An Ode to Grilled Cheese

Nothing says comfort food like grilled cheese. To get the maximum amount of comfort-food-goodness, you need the real thing - real butter, real cheese, and good bread. 

This sandwich used about two ounces of the gluten free bread I buy at my farmer's market, a solid ounce of cheese, and half a tablespoon of butter. I don't bother trying to smear the butter on the bread anymore. It's a waste of time and I always end up with bread that's falling to pieces.

An Everlasting Meal

The Salt Lake City Public Library has something called the "Lucky Day Collection" - recent books that are highly sought after, and which can only be found by going to the library. They're not even listed in the library's online catalog. My mother the librarian (yes, really) thinks this is an incredible idea. And I like it because I know I can walk in the front door and find an absolute gem.

Gluten Free Dinner at Vinto

Vinto is easily one of my favorite restaurants in Salt Lake City. From salads, to pasta, to pizza, there's something for everyone. Including a full bar (I'm in love with their house red wine, which is $1 an ounce).

One of the best things about Vinto (besides the food and the wine, I'll get there, I promise) is the atmosphere. It's contemporary while still maintaining a traditional feel. The brick oven for the pizzas is visible from the dining room, and you can see piles of heirloom tomatoes at the pizza station. Yum.

GF 101: Part Two (The Food)

Okay, first things first. Take a deep breath. It’s a lot to take in. 

You've seen a doctor, right? If you don't see a doctor to get a diagnosis first, you may have to eat gluten for five whole weeks to get an accurate diagnosis. Trust me, once you go off gluten you won't want to go back. See the doc first

Okay. Ready?

Being GF often feels like a lonely hike through the wilderness...
but there are friends right around the corner, I promise!

Let’s start with what you can eat on a gluten free diet:


Last year, I grew potatoes in my garden. Plain ol' white taters. They were tasty, and prolific producers. But this year, I wanted something a little more exciting. And I was moving. So I tried what I'd been seeing all over the internet...gardening in a bag. I planted the potatoes in an old reusable grocery sack, which I then hauled across the country. The picture above is my entire harvest, but it's not bad considering all these guys have gone through. I'm thinking homemade french fries.

Weekly Meal Plan

Mike's away today and tomorrow, and we'll be going all over kingdom come at the end of the week, so there's no traditional meal plan this week. If you're wondering, I'll probably be eating farmer's market berries,  local cheese, and local salami for lunch, and cheesy rice for dinner. Since we'll be super busy and away from home later in the week, we'll be doing a lot of "dashboard dining," aka making sandwiches in the car for lunch and finding gluten free restaurants for dinner.

But in the meantime, I'm using my farmer's market apples to make applesauce and apple butter, and whipping up some flaxseed chocolate chip cookies and English muffins to take on the road with me!

This Week at the Wheeler Farm Farmer's Market

A light haul this week, metaphorically speaking. Not because there wasn't anything good at the market - there were a ton of mouthwatering goodies I would have loved to take home with me - but because we'll be headed to Nashville soon, and I didn't want to overstock the fridge.
Here's what I got:
  •  Apples
  • Assorted berries (strawberries, rasberries, and the last blackberries of the season)
  • Pearl onions
  • Gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins
Total Cost: About $25
Stay tuned to see what I'm planning on fixing this week!

Food and the City, by Jennifer Cockrall-King

"Don't ask me if at fifty dollars a square foot, can you justify an urban agriculture program in the city of Toronto. Ask me if at $100,000 a year per juvenile at a detention center, can we not pay for one urban-agriculture program instead?"
                                   -Wayne Roberts, as quoted in  Food and the City, p. 210.

When I started this blog, I knew it wasn't going to be all about gluten free life. There's other stuff I'm really passionate about, other stuff that also gets me out of bed in the morning, other stuff that deserves to be a part of the conversation on this blog.

Enter food politics.

While Food and the City by Jennifer Cockrall-King makes no real mention of this pesky thing you and I like to call "gluten," those of us who are gluten free  can benefit from joining the conversation about food insecurity and urban agriculture. My own farmer's market is very conscious of celiacs' needs, with several vendors each week who sell gluten free breads, cookies, sauces, flavored popcorn, and who will even put gourmet gluten free toppings on your gluten free pizza crust. If more of us join this conversation, maybe we can improve food security and  the availability of healthy options for those of us living the gluten free lifestyle. 

How would you like to be nine meals from anarchy? Unless you grow all of your own food, you probably are. (p. 30). You see, grocery stores only carry three days worth of fresh food - milk, eggs, meat, and produce. Cockrall-King points out that this system is fine, until it isn't. (p. 31). September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina are just two examples of when the three-day food supply became a huge problem. While the tragedies of these two events transcend the simple availability of food, it is important for us to remember that when we are dependent on food from far away, there is an inherent risk in our food security. 

When we live in peaceful suburbs, it's easy to forget that people struggle with food insecurity. But it's important to remember that it exists, often in our own backyards.  Even people in our neighborhoods may be struggling with food insecurity, due to unemployment or other financial difficulties. There are no national grocery chain stores in the city limits of Detroit. (245) How did that happen? In many other inner cities, it is several miles - a long bus ride - to the nearest grocery store. 

My urban herb garden this summer-thyme, rosemary, chives, and mint.
I also had tomatoes, bay leaf, radishes, and potatoes (not pictured).

This book does more than just highlight problems with food insecurity - it shows what real people are doing to solve it in cities around the world. Food and the City makes you wonder how we got so deep into this system without realizing the damage it does to the environment, to the economy, to our cultures. But at the same time, it makes you realize there's a feasible way out: urban agriculture. Without ripping out fountains and park benches, we can start using municipal land to grow food. Cities can do this by looking for spaces that are never utilized, like utility corridors, flood plains, and general green space. (225) We can use our own backyards, roofs, and windowsills to supplement our food supply. The impediments to the solution: the glacial pace of government (at federal, state, and local levels), agribusiness, and our own attitudes about what farming should look like. 

From LondonWaste, a green-waste collection program that diverts 45,000 metric tons of organic waste away from landfills yearly, to rooftop gardens, to Small Plot Intensive (SPIN) farming, to plans for using carbon dioxide emissions from kombucha to support plant growth in a vertical farm, Food and the City explores ways people around the world are already finding ways to solve food insecurity through urban agriculture. 

And when we all pitch in to solve food insecurity, strange things happen. Neighborhoods get nicer. At-risk teenagers get into less trouble. Drug dealers stop frequenting areas that have flowers and watchful eyes tending them. Urban blight starts to recede. Communities grow closer together. 

I have only one question. How can we afford not to join in this movement?

Flaxseed Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is nothing better than a gooey chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven. Brownies, cupcakes, and other cookies all have a special place in my heart, but chocolate chip cookies are where it's at. Really.

Straight out of the oven. With lunch. Or dinner. I try to keep myself from eating them for breakfast, but I would be lying if I said I've never done it.

Even people who don't eat gluten free think these cookies are something special (Mike, my mother, and the most honest critic of all - my little brother).

I'll make other cookies and sweets from time to time, but these cookies are my go-to recipe. Always on hand. I start to worry if there are less than five in the house...they're that good.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 1/2 - 4 dozen

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c shortening
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c brown rice flour (158 g) (see note below)
  • 3/4 c potato starch (130 g)
  • 3/4 c sorghum flour (100 g)
  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal (25 g)
  • 1 T psyllium husks
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 10 oz chocolate chunks (I use these)

Beat butter, shortening, and sugars until thoroughly combined. Add eggs and vanilla, then mix until smooth. Add the remaining dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips), then mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for at least two hours, but preferably overnight. You can divide the dough into thirds, shape into logs, and cover with plastic wrap to have slice and bake cookies once they are chilled...or you could just cover the dough and stick it in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.

Shape dough into 1 1/2  inch balls,then flatten slightly between your hands. Place at least two inches apart on baking sheets, and bake 10-12 minutes. Let cool at least a minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

I store these in the freezer or refrigerator; they do tend to get dry if left at room temperature more than three or four days.

Nutrition estimate: 142 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 91 mg sodium, 18 g total carbs, 1 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 1 g protein. (Using this website and assuming the recipe makes 42 cookies)

ETA: You can substitute amaranth for the rice flour if you wish.

GF 101: Part One (See a Doctor)

Think you might have celiac disease or gluten intolerance? You're in good company. Nearly two million Americans have celiac disease, and many more have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (maybe as many as six percent of American adults). So, where do you start?

You could start where I did - confused, picking up random books willy-nilly, relying on Google, and full of doubt. Let me tell you, it's not the best approach, unless you want to get frustrated, confused, and do more work than you need to.

Weekly Meal Plan

I really enjoyed cooking out of just one cookbook last week...I'll definitely be doing that again soon! But this week, I just wanted to focus on the ingredients I picked up at the farmer's market. The corn, for example, is so bursting with juice and sweetness that it's just begging to be made into a corn chowder. And spaghetti squash! It's finally time for winter squashes! Hooray!

This Week at the Farmer's Market

I have a confession to make: I didn't go to my normal farmer's market this week. Sortof. You see, there is one farmer's market, called the Wasatch Front Farmer's Market. It's held at one location on Saturdays, and another on Sundays. We usually go to the one at Wheeler Farm on Sundays, but this week we had some different plans for Sunday, so I went to the one at Gardner Village on Saturday. It's very similar to my usual spot, but I did get a chance to meet some new vendors!

Anyways, here's what I got:

  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Fresh, local gala apples
  • Cantaloupe
  • Orange bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Round roast 
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Seven ears corn

Total cost: About $45

Stay tuned to see what I'll do with it all!

The Country Cooking of France, by Anne Willan

The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star.
-Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

This cookbook is far more than a new dish, or a new star. It's a little bit of both. If I could sum it up in a nutshell, I would call this cookbook a modern and slightly condensed take on Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  (In fact, Willan is known for starting a cooking school with Julia Child and James Beard.) Besides the recipes and techniques, which focus on country cooking (as opposed to Parisian cuisine), The Country Cooking of France is complete with breathtakingly mouthwatering photographs of many of the recipes contained within its pages, as well as scenes of life in the French countryside.

Besides gorgeous photographs, this cookbook has several vignettes in each chapter - about types of food, chefs, locations, and agriculture in the French countryside. I learned a lot from these little accounts, like the reason cheese gets stringy - the protein and fat get too hot.  Or that some cheeses have AOC status - just like wine - and the requirements for the prestigious labels are stringent, like requiring the cows' diet to consist entirely of summer grass and no grain-feed. No wonder the French are obsessed with cheese!

Starting on Sunday, and with the exception of Monday, we've eaten one new recipe from this cookbook every day this week. I was even inspired to have French-style fruit and cheese plates for lunch, complete with a single square of dark chocolate. I haven't fixed tonight's meal yet (Tian de Courgettes), but so far every single meal has been nothing short of spectacular.

How do you follow a recipe when you cannot eat one of the main ingredients (wheat) the cookbook celebrates? Well, first of all you choose recipes carefully, unless you're an expert. I picked recipes where I knew I could make substitutions, or where none were required at all because all of the ingredients were naturally gluten free. The Boeuf Bourguignon, for example, used flour as a thickener. Instead, I used an all-purpose gluten free flour blend, which did the trick just fine. Just to get in the mood for the week, I made gluten free French rolls, which I used for bread whenever it was called for in a recipe.  And for the Quiche Lorraine, I found a recipe for a gluten free pie tart elsewhere. It may be a little bit of extra work, but in my mind it's well worth it. 

Here's a recipe I made which is loosely based on a recipe in the cookbook. Give it a shot! It's excellent for a light meal, or as a first course.

My French Cooking Week Bonus  -  Salade au Gambas Grilles (Salad with Seared Shrimp) 

Let me make a confession: somewhere along the way, I lost my love of shrimp. When I was a kid, I lived for steamed shrimp, fried, shrimp, shrimp scampi, shrimp salad ... you know, I just loved shrimp. At some point though, shrimp lost their magic. So when I stumbled across a recipe for seared shrimp, I hesitated. But the pictures were so tantalizing, and there was shrimp in the freezer, so what did I have to lose?

Oh, boy, am I glad I gave this recipe a try. As I'm wont to do, I made up some twists along the way, turning simple shrimp into a whole salad for dinner.  Try your hand at it, and let me know how it goes for you! 

2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, more if needed
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
10 baby onions, peeled
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 ounces lettuce
Juice of half a lemon
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
1/4 cup cornstarch (Argo is gluten free, but be sure to double check)
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic in a shallow baking dish. Toss with one tablespoon olive oil. Cut one tablespoon of butter into quarters, and tuck in to the dish. Cook for an hour, or until the tomatoes are bursting and the onions and garlic are soft. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Divide the lettuce among four plates. Spoon the tomato mixture evenly among the plates, reserving any cooking oil in the bottom of the pan. Whisk the reserved cooking oil with the lemon juice. 

Add the remaining butter and oil to a large skillet. Combine the sea salt and cornstarch in a bowl, and toss in the shrimp to coat. Heat the skillet over medium heat until nearly smoking, then add the shrimp in a single layer. Weight the shrimp with a heavy pan and cook for a minute or two. Remove the weight, turn the shrimp, reweight, and cook another one or two minutes. Remove from heat.

Divide the shrimp equally among the four plates. Top with shavings of Parmesan cheese, the lemon vinaigrette, and the pepper.

Serve immediately. 

Gluten Free Dinner at Biaggi's

Update: I'm disappointed to have to tell you that this location has CLOSED.  We really loved this restaurant and dined there quite a few times - all successfully gluten-free.  Biaggi's still has locations in other states, so be sure to check them out! Just don't forget to ask about gluten-free options and cross-contamination. 

I recently picked up a copy of  
Salt Lake, which has a ton of dining reviews. I literally went through pages and pages of restaurant reviews and looked up the menu for every single one. To my joy, I found a ton of restaurants that have gluten-free offerings that weren't listed in any of the directories I regularly troll (more on this later).

Anyways, I had been wanting to try Biaggi's for quite some time, so that's the restaurant I settled on. We showed up at about 6 p.m. on a Sunday night and were seated right away. This is one thing I love about Utah-when I'm ready to sit down for dinner, everyone else seems to want to wait at least another hour. So I can go to a restaurant when it's not too busy and get the best gluten-free attention possible. 

I made sure the host was aware that I needed the gluten-free menu, but I made a mistake by not telling the waiter to skip the bread. So when the bread guy came by and set the bread down in front of me, I saw crumbs fly across the table. Ahh! I had a Moment. I froze. I doubted whether I even wanted to eat there that night. My boyfriend reached across the table, swept the crumbs away, and moved the bread away from me. But that wasn't enough. These sorts of Moments don't come along often, but when they do, oh boy, look out. 

Everywhere I looked, I saw gluten. I could almost feel the gluten reaction coming on. I was on the verge of tears. The waiter came by one, two, maybe three times to see if we were ready to order, and each time we sent him away. Somewhere in there, he reassured me that I would have the best gluten-free meal ever, and guaranteed I would be happy. 

I knew I still wanted to eat at Biaggi's, but I wasn't sure that was the night to do it. Finally, I told the waiter about how nervous the breadcrumbs on the table made me, and asked if it would be ok to move to a different table. I think he might have breathed a sigh of relief that we weren't leaving, and graciously told us to sit anywhere we felt comfortable. 

After making sure we wouldn't be leaving his section, I picked out a table that didn't make me nervous, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief too. We heard the waiter tell the bread guy not to bring us any bread, and I knew that no matter what the food tasted like, I wouldn't regret staying for the meal. When the waiter got back to take our order, he told me something even more reassuring - that there is a completely separate area of the kitchen where gluten-free food is prepared, something I was very happy to hear.

Our waiter came by with gluten-free flatbread seasoned with salt and pepper, which we dipped in olive oil. It was delicious - a little bit chewy, but crunchy on the outside. I could have eaten that all night, but of course, that wasn't what we came for.

We ordered the Caprese Salad as an appetizer, which was really more of an appetizer for me since my boyfriend hates raw tomatoes. It was good, although the tomatoes weren't the best. The mozzarella, however, was wonderful. 

I took our waiter's advice and ordered the Lock & Key Meritage, which was a very tasty red wine. I'll be looking for that one at the State Liquor Store in the future.

Even though he doesn't need to eat gluten-free, my boyfriend ordered gluten-free too, just so I could have a taste of his meal. He ordered the Pasta di Mare with penne noodles. It was delicious, and would have been enough for the two of us to share. I ordered the Salmon and Shrimp Milanese, which was also delicious. I expected the rice to be a plopped-on mound of rice that looked like an afterthought, but it was actually beautifully presented and quite delicious. 

We shared the Creme Brulee for dessert, which is gluten-free at this location even though it was not on the gluten free menu (the ice creams are apparently also gluten-free). It too was delicious.

We will definitely be coming back to Biaggi's! Our waiter was very good. He was attentive but not so attentive as to be annoying, and he was very reassuring about how the food would be prepared. The food was good, and not terribly expensive ($75 for an appetizer, one glass of wine, one soda, two entrees, dessert, and a 25% tip). And best of all, my tummy was happy!

*I haven't been paid for this review or received any incentive to do it. This is just my own unsolicited opinion!

The New Normal: Life Before and After Gluten

I always thought I was normal.  Nothing extraordinary ever happened to me, nothing terribly bad ever happened, and I lived an overwhelmingly normal life.  Boring, sometimes, but normal.

When I was a kid, I thought it was normal. Getting irritable when I was hungry. After all, my whole family was that way. Doesn’t everyone get irritable when they’re hungry?

When I was in middle school, I thought it was normal. The compulsive eating. Still feeling hungry even after I ate. I was growing, right? I was active, and could eat as much as I wanted and still be skinny. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?

When I was a teenager, I thought it was normal.  The fatigue and mental fog.  After all, between church, school, dance, and all my other extracurricular activities, I got about four hours of sleep each night, and an hour nap in the afternoon. Any teenager would be tired. Anybody who’s tired would have a hard time focusing. Anyone who’s tired would need a ton of caffeine to keep going.

When I was in high school, I thought it was normal. The frequent headaches. The almost constant back pain. I was stressed. Aren't headaches and joint pain products of stress?

When I was in college, I thought it was normal. The abdominal cramps.  The irregular menstrual cycle. After all, my pap smears were normal, and the doctors told me I was ok. Maybe my “cycle” was just a little different.  Maybe the cramps were just indigestion. And while it wasn’t exactly comfortable, it wasn’t excruciating. Why complain about something that can’t be explained?

I thought it was normal. The loud stomach rumbling after I ate. The rumbling that was so loud people would ask me if I was hungry.  It was a joke between me and my friends. Pamela’s always hungry, right? That’s just normal.

When I started law school, I thought it was normal. Gaining almost 20 pounds in my first semester.  The heartburn, the indigestion, feeling like I was going to throw up after I ate.  Feeling bloated. After all, there was almost nowhere to exercise in the town where I went to school, and social events centered around food and alcohol. Aren’t overweight people more likely to have heartburn? Doesn’t stress contribute to behaviors that make heartburn worse? Shouldn’t I have just exercised more, and eaten a more healthy diet? And maybe I just felt bloated because, let’s face it, I was.

I’ve always thought it was normal. The clumsiness. Tripping over things, dropping things. Wasn’t I just careless?

I thought it was normal. The slow but steady weight gain. Even when I finally started exercising again. Even when I started paying attention to what I ate. Even when I started eating mostly whole, plant based foods instead of processed foods, fried foods. Even when I cut back on my alcohol intake. Isn’t weight gain just another part of becoming an adult? My mother told me she had to start paying attention to what she ate in her mid twenties. Wasn’t my metabolism slowing down too? Doesn’t this happen to everybody?

No. It wasn’t normal. I thought it was normal because each thing came on gradually. I learned not to complain when I was very small. People didn’t like it when I complained, and they weren’t very likely to listen to me for very long if I was complaining.  And my complaints were so small, so inconsequential, so part of everyday life, that there was usually no reason for me to ask the doctor about it. So I didn’t complain. Well not much, anyways. Because I thought it was normal.

What is normal is that I went years-maybe even my whole life, not knowing what the problem was. The problem wasn’t the challenges of normal, everyday life. The problem wasn’t the little, constantly accumulating problems and discomforts I faced. The problem was one little thing.


It turns out that what I thought was normal was a serious gluten intolerance. I call it intolerance and not celiac disease because I haven’t been tested for celiac yet.*  But to me, I already feel better on a gluten free diet. All the symptoms I described above are gone. Gone.

No more irritability when I’m hungry. In fact, I can go for very long periods of time without eating if I have to. Recently, I traveled across the country and didn’t have a chance to eat breakfast or lunch before I got on the plane. And the turbulence was so bad that the flight attendant went back to her seat before I could beg her for some peanuts. While I was undeniably very hungry, I wasn’t irritable at all.

No more compulsive eating. No more extreme sugar cravings, which is a big deal coming from someone who’s been addicted to sugar her whole life.  It’s actually easy to stick to a diet these days.

No more fatigue. No more mental fog. I have more energy and feel more alert than I’ve felt in years.  While I feel like it’s harder to go to sleep when I’m on a gluten free diet, when I wake up I’m actually awake.

I still get headaches, and my back still hurts sometimes, but it’s nowhere near what it used to be. Now it might actually be – dare I say it – at a normal level.

No more abdominal cramps or menstrual irregularity (unless I accidentally eat gluten at a restaurant, which has unfortunately happened a couple of times).

No more loud stomach rumbling and gurgling. No more unexplained clumsiness.

No more weight gain. Instead, it’s weight loss.  Even when I overeat, I maintain a steady weight instead of constantly gaining weight.

No more heartburn, indigestion, or nausea.

Now I've got the energy to hike sweat!
Will I ever go back to gluten? Absolutely not! I feel way too good to sabotage myself. Just the thought of gluten makes me sick to my stomach (metaphorically speaking). 

Have I had some hiccups along the way where I’ve accidentally ingested wheat or some other glutinous substance? Unfortunately, yes.

But the point of this whole story is that it took me 25 years to figure out what was making me uncomfortable.  It shouldn’t have to take anyone as long as it took me, but I realize that I’m lucky because I did figure it out.  And now I’m ready to go on, leaving all that pain and discomfort behind me. 

Maybe “normal” is not an option for me. But feeling healthy and alive, that’s something I’ll take any day over “normal.”

*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. And it’s recommended that people who think they have any kind of food allergy or intolerance see a doctor before embarking on an elimination diet. Furthermore, if you do go on an elimination diet before seeing a doctor, it may make the tests for celiac disease less conclusive because the tests check your body’s reaction to gluten in your body at the time of the test. Plus, to get a celiac diagnosis, it must be confirmed by an endoscopy performed while you are eating gluten. This means eating gluten for at least five weeks prior to the test. For my own reasons, I have not seen a doctor about this…yet. But that’s not the generally recommended course of action. 

When the Chef's Away...

...the mice will destroy a brand new skillet.

(The dinner was delicious, by the way. He just left an empty skillet over a very hot burner and forgot about it.)

Weekly Meal Plan

This week, I'll be trying recipes out of The Country Cooking of France, by Anne Willan. It's a truly gorgeous book, with recipes for the thinking person, and photographs that make me drool.  I picked it up at my local library, but it's one of those cookbooks I think I can't live without. I'll share more at the end of the week how this little experiment plays out.

P.S. Monday's dinner is not from the cookbook, but I wanted to keep with the French theme. And how can you have a French-themed week without crepes?



  • Beouf bourgingnon (using farmer's market beef, stew bones, and baby onions)


  • Quiche Lorraine (using farmer's market cheese)


  • Steak and aligot (cheesy mashed potatoes) (using farmer's market beef, potatoes from a few weeks ago, and cheese)


  • Tian de courgettes (zucchini gratin) (using farmer's market zucchini)
  • Blackberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Gluten free chocolate chip cookies
Bon appetit!

Food News and Other Things

If you need another reason to buy Grass-Fed Beef...

It's fun, I swear!

The next superfood...


Why can't we get with the program?

Seriously, I've been wondering about this for quite a while

Mint Fudge Ice Cream

I read an ice cream recipe one time that said no one should invest in an ice cream maker  because only newlyweds make ice cream from scratch, and even they only make ice cream once or twice before sticking the ice cream maker in the garage to collect dust.
Well. I made that ice cream recipe (without the ice cream maker), and it was good. But with all due respect, my ice cream maker now makes an appearance in my kitchen every week or so. Maybe that's due to my gluten intolerance and a need to know exactly how my food is made, but a good ice cream maker is absolutely essential in my kitchen, thankyouverymuch.

Gluten Intolerance: How I Figured It Out

I had been dealing with low grade feelings of ickiness for years. One symptom built on another, and I thought it was all normal. Part of life. Something I had to deal with.
Not terrible, but not feeling great, either.

But then, I was literally doubled over with abdominal cramps when my boyfriend and I went skiing on New Year's Eve last year. I would ski a couple of feet, then stop because the pain was so bad. I would stand, doubled over, on the side of the slopes while I waited for the pain to pass. I watched everyone else flying down the slopes and wondered how I could possibly be in so much pain.

Later that week, after continuing life as normal, I fixed my coffee as usual. I fixed my normal breakfast – a toasted English muffin with butter. I felt pretty good – no cramps, no indigestion. I sat down and had my breakfast as usual, nibbling on my toast and sipping coffee while I read through the blogs I follow. I went back into the kitchen and put my dishes in the sink. And as I walked out of the kitchen to go brush my teeth, the indigestion hit me. Almost at the same time, I had an epiphany.

I thought, Could it be wheat?

Weekly Meal Plan

  • Monday:
    • London broil with mashed potatoes and salad
    • Using farmer's market potatoes (and a cut of meat that's been in the freezer for a while, also purchased at the farmer's market)
  • Tuesday:
    • Stuffed zucchini
    • Using farmer's market zucchini and tomatoes
  • Wednesday:
    • Chili
    • Using farmer's market tomatoes and leftover beef
  • Thursday:
    • Corn frittata
    • Using farmer's market corn
  • Friday:
    • Citrus salmon with oven french fries and avocado-pepper salad
    • Using farmer's market potatoes
  • Treats:
    • Blackberries
    • Cantaloupe
    • Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

  • Note: where I've linked to an outside recipe which calls for an ingredient that contains gluten, I always substitute!