Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays? Wasn't it just Thanksgiving? Do you feel the same way I do at this time of year? For me, time has flown by so quickly within the past month. My family and I went to North Carolina for Thanksgiving to visit my twin sister. Her mountain home in Maggie Valley is beautiful. Living in South Florida, you can imagine how refreshing the 30 degree weather was, and let's not forget the fireplace.

This week, the weather dropped to 53 degrees in the morning but that's as low as we've seen in ages. Back to this time of year....I've read a lot about the holidays but one topic seems to bother me. Do you say "Happy Holidays," or "Merry Christmas?"
Personally, it doesn't matter much to me. There was a lot of "brouhagh" (did I spell that wrong?) last year about people saying "Merry Christmas." Retailers prohibited their employees from saying the MC phrase. This year, I've heard that some stores have relented, once again, allowing their employees to use the MC phrase.

We know that we are a melting pot AND that many holidays happen to fall during the month of December. On the Jewish calender Hanuka fell at the beginning of the month. We know that Kwaanza doesn't arrive until January. In many places children are preparing for Santa. Teachers are anticipating two weeks off. Regular old "Joes" are excited about having some time off for Christmas and the New Year. For the most part people are in a jolly kind of mood, a happy state of mind.

As for me, I am longing for the two week break to refresh and relax. Teaching Developmentally Delayed preschoolers zaps my energy every day.

Regarding my "ISSUE" with the use of MC and HH, I feel strongly about my faith in Judiasm and am not threatened by the use of those phrases. The statistics that I've read lately quote that 70% of the US population celebrates Christmas. I view this time of year as a happy time, with family and friends celebrating life and appreciating one another. When I was in a store this past weekend and the woman ringing up my purchase said "Merry Christmas" to me I replied, "Same to you." Did it crumble MY faith to say that? Not one bit. It gave me a reason to smile, knowing that she was sharing her holiday joy with me.

For all of you, whatever you celebrate or don't celebrate, may this time of year bring you joy, peace, and family. Happy Everything!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

MMmmm good, it's good to make Progress, I mean Progresso!


We've been eating home a lot lately. My husband and I decided to start being more financially responsible....there's no place like home. Lately, that is! I've been experimenting and cooking some interesting dishes, thanks to my blog surfing.
I've observed how many of you are resorting to weekly menus. I love the idea and want to start participating. I know that Sea, from Book of Yum has been doing weekly menus for a while as well as Natalie, Gluten Free Mommy. I know there are many more and your names are on the tip of my tongue.

For now, I've made three meals this week that pleased the palates. Monday, I made Coconut Chicken, a recipe borrowed from Mrs. Gluten Free Mommy. The recipe calls for tortilla chips but I substituted gf corn flake crumbs. The chicken was yummy but honestly, the wonderful dipping sauce was the icing on the cake! Orange marmalade, hellman's dijonaisse, dash of curry, chopped fresh ginger...ooh, can you just taste it?

This past Sunday I indulged myself in Macy's home department. The pressure cookers were calling my name and I felt obligated to answer. I know that the Kuhn-rikon is highly recommended but my pocketbook was leaning towrds a more reasonably priced pressure cooker. Linens and Things and Macys sells the Fagor brand. I bought the FAGOR ELITE 6 QT. model. The original price was $90.00, and with the sale ($69.99) AND a $15.00 coupon it came to $55.00. What a deal! One of the web sites I found, Miss Vickie's Pressure Cooking Recipes, recommended the Kuhn first, and the Fagor second.

Anyway, last night I made Chicken Caccitore in 35 minutes. It took longer to prepare the chicken, onions, mushrooms, wine (of course)and more than it did to cook it. After it comes up to pressure it took 9 minutes to cook. Then, I made a Chicken Stock and froze it. (I will scrape off the excess fat when I defrost the chicken stock)

With my new FOODSAVER, we have been purchasing large quantities of food and freezing them in portions. This morning, I took out a 1 lb. 3 oz. package of ground sirloin. When I blog surfed during my break at work I found Going Gluten free's blog. She had a recipe for Turkey Dijon Mushroom Pasta....sounded interesting. If you click on the link, type TURKEY and search her blog you will scroll down and find the recipe. I substituted ground sirloin but I know that the turkey would be a better choice. So, KUDOS go to Going Gluten Free for sharing the recipe. And of course, the Tinkyada pasta is my only choice when using pasta. Just remember to immediately pour cold water over it to stop the cooking.

Have a great Thursday....thanks for sharing your recipes!

Faye

Sunday, November 11, 2007

B and B's in Sonoma Valley??

Good morning...Happy Sunday to one and all....Let's all take the time to remember those who served and are currently serving our country...may they be safe from harm and may they know that we appreciate them.

I am going to Sonoma with my twin sister(fraternal!) next summer and am searching for a B and B that accomodates gf diners. I did find one but am asking for help from the celiac community to find the BEST one!

I went to Napa two summers ago and stayed at a wonderful B and B, but that was before I became a committed gf diner. The owner of the CANDLELIGHT INN, Wendy, did say that she would accomodate me but I am going to Sonoma and want to be closer to that valley. The food at the CANDLELIGHT INN was spectacular, the ambiance wonderful and the close proximity to downtown AND the vineyards was great. It took us approx. 8-10 mins. to get to downtown Napa and 15 mins. to get to the vineyards. If you need some great recommendations for wineries, look no more. We found some that were wonderful!

For now, there's no turning back. I want to live long enough to see my children have children!(and to annoy them!!)Let me know if you can help! (The picture at the top of my blog (in pink outfit) is in the backyard of THE CANDLELIGHT INN)
Thanks

Faye

Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's a start!

Sunday evening...had a relaxing day cooking yummy gf foods. I tried Ellen's Roasted Chicken recipe with honey, pomegranate juice, oj. and more. It was delicious! I also made split pea soup, recommended and posted by Ellen of I Am Gluten Free. Thanks Ellen! I don't have a pressure cooker so I made it in a large pot. It simmered for hours and was also yummy!(Recipe below) Good news! Whole Foods brand, 365, has come out with some gf mixes. Pie crusts, chocolate chip cookies, bread and more. If you're in a hurry and don't have time to make one from scratch, try this. I love the smell of baking bread, don't you? It also states on the box that it is produced in a gluten free facility.
My 2 daughters and my husband are beginning to accept the fact that our house is a gluten free one. It's a process and they're very supportive so I don't anticipate much resistance. I love my new Circulon Infinite pots and the more I experiment and cook, the more they realize that eating gluten free food is just as satisfying as eating gluten filled foods.
Off to slice the bread to make a yummy gf sandwich for my daughter's lunch.
Take care,

Faye

Split Pea Soup with Herbes De Provence
from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass
serves 4 - 6

1 tablespoon safflower or canola oil
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, and rosemary leaves (I had Herbes De Provence in my cupboard, so I used three teaspoons of it)
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 large bay leaf
2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large celery ribs, diced
6 cups boiling water
2 cups dried green split peas, picked over and rinsed
.....
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
salt to taste

Heat the oil in the cooker. Cook the garlic over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, just until it begins to brown. Immediately add the onions and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another minute. Stir in the basil, oregano, rosemary, fennel, and bay leaf. Add the carrots, celery, boiling water (stand back to avoid sputtering oil), and split peas.

Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 6 minutes (I cooked it for 15 minutes, as that is what I found works best). For a hearty texture, quick-release the pressure by setting the pot under cold running water. For a smoother texture, allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape.

Remove the bay leaf. Stir the soup as you add the parsley and salt to taste. This soup will thicken considerably on standing. Thin as needed with water or stock.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gluten Free for ME! The Whole Kitchen!




It has been quite a while since I last posted. For a variety of reasons I've cut back on posting and I don't like the way it feels. I hope that my postings are enjoyable and easy to read. It seems like I don't get a lot of feedback via "comments." I want to fix it and would love some feedback, good or bad, from my celiac community.

As for my life, well, last weekend's wedding (Ellen, of www.iamglutenfree.blogspot.com)was glorious. The four sisters were together and it felt so good. There is truly nothing like family! Ellen looked absolutely stunning. My other sisters and I agreed that we don't know when she looked so gorgeous. I love this picture of us. People think that WE are the twins!(I do have a fraternal twin sister, no celiac) She arranged it so that at the rehearsal dinner AND the wedding reception, gluten-free meals were provided for three of us. Just a feel-good weekend in New England!

Regarding my kitchen, it's time to take another plunge. Yep. We are going gluten-free! Not just the small pantry but "the whole shabang." I consulted my husband and he agreed, that it is in my best interest to do this. I researched and found affordable CIRCULON INFINITE cookware at Macys.com. There are 3 bonus pieces that are wonderful also. All totaled, I'll have 15 pieces, including 5-6 lids. I will be tossing out EVERYTHING from the "other" pantry that contains gluten. Let me not exagerate. We're talking about cereals, breads, crackers, flours. There are so many other things in the pantry that pour (and so have not had cross-contact)so I don't mean empty the pantry, just rid it of GLUTEN. I am really excited about it and hopefully, my family will embrace it with me. My daughter in college paused when I told her. She may not be happy but I will be healthy.

Your suggestions on both counts: what part of my kitchen would you toss other than obvious...wooden everything that has had contact with gluten and teflon pans. AND, how can I increase traffic with my blog???
I wish you all well and hope that your Thanksgiving is a bountiful one, flowing with yummy gf food. Take care...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Weight watching "gluten free style"

Good Sunday morning! It's been raining here in South Florida for weeks now. Feast or famine...either the grass is brown or an umbrella doesn't even do the trick!

I struggled for months with my new-found weight gain. Yep, for me, being compliant meant gaining unwanted pounds. When I finally faced the music and got on a scale, I discovered that 11 pounds found their way onto my hips, stomach and boobs. Yuck, yuck, yuck....again, my sister Ellen, of I Am Gluten Free, inspired me to investigate the reliable Weight Watchers routine. I decided to go online and register...go at it alone. In three weeks I've lost 3 pounds. For those of you who don't know weight watchers, the slower the better. "Slower to take it off, slower to put it on." That has to be my new mantra because most people would've thrown in the towel at this point. Going online I can record my daily points, look up recipes (adapting gf, of course), and find point values. It's a good tool for me.

So now, we read labels for gluten and point value. Think Thin is a gf bar I've eaten for the past two years. Yummy, but 5 points, so instead of a snack, it becomes my meal. I eat sllloowwly so it lasts. You just cannot imagine how many calories are racked up in gf breads and pasta. Be careful....take my 11 pound weight gain advice. It catches up with you in no time!
I think I am beginning to master the gf, ww routine. Weighing my protein at night has also made a huge difference. 4-5 ounces of chicken is plenty if you add salad and a vegetable.
Here's my favor....please, if you've had success with maintaining your weight eating gf, with or without Weight Watchers please share. Let me know your secrets.

Fondly,

Faye

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy New Year and Honey, do I have a cake for you!

Happy New Year to all who are celebrating the Jewish New Year. This year's dinners created mixed feelings for me. Family is so very important, especially at the holidays. It doesn't matter what holiday we celebrate, what religion we are, what we believe. What matters most, is that we have family to share it with. Sometimes we have to turn our close friends into family. That's what I had to do.

I have three sisters. My eldest sister is a teacher and lives in upstate New York. I see her at least one time a year thank goodness, but it's hard with our schedules. Next in line is Ellen, of I Am Gluten Free. She lives in Massachusetts. I visited her this summer and we had a fabulous time. Laughed till I well, we won't go there! She is amazing, fun, loving, and zany, like the rest of our sisters. My twin sister just moved to North Carolina. Yes, there is a huge migration out of Florida to N.C., S.C., and Georgia. Seems the taxes, heat, melting pot, and more, have pushed many people to leave. So this Rosh Hashana was the first one I have ever, and I mean ever spent without a family member to share the holiday with. My daughter is at the University of Central Florida and didn't come home. She will be home this coming weekend for Yom Kippur, the holiest of our holidays.

At my table sat new and old (veteran)diners. I made the typical fare including a lot of sweetness for the new year. This time though, I made sure to make 90% of the meal gluten free. I did make noodle kugel and barley but that was all I had that didn't touch my lips. The main dish was from the Silver Palate Good Times cookbook, Chicken with apricots and currants(I used raisins). Yummy and delicious! The leftovers make awesome chicken salad. The jello mold was cool and refreshing. I made stuffed cabbage for the first time also. It was out of this world delicious! I have a friend who doesn't eat beef so I substituted ground turkey. They raved about it! Then, so not to deprive myself, I made a noodle kugel with Tinkyada White Rice Noodles. It was so good my daughter preferred it to the original one with egg noodles. Yeah! Last but not least, I made a gf Honey Cake that was the best I've ever had, with or without gluten. Easy as pie, I mean cake, and I promise you, this is a keeper! Please try it for me. You won't be disappointed.

And so, back to my heart, I tried to make the best of the situation without my loving and wonderful family surrounding me. I loved having my friends there but there's nothing like the real thing! Fortunately, my sisters and I are gathering next month on Cape Cod for Ellen's daughter's wedding. I cannot wait to sing and dance with my sisters. It's too bad it takes so long to realize how important and dear our siblings are. Growing up our mother taught us to accept one another because family will always be there to support us no matter what occurs. May she rest in peace, MOM, you were right. They are the best and thank you for teaching us to love one another.

I hope you too, find the joy I have found in my sisters. In good health....

Gluten Free Honey Cake

3/4 C turbinado sugar or white sugar
1 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
4 eggs
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 cup orange juice
3 cups Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix (GF)
1 1/2 teaspoons gf baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Cover the botton of a 9" circular baking pan with parchment paper, then spray the inside of the pan lightly with baking spray.
3. Stir together the flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
4. Separate the eggs. In one bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. In another bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, honey, oil, applesauce and orange zest,
5. Using a whisk or hand beater, add the flour mmixture and orange juice to the wet mixture slowly. When mixed thoroughly, fold the egg whites carefully into the batter, stirring just until ingredients are fully combined.
6. Pour batter into pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake's center comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Remove from oven and allow to cool before carefully removing from pan and placing onto a cooling rack.
Enjoy!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Ttg and more...






Well, it's been 3 weeks of work and I'm pooped. I love my job but it is physically exhausting.Running around after 11 3,4, and 5 yr. olds is meant for the young!I decided to report in on my follow-up visit at the gastro. The good news is that my Ttg is 1. Yep, that's it...a "1." Actually, he said that the doctor that wrote the report indicated NO PRESENCE OF SPRUE! Now, he knows that I have Celiac Disease, and you and I know that I do.....but how awesome is it that my intestines have healed enough to get those results? The dr. saw some scalloping and reported that to me immediately after the procedure. He did tell me that when my gp (referring physician) gets the results, to make sure he knows that I do indeed have Celiac, and that I'm doing a great job at being compliant! Okay enough cheerleading for me!

I promised that I'd report on my trip to Denver this summer. I went to a wonderful restaurant called Abrusci's in Wheatridge, Colorado, about 20 minutes from downtown Denver. I found them by GOOGLING gf restaurants in Denver. I ordered breadsticks with mozzerella cheese, calamari with gf breading (YUM), and a chicken dish. I ate every last morsel of food off of my plate. Hubby and I shared everything so he ordered off the gf menu as well.

The restaurant uses bread from Deby's Gluten Free Cafe, also in Denver. I drove to Deby's when my husband was at his conference. (I am brave!)I ordered breakfast, a breakfast burrito with sausage and eggs. The waitress gave me some french fries also. Then, I asked if I could sample the bread and the next thing I knew, there was a plate with every kind of bread they serve. They were all delicious! I ordered bread and gf oats to be shipped to Florida and sent a package to my sister Ellen.

When it arrived some of the bread was already spoiled. After dealing with the manager who kindly refunded my money I was still disappointed. From what I understand they are letting customers know about the possibility of spoilage AND that they were no longer responsible after the order leaves the cafe. In other words, the possibility exists that your order will sit in a very hot truck, increasing the chance of spoilage. I think I'm going to be smart next time and I recommend it for you also....wait until the cold of winter to place an order...that should take care of that glitch. The bread is wonderful and I recommend it. Just be careful when you order it.

I'm excited about the Palm Beach Celiac Support Group's first Vendor Fair on Saturday, February 2, 2008. Did I say 2008? Oy! I've contacted some companies for Lisa and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, if you know of any companies who are interested in FABULOUS exposure, please let me know. We anticipate approx 500 people as Orlando and Tampa's support groups will be attending. Spread the word!

Hope all is well in your worlds! Take care and be safe....

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Nothingness and more!

Good morning. It's been a while since I posted. I've been visiting sisters, and enjoying every moment. Last Tuesday, I returned from the Syracuse area. My sister has a "Travel Model," a sort of permenant RV home at Brennan Beach. It's located near Oswego and Syracuse, on Lake Ontario. We spent 7 days doing a lot of "nothing." How wonderful! For 9 months of the year I am on a continuous treadmill, teaching Developmentally Delayed pre-schoolers. We sat and chatted, ate delicious meals SLOWLY, laughed and enjoyed one another's company. When my sister apologized for a week of "nothingness" I thanked her for it.

We went out for dinner to a real "hole in the wall" place for chicken wings. I took a chance and ate the wings, praying that I wouldn't regret my decision. When I finally had access to a computer I looked up the wing sauce to see if it was gluten free. They were soooo good and I hoped they were. Whew! Franks Original Hot Sauce is gluten free. Melt a few sticks of butter (oy), add some chopped garlic, add hot sauce to taste (be careful, I like them mild so I used less), grill wings, and enjoy! They were so good that we made them two more times during the week.

Today. I'm on an imposed fast! Well, not really imposed! I went to a new gastroenterologist in Boynton Beach. I discovered him at the Palm Beach Celiac Support Group meeting I attended. He specializes in Celiac Disease and it was time. Time for well, you know. It's been 6 years since my last colonoscopy and endoscopy. For today I'll be drinking clear liquids and eating jello. Actually, I am sort of excited to find out the "status" of my intestines. I've been fully gluten free since January so I'm anxious to see if I've reaped the rewards.

I've been cooking some interesting dishes in the past few weeks. Eggplant! Parmesan, NOT! At least not like I remember. Try this....

Stuffed Eggplant

Eggplant
Onion
Garlic
Grated parmesan cheese
Dried basil and oregano
Salt and Pepper
Ground sirloin or turkey
Green pepper
Marinara sauce, if desired

Cut an eggplant in half lengthwise. Do Not Peel! Scoop out the insides and chop. Saute onion, garlic, green pepper and the chopped eggplant. I added ground sirloin also but for those who prefer otherwise, use ground turkey or just omit. Add lots of italian seasoning (basil and oregano), grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. When cooked, put back into the cavity of the eggplant. Bake 45 minutes on 350, add slice of mozzarella to top and put back in oven for another 10 minutes. I put some marinara sauce on the side. Deliciouso!

Enjoy!

I have 5 more days of summer vacation left. It has been a glorious summer for me. Except for Florida's heat and humidity I accomplished a lot. I cleaned out my entire pantry and separated my gluten free foods. I put all flours in containers and labeled them. My sister Ellen, of I Am Gluten Free, showed me how easy baking is when your ingredients are conveniently organized. I have two pantries, a walk in and a closet pantry. Putting my gf food in the closet pantry was empowering. Thank you Ellen.

Starting Tuesday I'll prepare my classroom for 10-15 three to five year old preschoolers. It is my 27th year as a Speech Pathologist and I still love what I do. How many people can say that?

Well, gotta go make some yummy jello, hot tea or whatever clear liquids I can find! Wish me luck!

Fondly,

Faye

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lentil Soup in the summertime!




I've been attempting to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my daily diet. It takes quite a lot of thought unless.....when life gives you lentils, you make lentil soup.

I know it has been brutally hot outside (above 90 every day + humidity)and the thought of soup may not appeal to everyone. Too lazy to run to the food market, I perused my pantry. A bag of lentils, a trip to google.com, and a recipe where I had all but one ingredient on hand. Not too bad, eh?
Whatever the season, soup seems to warm the soul. The lentil soup cooked for a few hours instead of the 1 hour they suggested. I needed to get the spinach, the only ingredient missing for the soup. If you print the recipe, please add: a few tablespoons of VOGUE CUISINE powdered vegetable bouillon. I guess you could use vegetable stock instead but that was an afterthough.Suffice it to say, the lentil soup was delicious. Today, I had some and added another great find to make it scrumptious....The Gluten Free Pantry came out with olive oil and garlic croutons....crunchy and yummy.

I know that quick and easy recipes are the key, especially when we want to add veggies...this recipe includes carrots, celery, tomatoes, and spinach! Enjoy!\

Lentil Soup (allrecipes.com by Marie)

Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (14.5 oz.)can crushed tomatoes (I USED DICED)
2 cups dry lentils
8 cups water
1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar (I USED WHITE)
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil. Cook for two minutes.
Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Soulful Retreat!




I just returned from spending 5 days with my sister, Ellen (www.iamglutenfree.com) in Worcester, Massachusetts. Our visit together was truly one full of "sisterly love." People sometimes say that they wouldn't choose members of their family as friends. I disagree! Ellen and I are bound by family first, friendship second. We spent 5 glorious days laughing, cooking, eating, and shopping. (We love T.J. Maxx, Homegoods, etc.)

When I got off the plane we drove to downtown Boston to meet my niece for lunch. We went to Wagamamas, an asian restaurant with a gf menu. There is another one in London as well. I enjoyed a stir-fry rice with tofu dish that was yummy. Kudos for Wagamamas for accomodating us.

We stopped at the market to pick up all sorts of ingredients to cook. I wish we had Trader Joe's in Florida...I've got a bad case of Trader Joe's envy! During my stay we made fresh almond milk, museli, tofu stir fry, french rolls, fresh vegetable juice and more. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables definitely improved my digestion...take my word on that!
My brother-in-law, Peter, filmed us making almond milk and museli for youtube. It's hilarious. Go to www.youtube.com and type in Ellen Allard. Ellen said that I had my teacher hat on and was way too conservative. But, we had fun!

I came home Monday evening, restored. Ellen restored my faith in myself. We all need reminders to keep us on track. Like I told her when she was diagnosed, "this isn't a death sentence." Thanks to my gf blogging community I have EMBRACED my celiac. I got "juiced," literally and figuratively. My body and soul received nourishment for 5 days...what a gift.

When I awoke Tuesday morning I went to Tunies (health food market), the asian market, and Whole Foods. I stocked up on some essentials I'd learned about from Ellen. I made my own museli, made hummus from raw chickpeas, and made raisin scones. For dinner I made stir-fried tofu. Ellen's tip: I coated the tofu with cornstarch, giving it a hard outside. I used Agave Syrup to sweeten the dish, another Ellen's tip! The recipe for the scones is from Bob's Red Mill. The dough is VERY sticky so I put the sorghum flour on my hands as I flattened it onto the baking sheet. This morning, I put a piece in the toaster oven, added some Earth Balance, and was in Planet Celiac heaven.
Last night, I went to the Palm Beach Celiac Support Group meeting. Lisa, Gluten Free Vegan, lives close to me and invited me to join. I was so happy to meet her and enjoyed the meeting. Next February, thanks to Lisa's efforts, we are having a vendor fair, the first in Florida. Something to look forward to! I learned that the fundraising efforts of the support group sent 80 children to gf summer camp. WOW! How inspiring! Thank you Lisa, for opening up another door for me.

A soulful retreat...sounds good doesn't it? If you live in South Florida and are interested in a cooking retreat, please let me know. I'd love to share experiences as we cook away the day! As for my sister Ellen, THANK YOU, for inspiring me to fully embrace my Celiac Disease. Thanks for sharing your gf kitchen with me, for laughing till it hurt! You are the best and I love you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Princess Cruises - BRAVO!

Dear All,

I returned back from our family vacation on Sunday morning. We had a fabulous time aboard the Caribbean Princess, cruising to the Eastern Caribbean. Many weeks before we sailed I faxed a script from my doctor, indicating that I needed a gluten free diet. Well, accomodating is an understatement! The first meal, the buffet, scared me at first. I approached a uniformed gentleman and explained my sitation. Within 5 minutes a tall man appeared with a large chef hat. The "Big Kahuna" I called him, went through the line with me, explaining what I could and could not eat. He even had the kitchen prepare some dishes without sauce for me. Whew! I took a deep breath and knew it was going to be okay!

At the first evening meal I told the waitstaff that I was gluten free. They ALL knew exactly what I meant. From that moment on, the head waiter provided the next day's menu for me to choose my meal. Gluten free bread was brought to the table without my asking. Our particular waitress was from Thailand and was delightful. She was excited as she told me what I could have. "Accentuate the positive" was her attitude. I had gf corn muffins for breakfast also. Each and every person working in the eating areas was familiar with "GF" and all that it meant. BRAVO TO PRINCESS CRUISES for making my vacation the best!

Prior to my cruise, I mentioned before that I went to Denver. I am so tired from unpacking so I will download pictures of my gf finds tomorrow...be well...

Faye

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hello..it's been a while!

Hello to all of my gluten-free friends. It has been a very long month since I wrote. A lot has good stuff has taken my time....my daughter had prom, orientation at University of Central Florida, graduation, and my tying up loose ends at my job. I'm off for the summer now and have a full agenda. However, I have truly missed writing and hearing from you all.

I am in Denver, Colorado with my husband. We arrived on Saturday the 9th and have been on the go! We went to Boulder and Estes Park when we arrived. On Sunday, we drove around as well, sightseeing metro Denver. Yesterday and today he was in business meetings so I galavanted (a word my mom used to use)and shopped in fun boutiques. The best part is yet to come....I found Deby's Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe, Beau Jo's, a pizza "joint" that uses Deby's pizza crusts, and an Italian restaurant who uses her stuff as well. When I get home I'll give you the details with pictures! I was like a kid in a candy store as I enjoyed my gluten free food. Ah, Nirvana!

Anyway, hope all is well with everyone...Lisa, I am going to join your support group when I get home from the cruise we are taking next week with the kids. A last hurrah for my daughter before we take her to UCF.

Please come back in a few days to see what goodies I found in the Denver area. For now, be well....

Faye

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Muffins, muffins, muffins!


Good morning and Happy Mother's Day to all! Had a good week...a Mother's Day breakfast for my school kid's mothers....I made regular zucchini bread and strawberry muffins...yummy! As for me, I used Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix. I followed the recipe on the back for the muffins and added fresh strawberries. It couldn't have been easier and took no time at all.

Last night I had "gourmet night." Every 6-8 weeks we have dinner with 4 other couples. The hostess made Chile-Seared Salmon with Sweet Pear Pineapple Salsa which was excellent. I was responsible for the starch and bread. I made Green Rice Pilaf, substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth. For the bread part I made Tex-Mex Quick Bread. I decided to adapt the recipe for myself so, while the gluten filled version was baking I took Pamela's Ultimate Bread Mix, followed the muffin recipe, (but omitted the vanilla because it was a savory, not sweet muffin) and made some gluten free tex-mex muffins!
Dessert was yummy also...I read the recipes thoroughly to see if I can eat them. I also question the cook to make sure it's safe for me.

My sister Ellen asked me if I worried about cross-contamination regarding other people's kitchens and utensils. No, I know these women well and know how clean their kitchens are. They also know the danger of my being "glutened" and wouldn't put me in the position of being "glutened."

I hope you'll try these recipes. They put a smile on my face and made it wonderful to be gluten-free and healthy. My best to you....

Adaptations: Strawberry Muffins

1 -1/4 cup Pamela's Mix
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, cut up
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sugar (or 1/3 cup honey)

Sprinkle sugar over strawberries. Let sit for a few minutes. Then, add all other ingredients together and add to strawberry mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. Makes approximately 6 muffins. ENJOY!

Tex-Mex Muffins

1 -1/4 cup Pamela's Mix
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1/4 cup chopped black olives, drained
1/8-1/4 cup sugar

Mix all above ingredients well. In a separate bowl, add:
1/2 cup milk
1 can drained, chopped green chiles
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg beaten

Mix wet ingredients with dry mixture. Bake in muffin tin for 20
minutes. ENJOY!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Living like the rich!

Good evening...I hope you all had a great weekend. As for me...I spent the weekend at the Turnberry Isle Resort and Club in Miami. My husband won the trip through business and it wasn't until I got there until I realized how hard he worked to earn it!

Valet parking a must....rooms with 37" plasma tv on the wall, marble baths and showers, tv, phone, and bidet in bathroom! Ice water continuously offered at the pool with ice cold washcloths...oh my, I could go on and on. But...the best part was the reaction I got regarding my dietary needs. The first morning I approached a man with a suit (figured he looked important). We spoke briefly and then, he said, "I'll get the chef." Not just any chef, the Big Kahuna! He had a former employer with Celiac Disease so he was willing to go overboard for me....and he did. I had Whole Foods gluten free rolls at Fridays dinner. At each meal, a chef accompanied me on the buffet to tell me what did and didn't have gluten. Black bean salad, yes, regular salad and dressings, yes, chicken, yes, lobster, yes...I said lobster!, yes. At the beginning of Saturday night's awards dinner I approached another gentleman. I said, "I have spoken to the chef and"..he interrupted me and said, "Yes, the chef prepared you a gluten-free sauce for the filet mignon and salmon. The polenta is fine also." He also brought out four slices of what looked like Whole Foods Sun-dried tomato bread. Dinner was yummy...everyone else got an ice cream dessert. I walked away from our table for a few minutes. When I returned, there was a huge bowl of mango, strawberry, and lemon sherbet with berries! Wow! That certainly was the icing on the cake...I mean sherbet!

The next morning I approached a waiter who knew about my needs as well. He said, "Right, you can't have gluten. Can I make you egg whites?" When I replied, I asked about the gluten free bread from the night before. Five minutes later I had my scrambled egg whites and gluten free toast!

Needless to say, I had a fabulous weekend. I had lots of anxiety about what I would eat..but alas, it melted, thanks to the chef. Having a $400.00 credit to spend as we pleased didn't hurt either. I had an 82.00 pedicure (can you believe?)and my husband had fun in the golf shop. He played golf, I worked on my tan, we ate well, slept well, and enjoyed the weekend without stress.

As for today...back to work...17 days until summer vacation...ahhhh....

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Kinnikinnick Lemon Cranberry Cookies

Just a quickie...today's my birthday! And....one of my parents (from school) bought me Kinnikinnick Lemon Cranberry Cookies (soft and chewy) AND Gingersnap Cookies (CRUNCHY!) to share with my class. It was very thoughtful of her, don't you agree? Serving size is 2 cookies, 38 calories, 2 cookies 87 calories respectively. I tasted the Lemon Cranberry ones and they are delish!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be well.....

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Creamed Spinach to die for and other mumblings!

It's 8:10 p.m. Tuesday night...Idol night in our house..yes, I confess...I am an Idol Junkie! I really enjoy watching especially now that it's become a real competition. Had a great day..only 23 days until summer vacation. Reminds me, I need to fax the prescription to Princess Cruises so that they can make me gluten free food every day. Actually, a friend told me that she knew someone who recently went on a cruise and they had gluten free bread and other goodies at every meal. Can't wait!

We went to a friend's house on Sunday for a barbeque. Friends like that are what we all need. She bought me not one, but three gluten free salad dressings AND rice crackers for the hummus. How 'bout it....wouldn't we all like friends like that!

I contributed to the meal by making creamed spinach. I adapted the recipe by using white rice flour instead of regular flour. Otherwise, the recipe stayed the same. Try it...it was sooo goood you'll wish you doubled the recipe!

Going to an upscale country club this weekend...my husband won the trip...I'll need to stop at Whole Foods to stock up in case they can't accomodate me. My sister, Ellen, always takes an insulated lunch bag with her just in case there's too much risk in eating out. I'll buy some of my faves...Stonyfield lowfat yogurt (the vanilla is the best), Envirokidz Peanut Butter bars, navel oranges, Nature Path honey corn flakes, and whatever else. I'll fill up the cooler with ice each day just in case! Otherwise, me, a book, the sun, and a comfy lounge chair by the pool! Ahhhh. Until then....

Creamed Spinach

2 pounds fresh spinach, tough stems removed and washed
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (WHITE RICE FLOUR, SAME MEASUREMENT)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside.
Bring the cream to a low boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat. Melt the butter in medium-heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, and then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon, until a light blond roux forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk in a steady stream, whisking constantly, and cook until thick and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the salt, white pepper and nutmeg and simmer until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the hot cream, whisking constantly, and cook for 1 minute. Fold in the Swiss and Parmesan cheeses, and mix until smooth. Add the spinach, mix well and cook until completely warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it! (thanks Pointer Sisters!)


Good afternoon. I know that I blogged two days ago but I just had to share an awesome experience with you. Last night, we went to my daughter's high school yearbook dinner. As a senior, she opted to bring her parents. Maggianos is the name of the Italian restaurant, with family style dining. We alerted the caterer of my situation so I'd have food to eat.

When I walked into the restaurant and was introduced to our waiter I was relieved. He was Johnny on the spot, ready to help. I ordered plain, grilled salmon and steamed broccoli. Everyone else ate pasta galore, breaded chicken, and chicken marsala AND it didn't bother me one bit. Toward the end of the meal I remembered (thanks to my gluten free diet) that someone told me they had gluten free pasta. I asked the waiter, and within 10 minutes, a steaming bowl of rotili shaped pasta with butter and parmesan was sitting in front of me. As you can imagine I was bursting with joy. It is absolutely the ONLY restaurant I've ever been in that provides gluten free pasta.

So, with that said, I'll keep this short and sweet! Maggianos are located all over the country. Click on the link and follow your nose to the nearest Maggianos. Ciao!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bag it!

This past Saturday was Earth Day! Most people read about it, hear about it, and do nothing to honor it, right? I watched Diane Sawyer on 20/20 last Friday night. She talked about the massive amounts of plastic garbage bags filling up our garbage dumps. Do you recycle your plastic bags? We do. Every time they accumulate we take them back to Publix (our grocery store) and place them in the recyclable container. We are the minority, you can bet! But now, my family and I are going to part of a different minority...reusable grocery bags!

After I watched the show it made me think about what I could do and what I could teach my two teenage daughters to do about helping to save our Earth. Global warming is the new buzz phrase. Finding ways to reduce global warming in a selfish, self-centered society is going to be a challenge. Recently, former Vice President Al Gore won an Academy Award for An Inconvenient Truth, a film documentary exposing the truth about global warming. I think it awoke many of us to why we have to take responsibility for global warming. It is no longer a political issue, but a moral challenge for us all.

Back to the plastic garbage bags....The most logical place for me is to start with replacing those plastic garbage bags with reusable ones. This morning, I searched online for them for hours. I found enviro-this and enviro-that....expensive ones with fancy graphics or those made of recycled cotton. Then, there were the less expensive ones. All in all, there were choices for everyone. You can spend a lot or a little TODAY, or future generations will pay a lot later.

I called Whole Foods, who was out of them yesterday. They received a huge shipment today. I was excited, really excited. The adrenaline flowed as I anticipated walking into Whole Foods and "grabbing" them up. Whole Foods bags are green, made of a sturdy mesh-like material. When I asked the cashier how they hold up after repeated uses, he told me that people use them over and over again. Whew! Good answer! I bought 7 to start...a few in my husband's car and a few in mine.

Honestly, I am so excited to start doing my share to keep our Earth clean. I'd like to invite you to join me as I set an example for those around me. It's a feel-good kind of thing that anyone can do! Join me, please?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Kissing Hand! by Audrey Penn

As a speech pathologist teaching Developmentally Delayed preschoolers I have to be very creative every day, all day. Routines pave the way for their future learning. We follow the same routine every day. I just change the letter of the alphabet, change the related activites, but the routine stays the same. Today, we finished working on Mr. R. I found a paper bag raccoon puppet pattern, had the kids color the black mask, cut out the eyes and glued it to a popsicle stick. Cute, huh? The routine stays the same. Works for them....for me, keeping things routine doesn't quite work. Yes, we all do daily things at approximately the same time but routine, NOT!

Every day, I take my creative mind, search the internet (mostly gf sites and blogs), and make dinner. I love trying new recipes and re-creating your masterpieces. Tonight, for example, I am going to make the gluten free buttermilk biscuits my sister Ellen made for my brother-in-law's birthday! Nothing routine about my dinners. I believe that's what keeps me compliant. I "change up" my menu every day. As Ellen says, take any cookbook at all, make some magical gf substitutions and VOILA, you have a creative masterpiece.

Back to my job....I searched on the internet for raccoon ideas to relate to the puppets we made. I came to The Kissing Hand, a book by Audrey Penn. I remembered reading the book last year to my class. If you have small children it's a great find! It's about a small raccoon who doesn't want to go to school and leave his mother. She kissed the palm of his hand, touched his hand to his cheek, and told him that the LOVE travels up the arm and to his heart. This way, he'll always have her with him. Enough to make me cry, especially when my mom is no longer with us.

I proceeded to kiss the palms of the children's hands, touch their cheeks, and smile. You should've seem the warmth in their eyes. What a great book to give for a baby shower!

ROUTINE...good for some, necessary for others. For all of us, in the gf world...change is good. Trying new recipes and new ideas is good. Keeps us optimistic. I'm not even sure if today's post makes any sense to you. Just a happy read I guess! Happy that I have all of you to help me get through the day, routine or not!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fuggetaboutit!!

Good morning! While my memory is fresh I wanted to talk about something very important - before I forget!

Celiac Disease is one of the autoimmune diseases that has many negative effects. The symptoms vary from person to person. There are lots ways we are affected by Celiac Disease but the result is the same for everyone. Poor health! We all know about the gastrointestinal efffects: the diarrhea, loose stools, glossy, shiny bowel movements, and last but not least, the stomach pain. When I was unintentionally "glutened" last week the pains were horrible. Not lower (below the navel) but upper stomach pain that made me bend over in pain. Have you ever had those pains that make you bend over and hold your breath? Yep, that kind of pain.

The anemia that plagued me for 20 years is the main reason my diagnosis came about. The hematologist couldn't understand why my hematacrit levels never moved in an upward direction. After 9-12 mos. of iron consumption but not absorption, he referred me to a gastroenterologist. A colonoscopy and endoscopy resulted in my eventual diagnosis.

So, we have gastrointestinal symptoms and anemia. Next on the list is osteopenia, the step just before osteoporosis. I had eaten and loved cottage cheese for 20 years. Can you imagine eating all of that calcium and not absorbing any of it? Two bone density scans have revealed the sad news that if my hips should weaken and I fall, it won't be a pretty site! Hip replacement at my early age - enough to keep me compliant!

The next effect and possibly the one I notice the most is neurological side effects. Fuggetaboutit? No, don't forget about it. Forgetfulness has haunted me for years. I thought it was pre-menopausal, then menopausal, and now post-menopausal. Nope! Well, maybe a little. But honestly, celiac disease zapped my memory. UNTIL NOW!

After approx. 8 weeks of being totally compliant, (two exceptions when I was unintentionally "glutened") I have noticed an improvement in my memory. I am remembering things better and more clearly than I have in ages. Isn't that terrific? We can count on the gastrointestinal effects improving but improving my memory is a gift. That's it! It's a gift.

Every day has to be a gift! To be healthy with a good memory (even after menopause) can make every day better. Don't you agree? Now, when I write notes to myself and hide them I remember where I hid them! Ya know, you've all done that! Write things down or put things in a safe place and "HUH?" You think, "Where did I put that piece of paper or that bill that has to be paid?" Been there done that, don't wanna go back!

So, if you can remember, please let me know about how you have been affected by Celiac, before and after diagnosis. Sharing with those who experience the same things is therapeutic. Now, don't forget!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Don't go STIR CRAZY!

It's late and my pillow is calling me. So is Dancing With the Stars on Tivo...went back to work today, teacher's workday...no kids, lots accomplished. Then, went to a mall about 20 mins. from home to handle a return. I took my daughter with me and we shopped...what else is new?

Hungry for food and contemplating the task of explaining myself at the restaurant, my daughter convinced me to try. A restaurant called STIR CRAZY is located in the mall. As the name states, it's like a salad bar with fresh veggies. At the end of the bar are sauces and very, very hot woks (behind a glass). The men behind the glass take your bowl, toss and "stir," add noodles or rice with the sauce of our choice and voila, dinner is served!

Okay so here I go again..."I have a disease that causes me to get sick if I eat certain foods." blah, blah, blah! This time though, I was pleasantly surprised when the waiter, who was so cute and young (oh well), knew exactly what I was talking about. He stated that the chef made up a classic chinese or teriyaki gluten free sauce that he would bring to the end of that "salad bar-like" line when I got there. He must've been watching carefully because as soon as I got to the glass with the cooks he appeared with my gluten free teriyaki sauce. WOW! That's service and oh, was he cute!

With some edamame, brown rice, and a variety of veggies and chicken (unmarinated of course) I was in STIR CRAZY heaven. They are located in six states. I just had to share my find with you! Next time you have a YEN for asian stir fry, don't go STIR CRAZY, just look for one!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday, whatever you believe, GOOD FRIDAY!

Good morning, and Good Friday...to all who celebrate Easter, may you have a blessed weekend. For those of us celebrating Friday, TGIF! Actually, for me, it just means that Monday is closer and my Spring Break is almost over. I go back to work on Monday and start counting 7 long weeks until summer vacation. Don't misunderstand me...teaching developmentally delayed preschoolers is awesome. When people say, "It must be rewarding," I just shake my head (after hearing it 2,000,000 times in the past 26 years). It truly is rewarding. Seeing the language development that goes on in my classroom is amazing. The light bulb goes off in their heads all day long! But, summer vacation means 9 loooong weeks to cook, clean closets and drawers, and drink two, not one, but TWO cups of coffee while I read the newspaper. Yeah!

Last night I "whipped" up a quickie but a yummy dinner. My younger daughter has been craving Penne a la Vodka for weeks now. The list of ingredients is short:

Penne a la Vodka

1 bag of Tinkyada pasta (I used the rotini)
1/2 pint (1 cup) regular whipping cream
1 can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes (any brand will due)
GARLIC, LOTS OF IT -- I used 3 cloves
1 large onion, diced
s and p to taste
dash of crushed red pepper
VODKA, 1/4 cup
olive oil

1. Coat the bottom of a wok pan or pot with the olive oil.
2. Saute chopped garlic, 2-3 minutes
3. Add the onions
4. Saute until soft
5. Add tomatoes (PUREE THEM OR BUY PUREED IF YOU DON'T WANT THE CHUNKS OF TOMATOES)
6. Add whipping cream and vodka
7. Add salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
8. Boil the pasta (remember to rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking of the pasta)
9. Drain pasta, add to sauce...ENJOY....

The whole thing from start to finish took me less than 30 minutes...helllo Rachel Ray, did you hear that?
I could've added garlic bread, gf of course and a salad but I was lazy!

You see, I spent the day at the spa...yes, last year, one of my parents from school (I worked in an affluent area)gave me a gift certificate to the Boca Raton Resort Spa. Close your eyes and let me take you with me as I relive yesterday...

They gave me a key, a locker, a robe, and slippers....went into an Inhalation room, with cucumbers on my eyes, an ice cold washcloth on my eyes, and eucylyptus (SP) sprayed into the air. I layed down on the bench and relaxed. "Okay," she said, "it's time to go to the bath," A ritual bath, they call it....soapy bath with a facial scrub and a wet washcloth to remove after ten minutes, a loofah scrub and exfoliating concoction, frozen grapefruit smoothie in a shot glass, and bath salts to sprinkle. Is this heaven? After what seemed to be forever, the woman escorted me to a shower, the car wash. Seemed like hundreds of jet spray hot water on your body until you tingle like pins and needles....then to another shower, where I climbed down three steps, put my face down, and three jets pounded, yes pounded my shoulders and back with water. STRESS becomes stress, becomes, yes! On a five minute timer, thank goodness, and into the jacuzzi I went. Ahhhh....orange and grapefruit slices, glasses of cold water...ahhhhh.

Over yet? No...dried off, went to the Great Room, and awaited my Albanian masseuse. His name was Vlatmir, I think...By that time, my brain cells were on mush! I got a back, shoulder and neck massage, lasting 30 minutes. He massaged my head too. Can I sleep here, I thought. No...it ended, and I had to leave! To the locker room, put on my swimsuit, out to the pool for two hours to read the book I just got from the library. Ice cold water to drink was just 10 steps away. Silence. Ahhhhh. I ordered a salad with feta, not blue cheese to be safe...ate it without dressing...put the rolls in my bag for my kids, and ahhhh.

At 2 p.m. I took a shower, using their mango-coconut products, dressed, and bid adieu my wonderful day of relaxation. I had used 7 bath towels and didn't need to launder them!

A well-deserved thank you note will be written to the family that gave me the gift of relaxation. Meanwhile, makes you think. We could all create our own day of relaxation. Some aromatherapy products, light some candles, fresh salad, and peace and quiet. I have seen those aromatherapy steam fountains at Whole Foods and was always tempted to buy one. Especially the one that changes colors.

Ahhhh. Wanna Join? We could all use more relaxation in our lives.

Take care, be well, and Happy Friday to all....

Monday, April 02, 2007

Chicken soup and matzo balls - OMGoodness!

OMG! I am in Passover heaven - two words that didn't really go together until about 15 minutes ago. You see, not eating "REAL" matzo balls can put you into depression mode, at least for me. Until now! I searched online for the perfect gluten free matzo ball, another phrase that doesn't sound like it should go together. Until now!

I made the chicken stock for the soup last night...froze it...this morning I scraped off the fat, added PACIFIC CHICKEN BROTH AND VOGUE chicken bouillon powder, some fresh dill, s and p to taste!

Then, after making REAL matzo balls for the rest of the family, I took a deep breath, prayed to the gluten free g-ds above, and began. As I searched online I eventually came to a recipe from the Gluten free pantry...

Gluten Free matzo balls

It says one serving but I got a lot of matzo balls...I edited a little also.

4 eggs
3 T chicken fat/margarine (I used butter)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. xantham gum
1 cup instant potato flakes
4 T chicken stock (I took it from the soup)

Beat the eggs and the fat (whichever you choose)
Mix potato flakes with xantham gum and salt
Add to egg and fat mixture
Add stock, mix well.
Chill for 20-30 minutes.

***At this point, I felt that the batter was not thick enough so I eyeballed about 1/2 cup more potato flakes. Use your judgement.

WET HANDS (A MUST), and form into balls.
I dropped mine into a pot of boiling water for 15-20 minutes COVERED.

It's always better when you let them sit in the soup for a while before eating. They take on the flavor of the soup.
Enjoy!

So, please try them, let me know what you think...I challenge you to tell me that they don't taste close to the REAL ones mom used to make. To me, they are the REAL ones now.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Passover with a positive twist!

Another Passover comes and I can't eat the matzo, I got some recipes so watch me bake, the Matzo balls will be from potatoes, I just can't wait to start! (sing that to Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody!) Ok..just pacify me. You gotta have humor to get through this, right?

Matzo...the core ingredient in most Passover dishes...matzoballs, matzo kugel, matzo this and matzo that...oy! But wait! STOP! It's not so bad after all. In comes the gluten free, caring, compassionate, and most supporting community anyone could ask for.

I have perused all of the blogs on my link list and found awesome recipes. I see that simple "substitutions" can make a lovely Passover meal. My soup, made from scratch (mom used to buy the soup from the deli, throw in a can or two of chicken broth and some dill and say it was hers - but I knew the truth), will have the gluten free chicken broth added to the stock AND the gf bouillon powder I get at a local health food store. The charoset is my favorite, representing the sweetness the Jews felt..apples, wine, walnuts - all good stuff! My sister Beth, actually wants to read me the recipe she is using for the brisket so I can eat it. Yeah! She gets it! I'll make that deadly flourless chocolate cake I made last week for dessert. The matzo kugel...well, I'll have to experiment today with the home made matzo so I can make a gf matzo kugel! Thanks to Lynn, Free to Eat, I will try the matzo on for size!
I love gefilte fish but will have to do some research to see if it is gf or not.

So there, you have it. It's not so bad now, is it? The reason for the season, as they say, is FREEDOM. The Jewish people were looking for FREEDOM from persecution. We look for FREEDOM too..a different kind, but FREEDOM....FREE from the ill health that comes from ingesting gluten. The Jewish people chose life....and so have I. Join me, whether you celebrate one of the spring holidays or not, celebrate LIFE!
Raise your glasses and celebrate LIFE! Be well, stay healthy...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Nevermind! Yeah for me!

Ok, so I couldn't wait for an answer from you. It's a patience thing, or maybe an overachiever thing...either way, I went to the HELP menu (advice from big sis, Ellen), and figured it out. Meanwhile, hope your day was the best! Let's hope I can do it again!

Hyperlinks? How? Can you help?

Good afternoon....I could use some assistance with creating links that are embedded in the body of my post. Are there any "teccys" (technical geniuses) out there who can walk me through the process?

I made a Flourless Chocolate Cake on Sat. nite...it was yummy and as soon as I learn how to create a link I'll share..If I can't figure it out, I'll type out the recipe.

Take care

Friday, March 23, 2007

Carrot/Sweet Potato Soup and more ramblings!

TGIF! That just isn't enough to say how I feel. We start our Spring Break next Friday. I'll hang out for the week, experiment with recipes, and relax. Cannot wait for next Friday at 3:00 p.m! Meanwhile, last night I had a crappy experience. I was with some women playing mah jong, a tile game, handed down for generations by Jewish mothers, I mean, Chinese people. While playing, I was boasting about how excited I was that we were invited to a friend's house tomorrow night...and that I offered to bring food that I could eat. For example, I am making my own barbeque sauce for the ribs AND a flourless chocolate cake. The rest of the menu is fine....when I talked about how proud of myself I was, one of my so-called friends replied, "Well, you comply when you want," or something like that, implying that I go on and off regarding compliance.

Okay, I know that I have jumped on and off the gluten free wagon for the past three years. But, do you think she could've been supportive and said something encouraging? My mood quickly changed and I realized that we are our own community...we share because we know one another's "pain." Pain might be a drastic word but darn, (not what I want to say) was I pissed off. So much for empathy...

With that said, I'll continue to rely on my new celiac community to help me, encourage me, and give me kudos for staying compliant. Speaking of compliance, I made a yummy soup today when I got home from work. I finally got the Adobe Element Printshop program from Amazon.com so I will install tomorrow and post the picture of the soup and the recipe.

Ya know, I just wanted to vent about the lack of empathy and understanding that people have when they are unfeeling. She hurt me and I'm sad. As if God knew I was hurting....a friend called me to go out for dinner tonight. When I replied, "I hear you are going to Pizza Time," a local Italian restaurant, she said, "Yes, but if you want to go together we can go to Carrabbas!" Now, that's a friend. Well, off to Carrabbas...much love to my celiac family.....

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Stronger by the day!

Hooray! Each day I feel more and more confident and mostly convinced, that I can conquer this "Celiac thing." I went out to dinner last night and ordered a greek salad with grilled chicken. I explained to the waitress that the grill needed to be scrubbed carefully. I watched as she took careful notes as I spoke. She really showed me that meeting my dietary needs was important. They brought a yummy smelling basket of bread to our table. My husband and friends indulged and lemme tell ya....for the first time in a long time, it didn't faze me that I wasn't eating the oh so yummy looking, gluten infused bread. Only kidding..really, it was fine. And that made my day. I WAS FINE! Another hurdle...I feel like a track star jumping over hurdles...each hurdle that I jump over is successful experience. We went to the theater to see "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." It won a Tony Award in 2005. We have season tickets so we get to enjoy lots of great shows. If you get the chance to see it, it was light and funny as heck.

Today, I made a hodge-podge of things for dinner. We had friends over so my hubby barbequed chicken wings with a balsamic marinade that I concocted....I made the tofu recipe from Book of Yum, chicken sausage from a local deli (the woman assured me that there was nothing in the sausage that resembled gluten!...my peanut sesame noodles with Tinkyada spaghetti, the cauliflower recipe I found on someone's blog...(it'll come to me and i'll let you know who's blog)some steamed asparagus, and last but not least...the best part....salad...I was trying to make a ginger dressing that resembled that of any typical Japanese restaurant. And guess what? It worked. I loved it and hopefully, so did my family and friends. I'll share it with you so you too, can enjoy.I put my adaptations in parentheses. Have a wonderful week and may you be at peace.

from allrecipes.com
Famous Japanese Restaurant-Style Salad Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup minced onion 4 teaspoons soy sauce (used gf tamari)
1/2 cup peanut oil (I used part sesame/part vegetable oil) 2 teaspoons white sugar
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons water 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced celery (I didn't use) 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup

In a blender, combine the minced onion, peanut oil, rice vinegar, water, ginger, celery, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar,lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients are well-pureed.

I actually doubled the recipe because it sounded so good and I wanted to have it for lunches. I also used a food processor instead of a blender.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"I don't care"

Three words I hate to hear every day...."what do you want for dinner?" or "where should we go for dinner?" "I DON'T CARE," they all reply. Actually, I haven't asked the latter question in a while since we eat home much more than before. I think that when I retire from education I will open up a restaurant called, "I DON'T CARE!" It seems to be a good catch phrase.

I am trying to be as creative as I can while I IMPOSE my gluten free lifestyle on my family. So far, so good...haven't had any complaints. For tonite, my husband defrosted boneless chicken breast. Shall I do italian, asian, thai, french? French? That sounds good...how about Chicken Francese..wait, that's not French, that's Italian. But, I do have all of the ingredients on hand...the chicken, lemon, capers, garlic, and olive oil...boil up some Tinyada pasta of sorts and VOILA! "I DON'T CARE" has taken on a new name. Chicken Francese!

I try to keep a lot of common basic ingredients on hand for days like this. But alas, to make a long story short....won't you help? Send me a list of your most common basic ingredients that you keep on hand for "I DON'T CARE" kind of days. I'll compile the list and include it in another post. Meanwhile, I'll shoot from the hip, no measurements, just experiment.

I'm excited because I ordered the Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 so I can start editing and adding pictures to my blog. Have a wonderful day....remember, "I CARE"

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I fell off of the roller coaster and it wasn't intentional!

What a weekend I had...I've been eating home a lot more than before. We have more restaurants per square mile in Coral Springs, Florida, than we have residents. Most are common in every community in America...Outback, Roadhouse, Chili's, Macaroni Grill.. well, you get the idea. We used to eat out 2-3 times a week. Now, I take on a cooking challenge several times a week. Friday though, was an exception. I went to a Wing Restaurant...asked the owner if they were breaded, fried with just wings, even looked at the ingredients on the bottle of sauce. Salad too, with honey mustard dressing....no croutons....well, I went to CVS with my daugher for some things and barely made it before I had to use the restroom. I arrived home and the misery continued. Actually, on and off for 24 hours, I was reminded of the Wings and Salad. Where was I contaminated with gluten? I have no idea. All I know is that restaurant is off limits. It wasn't worth it. Last night we joined friends and went to the Grand Luxe Cafe, same owners as the Cheesecake Factory. I had the Vegetable Plate (four veggies) and rice. I had to send back the edamame because it had a teriyaki sauce on it. I was with wonderful friends who support my compliance so I was very comfortable asking a million questions. No unnecessary trips to the restroom so I was safe...whew!! After a long conversation with my sister we concluded that going to restaurants with gluten free menus is the better choice. As Ellen said, "They get it." Period. They get it. Not the guy from Wings Plus...for me, it was Wings Plus for 24 hours.

I was able to walk in the American Heart Association's 5K Heartwalk with 10 of my Student Council Representatives (4th/5th grade) on Saturday morning. What a positive experience, to see kids giving back.

This morning, I made my third Breads by Anna bread mix in my Breadman Pro. The first two experiences resulted in uncooked loaves. Disappointed but I did not give up. This time I used the BASIC cycle, not the GLUTEN FREE cycle. The bread came out perfect. Slapped on some Earth Balance spread and was in heaven.

Tonight, my friend asked me to go to a greek restaurant that I absolutely love. I just wasn't in the mood to start with the questions and doubts that I could get through the meal without getting sick. I made White Vegetable Lasagna... no recipe, just off the top of my head. Turns out, the family loved it. I'll write a short version so you can get the basic idea...and by the way, it's not low calorie but that's not my priority today.
Here goes:
Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Lasagna Noodles
Broccoli, red pepper, asparagus, zucchini
Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded Parmesan Cheese
One stick butter, whipping cream, milk
Flour

Boil the lasagna noodles
Saute the veggies with fresh minced garlic in frying pan
Melt one stick of butter in a small saucepan, add flour to make a roux (I grabbed the Bob's Red mill baking flour mix)Add whipping cream or milk, or both, a handful of shredded parmesan cheese and stir until thickened.I added salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
In a 9 x 13 pan put white sauce to cover the bottom, a layer of noodles, a layer of veggies, shredded mozzarella, white sauce, noodles, veggies, mozzarella, etc. End with mozzarella.

Sometimes we have to follow a recipe, sometimes we have to follow our gut, and all the time we have to follow our hearts. This weekend, my heart told me that it's safer for me to eat at home, even if I just "wing it." I wish you all a peaceful week.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Meatloaf and other tidbits!

Happy Anniversary to me! Yes, this weekend is the second week that I have remained gluten free. Remember when your children were born (those who have them)? When they were born, we calculated their age by the day, then week, then month, then months, then years. Then, when you reach my age you want to go backwards! So you understand why baby steps are necessary in keeping track of my "gluten-free-ness." I made a few good, not just decent, meals this week. Last night, I made Carol Fenster's Meatloaf. It had brown sugar (what could be bad?), tomato sauce, chili powder, and more. I didn't have the Lea and Perrins Worchester Sauce but I didn't sweat it. I didn't think I'd miss it. Instead of rice crackers I used some ground up bread crumbs I had in the freezer. I put it into muffin tins for variety in presentation. My family laughed and shook their heads but, LOVED the flavor of the meatloaf, or meat muffins if you will! I made the Gluten Free Goddess' Polenta with Roasted Vegetables and Goat cheese...another yeah. The day before, it was Ellen's Szechuan Slaw and my concoction for marinated chicken. I punted ----marinated the chicken in gluten free tamari, sugar, rice wine vinegar and other stuff I forget. Well, when I asked my daughter Amy, if it belongs in the KEEPER file or the DON'T MAKE AGAIN file, she happily said the KEEPER file. I made the hamantashen on Monday, the day I played hookey from work. The ones with the strawberry preserves were lucious. Like vitamins, I allowed myself two a day. Speaking of allowing, I found CHEESE PUFFS at Whole Foods that are gluten free. Oy, I found love. Instead of eating slowly, like we're taught, I shoveled them in as fast as I could. I prayed that no one saw me. They come in curly or puffy - tough choice, so I tried both! I like the puffy ones more. I must go take my daughters to the doctor for the second round of the Gardisil shot. You know, that controversial vaccine to prevent the virus that causes cervical cancer. The naysayers are questioning whether after the series of three shots, the teens will become sexually active, thinking that it prevents STDs also.As parents, we need to make our own decisions about the health of our children. I'm not sure that the government should step in. As for me, I must do everything I can to keep my children healthy. I'd be remiss if I didn't give them the opportunity to prevent illness and disease. After all, I love them. They are my life! Be well and stay safe and happy.....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The "WEIGHT" is not over!

Okay, so I spent the past two days shopping with my daughter. We swept through two malls, Loehmanns, and two shoes warehouses.My sister Ellen loves to shop...she'll be jealous just reading about it! My feet are in desperate need of a massage! While shopping and trying on clothes(producing enough anxiety for a continent), the wait began. I took two sizes into the dressing room...the "I'm sure it will fit," and the "I pray this one fits." While I waited for the next available dressing room I couldn't help but think about the other wait, I mean "weight." I spent my entire childhood, "cute, but chubby," and believe me it was not pleasant. As a young adult I embarked on a Weight Watchers journey, ultimately bringing me down to a size 6-8. Aside from pregnancies I have stayed close to those sizes. Thanks to our society sizes do matter! It's hard to look away from the number on the ticket. Size has always defined who I was and I believe it still does. Anyway, as I embark on this Renewed Gluten Free Journey, a new struggle begins. Not having the luxuries of really good gluten free carbs just a few years ago has transformed into WOW, this is really good. Ask me how many Cherrybrook Farms chocolate chip cookies I've inhaled in the past three days! So now....I'm no longer taking just one bite of non-gf food and cheating. I'm clean, absolutely clean! But, one bite of the yummy gluten free bread and cookies isn't enough. I'm so terribly afraid that my WEIGHT will turn into double digits (heaven forbid). But, I've spent 5 years WAITING for yummy gf substitutions. Am I rambling on? Sorry, just venting I guess, about the WEIGHT issue that has plagued me all of my life. Anyone else out there on our planet with the same experience or struggling with the same issue? Please give me your two cents or more....Convince me that WEIGHT isn't nearly as important as health. Yes, I know it is but I don't think anyone living on a different planet really understands the struggle. With that said, I am excited because I'm making gf hamantashen (the PURIM cookie)AND I've decided to play hooky tomorrow, stay home, and drown in my cookies and milk. Then, I'll make my sister's GF chocolate chip cookies...what else could I make? Wanna join?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Peanut Sesame Noodles!


Peace and quiet...it's what we all try to achieve daily. My kids (the 13 I teach each day!) are resting on their mats. Peace and quiet is present for the moment. In 15 mins. lights will go on, center choice will continue and my peace and quiet will be gone. This past Sunday was my daughter's 15th birthday party. We served kid food to the teens and I prepared adult food for the rest. I adapted a recipe from epicurious.com and it was more than a hit. The guests were clamoring for more but the bowl was empty....should've doubled it. So, as soon as my sister teaches me how to put the picture on my blog, I'll send it. Meanwhile, here is the recipe. It was fabulous...next time I'll double it AND add grilled chicken.

For peanut dressing:
1/2 c peanut butter
1/4 c soy (I used gf tamari)
1/3 c warm water
2 T chopped fresh ginger
1 med. garlic clove chopped
2 T red - wine vinegar
1 1/2 T Asian sesame oil
2 t. honey
1 t. dried hot red pepper flakes

I put all of the ingredients into a deep bowl and used my immersion blender to mix until smooth. What a great kitchen tool
that immersion blender is! I have the Cuisinart one from Linens and Things...use your 20% coupon and it's $50.00.

For the noodle salad:
3/4 lb. dried linguine or spaghetti (I used Tinyada spaghetti)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper cut into 1/8 inch strips
1 yellow bell pepper but into 1/8 inch strips
3 T sesame seeds toasted (I used black sesame seeds for color)

Place the sesame seeds in the toaster oven to toast them. Watch carefully as they toast quickly. Also, refrigerate your jar of sesame seeds to avoid spoilage.

Cook pasta in 6-8 quart pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and rinse well immediately under COLD WATER FOR THE TINKYADA pasta. Add pasta, scallions, pepper, and sesame seeds...toss and enjoy. It's better to mix dressing with pasta just before serving.
Makes 6 side dishes or 4 main course dishes.

There, my first recipe for my blog. I hope you'll try it. Meanwhile, my peace and quiet is over for now. I am peaceful in my new endeavor. I'm almost like a peacock, strutting with pride at how gluten free my life has been for the past week and what I have to look forward to. I wish you all peace and quiet for all your days.

Thanks for your support!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Great Saturday morning!

Writing you from sunny (70 degree)South Florida, I awoke this morn quite refreshed. Actually, tidied up a bit, put up my very first bread from ANNA into my new Breadman Pro....am waiting for the beeps that tell me it's done! I ate a GLUTINO bagel this morn. I've tried many and this one seems to mimic the "real" thing. I toast it, smear on some Smart Balance and enjoy! As Ellen used to say, I toast it until it becomes unrecognizable. I've tried Kinninnick raisin bagels and they are mediocre in comparison...go for the GLUTINO ones if you want an old fashioned bagel. My chicken caccitore (sp?) came out fabulous. Again, my sister suggested that I use the MUIR GLEN fire roasted tomatoes. OMG what a flavor. Don't miss out on this one! The rest of today I'm going to find something to cook that will feed my inspiration to stay compliant. I have all sorts of flours in the pantry....maybe a cake or cookies or how about mandelbread. You know, the hard, biscotti-like cookie that you can dip into coffee or just enjoy by itself....well, wish me luck...if I discover a good recipe I'll photograph and share...happy Saturday...p.s. thanks so much for the comments...they all actually brought me to tears...I'm really not alone any more!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hello there, hello there it's very nice to meet you!

Hello there, hello there, it's very nice to meet you! Actually, they are the first words of a wonderful song, sung by my sister and brother-in-law. They are very accomplished childrens' musicians and those words define my introduction. They also wrote a song that alludes to my opening...it does take a village to raise a child. A child I am not...but nonetheless, trying to remain Gluten Free Compliant has been difficult for me and so, I need a village!
I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease 5 years ago. After being misdiagnosed by my gastro with IBS and then by my hematologist, with unexplained anemia, the discovery began. I spent one year taking iron supplements to raise my hematocrit level, with absolutely no success. A gastro was contacted, an endoscope was performed, and voila, the long awaited diagnosis. The next few years resulted in compliance but not the kind that makes a difference. Okay, so I finally was accepted to donate blood...that was an accomplishment. But I never paid any attention to cross-contamination or other situations that would introduce traces of gluten into my system. I kept the same level of compliance until my mom passed away. That would be the beginning of the end for me...on and off of the roller coaster. My sister was diagnosed one year ago and like she does with most tasks, dove in head first and has not turned back. She changed her whole way of cooking, shopping, and kissing (was I supposed to say that?) Her husband, my wonderful brother-in-law is now gluten free. You may have read her blog...she is the inspiration for me to start this blog...Iamglutenfree.blogspot.com! Maybe you've met! Back to my story....Ellen has influenced me in many ways throughout my lifetime...here's just another example.....I do read her blog as well as Gluten Free Goddess, Gluten Free by the Bay, and more. Karina, the Gluten Free Goddess, recommended a Breadman, sold by Amazon. I ordered it, along with 9 bags of Breads by Anna, another suggestion made by Iamglutenfree!! I'm excited about using it tonight. After my recent gastro symptoms I decided to jump back on the rollercoaster. This time, I'm praying that with a "VILLAGE" to support me I won't fall off. I've been exhausted (the anemia), have had blurry vision (another symptom) and have been feeling just plain old blah! I'll share my recipes as I discover that Planet Celiac isn't a bad place to be, just different. And from what I have been reading, more and more people have been inhabiting Planet Celiac all over the world. I'll take pictures as others before me have and hopefully, I'll share my enthusiasm with you. Let me know what you think....good, bad, or otherwise....have a great weekend.