Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BPA- Free Plastic is Not Safe After All

                                             Product Details
Are you using BPA-Free plastic? Let me explain to you why I stopped using it.  I know plastic is convenient to use , but BPA-Free plastic is still full of other toxic chemicals!  Initially, when I started to read how bad plastic is for the environment and how toxic it is to our bodies, I emptied my kitchen of plastic and replaced my storage containers with glass. Then I read about BPA-free plastic and started to buy BPA -free plastic- now I've stopped using it as well.

 Plastic that is BPA- free is still not healthy. Why ??

BPA- free plastic is now made with other chemicals that are equally harmful. I read a great article on a blog I follow called Holistic Squid.

 Emily discusses The BPA free plastic issue  in depth. The article is informative and good read.

Alert: Your BPA-Free Plastic isn't Safe Afterall

Thanks Emily ...

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Boost Your Metabolism with Salsa

                                        black bean salsa with red peppers, tomatoes, cilantro

Boost your metabolism with this colorful salsa that is dressed in a tangy lime and cumin dressing.
The secret ingredient in this recipe known to help boost the metabolism is the jalapeƱo pepper.

You can enjoy this easy salad knowing that it may actually help you burn calories.

How can this simple recipe can help whittle your waistline and boost your metabolism ?

  • "They" say you should eat at least 5-8 low calorie fruits or vegetables a day to build a strong immune system but not your waistline.
  • "Weight Watchers" suggests focusing on nutrient dense power foods ( like vegetables and beans)  to keep your weight down but your eating satisfaction up
  • This one recipe contains tomatoes, red peppers, red onion, cilantro, cucumber and optional fresh corn and jalapeno pepper. A variety of antioxidant -rich low calorie health giving veggies in just one delicious serving of this salad  salsa.
  • jalapeno is a thermogenic ( heat raising) vegetable that can help boost your metabolism ( you can leave out the jalapeno for kids or if you just don't like the heat!)
  • Black beans are not only nutrient dense , but they provide much needed fiber that helps you rid your body of waste that can cause bloating and weight gain.

How can you eat this delicious salsa salad?

bowls of cut up vegetables for salsa
I love chopping and putting everything in these little bowls before assembling the salsa
  • Eat it as a fresh salad along with a meal
  • Eat it with organic blue corn chips as an appetizer or snack
  • Eat it topped with shredded cheese and baked at 400 degrees for 5 minutes as a meal
  • Eat it over brown rice and topped with shredded cheese and baked as a meal.
black beans and corn salsa with pineapple
This is a mixture adding raw corn cut off the cob and some chopped mango 
Once you make this, you won't want to wait to eat it.
Tomorrow I'll be making another skinny recipe. It's a Cinco de Mayo healthy dip.
. Don't forget to stop by.
What's your favorite salsa recipe?

Ingredients for Black Bean Salsa
1 container of cherry or grape tomatoes , each tomato cut in half
1 large red or yellow pepper , seeded and chopped
2 cups of cooked black beans or ( 1/ 15 ounce cans), drained well
1 cup chopped cucumber
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
optional: 2 ears of organic non GMO corn on cob, kernels cut raw from the cob - leave them raw
( or 1 cup cooked corn, drained)
optional: 1/4 cup chopped of jalapeno pepper( or more to taste)
optional: 1 cup of chopped avocado added when serving
optional : 3/4 cup of shredded cheese of any variety

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, ( or more to taste)
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

To see the many other healthy gluten free recipes, healthy living tips, kitchen and blogging ideas that I pin each day, follow me on Pinterest Gluten Free A-Z  and Twitter .

Whether you make the black bean salsa or the mango salsa, either way you won't be disappointed.
They are so good and so easy to make, you can make them both.
Who doesn't want to get in on the fun for a Cinco de Mayo celebration?

may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

Share the Food & Fun at the Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #8

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Skinny Mango Salsa for Cinco de Mayo

                                  homemade mango salsa in a glass bowl
            mango salsa in small glass bowls

This recipe is skinny on calories, but not on taste. There is nothing like the taste of homemade salsa made with lots of fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, some mango, and spices.  

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I made a sweet and crunchy mango salsa and an interesting Skinny black bean salsa. Both recipes meet gluten free and vegan standards and are fast and easy to make.
If you are wondering why I called the Mango Salsa Skinny, it's because it counts as ZERO Points Plus on Weight Watchers- full of fiber and low calorie vegetables) 

Mexican mangoes are now in season, and I've been seeing them in all the supermarkets.

mexican yellow mango

They are the yellow skinny mango as opposed to the larger and thicker green/red mangoes. They sell for about $1.00 each. ( If you can't find the yellow mango, the other mango would work in this recipe as well)

The mango salsa can be eaten with organic blue corn chips or cucumber slices as dippers. The mango salsa also tastes especially great just eaten as a salad or side dish. ( if you eat fish- there you go- top it with salsa)  .

Mangoes not only taste great, they are very healthy providing a significant amount of  Vitamin A, potassium, and Vitamin C. They are a powerhouse of antioxidants as well making a mango a nutritious addition to any meal.

homemade mango salsa

Mango Salsa
1 yellow Mexican mango, peeled and diced
1/3 cup of red onion, diced
1/2 of a medium cucumber, diced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup cilantro or curly parsley , diced
optional: 1/4 cup mint leaves chopped ( my mint is already popping up in my garden)
optional: 1 Tablespoon finely diced jalapeno
1 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed lime juice ( or more to taste)

Toss all of the ingredients into a medium size bowl.
Eat with organic blue corn chips or cucumber slices.
Personally, I enjoyed the salsa as a salad. The cucumber and red peppers tasted great with the mango.

Other Mexican inspired Cinco de Mayo dishes:
people dipping chips into guacamole at a party
Easy Homemade guacamole plain or with tomatoes

A large pitcher of white wine sangria with fruit
White Sangria Punch
Please leave a comment. I visit everyone's blog who leaves me a comment and love being introduced to all your blogs. Many of them I start to follow on Twitter, G+, etc.

To see the many other healthy gluten free recipes, healthy living tips, kitchen and blogging ideas that I pin each day, follow me on Pinterest Gluten Free A-Z  and Twitter .
  • If you like my recipes follow my blog so you don't miss any recipes
  • If you follow me on Pinterest, I pin 10 additional healthy real food recipes a day 
  • Gluten Free A-Z

Recipe for My Skinny Black Bean Salsa

Share the Food & Fun at the Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #8
What are you making for Cinco de Mayo? Anything with a Mexican influence?
may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals and Souper Sunday


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vegan Chinese Lettuce Wrap

Vegan Chinese lettuce wrap

The popular restaurant chain, PF Chang, offers a lettuce wrap appetizer that is gluten free and vegetarian/vegan. I've tasted It and I liked it, so when my friend Paula told me she had a good lettuce wrap recipe that could be made vegan and gluten-free, I wanted to try making it.

The protein comes from cooked brown lentils, but it's the flavors from the fresh ginger and fresh garlic that really make this recipe rock! 

The recipe not only tastes great, it's easy, nutritious, cuts down on processed foods by wrapping the lentil salad in lettuce, and adds some healthy greens to your diet. Perfect for a vegetarian/vegan dinner or a starter for any type of dinner.

 Ginger, Natural Remedies, Spice
Ethnic recipes call for the use of fresh herbs and spices   
Fresh herbs and spices not only provide fabulous flavor, but they also little powerhouses of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins, and minerals. Most ethic cultures depend on fresh or dry spices in their cooking.

The Filling 

3 tablespoons of organic gluten free tamari sauce or  (GF soy sauce)
1 teaspoon of raw honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of organic corn starch
2 cups of cooked firm brown lentils, drained (not mushy)
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon of fresh garlic, chopped or pressed
1/8 teaspoon or more or less red pepper flakes according to your tolerance
3-4  tablespoons of finely chopped green onion
1/2 tsp of freshly cracked pepper
1 teaspoon of 21 Salute (Trader Joe's brand of salt-free seasoning mix) or use any salt-free seasoning mix of your choice
20 cup shaped lettuce leaves (Bibb, Boston, etc) washed and dried
3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro , chopped for garnish
2 tablespoons of chopped unsalted peanuts


1. In a small bowl combine the organic soy sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar, and organic non-GMO corn starch. Stir until everything is dissolved.
2. Add the mixture to the drained cooked lentils, adding the remaining  spices and stir well. Allow lentils to marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes. Set aside.
3. Heat a skillet and add the grated fresh ginger and garlic and stir well for about 10 seconds. Add lentil mixture to the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon until well heated and mixed. Remove lentil mixture, allow to cool somewhat, and add a spoonful of filling to each lettuce cup. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and or chopped unsalted peanuts if desired.

Do you have a recipe for vegan lettuce wraps?

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lentils in a pot cooking
cook lentils according to package, drain and set aside ( do not overcook) 

lentils with a measuring cup
Measure 2 and half cups of cooked lentils 

garlic, ginger, scallions, apple cider vinegar and Tamari sauce
Organic gluten FreeTamari Sauce ( similar to soy sauce)

Marinate lentils 

Lentils removed from skillet after tossing quickly with garlic, fresh ginger, and scallions

Lentil mixture eaten in a lettuce leaf ( I used organic Romaine) 

These were spicy and delicious! Yum 

My Notes
Don't be intimidated by fresh ginger 
 Although a piece of fresh ginger root looks very odd, don't let it intimidate you. It is usually sold loose in the produce aisle- just pick up a medium size piece. It's easy to peel and use.

To peel fresh ginger: Take the back of a spoon and then just scrape the amount of ginger you want to use. The skin will scrape right off. Then cut the peeled part off the root and dice it or leave it on the root and grate it. Either way, it's easy.

Immune Builder: Fresh ginger is fragrant, delicious and very nutritious, so if you like it, use it as much as you enjoy. 

Freeze Ginger For Future Use
nce peeled, fresh ginger can be frozen in a little baggy for future use. A piece of fresh ginger usually will stay in the refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks .

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and the information on this blog is for educational purposes only. If you need medical advice  check with your doctor . And check with your doctor before adding any herb or food to your diet.

may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

Will be shared on this week's Super Sunday  and Plant Based Potluck Party

SouperSundaysShare the Food & Fun at the Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #8

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gluten Free Breadsticks

bread sticks

Cauliflower rice is a perfect base for these gluten free bread sticks. In the past,  I've made a pizza crust with a cauliflower rice base that was outrageous and loved by all. When I saw this idea for bread sticks on Pinterest,  I just knew I wanted to try it. I wasn't disappointed. It's a tasty low carb treat which is perfect for anyone who is gluten free. You can make it for parties, a healthy snack, or a side with soup.

For a party, you could top with sauteed mushrooms, red pepper, or any topping of your choice. They are wide and flat , so they will hold toppings.

Pictures and step by step tutorial to make cauliflower rice below

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why I Stopped Using Stevia

herb stevia in container

Two summers ago I grew a stevia plant in a container on my back deck. I was intrigued by how easy this beautiful herb was to grow, and I was surprised how sweet the leaves actually tasted. I  wasn't surprised when commercial industries started turning stevia leaves into a powdery white substance or liquid.

Although the stevia plant is not bad for you, when the green leaves are processed and converted into a white sweet powder for your morning coffee it takes lots of processing and chemicalizing. I've bought some packages of a brand called Truvia, but I really wondered how good  bad they could be for you.

While doing some research, I came across an informative article on the Dr. Axe website ( same doctor who wrote about apple cider vinegar and weight loss) about the affects of stevia products like Truvia on your health .

As I suspected, anything that is processed to become a white powdery substance will have it's drawbacks. My original concern was that white powder is so refined it usually acts as what is called an "excito- toxin" which excites the nervous system or appetite. In my case, it stimulates my appetite. Not Good for weight loss! I'll continue to use the  green leaves from the plant itself are fine from the plant or dried which have not been processed.

Dr. Axe was looking at processed stevia from another point of view. He was asking whether it could actually be unhealthy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Free Ebook

Who doesn't like getting something for free? The other day I was researching information for writing my first Ebook, and I came across David Gaughran's book, Let's Get Digital- how to self publish and why you should in PDF format.

I have lots of ideas for writing a multiple E books, but I have felt stifled by the technology of how to actually format, organize, edit, publish, get an ISBN number, market etc. In other words: I didn't know what to do! I still don't , but I finally decided to spend the time to learn!

A fellow blogger and author recommended David's book. ( Thank you Vicki Lesage - love your blog)  When I searched for the book, I found that it was available on Kindle for $2.99 or the PDF version for free. Not only was it free, David stated that you could offer the link on your blog for free as long as you didn't do so for profit. Free link is provided below

Monday, April 14, 2014

Zucchini Noodles in the Spiralizer ( WW)


Zucchini noodles are an amazing substitute for regular starchy pasta noodles. It's a very low calorie way of eating a pasta look a like dish . How do it taste? Fabulous!How did I make these sprialized zucchini noodles? With an inexpensive tool called a sprializer!

Where do you buy a spiralizer? 

I bought mine online on Amazon. I've been using it for 3 years.
It's light, easy to use, and easy to wash.  
.Spiralizer By Palermo- Voted the Best Vegetable Maker, 
I would recommend it!

.Spiralizer By Palermo- Voted the Best Vegetable Maker, 


Making vegetable noodles is fast and easy Once you have a sprializer, you can go crazy making noodles from carrots  , beets into pasta noodles, and so much more. There is something about regular pasta that really sticks to the ribs, literally, but not this zucchini pasta. It's light and delicious and made from the raw vegetable using a simple tool that every kitchen should have called a "spiralizer". I made two different recipes: one with sauce and the other with mushrooms.

sorry about the photo

Back to our zucchini pasta dishes- The whole family will love these simple delicious dishes, and if you are conscious of counting calories, it is much lower in calories and much more nutritious than regular or gluten free pasta. Vegetables are good for you and most of us need to eat more of them. Why not enjoy them when they taste like pasta!!

Here are some reasons and instructions on how to eat enjoy these fun and very easy to make zucchini noodles 

  • If you are vegetarian- Makes a great entree
  • If you are vegan , leave out the cheese and make a marinara sauce
  • If you prefer raw- try my amazing raw zucchini recipe made with sundried tomatoes for the sauce
  • If you are weight conscious- You will LOVE these noodle alternatives- low in calories 
Recipe #1

1 medium zucchini
1 cup of marinara sauce
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil or butter

Using a spiralizer ( very very easy) follow easy directions to make the noodles -takes about 1-  2 minutes to turn into noodles
In a skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil or butter and saute the noodles very quickly for about a minute and half ( don't over cook)
Place into a bowl, cover with sauce and cheese.
Eat and enjoy

Or if you prefer You can eat your zucchini pasta raw or cooked. So dig in and enjoy this nutritious and very tasty dish.

Used a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles
I ate this raw without sauteing the zucchini - delicious 

Recipe #2 - Zucchini and Mushrooms
1 package of sliced mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
optional: Parmesan cheese

Saute mushrooms in a little olive oil or butter
sprialize the zucchini into noodles
Add zucchini to mushrooms and sautee just 1 minute longer!
Toss with grated cheese if desired and enjoy
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zucchini made with a sprializer
zucchini just after spiralized
since zucchini is a non starchy vegetable it is zero points plus on WW.. so enjoy this healthy lunch.

sauteed zucchini tossed with Parmesan cheese
Zucchini sauteed a little and then tossed with a little Parmesan- Amazing

mushrooms sauteing in a skillet
sauteing mushrooms for zucchini 

sprialized zucchini noodles tossed with mushrooms
toss mushrooms and zucchini together

sprialized zucchini and mushrooms with a fried egg
I added an egg to eat it with.. It made a nice lunch

may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Grain Free Flat Bread in 20 minutes

grain free flatbread on a cookie sheet

This delicious gluten free/grain free flat bread has to be one of the best and easiest I've ever made! Look, I'm not a baker, and making bread is usually a little intimidating for me. In fact, I usually just don't even attempt it at all. However, this recipe is so easy, fast, and fool proof, I could make it every day ( and I might)

. Prep time 5-10 minutes, baking time 15 minutes, and the finished product freezes beautifully. It's made from Plantains, not flour!
3 plaintains on a tray
These are plantains, not bananas- They are higher in starch and lower in sugar
when green you can cook with them, when yellow they become sweet like a banana
I've never used a plantain before either, but I picked up three greenish  plantains in my supermarket ( 59 cents each) , peeled two of them by scoring 4 sides and peeling it down, then I  followed the easy recipe directions. The results were amazingly surprising.

The plantains make a delicious gluten free/grain free bread without the use of expensive gluten free flours .( the greener the plantain the less sweet the taste- if you buy them yellow they are sweet and not as suitable for bread unless you want a sweet bread)
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Friday, April 4, 2014

13 Gluten Free Passover Recipes 2014

Photo of a colorful plastic seder plate

Passover is a time of some dietary restrictions, but there is no need to turn to processed packaged Passover foods when there are so many wonderful recipes you can make that are easy, flavorful, healthy and perfect for Passover. 

I have rounded up some great ideas for Passover this year from a variety of blogs that I enjoy!  You can eat well and still keep the Passover eating rules.

And whether you celebrate Passover or not, these grain free ideas are also great for Easter or anytime of the year. Hope you like them.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Just 4 Ingredient Bean Soup ( crock pot)

slow cooker
This simple soup is made in a crock pot ( my favorite way to cook) and has only 4 ingredients.  It's rich and creamy and delicious.It takes only 4 minutes of prep time, has only 4 ingredients, and makes 4 large bowls of soup.It's the perfect answer if you are busy , but still want quality homemade healthy soup.

The crock pot is a real time saver. Since this recipe has virtually no prep, you can turn on your crock pot, add the 4 simple ingredients, and walk away. Then go about your business, do whatever you have to do all day while your soup is cooking. As it cooks the beans soften, the flavors mingle, and the soup is created. It's that simple. Dinner is ready. Serve it with a salad or some gluten free crackers. Of course as with all of my recipes, this recipe is made using real food and meets gluten free and vegetarian standards.

This is a very basic soup, but feel free to add additional spices ( pepper, garlic, ) or even additional vegetables ( 1/2 cup chopped carrots and  1/2 cup chopped celery, chopped fresh parsley, ) but it isn't necessary. This simple soup tastes good just the way it is..

 So, get out your crock pot, dump the thoroughly washed dry beans into the crock pot along with the salt, oil, and water.  8-10 hours later, the crock pot seems to magically melt all of the beans into a delicious creamy soup.

Beans provide healthy fiber, protein, and nourishment. Beans are a good healthy choice.

 Could this recipe get any easier or more frugal?

It doesn't sound like soup, but it tastes delicious. Perfect for a cold winter's day when you won't be home to cook.

Prep Time: Soak beans overnight
Cook Time: Slow cooker 8-10  hours

4 Ingredients

1 16 ounce bag of dry Great Northern Beans ( washed and soaked overnight in water and drained) 
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
14 cups of water


1) Soak the dry beans overnight and drain
2) Add soaked beans, salt, oil and water to crock pot.
3) Turn crock pot on medium and cook for about  8-10 hours . 


may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

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Have you ever spiralized zucchini for pasta.. It's a fabulous low carb pasta, but you need an inexpensive machine. Make it in 1 minute!! Joyce Chen 51-0662, Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White

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