Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

By Lisa VanWilliams

One of my clients requested gluten-free apple crisp and these came out excellent! I cant wait to make them at my own house. I found these great little aluminum mini pie plates at my local grocery store (six for $2.99), and they come with a plastic cover. So they are great to give as gifts or easy to store in the fridge or freezer, just pop them into the oven to rewarm.

Ingredients (4 servings):

3 Fuji apples peeled, cored, sliced
3 Granny Smith peeled, cored, sliced
¹/³ cup sugar
1 tablespoon Bob's Red Mill Tapioca flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon (heaping)
dash of salt
dash of vanilla
½ fresh lemon juice squeezed

Crumb Topping

¹/³ cup brown sugar (heaping)
¼ cup rice flour
½ cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup almond meal
½ teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt
½ stick of melted butter


Preheat oven to 350. Place all sliced apples into a bowl and squeeze over lemon juice. Toss in the sugar, tapioca flour, cinnamon, salt, & vanilla and mix it well. Put your apples into Ramekins or a casserole dish for baking.

Then in another bowl, start the topping. Add your brown sugar, rice flour, oats, almond meal, cinnamon, salt, & melted butter and mix well until it resembles wet sand. Top off the apple mix with a SUPER large spoonful of the mixture and toss into the oven uncovered for an hour.

Bake until the top turns a light brown and the apples are all bumbling and soft. Serve with some whipped topping or vanilla ice cream. Of course they are fine with nothing on them too!! Enjoy

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” - Bruce Lee

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hungry vs Bored

Women's Health Magazine recently did an article where they talk with Michelle May, M.D., CSP, Motivational Wellness Speaker, and author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.

"May recommends taking a pause and considering what you're thinking and feeling. If you realize that, yes, your stomach is growling and you're low on energy, you probably need to eat. If your mouth is dry and you haven't had water in a while or you're thinking about work and feeling stressed, you probably should do something else, like organize, set some goals, or vent a bit."*


Monday, July 27, 2015

Body Fat Percentages

Mark Perry of BuiltLean created this awesome visual chart to show images of bodies at different body fat percentages. Of course there are other factors to take into consideration like body shape, age, & fat distribution to name a few, but this gives a great basic guideline.

You can read more about it on the BuiltLean website here:

Country Bumpkin Babies

My nephew's wife is due next month with her first baby girl and she comes from a small country town in Upstate New York and this was a perfect gift for her baby shower. If you have a little country baby, you can find these soft and cute cowboy/cowgirl crochet hats on ETSY and they range in price from around $15-$20.  Besides keeping their little noggins warm, these would make a great prop for pictures.

View some on ETSY here:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pecan Coconut Crusted Chicken

By Lisa VanWilliams

Try this healthier crunchy alternative when you are craving fried chicken. The sweet maple mixed with the subtle taste of the coconut and pecans creates a flavorful Southern style chicken that will certainly change things up a bit.  We paired this with some roasted sweet potatoes and garlic spinach.

2 large chicken breasts thinned out
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
¾ cup pecans
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon Bob's Red Mill Fine Macaroon Coconut
1 teaspoon salt
coconut oil

Put the pecans in a food processor and pulse a few times.

Add flour, salt, coconut and pulse until the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Coat the chicken in maple syrup and cover the chicken breasts in pecan mixture.

Cover bottom of pan with coconut oil and drop breasts into pan.

Brown each side and put into oven for 15 minutes more at 350 to cook through. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Caloric Density

Check out this visual from Colorado Center of Health and Nutrition, to see how your food choices look from the inside. Get more food for less calories by picking healthier things to fill your stomach with.

Snacks and foods like grapes, popcorn, salad & veggies, are a few more nutritious examples that will give you more bang for your caloric buck.

To view more on their website, please go to:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mini Chicken Tikka Samosas Review

By Lisa VanWilliams

They are addicting. If you are having more than four people over, buy TWO boxes. These are an excellent frozen finger appetizer that are great to keep on hand. Trader Joe's sell these in the frozen section near or across from the frozen pizza area. They are spicy little Indian pouches of goodness that are flaky on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside. They are filled with chicken, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, yogurt, ginger, etc. My four year old daughter will eat half the box by herself and anyone that tries them #1) they get another one right away, & #2) they ask where they are from...

You could serve them with Orange Marmalade for dipping, chutney, or a yogurt based dip. Yum.

Twelve come in a box and you bake them in the oven for 15 mins on 400 degrees. I turn them over half way. Let them cool a bit and enjoy. They are worth the ride.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cooking Day - Episode 2

By Lisa VanWilliams

The cool thing about being a Personal Chef is all the different dishes I get to make. My clients pick out what they want based on their dietary needs and I take it from there. It makes more time for them, and allows me to be creative in the kitchen and enjoy my passion for cooking.

It's great finding new recipes that taste great and can be added into my own home cooking repertoire. To be honest, some of these things I would never consider personally making, but after making some of them, I have definitely reconsidered.

You never know what you might like if you don't try anything new. So don't miss out on your next favorite thing! I will post new dishes we make so you can get ideas for your own families.

Today's client was gluten-free and here's what we made:

First Dish = Chicken Enchiladas with Black Beans and Green Salsa

Green Tomatillos Salsa before baking
Chicken Enchiladas with Corn Tortillas & Black Beans

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Salsa

Second Dish = Chicken Piccata with Capers

Half done with almond flour half with rice flour

Third Dish =  Japanese Beef Curry

Rutabaga, Fuji apple, carrots, beef, lots of seasonings/flavorings


Garlic Green Beans

Mixed Veggies In Butter Sauce


Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Two weeks of meals and sides ready to store....

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Macaroni and Cheese With Black Truffle Oil

By Lisa VanWilliams

Here's a fancy schmancy version of mac-n-cheese. Places like Panera can get expensive for a basic pasta at $4.99 each for two kids, you can make it even better at home for the same $10 but you can feed the whole block. It's fast and easy to throw together and they wont get enough of this rich and creamy macaroni. The black truffle oil adds a little hint of something you cant quite make out but it takes it from basic to decadent with just a couple of drops.  You can find white and black truffle oil in the olive oil section and if not, specialty shops will carry it. A little goes a long way and it's great to use on veggies and potato dishes as well. If you want to kick it up a little add some Pepper Jack cheese into the mix.

1 pound elbow macaroni cooked
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon pepper
3 cups milk
4 cups mixed cheeses (sharp cheddar, Mexican blend, pepper jack, 4 cheese blend, etc)
½ cup Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top
drizzle with truffle oil

Preheat oven to 375. Melt butter in pan then add in flour, salt, mustard, and pepper until smooth. Add in milk slowly and mix it well as you add it in. Medium heat, simmer, but do not boil. It will take 10 mins or so to thicken. Turn off heat. Boil milk mixture over cooked pasta. Add in 3 cups of cheese (save 1 cup for topping). Drizzle with truffle oil. Mix well and pour into casserole dish. Top with rest of cheese and then Parmesan. Put in oven and bake for 25 mins until browned on top. Broil a few minutes if needed. Serve hot. Enjoy! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Blueberry Scones

By Lisa VanWilliams

This weekend was the first weekend for blueberry picking in Southern Connecticut! We got out early in the morning on Saturday to beat the crowds and got first picks from one of our local farms.  These little scones are great for your morning coffee or afternoon tea and a great way to use up some of our berries.

2 cups whole wheat flour
¼ cup packed from sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chilled butter
1 cup blueberries
¾ cup half & half
1 egg
½ teaspoon grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 375. Cut cold butter into mixture of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl beat together half&half, egg, orange rind. Pour in blueberries. One mixed, slowly pour into dry ingredients. Stir until dough forms but do not over mix and fold gently so the berries don't get mashed. Pat into 6 inch round ball (on floured board) and flatten down. Cut into 6 wedges.

Bake in oven for 20 mins. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Spicy Chicken Sausage Rotini

By Lisa VanWilliams

Bring some heat to the table with this tasty Rotini dish packed with fresh flavors. Trader Joe's has a few varieties of different chicken sausage to pick from (spicy jalapeno, sweet apple, garlic herb, smoked andouille, sun-dried tomato, sweet basil pesto, etc) and today we picked the spicy chicken sausage version. Add your favorite veggies like squash, zucchini, peppers, onions, or you can just stick to the basics because that's enough right there.


1 pack Trader Joe's Spicy Chicken Sausage (4 links)
1 cup chopped spinach
olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely minced
3 pieces prosciutto diced
½ jar tomato sauce
1 roasted pepper diced
shaved or grated Parmesan cheese or both
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 basil leaves diced
¾ box cooked Rotini
pepper to taste


Chop the chicken links into bite sized pieces into a tablespoon of olive oil and cook them for 10-15 minutes until crispy. Add the garlic into the chicken pieces about half way and continue to stir (you can also add in the prosciutto now if you want it crisped). After the pieces are crispy and done, add in the spinach, roasted pepper, tomato sauce, basil, crushed red pepper, and cheese. Put the prosciutto in now if you prefer soft. Pour in the cooked pasta and mix well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve while hot. Enjoy!