Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween, and life is business as usual around our house. We don't have kids (or even any small relatives nearby) to take trick-or-treating, and we're not the party type. Halloween seems like a really big deal here in Utah. Maybe it's all the kids, but it seems like a bigger deal to these kids (and grownups) than it was to me when I was a kid. I ought to have some pictures of some of the crazy things I've seen lately (since Halloween seems to last all month here), but they've simply escaped my camera.

So whatever your plans are tonight, stay safe and have fun!

Weekly Meal Plan: Lamb

I bought a leg of lamb at the grocery store this weekend. I had been hoping to re-do the pork shoulder of a couple weeks ago to perfect my barbecue technique, but alas, the grocery store was fresh out of pork shoulder.

Yesterday, I close-roasted the lamb. Close-roasting is a technique that's great for all kinds of meats. It's simply cooking the meat in a covered dish at a very low temperature for a very long time. I usually add in some cooking liquid and whatever herbs strike my fancy. For the lamb, I brined it overnight in a solution of two quarts water, half a cup of sugar, and a cup of salt. In the morning, I patted it dry, seared it in a little bit of olive oil, poured in some vinegar and Jack Daniels, then added some thyme, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and about ten peeled cloves of garlic. I roasted it in a covered Dutch oven for about 7 hours at 200 degrees Farenheit.  The results were amazing, and will be the foundation of our meals this week.


  • Lamb with wine reduction, green beans, and toast


  • Enchiladas with mushrooms and leftover lamb


  • 24 hour "omelette" (more like a casserole)


  • Chorizo, chickpea, and spinach soup (using the broth leftover from cooking the lamb)


  • Pizza


  • Gnocchi with mushrooms, lamb, and cream sauce

This Week at the Wheeler Farm Farmer's Market

Today was the last day of the Wasatch Front Farmer's Market. Lots of vendors were having customer appreciation sales, so I got a lot of bang for my buck this week.


I've been off the radar recently, letting the blog run more or less on autopilot.  But that doesn't mean I've been running on autopilot. I've been doing professional training, seeking a professional mentor, and starting at a new job (it's a contract deal - project-by-project, but it's been keeping me busy). That's not all. There's cooking and eating and taking care of the puppy. There's keeping the apartment more or less together, dishes...the list goes on. Life goes on.

In Search of the Perfect Coleslaw

I live in Utah. Not much in the way of coleslaw in the grocery stores here, not even in the summertime. If there's anything at all, there's the mysterious lime green glop in the plastic containers. Ick.

I consider myself somewhat of a coleslaw connoisseur. It should be sweet and tangy. I prefer a mayonnaise-based sauce. I like raisins, but they're not a dealbreaker. There should be onions, but not too many. The cabbage should be shredded thin, but not chopped so fine that it falls through your fork and you have to eat it with a spoon.

Since I couldn't find the perfect coleslaw recipe, I cobbled together one of my own. This sauce is so delicious...but I won't actually admit to eating it with a spoon. That would be gross. The coleslaw pairs perfectly with the barbeque of your choice.


  • 1 small head cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c raisins
  • 3/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, broken
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 t celery seed
  • 1/4 t dried ground mustard

Combine cabbage onion, carrots, and raisins in a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, egg yolks and butter. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until thickened and slightly syrupy. Cool. Strain if necessary.

Once the vinegar mixture has cooled, add the mayonnaise, cream, celery seed, and mustard. Stir to combine.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

GF 101: Traveling Gluten Free

Traveling can be stressful. There are planes to catch, delays, unexpected gate changes, rental cars to pick  up, and hotels to find. Add diet restrictions to the mix, and travel can be overwhelming. But with a little bit of planning, it doesn't have to be.

Weekly Meal Plan

This week, I'm trying to be a little healthier - cutting back on the sugar, getting a little bit more exercise, getting out in the sun, and getting plenty of sleep. But the dinners this week are all about comfort food. And, since I started a new job (!) that keeps me busy, they have to be pretty quick to assemble too (I already spent a good part of the day yesterday prepping). 

  • Chili

  • Crabcakes with stuffed mushrooms and green beans

  • Mushroom Pad Thai

  • Potato-bacon-corn salad

  • Frittata

This Week at the Wheeler Farm Farmer's Market

Can you tell the market is winding down? After today, there's only one week left. My pantry and freezer are stuffed with corn, beef, tomatoes, onions, and peppers to last me (at least part of the way) through the winter. Today was just about this week - beef for chili, and apples and carrots for my lunches this week.

I have a new job (!), so I don't have as much time to spend in the kitchen - or on the blog - as I have all summer. Today looked like this:

since I premade as much as I could for this week's dinners. Come by tomorrow to see what's on the menu!

Update: Rice-Free Flaxseed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Does the news about arsenic in rice have you reconsidering your rice consumption? I know it threw me for a loop.  As someone who eats gluten-free, I eat a lot of rice - rice pasta, rice as a side dish, and rice in my favorite baked goods. That's a lot of rice, and potentially a lot of arsenic.

I had already been considering the need for broadening my gluten-free grain horizons before the news about arsenic in rice came out, but this was the push I needed to really step back and reconsider what I'm eating.

Luckily, my English muffin recipe is already rice free - it has sorghum flour, teff flour, and potato starch. But my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe has a whole cupful of brown rice flour.

Like so many others, I have been using brown rice as a substitute for white rice because I thought it was healthier. But it turns out that brown rice actually tends to have more arsenic than white rice. 

So, I resolved to modify my chocolate chip cookie recipe. I'm not giving up rice forever, but I am trying to reserve my rice consumption for pasta and actual whole-grain rice. I've edited the original recipe to show the modifications, but to save you the trouble, I'm also publishing the rice-free version here.

I've simply replaced the rice with amaranth. Why amaranth? The easy answer is that I had some lying around but hadn't tried it yet. But there's a better reason.  It turns out amaranth is a nutritional powerhouse  - it is higher in protein than any other gluten-free grain (and even higher in protein than wheat), it's high in lysine, an important amino acid, it's high in calcium, magnesium, and fiber, and may even help lower cholesterol. 

These cookies are still absolutely delicious. They do spread out a bit more, and they need about a minute less in the oven. They're a little bit crispier, but in a chewy-delicious way.

Amaranth-Flaxseed 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 amaranth flour (120 g)
  • 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 three inches apart on baking sheets, and bake 10-11 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.

GF 101: 10 Tips for Ordering Gluten-Free Food at Restaurants

You've been to the doctor. You've gone gluten-free. You've learned what you can eat. You've even learned a little bit about how to cook all over again, or for the first time. And now you might be thinking, I'll never eat in a restaurant again. 

Gluten Free Expo

On Saturday we went to the Gluten Free Expo at the South Towne Expo Center.  We had quite the good time tasting goodies and picking up free samples. It's so nice to get to try something before buying it - especially when it's gluten-free, and expensive to boot.

Besides seeing some old favorites, I found some new products that I'm definitely looking forward to. Like pancake mix that is so good we might be eating pancakes for a week. And another (pretty darn good) gluten-free beer - which has me pretty thrilled because I live in Utah, where any old beer is hard to come by, and gluten-free beer is even harder to find.

Weekly Meal Plan

Last week’s plan to get everything cooked ahead of time worked really well…except we had to fly back East, so a lot of it went uneaten. The last few days have been all about salvaging leftovers and eating what was supposed to be dinner last week for every meal imaginable.  This week should be a little bit more predictable, but with the result that I haven’t cooked much in advance.

  •  French Onion Soup
  • Using farmer's market onions, and beef broth left over from the beouf bourgignon last week

  • BBQ (from a braised pork shoulder), coleslaw, and macaroni and cheese

  • Corn pudding
  • Using farmer's market onions, and leftover corn from the freezer


  • Pizza
  • Using farmer's market bell peppers

This Week at the Wheeler Farm Farmer's Market

Getting going a little late today (tonight). But I did manage to make it to the market, and had a good time to boot.

Here's what I got:

  • Handmade notecards (2)
  • Soap
  • Carrots
  • Scallions
  • Tons of Garlic
  • Onions
  • Pearl Onions
  • Sunchokes
  • Gluten-free bread
  • Peppers
  • Honeycrisp Apples (easily my favorite)
  • The LAST of the Heirloom Tomatoes this season
  • Thyme

Total Cost: About $55

Check back in the morning to see my grand plans for it all!

Under a pile of books

I've made my way through several books this week, and I have so much to say about all of them. But life has been quite hectic, despite (or in spite of) my decision to look for peace this week. So I'll just leave you with Odie, who loves a good book just as much as I do.

Gluten Free Morning at City Cakes Cafe

Earlier this year, I mourned the loss of my Starbucks routine. A cup of coffee, a scone, and peoplewatching had always been the perfect companion for a few hours of writing and reading. But I was newly gluten free, and the milk in Starbucks' coffee was giving me abdominal cramps. Plus the idea of trading my scone for a Kind Bar was less than appealing. No offense if you love Kind Bars-they were just a pale substitute for coffee and a scone. Last but definitely not least, I felt like gluteny crumbs lurked in every corner, making me feel paranoid at best.

So I sat in my kitchen, in front of the computer, or on the patio when I had my coffee. I haven't been a frequent flyer at Starbucks since high school, but I still missed the ambiance, the experience, the option.

GF 101: Seven Ways to Find Great Gluten Free Restaurants

You've seen a doctor. You've learned how to figure out what is (and is not) gluten free. You're cooking up a storm, and feeling great to boot.

But some evenings, you just want to kick back and let someone else do the cooking. Where do you start?

Later on, I'll talk about some techniques for ordering gluten-free, especially at places that don't have a gluten free menu. But the first step is really about getting comfortable with eating out while on a gluten free diet. And sometimes you just don't have the time or energy to double check every single thing. Never fear! There are restaurants where you can eat safely, where all you have to do is say "I'm gluten free" and the staff will do their best to make you feel safe.

Here's how to find them:

Belle Meade

I've been to Nashville before, but it was a three-day trip in the middle of the winter - much more suited to going downtown and seeing the sights there. But old houses are sort of my thing. This time was another three-day trip, with limited time for sightseeing. We did manage to go to Belle Meade.  May I recommend the wine? When you pay for a tour, you get free tastings at their winery. Some of the whites are pretty normal, but the reds are downright interesting. They have more fruit wines than I'd expected, and they actually tasted pretty darn good.

Weekly Meal Plan

I like it when life runs like a well-oiled machine. No surprises. Easy peasy. Tranquil.  But the reality is, life is just not like that - not for more than a day or two at least.

This Week at the Wheeler Farm Farmer's Market

The farmer's market is winding down - only a few more weeks to go. When I go to the market, it's easy to see why fall harvests are such a big deal - you can still get tomatoes, peppers, squash, and melons, but the cool season veggies are coming in too. So much to choose from! I might have splurged a little, but a lot of it is going to hang out in the freezer to help me not miss the market so much in the winter months.

Here's what I got:

Gluten Free Girl and the Chef

Creamy. Cheesy. Buttery. Amazing.

Do you know the gluten-free girl? You should. Her website has incredible food, mouthwatering photographs, and wonderful stories. And she has two great books, with another one on the way.

I'm a sucker for a cookbook with a story, and Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes is just that. When I first got this book, I couldn't put it down. Never mind that I was studying for the biggest test of my life. I just had to read every.single.word in this cookbook.  I followed Shauna (the gluten-free girl) and Danny (the Chef) as they told their stories about falling in love through food.

And the recipes. Oh boy. Get out your grocery list, because you'll want to make recipe after recipe after recipe from this book. I'm working my way through it, from veal stock to fresh gluten free pasta to crackers to creamless corn chowder. All absolutely delicious.

Last night, I made the baked eggs with taleggio. Oh. My. Mike approached it with a bit of trepidation, but he does love eggs. And when I told him there was a grand prize of cheese at the bottom, he dug right in and I didn't hear another word from him for the rest of the meal. That good. Every recipe is like that.

Breakfast for dinner - baked eggs with tallegio, bacon, and teff English muffins

Soy-Mirin Marinated Salmon

Ahh, salmon. This guy is lucky he even made it to my frying pan, because one of my favorite ways to eat salmon is raw, over the cutting board, drizzled with a little bit of mirin. But it was time for a good piece of cooked salmon. Wild caught. In season for just a little bit longer. Oh baby, talk to me about salmon.

My favorite thing about salmon is the way it melts in my mouth like butter. So for this recipe, I spared no expense with the fat - in the salmon, the croutons, the onions. And it was totally worth it.

The Master Gardener

Here's one of my feathered friends inspecting my vegetable garden. I love the ducks dearly, but they have a nasty habit of picking seeds out of my garden so what was a perfectly sowed row germinates nothing but dirt. I'm determined to have a fall and winter garden, though. Stay tuned to see how it turns out!