I’m in another one of those fits of trying to eat healthier and in the process, hopefully, look better and fit into my clothes more comfortably. I have some goodies to share, but first a wee bit of history…

Several years ago, I decided to adopt the Sonoma Diet as a weight loss program to battle what I perceived to be a gradual middle-aged spread and also as a lifestyle change. I cooked and ate a largely Mediterranean diet anyway so it didn’t seem like too much of a stretch. My Darling Husband loved the dishes I prepared and we ate this way for a long time. Then I got deathly ill for several months, ultimately learning I have Celiac disease.

Another lifestyle change was in order, and I learned how to cook and eat gluten free. I pretty much abandoned the Sonoma/Mediterranean diet in favor of GF foods that included pastas, bread, pizza, scones, waffles — in short, way more carbs than advisable. Was that necessary? Why, no. I just wanted to enjoy food again and got lazy.

In the beginning, weight wasn’t an issue because the illness stripped body fat and muscle down to the bone. Fast forward a few years and the spread is creeping in, and I want my waistline back. So I decided to go back to Sonoma¹. A few years ago, Dr. Connie Gutterson, RD, PhD., updated and revised the Sonoma Diet and cookbooks to add new, scrumptious recipes – some specifically gluten free for the first time, but any of the recipes can be adapted to be GF.

I’m going to share one with you today that I fell in love with. In the early phase of the diet program, you roast a chicken (I’m sure you regular folks could opt for the convenience of a rotisserie chicken from the grocery, but I can’t due to possible cross-contamination). I was able to use some of the leftover roast chicken for the Toasted Quinoa, Chicken, Cucumber & Dill Salad described here. If you know me at all, you know I dearly love tabbouleh, especially in the summer when the cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs are fresh from the garden. Because I can no longer have bulgur wheat, I crave this taste and look for alternatives. This recipe is one²!



2 C. cucumbers, peeled, seeded, diced

1 C. radishes, cut in quarters, sliced thin (I didn’t have radishes, so didn’t use them, and the salad was delicious. It may be that they are included to add color.)

1-1/2 C. cooked, chilled quinoa (You toast it before cooking, either in the saucepan until it starts popping, or on a baking sheet in the oven. I cooked it with chicken stock, but water is fine. I used red quinoa, which I prefer, and it added plenty of color!)

1 C. chicken, cooked, shredded

2 scallions, chopped

2 T. dill, chopped

1 T. mint, chopped (I doubled this)

5 T. Simple Lemon Vinaigrette*

2 T. almonds, toasted, chopped

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. Place cucumbers and radishes (if using) in a bowl. Lightly season with Kosher salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add quinoa, chicken, scallions, dill and mint. Gently mix. Add the vinaigrette and fold in nuts. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Yield: 4 servings (1-1/2 C. each)

Nutrition facts per serving: 225 calories, 14 g. protein, 9 g. fat (2 g. saturated fat), 28 g. carbohydrate, 5 g. fiber, 2 mg. cholesterol, 89 mg. sodium, 0 glycemic load


Fergus celebrated his second birthday on Sunday! His little sister, Sophie, was here so we had a little party with pupcakes. Here is the easy and, apparently, delicious pupcake recipe I used. (I tasted both the batter and the frosting – edible, by God.)



½ C. whole wheat flour (I used a GF flour blend)

1 t. baking powder

1 egg

1 T. maple syrup

1 T. creamy peanut butter

½ C. pumpkin purée

½ C. shredded carrot

¼ C. plain Greek yoghurt


4 oz. plain Greek yoghurt

2 oz. creamy peanut butter

½ T. maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well incorporated.
  3. Scoop batter into 6 lined muffin tin cups.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until firm. Cool.
  5. Place all ingredients for the frosting in a small bowl and mix well.
  6. Frost cooled pupcakes and let the fur babies enjoy!







Not a crumb remained…


¹ As you know if you’ve been reading the blog, I did that quite literally a few weeks ago. If you haven’t read about my sojourn in California wine country, and you’d like to, you can check it out here.

² I also learned to make a tabbouleh with cauliflower, if you’re interested.

³ Recipe from The New Sonoma Diet

* Simple Lemon Vinaigrette – ¼ C. lemon juice, ¼ C. EVOO, ¼ t. chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Combine all ingredients and whisk well. Recipe from The New Sonoma Diet

** Recipe from My Modern Cookery