Tuesday, May 21, 2019

French Onion Soup ... Reimagined Gluten Free and Vegan

I enjoy making soups. I find there to be something satisfying and comforting about enjoying a bowl or cup of warm soup.

French Onion Soup Memories

French Onion Soup is something that I enjoy ordering in restaurants, but have shied away from ordering since I had to start following a gluten free diet. I loved the warm soup, the melting cheesy and crunchy topping, and the crunchy cheese that oozed down the side of the bowl. Just thinking about a bowl of French Onion soup makes me smile!

A while ago I found a recipe that I liked and have been able to make french onion soup at home ... deconstructed with gluten free bread and melted cheese on the side! I can, once again, enjoy one of my comfort foods.

French Onion Soup ... Re-imagined

This recipe takes the soup to a new level ... adding Beyond Meat Crumbles makes the soup more of a meal. I enjoy the soup with toasted gluten free bread or add some melted cheese.

The soup is GLUTEN FREE and VEGAN. If you use dairy free cheese and a gluten free vegan bread then the entire meal remains gluten free and vegan. Three brands of bread that are gluten free and vegan include: Food for Life, bFree, and Little Northern Bakehouse.


  • 3 large onions (size of a man's fist) ... use a variety or all sweet onions
  • 6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP thyme
  • 2 -4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • OPTION: 1 Package Beyond Meat Crumbles


  • Dice the onions into small pieces of relatively uniform size
  • Add the onions, thyme, and olive oil to a soup pan on medium
  • As the onion begins to caramelize, add the balsamic and continue to cook down the onions ... turn the burner down to medium low and stir from time to time ... after about an hour the liquid should have evaporated and the onions soft and caramel in color
  • Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes
  • OPTION: Add the Beyond Meat Crumbles and stir into the soup. Cook an additional 15 minutes for flavors to marry


Enjoy a bowl or cup of soup on its own or with toasted gluten free, vegan bread with melted cheese

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Gluten Free Hope & Sesame Qiche

I did an experiment with my tried-and-true Gluten Free Quiche recipe. I substituted SESAME MILK for almond milk in my recipe and LOVED IT!

Sesame Milk vs Almond Milk Experiment

I used unflavored original Hope & Sesame Milk in the recipe and the swap was not detectable in the texture. I DID NOTICE a slight change in the flavor. Original almond milk (any brand) contains quite a bit of sugar. The use of unflavored sesame milk removed the slightly sweet taste from the quiche that the almond milk provided. I made a second quiche and used original Hope & Sesame and the flavor difference was mitigated. Original Hope & Sesame Milk was a 1-1 match for almond milk in my quiche recipe.

Bottom Line

Quiche is a dish that can take on the flavors of the vegetables that are used in it. The next time I make the quiche I will use unflavored Hope & Sesame if I am trying to lean my dish in a savory direction and the original if I am looking for a sweeter hint in the dish. Hope & Sesame Milk is made from organic sesame seeds. Sesame milk is nutritious, tastes great, and is a better option for the environment as it is made from a drought tolerant crop that revitalizes the soil.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Control Inflammation with Fruits and Vegetables

Control Chronic Inflammation Through Nutrition

This is part two in my investigation into how we can control chronic inflammation, a condition where the body’s immune system doesn’t shut off for some reason and begins to burn out of control, through our diet. It is imperative that a remedy for chronic inflammation is found as it can impede a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living as well as participate in recreational/fitness activities.

What Foods Will Help Me?

In my last post on the topic I looked into cooking with healthy fats and snacking on raw nuts and seeds as a means to help reduce inflammation. You can also get anti-inflammatory phytochemicals from flavonoids in raw cocoa, tea, and berries; carotenoids in yellow and orange vegetables, and anthocyanins in red fruits and vegetables

When I prepare a meal at home, I make sure that over half of my plate includes vegetables and fruits. The remainder of my plate includes gluten free whole grains and a protein source. 

What Meals Can Utilize These Foods?

One way I enjoy eating a rainbow of vegetables to help reduce inflammation is when I make a gluten free pizza. I load my crust with veggies and include a thin layer of cheese. 

A few recipe that are fruit and veggie laden that can help reduce inflammation include:

Try to fight inflammation with good food choices before you opt for medications. We are what we eat. Each day we need to eat to make ourselves the best we can be!

Stay tuned for my next post in the series … healing through whole grains … gluten free whole grains! 

“Portions of this post were provided by New Hope Network. I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.” Silent Fire: How to Extinguish Chronic Inflammation by Lisa Truesdale

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Roasted Banana Bread, Gluten Free and Vegan

I had some dental work done and needed to have soft foods for a while. To add variety to my diet, I continually made modifications to my quick bread recipes.

One of my favorite modifications was adding a ROASTED BANANA to the top of my banana bread. 

This created a MOIST bread that was great for breakfast ... or dessert. I paired the bread with nut butter and fruit for breakfast ... and a chocolate nut spread (homemade or store bought products by Nutella or Don't Go Nuts).

I started with my popular Valentine Banana Bread Recipe and made modifications.


2 cups Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix
1/2 cup gluten free oats
1 TBSP vanilla
1 1/2 cups ripe bananas (normally 2 medium)
1/2 cup dried fruits or nuts (optional)
1/4 cup coconut butter
1 banana for the top


  • Prepare the flax eggs 
  • Add the vanilla, coconut butter, and ripe bananas 
  • After the wet ingredients are combined, add the dry
  • Add the nuts/dried fruit/seeds if you wish
  • Coat a loaf pan and add the banana on top in a decorative fashion
  • Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes (check after 30 then every 5 minutes thereafter)
  • Let cool enough to cut so the bread does not crumble. 

Cover and store ... for up to a week if it will last that long!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Crowning Glory Pizza: King Oyster Mushroom Pizza

Today my blank canvas was a gluten free pizza crust by Udi's. 

After visiting the local farmer's market and purchasing some great vegetables, I decided to make a gluten free pizza and a side salad for dinner. I made a gluten free, vegetarian meal using ingredients sourced at the market and a few from the store. The Udi's crust contains eggs, otherwise the meal would be vegan. Substitute a different gluten free crust for a gluten free, vegan meal. The salad contains greens from my yard as well as raw nuts, raw seeds,  and dried fruit.


1 cup diced oyster or king oyster/trumpet mushrooms
6 cloves of garlic - diced
1 1/2 cup diced onions and vegetables (I used zucchini and sweet potatoes)
Oil to sautee the vegetables (I use oilve or avocado)
1 cup cheese (dairy or non-dairy)
OPTIONAL: crushed red pepper
OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup mashed white beans or hummus







  • Preheat oven to temperature recommended for the crust 
  • Sautee the vegetables until tender (cover with a top to add moisture if desired)
  • Crush the beans if you are using and add a thin layer to the crust (or add hummus)
  • If you are not lining the crust, add the vegetable mixture (removing any excess liquid)
  • Optional .... sprinkle with crushed red pepper for extra spice 
  • Cook in oven until cheese melts and crust slightly browns (check crust instructions as this step is between 10-15 minutes based on crust and depth of toppings. I tend to pile my pizza high with veggies so it takes a bit longer to cook than the package suggestion.

HINT: While the pizza is in the oven I make a salad to enjoy with the pizza if I wish some additional food.


1/2 pizza per person

Foods Fight Inflammation

Chronic Inflammation 

Many people suffer from chronic inflammation, a condition where the body’s immune system doesn’t shut off for some reason and begins to burn out of control, like a fire that can’t be extinguished easily. Chronic inflammation can impede a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living as well as participate in recreational/fitness activities.  

Chronic inflammation occurs when the immune cells can’t find an injury or illness to repair so they attack healthy cells resulting in damage to tissues and organs. This damage has been linked to a number of diseases and disorders, including asthma, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, ulcerative colitis, allergies, some types of cancer, and even Alzheimer’s.

Control Inflammation with Nutrition

There are ways to nutritionally work to control inflammation. One way is to include healthful fats, such as olives and avocados and their oils into your diet. Cooking with olive oil and avocado oil is a good way to help control inflammation on a daily basis. 

Another way to use food to control inflammation is to snack on raw nuts and seeds (if you diet allows you to eat nuts). Nuts contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower LDL cholesterol, and help control inflammation. Six of the best nuts to eat for these health benefits include: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, and hazelnuts.You can follow the 1-2-3 Rule for almonds to figure out a serving: 23 almonds is 100 calories. A general serving size rule rule for nuts is a serving is a fist full. 

One way I combine the healthy fats with raw nuts and seeds is in a salad. I top my salad with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits and make a dressing using balsamic and avocado or olive oil.  This salad is made from organic greens from my garden.

Disclaimer: “Portions of this post were provided by New Hope Network. I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.”  Source: Silent Fire: How to Extinguish Chronic Inflammation by Lisa Truesdale

Friday, April 26, 2019

HOPE & Sesame Milk TRANSFORMS Recipes

There are many plant based milks on the market and I have tried many of them. I first tried HOPE & Sesame Milk at the Nourished Festival in Del Mar earlier this year. Sesame milk tastes great on its own as well as in cereal/granola. I also like using sesame milk in recipes.

Sesame Milk is A Nutritious, Dairy Free, Plant-Based Product

  • It is organic
  • It is rich in calcium (double that of cow's milk)
  • It is rich in iron and zinc
  • It is high in protein 
  • It provides the body with fiber
  • It is low in carbs 
  • It provides healthy, unsaturated fats

HOPE & Sesame TRANSFORMS Recipes

I have enjoyed making Chia Pudding for many years. SESAME MILK has made me fall in love with the recipe again! I like the thicker texture it provides. It is a satisfying meal (or dessert if you choose to make it decadent) that will bring a smile to your face when you eat it. This recipe is one I love. It has MANY VARIATIONS based on the flavor profile (and decadence) you wish.

HOPE & Sesame Chia Pudding 


1 or 2 mashed bananas (based on size) + 1 1/2 cup Sesame Milk  + 1/4 cup chia seeds (I use organic)

Thoroughly combine the base ingredients so the chia seeds are covered in liquid. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until set (1 hour or so). I usually make my chia pudding at night and let it rest while I sleep.

NOTE: I used 1 cup of HOPE & Sesame Vanilla and 1/2 cup HOPE & Sesame Unsweetened Original in the first picture and 1 1/2 cups HOPE & Sesame Chocolate in the second pictures. The vanilla and chocolate are sweet and lend more to a decadent dish. If you prefer, you can cut the sweetness with some unsweetened as I did.

Breakfast Options:
Top with:
  • a few banana slices/fresh fruit
  • nuts/seeds/dried fruit mixture 
  • coconut
  • granola

Dessert Options:
Top with:
  • mini chocolate chips (gluten free in my house) or chocolate shavings
  • nuts/seeds.dried fruit
  • a drizzle of jam/jelly
  • cookie crumbles (or cookies on the side)

HOPE & Sesame Rice Pudding

1 1/2 cups cooked rice (under cook the rice to create a "sticky rice" texture)
2 cups HOPE & Sesame Milk (I used 1 1/2 Vanilla and 1/2 Unsweetened)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla (if you do not use a vanilla based milk)
1 egg or 1 flax egg
1 pinch of salt

  1. Combine 1 1/2 cups of milk (I used HOPE & Sesame Vanilla), pinch of salt, sugar, and rice in a pot on the stove top. Turn the heat on medium and stir until fully mixed. 
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the egg and 1/2 cup HOPE & Sesame Unsweetened. Add 1 cup of the rice mixture from the bowl and combine to create a thickening agent. Once combined, add to the pot on the stove top.
  3. Cook to desired consistency. 

HOPE & Sesame Rice Pudding is BEST when it is fresh off the stove. The warm pudding is sweet, creamy, and melts in your mouth!

You can top with your favorite gluten free toppings like maraschino cherries, dates, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate, and jam/jelly.

If you can resist finishing the batch, store in an airtight container and enjoy the leftovers. If you microwave them for about 30 seconds you can get back some of the creamy, luscious consistency.

ENTERTAINING TIP: I served the rice pudding at a dinner party and set up a topping bar and let people serve  themselves.