My Garbanzo Bean Obsession!

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In my never ending search for healthy foods and snacks, I have discovered a new one that I am totally obsessed with….Chickpeas!

Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo Beans are members of the legume family. Legumes also include beans, peanuts, soybeans (also one of my favorites) and lentils. Good news…garbanzo beans have some great health benefits when you consume them regularly and here is how you will benefit by eating them.

Garbanzos contain about 15 grams of protein and, since it is a legume, it is a great source of vegetarian-friendly protein! They are a source of incomplete protein though so you will want to eat them in addition to eating other proteins like nuts, whole grains, eggs and meat (if you are not vegetarian) so your body will get enough amino acids to feed your body’s tissues properly.

Also good for colon health, garbanzos have a good amount of dietary fiber. This is important because it will help to control your blood sugar level, it helps to slow down digestion and helps to keep you regular. I like the fact that it helps to control blood sugar levels since I was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic and look for all of the foods that won’t give me a big blood sugar spike. A cup of cooked garbanzo beans will give you about 12.5 grams of fiber which is half of the recommended daily intake for women.

Good for both brain health, protection against genetic mutations that may cause cancer development and helpful for bone development, these little nuggets are loaded with both folate and manganese. Manganese is also important to maintain your metabolism as it carries out a chemical reaction that is an essential part of the metabolic process. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, helps with new cell growth and is an important component for pregnant women for healthy baby development.

Garbanzos are versatile as well. If you don’t want to mess with soaking them and cooking them yourselves, you can find them canned and they are easy to then sprinkle onto a salad, incorporate into Indian dishes like Chana Masala or put them into some soup. What I did for today’s post was make a crunch snack out of them.

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Crunchy Garbanzos
4 cups of dried chickpeas
2 tablespoons of fine sea salt
2 tablespoons of cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning
3 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak the garbanzo beans in cool water overnight. Drain and rinse them then add to a pot full of water. Bring water and beans to a boil and then reduce to simmer and cover. Let cook for 2 hours. Drain the beans and put into a mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the beans. Take all the seasonings and mix them together in a separate bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the beans to your desired seasoning level. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes. Stir them up and turn them over so they will cook evenly. Increase the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes or until they start to get a nice crunch to them. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Store in an airtight container.

Eat them as they are for a great snack or sprinkle them onto a salad! You have a healthy, crunchy, spicy snack that provides great flavor and energy. ENJOY!

National Lasagna Day!

How cool is it that today is National Lasagna Day! Even better that it is Friday so you can make a big batch for the whole family.

Did you know that the word lasagna actually came from the Greek word laganon which was used to describe flat dough cut into strips? Modern day lasagna originated in Naples, Italy and was traditionally made with meat, cheese and tomato sauce.

Today, there are many varieties of lasagna and, lucky for those of us who cannot eat gluten, there are even delicious gluten free lasagna noodles available to make this luscious dish. One of my favorite recipes I found on the internet and adapted it to be gluten free. Hope you will give it a try.

Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna – adapted from Cooking Light Magazine


• 1/4 cup water
• 1 (12-ounce) package pre-chopped fresh butternut squash (can sub eggplant, large carrots or zucchini but would use 18 ounces of any veggie as I like more veggies in this dish)
• 3 cups pre-chopped kale
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 1.1 ounces all-purpose gluten free flour – Pamela’s is best (about 1/4 cup)
• 2 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided (I substituted Cashew milk here but can also do soy or coconut)
• 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded and divided
• 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• Cooking spray
• 6 no-boil Gluten Free lasagna noodles
• 3 tablespoons chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Combine 1/4 cup water and squash in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; pierce plastic wrap 2 to 3 times. Microwave at HIGH 5 minutes or until tender; drain. Combine squash and kale in a large bowl. Wipe dish dry.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture and remaining 2 1/4 cups milk to pan; increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 ounce Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt, and pepper; stir until cheese melts.

Coat baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 cup milk mixture in bottom of dish. Arrange 2 noodles over milk mixture; top with half of squash mixture and 2/3 cup milk mixture. Repeat layers once, ending with remaining noodles and remaining milk mixture. Cover with foil; bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle remaining Gruyère and pecans over top. Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and sauce is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.


Gluten Free Indian Bread and Cilantro Chutney

My husband and I are big foodies and we love ethnic foods. In particular, we both love to eat Indian food but there are many dishes that I cannot eat. My husband is a sweet man and he took the recipe for naan bread that I love and worked out how to make it gluten-free and also did his cilantro chutney dairy free! Here are the recipes and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Gluten Free Naan Bread

• 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
• 1 cup warm water
• ¼ cup sugar
• 3 tbsp milk
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 4 ½ cups gluten free flour (cup for cup flour like Pamela’s)
• 3 tbsp vegetable oil
• ¼ cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
• ½ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Make the dough: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt and flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
First rise: Place dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp clot. Set aside to rise for 1 hour and until it doubles in volume. Punch down the dough and divide into 12 pieces. Roll into balls and place on two sheet pans – do not allow the balls to touch.
Second rise: Cover with towel and rise again until double in size, about 30 min.
Pan fry: (Can also be done on a grill) Preheat grill pan or cast iron skillet to high heat. When hot, lightly brush pan with vegetable oil. Roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle about 5-6”. Place in pan for 2-3 minute until puffy and lightly browned, brush the uncooked side with melted butter while in the pan. Flip and cook until browned, another 2-4 minutes brushing the top with melted butter. Keep warm by covering with foil while cooking the remaining naan. Serve warm and sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro if desire.

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indian food two pieces of home made naan bread

Cilantro Chutney

(Serve with warm Naan bread)

6 green onions, cut into 2” lengths (white and green parts)
2-4 serrano chilies, stemmed and roughly chopped
2 ½” long pieces of fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups (Packed cilantro) tough stems removed
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup water
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp sugar
¾ tsp kosher salt

With food processor running, add green onions, chilies and ginger through feed tube; process until minced. Add cilantro, lime juice and water. Process until smooth. Add yogurt, sugar and salt; pulse a few times to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. Do ahead! This recipe is better when made a day in advance. Seal tightly to cover and refrigerate. ENJOY!

My Gluten Free Favorites

WhenI was diagnosed years ago, we did not have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in the city. I had the hardest time trying to find any gluten free food that tasted half way decent. There were a few websites around and you could find products there but they were wicked expensive and very often sold out.

Today, the resources for finding and buying gluten free foods are pretty robust at least they were in Chicago when I was living there and now here in Houston. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Central Market, Kroger and our local HEB stores all have well-rounded gluten free aisles with many items to choose from!

One of my favorite resources is a website retailer called Thrive Market ( Thrive Market is great as you can shop based on your particular need/interest areas. For example, they have an area for gluten free, paleo, raw and vegan diets! I can click on gluten free and up comes 25 pages of gluten free products…amazing!

Here is a listing of some of my very favorite gluten free products that you would find in my pantry pretty much all of the time:

Kind Bars
Barilla Gluten Free Spaghetti Pasta
Mary’s Gone Crackers
Pamela’s Gluten Free Flour
Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flour
Pacific Organic Bone Broth
Annie’s Rice Pasta & Cheddar (Mac and Cheese!)
Lotus Foods Forbidden Rick (comes in red, pink, black and jasmine)
San J Tamari Soy Source
Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Noodle Kit
Blue Diamond Nut Thins
Raos Marinara Sauce
Arbonne Protein Shake Mix, Fiber Boost, Greens Balance and all skincare/body products

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There are many more items (some additional in the photo) and so much available at places like Target Superstores, Costco and ALDI that are at great prices, you no longer have to break the bank to maintain a gluten free lifestyle!

Gluten Free Recipe – Mini Zucchini Muffins

Mini Zucchini Muffins
yield: 12 muffins

This recipe has been adapted from I love these so much and take them everywhere as a fun and easy appetizer.


2 cups shredded zucchini (I shredded mine on the large holed side of a box grater) 3 medium to large

½ medium sweet onion, minced (I do mine in a mini-processor)

2 large egg

½ cup dry gluten free bread crumbs (I like the Glutino brand bread crumbs)

2 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (I use the smallest holed side of a box grater. (I actually used the Go Veggie dairy free shredded cheese instead)

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


Preheat the oven to 400. Mist a 12 cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

Wrap the shredded zucchini in a paper towel (or clean dish towel) and squeeze to extract any excess moisture from the zucchini.

In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until combined. Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared mini muffin tin (I use an ice cream scoop) and press down on the filling in each cup with the back of the spoon to compact them together.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the tops are beginning to turn golden. Run a plastic knife around the outside of each top while still in the muffin tin and they will come right out. Flip them over and bake another 10 minutes to make sure the bottoms crisp up as well or they feel kind of mushy. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt mixed with the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon and some chopped dill weed. I use dairy free yogurt and it is delicious

Gluten-free Cherry Granola

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As promised, here is one of my favorite gluten-free recipes and some of my favorite gluten-free and dairy free products! I love breakfast and so there are days when a shake sounds like a bit of a drag and I am not really in the mood for eggs. On those days, some gluten-free granola seems to fit the bill. This recipe is easy to make and very tasty. It mixes in whatever dried fruit you like along with nuts and coconut! It is filling and gives me energy for the entire morning!


◦ 6 cups gluten free oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Brand)
◦ 1 cup sliced almonds
◦ 1 cup chopped walnuts
◦ 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
◦ 1 cup applesauce
◦ 1/2 cup honey
◦ 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
◦ 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
◦ 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
◦ 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
◦ 1 cup dried cherries
◦ 1 cup dried cranberries


In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, walnuts and coconut.
In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup honey, 1 cup applesauce, 2 tbsp vanilla, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp vegetable oil.

Pour the applesauce mixture over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Use your hands (preferred) or a spoon and mix until thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture over two baking sheets and bake at 250 F for about 1 hour 20 minutes.

If the baking sheet is light it will take about 1 hour 20 minutes, if it’s dark/non-stick it will take about 1 hour – it will depend on your oven, you want the granola to have turn golden brown. It will get crispy after it’s removed from the oven and allowed to cool. Stir the granola every 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cooled add in dried fruit: cranberries, cherries or any other dried fruit you wish to add in.

If you don’t have time to make your own gluten-free granola, some of my favorite products for a yummy breakfast include Udi’s Blueberry Cashew Granola (gluten-free)

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and I like to mix it with So Delicious Brand dairy-free coconut milk yogurt! I like the blueberry one and mixed with the blueberry granola, it is a real treat!


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