Tag Archives: Gluten Free

“It’s a Keeper” Salad and Psalm 121

We just returned from a trip to the MidWest to surprise my dad for his 70th birthday and to visit friends in the area. I started up our food supply again yesterday by picking up some boneless, skinless chicken breast along with some other groceries. Lately, I have been boiling the chicken breast and then using it in salads or in other dishes. I save the liquid to use as a base in soups.

Last night, I introduced a new set of flavors in our series of light, summery salads, and when Brody finished his serving, he said, “It’s a keeper!” So, here it is for you….

Light, Simple, Summery Salad

It’s a Keeper….Light, Simple, Summery Salad


“It’s a Keeper” Salad

Combine and enjoy:

Chopped cabbage, kale and lettuce

Diced carrots and hothouse cucumbers

Raisins and dried cranberries

Almonds and sunflower seeds

Diced chicken breast (fully cooked)

Salt and pepper

Lemon and lime zest

Notes: Since God gave the almonds and sunflower seeds enzyme inhibitors to protect them until they are ready to sprout, you may find it easier to digest them if you first soak and then dehydrate them. I soak and dehydrate these in small batches and then store them in a glass jar in the freezer. Several websites have suggestions for how to do this. Instead of buying a dehydrator, I have chosen to use my gas oven at a very low temperature (mostly the pilot light) to dehydrate the seeds and nuts. I find eating the nuts after treating them this way helps me digest them with less discomfort.

Also, lately I have chosen to buy a few limes and lemons, wash them, and then freeze them whole. When I want some zest, it is easy to zest a whole, frozen fruit. When I want the juice, I simply grate more of the fruit, beyond the zest. This way, I don’t waste any of the fruit, and it is easier to zest them frozen than when they are at room temperature.

After Brody’s comment about the salad, I started thinking about the word, “keeper,” and I was reminded of a thought I had while looking for shade on a hot day. Our trip to the MidWest reminded me of the heat and humidity that allow the land to produce such beautiful green scenery, but I am fairly sensitive to the sun and heat, so I really appreciate the shade. One day, as I was seeking the shade for relief, I remembered Psalm 121, in which the Psalmist compares the Lord to shade. Now that I am sensitive to the sun, I can more easily relate to this metaphor written by someone who knows the heat of the desert.

Psalm 121:5

The Lord is your keeper;

The Lord is your shade at your right hand.

You can read the entire Psalm at Bible Gateway here. While Brody was using the word, “keeper” to mean that we like the salad and intend to save the recipe for future use, the Psalmist is using the word to mean that the Lord keeps His people from harm… that He is their protector. Our safe, uneventful travels to the MidWest, consisting of two road trips in between two airplane flights, reminded me of the truth that the Lord guards our coming and going. And one day, He will take His people home to Heaven to be with Him forever.

Forget Not! and Basic Mexican Chicken Salad

The other day, I realized that I had been writing in a journal fairly regularly for just over 20 years. As I look back through my thoughts and prayers, I see some times in which I wrote a few times per week, and other times that I would miss 1-3 years of writing. The years of experiences which produced our book, A Recipe for Survival, are an example of one of those longer gaps.

Now looking back at the years before that gap, I see a prayer that showed up regularly: “Lord, draw me closer to Yourself.” I realized recently that one of the main ways we are drawn closer to Him are through trials…. so the very trials I resented were the answer to my prayer! I just didn’t think at the time that I prayed for a closer walk with the Lord that He would use temporary difficulties to show me my sin, and therefore, increase my appreciation for His eternal salvation of my soul. Seeing my prayers from years ago helped me gain a fresh perspective on trials.

Another good result from keeping a journal on a semi-regular basis is the reminder of how God brought me through past difficulties. I see how something consumed my attention in the past and how I prayed about it and now, years later, the issue is barely in my memory. Sadly, that may also mean that I easily forget how God graciously worked to either change my circumstances or change my heart to accept His will (with joy) in that particular situation.

Maybe the Psalmist also suffered from a poor memory when it came to remembering all that the Lord had brought him through, so he reminded himself to forget none of His benefits:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;

Psalm 103:1-2

May we remember all of the Lord’s benefits to us who are relying solely on Christ’s perfect life, death and resurrection for our eternal salvation! We, as rebellious sinners, deserved instant physical death and eternal suffering for our hateful rebellion against God. He kindly turned us from the path we were on, gave us hearts that love the truth and did all that was necessary to reconcile us to Himself. And He did this all for the praise of His glorious grace! What love He has shown!

Brody and I have started experimenting more with salads since they are satisfying, can be thrown together rather quickly after some previous, simple preparation, and they don’t require heating up the kitchen on hot days. Here is one of our latest concoctions:

Basic Mexican Chicken Salad

Basic Mexican Chicken Salad

Ahead of time:

Boil some chicken breasts; slice or dice them after they cool.

Prepare some Basic Black Beans (See Appendix B in A Recipe for Survival.)

Cook some quinoa (See Appendix A in A Recipe for Survival.)

Wash the lettuce and cilantro.

Store all the ingredients in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to eat the salad,

Chop the cabbage, shred the lettuce, chop the cilantro and dice the tomatoes.

Add all ingredients in the proportions you like onto your plate. Finish the flavors with salt, freshly ground black pepper, some lemon and lime juice or zest, a diced garlic clove and dried red pepper.

Cut the avocado and add this last.

Be filled with a satisfying combination of flavors and nutrients!

Thanksgiving, Part V: Thankful for Family Recipes

A couple of posts ago, I shared the recipe I developed to use up the one turkey liver I inadvertently buy when I purchase a turkey at this time of year. The rest of the giblets found a good use in another dish I successfully developed this year, Candy’s Dressing. Candy was a sweet addition to our family about 11 years after my mom passed away from cancer. She has brought my dad and the rest of us much joy! Candy worked in a catering job before she became a nurse, so she has (in her head) a wonderful dressing recipe for about 60 people. She eloquently described to me over the phone exactly how the recipe should look at each stage. I converted it to a Brody-safe version and also scaled it down to fit into my cast iron skillet. My grandma generally baked her dressing in a cast iron skillet to get that wonderful crust we loved. Here is the result of merging the family traditions and my hubby’s food needs:

 Candy’s Dressing

Each time I make this, I adjust the spices and herbs a little for fun to try to find the “perfect ratios of each.” No matter what I make, Brody lovingly tells me every time that it’s wonderful. He’s very easy to please as long as the ingredients please his intestines.

 Crusty Dinner Rolls (find the recipe here)

2 Tbsp butter

Roughly 2 cups diced celery

1 clove garlic, diced

Cooked and diced turkey giblets, neck meat, wing meat, other bits and pieces of meat from cooking the turkey, roughly 2 cups total

Pan drippings from cooking turkey, roughly 2 cups

1 egg,  beaten

thyme, nutmeg, black pepper, salt to taste

3 large sage leaves

3” fresh rosemary

additional butter to oil the cast iron skillet

 1. Break up enough Crusty Dinner Rolls to make roughly 2 cups of crumbs.

2. Toast the crumbs in the broiler until they are the color of brown you like.

3. Add the butter, celery and garlic to a saucepan and cook until the celery is done.

4. Add the giblets and meat, followed by the pan drippings from cooking the turkey. Add enough drippings to make the mixture “juicy.” When I wanted to make more dressing, even after using all the giblets up, I used water in place of the pan drippings since the pan drippings only lasted for the first two experimental batches of dressing. Water doesn’t give the extra flavor the pan drippings do, but it will work.

5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the egg; mix well.

6. Add the thyme, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, sage and rosemary.

7. Gradually add the toasted bread crumbs until the texture of the mixture resembles a loose pudding. It should “slosh” when you shake it from side to side; it should not be as thin as gravy.

8. Heat enough butter in the cast iron skillet to cover the bottom and sides well.

9. Pour the dressing mixture into the hot cast iron skillet. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until the dressing is set in the middle.

 Candy’s Dressing was one of our family recipes we enjoyed this year at Thanksgiving… another recipe we enjoyed during Thanksgiving week was my dad’s barbecued chicken, using Klumpps’ Lomalinda Barbecue Sauce, on page 152 of A Recipe for Survival. Here’s a photo of it! I used our broiler instead of going to a park to use a barbecue pit. We really enjoyed the result, and I think it would be even better if we had used a real campfire. So tasty!

We feel as if we are eating like royalty now that we’ve had some time to develop recipes that 1) work for Brody, 2) are economical 3) are nutritious and 4) taste good! Our pleased taste buds remind us to praise the Lord for His kind provision of tasty, nutritious food and our capacity to enjoy it. His grace to His creation is evident every day… I simply have to slow down and cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving for these daily blessings.



Thanksgiving Part I

A Gospel Primer, by Milton Vincent, continues to help me focus on the glories of God’s love. As we approach Thanksgiving Day this year, I remember God’s many blessings to me. Topping my list is God’s meeting my spiritual needs through Christ. I am also thankful for Brody and for improved health for both of us. We are thankful for our families and friends as well as the jobs God has given us. We are also thankful for a loving church family at Bible Church of Buena Park.

I experience countless other blessings each day which I know I take for granted. I pray I will notice God’s kindnesses toward me more readily each day. Since we discovered how much Brody’s health improves when he avoids even trace amounts of gluten, oats, corn, potatoes and onions, we have grown in our appreciation for recipes which 1) don’t make Brody sick, 2) are economical, 3) taste at least somewhat appealing, and 4) have a texture that is, at the least, not appalling! 🙂

 So, when I tried a new dinner roll recipe for him recently, and it turned out well, we were very thankful! Using a similar thought process as described in detail in A Recipe for Survival, I converted a normal gluten-filled recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook,* to make these gluten-free crusty dinner rolls. On my second experiment, I wanted to try a little more tapioca flour to see if the rolls would be a little more fluffy. The second experiment was well-received by my taste-testers last night, so now, I am willing to share the recipe with you! If the Lord wills, we’ll one day publish another book with more recipes. By that time, I imagine this recipe will have improved even more (I will try adding rice bran and flaxseed for my next experiment), but for now, we are thankful for this recipe! I hope you enjoy it, too – if you tweak it to meet your needs, I’d enjoy hearing what you did to make it work for your particular special food needs.

Crusty Dinner Rolls

Dry Mix:

¾ tsp xanthan gum

¾ tsp salt

½ cup rice flour

1 ½ cup tapioca flour

1 ¼ tsp yeast

 Wet Mix:

1 cup goat milk

1/3 cup raw cane sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 tsp yeast

Final Additions:

2 beaten eggs

1 cup rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

 Combine the Dry Mix in a bowl and stir well. For the Wet Mix, warm the milk, sugar and butter in a sauce pan until the butter is almost melted. Stir in the 1 tsp yeast. While the yeast is warming up in the Wet Mix, prepare the Final Additions by beating the eggs and also combining the rice flour with the tapioca flour in a bowl. Also, lightly butter a cast iron skillet for extra crusty rolls, or butter 18 standard-sized muffin tins for clover-leaf rolls.

Pour the Wet Mix into the Dry Mix. Using a hand mixer, mix well. Add in the Final Additions; you will likely have to finish stirring the dough by hand with a wooden spoon. Form the dough into a sphere in the bowl.

Melt 1 Tbsp of butter and then spread it on the top of the dough and as much as possible, spread some down the sides of the sphere of dough. The dough is quite sticky and more moist-looking than “regular” dough.

Cover the bowl with a moist towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Divide the dough into half and let it rest for 10 minutes. Form little spheres of the dough to make clover-leaf shapes if using the muffin tins, or place the spheres into a cast iron skillet. Cover the dough with a moist towel and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.

Spread a little melted butter on top of the rolls and bake them at 375 F for about 30 minutes, or until the tops are a golden brown. Immediately remove the rolls from the pans and cool them on wire racks. We enjoy these with butter and honey.

*Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 11th Edition, Copyright 1996, Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, p. 102.

Continuing to Celebrate Sweetness

I’ve started reading Milton Vincent’s A Gospel Primer for Christians Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love and understand why so many people refer to it in other books or when speaking at conferences. If you don’t have a copy, you may want to get a copy to keep on your bookshelf so you can refer back to it after reading it the first time. The book will help you see how Gospel truths permeate your entire life…. In recent days, I have struggled with my attitude about my daily grind, keeping up with responsibilities in the midst of back and neck pain. Vincent’s Gospel Primer has reminded me that my difficulties in this world pale compared to the eternal judgment I justly deserved from God due to my sin against Him. I am quick to thank God for His kindness instead of complaining about my pain when I remember that God chose to demonstrate His love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. When I focus on what God has already done for me spiritually and that Jesus has gone to Heaven to prepare a place for me, then my earthly difficulties do not overshadow my outlook and attitude.

 One challenge that arises regularly when cooking for special diets is the lack of convenience food. Sometimes both of us are quite tired and hungry, and the thought of exerting lots of energy to prepare a meal, totally from scratch, can put us into shutdown. There have been times in the past when I chose to skip a meal for me rather than exert the energy to cook. I reasoned that even if I skipped one meal, I was still eating more on a daily basis than people who were imprisoned around the world for their faith in Christ. Furthermore, I was more interested in resting than in eating.

 Now that Brody is healthy enough to help with the cooking in addition to working full time, I don’t go to bed hungry as often. 🙂 Additionally, since we have a better handle on what he can and cannot tolerate, we are willing to prepare larger batches since we are more confident that he will be able to eat the food that we are preparing. So, now we can cook large batches of Meatless Minestrone (page 131), Chicken Italiano (page 119), and chicken marinated with Tangy Garlic Marinade (page 160), some beans, rice and broccoli and have many meals of a variety of flavors waiting in the refrigerator for reheating.

 The last time we made Fried Chicken (page 125,) we made an extra large batch and froze part of the supply for future meals. We were pleased that the frozen nuggets “re-crisped” very well in the oven (roughly 15 minutes at 350 F). For variety in flavor, we used the Orange Sauce (page 153) this time instead of the Sweet and Sour Sauce from Scratch (pages 156-157). The result was another tasty, satisfying, economical meal that doesn’t make us sick! Yay! God is faithful – His people never face a challenge without Him, and He provides the way for them to bear up under the challenge.

My Favorite Kind of Snack!

Recently, I remembered my friend Sandy had shared a quote with us from a Puritan writer about how our souls need nourishment regularly just as our bodies also need meals and snacks. Since I tend to tire quite easily if I do not have a nourishing snack every couple of hours, I am reminded frequently of the quote she shared with us. But, I only remembered the gist of the quote and not the exact wording nor the name of the writer, so I’ll look into that eventually. For now, here is an article by another well-known writer, Arthur Pink. I enjoyed the parallels he drew between our physical consumption of food and our spiritual meals and snacks.


Pictured here is the kind of snack I enjoy. A sugary, dessert type snack does not produce the energy and clear thinking I desire out of the food I prepare and eat. I value food that produces energy for me to function. 🙂 Brody also appreciates nourishing snacks – these keep him working efficiently at work and playing piano, too! The bread is Amy’s Pumpkin Bread from our book. The recipe also includes Amy’s original recipe and a detailed explanation for how I converted it to be gluten-free, safe for Brody and packed with nutrients. The heart-shaped crackers pictured are from our book as well – Grandma gave her approval today when she tasted them! The hummus with fresh oregano is a recipe I’m still perfecting… I’ll post it when it’s ready!

Of Pie and Piano

This morning, Grandma and Ole were in our neighborhood for a seminar and so we invited them for some lunch and piano music. We didn’t tell them that they were going to be our guinea pigs for an experimental dish! They were good sports as they sampled my newest creation and some old favorites as well. The photo is of Aunt Nellie’s Pumpkin Pie recipe (one of the Sample Recipes posted on this site) – we’ve made this many times, but today, Brody prepared it and made a more artistic crust than I generally do since we wanted to post a photo of it. 🙂 He did a great job with that recipe while I was working on a variation of the Chicken Pot Pie recipe (also a Sample Recipe). Grandma and Ole also tried my latest variation of hummus – maybe next time, we can have some crackers ready to eat with the hummus… today we ran out of time to prepare the crackers. My experimental dish turned out acceptably – I used lots of fresh herbs to flavor some red beans, pork and shredded brussel sprouts, and baked it in the crust as I do for the Chicken Pot Pie. It tasted great, but I think I’ll let Brody enjoy the leftovers since I don’t enjoy pork as much as he does. I made a large batch of Meatless Minestrone yesterday, so that will likely be the main dish for me these next few days.

Brody’s latest piano piece is a medley of 3 variations of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” by Mark Hayes. I love how Mark Hayes designed the arrangement to remind the listener of a trumpet fanfare for the arrival of the King. What a blessing Brody is! His piano playing will put an uplifting tune in my head and help me keep my focus on honoring my King with my attitude, thoughts and words, even as I am washing the endless supply of dirty dishes. If you are a caregiver right now, remember that nothing lasts forever on this side of Heaven. The difficulties you face today won’t be exactly the same tomorrow. If tomorrow comes, God will give you the strength to face tomorrow’s difficulties, and it is possible that the one you are caring for may improve to the point you can hardly remember how sick he/she once was. I am still amazed at how much Brody has improved in many ways after being so careful to avoid the ingredients which don’t work for him. I am thankful that now we can work as a team with the kitchen chores. In addition to working full time, he also has energy now to exercise, prepare to teach the Men’s Bible Study at our church, and play the piano, among other activities instead of simply surviving and working his full time job. If you are just beginning the journey of finding which ingredients work for you or your loved one, don’t give up! You may be incredibly surprised at the substantial physical and mental improvements you may experience from good nourishment and avoidance of problematic ingredients. And remember, God always gives His people daily spiritual nourishment, just as He provided the Israelites with daily physical nourishment in the form of manna. He will sustain you through whatever trials you are facing today.

5 Years and Counting…..Chicken Pot Pie to Celebrate!

This past weekend, Brody and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary of our engagement! He brought home two dozen beautiful roses – you can see one in the photo that I cut short to wear in my hair one day and then I set it in the cup of water to revive it a little. I made Chicken Pot Pie (page 120-121) tonight and we enjoyed the texture and flavor all over again. When I made this recipe for one of my taste-testers a few moths ago, she was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out! I really like the crust – it’s tender, but still sturdy enough to hold up and not become soggy. 

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the pressures we feel in this life. When I remember that the pressures are from a gentle Potter’s Hands as He molds me into the image of His Son, the difficulties feel less burdensome. When I focus on His wisdom in designing each of my trials, I am amazed at how He works in my life. He brings the trial and provides a kindness to help me bear up under the pressure. For example, years ago, my headaches did not cause me as much pain as they do now, but, in recent years, Brody has rediscovered the piano and has eased my suffering many times by playing songs that minister to me. On the other hand, he suffered from digestive challenges for years and when these difficulties became severe, God also helped me to figure out some recipes that would not make him sick, would provide him with nourishment, taste good, and have an acceptable texture. We are thankful for how God has provided for both of us in our marriage. May you also see God’s kindnesses to you today!



Chicken, Broccoli and Rice “Pinatas” (Empanadas)

Here are some photos of Freda’s Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice “Pinatas” (Empanadas). These are based on the Porky Pinata recipe on pgs. 135-136 of the cookbook. This is my favorite mixture so far in these pastries. I have found that they are great warm but also are easy to eat cold in my lunch when I am out in the field working.

Two Score and Five Year Scones

We enjoyed the A-B-C Bake for a few meals and then tried a few new recipes. One day this week, the weather was so hot that Brody didn’t really want a hot meal for supper. Since I had already started making Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup (pages 126-127), I proposed that we eat a small serving of soup, a green salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing (page 154) along with some other tasty side dishes that were satisfying, but not super heavy. I had some plain lentils in the fridge so I made Indian Style Lentils (page 94) and tweaked the Tortilla recipe (page 115) to go with the lentils. I’ll write more about the tweaking of the tortilla recipe later, but for now, here is the promised scone recipe. 🙂

 Two Score and Five Year Scones

Early in August, Willie turned 45 and his wife, Brenda, planned a surprise birthday party for him…. So, I developed a scone recipe in honor of his 45 years of life. A friend of his at the party helped me name this scone recipe.

To develop this recipe, I began with a scone recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, published by Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, edited by Jennifer Dorland Darling, Copyright 1996. The original recipe is a “normal” gluten-filled recipe, and using the method described in A Recipe for Survival, I converted it to be gluten-free and safe for Brody. I made a half batch for the first trial, and my taste-tester suggested that it needed a little more sweetness, so I added the icing for the second batch. 

Many friends gave me their feedback on the second batch – this texture is very similar to a gluten-filled scone texture, but is still slightly different from a standard scone texture. The children who tested this recipe made the crumbs disappear, so we took that as an approval vote! My friends who prefer less sweet baked goods thought this was just right, but if you prefer sweeter baked goods, you’ll likely want to increase the sugar or simply add more icing.

 18 oz fresh blueberries

1/3 cup rice flour

2 cups tapioca flour

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup coconut flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

6 Tbsp raw cane sugar

2 Tbsp baking powder

4 Tbsp rice bran

4 Tbsp ground flaxseed

12 Tbsp butter

2 eggs

1 cup goat milk

1 cup water


2 Tbsp goat milk for tops of scones


2 Tbsp goat milk plus enough powdered sugar to achieve the desired consistency and 1 Tbsp lemon juice



1. Wash and drain the blueberries.

2. Combine the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Using a pastry knife, cut in the butter until the mix is of a coarse crumb texture.

3. Combine the eggs, milk and water. Mix thoroughly and then pour into the dry mixture. Stir until all the mix is moistened. Be careful not to beat the air out of it.

4. Butter 2 baking sheets.

5. Form the dough into cylinders or whatever shape you’d like. Cylinder shapes will bake more uniformly, and are easier to make with my hands, so I generally make cylinders of approximately 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch in height. As you form the cylinders, add the blueberries – I like 4-6 blueberries per scone. Too many blueberries will make the scone fall apart. I don’t like to mix them into the bowl of dough since the spoon would break the blueberries, and I like them whole. 🙂

6. Place the scones on the baking sheets and then spread a little goat milk on the tops of the scones.

7. Bake the scones at 400 F for 25 minutes. My oven bakes unevenly, so half way through the baking time, I switch the baking sheets from the top to the bottom and turn the sheets around, too, since the front is colder than the back of my oven. If your oven is more efficient than mine, all your baking times will be much shorter. I am grateful for my oven, but I realize it’s probably been baking for more years than some of my readers have been alive…. (At least I didn’t develop this recipe book using a wood fire like the one my mom used for some of her cooking in the prairies of Colombia!) So check your baked goods as they bake – you may need to adjust their baking times.

8. Prepare the icing by adding the powdered sugar to the milk. After mixing well, add the lemon juice and stir.

9. When the scones have a hint of tan on some of their edges, remove them from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Or serve them warm with the icing drizzled on them.

10. If you’re going to store the scones for later, let them cool and then add the icing and then store them in an airtight container. They will keep best in the fridge if you want to store them for a few days. We like to reheat them in the microwave when we’re ready to have some.