Green Garden Dressings-New Organic Olive Oil Salad Perfection

Arriving at Natural Products Expo West each year combines the anticipation of Christmas, the eagerness of Adult Trick or Treat and the exhaustion of a three day marathon. 

Each year, I’m careful to pack light, bring at least three pairs of one size bigger than usual shoes, lots of business cards and my eager camera. 

I search for whole foods, real flavors, organic or non gmo products that will enhance my food development and recipe creation work and ease my day to day cooking. The sheer size of the show makes finding these gems like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack. 

The Anaheim Convention Center is over a MILLION square feet of display, and this year there was an additional floor of display space in the Hilton hotel as well. 

Green Garden Organic Oilve Oil  Dressings
Green Garden Organic Oilve Oil Dressings

Luckily, this year I had a great time working with the #KitchenPLAY bloggers, tracking down some amazing food and supplement items to review.

Continue reading Green Garden Dressings-New Organic Olive Oil Salad Perfection

Party Allium White Bean Herb Dip

Gathering multitudes of alliums- onions, chives, and scallions to gently flavor this herbalicious dip. I chose to avoid the strongest of the family, garlic.

Who wants to share a strong sulfury dip at a Superbowl party?  

Creamy, flavorful but low fat, pale beautiful green, this combination of Alliums and White bean dip is perfect for Superbowl!

Feel free to change out the herbs to your personal favorites. I especially love sorrel in the summer time for its lemony tang, but in the depths of winter, my thoughts turn to the Allium family.

The Alliums family, those fragrant cooking standards from chives to garlic, from scallions to onions that thrive in the fall and winter. So many of them store well, providing a wonderful winter source of Vitamins A and C, with a big dose of calcium and iron.

I’ve been working hard to keep my teen athletes healthy this winter. Both are off to their next rock climbing competitions soon so I want thier immune systems to be as strong as possible. Those rock walls get lots of exposure to the prevelant viruses and you just can’t get them clean. 

We’ve been working to keep their iron levels up too, most atheletes need extra iron to keep muscles working strong.

This versatile dip is the perfect gentle green savory topping for fresh vegetables, corn chips or stuffed in mushrooms.  
Join me in support of the Seahawks, boil some blue potatoes, and top with this dip for a 12th Man favorite. 

Party Allium White Bean Herb Dip
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Superbowl time! This smooth, creamy but low calorie dip will make your party. Best of all, if you have a bit left at the end of the party, it makes a truly special salad dressing with a bit more lime juice.
Recipe type: Party Food Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 cups
  • 1 can Great Northern or small white beans- drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, you can use the dark version but the color of your dip will be muddied
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Two scallions- chopped
  • One tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • One tablespoon chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion (dry is fine)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper (green peppercorns preferably)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Blend till smooth and the herbs are finely chopped.
  3. Chill for one hour or more.
  4. Pipe onto cooked purple potato slices , if you are a Seahawks fan, or red corn chips for the Pariots
  5. If you want to make it into a dressing, add 2 tablespoons lime juice

White Bean Herb Dip with red chip The other team can choose their red white and blue favorites too. 

To keep the dip gluten-free, be careful what it is placed near. One inadvertent dip by a gluten full pretzel will be enough to cross contaminate the dish of dip.  That is why I pipe the dip onto the perfect carrier.  
Once it’s piped, no one goes back to dip. 

Ice Cream Cake – Dairy Free, Gluten Free

Does anyone in your house love ice cream cakes?

You know, the kind you can buy at Dairy Queen or Carvel.

When you are following a dairy free diet, that is a very complicated request.

I don’t know of a bakery that makes one.

An Ice Cream Cake-Dairy Free, Gluten Free

Stacked Dairy Free Ice Cream Cake


This simple technique of cutting and stacking makes even the most food allergic amongst us able to enjoy a frozen confection.

So Delicious makes a couple of great options for the dairy free person including Almond milk and Coconut milk Frozen treats.

Elephant Birthday Cake- Dairy Free with So Delicious.
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When you want an ice cream cake but the honoree is dairy free, life gets a bit complex. This quick to make dessert uses to its advantage the wonderful quality of So Delicious Coconut Frozen Dessert. Total time to make it? under 30 minutes.
Recipe type: Dessert, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Serves: 8
  • 1 pint of So Delicious coconut milk frozen treat or flavor of your choice
  • 1 box Animal Crackers- Gluten Free, Dairy Free
  • 1 bag organic semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
  • 1 pint of raspberries for decoration
  1. Bring frozen Coconut milk dessert out of the Fridge, letting it thaw just a couple of minutes to make cutting easier.
  2. Sort through the cookies, saving any with perfect form for decoration. The remainder of the cookies are ground to fine crumbs.
  3. Melt together chocolate and coconut oil.
  4. Once the Frozen confection is slightly warmed, grab a serrated knife and cut through the carton and the ice cream to create a dessert.
  5. Each pint of So Delicious frozen dessert should have 4 slices, after cutting.
  6. Place one on a plate top with 2 tablespoons of the chocolate, sprinkle with cookie crumbs then another layer of So Delicious frozen dessert
  7. Continue to stack the cake up ending with the frozen dessert.
  8. The chocolate will act like a magic shell, hardening as soon as it touches the frozen dessert.
  9. Line up the perfect animals in a circle around the base of the cake.
  10. Make a swirl of raspberries on the top of the cake.
  11. Serve.


Cheesy Grits with Ham and Rainbow Chard-Pantry Dinner

Between seeing patients, writing, teaching and parenting, I’m busy.

No busier than many of you, we all have our Busy Badges as a paleo friend says.

Just the typical post work routine: running between appointments, striving to remember the details of carpools, sports schedules and due dates for assignments.

Oh, and dinner.  There is always dinner to be made.

I keep things in my pantry at all time to make those fast dinners to prevent the,” I have to eat NOW,” hangries at bay from both our daughters and myself.

Cheesy Grits Ham Rainbow Chard- Pantry Dinner

This dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes. I promise!

Organic Grits with Kerrygold Cheddar, ham and Rainbow Chard
Organic Grits with Kerrygold Cheddar, ham and Rainbow Chard

From my dry goods pantry, a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Polenta.

Yes, I know that it isn’t the gluten-free polenta, but we only eat Organic Corn since it is one of the crops highest in genetic modification. Since all those GMOS are created for resistance to pesticides, I’ve eliminated them from our diet. No hormonal disruption in my family, thank you very much.
Although this isn’t labeled gluten-free, I’ve never had a problem using it. I’ve seen the factory, I know how clean they keep it.

From the fridge, Kerrygold cheese. I picked the Vintage Dubliner this time for a richer, sharper flavor. You kind of need a big cheese flavor to stand up to the creamy polenta.

Ham- a bit of leftovers from our Easter Carlton Farms ham. We got this lovely meat from our friends at Carne. They procure all their meats from clean farms, those that don’t use hormones or artificial nitrates.

And Finally, a bag of Cut and Clean Rainbow Chard. Cause having it already harvested, washed and cut makes dinner really easy.

Now if you want to keep this meal vegetarian, leave out the ham. There is plenty of nutrition in the greens, cheese and corn combination.
I’ve been known to fry an egg and place it atop too. Especially after a track meet.  My girls need more food then :)

Vegan? leave out the ham and cheese. Still plenty there for everyone.  When we have a vegan friend over, this is the simple meal that I serve.


Cheesy Grits with Ham and Rainbow Chard-Pantry Dinner
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Gathering from the pantry and fridge for this meal means I have dinner on the table in ½ hour. I make my polenta in an unorthodox manner. By cooking the grain with butter before adding the liquid, my polenta never sticks together in a big lump, but still gets creamy as you stir. Save yourself the trouble. Feel free to change it up, use whatever greens, cheese and meat you have in house. It can be as different as you like but still satisfying.
Recipe type: Gluten Free
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ bag Organic Polenta
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced Ham
  • 1 bag Cut and Clean Rainbow Chard
  • 2-4 ounces of Kerrygold Vintage Dubliner cheese- grated
  1. Melt butter in large pot.
  2. Add the polenta and salt, stir till each grain is coated.
  3. Add boiling water and stir.
  4. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. Cover, turn off and let sit till greens are done.
  6. In a large frying pan over medium heat, saute ham in olive oil till warmed.
  7. add the chard and cook till bright green.
  8. Give the polenta one last stir, then divide into bowls.
  9. Sprinkle each bowl with ¼ of the cheese,
  10. Top with greens and serve

Apple Cider Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Apple Cider Glazed Brussels Sprouts

The joy of using fabulous fresh produce right from the farmer is that you don’t have to do much to enhance it.

It shines all on its own. Like these amazing Brussels Sprouts from Rents Due Farms.

Mike Shriver- Rents Due Farm

Dr. Jean Layton How much do you love Brussels sprouts? You can see how much I do.

Rents Due Ranch (Stanwood, WA) usually sells their lovely organic Brussels sprouts through PCC but this year the store needed them sooner and had to go with another farmer.

Farmstr stepped in and bought the entire harvest, then sold it directly to their clients. Click through to see what is available now.

Now, lucky me with 5 stalks of Brussels Sprouts wanted to find some amazing things to do with them and hopefully turn on my Brussels sprout hating neighbors.

This incredibly simple 2 ingredient recipe was one of the solutions.

Apple Cider Jelly

Fresh Apple Cider, cooked till it was thick and syrupy, then the Brussels added to steam for a few minutes.

That is it. So incredible, sweet and earthy at the same time. Even the leftovers were incredible.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Apple Cider Glazed Brussels Sprouts
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Serves: 4
  • 1 cup Fresh Apple Cider
  • 2 cups Fresh Brussels Sprouts- larger ones cut in half
  1. Place cider in large frying pan.
  2. Cook till the cider reduces by ⅔s and thickens
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts.
  4. Cover pan and cook for 2-3 minutes till the sprouts are tender and well glazed
  5. Serve immediately

 I’ll let you know when our Brussels Kraut is done and share that recipe then.

What do you do with Brussels Sprouts?

Maple Candied Apples

When you want a great candied apple but aren’t eating sugar, what do you do?


Maple Candied Apples
Maple Candied Apples

Using nothing but maple syrup and butter or coconut oil, you can create a crackling glaze for your apples. Best of all, when there are a few leftover bites, they make great oatmeal toppings.
I like to make them tiny so a child can finish them but Adults love them too.

Maple Syrup Candied Apples.
Maple Syrup Candied Apples.

Maple Candied Apples
Maple Toffee Glaze
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil for vegan
  • ¼ cup optional coatings- roasted chopped almonds or pecans, toasted coconut or cookie crumbs
  • One sheet of parchment paper to cool the apples.
  1. Place maple syrup in pan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat till the bubbles continue but the mixture stays in the pan.
  3. This syrup can easily burn, so watch carefully.
  4. Cook till the volume has reduced by ½, the mixture is thickening and the bubbles are not popping immediately.
  5. Add the butter then swirl the pan to combine.
  6. Test the caramel by dipping a cold spoon in it. If it is ready, the candy will stay on the spoon, not sheet off and will harden within a minute or so.
  7. Dip Apples when the caramel is ready then roll in crushed nuts, coconut or cookie crumbs
  8. Place immediately on parchment paper to cool.
  9. The caramel will coat 4 regular sized apples or 8-10 minis

Once you have dipped them all, keep them in a dry and covered storage.
In the picture, I made the mistake of keeping them in my humid kitchen which allowed the caramel to begin to sweat.

If you have leftovers, they are wonderful on top of oatmeal for breakfast.

I’m entering this recipe into a Pure Canada Maple Contest.