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Monday, October 24, 2011

What We're Cooking! - Buttermilk Biscuits, Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Cauliflower Popcorn #Gluten Free

One of the things we have missed most about going gluten free is biscuits. Fluffy, yummy, steaming hot buttermilk biscuits. Ryan (my youngest) is the baker in the family. We have been trying out Namaste Perfect Flour Blend and thought we would give biscuits a try. The first recipe we tried was not very good. The biscuits came out like overcooked hockey pucks. Not very appetizing. But we REALLY wanted biscuits so Ryan tried again. This time we used This recipe for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits and the results was MUCH better!

While they did not rise as high as we would have liked, they were delicious. I think the biscuit rising issue was a result of overworking the dough, but we are not experienced biscuit makers and I am sure this will come in time. We did a cup for cup replacement using the Namaste Flour and the end result was yummy.

Next up for our meal was Cauliflower Popcorn. This recipe has earned the name popcorn. It is extremely addicting just like popcorn. The last time we made this we ended up eating it for three days in a row because we could not get enough!

Last and the star of the show is the Buttermilk fried chicken. This is the most tender and moist chicken you can have. I marinated the chicken breasts in a mixture of buttermilk and Frank's Red Hot Sauce for 5 hours. I then mixed together Arrowroot starch, kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. I removed the chicken from the marinade, sliced into "fingers" dredged in the flower and fried in oil. Super yummy!

 I hope you get a chance to try some!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

11 Things Not To Say To Someone With Ulcerative Colitis

Health.com recently posted an article entitled 11 Things Not to Say to Someone With Ulcerative Colitis. This is an outstanding list. The first one on their list is DON'T say, "You don't look sick". You're right, I probably don't look sick, to you. You aren't noticing my skin pallor or the circles under my eyes. You don't see how weak and exhausted I am. You probably did notice that I have lost close to 50 pounds. Yes, I did need to lose that weight, but I am not gaining any nutrition from the foods that I eat and I have a problem keeping myself hydrated. So no, I don't really look that great. If you know anyone with UC, or anyone with a chronic illness. Please read this article. Words to live by.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Food Allergies and Going Gluten Free

Food allergies are not new to me. When my son was a baby he was diagnosed as a universal reactor. Meaning he was allergic to ALL foods. Yes, that is correct, all foods. The allergist had never seen this before and he could not tell me if my son would live. My goal was to make sure he made it to his 18th birthday. I did this by finding everything I could on food allergies and I put him on something called the rotation diet. Using the book I set up a huge chart on the kitchen wall and started cooking to keep my son alive. Fast forward 25 years and he's still here and allergy free.

My daughter also has food allergies. Unfortunately she has not outgrown hers. In fact, hers have gotten worse. She was diagnosed years ago with a lactose allergy. She is now allergic to shellfish, mushrooms and gluten. The gluten allergy means she cannot have any wheat, barley or rye. We began a gluten free diet in January. This has been quite the learning experience. Who knew that so many products contained gluten. There has been a lot of trial and error. Ryan has gotten very sick when I have erred. For her birthday she really wanted some fried chicken with coleslaw from KFC. It never occurred to me to check the KFC web site for information. But, KFC coleslaw does contain gluten and Ryan became very ill that night. (I made the fried chicken and that was gluten free-I will post the recipe the next time I make it). I felt terrible. What did I learn from this? Check EVERYTHING. Be suspicious of all foods. When in doubt make it yourself or find a substitute. I would like to share a few of the sites that I have found helpful.

BeFreeForMe is a gluten and allergy free web site. They have articles, recipes, a blog and a weekly contest!

Bob's Red Mill offers wonderful gluten free flours and recipes!

Simply Gluten Free offers recipes, recommendations, cookbooks and great giveaways!

GIG- Gluten Intolerance Group They offer support, recipes, information. Find a group near you.

Ginger Lemon Girl One of my favorite gluten free blogs.

Gluten Freely Looking for gluten free versions of mainstream products? This is the place for you.

This is just the beginning of my list. I will post more soon. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Last December I began to notice some changes to my right breast. There was a big crease on the side. I had also been noticing some swelling the lymph nodes under my arm. I went to see my doc and he sent me for a mammogram. Now you should probably know that I should have had a baseline mammogram after my hysterectomy in 1998, but I never got around to it.

So I went for my mammogram and they asked me to wait while the radiologist looked at it. I hate waiting for things like this. I always think the worst. Thankfully it was a short wait. The radiologist came out and told me that he saw something on the films and  wanted to do an ultrasound on my right breast.to get a closer look. It looks like a round shadow about the size of a half dollar. He wasn't sure what it was so he wanted to do a follow-up in 6 months. If I had gone for a baseline mammogram in 1998 like I was supposed to, then I wouldn't have had to wait. I am a pessimist and that 6 month wait was hell. I was worried, my kids were worried. The waiting sucks!

FINALLY it was May! I made an appointment for my follow-up mammogram. Again they did the ultrasound. The mass had not changed in size but I wanted a biopsy anyway. I can't do a mammogram every 6 months. The wait for results is too agonizing. The biopsy came back clean. Thank God! But I would not have had to go through any of this if I had gone and done my baseline mammogram in 1998. It's important to follow your doctor's advice. It's important to check your breasts regularly.

I have two friends who were diagnosed with breast cancer. I don't want to have any more friends have to go what through what they did.

How can you help? Buy yogurt! Dannon has the Cups of Hope program. They will donate money to The National Breast Cancer Foundation for every cup of Oikos and other Dannon brand purchased. Yoplait has the same offer with money going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. There is also The Breast Cancer Site with one click a day you can help donate money for mammograms.

Take care of the girls.

What We're Cooking! - Happy Birthday to Me, Apricot Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting- #Gluten Free

Yesterday was my birthday. I have been on this earth for 49 years! 1 more year and I can join AARP. Ryan gave me the option of any cake I want from the The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free. This book is the best investment I have ever made. This will be the third recipe that we have tried. Heaven!

Two layers fresh out of the oven.

Each layer is sliced in half so that you end up with a 4 layer cake.

Apricot preserved slathered between the layers.
All together now! Frosting is next!
OK, so it's not the prettiest cake in the world but it sure was the yummiest!

The best part is that the book is now in paperback and only $5.98 on Amazon!


Our Wonderfully Crazy Maine Coon! - #Gluten Free

I went to Petco in July to get a mouse to feed our snake. Petco houses cats that are up for adoption through The Humane Society of the Black Hills. We always check out the cats when we go to Petco. This trip one of the kittens decided to adopt us. We named her Molly.

Molly was very sick when we brought her home. I had to take her to the vet the next day. She had diarrhea and she was vomiting. She would not eat and would only drink from the sink. She was a very sick girl.
The only place she would sleep was her litter box. The vet thought she might have some type of infection so she put Molly on antibiotics. Molly's health began to improve but then she got sick again. My daughter, Ryan, did some research on the internet and discovered that Maine Coons have a tendency to be allergic to wheat. Yeah, another creature in our house who is gluten free! We picked up a bag of Holistic Selects to try. She didn't like the taste BUT it didn't make her sick. We then decided that a trip to Pet Pantry was in order. While we were there Candy gave us some samples of Taste of the Wild. Molly went nuts over this. She loves every flavor. Thank God we finally found something that tastes great and she is able to digest.

Now that she is no longer sick she is growing by leaps and bounds!


She is a very quirky cat. If there is an open book then she must lie on the book. No book is safe! She likes to climb up you and sit on your shoulder. If you are being over then she will jump on your back. We think she is a Maine Coon/Siamese/Parrot mix!

This is her Halloween costume. We think it reflects her personality!

We love our Molly!

Monday, October 17, 2011

What We're Cooking! - Meatless Monday Lentil Patties with Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

Meatless Monday is an initiative of the Monday Campaigns in cooperation with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This Campaign helps you to begin each week with Healthy and inexpensive meat alternatives.

Our Meatless Monday was Lentil Patties along with Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese.

The Recipe for the Lentil Patties began with this one from Simply Trini. I did make some changes to it, of course! Instead of bread crumbs I used gluten free corn flake crumbs. I added parmesan cheese and I cooked my onion, garlic, celery and green pepper before adding it to the mix. I used Arrowroot starch in place of the flour. These were pretty tasty in addition to being incredibly healthy and very inexpensive to make. This one is a keeper!

Next up was a gluten free Macaroni and Cheese.I started with a Bechamel Sauce. I added 8 ounces of grated cheddar, a cup of grated parmesan cheese, 2 TBSP of mustard, a couple of dashes of hot sauce. I mixed 2 eggs with an 8 ounce container of greek yougurt and then mixed it with the cheese sauce. I then mixed in my pasta. I used Heartland Pasta Penne, I put the whole thing into a greased baking dish, sprinkled parmesan cheese on the top and baked at 350 for 40 minutes.


This was very yummy and my daughter (who LOVES mac and cheese) really enjoyed this one. For more Meatless Monday ideas you can visit their web site.

Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin #imabzzagent

I received a Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin Facial Cleanser and Daily Moisturizing Cream through the BzzAgent program. My daughter Ryan and I have been using it for a couple of days now and we love both products!


The facial cleanser is lovely. It's smooth and creamy. It leaves my face feeling clean. The scent is VERY mild.

The Daily Moisturizing Cream was very nice as well. I have very oily skin so I am hesitant to use any type of moisturizer. This was great! It left my skin feeling soft and not greasy at all. Both products are great and I will definitely be using them again.

I would love to give 3 people a chance to try out the Daily Moisturizing cream as well as a $1.00 coupon. Fill out the Rafflecopter form and Good luck!


Win an iPad2 or $550 Cash!

Great giveaway! Don't miss out. This runs from today through October 31st.

iPad, iPad2, Tablet Time, giveaway

You can enter over at Coupon Frenzy Mom or any of the other participating blogs.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Win $125 Amex Card and a Year's Supply of Bacon!

Interested in winning a $125.00 Amex card and a year's supply (52 free product coupons) of Oscar Mayer bacon? Who doesn't love bacon? Well, A Mom's Impression is hosting this giveaway. Stop by and enter today! Good luck!

What We're Cooking! - Frugal Friday Pork Riblets with Parmesan Garlic Potato Planks

I am all about the deal. One of my favorite deals is clearance and/or low cost meat. My local Family Thrift Center often has packages of pork riblets on sale for $1.00 or $2.00. This is a great deal. As it is only Ryan and me, 1 package is enough for both of us. If Eli is home then I will add a second package. I cook these in the slow cooker with some Sweet Baby Ray's and a little bit of water. Sweet Baby Ray's is our bbq sauce of choice and it's gluten free! I cook them on high for about 4 hours or you could cook them on low for 6 to 8 hours. I also made some Garlic Parmesan Potato Planks. These are easy, cheap and yummy. Take 4 to 5 potatoes and cut them into planks. Place the potatoes into a zipper bag with 2 to 3 TBSP of olive oil, 2 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp salt and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. Shake to coat the potatoes and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place in 350 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Zombie Night is Family Night

Tomorrow, October 16, 2011, The Walking Dead season 2 begins. The kids (my son age 25 and my daughter age 24) have been eagerly waiting for the new season. We love The Walking Dead! If you are not familiar with this show it is about a group of survivors trying to start new lives after the zombie apocalypse. This show is fantastic. The writing, acting and special effects are incredible. It's like watching a weekly hour long movie.

Zombie night is family night. We usually watch together while having dinner. This week Eli is working out of town so we will record it for him. Hopefully he will be home in time for the next Zombie Family night.

If you have not seen The Walking Dead or if you would just like to watch Season 1 again, you can purchase individual episodes at Amazon.com.

Stop Bullying: Speak Up

When I was in Junior High I got beat up every day by a boy who was a year older than I. I was called a slut every day by the kids in my class. Why? Because I developed breasts before everyone else did. Both of these are examples of bullying. Bullying hurts, it even kills. It destroys the self esteem of the person being bullied. The pain that those who have been bullied experience is indescribable. Often those who have been bullied can see no other way out than suicide. It's time to speak out. Too many kids are dying.

Facebook and Time Warner have launched the Stop Bullying: Speak up Pledge. Take the pledge. Join a parent's group. Volunteer to speak at a school. Get involved! You can save a life.



Friday, October 14, 2011

What We're Cooking! - Gluten Free M&M's Cookies

We are always searching for the perfect gluten free flour blend to try out using our favorite gluten recipes. This time it was M&M's cookies. This was our second try at gluten free cookies. Our first try we used a gluten free cookie mix and while they were ok, they were not to die for cookies. We decided to try Namaste Perfect Flour Blend.


Their web site says that this flour is not compatible with yeast. I found this to be very disappointing as we would like to start baking bread on a weekly basis. But, this could still be a good flour for other
uses.

We used the recipe from the M&M'shttp://www.mms.com/us/baking/recipes/cookies/recipe.jsp?id=52&section=classiccookies web site, Red's Ultimate M&M's cookies. We used 2 cups of the Namaste flour instead of regular wheat flour and we used Peanut M&M's instead of M&M's Minis.

The raw cookie dough was delicious! Everyone knows that if the cookie dough is yummy then the cookies will be yummy too!

They look delectable don't you think? They were perfect. Ok, maybe not perfect but they were pretty damned good! Choosing to use Peanut M&M's was probably not the best idea as they really weighed down the cookie, but the Namaste flour worked out great. I wonder what we will make next?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What we're cooking! Gluten Free Egg Rolls

My daughter and I love Chinese food but we have been missing egg rolls since we began cooking gluten free. I have been looking for an acceptable substitute for wonton wrappers. I think I finally found one! Rice paper wrappers! I found them at our local Asian grocery store. Our first try at making egg rolls was tasty but messy.


Don't they look pretty? Yeah, keep reading!


They still looked pretty while they were cooking! Keep reading.


The finished product. Yeah, not very pretty but they sure tasted good.

Our second try was MUCH more successful. I changed the pan we used and I changed the oil we used.

Pork Egg Rolls
1 lb ground pork
1 pkg mung bean sprouts
4 green onions sliced
1 C chopped cabbage (you can use whatever kind you like)
1 clove garlic crushed
1 TBSP ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1 TBSP soy sauce (San J is gluten free)
1 tsp corn starch
1 egg
mix well
roll in rice paper wrapper that has been softened in warm water for 30 seconds
fry in HOT oil until golden brown

ENJOY!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ulcerative Colitis - Yes, I Live and Breathe UC Daily

For years now I have had issues with diarrhea, rectal bleeding and pain. This all came to a head in May when it became unmanageable. It started out just like a stomach virus. Too bad it didn't stay that way.

I know this all seems TMI, but for me it's not. This is an important subject to discuss. People need to understand just how serious this disease is. Doctors need to listen to patients who come in complaining of chronic diarrhea. When I had a colonoscopy four years ago I was told, "You are not bleeding enough to call it colitis." Seriously? How much does one have to bleed to be diagnosed? This time around she told me immediately following the procedure that I had colitis and we were going to do some tests to determine what kind (there is infectious colitis, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis).

Colitis in all forms is serious. Colitis can kill you. It can cause dehydration and malnutrition. It can destroy your bowel. Treatment is a must. Lucky me, I am not responding to treatment!

If you have colitis or know someone who does I have a list of web sites that I have found helpful.
http://www.ihaveuc.com I Have UC is my favorite. This is a great group of people who have been there and back with sense of humor intact.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ulcerative-colitis/DS00598 everything you've always wanted to know about colitis but were afraid to ask.

http://www.ccfa.org/ Tons of resources

I hope this helps. I am always here if you need me!

What we're cooking! - Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

Making the change to gluten free has been challenging. Baking is the biggest challenge. At least it was until I found the Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free. This book is amazing! The first thing we tried was the Gooey Butter Cake recipe. I tweaked it a little to change it over to triple chocolate. If you did not know it was gluten free then you would never know it was gluten free. This was heaven in a baking dish. Incredible!


Oh yeah, SUPER YUMMY!

Next we tried the Chocolate Sheet cake with Chocolate Pan Frosting. OMG! This was delicious. The frosting was to die for. Unfortunately we forgot to take pictures of this one. My birthday is next week and I am seriously considering the Apricot Cake. It has a White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. I can't wait!

This book is definitely the best investment I have made in a cookbook!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Just Finished Reading - The Confession by John Grisham

I received a free copy of The Confession from BzzAgent. I LOVE this program! But I digress, back to The Confession! I am a huge John Grisham fan and this book did not disappoint. As always, he grabs you from page one and takes you on an emotional roller coaster. This book had me sobbing. Great story and definitely worth your time.

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