Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

Maybe it has something to do with sensory development or something, but seriously what is it about  finger foods and kids? I'm not complaining, I'm just wondering why my children opt to use their hands to eat instead of their forks (and I'm not just talking about my 1 year old). Most of the time I demand table manners and the use of modern eating utensils, but to curb whatever primal need they have to use their hands to eat, I make finger food. Over the last several years we've come a long way in teaching our children how to make good, healthy food choices. (Here is our family's 5 Philosophies for Raising Healthy Eaters). No more mystery meat chicken nuggets or bleached wheat flour pizza dripping with cheese. Now-a-days I make made-from-scratch, gluten free finger food that tastes good and is good for you too! Having fun eating it is a bonus ;) 

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Peachy Herb Quinoa Salad with Rosemary-Lavender Scented Dressing

 I'll take a bunch of fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden or the orchard over store-bought any day. This is by far the most cost effective way to get cheap organic produce. I didn't get a garden planted this year so when my sister-in-law told me that one of her co-workers had a large overly abundant garden and chicken eggs, I said, "absolutely!" I ended up with fresh eggs, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, fresh basil leaves, and peaches.  I may have also helped myself to some fresh mint and tomatoes from grandma's garden as well. ;)I can't even begin to express how appreciative I am for cheap or free produce. When you choose to follow a healthy, clean eating, gluten free diet you are going to go through LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies. Now, times that by four kids and the health food foodie (me) and that can add up to be LOTS of green (no I'm not talking about spinach). Especially if you choose to buy organic. Which I do as much as possible. (If you don't have a farmer's market or friendly garden growers near you here's my list for the best organic and clean eating deals from Costco) Organic produce {produce that has been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or genetic engineering} ends up being full of flavor and nutrients, but not always an award winning size or shape. Like the peaches I got that were closer to the size of an apricot, but that still packed a delicious punch of peachy flavor. I could go into a whole monologue about the metaphor of life....(insert moving, wistful music)Life is like a garden. Each fruit and flower is a product of the care and  attention given to it. It doesn't matter how much miracle grow or bug repellent is used, it could never change the nature of the seed. A peach seed can never become anything other than a peach. It won't bloom into an apple or grow vines and sprout tomatoes. The peach's inborn, divinely inherent characteristic allows the seed to develop into just what it was meant to be.....unless of course it's genetically modified from it's original state and enhanced until it's the size of a grapefruit....Okay, that monologue didn't quite go the way I'd hoped. Needless to say I'll take my produce in the most natural form I can get. This Mint, Basil & Lavender Scented Quinoa Salad has a subtle sweet and savory flavor that is enhanced by the ever so slight hint of lavender. It was even better the next day. You could make this salad in the morning before work and have it ready to go for a light side to dinner or to take along to a picnic.Serves 4Mint and Basil (Herb) Quinoa Salad2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 1 cup red, white, or black quinoa (I mixed red and white). Rinsed.1 large or 2-3 small peaches. Rinsed, pitted, and sliced into wedges1 green onion, chopped3-4 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn4-5 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or tornRosemary and Lavender Scented Dressing1 tbsp. raw honey1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil1/8 tsp. sea saltpinch black pepper1 tsp. dry rosemary or half a sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped

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Gluten-Free Sweet Biscotti Trifle

  "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must...undergo the fatigue of supporting it."    - Thomas Paine

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Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread

 

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10 Delicious & Gluten-Free Ways to Enjoy Watermelon

For me, celebrating Independence Day is almost as exciting as Christmas! I love the fireworks, the stirring reminder of patriotism, and the feeling of unity as citizens of a nation I am proud to be part of. I don't know about the rest of you, but the smell of fireworks and summer just isn't complete without watermelon. I'm a purist when it comes to watermelon. Big slices of cold deep pink goodness sitting on a piece of newspaper to catch the seeds and juice dripping off your chin - it's bliss. But sometimes it's fun to take this fruit and dress it up, blend it up, and otherwise use it to make everything it touches taste sweet and fresh.  I guess what I'm trying to say is...it's summer - let the watermelon madness begin!  Here I've collected 10 unique, gluten free, and delicious ways to enjoy everyone's favorite melon!....I'm going to need more watermelon.

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Italian Roasted Potato Salad

  

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Watermelon Bruschetta With Marinated Basil Cucumbers & Feta

 Okay, don't these just look pretty? You could serve them up as a side to some Hawaiian Pork Shish Kabobs or Fired Up Pork Ribs or as an appetizer. I'm thinking a 4th of July picnic or barbecue may feel just a bit fancier and be a bit healthier with these Watermelon Bruschetta with Marinated Basil Cucumbers & Feta in place of a bag of chips. FYI: Just as fair warning, these yummy appetizers are, not surprisingly, a little messy between the watermelon juice and the cucumber marinade. Be sure to serve on a plate with adequate napkins. Start with your bruschetta. You'll need approximately one quarter of a medium-sized seedless watermelon, rinds removed and sliced into small 3/4 inch thick rectangles.Basil Cucumber Marinade 1 large or 2 small cucumbers quartered and chopped. About 2 cups worth1 small sweet onion, finely chopped (I used a Vidalia onion, but a sweet red onion works too) 1/4 cup raw honey1/3 cup apple cider vinegar1 tbsp. olive oil1/2 tsp. ground mustard1/2 tsp. sea salt1/4 black pepper1 garlic clove,  minced3 sprigs parsley, chopped (or 1 tbsp. dried parsley)5 basil leaves, roughly chopped (chopped extra if you have it for garnishing)Chop the cucumber and onion. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade and whisk together. Pour over the cucumber and onion and stir. Put a lid on and set in the fridge for 1-3 hours to marinate. When you're ready to serve, set the watermelon bruschetta out on a plate and top each with a tablespoon of the cucumbers. Sprinkle a little crumbled feta cheese and the extra basil on top. This can serve a crowd, but is best cold so only put it all together when you're ready to eat. Enjoy! 

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Cajun Chicken Kabobs

The deep South is known for it's great barbecues and after my visit to the south recently, I got inspired to make some Cajun-style kabobs! This dinner was light, flavorful, fun (cause my kids love finger food), and yummy. Plus, this dinner just has summer written all over it! 

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Fresh Paleo Peach Pie

  Fresh peaches are showing up at farmers' markets and grocery stores everywhere now that summer is well underway. I love the smell and taste of a perfectly ripe peach. Mmmm, there is just something about them that requires you to relax.  I love to sink my teeth in and let the juice run down my chin, but there are lots of other delicious ways to serve and enjoy all those summer peaches too....Peach Meringue and Maple Vinegar Glazed Nectarines (or peaches) are some of my favorites for a quick dessert. Making it Paleo (gluten free, grain free, sugar free) eliminates the worry about whether you'll be able to shimmy into your swimsuit after eating it.

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Orange Creamsicles (Gluten Free/Dairy Free)

Hello summer! Time for something cold and sweet! Let's skip the sugar-laden, artificially colored, ingredients-I-can't-pronounce kind of treats and eat something that makes you feel as good as it tastes. Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, delicious Orange Creamsicles!  The best thing about these yummy treats isn't just that they taste amazing...well, yes it is...okay, one of the best things is that this recipe is versatile! You can pour it into Popsicle molds or if you have an ice cream maker you can turn it into Dairy Free Orange Sherbet Ice Cream!

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Lemon Dill Asparagus

  Today the sky is azure blue. Birds are chirping a sonata of melodies each their own while a lizard does some vertical sunbathing on the back wall. Life in nature always seems so constant, so predictable, and peaceful. I sometimes watch the goings on of the usual wildlife that surround my home and think...I wish I had it that easy. Of course, then I'm reminded of all those Discovery Channel shows that delve into the "real" life of animals and suddenly I'm reminded that their existence isn't easy, just less complicated.

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Cantaloupe Caprese

 I get asked the question when people find out our family eats gluten free and minimal refined sugars, "So what do you eat? Vegetables?" Yes. Yes, we eat a lot of vegetables, but I promise there is so much more to food than wheat flours and sugar. There are so many more healthy options than "just vegetables" (although I do love me some vegetables.)Sometimes I have to get creative, but a lot of the time I just go with what's really simple. Here is my really simple, healthy, gluten free, sugar free, delicious snack or appetizer....Cantaloupe Caprese! It's the best when the cantaloupe is cold and sweet, the mozzarella is a little cooler than room temperature, and the basil is freshly picked. Skewer the cantaloupe, basil, and mozzarella onto a large toothpick or trimmed bamboo skewer. Bring to your next barbecue or get together for a yummy, healthy, and simple appetizer.Enjoy!  

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Summer Veggie and Herb Salad

  Fresh tomatoes still warm from the sun. Kale, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and green onions crisp and bright green. Carrots that grow in funny shapes; some long and skinny, some as wide as they are tall. Fresh herbs like basil and parsley that grow so fast you can hardly keep up with them.  Homegrown veggies straight from the garden...these are a few of my favorite things. Summer is upon us and I can't wait! 

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Paleo Chocolate Quinoa Bread

  Okay I have to admit this "bread" may be more closely related to a brownie, but it's a gluten free, dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free, delicious bread/brownie something!

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Plum Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

 The first little sunburn of the year after an afternoon playing at the park reminds me that spring is coming to an end and summer is almost here. It also reminded me of this time a year ago, right after Miah was released from Primary Children's Hospital for Celiac crisis. They had just removed the PICC line that had been sending nutrients straight into her veins and she was finally gaining weight and eating again. My sweet neighbor at the time, Guilma - who also happened to be a chef and mother of a child with Crohn's disease - invited us over for a tea party and to teach me how to make some yummy gluten free dishes. She walked me through making tapioca rolls and spring rolls. We ate them all as we sipped raspberry tea sweetened with big globs of honey.  

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Poached Egg on Kale Caprese Salad

Eggs never look so good as when they're sitting atop a pile of sauteed veggies and greens! Poached eggs are one of the simplest ways to enjoy some protein and when you set it on top of these caprese style sauteed kale, tomato, and mushrooms you'll forget you're eating something healthy. Alright I know what you're thinking...Poached eggs? Simple? Yeah right! Trust me, you don't need any special egg poaching utensils or pans; just a little practice to get the yoke just the way you like it. 

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Gluten Free Applesauce Muffins

  I got a message from one of my very best friends that she would be in town in the morning. It's been almost 2 years since the last time I'd seen her and I was excited to catch up and let's face it, anytime I can have an adult conversation it's like Christmas. So last night before bed I made these sweet gluten free applesauce muffins with buckwheat, brown rice, and oatmeal flour. Hardy enough to fill my kiddos up before school and less mess for me to clean up on an already busy morning. They turned out so yummy and were all eaten in less than 10 minutes! 

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379 Hits
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Thai Coconut Carrot and Corn Soup (Gluten Free)

 

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GF Chicken Tacos with Garlic Lime Black Beans & Guacamole

   Do you know what I've discovered over the last few years? It's that happily ever after is a pretty relative term. Happiness in its simplest form is being at peace despite the circumstances of your present situation. It's being okay with the imperfections, the mess, the not-so-happy predicaments we find ourselves in, but finding joy in the midst of it all anyway. Not in spite of it, but in it. Not a roll your eyes, grit your teeth, and pretend you're fine superficial happiness, but a sincere inner peace. That's why I make dinner from scratch and use a slow cooker. So I don't have to waist my time standing in the kitchen preparing food all day when I have my happily ever after to enjoy.

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Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies

    These peanut butter cookies are simple, healthy, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and packed with protein! 

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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