Pumpkin, Tomato, Onion and Garlic Corn Empanadas

Pumpkin, Tomato, Onion and Garlic Corn Empanadas

These bright and cheery empanadas are the perfect cure for the dark, rainy days of fall like we are experiencing right now here in Oregon. I had a fun time making these empanadas, adding herbs and spices to make them just right. They may also be made with a meat or seafood filling, but they are a perfect snack, vegan main dish or a side dish to a larger meal. 

This version was a big hit with my husband and son as well. They loved the pumpkin/tomato/onion mixture and the crispness of the empanada lightly pan fried in coconut oil. 

Empananadas also make a perfect party snack or appetizer and since these have pumpkin in them, why not serve them at your Halloween or Fall Harvest party! 

I hope that you enjoy some of these soon for a flavor explosion!! 

Pumpkin Tomato, Onion and Garlic Corn Empanadas: 

Makes 10-11 empanadas (double the recipe for a large appetizer dish) 

Empanada dough: 

11 ounces  masa made from masa harina (follow the instructions on the masa bag (mix + water) and weigh. 

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon oregano, crushed

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 cup gluten free flour mix

salt to taste

coconut oil for pan frying


olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder


1. Mix together the masa, spices and herbs along with the gluten free flour mix. Add in a little extra water if the dough is dry. Set the masa aside. 

2. Heat a small frying pan and add in olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic on medium heat until the onion is translucent. Set aside to cool for 5-7 minutes. 

3. Once the onion is cool, in a medium bowl combine all of the filling ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste. 

4. Make 10-11 small balls out of the masa mixture. Press them in a tortilla press to make tortillas that are around 3-4 inches in diameter. Put 1-2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of each empanada. Fold over and pinch the edges to close. 

5. In an electric skillet set to 375F, heat the coconut oil (I heated around 2/3 cup to 1 cup coconut oil) When hot, place the empanadas into the hot oil. Brown on each side until golden and crispy on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon to cool slightly before serving. 

Serve with salsa & enjoy!! 




This is My Dream!

Pineapple and Avocado Salad

It all began in middle-school and high school when I started to really enjoy helping with meals at home and contributing some of the food that I made such as desserts and muffins. I was always so proud when my mom let me make something to go with the meal when my grandparents came over, or if we had a birthday party. Very soon I started organizing the family birthdays, creating the menus, timelines and decorations. I have always shown love through food and celebrating with others. 

I remember especially that whenever my grandpa Harry would have dinner at our house, I was sure to make my special oatmeal muffins. He would always eat several, exclaiming how good they were. That was a great confidence booster as far as I was concerned. My meals began to really take shape later on after high school when I made it a point to practice entertaining at least 1-2 times a month. I learned to time out all of the dishes to be ready on time, have the table set and everything ready to eat at the appointed hour. 

I realize now that all of my self-training has brought me to this dream moment. I have discovered that I now can serve my friends and neighbors healthy, beautiful and tasty takeout food a couple of nights a week from my home kitchen through Josephine.com! What a dream come true! I do love to make up recipes and share them with others, however, what I really love is sharing food with others in person. I love connecting with others through food that they can enjoy and that is good for them. 

A few months ago, a friend in California told me about how I could become a Josephine cook. It is a service that licenses home cooks to be able to serve take-out meals in their home kitchens, create the meals, set the prices and be a mini-take out restaurant as often as they like. How amazing! At that time, the program was only in the Berkeley area of California. However, I decided to send an inquiry email to them just in case they ever decided to expand to other states. Around a month ago, I head back from them and was able to go through the interview, kitchen inspection process and get going on serving meals. I could not be happier! 


Josephine postcards and containers

All Josephine meals are served in compostable containers. We love the earth and want to keep it clean and sustainable for generations to come. 

I want to share with you how the Josephine.com experience works and also share with you a salad recipe from my first Josephine meal. If you are too busy to cook, need a break, want to pick up a meal for a friend or just to enjoy a meal or two with your family, here is how it works: 

Here are the basics: 

Note: Currently all of the meals I serve are gluten free and dairy free. Sometimes I may have the occasional meal with dairy in it or as a topping choice (such as cheese), however, most of the meals will meet these two requirements. If you have special dietary restrictions, such as "no garlic or onions" or other requests please let me know as I can customize your meal. 

1. Go to Josephine.com. Register with your email and zip code. Follow the steps. Browse the meals in your neighborhood. I am in the Aloha neighborhood here in Hillsboro/Beaverton, Oregon. 

2. Choose the meals that you want to order. I have a certain amount of portions of each item that I will have available for purchase for that meal. I have an entree with sides included, side items, desserts and sometimes to-go breakfast items such as berry overnight oats that you can eat the next day. 

3. Pay for the meals ahead of time online. 

4. Pick up your meal on the assigned evening from me during the pick up window. My meals are usually served on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5pm to 7pm. 

5. Take your meals home and enjoy! 

6. I always have 4-5 meals listed for the coming weeks. I have all of my meals planned for July and will soon be planning for August. 

paleo grilled meatballs

This is one of the home-cooked, healthy, organic meals that I serve through Josephine.com. I care what you and your family eat and want to make sure that you get the best. 

It is a dream come true for me to be able to serve meals twice a week to my neighbors and friends! It is awesome and I am so very happy. I realize that the simplest things in life are often the best. I also enjoy being a food blogger and a cookbook author, but there was a special thing that was missing, and that was actually serving food to people in person. 

I love that I still have plenty of time with my family, time to do other things that I enjoy such as gardening and making up new recipes but I am also able to build a business and a life that I love from serving tasty, healthy and beautiful meals to all of you! Thank you very much for reading this, for the opportunity to serve you and be part of the community!

Paleo Lemon Frozen Custard with Fresh Raspberry Sauce

I also serve desserts with my Josephine meals as a meal add-on such as this Paleo Lemon Frozen Custard. It is so yummy! 


Finally, I want to share with you a delicious, healthy and popular salad recipe for the salad that I served for my very first Josephine meal! 

Pineapple Avocado Salad:

Makes 4-6 small servings

2 cups fresh pineapple, cut up into small chunks

1 ripe avocado, cubed

1/2 onion, sliced thinly into small slices

1/2 a small purple cabbage, sliced and chopped finely

Juice of 1 small lime

Red wine vinegar to taste

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Place the chopped pineapple, avocado, onion and cabbage in a medium bowl. 

2. Pour lime juice over the salad and toss. 

3. Add in a few drops of red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. 

4. Toss the salad and taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary. 

If you enjoyed this salad, check out other posts, my cookbook and order a Josephine meal for pick up today! 


Baked Brown Rice Pilaf with Fresh Rosemary and Pine Nuts

Baked Brown Rice Pilaf with Fresh Rosemary and Pine Nuts

I really love how necessity breeds creativity when it comes to creating recipes in the kitchen. A few days before I made this rice dish, I had been fairly busy and had not done my weekly grocery shopping. As a result I was looking to create a meal with the items I had left in the pantry and the freezer. I had bought a small package of pine nuts for some kind of experiment- an herb-pesto of sorts, but I decided they would go really well with rice. Then, I looked out in my garden and noticed my rosemary plant growing well and just knew that all of these would make a great combination! 

I think that everything is meant to be just as it happens and it is such a joy when things come together in unexpected ways- just like this delightful rice dish. Have you ever put together different ingredients and come up with something that you just loved? I would love to hear about it in the comments below! 


Baked Brown Rice Pilaf with Fresh Rosemary and Pine Nuts

Adapted from the recipe "Basic Baked Brown Rice Pilaf" from Simple Bites.

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon olive oil

 1/2 onion, chopped finely 

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cups brown rice

3 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. 

1. Melt the coconut oil & heat up the olive oil together in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the onions and the garlic and saute until they are soft. 

2. Add the fresh rosemary, sea salt and pine nuts. Stir and cook for around 1 minute. 

3. Stir in the rice to toast it along with the other ingredients for around 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir it one time and then put a lid on the Dutch oven and place it in the oven. 

4. Cook the rice in the oven for about 40 minutes. Then, let it settle out of the oven for 10 minutes before fluffing the rice with a fork. Serve as a lovely side dish for dinner. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary. 

I hope that you enjoy this delicious and healthy side dish! 

Mexican Chicken Albondiga Soup with Pinto Beans



I love how my son calls this soup- "Irresistible Soup!" That really warms my heart! This is such a delicious play on chicken soup. In Spanish "albondiga" means meatball, and the meatballs in this soup are so, so yummy! I remember when I was visiting some friends in Mexico, they were so excited for me to make my grandma's Swedish meatballs for them for dinner. They were so thrilled with the yummy "albondigas" when I made them in their home. I know that this soup will bring the same joy to you with a little flavor of Mexico. 

I had a lot of fun playing around with this recipe, revising it to be gluten free, and it is also naturally dairy free! That is wonderful! I love the combination of mild green chilis, pinto beans and flavorful chicken meatballs in this soup. 

And, as my son says- it is so irresistible, it will disappear fast! 

I hope that you enjoy a bowl of this amazingly delicious and healthy soup soon on one of these cold winter nights! 

Note: You can use canned organic pinto beans instead of soaking/cooking the dried beans ahead of time. This is a great shortcut! Enjoy! 

Mexican Chicken Albondiga Soup with Pinto Beans

1 cup dry pinto beans, soaked & cooked in chicken broth or 1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained

6 ounces ground chicken (3/4 cup) 

1/2 cup cooked and cooled brown rice

3 tablespoons mild canned green chilis, chopped + extra for the soup (one small can) 

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large egg

kosher salt, ground pepper

olive oil

5 + cups chicken broth + water

1 leek, (white and light green parts only, chopped finely)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup cooked brown rice + cooked pinto beans from above

1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped carrots

1 cup (packed) baby spinach

Note: Use these seasonings according to your taste. I use about 1 teaspoon each of the garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and kosher salt. But, adjust according to how spicy you like your soup. 

garlic powder

chili powder


kosher salt

ground pepper

1.  Prepare the beans: If you are cooking your pinto beans from scratch from dry beans: Soak the cup of beans overnight in a bowl with water covering the beans. Store in the refrigerator. In the morning, drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan. Add in enough chicken broth to cover over the beans. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours, or until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside. 

2. Make the meatballs: In a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, spices, rice, egg, green chilis, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Form small to medium meatballs. Heat oil in an electric skillet, then brown the meatballs on both sides. They will finish cooking in the soup. 

3. Add olive oil to a large saucepan. Heat the oil. Then, add the leeks. Cook, stirring often until the leeks begin to soften. Add the minced garlic, cook for about a minute. Add the chicken broth and 2 cups of water. Stir in the cooked rice, carrots and beans. Add in the extra garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Season according to your own taste.  Bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for about 8 minutes. Add the meatballs to the soup and the extra green chilis from the can. Simmer for about 3 minutes until the carrots are cooked through. Add in the baby spinach and cook until wilted.

Serve while hot and enjoy!!