Sep 28, 2017

Lemon Arugula Pesto Sauce

I went upstate NY and bought two very large batches of arugula from a small farm.  I knew if I didn't make it right away they would go bad.  So I decided to make a pesto sauce.  This gluten free lemon pesto was very flavorful.  I changed the nuts and used almonds instead of the traditional pine nuts and I was pretty impressed with the results.

I never used to like the taste of arugula, I thought it was too bitter.  Now I love the peppery, nutty flavor that the arugula imparts.  Maybe I had a bad batch because if the leaves are allowed to mature too long the plant will become very bitter.  Also, there is a difference between mature arugula and baby arugula.  The baby arugula that you buy in the supermarket is definitely milder.

So this is what the mature arugula looks like.  As you can see the leaves are larger than the baby arugula.  The flavor is stronger so I blanched these to soften make it a little milder.  You can use this pesto sauce on almost anything!

Shrimp and Pasta/Zoodles with Lemon Arugula Pesto

I made this delicious low calorie gluten free meal when I made my Lemon Arugula Pesto sauce and wanted to share it when I posted the sauce but that would have made the post way too long and I needed to calculate the macros differently so I decided to share this separately.  This was such an easy quick dish!  I also have been dabbling with the 21 DFX containers so I calculated that too 😉

Sep 27, 2017

Gluten Free Baked Pumpkin Spice Empanadas

These little gluten free Pumpkin Spice Empanadas are filled with fresh fig jam and a light cream cheese.  My new Thanksgiving desert!  If I closed my eyes I would swear I was having a hostess cake.  Remember those little fruit pies? You remember them, the ones that were filled with apples, cherries, lemon and other flavors. This is similar but better! all homemade ingredients, nothing artificial and completely gluten free and light in calories!

It all starts with this dough! We roll this out into 16 balls (1.5 oz each) We use a tortilla press to flatten into a thin disc and fill it with whatever you want. The smell of pumpkin and cinnamon spice was just heavenly 🙏

I used light cream cheese and my Homemade Fig jam.  Make sure you don't spread the cheese too much or it will come out when you seal it with the fork.

This is what it looks like after my husband took a giant bite!  It was delicious warm but I liked it even better at room temperature, after it cooled.

 I loved making these sweet and savory, hand held pies! Empanadas are my favorite and I love when I make them perfect on the first try!!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Empanadas


  • 1 packet quick rise yeast
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tsp fine sugar
  • 1 cup (237g) cup4cup all purpose gf flour
  • 1 cup (104g) coconut flour
  • 1 envelope dry Saco buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp crisco, shortening
  • 1 cup low fat softened cream cheese (room temp)
  • 6 tbsp Fig Jam
  • .5 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp fat free milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

prepare a tray with parchment paper

proof the yeast: in a small bowl add yeast, 2 tbsp warm water and 1 tsp fine sugar. let rise about 10 min

In a bowl,  sift all of your dry ingredient and mix well, In a separate bowl whisk all of the wet ingredients up until the crisco. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry as well as the yeast and begin incorporating with your hands, kneading into a ball and place in a plastic bowl covered with a damp cloth. let sit about an hour

In the meantime, whip cream cheese until it is spreadable

Divide your pumpkin dough into 16 small balls weighing 1.5oz each.  Place the balls into a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap and create a nice thin disc.

Add 1 tbsp of the cream cheese in the middle of the disc plus 1 tsp of fig jam and gently, using the saran wrap fold over. Using your fingers, press the edges down to seal, do this over the saran wrap.  Then use the fork and press around the edges, again, over the saran wrap.  Remove the Empanada and place on the prepared tray

Whisk the powdered sugar with the tbsp of fat free milk to create a glaze

Using a brush, brush each empanada with the glaze

Repeat 16X until you have 16 empanadas. Bake in the oven for 20 min.  Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!

Yields: Servings: 16 Empanadas,  Serving size: 1 Empanada,  Smart points: 7,  Calories: 172.9,  Total Fat: 5.1g,  Saturated fat: 3.5g,  Cholesterol: 21.9mg,  Sodium: 244.5mg,  Carbs: 29.1,  Fiber: 4.3g,  Sugar: 12.5,  Protein: 4.4g


Sep 26, 2017

Homemade Fig Jam

I love figs! I especially love fig jam with cheese.  My friend Gina from Skinnytaste gave me some fresh figs so I decided to try my hand at some fig jam.  It came out delicious! 😋😊  It reminds me of a guava paste and pairs beautifully with cheese, any kind of cheese.   Serve this as part of your next charcuterie dish with some Manchego cheese and some rice crackers and your guest will thank you!

I used a mix of a couple of different figs and it was perfect.  Tis the "new wood" season for figs from now through October so take advantage.

Homemade Fig Jam 

  • 1 lb 3 oz (530g)
  • 1.25 cups of water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, squeezed
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Clean the figs thoroughly with a small brush and cut them in quarters.  I take an extra step to ensure the figs are not infested.  I know that sounds nasty but the fibers in the figs look like maggots and so I like to make sure they are not 😁 Fill a small clear bowl with cold water and place a couple of the figs at a time in the cold water, facing down.  If nothing crawls out, you're good 😜 Trust me, you don't want to skip this step.

In a heavy bottom pan bring the water and the figs and cook for 35-40 min on low, medium heat. Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 20 minutes.  Remove from heat ad puree with an immersion blender.

Pour into a jar and refrigerate

Yields: Serving size: 16 tbsp,  Serving size: 1 tbsp,  Smart points: 2,  Calories: 35.3,  Total fat: .1g, Saturated fat: 0,  Cholesterol: 0,  Sodium: 37.4mg,  Carbs: 9.2g,  Fiber: 1g,  Sugar: 7.8g,  Protein: .3g