Archive for the ‘Dining’ Category

This is a favorite summer potluck dish, because the veggie mixture can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated. Do remember, however, that the rice should be mixed in on the day of serving so that it does not dry out or harden.

Fresh Veggie Rice Salad

Fresh Veggie Rice Salad

4 cups cooked Jasmine rice
1 can artichoke hearts (marinated or packed in water), chopped
1 can chopped black olives
1/2 jar capers with liquid
1/2 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup fresh, canned or frozen corn
1 carrot, diced
1/4 cup fresh or canned red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
2-3 basil leaves for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Olive oil
Paprika to taste
Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in wok or pan. Saute garlic. Add all veggies, leaving basil to the end, and saute until tender. Do not overcook. Season with lemon, paprika, and salt. Mix rice into veggie mixture and let cool. Garnish and serve at room temperature.

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A year goes by so quickly. Recently, our precious little boy turned one. We have been the lucky witnesses, each day, of his zest for life, sweet innocence, silly sense of humor, and insatiable curiosity. What an adventure it has been! We celebrated our amazing son and his wild love of bananas with these cupcakes:

“Everything-free” Cupcakes

No gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, peanuts, or soy–and surprisingly yummy.


On this birthday, I read aloud this simple blessing, which I found in one of my books. I’d like to read it again next year and each year to follow:

Our Wish for You

May you always see beauty in the world

And hear music everyday.

May you know the touch of gentle hands

And walk the peaceful way.

May the words you speak be loving.

May laughter see you through.

May you be blessed with hope and joy–

These gifts we wish for you.

– Theresa Mary Grass

Go bananas with bliss, sweet baby!

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There are fancier and more authentic aloo gobi recipes out there. This is a quick-and-easy version that we make at our home. I’m posting this for Indian food lovers and also especially for our friends, Mike and Ellasion. 🙂

Aloo Gobi


1 head cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large potato, cubed
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
Tumeric to taste
Paprika to taste
Cumin seed to taste
Salt to taste
Cilantro (optional)

• Prep cauliflower, potato, and garlic.
• Add to olive oil heated in wok or pot.
• Add water to just under vegetables.
• Let cook for 7 minutes.
• Add spices and salt.
• Let cook until fork passes through potatoes and cauliflower.
• Garnish with chopped cilantro.

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It’s officially autumn, the season when I start craving piping hot soups. Lately, Ive been in the mood for a soup that’s filling and a little spicy. This recipe hits the spot.

Tortilla Soup

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup


1 can kidney beans

1/2 can chopped green chilies

1/2 of 3 oz. can tomato paste

1 carrot, chopped

1 cup frozen corn

1/4 head chopped cabbage

2 cloves garlic

1 fresh lime

corn tortilla chips


Seasonings (amounts are approximate):

2 Tbs of juice from a rehydrated chipotle pepper,

1 Tbs. gluten-free balsamic vinegar (I use Mizkan Nakano’s rice-based one)

1 tps. olive oil

1 pinch of ground coriander

1 tps. paprika

1-2 pinches of cayenne

Juice of 1/2 lime

Salt to taste


Directions: Throw all ingredients (except lime and corn tortilla chips) into a large pot of water and bring to boil. Add seasonings to taste and preferred spice level. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve piping hot with corn tortilla chips and a wedge of lime. Just before eating, crumble the tortilla chips into the soup and add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Yum!



Fresh chopped kale or spinach: Add during the last five minutes of cooking.

Shredded cheese: Add just before eating.

Chopped avocado: Add just before eating.

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gluten-free pancakes
This is a variation on my mother-in-law’s yummy recipe:

Nancy’s Gluten-free Pancakes


1 3/4 cup white rice flour*

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs honey or sugar

3 egg whites

1 3/4 c water or rice milk

3 Tbs oil or butter**

(Makes about a dozen medium-sized pancakes)


In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and sugar or honey. In another bowl, whisk egg whites, oil, and water or milk. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

Over medium heat, warm a non-stick or well-oiled pan. Pour approximately 1/2 cup batter (more or less depending on the size of pancake you prefer) into pan for each pancake. Depending on the size of your pan and pancakes, you may be able to cook several at once. Let pancakes cook undisturbed until bubbles appear through center and pancakes are golden-brown on one side. Flip. Let cook undisturbed until golden-brown on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

I served my pancakes with fresh bananas and honey, but do garnish to your heart’s content with fresh berries, peanut butter, apple sauce, jellies, maple syrup, whipped cream, or whatever you may desire. Enjoy!

gluten-free pancakes

* Alternately, you can use all-purpose gluten-free baking flour or a mix including buckwheat or other flours depending on your dietary needs.

** I used olive oil, because that’s what we have around here, but whatever you’re used to cooking with should be fine.

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This is what we’ve been in the mood for lately:

Chilled Japanese Noodles in Dipping Sauce

It’s our version of chilled somen noodles. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and perfect for a hot summer day.

Chilled Japanese Noodles in Dipping Broth

This dish consists of three basic components: noodles, broth, and garnishes.


Traditional somen noodles are made from wheat, so I substituted rice noodles. Annie Chun’s Pad Thai noodles turned out to be the perfect width and texture.

  • Cook the noodles according to directions on box, rinse in cold water, and drain. (These noodles can be made several hours in advance and refrigerated–just run them under cold water before serving.)

Dipping Broth*

3-4 cups water

4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms

2-3 three-inch squares of dried kombu seaweed (You can find this in the Asian section of most grocery stores.)

1 tps sea salt

1 carrot cut into sticks

(As always, measurements are approximate. )

  • Rinse shiitake mushrooms and kombu lightly under running water.
  • Add shiitake mushrooms, kombu, and carrots to water in a pot. Bring to boil.
  • Add salt.
  • Let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until ingredients are very tender.
  • Remove from heat. When broth is no longer steaming, remove shiitake mushrooms, kombu, and carrots from the liquid and set aside to cool.
  • Strain the remaining liquid broth through a paper towel into a glass container. Chill in refrigerator. (This broth will keep for a day or so if refrigerated.)


You can choose one or all of the following as garnishes, according to your tastes:

Chopped scallions

Shredded lettuce

Shredded sushi seaweed

Grated daikon radish (I use a Japanese grater, which turns the daikon into a yummy slush.)

Roasted sesame seed

Shiso Fumi Furikake (perilla rice seasoning)

Cooked, chilled, and chopped leafy vegetables (I used some leftover Napa cabbage)

The ingredients cooked with the broth, sliced (carrots, shiitake mushrooms, kombu)**:

Serving & Eating

On a plate, arrange the chilled noodles with the garnishes you’ve chosen (except for the shredded sushi seaweed, grated daikon radish, and Shiso Fumi Furikake, which are best added directly to the broth just before eating).

Serve 1/2 cup or so of chilled broth in a small bowl.

To eat, simply dip a biteful or so of noodles and a few garnishes at a time in the bowl of broth. (Add a small amount of shredded sushi seaweed, grated daikon radish, or Shiso Fumi Furikake to the bowl too, if you chose to use any of these garnishes.)

This is one of my favorite summertime dishes. It’s healthy, refreshing, and as a bonus, the broth is rich in vitamins and minerals such as iodine and potassium.


* Made in a larger quantity and used hot, this is the same broth used for udon or soba noodles.

** These three ingredients can alternately be used as sushi fillings for another meal. Two birds, one stone!

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rice noodle salad

Our dear friends in London (Hello, M & G!) have requested some recipes on my blog, so I thought I’d start out with this simple warm weather favorite. A couple things you should know:

1. I don’t really use recipes or measure as I cook, and I use whatever ingredients happen to be on hand, so these “recipes” are meant to be altered to your heart’s content. Any measurements I include are really just general estimates – you’ll want to experiment and figure out the proportions for a salad that suits your taste buds.

2. We eat very simply around here–for good health and because of my many food allergies. If you’re used to heavy sauces, complex flavors, and such, you might find my dishes rather plain. I prefer to think of them as simple and refreshing. 🙂

Rice Noodle Salad


Rice noodles* (cooked, drained, and cooled according directions on package)

Lettuce (finely chopped)

Carrots (sliced into long ribbons with a peeler)

Baby bell peppers (cut into ringlets)

Cucumber (finely sliced)


1 part seasoned rice vinegar or lemon juice or lime juice

1 part sesame oil

Asian chili sauce**

roasted sesame seeds or ground sesame

optional: 1 Tbs Asian sweet dipping sauce to taste***

optional: 1 Tbs soy or wheat-free tamari sauce

Making this salad is simple. Mix the dressing in a separate bowl. Run half of the dressing through the drained noodles. Layer a platter or individual plates or bowls with seasoned noodles and the colorful vegetables. Pour the rest of the dressing over the salad. Serve layered, and toss just before eating. Enjoy!


* Experiment with brands and styles of rice noodles until you find one that doesn’t get gooey. I sometimes use Thai Kitchen rice noodles or China Bowl rice sticks.

** I sometimes use Lee Kum Kee Garlic chili sauce. With sauces, I recommend choosing one that doesn’t have artificial coloring or MSG.

*** I sometime use Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce.

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Pairs: Orange + Green

For the next few days, I’ll be posting a series of photographs linked by color combination, theme, or subject matter. I hope you’ll enjoy. Here’s the first pair: Orange + Green

Carrots, cucumbers, and mini bell peppers on a bed of lettuce. Lemon juice + olive oil dressing, of course.

Furoshiki: a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. Inside, a lunch box packed with cucumber rolls.

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Start with brightly-colored fresh fruits:


And fresh vegetables–organic, if possible:


Cook simply. Eat with gratitude.

For example, rice + stir-fried bok choy:

Light lunch

Rice noodle soup with shiitake mushrooms, vegetables, fresh ginger, and seaweed:
Noodle Soup

Corn pasta + green salad + fried eggs:

Spicy fried rice + green salad with olive oil and lemon juice dressing:

Fried Rice + Salad

Dear Blissful readers, my husband is feeling better now, although somewhat hoarse. Thank you for your well wishes! And as a bonus, I have not caught his cold [cheers and crosses fingers]. Yesterday, my husband went into the office to catch up on work, and while he was away, I organized a few boxes of stuff in the garage. You won’t believe what I found. I’m still in disbelief, but I promise to blog it later.

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Someone’s sick in bed.

No, no, not that someone. 🙂 It’s my dear husband who has been trying to fight off a cold for almost a week now.

Blood Oranges & Mandarin Oranges
Blood oranges and mandarin oranges to the rescue!

Blood Oranges
Aren’t they gorgeous inside?

Breakfast in bed

Freshly-squeezed citrus fruit juice (blood orange and mandarin orange with a slice of lemon for decoration) + fruit salad. Go for it, Vitamin C! Do your thing.

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