Easy Weekday Lunch: 3-Step Potato Salad

When you’re on-the-go, it’s nice to have a lunch alternative that doesn’t require a microwave and tastes good at room temperature. Since I started my classes, I don’t always have access to a kitchen, so I try to find easy lunch options that are quick to prepare and easy to eat between classes.

I love potato salad but since I started eating dairy-free, I can’t eat traditional potato salad. I was never a big mayonnaise fan but I used to make a delicious potato and chicken salad using greek yogurt. I spent some time perfecting this potato salad recipe to make it dairy, soy, egg, corn and gluten-free and well…taste good. It’s a simple recipe that you can make during the week and eat for a few weekday lunches. This recipe is also a great dinner option to have when you get home late and don’t feel like turning the oven on.

What ingredients do you use to replace traditional “salad” recipes?

IMG_4740Ingredients for the 3-Step Potato Salad: 


  • One bag of small potatoes – I love these multi-colored ones from the supermarket
  • Asparagus – 1 bunch
  • 2 Yellow Squash
  • Olive Oil – 1-1.5 tbsps
  • Salt – 1 tbsp


  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard (I get Annie’s Lite Honey Mustard)
  • Honey, fresh oregano, salt and pepper to your taste

How to Make the Potato Salad:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Chop small potatoes into quarters, skin and dice the yellow squash and chop up the asparagus. Grease the baking tray and then put down all the vegetables. Lightly salt and add olive oil across the vegetable covered tray. Bake for 20 minutes. Make sure vegetables are fully cooked and potatoes are crisping. (Note: If the tray is too packed, use two different baking trays)

IMG_4743IMG_47642. While the vegetables are cooking, make your dressing. Add all the dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk together. If you make extra, this is a great dressing to have in your fridge for another weekday salad. Taste as you whisk to see if you should add more salt, pepper, honey or oregano.IMG_47613. Once the vegetables are cooked, add them to a bowl and pour the dressing on top. Make sure to mix the salad up and coat all the vegetables with the dressing. You can eat this delicious potato salad warm or put in the fridge for a few hours and eat it cold. IMG_4765




Gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free

Cost of Ingredients: $ /$$         Time: 10 minutes

Smores truly don’t require a recipe, but camping with allergies can be a bit complicated, and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on this delicious summer treat. It took a bit of planning, but after several trips to the grocery store I was prepared for a weekend in the woods with friends. Of course we ended up bringing more food than we needed, but I would rather carry a bit more than go hungry!

In addition to normal Smores ingredients (graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate), I also bought some slightly fancier chocolate that is allergy friendly (no dairy or soy lecithin). I couldn’t find gluten free graham crackers that are also dairy free, so I bought gf/dairy free ginger snaps (Mary’s Gone Crackers makes some great ones). The hint of ginger worked really well with the slightly minty dark chocolate I used, and of course the perfectly toasted gooey marshmallow.

Sometimes it’s ok to try a new take on an old favorite. I think we will make more on our grill next weekend, I’m sure they’ll be just as good in our driveway as they were by the fire in the woods! And the flavor combinations are endless! What kinds of cookie/chocolate combinations would you try? Let us know in the comments!

Nina’s Pantry Staples

Here is part 3 of our pantry staple series!

I (Nina) have a pretty long list of food intolerances, but the main things I try to stay away from completely are dairy, gluten/wheat, and soy. I try to bring lunches to one of my jobs, and on days that I spend in the studio I make lunch at home. My other job is at a restaurant, so I don’t usually bring food there, but it also means I’m not cooking on those nights. But when I do cook I generally make as much as possible from scratch, and I try to use local ingredients when possible.

Here are some of my staple ingredients. It was actually quite difficult to narrow it down, there are a lot of things I use regularly (and many of them are already on Annika and Marissa‘s lists).


  1. Chickpeas: So versatile! I often make a coconut curry with these, some coconut cream (see below), curry and other spices, and spinach. Great for lunch on a cold day!

coconut cream

2. Coconut cream: I don’t know how I would cook without this. It’s creamy and not super sweet, so it works in savory sauces (it does require a bit more adjusting than heavy cream or sour cream would, but it works), dishes like creamed spinach or corn, and when cold it can be whipped for dessert or turned into chocolate mousse. It’s a bit thicker than canned coconut milk, and while that means it has a bit more fat, I think it’s absolutely worth it!


3. Eggs: (I’m sorry, Marissa!) I stayed away from eggs for a year and a half before reintroducing them, and aside from cheese (which I still miss dearly), they were the thing I missed the most. I usually just soft-boil or poach them and eat with roasted potatoes, or hard-boil them to put on a salad. Eating eggs also means I can eat mayo again (at least the whole foods store brand, because it doesn’t use soy oil, unlike most regular mayo brands), which is great in dressings and when making spicy mayo or aioli to have with french fries, which leads me to the next number:


4. Potatoes: (Confession: I think french fries are my favorite food). Potatoes are so versatile, I think I could eat them every day. Roasted with herbs, as gnocchi, or mashed (try adding a bit of coconut cream when mashing them), they’re amazing. And since I can’t eat wheat, they’re a solid starch that replaces bread or pasta as a side.


5. Honey: I don’t think I’ve ever not had honey in my pantry. These days I eat it with a little peanut butter on rice cakes (both also staples), and put it in tea. And sometimes you just need a spoonful to make the day better. I also eat local bee pollen regularly, to help with my seasonal allergies.

Do you have any staples you can’t live without?

Marissa’s Pantry Staples

For the second part of our Pantry Series, I (Marissa) am giving you a glimpse into the five items that are essential to my kitchen pantry. After discovering several food intolerances last year, I currently follow a diet free of gluten, dairy, eggs, corn and soy. I also try to stay away from processed food as much as I can for overall health and wellbeing. Because of these limitations, I am very loyal to the foods I like and can eat because well…they’re limited!

I used to hate the idea of repeating a food item several times a week but now I look forward to the foods I like and can eat. Here are the five items I use almost every week, even sometimes several times a week.

Are any of these items also staples in your pantry?

  • White Quinoa –  When I cut out gluten, I was looking for something to replace what typically accompanied my main dishes. Quinoa, which is actually a seed, is one of my favorite food items. It’s incredibly versatile because you can eat it for breakfast like an oatmeal and they even sell quinoa flakes so it has more of an oatmeal breakfast consistency. It’s also a great food for lunch, hot or cold and I of course love it for dinner to accompany the center of my dish. I prefer white quinoa over red quinoa but a mix of the two has a nice taste and consistency. I usually get the Nature’s Promise version but I really like Ancient Harvest as well. Quinoa can be expensive so look for coupons and when it’s on sale, grab a few bags or boxes.                                                                  IMG_1256
  • Chicken Broth –  It’s really frustrating when you find a recipe that calls for chicken broth and there’s none to be found in your home. I learned that the hard way and now I make sure our pantry is stocked with at least one box at a time.  So many recipes call for a good chicken broth or stock and a simple soup is an easy fix when you have broth on-hand. I was sad to see that so many broths had flour, soy and other preservatives but I get the organic version from Nature’s Promise which fits my food limitations.                                                                                 IMG_1255
  • Oat Flour/Quinoa Flour (Bob’s Red Mill) – I have both oat flour and quinoa flour in my pantry and the combination of the two work well for so many recipes. I use these primarily to coat chicken or fish and to bake snacks and desserts. I usually mix quinoa and oat flour which are both gluten-free and from Bob’s Red Mill to give it a more well-rounded flour combination. Gluten-free flours can get pricey but you never use too much of the flour so they last you a long time.                                                     IMG_1258
  • Chickpeas (Organic) –   Garbanzo Beans aka Chickpeas are heaven sent. I use them to make hummus during the week and throw them into the food processor with garlic, lemon and tahini. I often use them in salads to make our lunches more substantial and filling and I have heard people use the chickpea juice as an egg replacer. It’s a great versatile food that’s always good to have in your pantry. Please also note that like most canned goods, the regular garbanzo beans often have ingredients I can’t eat. I go for the Organic Nature’s Promise chickpeas.                     IMG_1257
  • Ener G Egg Replacer  – Giving up eggs was extremely difficult. Although this Ener G Egg Replacer box won’t make up for my loss of omelettes and quiches, I can use this powder mix when I bake chicken or fish and use flour. You can easily use this mix when baking and need a quick egg replacer. You simply measure out the powder and mix it with warm water. I am not sure where to grab this in-store but I ordered this one from Thrive Market.                                                IMG_1259

My Pantry Staples

Marissa, Nina, and I all share certain food intolerances, but we each have our own special combination of yes and no foods. We thought it might be great to take a look inside of our cabinets to see what we each rely on to get us through busy weeks. If you have a food-sensitive grocery list that you love, let us know!

Here are my five favorites:

Little Lad’s Almond Butter: I’m fairly certain this is a Maine-specific thing, but if you get the chance to pick this up, you won’t regret it. I’ve tried almost all almond butters on the market and this is by far the best one. They say they don’t roast their almonds the same way that other companies do (they claim that most companies deep fry their almonds), and the taste is noticeable. The only ingredients are almonds and a bit of sea salt, which is also nice. It’s more expensive than I would like, but the flavor more than makes up for the extra few dollars.

Lundberg’s Wild Rice Rice Cakes: Again, this brand is more expensive than others, but these rice cakes are so good. They don’t have that awful dry, styrofoam taste (or…what I imagine styrofoam tastes like) and come in a variety of savory and sweet varieties. I like the wild rice ones because they have a good balance of salty and sweet flavor without actually adding much salt and no sugar at all. The only thing that gets me about these is that they can be very crumbly, but I like to think that is because they use a better formula for flavor than other, cheaper brands.

Lentils: I think we have lentil burgers for dinner at least once a week. I’m working on getting my partner to give up his recipe, but he’s feeling a little protective of his burgers. I like the French lentil variety the best, but they are all great. Not only are lentils super delicious just by themselves (hot or cold!), but they are also incredibly versatile. They are a great base for curries or soups, and are packed with important nutrients and protein. They a non-meat eating diet staple.

Chickpeas: Another great staple. Another super versatile ingredient. I love making chickpea, cucumber, carrot, and avocado salads for lunch, but they are also great in curries, or roasted until they are light and crunchy.

Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Cashew Milk Blend: Again, I’ve tried almost every variety of plant/nut-based milk that the grocers in my area carry, but this is my favorite. It’s a little thicker than normal almond milk, so it’s great in chais and also makes a wonderful substitute for milks in ice-cream bases because of its richness. I personally prefer the unsweetened varieties anyway because most of them taste too sweet to me. This particular milk is an awesome base for Golden Milk (turmeric, milk, and maple syrup), which is one of my favorite pick-me-up drinks.

Top 10 Providence, RI Spots for The Food Sensitive


My husband and I were very fortunate to move to Providence, RI right before our wedding in 2015. We have been amazed at the beauty of the city but also fascinated in the thriving food culture. As someone with many food restrictions but LOVES food, this weird city has welcomed me in to their kitchens with open arms. Each day I discover a new amazing restaurant or cafe that has menu items that I can not only eat but also enjoy. For all my New Englanders who live in Providence or can easily make a trip to the city, I wanted to write a little round-up of my favorite food spots that make it easy to enjoy a meal out even with food intolerances and restrictions.

I want to emphasize that if you have food allergies (nuts, celiac, etc) please contact each location before going and make sure the food isn’t cross contaminated.

Top 10 Providence, RI Food Spots for the Food Sensitive

  1. Wildflour Vegan Bakery and Juice Bar This place is one of our favorite bakeries and juice bars of all time. Wildflour is a bustling shop in Pawtucket (right outside of Providence but basically Providence) that makes tons of delicious baked goods that are all vegan but many are also gluten-free. There are several options that are also soy-free. They  serve amazing vegan chili, vegan and gluten-free lasagna and they have a great juice menu. There’s often a line here but it goes quickly and let’s be real, it’s so worth the wait. (Note: I was able to eat that delicious looking chocolate tartlet below! It was the best).
  2. Like No Udder Like No Udder started as a dairy-free ice-cream truck that RI’ers have always adored. They just opened up a brick & mortar location on Ives St. I was super excited because the truck served ice-cream that was soy-based which I unfortunately couldn’t eat. Now the store location serves mostly ice-cream that is nut-based (note to my nut-allergy friends). I just indulged in “Peanut Butter Chunk” and “Thai Iced Tea” ice cream a few days ago which were both nut-based, dairy-free and gluten-free. There’s nothing more exciting than finally being able to enjoy a few scoops of ice-cream just like everyone else can!
  3. Small Point CafeSmall Point Cafe is a charming little cafe in Downcity that has funky tables and spots to sit, eat and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. I love their tea selection and they always have a few different vegan and gluten-free treats to enjoy. I love their energy bites which usually have peanut butter, oats and a dried fruit. They do have food here but please note that they use the same preparation table for salads and sandwiches so there is a lot of cross-contamination.
  4. BirchBirch is a splurge but maybe one of the best dinner spots we’ve ever been to in our lives. Most of the food on their menu can accommodate the top 10 food allergies and it’s also incredibly delicious and unique. It’s a pre-fixe menu and usually 4 courses for $49. You can also include wine pairings if you’re looking to go big that night! Please make reservations because they only have about 14 seats and they usually fill up.
  5. Chez Pascal We stumbled upon Chez Pascal a few weeks ago and were enticed by their unique German wine menu. We were looking through the menu and noticed that they were really adamant about making food available for people with food allergies and restrictions. The bartender said it’s a really important thing for the restaurant and the kitchen accommodates most restrictions. Great find!
  6. Nice Slice When I found out there was a place that served vegan AND gluten-free pizza, I knew I was in love. I recommend the margarita with the vegan cheese and vegan/gluten-free crust.
  7. The Grange The Grange is a vegan/vegetarian restaurant that emphasizes locally sourcing their ingredients. When I told the waitress that I had a few intolerances she said “hit me with them” and was completely unphased by my laundry list. The chef manipulated my dish to fit my restrictions and it was delicious. Bonus points for the cool live music they have during the week and the overall great vibe of the restaurant. IMG_0139
  8. The Shop This little cafe is on Wickenden Street and it’s the cutest place. I was a excited when I was able to actually order breakfast here and enjoy a delicious tea. They often have great oatmeal/quinoa breakfast options and some of their baked goods are gluten-free.
  9. Pizza J Of course I found another spot that has both gluten-free and vegan pizzas. Pizza J is owned by the same folks that own Julian’s which I have yet to visit. It’s a really good open set-up and the pizzas are gigantic. I do have to say the vegan cheese they use is not the best and if you’re not lactose intolerance, I would recommend getting the regular cheese on your pizza.
  10. Red Fin Crudo– Last but certainly not least, I love Red Fin Crudo in Downcity. This was one of the first places we went out to eat in Providence. Most of their food is tapas style which for me can be super difficult when sharing with a group of people. However, when I went there with five other people, the chef was able to make most of the dishes work for my sensitivities and taste amazing for everyone else on the table. Sometimes a simple ask of “putting the cheese on the side” can make the difference. Food and service were both phenomenal here!

I have fallen in love with Providence and the amazing food options here. It’s also an easy commuter rail ride or short drive from Boston! Come visit PVD.

Rosemary Syrup

Gluten-Free, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free

Cost of Ingredients: $          Time: 30 mins

rosemary syrup 1

As a former bartender, I often try to think of ways to make simple drinks a little more interesting. I recently bought some habanero shrub that adds a great bit of spice to a smokey mezcal margarita. In the winter I make various spice syrups that work equally well in an old fashioned or a latte. But these days it’s starting to feel like summer around here, and one of my warm weather go-to drinks is a cold gin and tonic, preferably with lime and lemon (yes, both, try it, you won’t regret it!).

rosemary syrup 3

While I try to grow my own herbs often, I seem to have no green thumb at all, so when we bought a grill recently (stay tuned for food recipes using this new gadget!) I decided to buy some herbs to add to our dinner. While my partner was cooking outside, I prepped some quick cocktails to enjoy in the sunshine.

rosemary syrup 2

Simple syrup is just that, super simple. Combine equal parts water and sugar, and heat until dissolved. Once cooled, store in a jar or bottle in the fridge. This is a great way to sweeten iced coffee without ending up with a layer of sugar granules in the bottom of the cup. And it’s a great way to add a variety of flavors to drinks!

rosemary syrup 4

I let this mixture just barely boil before taking it off the heat to cool down. The rosemary infuses as the mixture cools, and it will be ready to use in about 30 minutes.

rosemary syrup 6

The syrup will keep for a week or two in the fridge, so I make small amounts to make sure I use it all up. A one cup of each of water and sugar fit perfectly in these little bottles, and they make pouring the finished syrup mess-free.

rosemary syrup 7

I didn’t have any fresh lemons and limes on hand when I made this G and T the other night, but the rosemary syrup added a nice bit of earthy and fresh flavor.


1 cup sugar*

1 cup water

herbs of your choosing**

  1. Add water to pot, turn to medium heat.
  2. Add sugar and herbs.
  3. Heat until just barely boiling.
  4. Remove from heat and let infuse and cool for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Strain into bottle or jar.
  6. Mix drinks and enjoy! ***

*I used white granulated sugar for this one, brown sugar also works well, the syrup will be a bit darker in color and have a bit more of a caramel flavor. Honey is also an option!

**I used a few sprigs of fresh rosemary in this version, but feel free to experiment! Lavender makes a great floral simple syrup, make a citrus version with orange and grapefruit peels (remove as much of the pith as you can), add a few drops of rosewater, or use some fresh sage leaves. Let me know what combinations you come up with! When it gets colder outside I’ll make sure to post the cinnamon spice syrup recipe, too.

***In a 16oz glass with a few ice cubes, add 1.5 to 2 oz of gin (Hendricks is great, but Tanqueray is our less expensive go-to, if you can find it, Half Moon Orchard Gin is my favorite!), add few slices of lemon and lime (or a splash or two of lime juice) and top with tonic water.