GF: Chicken & Lettuce Wraps

Chicken & Lettuce Wraps, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Just a note before I proceed:

I received a couple passionate email comments regarding our recent eBay auctions and our adoption that demonstrated that our fund raiser was offensive to a few members of our GF and adoptive community. We regret that our choice to eBay items and post about it has offended a few people.

We are also quite thankful for the many more supportive and loving emails and comments received.  We are truly grateful for your love and support.

-Kate & Her Love

And now on to the FOOD!

The grocery store near our home has decided to come out of the 70s (where our house still resides… 1979, to be exact) and remodel. The BEST part about the remodeling job, in my opinion, is that I no longer have to walk a gauntlet of “sale” items as they wind me through the store toward the fresh fruit and vegetables I seek. Now, when you enter the store, you walk immediately in to the fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers. (Well, okay.. and there is a coffee spot in the corner there too. I’m a bit of a coffee fan, so this doesn’t bother me as much as the food-in-a-box gauntlet did. LOL)

The fresh fruit that kicks off the shopping trip is not only fresh (and well lit, of course) but there are (so far) several employees there whose job it is to cut up pieces of fruit for you to taste before you buy!. OH YEA!

Entering with the fruit in front of me and a corner of the fresh vegetable curling around the edge of the entrance, I can see the fresh asparagus and brussel sprouts calling my name. Along with these gorgeous green veggies peer the rest of goodies: local carrots, celeries, lettuces, turnips, … and HUGE bunches of cilantro. (Let’s not talk about the cilantro…..mmmm.. cilantro.)

I found some gorgeous carrots, red lettuce, jalapenos, red peppers, ginger root, garlic and cilantro.) Ah, fresh vegetables are irresistible to me. I hadn’t even gone to the market to buy much more than a bag of apples and some red leaf lettuce for my lunches. All of that changed when I got hit with the veg-head, gotta-have-veggies craving.

Since we were off to work out, I knew I needed to make something light and quick as it would be after 7:00PM before I was home for dinner. So I thought these fresh lettuce wraps with ground chicken and fresh vegetables would be perfect.

This recipe is super easy! And the best part? The leftovers make for great wraps at lunch too. And if you run out of lettuce leaves to wrap the goodness in, then just pack a few GF corn chips to scoop it up with.

There’s nothing like a fresh, light, and easy dinner item for midweek – especially during the holiday season! I don’t know about you all, but our house is gearing up for a few cookie exchange parties (always an odd thing for me now that I’m gluten-free, to be honest). Tonight my love and I are making 10 dozen layered peppermint bark bites for a cookie exchange at his work.

And I bet that leaves you all wondering what I do with the cookies that he brings home, right? Well, we divide them for our neighbors and deliver holiday goodies to them with our share of the cookie exchange. We always make gluten-free cookies to share but never expect the same to come back to our house. So, it’s no big deal to me. After all, my Love doesn’t eat sweets and I sure as HECK don’t need 10 DOZEN cookies floating around the house during Winter Break! No WAY!

It’s actually kind of fun for me to make gluten-free cookies with my Love for his work crew. He is a fabulous cook, but his colleagues don’t (didn’t!) know it when he first started there. He is the only man in his office and has HILARIOUS stories about office “Craft Day” parties (Everyone stays in the office for TWO HOURS together to make new magnets for the IN/OUT board….oh-too-funny for the one poor guy with the chatty girl-club…. well, okay.. WAY more funny for me to hear about than for him to experience!)

When they first told him about the cookie exchange, he had never heard of one before. They were worried that he would “feel bad” because they told him they knew that “men don’t bake”. So they “excused” him from baking anything and told him they could buy it all. OH MY – He was offended! (And I don’t blame him!) Needless to say, those ladies got the most ornate, gluten-free, dark chocolate light wafer tea cookies that I have ever tasted and seen. To boot, he wrapped each cookie, tied them with silver bows and placed them in to the cutest cookie boxes ever. Oh were they surprised!

Now they expect something from him each time. This year? Layered peppermint bark bites. Oh man, give me strength! It’s going to be a long night.

And now you know why light, easy and fresh meals are the only way to go around the holidays in our house, at least.

I hope this easy meal delights your taste buds and your waistline too. (I now measure my food bites by the number of miles on the elliptical rather than calories. I am finding this measurement method to be MUCH more effective ….. LOL)

Chicken & Lettuce Wraps
1 pound ground chicken
1 teaspoon olive or rice bran oil
1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
1″ knob of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Tablespoons GF soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey (or LESS if desired)
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon black pepper & salt – To TASTE
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (with or without seeds)
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (about 3/4 loosely packed cup)

For the wraps:
Red or Green Leaf Lettuce


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a sauce pan large enough to hold everything.
  2. Sauté the onions, carrot and ginger until the onions are tender. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant – about 1-2 more minutes.
  3. Add the ground chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes, honey (if using), salt/pepper, and cook until the chicken is done. Simmer for an additional 5-6 minutes without a lid. (You can add a touch of corn starch mixed with water if you want a thickened sauce with this too.)
  4. Add the chopped red pepper, jalapeno and cilantro. Stir together well.
  5. Serve with cleaned lettuce leaves and a huge glass of your favorite white wine or water.

Happy Festivities, All.


  1. I really enjoy your blog and wanted you to know. I sincerely wish you the very best with you adoption. Just wanted to say I can not imagine why anyone was offended by you post about the ebay auction. Best to you. AND Merry Christmas- Christmas’ will never be the same once you get that baby in your arms.

  2. You know you have our support and very Best wishes Kate!! And these wraps look absolutely wonderful!!! I wonder where I can get ground chicken!

  3. Dear Kate,
    I just found your blog through Shauna’s link to the book auction. I missed it! 😦 I wish you all the best with your new baby. I’m sure it is incredibly hard to wait.
    I just wanted to say that I printed off this recipe and can’t wait to make it tomorrow night! And i just got lost on your blog looking at recipe after recipe. Oh my gosh, croissants! I absolutely can’t wait to make all the things I’ve seen here!
    Thank you for writing all of this. Being gluten free brought the blessing of rediscovering my love for baking, and I can see this blog will be an indispensable resource. I hope your family has a wonderful time during these holidays.

  4. Why in the world was someone offended by you working to raise money for an adoption? I don’t understand that. I really appreciate your blog. Thank you.

    • Hello Rebecca –

      I don’t really understand myself why a couple people were so offended that they took time to send me their commentary. However, adoption is very personal and some people have some very strong opinions about how it should all work. This person felt strongly that a fund raiser for adoption meant that I was equating adoptive families with charity cases as she does not see “pregnant moms” asking for help for their babies. Needless to say, I did not get in to a debate with her, but people (natural biological parents and adoptive parents) in my community really DO have fund raisers and sell things. LOL! My girlfriend just auctioned off a bunch of awesome knit hats that she made and another just had a quilt party where everyone helped make quilts that she is selling via silent auction at her church. And these women are raising funds to support their natural childbirth/days off work without pay.

      Whatever the opinion may have been, my Love and I were saddened to see that our idea was interpreted to be offensive.

      Thanks for asking.

  5. Think positive – get positive back.
    Think negative – get negative back.

    My motto always. (Learnt it from my wife…)

  6. Ugh, I just wrote a long angry post to your offended, but I decided it wasn’t worth putting the energy out there. Can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right? :/


  7. Kate,

    My reaction was the same as the others, “Why?…what could offend someone?” Geesh. I would have never in a million years saw that coming. I don’t think you should feel bad. Respecting the other people’s feelings and opinions is one thing…but don’t let them take away any of your joy and the joy of giving that anyone had trying to help you.

    I was a nanny for two sets of parents that adopted. I also have friends that lost a child at birth and due to the trauma have decided to adopt. It has taken YEARS. I can only imagine as an observer to the process how much time, MONEY and emotional energy it takes.

    p.s. In case you didn’t see, I linked to you and mentioned your croissants in my recent BlogHer article. 🙂

  8. You know you have our support!
    Babies are great. After that… Just kidding. There is still greatness to be found at any age. 🙂

    • OH! Today we are completely ready for her to be here too! She is certainly going to alter my busy-life, but I’m looking forward to a different kind of busy-happy than what we have now. 🙂

  9. These look just like the chicken lettuce wraps from P.F. Changs that I’m obsessed with. I can’t wait to make them!

    And I’m sorry to hear about the nay-sayers — I think what you and your beautiful family are doing is wonderful. More power to you 🙂

  10. Kate–Glad you are not letting the negative comments get to you! I’ve found that there’s someone offended by everything these days. Some people look to be offended from the moment they get out of bed I think. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I hope your next fundraiser is a raffle. Many more people could participate for a minimum amount. Again, I don’t know how you handle somehting like that online, but I’d be there in a heartbeat. I don’t have enough excess funds at the moment to be the highest bidder on an item like a book (even Shauna’s wonderful book!! I do own an unautographed copy from when it came out LOL), but I’d gladly donate an amount suitable for a raffle (say, up to $20) … just food for thought for your next fundraiser. I thought Shauna’s post on your fundraiser was just lovely. You’ll be raising your two daughters at the same time. How cool!! Sending lots of positive vibes your way!!

    And, thanks for the recipe … yum … I’d love to come to dinner at your house one day. 😉 So much easier than cooking myself LOL … I am trying to work up the energy to make meat loaf and mashed potatoes for dinner. Want the meal, just don’t want to get up and do it! 😉


    • Come on over! We’re having chicken breasts (prepared somehow…LOL) and roasted root veggies. To be honest, I’d be content with a little smoked salmon, cream cheese and some cucumber slices… but something tells me my Better Half has other plans. LOL 🙂 – Kate

  11. Kate,

    As far as the negative opinions about the fund raising goes; I’m happy to see that you have maintained a positive attitude in the face of criticism. You have displayed a great sense of character and personal strength which I can only admire. The youngest of my five children is now thirteen and I have simply learned that you can’t please everybody all of the time….

    I continue to look forward to your recipes, fun encouragement, and family news. Keep your chin up and savor every moment of your daughter’s homecoming!

    Thanks, Patti! Life is too short to alter our paths every time someone else thinks something opposing, that’s for sure! 😉 My Love and I are so excited about our baby coming home that life just carries us along. Live and let live, in our opinion. 🙂 -Kate

  12. LOL Thanks, Kate. I persevered and made the meat loaf and mashed potatoes. Delish! Of course, it took little time once I got my butt into the kitchen. I make my meat loaf in the microwave in a glass loaf pan and it’s wonderful. Only 15 minutes and it’s done. 🙂

    I am sure your chicken breasts and roasted veggies will be appreciated by your love. 😉

    Wanted to post again also to add that I thought all the GF blogger friends who supported your cause with a post did a great job. (Shauna’s was on my mind, because I’d read hers last.)

    • Oh – I think the GF Blogger Community is really AMAZING. Without each other – and the internet – I can only imagine where I would be! I LOVE my blogger buddies so! I agree with you whole-heartedly – they ARE gems!!!

  13. Kate,

    The wraps sound delicious. I’m new to reading your blog and think your recipes are fabulous.

    But…what I’m REALLY hoping is that you will post the cookie recipe you mention, the layered peppermint bark bites It sounds delicious!

    Happy holidays.


    • Erika –
      Funny you should ask, I just snapped a photo of the only surviving peppermint bark bite from my husband’s cookie swap. I’ll get that recipe up soon. 🙂

  14. Wow, Kate! As if there isn’t enough going on in your life right now, people had to get offended about raising money! I’ve got to say that as a mom-to-be in a 900 sq ft apartment working at a job I love but that doesn’t pay much at all, my husband and I have gladly accepted any and all offered gifts (a good used crib, etc). What’s the difference in a community giving from love for a good cause like your adoption? Love and a baby on the way is worth soooo much more than a false sense of dignity and superiority! Hang in there!

    • I agree, Jo! Our crib is from my sister from her kids, etc. Life and children are meant to be celebrated with community! I wish you were closer, Jo…. we could so share info and stuff! 🙂 I can’t wait to find out your boy/girl news too! 🙂

  15. Dear Kate,
    As an adoptive mom to two beautiful boys (after being married for thirteen years) I know how hard it is when intentions and actions are misinterpreted. Many are very uneducated about the world of adoption (as I was before I began the “process”!). I’m so glad that you have all this support here – everyone’s pulling for you guys! I can’t wait until you become a mom and get to see your husband in the role of “Daddy”!
    Our prayers are with you!

    • Thank you! 🙂
      Oh – Life is beautiful.. and kids are so exciting! 🙂
      My Love is a Daddy-natural. Our friends have nicknamed him “The Baby Whisperer” as he can calm them all even when they are in the throes of passion or food meltdown. Yeap… I’m afraid it’s ME I’m worried about! LOL – Kate

  16. seamaid399 says:

    I think everything that went through my mind when I read about the offended comments has been said- but I thought it was a cool, creative idea and I’m so glad that it worked out. Wishing you the best and happiest family ever! *hugs*


  17. I like your blog. I have shared it with many of our customers-thanks for mentioning rice oil, it works great for people with all types of food issues. Keep up the good work.

  18. Gluten Free Steve says:

    I don’t even know what to say…if they have negative comments, then they don’t have to read your blog. Geez louise, don’t people have better things to do then to post negative comments. *&*#$($^$% them! You’re loved by us all, just remember that one, Kate.

  19. Holly-Mommy to Colby and Haylie says:

    I wanted to let you know that I’m on your site daily and I follow your path to child with as much joy as I have for my sister. She had PCOS and could not have children for the last 19 years and couldn’t afford to adopt. And today she is four months pregnant and felt the baby move for the first time! I cant wait the two weeks to find out boy/girl. And I cant wait to see the face that goes with those perfect little lips on your blog. My “baby” is turning 4 in two weeks and I still love to look at her little lips when she talks, smiles and sleeps. Even if you were “having” a baby there would always be the people who don’t agree why, how or what you are doing. Ignore them and relish the joy and excitement!

  20. seamaid399 says:

    By the way, I was just reading Baby Bargains and they mentioned that some airlines will discount flights for adoptions if you tell them (and have proof) that it is for that purpose… I’m not sure how it will work for you guys but I wanted to share in case you have to fly there and a last-minute fare discount would be helpful.

    All my best,

  21. I think what you’re doing is perfectly acceptable and I fully support you. I wish I could afford to be there bidding until the end!! I hope you get to see your baby very soon!!!!

  22. In the words of my hip, ‘tweener daughter… “what the heck…?” Can’t believe someone would feel the need to express offense about something they obviously know little about. Anyone is entitled to his or her feelings, but I find the need to express it, especially in this forum as pretty thoughtless! I thought the auction was a fab idea and also think that Shirley’s idea of a raffle, has merit, too! Times are hard for lots of us right now and there is a lot of sadness in the world! Your blog is alway so positive and inspiring and I think people who are so easily offended obviously do not “get it”!!! Hopefully they will see the light and enjoy sharing little bits of your journey, rather than feeling a need to weigh in on the rightness or wrongness of your method of travel!!!!!!! Take care!

  23. I really enjoy your blog and have used many of your reciepts!! Your blog is one of the first I send people to when they first learn they have celiac’s diseases. Thanks for all your honesty in your posts as well! Best of luck with the adoption, it takes a special family!!


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  2. […] Lettuce wraps (yes, more chicken for me here too) […]

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