gluten free

Szechuan-Style Green Beans

This dish is amazing. Yes, you can serve it as an awesome side. But I am telling you this dish could stand up to being a meal in itself. Seriously, it is that good and flavorful. Even better, it’s easy and quick! Yay! The original version can be found in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Easy; which I am loving btw… It’s makes healthy eating fun! A couple of the ingredients might not sound familiar, so here’s a quick note: you could probably replace the tamari with soy sauce and the sambal oelek with a chili paste (such as Thai). Enjoy!


As organic as possible:


2 tsp minced fresh Ginger

2 tsp Sambal Oelek

1 Tbsp Tamari

1 tsp toasted Sesame oil

1 1/2 tsp Maple syrup

1/2 pound Green Beans

3 Tbsp Olive or Peanut oil

Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the green beans.

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, sambal oelek, tamari, sesame oil, and maple syrup to make the sauce.

Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook just until the water comes back to a boil, about 3 minutes; drain well and dry on a kitchen towel.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok over high heat. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, add the green beans and cook until sizzling and beginning to blister, about 3 minutes. Add the sauce, turn off the heat, and let sit for 2 minutes before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

The Richmond Avenue’s Cottage Cheese Oatmeal Pancakes

At first glance these pancakes looked like something I had to try. I know what most people were thinking, “these sound weird,” because Jasmine wrote that they did. But not me, I was thinking these sound unique, I love cottage cheese and look at that picture! I want to eat that! Of course that’s what I think about most of the food from The Richmond Avenue, which is why I selected this recipe for my WordPress Cooking Challenge!

When I started to collect the ingredients I would need to make these pancakes, my first thought was I need to get a new food processor with a larger capacity. Which actually has no connection with this recipe because the instructions clearly state to combine the ingredients in a blender, which I did. However, that was my first thought none-the-less.

It was when I began to pour the ingredients into the blender, I actually started to question “how is this going to work?” I understand that the oats were taking place of the flour (of which there is none) and I think it’s pretty cool that this is a gluten-free recipe. But there was no oil or melted butter, the only fat was in the cottage cheese. The baking powder and vanilla were normal for me (because I make pancakes on a weekly basis), but when I went to throw in a pinch of salt I had to stop myself… no salt in this recipe either! I figured the cottage cheese is probably salty enough and I started feeling healthier by the second. I have to confess- that I used three whole eggs as opposed to 6 egg whites. It was a calculated decision based on four things: firstly, I know from experience that it will add the same amount of moisture: secondly, the recipe did not call for me to whip the egg whites and gently fold them in, so although it may have been lighter I really didn’t feel I was messing with airy-ness: thirdly, I’m not worried about the amount of cholesterol I am eating, although I respect that as a healthy option: and lastly, I love my organic eggs, I don’t have any recipes in the line-up that call for yolks, and I didn’t want to waste them. But honestly all of this inner turmoil isn’t worth it! I did add the optional tablespoon of sugar- because that’s the kind of girl I am.

As I was heating up the griddle and watching my butter foam in readiness for the batter I actually got excited to see how this was going to turn out! And as I watched for the bubbles to cue me that it was time to flip the pancakes, I was happy to see the beautiful golden color that occurred on the first side! So far so good! As I moved my first round of pancakes to a side plate I had to pinch a piece off of one to see how this was going to taste. It was sweet, salty, and just like a pancake, except healthier and full of protein! It’s a delicious recipe and it even got more fun with all of the fresh fruit toppings!

For the original recipe and picture check out The Richmond Avenue

1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup oats
3 Tbsp almond or skim milk
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
Strawberries for topping (optional)
Blueberries for topping (optional)
Maple syrup for topping (“optional, but not really” – love that BTW!)

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and let it do its thing! Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter at a time on the prepared griddle (with butter or baking spray). Flip when you see the bubbles… Serve warm!
Enjoy! I know I sure did!

Loving Lately ❤️

I am a huge advocate for eating well. I am not a dietician, and I certainly could practice more moderation, but I am whole-heartedly in agreement with trying to eat your vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. through your food. I have said before, and I’ll say it again; I am a believer in eating organic and non GMO/GEI crazy food experiments. I understand it can be costly which is why I always say “as organic as possible,” because every bit is a step in the right direction.

I am also always interested about specific foods and they’re health benefits. Not too long ago, a fellow blogger wrote an interesting post on the benefits of parsley. I believe herbs (and spices) in general have health potentials we haven’t begun to fully understand. And when I see something as informational as this, I’ve got to pass it along!

Loving Lately #1: Parsley

From Cooking Without Limits: Click “Parsley” for the full read.

Loving Lately #2: La Croix


Sometimes you just got to have some fizz in your drink and nothing else will do. Honestly diet drinks scare me. Fake sugar of any kind is linked to cancer and all sorts of other issues, and no joke I think it erases peoples’ brains. So, I try to avoid it. On the other hand too much sugar is a bad thing too. I personally don’t do well with big doses of sugar, and I certainly don’t need the extra calories. Enter La Croix, sparkling water but better! It’s just right. It’s flavored; it’s fizzy; it’s zero calories; it’s sodium free; it’s love. Currently my favorite flavor is Peach-Pear.

Loving Lately ❤️

Welcome to my first edition of “Loving Lately!” Don’t you love it when you make a commitment, oh say like posting a weekly something on your blog, and unforeseen circumstances, for example; I don’t know, your 97 year old dear friend is hospitalized for dehydration, take precedence? So it’s time to post somethings you are really excited about and dedicated to sharing, but you haven’t. So you are left updating your post all morning so that every time someone looks at it, it’s different and you are completely inconsistent, which is the total opposite of what you have in mind… Welcome to my nest!

I have so many things to share!

1st Love of Late (actually for a while): Exodus Sandals (pictured above courtesy of Exodus Sandals)

All materials in Exodus Sandals are made in the USA. They are a “barefoot shoe.” It’s an ultralight easy wearing shoe that will comfortably stay on your foot from water to land or hike. It’s also a minimalist shoe in concept, in that there are few pieces, and they are hand crafted. I have a pair of the “XO original” sandals, but they come in a few varieties and colors depending on your preference and terrain. They are awesome! And you can find them at

2nd Love: Mòz Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A few months ago I visited the Marco Island Farmer’s Market with my mother-in-law (who happens to be a regular) for the first time. Since it was still chilly in Michigan, the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables was a warm welcome (let alone the sunshine and warm temperatures). The array of breads, baked goods, cheeses, and artisan crafted foods were fantastic. One of the vendors that caught my eye had a large selection of olive oils and various crafted condiments. After sampling a few, it didn’t take long to fall in love. Mòz is an extra virgin olive oil from Portugal. The vendor aptly described it as if “olive oil and butter had a baby.” He was right. It’s yummilicious.

It’s pricier than my regular organic olive oil that I use for cooking and baking. I recommend using it as a finishing oil, to drizzle on a soup or salad, or for dipping bread; someway that you will be tasting it directly and want to taste deliciousness.

3rd Love Lately: The Shine Brush

I’d like to introduce to you “The Shine Brush” via “The Wet Brush,” maybe you’ve already met. After bath brush outs are less than enjoyable to either party (loathe). I can honestly say this brush has made it more bearable.  But don’t limit yourself to just wet hair, and the whole family uses it (not just the long haired)! I found mine at Ulta, and they often have coupons on-line and in their mailers. (Another tip, for long hair is starting at the bottom and working your way up… And sulfate free hair conditioners).

Thank you for visiting my first installment of Loving Lately! I have a lot of loves, it’s hard to limit them to a few… many more to come! If you have any suggestions of products and websites to check out, please contact me!

Jambalaya Sans Seafood

Ok, so I don’t know about your family, but mine isn’t big on seafood (it’s a work in progress). So this is Jambalaya sans (without) the seafood, but to the purists out there, you’re going to love it! …And if you must, think of it as awesome beans and rice… And to gluten forgoers this recipe works for you too, (just check your sausages)!

Serves 6

As organic as possible…

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion diced

3-4 garlic cloves minced

1 15 oz can diced tomato (or jar of salsa)

8 oz andouille sausage (I like chicken andouille) cut into bite sized pieces

16 oz smoked sausage cut into bite sized pieces

1 15 oz can red beans (drained and rinsed)

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp chili powder

t tsp cumin

3/4 cup dry rice

1 1/2 cup chicken broth

1 Bay Leaf

salt & pepper to taste

Heat Oil. Saute onions and garlic. Add tomato, and scrape the yummy bottom bits! Add sausages, broth and spices. Stir and bring to simmer. Add rice and stir; this is a great recipe to use brown rice because it is so flavorful and colorful your picky eaters won’t know the difference.) Add beans, salt & pepper to taste (I do about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of freshly cracked pepper.) Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, about 25-45 minutes depending on type of rice (brown takes longer). Take off the heat and discard bay leaf. Let cool slightly before serving.

Side note: Sometimes I add green/yellow pepper depending on what I have… It looks pretty 😉