • 1 chicken, cut in half or quarters ( I use a mix of 2 bone-in chicken breasts and 4 thighs)

    Tinga Sauce-

    • 3 tomatoes
    • 1/2 onion
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1-2Tbsp. chipotle or smoked pepper paste (optional)(usually found in can, Ethnic aisle)
    • 1 T oregano
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 T oil

    Directions: 

    1. Boiling chicken: In a large pot, boil the chicken with 2 garlic cloves and 1/2 onion, roughly chopped. Boil for 30-45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink at the bone. You will see the meat starting to fall off the bone for the legs. Set aside when done, save some strained liquid, about 1 cup (for sauce). Shred the chicken and discard bones when cool enough to handle. (This is easiest done in a 13×9 pan with two forks even when hot)

    3. Tinga sauce: Make the sauce in a blender. Blend all sauce ingredients except oil. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of reserved chicken broth if you need to thin the sauce. Then, in a large pot or frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and stand in back, pour blender contents into the pot. Then, lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

    4. Cook chicken in tinga: Place chicken into pan with sauce and simmer for 20 minutes or more (no crime cooking longer here, chicken will stay moist).

    5. Serving: Start with a base of rice or quinoa, then, spoon on some shredded chicken tinga. Add your veggies, corn, chopped avocado, lime cilantro and cheese if you like.

    This recipe is a GREAT batch recipe, meaning you can make a big batch on Sunday and the chicken heats up so well the following days. Serve it on salad or in tacos for variation.

  • Sunomono Salad Recipe (Japanese Cucumber Salad)

    Here’s an easy cucumber salad recipe that will remind you of the salads at sushi places. It’s salty and sweet. I made it as a side dish with a soba noodle salad and vegetable dumplings. It was a perfect spread!

    PREP: 5 MINSCOOK: 5 MINSTOTAL: 10 MINS

    SERVINGS: 6

    INGREDIENTS

    ▢6 crunchy Japanese or Persian cucumbers

    ▢2/3 tsp salt to draw out moisture

    DRESSING

    ▢6 tbsp rice vinegar

    ▢2 tbsp sugar

    ▢1/2 tsp salt

    ▢1/2 tsp soy sauce

    ▢2 tsp sesame seeds

    INSTRUCTIONS 

    1. Slice all the cucumbers very thin and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Use a sharp knife or a mandolin. Get them as thin as you can. Leave the skin on.
    2. Sprinkle with salt and toss well to ensure even salt coverage to draw out moisture, Wait 5-10 minutes.
    3. Then rinse the cucumbers thoroughly to remove the salt, drain, then squeeze all the cucumbers to remove excess moisture. Remove as much water as you can. Don’t be afraid to squeeze hard, the cucumbers can take it!
    4. Mix dressing ingredients until dissolved, then add to cucumbers. Toss well and it’s ready to enjoy!
    That’s the mandolin I used to get them so thin.
    Wash and drain them to remove excess salt.
  • Soba Noodle Salad (vegan)

    I made this salad to go alongside a dumpling cooking class.

    It’s super light, full of veggies and you feel good eating it. Best thing is that it keeps well in the fridge a few days, and can be eaten warm or cold.

    It can be gluten-free if you get soba noodles that don’t contain any wheat. Check the label. Enjoy!

    Yield: 6

    INGREDIENTS

    • 8 ounces soba noodles or spaghetti noodles of choice*
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
    • 1/4 to 1/3 cup reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
    • 2 tsp. Sugar, honey or agave
    • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
    • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste (scale back or omit if sensitive to spice)
    • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about 10 ounces or 1/4th medium cabbage)
    • 3 whole carrots, peeled and then sliced into ribbons with vegetable peeler (about 1 1/2 cups)
    • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into very thin strips
    • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • Optional: 2 cups shelled edamame, boiled

    Directions:

    1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the edamame and cook for 1 minute. Then, add soba noodles and cook for 4 minutes or just tender to the bite. (Check package directions for exact cooking time).
    2. After noodles are done, drain noodles and edamame together. Put them in a colander and rinse them well under cool water. Transfer the drained noodles and edamame to a large serving bowl and set aside.
    3. In another bowl, combine the tamari or soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, lime juice, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Whisk until blended. Set aside.
    4. To assemble, add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro to your bowl with the noodles. Drizzle in the dressing. Add all of the sesame seeds, and use tongs to toss until the mixture is fully combined. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later. This salad is best consumed within a couple of days, but it will keep for up to 5 days.
  • Easy Banana Muffins

    Ingredients (makes 12)

    • 3 large (about 300g or 1 cup) extra ripe bananas mashed
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup or honey
    • 1 tablespoon oil*
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1/2 cup protein powder or use additional 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg optional
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch optional
    • 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped nuts optional

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a muffin pan with cooking spray or paper muffin cups and get out of all the necessary ingredients.
    2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix wet ingredients.
    3. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients – flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch. Add chocolate chips.
    4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add wet ingredients. Gently stir until just combined. Don’t overmix – some small streaks of flour are fine.
    5. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tins filling each one completely full and top with a few additional chocolate chips, if desired. Bake muffins for 5 minutes at 425 degrees F. and then with muffins staying in the oven, reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and bake muffins for 12-15 minutes more. I recommend checking muffins after about 12 minutes because mine were completely baked by 13 minutes.
  • Chicken Parmesan

    This is the easiest and best chicken parm I’ve made. The secret to good chicken parm is these two things: pound the chicken to an even thinness. And let the chicken dry after breading it for 10-15 minutes (before frying). This way the coating sticks the chicken better. Enjoy!

    Total Time: 45 mins

    Ingredients (serves 4): 

    • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    • Garlic powder to taste
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup panko bread crumbs, or more as needed
    • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or more if needed
    • ½ cup olive oil or vegetable oil for frying, or as needed
    • ½ cup prepared tomato sauce*
    • ¼ cup fresh mozzarella (about 4 thick slices), cut into small cubes
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    *See below for the tomato sauce we will make

    Equipment: 

    • Large ziploc bag or 2 sheets parchment
    • Meat mallet or large heavy pan to pound chicken
    • Large saute pan
    • Tongs
    • 2 Shallow bowl
    • Plate or tray
    • 8”X 8” or 13” X 9” baking dish

    Directions

    1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
    1. Place chicken breasts between two sheets of heavy plastic (resealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound chicken with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/2-inch. 
    1. Season chicken thoroughly with salt and pepper, and garlic powder. 
    1. Beat eggs in a shallow bowl and set aside.
    1. Mix bread crumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl, set aside.
    1. Place flour in a sifter or strainer; sprinkle over chicken breasts, evenly coating both sides.
    1. Dip a flour-coated chicken breast in beaten eggs. Transfer breast to the bread crumb mixture, pressing crumbs into both sides. Repeat for each breast. Let chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
    1. Heat 1/2 inch olive oil or vegetable in a large skillet on medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Cook chicken in the hot oil until golden, about 2 minutes per side. The chicken will finish cooking in the oven.
    1. Transfer chicken to a baking dish. Top each breast with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce. Layer each chicken breast with equal amounts of mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over top and drizzle each with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.
    1. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is browned and bubbly and chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

    Cook’s Note:

    Use high-quality prepared tomato sauce for a better end result. You may substitute pesto or dried Italian herbs of your choice for basil, or omit entirely.

  • Vanilla overnight oats with blueberries

    This is a lifesaver recipe when you’re short on time in the morning. It’s healthy and you don’t have to waste time making decisions in the morning.

    I make 4 at a time so I have a few ready for the week. Enjoy!

    With sprinkle of cinnamon

    Ingredients (4 servings)

    • 2 cups (200 grams) rolled oats
    • 2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened Almond Breeze Almondmilk
    • 3 tablespoon agave, honey or pure maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup (100 grams) fresh or frozen blueberries

    Toppings (optional)

    • 1/4 cup (25 grams) fresh blueberries
    • 1/2 teaspoon hemp seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon flaxseed meal
    • honey or maple syrup

    Instructions

    1. In a bowl, combine the rolled oats, unsweetened Almond Breeze Almondmilk, agave, and vanilla extract.
    2. Stir, then add the blueberries.
    3. Divide into 4 jars and place the in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4-5 hours.
    4. In the morning, stir up the mixture, add a little more liquid if you prefer a thinner consistency, then top with fresh blueberries, a drizzle of honey, and if desired, hemp seeds and flaxseed meal.
    5. Overnight oats will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Healthier Apple Streusel Muffins

    These muffins are so delicious and on the healthier side. I made these for a client but can’t wait to make them for myself. I used honeycrisp apples and didn’t bother peeling them. Worked great!

    Adapted from sally Prep

    Ingredients (makes 12):

    • 2 cups (260g) whole wheat flour (spoon & leveled)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    Wet

    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup (133g) smooth unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
    • 2/3 cup (160ml) pure maple syrup, at room temperature
    • 1/3 cup (80ml) melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil or melted butter)
    • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 2 cups (210g) shredded/grated apple (about 2 peeled apples)*
    • optional: 3/4 cup (about 90g) chopped pecans or walnuts
    • optional: 1 Tablespoon coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

    Streusel

    • 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar

    • 3 Tbsp. Sliced almonds or other nut

    • Pinch of ground cinnamon

    • 2 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt together until combined. Set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir a few times, and then add the shredded apple. With a spatula, fold everything together gently just until combined. The batter will be very thick.
    4. Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top.
    5. Make streusel by combining ingredients in small bowl and working the butter into the ingredients with your hands. Sprinkle bits of the streusel on top of each muffin. Can also just sprinkle tops evenly with coarse sugar or coconut sugar if you don’t want to make streusel.
    6. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 16–18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 21–23 minutes. (For mini muffins, bake 11–14 minutes at 350°F (177°C).)
    7. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling, or enjoy warm.