Gluten-Free Whole Meyer Lemon Almond Cake

Have I ever mentioned that I love baked goods? It's one of the reasons I run a few times a week. I run so I can eat cakey delicious sweets and not feel (too) guilty! Last week I picked up a bag of fresh Meyer lemons at the grocery store without any idea of what I was going to do with them. I pondered lemon bars but wasn't feeling it, so I settled on a lemon almond cake. This cake is made with a few simple ingredients and is certainly delicious and tangy! Hope you enjoy! Recipe was inspired by The View from the Great Island

 Gluten-Free Whole Meyer Lemon Almond Cake
4 large Meyer Lemons
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3 cups almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbs vanilla bean paste

for the icing
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 to 2 tbs milk 

Preheat oven to 325F

Rinse lemons and put them in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes.
Drain the lemons and let them cool until you can handle them. Cut open and remove the seeds, but keep everything else. The WHOLE LEMON! Do this on a plate so you can retain the juices. Once you have removed all the seeds, put everything into a food processor or blender. 

Process until finely pureed. You will need roughly one cup of lemon puree for the cake.

Beat the eggs and the sugar until pale in color.
Add in the almond meal, baking powder, vanilla, and lemon puree. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Put batter into a greased and sugared (not floured) 9" springform pan. Smooth out the surface so it is even.
Bake for about 60 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then gently release the sides of the pan and remove the cake to finish cooling.
Make the icing while the cake is cooling. Combine the sugar with the butter, vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. Adjust the texture by adding more sugar or milk. Spread the icing on the completely cooled cake.

the cooked lemons all chopped up!

The puree

the perfect slice


Apple and Pear Sangria


It's been almost 2 weeks since I made this recipe...where does the time go?! Between sleep deprivation, endless espressos and two small ones keeping me busy, the days often pass without any progress on the blog. 

The night before Halloween I whipped up this fantastic cocktail. I had a feeling we, adults, would need a refreshing and seasonal libation for trick-or-treating the next evening with the kids. This was perfect! 

Apple and Pear Sangria 

1 bottle Pinot Grigio 
3/4 cup brandy 
2 cups apple cider 
1 cup sparkling pomegranate juice ( I used Izze) 
2 honey crisp apples, sliced
2 pears, sliced 

Add everything to a large pitcher, refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours). Pour, enjoy, relax.


Gluten Free Pumpkin Carrot Bread with Chocolate Chips

October must be the official month of "Pumpkin Spice" flavor. My favorite foods with pumpkin happen to be cookies or bread. This recipe is really great for my little one because I pack in the pumpkin and shredded carrots, throw in a few chocolate chips and she thinks it's the best dessert ever! :)

Hope you enjoy!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Carrot Bread with Chocolate Chips


4 tbs melted butter
1/2 cup sugar (I use 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar)
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 large carrots, grated/shredded
1 1/2 cups of Pamela's GF Baking and Pancake mix
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chocolate chips ( or chopped nuts)


In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, pumpkin and shredded carrots and mix to combine. Next add the flour, salt and spices, add to mixer bowl and blend well. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Pour into a greased loaf pan (8 x 4" or 9 x 5"). I like to butter and sugar my pan, so the bread will not stick (or use parchment paper to line the loaf pan).

Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or when toothpick inserted comes out clean.

(I doubled this recipe to make 2 loaves. Pictures below show 1 loaf with chocolate chips, 1 loaf with pecans)


Vegetarian Chile with Winter Vegetables

Autumn. The air is crisp, the leaves are turning yellow and rapidly falling to the ground. I love this time of year, but it's a clear signal that winter is fast approaching. I find myself torn between wanting an endless summer and reading design magazines next to the warm fire with a Moscow Mule in hand... Oh what to do?! Instead of hibernating all fall and winter I decided we better invite some dear friends over for soup and cornbread.
This recipe is straight from the NY Times most downloaded vegetarian recipes. I loved it, however being from New Mexico, I thought it needed a little extra spice. I made the recipe as is, but served it with fresh roasted hatch green chile to add a little kick. Enjoy with homemade cheddar cheese cornbread and good company and you might for a moment be happy that summer has ended.

Vegetarian Chile with Winter Vegetables
 From the NYTimes 

4 cups cooked pinto beans in broth (find recipe for simmered pinto beans here)
2 tablespoons grapeseed, sunflower or canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large or 2 medium carrots, cut in small dice
1 red pepper, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons mild ground chili (or use hot, or use more)
1 tablespoon lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons tomato pastedissolved in 1 cup water
2 cups diced winter squash (about 3/4 pound)
Salt to taste
½ cup chopped cilantro
Grated Monterey Jack cheese

Heat the beans on top of the stove in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy nonstick skillet and add the onion, carrot and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, stir together until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add the ground chili and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture begins to stick to the pan. Add the tomatoes and oregano, and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is beginning to stick to the pan, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste dissolved in water and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt to taste and simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick and fragrant.
Stir the tomato mixture into the beans. Add the winter squash and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes. It is important to stir often so that the chili doesn’t settle and stick to the bottom of the pot. It should be thick; if you desire you can thin out with water. Taste and adjust salt.
Shortly before serving stir in the cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon into bowls. Top with cheese. 

I like to eat chile with cornbread. My new go-to mix is by Krusteaz. It's gluten free and really good with some shredded cheddar cheese mixed in! 


Traveling Gluten Free: La Jolla, California

Traveling Gluten Free in La Jolla, California

The hubby and I are celebrating 6 years of wedded bliss (5 1/2 of those being gluten free)! We try to always do something special for our anniversary, however simple or small it may be. Last year, we had splendid plans to lounge on the beach, drink mojitos and take in the sunsets of the West Coast. Low and behold that plan was derailed due to extreme nausea from baby #2 cooking up in my belly! We ended up staying home, watching tv and having take out :) It was special and perfect. This year we spent a week in La Jolla, CA at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. It was an incredible family vacation and we made sure to cheers a couple times to our beautiful family and our September anniversary.

Although, I did the majority of cooking in our small kitchen at the hotel or we picnicked at the beach we did manage a few meals out. I have found it is easier to cook at our hotel with small kiddos and having Celiac. But when we did eat out, the options were delicious and I never got sick/glutened.

Gluten Free Friendly Restaurants in La Jolla

1. Puesto! Was a good option for fresh Mexican fare. I had the carnitas bowl with a side of corn tortillas and crab guacamole. It was so much food I had it for dinner the next night! All natural meats, fresh homemade salsa and tasty ingredients! GF is listed on the menu.

2. A Shore thing Cafe had gluten free wraps that are probably the best wraps I've ever had. We had them for lunch 2 days in a row. They changed gloves and took extra precautions when told I have celiac.

3. Gelato is necessary on a hot day in Southern California. We hit up Bobboi Natural Gelato. This place makes some of the best gelato I've ever tasted. Using unique flavors and fresh ingredients, including fresh fruit from the farmers market, this is a place you must check out at least once. Plus the decor is just darling! Make sure to specify you have an "allergy" and they can use a clean scoop to get the gelato out of a new bucket/container (took a little explaining) but it all worked out in the end.

4. The Counter is a burger joint that is not to be missed (assuming you are flying in/out of southwest terminal at San Diego Airport). They are so good at keeping cross-contamination at bay. My toppings all came from separate and clean containers and the burgers and sweet potato fries (fried in clean fryer) are tasty!!

We look forward to visiting La Jolla again. Great weather, great food, beautiful sunsets.  Until then it's already winter...umm... I mean Autumn in Colorado :)


A Modern Playhouse

a modern playhouse
So this isn't recipe related but it is delectable (and worth blogging about I think)! I've been scouring Pinterest lately for playhouse ideas for my little girl. Her 3rd birthday is coming up and she's quite imaginative and likes to role play. I thought a backyard playhouse would be perfect! On one condition...it has to be stylish. Shallow as it may be, I don't want a large plastic eyesore in my backyard. I like the mid-century modern style of homes (even though I live in an 80s ranch!) so why not make one for our sweet girl?! I enlisted my dad and hubby to do all the hard work and I helped with the design, aesthetics and a little painting  :-) This little house is more than I could have ever imagined for my daughter. She absolutely loves it and even likes to eat her breakfast inside at her special table :)

leveling the yard
building the foundation
a TREX foundation (no splinters)! 
checking out the roof
power tools!
sitting on the front porch
the back view 

side view of crawl door and window
can't forget flowers

the inside
a steering wheel to drive the house ;)
inside view of table and back wall
the completed house 
the front porch with mailbox, house numbers and cafe door

a few details:
paint/stain color: BEHR Cape Cod Gray Semi-Transparent Weatherproofing Wood Stain
table and chairs: Ikea Lack Table in Grey and Ikea Mammut Stools in Blue
house numbers: modern house numbers from the Hillman Group from Home Depot
mailbox: vintage
door paint: Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore
dishes: tea set by Green Toys
watering can and broom bought locally at Grandrabbits Toy shop in Boulder, CO


Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

I love summer. It's my favorite time of year...fresh veggies, fruits and herbs are in abundance and grilling outside is the preferred way of  cooking (not to mention my birthday just happens to be in the summer)! :) This recipe is perfect for grilled salmon.  Fresh, creamy, tangy and very flavorful! Hope you enjoy! 

Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

3 tablespoons fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
salt to taste

mix it all together and top on your favorite grilled fish :) easy peasy!


Fresh Herb Potato and Green Bean Salad for a Gluten Free Soiree

Sip and See Soiree!

I didn't want to have a traditional baby shower for a second baby so instead opted for a meet the baby brunch (a so called "sip and see"). My Little one is 10 weeks old and such a happy baby! The party was very small and only included a few of my friends from high school and college and my mom and sister. It was very low-key and relaxing.

I feel very busy and a tad bit tired these days, so I didn't want to do much cooking. The menu needed to be easy, look appealing, taste delicious and of course gluten free! Here's a sample of the offerings :)
  • GF Chocolate cupcakes (trader joes)
  • Salami, roasted turkey breast and black forest ham (boars head brand)
  • Herbed goat cheese, semi-soft fontina, aged cheddar cheese with peppercorns and a sliced mild cheddar cheese
  • Grapes and apricots
  • Mixed Olives
  • A Mimosa bar! Peach juice, French Lemonade, and mango juice paired with sparkling wine and a variety of fresh fruits to garnish
  • Bread! Fresh baked brioche and multi grain bread from Revolution Bakery (100% gf bakery in Santa Fe)
  • Fresh Vegetable plate with hummus (trader joes)
  • Herbed Potato salad adapted from Cooking Light (recipe below)
  • A few decorations including fresh flowers and a name banner

herbed potato salad 
cheese plate
chocolate cupcakes 
mimosa bar
bowl of fresh apricots
a personal name banner
beautiful peonies from the garden. classy. 

Herbed Potato and Green Bean Salad

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup french green beans (blanched and cut in ½" pieces)
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

Place potatoes into a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, and cool for 10 minutes. Cut potatoes into about ½" pieces. Place potato slices in a large bowl and add green beans.
Place wine in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 6 minutes). Transfer wine to a bowl. Add vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and minced garlic; stir with a whisk until well combined. Drizzle wine mixture over potatoes/green beans; sprinkle with chives, parsley, and dill. Toss gently to combine. Serve salad warm or chilled.