So on top of trying to find baking recipes that don’t include flour, I’m also one of the millions who is trying to count calories without sacrificing sweets and taste altogether. I found a great easy peanut butter cookie recipe on and adjusted it to save a calorie or two*.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Here is my modified recipe:

1 egg
1/2 cup splenda sugar blend for baking
1 cup Skippy Natural Super Chunk

Mix all ingredients together. Roll dough into small balls and place on cookie sheet (my batch made 27 cookies). Use a fork to make crisscross patterns and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes. Watch them the first time you make them so you can tell when it’s best to take them out. Mine were done in 11 minutes—careful not to burn them (you’ll know).

*By my calculation, each cookie is about 60 calories.


Whenever I go out of town, I stop in the local grocery store to see what they have in the gluten free and/or natural food aisles. Most people take for granted how so much of the food we see in the grocery store is influenced by geography. But the reality is many products on the allergy free market are only locally or regionally distributed.

I was in Maryland this past weekend for my high school reunion (Go Wootton Patriots!) and stopped at the local Giant to pick up some “in case of emergency” snacks for the weekend. Perusing the gluten free section I discovered a product line I hadn’t seen in Chicago—Aleia’s (read about them at There were a few varieties of their cookies on the shelves but the one that caught my eye was the almond horn.

I am very fortunate to NOT have nut allergies and as a result they’ve become a staple of my allergy free diet. The almond horn cookies looked good through the window on the bag but I almost always find the better something looks the more likely it has butter or milk on the ingredients list.

Not this time though. I was thrilled to find the ingredient list limited to only 4 things—-almond paste, sugar, almonds, and egg whites. The cookies taste just as good as they look. The texture may be the most authentic cookie texture I’ve tasted in the wheat free market.

Next step—seeing if I can get my local Whole Foods to put them on the shelves here in Chicago.

How can you not carry a product with the tag line “life is sweet without wheat”.

Delicious Simple Chili

October 18, 2009

When the weather starts getting cold, the chili craving sets in. I have some great “from scratch” recipes but sometimes I don’t want to go to all that trouble. And therein lies the rub because most seasoning packets for chili are filled with things on the not-for-me list. Today, however, while cruising my local Trader Joe’s I came across a packet of spicy chili seasoning by Simply Organic (

Finally a chili mix with no added corn or soy or milk. Better still, they use rice flour for thickening instead of wheat flour so it’s a great alternative for gluten free eaters as well.



Cook 1 lb. ground beef. Drain and return beef to pan.

Add one 15 oz. can of beans and one 14 oz. can of diced tomotoes to meat.

Mix packet into saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until desired thickness.

How easy is that?

Dear Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar,

You saved my life again tonight. I was at my 7th work related evening event in as many days and for the third day in a row (and 6th out of 7th time overall) the food provided was off limits for me because of my food allergies. In my old (pre-diagnosis) life I never used to think about what would be served at a cocktail party. I’d pick up my glass of wine and dive into whatever appetizers were handy.

But these days, I can’t do the cheese fondue
or the puff pastry filled with meat
or the pigs in a blanket
or the mini sliders
or the cheese tray
or the cute little quiches

So I grab the glass of wine (or the rum and something) and stand around watching everyone else eat. But after one or two drinks on an empty stomach it’s time for my “in case of emergency” bar. Yes, dear Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar, you have become my standby, my go to food when nothing else is available.

Not too sweet.
Not too salty.
Available in and out (!) of Whole Foods.
Low in calories and fat.

Thank you.
I’ll say it again.
Thank you.

I couldn’t have made it through the last week without you.

Your most loyal customer,


If you live in Chicago, check out one of these upcoming classes at Whole Foods:

Gluten-free Baking (October 8- 6 p.m.) Whole Foods South Loop

Gluten-free Baking (October 11- 3 p.m.) Whole Foods Halsted

Travel to India (October 24-6 p.m.) Whole Foods Lakeview

Chef Susan from Cardamom Kitchen demonstrates the how-to’s for you and then you get a chance to sample the goods. Last month, I went to a gluten-free demo of hers at the Whole Foods on Halsted. Turned out I couldn’t eat the sugar cookies she made that day, but it was cool to be in a room with other people who face some of the same challenges that I do. Whole Foods has been doing a great job offering services and products for those with Celiac Disease. I’m super envious of my friends who can walk down the gluten-free bakehouse aisle and eat whatever looks good. So far, not a single product for me, but I’m going to keep working on them to expand their offerings for people with multiple allergies.