You have to eat gluten-free? I’m so sorry!

label-gluten-freeWell, don’t be. Choosing to eat a gluten-free (GF) diet was actually one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. And two years later it’s still one of the easiest things I choose to do with my life. So, don’t be sorry!

But you can’t have bread!

No, I can’t have bread that’s been made with wheat flour. I can have bread that’s been made with rice flour, tapioca flour, or a GF flour blend. And while I’ve had plenty of delicious bread made with wheat flour, I’ve also had plenty of delicious GF bread. It may not be those heavenly rolls from O’Charley’s, but I’ll trade illness with GF bread (or even no bread) any day.

What about cake?

What about it? Can I have your average yellow cake? No, probably not. But seeing as how cake isn’t something I have 365 days a year, it’s not a complete loss to me. If I really want to have my cake fix, I’ll pick up some fabulous GF cupcakes from Earth Fare. Or, if I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll make my own GF cake either using one of Betty Crocker’s tasty GF mixes or using my Jule’s GF flour. Both are great and neither have the slightest “this is lacking wheat” taste.

Can you have vegetables?

Um, yes. Unless the vegetable was made with wheat, in which case GF diet or not, I don’t think I’d want to eat that vegetable.

So, what can you eat?

Anything I want. I don’t live in a world where I can’t have anything that tastes good. A GF diet by no means consists of “health food” only. Speaking as someone who lost 30 pounds on a gluten-full diet, I have to practice just as much discipline to control weight gain on a GF diet. It’s not always a piece of cake (yes, that was intentional), but it’s certainly not hard. Even since my maiden voyage on this journey two years ago there have been TONS of advancements and additions to the GF world. A plethora of restaurants with GF options, an even bigger plethora of GF blogs and Pinterest boards, and a vast array of GF food choices in the grocery stores. There are even dedicated GF bakeries and entirely GF restaurants out there now! So, don’t be sorry. Don’t be worried about my lack of bread and cake intake. And for pete’s sake please don’t be worried about what in the world I eat on a regular basis because believe me, I’m not struggling!

It’s no big deal!

Two years is not a long time, but within these two years I’ve been asked plenty of questions about eating GF. I’ve also been asked for GF recipes, which does not mean I’m a phenomenal chef in my quaint little kitchen. But, it does give me motivation to share my thoughts and recipes and what little GF knowledge I may possess. So, please bear with me as I share my GF life. And please, please continue to ask questions, enjoy my recipe posts, and share yours!

GF Christmas Cookies

Everyone has their favorite Christmas treat, or if you’re like me you have multiple favorite Christmas treats. From my mom’s cider to my godmother’s peanut butter fudge, to my mother-in-law’s chocolate-coconut candies, I love them all. One of my absolute favorites though is just the plain ol’ sugar cookie. They don’t even have to be cut into angels or trees, I just love a good sugar cookie no matter its shape.

I also love sharing treats with others, so I was super excited (probably overly excited) to make these sugar cookies for my work Christmas party this week-end. There’s just something about the tradition of making cookies that really adds to the whole season, at least in my book.

These cookies can be made GF or not GF just depending on your preference. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


  • 2 3/4 Cup flour (I use GF Jule’s)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Cup butter, softened (but not too soft)
  • 1 1/2 Cup white sugar, plus another 1/2 cup or so for rolling the dough
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can Betty Crocker Buttercream Icing (you can also make your own, but this stuff is incredible on top of these cookies)
  • Sprinkles

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, or 350 convection.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla, then slowly blend in dry ingredients. Do not over blend.

Take 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into ball. Roll the ball into a small bowl of white sugar, then flatten with the palm of your hand and place on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool for about 3-5 minutes, then transfer to baking rack. Once completely cooled, ice and sprinkle until your heart’s content!


Merry Christmas and enjoy!

Sweet Fall Pumpkin Bars

Yes, I’m one of *those* who get suddenly obsessed with pumpkin at the onset of fall. I try to have some self control and not go overboard with pumpkin-flavored desserts, pumpkin coffees, pumpkin decor…but low and behold we still have pumpkins all over our house, and I think I’ve met and exceeded my quota for pumpkin spiced lattes this year.

I did somehow manage to wait until the end of October to make my pumpkin bars, which I’ll now be restraining myself from making every week for the rest of the season. I began making these little treats a few years ago, each time making them a little different trying to perfect the recipe. And tonight, tonight we had a winner. I hope you’ll try these and enjoy them as much as we do! They’re the perfect sweet fall tradition, and naturally GF!


  • 1 Cup almond butter (note: almond butter is best for these as it does not overpower the pumpkin flavor)
  • 3/4-1 Cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 Cup honey
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple flavoring
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup white chocolate chips (optional…but highly recommended)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients together in large bowl and spread into baking dish. If adding the white chocolate chips, you may want to toss them with a little GF flour first as this helps them not sink to the bottom of the dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until knife comes out clean.


Serve warm with a nice, hot cup of coffee and enjoy all things fall!

Mashed Potato Cups

If you’re looking to spice up the way you make potatoes, look no further. Even if you’re not looking for a way to spice up your potatoes, you need to make these little cups of deliciousness right away. They’re so easy to make, tasty, and so versatile they would go with almost any meal plan!


  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbs 1/2 and 1/2 (you could also use sour cream)
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs seasoned salt (I used Season All)
  • 1/2 C shredded cheddar (or cheese of choice)
  • 1 Tbs chopped chives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scrub potatoes, then rub with olive oil and sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Cook in microwave for 5 minutes, then turn over and cook another 5 minutes. You can obviously cook the potatoes in the oven or boil them, but if you’re running low on time like I always am microwaving them might be the best choice!

Once cooked, add potatoes to large bowl with the remaining ingredients and mash away. I like to keep the skin on and mash just until they’re not super lumpy…I hope that makes sense to more than just me.

Spray muffin tin with cooking spray, then add mashed potatoes to each cup. Drizzle a little melted butter on top of each potato cup if desired, which by the way makes them a little crispy on the edges making them all the more scrumptious. Cook for about 20-25 minutes. It’s best to let them sit for a few minutes before serving so they come out of the muffin tin all in one piece.


If you have leftovers these freeze and reheat pretty well. Tonight I paired the potatoes with pork tenderloin and bacon wrapped green beans…yum! Enjoy!

Thai Chicken and Rice Noodle Take-Out

I LOVE Thai food. I especially love that most Thai food is naturally GF, making it easier to dine at Thai restaurants. Unfortunately, most of the really good Thai restaurants in town are about 30 minutes away, totally inconvenient! Tonight we made our own Thai take-out meal and I have to say it turned out pretty well considering it was my first try at making Thai. We’ll definitely be making this and other Asian recipes more often!


  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 C GF flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/3 sweet red chili sauce
  • GF soy sauce to taste
  • 1 box rice noodles (I used Thai Kitchen stir-fry rice noodles)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In one bowl, whisk together egg and milk. In separate bowl, whisk together salt, pepper, garlic powder, and GF flour. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, then egg mixture, then back in flour mixture. Lay chicken pieces on foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle chicken with curry powder, then bake for about 15 minutes. Note: You can also fry the chicken, which would probably make it a little crunchier. Tonight I wanted to avoid the oil and try to make this a touch healthier.


While chicken is cooking, prepare the noodles according to the package directions. Once cooked and drained, toss noodles with just a splash of the GF soy sauce to taste.

When chicken comes out of oven, toss with sweet chili sauce in large bowl, then combine with pasta. You can add more chili sauce to the pasta if you like a little more heat.


I added a side of roasted broccoli which went pretty well with the chili sauce! Top with some chopped chives and serve warm. Enjoy!

Shredded Pork Taquitos

Shredded pork marinated in GF beer, chili powder, and cumin combined with onions, salsa, and cheese make these little taquitos so simply delicious you won’t believe they’re homemade. They’re also baked, not fried, which makes them all the more appealing! I first tried this recipe with shredded chicken, but marinating a pork tenderloin in GF beer and other spices was definitely an improvement! These fantastic little bundles would make a great appetizer as well as a meal, which is how we enjoyed them alongside some guacamole and Mexican seasoned quinoa.

Ingredients for Shredded Pork:

  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
  • 1 bottle of Redbridge GF beer
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano

Place all ingredients in crock pot, cook on low for about 6-8 hours until you can shred pork easily with fork. Turn on “warm” until ready to stir into taquito mixture.

Ingredients for Taquitos:

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C salsa
  • 4 oz cream cheese, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Shredded pork
  • 1 C Monterrey Jack cheese

Start by toasting the tortillas for 10-15 seconds per side in skillet. Place on plate and cover with aluminum foil.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large skillet. When hot, add onions and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in salsa and cream cheese, and cook until cream cheese is completely melted. Turn heat down, and stir in seasonings, then shredded pork from crock pot, then the Monterrey Jack cheese.

Place a heaping tablespoon of taquito mixture onto each tortilla, then roll up and place seam side down onto parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the remaining tablespoon of oil on top of each taquito. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.


Serve warm with additional salsa, sour cream, or guacamole and enjoy!

Parmesan Garlic Orzo

I just love orzo. It’s pasta without being too filling, and it’s rice without being too grainy. Just like pasta, you can use orzo as a side dish, in soup, or even in salad. And just like rice, orzo can be made plain or dressed up a bit. You can’t go wrong with orzo, no matter which way you prepare it!

Tonight I kept things easy and just tossed the orzo with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, and oregano and let me tell you it was delicious and perfectly simple. See below for recipe!


  • 12 oz GF orzo (I use DeLallo)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (use less if you’re not a big fan of garlic)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t salt

Boil about 4 quarts of water, then add orzo. Let cook for about 11-12 minutes or until soft. Add salt to orzo about halfway through cooking. When finished, drain and return to pot. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle in garlic and oregano, and toss to coat. Serve warm and enjoy!


Spicy Jack Pasta

I love a meal that can come together within a 30-minute time span. Not that I don’t love spending time in the kitchen, but some nights you just need a quick fixer…and comfort food, which in my opinion describes this meal perfectly.

This recipe makes about four servings, so not only does this provide dinner but also lunch for a couple of days! The combination of smoked sausage, onions, and tomatoes becomes so flavorful with just enough kick that it’s spicy without being overwhelming and causing your forehead to sweat while you eat. No one enjoys that!

Here are the ingredients for this tasty dish:

  • 6 oz smoked sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 can Ro-Tel (diced tomatoes with green chiles)
  • 2 C chicken broth (I use Pacific Foods brand)
  • 8 oz pasta (I use Tinkyada)
  • 3 C fresh spinach
  • 1 C freshly shredded Monterrey Jack
  • 1 T chopped chives

Heat large skillet over medium heat, add sausage and olive oil. Cook for about 6-7 minutes and drain fat. Add sausage back to skillet with the onions. Sautee until onions are softened, about 5-6 minutes.


Add Ro-Tel and chicken broth, stir to combine, being sure to scrape any browned tidbits from the bottom.


It will look like something akin to soup at first, but don’t worry it won’t look like that for long. Add your pasta, being sure to submerge the noodles in the liquid so they’ll cook evenly. Cover skillet and bring to boil, then let simmer for about ten minutes or until noodles are cooked through.


Add spinach one cup at a time and stir until wilted. Sprinkle cheese on top and let sit until cheese is melted, then top with chives and serve immediately.


Keep this one in your “comfort food” and “quick to make” deck of cards and enjoy! Your family will thank you!


Thyme & Wine Chicken

You really can’t go wrong combining thyme and wine. They both add so much flavor individually that when combined it’s like the stars are all aligned just perfectly. Add some light cream and garlic and you might just fight your momma for the last piece!

Of course the best part of this recipe is that every bit of it is GF! Word to the wise-some chicken stocks may not be GF, so triple check your ingredient labels.


  • 1-1 1/2 lb chicken breast, thin-sliced (if your store doesn’t carry thin-sliced you may want to pound it until it’s thinner)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • 1 C white wine
  • 1 C half & half
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, then sear for about 5 minutes per side in olive oil. Transfer to plate.

De-glaze skillet with chicken stock, then add wine, half & half, garlic, and thyme. Bring to boil to reduce by about half. Add chicken back to skillet to continue cooking through for about 15-20 minutes. About 5 minutes before serving, add some grated Parmesan on top of chicken.

I served this on top of a bed of garlic and mushroom quinoa, which is basically just quinoa with sauteed mushrooms and garlic stirred in, but it is SO good! It’s especially good when you mix in some of the sauce from the chicken. Absolute deliciousness! Enjoy!


GF Cookies & Cream Cookies

If you need a dessert to take to a summer party, I highly suggest these. If you need a dessert because it’s a Tuesday, I also highly suggest these. They. are. so. good! And dangerous. Once you taste the dough you’re pretty much done. Go ahead and plan your work outs for the week because believe me, you’ll need them!

The original recipe is not at all GF conducive, but thanks to the many GF items out there you can easily make these GF friendly.

Here are the original ingredients and their GF counterparts in parenthesis:

  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1 package Cookies n’ Creme pudding mix (I used white chocolate pudding mix + a few extra cookies)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 C flour (I use GF Jule’s flour)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 10 Oreos, chopped (I used Glutino’s chocolate sandwich cookies)
  • 1/2 C white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, cream butter and sugars, then add pudding mix. Add eggs and vanilla, then mix flour, baking soda and salt into mixture. Stir in chopped cookies and white chocolate chips until well combined.











Go ahead and test the dough. You know you want to.


Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake for about 11 minutes.


Let cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Treat yourself to these little bites of heaven and enjoy!

Click here for original recipe.

Gluten-Free Traveling

My husband and I love to travel, whether it’s a quick week end get-a-way or week long adventure. We love seeing new places, spending time together, and learning how other cultures live…and eat. Eating a GF diet can be a burden while traveling if you’re not prepared. I’ve learned over the years to pack GF snacks, and sometimes meals depending on where we’re going. It’s helpful to have quick and easy GF snacks that I can tuck in my purse and eat on the go since most snacks out there are not so GF friendly.

Fortunately, cruising with Royal Caribbean eliminates all the “What am I going to eat?” worry and let’s me simply enjoy our vacation and eat fabulous meals, which is half the fun! We have cruised for our last two vacations and I can’t brag enough about the delectable food that Royal Caribbean offers, especially the GF options! From drinks to entrees to yes, even desserts, the options were impressive and delicious. Even more than the food, the attention, respect, and care to my GF needs by the wait staff was much appreciated. If you eat a GF diet and need a worry-free vacation, I would highly recommend cruising with Royal Caribbean! You won’t regret it!

Here are just a few of the delicious GF meals I ate on board the Rhapsody of the Seas on our recent Alaskan Cruise:


  • Strawberry, kiwi, and pineapple medley with a sweet tart-lime syrup
  • Spanish tapas plate including prosciutto, salami, Manchego cheese, and olives
  • Oakwood smoked chicken breast salad


  • Mojo marinated pork chop
  • Thai chicken
  • Rigatoni pasta with cream sauce


  • Ivory chocolate mousse
  • Pear chocolate crisp
  • Creme brulee with Bailey’s and bananas
  • Maple mousse

Specialty dining:

  • Chops Grille: Caesar salad (sans croutons), filet mignon with Cabernet sauce and garlic butter broccoli
  • Giovanni’s Table: Flatbread with mushrooms and prosciutto; pasta in raddicchio cream sauce with pancetta; chicken breast filled with ricotta and mushrooms wrapped in prosciutto with a Chardonnay-sage sauce. *Warning: This one of the best meals I’ve ever had but we had no idea how much food this would be! Worth every bite though!*

Again, every single meal I had was phenomenal and I’m so grateful to the kitchen and wait staff who did everything they could to eliminate worry from our vacation. We can’t wait for our next cruise with Royal Caribbean!

While I did not get any pictures of the food, I did however get some scenery shots in Alaska and Canada:

Entering Juneau

Entering Juneau

On the boat!

Hubbard Glacier


We went on a dog-sled with these precious Alaskan Huskies!

Scenery along the Yukon Highway

Victoria, British Columbia

We loved, loved, loved this cruise! Add Alaska to your bucket list if it’s not already on there. Totally worth it!