Roasted Red Pepper Bolognese – Holy Yum!

80 degrees outside, 500 degrees in my kitchen. Not really, but I was certainly sweating buckets.  Did I mention I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment?  Did I mention my kitchen is teeny tiny?  I can’t grill any meat on my stove without the smoke detectors going off and if my ovens hot so am I.  Ah well, cook now, shower later.  So tonight was a total experiment and it was TASTE-EEE.  This evening’s recipe has two parts, first you have to roast your peppers than you can make the bolognese sauce. You can technically buy roasted red peppers but the way I see it, the more from scratch the less likely the headache.  And hey, you also get to use your new handy dandy headache free chicken broth!  A good tip for the garlic and basil, Dorot sells frozen cubes.  You just toss them into whatever you’re cooking.  1 cube = 1 tsp.  They’re great! 

Roasted Red Peppers (Part 1):

5 Red Peppers

Preheat broiler.  Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with Pam or wipe with a little oil.  Chop off tops of red peppers and clean out the seeds.  Cut the peppers in half and flatten them face down against the pam.  Place under broiler for 10 minutes.  Remove peppers from oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes.  Peel the skin off of the peppers.

Roasted Red Pepper Bolognese (Part 2):

Roasted Red Peppers or 1 15.5oz Jar of Roasted Red Peppers

1 pound Ground Turkey, preferably dark meat

1 leek, green parts removed, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup head friendly chicken broth

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Using a blender or food processor, add roasted red peppers (with juices), leeks and garlic (if you’re using Dorot, wait on the garlic till you’re simmering your sauce) and pulse until combined and smooth. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Pour in the roasted red pepper mixture, and saute for 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to simmer. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients (stock, sugar, salt, black pepper and basil), and bring back to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the sauce simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  In the meantime, in a large saute pan heat 2nd tablespoon over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and heat until cooked through.  Add turkey to red pepper sauce and simmer for another few minutes.  Serve with pasta or shredded zucchini pasta. (Don’t forget to salt your water when you cook your pasta).    



From Scratch – Chicken Broth

So many recipes call for already made ingredients.  And being able to buy these ingredients makes life so much easier.  But alas, modern technology and chemicals means that most of these pre-made ingredients are not head friendly.  First up, chicken broth from scratch.  Just a few changes to my great grandmother’s original recipe!  Fun fact,  most of these old recipes call for Capons.  A Capon is a castrated rooster! Agk!!  You can just use a whole chicken.  

1 Whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

About 8 cups water, more or less depending on what covers the chicken in the pot

5-8 carrots

I head celery stalks

3 leeks, green parts cut off, cut in half

fresh dill

salt and pepper

Place chicken in a large pot and cover with water (don’t use too much water).  Bring to a boil and skim off scum for about 10 minutes.  Add vegetables and dill and bring back to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer for several hours.  When finished pour soup over a colander to separate out the broth from the chicken and vegetables. I like to eat the soup with egg noodles and some of the cooked carrots.  You can use the chicken for a chicken salad or toss it.  Freeze whatever broth you don’t plan on using right away.

A fun tip is to use a muffin tin to freeze the soup.  Once frozen transfer soup muffins to a plastic bag.  This way you only have to defrost small amounts at a time.  

Have your cake…or, Tapioca, or Fudge…

I had to give up ice cream and cheese among many other delicious things when I learned I was lactose intolerant.  I was bummed but a life without stomach aches was even worth giving up cheese fondue.  My husband has always been able to eat everything.  It was fun to cook for him because outside of mushrooms and maybe artichokes the sky was the limit. But now, with this new head ache diet he almost has had to give up more foods than I have.  Its been two weeks though.  Two whole weeks without a headache, and hubby is running every day.  Headache free and getting healthy to boot.  So I’m okay with the new cooking challenge and I think he’s even okay with giving up chocolate and peanut butter (though I know he misses them, deeply).  I’ve tried to give him other goodness and sweetness to look forward to.  These desserts certainly don’t help your waistline but they do seem to nip that sweet tooth in the bud.  

Tapioca Pudding adapted from Tasty Yummies (the original is a vegan recipe — good for me, not for hubby)

2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup tapioca pearls
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave syrup – you could also use honey if you aren’t vegan)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon tapioca starch with 1 tablespoon water mixed in
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

In a large glass bowl, add the tapioca pearls and 1 cup of milk, stir then cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 4 hours). When it has soak for at least 4 hours, add the additional milk and the chilled tapioca/milk mixture to a medium saucepan, over a medium heat. Once the pudding is boiling, pour in the heavy cream, vanilla and maple syrup. Cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, constantly stirring.

Finally, lower the heat and add in the tapioca starch mixture and salt, stirring and cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Cool in a glass bowl for at least an hour before serving. You can serve it a little warm or fully chilled.

Sunflower Seed Butter Fudge adapted from The Food Network

8 ounces unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup sunflower seed butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound powdered sugar

Combine the butter and sunflower seed butter in a 4-quart microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes. (Use caution when removing this mixture from the microwave, it will be very hot.) Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to the sunflower seed butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. The mixture will become hard to stir and lose its sheen. Spread into a buttered 8 by 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Fold the excess parchment paper so it covers the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Crab Cakes/Salmon Cakes and a [White Vinegar] Salad Dressing

We can’t order in.  Its too expensive for so little my husband can’t eat.  So I’m cooking…a lot!  I’ve decided that food tastes better when someone else cooks it for me.  So I miss ordering in…and because of the little one we don’t eat out (not that we could).   Every now and then I like to make something special, not uber expensive, but not necessarily the most budget friendly.  We have a good friend who LOVES crab cakes.  For a while I could buy the pre made crab cakes and just bake or fry them but on the headache diet, its from scratch.  I found a healthy, delicious crab cake recipe and I’m excited to share.  I also got to go to Santa Monica Seafood! Its a restaurant and fish market and they sell the freshest, most delicious seafood.  I love their Indian Candy (Salmon in Maple Syrup).  I bought fresh crab meat. $43.00 per pound!!  Holy crap!  But, deep breath, we’re not eating out, so, saving money there for a special treat here.  The inexpensive version of this recipe, I discovered, is to use canned salmon (which you can buy at Costco-yay). So this recipe can go both ways, expensive Crab Cakes or budget friendly Salmon Cakes.  Both are delicious, served with a salad.

One of the more challenging aspects of the diet is the lack of condiments I can use. Mayo in moderation, hot sauce is fine (except those that have sulfites or any other bad ingredients) but everything else is iffy.  We can, however, use distilled white vinegar.  Not the most flavorful vinegar.  Anyway, I found a good dressing recipe from Heinz’s website, in fact.  I would cut it in half, it makes A LOT!

Crab Cake/Salmon Cakes adapted from Cooking Light

1pound lump crab meat / 2.5 cans canned salmon

1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

3 tablespoons finely chopped celery

1/4 cup finely chopped leeks

2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 large egg

1 large egg white

2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add bell pepper, celery, and leeks to pan; sauté for 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Place vegetable mixture, crab/salmon, panko, 1 tablespoon dill, ground red pepper, egg, and egg white in a large bowl, stirring gently to combine. Working quickly with damp hands, gently shape about 1/2 cup crab mixture into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Repeat procedure with remaining crab mixture, forming 8 patties. Wipe pan with paper towels. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden and thoroughly heated.

Honey Poppy Seed Vinaigrette adapted from

1 1/3 cups Heinz® Distilled White Vinegar

1/2 cup honey

1 1/3 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 2/3 cups vegetable oil


  1. In a 2 quart or larger container, combine all ingredients except oil. Stir with a whisk to blend.
  2. Add oil slowly, whisking constantly until well blended.
  3. Use as a salad dressing or marinade. Refrigerate any leftover vinaigrette.


Stuffed Bell Peppers

My mother in-law has thrown up her hands.  How the heck does she make food for her family? Her son has given up all tyramine laden foods which includes many cooking staples including onions and msg (and is trying a low carb diet – ugh).  Her daughter in-law (me) is a lactose-intolerant vegetarian.  Her other son and daughter in-law are kosher vegetarians and there’s a toddler (and all the food struggles that go with her).  Hands…in…the…air.  I don’t blame her.  Its freakin’ hard to cook something edible, with flavor…and edible.  

Okay, here’s a recipe that actually got two thumbs way up and also meets the hubby low carb criteria.

Ground Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers 

1-2 lbs ground turkey

4 bell peppers (Red, yellow, orange, green are all fine)

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

2 leeks finely chopped

1 zucchini finely chopped

8 slices american cheese, 4 chopped (optional)

2 tbsp. canola oil

Salt and Pepper

Pinch of paprika

Preheat oven to 350F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Chop off tops of bell peppers and clean out the seeds.  Submerge the bell peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes and then place on paper towels to drain and dry.  Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Saute garlic, leeks and zucchini until onions are transparent and golden and zucchini is cooked through.  Transfer vegetables to a bowl and add the remaining 2 tbsp. oil to the pan. Add the ground turkey and saute until browned.  Mix meat in with the vegetables.  Add the chopped American cheese to the mixture (or leave out the cheese if you’re a lactard like me).  Place bell peppers in a deep baking dish and fill with the meat and vegetable mixture.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Place the rest of the cheese slices over the bell peppers.  Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the cheese melts.  

Tuna Salad and Dr. Buchholz

So far so good.  We’re starting small.  Hoping for 2 weeks without a headache.  That would be nice.  We got a books called Heal Your Headache by Dr. David Buchholz.  It echoes a lot of my own “internet research” but its nice to know that an authority figure has come to similar conclusions.  The book has a number of food lists as well as other suggestions I hadn’t found yet.  I’m a little concerned that our 2 weeks aren’t going to happen this week because the book suggests giving up caffeine and people often get headaches eliminating caffeine.  Oh well…at least the tuna was good :).  Most delicious tuna salads require lots of relish or onions.  I found one equally yummy recipe without any of those ingredients.  In fact, I probably would stick with this recipe even if Hubster could eat relish and onions.  Eat it with bread or on lettuce.

Martha’s Favorite Tuna Salad Sandwich from Martha Stewart Living

12 ounces good-quality tuna, packed in oil, drained

1 apple, such as McIntosh or Gala, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

3 tablespoons light mayonnaise, preferably Ojai Cook’s Lemonaise Light

2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium bowl, combine tuna, celery, apple, mayonnaise, basil, and lemon juice; mix well. Season with salt and pepper.


Friday Night (With Guests) – Zucchini Blossom Fritters, Roasted Broccoli, Aloo Gobi, Maple Mustard Salmon


We are avid Farmers’ Market shoppers and we’re lucky to live right near an awesome So-Cal market.  My little one and I walk over to the market every Wednesday and sometimes Saturday and pick up some of the freshest produce you’ve ever seen (yesterday I found a live worm in a peach…yuck, off peaches for a while, but yay, fresh).  Love summertime produce.  The beautiful thing about a low tyramine diet is it forces you to eat more naturally, more healthily, more mindfully.  This week I picked up way too much food.  But, I’m going to make the best of it and I’m going to eat it.  Maybe I can even get my 16 month old to eat it…in the guise of NOT a vegetable.  Maybe I can get my husband to eat it…in the guise of NOT a vegetable.  I’ve made a few edits to the recipes so that they are migraine friendly.

First NOT vegetable vegetable:

Zucchini Blossom Fritters adapted from The Parsley Thief

Serves 4

7-8 squash blossoms
1 clove garlic {peeled + sliced}
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves {plus more for garnish}
3 tablespoons Vegan Daiya Cheese (Cheddar Flavor)
1 egg
1/2 cup rice milk  
vegetable oil for frying

Prepare the squash blossoms by inspecting each flower for dirt, or bugs {little critters do like to hide inside them}. Give them a gentle rinse with water, and dry with paper towels. Remove the pistil from inside each flower. Note: For this application, it’s fine to cut a slit alongside the length of each flower, to make removal easier. You wouldn’t want to do this if you were stuffing the blossoms. I also like to remove the little green spikes from around the stem of the flowers.
Saute the blossoms with the garlic, and olive oil, in a skillet over medium high heat until softened, and lightly browned. Remove from the skillet and coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl, and add in the chopped basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, egg, and milk. Use a fork to gently beat the ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl, and stir to combine. The mixture should be slightly thicker than a pancake batter. If needed, add in a bit more milk.
Pour enough vegetable oil into a skillet to coat the bottom by about a 1/4″; heat over medium high heat. Scoop the batter by the heaping tablespoonful, and drop into the hot oil. Use the back of a spoon to flatten each fritter slightly. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the fritter over, and brown the other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with some coarse salt, and chopped fresh basil. Serve while hot.

Roasted Broccoli from Rachel Cooks

1 large bunch of broccoli (about 1/2 lb)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash broccoli and dry very thoroughly. (Don’t skip drying — it’s important. You can even use a salad spinner if you have one, or just shake, shake, shake all the water out and then pat dry with a towel.)
  2. Cut into medium-sized spears and coat well with olive oil. Spread onto rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, flip each piece over, and bake for 10 more minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower and Potatoes “Aloo Gobi” adapted from The Food Network

2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows, or 2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup water, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large serrano pepper, split down the middle leaving halves attached
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (similar size to cauliflower)
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro leaves, to garnish
Ginger-Garlic Paste:
1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup canola oil

Maple-Mustard Salmon (This is my own recipe. Super simple and super yummy) 

Salmon (1 piece per person – I buy frozen boneless skinless salmon from Costco and defrost it)

1/3 cup dijon mustard

3/4 cup – 1 cup maple syrup

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a small or large baking dish (depending on how much salmon your making) with aluminum foil.  Place salmon in dish.  Salt and pepper the salmon.  Mix the maple syrup and mustard.  Taste the mixture, if you like it keep it, add more mustard or maple syrup depending on what you prefer.  Pour mixture over the salmon.  Bake for 40 minutes or until internal temp is above 160 degrees.  If you like more sauce then double the sauce on the salmon so you have more for dipping later.  

Too Many Headaches…

In a world of too many medical mysteries like the unexplained IBS or the chronic migraine patients and doctors alike rack their brains for the most innovative and least invasive cures.  While medications can be and are often the most effective course of treatment, sometimes simpler is better.  I’m not talking about homeopathy or Eastern medicine (also quite effective).  Even simpler.  Down to the foods we put in our bodies.  Just as when we’re lactose intolerant (like myself) we don’t eat any dairy (there, problem solved) or gluten intolerant – no wheat/gluten, other problems, like headaches can be triggered by certain foods that contain the chemical tyramine.  And while many headaches can be caused by stress, fatigue, etc. if you can eliminate at least one of the causes then the others can be tackled more efficiently.  

My husband has had headaches all his life.  He’s a “sensitive soul”.  Too much light, he gets a headache.  If he doesn’t eat regularly, he gets hypoglycemic and HEADACHE.  These problems can be solved with hats, sunglasses, food in my purse.  But the other headaches, the mystery headaches, those are the ones that drive me nuts! They are so disruptive to his life, to our life and there’s often nothing I can do.  But there is.  

After lots of internet (albeit internet) research I found something called the “cheese headache”.  People get headaches when they eat aged cheese. This is because the aged cheese is jammed packed with tyramine.  People on certain prescription drugs for diseases like parkinson’s can’t eat any tyramine and when they do they get horrible headaches.  Several sources recommend a “Low Tyramine Diet” to prevent headaches.  They also suggest exercise and stress reduction. I can’t make my husband’s lazy tush take a jog or the stock market less crazy but I can definitely cook for him.  

So far it works.  When he doesn’t sneak a piece of chocolate or watch tv (yes, another headache trigger), it works.  So here goes, recipes that work for him and me and our wee one (did I mention I have a 16 month old?).  Now, if only I can figure out how to lose all the baby weight 😉