Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

I’m excited to share this idea here. It’s pretty simple to make and so delicious.  I’m a big fan of chickpeas but they do need a lot of love to really get their flavors going. Mash them up with some cumin, lemon and a touch of heat and you have a delicious salad to tuck into pita bread, roll on a tortilla or kale leaf, serve as a dip or as a base for a tartine.

This is how I made this batch, but you can add or hold ingredients to taste.

Use one can of chickpeas, drain and mash it slightly to keep a bit of a crunch.

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

In a separate bowl mix well until creamy:

  • 1 tbsp pure tahini
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice 1/2 lemon (aprox. 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of Huy-Fong Chili Garlic Sauce (it can be replaced with Sriracha or fresh chopped garlic and chili flakes)

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

Mix the sauce with the mashed chickpeas.

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

I spread half of the salad evenly on top of a slightly toasted bread. Added some thin sliced cucumbers, watermelon radishes, chopped parsley, toasted almonds and lunch was ready.

I was so hungry…Taking the pictures was pure torture.

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

I ate the other half of the salad as a dip for the extra cucumber slices and I finger licked the bowl.

What I learned from Martha Stewart

Stuffed Chicken Breast Rolls

When I first saw Martha Stewart on TV many years ago after I just moved here from Brazil, I  thought it was something seriously wrong with her. The slow talking, slow moving, the half smiles, the irritating hair in the eye, the missing sense of humor. What exactly is she? A baker?Designer? Not a chef, not a decorator…Wedding planner? I learned later that boring Martha was is an American icon and everyone loved loves to hate her.

I’m not exactly a fan but she has my respect. After all she has survived fame, prison, divorce, building an empire twice, and she has taught me how to pound a chicken breast properly.

Now, since I couldn’t find a video of Mrs. Stewart herself pounding the chicken breast here are the non-illustrated directions:

  1. Take a full chicken breast and place it on your cutting board.
  2. Take a piece of plastic wrap 2X bigger than the breast itself and put it over the chicken breast.
  3. With a meat mallet start pounding the chicken. Start from the center and work your way out. Use short and even strokes.

I use this method frequently to make chicken piccata, chicken scaloppini and chicken rolls. Stuffed chicken breast rolls is a quick ‘make ahead’ recipe. I usually stuff it with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and basil, ham and provolone, and even stuffing. First you need to pound the chicken breast like you were Martha and then:

  1. Season the thin fillets with salt/pepper/garlic powder.
  2. Place a mound of stuffing on each breast.
  3. Wrap and roll the fillets over the stuffing.
  4. Secure breasts with toothpicks.
  5. Place rolls, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 380F for at least 40 minutes (depending on the size of the rolls)

Wrap the rolls in bacon or prosciutto for extra flavor. If we could only do the same to Martha Stewart!!!!


Blueberry Orange Chia Seed Jam

Blueberry Orange Chia Seed Jam

This easy jam is a lot better for you than jams or jellies that are loaded with sugar.  Blueberries, orange juice, chia seeds and maple syrup, each of these ingredients carry their own benefits. I usually have it with toast, but it’s also delicious over Greek yogurt and oatmeal.  

The deal: Blueberries are $0.98 at Sprouts starting today!

Happy jamming!!!!

Blueberry Orange Chia Seeds Jam

Blueberry Orange Chia Jam
  • 1 small pack of fresh blueberries (4.4oz)
  • 3 tablespoons chia soaked in ½ cup of orange juice or water or fresh apple juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Start by soaking chia seeds in ½ a cup of orange juice or water or apple juice and one tablespoon of maple. Leave the chia seeds to soak until all the liquid soaks into the seeds and you have a gel (about 30 minutes)
  2. Put the chia mixture, blueberries, and maple syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Try it and add more syrup if needed.
  3. The mixture will be similar to a smoothie. Refrigerated to allow it to firm up slightly. If you want the mixture thicker and more firm, stir in another tablespoon of chia seeds.
This jam is delicious on fruit bowls, toast, ice cream, or anything that will hold still. It can keep for one week in the refrigerator, but we usually finish it before that.


Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Although I don’t seem to need a gluten free diet, I love to explore the paleo/gluten-free/primal/against all grains world. As I mentioned before here, I do believe that eliminating SOME gluten makes SOME difference on my energy, mood and craving levels. Also, my belly seems to be happier and flatter when I stay away from bread and all things deliciously glutinous.

These muffins turned out delicious. They were moist and not overly sweet. I decided to obey to my 7-year-old daughter’s wisdom and I topped the muffins with peanut butter chips from Trader Joe’s (probably NOT a gluten free food.) Perfect addition!

I don’t like baking (remember?) I suck at it. Interestingly, most of the gluten free baking recipes I’ve tried have worked so far…hum…except for the minute microwave mug cake that I ate anyway. So I’m going to listen to the coconut and almond flour universe more often and keep trying new gluten-free recipes. Happy chef and happy belly!

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins
  • 4 bananas (the riper, the better)
  • 4 small eggs
  • 2 tbsp of unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup peanut butter (I used Trader Joe's creamy salted PB)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup (can substitute for honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with Pam or vegetable oil. In a large bowl, using a hand blender, blend the bananas, eggs, almond butter, almond milk, agave/honey, coconut oil, and vanilla.
  2. Add in the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend into the wet mixture. Place the batter evenly into the muffin tins, filling each about two-thirds of the way full.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (I overcooked mines a bit but they still came out moist and delicious.)
Top with chocolate and/or peanut butter chips before baking for extra sweetness.


Black Rice with Kale, Mushrooms, Marsala Wine and Feta Cheese

Heirloom Forbidden Rice Package

This ‘black rice’ came in my Easter basket and to tell you the truth I thought it was just wild rice. I was not excited. Disappointed even.  As I put the bag in the pantry, I briefly read the package description…which led to Google search…that proved I live under a rock. As it turns out this Heirloom forbidden rice is NOT wild rice and it’s the healthiest rice in the world.  How haven’t I heard of it?

Down to the facts. Heirloom forbidden rice (aka black rice) has high level of minerals, antioxidants, is rich in a class of flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are potent anti-inflammatories and have specifically been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer as well as improvements in memory.

Best of all, black rice taste a zillion times better than white or brown rice. It’s nutty, slightly sweet and it looks way sexier than any other rice.

This rice is not cheap so if you want to make it ‘dealicious’ keep checking the Whole Foods bulk section (it goes on sale sometimes) or try Cost Plus World Market where the one I got seems to come from.

There are good recipes out there for black rice but I had to use the kale and mushrooms in the fridge, so I came up with this recipe. It was the perfect side for our baked salmon.  Any type of kale would work for this recipe, but I used Earthbound Organic Baby Kale from Costco. Broccoli rabe (Rapini) or spinach would work too.

Black Rice, Kale, Mushroom with Marsala rice and Feta


Black Rice with Kale, Mushrooms, Marsala Wine and Feta Cheese
  • 1 cup uncooked heirloom forbidden rice
  • ½ medium purple onion, chopped
  • 2 cups crimini or white mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups of raw baby kale
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Marsala wine
  • ¼ cup of crumbed goat cheese or feta cheese
  • 2¾ cups of beef broth or water (to cook the rice)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • black pepper
  1. Start by cooking the rice with the beef broth in the rice cook. If you don’t have a rice cook, simply follow the directions in the package replacing the water with beef broth. If you don’t have directions (bought it in bulk) bring beef broth to a boil and add the rice. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes in medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand covered. Reserve.
  2. On a separate pan, sauté the onion in the olive oil until it becomes translucent. Add mushrooms and Marsala wine. Cook for about 3 minutes and add kale, salt and some pepper. Cook until kale reduces its size and looks fully steamed. Turn heat off. Add the cooked black rice mixing it well. Taste and adjust with more salt and/or pepper. Cover and let it stand for a few minutes, allowing the rice to absorb the kale/mushrooms/Marsala wine juice. Sprinkle the cheese over the rice before serving.


Tofu and Spinach Crustless Quiche Gluten Free

Easy Tofu and Spinach Crustless Quiche Gluten Free

This is the first recipe I’ve created using coconut flour.  Normally, I’d use regular flour or whole-wheat flour but I wanted to make a wheat free side dish for our vegetarian dinner tonight. It turned out really good for such a easy and healthy dinner fix. The coconut flavor it’s really noticeable but the kids didn’t mind. They actually really enjoyed it so I’ll be packing some in their lunch boxes tomorrow.

The more I learn about wheat and gluten the more I feel like banning it it from our diet. Also, I’ve been noticing that the less gluten I have on a daily basis the better I feel – less bloated, more alert, less cravings, etc.

Here is what got me really fired up about coconut flour: it’s gluten, grain free, high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Though it is free from gluten proteins, coconut flour contains an impressive number of other proteins.

I’m still researching and learning about cooking and baking with coconut flour but for this recipe I knew I’d need more eggs and almond milk because coconut flour is very dry and substituting other flours with it doesn’t exactly work. Ditchthewheat has this quick tips & tricks post on dealing with coconut flour.

Coconut flour is way more expensive than regular flour but that’s ok because it goes a long way and it’s healthier. Sprouts sells it in bulk ($3.99 lb. ) so I got a small amount to experiment with.

Here is to a healthy week!


  • 4 cups of fresh spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ cup of almond milk
  • ¼ coconut flour
  • 1 half of Trader Joe’s Organic Sprouted Tofu (Extra Firm) or ½ of one Extra firm tofu block (water drained)
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of onion powder
  • ½ tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of Paprika
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper

Chop spinach slightly and quickly sautéed it in a little bit of olive oil OR cook it in the Microwave for 1 minute (reserve). Blend all the wet ingredients until smooth. Add everything else except for spinach. Blend it well, stopping a couple of times to mix and scoop unmixed ingredients from blender cup walls (coconut flour can get really lumpy.) Lastly, mix spinach with the blended mixture. Spray a small Pyrex or oven dish with spray oil or coat the dish with olive OR coconut oil (use your hands or a sheet of paper towel to spread the oil). Pour the mixture and top with shredded cheese (totally optional). Bake it at 400F for about 20-30 minutes or until top is firm, brown and crusty. Let it cool off before cutting.

Tofu and Spinach Crustless Quiche Gluten Free


Pão de Queijo For the Gluten Free Valentine

Pão de Queijo

This is what sexy looks like right now. Pão-de-queijo or Brazilian cheese breads…puffs…balls. Crispy in the outside, cheesy and airy in the inside these delicious puffs are love at first bite.

Warning: Maybe be highly addicting but at least they are gluten free.

Happy Valentines Day!


  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup tapioca flour (sometimes labeled tapioca starch. I used Bob’s Red Mill.)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (preferably medium or sharp. you can play around with the cheese. Monterey Jack, low-moisture mozzarella, Swiss, smoked Gouda and even gruyere in place of the cheddar. All great!)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place egg, milk, oil, tapioca flour, and salt in blender (yes, a blender!) and blend until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and pulse. Add cheddar and mix a bit by hand. Immediately pour batter into a mini muffin tin (if your muffin tin isn’t non-stick, spray lightly with non-stick spray first), filling each well about ¾ full, or just slightly less.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before removing puffs from pan. Serve warm. These actually don’t re-heat well so I recommend making and eating fresh (not that there’s ever any puffs left anyway!). Muito Bom!