Monday, November 23, 2015

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes


Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.  In this post I have included the recipes I make each year for Thanksgiving.  I have also included two recipes (from fellow friend bloggers) that I include in my Thanksgiving feast.  I hope that this time of year finds you well.  I hope that you are able to find moments of calm and peace.  I hope that you are surrounded with friends and family who make you feel special and loved.  Find the joy and laughter in each day.  Choose happiness and always…find gratitude.  xo,–Amber Untitled3

Roasted Turkey with Garlic, Thyme, and lemon + Paleo Gravy


Perfectly Whipped Sweet Potatoes 


Paleo Green Bean Casserole 


Perfectly Moist Crock-Pot Stuffing 


Flavorful Grain-Free Quinoa Stuffing 


Radicchio with Sauteed Fennel and Apple 


Cranberry Apple Jelly/Sauce


20 Minute Cranberry Sauce 


No Bake Mini Pumping Cheesecakes 


Orange Kissed Apple Pie 


Easy Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread 


Easy and Delicious Pumpkin Pie  (Picture won’t upload?)

Recipes from friends I make on Thanksgiving…

Paleo Buttermilk Busicits @ Cassidy’s Craveable Creations 

chicken pot pie, biscuits, rolls, gb casserole 024

Roasted Green Bean Salad w/ Citrus Balsamic Reduction @ Ricki Heller 



This post was shared on the following link parties:  Thursday Recipe Round-Up, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, 

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Labels: holidays, Thanksgiving, thanksgiving desserts, thanksgiving side dishes.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Roasted Turkey with Garlic, Thyme, and Lemon w/ Paleo Gravy


I’ve been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for several years.  Because I enjoy cooking and can plan and multitask like no one’s business, Thanksgiving is totally doable for me.  And I love that I can make it all gluten, dairy, and cane-sugar free, and everyone always, every year, raves about the food.  They can’t tell my stuffing is gluten free, or that the sweet potatoes aren’t swimming in cane-sugar, or the gravy is Paleo (gasp)!  So when I started hosting the thought of roasting an entire turkey was completely unappealing.  I mean, yes, it looks lovely, but it takes so long and it just made more sense (to me) to buy turkey parts and roast them to their appropriate doneness (as we all know, white meat cooks differently than dark meat).  I’ve also noticed that turkey legs are really popular and I like having more than two available.  I’ve really enjoyed preparing turkey this way and my guests seem to enjoy it as well.  Perfectly moist breast meat and perfectly moist dark meat?!  Yes please.  I wanted to share my method with you in case you were feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole bird. By the way, brining turkey is a necessary step to that delicious, moist meat…so don’t skip it!  Gobble-gobble.  

Roasted Turkey with Garlic, Thyme, and Lemon (Including Gravy Recipe)
  • Four turkey legs, four thighs, and 2 turkey breasts (around 7 - 8 pounds of turkey).
The following ingredients fit into one 9 x 13 size glass Pyrex roasting pan.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium lemon sliced
  • 5 - 7 garlic cloves chopped
  • 12 sprigs thyme or savory
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules
  • Drizzle of oil (I use walnut)
  1. Brine turkey parts for 12-18 hours. See notes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. To the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass Pyrex (or other roasting pan of that size) add the onion, garlic, ½ of the thyme, half of the lemon slices, and water. Add either the dark meat or white meat to fit the pan (don't crowd the pan). Drizzle turkey with oil, sprinkle with salt and garlic granules, and add the remaining lemon slices to the top of the turkey. Finish by adding the few final sprigs of thyme. Cover and roast until internal temperature hits at least 165 degrees (170-180 is great). Make sure all turkey juices run clear.
1. For the brine, add enough water to cover all the turkey parts. For every 1 gallon of water, add 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of garlic granules, 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
2. For the cooking, add the breasts in first, as they take longer to cook. I give them at least 90 minutes and check. Add the dark meat in slightly later. Keep checking meat and remove when it hits the right temperature.
3. Place all meat in a large bowl and cover while you make the gravy. This method helps the meat stay warm and moist!

Garlic, Thyme, and Lemon Turkey Gravy
Recipe type: Paleo
  • 2 cups soaked cashews (soaked 4 - 6 hours).
  • All the juices from the roasted turkey.
  1. To a blender (high speed preferably) add in all the juices from the roasted turkey, including the garlic, onions, and one or two lemon slices.
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
  3. Turn on the blender and start adding the soaked cashews until your preferred thickness.
  4. Add to a gravy boat and top with cracked black pepper.
Make sure the turkey juices are HOT when you add them to the blender. This helps thicken up the gravy when you add the cashews.



This recipe was shared on the following link parties:  Allergy-Free Wednesday, Thursday Recipe Round-Up

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Labels: fall cuisine, grain free, main dish, Paleo, Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Easy Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread


I was so excited to finally make some pumpkin bread last week!  It’s been so darn hot here that baking felt quiet unappealing.  This year I made my own gluten-free flour mix, and it worked great for this recipe – yay!  If any of you fine folks out there have been following me since I started blogging four years ago, you will know that baking has been a journey for me.  I have been experimenting for a couple of years now and I’m happy to say that baking no longer feels like a burden or chore, rather, it’s something I enjoy.  It goes to show you that practice makes perfect, err, practice makes comfortably okay.  Ha ha.  Baking is never perfect, right.  I hope you enjoy this recipe.  I’ve made it several times with both my gluten-free mix and the suggested flours in the notes section of the recipe.  It’s been well received by family and friends.  So enjoy…and happy fall. Oh and it rained today!  So cozy and wonderful.  So happy.  xo  

Easy Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
  • 3 cups all purpose gluten free flour mix ( 405 grams) - or see below in notes
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • Pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add all the wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to wet and mix well.
  5. *Add additional water if the mixture is too thick. The thickness of the batter will depend on which pumpkin use or if it's fresh or canned. Add up to ¾ cup water.
  6. Grease a bread pan (I use a glass pan) and add in the batter.
  7. Garnish with pumpkin seeds (optional).
  8. Bake for 65 minutes.
  9. Remove from pan and cool on wire cooling rack.
If you don't have the all purpose gluten free flour mix, use the following ingredients as a replacement:

1 cup white rice flour (165 grams)
2/3 cup sorghum flour (80 grams)
2/3 cup millet flour (80 grams)
1/2 cup tapioca starch (65 grams)
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum

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The recipe shared on the following link parties:  Allergy Free WednesdaysThursday Recipe Round-Up

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Labels: Breads, fall cuisine, fall treats, gluten free, holidays, Pumpkin, Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 26, 2015

All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix


I’m super excited to share The Tasty Alternative’s very first gluten-free flour mix!  After 12 years gluten-free, I’m finally making my own mix.  This comes primarily due to soooo many mixes out there in the stores nowadays.  Some recipes call for using these mixes in their recipes, and some have dairy (like this one).  So I have studied many all-purpose mixes and found my own ratios that work great!  I understand mixes aren’t for everyone, but it’s fun to put one together and have on hand. You might be wondering why I am using white rice flour.  Allow me to explain.  We eat a lot of brown rice products flour (crackers, pasta, cookies, bread, etc).  Just about everything we have that is gluten-free is made with brown rice flour.  I’ve read that arsenic is more concentrated in brown rice and thus even more so in the flour.  So given the choice, and in an effort to balance out the rice flours, I use white rice flour when I can.  Anyway, I am excited to share some new recipes with you using this mix!   Continue reading

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Labels: gluten free, gluten free flour mix.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Grain-Free “Corn” Dog Bites

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I am on a never ending mission to make new and fun snacks and lunches for my kiddos.  It makes me happy to fill their lunch bags every morning with nutritious whole food that I feel good about.  My kids LOVE corn dogs, as do I.  I recently saw a new product pop up in the frozen food isle.  They are these little mini corn dogs – they are round and gluten free (the coating is mostly corn).  I bought some to try.  They were good, but the coating was really hard, but I loved how they were bite size!  And do you know what else is bite size?….MINI MUFFINS.  So I created a very basic almond flour batter as the “corn” and used our favorite grass fed beef dogs to make a fun little snack that isn’t deep fried, isn’t on a sick, but mimics the flavor and essence of a corn dog.  My kids gave them a rousing thumbs up, so yay!  Another fun idea for their lunch boxes.  

Continue reading

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Labels: grain free, kids, Paleo, snacks.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Healthy Halloween Treats the Whole Family Can Enjoy

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Yay!  It’s almost Halloween!  My favorite holiday.  There is something about Halloween I’ve always loved.  And it’s not all about the candy and treats (as you might know, I’m not a huge sweet tooth). Truth be told… I’m a big ole’ scaredy cat and don’t even believe in ghosts, but man I love the spirit of Halloween.  It’s so fun to dress up and I remember how exciting it was as a kid walking around in the dark gathering candy with the anticipation of being scared out of my Princess Leia buns any minute.  My kiddos participate in Halloween, but they agree to eat mommy’s healthy treats and they turn in their trick-or-treating candy for a gift from the “Great Pumpkin” (who comes the morning of November 1st).  I’ve done this for years now (since my daughter was 2) and my kids love it.  We usually come in early from trick-or-treating and I make some popcorn and other favorites like caramel apples and ginger cookies (via Ricki Heller) and we snuggle up on the couch and watch a low-key Halloween cartoon.  And I’m the nerdy neighbor who does NOT give out candy (I know…booo to me) please don’t egg my house.  I hit up the dollar store for festive stickers, pencils, erasers, and other little trinkets and that’s my “treat.”  It’s nice to have some variety, right.  

Below are my family’s favorite treats for Halloween. Continue reading

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Labels: candy alternatives, carob, chocolate, dessert, Halloween, holidays.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Mini Muffins

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I wanted to make a fall-inspired snack for my kiddos this week…and they LOVE apple cinnamon anything, so some yummy apple cinnamon mini muffins fit the bill. I find that mini muffins are perfect for snack time – they are easy to pack and easy to eat.  I prefer to make muffins with almond flour, as one cup of almond flour has 20 grams of protein! I love that my kiddos are getting a good protein surge for their morning snack (not to mention all those good fats) to hold them over until lunch. I’m excited about more apple recipes in the coming weeks, especially this one from Ricki Heller. I hope everyone is having a great fall so far.  I’ve got my Halloween costume all set and ready to party.  Woot-woot.   Continue reading

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Labels: fall treats, grain free, holidays, muffins, Paleo, snacks, thanksgiving desserts.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Perfectly Whipped Sweet Potatoes


Fall where are you!  It’s hitting the mid 90’s again this coming week (insert big eye roll here).  I am yearning to wear my sweaters and boots!  Soon…soon.  Around these parts it starts to really feel like fall at end of October, early November, so we have a few weeks yet.  But this hot weather is not stopping me from making some yummy fall inspired food. I made some absolutely out-of-this-world delicious whipped sweet potatoes on Saturday night for dinner. Seriously tasted like dessert. SO GOOD.  My kids loved it!  My daughter said, “Mommy, what’s in here…it tastes like pie.”  I made the sweet potatoes with this pork dish (sans the applesauce) that is so easy and always a hit and the two went together like gangbustas.  Anyway, if you are looking for a new way to eat sweet potatoes, try whipping them up.  I am totally going to make these whipped sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and I’m so excited about it!  They are seriously delicious.  Look out fall…I’m coming for ya.  Continue reading

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Labels: ACD, AIP, GAPS, holidays, Paleo, sides, Thanksgiving, thanksgiving side dishes, vegan, vegetarian, winter cuisine.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Perfect Coconut Rice

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I love rice!  For a while I stopped eating it when I was exploring different diets, such as the SCD and Paleo.  Luckily, rice (white rice in particular) agrees with me so I eat it often.  My friend Eileen from Phoenix Helix has a great post all about white rice.  It’s worth the read to gain more information about how rice interacts with the body.  Something important I always do when preparing rice is soak and rinse.  This is especially important when preparing brown rice because it helps leach out the arsenic that occurs naturally in all rice, but in higher amounts in brown. Continue reading

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Labels: sides, vegan, vegetarian.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Two Ingredient Homemade Facial Scrub

facial scrub

Ever have one of those weekend (or week) days where you feel sort of blaaah and have a ton of stuff to do (in my case work) and stay in bed all day working and sleeping on and off and then at around 9:00 pm you start to feel really crusty and oily and want to just scrub your skin off?  I had one of those days over the weekend.  It was so hot here last week friends (108 degrees if you can believe it), and fires everywhere!  Poor drought ridden California.  It can get pretty nasty here in the summer with bad air quality…and the fires!  Gasp.  It’s really sad.  I think all that gets to my immune system and just zaps me.  So I got a lot accomplished on my crusty lazy day, and then wanted to do something to enhance my mood, you know, get out of the funk.  I like to pamper myself and do some self-care when I’m not feeling well.  A good face and body scrub was in order.  I’ve been using a simple two ingredient facial scrub that works like magic at sloughing off dead skin and creates a lovely glow.  It closes my pores, tightens my skin, and evens out my skin tone.  I have experimented with different ingredients such as lemon, oatmeal, salt, and oils. I just go with what yields the best results, and the sugar scrub is the best I’ve used so far.  If you give it a try, let me know what you think.  And friends, take a little you time for self-care.  A fresh coat of nail polish, a relaxing shower, a face and body scrub down, a massage…whatever, it really does wonders for the mind and body.   Continue reading

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Labels: beauty, homemade beauty products, homemade remedies, how to.