Hi, I'm Christina! I am a huge foodie, travel and fitness lover, and try to live as healthy and holistically as possible. I believe that how you eat and treat your body has a major impact on how you feel both physically and mentally. I follow a gluten-free, plant-based diet 95% of the time because it helps me feel my best. I love sharing my recipes and lifestyle hacks with family and friends and am excited to share them with you!
I recently came across Holidaily Brewing, a 100% gluten-free brewery in Colorado with incredible beer that is totally safe for celiacs. I absolutely love their IPA and their stout is the perfect, not-too-heavy, fall beer, but the real sleeper is their blonde ale which is mild but flavorful and perfect for cooking with.
As the weather in Chicago has suddenly started to feel like fall, and with football season right around the corner, I have been experimenting with some different comfort food snacks for during games and for outdoor get togethers with friends. I am always a big fan of recipes that are low mess, don’t require the oven and use ingredients that I am likely to have in the fridge at home. This beer cheese dip is all of those things and is a serious (socially distanced) crowd pleaser.
It is super cheesy with a little bit of spice and tanginess and the Holidaily Brewing Company blonde ale adds a perfect malty, hoppy flavor to balance everything out. I paired the dip with gluten-free pretzels but it would also go great with some warm bread or veggies. As we get further into fall, I have a feeling that this would also be delicious warmed up and paired with hot pretzels…it may just be something I try the next time I make it!
Ingredients: (Total Time: 10 minutes. Serves 6 ):
8 oz. package of cream cheese
1.5 cups shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Fage 2% Greek yogurt
2 tbsp ranch seasoning mix
1/2 cup Holidaily Brewing blonde ale (or any other blonde ale)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Sriracha
1/4 tsp Worcester sauce
Add all ingredients to a food processor or high powered blender and blend until completely smooth.
Serve with pretzels, chips, veggies, warm bread or anything else your heart desires.
I hate wasting food so when I found a few zucchinis in the veggie drawer that were looking a bit soft I figured I would throw together some zucchini bread as a treat to have around for the week. I was feeling really indecisive and couldn’t choose between standard zucchini bread and a chocolatey version so I decided on a marbled loaf so I could have the best of both worlds!
This recipe has a mix of Bob’s Red Mill Cup 4 Cup flour, oat flour (made by blending gluten free oats in a food processor until they are very fine) and coconut flour. This blend creates a consistency that is somewhere between a standard banana or zucchini bread and a fudgey brownie. This makes it really versatile as it can be great as a breakfast treat topped with some peanut butter and jam or a delicious dessert served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If you love chocolate, you could easily double the amount of cocoa powder and chocolate chips in the recipe and make a full chocolate loaf and if you would rather have a more traditional zucchini bread you can omit the cocoa and chocolate all together. This would also be wonderful with a cup of chopped walnuts added in. However you choose to eat or make this bread I would highly recommend enjoying it with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee!
Ingredients: (Prep Time: 20 min. Bake time: 50 – 60 min. Makes 2 loaves):
1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Cup 4 Cup flour
1 1/4 cups oat flour (made by blending oats in food processor until mostly fine)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup greek yogurt (preferably full fat)
1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup white sugar
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchinis)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 and grease two 9×5 baking tins.
In a large bowl, mix together cup for cup flour, oat flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon
In a smaller bowl mix together eggs, yogurt, almond milk, sugar and vanilla. Slowly add in melted butter mixing the entire time so as to not cook the eggs
Combine flour and egg mixture and mix until smooth (about 2 minutes)
Mix in zucchini until well incorporated
Divide the batter evenly into two bowls and in one bowl mix in cocoa powder and chocolate chips
Alternate 1/2 cup spoonfuls of chocolate and plain batter into greased baking tins until you run out of batter
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean
Allow bread 30 minutes to cool before removing from pan and slicing. Enjoy!
Well, it has been a while since I last shared a recipe and I am going to use the “2020 has been crazy” card as part of my excuse. Josh and I have been riding out the majority of quarantine at our parent’s places so I have been able to get a lot of feedback on some ideas I had been playing around with and, with a bit of trial and error, I’ve come up with a few recipes that are a big hit.
This One Pot Quinoa Chili has been a favorite with my family. It has a ton of vegetables, uses way less meat than standard chili, the quinoa lightens things up a bit and the clean up is really easy. It is full of flavor especially if you let it simmer for a few hours and makes a ton of food, which I see as a bonus because it tastes even better the next day. I also cannot stress enough how much better homemade chili seasoning is to store bought. Having control of the amount of each seasoning that you use makes such a difference to the flavor and the majority of store bought seasoning mixes have all sorts of additives, like gluten, which are completely unnecessary. Plus, the addition of cinnamon to this recipe adds a bit of sweetness and warmth that is seriously delicious!
I recommend topping this chili off with a dollop of greek yogurt, diced onion, cilantro and a bit of shredded cheese but it is excellent on it’s own as well. If you are vegan or vegetarian you can absolutely omit the ground beef all together add a bit more quinoa (maybe 1/2 cup) and this would still be a great meal.
Ingredients: (Prep Time: 30 min. Total time: 70 – 90 min. Serves: 8):
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef (I prefer 90/10)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 bell peppers (I like to do a few green and a few other colors), chopped
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1, 4.5 oz. can diced green chilis
3 chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce, diced, plus 2 tbsp. sauce
1, 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
3, 15 oz. cans black beans (do not drain)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
3 heaping tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. oregano
In a large pot heat olive oil over medium high and add ground beef. Cook until beef has just barely turned brown.
Add in garlic, onion, bell and poblano peppers and cook until they start to sweat and cook down a bit (about 5 minutes).
Mix in diced green chilis, adobo peppers and sauce and all spices. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add in quinoa and water. Stir until quinoa is well incorporated. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for at least 40 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. If you can let it simmer a bit longer, go for it, the flavors keep getting better.
I am going to keep this post short and sweet. This is an incredibly easy, grain-free dessert that’s perfect for a fall date night treat. You won’t need to turn on your oven, or your stove and it only needs one bowl. I recommend refrigerating it for an hour or two before serving it because it needs some time to set and it tastes a lot better cold.
I layered the pumpkin mousse with pumpkin flavored Within/Without granola which made this taste like creamy pumpkin pie. I absolutely love their granola, it’s grain-free and has a unique chewy texture. The seasonal pumpkin flavor is amazing and I’ve been sprinkling it on everything I can lately. If you want to give it a try, out you can order it online here!
Ingredients (Prep Time: 10 min. TotalTime: 60 min. Serves: 2):
1 cup Within/Without Granola
2/3 cup heavy cream
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.
Mix in cream cheese until well incorporated but mixture is still fluffy.
Mix in pumpkin pureé, powdered sugar, vanilla and pumpkin spice.
Layer 2 tbsp. granola followed by 1/4 cup mousse in small cups. Refrigerate until mixture has set and chilled, about 1 hour. Enjoy!
I don’t care how basic it is. I love pumpkin everything. There, I said it and there’s no shame in my game. Lattes, bread, cookies, pasta, you name it and chances are I’ve made it and devoured it. But of all of the pumpkin treats I’ve made, these mini pumpkin cheesecakes are by far my favorite.
Unlike traditional cheesecake that is labor intensive, requires a water bath and takes forever to bake, these mini cheesecakes take 30 minutes in the oven, have a super simple ingredient list and bake in cupcake tins. So easy!
We were having friends over for the Steeler’s game on Sunday so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a batch.
I’ve been making these for years with all sorts of flavor combinations using different fillings and cookies as the crust. For this batch, I used Goodie Girl’s seasonal Caramel Apple flavored cookies with pumpkin spice filling and whipped topping. They were to die for and the Goodie Girl cookies worked wonderfully. They had great crunch, and the caramel apple flavor added a really nice tart kick.
If your store doesn’t carry the caramel apple flavor, I think their toffee crunch or even chocolate chip cookies would work well also.
If you are looking for an easy fall treat that is perfect for parties, give these a try!
Ingredients (Prep Time: 15 min. TotalTime: 50 min. Serves: 15):
For the Crust:
1 box Goodie Girl Caramel Apple Cookies (about 2 cups of crumbs)
4 tbsp butter (melted)
For the Filling:
12 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
For the Whipped Topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners (you will need 15).
In a food processor, pulse cookies until they are fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until well incorporated.
Distribute cookie mixture among cupcake tins (about 2 tablespoons per tin) and press into the bottom. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until they just start to brown.
In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, greek yogurt, sugar, egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree until smooth.
Distribute cheesecake mixture evenly among cupcake tins. Bake for 25 minutes until the middle isn’t jiggly and the top has browned a tiny bit. Once removed from oven, let them cool completely.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip heavy cream until peaks just start to form. Then, mix in cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin spice until they are well incorporated and smooth.
Serve cheesecakes with a generous dollop of whipped topping and enjoy this delicious, seasonal treat!