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Quinoa Salad with Pineapple, Broccoli, Mint

Quinoa salad with pineapple and broccoli and mint



From the GFG archives- a light and fresh quinoa salad recipe just in time for summer. Rumor has it June is just around the corner, Babycakes.

xox Karina

I think it is safe to say- summer is upon us for good. But my winter-stiff body remains unconvinced. She is cranky and unwilling to shed the yearly inertia that descends like a bear with the shrinking daylight come November. And even though my brain is- at long last- flickering awake now that we're well past the Spring Equinox, my taste buds still crave those creamy comfort foods that sustained me (thank you, lovely spuds, lasagna, and mac and cheese, I love you with all my heart).

I am trying to convince myself I'm craving lighter, cleaner tastes.

As inspiration (incentive may be a more accurate word?) I dragged out my warm weather jeans. You know the ones. That mocking stack in the back of the closet you haven't fit into since December 2014, when you began wondering aloud (for the benefit of the fashion police) if the laundromat dryer was shrinking your favorite Levi's- the jeans you have to lay down to zip, doing your best imitation of Jane Fonda's pelvic tilt, sucking in your breath and praying to the zipper gods. You know what I'm talking about.

So here's what I'm thinking.

Quinoa to the rescue.

Like in Quinoa Salad with Pineapple, Broccoli and Mint. Vegan. Versatile. Easy. Fresh. Light. This delectable quinoa salad is all of the above. And maybe, just maybe, it'll be the first step toward fitting into those elusive skinny jeans.

If I care. And if I don't bake my luscious Flourless Chocolate Cake or Dark Chocolate Brownies. Let's see--- skinny jeans vs. cake. Maybe I'll just tuck those suckers right back in the closet. Behind the stack of hats I never wear.

They seemed like a good idea at the time, too.


Karina's Sexy Spring Pasta with roasted asparagus & tomatoes

Karina's romantic gluten-free pasta recipe with roasted asparagus and tomatoes.


Fresh, fast and delicious spring pasta.

Today's recipe is a romantic, sexy spring pasta sauce with balsamic roasted asparagus and tomatoes.

Because it's Monday.

And I am thinking fresh, light, meatless.

SPRING.

Why not?

xox Karina

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

Gluten free coconut layer cake from Karina

Let Us Eat Cake.


Birthdays are complicated when you reach a certain age. Oh, don't get me wrong. You're grateful for another year. I mean. You're still alive and kicking, right? Waking up to a fresh start. Starting a spanking new year on the planet with one more number under your (slightly pinching) belt. A number that grants you a whisker more authority in the world. A tad more wisdom.

If you've been paying attention to the lessons life likes to offer up as experience, and not sleepwalking, that is. Not acquiescing to the expectations of others. Or choosing safety over the challenge of the new. Or worse- finding yourself somewhere, in some situation, or relationship, strictly for the sake of momentum, chafing inside a role you don't remember signing up for. Birthdays can be markers like that. Defining where we've been. And how far we've come. Or not.

Earlier this spring my husband's birthday marked another spin around the wheel of time. And yes, I baked a cake. And as I stirred the batter and scooped it into cake pans, I thought about the other cakes I have baked for him. The chocolate cake in our first year of marriage. Children beneath our roof. Blue balloons and candles. The newness of each others' dreams. The shine of our ideas. The belief in what was possible.

We've shared twenty-five birthdays now. And the single constant through these twenty-five years is change. Change has woven its intricate design deep inside our marriage, our thirteen different living spaces in seven different states, our evolving work as artists and writers, our sons' own changing lives.

There isn't a piece of our life together that has not been burnished by change.

I asked my husband what he felt about this birthday, if anything. He said at first he didn't feel anything about it. That is was just another day. Another number. But later he turned to me and said he'd been thinking about his early years. The stuff he assumed was important. The choices he made. Or rather, didn't make. The times he stuck with things out of a sense of duty. Or a bone bred stoicism, believing in the virtue of sticking it out. Trying to make the unworkable work.

Looking back, he said, I don't understand it. When people say they wouldn't change a thing? I'd change ten thousand things, he said.

And that's why I love you, I told him.

And it got me thinking. Would I change ten thousand things? Or would I choose the devil I know?

The thing is this. The devil I know?

It's change.

So let's eat cake.


Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Gluten-Free Goddess Lemon Blueberry Muffins


Sunshine + Lemon.


Caught in the grey flannel mood and wet patter of a rainy spring day, what's a Gluten-Free Goddess to do? Why, bake, of course. (The calorie-stingy- but oh-so-delicious!- detox soup recipe will still be there tomorrow, in all it's green and virtuous glory, don't you worry.)

When the wacky winds howl like Banshees on the headlands and rain (or snow!) flies sideways as sharp as an art/music/film/literary critic's those-who-can't-do-criticize sarcasm, I wrote this recipe hunkered down in our humble abode, praying to the Power Gods that the electricity will hold. I pulled on flannel layers worthy of an L. L. Bean catalog and cranked up the oven.

Baking lemon-blueberry muffins, then, accomplishes two things.

It warms us twice.

Body and soul.


Gluten-Free Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Luscious Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins- gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free... and tasty!


Strawberry Moon

From the archives- a Mother's Day recipe idea that you may have missed! xox Karina

The moon rose almost full last night, hanging gold and low above the palm and ficus trees, urging the local beauty factor to give up its pretense of reality and meld with dreamland. The sky was a deep shade of violet with a wash of strawberry pink at the ocean's edge. Santa Monica holds me in her sway. I am in love with her- and deeply grateful to be here, celebrating my first spring in California since the late seventies. I drink the friendly May sea air in gulps. I wander the alleys and sidewalks in a state bordering on bliss, photographing details and eye candy with my iPhone. 

It is a visual feast.

And I am savoring every bite.


Spring: Six
Snippets from my neighborhood

Walking the streets with an artist's eye is screwing with time in a Lostian sense. I am reliving art school and aging backwards in a slippery flashback time travel  Back to the Future buoyancy, wandering with a camera, photographing shop windows, pieces of strangers, a red high heel, a cloud shaped like a crow, a chalk mark, an empty cup. Am I nineteen or am I fifty-five?

For the hours I navigate the neighborhood, I am neither.

Age is not relevant in a state of observation and creative response- although I would be lying if I didn't mention a certain advantage advancing age can offer. Being older- without the magnet of estrogen oozing from our pores- renders us invisible. This kind of freedom is not to be taken lightly. Its pleasure needs to be broadcast. Celebrated. Moving through time and space as something other than a trophy, a focus for desire, or a brooding hen is more fun than eating cotton candy barefoot. Nobody notices you. Nobody cares.

For a visual person like me this is heaven. 

Or my idea of heaven, anyway. Which I do not embrace with a literal imposition but grasp lightly with irony and an abstract, low down bare bones trust in the reality of now as we know it, no strings attached. Because heaven?

It's here on Earth.


Route 66
Roads? Where we're going we don't need--- roads.

How to Make Raw Cashew Cream and Ranch Dressing

A bowl of cashew cream with herbs and curry is an easy vegan recipe


From the archives- a non-dairy cashew based dip and dressing that is simply delicious, vegan, and gluten-free. So. Yay for us. xox Karina

Here in La La Land it's been too hot to cook.

So I've been going raw. Numero uno- it's easy. Numero dos- it's tasty. And as an added bonus (if you need another nudge) cooking raw keeps the kitchen cool as a cucumber- which, by all accounts, is chilly by default, and, well. Cool. As in hip. At least around these hipster parts (it's right up there with gluten-free lately).

I am way past the hipster stage of life, I confess. But I admit I've been flirting with raw cuisine on and off ever since the monkey gut incident. Eating vegan and raw seems to help heal inflammation and tame my irritable, punishing digestion. Unless it's broccoli. Or onion. Or too much raw fruit. I still need to be careful. But eating mostly vegan soothes my pesky symptoms and revitalizes my cranky, creaky body. I am amazed at how much better I feel. Maybe it's all those perky little enzymes.


Now if I could only quell the stress factor.


Good thing I have an iPhone. Iphoneography keeps me sane. It's a way I can paint. Create. Stay engaged. Hopeful. It keeps my spirit fed. And my visually dominant brain happy.


Meanwhile, an iphoneoraphy girl's gotta eat. 


I'll be soaking almonds and cashews for raw recipes. Freezing bananas. And stocking up on lettuce.


So why not try a little un-cooking yourself this summer? This recipe for cashew cream is the perfect place to start. It's versatile and voluptuous. It's vegan and dairy-free.


You'll love it.


So go.


Start soaking, Sugar.




Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp-Crumble

Gluten free strawberry rhubarb crumble


A beautiful strawberry crisp.

Cherry blossoms are snowing pink. Love is in the air. House finches are singing. Magnolias are unfolding their velvet petals. Trees are budding lacy greens and pale sun-yellows.

In other words, Spring has sprung. And I've been craving crisp and crumble desserts. The easiest of baked fresh fruit sweets... lovely for springtime picnic, or summer backyard get-together. A perfect ending to a grill-side supper on the deck, al fresco.

Although I have featured a strawberry rhubarb crisp in the past (kissed with a hint of balsamic vinegar) I decided to play around with an alternative topping to the classic pairing of tart rhubarb and sweet ripe strawberries. And I grabbed a secret ingredient from my pantry.

Can you guess what it is?

The secret ingredient in this old fashioned crumble dessert is an ingredient your grandmother probably never heard of.

Quinoa flakes. Gluten-free quinoa cereal flakes add a distinct, delicate flavor to this fruit crumble's sweet and nutty topping. The texture is light and lovely- and far less chewy than oats.

We thought it was spectacular.

And as a bonus?

This gluten-free dessert is xanthan gum free, by the way.

xox


Karina's Detox Soup Recipe with Coconut Milk

Gluten free creamy detox soup made with coconut milk is vegan and dairy free delicious


I'm Goin' to Detox Mansion...


It's hard not to feel anxious these days. So much barking and blinking and chest thumping. So much posing and strutting, and grinding, voracious greed. It's mighty tough for a sensitive soul (prone to itchy bouts of worry) to cope with all the mishegas and mayhem of our overheated plugged-in 24/7 culture. 

Finding a little grace and respite amidst the noise can be hard.

That is why I am sharing (another favorite) soup recipe. Just in case there is a kindred spirit out there in need of a bowl of creamy veggie comfort. A gluten-free vegan detox soup worthy of Peter Rabbit's sneaky excursions into Mr. McGregor's garden (that mischievous little rabbit- or as we like to say in my house... BUNNY!- close to my own greens adoring heart).

Bunnies aren't known for twerking on YouTube, or tweeting out criticism, or bullying, or, in general, wreaking havoc. Unless you count Peter's root vegetable stealing. Or (my sons' childhood favorite) mischievous Max and his devouring love of chocolate chickens (have you read the Max books?).

Bunnies are (ostensibly, anyway) devoted to a milder temperament.

And qualities like extreme cuteness. Shyness. And dare I say, gentleness.

Traits easily trampled in our thundering, gun worshipping, zombie killing 3-D pyrotechnics fed culture.

So it seemed only fitting I cook up a batch of bunny loving vegan soup today as fresh and non-toxic as could be.

Creamy, green, good-for-you soul food. And body food.

Ask any bunny.


Orange Creme Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Goddess Orange Creme Cupcakes - Vegan + Dairy-Free #glutenfree


Fresh. Vegan. Gluten-free.


On my To-Do List for nearly forever has been creating a gluten-free vegan recipe for my favorite childhood birthday treat- a fresh and fragrant orange cake with orange creme frosting. Since it isn't my birthday until June, I decided to experiment with making cupcakes instead of a traditional layer cake. 

You know. Strictly for taste testing. Research. And well.

Orange cupcakes just sounded refreshing.

Sunny and sweet.

I had such a good time in the kitchen this week making these sweet little gems. In fact, I'll be working on more recipes for vegan cupcakes in the near future, including basic vanilla cupcakes, and a few other tasty flavor combos.

Now that I know how easy it is to bake delicious gluten-free vegan cupcakes, the sky's the limit.


Gluten-Free Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Warm from the oven, beautiful loaf of Gluten-Free Banana Nut Bread


Banana bread for us. No apologies needed.


Out there in the cold cruel world, Darling, some folks apparently (still) view our gluten-free lifestyle through a jaded foodie lens, believing, first of all, that gluten-free anything is never going to taste anything but awful, and second, that this whole gluten-free trend (their word not mine) is a fad not worthy of serious consideration and compassion. Apart from the standard (and always brief) lip service that non-afflicted food writers, non-GF bloggers and journalists pay to celiac disease, adhering to the medical treatment that is a gluten-free diet is degraded- for that sexy topical hook- to a "bandwagon". An eating disorder.

A diet by choice.

They dub it a controversy.

As my seventeenth (!) year of living gluten-free begins in earnest, I find myself reflecting not upon the decade plus years living gluten-free, but upon the ten long years prior to shunning gluten- the decade it took me (no thanks to the medical profession) to determine that gluten was the culprit behind my early onset autoimmune cataracts, mysterious low ferritin levels, skin rashes, migraines, fat malabsorption and impressive marathon stints in the loo- I feel the slow, sad burn of anger those of us who are dismissed experience.

Two bloggers referenced the gluten-free diet on a social networking site recently, bragging about their "iron stomachs" and their ability to chow down on everything (this implies that those of us unable to ingest gluten merely have "sensitive" digestion). I was reminded of a previous post I wrote in response to a (famous) blogger's remark that gluten-free is "too precious".

Ignorance is bliss, indeed.


Here's the thing. It's not a sensitive vs iron stomach issue. It's not an I-can-eat-anything-so-bring-on-the-butter-and-bacon-and-haggis issue. It's not about macho appetite. Or virtue. Or squeamishness.

It's not philosophical.

It's not emotional.

It's not about preciousness.

Or garnering attention.

Or skinny jeans.

It's about a cruel quirk in genetics.

If you won the luck of the draw in the genetic lottery and escaped- by no effort of your own- inheriting HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8, the two genetic haplotypes that predispose you to an autoimmune disease that triggers your body's defense system to attack itself, destroying the nutrient-grabbing lining of your small intestine, be humble. Be thankful. Your body works. You do not have to be vigilant about every crumb that goes into your mouth. In your world gluten does not increase your risk for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A bagel is not dangerous. You can eat what you crave when you are hungry. You can wing it when you travel, feeling carefree and adventurous. You can sample new cuisine on a whim- without asking about the ingredients. Food for you is fun. Romantic. Perhaps, even a passion.

Thank your small intestine.

And while you're at it, thank your pancreas, too.

Because those with Type 1 diabetes (another genetic autoimmune disease, one that destroys the insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas) must also be vigilant about their diet. Along with injecting insulin, Type 1 diabetics must also limit (if not shun) certain foods to protect their health, making careful, low glycemic choices day after day.

But maybe that's a fad, too. Maybe their pancreases are just sensitive. Maybe a diabetic child is merely craving attention, just like her celiac cousin. Maybe a mother learning how to cook a meal with low glucose is coddling her child, too. Maybe all autoimmune diseases are just a silly trend. 
The Fad Du Jour.

I hear celiacs and diabetics are wicked sexy.

Well, that part may be true.