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Amazing Grain-Free Granola

Amazing Grain-Free Granola


I call this granola amazing because it has all the satisfaction of granola without grains or sugar. Yet is is crunchy and sweet.

I am a big granola fan. It’s something I miss in my grain-free, sugar-free life.

So I was thrilled when Sarah Britton sent her My New Roots newsletter with her recipe for Grain-Free Granola. It inspired me to make my own version, based on her basic recipe. Though I don’t eat the same list of foods that Sarah does, her recipes inspire me for their creativity and beauty.

My version leaves out the sunflower seeds (which I personally don’t care for) and adds bits of dates (only 3 chopped, sprinkled throughout 6 cups of granola). Dates are the best sweet for my body—very low glycemic—yet are nice and sweet. When I sprinkle a few throughout, occasionally I will get a bit in a bite, which gives a different flavor experience. I learned to vary flavors bite-to-bite when I ate in a sandwich shop in Amsterdam many years ago. They took a baguette and laid out various vegetables along the layer of meat, so each bite was a surprise instead of every bite being the same. I love that.

You could use any chopped dried fruit instead of dates or leave the dried fruit out entirely,

I also use yacon syrup instead of maple syrup or honey, but you could use any liquid sweetener you prefer.

yacon syrupYacon syrup is a nutritive sweetener, extracted from the tuberous roots of the yack plant, which is indigenous to the Andes mountains. It is so low-glycemic it raises my blood sugar not at all, yet gives the taste and sweetness of molasses. Here’s a brand I just purchased on This brand is bottled in glass and less expensive than if I buy individual bottles at the natural food store. In addition to adding sweetness to any recipe, yacon syrup also boots metabolism and helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

This granola is so good just as it is, or in a bowl with cream or over yogurt, or served any way you like to eat yogurt.

NOTE: If you wish to soak your nuts first, follow the instructions to make Crispy Almonds. Chop the nuts after crisping them, then make the granola.

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Balinese Coconut Chicken Salad

Balinese Coconut Chicken Salad
I eat a lot of salad, especially in the summertime. And I also love to read Saveur magazine , which is all about “how to cook and eat the world.” So much so that I subscribe to their daily recipe newsletter. And a few days ago the recipe was Ayam Jeruk, a grilled chicken and toasted coconut salad in a coconut milk sauce, served over rice, from Bali.

Now traditional recipes can be quite complex, but what I look for in them are the essential flavors, which I then make into a simple dish with the foods that are best for my body.

And that was my philosophy behind this salad. Flavors of Bali, but not in the traditional dish.

It was delicious! Just changing a few spices made my everyday foods taste completely different and exotic. Very refreshing on a hot Florida evening.

Ginger Limeade would be the perfect drink to serve with this salad, and uses ingredients you already have on hand for the salad.

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Huffington Post on Reducing Food Waste

food waste

This month, The Huffington Post launched “Reclaim ” —- a campaign to highlight the scale of food waste in the United States.

There are some pretty interesting stories, which range from recipes for “ugly fruits” to how you can reduce the amount of food waste in your own home.

As part of the campaign, Editorial Fellow Casey Williams spent one week eating only foods that had “expired” or were destined for the trash. His meals included past-date chicken, aging bacon, old eggs, etc. and what did he conclude? Eating food that’s past date probably won’t hurt you.

Casey found that date labels tell shoppers when food is going to lose its freshness NOT when it will become unsafe to eat. Marianne Gravely, technical information specialist at the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, told The Huffington Post, “There is a lot of variety in food labeling, but very few products have a date that indicates the product is unsafe.”

Check out Casey’s experiment here to see how making date labels easier to understand could help save nearly 400,000 tons of food from being sent to landfills each year.

Additional highlights from HuffPost Reclaim include:

Here’s a stylish infographic that shows you “The Magic Parts” of kitchen scraps that allow you to regrow vegetables—free!

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My Idea of 72-hour Emergency Food

72 hour food kit

Last week I received an email promoting a 72-hour emergency food kit that would last 25 years. They were giving them away free to seniors because “everyone needs a 72-hour food supply.”

But look at what’s in these kits (the image above is from a real kit). More carbs than I want to eat. And none of this sounds very appetizing unless it’s heated, which I can guarantee is not possible in an emergency.

It’s hurricane season here in Florida, and every summer we are asked to be hurricane-ready. While we have not been hit directly by a hurricane in here in Clearwater in the fifteen years I’ve lived here, we’ve had a few close calls.

In 2004, when hurricane Charley hit Port Charlotte (about 100 miles south of where I live) my husband and I volunteered to go down and do relief work, which mostly involved distributing free food and water. I will never forget the sight of miles of trailer parks just flattened, whole neighborhoods gone, and people left with nothing.

And so it’s very real to me that I could be in a situation where I might have no food, and not have a place to cook.

But the idea of freeze-dried food sitting on a shelf for years, just waiting for an emergency doesn’t appeal to me at all. Nor do I want to be required to eat whatever free food is being handed out because I wasn’t prepared.

As I started thinking about this, I realized that at any given time I have food supplies that could be packed in a backpack at a moment’s notice, which could sustain me for 72-hours. And it would be fresh organic foods, not food that has been sitting around for years.

Here’s my logic.

1. I always have food on hand. I don’t let my supplies run out. I don’t do this for emergency reasons, I do it because I want to eat the foods that I have determined are healthy for my body, and the best way for me to do that is to keep these foods in my kitchen at all times. I learned years ago that if I don’t have my foods available in my kitchen, it’s too easy to call for a pizza (haven’t done that in years, but it’s because I always have my preferred foods in the house).


super green2. I always have whole food supplements on hand. If need be I could get plenty of nutrients from my whole food supplements, even if I had no other food. Because these are whole organic, non-GMO foods, dehydrated at “raw” temperatures. I have portable capsules and powder to be mixed with water. These whole food supplements could easily keep me going for 72 hours. Touchstone Essentials Wholefood Nutrition


nuts3. I always have nuts and seeds on hand. Nuts and seeds are extremely nutritious and contain everything needed for a plant to reproduce itself. A pound of almonds, for example, would be enough for 72 hours.



artisana tahini4. I always have coconut butter and other coconut products on hand. Coconut oil is very nutritious and the fat is an excellent fuel for your body. I prefer coconut butter to coconut oil for eating—it’s coconut oil mixed with coconut meat. So good. I just eat it out of he jar with a spoon. If you’re going to put this in a backpack, put the jar in a ziplock plastic bag, just in cases it leaks.


That really would be enough for me for 72 hours. No cooking required and if would be fresh food.

I would grab whatever I could from the refrigerator, like cheese, and any homemade crackers I have on hand. I always have frozen ice packs in the freezer, which could help keep perishable fresh for at least a day.

Beef jerky is another good food to have for quick snacks as well as survival food. But be sure to make your own (just cut beef in strips, add seasonings and dehydrate at a low temperature in the oven until it’s dried) or purchase a brand that doesn’t have sugar or preservatives.

I eat a very low-carb diet, but if I didn’t I’d probably have dark chocolate bars to put in the emergency stash or protein bars. Just whatever you like to eat, consider how to rotate supplies so you always have enough on the shelf for an emergency.

My point here is to keep enough food in your home at all times, of the type that can turn into an emergency supply if needed. But eat these foods, don’t stash them away. In this way you can always have your 72-hour emergency supply be fresh.

Now if you want to keep a year’s supply of food, that’s a different issue. But if you think in advance about a short-term food stash—as we do here in the hurricane zone—you’ll be ready at a moment’s notice if you need to be.

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Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

I love many fruits, but I think my favorite has to be the peach. It probably goes back to that day when I was about three or four years old, when my grandfather picked me up way over his head so I could reach a sun-ripened peach in his backyard tree and pick it. My grandmother peeled, pitted, and sliced this peach and covered it with sugar and evaporated milk. It was just the best thing I had ever eaten.

And so even though I eat a very low carb diet (more about that coming soon), every summer I have to each a peach. This year I bought a peach and let it sit on my kitchen island for a week until it’s fragrance called to me. And then I made peach cobbler.

Now I also want to mention that I make a point to make desserts in individual small portions. Instead of making a whole pan of peach cobbler, I made two 1/2 cup ramekins, each one containing half of the peach. This really is a proper portion to enjoy something sweet without spiking blood sugar badly (of course, the amount depends on your own individual body).

A “cobbler” is called a cobbler because originally it had a biscuit topping on the fresh fruit. The biscuits are usually dropped onto the fruit in small spoonfuls or round cutouts, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road. Hence the name. But cobblers are now also made with cake batter or cookie dough on top and are still called cobblers, so I think mine qualifies. With almond flour crumble on top, it looks like a cobbled street.

I’ve included the flavors of peach cobbler—peaches, butter, cinnamon—with a gluten-free topping.

I just took the photo and ate one, still warm out of the oven with a glass of iced jasmine green tea. Mmmmmmmmm! Tastes like a peach with just a bit of sweet and cinnamon and crust. And just the right amount. Wow. Summer 🙂

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Coconut Shrimp with Hot Mango Dipping Sauce

Almost every restaurant here in Florida has coconut shrimp on the menu. I love it, but don’t eat it any more because the crispy crust is made with wheat and sugar, it’s fried in who-knows-what, and it’s served with a very sweet syrupy dipping sauce.

But one day I happened to be watching the Cooking channel for a few minutes while I was eating lunch and Bobby Dean was making his low-calories version of coconut shrimp his mama Paula Deen used to make, but it was still full of sugar and wheat.

But I took his technique of dipping the shrimp in beaten egg white and then in the crust (he used panko bread crumbs with his coconut), and make it wheat- and sugar-free.

And it’s the best coconut shrimp I’ve ever eaten.

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10-Minute Zucchini Fettuccine

10-Minute Zucchini FettuciniXtrema Cookware

When I was a little girl, my mother worked in a department store and after school  I went to a neighbor’s house until my mother got home.

Mrs. Sainsbury was Sicilian and she would make a dish she called “fettacini.” I didn’t know until many years later that fettacini was a cut of pasta. Mrs. Sainbury’s “fettacini” was made with spaghetti, butter, garlic, eggs, and parmesan cheese. It’s not an omelet. Bits of egg just stick to the spaghetti.

It must have been really delicious because it made a big impression on me. It was totally different from anything served at my house.

And every once in a while I remember this fettacini and make it for myself. This week I made it with gluten-free zucchini noodles and it tasted even better.

Now that it’s zucchini season, give it try. You’ll love it.

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BPA in Canned Food = BPA in the Body—and Cream of Mushroom Soup Leaches more BPA Than Peaches

We’ve heard this before—BPA is leaching from the interior linings of cans into canned food—but a new study shows that different types of food leach different amounts of BPA.

The study suggests that canned soups and pasta can expose consumers to higher concentrations of BPA than canned vegetables and fruit — and although those foods are tied to BPA concentrations, canned beverages, meat and fish are not.

Researchers found that people who consumed one canned food item in the past day had about 24% higher concentrations of BPA in their urine compared with those who had not consumed canned food. The consumption of two or more canned food items resulted in about 54% higher concentrations of BPA.

Once the researchers evaluated what types of canned foods were consumed, they found that eating canned soup resulted in a whopping 229% higher concentration of BPA compared with consuming no canned foods. Canned pasta resulted in 70% higher concentrations, and canned vegetables or fruit resulted in 41% higher concentrations.

In the past, researchers tested can linings for the presence of BPA. This study shows that BPA from can linings actually do elevate levels of BPA in the body.

CNN: Canned foods linked to BPA risk in new study
ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH: The consumption of canned food and beverages and urinary Bisphenol A concentrations in NHANES 2003–2008

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Strawberries With Cheesecake

Strawberries with Cheesecake
Independence Day is coming up on Monday, so I thought I’d give you a “red white & blue’ recipe this week.

This is a variation on a recipe I came up with many years ago.

It’s a reversal of the standard cheesecake–instead of putting goopy strawberries on top of cheesecake, you put the cheesecake in fresh strawberries! More fruit, less sweetener, and your taste buds still think they’ve eaten strawberry cheesecake. This is actually one of my favorites. A whole platter of these for a party looks gorgeous and allows guests to choose their portion of dessert.

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Raw Plum Sauce

Raw Plu Sauce
I first made this plum sauce back in 2009 when I was writing a blog about natural sweeteners called Sweet Savvy.

It was so delicious that it got picked up and published in a cookbook called Locally Delicious.

I made it again this week because plums are in season. I love eating foods that you can only eat at a certain time of year, and now is the time for plum sauce.

I first discovered plum sauce in a Chinese restaurant. It’s part of a dish called Mu Shu Pork. There’s a very thin pancake, you smear on the plum sauce, put the ground pork on top and sprinkle with rice vinegar. One of my all-time favorite dishes.

As I’ve been eating gluten-free, I’ve found that usually the gluten part of a dish does’t have much flavor. The spectacular part of Mu Shu Pork is the plum sauce!

So I make plum sauce and put it on anything! In the photo I made a little stir fry, but you could also use it as a condiment like catsup.

It’s a wonderful way to bring the taste of summer to any dish.

All of the flavoring ingredients can be adjusted to taste—more or less. Start with less and add more to taste.

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