To share tasty, nutrient dense Gluten Free recipes, fitness & wellness tips and best prices for GF ingredients & healthy products in my locale.

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Coconut Matcha Latte

I can’t sleep if I drink a single cup of coffee.  So I drink my warm Lemon Water then have a Coconut Matcha Latte to kick start my day.   I journal, I reflect on what I did right yesterday,  jot down a few things that I’m grateful for then plan my day over a cuppa.

Matcha has less caffeine than Coffee but more than regular Green Tea as we’re drinking the tea leaves not just the steeped liquid.  You get the Buzz but not the jitters due to the L-Theanine content which reduces anxiety.

Matcha and Coconut Oil are loaded with many benefits:  “improved heart health,  lowered blood sugar levels, increased weight loss…may prevent cancer”, boosts your metabolism and immune system, offers a great source of anti-oxidants (ECGC). The Blue Zone Centurions drink a lot of  Tea!

Simply microwave the Almond Milk and Coconut Oil in a mug.  Stir in Matcha Tea,  Sweet Leaf Stevia and add hot Water.  Blend well with a Japanese Chasen.  If you don’t have this  bamboo whisk, push the Matcha through a fine sieve with a spoon.

If money is no object, use Ceremonial grade tea.  It can run $20 per 100 grams for David’s Tea connoisseurs.  I use Culinary grade tea.  It’s a brownish-green, more bitter, not organic but affordable.   Hamasaen brand is $43 for a Kg bag at the local Asian grocery.  I like it strong so for Newbies,  please start off with half the amount of Matcha and Sweetener.  Some pre-made mixes include Vanilla, Cinnamon and Coconut Milk, so you can try these add-ins and adjust to your liking.

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Shan’s Hibiscus Rosehips Kombucha

I got hooked on Kombucha when I tried Bliss Tea at the Kamloops Farmers’ Market.  Rhonda made clean tasting Booch in mason jars and eventually took her hobby to big time manufacturing in Kelowna.

I liked the selection at Nature’s Fare but was horrified by the exorbitant prices for Kombucha.  Why not make my own ? Shan’s Hibiscus Rosehips Kombucha But you need a starter culture or SCOBY first. (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) I saw one at Peavy’s in a pouch for 20 bucks and SCOBYs on-line for 30 USD.  After asking around, my daughter scored one for me.  While she was at a party, her hostess asked if she’d like to see her “pla*entas”. Seen a post refer to it as a slab of blubber or a “used con*om”.  Sounds gross, but yes those SCOBYs look gross too.  Remember it’s a living thing, just like a sourdough culture.  It offers probiotics, good bacteria for a healthy gut.

Batch Process Simplified:  Make sweet tea, cool, add a SCOBY plus some fermented Kombucha from a previous batch, cover with a paper towel, wait about 2 weeks.  Repeat.  Each brew’s SCOBY Mother makes a SCOBY Baby that you can store in a SCOBY Hotel for sharing or for Back Ups.  For sourdough bread, you save some of the dough for the next batch.  Likewise, you save a cup of fermented brew for the new batch of Kombucha.  It helps keep the brew acidic to prevent mold.  I’ve never had a bad batch in 2 years.

It doesn’t cost much to make. You need food grade glass jars and wine or beer bottles with swing top lids. My brew is undisturbed in the basement and kept happy with a portable heater.   I tried, but didn’t notice a difference using fancy sugars or distilled water.  So I use the filtered water from my fridge, plain old White Sugar, Orange Pekoe and Green Tea plus the Hibiscus-Rosehips Tea from the Bulk Barn.

Plain Kombucha is good.  Flavoured Booch is better.  It’s fun trying different flavour combinations during the 2nd fermentation.  I use Ginger and Hot Peppers (Jalapeno, Serrano or Hot Chili Peppers) and an assortment of fruit.  Best flavours from berries:  Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blackberries.  Small amounts of Lemon and Orange complement other fruits.  I tried Peach, Nectarines, Cherrie, Kiwis but didn’t care for Apples, Pears or Plums.  Experimented with a sprig of Mint, Cinnamon Stick and various fruit combos.  If you like sweet stuff, Pineapple is fantastic.  Whenever I cut up fresh Pineapple I save the woody core and freeze the matchsticks for Kombucha or sweet and sour dishes.

It’s a bit more fiddly and time-consuming to make flavoured Booch, but its worth the effort. Good things take time, right ?

Warnings:  The Sugar in the fruit and Ginger will carbonate and make a nice fizzy Booch for you. But you need to release excess gas until you stop the fermentation (refrigerate).  BURP your flavoured brew every 8 hours. Maybe less often if you start with frozen fruit.   I’ve had a Maple Syrup bottle (not the best type of vessel)  literally explode with glass and contents everywhere, a rude awakening for my daughter !

Protect yourself and your house when it’s time to strain out the fruit.  Do it outdoors, preferably when the wasps aren’t around and wear plastic gloves and an apron.  Release the gas gently if you can, otherwise do it quickly and be prepared for projectile spewing.  I’ve had it spray all over the railing, deck’s ceiling and luckily the back door behind me was closed.  Again put the BURP post-its on the fridge.  If you messed up and you know you can’t safely BURP or strain your Brew then put the bottles outside until the brew temperature cools down.  When really worried, I put my bottles in a box under an old table.  Covered it with a towel and let it sit overnight, to make sure it stopped fermenting.


The SCOBY is yucky looking, but it’s a living, growing thing.  Not sure if your brew is healthy then check these pictures before you chuck everything out.

Once, I thought I killed the SCOBY but found out that the temperature was too cold in the basement.  The Yeast in your Baby eats the Sugar and needs warmth to grow.   Now I use a portable heater and keep the brew temp in the high 70’s.  Some people use warming pads or jar belts or buy expensive accesories on-line.  I wrap a towel around the jar and stick a fish tank thermometer strip on the outside and check it once in awhile, simple.

When I didn’t realize that  I just had a dormant SCOBY, I learnt how to create a new SCOBY from scratch. I tried 2 brands of store bought raw, organic Kombucha: GTS and Bliss Tea.  Put the Tea in a wide mouth jar or bowl, cover with paper towel and it took about 4-6 weeks, but it worked…it can be done ! 

Resources:  Kombucha KampKombucha Home, Cultures for Health

Bailey’s Irish Cream

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This Baileys Irish Cream knock-off recipe is quick and easy to make. Simply use John Jamieson Irish Whiskey and six other ingredients.  Blend, filter and pour the liqueur into glass bottles with ceramic stoppers.  Then decorate the bottles with Christmas ribbons, bows and candy canes.  Share with family and friends.  Cheers !

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Shrek Smoothie

SHREK Green Smoothie


Last year I got a cool Vitamix Blender for my birthday.  I justify this lavish expense by using it almost daily, keeps hubby happy.   Folks swear on the energy benefits of the juicing craze.  But I hate the thought of spending so much money on fresh fruit, then throwing the nutritious fiber in the bin.  Wasteful and less filling !

You must use Avocado and Spinach for that nice green color not to mention goodness. If you run low on Spinach, throw in some green curly Kale.   I like Pineapple and Green Stevia for exotic flavor and sweetness.  Tip:  I finely chop fresh Pineapple cores and freeze it for smoothies.   The recipe is flexible. You can substitute Almond Milk with Coconut Water, Pears for Apples and Kiwi for Pineapple.  If fruit ripens too quickly, I chop it up and throw it in ziplock bags for future Smoothies. After  experimenting with different additions, I’ve changed the recipe SHREK Green Smoothie v3 PDF to include my FAVs, a couple of shots of Coconut Milk and a scoop of Natural Vanilla Bean Kaizen Protein Powder.  


I have Lemon Water first, then my Shrek Smoothie followed by my Blueberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes. I might eat As Is, but I usually smear a fine layer of Almond Butter and Maple Syrup/Fruit Spread.  Breakfast, my favourite meal.   Then Chai Tea before I get on with my day.  If I don’t have time for my smoothie, I’ll have fresh sliced Grapefruit as a starter.

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Strawberry Watermelon Margarita

Cool, crisp Watermelon is great on a summer day. But sometimes you don’t always pick a sweet one.  Sometimes you buy a humongous melon and for whatever reason the family just can’t finish it. It starts to wilt even though its sliced up draining on a rack in tupperware. What to do ? FREEZE IT!

When it’s set, you’re ready to make a refreshing Strawberry Watermelon Margarita.  Make sure you pick up a good Tequila made with 100% Agave Nectar. We’ve successfully used Camarena, Casadores and 1800 Coconut Tequila for Margaritas. The expert at the Liquor Store suggested that any brand of Triple Sec will work for Margaritas. If you want Tequila for sipping straight up, go for Camarena.


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Margarita Variations

It’s fun trying different Margarita whole fruit combinations.  They say, the more colourful your food, the more healthy it is for you.  They must be right.  Enjoy trying these variations all adapted from the Vitamix Whole Fruit Margarita recipe !

Strawberry Mango Margaritas

We went on our second Mexican Cruise Spring Break 2014 !  The 1st time we went on the Royal Carribbean, 2nd time on Norwegian Cruise Lines.  Different experiences but the crews were fantastic on both voyages.  We spent 2 days in Santa Monica first.  We enjoyed shopping, Universal Studios and and the Mexican Chile Rellenos and Enchiladas at Mariasol at the Pacific Pier.  I wasn’t brave enough to try the Margaritas with  Jalapeno-infused Tequila but enjoyed the Cucumber Mint Margarita.  Since going Gluten-Free, I’ve changed my allegiance from  Guinness (the nectar of the Gods) to Red Wine and Margaritas. Print the PDF for:   Strawberry Mango Margaritas  Use a good quality Tequila, look for 100% Agave on the label. Be careful, these go down real easy ! So easy does it !

“Beber Hasta, Drink Up !”    Scroll down for other fruity variations…

Beber Hasta !

Beber Hasta !

Raspberry Mango:  I didn’t have Strawberries, so I used other frozen fruits:  2 cups Raspberries, 2 cups Mango, 1 Cup Watermelon, 1 Cup Ice, 1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar and extra Water to round out the tartness  !

Raspberry Mango Watermelon Margarita

Raspberry Mango Watermelon Margarita

Papaya Mango:  Froze very ripe Papayas on sale.  4 cups Papaya, 2 cups Mango, 1 Cup Ice, 2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar and extra Water

Papaya Mango Margarita

Papaya Mango Margarita

Papaya Raspberry:  4 cups Papaya, 2 cups Raspberries, 1 Cup Ice, 2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar and extra Water

Papaya Raspberry Margarita

Papaya Raspberry Margarita