Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Journey Of Health

Some of you already know why I wrote my cookbook, but for others new to me or this website, here is my story and point of view as I share them in the Introduction section of my book:

I love good food and I especially love dessert.

But, a number of years ago, I learned that I, and others in my family, had serious food intolerances that knocked out most of our favorite things. Foods like pasta with creamy sauces, pizza, breads, pies and chocolate cake. Living without these for the rest of our lives just wouldn’t do.

So, I got creative. I experimented. People started saying “Oh! I really want that recipe” and telling me about relatives or friends who couldn’t eat dairy or gluten or both. They didn’t know what to cook for dinner or any meal for that matter. Many told me I should write a cookbook.

Over the past 10 years I have recreated favorite dishes, desserts, muffins and sauces to taste great and at the same time to be healthy. This book contains recipes to make real foods that don’t just fill our stomachs but feed our bodies’ systems so that they can function the way they were intended to. All of these recipes exclude gluten, the protein in wheat, casein, the protein in dairy, lactose, and refined sugars.

In recent years, more people are realizing that there is a real connection between the foods we are eating and the pandemic increase of obesity and disease. The focus has moved beyond the low-calorie, low-fat diet to seeking a level of nutrition that will help address symptoms like problematic digestion, brain fog, low energy, headaches and even aggressive behavior in children, mood swings in adults and inflammation which makes us susceptible to arthritis and disease. We know that medication is not always the answer. Not only are we understanding the dramatic way food affects us, we’re discovering that a large part of the equation involves eating gluten-free, dairy-free and free of refined sugars.

In my own experience with family and friends we have seen the dramatic, undeniable effects, both good and bad, caused by what we eat. For example, we have witnessed the most remarkable improvement in aggressive behavior and other autistic symptoms by simply removing gluten, dairy and, in some cases, eggs from the diet of autistic children. This has made the difference between not being able to cope socially and now being able to go to school and be successful. Knowing what to eat, what not to eat and why, has made all the difference.

So many of the people I come across now eat gluten-free, dairy-free or both. Most also recognize the need to lower their intake of sugar. But we still want to eat the delicious foods we love like lasagna, fettuccine with creamy garlic sauce, luscious quiches, moist, flavorful muffins and soft, warm cookies fresh out of the oven. Those packaged ones from the health food stores just don’t cut it! What we need is a new version of these foods that is healthy. So, let’s compare chocolate chip cookies.

When we replace regular chocolate chip cookies with my healthy ones, we have a cookie that will fuel the body instead of wage war against it. The traditional chocolate chip cookie is made of bleached, processed white flour, refined white sugar, refined brown sugar and the unhealthy forms of fat from butter, margarine and shortening (some of which are hydrogenated). Not only are these devoid of any nutritional value, ALL of these ingredients wreck havoc on our bodies.

Happily, my chocolate chip cookies are made of almond meal (100% almonds, a valuable, nutritious food high in protein and omega 3 and omega 6), coconut flour (very high in fiber, low in carbs, metabolized as energy not fat, and a good source of protein), coconut palm sugar (natural and low on the glycemic index and high in nutrients), agave nectar (a natural plant derived sweetener with an equally low glycemic index) and grapeseed oil (one of the healthiest, beneficial oils with a very high smoke point).

Here, you have a delicious cookie, which is also a nutritious food. Even people who are not “healthy eaters” love them and can’t tell that they are gluten-free, dairy-free and free of refined sugar. Another great example is my Black Bean Brownies; their main ingredient is an entire can of black beans. My elegant Chicken de Provence sauce is creamy and rich but it’s made out of cauliflower!

Who would have thought that getting a diagnosis that meant being restricted from eating breads, cheese, creamy sauces and rich chocolate desserts would lead to so much good and benefit so many people? But that is what has happened. I believe that even in difficult circumstances, there is a purpose and a blessing. My circumstances led to this cookbook. It’s been an adventure to learn a “clean” way of eating by replacing the “foods” we used to eat with real foods that have none of the detrimental, unhealthy baggage.

And now, I want to share this with others. It has been my privilege and pleasure to compile a book of delicious, healthful recipes in a variety of categories from “comfort foods” and family favorites, to foods we thought we would never be able to eat again, and even more elegant, festive dishes. My hope is that this collection, along with my blog, will help you and your family to improve and preserve your health and quality of life while enjoying the foods you love for the seasons you celebrate. Let’s put the joy back into cooking and eating, free of the stuff that makes us sick...Delightfully Free!


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. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Stamp of Approval from a Clinical Nutritionist

I was honored when clinical nutritionist Christine Mohler, CN, CHph. agreed to write the forward to my cookbook. Here's what she had to say:


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Inside the Book

The cover of the new cookbook,  Delightfully Free,  (which is hard bound), can be seen on my website, along with some of the photos of different recipes from the book. It is a joy to me to be able to say that the pages of the book are thick and glossy. I can personally vouch for the fact that they are wipeable, from experience :) I thought it would be a good idea also to show some of the other features of the book. So let's take a tour of  Delightfully Free.

After the title page and dedication, we have the table of contents. This will give you an idea of the range of recipes the book includes.

Next, we see the foreword, written by Christine Mohler, CN, CHPh. Then, my story and reason for writing the book.

As a help for people who are just getting started in their journey to healthy eating, I've included a section called “Stocking Your GF, DF, SF Pantry”. It is a little encouragement “talk” about not getting intimidated or overwhelmed by the new ingredients. I have recommended where you can buy the different items and how to get started. Then I have listed the ingredients that may be new to our beginner cooks of “clean eating” in categories like “Flours”, “Meals & Grains”, “Unusual Ingredients”, “Tips” and “Other Tools You Will Need”. 

There is also a metric conversion chart and my secret of how to prepare steel cut oats for baking! Next, are the many pages of recipes which, I might add, come complete with beautiful color photos that really make you want to eat! Last, is the Index.

Our tour would not be complete if I did not point out the wonderful, hidden white wire spiral. Because of this spiral, the cookbook lays open completely flat. No more smearing the recipe with chocolate cookie dough because the pages keep flipping, causing you to lose your concentration and inadvertently add the salt...twice! I LOVE that feature! 
This cookbook was written with love and care over a period of two years, following 8 years of cooking and baking this way. It is truly an offering of hope and help for those of us who love to eat food that tastes delicious. Even though we have dietary limitations, we still crave our old favorites; sometimes rich and creamy dishes (like saucy pasta and lasagna), sometimes tender and moist breads and muffins and sometimes chewy, sweet cookies. The beauty of this cookbook is that you get all that, and more. These recipes are made of healthy, whole ingredients that are real foods. They feed your body and help make you healthy instead of just satisfying a quick fix made up of white flour, white sugar, saturated fats, empty calories and all the nonfoods that are detrimental to our health. So bon appetite, enjoy your food again, enjoy life, (even at parties and during the holidays!) and live Delightfully Free


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.

Monday, September 17, 2012

One of the First to be Made

This is exactly what I have been so excited to see!

One of the very first people to receive a Delightfully Free cookbook was my beloved Sis-in-Law, Sheri. The very same Sheri whose name appears on the acknowledgment page under “heartfelt thanks”. To my Delight, my niece Sydney had already gotten busy making my Coconut Macaroon Cookie recipe.
The two were so happy with the results that they sent me off a text with photos of the little baking party they were having in their kitchen. Here are the photos and what they had to say about the cookies.

Isn't She the Cutest!

Plain & Chocolate Dipped

“Those macaroons can stand up against any Coconut Macaroon on the planet. I'm not kidding you! I feel so excited to have something this delicious to eat that isn't even “a cheat”!!!

I'm so honored that Sheri displays my cookbook in her beautiful Kitchen.

I love it!

By the way, I visited with them a couple of days ago. As I left, Syd was pulling out the cookbook again to mix up a treat for the birthday party she was throwing for her friend!


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


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Well, The Party Has Begun!

My wonderful friends and family are in celebration mode now that Delightfully Free is here. 

The other night, a few of us got together for dinner, excitedly exchanging stories about the different people who we have been able to share the cookbook with. After a yummy (and need I say, healthy GF, DF) dinner and it was time for dessert, my sweet and amazing cousin Debbie pulled out her magnum opus. It was, of course, GF, DF and refined SF (we can check those boxes), but, it was so much more as you can see! 

Made entirely from fresh fruit, this colorful “cake” took old school “fruit cake” to a whole new level. The core of the cake was a sweet, juicy watermelon, cut in the shape of a two layer cake. Kiwi, blueberries, green grapes and tangerine sections made up a mosaic of color and shape garnished further with dark chocolate dipped strawberries. Around the base of the cake she scrolled the word “Celebrate!” in the dark chocolate. 

The entire thing was just the cutest burst of color and flavor, lovingly made into what I would call a true food party. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pull Out The Cookie Sheets!   Roll Out The Cake Pans!   It's Time For A Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free Pizza Party!!! 

 I told you it was going to happen, and now it's here! Delightfully Free, the completely GF, DF, refined SF cookbook has arrived and is ready to go! 

To order your cookbook, Click on the "Buy Now" button to be taken to a secure PayPal site

It would be one thing if the recipes in this book were marginal, just Ok, only good if you hadn't eaten anything tasting better than cardboard for the last few years...but that is NOT what we have here. These recipes have been tried and proven on many grateful guinea pigs, and here are a few things that they had to say...

 “I loved your recipes so much that I have told all of my friends, and they want a cookbook. Please send me 20 copies, I think I'll have them sold by Monday!”

 “Your chocolate chip cookies are so fluffy and delicious, no one could even tell that they are gluten free!”

“Finally, lasagna!! I really missed lasagna! Are you sure there is no cheese in there?!”

 “What do you mean 'there are BLACK BEANS in these brownies!!' There's no way you could have a can of black beans in this recipe! These are absolutely delicious!!”

 “How great is this!...'Buttermilk' Ranch Dressing! Thought I'd never taste that again!”

 “That Crunchy Snack Mix is so good, it's sick!” 

“This Cream Sauce is fabulous!! I can't believe it's made of cauliflower!!!”

Sound tempting? I invite you to see for yourself, or should I say taste for yourself! Click on ORDER COOKBOOK & have yours in 5 to 7 days.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Mysterious Nagami Kumquat

I just love getting reminded of wonderful tastes and textures. Recently, at a wedding reception, the kumquat caught my attention. The caterer had used the Nagami Kumquat as a colorful addition and twist to his Mediterranean-themed salad. The Nagami is an oval-shaped fruit about the size of a Brazil nut and it is in a category all its own because it has a sweet skin which gives way to a slightly sour taste inside. It is eaten with the skin still on so that the sweet and sour tastes delight the taste buds together.

In this instance, the caterer had simply halved each Nagami and tossed them into his salad where they added to the attractiveness of his dish, but more importantly, added zing and exotic flavor. I was so taken with them that I leaned over to my husband, Brian, and said “these kumquats are a great idea in this salad. I'm going to have to come up with some recipes featuring kumquats,” to which Bri responded “is that what they are? I thought maybe they were some kind of medallion tomato.”

That's not to say my husband is not a sophisticated eater. But, it does point up how infrequently he's enjoyed kumquats in anything he's been served {by me included!} But, this little fruit has too many benefits to be ignored.

According to (, 8 raw kumquats, which total 108 calories, provide 66.7 mg vitamin C with the daily recommended allowance being 75 for women and 90 for men. Eight kumquats also have 9.9 g of dietary fiber. The daily recommended by the Institute of Medicine is 25 g for women and 38 g for men. This little fruit also is a good source of vitamin A, Riboflavin and calcium.

Well, after knowing I liked the taste and benefits of kumquats, Bri set about locating some for me and learned that they are not so easy to find. None of our markets had them and even his “go-to” sources for more exotic items didn't carry them. He finally found them at a nursery that sold produce as well. So, having put that much work into locating them and knowing he'd be asked to do it again, Bri showed up with a baby Nagami kumquat tree which now resides in our backyard.

Nagami Kumquat

Meiwa Kumquat

In the course of his search for a Nagami kumquat tree, my husband learned about kumquat variations. He told me about the Meiwa kumquat tree which has a round shaped fruit and is sweet. He hasn't yet found the fruit, but he found the tree and, you guessed it, it's now the Nagami's newest neighbor.

Interestingly, the Meiwa has many more first-time buds, so I'll have to start thinking about what to do with them. Given the difficulty locating the kumquat fruit, it may be rewarding to plant your own if you have the space and right climate. I will let you know how our two variations do and what that Meiwa tastes like as soon as I know.