Mini July Self-Care Retreat 2016























We first started the self-care retreats in 2011 (!!!) I’ve appreciated each and every one of them as an opportunity to connect and challenge myself to make “me” more of a priority.

I’m really excited for this July Self-Care Retreat, because I’m totally ready for it. It’s been a busy year, with lots of changes, and I haven’t been online as much. Focusing on pausing and kindness in whatever form make sense is important to me—and yet I need to be realistic, which means no weekly blog posts, because, c’mon. I haven’t even been getting to monthly blog posts.

I will be posting daily in our sweet little facebook group for a very simple reason: I want to. Some days it’s quotes, some posts, some pictures…and on a good day, others jump in as well. Of course, you’re welcome to join us, lovely human.

I’ve gotten away from posting and collecting quotes. But few months ago, I heard a Rumi quote, and it was as though I was hearing it for the first time. I realized I wanted to get back to reflecting on an intention or a quote daily, and this is a great opportunity to do just that.

Want to see some of the fun from the past? There are a ton of posts from previous self-care retreats:

…and we’ve got a Facebook community for daily-ish quotes and inspiration on gluten-free living well.

Posted in cheryl's musings, self care carnival | Leave a comment

Riced Cauliflower

riced cauli w herbsGuess what? Trader Joe’s now has bags of fresh riced cauliflower! This calls for a recipe.

It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been busy, and it’s been “good busy”. I’m nearing the end of a weekly mindfulness intensive, and it’s been fantastic, but also has cut way down on the amount of time I spend online.

If you haven’t already seen it, do check out the updated list I posted of the Nutritionist approved best of gluten-free grab & go! It’s a roundup of the healthiest pre-packaged options out there, and I update it yearly-ish. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Onwards towards the recipe:riced cauli

I love cauliflower in pretty much any way. “Ricing” cauliflower myself in the food processor is a pain because the pieces are always different sizes, so this is a great shortcut.

I was so excited to see the bags of riced cauliflower at TJ’s that I got two bags, and I think 1 would have been enough for the two of us.

  • a few glugs of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bag riced cauliflower
  • handful fresh basil, chopped or shredded
  • salt & pepper

Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute garlic until browning. Add in the thyme and cauliflower, stirring, and cook until it softens and starts browning. This took ~8 minutes. Stir in fresh basil, other seasonings & enjoy!

E and I both loved this. I was enjoying the rice so much I forgot to eat the main dish.

Posted in recipe, side dish, vegetables | 2 Comments

Change in the air…

pink!It’s the season of change…and I love seeing the burst of pink blossoms among the bare the trees, or even the buds.

I haven’t posted in ages. Some of it is that I’ve been more introspective, more introverted, and maybe just felt the need for more quiet this past year.

Some of it is just feeling burned out in general, and needing a change.

Needing a lot of changes.

Fortunately, some of those are in the works, and I’m not ready to speak about those yet.

But seeing my own stuckness and overwhelm so close up and personally, here are just a few things I’ve learned over the past few months. Try them on for size if you’d like.

See what fits: There are a lot of things I’ve done for months or years because they were the right choice at some point in my life. That doesn’t mean they’re still good choices for who I am now. There’s a power and freedom to asking, does this work for me now?

Write it down: When I journal, it’s harder to deny the truth. When I read my own writing, or even say what I’m thinking out loud, I’m very aware of the cognitive disconnect between what I tell myself and how I’d respond to a friend. If my own attitude towards a situation is, I’m sure I can find some way to make this work. Rarely would I say that to a friend or client.

Turn off the autopilot. It’s time to slow down. Really, it is. It’s so easy to measure budsmyself my someone else’s ruler and set my schedule by the # of hours I think others work, or that I was able to work in the past, or by what I made last year and assume that’s what I need now. Even if I’m making less money. Because doing enough has everything to do with how I feel and what I need, and the normal measures (hours of work, $) just can’t capture that.

“No.” is actually complete sentence. I’ve been using it quite often lately! It’s not comfortable, but it’s okay to say no. Actually, it’s great, and a huge relief.

So Spring is the season of change, and change is in the air. It’s going to be an interesting few months, but I’m so ready.

~”Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”~Robin Williams

Posted in cheryl's musings | 2 Comments

Hot Vanilla & Giveaway

vanilla milk w kalLike so many on the East coast, I’ve got some time on my hands because I can’t go anywhere. We’ve got~17 inches now, and it’s still coming down strong. I cannot say I’m a fan, but maybe if I were a panda I’d be having more fun.

In tastier news, it’s a perfect opportunity to share a “recipe” for Vanilla milk. My dear friend Carrie got the idea in my head, and it’s a great use for the Native Forest powdered coconut milk I got a few months ago.

So first, I’m in love with the powdered coconut milk. It’s the only one I could find that didn’t have dairy or rice or something else I couldn’t eat, and the company is good about GF and environmental concerns. I initially got it because I wanted to make dairy free white chocolate (and I did–subject of another post, though!!)

It’s barely a recipe, and it’s such a delight on cold days, because I keep my mix at both of my offices so I can always have some.

  • 3 TBSP powdered coconut milk
  • vanilla stevia OR pinch ground vanilla bean or vanilla extract
  • sweetener de jour–maple, honey, agave, sugar or just go with the stevia
  • A splash of a yummy liquor (optional–the picture above is with coffee liquor)
  • 8 oz hot water

Put the powdered coconut in a cup, and cover with an inch or two of hot water and stir thoroughly. Once it’s well incorporated, add the rest of the water and sweetener.

That’s it…too easy!

Because Amazon only sells the coconut milk 6 pouches at a time, I’m giving away one 5 oz pouch to someone who leaves a comment by Jan 27th at 9pm EST.

GIVEAWAY IS OVER! The winner is Kat (and no, my love of felines has nothing to do with it.)

And for those of you somewhere snowy, snuggle up & stay safe!

I am in no way contracted or monetarily connected with Native forest and this is not a paid post. This post does contain affiliate links with Amazon.

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Chocolate Honey Mint Cups

mint cupsMake these ASAP! I don’t remember the last time I was so gleefully delighted about a recipe, and E shares my excitement. I miss peppermint patties, and it’s that time of year. The HFCS ones are out, of course, and the “cleaner” recipes I’ve found have so much cane sugar or so much coconut oil that I don’t think my joints or stomach could handle it. And yet these work brilliantly–unsweetened chocolate, creamed honey, peppermint oil and just a touch of coconut oil (and the coconut oil is optional, just a little creamier). They’re simple, they’re quick, and they are off-the-charts awesome.

The irony, of course, is that I’ve had Chocolate honey mints before and just assumed I couldn’t replicate them at home, because the idea of blending, piping out circles, freezing and then dipping honey patties was totally off-putting.I assume it would be a ton of work to get right, and too sticky to handle. And then I remembered my stash of creamed honey*, which is thicker and much more workable than regular honey. So there’s no need for special equipment, freezing, a mold or anything cup open

Here we go!

Stir honey, peppermint and coconut well. Taste and adjust–sometimes I add in a few more drops of peppermint oil.

Melt chocolate. This can be done over a double boiler, or it’s 90 seconds in a microwave in a heavy glass bowl. Pour enough to cover the bottoms of mini cups, add in 1/4th tsp honey mix, and then cover with a little chocolate.

Allow to sit until hardened. Decorate the tops in any way that entertains you. I use candy case for people who do eat cane sugar, and plain for me. Enjoy!

I found that we liked the smaller, thin patties better than the larger, thicker ones. And while I considered doing a batch with 70% dark chocolate instead, hubby was happy with these and didn’t miss the sugar, so why bother?

*creamed honey is honey with incorporated air and it’s semi solid at room temperature. They sell it at the monastery I often go to so I have a ton, but it’s also at most grocery stores.

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Holiday Treat Roundup!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo…a few times a year I do share content from my other site,, including this mega-roundup of Christmas & holiday delights.

So…onto the food, right? Some of us aren’t all about mixing 5 different gluten-free flours and whipping out the xantham gum. I’ve collected a list of NATURALLY gluten-free desserts over the years—tried and true recipes that aren’t specialty cooking, but just happen to be marvelously gluten-free.

Remember, these foods are only GF if you use GF ingredients. And as always, check labels to avoid surprises. A surprising number of chocolates contain traces of gluten, including Lindt, Ghiradelli, Godiva and many of the Trader Joe’s options. I’ve got lists of chocolates listed gluten-free here and here.

There’s a range of allergy-friendly, grain-free, low sugar and completely decadent options, but there are enough options to choose from that you can surely find something that works for your lifestyle/food restrictions that you and your family can enjoy together.

dairy free (DF), egg free (EF) and soy free (SF), NF (nut free) *=check labels

Not that these are healthy by any stretch of the imagination, BUT Martha Stewart has a slideshow and recipes of 40 holiday candies, all of which (at a quick glance) are GF. Of course, you need tocheryl's pralines make sure the chocolate is GF, be mindful of cross contamination, etc. but this is an easy way to keep traditions without venturing into specialty flours and unfamiliar territory.

My personal favorites? My Bittersweet Chestnut Fudge and my Vegan Pralines.

Oh, right, and there’s holiday food, too. I’ve got a G-Free Turkey and Ham list.

More recipes from around the web:

Wishing you a peaceful season!

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here, email or call 571-271-8742.

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Wintertime Granola

granola yumI’ve always loved granola. Because, really, what’s not to love? But without oats or grains, even the idea of granola didn’t compute. I finally tried Paleo Krunch, which was super yummy, but the price tag was enough of a deterrent that I decided to make my own.

I love this grainless granola. It’s easy, it’s very customization, and the house smells like yum. I’ve done it with either honey or maple and both work. I’ve also baked at a higher temp, but then you need to stir more often, and, well, I forget. It’s currently my favorite snack with an apple or another piece of fruit.

You could, of course, give this away as a gift, but I tend to go through it so quickly that hasn’t yet happened.


4 cups of raw nuts or seeds: 2 cups almonds, and 2 cups combo of sunflower or pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans, walnuts or hazelnutsgranola ginger

1/2 cup crystallized ginger

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

1-2 droppers full of stevia (I like the English toffee flavor but plain is fine)

1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp sea salt

Pulse the nuts and seeds until you have smaller, 1/2 cm chunks or smaller. Chop the ginger into small pieces. Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil in a glass measuring cup, and then add honey until it hits 1/2 of a cup total. Mix together, add in the stevia and spices.

Pour over the nuts and seeds and ginger and spread out on 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment.

Bake at 275 for 45 minutes, stirring at occasionally. If your oven is tempermental, swap the position of the sheets midway.

Portion out in containers and enjoy!

Note: it does work without the stevia, but it’s much better with it for a little extra sweetness.

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Thanksgiving Good Eats



I’m hoping for a pretty mellow Thanksgiving because, well, I’ve been overextended lately, and I need down time in a big way. But we’ll still be having a yummy feast.

A few of my Thanksgiving must-haves:

My Cranberry Fresh Fruit Relishchicken gravy

The Best Pecan Pie (one of my very favorites)

Sweet Potato Pie (vegan)

Mmmm…gravy (paleo friendly, can be vegan)


And the GF Thankgiving newsletter from my main site:

Thanksgiving tipssweet potatoes 2014


Happy almost Thanksgiving! I’m sure this is already on your radar if you’re gluten-free.

Thanksgiving tips:

It takes a little planning ahead to guarantee a great Thanksgiving. In many ways, it’s easier if you’re hosting, because you’ve already got familiarity with the diet. Most people hate to impose on their hosts, but it’s easier on you AND your host to ask beforehand than sit through a four-hour meal and watch others eat. Remember, nothing is more important that staying safe!clip-art-thanksgiving-turkey-free1 I love these tips from Shirley of GFE and from GF Jules.

Though it’s always good to check, the good news is that all plain, fresh turkey is naturally gluten-free. Again, that’s ALL plain, fresh or frozen turkeys. I know there are emails that go out every year about warnings of “hidden gluten” in the turkeys, but ironically, the turkey usually the easiest and safest part of the meal. For the past 4 years I’ve been looking, calling and asking around if any of the brands of un-stuffed turkeys have gluten, and I haven’t found a single one in all that time. If you’ve seen one, email me or leave me a comment below. So you do have to look out for stuffed turkeys, and you do want to look out for gravy packets and of course, the preparation of the turkey.

The only exception Tofurky, which has gluten, and some glazed hams DO contain gluten. As always, read carefully! I have a gluten-free turkey list, with has manufacturer contact info.

As always, there can still be risks in the ingredients used on or in the turkey, and cross-contamination always needs to be on your radar. You’ll need to talk to your host about:
* Broth used for basting, or even the butter used for basting
* Seasonings
* Stuffing in the turkey
* Cross contamination


Many regular canned gravy and gravy packets are not gluten-free. Gluten-free gravy is available online, and Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, etc. sell  some now. Even Mc Cormick’s has a gluten-free gravy packet that’s certified GF! Also, it’s pretty easy to make a simple gravy with gluten-free broth and cornstarch instead of wheat (and if corn is a problem for you, arrowroot can be substituted 1:1 instead).

Herb Gravy From Elana’s Pantry

Gravy using Cornstarch from Simply Recipes or see this link for recipes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Side dishes

There are lots of good options here. Green bean casserole (BTW, Aldi has gluten-free French fried onions) or get creative–we do roasted green beans, baked yams, cranberry relish, gelatin salads, butternut squash soup, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, applesauce…all of these things are easy to adapt to food restrictions, and they’re healthy and delicious to boot.

Here are some ideas to get you going:


My Cranberry Fresh Fruit Relish

Crockpot Applesauce by Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

Green Bean Casserole from Ginger Lemon Girl

Simply Tasty Asparagus from Celiac Family


This is obviously more of a challenge. You can go the nontraditional route and do a wild rice, buckwheat or quinoa stuffing. You could use a gluten-free cornbread or pre-made bread crumbs.

Cornbread stuffing with roasted acorn squash from the Gluten-Free Goddess

The NY Times Blog had a G-Free Stuffing section with a few recipes


For many people (myself included!) dessert is the highlight of the Thanksgiving route. If you’d like to use your standard old-school recipes, you can easily make a crustless pumpkin or sweet potato pie or check out Whole Foods’ GF crusts. Even Pillsbury has a GF pie crust! Or, you can easily make a crust from crushed up gluten-free cookies, shredded coconut or almond meal. Apple crisps are also simple, too. And, of course, now with the GF Wegman’s or Betty Crocker mixes, a cake or brownies are pretty simple, even if they’re not traditional.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Best Pecan Pie (one of my very favorites)

Sweet Potato Pie (vegan), pictured right here—>

Easy, Crustless Apple Pie from Gluten Free Easily

Super-cute baked apples from GF Jules

Ginger Lemon Girl’s Pecan Pumpkin Pie bars

Apple Crisp: simple, delish!

T Day Recipes:
It’s dangerous when someone asks about food while I’m hungry. Here are a bunch of  wonderful things that would make for an absolutely amazing gluten-free feast some of my favorite GF bloggers and around the web.

And as a bonus, the Happy Tart now has a bakery in Falls Church in addition to the Alexandria location, so it’s even easier to get a g-free pie without pulling out a rolling pin.


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Spider cookies

pumpkin spidersEver get something in your head, like you want to make cute spider cookies? Well, I set out to make pumpkin spider cookies (and I did), and I made a few batches until I was satisfied…but Erik gave them a thumbs down. So I opted for an old recipe, and spidered those instead.

It’s pretty easy to make cookie-spiders, I did it two different ways.

One (above):

Take cooling cookies (I used these and these), put a chocolate blob in the middle and then “paint” legs outward either with a toothpick or a brush.spiders

Or make round chocolates with a mold like this. As they start melting down, make cute little spider legs.

See? easy peasy.

Happy Halloween!

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Cheerios & G-Free Breakfasts

cheerios dsSo…it’s become clear the Cheerios thing isn’t going away on its own, so I finally decided to share my 2 cents.

Quick recap.

Cheerios announced they were going gluten-free. (YAY!)

General Mill’s Cheerios announced they were using regular oats, which studies have found always have some gluten-contamination. Rather than following the “purity protocol” for a dedicated fields and processing, they’ve got their own, special method of sorting the oats to ensure that they are gluten-free. (Okay….right? Don’t we have laws now?)

Cheerios said they were testing for gluten contamination randomly by testing “lots” versus individual boxes, which makes it easier to miss patches of contamination. (Hmmm….starting not to like this too much)

Early tests from Gluten-free Watchdog had some boxes come up above 20ppm, though most are below 20ppm.

Cheerios has declined to publicly or transparently post the testing for each box or lot. G-free advocates have visited and expressed some concerns, and not gotten clear or adequate responses.

A whole mess of reports have come in of people getting sick, and GM has done nothing but keep promoting their “gluten-free” Cheerios and talk about how happy people are with the Cheerios line. “…and the company’s cereal business unit is working on an aggressive marketing campaign to get the word out.” (Okay, now I’m officially nauseous.)

And the Celiac community has been largely quiet, despite a petition up online. Most of what I’ve seen has been along the lines of “Me/Pooky ate the Cheerios and felt fine, so clearly they’re safe.”

So…let’s be clear. Most of the boxes are Cheerios are below 20ppm. Maybe even the overwhelming majority. And it’s still totally inappropriate to put even the smallest segment of people at risk because GM doesn’t want to take the resources to verify that gluten-free means gluten-free, every single time.

Second, I’m completely shocked and appalled that a large corporation can just create their own shiny new protocol that’s not independently verified and everyone’s just cool with that. That’s a dangerous precedent, IMHO.

Gluten-Free Living just shared an article that said that the FDA is investigating the g-free claims, which is wonderful news.


  • From Gluten-free Watchdog: “If you believe you became ill after eating Cheerios, FDA is asking that you contact FDA’s MEDWATCH, the Adverse Event Reporting System. You can do this online or via phone (800) 332-1088. Choose option #4 to speak to a representative.”
  • Save the box, even an empty box–it contains important information such as the lot number, UPC code, etc.
  • Contact Cheerios (1-800-248-7310) and give them with specific information–variety of Cheerios you consumed, lot number, when you ate the product, symptoms, whether you typically tolerate gluten-free oats, etc.
  • Contact the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator They can help you file a formal complaint.

Don’t just decide Cheerios aren’t right for you. Look out for the rest of the g-free community.

So, what to eat instead? Some ideas here for pretty much any variant of a GF diet.


Highest in fiber and protein:

Especially when it gets a little cooler, hot cereals can be a wonderful breakfast. You can cook up a big pot and have it all week, and they freeze well, too.

Cooked grains choices:oatmeal

  • Buckwheat (kasha)
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Quinoa flakes
  • Oatmeal (certified gluten free, of course)
  • Bob’s Red Mill®: Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal and Creamy Buckwheat

Making cereals healthier:

  • Add in some fresh or frozen fruit!
  • Add in ground flax or chia seed to increase fiber content.

Other options:

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreek yogurt with fruit and chia
  • Eggs-Add some spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Leaner, free-range sausage or turkey bacon
  • Garden Lites muffin
  • Artisan Bistro has several options
  • Chia pods®
  • Omelet
  • Yogurt (or coconut or soy yogurt) and flax and/or fruit
  • Leftovers!
  • Breakfast smoothie: handful berries, some kind of protein (yogurt, protein powder) and a handful spinach

More and more, there are a wider range of cereal options. These are g-free, but they’re lower in protein and fiber than the ones above, so they won’t keep you as full:

  • Grits, marked gluten-free
  • Cream of rice marked gluten-free
  • Puffed rice, corn, millet, etc. marked gluten-free
  • Most Chex® Cereals (not Wheat Chex®)
  • Kashi Indigo Morning
  • Gorilla Munch®
  • Buckwheat Flakes
  • Rice Twice®

Did I miss any of your favorites?

And many thanks to Tricia Thomspon, Debi Smith, Erin Smith, Johnna, Shirley Braden and others who have taken this project on.

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