A Long Road Ahead

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any recipes here and there’s a good reason for that.

A month or two after I started mixing up homemade gluten-free baking mix from one of my favorite GF blogs, I started having a few  health issues. My digestive system started acting as if I was eating gluten again. My eczema was flaring up terribly. These flare ups were normally restricted to eating one of the foods I’d already eliminated from my diet.

Now, I’m not the kind of person who is going to waste things I’ve already paid for. Apart from being frugal, I just don’t have the kind of money that allows me to toss stuff out. This meant I kept on eating the GF mix and other things we had on hand while mentally I took a step back and tried to figure out what I could do for my poor body. Hence the lack of recipes. It’s just not appealing to try new recipes and share them when they make you feel awful.

Research indicated a few things for me. Firstly, that I could potentially have a problem with more grains than just those containing gluten. That would certainly explain the problems with the GF baking mix.

Then I came across information on a skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa on a Celiac board. I’d never heard of it before, but I definitely have it. My dermatologist was just one of the many who don’t know what the condition is and therefore couldn’t give their patients an appropriate diagnosis. Looking into this skin condition I came across many accounts of individuals who found relief by cutting out nightshades all together. I already had been diagnosed with sensitivities to tomatoes and chili peppers, so it didn’t seem like a stretch that other nightshades might be a problem for me as well.

All of this led me to The Paleo Diet and Whole 30. While learning what I could about these diets I came to the conclusion that doing Whole 30 along with the added removal of nightshades could potentially help me figure out what foods I needed to eliminate permanently from my diet.

So on October 1st my diet drastically changed. Goodbye grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, and nightshades.

If I’m honest, I expected to find one or two things that I couldn’t tolerate. But for the most part, I thought my diet would be able to go back to the way it was before the 30 days. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to be the case. Perhaps my body needs longer to heal or maybe it’s just never going to be able to tolerate certain things.

So here is the list of additional foods that at this point cause me physical problems:

  1. Dairy–within 20-30 minutes of eating it my nose is completely congested.
  2. Corn–there had better be a bathroom handy within a few hours of consuming. (Sorry, that may be TMI.)
  3. Nightshades, and specifically potatoes–the hidradenitis suppurativa had cleared up completely until I consumed potatoes. Then it started to flare again.
  4. Beans–you know that wonderful old saying, “Bean, beans the wonder fruit, the more you eat the more you…” It’s not just embarrassing, but painful.
  5. Alcohol–I don’t know anyone who likes to be a human furnace who looks like a beet.
  6. Squash–butternut squash and pumpkin just in the last few days have been causing me painful GI distress. I’m hoping and praying that this is an issue of over consumption and that I’ll be able to eat it in moderation after a fast from the stuff.

As you can see this is a serious shift in the way I need to eat.

I’m trying to be positive about all of this change, because while doing the Whole 30 I felt better than I have in years. I was sleeping soundly without a sleep aid for 7-9 hours a night. Allergy medication was no longer necessary, nor was Mucinex to make my head drain. The hidradenitis suppurativa clearing up is a serious blessing, as I’ve suffered from it for roughly half of my life. And to top it all off I lost 15 pounds–much of which I know was water weight, but still encouraging.

Even as I try and stay positive, I feel a little like I’m drowning. It’s all just so overwhelming. But I do want to say that I still plan to post here when I have something to share. I’ve already been experimenting with recipes–such as trying to give homemade sausage a bit of heat without any peppers. That said, the types of recipes will obviously have to change. And I might share more about my struggle with this new way of eating, because I may need an outlet and perhaps my struggles can help someone else.


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Cheater’s Cobbler

Every once in a while it is nice to have an easy dessert to throw together, whether it is for unexpected company or a sudden sweet tooth. With a quick crust and canned pie filling, you just can’t beat this cobbler. Just make sure your to check the ingredients on the filling.

img_0292Cheater’s Cobbler


  • 1 1/2 cups Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 C melted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2-21oz cans fruit pie filling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.
  3. Spread pie filling in the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. Combine the baking mix, 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter, then fold in milk.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of dough on top of pie filling, then spread it evenly.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the top.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

As everyone I’ve ever met does (or close to anyway), we serve cobbler with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream! If you need a quick gluten-free dessert, this was a hit with even my gluten eating family members.

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Egg Stuffed Baked Potatoes

I needed something relatively quick and easy for dinner one night. So, I dug through my pantry and fridge looking for ingredients I had on hand. Then I recalled a picture I had come across last week. So I ended up making baked potatoes stuffed with eggs. If for some reason you have leftover baked potatoes–this would be a great way to use them up. I didn’t so I pricked holes in my potatoes and stuck them in the microwave for 10 minutes. All together these took about 30 minutes from start to finish. I tried to come up with come cute name for these…but I’ve got nothing.

egg-stuffed-potatoesEgg Stuffed Baked Potatoes


  • 4 baked potatoes (I used russet potatoes)
  • 4 tablespoons shredded cheese
  • 4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled (or bacon bits)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut a thin layer off of the top of your potatoes.
  3. Scoop out the potatoes, then season the potato shell.
  4. Add a tablespoon of cheese and one whole egg to each potato.
  5. Season the egg to taste.
  6. Sprinkle the bacon and green onion over the eggs.
  7. Bake the potatoes for 20-25 minutes. You’re just looking for the whites to set.
  8. Serve immediately.
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Rocky Road Brownies

Do you ever have one of those cravings that you try and try to ignore, but finally you just give in? I spent a couple of days thinking about delicious chocolaty goodness, but I was doing pretty good. Then my neighbors call and ask me to come hang out. I get over there and what are they doing? Making brownies! Talk about a punch to my willpower. Well, their brownies were not gluten-free, which meant I couldn’t eat one anyway. So, I was still holding out…I would not give in to temptation!!! However, I got home and heard the question, “Do we have anything for dessert? I want something sweet!” That was it, my willpower had already been crumbling anyway. I used a recipe I found online and altered it to make it rocky road. The original recipe is here. These were very good, a little too cake-like for my personal preference, but still tasty.

rocky-road-browniesGluten-Free Rocky Road Brownies

Gluten-Free Rocky Road Brownies


  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 3/4 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/3 c. gluten-free flour mix
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows


  1. In a large sauce pan, stir the butter and cocoa over low heat until melted. Remove from heat and, using a wooden spoon or stiff spatula, add the sugars. Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour mix, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Add this to the sauce pan and stir until all the flour is moistened. Stir in half the chocolate chips and the nuts.
  3. Spread the batter into a greased and rice floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips and marshmallows on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool before cutting.
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Baked Applesauce

The thing I love about a delicious homemade applesauce is that it is so versatile. Having pork chops for dinner? It makes a great side dish. Making German style, red cabbage? Throw it in as an ingredient. Trying your hand at low-fat baking? Substitute some applesauce for the oil. Need a quick and easy dessert? Heat up some applesauce in the microwave, and top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You get the idea! :)

Baked Applesauceimg_0159


  • 3 lbs granny smith apples
  • 3 lbs gala apples
  • 2 navel oranges, zested and juiced (I also use the pulp)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1/4 cup Splenda blend brown sugar (or 1/2 cup brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the juice, zest and if desired the pulp of the oranges into a large bowl.
  3. Peel, quarter and core the apples, toss them with the orange juice.
  4. Pour apples and juice into an enamel iron pot or a dutch oven.
  5. Add the cinnamon, all-spice, and brown sugar to the apples.
  6. Scatter the butter in small bits over the apples.
  7. Cover and bake for 90 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and use a potato masher or even a whisk to make the applesauce a smooth or as chunky as you like.

This comes out to roughly 2 quarts of applesauce.

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Lemon Chicken Scallopini

Several years ago my family went on vacation to North Carolina. While there we went and visited the Biltmore. It is a gorgeous house and the grounds are beautiful. By the time we finished touring the house it was almost 9 o’clock at night and we were all starving. With an hour and a half drive back to our lodgings, we looked for the first restaurant we could find–which happened to be a TGI Fridays. Now, I don’t remember what anyone in the family ate for dinner that night, except for my mother. Why do I remember what she ordered? From the first bite of her dinner, my mother was in love with her food. The mmmms and aaaaaaaaahs and ooohhhs were quite attention grabbing. My sister-in-law teasingly asked mom if her dinner was good and we all had a good laugh. We still crack jokes about that meal, all these years later. TGI Fridays hasn’t had lemon chicken scallopini on the menu for years. However, that doesn’t stop my mom talking about how good it was.

Since then, it has become a tradition that I make Lemon Chicken Scallopini for her birthday. I made this gluten free, by using rice flour and gluten free pasta. And in case you’re wondering, this is not in any way, shape or form a diet friendly meal! :)

I'm not sure the picture does it justice.

I’m not sure the picture does it justice.

Lemon Chicken Scallopini


  • 2 large chicken breasts, butterflied
  • rice flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 4 pieces bacon (or if you want to pay more, pancetta)
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz spaghetti, cooked to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Using scissors, cut the bacon into pieces and cook in the skillet until crispy.
  2. While the bacon is cooking coat the chicken breasts in the seasoned rice flour.
  3. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until the chicken is nice and browned.
  4. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the onion and mushrooms to the skillet. Saute for a minute or two, until the mushrooms are cooked through and the onions are tender, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the garlic, capers, and white wine. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Then stir in the cream and lemon juice. Add the chicken back into the skillet and allow to cook for 3 more minutes.
  6. Give the sauce one last taste test and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Serve over spaghetti or alongside mashed potatoes if preferred.
  8. Garnish with bacon and flat leaf parsley if desired.

*This is enough to feed four people.

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Spicy Cauliflower and Salmon Pasta

Because of my issues with tomatoes, making pasta isn’t just an issue of swapping out the noodles for a gluten free variety. Because I can’t just pull out a jar of Ragu, it has led to a lot experimentation over the years. When you want to eat pasta and you’re watching your weight, tomato sauce tends to be the go to. But, I’ve recently  found that wine is fairly low in calories (I know, I’m a little slow). With this information in hand, I developed this recipe that has become a favorite in my house. I use Farmo-corn and rice penne for this dish. Farmo is by far the best gluten free pasta I’ve found. The first time I tried it I was amazed at how similar to regular pasta it was-both in taste and consistency.

img_0277Spicy Cauliflower and Salmon Pasta


  • 1 head of Cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 8 oz penne (or pasta of your choice)
  • Salmon fillets (about 12 oz)
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 20 medium black olives, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup Pino Grigio or white wine of your choice
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Toss cauliflower florets with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spread evenly on a baking sheet.
3. Put salmon in greased baking dish add salt and pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes.
4. Put both salmon and cauliflower in the oven for 20 minutes. 5. While salmon and cauliflower are baking, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.6.Heat a separate skillet to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoons olive oil and the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.7.Add olives and drained capers, and 1/4 cup white wine. Reduce heat to a simmer and add salt, pepper and a pinch of chili flakes. Keep on heat until pasta, salmon and cauliflower are done cooking.

8. When salmon is finished cooking flake it with a fork into bite size pieces.

11. Combine the cooked pasta, cauliflower, flaked salmon, and wine sauce. Serve immediately.

This makes 4 servings, and is pretty healthy at 459 calories per serving.

*There are quite a few steps to this dish, but I have found that I can get it all done in the 20 minutes that the salmon and cauliflower bake.

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Gluten Free General Tso’s Chicken

In my family we love Chinese food. And there is a really good Chinese take out place just a couple blocks from our house…but as with most take out, it isn’t gluten-free. General Tso’s Chicken is a family favorite so as usual I searched Google for a recipe. The one I went with looked good and I needed to make a trip to an Asian grocery store anyway (rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch are way cheaper there). In addition to the chicken we had fried rice and spring rolls (if anyone is interested in either of these recipes let me know). Even though this was more work than I wanted for Chinese food (Isn’t Chinese food supposed to be for nights you just want to pick something up?), it was definitely tasty. So, while I won’t be going to the effort to make this on a regular basis, I will be keeping it on hand for special occasions.

img_0258General Tso’s Chicken (Gluten Free)

Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” chunks)
  • 5 dried red chili peppers + cayenne pepper
  • 3 scallions (sliced)
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • oil (for frying)

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Wheat Free Tamari
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. In a large mixing bowl combine cornstarch and beaten eggs. Mix well to create a batter. Add chicken bits and coat thoroughly.
  2. To make the sauce: in a small bowl combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Heat deep fryer or wok to 375 degrees and deep fried chicken bits in batches. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to your wok (I just used a big skillet). Add dried chili peppers to your wok and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add chicken bits to the wok and stir fry for a couple minutes.
  5. Add sauce mixture to the wok and cook, stirring until the sauce becomes thickened and bubbly. Taste the chicken, if not spicy enough add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Garnish with scallions and serve.
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Greek Salad Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers. But almost every stuffed pepper recipe I’ve ever seen calls for tomatoes in some form or another. They also usually take an hour or more to bake, which is longer than I want to wait. One day the thought struck me that I could take the typical ingredients of a Greek salad–minus the tomatoes of course–mix in some brown rice and stuff the peppers with the mixture. It took some finagling, but I’ve come up with a recipe that I really love.

img_0403Greek Salad Stuffed Peppers


  • 4 bell peppers, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 oz-fresh spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or just used the jarred stuff)
  • 1 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (I use the jarred deli strips.)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons Greek salad dressing
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place bell pepper halves in a 9×13 cut side up and lightly salt, bake for 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, in a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and saute the onion until translucent.
  4. Add the spinach and garlic to the skillet, turn the spinach frequently, cooking until the spinach is wilted.
  5. Once the spinach has wilted remove from heat and mix in the remaining ingredients. Taste mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Fill the pepper halves with spinach and rice mixture and return to oven.
  7. Bake for another 20 minutes or until filling is heated through.
  8. Serve immediately.

Here is a picture of the filling by itself…it would make a good side dish without the pepper.


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Gluten Free Banana and Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

It never fails. Every time we buy bananas we end up with a few that hang around long enough to become spotty, brown and overripe. If you are anything like me, they either go in the garbage (when I’m lazy) or into a loaf of banana bread. Now, I like banana bread as much as the next person, but one day I decided it was time to try something different. So I took the sour cream coffee cake recipe on the bag of my Pamela’s pancake & baking mix, changed the filling and added bananas to the batter. I wasn’t sure what adding the bananas would do to the consistency, but it turned out really well!

img_01812Gluten Free Banana and Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake



  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon


  • 2 cups Pamela’s Pancake & Baking Mix
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix filling ingredients together and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla and bananas.
  4. On low speed, alternate mixing in baking mix and sour cream (in about 3 batches). Don’t over mix.
  5. Grease a 9 inch bundt pan and add half of the batter, cover with half of the filling. Dollop the rest of the batter and spread evenly. Top with the rest of the filling mixture. Take a knife and insert straight down into batter and using a sawing motion, move up and down around the pan in a zig zag motion in 1-inch intervals to marbleize the cake. Do not smooth out the batter.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. While cake is still warm run a knife around the edges and middle. Once cooled, remove from pan.
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