So… It’s been about 2 weeks since I gave up nightshades

Here’s how it’s going so far…


Our household has been gluten free for several years now, so the main meals haven’t been difficult to plan.

One meat and two veggies.

A little complicated

Seasonings have been a little bit of a challenge, but I love granulated onion and garlic and they add a lot of flavor.

I’m learning a lot about seasonings I rarely use, such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. 

After much trial and error, I developed my own recipe for breakfast sausage, and it’s wonderful!


  • Giving up potatoes. 

When we went gluten-free, we added in a lot of potatoes.

We have been substituting roasted radishes for fried potatoes and pan-fried turnip slices for french fries.

Cauliflower Leek Soup is a good replacement for potato soup. 

They taste really good, but they don’t have that “comfort food” effect that I get from the potatoes.

  • Finding places to eat or food to take with me when I’m running errands all day.

Since I live in a rural area, I have to do most of my shopping online or an hour and a half from home. 

On my errand day, I try to get absolutely everything done before I head back home. 

There are no microwaves or refrigerators available, so I have to take foods that can be stored in a small ice chest and don’t require heating.

I’m still working on this, and will post about it in the future.

Driving me crazy…

The search for desserts.

My allergy to coconut makes this really complicated. Sigh.

I’m making baked apples with cinnamon and mace, since I can’t have nutmeg. I bake them without sweetener, and then drizzle them with a little honey or pure maple syrup when I reheat them.

Sliced strawberries with a little honey is a good dessert, but they are really expensive this time of year.

Other than that, the only thing I have come up with is a spoonful of jelly. More specifically, Polaner All Fruit. 

I’m hoping that reducing the inflammation in my body will allow me to eat more fresh fruits when Spring finally arrives.




For the past 5 years, I have been struggling with health issues. 

Many people have told me it’s because I’m not active enough.

Not true.

I was very active until the health issues started.

A week before it all began, I was working on a 1500 sq ft home, going to college, attending my daughter’s school activities, helping my parents move…

I carried 5-gallon buckets of paint and drywall by myself.

I was going up and down a ladder for hours every day, texturing walls by hand with a 4″ brush.

I made my own 24″ x 24″ screen sifter for gravel, and I shoveled and sifted it by hand over a wheelbarrow.

Then it happened…

One morning I was working in the yard, pulling weeds, putting down mulch, etc.

By noon I was covered with what looked like 3 different rashes.

In retrospect, I should have seen a doctor. 

Instead, I started taking Benadryl, and barely remember anything of the next 3 weeks.

During that time, something changed in me.

The symptoms started out mild at first, but have continued to get worse and worse over time.

I have a great deal of pain in all my joints, morning swelling in my hands and feet, occasional headaches, bloating, and horrible, debilitating back pain. And frequent brain fog, which may or may not be from all the pain.

Several people have recommended yoga, and make great claims about the benefits they have experienced.

Yoga is excruciating for me.

Back exercises haven’t worked at all.

Stretching is impossible.

The chiropractor reduces some pain, but not all, and it comes back.

I eliminated gluten from my diet. My migraines ceased completely, but the back and joint pain persist.

I’ve done extensive research on diets, but the recommendations were all different from website to website.

Looking deeply into an Autoimmune Paleo Diet for recipes, I still found too many variables and no clear direction.

However, one thing has been consistent – a continual reference to nightshades.

The solution for me?

I’m giving it all up.

  • No coffee.
  • No chocolate.
  • No potatoes.
  • No sweet potatoes.
  • No sugar.
  • No dairy.
  • No tomatoes.
  • No peppers.
  • No nightshade seasonings.
  • No thickeners.
  • No nuts.
  • No gluten.
  • No soy.
  • No grains.
  • No eggplant.
  • Nothing pre-packaged.
  • No eating out.

This looks like a pretty doable list, but when you add in all of my previously existing food allergies, it makes my recipe search a little more difficult.

  • No bananas or plantains.
  • No avocados.
  • No coconut.
  • No melons.
  • No plums.
  • No fresh pears.
  • No fresh pumpkin.
  • Seasonal allergies to all raw fruits.
  • Seasonal allergies to all raw vegetables.

But… as limiting and difficult as this may be… I’m doing this.

It’s time to stop the pain.

Could it be nightshades?

I’m going to find out.

Since we have been changing over to a clean-eating lifestyle, we have become big fans of the Honeysuckle Italian Turkey Sausage

We used it for pizza, omelets, minestrone soup, and pizza soup.

It was on our list of staples… things we didn’t ever want to run out of.

As with most of the grocery items we have come to love, our local stores are no longer carrying it. Sigh.

So… I had to open my seasoning cabinet and figure out how to make my own.

Sometimes, necessity creates an opportunity for improvement.

We like this recipe even better, and it’s super easy!

Italian Turkey Sausage
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  1. 1 lb ground turkey
  2. 1/3 c. grated Parmesan
  3. 1/2 t. salt
  4. 1 t. granulated garlic or garlic powder
  5. 1/2 t. granulated onion or onion powder
  6. 1/2 t. ground fennel seed
  7. 1 1/2 t. Italian seasoning
  1. Mix well.
  2. Chill overnight to blend flavors.
  3. Brown and drain for use in recipes, or form into patties for Italian Turkey Burgers.
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Bob’s Red Mill is one of my favorite brands. I love their old-fashioned methods and values, and their healthy, dependable products.

The company was established in 1978 by Bob Moore and his wife, Charlee. They built this business as a way to provide high quality foods to people across the country. 

Whole grains are ground on quartz millstones at cool temperatures to maintain the highest nutrition. The resulting product is packaged in clear bags so that we can see what we are buying.

From start to finish, the entire process is done in their own facility in Milwaukie, Oregon.

Their old-fashioned techniques and dedication to providing a consistently great product have made Bob’s Red Mill a name you can trust.

And, if the integrity of the company wasn’t enough reason to love Bob, a few years ago he demonstrated his enormous generosity by giving his company to his employees.


With that being said, I have to tell you that was very disappointed in the results when I made a batch of cookies using their Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix. 

I realize that gluten-free baking can be a real challenge. That’s not news to any of us. 

However, I have been working with GF products for a couple of years now, and I have been able to find ways to correct a lot of issues and make delicious food that cannot even be recognized as gluten free.

Unfortunately, I was unable to do anything with this mix that I would call a success.

And, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

I mixed up the batter as instructed.

It was too dry, and refused to form into a cookie, so I added 2 T. cashew milk.

It was still just a little crumbly, but I could form balls with it, so I rolled a dozen, pressed them slightly, and sprinkled them with some raw sugar.

The first dozen out of the oven looked and smelled wonderful. 

Bob's Mill Shortbread (1)


I handed one to my daughter for the first taste test.

She took a bite, and was smiling and nodding her head until I asked her how they were.

She held her finger up for me to wait, and I realized she was having some trouble…

She looked like she had a mouth full of peanut butter that she couldn’t figure out what to do with.

So I took a bite of one, and completely understood what she was experiencing. It’s hard to describe…

It was dry, and felt like it was sucking all the moisture out of my mouth, but sticking everything together at the same time. Neither of us finished the cookie.

As we stood there looking at all this batter, we tried to figure out what on earth I could do to it so that we could salvage our investment.

We decided to try making thumbprint cookies out of them, so there would be something to break up the thick, dry, gooey, weird consistency. 

I rolled another dozen, pressed them, sprinkled them with raw sugar, and then depressed the centers and filled them with strawberry jam. 

Bob's Mill Shortbread (4)


These were better, a little easier to eat, but definitely not anything worth writing home about. 

We discussed more options, and I decided to try making sandwich cookies out of the rest. 

For these, I pressed the dough flat with a glass, and sprinkled them lightly with granulated sugar.

I let them cool, piped chocolate frosting on one, and topped it with another. 

Bob's Mill Shortbread (6)


These were the easiest ones to eat, but still a little bit of a challenge.

The last idea I had was to use the original batch as a crust for individual cheesecakes.

I lined a cupcake pan with muffin papers, put one cookie in the bottom of each, and pressed them slightly, to crush them just a little.

I used the standard cheesecake recipe inside of the Philadelphia cream cheese package to make the batter, and divided it between the muffin cups.

I baked them at 350 and just kept an eye on them until they were done.

Bob's Sugar Cookie Cheesecakes


Cheesecake isn’t my specialty, and these aren’t very pretty since they wrinkled a little after chilling them, but this was really the best way to consume these shortbread cookies.

Having established the fact that the best way to eat these cookies is to use them as a crust and hide them under a bunch of cream cheese, I have to say, it’s not worth it. 

Between the cost of the mix, and having to bake the cookies before using them as a crust, I can assure you – I won’t be making these again.

I have given some thought to using the mix as a base for that awesome cream cheese-chocolate pudding-whipped topping dessert, but I have more affordable ways of making that. If you have already purchased this mix and aren’t sure what to do with it, I would recommend giving that a try.

If anyone has any tips or ideas on how to make this mix work, please let us know.

I really hate to give up on any of Bob’s products, but, in my opinion, this one was just a complete fail.

Slightly spicy, slightly sweet… This simple cake only takes moments to prepare, but is sure to impress.

Strawberry Rum Filled Cake
Serves 8
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  1. 1 gluten free cake mix
  2. (consult directions on the box for additional ingredients)
  1. 1/4 c. strawberry jam
  2. 1 T. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  1. 1/4 c. shortening
  2. 1/2 c. cocoa
  3. 1 lb. powdered sugar
  4. 1 T. vanilla
  5. 1/3 - 1/2 c. milk
  1. Cake: Mix cake according to package directions and bake in 2 - 8" pans. Cool thoroughly. Remove one layer from pan and place on serving platter.
  2. Filling: Combine jam and rum and spread evenly over the layer on the platter. Top with remaining cake layer.
  3. Frosting: In a large bowl place shortening, cocoa, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1/3 cup of milk. Beat with electric mixer adding more milk if necessary to reach spreading consistency. Frost sides and top of cake.
  1. This cake is best made at least 8 hours in advance so the rum can soak into the cake.
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