Gluten-free Recipe – Warm Cinnamon Apples Recipe

Gluten-free Recipe – Warm Cinnamon Apples Recipe

Autumn is a time for apples and cinnamon, which together make delicious warm cinnamon apples. Because cinnamon and apples are naturally gluten-free, we’re pretty golden. Make sure you use bowls, utensils, pots and pans that haven’t previously been used to make gluten foods to avoid cross-contamination. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, healthy-licious!

Granny Smith are the best apples to use for cooking, the green apples. They hold up well while cooking because they’re tangy, not sweet. When peeling the apples I keep the peels and put them in a small pot that I left to simmer on the stove while I was downstairs. To my fresh potpourri pot I added water, apple peels, blackberries and both ground cinnamon and a stick of cinnamon bark. It made my house smell lovely! My mom used to simmer pots of dried herbs and such when I was a kid, sometimes I loved it and other times the scents burned my eyes. This one had a good, fresh scent that I enjoyed, only burned a little bit, and my hubby came in saying our home smelled delicious!

Gluten-free Cinnamon Apples over Gluten-free Oatmeal

The basic recipe:

Gluten-free Cinnamon Apples

4 apples, peeled, cored & sliced thin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp ghee, butter, margarine or butter-substitute
1-2 tbsp water

Toss together apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl or plastic bag.

Heat butter and water until melted and add apple mixture. Cook over medium-low heat 10-12 minutes.

Eat as a side dish with dinner, on top of ice cream, oatmeal and more. Yum! 

This recipe could also double as pie filling for apple pie. Instead of putting it in the pot to cook, fill a gluten-free pie shell with the apples and place butter slices on top. Make your own pie crust using gluten-free flour blend, water and salt, bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes at 325 degrees. (GF Apple Pie recipe coming soon!) I had to skip the nutmeg this time because I was out but they still tasted incredible! Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Recipe – Hot Dog Summer Salad

Gluten-Free Recipe – Hot Dog Summer Salad

Over the past three years I’ve had to cycle through many of the same foods and try to find new ways to eat them. Mixing things up fixes the issue of having too much of the same things. My hubby is the reverse. If he could eat the same thing every day with some differing flavors, he would. I love finding new gluten-free recipes for the foods I can eat, using items I wouldn’t normally think to put together.

Gluten-free cooking isn’t usually a fast process so finding quick, easy gluten-free recipes are key. For this recipe, I was inspired by a dish brought to my bridal shower. A friend of the family brought Hot Dog Salad to the party and I loved the flavor of the hot dogs mixed in with salad. This is my version, based on what I had in my fridge at the time.

Gluten-Free Recipe – Hot Dog Summer Salad

Ingredients:
Gluten-free Hot Dogs
Green, red, purple or colorful leafy lettuce
Strawberries
Blueberries
Dried cranberries
Gluten-free croutons
Extra-Virgin Olive oil
Juice from lemon slice

Clean and dry all fruits and veggies. Tear lettuce to bite sized pieces and slice strawberries. Cut hot dogs into bite-size pieces. If children will be eating this, make sure the hot dogs are sliced down the center and cut about 1/4 inch thick. It should be very small pieces for small children, that won’t make them choke. I choked on a hot dog once and didn’t eat another one for 3 years! Toss all solid ingredients together except for croutons, and anything else you’d like to add such as cucumbers, green peppers, nuts, or whatever you have on hand that might taste good on a salad. Then drizzle with olive oil and squeeze the lemon slice over the salad. Add croutons last.

Viola! An easy Gluten-Free Hot Dog Salad recipe. Grab a bag of chips and a glass of lemonade and you’ve got a gluten-free lunch, or make one big enough to take to a party. Hope you enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Blueberry Scones with Stonewall Kitchen Traditional Scone Mix

Gluten-Free Blueberry Scones with Stonewall Kitchen Traditional Scone Mix

Hello there! Today I made these delicious blueberry scones that came out tasting incredible. I used a box mix for traditional scones, Stonewall Kitchen Traditional Scone Mix and added half a can of Oregon Blueberries at the end. I enjoy the Stonewall Kitchen brand of gluten-free mixes and have tried other gluten-free mixes under that brand. Stonewall Kitchen has easy-to-follow directions and base ingredients that allows you to add your own flavors and spices, plus they usually come out tasty and moist, not dry, unless I make a mistake on the recipe.

I mostly followed the directions on the box. I’m not a big butter fan, or my body hasn’t been lately, so I used half coconut oil and half Smart Balance Extra Virgin Olive Oil dairy free butter. It should be a solid type of oil for the mix to crumble and hold properly. The mix calls for 2/3 cup cold water and 1 large egg, slightly beaten. Keep a tablespoon of flour aside to coat the pastry sheet or counter before spreading the mixture. I don’t have a pastry sheet, so I put wax paper down on the counter and then sprinkled the tablespoon of mix on the paper, it worked great!

Add butter/oil to mix and cut with a pastry blender, fingertips or a fork, until the batter resembles coarse crumbs, then add water and egg until just mixed. I lightly beat the egg with a fork in the measuring cup for the water before adding it to the mixture, mixed all the ingredients until they were blended and folded half a can of drained and rinsed blueberries into the batter.

A pizza slicer works well to slice scones

A pie spatula to lift the gluten-free scones

Then I took the dough ball, it was pretty moist and sticky, and spread it onto the wax paper, making about an 8 inch diameter circle and used the pizza cutter to slice it into 8 pie-like slices. I used a pie spatula to pick them off the wax paper, greasing it with some coconut oil to make it easy for the dough to slide off the spatula, and placed the sliced scone batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

The directions say to bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes, I cooked my scones about 12-14 minutes, until they were semi-golden on top. They came out so delicious! I was glad I added in the blueberries. The first time I made the scones I didn’t add fruit and they were a bit too dry for my liking, though moister than other scones I’ve tried, though it hasn’t been many. I was never a big fan of scones because they were a dry pastry and I prefer moist cakes. The Stonewall Kitchen Gluten Free Scones have a plain, vanilla flavor, as I imagine most scones have, but even plain they are more moist than other scones. The fruit adds even more moisture and so much flavor. In retrospect, I could have used the whole can and gotten an even tastier scone. I bought a can of cherries too, so with the next box I might use the cherries. I’m still on the fence with buying canned anything, but that’s for another post. Any other ideas for the cherries?

Celiac and Water Absorption

I’ve been having this dry problem for a while now. I thought, and was medically advised, to drink more water, lots of water, to stay hydrated. I swear, I drink the water. Most days I drink close to a gallon of water, others about 3 liters or more and I’m still super dry. Dry skin, dry hair, dry eyes, dry nails, dry everything.

When I came home after my c-section and was finally able to get a shower, my skin was so soft and well-hydrated. My skin looked and felt better than it had in 20 years! I was in the hospital less than 3 days, what was different? I came to the conclusion that it was either not showering for 3 days or the IV fluids that made my skin feel so nice. I’m going with the IV fluids, I like to be clean.

I researched what was in IV fluids and found there are many different concoctions, but got the general idea – minerals, sodium and sugar. So I did some general dehydration forum surfing and found that people have had success with adding sea salt or himalayan pink salt to their water. I read that a common amount was about 1/8th teaspoon salt per liter of water.

First I tried the sea salt. I added 1/16th to 16.9 oz. bottle of water and drank water like this for two days, close to a gallon a day. I noticed that I wasn’t as dry, but I was still very thirsty. My hands were a little less dry and my skin felt a little better the first day. The night of the second day, I noticed my ankles and lower legs were starting to swell when I was in the shower. I thought maybe the salt was too much, maybe I needed the sugar, too. I had plain water for the rest of the night and tried himalayan pink salt and a little bit of coconut sugar in my water the next morning. That did not taste good at all.

Back to researching I went, this time looking up celiac disease and water absorption, and found this forum post on the inability to properly absorb water from 2008 where people with celiac mentioned they have problems with staying hydrated, that Gatorade or Propel sports drinks were the only thing that helped them maintain normal hydration levels. Others said potassium supplements helped, or just adding sea salt to water, but then someone mentioned that the salt water wasn’t enough for them, that they needed the sugar, too. I thought, “Hey, that’s me!” Gatorade or Pedialyte were offered as suggestions to get hydrated again. Now, I’m not a big fan of Gatorade and I looked up Pedialyte and the flavored ones don’t have the best ingredients, but the unflavored version didn’t look too bad, just expensive.

We went out one day and ended up stopping at a gas station, so I went in looking to see what kind of sports drinks they had, thinking I would give it a try. I found one called ‘Body Armor’ and it just so happened to be on sale. It has vitamins and minerals, electrolytes, sodium and sugar, everything I was looking for! So I bought 4 bottles to try. The ones that didn’t have grape or orange were the Fruit Punch and Tropical Punch, so I got two each of those. They’re very tasty, but super sugary. It could definitely use less sugar. I drank one bottle and within an hour or so my hands and face weren’t dry anymore. My cuticles were soft and pliable, my fingers didn’t feel rough anymore. My iPhone knew my thumbprint again! Wow! I’m amazed.

I tried diluting the second bottle in water, because the sugar is just too much, but that didn’t work as well. My hands started drying out again. So I drank the third bottle the day after that and was hydrated again. But now at night, I have been drinking salt water and find it’s not helping my nerves and muscles. They’re still very tense and I’m getting the restless-leg symptoms, but it also goes up my back and neck.

It’s weird, because water seems to do nothing for me, but drinking the sports drink is too much sugar and I end up craving plain water. I did some searching on Amazon and found electrolyte drops that you can add to your water on a daily basis, so I think I’ll try that next. I hope I can figure out this dehydrated issue soon. I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.

Following an Autoimmune Diet

Following an Autoimmune Diet

I’ve been trying to get back on a more structured diet lately. I find that I’m clenching my muscles without realizing I’m doing so. Last year my doctor diagnosed me with TMJ syndrome, where my muscles in my jaw, neck and upper shoulders tense up. It causes my ears to feel like they’re clogged, I get nasty aches and pains down my neck and across the tops of my shoulders and I’m constantly trying to stretch out my jaw, which ends up cracking and popping. I feel it getting worse again. The TMJ got better when I was pregnant, it basically went away. I believe the muscle ache disappearing was due to the relaxin increase during pregnancy. I felt it start to come back, very faintly, at the end of January, a week or two or so before I delivered Max, and the pain has been slowly returning ever since. Now I not only clench my jaw, neck and shoulders, but my uterus and core muscles, my back and legs, too. I’ve also been getting this weird sensation in my legs, hips and lower back when I’m trying to fall asleep and I just have to move, particularly when I’m on my side. Restless legs? I hope not. I wonder if I’m low in progesterone, if maybe it’s related in that way. I’m still in the research phase. I’m planning on seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist to help me with those and the hormone balancing issues.

I want to figure out what causes TMJ to get better or worse but haven’t found a link yet. Eating a more autoimmune-friendly diet by eliminating grains, eating green veggies, smoothies and fish didn’t really help, though it helped other symptoms. When I was pregnant my stomach couldn’t handle the diet and I had to totally change the way I ate. My body wanted carbs and sugar again, otherwise I had no energy and could hardly get out of bed or off the couch. Also, the morning sickness was horrible if I didn’t have carbs in the morning. I wanted eggs, but wasn’t eating them because I had been sensitive to them in the past and didn’t want to chance them making me even more sick. Dairy was a HUGE no-no. Anything with dairy at all and I was headed straight to yakksville. Unless it was peanut M-n-M’s or Gratify Gluten-free chocolate covered pretzels.

Now I’m slowly working my way back to a more autoimmune-friendly diet. During the postpartum healing, my body felt like it needed the carbs and the sugar, but now my need for them is dwindling. If I eat a whole blueberry muffin for breakfast these days it causes acid buildup, or something along those lines, in my stomach. I’ve actually incorporated eggs again, having a few a week and I think I’m doing ok on them. I’m not 100% sure because it can take anywhere from 2 hours to 4 days for the symptoms to show. I read this article on why eggs are bad for Celiac’s and those with autoimmune issues today, so now I’m wondering if I should cut the eggs again.

I started taking the Neocell Collagen Beauty Bursts, hoping they’ll do something for my skin, tissue and joints because when I asked the delivering doctor what causes cervical incompetence she mentioned something about collagen. I thought it couldn’t hurt! My skin is pretty dry. I get breakouts, though not as bad as before I was pregnant, and I have these funky dark patches of skin on my face, similar to the butterfly-shaped design significant in Lupus. The marks sometimes get better/worse, but I haven’t found what causes it to go away yet. It seemed to start to go away before I got pregnant but then came back full-force over the past couple months…maybe it all has something to do with progesterone? Sometimes I feel like I was a research doctor in a previous life or something, I want to get to the bottom of this!

I know I’m not losing the 10 pounds I put on a few weeks after delivery – which was also weird. I was doing fine and was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight within 2 weeks of having Max. The next thing I remember is I went to the doctor, she pushed around on my abdomen to feel my insides and ever since then I’ve blown up like a balloon. I feel puffy all over, even my neck. I’m not sure if it was the doctor pushing around on my uterus or having a couple drinks that weekend, but I’ve gained 10 pounds since then, most of it right away. Hopefully incorporating a more high-nutrient, veggie and protein based diet and drinking more herbal tea will help improve the bloating and uncomfortable feeling I’ve been experiencing. It’s weird, I feel almost like I was glutened, but without having a super-severe reaction. Maybe I was? There’s always a possibility, but I don’t think so, I’ve been pretty careful. Have you had any issues with TMJ or muscle clenching with your autoimmune disease and what have you done to help alleviate the symptoms?

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Balancing Hormones

Balancing Hormones

I tried it before I got pregnant and I’m thinking about trying it again – eating certain foods to help balance my hormones. I’m bloated and swollen with what I’m guessing is postpartum edema and I would love to deflate and see my ankles again. Here are a few things I’ve tried sporadically over the past few weeks:

Raspberry Leaf Tea – Full of vitamins and minerals like calcium, this will help prime the uterus. I noticed I bled a little more after drinking this a couple times so I haven’t had it in a while. – more research needed

Dandelion Root Herbal Tea – Aids liver function in processing the hormones and toxins from your body. This definitely helped with the bloating, however it doesn’t have an incredible taste or smell, not the worst but not great. I add raw honey and usually brew with a better tasting herbal tea to mask the flavor.

Peppermint Tea – Soothes the stomach and releases gas and bloating. Yup – it works! So tasty too, and it blends well with other teas. I’m not sure if this helps balance hormones, but it helps balance my stomach, which helps balance my mood.

Not stressing – This one is tough for a lot of people but will do so much in the way of balancing your body and mind. I’ve used sewing projects, gardening, cleaning, cooking and reading to keep myself busy, which are all things I enjoy doing. Especially the sewing and gardening, they help me get almost into a meditative state which allows my thoughts to flow freely through my mind. I’m working up to being able to meditate without aids. Every time I go to meditate my mind wanders to “How much longer will I have to sit here?” I’m a do-er, I like to do things. I realize I should try to relax and be in the moment with myself in that way, but I feel much more connected when my hands are busy. I’m hoping one day to get into that deep, meditative state, but for now, the hobbies are working.

Chocolate Chip Cookies – These have been my go-to comfort food this past month. Chocolate chip cookies taste so good and yummy, but they don’t do anything good to balance your hormones. I’ve made a couple batches, I’ve eaten too many of the delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookies from the Walmart bakery. I noticed more bloating, more swelling of my feet, ankles, legs, arms, etc. after eating the cookies. While they are an awesome comfort food, the sugar in the cookies wreaks havoc on the system. Stay away…if you can.


Best cookie mix

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels – My favorite treat during pregnancy were chocolate covered pretzels – Max loved them! While the chocolate has some caffeine, it’s not really enough to disrupt too much, as long as you don’t eat the entire bag. Good nutrients like magnesium are in dark chocolate, and the pretzels are low in calories and all the bad stuff. I feel the benefits outweigh the cons here. I wouldn’t eat more than a handful per snack, though.


These are my fav!

Sleep – The most important factor to balancing your hormones and healing your body is sleep. It keeps coming up everywhere because it can’t be stressed enough how much sleep impacts your life. Getting 7-10 hours sleep per night will help so much you’ll be amazed. I know you don’t always feel great after getting a lot of sleep, and maybe that’s because your body is still needing more. I found that a few nights of sufficient sleep will take my bloating away, make me feel more refreshed and keeps inflammation manageable.

Rest – If you can’t get the sleep you need, at least get some feet-up rest. I haven’t been sleeping long enough most nights, nor have I been resting as much as I should during the day. When I rest with my feet up, the swelling goes down some and the bleeding lets up a little (until I stand, that is). Take the time…your body needs it to survive.

What helps you feel balanced and closer to normal?

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