Label reading is the most important thing you can do when you are shopping for food. Even the "all natural" foods can be tainted with additions such as wheat, milk, soy, nuts, etc. Fortunately, there are new regulations which require food manufacturers to list the ingredients which are allergy-triggers at the end of the ingredient list.

If you have a magnifying glass, and don't mind reading all the mile long names of who knows what in that box or bag of food, be my guest! It is much more time efficient to scan down to the allergy list, cross your fingers, and hope for a clear-to-buy!


White pasta

I am not a cereal fan. There are few things that I actually enjoy eating for breakfast. Mostly, I am not all that hungry until 10:00 at the earliest. A while ago, I got this 8 grain cereal mixture, made it up once, and it's been sitting around my pantry ever since.

I made this crazy dish for dinner the other night. The idea of it started from the Rachael Ray show, but I changed her idea to be easy and GF. Don't be afraid with what you read in the ingredient list. The 8 grain cereal mix is part of the recipe. I know, I know. But it really does taste good in the end. I promise.

Now, I feel the need to continue giving "heads up" for this recipe. It is not your regular sort of pasta dish. There is no red sauce on it. I did choose to put in tomato in order to give some color, and because I have alot of grape tomatoes ripening in my garden right now. So they are in most of my meals lately. No sauce on pizza is white pizza so I dubbed this dish white pasta. Don't loose me... here we go!

White pasta

Cook a couple cups of GF noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and put back in the hot pot while you make the topping. Squeeze some lemon juice over the hot noodles and toss to coat.

Take a large skillet and heat it on medium heat. Pour enough olive oil in to coat the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 cup of the Red Mill 8 grain cereal to the oil and cook it until it gets browned and smells nutty. Keep an eye on it - you don't want it to burn! Add 1/8 cup of dried parsley to the pan. Stir and add a little more oil if the mixture has soaked the pan dry. Saute on gentle heat for a total of about 10 minutes. Add a teaspoon of garlic powder and stir to distribute.

After the grain cereal has softened up enough to chew but is still firm, take 4 ounces of cooked, sliced ham (I used ham for sandwiches) and cut into strips. Add to the pan to heat through. Pour entire mixture into the pasta, mix together. Take small tomatoes, cut in half. Add to pasta and fold in. The remaining heat will cook them enough to make them soft but will still hold their shape. Shred parmesean cheese over the top to taste.

There it is. A no-sauce pasta dish that has meat, tons of flavor and GF nutrients. And it's a little on the weird side so it must be something special, wouldn't you agree? Try it. I dare you!



I was at work the other day and was offered a most refreshing drink. This was tasty and even more importantly, it is easy to make! Who doesn't cool down after a nice glass of iced tea? So, here is the beverage of choice for my summer time glasses.

Citrus Tea

Make (or buy) a batch of unsweetened iced tea
Make (or buy) a batch of lemonade, limeade or orange juice

Mix the tea with the citrus-ade at a 3 cup tea to 1 cup juice ratio.
Add more juice if you want more of a citrus flavor.

Try it - I bet you will like it!!!


Cookie time

A while back, I told you that I heard about Betty Crocker(TM) coming out with some box mixes to cater to us GF'ers. I have been looking and looking for them, but with no success. About a week ago, my sister told me she found the cake mix in our local Price Chopper grocery store. This is a store that I do not go to, but may just have to start to!

As grocery day approached, I decided to make my way there instead of to my regular, closer shopping marts. That place is alot different that I remember it! Way bigger - way nicer - way fancier. I may stop there from time to time... Anyways, after strolling through the baking isle and didn't find the bags of GF mixes. The next place to look is in the "health food" section. There's Red Mill stuff, Pamela's stuff, Gluten Free Pantry stuff, Arrowhead Mills stuff.... Now I'm getting a little ticked. How better can they hide it? So, in a last ditch effort, I went down the baking isle again. Really looking at every shelf, and finally saw the BOXES of GF mixes by Betty Crocker (TM). So I grabbed a box of chocolate chip cookie mix and a box of brownie mix. Finally, there will be some easy dessert joy!

Baking day arrives. I pull out the box. One mixing bowl, check! One BOX of cookie mix, check! One egg, check! Vanilla, check! One stick of softened butter - fail! I am off to the store again.

Next day - start over! Everything comes out. Mis-en-place. Let's bake cookies!

This mixture is really crumbly. It does not hold together like one would expect. It does hold together just enough when you press it on the spoon and push it off to form little mounds on the baking sheet. There are alot of chips in it, which is a good thing in my book! I always have to extend my baking time on GF stuff. There have been too many thing I have made which have been undercooked. Undercooked is NOT good. The directions said to bake until lightly browned...kinda like this:

The choice to make teaspoon sized or tablespoon sized cookies was a tough choice for me. I like a nice big cookie, but a little one to pop in the mouth is a sweet treat too. Starting out with the big one, it was obvious that the cookie flattens out to a thin size and it will break apart pretty easily. The teaspoon sized batch was made next, and those came out a little bit thicker.

All in all, the mix seems to be worth the effort. It is a sweet, chocolately treat that can be made up in minutes. I got 12 large sized cookies and 15 small ones. This was easily enough to fill up a plate and could be a fine dessert dish to bring along to any gathering or event.

Now we can break them into vanilla ice cream, or top them off with fudge frosting. Where's my glass of ice-cold milk? Who is missing out on dessert? Not me - especially when it's this easy!


Random thoughts

One of the things that no one wants to heartily embrace is change. We have a way of doing things. We have a comfort zone. Why rock the boat?

When it comes down to being well, sometimes we have to entertain the notion that the "same ol'-same ol'" may not be the best way.

Food intolerances have been on the uprise over the last number of years. Perhaps this is contibuted to more awareness of such intolerances and the desire of big name people to try to fight them.

About two years ago, I was experiencing some digestion issues. One thing that I don't like to do is to give up is stuff that I usually eat. But it came down to the notion that perhaps I should go GF.

I didn't need a doctor to tell me to do this. I am in control of what goes into my mouth. I chose to eat one way before, and I choose to eat this way now. It has benefited me in several ways so I continue. Do I slip up? Yes, I do. But for the most part, it is not that difficult to eat this way.

If you decide that you want to give up something, you just do it. In order for you to have an accurate blood test, you have to fast, and you do it. If you purpose to be a vegetarian, you strive to achieve that lifestyle. If you are unhappy with something in your life, you do what you need to do to change it. What kind of power is that? A great one, I'd say!

Are you having symptoms that won't go away no matter what you do? Should you go GF? Don't let addictions to food keep it's hold on you. Take control and do it! It may be the answer you're looking for.


An experiment

Summer brings out all sorts of things in us. Fresh pick your own strawberries, bar-b-q's, dining on the deck, trips to the ice cream stand. The must-have side dish is (drum roll......) macaroni salad!

I was goofing around with the idea of making a different kind of macaroni salad. The ideas came to reality in the kitchen the other day. Here's the low down.

I made a batch of GF macaroni noodles, and added a bottle of alfredo-cheese sauce to it.

Side note: Take a look at the different jarred alfredo sauces in the stores. You can probably find something that will not have flour in it. I cannot vouch as to whether or not it is truly GF, but when I don't find flour on the label, I give it a chance. Sometimes I miss a non-GF ingredient, though. You'll have to decide if you want to give it a chance.

Anyways, back to the salad. The noodles were saucy, and I added some cut up turkey into it. (Chicken or tuna would be tasty too.) Some of it was served up for dinner that night. Then, the leftovers went in the fridge.

A couple days later, I was looking at it, and thought, "macaroni salad". After macaroni sits for any length of time, it soaks up the moisture and gets kinda dry, as what was happening to my cold alfredo mixture. A little dollop of mayo got stirred in and the macaroni salad began to become reality. A little grind of pepper, a pinch of salt, and some celery seed... it was good! I think adding peas to it would make it even better.

Let me know if you try this summer favorite recipe.



Sometimes you have to have a night off from cooking. It used to be slim pickings as to where you could find a normal restaurant with GF selections. Not so these days! The food service industry is coming up to bat for people with food sensitivities!

Where can you go and still order GF? It may not be news to some but the good old Outback Steakhouse has my first choice vote. The bread they bring to the table is GF. There is a section in the menu to choose several tasty entrees from. OK, you have to stay away from those blooming onions but the Alice Springs Chicken is my personal favorite!



Fresh Hot Buttery

What do those words bring to mind? The theater . . . concession stand . . . POPCORN!

Believed to be first discovered by Native Americans, this variety of corn explodes into a white, airy puff that is a fun and tasty snack. Loved by kids and adults everywhere, popcorn can be found being sold by Scouts, cooked in kettles at the fair, in 3 flavors in holiday tins. It can be strung up as decorations, handed out at treats to animals, flattened into cakes. It can be popped by air, on the stove, or in the microwave. It has been topped with butter, salt, sugar, cheese, caramel, and my favorite - seasoned salt.

When I was growing up, my dad made popcorn for us on Sunday nights. We got out our biggest lidded skillet, poured in the oil and a couple of kernels and when they would burst, the rest of the corn went in the pan. A few minutes later, we were topping it off with melted butter and salt, grabbing a big glass of OJ and munching it down.

I still make that same snack, usually on Sunday night. It is so delicious and if you pop it and top it yourself, you can know that it is a GF. And an easy snack for anyone to enjoy. I think I'll go make some right now!


Did it again

We had my shrimp poppers again and I didn't learn the lesson to take a picture while I can. They dwindled down to 2 or 3 and are in the fridge for later.

Yup. They are that good.


Sorry there isn't a pic

...but none are left! I made a yummy thing for dinner tonight. I saw a cooking show that had shrimp wrapped in proscuitto and was eventually made into some pasta dish. Well, the brain mulled over that for a while and when I went to the grocery store, I picked up some simple ingredients to make my GF variation of the seafood.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Poppers

1 pound frozen, cooked shrimp
1 package of bacon (plain, maple, hickory, any flavor will work)
dried parsley

Place a saute pan on a low heat. Place frozen shrimp in water to partially thaw; remove tail shells. Take the bacon and cut the slices in half. Wrap bacon around the shrimp and place in pan. Cook until bacon is browned on each side. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to remove excess drippings. Serve hot, topped with parsley.

I served them with baked beans. According to my panel of experts, they are "tasty". According to me, they are tasty AND easy!


Mexican - Yes I Can

Mexican food is GF friendly. The refried beans, tortillas, nacho chips, salsa...all good stuff! We were visiting friends a handful of years ago and they made burritos. They were really good and I minimally adapted them to be a satisfying GF regular in our house.


1# ground meat (beef or turkey or a combination of both)
1 package of taco seasoning (although I found 1/2 a package works just fine)

Cook meat throroughly, using spoon to cut into pieces as it cooks. Add taco seasoning according to directions and set aside when done.

Corn tortillas (the soft kind)
1 can of refried beans
1 large jar of salsa (heat to taste - I like hot)
1 package of shredded "mexican" cheese
1 jar of black olives
Sour cream, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Take tortilla and coat center with refried beans. Top with meat. Roll into a log shape. Place in baking dish. Continue until all meat is gone. I usually wind up with 5 logs. Top with jar of salsa and shredded cheese. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve one log per person with black olives on the side. Top with sour cream, if desired.

This is so yummy. It is filling and satisfying and GF goodness. Try it for yourself and let me know if you agree!



When we decided to try GF, I started to think that our menu was going to be limited and boring. I thought about how flour is in alot of things! Bread is out. No pancakes, cookies, pies... and forget about Italian food!

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is tasty pasta made for GF'ers. Fortunately, my sister had already tried many of them and told me and saved me from gagging on the mushy or funny tasting ones. The one she liked best was Tinkyada.

This stuff does not have false advertising on it. It is really good! You can put it in some boiling water and cook it for a minute or two and then cut the heat, cover it and let it sit for 18-20 minutes in the hot water to finish cooking. Can you say, "Energy saver!"?

I have made macaroni salad with tuna, mac-n-cheese, goulash, ziti with meat sauce, lasagne. Does that sound like I am missing out on Italian? Doesn't sound like it to me!


The regular old grocery stores

...are starting to carry more gluten free things. Have you noticed? I think Hannaford was one of the groundbreakers when it came to stocking the shelves with what we want. Price Chopper wasn't far behind them. Thank you, mega marts, for giving people with food sensitivity a place in the store!

About a month ago, I was meandering down the snack isle in Walmart, and glanced over at what I thought was a new place for salsa, and saw rice flour. Then I saw more flours and then saw GF noodles, and then found GF cookies and dessert mixes. At the point of holding back a tear, I immediately found Pamela's Pecan Sandies cookies and Midel Gingersnaps. Joy! I hear that Betty Crocker was going to release some dessert mixes, but I haven't found them yet. Believe me, I won't stop looking!

I suppose it isn't the fact that there are more places to buy "our" groceries that matters most to me. It is the notion that food sensitivity is being taken seriously enough by the stores. I hope this trend continues. We need it!


The Sirloin

Sirloin steak is a delicious cut that cooks up beautifully with little effort. Because of the cut and the marbelizing of the fat throughout the steak, it gets tender and juicy and is so very good.

Let's see, the way to make steak. For me, it has to be easy, and here's what I do to it. My picture shows my raw steak soaking in a marinade. I find this to give a more tender result. Thusly naming my GF recipe:

Marinated Steak

Making the marinade:
1/3 cup canola oil
1 TBSP vinegar
1 clove of garlic minced (or 1/2 tsp of powdered garlic)
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Meat Preparation:
Take a fork and poke lots of holes in the steak. Place meat in a large baggie or in a pan a little bit bigger than the steak. Pour liquid marinade over meat. Seal the baggie with no air in it so liquid is surrounding the steak. If using a pan, flip the meat alot to coat both sides regularly. Leave in marinade for at least 1/2 hour. But it will be much better if you leave it for 3-4 hours though!

Take to use your secret weapon! Heat a cast iron pan to a very hot temperature. If you have any rib sauce on reserve, put a little of that in the pan. Place steak on pan and sear both sides until they are well browned. Reduce the temperature to low and cover steak with foil. Cook for about 1-2 more minutes. Turn off heat, let rest for 5 minutes. Cut against any noticeable graining.

So when someone says, "...wanna have steak for dinner?" You can come back with a confident, "Yes Sir!"


A Good Read

I am not a gluten expert by any means. I have not searched out books or feel qualified to say which one is better than which other one. There are several books out in the stores about the topic and I suppose that reading about the topic is better than not reading about it. However, when my sister wanted information, she found a book that was so very helpful in explaining what she needed to know. I have read it, and probably should go through it again.


That, my GF friends, is a good read.


BBQ - but not really

A summer is complete when you dine on food from the backyard BBQ. Who can resist food with that smoky, crispy outside and the juicy inside. The heat stays out of the kitchen. Most of the time, at least at my house this is true, the hubby takes over and you get a break from cooking for the night!
Free Clipart Picture of Dad BBQing Burgers. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart Guide.com
On Memorial Day, we lit up the grill and made up some baby back ribs. Two and a half hours later, we had falling-off-the-bone tender BBQ ribs for dinner. Oh so good. The way I make them, you basically cover them with a spice rub, place them in a foil pouch, add some vital liquids and steam them for a couple hours. Then open the pouch and place them on the very hot grill to crisp up the outside. The really excellent thing about making them this way is, you have all the lucious, flavorful juice that they cook in. This juice can be boiled down and used as the best BBQ sauce you have ever tasted. Or you can pour it into a jar and refrigerated for later uses.

I usually choose to do the latter. I have stirred some of the juice in cooked rice. Pan fried hot dogs with some juice in the pan. But my fave is to use it with chicken! I wanted to make chicken tonight, so I decided to do it up in the good ol' oven. You will need the biggest gun in your pot and pan arsenal - the cast iron skillet. I have a 12" one and it steps food up from good to great. Don't have one? They are in the kitchen stores, the camping goods stores, the one stop mega marts. Go get one!

Check this out:

BBQ Oven Chicken

Chicken pieces
Juice from the BBQ'd ribs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat up a cast iron skillet to a high heat level. Take the grease from the juice and place it in the skillet (use the grease in place of oil and seasonings). Use enough grease to coat the pan lightly. Place the chicken pieces in the pan and turn to sear all sides. Remove from burner and cover pan with aluminum foil. Place pan on the bottom of oven (put it on a pizza stone set on the bottom of the oven, if you have one) and bake for 1/2 hour. Take skillet out of oven and turn pieces over. Put foil back over the chicken and bake for another 1/2 hour, or until pieces are fully cooked. Brush some juice over the meat for even more flavor and serve it up with lots of napkins!

If you don't have a grill, or just don't feel like using yours but still want the yummy BBQ effect, try this out. I think you will be glad you did!


Garden growth

About 10 days ago, my father came over to build a raised garden bed for us as a gift for our anniversary. It was such a wonderful surprise and got filled with plants and seeds the very day it was completed!

Here's some of the progress:

Lettuce from plants

Carrots from seed with onion in the background

Beets from seed with cucumber from plants in the background

"Stringless" Beans from seed

I also planted tomato and pepper plants but they were pretty big already so I didn't show them.

I don't know what it is about it, but planting a seed and seeing it grow is amazing. The dead looking speck turns into a living, food-bearing plant. There is nothing with gluten here! It's easy to pick GF ingredients when they come from a garden!


Summertime Salad No. 1

It's Memorial Day - summer is officially on! How can you get through summer without eating fresh potato salad?

Here's a fabulous GF recipe that I put together last year and have improved it even more. The red peels and the green parsley and chive look so pretty on your plate. It can't be easier or more delicious.

Summer Potato Salad

4-5 cooked and cooled red potatoes, diced (use canned ones if you're in a hurry)
1 heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise (adjust more or less to taste)
pinch of kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper
a dash of red pepper
1 tsp. of fresh, chopped italian parsley
1 tsp. of fresh, sliced garlic chives

Mix together well. Chill and serve proudly.


Pass the limburger cheese please

Every May, usually around Mother's Day, I get a week long allergy attack. The sneezing, the runny nose, the watery eyes, the upgrading to softest tissues I can find. There were a number of years where my Mom and my sisters and I would go to a Mother's day brunch together. The food spread was always wonderful. As we would eat, I would hear everyone talk about how marvelous the food was, but I could not share that joy. My allergies were so bad that I couldn't smell or taste anything less toxic than limburger cheese.
Free Photo of Limberger Cheese and Rye Bread. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart Guide.com
Yes, you could almost set your calendar to it. In an effort to not take medicine unless it was absolutely necessary, I tried herbal supplements. I can't say if they did or didn't work; they probably did something.

There was a funny thing about my allergies this year. I hardly got them. There was one Saturday where it seemed like the bomb went off. My eyes got itchy. My nose started running to the point where I had to stuff tissues in the nostrils just to keep from having to use them so much. "Well", I thought, "here we go with the allergies this year". I stuck to my guns about no medicine, put a pile of tissues on my night stand and went to bed. By the next day, it was done, and I am sure that the pollen is still in the air. My friends are all complaining about their symptoms.

The biggest change in my life over the last year and a half is the limited intake of food with gluten. Could this have a connection? I think it does. The less offenses your body has to ward off within itself, the more strength you have to repair yourself. It seems like pretty easy logic to me. We'll see how I fare next Mother's Day and whether I can smell the limburger cheese or not.


The Deal

Almost as long as I can remember, my sister was really skinny. Some of you know what I'm talking about. This isn't perceived as a bad thing. Skinny has appeal. But when her physique landed her in the hospital, we all wanted answers. She was gluten intolerant. Come to find out, almost half of the people in my family are.

I am not an author, a doctor or a chef. I am just a regular person who wants to live a healthy life. I have not been diagnosed by anyone other than myself. I have done some reading and experimenting with my food and have found good results. I just want to share things that I do in my gluten free journey. My discoveries, recipes, thoughts, disappointments, struggles, shopping tips, successes. If I am going to do something, I need it to be simple! This site is a collection of GF done easy! Hopefully, something here will help someone out there.

So what is the deal with a Gluten Free diet? For my sister, it was a matter of life. For me, it's a choice. What is it for you?