Dairy Free

Light Chicken Lettuce Wraps — PF Chang Style

It’s been a good 3 months since I’ve last posted, I had to leave the goodness in Andrea’s capable hands for a time. But I’m back, I’m alive, I’m here! Three months… hmmm…. why would I avoid food-blogging for that specific amount of time? Oui, Oui, the obvious, I’m “with child” yet again! A majority of the women that exist in the world who’ve done it I’m sure can agree on one thing: food is the enemy for a minimum of 3 months. The kitchen is the enemy. Anything with flavor or smell within a 10 mile radius is the enemy.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

The food you see above I refused to touch with a ten foot pole. Had I posted something before now it might be titled “Look How Much I Love Grazing on these Cardboard Crackers.” Unfortunately my family insists on eating every single day, THREE times a day no less, so I was forced into the kitchen to make food stuffs. I doubt it tasted any good because I wasn’t testing it along the way myself…

This was my survival method. Not a joke. Ninja style. It’s very uncomfortable and difficult to breath as a grossed-out ninja. It goes without saying there were many buttered toast and sliced fruit dinners for the fam-damly.

Then about a week ago I got interesting in doing the whole chef thing again. Finally! I’d been resurrected. Pregnancy is so weird and irritating. Any-hoo, I started off cautiously by following a few saved recipes from some of my favorite fellow food-bloggers just to make sure I still knew how to chop, fry, and mix ingredients together. First was a veggie filled white bean casserole  from my number one blog crush, An Edible Mosaic. If humans could marry blogs, I might go for this one. (This was easy to make GF, simple replacement)

The second attempt at dinner was also a success, and the idea came from a new found blog I’ve been very much enjoying called Urban Baker. These Mini Gluten Free Corn Dogs were FUN to make and a huge hit with the family–particularly with Phil. They were surprisingly easy &  satisfying. As she recommended,  I froze the left-overs and used them in Teya’s school lunch later that week. I really like smart people….. Thank you smart people, you make us all very happy. (I was also able to make this sans gluten and without eggs, using EnerG Egg replacement)

Now back to that intro pic. Comfortably back in the saddle, Phil and I worked in tandem tonight to come up with a chicken wrap that mimics one of our favorite places, PF Changs. We’ve made these several times before, but they’ve always tasted a tad too Ammrrrcn. With the use of some new ingredients true to traditional Japanese cuisine and flavors, and cutting out items they’d never use like peanut butter, this time we hit it on the money. They’re very light and healthy when made true to form. Using just one chicken breast instead of two and then throwing in a heaping pile of  sugar snap peas in place also improved upon the weight of this meal.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

You know those white crispy rice noodles called Maifun rice sticks? Don’t skip on those! Not only do they add the necessary dry crisp, they’re a total blast to fry. It’s like a magic trick in your kitchen; a surprising confusing magical trick to make the burliest of manly men giggle. I witness it. Really, they’re in the Asian section of any store (bottom shelf usually) and only a couple bucks. Invest in the fun. When you fry them, make sure the oil is blazing hot (400 degrees) or no magic happens. Test one little noodle at a time: if it sinks its not ready, if it explodes in the blink of an eye it’s ready.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

This meal is extremely simple to prepare. It looks like a long list of ingredients, but that’s mostly sauces and spices which mix up in a jiffy. Yes, jiffy is still a cool word to use. The 90′s are making a comeback, don’t ya know. When it comes down to it this meal took no more than 30 mins from beginning to end. Bon appétit…  or in true Japanese fashion, douzo meshiagare!


Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

Light Chicken Lettuce Wraps — PF Chang Style
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • For the Stir-Fry:
  • 3 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons mirin**
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • about 3 tablespoons coconut oil- used in separate intervals
  • 1 chicken breast
  • one 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and minced
  • sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste (or freshly grated, ½tsp if using powder)
  • 3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • ½ bag of maifun rice sticks, fried**
  • large leaf lettuce for the cups, either iceberg, butter, etc.
  • For the Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons agave (regular sugar can be used)
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Amino or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • a smidgen of spicy mustard
  • a small splash of mirin sauce
  • 1 – 3 teaspoons siracha chili sauce, depending on your level of heat pref.
  1. Begin with the chicken breast. In your saute pan/wok, fry it up on med-high in a couple tablespoons of coconut oil, 4 to 5 minutes each side until it’s nearly finished. When it’s done, set on a plate to rest and cool as you work on frying the veggies.
  2. While the chicken is cooling, prep the stir-fry sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl (this doesn’t include the coconut oil).
  3. Dice the water chestnuts, snap peas, and mushrooms. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, dice it as well (very small bits). Now add another tablespoon of coconut oil to the saute pan/wok over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, water chestnuts, peas, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan. Cook the mixture for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the stir-fry sauce to the pan and saute for a couple more minutes, then stir in the green onions at the very end before removing from the heat.
  5. Fry the maifun sticks according to instructions on bag — usually in just a couple inches of oil (we use coconut here) on super high, 400 degrees, for a few seconds. Flip once so the other side of the noodles can explode. Let cool on a paper-towel or rag. TIP- the sticks are crazy stiff before fried, use kitchen scissors to cut them in half before frying. You’ll only need to use half the bag, save the other half for next time.
  6. Whisk together the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a serving bowl.
  7. Serve the chicken with a side of lettuce cups and the sauce drizzled on top with loads of crunchy maifun sticks.
  8. *If you’re unfamiliar with Braggs Liquid Aminos, it’s a gluten free soy sauce replacement, tastes practically the same.
  9. **Mirin is also easy to find in the Asian isle and only a couple $ per bottle. It’s sweet, and slightly alcoholic, so use lightly in dishes, but it’s quite necessary when going for a balanced authentic Japanese flavor. It’s also always used in teriyaki sauce, so there’s another good use for it once you’ve bought it.


Posted on by Tawny in Dairy Free, Gluten-Free Meals, Main Dishes, Travel Inspired We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

The Eternal Breakfast — Autumnal Oatmeal Bake

I call this the eternal breakfast because I don’t see myself getting tired of it anytime soon, and that is mostly because the recipe is flexible enough to change as the seasons and the cravings and palates do.  Yes, it’s the same breakfast oatmeal bake idea I shared not too long ago when we first arrived in Oregon, but this one has been vamped and altered to fit the changing mentality that happens when it gets cold all of the sudden outside.

Now, here’s where I greatly hesitated to share this recipe. It has a bit of pumpkin puree in it. Let me explain. I have a thing, it’s called “anti-sheep-mentality.” That’s the official name I’ve given it. In short (and NOT because I’m better smarter or cooler than anyone out there–because that’s obviously not the case) I can’t bring myself to do anything that seems to be the group mentality movement of the moment. I don’t like to do something just because it’s expected, everyone else loves it, or it’s all the craze. For example: I was obsessed with the idea of putting a feather in my hair two years ago because secretly inside I think I’m a Native American, and then it became the trend and the idea died for me; I used to do my nails all one color except for my thumbs a contrasting one, now it’s the craze and I can no longer bring myself to do it; being fantastically “intimate” on V-day or Birthdays makes me barf because it’s expected; I don’t even like following sidewalks or paths, I usually look for an alternate route that cuts across some obscure different way.  Whatever is selling like hot-cakes and making people go ga-ga at the time, I’ll look the opposite way to make sure I don’t get trapped. My husband tells me I’d be a terrible businesswoman.

Every recipe that has ever existed is being transmogrified into a “pumpkin pie version” of that recipe across blogs and pinterest like the plague, and even though they all sound heavenly to me and I’m as much a fan of pumpkin as the next squash lover, I’ve made a conscious vow to NOT pumpkin-ize this blog so that it blends with the movement.  I ain’t no hater, and it’s not pride — I don’t think — it’s that feeling of being one of crowd that is hard for me to jive with. I wouldn’t feel like it was genuinely my idea.

But the human body senses the seasons changing, and the ground gives us larges gourd-like squash in order to thrive during the winter, and try as I may I will surrender and give in to this one pumpkin spiked meal. It’s not overpowering and it doesn’t taste like pie, but it’s thick and moist, deep and rich the way a pumpkin recipe should be.    And it’ still healthy.

Pears are the other quintessential fruit of the changing seasons, even their variety in color seems to resemble those exactly of the falling leaves. Pairing them together was a no-brainer. As by now I’ve done enough typing for one day, I give you the altered-ego of my “Basic Oatmeal Bake Brekkie” in the form of Pumpkin & Pear Oatmeal Bake.

The Eternal Breakfast — Autumnal Oatmeal Bake
Recipe type: Breakfast
Notes: * Remember you can add anything you typically like adding to your oatmeal. Your options are practically endless. Fresh fruit of course is best added later on the day of. *The good news: this is very difficult to over-bake. I stepped out of the house for the last batch and the man forgot to remove it from the oven for an extra 20 minutes! It was FINE and tasted all the same. * Try and pour a bit of milk and maple syrup on top of your square the day of.
  • 2 cups oats (best NOT to use instant, old fashioned gives better body)
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 1 pear, grated
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cups milk of choice (I used the coconut/almond combo)
  • 1-2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • ⅓ shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • extra water as needed
  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8×8 pan — I use coconut oil, smear it around the bottom and edges, it lends to the flavor and keeps it healthy.
  3. In a bowl, grate the apple and pear down to the core. Add the pumpkin puree and mix together. Then in the same bowl add the the oats, vanilla, spices, and all the additions. Hold off on the milk for another step…
  4. Mix together and pour into the 8×8 pan. Level out evenly.
  5. Pour in the milk last once it’s ready in the pan. Watch the level of liquid, add water if needed to bring the liquid just even to the top of the oats mixture. With the thickness of the pumpkin, you may need to help coax the milk into the dish by gently sliding around a butter knife
  6. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Done is done! Enjoy hot and cold, day after day.




Posted on by Tawny in Breakfast, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free Meals We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Thai Dessert: Coconut Mango Sticky Rice

Yesterday I was all ready to be a big-fat-grump and share my pessimistic thoughts on the concept of perfection. Luckily I couldn’t finish this post in time, ironically I read some similar thoughts (but in nicer words) from a favorite food blogger of mine, and then I slept on it.

Well I woke up on the right side of the bed today. Fewf! Mind you I still feel the same way, I just don’t feel as inclined to spew all my blabbering thoughts onto this space Andrea and I share. Just in case you’re curious, I’ll still give you the cliff-notes and you can let me know if you’ve ever felt the same way:

I hail from a land where achieving perfection in all walks of life is greatly stressed. It’s a combo of religious pressure and micro-cultural social pressure. Confessional: I do try for perfection in the things I’m passionate about.     But I wish I didn’t.    It irritates me.  I almost hate letting other people see my paintings because to me, they’re never finished… there’s always something imperfect about it that “if I just spent more time on it” I could improve.     But in my point of view, imperfection is better, in a way, when I’m seeing other people and the fruits of their labors. Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Dairy Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free Meals, Travel Inspired We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Bio- K Plus- Do You Think About Probiotics?

I wanted to take the time and share with you something that my brother shared with me regarding a health product that he is loving-Bio-K Plus: a probiotic supplement. 

Bio-K Plus

I was talking to my brother the other day and he was sharing with me one of his many ‘discoveries’, which improve his life. He is all about finding what works, researching beyond a normal state of research to know what is good and bad for his body. This benefits me because basically he spends the time researching while I reap from the benefits of him telling me what to do and what not to do. Click here to Read More

Posted on by Andrea in Dairy Free, Snacks and Healthy Treats, Uncategorized We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Vanilla Roasted Honey Pears

vanilla roasted honey pearsVanilla Roasted Honey Pears….. mmmmm… good discovery! Light, simple, good by itself or paired with ice cream (in our case-rice dream) or yogurt! My mom got this recipe from her friend who has a really neat blog called Cher Stuff http://www.cherilitchfield.blogspot.ca/. These were good warm out of the oven and even good cold the next day mixed into my yogurt!

It has been fun being at my parents because they have many food sensitivities too, so its like we are on the same team in the kitchen! My hubby is flying in today so we are going to have to make things a little more hearty from now on! haha. I remember the first time he came to my parents he discovered it was a good idea to eat a meal before our supper at the house! We would go get some fast food before dinner Haha. It is true, if you are not use to clean, simple foods they do not seem satisfying at all. I have experienced the same thing! Click here to Read More

Posted on by Andrea in Dairy Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free Meals, Snacks and Healthy Treats, Uncategorized We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Power Packed Pops aka Sneaky Kale Popsicles -Kid Approved!

Sneaky Kale Popsicle aka Power Packed Pops

Well, are you curious to what people are cooking up in the great mother land up North? Yep, I’m here in Canada and loving every minute of it. We will be here for the a little while before we make our way to France where we will start our new chapter! Besides reconnecting with my family, I think the best thing about being here so far has been sleeping in a bed! Oh my gosh, I knew it would be better than an air mattress, but my oh my it’s completely glorious. I almost want to recommend sleeping on an air mattress for a couple of months just so you have a new found love and appreciation for your bed.  The first night, we a solid 15 years, the next 13, the next 12, and been averaging 10 hours ever since.    Back home in Hawaii I was sleeping a broken up sleep of 6 or 7 hours.  I have a new philosophy…you spend half of your life in your bed, make it a good experience- invest in a good bed and nice bedroom! Not only do you spend half of your life in your bed but that time effects the time you are out of your bed. Bad bed equals back aches, poor quality of sleep, drowsiness in the day, an unsharp mind etc etc.  Good bed equals a better quality of life- I am convinced! Or maybe I am just getting old and whimpy…what do you think? Click here to Read More

Posted on by Andrea in Breakfast, Dairy Free, Desserts, Snacks and Healthy Treats, Uncategorized, Vegetables We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

BIG NEWS! and Bite-size Butter Cookies, aka Sables, Gluten Free

So… as you’ve gathered, Andrea and I are both in for some big moves. We’ve been waiting all summer to announce our changes while we made decisions and plans. The husbands are both pursuing higher education, getting their Masters Degrees, so we’re being torn apart with a continent and an ocean between us. I already miss Andrea a LOT :( We keep saying to each other, “At least we have our blog to keep us connected!” And fate be willing, eventually hope and would love to be next door neighbors again.

So where are our husband’s educations taking us?! Drum roll please…. my family is relocating to SalemOregon so Phil can attend Willamette University. It’ll be interesting and worth while to be living in the gluten-free capitol of the world. From what I’ve gathered, Oregon is very friendly to people with food sensitivities and big into natural health. I’ve also heard that it’s a quirky place where “anything goes.” Hopefully it means for some crazy stories to tell.

For Andrea, and I’d say she’s the winner here, her family is relocating to BordeauxFrance! Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Cookies and Candies, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free Meals We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Corn Bread Uber Healthy – GF

A typical gluten free diet is scarce in breaded goods. Extra effort has to be put into making anything baked/bready, and the insanity of a busy mom’s life doesn’t always allow for extra effort in the kitchen. However, there are some days where I just NEED something filling and bread-like, and usually I want this first thing in the morning to ensure I’ll be full for more than 30 minutes.

This is where I go back to my pioneer ancestry. Cornbread is an easy classic, and it’s an ancient type of bread. The Native Americans taught the pioneers how to meal corn into flour for baking. It used to be more dense and flat, but the core of the recipe is still the same. Never made with any yeast, wheat or gluten of any kind (when following tradition) cornbread has become my newest dearest lover.

Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Breads, Breakfast, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free Meals We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

A New Chapter in Our GF Journey – Learn from a PRO!

Since it’s the weekend and Andrea and I are taking a break from sweatin’ it in the kitchen, we thought this would be a great moment to share with you our new section in our gluten-free living page. If a gluten-free (GF) diet is something that is important to you, if you or a loved one is going through food changes, or if you’re just curious what all the talk is these days with the GF movement, read on!

Larry Penner with grandson Tama (Andrea’s boy). Tama used to go by “Mowgli” because of his great hair and free spirit.

Larry Penner is Andrea’s father, and he is truly a pioneer in the world of food sensitivities. He has been living with sensitivities to foods and chemicals for most of his life. Today he shares with us all the valuable things he has learned over the years. So much wisdom is to be found from him, he’s experienced it all and has taken everything in stride with kindness and love. Our hope is to help others who are new on the same path, those who are seeking a community of understanding, and to educate the families of people with gluten and other allergies so they can better support their loved ones.

To read his amazing and truly inspiring story, you can visit his page here, or you can browse through the links below to discover what he’s learned in the specified sections. Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Back to Basics, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free Meals We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Maca No-Bakes with Cacao and Coconut: Supremo-health treats

I know little snack cookie balls are appearing everywhere on the web these days, all varieties, all claiming to be healthy snacks, and tasty as can be. True most of them are tasty, but rare are they actually as healthy as they boast. My husband is a healthy-nut-guru-master, and he’s the first to warn me how “non-healthy” most of these no bake cookies actually are. It kind of takes the fun out of eating half a batch fresh after they’ve been made. I should thank him in reality for saving me from a few un-needed extra pounds on the hips.

These no-bakes, however, have a great big stamp of approval from the “health-food officer.” All the credit goes to my Mom for this one, this special cookie is her creation. Thank’s to her living gluten free for years, and being fully dedicated to having a balanced, healthy, capable body, we’ve finally found the no-bake drop cookie to feel good about.  She’s been perfecting and tweaking this recipe for a long time, and it’s finally reached it’s point of perfection. With such ingredients as sucanat, cacao powder, coconut milk, and maca powder, this cookie is a mouth-full moment of bliss. (Plus the cup of granola added in the end allows for a small crunch that other drop cookies lack.) Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Cookies and Candies, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free Meals, Snacks and Healthy Treats We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.