Cilantro Walnut Pesto

It was that time I was in a pinch. I had invited guests over for dinner, and had run out of basil.  I recall I was making seitan and vegetable skewers brushed with pesto, over yellowed rice.  I had no time to to rush off to the store, so I scoured my fridge to see what alternative was available.  I had used walnuts in the past along with basil, so the walnuts were not a big deal.  I decided on cilantro, and a partnership was formed. I’m certain I’m not the first to do this. The combination of cilantro and walnut is a great marriage of flavors, and one that I have continued to enjoy. I hope you enjoy it as well.



yield: 2  cups



1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup roasted walnuts

2 cups of cilantro

1 tsp. garlic

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp of salt, or to taste

1 Tbsp. of water to adjust texture (if you are using a blender)


1. Wash Cilantro. Roast walnuts until scent is apparent.

2. Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

*Serve on pasta, brush on skewers, or use as a sandwich spread. So  many options.


Soaking In Some Seattle History

My kind neighbor knocked at my door a few days ago; probably from the wafting aroma of freshly baked double chocolate chip cookies.  He loves my cookies!  He brought me an old book from his library collection, as a loan. It’s titled, Sons Of The Profits. In return, I filled up a plate full of cookies. Good trade, in my opinion! I was looking for a new book to read.  This book is on the history of Seattle. Plus, I’m a sucker for design and immediately fell in love with the cover before even cracking the book open.  I figure it ought be the perfect book, for providing me with some background on where we will soon be.


Maple Sweetened Chocolate Chip-Pecan Banana Loaf

I love banana’s, but I only like to eat them with the skin yellow; no blemishes.  With that said, the best banana bread is made from the most spotted peels. If I’m not able to get to making banana bread right away, I will remove the peel and freeze them, or refrigerate them for a few days.  For years, I have used this recipe as thank you’s for kind gestures or help with kids. It’s best alongside a chilled glass of almond milk or with a cup of hot tea.  When my kids aren’t looking, I’ll sneak in shaved coconut for some extra flavor.



Yield: 12 medium muffins or 1 loaf pan



1 3/4 cup barley flour, sifted or unbleached all purpose

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2/3 cups organic maple syrup (none of that fake stuff)

1/3 cup safflower oil

1 Tbsp. flax seeds

1 cup of mashed ripened bananas

1/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup pecans

*1/8 cup coconut flakes

** If you want to make this gluten free, the recipe is sound.  Just alter the flour with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF flour.  It turns out great.



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. If you’re making muffins, you don’t need to do this.

3. Two bowls: One for wet mix. One for dry.  In the wet mix: combine maple syrup, oil, vanilla, flax seeds, and almond milk.  Whisk wet mix  until emulsified.  Add banana and mash it up with a potato masher or fork.  Either works fine.  In the dry mix: combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Whisk dry mix.

4. Make a well in the dry mix and place the wet into the well.  Then fold in the dry to the wet.  When it is almost combined throughly, fold in the nuts, and chocolate chips. Coconut is optional.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown; if you have a loaf. If you are making muffins, then 20 minutes.  To check to make sure the middle is done baking, place a toothpick into the center and make sure not mix comes onto it when pulling it from the warm loaf.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.





Sous Chefs

I can vividly remember helping my own mom in the kitchen, and how excited I was to be able to.  It made me feel so grown up. It was by assisting my mom, that my love for cooking was established.  It is a skill I want to pass along to my three daughters, in hopes the same passion will be inside them. But more importantly, I hope to instill in them, the desire to pursue what THEY are passionate about.  It’s by embracing each child as an individual, that you breathe life into their own creativity. Allowing kids to explore only opens their eyes to more options.



I can’t tell you how many times I have shared this after someone has tasted it at one of our gatherings.  As a family, we go through so much of it, that we make it 2-3 times per week.  One of my children’s favorite snacks in the afternoon is this hummus with steamed cauliflower and broccoli. Use it as a sandwich spread, dip, or an alternative to salad dressing. It’s so easy to make, and you’re sure to get more quantity then store bought. Fresh is best!



yield: roughly 28 oz.



* I buy a 18 oz. bag of dried garbanzos and cook the entire bag, since we make this so often. But, for the sake of the recipe, just cook 9 oz (half the bag)

16 oz. of cooked garbanzos

1/2 c. olive oil

1 tsp. sea salt

1 Tbsp. tahini paste

1 tsp. garlic

1/4- 1/2 cup of water (to adjust texture as desired)

1 Tbsp. lemon juice


Place garbanzos, oil, sea salt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of water into blender. Puree until smooth.  If the texture is not to your desire, adjust with additional water. Adjust salt to taste.


GF Black Bean and Vegetable Empenadas

Empenadas; little pockets of goodness!  Having originated from Spain, these pastries are extremely popular throughout Latin and South America, and are often compared to the “hot pocket” of America.  Traditionally, they are often filled with meat, raisins, and olives. However sweet ones do exist , and are often made with guava and cream cheese, or fruit filled. Normally, they are fried.  I like to oven bake mine to make a healthier version. I chose to fill mine with black beans and a medley of diced vegetables.  They are so versatile, you can use the dough and fill them as you like. They are normally fried, but I like to bake mine to make them healthier.



Yield: 12 empenadas



2 1/4  + 1/3 cups of Bob’s Red Mill all purpose GF flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup of Spectrum organic shortening

1  cup of water

2 Tbsp. of egg replacer from EnerG

* Parchment Paper and a sheet pan for baking.


1. In a medium bowl, stir together 2 1/4 cup flour, egg replacer, and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Use a fork to stir in water a few Tbsp. at a time, until the mixture forms a ball. Add the remaining 1/3 flour to make certain the texture is correct. Pat into a ball, and flatten slightly.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Make filling while dough is refrigerating.





2 Tbsp. of olive oil + 1/4 cup (set aside 1/4 cup for brushing onto finished pockets)

1 small vidalia onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups of precooked black beans

1/4 cup yellow squash, chopped

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 pinch of sea salt

2 Tbsp. paprika

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 cup organic raisins

1 Tbsp. lime juice

1/8 cup of fresh chopped cilantro


1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender.  Add the squash, black beans, garlic, paprika, cumin, and black pepper. Cook. Stir frequently.  Add raisins, lime juice, and cilantro. Adjust salt as needed.

3. Take the dough from the refrigerator.  Form the dough into 2 inch balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball out into a thin circle. Spoon some of the filling onto the center. Fold into half moon shapes.  Seal the edges by pressing with your fingers or by using a pastry crimper.  Lay finished stuffed and folded pockets onto parchment paper.

4. Brush with additional 1/4 cup olive oil, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.







GF Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I used to think the whole Gluten Free thing was just a fad; often raising my eyebrows when I’d hear another friend become one.  That was until my middle daughter whom suffered from keratosis pilaris, began getting worse and worse.  We tried most of the external treatments, and took her to a couple dermatologists. Not surprisingly, neither doctor felt food was a trigger.

As I mom, I think there is a internal warning signal that sounds and tells you to dive into your own research to care for your children when you aren’t satisfied with answers. This is just what I did.  After months of her physically writhing in itchy skin episodes, I decided to try gluten free.  With so many alternatives available, this was so easy.  I swear to you, within a week, the crying and complaints about even the softest of clothing, subsided.  After a month on the diet, I heard no more from her.  In addition to her diet, I include a non-dairy acidophilus, along with shea butter externally.

I am constantly adapting recipes for my family, because eat a plant based diet. So it comes as second nature to switch recipes to meet our needs.   My daughter Margeux LOVES pancakes.  Here is my organic gluten free version. I know you’ll love it.  They are light and fluffy, and taste great even reheated the next day. I enjoy mine with Daiya’s non dairy creme cheese, mango wedges, toasted pecans, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a light sprinkle of organic powdered sugar.



Yield: 6 Waffles


1 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill all purpose flour

2 tsp. double-acting baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 Tbsp. maple granules

3 “eggs” – by EnerG egg replacer (powdered non-dairy gluten free eggs)

4 Tbsp. of safflower oil

1 1/2 cups of almond milk



1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sea salt and maple granules

2. In a separate bowl, beat “eggs”, add oil and milk

3. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Pour in liquid ingredients and combine with a few swift strokes.

4. Heat pan and brush with a little oil to prevent sticking, unless you are using a non-stick pan.