Category Archives: Recipes

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

slow cooker kalua pork

Today’s message is: “fake it ’til you make it.”

I’ve never been to a Hawaiian luau, and I’ve never seen nor enjoyed any bit of a whole pig smoked in a sand pit, but I made this kalua pork in my slow cooker yesterday and shamelessly admit to having firsts, seconds, and an extra bite or two as I wrapped up leftovers. Is this recipe authentic? No. Is it tasty. YES.

slow cooker kalua pork

Kalua pork is traditionally smoked in a sand pit with sea salt, banana leaves, and koa wood. When you don’t have the luxury of a sand pit, a slow cooker and a little natural liquid smoke can be a girl’s best friend. Simply toss three ingredients in a slow cooker before work (pork roast, Hawaiian sea salt, and liquid smoke), and by evening you’ll be saying mahalo to yourself for making such a smart, delicious decision.

slow cooker kalua pork

I was way lazy with this dinner, so I just paired the pork with sautéed bell peppers, a little quinoa, and some gluten-free soy sauce, which was perfect. Next time I make it (which will probably be sooner than I’d like to admit) I’d like to be more ambitious and try my hand at a pineapple quinoa “fried rice” to go along with it.

You can always slow cook the pork overnight too. In fact, the longer you cook it, the juicier and better it’ll taste. I’m going to use my leftovers by scrambling the shredded meat with eggs and veggies for weekend brunch.

Now go make this!


  • 2-3 lb pork shoulder or butt roast, fat removed
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke, hickory flavored
  • 2 tsp Hawaiian Sea salt


FYI, I just kinda eyeballed it with measurements. Wash and pat dry the pork, and place it in the slow cooker. Pierce the pork with a fork (that’s a funny thing to say), sprinkle with salt, and pour the liquid smoke evenly over the roast.

Close your slow cooker, and set the time for anywhere from 8-12 hours on low. When done cooking, shred with a fork and ENJOY!

Grilled Chicken Tacos

Chicken Taco

I love Mexican food. I repeat: I love Mexican food.

Tamales, chile verde, mole, homemade salsa…I could eat all of it, all day, everyday. However, more than any other dish, I’m currently hooked on tacos.

I made these grilled chicken tacos for Michel and I last week, and we both really enjoyed them. Long, stressful days at work call for a little bit of indulgence, and enjoying a couple of these for dinner was a nice way to transition into the late evening and relax.

All that we were missing were margaritas!


  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • ½ ripe ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” strips
  • cooking oil
  • corn tortillas
  • lime wedges


Combine sour cream, avocado, cilantro, green onion and lime juice in a food processor, and process until smooth. Combine with cabbage in a small bowl.

Combine ancho chile powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder and salt. Sprinkle over chicken. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook through.

Warm tortillas. Serve slaw mixture and chicken over tortillas, along with lime wedges.

Gluten-Free Carbonnade (Flemish Beef & Beer Stew) Recipe


Now that I have an apartment of my own and the PG&E bill is lovingly addressed to yours truly, I’ve become somewhat of a heat Nazi. Following in my mother’s footsteps, the solution to a cold winter night is no longer cranking up the heater and happily lounging in pajama shorts and a tee. Rather, the new protocol includes suiting up in a big sweatshirt and thick socks and happily spending hours hovering over a warm stove and enjoying a hearty, hot meal.

I came across Saveur’s Carbonnade (Flemish Beef & Beer Stew) recipe and knew I had to make it for a satisfying Sunday night meal. Note: cooking with meat and beer is always a good idea.

Of course, I had to experiment with a gluten-free version, using almond flour to coat the beef and gluten-free beer…and I loved the result!

Carbonnade is a Flemish beef and onion stew that, unlike many French stews, is braised in beer instead of wine. The beer makes the dish extremely rich, but apple cider vinegar and brown sugar add a sweet note and a slightly sour taste that, altogether, melt in your mouth and make you kind of excited it’s cold enough to enjoy a hot bowl of stew.

I served the carbonnade over gluten-free fusilli, but it would be equally good served over polenta or along with roasted carrots.

(Ingredients & directions adapted from Saveur)


  • 2 lb. beef chuck, cut into 2″ x ½″-thick slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cups Omission Lager (technically not labeled as gluten-free, but it is below the established cut-off line for gf products)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Gluten-free noodles and/or bread, for serving


Season beef with salt and pepper in a bowl; add almond flour and toss to coat. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef; cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Add bacon; cook until its fat renders, about 8 minutes. Add remaining butter, garlic, and onions; cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add half the gluten-free beer; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Return beef to pot with remaining beer, stock, sugar, vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until beef is tender, about 1 ½ hours. Serve over gluten-free pasta or accompanied by bread.

Date Night Recipe: Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza

My dreams came true last week.

My boyfriend, Michel, told me that he wanted to learn how to cook – both for himself and for me, on those days I just don’t have time to step foot in the kitchen. (Considerate Boyfriend of the Year, right here.)

But it gets even better! He suggested we begin cooking a meal together once a week, so that he can become more familiar with basic practices and techniques.

Like many people,  Michel doesn’t quite know where to even get started with his “culinary education.” Cereal and milk can be poured, mac & cheese can be produced (sometimes) and I think he’s just about got the basic burger down pat. But, beyond that, the kitchen is a mysterious place.

So, I decided to start with a food that is simple, fun and a something he loves (almost) as much as me – pizza.

We went lazy this round and bought the crusts from Mariposa Bakery, an AMAZING gluten-free bakery in Oakland. (Truth be told, the crusts were so good, we just may continue with this laziness thing when it comes to homemade pizza.)  All we had to do was preheat the oven, top the pre-formed crust with our toppings and cook for just under 10 minutes.

We topped with pepperoni, mushroom, bell pepper, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese (Michel’s faves). Oh my gosh, this turned out so delicious!

Date Night Pizza Close Up

Our pizza turned out excellent, we both had a feeling of accomplishment we wouldn’t have been able to get from ordering in AND we had so much fun making something together.

Personally, next time I’d love to get a little creative and maybe do a prosciutto, caramelized onion and arugula version.

If you’re planning a Date Night, the two of you can have fun planning the perfect pizza combination together and experimenting with creative toppings, and you shouldn’t have to worry about too much prep. (All we had to do was slice the mushrooms and bell pepper.)

I hope to come up with an equally great “Date Night Recipe” for this week. Let me know if you have any good ideas!


Easy Frittata

Easy Frittata Recipe

Am I alone in feeling like this time of year makes it soooo difficult impossible to get out of bed in the morning? I live on the first floor of an apartment complex in the most densely populated residential neighborhood of Oakland and am sandwiched in between three other 5+ story buildings, so I already get minimal bedroom light. Plus, I have bars on my windows and am not about to leave my blinds and curtains wide open all night long. (It is Oakland, after all.) But, at least during the summer, some sunlight would creep through by 5:45 am, gently lifting me out of my slumber. These days, I get nada. It’s like living in a tomb until 9 am.

Since it’s been impossible to wake up for early morning workouts, I’ve pushed my runs to the evenings, immediately after work. After I’m done sweating up a storm, I’ve been running some quick errands like hitting the grocery store and doing a little freelance work.

By the time I’ve gotten out of the shower, changed and walked into the kitchen to start dinner, it’s already after 8 pm – every night this week. Late night meals are a bummer for my body and sleeping habits, so, last night I realized I just needed to make something FAST.

Frittata to the rescue! You can’t go wrong with eggs + leftover protein + any veggies you have lying around. It’s the best healthy thing that can be made in less than 20 minutes.

You can throw anything you want in yours, but here’s how I made mine:

Easy Frittata


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup leftover shredded pork
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup spinach
  • 8 large eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A few sprinkles of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat your coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add your bell pepper, shallot and mushroom. Sautee until tender.
  4. Add your spinach and pre-cooked shredded pork and cook until the spinach is wilted and pork is heated.
  5. Whisk your eggs together in a separate bowl and season to your liking.
  6. Pour the eggs into the skillet and cook until the bottom of the frittata is set (about 5 minutes).
  7. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Crank up the heat and broil for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  9. Pull the skillet out, transfer the frittata to a plate, slice and serve.

Eat the leftovers for breakfast the next morning or lunch. Serve with some clean hot sauce, salsa, avocado or a little cheese, if you’re feeling naughty.

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes with Blueberry Compote (Gluten-Free)

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes on plate

Brunch is seriously one of my top ten favorite things in life.

I love trying out new brunch and breakfast spots in San Francisco and Oakland, but last weekend I woke up with a warm kitten on my chest and the immediate understanding that nothing could pull me out of my pajamas before noon.

Plus, the lyrics to Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes” were stuck in my head…”Wake up slow, mmm mm, wake up slow,”…which further mellowed me out and made me hungry for something sweet. I thought, “Hey, this Jack Johnson guy might be onto something.”

So, I decided to crawl out of bed just long enough to feed the cat and make some delicious chocolate chip banana pancakes with blueberry compote.

I adapted my pancake recipe from PaleoOMG‘s paleo banana vanilla bean version and used my own blueberry compote recipe for an insanely simple and crazy delicious treat.

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes Closeup

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes (Gluten-Free)


  • 2 bananas, peeled
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  1/4 cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Place bananas in your food processor. Puree until smooth.
  2. Add eggs to blend further, until mixed.
  3. Blend in coconut flour, vanilla extract, baking soda and cinnamon. Puree until smooth.
  4. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, pour 3 tablespoons of batter into the skillet. (This should make mini pancakes about 3 inches in diameter, which are perfect for flipping.)
  5. Add a handful of dark chocolate chips to each pancake.
  6. Flip once the top of each pancake starts to bubble.
  7. While the pancakes are cooking, make the compote.

Blueberry Compote


  • 2 cups (frozen) blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • orange zest


  1. Combine blueberries, orange juice and orange zest in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for an additional 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove orange zest, stir and pour compote over pancake stacks.

I also made some scrambled eggs and turkey bacon to round out my new favorite homemade brunch.


Total satisfaction.



Paleo Zucchini Lasagne

Paleo Zucchini Lasagna

Michel and I both had office closures on Friday. He had to pay a visit to the DMV, so I had an extra staycation day to myself. I cleaned my apartment, ran errands, caught up on my writing and went on an afternoon run around the lake.

It was dark and overcast all day, so by the time I got home, all I wanted to do was take a hot shower, turn on one of my favorite podcasts and make something warm and hearty for dinner. I also wanted to make something that Michel would enjoy after a 4-hour DMV trip (no joke). Italian is his favorite, so lasagne it was!

I’ve made a couple gluten-free variations of a zucchini “noodle” lasagne, but this was the first time I adapted my recipe to make it paleo too. And it was sooooo good. Yes, even without the cheese!


  • 5 medium zucchinis
  • 1 lb spicy Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb grass fed ground beef
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp red cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 casserole dish. (I used coconut oil spray.)
  2. Cut zucchinis lengthwise into very thin slices.
  3. Place zucchini slices on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Pop the sheet in the oven (at 350°F) for 10 minutes to dry zucchini out and prevent a watery lasagna.
  4. In a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic until translucent – about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the red bell pepper, ground beef and crumbled sausage. Season with oregano, dried basil and cayenne pepper, and cook until brown.
  6. Add tomato ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place half of your sliced zucchini at the bottom of your 8×8 dish, then add a hearty layer of meat/sauce.
  8. Add a second layer of zucchini, and top with the remaining meat and sauce.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

I served my lasagne with a side of steamed broccoli. Asparagus or a spinach salad would be delish too.

Paleo Zucchini Lasagna in Casserole Dish

I already can’t wait to dig into the leftovers!

Paleo Zucchini Lasagna Closeup

Paleo Banana Bread Recipe

Paleo Banana Bread

I think the old lemon adage is overplayed. Instead, when life gives you mushy bananas, make banana bread.

Banana bread is a reminder that second chances exist. That you can make something sweet and satisfying out of a mushy, brownish-black pile of overripe fruit you’ve neglected  for days (and days).

I found an amazing paleo banana bread recipe from Slim Palate. I didn’t make any changes to the original recipe, and would not in the future. It was perfect, as is. (So perfect that I had to give a bunch of it away so I wouldn’t eat the whole loaf!)

AND it’s gluten free, grain free and paleo…so no regrets about indulging a bit!

Find the original recipe here.

And visit my “Made It and Loved It” Pinterest board, where I’ve cataloged my other select favorite recipes that I’ll make time and time again.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten-Free)

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten-free)

This week – after many, many weeks of failed attempts – I finally managed to exchange my after-work gym hours for my long-lost morning workout habit. My body is still getting used to the switch-up, but having a few extra hours in the evening is worth the 5am wake-up call.

With my extra time, I decided to seize the opportunity and bake cookies for my co-workers – gluten-free chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.

Now, I’ll let you know that I’m not much of a baker. I don’t even own sugar. (In fact, I had to go 1950’s and send Michel to ask my neighbor for a cup of sugar!) But, once you have the few ingredients needed, these cookies are super simple to make and, best of all, gluten-free. Fortunately for me, this meant I could taste test and sneak one before giving them away.

I used a recipe from Robert M. Landolphi’s Gluten Free Every Day Cookbookone of the few gluten-free cookbooks developed by a professional chef. My co-workers loved them! They were devoured within minutes.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten-free)

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 cup chunky natural peanut butter

1 large egg, beaten

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar

1 cup dark chocolate chips

*The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup Reese’s Pieces, but I always opt for dark chocolate and didn’t want any of the artificial stuff in the candy bits)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with oil.

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir to blend. Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes, or until firm.

Using a teaspoon, scoop the dough into 1/2-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared pan. Flatten with a fork and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.


Veggie Mishmash Mashup Soup


Two parsnips, about a third of a butternut squash, a 2-lb bag of spinach that quickly needs to disappear…What do you do with a medley of leftover Thanksgiving vegetables that are quickly expiring? When the blustery weather outsides constitutes a “me” day curled up in sweats?

Make soup, of course! I’m a huge fan of throwing tons of different vegetables, along with a bit of chicken or beans, in a huge pot together for a healthful, warming and simple meal that tastes even better for lunch the next day.

Remember, this recipe is variable; the point is to use any veggies ever you’ve got in your fridge (celery, leeks, zucchini, russet potatoes, whatever). But here’s what I put in mine:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small sweet potato, diced

1 cup of butternut squash, diced

3 carrots, cut diagonally

2 parsnips, cut diagonally

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

1.5 cups frozen french green beans

2 cups of spinach

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sizes pieces

Parmesan rind

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp rosemary

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper, to taste

Grated parmesan cheese, to top


Saute the olive oil, onion and garlic until the onion is slightly translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots and parsnips. Cook for about 15 minutes.

Throw in the mushrooms, green beans, parmesan rind and chicken broth, along with your spices and bay leaf. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer. I let mine cook for about 30 minutes. Just make sure all of your starches are fully cooked through.

Add the chicken and let cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Add the spinach and cook for an additional minute of so.

Serve immediately. (Be mindful to keep the parmesan rind and bay leaf in the pot and not your bowl.) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, sit back into your chair and enjoy a hearty bowl of Veggie Mishmash Mashup Soup.  (Sweats and slippers optional, but highly encouraged.)