Gluten Free Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

ImageLast night was my first time to eat quinoa. Fair to say – I probably sound like a horrible gluten free eater for admitting that. But, the look of this ‘grain’ was not really appetizing to me. It really looks bland and uninteresting in the package.

However, I was wrong (that is a common trend for this blog!). Quinoa is superb – it’s delightful.  I was literally scrapping the bowl for more after my plate was gone.

This recipe for gluten free, garlic Parmesan quinoa is fantastic. It tastes a little like gourmet macaroni and cheese. Obviously without the noodles; but, this really could be a great substitute for this staple all-American dish.

You will need: 1 cup quinoa, 1 tbsp. olive oil, ½ onion, 2 cups water, 2 cloves garlic, ¾ cup Parmesan (don’t worry, it does not have to be fresh), 2 tsp. dried basil, salt and pepper to taste.

First, pour the olive oil into a cooking pot on the stove. Let it simmer. Cut up the onion and the garlic. I simply threw them in the food processor. Then dump these chopped up flavor pieces into the cooking pot. Brown your onion and garlic for about 2 minutes.

Next pour in the water and quinoa into the cooking pot. Also add in the basil. Stir this mixture a little and cover the pot for about 15 minutes. This will let the quinoa cook.

You will know it is done – when all the water is absorbed in the pot. The quinoa also will look clear in the center of the grain. Dump the Parmesan over the quinoa mixture after it’s fully cooked.

Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and serve. Enjoy your delicious gourmet tasting gluten free, Italian dish. You are sure to make this again. Promise.

Gluten Free Banana Bread Cookies

ImageIt’s game day. I was just itching for a cookie this afternoon. Cowboys, Redskins both playing today –ah, the excitement! Sometimes you just have to munch on a sweet treat. However, with this awesome recipe, you can munch all you want guilt and gluten free!

I got this recipe from ‘What Runs Lori’ blog. I modified it a little bit – for my taste. I call them Banana Bread Cookies! These cookies are fantastic ladies and gents. You will be making these for parties, events, the office – whatever floats your boat. They are even good for breakfast. A cookie – for breakfast!? That’s right. OK, let’s get cooking.

You will need: 1 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp sea salt, 2 ripe bananas, 1/2 ripe avocado, 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice), 4 tbsp honey ( I put in an extra one!), 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cage free eggs, 1/4 cup shredded coconut.

game day

Disclaimer: I only root for the Redskins when they do not play the Cowboys. This Texas girl has standards.

You do not have to add coconut shreds, believe me – I know some people are not wild about coconut. You can try cranberries, chocolate chips or maybe walnuts!

First, mix in all the dry ingredients into a little bowl. Put in the flour, coconut shreds, baking powder and soda, sea salt.

In a separate bigger bowl, pour in all the wet ingredients. You might want to mash up the bananas and avocado before adding in the milk, vanilla, honey, apple cider vinegar and eggs. Stir all together.

Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ones. Mix in – make sure there are no green clumps from the avocado. And, preheat the oven to 375.

Make the mixture into little balls – and put them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Now, you have some crowd pleasing game day cookies. Guilt and gluten free!

Meals For a Man – Stuffed Bell Peppers

ImageAttention all men! Here is a dish just for you. Well, the ladies love it too – but sometimes it’s hard to please our men when cooking healthy (can I get an amen!?)

Here is a simple stuffed bell pepper recipe that will do the trick. It is low-fat, gluten free and low calorie and is sure to fill you up. I only ate one – and have left overs for tonight!

You will need: 4 green bell peppers, 1 package of ground turkey meat, ½ cup ketchup, 2 tbsp. garlic powder, ½ cup chopped onions, 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper.

The first thing I did was cut the tops of the bell peppers. Here is a simple guide that can instruct you to cut the tops off perfectly. I ran some water in the middle – just to wash out the seeds. I brought a pot of water to boil on the stove and dropped the peppers in there for about 3-5 minutes. Just to get them moist and warm.

In a separate bowl, I emptied out the package of thawed ground turkey meat – and added in first the garlic, Italian seasoning, onions, salt and pepper. With my hands, I rolled all this into the meat mixture. And then took the combo to the skillet. I lightly browned the meat. And then dumped the ketchup on top and mixed it in slowly.

Preheat the oven to 350 – and fill a separate pan with just a line of water at the bottom (enough for the pepper to lightly sit in while baking.) Fill up the hollow peppers with your meat mixture – and then set them in the oven for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, I topped my bell peppers with a bit of Parmesan and a light squirt of ketchup. It gives it a little meatloaf taste. Viola! Serve – everyone, including your man, will love these!

Make Your Own Old Bay Seasoning?

ImageYou mean to say – I don’t have to buy it in bulk at Costco? Nope! Now, you can make your own fabulous Old Bay seasoning. This spice is simply fantastic on seafood – such as shrimp and various kinds of fish.

However, I just seasoned chicken with it not too long ago (and, it was GREAT). Don’t believe me – try it.

You will need: 1 tbsp celery salt, ¼ tbsp paprika, 1/8 tsp black pepper, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, a pinch ground dry mustard, mace, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, ground clove and ginger.

Place all these spices in a little bowl and mix ‘em up! This will make you 4 tbsp of this awesome seasoning. You might need to make more – if you are having more than two guests over for dinner.

Cucumber Crab Vacation Salad

ImageWhen you take a break from work – and go on a nice vacation, it’s sometimes easy to just spoil your healthy eating plan because you think ‘hey, I am on vacation! I deserve this!’

Doritos look enticing at the grocery store – and that bag of cookies truly is tempting. But, believe me – your body will not thank you after your little trip from reality.

It’s easy to eat healthy on vacation. You can make it fun and indulge some days – but follow a great healthy eating plan on others (and still feel like you are having a little treat). I made this healthy cucumber crab salad for lunch one day – it was wonderful.

I, not only, felt like I was eating something decadent – but good for me too!

This is what I put in my salad: ½ of a fresh cucumber, ½ avocado, handful of sharp cheddar cheese, 10 walnuts, ice burg lettuce, a handful of fresh crab meat (do not use imitation – that is not gluten free) and a dash of Newman’s own Italian salad dressing.

This is a good salad recipe to try on a beach vacation. You will treat yourself with some crab pieces – but still enjoy something good and refreshing for your body. And score – it’s gluten free!

Sweet Deviled Eggs

ImageWant to make the perfect deviled egg for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter? Or maybe just as a post workout snack? Well, you are in luck; this recipe will make you look like a cooking star!

You will need: ¼ cup Hellmann’s Olive Oil Mayonnaise, ¼ cup yellow traditional mustard, 2 tbsp. pickle relish (sweet or dill), 6 eggs

First – boil a pot of water on the stove. Wait until you see the water bubbling. Then use a spoon (you don’t want them to crack!) to carefully place all 6 eggs in the pot. Let them boil for about 20 minutes – or until they can float on the top of the water!

Once your eggs have cooled, shell them – and cut them half in two. Carefully spoon out the yolks and place all the yellow into a soup bowl. Put eggs white on a plate or a cool egg platter.

In the soup bowl with the egg yolks, add your mayo, mustard and pickle relish (pick sweet or dill depending on if you like them with more of a sugar taste or pickle!) Use a fork and mash all the ingredients together!

Take a spoon and fill each egg white pocket with the yolk mixture. Sprinkle with paprika or add a sprig of parsley for decoration! You are done – you just made fabulous deviled eggs.

Enjoy – this is a gluten-free meal. What a bonus.

Chocolate Banana Gluten Free, Flourless Muffins

ImageIn the mood for a little chocolate, but you don’t want all the fat and carbs that come along with it? Well, I have the just the muffin for you! It has the creaminess of bananas, as well, as that richness of your favorite chocolate treat.

Not to mention, it is loaded with flax and chia seeds! This will make you feel full longer. The simple addition of flax and chia will add fiber, fight belly fat and stabilize your blood sugar. Check out some awesome health benefits of chia seeds here.

Now, let’s getting baking this scrumptious, low-fat, high protein dessert or even chocolate breakfast treat! I really like eliminating flour (even gluten free flour) from recipes. I feel better substituting whey protein powder – for energy!

You will need: 2 bananas (I used 2 really ripe ones – that I was about to throw away), 1 cap full vanilla extract, 2 scoops whey protein powder, 2 cage free eggs, 1 tbsp. ground flax seed, 1 tbsp. chia seeds, 1 heaping tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. baking soda.

I put the 2 bananas in the food processor just to make them like a paste – then poured this mixture into a bowl. Add in the eggs, flax, chia seeds, baking soda, baking and cocoa powder and that cap full of vanilla. Mix up this yummy chocolate paste. Taste for perfection.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cupcake tin with liners. Fill the liners with your good mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Guiltless, Gluten Free & Low-Fat Ice Cream

HEALTHY ICE CREAMYou scream. I scream. We all scream for ice cream – but the healthy kind of course. This ice cream treat has zero milk in it – and is way low-fat.

I know, almost too good to be true. But, it’s true. So, now you can sit on your couch, in your pajamas, and watch a Lifetime movie with a bowl of ice cream and not feel like a glutton.

This is easy as pie to make. All you will need is: 3 frozen bananas (chopped in pieces), 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 cap full of vanilla extract.

Pull out the food processor – and add in those 3 frozen bananas. I would only freeze them for about a day – you really don’t want them too hard.

Blend in these bananas – it will take a while – until you form a paste. [Taste this – it is so good!] Add in your honey, vanilla and cocoa powder – then blend again. Make sure the paste is creamy.

You are done. It was that simple. Then serve in a cute, little bowl. It tastes really good. You will want to make a bowl every night.

Grab-in-Go Gluten Free Breakfast Muffins

grab in goI made these sweet little pumpkin protein muffins for breakfasts this week. They are gluten free and packed with fiber and protein.

Not to mention, pumpkins keep eyesight sharp, aid in weight loss, may reduce cancer risks, protects the skin, boots your mood and helps beef up your immune system.

This is a neat side show of the health benefits of pumpkins!

Breakfast is an easy meal to skip. However, it’s actually detrimental to skip it. Make about 10 of these little muffins and set them in the fridge. In the morning, grab 2 – and eat them on your morning commute with to-go coffee. Yum.

You will need: ½ regular sized can pumpkin puree, 3 tbsp. ground flax seed, 3 tbsp. chia seeds, 2 tbsps. sweet leaf (or any natural sweetener), 1/2 tbsp. baking powder, 1/2 tbsp. baking soda, 2 scoops whey protein powder, & 1 cap full vanilla extract.

Preheat the oven to 350 and bake these in muffin tins for about 20 – 25 minutes. My recipe yielded about 8 muffins. I would suggest using muffin liners as well. Easy to store and easy to grab in the morning.

Homemade Fruit Snacks

ImageI love gummy bears. Yet, those sweet little treats come with a lot of sugar. And have you looked at the back of the packet at the ingredients?

Yeah, I can’t pronounce nearly half of what is in there. I mean, they taste good. But, are they really good for your body? Most likely not.

Here is a fantastic recipe for homemade healthy fruit snacks. They may not be in the shape of a cute little bear; but, boy—are they tasty.

With every bite – you know these little snacks are good for you and way better for your little ones (kid friendly, they will love these just as much as those little prepackaged lunch treats). Another bonus for kids and adults – there is no artificial color in these treats. Hooray. Put these in your kids lunch boxes. They will thank you.

You will need: 1 cup of strawberries (any type of fruit you want really), 1 box of unflavored gelatin, ¼ cup honey, 1 cup orange juice and 1 cap full vanilla extract.

First cut up the strawberries and place them in blender or food processor. You want to make a little puree. Add in the honey and vanilla extract. Stir these ingredients in – until it is all smooth. Place this strawberry mix into a pot on the stove. Heat up the mixture on medium. You just want it to get warmed up.

In another bowl, add in the orange juice and slowly stir in the whole box of unflavored gelatin (there should be 4 packages – put all 4 in the bowl). Make sure there are no clumps. Then, take the hot strawberries on the stove and slowly add these to the gelatin mixture. Mix together.

Pour your fruit snack paste into a square pan. Cover and let cool in the refrigerator for a couple hours. When they have cooled, cut these cute little fruit snacks into tiny squares and serve! Enjoy.