When Thing 1 turned 1, he broke out with a severe case of eczema. I took him to my acupuncturist, who tests for allergies, and discovered he had food sensitivities to egg, dairy, nuts, soy and banana. After some needle free treatment and time and a lot of rice milk, he is okay with all of these things in moderation, but he has also developed a sensitivity to wheat.

I also developed a wheat and dairy (and every other food that I love) sensitivity during my pregnancy (think Hives all over an 8-month pregnant body-ugh) with Thing 2 (who gets a rash immediately if he consumes wheat or dairy).  This broke my heart because I lived for cookies, cinnamon rolls and Sunshine Wheat beer (I didn't drink it during the pregnancy but I was so close to the end!). Since all I could eat during the last 6 weeks of the pregnancy was ice chips and tree bark (oh the injustice!!!), I was ready to go postal on anyone who crossed my path. Now that all of us, except Brock, are apparently now high-maintenance in the food department, I have naturally adjusted my cooking. The majority of my cooking/recipes are currently wheat-free. I do my best to keep the dairy consumption low as well. I do use oats (which contain gluten) but we don't seem to have sensitivity to them. I will say that the new "diet" is a bonus to help keep the weight down ~I lost two pounds, Brock lost 15... of course, but it has been a major lifestyle change. Eating out, which used to be awesome, is now pretty stressful. Anyone want to invite us to dinner? blahahaha!

All of these recipes can also be found in the original posts under the "labels" of main course recipes, crock pot recipes, cake recipes and cookie recipes.

I'll bet all you Gluten-Free eaters are wondering what to make for Sunday dinner tomorrow night.

Well, grab your venison stew meat, pour a glass of vino and follow me for an adventure with:

Gluten-free Venison Stroganoff

2 lbs stew meat- venison, beef, buffalo, moose- whatever (thawed)
2 medium onions- chopped
2-3 garlic cloves- minced
8 oz mushrooms- sliced
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
2-4 T Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose GF flour
1/2 cup of red wine
1/2 cup of beef broth
12 oz gluten-free Cream of Mushroom soup (I used Pacific brand- it comes in a box)
bag o' rice pasta- I used penne because that is what was in my pantry
sour cream (optional)

In a large stock pot, bring water to boil for pasta. Cook according to the directions.

In a large skillet, heat the butter in the olive oil (this keeps the butter from burning). Add onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions are soft. Remove from skillet (place in a bowl). Sprinkle stew meat with salt and pepper, and lightly coat in flour. Place meat in hot (med- med/high heat) skillet (add a bit more oil/butter if you need to) and sear. Meat should be brown on the outside and a bit pink in the center. Remove from skillet (place in bowl with onion mixture). Add wine and beef broth to skillet and stir with a whisk. Make sure to scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan- this is your extra oomph of flavor. Cook wine/broth for about 2 minutes, until reduced a bit. Add meat/onion mixture back to the skillet and stir. Season with a bit more salt and pepper. Add cream of mushroom soup and stir until mixed and hot. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Mix with pasta and serve with a dollop of sour cream. Don't forget to chew.

As is most food, this is delicious with red wine.

The key to cooking with lean meat (i.e. wild game) is DO NOT OVERCOOK IT. Sear the outside to seal in the juices and enjoy it with a pink center.

*Thanks to my Dad for providing us with the venison. Iowa venison is the best. It is corn fed and delicious. Now go watch Bambi and tell me what a bad person I am for eating wild game.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Peace, Love and Good Eats,

Berry Good Salad
(serves 4)
4 chicken breasts or 8 chicken tenders, brushed with 1 part olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar
Grill them!
Bed of salad greens (spinach or spring greens are good choices)
1-2 cups of Fruit/Fresh Berries of choice- I like a mixture mandarin oranges, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup of feta or blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup of candied walnuts or almond slices
Annie's Raspberry Vinaigrette or Poppyseed salad dressing

Gently toss greens, fruit, cheese and nuts together. Slice grilled chicken and lay on top. Drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!

We went to a BBQ at a friend's house last Saturday and I made this little treat. Thanks for the recipe Mom!

(I did some modifications and will post the original recipe below)-gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, nut/dairy/soy free. Anyone can eat this!!!!

Going to a Party!Cold Veggie Salad (also known as Cowboy Caviar)

1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 can drained and rinsed black beans (I think Chick Peas would be great too)
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped red pepper

Mix gently into bowl

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar

Mix and heat on low while stirring until dissolved. Pour over veggie mixture.
Chill and serve.

Vegan-friendly; dairy, egg, nut, soy and gluten free! Great with corn chips or just as a veggie side dish.

I actually think you could add the chick peas to the recipe, in addition to the black beans. There was plenty of liquid left over.

My mom's original recipe called for:
1 can drained corn
1 can drained peas
1 can drained french green beans
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
1 jar of drained pimentos

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c oil
1/2 c vinegar
~heated and poured over veggie mixture
~serve chilled

Either way you make it, it is delicious!

Red Beans and Rice

*gluten free and low fat

1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
4 cups (32 oz) chicken (or vegetable) broth
1.25 pounds of ground turkey (or turkey sausages)
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/3 pepper, chopped
1 can chopped green chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced
drizzle of roasted red pepper olive oil (yum!)
2 can Kidney beans, drained
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sage
crushed red pepper (to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Add all ingredients to your Crock Pot and mix. Turn to high for 4 1/2 hours and reduce heat to low for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

This is a mild recipe (because I am cooking for children). You could easily spice it up (or fatten it up) by using more garlic and chili powder (or sausage with a ham bone and water instead of broth). I also believe that you could cook it longer on low, I just didn't throw it together until around 2 pm and needed it to be ready for dinner.

Good with wine, as all things are.....

Chicken Noodle Soup

I made it gluten free (surprise!) by using Quinoa noodles, also could use rice noodles.
It only takes around an hour from start to finish.

10 cups water (with chicken bouillon) or chicken broth
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 large white onion diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
4-5 stalks of celery chopped (about 1 cup), I use the leafy ones
6-8 large peeled and chopped carrots (about 2-3 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt
thyme (Optional)
Nature's Seasoning
Noodles (I used a quarter sized amount of spaghetti style- broken three times)

Bring broth, chicken breasts (whole) and lemon juice to a boil in a large pot. Cook on medium heat until breasts are done (about 20 minutes) and then remove and shred.
While broth/chicken is boiling, chop your vegetables and mince the garlic. Add to pot with shredded chicken breasts. Add spices. Bring to boil and simmer another 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Add small amount of noodles and cook according to package directions. Serve to your loved ones and everyone will soon feel better.

*Other options:
  • Saute mushrooms and zucchini in olive oil and add to soup.
  • Substitute rice or white beans for noodles.
Here is the recipe for my lunch. It took about 20-25 minutes from start to finish. It is gluten free.

20 Minutes to Good Food

1 cup quinoa cooked in 2 cups water with 2 Tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice (bring water/bouillon to boil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.)

Heat 1 T olive oil with 1 T butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add in the following order:
1/2 chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced
saute about 2 minutes
1 package of chicken and apple brats, sliced
~2 cups frozen chopped spinach
1 can drained and rinsed great northern beans
1 1/2 (mostly rotted- bahaha!) large tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
*I drizzled the tiniest bit (1 or 2 Tablespoons?) of molasses over this. It was good.

Cook until heated through. Serve over quinoa.Congratulate yourself for being so freaking healthy.

Johi's Turkey (or Chicken) Salad Sandwiches

(gluten free)
~3 cups shredded turkey or chicken
1 t dill weed
1/2 crushed rosemary leaves or rosemary powder
dash of sea salt
dash of celery seed
dash of garlic salt
dash of pepper
1 t dried parsley
dash of oregano
1 green onion- minced
1 stalk of celery-minced (I use the leafy parts too)
~1/3 c mayonnaise
~1/3 c of craisins (or dried cherries)

Serve on toasted bread (I use Rudi's gluten free) with leaf lettuce
Great with sweet potato fries.

Okay- honestly I don't measure any of this stuff.  Just throw it together in a bowl until you get your desired consistency.  Go easy on the salt- you can always add more.


Crock Pot Chili

gluten free
1 pound of ground beef/buffalo,venison or ground turkey
1 small onion (chopped)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1/2 red pepper (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
3 carrots (peeled and chopped)
1 medium zucchini (chopped into 1/2 inch squares)
1 cup frozen corn
1 28 oz (big ass) can of diced tomatoes
1 or 2 can(s) of beans, any combination of pinto, red kidney, white kidney, black or great northern
1 T beef bouillon (I used paste)
1/2 t sea salt
1 t black pepper
1/2 t oregano
1 T sugar
dash of celery salt
as much chili powder as you like

You need to know something about my cooking.  I really don't do silly things like "measure".  I also use whatever is in my refrigerator or pantry.  I don't usually put carrots in my chili but I was attracted to the color orange today (and I chose to wear it again, this time without a gourd comparison from Thing 1).  I will typically used diced tomatoes but I have also been know to use crushed or whole (I chop them). Fire roasted add an extra kick. I like 2 different kinds of beans but this time I just added one because I am nursing and Thing 2 is not fond of the gassy foods. In my humble opinion, cooking is not an exact science, so don't stress!  Just throw everything together when your children are wearing their halos (i.e. occupied by a DVD) around 10 or 11 am.  Set that baby on low heat and you will have something edible, colorful and nutritious to feed your family at 5:30, right about the same time that your precious children turn into Satan's spawn. Serve with peanut butter (as long as it doesn't make your throat swell up, like it does mine) and honey sandwiches (don't doubt it, just do it). Enjoy!

Johi's Roast and Cabbage

(gluten free)

Add rice about one hour before serving. (You could leave out the rice for a more brothy soup, but I had some left over in my fridge and really liked the addition.)2-3 pound beef roast (I used an arm roast)
1/2 head of green cabbage- coarsely chopped
1/2 white onion- chopped
3 large tomatoes- chopped (could use a can of tomatoes instead)
3/4 cup water with 1 tsp beef paste dissolved
dash of celery seed
dash of pepper
dash of Mrs. Dash

Cut the roast in half (it was half thawed) and put it in first. Then mix up the onion, cabbage and tomato and place on top of the roast (the Crock Pot was brimming, but I shoved it all in there). Pour the broth/water mix over the top and sprinkle on the seasonings.
Cook on high for 2 hours, then turn down to low for 3 hours. I turned it back up to high for the last hour (when I put the baked potatoes in the oven). In all it cooked for 6 hours (half the time on high) and was perfect. I believe if the roast was fully thawed you could easily cook on low the entire time for ~8 hours.
Serve to family. Watch with glee and wonder as your child eats it.
Disclaimer: Dish contains cabbage, which is known to cause "cabbage butt"----you may want to open some windows.

Johi's Black & White Chicken Chili

(gluten free)

3 frozen (or thawed) chicken breasts (toss 'em in whole)
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. diced red pepper (green would be great, but I had red)
3/4 c. frozen corn
4 oz. can of diced green chilies
20 oz can of diced tomatoes
32 oz. of chicken broth
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can great northern beans (drained)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice- optional

Toss everything together in crock pot. Turn crock pot on low and cook at least 6 hours. Once chicken is cooked, remove and shred, then add back to soup.

Turkey Meatloaf
(wheat free)
                1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
2 slices of bacon (cooked and chopped)
2 green onions (finely chopped)
1 stalk celery (finely chopped)
1/4 cup of red pepper (finely chopped)
1 egg beaten
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup milk
2 T plain yogurt
dash of sea salt
dash of pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Pack into a greased bread pan.  Bake at 350 to 375 for 1 hour.  Serve with gravy (I made beef based and it was great).  Build up that immunity!  Sleep is for the weak.

The following dessert recipes are not wheat free.

Oatmeal Cake
Mix together in a bowl and set aside:
1 tsp. soda
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup of old-fashioned oats

1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup softened butter

Sift together and add to creamed mixture:
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat and it was wonderful!)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Stir in cooled oatmeal mixture.  Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes (until done).  Spread topping over cake and bake 15 minutes longer.  Cool in pan on wire rack.

Cowboy Cake

Preheat oven to 350. Use whisk for entire cake. Do not over mix.

 Melt 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter with 1 cup of water. Add 4 heaping T of Hershey's cocoa. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon

In a small bowl mix:
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla
- pour over large bowl mixture. Mix together and then mix in melted ingredients. Pour into a 9x13 greased pan an bake for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack.


    Melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
4 reg T Hershey's Cocoa
2 T water
- remove from stove
Add 8 oz powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
4 t buttermilk
Beat by hand. Pour on cooled cake.
Cake is best when refrigerated.

This is my favorite cookie recipe.  They are soft and chewy and fluffy.  Heaven. It took me years to perfect this SOB- baking cookies in Colorado is not the easiest task on the planet.  It is altered for high altitude baking, so I would recommend cutting out 1/4 cup of flour if you are closer to sea level and baking at 350, but I can't guarantee results.

Johi's Freaking Awesome Cookies
1 cup butter- room temp
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
- mix together with hand mixer until creamy.

1 t salt
1 t soda
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
- crack eggs into creamed mixture and sprinkle salt, soda and vanilla on top.  Mix with hand mixer.  Do not over mix.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
- mix into creamed mixture with hand mixer, do not over mix.

Stir in 6 oz semi-sweet and 6 oz milk-chocolate Ghiradelli chips.  Add 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts. Or add a partially eaten bag of Christmas M&M's.....

Bake at 365 for 10-11 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let sit on pan for 2 minutes. Move to wire racks to finish cooling.

Because it is the Christmas Season and I am arguably one of the nicest people on Earth, I will give you my secret cookie tips.....

High Altitude Conversion

·                     For each tsp of baking powder or soda, reduce by 1/4 tsp
·                     For each cup increase liquid 3-4 extra Tbs
·                     For each cup, decrease sugar 1-3 Tbs
·                     For all cakes and cookies increase temp 15-20 degrees

Johi's Tips for perfect cookies:
·                     Use room temp butter and cold eggs.
·                     Bake on Airbake sheets only (never soak these in water).
·                     Place cookies on center rack in oven.
·                     Remove from oven when just starting to brown on bottoms
·                     Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks.
·                     Spray spatula with Pam.
·                     Eat or freeze within 3 days.
·                     Always make a double batch of peppermint cookies

Oatmeal Crispies

1 cup shortening (or butter)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (add a 1/4 cup if you are at high altitude)
3 cups Quick Oats
1 t salt
1 tsp soda
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
11 ounces of Butterscotch chips (I prefer this instead of the walnuts)

Cream shortening and sugars, add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Add Oats and nuts/butterscotch and mix well. Shape into rolls and wrap in foil or waxed paper. Chill 2 hours to overnight. Slice and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Let cool on pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to the cooling racks. Eat them quickly before your husband gets home and requires you to share.