I am back! My name is Vanessa Goldberg and I am the Practice Manager of Oubre Medical and have now been quarantined for 35 days due to COVID-19. I am going crazy and really miss going out to eat, hanging out with my friends, going to the movie theater, going to concerts… all of the fun stuff that my city (Austin, Texas) has to offer. I will still stay home though, because COVID-19 is not a joke, and seeing people say it is a hoax is very heartbreaking. People are sick and not getting better.

On to a happier topic though, because if you are doing the right thing and staying home, and you are anything like me, you are probably getting a little sick of the food you have been cooking. It is so easy to fall into the same routine and cook basically the same meal again and again. So my boyfriend and I decided to try to make something new that I had been dying to try for a while now – cashew ricotta. My favorite food in the world growing up was lasagna, and my mom made the BEST lasagna. Her secret was to use so much ricotta is was basically a noodle and tomato sauce ricotta cheesecake. I have been totally gluten free and dairy free for sometime now, but I really, really miss that lasagna.

SO! We made zucchini cannelloni with cashew ricotta and it was incredible. To make the cashew ricotta, take 2-3 cups raw cashews and soak them in hot water for at least 5 minutes, but the longer the better. I soaked mine for about 20 minutes. Then in a blender, blend the soaked cashews and just enough water to submerge all of the nuts until you have a semi-smooth nut paste and cashew milk – you will then drain the “cashew milk” (save it! with some vanilla it is really tasty) and put the nut paste back into the blender. Add about 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice), a splash of water, garlic, paprika, a TON of salt, black pepper, and if you have it, nutritional yeast. Blend all these seasonings into the nut paste until you have something resembling ricotta. It should be wet, but not swimming in liquid, so if you have a pool of liquid, strain that out. It should be very finely gritty, so if there are still chunks of cashews, blend longer. You are looking for a creamy end product.

Once you have the nut cheese completed, and seasoned to your taste (add all the seasonings you like!), it is time to put it to use. I personally made a really delicious marinara sauce, tiny meatballs, and made zucchini ribbons with a peeler to a zucchini. I took the zucchini ribbons, put a dollop of the “cheese” in the center, put a tiny meatball on top of the “cheese” and then rolled it up, and set it in a casserole dish of the marinara sauce, vertically. Once all rolled, I baked the little rolls at 350F for 30 minutes and they were INCREDIBLE. Did it taste like lasagna? Not really. Was is tasty and satisfied my craving for cheesy Italian food? YES! It was decadent, filling, and so rich.

What else could you do with this nut cheese? I am going to use the left over “cheese” to make “quesadillas” – another food I have been missing since going gluten free and dairy free. I will use grain free tortillas (my favorite is Siete brand), smear a healthy amount of the nut cheese on one side of a toasted tortilla, and add other left overs from my fridge. I might add some left over chicken, or some sliced tomato. I know I have some sun-dried tomatoes in my fridge, why not put those in there? Half the battle of making good, not-boring food is being creative! Use what you have in your fridge and make something you would not usually make!

We are living in a crazy time, but focusing on what you are able to control makes things feel a little less tumultuous. You can control your own actions, so stay home, stay safe, and cook something tasty.

Read More

One of the body’s biggest defense mechanisms that does not often get enough attention is our skin. The skin is like a giant mouth that can absorb toxic substances quickly. Along with the skin, our respiratory system is also vulnerable to harsh, aerosolized toxic chemicals that we’re spraying in the air. With the movement of meticulous sanitization in this pandemic, let’s not forget that we’re not doing our immune system any good with constant toxic exposures.

So what are some evidence-based methods that can keep our environment safe and reduce toxin exposures?

STEP 1: Keep your living space and office frequently ventilated

In our recent posted video on our FB page, and also according to the recent Journal of the American Medical Association, SARS-CoV-2, “pathogen-bearing droplets of all sizes can travel 23 to 27 feet” and “may stay suspended in the air for hours.” 1 Therefore, a poorly ventilated room can increase the concentration and risk of infection. Many experts recommend airing the house and office frequently throughout the day to disperse the pathogen-laden droplets. 1 This is why we do our COVID-19 testing in the outdoor setting.

STEP 2: Prioritize on what should be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis.

You’d drive yourself crazy if you have to constantly clean the rugs throughout the day. Porous materials tend to have less risk of viral transmission due to its ability to “trap” the virus and dry out its outer lipid membrane, making it less infectious. 2 However, if it is a frequently used carpeted floor, then daily cleaning and disinfecting might be necessary. This is why it’s important to prioritize so that you are not excessively disinfecting and exposing your immune system to harsh chemicals. Customize your lists of high-contact items and the frequency of sanitizing (this depends on the traffic of the people going in and out of your place. Hopefully it’s a low number). If you work from home, then one less list for you!

CDC recommends to clean and disinfect commonly touched hard surfaces such as:

  • Door knobs
  • Light switches
  • Tables, counters
  • Sinks, faucets
  • Toilet 
  • Computers and phones (be careful as some disinfectants can destroy electronic parts. For convenience, contain electronics in a wipeable cover if possible.) 3

Last but not least, always CLEAN with soap and water first, THEN DISINFECT with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved disinfectant. Remember to incorporate STEP 1 while you’re cleaning and disinfecting!

STEP 3: Gather your supplies, and choose a non-toxic disinfectant


  • Gloves (disposable or non-disposable)
  • Goggles
  • Disposable gown (if the job requires extensive cleaning): There are many ideas of make-shift gowns on Google.
  • For cleaning: A bucket, warm to hot water, towels, and trash bags
  • For disinfecting: See disinfectant section below. 


Wash your hands for 20 seconds first before donning on gloves. You can use reusable kitchen gloves, just make sure it is for the sole purpose of cleaning and disinfecting. Put on a mask and goggles to prevent exposure of aerosols from the cleaning products. 

Now to the exciting part: Choosing a non-toxic product that would target SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)! We’ve combed through the EPA approved list and chose products with the least chemicals but deemed to be effective:4

  • Hard surfaces: 
    • Benefect Botanical Disinfectant Spray: We’re so glad this product is on the EPA approved list. We often use this product for mold as well.
    • Clean Smart: EPA toxicity rate category IV (scale I = highly toxic; IV = non-toxic), no fragrance, no rinse. Need 10 minutes of surface contact time.
    • Force of Nature: 4 ingredients: Salt, vinegar, water, and electricity. Sounds wild, but they are EPA registered! Make sure to have 10 minute contact time on the surface.
  • Porous materials (rugs, carpet, fabric, etc.). CDC recommends to clean any visible contaminations with appropriate cleaners and  launder these items in warm to hot settings (if appropriate), and dry thoroughly.3 
    • For laundry: 
    • For porous materials that cannot be machine washed:
      • Vacuum, spot clean, deep clean or steam clean. Be careful to minimize splashes by wearing protective equipments. 

Wash those gloves after removing them in a soap and hot water mixture, and don’t forget to wash your hands as the last step.

BONUS (but necessary) STEP: EWG certified hand soaps and hand sanitizers

Hand soaps: Click here

  • You might have seen this soap at the clinic. This comes in many natural scents.

Hand sanitizers: CDC recommends hand sanitizers that contains at least 60% alcohol


If all of these are sold out, is there anything I do to get an effective disinfectant? Any homemade, DIY solutions that you’d recommend?

Unfortunately, there’s not much evidence that vinegar, essential oils, are effective towards SARS-CoV-2. However, when looking at the EPA approved list, we can make our best choices by selecting products with few ingredients, looking for EWG recommended low toxicity chemicals listed in the active ingredients: 5

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
  • Citric acid
  • L-lactic acid
  • Caprylic acid (octanoic acid)
  • Thymol

EWG recommends to avoid products that contain: 

  • Sodium hypochlorite: Be careful that sodium hypochlorite (NaCl) and hypochlorous acid (HOCl) are not the same. Sodium hypochlorite is commonly found in bleach, whereas hypochlorous acid is a weak acid that is produced by our immune cells to fight off pathogens. You can dive deeper in the chemistry of it here. This is why Force of Nature was on our recommendation list
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds

If there is nothing else on the shelves, if you can get your hands on 3% hydrogen peroxide, that should be sufficient.5  

Do not mix disinfectants, even if they are “benign”, everyday products. This can actually cause more harms than benefits. 


  1. Turbulent gas clouds and respiratory pathogen emissions. (2020, March 26). https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763852
  2. Coronavirus FAQs: Does it live on clothes? Can my dog infect me? Any advice on wipes? (2020, March 27). NPR.org. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/27/822591449/coronavirus-faqs-does-it-live-on-clothes-can-my-dog-infect-me-any-advice-on-wipe
  3. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations. (2020, April 17). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fcleaning-disinfection.html
  4. List N: Disinfectants for use against SARS-Cov-2. (2020, April 16). US EPA. https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
  5. 16 effective and safe products to guard against coronavirus. (2020, March 16). EWG. https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2020/03/16-effective-and-safe-products-guard-against-coronavirus

Disclaimer: Oubre Medical is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any of the recommended products listed, or any of its subsidiaries

Read More

The virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported to be a tiny 0.125 microns in size and airborne transmission is “plausible,” according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine from scientists at Princeton University, UCLA and the National Institutes of Health. The researchers concluded that the virus could remain airborne for “up to 3 hours post aerosolization.”   

Social distancing, hand washing, cleaning surfaces often, keeping your immune system strong and going out in public with a mask are key ways to protect yourself.  A good air purifier can help as well by ensuring that the air around you in your home and office is clean (it can help with COVID-19 as well as with mold, allergens and pollutants).  Many air purifiers promote True HEPA filtration and catch up to 99.9% of allergens, pollutants, viruses and molds down as small as 0.3 microns.   Given that  COVID-19 is 0.125 microns,  please make sure that the air purifier you choose can actually filter the virus particles and that the purifier does not emit dangerous substances like ozone, hydroxyl, or photocatalytic oxidation. You’ll also want to make sure that your purifier has a CADR(clean air delivery rate) of at least 240 which means that it can perform about five air exchanges per hour in the suggested room size as the faster air can cycle through the filter, the better its chances of catching particles.  

It is best to run your air purifier 24 hours a day and if someone is sick, put the purifier in the sick person’s room.   If you can’t invest in an air purifier right now, opening the doors and windows and letting air flow through your home or office can help (even if it is just in the morning). 
Here are a few verified air purifiers (please let us know if you find others):

1. AirDoctor• 100x more effective than HEPA air filters. UltraHEPA filter removes 99.95% of particles as small as .003 microns.• Auto Sensor measures and adjusts filtration level instantly to air quality with visible light sensor      

2. IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier• Proven filtration for both particles and gaseous pollutants• Proven to filter particles down to .003 microns• used by the Hong Kong Hospital Authority to help combat the spread of the deadly SARS virus and other contagious viruses.

3. Intellipure UltraFine 468• Energy efficient, using only 5 watts per hour when on low• Proven to be 40x more efficient than HEPA filters• Removes 99.99% of harmful viruses, fungi molds, and bacteria, down to .007micron in size.• Currently in use at hospitals, medical clean rooms, and military applications.

Read More

Right now, there’s a bit more fear with simple, daily tasks such as buying groceries. The fear of contamination of Covid-19 through the food we eat has been permeating our thoughts pretty consistently. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said there’s no certainty Covid-19 can be transmitted from food, it’s always better to be safe, even if it’s for our own peace of mind.

  • The goal is to remove the products from their containers without contaminating any of the food itself. Make sure you have hand sanitizer during this process, disinfecting your own hands between cleaning and sanitizing each product.
  • My personal advice: try to buy produce that you can cook right now; leafy greens, cabbage, broccolini, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc. Limit the amount of raw produce, but ensure proper cleaning techniques when eating them. Raw and cooked produce each have their own nutritional value and special qualities, so having a mixture is beautiful for a robust immune system. If you are at high-risk, it may be beneficial to only consume cooked produce.
  • Shopping in the grocery store:
    • Wipe down your cart
    • Commit to what you buy before picking them up. 
    • Don’t shop if you have any respiratory symptoms, are over the age of 60, or have been exposed to the virus.
    • Plan for 2 weeks to minimize your time in the supermarket.
    • Wear a mask!
  • Inside the home:
    • Sanitize the area you’ll be unloading your groceries on, whether it’s a kitchen counter, table, or floor area. Fully saturate a paper towel with disinfectant, as well. 
    • Separate the area into two halves: a “clean” side and a “dirty” side.
    • Groceries from the outside of the house will stay on the dirty side.
    • Plastics:
      • Wipe down all plastics with the saturated cloth that has disinfectant.
      • Place on clean side.
  • Cardboard:
    • The virus can stay active on the cardboard for over 24 hours presumably. All cardboard items include common groceries such as cereals, crackers, packaged goods – you name it.
    • Open the cardboard, and immediately put the internal goods onto the clean side. 
    • Get rid of the external packaging and cardboard immediately.
  • Produce:
    • Try to buy produce you can cook down and avoid eating raw, such as vegetables, leafy greens, starches, etc. 
    • Produce with rinds are safer to eat raw, but again, just do the best you can. We need an abundance of both cooked and raw produce to help boost our immune system during this time!
    • Sanitize the produce bag the produce is in (saturated cloth or spray directly); or
    • Have another family member open the crisper drawer in your fridge, while you drop the produce into the drawer directly, leaving the bag behind;
    • Fruit and porous produce are a bit different. Soak and wash the produce skin for 20 seconds minimum. Wash eat fruit individually for at least 20 seconds. Firm fruits with rinds can utilize non-toxic, organic produce rinse, or make your own:
      • Fill up a medium sized container with warm water.
      • Spray a few sprays of natural non-toxic food-based cleaner such as Branch Basics or Rebel Green (or other produce washes) + ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar (ACV) + 5 drops of grapefruit seed extract (anti-microbial).
      • Use baking soda if you don’t have ACV.
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda per 2 cups water.
      • Let sit for 15 minutes and spin occasionally before rinsing.
      • Pat down with clean cloth before storing in the fridge.
    • Do not use soap and water to wash your produce.
      • The brand Branch Basics is an example of a clean, non-toxic cleaner that has food based products such as: Purified Water, Coco Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Decyl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Citrate (Food-Grade Emulsifier), Lauryl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Bicarbonate (Food-Grade Baking Soda), Sodium Phytate (Plant-Based Antioxidant).
      • Do not use any type of disinfectant such as Clorox, Method, Mrs. Myers, etc. You should only be using food-safe cleaners made specifically to wash produce.
  • Bread/baked goods:
    • Move items like bread to clean storage containers that are prepped and ready to go, on the clean side.
    • Get rid of external packaging immediately.
  • Packaged goods with a firm exterior/thick packaging:
    • Spray the disinfectant directly onto the items.
    • Wipe of areas that human hands have touched like handles more rigorously.
    • Transfer items to the clean side.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling all groceries from the store.
  • Relax and enjoy your food. Remember, we are all doing the best we can. The more produce and fresh food we can enjoy, the healthier our bodies will be, and the more support our immune system will have. Don’t panic if you think you’re not doing a “good enough” job with cleaning – any effort is still a positive and successful movement towards keeping you healthy.
Read More

One worry during this time is how safe is restaurant take out food? Many of us want to support some of our favorite restaurants and miss some of our routines that involved specific places. 

According to the CDC, “There is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

The CDC recommends contactless delivery (where the food is left on the frond steps, and there is no person to person interaction during delivery). As you carry the food containers or bags in, be mindful of not touching your face, and immediately dispose of containers in an outdoor garbage can. Use your own dishes, and utensils, and wash your hands often.  These steps should go along way towards minimizing risk when ordering out.

Anytime you can support a local or small business during this trying time by doing something as simple as ordering food from them, you are doing more good than you know!

Read More

If you have ever come into our office, you probably know that Donna (our LPC-I/mental health counselor) is my mom. What you probably do not know about Donna is that she is insanely resourceful when it comes to cooking. She is the person that will see 3 ingredients in the cabinet and with throw it all in a blender and come up with something new. Not all of her inventions were mind-blowing successes, but that has never stopped her.

One of my mom’s inventions was peanut butter, pumpkin hummus. She took canned pumpkin puree and peanut butter and blended them with spices and it was pretty good. Strange, but tasty. Over the years she cleaned up this recipe and has brought in the current iteration into the office for staff meetings.

I was feeling inspired last night and wanted to make my own version of her peanut butter, pumpkin hummus, however I had none of the ingredients. So here is my version (it turned out pretty great!!).

I started with a sweet potato because for some reason, during the panic buying before I put myself on full quarantine, I bought a bunch of organic sweet potatoes. So in an effort to use them all before they go bad, this is my second sweet-potato-quarantine-recipe.

I washed, pricked with a fork, and wrapped the sweet potato in foil, then stuck it in the oven at 450F for 1.5 hours (this was a big sweet potato). Once I was able to (with a pot hold) squeeze the sweet potato and felt soft, I removed it from the oven, took it out of the foil, and then allowed it to cool in a mixing bowl until it was no longer steaming.

Next, I found some tahini in the back of my fridge that I had had for who-even-knows how long, and added 3 tablespoons to my cooled sweet potato. Tahini is sesame seed butter, essentially. It is one of the main ingredients in most hummus recipes. This is where you can get creative. If you do not have tahini, you could try using peanut butter (like my mom!), or almond butter. Or if you have nuts or seeds in your pantry, maybe try to make your own nut or see butter. The sky is the limit!

Then it was time for spices and seasonings. Traditional hummus has salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, and lemon juice. I started with the traditional spices, but used fresh minced garlic (2 cloves), and switched the lemon juice for lime juice (half a lime, juiced) because that is what I had in my fridge (we love margaritas in my house!!). Next, I added in some dried herbs. I had some sage, oregano, and parsley and figured “why not?”. I added a shake of cinnamon and nutmeg. I was having fun!

Once you have all of your chosen spices and miscellaneous ingredients, it is time to blend. I have a stick blender, so I stuck that straight into the mixing bowl and blended until smooth. This could have been blended in a blender or a food processor – anything to make your final product super smooth, and totally mixed. Lastly, drizzle some olive oil or avocado oil over the top of the smooth mixture (about 2-4 tablespoons) and stir (not blend) in the oil to give your hummus a little more body and some shine.

My biggest tip is to taste this recipe and season more if you feel like it needs it. There is nothing wrong with seasoning to YOUR taste and adding some odd spices you would not normally use. Be creative!

This hummus goes really *really* well on Siete grain free tortilla chips. All while writing this, I have been snacking on the hummus with the Siete chips. It is pretty great! 🙂

As one last tip, stay home, please. Help flatten the curve. Spend sometime in the kitchen making some weird and fun foods and dishes. This is the time to experiments in your kitchen and try something new!

Read More

Vanessa here, back for with another recipe me and my boyfriend came up with. Since we are all stuck at home, I hope this recipe sparks your interest and encourages you to get up and try something new, even if it is not this recipe exactly. Cooking healthy yet hearty food is wonderful!

Today’s recipe is a take on enchiladas. We managed to grab some Siete grain free tortillas the last time one of us went to Whole Foods so that is what we used, but any gluten free (and preferably grain-free) tortilla will work.

I started with a pork shoulder roast and threw in in my InstaPot with some avocado oil, hot sauce (I used Franks Red Hot), salt, pepper, a *bunch* of chili powder, and a *bunch* of smoked paprika, and let is go for about 4 hours. At the end of the 4 hours, I switched it to the pressure setting for 30 minutes. When it was done, the entire roast feel apart. It was so tender and smelled amazing.

Next, I took some organic black beans (2 cans), drained them, and mushed them up with some of the liquid that had formed in the bottom of the InstaPot from the pork. Just enough to make a soft paste.

I happened to have some zucchini and yellow squash in my fridge so I chopped those up and sauteed them in avocado oil with some salt, pepper, and minced garlic until they were fork tender all the way through.

For the enchilada sauce, I got a little inventive. Enchilada sauce is usually not gluten free and has a ton of seasonings and spices that I did not have in my spice cabinet. So I took a can of tomato paste, avocado oil, and some minced garlic and started to sautee that. Once the garlic was lightly browned and the oil had totally incorporated into the tomato paste, I added about a cup of water and stirred to combine over medium heat. At first, this is going to look like the water will never incorporate into the paste, but I promise it will. Once fully incorporated, I started seasoning like crazy. I added oregano, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, and cumin. I allowed everything to simmer over medium heat for roughly 15 minutes adding a little water here and there to make sure the sauce stayed thin and when it bubbled it did not explode. Taste the sauce frequently. This is a sauce that is subjective. You might really love chili powder, and if you do, add more! Or you might like a really thick sauce, if you do, let it cook longer and add less water.

Once all of the components were cooked, it was time to start assembling. For the tortillas, I put them on a flat pan for about 30 seconds per side to soften them up so they would roll. In the center of the warmed tortilla I put a line of mushed beans, shredded pork, and some of the yellow and green squash, then drizzled a little bit of the sauce over the pile of fillings and rolled it into a cigar shaped tube. I did this with 6 tortillas and laid them next to each other in a casserole dish. Then I dumped the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled enchiladas. If you have non-dairy cheese, I would coat the top of these enchiladas with it before you put them in the oven.

Once you are satisfied with your rolled and sauced enchiladas, it is time to put them into a 400F oven for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is darkening on top, and if you used non-dairy cheese, it is super melted.

Allow the enchiladas to cook for at least 10 minutes. This will keep the insides of the enchiladas from completely spilling out when you remove it from your casserole dish.

If you try this recipe, let me know!! I would love to see how yours turn out! Or, if you change up the recipe, I would love to hear what you changed, added, or took away. Food is such an awesome thing that can bring so many people together. Creating a beautiful dish is so rewarding.

Stay home! Stay healthy! Do your part to flatten the curve <3

Read More

Vanessa here, back again with another recipe.

My boyfriend made a grocery run for us the other day (he wore a mask and kept his distance!) and while in the frozen vegetable area, he said all of the “good veggies” had been taken, but there was a shelf of totally untouched frozen artichoke hearts. He reluctantly grabbed two bags, figuring I could come up with some way to used them. Little did he know I LOVE artichoke hearts, and was ecstatic to see them in the grocery bag.

Fresh, whole artichokes are rather difficult to work with, so this is one of the few veggies that I always buy frozen. If you are feeling adventurous, go for the fresh, whole version. But this recipe is short and sweet.

Take a bag of frozen artichoke hearts and place them in a casserole dish or sheet pan that is big enough for the artichoke hearts to lay in a single layer. We used a Whole Foods store brand bag. There was about two cups of the hearts in this bag, but realistically, you can use however much you want. I personally would have used both bags we had if we were not trying to limit our need to go to the grocery store.

Add a *light* coating of a high heat, clean oil such as coconut oil or avocado oil and toss the hearts. You want the smallest amount of glisten on all of the artichoke hearts. This will help with the browning.

In a separate bowl, mix together gluten free flour (the nuttier the better, I used cassava flour), non-dairy shredded cheese, dried herbs (I prefer oregano, but whatever you have in your cabinet should work), salt, pepper, garlic (fresh or powdered), and paprika. The measurements depend a lot on how much artichoke hearts you use. With my two cups of hearts, I used approximately 1 cup cassava flour, 1/2 cup non-dairy cheese, 1 tbsp dried oregano, and 1 tsp of the other spices. However, you are going to want to use just enough of this mixture to lightly coat the hearts. You are not trying to create a batter, but rather a light textured coating.

Once you have your coating completed, shake it over your lightly oiled artichoke hearts and toss/mix/stir to combined. Make sure all of the hearts are *lightly* coated. I usually sprinkle a little extra non-dairy cheese and salt over the top of the hearts, but that is optional.

You are going to bake the artichoke hearts at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until they are light browned. You want them to have a very light crunch on the exterior, yet soft and leafy in the inside. Once they are done, I recommend squeezing half a lemon over the top of them. This adds a layer of bright and fresh taste to your frozen veggies!

These are great on their own, but also go really well with a marinara sauce. And if you have an air fryer, you can do the exact same recipe, except in the air fryer instead of the oven.

If you try this recipe, I would LOVE to know how it turns out for you, especially if this if your first time cooking or trying artichoke hearts.

Stay safe and stay healthy!

Read More

I went to Whole Foods right before I started showing symptoms of COVID-19, and while the entire store was pretty bare, I noticed that there was not a single frozen pizza left in the store. While I understand this – everyone was in panic mode, freezer food will last forever and is easy – this is still a little eye opening to me. Homemade pizza is so easy to make if you are willing to spend a little time in the kitchen. I skipped the frozen food aisle and went and grabbed a head of cauliflower and some non-dairy cheese.

Gluten free cauliflower crust is an interesting thing to make. Store bought cauliflower crust is typically yeast risen, which is what gives it the airy, crunch texture that you miss in gluten free foods. This recipe *IS NOT* yeast risen, so go into this with an open mind, and I think you will be pretty impressed with the results.

Start buy cleaning and removing the stem of the cauliflower. Then, break off chunks of the cauliflower and crumble it. Once crumbled, steam it. You can either use a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water, or if you are like me and do not have a steamer basket, you can put the cauliflower in a skillet with just enough water to dampen the bottom of the pan, put the lid on it, and leave it alone for about 10 minutes (checking on it to make sure you do not burn your cauliflower).

Once the cauliflower is soft, set it aside to allow it cool slightly. Once it is cool enough to touch, use blender or food processor to puree cauliflower. You want to make sure you have full pureed the cauliflower and there are no chunks left.

Next, you are going to put puree into the center a clean, thin rag. This is the fun part – twist the edges to create a tight “bag” around the puree. Then keep twisting the edges hard so you create pressure on the puree. Once super tight around the ball of puree, squeeze out as much of the water from the cauliflower as possible. It is important to squeeze out as much water as you can so your crust is not soggy. If you feel like you are not making progress, open the “bag”, fluff the puree, and then squeeze it in the “bag” again.

Once you are satisfied with the amount of water you removed from the puree, put it into a mixing bowl. Add one egg, approximately 1/2 cup dairy free cheese, approximately 1 cup gluten free flour of your choice (I used tiger nut flour) salt, pepper, paprika, and a lot of oregano. Then mix until everything is uniform. You are looking for a soft, lightly sticky dough consistency – if you have not reached this consistency, add a little more flour, and if it becomes too dry, you can always add a little bit of water.

Once you have reached the proper dough like consistency, you are going to press dough into pan of choice, lined with parchment paper, to you desired pizza crust thickness. I would recommend going a little thinner than normal crust to ensure it cooks through and there is no doughy spots or a doughy center. 

Bake the crust at 350F for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Then flip the crust over and bake another 10 minutes, or until golden brown. The flipping process if a little difficult, so take your time, use the parchment paper you lined the pan with, and if you break the crust, don’t worry about it! You can always arrange the crust back together. It will still taste great.

Once both sides are golden brown, you can top as you please. I topped mine with a simple tomato sauce, dairy free cheese, garlic sausage, and cherry tomatoes. Put the pizza back in the over for approximately 10 minutes, or until your toppings are browning and the cheese is melted.

If you make this recipe, I would love to see your pictures, know what you topped the pizza with, and see how yours turned out. The recipe might sound intimidating, but it is not as difficult as you would think. With this crust, you can ditch the frozen pizza with the crazy preservatives and weird thickening ingredients, and instead eat something with real ingredients that you made yourself.

Stay safe, stay health, and remember, you are not alone in this craziness that we are living through. 🙂

Read More

What is it about being stuck at home that makes everyone want to break their diets, or eat something they shouldn’t? I am not immune to this either! Since I put myself on quarantine, I have been craving cookies, and not gluten free/dairy free cookies. If I give into that craving, I will regret it – my digestive system will regret it. So in an effort to stay strong, I came up with a “tortilla” of sorts that can be used in a sweet or savory way.

Who does not love fresh, fluffy, warm tortillas? I am a Texas girl, so one of my all time favorite meals is tacos. However, flour tortillas and corn tortillas are not diet friendly in anyone’s book. If you have some sweet potatoes and cassava flour though, you can make a fresh, decadent tortilla with very little effort!

To start, bake one large (or more) sweet potato- before sticking the potato in the oven, wash well, prick several times with a fork, and wrap in foil. Then you are going to bake at 400F for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until the potato is soft when you squeeze it.

Once you are done baking, let the potato cool down to a touchable temperature. Then you are going to puree until smooth. You can puree the potato in a food processor, blender, or even by hand if you do not have the equipment.

Next, take you puree and add cassava flour (or other flour) to the potatoes and mix. You will want to add 1/2 cup of flour at a time, until the mix holds together like a soft, yet sticky dough. This is all done by feel. You want a dough that can still stick to itself, yet is not so sticky that it coats your hands.

To roll out the tortilla, take two pieces of parchment paper and put a ball of the dough between them. When getting the ball of dough, you want roughly a 3 inch ball, and if you lightly wet your hands first, the dough will not stick as much to your hands. Roll out to desired thickness – I went fairly thin so it would fully cook, and not be doughy inside. Lightly salt the top side of the tortilla. If you are making a sweet version of this tortilla, substitute the salt for your sweetener of choice, and some cinnamon.

Peel the tortilla back from the parchment paper and move to a preheated pan (medium heat). Watch the heat of the pan – you do not want to create burned spots on the tortilla. Cook each side until lightly browned all over. If making a savory version, *lightly* salt once taken from the pan.

These tortillas made me (Vanessa) and my boyfriend some pretty spectacular tacos. We filled our tacos with sausage, some miscellaneous vegetables that we had in the fridge, and non dairy cheese. The the next morning, we took the left over tortillas, re-toasted them in a skillet, and dipped them in maple syrup. They were incredible.

If you make these tortillas, I would LOVE to hear how your experience went. Now is a time to build up our community. If you want to reach out to talk about cooking or baking, I am all ears. Remember, you are not alone.

Read More