My name is Denise. I grew up in the northeast U.S. and come from an Italian and Greek background with a mother who loves to cook and a father who loves to eat. I learned to cook from my mother and I make everything I can from scratch.
Within the past 6 years, I discovered that I have allergies to gluten, dairy, and corn. I’m also sensitive to oats, onions, garlic, and nightshade vegetables. I know that sounds like a drag because I can’t always eat what I see. Actually, I can’t eat most of what I see! But I CAN eat everything I make.
I was recently married and moved from the Boston to Copenhagen, Denmark with my husband who is an Air Force fighter pilot. See my first post here to get the full story on how that happened! We are both here on a diplomatic assignment. It feels funny saying that because I’m a pretty regular girl. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and I still wear a Hello Kitty T-shirt.
My Food Philosophy
I eat a healthy and balanced diet with lots of meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, nut milks, some fruits, dark chocolate, very little starch, and very little sugar.
When it’s time for an occasional treat, I make it taste like a treat. That’s when the little bit of sugar and starch make an appearance. I’m not into eating cookies that taste like cardboard because they’re healthy. As long as I don’t have an allergy or sensitivity to the ingredients, I’ll use them. Treats don’t need to have lots of nutritional value, in my opinion. That’s what vegetables are for—and I eat plenty of those!
In the Kitchen
It’s a real pain in the rear to make things for other people that I can’t eat. So, I don’t! Everything I make is gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, and delicious. It’s what I bring to parties and events. It’s what I make for guests in our home. It’s what I cook at home on a daily basis.
My husband has quite an appetite and eats everything I cook. The plate is always cleared. Completely. When I have people over to eat or when I take baked goods to parties, people always ask me for my recipes. What’s great is that the people who ask me for my recipes don’t even have food allergies. They just really like what they’re tasting. Not only are my recipes tested and approved by people other than myself, they’re tested by people who don’t have any food restrictions and still want to eat what I’m making. It’s always good to have lots of opinions from different people!
After lots of spreadsheets, calculations, and revisions (which continue daily), I have lots of good things that I look forward to sharing with you.
White sugar is not a part of my daily diet, but when I bake, I use sugar if that’s what works best. Sometimes honey, agave, coconut sugar, or coconut nectar work best. What I use to sweeten recipes depends on what tastes the best.
I use a variety of flours that are gluten-free and corn-free, including: white rice flour, sweet rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, almond flour, coconut flour, and potato starch. I know that sounds like way too many flour types—and it certainly takes up a lot of room in the cupboard, especially our small, Danish cupboard. But it’s worth the time to measure out a few more flours to get a “knock your socks” off result. I find that if you use many different flour types (in varying ratios), the taste and texture of the final product dramatically improves. You go from, “This is gummy and tastes likes sawdust!” to “This still tastes like sawdust.” to “This doesn’t even taste gluten-free!” to “This is the best cake I’ve ever had! Seriously.
I cannot have cow dairy, so I stay away from it. Instead of milk, I use homemade nut milks and coconut milk. Instead of butter, I use palm shortening, coconut oil, olive oil, canola oil, and grapeseed oil. There are lots of options.
Corn seems to be in everything these days. However, I have a corn allergy. I don’t bake with it, cook with it or eat it. I am corn-free!
As part of our diplomatic duties, my husband and I attend events and functions where we have an opportunity to eat Danish cuisine. The food here is not overly seasoned or spiced. You can actually taste the food, which is wonderful.
We visit the homes of other foreign diplomats who have become our friends. We get to taste the cuisines from their home countries, which has been really interesting and fun! However, sometimes I’m allergic to the food. Darn it! In those cases, I smell the food and will ask my husband to taste for me. Then I figure out a way to modify what I see. Or in some cases, it just sparks an idea in my head. When we entertain guests in our home, I cook and bake for them in our kitchen.
Because we are in Europe and everything is so close, we have been and will continue to travel in Europe and Scandinavia. I’m working on some recipes from recent trips to Germany and Italy where I was inspired by things we ate and some things that I was not able to eat but am determined to make so that I can.
What’s Happening at Home
When we’re not entertaining guests, I’m cooking for my husband and I. He’s fortunate enough to not have any food allergies or sensitivities, but he insists on only eating what I can eat. He has a very big appetite. And when I say “big”, I mean that when I ask him how many eggs he wants for breakfast, his reply is “four or five”. I should note that those eggs are accompanied by lots of Danish bacon and sometimes homemade donuts. I think he works it all off doing Crossfit.
Our kitchen, oven, and refrigerator are a bit on the small side. But we adjust! It’s part of the challenge and also part of the fun. (At least that’s what I tell myself.) We had a very small amount of counter space for the first month. And then we made a few trips to Ikea. Ikea in Denmark looks just like it does in the U.S. except it’s even more confusing since everything is in Danish! A big, Danish maze. Great. Trips to Ikea require 2 things: Patience and emergency snacks.
Who is the Sulten Skat?
Sulten (Danish adjective) hungry
Skat (Danish noun) sweetheart, special treasure
My husband calls me “Skat” which is a term of endearment in Denmark, meaning “sweetheart” or “treasure”. When I’m hungry (which is often), he calls me “Sulten Skat”. I’m usually talking about food, making food or eating food.
“Skat” can also be translated as “tax”. However, I don’t think he would have married me if he thought of me as a tax. Although, I became a CPA a few years after college and quickly realized it wasn’t for me! I like to calculate things like gluten free flour ratios. That’s the extent of my counting now.
What you can find on my blog
- Recipes that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and corn-free.
- Stories about every day life living in Denmark
Random things about me
- I’m a certified pilates instructor
- I did a race up the Empire State Building 3 times. (Three separate races. Not three times in a row. I’m not crazy. Just sort of crazy)
- I play the piano, guitar, and drums.
- I used to be a CPA