Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Blessed 2012!!!

2012 is going to be a wonderful year!! To start the year we are going to have a wedding and I am officially going to have the closest thing to a daughter!!! A daughter-in-law, who I will just refer to as my daughter, because she is just what I would expect as one!! I couldn't be much happier for Erik and Laura and can't wait for the shower in February and then the wedding in March.

As I put away the last of the holiday decorations and lights, I reflect on the days I had with my wonderful husband Angelo, and my son Bryan while on winter break from school. It was so great having them both here for company, and on the various trips to the doctor and ER clinic for a crazy injury to my hand. I couldn't have done all the cooking, baking or entertaining without them! They are great dishwashers too! My family knows what kind of mess I can make in a kitchen when I bake or cook!
Let me tell you about having a palm tree needle splinter in your finger, especially in your knuckle. Use precaution and don't use a saw; the sudden quick movement you make when using a saw too close to the needles can drive them deep into your hand or finger. Did you know that even though the needle looks smooth it has microscopic needles that stay in your finger when you pull it out? It also may have bacteria on it that can cause infection or skin reactions. It has been four weeks, four visits to doctors and it is still throbbing. My new advise- take care when doing yard work in unfamiliar territory! I am not a born and raised southerner, my landscape comfort zone is still the midwest.
Now, for some good food talk. I received a gift over the holidays of some King Arthur Gluten Free baking mixes. I love their products and can't wait to make the chocolate cake and brownies. You may know how much of a chocolate fan I am!
Now here is one of families favorite Christmas treats. It is the first time I am giving this recipe to anyone. But, yes, there is one change. I am now using Bob's Red Mill gluten free, all purpose baking flour, so I can eat them too. I haven't had the pleasure of eating these for about 6 years, so when I got a taste of them this year, well......." Umm, umm! Wonderful!!!" is all I could say.

Mom's Date Bars
8-10 oz. chopped dates
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
Put in small saucepan, cook on medium until boiling then simmer until it makes a paste.
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups gluten free oatmeal
1 1/2 gluten free flour
Mix in a bowl thoroughly. Divide in half and pack 1/2 in bottom of a 9x12 baking dish. Spread date mixture on top. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top and pack firmly. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Wait until cool before cutting. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great Treat for a Cool Weather Seafood Lover Dish

Laura and Erik arrived at the house with a crockpot full of a wonderful seafood stew, Cioppino, this evening. This recipe is tasty, has a nice seafood taste and it the spot! Serve it with a nice crusty bread (slice on a diagonal, baste with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and lemon zest). ENJOY! It will feed six people, but if you are big eaters I would suggest doubling the recipe.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped white onion
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 dried bay leaf
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 bottle (8oz) clam juice
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
1 lb. grouper or firm white fish fillets, cut into chunks
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 oz. bay scallops
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook until slightly soft, 2-3 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, thyme, pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Cook 1 minute. Pour tomatoes, clam juice, tomato paste, and white wine into a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker. Add onion mixture and stir. Cover and cook 4 hours on low setting. Gently stir in grouper, shrimp, and scallops. Cook on high setting until fish is cooked through and shrimp are pink, 15-20 minutes. Add basil and lemon juice, season with salt and black pepper. Gently stir stew to combine. Ladle into bowls and season with more lemon juice, if needed. To make sure the entire meal is gluten or grain free, make your bread using Udi's Sandwich bread.
Finish off this dish with a great dessert.

Gluten Free No Bake Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake Recipe

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Cross Country Road Trip: It can be fun and easy if you know what goodies to pack

Traveling across a state or across the country can be a daunting trip, or it can be fun. But, what to do if you have food allergies? No one wants frequent rest stop visits and snacking in the car helps accumulate more miles between meal stops. Especially when you are traveling with one who wants to drive as many miles as possible before stopping for the night. I know some of my family members like to drive straight through, without putting up for the night, when driving from Michigan to Florida. I have found some great products to keep on hand for such trips. Glutino pretzels are especially good by themselves or with a combination of peanuts, Chocolate or Cinnamon Chex, and M&M's. You can make your own mix or simply look for one of the recipes listed on the Chex site. Glutino also makes great wafer cookies that satisfy even the biggest sweet graver. Make sure to pack lots of cold water, lemonade or iced coffee to cool your thirst. And don't forget those great tasting goodies you can make to have your own continental breakfast! Betty Crocker can help with a quick mix to make your own cookies or muffins to load into your snack box. I know I can hardly wait to make the trip now that I know what I will bring! Oh! One more trick to survive those restaurant stops when everyone is ordering breakfast and you don't want to just settle for an omelet and want some toast. Bring your own bagel or bread with you! Udi's makes the greatest bread and bagels!!! Just wrap one up and bring it in with you. One more thing to remember, many restaurants have gluten free menus now, just remember to ask. Enjoy! and I hope your summer travels are as safe, happy and as fun as mine are going to be this year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Living in Paradise-And the School Year is Almost Over!!

This is a sunset on the west coast of Florida! It's as beautiful here in the evening as it is during the day. I have been enjoying the weather here (as much as I can!) since August of last year. Making travel plans the evening before flying down to accept a teaching position has been one of the most adventuresome things I have ever done. But wait! Teaching third grade this year has been like an adventure.

Teaching has been my dream. Giving students the background needed to become the best person they can be, thrive as a learner, and succeed in life brings joy to them and to me as their teacher. When I arrived here in Florida, my new chapter in life started with great people and great things happening. Thank you Mary for giving me a comfortable place to stay for the first few days. When I walked into the school I was welcomed by wonderful people and felt completely at home. I was blown over by the offer to stay at a team member's house and took Rosemarie up on her offer until I found a place of my own.
While I have been busy with my first year teaching, it has been great that family and friends have taken the time to come visit. It forced me to take some well needed breaks. I have enjoyed many days and evenings with Angelo, Phil, Bryan, Paula and Doug soaking in the sun and watching gorgeous sunsets from the beaches on the gulf. I have had the opportunity to garden in the sun-- sweating up a storm. Actually Angelo and my neighbor are the best when it comes to getting a lot done outside. We have made a BIG difference in the curb appeal since we moved in last November.
I am so blessed to have come to a new area and have settled in so well. I am grateful for all the help I have had, the family and friends who have visited and for a wonderful school year. To celebrate let's toast the end of the first year, to great weather and to great company with a great glass of Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc and a Gluten Free Roasted Tomato and Artichoke Pizza.

Gluten-Free Roasted Tomato and Artichoke Pizza

6 oz crumbled goat cheese
Roasted red pepper, sliced
12 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped black olives
Olive oil
Corn meal
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Make crust according to package directions. Package makes 2 pizzas, so wrap one and refrigerate to use for later, or freeze. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread a thin layer of corn meal on a pizza stone. Using wet hands spread dough onto the stone. Bake without toppings for 7-9 minutes.
Remove from oven and cover with spread, salt and pepper, roasted peppers, artichokes, goat cheese and olives. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Enjoy!!
Experiment and change up the toppings on the next one!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Night Take-Out

What is better than coming home on a Friday evening when you are dragging your _ _ _ than a phone call to a favorite restaurant for dinner. Pei-Wei is one of my favorite places since they have gluten free meals to choose from. They are a reasonable take-out Asian diner that is tasty, affordable and just a great place to grab a bite and sit or just order and eat at home. The Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls are very good, and that is what's for dinner this evening. Just remember to click on the gluten free menu to find what will work for you. Good Eating!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just When You Think Things Are Good, They Get More Challenging

I have neglected my blog for a bit, because I came across another hurdle to jump over. I have gotten over the first hurdle and I want to share how I have done that. First and most important I have to thank my wonderful husband for being my support and loving me no matter what. I also have a great group of family and friends who helped me get through the tough times also.

Now, let me tell you what I have been running from. I have been running from the chance that my ulcerative colitis could turn into cancer. Through many colonoscopies it was determined, by my doctor, that the chance was right around the corner and a total colectomy was recommended. After the shock, I made the appointment and went through the surgery. What should have been a week long stay in the hospital turned into thirteen long days.

My diet restrictions have actually gotten worse since I had the surgery. I went home with an ileostomy, which means watch what you eat even more!!! Haven't I already had enough of this. I guess not; but it is only temporary. I will have a second surgery to reverse the ileostomy when the pouch is healed that was made from my small intestine.

Sooooo, no raw vegetables ( I guess I just need potato chips and my gluten free pretzels with my dip), no seeds or nuts, cook all your vegetables until they are mush (where did all the nutrients go?) and keep your diet low residue. For those who do not know what that means, it means stop eating fiber- you don't need it anymore. MAKE SURE YOU DRINK A LOT OF WATER-- ALL DAY!!

I also want to say to all who have an ileostomy for the first time it seems like such a life altering thing, and it is, but it is something that takes some trial and error to find what works well. Take it one day at a time, pray, look deep into yourself and give it your best. It was really nice to have a nurse come to the house to help me find the right fit. I could not have done as well by myself.
If I can do this, especially at this time of life, everybody can. I have hope that whatever I put my heart and soul into I can accomplish. I will try to keep my postings current, as well as finding and posting new recipes that will help keep me nourished and satisfy my taste buds.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Holidays

Hubby and I went on vacation!! It was a needed break from our hectic schedules of work, school, homework and not to mention our opposite schedules. Well, we went to Florida for a good friend's daughter's wedding. We usually don't go to Florida during Christmas break, since our weather disaster at Disney World when the boys were young. We ran around in rainy 50 degree weather with three young boys and a sick husband. But this time we were hoping for warmer weather and we had it for a few days. One good thing-- NO rain for the gorgeous bride on her special day. A little chilly, but a blanket of celebration warmed the entire group of well wishers. Stephanie and Jim - have a great honeymoon and keep that spark going 'for as long as you both shall live'. Another good thing- we loved seeing our good friends Barb and Gary and the rest of the family. Thank you for sharing your holiday with us!!