Author Archives for My Real Dish

About My Real Dish

Sue Ellen is a mother, Spanish teacher, Young Living essential oil user, world traveler, and follows a strict wheat, dairy, and egg free diet loaded with veggies. So if you have food sensitivities and you are wondering what you can eat, here on this blog she will share not only recipes, but also her dish on health, essential oils, and life. Get ready to make some yummy foods and DIY essential oil products!

Dos and Don’ts of Bikram Yoga

Have you ever thought of all the ways your life has changed after having kids? Pre-kids, I used to wake up every morning and stretch. My mom enrolled me in ballet lessons when I was 2, I danced consistently for 24 years, and my muscles still crave a good stretch. About 7 years ago, before I had my oldest, I used to take several yoga classes a week; I was even doing power yoga 8 months pregnant. I can’t believe what my pre-child body used to be like or look like. #KidsDestroyYou.

After I having kids, I am too busy rushing to get out the door in the morning to stretch, and I spend my evenings lesson planning, cleaning, working my oil business, or writing my blog; there’s no time to breathe, let alone stretch. The mom guilt even brought me to join a fitness class called Hot Mommas, it is a stroller workout class that let’s you bring your kids with you while you exercise. I mean, after working all day, I couldn’t put them in a daycare while I worked out in peace! However, I love that class, and go try to go at least twice a week.

One day, my neighbor sent me a text message. She bought a Groupon to take Bikram Yoga classes and wanted me to join her. I responded, “10 classes for $20 was cheap. I am in! Let’s do it!” Did we ever go together? Nope, not once. Finally, my Groupon was going to expire, so I had to go. I had no clue what I was getting into. I showed up with my dirty exercise mat from my Hot Momma class, and did not expect to see men in their boxers, or the smell of all those sweaty bodies (someone PLEASE diffuse some purification in that room!!!!!).

If that Groupon shows up in your email, and you are tempted to give Bikram a try, here’s my dish about what to do before, during and after a Bikram Yoga Class so that you aren’t as clueless as I was:

  1. Bring a clean mat, and resist the temptation to go cheap and get a 5 And Below Mat; they shred.
  2. Bring a hand towel. It is 105 degrees in the studio, and prepare to sweat like you’ve never sweat before. Even my knees were sweating! I reached for bent knee triangle pose (trikanasana), and my elbow slipped on my knee. You will want to wipe down your entire body throughout the 90 minute class.
  3. Yes, it is 90 minutes long. 90 Long.Hot.Minutes. Bring a very large water bottle with cool water. I love this insulated Takeya 40 ounce water bottle that I bought at Costco, and it keeps your water cool for 24 hours.
  4. Bring a microfiber hot yoga towel to place over your mat. So without that towel, you might sweat and slip off your mat! I took one step into dandayamana bibhaktapada paschimottanasana (Standing Separate-Leg Stretching Pose), and almost slid off the mat and pulled a groin! It will also protect your shoulders from sliding off the mat. It soaks up the sweat.
  5. Yes, I said dandayamana bibhaktapada paschimottanasana. Say what?! Position yourself in the back behind the person modeling the class, because you will not have a clue what these names mean!
  6. Shall I mention again that it’s 105 degrees in there? Do not wear yoga pants. Wear shorts and a tank top or sports bra. I personally am not comfortable sporting a sports bra and shorts (I do have 2 kids), but you want to wear minimal clothing. Maybe that’s why these men wear their boxers… Anyway, I like Asics – 2-N-1 Woven Shorts because they have a built in biker short underneath. So when I bent over for Padahastasana (hand under foot pose), my butt cheeks weren’t hanging out! NO ONE needs to see that!
  7. Let’s go back to the sweat. At least bring a change of clothes, because they will be soaked. I didn’t the first time, and the leather seat in my car needed to be cleaned after I drove home. I am not a “shower in the gym kind of gal.” Being the germ freak that I am, it just gives me the hebegebees. My mother-in-law likes to save water and shower in the gym – I just don’t get it. However, I would gladly risk the hebegebees, because the nastiness that I feel after 90 minutes of Bikram yoga is way worse than fear of athlete’s feet from a studio shower.
  8. Toss the mat, your towels and your clothes in the wash machine immediately when you get home. They will be wet and stanky. I left the clothes in front of the wash machine in my mud room, and couldn’t figure out what was smelling in my kitchen!
  9. Get your bottle of Deep Relief ready. After the class I had a pain down my arm and around my elbow. I actually overworked my shoulder muscles. I never knew that someone needed to get a massage under their armpits. It was the most awkward 30 minute massage of my life. I didn’t know I even had muscles there that could hurt! Bottom line, you will be sore in places that you didn’t know existed.
  10. Tell yourself that you can do it! I takes a lot of focus to do those poses, and even more determination to want to go back after you can’t walk for a couple days. Each time gets better. You can go deeper in the poses, hurt less, and are more comfortable with the routine.
  11. It’s worth at least 2 tries, because the first time you really are just experimenting. Give it at least a 2 attempt, even if you think you didn’t like it. It grows on you!

So far, I’ve used 4 of my 10 Groupon classes at Bikram Chesterfield, and I really would like to keep up with it after I’m done. I feel great when I leave, refreshed both mentally and physically. I work out muscles that I normally don’t and didn’t even know that I had! FYI, If you don’t like it, hot yoga is is a little cooler in the room, and physically not as exhausting.


2 Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes


My Quest for the Perfect Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie

All the cool gluten-free kids talk about almond flour, because it’s low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and a high source of protein...blah blah blah. I felt like I should experiment with it, but I’d been sheepish because sometimes nuts bother my stomach. When I’m making a gluten-free vegan cookie, I want a nice texture so that you don’t know that it’s vegan and gluten-free. And, when I’ve experimented in the past with dense nut flours, they offer a different texture. I’m especially picky because I love Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend. It rises well, and is the most similar to actual wheat flour that I’ve tried; my cakes, cookies, and cupcakes rise light and fluffy. I buy it cheapest in bulk at Costco. However, it’s available online at if you don’t have a Costco membership or a store close, and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg.

Speaking of Costco, while I was there I walked by this bag of Blue Diamond Almond Flour. I figured if I’m going to experiment – go big or go home! There was a chocolate chip recipe on the back, so they must rise and make a decent cookie, right?! Here’s how I adapted the recipe to make it vegan and cane sugar-free. Note: I played around with it, and it could not be made completely vegan and not mushy without adding in another flour.

Oh, the decisions… I made two batches of chocolate chip cookies for a taste test: one with Blue Diamond Almond Flour and the other with my treasured Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend; then I let my family and friends say which one was best. The taste test was on!

Tips for Making them Vegan:

  • To eliminate eggs: You will need an egg replacer (I use Ener‑G Egg Replacer – it’s available at Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, and Amazon) AND you will need half of a banana or ¼ cup applesauce regardless of using egg replacer. If you skip the banana or the applesauce, they will be too dry and crumbly. 
  • To eliminate dairy: You will need an alternative to “butter.” I used Smart Balance because they had it at Costco, and I was on a shopping mission that day, but I’ve had great results withEarth Balance too. I love that Earth Balance comes in easy to use sticks instead of just a container.

Tips for Making Them Sugarcane Free:

  1. Organic Pure Maple Sugar instead of brown sugar – you can buy the Coombs Family Farms Maple Sugar brand from Fresh Thyme or Whole Food. I also like Pure Indiana Maple Sugar that I get from a local co-op. It is a great flavor, it has a lower glycemic index than sugar, and contains important antioxidants and minerals like zinc and manganese.
  2. Coconut sugar instead of cane sugar – coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than regular table sugar because it contains a fiber called inulin, which may slow glucose absorption. A lower glycemic index means that you don’t get as much of a sugar rush and insulin spike with maple syrup sugar and coconut sugar.
  3. Chocolate chips –Lily’s Baking Chips are sugar-free and are sweetened with stevia. Vitacost has them for less than the store. They are awesome. If you can’t find any Enjoy Life contain cane sugar, but are vegan, dairy free, soy free, and allergy friendly option. My mom used carob chips growing up, but I just don’t like the flavor they provide.

If you aren’t sugar conscientious, then just throw in the brown sugar and the sugar cane. However, if you give these a chance, you will never taste the difference.

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie With Almond Flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine gluten-free and almond flours, baking soda, and Redmond’s Real Salt in a small bowl.
  3. Prepare your egg replacer (take with 3 teaspoons egg replacer, 4 tablespoons warm water, and mix until it thickens)
  4. Beat vegan butter, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl until creamy.
  5. Egg replacer 
  6. Gradually beat in dry ingredients.
  7. Add in the ½ banana and continue to mix.
  8. Stir in the chocolate chips
  9. Drop tablespoons of dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet. I used a knife to get the dough out of the tablespoon because they were very sticky, and then gently smoothed the top. If you don’t smooth the top with your hand – they will look jagged like the top right image. 
  10. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until they are lightly browned on top and firm to the touch. (I baked them for 12 minutes)
  11. Cool for 2 minutes then move to wire racks to cool completely.
  12. Makes ~2 dozen cookies

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine gluten-free flour, baking soda, and Redmond’s Real Salt in a small bowl.
  3. Prepare your egg replacer (take with 3 teaspoons egg replacer, 4 tablespoons warm water, and mix until it thickens)
  4. Beat vegan butter, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl until creamy.
  5. Add Egg replacer.
  6. Gradually beat in dry ingredients.
  7. Add ½ of the banana for vegan cookies
  8. Stir in vegan chocolate chips.
  9. Drop by small rounded teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. (I cooked them for 11)
  11. Cool for 2 minutes then move to wire racks to cool completely.
  12. Makes ~34 cookies

Taste Test Results

Both are delicious, and you would never know that they were vegan and gluten-free! The appearance is smoother and lighter with the Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend cookie; you must smooth out the top of the Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie if you want it to look like rounded and smooth. The Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie Cookie is denser and a tad sweeter, which is rare, because it has less sugar. I consider that a plus! It also has a crunchier browner outside. The gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookie with theNamaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend has a softer texture, more like a normal cookie, and is a little lighter color. You really can’t go wrong with either one! After tasting the almond flour vegan chocolate chip cookie, I have visions of chocolate almond flour cookies dancing in my head!


Broccoli Carrot Slaw With Cranberry Dressing (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Ever wonder what to do with the extra cranberries in your fridge from Thanksgiving? Here’s your answer! I’m a Trader Joe’s fan, because I feel like they make it easy for me to throw together something that is quick and healthy to eat. I was inspired by the recipe on the back of the bag, but I modified it to make it my own and tried to use some of the fresh cranberries from my fridge! I’m always searching for ways that I can veggies a full meal. This slaw is so filling that I can eat it a huge bowl of it for lunch, and it’s healthy and delicious. Plus, it’s a hit with my daughter that loves the color pink, and it adds a nice punch of color to the table.

Vegan Broccoli Carrot Slaw

  • 1 bag Organic Broccoli Slaw from Trader Joe’s
  • 2 small apples
  • ½ cup nuts optional – (I did Candied Walnuts from Trader Joe’s)

Cranberry Dressing

  • ¾ cup vegan mayo (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar (I used Bragg Organic)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Xylitol (I use the XyloBurst brand. You can sweeten to your preference with the sweetener of your choice. Stevia is another good option, or just regular sugar works.)
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s talk about Xylitol. I try to avoid sugar when I can. Although, sometimes I make a quick gluten free box cake, brownies, or cookies when I’m stressed for time. However, when I cook from scratch, I skip the sugar if possible. Why did I use Xylitol?

  1. It is a natural sweetener derived from the birch trees (check the label to make sure that it’s not from corn).
  2. It has 40% fewer calories and 75% fewer carbs than sugar
  3. It is just as sweet as sugar
  4. It’s what they put in natural chewing gum, because it can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth and it prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth.
  5. It’s better for your teeth and health, and tastes great!


  1. Prepare your vegan cranberry dressing. Put cranberries, vegan mayo, apple cider vinegar and xylitol in your Vitamix or blender / food processor.
  2. Puree until blended and smooth. If you do not have fresh cranberries, don’t worry, just skip them and include ½ cup dried cranberries in with your slaw. Pour ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Cut your apples into small chunks
  4. Combine broccoli slaw and cranberry dressing and combine until evenly distributed.
  5. Mix in apples and nuts (if desired). If you are using dried cranberries, mix them in now. Stir until evenly coated in dressing.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Serve and eat!

What do you like to do with your thanksgiving leftovers?



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