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“If you don’t have discipline, you don’t have anything.”

September 19, 2010

Project Food Blog Challenge #1: Ready, Set, Blog!

Last summer, July 2009, I started my blog. I had no intentions of it ever going anywhere, but something happened within me. I got hooked. I love writing and interacting with my readers and other bloggers. Photography is a new passion of mine. I have explored all types of cuisine, won recipe contests, and have gotten to meet many talented chefs, writers, and bloggers. I’ve even switched careers.

Writing in the gluten-free community is a blessing. I never thought those words would come out of my mouth when I was first was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I honestly thought it would be the end of my foodie adventures. It was like Armageddon then (ok, that is being a tad dramatic). How would I ever not eat a donut again? A moist muffin? Enter 2007: I was working as a Nutritionist at a local pharmacy in town. The pharmacy was known for promoting the gluten-free diet and I repeatedly told my patients that it would be best for them to try it out, if they were experiencing gastrointestinal distress. I never took my own advice. That was until a co-worker of mine suggested I suck it up and give it a try. After much thought, I decided to seek a doctor’s advice and the next thing I knew, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. What the heck? I didn’t let the thought put me down though. Instead I dove head first into research; learning everything there was to know about Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity.

My blog became my gateway. A path to explain how I was feeling, what creations I was cooking up in the kitchen, and where I was finding the best gluten-free products in Austin (because let’s face it, there are some terrible products out there). My blog not only became a way to express myself, but it became my gluten-free counselor. Telling me that everything will be ok, there are plenty of food options out there, and you will feel better again. Luckily, I do feel better again. I also have met some amazing friends through Twitter and my blog. Some things never change though. I still like to take goofy pictures.

My Project Food Blog profile picture

I started cooking at a younger age, but I never considered myself good at it. My grandmother was a big “foodie” and loved to cook. I find myself doing some of the same techniques as her. Not measuring anything, but just throwing the ingredients in the pot, using my sense of smell and taste to feel my way through creating a dish. I feel I connect with her when I am cooking. It is like she is standing next to me and we are whipping up a meal together, joined by the glorious smells of spices, vinegar and fresh herbs.

Dessert pizza topped with apples, basil, brown sugar, Grand Marnier, butter and goat cheese.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to help others in their food journey, to connect with the gluten-free community (and others), raise awareness, and consume mouth-watering recipes. I feel I have a real unique spin (I like to call it Celiac spin) when it comes to creating recipes. They are simple, yet full of flavor and easy to recreate. In fact, my family and friends have said my food is so flavorful that I have taken a completely different career path, and am now a gluten-free personal chef. It is amazing where life takes you sometimes, and what you can accomplish in a year. You just have to trust yourself and your instinct. Take a chance.

Green tomato tower with fresh feta, mint and spicy yogurt sauce

I love to push myself in all areas of life, and I feel I have what it takes to go far in this competition. I know I am a dedicated, disciplined and a talented chef that is up for a challenge, and I love what this project brings: a challenge. Each challenge in this course will push my blogging limits and creativity, but I am up for it. I want to compete and show you that I can do this. I can continue to push myself and to balance graduate school, life, blogging and writing a cookbook. I have the determination to succeed.  As my grandfather, Paul J. Meyer, once said: “If you don’t have discipline, you don’t have anything.”

Stuffed peppers with oregano, mint, lemon, greek yogurt and feta

This is my first post, in hopes of many, for Project Food Blog.  I will post when voting opens, but know that I will not be pushing  for your vote. If you want to vote for me, I’ll give you a virtual hug. If  you do not want to vote, no big deal. At least you were here to read a part of my story, and I hope you found it inspiring. As my story has turned my life around, and now I find I am a better person because of it (a gluten-free person of course).

To read more about Project Food Blog, click here.

Click here to see my Project Food Blog profile.

Edit: September 21, 2010

Voting is now open for challenge #1 (Until September 23, 2010). To vote for ATX Gluten-Free, click here.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristin permalink
    September 19, 2010 6:56 pm

    Oh Jessica! This is so exciting. PLEASE let us know when we can vote and spread the word.

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 19, 2010 9:25 pm

      Thank you Kristin! The voting opens up tomorrow 🙂

  2. Jenn permalink
    September 19, 2010 7:38 pm

    Awesome article! Way to go, Chef!!!

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 19, 2010 9:24 pm

      Thanks Jenn!

  3. R. Bruce Lingle permalink
    September 20, 2010 3:16 pm

    I’m just finding out about Gluten sensitivity. I would like some information on what foods
    to avoid.

    I’ve had GI track distress for at least 25 years, along with joint pain which is at times completely dibilitating. There are days when I can barely walk.

    I’ve been a sweet eater for almost 70 years. I’ve recently cut out Ice Cream in favor of yogurt. I still like cookies, however. Just can’t seem to give them up. I’ve adjusted my
    lunch from everything imaginable to a cut up apple and banana imersed in a cup of yogurt.
    This seems to have helped the GI problems considerably, although they’re not cleared up by a long shot.

    Any kind of sweets seem to cause GI distress. The VA Hospital in Houston has diagnosed
    it as IBS. I doubt it, since there are too many other symtoms including lifelong migraines.

    I have felt for decades my problems were tied to diet, but couldn’t until now understand how.

    I would be interested in your comments and or suggestions.

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 20, 2010 6:13 pm

      R. Bruce-
      I’d be happy to help you out! Have you checked out my Resources/Links page? I have some great links to gluten-free guides on there that you should check out. What is your e-mail?

  4. September 20, 2010 5:16 pm

    Simply beautiful post. I def. agree about writing within the gluten free community, it is such a fantastic experience with worlds of support and inspiration I never imagined could have existed. And oh am I drooling over that dessert pizza….

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 20, 2010 6:16 pm

      Thank you Jenn! You made my day! 🙂 The dessert pizza is so delicious, I just made some more!

  5. September 20, 2010 6:32 pm

    Hello fellow Austonian 🙂

    I voted for you! Good luck on PFB 🙂

    I would like to invite you to participate in my giveaway

    Here is my entry for PFB

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 21, 2010 10:02 pm

      Hi Jane Ko! Thank you for your vote 🙂 Nice to find a fellow Austinite blog. I voted for you as well! Good luck on PFB too! 🙂

  6. September 21, 2010 2:01 am

    So we absolutely need to make a central TX blogger meet up happen! Great post.. great way to take a challenging situation and put a good twist on it 🙂 Shoot me an email and lets try to round up the troops and do something fun and foodie inspired! Just voted for ya so good luck!!

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 21, 2010 10:03 pm

      Thank you Evan! I voted for you as well. I’m totally down for a blogger meet up. That would be awesome!!!

  7. trulypat permalink
    September 21, 2010 2:59 pm

    I’m so glad when you share what you do in your blog — it helps to hear someone else actually say things like “…let’s face, there are some terrible products out there.” Better yet, you help find the great products! Also, your recipes are top-notch terrific, so keep it up!

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 21, 2010 10:05 pm

      Aw thank you so much! You just made my day 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed reading my story and have enjoyed my recipes. It felt good to write a blog post like that and be truly honest with how I was feeling. Thanks so much! 🙂

  8. September 21, 2010 4:24 pm

    Great post! Your food looks delicious. I have such a hard time when people request gluten free items from me. I can certainly learn a lot from you. I voted of you! =)

    good luck!

    You can check out my PFB post at :

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 21, 2010 10:11 pm

      Thanks Jacob. I love your photos and site as well. You’ve got my vote! Let me know if you have any questions regarding GF… Thanks & good luck to you! 🙂

  9. September 21, 2010 7:55 pm

    Fantastic! I love the pics!! I just gave you a vote! You can check out my entry here: Thanks and Good Luck!

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 21, 2010 10:12 pm

      Thank you Lindsay. Voted for you as well! Good luck to you 🙂

  10. September 23, 2010 10:49 pm

    delicious post! thank you for sharing the world of gluten free cuisine. love the fact you are on wellsphere as well. healthy eating means a healthier life. i am looking forward to seeing your upcoming dishes!

    you got my vote! Lick My Spoon

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 26, 2010 5:39 pm

      Thank you very much 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  11. September 24, 2010 12:55 am

    hey ya! you have a lovely blog here. Stumble upon your blog through foodbuzz. 🙂 I voted for your blog. hope that helps. Good Lucky !!!! feel free to drop by!!

    have a lovely weekend
    jen @

    • ATXglutenfree permalink*
      September 26, 2010 5:39 pm

      Thank you Jen!


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