Excursion To Gluten, Soy & Dairy Free India

What an exciting cooking event this weekend. We had eleven hungry, talented, eager travelers ready to experience the smells and tastes of India. Yes, I hear your first thoughts: “How in the world can they make these choice dishes without cream, or naan without gluten?” Well, we did it! And what an amazing meal!!!

We had to leave Cleo behind due to illness, but we were all excited to see Angelika, a local from the village, join us for the first time. Thanks to Bev, she was able to intrepret and the rest of us helped her along during the culinary trip.

We started off with several dips and appetizers: Roasted Red Peppers & Garlic Dip creamed with homemade coconut yogurt; Spicy Eggplant Dip; Pickled Ginger and Tangerine Beets; and a tradition Cucumbers & Yogurt Cream Dip and homemade Lime Chutney. These appitizers were accompanied with fresh sliced carrots, cucumbers and zucchini. Chili Pepper Crackers helped to scoop up the yummy Lovely Lintel dhal.

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DSC06601This was also a special occasion for Dave and Suzie. They celebrated their 39th aniversary with us! Cooking classes can be very romantic you know. Glad to hear that the Cook’n Coach Class was your first choice for your anniversary event, right Dave?

To begin our cooking adventure, two cooks were assigned at each station with several switches of stations through out the morning, ensuring that everyone had a chance to participate in at least three of the six cooking areas. Since all foods basically needed the same amount of prep and cooking time, transitions were critical. We managed to synchronize all the cooking stations served lunch right on time!

DSC06585Julie kept checking back in at her initial station to make sure that her succors followed through with as much passion she had, the sign of natural cook. And sure enough, the proof was in the taste of the cookie!

As all good chefs must do, taste BEFORE you serve! Mike took his role seriously and became the official taster. Terri’s persistance with washing four pounds of fresh spinach paid off and the Taj Chicken was worth every bite.

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Ok, to say everything went off without a hiccup would be a cook’s paradise. Yes, we did have our challenges. The Cardamom Custard was rescued by none other than Synda for a second creation, and Shonna was able to reinvent the non-naan thanks to Lutz’s speedy rush to the local grocery store for some additional yeast.

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We had it all: from Taj Chicken to Nut’n Butter Than Butter Chicken over Seasoned Indian Cauliflower Rice to Nut’n Butter Than Butter Cookies along side Caramelized Bananas and Mangos smothered in Cardamom Custard.

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DSC06595IMG_4931Thanks to Carla’s Gluten Free Recipe Box for letting me use her Naan recipe and special thanks to the authors Caitlin Weeks, Chef Nail Boumarar and Diane Sanfilippo for donating their book Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. The winner of the book was Keith Custer. Apparently, he is the chef at home; so Dawn, you are doubled blessed: a man that cooks and now he has some new ideas for future cooking escapades.

A special thanks to Sedun and Stefanie, the managers and chef at the Wallonenhof Restaurant for allowing us to use their facilities. You’re the best and we look forward to holding our next cooking event before summer…any ideas folks? How about an evening of grilled Tapas on their lovely patio over looking the swimming pool? May feels warm enough for this kind of event, right Team?


A Trip to the Market

CooKnCoach_160118-blog-2One of the GREATEST opportunities available in Germany to healthy food lovers is the wonderful markets and wide selections of fresh produce. This week my trip to the market proved to be a huge success! The season is right for storing up massive amounts of kale, fresh spinach, potatoes and some produce of which I have NEVER heard of or seen before. One thing is for sure each time I go: I am amazed at the color and variety. I fell in love with one vegetable I had never seen until I moved here 16 years ago. Now I can’t get enough of it and it happens to be in season. I don’t know what it is called in English or German so if you know please send me a post. I call it the Broc-a-flower. Check out the pic! It is so good steamed and seasoned with plain old butter and herbs like the herb de province made in Sonja’s cook book Paleo Home Cooking or with my zesty mayo.


As far as the kale goes, well I’m sure it was a bushel or was it a peck? I took it home ripped off the leaves and filled the sink with water and washed it. Then I spun it dry and filled 3 Ziploc Baggies to the top, pressed the air out and put 2 of them in the freezer. I am cooking the other batch up for this weeks greens…usually only last a day when I cook it with my organic bacon. It’s amazing when I take it out of the freezer to put in soups or cooking up with eggs, it still retains its shape, color and taste. Now, let me finish digging to the bottom of my carrier and see what other treasure I bought.

Until later, Minnie.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to in this coming year. Like many of you, I have a bucket list that I keep revising each year, but one wish has always remained and has finally come to be. I have always wanted to use my cooking skills in some capacity. I would dream about opening a unique restaurant or a bed and breakfast. These dreams were always dashed as I was continually told that they would require a lot of time and hard work.

Then, through a long process of medical incidents, a door opened. Looking back is like Randy Travis wrote, “Hindsight is 20/20 and I’m nearly going blind.” All my ailments, depression, weight gain, dry skin and hours of sleeping was due to hypothyroidism. Through this experience I was challenged to change the way I cook and eat. I embraced what my doctor had been trying to tell me for a year, “Stop eating gluten, dairy and soy.” I did, and I have not looked back; it’s been eleven months.

I have embraced this lifestyle with the passion for cooking I have always had. I found that cooking gluten, dairy and soy free is a creative opportunity, plus, the health benefits are amazing! I have lost 15 pounds, sleep 6 to 8 hours as day, have lowered my cholesterol from 320 to 187, and my thyroid Meds from 175 mg to 50mg––and I feel alive!

The door opened for me when my massage therapist, who is living the same lifestyle, asked about doing a cooking class for her patients. BAMB! it clicked. That was the ticket. Within one month I was living my dream. Thanks to my massage therapist, I conducted my first cooking class in her family’s local restaurant, the Wallonenhof.


With the help of my husband, son, and daughter, I had a website, flyer, logo, aprons––the works. Here I am today with one of my long time desires checked off my list.

In the coming weeks, I will be working with my physician planning a cooking class for her German patients next month in our local soccer stadium. Then, in the next few months, providing another cooking class in the Wallonenhof.

Stay inspired, don’t give up on your dreams, and remember: Create each day, try cooking!

Happy New Year!

-The CooK’n Coach

The CooK’n Coach Kick Off!

There’s no better way to spend a Saturday than Cook’n with friends who are excited about improving their health! On November 20th, fifteen eager cooks, hungry for knowledge and good food came together to test the waters. The Cook’n Coach’s first dairy, gluten and soy free cooking class was a hit. Thanks to the owners and the managers of Wollonenhof restaurant for their gracious hospitality and allowing this event to take place in your historic restaurant.

Two very influential people instrumental to my process showed up, Dr. Astrid Blank and acupuncturist and massage therapist Uschi Haehn. What a powerful team addressing the needs and questions of the participants. This is what I call collective medicine!

The morning began with appetizers. Cauliflower hummus, cashew ricotta herb, chia spread, homemade yogurt with a touch of Sonia Lacasse’s Tex Mex spice from her new book Paleo Home Cooking, and homemade crackers from Diane Sanfilipino’s book Mediterranean Paleo Cooking started the morning off with a desire to dig in!

After much laughing, sharing and nibbling on appetizers  we broke into two groups through an unusual activity that identified the chefs and their team. The rest of the morning was filled with  “yes Chef” as each chef delegated positions and jobs to their team.


Fresh kale salad with homemade mayo from Sonia’s book gave us the base for a PERFECT mayo to experiment with. Topping it off with a teaspoon of homemade horse radish and a shake or two of Sonia’s spices made the yummiest ever mayo for our warm bacon dressing.

Of course we had to have bread, and so be it. Using the base recipe from the Quilty Kitchen Site we twisted this one as well. Minus an egg, adding 1 tsp each of of black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and instead of honey, we added molasses. I also used organic dark almond butter to give the whole bread a dark rich nutty texture and flavor. Topped with the herb spread it was DEVINE.

Next came the Twisted Chicken: flavored with unique twist between Sonia’s Greek-Style Braised Lamb sauce and Diane’s Nacera’s Lemon Ginger Chicken Tajine sauce. Poured over pre-sautéed farm raised bio chicken with bones (and yes, my wonderful husband drove to the farm and got them!)… presto! You have the Cook’n Coach’s Twisted Chicken.

Desert was incredible! Starting with a base brownie recipe from Paleo Grubs, once again the Cook’n Coach couldn’t leave well enough alone. Combinations of coconut, raisins, walnuts and dairy, gluten and soy free chocolate chips were options for the teams to experiment with.

Whipping up the cream was a snap using Asian coconut cream. It was placed in the  fridge the same time the mixing bowl was placed in the freezer. When prepping for desert it was removed and the coconut water saved for smoothies and whipped in the frozen bowl. Raspberries were slightly mashed and drizzled on top. Chocolate chips were reserved with a bit of coconut milk to heat up and zigzag the top for a boob-a-rama desert.

Although take home containers were brought, there wasn’t  a drop left!

Next event, Kaiserslautern Soccer Stadium Restaurant!

Stay tune for more events and times with me, The Cook’n Coach.