Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Food has always been a big part of our lives. Obviously in the sense that we have to eat to live, but more than that, Chet and I just love food. We love to try new foods and we love to make a meal at home together.

When I realized I needed to change my diet, it also meant a huge aspect of our lives had to change as well. I had some fear and anxiety as I was now “that person” who couldn’t go out to eat at certain places, or had to make special requests. I had to be careful about eating food at other people’s homes. And I couldn’t cook the way I used to. When bringing something I’ve made to a gathering, I have found myself prefacing it with, this is grain free/dairy free/refined sugar free/Whatever else free. In case they didn’t like it, I had my excuse. It gets old after a while explaining why I cant eat certain things anymore, mostly because people don’t understand. The things we eat and what we have been told about what we eat (right or wrong) is so ingrained in us that it is very hard for people to understand a new way of thinking.

So when I have an opportunity to host people at my home. I want to be able to make something I can enjoy without worrying about what it will do to my body, but I also want to make something delicious that everyone will enjoy (and not even realize its grain/dairy free).
Enter Against All Grain.  Danielle has taken the anxiety out of cooking for my gluten and dairy loving friends and family. She has made it possible to eat our beloved comfort foods in a way that makes everyone happy!

This last month, I had the opportunity to be apart of her launch team. I received a copy of her book early and quickly dove in and made a list of what I wanted to make first. I have only been able to make about a quarter of all she has packed in there and there isn’t one thing I wouldn’t make again!

For those that believe cutting foods out of your diet means you are missing out...it is most definitely does not! The only thing I am missing out on is feeling sick!
1) Strawberry salmon salad with poppy seed dressing. So I didnt have strawberries, but the salmon and dressing were so good they weren't missed. The dressing is sweet and tangy. A perfect paring with the fish!
2) Brussel sprouts with Bacon Jam. Garlicy Mashed Cauliflower: Bacon Jam. Need I say more. I was eating it out of the jar this stuff is so good. I will be putting it on everything. I love brussel sprouts but the crispy veggie plus the jam takes it to a new level. And the garlicy mashed caluiflower. She has you roast the garlic before adding it and it is perfection! I had Chet taste it and he said he would never know those werent potatos!
3) Carnitas: her recipes has them with tostones, but we went with tacos. Perfect smokey flavor. And the pickled onions are so so good!
4) Curried Pumpkin Soup: If you love pumpkin and if you love soup this is for you! I would have added a little more curried flavoring.
5) Proscuitto Asparagus tart: Ive dreamed about making this again. The runny egg yolks with the salty meat and the crumbly crust. 
6) Sausage egg frittata: my new favorite breakfast. So easy to make and so easy to reheat throughout the week!
7)Green chili chicken soup: Dump all ingredients in the crockpot and walk away. So delicous and flavorful. I served this to a group of friends this weekend and they all loved it. 
8)Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting: Need to remake now that I know what I am doing and I have no doubt this will be a new favorite.
9) lemon bars. who doesnt love lemon bars. Ive made them twice already. 

Not Pictured:
Potato Salad. I am picky about my potato salads. This one is amazing. And if you make it ahead the flavors get even better!
Sweet and Sour meatballs: perfect for game day. Or just eating cold out of the fridge. 
Sticky buns: OMG. Make them. That's all. 

Celebrations is now available for purchase! I believe in Danielle and her mission and am proud to have been a tiny part of it. Order her book. You wont regret it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Celebrations: Week One

I have been having so much fun cooking my way thru Celebrations! It really is a beautiful book but more importantly the recipes are delicious. For the last week, I have been settling in on my couch each evening, thumbing through this book, trying to decide what to make next.

Whoever thinks eating healthy or with restrictionss is boring or bland? Think again!

Skillet Corn Bread- You guys! This is amazing. Even if you can eat corn, you have to try this. I have made this three times already.

 Blackened Salmon with Stone Fruit Salsa- (Plus fried Brussel sprouts from her first book). I could eat that salsa straight out of the bowl. Who are we kidding, I did eat it straight out of the bowl. The blackened seasoning mix makes enough for several meals, so we added it to chicken and halibut too!
 If you happen to have leftover corn bread.... Strawberry shortcake! We also made some chocolate bread pudding (recipe from her first book)
 Sausage Breakfast Casserole- YUM! I made this at the beginning of the week so we don't have to rush in the mornings to make breakfast. I only made half the recipe but I wish I made the full one. So good, even three days later!
 Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Butter Cream- Ok, so the process of making cakes/frosting and I don't always get along. I didn't have the right size cake pan which made it a little dry. And I found out I was using a brand of palm shortening that doesn't work so well in the frosting. But even with that, this was so tasty!! I cant wait to try the frosting again now that I have correct ingredients. 
 Shortbread Cookies- My husband says "These are so good, you cant even tell they are gluten and dairy free".
 Lemon Bars- This is one of my favorite desserts. I have tried gluten and dairy free lemon bars before. And because of that, I had written off ever eating them again...that is until Celebrations came out! O.M.G.
Peach Cobbler- Such fond memories growing up of my Grandma making peach cobbler...filled with sugar and flour and butter. I had to sub almond butter for cashew butter as my husband is allergic so it changed the color and taste a bit, but still delicious.

Not pictured is the RANCH DRESSING. I was a bit unsure when I first tasted it, but it only gets better the longer it sits. It is able to take on the flavor of all those yummy herbs. I'm going to be pouring it over everything now!

Coming up This Weekend:
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Sticky Buns
Asparagus Prosciutto Tart
BLTA Burger with Special Sauce

Thursday, September 1, 2016


When I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease about 15 years ago, I was given very little information.
I was told:

  • Crohn's is an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system is attacking itself
  • There is no cure
My standard line when asked was "Crohn's is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. It causes......symptoms." And depending on how well I knew the person depended on how graphic I got in my explanation of symptoms. 

As a 16 year old who was just diagnosed with an incurable disease, I believed the doctors and did what they told me. I took the medication. As long as certain foods didn't bother me, I was told I could eat what ever I wanted.

Now 15 years later, 10 months after having surgery, I am painfully aware of how I wish I had been told more when I was diagnosed. I have done much research and reading this last year and am so thankful for voices like The Paleo Mom, Against All Grain, and Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt from Autoimmune Paleo. 
This is one of the best explanations, from The Paleo Mom of autoimmune disease I have read and helps me better explain why I have changed my diet. Its not just a fad (as I have heard people say). Its my life. 

Autoimmune disease is caused by the immune system losing the ability to differentiate proteins belonging to your own body with proteins belonging to a foreign invader (like a bacteria, virus or parasite). What causes symptoms is the build up of damage to cells, tissues and/or organs in the body–damage caused by your own immune system attacking those cells. Which proteins/cells are attacked is what separates once disease from another. In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the thyroid gland is attacked. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the tissues of your joints are attacked. In psoriasis, proteins within the layers of cells that make up your skin are attacked. However, the root cause is the same.
Genetic predisposition to autoimmunity makes up about one third of your risk of developing an autoimmune disease. The other two thirds of your risk come from environmental factors, which include: diet, lifestyle, infections (both prior and persistent) exposure to toxins, hormones, weight, etc. While you cannot control your genetics or whether or not you had mono as a kid, you do have an immense amount of control over your diet and lifestyle (and the extent that these affect hormones and weight and even toxin exposure). By removing the foods that contribute to a leaky gut, gut dysbiosis (the wrong numbers, relative quantities, or types of microorganisms typically growing in the wrong locations in your gut), hormone imbalance, and that stimulate inflammation and the immune system, you can create the opportunity for your body to heal. By addressing important lifestyle factors and changing your focus to eating nutrient-dense foods that support optimal gut health (and optimal health of your gut microorganisms), that restore levels of important nutrients and provide all of the building blocks that your body needs to heal and properly regulate the immune system, that help resolve inflammation and support organ function, you create an environment in your body conducive to healing.
This is not a cure (once your body learns to attack itself, it can never un-learn this), but you can put your disease into remission, often permanently. Depending on how long you have had your disease and how aggressive it is, there may be permanent damage (which might, for example mean that you need to take organ support supplements such as thyroid hormone in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for the rest of your life), but you can stop your immune system from attacking your body and heal substantially.
This diet is appropriate for everyone with diagnosed autoimmune disorders or with suspected autoimmune diseases. It is very simply an extremely nutrient-dense diet that is devoid of foods that irritate the gut, cause gut dysbiosis and activate the immune system. You will not be missing out on any nutrients and this diet is absolutely appropriate to follow for the rest of your life. If you have a specific autoimmune disease that causes extra food sensitivities, those should be taken into account with your food choices. Because I get asked this question more than any other question: yes, this diet will help you.
One of the most important contributors to autoimmune disease is nutrient deficiency (which of course, is built right into the Standard American diet, which while being rich in energy is very poor in actual nutrition). Even if you have been following a paleo, primal, GAPS, SCD, or WAPF diet for a while, it is likely that you have not corrected nutrient deficiencies (if you had, you probably wouldn’t be reading this page).
Gut dysbiosis and a leaky gut are believed to be involved in all autoimmune diseases (and are present in every autoimmune disease which has been tested). The presence of gut dysbiosis and a leaky gut are directly related to diet and lifestyle (the foods you eat, the foods you don’t eat, how much sleep you get and how stressed you are). The diet recommendations are all designed to help heal the gut, to restore normal/healthy gut microorganisms, to reduce inflammation and to regulate the immune system both through healing the gut, regulating hormones and addressing micronutrient deficiencies. Read the rest of the article here http://www.thepaleomom.com/the-autoimmune-protocol/