Allergy-Friendly BBQ Baked Beans {gluten, dairy, and soy free!}

I confess--I didn't really think I liked baked beans. They're a BBQ staple, sure, and sometimes I would add a small scoop to my plate. But I never went looking for the baked beans either.

Until this weekend.

For Father's Day, I asked my hubby what he'd like me to make for dinner. He wanted baked beans! So I set out to make a batch of baked beans that he would enjoy, and boy, am I glad I did. What a surprise to find out that I like them too! In fact, I'm eating the last little scoop of leftover beans for lunch as I write this.

He wanted bacon in his beans, so I used it in my recipe. I think they would be just as tasty without the bacon, for a vegan option.

2 Cans of Beans {I used pinto beans, but you would traditionally use something smaller, like navy beans}
4 Strips of Bacon {diced}
1 Onion {on the small side, diced}
1/4 C. Ketchup
1/4 C. Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Molasses
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

To Make:
Open beans, drain and rinse, place in an 8x8-inch square baking dish {or similar} and set aside.
In a skillet, saute bacon and onion until the bacon begins to crisp and the onion has a translucent appearance. If you wish to omit the bacon, saute your onion in a bit of oil, Earth Balance/butter, or perhaps coconut oil.
Add the bacon and onions to the beans, and mix.
In a small bowl, make your sauce using the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, dijon mustard, and garlic powder. Add a bit of salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the sauce over the beans, combine thoroughly, and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Please note... the amount of sauce created with this recipe is just right for coating the beans, but doesn't leave any "soupy" sauce behind after baking. If you prefer beans with more sauce, consider doubling the sauce recipe before you add it to your beans.

Creamy Avocado-Cilantro Dressing {gluten free, soy free, dairy free, vegan}

The heat has really picked up where I'm at, leaving me looking for dinner options that aren't rich, heavy, or, well... hot! Salads fill the need nicely, I think. This dressing is definitely my new favorite. It's rich and creamy, but refreshing at the same time. Perfect for a loaded salad, or for dipping chopped veggies.

1 C. Cilantro {remove the large stems, wash and chop it a bit, and don't worry about packing too firmly}
6 oz. cup of PLAIN coconut yogurt {almond milk yogurt, etc. would also work}
1/4 Cup Oil {grapeseed, olive}
Juice of One Lime
Meat from 1/2 Avocado
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

To Make:
Combine the ingredients in your food processor or blender, and process thoroughly. You can also use a stick/immersion blender.
Taste the mixture for salt and pepper, and add more to your liking.
The dressing is best served immediately, but it will keep for a few days in your refrigerator if stored in an air-tight container.

German-Style Potato Salad {gluten, dairy, and soy free}

Several years ago, I had my first taste of a German-style potato salad. I was hooked! And then I promptly shoved the memory to the back of my mind, where it lay dormant. What brought the memory back? Pregnancy, of course! And if memory serves, it was during my last pregnancy that I first tried this style of salad.

Anyway--my memory didn't fail me. This is one yummy, satisfying salad. It's much lighter than standard BBQ fare, as it doesn't contain even an ounce of mayonnaise.

I love to eat this dish warm, just after it has been put together. It tastes great cold too, so make it ahead and stash it in the fridge if you'd like.

Red Potatoes {I used six large potatoes}
Bacon {I prefer the uncured variety, and I used six pieces}
White or Yellow Onion {diced}
1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Sugar
Salt and Pepper {to taste}
Green Onions {I LOVE green onions, so I used an entire bunch. Scale that back if you prefer.}

To Make:
Wash and dice your potatoes, then put them in a large pot of water to boil. Cook until fork-tender, drain, and set aside.
Chop bacon into bite-size pieces, and cook to done in a skillet. I don't like my bacon to be ridiculously crunchy, but if you do, go for it!
Remove cooked bacon from the skillet, reserving the grease. I put mine on a paper-towel lined plate.
Add the diced onion to the skillet, and cook until tender and translucent.
While the onions are cooking, combine potatoes, bacon, and green onions in a bowl. Stir to combine.
Carefully {you ARE adding vinegar to hot grease, after all!} add the sugar and cider vinegar to the cooked onions, and stir to combine.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the salad, and give it a good stir to combine.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Gluten Free, Raw, Vegan, Vanilla/Blonde Macaroons {Kinda like Hail Merry}

I love, LOVE my chocolate macaroon recipe. We make them often, especially during the summer months. When a  friend asked me to try making the "blonde" {vanilla} version, I couldn't turn her down. I'm really pleased with the way these turned out, but I confess--I prefer the chocolate variety. Probably because I never say no to chocolate.

And to be fair, I've never eaten a Hail Merry Blonde Macaroon. This is simply me taking my chocolate macaroon recipe, and vanilla-izing it.

Finally, wouldn't these be yummy with a bit of chocolate drizzled over the top? Or perhaps with some mini chocolate chips stirred into the mixture, before the macaroons are formed?

You'll Need:
1 {heaping} Cup Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
6 Tbsp. Almond Meal
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup* {the real stuff!!}
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

To Make:
Add coconut to your food processor, cover, and pulse several times to further break up the coconut.
Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and run the processor again to mix completely. Scrape down the sides if necessary.Working quickly {coconut oil melts very rapidly in your hands!}, roll the mixture into small balls and place in a dish lined with parchment paper. Better yet, use a small scoop to measure equally sized portions, depositing them directly on the dish.Refrigerate immediately, allowing the macaroons to set up, then cover and store in your fridge or freezer.Makes 10-15 macaroons, depending on size.

*I had sweetened coconut on hand, and that is what went into this recipe. You may wish to add a touch more maple syrup or agave to your recipe if you're using unsweetened coconut.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free BBQ Chicken Pizza

Something about the beginning of this new year has flipped a switch in my brain. I'm craving healthier things during the day {yay!}, and flavor-filled, light dinners that don't leave me feeling less-than-awesome at the end of the day. This isn't a huge change from the way I normally eat, but I do confess to having a pretty big sweet tooth. Ok--let's call it what it is. A carbohydrate tooth.


This pizza seemed just right the other day. Filling, satisfying, and with more than a hint of tangy-sweet BBQ sauce. I used pre-made crusts so it came together quickly. When I've got more time, I like to make Silvana's crusts from Cooking for Isaiah.

Like many of the meals I put together, I didn't use precise measurements. Your needs will vary based on how many you are feeding, the size of your pizza crust(s), and so on. The sauce I put together was enough to cover one pizza about twelve inches, and two smaller "personal size" pizzas.

You'll Need:
Pizza crusts {Udi's and Rudi's are both great pre-made gluten-free options}
BBQ Sauce
Chicken Breasts {I used two and had some left over}
Almond or Rice Milk
Earth Balance Spread
Red Onion {I halved my onion and then sliced it very finely}
Daiya Mozzarella Shreds {or another cheese/cheese replacement of your choice}

To Make:
 In a small sauce pan, mix some BBQ sauce and water. I used less than 1/2 cup each.
Add chicken, and cook over medium-high heat, turning the chicken occasionally.
While the chicken is cooking, put together the sauce for your pizza. I put some BBQ sauce in a small bowl {enough to spoon over my crusts}, and then added roughly one Tablespoon each almond milk and Earth Balance. Of course, you could use plain BBQ sauce here, but I wanted to give my sauce a slightly more creamy consistency.
Spoon sauce over crusts.
When the chicken is cooked through, use two forks to shred the meat, and then stir the mixture to coat with BBQ Suace.
Add shredded chicken to your pizza.
Add finely sliced red onion and cheese/cheese replacement to your liking.
Bake your pizzas according to package or recipe instructions. I baked mine at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or so.
Before serving, top your pizza with washed, chopped cilantro.

Allergy-Friendly {P.F. Chang's} Lettuce Wraps: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, SOY Free!

When he sat down to the table yesterday, my hubby didn't look very impressed with the spread. A plate of lettuce leaves, a bowl of "ground turkey?? we're having ground turkey??," and some sweet potato fries sat in front of him. I reassured him that this wasn't just ground turkey he was about to dig into. So he tried a wrap.

"Oh, HONEY!" he said. He had all but declared the lettuce wraps his new favorite meal by the time he pushed his plate away. Yup--I win!

Anyway--these are good. Really good. They're light, and pretty darned healthy, but they're also satisfying. The perfect meal, if you ask me.

Ready to make some of your own?

You'll Need:
1 lb. Ground Chicken or Turkey Breast {a 1.25-pound package of ground turkey breast works well too!}
1/2 Onion {chopped}
1 Tbsp. Oil
Salt and Pepper

1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Freshly Grated Ginger
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp. Coconut Aminos*
3 tsp. Water
1 Tbsp. Peanut Butter
1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar {I used seasoned rice vinegar}
1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 C. Green Onions {chopped}
1/4 C. Water Chestnuts {chopped into small pieces}
1/4 C. Chopped Peanuts {optional--I left them out this time because I didn't have any on hand}

Butter Lettuce or Iceberg Leaves {left whole, and washed}

To Make:
In a large skillet, heat oil and  cook the meat and chopped onion, seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir often and use a spatula to break up the meat into small crumbles.
Combine the garlic powder, ginger, sesame oil, coconut aminos, water, peanut butter, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a microwave-safe dish.
Microwave sauce ingredients for 20-30 seconds and then stir well to integrate the peanut butter, and then set aside.
When the meat is cooked through, add the green onions, water chestnuts, and peanuts and stir to combine.
Top the mixture with sauce, and mix thoroughly.
Serve the mixture with lettuce leaves for wrapping. I put ours out family style and we built a couple of wraps each onto our plates

*If you're not avoiding soy, or want to use gluten free soy sauce in place of oconut aminos, use 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and add a couple of teaspoons of honey or agave nectar to the sauce mixture.

Shared on... Allergy Free Wednesday, Allergy-Friendly Friday

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free Chocolate Almond "Cheesecake"

Yum!! I am completely enamored with these rich, chocolatey little desserts. They were a Christmas experiment, and I'm so thrilled to share them with you. These little cuties are gluten free, soy free, vegan, free of refined sugar, paleo-friendly, and raw. Whew! Did you catch that??

Use quality ingredients, like real maple syrup and fancy cocoa powder. You'll be glad you did.

You'll Need:
For the Crust
1 C. Almond Meal
1/3 C. Cocoa Powder
3 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla
Pinch of Salt

For the Filling
2 C. Raw Cashews {soaked several hours or overnight in fresh water}
1/2 C. Maple Syrup
1/2 C. Water
1/2 C. Cocoa Powder
1/2 C. Coconut Oil
1/3 C. Almond Butter
1/2 tsp. Salt

To Make:
For the Crust
Combine the ingredients in your food processor or by hand, with a fork.
Press the resulting "dough" into the bottom of a pie plate, spring form pan, or individual serving cups, such as half-pint mason jars or custard dishes.
Set aside.

For the Filling
Drain and rinse soaked cashews, and add them to the bowl of your food processor.
Add maple syrup and water, and process for several minutes until very smooth and creamy. Pause to scrape down the sides occasionally.
Add cocoa powder, coconut oil, almond butter, and salt, and process again to thoroughly combine.
Spoon or pipe the mixture over top of your prepared crust, then store in the refrigerator for several hours to cool and set.

I have found that I most enjoy this dessert straight from the fridge. It tastes best cold, to me, and is almost too rich when it has warmed up a bit.

I filled eleven half-pint jars with roughly one Tbsp. of the crust mixture per jar, and then divided the filling equally between the jars. The jars wound up being just over 1/2 full, which, to me, is more than satisfying for something so chocolate-laden. For larger portions, you might want to reduce the number of jars you use.

Shared on... Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Fridays, Wellness Weekends, Raw Foods Thursdays

Gluten Free Baked French Toast Casserole {dairy and soy free too!}

I made this yummy french toast bake for Christmas morning because I wanted something I could simply put in the oven while we opened gifts and played with our new toys. What a success! I'll definitely be making this again--probably long before Christmas.

The best part? All of the prep work happens the night before. You simply remove the baking dish from the fridge, sprinkle on the topping, heat the oven, and bake!

You'll Need: 
1 Loaf Gluten Free Bread {I used Udi's}
6 eggs
2 Cups Almond Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tbsp. Vanilla
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

1/3 Cup GF Flour {I used Bob's Red Mill AP Blend}
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Earth Balance Spread

To Make:
Cube the bread into bite-sized pieces, and spread evenly in a greased {I used coconut oil} 9x13 baking dish.
Combine the eggs, almond milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon {first set of ingredients} in a mixing bowl, and then pour over the top of the cubed bread.
Cover your baking dish, and place in the fridge for several hours, or overnight.
In a small bowl, combine GF flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon {second set of ingredients}, and then cut in cold Earth Balance with a pastry cutter, potato masher, or even a fork.
Put the flour mixture in the fridge in an air-tight container or zip-top bag.
In the morning, remove the casserole dish from the fridge. I suggest letting it sit on the counter for a bit, because I'm leery of putting a very cold dish into a hot oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare your french toast for the oven by sprinkling the flour mixture over the top of the bread.
Bake for about an hour, until the top is crispy and golden and the eggs are set.

Adapted from Pioneer Woman's recipe.