Charting life's circuitous path


Gluten Free Lemon Chia seed muffins


Some things about elimination diets that you should know:

  • You might find that you haven’t eliminated enough.  *sighs*  We’re 7 weeks into our elimination diet and the hubby has added soy and chocolate to his list.  The headaches, while not worse, aren’t really better so we’re taking out a few more possible culprits.  It was always a possibility that dairy and gluten weren’t the sole offenders, but it’s even more restrictive with the addition of soy.  Chocolate is easy to spot (although a LOT more painful to give up – bye, bye chocolate chip cookies!), but soy is sneakier (especially if you’re wanting to eat out).  Still, we’re fighting the good fight and it’s another 2 weeks before we start to reintroduce foods slowly to see how we react.


  • Everyone will think you’re crazy and they’ll ALL tell you (or give you “the look”). o_O Some might even make tasteless jokes about not being able to eat anything and starving to death.  Ha.  Ha.  Others might give you their horror stories of not eating such and such or give you dietary advice. In fact, be prepared to be looked at like wierdos for trying to do something about your health.  Only those that have gone through it are supportive about your endeavors and everyone else will continue to ask you if you can eat cake when you’ve expressly said no.  Again.

Then there are the wait staff who ask you if it’s a “real allergy” or if it’s, and here they trail off.  As if it’s something they can’t even bring themselves to mention.  Personal choice.  Diet.  Fad.  Or, in other words, just weird.  Maybe I’m being too sensitive but I’d like to think that it doesn’t really matter whether I’m “actually” allergic or doing this for my own good – the food should be prepared with the utmost care.   So far we’ve explained that we’re trying to determine if we are allergic and everyone smiles and walks away with our order.  Call me paranoid, but I don’t trust those smiles.


Eating on the wild side.

  • Food will become a joy again.  You’ll get yourself out of that cooking rut of recipes and suddenly you’re making quinoa with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes or gluten free moussaka for dinner and loving every nutritious bite.  Food hasn’t been this varied since I overhauled my diet years ago to combat my cholesterol.   I’m cooking a LOT more than I used to, but it’s all been so delicious and we’ve both enjoyed our meals.  I feel so much more freedom now than before.  And that’s odd because you’d think it’d be the opposite.  You know, like how everyone keeps reminding me.  🙄


Here’s a recipe for Gluten Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins I made today.  They have a great crumb, they’re moist and the chia seeds do an excellent job of subbing for poppy.  We didn’t notice a difference and we loved them paired with the bright lemon.

I used a homemade flour blend that consisted of:

  • 700 g Brown Rice Flour
  • 250 g Potato starch
  • 50 g Tapioca starch

The blend worked really well in this recipe, but go ahead and try any gluten free flour you have on hand.

Gluten Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

(Notes:  Some measurements are in grams since I found it easier to do my tweaking with the weights rather than with tablespoons.  Original recipe was for Orange Poppy seed mini muffins in the William-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book.  I tweaked it so much that it hardly resembles the original.)


  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 280 g gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup splenda
  • 25 g vegan butter + 65 g applesauce


  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended.  Add sugars, butter, applesauce, and milk and stir until mixed.
  3. In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  4. Pour dry into the liquids bowl and mix carefully – when dry is almost incorporated into the wet, add chia seeds and mix until incorporated.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin, bake for 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a cooling rack and drizzle with icing made from powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Cool and munch.  🙂




Leave a comment

Sun-dried Tomato Hummus and Lentils

hummus 2I’m learning a lot about myself on this gluten and dairy free journey.  I’ve been shocked by just how “routine” our meals had become.  After ditching a lot of processed foods years ago (or so I thought!), it was a real eye-opener when I found that the only gluten free “meat substitute” was Quorn tenders.   😮   My entire repertoire of substitutes contained wheat and I was stuck in a very scary situation.

What’s for lunch??

I hadn’t realized just how much my lunches depended on some form of sandwich.  Of course, homemade soup and salad were still the shining stars, but I was dependent on the “quick fix” meat substitutes provided.  Want a quick meal?  Just heat up a few chik’n tenders and voila!  Not sure what to eat but starving?  Fix up a quick veggie burger and you’re done.  While a bit healthier than, say, eating out or gorging on high fat red meat, it honestly wasn’t much better. :/

Enter gluten free eating and suddenly I had to actually cook.  And here I thought that was what I was already doing!  Ha!

So, lunches and dinners around this house have really changed.  I’ve started making meals from my vegan cookbooks that I’ve never tried before and we’re eating a much more varied green diet.  It wasn’t like we weren’t eating kale before, but we’re eating it with quinoa now!

Here’s my latest discovery: homemade hummus!  I’ve never bothered making it before and I’m not sure why.  I guess I thought it’d be easier to just buy it, but honestly, I find the store bought hummus to be a bit too much – too salty, too oily, too something.

This hummus, on the other hand, is delicious!  I snagged the recipe from a blog I discovered called The Simple Veganista.  Julie’s blog is both beautiful and packed full of really delicious sounding recipes.  This was a definite winner and has converted me over to making homemade hummus for life.  🙂

(And that piece of bread holding it all together?  That’s my first loaf of gluten free bread.  🙂  Not too bad, but I can’t say it was a definite winner.   I’ll be experimenting more with different recipes and hopefully come up with something that I can post.)


Sun-dried Hummus with Lentils

(Notes:  This recipe hails from The Simple Veganista.  I don’t buy tahini so I opted to leave it out.  I also used the 1/4 cup or so of soaking liquid from the tomatoes as part of my water count.  Julie suggests adding more olive oil to replace the tahini, but I didn’t bother.  It tasted wonderful to me, but suit your own tastes.)


  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 6-8 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes, diced (I used dried ones without the oil and followed her advice of soaking them in water for 15 minutes before proceeding)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup water, as needed


  1. Add all of the ingredients, except the water, to a food processor and pulse until thoroughly mashed. Add water as you pulse to reach the right consistency for you. 🙂



Gluten Free Japanese Curry with Tempeh Katsu

This is the beginning of our third week going gluten and dairy free. Our grocery bill is beginning to finally level out (no longer $200 a week… 😮 ) and the hubby’s headaches are decreasing.  I’ll take that as a win. 🙂 In fact, I’m going to try going without my allergy pill this week to see how I react.  Fingers crossed and wood knocked on for the best!

However, here are three truths of going gluten and dairy free.

  1. You won’t believe what products in your cupboards have gluten and dairy.  Here is just a sampling: Soy sauce, yeast, curry sauces, corn flakes, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, french fries, and almost anything processed. AND if it says dairy free, it isn’t necessarily casein or whey free.  AND if you’re trying to buy groceries in a hurry, you’ll find yourself looking at labels for a LOT longer than you’ve anticipated.
  2. The sticker shock is, well, shocking.  A tiny packet of gluten free all purpose flour costs $3.99.  A loaf of bread?  $5.99.  A packet of 4 hamburger buns?  $5.79.  Want to make your own?  Be prepared to buy at least four different flours and starches just to make flour and they cost between $3.50 – $8 a packet.   Let’s just say no more potlucks for us!
  3. The food you do make is really delicious.  There’s this strange notion still floating about that gluten and dairy free food is mediocre at best.  Even those who are gluten free propagate this myth and it’s just not true.  I about laughed out loud at my local Trader Joe’s as the worker gushed about how “surprisingly good” their gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix was and how close to a “normal cookie” it resembled.  🙄


Luckily for us, I’m game for cooking new recipes.  I’ve had to ditch our weekly pizza (so not paying $11 for a small pizza from Whole Foods) and replace it with new quinoa recipes and our weekly curries are now homemade versus store bought.  I made my first batch of saag and basmati with fabulous results!  This week is Japanese curry week and since I had to throw out my packet of Golden Curry it was time to look up a good homemade version.


I’ve made homemade curry before with just okay results.  It didn’t resemble Japanese curry but more Indian curry.  The roux was a wrongly spiced and while it was good, it didn’t quite work as a replacement.

So, I found a new recipe that looked right and subbed out the regular flour with sorghum flour and xantham gum and the beef stock with vegetarian.  The result?  Nearly perfect!  In fact, it was so good, I’m going to make it my go-to recipe.  It was a tad bit spicy, so next time I’ll be upping the apple and lessening the amount of spice.

We like to have our curry with tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlets) and potato croquettes.  Our Japanese panko is made from wheat, so I bought Ian’s gluten free panko.  It’s more “breadcrumb” like than the original panko, but it did coat well and tasted fine – not quite as flaky as the original, but it was still good.  I coated thinly sliced tempeh and fried them for a minute or two for my own “katsu” and it was delicious!  Crispy, tasty and a great companion for the curry.


Here’s my tweaked recipe for gluten and dairy free vegetarian Japanese curry.  And if you need any more prompting, it was just as fast to make this homemade as it was to make it from a packet.  I’m not kidding!

Oh, yes, and katsu can also mean “to win”.  Coincidence?  I think not. 😉

Japanese Curry (Gluten and Dairy Free)

(Note:  You can find the original recipe here.  Below is the recipe as I made it.  Tweak spice to fit your taste and have fun with the veggies.)


  • 2 potatoes, peeled and largely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced in ½ inch chunks
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 apple, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (optional, but we like a lot of veggies in our curry)
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 4 tbsp margarine (or butter – I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
  • 4 tbsp sorghum flour
  • ¼ tsp xantham gum
  • 1 – 2 tbsp SB curry powder
  • 1 – 2 tbsp garam marsala


  1. Place first 7 ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Cook until potatoes begin to soften and then start the roux.
  2. Melt butter in a pan until bubbly.  Add flour and xantham gum and cook for a minute or two – keep stirring the mixture.  Add spices and cook for another minute.
  3. Add roux to the vegetable pot and stir to mix.  Once the roux is mixed completely with the vegetables, cook another 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Tempeh Katsu


  • Tempeh, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill AP Gluten Free Flour)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup Ian’s gluten free panko (or your own panko)
  • (adjust flour and panko amounts to fit the amount of sliced tempeh)


  1. Place the flour in a dish, the beaten egg in a bowl and the panko in another dish.
  2. Dredge tempeh slices in flour, then dip to coat in egg and finally coat with panko.  Set aside and repeat with other slices.
  3. Fry slices for a minute or until golden brown.