Tag Archives: gluten-free

Sugar-free, gluten-free homemade food gifts (Paleo friendly!)

Paleo food gifts - sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free

I love making food gifts for Christmas! For years, that meant a box of cookies and/or candy. I loved doing it, but I can no longer give sugar-laden treats and feel good about it. 🙁

However, it’s still possible to make delicious treats that everyone will love, even when living with diabetes or Celiac; living by sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free or full Paleo rules. Whether to accommodate the needs of the recipient, or to just give gifts that square with your own nutritional conscience, here are some treats you can feel good about giving!

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Want your dessert — and your sugar-free life, too?

strawberry lemonade ice cream

I gotcha covered!

I’ve put together some of my favorite and my readers’ favorite sugar-free desserts in one handy e-cookbook. Bonus: they’re all grain-free and gluten-free, too!

Here’s a little inside peek: click this image to see a full-size list of all the recipes and the ingredients they feature…

Recipe ingredient chart

That list includes exclusive new Paleo recipes you won’t find anywhere else:

exclusive sugar-free desserts

Know what’s even better? It’s under 10 bucks! Now under 4 bucks!

Get all the details on my Guilt-Free Treats page

 

15 Top Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Desserts!

 

10 healthy lunches: my go-to meals when cooking for one

leftovers: taco salad - an easy way to eat healthy at home

I work from home and my kids are grown, so lunch is usually just me. Before I got serious about taking good care of myself, lunch was likely to be mac ‘n cheese or leftover pizza. Healthy lunches – not! (And I wondered why I was hungry again two hours later!)

Since starting to eat low carb several years ago then experimenting with the Paleo diet and Whole30 this year, I’ve taken to heart the idea that eating healthy is a form of self respect. But let’s get real: I still don’t want to do anything too complicated when I’m just cooking for one. Here are some of my go-to strategies for eating a healthy lunch with minimal prep but maximum taste! (There are actually 12 now, with some bonus links at the end.)

10 12 Quick, Easy, Gluten-free, Paleo and Whole30-friendly, Healthy Lunches

My summer mainstay: Variations on tuna salad

easy lunch; tuna salad with tomato, avocado + peppers

I’ve done a whole post on this one already. Basically, it’s a mayo-free tuna salad with a core set of ingredients, and the flexibility to switch out whatever veggies you have on hand or that sound good to you on any given day. If you do a little veggie prep every few days — just chop up some onions, peppers, cucumbers, etc. — this becomes super easy to throw together. Another meal prep tip: keep some chopped parsley in a baggie in the freezer. It’s key to the flavor of this salad, but once you realize what a fresh flavor it adds to anything and how easy it is to keep it stocked in the freezer, you’ll want to keep it on hand all the time. I do!

Click over to the detailed post; there are lots of photos and ingredient suggestions.

Salmon cakes

healthy lunches: salmon cakes with soup

I cook salmon for dinner once a week (for example, salmon with avocado salsa, herb-crusted salmon, or ancho-crusted salmon), and whether I plan for it or it just works out that way, there’s often a little left over. A little is all you need for salmon cakes! But if you don’t have leftovers, canned salmon works fine, too.

I’ve never measured — that’s part of what makes this kind of cooking quicker! — but I’m guessing I usually start with around 1/3 a cup of already cooked salmon. I mash it together with one raw egg yolk, some diced onion (already prepped, from the fridge), and if I have it and feel like it, I might add some diced celery and/or bell pepper, too. Stir in some cracker crumbs if you’re not gluten-averse, tapioca or arrowroot starch if you are, and let that sit for a minute or two. Heat and grease a small frypan over medium heat, then form your mix into one or two patties and fry briefly on both sides, till golden-brown and delicious! Sometimes it turns out more loose and eggy, like a frittata — no worries; it’s still good!

healthy lunches: salmon cakes with zoodles

The recipe for the “zoodles” shown above is here.

Getting creative with leftovers

Think outside the box of just reheating leftovers…

A stir fry is a great way to combine and use up leftovers! For example, last night’s pork chop gets chopped up and tossed with the leftover green bean and mushroom side dish to become a stir fry:

healthy lunches: leftover pork chop

 

Turning a main dish into a salad is another approach. Leftover taco meat becomes a taco salad:

leftovers: taco salad

That “dressing” is just yogurt, salsa, and a little homemade taco seasoning I keep on hand. You can find the recipe here, but again, there’s no need to measure; just eyeball it, taste, and adjust if necessary.

A desperate, “what’s in the fridge” day was the birth of my antipasto salad:

quick-easy-antipasto-salad-600x600

 

Lettuce wraps are another great template for lunch. Leftover hamburger or crumbled sausage can make an impromptu gyro wrap, if you have some cukes and tomatoes on hand:

quick easy lunch: gyro wrap - paleo, gluten free

 

My winter mainstay: soup

Some day I’m going to do a whole post (and maybe a cooking class) on my soup method, but here are just a few examples of the kind of easy-to-throw-together soups I make almost every day, once the weather turns cool. If you have some broth, some prepped veggies in the fridge, and little leftover meat, it’s not hard to turn them into a wide variety of healthy lunches, like…

Simple chicken soup:

healthy lunches: chicken soup

Sausage, spinach, broth, and marinara make for a minestrone-inspired soup. (Forgive the filter; I was an instagram newb!)

minestrone

Leftover french onion soup from one day’s restaurant lunch + half a large burger patty from the next day’s restaurant lunch + a little diced squash + chopped spinach = one quick, easy, hearty soup.

 easy lunch: onion soup + burger

And one day, I was lucky enough to have a little leftover steak; threw it in at the last moment so as not to overcook it. The green blob is from a Wholly Guacamole mini — another thing I keep on hand for easy lunches. (This photo makes me hungry again!)

easy lunch: leftover steak soup

Some cooked, crumbled sausage, chicken bone broth, and assorted veggies; I don’t know what you call this soup, but it’s delicious!

easy soup: sausage and veggies

Sausage and sauerkraut

I know not everyone likes sauerkraut, but if you do, keeping a jar on hand in the fridge along with some healthy sausages or hot dogs can be a great, super-quick lunch option! Sauerkraut has tons of Vitamin C, and may be beneficial to gut health.

Just slice the meat, fry it till slightly browned, add the sauerkraut and cook till heated through. Additions are optional.

In the pic on the left, I used gourmet, uncured, sugar-free hot dogs. I added some diced apple with the sliced meat, so that the apples cooked till slightly tender. Another day, I was using chicken and apple sausage, and added some chopped avocado right at the end. Both days I added a sprinkling of celery seeds and black pepper, but there’s plenty of flavor without them!

easy lunch: sausage + sauerkraut

I hope I’ve inspired you to think beyond reheated as-is leftovers and the usual boxed or canned options, to create some healthy lunches of your own!

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10 easy healthy lunches

Quick, easy Paleo snack: bacon-ranch cucumbers

quick easy paleo snack: bacon ranch cucumbers

quick easy paleo snack: bacon ranch cucumbers

 

Talk about a quick, easy Paleo snack: Three ingredients, and NO cooking of any kind!

On top of which, two of the ingredients are BACON! and this fabulous, easy, Paleo Ranch dressing. Which — trust me — once you try it, you are gonna wanna keep in your fridge at all times!

If you don’t like Ranch, homemade mayo would work well, too.

Already-cooked, chopped bacon is another thing that — IMHO — should always be on hand in the fridge. Especially since the best, easiest way to cook bacon means cooking a whole big batch up at a time is no more trouble than cooking a few pieces.

So, if you have those two things on hand, and you have a cucumber, you can whip this bad boy up in no time flat! Perfect for a snack, appetizer — or maybe just lunch! You could package the three ingredients separately, and pack them with an ice pack for a work lunch, school lunch, or picnic.

Oh you wanna go a little fancier? Sure, add some finely diced tomato, or some snipped chives or dill. Pump up the protein with a little smoked turkey or chopped hard boiled egg.

But for instant gratification, those three ingredients will do just fine!

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Thinking of going Paleo?

Check out my 20-Day Countdown to a New Way of Eating!

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Quick, easy lunch: Gyro wrap (gluten-free, mostly Paleo)

quick easy lunch - gyro wrap, paleo, gluten-free

quick easy lunch: gyro wrap - paleo, gluten free

 

Some of my best — and easiest! — lunches are born out of “what do I have in the fridge and freezer today?” This Gyro-inspired wrap is one of them.

I usually have already-cooked sausage or seasoned hamburger in the freezer, crumbled and divided into quarter-pound servings, in individual sandwich baggies. I also try to always keep romaine in the fridge, and now that I’m no longer doing a strict Whole30, I also keep plain Greek yogurt in the fridge. And I always, always keep diced onions at-the-ready. All that’s needed to round out this lunch is tomatoes, cucumber, and a little dill.

No measuring involved; these directions are for one serving: Just put a “plop” of Greek yogurt in a small bowl or ramekin (I’d guesstimate that’s about 2 or 3 tablespoons), add a pinch of dried dill weed, and a generous dash of garlic salt. Stir those together and set aside.

easy lunch: dill yogurt sauce for gyro

 

Defrost and warm up the ground beef or sausage. Dice some cucumber, tomato and onion.

Next, lay out three medium-sized heart-of-romaine leaves — or similar sized lettuce leaves, or other gluten-free wrap of your choice.

Then layer them with a smear of the yogurt sauce, one third of the heated meat mixture, and top with the diced vegetables according to your taste. Top with more yogurt sauce, if desired.

quick easy lunch: gyro wrap - paleo, gluten free

 

The reason for putting some sauce on the bottom is that the juices from the meat will mingle with it and create a more complex sauce. The extra yogurt on top stays cold and provides a contrast to the warmer contents below.

Of course, you can tweak this suit your leftovers: use guacamole in place of the yogurt mix and swap out the cucumbers for your pepper of choice for gluten-free taco wraps. Swap mayo (and/or ketchup, if you allow it) for the yogurt mix, and sub pickles and/or mustard for the cukes, and you’ve got an American burger wrap. What else could you come up with?

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your leftovers! It opens up a lot more possibilities for quick, easy lunches!

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quick easy lunch - gyro wrap, paleo, gluten-free