A cookbook review of Nourishing Meals… and a giveaway!

A few weeks ago I got an email from Ali Segersten of Whole Life Nutrition asking if I’d be interested in reviewing her and her husband, Tom Malterre’s, new cookbook, “Nourishing Meals.”  Like a giddy school girl I hastily responded with a resounding “YES!” I’ve been an avid fan of Ali and Tom’s since I first started my journey of becoming gluten and dairy free (among other things). Their website, The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, has been a huge help to me over the years. The first recipe I remember trying was their Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting… and they were heavenly (and vegan!).

Ali and Tom are widely known for their combined knowledge of nutrition and ability to create healthy and wholesome meals for the entire family (and by the way, they are parents to 5 children… yes I said 5!).

“Nourishing Meals” is not Ali and Tom’s only cookbook, they also are the authors of “The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.”

Please know, Ali and Tom did provide me with a copy of their cookbook to review, and also provided me with the copies for this giveaway, but the opinions expressed here are solely my own.

When I first opened up my copy of “Nourishing Meals,” my initial reaction was, “Holy cow, Tom and Ali are rock stars!”  This cookbook is packed with useful information, including why you should eat whole foods, why allergies and food sensitivities are on the rise, tips on raising healthy kids, how to pack healthy school lunches, etc… Phew! Not to mention the over 300 recipes. I immediately started marking recipes to try. I really appreciate that the recipes in this cookbook are well rounded – from vegan to grain free to being packed full of fresh ingredients. There is something for everyone in this book. It is gluten free, dairy free, and soy free (and though the cover of the cookbook doesn’t mention it, I think all of the recipes are also refined sugar free).

My true opinion? Let me put it this way, I own a good amount of gluten free cookbooks, and although they include some great information and recipes, I had yet to make that personal connection to a book that has earned it one of the highest spots in my kitchen… off the shelf and onto my counter. “Nourishing Meals” has earned a well deserved spot on my kitchen counter. I am notorious for not being able to follow a recipe (because I always have to try to make it better or make a substitution for something because of my own dietary restrictions). Ali is a genius. Her recipes are healthy, inventive, family friendly, and most importantly… they always work. I am grateful for all of the hard work Tom and Ali put into this beautiful book!

Last night our dinner consisted of 2 recipes from “Nourishing Meals,” which included the Zucchini Almond Bake (page 251) and the Grain (and egg) Free Chicken Nuggets (page 331). Both were huge hits, but especially the chicken nuggets. My 3 year old looked at me and said, “Mommy, these are soooo good!”

My 7 year old said:
Kylie: “Mommy, I just love your recipe for that chicken.”
Me: “It actually isn’t my recipe, babe.”
Kylie: “Well, then whose is it?”
Me: “It belongs to the lady who wrote the new cookbook I just got in the mail.”
Kylie: “Well, next time you talk to her, will you please tell her I said thank you and that I really like her recipe?”

I am looking forward to breaking in this cookbook, staining the pages, and using it for many years to come. I am so happy (and incredibly grateful) to finally have a cookbook on my kitchen counter!

This giveaway is now closed.

And for the giveaway….
Tom and Ali have generously provided me 3 copiesof “Nourishing Meals” to give away to 3 lucky winners.  Here’s how to enter (you can do one or all of the following for extra entries):

  1. Like Allergy Free Alaska and Whole Life Nutrition on Facebook. Leave me a comment below and let me know you did.
  2. Comment below and tell me why you’d like a copy of “Nourishing Meals.”
  3. And finally, share the link to this giveaway on your own Facebook page and encourage your friends to enter the giveaway. Leave me a comment below and let me know you did!

The winners will be announced Saturday, September 15th! Good luck!



Holy Guacamole!

Due to popular demand… here is my guac recipe (sorry no pic)!

Super Simple Guacamole Recipe:

2 large avocados

1 garlic clove, minced

1 – 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh squeezed

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp adobo seasoning (I use Penzey’s Adobo, but if you don’t have this seasoning in your cupboard, try a generous pinch of cumin, and then a pinch of each of these: black pepper, onion powder, and Mexican oregano.)


Combine all of the above ingredients in a food processor or a high speed blender.  Process until completely smooth.  Serve immediately!



Macaroni & (Goat) Cheese with Peas & Chicken

16 oz. of gluten free pasta

5 oz. of goat cheese (I like the Kirkland Goat Cheese best)

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 1/2 cup chicken breast, already cooked and chopped

sea salt


Cook the pasta according to package directions and strain.  Pour hot pasta into a large bowl; crumble pieces of the goat cheese on top of the hot pasta.  Stir until all of the cheese is melted.  Fold in frozen peas (the hot pasta will thaw the peas) and chicken.  Add salt and pepper to taste.



SF Blueberry Topping for Pancakes & Waffles (stevia sweetened/diabetic & anti-candida friendly)


It’s day 3 of the sugar free challenge and so far so good.  I think I’ve noticed a few slight differences in how I’ve been feeling, but I’m going to wait a few more days to report on them.

I made Fluffy Gluten Free Pancakes for breakfast this morning.  I normally have pure maple syrup to top my pancakes off with, but this morning maple syrup wasn’t an option since I also gave up agave, maple syrup, honey, and coconut sugar as part of the challenge.

I don’t know about you, but to me the thought of eating plain pancakes is just wrong. So I decided to use some blueberries I had in my freezer to make a mock “syrup” of sorts.

This turned out to be a big hit.  We all liked it, so it’s definitely something I will make again.

SF Blueberry Topping Recipe:

In a small sauce pan, bring the below ingredients to a simmer over medium heat.

1 cup frozen blueberries (make sure they are the large sweet blueberries, not the small & tart ones)

2 TBSP water

2 1/4 tsp lemon juice

8 – 15 drops of liquid vanilla stevia (sweeten to taste)

Simmer for 5-10 minutes, just enough time for the berries to soften and break open (I mashed my berries up a bit too).

In a small mixing bowl, combine:

1/4 cup cold water

2 tsp tapioca starch

Whisk the starch mixture into the blueberries and simmer until thickened (you can add more water to thin out the topping if it is too thick for your liking).

This would also be a great topping for SF ice cream!!



This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (egg, refined sugar, xanthan/guar gum free)

I know… it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe!!  Sorry!  We’ve been busy working on the house and enjoying what’s left of summer.  Leaves are already starting to turn colors here in Alaska; fall is quickly approaching!

These cookies are a perfect healthy treat for lunch boxes!

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (egg, refined sugar, xanthan/guar gum free)
Yields about 24 cookies

1/3 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
1/4 cup apple sauce
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2  tsp ground chia seeds
1/2 cup honey or coconut nectar, brown rice syrup, agave nectar
1 1/2 cups GF old fashioned oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. Combine coconut oil, apple sauce, vanilla, and chia seeds.  Set aside to sit for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Using a food processor (or a high speed blender), grind the rolled oats for 10 to 12 seconds.  The goal is to break the oats up a bit, but be careful you do not process the oats into flour.
  4. Combine oats and all other remaining dry ingredients.  Beat in the honey and the chia seed mixture.  Stir in the raisins.
  5. Drop dough by heaping teaspoonful’s on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Carefully pat down the tops of the cookie dough so they are about half an inch thick.  Bake until the cookies are a light golden brown, about 10 – 12 minutes.  When the cookies are done baking DO NOT remove them from the baking sheet.  Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet; they will be very soft and crumbly right out of the oven and need time to set up.



This recipe is linked to Simple Lives Thursday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Wellness Weekend, Freaky Friday, and the Gluten-Free Homemaker.

The better way to cook quinoa


photo source

For the longest time I had a really hard time eating quinoa.  The smell of it would bother me and the taste of it would make me nauseous, if not sick.

The suggested way to cook quinoa, is to rinse it, then cook it like you would rice: simmer quinoa in water until it absorbs all the water; fluff with fork.

Have you seen the water once quinoa has simmered for a while?  It looks like pee (sorry, but it does) and smells awful (at least to me, anyways), if not rancid.

My sister in law, Rochelle, finally suggested I cook my organic quinoa like a noodle, instead of rice.

Ahh… yes.  Why didn’t I think of that?

The better way to cook quinoa:
Boil half a cup to a cup of quinoa in a generous amount of water (4 to 6 cups) until it is done, about 12 minutes.  Strain the water, rinse the cooked quinoa, and enjoy. 

This post is linked to TGIQ.

:)  Megan



Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney Stuffing


Let me just say this:

Bacon + pork tenderloin + homemade apple chutney = juicy, tender, flavorful awesomeness!


Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney Stuffing

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 pork tenderloin, 2.5 – 3 lbs

1 package Applegate Farms Hardwood Smoked Sunday Bacon

1 Apple Chutney recipe (see below)

cooking twine

sea salt

black pepper

garlic powder

olive oil


Rinse the pork tenderloin in cool water and then pat dry with paper towels.  Using a sharp kitchen knife, slice into the middle of your pork tenderloin lengthways from top to bottom to “open it up” and make more room for the apple chutney stuffing.  Slice into the tenderloin with your knife at about 1/2 an inch depth.  Lightly sprinkle the insides of your pork tenderloin with sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Stuff each portion of the tenderloin with apple chutney, then carefully bring both sides together and wrap with bacon.

(It’s a bit cumbersome, but hang in there.  I promise it’s worth it!)

Tie securely with kitchen twine in several different places.  Lightly baste the bacon wrapped tenderloin with oil.  Place in a 9 x 13″ baking dish and bake in a preheated 375 degree (F) oven for about an hour or until a thermometer reaches at least 155 degrees (F).  Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes (remember the internal temperature will continue to rise inside the meat).

Remove the kitchen twine, slice, and enjoy!


Apple Chutney Recipe:

4 small organic apples, peeled and chopped in to small pieces (I used Braeburn apples – it’s what I had)

1/4 cup rice vinegar, low sodium & low sugar

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

1/4 piece of a large yellow onion (leave as a chunk, do not slice)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground ginger

2 pinches red pepper flakes

pinch of nutmeg

black pepper

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove onion chunk and refrigerate until ready to use.

:) Megan

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday and  Traditional Tuesdays.

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

It really bothers me when we have hamburgers and my girls have to go without a bun.  I go without a bun too, but that doesn’t bother me.  Okay, maybe it bothers me a little teenie bit, but it hurts my heart knowing my girls are missing out on something.

I’ve made hamburger buns three different times this week, trying to get this recipe just right.  These buns are best when used the day you make them, but they are still good the following day too.  The day after baking they are still soft, not rock hard like some gluten free bread recipes.

They also make great sandwich rolls.

Hamburger Buns (Small)

Before you make the hamburger bun dough, make the molds for them to bake in.  First, pick a bowl:

I randomly looked at 3 different bowls in my cupboard.  I choose the smallest bowl on the right because it was the perfect shape – about 4 1/2 inches in diameter and the sides were more square-like vs. the other bowls being very rounded on the bottom.

Flip the bowl upside down on your counter and tear off a piece of foil.  For whatever reason, my molds turned out best when I doubled up the foil only half way.  Like this:

Now place the foil on top of your upside down bowl on the counter and do the wrap around!

You’ll need to make 8 of these molds.  They don’t have to be perfect, but do make sure the sides of the molds are at least 2 inches in height.

Place your molds on a baking tray (or trays, I had to use 2) and coat with non-stick spray.

Now make your dough.

This recipe is linked to Allergy Free Wednesday.

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns Recipe
Makes 8 – 4 1/2 inch hamburger buns

Yeast Mixture:
1 cup warm water (between 110 – 115 degrees F)
3 TBSP honey
2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast (NOT instant yeast!)

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 TBSP xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Sesame seeds for sprinkling

To proof the yeast, combine the honey and warm water in a small mixing bowl and stir until the honey is mostly dissolved.  Sprinkle in the yeast and give it a quick stir.  Allow to the yeast to proof for 7 minutes (set a timer!) – NO more, NO less time.  Make sure you have the other wet and dry ingredients mixed and ready to go when the 7 minutes are up! 

Using a heavy duty mixer, combine the dry ingredients.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, water, and vinegar.

When the yeast is done proofing, add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Stir until it’s a little paste-like, then add the yeast mixture.  Using your mixers low speed setting, mix for about 30 seconds.  Scrape the sides of the bowl then mix on medium for about 2 minutes or until the dough is smooth.  (You may need to stop your mixer and scrape the sides of your bowl a few more times.)

Divide the dough into 8 well greased foil molds, placing 1/2 cup of dough in each mold.  There shouldn’t be too much dough left over, but if there is, simply divide it up into the molds.  Using a spatula, smooth out the dough in each mold.  Sprinkle each hamburger bun with sesame seeds.

Allow to the buns to rise for about an hour (This is how much time mine needed in Alaska. If you live in a warmer climate, they may require less rising time.)  Bake in a pre heated 375 degrees (F) oven for about 18 – 20 minutes, until the tops are a light golden brown.  Do not over bake!

Immediately remove buns from the molds and allow to cool on wire racks.  I was able to save my molds to be used again.

There was a lot of love that went into this recipe.  I hope a little of my love finds its way into your kitchen.



ps – I hope you like my buns!

Dairy & Sugar Free Fudgesicles


Have you ever had Jello Pudding Pops?  They used to be my favorite popsicle treat when I was a kid (pre-gluten free/dairy free lifestyle, of course).  I probably would have eaten a whole box of them if my mom would’ve let me!  This recipe some-what reminds me of those beloved pudding pops.  I hope you enjoy them!

1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup almond milk
3 TBSP cocoa (or carob)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp liquid stevia OR 1-3 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, coconut nectar, etc…

  1. Blend ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze for several hours before enjoying.

Have a great week everyone!


This recipe is linked to Allergy Free Wednesdays, Simply Sugar & Gluten Free & Gluten-Free Homemaker.

Psoriasis is the pits and other TMI musings…

Psoriasis.  It’s the pits… literally.  Pits – like armpits.  Since I started this blog to help those of us with psoriasis and arthritis I just thought I’d put it out on the table, get it out in the open, and scream it from the top of a mountain:


I broke out the steroid cream a few days ago.  Lightly seasoned the pits with steroid cream, then topped it all off with a bit of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg (I’m kidding! Dove clinical strength is more like it.  This is a food blog too though, and I get a bit carried away.)

On the upside, the pits feel less itchy today.  I never use my steroid cream unless I feel like I absolutely can’t stand the itching anymore.  I will go weeks, sometimes months without using it.

The psoriasis on my scalp (it’s at the base of my head, hidden in my hair) is annoying.  The patch is a few inches long and I can pull off patches of dead skin (scale like things) on demand.  I feel like the guy from one of the Austin Power’s movies.  You remember the one who picked off big patches of dead skin?  Or was it other peoples skin?  I don’t remember, but I know, it’s gross!  It totally grosses me out, but that’s the only thing I can really compare it to for others to understand.

I know, TMI… and some poor fellow is running around their living room right now screaming, “BAD MENTAL PICTURES!  BAD MENTAL PICTURES!”

Maybe I’ll work up the nerve to one day post a picture of the psoriasis on the back of my scalp.  Until then…… this will remain a picture-less post!