Wednesday, December 31, 2008
How I hate you so,
I have heard about your gluten free menu,
So today I decided to go.
I didn't get risky,
Decided to play it cool,
I ordered a caesar salad,
To prevent an intestinal duel.
But you deceive me so!
What did you do?
Just pick the croutons out of my lettuce?
How could I ever trust you?
I couldn't make it through half,
Forgive me if I say,
You weren't worth the plate you were served on,
Yet still, I had to pay.
And now my tummy grumbles,
It's been awhile since it's been this bad,
Tonight it could barely handle,
The gluten free sandwich I just had.
So here's to you, you piece of shit Chili's,
You listen close, you hear?
Here's a big middle finger from me,
And oh, Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
A KITCHENAID MIXER!!!
It's beautiful isn't it?
I've been struggling with my pathetic little handheld mixer for a while now, and I've been dying for one of these. My little handheld mixer could not EVER mix bread dough. So if I ever wanted to make delicious gluten free sandwiches, I had to go to my mom's house and mix it there. That's not an easy feat when you're trying to transport 47 different flours. (lol)
So this past weekend, I excitedly made my first loaf of gluten free flax bread in my new mixer. I already see BLT's (remember those?) in my very near future.
This bread is the absolute best bread I have ever tried. Brandon even said that if I make this, he will stop buying regular bread at the grocery store. YAY! Plus, flax seeds are fantastic for your health. Go here to read about all the ways flax seed is good for you!
Gluten Free Flax Seed Bread
(Please follow this link to see the actual recipe. There is a link to her cookbook there as well.)
1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour
1/4 cup garfava flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flax seed meal
2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 cup water or milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vinegar
1. Combine flours, flax, starches, gum, yeast, salt.
2. In the mixer, combine wet ingredients, then add the dry.
3. Scrape the sides, and mix on medium for 4-5 minutes.
4. Pour into 9x5 pan, and let rise to top of pan (took about 80 minutes). I always, always let it rise in a turned off oven.
5. Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes.
6. Remove from pan, cool, and slice.
For the flour, I used the Whole Foods brand 365 gluten free flour mix, and since that already has xantham gum in in, I added half the amount called for in the recipe. Garfava flour is a mix of Garbanzo bean flour and Fava bean flour...it took some searching but I found it at a Whole Foods already mixed by Bob's Red Mill.
Tomorrow is New Years Eve, I will be celebrating it quietly. I am looking forward to 2009 with great excitement! I have just over 90 days to finish all this wedding planning! So far I have the location, the dress and accompaning accessories, the cake, the bridesmaid's dress, the officiant, the DJ, and the flowers. I know what I want to do for favors, and I have received what I ordered for it, now I just have to go get the other parts needed to put them all together. I have picked out invitations, just need to order them. I know who is catering, just have to book them. And I am planning on booking the rental stuff (tables, chairs, etc...did I mention the wedding is in a residential park?) at the Arizona Bridal Show coming up here in about a week and a half. So that leaves odds and end stuff and....a photographer. UGH. WHY do they have to be so EXPENSIVE? I'm sure I've forgotten something, too. Lol. I've somehow managed to keep my cool through all this. No Bridezilla moments...yet. :)
So here's to a healthy, happy, gluten free 2009!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Thank you for your interest in our TABASCO® Brand Products. All of our products that contain vinegar as an ingredient, use high quality distilled vinegar. Distilled vinegar is produced by fermenting a grain based alcohol. The principal grains used to produce the alcohol are wheat and milo. Gluten and other proteins are completely removed during the alcohol fermentation and distillation process.
According to the definitions set forth by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint standards program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO), the following TABASCO® Brand products are considered “Gluten Free”:
TABASCO® Brand Pepper Sauce
TABASCO® Brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce
TABASCO® Brand Habanero Pepper Sauce
TABASCO® Brand Garlic Pepper Sauce
TABASCO® Brand Green Pepper Sauce
TABASCO® Brand Garlic Basting Sauce
TABASCO® Brand New Orleans Style Sauce
TABASCO® Brand Caribbean Style Steak Sauce
These products were analyzed for Gluten by the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) at the University of Nebraska –Lincoln. FARRP was not able to find any detectable amounts of gluten in these products. If the McIlhenny Company can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to ask.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I feel like I am living a fairytale right now. Everything is just falling into place, as if the universe is just going about its master plan and I'm just here to enjoy it all. I am loving every second.
There really isn't a more perfect date for this cake appointment to fall on. It is proof of this incredible transformation and journey that I have made this past year. Before this year, I had never ever succeeded at this diet. No sooner had I started the diet, that I was falling off the wagon again. It was so rough for so many years. I didn't think I would ever be able to abide by this restrictive diet. What good could possibly come from denying myself all of my favorite foods? And how would I not starve to death?
I resented this disease for a long, long time. I even convinced myself that despite my "definitive diagnosis," the doctor had it all wrong and there was something else wrong with me. I told myself that no one could ever get this diet right 100% of the time, so I gave myself permission to stop trying. I would eat these poisonous foods until my body felt on the brink of a strike. Then I'd be on a loose (ahem...very loose) gluten free diet for a few days until I was met with my nemisis -- a sandwich. I'm sure everyone around me rolled their eyes when I told them I was going gluten free again! I probably said that SO many times, and every time I wouldn't follow through.
I had my "Why Me?" period too. I wanted everyone to feel as sorry for me as I felt for myself. I was downright depressed at the thought of giving up seemingly EVERYTHING for the rest of my life. I felt like my future was bleak. I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to live without chicken nuggets, or macaroni and cheese, or french toast! How could I go to Disneyland and NOT have a churro? Was I never going to get a corn dog or funnel cake at the Arizona State Fair ever again?
Then I got mad. I distinctly remember saying, or rather, yelling, "THIS IS FREAKING STUPID!! HOW DO THEY EXPECT ANYONE TO DO THIS STUPID DIET! IT'S NOT POSSIBLE!!!!" I thought, unless I starve to death or enjoy walking around looking like a twig, there's no way I could survive giving up gluten.
And then my body didn't give me a choice. It told me when the it was time to stop making excuses for how I was living and to start looking at the reality of the situation. A year ago I was so miserably ill. I could barely stomach any food without extreme nausea and stomach cramps. There was one day that I couldn't leave the house because I honestly could not get my butt off the toilet. That day I took twice the recommended dosage of immodium and it didn't do a thing. I had to have my boyfriend get me wet wipes because I was going so frequently. I would cry on the toilet and then cry when I tried to sit down. I'm sorry for giving so much information, I just really want everyone to know that there comes a point when your body just can't take it anymore. And I know most of us probably have similar horror stories. After the extreme diarrhea subsided, I had cramps so bad in my abdomen that I couldn't do anything. It was hard to stand, sit, breathe, talk, think, sleep. I couldn't eat anything. My appetite vanished. I'd try to eat things easy on my stomach, and I'd get a bite or two in and have to stop. I couldn't handle soda for weeks. For the first time since my diagnosis, I listened to what my body was telling me.
After a short time of a light, gluten free diet, I started feeling better. A lot better. This time was different. I don't know how to explain it, but it was like once I started, I couldn't quit. I wasn't going to let myself down. And most importantly, I didn't want to let Brandon down. I don't know if he fully understands how much motivation he gave me then and how much he continues to give me. I knew if I gave up again, he would be really disappointed in me, and that was enough to keep me on the straight and narrow. I would think of having to tell him that I ate some sort of glutenous treat that day and how bad it would make me feel to let him down. That was my motivation. I was amazed at how easy it became to turn forbidden items down. And soon it became, "Well, I haven't cheated once in two months, I can't ruin this streak now!" I could see with every passing month that Brandon was so proud of me, and heck, I was really proud of me too. I had accomplished the impossible.
And that brings us to today. In the beginning, there was a LOT of researching. A lot of finding out that oops, maybe this ketchup isn't gluten free after all! (see previous post). Lets face it, I had a lot of learning to do in the kitchen too. Everything I made before was convenient, frozen, terrible-for-my-gut foods. I had to learn how to make everything. But in the process of learning how to cook, I learned a lot about myself. Cooking and baking is now a passion of mine that I crave. I don't even care what I make, I just have to be in the kitchen. Brandon has always been my biggest supporter. He is up for anything I want to try. Even when I have cooked something that I am hesistant about, he soothes my worried nerves and most importantly, he eats it without a complaint. He is just as knowledgable about this disease as I am, and he speaks up for me when sometimes I am too shy to do it myself.
That is why I am so excited to be picking out my gluten free wedding cake on this anniversary. I consider having a gluten free wedding cake to be a HUGE accomplishment for me, and I owe it all to him--the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with. I've never been happier in my whole life.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Now, I haven't actually made this myself yet, so I can't tell you how simple it is. But from what I remember reading on the box, it requires few ingredients and is seems easy to prepare. My mom made the cake for me over Thanksgiving weekend. I wanted to post this review even though I don't have pictures, because I don't want anyone to pass this over in the store because they haven't heard of it.
This cake mix is by the far the best gluten free chocolate cake I have EVER had. It is so moist and fudgey. The texture is absolutely amazing. I swear, gluten eaters wouldn't even know they were eating anything different. As I was eating it, I was going on and on about how my tastebuds were exploding in pleasure. I even had myself a second slice. Awesome.
The frosting included in the package sucked though. I don't like it at all. But I don't like most of those powdered sugar and cocoa frostings. I scraped it all off. But this cake is so moist and delicious that I told my mom that you could make the cake and just leave off the frosting all together and you would miss it a bit.
Here's the bottom line. You are missing out if you do not buy this cake on your next Costco run. It is to die for.
Friday, December 5, 2008
They don't do free gluten free cake testings, so we had to buy the smallest cake they made, pictured below.
25 dollars to make sure I didn't hate their gluten free cake. 25 dollars to make sure I didn't spend hundreds of dollars on a cake I didn't like. 25 dollars to get a cake that was SUPPOSED to have strawberry filling, but did not.
I was so excited to try it that I didn't take a picture until after. The flavor of these are incredible, which is surprising since it is free of so many things. In case you can't read the picture, these are gluten free, lactose free, casein free, soy free, and dairy free. And I thought the same as you are probably thinking right now, Aren't three of those essentially the same thing?
The cake part of these are admittedly a bit on the dry side, and the filling is really dense. It's like a really thick frosting, but tastes good. But it works. It's a ding dong, just as good as the ones you used to love, except now it's legal!
I am one of those crazies that never ate chicken cordon bleu pre-gluten free. I've seen recipes for it since getting my gluten free act together, and they've all be breaded and oh, how I've wanted it in my belly.
This was so simple and incredibly delicious. I'll definitely be making it again and would consider making it for guests (or even a little extra for leftovers!).
Gluten Free Chicken Cordon Bleu
1 tablespoon butter
4 small chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken broth (make sure it's gluten free. I use Swanson's..just not the organic kind. I've read it isn't gluten free)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoons black pepper
4 slices of ham
4 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese
1. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute until golden brown on the bottom. Turn chicken and reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until chicken is done.
2. Raise heat to medium-high and stir in broth, vinegar, and black pepper. Cook, uncovered, 1 minute, then remove skillet from heat.
3. Top each chicken breat with a ham slice, then a cheese slice. Cover skillet until cheese melts, about 3 minutes.
4. Plate the chicken and drizzle the sauce over top.
Those are the directions from the recipe. I thought the cheese didn't really melt enough by leaving it covered in the skillet. I left it in there longer than 3 minutes too, but it didn't get really gooey like I wanted it. So, if I had a do-over, I'd take the chicken with the ham and cheese, put it on a baking sheet and stick it in a low oven for a couple of minutes to really melt the cheese. I wanted it oozing all over the place, and doing it the way the recipe says just makes it stick to the ham, but not go anywhere. So if structured cheese is your thing, do it in the skillet. But if you're like me and want strings of gooey cheese dripping all over your chicken and hanging out of your mouth after every bite, try the oven.
Happy Friday to everyone! We're getting a Christmas tree this weekend, yippee!
Friday, November 28, 2008
I had my fair share of pumpkin pie depression yesterday. I normally bake a gluten free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but this year I did not. I took pie last year, and there turned out to be, like, 10 pies there. So I didn't bother this year. I had to pain-stakingly listen as everyone talked about how good the pumpkin pie was. Ugh, it was torture. Pumpkin pie is very close to the top of my Favorite Things EVER list. So today, I defrosted my pre-made Gluten Free Bakehouse pie crust, and decided to make myself a pie!
I was sooo excited. I could already see myself slicing myself a very generous portion of this delicious pie. Then, as I took the pie out of the oven to test for doneness, I thought, "You know, they sure don't give you a lot of edge space to hold this sucker..." and then BAM! My beautiful, delightful, pumpkin pie slipped out of my oven mit covered hands right onto the open door of my oven! I started crying. Seriously. I was so desperate for my pie, I felt my Thanksgiving just wasn't complete without it. This is what it looks like:
I appreciate your tears of empathy for me. Brandon, of course, saved the day by telling me the pie would be just as delicious mangled as it would be in perfect form. So I resisted the urge to throw the damn pie against the wall in anger. I will eat the pie. It still sucks though.
For lunch today, I tried a new frozen meal I found at Whole Foods the other day (coincidentally when I was buying my gluten free pie crust).
Gluten Free Cafe Fettuccini Alfredo.
I have never heard of, nor seen, this brand in the store before. I LOVE fettuccini alfredo, so I decided to give it a whirl. It's simple enough, poke some holes in the plastic, cook for 3 minutes, remove plastic and stir, then cook for another 2 minutes.
I thought it was pretty good. The noodles seemed a little mushy, they sort of lost their definition during cooking. They were very soft, but tasted good. I thought the whole meal tasted sort of buttery. And even though you all know my love for Glutino brand products, I have to say this was much, much, MUCH better than their penne alfredo or whatever it was. That was just gross. So while I can't report that this frozen meal was life-altering, I can say that it is good enough in a pinch, and I would buy it again. They also have other flavors, so you might wanna check those out too.
Now I must get back to writing my research paper on Celiac disease. :)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
To say that I am a little nervous for the Thanksgiving feast this year would be an understatement. This is my first entirely gluten free Thanksgiving, and I'm eating surrounded by gluten-filled food. I am incredibly sensitive now (I got miserably ill from a shared stick of butter) and I'm so worried I am going to get sick. It almost seems inevitable for things to get cross-contaminated somehow. On a good note though, this is when you realize just how incredible the people in your life are. Brandon's mom is not stuffing the turkey, she's cooking the stuffing in a separate pan. Her friend is also bringing gluten free stuffing! It's amazing, really. I don't expect anyone to alter their meals just because I can't eat something. I can't say how appreciative I am when someone goes out of their way, just because they want to. I guess you could say that I am really thankful for all these wonderful, understanding, and accomodating people in my life!
So my plan of attack for the day is this: I am taking my own gluten free gravy. I am going to watch spoons like a hawk. Any double dipped spoons, and I will not be eating the dish, gluten free or not. I'm going to stick to the basics: turkey, gluten free gravy, mashed potatoes (made from real potatoes, not flakes). And I'm going to avoid sticks of butter! Good luck to everyone not attending an entirely gluten free thanksgiving!
Something else I am thankful for this year: my wonderful fiance! Yes, we got engaged! Last week was our 3-year anniversary, and in a perfectly-devised, surprise plan, Brandon proposed! I was shocked! We're getting married at the beginning of April '09, so we have just over 4 months to pull together a (gluten free) wedding! I have spent a week scouring for a gluten free wedding cake! I have found a place miraculously down the street from the wedding site! It honestly is a miracle because I only found 2 places in all of Arizona that offers gluten free cakes, one of which is over 2 hours away and I'd have to transport my own (incredibly expensive) cake. We pick up our sample gluten free cake on Tuesday! I am so excited! I'll be sure to share all of the gluten free details with everyone!
Happy Turkey Day!
Friday, November 14, 2008
Please read these articles. I think it's important for people on a gluten free diet to know that they may be consuming some sort of mystery chocolate.
Hershey's "Kissables" No Longer Legally Considered "Milk Chocolate"?
Hershey Responds: Consumers Love Our New Fake Chocolate!
And for a complete list of Hershey's products, go here.
Fake chocolate? That just gives me the heebie jeebies. It says that Milk Duds have been this reformulated version for years now, which is interesting because the last time I ate Milk Duds, they really upset my stomach. I even googled them to make sure that they were gluten free, which I read that there were, but who knows if that was pre-reformulation or not. It's better just to stear clear, in my opinion.
What do you think about this news?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It is true my friends, what I am about to share with you will forever change the way you view ice cream cakes. The next time you make your favorite cake or cupcakes or cookies or any delicious baked treat you will think, "You know, this is good, but it's not a Snickers ice cream cake." Trust me, this is so good that you will have to give it away to friends and family or you will sit and eat the whole thing by yourself.
This is absolutely, positively, sinfully delicious. And gluten free!
So now that I have inflated my ego to the point that I think I am a Ice Cream Queen, I will share with you the story of Creation.
Brandon's dad was moving this past weekend to our small little town. I decided to make him a housewarming gift that could be eaten. I asked Brandon what his favorite dessert was. Pie? Cake? Cookies?
Vanilla bean ice cream.
What the hell was I supposed to do with ice cream?!? How boring.
I knew his dad liked Snickers, and I also knew that we had some left over from Halloween. So the wheels started churning...what could I make the crust out of? Hmmm...
Snickers Layered Ice Cream Cake
1 bag of snack sized Snickers
2 gallons Vanilla bean ice cream, softened
8-inch springform pan. (I think mine was an 8 1/2)
Unwrap all the Snickers bars and throw them in a food processor. We had to do two batches because they all wouldn't fit in there. Grind them up really good. Pour it into the bottom of the springform pan. Spread it out and smash them down. This is your crust. (Oh my, this is too good to be true already, huh?). Spread out a layer of the softened vanilla bean ice cream. I made my ice cream layers probably a 1/2 inch thick. Put a piece of foil under the bottom of your pan to avoid leakage. Put it in the freezer for an hour or two, or until the ice cream is hard. Spread out a layer of fudge. You might have to microwave it a bit to get it to spread, but not too much! Or it'll melt your ice cream and that'll be messy. Individual layers, we're going for here. Not a goopy mess. Put that back in the freezer for an hour or two. Spread out another layer of softened ice cream, aaaannnndddd back into the the freezer. Next is the caramel layer. Into the freezer, it goes. And finally, one last beautiful layer of ice cream. Put it back into the freezer, covered with tin foil (to avoid those little ice crystals that suck so bad) and then top with the chopped nuts right before serving.
When you're ready to eat it, take it out and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes, so it'll be easier to cut. Remove the outer ring of the springform pan to cut it and serve. But put the ring back on after you're finished cutting though because the caramel just oozes out in all its yummy, flowing glory. P.S. Leave the foil underneath this whole time, it'll save you a lot of sticky clean up.
You will probably want to serve slices smaller than say, a piece of pie would normally be because this is intensely rich and delicious. And glorious. Oh man.
So we took it to Brandon's dad's new house, and it went over marvelously. I took a bite and my inner child was dancing gleefully. Everyone LOVED it. Definitely a crowd pleaser.
Sorry, I do not have any pictures of this now infamous dessert, I did not have my camera with me. Feel free to throw stones at me because I am also mad at myself for not taking any.
Guess I'll just have to make another one, right??? :-)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I've been looking at several non-gluten free cooking blogs for ideas and stumbled upon this recipe for Creamy White Chili. You don't have to play with the recipe at all, it's gluten free as it stands (make sure the chicken broth is gluten free, though).
Here is the recipe, copied from the blog. Please check out My Kitchen Cafe for the original.
Creamy White Chili
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately. This is especially good served with tortilla chips. Makes about 6 servings.
I am not joking, this turned out to be incredible. And her suggestion to eat it with tortilla chips is a great one. We made some white rice to go with it that we stirred into our chili to thicken it up a little. Everyone liked to spoon it into a corn tortilla and eat it like a taco. Its a very versatile recipe that you need to make. Tonight.
I fed this to 5 people (including myself), and everyone was commenting over and over again about how amazing it was. It was so good, I'm already craving it again!
I got the idea from Karina's Kitchen, specifically here.
Click on the link, read the directions, memorize.
Gluten free waffles! Who would have thought, right?? Well I tried it out this weekend in stuffed chicken marsala, and what do you know, it worked fabulously! SO EASY!
It is probably the quickest, tastiest idea for breadcrumbs ever invented.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I've done a few things in the past three weeks that are worth mentioning:
-Brandon and I attended Jacob's 2nd birthday party in the park. Jacob is Michelle's son; she has been my best friend since we were in the 7th grade. She is an amazing mom, and she has a really great blog (she is also gluten free), check it out here. I also got to see Melissa and Kat (other friends since jr. high) there, neither of who I had seen in FOREVER! It was a fun!
-Later that night, Lifehouse was playing a FREE concert for Founder's Day in my small little rural town! They played in the park that is 2 minutes from my house! I love Lifehouse, and they always make me think of when Brandon and I first started dating. We were both listening to their first cd No Name Face in our cars. We shared some special moments in those first couple of months with Lifehouse as our soundtrack. And that's not meant to sound as naughty as it does. :-) The concert was amazing, we were soo close! Next time they come to Arizona, I definitely want to go. I am so bummed I forgot my camera this go round.
-Brandon went on an Elk Hunt in Payson with my family for 5 days last week. I stayed behind. On Saturday, my mom and I drove up there for the day to hang out. We had a really good time! I missed my man! Thankfully, I didn't forget my camera that time so here are some pictures! (captions above the pictures; I know sometimes it can get confusing)
When we arrived, I was soooo hungry, so my man (did I mention he's sooo wonderful?) grilled me a HUGE bunless burger! YUM!
Then we decided to take the Arctic Cat out for a spin. For those of you unfamiliar with an Arctic Cat, it looks like this:
You can tell B loves to get dirty in it!
This is a trail we were taking:
When we finally reached the top, the view was amazing!
Here we are, in all our wind-blown glory. Sorry I look like a freaking tool bag. :-)
Ugh, man, I look terrible in that picture! Haha. You'd think I'd use some descretion on posting pictures, but no.
There was this cool rock ledge that hung over the side of the cliff. So we lived dangerously and stood on the edge and lived to tell the tale! Look at his little kicked out foot, he's so cute.
I was so excited to see trees that actually change color in the Fall! We don't see much of that in Phoenix.
Back at camp! B grew a beard! And I don't hate it! Lol.
We grilled steaks that night and Brandon made sure that no offending tortillas were added to the grill until my steak was removed! He's so good, he always thinks about the little things that most would over look. <3
-Monday I bought tickets for the Backstreet Boys concert that will be here in November. Judge all you want, I am really excited!
-Last night, we went for dinner at B's mom's house for her husband's birthday. She had a broccoli salad with dressing on it from Costco, but we weren't sure of the dressing. Brandon dug through their trash dumpster to find the package to read the ingredient list! I made sure to tell his mom that I didn't force him to do it! Haha. It turned out to be safe.....and delicious! Brandon even requested my own fresh stick of butter for my corn on the cob so there would be no illegal crumbs! I know what you're thinking, I need to lock him in my basement and never let him get away! Trust me, if I had a basement, he'd never see the light of day. :-)
I kid, I kid.
And that brings us to present. Brandon is in Utah for business until Friday evening. It's been a hellacious work week that's wearing me down. I'm looking forward to an early bedtime tonight. I'm itching to get in the kitchen to cook and/or bake, but with Brandon being gone, it's not really worth it. Here is what I have been surviving off of:
-Homemade potato soup. Oh-so-good.
-Every variation of meal I could think of using taco meat. We had tacos one night and I've been trying to eat up the leftover meat. I ate a taco salad which consisted of lettuce, Black Bean and Corn Dip, taco meat, and Ranch dressing. It was SO GOOD.
-Plain, boring Salad.
-"Rice gooeys." Oh my. My new obsession. I saw this on Gluten Free Cooking School, and thought, of course! The clever name is ours, though. They are rice crispy treats, with Rice Chex subsituted for the Rice Crispies. I've missed them. So far in two weeks, I've eaten two pans of these. I'd like to say that B ate a good portion of that, but that would be a big fat lie.
I can't remember anything else. But here is what I would like to make soon. I can see them on the horizon.
-Homemade cinnaman sugar chunky applesauce.
-Gluten free pumpkin pie.
-Gluten free cheesy lasagna rolls.
-Tomato vegetable soup.
- Gluten free mini peanut butter cheesecakes
-More rice gooeys.
I know there is more floating around this melon head of mine, but I'm spacing them. You can see why I am anxious to get in the kitchen! Maybe I'll get to cross some of these off my list this weekend, but probably not. Sigh.
Well, this is where my post must come to a close. My brain is mush; I am so tired and I have a headache. I promise not to be such a stranger.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins. Now don't consider this a plug for these crackers. They are good and are sold at the Fry's grocery store across the street from my work. They hardly classify as UH-MAY-ZING, like for instance, these rice crackers:
Back to Nature White Cheddar Rice Thins. Hey, you--whatdaya say we get out of here and go do some....snacking? Eh?
I love these crackers. I have dreams where I run off into the sunset with these crackers. What can I say? I take my food seriously. I can only find these at specialty stores though, hence my settling for rice crackers that fall short on my amazing-meter.
I know what you're thinking. BFD, right? HERE is my pro-blem-o.
As I was munching on my typical lunch today, I got to looking at the Nut-Thins box. Right there on the front, Wheat and Gluten Free. Gee, that's nice of them. Oh, lookie there, they are "proud to support Celiac Disease Foundation." Neat. Doo-doo-doo---WTF??
"Each production run is sampled and tested to confirm gluten levels do not exceed 20 PPM."
I'm not sure how I feel about this, or what to think.
So I could potentially be ingesting 19.9 PPM of gluten per day? How can that be considered gluten free? Is that enough to equal my 1/48th of a piece of bread that is enough to cause damage to my intestines? I don't know about you, but I strive to be completely FREE of gluten, not just consume it in microscopic amounts. Shoot, if that was my intention, I'd just eat a donut really, really slowly.
What do you think? Should I stop eating these? What are the opinions of my fellow celiacs on products that contain less than 20 PPM of gluten?
Monday, September 29, 2008
I have celebrated this glorious day, my favorite day of the week (note: sarcasm), by being incredibly unproductive. Hooray!
In unrelated news, I have decided that once I finish getting my AAS degree in Medical Transcription and have launched my career, I will then begin the undertaking of a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition. Hey, neat-o!
Pretty excited about that little ditty.
Friday, September 26, 2008
On a lighter note, I have been having a fun day perusing other gluten free blogs (at work....oops).
I'm going home now to figure out how I am going to salvage this semester. Sorry for all the caps. I get very upset sometimes. :)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
First things first. Two days ago was my beautiful, wonderful, oh-so-handsome boyfriend's 25th birthday. I had been planning his birthday surprise since May! It was torture to keep it from him, but I did, and he had no idea! I wouldn't even give him hints. I just told him not to make any plans for Monday morning because I had something planned!
My boy is very adventurous (and mischievious!) and definitely the risk taker of the two of us. He had mentioned in passing a couple of times that he thought it would be cool to get a pilot's license. So being the master googler that I am, I found an introductory flight for those interested in flight training! He was going to get to go up in a Cessna and actually fly the plane!
So I got him up really early and made him wear a blindfold while I drove us to the Chandler Airport. He was really familiar with the area, so I didn't want him to guess it before we got there. It was so silly and I was so excited that my plan was coming alive that I took a picture of him on the ride there!
He wasn't so sure about being at the airport when he removed his blindfold. He asked if we were going up in a plane, and I said, "YOU'RE gonna fly the plane!!" It was so much fun. This is him right after he found out.Here he is standing outside of the plane. He was nervous!
Here is my boy in the pilot's seat before take off!
Here I am in the backseat of the plane, pretake off! I figured if we crashed and burned and all they found was my camera they would know we were excited for our death flight! Lol.
I couldn't get a lot of good pictures of B flying from the backseat, but here is a good one. He really is flying the plane here, you just can't tell.
I can't get the video to work, but the pilot had B do a 60 degree bank. It was so cool! When you looked out the window, it was like looking straight at the ground practically! It was the only time my stomach flip flopped the whole time! It was fun!
Here he is with his birthday cake. He is the most amazing man I have ever met and I am SOOO happy that I could make one of his dreams come true this year!
I made gluten free oatmeal cookies for him for his birthday because they are his favorite!
I adapted the recipe from Quaker Oats to be gluten free, here it is:
Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) of butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I use Whole Foods brand and I LOVE it)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups certified gluten free oats (Bob's Red Mill)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; mix well. Add oats; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 9 minutes.
I suggest letting the cookies cool a minute or two on the cookie sheet before removing them otherwise they will crumble and fall apart. They stay together after cooling, as long as you give them those few minutes! These make about 4 dozen cookies. I took a bunch into work and gave them away and everyone raved about them. They said they couldn't even tell they were gluten free! By the way, I didn't have any nutmeg on hand, so I just substituted with extra cinnamon.
I had an incredible weekend!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Onto my stomach problems, I think I am having a problem with dairy. I don't think that everytime my stomach hurts, it's because I've accidentally ingested gluten. Since going gluten free, I am really upped my dairy intake, which I honestly did not eat much of pre-gluten free. I make up for the lack of filling foods with cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. A lot of Celiacs have problems with dairy too, so I think that's where my problem lies. I've been suspecting it, but today that's what I narrowed it down to. I took some Lactaid and things improved. For now I think it's just lactose intolerance, I'm crossing my fingers that it's not a casein allergy. I couldn't handle that! I have been kicking around the idea of seeing an allergist, though. But as of right now, I think I am too chicken to find out if there's anything else I can't eat!
So as you can see, I changed my background to celebrate Fall! I am very excited that summer is coming to a close and cooler weather is in my future! I saw pumpkins in the grocery store today! I love it! This is my favorite time of year, despite living in Arizona, where it's technically not Fall, it's just hot and no-so-hot. I don't know about anyone else, but I can't wait to get into the kitchen and start some holiday baking! This will be my first full holiday season without gluten. I went through Christmas last year, and don't remember it being too much of a struggle. Thanksgiving though, may be tough. Gotta worry about gravies and what-nots! Last year I probably made 20 loaves of pumpkin bread, which I may or may not try to adapt to gluten free this year. Luckily I found a frozen, pre-made gluten free crust at Whole Foods the other day, so that'll make my annual pumpkin pie bake off easy!
Speaking of all this baking, I should probably work on getting that gym membership I've been meaning to sign up for....LOL!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I feel like this is a constant struggle. Sure, give up gluten and get better. But trying to figure out what has gotten you sick is rough. Is my stomach ache gluten related or is it a bigger problem? What is caused by something accidentally getting in my diet, and what is something that I should be asking doctors about??? It's so hard sometimes!
I find myself consumed with these thoughts. All I think about is food. What I've eaten, and what I am going to eat. I get sick and all I think about is the everything that has come in contact with my mouth in the past 3 days. What was it?? I don't know, I just know I feel like shit! I would say that 30% I figure out what glutened me. But the rest is just a mystery. I feel like I am walking up the wrong side of an escalator. Am I really making any progress?
I've had a terrible upset stomach and on and off stomach cramps for like 2 weeks now. So, I am obsessing. But how can I narrow it down? Sometimes symptoms from a glutening last for a day. Sometimes 3 days. Sometimes longer. How do I know that I didn't eat something 2 weeks ago and the symptoms just haven't gone away yet? How can I possibly narrow it down and remove it from my diet? And don't even get me started on cross contamination. Did something in the food get me, or did something that touched my food get me?? UGH!
It just seems impossible.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up. Not now, not ever. I'm am on the gluten-free train for life. I'm just really struggling right now because I am having new health problems pop up and don't quite know what to make of them yet.
I am having contant migraine headaches. I have fatigue that makes it hard to get motivated to do anything. I have weakness in my hands so bad that I have trouble opening a ketchup lid, or a jar that's already been opened. I can't focus or concentrate on anything. It's been like this for at least 2-3 months. Finally I made a doctor's appointment and got the brush off. Oh yeah, sure, we'll run some blood tests...but it's probably just rebound headaches from taking too much exedrine. I tried everything before making that stupid doctor's appointment, because I hate going in so much. I gave up caffeine (to make sure it wasn't triggering headaches), I started drinking water (to make sure it wasn't caused by dehydration), and stopped taking all pain medications (to eliminate possiblity of rebound headaches), and yet they still brush it off as if I am making a big deal out of nothing. I have a strong history of daily migraines that was a battle to figure out when I was still in high school. They went away and I just assumed they were caused by gluten consumption, pre-diagnosis. But now I am 9 months gluten free, and they have returned with a vengence. Shouldn't my history with this account for something??
The brush off at the doctor's office really has me second guessing myself. How do I know that there is some kind of hidden gluten getting into my system causing this? Could this be caused by vitamin deficiencies? Could an associated disease or disorder be presenting itself? Or, God forbid, could I have other food intolerances or allergies that are just now surfacing?
So I am waiting it out, just like the doctor suggested. I'm waiting to see if things get better or worse, and I am waiting to hear back on my blood tests. If the blood work doesn't show anything, I don't know what I am going to do. Switch doctors? Try elimination diets? Go to a chiropractor?
I'm not sure what to do. I am confused, discouraged, and tired of explaining that "I just don't feel well and I can't help it."
On a brighter note, I made gluten free chocolate cupcakes that I am going to go frost and enjoy.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Since that first day I that we met, when you wrapped me up in your loving guacamole, my life was changed. I know I was really resistant to your love. I don't typically like blind dates. But I was talked into giving you a try, and I am sure glad that I did. Your steak came off a bit the wrong way at first, but you reeled me in with your chicken. From the first chip I dipped into your guacamole, I knew we were meant to be. And your tacos were just a bonus!
It's been a whirlwind love affair ever since, and I wouldn't change a thing. I went gluten free and you stood right by me. I looked at you, ready to cry and tell you we had to part ways. I thought I had eaten my last chicken taco. Crunched my last chip. Licked the last bit of guacamole out of that little plastic container. But you, my pillar of strength, took me in, wiped away my tears, and gave me your hard tacos. You told me all your menu items were gluten free except for your tortillas for burritos and soft tacos, and your brown salsa! How did I get so lucky to have something like you in my life?
So I sit here today, completely full and satisfied after you filled me up with your love for lunch, and I can't help but feel blessed to be a part of this committed relationship that we share. I will love you until you can't make tacos anymore. I want to grow old eating your chips and guacamole. I want to give you baby tacos, or even burrito bowls! I look forward to our future together. Forever and ever. Till death do us part.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
1 chuck roast
1 can Heath Valley Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Place the roast, soup, and onion soup mix in a crock pot. Cook on Low for 8 hours or so. That's it! It's so easy, I love it!
Friday, August 22, 2008
If you are single, do not answer any more questions.
Name 10 things you like/love about your significant other:
1. He is SOO funny!
2. He is extremely motivated and smart.
3. He is talented at so many things! He can be Mr. Fix It, Mr. Computer Man, Mr. Chef, Mr. Business Man, or Mr. Sports Star! He's very well rounded.
4. He doesn't forget about the little things. He opens all my doors for me (because he wants to!), leaves me notes on the mirror before he goes out of town, gives me unexpected gifts, brings home balloons and wine as a surprise for gluten free anniversaries! Even after 3 years!
5. He knows me better than I know myself.
6. He totally gives in to all of my whims.
7. He eats my gluten free food and I know that he is so proud of me.
8. He stands up for me.
9. He likes my family!
10. SEXY SEXY SEXY. And he is totally a cuddler. :)
What do you guys do on dates? We go on dates?? Haha. We're both so busy all of the time, that I really just enjoy a quiet night in where we watch tv or movies.
Are you crazy about this person? I am absolutely wild about him! He is the best thing to ever happen to me and he is the love of my life. I've never been so happy.
Is this person crazy about you? Yep, and he shows me everyday! :)
In general, name 10 things that turn you on:
1. Strong, muscular build (what I like to call, "the baseball player body")
2. Humor, sillyness
5. Respectfullness (is that a word? lol)
6. Sappy love notes! (He always writes really good long ones in cards because he knows I LOVE it!)
8. Desire for marriage and family....one day!
9. Outgoing personality
10. Compassionate and understanding
Tag one person: Anyone who wants to do this!
Friday, August 15, 2008
I made this tomato and feta salad today to feed the beast that's living inside me demanding more tomatoes. Here's what it looks like:
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I bought this Glutino white cake mix. I hadn't tried it before so I thought, what the hell. I followed the directions on the box, then added 2 tablespoons (or so) of strawberry jello mix to the batter. I stirred it up, poured it in the pan, and baked it!
It smelled amazing while it was baking. It even looked incredible:
I stole some Pillsbury Cream Cheese frosting that my mom had in her pantry. Thanks Mom! P.S. Do NOT buy Betty Crocker frostings...they have wheat starch.
I eagerly frosted the cake up!
It was about half a second later that I was digging out a slice.
Holy cow, right? Well, it was really good! It was really, really sweet though so go easy on the slice! This was a pretty small serving (since it's late) and I couldn't even eat the whole thing. The strawberry flavoring isn't over powering, it's just enough to make it's presence known. I might try a different frosting next time, I think that's where the sugar overkill lies.
Overall, I am very pleased with this recipe. It was extremely easy and didn't turn out sucky! Woohoo!
Yes, it's red. And yes, it's pretty freaking sweet. I was a little angry about it the first couple of days because I didn't want to have to buy it. But I sure do like ol' red now that I got her.
My love, B, is out of town right now so I am going to catch up on my blogging! Hooray!
Monday, August 4, 2008
So here is my question to you. I need opinions on how I can make a Strawberry Cake using a store bought gluten free cake mix.
Here is my thought: I was thinking about buying a white cake mix, then maybe adding a few tablespoons of strawberry jello mix to it. Do you think that would work? I can't decide if that will come out funky or not. Or even if that will give it enough strawberry flavor. I'd hate to get all siked up for it then it come out shitty. And I definitely do not want all the trouble of mixing several flours and ingredients and all that other time consuming, messy stuff.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Everytime I hear that line in 27 Dresses, I think, "You know, I probably would write a love song about a sandwich." Sandwiches used to be my absolute favorite. I would eat at Subway nearly everyday for lunch. Anytime I went to a restaurant, what did I get? A sandwich. It is something I have deeply missed since going gluten free.
It's no secret that gluten free bread can sometimes be...not worth the time and effort you put into it. When I first went gluten free after diagnosis 5 years ago, my mom and I baked bread after bread after bread and all of them were equally disgusting. I thought I was going to die. It was probably one of the main reasons that I failed so many times. I NEEDED my sandwiches.
So, I gave up on the hope of bread. I stopped trying. I walked by the frozen breads and bagels at the store. I overlooked gluten free bread recipes. Why bother when all they do is disappoint? I started making "pseudo-sandwiches." I would take lunch meat, cheese and tomatoes and wrap them in lettuce. They were awesome, but always lacked the satisfication that comes with eating it on bread. I tried to make wraps with brown rice tortillas, but the tortillas aren't soft enough so they didn't fold well.
I recently decided to give everything another try. I found bagels and english muffins that were delicious! All they really needed was a really good toasting. Could bread be the same? I bought some different bread mixes, and have waiting to try them because my poor hand mixer just can't handle bread dough. Allie over at Sorry, I can't eat that told me to try this bread mix because of good results she's experienced with it. She assured me that it was really easy and it wouldn't cause my hand mixer to have a meltdown.
It always helps knowing someone else has tried something and liked it. So I was excited to try this! She was right, it didn't get much easier than this! 3 cups of mix and 2 cups of milk was all it took! My hand mixer (bless it's little overworked heart) had a bit of trouble (the dough kept climbing up the mixers) but overall, did well. A couple of minutes of mixing and it was ready to go in the oven!
This is my loaf when it came out of the oven:
A little misshapen and overdone on top, but hey, I'm no Martha Stewart. We couldn't even wait until it cooled until we tried it and started making sandwiches. It's really good! You don't really need to toast it, but that's how I prefer it, so we did.
The edges of the crust burnt a little before the rest of the slice was fully toasted, but oh well. Here is my finished sandwich:
That, my friends, is a beautiful sight. My hands were shaking because I was so hungry and so anxious to put this wonderful work of art in my mouth.
I added some Stax to the side (they are labeled gluten free. If you don't know, Pringles are NOT gluten free, but these are just as good, if not better) and my meal was complete!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I had an absolutely exhausting day at work today, and when I came home I thought, "Well, we could either A.) Start a fast that would start tonight and end promptly tomorrow morning or B.) Make something that required no effort or thought on my part. Pizza it is!"
I have to admit, I was extremely disappointed when I removed said pizza from its wrapping. Let's just say it left a LOT to be desired...
It was so bad that the saunce/cheese topping was completely separate from the crust. Here I am holding the sauce in my hand.
Sigh. I was downtrodden, to say the least. I almost threw it away. How could this possibly be any good?? It was then that my tummy grumbled and said, "Eat this or start eating the furniture, your choice." I gave into my bossy tummy and somehow assembled my pizza the best I could. I put it in the oven and begrudgingly waited.
11 minutes later...
This is what I had. Now I know you're thinking, Stephanie, is that a frisbee? Alas, no it is my dinner. I was angry at the damn pizza at this point (can you tell how horrible my day was? Lol). I was convinced that I was on the losing end of some really unfortunate karma. When the crust wouldn't cut at one point, my boyfriend had to take the pizza cutter away from me.
I was sad when I started eating, but after my first bite, I was surprised and delighted! This is actually edible and enjoyable! I did not eat the outer crust because I thought it was a bit dry and bland, but I ate the rest and really liked it! I would definitely eat this again, believe it or not.
Ahhh, Glutino, you are a warm flannel blanket on a cold winter morning. You are the marshmellows floating in my hot cocoa. You are the moments in between hitting the snooze button for the 5th time. I love you Glutino. Let's be together forever.