Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rosemary Rolls!

Crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, a dense, hearty Italian-type roll so full of flavor you'll want to bake a second batch. The combination of the rosemary and sea salt crystals is addictive! If you've missed eating bread, you'll enjoy making these rolls--found in my upcoming cookbook, Delightfully Free. I think you'll be as excited about these homemade rolls as I am.

In the meantime, why not grow your own Rosemary plant? Of all the herbs used for cooking, Rosemary is one of the easiest to grow. In fact, it is hard to kill! An attractive, small, evergreen shrub with small blue flowers, it thrives outside, even in moderately poor soil, in full to part sun exposure. Indoors, it grows well in a pot in direct or indirect sunlight. Rosemary's wonderful pine-like fragrance and rich, pungent flavor along with its health benefits make it indispensable to any kitchen. The distinct flavor of rosemary is a fabulous addition to seafood, lamb and poultry dishes, egg dishes, soups, sauces, and breads. My book even offers a delicious recipe for "Cafe Nuts" in which Rosemary plays the star role.

The wonderful aroma and flavor of Rosemary is associated with fine food, but according to, " could just as easily be associated with good health. Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. So, the next time you enhance the flavor of some special dish with rosemary, congratulate yourself for a wise as well as delicious choice." Fresh Rosemary is a good source of vitamin A, fiber and contains manganese, iron and calcium. Enjoy experimenting with rosemary!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Delightfully Free for brunch:

How about individual Broccoli Zucchini Quiches at your next breakfast or brunch? They're easy to make, delicious and, as always, Delightfully Free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars.
This recipe and over 100 others are included in my upcoming cookbook, Delightfully Free!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quinoa with Herbs and Olives

A fresh new salad from Delightfully Free featuring quinoa & olives:

How much do you know about quinoa? Check out this overview from

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another sneak peek from my upcoming cookbook, Delightfully Free:
Cream of Broc & Cauli Soup!

A creamy yet completely healthy version of a classic!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Delightfully Free Chocolate Mousse!

More from my upcoming cookbook, Delightfully Free:
Chocolate Mousse!

This one seems almost too good to be true!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's been cooking at Delightfully Free?

Here's something new and Delightfully Free, just out of the oven. Blueberry muffins! Stay tuned for more examples of the GF, DF & SF recipes in store for you, to be posted in the coming days. Check back for other sneak previews this week!

More Delightfully Free coming soon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Delightfully Free with southern style: Tennessee and North Carolina

I have just returned from enjoying several delightfully free dining experiences in the charming southern cities of Franklin, Tennessee and Asheville, North Carolina. And no, I didn't cook anything during my trip, yet the meals were all mainly gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. Here's some great news: because so many restaurants are beginning to see that their dining patrons include those with food allergies or those who just want to eat healthy, GF/DF menus, an emphasis on natural, wholesome ingredients and vegan/raw-inspired items are popping up all over in restaurants.
Before saying anymore about the wonderful food though, I just have to mention that if any of you have not yet been to Franklin or Asheville, and ever have the chance to go, don't pass it up. These places are so much fun! Franklin, just south of Nashville, has a historic charm throughout its quaint downtown. In addition to its traditional roots, the city loves to keep things interesting. While we were there, the city held a street festival for Cinco de Mayo--while also attempting to set the world record for the largest tequila toast. Oh, and if you like touring old mansions and estate homes, don't miss the nearby Rippavilla Plantation and Carnton Plantation.  My history buff husband would want me to include that Franklin had a very important Civil War battle fought there and he recommends taking the walking tour at the Carter House, located on the outskirts of the town. 

For being a relatively small town, Franklin has a fabulous selection of restaurants and several of them now have DELICIOUS items for anyone eating GF, DF, SF, vegetarian, vegan or with other allergy sensitivities in mind. I even had a GF, DF pizza at the Mellow Mushroom.  I had our customized pizza topped with spinach, chicken, onions, tomatoes, and fresh basil.  It was so yummy!  There was also a restaurant with a whole GF menu, but unfortunately they were only open for lunch, so I ended up missing out. And even besides the specialty restaurants I saw, several of the others had menu selections which were either great just the way they were or the servers/kitchen were only too happy to remove or add an item or two to make it all work for us. Don't be afraid to ask to have your order customized so that it's GF and DF it's really not uncommon--I've been doing it for years ;)

Not only did I eat at the Mellow Mushroom in Franklin, but I also worked in the Mellow Mushroom in Asheville. They make a pretty tasty GF, DF pizza. Asheville is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just outside the city is the Biltmore Estate, the largest private home in America, and it's gorgeous. The Estate is situated just south of Asheville in its own community of Biltmore Forest. To the north of the city is The Grove Park Inn which is an incredible, historic resort and spa sitting atop fabulous grounds which include a golf course.  The Inn is a great place to walk and enjoy the beautiful views, atmosphere and amenities.

Asheville's Downtown is vibrant, with a personality all its own. Small enough that most everyone walks around town, there are talented musicians playing on virtually every major intersection and wonderful street-front restaurants abound. Like other charming historic American cities, Asheville is brimming with many great eateries, closely packed together.  Simply locate the Vance Obelisk in the center of the city and start there. 

Here is just a sampling of the outstanding restaurants you will encounter:  the Tupelo Honey Cafe, The Early Girl Eatery, The Laughing Seed, Rosetta's Kitchen, Mayfel's, Doc Chey's Noodle House, The Noodle Shop, The “other” Mellow Mushroom—the list could go on. The two noodle houses offer dishes with your choice of meat or no meat, packed with fresh vegetables and herbs, and they both offer the fare over brown rice if you ask. At both places, we found our servers not only to be patient about explaining to us or finding out what was in a dish for us, but they were definitely in tune with the needs of a GF, DF patron. The same was true virtually everywhere else. In fact, Rosetta's Kitchen offers an entirely separate vegetarian and vegan menu. At the popular Tupelo Honey Cafe, our server Lia was so thoughtful and patiently went over each ingredient, despite how busy the restaurant was. Rachael at Mayfel's explained all of the many options offered to make my meal there GF and DF. The same thing happened at The Laughing Seed where Katherin carefully pointed out the many menu selections that were entirely GF and DF. And by the way, over at the Laughing Seed we learned that the staff's favorite cookie happens to be their GF/DF vegan selection (rather than either of the two other non-GF/DF contenders)—proving, once again, that good, healthy eating doesn't have to be tasteless and tortuous. One final, not to be missed food-related treat is the GreenLife Grocery store located just west of downtown. It is a treasure chest of healthy food and produce. Especially interesting are the unusual and creative dishes and deserts displayed for sampling and sale in the center of the store.  The store personnel that I've had the pleasure of encountering have all been very knowledgable and enthusiastic about clean eating. It's so refreshing. A healthy, creative and even exotic breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack can be purchased at GreenLife and enjoyed in their dinning area. I really love this place, can you tell? It's a completely affordable way to enjoy a quick, quality meal while not venturing too far from the action of downtown and I can find any ingredient I need.

In Biltmore village, fun for a stroll through quaint shops after a visit to the Estate, you will find Chelsea's Tea Room with its own wonderful menu and charming garden patio where Jennifer took excellent care of us. By the way, most all of the places I've mentioned have terrific outside seating options which allow me to participate in another of my favorite activities: people watching ;)

And I know I'm leaving so much out ! The good news is that enjoying fabulous dining away from home is becoming easier and better as more and more people and restaurants are learning about how they can and should be eating. I hope you have a chance to visit some of  these places some time soon! In the mean time, bon appetite, the Delightfully Free way!


(**All photos of food in this post are from the websites of restaurants that I've mentioned and linked to throughout. I really hope you'll check out these sites to see more of the wonderful GF, DF, SF, vegetarian, vegan and totally delicious items they offer!)

About Delightfully Free: Delightfully Free is a gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free cookbook of 141 recipes. It includes delicious resources for autism, celiac disease, diabetes, lactose intolerance, obesity and just plain healthy living. It contains 114 color photographs, 114 vegetarian or vegetarian compatible recipes, and 103 vegan or vegan compatible recipes


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Get ready...

Delightfully Free is almost here! And I've been incredibly busy with the finishing touches--I'm very happy with everything so far and am now eagerly looking forward to the cookbook release date. So, for everyone in suspense, this is a quick update to let you know that Delightfully Free is well on its way and that we're anticipating a really wonderful finished product very soon :)


You can buy Delightfully Free and Even More Delightfully Free on my website, or directly at this link:
Your signed books always come with free shipping. We do not sell on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any other internet sites.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm Seeing Less Of My Husband!

How's that for an inference-laden title? For those of you wondering if I was about to reveal trouble simmering outside of the kitchen--sorry to disappoint. No, my husband, Brian, has not abandoned me in a quest to visit every major league ballpark. Nope, he's around more than ever. It's simply that my husband, who suffers from no known food intolerances, has been eating meals made up of my cookbook recipes for many months...and he's been losing weight

This welcomed development comes despite the fact that he has not kept to his exercise regimen of mountain biking for many months. So even though his exercise has been curtailed, by significantly reducing his consumption of breads, white rice, white pasta and dairy, Brian is quickly shedding weight. And he came to this conclusion all by himself about a week ago :)

Like most of us, Brian noticed his metabolism slowing up throughout his 30's. And based on what he knew, he responded by exercising more. “Conquer at play and you can eat all day” became his new motto. But unfortunately it didn't work out that way and, despite increasing his mountain biking habit, Brian was still gaining weight. 

So his next move was to cut back on long-standing food favorites such as ice cream, lasagna and creamy dishes. That {and a whole lot of exercise} allowed him to maintain a pretty good weight. Yet he was dissatisfied with this combo, knowing that if he upset the delicate balance between vigorous exercise and eating less of what he wanted, he'd put back on the weight.   

This is the point in the story where I must humbly admit that in the early days of my adventure into gluten-free and dairy-free cooking, my family wasn't exactly sneaking into the kitchen to gorge on my DF, GF, low-sugar experiments. So, back in the old days, I would most often fix two meals—one "healthy meal" for myself and my daughter who has dietary restrictions, and another "normal" one for everyone else, including Brian. 

I could sometimes coax him into sampling a GF cookie or even a main dish, and he would always compliment me {Usually something along the lines of “this is the greatest GF product I've had all day!” Isn't he funny ;) but he was not at all interested in substituting any of his food with my healthier versions. And then, it all changed.

As I stuck to it, countless tries later, a very interesting thing started to happen: Brian tried my creations and his new response became, “Hey, this is really keep making it better,” and furthermore {to my GREAT satisfaction} he'd eat the entire GF, DF, SF item in question. 

Pretty soon I was cooking only one meal and only one desert and, by that point, he was happy about it because he and the rest of my family actually liked the food. And now, after having eaten about 80% GF, DF and low sugar for sometime, I have to say I really like the change in how healthy he looks. 

I now attribute the family's “conversion” to the fact that my re-imagined, GF, DF, SF recipes feature the same kinds of textures and tastes found in the old dishes that rely on gluten and dairy ingredients. I love to hear family and friends say that they never would have known that something they just ate was gluten and dairy-free, or to hear them ask incredulously, “This sauce has no dairy in it?!” 

So my family's story is how this all started. And now my cookbook is full of recipes that take the best of everything I learned along the way and will show other families with special diets new ways to enjoy creamy dishes, cookies, muffins and a host of other formerly off-limit foods

So, here's to healthy eating and happy husbands! ;)

You can buy Delightfully Free and Even More Delightfully Free on my website, or directly at this link:
Your signed books always come with free shipping. We do not sell on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any other internet sites.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The AMAZING Coconut

One of the pleasant surprises I have discovered in my ongoing adventure of healthy cooking and baking for "clean" eating is the
coconut!!! This under-appreciated fruit turns out to be remarkably versatile. In fact, I have been amazed at the benefits and advantages that coconut products provide.

Coconut has been a staple food in Asian and island cultures for centuries. And while this super food has been gaining recognition in the health and nutrition communities, the general public in the western world has yet to realize that coconuts are one of the most nutritious of all fruits. There are so many good reasons to incorporate coconut into our diet.  And that is all good, but what about taste?

The good news is that the use of coconut in so many diverse dishes lends a delicate, creamy, slightly sweet, richness to all sorts of foods, from egg dishes and sauces to baked goods. In my new cookbook "Delightfully Free," I have taken advantage of coconut nutrition and scrumptiousness, using coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut flour and coconut meat. Here is a quick breakdown of some different coconut products and their benefits:

Coconut Milk:  Is not to be confused with the liquid found in the middle of the coconut when it is opened. That is the coconut water or juice. Coconut milk is the juice expressed from the meat of the coconut. One cup of coconut milk contains 38.4 mg of calcium, around 89 mg of magnesium (which helps maintain normal blood pressure, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease), is an excellent source of potassium (631 mg) and phosphorus (240 mg).  For this reason, it also helps increase energy levels and promotes bone and kidney health.  Additionally, Manganese, copper and zinc are other important minerals naturally found in coconut milk.

Coconut Oil:  Is the fatty oil that comes from coconut meat.  Quality organic coconut oil is said to be the healthiest oil to use. This is because coconut oil is heat stable, which makes it slow to oxidize and resistant to becoming rancid. It is also low in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Bruce Fife, N.D., who has written about the benefits of coconut oil, believes that our bodies use the fat in coconut oil to make energy and not to store fat, which keeps us fit and lively (something that most of us would gladly opt for!). All of these things make coconut oil a safe and healthy alternative for heating, cooking, frying and baking.  

Coconut Flour:  Is something that really makes me happy! What a wonderful difference coconut flour has made in GF baking. It allows us to achieve moist, rich texture and has a delicious natural sweet flavor that enhances baked goods.  Whereas white flour has no fiber, coconut flour is very high in fiber, it is actually 58% fiber, a whopping 6 grams per 2 tablespoons (compare that to wheat bran which is only 27% fiber). It is also low in carbs and is a good source of protein, 2 grams per 2 tablespoons. White flour has zero iron, but 2 tablespoons of coconut flour meets 2% of your daily iron needs.

Coconut Meat:  Besides being a refreshing twist of flavor in soups, vegetables and desserts, 1 cup of coconut meat has 7.2 grams of fiber, more than 20% of the daily recommended amount for adults, not to mention, more than half the recommended daily amount of manganese, which helps your body metabolize both fat and proteins, supports the immune and nervous systems and promotes stable blood sugar levels.  Beyond all this, coconut meat contains significant amounts of potassium and copper.

Coconut Sugar: As I covered in another post here, coconut sugar allows us to achieve some of the textures and consistencies that were nearly impossible before in GF, DF and naturally sweetened baking. Produced and used in south east Asia for thousands of years, coconut sugar has a super low glycemic index of 35 compared to that of corn syrup at 75, refined, pasteurized honey at 75, table sugar at 80, high fructose corn syrup at 87 and glucose (or dextrose) at 100. Furthermore, coconut sugar boasts an extremely high nutrient content--higher in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron than agave nectar (which I am crazy about). Coconut sugar is also a natural source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. Still another great aspect of coconut sugar is that it contains only 148 grams of carbs per cup compared to agave nectar which has 256 grams per cup. Recent medical research suggests that a diet low in carbohydrates is beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes, in which case choosing coconut sugar can be a huge help.

As you turn the pages of my cookbook, you will notice that in many of my recipes, in almost every section, coconut is an important ingredient.

And that's because coconut is just plain amazing :)

See more of my recipes on my website:

Some links to check out:

Also check out Bruce Fife's book, Coconut Cures for more complete info:
Fife, Bruce (2005). Coconut Cures. Piccadilly Books. ISBN 978-0-941599-60-3
Available from Amazon here

You can buy Delightfully Free and Even More Delightfully Free on my website, or directly at this link:
Your signed books always come with free shipping. We do not sell on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any other internet sites.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Taste Testers: Poulet de Provence with creamy sauce

Another quick Taste Tester post from my friend Connie. She tried out my recipe for Poulet de Provence, complete with its own creamy DF, GF sauce. In fact, the sauce is so good, it sort of steals the show. Secret ingredient? Cauliflower :)

"Last night I prepared the Poulet de Provence. It was absolutely delicious. Ted and I both loved it...I can't get enough of the cauliflower sauce! The directions were easy to follow, and the cooking times were right on.  I had to let mine sit about 20 minutes while waiting for Ted to get home, and the chicken was still lovely, moist and delicious.
Ted thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a wonderful recipe and I will definitely use it often!"

Thanks you both for all your help!

Like to see more Delightfully Free? Check out Delightfully

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fun, Healthy Kid's Snack

Eating healthy and eliminating foods that cause problems is tricky enough for those of us who are dedicated to doing it. We understand our goal: to stop the negative responses our bodies have to certain foods, improve our health and even bring about our immediate comfort and well being....but convincing our kids to do so can be difficult. And that's why I would like to introduce some creative snack and meal ideas designed to appeal to the kiddles :)

Let's face it, we have a lot of competition from the "food" industry {if that's what you call food} for their attention and appetite. It's a challenge for us to win our kids over to eating well and eating right for their particular needs. So let's make it fun! Let's make it cute! And all the while, let's make it taste great while using ingredients that are nutritious, GF, DF and low on the glycemic index. Here is a snack that uses the staples you probably already have in your kitchen. Next time you hear "I'm hungry" {when it isn't meal time}, pull out the almond butter and the carrots for a snack with a fun twist...

Carrot Stick Funny Face
1/3 cup almond or sunflower seed butter
2 tablespoons almond meal
1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/8 teaspoons cinnamon
10-14 carrot sticks
2 black olives
a curved cut out strip of red bell pepper (for the shape of a smile)  

Mix the first 4 ingredients and form a mound on a plate or in a shallow bowl.

Poke the carrot sticks into the almond butter mound in a porcupine-like arrangement.

Stick the 2 olives onto the ends of 2 carrots to form eyes and lay the red bell pepper smile on top of the carrot stick ends in a way that looks happy! 

Now see who can eat the most carrots  :)

Like to see more Delightfully Free? Check out Delightfully


About Delightfully Free: Delightfully Free is a gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free cookbook of 141 recipes. It includes delicious resources for autism, Celiac disease, diabetes, lactose intolerance, obesity and just plain healthy living. It contains 114 color photographs, 114 vegetarian or vegetarian compatible recipes, and 103 vegan or vegan compatible recipes.

Melt In Your Mouth, Made By You, Tutorial Tuesday, Metamorphosis Monday,
Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives, Transformation Thursday, Homemakers Challenge, Your Green Resource, Inspiration Friday, Freaky Friday, Fresh BitesLittle HouseFrugal Friday, Simple Things

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Creativity With Salads

Making salads creative and fun is easier than you might think. All you need to do is have a delicious blend of greens, herbs and raw veggies all ready to go in a bag in order to expedite the time spent repeatedly making salads.

So what goes on the salad that starts with a big bag of greens? Just about anything that you have in your fridge. So it changes all the time!  If you had grilled veggies last night for dinner, they're wonderful the next day on a leafy salad with my Balsamic Vinaigrette...If you BBQ'ed chicken, then some chicken, avocadoroasted corn, cherry tomatoes and jicama with my DF BBQ Ranch is a great choice.  If you're feeling Mediterranean, throw on some hummus, kalamata olives, roasted chicken, red onion, chick peasolive oil and balsamic vinegar with some basil and oregano.

I have gone so far as to top my salad off with the left over enchilada casserole and finish it with a dollop of salsa and the left over enchilada sauce! :) My turkey meatloaf is yummy over salad with tomatoes and some of my Creamy Mustard dressing! The ideas are endless.

Whenever I have made one of my quinoa salads, like Quinoa With pistachios and dried cherries, or Quinoa tabbouleh, that becomes my favorite salad topper of the day. It's a great way to get a big helping of raw, crunchy greens and veggies with a different twist every day!

Like to see more Delightfully Free? Check out Delightfully


About Delightfully Free: Delightfully Free is a gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free cookbook of 141 recipes. It includes delicious resources for autism, Celiac disease, diabetes, lactose intolerance, obesity and just plain healthy living. It contains 114 color photographs, 114 vegetarian or vegetarian compatible recipes, and 103 vegan or vegan compatible recipes.

Melt In Your Mouth, Heirloom Recipe Party, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday Mania
Gluten Free, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent, Tutorial TuesdayTraditional Tuesday,
Show Me What Ya Got, Deep Roots At HomeFrugal DaysWhole Foods Wednesday
Home And Garden ThursdayYour Green ResourceNatural Living, Homemaker's Challenge, Inspiration Friday, Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Bag Of Greens

No matter what the season, for me, it seems like a salad is always what sounds good for lunch. The crunchy greens with the fresh, raw veggies and then whatever else I find in the fridge to throw in, makes a meal that I always think is "the best salad yet!

And that is always different, because what's in the fridge is always changing on this adventure of creative cooking!  One thing that I do keep as a constant though, is the use of a lot of interesting deep green lettuces and herbs as a base. 

Now if I'm making a salad almost every single day for lunch, not to mention sometimes as a side dish at dinner, I would end up spending the time over and over getting ALL of those separate items out, washing the lettuces, herbs....chopping them, putting them all back in their containers or bags... But why would I when I can expedite the whole process in one easy step?? Of course there is a simple solution for all this!!  

An extra large zip bag of ready washed, already chopped, wonderfully assorted seasonal greens... ready to go!  I love my big bag of greens!!!  I just take it out, shake some into my bowl and start adding to it--that becomes my creation of the day  :)

And what do I include in my big bag of greens? I'm glad you asked. A variety of lettuces like arugula (a.k.a. rocket ) that adds a peppery flavor, butter lettuce with its more mellow taste and texture, mache (also called lamb's lettuce) a sweet, nutty flavor, mesclun (which means "mixed") traditionally composed of several varieties, mizuna which is an Asian type of mustard greens, radicchio with its own peppery, slightly bitter flavor, romaine... and the list goes on. To all that I add cabbages (green, red, Asian...), bok choy, spinach, kale, celery, (which are really vegetables), then my favorite--herbs...fresh parsley, cilantro, mint, dill, thyme... Of course I don't include all of these in every bag.

Just what ever looked particularly fresh and yummy at the market. I only chop up what I know can be used in the next 4-5 days, so it's always fresh.  I also put a clean piece of paper towel that has been dampened with water and lemon juice in the bag to help keep everything fresh and wholesome.

All of that ends up being a lot!  A lot of savings (by not buying the pre-washed/pre-packaged versions--this is just a home-made version of the prepared lettuce mixes!), a lot of vitamins, minerals, fiber and fresh, raw nutrition...all in a big bag of greens!  I hope this idea is helpful to you  :)

P.S. My salad in the picture has 20 ingredients. Can you spot them all?

Like to see more Delightfully Free? Check out Delightfully


About Delightfully Free: Delightfully Free is a gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free cookbook of 141 recipes. It includes delicious resources for autism, Celiac disease, diabetes, lactose intolerance, obesity and just plain healthy living. It contains 114 color photographs, 114 vegetarian or vegetarian compatible recipes, and 103 vegan or vegan compatible recipes.