Potato Pancakes (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Potato Pancakes (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

I was dying for some potato pancakes, but I’ve never made them without eggs. I combined the ingredients, but couldn’t get them to stick together, so I put in some applesauce. You would never guess that I used applesauce – they just tasted a tiny bit sweet. The spice from the poblano pepper is a great mix with the sweetness of the applesauce. 

Potato Pancake Cover.jpgIngredients

  • 3 russet potatoes grated
  • ½ poblano pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 large shallots
  • ½ cup applesauce (4 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon Redmond Real Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup almond flour (I used Blue Diamond that I buy in bulk from Costco)
  • avocado oil


  1. Soak potatoes in fruit and vegetable soak to clean (I love the Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak)
  2. Rinse, peel, and grate potatoesIMG_1239.jpg
  3. Finely chop the shallots, poblano pepper, and smash garlic with knife and mince.
  4. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well.IMG_1241.JPG
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to a large skillet or frying pan and put over medium-high heat. I like avocado oil because it cooks well at high heat. 
  6. Form a handful of the potato mixture into a loose patty. The patty will be wet and soft.
  7. Drop the patty directly into the hot pan.
  8. Fry for 2 minutes until the bottom is golden brown, then flip and fry the other side. Add a little more avocado oil to the pan after flipping, and move it around the pan. The second side was done in a minute and a half.IMG_1242.jpg
  9. Repeat until the potato mixture is used up, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
  10. The avocado oil is so light that you won’t have greasy pancakes. If you use another oil, you may have to set them on a towel and blot the oil.susanellenlogoweb

Chocolate Coconut Bars (Vegan & Gluten-free)

My mother-in-law makes these Black and White Bars, also known as Mound Bars. They rule, but are filled with dairy and gluten that I can’t have. So, I successfully transformed them into a vegan gluten-free treat. There are three parts to this recipe: the crust, coconut filling, and dark chocolate topping.


  • 3.5 cups almond meal (I used Just Almond Meal Great for Baking & Breading from Trader Joe’s)
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 8 tablespoons vegan butter  (I used Earth Balance)
  • ½ cup xylitol (you can use regular sugar, I just try to reduce it when possible)

I talk about my use of xylitol in my Vegan Broccoli Carrot Slaw recipe. I bought the XyloBurst brand made of birch sugar at Swansonvitamins.com.

Coconut Filling

  • 2 cans coconut sweetened condensed milk (I used Nature’s Charm Evaporated Coconut Milk; I got it from Fresh Thyme, but you can get it on Amazon too)
  • 2 – 4 cups shredded coconut (depending how much you like the taste and texture of coconut. My husband doesn’t like a lot of coconut, so I used only 2 cups)IMG_0737.JPG

FYI – This sweetened condensed coconut milk, has changed my baking world. I also use it when I make a vegan dulce de leche and vegan chocolate sauce. Everyone else agrees apparently, because it is constantly out of stock at Fresh Thyme.

Chocolate topping

  • 2 tablespoon vegan butter  (I used Earth Balance)
  • 3 packages dark chocolate vegan chips (I used Lily’s Baking Chips)
  • 2 bars unsweetened baking chocolate (I used Lily’s)

Lily’s is sweetened with stevia. The sweetened condensed coconut milk has enough sugar, I’m sure. Also, Enjoy Life also makes a yummy vegan chocolate chip.


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Melt 8 tablespoons of vegan butter in microwave or stove
  3. Prepare crust by combining almond meal, xylitol or sugar, flour, and melted butter in a bowl.
  4. In a large baking dish 12 x 13 spread the almond meal crust.IMG_0750.JPG
  5. Bake crust at 350 for 15 minutes.
  6. Prepare coconut filling while crust is in the oven. Combine coconut sweetened condensed milk and shredded coconut in a bowlIMG_0754.JPG
  7. When the crust is done, spread the coconut over the crust, and bake again for 15 minutes.IMG_0757.JPG
  8. Set aside and let it cool.
  9. Prepare your topping. I tried melting the chocolate chips in a pot with the butter on the stove. However it was very thick. I had trouble spreading it on the coconut. Round two – heat the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments until smoothly melted. Then spread evenly.
  10. Then, heat the 2 bricks of baking chocolate in the microwave. Pour it evenly over the top of the chocolate chips to make it look smooth.IMG_0762
  11. Put the dish in the fridge for 2 hours.
  12. Pull it out of the fridge and make lines on it with a knife so that it is easy to cut.
  13. Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  14. Pull it out and cut your squares. You can put them on wax paper and store them in a plastic container so that they are easy to pull out one at a time, and eat! They aren’t the prettiest looking. I should have cut them with a sharper knife. Regardless, it didn’t take away from the taste!IMG_0768.jpgcover chocolate coconut bars.jpg

What are your favorite treats?

  1. susanellenlogoweb

Stains Stains Go Away

Who knows what I was thinking when I bought my daughter this seafoam green coat. Who knows what she was thinking when she drew a heart on it with a permanent pink Sharpie… she’s 7.

As you can see, it was  disgusting; I was embarrassed that I had let it get this dirty. In my defense, she left her dress coat at school for a month and didn’t know where it was! I didn’t have a backup coat for put her one while this one dried.

img_2981 I thought about pitching it, and then I kicked myself for buying it slightly big just in case she could wear it next year (I’m so cheap). Instead, I reached for my Thieves Cleaner, Thieves Laundry Detergent  and Young Living Lemon Essential Oil. I generously poured Young Living Lemon Essential Oil on the stains and the pink heart. Then sprayed it with Thieves Cleaner in attempt to give me something to rub the Young Living Lemon Essential Oil into the coat. Also, I was grossed out just touching the coat….

Young Living Lemon Essential Oil is great for stains – it got black permanent sharpie out of my kid’s polo. A friend once was remodeling their bathroom and let the kids write on the wall. My son was two. It was a mess. Anyway – go to your lemon oil for stains!

After the Lemon Essential Oil and Thieves Cleaner application, I washed it once, but while it was better, it wasn’t 100% stainless. I decided to just take the Thieves Laundry Detergent and use it as a stain treatment. Gently rubbing it on the sleeves and chest with more Young Living Lemon Essential Oil around the lightly faded pink heart. I didn’t put any detergent in the machine, because I used it on the the coat. Then washed it. The result was flawless, and I’m no longer embarrassed when she wears it.img_2987

I bought the Thieves Laundry Detergent for the first time a couple months ago. I had been loyal to my Allen’s Laundry Detergent since my days with cloth diapers. It is perfume and dye free, and didn’t make me break out in hives, make my nose run, and make me sneeze. I’m a walking allergy.

Here’s my dish on the difference of the two. I like the way the Thieves makes my front loader smell. I replaced the mildewed-rubber seal on the washing machine, left the door open at all times, and it still stunk. So the Thieves Laundry Detergent makes it smell like Christmas. However,  I miss the pump that came with Allen’s Laundry Detergent‘s bottle, which allowed me to limit to the perfect amount for my front loader. Sometimes pouring just 1/4 of a cup of the Thieves isn’t as precise, so at the beginning I may have used a little more of the detergent than I would have had with the Allen’s Laundry Detergent. It’s supposed to be the same amount of loads, and therefore makes the Thieves Laundry Detergent cheaper. It’s hard for me to tell if I’m saving money because the Allen’s bottle is so much bigger than the Thieves‘s. I think the cost is the same. Young Living needs to add a pump option here and offer a bigger bottle.

Overall, I love the improvement in the smell of my front loader,  and it cleans clothes well – so I’m sticking with the Thieves Laundry Detergent. Plus, the coat is insanely improved and touchable now. Oily win!


Shepard’s Pie (Gluten & Dairy-Free)

Shepard’s Pie (Gluten & Dairy-Free)

I was craving Shepard’s Pie (also known as cottage pie), but I only had three potatoes. So instead of Mashed Potatoes, I used Mashed Garlic Roasted Cauliflower on top. It added almost a cheesy taste, and it was great with the gluten-free vegan biscuits that I made using Pamela’s Biscuit & Scone Mix .IMG_1114.JPG

Here’s my twist.  In addition to the ingredients for the Mashed Garlic Roasted Cauliflower, you will need:

  • 1 lb ground lamb (or bison or ground beef)
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Redmond’s Real Salt
  • 10 twists on a  pepper grinder
  • 4 drops Young Living Thyme Essential Oil (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 4 drops Young Living Rosemary Essential Oil (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • ¾ cup chopped carrot
  • ½ cup organic frozen peas
  • ½ organic frozen corn
  • ½ cup organic frozen beans
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (coconut or almond flour make it Paleo)
  • 2 cups beef broth (I used Home Goodness Organic Beef Broth from Costco)


I’m personally a huge fan of cooking with essential oils, because at the time I didn’t have any fresh thyme or rosemary at my house –  I didn’t even have potatoes! The essential oils are so convenient, never expire, and still add great flavor. You can read about my dish with cooking with oils here. If you are interested in purchasing Young Living Essential Oils, you can click here. I’d love to help you learn to use oils not only in your kitchen, but in your daily life!


    1. Preheat oven to 400ºF & prepare Baked Cauliflower Recipe
    2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, then add lamb. Brown lamb until fully cooked, about 5 minutes (I find there’s enough fat released in the beef that I don’t need to add oil to the pan). While it’s cooking, prepare your vegetables.
    3. Chop onion, and garlic (smash with knife and then chop).img_1063
    4. Chop carrots. I only had baby carrots, so I chopped them in fourths and then cut them.IMG_1068.JPG
    5. Soak up excess grease with a paper towel.img_1067
    6. Add onion, garlic, and carrot, worcestershire sauce,Real Salt, pepper,Young Living Rosemary Essential OilYoung Living Thyme Essential Oil, then cook for approximately 10 minutes, until carrots are soft.
    7. Add the frozen peas, corn, and green beans (I snapped the green beans in half), and cook for 2 minutes.IMG_1076.jpgIMG_1077.JPG
    8. Add gluten-free flour and vegan butter to the pan, and toss around until butter is fully melted and the flour disappears (~1 minute). IMG_1078.jpg
    9. Add beef stock. Then, bring liquid to a boil over high heat.IMG_1079.jpg
    10. Cook for a minute or two until broth thickens into a light sauce.
    11. Remove pan from heat, and transfer meat and veggie mixture to an 8×8 baking dish.IMG_1085.JPG
    12. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
    13. Pull Baked Cauliflower from the oven, and finish preparing Mashed Garlic Roasted Caulflower 
    14. Top lamb mixture with  Mashed Garlic Roasted Caulflower img_1093img_1091
    15. Bake 20 – 25 minutesShepard's Pie.jpg

What are your favorite comfort foods?


Mashed Garlic Roasted Cauliflower (Vegan & Paleo)

I’m on a cauliflower kick. Last night, I made Baked Cauliflower and Cauliflower Pizza. Well, I had this idea for a cabbage dish tonight, but my husband picked up an extra cauliflower instead of cabbage at the store; I had to change my plans. I wanted to  make a Shepard’s pie, but I only had three potatoes. I did have cauliflower. Here’s how creations are born – lack of ingredients!

I’ve never tried mashed cauliflower before, but I hear everyone talking about it. The simple baked cauliflower is so delicious, so I figured that it would be as equally delicious mashed. And, I was right. It does have a hummus-ish taste. I’m obsessed! Now, whether or not it’s good on my Shepard’s Pie is another question. I shall report back.


  • Baked Cauliflower 
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (I used Culinary Treasures Organic Vegetable Broth from Costco. It has awesome flavor!)


  • Follow directions for the Baked Cauliflower img_8984
  • Once completed, put baked cauliflower in the Vitamix or high-powered blender along with the remaining olive oil, garlic, and onion / shallots from the cookie sheet. IMG_1083 updated.jpg
  • Add 1 cup vegetable stock.IMG_1081.JPG
  • If cooking in the Vitamix, set on high power. Start on low speed and turn up to high.
  • Once blended, pour in a bowl and devour! Or, be like me and attempt a Shepard’s Pie!IMG_1084 mashed caulilfower.jpg



Baked Cauliflower

I’m not a big fan of steamed cauliflower, unless it’s smothered in cheese, and since I can’t eat cheese – I avoided cauliflower. My cousin baked it one day when I was at her house. It was easy and tasty, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. Thanks Liz!! Tonight I made it, and used it for a pizza topping. It was phenomenal.


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3 shallots (or ½ onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Redmond’s Real Salt  (you can use my dish about Real Salt Here)
  • 10 twists on pepper grinder


  1. Chop shallots or onion, garlic & 1 head of cauliflower.
  2. Spread the cauliflower on a cookie sheet. 
  3. In a measuring cup combine olive oil, garlic, and shallots or onion.
  4. Pour olive oil mixture evenly over the cauliflower.
  5. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cauliflower. img_1023
  6. Bake for 35 minutes at 400.IMG_8984.JPG


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

We love muffins but spent a long time without them. It isn’t easy to make a gluten-free vegan muffin that rises and isn’t 80% gooey. I’m not saying this muffin isn’t dense because it is; however, it has more volume than I thought would ever be possible with a muffin that I was able to eat.IMG_0980.JPG

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (Gluten-Free & Vegan)


  • 3 ripe bananas
  • ½ cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
  • 1 cup almond flour (I used Blue Almond from Costco)
  • 3/4 cup Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼  teaspoon  Redmond’s Real Salt
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (Use Lily’s Baking Chips to make a sugar-free, Paleo & vegan – they are sweetened with stevia, or Enjoy Life chips to make them vegan)
  • ¾ coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup organic pure maple sugar or you can substitute coconut sugar (I bought Coombs Family Farms Maple Sugar at Fresh Thyme)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash 3 ripe bananas on a plate. img_0946
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed banana, applesauce, sugars, and vanilla.
  4. Beat until smooth, and set aside.
  5. In a separate small bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir and combine.
  6. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated. The batter resembles a very thick pancake batter.
  7. Fold in vegan chocolate chips.
  8. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin and spoon muffin mixture so that each cup is almost full.
  9. Bake on center rack for 29-31 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one, comes out clean. 29 minutes was perfect for mine.banana chocolate chip muffins 2.jpg




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