A dairy-free, gluten-free, pescetarian Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey (or Tofurkey) Day! My family and I started the day off with a 5k this morning, which got us in great moods as well as stimulated our appetites for a delicious feast. Since 3 out of 4 of us don’t eat meat and 2 of those 3 are on pretty strict diets, we certainly don’t have the typical Thanksgiving meal. Our Thanksgiving meal may be far from traditional, but it is certainly delicious!

This year we enjoyed fresh Scottish salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, kale salad, and roasted cauliflower. For dessert I made pumpkin fudge and apple crisp.


The kale recipe can be found here: http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&productId=765609

The roasted cauliflower recipe: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/roasted-cauliflower-with-cranberries/

Mashed Sweet potatoes:


4 large sweet potatoes

2 Tbsp soy-free earth balance

2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

¾ cup raw pecans

½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes.
  2. Bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are soft and skin can be easily removed.
  3. Once potatoes are done baking, remove from oven and turn down the oven temperature to 350 F.
  4. Chop pecans and roast in oven at 350 F for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove skin and mash potatoes in a large bowl. Add the salt, almond milk, and Earth Balance and combine. Top with cinnamon and chopped pecans.

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon:


2.5 lb fresh salmon

1 cedar plank

1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup brown sugar


  1. Preheat gas grill to medium.
  2. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, Italian seasoning, paprika, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
  3. With clean hands or a spatula, rub the mixture evenly throughout the top of the salmon filet.
  4. Place the prepared salmon onto the cedar plank (skin down).
  5. Grill for 30 minutes, or until salmon turns light pink and flaky.

The pumpkin fudge recipe can be found here: http://purelytwins.com/2012/10/15/how-make-healthy-fresh-pumpkin-pie-fudge-recipe/

The recipe for the apples was inspired by Detoxinista at http://detoxinista.com/2013/11/healthy-baked-cinnamon-apples/ and prior to baking the dish, I topped it with a crumb topping from http://greatist.com/health/gluten-free-apple-crisp-healthy-recipe using Earth Balance instead of butter.


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey


Gluten-Free Fiesta (recipes)

As I mentioned before, I was manager this past Friday for my quantity food preparation class, a senior level dietetics course. The role of manager entails modifying recipes to feed 50 people, creating production sheets, assigning roles, preparing the dining room, etc. My two co-managers and I decided on a Gluten-Free Fiesta, a South American inspired gluten-free clinical meal. Our menu included a jicama salad appetizer, enchiladas and a Spanish quinoa bake for the entrée, and a coconut pudding with homemade chocolate sauce for dessert. Sweet potato black bean enchildas were offered for vegans in place of the chicken enchiladas and the chocolate sauce was left off of the pudding for a vegan option as well. Everything else on our menu was vegan and gluten-free. We modified both our enchilada dishes and the quinoa bake from the fabulous Gluten Free Goddess: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/02/santa-fe-brown-rice-bake.html  http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/03/pineapple-salsa-chicken-enchiladas.html     http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/10/sweet-potato-black-bean-enchiladas.html

The original jiicama salad can be found here: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/strawberry-mango-jicama-salad-recipe/

The coconut pudding recipe was adapted from http://www.thelatinkitchen.com/recipe/wilo-benets-coconut-pudding-tembleque and the chocolate sauce from http://www.emerils.com/recipe/5579/Chocolate-Sauce.

Lastly, we created our own pineapple salsa recipe.

Below are our adapted recipes to serve 50 people:

Strawberry Mango Jicama Salad:

Yield: 50

Portion size: ½ cup (4 ounce) portions


Strawberries-  13 lbs (~200 ounces)

Mangos- 9 lbs (~12 large mangos)

Jicama- 9 lbs (~12 large Jicamas)

Cilantro- 3.2 cups = 26 ounces= 1.6 lbs

Lime juice- 2.5 cups (Mostly from a bottle, but a little from fresh limes (3) to put on top)


1. Wash the strawberries and mangos.

2. Wash the jicama separately from the fruits.

3. Remove the tops of the strawberries, be careful not to remove too much of the edible portion. Dice the strawberries into 4ths.

4. Peel the mangos with a paring knife, be careful not to remove too much of the edible portion (There will not be much waste). Find the pit of the mango, just off the center and cut the mango the whole way through into two pieces. After, dice the mangos into small sizes similar to that of the strawberries.

5. Peel the jicama. Use a vegetable peeler or a knife to remove the outer skin of the jicama. It will look similar to a potato once peeled. Dice into small sizes similar to that of the strawberries and mango.

6. Wash the cilantro and peel it into small pieces.

7. In a large bowl, stir together the strawberries, mango and jicama. Add in the cilantro and lime juice, use discretion when adding the cilantro (if there is too much then stop adding).

8. Stir until well mixed.  Cover with plastic wrap and if time allows, chill in the refrigerator.

Pineapple Salsa

Yield: 50 portions


Fresh pineapple- 3lb 12 oz EP

Red bell peppers- 1 lb 4 oz

Jalapeno peppers- 6 oz

Canned diced tomatoes- 2 lb

Red onions- 6 oz

Crushed red pepper-1 tsp

Fresh lime juice-1 cup

Fresh cilantro, chopped- 1oz (or ¾ cup)


1. Cut pineapple into ¼-inch cubes and put in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Remove stem end and seed pod from bell pepper and cut into ¼-inch cubes. Slice jalapeno peppers into thin slices. Stir into pineapple.

3. Dice onions into ¼ inch cubes and add to the pineapple mixture.

4. Stir lime juice, crushed red pepper, and cilantro into mixture.

5. Open the cans of tomatoes and add to a food processor along with the pineapple mixture. Pulse for about 30 seconds.

6. Split salsa into two separate bowls: 4 lb for the sweet potato enchiladas and 10 lb for the chicken enchiladas. Cover and chill until enchilada chefs are ready for salsa.

Coconut Pudding:

Yield: 50

Portion Size: 1 cup


Coconut milk (unsweetened, canned)- 3 qts and 1 cup (9 14oz cans if purchased that way)

Sugar- 4 lbs 3 oz

Cornstarch- 1 lb 3 oz

Salt- 2 teaspoons

Cinnamon- 3 tablespoons (sprinkling on top)


1. In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk with the sugar and salt. Bring to a full boil and cook for about 6 minutes. Don’t forget to stir occasionally.

2. In a bowl, combine cornstarch with water (about 1.5 cups, add more if needed to make a slurry mixture) and whisk, mixing well.

3. Immediately pour slurry into saucepan and cook for 2 minutes, continually whisking until mixture thickens into a pudding.

4. Remove from the heat. Pour the mixture through a colander and transfer the strained pudding into a nonstick deep dish.

5. Smooth out the surface and cool. Refrigerate for 2 hours in the walk-in to completely set.

**More than likely will be using the tall parfait dishes, bring them to the dishwasher for a quick run through since they are probably dusty.

6. Begin making Chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce:


Heavy cream- 1 quart and 1 cup

Chocolate chips- 1 lb 14 ounces

Vanilla extract- 1.65 ounces

1. In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a bare simmer over low heat.

2. Place the chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Whisk the cream slowly into the chocolate. 3. Add the vanilla and continue whisking until the chocolate melts and the sauce thickens.

4. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before pouring over the Coconut Pudding.


Spanish Quinoa Bake:

Yield: 50

Portion Size: (See manager once baked)


Quinoa- 7 lbs

Olive Oil blend- ½ cup

White Onion – 8 each

Sweet bell pepper- Red and Orange 8 each

Diced, canned tomatoes- 8 each (reserve juice in case quinoa needs added moisture in the end)

Frozen Corn Kernels- 2 lbs

Lime Juice- 1 cup (bottled)

Sea salt- if needed add small amount (can wait to add)

Chili powder- 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (start low, add to taste)

Cumin- 2 tbs and 2 teaspoons (start low, add to taste)

Cilantro- 1 cup


1.  Cook quinoa in a covered pot according to directions.

2. In the meantime, wash and chop the onion, sweet bell peppers into small pieces.

3. Preheat oven to 450 (oven under stove). Place the corn in a colander and rinse with cool water to partially defrost. Drain well. Spread the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir to coat well and redistribute to a single layer. Place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until the corn kernels start to brown.

4. Once the corn has been removed, turn down the oven temperature to 350.

5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil blend, leaving a small amount for end product. Add the chopped onion and sweet bell peppers and cook for about 5 minutes.

6. Add the canned, diced tomatoes (reserve juice from can in case quinoa needs added moisture in the end), the corn kernels and the lime juice to the mixture. Stir-fry briefly until crisp-tender. Don’t overcook the vegetables because they will still be baked in the oven with the casserole.

7. Remove from heat and assemble casserole. Spoon the quinoa into a large casserole dish and add in salt, chili powder, cumin and fresh cilantro to taste (don’t overdo it, add sparingly).

8. Add the rest of the olive oil blend to moisten the quinoa. Stir.

9. Add the vegetable/corn kernels/lime juice mixture and toss to combine.

10. Cover and bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the mixture is heated through. Checked to make sure internal temperature has reached.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas:

Yield: 15

Serving Size: 8 ounce serving


For topping- 4 lbs of pineapple salsa (Corey will bring you the salsa after making it)

Black beans- 4lbs or 4 15-oz cans

Lime Juice- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (bottled)

Sweet potatoes- 6.25 lbs

Roasted green chiles- 2 cups or 1 lb

Cumin- 2 teaspoons (add to taste)

Chili powder- 2 teaspoons (add to taste)

Cilantro- 1 ounce (add up to this, can stop if too much)

Corn tortillas- 30 each- share with chicken enchiladas

Olive Oil blend- 4 tablespoons


1. Preheat the Combi- oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Wash the outer surface of the potatoes. Get out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and place face down on the parchment paper. Cook the sweet potatoes in the oven for about 30 or so minutes- until they feel soft. This will help the skins come off easily.

3. Using a mixing bowl, combine the drained black beans with the lime juice; toss to coat the beans and then set aside.

4. When the sweet potatoes are done, cube them and quickly mash them in a food processor. Add the chopped green chiles and the spices (to taste, not too much!).

5. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When cooking the enchiladas you will be sharing this with the pineapple salsa chicken enchiladas.

6. On a tortilla, add some of the sweet potato mixture, and add some of the black bean mixture. Wrap the tortilla and place it in a baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.

7. When finished, top the tortillas with the rest of the pineapple salsa.

8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the enchiladas are hot.

***Don’t forget to try mixture- but remember there are a limited amount of portions.

Pineapple Salsa Chicken Enchiladas:

Yield: 35

Portion size: 4 ounces


Pineapple salsa- 1 gallon and 1 quart (10 lbs)

Raw chicken-chicken thighs (boneless)- 15 lbs

Lime Juice- 1 ¼ cup (bottled)

Olive oil- as needed

Corn tortillas- 70 (share with sweet potato enchiladas)

Pineapple tidbits- 10 cups (5 lbs)

Chopped green chiles, canned- 2.5 lbs

Shredded cheddar cheese- 3 lbs and 12 ounces


1. Turn on steamer. Retrieve hotel pans and put chicken thighs in a single layer across the bottom. Put plastic wrap over the hotel pans and put them in the steamer for 10-15 min or until done.  (should be able to fit about 3 hotel pans in the steamer at a time.

2. Pour salsa in the bottom of a lightly oiled baking dish, just enough to cover the bottom. You will use multiple dishes.

3. Pour lime juice all over the cooked chicken; season with salt and pepper and toss well to coat.

4. Place a tortilla in the salsa covered baking dish, fill with chicken (sparingly so that all enchiladas can be filled), roll the tortilla and keep it in the baking dish.

5. Repeat for the rest of the tortillas. Pour remaining salsa all over the rolled tortillas. Top with the pineapple tidbits and green chiles.

6. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.

7. Make sure the combi-oven is at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You will be sharing with the sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. Bake enchiladas in the oven until they are bubbling and heated through, about 30 minutes. Check internal temperature to ensure 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gluten-Free Fiesta

I can’t believe it has been 10 days since my last blog post! Shame on me. School work has been consuming me, but I’m happy to share with you something I have putting a lot of time into recently. One of my senior level Dietetics class is quantity food preparation in which we prepare a meal for 50 people. We are required to manage one of the meals and today was my special day. My two co-managers and I have been working all semester on planning a gluten-free clinical meal with South American inspiration. Below is the menu for our Gluten-free Fiesta:

Appetizer– Strawberry and Mango Jicama Salad

Main Dish-Pineapple Salsa Chicken Enchiladas

Vegan/Vegetarian option– Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Side Dish– Southwestern Quinoa Bake

Dessert– Coconut Pudding with Homemade Chocolate Sauce


Stay tuned for the recipes 🙂

Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola

Once you make this recipe you will never want to go back to store-bought granola! Most granola is loaded with added sugar, but this recipe simply calls for ¼ cup of honey to sweeten it.  It’s wonderful with milk, in yogurt, or on top of a smoothie bowl. It is also great by itself; I can’t stop grabbing handfuls from my pantry! I modified my recipe from http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/04/04/recipe-granola-bars-cereal/.



  • 1 ¼ cups gluten-free oats
  • ¼ cup raw almonds
  • ¼ cup raw pecans
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy-free earth balance
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a standard baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the dry oats, almonds, pecans, cashews, coconut, seeds and spices together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat the earth balance and honey together in a small saucepan over low heat. Once it has reached a liquid consistency, add the vanilla and salt.
  4. Pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together with a rubber spatula until evenly coated.
  5. Spread mixture onto prepared pan in one even layer. Bake for 75 minutes.
  6. Let cool and store in airtight container (I use a mason jar!) at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.


The Planner

I discovered the career path [dietetics] I wanted to pursue in 8th grade, but prior to that I dreamed of getting a degree in fashion design. I used to plan my outfits for the week down to the shoes and now I plan my meals and workouts for the week instead. By planning my meals and workouts each Sunday, I have a guide to keep me determined to be active and consume a balanced diet throughout the entire week.

Image      Not only does meal planning lead to less senseless snacking, it also leads to minimal food waste and less trips to the grocery store. When mapping out my meals tonight I discovered that my Greek yogurt expires tomorrow so I replaced the green smoothie I was planning on having for breakfast tomorrow with the yogurt. I also have granola baking in the oven right now to enjoy with the yogurt! Lastly, meal planning allows me to cook extra of an ingredient I may use again in the week. For example, I made quinoa stir-fry tonight and cooked extra to use Wednesday night for quinoa “meatballs”. Stay tuned later in the week to obtain some of the recipes mentioned above!

Black Bean and Apple Butternut Squash Soup

It’s a terrible excuse, but I have had so much school work lately that I haven’t had much time to blog, nor have I made any meals worth blogging about. Tonight’s dinner was simple, but I think it is blog-worthy (hopefully you do too!)


I used a carton of butternut squash soup and added 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 apple chopped, and 1 can of rinsed and drained black beans while heating it over medium heat. Once the soup was warm, I served it with some fresh cilantro I just purchased from the Farmer’s Market this morning and black pepper on top. Apples, black beans, and butternut squash may seem like a strange combination, but I love the complexity of the flavors. The black beans add a nice protein boost as well 🙂 I’m grateful the soup was a success because I have about 2 servings leftover to enjoy this week!

Energy Balls

Tonight I made one of all-time favorite desserts/snacks, Energy Balls! I fell in love with this recipe about a year ago and have made the energy balls countless times since. The recipe is by Give Me Some Oven and can be found here: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/no-bake-energy-bites/. Below is my adapted recipe:

Energy Balls

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I use gluten-free Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter (I prefer peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed (can reduce or leave out if you want the nut butter taste to be more prominent and the overall product to be less dry)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use vegan miniature choc. chips)
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/3 cup honey (can substitute agave or maple syrup for honey, but I have found that honey works best)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



Stir all ingredients in a medium bowl and once uniformly mixed, stick the bowl in the fridge to chill for 30-45 min (this makes it easier to form the balls. Once chilled, form the “dough” into small balls using your hands (wetting your hands may lead to easier forming). Place the balls in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a week.


Makes about 15-20 balls.