Tag Archives: gluten free

Dairy free Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken (Dairy-free)

This dairy free Butter Chicken is just as good, if not better than any butter chicken recipe you may have tried. It is delicious.

I actually think that garam masala, which is a combination of spices, is the key to it’s depth of flavour.

And don’t worry if you are not a fan of coconut milk…you won’t taste it at all.

I originally came across the recipe from My Heart Beets.  She has lots of great recipes on her site. But I quickly realized that there were a few steps that you could cut out in order to make this recipe come together quickly and still result in tender chicken that is full of flavour and a creamy….creamy…sauce.

I like to pair it with Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower Rice or white rice. And feel free to throw in a few more veggies (if you do, let me know in the comments section what you added)

Dairy Free Butter Chicken

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs or breasts (boneless and skinless), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Tandoori spice mix
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-inch knob ginger, minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped in large pieces
  • 1 jar organic tomato basil sauce
  • 1 can organic coconut milk, full fat
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro, garnish
  • 1 head cauliflower (optional for cauliflower rice)
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli roasted, (optional, to serve with butter chicken)


  1. Place chicken in a bowl and toss with olive oil, lemon juice and Tandoori seasoning.
  2. Bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked to 155ºF for breasts and 165ºF for thighs.
  3. Add oil to a pan on medium heat. Once it melts, add onions and cook until completely dark golden-brown but be careful not to burn them (this will take at least 15-20 minutes).
  4. Add ginger and garlic and saute for a few more minutes.
  5. Add spices and let them bloom for a minute.
  6. Add green pepper and tomato sauce. Let everything simmer for 12-15 minutes.
  7. Add 1 can of coconut milk, mix well. Let it simmer for another few minutes.
  8. Garnish with cilantro and serve over roasted broccoli or rice.

Serves 4-6

For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.

"Healthier" Baked Goods

8 of The Best “Healthier” Baked Goods Recipes

I want you to eat healthy food the vast majority of the time. But I also want you to have “healthier” baked goods recipes available to you when you need them.

The recipes below are gluten-free and grain-free. They generally use By Design and paleo friendly ingredients (with the exception of chickpea flour in the cupcakes)

If you are hosting a birthday party, I would rather that you serve up an almond flour cake with homemade chocolate icing then a white flour cake because you will likely feel better without the gluten…

And if you are craving something sweet at night (like craving it so bad you are considering going out to Dairy Queen for a blizzard)…I would rather you choose something totally decadent and satisfying like homemade chocolate fondue so that you can wake up feeling great tomorrow.

Mind you, if organic full fat whipping cream served on top of your favourite fresh berries is the ultimate treat for you, please stick to that because that will give you loads of great nutrients whereas, these baked goods still come along with some negative effects.

So before I give you the recipes, my sweet friend, we are going to have a short chat about how you can best use these recipes…because I want to reiterate that not all of these recipes are “healthy” indulgences…they are just healthier than some other options.

The majority of these recipes are baked goods. These are not By Design baked goods…they are just “better option” baked goods.

They have added sugar and they will still tickle that reward centre in your brain meaning that after you eat them, you may wake up craving more baked goods or other indulgences the next day.

I have worked with clients who knew that indulging in these types of recipes was a bad idea for themselves. They would say “I am an all or nothing type of person. If I have some, I will just continue to want more.” If that sounds like you, just scroll down to the Bonus Recipe at the end.

Got that?

If so, then it’s time to share the recipes that have gotten me through many a birthday party, girl’s night, book club, dinner with friends or just a downright craving…

With these recipes, I have been able to stay much more on track with my healthy lifestyle, with my properly functioning digestion and feeling better than I would have, had I had to resort to packaged baked goods or foods with gluten.





1. Cupcakes

(gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, nut free)
This recipe uses chickpea flour…which is not a top choice because it is made from raw chickpeas which are hard on the digestive system. It is however free of the majority of the most common allergens so it has been a life saver for birthday parties with kids.

You can also use the recipe to make a cake…it will just take a little longer to bake.

2. Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I use the same recipe for my muffins that I use for my birthday cakes. So you can scroll down to the Birthday cake for these buttery, banana-y, chocolatey sensations.

Just skip the icing step in the recipe and fold about 1 cup of chocolate chips into the batter before baking.





3. Bread

When you give up bread because you realize that it is making your digestive system suffer and you realize that it is a catalyst in your weight loss or fitness challenges, not much is as exciting as coming across a recipe for bread, that is predominantly made with on track ingredients and you get to use a bread maker to make it.

I am serious, finding this recipe after four years of never buying bread was like finding a key to a treasure box.

Now, I don’t make it often but it is really comforting to know that I have a recipe I can turn to when I really want toast with breakfast or a grilled cheese.

Now, just as a reference point, I have only used this recipe three times since I found it about  a year ago….but it is nice to have in my repertoire.





4. Pumpkin Muffins

These Pumpkin Muffins were one of my first adventures into “paleo baking.’ And I have reused this recipe countless times over the years. You can add chocolate or nuts…or both!

Coconut flour can be a bit of a struggle to swallow…which I agree, does not make it sound appetizing…but these muffins are very good regardless. Just make sure to serve them with tea or water!

5. Pecan Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Pecan Shortbread cookies are so good that I get requests to bring them to potlucks…I have even had guests requests that I serve them when they are coming to my house!

This recipe is relatively simple but don’t skimp on the butter. If you don’t use enough, your cookies will crumble when you cut them.

Also, just make sure to let them cool or else they may fall apart…but at the same time…not much is better than a warm cookie, even if it falls apart.

6. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, these are just as delicious as any grain based homemade chocolate chip cookies.

You can use refined coconut oil or butter for these cookies, in place of the palm oil. And maple syrup works fine in place of the coconut sugar.





7. Apple Crumble

This apple crumble is an excellent substitution for the traditional recipe.

While it is true that oats are generally gluten free, they may also be tough on your digestive system so the almond/coconut substitution is great. And the combination works great for texture.

The butter and cinnamon are what really take this recipe to it’s limits. It is melt in your mouth goodness without being too sweet.






8. Birthday Cake with Chocolate Icing (using almond flour)

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • ¾ cup shredded unsweetened coconut, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup(if desired)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed


  •  1 ½ cups full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 300g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 9-inch cake pan or 2 round cake pans with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut, salt, and baking soda.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
  6. Fold in the bananas and chocolate chips, and spread into the prepared cake pan.
  7. Bake for 30 mins or until done. You know it is ready when the cake is golden and and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Also, the top of the cake should not look wet anymore. Remove it from the oven and place on a wire rack.
  8. Let cool completely.
  9. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring the coconut milk and coconut oil just to a boil and remove from heat.
  10. Add the dark chocolate and stir while the chocolate melts
  11. Place the chocolate icing in the fridge to cool and thicken for about a hour or more, stirring occasionally.
  12. Once the cake is cool and the icing is thick enough to spread, place one cake on a plate and ice the top. Place the second cake on top and spread the icing all over the cake. Sprinkle coconut on top of cake.
  13. Place in fridge if necessary to allow icing to harden.

*For muffins or mini-loaves-add chocolate chips and bake 20 mins.

*To ice 12 muffins use ½ cup coconut milk, ½ tablespoon coconut oil, ¾ cup chocolate chips for icing.

BONUS recipe! 




Chocolate Fondue

And this recipe…this one comes to you from my heart.

This is my weekend at the cottage recipe. The one I share with my kids after a great day by the lake…

I enjoy this chocolate fondue at least twice a week over the summer when organic berries are in season and easier to find.

It is important to choose organic strawberries because they are at the top of EWG’s Dirty Dozen list (these are the produce items that contain the most pesticide residues).

So that is it! Those are my favourite “healthier” baked goods recipes. I hope that they fill some gaps in your healthy lifestyle so that you can still celebrate with food on special occasions, or tame a craving, while doing less harm to your body than you would with conventional baked goods.

For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.



Flax Snax

I originally came across this recipe on Ellen Sue Spicer’s website back…well, way back! 

It was a hit with my kids and even better because it is so simple to make, I would get my kids involved, even at a very young age, and we would make a batch every weekend.

If we had young friends over, we made a batch with them. And then I shared them with my bookclub and the recipe became a hit there too!

I admit, it is one of those interesting concoctions that is strangely addictive.

I look forward to hearing what you think!

I recommend buying your flax seeds whole and grinding them in a blender yourself. This will ensure that you are using fresh flax. Once ground, the flax will be fresh for about a week.

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 0 minutes

Flax Snax


1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup raw cocoa powder

1/4 cup grass-fed whey protein powder (vanilla flavoured or plain)

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes


  1. In a small bowl mix together tahini and ground flax seeds with a spoon.
  2. In another bowl mix together maple syrup, protein powder, and raw cocoa powder with a spoon.
  3. Add tahini/flax mix to other ingredients and stir with a spoon.
  4. Using your hands, form the mixture into small balls, roll them in coconut flakes and place them on a plate.
  5. Freeze for about an hour and then enjoy!

Yield: 12 flax snax
Note: Store leftovers in the fridge

For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.