Cooking Food Lifestyle

Jasmine Brocade Tea – FarLeaves

I am loving this cooler weather because it gives me an excuse to wear sweaters — like my favorite swing-style sweater with tennis rackets on it (which only implies that I play tennis, despite the fact that this is the first time this year I have used the word “tennis”). Sweater season is so short in southern California that I have to take full advantage of it…and so I have. Since I work from home most days and appear to people only via videoconference, I’m able to embody the mullet of outfits. Today’s mashup: cashmere sweater with statement necklace up top; fleece lined sweatpants and fuzzy slippers on the bottom.

The other amazing thing about cold weather is cradling hot drinks. I placed a Christmas order with Far Leaves Tea recently, because 1) it’s served in Michelin-starred restaurants like Quince and Chez TJ, and I do not currently have access to a Michelin-starred restaurant so this will do; 2) it was featured in this year’s New York Fashion Week, which I also do not have access to, with much fanfare, and 3) my sister-in-law just joined their team. Also, did I mention that it’s served by tea sommeliers in high end restaurants (hm, tea sommelier, has a nice ring to it. Perhaps a future career.)? And that Google brought them in to train them on how to properly brew tea?

One of the things that arrived was a beautiful box wrapped in a bespoke Far Leaves tea towel. Inside was this:

Those little balls on the left are Jasmine Brocade tea. When you add water to these little guys, they start to blossom:

unfurling slowly:

til they’re in full bloom:

This added a touch of sophistication to my otherwise sweater-sweatpants day. The best news? FarLeaves has kindly offered a promo code to share with my readers! Enter code xmas15 at checkout to get 10% off your online order. Because I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want tea like this!

Happy brewing!


Cooking Food

How to Make Bone Broth in a Slow Cooker

Every once in a while, things I grew up with in my Chinese-American household manage to become the latest craze. Supplementary math books, growth mindset, and now: bone broth.

I’ve read tales of people queuing for these magical cups of inflammation-reducing, hair-skin-and-nail-enhancing elixir. While those appear to be attractive benefits of drinking broth, there’s another good reason to give it a try: it tastes really good. And after I have broth, I feel really good.

I’ve been drinking a lot of broth lately because I have a bum knee. For years, running has been my outlet for stress and my ticket to a decent night’s sleep, but years of aggressively pounding on concrete is finally catching up with me. I’ve had pain off and on for a couple of years now, but I really can’t run without pain anymore, and now it’s starting to hurt sometimes when I walk (never mind the gross popping sound it’s making now too). I’m seeing a doctor tomorrow, but for now, broth tides me over.

Sipping broth is a spiritual experience. It feels to me like serenity and replenishment. In our crazy lives there are so few things in life that we can control, so when there are opportunities to create serenity — in my case, like buying a really quiet dishwasher and oven. Broth is way cheaper than either of those!

My daughter made an Asian-style broth in a slow cooker; check out the video below to find out how!



  • 1-2 pounds of bones (I like to use a mix of bone types, like chicken and pork; make sure you have a mix of meaty bones and bones with tendon and cartilage, so you get both flavor and collagen into your broth. I save my bones from roasts in the freezer for when I’m ready to make broth.)
  • 1 whole onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 TSBP whole ginger root
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • Water

Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan and sear the onion and garlic til browned. Keep them in big chunks as cut so they’re easier to fish out after cooking. Add to slow cooker. Add in bones, ginger and mushrooms, and fill the slow cooker pot with water until just 1 inch below the upper rim.

Cook for 1 hour on high and then 15-23 hours on low. Occasionally skim fat and other matter that floats to the top off the surface of the broth (I find that when I use bones from previous roasts, there’s very little cloudiness to the broth and you don’t have to worry about skimming much. I also prefer the flavor from pre-roasted bones).


Take out the solids (or pour the liquid through a strainer into a large bowl), season with salt as desired, and enjoy! If you want to keep an ongoing broth factory, just keep adding water, bones and veggies (feel free to experiment!) to leftover broth and cook — the flavor will become more complex over time.


Baking Food Travel

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Muffins

I don’t know about you, but I’m pining for summer. We had a lovely, temperate summer here in San Diego and have been suffering through a heat wave for the past couple of weeks. Suffering, I say! Because we San Diegans cannot stand temperature fluctuations greater than +/- 3 degrees.

How was summer for you? It was my first summer in my new life as an independent consultant, which meant that I got to do interesting work, but was still able to take the odd day off and spend a day at the beach with the girls. I’m loving this gig; it’s a privileged position to able to choose the work that I take on, and it helps me with setting boundaries — something I’ve never really been very good at doing.

Our big trip of the summer was up to Lake Tahoe, where we had a family reunion with three generations of family from my mom’s side. My mom had 9 kids in her family, so when we have whole-family get-togethers, we usually take up a whole restaurant. This was a scaled-back gathering of the family that’s living the in the United States.

A lively bunch, they are.

The kids got to do what kids do…you know, making weapons out of sticks…

…and so on…

The lake was nothing short of amazing. Amazing! Clear! Sparkly! Here I am having one of the happiest moments ever, on a paddle board in the middle of this incredible view (photo credit to my cousin Jack!):

Plenty of kayaking and boating to go around too.

And some of us did some tree climbing on a ropes course:

The best thing we did (thanks to the spectacular organization skills of my sister-in-law) was to hire a private chef — Arica from Yummy Fixins — who was soooooooo fantastic. Not only was her food spectacular, but she and her assistant cleaned the kitchen before and after! If you are in Tahoe, it would simply be wrong not to hire Arica.

See those flourless chocolate cake slices in the back? I would fight you for them! The BEST I have ever tasted.

My brother was in charge of martini-making and photo bombing:

My cousins and I used to spend summers together hanging out, torturing one another and generally engaging in what is most accurately described as nonsense, so it was great to have an opportunity to gather us from all the corner of the country to do this all over again, across three generations.

After the reunion, we made our way back down the California coast. If I am ever a cow, please make me a Big Sur cow. They have the most amazing views.

I’ll do a roundup of the coastline drive in another post, but that’s just a taster…isn’t it lovely?

Ah, thanks for allowing me to relive one of the highlights of summer. And now, back to real life. The kids are back in school, we’ve got multiple Google Calendar carpools going on, and a middle school kid in the mix.  Our mornings are rushed and the easiest meals are often cereal, so that’s the go-to for the kids.

I’ve been adding these gluten-free banana chocolate muffins into the repertoire lately. Now, we all know that I’ve got nothing against gluten, being that I bake my own bread. But these are so easy to make, don’t require a ton of ingredients, and they always, always come out moist. We’ve made a little video below, with the full recipe under the video. Hope you enjoy these — cheers!




  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup raw honey, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a standard muffin tin with 12 baking cups.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the all ingredients except for chocolate chips. Use a spatula to mix well; then fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the batter among the 12 cups, then bake at 350F for 23-25 minutes, until the edges are golden the centers of the muffins feel firm to a light touch. Allow the muffins to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  4. Store these in the fridge if not eating immediately.

Makes 12 muffins.

Fashion Lifestyle Shopping

#seesummerbetter with Warby Parker

When the folks at Warby Parker invited me to try their sunglasses and share the way I experience summer, I squealed. Because:

1. I love glasses. I have terrible vision and in the animal universe I would be a mole. With glasses, I have overcome my genetic predisposition to be the one in the herd consumed by a lion.

2. I also happen to be covered in moles.

3. I love what Warby Parker does with their buy a pair, give a pair program.

4. It’s Warby Parker.

I tried 5 pairs of sunglasses:


and set about my summer business in them. I’ve been posting the pics to my Instagram account; here’s a roundup:

I spent an afternoon with my friend Alyson, where we had lunch at a new nearby eatery and then walked around the shops afterward. I can’t resist a pretty flower, so here I am helping myself:

Then we headed off to one of our favorite local gardens, where I wrestled the camera from her hands and took a shot of her wearing the Battens. After which I am just sitting.

My kids spend a lot of time at the ranch in the summer, so sometimes I help lead a horse to water (or other things that require neither skill nor grace).

No summer is complete of course without beach visits.

And sunsets.

And after all that running around, I love to just relax in my back yard with a good book.

How’s your summer shaping up? Feel free to share your own summer pics with #seesummerbetter!

Baking Food

Stone Fruit Tartlet

You guys.

Someone (who I used to work with and who used a gaming headset for work and once embarked on gathering customer feedback unknowingly calling people using the “space chipmunk” voice setting on his headset) shared with me what I am sure is the 8th wonder of the world.

Go into Google Hangouts and type in /ponystream . Go on, I’ll wait.

Welcome to your changed life! Maybe My Little Pony isn’t as big a deal at your house as it is in mine, but it takes up a lot of bandwidth over here. One of my kids has a Fiverr business where she will draw you in My Little Pony style as well as a YouTube channel dedicated to pony drawing.

Now that it’s summer we’re spending more time at the beach, but My Little Pony is always with us.

Plus a little beach volleyball.

And the other great thing about summer? Stone fruits. Loquats, peaches, apricots, nectarines…so sweetly wonderful right now.

You could just eat them raw. You wouldn’t be sorry.

But maybe sometimes you want get a little fancy. Feel a bit like the queen. For that, you should make a tartlet.

We got these tartlet pans for our wedding 14 years ago and I finally thought NOW IS THE TIME. I only really make simple recipes, so this is what I did.


Makes 6 4-inch tartlets.



  • 3 cups of pitted stone fruit, such as peach, loquat, or nectarine, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup rolled oats


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 cup butter


Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Crust: Mix the flour, palm sugar and butter with an electric mixer til crumbly, about 2 minutes. Press the mixture into six 4-inch tartlet pans, so that it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Bake for about 20 minutes, checking frequently after 10  minutes, til the crust is lightly browned.

Filling: While the crusts cool, raise the oven temperature to 400 F. Toss the stone fruits in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of the palm sugar and 1/4 cup of flour. Spoon the mixture onto the tartlet crusts.

Put the remaining flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until the clumps are about the size of a pea. Add in the remaining palm sugar and rolled oats and pulse to combine. Press the mixture over the stone fruits.

Bake until the stone fruits are tender and the topping is a golden brown. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.


Baking Food

Artisan Bread in a Bread Machine

Hey friends! It seems I’ve gotten around to posting around once or twice a month lately, but if you want more frequent updates, hacks and all the latest on all things food, join me here on my Facebook page where friends and foodies will regale you with their witty and insightful banter.

I once sat with a tarot card reader at a party who told me that I needed to do something creative and with my hands. (She also implied that I was going to come into some type of large fortune, but, unless she meant a pretty decent loquat harvest, so far, no dice.)

She was right though – I do get great satisfaction from working with my hands and am probably happiest when I’m working in the garden. There was an article recently about how microbes in the soil combat depression. I don’t know if it’s the microbes in the soil or the fantastic conversations I have with the fruit trees, but being barefoot and feeling connected to the Earth definitely does something for me.

Also not long ago, I read a piece in the New York Times about gluten sensitivities. While there are certainly people with bona-fide celiac disease who can’t tolerate any amount of gluten, there are also countless people who believe they have gluten sensitivities that can ultimately be attributed to other things, like commercial leavening ingredients and preservatives.

I’m certainly no expert on the subject, but I am a fan of simple ingredients, so I started making my own bread this past year. It’s been a long road but I’ve finally gotten to a point where I think my bread qualifies as delicious: fragrant, crunchy crust and a moist, stretchy interior with lots of big nooks and crannies to show off the glutinous fibers.

I am not a big fan of cleanup, so I use a bread machine to handle the autolyse (rest), kneading and rising.

I also start with a sourdough starter, which is a living thing and which I consider a pet (Pete!). The older your starter, the more developed and complex the flavors; we’ve had Pete for about 10 years now. Check out Pete’s awesome glutinousness!

But if you don’t have a starter, you can start with the poolish in the recipe below; if you want to make a starter, click here for a recipe and instructions.

I modified a recipe I found online, over time, as I like more moisture in my bread and a little more salt. 

ARTISAN BREAD WITH A BREAD MACHINE from Bread Experience with my modifications:

1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) cool water (about 65°F)
1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) European-Style Artisan Bread Flour
1/16 teaspoon (a pinch) instant yeast

All of the poolish (above)
3/4 cup (6 ounces) cool water, about 65°F
2 1/2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) European-Style Artisan Bread Flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

The poolish:

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the poolish ingredients, mixing just till a cohesive dough forms. Allow the poolish to rest, covered, for 12 to 16 hours at room temperature. When the poolish is ready to use, it will be filled with large holes and bubbles.

The dough:

Add the water to the poolish or sourdough starter, and mix till smooth. Add the flour, and the yeast (I add yeast here so that it gets mixed in and protected from the salt, which will come in later), mix till just combined, cover the bowl, and allow the mixture to rest for 20 minutes. This rest period (autolyse, in French) allows the flour to absorb the liquid and the gluten to start its development, making kneading easier and more effective. Add the salt, and knead the dough till it’s fairly smooth but not necessarily elastic, 5 to 7 minutes in a bread machine. (The gluten will continue to develop as the dough rises, so you don’t want to develop it fully during the kneading process.)

This is what the dough looks like when I get to this point. If it’s looking dry, add water just a couple of drops at a time so that it’s moist but not super wet. Sometimes depending on how the dough looks, I might end up adding up to another 1/4 cup of water.

Close the lid on the bread machine and let the dough rise for 1 1/2 hours. To help develop the gluten, distribute the yeast’s food, and expel any excess carbon dioxide, turn the dough every 30 minutes during the rising time: gently fold all four sides into the middle, and turn the dough over.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, divide it in half, shape each half into a rough log, cover them, and let them rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Again, this gives the gluten a chance to relax.

Shape the logs into batards (shorter and fatter than traditional French baguettes) or Italian-style loaves—tapered ovals about 12″ long. Place them on a lightly greased or parchment-covered baking sheet, cover them with an acrylic dough cover, stick them in an oven that’s off (that’s what I do, but I have two ovens), or gently with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rise, at room temperature, for about 2 hours; they should rise about three-quarters of the way to doubled. If they rise too much they’ll lose their shape in the oven, so be sure they don’t over-rise.

This is how I shape the dough:

At this point I flip the log over so that the seem is on the bottom.

Using a sharp knife or razor, and holding it parallel to the dough*, make four slashes in each loaf. These should be more nearly vertical (running down the loaf) than horizontal (running crosswise), each stretching about one-third the length of the loaf. I find it easiest to do this with a serrated knife whose blade has been dipped in flour. Cut swiftly! Spray the loaves with warm water.

Preheat your oven to 425°F, making sure you give it plenty of time to heat; this bread needs to go into a HOT oven. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it’s a deep, golden brown.

Note: European bread is generally baked longer than American loaves; if you’re uncomfortable with a very dark crust, reduce the baking time a bit. Turn off the oven, crack the door open about 4 to 6 inches, and allow the bread to cool in the oven; this will help it retain its crunchy crust.

Yield: 2 loaves.

*The blade shouldn’t descend into the dough at a 90° angle; rather it should slice under the surface at about 10° to 20°. This will allow the loaf to rise in a more attractive fashion as it’s baking.

I’ve also broken the dough into 4 mini-loaves, and baked them for lunch-sized portions. Recently, I’ve been adding on sesame and chia seeds — just sprinkle them on right after you’ve sprayed the dough with water, and bake as outlined above.

Cooking Food


I am mobile blogging to you today from beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve!

I decided to rely on my middle-aged brain instead of checking my calendar, so have arrived an hour early to meet a friend and still have time to kill after forcing myself to do a run. So mobile blogging!

Ok, timely info: it’s almost Mother’s Day, and I don’t know about you, but my mom is a big fan of saving money. Rejoice: my friends over at OpenTable let me know that you can enter to win one of 10 $150 restaurant gift cards! I entered of course, and I think you should too. Here’s the link; if you win, I also think that you should invite me, even if it’s not technically in OpenTable’s contest rules.

Now, next in the series on foods that are as much fun to say as they are to eat: tabbouleh! I love tabbouleh, and so does my younger kid — we just love the awesome texture of the bulghur wheat couples with the tangy goodness of lemon juice and the party that mint and scallions bring to the table.

Tabbouleh is also super easy to make. Here, my apprentice shows you how. It’s a fantastic make-ahead option too — tastes even better if you give the flavors time to develop.

The recipe that we use is from Alice Waters, in The Art of Simple Food:



Makes 4 servings.


1/2 cup bulgur wheat

11/2 large bunches parsley (about 11/2 cups chopped)

1 bunch mint (about 1/3 cup chopped)

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts (about 1 cup chopped)

2 ripe medium tomatoes, cored and diced small

Juice of 1 lemon


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


To prepare bulgur: Place bulgur in bowl. Alice says to add cold water to cover by 1 inch, but I add boiling water — I like the tabbouleh a little softer. Soak for 20 minutes or until grains are plump. Drain in sieve.

To mix salad: Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine parsley, mint, scallions and tomatoes. Using hands, squeeze soaked bulgur to remove as much water as possible. Mix bulgur into chopped herbs and tomatoes. Add lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Mix well. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or oil if needed. Let rest for 1 hour before serving to allow bulgur to absorb flavors.



Cooking Food

End Grain Cutting Boards: Selection and Care

I have thing for sharp knives: Japanese knives, especially, because who can resist the lore of a family of swordsmen who moved into making knives after the decline of the sword market? How often do you get to use the phrase “sword market”? On my Facebook page, you’ve probably noticed that I frequent a Japanese knife merchant at a local farmer’s market, where I often slice more than a salad’s share of tomatoes and document my unhealthily long wish list of knives. I must be descended from swordsmen, most probably the royal type, which must render me too noble for housework, right?

Til that theory is validated, I’ll have to keep cooking my own meals and for that, I like sharp knives. Which is why I invested recently in some end grain cutting boards. The young apprentice and I made a quick video for you above telling you what to look for and how to care for end grain boards.

***Update: some of you have let me know that the subscribe button in the video doesn’t work when you’re on a mobile device! So if you’d like to subscribe to our YouTube channel, just click here: . Thanks! ***

End grain boards (also often called butcher blocks) are boards made up of blocks of wood cut against the grain. When you cut into an end grain board, the individual wood fibers bend away from the blade, providing less resistance and thus prolonging the sharpness of your blade. These boards are more expensive than other types of boards typically, but a quality board should

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Get a board that’s made of maple or walnut. They have the right balance of strength and flexibility to last you a long time. There are cheaper, acacia board out there but the wood is harder and therefore tougher on the knife blade.
  • Given a choice, definitely get rubber feet put on your boards. This not only prevents the board from slipping, but also ensures that it doesn’t sit in standing water. Your board is basically blocks of wood glued together, so prolonged exposure to water not only loosens the glue, but can cause warping on your board.
  • Ditto for the top side of the board – avoid prolonged exposure to liquids, and always wipe down the surface of the board after chopping or rinsing. I use a mild detergent just to scrub the surface but don’t leave the water on for long before wiping down with a dish towel.
  • After some use, your board will start to whiten in some areas, where the sealant has worn away. When your board is dry, rub it with some walnut oil (see video above) and then let it cure. Don’t use olive or canola oil, as they go rancid; mineral oil is another popular option. Make sure whatever oils you use are food grade.

When I shopped around for boards, I found a fantastic selection from individual artisans on Etsy. I decided to get one board for fruit, one for veggies and a third for meat. My favorite board was a maple one from Etsy seller Live Grain Designs, which offered beautiful workmanship and quick turnaround time. I also have a walnut one from End Grain Up that is excellent — and he does custom work.

Do ensure that you’re getting an end grain and not edge grain board though — edge grain is less expensive, and doesn’t have the same give of the fibers when you cut in. Here’s a good link describing the difference between the two.

This is a knife I covet that is on an edge grain, not end grain, board.
This is an end grain board; you can see it’s made of individual blocks glued together (photo courtesy of Live End Designs).

The best knife sharpening I’ve found is with the Japanese knife merchant at my local market – he does it by hand and the blades come back scary sharp. I’ve used some sharpeners who use machines too – but I’m kind of precious about my Japanese knives so I haven’t taken them to a machine yet. Definitely comment and let me know if you have any great tips on how to keep knives sharp!



Food Restaurants

{San Diego} Valentine’s Day Offers and Prix-Fixe Menus

D Bar San Diego 

Recently (SuperBowl Sunday, in fact), I was at a women’s event where a couple of women a few years ahead of me on the kid timeline were talking about college, and about how a book called The College Solution changed their approach to choosing colleges and saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars. My kids have years yet before we have to start thinking about that, but it’s probably a good idea to start planning, especially if I can save a buck. Or a few hundred thousand.

All this talk of impending financial strain was on my mind when someone (a reader!) from OpenTable reached out to let me know about some great prix-fixe menus that are on tap for Valentine’s Day and I thought, YES! Because what is more romantic than showing you ways to save money on your Valentine’s Day / week dinner so that you can save for college? Oh, and if you don’t have college tuition to pay for, and even if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, this will still save you money. You’re welcome.

So without further ado, here is the link that will save you tons of money and help you pay for college (sort of).

Some of my favorites on the list:

  • Addison at the Grand Del Mar. Make no beans about it, it’s expensive. And I’m pretty sure they don’t even serve beans. But if you’re looking for luxury with a discount, this is an opportunity to dress up, check out fancy cars in the parking lot, and savor a delicious meal. $155/person.
  • Cucina Enoteca Del Mar. Wine bottles on the walls? Horses hanging from the ceilings? All are here at Cucina Enoteca, where there is no shortage of burrata and I have had nothing but deliciousness to report. Prix-fixe menu available.
  • Cucina Urbana. Cucina Enoteca’s sister restaurant downtown has a $48 prix-fixe menu that will not disappoint.
  • D Bar San Diego. 6 courses!!! 3 desserts!!! Did you hear that? I said THREE DESSERTS. All for $75/person. You will recall that D Bar is where we had our MasterChef encounter, so it holds a special place in my heart.
  • The Red Door. So cute. So cozy. So delicious. 3 course menu for two, $80.

Saving you money, one bite at a time.

Baking Food

Paleo Gluten-free Orange Cranberry Muffins

Since December, I’ve been spending a disproportionate amount of time in sweatpants. Factors driving this behavior:

  1. They are the symbol of freedom.
  2. Nothing beats an elastic waistband when you’re eating. NOTHING.
  3. This is the year of the cute sweatpant (or, jogger, as it’s been rebranded). There are the printed type, which I like in concept but which always look like pajamas on me (probably because I refuse to wear heels with them, which I feel defeat the purpose of achieving ultimate comfort), and the solid type; these from Athleta are my all-time favorites (I got them for Christmas — thanks San-do-ra!).
  4. I left my executive job and am now consulting, mostly from home. I was just finding that even when I was at home, I was never mentally available to my family…I have a real problem compartmentalizing work (plus there were the weird hours and challenges of working in an international business). It’s been a lot easier now that I’m in full control of my work and time…and plus I can wear sweatpants.

There are, of course downsides to the exclusive wearing of elastic waistbands. The other night I went out to dinner for a friend’s birthday, and, as it was at a restaurant, I thought the occasion warranted pants (and not the elastic waistband kind that is made to mimic pants, which I have — but the real kind with a zipper and button and everything). Turns out if you move into real pants after weeks of wearing joggers, you have to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes from the extra pressure. Also, you may find yourself thinking things like, “Why should I have a separate wardrobe for sleeping?” Still, a small price to pay for the otherwise boundless joy.

While I was sitting around in my sweatpants over the holidays, we had visitors. My brother and his family came to visit. The girls had so much fun with their little cousin, who is a big fan of hats.

My brother has a gluten intolerance, and since I also had a friend visiting that week with celiac disease, I thought I’d try to make some gluten-free muffins (which also happen to be naturally sweetened) from paleo blogger Detoxinista. I added shredded coconut and chia seeds for some extra crunch and texture. I had pretty low expectations since most gluten-free baked goods I’ve seen looked kind of flat and generally unappetizing, but these orange cranberry guys puffed up nicely:

And, they were nice and moist. I’ve tried this recipe with a number of variations, and you can pretty much add in any combination of flavors and arrive at a nice paleo muffin.

My favorite part about the recipe — it’s a one-bowl wonder. Just throw everything into a bowl, mix it up, pour into muffin tins and bake! Leave me a comment if you try a different variation — I’d love to know about any winners!

adapted from Detoxinista


  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • Zest of one orange (about 2 teaspoons)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup or raw honey, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a standard muffin tin with 12 baking cups.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut flour, eggs, orange juice, zest, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, baking soda, chia seeds and salt. Use a whisk to mix well, breaking up any clumps, then fold in the fresh cranberries and the shredded coconut.
  3. Divide the batter among the 12 cups, then bake at 350F for 23-25 minutes, until the edges are golden the centers of the muffins feel firm to a light touch. Allow the muffins to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  4. Since these muffins are very moist, leftovers should be stored in the fridge for best shelf life, but bring them to room temperature again before serving for best flavor and texture.

Makes 12 muffins.