Caramel Walnut Tart

This is a rendition of a favorite recipe I learned in pastry arts school.  Obviously, made adapted to be gluten free and sweetened with honey.  Very simple and easy to make, but for whatever reason tarts look so impressive??  It’s just a pan, and I think everyone needs one!  The chocolate glaze on top is completely optional and can either be drizzled or completely poured over as a top layer.  For the drizzle, only make a half recipe of the chocolate glaze. This recipe is completely SCD compliant without the chocolate glaze.

(if you don’t have a tart pan, you can make this in a pie plate)

Caramel Walnut Tart

Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

* (can be made in any quantity, just use equal parts of ingredients)

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  1. Fill pre baked tart shell with walnuts.
  2. Prepare caramel and pour over walnuts.
  3. Place in freezer to set.
  4. Prepare chocolate glaze:  gently melt together honey, butter and cocoa.  Pour over cooled tart.
  5. Let caramel set completely before serving.

Everyone always brings a Classic Pumpkin Pie or Pecan Pie, so this will be a nice surprise.  I like to make freshly whipped cream or coconut whipped cream to serve on top.

Or if you just aren’t into making pies or tarts, try out my Gluten Free Gooey Pumpkin Pie Cake, which always gets rave reviews with my family!

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I have so much to be grateful for and can’t wait to spend the day with family.

Many blessings


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Preparing for Thanksgiving

So I have officially begun prepping parts of our Thanksgiving meal, anything I can make in advance I do! This allows you to stay on task and still be able to enjoy your holiday with family and friends.  Here is a good list to get you started, click on any of the photos or the recipe names and that will take your directly to the recipe.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree – This is not a must(unless SCD), but an added bonus if you have the time to do it.  Make now and freeze in the portions needed for your recipes. Makes your pies and soups extra special.

Double Pie Crust Recipe-  I made this batch of pie dough, separated it into two discs, flattened and wrapped in saran wrap, and placed in the freezer.  Now, I can pull the dough out the day before Thanksgiving, let it defrost, roll out, fill and bake. One  Classic Pumpkin Pie and One Maple Pecan Pie (or Honey Pecan Pie). Dessert, done.

Turkey Broth – Purchase one turkey breast (on bone about 1 1/2-2lbs), placed in a pot with 1 onion, 3 carrots, 3 celery stalks, all roughly chopped and fill the pot to the top with water. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 4-6 hours until dark and reduced.  In the end you will have about 1 quart of rich and flavorful turkey broth.  Strain, cool down, and freeze. Use the turkey meat for a dinner or sandwiches this week. Perfect, now you will be ready to whip up your gravy in no time on Turkey day!

Gluten Free Cornbread – Make a batch of cornbread, cool down, cut into cubes and dry out in oven at 275 for 25-30 minutes until golden and crispy.  Throw in a ziplock and freeze.  Now you are ready to assemble your Bacon-Cornbread Stuffing!

Cheddar Sage Biscuits – make the dough now, scoop into biscuit size with a cupcake scoop, place on lined tray and freeze. Once set, remove from tray and place in container and keep frozen until day of.  Set frozen rolls on sheet tray and allow to thaw for 30 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake- follow instructions and fully prepare, wrap and freeze.  Thaw for 1 hour before serving. Keeps in the freezer for up to 1 month!

Chocolate Brownie Icecream Cake – Okay, not a traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but there are many chocolate lovers among us.  So this one is nice for a change… Keeps in the freezer up to one month.  If you don’t end up using for Thanksgiving, pull it out for a last minute holiday party in December!

5 days before: Quick Cranberry Sauce- can be made up to 5 days in advance, kept in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

2-3 days before: Butternut Squash with Browned Butter and Sage.  And Cheesy Cauliflower Puree. Store in casserole dish, and reheat in oven while the turkey is resting.

1 day before: Green Bean Casserole, Praline Butternut Squash Casserole.  Assemble the casseroles, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Bake the day of.

That’s it for now folks!  I am sharing my Caramel Walnut Tart in a few days so be on the lookout :)

Many Blessings,


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Bacon-Cornbread Stuffing

So in all of my years gluten free, I have never really attempted to replicate stuffing.  For one, growing up my idea of stuffing was from a box, I think we all know which one I am referring to.  And secondly, I was never really a big stuffing person, so being new to the gluten free lifestyle, I was a bit overwhelmed and was just focused on having the basics like turkey and a few sides.

Well now I’m up for the challenge, making a complete gluten free, paleo Thanksgiving feast.  For the first time in years I am no longer the only one eating this way in my family, my daughter and a few cousins have jumped on the Paleo bandwagon (and feel amazing by the way!) I tell you, it does feel nice not to feel alone and sitting in the corner eating my “special” food…. everyone giving you the sad eyes and pitying you.  That is not the case anymore, these days I make my “special” foods in large enough portions to share and family members are actually interested in eating my food :)

My husband really enjoyed this stuffing, he said the texture was great, flavor was on point…. his only gripe, not a fan of nuts in stuffing.  So I left that optional for you to decide.  I personally love the nuts and the nice added crunch they bring to the stuffing. So you make the call.

Bacon-Cornbread Stuffing

*serves 6-8

  • one recipe gluten free cornbread<—click for recipe
  • 1/4 lb of bacon, chopped
  • 1-2 leeks, halved lengthwise then sliced thin (3 cups)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter for topping (optional)
  1. Cut up cooled and fully cooked cornbread.  Cut into tiny cubes (think stovetop), lay in a single layer on sheet tray and bake at 275 for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden and crispy. Remove from oven, then turn oven up to 325.
  2. In a large pan saute bacon until almost crisp.  Add leeks and celery, cook on medium heat until tender about 8 minutes.  Stir in butter, thyme, sage and salt. Remove from heat. Add bread cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together broth and eggs.  Add vegetable and bread mixture. Add nuts. Toss to combine.
  4. Spread stuffing mixture in an even layer in a 9×13 baking dish. Dot top with extra butter.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy on top.

A few more steps go into this, but no more than a gluten-full stuffing :)

More to come!


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Gluten and Grain Free “Corn”bread

Ok, I know…. grain free cornbread is an oxymoron… but I promise you won’t miss the corn in these :) Obviously, corn is gluten free, but there are many who can’t do corn, those who follow the SCD or the Paleo diet, myself included.  So here is my rendition using almond flour. It makes a great base, feel free to add diced jalapenos or sprinkle with cheddar cheese to make it your own.

This recipe is based off of my “corn”dog bites, which are a fantastic game day snack or perfect for a birthday party! I decided to only use almond flour in this recipe, and it turned out great. So feel free to use this as a base for the “corn” dog bites if you don’t have coconut flour on hand.

Gluten and Grain Free “Corn”bread

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup almond flour, firmly packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Whisk all ingredients together, pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Top with cheese (optional)
  3. Bake for 23-28 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting and serving.

Now do yourself a favor and make a batch of these tonight, cut into cubes, throw into a ziplock and freeze! (Do not use cheese or jalapenos if you plan to make stuffing with it) You will be one step ahead for my Bacon-Cornbread Stuffing Recipe – coming very soon!!

sneak preview:

Many blessings,


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A little update on my life….

my little Audrey Hepburn…

No Halloween is complete without Superheros….

And baby robbers on the run….

And unhappy jailbirds…. We had a fantastic time this year, what did you dress your kids as?  I’m always looking for new, creative ideas for the kids.

Happy Halloween!

So here we are again, months since my last post.  A lot has happened, some good, some not so good.  After receiving several emails of concern from readers, I have decided to finally get on here and share …. brace yourself for my longest post to date.

Beginning of May, Fiona was about six months old, I began having symptoms of a Crohn’s flare and did my usual routine:  Strict SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) intro diet for a few days.  It mainly consists of consuming homemade chicken broth, eggs, super ripe bananas, and other protein like salmon.  Not too fun, but it usually does the trick.  But this flare was really kicking my butt… I was basically on bed rest, still breastfeeding (because I’m stubborn and always put my kids first)… My mom was coming to stay with me during the week to help take care of my other kids, while I attempted to ride out the flare naturally.  But eventually, after emailing with my GI, we decided to do a round of prednisone.

……Uhhhh, I hate steroids, they make you crazy, irritable, angry, hungry…. not to mention the terrible long term side effects it can do to your body.  But nonetheless, it is sometimes necessary to take, as much as I hate admitting, this drug can help curb a flare.  Unfortunately, after a quick round of steroids, we saw little improvement.  My GI prescribed a second round and this time I had started going back to Acupuncture.  My Chinese medicine doctor was very concerned that I waited so long to see him, so we began treatment right away.  Within 2 weeks of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, along with my steroids I was already on my way to remission.  I felt a million times better, was beginning to gain weight and get my energy back.  I was also going to the chiropractor weekly.  I know that this protocol may not work for everyone, but I just want this to serve as an encouragement to you all or those you know who suffer from auto immune or digestive disorders.  I have no intention of ending my acupuncture or chiropractic treatments.

I also believe its important to have an open line of communication with your GI.  At my last check up with her, she seemed so pleased with my current condition that she said there was no reason for her to put me on any type of maintenance medication and to keep up with what I am doing.  She has always been supportive of my diet (SCD) and is now recommending acupuncture and chiropractic treatment to her other patients.  She is the first GI that I have ever had to acknowledge the correlation between diet and Crohn’s disease! Make sure you find one who believes that too, it’s so important to have a supportive doctor behind you.

I looked back thru the years and made an eye opening discovery:  All of my major Crohn’s flares were all between 6-8 months postpartum.  My very first flare, when I was diagnosed, my son Andrew was 6 months old.  Then another large flare after Juliette and of course the most recent flare after Fiona.  These have been the only flares that have ended in a hospital stay or needed medication to curb.  Needless to say, I don’t think it is in my best interest to have any more children.  I am very thankful for the 5 little blessings I have :)  I guess only time will tell if my theory is true….  I’m curious if any of you experienced the same thing postpartum, perhaps a change in hormones?? Please share, I’d love to hear  your story and experiences!

So I was sick in May-June, then super busy with the kids home ALL day EVERY day of summer… I thought to myself, oh I’ll get back to blogging again once the kids start school…. well school started, and so did soccer, and chess club and student government and homework and bible study. Then, I finally broke out my camera to photograph a new recipe and my zoom lens wasn’t working!  Seriously, best. luck. ever.

But I’m determined to get back on track…Many more exciting things to come! I have been creating and compiling tons of new recipes to share with you all! Some things coming up: crepes, caramel walnut tart, slow cooker pork roast, and of course Thanksgiving recipes and tips will be included.  I just need to get cooking, grab my camera and get to work.

By the way, I know I didn’t respond to all of your emails, but I truly appreciate your concerns and encouragement during these past few months.  Just sorry it has taken so long to get on here and share that I am really doing okay!  Very healthy and happy, but as always my motto is “Family first”  and that will never change.

Say a little prayer for my daughter Juliette, who is 3.  We are in the process of testing for Celiac.  We believe she may have DH (Dermatitis Herpetiformis), which is a rash-like manifestation of Celiac on the skin, often mistaken for Eczema.  I’m hoping for a clear diagnosis, so we can fully change her diet.  She has been mostly gluten free for the past year, because she developed what I thought was eczema and it became worse when she ate gluten. I had never even heard of a rash associated with Celiac until a family friend mentioned it.  If you have DH, it confirms you have Celiac, but not all of those with Celiac suffer with DH.  If her test is positive, the switch to gluten free will not be a stretch, but we will obviously be more careful about cross contamination. Do any of you have DH?  For those with children who have Celiac, was it hard to get a proper diagnosis? Please share your stories and experience in my comments.  I’d like to think that we are a community and can be here for eachother. Whether it’s Crohn’s, Celiac or IBS.  This journey is never easy, but we are not alone.

For getting 3 viles of blood drawn yesterday, she still seemed pretty happy:

Don’t forget you can keep up with me on my Facebook page and also for my day to day life on Instagram- under the name shelley608!  Warning, I post pictures of kids and food all the time… And you can pin my recipes to Pinterest with that little button below my name that says pin it… Okay, I promise it won’t be another 4 months til my next post!!

Many blessings, Michelle

Posted in Gluten Free, Life | 15 Comments