I Love Christmas.

Yeah... I've been missing in action since the holidays started. At first I was excited, because what better time of the year to update my blog and give great holiday meal suggestions, but then life took over... and that is okay. My life is full of blessings and love, so I set my blog aside and just enjoyed this time of the year.

I love the holidays. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, I am in a state of happiness. I get to re-live and remember traditions and memories and spend time with those I love most. I get to put a Grand Fir Christmas tree in my house and breath in its pine and citrus scent, which is one of my favorite smells in the whole world.

I got to bake pumpkin pies, make fudge and eat a lot of Chex party mix. I drank my fair share of hot chocolate made from almond milk and watched a dozen Christmas movies. I decorated, I played festive tunes (Fav: Oak Ridge Boys circa 1986!), lit our advent wreath, visited family and just soaked it all in. And now it begins to fade away until next year when my heart finds it's happy home in Christmas once again.

But hello blog, I return.


Vegan, Gluten Free Baked Mac & Cheeze

I love, love, love macaroni and cheese. It is one of those childhood meals that I still love and crave, but now with a much more sophisticated palate. I have searched the land of gluten free and vegan recipes for "Meghan-friendly" versions of the creamy goodness, but for one reason or another, I just haven't found the perfect recipe. Most recipes I have found contain rice flour and nutritional yeast, which are great for making a cheesy-like sauce, but sometimes I just can't get past the flavor of nutritional yeast.

So, after some tinkering, I have come up with a solution. My secret? Using veggies and cashews to create that creamy goodness. In my opinion, it has the best taste and is a healthy alternative to actual cheese sauce. You'll see that cayenne pepper is an optional ingredient. When included, it adds a little bit of a kick to the dish and a slight spicy heat, which is quite yummy.

I really dig this stuff. It is sooo creamy and delicious. It doesn't try to be some sort of imitation cheesy mac, instead it has its own flavor and appeal, but for me it's the closest thing I have found to the classic. I think anyone would love it, whether your gluten free and vegan or you digest dairy. I could eat it every week, but I look at it as a treat, saving it for special occasions or as a surprise dinner for Andrew, because it's just that good.

Baked Macaroni & Cheeze

16 oz gluten free pasta (I use Trader Joe's organic brown rice penne pasta)

2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced

1 medium carrot, peeled and diced

2/3 cup white onion, diced

2 1/2 cups water

2/3 cup raw cashews

2/3 cup olive or canola oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp marjarom

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Paprika for sprinkling

Gluten free breadcrumbs (optional)


Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare pasta al dente (still a little firm to the bite), drain and rinse with cold water (prevents it from sticking together) and set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the potato, carrots and onion and reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes or until veggies are tender. *The smaller the diced veggies, the faster the cooking time.

Combine cashews, oil, garlic, lemon juice, marjoram, salt, black pepper, mustard, cayenne pepper, cooked veggies and water in a blender. Process for a few minutes until the mixture is a creamy, smooth sauce.

Place pasta in a 3 quart casserole dish and pour the sauce over it, gently mixing until evenly coated, wiping down the side of the casserole dish if necessary. Sprinkle with paprika.

If desired, top the dish with bread crumbs. (I use this easy and delicious recipe from my absolute, hands-down, favorite food blog: Gluten-Free Goddess)

Bake for 30 minutes.


Vegan, Gluten Free Portland Restaurant Review: ¿Por Que No?

If Andrew had to pick his favorite cuisine, he'd probably say Mexican food. So naturally he loves any place that serves anything resembling a burrito. I love it too, but I think his love is far more persistent (Meghan: "What do you want to eat for dinner?", Andrew: "Oh, I dunno, burritos? Tacos? Mexican food?"). Needless to say, taco night is a huge smash in our household. Even more needless to say; we jumped at the chance to try ¿Por Que No?.

This bumbling little taqueria has always caught my eye. The brightly colored building and large open windows stand out on Hawthorne (but so can the occasional line out the door). I tend to wait until the last moment before deciding where and when to eat, which results in a sudden drop in blood sugar and a very unpleasant mood (which I refer to as "fading"). So when we finally planned to try this place, line and all, I was very excited!

Now, I am going to be upfront and get my critiques out of the way first. Yes, the line can be long at times and seating can be sparse (you should wait until ordering to grab a seat and you might have to share a table with others). You also order at the counter and clear your own table. However, the line doesn't take too long and the food is usually out fairly soon.

Overall, I also thought some of the food was a little pricey, given the portion sizes and [lack of] service you get. I am all for clearing my own table and self-ordering, but I think that the price of the food should reflect that (and the individual tacos do not). Andrew has tried their "Verdura Tacos" (veggie) and ordered three at $2.75 each. They were delicious, but weren't very big and did not fill him up. For $8.25, it was small dinner. However, they came on their house-made corn tortillas which are the best I have ever tasted! We also ordered chips and salsa and happily snacked away on the excessive amount of chips, only to run out of the salsa. It wasn't a large helping at all, so we thought we'd get some more, only to find out they charge $2 for a refill! That really irritated me - so savor your salsa, because the chips and salsa are still worth getting!

I ordered the "Bryan Bowl" with veggies and without the crema and queso fresco. I have checked with the restaurant and that does make it gluten free and vegan. I think this is the best option available to a vegan/gluten free girl (or boy). After multiple visits, Andrew and I have decided that we will probably never try anything else. For $6.75 you get a bowl full of veggies, beans, rice, guacamole, salsa and cilantro. They also place a little radish slice and lime wedge on the top, which makes me love it even more. You also get to decide whether you want chips or 3 corn tortillas with it. The first time I ordered the tortillas, which are amazing and a must-try. However, I think I prefer the house-made chips with the bowl. You get much more and these chips are my absolute favorite ever! They are so thick and warm! I know some people prefer thin, crispy chips, but not me! I love the thick and crunchy ones and these hit the spot!

The critiques are forgivable, especially considering our favorite item is cheap and muy deliciouso. Andrew and I love this place. The atmosphere at ¿Por Que No? is fun and we enjoy it. The taqueria is festive and bright and has a great ambiance. They also have a happy hour everyday from 3-6pm, where they offer $1 off their chips and salsa (or guac) and $.50 off their tacos. They also offer $.50 off their tacos until close on Tuesdays. While there is not a large selection of gluten free/vegan options, I think this is the perfect place if you want to enjoy happy hour with some friends, and sip their famous margaritas or agua frescas with dinner. I recommend taking a look at their menu and giving this place a try (they have 2 locations to choose from: Hawthorne or Mississippi)!

Sorry for the phone picture, but here is the Bryan bowl:


Vegan Almond Milk

There is something so satisfying about making your own milk! Sure there are tons of options at the store, as well as plenty of flavors, but even with all those options, I have always wanted to try making my own milk. I finally got the courage and realized just how easy and fun it is!

So far I have only ventured into making almond milk, but I have been really happy with it. I bought a bulk bag of raw almonds at Costco, found a nut milk bag at a local Farmer's Market and happily pour this stuff on my cereal and into recipes. While it does seem much thinner compared to store bought milks, it is so pure and healthy. I know exactly what goes into it and am happy with the results.

You will need a blender and a nut bag or cheesecloth to make this milk, or I think a very fine strainer or sieve could possibly work (though it might not be as easy). I also use a large mixing bowl with a spout to drain my milk into, which makes it much easier to pour into a bottle or container when finished. The first time I made this I ended up with more milk on the counter than in my designated milk bottle - which is why I offer the above^ advice.

Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds (unsalted, not roasted)
4 cups water
3 tbs agave nectar (or omit for unsweetened milk)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Soak the almonds overnight in a bowl. Place enough water in the bowl to cover the almonds by an inch or two.

2. In the morning or after soaking for at least 8 hours, drain and rinse the almonds.

3. Pour the almonds, 4 cups of water, agave nectar and vanilla into a blender. Blend on high for a couple of minutes, until the almonds are well blended.

4. Pour the mixture into a nut bag placed over a large [mixing] bowl and let the milk drain through the bag into the bowl, while the pulp remains in the bag. Gently squeeze to get all the milk out (OR place a cheesecloth over a wire colander and place in a large bowl. Pour the mixture through that, pressing to squeeze all milk through).

5. Pour into a container and refrigerate. I find that mine stays tasting it's best for 3-5 days and that it needs to be shaken up a little before using.

My favorite part: the beautiful foam!


It's a Party! GF Vegan Chex Mix!

When I was a little girl I used to love visiting my Great Grandma Casey (except for her poodle named Jodie). In her spare room she had a drawer full of books and games for the grand-kids to play with, which made me feel so special. I was also in awe of the giant, gold clock in the dining room that looked like the sun's rays, not because I liked it, but because of how pointy, sharp and shiny it looked.

Grandma Casey also had the most amazing collection of salt and pepper shakers that she would let me play with and a silver dust pan and brush that I absolutely loved to use. I would be on the look out for anything that needed to be swept up. She even had a fruit dryer where she made fresh fruit leather! Her backyard had cherry and apple trees, and all sorts of berry bushes and I loved getting to pick the fresh fruit. And at her dinners it felt like she always made salmon and mashed potatoes - which were my favorites.

Perhaps my favorite treasure at her house was the pink, glass dish that sat by one of her very comfortable lounge chairs. Every time I would visit, I'd immediately run to it to claim my prize. Then throughout the visit I would constantly sneak whatever it held. Sometimes it was red and black licorice and orange slices and other times it was full of her famed "Crispix Party Mix".

Grandma Casey made the best crispix mix. Below is not her recipe, but one of my own creation. I am not trying to out-due or even imitate her recipe, but I am dedicating my party mix recipe to her....

Oh, I inherited that pink bowl.

Chex Party Mix


5 cups Corn Chex

5 cups Rice Chex

1 cup Gluten Free Cheerios*

1 cup Gluten Free Pretzels (I used Ener-G Wylde)

4 tbs Olive Oil

2 tbs Worcestershire Sauce*

1 tsp Seasoning Salt*

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Onion Powder

*Check the ingredients to make sure these are gluten free and vegan. Some brands are not.

Preheat oven to 250
1. In a large bowl combine the chex, cheerios and pretzels.
2. In a small bowl combine the oil, sauce, seasoning salt and powders. Stir with a fork to mix well. Then drizzle over the dry mix. Stir to evenly coat.
3. Pour the mix into an oven-safe dish and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

As we enter chex mix season (Halloween through New Years), I am fairly certain I will eating far too much of this stuff. It's addictive - you've been warned.


Comfort Food: GF/Vegan Loaded Baked Potatoes

Portland has had some wicked rainstorms within the last few days. Yes, we all know that Portland is rainy and often dreary, but I am talking rain pounding so hard on our roof that I could not sleep. It's weather like this that makes me want to wrap up in a blanket and enjoy the comforts of home, which include something warm and cozy in my belly. Comfort food, if you will.

Loaded baked potatoes, if you will.

Now this isn't exactly a "recipe". It's more like a creative idea. Use my ingredients list or take what you like and remove what you don't or add some more ingredients. Maybe you've got your own idea of what a loaded baked potato ought to be.

But ours went a little something like this...

Loaded Baked Potatoes
Serves 4


4 russet potatoes
2 cans of vegan/gf chili (We like Amy's or Trader Joes)
1 can of black olives, sliced
2 medium heads of broccoli, steamed
1 avocado, cubed
8 oz. of mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of roasted corn (Trader Joes carries this in the freezer section)
4 green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 F.

After rinsing and scrubbing the potatoes, poke them over with a fork. Wrap them in foil and bake for around an hour. Then check them with a fork. When they are done they will be soft and tender.

Then simply load the potatoes with your favorite toppings. I like to make them a little different every time I make them, which is part of the fun. Above is the ingredients we had on hand, but play around with your favorites. Non-dairy "cheese" and sour cream, cherry tomatoes, black beans, salsa, spinach, olive oil, etc. Whatever suits your taste-buds.

We love having this for dinner. It's easy, fills up your plate and stomach and is a great choice for dinner parties with non-veg friends and family because of the variety of hearty toppings.

Also, they seem to be very man friendly. Andrew gets really happy when I make them...


Gluten Free, Vegan Portland Restaurant Review: Dalo's Kitchen

I added a new cuisine to my palate! Ethiopian!

Dalo's Kitchen in North Portland has the most amazing vegan platter and I am here to brag all about it.

First, I should say not to let the location and exterior of this place scare you off. It looks slightly sketch from the outside and is located in what looked like a business park/storage unit. It's in a really random place, but don't let it's hole-in-the-wall exterior fool you. They make some seriously delicious & cheap food.

First, the people who own it are charming and friendly. We didn't even mind that service was a tad slow. We chose to sit in the lounge area, which had a better ambiance, though the lighting was a little too dim for me.

For only $13.50 we ordered the vegan platter to share (and thank goodness we did). It was absolutely gigantic and we could not even finish it. It came with two pieces of injera (a spongy sourdough like crepe made with teff flour). The injera came out on a large platter and were folded up. They were huge.

The injera was served with 4 vegan dishes. Atkilt Wot (cabbage, carrots and potatoes), Gomen (garlicky? spinach greens) and two lentil dishes; Misir Alitcha (creamy curried lentils) and Misir Wot (spicier red lentils).

Eating at Dalo's was fun and filling, as we broke off pieces of the injera and spooned the dishes onto it or dipped it into them. Our favorite dish was the Misir Wot. It had just the right about of spice. We loved pairing it up with others to add some kick. We also like the curried lentils, and had fun trying different combinations together.

In the end, we were so incredibly full, without even finishing everything. It was a delicious gluten free and vegan meal and we plan on going back soon and taking friends. Their website doesn't offer a menu, but it does have information on their restaurant, hours and location. It also has a small picture of injera and the dishes offered with the veg platter.

It was a great first Ethiopian dining experience!


Vegan, Gluten Free Oat-less Raisin Cookies

Cookies can be a hard thing to master when you're allergic to cane sugar. Substituting with agave, maple syrup or honey often lends to overly moist, gooey cookies that just don't hold up. I've tried using date sugar, which is granular, but I am not a huge fan of it's intensely sweet flavor. My next try was beet sugar. It is another granular sugar and I was able to find a bag of it in Whole Foods. It turns out that beet sugar was just the magical ingredient I needed!

So the other night I whipped up a batch of these oat-less raisin cookies. Andrew and I loved them so much, we considered not taking them to a get-together with friends. But as a budding blogger, I wanted the feedback. And good feedback it was!

PS - You can simply replace the raisins with chocolate chips, if you fancy.

Oat-less Raisin Cookies


1/3 cup Canola Oil
3 tbs Unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbs Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Beet Sugar
1 cup Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour
2 tbs Flax Meal
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 cup Raisins

Makes 1 Dozen Cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the oil, applesauce and salt.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, flax meal, baking soda and xanthan gum.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the the dry ingredients and mix until dough is formed.
6. Fold the raisins into the dough.
7. Scoop spoonfuls of the dough onto the baking sheet.
8. Bake on the center rack for 15-20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
9. Remove from the oven when the cookies are soft in the middle and crisp on the edges. Let stand for 5 or 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.



Gluten Free Vegan Portland Restaurant Review: Dwaraka Indian Cuisine

One of my absolute favorite cuisines is Indian. I love the heat and sauciness. I love the flavors, aromas and dipping my food and I love the experience.

I was so excited when I heard about Dwaraka Indian Cuisine on Hawthorne and their offerings for those who are gluten free and vegan. So far, I have been there twice and I am already plotting my next visit, complete with a take home menu which I glance over in preparation for my next meal selections! Not only is the food amazing and inexpensive, but the staff is very kind and helpful and they refill your water often (which is very important to Andrew).

When you first arrive they bring you the most delicious papadums, which are like a very thin, crispy, cracker. They are accompanied by three delicious chutneys for dipping [a spicy tomato, coconut-chickpea and cilantro-mint(not vegan)]. The tomato was my favorite and had a bit of spice to it, which I really enjoyed.

On our last visit with my in-laws, we ordered some pakora appetizers. We choose the potato and spinach. Pakoras are vegetables that have been fried in a chickpea and rice flour. They were really delicious, especially with a little bit of the chutney. I especially like the potato, as I found the spinach one to contain more of the coating than the veggie. I have already decided that next time we are trying the eggplant pakoras!

For dinner I ordered the Dwaraka Combo Platter which was not only completely gluten free and vegan, but also enormous and cheap. It came with a masala dosa (a large lentil flour crepe) that was filled with a curried veg filling. The savory filling was definitely my favorite part of the whole platter. It also came with a bowl of sambar (mildly spicy lentil veg soup), an idli (rice dumpling) and a vada (fried lentil doughnut). The idli and vada were best dipped into the sambar soup. I also enjoyed breaking off pieces of the dosa to dip as well. Not only was the meal delicious, but I also had plenty of left overs to take home!

Andrew ordered a vegetarian entree. You can either get them a la carte (the entree with rice) or Thali (the entree, with sides of rice, dhal, sambar, raita, curry of the day, and a dessert of the day). The raita (yogurt, onion, tomato and cucumber) is not vegan, but our waiter was more than happy to substitute a potato dish instead. Since the dessert and curry of the day change daily, you should be sure to ask if they contain dairy and/or gluten. Both a la carte and Thali entrees come with naan bread, but if asked they will bring out additional papadums for the gluten free folk.

Andrew has ordered both the Chana Masala (garbanzo beans cooked with tomato, onion and spices) and Aloo Saag (NOT dairy free, potato cooked in special spinach sauce). He preferred the chana masala and has also had enough for left overs. Also, almost any of their vegetarian dishes are or can be made vegan. I love the Dwaraka combo platter, but I think next time I will be trying an entree to get more flavors and varieties, than fried, dry items.

In the end Dwaraka is amazing and I highly recommend it! Check out their website for menus, hours and their location.

Oh and let me know if you need a date... I don't think I could pass up some quality Indian food from this place!

*Update: Upon a third visit this is what we found out:

The Aloo Gobi, Chana Masala and Aloo Mutter are all vegan and gluten free.
The Aloo Saag contains dairy.
The Vegetable Biriyani contains dairy.

Naan can be substituted with papadums, upon request.
Raita can be substitute in the thali meals, upon request.
Always ask if the dessert and curry of the day is vegan and/or gluten free.

The people at Dwaraka are so generous and wonderful!


Gluten Free & Vegan Polenta Pizza Stacks

When I found out I would have to change my eating habits to be gluten free and vegan, I immediately thought about pizza. I thought about how I had just got these really delicious margherita ones from Costco. They were topped with gooey cheese, tomatoes and basil and were oven baked in Italy (according to the box) and had the most savory, thin, crispy crusts. I tried to remember the last time I ate pizza and was devastated at the thought of never again biting into a piping hot slice. It's not my favorite food, but it's definitely on the list. After all, I was totally one of those kids who grew up eating frozen Tostino party pizzas (and yes I still crave those).

The good news is that I did not have to give up pizza! I can bake my own using Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust (with an egg substitute like flax meal). I can top them with Daiya, the most delicious vegan cheese to ever exist. I can even go grab a pizza from Cafe Oasis in Portland. I am lucky. My pizza cravings can always be satisfied!

Sometimes I am in a time crunch though or don't feel like spending extra money to go out for pizza. That is why I thought up the concept of using polenta to make little tiny pizzas. They are cute and fun to put together!

Polenta Pizza Stacks


1 tube of polenta (Trader Joes)
Pizza Sauce (Trader Joes)
Fresh Basil leaves, cut into strips
Sliced Olives
Sliced Mushrooms
Sliced Roma Tomatoes

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Slice the polenta tube into rounds (about a dozen)
3. Place the polenta on a greased cookie sheet and spoon some pizza sauce onto each round.
4. Top with basil, olives, mushroom and tomatoes, or whatever ingredients you wish to use.
5. Bake for 20 minutes.

These may not give you the experience of eating slices of pizza, but they will satisfy your craving! They are perfect for appetizers, as a side dish or even as a main dish.



Tis' the Season for Tea!

I love tea. I drink it every day and I admit, I can be kind of a snob about it, but that's because tea is my coffee and I was once a barista (yes, a barista who does not drink coffee!).

Anyway, so of course I jumped at the chance to bake a delicious Earl Grey "Tea"cake! I have been trying out recipes from Jennifer Katzinger's cookbook (The Flying Apron) and had to give this one a try. I cut this recipe in half because it called for an incredible amount of batter.... and half the recipe makes a full amount. I also like to cut back on the amount of maple syrup she uses. I love maple syrup, but I think it over powers this cake. I might have to play around with this recipe to really let the earl grey tea really shine through.

I definitely recommend her cookbook if you are vegan and gluten free and want to some more recipes to try.

While we are on the subject of tea... I want to highlight some of my favorites! You can click on the names to find out more about them!

Meghan's Top 10 Teas:

1. TeaVana: Mate Vana - My all-time, hands-down, favorite tea in the world. I drink this stuff like it's going out of style. I even brew it twice as long as it recommends (which says a lot since I am very picky about brewing). It's smooth and rich and contains caffeine.

2. Celestial Seasonings: Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride - Oh. My. Goodness. This tea is the most amazing thing to ever happen to tea. It is a holiday tea and it literally tastes like sugar cookies. Let just say that the first Christmas we had this, my mom and I bought every box on the shelf. We knew we couldn't wait until the next Christmas to drink it again! Another really amazing thing about this tea is that everyone loves it! I know a lot of people who don't like tea or don't care for it, but once they try this - they are hooked! *Contains barley.

3. TeaVana: Strawberry Slender Pu-Erh: This tea is really quite amazing. Now, pu-erh is not for everyone as it has a very earthy flavor, but I happen to like this one because it tastes so sweet! It is fruity and and also a "diet" tea, but it tastes like dessert - so it's a win-win choice.

4. TeaVana: Azteca Fire Herbal Tea: An herbal tea that tastes like chocolate covered strawberries. Need I say more?

5. Stash Tea: Pumpkin Spice Decaf Black Tea: Perfect for this time of the year! This tea is so yummy and I love adding some non-dairy milk to sweeten it up and add to its a pumpkin pie flavor even more.

6. Celestial Seasonings: Candy Cane Lane - Ooooh Christmas time. It's ridiciously good, especially with a splash of vanilla flavored soy milk. Trader Joe's also offers this under their namesake.

7. Stash: Vanilla Nut Creme Decaf Black Tea: I think my favorite thing about this smooth and nutty-sweet tea is the smell. It smells so divine! Yum....

8. Stash Tea: Morrocan Mint Green Tea - My preferred mint tea, also good with a splash of milk. It reminds me of one of my dearest friends, Sarah, and the year we spent saving money in our apartment by leaving the heat off in the winter and drinking lots of this stuff to stay warm.

9. Celestial Seasonings: Sleepytime Herbal Tea: I don't know if it's the picture on the box or the tranquil aroma, but this tea really does put me to sleep. It's the perfect thing to sip before bed with a book or on a cold and rainy day. It's also very soothing and light.

10. Tazo Tea: Earl Grey or Stash Tea: Double Bergamot Earl Grey Black Tea: The bergamot in these teas is what gets them on this list! Love it. I used Stash for the tea-cake recipe.


M.I.A/Gluten Free, Vegan Personal Berry Cobblers

So... I epically failed at my blog. I was missing in action for oh, like, 3 months. That's the equivalent of 5 years in the blogging world. But hey! I was graduating college and nannying through out the summer and then getting a job and being a grown up!

But in all honesty, I am really disappointed at myself. I love to cook and bake and I get so excited and proud when I make something I can actually eat. I want to blog to help others find recipes that fit their diets, whether it's because they have allergies or avoid certain foods. I also want to give people resources. So I am bummed at my lack of blogging.

But this is my personal statement: I vow to change that.

I'm back baby! And I am ready to get in the kitchen! So in honor of the grand re-opening... here is a recipe for people who love cobbler and are OCD about serving equal portions (like me).

* * *

Personal Berry Cobblers


1 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons Bob's Red Mill GF all-purp flour, divided
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup canola oil
¾ cup almond or soy milk
½ cup + 2 tablespoons agave syrup, divided
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups strawberries
2 cups blueberries

To Make:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 1 1/3 cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. Add milk and oil and 2 tablespoons of agave syrup to the flour mixture. Mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remainder of the agave and flour, plus the cinnamon and berries. Toss until berries are coated.

4. Pour berries into 8 ramekins. Then scoop lumps of dough on top of berries.

5. Brush the top of the dough with extra almond milk and brush with agave.

6. Bake for 45 minutes (rotating ramekins halfway through) or until dough is baked and lightly browned on top.

*The topping will collapse a little into the berries when cooling, but it's okay because it leaves room to top with your favorite non-dairy ice cream or whipped topping!


GF Vegan Pesto and Vegetable Lasagna!

Oh. my. goodness. Can I just say that eating this GF and vegan lasagna felt like heaven?! Oh. my. goodness.

Layers of noodles, eggplant, portobello mushrooms, spinach, pesto, "cheese" and marinara sauce made this one of the best meals I have ever made. My husband and I ate half of the whole casserole in one sitting! It tastes too good to be true - but it is! It is!

So my secrets? Tinkyada GF Lasagna noodles, Follow Your Heart mozzarella cheese and homemade pesto!

And it's so simple!

Here are the Ingredients:

8 Tinkyada lasagna sheets
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
4 cloves minced garlic
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 portobello mushrooms (sliced 1/4 inch think)
2 cups blanched spinach
15 - 20 eggplant cicular slices
1 shredded block of Follow Your Heart mozzarella "cheese"
1/2 cup pesto sauce


Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.

*Pesto Sauce Directions*
(You can certainly omit or use store bought if you prefer, but this recipe is dairy free)

- In a food processor blend 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, salt, black pepper, 4 fresh garlic clove. Then add olive oil and pine nuts (start with a little of both and add until you get the consistency you want).

*Lasagna Directions*

1. Pre-cook 8 Tinkyada lasagna sheets until they are al dente (careful not to over cook).

2. Heat 2 TBS oil in a saucepan over medium heat.

3. Add chopped onion and saute about 5 minutes until soft.

4. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

5. Add basil and parsley and tomato puree and simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.

6. While the sauce is simmering, place the sliced mushrooms and eggplant onto a baking sheet. Mix 1/4 olive oil, 1 tsp of garlic and thyme and brush it onto the vegetables. Bake them for 5-8 minutes.

7. Line a casserole dish with 4 cooked lasagna sheets.

8. Put down your first layer of eggplant and mushroom slices, spinach and pesto sauce. Top with half of the tomato sauce and half of the cheese.

9. Repeat the layer and sprinkle all the remaining cheese on the top.

10. Bake 30-35 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

And enjoy... !


My Gluten Free Heaven

I feel like the luckiest gluten free girl in the world. Why? Because I live minutes away from the famed Bob's Red Mill!! I can just waltz right into their cafe and store whenever I need a cup of gluten free all-purpose flour or a dash of xantham gum. If you feel slightly jealous about this... well you should. They sell almost everything in bulk and it costs way less than buying everything pre-packaged. They also have aisles of their products packaged or in cases and carry other great gluten free products!

There are two more reasons I love my neighborhood visits to Bob's Red Mill. The first is that they have an amazing cafe. They have freshly baked bread, muffins, chips and more. They also serve daily soup, sandwhiches and have an awesome breakfast. They have a vegetarian menu (with vegan options) and a handout for gluten free cafe items. My personal favorite? The grilled cheese with tomato. It's made on fresh gluten free, vegan bread with warmed slices of tomato and daiya cheese (your choice of cheddar or italian). It tastes ridicously good. But I will warn you that they also mention the possibility of cross contamination when I order. I have never had an issue, but others might.

Lastly, I love visiting the mill because "the man, the myth, the legend", also known as Bob (but I refer calling him the former or simply "Bob Red-Mill"), is often there! Almost every time I go there, I see Bob walking around, talking to customers or employees or even eating at the cafe.

So anyway, this post was just about the awesomeness that is Bob's Red Mill. If you live near Milwaukie, Oregon - then you know how lucky you are! If not, you are still lucky because you can buy these products in many different stores or online (bobsredmill.com)!

MmmmMmmm. Gluten free goodness.

Here I am enjoying breakfast at Bob's Red Mill with friends! And look, Bob was sitting in the table behind ours!


Gluten Free and Vegan Carob Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ooooh baby! Life can’t get any better when I have warm gluten free, dairy free, egg free and cane sugar free cookies cooling on a wire rack in the kitchen. I have been making variations of these for over a year now and I have always just made them by randomly throwing some things into a bowl and somehow it has always worked, but now I have formulated an actual recipe to share! It’s still a little rough around the edges, but I really love it! If you aren't a fan of carob and can do sugar and dairy, you can always replace with chocolate chips. This recipe makes a dozen cookies, so it's not a huge batch (you can always double it!) but just enough if you aren't making them with the intention of sharing...

Carob Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 350

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients:

½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour
¼ cup Sorghum Flour
½ tsp Xanthan Gum
½ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
¼ tsp Salt

½ tbs Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed in a separate bowl with
1 ½ tbs warm water. The mixture will become frothy and then add the other wet ingredients:

½ cup Agave Nectar
3 tbs Olive Oil
½ tbs Vanilla

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine until smooth. Then add:

1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
½ cup Dairy and Sugar Free Carob Chips (available at Market of Choice)

Spoon the dough onto a cookie mat that is lined with a baking mat or parchment paper. Bake on the center rack for 12-15 minutes until they are the texture you desire and then cool on a cooling rack.



Basil Love.

In March I planted five tiny little basil seeds and did not think anything would ever become of them. Mostly because I am famous for killing off plants by dehydrating them and then excessively watering them in the hopes to bring them back to life. I have not quite figured out when they die during my two-step plant care. Anyway, I am beyond trilled to have basil just shooting right up (even if the 5th seed never sprouted). I can happily say I am about to transport it to our outdoor herb garden in the hopes of having abundant basil this summer!

On that note, I love basil. It is my favorite herb and I can never get enough of it. So one day I was thinking about how great homemade pizza with basil sounded (I spend a lot of time contemplating food). So, I just whipped some up! It was gluten free and vegan and oh so delicious. If you are looking for a good pizza crust recipe - I don't have one... yet. If you are looking for a good pizza mix - I do have one! Bob's Red Mill GF Pizza Crust is very good and I simply replace the egg with flaxseed meal and water.

1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal plus three tablespoons of water = 1 egg. Just stir it and let it sit for a minute or two before adding in place of an egg.

Anyway, it was really awesome pizza. It had basil, onion, tomato, kalamata olives, pine nuts and pizza sauce.

So if you are hankering some GF/vegan pizza, give "Bob's" a try!!


Our Secret Garden

I am currently taking a photography class and one of my recent assignments was to shoot portraits and self-portraits. So I made the Mr. come outside with me for the portraits and I began to realize how cool our yard is for photo-ops. We pretty much live in a secret garden.

Complete with a green hedge that is in front of our house and blocks passerbys from seeing in and an extended backyard or "pasture" (which is perfect for bocce ball). We also have an old red chicken coop and apple, pear and cherry trees. While our .5 acre yard means that my husband has to do yard work twice a week, it also means that I get some pretty scenery in our pictures. ;)

I have to mention that I was critiqued by my teacher for having taken pictures that almost weren't portraits. He said they seemed more editorial and like advertisements or something you would see in a magazine. I scoffed in my head. Not because I think I am some amazing photographer, but because to me these are portraits. Really, I took his critique as a compliment in a twisted way. I already know how I like pictures to look and having an editorial edge to them is my style. If he thinks they are too editorial, then I know they look how I want them to. I am not going to be a Sears portrait photographer, so I might as well explore the editing style that I feel best represents me as a photographer.


Gluten Free and Vegan Grilled Portobello Tacos

Last week I was feeling quite inspired to makes some portabella mushroom tacos! It just so happened that my trusty subscription to the previously mentioned Vegetarian Times provided me with a recipe for just that! Unfortunately they did not have the recipe online, so I can not post it for copyright reasons - but I will shed light on how to make your own version!

First, I must say that these were some of the best tacos I have ever had! The mushrooms were cooked on my indoor grill with a marinade of olive oil, pepper and balsalmic vinegar, which made them so amazing. They were juicy and meaty and divine, making the price well worth it! That is my one issue with portabellas - they are so yummy but so expensive. Four of them cost me $7 - but surprisingly they fed us for two meals, which made me happy. I hated left-overs as a kid, but now I hope for them. They also had avocado slices on them (one of my favorite things ever!) and were topped with a home-made salsa verde, which gave the tacos a finishing touch.

Anyway, here are some easy ingredients that will help you craft your own tacos:

- Corn Tortillas
- Grilled or Sauteed Portabella Mushrooms
- Avocados
- Shredded Cabbage
- Tomatoes (which I forgot)
- Salsa Verde (Trader Joe's has some!)

Have fun with these! Spice them up! Add some other ingredients! They are not your mother's tacos! They made me feel like we were eating in a nice restaurant. :)

Oh, and now a word about quinoa. This little super grain is great for vegetarians, vegans and is gluten free! It is packed with protein, essential amino acids, fiber and iron. It can be easy for a GF girl to go crazy on rice and corn, so I love using quinoa. I made a "Mock Tabbouleh Salad" from The Gluten-Free Vegan Cookbook to accompany our tacos and I was so pleased with it.

Andrew is pretty much hooked on quinoa now and I have to say - this was one of my favorite quinoa salads yet. Sometimes quinoa can be too bland or nutty tasting, but this one was amazing. It had freshly chopped parsley and mint, tomatoes, green onions, red bell pepper and kalamata olives and was dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and herbs. The pairing of the kalamata olives and mint was the best part! The salad is best chilled, so I always make my quinoa hours ahead of time and let it cool in the fridge before adding other ingredients. I also find it's better over night or after a day, when the quinoa has had time to soak up all the flavors.

Happy Eating!


Spring has Sprung

Tiny blossoms have burst from our cherry tree, the wildflower seeds we planted in the flower bed have started to sprout and the sun is lingering well into the evening. Spring has finally sprung.

I have also started my last full term of school, which is bittersweet. I am taking five classes; one of which is photography 2 and another which is poetry seminar II. I am slightly (translates to: extremely) intimidated by my poetry class, since I have not taken any poetry... ever. Yikes. I am taking this class because I watched the movie "Bright Star" which is about John Keats and I fell madly in love with the idea of being a poet. Silly girl...

Ok, enough of that. Lets get down to business. The business of eating. It is April and I wanted something light and nutritious (yet still warm and cozy) for dinner. So what better to have than a hearty bowl of soup! I love soup. I could eat soup for every meal for the rest of my life, but as winter fades, so does my desire to make it. However, I pulled out the latest edition of Vegetarian Times and found a recipe for a spring vegetable minestrone soup (click for the link). Personally, I would have put the word "garden" in the name somewhere, but eh, whatev. This soup is really good. It's packed with treasures like turnips and snow peas and has a kick of cayenne in it too! I think it's the perfect soup for this time of the year and it makes a huge batch, which is always a good thing.

So give it a try.

Oh and happy birthday to my best friend Mo (aka Amanda)!! She is my soul mate, my Witch Baby and one of the biggest lights in my life. One day our friendship is going to grace Dollywood and then my life will truly be complete.


The Ribbon-Cutting: Gluten Free, Vegan Strawberry Muffins

First blog post… and away we go! I am so excited to share a recipe I crafted for my debut post!

Recently at a family dinner my aunt-in-law had made strawberry cupcakes. They were slightly pink and had little bits of strawberry in them and looked so yummy! However, they contained some of my allergens so I could only gaze at them admiringly. So I am thrilled that I have created my own version that is completely "Meghan-friendly"!

These babies are vegan and free of gluten, wheat, refined sugar, nuts, corn and soy (just beggin’ allergy prone girls and guys to give them a try!). These fruity treats are not too sweet, yet light and dainty and are a perfect companion to your morning tea. I prefer to eat them fresh out of the oven while they're still warm!

Strawberry Muffins

1 ¾ Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Xantham Gum
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/3 cup Agave Nectar
1 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 ½ tsp Ener-G Egg Substitute
2 tbs Warm water
15 Whole Strawberries

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Combine flour, baking soda and xantham gum in a mixing bowl.
2. Combine oil, agave nectar, vinegar and vanilla in a separate bowl.
3. Mix the egg substitute with the warm water and add to wet ingredients.
4. Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor and add to wet ingredients.
5. Add all the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine or use a mixer on medium speed.
6. Fill a standard 12 cup muffin tin with batter.
7. Bake on center rack for 15 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through.
8. Muffins will be slightly golden and a cake tester will come out clean when they are done.