Paleo Tahini Cookies

These amazing cookies are inspired by a recipe from Joan Nathan’s cookbook, ‘Solomon’s Table,” a hefty compilation of Jewish cooking from around the region. Nathan discovered these Tahini-based cookies while traveling through Israel and immediately acquired the recipe. I can see why. I’ve never had anything quite like these…and I’m sure the combination of Tahini and butter has a lot to do with it.


Sophia wants in on the action…

I’ve made them paleo and grain-free by using almond flour. And as I often do when baking, cut back on the sugar. Tahini cookies are fantastic on their own, but they also work with a square of chocolate baked into the middle. Note: the texture is very delicate and dissolvable, but that’s also part of their intrigue. Because of their fragile nature, I discovered it’s best to bake these on the middle – not the bottom rack of the oven.

For storage: lay them carefully in a Tupperware-type container, placing wax paper or foil between layers. Refrigerate if keeping more than a few days. They probably won’t last that long. Hope these sweeten your Hanukkah or Christmas celebration in a wonderful way!


Delicious – with or without chocolate chips!

Dairy-Free Cherry Cheesecake

December is officially here, and it’s time to ask yourself an important question:  Are you ready for the holidays?  I mean in the sense of having healthy desserts and other foods at the ready.  It’s party-season and whether you’re giving one or attending a few bash’s,  it’s a fantastic idea to be prepared.

Back in the old days of clean eating (a decade ago and further back), whether for allergy-related reasons or just better health, we clean and specific eaters had to show up to events with our own travel-trunk full of goodies. Nowadays it’s considerably more easy. Veganism is more than a passing fancy, many people must or choose to eat gluten-free, and dairy has finally been outed as a universal irritant, as well as being pretty packed with empty calories. Yes, I said it. Thanks to amoral food lobbyists and a greedy industry, cheese was billed as the be-all, end-all best source of protein on the planet. I can hardly write that with a straight face. Cheese certainly is a source of protein, but for all the negatives like gas, bloating, weight-gain, irritated skin, and diarrhea (and that’s a short-list of complaints I get from clients) it’s not exactly a viable bang for the buck.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sheep and goat cheese, because they’re of an enzyme structure that differs from cow’s milk. But I enjoy them occasionally, and as an accent, much like Mediterranean cultures do. The bulk of my daily protein comes from eggs, nuts, seafood, and vegan protein powder. I’m just not overly enthused about beef, chicken, and pork, though I do eat them occasionally. Protein can also be found in vegetables (a fact the food lobbyists don’t really want you to know) and whole grains like quinoa. But back to the holiday season…I can’t live like a hermit. Mingling and being out there this time of year is not only half the fun, it’s an IMPERATIVE move to ward off cabin fever. Roasted nuts (I buy them raw and roast myself and add oils and herbs of choice), deviled eggs, hummus with rice crackers, and a tray of Potatoes Lyonaisse make excellent party foods. And then there are the DESSERTS – the downfall for many, I know.

The month of December was once frought with conflict for me: do I go on an extended bender and eat whatever the heck I want for four weeks and then reverse the tide in January, or do I indulge moderately so January doesn’t bring an avalanche of unwanted pounds and regrets. I highly recommend choosing the latter option. Sliding too far back is both discouraging and a lot more work to recoup from. However, this is absolutely NOT the month to be minimal and deprive yourself. There are middle-of-the-road options, like this cheesecake. It’s creamy, delicious, fairly nutritious and stunningly low on the glycemic index.

I prefer making cheesecakes without crust in order to save carbs. If it’s not a cheesecake without a crust, feel free to borrow from my other cheesecake recipe. This time, I put the bulk of the recipe in a vintage Tupperware gelatin mold and the rest into single-serving sized Tupperware – PERFECT for toting to parties.

Play with this one…use other varieties of yogurt or fruit toppings if you wish, spoon it into parfait dishes if you’re having a dinner party. Most of the time, non-clean eaters end up really liking my gluten-free and dairy-free options, so you never know…this could be a hit at the next party.


Packed and ready for the season!

Spaghetti Squash Soup

This soup is so good I can’t stand it? I’m equal parts baffled and delighted at how something I’m not super-crazy about (a vegetable) can taste so amazing. I swear, when vegetables are alchemized into a soup, they positively sing.

For this soup, I decided an Italian accent was in order, since spaghetti squash possesses a neutral flavor, to say the least. One of my favorite Italian dishes, Cacio E Pepe, revolves around pasta. And since pasta has become an occasional, not regular part of my eating repertoire, I simply transferred the dish’s amazing flavor to cooked spaghetti squash, blitzed in the Vitamix and voila – an amazingly delicious, nutritious soup with Cacio E Pepe’s buttery, peppery flavor, minus the carb overload.

All you’ll need is a few simple ingredients to pull this off. I can’t sing the praises of a Vitamix highly enough, but if you don’t have one, a blender or food processor should be adequate. It’s just that nothing turns solids into velvety smoothness like a Vitamix, so put it on your ‘to do’ list if you haven’t already. QVC carries them and offers payment plans.

Hope you enjoy this soup – Spaghetti Squash is in season and at markets everywhere this winter!


Like a bowl of sunshine….


Glorious Gluten-Free Turkey Croquettes

If you’re like me, using up the Thanksgiving leftovers via turkey sandwiches isn’t your first choice. Being a middle-aged woman with a slow thyroid means I’m carb-leary. Not carb-free, but very discriminating about the white stuff, which means BREAD!



And if you’re not like me and sandwiches are a regular part of your life, chances are, the week after Thanksgiving and all its attendant carb-centric side dishes have suddenly caused you to call a time-out (however brief) on the white stuff.

I totally get it…and I’m here to help. And while nothing’s quite as wonderfully comforting as Turkey Soup, these Turkey Croquettes are a wonderful way to use up the leftovers, as well as serve as a nice change of pace, texture- and flavor-wise.

Chef Bill drew on his restaurant background for this one, noting it was often a method-of-choice for dazzling customers with an unusual menu special while also handily dispensing of product excess.

The croquettes make a delicious light lunch or dinner, paired with a salad or cooked vegetable. Gluten-Free breadcrumbs are in the recipe, but not enough to impart a carb overload. And since the turkey’s already cooked, all that’s required is a brief assemblage followed by sautéing them till brown on each side. Voila – a fresh take on holiday leftovers!


PS – Post-Easter, this works fantastically for ham croquettes. And in everyday usage, don’t overlook the chicken leftovers!




Properly dressed with leftover gravy…



The Cookbook Challenge – I’m IN!

Chef Bill and I are in possession of at least two dozen cookbooks, most of which sit on the shelf unused. Well, not anymore! I’ve set the intention to use at least one recipe a week from one of our cookbooks in the collection.  Our first try out of the gate: Chicken Dopiaza from ‘Indian: 100 Everyday Recipes.  In all my years of eating Indian, I’ve never heard of Chicken Dopiaza, but it sounded irresistible, and contains no fewer than 11 delectable herbs and spices.


Wish you could have inhaled along with us as the onions, garlic, ginger root, and herbs simmered in the pot.



Chef Bill ate his over basmati rice, and I enjoyed mine in a bowl as its own stew. We were genuinely blown away at how fragrant and delicious this turned out. Just stunned.


I’ve had Indian dishes on many an occasion at restaurants, but there’s something about crafting one at home, with your own supply of herbs and other seasonings that is magical.



And now I know why the Indian culture is so insistent on using a potpourri of herbs with each and every creation:  the alchemical formula of herbs and spices actually and literally elevates how one feels. I felt more alive. More vibrant. More nourished. And who doesn’t want more of THAT?


Unless you’re an avowed non-cook, my guess is that you a few unused cookbooks on your shelves, just hoping for a purpose. Or perhaps a stack of cooking magazines you’ve barely leafed through. Take the challenge along with me, but make it manageable. I know I’ll never get to even half of the recipes I have in my own little Library of Cookbooks Congress, but one a week? It’s do-able and it’s fun. And to keep myself honest, I’ll be updating you with progress reports. As much as I love using my own cookbooks for inspiration, there’s a whole world out there of ideas I’ve never thought of. And I’ve only just begun….

?. Here’s to not letting cookbooks gather dust. 


This one is for Great Lakes Collagen: