The Blog! Archives

Matcha latte

Enjoy all the benefits of matcha in this warm and cozy matcha latte – made dairy-free and with no refined sugar!

Enjoy all the benefits of matcha in this warm and cozy matcha latte - made dairy-free and with no refined sugar! #matcha #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

Matcha is basically powdered green tea.  We’ve all heard the benefits of green tea (loaded with antioxidants and nutrients) that include improved brain function, fat loss, lower risk of cancer and many other good things.  So, being powdered, means you get all of these benefits in a really concentrated form.

Matcha lattes have become all the rage on social media recently.  I love having green tea, but didn’t really get into the whole latte thing because I really don’t like coffee.  But I did find some matcha powder on special at the local grocery store and started experimenting with it.  Namely by adding chocolate to it, because that’s what I do!  

And then I thought I’d give this matcha latte a go.  So I looked up a few recipes for dairy-free, refined sugar free options and found that they were all pretty similar to my dairy-free hot chocolate recipe.  Just using matcha powder instead of cocoa.  And I experimented a little, but found that it was pretty much exactly the same as the hot chocolate proportions.  And yummy.

A note to the unwary – make sure you dissolve ALL the matcha powder in the hot water/maple syrup mixture before adding to the milk.  Having clumps of matcha powder come down your throat is not a pleasant experience.  Take this from someone who’s done it.  Several times.

But this is a great drink for me in the mornings – a way to get some caffeine in, with all the health benefits listed above – and warming me from the inside out.  Let me know if you give it a go!


Matcha latte

(Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Servings 1


  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs hot water
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened


  1. Combine the matcha powder, maple syrup and hot water in a small bowl until all matcha powder is dissolved.

  2. Heat the almond milk until close to boiling, either on the stove or in the microwave in your cup of choice.

  3. Add the matcha mixture to the warm milk and stir completely.  And enjoy!

  Enjoy all the benefits of matcha in this warm and cozy matcha latte - made dairy-free and with no refined sugar! #matcha #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfreeEnjoy all the benefits of matcha in this warm and cozy matcha latte - made dairy-free and with no refined sugar! #matcha #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

Almond butter vs peanut butter – which do you prefer?

Almond butter vs peanut butter - which do you prefer? #almondbutter

It’s an age old question.  Well, not really!  In a battle of almond butter vs peanut butter, which would win for you?

I love my peanut butter.  SO MUCH!  For breakfast, lunch and dinner, and snacks in between.  So much so, that I love finding new ideas on how to use it!  But I know there’s many people around the world that are allergic to peanuts, my own father included.  And I also know that if I have too much peanut butter (which can sometimes often happen) my stomach rebels against me.  So I thought about how I could incorporate more almond butter, and other nut butters, even nut-free butters, into my life.

Now it’s pretty easy for any recipe that calls for peanut butter to just do a quick substitution with almond butter.  But I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite recipes using almond butter – that are awesome in their own right.

Note that I have received some free products from Crazy Richards Peanut Butter company for use in my Instagram giveaway, which is why I used photos of their products above.  I love Crazy Richards Peanut butter, and love working with them, but have not received any other payment from them apart from a few free jars of peanut and almond butters!

Almond butter in granola

Egg white granola (Paleo, no added sugar)

Almond blueberry granola (Paleo)








Lets start out nice and simple – with something that I make ALL the time.  And that’s granola.  I love having a good nut butter to help bind all the fruit and nuts together before putting in the oven, so check out the egg white granola, and the almond blueberry granola recipes!

Almond butter in savory dishes

Thai almond curry sauce (Paleo)

Thai almond chicken curry (Whole30)








Now I realize that both of these dishes are a  Thai curry.  But really, almond butter just makes the sauce so creamy and yummy!  Give them a go and see what you think – either just the sauce, or the full meal with chicken, sweet potatoes and zucchini with a slightly different Thai almond curry sauce.

Almond butter in breads

Paleo bread

Flourless bread (Paleo)

English muffins (Paleo)










Did you know that you can use nut butter to make breads and muffins?  Check out the bread recipe, which doesn’t use ANY flour at all – just some almond butter, eggs, apple cider vinegar and baking soda.  Seriously, that’s all you’ll need!  Or if you’re in the mood for some English muffins, see how easy it is to make these at home too!

Almond butter cookies

Triple almond raisin cookies (Paleo, vegan)

Apple spice cookies (Paleo)










It wouldn’t be a post from me if there wasn’t some sweets included, now would it.  So lets talk about some of the options available to you using almond butter in cookies.  Of course, there’s others, such as almond coconut cookies and almond chocolate chip cookies and chocolate almond butter cookies, but these two are probably my favorite.  Check out the triple almond raisin cookies recipe to find out just what makes up the three almond ingredients.  And the apple spice cookies recipe is awesome for when I have apples waiting to be used up …!

Almond butter as a dairy-free caramel

Chocolate caramel slice (Paleo, no added sugar)

Banana caramel pie

Banana caramel pie (Paleo)









What I love about almond butter in baking is that when you combine it with dates, it gives a really caramel taste.  It’s like heaven on a spoon, because you know you have to taste it while baking, to make sure it tastes okay to keep going on making the finished product.  Or is that just me?  These are two of my favorite combinations of dates and almond butter – a yummy chocolate caramel slice with only dates as the sweetener, and our childhood favorite banana caramel pie, made Paleo!

Almond butter as a dessert

Paleo chocolate cream pies

Chocolate cream mini-pies (Paleo)

Carrot pineapple cake (Paleo, no added sugar)








Yes, we can use almond butter in lots of snack-type foods, but what about putting it center stage as the main dessert?  The chocolate cream mini-pies are awesome for kids and adults alike when you are entertaining, and the carrot pineapple cake is a real showstopper when you have the opportunity to decorate the frosting (simply coconut cream with a little vanilla and cinnamon).  And the taste of each of these is just amazing – check them out!

Of course you can feel free to check out almond butter in other slices and cakes, such as the almond butter cream slice, triple almond brownies, sweet potato brownies, fudgy pumpkin brownies, and chocolate mint brownies (can you see I also like the combination of almond butter in brownies?), avocado chocolate cake and even some energy balls with chia seeds!

Almond butter vs peanut butter – which would you choose?

While peanut butter will always hold a soft spot in my heart, almond butter is definitely showing its good side to me.  But which do you prefer?  Almond butter vs peanut butter – let me know in the comments below – and if you’ve got any other almond butter recipe recommendations or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with almond butter!


Almond butter vs peanut butter - which do you prefer? #almondbutter

Chicken shawarma

Using Middle Eastern spices, this chicken shawarma is a hearty, and tasty, classic meal that the family will love!

Using Middle Eastern spices, this chicken shawarma is a hearty, and tasty, classic meal that the family will love! #shawarma

How many of you have had some sort of cuisine at a certain place, and could not get the thought out of your minds for many years?  When Grant and I visited my brother in Toronto a number of years ago, we had a chicken shawarma (before I had all my gluten and dairy issues) and the taste of this shawarma was just amazing.  It was so unlike anything that we’d had before.  I mean, sure, we loved having the Lebanese yiros when we lived in South Australia (not quite the same as gyros here in the US), and yes we love lots of other Middle Eastern foods, but this was awesome.

For years, we’ve been looking for a recipe that had similar sort of spices and the tenderness of that first chicken shawarma.  So when I was paired up with Rafeeda at The Big Sweet Tooth for this month’s Recipe Swap Club, and searching through her many, many recipes, I found a chicken shawarma one and my mind was made up on the spot!  But let me first introduce you to Rafeeda and her website.

Where do you live? And does it influence your cooking?
I live in the UAE, though I am originally from India. And yes, I love the local food and currently trying to dig out sources of their recipes, cook them and feature them on the blog under a tab called “Emirati Recipes”.

What is your signature dish?
I really do not know, but from the folks, they seem to enjoy my biriyani and machboos the most – both are rice dishes with meat.

What do you do outside of cooking/blogging?
I am a working mother – with an 8-5 procurement job.

What made you start a food blog?
It was a spur of the moment, more to motivate myself to cook!

Who is your favorite celebrity chef?
I’m not a sticker to a person … hehe… I can binge watch Nigella Laweson, Paul Hollywood or Jamie Oliver, depending upon my mood and time.

Lets get back to this chicken shawarma recipe.  Now, contrary to my many other Recipe Swaps, I actually made these pretty much according to the original recipe.  The main difference, because you knew there would be a difference, was that the original recipe called for 3 servings, so I doubled it for our family of 4 and had leftovers.   I also substituted a few ingredients with the ones that I had on hand, but it’s all basically the same.  

I served it for myself with just a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and spinach, while the kids and Grant used some bought pita bread, added some cheese and sour cream as well.  But you need to make sure you add the tahini drizzle.  That’s what really makes this chicken shawarma come to life.  (and yes, I do love tahini, as you’ve seen in my flourless tahini cookies, and my sesame sunbutter energy bites, as well as drizzling it over my omelettata with salsa … but I digress!).

Just in case you were curious, the taste wasn’t quite the same as what Grant and I had in Toronto, but for the lack of any other ideas, we’ll just keep going with this one!  Let me know if you try it out and what you think in the comments below!

Chicken shawarma

(Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 600 g chicken cubed
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tin diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tahini


  1. Mix ingredients from black pepper to oil in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat well. Set aside for 15 minutes.

  2. Drizzle the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion.  Saute until soft and almost translucent.  Then add chicken along with the marination and cook the chicken till almost done.

  3. Add in the diced tomatoes and toss well to coat in the stock. Cook till the chicken is well done and the stock is dried. Switch off and allow to cool slightly.

  4. Serve either in pita bread or on a plate with some spinach, cucumber and tomato.  Drizzle the tahini over the meat and salad to get the full taste experience.

Using Middle Eastern spices, this chicken shawarma is a hearty, and tasty, classic meal that the family will love! #shawarma

The classic Hawaiian loco moco made Whole30 compliant

The classic Hawaiian dish of loco moco – made Whole30 compliant – with no grains, gluten, dairy, or sugar!  But oh so yummy!

The classic Hawaiian dish of loco moco - made Whole30 compliant - with no grains, gluten, dairy, or sugar!  But oh so yummy! #locomoco

How many of you have ever visited Hawaii?  We went last year for Christmas, with the whole family – my brother and his family, as well as my family and my parents.  There were 11 of us in one house for 10 days.  But there was a pool.  And a hot tub.  And a kitchen …

Now, whenever Grant and I go somewhere different, we look up on the Internet to find out what the classic foods are for that area.  Remember when we traveled along Route66?  We decided we had to have all things Route66, including pie.  Lots of pie.  And then I get inspired to try to re-create those meals in my own kitchen.  And such was born my own Route66 pile-up, the ugly pie crust and cream filling, chicken parmigiana (using cashews as the ‘breading’) and a Chicago-style deep dish pizza.  All made to meet my special snowflake stomach requirements!

So when we went to Hawaii, I naturally looked up what was the classic Hawaiian food.  And found that Loco Moco was the name of the game.  Traditionally it’s hamburger patties, served over rice, with a macaroni salad, smothered with gravy and topped with a fried egg.  It’s a cholesterol disaster waiting to happen.  One website mentioned you’d be in a calorie coma after eating just one serving of it.  Well, Grant and I tried it.  With ALL the gluten and dairy stuff in it.  You know, just to get an idea of what it does taste like – but we shared a serving.  And couldn’t finish it between the two of us.  Yeah, I felt a little sick after eating this.  But the taste was amazing while eating it, so it was worth trying it. 

But then my brain started whirring around, as it does, and I thought it would be pretty easy to make this more suited to my special snowflake stomach and Whole30 compliant, so one lazy weekend, I announced to the family that we were having a Hawaiian food day.  We started out with some macadamia nut pancakes (just add nuts to this recipe).  And for lunch I made loco moco.  Grant made some concoction of a pina colada for drinks – and then we slept in the afternoon!

Let me tell you how I made this loco moco Whole30 compliant.  It’s based on recipes already on this website – just putting them all together.  For the burger, I used 96% lean ground beef, made this roast meat gravy just on the stovetop, cauliflower rice, my avocado zoodles as a salad and a simple fried egg on top!  But to save you from having to flick through all of those links, I’ve put the recipe just here for your pleasure!

If you’d like to serve it in a styrofoam container, to be just like the Hawaiian version, feel free to do so.  Otherwise, you can dress it up and plate it nicely … It’s a little more complicated than most of my recipes here, but it’s definitely worth it.  Let me know what you think!

Loco moco

(Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4


For the zoodles salad

  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 3 medium zucchini

For the burgers

  • 500 g ground beef as lean as desired
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tbs dried herbs (oregano, basil, parsley etc)

For the rice

  • 1 head cauliflower

For the gravy

  • 1 large onion cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 tbs dried parsley
  • 1 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbs fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2/3 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbs tapioca starch

For the fried egg

  • 1 egg


For the zoodle salad

  1. Spiralize zucchini and set aside in a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb excess water. Sprinkle with salt to remove even more moisture and set aside.
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a food processor until creamy.

  3. Heat the zucchini noodles in a small amount of oil in a medium frying pan until soft.
  4. Add the sauce mixture and combine with zoodles.

For the burgers

  1. Combine all ingredients well until a mass forms.

  2. Form into 8 patties and chill in fridge for at least an hour.

  3. Add oil of choice to a frying pan or griddle.  Once hot, place the patties on the pan and squash as flat as possible.

  4. Allow to cook approximately halfway through (about 5 mins). Flip and allow to cook to desired done-ness.

For the rice

  1. Remove all leaves and stems from the cauliflower florets.

  2. Process in a food processor until a rice-like texture forms.  This may need to be done in several batches, depending on the size of the cauliflower and the processor.

For the gravy

  1. Saute the onion in a large frying pan until translucent and soft.

  2. In a small bowl (mortar and pestle if needing to crush the spices), combine the remaining ingredients except for the broth and tapioca starch.

  3. Add the broth to the onions and slowly mix in the herb mixture until well coated.

  4. Pour the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.

  5. Place some of the broth in a small bowl with the tapioca starch and mix until a paste is formed.

  6. Place the remaining broth in a small saucepan and slowly pour in the tapioca starch mixture.  Heat the gravy until reduced in volume and thickened to desired consistency.

For the egg

  1. Heat oil of choice in a small frying pan.

  2. Crack the egg and fry until white is cooked and yolk remains runny.

To assemble:

  1. Place the salad to one side of the plate.

  2. Place the rice in a heap, with two of the small hamburger patties on top.

  3. Add the fried egg on top of the patties and pour on the gravy as desired.

The classic Hawaiian dish of loco moco - made Whole30 compliant - with no grains, gluten, dairy, or sugar!  But oh so yummy! #locomoco

7 traditional Christmas foods that we eat

7 ‘traditional’ Christmas foods that we eat

How many of you have gotten to the Christmas season, thrown your hands up in the air, and wondered what you can make for the many (or even just the one) get togethers?  Well, have no fear, because here I’ve put together 7 of our favorite Christmas foods, that you can easily make yourself at home.

This is a combination of foods that we’ve picked up along the way from the 3 different countries we’ve lived in – Australia, Chile and now the US.  So, having two lots of summer Christmas foods, and one lot of winter, it’s a bit of a mix and match of everything.  But trust me, these foods are awesome, no matter what the weather outside is!

Now I’m not going to get into how to cook a turkey, or ham, or anything like that, because there’s a dime a dozen helpful hints already out there.  But what I wanted to share with you here, are some pretty easy, sometimes unique, Christmas foods that we eat during the festive season.  Hopefully it will inspire you, and give you a tiny glimpse into our (often) chaotic life!

Pumpkin bread stuffing

I’ve talked a little about how I don’t understand the American tradition of serving the stuffing on the side of the bird, not stuffed inside (hence the stuffing name), but hey, if it tastes this good, I’m all for joining the rest of the country in eating this as a side dish.  Traditionally the stuffing in the US is a cornbread base (see here for my gluten-free cornbread recipe), but if you’re avoiding corn for any reason (like me), this pumpkin bread stuffing is a really good substitute.  My family actually enjoy this much more than the cornbread version.

PS If you don’t have a picky eater in your family that doesn’t like dried fruit in any form (thanks Abby!), feel free to add some cranberries to the stuffing as well, for that extra zing!

Spanish potato salad

Spanish potato salad

If it’s warm outside, feel free to serve this Spanish potato salad cold.  If it’s cold outside, feel free to serve this Spanish potato salad warm.  It’s one of those awesome salads that can be served in any kind of weather.  Now it’s a little different to the normal potato salad because it has a whole heap of paprika in it, so if you love smoky flavors, this salad is for you.  And bacon – because bacon makes everything better!  This is actually a staple salad in our family – whenever we say we’re having salads, the kids always ask for this salad.  

Spinach and orange salad

Spinach orange salad

Gone are the days in our house of just a normal tossed salad – you know the lettuce, tomato (which only I eat), carrot and cucumber.  Now, it’s more along the lines of fruit and nuts with greens.  And this spinach orange salad certainly satisfies that criteria.  The recipe originally calls for some cream cheese in with the spinach and oranges, but, to be honest, even if you’re not avoiding dairy, you can leave it out.  Or if you love cream cheese, this really does give you that creamy texture so feel free to keep it in!  When Abby made dinner recently, she decided she wanted to make this salad.  She took one bite of it, and said she didn’t realize how yummy it was … and she wants it more and more now!



I’m kind of teasing you with this photo because I haven’t published the recipe for it yet.  But, for all you Aussies out there, know that I haven’t given up on having the traditional Pav at Christmastime … and I’ve made this recipe so simple that even Henry can (and does) make it!  So you’ll just have to wait until it’s published … maybe that will be an incentive to subscribe and get the e-mails to say when I update recipes (hint, hint!)?

Fruit mince pies

Fruit mince piesDefinitely going back to the Aussie roots for these fruit mince pies.  Funnily enough, I loved the cheapest, home-brand mince pies the best.  You know, the ones that came in the al-foil pans, usually 6 for $2 (or less).  I could devour the whole pack quite easily … but that’s another story!  Making these gluten and dairy-free was a bit of a challenge.  But then I found a shortcrust pastry recipe, which uses rice flour and cornmeal, and also a Paleo ‘graham cracker’ crust recipe.  Both of these work equally as well in these fruit mince pies – and the flavor explodes in your mouth.  Yes, I still love my fruit mince pie – and you can too!

Ginger cookies

Ginger cookiesWhat says Christmas more than the smell of ginger?  I’m not quite sure,  but what I do know is that these ginger cookies are amazing, throughout the year!  Gluten and grain-free, dairy-free and no refined sugar as an extra bonus!  These ginger cookies are the right balance of crispy but soft, and are a real favorite because they are so easy to make!  Bring these to any cookie exchanges (again, a US thing, I think!), and you’ll be the star of the show!

Hot chocolate

Date-sweetened hot chocolateAhh yes, there’s something quite romantic about having your cold hands around a hot chocolate when it’s snowing outside, isn’t there?  So what would you say if I told you that this hot chocolate was dairy-free and sweetened only with dates?  Would that make it feel even more romantic?  Maybe romantic isn’t quite the right word, but you know what I mean!  And you don’t have to share – this recipe makes enough just for one person.  So after all the meal is done, feel free to treat yourself with a cuppa … and slip into that warm and cozy sleep … and relax!  And if you’re experiencing a warm Christmas, use this recipe but add some ice and blend away to get your own iced chocolate!  Or try my chocolate frappe recipe

7 ‘traditional’ Christmas foods that we eat

So there we go – I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into our Christmas foods – and our family as well!  From my family to yours, I wish you a truly blessed Christmas, with food, friends and/or family and lots of fun.  And I hope you also enjoy cooking at home … stay tuned for more exciting recipes coming your way in the very near future!


7 traditional Christmas foods that we eat during the festive season, gluten and dairy-free, sometimes unique, always tasty! #Christmas

How to make kombucha at home

Ever wanted to make kombucha at home?  Here’s how we do it!

How to make kombucha at home #kombucha

Kombucha.  It’s one of those latest buzz words, fad things that the ‘healthy’ people seem to go on and on about, isn’t it?  What is it?  And why is it so good?  And does it really taste like bacteria?  And why would people like my picky family, especially Grant, enjoy drinking it?  Well, read on, and hopefully all these questions … and more will be answered.  As well as helping you to make it yourself at home!

What is kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea, combined with fruit juice, with lots of good probiotics.  You know, probiotics are the good bacteria that help digestive health and general well-being.  Kombucha requires a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) to start the fermentation process of the sweetened tea.  By the way, this SCOBY is what put Abby off of kombucha right from the beginning … and has never drunk it since!  But for those of you who don’t make judgements based on the first impressions, 

How to make kombucha at home #kombucha

I know there’s some dispute as to whether kombucha does have any health benefits or not, but all I know is that my special snowflake stomach works much better when I have kombucha every day.  So I’m sticking with that.

Grant loves it too – he loves his ‘fizzy drink’ (soda to you US people!).  But he’s also become more aware of the calories in some of the sodas, and the artificial chemicals in all the diet drinks.  And when a friend of ours (thanks Janet!) gave him a drink of her kombucha, with that bubbly, fizzy taste, he was hooked too.  Now Grant is Chief Kombucha Engineer in our house, so he’s helped me to put this post together for you … and if you have any questions, I’ll ask him!

How do you make kombucha?

Things you will need:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 9 tea bags
  • fruit juice
  • 2 x 1 gallon glass jars
  • 4 x 1 quart glass bottles


First you need to find a SCOBY for yourself.  The good thing is that once you start making kombucha, the SCOBY grows more and more layers, which you can remove and start new batches, or give to friends.  Like what happened with us (thanks again Janet!).  Either find someone you know who is making kombucha at home already, or you can buy these online (check out Amazon!).  

Step 1:  Make some unsweetened tea

Pour 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of granulated sugar into a heavy bottomed pot and heat until the sugar is fully dissolved, in preparation to make sweet tea.  The best water temperature to make tea is subjective, but we heat to just before boiling, around 200F.  Apparently this helps to stop black tea from being bitter.

How to make kombucha at home #kombucha How to make kombucha at home #kombucha

Once the water has reached your desired temperature to make tea, add 8 or 9 tea bags.  Now these can be a mixture of any type of tea – this is where you can put your Mad Scientist gear on and have fun with it.  A good place to start is half green tea / half black tea.  Grant usually uses two green tea, two black tea, 4 flavored herbal teas and maybe an Earl Grey tea bag for good luck.  The experimenting to balance the flavors is the fun part!

How to make kombucha at home #kombucha

Grant usually takes the black tea out of the water after 5 minutes to stop it from going bitter, but leaves the green and herbal teas for 10 minutes total.  Give those tea bags a squeeze when you remove from the water to get as much flavor out of them as possible.  Don’t squeeze the black tea bags!

Allow the sweetened tea to cool to room temperature.

Step 2:  Start the fermenting process

Once the tea is at room temperature, pour into a glass jar.  We use 2 one gallon jars but only put 1/2 gallon of tea in each just to give it room to do it’s magic and because it’s easier to handle than if the jars were totally full!  Also, the combination of the SCOBY and 1 gallon of tea = more than 1 gallon …!

Into each jar, add a 1/4 cup of kombucha made from the previous batch, half of the sweet tea and the SCOBY.  Do not touch the SCOBY with anything metallic – we have tongs with rubber tips on them for just this purpose!  Place either cheese cloth or a face towel, secured with a rubber band over the top and allow to ferment.

How to make kombucha at home #kombucha

Keep the kombucha out of direct sunlight during the fermentation process.   

Step 3:  The first fermentation

Depending on the ambient temperature, the fermentation can take anywhere from 7-15 days.  A longer fermentation creates a less sweet, more vinegar-like drink.  A shorter period creates a more sweet but less fermented drink.  We leave ours from 6-7 days in summer and 7-8 days in winter for the balance of sweetness we like.  Many people let their fermentation go longer, but we find that a little too tart for our liking.

Step 4:  The second fermentation

After the desired time of first fermentation, remove the SCOBY with plastic/silicon/rubber tipped tongs and set aside on a clean plate.  You may have noticed that the SCOBY has already started to grow a new layer (a SCOBY baby!), which you can then bless other friends with if they would like to make their own kombucha!

How to make kombucha at home #kombucha

Add about 1 cup (20%) of fruit juice into each of the 4 x 1 quart glass bottles.  Apple juice is a good default, but we have also used cranberry/apple, apple/raspberry, blueberry, prune and multiple other flavors.  Again, get your Mad Scientist gear out and be creative.  Try not to go for juices with more of an acidic flavor already – we found orange juice to be less effective – but you can always blend juices to create your own flavors.

Using a funnel and nylon (not metal) sieve, pour the fermented tea into the bottles, leaving about 1″ of air from the top.

How to make kombucha at home #kombucha

Step 5: The second fermentation

Cap the quart bottles and put in a cupboard, away from direct sunlight.  During the second ferment, the bottles will build up pressure internally so make sure you leave that air gap!

The longer you leave the second fermentation, the more bubbles, the more fizzy, the more champagne-like the drink will become.  But don’t leave it too long, or you will end up with vinegar.  Putting the bottles in the fridge after 2-3 days slows down the fermentation so you don’t have to drink all of them before the vinegar effect begins!  We generally leave our second fermentation between 2-3 days for a gentle fizz before putting in the fridge.

If you are concerned a bottle may break, pop the lid, allow the gas to escape and put the lid back on.  The fermentation will continue!

Step 6:  Drinking your homemade kombucha

Now that you’ve done all the hard work, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.  But just remember to pour the final product through a nylon (not metal) sieve on top of your glass because there will still be residual SCOBY in the bottles after fermenting.

So there we go – feel ready to make kombucha at home?

For those of you who live in our area, and are interested, we are more than happy to provide a SCOBY for you to begin the kombucha adventure.  We won’t supply you with the Mad Scientist gear, but will give advice, tips and help when needed.

For those of you who aren’t near us, try to find someone who’s got a SCOBY – and let the experimenting with fizzy drinks begin!

Until next time, enjoy making kombucha at home!


How to make kombucha at home - how we do it! #kombucha

Feeling worn down and tired all the time?  Check out these ideas for how to use Pranayums super spice shots in your daily lifeFeeling worn down and tired all the time?  Check out how to use Pranayums super spice shots in your daily life!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.  Please note that all opinions are my own!

As you may be aware, I love these Pranayums super spice shots and use them quite a lot in my daily life.  I have noticed a distinct difference in my digestion and my emotions when I include them.  So I wanted to share all the different ways that I have used them in the past, maybe to give you some ideas yourself.  And keep scrolling down because you could win some to try in my GIVEAWAY (now closed)!!

But first of all, what are these Pranayums super spice shots?

Direct from the Pranayums website:  These super spice shots contain turmeric, ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and licorice root.

Turmeric – boosts immune system as sit supports healthy digestion

Ginger – helps to ignite the digestive fire, enhance immune response and reviatlize body and mind

Black pepper – detoxifies the body and stimulates digestion

Cardamom – assists digestion, circulation and metabolism

Cinnamon – healthy digestion and circulation, can offer comfort for headaches and congestion, and can be used as a sugar substitute

Licorice root – supports immunity, calms digestion and cold symptoms, enhances immunity response and elevates energy

So you can see, there’s lots of good stuff in every single shot.  But, short of just chugging these as shots (which I don’t recommend), how do you incorporate all this goodness in your everyday life?  Well, my friends, keep scrolling to see how I do it!

6 ways to use Pranayums super spice shots in your daily life

1.  Morning wake-up

Check out how to use Pranayums super spice shots in your daily life #pranayums

Every morning, before I have breakfast, I warm up some water, add some cinnamon and apple cider vinegar, and (you guessed it) some Pranayums super spice shots.  And drink it.  Before any food.  I was a little skeptical of doing this at first, but it soon showed in better digestion and stomach feelings (without going into too much details).  The trick is to make sure the water is warm, but not hot, and you mix it in thoroughly.  As much as I love these shots, I do not love swallowing whole lumps of it at once!

2.  Roast veggies


Check out how to use Pranayums super spice shots in your daily life #pranayums

Since we’ve been in the US, I’ve discovered the joys of the reduced veggies at the local grocery store.  But then there’s always the dilemma of what to do with them to use them up before they go off?  Well, I’m a big fan of roasting veggies in a big batch, and putting portion sized mixtures in the freezer.  That way I’ve always got a stash of roast veggies to go with any leftover meats from family dinners, or adding some poached or fried eggs on top.  And I often have this for lunch … or breakfast … or for our ‘fend for ourselves’ dinners.   And adding the Pranayums spice shots to the veggies just gives it a different taste to normal. So versatile.  So yummy.  So nutritious!

3.  Pizza crust

You may wonder what a pizza crust has to do with super spice shots?  Well, in my coconut flour pizza crust recipe, it calls for some herbs and spices to be mixed into the crust, so I thought, why not use the Pranayums shots?  And I gotta tell you, this flavor is amazing.  Top it with whatever you wish, and know you’re doing a good thing for your internals!

4.  Avocado chicken zoodles

What to do when you run out of curry powder for a chicken coating?  Well, I use Pranayums spice shots as a really good substitute.   And with my trusty spiralizer for zoodles galore, this is one of my favorite meals – both at home and at work.  Check out the recipe for the simple chicken seasoning … and feel free to change it up a bit!

5.  Seasoned potato wedges

Another really simple and easy way to get these Pranayums spice shots into your life – similar to the roasted veggies above, just sprinkle potato wedges with the Pranayums spices before putting in the oven and cooking them.  I love changing up the spices I put on my potato wedges – but this one is a personal favorite of mine!

6.  Flourless honey almond cake

And last, but definitely not least, you can use these super spice shots in your baking.  Because you all know that I am a baker at heart, so I had to figure out a good way to get nutrition into all the baked goods that I make.  And these spices give this yummy cake, just that extra special something!

And now for the giveaway …!

Because I want you all to give these Pranayums super spice shots a go, I have a multi-pack available to give away to one lucky winner.  All you have to do is comment on this post, letting me know what you would make if you won this prize.

Note that by entering this competition you agree to receive all sorts of yummy ideas and recipes for gluten and dairy-free cooking at home in your e-mail inbox!

US residents only please.  This giveaway closes October 15, 2017.  Winners will be contacted via e-mail shortly after.

6 ways to use Pranayums super spice shots in your daily life

So what do you think?  Let me know what you’d make in the comments below, even if you aren’t a US resident … and I’d also love to know how you make sure you get all the nutrients you need in your daily life.  

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with Pranayums!


Feeling worn down and tired all the time?  Check out 6 unique and healthy ways to use Pranayums super spice shots in your daily life #superspices

7 creative peanut butter recipes for cooking at home

Stuck for ideas for peanut butter – read on for 7 creative peanut butter recipes that I (and the family) love!

As you are probably aware, peanut butter is my spirit animal.  I saw that on a t-shirt once and absolutely loved it.  I also saw a quote that spoke to me deeply – I just want to love Jesus, train hard, and eat all the peanut butter (thanks Kelsey!).  And because I do a lot of cooking at home (hence the name of this website), I wanted to give you all some more interesting combinations of foods that I’ve used peanut butter in.  And I was given the opportunity to promote Crazy Richards Peanut butter (Best.  Peanut Butter.  Ever!) so I thought I’d give you a round-up of all things peanut butter!

By the way, I love ALL of these recipes.  This is not just a list of crazy ideas that no one would ever eat.  This is a list of some of my favorite things, which just happen to include peanut butter.

OK, lets go with my 7 top creative peanut butter recipes!

(1)  Meal ideas:  Satay chicken potato pizza

A potato pizza crust (gluten and dairy-free) topped with peanut satay chicken, spinach and peppers - what could be better for pizza nights? #pizza

This was one of the more unique combinations of ingredients that just simply work well together.  Because (a) it’s pizza, (b) it’s naturally gluten-free with using potatoes for the crust and (c) it’s got peanut butter and chicken on it.  Who wouldn’t like it?  The kids often ask for this … it takes a little more effort than most of my recipes so it’s an infrequent treat for the whole family!  And even though it doesn’t look like much of a photo, you’ll just have to trust that this is awesome!

(2)  Cookies:  Peanut butter avocado cookies

Peanut butter avocado cookies

Most health experts are starting to agree with each other these days that good fats, such as nuts and avocados, are good for you.  Much better than all the sugar-y substitutions used in the low-fat food to make it taste good.  And I whole-heartedly agree.  Hence my love for peanut butter and avocado … so I thought, why not in a cookie?  And these are amazing.  Not as ‘stick to the roof of your mouth’ texture as the simple flourless peanut butter cookies, but oh so creamy!  And no refined sugar, so even better for you!

(3)  Cookies:  Peanut butter mystery cookies

Peanut butter mystery cookies

Ok, so if you’ve peeked at the link above, you’ll know what the mystery ingredient is.  But it’s an awesomely soft and chewy peanut butter cookie, which no one will ever suspect of containing …!

(4)  Quick bread:  Pumpkin peanut butter bread

Pumpkin peanut butter bread

I thought this was a strange combination until I tried it.  And loved it.  Perfect for events around the Thanksgiving/Christmas period, but to be honest, I’d eat this any day of the week.  And I still enjoy the combo of sweet potato and peanut butter when pumpkin isn’t so much in season.  See, maybe I’m not totally strange?

(5)  Cake:  Peanut butter apple spice cake

Peanut butter apple spice cake

Ahh the classic apple and peanut butter combination.  But who’d ever thought of putting it in a cake?  Well, that would be me!  I made this once for some friends, where one of them was always against peanut butter, and he didn’t make a noise about the taste, because it’s just awesome!

(6)  Snacks:  Peanut butter filled chocolate covered dates

Peanut butter filled chocolate covered dates

Long title for the snack, but totally awesome and I dare you to stop at just one.  With no refined sugar added, you can feel good about eating them … in moderation, of course!

(7)  Snacks:  Carrot, celery and apples with peanut butter

Peanut butter, carrots and celery - my classic snack!

Couldn’t go past my all-time favorite combination.   No recipe needed for this one.  Simply, cut up some veggies and add peanut butter.   This is a snack that I sometimes have as a meal, when I’m not that hungry, or just pick up leftover random veggies and stick them in a pool of peanut butter.  And I’m in my happy place!

So there you have it.  My top 7 creative peanut butter recipes for you all to make at home.  Do you have any other ideas for using peanut butter, either creatively or not so creatively?   Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home!


7 creative peanut butter recipes for cooking at home - all gluten and dairy-free, slightly unusual, but always tasty and family pleasing! #peanutbutter

6 healthy sunflower seed butter recipes + a GIVEAWAY!

If you’re looking for some healthy nut-free options, be inspired by these healthy sunflower seed butter recipes – all gluten and dairy-free, Paleo-friendly and without any refined sugar!

Sunbutter products

In this day and age of increasing numbers of people with nut allergies, what do you do?  Well, you turn to nut-free alternatives, like tahini (sesame seed butter) and sunflower seed butter.  I love the no added sugar varieties from Sunbutter but always snag a few jars when whatever flavor is on special.  Because sometimes this peanut butter/almond butter/cashew butter loving gal just wants a change.  And I thought I’d do a bit of a round-up for healthy recipes that I love making with sunflower seed butter, just in case you’re asked to bring something where you know there will be people with nut allergies.

I should point out that I’m not being sponsored or paid for this post – while I love Sunbutter, I am not receiving any compensation for posting this stuff.  But keep scrolling through for the opportunity to win a jar for yourself (giveaway is now CLOSED).

Now that is out of the way, here goes:

6 Healthy sunflower seed butter recipes

(and one not-so-healthy!)

Thai beef coconut curryThis Whole30 compliant meal really satisfies.  The mix of spices is gentle enough for the whole family, but the taste will transport you to another country.  Unless you live in Thailand.  In which case you’ll just feel like home!  But seriously, using sunflower butter in here gives it a unique taste that just can’t be beat when thinking of curries!

Healthy chocolate sunbutter slice

Ahh, the combination of chocolate and peanut butter … but nut free with sunflower butter.  My kids actually love this version – I think more than the peanut butter version.  Me?  I like both.  And will eat both, given the chance!  But with no refined sugar, and good wholesome ingredients, this is a snack that will make you taste buds, and your belly smile.  I would highly recommend slicing into small pieces though … portion control and everything!

Sunbutter cookies

You know, you can’t go wrong with just a simple cookie, can you?  Well, give this one a go.  It’s vegan and Paleo, with no refined sugar in it and the sprinkled salt on top just gives them that great combination of salty/sweet flavor.  This is one of my most viewed posts on Instagram (remember you can follow me on social media by clicking on the buttons to the top right of this page), so trust the masses I guess!

Chocolate banana pie

If you have guests for dinner, who have allergies from here to kingdom come … give this dessert a go.  This recipe is free from all the top 8 allergens, totally gluten, dairy, nut and egg free.  But it looks, and tastes, pretty impressive, if I do say so myself!  It’s quite rich, though, so be prepared to only have a small piece.  And then you can go back for more when your guests leave!

Almond butter chocolate swirl ice cream

Ok, so this recipe doesn’t explicitly use sunflower seed butter in the ingredients list, but it’s more than acceptable to substitute the almond butter for sunbutter.  The taste is still amazing … dare I say even better?  No, I won’t, because I love both almond butter and sunbutter equally.  Just differently.  Kind of like my kids?  Or is that going too far??

Chocolate hazelnut blueberry granola

Again, sunflower seed butter isn’t explicitly in the list of ingredients for most of my granola, but feel free to substitute for any nut butter.  I particularly like this granola, with naturally sweetened jam as the sweetener, full of nuts, seeds and dried fruit.  And sunbutter.  Or almond butter.  Or whatever type of good fatty substitute you wish!

Chocolate sunbutter slice

Yep, sunbutter can be used in not-so-healthy stuff too.  And this slice is just the bomb (I always wanted to say that … maybe I shouldn’t in the future though!).  Full of icing/powdered/confectioners sugar and other sweet things like that, this is seriously worth making.  On occasion.  And again, cutting into small slices.  So you can have one at a time.  And share with others around.  But make sure you get at least some of it because it is SO yummy!

And here’s the giveaway part …!

(Giveaway is now CLOSED – congratulations to the winner!)

Because I want you all to love sunflower seed butter as much as me, and maybe make one (or more) of these healthy sunflower seed butter recipes, I have two jars of Natural Sunbutter to give away one lucky winner.  All you have to do is comment on this post, letting me know what you would make if you won this prize.

Note that by entering this competition you agree to receive all sorts of yummy ideas and recipes for gluten and dairy-free cooking at home in your e-mail inbox!

US residents only please.  This giveaway closes September 8, 2017.  Winners will be contacted via e-mail shortly after.

For another chance to win, head on over to my Instagram account at and enter the giveaway there as well!

6 Healthy sunflower seed butter recipes

So what do you think?  Have I inspired you to think of sunflower seed butter a little bit more?  I’d love to hear if you’ve made anything with this butter, or what you’d like to make with it in the future.  And any ideas that you’d like me to give a go as well.  Just let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with healthy sunflower seed butter recipes!


6 healthy sunflower seed butter recipes - all gluten and dairy-free, Paleo-friendly and without any refined sugar! #sunbutter

How to stay Whole30 compliant while camping

You’ve decided to do a Whole30, and then you realize that you had plans to go camping during that 30 days.  What do you do?  Normally camping is a time where diets and healthy food choices fly out the window because eating outdoors just tastes so good!  And you excuse yourself by saying you’ve been walking around more than normal so this marshmallow, or chocolate, or packet of chips isn’t really going to hurt you.  And you know what?  You’re right!  A weekend of indulgence isn’t going to hurt you.

But, if you’ve committed to doing 30 days of Whole30 eating, and you decide to eat typical camping food … well, that usually means you would need to start your Whole30 again.  Never fear, I’m here to help!  I’ve just gone on a camping trip with the family, and I’m in the middle of my third Whole30.  And I stayed compliant for every meal, while the rest of the family had the indulgent pleasures described above.  How did I do it?  And end up looking as happy as in the photo below?

How to stay Whole30 compliant while camping

Plan ahead

While our camping trip was kind of spontaneous – Grant and I looked at each other one Sunday and said we wanted to go camping the following weekend – that still gave me plenty of time to think of what meals I could have that were compliant, and yet satisfy the family of picky eaters.  Fortunately we had gone camping previously just before my second Whole30 so I had a few meal ideas already in my head.  You can’t really go wrong with meat and veggies …

Cook ahead

Instead of getting to a campsite, often when it’s dark or late afternoon, and realizing you’ve got to set up the tent, find all the cooking utensils and the food, we’ve found it’s much easier to simply cook the meal ahead, put it in a ziplock bag and all you have to do is reheat it.  Now this works wonders with soup, tacos, satays, casseroles, you name it.  And all you need is a frying pan and a burner.  Couldn’t be easier!

Bring compliant snacks

You know the feeling – the rest of the family is roasting marshmallows, to dunk in their pudding cups (or maybe that’s just our family!), or they are snacking on crackers and dip, or chocolate, while you know very well that none of those foods are Whole30 compliant.  Well, you have a few options:

  • Sit by yourself feeling very sorry for yourself,
  • Sit next to them and lord it over them that you’re much healthier than they are (let’s see how long the family camaraderie lasts with that one!)
  • Sit with them and eat some Whole30 compliant snacks, such as fruit, nuts, meat bars (I love Epic Bars and Wild Zora Bars) etc and join in the fun

Sounds easy … right?  But what do you actually eat?  Here’s some ideas for you:

Whole30 compliant camping meal ideas


This shouldn’t be too difficult – eggs and sugar-free bacon would win every day for me, with a side of snack veggies or fruit.  Fills you up and keeps you full much longer than any sugar-filled cereal or toast and jam (although they are both yummy in their own right at times!)

Lunch away from camp

Now, if you’re out all day and you need something to take with you, while the rest of the family has snacks … try one of those meat bars I mentioned above with some snack veggies such as snow peas, baby carrots, celery sticks, and a piece of fruit.  And make your own trail mix to snack on if you need an added energy boost while hiking or whatever you’re doing.

Lunch at camp and dinner 

These can be interchangeable – as you are aware, food shouldn’t really be classified as breakfast, lunch or dinner foods – just food that can be eaten.  Here’s where you can let your imagination go wild.  Give these a go with options for those non-Whole30 family members

  • Taco meat with salad (family can have corn chips to make Nacho Taco Dippos, or wraps or tortilla shells for tacos or burritos)
  • Satay chicken with salad or cauliflower rice (family can also have rice, or wraps)
  • Soup, such as this, this or this (family can add bread rolls for dipping)
  • Casserole, such as this, this or this (family additions as for the soup)
  • Or something just as simple as steak and salad

There we go – hope this has helped you.  If you would like any suggestions, or would like to make some suggestions for me to try for our next camping trip (because there will definitely be more of them!), please comment below!

So it’s still cooking at home, but eating outside.  Best of both worlds if you ask me!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home!


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