Tag Archives: healthy lifestyle

Gluten Free Healthy Meatballs in San Marzano Tomatoes + Carrot Sauce

14 Jan


It doesn’t matter where you are from, every country and culture has their version of meatballs. Meatballs are easy to make, and a great way to get kids involved in cooking.

Purists believe the perfect meatball must have a combination of beef and pork. Some use lamb, and I have eaten some mighty tasty chicken and turkey meatballs. The key is to add some type of starch and eggs to the mixture, so it will all stick together and not crumble. Breadcrumbs are a family favorite, and so is old bread soaked in milk. For these recipe I used Brown Rice Flour because I did not have any bread at hand.


1 lb Organic Grass Fed ground beef

1 small sweet onion, grated or shredded in food processor

¼ cup chives or green onions, chopped

¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp kosher salt

ground black pepper to taste

1 pasture raised egg

1 tbsp brown rice flour


  1. Mix all ingredients together with your hands. Make 1 tbsp size balls and pace them in a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, and remove the fat that accumulates around each meatball with a butter knife. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Discard the parchment paper. In the same sheet pan, place a cookie baking rack and place the meatballs. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  3. After the tomato sauce is ready, place the meatballs in the sauce pan with the lid on and let the flavors meld for 15 minutes on low.

San Marzano Tomatoes and Carrot Sauce


2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp ghee, or unsalted butter

1 can of San Marzano Tomatoes (1Lb 12 oz)

¼ cup organic tomato paste

1 small sweet onion, grated or shredded in food processor

2 medium organic carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup red wine

1 tbsp demerara sugar (raw sugar)

1 tsp red chilli flakes

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 bay leaf

kosher salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium heated pan, add the olive oil and butter. Add the onions and let them sweat until translucent, for about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, red chili flakes, and carrots and let them cook for about 5 minutes. Add the red wine and let it cook until the alcohol evaporates.
  2. Add the tomato paste, demerara sugar(raw sugar), and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Let it come to a boil, and turn the heat down to low. Place a lid in the pan, and let it simmer on low for about 2 hours.
  4. Remove the bay leaf. Using an emulsion blender, blend the sauce until it is smooth.


Bom Apetite!

It’s beginning to smell and taste a lot like Christmas : Roasted Chestnuts and Marron Glace

22 Dec

Chestnuts are one of my favorite things about this time of the year. Their taste and smell take me back to my childhood, when I used to spend Christmas at my grandfather’s and his siblings ranch.


My grandfather was one of thirteen kids, all second generation Brazilians. His grandparents immigrated from Italy, and they met and got married in Brazil. They worked as farmers, and had thirteen kids. My grandpa would always tell me about their struggles growing up and how happy the kids were when they got a box of apples to share among them for Christmas. But they worked very hard, and became successful not even going to college.

Long story short, all the siblings owned a ranch together. And every year, for 17 years of my life I would spend my summer vacations there. And Christmas. Me, and all the 13 siblings, their children and grandchildren. You get the picture, over 200 family members. Yep! I would spend the whole year dreaming about spending my time with my family and cousins.

And one of our favorite things to do was to walk around the orchard and pick the chestnuts that had fallen off the trees and looked ripe. They are brown when ripe, and they are encased by a spiky shell that reminds me of a Sea Urchin. After filling up a few bags with chestnuts we would take them to our grandmothers and mothers who would help us take them out of the shells and make the most delicious “Marron Glace”.

Living here in California, I can easily of Italian Chestnuts at this time of the year. I usually roast them in the oven, and it is so easy.

Roasted Chestnuts

* With a shart pointy knife, cut a cross on the flat side of the chestnut. You don’t have to make a deep cut, cut cut slightly so when it roasts it bursts where the cut is, making it easy for you to peel them.

* Place them in a sheet pan layered with parchment paper, or use a Silpat. Place the sheet pan in a preheated oven to 400 F and roast them for 15 minutes.


If you fell adventurous and want to try my family’s Marron Glace Recipe (thank you Tia Ro):

* Just boil the chestnuts in a soft boil until they are al dente (about 30 to 40 minutes). You can also use them roasted, but the original recipe calls for boiling.

* In a medium sauce pan, make a simple syrup, using the same ratio of water to sugar, for example, 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water. You can use brown or raw sugar if you want to make it healthier. Let it come to a boil, put the chestnuts inside the liquid and turn it down to low. Add a few whole cloves. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, but be careful the liquid does not start to crystallize.

* Put everything in a glass container with a lid in the refrigerator. It keeps refrigerated for 1 to 2 weeks.


Bom Apetite!

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