Tag Archives: corn-free

Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes


What a great way to start a weekend.  Yum!  This was a great dish adapted from Maggies Bites and I will definitely be making it again.  If you are able to eat dairy, please see her recipe as she adds mozzarella to the dish.  However, I have adapted it to make it Stephanie-friendly.  This was a great, easy way to pump up the flavor profile in plain, old, chicken breasts.  The chicken was flavorful but still moist and the asparagus and tomatoes were delicious. This also re-heated very well . . . easy to bring to work for lunch the next day!


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.25 lbs)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tb balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 t olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 


  1. Combine 1/2 balsamic, 1/4 olive oil, garlic powder and pepper into a Ziploc bag. Add in raw chicken breasts and marinate from 30 minutes to overnight. **I marinated mine for about 4 hours and it was delicious.
  2. After marinating, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  
  3. Grill chicken either on the grill or in a pan on the stove. (I would recommend either pounding chicken with the flat end of a meat mallet to thin the breast to reduce cooking time, however, this is not necessary)
  4. Bend ends of asparagus until they break.  You can then choose to cut off ends to even the ends, but this is not necessary. Line cookie sheet with tin foil and place asparagus on cookie sheet in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder (or minced garlic), to taste. Place on top rack of oven for 8-10 minutes until tender (until you can easily pierce with a fork).
  5. In a frying pan, like the one you used for the chicken, place sliced grape tomatoes in 1 teaspoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Cook until tomatoes start to get soft, about 4 minutes. (Do not overcook the tomatoes as they will become very soft and pull away from their skins and essentially melt in the pan)
  6. Place chicken and asparagus on a serving dish, top with tomatoes.



Happy Anniversary to Me! (1 Year Gluten-Free)

It has officially been one year with no gluten and I have never felt better! I felt it was time I give myself a small pat on the back for an accomplishment my old self never would’ve believed I could achieve. Seriously, I was a gluten addict but I broke the cycle.

Now that we have the mushy stuff out-of-the-way, I need to get back to business and set some new health and wellness goals. I like to evaluate and reevaluate every so often to see what progress I am making.  I have achieved a lot in the past year but I still have work to do. I continue to struggle with inflammation and need to keep improving my diet. Additionally, I need to start working out more consistently and pick up the intensity.

As you probably know, goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely). I like to be held accountable with my goals, so I am making these goals very public. Also, goals should be about a positive change, as a supervisor once put it;

“If a dead person can do it, it is not a goal.”

Meaning, the goal should be something you work to do. A goal shouldn’t be something that you work to not do. You shouldn’t make a goal to eliminate a bunch of things from your diet. Why? If you did that, what would you eat? As my old supervisor would say, “Can a dead person eliminate food x, y, & z from their diet?” Yes, yes they can, as they are dead and do not eat anything.  Pretty easy to eliminate foods if you aren’t eating. A goal should be about some kind of actionable change, what you will do differently.

Anyway, I have A LOT of goals that I am working on and planning to work towards.

Diet Goals:
1. Completely replace coffee for white, green and oolong teas (which have anti-inflammatory properties) in the next two weeks. **If I can actually do this, it would be HUGE for me!**
2. Increase the amount of whole grains (quinoa, brown rice) and leafy greens in my diet while eliminating refined gluten-free flours and sugars (including fruit juice).
3. Use the correct oils for cooking (olive oil, palm oil, walnut oil) and avoid using all vegetable oils, margarines and peanut oil.
4. Increase the amount of beans, sprouts and nuts I eat to at least one serving per day except for soybeans, which should be kept to one serving per week and peanuts which should be completely avoided.
5. Increase the amount of non-starchy vegetables each day while eliminating corn from diet and decreasing potatoes to 3-4 servings per week and peas to once per week.
6. Increase the frequency of eating fish/seafood to once per week as well as taking an omega 3 supplement at least 2 days per week(I never take them now).
7. Drink at least 100 oz of water per day.

Wellness Goals:
1. Complete two moderate to intense workouts per week at least 45-60 minutes long.
2. Engage in 3 light yoga workouts per week, at least 25 minutes each.
3. Do something fun, out of the house each and every week with my husband.

Phew! These are all things I had in my head, once I put the goals on paper, it looks like a lot! However, I am working on most of these goals and am close to making quite a few of the diet goals permanent lifestyle changes.  However, I have A LOT of work to do in the exercise department.

Now that I have committed to these goals in writing, I can go back and evaluate and reevaluate my progress every so often to see how I am doing, pat myself on the back and/ or make changes.

What are some of your goals?

What are you currently working to improve in your life to make you more well?

What have you tried to do that hasn’t worked yet? (Yet being the operative word. . . it is always possible)

Italian Sausage with Potato, Peppers and Onions

Sausate, Potatoes and Peppers
This recipe originated from Dash Recipes but is modified a bit to fit what I currently had available in the cabinets.  It turned out super flavorful and is a perfect comfort dish.  Actually, I made this at 11:30 PM, which is when I eat “lunch” because I work nights, and my husband was salivating over the food and asked if he could eat it for breakfast the next day.  This would be a perfect breakfast leftover with a sunny-side up egg over the top!

Italian Sausage with Potato, Peppers and Onions

Serves: 4

Time: 25 minutes

Sausage Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Skillet Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken broth or beef broth
  • 3 medium red potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 2 bell peppers (I actually used frozen and they worked perfectly)
  • Parsley
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat add oil and sausage. Break up sausage and stir occasionally until cooked through. Add the remaining “sausage ingredients”.
  2. Add potatoes to skillet and stir. Add broth and cover skillet.
  3. Cut onion into ¼” thick slices, add to pan. Stir and cover.
  4. Cut peppers into ¼” thick slices. Add to skillet. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, stir, sprinkle with parsley. Cover until ready to eat.

Prescriptions: Dairy is Found Under ‘Inactive Ingredients’

BottleMany prescriptions/medications contain lactose, a sugar found in milk.

Let’s pretend we are at the doctor. You write down and tell the doctors and nurses your allergies (dairy), explain your problem and get a prescription. You assume the doctor prescribed you a medication you are not allergic to.  However, unfortunately, that is often not the case. I have never had a doctor check the inactive ingredients of a medication with a pharmacist or a clinical pharmacology book/tool prior to writing the prescription, without my prompting to do so. When I was younger, before we (my parents and I) knew about inactive ingredients, this resulted in many allergic reactions and prolonged illness even though we were very diligent about checking the ingredients of every medication I was prescribed.

Prescriptions containing dairy are frequently prescribed for those with true dairy allergies.

This is also true for people with gluten allergies and corn allergies which are also often found in the inactive ingredients of medications.

There are multiple reasons this still occurs.

  1. Doctors often do not take dairy allergies seriously as they assume it is lactose intolerance.  For so many people, that may be the case but unfortunately, I am not one of those people.
  2. Doctors are often not aware that many prescriptions contain dairy and may cause an allergic reaction.
  3. Pharmacies/pharmacists/pharmaceutical software do not cross reference food allergies with the inactive ingredients of medications (none that I am aware of anyway).
  4. The patient inserts that are provided when you pick up your prescription often do not list the inactive ingredients of that prescription.
  5. Additionally, it is not just the doctor’s and pharmacies fault. There is no government legislation requiring that pharmacies cross-reference food allergies to the inactive ingredients lists and there is very little awareness of this problem.

If you have a dairy allergy, what should you do to avoid medications with dairy?

  1. Provide an in-depth explanation to your doctor regarding your dairy allergy.  Explain that many medications have lactose (and/or casein and/or whey) in the active/inactive ingredients.
  2. Ask your doctor to either check with the pharmacy or a clinical pharmacology guide before prescribing you the medication and definitely before you leave the doctor’s office.
  3. Ask the pharmacy to provide you with the “package insert” in addition to the “patient insert”.  The “package insert” will always list the inactive ingredients of a medication whereas the “patient insert” rarely lists the inactive ingredients.
  4. Double check the medication/ingredients with the pharmacist (the actual pharmacist, not the pharmacy tech, preferably) before leaving the pharmacy with your medication.
  5. You may need to have your medications compounded if there are no medications available without dairy. This means your drug is hand-mixed especially for you. That way you can specify that the drug be made without dairy ingredients including casein, whey and lactose (this is true for gluten too).
  6. Call the drug manufacturing company to see if the lactose is derived from milk (I have had limited results with this, many don’t know where the lactose was derived from-in that case, stay far away).
  7. Advocate for change among your local pharmacies and doctors.  Educate them.  It will help you and others!

Here are a few common prescription medications (and their common indications) that are known to contain dairy:

  • Almost all oral contraceptives (even some of the vaginal inserts and possibly even the patch, Ortho Evra, because of the adhesive; many adhesives are made with casein)
  • Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone: Pain
  • Azithromycin (Z-Pak and Zithromax): antibiotic
  • Buspirone: panic disorder
  • Clonazepam (benzodiazepine)
  • Concerta: ADHD, narcolepsy
  • Hydrochlorothiazide: water pill used to lower blood pressure
  • Lorazepam: insomnia, sedation, agitation
  • Norvasc: angina/blood pressure
  • Oxycodone Hydrochloride: Pain
  • OxyContin: Chronic Pain
  • Prednisone: osteoarthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; asthma; hay fever; eczema
  • Prilosec (Omeprazole): antacid
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium): synthetic thyroid hormone
  • Tramadol Hydrochloride: Pain
  • Xanax: depression, panic disorder
  • Zocor (simvastatin): cholesterol lowering
  • Zolpidem: Insomia

*Please note: There are a huge variety of formulations of medications.  Some of the medications may contain dairy and some may not.

Remember, this is also true for over the counter medications.  Many over the counter medications contain milk ingredients and many are listed as an inactive ingredient. Please check ingredients diligently and contact the manufacturer just to be sure!