Gluten-Free Holidays

Despite our complete lack of posting, we’re actually still trying to be gluten free. Sort of. Well, Molly always is. Jen’s doing better than I am . . .

Anyway, we’re still here, and I’ve actually made some gluten-free foods over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. I took pictures. I did not blog. But I have big plans.

Meanwhile, here’s my list of holiday successes and failures:

GF stuffing: yes!

GF biscuits: fail

GF homemade fried onions for green bean casserole: yes!

GF crock pot mac and cheese: Epic. Fail.

GF chocolate peanut butter cake: yes!


This was a bit of an experiment; I’ll try to recreate what I did and post the recipe:


1 cup GF flour: 1/4 c brown rice flour, 1/4 c white rice flour, 1/4 c oat flour, 1/4 c potato starch (you may need a little more to thicken batter)

1/6 cup cocoa:  I took my 1/3 cup and eye-balled it

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1/6 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup water

1/2 tbsp vinegar

1/2 tbsp vanilla


I didn’t measure this part even a little. I melted butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, almond milk, one square of bakers chocolate, and a big hunk of peanut butter into creamy deliciousness.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a small baking dish. Mix all the dry cake ingredients, and then add the remaining ingredients and stir. Pour half into a small round baking dish, and then pour and spread a portion of the chocolate peanut butter filling on cake batter. Pour remaining cake batter in dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for ten minutes and then transfer to cake plate. When cooled completely, cover with remaining peanut butter chocolate deliciousness and enjoy!

Eleven Easy Gluten-Free Go-Tos

My little sister, Ellen, has been on a path toward becoming gluten- and dairy-free, which has significantly improved her health issues. When she cooks for herself and strictly monitors for cross-contamination, the golden age of GF living reveals all its rewards. One smidgen of gluten though . . . and she’s a goner. When we were together at Christmas, I told her I’d work on a cheat sheet for quick grocery store purchases and safe items at the restaurants she has access to. Many of these are based on what’s close to my office as well–crappy fast-food where I am able to find gluten-friendly fare. I don’t condone a great deal of eating out, especially at fast-food restaurants, because home-cooking is really the only way to monitor quality of ingredients, but reality is that I will be too rushed to make my lunch two days out of the week. It’s good to be aware of my g-free options, even if they aren’t super healthy. (Links below are to the allergen pages for each restaurant/manufacturer so you can scope out the menu items that will work best for you.)

  1. Costco Rotisserie Chicken. $4.99 for a whole cooked chicken. Boom. Most of the time, you can’t even buy a raw chicken for that amount, never mind the hassle and expense of cooking it. A lonely girl like me can get a good four to five meals out of this lovely seasoned bird, and I freeze the carcasses to make my own GF chicken stock down the road. Check the label next time you’re in the store. It says gluten-free in red letters across the bottom. Holla!
  2. Wendy’s. Gluten-friendly items include the baked potato, chili, hamburger patties, and side salads (watch it with the dressings and no breaded chicken!). Sadly, Wendy’s fries are not listed as GF because they are cooked in the same oil as breaded items.
  3. Chick-fil-A. This is no help for my sister, but I want to marry Chick-fil-A sauce, so I’m putting it on the list: chargrilled chicken salad (amen), waffle fries (the choir crescendos!), Chick-fil-A sauce (a downright religious experience). Add a half-sweet half-unsweet tea, and I could die a happy woman.
  4. Qdoba or Chipotle. I don’t love Mexican. Therefore I don’t love these places. But a rice/bean/meat/veggie bowl works in a pinch, and these places make it easy to eat g-free.
  5. Gluten-Free Waffles (Van’s are my favorite). When I first cut out gluten, I ate these for dinner three nights a week. A little butter, almond butter, and a handful of raspberries, along with a couple poached eggs, made for a perfectly satisfying meal. I watch for BOGO sales and keep a couple boxes in my freezer at all times.
  6. Brown rice cakes. GF bread is spendy, and I really don’t like it unless it’s toasted. Brown rice cakes are a great vehicle for albacore with pesto and veggies, turkey and goat cheese, or whatever you might normally put in a sandwich.
  7. Kind Bars. I eat one of these nearly every morning. I only love two or three flavors (the rest are too sweet for me), and I buy those by the box through Amazon Subscribe-and-Save.
  8. Sonic. I don’t love Sonic, but in a pinch, it’s good to know you can get something that won’t derail your lifestyle. Hamburger patties, tots, and fries should be safe.
  9. Arby’s. Arby’s has a fairly comprehensive allergen sheet with some good options, including roast beef and roast turkey, side salad, and roast turkey chophouse salad. Steer clear of the fries!
  10. Quinoa. By the truckload. Almost daily. I have grown to love quinoa more than any kind of rice. I make a double batch with chicken stock on Sundays and use it throughout the week–as a heated side, cold on salads as a shot of filling protein, mooshed together and lightly fried alongside a veggie scramble, etc. Buy at Costco if possible–way cheaper!
  11. Canned soups and stock. Let’s be honest. I am not going to cook soup from scratch every week. Some nights I am going to drag my sorry rear home at 7:00 and reach for a can of soup. Thank the Lord in heaven there are options. (Are you paying attention to this one, Ellen?) Progresso has an assortment of g-free soups. Skip the creamy soups if you’re dairy-free as well. Add a piece of GF toast with tomato slices and crumbled goat cheese on top, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, and this isn’t a half-bad meal. (Also worth noting is Campbell’s allergen document. If you don’t have access to a Whole Foods, which believe it or not, many people don’t, it’s good to know that your standard grocery store carries GF chicken stock, a staple in my kitchen.

Next time around, which will likely be in three months since that’s the frequency of posting I seem capable of, I’ll get together a list of my favorite gluten- and dairy-free bottled salad dressings–another of the challenges for someone new to this lifestyle change. (I promise I won’t wait that long, sis!)

Wellness Part 2: Exercise and that Blasted Snooze Button

I was a Women of Faith a few weeks back when Ken Davis said he thought the devil was most effective in the moments between the time your alarm goes off in the morning and when your feet actually hit the floor. I can see some truth in that.

I have a really hard time operating on all cylinders. As in doing all four categories on my list well and regularly. This year I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and due to a miscommunication with some test results, I’d had it for more than two years. After an irrational three-day meltdown over getting a disease I would have forever, I mostly got over it. One of my doctors said, “In the car of life, this is a tiny dent on the bumper.” Okay. Big-girl panties on. This was not a big deal. And the good news was, maybe I would stop being so stinking tired. Maybe I could scrape myself off my pillow and shorten the number of snoozes I hit on my alarm. (And maybe my hair would stop falling out by the clump full!)

At various times in my life, I’ve been a fairly dedicated exerciser. I took walks with the dogs in the mornings and went to classes at the Y on a pretty regular basis. I dropped the Y to save some extra money (and because I got into a poor attendance slump), and as my thyroid was regressing, so were my mornings. I changed my diet drastically last January and was eating great, but my workouts went straight out the window.

I’m trying to get back on track and eat well and exercise at the same time. I found this schedule on Pinterest, and so far, I really like it. I still need to find a way to incorporate some more cardio, but this is a good start:

I’ve done this for the last seven days, with a few modifications here and there. (Have you ever done 100 Russian Twists? Has anyone ever?) I’m happy to say my legs hurt most of the week, and I can tell it’s helping my core. I’m going to commit to do this every day until Christmas (with some modifications—because no one can do 100 Russian Twists). If you’d like to join me and you don’t know what all of these are, do a quick Google image search. There are lots of pictures and videos. Here’s the great thing about this workout. You can do it anywhere. If you have a few feet of space, you can do this. You don’t have to go to the gym, and you don’t have to go outside. And it takes so little time, that if you give up a couple hits to the snooze button, you can do this.

As I finish I’m my other wellness posts, I’ll check in on how the 23 days of workouts go between now and Christmas. And if you have other great exercise tricks, I’d love to hear them.

Slow Cooker White Bean, Turkey, and Pumpkin Chili

Saturday night, I returned to Nashville from a week-long visit to see family and friends in Oregon. It was a wonderful time filled with laughter, tears, good food, good coffee (Tennessee should take notes!), friends, family, tattoos, kitties, snow-capped mountains, hugs, and all the things my heart needed. There was also . . . um . . . gluten. I was doing great–until my uncle made a batch of Parkerhouse rolls. I ate a warm roll fresh from the oven that night, slathered in butter and requiring a great deal of finger licking and savoring, and then I promptly stayed awake all night long. It was worth it though. It also signaled the beginning of what I referred to as Thanksgiving: the Glutening. All bets were off. I ate gravy, pumpkin pie, and more. I felt, uh, not awesome. And I knew that the gluten festival needed to come to an end once I got back to Nashville. I wanted to make something hearty and comforting and different and also wanted to use my new slow cooker. I finally landed on this seemingly strange combo of pumpkin, turkey, and beans.

This recipe was my jumping-off point, but I made quite a few changes, primarily to the seasoning and spices, which were way too light-handed for my taste (and any recipe that doesn’t include a mention of salt as part of the actual cooking process is inherently flawed as far as I’m concerned). Without the additional spices and salt and pepper, it would have been very bland. I’m also not shooting for any skinny-fy-ing and prefer to cook only with coconut oil or butter and full-fat, unmodified cheese, etc., so I made tweaks there as well. The base recipe was an AWESOME place to start though.

Wouldn’t it be neat if I had taken pictures? Yeah, that. I forgot. But you can look at the pics from the inspiration link above if you’re can’t imagine what pumpkin chili would look like.

A few notes:

  • I used a 3.5-quart slow cooker, and it was very full. Like I was a little nervous about a Mt. Vesuvius situation around 5:30pm.
  • Total prep time to brown meat, dice and sauté onion, etc., was only 15 minutes. You could easily do this in the morning before heading to work (a requirement if there is any hope for me on a work morning). You could also do prep the night before, refrigerate the meat and onions, and add everything to the slow cooker in the morning. You’d probably want to increase your cook time a little in that case.
  • I cooked on high because I didn’t get my rear in gear earlier in the day. I’m assuming lower and slower would only add to the flavor.
  • Tropical Traditions expeller-pressed coconut oil is THE BEST coconut oil I’ve come across. I initially bought it from my naturopath and haven’t found anything that comes close in quality or price. It has a neutral flavor that doesn’t interfere with savory dishes (it doesn’t taste or smell like coconut at all!). I buy it by the gallon.
  • I prefer to brown the meat and sauté the onion in a stainless pan so I can get some good browned bits for deglazing. You just can’t replicate that in a nonstick pan.
  • (Could I micromanage your cooking process any further? Holy bossy boots.)


  • 1-2 T coconut oil (or more!)
  • 2 lb ground turkey (I used ground turkey with dark meat–it’s cheaper, more flavorful, and will help put some meat on my bones. You’re welcome to use 99% lean white meat only if you prefer OR leftover Thanksgiving turkey.)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 t cumin
  • 2-3 t chili powder, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1/4 t cayenne (more or less, depending on whether you’d like it spicy)
  • 2 15-oz cans white northern, navy, or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 4.5-oz can chopped green chiles
  • 2 c chicken stock (homemade is best! low-sodium if you’re purchasing off the shelf)
  • cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping (optional)
  • sour cream for topping (optional)
  • cilantro and/or scallions, chopped, for topping (optional)


  1. Heat a large, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add first tablespoon of coconut oil (feel free to add more than 1 tablespoon. I probably used 4 tablespoons total because I want to get as much coconut oil in my meals as possible). Add ground turkey and salt and pepper, and cook until done, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Add to slow cooker.
  2. Add second tablespoon of coconut oil to pan, then onions. Sauté  3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cumin, and sauté another minute. Pour a small amount of chicken stock in pan to deglaze the pan, and pour contents into slow cooker.
  3. Add beans, pumpkin puree, green chiles, stock, chili powder, oregano, and bay leaves. Stir to combine ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  4. Remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste before serving.
  5. Top with optional cheese, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and cilantro/scallions.

You could serve this with all sorts of sides–GF tortilla chips or corn tortillas, rice, quinoa, a baked potato. I ate a big bowl of it all on its own last night, with a little sour cream and cilantro, and it was fantastic. I froze half of the leftovers and put half in the fridge. For one little ol’ me, this recipe will translate into six or seven meals.


Hurricane Sandy Relief

KidLit Cares Auction

So I know we normally blog about food and wellness, but this is a little different. There are a ton of people in the Northeast still without food, water, or electricity. And even more are facing a cold start to winter with damage to heir homes and no heat. As a former New Yorker, I couldn’t be more scared and upset for them. So I’m giving back and I’m hoping you will want to to or that maybe you’ll know someone who wants to.

My day job is a children’s book editor. So I’ve donated my editorial skills as part of an auction with others in the children’s book industry to help raise money for those affected by Sandy. I’m auctioning off a two-round manuscript critique. I’ll read your manuscript (any length or type, although I specialize in middle grade fiction), send comments and notes, then read your revision, and send further comments. Most people are auctioning off a first chapter critique or a cover letter critique–a two-round revision of any manuscript is gold in the publishing world for an aspiring writer! So please bid for yourself or even as a gift to a writer in your life. But please bid, it’s for a really good cause!

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Ranch Pork Chops

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

I was skeptical of this recipe. I pulled it straight from Pinterest and was a little worried I may end up with a total pin fail (like something from Pintester or Pinterest You Are Drunk), but they were actually pretty good. Plus they were so easy, I’d be hard pressed not to put them into my rotation! I may experiment with adding some hearty root veggies into the pot with the pork chops this fall when they are in season–parsnips and carrots would be awfully good with these.

My one recommendation is not to let these cook too long. I put them into the crock pot frozen at about 7:30 and didn’t get home until 7 last night. My crock pot has a swap to warm feature after a time you set, but just being in the for 12 hours really dried these babies out! The first time I made them, they cooked for 6 hours and were perfectly juicy and tasty.

Ranch Pork Chops

  • Pork chops (I recommend nice thick chops)
  • Ranch packet
  • Cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can water

IN THE BAG: Combine all ingredients.

TO COOK: Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (depending on thickness of the chops) in slow cooker. Serve with a salad and stir-fried or roasted veggies. I had mine with oven roasted butternut squash and stir-fried broccoli and onion.

Wellness Part 1: Connecting with June Cleaver

Molly and Jen recently taught me to knit. It’s very exciting. During our weekly knitting lunch, I looked at Molly and exclaimed, “Ooh! I can make my own dishcloths! How domestic will that make me?”

To which Molly gently replied as only a good friend could, “Maybe you should just try making your husband dinner first.” Touché, Molly. Touché.

I have a tendency to get really busy and then really lazy about certain things. Between extra doses of travel and company this fall, Josh’s busy schedule, our very different diets, and me rarely being home before 6:30, we’ve pretty much kissed home-cooked meals goodbye. I was hardly June Cleaver to start with, so I’ve got some work to do. Molly and I laughed really hard at her joke, but I’m actually trying to put it into practice. At least a couple times a week, anyway.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living intentionally and about the most important things in life. Molly’s 30 list is inspiring me to take another look at my list and be a little more proactive about it. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about wellness and what that means. Is it possible that a homemade dinner at the table can contribute to wellness? I think so. Here are four areas of life I’ve been mulling over a lot lately.

In no particular order . . . except that food is first because that’s mostly what this blog is about . . . here are four areas that I want to really be intentional about in my life:

  1. Diet. Not the four-letter version of that word, as in “I’m on a diet.” If you’re on a diet, may I be blunt? Stop being on a diet. I mean “diet” as in what you eat and drink on a regular basis. Our well-being is so tied to what we put into our bodies. It’s actually shocking how this affects us, but hang on, I’ll address more about that in a minute.
  2. Exercise. Move it or lose it seems to be a pretty accurate adage. If you want to be mobile when you’re 80 you have to be mobile when you’re 30. That means I have got to stop hitting my snooze alarm.
  3. Spiritual and Emotional Health. This might be two, but I’m going to lump them together. For me, they are intricately connected. Two words: Be Still. I need so much work on this it’s ridiculous.
  4. Relational Health. Turns out people really affect us. And we affect them. It might as well be for good.

So let’s chat about the first one today.

1. Diet

If you’ve spent some time on this blog you know that Molly has to be gluten-free, Jen mostly has to be gluten-free, and I just tend to feel better when I’m gluten-free. But this is about more than not eating gluten; it’s also about eating things that are really good for you.

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

That’s brilliant. And I believe it. It’s become my mom’s mantra as she is battling some severe health issues. I’ve seen it transform my dad’s life. Molly, Jen, Lisa. I could go on. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we need actual medicine. But sometimes just changing what we eat and drink can be life changing.

Here’s the thing. Healthy diets can look a little different for everyone. It’s a matter of finding what works best for your body and being pretty diligent to live that way 85% of the time. Cut some bad stuff and add some good stuff.

Adding good stuff is key, but here are a few positive things I’ve experienced or heard of others who have experienced from cutting the gluten.

  • Weight loss and maintenance. I have been consistently 11 to 14 pounds lighter since I’ve cut most of the gluten from my diet ten months ago.
  • Allergy relief. Some people actually get relief from other allergies by cutting gluten from their diets.
  • Improved mental health. People with depression and even things like autism notice improvement from being gluten-free.
  • Being happy. One of my mom’s doctors told her recently that the human body’s intestinal tract has more serotonin receptors than the brain. Serotonin leads to feelings of well-being and happiness. Don’t smash your receptors! Don’t clog them, block them, or smother them. When I’m really dedicated and intentional about my diet (and for me that means being gluten-free), there are days you can’t smack the smile off my face. When I’m not, well, it’s touch and go.
  • Improved digestive health. If you have any kind of digestive problem, I highly recommend trying gluten-free living. Indigestion, heartburn, bloating, feeling too full. Whatever your problemo is, I have personally felt a lot better, and I know others who’ve had the same experience.

It’s not easy to change. It’s not easy to live intentionally. But life flies by so quickly. I want to soak up every last good drop of it. So I’m going to work to cook homemade meals at least twice a week. Pitiful? Yes, a little, but progress. June Cleaver? Hardly, but I like leftovers.


I’m going to take a page from Molly’s book and do some crock-potting. That’s what I’ve done that last couple weeks, and it seems like a good fit for those of us who spend more time in the office than in the kitchen. Do any of you busy folks have some tricks and tips for preparing healthy meals on a regular basis? Do you have a life-changing food experience? I’d love to hear about them.

The Big 3-0

So, I have a confession to make. On Friday, I turned (gasp!) 30. I know, right?!

Anyway, I went into this birthday feeling more than a little trepidation. There’s something about 30. It just feels like a big milestone. And despite the fact that I have a truly wonderful life, I’ve recently come face to face with the notion that part of growing up means making big decisions, and realizing that each decision closes a door or several. I’ve made some awesome choices–I married my best friend, we live surrounded by our great families and we have strong, loyal friendships, we both have great jobs that give us so many opportunities to grow and have money for more than just the necessities. I am so blessed. But that doesn’t mean that a big milestone birthday like 30 didn’t make me take pause and look back at the choices I let go of, the dreams that I probably won’t accomplish, and the ones I still can.

So in the spirit of that, I present my “30 Things To Do In Year 30” list. These are things I don’t want to let another year go by without accomplishing. And I’m sharing it here on Gluten-Free Gluttons because quite a few of them have to do with food, health, and wellness–which means you’ll be hearing more about them!

  1. Pay off my car loan
  2. Get into a weekly workout routine—and stick with it!
  3. Write an original novel
  4. Make at least one new female friend
  5. Get completely caught up on my scrapbooking
  6. Become familiar with Photoshop (you can see my first attempt above!)
  7. Master 3 new hairstyles
  8. Complete one room in our house
  9. Go on a regular date night with my husband
  10. Learn to sew on a button
  11. Go to five Nashville landmarks I’ve never been to or haven’t been to in ages
  12. Fall back in love with my kitchen (more cooking, less eating out)
  13. Finish my house sewing projects with my mom
  14. Master 2 new impressive dinner recipes for company
  15. Finish the scarf I started knitting in 2007
  16. Tame our landscaping
  17. DIY something that scares me a little
  18. Take more walks
  19. Phone a different faraway friend each week
  20. Disconnect more—no laptop, TV, iPad, or Phone
  21.  Celebrate 30 in style
  22. Give back
  23. Get organized and stay that way
  24. Kick my caffeine habit
  25. Travel somewhere I’ve never been before
  26. Buy more farm fresh veggies at the Farmer’s Market
  27. Listen to more live music
  28. Say no and don’t overcommit
  29. Take at least 2-4 day off a month—no errands, no work, no obligations, just fun
  30. Get back on a strict savings plan

You’ll notice #21 is crossed off, because I did, indeed, celebrate 30 in style. I was showered in great gifts–including some serious bling and 2 dozen orange roses from my husband–my work friends decorated my office and took me out to lunch and brought me (apple-free) gluten-free cookies, and my husband threw me a wonderful birthday party at Eastland Cafe with 15 of my friends. They were very, very accommodating to my allergies. I had their organic arugala salad and Mahi Mahi special. yum.

They even let us bring in a beautiful chocolate and raspberry gluten-freecake from Crumb de la Crumb. The party was awesome in every way–and I didn’t feel old at all!

Then, on Sunday, I got to celebrate with my parents, sister, and aunt and uncle. My dad grilled chicken brats and my mom made my fav gf cheesy potato casserole and a gf pumpkin cake with cream-cheese icing. I am one lucky 30 year old!

The Grim, Hypoallergenic Soup, and an Allergy Attack!

For those of you out there with severe allergies, there is no worse feeling in the world then that moment your throat begins to close and you realize you’ve eaten or been exposed to something on your severe allergy list. It happened to me yesterday.

A sweet and every well-meaning co-worker had made gluten-free, corn-free chocolate chip cookies. They were delicious. But I’d eaten almost the whole cookie when I heard her tell another co-worker that she’d used applesauce in place of sugar. I immediately threw away the rest of the cookie, but the damage had been done. I’m very allergic to apples, so I popped a half of a Benadryl®. But twenty minutes later, my throat and tongue started to swell and I could feel my face getting bigger. Another half a Benadryl® and another twenty minutes later, and I had to go home and take another (I don’t drive if I have to take more than one, so I went home before I took #2). As I turned down my street (which faces a large park) I saw a huge black dog all alone in the park under some trees. At that point, I had enough medicine actively working in me that, combined with the fact that I had just re-read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban over the weekend, my first thought was, “OMG! It’s a Grim! I’m going to die.” Yes, I know: nerd alert!

Luckily, my mom was able to meet me there to make sure I didn’t need to go to the hospital. And clearly, the black shaggy dog did not mean my demise was imminent since I’m writing this to you now. The second full Benadryl® did the trick, but I was essentially passed out until this morning, when I groggily got up and made my way out to vote and go to work. But I know I’ll be taking a half a Benadryl® morning and night for the next week to three weeks as the hives continue and my body slowly, but surely recovers. Bummer, huh?

But the whole thing got me thinking about what would have happened if I didn’t find out about the apples right away and had gotten really sick at work. The “Grim” I saw may have been a little more terrifying then! So I thought I should share my reaction plan with y’all and see if you have any other tips or tricks for dealing with a bad reaction.

Molly’s Allergy Attack Plan:

  1. As soon as I start feeling a reaction, I tell someone–preferably more than just one person. I also show them my EpiPen® and explain how it works if they don’t already know. (Multiple family members, friends, and co-workers have had this demonstration and know the drill already). If I’m alone, I call everyone I can think of within driving distance until someone agrees to come over and watch me.
  2. I take a half a Benadryl® and give it 20 minutes to kick in. If I’m still feeling it after 20 minutes, I take another half. If, after 40 minutes and a whole pill, I’m still feeling it, I get myself to somewhere I can sleep and take another pill.
  3. If within 20 minutes of taking the second Benadryl®, I am still feeling reactive (and not just sleepy from the medicine), I immediately go to the ER and get treatment.
  4. Once I have the most immediate symptoms of the reaction under control, I generally sleep for the next 12-15 hours. I do ask that my husband wake me to make sure I get lots of fluids and eat something super-safe. I’ve found that drinking plenty of water helps reduce symptoms and helps my body recover more quickly.
  5. I stick to very safe foods (like the recipe below) for the next few weeks, knowing my body will be more reactive than usual until it recovers from the bad attack. This means no eating out and making sure I prepare everything I eat myself if at all possible. I usually have hives for several weeks after an attack, so I pop a half a Benadryl® morning and evening to help control the uncomfortable itching. I also try to get extra sleep and rest.

What about you? Do you do anything differently after an attack? I’d love any tips for a speedier recovery!

This time around, my awesome mom made me potato soup while she was keeping an eye on me to make sure the Benadryl® was working and I didn’t need further treatment. This is a go-to food for me when I’m reactive as I know nothing in it bothers me and it’s hydrating since it’s soup! Here’s the recipe:

Hypo-Allergenic Potato Soup


  • 1-2 Cups chopped potatoes
  • 3 Cups broth (I use Pacific Vegetable or Chicken Broth)
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • 1 Cup chopped celery
  • 1 Cup chopped, cooked chicken (I generally just pan-fry in a little olive oil)
  • Seasoning to taste–I like salt, pepper, cilantro leaves, organic poultry blend, thyme, or rosemary
  • Grated cheese (optional for serving)


  1. Sauté onion and celery in olive oil until slightly translucent.
  2. Add chicken, potatoes, broth, and seasoning. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer soup for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Serve with grated cheese

Voila! Easy, delicious, and safe. Perfect for recuperating with a good book, like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, just don’t let your imagination run away with you like mine did!

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Breakfast Casserole

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

Sometimes breakfast for dinner can be fun. Other times, you just want breakfast for breakfast, am I right? Well this recipe works either way. You can toss it in the slow cooker in the morning for dinner or at night and it will be ready when you wake up. And who doesn’t love waking up to a nice, hot breakfast? It’s great for long weekends or holidays. The recipe geniuses at Better Homes & Gardens really know how to get me! Try it–I promise you won’t regret it! I added a layer of frozen shredded hash browns and it was awesome–but it’s delicious without those too!

Breakfast Casserole

  • 8 uncooked eggs
  • 1/2 pound GF breakfast sausage
  • 1 small can green chilies
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • frozen GF hash browns

 IN THE BAG: Store eggs (scrambled with whisk and seasoned with salt and pepper), veggies, cheese, and meat in separate quart bags.

TO COOK: Grease or spray the crockpot with the butter. Layer meat, veggies and cheese, repeating until you’ve used all the ingredients—your last layer should be cheese. Beat the eggs and pour over the mixture. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve over hash browns.