About Free Eats

August 2012

Welcome to Free Eats.  I’m Terris and this is my space to share recipes and photos from my kitchen.

A little bit about me:

Once upon a time, I went to the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and got my degree in baking and pastry arts.  I baked breads, pulled sugar, tempered chocolate and made wedding cakes like my life depended on it.

Fast forward 15 years and a few things have changed!  I got married to the love of my life and we have two kids named Claire and Patrick. My son was born with multiple food allergies and my adult onset of celiac disease challenged me to rework my original recipes and create new ones. Now I am a recipe developer, food blogger and special occasion cake baker for people with food allergies, celiac disease or dietary restrictions.

The recipes here are gluten-free, corn-free, and mostly dairy-free (Patrick outgrew his dairy allergy, but I still avoid it).  I will also label recipes when they qualify as being soy free or vegan.

We are the proud owners of a chubby, fluffy flock of chickens.  Speckles, Heart, Goldie, and Blackberry live the good life and are valuable contributors to the blog with their lovely golden brown eggs.

I call the gorgeous Sierra Foothills of California my home and I am grateful to have Yosemite National Park in our “backyard.”

If I’m not in the kitchen or hanging out with my kids, I can be found grooming, riding or caring for two of the nicest horses I have known.  They are my yoga class.

I’m usually spotted wearing a pair of Keen shoes or cowboy boots.

When I’m in the kitchen you can almost bet that I am listening to NPR, or my eclectic music collection, covering the likes of Cat Power, The Duke Spirit and the Pixies.

I bake bread 3 days a week and use my 17 year old Kitchen Aid Mixer almost daily.  That baby has earned her keep and then some.

I read cookbooks like novels and frequently have a stack of them on my nightstand.  Currently at the top of the stack: Tartine.

Each night my husband and I switch off singing lullabies to our kids at bedtime.  When I’m done singing, I can depend on the fact that my husband will have a hot cup of chai tea waiting for me when I finish.  Every night, forever.

I turn my cellphone on approximately 3 times a year.  It drives my friends bananas.

In culinary school I once had a wedding cake instructor who would make us clean our mixers with Q-tips.  This guy made people cry, but I secretly kind of admired his passion.

Once I baked a three tier wedding cake and forgot to add the sugar.  Luckily, cakes that don’t have any sugar look very strange when you take them out of the oven and I found out sooner rather than later.

My kids are pretty rad and they have full editorial rights to everything on this site.  They have also created the rating system that determines if a recipe is “blog-worthy.”  Currently the highest honor is known as “rocket ships to the sky.”

I love hearing from you so feel free to comment!

You can also email me at:

free eats @ rocket mail . com  (just remember to remove the spaces!)

Oh and one more thing!  Please be respectful when sharing the recipes here and make sure to give full credit and link back to my site.

*Copyright: All images and content on this website are property of Free Eats, unless otherwise credited. Up to 2 images may be used on other blogs, along with credit and link back to Free Eats. For features that require more than 2 images, please contact me directly.

31 thoughts on “About Free Eats

  1. I love you! I miss living close… oh, how I wish I could be your recipe tester!! 🙂

    This is fantastic! Even though I don’t have any food allergies, I could use some healthy recipes with new flavors and textures for my family. I can’t wait to read what you post!!

    Congratulations on an awesome idea!

    Miss you!

  2. Hello, I have recently been diagnosed with Celiacs… my daughter too… oh I wish I had your talents, but it is so refreshing to see wonderful food without gluten and dairy. What do you do for your children for calcium and fiber… my family believe it or not think I am harming my children, I get really scared too… just wanted to know your suggestions.

    • Thanks for stopping by. I’m happy to give you some ideas of what worked for my family, but do consult your doctor since I can’t give medical advice. With that said, I’m a mom just like you and I was worried sick in the beginning! My son recently outgrew his dairy allergy (I’m still dairy free) so he is now able to get his calcium through dairy products. From ages 1-4 he drank rice and almond milk, both of which were fortified with the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk, as well as vitamins. There are also orange and apple juices on the market with similar levels of calcium, and a dizzying array of gummy vitamins at health food stores. They see to have different formulas for every dietary need. Regarding the fiber, I incorporate a lot of ground flax into our daily bread (my honey millet rolls), pancakes, waffles, cookies, etc. We also eat quinoa, gluten-free certified oats, lentils, and beans. Each year the kids grow older they are more adventurous when it comes to eating, but I have hidden fiber before too! One of their favorites is a shake I make with Rice milk, dried prunes, agave syrup, bananas, cocoa powder, a tablespoon of ground flax and ice. It tastes like a chocolate shake and they LOVE it. I hope this helps. Cheers, Terris

  3. Please oh pleeeaassseee adopt me…I’ll clean your house top to bottom – tho you won’t let me cook a thing in your kitchen as I might burn your house down. If I could get my husband to quite his job we’d buy a house right next door and I’d be over riding with you daily. Miss you tons!!! Why haven’t they built a BART train from Danville to Mariposa yet? ):
    Love ya!


  4. Hey there, I see that I am not the only one wanting you to adopt them Terris! I finally figured out how to get this set up to come in my email and am thrilled! You are truly my hero and your kitchen is a warm and happy place. Keep living the tasty wonderful life that enriches those who come in contact with you! I am passing your blog on to my gluten free sister in law!

    Love, Jeannine

  5. I’m so impressed! WOWIE! Your recipes are totally, amazingly AWESOME! I’m gonna get Amy to make some of them… 😉 By the way, you look fantastic! 🙂

  6. First of all, Terris, I miss you! I think Wendy and I better have Shaun make some of these for us….I want him to make the doughnuts. I love it when he cooks for me, but I guess I could do it myself. 😉 Can’t wait to check in and see what is new! Sending Love and Hugs to all of you!

    • AMY!!! What a wonderful surprise to see your comment here on the blog. Thank you for stopping by. I SO MISS you too. I always tell people that the best part of my time in Oregon was my friends! I hope you all are doing well. I still look forward to the day we can come back for a visit. xoxo, Terris

  7. Hi Terris. Its very nice to finally read your website. I’m your husband’s lab mate at UCM. My spouse also has wheat allergies, so I’ve also developed a liking to gluten-free cooking. Also, one of my best friends at Stanford U. has Celiac’s. So from those grad school days I began concocting gluten-free treats. I look forward to reading your posts and meeting you in the future. Cheers!

    • What a wonderful surprise Marcos. Always great to have special visitors stop by here! How exciting that you bake gluten-free too. Hope to meet you in person one day soon. We can swap baked goods. 🙂

  8. Hey Terris, I just sent a friend of mine,Stacey, to your site. She is deeply in love already… Hope to visit soon. Gina

  9. Hi Terris,
    I feel like I have found a kindred spirit. I live in California near Yosemite also. I have been gluten free for 8 years. I am mostly dairy free, but I do eat it occasionally. I am also soy free. Which leaves me free to make the most delicious meals with REAL ingredients, including eggs from my backyard chickens and the most wonderful produce straight from the garden. I’ll stop by your site regularly for inspiration. Your desserts look wonderful.

  10. Hi Terris,
    I met your mother flying from Kauai to Oakland a few days ago and being gluten free just happened to come up in our long chat. My dad was diagnosed with celiac about a week ago and we are finding so much useful information online. Every day I discover more people who are giving up gluten for the sake of their health. I am so excited to try your recipes and I can’t wait to surprise my dad with cinnamon rolls! Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring and amazing looking recipes!

  11. Hi Terris, everything here is so yummy. Pictures are so awesome. No wonder you are on Foodgawker and tastespotting! Totally loved your food pictures. Thanks, Vinita!

  12. I’m so glad I found your blog. We are still trying to figure out what my youngest daughter is allergic to, but is seems to me that wheat and corn are two of them. Also she tested positive to peanuts. But I will try your creamy chocolate frosting as soon as I can buy the corn free powdered sugar! Thanks for all these recipies, they look great and sound delicious.

    • Thank you Marissa! I’m always happy to find new blog readers. I was in the exact same place as you a few years ago and I know what it’s like. The one thing that seems to unite all of us is that we want to find out how to make out kids feel there best AND enjoy their food. I hope you do get a chance to try the frosting. It is always a hit, even those who don’t have food allergies! 🙂 Good luck on your journey!

  13. I’m so excited that my friend sent me your blog link, I’m loving it so far!!! Also, awesome “about” page. You and your husband just sound so sweet together. Looking forward to reading your recipes! (I’m deathly allergic to egg, seafood, and nuts, I eat vegan, and almost completely gluten-free. Always love finding new great recipes and inspiration!!)

    • Hi there and thanks for your kind comments! I always love finding new readers and hope to provide inspiration. Plus, I get to learn from all of you too! I don’t always post vegan recipes, but I do try to keep things well-rounded so maybe I’ll have to add more for 2013! Take care and pleas come visit again.

  14. Hi, Terris, How are you? I order the brown rice flour on Amazon, but they sent me the white rice flour. Will that make much of a difference, if I used that instead?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Mila, It’s great to have you stop by Free Eats! Brown rice flour has a bit more protein and fiber than white rice flour, so if you substitute white rice flour in a recipe designed for the BRF your end result may be different. If you do want to go ahead and use the white rice flour you may need to decrease the liquid a bit in a recipe (if the recipe was originally written for BRF) since the lower protein/fiber content means that it will not absorb as much water and your batter or doughs will seem looser than they should be. I also think that the white rice flour has an almost non-existent flavor of its own and can lead to a heavy texture in baked goods. If you are going to go ahead and use it, I would use it for things like cookies, pancakes or quick breads (particularly ones where you are going to be adding spices, zests, cocoa powder, etc. which will help with the flat flavor) more than yeast breads. The gluten-free yeast breads just seem to do better with flours that have more protein and fiber which helps gf breads rise. I hope that answered your question. I could go on forever! Take care, Terris

  15. Thank you so much for this blog! I am gluten intolerant and my son just got diagnosed with corn and egg allergies. I am going to order the Authentic Food brown rice (unfortunately my Whole Foods doesn’t carry it) does it matter what brand of Potato starch or Tapioca flour I use? Thank you for any information

    • Hi there, I’m so happy that you’ve found my blog. I really do hope to help others, and I always have a soft spot for those who are trying to navigate the world of food allergies with their child. I actually have a few egg-free recipes coming soon, so stay tuned. My recipes are always gluten, corn, and soy free. They are almost always dairy free and sometimes egg free so look around in the recipe archive if you have a chance. I keep meaning to tag my egg-free recipes, and your comment was a great reminder! Regarding the flours, you will love that brown rice flour. I use Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch and Tapioca flour/starch (the word are interchangeable when it comes to tapioca). They have always worked well for me. I order in bulk so that I can get them for a better price point and because I bake a lot! Take care!

  16. Hi – my daughter was recently diagnosed with a corn sensitivity and we are also trying to go gluten free. She loves to eat homemade muffins for breakfast. Can I replace your all purpose flour mix for any muffin recipe that calls for flour? Don’t I need to add xanthan gum and if so is there a standard percent that goes the flour mix? Thanks – sorry I am very new to this!

    • Hi there and thanks for stopping by Free Eats. Translating recipes is usually straightforward, but there are always exceptions to the rule. The best idea is to start with a recipe that you know you’ve had success with in the past. Then you can use this mix at a 1:1 substitute for traditional unbleached all-purpose flour. For a muffin recipe that had about 2- 2 1/2 cups of flour I would add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum or guar gum. Every now and then you have to increase your baking time by a few minutes and reduce the liquids(gluten-free flours aren’t as absorbent as wheat flour) by a tablespoon or two, but not always, so take it on a case by case basis. Have fun and I know you will get the hang of it. It definitely gets easier! Best, Terris

  17. Hi, I just came across your website and I LOVE IT. My son has allergies. He is slowly outgrowing milk and egg which makes me happy. I don’t think we will ever be able to do Glutens, soy and corn in our house and I am fine with that. The more I learn about soy and corn and GMO food, I am not sure I even want to eat them myself anymore. I have a question for you, I just got a bread maker and I started to do a lot of cooking and baking because of my son. I will def try your recipes, they look amazing. I have a question for you, what do you recommend using instead of rice flour? I am trying to not give my son more than 2/week rice or rice products because of arsenic and the fact that he is still young. I started to buy cheakpeas flour. But it does have a strong taste. Any recommendations?

    • Hi there, I’m so happy to have a new blog reader and thank you for leaving your kind comment. I completely understand your concern about rice flour and I’ve been doing a lot of research about the topic. I’m trying to cut back on our intake as well, and soon will start to give alternative options on the blog. If you were going to make up the flour mix that I use, you could easily (and with little impact on recipe results) substitute Sweet White Sorghum Flour for the brown rice flour. I prefer to use a combination of flours and change them up all the time depending on what I’m making. Lately I’ve been using a combination of millet, quinoa, coconut flour (no more than 1/4 cup of the 2 cups total) and a small amount of rice flour to substitute for the 2 cups of brown rice flour in the mix (2 cups Brown Rice Flour, 1/3 cup Tapioca Starch, 2/3 cup Potato Starch). If your family is free of nut allergies (ours isn’t) you can also add almond meal/flour to the mix. Bean flours can be great too, but my family is a bit finicky about the flavor. It seems like individual flour preferences have a lot to do with personal taste. I hope that this helps. Keep checking back as I may add a new flour mix to my ingredient page. I know that lots of other people probably have the same question! Best, Terris

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