Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stir Fry Sauce

My parents made this stir fry sauce when we were up there for Christmas and I loved it.  I have included my dad's version as well as my modified, slightly healthier version.  Enjoy!

Dadoo's Stir Fry Sauce

2 T soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 T rice wine or dry cooking sherry
1 t white sugar (or Xylitol)
4 T brown sugar
2 T katsup
1 T chili powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper
2 t sesame oil
1 t Five Spice powder
2 t ginger powder

2 t cornstarch mixed in to 2 oz chicken broth

Add all ingredients (except cornstarch mixture) to sauce pan and while stirring bring to a boil.  Boil for about one minute. Add cornstarch mixture to boiling mixture in sauce pan.  Cook just 'till thickened.

Jenni's Stir Fry Sauce
2 T Tamari, Coconut Aminos,  or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. Xylitol
2 T Organic Ketchup
1 T chili powder (more or less to taste)
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Five Spice power
2 tsp. powdered ginger

2 tsp cornstarch plus 2 oz. chicken broth

Add all ingredients except cornstarch and chicken broth to sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Boil for about one minute.  Mix cornstarch in to chicken broth.  Add mixture to ingredients in sauce pan.  Cook until sauce starts to thicken.  Serve with your favorite stir fry meats and veggies.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A whole new chapter...

Hi Everyone!
Just a quick note that has nothing to do with food or health, although I have lots five pounds doing it- we are having a HUGE garage sale and I would love it if you could come!  Hope to see you there!

HUGE multiple family yard sale, so big the garage couldn't contain it all! NEW ITEMS ARRIVING DAILY!!! Baked goods and homemade crafts! Thursday, September 19th through Saturday, September 21st from 8 AM to 6* PM. (*Time extended an extra hour!) Look for the neon pink Garage Sale signs. CLOTHES (Mens, Womens, Children, and Juniors). STROLLER. BABY SWING. INFANT CAR SEAT (Exp. 8/2014). TOYS. FURNITURE. HOUSEHOLD ITEMS. HOME DECOR. BOOKS. GARDEN TOOLS. SPORTS EQUIPMENT. BOOKS. JEWELRY. MINI BLINDS. BATHROOM FAUCET... Everything but the bathroom sink! **Cash only, please. No checks or credit/debit cards.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chop and Drop Simple Veggie Soup

Recently my husband and I did a ten day vegan-style cleanse and during that time I had a lot of odds and ends of vegetables in my fridge.  I had also picked up several boxes of veggie stock (I'm to impatient to make my own, ) and I was in the mood to use our Crock-Pot.  Here's what happened next...

I used these ingredients:
One box of Vegetable Stock* (or 32 ounces)
Two sweet potatoes, cubed (2 cups)
Five large carrots, chopped (2 cups)
One bunch of green onion, chopped (1 cup)
Fresh green beans, cut to 1" pieces (3 cups)
a half bag of frozen organic corn I found in the freezer (2 cups)
Pureed tomatoes from our garden that I froze last fall (2 cups)
Olive oil (1 TBS)
Two cloves of garlic, pressed
Juice from one lemon
2 Bay Leaves
And one teaspoon each of dried parsley, dried basil, and herb de province

After all my chopping, cubing and dicing, I just dropped it all in to my Crock-Pot and set it on low for seven hours (ready in time for dinner that evening).  I was a little worried that some of the veggies would either get too mushy or not get cooked well enough.  I had no idea how it would taste, but the house smelled amazing.

Seven hours later, I sat down to the best bowl of veggie soup I've ever had!  The beauty of this recipe is that you can throw in whatever veggies you have on hand, even those half full bags of green beans and corn you have left over in the freezer!

For those of us who need a definitive recipe to help us get started, here you go:

Chop and Drop Fresh Veggie Soup
Active Time: 30 minutes (more or less depending on how fast you can chop veggies)
Cook Time:  4-6 hours on high, 7-8 hours on low (depending on when dinner time is)

32 ounces vegetable stock*
1 TBS olive oil
two cloves of garlic, pressed
juice from one lemon, or 3 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 Bay Leaves (remove leaves before serving the soup)
1 tsp dried parsley or 1 TBS fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp dried basil or 1 TBS fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp herb de provence
2 cups potato (any kind) cubed
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion, any kind
2-3 cups fresh or frozen green beans, cut in to 1 inch pieces
2 cups corn kernels, frozen or fresh* (not canned)
2 cups pureed tomatoes, any kind (I just put the tomatoes in my food processor for a few seconds, then drop them in the soup.)

Combine all ingredients in a 5 quart Crock-Pot or slow cooker and cook on low for seven to eight hours or on high for four to six hours.  Remove bay leaves and serve.

* Be sure to check in ingredient label for extra preservatives and additives in anything boxed, frozen, or canned.  With all ingredients, fresh and organic is the best option.  If you can find non-GMO corn, that is even better.   I can't always afford that, so I do as much as I can. 

One other thing to consider, take a look at the ingredient list above and then compare it with the ingredient list for Progesso Vegetable Classics Garden Vegetable:
Ingredients: Water, Potatoes, Carrots, Tomato Puree (water, tomato paste), Tomatoes, Corn, Celery, Kidney Beans, Green Beans. Contains less than 2% of: Modified Food Starch, Salt, Sugar, Vegetable Juice Concentrates (carrot, celeriac, red beet, lettuce, spinach, citric acid, natural flavor), Onion, Potassium Chloride, Corn Protein (hydrolyzed), Dried Parsley, Spice, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Calcium Chloride, Yeast Extract.

I know it takes extra time, but the lack of scientific-sounding chemicals and additives in my food is worth it to me.  And I think it tastes much better, even without the added salt and sugar!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my awesome** husband and I do!

** = this is what happens when I ask my awesome husband to proof read my blog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ten Things I Learned Since Going Gluten Free

One of the unexpected benefits of being on this complicated journey with food and food restrictions is the ability to help other people in their own journeys with food, food allergies, sensitivities, and restrictions.  Every time someone asks me for information or perspective regarding this journey, it helps me feel like there is a bigger purpose in it and it is not just something that I have to deal with alone.  It is a club that no one really wants to join, but if life signs you up with a membership against your will, it is nice to know that you are not on this journey alone.

Today a friend asked me about going gluten free and wanted to know "How difficult is it, really?"  She told me why she was interested in trying it and asked about the best way to go about it.  Since she is not the first person to ask me this question, I thought it was about time I wrote about it on my blog!

So.  Going gluten free.  How hard is it really?  I'll be totally honest, the first few weeks were not fun and I had meltdowns on a regular basis.  Take everything you think you know about the food you eat and throw it out the window.  You have to relearn how to shop for your food.  You have to read EVERY label and research every restaurant before you go to see if they have a menu and facility that can accommodate a gluten free diet.  I have been gluten free for almost a full year and I am still learning the ins and outs of this gluten free lifestyle.

The level of difficulty varies based on your level of gluten intolerance- someone with Celiac Disease ( has to be much more diligent and careful than someone who is simply trying out the gluten free diet to see if it will help.  If the server at a restaurant messes up my order and brings my burger out with the bun on it, I am able to simply remove the offending bun and don't have to send my burger back and have them cook me a new burger.  (This happened to a friend of mine who does have Celiac and she had to send the burger back twice.)  I can handle fries that are cooked in the same oil as things with flour, but if they have actually coated the fries with flour (to make them more crispy?) than that does not work so well for me.

Which leads me to my next point- what works for me and my gluten free diet might not work for you.  I have come to realize just how individual and personal a person's diet is and, like gluten free flour blends, it is not one size fits all.  That being said, here are some things that I have learned since going gluten free.

1.  Commit to at least one full month of going GF.  Everyone told me that I would feel "so much better!" after just a few days.  Well, it took me a few weeks.  If I had given up after that first week or two because I wasn't feelin' it yet, I would have missed out on getting to that point where I did feel better.

2.  Find a mentor.  I was very blessed to have several friends who had already gone gluten free and they were a huge help and encouragement to me.

3.  Find what works best for YOU.  There will be so much conflicting information and everyone will be trying to sell you the "best" way to eat GF, but you have to find what works best for you, your circumstances, and your preferences.

4.  Find new ways of doing the things you love.  Love pasta?  Try brown rice or corn pasta.  Can't bear to give up cookies and cupcakes?  Check out Elana's Pantry or many of the other dedicated GF cooking websites out there.

5.  Take it one day at a time.  There is so much to process, and learn, and relearn that you will most likely feel overwhelmed at first.  If you "mess up" and realize that you missed something on a label and accidentally had gluten, don't worry.   Just learn from the mistake and move forward.

6.  If you are like me, at some point you will most likely need to stop doing research in to every single aspect of GF living and just start living.  I had to give up the need to know every thing there was to know about it (read every new article, every new idea that came out there) and just live my life.

7.  Trust that what you are doing is good for your body.  So much of the wheat products that we consume in our culture are so highly processed that they barely resemble food anymore.  Wheat, in and of itself, is not the real culprit.  It's what we have done to wheat and the amount with which we consume it that is the real problem.  Cutting out wheat and wheat products is going to lead you in a  healthier direction, and it can open your eyes to a whole new way of eating that is much healthier than our Standard American Diet of junk food and drive-though dinners.

8.  Be careful not to assume that just because something is gluten free it is inherently healthier.  There is plenty of unhealthy, gluten free junk food out there!

9.  It will take time to learn all the tricks of the trade and a little trial and error on your part.  Things like which GF flour blend to use (it depends on what you are making), how to store Udi's GF bread (in the freezer!), and how long you can store almond flour (3 months in the fridge, up to 6 in the freezer- it goes bad if you leave it in the cupboard) are a few of the details I had to learn the hard way.

10.  Believe that you can do this.  Realize how much you have most likely been taking food for granted and be thankful that you able to take this step to reclaim your diet.  Just being able to go on a GF diet is a luxury that many people in this country can't afford.  It is expensive, especially at first as you figure out what works and what doesn't, but it is worth it.

I hope that this helps you if you are starting out on the GF journey.  I know it can be difficult, but hang in there- it's worth it!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2012
One of the side benefits of being on the Candida Diet, and eating much healthier in general, is weight loss.  I lost over 25 pounds in 2012 by cutting out sugars and eating whole foods.  I did not increase my exercise routine, I didn't starve myself, and I did not eat a low-fat diet.  Still, it was not easy.  It does take commitment and dedication, but for my health it is totally worth it!  My migraines have lessened, my sensitives are way down, and I am just much more healthy in general.

My goals for my health in 2013 are to continue eating healthy, whole foods and to increase the amount that I exercise.  Since I have been reintroducing whole grains and dairy into my diet, I know it will be important to keep my metabolism going if I want to not regain the weight I've lost and to just be and feel healthier in general.  I feel I am getting close to finding the end of the Candida Diet maze, but I am also realizing that getting out "the maze" is just the beginning.  Healthy eating is not a maze to be solved, rather it is a journey to be traveled.  It is a journey that I am learning to enjoy and one I hope that you will join me on.  Trust me, it is worth it!

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

I came up with this recipe for a going away party at work and everyone loved them.  They are great on salads, on top of Greek yogurt, or just as a tasty snack.  Be careful, though, they are addicting!

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

  • 2 cups raw pecans (and/or walnuts, cashews, or almonds)
  • 2 TBS raw honey
  • 1 TBS Wildtree Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Wildtree Cajun Seasoning (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp Wildtree Cajun Seasoningmore or less to taste)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt honey and coconut oil in sauce pan over low heat.
  3. Add salt and spices to the honey/oil mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour honey/oil mixture over pecans and stir until nuts are completely coated.
  5. Pour nut mixture in to a 9x13 baking pan and bake for 15 minutes, stirring mixture every five minutes.
  6. Let mixture cool completely before serving.  Store in air tight container for up to two weeks.
  7. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Please let me offer my most sincere apologies for not posting this in time for the holidays.  I was too busy making and eating these cookies!  (On the positive side, I could eat these year round and the Cookie Cutter Cookies can be cut in to any shape for any holiday or occasion.)  The star shaped cookie and the tea cake cookie are super simple to make and are gluten free and vegan.  The darker brown cookie is a Snickerdoodle from Trader Joe's.  The Snickerdoodle is free from all eight common allergens, but it is pretty high in sugar so I didn't eat too many of those.  The star cookies and the tea cakes are both candida diet friendly!

My Cookie Cutter Cookie Recipe 
adapted from Holiday Cookies in "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour cookbook" by Elana Amsterdam

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (NOT almond meal)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup hazelnut infused olive oil (regular olive oil or grapeseed oil work as well)
1 TBS sugar-free vanilla extract
3 TBS coconut or almond milk plus 1/2 tsp liquid stevia
Cinnamon and Xylitol to sprinkle on top (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.  
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well.  
  3. In a medium bowl, combine oil, vanilla, milk, and liquid stevia.  Mix well, and then our over dry ingredients.  Mix all ingredients until fully combined.  Mixture will be somewhat dry- if it is too dry and falling apart, add an extra tablespoon of milk. Be careful not to add too much milk or your cookies will be dense and chewy.
  4. Place the dough in the freezer for one hour.  
  5. Once dough has hardened, take out half of the dough and put the other half back in the freezer.
  6. Carefully roll out the dough on a baking mat or sheet of parchment paper to 1/2 inch thickness.  
  7. Very carefully cut out the cookies, dipping the cookie cutter in cold water between each cut to keep the cutter from sticking.
  8. Put cookies on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and Xylitol if desired.
  9. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  
  10. While first batch of cookies is baking, take second half of the dough out of the freezer and repeat steps 6-8.
  11. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for ten minutes, then move to cooling rack.  Cookies can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks*.  
*Because these cookies use almond flour, they will spoil if left at room temperature for extended periods of time.  

My Tea Cakes
adapted from

2-1/2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 cup grape seed oil or EVOO
1 TBS sugar-free vanilla extract
3 TBS coconut or almond milk plus 1/4 tsp liquid stevia

  1. Preheat oven to 400*F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  (I use a wire whisk in the dry ingredients to make sure they are fully blended.)
  3. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add to dry ingredients and mix well.  Mixture will be fairly dry and crumbly.
  4. Roll dough in to 1 inch balls and place on prepared cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until they begin to brown.
  6. Allow cookies to cook on baking sheet for 10-20 minutes before moving to cooling rack.  Cool completely and then store in air tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
These cookies remind me so much of my mom's Russian Tea Cakes, minus the powdered sugar coating.  I was so excited to find a familiar (all be it altered) Christmas cookie that I didn't even care about the missing sugar.  You can also roll them in a cinnamon/Xylitol blend for a little added flavor, but I like them just the way they are.  Served with a cold glass of almond milk, I could eat these every day, all year long!

*To make Snowball cookies, make powdered sugar by pulsing Xylitol in a small food processor or coffee grinder. (I have a small coffee grinder that I used exclusively for making flax seed meal and it worked perfectly for making the powdered "sugar.")  Allow cookies to cool for 2-3 minutes after taking them out of the oven, then roll in the powdered "sugar."  Xylitol has a naturally cooling taste, hence the new name, Snowball cookies!  My gluten & sugar loving hubby keeps snitching them, so they must be good! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I made this recipe with my in-laws when they came to visit us in November and it has been a favorite of ours ever since.  Everyone we have made it for loves it, and we will usually make a double batch so we can have left overs for lunches during the week.  This recipe is gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy free, and is perfect way to take the edge off a cold winter's night!  

White Chicken Chili
Adapted from a recipe by PaleOMG - 
Paleo Recipes at 

2 lbs chicken, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp. baking soda (to soften & moisten the chicken)
1 15 oz. can of Great Northern Beans
5-6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced (depending how spicy you want it)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1-1.5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup canned coconut milk (not light)
1 (4 oz) can green chiles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1. In a large soup pot over medium heat,  saute the minced garlic and onion in olive oil.
2. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the chicken and baking soda and begin to cook. Mix as needed with a wooden spoon to cook on both sides.
3. Once your chicken is half way cooked through, add in all of the remaining vegetables. Mix together and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the chicken broth and coconut milk, along with all of the spices.
5. Stir together.
6. Cover and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
7. Enoy!
Recipe by PaleOMG - Paleo Recipes at
Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season!  I was very blessed to be able to take a week and a half off from work and spend most of that time with family and friends.  I was also very blessed, and very excited, to lift many of my dietary restrictions in time for the holidays.  I was able to lift my restrictions on the number of servings of gluten-free whole grains, add back legumes (beans and peas, including chick peas which means hummus!), and add back dairy in moderation.  It made for a much more relaxed and enjoyable Christmas and New Years.  

You would think that having nearly two weeks off would have given me time to update my blog and make some posts, but here's the thing you might not know about me... I am horrible at keeping a journal.  I always have been, but it is something that I am working on.  So please forgive me for the two month hiatus in posts.  My goal is to do at least one post per month.  It sounds exceedingly simple, but for me it will be something I have to focus on and work to accomplish.  

Which brings me to another point, I am making it my goal to blog more regularly, not my resolution.  Every year people make "New Year's Resolutions," and every year, it seems, we fail to follow through.  (This is especially unfortunate given that most of our New Year's resolutions revolve around becoming better, healthier human beings!)  So why a goal and not a resolution?  A goal is "the end toward which effort is directed," whereas a resolution is "the act or process of resolving."  One of the definitions of resolve, according to Merriam-Webster, is to "reach a firm decision about something."  A New Year's "resolution," then, is the act or process of reaching firm decision about something.  If I get stuck in that process of reaching that firm decision to make a change, I'm not really going anywhere.  

A goal also has an end to work towards, it has focus and purpose.  Having a goal gives you something to work towards and therefore allows you to know when you have accomplished what you have set out to do. Instead of a  resolution to "eat better," make a goal to have at least one serving of fruit or vegetables with every meal.  Instead of a resolution to "exercise more," make a goal to start taking the stairs at work and park at the back of the parking lot at the grocery store.  Be realistic in what you can accomplish.  Small successes encourage us to try more; major "failures" (not making it to the gym 3 times/week after the first week, anyone?) cause us to give up and go back to our old way of doing (or not doing) things.  Have someone to help keep you accountable, it makes the journey easier and you are more likely to stick to your goals.  In the case of this blog, I have my Post list and all of you to help keep me accountable.  Wish me luck!