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!