Avocado Citrus Salad

Avocado Citrus Salad

This avocado citrus salad is fun to make and is a salad you definitely want to eat. So many salads are boring and not appealing but people eat them because they feel like they have to have some vegetables. Salads for me are an opportunity to be creative, have fun, and come up with great flavor combinations that surprise the taste buds. This recipe is a summer variation of my Beet Citrus salad I like to make in the fall. I love the combination of sesame oil with the citrus. It is so refreshing and light plus super easy. A perfect addition for BBQ meals. Summer is definitely my favorite season for cooking. I can’t get enough BBQing and sitting outside to eat when the sun doesn’t set until 8pm. The best part of all is the cleanup because BBQing doesn’t make a big mess in the kitchen.

So many store bought salad dressings contain hidden gluten. It’s best to select brands that are certified gluten free. Also, beware of some vinegars that are based on gluten grains. Blue cheese dressings can potentially contain gluten and cause reactions for some people with gluten sensitivities. I prefer to make my own dressings at home because they are fresh, I know what’s in them, and I can make whatever I feel like having that day.

Here is how you make the delicious salad.

Cut and combine the following:
1 Pink Grapefruit
2 Oranges
1 Avocado
Pistachios (Optional)

For the dressing combine:
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1/2 Tbsp Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1/2 Tbsp Chopped Ginger (I use the pre-made one found in the herb section of the grocery store)

Just pour the dressing over the citrus and avocado right before serving.

Avocado Citrus Salad

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Capella Ixtapa Cucumber Margarita

We had an amazing stay last week at Capella Ixtapa in Mexico. It’s hard to believe we will soon be three instead of the two of us all the time. We are so incredibly excited for our baby girl to arrive and wanted to take one last trip just the two of us while we still could. We loved the Capella Ixtapa so much we left only for about 20 minutes the whole trip to the beach nearby and immediately returned. There was no reason for us to leave the resort. My favorite drink on our babymoon was the non-alcoholic Cucumber Margarita so I asked the bartender to share the recipe with me so I could make the real version after the baby arrives. The non-alcoholic version of this drink is so delicious and refreshing. The bartender didn’t show me how to make the non-alcoholic version so I made my own recipe below. I can’t wait to have the real one in a few months.

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Margarita Ingredients:
2″ Piece of Cucumber, Peeled
1.5 oz. Silver Tequila
1 oz. Silver Cointreau Orange Liqueur
1.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Agave to taste

Non-Alcoholic Margarita Ingredients:
2″ Piece of Cucumber, Peeled
2 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Agave to taste

Plus:
3 thin slices of cucumber for garnish
Tajin or Salt for rim of glass
Lime
Ice
Sparkling water (non-alcoholic version only)

Instructions:
1. Muddle the cucumber to get all of the flavor of the cucumber
2. Add the cucumber and remaining margarita ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with ice.
3. Rub lime on outside of glass and dip into Tajin or Salt
4. Fill glass with ice and pour margarita over ice.
5. Add cucumber slices for garnish

If you don’t want to muddle the cucumber, I made the non-alcoholic version with cucumber, lime juice, orange juice, and agave using a blender instead. After blending and shaking the 3 ingredients I topped it off with sparkling water and it was so delicious.

Enjoy!

Here’s more about our stay at the Capella Ixtapa:
The past couple vacations we have taken have been to Hawaii which we love for the many activities we can enjoy while on vacation. We knew I wouldn’t have the energy to go on big hikes or anything that took a lot of energy so we decided on Mexico. We picked Mexico for this trip because the food is incredibly gluten free friendly and it was a short 3 hour direct flight from LAX. The staff at the Capella Ixtapa went out of their way to ensure the food I ate had no gluten or alcohol. We mentioned my gluten intolerance the 2nd night to one waiter and every server plus the room service staff thereafter knew I had a gluten intolerance and paid special attention to everything I ordered and ate. I cannot recall a better experience anywhere I have stayed.

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

My favorite meal of the trip was the fish grill on the patio overlooking the ocean which we luckily were able to do twice.

This was the fish selection as we entered the restaurant:
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

The view from our table was breathtaking.
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Our appetizer of guacamole and chips. The hotel also brought this to our room every night around 5pm. For me they brought sliced carrots and cucumber because they couldn’t guarantee the chips didn’t have any flour in them.
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

This Octopus Salad was delicious and I loved the presentation.
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

This was my dinner. In addition to the fish I ordered the plantains which were delicious and corn.
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Hopefully we will be able to return there again someday. The service was amazing. The food was incredible. It was so relaxing and the perfect vacation for what we were looking for. If you are planning a trip to the Capella Ixtapa and have any questions about our stay, please leave a comment below or email me.

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Cinnamon Apple Scones – paleo and gluten free recipe

Cinnamon Apple Honey Paleo and Gluten Free Scone Recipe

This paleo and gluten free cinnamon apple scone recipe is also refined sugar free and a healthier alternative to just a gluten free scone. I love them. I was craving pastries after seeing so many donut photos this week for national donut day. I didn’t want anything super sweet with sugar in it and could not find a recipe for the few ingredients I had on hand so I came up with this one. The honey acts as a low glycemic sweetener and combined with the vanilla and apple sauce completely satisfied my craving for something healthy and sweet. The apple sauce also acts as a binder and is often used in vegan baking as a substitute for eggs. The apple sauce combined with the flaxseed gives these a texture closer to what you expect from a scone than recipes that only include almond flour. This recipe is perfect for baking ahead and keeping on hand in the freezer. If you are looking for another delicious paleo scone recipe, consider this pumpkin scone recipe I tried recently and also loved.

Makes 8 Scones

Ingredients:

3 Cups Almond Flour
1/4 Cup Flaxseed Meal
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
2 Eggs
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
6 Tbsp Apple Sauce (No Sugar Added)
3/4 Cup Raisins

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Add the almond flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to a large bowl and stir to combine.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir the dough until well combined. Fold in raisins.
4. Using a large scoop, drop the scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly wet hands and gently flatten the tops of the scones. They should be about 1 inch thick.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

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Pina Colada Popsicle Recipe for Zoku

Pina Colada Popsicles Paleo Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Dairy Free

This is another easy, gluten free, paleo, dairy free, refined sugar free popsicle recipe. I love pineapple especially combined with coconut because the flavor combination makes me feel like I am on vacation on a tropical island somewhere. These Pina Colada popsicles are definitely a party in your mouth even though this recipe doesn’t have alcohol in it.

Pineapples are highly perishable and can be stored at room temperature for one or two days. Once cut, store in an airtight container in the fridge. They can be intimidating if you’ve never cut one before. Here is a great how to video that shows how easy it is to cut a fresh pineapple. Basically you cut off the top, cut the skin off, and then cut the fruit from the inner core. It is much easier and faster plus cheaper than buying the pre- cut. If you still don’t want to try it there’s always the option to use frozen or fresh pre-cut pineapple.

I recommend the Zoku Quick Pop Maker because you can make instant popsicles, but this recipe will also work with traditional overnight popsicle molds.

Combine the following completely in a blender:

1.5 Cups Chopped Fresh Pineapple
1/2 Can Coconut Milk
1/8 Cup Honey

Zoku Time: 8 minutes in freezer
Makes 6 Zoku Pops

Pina Colada Popsicles Gluten Free Paleo Refined Sugar Free for Zoku

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Mango Popsicle Recipe for Zoku

It’s no secret that I love the Zoku Quick Pop Maker. It’s seriously an amazing way to make quick refined sugar free and dairy free desserts. The best part is you don’t need to wait overnight for the popsicles to be ready. Now that it’s starting to get warm I am using it so much more. And, this is my favorite recipe I have made so far. Maybe it’s cravings for the Mango Margarita I can’t have right now? They were delicious and super easy plus so fast thanks to the Zoku.

Mango Popsicles Gluten Free Paleo

Combine the following completely in a blender:
1/2 Fruit of 1 Mango
1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/4 cup Honey

Zoku Time: 8 Minutes
Makes 4 Zoku Pops

Mano Popsicles Gluten Free Paleo 2

Mango Popsicles Paleo Gluten Free

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Watermelon, Feta, Kalamata Olive and Mint Salad

Watermelon Salad Gluten Free Recipe

I am a big fan of non-traditional salads and one of my absolute favorite summer recipes is Nigella Lawson’s Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad. I look forward to summer every year just so I can have this salad. It is exactly as she describes – improbable, savory, and refreshing. The only things I don’t follow in the recipe is I use Kalamata olives and do not include the parsley. I love it with just the mint.

Watermelon Salad Gluten Free Recipe 4

Tonight, I decided to change it up and make these fun appetizer skewers using the same recipe. It’s best to combine everything with the lime juice and then make the skewers to keep the same refreshing flavor as the salad. These skewers make a great appetizer for a dinner party, picnic, or boat food. Nothing says party food to me more than bite sized food on fun skewers. You can buy the adorable Bamboo Skewers on Amazon.

Watermelon Salad Gluten Free Recipe 2

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How To Make A Matcha Green Tea Latte

Matcha Green Tea Latte

Before we decided to have a baby I would always think, someday when I am pregnant there is no way i’ll be able to give up coffee. When I became pregnant, amazingly I didn’t want coffee at all. My Dr. said it was ok to have, but I just don’t want it. I was completely shocked. I do still crave a warm beverage on the way to work. So what I do have in the mornings instead is a Matcha green tea latte. I first had one at Starbucks and ordered it unsweetened and without the whip cream. My local independent coffee shop told me the matcha powder they use comes with sugar already added. So then I decided it would be super easy and cheaper to just make them at home. Often called an antioxidant superpower, Matcha has far less caffeine than coffee and is full of amazing health benefits.

Here are some of the top health benefits of Matcha.
1. High in Antioxidants
2. Loaded with Catechin, the most potent antioxidant
3. Relaxation effects
4. Boosts memory
5. Boosts concentration
6. Increases energy
7. Boosts metabolism
8. Detoxifies the body
9. Improves cholesterol
10. Strengthens immunity

To read more, click here.

Many people don’t realize that a lot of teas have added gluten. I noticed after cutting gluten out my stomach would be upset after drinking tea. When I searched online I found a few people mention on gluten free forums that gluten is often added to tea during the processing. I was shocked and I cut it out completely. Be careful and read the ingredients for Matcha too. The Trader Joe’s Green Tea Latte Mix, for example, contains chemicals and gluten. Many other tea brands like The Republic of Tea are now thankfully certifying their gluten free teas.

Here is what you need:
1.5 tsp Matcha Green Tea Powder – you can find it at premium grocery stores and Japanese supermarkets
1 Cup Milk or Almond Milk
4 oz. Warm Water
(Optional)
Electric Milk Frother

Instructions:
1. Combine Matcha and hot water completely until all the lumps are out using a milk frother.
2. Steam milk using the espresso machine. You can also use the milk frother with hot milk if you do not have an espresso machine.
3. Pour milk over matcha.

DIY Matcha Green Tea Latte

Before I bought the milk frother I had a hard time getting the lumps out of the Matcha. Then I found this awesome video: Just One Cookbook – How to Make Green Tea Latte

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Mango Cucumber Mojito Salad

I am so happy it’s almost summer and time for all of my favorite summer BBQ recipes and salads. Last night I made this super easy Mango and Cucumber salad and some skewers.

Mango Cucumber Mojito Salad Gluten Free Paleo

Here is the recipe for the easy and delicious salad.

Ingredients:
1 Mango Diced
1/2 English Cucumber Sliced
Zest of 1 Lime
Juice of 2 Limes
1/8 cup chopped Mint

Mix together and enjoy!

Cucumber Mango Mojito Salad Paleo and Gluten Free

Here are the skewers on the BBQ – so delicious!

Beef and Veggie Skewers Paleo and Gluten Free

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Easy Pasta With Zoodles

Zoodles Gluten Free Pasta Spaghetti

I never have become a fan of any gluten free noodles i’ve tried. I’ll have them if I am at a restaurant but don’t like making them at home. Vegetables have so much more flavor than the gluten free noodles i’ve tried. Before I discovered Zoodles, I used to always use spaghetti squash for pasta dishes. I even taught my boyfriend who always gets home from work before I do how to prep the spaghetti squash and get it started roasting to save time after work. It’s super easy to make but just takes so long. Recently I switched to Zoodles and like them so much more. They are delicious and way faster than spaghetti squash so they are perfect for a quick and easy 30 minute meal like this one.

Zoodles Gluten Free Spaghetti Pasta

Here is what you need:
1lb. Sliced Spicy Chicken, Pork, or Turkey Sausage
1 Pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Crushed Garlic
1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1/4 Cup Kalamata olives
1/2 Cup Sliced Mushrooms
1/4 Cup Sundried Tomatoes
Basil
3-4 Zucchinis
Fresh Basil
Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Here is how you make it:
1. Heat olive oil to medium in a large sauté pan.
2. Sauté sliced sausage until fully cooked.
3. While the sausage is cooking, create zucchini spirals with a spiraling tool like the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer or use a vegetable slicer to create zucchini “noodles”.
4. Remove any excess fat from the meat.
5. Add garlic and sauté until aromatic.
6. Add the tomatoes to the meat and cook covered for 3-5 minutes until soft. You know the tomatoes are done when they crush with very little effort. Once they are done, use a potato masher or back of a large spoon to crush up tomatoes.
7. Add sundried tomatoes, ground pepper, sliced mushrooms, and kalamata olives and stir and sauté until mushrooms are cooked.
8. In a separate pan, sauté zucchini noodles with olive oil until cooked but still slightly crunchy.
9. Place zoodles on plate and top with pasta sauce.

Top with basil and parmesan and enjoy!

Zoodles Gluten Free Spaghetti Pasta

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Pregnancy Nausea Relief

I am now about 4 months pregnant and we are super excited to have a baby girl the end of July. Everyone has different experiences so you never know how your body will handle it and there have definitely been a few surprises for me I was not expecting from pregnancy so far. In the end it will all be worth it for a healthy baby.

The first surprising thing for me was that my taste buds have completely changed. I haven’t been daydreaming about food like I normally do all day long and many of the foods I used to eat all the time taste bland and flavorless. Basically any kind of chicken dish is disgusting to me and I used to cook with chicken A LOT. Not any more. I haven’t had any weird cravings and am definitely not craving sweets thank goodness. I cannot really eat as much as I used to at a time and have been eating small snacks throughout the day. I have been loving fruit and have been eating a ton of apples, pineapple, and clementines. I really want watermelon but haven’t seen too much in the stores that looks good enough to eat. This explains why I haven’t been posting nearly as often. My tastebuds just aren’t the same right now. I still have tons of ideas for recipes and future posts, but refuse to make stuff up just for the sake of posting. I want everything I write about to be genuine and delicious and things I will be making all the time.

Another thing that has surprised me is the nausea. I have to admit I didn’t really understand other women who felt nauseous during their pregnancies. And, I thought it would only be in the morning. They shouldn’t call it morning sickness because for me it was all-day sickness. I had friends who had severe nausea so I knew there were different levels. I thought it had to do with having an empty stomach and could be cured with a few gluten free crackers every time I felt sick. I was terribly wrong. For me the nausea started around week seven and was severe including vomiting all day and night. It goes in waves throughout the day. It starts with me being super grumpy with a slight headache, then feels like sea sickness, and then the uncontrollable vomiting begins. I am now in week eighteen and it still hasn’t gone away. It’s definitely gotten better but the only way I am able to function and continue to work is with taking medication still.

Here are the few things that have helped me with the nausea. I have tried many other things but none so far have provided any noticeable relief worth mentioning. I am not a doctor and advise anyone to check with your doctor before seeking remedies for nausea. However, I thought I would share some of the things that helped me.

Pregnancy Nausea Relief

1. Sea-Band Anti-Nausea Ginger Gum – I was actually shocked this stuff really worked for me. It took the nausea completely away but only temporarily. It lasted a few minutes and then the nausea came back but not as severe as before chewing the gum.

2. Orange Juice – Orange Juice saved me for several days until I was able to see the doctor. I used to be an orange juice snob. Only fresh squeezed in season oranges at my house until I found out from a site I cannot remember that it helped with nausea. I would have never come up with this one on my own but was so sick and desperate that I was willing to try anything. It totally worked. Every time I felt nauseous I would take a sip and it kept me from throwing up. The only problem was I had to drink it all day and night long. I kept a container full of it with me at all times and drank at least 1 large container a day until I started taking the medicine. I didn’t think that was healthy for me or the baby but didn’t know what else to do at the time.

3. Diclegis – This is what my doctor prescribed and it worked for me. My doctor had samples and I took the first one as soon as I left her office. I tested the dosage per the instructions until I found what worked for me. I no longer needed the ginger gum or orange juice thank goodness. It was covered by my insurance but still had to pay over $100 per refill because I had not met my deductible yet. It was totally worth it.

4. Unisom – Diclegis contains doxylamine with pyridoxine. After my 10th week I switched to a new OB who told me Unisom basically has the same ingredients as Diclegis and that he’s been recommending it for years. There were many different versions of Unisom at the store so I made sure to buy the one with doxylamine. While I still had some Diclegis left I decided to test the Unisom. I took one pill at night before I went to bed and felt great until about 3 in the afternoon the next day. It was bearable so I waited until bedtime before I took another one. Now i’ve been taking just 1 Unisom pill before I go to bed every night and it is keeping the nausea away. I have been testing not taking it and each time have gotten really sick so I plan to test taking half a pill and no pill again soon but only on the weekend when I don’t have to work the next day. From what I can tell the difference that Diclegis gives you is that it is lower dosage per pill and released over time so you feel fine taking it during the day. If I were to take a Unisom during the day I would fall asleep immediately.

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