Avocado, Celery Heart and Cilantro Relish

Just a recipe this time. Great for dipping chips, on baked potatoes or for topping chili!!

As always, no gluten, dairy, egg, soy, tree nuts, peanuts or corn or their derivatives! 🙂

Avocado, Celery Heart and Cilantro Relish

2 ripe avocados
1 celery heart
2 Tablespoons cilantro
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Halve, seed and peel the avocados and rough chop the pulp.
2. Finely dice the celery heart (about ½ cup).
3. Mince the cilantro.

4. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and carefully mix together.
5. Serve immediately.



It’s chilly outside and chili inside!

Well the snow has finally arrived here in Chicago! I was worried my 18-month-old wouldn’t get a chance to experience the fluffy stuff this year but here’s proof he did!

At this point anything round is a “ball”. Apples, blueberries (albeit very small balls)… 🙂 And yes, they all get put to the bounce test!

Isn’t it fascinating the way children view their world? No thinking outside of the box for them – “the box” doesn’t even exist. Pure creativity!

So in that vein, and right on topic for the “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free!” blog fest…go-ahead-its-gluten-free

…hosted this month (February 2013) by Tasty Eats at Home, rather than make my usual chili, I decided to change it up a bit and see if I couldn’t come up with something that our Paleo pals would enjoy too, which means no beans and no “air in the belly” as the Italians so politely put it. 😉

As always, no gluten, dairy, egg, soy, tree nuts, peanuts or corn or their derivatives in this recipe! 🙂

Chilly Day Chili

Serves 5-6

1 large carrot

1 green pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 lb 85% grass-fed ground beef

½ teaspoon salt

1 26-oz can chopped tomatoes

1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon chili flakes

½ teaspoon salt

1 dried bay leaf

1. Dice the carrot and peppers.


2. Place the diced vegetables, ground beef and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large pot over medium flame. Stir frequently, breaking the ground beef into small pieces.


2. When the beef is lightly browned, add the chopped tomatoes, the diced squash, all of the spices and 2 cups of water.


3. Cover the pot and let simmer on low heat one hour, or until squash is soft, adding more water if the chili becomes too dry.

4. Serve with your favorite condiments. I like mine with Avocado, Celery Heart and Cilantro Relish.


So how about you…

…did you make any chili this week?

…or snowballs? 🙂


“Italian Favorites” Cooking Class

Snow Day ElawaAhhh…it’s nearly March. The snow is going to melt now, crocuses are going to appear in our flowerbeds…spring is just around the corner…

**Poof** dream over…

Who isn’t feeling the same way this time of year? And how are we to cope?

Why we put on aprons and pull out some more hearty recipes to get us to winter’s finish line, of course! Join me in Elawa Farm’s kitchen this coming Saturday, March 2, 12:00-2:30pm, where I’ll be sharing some of my favorite dishes gleaned from my years of living in Tuscany!


Mamma Grazia’s Ragu, Tuscan Winter Soup and Gnocchi prepared as always without using gluten, dairy, egg, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, or corn!


Whether you have loved ones with food allergies/intolerances or not…these dishes satisfy all!

Hope to see you there!

Buon appetito,

Pear Rosemary Agrodolce

My husband comes home one day after doing some grocery shopping and says, “I have a surprise for you!”


I’m all for celebrating uniqueness but really…whose décor fits with these neon colors? And then a couple of days later I placed a bowl of fresh produce next to them on the table and they actually looked great together!

flowers fruit watermark

So I’ve come to like this Carnevale-inspired combination. Who doesn’t need some brightening up in January anyway, right?

Another way to brighten up January? Pickles, you say? Why of course – until spring we must make do with root vegetables, wintry greens and roasted meats and what better way to liven up our dinner tables than with some pickles! This is the challenge put forward by Naomi Devlin of “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free”…


…and you know I love a challenge! 😉

So what to do…the possibilities are truly varied. The first recipe that came to mind was a family recipe for pickled watermelon rinds. But here we are in the middle of winter with not a watermelon to be found and no desire to eat one…

But wait, why limit myself – there are lots of variations…sauerkraut, kimchi, relishes, chutneys, piccalillis… I love peering through glass jars of pickles to discover what’s floating inside –colors, textures, shapes and sizes play against each other, adding to the mystery and anticipation of the unique flavor that awaits our taste buds.

So I thought it might be fun to do something with an Italian twist: “Agrodolce” – that quirky combination of sour and sweet that complements so nicely. And no, you cannot call it (sensitive readers may cover their ears now) “sweet and sour” sauce. Horror! Don’t get me wrong, I like sweet and sour chicken as much as the next gal. But with my nose raised to the sky I will say that an agrodolce is so much more sophisticated. Use this term with friends outside the culinary universe and your talents will be revered and never questioned again. 😉

So I offer you my recipe for Pear Rosemary Agrodolce. Makes a salad magnificent. So simple, really – 20 minutes max.

pears salad watermark

I like to leave the skins on the pears for both color and texture.

pears watermark

Also, I would have used fresh grapes but I had some in my freezer that I wanted to finish up.

Here it is, already done. Be sure to turn the pears over once or twice for even cooking.

cooked pears watermark

Also pairs (hee, hee! 🙂 ) wonderfully with pork roasts or chops.

Pears port watermark LG

As always, gluten-free and allergy-friendly! Enjoy!


ingredients CROPPED watermark2 firm pears (I used d’Anjou)

20-25 red grapes

2 Tbsp raisins

2 Tbsp brandy

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup apple cider vinegar*

1 fresh sprig of rosemary

1)      Place the raisins and brandy in a small bowl and set aside.

2)      Core and slice the pears into wedges.

3)      Place maple syrup and vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

4)      Add the pears and the rosemary to the saucepan. Turn the pears occasionally to ensure even cooking until the liquid has become syrupy and the pears have softened, about 15 minutes.

5)      Add the grapes and raisins, with the brandy, and cook until alcohol has evaporated and the liquid becomes syrupy again.

6)      Place in a pretty serving bowl, pat yourself on the back for your achievement and decide whether you’re going to actually serve your pear rosemary agrodolce with something or just savor it on its own.

Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

*Reminder: For those of you avoiding corn, do not use white vinegar as this is almost always derived from corn.

Please watch “Genetic Roulette”!

Seems there is still free viewing available of the abridged documentary “Genetic Roulette”:


I want you to make an informed decision about whether to eat GMOs. No more “I heard they’re OK for us…”…”the FDA says they’re OK so…”

And, let’s say this movie definitely persuades you not to eat any more GMOs?

Remember this: Companies do not have to identify genetically modified organisms in their products. -Hmm…if GMOs are so wonderful, wouldn’t they be a point of added value to the consumer? If not for the consumer, for whom the added value? Hmm… – dramatic pause while wheels turn in the heads of those around the globe currently reading this blog 😉

But we can be informed here as well: Use the ShopNoGMO iphone app or go here for more information: http://responsibletechnology.org/

And yes, I know that organic produce is expensive…but so are medical bills. As far as I’m concerned, pay now or pay later. 😉

Bakeshop 360° debut!!

Yes, I know, I haven’t been very faithful about my blog posts…to say the least. I guess this shall be a New Year’s Resolution for me. But I have been very busy. Drumroll please……..

And here she is…Bakeshop 360°, LLC!! The company’s logo made it’s debut at Elawa Farm’s Holiday Market this past December. The first step toward growing the business toward a broader market! 🙂


A special thanks to Karen and Lisa for helping with sales! And, of course, a great big thanks to all of Bakeshop 360°’s fans!!! It was wonderful getting a chance to meet and chat with so many of you for the first time!

Lemon Zucchini Cookies

Finally posting my first recipe!! The zucchini crop has been abundant this year – how to get rid of it all? Well, here’s a nice alternative to the ubiquitous zucchini bread: Lemon Zucchini Cookies!

Eat your veggies, right? Love that.

Lemon Zucchini Cookies

Makes approx. 40 2-inch cookies

Dry ingredients:   ½ cup sorghum flour

                                ½ cup chickpea flour

                                ½ cup potato starch

                                ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds, ground*

                                1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder

                                1 teaspoon sea salt

Wet ingredients:    2 Tablespoons finely-ground golden flaxseed

                                  ¼ cup water

                                  1 cup granulated sugar

                                  ¾ cup grated zucchini

                                  ½ cup palm fruit oil

                                  2 Tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 medium-sized lemons)

Powdered sugar for dusting


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine the flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Set aside.

4. Place the granulated sugar, grated zucchini, palm fruit oil, lemon zest and flaxseed mixture in a large bowl.

5. Blend the wet ingredients well using a mixer.

6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine.

7. Using a mini scooper, portion cookies onto cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

8. Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms begin to brown slightly. Cool at least five minutes before removing from the baking sheet.

9. When completely cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

10. Hide a few for yourself. Put the rest on the cookie platter…these cakey darlings disappear fast!

NOTE: This dough is quite moist and sticky – using a mini scooper will make the scooping process quicker and easier. Also, you must use parchment paper or you will be scraping the cookies off of the pan with pessimistic results – even non-stick pans.

* You can grind the RAW pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder – make sure they are not roasted, especially with oil, or that will probably be the end of your machine. I use a Vitamix.