Crown Point, IN

September 28, 2023

Why You Can’t Stop Eating Junk Food

“Who ate all these chips?!” You look around and, alas, not even a dog to blame. Oops. It’s not your fault.  If you’ve had this experience—r

September 21, 2023

Harvesting the Balance of Autumn

September 23rd ushers in the autumn equinox, a time when day and night are in perfect balance. It also opens the official season of cozy sweaters, pum

September 14, 2023

More Brain-Boosting Foods

Last week I shared a list of brain-boosting foods with the promise of more to come. Here are some additional foods that you may choose to include in y

September 7, 2023

Ten Brain-Boosting Foods

Thank you for the many recommendations of farm stands with tasty corn on the cob. Mr. Non-Compliant happened to be in the vicinity of VanDerGriends Fa

August 31, 2023

Mr. Non-Compliant’s Unwavering Passion for…Corn

Mr. Non-Compliant LOVES corn on the cob. Since the corn season is rather brief, I do my best to oblige him with this indulgence. And as my dear cousin

August 24, 2023

Tips for a Sluggish Thyroid

Lately, I’ve been getting lots of questions about the little gland known as the thyroid. It seems to be underperforming for many of you. Hypothyroid

August 17, 2023

Healthy Anytime Toast

Since my encounter with bar food last week, I’ve been focused on eating more plants. I came across this idea to enjoy “toast” and get more veggi

August 10, 2023

Confessions from The Antler

What does one eat when in a bar? Bar food, of course. The bar options: The Brown Bear vs. The Antler: Horniest Bar Around (There were deer heads with

August 3, 2023

6 Ways to Enjoy a Staycation at Home

August. Already. Is summer slipping by too quickly? Feel as though you’ve not experienced enough lazy days? Can’t manage to get away for one reaso

July 26, 2023

The Wonder of Apricots

When I think about the abundant fruits of summer, apricots make the list. Although some of you may not be fans, I ask that you consider giving this da

Chef Lynn’s Spicy Chicken Rigatoni with Gorgonzola Sauce

This is Chef Lynn’s version of her favorite dish at Popolano’s, one that she likes even better than the original. While it looks like lots of steps at first glance, the most time consuming task is combining all the seasonings to coat the chicken. Another bonus: other than the pot to cook the pasta, you only need one skillet to make this dish. Makes 4-6 servings. (I have permission to share her recipe.)

I’ve made some notes about substitutions below. While we discussed making this healthier, she makes it so rarely that we are going with the “only eat it if it’s amazing” principle. Portion control is also a great way to enjoy this pasta dish and stick with a healthy eating plan.

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Basil
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Ground Rosemary
1 tsp crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/8 tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 lb. Mushrooms, sliced
1 Shallot, minced
3/4 cup low sodium Chicken Broth/Stock
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
1 oz fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 oz Romano Cheese
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
3/4 pound rigatoni

Mix the salt, black pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, red pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic and onion powders in a large bowl. Add the cubed chicken and toss until coated. In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over moderate heat. Once hot, add the chicken, brown on all sides and cook until done. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining olive oil to the hot pan, along with the mushrooms and 1/8 tsp salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, just until they start to get a little soft. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside with the chicken.

Add the shallot, broth and Worcestershire sauce to the hot pan. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned bits that cling to the bottom. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup, approximately 5 minutes.

Add all of the cheese and cream to the pan along with the chicken, mushrooms and any accumulated juices. Add the parsley and simmer to heat through.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the rigatoni until just done, about 14 minutes. Drain pasta and toss it with the sauce.

Carol’s substitutions (because I didn’t have the right ingredient or require gluten and dairy free)

*Shallot—Finely chopped red or yellow onion, ¼ to ½ cup
*Chicken broth–vegetable broth
*Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Romano cheeses—6 ounces goat cheese
*Heavy Cream—Reconstituted goat milk
*Rigatoni—Gluten-free pasta of your choice cooked according to package directions

Mr. Non-Compliant vs. the Corn Cob Holders

Corn on the cob is one of Mr. Non-Compliant’s (aka my husband’s) favorite foods. Indiana offers the best, come late July and August.

The rest of the year, I sometimes find pretty tasty corn in the grocery store. This past week I discovered some at Whole Foods for 50 cents an ear and decided to splurge on this starchy treat.

Mr. NC was happy, until he experienced a corn on the cob holder incident. As he was eating his nicely buttered and salted ear, the holder slipped off the end of the corn and bit him on the cheek. 

Fortunately, he didn’t require stitches and lost only a small amount of blood. He has recovered quite nicely.

I’ve threatened to take those dangerous corn aids away from him. Maybe I can find some with rubber tips in time for corn eating high season. 🙂

Eat at your own risk.

The Wonder Drug That Isn’t

I have a friend who had to forfeit her exercise regimen this past year due to a variety of circumstances.

She felt horrible—unhealthy, unhappy, and downright gross.

To make matters worse, her love of sugar and other not-so-nutritious foods had scored a starring role in her diet.

And then, she found her way back. She’s now working out 4x a week on her best weeks, and twice a week when things don’t quite go as planned.

She has less pain, more energy, and feels healthier. Because she’s moving again, her diet is improving too.

Getting back into her exercise routine has improved her quality of life, and she hasn’t even been focused on changing her food.

Exercise is life changing. If it could be put into a capsule, it would be the most widely prescribed drug on the planet. 

If your routine isn’t where you’d like it to be, today is the perfect time to begin. You’ll feel better tomorrow.

Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.

Much love,

“I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.”- John Thune

The Coconut Cake

For those of you who are interested in the coconut cake I mentioned last week, the recipe is now on my website.

You’ll find it in the Recipes section under Treats, of course.


Full gluten eaters even like it.

If you’re not a coconut fan, there’s also a recipe for Strawberry Crumble. I made the crumble this week using half rhubarb and half strawberries. 

Eating well to maintain good health is about the balance. Every once in a while, in between my many salads with chicken, I just need a piece of coconut cake.

When I make the cake, I often cut a portion of it in small pieces that I wrap individually and freeze.

It’s a perfect treat.

The Wascally Wabbit

My resident rabbit still hangs around and has brought friends. They’ve managed to eat the okra plants in my garden.

Okra is typically a southern plant and a popular dish is stewed okra and tomatoes. I like to add a little okra to my beef vegetable soup.

Guess I’m out of luck, unless I find more plants.

Sneaking in Exercise

With the onset of warmer weather, getting some exercise doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the gym.

Consider the many activities you can enjoy outdoors that get your heart rate up, allow for some stretching, and help improve muscle tone.

We know that exercise extends life while reducing the risk of everything from heart disease to cancer to dementia.

And the best form of exercise is the one you’ll do consistently.   

Gardening, golfing (walk instead of riding in a cart), biking, mowing the lawn, playing tennis, are just some of the ways you can have fun while extending your life and its quality.

Low Gluten Communion

As was listed in my series on gluten, communion wafers typically contain wheat. My church offers low gluten (not 100% GF, but ok for many) hosts which makes me very happy.

If this is something that affects you, I suggest you call your church office and see if there are special accommodations for those who must avoid gluten.

Wishing you a magnificent week!

Much love,

“A party without cake is really just a meeting” – Julia Child

Carol’s Amazing Gluten Free, Dairy Free Coconut Cake

2 ½ cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend
5 eggs, separated, room temperature
5 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, room temperature
½ cup coconut oil, melted
2 cups sugar (may decrease sugar to just a little more than 1 ¾ cups and you won’t notice)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup reconstituted goat milk (or other non-dairy beverage) with 1 Tbsp. white vinegar or fresh lemon juice added
1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut     


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 13×9 pan or two round baking pans. (I like to use some Earth Balance or coconut oil.) If using round baking pans, line with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter, coconut oil, and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Combine flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternating with the goat milk mixture. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Blend in the coconut.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites just until peaks form. Fold gently into cake batter. Bake for approximately 40 minutes for a 9×13 pan or about 25 minutes for cake rounds. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Frost with vegan cream cheese frosting.


Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, room temperature
One 8-ounce container vegan cream cheese, out of the fridge for 1 hour (like Kite Hill plain cream cheese)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 to 5 cups organic powdered sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl, add softened butter and beat well. Add vegan cream cheese and vanilla, and mix again until creamy and smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar in 1 cup (or less) increments until thick and spreadable.
  3. You want this frosting to be fairly thick so it won’t slide around. Keep adding powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Refrigerate the frosting for about 30 minutes to make it easier to frost the cake. 

*Other gluten free flours may work well, although I usually use Namaste.
*You can cut the sugar in a cake recipe by 10%. It won’t affect the consistency and it’s  sweet enough—especially with frosting.
*Adding vinegar or lemon juice to goat milk creates “buttermilk.” My favorite goat milk is Meyenberg Whole Powdered Goat Milk. The powder keeps well in the fridge for months and you can make fresh when needed.
*The first time I made this cake, I underbaked it a bit. Once the toothpick comes out clean, I bake it for a few more minutes, as long as it’s not getting too brown. Gluten free products sometimes need a little more cooking or baking time. Also, the more I make it, the better it seems to turn out. Like everything, practice makes perfect. So, if your first cake doesn’t quite hit the mark, try again.

Cake recipe derived from Namaste.
Frosting recipe derived from Minimalist Baker.