Cinnamon Bourbon Green Tea

Sri Lanka Tea at Ramsi's Cafe On The World

Sri Lanka Tea at Ramsi’s Cafe On The World

I realized I never actually blogged about the time we met up with Johnna and her favorite fella last August while they were in Louisville working at the Kentucky State Fair. I have no idea how that happened.

We met at Ramsi’s Café on the World in the Highlands area. Ramsi’s is one of my favorite choices because I know they can handle my multiple food allergies and intolerances. I know our server didn’t give Johnna a lot of confidence, but she was the exception. Every other server I’ve had there has been excellent. It’s also helpful I give them a written list to give to the kitchen.

I was so busy writing my list while she was taking drink orders that all it took for me to pay attention was for Johnna to say, “…with Basil Hayden.”

What was that?

She had ordered a Sri Lanka Tea, which sounded delicious when I read what it was on the menu and order the same. With Basil Hayden. Of course.

Me and Johnna. Together again at last!

Me and Johnna. Together again at last!

It was as delicious as it sounded and I vowed to recreate it.

We enjoyed some fresh tomatoes to start off. Johnna and her favorite fella also has the Desert Jewels. I couldn’t have dates at the time, but I am definitely giving them a try next time I’m there.

Cinnamon Bourbon Green Tea 3

I had a hard time deciding what I wanted and eventually chose the Fish Tacos.

Cinnamon Bourbon Green Tea 4

After all that good food, we set off on a walk up and down the Highlands. We peeked in shop windows and stopped at a couple of places for a drink. Even got into an educational discussion with a server about how Omission beer technically isn’t gluten-free. Yes, we did.

All too soon, it was time for us to drive back to Cincinnati and long for our next meeting. Which I’m happy to say is coming up soon!

Since then, I’ve been working on that Sri Lanka Tea. I always get close but never where I want it. Either I let the tea cold brew too long or there wasn’t enough cinnamon. Or I thought there was enough cinnamon but couldn’t taste it once the bourbon was added.

I finally hit the mark and had to text the picture to Johnna. That’s how ecstatic I was. Trust me, this is tasty. It’s not a heavy cocktail. It’s fairly light. Also, I’m sure Ramsi’s probably used a simple syrup in our drinks, but there is no added sugar in this.

Cinnamon Bourbon Green Tea

Cinnamon Bourbon Green Tea

1 gallon filtered water

2 green tea bags (I used decaf)

8 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish if desired

Bourbon (I used Basil  Hayden)


Fill a pitcher with water and add the tea bags and cinnamon sticks. Let it cold brew for one hour. Remove the tea bags. Leave the cinnamon sticks in for at least another hour, longer for stronger cinnamon taste. Remove the cinnamon sticks and fill a drinking glass (fourteen to sixteen ounce glass) with ice. Pour in one ounce of bourbon then pour the tea over, filling the rest of the glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve.



Grain-free Bacon & Veg Quiche

QuicheI haven’t shared with you how my health is lately for the simple reason that it changes EVERY DAY. Or at least it feels that way.

We keep peeling back layer after layer on the onion in allergy treatments. We’ve peeled back so many layers I keep thinking that onion should be nothing by now. Evidently, it’s an ogre-sized onion. I can now have dairy and eggs, but my body hates corn and coconut oil. I had peanut butter last week for the first time in a year. It took three treatments for my body to finally accept the electrolytes in water as good for me. I had to buy distilled water to drink and cook with during the reactions. There are many things that live in our bodies that mine thinks are foreign invaders. The reactions range from sinus problems to upper GI gas and pain. That last one is a doozy. I think if I just have one good belch it will stop, and sometimes it does. Next on my list is Vitamin B. I thought I never fully recovered from the adrenal crash in December. Turns out my body is attacking the Vitamin B I’m getting from my food instead of using it like it’s supposed to.

This is what happens when we go through decades of being misdiagnosed. Our bodies get so used to attacking what it thinks is bad, when we take it away, it targets something new. Sometimes many things new.

Physically, my body decides to throw out pain signals every few days. Lately it’s been in my shoulders. It started at the shoulder blades, but now it’s the joints. I get a massage and I’m fine for a day. I see the chiropractor and I’m fine for a couple of days. Right now, I’m at frequent visits to the chiropractor to lick this thing. It really sucks when it impedes my ability to write or chop vegetables. There are days I spend all day just trying to relieve the pain naturally.

I’m having a parting of the ways with grains. It’s causing the inflammation in my hands which prevents any fine motor skills, especially in the morning the day after. This leads me back to why you’re really here – grain-free quiche.

It was the second week of having eggs back in my diet when I realized I could have quiche again. I have not had it since going gluten-free four years ago. I remember having a conversation with Shirley of gfe – gluten-free easily about gluten-free crusts. I was still fairly new and my adoration of quiche really rested on the crust. The buttery, flaky crust that just melted on the tongue. I would lovingly roll out that dough and meticulously place it in the tart pan. I knew it was best if I just didn’t even try. It turned out to be a good thing. While I still have those memories of the gluten-full crusts I used to make, they no longer rule my desire. I am content with things being different on my gluten-free diet instead of exactly the same.

Enter, grain-free crust. It’s not perfect. It will crumble a little from pan to plate, but it feels every bit as good on the palate as a gluten-full crust. At least to me. I could’ve spent more time on perfecting the crust, but the taste of it was more important to me. Plus, I wanted to give you something easy. Press it in once it is doughy and voila! Pie crust. You will need pie weights or dried beans to weigh it down for the par baking or it will rise and get fluffy. If you have a crust you prefer to use, by all means, use it. Don’t feel beholden to use mine.

If you want to make this dairy-free, use your favorite dairy-free milk. I’m used to using hard cheeses with quiche. I used cheddar once and it was okay so you could use a dairy-free cheddar, I just can’t guarantee how it will turn out since I rarely used dairy-free cheese while I was reacting to dairy. You could leave the cheese out and have something more like an egg pie or frittata in a crust or whatever you choose to call it. You will also want to sub the butter in the crust for Earth Balance or palm shortening.

If you don’t like bacon or you are a vegetarian leave out the bacon!

Grain-Free Bacon & Veg Quiche – serves 4-8
2 cups almond flour (I use Honeyville)
1/2 cup butter, softened (or palm shortening or Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons chilled water (I used the full 2)
6 ounces bacon, chopped (roughly 6 strips)
1 leek (approximately 3 inches of white and green part) quartered and sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch kale, chopped
salt & ground white pepper for seasoning
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk or dairy-free milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup hard cheese, shredded (Parmesan, Parmagianno-Reggiano, etc.)
Preheat the oven to 350º and set a 9″ pie pan to the side with pie weights or dried beans and parchment or wax paper. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour and salt. Add butter or shortening and cut into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives until you have pea-sized balls of flour and butter. Add the chilled water a little at a time with a fork. The pea-sized balls should start sticking together like a dough. Don’t panic if it doesn’t, just set aside the fork and use your hands. Once it comes together, place it in the pie pan and press into the bottom and sides as evenly as you can. Place the parchment paper over the crust then pour the pie weights on top. Par bake the crust for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Remove pie weights and parchment paper then set aside until ready to fill.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon. Cook it until it is browned to your liking and fat has been rendered. Do not worry about anything sticking to the bottom of the pan (if you use stainless steel like me). Add in the leeks, season with ground white pepper and cook for two minutes. Add in the the red peppers, season with salt and ground white pepper, and cook until softened. Add kale, season with salt and ground white pepper, and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl add eggs, milk, salt, and ground white pepper. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Add half the bacon and vegetables to the pie crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle half the cheese over the mixture then add half the egg mixture. Repeat with the remainder of the mixtures and cheese. Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes. At the end of the baking time, remove and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Kitchen Sink Pasta

Kitchen Sink PastaI met with my rheumatologist on Tuesday for my six month follow-up. I went in with a new symptom, stiff hands and feet in the morning. My feet are feeling like plantar fasciitis returned, especially after four hours on them for the Butch Walker concert Sunday. I have a bit of difficulty with my hands first thing in the morning, mostly with fine motor skills. Normally, I don’t do a lot upon waking so my fingers have time to loosen up. Trying to write with a pen first thing, not happening. We don’t know if it is weather related or not. She did feel the difference in my knuckles when she held my hands. I’m in tune with my body enough to pinpoint possible triggers to symptoms that come up. This one had me stumped. It was like when the Sjogren’s first became active. It was subtle, not in my face. It’s possible this is cold weather related. It’s possible it’s food related (I have been eating grains more than usual with all the pancake experiments and porridge trials). 

Realizing it could be grains made me think that maybe it’s time to try the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) again. Or maybe I just need to go grain-free. Whichever I choose to do it means it’s time to put on my thinking-outside-the-box cap again. Wait, no. It’s still on my head. Living with multiple food allergies/sensitivities requires that you keep it on. I have to be able to change my dinner plans on the days I have allergy treatments in case I’m treated for something I planned. No oil tonight? Use bacon fat! No water? Use distilled water for soup! No grains? Use veggies! No yeast? Use citrus instead of vinegar for dressings. No sunflower seeds? Use pumpkin seeds! No citrus? Pineapple! By the way, I find it funny that I thought I was reacting to citrus earlier this year before my IgG and IgA results came back and it was really pineapple.

There is always another way to make something. Always. I’m not that great with coming up with my own baked goods recipes, but I have become great at figuring out main dishes, sides, dressings, and sauces without the star ingredient. This is out of necessity and it isn’t always easy.

If you are new to removing a particular food or food group(s) out of your diet, play. Get in the kitchen and play with your food. Find a blogger or bloggers who are more experienced and ask them questions. Most of us are more than happy to answer them because we were once in your shoes and we remember how it felt to flounder around not knowing which end was up. If you come across a blogger who won’t answer your question, move on to another one.

Dishes I like that might surprise you with what is missing:

Winter Hash – no eggs, no potatoes, no grains

Port Wine Cheese – no dairy

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip – no dairy

Creamy Coriander Dressing – no eggs, no dairy, no yeast

Grain-Free Mediterranean “Bulgar” Salad – no grains, no yeast

Lola Kale Salad – no yeast

Sweet Beet Salad – no yeast

Eggless Egg Salad – no eggs, no dairy, no yeast

Steak Salad with Orange Fennel Dressing – no yeast

Flourless Almond Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies – no grains, no eggs, no dairy, no yeast, no soy

Meyer Lemon Lavender Bars – no grains, no eggs, no soy, no dairy, no yeast

Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars – no grains, no dairy, no eggs, no soy, no yeast

Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake – no grains, no dairy, no eggs, no soy, no yeast

While this recipe isn’t about my crazy diet of multiple foods I can’t have, it is about using up things you have open in your pantry or fridge and produce that you need to use up. I did this before going on the AIP. I wanted to use up some open pasta, olives, and bacon while also using up some tomatoes and kale that needed to be used quickly. Most of the time I have leftovers for lunch. This particular day there were no leftovers in the fridge and I had too much writing going on to leave and have lunch out. I was so in love with this, I made it several more times over a few weeks always using what I had on hand. This original is pretty awesome though. I fix my bacon in the oven at 375° until it is done to my liking. Usually 15 – 20 minutes. Bacon is not required, but certainly adds to the awesomeness of this dish.

Kitchen Sink Pasta – serves 1

3 slices of bacon, cooked, rendered fat reserved

2 handfuls gluten-free pasta (I use Tinkyada)

1 handful grape tomatoes (or cherry, or handful of chopped tomato)

1 handful olives (I used black and kalamata)

4 kale leaves, stems removed, sliced (I used Lacinto kale)

pinch (or more) chili flakes

salt to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. It will take less time with so little being cooked, so keep an eye on it. Heat a large skillet over medium heat then add 2 teaspoons of the rendered bacon fat and coat the pan. Add olives, tomatoes, chili flakes, and salt. Add kale right before you add the pasta so you don’t over cook it. Spoon in some of the pasta water to the skillet to deglaze. Drain pasta and add to the skillet. Crumble bacon over the mixture and stir well. Remove from the heat and serve hot.