Cheesy Comfort Food

When we make this we call it Mac’n cheese and mix it in with brown rice noodles – my boys’ lunchtime favorite. And it can be made without any cow dairy for those with this food sensitivity! I often use nutritional yeast for a non-dairy extra cheesy flavor, and for the excellent source of vitamin B.

Mac’n Cheese Recipe:
1 package of brown rice elbows or penne (I like Trader Joe’s)
2 Tbsp organic butter or ghee
1 Tbsp flour
3/4 c whole milk (goat or almond milk work for those with dairy sensitivities)
1 1/2 c cheese (I usually do a mixture of grated, grass-fed white sharp chedder and soft goat cheese)
1 Tbsp (or more) nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
dash of basil, crushed garlic clove, or a can of sockeye salmon are also nice additions

Fill large pot with water and a dash of salt, and bring to rapid boil. Add noodles and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 8-10 minute or until soft.

Melt butter, and whisk in flour until lumps are gone. At medium-low heat, slowly stir in a little milk at a time. Add cheese and stir as it melts. Mix in nutritional yeast. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over drained noodles and mix to combine.


Butternut Squash with Garlic

From Vista Magazine, Issue 48

Butternut Squash with 12 cloves of garlic

A flavorful side that is mellow enough to go with many main dishes.

• 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 12 cloves garlic, peeled
• 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (I use dried)
• 3 cups peeled, seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsely
• 4 Tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a 9×13 baking dish, combine oil, garlic and squash. Toss well and season to taste. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes.
Remove the cover and cook for 15 minutes longer or until the squash is golden brown on the bottom, and soft when fork is poked through.
Add the parsley and stir gently. Sprinkle with the cheese and return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes longer to brown the cheese.

Greek Quinoa Salad

Also yummy with some chopped chicken breast added, but even just vegetarian this salad is full of protien and makes a tasty lunch dish.

Greek Quinoa Salad

1 c uncooked quinoa
1/2 package grape tomatoes, sliced into halves
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 long English cucumber, sliced and quartered
1/4 cup black olives, halved if desired
2 Tbsp red onion, diced
approx 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
1 green onion, green part only diced
juice from 1 large freshly squeezed lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 tsp honey
1 cushed garlic clove
Salt & cracked pepper to taste

Cook Quinoa as directed with water or chicken broth. Allow to cool.

In large bowl, fold in diced veggies into quinoa. Combine ingredients for dressing (blend with immersion blender to thoroughly combine). Drizzle dressing all over salad and gently mix throughout. Keep in fridge tightly covered for up to 3 days.

Pepper-Mint Dressing & Marinade

This is amazing chicken, fish or lamb marinade, as well as salad dressing. We had it on shish-kabobs with zucchini, onion and cherry tomatoes  – whatever I had on hand, paired with green salad and rice, making a simple and delicious Summer dinner.

Pepper-Mint Marinade:

1/2 cup packed fresh spearmint leaves

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled

1 small shallot (optional)

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients except for olive oil to a blender. Blend on high until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, blend on low speed until just incorporated. Pour into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Bring to room temp before serving.


Popcorn Seasoning (no artificial or GMO ingredients here!)

We’ve been experimenting with nutritional yeast – a cheesy-flavored seasoning and exceptionally good B vitamin supplement – on our eggs, casseroles, and popcorn! It is de-activated yeast (so you don’t have to worry if you’re on a candida diet). It has a flaky texture, but is a great flavored alternative to cheese in dishes that call for cheese to garnish or have cheese baked inside.

Beware that most corn/popcorn kernals are GMO (genetically modified foods are linked to inflammation issues and a wide spectrum of diseases)… Get organic popcorn (and if you’re cheap like me, order a bulk bag not realizing it will probably last you til 2050!).


So, pop a big bowl of organic popcorn for a late night snack (or lunchtime favorite side with my kids), sprinkly generously with half melted coconut oil/ half organic butter, then nutritional yeast, coconut sugar or sucanat (cane sugar), and sea salt. I made it for a non-GMO party my friends had where we watched the creepy but educational Genetic Roulette. I think my friends enjoyed the popcorn because I made 3 big bowls and they were gobbled up in no time flat.

Everyday Salad Dressing

Homemade salad dressing can be absolutely delicious and inexpensive! Plus you get to avoid all the genetically modified ingredients, present in most dressings lining the grocery isles, such as soybean oil and canola oil. For pennies I can make a high quality salad dressing using olive oil blended with a few tasty flavorings. Some vinegars that work well with salad include a good quality balsamic, red wine, or fruit vinegars. I love raspberry vinegar blended with some olive oil and honey drizzled over a spinach and strawberry salad – yum!


What I do is place all of the ingredients into something tall like a wide mouth mason jar and use an immersion blender to make this dressing. You could also use a regular blender or Vita-Mix. An immersion blender can help things thicken up as you pulse up and down. 2 tablespoons of oregano or fresh basil work well, avoid thyme or other herbs that would make the flavors in the dressing may get too strong and/or slightly bitter. This dressing will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed jar for about 2 weeks.

Simple, Everyday Salad Dressing:

3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons high quality balsamic vinegar (Maison Orphee is my favorite)
2 tablespoons honey
the juice of one small lemon
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as oregano or basil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings if necessary. Store in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator.

I’d like to try adding poppyseeds, with extra honey and lemon and see how that would turn out (I’ve always loved poppyseed dressing!).


Dijon Scalloped Potatoes

Such a creamy treat. I love finding organic whipping cream (or any kind of deliciously fatty organic dairy) on sale, and it’s regularly 50% off when close to expiration date. So I stock my freezer and save it for cooking! Full fat organic or grass-fed dairy is like a super food in that it contains less unhealthy fat, and generally has 5x more omega 3’s and linoleic acid (the good fats we, and especially children, require for brain and muscle health and development, cancer defense and many other benefits), plus many essential vitamins and minerals (you also get to avoid the antibiotics and growth hormones found in non-organics). This is a good source of more info on that:

Potatoes are one of the ‘dirty dozen’, and I just try to stick to local if possible. Can’t wait for my favorite market’s potato harvests in the Summer! We love our potatoes.

Dijon Scalloped Potato recipe:

• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3/4 tsp turmeric
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/3 cup flour (spelt is my preference)
• 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
• 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
• 2 c whole milk or cream (and organic is oh so good for you!)
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp pepper
• 1 tsp Tamari soy sauce or Bragg’s soy seasoning
• 4-5 russets, sliced thinly into coins
• 1/2-1 c freshly grated parmesan and chedder cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat a pan at medium heat and add olive oil, and saute onions and tumeric until translucent.
2) Mix in the flour, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes, until mixture is dry.
3) Slowly stir in all remaining ingredients. Stir until well mixed and there are no flour lumps. Set aside.
4) Start laying sliced potatoes in a lightly oiled 9 x 13 baking pan or casserole dish. Do a layer of potatoes, then a layer of sauce, and repeat until finished. Sprinkle with parmesan.
5) Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes (depending on how thin the slices are). Sprinkle with cheese and bake another 5 minutes under broil.