The Chosen One & Quinoa 3 Ways

img_3180Earlier this month I received a most flattering email from Chosen Foods. You may recall  the brand for the avocado oil featured in my funfetti zucchini bread. Chosen Foods promotes a healthy, conscious and happy lifestyle and feels Good Grief Cook fits in with the company’s philosophy. How could I resist a collaboration with a brand I already love and one so kind to seek me out with such nourishing words:
“We love sharing our products with inspiring influencers (like you!) in the health and wellness space.” Well, Chosen Foods you inspire me to get in the kitchen.


This first recipe is for my brother, Louis. He is a huge Rutger’s University football fan and spends quite a bit of time tailgating. It’s unfortunate that we have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol and heart disease, so I thought he could benefit from a new and improved heart healthy artichoke dip that he could share with all the Big Red fans.

Artichokes, shallots and jalapeño get a quick roast in avocado oil and then bathed in a creamy avocado oil mayo dressing including the usual parmesan and fresh lemon plus a crispy topping of toasted nutty quinoa instead of heavy butter drenched bread crumbs. BTW-the avocado oil mayo mixed with a little fresh lime juice is also perfect in your favorite Mexican elote corn recipes.


A Better Roasted Artichoke Dip

1 (12 oz.) package frozen artichoke hearts

¼ cup sliced shallots

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced

1 tablespoon Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo

¼ cup mascarpone cheese or low fat cream cheese

1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons toasted Chosen Foods 100% Organic Royal White Quinoa*

Heat oven 450F. Line a small baking sheet with foil. Toss artichoke hearts, shallots and jalapenos with avocado oil and spread out on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 25 minutes; cool slightly. Transfer mixture to food processor and pulse 6 or 7 times to chop artichokes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk mayo, mascarpone and lemon juice. Stir in ½ cup parmesan and artichoke mixture; spoon into a small ready to serve baking dish smoothing the top.

Bake for 15 minutes. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese with toasted quinoa and sprinkle evenly over top of dip. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes more or until artichoke dip is bubbly. Cool slightly before serving with whole grain crackers.

*To toast quinoa: Heat oven to 375F. Toss 1 cup of quinoa with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil; spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until quinoa is golden brown. Cool and store in a jar in the refrigerator.


Up next is a recipe inspired by my nephew, Cole. Cole runs cross-country and loves quinoa. Quinoa is an energy packed, high protein seed that is the perfect food for the athlete in all of us. Simmered or toasted it can be used in everything from appetizer to dessert. Cole is also known to like a bit of heat, so Chosen Foods Spicy Sesame Oil is just what this salad needed. I am a huge fan of ordering salad dressing on the side. Nothing worse than an over-dressed soggy salad, so since I don’t know how you like your salad I advise following the recipe as written and then add more of the dressing to your taste.


Quinoa Fruit Salad with Miso Honey Vinaigrette

Miso Honey Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon white miso paste

tablespoons grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar

tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

1/2 teaspoon Chosen Foods Spicy Sesame Oil

freshly ground black pepper

Quinoa Salad

 cup Chosen Foods 100% Organic Royal White Quinoa

1 tablespoon Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

1 ½ cups water

plumcot (hybrid fruit of plum and apricot) or nectarine pitted and diced

cup dried tart Montmorency cherries or dried sweetened cranberries

4 scallions, thinly sliced

 cup honey sesame cashews (I buy at Trader Joe’s)

In a small bowl, whisk together honey and miso until smooth and blended. Add vinegar, lime juice, and ginger. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons avocado oil and spicy sesame oil, whisking until well combined. Season with pepper. Set aside. Stir quinoa and 1 tablespoon of avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat until golden and nutty. Add water; bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork. In a large bowl toss quinoa with pluot, dried cherries and green onions and half of the vinaigrette. Top with cashews. Pass remaining vinaigrette./recipe]


Okay, here is where I get a little crazy with what I think is a genius gluten-free tiramisu breakfast cup. With the flavor of bittersweet espresso, a creamy layer of mascarpone and a sprinkle of “super food” extra dark chocolate it is the perfect pick-me-up. Next time I might top it with a few fresh berries to round out the food groups. Add a little “spirit”coffee liqueur or marsala to the mix and this could easily become dessert instead of breakfast. All you gluten-free, tiramisu loving folks you are welcome!

Quinoa Tiramisu Breakfast Cup

2/3 cup water

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/4 cup Chosen Foods 100% Organic Royal White Quinoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon raw agave or honey

2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon shaved dark chocolate

In small saucepan, stir water, instant espresso, quinoa and vanilla until espresso is dissolved. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes or just until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender and moist. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of agave (sweeten to your taste) and fluff with a fork. In small bow, mix mascarpone, yogurt and 1 to 2 teaspoons of agave until blended. Layer half the quinoa in serving glass. Top with half the cheese-yogurt and half the chocolate. Repeat layers.


Thank you Chosen Foods for sharing your goodness with me. Can’t wait to try those chia seeds and cooking sprays, but until then let me remind you all that avocado oil has that fabulously high smoke point which is best for roasting the end of summer harvest.


Frozen Margarita Time





Surprise-not a drink! Just look at the back of any tequila bottle if you want a drink recipe. Let’s start off by saying it’s necessary for this recipe to be spirited. If you don’t like alcohol in your recipes then I suggest you skip this one. The alcohol is necessary for the chemistry of this ice cream to turn out texturally soft and creamy (not hard as an icy rock like many no-churn recipes) and actually remind you of a real fresh margarita. I love science.


You will also notice I don’t give you measurements for the chocolate. It’s because this recipe makes over a quart of ice cream. You are not going to use it all unless you make like a gazillion chocolate cups. So go ahead and enjoy some of the ice cream on its own.


The point is to just make enough chocolate cups depending on how many people you would like to serve. Just roll with it and melt as much chocolate as you need. Use good chocolate, too.



In my first go around with this idea I actually froze the ice cream, scooped it into bonbons, froze again and then dipped in chocolate and then froze again before decorating. It’s a fussy process and who has time for fussy? I prefer the foil lined cups for ease and getting the whole thing done in one swoop. Enjoy and happy summer. Stay safe!


bonbons in green and orange are a bit fussy to make

No-Churn Margarita Ice Cream Cups

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

¼ cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon Cointreau or other orange flavor liqueur

1-tablespoon tequila

1/8-teaspoon fine sea salt

2 cups heavy cream

foil muffin cup liners (regular size or mini)

dark chocolate, melted (candy melts also work)

white chocolate, melted

finishing salt like maldon

Pour sweetened condensed milk into a large bowl. (Scrape it all out of that can with a rubber spatula.) Add lime juice, liqueur, tequila and salt. Using the spatula, blend mixture until it is well mixed and smooth. In large mixer bowl, beat cream to just stiff peaks (do not over-mix or you will end up with butter). Stir about a cup of cream into condensed milk mixture to lighten it up. Fold in remaining cream until fully incorporated. Pour mixture into a loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 6 hours or as long as overnight if you just want ice cream. Do not freeze, yet, if you want to use chocolate cups.


Coat foil muffin cup liners with a thin layer of melted dark chocolate; chill in the refrigerator. When ice cream is ready fill chocolate cups leaving a small amount of room at the top. Smooth the top. Pour more melted chocolate over the top and smooth to seal. Drizzle with melted white chocolate and immediately sprinkle with finishing salt. Store in freezer until ready to serve. May be made days in advance. Cover and store leftover ice cream in freezer.




The Best Gluten Free Cinnabon Pancakes


People often ask me, “how do you come up with your recipes?” My typical response is that my recipes are inspired by who I am, where I have been and my love for family. So when this recipe for gluten free cinnabon pancakes popped into my brain I took a personal look to see how it was born.


First and foremost I am NOT a gluten free girl. Over the many years of my medical practice I took care of a few patients with celiac disease and that illness is no trendy joke. Those afflicted really do suffer and I am thankful the disease is not all that common. Back then it was tough for patients to find delicious substitutes for every day foods like bread and pasta. Many of the products either tasted like cardboard or were quite expensive to purchase on-line. Luckily, much of that has changed.

Back to the original question of how this recipe came about:


my niece, Christy with my nephews Paul and Cameron

#1 I love my family. The only reason I had King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Baking Mix in my pantry is because I absolutely adore my niece, Christy. She is gluten free and came to visit me not long ago. I purchased the mix so she and I could bake biscuits together.


#2 It’s about being inspired by places I have been. A few weeks ago my husband and I took a ride to the Amish market. The place was filled with the enticing scent of cinnamon rolls. Completely sucked in we purchased a package and looked forward to the next mornings breakfast treat. Sadly, much like the old-time gluten free products, the cinnamon rolls were heavy and dense. BLECH! Of course, y’all remember my trip to the King Arthur Flour Baking School in Vermont.


#3 It’s about who I am. I was still craving a good Cinnabon, but something I could easily accomplish for breakfast on a whim. Pancakes it would be and gluten free to boot since that is what was on hand in my pantry and I wanted something quick and easy right now.


And while I am still waiting for baby grand-daughter to be born (any day now) this is how my recipes are born. I hope you like this one inspired by who I am, the places I’ve been and those that I love. These pancakes are light and luscious and will totally remind you of a perfectly baked cinnabon. Top them with a cream cheese icing if you dare or lots of butter and syrup. BTW, I am sure the recipe will work with any ready made pancake batter you like, gluten free or not.


Good Morning Sunshine

Gluten Free Cinnabon Pancakes

1-tablespoon sugar, divided

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon melted butter

¾ milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

1-teaspoon water

In small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of sugar with cinnamon; set aside. Whisk remaining sugar and baking mix together in a medium bowl. Add egg, butter, milk and vanilla; blend well. Let batter rest for 10 minutes, so baking mix fully hydrates and batter thickens. Scoop out a level 1/4th cup of batter and place in a small bowl. Add water and reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture; blend well. Push cinnamon batter through a fine sieve to smooth out any lumps; transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Preheat a greased griddle. Spoon batter onto the griddle spreading with the back of the spoon into even circles. Pipe spirals of cinnamon batter on top of each pancake. Cook pancakes until edges look dry and the top is no longer glossy. They should be golden brown. Flip pancakes and cook another minute or until cooked through. Serve with your favorite toppings or try this cream cheese icing syrup. Makes 8 pancakes.

Cream Cheese Icing Syrup: in a small saucepan over low heat whisk ¼ cup of butter 2 ounces of softened cream cheese and 2 tablespoons real maple syrup until melted and blended and warmed through.