Thai Cashew Coconut Rice with Ginger Peanut Sauce {GF} {V}

If you follow me on Instagram (@julie.grubbs if you don’t and would like to), you may have seen my rave review of this rice a few weeks ago. I found the original recipe via Host the Toast and good crap is this dish amazing. Rice cooked in coconut milk! I’m ashamed that this was a new thing for me – It’s actually life-changing.

IMG_8290I made one change from the original recipe and sautéed the veggies in a little bit of coconut oil instead serving them raw. Do whatever suits your fancy, because either way, you’re going to love it.

IMG_8289I found it helpful to chop my veggies the night before so I could toss them in a pan as soon as I got home from work and save 15 minutes or so, which is essential these days. While the veggies were sautéing and the rice was ricing, I whipped up the peanut sauce, which honest to goodness tastes yummy enough to drink by itself. Host the Toast recommends microwaving the peanut butter and honey together to soften them a bit, but since we do not have a microwave, I used my immersion blender to blitz everything into a perfect, saucy consistency.

Once the veggies and rice are finished cooking, combine veggies with cashews and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the rice, combine again, and then add the peanut sauce and combine once more. It’s really that easy… and tastes amazing!

Thai Cashew Coconut Rice {Modified from Host the Toast}

For the Coconut Rice:
  • 1½ cups dry jasmine rice
  • 1 (15 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
For the Veggies:
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (olive oil works well, too)
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 1½ cups shredded carrots
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¾ cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cashews, finely chopped
For the Ginger Peanut Sauce:
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Water to thin


  1. In a medium-sized pot, mix together the rice, coconut milk, garlic, salt, and water. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the pot reaches a rolling boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, turn off heat and let sit (with lid on) for an additional 10 minutes.
  4. While the rice is cooking, sauté red peppers, cabbage, carrots, and onion in a large pan on med-low heat.
  5. As you wait for the rice and veggies, make the peanut sauce.
  6. In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the peanut butter, honey ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Blend with immersion blender until smooth. Add water to thin (I added 1/4 cup) and blend again.
  7. Fluff the rice and combine it with the chopped vegetables and cashews in a large bowl. Drizzle with the Ginger Peanut Sauce and combine again. Enjoy!

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Glaze {Gluten-Free}

Last week I saw Hey Natalie Jean’s blueberry cake and absolutely had to make it. Hers had a pretty purple huckleberry glaze, but I opted for lemon since I’m not entirely sure where to get my paws on huckleberry syrup at the last minute.


The cake was an uncomplicated affair, save for the flour/baking powder mixture I had to trash when I swore that twice I saw ‘tbsp’ and not ‘tsp’ … post-nap pregnant me is really something. Luckily I realized this before combining any additional ingredients and saved us all a science experiment of sorts during the baking process.

I threw the lemon glaze together while the cake was baking. A classic Martha Stewart recipe that is fabulous and foolproof.


Per Natalie’s instruction, I let the cake sit for at least half an hour before pouring on the glaze. Just a little drizzle and smoothing out with a spatula and you’re set. Do make sure that you’re plate has enough of a lip to catch any glaze that might run off the cake.


The cake reminded me of a blueberry donut and it took whatever willpower I have left to not dig in to a piece for breakfast. And, believe me, willpower feels like a scarce thing at nearly 8 months pregnant.

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Glaze (Inspired by Hey Natalie Jean and Martha Stewart)


2 cups rice flour
2 tsps baking powder
dash salt
2/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blueberries, lightly coated in flour

2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Combine flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and sift to combine.
2. Combine oil, sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk until light and creamy.
3. Combine dry ingredients with wet in three parts. Mix well, then add your blueberries lightly coated in flour.
4. Pour batter into a greased cake pan (mine is 9″) and bake at 325 degrees F for 60-70 minutes.
5. While cake is baking, combine powdered sugar with lemon juice and stir to combine. Glaze should be thick, yet pourable.
6. One cake has cooled, run a knife along edges of the pan and flip over onto a cooling rack or plate. Pour glaze over top of cake and smooth with a spatula.




Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese

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Homemade mac ‘n cheese, it does the trick every time. And better yet, it doesn’t have to be over-the-top or complicated in the least, which is especially great these days since I am not in the mood for complicated whatsoever.

The sauce is simple and comes together pretty quick. Butter and white rice flour make a roux, and once that has been combined, salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and milk are whisked in until bubbling. I used a spatula to check every minute or so for flour that hadn’t yet whisked in. By the time it was bubbling, all was combined and well. Once bubbles form, reduce the heat and add the cheese (so much cheese!), reserving half a cup for topping.

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While the sauce is forming, cook gluten-free pasta according to package directions. I used Lundberg brown rice elbow macaroni and let the noodles boil for 8 minutes, adding a drizzle of olive oil to the water to help reduce sticking. Once cooked and drained, place back into the pot to combine with the cheese sauce.

After the cheese sauce and noodles have been combined, place mixture in an 8×8″ baking dish. Top with reserved cheddar cheese and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes (or until your preferred level of cheesy brownness has been achieved).

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This could easily be a meal in itself, but I went full Donna Reed and served mine with turkey meatloaf, peas and carrots. Sunday supper at its finest.

Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese (serves 4-6)
**could easily be non-GF by subbing regular pasta and flour**

1 16oz package gluten free pasta (I used Lundberg brown rice elbow macaroni)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup white rice flour (other GF flours could work well here, though GF all-purpose would be best)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 400. In a small pot on medium heat, melt butter. Once melted, add flour and whisk to combine until a paste forms. Add salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and milk. Whisk until well combined, but continue to check for roux that may not have whisked in. Bring mixture to a bubble, but not a boil. Once bubbling, reduce heat to low add 1 cup of parmesan and 1 cup of cheddar, reserving the remaining cheddar cheese for topping.

While sauce is forming, boil pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain and place back into pot. When cheese sauce is ready, pour over pasta and gently combine with a spatula.

Place pasta and cheese sauce mixture into an 8×8″ baking dish and top with reserved cheddar cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until your preferred level of browning has been reached.

My Favorite Steak Salad

Working in numerous restaurants over the years has given me ample opportunity to mentally bookmark some of my favorite tricks and dishes. This salad is one of those favorites.


While there is a basic template for this recipe, it’s really versatile and can be changed up to suit your mood. The original recipe called for bleu cheese, but I went for goat cheese this round. (Crazy, I say!) The other staple ingredients are: flank steak, romaine lettuce, caramelized mushrooms, sautéed portobellos, and your vinaigrette of choice.

My steak marinade can differ depending on what’s available in the fridge. For this steak I used olive oil, Dale’s, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), brown mustard, and fresh minced garlic.

I also like to make my own vinaigrette. I’m never a big fan of what I can buy at the grocery store, so making my own is immensely more satisfying (and contains much fewer ingredients!). My vinaigrette recipe also changes depending on what ingredients are available, but is usually a combo of olive oil, vinegar (red wine or balsamic), fresh minced garlic, mustard or lemon juice, and salt/pepper.


I had started caramelizing my onions while the steak was marinating. Once the onions were really soft, I threw in the mushrooms so that they could soften as well. The steak was cooked the steak in a cast iron skillet, but any preparation would work well here.

The salad is best when steak and veggies are still warm, the cheese gets all melty and everything melds together really well.

Flank Steak Salad (serves 4):

1.5-2lbs flank steak
sweet onion, sliced
8oz portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
Dale’s, splash
tamari, splash (or soy sauce)
1/2 tsp brown mustard (we used Gulden’s)
salt and pepper
1 head romaine lettuce
4oz crumbled goat cheese

Red Wine Vinaigrette (serves 4):

4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp brown mustard
salt and pepper

Combine 1 tsp olive oil, minced garlic, Dale’s, tamari, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk. Pour over steak and let marinate for 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, cook onions over med-low heat in 1 tsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Once onions are soft, add in portobellos and reduce heat to low. Cook steak to desired temperature and let rest for a few minutes. If dressing has not been made in advance, combine all ingredients in a sealed container (I opted for a mason jar) and shake until well combined. Carve steak into bite-size pieces and assemble remaining ingredients. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip + Pear Blondies {Gluten-free}


I think I have discovered the perfect dessert. Chocolate, pear, brown sugar – three of my favorite flavors and all in one cute little package. Added bonus, all three flavors pair exceptionally well with vanilla gelato (but wait, what doesn’t pair well with vanilla gelato?)


These little Blondie beauties are inspired by a recipe I saw over on Hummusapien. I modified based on what I had available, so they are not quite as healthy as hers are. However, since yesterday was the first day in FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS that we had a fully functioning oven, I felt that a celebration was in order.


The recipe doesn’t make a ton of batter, which is good for those who live in a two person household and who don’t want to commit to blondies breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Since I’m not eating blondies all day, every day, I chose not to skimp on its vanilla cohost. If I’m going for a frozen treat, I’m going big. Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato all the way. Not only does it taste better, but the ingredient list is smaller and not chock full of chemical crap.



Chocolate Chip + Pear Blondies {adapted from Hummusapien}
Makes 8

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup gluten-free all purpose flour {I used Bob’s Red Mill}
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 medium ripe pear, chopped into small pieces
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line 8 cups in a muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and egg until combined.
  3. In another medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  4. Fold in chopped pears and chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon mixture into mini muffin tins, making sure to distribute batter and pears evenly (the batter will be fairly sticky).
  6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Allow for blondies to cool before removing from wrappers.

Recipe Fails: Whole30 Edition


Sometimes recipes do not go as planned. Sometimes they simply do not live up to your expectations. Sometimes you’re home from work, in a rush, and just cannot deal with the letting something set for a half hour or more before starting the cooking process. And sometimes, sometimes there are unexpected body parts in your can of fish.

Body parts, you say? Now that I have your attention, let’s start there. I had high hopes for a salmon patty recipe I came across. Reputable source and a pretty dish in pictures; it gave me the courage to leave all the reservations, err fears, behind that I have harbored since the days of smelling my grandmother’s foul, and probably burnt, salmon patties of my youth. That being said, I was excited to give these a go and change my view on the salmon patty for good.

All my hopes and dreams went down the drain when Pal opened the can and said, “What’s this?”. A vertebra. A vertebra followed by another vertebra, followed by most of spine and several teeny, tiny bones. Despite Pal’s careful deboning of all visible skeletal intruders, there was really no winning me back by that point. I went on to form the patties (much stickier than I anticipated and a total waste of homemade mayo) and only then did I notice that these puppies needed to set for at least half an hour. An extra half hour on a weeknight, post-gym, is pretty much an eternity and more or less unacceptable. So I allotted fifteen minutes tops for the setting of things, which led to them promptly falling apart and my interest dwindling further. Several minutes later, with one bite under my belt, I gave up and had fruit with a side of green beans for dinner. Pal powered through, but I was not that strong. The next day, following a Facebook post of my woeful experience, I discovered that this fish skeleton situation is a common one with cans of salmon, not just the off-brand farmers’ market variety, and that, if I dare go the salmon patty route ever again, salmon in a pouch is a much safer bet.

Now that I’ve regaled you with what we shall forevermore refer to as Fish Fail ’15, my other culinary disappointments with pale in comparison. Let me leave you with this: textures are important (steer clear of what your husband might liken to baby food), ingredients are a crystal ball of sorts as to what your finished product will be like (if there is nothing in the recipe to transform a few paltry items into something rich and stewy, all the hope in the world won’t magically turn the said items into more than broth with chunks of meat).

Oh and, hey there day 19! Minus the fact that the smelling of pizza feels like a new and terrible level of hell, this second stab at a Whole30 has been breezing by.

Whole30 Days 5-10 + My Menu for the Week!


Hey, hi, hello! With, what feels like no time at all, here were are at day 10. Day 8 brought a bit of a slump, along with some crankiness, and day 9 was similar. Earlier today I had a horrific headache that felt like it was going to turn into a migraine. I took some ibuprofen and huffed a bit of peppermint oil and now all is well. Other than the aforementioned bumps in the road, this Whole30 continues to be easier and much more enjoyable than the first.

Last weekend us Pals drove to see family, which is a 2-hour trip each way. I drive down, Pal drives back; it’s a tried and true system. I had cookbooks in tow so I spent my not-driving time flagging recipes to try this week.

Here is what is on the menu:

  • Breakfast: Hash browns with sautéed peppers, onions, and pork sausage.
  • Nom Nom Paleo’s Mulligatawny Soup via Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans – there’s fruit! coconut! spices! and it’s all blended together into a warm, tasty bowl of awesome.
  • Nom Nom Paleo’s Slow Cooker Chicken + Gravy, with mashed cauliflower and sautéed green beans. – I might be most excited about this one! We’re still working on that oven thang, so roast chicken in a crock pot sounds like heaven.
  • Nom Nom Paleo’s Southwest Cowboy Chili via Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans – CHILI. Nothing more to say here.
  • Skirt steak with sautéed mushrooms and onions over arugula with a mustard vinaigrette – same as last week’s, but dang was it good!
  • Zoodles with a sauce of pureed avocado, olive oil and garlic with tomatoes – I ordered a spiralizer and cannot wait for it to get here! It’s super fancy and has three different blades, for three different types of ‘noodles’. I feel like this will be a game changer, kids.

Paleo Cookbook Wishlist

I love cookbooks. I love curling up with one, as if it were a novel, and reading it cover to cover. I love the stories behind the dishes and working up an appetite getting lost in their pictures. Paleo recipes, while typically simpler in nature, are just as fun to get lost in. It took me a while to realize that, that Paleo ingredients can be just as fun and inspiring as the the ingredients was comfortable with and accustomed to. Maybe that’s why so many (myself previously included) are wary of a Paleo lifestyle – it’s uncomfortable at first (as all changes can be), it can be challenging (which makes a newfound favorite recipe that much more delicious), and the simplicity of it can come of as rather boring (but it doesn’t have to be at all).

That being said, I am looking to add to my Paleo cookbook collection down the road. My current go-to books, and the only strictly Paleo cookbooks I own, are Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans and Against All Grain. They have been huge helps in the kitchen and I enjoy them both very much, but being a bit of a cookbookworm has me craving more. Yes, Pinterest is an amazing resource and will work for now, but there’s not much better than flipping through a pretty new collection of recipes and bookmarking all the delectable things I want to recreate.

Here are a few I’ve got my eye on:


Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple – Keeping things simple is a big win in my book and since I already am in love with one of her cookbooks, I feel confident that this one will be awesome as well. Also, she made the Amazon top list in food books for 2014!


The Paleo Kitchen – A Paleo cookbook on the New York Times Bestseller list? Sold. And let’s be real, those pancakes on the front are going to happen post Whole30 (or 45, or 60).


Practical Paleo – Another Paleo NYT Bestseller! Paleo, for the win!

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Well Fed & Well Fed 2 – I have only made Melissa’s recipe for ketchup, but it lived up to the hype. I am excited to see what else she has in store!

What are your favorite resources for Paleo and Whole30 recipes?

Whole30 Days 1 – 4 (Plus my menu for the week!)


Beef + Guacamole Sliders

Here we are, four days in, and I already feel like we’re winning this thing. I’m not sure if it comes with the territory, but so far the second attempt is going much more smoothly than the first. I haven’t had cravings (other than the dream about eating a slice of 6-layer chocolate cake, and only when debating a second slice realizing that it’s a.) not gluten-free and b.) that I’ll have to start Whole30 over again); my energy has been up, I’m less snacky, and the hives on my hand are pretty much gone. One thing I have noticed is that the skin on my chin is really dry. With a little help from Google, it turns out that the dryness could be a result of a change in digestion and/or your body releasing toxins from having had too much sugar and processed foods in your system – just a hunch here, but I am willing to bet it’s a bit of both. My body, and the reality that everything within it is so intertwined, continues to amaze me.

This week us Pals have a pretty tasty menu planned. Check it out:

  • Breakfast: Chicken chorizo sausages with scrambled eggs… check your sausage ingredients! We are lucky enough to buy ours from a farmers’ market that make them on-site and additive-free.
  • Beef + Guacamole Sliders, inspired by Stupid Easy Paleo. I nixed the bacon and added sauteed onions and homemade ketchup, with sauteed snow peas on the side. The combination of guacamole and sweet potatoes was something else. However, it is worth nothing that, while they look like little burgers, they are still a knife-and-fork food. Also, one sweet potato didn’t quite stretch far enough for me to have “buns” for all the patties, but that’s not really a big deal.
  • Crockpot Pot Roast with carrots, onions, and potatoes. I’ve looked around at different Whole30 pot roast recipes to see what they have in common. Searing the meat, a little broth, and a lot of garlic. We’re going to wing this one and hope for the best. Fingers crossed, kids.
  • Steak salad with caramelized onions and mushrooms over arugula. Skirt steak, mustard vinaigrette, hallelujah.
  • Pan-cooked chicken thighs with crash hot potatoes and green beans. CHPs are life… and can even be made with a faulty oven! I boil them a little longer and use the broiler to crisp them up post-smash. If there was an option to only eat creamy, dreamy, crash hot potatoes for a month, I’d do it.
  • Meaty Marinara over sauteed zucchini. I have yet to purchase a spiralizer, so for now, zoodles are a distant dream. That’s not stopping me from eating a spaghetti inspired dinner, no dang way. I’m using Silver Palate “Thick + Sassy” sauce, adding ground beef, and serving over sauteed zucchini bits. Silver Palate sauce happens to be compliant, so I’m taking a shortcut in lieu of making my own. Again, check your labels and make sure you’re not getting a jar chock full of sugar. 😉
  • If I do find myself in need of a snack, I have an almond/pecan mix, bananas, clementines, and apples on hand.

Here’s to another incredible week of Whole30! You’re killing it, I can see it from here.

P.S. I may be doing swell, but Pal just said he wanted a hotdog burrito. Heaven help us.