Tag Archives: Vegan

Decadent Macadamia Nut Cake (Gluten-Free Vegan Cheesecake & Pound Cake Fusion) + DIY Cake Decorating Stencil Tutorial


This decadent macadamia nut cake is a unique fusion of rich cheesecake and dense pound cake, yet it’s gluten-free and vegan! I invented it on a random whim of culinary creativity with no idea of how delicious it would turn out. I found out that it tastes even better on the second-day… which makes it a fantastic make-ahead dessert for you next gathering of gal pals. Easily decorate it with a DIY stencil and confectioner’s sugar, and serve it with a variety of fruit preserves. Then all you need to do is wait for the compliments to roll in before shocking everyone with the news that it’s gluten-free and vegan. Who knew guilt-free could taste this indulgent?!


2 cups raw macadamia nuts (or raw cashews… soaked overnight)

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter, shortening, etc.)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or other extract)

4 teaspoons lemon juice (or other citrus juice)

½ cup fresh water (or juice)

2 cups Arrowhead Mills gluten-free baking mix (or another baking mix… not just flour)

2 egg replacers (3 teaspoons dry replacer + 4 tablespoons warm water… or 2 whole eggs, or 2 chia or flax “eggs”)

1 ¼ cups confectioner’s sugar (or powdered sugar)

1 teaspoons guar gum (or xanthan gum)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 dash sea salt (= ⅛ teaspoon)

Optional toppings: fruit preserves



Remember to soak the macadamia nuts at room temperature the night before you want to bake the cake.


Drain off the soaking liquid, and blend the nuts at high speed with a fresh ½ cup of water plus the lemon juice, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and prepared egg replacer. (Mix the dry egg replacer well with warm water until it’s a frothy white liquid.) Now add the dry ingredients to the wet concoction, mixing it very well. (For those of you with corn allergies… note that confectioner’s sugar and guar gum are the corn-free alternatives to powdered sugar and xanthan gum.)


Pour the batter into round metal cake tins. (Metal conducts heat better for gluten-free baked goods.) Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until golden brown, in a 350ᵒ oven. (My oven has been running low and slow… so vary the time according to your oven’s temperament.)


While letting the cakes cool completely, find a piece of clean copy paper to make a stencil / template with. Fold it in half, and draw one side of a heart (with the center of it running into the folded edge). Cut this out, and unfold it to reveal a perfect heart.


Lay down the open heart and sprinkle additional confectioner’s sugar over the opening.


Remove the stencil and sprinkle more around the edges of the cake.


Another option is to lay down the solid heart template and sprinkle confectioner’s sugar around it.



This is a great way to easily decorate this kind of cake for a gathering. Then you can top individual servings with everyone’s favorite flavor of fruit preserves.


Make your cake peachy keen by topping it with scrumptious peach preserves straight from Fredericksburg, Texas… the town is known for its perfect peaches! (You can buy these delicious preserves, along with other amazing products from the Hill Country, at the affiliate link in the sidebar for Fredericksburg Farms.)

Faithfully Yours,


P.S. A little birdie told me that a smidgen is ¹̷32 teaspoon, a pinch is ¹̷16 teaspoon, and a dash is ⅛ teaspoon… who knew a pinch of salt could be so technical!

Healthy Purple Baked Potato Chips & Creamy Vegan Tasty Tuber Topping Dip Recipes


These healthy recipes for purple baked potato chips and creamy vegan tasty tuber topping dip will transform your snack time into a guilt-free indulgence. They’re a great enticement for those store-bought fried chip lovers to take better care of their health, and for the picky eaters in your life… because who can resist purple food!? The tasty tuber dip is also the perfect topping for baked potatoes and can be prepared well in advance for ease of week night dinner preparation. All in all, this is a winning combination worth trying… if I do say so myself!

Purple Baked Potato Chip Ingredients:

  • 5 purple fingerling potatoes, per plate full (or any fingerling potato)
  • olive oil (enough to lightly coat potatoes)
  • sea salt (or salt free seasoning)
  • dried garlic powder (optional)
  • dried onion powder (optional)

Tasty Tuber Topping Dip Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsweetened vegan coconut yogurt (or any variety of plain yogurt)
  • 6 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (or another healthy oil)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon veganaise (or mayo)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (or lime)
  • ½ cup shredded cheese (I used Follow Your Heart brand soy-free vegan.)
  • 5 tablespoons fresh chopped chives (or 5 teaspoons dried)
  • ½ teaspoon dried garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (or 2 tablespoons salt free seasoning)

Purple Baked Potato Chip Instructions:


First, wash and scrub the potatoes well with a brush.


Slice them easily with a mandolin (or slice thinly by hand… the harder way).


Next toss the potato chips with enough olive oil to coat them lightly in a bowl with the seasoning.


Place the chips in an even layer over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and then sprinkle them with a light coat of seasoning.


Bake at 375ᵒ for about 25 minutes or so depending on your oven’s nature. (They will shrink a little and change color when they’re done… so keep an eye on them.)

Tasty Tuber Topping Dip Instructions:


Simply combine all of the ingredients.


Then blend everything with an immersion blender, or a standard one.


Scoop into a serving bowl, and garnish with extra chopped chives.


This tasty topping also makes the perfect baked potato filling. It’s great to make ahead, along with baked potatoes, when you know you be in late the next day. Just reheat the spuds and serve with bagged salad.


Who needs fried potato chips when these can be enjoyed guilt-free!? These are less expensive than the store-bought kind too! And… they are purple! Enough said.

“It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple” potato “eater, sure looks strange to me.”

Faithfully Yours,


Tex-Mex Dinner Fiesta Forever Tablescape Décor Ideas (for San Antonio Fiesta or Cinco de Mayo Party)


Fiesta forever with Tex-Mex dinner party tablescape décor ideas perfectamente for celebrating San Antonio’s Fiesta or Cinco de Mayo. Raise the roof and raise a glass in cheers for the celebratíon. Let the mariachi music play on in your heart as you feast. Throw your work aside and troubles away as you lose yourself in the rhythm of the beat. Come on and join our fiesta!


“Well, my friends, the time has come, To raise the roof and have some fun, Throw away the work to be done, Let the music play on…”

Mexican purple bubble glass goblets are playfully adorned with initialed wooden chalkboard signs serving as both place-card and drink minder as the party plays on. Casual yet elegant flatware are just some of the stainless steel elements bouncing around the tablescape.


“Everybody sing, everybody dance, Lose yourself in wild romance, We’re going to party, Karamu, fiesta, forever, Come on and sing along!…”

A colorful soutache decorated table-runner dances across the table. Coordinating striped cloth napkins are rolled into polychromatic jute bracelets masquerading as napkin rings. Vintage steel lanterns bedecked in purple beads light up the night as do upcycled luminarias.


“All night long! People dancing all in the street, See the rhythm all in their feet, Life is good wild and sweet. Let the music play on, Feel it in your heart, And feel it in your soul, Let the music take control, We’re going to party, Liming, fiesta, forever, Come on and sing my song!…”

Stacked upon a vintage purple basket-weave tablecloth are vintage purple glazed ceramic dishes sandwiching borrowed Mexican serape styled plates.


“All night long! Yeah, once you get started, You can’t sit down, Come join the fun, It’s a merry go round, Everyone’s dancing, Their troubles away, Come join our party, See how we play! Oh, yes, We’re going to have a party!…”

A fun Tex-Mex trifle bowl layered dinner salad centerpiece is joined by creamy vegan cilantro citrus avocado dressing, Texas peach salsa, and a medley of gluten-free chips held in vintage serving pieces. Salt and pepper shakers of purple cabbages are ready to spice up the fiesta.


“All night long! Everyone you meet, They’re jamming in the street, All night long! Feel good!”

¡Fiesta Forever!

Faithfully Yours,


P.S. The party song quoted is “All Night Long (All Night)” by Lionel Richie.

P.P.S. Buy your own adjustable jute bracelets to double over as napkin rings inexpensively at Fire Mountain Gems, whose affiliate discount link is in the left side panel (or below on a tablet).

P.P.P.S. Find my healthy Tex-Mex trifle salad and dressing recipe by clicking HERE. Find a similar salad in a crunchy baked tortilla bowl HERE, and a Tex-Mex salad taco HERE. Learn how to easily upcycle your own DIY luminarias HERE!

Tex-Mex Trifle Bowl Layered Dinner Salad Recipe with Creamy Cilantro Citrus Avocado Dressing (Gluten-Free & Vegan)


This recipe for a gluten-free Tex-Mex trifle bowl layered dinner salad complete with creamy vegan cilantro citrus avocado dressing is perfect for your next dinner fiesta. It’s so easy to throw together without having to measure anything. It also saves time and expense because the beautifully layered trifle bowl pulls double duty as a colorful centerpiece. Plus, when everything is prepared ahead of time… the hostess can spend the evening in the dining room with her guests rather than in the kitchen. Most guests should be able to partake of this healthy gluten-free vegan meal, and dressing is served on the side so that everyone can control their own portions. Once everyone is taken care of… there is nothing left to do but ¡Fiesta Forever!

Layered Dinner Salad Ingredients:

1: torn romaine leaves (or any lettuce)

2: prepared black beans (rinsed canned or cooked dried)

3: chopped green onions (or leeks)

4: diced Roma tomatoes (or any variety)

5: diced black olives (or green)

6: fresh cilantro leaves (or a sprinkling of dried)

7: vegan cheese (Follow Your Heart brand vegan & soy free shredded cheddar or any variety)

8: sprouted pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)

  • Serve with gluten-free vegan Beanito brand chips (or any tortilla type chip), fresh salsa, and homemade creamy cilantro citrus avocado dressing (or sour cream, plain yogurt, store bought dressing, or guacamole) on the side.

Cilantro Citrus Avocado Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegan coconut yogurt unsweetened (or unsweetened almond milk yogurt, or plain dairy yogurt)
  • 1 ripe avocado mashed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or 1 tablespoon of salt substitute if sodium restricted)
  • ½ teaspoon dried onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Latin seasoning blend (optional… wholefoods brand has sea salt, garlic, annatto, bitter orange, citric acid, citrus peels & oils)

Layered Dinner Salad Instructions:


Gather, wash, and chop enough ingredients to fill the trifle bowl you have.


Place a layer of each of the fresh ingredients in the order listed… so that you see them through the side like giant savory parfait.


I like to arrange the top in a bullseye pattern with the last ingredients… because a whole layer of cilantro would be demasiado (way too much)!


This is awesome when served with homemade creamy cilantro citrus avocado dressing on the side.

Cilantro Citrus Avocado Dressing Instructions:


Mix all the ingredients together and then blend. (I used an immersion blender.)


This is great to make a day ahead and refrigerate until serving.


I also served the trifle salad with gluten-free vegan Beanito brand chips and fresh peach salsa… to be eaten along with the salad or as a side. (Any variety of tortilla type chip and salsa would be great.) See more of the Cinco de Mayo dinner fiesta featuring this Tex-Mex trifle salad as a centerpiece HERE.

Oh so delicioso y’all! (One simply must speak “Spanglish” at a Tex-Mex dinner fiesta.)

Faithfully Yours,


Tex-Mex Filling Recipe for Taco Salad Baked Tortilla Bowls or Salad Tacos (with Gluten-Free & Vegan Options) with Creamy Cilantro Citrus Avocado Dressing (Dairy-Free)


This double recipe for Tex-Mex taco salad in gluten-free baked tortilla bowls and salad tacos uses the same healthy fillings spiced up with creamy (yet dairy-free vegan) cilantro citrus avocado dressing. This is so that the salad eaters and the taco lovers can enjoy the same meal without creating extra work for the family chef. This is also why everything is gluten-free and dairy-free, and salad ingredients don’t require measuring. It’s also easy to please the vegans and the carnivores because the optional beef crumbles can be selectively applied… but know that meat isn’t necessary because beans with rice tortilla form a complete protein. So let the dinner fiesta begin!

Cilantro Citrus Avocado Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegan coconut yogurt unsweetened (or unsweetened almond milk yogurt, or plain dairy yogurt)
  • 1 ripe avocado mashed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (add more if using fresh herbs)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or 1 tablespoon of salt substitute if sodium restricted)
  • ½ teaspoon dried onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Latin seasoning blend (optional… wholefoods brand has sea salt, garlic, annatto, bitter orange, citric acid, citrus peels & oils)

Tex-Mex Taco & Salad Ingredients:

  • torn romaine leaves (or any lettuce)
  • prepared black beans (rinsed canned or cooked dried)
  • chopped green onions (or leeks)
  • diced Roma tomatoes (or any variety)
  • diced black olives (or green)
  • fresh cilantro leaves (or a sprinkling of dried)
  • shredded cheese (I used Follow Your Heart brand soy-free vegan shredded cheddar.)
  • sprouted pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • diced ripe avocado (optional)
  • beef crumbles (optional)
  • brown rice tortillas (or any variety of wrap)
  • homemade creamy cilantro citrus avocado dressing (or sour cream, plain yogurt, store bought dressing, salsa, or guacamole)
  • for the crunchy bowls: grapeseed oil in spray pump (or any oil or cooking spray)

Cilantro Citrus Avocado Dressing Instructions:


Mix all the ingredients together and then blend. (I used an immersion blender.)


This is great to make ahead of time and refrigerate until using.

Taco Salad & Tortilla Bowl Instructions:


Gather, wash, and chop enough ingredients to fill up the crowd you’ll be serving. I haven’t included amounts because everyone has their own preferences regarding salad composition… I like ¾ toppings with a little lettuce! (Brown the beef crumbles in a pan now… if you aren’t vegan.)


Toss everything but the tortillas in a large mixing bowl with a portion of the prepared creamy cilantro citrus avocado dressing … or your dressing of choice. (Or serve it own the side.)


To make the baked tortilla bowl shells, spray each tortilla on both sides with oil… from a refillable mist pump or cooking spray. Press each into either an oven safe bowl or a metal tortilla baker. (Sorry about the lack of pictures for this step… oops!) Bake at 350ᵒ for about 15 minutes or so… really just watch them with the oven light on so that they can be removed when just beginning to brown, because everyone’s oven behaves a bit differently. (Note that overcooked broken shells make great tortilla chips.)


Fill these lovely creations with the tossed salad mixture, and garnish with extra cilantro and pepitas.


I serve these in rimmed salad bowls rather than on plates so that guests can break the shells to eat with the salad without making a mess.

Salad Taco Instructions:


For the non-salad eaters in the group who don’t care for salads, try making a salad taco instead.


Make this soft taco by filling a folded brown rice tortilla with the tossed salad mixture.


Now that’s something you can sink your teeth into!

♥ “Yo quiero taco salad!” said the imaginary Chihuahua spokesdog.

Faithfully Yours,


Calaveras de Azucar (Sugar Skulls) Edible Folk Art & Egg-Free Vegan Candy Recipe for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) or Halloween


Calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls) are a folk art originating from southern Mexico for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The sugar (azucar in Español) is said to balance the bitterness of death (muerte), and the small calaveras (skulls) are traditionally offered on All Saint’s Day (November 1) to beloved departed children (angelitos / inocentes) as one would leave flowers graveside. Because this recipe is an egg-free edible version that doesn’t use meringue powder or royal icing, it makes the perfect allergy-friendly, vegan, and low-calorie candy for a themed Halloween celebration!


  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons water
  • Wilton ready-to-use icing multi-pack of 4 primary colors (not gel)
  • Wilton 3D skulls candy mold



Wash and dry the plastic mold. Measure a perfect cup of glistening white sugar (azucar in Español).


Use a small silicone spatula to mix 4 teaspoons of water (agua) into a bowl filled with the white sugar. (The key to sugar skull success is patient and thorough mixing to yield slightly damp sugar the consistency of sand.) Use the spatula to scoop globs of damp sugar into the mold, and also to pat it down compactly into each cavity. Smooth the top of each to flatten the sugar to sit evenly with the mold. (This helps later when combining the pieces to make 3D skull shapes.)


Place a cookie sheet on top of the mold. Flip them over while holding them together. The mold will now sit inverted on the cookie sheet. Carefully lift the plastic mold off to leave the sugar shapes on the sheet. (If some of them stick, gently flex two opposite corners of the mold in different directions. The remaining sugar shapes should pop out without breaking if you hover right over the sheet.) Make a second set of sugar shapes the same way. Let these dry at least 5 hours. (I left mine overnight, and decorated them the next day.) Another option is to bake these 5 to 10 minutes in a 200ᵒ oven. (Make sure to observe them closely in case your oven’s temperature is off.)


“Glue” a set of front and back skull (calavera) pieces together using Wilton ready to use icing. (This is an easy allergy-friendly egg-free alternative to a royal icing of meringue that hardens for the same traditional look, but note that they do contain corn. I found a 4 pack of primary colors in-store at Michaels that are the same size of a gel icing… but don’t use a gel because it doesn’t harden in the same way so that it may be handled when dry.) Press each shape together firmly and set aside.


You may leave these as Halloween skull candies or decorate them as a Mexican folk art. Add traditional decorative icing (glaseado) details like smile lines, hearts, flowers, swirls, dots, and marks that look like apostrophes. (The small icing tubes have a small tip built in that’s perfect adding small details to the skulls.) Let these sit overnight to harden thoroughly.


Wilton’s helpful hotline declared that the icing never really goes bad and may be used years later if capped tightly after use… good to know, but I doubt the small tubes will last long! Once dry, the sugar skulls (calaveras de azucar) may be handled without damaging them.


They may even be eaten as candy, which is wonderful considering most sugar skulls are inedible. (And so are the most popular recipes for them.) Since sugar is only 15 calories per teaspoon… I’m guessing that these are only about 35 calories each!


Set these sugar skulls out in a traditional Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) offrenda, Halloween candy buffet, in the center of a October dinner table as edible decoration in lieu of after dinner mints!


Be sure to check out my article on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Themed Halloween Dinner Party Décor and the 2 on DIY sugar skull crafts… costume mask, banner, vase, napkin rings, and wine glass charms!

Ahora, comer con gusto!

Faithfully Yours,


Gluten-Free & Egg-Free Potato Pancake (aka- Kartoffelpuffer, Latke, Hash Brown Cakes, etc.) Vegan Recipe with Baked & Fried Versions for Oktoberfest


Willkommen to a wunderbar meal of potato pancakes made without gluten or eggs! This allergy-friendly recipe is based on the fried kartoffelpuffers I grew up eating at Wurstfest in a small German town in the Texas Hill Country. Known the world over by many different names, these hash brown cakes can also be baked as a healthy and easy make-ahead dish. Serve up these tasty latkes with a variety of sweet and salty toppings for a hearty brunch buffet. Be warned… always make way more than you’ll think you need, and never expect any leftovers!


  • 6 medium or 5 large potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour blend (I used Namaste brand this time)
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt (adjust according to sodium needs)
  • 4 servings Ener-G brand egg substitute (= 8 tablespoons warm water + 6 teaspoons powder… or just use 3 chicken eggs)
  • grapeseed oil for fried version… or olive oil for baked version
  • Optional: sweet or salty toppings like apple sauce, sour cream, sauerkraut, cottage cheese, mixed berries, cheese, fruit syrup, goulash, sugar & cinnamon, etc…



Wash and peel the potatoes and onion.


Grate the potatoes and onion. (I’ve previously made these the hard way with an old-school grater and the easy way with an electric food processor. On this occasion, I went the eco-conscious direction with a vintage hand-crank shredder contraption that has actually been passed down 3 generations… and it still works beautifully!)


Soak the grated goodies in a bowl of cold water. (This reduces the starch content and adds crispness to the finished product.)


Mix 6 teaspoons egg substitute powder well with 8 tablespoons of warm water, until it becomes opaque white (or just crack and whip 3 eggs).


Mix this with the salt and flour. (I add salt to the batter, but if you have a family with vastly differing sodium requirements, just omit it in this step and salt them individually after cooking.)


Drain the potatoes (squeezing / pressing all the water out of it), and then add in the “egg” and flour blend. Mix this up really well.


Tastier Fried Version: Heat the oil and drop spoonfuls of batter into it. (Grapeseed oil is best for frying because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor.) Spread them flat with the back of a spoon. Flip them over when the edges have browned well. Drain them on clean cloth or paper towels before serving.


Healthier Baked Version: Fill oiled muffin cups ¾ full, and then brush or spray olive oil onto the top. (Olive oil is great for baking and will some impart flavor which isn’t infused the same way as with frying.) Convection bake them in a 350ᵒ oven for 35 minutes, and then broil them for 10 more minutes to brown and crisp the tops.


As a make-ahead breakfast test… I filled a 6 muffin cup pan with batter, covered it with clear wrap, and refrigerated it. (The rest of the batter was fried up on the stove.) The next day, I baked the batter filled tin in a toaster oven. It made perfect little hash brown cakes for breakfast without any morning effort.


Though the fried version is admittedly tastier, I’m thinking that baking a whole oven full would a be much easier way to prepare them for a brunch crowd.


These kartoffelpuffers were served with all beef knackwurst sausages made in Texas, Bavarian style sauerkraut, and homemade applesauce… and pretty parsley garnish.




Faithfully Yours,


Pan Asian Fresh Spring Roll with Veggies & Optional Cod Fish Recipe (Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free, Peanut-Free, Nightshade Free, & Vegan Option)

This allergy-friendly recipe for Pan Asian fresh spring rolls is a healthy alternative to the commercially available fried versions filled with little more than cabbage. It uses many of the same ingredients as my recipe for rice noodles with veggies and creamy coconut sauce (see it here), so its ingredients can be set aside without adding prep time. This makes it perfect for the next day’s lunch. It’s gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, corn-free, peanut-free, nightshade-free, and it’s easy to make vegan and fish versions at the same time… so everyone gets what they want without worry or fuss!

Ingredients (for each fresh spring roll):

  • 2 snow peas
  • 1 teaspoon diced water chestnuts
  • 2 tablespoons coleslaw mix (or shredded cabbage)
  • 1 tablespoon diced cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon matchstick cut carrots
  • 1 teaspoon diced leeks (or onion)
  • 1 rice paper wrapper + soaking water
  • 2 peas sized dollops of fresh grated ginger (or chopped pickled ginger)
  • ume plum vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
  • black or white sesame seeds (if allergic use hemp seeds)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons sautéed wild-caught cod fillets
  • Serve with dipping sauces like teriyaki, coconut aminos, soyu, Chinese mustard, sweet & sour, etc…


Here I’ve laid out the ingredients for two fresh spring rolls (for those visually inclined individuals like myself). A big serving spoon is about a tablespoon in quantity (depending on your pattern style), but is much easier to measure long ingredients like matchstick cut carrots. One third of a serving spoon is about a teaspoon. (As an added bonus, it goes in the dishwasher!)


Spread a pea sized amount of grated ginger onto each snow pea, and be sure place them apart from each other in the wrapper… this keeps you from feeling concentrated ginger hellfire! (Check out my Pan Asian rice noodle recipe for a picture of my oh so necessary ginger grater that makes quick work out of any root!)


Soak each rice paper wrapper individually in warm water for about 5 seconds… until soft and pliable. Lift the wrap and lay it over a new plate. Sprinkle black sesame seeds onto the center of the wrap, and then layer on the fillings. (You can also sprinkle sesame seeds over the top once it’s finished.) Sprinkle some ume plum vinegar over the veggies.


Next, wrap it like you would a burrito… the two ends fold toward the center, and then the long sides fold one over the other. (It’s great cooking for crafters because it’s like kitchen origami… where it’s okay to play with your food!) Place it in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to settle in before chowing down with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Faithfully Yours,


P.S. You can also totally just ignore my list of ingredients and throw in whatever you feel like… as in leftover take out combined with bagged salad!

Pan Asian Rice Noodles with Veggies & Creamy Coconut Milk Sauce + Optional Cod Fish Recipe (Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free, Peanut-Free, Nightshade-Free, & Vegan Option)


This allergy-friendly recipe of Pan Asian rice noodles is loaded with veggies that are made delicious with the addition of creamy coconut milk sauce. Sautéed wild-caught cod is an easy addition for the non-vegans to devour. It makes a dish lovely enough for company, but is also healthy enough to serve to family alone. Just be sure to save some of the ingredients for fresh spring rolls for the next day’s lunch (see my recipe here). It’s also gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, corn-free, peanut-free, and nightshade-free for everyone to enjoy without worry!

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 14 ounce can coconut milk (liquids & solids mixed, if allergic use plain yogurt)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar (cane, white, coconut, etc.)
  • 4 tablespoons ume plum vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice (or lime)
  • ½ inch knob of fresh grated ginger (or chopped pickled ginger)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (adjust for taste or sodium needs)

Other Ingredients:

  • 8 ounce can bamboo shoots
  • 5 ounce can sliced water chestnuts
  • 28 ounces coleslaw mix (or shredded cabbage)
  • 1½ cups snow peas
  • 1½ cups diced cucumber
  • 1 cup matchstick cut carrots
  • 1 cup diced leeks (or onion)
  • 16 ounce box rice stick noodles (or other variety)
  • Optional: 4 pieces wild-caught cod fillets (or other white fish) + grapeseed oil for sautéing + sliced almond garnish


Wash, dice, and grate everything that needs it. (Note my oh so necessary ginger grater that makes quick work out of any root!)


Cook the rice stick noodles according to the package instructions… being careful not to overcook them into mush. (These are also known as banh pho, and are gluten-free as well as vegan because they’re made with only rice flour and water.)


Dear vegans: skip this part… Sear the cod fillets on both sides, and then lower the heat and sauté 4-5 minutes in grapeseed oil… until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily. (Grapeseed oil is great for any stovetop cooking because it has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point that will not become carcinogenic with high temps like many other oils.) Sprinkle with sliced almonds and sesame seeds if desired.


Make the sauce by dissolving the sugar in the vinegar and lemon juice over low heat. Add in the coconut milk (all portions of liquid and solid from the can) and mix well. Next add the salt and grated ginger, and mix well. Then add all of the veggies, stirring well.


When the rice noodles have finished cooking, drain them into a colander, and then place them back into the same warm pot. Next pour in the sauce veggie mix, and stir well.


Serve it right from the stove, or transfer it to a pretty dish layering the fish atop the pasta. Here it’s served family style as a centerpiece in my Pan Asian Inspired Indigo Shibori & Wooden Themed Tablescape (Perfect for Luncheons & Informal Dinners). Enjoy!



Faithfully Yours,


P.S. Don’t forget to set aside some of the above ingredients for a healthy and tasty lunch like this one tomorrow!


Creamy Macaroni Salad Recipe (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Pepper-Free)

This allergy-friendly creamy macaroni salad recipe is so tasty that no one will be able to tell that it’s vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, pepper-free, and gluten-free. It’s the perfect make-ahead and take dish for everyone to enjoy at picnics or pot-lucks because it’s vegan, celiac and allergy-friendly, and has no egg or dairy to trigger food poisoning… because who would want to be responsible for that!


8 ounce box gluten-free egg-free elbow macaroni (try Andean Dream rice & quinoa pasta, or any variety)

1½ cups chopped celery (a must for crunch)

¾ cup diced leeks (or spring onions, shallots, red onion)

¾ cup diced sun-dried tomato stuffed green olives (or pimento stuffed olives)

½ of my prepared Creamy Salad Dressing Recipe (For Green Salad, Broccoli Salad, Macaroni Salad) Gluten-Free, Vegan, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Pepper-Free (Click here to see it!)



Gather, wash, and chop your ingredients while your pasta is boiling. (I like the Andean Dream quinoa pasta for this recipe, because it doesn’t get mushy when sauced. Follow the package instructions carefully for boil time to keep it al dente.) Rinse the pasta with cool water in a colander after cooking.


Prepare a ½ portion of my Creamy Salad Dressing Recipe (For Green Salad, Broccoli Salad, Macaroni Salad) for this macaroni salad. (For a larger crowd, use a whole recipe of dressing with a double recipe of the macaroni salad.)


Mix everything together well. (Use a soft silicone spoon with a folding motion to prevent pasta tearing.)


Make both my macaroni and broccoli salads using just one recipe of my creamy dressing. Pair them with a baked chicken breast for a complete meal.


Make the broccoli and macaroni salads the day before a gathering for even greater flavor as the ingredients have had time to meld… and so you can indulge in more sleep the next morning.


Take any of my allergy-friendly salads to picnics and pot-lucks, and be assured that no one will go home sick by your hand. (Egg-based mayo + outdoors = food poisoning threat… so not fun for anyone.)


Remember to keep calm and picnic on!


Faithfully Yours,