Limited Ingredient Diets

Limited Ingredient Diets

I’m one of those people who nags others to go to the doctor as soon as possible, but rarely go myself. It’s a bad habit that I really need to work on. It’s why it took me a long while to finally visit an allergist for a few persistent issues I’ve been dealing with. They ended up drawing some blood to see if I have any major food allergies.

The test results won’t be back for a bit, but this got me thinking about recipes and resources for people who do have to avoid certain kinds of foods. Here are some of the more excellent food blogs I came across during my research:

An excellent selection of dairy and gluten-free recipes.

An extremely thorough selection of recipes that are free from gluten, dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, AND shell fish.

Delicious recipes from a mom dealing with eosinophilic esophagitis.

Thoughtful recipes that focus on balancing flavor with dietary restrictions.

Great recommendations and awesome recipes.



Do you have any favorite allergen-free recipe blogs? Please share them in the comments!

High-Volume, Low(er) Calorie Eating

High-Volume, Low(er) Calorie Eating

I can’t say that I’m a fan of dieting. Mostly because diets are not really proven to help with weight loss in a substantial way long term for the majority of people — something like 5% of diets result in a net loss of anything at all over a period of five years (go ahead and Google it).  Yikes. All that strife with little payoff.

I make exceptions of course for personal doctor-recommended approaches for specific problems, but that’s not what this post is about. 🙂

Instead of dieting, I like to look at approaching what I eat as something that needs to be recalibrated now and again. I adjust how and what I’m eating depending on how I’m feeling and how my body is seemingly reacting (in terms of aches & pains, strength, endurance, sleep quality — not weight).

Lately, I’ve been feeling sluggish — and I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that there will always be a certain persistent level of stress my career choices bring. SO, it’s time to assess my current patterns and see what I can adjust to make me feel healthy and strong again.

My self-prescribed change this time around is higher-volume, lower calorie eating with a major emphasis on fruits, veggies, and water. Allowing, of course, for occasional treats — the recipes for which you usually end up seeing here!

Part of this approach is respecting the fact that I LOVE to eat. Satiety, for me, involves variety, volume, and intense flavors. With that in mind, I’ve been playing around with some recipe and snack choices that seem to have helped me both feel better and fuller throughout the day.


For under 400 calories total, I throw a whole, large chopped onion with a tablespoon of olive oil and some pre-minced garlic into a pan and cook over medium heat until softened. Next comes a whole chopped or sometimes shredded zucchini, which gets tossed with everything in the pan to coat with any remaining oil and salted generously. If I’m famished, it’s two zucchinis. Cover with a lid and stir occasionally, then slide it out of the pan into a big bowl. Then I either cook up two whole eggs or a single regular egg and a half cup to a whole cup of egg whites (depending again on hunger). That’s usually it, but for variety I sometimes throw in mushrooms or Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce or a tablespoon of sour cream or sriracha.


Some people seem to think this is strange, but a whole plain tomato, sliced thin, and salted is really wonderful to me (no need for oil). That alone (after the big breakfast listed above), can usually get me through to dinner. If not, I snack on an orange or two (or bananas, apples, watermelon, etc). Worst case scenario, I’ll drain a whole can of tuna, throw in some celery salt, allspice (a tiny, tiny bit for sweetness), and eat it dry.

Alternately, this recipe from Budgetbytes works wonders. Sliced red onion, cucumber, sliced tomato, and a simple homemade vinaigrette. Easy, low-cal, and as filling as you need it to be.


At this point, I usually have 1000 calories or so to play with. That can be a very hearty dinner, or a moderate dinner with a few bites of a yummy dessert. I try to balance it all with more veggies and some fruit before bed, but this is the part of the day where I try to let myself have some heavier foods if I’m craving them. Spaghetti squash works beauuutifully for keeping things low-cal. You can go wild with the sauce and cheese, if you’d like — or keep it light. Either way works. Steamed broccoli is great (I like it with a little soy sauce).

I’m always looking for more ideas — what do you like to eat? What keeps you full or helps you feel satisfied? 

Summer Squash Garlic and Chicken Pasta

Summer Squash Garlic and Chicken Pasta

This Sunday I got the most excellent call from my brother-in-law to let me know that he had a few summer squash from his garden for me.

They were big and beautiful and ready for eating. I grated up one to put in a zucchini raisin bread, and the rest I diced up with some sauteed chicken and a 40 clove garlic sauce from Trader Joe’s to pour over some multicolored bow-tie pasta.

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The flavor was so light and fresh and just screamed “summer”.

Summer Squash Garlic and Chicken Pasta
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Serves: 6 servings
  1. Boil the pasta as the package directs.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, saute the chicken in the olive oil over medium high heat for until mostly cooked through.
  3. Add squash to the pan and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  4. Add the garlic simmer sauce and simmer over medium low for five minutes.
  5. Spoon the garlic chicken squash mixture over a bowl of pasta.
  6. Enjoy!
Instead of the Trader Joe's sauce, you can simply butter and season the pasta and mix with non-sauced chicken and veggies.



Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

For the last few days I’ve been staring at our super ripe bananas trying to decide what to make with them. Every morning I contemplate a Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie, but have gone with a bagel or cereal instead, or I’ve thought about some of Brandie’s Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread or those Banana Muffins I liked so much, but it just didn’t feel like the choice.

So this morning I decided to make some gluten-free banana pancakes; low carb, low fat, natural sugars, and high in taste.

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Not that health is usually a decider in my dietary choices, but it’s a nice side affect for something so delicious.

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These were a great use of old bananas, super simple to make, and very tasty.

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Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes
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Serves: 4 servings
  • 4 very ripe (brown) bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Heat a skillet on medium heat until a drop of water placed in the center will sizzle and dance, but not immediately evaporate.
  2. Use a small amount of the butter to grease the pan in a medium sized circle, and then using a ⅓ cup scoop, pour some of the batter onto the pan.
  3. Cook until the top of the pancake starts to make bubbles and holes, and checking under the edge the bottom is golden brown.
  4. Flip and cook on the other side until it is also golden brown.
  5. Stack and serve with maple syrup, butter, jam, powdered sugar, or whatever your preferred pancake topping is.
To create a fluffier pancake, add 2 tablespoons of gluten free "flour" or pancake mix to the batter.


Slow-Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken

Slow-Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken

When life (Riley) gave us lemons a couple of weeks ago it was like the world was our oyster, so many options, so many things we could make.

We made a G-d Damn Lemon Tart, I squeezed a bunch for some fresh and tart lemonade, and for some reason, the idea of a really lemon-ey chicken sounded really good to me.

As usual, I was right! The chicken was tart and flavorful and moist and a great addition to our plates.

Slow-Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken
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Recipe type: Slow-Cooker
Serves: 6 servings
  • 3 lemons
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 6 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  1. Slice all the lemons into rings, and place enough to cover the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Place your chicken on top of the lemon slices, and then cover with the remaining lemon.
  3. Roughly chop the garlic and throw into the crock pot, sprinkle the pepper over it all.
  4. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 7 hours.
  5. Serve with a side of veggies and a carb of your choice.

We served this over some garlic alfredo pasta with sauteed green beans and the Onion Tart.

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Sauteed Kale

It’s no secret that the majority of our recipes here count as “treat” food. The dishes are mostly meant to be served to a crowd for special occasions or diet “cheat” days. That being said, some of the things that are fresh and delicious also happen to be surprisingly healthy.

For example, low-carb folks tend to love Adam’s kielbasa and cabbage recipe. There’s also Brie’s Cold Couscous salad and my Thai Steak Salad. I’ve had the pleasure of trying all of them and they are definitely tasty without compromise.

Kale, however, still has to catch me in just the right mood to enjoy it. I keep trying it, despite that. This quiche was better than I expected, but I still had to be up for the kale portion. I figured that perhaps making it simpler would help. Maybe. Possibly.


That’s where sauteing it came into the picture. Frankly, this recipe tasted great, but was still kale. I enjoyed it, but still have to be in the right mood. If you’re a reluctant kale eater and are up for some of the lovely green stuff, this version is quick, easy, and relatively tasty.


If you’re in the same boat, let us know what kale recipes have worked well for you in the comments! I’m always looking for suggestions. 🙂

Sauteed Kale
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Healthy green kale sauteed in garlic for a quick and flavorful side dish.
Recipe type: Healthy
Serves: 2 small servings
  • 1 pound coarsely chopped kale
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons squeeze bottle garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt (to taste)
  1. Cook the garlic over medium heat in a medium pan for about two minutes.
  2. Toss in the kale, sprinkle on onion powder, and add water, then turn heat up to high.
  3. Cover and keep cooking for five minutes.
  4. Remove cover and stir until liquid evaporates.
  5. Season with salt (to taste) and stir in vinegar.
  6. Enjoy!


Fitness and Yoga!

Friday was my 27th birthday!

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One of my presents (from my dad’s wonderful and sweet girlfriend) was a Fitbit!

Yay! The #fitbit came early! Im so excited. Thank you Linda!!!!

A photo posted by Brie (@lyraadriana) on

She sent one to me because we had just started talking about our mutual fitness goals and ways to help each-other achieve them.

Recent I had been posting about my daily yoga challenge routines that I’ve been following from Yoga with Adriene.

Doing the daily routines has been feeling great and helped to keep me motivated and grounded in my fitness goals.

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I’ve also been  dedicated in using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone to track my calorie intake and exercises.

I’m not back on a rigid diet just yet, because I have a very difficult time keeping them up, but I have been managing to stay under my calorie goals for the last week without doing anything special.

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I think once I get to a place where I’m able to maintain a regular workout routine, I’ll then be better equipped to be more strict with my food.

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I’m very excited about the incorporation of the Fitbit as I’ll be able to actually see how much I walk when I’m at school, and I’ll have great motivation for taking a walk or jog around the blog to finish my steps once I get home.

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I want to get healthier and to feel better, and I know that if I believe that I wont be able to do it while I’m in school, then it’ll never happen.
I’m taking a stand to make this the year of my health regardless of how stressed or busy or tired I am.

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So, I’ll be checking in with you guys once a month to let you know how it’s going, and hopefully I’ll have some tips and recipes to share along the way!