Welcome Friends!

Welcome Friends! I am so grateful for all who have shared their stories of food-related hurts and healings. It is an ever-evolving journey for me, and I have relied upon others who have held similar experiences for comfort, empathy, knowledge and support. In this blog, I share some of my personal experiences as well as some of my favorite foods. I am currently on a grain-free diet, very similar to the Paleo diet. Having multiple food sensitivities as well as hypoglycemia, I have taken liberties with the diet, such as using agave nectar instead of honey. I'm aware of the great agave debate, but keeping my blood sugar low takes priority. I use such small quantities, that it is a non-issue for me. In addition, I still use cream in my coffee as well as a few other dairy products sparingly. I have given up so many beloved foods, that I am stubborn when it comes to dairy. Also, when I am really craving a starch, I will eat quinoa, buckwheat, lentils or beans. Again, it isn't very often, and these foods have some very healthful benefits as well. However, I find I feel my best when following most closely to the Paleo diet, eating large quantities of vegetables and animal protein. It isn't a philisophical choice for me, but rather a choice to feed my body what it seems to need for optimum performance-pain free, clear-headed, energetic and balanced. I hope you find something here that looks delicious even though your diet may look quite different than mine. Good food transends across the boundries of "diet." Enjoy!


My Favorite Pancakes Ever - and they are gluten-free!

I have tried so many pancake recipes, traditional and gluten-free, and have never found one I loved. Some were doughy, fell apart, dry, unflavorful or something just doesn't work for me (yes, I realize it could be me...) When I became gluten-free, I searched for pancake recipes again for variety sake. I found a great crepe recipe in The Wheat-Free Cook by Jaqueline Mallorca, but no pancake recipe that just thrilled our family. Then a couple weeks ago I was playing around with my new sorghum mix and created these little gems. We love them-especially with chocolate chips and chopped strawberries! Oh yum!

1 1/4 cup of sorghum flour mix
1/2 tsp guar gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten (or egg replacer for vegan)
1 tbsp honey or agave
1 cup milk (cow, nut, hemp, rice, or soy)
2 tbsp oil (I have used grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and melted coconut oil)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup chopped strawberries or bananas (optional)

Mix flour, guar gum, baking powder, soda and salt together. In another bowl beat egg and add milk, oil, vanilla and vinegar and mix. Add flour mixture all at once, stirring just until the flour is mixed in. Pour 1/4 cup portions (or whatever size pancakes you like) onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or skillet. If using chocolate chips and strawberries, sprinkle on batter as soon as you pour it on the griddle. Flip when the bubbles start popping and the edges are beginning to dry and firm up. Enjoy!

Time Saving Tip: Mix the dry ingredients together the night before. Then just add the liquid ingredients in the morning.

Other flavor add-ins in place of strawberries and chocolate chips:
1/2 large or 1 small mashed banana and 1/4 cup toasted pecans
1/2 large or 1 small mashed banana, 1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/8 cup mini-chocolate chips
1/2 cup blueberries and 1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1/2 cup finely grated apple and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (reduce milk by 2 tbsp)

These are the chocolate chips I usually use. They do contain cane sugar, but they are prepared in a dedicated factory and are gluten, soy, and dairy free.


Sorghum & Millet Flour Blend

I know there are so many gluten-free flour blends in cookbooks and on the market, and usually I opt for the convenience of Pamela's or Bob's All-Purpose gluten-free blends. But very recently I have explored beyond these two brands because I cannot have the almonds or rice in Pamela's, and I don't love the beany aftertaste in Bob's. I realize the gar-fava flour blend in Bob's is more nutritious than other options, but I just don't love the flavor in all baked goods. So after trying recipes and experimenting at home, I have developed a blend I LOVE! It's a sorghum, millet and tapioca flour blend that has worked beautifully in muffins, brownies, and pancakes! Yipee! There is no grit, no strange aftertaste, no dry or crumbly textures. It's light, moist and more like wheat recipes than any I have used in my 3 years of experimenting.

Even though sorghum is not a powerhouse of nutrition like almond flour or gar-fava flour, it is still much more nutritious than rice flour with more than twice the protein, more insoluble fiber and fewer calories. The fiber makes it slower to digest, leaving you feeling fuller longer. This is also better for diabetics because it takes longer to convert to sugars.

The only thing I would like to change is to find an organic sorghum flour that has been milled in a dedicated gluten-free plant. I have found organic sorghum flour packaged on machinery used for wheat or a non-organic sorghum flour milled in a dedicated gluten-free factory. I chose gluten-free over organic-It's just not worth the risk of cross-contamination. I really like Authentic Foods brand of superfine sorghum flour (I order it through Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods so I don't have to pay shipping). Bob's Red Mill also sells sorghum flour, which Amazon carries with a rather steep shipping fee, so I also order it through Vitamin Cottage with a case discount and no shipping fees.

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup millet flour
1 cup tapioca starch (or flour)

You will need to add guar gum or xanthan gum to recipes. I use about 1/2 tsp. of guar gum per cup of flour mix and have had good results. I prefer guar gum because it is more naturally derived than xanthan gum. I also have a bad reaction to xanthan gum, possibly because it is often produced and harvested on corn.


Potato Leek Soup

It certainly isn't dairy free, but my family just loves this simple velvety soup. Frigid weather combined with a couple sick girls has us making several soups recently. This one is a crowd pleaser for sure. We served it at our National Charity League meeting and received many thumbs up. This is basically a lightened version of Jill Prescott's recipe from Ecole de Cuisine.

3 large leeks, white and light green parts. rinse very well to remove dirt and grit.
2-3 tbsp butter
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
12 ounces cream or half and half
1-2 tsp salt, to taste
white or black pepper to taste
cooked bacon pieces (optional for non vegetarians) I really like Applewood's Sunday Bacon, no added nitrates
  • Cut off dark green part of the leek. Cut in half length-wise, rinse between the layers, and slice in 1/4 inch slices
  • Saute leeks in butter over medium low heat, careful not to brown
  • Once softened add potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft
  • Blend in batches in a blender or with an imersion blender stick (food processors do not work well for this)
  • Stir in cream, salt, and pepper and gently heat
  • Top individual bowls of soup with bacon and enjoy!


Sweet Potato Biscuits

Oh, how I needed bread, something to go with my steamy cup of coffee. I wanted crispy on the outside, tender on the inside (hold the grit, please), slightly sweet, a vehicle for drippy honey. I needed a biscuit! My daughter's friend shared Thanksgiving with us and was telling us about sweet potato biscuits, one of her favorite holiday foods. I just had to try a gluten-free version since I still had leftover baked sweet potato from my sweet potato pie on Thanksgiving-it was destiny (or perhaps just lucky leftovers). Either way, I ran with it! And am I ever glad I did-yum!

1/3 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp guar gum
2 tsp baking powder (Hain featherweight is gluten free and corn free)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp Spectrum Organic Shortening, chilled (butter is fine if you can handle dairy)
3/4 cup sweet potato puree, chilled
2 tbsp agave or honey
1/3 cup milk of choice (I used hazelnut milk) + 1 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice to simulate buttermilk
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
  • Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives
  • Puree sweet potatoes in a blender or food processor and add "buttermilk" and agave 
  • Add potato mixture to flour mixture and blend quickly, careful not to overwork or let get too warm. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If necessary, use extra flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands
  • Spread or roll dough into the shape of a disk on a lightly floured surface (I like to use a pastry cloth or waxed paper)
  • With a floured 2 or 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter or glass, cut as many biscuits as possible. Reshape any scraps and cut biscuits from them
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are golden