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No, we didn’t abandon the “casein-free ship”! This recipe is for gluten-free, casein-free macaroni and “cheese” with bacon; the “cheese” is created from a variety of different elements, but contains no dairy at all. The result is a satisfying hearty macaroni and cheese that is sophisticated enough for adult palates, too. My son had no trouble believing this was macaroni and “cheese”; in fact, he looked a bit worried that I was serving him something with cheese in it! I reassured him he wasn’t actually eating cheese and then he happily devoured this dish.

Gluten-Free, Casein Free Macaroni & “Cheese” with Bacon (Nicholas Rating = 10 Thumbs Up!)

Sauce Ingredients –

1 cup coconut milk (from the carton)

1/2 cup sweet potato, peeled

2 Tbsp cashews

2 Tbsp yellow onion

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp salt

additional ingredients –

3 cups uncooked pasta (I used fusilli corn pasta from Trader Joe’s)

8 strips bacon

2 organic eggs

2 green onions, diced

canola oil spray

topping – 

1/2 cup almond meal

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 4-cup casserole dish with canola oil spray. Prepare pasta as per package instructions; leaving slightly al dente.

2. To make the sauce: peel sweet potato, stab with fork a couple of times, and place in microwave on “potato” setting. Meanwhile, combine all the rest of the sauce ingredients in a blender. Add cooked sweet potato, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a frying pan on medium heat and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes before removing from heat and setting aside.

3. Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large frying pan, cooking for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan, dab grease off with paper towels. Cut into small bits and set aside.

4. To make topping – combine all “topping” ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

5. Whip eggs with handheld mixer until frothy. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, prepared sauce, bacon bits, frothed eggs, and green onions. Stir to combine.

6. Drop mixture into prepared casserole dish and top with topping.

7. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown. All to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

**(Recipe adapted from: “Comforting Baked Mac ‘n Cheese with Bacon” recipe by Leanne Vogel at Recipage.)


Homemade steak fries – so versatile, and so easy! This recipe is my “go-to recipe” for making a side of potatoes to go with hamburgers, steak, chicken, or even turkey burgers. The recipe works well for either red potatoes or russets, although those potatoes have a slightly different taste. And, the bonus is that these reheat very well to enjoy for lunch the next day! Even though my son has become very picky about food lately, he always loves these. Therefore, Nicholas gives these 1000 Thumbs Up!

GFCF Homemade Steak Fries (Nicholas Rating = 1000 Thumbs Up!)

3-4 large russet potatoes, or about 6 medium-size red potatoes

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion powder, and paprika and mix well. Set aside.

Slice potatoes into planks, leaving skins on if you choose, that are about equal in size and thickness.

Stir potatoes into bowl with oil and seasonings, making sure that all potatoes get well-coated.

Dump potatoes out onto foil-lined baking sheet and spread evenly so they aren’t clumped together. Drizzle any remaining seasoned oil over the top. Sprinkle salt and pepper across top of potatoes.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until well-browned.


Here’s an added bonus this week – a cookbook review! I read a press review about Celeste Clevenger’s new cookbook (Celeste’s Best Gluten-Free, Allergen-Free Recipes: Over 250 Recipes Free of Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Casein, Soy, Corn, Nuts and Yeast) and reached out to her to inquire about reviewing it. She was incredibly generous in sending not only the cookbook but also many different flours and some konjac powder for me to try out the recipes. Celeste has a daughter and nephews with multiple food sensitivities and decided to create recipes to feed her family. She has a website that you may also wish to visit.

The cookbook is excellent, especially for those of us with additional allergies above and beyond gluten and casein. One downside is that there aren’t many photos and I would really like to see what some of these recipes look like finished.  Another possible issue is that she does incorporate some unusual ingredients, like konjac powder, that may prove difficult for the average cook to find. I’ve been checking locally for konjac powder and cannot find it; but, I found out that you can order it online. Celeste’s Cookbook also contains a section on substitutions and tips for cooking and baking.

The problem was that with over 250 recipes in this cookbook – what should I choose to make first? I decided to try a bread recipe as she has several and they don’t have yeast in them, which is not allowed in my son’s diet. The bread recipe I started with (pictured above) is simply called, “Gluten Free, Yeast Free Bread.” The bread was easy to make and was surprisingly like regular bread, complete with a crunchy crust. I couldn’t believe how it rose so nicely despite being yeast-free! My husband devoured this loaf very quickly and keeps asking when I’m going to make it again. I strongly encourage you to get a copy of this great new cookbook and try the bread recipes yourself!


gluten free casein free snickerdoodles

Before I went on the gluten-free, casein-free diet, I was known among my friends for making amazing Snickerdoodle cookies. You know, the kind where you can’t eat just 7? The original recipe is called “Mrs. Sigg’s Snickerdoodles” and I downloaded it 12 years ago from!

So, this week I’m playing around with a new ingredient, called Konjac Powder, so I thought I’d try it with the Snickerdoodle recipe. And, well, according to Nicholas’ Thumbs Up Rating, he is giving these “a quadrillion thumbs up!” Hope you enjoy them too!

GFCF Snickerdoodles (Nicholas Rating = Quadrillion Thumbs Up!)

1 cup organic vegetable shortening

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 tsp Konjac Powder

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp white sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cream together the shortening, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, the eggs, and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, konjac powder, cream of tartar, soda, and salt.

3. Mix the 2 Tbsp white sugar and the 2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl.

4. Shape dough into small balls (a little smaller than a golf ball). Roll the balls of dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

5. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set, but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

Yield = approximately 36 cookies

How can you substitute for dairy or gluten-containing items and still stay on the GFCF diet? It’s actually easier than you think for most items. Many times when I’m trying to adapt a recipe, I find I need to either find a common substitution, or create one. This can take quite a bit of time, so I thought it would be helpful to create a resource for you to refer back to easily when you are cooking. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of common dairy substitutions and a list of common gluten substitutions to help you stay true to the gluten-free, casein-free diet without getting too frustrated in the process!

Dairy Substitutions

Stick Butter – Willow Run Soybean Margarine by Shedd’s (if you can eat soy); OR, Ghee (clarified butter) : this doesn’t contain casein and yet has all the richness of butter; OR, Spectrum Organic Shortening (I use this when I need more than a few tablespoons); OR,                                 Coconut Oil (melts nicely, easy to scoop into a measuring cup).

Buttermilk – 1 cup milk alternative (unsweetened, unflavored) with 1 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Milk – substitute 1:1 with milk alternatives like rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

Yogurt – substitute 1:1 with So Delicious coconut milk yogurt or soy-based yogurt

Cream -1/4 cup soy half-n-half, mixed with ¼ cup soy margarine, melted, and ½ c unsweetened soymilk; OR, 1 cup cream of coconut

Condensed Milk – substitute 1:1 with canned coconut milk

Gluten Substitutions –

Gluten-Free Flours –      rice, sorghum, corn, amaranth, soy, almond meal, coconut flour, quinoa flour, flaxseed flour, arrowroot,millet, buckwheat, etc.

Pastas – rice pasta, corn pasta, quinoa pasta

Cereals – items made with rice, corn, or gluten-free oats and marked “gluten-free” (watch out for extra chemicals though in some mainstream cereals!)

Breads – rice cakes, corn tortillas, gluten-free bread mixes, gluten-free crackers

Oats – look for “gluten-free” certified oats (Trader Joe’s sells them)

Rice – rice doesn’t contain gluten; if you need to avoid rice, try quinoa because it is very similar in taste/texture

(Sources of information include:  Dairy-Free Cooking; GlutenFreeWorks.)

Are there any substitutions that I missed? Have one you’d like to share? Please comment below.


The weather is warming up and summer is upon us. What better treat to try for an easy dinner on a hot, summer evening than chilled avocado soup? The soup is not boring at all, it has a pleasant spiciness that isn’t overwhelming. It can also be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for several days (for a lunch item, perhaps?).

This recipe is something I adapted from an avocado soup recipe in Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce: A Guide to Easy-to-Make Dishes with Fresh Organic Fruits and Vegetables. That recipe looked pretty good, but mine is both gluten-free and casein-free which makes it even better if you have food allergies!

Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Avocado Soup (My Rating = 100 Thumbs Up!)

2 ripe avocados

1/4 cup chopped green onions, including 1/2 of dark green stalks

2 Tbsp fresh orange juice

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 cup canned coconut milk

3 cups vegetable broth

1. Put all ingredients in food processor fitted with a metal blade or a blender. Cover and process until smooth.

2. Chill for at least 1 hour, prior to serving.

3. Serve in small cups or bowls. Garnish with crumbled bacon or more sliced green onions, if desired.

Serves: 6 (1 cup servings) or 12 (1/2 cup servings).



I have a monkey living with me, his name is Nicholas; he looks like a boy, but since he eats so many bananas I often call him “my monkey.” Well, that and his interest in climbing trees, play structures…you get the idea! My monkey keeps asking for new breakfast ideas from me. So, I decided to try transforming banana bread into french toast. The banana bread recipe is from a wonderful blog called Comfy Belly and then I modified a french toast recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 15th Edition (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid).  The experiment was a delicious success, I’m happy to report!

French Toast for Monkeys (Nicholas Rating = 100 Thumbs Up!)

Ingredients –

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup coconut milk (from carton)

2 Tbsp white sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

8 slices of  banana bread (see link below)

 2 – 4 Tbsp coconut oil for cooking the french toast

1. Make the Banana Bread Recipe (courtesy of Comfy Belly). Let it cool completely, or make it the night before. Slice it into thick slices.

2. In a shallow mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. Dip banana bread slices into the mixture and let it soak in for about 10 seconds per side.

4. In a skillet or griddle, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add 2-3 pieces of banana bread at a time and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining slices, adding more coconut oil to skillet if needed.

5. Serve warm with maple syrup or honey!

5 Recipes I love for May

I admit it, I get bored eating the same things over and over again. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog – to share ideas and recipes with you! As a busy mom, I just can’t create recipes all day long (that would be fun, wouldn’t it?), so I like to see what other food blogs are posting too.  I thought it would be fun to create a list each month of recipes that I’ve found elsewhere that I am enjoying, so that you can enjoy them too! As a way of organizing them, I will list 5 recipe finds for May, 6 recipe finds for June…well, I think you get the idea.

Here is my list for May –

1. Biscuits from Elana’s Pantry. These are amazing grain-free biscuits that are easy to make and go with so many things, like my Tortilla Soup recipe.

2. Pumpkin Bread 2.0 from Comfy Belly.  This bread tastes like gingerbread! Moist and so flavorful, especially if you add raisins.

3. Baa Baa Breakfast from Everyday Paleo. This is a fun way to liven up breakfast. I even made this recipe when we were at a hotel (with a kitchenette), because it was so easy to do!

4. Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream from Civilized Caveman. We made this in our electric ice cream maker and it was so tasty! My son went wild for this and I was happy that it wasn’t too sweet for him either.

5. GFCF Pancakes from Zs Cup of Tea. These were absolutely wonderful! Hard to believe they cooked up so nicely with so little flour in them, but they did.  (We will probably have these for dinner tomorrow night, too!)

Hope you get a chance to try out some of these great recipes and visit these other recipe sites. Please leave a comment below about your experience. Thanks!

coconut quick bread

I adapted this fantastic breakfast bread from this recipe. Since we can no longer use even regular, gluten-free flour at our house, I’ve had to adapt some recipes even further. (Gluten-free flour is a good product, but it has rice in it and my son has had to remove rice from his diet.) So, since we really enjoyed this quick bread when I made it before with the GF Flour, I thought I’d try to make it with a combination of coconut flour and almond meal.  It worked beautifully and Nicholas and I agreed this version is even better than the previous one! Just a note – we have never made it with the glaze that is suggested in the original recipe. Please post any thoughts or comments if you try this bread and DO make the glaze!

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Coconut Orange Quick Bread

(Nicholas Rating = 100 Thumbs Up!) 

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp coconut flour

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

grated zest of 1 medium orange

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup canned coconut milk

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

5 large eggs

fresh squeezed juice from 1 medium orange

1. Grease one 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Mix almond meal, coconut flour, white sugar, baking soda, salt, orange zest and shredded unsweetened coconut in a large bowl. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine.

3. Add the coconut milk, olive oil, eggs, and orange juice and mix until well blended.

4. Using a spatula, scrape out batter into the loaf pan. Let batter set, uncovered for about 30 minutes. While batter is resting, preheat oven to 350.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Set the loaf pan on a cooling rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan.

6. Remove bread from pan and allow to cool on wireless rack for another 30 minutes.

7. Wrap bread in parchment or plastic and refrigerate or freeze.

pams brownie mix

I wanted to share with you my review of Pamela’s Products Brownie Mix (3×100 GR).  I was given a sample of this product to try out recently.  This is a gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free brownie mix that is made in an “individual pack” so that you can get a quick chocolate fix and you don’t have to make a whole batch of brownies! All you add to the mix is 2 Tbsp each of oil and water.

These brownies can either be cooked in the microwave, a conventional oven, or even a toaster oven! I chose to make my packet in a conventional oven, as I am never sure about baking things in the microwave.  I mixed up the ingredients, poured it into a large ramekin (about 5 inches round), and baked it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

The brownies smelled really chocolatey and they tasted fabulous! They were cake-like and moist and not overpowering in the sweetness factor either. My only regret was that I didn’t have any coconut milk ice cream to spoon on top. But, it was still a wonderful treat.  And, yes, despite telling myself I would only eat half of it….I confess, I ate the whole thing! These would be great for traveling, especially since they require so few extra ingredients. Or, thinking way ahead….a stocking stuffer for the gluten-free, chocolate lover on your Christmas list?

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