Free and Whole Living

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White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

I love fall!  I love the leaves changing, the boots and sweater weather.   But mostly, I love the food. The soups, stews, crisps, squash, and pumpkin anything.  The weather changed and the chill made me want soup.

I had cooked white beans and a butternut squash. I was intending to make a curried soup, but I found a granny smith apple left from making apple sauce.  So, I decided to add an apple, thyme, and some dill.  I love apples in soups and mashed potatoes.  It adds sweet and tart flavors to your dishes. Adding a little apple cider vinegar rounds the flavors nicely.  Toning down the sweetness from the carrots and apples, adding tartness. It has such amazing flavors and some texture, chunks of vegetables instead of a smoothly pureed soup.




2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup parsnips, diced

2 cups butternut squash, diced

2 cups white beans, cooked and drained or canned

1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried dill

2 teaspoons salt

1-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

4 cups vegetable stock or water


Put a large stockpot on medium high heat.  Add oil.

When the pot is hot, add onions and garlic.  Stir and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Add, carrots, parsnips, and butternut squash.  Stir and cook3-5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.

Add white beans.  Stir well.

Add thyme, dill, and salt.  Stir well.


Add vegetable stock or water.  Stir well.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Turn heat to medium-low and cover.

Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.


Take off heat, and blend with a hand blender.  Or you can ladle 2-3 cups of soup into a blender.

Be very careful. The soup is hot and it is not fun getting splashed by scalding hot soup.

The texture is silky and with chunks of vegetables, and has great flavors with the dill, squash, and apples.

It’s a great meal with a nice salad and a nice piece of gluten free bread.









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Hello everyone,

Hello friends! I wanted to share an exciting project that I have the honor of working on with my dear friend Kreed Revere.

Kreed has created an amazing and safe place for women to grow spiritually, her new endeavor, Birthing Spirit Love which helps women to discover their full potential.

She will be offering different classes and workshops.
One that I am so excited to be a part of is Nourish.  I will help women who are interested in changing to a gluten free lifestyle and/or those who are interested in either becoming a vegetarian or vegan.

We will learn how to create a menu plan, how to change your eating habits without feeling deprived, and how to navigate through the  of the grocery store without being overwhelmed or stressed out.

I will be sharing my knowledge and since I am living proof of how changing my lifestyle increased my quality of life and has made so many positive and long lasting changes. Not only have I lost 50lbs. and have kept it off for two years, but my health has improved so much. I don’t have any of the debilitating IBS issues, the sluggishness, the fatigue, and bloating that was such a part of my daily life for many years.

Please check out her website and blog.


Spiced Chocolate Zucchini muffins

I have been working on breakfast ideas lately.  I have gotten many requests for breakfast ideas, since that seems to be a hard meal  for people new to a gluten free or vegan lifestyle to think of.  It’s hard to break the eggs and sausage, or cereal and milk habit.  I remember eating lots of eggs, turkey sausage with cheese or  granola and yogurt, and English muffins with almond butter and jam.  It’s hard when you cannot eat those things anymore, and then to come up with delicious and filling meals is can seem daunting.  So, this is a delicious, filling, and nutritious.  My flour mix has sorghum, teff, millet, and amaranth.  Those flours are pricey, so it might be easier and less expensive to purchase a nutritious flour mix.  Try looking for one with sorghum or millet flours.  The reason that I make my own mix is that most of the commercial gluten free flours are made of garbanzo, fava bean, rice flours, tapioca, and/or potato starch.  My body has a hard time digesting garbanzo and fava bean flours.  It makes me very bloated and uncomfortable.  It is very easy to make your own mix but initially it is expensive, which depends on the flours that you use and mostly because of the xanthan gum.  Bob’s Red Mill’s Xanthan gum is found at most co-ops or at Whole Foods, and is $11.99 for 8oz., but that will last you literally a year.  I bought mine last October and I still have a lot.  You only use about 1  -2 teaspoons for a cookie or a muffin recipe.  Xanthan gum is used as a binding and thickening agent.  I used it to thicken salad dressings when I was a prep cook and it helps bind gluten free baked products.  I will include my gluten free all purpose flour recipe.

Since it is summer and the zucchini is just beautiful right now, I thought about making zucchini muffins. I had these zucchini from the market in my refrigerator and it reminded me of my father’s garden.  My father used to have the most amazing and delicious garden.  I used to love walking through and picking the bounty.  He grew tomatoes, different types of lettuce, bok choy, all types of herbs, and zucchini.  He used to grow these crazy, huge zucchinis.  I wish that I took pictures.  One of my favorite things that I used to make was zucchini bread.  I usually add walnuts and cranberries, but I wanted to do something different and I decided to add chocolate and dried cherries.  I spend Sunday afternoon with my dad at the Adult Family home.  And, my favorite thing that I look forward to all week is making and feeding him dinner.  I spend most of the week thinking about a menu for his dinner, and Saturday preparing it.  I wanted to make a little treat for my dad, his housemates, and caregivers.




1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

3 tablespoons water

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups gluten free all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups zucchini, grated or diced

1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

1/2 cup dried cherries

Mulu’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

2 cups oat flour

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup millet flour

1/2 cup amaranth flour

1/2 cup teff flour

1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour

1/3 cup arrowroot starch

5 teaspoons xanthan gum

Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk well.

Store in an airtight container or in a 1/2 gallon freezer bag.

Keep all gluten free flours in the refrigerator.  They get rancid quickly.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with large baking cups and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon chia meal and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl.  Stir and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl add flour, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, spices, and salt.


Whisk to incorporate dry ingredients and set aside.

Grate or chop your zucchini.  I like the texture that the muffins have when the zucchini is grated.  It is totally up to you.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer add coconut oil and vanilla extract.  Mix on medium.


Add chia “egg”.  Mix on medium to incorporate.

Add dry ingredients one cup at a time.  Start the mixer on low and then increase speed to medium.

Add zucchini in between the dry mixture additions.

I added one cup of dry ingredients, mixed, and then added the zucchini, and mixed, and added the dry ingredients.


Add candied ginger, dark chocolate, and berries.


Mix until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Scoop mixture into lined muffin pan.  Fill 3/4 of the cup.


Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Take out and cool for 5 minutes in pan.

Cool onto wire rack for 10-15 minutes.


Enjoy while warm, it goes so well with either coffee or tea.

Store in a airtight container or a plate wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature  for up to two days.

Store in refrigerator for up to one week or freeze up to 2 months.

















White Bean and Herb Burgers

I was planning on making a  veggie burger to make for my dad for our weekly dinner dates.  I didn’t have any beets to make my beet burgers and I was out of quinoa and garbanzo beans to make him my other go to veggie burgers.  I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping for those ingredients, and I didn’t see any beets at the farmers market this morning.  So, I scoured my cupboards and found dry white beans.   I don’t buy any canned goods anymore, so I always get bulk beans from my local co-op market.  It’s best to soak your beans overnight, but I didn’t have the time to do that.  So, I did the quick soak method, and cooked my beans.  I will include directions below.



2 cups white beans (cooked and cooled or 15 oz can drained and rinsed)

2 tablespoons flax meal

6 tablespoons water

1/2 cup gluten free oats

1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh herbs, minced or 1 tablespoon dried herbs (I used fresh oregano, thyme, tarragon, and chives)

2 teaspoons sea salt

Quick Soak method directions:

Pour dry beans on a large plate or baking sheet.

Sort through and pick out dirt and stones.  Rinse with cold water.

Put the beans in a large pot and fill with about three inches water.


Cook on medium high, until they come to a boil.

Turn off heat.  Cover and remove from the heat.

Let sit for an hour.  Drain.

In a large pot, add 4 cups vegetable stock or water.  Pour beans.

Bring to a boil.  Cover pot and reduce heat to low.

Cook for 30 to 40 minutes.  Depending on how tender you like it.

I like mine a little firm.  So, 40 minutes was perfect.

If you like it a little softer cook it longer, maybe in 10 minute increments, until you have the texture that you like.

Burger directions:

In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons flax meal, and 6 tablespoons water.  Whisk and set aside.


In a food processor add: oats, beans, onions, garlic.  I have a mini food processor and I have to do it in 3 batches.

Add walnuts and bread crumbs.

Pulse 2 – 3 times.  Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add 1/2 of the flax “egg”.  Pulse 2 -3 times.  Scraping the bowl in between pulses.


When the mixture is combined well, pour into a large mixing bowl.

Process the rest of the ingredients and add the mixture into the mixing bowl.

Add the herbs, paprika, and salt.  Mix well with slightly wet hands.

Line a large plate or platter with parchment paper.

Form mixture into burger patties.  Refrigerator 2 – 4 hours.  I chilled mine overnight.


Heat a skillet on medium heat.  Add olive oil.


When the oil is hot, add burger.

Cook 3 – 5 minutes on each side, or until the burgers are golden brown and crispy.

Remove from heat, and place on a plate.

You can use any gluten free hamburger buns.  I served mine on a rosemary keecha, which is an Ethiopian flat bread that my father used to make every Sunday.

Being in the kitchen with my dad is always one of my favorite memories.

Be creative and have fun with the toppings.  Burger toppings were always my favorite part of the whole burger experience.

I used some red leaf butter lettuce, caramelized onions.  My usual fixings are caramelized onions and mushrooms.  They are so delicious.

I usually use pesto as a spread, but this time I used some vegenaise with minced roasted garlic.
















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Papa’s Granola

I have had many requests for more breakfast items, and I have been working on granola bars and the perfect breakfast cookie.  I hope to get both of those items finalized pretty soon.  I love granola.  It is a great breakfast or snack.  It is full of great protein and fiber from the gluten free oats, nuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds.  There is a little sweetness from the dried fruit and maple syrup, but it’s not very sweet at all.  Just a hint of sweetness and spice from the cinnamon.  I used to make granola for my family, and my dad just loved it.  This is based on that recipe, the only difference is that I added flax, chia, and hemp seeds.  You can add any type of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, or even vegan dark chocolate chips.  This is a great recipe to have in your rotation.



5 cups gluten free rolled oats (I used Trader Joe’s)

2 cups dry quinoa (I used Trader Joe’s tricolor quinoa)

1/4 cup flax seeds

1/4 cup hemp seeds

1/4 cup chia seeds

2 cups nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)

3 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup or agave

1/4 cup fruit juice

2 cups dried fruit ( I used cranberries and raisins)


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl add: oats, quinoa, seeds, nuts, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.


Add oil, maple syrup (or agave), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and fruit juice in a small saucepan.  Simmer on medium-high heat.

Take off the heat right before it comes to a boil.

Pour on top of the oat mixture.

Stir well with a wooden spoon.

Pour evenly on the prepared sheet pans.

Smooth mixture with a wooden spoon until both pans are pretty even.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Check pan after about 10 minutes. Stir granola and turn the pans, so they can cook evenly.

Take out of oven and let sit in pans for 5 minutes.

Add the dried fruit and stir.  Let cool completely.

Store in airtight containers in a dry cool place or in the refrigerator.  This recipe yields about 9 cups.

It will stay nicely in the freezer.









Strawberry Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble

Kristen’s crumble

I made this dessert for two going away parties at work.  I saw these beautiful strawberries at the market and I also saw rhubarb and decided to give it a whirl.  I have never had strawberry rhubarb pies before, nor have I ever made it.  I discovered a new-found love for rhubarb.  And, I absolutely love the combination of the sweetness of the strawberries, the tartness of the rhubarb, with the sweet-spiciness of the ginger.  This is  definitely  one of my favorite desserts.  Several of my co-workers told me that it was their favorite thing that I have ever made, so I decided to make it again for my friend Haydn’s going away.



4 cups strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered (or halved for smaller berries)

2 cups rhubarb, rinsed, trimmed, and diced

4 tablespoons candied ginger, diced

1 tablespoon + 1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

1 cup gluten free oats

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup coconut oil

Filling Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray or brush a 9″ pie plate or casserole dish with coconut oil.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, add strawberries, rhubarb, 2 tablespoons ginger, 1 tablespoon  sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Mix well.  Add lemon juice and zest.

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Pour into the prepared baking dish.  Set aside.

Crumble Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a  paddle attachment, add oats, almond meal, walnuts, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ginger, and 1/4 cup coconut sugar.

Mix on medium, until the ingredients are mixed well.

Sprinkle crumble topping on top of the filling.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or when your kitchen smells like strawberries and cinnamon.


Haydn’s crumble













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Strawberry Citrus Cupcakes


I made these delicious cupcakes for my papa’s fathers day dinner.  I have been playing around with different gluten-free flours trying to come up with moist and spongy cupcake.  Anyone that has ever attempted baking a gluten free cake that has flavor, is moist, and spongy knows how hard of a feat that really is.  But, I finally made a cupcake that was not crumbly or tasted like cardboard.  Which, unfortunately  are many of the  gluten free baked goods on the market.  And, it is especially difficult when you don’t use eggs.  But, I love using chia and flax replacement eggs in my recipes.  I use the same amount of chia eggs that I would in a regular cake recipe.  Well, after many failed attempts at making cakes, I used a combination of almond and millet flours.  I also used strawberry puree and decreased the amount of maple syrup that I was going to use.  And, the citrus juice added a nice zesty flavor.  I didn’t ice it, but it would be nice with a citrus glaze.


1 1/2 cups almond flour ( I ground raw almonds in my mini food processor)

1 cup millet flour

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons ground chia or flax

6 tablespoons water

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted or olive oil

1/3 cup maple syrup or agave

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup each, fresh lemon and lime juice

1 tablespoon each, lemon and lime zest

1 cup strawberries, pureed

2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped


Add chia meal and water into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Stir and set aside.

In a medium bowl add flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, and sea salt.

Whisk well to combine.

Add oil, maple syrup or agave, and oil to the chia “egg”.


Mix on medium speed until combined.

Add dry ingredients half a cup at a time.

Alternate with the citrus juice.

Mix in between additions, starting with low speed and increasing to medium.

You should start and end with the dry ingredients.

Add candied ginger and mix well.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with baking cups or spray with coconut oil spray.

Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of batter into baking cups, filling 3/4 full.


Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Take out of oven and cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes.

Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.


They go great with coffee or tea.













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