Pasta E Fagioli Soup – With Gluten & Dairy Free Options

This recipe is VERY kid friendly – they ALWAYS ask for seconds! A great way to sneak in extra veggies and stay warm in the winter!

Pasta E Fagioli Soup ala Trina – Instant Pot Friendly

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 yellow onion (diced)
2 carrots (peeled and diced)
3 ribs celery (finely chopped)
1 28-oz. can no salt added crushed tomatoes
5 cups chicken bone broth (or vegetable broth if you’re vegan)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup gluten free elbow macaroni (dry) – we like brown rice pasta from jovial

Heat the oil in your instant pot on the sauté setting. Add the garlic, celery, onion, and carrots. Cook until veggies are just soft, then turn off the pot and add remaining ingredients (except for pasta). Close the lid and cook on “soup” setting for 30 minutes. While the soup cooks, prepare your pasta on the stovetop according to the directions on the box. Once soup is ready, remove the bay leaf, add the pasta to the soup, and you’re ready to go! You can add parmesan cheese if you like, or leave it off if you’re vegan or dairy free!

Why You Should Eat More Quinoa!

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has the highest nutritional profile and cooks the fastest of all grains. It is an extremely high energy grain and has been grown and consumed for about 8,000 years on the high plains of the Andes Mountains in South America. The Incas were able to run such long distances at such a high altitude because of this powerful grain.

Characteristics of quinoa

  • Contains all eight amino acids to make it a complete protein
  • Has a protein content equal to milk
  • High in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E
  • Gluten-free; easy to digest
  • Ideal food for endurance
  • Strengthens the kidneys, heart, and lungs

Uses for quinoa

When quinoa is cooked, the outer germ surrounding the seed breaks open to form a crunchy coil, while the inner grain becomes soft and translucent. This double texture makes it delicious, versatile, and fun to eat. To save time, cook a lot of quinoa at once, and eat it as leftovers. Quinoa can be reheated with a splash of nut milk for breakfast porridge; you can add dried fruit, nuts, and cinnamon for a sweet treat. Add finely chopped raw vegetables and dressing for a cooling salad, or add chopped, cooked, root vegetables for a warming side dish. Store dry, uncooked quinoa in a cool, dry, dark place in a tightly closed glass jar for up to one year.


Before cooking, quinoa must be rinsed to remove the toxic (but naturally occurring) bitter coating, called saponin. Saponin, when removed from quinoa, produces a soapy solution in water. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use.  Place quinoa in a grain strainer and rinse thoroughly with water.

Quinoa is one of my FAVE vegetable protein sources. I use it in breakfasts, lunches and dinners! It can be made savory or sweet, and adds great nutritional value to any dish. We eat it all the time in our home!

© Integrative Nutrition, Inc. | Reprinted with permission

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Gluten Free Does Not Always Mean Healthy!!!

I have noticed a huge trend of people going on “gluten free” diets for weight loss. While a gluten free diet can certainly be a healthy alternative for some and a necessity for others, it can also be quite unhealthy if done improperly.

What most people don’t do when switching to a gluten free diet is eliminate processed, packaged foods. They think that by eating the gluten free version of pretzels, chips, cookies and crackers, they are making a healthier choice. In fact, the junk food manufacturers have to add even MORE preservatives, GMO’s and flavors to their treats to make them taste like their gluten-laden counter-parts. The fact is, switching to the gluten free versions of these treats is often an even worse choice if you are simply trying to lose weight.

A gluten free diet CAN be a healthy option if it focuses on incorporating whole foods and whole, gluten free grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet. Fueling your body with nutrient rich, whole foods that are naturally gluten free is a great way to get your healthy eating back on track and lose weight.

So next time you are in Whole Foods and find yourself reaching for the gluten free cookies, remind yourself that gluten free DOES NOT mean low calorie, low fat or healthy. It simply means that it does not contain gluten. If you really want to lose weight and get healthier, you will need to eliminate the cookies and opt for naturally sweet foods like fruit.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Healthy Paleo Pizza Recipe

Paleo pizza recipe (Serves 4)

Crust ingredients
½ cup coconut flour;
1 cup almond meal;
1 tsp baking powder;
2 tsp garlic powder;
4 eggs;
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil;
½ cup coconut milk;

Topping ingredients
A few tbsp tomato pesto or of your favorite tomato sauce;
8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped;
3 artichoke hearts, chopped;
8 button mushrooms, sliced;
1 tbsp coconut oil, for cooking;
50g-100g good quality cooked ham, shaved (amount depends on your preference);

Paleo pizza preparation

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Always begin your pizza making by preparing the crust. This is necessary for this recipe, as the crust requires some cooking time without the toppings.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, almond meal, baking powder and garlic powder.
Using a whisk to eliminate any clumping, start mixing in the wet ingredients. I usually continue to whisk as I do this, because it helps prevent the dry ingredients from clumping. You will reach a point when your whisk becomes useless and your hands are necessary, generally when the mixture starts forming a batter.
The batter will seem quite soft and much different in texture than the usual pizza dough, but once cooked it will take the right form.

On a well greased and rimmed pizza pan, pour in the batter and spread it until it’s covering the complete surface. It’s important to use a rimmed pan so the batter doesn’t spill off.
Throw just the crust in the oven and allow it to bake alone for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare all of your toppings so that you just have to put them on once the crust has baked.

For the mushrooms, simply heat a pan of a medium heat and cook the sliced mushrooms with the coconut oil for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are well-cooked.

Spread the sauce on the surface of the crust, as much or as little as you like. Sprinkle on the sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and cooked mushrooms and then top with the ham.

With the oven still at 375 F, bake the whole pizza for another 10 or so minutes, just to allow the toppings to cook. And then that’s it! Little prep, little cooking, a great pizza to enjoy with your family or friends!

Healthier GF Italian Pasta Salad:

This is a great side dish to bring along to a picnic…pasta salad! This is a REALLY delicious one and it’s always a crowd pleaser when I bring it along to BBQ’s.


2 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup sweet grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sweet yellow pepper, chopped
2 scallions, diced
4 cups cooked pasta ( I used Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta)
1/2 cup Italian Dressing
Optional: 2 cups diced cooked chicken (light meat), black olives, mozzarella cheese

Italian Dressing

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper


While the pasta is cooking, add all your chopped veggies to a large bowl. Take your pasta off the heat and drain it prior to it being fully cooked, al dente is best with this dish so the pasta doesn’t get mushy. Cool the pasta over cold running water, drain and then add it to the veggies. If you are using chicken add it now as well. Place all your dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined well. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad. Refrigerate overnight or at least an hour before serving. Serve with optional toppings on the side for guests.

Healthier Italian Pasta Salad {Gluten Free}

Cassava Flour…Try It!

Have you ever heard of cassava flour? I hadn’t until recently. One of the members of a “crunchy” Facebook group I am in posted about how she has started doing a lot of cooking with cassava flour and it piqued my interest.

I did some research and found that cassava has some great health benefits, which make it a good addition to your diet. I love that it is gluten free as well as nut free, making it a good option for treats to send in to my daughter’s nut-free school.

Cassava is loaded with dietary fiber. Fiber has a number of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels, better control over blood sugar levels and a lower risk of obesity. Each cup of cassava boosts your fiber intake by 3.7 grams. This provides 10 percent toward the fiber intake recommended for men and 14 percent toward the fiber intake recommended for women by the Institute of Medicine.

The vitamin C and folate in cassava also offer great health benefits. Adding more folate into your diet protects against colon cancer and reduces the risk of complications during pregnancy while a diet high in vitamin C offers protection against coronary heart disease and several types of cancer.

Cassava also contains magnesium and copper. A diet high in magnesium promotes lower blood pressure and reduces your risk of osteoporosis, while a diet rich in copper helps support healthy nerve function.

When consuming cassava, be sure to cook it, as it contains dangerous toxins if eaten raw. Don’t worry, it is totally safe to eat once it is cooked!

Try some cassava flour recipes and let us know how you like them!

Cassava Flour Pancakes from

As discussed in my previous post, cassava flour can be a great, healthy option for gluten free cooking. It’s always great to have a nut-free option available because nut allergies are on the rise, and many schools now ban nuts altogether.
Cassava Flour Pancakes:
  • 1 C cassava flour, stir before measuring
  • ½ tsp grain free baking powder*
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⅓ C + 1 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. refined coconut oil, melted
  • coconut oil for frying
  1. Heat a griddle or pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Melt the coconut oil and set aside.
  3. Mix the non-dairy milk with vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients (including the milk mixture) except the coconut oil, so it doesn’t solidify.
  6. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, then stir in the coconut oil. Batter will be thick.
  7. Add about ½ tsp. of coconut oil and swirl around pan until it melts.
  8. Pour ¼ C of batter into the preheated skillet and slightly spread out the batter on the coconut flour pancakes so it’s not too thick. Cook until the edges look dry and bubbles start to form.
  9. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown. Set aside and repeat with remaining pancakes.

Kasha…An Underused (Delicious) Grain!

Kasha is the name for buckwheat that has been roasted to a deep amber color. It is one of the oldest traditional foods of Russia. Despite its name, buckwheat is not actually a member of the wheat family, but rather a relative of rhubarb. Of all the grains, buckwheat has the longest transit time in the digestive tract and is the most filling.


  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Gluten-free
  • Builds blood; neutralizes toxic acidic waste
  • Benefits circulation
  • Strengthens the kidneys
  • High proportion of all eight amino acids, especially lysine
  • Rich in vitamin E and B-complex vitamins


Kasha has a strong, robust, earthy flavor and makes a very hearty meal. It can be eaten as a hot breakfast cereal, a side dish, or a grain entrée mixed with vegetables.


The only way to cook kasha is to add it to boiling water. This keeps the grains separate and less mushy. It also makes the cooking process faster. Do not add kasha to cold water, as it will not cook properly.

Basic Kasha

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves 4


1 cup kasha

2 cups water

pinch of sea salt


  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Slowly add kasha and pinch of sea salt.
  • Cover and let simmer 20 minutes.
  • Fluff with fork.

Millet…A Great Grain That Doesn’t Get Much Attention

Millet is a very small, round grain with a history that traces back thousands of years. It was the chief grain in China before rice became popular and continues to sustain people in Africa, China, Russia, and India, among other places. Millet is an extremely nutritious and hardy crop that grows well under harsh or dry conditions, both of which contribute to its widespread use and popularity around the world.


  • Gluten-free
  • High in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and potassium
  • Contains silica, which helps keep bones flexible in aging process
  • Soothing, especially for indigestion or morning sickness
  • Anti-fungal; helps ease Candida symptoms
  • Improves breath
  • Warming; good to eat in cool or rainy weather
  • Supports kidneys and stomach


    Millet can be used in porridges, cereal, soups, and dense breads. It is a delicious wheat-free substitution for couscous, as it has a similar consistency. In parts of Africa, millet is fermented to make beer.

    Buying & Storing

    Look for yellow colored, raw millet in health food stores. Millet is often found in the bulk section of the health food store and is generally not sold in regular supermarkets. Store in an airtight jar or glass container for six to nine months.


    Rinse millet before cooking, and use one part millet to two parts liquid.

    Basic Millet

    Prep Time: 2 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Serves 4


    1 cup millet, 2 cups of water
    a few grains of sea salt


  • Rinse millet in a grain strainer.
  • Place all ingredients in a pot with a tight fitting lid.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer 30 minutes.

    More water may be added to make the millet a softer consistency. Millet can also be lightly toasted before cooking to give it a nutty flavor.

Paleo Coconut Flour Zucchini Bread from

I love fresh zucchini from the garden in the summer. Adding veggies into muffins is a great way to boost your family’s veggie intake. I love this moist and delicious zucchini bread using coconut flour, for a gluten-free and paleo treat.
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 6 eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini, tightly packed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a standard (9-inch by 5-inch) loaf pan with parchment paper. (If you’re making muffins, line a standard muffin tin with 12 baking cups.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, eggs, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda and use a whisk to stir well, breaking up any lumps as you go. The batter will most likely be thicker than the cake-like-batter you’ve come to expect when making quick breads. Stir in the shredded zucchini then scoop the batter into the loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. (Or divide the batter into the 12 lined muffin cups.)
  3. Bake the loaf at 350F for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden and firm. If baking muffins, bake them at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Because this bread is very moist, I recommend storing it in the fridge for best shelf life. It should keep in an airtight container for up to a week– if you don’t eat it all before then!