Shirley from Gluten Free Easily When I was first diagnosed, I searched for recipes and found Shirley’s blog, Gluten Free Easily. Something about her posts made her seem friendly so, when I wanted to create my own blog, she was one of the first people I contacted and asked to be part of it. The
Top 5 Gluten-Free Travel Tips Brunch: Veggie frittata, sweet potato fries and bacon at Asheville, North Carolina’s gluten-free Posana Cafe. My first gluten-free trip didn’t go well from a food standpoint. I was hungry a lot because I couldn’t find food that I both liked and that fit my diet. My next trip went much
Gluten-Free & Grain-Free Cookbook While the name of this cookbook – “Healing Foods” – might conjure up images of boring, tasteless, but oh, so healthy food, nothing could be further from the truth. Sandra has managed to infuse flavor into everything from beverages including Raspberry Cordial and Chai Tea to sauces both sweet and savory
A Nutty Holiday Recipe and Giveaway The giveaway is now closed. The winners are Cathy, Carol and Anna. Thank you all for entering! I created a great mini muffin recipe for Bob’s Red Mill’s blog. I’d love for you to check it out. In honor of the recipe, Bob’s Red Mill has offered to give three of my
Eating Gluten-Free in the Lowcountry I have to tell you that it wasn’t as easy for us to eat gluten-free (and also stay on the budget we’d set) in Charleston as it had been in Asheville. The two cities have very different personalities. Oh, and I didn’t take many food photos in Charleston so I’m sharing
Gluten-Free Restaurants in Asheville Asheville was our first stop on a vacation that also took us to Charleston, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia. Asheville has a vibe similar to Portland, Oregon, what I’ve often seen called “crunchy granola.” A lot of restaurants have a natural, sustainable, local agenda. That often makes for a gluten-free friendly
Healing and Eating Well For those who haven’t heard of it yet, Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is a monthly event where bloggers (and others) can adopt a blogger, make a recipe or two then share about it. This month, Kate at Eat Recycle Repeat is hosting. It’s fun and I encourage you to join
Hope for a Family When diagnosed a decade ago with poly-cystic ovary syndrome, a condition that can make conceiving difficult, Donielle Baker didn’t give up on her dream of a family; she started looking for answers. Those answers changed the course of her life. Now the parent of a boy and girl, and a baby in
Sharing the Sunshine Last summer, I was honored when Heather at Gluten-Free Cat nominated me for a Sunshine Award. A blogger awards this to 10 other bloggers who “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” I waited a bit to post mine – on purpose – so that the fun could start up again. Recipients first answer
Squash for Squash Haters I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love apples in the fall. But squash is everywhere right now. I wondered about combining the two. Turns out it was a good idea. Even my husband, who doesn’t like winter squash, liked this. It could convert someone in your home into
Making the Middle of the Week Better Every week I’m going to have Cheerful Wednesday. You’ll find an upbeat post, a fun and/or simple recipe, or just good news about eating gluten or grain-free. On this first Cheerful Wednesday I have a Super Simple Date Cashew Butter Ball recipe for you that has three ingredients
Making the Middle of the Week Better
Every week I’m going to have Cheerful Wednesday. You’ll find an upbeat post, a fun and/or simple recipe, or just good news about eating gluten or grain-free. On this first Cheerful Wednesday I have a Super Simple Date Cashew Butter Ball recipe for you that has three ingredients – yes, just three – and won’t take long but, well, my mouth starts watering when I think about eating more of these.
Recipes for date balls are out there but this one’s a bit different. I didn’t add any sweeteners, did add cashew butter and it gives a creamy texture along with a bit of protein, and cinnamon for some spice. I’m sure other nut or seed butters would work but I like cashew butter because it’s very creamy and fairly neutral in flavor.
I made a variety of versions with just coconut and pecans. Mix it up with your favorite dried fruits and nuts or seeds. The combinations are endless. Try adding dried apricots and rolling it in crushed sunflower seeds. Or add raisins and roll it in crushed cashews. My favorite’s the version with coconut inside and out. My husband’s is the one with the works: filled with pecans and rolled in both pecans and coconut.
Give this a try the next time you’d like something sweet.
Super Simple Date Cashew Butter Balls
Measure one cup of whole dates, pit then cut in chunks. (I used medjool dates.) Add dates, cashew butter and cinnamon to the food processor and process until it’s smooth. Mine formed a ball (see photo below) and I knew it was done.
To add shredded coconut, about 3 Tablespoons for the whole batch would work, put it in now and pulse just until combined. About the same amount of 3 Tablespoons chopped raw or toasted nuts would be good but for them, remove the date mixture from the processor and work the nuts in my hand. Roll into balls about the size of a walnut then roll in the toppings of your choice. Store at room temperature; they aren’t as good cold from the fridge.
Makes about 8 balls.
Where To Find Your Ideas
Many worry that they can’t find the exact recipe they want or need. It may be that just finding a recipe that’s similar to what you need can work. Or simply find inspiration from another source and go from there.
Ideas for recipes can come from many directions. Sometimes, as with this Simple Summer Fruit Crisp, another recipe gives a hint of what it could become. This dessert was inspired by a Taste of Home magazine nectarine plum crisp that made me think about nectarines in crisps.
With this Almond Flour Butter Pecan Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting, the idea came from a frosting recipe that was filled with things I couldn’t eat. But it inspired a delicious frosting and the cake I chose to put it on.
Sometimes it’s just an ingredient in the fridge that dictates what to make as it was with my Carrot Apple Raisin Salad. The combination sounded good and I had every ingredient.
Tonight, we had the Tropical Chicken Salad above. Inspiration for this recipe came from a different source, my mother-in-law. She gave me one of her old cookbooks about a month ago, one she thinks she received as a wedding present. I’d never heard of the Searchlight Recipe Book and you probably haven’t either. That wouldn’t be remarkable except for the fact that with this 1944 edition, the 17th Edition, there had been 1,353,082 printed. Times have changed so some of the recipes such as the Jellied String Bean Salad and the Prune Onion Salad won’t sound good to most of our tastebuds but others sound great and could be used as is or as inspiration for something new.
This salad was inspired by a Chicken Apple Salad recipe that also had pineapple in it. The same page also had a Shrimp Pineapple Salad. Between the two of them, I had pineapple on my mind so I came up with the idea of chicken and pineapple along with other tropical flavors.
If you adore pineapple, add more. If you prefer more fruit with your salad, please add mango and/or banana. Use this as your inspiration. But I wouldn’t leave off the coconut on top, it totally made this. My mayo is homemade and has some honey in it so you may need a tiny drizzle of honey if yours isn’t at all sweetened.
Tropical Chicken Salad
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
2 Tablespoons drained, canned crushed pineapple
2 Tablespoons mayo
several segments of orange, cut in pieces
toasted nuts such as pecans or seeds such as sunflower
Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine everything except the coconut and lettuce. Scoop onto lettuce. Top with coconut. Enjoy.
*To toast coconut, spread the amount you want on a cookie sheet and put in a preheated 350 degree oven for 3-5 minutes. Watch it closely. It should just have a golden tinge and won’t taste good if it gets darker.
Breakfast and a Snack
Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is a fun little push to make a recipe or two from a blog, maybe something you’ve had on your must-try list. This month, Alta from Tasty Eats at Home is guest hosting while the originator of the event, Sea from Book of Yum, is in Japan working on her dissertation. Please note that this isn’t just for bloggers, anyone can make a recipe from a blog and join in.
Browsing through blogs, I came upon Relish SCD and liked what I saw. She’s on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) but don’t let that scare you away if you’re eating a regular gluten-free diet. You’ll find naturally gluten-free recipes on an SCD site because the diet is grain-free and, if you’ve wanted to cut back on refined sugar, you’ll also find that honey and fruit are the only sweeteners. This blogger is on the diet to heal her Crohn’s Disease.
The bowl at the top of the page looks like it’s filled with Hot Cereal and it really tasted like it was. It’s actually a porridge made from almond flour, sprinkled with raisins with honey drizzled over it. It was easy to make and so tasty that I had it again today for breakfast. She said to add cooked raisins at the end but I just threw them in at the beginning and added a little more water to make up for what they would absorb. I also walked away with the mixture for a few minutes at a time – not stirring it constantly as she said to – and it was fine.
Now, I have to say that this next photo isn’t the prettiest one I’ve even taken. In her recipe for Crunchy Butternut Squash Chips, she says that those that look burned taste good. They are quite good. Even though she said to leave the skin on the butternut squash, I peeled mine. I know it’s edible but it weirded me out.
I brought out my seldom used mandolin and sliced the chips very thin. I learned that they have to be as thin as possible and have to at least have brown on them to be flavorful. My husband – who doesn’t love veggies as much as I do – thought they were acceptable. (Trust me, that’s high praise for a vegetable.) I think I’ll sprinkle on some herbs and spices next time to give them a kick.
If you explore Relish SCD, you’ll probably find what I did, that her recipes tend to be made from ingredients that are already in your kitchen. I had everything including the squash.
Journey on over there and check it out!
A Little Bit Nutty
I was flipping through the Good Housekeeping “Best-Loved Desserts” cookbook and a recipe for Coconut-Pecan Frosting jumped out at me. Sure it had cream (can’t have), butter (can’t have), brown sugar (can’t have), and sweetened coconut (you got it – can’t have) but it got me thinking, what if? Could it work if I left out the cream, used honey instead of brown sugar and unsweetened coconut?
Yes! It took a bit of tweaking but the final result spread over a Butter Pecan Cake (it just sounded like a good pairing) was so good that my husband took one bite then came over to give me a big kiss.
The cake is a lighter recipe than I use for muffins, much more cake-like. While I suspect that any oil would work in the cake, I used grapeseed oil as I always do when I want a buttery taste with almond flour. If you can use butter, I think it would work well.
Butter Pecan Cake
2 cups almond flour (I used Honeyville)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup applesauce
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup toasted pecans*, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 inch round pan (I used grapeseed oil), line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then oil that.
In a large bowl, add the almond flour, baking soda and sea salt, then mix to combine and break up any lumps in the flour. (I used a stand mixer for this recipe.) Add the eggs, honey, vanilla, applesauce** and oil then mix slowly to combine then at medium speed for a couple of minutes. Stir in the pecans then pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 15-17 minutes or until it tests done in the center with a toothpick. Cool for about 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a cake rack, peel of the paper and let cool. Carefully place the cake on a pretty plate then frost.
Coconut Pecan Frosting
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 egg yolks
heaping 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used Tropical Traditions)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
small pinch sea salt
In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut oil and honey on medium high until it barely begins to boil then remove from the heat.
In a bowl, whisk the two egg yolks, then, still whisking add a tablespoon at a time of the hot liquid until you’ve added about 1/2 cup. (This is to “temper” the eggs so they’re the same temperature as the hot mixture and won’t scramble.) Add this mixture to the saucepan, again whisking constantly. (If for some reason, you get a few bits of scrambled eggs, don’t panic. Just pour the mixture through a metal strainer, put it back in the pan and keep going.) Heat on medium about 10 minutes – yes, whisking constantly but not as quickly as before – until it changes from being a fairly clear liquid to a cloudier, whiter liquid, then bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat and add the coconut, pecans, vanilla and pinch of salt. Let cool for 10-15 minutes then frost the top of the cake.
*If you’re starting with raw pecans, as I do, spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for no more than 5 minutes. These were done in 4 1/2. If you burn them – and that’s easy to do if you walk away (ask me how I know) – they have to be thrown out. Toasted, they’re amazing. If you toast more than you need for the recipe, add them to a salad. Yum.
**Recipe for making a small amount of applesauce here.
Layers of Flavor
Pumpkin gets a lot of play in the fall but I think my favorite crop of the season is apples. Mixed with another seasonal favorite, carrots, and with a bit of spice, this salad makes me very happy.
Growing up, my mom made a carrot and raisin salad that was just carrots and raisins. It was OK but . . .
These raisins are plumped in apple cider, adding the first layer of flavor. Next, shredded carrots meet sweet shredded apple. I believe organic carrots actually taste better, they’re also inexpensive and available in a regular grocery store so I never compromise on carrots. The apple needs to be sweet here, something like a golden delicious or gala; this isn’t the time for a Granny Smith. Cinnamon adds spice and a pinch of ginger adds a refreshing warmth in the background, not enough that you know it’s ginger but a nice layer of flavor.
This Carrot Apple Raisin Salad is easy, inexpensive and tasty. The recipe makes enough for a 1/2 cup serving for 4 or a larger serving for two. (I ate a “larger serving” It would double easily.
I’m giving two versions. It was great both with and without mayo so choose the version that suits you and your family best.
Carrot Apple Raisin Salad
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup apple cider
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded apple (I used a golden delicious)
1/4 – scant 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon*
pinch ground ginger
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
In a small pot, bring apple cider and raisins to a boil, add a lid and remove from the heat and let soak for 20 minutes – reserving 1 Tablespoon of the raisin liquid.
Version One: Grate carrots and apple, add raisins, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a small pinch of ginger. Stir. Done.
Version Two: Grate carrots and apple, add raisins and 1 Tablespoon of the raisin liquid, a scant 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, a slightly larger pinch of ginger (this is still a tiny amount of ginger!), and the mayonnaise, adjusting the amount of mayo to taste. Done.
Linked to Whole Food Fridays, Gluten Free Fridays, SCD Sundays, Sugar Free Sunday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Raw Foods Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday,
When Gluten-Free Isn’t Enough
Yesterday, vegetarian/sometimes vegan Heather from Gluten-Free Cat revealed that she’s now eating meat and feeling much better. I’ve needed to share about the changes in my diet for a while and feel like now is the right time to do that.
Early this year, I started having new digestive problems and felt like it was something I was eating. I’d already cut out gluten, dairy and soy. Since I’d had success with my first EnterLab test – they said I shouldn’t eat the three above – I ponied up the money and had another test for 11 more foods: corn, rice, oats, beef, chicken, pork, tuna, almonds, cashews, walnuts, and white potato.
All of the grains tested positive but nothing else. I eliminated all grains but continued eating what are often called pseudo-grains – buckwheat, quinoa, tapoica, etc. – and felt much better.
Now grain-free I started getting every grain-free or Paleo cookbook I heard of from the library. I happened upon Jenny Lass’ and Jodi Bager’s “Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet.” Jenny’s healing story in the intro startled me because she’d used the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) to heal from celiac disease when the gluten-free diet hadn’t worked. When I interviewed her for the blog, I learned more and became more intrigued by the SCD vs a regular gluten-free diet.
I felt better on my “grain-free” diet but the eczema that had faded somewhat returned. I also didn’t have the energy I wanted. Then I had a severe yeast infection with bleeding that told me I needed to do more and heal.
Excess yeast needed to be starved out. After checking out and eliminating the candida diet, I looked into the SCD and felt it would help. One month ago, I started it and the eczema cleared up almost immediately. The food seemed peaceful to my body, for lack of a better word.
Recently, you’ve seen recipes on here – Apple Pie Pancakes with Cinnamon-Apple Sauce, Carrot Walnut Muffins, No-Sugar Almond Flour Sugar Cookies (without the chocolate), Simple Summer Fruit Crisp, and Spaghetti and Meatballs - that I’ve created to not only fit this diet but to be delicious for everyone. That’s my goal. Everyone gets to eat food that’s good for them and tastes great!
My husband still eats a standard gluten-free diet so that may be reflected on here sometimes but you’ll generally see recipes that fit the SCD. He does also need to control his carbs for his blood sugar and the SCD recipes are good for that so he’s been enjoying these recipes too.
I’m now enjoying my grain-free life. And hoping to share it with you.
*This wasn’t the first time I’d heard of the SCD. My first husband (now deceased) had ulcerative colitis and tried the diet in the late 90s, but stopped it after some months. I went on it with him and felt good initially but not over time. There was a lot of dairy so I think that was most likely the problem.
Grain-Free But Delicious
While it’s probably a strange thing to crave, I’d been craving meatballs. I’m on a grain-free diet so making them brings some challenges. I could have used almond flour in them but I’ve been eating so many almond flour baked goods that I wanted to use something else for these.
I wondered if shredded zucchini could take the place of flour. Turns out it can. That and one egg held together a pound of hamburger. You can see tiny bits of green so, if you’re cooking for a veggie hater, you might want to peel them and make smaller bits by running a knife through it once it’s shredded. I prefer to bake meatballs over cooking them in a pan – I put them in the oven and they cook themselves.
We’d tried spaghetti squash as a substitute for regular pasta in the past and not been overly impressed. This time I made sure it was well cooked so not crunchy and I seasoned it well. Both my husband and I loved it.
As to the sauce, I’ve quite frankly always been a fan of jarred spaghetti sauce but can’t have sweeteners other than honey right now and that leaves out every sauce I’ve looked at. I found a brand of Italian tomato sauce and paste that I felt like I could trust for the ingredients. (SCD – their website says no sugar added.) This recipe works well if you’re like me or just want to make it from scratch.
My husband declared this as good as a restaurant. High praise in our home. I made this twice in the last week to test it for you. So I’ve had enough meatballs. For a little while
Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 pound hamburger (mine was fairly lean)
1/2 cup shredded zucchini, packed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (two if large)
24-ounce bottle Bionaturae Organic Strained Tomatoes
1 heaping Tablespoon Bionaturae Organic Tomato Paste
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (two if large)
Pasta (aka Spaghetti Squash)
1 spaghetti squash
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin by by making the meatballs. Beat the egg then mix it in a bowl with the other meatball ingredients (I use clean hands for something like this), and form into 10 evenly sized balls, placing them on a baking sheet. The meatball mixture may seem soft now but bakes up firm. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until done. They may have liquid come out of them while baking, just scrape it from around the edges when they’re done. (I assume that bread would have soaked this up. It does not effect taste.)
If making the sauce, prepare it while the meatballs bake. Combine all ingredients including the 1/4 onion cut it half. It melts into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and cook for about an hour, adding the meatballs once they’re come out of the oven. Everything needs to cook together for a while so the flavors can meld.
The spaghetti squash can be cooked in either a microwave or oven. I’ve cooked mine in the microwave the last couple of times. You cut it in half (carefully), take out the seeds and bake. Here are some directions for cooking spaghetti squash. I do cook mine longer in the microwave than she says to because I’ve learned that for our tastes a fork must easily pierce the skin, not just go in but easily go in. Once it’s cooked, take out the “spaghetti” and pull it apart with a couple of forks. Sprinkle on basil, salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with olive oil. Then mix together.
A Taste of Fall
Today feels like our first day of fall in Nashville. This is a stunning time of year here. Leaves turn many shades of red, gold and orange. My husband and I discovered in our first fall together that we both loved it so we stenciled fall leaves on our living room wall. (The stencil for the rust leaf on the middle right was actually made from a real oak leaf that fell into the car trunk.)
Fall makes me think of things like a warm, cinnamony muffin with a hint of apple and a hot cup of tea. These muffins fill that need perfectly. Light but hearty with the carrots and the walnuts, they seem to say fall. Applesauce* from new crop apples rounds them out.
Carrot Walnut Muffins
2 cups almond flour (I used Honeyville)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup applesauce*
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Heat oven to 300 degrees and line muffin pan with paper liners. (I use these because almond flour doesn’t stick to them and does stick to regular ones.)
Combine almond flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon in bowl and mix until combined. (If there are still lumps in the flour, break them up with a fork.) Add eggs, honey, applesauce and vanilla then mix for a couple of minutes until creamy. Add carrots and combine, then stir in walnuts. Fill the muffin cups and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a tootpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Makes 12 muffins.
*I usually make my own applesauce, not jars of it lined up on a shelf but just as I need it. I like the taste and texture better. I guess I’m an applesauce snob. It’s very easy to make. While you’re grating carrots and chopping walnuts, you’re also making applesauce.
Chop one peeled and cored medium apple, put it in a small pan with water halfway up the apples then bring to a boil, drop to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir occassionally, watching to make sure it doesn’t run out of water before the apples are cooked. When it looks like applesauce – or chunky applesauce (see below) – cook off any excess water or you’ll have too much liquid in the recipe.
Some varieties of apples melt down completely into sauce, some hold their shape more. If you’ve chosen one that stays chunky, puree it in the food processor for this recipe. Also, keep in mind that a sweet apple makes sweet applesauce, a tart apple makes tart applesauce. I don’t like to add sweetener so I stay away from the tart apples when making applesauce. One medium apple makes about 1/2 cup.
Adopting Naomi from Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried
It’s always fun being part of Book of Yum’s Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger, hosted this month by Alta at Tasty Eats at Home. Through the event, we all learn about new blogs and the recipes on them. (Check out the one I hosted a couple of months ago.)
I’d visited Naomi Devlin’s blog, Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried before out of curiosity; she’s the founder of the blog carnival “Go ahead honey, it’s gluten free” and I waned to learn more about it.
She has a great assortment of grain-free recipes, many SCD for those who need that, but also quite a few standard gluten-free recipes. I chose to make her Pecan Apple Bread because it was filled with things I enjoy. One caveat: this isn’t overly sweet. Apple, coconut, pecans and almonds are the main ingredients with no added sugar, honey, etc. That’s ok with me.
The only problem in making the recipe, and it wasn’t really a problem, was converting the measurments and some of the ingredients from British into American. For this recipe, I also had to translate 50ml of oil into a more familiar measurement. I chose to use coconut oil so that became three tablespoons plus a rounded teaspoon.
You must have a scale to bake one of her recipes because many of the ingredients are in ounces. For the 2 ounces of creamed coconut, I finely ground unsweetened dried coconut in the food processor. I also made my own finely ground pecans. My pan was 8 inches square, not 9 but it worked fine. Oh, and the temperature of 160C became 320 Fahrenheit.
I’m looking forward to enjoying this bread. It isn’t light and fluffy, it’s dense so sliceable. It made enough that I’ll be able to slice it and put some in the freezer. I think it will be quite good toasted on a cool fall morning.
I was recently honored to be part of a great month of lunch ideas that Sunny at And Love It Too is hosting. I shared ideas for using leftovers. (I love leftovers.) Check out not only my post but all of the wonderful ideas that others have shared.