Dec 5, 2015

GF Chocolate Walnut and Coconut Bark Cookie

I am a recovering flour, sugar and dairy addict!
Although I have fared pretty well, and have accustomed my lifestyle to eating without these pleasures, there are times that I find it REALLY hard!
Birthdays, dinner and luncheons, and Holidays!

It’s December.. and I keep looking at all the fancy food recipes on my blog Dalla Mia Cucina.. and recognize the whoa is me attitude welling up inside as I over think this tight spot I have myself in. Over thinking is not a good thing, unless of course it brings about a new recipe creation. Which it did! :)

I took my Peppermint Chocolate Almond Bark recipe from DMC, and re-created them to satisfy my chocolate bark craving. 

Although I didn’t add them here, you can surely add dried cherries. Cherries, dates, strawberries, blueberries, are all delicious alternatives to add a natural sweetness to your snacks and treats.

GF Chocolate Walnut and Coconut Bark Cookie

1 Pkg. Ultra Thin Rice Cake Squares
6 oz. 70–80% Dark Chocolate (or Stevia sweetened chocolate chips)
3 drops Stevia Liquid
½ Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
¼ Tsp. Stevia Powder
½ Cup Walnuts or Almonds
Dried unsweetened fruit ie. cherries, dates, raisins

Prep and Directions
Line a cookie sheet with the rice cake squares (fill the gaps with slices
of rice cake).

In a bowl, toss ¼ teaspoon of stevia powder over the unsweetened coconut flakes.

In a microwavable bowl, add a few drops of liquid stevia, add most of the chocolate and heat in the microwave 30 seconds at a time. Stir till smooth enough to pour. Add a few more pieces of chocolate and stir till they are also are melted. (this is an easy tempering method to give you shiny chocolate)

Pour melted chocolate over rice cake squares and smooth over with a spatula.
While chocolate is still soft, sprinkle the coconut flakes, walnuts and dried fruit on top. *Lightly press into the chocolate
(* very lightly so you don’t break the rice cake squares).

Put tray into refrigerator for 30 to 40 minutes.
Take out of the refrigerator and break apart.
Store in an airtight container.

Nov 3, 2015

Cashew and Garlic Pesto Kale Chips

Gluten Free, Potato and Corn Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, SUGAR FREE!!
Snacking just isn’t what it used to be.. but that doesn’t mean it has to be non existent and un-enjoyable! I have come to really enjoy food oddities, like crunchy seaweed, plantain banana chips, fried garbanzo beans and my favorite.. kale chips!

In my quest for non-dairy goodness, leaving out the cream and cheese for that creamy element, has been a work in progress, but, I have found that “something creamy” by way of cashews! I have been completely surprised.. and enjoy it in dairy free cream sauces too!

This is a quick and easy recipe to make.. hope you enjoy!!

Cashew and Garlic Pesto “Kale Chips”

2 Bunches Kale 

1 cup raw cashews
½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
A dash of Cayenne Pepper
Salt if needed

Preheat oven to 275˚
Remove ribbing from kale and cut into 2-3 inch chunk sizes. Wash and spin dry to remove all water! Set aside in large mixing bowl.

In food processor, add remaining ingredients, except salt.. add only if needed.
Process until creamy. Pour pesto a little at a time over the kale, mix well. Be careful not to over drench the kale.. it will be too heavy to bake evenly! Spread evenly between two baking sheets, bake in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, till crispy. 
The kale will shrink quite a bit so don’t be shocked! 

Enjoy!! Xo

Nov 2, 2015

Almond Oatmeal Bars | Gluten Free

These oatmeal bars with chocolate chips are amazing and a must try! :)  I have two recipes here, the "allergy friendly" recipe, and the "not so allergy friendly" version. I don't have allergies to nuts, so I bake with almond flour quite often, but this nut free version is still quite satisfying!

Gluten Free Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

3/4 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum 
2 cups Almond Flour or Meal
1 cup Quick Oats (GF)
1 cup Gluten Free Baking Mix (Arrowhead Mills)
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9X13 cake pan with cooking spray.  Combine oil, sugars, egg, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl and mix on medium for 1 minute.  Add the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and spoon dough into the prepared pan spreading to the edges.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool slightly before cutting into bars.


Gluten Free, Nut Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

3/4 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg or (egg substitute)
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum 
2-1/2 cups Gluten Free Baking Mix (Arrowhead Mills)
1-1/2 cups Quick Oats (GF)
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 cake pan with cooking spray.  Combine oil, sugars, egg, coconut milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl and mix on medium for 1 minute.  Add the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and spoon dough into the prepared pan spreading to the edges.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool slightly before cutting into bars.

Sep 19, 2015

In What Manner do I Respond

This humble sun flower grows along the roadsides here in Temecula. It has no fame or glory, and we barely have time to appreciate it as we speed by, but it faithfully stays where it has been planted, tossed by the wind and weather beaten by the elements.. it's seeds continue to spread and cause a multitude of sproutlings doing the work for whatever cause the sower intended.

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." 
(Luke 23:34)

In the context, Jesus is speaking about those who stood around at His crucifixion..
waiting, watching, mocking. These were ignorant men who truly did not know God!

We see them at Steven's death also. 
While Steven preached he received taunts, insults, persecutions, and the throwing of  stones which took his precious life. Even then, with Steven's last breath he looked up to heaven and prayed, "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they were doing".

I have to admit, I have only a few times been persecuted for my faith, but the times I was, it was by those who ignorantly denied Jesus and were blinded to the truth. 
It was actually easy for me to forgive them!

But today I pose another situation, what is our response to offenses that come our way by those who are not ignorant of our Father in heaven. 
Hurts and pains that come our way by sister's and brothers in the Lord!  
It happens, maybe much more often than it should, maybe unintentionally.. and maybe not. 

My thoughts here aren't towards the offender, but towards those who are offended.

I recently read a book called, "Candle In The Dark". 
The main character, Caroline, is a gentle Southern Belle, raised in Virginia to a wealthy family with a mammy and a household of slaves. She is torn by the abuse her slaves received and is determined to help put an end to slavery. 
She is considered the heroine of the story, but I was drawn to the character Eli.
It was Eli's wisdom and love for the Lord, that guided and directed Caroline's heart. 
This strong stable slave who's love for his master Jesus, is lived out by his service and allegiance to his earthly masters while in the midst of seeing his loved ones separated and sold to other owners, children taken from their mothers' arms, and their wives thrown in to the arms of white men to be their concubines. 

Eli's unfailing love and loyalty never diminish and his work is always done in an attitude of worship and adoration for his Lord. 

The white slave owner's knew the word of God! 
These men preached the gospel, and at times they sat in service with their slaves at the back of the church "worshipping the same Lord". (hmmm)
The gospel they received was contorted because of selfishness and pride.. but then, don't we at times contort the truth to suit our own purposes? 

In the book of James it tells us why we fight and quarrel;
"What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel"... (James 4:1,2)  

The word lust here is defined as; Anything we covet, desire greatly, or long for. 
Like our own way!

How do we respond to offenses? 
Do we respond "loving our Master Jesus and the life HE lived?" 

I would like my responses to be gentle and forbearing, with humility and LOVE. 
I have been tested lately.. I F-A-I-L ! Truth be told.. my failure doesn't come by way of verbal  responses, my failure comes through bitterness. I keep records of wrongs. UGHHH.. :(
My inward responses are a REMEDY FOR MY OWN COMFORT! 

Love...Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

Love covers, Love veils, Love conceals, our own motives,
and is replaced with, "the motive of Christ !" 

Christ's motive was love!
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

(hmmm..  here's a thought Laurie.. take on an eternal perspective!)

Christ's reaction was sacrificial!
"Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross". (Philippians 2:8)

(humility.. ouch, I think I am owed kudos. another FAIL)

Love is sacrificial!
It gives no room for the "Me" factor, but looks to the cross of Jesus and say's, "not my will, but Your will be done." It say's, Master Jesus, make me a servant to others as I long to serve You, and help me to do it with an attitude of reverence, and humility, for my Master in Heaven! 

Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24)

If we I see, like in the book of James, that fighting and quarreling comes from within;  
lust, self preservation and protection, I want I want I want..  then we I, will also see that the fires can be extinguished by the attitude of self denial...sacrificial love! 

To Love the life of JESUS!

May 23, 2015

Torrents of Living Water

Rain through my window by Laurie Vengoechea ©

"Give ear, O heavens, and let Me speak; and let the earth hear the words of My mouth. Let My teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, as the droplets on the fresh grass and as the showers on the herb. (Deuteronomy 32:1-2)

Waking up yesterday morning to the sounds of rap tap tap on my windowpane is always a pleasant sound for me, where the truth of the saying, it never rains in California.. it pours, was never closer to the truth as it was for me all day Friday. It was a constant drop of rain with a good dowsing of water! How refreshing it was!

The local hills dried out by the extreme temperatures of last summer definitely needed a good watering.. but for me it felt like an invitation from my Heavenly Father, asking me to sit in His presence and soak up all He would speak to me in His word. Not just a trickle or a seasonal splash of water that gets evaporated quickly by the heat of trials and fiery attacks, but torrents of living water that can only come by being drenched with bucketfuls of wisdom and truth spoken into my spirit by the God breathed words of our Lord and Savior. An overflow in abundance that produces refreshment, renewing and growth!

I love this kind of soaking, whether it come daily by delighting yourself in the Psalms and Proverbs, reading the law and the prophets, gospels of Christ and the epistles, or deep study by way of inductive bible teaching.. “daily is the key!” And then there is the run off, be prepared for the overflow.. the influence of your drenching that reaches to those around who will also be blessed and encouraged to seek the Word of God! It's a good thing! xo

May you be filled abundantly with living waters as you seek first God’s kingdom through the reading of His Word!

Rain through my window by Laurie Vengoechea ©

May 22, 2015

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Yield: about 36 cookies
Bake 375°F  7-9 mins per batch

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar or 1/4 cup honey
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1-¼ cups Gluten Free Baking mix with added Xanthan Gum 
(or GF Flour blend plus ¼ rounded tsp. of Xanthan gum.)

Granulated sugar for rolling dough balls

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. If necessary, cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in additional granulated sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Using the tines of a fork, flatten balls by making crisscross marks on top. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. 

Makes about 36 cookies.

Grilled Peaches and Coconut Ice Cream | Dairy Free Goodness

As simple as grilling fresh peaches and topping them off with a delicious non dairy coconut ice cream! I used the So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk frozen dessert here. It truly is "SO" delicious! I have yet to make my own dairy free coconut milk ice cream, but when I do, I think i'll be adding chocolate chips to make a chocolate chip coconut dream ice cream dessert.
Sound's so good!

Grilled Peaches and Coconut Ice Cream | Dairy Free

Grilled Peaches
2-3 Large, firm but ripe peaches
1 tsp. mild olive oil
2 tsp. Turbinado Sugar or Raw Sugar
Grill Pan

Cut peaches in half and remove the pit.
Heat grill pan on medium heat.
Brush a small amount of the olive oil on peach halves so they don't stick to the grill pan.
Sprinkle a small amount of sugar over the peach as well. This will give a beautiful caramelized effect to the grilled peaches. Place peaches on pre-heated pan pressing down for 5 seconds. Remove pressure from peach and allow to cook for around 1-2 minutes. When peach has nicely grilled with caramelization turn over and cook for an additional minute.
Remove to platter. 

Serve with a dollop of dairy free coconut ice cream and ENJOY!

"I Have Rights".. or do I?

This is an excerpt from a book titled, "Have We No Rights" by Mabel Williamson.

"No rights to a soft bed, and a well laid table. 
No right to a home of His own, a place where His own pleasure might be sought.
No right to choose pleasant, congenial companions, those who could understand Him and sympathize with Him.
No right to shrink away from filth and sin, to pull His garments closer around Him and turn aside to walk in cleaner paths.
No right to be understood and appreciated, no, not by those upon whom He poured out a double portion of His love.
No right even never to be forsaken by His Father, the One who meant more than all to Him.
His only right was silently to endure shame, spitting, blows; To take His place as a sinner at the dock; To bear my sins in anguish on the cross.
He had no rights.

And I?

A right to the "comforts" of life? No, but a right to the love of God for my pillow.
A right to physical safety? No, but a right to the security of being in His will.
A right to love and sympathy from those around me? No, but a right to the friendship of the One who understands me better than I do myself.
A right to be a leader among men? No, but the right to be led by the One to whom I have given my all, led as a little child, with its hand in the hand of its Father.
A right to a home and dear ones? No, not necessarily, but the right to dwell in the heart of God.
A right to myself? No, but oh, I have a right to Christ.

All that He takes I will give,
All that He gives I will take,
He is my only right!
He, the one right before which all other rights fade into nothingness.
I have full right to Him;
Oh may He have full right to me! "

I was 35 when I first read this book. It was impactful, and at the same time HARD TO READ. :)

How many of my rights do I have to give up to be a woman of God.
It turns out.. that I really have no rights.
At the age of 35, I set out to rid myself of the mind-set that, "I Have Rights".. and instead asked the LORD to give me a heart of surrender.. a heart to yield to His purging and sanctification in my life. A heart transformed in, and through Jesus Christ!

I've had to revisit this lately..
The purging and refining isn't over yet, not by a long shot! The fact is, my life our lives as women of God will never be our own and we have no right to the outcomes of God's providential plan for us.
I believe that Almighty God is sovereign and nothing gets by Him concerning our trials and tribulations without His allowing it.  So the "rights" belong to God! He has the right to mold us and shape us into whatever image He wishes and by any means He chooses. ( OUCH ) What I am learning to do, is to bend with His molding and shaping instead of fighting against it. The Heavenly Father's intent is that we become lovely vessels for His use and Glory.. His eternal Glory! I love this picture; refined silver, a polished gem, a perfect diamond.. a vessel so shiny and mirror like, that it is 'His image' seen in the reflection of our lives.

Praying also for you dear sisters, in case you too are being revisited by His refinement! :)


Feb 23, 2015

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup | Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
Gluten Free, Dairy Free 

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup Recipe 


3 Roasted Butternut Squashes (you can also use pre-cubed squash from the grocery store)
Olive oil, just a few teaspoons
12 oz. unsweetened coconut milk (full fat or low fat)
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 Cipollini onions (lightly chopped)
1 fat Garlic clove, mashed with flat side of your knife
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
Cayenne pepper 
Cracked black pepper
(For a wintery holiday flavor.. add a 1/4 teaspoon of cloves)

Stand or immersion blender. 


Preheat oven to 350 degree’s
Slice butternut squashes lengthwise, drizzle flat side with a teaspoon or so of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake on baking sheet, flat side up, for 40-60 minutes till squash is tender and will easily come off it’s skins.  

Mix Cipollini onion and garlic together, drizzle around a teaspoon of olive oil over it. Roast in the oven on a small tin pan for about 12 minutes, just till onions and garlic starts to get golden. Remove, pat with paper towel and set aside. (important not to have extra oil)

Meanwhile, In a large pot, heat up chicken stock. When stock comes to a boil, turn heat to low. Add coconut milk. Do not let boil. Add freshly grated ginger.

When squash is tender and cool to the touch, remove pulp from skins and add to the chicken coconut stock pot. Also add onion garlic mix. Let come to a soft simmer. (never let coconut milk boil) At this point you will puree your soup. I haven’t purchased an immersion blender yet, so I’m still using my stand blender, BUT.. it’s TIME! :) Puree puree puree.. When fully blended, add back to the pot. Add seasonings, cayenne pepper, freshly cracked black pepper and a little bit of salt, to taste. 

*For those of you who love a little texture, remove chunks of squash from the pot before you puree it. After the soup is pureed, add the soup back to the pot, and add the squash chunks back in and stir.