Easter Treats

Last weekend I was out of town and was on the go the entire time (not a bad thing!), so sitting down and sharing some of the high points of my week was not an option.  And while I’ve been pressed for time this week…and with the fact that it’s Easter and I spent much of my morning doing meal prep for the week, and the afternoon over at Amanda & Richie’s for dinner with the family…it has left me with little time to really plot out my blog.

This week has been a big hot mess of fatigue.  My trip to New York City was amazing, but I was dead on my feet. I got in well after midnight on Tuesday, and still hauled myself out of bed early to get to my 5:30 am spin class on Wednesday morning.  I was exhausted, but I was glad I went.  Early mornings and late nights followed, trying to make up some time and work from being out of the office for 2 full days…and it all got done in the end, but it was some really busy, long days.

All that being said…there is plenty to be happy and thankful for this week.  And being tired due to having the opportunity and ability to go out of town and see places and do things…is more than enough.  It makes the overwhelming fatigue that I felt yesterday worth it.  In the end.

So, here are a few treats to share this Easter that just made me happy this week.


It was my first actual distance race back after returning to running after over a year.  A half marathon.  It was one that I had to defer last year because of the hip labrum (which we didn’t even know was the issue at that point).  The chance to run it this year had me feeling nervous and excited and happy all at the same time.  The weather was bitter cold and super windy (what’s new, NYC?!), but every mile was magical for me.  I felt good.  And definitely surprised myself when I came in to the finish line well ahead of what I thought I was capable of.

But this was more than just the race.  I got to meet up with my friend Ellen (who was also running) the day before the race.  And…I got to see my friend from high school, Marisa, not once, but twice.  I love seeing Marisa when I am in the city.  She knows all these great places to check out and has suggestions about things to see when we are in various areas.  I drank in every bit of NYC…enjoyed amazing food…great company…and yeah…went on a little run.

Finishing the race was a gift in and of itself…finishing it faster than I thought I was capable of…a surprise…being uninjured at the end and able to wander around NYC for the rest of the day…a blessing…hanging out with good people who make my life better…priceless.

Can I go back now?

2.  Gluten Free Easter Treats

My allergen-free bakery is at it again for the Easter holiday.  They often do up a good number of Easter treats, and this year they had some new ones to indulge in.  You better believe I ordered some of everything.  Two egg sugar cookies, 2 chocolate bunnies, and 6 sunbutter chocolate truffles.  I’ve already indulged more than a little.  As always, Annie May’s Sweet Cafe makes the most delicious treats.  They go all-out for these holidays and I’m proud to support them and indulge myself in the amazing goodness they put out on a daily basis.  If you are in Louisville, Kentucky…you need to stop in.  Their gluten-free pizza, soft pretzels (only on Wednesday) and all their standard goodies…are fantastic.  You can even order some of their stuff online.  DO IT!!

3.  Back On Track With Home Cooked, Fresh, Vegan Meals
While I am never one to deny myself good food and treats while I am on vacation…often the week I get back, I’m living off the stuff in my fridge and my pantry.  This morning, I enjoyed spending 3 hours of my time prepping healthy, plant-based meals for the rest of the coming week.  I have soups, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and some rice dishes planed.  All healthy.  All vegan.  All completely and totally YUMMY!  It feels good to get back to cooking my delicious and healthy foods up again to enjoy for (sometimes) breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the week.  Easy to enjoy as I do all the work ahead of the time.  Makes those crazy hill repeat days and spin class days and just…hectic days that much easier.  Cooking is love.  Eating is fun.  And this kind of food makes me feel better about myself and how I am fueling and feeding this body.

4.  Zootopia Dress and Officer Judy Hopps
While in NYC, Cathy wanted to buy me a present for finishing a great NYC Half Marathon race.  So…I thought about getting the stuffed animal from the Disney Store in Times Square of Officer Judy Hopps in her uniform.  She is apparently very popular…they kept selling out.  Judy is apparently very popular.  So, we ended up getting her back in our Disney Store in Louisville.  Super happy.  I love her.

And then, later on that day while making a random stop at Target, I noticed a dress in the girls section of Zootopia.  It was totally adorable.  It was also an XL.  And I held it up and thought…”I wonder if this would fit me.”  Well, I took it to the dressing room, so ready to be disappointed…but…IT FIT!!  So, I bought it.  Yep…I’m 35 years old and shopping in the girls section.  Seriously…I wore the dress today with some leggings.  TOTALLY adorable.  So much love for Zootopia.

5.  Glow In The Dark Easter Egg Hunt

I love my downstairs neighbors.  They’re the best.  They are also moving…(seriously…this bums me out!).  Not far…but they won’t just be a staircase away anymore.  Anyway, they invited Cathy and I out for a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt on Friday night.  I had SUCH a blast.  So much fun.  I’m so glad they thought to have us out so we could hide and seek eggs with them, and their adorable and awesome son as well.  Yep…it’s going to be hard to let them leave.  But, we’re already talking about all the get-togethers we’ll still have.  And girls nights.  Those are important too.  It just will involve some drive time.  We’re totally making this work.  Anyway…glow in the dark anything is awesome.  Easter egg hunt…a total blast.  Even in the cold night air.

6. A New PR


It was one of those runs that I end up running faster than I feel I am running.  The Papa John’s 10 Miler felt so EASY to me.  The hills are always hard…but I climbed them.  I beat them.  And I had so much left in me at the finish line.  AND…I had a new 2 minute PR…in a race I was just running as I felt.  I wasn’t trying for a PR or trying to run fast.  It just happened.  Even with the hip protesting for 8 of the 10 miles.  I am shocked and surprised.  But what a feeling.  I hope, one day, to feel comfortable to push like I used to.  Right now, running what I feel has shown me that I still have more in me.  One day I’ll harness it.  I’m just not ready yet.  But a new PR is a new PR.  And I’m proud of it and happy to have it.

Life is sweet…and hopefully only getting better!!

How was your Easter week?

Product Review: Bake Me Happy Blueberry, Goat Cheese & Basil Take & Bake Scones

Bake Me Happy Blueberry, Goat Cheese & Basil Take & Bake Scones
Bake Me Happy Blueberry, Goat Cheese & Basil Take & Bake Scones

Product: Bake Me Happy Blueberry, Goat Cheese & Basil Take & Bake Scones – $10/box

Scones.  To quote the minds behind Thug Kitchen, “Scones are the bastard blend of a biscuit and muffin. They sound so wrong but taste so right.”  HAHA!


I have a deep, passionate, never-ending love for scones.  No joke.  They were one of the first things I ate when I went to Europe…Ireland, to be exact, and I’ve been in love with them ever since.  I’ve attempted to make gluten-free versions of scones in my own kitchen, but nothing has ever quite lived up to the crumbly, golden, amazing food profile of a scone.

Until…Bake Me Happy stepped up to the plate…and hit a home run…all the way over the center field wall.  It’s true.

Bake Me Happy was started by the lovely Wendy and Letha, committing themselves to making each and every bite that you have from their products the most decadent thing you’ve had since sliced bread.  Sliced bread, however, is not on their menu.  After being self-diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2006, Wendy immediately felt relieve from a life of digestive issues.  The only problem was…the gluten-free food choices available lacked flavor and texture, seriously limiting what she would be willing to consume (and who can blame her!?).  After many years of self-study, she decided to take the plunge and signed up for an immersion course at the Culinary Institute of America, experimenting with recipes and trying them out on unsuspecting friends.  Soon, both friends and family began requesting her treats for parties, and none of them were gluten intolerant.  From there, Wendy expanded and began offering her products to the public.  And from the huge response she got from her goodies…Bake Me Happy, the bakery, was born.  And because Wendy understands what it is like to have a food intolerance , you can guarantee that she takes great care and pride in the products that she puts out for the public.  Not only does she understand the importance of what she does, she also knows that a perfect recipe cannot be rushed and that the best things in life are worth waiting for.

Perfection is key, and perfection is what they managed with their scones.  The scones at Bake Me Happy are available to purchase already cooked and ready to eat…or in their Take & Bake versions.  When I was up in Columbus, Ohio over Halloween, we dropped into the bakery and purchased one scone to devour on the go…and then my roommate promised I could select a Take & Bake variety to bring home.  At the bakery, I chose the Almond, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Scone to devour on the way home.  So, that being said, my roomie (who was paying) decided that she would choose the Take & Bake version…and as there was only one other vegetarian one…she lunged at the opportunity to try the Blueberry, Basil & Goat Cheese scones.  Besides, she’s a happy girl whenever goat cheese is involved.  Note…the Take & Bake Scones do contain butter, sour cream and 3 of the 4 flavors contain cheese.  All of them contain egg.  So…not vegan.

I am not (completely) vegan as of yet.  Maybe one day.  That being said, I do still eat eggs and use eggs in my own baking at home.  I am, however, lactose intolerant, so I had to be sure to take something prior to consuming this delectable treat.

Let me start off by saying, I actually ate these before the holidays.  Life has been insanely busy with me starting physical therapy again and…in general…the holiday madness that happens from Thanksgiving through the New Year.  So, yeah, I am a bit delayed on getting this review up.  But good things come to those who wait…

And I can’t say enough good things about these amazing scones.  The Bake Me Happy Blueberry, Goat Cheese & Basil Scones are fantastic.  I mean, they are just as good as the scones that hooked me on eating scones when I went overseas.  And the Take & Bake versions are just as amazing as the ones they have ready at the bakery.  And it’s not hard either.

Simply thaw the scones in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, or at room temperature for an hour.  Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Place the desired number of scones on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until baked through and golden brown on top.  Allow to cool and enjoy!  Yep…that easy.  And they really are that easy to bake too.  Mine came out of the oven smelling like blueberry heaven and all golden and crispy on the outside.  I was impressed.  It is SO rare that gluten-free baked goods get that amazing golden color.  This was a nice treat.

Even more of a treat was what I discovered when I took a bite.  The Bake Me Happy team made sure each scone (there are 5 per box) was loaded with plump blueberries, creamy goat cheese, and fresh basil.  Each bite was a little savory and a little sweet.  Each scone was crispy and golden on the outside and light and flaky on the inside.  No gluten-free scone I have had before this or attempted to make myself has been anything like this.  I was blown away.  The sweetness of the berries paired amazingly well with the tangy goat cheese and the herby flavor of the basil.  It was a flavor explosion in each bite…and I kept wanting to take more and more bites.  And soon…my scones were gone.  Not all in one sitting, but within 3 days.  HA!  Then I wish I had shelled out some money for more.  I mean…HELLO!!  It doesn’t get much better than this.

No other scone will ever come close to living up to the standard Bake Me Happy has set.  I can pretty much guarantee that.

So, let’s talk about the ingredients that Bake Me Happy put into their Blueberry, Goat Cheese & Basil Take & Bake Scones, shall we?  These delicious pastry hybrids are made with Bake Me Happy’s top-secret flour blend (sweet rice flour, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, white rice flour), butter (sweet cream, natural flavoring), sour cream, blueberries (blueberries, sugar, sunflower oil), goat cheese (pasteurized goat milk, culture, vegetable rennet, salt), sugar, egg, basil, baking powder (cornstarch, bicarbonate of soda, sodium aluminum sulfate, monocalcium phosphate), xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda.  These scones are completely gluten-free.

As for nutrition goes, well, butter, cheese, and sour cream are involved.  You do the math!  That being said, I have scones as a treat…like Sunday breakfast or something.  Or…post-workout (you think I’m kidding, but I’m not).  The Bake Me Happy Blueberry, Goat Cheese & Basil Take & Bake Scones serving size is one (1) scone and there are five (5) scones per box.  One scone will fill you up with 390 calories, 20 grams fat, 12 grams saturated fat, 0.5 grams trans fat, 80 mg cholesterol, 430 mg sodium, 48 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 14 grams sugars, and 6 grams of protein.  They are hockey-puck sized and…seriously…worth the calorie overload for breakfast every now and again.  Trust me, I love to eat fresh and clean…but sometimes, you just need to have a treat.

This is one of my new favorite treats.

So, ladies of Bake Me Happy…I love you.  I love your scones.  I can’t wait to come back and buy out half your bakery again.  Because…that’s what I do.  That’s how I work.  And with scones waiting for me to take and bake…well…it should be sooner rather than later.

Brilliantly done Bake Me Happy.  You definitely have baked up one happy customer here!



Product Review: Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread + Recipe Bonus

Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Product: Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread – $5.99+

It has taken me way too long to review this product, for sure.  Which is strange, because I am very enthusiastic and happy with the Sprouted For Life Gluten Free breads from Food For Life.  In case you’re new to this blog, I have previously reviewed the other three varieties of the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Breads: Original 3 Seed, Almond, and Flax.

I was fortunate enough to be sent one loaf of each of the Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Breads from Food For Life.  These loaves come in Original 3 Seed, Almond, Cinnamon Raisin, and Flax.

But I think I was saving the Cinnamon Raisin version…because cinnamon raisin bread (or anything) has always been one of my greatest flavor loves in life.  I was very fortunate to have a loaf of each of Food For Life’s Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Breads to try.  I flew through the other three…but the Cinnamon Raisin version has waited a very long time for its turn to shine.

That being said, I am doing a lot of baking and cooking these days (okay…that’s not unusual for me…but I’m trying to create amazing foods with fresh, healthier ingredients).  And I had a thought about a bread pudding that would incorporate some of my favorite things in life: cinnamon raisin bread, peanut butter, banana, and coconut.

How could this be a bad thing?

And, thankfully, I had saved the loaf of the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  I pulled it out of the freezer this past weekend and allowed it to come down to room temperature (and thaw beautifully) before getting to work in my kitchen.  I pulled 12 slices of bread and cut them up into large cubes.  This bread is absolutely perfect for a bread pudding recipe as it is not a soft bread.  This bread is sturdy, and when eaten on its own, I prefer it toasted.  Although, I nipped a few of the cubes of bread, just to get a taste for it as I knew I’d be blogging on it.

Guess what?  Even not toasted, the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread is just layers of flavor.  Not only is each slice loaded with plump, juicy, organic raisins, but it has this nutty flavor to it as well.  It’s amazing.  I couldn’t wait to taste it toasted and in my recipe I was working on.

The beginnings of a Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Coconut Bread Pudding using Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread
The beginnings of a Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Coconut Bread Pudding using Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread

After combining it with the other ingredients of the bread pudding, which also includes NuttZo Original Crunch 7 Nut and Seed Butter, a ripe banana, unsweetened coconut flakes, unsweetened cashew milk, Earth Balance, and 4 large eggs.  All of this went into my (vintage) Pyrex bowl, and I gave it a good toss and tucked it into the liquid, allowing the bread to really absorb the liquid for about 5 minutes.  Then…I loaded it into a baking pan and popped it into the oven.  I then proceeded to clean up my apartment, stopping briefly to really admire and fully absorb the fantastic smell that was coming from my oven.  Nutty and sweet…it smelled like heaven.  I am assuming, of course, that heaven smells like a bakery…and peanut butter.  And if so…I’m okay with that.

Once the bread pudding was set, I removed it from the oven, and barely allowed it to cool at all before cutting a small piece to give it a try.

OH…YEAH!!  While the flavor profile mostly goes to the peanut butter and coconut, the bread is the main vehicle of any bread pudding…and the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread was ideal…no…it was perfect…absolutely perfect, for this recipe.  The bread toasted up gorgeously, developing a richer, nuttier flavor to it after being toasted.  The raisins remained plump and sweet.  The edges of the bread…crispy…sweet…savory…and amazing.  The flavor of this bread meshed SO well with the other ingredients.  I fell in love with this cinnamon raisin bread…and that means it has to be good, due to my affinity for cinnamon raisin products.  Just…YUM!!

Let’s discuss the ingredients that go into the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread, shall we?  This particular type of bread is  made from organic sprouted quinoa (red and/or white), filtered water, organic arrowroot, organic potato starch, organic raisins, organic sprouted millet, organic tapioca, organic applesauce, fresh yeast, organic safflower oil, organic cactus, organic sprouted chia seeds, organic agave, organic vanilla organic cinnamon, sea salt, vegetable gum (xanthan, cellulose), and organic psyllium.  Made with sprouted chia, sprouted quinoa, and sprouted millet, this bread is a trio of health.  Not only is it made with sprouted grains (which are SO good for you!), it is also vegan, gluten-free, and high in fiber.  It is so rare for a gluten free bread to be high in fiber.  This is a welcome addition to my freezer.

Now let’s take a look at the nutritional information, because, honestly, in this day and age, it’s important to pay attention to those labels.  A serving of the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread is 1 slice of bread (43 grams).  This serving will dish up 110 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 22 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams sugars, 1 gram protein.  When I was first introduced to this bread, the high calories on only one slice of bread really freaked me out.  But, a good reminder is that not all calories are created equal and there is nothing fake…no colors, preservatives, or fillers…going into this bread.  It’s all healthy, all good, all nutritious.  It’s a great choice of bread for those of you who are (like me) really trying to eat clean.

Has this product sparked your interest?  I really encourage you to give it a try.  And…if you’re feeling saucy…you can always give the recipe for my bread pudding a go.

Recipe: Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Coconut Bread Pudding

Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Coconut Bread Pudding
Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Coconut Bread Pudding

Servings: 12
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 40 minutes


  • 12 slices Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 large ripe banana, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1 cup NuttZo Crunchy Original 7 Nut & Seed Butter



Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare an 9×13 inch pan with nonstick baking spray.

Cut the cinnamon raisin bread into cubes and place in a large bowl.

Drizzle melted butter over bread.

Add shredded coconut, banana slices, eggs, cashew milk and peanut butter; gently toss to combine and lightly push down until bread is covered and soaks up the liquid.

Once liquid is absorbed, pour into the baking dish.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top springs back when tapped.

Serve warm with a drizzle of blueberry (or maple…or any flavor) syrup, or additional peanut butter.


I absolutely adore how amazing this bread is, not just in this recipe, but on its own as well.  Depth of flavor is delicious.  And it baked up so well in the recipe, I couldn’t imagine making this again without using the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  I have a few extra slices left…so I can’t wait to toast them up next week, once I polish off this amazing bread pudding.



Product Review: Udi’s Gluten Free Egg White & Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich

Udi's Gluten Free Egg White and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich
Udi’s Gluten Free Egg White and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich

Product: Udi’s Gluten Free Egg White & Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich – $5.99+

I love a good breakfast sammie.  I really, really do.  I mean, anything breakfast makes me a happy girl, but there are somethings that are so simple, yet so satisfying.  I classify a good breakfast sandwich under that category.  But, I mean…it has to be good.

Normally, I’m one to make my own breakfast sandwiches.  Usually by toasting up some gluten free bread, then frying up an egg and adding some greens.  It’s not hard, and it takes, at most 10-15 minutes of my day.

But, you see, I’ve been out and about in the grocery stores, and at my local Kroger, I discovered some of Udi’s Gluten Free Breakfast Sandwiches.  I picked up two different kinds, the Chicken Maple Sausage Breakfast Sandwich for my carnivorous roommate, and the Egg White and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich for me.  I was hoping to find a non-dairy variety, but none, sadly, exist.

No worries.  I figured these would be great for the two gym mornings we have before going into the office.  We always eat when we get into the office, so these were simple enough to throw into a cooler, warm up there, and devour.  So, despite being rather pricey, they went into my freezer.  And last week we put them to the test.

I can’t tell you anything about the Udi’s Gluten Free Chicken Maple Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, but my roommate pretty much loved it.  So…there is that.  As for mine…

The Udi’s Gluten Free Egg White and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich is really easy to prepare.  Simply open box and pull out one (1) of the two (2) sandwiches in the box.  Wrap in a paper towel (I used a damp one…because it works with corn tortillas…) and microwave on defrost (30%) for a minute and a half.  Then, flip the sandwich over and cook on high for an additional 45 seconds.  Then…the sandwich should be ready.  You might need to heat a little longer depending on how well your microwave works.

First of all…I know how they kept the calorie count down on these…and the box, sadly, does a bit of false advertising.  The biscuits on the box look fluffy and amazing.  but the reality is, they are these circular flatbreads that do not puff up when you cook.  So, that.  I also want to say, that I loved that the bread, egg, and cheese, while stored together, were not all frozen together.  This meant, to save myself any issues with the cheese square inside the sandwich, I could simply pull the frozen square of cheese out and toss it.  And then just enjoy an egg white sammie.  Works for me.

So, how did the Udi’s Gluten Free Egg White and cheddar Breakfast Sandwich taste?  Well, I ate mine without the cheddar cheese, so it definitely made for a good egg white sandwich.  The egg was fluffy and quite tasty.  I might have added a bit of hot sauce to the sandwich as well.  But…that biscuit.  It was tasteless and flat and probably my least favorite thing about this sandwich.  It, honestly, had no flavor and was just rather unimpressive and didn’t do much to dazzle my taste buds.  The rest though, was stellar.  I think next time I’d cook up a fluffy gluten-free biscuit of my own to sandwich the egg white between and ditch the bread that comes in the package itself.

Let’s talk about ingredients that go into the Udi’s Gluten Free Egg White and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich.  The egg white patty is made from egg whites, corn starch, salt, xanthan gum, citric acid, and pepper.  The biscuit is made form water, palm oil, rice flour, egg whites, corn starch, resistant corn starch, suga, tapioca starch, pea hull fiber, corn meal, baking posder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulphate), xanthan gum, salt, natural flavor, and cellulose powder.  The cheddar cheese square is made from milk cheese cultures, salt, and enzymes.  These sandwiches are certified gluten-free.

As for nutritional information, the serving size of the Udi’s Gluten Free Egg White and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich is one (1) sandwich.  There are two (2) sandwiches per box.  One breakfast sandwich will provide you with 240 calories, 13 grams fat (!!), 7 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 470 mg sodium, 21 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, and 10 grams of protein.  I love that, despite their flat and unexciting appearance, they are quite filling.  So, there is that.

I don’t know if I would go ahead and purchase these again.  For the price, I was hoping for a bit more of a sandwich, not just an egg patty, a square of cheese (which thankfully this dairy-free girl can remove easily), and two very cardboard-like biscuits that resemble a pale flatbread.  It is quite a price tag for a product that didn’t wow me.  Granted, the filling is amazing…but those biscuits need a lot of help.  Perhaps a redo is in the future.  I’d rather make my own breakfast sandwiches though.  These are convenient, but they weren’t amazing.

Recipe: Gluten-Free & Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Blondies

All you naysayers beware!!  Just because something is gluten free and dairy free does not immediately mean it will be flavorless or taste like cardboard.  I don’t know what cardboard tastes like since I’ve never had the urge to lick it or anything, but I promise you…this recipe will surpass all your expectations.

I was looking for a different sort of snickerdoodle treat to bake up for my amazing friends and neighbors downstairs.  They had a rough couple of weeks, but with things starting to turn around, I wanted to make something to celebrate.  That being said, I set out to bake up something snickerdoodle, that wasn’t necessarily the cookies themselves.  I still have to play around with my mom’s snickerdoodle cookie recipe and attempt to convert it to gluten and dairy free.

So…I found a recipe on The Cool York and changed it up to fit the diet they are starting out following, which just so happens to coincide with mine.  BONUS!!

Snickerdoodle Blondies…are life changing.

Recipe: Gluten Free & Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Blondies

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Blondies
Gluten Free & Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Blondies

Servings: 16
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 45 minutes


  • 2-2/3 cups gluten-free baking flour (I used Mina’s Purely Divine Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (2 sticks) softened
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon



Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the butter & brown sugar in the mixing bowl and cream together.

Add in the 2 eggs until combined.

Add the baking powder to the mixture. Now, add in the flour.

Line a 9 x 13 baking sheet (or 8 x 8 if you prefer them thicker, like me) with parchment paper. Spread the batter over the pan.

Combine the white sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle generously over the batter.

Bake in the oven for 28-32 minutes (up to 40-45 min if using the 8 x 8 pan like I did).

Take out of the oven and let cool before serving!

Slice & enjoy


These blondies baked up light and soft and chewy and amazing.  Seriously.  I took half of the recipe and gave the rest to them.  I am beyond words with how well this worked out, honestly.  Totally delicious.  I especially loved the gooey and rich texture that these had.  I warmed mine up for about 20 seconds in the microwave and WOW!!  Just WOW!!  The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of both sugar and cinnamon to top…but that was really heavy on the cinnamon.  So I reduced it to 1/3 of the amount and it was that perfect sweet/spicy level.  If you like snickerdoodles…you’re absolutely going to love these.  And…if you don’t have to eat gluten-free or dairy free…regular flour and butter can be used, of course.

I can’t wait to make these again.

Restaurant Review: Tucker & Bevvy Breakfast, Honolulu, Hawaii

Tucker & Bevvy Brealfast, Honolulu, Hawaii
Tucker & Bevvy Brealfast, Honolulu, Hawaii

Restaurant: Tucker & Bevvy Breakfast, Honolulu, Hawaii


That was all there was to it.  We were all hangry.  Our flight out of Kauai to island hop over to O’ahu was the earliest one available.  We were up at 4 a.m.  Some of us sooner.  Some of us without getting much sleep.  But between the three of us, we were all just picking at everything.

And the added unseasonable humidity wasn’t helping matters.  For me…I was doing okay…but my traveling companions don’t take to the humidity well.  So, lack of coffee and food was setting in.  But…we made the short hike over to Hee Hing Plaza and climbed the stairs to the second floor.  We stepped inside, happy to be in some air conditioning and took a table near the middle of the dining area.  A nice waitress came over with glasses of water and menus and explained to us the three new specials that Tucker & Bevvy Breakfast was now offering.  After that, she let us ponder what we wanted and returned soon after when we looked ready to order.

Jenn had one question about the pancakes, and when she was given an answer as to what size they were, she ordered up.  One single Ricotta Pancake ($4.00) with a side of bacon ($4.00).  Cathy went with the House Omelette (bacon, potato, cherry tomato, spinach & parmesan) with Sourdough Toast ($11.50).  As for me, I wanted one of the new specials for the menu:

The Smashed Avocado Toast ($9.50) on Gluten Free Toast with a Side of Fresh Fruit ($6.00).

Order in, and we continued to sit there and attempt to wake up.  This usually meant that Cathy rambled on about something while Jenn and I pretended to listen or just simply blinked at her.  It was one of those mornings.  We watched as plates were brought out to fellow diners…all of the food looking amazing.  I was ready to get something other than a protein bar in my tummy, that was for sure.

After a bit of a wait…out came some food.  Happiness is food arriving at your table when you are hot, tired, and hungry.  Jenn’s pancake was fluffy and looked and smelled amazing.  The Web site says they serve 100% maple syrup…but she tasted it and shunned it.  Not pure maple.

Tucker & Bevvy Breakfast's House Omelette with Sourdough Toast
Tucker & Bevvy Breakfast’s House Omelette with Sourdough Toast

Cathy’s omelet was packed with vegetables.  In fact, the entire top layer was vegetables.  Inside the egg was the bacon and potatoes.  It looked amazing.  And, she does love her sourdough toast when we’re out to eat.  She’s always stuck with the gluten-free stuff in our apartment due to the kitchen needing to be completely gluten-free (save for her own boxed snacks and cereals).  She devoured it.

And my Smashed Avocado Toast was fantastic.  I knew this was what I wanted the moment I saw it on the board at the restaurant.  It is no secret that avocado and I are BFFs and when smashed over toast…I’m in a happy place.  This version of Avocado Toast was made with lemon juice, an Egyptian spice blend, and toasted pistachios on top.  The pistachios were a nice touch, and one I never would have thought of.  But…lo and behold…it totally changed my idea of Avocado Toast.  This was amazing.  It was love at first bite…all the way down to the last bite.  Because, yes…I ate it ALL!  ALL of it.  Completely all of it.  And the big bowl of fresh fruit as well.  The fruit was fresh and ripe and sweet…and I didn’t need it, but damn, it tasted good.  Bananas, strawberries, blueberries and grapes.  That’s the good breakfast life.

We all pretty much ate what was put in front of us.  Cathy ate most  of hers.  She almost had all the eggs gone and left two of the slices of bread.

In the end, we were happy with the fact that we now had delicious food in our stomachs.  It was an unexpected breakfast stop, but well worth it.  I am forever dressing up my avocado toast with toasted pistachios.  I mean…HELLO!  Mind blown.  Culinary eyes opened.  Heck yeah…LOVE.

So, while Tucker & Bevvy was a spur-of-the-moment choice so the three of us didn’t claw each other’s eyes out…our hanger pains were tamed by the delicious breakfast foods at Tucker & Bevvy.  Seriously, I’d go back for that toast in a heartbeat.  Breakfast is love…and this was true love.

Gluten Free Avocado Toast with a Side of Fresh Fruit
Gluten Free Avocado Toast with a Side of Fresh Fruit

Recipe: Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake

It was one of those moments where you receive an e-mail with a recipe…and you’re out of town visiting a friend, who happens to keep gluten-free goodies at her house just for you!  And every ingredient needed for said recipe that caught your attention is already in her pantry, fridge, or freezer.

To me, that sounds like a sign to make something for sure.  And as it is traditional for the two of us to cook at least once together when visiting…this recipe seemed to fit the bill.

And why did it catch my eye?  First…the word “breakfast” was involved.  We all know that my favorite meal of the day is breakfast.  Secondly…the word “cake.”  Yes…CAKE FOR BREAKFAST!

I have actually made this recipe twice now…and found the flour I used for it the second time (Mina’s Purely Divine Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour) worked a lot better than the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free All Purpose that we used at Jenn’s.  I served this up to my parents, my sister, and my nephews…and all loved it as much as my roommate, Jenn, and I did.  So…this is forever being made.

The original recipe was from Gluten Free on a Shoestring…posted by Udi’s Gluten-Free.  The recipe below…is how I make it!

Cake for breakfast…it sounds so sinful, but, even more importantly…it’s delicious.

Recipe: Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake

Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake
Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake

Servings: 16
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 25 minutes


  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Mina’s Purely Divine Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vanilla Greek yogurt, (If dairy-free, use soy/almond/coconut yogurt) (you make need to add more to mix)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh roughly chopped strawberries


Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan, then line it with crisscrossed sheets of unbleached parchment paper, overhanging both sides of the pan. Set the pan aside.

Make the batter.

In a large bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well.

Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, yogurt and eggs, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick.

Add 1 cup of the chopped strawberries and mix gently until the strawberries are evenly distributed throughout the dough, taking care not to crush the strawberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a wet spatula. Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup chopped strawberries over the top of the batter, pressing them gently into the batter.

Bake the cake.

Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is very lightly golden brown (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting out by the overhung parchment paper and placing on a wire rack to cool (peeling off the parchment from the bottom of the cake if possible). Allow to cool completely before slicing into 16 squares and serving.

**NOTE: I store this in the fridge and give it a 20-30 second heat up in the microwave before eating.  It is DIVINE!**


This cake is not just for breakfast, but it is a rather healthy, low-calorie, and amazingly moist and delicious way to have breakfast.  Nothing better than having your cake (for brekkies) and eating it too!  I was so impressed by this recipe, and totally made only a few slight adjustments to the recipe, but it came out perfect.  And I intend to make it again very soon.  It’s easy, it’s delicious…it’s what breakfast should be.



Product Review: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing + Recipe Bonus

Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Product: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing – $5.99+

Who says stuffing is just for Thanksgiving?  Where is that written?  Growing up, I was one of the only people in my family who wanted to have stuffing.  My dad wasn’t a fan, so my mom never made it.  Everything I needed to know about stuffing, I tasted at my friend’s homes.  It was a rare occasion that my mom would make it…and as we never had turkey on Thanksgiving, but enjoyed a delicious shrimp creole instead…well…this was more of a Christmas thing.

When I went gluten-free…stuffing was off the menu regardless…unless I made it myself.  In fact, one of the first gluten-free recipes I posted was a Gluten Free Hazelnut Sage Stuffing, which I made with Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread.  That was back in 2011…and I’ve made that recipe quite a few times since then.  It’s delicious and easy and amazing.

But sometimes, you just don’t want to do all the work yourself.  These days, my free time is less and less.  I’m recovering from a torn hip labrum, getting back to running, doing all my stretches for physical therapy and trying to maintain only a slight bit of pain when I move, and everything else like work, preparing meals/snacks for work, and maintaining my training/workout schedule.  It just isn’t always feasible to pull out a recipe and whip something up.

Well, two weeks ago, I was in Columbus, Ohio, visiting my friend Jenn.  And as I was packing up to head home, she handed me a box of Glutino’s Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing.  As it was due to expire within the month, I decided I would make this for lunches this week for both the roomie and myself.  And, that Sunday evening, I did just that…

I had everything else needed to make the recipe that was supplied on the box in my fridge, ironically enough.  I guess I just know what’s good to have on hand, HAHA!  Actually, it was just luck that I didn’t have to pick up anything else to make this.  All I needed was butter (I used Earth Balance), eggs, vegetable broth, celery, and onion.  That was it.  I followed the instructions on the box, pulling open the silver package that contained the corn bread stuffing portion of the product, loving the little, crispy, yellow corn bread croutons that spilled out and into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.  Giving it a good stir, it was prepared and ready to cook.

This stuffing smells amazing as it cooks.  I think I was drooling a little every time I walked by the oven.  I mean, SO good.  And when it was finally done, I pulled the dish from the oven, loving how golden the top had become during the cooking process.  I dished it out into 6 Pyrex dishes, tasting a little at the end…and…oh yeah…this was going to be good.

I was wrong, though.  This stuffing wasn’t good.  It was FANTASTIC!!!  Seriously, it was love at first taste.  And I was really, really anticipating lunch for the three days that my roomie and I had this in our refrigerator.  Seriously…I was sad when we devoured the last servings of it.  The cornbread croutons soak in all that amazing flavor from the eggs, sauteed veggies, and the vegetable broth.  It doesn’t get mushy though.  Not at all.  As it bakes, all that flavor bakes inside, making this rich, savory, and addictive stuffing that it’s hard to stop eating.  And that top layer gets this nice golden brown, which brings that bit of crunchy texture when you dig into it.  My mouth waters just thinking about it again.  In fact, I want to see if any of my natural food stores have this on hand.  I’m sort of concerned it’s a seasonal product…but I have every intention of stocking up!

So, let’s take a look at what all goes into a box of the Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing, shall we?  This product is made up of corn starch, tapioca starch, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: sunflower oil, canola oil, safflower oil), seasoning (salt, yeast extract, sugar, maltodextrin, dextrose, spices, onion powder, garlic powder, dehydrated parsley, expeller pressed canola oil, spice extractive, silicon dioxide), sugar, egg whites, salt, guar gum, glucono-delta-lactone, yeast, pectin, sodium bicarbonate, sodium alginate, modified cellulose, iron, niacin, tricalcium phosphate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, and riboflavin.

The Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing mix isn’t a nutritional bomb either.  So, it’s not clean eating for sure…but the nutritional facts aren’t so bad.  A serving size of this product is 1/2 cup prepared and there are 8 servings per box.  This serving will provide you with 120 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 470 mg cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugars, and less than 1 gram protein.  The lack of fiber and protein would make you believe that it wouldn’t fill you up if eating it as a meal instead of a side, but that wasn’t the case at all for me.  I found it filling and amazing.

So…if you want to make this too, here is the recipe I used, which is straight off the back of the box itself:

Recipe: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Servings: 6
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 35 minutes



  • 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • l box Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing


Preheat oven to 350° F.

Lightly grease one 8×8 baking pan.

In a heated skillet add the 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter and sautée onions and celery until translucent. Let the vegetables cool.

In a mixing bowl empty package of stuffing mix.  Add cooled sautéed onions and celery, eggs, and vegetable broth. Let stand one minute.

Stir until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Place in greased baking pan and pack down.

Cover with foil, bake for approximately 25 minutes. Uncover and finish cooking for an additional 8 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.


This was one of the first corn bread stuffings I have had.  And it brought back all those happy memories of the Stove Top Stuffing days of my childhood.  I was beyond impressed.  So, if you’re a glutton for stuffing, I highly recommend picking up a box of Glutino’s Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing.  Even your gluten-eating friends would never guess this was gluten-free.  It is that delicious!!  ENJOY!

Product Review: Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Italian Mix

Neat - A Healthy Replacement for Meat Italian Mix
Neat – A Healthy Replacement for Meat Italian Mix

 Product: Neat – A Healthy Replacement for Meat Italian Mix – $4.99+

I am so glad that Neat exists in the world.  I really, really am.  Because, it is sometimes hard to find a good protein base when you are not only a vegetarian (or perhaps a vegan), but also gluten-free.  Trust me…the struggle is real…FOR REAL!!  Most of the vegetarian/vegan faux-meat products out on the market have some sort of vital wheat gluten or glutenous substance inside (for texture purposes, I’ve been told).  I don’t need faux-meat in my life, but sometimes it’s nice to step away from the mushrooms and whatever else I get creative with and use something that is already prepared.

And that…brings me to Neat – A Healthy Replacement for Meat.  Ever since I became a subscriber to Delight Gluten Free magazine I noticed ads for this vegan meat replacement called Neat.  I was beyond intrigued and immediately went on the hunt in my local natural food stores.  Sadly, but not surprisingly, no one in my area carried this product.  At least not yet.  I said I’d get online and see if I could order it, but, naturally, I forgot to do that.  Story of my life.  But after a pouch of the Mexican Mix turned up on my Cuisine Cube, I started finding it on the shelves of my local Kroger stores, my natural food stores.  I was getting Neat where I could purchase it when I suddenly decided to make something spontaneous for dinner.


So, what exactly is Neat?  Neat is a meat replacement that is derived from nuts and other non-GMO natural ingredients.  It is a product that was created by a mother of two children who decided that they were going to become vegetarians.  At first she would puree beans into sauces to help her girls get the protein they wanted, but after awhile, everyone got tired of it.  And that was when she got into the kitchen, experimented, and created what is now marketed at Neat.

Neat comes in this shelf-stable pouch in a powdered form.  All you do to prepare it is pour the pouch into a bowl, add two eggs (or a vegan egg replacer), plus two tablespoons of water.  Stir all the ingredients together and throw it into a skillet over medium heat.  Or…if you happen to have the Italian Mix and want to make meatballs…well…you just change it up a little.

I wanted meatballs to make vegan meatball subs and some vegan spaghetti and meatballs for lunch the following day at the office.  SO…I took the mix from the pouch and poured it into a bowl, adding 1 egg, about 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (although now I think I should have gone for the full 1/3 cup (which was the amount of Parmesan cheese the recipe said to add), and 1 tablespoon of water and gave it a mix.  Then, with clean hands, I ended up rolling 12 meatballs (you normally would do 8 larger meatballs, but I had multiple meals planned for these…this way my roommate and I each got 3 in each dish I prepared).  Then, into an oven at 350°F for about 18 minutes, turning them over once.  That simple.

Near the end of their cooking time, I began warming up some marinara sauce on the stove.  And when these meatballs came out of the oven, into the sauce they went.  I gave the sauce a stir and just coated the meatballs the best I could.  I was using an open jar of sauce, so I had a little less than I wanted, but I figured the entire point of the meatball sub was the meatball itself.  So…with any luck, I didn’t screw those up.  Into the gluten-free hotdog buns they went (no one around here seems to carry the Schär Gluten Free Sub Rolls anymore).  I topped them with a bit of the sauce, then some Daiya mozzarella style shreds then placed them back in the oven under the broiler for about a minute to get the vegan cheese as gooey as I could manage.

Then…dinner was served.

Given that this was my first attempt at the “neatballs,” I was quite happy with them.  As I said, I should have done a perfect swap for the Parmesan cheese with the nutritional yeast, but I didn’t want to overkill it.  My oven is old, so I set it a little higher in temp, and baked these for the full 18 minutes, instead of maybe just 15…so they were slightly dry, but the texture was very meaty and very dense, like a meatball should be.  I thought these were amazing in both the subs and the pasta I cooked up for the following work day.  While I might have overcooked them slightly, it didn’t make me dislike what emerged from the oven and saucepan.  I loved biting into a vegetarian meatball sub and having it feel like I was actually eating a sub.  That was a nice treat.  I loved forming these meatballs to cook, because it’s like making it yourself instead of pulling them from the freezer (for the record, I know of only 2 kinds of vegan/gluten-free meatballs…Franklin Farms (which I can’t find anymore) and Beyond Meat (which I haven’t found here) which are both kept in the fridge/freezer.  So, this was a bit more rustic and a bit more like you were putting in the work yourself to make the protein base for your meal.  It was messy, but quite fun and quite satisfying.

Let’s first delve into the nitty-gritty ingredients and nutrition of Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Italian Mix.  The Italian Mix version of Neat is made from pecans, garbanzo beans, organic whole grain gluten free oats, garlic, onion, sea salt, and spices.  So, where this is meat-free and dairy-free, and also gluten-free…it is NOT nut-free.  So, if you have a nut allergy…this product is not for you.

As for nutrition, a serving of Neat Italian Mix is 40 grams and each pouch contains 4 servings.  This serving will give you 190 calories, and 15 grams of fat (healthy fat as it is coming from beans and nuts), 1.5 grams saturated fat, 218 mg sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 1 gram sugars, and 4 grams protein.  These meatballs will fill you up.  Seriously.  I really appreciate when a faux protein is made with filling, real foods that won’t leave me feeling hungry an hour or so later.  Trust me, that isn’t a problem with Neat.

I am so in love with the two mixes I have picked up from Neat – A Healthy Replacement to Meat.  I still have the Breakfast Mix and the Original Mix to try so I’ll be picking those up soon.  They also make an Egg Replacer as well, which I’d love to try.  So far, there isn’t anything bad I can say about Neat.  So, if you haven’t tried it and you, perhaps, have been missing your spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs…you gotta try this!!  Order online if you can’t find it in your stores.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Spaghetti & Neatballs and Neatball Sub made with Neat - A Healthy Replacement for Meat Italian Mix
Spaghetti & Neatballs and Neatball Sub made with Neat – A Healthy Replacement for Meat Italian Mix

Recipe: Gluten Free Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

I was watching a British cooking show a few years ago and absolutely began to salivate over the dish that was being prepared.  A simple European breakfast of Mushrooms on Toast.  With my food allergies and dietary restrictions, I, naturally had to adjust the original recipe, but it quickly became a favorite here in my apartment.  I started making this about five years ago, and then forgot all about it…until I got fresh crimini mushrooms in my CSA bin.

And so…I decided to revive a favorite.

Recipe: Gluten Free Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

Gluten Free Garlic Mushrooms on Toast
Gluten Free Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

Servings: 2
Time: 15 minutes prep; Cook 10 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, stems trimmed, thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 slices gluten free bread, toasted (I used Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Flax Bread)


Heat butter and oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat until sizzling. Add onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until aromatic.

Add rice milk and water. Stir until heated through. Sprinkle with thyme. Serve on hot buttered gluten-free toast.


After digging into this amazing dish (if you do gluten-free, I highly recommend the gluten-free Food For Life Sprouted For Life breads for this recipe), I remembered why I loved it so much all those years ago.  The mushrooms were tender and enriched with the garlic and freshy thyme.  I topped mine off with a poached egg, which, when paired with the sauced mushrooms was the perfect addition to the meal, although on its own, this would still be delicious.

If you are a fan of mushrooms, I highly recommend this recipe!