Homemade Energy Bars

Homemade energy bars

Homemade energy bars

It’s difficult to find snacks when you’re gluten-free that aren’t loaded with junk. Gluten-free doesn’t equal healthy. They may indeed get rid of the wheat but then they add tons of sugar, preservatives and other ingredients to make up for it! I hate when that happens!

So… thanks to Pinterest here’s my concoction that was born from melding several different ideas/recipes together. I think they’re pretty fricking delicious the way they are, but you can tweek them to your liking by adding/deleting items and making it your own with pantry staples you may have on hand.


6 oz. – Medjool dates (my container was 12 ounces and I used half of it.)

1 cup – mixed unsalted nuts

1 Tbsp. – chia seeds

1 Tbsp. – flaxseeds

Approximately 1/4 cup (or less) – raw honey

3 Tbsp. – coconut flakes

2-3 Tbsp. – coconut oil

1 cup- dried cranberries


In a food processor, mix medjool dates and nuts until mixed into small pieces.

Add chia seeds, flax seeds and coconut flakes and pulse to incorporate.

Add your honey (I say approximate because I eyeballed this part) and coconut oil and pulse. (You will see the mixture get a thicker dough-like consistency.)

Push into a pan lined with parchment paper.

Lay another piece of parchment on top and press firmly down in the pan until even.

Refrigerate for 1 hour and cut into slices for bars. (They’ll get even firmer the longer they are in the refrigerator.)

Cut into bars and separate each bar by using cut sheets of parchment paper between the bars to keep them from sticking together.


P.S. – I ate one of these at bedtime… it kept me awake and energized most of the night. Not a good idea. Best to save these for before and after your workouts. :)


Chicken in the Garden

Chicken in the Garden

Chicken in the Garden

Well, I’m ashamed to say that it’s been six months since I last posted a recipe here on my food blog. But, I have many reasons!

I moved to Florida finally and wowee have I been busy!

First, I downsized a four bedroom house with a full basement to get here, then had to downsize again once here. Then, ten days after we got here, I fell (again) and broke my foot (again.) Yeah. Lying around with your foot elevated with boxes that need unpacked around you is not my idea of fun.

Then, once I recovered, my mother-in-law had hip surgery so I took care of her. Then, my husband had to have foot surgery (again) and I’m now taking care of him! Oy!

Add to ALL this – furniture shopping I thought would never end, getting and returning things that didn’t work, didn’t fit, were damaged or we didn’t like. Going through 3 different entertainment centers, 3 couches, 2, credenzas, and 4 bed comforters before finding what we truly liked. Not to mention finding new Dr’s, finding our way around, getting new licenses; it’s all just disorienting!

And, well… although I’ve cooked many of the days in the past six months, I’ve either been at a loss as to what to make that was new, was too tired or just plain uninspired and depressed with all the changes in my life as of late. This I know for sure: Even when you’re excited about good changes (my husband’s retirement and moving away from a hellish soon-to-be-Ohio-winter), once they arrive they can still be overwhelming.

So… here I am, ready to post again. When the days slipped away from us due to working like mad beavers in the house, we would go to a place called Square One close to our home. It’s a burger joint but since I don’t eat red meat, I order their salad called Angus in the Garden (with chicken), so I call it Chicken in the Garden, duh. I have to say, it is thee best salad I have ever eaten. Ever. So… I took a handy dandy picture of the menu and re-created it here at home today. I hope you like it as much as we do.


1lb. – ground chicken

1 cup – Gluten-free Panko bread crumbs

Onion flakes or powder, to your taste

Sharp cheddar cheese, slicesSalt and pepper

1 container – organic lettuces, (any type you like)

corn, drained

black beans, drained and rinsed

green onions, sliced

jalapeños, fried (with some panko)

Russian Dressing (approx. 2 Tbsps.)

Tortilla Chips, crushed or strips

Sour Cream, dollops for on top


Mix ground chicken with approximately 3/4 cup of panko bread crumbs, onion flakes, salt and pepper (and any other seasonings you may like)

Divide meat into four burgers and form, lay burgers in a dish of more (about 1/4 cup) panko and bread both sides.

Fry in your choice of oil until golden brown on each side and juices run clear. When burgers are still a bit pink inside, turn heat off, add cheese slices and put the lid on it so the cheese melts.

Set chicken patties aside.

Add some panko to your drained jalapeños and fry in the oil left over in the pan until brown.

Put salad in a large bowl and drizzle with Russian dressing and toss. Add some more drizzles and continue to incorporate, until it’s mixed well but not dripping with dressing. (I probably used 2 Tbsps. for the whole bowl.) 

Add your corn, black beans and green onions and mix thoroughly.

Plate the salad mixture, lay chicken burger on top and add crushed tortilla chips on top and serve.

I served my husband’s with a side of fried jalapeños (I don’t eat them) and mine with extra green onions.

Add a dollop of sour cream on top and voila! Chicken in the Garden salad. YUM! It’s so much like the salad in the restaurant, I may never leave my house again. LOL! ;)




Frying chicken burgers. Jalapenos waiting to be fried.



Mix Salad in bowl

Mix Salad in bowl




Protein Pasta

Protein Pasta

Protein Pasta

I grew up eating something we called “Spaghetti I-oy.” (Eye-Oy.) That’s how we pronounced it. I had no idea what that meant but I knew I loved it. It was a pasta dish my Italian step father and his family made every Sunday.

When I got older I realized the dish was really called Spaghetti Aioli (pronounced A-I-oli.) There are different versions of the aioli which they call an emulsion that include different variations of garlic, lemon, eggs, mayonnaise and sometimes mustard, but this recipe only uses garlic oil and egg and is not an emulsion but an oil. It’s made all in one pan after the noodles are drained and is super easy. Kids love it.

Today, after eating this for 30 + years and wondering what to do with some vegetables I had on hand (other than always roasting them), I came up with something quite tasty. Below is the combination of Spaghetti Aioli and some tasty concoctions I had in the house. Hope you like this as much as we did. This is now a new favorite and provides protein, unlike most pasta dishes that do not contain meat.


1/2 lb.- spaghetti noodles

1/4 cup- olive oil (my mom used vegetable oil before we knew anything about olive oil, do not use that- vegetables do not contain oil. LOL!)

3 cloves- garlic, peeled and crushed with a fork, it will turn golden brown. Also add it to the pasta and eat it.

1 large- egg

2 handfuls (or about 1 cup, pulsed) – cauliflower, washed and pulsed in the food processor until it resembles “rice.”

1 handful (or about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, pulsed) – broccoli, washed and pulsed in the food processor until it resembles green flecks of powder.

1/2- (3.5 ounce bag) – sun-dried tomatoes, also pulsed in the food processor

1- 2 ounce bag- walnuts, also pulsed


Cut, clean and pulse each of the ingredients: cauliflower, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes and walnuts and set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions approximately 8 minutes

While spaghetti is cooking, place 1/4 cup olive oil in a small saute’ pan. Add your garlic (peeled and crushed with a fork to release flavor)- you are making garlic olive oil. Allow this to get hot and the garlic to get golden brown, (not dark or it can get bitter.)

Once pasta is done, drain and return it to the same large pan.

Place one egg in the center of the pasta and then pour the hot oil and garlic over the top slowly cooking the top part of the egg.

Turn the burner on under the pasta on medium heat and with two forks, continue to pick up and stir the pasta. You will see the egg cooking and turning white. Once the egg is solid, remove from heat and add your pulsed ingredients and stir well.

You are not cooking the pulsed ingredients, only the pasta. The pulsed ingredients warm right through because of their small rice-like state. Serve immediately.

This pasta is even pretty! It has flecks of red, green, white. Just top with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and enjoy! You’re welcome! ;)


Add egg

#1) Cook Pasta and Add egg

Garlic Oil (eat the garlic too!) YUM!

#2) Garlic Oil (eat the garlic too!) YUM!

Cook egg with hot oil

#3) Pour hot oil over egg to cook slightly. Add heat under pot now and stir till egg is done.














Add pulsed ingredients and stir well

#4) Add pulsed ingredients and stir well

One pot pasta dish

#5) One pot pasta dish

Topped with Cheese

#6) Topped with Cheese


Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Mexican Quinoa Bowl

We probably eat quinoa several times a week. It’s so versatile you can really do just about anything you can dream up with it. I’ve made it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time. It’s a complete protein and super healthy to eat when looking for protein options as a vegetarian.

I love anything Mexican, and even though I love rice, it really doesn’t offer anything nutritious to the diet. Quinoa is the perfect substitute for rice in this Mexican bowl. It’s super tasty, super easy and really filling. We loved it, hope you do too. Enjoy!


2 cups- quinoa, cooked (usually 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water, follow package directions.)

1- avocado, pitted, cut in half and diced or sliced

Salsa- any kind,(as much as you like)

1 packet- taco seasoning

Dollop- Sour cream for the top of each bowl

Green Onion (as much as you like), sprinkled on top

Cheddar Cheese (as much as you like), sprinkled on top

Black beans, drained and rinsed. (as much as you like)

Tomatoes, washed and diced.


Make your quinoa. Once water is absorbed, add your taco seasoning and stir well.

Put the quinoa in the center of the bowl and place each ingredient in the list above, around the quinoa for presentation.

Mix all of it at once and eat- or mix as you go making different tasting bites each time. Either way, it’s delicious.

Note: You can add any ingredient you like not listed here. Other suggestions might be: corn, lettuce, black olives, fried green peppers and onions… you get the idea.)

Stirred, not shaken

Stirred, not shaken

Eggs Benedict Florentine

Eggs Benedict Florentine

Eggs Bendict Florentine

This is my version of the Eggs Florentine that First Watch makes. I get it every time we go, so I started making it at home. I leave off the English muffin for low carb, gluten free, but you can add it if you want.

A go-to- meal in our house when we want something quick, easy and healthy. And I don’t know about you, but one of our favorite things is breakfast for dinner.


2 eggs- per person

1 handful – organic spinach

tomatoes (any kind), diced

Hollandaise sauce ( you can make it from a packet or make your own, recipe below.)


Make your Hollandaise sauce, stirring constantly so it doesn’t stick or scorch (See recipe below or use a packet if in a hurry.) Set aside finished sauce until ready for it.

Put a little oil (olive, coconut, etc.) in a skillet and fry your eggs over medium.Then, take a big handful of organic spinach and lay it on a plate.

When the eggs are cooked place those on top of the spinach.

Pour Hollandaise sauce on top.

Sprinkle on tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes, cut in half)

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a side of fruit.

The hot eggs wilt some of the spinach and  when the gooey yolks break open and mix with the spinach and tomatoes, it’s heaven on a plate! Identical to the restaurant version. YUMMY!

Hollandaise Sauce Recipe:

4 egg yolks

1 Tbsp.- lemon juice

1 stick- unsalted butter, melted

Pinch- cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk eggs and lemon juice together in a metal bowl. This will get thick.

Put bowl over a steaming pot of water and whisk continuously without the water touching the bottom of the bowl. This will get thicker and double in volume.

Slowly add your butter and continue to whisk until well incorporated. Season and remove from heat.





Black Beans and Polenta

Black Beans and Polenta

Black Beans and Polenta

Polenta is corn meal grits and is something I’ve been experimenting with as of late. You can find it in a roll or buy the bulk cornmeal in a bag. For this recipe, I made my own with the bagged kind and water. It was a bit harder to get it to stay in a round shape to fry afterward and didn’t really get brown, so I really prefer the roll.

We still have not eaten any meat for four plus weeks now and we don’t miss it a bit. It is a bit harder to find things to make, especially when you’re trying to incorporate protein into every meal that’s for sure, but I think we will continue on to see if we can do this.

This is a recipe I found on a can of black beans. It was tasty, full of protein and very filling. If you buy the roll of polenta, it’s super easy and quick.  You can pair it with a small side salad to round out your meal. Enjoy!


3 Tbsp. – olive oil

1 medium onion- diced small. (I used onion flakes.)

4 cloves- garlic, minced

1/8 tsp.- cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. – black pepper

1 tsp.- cumin

3/4 tsp. – coriander

1 tsp.- basil

1/4 tsp. – oregano

1- 14 ounce can- organic black beans

1- 14 ounce can- stewed tomatoes

Polenta (roll or bagged kind made according to package directions)


If using an onion, add oil to skillet and saute onion for about 5 minutes, then add your tomatoes, beans and all the spices.

If using onion powder, add beans, tomatoes and all spices to a small pan and heat through.

If using bagged polenta, make according to package directions, allow to set, make round patties, then fry in oil.

If using the polenta in a roll, cut into thick slices, then fry in oil till heated through.

Plate the polenta slices and top with the bean and tomato mixture.

Vegetarian Taco Soup

Vegetarian Taco Soup

Vegetarian Taco Soup

Do you believe how cool it’s been this summer? I can’t. I’m STILL stuck in Ohio waiting for my house to sell and can’t wait to get to Florida to warm my bones! So, on a recent 64 degree day, I made this taco soup. It was beyond delicious so the day was not a total disappointment.

I’ve made a similar version that used a rotisserie chicken and it was also great, but since we are limiting meat (we’ve been vegetarian for a bit over 2 weeks now…) I opted to make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken and adding more beans.

I put a few Gluten-free rice chips on the side of my bowl, grabbed a blankey and watched Ghost Stories on TV! My idea of the perfect day. So cozy and comfy. Hope you like this as much as we did.


1 can- corn, drained
1 can- kidney beans, drained
1 can- black beans, drained
1 can- pinto beans, drained
1 can- (14 oz.) stewed tomatoes, Mexican style if you can find them. Or fire roasted ones are good too.
1 and 1/2- packages taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt (omit this if you get regular taco seasoning… I added it because I bought low-sodium taco seasoning)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. chili powder 
Water- to thin it if you like, otherwise this is a thicker stew. (* I used approximately 1+ cups for a more soupy texture.)
Throw it all in a pot on the stove on low heat for a few hours or just warm it through fully and eat. The taste gets better the longer it cooks. (You can also put it all in a crock pot and cook all day, 6 hours on low.)
Garnish with:
Cheddar cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado slices, chopped green onions and rice chips (gluten-free) in place of tortilla chips.

*Note: You can cut up a rotisserie chicken too and put than in it and you can add green chilies if you like it hot.