Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chocolate Coconut Cookie Shake

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Chocolate Coconut Cookie Shake

We decided to drive through In ‘n Out today after church to grab a quick lunch. I was thankful because I was feeling a little under the weather and didn’t feel like making a big lunch at home. Plus, we’ve learned to love their “protein-style” burgers (this basically means same burger, but wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun). Even my husband who doesn’t have to be gluten-free actually prefers his burger “protein-style” now as well.

The problem though, is that In ‘n Out makes delicious chocolate shakes as well. They are very hard to resist. Of course, my son asked if he could have one since it had been “ages” since he’d had a shake. I promptly reminded him that he had a protein shake with breakfast this morning…how quickly they forget.  But I felt for him, the cold, chocolate creaminess was enticing me as well.

Then I remembered that I had a collection of items at home that I could use to make us a comparable, gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate shake. I proposed the solution. He hesitantly accepted and even agreed to help me make it. (Spoiler alert: both he and his brother loved it…)

We went to our fridge and cupboard and assembled the players charged with making us a frosty treat. Here is the line-up:

Trader Joe's Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Trader Joe’s has been fantastic about stocking more gluten-free and dairy-free versions of the foods we Americans enjoy on a daily basis. This is a store that is listening to the consumer and meeting the needs of those of us with dietary restrictions. And for that reason alone, I love this market. (Seriously, Trader Joe’s should be paying me to write this post. :) )

Here is the recipe. Enjoy! Let me know how it turned out for you. Did you use any other ingredients? I would love to hear your take on it!

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Chocolate Coconut Cookie Shake

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chocolate Coconut Cookie Shake


8 ounces Trader Joe’s Vanilla Coconut Milk
5 Trader Joe’s Gluten-free Joe Joes’s
1 container of Trader Joe’s Vanilla Coconut Yogurt
2 scoops of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream


Combine the ingredients in a high-speed blender.
Adjust to your desired thickness (i.e. add milk to send it out or more cookies or ice cream to thicken it)
Serve immediately.

Gluten-free Pasta Salad

Gluten-free Fusilli Pasta | Quinoa and Brown Rice Pasta

There have been many BBQ’s this summer where we have had nothing to eat but bun-less hot dogs (or burgers) and a piece of watermelon. Why?

Well, mainly because hosts who are not on any dietary restrictions don’t think to offer a variety of options. So true to the “Standard American Diet” (whose initials ironically spell “SAD”) every dish is either loaded with dairy or encrusted with wheat.

At least if the BBQ is potluck you are guaranteed to have at least one side dish you can enjoy…because you made it yourself.

So, that got me thinking. What could I bring to a potluck so that we, as gluten-free, dairy-free eaters, could have something other than plain weenies.

Here is the first recipe I came up with: Gluten-free Pasta Salad!

I wish I could say for sure that it is also dairy-free but depending on which brand of salad dressing you use, that may not be the case. Many bottled Italian dressings use parmesan cheese as an ingredient so read your labels carefully.

I used my favorite gluten-free pasta from Trader Joe’s. It’s made with quinoa and brown rice flours and holds up well drenched in dressing.

Gluten-free Fusilli Pasta | Quinoa and Brown Rice Pasta


Helpful hints:

1) Chop your veggies ahead of time and store together in a bowl with clear wrap. This will expedite your salad making process.

2) Experiment with different veggies and try lemon dressing instead if the Italian dressing

Gluten-free Pasta Salad


Gluten-free Pasta Salad

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked gluten-free fusilli pasta
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup pitted black olives, sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped

1 cup gluten-free Italian-style salad dressing like Wish-Bone House Italian Salad Dressing
(add more to taste).

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and drain.

Mix the celery, bell pepper, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and onion together in large bowl.

Combine cooled pasta and vegetables together in large bowl. Pour Italian dressing over mixture, add basil and mix well.

Chill for one hour before serving.


Stay tuned for my dairy-free creamy potato salad!

Have a great summer!


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Bean and Bell Pepper Salad Recipe

Bean and Bell Pepper Salad | Gluten-free, Dairy-free

One thing I miss about being gluten-free is the feeling of being “stuffed”. I know — weird. Since our diet now consists of predominately whole foods, we can finish a meal, feel satiated but not completely stuffed. Of course, this is healthy but unusual in our American culture which is used to the bloated feeling that follows a meal high in processed carbohydrates.

It’s helpful to remember that wheat gives us carbohydrates, protein and fiber and it is those components that give us the “full belly” feeling. Since I was craving that feeling today, I came up with a gluten-free alternative. Beans! Beans are loaded with protein and fiber and do have some complex carbohydrates.

It’s hot out today in Southern California and since we were cooking on the grill for lunch, I decided to make a bean salad as a side dish.

Bean and Bell Pepper Salad | Gluten-free, Dairy-free

It was delicious – even the boys gobbled it up.

A few notes regarding this recipe:

1) Use the full celery stalk. Cut up the green leafy part too.
2) For added color and a little more zing, use a red onion. I didn’t have any today so I used white onion and it was still fabulous.
3) In the dressing you can use plain ol’ sugar or whatever sweetener your family is used to (I hope it’s natural :) ). But, I highly recommend you try the coconut palm sugar. It really adds a depth to the flavor of the dressing that other sweeteners won’t be able to replicate.
4) You can use olive oil instead of grapeseed oil but I like to get a variety of oils into our weekly diet so I went with grapeseed for it’s benefits.

Let me know if you tweaked this recipe in anyway. I’d love to hear your take on it!

Bean and Bell Pepper Salad
Serves 4 to 8.

1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can cut green beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup canned fire roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

3 Tablespoons Bragg’s Organic, Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Organic Coconut Palm Sugar
3 Tablespoons  Grapeseed Oil
1 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, mix the beans, celery, onion and parsley.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.

Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing. Serve cold.



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Breakfast Idea: Make Ahead Summer Oatmeal


It’s been hot here in SoCal — like 80 degrees by 8 am hot. So the thought of waking up and having a hot breakfast has been less than appealing.

Luckily, my friend Kelly clued me into this brilliant idea: cold oatmeal for breakfast. I know, it sounds weird but just go there with me for a moment because it’s actually quite delicious.

Basically you soak rolled oats over night in the fridge and by morning you have a delightfully refreshing, hearty breakfast! She has her own favorite mix of ingredients but this recipe is for what I made in this photo.


Let us know your favorite combination of ingredients.

Make Ahead Summer Oatmeal

1 Wide-Mouth Mason Jar with lid
2/3 cups uncooked, Gluten-free Rolled Oats
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla coconut milk here)
1 teaspoon of Stevia all natural sweetener
Dash of cinnamon
1/2 cup of fresh berries (I used strawberries)

Place all the ingredients, except the berries, into the jar and stir to combine. Top with the berries, place the lid on the jar and put in your fridge overnight. By morning, most of the milk will have been absorbed by the oatmeal.

Eat straight from the jar or pour into a bowl and enjoy this refreshing start to a hot day!


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Ask Costco for Glutino Products

Glutino Pretzels

I’d like to enlist the help of all of you Costco members out there.  I am pleased to report that my local Costco is stocking its shelves with more organic products. Every time I go in, there seem to be new items to try.

Despite that fact, I need your help. See, I recently attended the Natural Products Expo where I had the pleasure of sampling Glutino’s Gluten-free Honey Mustard Pretzels .

Glutino Pretzels

They were fabulous so I asked the sweet man at the booth where I could purchase these. We reviewed the various markets that carry this delicious product and I was surprised to discover that Costco in Northern California carries a large bag of the pretzels in their stores but our Southern California Costcos do not!

Based on past experiences, I knew that I could stop at the suggestion booth outside the store to fill out a request form or go online.  This is what the suggestion booth at Costco looks like:Image

When I’m at Costco, I am usually too rushed to stop and fill out a form but since I am frequently online, I did go home and email the following through

I’d like to thank our regional buyer for providing more organic products to our Simi Valley Costco. As a family with special dietary needs, I have been delighted to see more of the products I often use available in bulk.

I would love to see more gluten-free products and in particular, would love for you to consider Glutino’s Gluten-free Honey Mustard Pretzels, which I understand are sold at Costcos all over Northern California.

Please consider expanding the reach of this product to include us in Southern California. I know that it would be a hit especially with those of us who are unable to eat wheat products due to allergies. 

Thanks for your consideration as you carefully choose what items to bring to our store. We appreciate your attention to the needs of local families!

Have a great day!


So here is where I plea for your help.  Please click here,, and fill in the form. You have my permission to cut and paste the above verbiage to the comments section.  Or, of course, edit it to suit your needs.

I figure if the local buyer gets enough email requests, she will look into carrying more of the stuff we want!  After all, they say the squeaky wheel gets oiled.