Hello, I am Karen and this is my gluten-free virtual bakery, dedicated to providing gourmet quality recipes for food lovers that happen to be gluten-free. Named after the Beatles song, Blackbird Bakery is all about discovery, renewal and rebirth— and is the ever-evolving creation of my culinary renaissance that began over a decade ago. When I was told that I could no longer enjoy the homemade pastas, breads and pastries of my youth, I went through what most would call a gastronomic depression. It was not until I discovered gourmet quality gluten-free cooking that I started to realize the possibilities of what could be done with food after being told I could no longer eat anything with wheat or flour.

So, how did this young woman manage to transform herself into a sophisticated chef after only knowing how to make simple dishes? Well, it is one of life’s greatest mysteries and challenges; an ongoing process that you too can engage in if you are willing to give up some convenience foods and develop your brand of creativity. To me, enjoyment is more important than following rules with blind obedience, so I have focused on making things taste good instead of adhering to tradition for tradition’s sake. Sometimes when your palate has been limited for too long, you need to start by reinventing recipes that everyone else takes for granted. I have taken some of these “tried and true” recipes, breaking the rules a little bit, dissected them in my mind until they are transformed into new culinary miracles. My concerns had to go on the back burner while working on developing gluten-free baking mixes that had a gourmet taste with low-cost ingredients while still being simple enough that anyone could use them.

I also inspired travel and numerology; both of which helped me to develop my palate, creativity and understanding of food. With this newfound “eyes-wide-open” philosophy I decided to try everything twice (at least) before making up my mind about something. Through my discoveries I have learned that just because you can’t eat certain ingredients doesn’t mean that you need to live without delicious food. To this day, everyone has an opinion about what they like best; at times it seems as though people will debate for months over the best way to cook an egg or prepare their favorite dish—and most people are willing to die for their favorites rather than change them even slightly.

I am a huge proponent of changing our diets for the better, and I think we should eat unprocessed foods whenever possible. Eat whole grains instead of white flours and sugars; there is no reason to avoid these healthier options unless an allergy inhibits their digestion or absorption in the body. At this point, I feel that living with dietary restrictions has enabled me to re-discover flavorful ingredients such as fruits and vegetables which were once boring but now provide delightfully refreshing tastes that I never experienced before. To this end, I am always on the lookout for new recipes and ingredients to try—an endless passion which has made me a better cook.

My philosophy not only makes my gluten-free diet more interesting but it also simplifies things in the kitchen because you don’t have to make separate dishes for everyone anymore; instead everyone can sit down together and enjoy eating nutritious food that satisfies their appetites. A healthy meal doesn’t mean deprivation or boredom; it means that you are conscious of what you put into your body making sure that your recipes are wholesome with minimal processing. This is why over the years I have developed some easy gourmet recipes using common ingredients so anyone can prepare them at home.

As you can see, there is no reason for me to give up certain foods just because they contain gluten; instead of feeling deprived or eating boring food, I can now enjoy my favorite meals again by making them myself at home. When it comes down to it, if you want something bad enough you will make sacrifices in order to obtain it—and the sacrifices I have made have only made me stronger with increased willpower. Life is all about finding what you love and putting your passion into everything you do; when you can do that, you live your life with true happiness.