The Best GF Lemon Bars

lemon bars
Best Recipe for Lemon Bars. Ever.

I promise you will love this recipe.  These lemon bars are really fresh tasting and have a delicate crust. They are so good no one will know they are gluten free.  In fact, I challenge you to take these bars to your next gathering, and wait until everyone tries one before you mention they are gluten free.  Let me know how your friends react when you tell them. I bet they will be surprised something that tastes so gourmet could also be gluten free!

 

Recipe for your body, mind and spirit :

Lemons are alkalizing for the body: Although lemons are acidic to begin with, they are alkaline-forming on body fluids helping to restore balance to the body’s pH. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that work against infections like the flu and colds.  Allowing yourself a little treat is also nourishing for the soul.

lemons

Ingredients:

The Crust:

1 Package Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix*

3/4 Cup Organic unsalted butter

1 Egg Yolk

2 Tablespoons water

*Although I have my own shortbread cookie recipe, I cheated and used a cookie mix. This Bob’s Red Mill cookie mix is very high quality. Each product undergoes extensive quality control tests. During this testing phase, the gluten-free offerings are segregated from other products, and tested in special gluten-free-only ‘clean room facilities.’

I will be posting my very special Shortbread Cookie recipe in time for use during the holidays, so be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss it.  It is very easy and versatile, perfect for Christmas cookie swaps and holiday parties.

The Filling:

Liberated!
Liberated!

4 Large “liberated” eggs + 2 egg yolks

2 Cups Organic sugar

1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

2 Cups fresh lemon juice (about 10 organic lemons)

Zest of one lemon

Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish with parchment paper, and grease the top of the parchment.

Prepare the cookie dough according to the package directions.  Press the dough into the baking dish evenly along the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the dish to form the crust.  Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, removing from the oven before it turns brown.  Turn the heat in the oven down to 300 degrees once the crust has been removed from the oven.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.  Carefully pour the filling into the baked crust and return to the oven.

Bake until the filling is just set, approximately 30-35 minutes.  Let the bars cool on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.  Once the lemon bars have chilled, carefully lift out of the pan using the parchment paper and place on a large cutting board and slice into 1 inch squares.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Let me know if you tried the recipe on your family and friends.  Did they love it?  Did they eat them all, not leaving a crumb?  Did they believe they were gluten free?  Tell me about it!

nom nom nom
nom nom nom

 

 

Peach Pico de Gallo

You will love this easy gourmet variation of Pico de Gallo; spicy, sweet and Rajasic.  It is a perfect compliment to my homemade margaritas and an adaptation of Mikey’s classic and well known Pico de Gallo. A must have recipe for the traditional black bean taco Sunday!   If you want the classic recipe, just use shredded purple cabbage for the peaches.

peach pico de gallo 2

Your yoga teacher may talk a lot about uniting mind body and spirit during class by using your breath.  This is also something I believe you can do with your food, after all, what we put in our mouths becomes our body.  It is so nourishing to the mind and spirit to go to the local farmer’s market and hook up with your edible posse and meet the people who have grown your food. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, just go with an open heart and a willingness to connect.  That’s good yoga and good food.

peach pico de gallo
Encinitas Farmer’s Market fête

Health Benefits:  Peaches contain a whopping 10 different vitamins plus health giving minerals.  The spicy habanero makes this a  Rajasic dish.  Rajasic foods energize almost all the systems, specially the nervous system. Thier effcts on the mind are to help you push yourself beyond your normal capacity and capability. Rajasic (originating from the word ‘Raja’, meaning king, means kingly or fit for a king) food is associated with quality and freshness.  These tomatoes were picked the same day, so fresh!

Ingredients:

2 medium heirloom tomatoes

1 medium peach

1/2 white onion

1/3 c freshly cilantro

1 habanero pepper

1/2 lime

salt to taste

 

Method:

Dice tomatoes, peach and onion.  Skinning the peach is optional, but I recommend leaving the skins for their added fiber content and beautiful color.  Finely chop the cilantro.  Carefully cut the habanero in half and remove the seeds (consciously keep the oil from the pepper away from your eyes and sensitive skin), then mince the pepper.  Gently mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl being careful not to bruise the delicate fruits.  Add the juice of the lime and salt to taste and stir to combine into mix.  Allow to chill for 1 hour to before serving so the flavors can combine.

peach pico de gallo 3
Serve on top of your favorite taco, burrito or tortilla chip. This would be excellent on fish tacos!

 

Homemade Margarita Mix

Every Sunday my guy and I make black bean tacos with homemade pico do gallo and margaritas.  It is a very sweet way for the two of us to connect each week.  Even though he is away in Puerto Rico we still carry on the tradition and make our favorite meal “together” .   We started the tradition using a mix you buy at the store to make margaritas, but the store-bought mixes were too sweet for my taste and hardly had any trace of real lime flavor in them.   I don’t drink often (it is very hard to do a downward dog after drinking a cocktail), so when I do imbibe I want it to make it count.  These margaritas are definitely spectacular, and only take about 20 minutes of prep time.  There is a friendly rivalry regarding who really came up with this recipe.  My significant other did try to make this first and used agave nectar. The agave nectar in the margarita mix was just not palatable, and the color of the drink was off.  I then created this one (with his help) and it really complements the tequila by using less sugar and fresh limes.

yoga-and-wine10-150x150
om…om…om…margarita…ommmmmmm

This recipe has been a huge hit at parties and a lot of my friends request it.  It is very easy and doesn’t take much prep.  I gave the recipe to friends of ours and they drank it until their tequila bill was higher than their gas bill.  This is why we only make these on Sunday! You could also put the mix in a pretty container and give as a gift.  Once you try this you will never order a margarita from a bar again.

margarita

Heath benefits:

Plenty of vitamin C, less sugar than a regular margarita, and of course lots of love when you share with others!

Margarita Mix Recipe

Ingredients:

5 lb bag of limes

2 cup sugar

2 cup water

 

Method:

To make the simple syrup:  pour water and sugar into a sauce pan, heat on low.  Stir occasionally until all of the sugar has dissolved and remove from heat.  Refrigerate the simple syrup mix.  In the meantime, squeeze all but two of the limes using a citrus juice press.  Once your lime juice is ready and your liquefied sugar has cooled you are ready to combine the two.  Mix 1 cup lime juice per 3/4 cup simple syrup.  Don’t worry if you have extra lime juice, you can refrigerate it and use it for next week.  Use the two extra limes are for use as your garnish on the glass.

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Must have guac and chips with your margaritas!

We use this standard recipe for margaritas.  Well, he uses this recipe.  I always add 2 oz of tequila per drink and no one seems to complain!

4 oz mix

.5 oz Grand Marnier

1.5 oz tequila

rock salt  and a slice of lime for rim

 

 

Chocolate Energy Bites

Chocolate Energy Bites

A friend and I went on a hike on the beach bluffs in So Cal and we needed a healthy treat to take along.  I threw together these delish energy bites and they were a big hit!  I even had leftovers  and took them to my team at work to give them a little fuel while facilitating the Chopra Center’s Perfect Health Teacher Training course.

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Health Benefits:

No added sugar!  Balanced mix of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates plus the added benefits of Shakeology’s superfood blend to give you tons of sustained energy.

Ingredients:

1 ½ Cup raw almonds

1 ½ cup raisins, dates, or unsweetened dried cherries

1 scoop chocolate superfood nutrition or protein powder.  (I use Shakeology)

1 tablespoon 100% unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coarse ground kosher salt

1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil

½ cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut (optional)

 

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Arrange them beautifully on a plate and serve as a treat. No need to tell anyone they are actually HEALTHY!

Method:

Add ingredients to your Vitamix in this order: almonds, dried fruit, Shakeology, cocoa powder, salt and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.  Use a food processor if you don’t have a Vitamix.Start the machine on low speed, don’t be shy about using the plunger tool to mash the mix into the blade (don’t worry, a Vitamix will turn off before it overheats).  If the mix is too dry, add the remaining coconut oil.  When the mix is ready the fruit and chocolate will be completely integrated and the almonds will be in ground into small, pebble size pieces.  Empty the container on a clean surface. Using your palms, roll spoonfuls of the mix into bite size balls and roll into the shredded coconut.  Serve in mini muffin papers to make them a little more special.  Presentation counts, we eat with our eyes, too!

If you substitute your own chocolate protein powder for Shakeology, just be sure that the scoop isn’t too big or the mix will be too dry.  If it does turn out dry, just add more coconut oil.

Salted Peanut Chocolate Spread

IMG_1112Winning a baking contest at the County Fair has always been on my bucket list, and this year it was my mission to enter a gluten free, healthy dish into a county fair cooking competition.  As a kid, I remember most of the fun in going to the county fair is walking by the food vendors and getting a whiff of some salty-sweet heavenly aroma, and feasting my eyes on treats I had never heard of but just HAD to have.  Just because I live a healthy gluten free life now, doesn’t mean I have to miss out on this great American summer food tradition.  I know my diabetic, vegan and vegetarian friends agree.

In a world where bacon is it’s own food group, I knew a recipe that is gluten free, dairy free and low in sugar would be an oddity at a County Fair cooking competition.  I believe a healthy diet can be just as satisfying to the taste buds as it is nourishing to the body, and I wasn’t going to compromise my passion for healthy food for a blue ribbon. I would much rather enter the contest and risk losing, than sell out on myself.

In the end, I did not win the blue ribbon, but I had a blast talking to people about my healthy and delicious style of food.  I shared my Salted Peanut Love Spread to the other participants and spectators, and everyone loved it and wanted the recipe!

Salted Peanut Chocolate Spread Recipe

(Inspired by the #LoveYouSticker campaign)

Ingredients:

1 cup lite coconut milk

1 cup Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips

2 tablespoons honey

1 ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground kosher salt + a pinch to dust the finished product (optional)

¾ cup all natural unsalted peanut butter (I used Adams All-Natural)

dash of love

Method:

Gently warm the coconut milk in a saucepan on low to medium heat.  Watch the milk closely to avoid scalding.  Meanwhile, add the chocolate chips to a food processor or high powered blender (I use a Vitamix). Once the milk is hot, not boiling, stir in the  honey until completely combined.  Add the hot milk mixture to the Vitamix and let sit for 30-60 seconds to start melting the chocolate.  Start the Vitamix on low and slowly turn up the speed to 5-6 and let blend for 1-2 minutes.  Add the salt and blend an additional 30 seconds.  Spoon in the peanut butter and continue to blend for about one minute, or until silky smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape out the mixture in a serving bowl or jar and allow the sauce to cool.  Sprinkle the remaining salt and a little dash of love on top before serving. Spread the Love onto fruit, breads, friends, and wherever a little love is needed.