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Sponsor Giveaway: Debbie Johnson and Fun With Gluten Free Food

For awhile now I have wanted to share a bit about my most recent exciting photography opportunity, and today is the most perfect day of all to do so. This opportunity came about a few months ago when the creative director at Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine contacted me. She wanted to know if I would be interested in a doing photo shoot for an article on gluten free foods written by Debbie Johnson, that they would be publishing in the magazine. I was to shop for the ingredients, make the food, and then take pictures of it all to accompany Debbie’s words in the magazine. Needless to say, I took the job! And my taste buds were super happy about that! Taking that job led me to this opportunity and connect with Debbie on a personal level as well. I thought today would be a good time to use some of the photos I took for her article.

Debbie Johnson is the best-selling author of Think Yourself Thin. Debbie also wrote a “Natural Recipe” Column for The Edge Magazine and was the former owner and executive chef of The Golden Chalice Restaurant & Gallery, a 100% gluten-free, sugar-free, low-glycemic, organic, allergy-friendly establishment. I am very happy to have Debbie here with us to share some of her gluten free knowledge of food and experience with us.

Welcome Debbie!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Debbie: I’ve always loved cooking. The Easy Bake Oven toy for kids was my favorite gift ever as a kid and I don’t think anything has surpassed it! When my mom went on Weight-Watchers, I realized that I loved cooking for special diets. I reveled in her joy when she tasted the “legal” lemon-meringue pie I made for her.

I also love inventing, so I invent food everyone can eat. Writing came naturally for me, so the cookbook was a given after my gluten-free, low-glycemic, allergy-friendly restaurant closed.

How did you first get into gluten free eating and cooking?

Debbie: I had sinus problems, mild chronic fatigue and other health issues. I’d heard a lot about wheat and gluten being bad for you, especially now that we hybrid wheat for such high gluten content more and more. I tried it and felt that it certainly helped. It just felt better to eat that way.

You used to own the restaurant The Golden Chalice in Chanhassen, MN. Can you tell us a little about what makes this restaurant unique?

Debbie: It was a “boutique” restaurant, beautifully decorated to make those with health issues feel special. It was a place where they could relax, enjoy the ambiance, and eat whatever was on the menu! Each dish was a base gourmet dish, like our Lemon-Cashew Curry, which could be made vegan, vegetarian, or carnivorous! Guests could choose desserts that fit their needs. If dairy-free, a Sweet Cashew Cream could be used to top the Sweet Cherry Tart instead of whipped cream.

Some of our gluten-free guests were literally in tears when they asked our servers, “You mean I can eat anything on the menu?” I didn’t allow any gluten in the restaurant.

The restaurant also had an art gallery as you entered with spiritually uplifting art and music.

What are your thoughts about how food directly correlates with our health?

Debbie: I’ve heard that 90% of all conditions, that’s all conditions, including mental illness, are directly related to nutrition. I find it to be true for me. For example, if I avoid night-shade vegetables (there are very few in my cookbook), I have less joint pain and fewer hot flashes.

In your first book, Think Yourself Thin, you talk a lot about having the right attitude to see what you want yourself to be. Can you share some more thoughts on this?

Debbie: Even though I said that food is directly related to health in most cases, what motivates us to eat better? For me, and for readers of my books who have written me, it directly relates to how we think of ourselves. If we think we’re ill and will never get better, we’re right. If we think we will get better, we’re right! It’s like we take a picture with our minds and get the image back within a short time, like the old photos that we got developed at the photo shop.

I gained forty pounds dieting, so obviously beating yourself up doesn’t work! I then gave up dieting, ate what I wanted and started using techniques I’d learned in sales and marketing. Imagine my goals and simply be of service! It worked, and I lost the entire 40 pounds and have kept it off over 25 years. Not only that, but I think healthy, strong, youthful and it seems to keep getting better! You can get my ebook Think Yourself Young as a bonus book along with Think Yourself Thin, if you are interested. All my books, including the cookbook, Fun with GF/LG Food, are listed on my website.

Can you share a recipe from your cookbook with us today?

Debbie: Sure, how about the “Pesto Un-Pasta”, since you enjoyed that so much.

“Pesto Un-Pasta”

1 medium organic Spaghetti Squash
½ cup thinly sliced organic Red Onion
½ cup julienne (cut lengthwise in thin strips)
organic Red Bell Pepper
2 Tbsp organic Ghee
or 2 Tbsp virgin Coconut Oil
1 cup organic Zucchini slices, julienne
3 Tbsp organic Classic Pesto

1. Cut Spaghetti Squash in half and clean out seeds. (If you
don’t have a sharp enough knife to do this, simply bake
whole and clean out seeds after baking.
2. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of Ghee on each half, cover and bake at
350 ºF for 30 minutes or more, depending on whether
or not you like your un-pasta “al dente”—a little chewy.
Scoop out 2 cups of Squash, which should now look
somewhat like spaghetti. It’s easier to keep in strands if
you use a fork to take out.
3. Sauté Onion and Pepper in Grapeseed Oil or Ghee.
4. Add Zucchini to above and continue to sauté.
5. Add Spaghetti Squash and Pesto and blend in well.

Classic Pesto

Makes: About 1 cup

1 cup loosely packed fresh, washed organic Basil Leaves
¼ cup Pine Nuts
¼ cup shredded organic Parmesan Cheese
¼ cup organic cold-pressed, virgin Olive Oil

1. Blend in blender.


Debbie is generously offering a copy of her gluten free e cookbook, Fun With Gluten-Free/Low-Glycemic Food!, (a $27 value) to one lucky winner along with a free half-hour phone consultation.

To enter simply leave a comment below. COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED

**For an additional entry, you can share this post (facebook, twitter, on your blog, email some friends, call your mom, etc.) and leave yet another comment letting us know how you helped to spread the word.**

This giveaway will close FRIDAY morning 8am EST. The winner will be chosen via random number generator and announced in this post shortly after.

Thank you so much Debbie for taking the time to be here with us and share some of your gluten free knowledge.

And the winner is: Holly Malinowski, “I would love to win this cookbook.I have been celiac for 9 years,and yes after all this time am running out of ideas,sometimes going back to bland food!!! This cookbook would help with the creative love of food!!!!!Thanks for giving us this oportunity!!!!!!!!”


  1. This sounds like a great cookbook. I could definitely use some more gluten-free recipes.

  2. Blogged about this giveaway here:

  3. Entering! Beautiful post.

  4. Oh I love LOVE LOVE to make food. . But since I am a beginner I really need help with cookbooks and stuff. So nothing like this won't go past me without trying. :)
    Great site by the way. :):)
    Love the pictures too. 😀

  5. We just decided to go gluten free since my daughter and husband kept complaining about feeling ill after eating bread and other carbs. This book would be great to have on hand!!

  6. Slow carb enthusiastic husband, two Italian kitchen loving girls (think pasta all week), and vegetarian mom: our family would love the inspiration this cookbook and this interview promise…

  7. We've just gone dairy free for the sake of our little one and need to cut out a lot of carbs as well…this would be a real life saver for us!

  8. Ivy Oliver says:

    WOW! This has been eye opening! Thank you both so much for your wisdom!..I just posted on facebook AND called my mom, whom also happens to be an earth mama! Thanks so much!

  9. This is perfect timing for me as I just started a gluten free diet because of exactly the symptoms she described! I would love to learn more. It was a great interview Earthmama Thanks!

  10. I love your interview and although I don't bake regularly gluten free, I will when I know I'm giving to someone whose diet require it to be. I'm so happy that Debbie's cooking doesn't sacrifice taste with the "change up!" Healthy is good and good for you!

  11. I have been working up the courage to try going gluten free. These recipes (and your pictures) look lovely!!

  12. hilleguus says:

    looks so wonderful!

  13. Yum! What lovely inspiration. My six year old instinctively goes for millet or quinoa now instead of porridge, and some times just asks for a bowl of fresh green stuff, any new ideas are always welcome, this looks lovely. Especially the pics!

  14. Such a wonderful giveaway. Thanks.

  15. Noelle Gaburon says:

    Gluten free is fairly easy, but gluten free with a low glycemic index is wonderful.

  16. Lisa your photos are excellent….I've been thinking of you and wishing you well. I'm sorry I've been so out of touch lately. Blessings to you and your family! Elizabeth

  17. Holly Malinowski says:

    I would love to win this cookbook.I have been celiac for 9 years,and yes after all this time am running out of ideas,sometimes going back to bland food!!! This cookbook would help with the creative love of food!!!!!Thanks for giving us this oportunity!!!!!!!!

  18. My 8-yo determined that wheat was upsetting her stomach and mood, and voluntarily went gluten-free. I support her fully and am always looking for new gluten-free things to cook for her to help her feel that she isn't deprived of food that she enjoys.

  19. Just trying to figure out this whole gluten free thing for my 3 year old… is a little overwhelming….

  20. wow! sounds SO much how we eat in our house! My daughters and I are GF, and my husband is pre-diabetic, and controlling his blood sugar with diet. (So we also eat LG!) Wonderful to know that there is a cookbook out there that caters to all our crazy diet needs! (Our families never know what to do with us!)
    Sounds just wonderful!

  21. I would love to win this. My husband has been gluten free for many years now. I am always looking for new gluten free cookbooks to try new dishes for him. I know if I cut out gluten as well, I would lose weight and be healthier, so that's one of my goals for the future

    Also her restaurant sounds like it must have been fantastic. It's so hard to find one dish on a menu that is gluten free, sugar free, much less the whole restaurant menu!

  22. Your pictures are gorgeous and I definitely would love to win this cookbook. Thank you Lisa and Debbie!

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