Before the eight days of Chanukah begins Tuesday night, I wanted to share a little holiday recipe inspiration that I am super proud of. Not an easy one to replicate without gluten, dairy, and egg. Until now! Don’t you just love that? Me too! I get excited when a recipe overcomes allergen restrictions and it tastes delicious. You know how hard that can be. While most of us know this recipe as kugel or noodle pudding, we knew it as babka.
Back to School Sandwich Inspiration (gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free)
It’s back to school time! Are yours back in school yet? I remember starting school after Labor Day in New York. My three boys’ started the school year last Thursday. Where did the ease of summer go? Summer weather is still very much here in Los Angeles suburbia yet morning rush, forms to sign and lunch packing has officially begun. Specifically sandwiches. Huge, awesome, stacked sandwiches — not that you really need to go to school to make a hearty sandwich — which had me thinking about how far allergy friendly bread has come.
Flourless Double Chocolate Muffins (dairy free, gluten free, soy free, paleo and vegan friendly)
I’ve been craving some chocolate decadence lately, but with some of the weight I gained back recently (keeping weight off is HARD people), I wanted something with fewer calories and sugar but not miss an indulgent thing – as it should be, right?! I have high expectations. I also have lazy expectations, so I threw all the ingredients in the blender and created a crazy-good double chocolate decadent monster. Yep, in the blender, the one-stop-good-old-smoothie-making blender … quick and easy … guilt-free … mess-free … chocolate bliss … these muffins are a very delicious thing and so accommodating. 🙂
Bagel Egg Kale Strata (gluten free, dairy free, soy free)
During the week I usually make for myself soft boiled eggs or a quick sunny-side-up to go with a side of avocado after a workout and go on with my day of chores and errands before school pick up. Then Friday rolls around and I’m feeling splurgier and more carb-centric (not that I don’t eat carbs during the week, definitely hard to resist) and I want a little something extra without too much fuss. Less fuss has been my mantra this year. Not only is it comforting and filling, it’s really easy to make.
Butternut Squash Gratin (dairy free, gluten free, grain free, soy free, vegan friendly)
Hey! Before we talk butternut squash things I wanted to share our Paleo experiment with you. Scroll down to the recipe if you came for the food. 🙂Remember back in September, I mentioned giving the Paleo diet a try? We did. Not die-hard though, more Paleo-ish, since I still used non-dairy cheese and cane sugar a few times a month to satisfy cravings and to keep pissed-off feelings to a minimum. Kidding aside, special needs inspires a very, very special love. I’m blessed to have two older sons’ who fully support our journey towards better health AND who are truly the best siblings and sons’ a Mom could ask for. This journey isn’t easy and their support for Mom’s trials and errors means the world to me.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (gluten free, grain free, egg free, soy free, vegan)
Oh have I got a cake for you!
Carrot cake is an all-time favorite in my house and it’s about time I made it as a layer cake. If you have missed carrot cake you need this in your life – it’s a carrot cake lovers dream!
I usually make it as a quick and easy sheet cake but thought with my teenage son turning 16 (he LOVES carrot cake) last week why not make it fancy, shmancy for his birthday with layers and completely studded with pecans. My birthday boy was over-the-moon happy. He’s still a boy to me even though he’s nearly a head taller. I’ll admit this cake needs a good chunk of time but no need to reserve it at once – I never do. I made the frosting a couple of days prior, baked and chilled the cake the day before his birthday and assembled the cake the morning of his birthday while he was sleeping (until noon!) then hid it away in our garage fridge and managed to get a few photos before we dug in. And what better for Easter OR Passover? Actually, any day is a good day for carrot cake. No?
Broccoli salad with Tahini Honey Dressing (gluten free, dairy free, paleo friendly, nut free, refined sugar free, vegan friendly)
Although hearty cold salads are a staple at summer picnics and outdoor gatherings, you shouldn’t wait that long to try this broccoli salad slathered with a creamy tangy kick-ass tahini honey dressing that has, what some may call, the boring broccoli, doing cartwheels. And just look at those bright colors – hello happy school or work lunches!
Sweet and Sour Meatballs over Cabbage, a modern take on stuffed cabbage (dairy free, gluten free, nightshade free, paleo friendly, soy free)
It’s been about four years since removing tomato, after discovering three out of four of my sons’ no longer can tolerate it. The high level of phenols affects my twin boys’ and my teenager gets sneezing episodes and eczema symptoms the next day. Plus, with arthritis prominent on both sides of my family and having recovered from fibromyalgia, we are all better off without it. But that doesn’t mean we need to give up one of our favorite sauces. Tomato shmotato! The marinara sauce for this sweet and sour meatballs kicks tomato in the butt. It took a dozen attempts to get it just right, but finally, finally think this is it. It’s freaky how similar this tastes to the real thing.
Nightshade Free Marinara Sauce (gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, refined sugar free)
To all who have a sensitivity to nightshades and tomato have I got a marinara sauce for you! This has brought on so many new recipes and I’m thrilled to be sharing this with you – oh the possibilities! After many attempts, this sauce is bound to trick your taste buds. Use it for pizza, quesadillas, pasta dishes, lasagna, stews, anything that calls for tomato or marinara sauce. No more missing out on your favorite dishes. The recipes makes 5 cups that goes pretty quickly in my large household but can easily be halved if needed and freezes well too!
Short Rib Ragu (dairy free, gluten free, soy free)
When I think of short ribs, I think luxurious winter comfort food — slow cooking, holiday meal, celebratory meal, sultry date-night-in kind of food all apply. Take it a step further using the braised liquid, pulled apart meat (actually not much pulling, it’s so tender), and you have yourself a rich, deeply flavored ragu that is impressive, yet minimal effort. I made it with wide fresh lasagna sheets sliced into thick noodles this time but have also served it over polenta, penne, even cauliflower mash for a low-carb alternative. All pair wonderfully with short rib ragu.