Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In Search of Gluten-Free Weight Loss Shakes

Over the past year, I have been struggling with not only eating gluten-free, but trying to drop quite a few extra pounds. I've tried to start on Weight Watchers again, which I have had success with in the past, but have found it more difficult this time. I've tried eating healthier, which is great, but still haven't lost weight. I have given up all snacking after 7pm. I still find myself snacking way too much during the day! Even too many healthy snacks can pack on the pounds. I suppose my chocolate addiction isn't helping either! I got to thinking about my BCD (Before Celiac Disease) days and how I used to keep my weight down. It dawned on me. Slim-Fast Shakes used to be my go-to diet food. Quick, easy, no preparation or thinking involved, GRAB AND GO! I knew that the regular Slim-Fast Shakes are not gluten-free. I wondered if by chance Slim-Fast may have a gluten-free version out there. The Slim-Fast website shows "New Easier to Digest" Lactose-Free, Gluten-Free Shakes. Eureka! Since I hadn't heard any buzz about these shakes, I wondered if I was the only one who didn't know that these LF GF shakes existed? So, of course, I had to get my hands on some of those shakes! First, I tried They have EVERYTHING, right? Three shakes were shown, Chocolate, Coffee, Vanilla. All "Out of Stock". Hmmm. Next, I poked around my local drug stores. Nada. I finally emailed Slim-Fast. Here is the response I received. Hello Lisa, Thank you for contacting us recently. Our company no longer markets this product, since consumer demand does not warrant its continued production, and there are no plans to reintroduce this product into the market. We are sorry if it was one of your favorites. We hope you will be able to find another one of our products that meets your needs. If you are lactose intolerant, we suggest trying our Slim Fast Optima Powder Shake mixes blended with lactose-free milk or low-fat soy milk to make a 99% lactose-free shake. In addition, the Slim Fast Meal On-The-Go Bars are lower in lactose with 2 grams of lactose or less per serving. Thank you for your interest in Slim-Fast. Please contact us at 1-800-SLIMFAST (754-6327) if you have additional questions, or visit us online at Sincerely, The Slim-Fast Support Team Seriously? Consumer demand does not warrant its continued production? Huh? Where have they been lately? Ok, so, I sent them an email thanking them for their quick response and telling them I have Celiac and that I am disappointed that the shakes are no longer available. Then I shrugged my shoulders and decided that I needed to find another way to shed the fat. Until.... The other day when I was at Walmart, I decided to take a look at their EQUATE version of the shakes. There, right on the box, next to the Allergy Info, clear as day, it said, "Does Not Contain Gluten!" Wahoooo! I was so excited I bought two boxes of them! The bonus is that they are cheaper and have more fiber, less sugar and fewer calories than the Slim-Fast version. HA! You guys probably already knew all of this stuff, didn't you? Oh, well, just in case there's someone else out there who was also alone in the dark, I thought I should share! Have a great gluten-free day! :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gluten-Free Product Review: Schar White Dinner Rolls

Whoa! It's been a while again, hasn't it? As usual, I have several excuses as to why I haven't blogged. The most important one is that I've been dealing with Ulnar Nerve problems. Basically, it means that the nerve that runs through my elbow (my funny bone) is wreaking havoc with my computer time! I've been told I need to cut down, use my left hand to move the mouse around (yeah, right!) or, if necessary, cut out using the computer all together! So usually by the time I check Facebook and Twitter and my email for the day, my elbow, arm and hand are really hurting and I have to put my elbow pad on and rest.
Well, elbow issues or not, I just had to blog tonight about my latest gluten-free find.
When I saw Schar Gluten-Free Classic White Rolls at Price Chopper this afternoon, I nearly did a back flip. All of the Schar products I have tried, with the exception of one, I have just loved. They really seem to have a handle on making great gluten-free foods!
I brought my package of rolls home and decided I couldn't wait another day to open them. The directions say to heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the rolls for 4-5 minutes. After I heated the roll, I sliced it in half with my bread knife and saw lots of airy, white bread. Instead of buttering the roll, I dipped it in a plate of olive oil, Parmesan cheese and black pepper. These rolls are amazingly good! No funny aftertaste and they aren't heavy like some other gluten-free breads I have tried. It was a nice complement to the Quinoa Pagoda Pasta "goulash" I had for dinner.
The drawbacks are:
1. The price. Four rolls for $5.99.
2. It is not recommended that you freeze the rolls, once they are open. You have to eat them within 4-5 days of opening. That means I have to eat one every day for 4 days.
I am anxious to try them toasted, maybe with some garlic butter on them. Since they are also about the size of a hamburger bun, I want to try them that way too!
Ok, now that I've told you how good these rolls are, I have to go put ice on my elbow and try to drink my green tea with my left hand....

Friday, July 31, 2009

My First Try At Sushi Making

So, it ALWAYS happens. I plan dinner. I defrost meat. I have a meal plan in my head. And happens. Take Wednesday night for example. Had the pork chops defrosted. Was planning to bake them in the oven, maybe with some gluten-free bread stuffing on top, like my mommy used to make. Maybe with apples, onions and sugar...hmm...which is another great recipe that I haven't made in a while. First, the phone call from my husband. He HATES pork chops. I think it comes from long ago when his mom used to burn everything. That's another story. My daughter, who used to love my pork chops, now tells me that because of her loose tooth, she won't be able to chew them. It's now past the time when the pork chops should have gone into the oven. Then, my daughter comes running down the stairs. "Do something!!!", she's shouting. I turn around to see her mouth stuffed with blood-filled tissues. Ugh. I hate this part of parenting.

I panicked. I picked up the phone and called my husband. "Have her rinse with salt water", he said very calmly. Why didn't I think of that? It worked. Crisis over.

Now, it's really late.

I shuffle things around in the fridge to see what's left-over from other nights that doesn't have green stuff growing on it.

I see left-over rice, tuna and some veggies.

All of a sudden I remember the beautiful sushi making kit my husband bought me for Christmas. I had picked up nori sheets and sesame seeds several months ago, but was chicken to try it. Tonight, I thought, "why not?"

It also helped that I read how Jenna from Eat-Live-Run had just tried to make sushi. It looked GOOD. Check out her blog. She has a lot of great, healthy food ideas.

So I took the nori sheet and placed it on the bamboo rolling thingy. I put the cooked left-over rice on the sheet. Then I put a row of tuna and carrot strings along the middle of the rice. I started to roll. When I was done rolling, I wet the end of the nori sheet with a little water and voila! I cut the roll into slices...this is where it got tricky. I didn't used "traditional" sticky rice, I used regular Minute Rice, so it didn't hold together too well. Anyway, I think it came out pretty good for my first try!

It tasted pretty good too, even though it was a little messy and I ended up eating the rest with a fork! :)

What did I end up doing with the pork chops? Stay tuned!

Product Review: Schar Gluten-Free Chocolate-Dipped Cookies

I LOVE Schar products. I was so excited to see a whole batch of new Schar products (or at least new to me) on my last trip to Price Chopper! I had never seen Schar Gluten-Free Chocolate-Dipped Cookies before! Wow. These are just delicious! They have a light and flaky shortbread cookie top and a chocolate dipped bottom! They reminded me slightly of the Keebler Fudge Strip cookies my mom used to by when I was a kid. Only better. Fancier. My gluten-eating daughter and husband loved them. *Note to self* Hide the box next time!

Product Review: Trader Joe's Gluten-Free English Muffins

Boy, do I wish we had a Trader Joe's in our area! Even more so now that I have tried Trader Joe's Gluten and Dairy Free English Muffins! I had heard buzz about these on other gluten-free blogs, so I picked up a package on the second day of our Cape vacation. I took them back to the hotel, sliced it in half and toasted it up in a "Toast It" bag in the toaster oven. Oh my gosh! These babies are delicious. They have a crunchy corn meal coating and are light and fluffy on the inside. I had the first one with just butter on it to see what it tasted like. Since then, I have used them for peanut butter and jelly and ham and cheese sandwiches. Next, I want to try making an egg, ham and cheese breakfast sandwich...I think it would be excellent! I loved these muffins so much that persuaded my hubby to swing by Joe's on the way home to pick up another package to bring home. I bought TWO. There are only four muffins in each package, so I'm already wondering what I will do once they run out, which won't be long! I only have two left!!! you like my Tweety glass? I've had it for AGES. Tweety used to be yellow, but has turned white after many dishwasher washings. I affectionately call it my "Albino Tweety" glass.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cape Cod Vacation 2009 - Part 2

Part of the fun of vacation every year is trying new restaurants and returning to our "old favorites". The good thing about being gluten-free and vacationing on the Cape is that just about wherever you go, you can order baked or broiled fish, a baked potato and a vegetable. Then there's also scallops and my very favorite LOBSTER! I had several great meals and I don't think I got glutened. I did have one faux pas, where french fries were put on my plate, but it was my own fault for not specifying. There are two restaurants we visited that serve gluten-free dishes with a smile. The first is BZ's Mexican and Pizza. This is the second year we have visited BZ's and again, they did not disappoint! I had a wonderful gluten-free pizza topped with sauce, cheese, black olives and bacon. Yes, bacon. The waitress told me that I could order any topping except meatball and sausage. The crust was very crispy and very good. My family ordered "regular" meals and loved their dinners as well. The prices are very reasonable as well. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are in Dennisport! The second restaurant is the "Chatham Fish and Lobster Company". This restaurant has been around for a while, but we had never stopped in before. This restaurant is part restaurant and part fish market. It is an "order at the counter, grab your drinks out of the refrigerated case, pick your own seat" kind of place. The kicker? All, and I mean ALL of the fried items are gluten-free. They don't say so on the menu boards, but their batter is traditionally gluten-free. SCORE! I ordered the fish fry platter, which included a HUGE piece of fish, a side of coleslaw, a pile of french fries and three fried onion rings on top! I was in HEAVEN! The fish was white and flaky and the batter was crisp and light. It was awesome! They also sell some gluten-free desserts, but I was so full that I didn't purchase any. Here is a picture of the outside of the restaurant and of my fish fry. My husband and daughter had already stolen two of the three onion rings off the top and I had eaten the other one and some of the fish before I reached for my camera.

If you are on the Cape, don't miss the Chatham Lobster and Fish Market!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cape Cod Vacation 2009

Wow. I can't believe it. How can our summer vacation on Cape Cod be over already? Eight wonderful days spent looking out on the Atlantic Ocean. Falling asleep and waking up to the sound of waves. *sigh*
My husband brought his iTouch and we had free WiFi at the hotel, but he decided not to get a password to use it! He wanted to completely disconnect from the outside world. I have to admit, I was missing my Facebook after about 2 days, but I did get used to it. I did have a lot to catch up on when we got home!
This year, we stayed at the Corsair and Cross Rip Motel in Dennisport. Ahhhhh. It was wonderful.
We had a room with a full kitchen, so I was able to whip up breakfast and lunch without leaving the ocean. We did this several days while we were there. I had also baked a bunch of gluten-free snacks to bring with us so that I would have some safe things to eat.
Chocolate Chip Cookies, made with Betty Crocker's New Gluten-Free Mix . They were yummy, although crumbled a bit in transit.
Blueberry muffins, made with Pamela's Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix. Because what is morning coffee without a muffin?
Peanut , Chocolate Chex and Pretzel Bars. These were awesome! I plan on making some again real soon!
I also brought a loaf of Saratoga Gluten-Free Bakery's Hearty Country Bread along. I sliced it, wrapped each slice individually and then froze them. It was great to have bread to make toast and sandwiches with! I brought along a package of Toast It bags which worked out perfectly in the hotel toaster oven!
While on the Cape, I visited Trader Joe's. We don't have a Trader Joe's where we live, so it's a real treat when I get to go to one! Unfortunately, on the day we visited, my daughter was itching to get to the pool and decided to act out while I was trying to shop. So, needless to say, I didn't get to look around as much as I wanted to, but I did manage to pick up a package of Trader Joe's Gluten-Free English Muffins, which I will review at a later date. Let me just say that I've found a new love!!!
We also visited several restaurants and I had many wonderful gluten-free meals! I will also post about this later!
For now, I have to sign off and resume the endless vacation laundry duty! *sigh*

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Peanut, Pretzel and Chocolate Chex Bars

I've been a bad girl. I had vowed to give up sweets for a couple of weeks. I wanted to look a little better in my swimsuit at the beach. Hmmm. Let's just say it hasn't been going well. Last week while grocery shopping, I picked out some snacks for my daughter to take to summer camp and the town pool. I figure that anything I can pack for her is healthier than what they sell in the vending machines. My daughter loves Kellogg's® Special K® Bars. You know, the cereal bars that have chocolate or vanilla frosting drizzled on them. Well, there's a new flavor combination that just couldn't miss, in my opinion. Chocolatey Pretzel.

As fate would have it, my daughter was hungry after shopping, so I opened the box and gave her one for the ride home. I knew right away I was in trouble. These bars are NOT gluten-free. I knew that I wouldn't be able to taste them. I could tell from the smell of the chocolate pretzel breath coming from the back seat that I was going to have to come up with a gf alternative to this yummy treat! I remembered seeing gf Chex cereal bar recipes on their website. I followed the recipe with a few modifications... 4 cups Chocolate Chex® cereal 1/2 cup salted peanuts (instead I used about 1/2 cup crushed Glutino GF Pretzels) 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (since I didn't add peanuts, I used Skippy Natural Extra Chunky PB) 1/4 cup candy-coated chocolate candies (I used one "Tear-n-Share" size bag of M&M's) 1. Butter bottom and sides of 9-inch square pan, or spray with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix cereal and pretzels. (To make cutting and clean-up easier, I lined the pan with aluminum foil and sprayed it with cooking spray.) 2. In 1-quart saucepan, heat corn syrup and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, just to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in peanut butter until smooth. 3. Pour over cereal mixture in bowl, stirring until evenly coated. Stir in candies. Press firmly in pan. Cool 1 hour. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store loosely covered. (I pressed a little too firmly and some of the M&M's cracked...oops!) Oh My Gosh!!! These are so delicious! Chocolatey, Peanut-buttery with the taste of salty pretzels! Does it get any better than this???, mine didn't turn out as pretty as the ones on the Chex website, but who cares? I think if I were going to make them again, I might add a few more pretzels... Whether you are gluten-free or not, you have to try this recipe. I guarantee, they won't last long! I've been trying to pace myself... :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mindful Ordering From "Gluten-Free" Menus

Wow! I can't believe my last post was so long ago! I guess I've been busier than I thought! Summer is finally here! The past few weeks, I have eaten out at several restaurants with either gluten-free menus or gluten-free "options". I have had good experiences along with some not so great ones! A couple of weekends ago, we visited Uno's Chicago Grill. Now, I love Uno's. What's not to love? They have gluten-free pizza and Diet Caffeine-Free Coke. Well, on this occasion, it was lunch time and my husband, daughter and I stopped in for a bite before going to a movie. I didn't want to order the gf pizza, because I didn't want to eat the entire thing and I couldn't doggy bag it and take it into the theatre. So, I ordered the Cobb Salad. I made sure I pointed to the gf menu and told the waiter I was ordering from it. Well, when it came, I didn't even think to really look at it. I should trust them right? About three bites into my salad, I saw it. Blue Cheese. I stopped dead in my tracks. Hmmm. I've never seen a gf salad with blue cheese on it! I thought, well, some blue cheese is safe, others aren't. So, usually I would ask the waiter about it and probably send it back. This day, I just decided to eat around it. Luckily, I didn't have any adverse reaction from it, but it was still bugging me. So, I decided to email Uno's customer service. I don't have the email I sent, but I described what happened and asked if they could confirm whether the blue cheese they serve in their restaurants is gf or not. Their response follows:
Dear Lisa,
You should not be having the blue cheese dressing. Sorry. Sincerely hope you did not get sick. We should have known better if you told the server you are ordering from the gluten free menu.
Kacey Bogue
Senior Hospitality Representative
Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30 EST
Now, aside from the fact that it was crumbled blue cheese and not the dressing, I'm assuming that neither are gluten-free. That was not the only restaurant I had an experience at this month. This past weekend we visited Chili's. Chili's doesn't have a gluten-free menu, but they do have gf "options" listed on their website. Now, I have had other experiences at Chili's, for instance, they brought me a salad with croutons on it and soup with crackers, so I know that this particular Chili's doesn't really get it. Sometimes the family wants to go there, so I suck it up and go. In any case, when we got there, we asked for a gluten-free menu. They pulled a dirty, dusty binder from a little cabinet under the hostess stand. I immediately got a bad feeling about this. The hostess flipped to the "Suggested Menu Items for those with Gluten Allergies" page and plopped the dirty binder on the table in front of me. I ended up ordering the grilled salmon with broccoli and rice. When the plate came. There it was. A huge gluten-laden french fry sitting right on top of my broccoli. Argh! So, we sent it back. The waitress said she would replace the broccoli with fresh, but who knows whether she did or if they just plucked the fry off the plate and returned it to the table. At this point, I really wasn't very comfortable about my gluten-free meal at all. So, I ate the salmon, which was very good and left everything else. To top it off, my daughter got down to the bottom of her mac n' cheese only to discover a huge piece of artichoke heart at the bottom. What the heck were they doing back there in that kitchen??? So, bottom line. Be careful at EVERY restaurant, even the ones with gluten-free menus.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Product Review - French Meadow Bakery Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

As you know from my last post, I scored a French Meadow Bakery Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake at the GF Food Fest I attended last night. Well, of course, we waisted no time trying it!
My husband's birthday just happened to be today, so I stuck a candle in that cute little cake! My husband blew out the candle and my daughter and I scarfed it down! Hubby had been treated to cake and ice cream at work, so he wasn't really interested in having any more! There was just enough cake for two people.

I haven't had real chocolate cake in quite a while and let me tell you, this one was wonderful! The frosting was very fudgy and there was plenty of it! The chocolate cake was a little drier than I would have liked, but still terrific! I would definitely buy one of these cakes again. From their website, I see that their products are available at our local "Green Grocer" and "Honest Weight Food Co-op". I could have sworn that I picked the cake up at the "Price Chopper" table, but I can't remember, it's all a GF blur! By the way, I didn't see the chocolate cake on their website...maybe it's new? Also worth mentioning, the cake is dairy and peanut free as well!

Gluten-Free Food Festival

I had the extreme pleasure of attending the Gluten-Free Food Festival, put on by the Albany Celiac Support Group at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, NY last evening. I found out about it through the local newspaper and also from their website. - (Hmmm. Something is going wrong with my computer and I'm not able to be fancy and link it in anywhere!)
This was the first event I have ever been to since being diagnosed. Boy, was I ever surprised. I had no idea how many vendors or how much food there would be! If I had known, I surely wouldn't have eaten so much dinner before I went! There were many, many GF food companies represented, several local restaurants and several local health food stores and grocery stores. Lots and lots of gf goodies!
Luckily, I brought a tote bag. That baby was loaded up when I left! I couldn't fit another yummy snack in there to save my life! When I got home, I unloaded my loot onto the dining room table to take inventory. Whoa!

In my bag was:

2 pkgs. EnerG Wylde Pretzels

5 pkgs. Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty GF Hot Cereal

1 pkg. Pamela's Chocolate Chunk Pecan Short Bread

1 pkg. Pamela's Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 pkgs. Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix

2 Larabars, 1 Pecan Pie and 1 Cinnamon Roll

2 French Meadow Bakery Fudge Brownies

3 pkgs. Bakery On Main Extreme Fruit and Nut Granola

2 pkgs. Mary's Gone Crackers, 1 Herb and 1 Caraway

3 pkgs. Food Should Taste Good Multigran Tortilla Chips

and the bonus score:

1 French Mountain Bakery Chocolate Cake!

We will be opening this cake tonight for my husband's birthday. Great timing, huh? I will get better pix and a review out as soon as I can.

This doesn't even count the unwrapped, homemade and restaurant goodies I ate while I was there!

The support group apparently holds these events once a year and you better believe I will be attending next year's!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Product Review - Wallaby Organic Yogurt

I found this Wallaby Organic Yogurt in the local Hannaford Supermarket. I had never seen it before, but I thought the name and the packaging was irresistibly cute, with it's little kangaroos jumping around on the front! The fact that it was organic and low fat was also a bonus. I didn't, however, know if it was gluten-free. I ended up putting two containers in my cart anyway and decided that I would look up their website when I got home. Wallaby Organic Yogurt is indeed gluten-free! (Even if you don't like yogurt, you have to check out their cute website!) I tried the Maple flavor first. While being a little bit "soupier" than some organic yogurts I have tried, it was so sweet and mapley that I just fell in love with it. This afternoon, I got to try the Blueberry. Again, a little thin, but delicious! I would definitely recommend this yogurt if you come across it in your grocery store!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Product Review ~ Glennys Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

After a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend, it's been really COLD and really RAINY here in Upstate NY. Ugh. I so want the sun to come out. Yes, I know, we need the rain. Can I help it if I prefer sunny days in the 80's?
Well, with all of the rain, it's been a good week for shopping. I took a trip with my mom to The Christmas Tree Shop in Colonie Center in Albany, NY. Boy! Did I ever hit the jackpot on gf food! Who knew? I had no idea how many gf goodies they stock! I bought many items that I haven't ever seen before.
I opened the first item while we were still in the store parking lot!
"Glennys All Natural, Non-Dairy, Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies". The box reads "Moist & Chewy" and they definitely are that. These little gems taste like homemade oatmeal cookies. I purchased the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip version and they are so good I'm sorry I didn't pick up a box of the Oatmeal Raisin to try! The only problem I had with these cookies is that they are small and there aren't enough in the package! LOL! I picked up these babies for the bargain price of $2.99. I think there were a dozen cookies in the tell you the truth, I forgot to count them before I inhaled several of them! I will definitely be going back to CTS to get more of these soon!
I will be reviewing some of my other gf purchases in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I've been meaning to post this for over a week now, but things have just been so busy that it took me that long to get the photo out of my camera on to the computer! A good friend of mine came for dinner a couple of Fridays ago and I served Mr. Food's Flourless Chocolate Cake. Mr. Food has a cooking spot on our local news at noon here in the Albany area. I saw him demonstrate this recipe and knew that I would just have to try it! Well. It was awesome. Very, very, very rich. If you are a true chocoholic, you will love it. It's oooey, gooey! Kind of like a cross between fudge, chocolate pudding and brownie. This is what it looked like fresh out of the oven. The center doesn't set all the way and you have to refrigerate it for a while so that it will firm up.

And here is the finished product...all decorated with whipped cream and strawberries.

If you are looking for that chocolate "fix", then try this easy to make chocolate cake!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude

Happy first weekend of May! It's a little chilly here in the Northeast, 60 degrees but cloudy and breezy. Still, everything is blooming (especially my allergies!) and the grass is really, really green! I logged in this morning to find that Kimberly of Gluten-Free Is Life had nominated me for "An Attitude of Gratitude" award! Wow! Thank you Kim, you really made my day. It makes me happy to think that maybe, just maybe, someone gets some enjoyment out of what I write. I was nominated along with nine other great Gluten-Free bloggers. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in November of 2007 and have been living gluten-free ever since. It was very hard at first. Especially because I had always loved to dine out in restaurants. What the heck was I supposed to do now? No fried food. No burgers on a bun. No stopping in the mall food court for a slice of pizza. Oh no, is there gluten in the movie popcorn? Would my family have to suffer because of my new "disability"? I was so confused at first. Then I began to find wonderful bloggers who were gluten-free and seemed to have it all down to a science. I realized that it could be done and that it even could be fun. Learning how to cook new meals. Learning what restaurants had gluten-free menus. I'll never forget baking my first loaf of gluten-free bread! It smelled and tasted wonderful! I wish to nominate the following Gluten-Free bloggers for Attitude of Gratitude Awards: (in no particular order) Easy Gluten-Free Baking - Elizabeth Barbone, author of "Easy Gluten-Free Baking" has a wonderful blog with recipes, reviews and tips. And, well, her recipes are to die for! Kat's GF Kitchen - Kat gives great GF product and restaurant reviews. A Year of Crockpotting - Stephanie "The Crockpot Lady" has wonderful, easy recipes. All are or can be made gluten-free! Dust off your crockpots and have a ball! A month after I had been diagnosed, I began having trouble with the discs in my neck and found that I needed surgery. I've had my ups and downs with recovery and am still trying to find my way through life with aches and pains I've never had before. During this time, I have found hope and inspiration reading the following blog that I also wish to nominate: Live Love Laugh - Blogger Lacie Heiser's inspiring journey through Chiari surgery. I have known Lacie personally for several years. I have great respect for her strength and spirit. She is always reaching out to help others who are dealing with their own challenges. Thanks, Lacie. Your instructions are: * put the logo on your blog or post * nominate at least 10 blogs that show an an attitude of gratitude (*note* I was only able to come up with four, but they are a fantastic four...don't you think?) * link to your nominees within your post * comment on their blogs to let them know they’ve received this award * share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award * tell us how you’ve come to have an attitude of gratitude
When Life Gives You Lemons...Make Lemonade!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

REVIEW: riceworks - Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps

I have a lot to do today. We have company coming tomorrow night for dinner and I have to make dessert! I am going to make my first flourless chocolate cake. The recipe says it has to set in the fridge 6-8 hours or overnight, so I have to do it this afternoon! Anyway, I had to take time out to tell you about these awesome snacks I found today at Walmart! Last Sunday's paper had a coupon for $1.00 off of these new snacks. I thought, "Hmm. Rice Crisps. Wonder if they are GF?" Well, guess what? THEY ARE and they say so right on the package!

OK. So, I'm not a huge chip eater. I'm not one of those people who sit down with a bag of chips to watch TV. I'd much rather have a bag of M&M's. However, these "crisps" are fabulous! I bought two bags. One is "Salsa Fresca" and the other is "Sweet Chili" flavor. I opened the "Salsa Fresca" bag before I even unpacked the other grocery bags. Oh, man. They are tasty. I ate quite a few. This could be trouble. I hurried up and closed the bag before I devoured the whole thing. They are salty, spicy, tangy and very crunchy! They are also make from natural whole grain brown rice with no preservatives or artificial flavors. They are a little pricey, but with the coupon, not so bad. I paid $2.66 for each 5.5oz bag. Of course, things settle and there's not many chips in the bag, but I think they are definitely worth the price!!!

I plan to open the "Sweet Chili" bag tomorrow...if I can hold out that long! I will give you my opinion when I do. Walmart only had these two flavors, but I would love to try the other ones...Sea Salt, Parmesan, Baked Cinnamon. There's also Wasabi...not sure I'd like that one, but I would be willing to give it a go.

Click here if you would like to check out their website. There is a $1 off coupon you can print if you give them your name, address and email address.

Try them out! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So....What's New?

Ho Hum. So. I haven't blogged in quite some time now. I guess, well, I don't have much of an explanation other than I just didn't feel like it! There. Now you have it. I've been a lazy blogger woman. So. What's new with me? Hmmm. Well, I still have my pain in the neck. It's been a pretty tough few weeks. I actually feel a lot like I did before my surgery last year. Talk about frustrating! So. I had another MRI. Know what it showed? Not much actually. The surgery site is still looking good. I do have a small "bulge" on the disc above the discs where I had the fusion done. Splendid. They told me this could happen. Unfortunately, when you stabilize a disc, it makes the discs above and below take on more of the load and stress of things. The doctor said that he doesn't think that this small bulge would be causing my pain. I'm not saying he's wrong. I trust him. I am saying that "something" is causing it. So, I sit with my alternating ice and heat packs and take as much Tylenol as my tender stomach will allow. Another interesting tidbit of medical drama is that about a month ago I had my annual GYN visit. Just routine? No. During the breast exam, I noticed the doctor spending a little more time on one side than the other. Then she said she thought she felt a "little something" on that side. Ok. So I tried not to panic. I took a deep breath. I had just had a normal mammogram. I do monthly self exams. I had felt nothing. So, she told me to cut out coffee, chocolate and soda for a week and then come back for a re-check. I tried not to worry too much (not easy to do), gave up all the good stuff, and went back for the re-check. What happened? She said, "All gone!" All gone? Seriously? Well, I was relieved, but suspicious. Not that I don't trust her, but what was that all about? So. Two visits and two copays later, I'm clear. Until I got the bill. Yes. The bill. Apparently the doctor decided that she had spent a little more than her usual 10 minutes with me (she may have spent 12 minutes this time) and billed me for an additional "visit" copay. Is that even legal to charge two copays for one visit??? I started having flash backs of the movie "The Firm". I was about to call Tom Cruise to catch them at "double billing" their clients! Where is Tom Cruise when you need him, anyway??? I was more than a little upset by this. So. To make a long story as short as possible. I called the office and told them this was crazy and got the office manager to wave the second "visit" copay. Well, anyway, on the lighter side.... I've been a gluten-free baking fool. I sent to for three bags of Pamela's Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix. It was on sale. They are BIG bags. With lots of yummy recipes on the back. So far, I've made blueberry muffins and chocolate chip cookies. Both came out excellent. I'm going to possibly try to make carrot cake this week. And scones. Of course, I am starting Weight Watchers *again* this week, so I guess I'd better make sure there's someone else around to eat the goodies after I make them! ;) We've been doing a great deal of eating out this past week. We went to Manchester, Vermont over Easter weekend and ate some yummy food at some yummy restaurants. We even ordered three hot fudge sundaes from room service at the hotel on Saturday night. Three sundaes...$30. Yep, stop rubbing your tired eyes, you read it right. $30. Oh well, you only go this way once, right? Anyway, I'm not sure if I got "glutened" or not over the weekend. I didn't seem to have any symptoms. All three of us did come down with a 24-hour stomach bug though. Not fun. We also visited P.F. Chang's on Tax Day. They were running a 15% off the bill deal for that day. The lettuce wraps were divine as usual. I wasn't really happy with my entree' though. I ordered the Singapore Street Noodles. It wasn't as good as I remembered from last time. I'm not sure what they did different, but no likey. I ate some and brought the rest home thinking I could doctor it up with something, but I ended up throwing it out! Yesterday, we visited Outback Steakhouse. Usually, my fave. Usually, they have GF bread. Know what I found out? No more GF bread. Apparently, the bakery that supplied them with the bread raised their prices so high that Outback made a corporate decision not to carry it anymore. Dang! Big step backward for us GF folks! No one asked me. I would have paid extra. Hopefully, they will reconsider or maybe find another bakery to deal with. I hope you all are enjoying the beautiful Spring weather...well, at least it's been nice here. I hope it's nice where you are!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Gluten-Free Corn Chex

After much excitement and anticipation, I finally found the new boxes of Gluten-Free Corn Chex and our local Walmart today for $2.98/box! Not having to spend $5.00 for a tiny box of gluten-free cereal at the health food store is really exciting!!! I promptly grabbed my $1.00 off three boxes coupon and piled the boxes into my cart. I can't wait to try them!!! Maybe I'll have a bowl tonight before bedtime instead of my usual ice cream???

Monday, March 16, 2009

Belated One-Year Anniversary

Well, it's was one year ago on the 12th of March that I had my neck surgery. I remember it like it was yesterday even though it's been a long, painful year. Things are better now. I still have occasional issues with nerves buzzing, hands shaking, sore muscles and weak limbs. Not anywhere near what I had before surgery or in the long months following. Yes, I still have to be very careful. Over the weekend, I helped my husband clean up the yard from the December ice storm we had. I was well aware that I can't do the things I used to do, the same way I used to do them! But, it felt soooooo good to be working outside!!! We haven't taken a long car trip since last July. I'm wondering what will happen this year when we take the five-plus hour drive to the Cape. Time will tell. I do know that sitting around for long periods of time is not my friend. No more couch potato! With the weather getting warmer (finally!!!) and that joyful sun shining, I know that I will be outside walking around the neighborhood as often as possible. I'm looking forward to all the activities that Spring and Summer bring and hoping that I'm up for the challenge!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Grocery Savings

Well, it's Monday. I decided to look back at lasts week's grocery receipts and see how I did. From 3/11 - 3/15, I ended up spending $204.97 for groceries. Groceries includes food items, paper goods and bathroom items. I used $25.20 in coupons. I also used to match the coupons with store sales and got some pretty good deals along the way. Some of my best deals were buying four packages of four O-Cel-O sponges (regularly $2.49 each or $9.96/4) for 99 cents each and then using two, $1 coupons. So, I really got four packages for $1.96. 49 cents/package. I also bought six boxes of Wheat Thins (regularly $1.89 each or $11.34/6) for $3.00. These will be going to the local food pantry. I do try to donate food on a regular basis. It's the right thing to do! 50 cents/box. I actually made 75 cents on a big tube of Colgate toothpaste that was on sale for 2.99 at CVS. They gave me $2.99 in Extra Bucks (so item was free) and I had a 75 cent coupon. Cool. 75 cents in my pocket plus $2.99 Extra Bucks to spend on something else! My total grocery bill Month-to-Date is $470.08. I have used $58.25 in coupons. I guess that's pretty good so far. I'll be trying even harder in the next few weeks. I'd love to see the store end up owing me money at the check-out! If I could only find a store in my area that would give double coupons!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Clip...clip,clip...clip, clip...clip, clip...

That clipping sound is the sound of coupons being clipped out of the Sunday paper. If you come to my house, you will hear a lot of that going on. Still in my never-ending sinus headache hell, I decided to do something constructive and try to get my mind off of my throbbing head! After doing a little Quicken report the other day, I realized that our monthly grocery bill has crept up to almost $1,000 last month! Eeeek! I'm not even sure how that could have happened! There's only three of us! I need to get our grocery bill down to a reasonable amount this month. My mission....cut our monthly grocery expense in half. Yes, half. Hopefully more than that at some point, but, baby steps.... So, I've been doing a lot of research. After Stephanie Nelson, "The Coupon Mom", was on the "Today" show last week, I decided to re-visit her website and try to come up with a plan. On the "Today" show, Stephanie bought over $100 worth of groceries for 25 cents. Yep. I was hooked. Now, I've always clipped coupons. I've always used coupons. I even took an adult ed class several years ago on grocery shopping strategies. But...I've never saved as much as I think I probably could. This time, I'm getting serious. I bought 3 copies of the Sunday paper and scarfed up my mother's copy. I pulled the list of local store deals from Stephanie's website. I sifted through the list for items we use and found coupons to match the sales. When I go shopping on Thursday...I'll be ready. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An "Off" Week

I'm sorry readers for not posting last week's menu! I've been having an "off" week. Well, maybe and "off" few weeks. Between the cold weather, my S.A.D. (my winter blues) and wicked sinus headaches, I can't seem to get an organized posting out!!! I also haven't been cooking anything very exciting to share. Just easy foods, chili, roaster chickens, eggs and bacon. Boy, do I sound like a broken record! I need to try some new recipes!!! I will try harder next week...please bear with me!!! I know you understand! ;P

Monday, February 9, 2009

Clean out the Freezer Challenge - Week 3

Finally, after all of the cold, snowy weather here in Upstate NY, a February thaw! Thursday it was in the 50's!!! Love it!
Tuesday, I happened to look out in our back yard and catch a Pileated Woodpecker, hammering the heck out of our neighbor's oak tree! I couldn't get very close as I didn't want to scare it away. The picture above was taken from my window.
After three weeks of my "Clean out the Freezer Challenge", I finally feel that I'm at the point where I can actually buy some new freezer items on grocery day. Yippee! I am still trying to use up some "old" items that have been in there a while, but otherwise things look pretty good!
Sunday - Spaghetti and Meatballs. Green Salad.
Monday - Spiral Ham slices - leftover from Christmas. Yes, it was in the freezer. It was delicious...why do I always wait until Christmas to bake a ham???? Anyway...with the ham we had baked sweet potatoes, and whole green beans. Yum.
Tuesday - Chicken tenderloins marinated in Balsamic Vinegar, brown rice, green beans.
Wednesday - Price Chopper Rotisserie Chicken, roasted garlic red-skinned potatoes, green salad.
Thursday - Pizza night. Walmart cheese pizza for my husband and daughter...they were'nt impressed. Gluten-Free Kinnikinnick frozen pizza shell, brushed with olive oil, garlic and Italian seasoning, topped with mozzarella and grape tomatoes. These pizza shells aren't the greatest, they are really flaky, more like foccacia and burn very easily so you really have to watch them...they come in a package of four shells...I now have one left.
Friday - Breakfast for Dinner. Scrambled eggs, bacon, blueberries. Toast for family. Little frozen GF bread loaf from our last trip to Outback Steakhouse. Yum.
Saturday - Valentine's Day. Outback Steakhouse. It was PACKED...but they didn't dissapoint!!! :)
Used from the freezer:
10 frozen meatballs (still have a lot left!)
1 bag frozen green beans
6 chicken tenderloins
1 package chicken nuggets
1/2 package french fries
1/2 bag frozen corn
1 container of Edy's Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 Kinnikinnick pizza shell
Since my freezer is pretty well cleaned out...this will probably be the last week of my challenge! Have a great week!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Clean Out The Freezer Challenge - Week # 2

Phew! This seemed like an awfully long week! I think it must be the weather. Just seems like everything is dragging. It was 45 degrees today and that was nice! I'll take more of that please!!! The old freezer is looking much better this week. I think by shopping day on Thursday, I may actually need to buy a few things as I'm getting low on some "staple" items! Sunday - Superbowl. Kim's Buffalo Chicken Dip (see previous post). I halved the recipe for my husband and I. It was very good and there were no leftovers! Monday - Turkey Cutlets, mashed potatoes, baby sweet peas. I can remember ever trying to cook turkey cutlets before, but I just salt and peppered them and sauteed them in a little olive oil. Then, I poured a little chicken stock over them to make a little sauce. Not bad. There was one cutlet left over, so I cut it up and had it on green salad for lunch the next day. Tuesday - Leftover turkey chili, leftover frozen pizza, GF Eggplant Parmesan from KD's Fish Fry. I was busy all day, so I decided to just heat up a bunch of stuff that was already made. The GF Eggplant Parm was pretty good. The eggplant was sliced so thin that I couldn't believe it was actually eggplant. There was a good two servings in the container, so I only ate half. Wednesday - Just us Girls. Hubby was out of town, so my daughter had the last of the frozen Bell & Evans Chicken Nuggets along with a green salad. I had grilled salmon on a green salad with Caesar dressing. Thursday - Breakfast for Dinner. Second night without Hubby. Scrambled Eggs, bacon, cinnamon toast for my daughter, grits for me. Yes...I love grits. Friday - Late Dinner. My husband had a eye exam that went late, so we didn't get home until almost 7pm, which is late for dinner for us! So, I did what every good, health-conscious mom does....made hot dogs! ;) Oscar Meyer All Beef Hot Dogs, leftover mashed potatoes, leftover sweet peas, homemade GF pumpkin bread. The pumpkin bread is a recipe from Elizabeth Barbone's Easy Gluten-Free Baking. It is absolutely delicious! It makes two nice loaves, which I cut into slices, wrap the slices individually in plastic wrap and put in the freezer. A warmed-up slice makes a nice little snack with tea in the afternoon! I've made it several times and it always comes out amazing. Well, except for the time I tried to make it in those little baby loaf pans and it exploded and ran all over the oven... Saturday - Dinner at Chili's. Now, we've been to Chili's before and each time I come away with the same opinion. They have an online gluten-free menu., however, apparently none of the waitstaff is even remotely aware of what gluten-free means. For example, one time I ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad from the GF menu. It came with croutons and I had to send it back. I always order the Baked Potato Soup. It always comes with saltine crackers (they are wrapped and on the side, but still...) It just doesn't give me a good feeling about the rest of their "gluten-free" items. Last night I had the Baked Potato Soup, a 1/2 rack of Honey BBQ Ribs and steamed broccoli. They were delicious and I haven't had any belly issues yet, so I'm guessing everything was ok. I guess my other gripe about this restaurant is that the corn tortilla chips are not GF. They are fried in the same oil as everything else. So, while you can have the salsa and the guacamole, there's nothing to have them on! I have brought my own Tostitos with me, but why can't they offer some GF chips???? Outback Steakhouse and Uno's definitely have them beat. Gone from the freezer this week.... 1 bag frozen sweet peas 3 leftover pieces of pizza 5 chicken tenders 1 package turkey cutlets 1 container GF Eggplant Parm 1 package chicken nuggets 2 salmon fillets 1 container Edy's Fudge Tracks Ice Cream Several breakfast waffles Several bagels Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Clean Out The Freezer Challenge - Week #1

So, another snowy, cold week. It's getting old. Or maybe it's me who's getting old. At least January is over and hopefully February will be a little better! We are still watching our ever-changing icicle. This week, it morphed into what looked to me like dinosaur bones. Very cool.
Sunday - Spaghetti Night. Tinkyada Spaghetti with Newman's Own Marinara Sauce for my daughter and me. Barilla Penne Pasta with Newman's sauce for my hubby. Green tossed salads for all.
Monday - Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole. See Jenn's recipe. Instead of making my own cream sauce, I used a can of Progresso Cream of Mushroom soup. I also sprinkled in some shredded cheese I had left in the fridge. Talk about comfort food! Thanks again, Jenn!
Tuesday - Breakfast for Dinner. Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast for family, Glutino GF cinnamon-raisin bagel with light cream cheese for moi. Yum.
Wednesday - Soup night. Left-over Sausage and White Bean Soup. (See January 22 post.) Green tossed salad.
Thursday - Monday night's leftovers...
Friday - Turkey Chili. This is a staple at our house. I usually use a can of diced tomatoes, chopped onion and green pepper, then add my own spices...chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper...but this time I used a can of Great Value (Walmart brand) "Chili-Ready" tomatoes. It was awesome! All the stuff I usually add, it's all in there! Just add meat and black beans and *poof*, chili in a flash! (I also added a can of GV tomato sauce, but that's optional.) The great thing about Great Value brand is that they say "Gluten-Free" right on the label. Thanks, Walmart! Served with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese on top and Tostitos corn chips.
Saturday - Outback Steakhouse. Oh baby! My very favorite place to eat. Warm, GF bread with whipped butter, 6 oz steak, loaded baked potato, fresh steamed green beans. Pure heaven! The waitress even gave me a full frozen loaf of GF bread to bring home. I'm in love.
So, gone from the freezer is:
6 chicken tenders
1 bag frozen broccoli cuts
1 GF cinnamon-raisin bagel
3 freezer bags of left-over sausage and bean soup
1 package ground turkey breast
Also - used for lunches - 1/2 bag frozen strawberries for strawberry/banana smoothies, 1 salmon fillet, several bagels (thus the need to buy more), the box of vanilla ice cream and a bag of old, Hormel Chili that I actually threw out because it looked gross.
I did buy 1 loaf of bread and two packages of Ray's NY Bagels (for the family), 1 package of Oscar Meyer Beef Hotdogs and a carton of Edy's Double Churned Fudge Tracks ice cream for the freezer, so I broke my rule of not buying anything new. But these are things that are in constant rotation at our house, so they won't get pushed to the back...never to be seen again.
Hope you all had a good week and have a great Super Bowl Sunday! Go Steelers! planning to make Kim's Buffalo Chicken Dip. It's supposed to make 20 servings, but I'm making it for just my husband and I. Oink! I'm guessing I'll have leftovers. Maybe I'll have enough for the freezer.... ;)

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Hey You! Food Hoarder!"

So, for some reason, when the weather gets cold, I tend to buy way too much food. Hello, my name is Lisa and I'm a Food Hoarder!
I know when this is happening when I open the freezer door and something falls out and hits me in the head. It happened Saturday. I was knocked in the noggin with a box of frozen chicken nuggets. See it, right there on top, the black "Bell and Evans" box teetering on the edge???
After I came to, I decided that my challenge for the next couple of weeks is to try to use up everything in my freezer before I buy anything else to put in it. Look! I don't even have room for the ice-maker tray! My box of Light Vanilla Ice Cream is taking a nap there!
Oh, and it's not just my freezer, it's the pantry as well. Especially the GF shelf, the one with the half-eaten box of Nut Thins, several different baking mixes, bags of GF oats....
I'm not even brave enough to show you the other cupboards where the boxes of cereal and canned goods are kept!
I have vowed for the next couple of weeks, to only buy perishable items at the store...milk, salad stuff, fresh fruits and veggies...
I started unloading the pantry yesterday. I actually made that box of Gluten-Free Pantry Truffle Brownie Mix. I must say, it was delicious! My family and I gobbled up more than half the pan. So, one box gone...a few inches gained on my backside.
Tonight I'm making Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole, inspired by Jenny. I'm going to substitute a can of Progresso Cream of Mushroom soup and bake it in the oven. We'll see how that goes. That will take a few of the individually frozen chicken tenders out of the huge package we bought at BJ's Warehouse several weeks ago. Slowly, whacking away at the shameless pile of food I have crammed in every crevasse.
Hey guys, wish me luck!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Week's Eats

The past week sure was a crazy one! Snowfalls, icicles the size of stalactites hanging from the house, water main breaks, boil water advisories, two lost white-tail deer in our back yard.
Dinners this week were meant to be quick and easy.
Sunday - Sausage and White Bean Soup - courtesy of "The Crock Pot Lady". This soup was so easy and so good! Leftovers are in the freezer!

Monday - Stouffer's Frozen Lasagna with Meat Sauce for the family, Gluten-Free Lasagna for me. Tossed Salad for all. KD's Fish Fry, a local restaurant that serves delicious GF fish frys and such, just started carrying home-made GF dinners in their freezer case! The lasagna was a little light on sauce and heavy on pasta for my taste, but it was ok in a pinch. I also picked up a GF Eggplant Parmesan while I was there and will have that another night!

Tuesday - Breakfast for Dinner. Scrambled eggs, bacon, GF bagel for me, toast for the family. Easy and always a big hit.

Wednesday - Beef Tacos with all the fixin's, green salad. Old El Paso Stand 'n Stuff Taco Dinner Kit. Hubby likes soft tacos, so for him, I use flour tortillas. I forgot that my daughter had tacos for lunch in school, so she had her favorite...warm bagel, two slices deli ham, slice of cheese, green salad.

Thursday - Bell & Evans Chicken Nuggets, Oreida Shoestring French Fries, green beans - We have these nuggets quite often and we all love them! They are WAY better than McDonald's and they are Gluten-Free so I can eat them too!

Friday - Summer in Winter! Oscar Meyer hot dogs, deviled potato salad, Lays potato chips. It was a whopping 42 degrees here, so I decided to have an indoor, Winter picnic. The best part was, no bugs!

Saturday - GF Pizza at Uno's! YES!!! We finally got to go and try the new GF pizza at Uno's. I have to say, it was really nice to be able to go out with the family and order a pizza. The pizza was good. The crust was very thin and crispy, but a little bit crumbly. In fact, I couldn't pick up the pieces, I had to eat it with a fork. Nevertheless, I was still in heaven. I ordered the plain cheese pizza, ate three of the six slices and brought the rest home for another meal. It was very tasty and will definitely be going back for more! My hubby had the Buffalo Bites appetizer. My daughter had the Tiny Dinos chicken nuggets with a side of apples and mandarin oranges and ate every bite....Hubby and I both had the House Salad minus the croutons and red onion. Hubby and daughter had dessert (The Brownie Bowl), while I sipped a decaf. I made the comment that they should make their brownie flourless, like Outback Steakhouse. My hubby said something like "You GF freaks can't have everything!" What a guy! All in all, a very nice dinner out!

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Gluten-Free Week

Food-wise, this was a good week. I made some yummy, tummy warming meals that my family gobbled up. It's been very cold her in Upstate NY. It hardly reached above the teens all week. When the temperature dips this low, I love to cook. The down side is that it's very hard for me to diet at this time of year. I know, the New Year's Resolutions and all of that jazz, but I just can't eat cold salad on a cold night! This week's menu consisted of: Sunday - Goulash. Both GF and regular. I can't get my gluten-eating family to embrace rice pasta. So, I make the meat sauce in one skillet, GF elbows in another pot and wheat elbows in a third pot. I drain the pasta pots and add the meat sauce to each pot. Works out fine, but makes lots of dishes to wash! Monday - Breakfast for Dinner. Scrambled eggs, bacon, whole grain toast with cinnamon sugar for the gluten-eaters, GF bagel with butter for me. Delish. Tuesday - left-over goulash. Put both kinds in separate casserole dishes, added more tomato sauce and loads of shredded mozzarella. Baked in the oven until bubbly. Yum. Wednesday - Homemade Mac 'n Cheese with regular pasta for the family. Made in a skillet, started with a butter and flour roux, made a cream sauce with milk, added lots of sharp cheddar cheese, added cooked elbows and some cut-up spiral ham I had frozen, left over from Christmas Eve said it was fantastic. I had frozen Amy's Rice Mac 'n's my favorite of the GF variety. Yes, I microwaved it's no good frozen! Thursday - Rotisserie Chicken from local Price Chopper, boiled white potatoes, corn. I contacted Price Chopper and was told that the "plain" rotisserie chicken is GF and they even claim to roast it on the top of the oven so that the juices from the other chickens don't drip down and contaminate the plain ones. I don't know if I really believe that or not, but I haven't had any bad reactions to it yet... Friday - today. Pork chops with apples and onions, baked maple and brown sugar acorn squash. This recipe I got a long time ago from a cookbook that I probably don't even have anymore, but I remember the recipe. Cut up an onion (I like sweet onions) and put it in the bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a few sliced up apples on top of the onions. Add a sprinkle of white sugar on top of the apples (yes, I know)...Add a few pork chops on top of the apples. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Finally, top with more sliced apples and a few pats of butter. Cover and bake for 1 to 1-1/2 hours in a 350 degree oven. As for the acorn squash, slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, put the halves in a casserole dish, fill the squash "bowls" with about a tablespoon of light brown sugar, a tablespoon of butter (yes, I know again) and a drizzle of REAL maple syrup. Cover with foil, bake right along with the pork chops. You can also do this in the microwave, minus the foil, on high for around 15 minutes or until you can flake the squash "meat" with a fork. My husband doesn't like pork chops or acorn squash, but will eat both of them made this way. I'm sorry that I don't have any pictures of my meals. I got a new camera for Christmas, but keep forgetting to take the pictures! I guess I'm just too hungry to take the time!!! I will try to do better next time! I'm also so excited that I bought two new Cuisinart stainless steel sauce pots last night. It was time to retire our 10-year old non-stick cookware we got for a gift the year we were engaged. The non-stick coating was starting to flake off into our food! That can't be a good thing. I can't wait to try the new pots!

Just to Follow-up

So, I know I said in my last post that I was going to call my doctor...again...and ask for a new script for a different antibiotic. Well, I ended up having second thoughts and taking the drug that evening. Guess what. Leg pains again. So, yesterday afternoon, I left another message for "phone nurse". Again, no return call. I didn't take the Avelox last night and the leg pains are pretty much gone this morning. However, the sinus problem is still there. "Phone nurse" called this morning and actually asked how I was feeling! Then she told me that she had called in a script to the pharmacy for Zithromax. I thanked her and told her that I was sorry that I was being such a pain, but I didn't want to take any chances!!! I will be picking up my script after I have some lunch. The sun is shining, it's Friday, and even though it was -3 degrees this morning when I woke is good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Medicine - A Bitter Pill

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to try not to whine so much about my medical issues. I swore to "let go and let God" take care of things. Then, this week happened. After suffering with a cold that has been lingering since late November, I decided that my home remedies (saline rinses, humidifier, decongestants) were not working and that I'd better get to my PCP for the inevitable script for antibiotics. Now, first of all, I hate taking medicine. It almost always sends my stomach into a burning, churning frenzy that can take months to resolve. And then there's the warning labels. Being the "good" patient that I am, I ALWAYS read the warning labels and list of possible side effects when I receive a new script. So, Monday I gathered up the courage to go to the doctor. After a nice little chat with the nurse and my doc, I left with my script for the antibiotic "Augmenten". Now, my daughter takes Augmenten every time she gets a sinus infection, so I didn't think much of it. I went to my local drug store to get the script filled, came home, and as always, read the patient information that came with the meds. Well, right off the bat, I noticed that the info warned not to take the drug if you are allergic to Penicillin. RED FLAG! I am allergic to Penicillin and have been for as long as I can remember. So, I call my doc. Leave a message on the "phone nurse" line. No call back. So, I don't take the meds. Tuesday morning arrives. 9 AM. I call and leave another message on the "phone nurse" line. No call back. Finally, at 2 PM, I leave a third, not so friendly message on the "phone nurse" line. About a half hour later, I get the phone call. The annoyed-sounding "phone nurse" tells me that a new script has been called in to the pharmacy. I politely ask if this new med is related to penicillin in any way. Nurse says "no". In fact, annoyed nurse tells me that "they didn't know I was allergic to penicillin". Keep in mind that I have been seeing this doctor since I was in my teens. I am positive that there was a big, red, sticker on my chart, warning of my allergy. So, anyway, by this time my infected, sinus-head was pounding! Later that evening, my wonderful husband went to the pharmacy to return the first meds and pick up the "new" meds. Upon his return, I again read the patient information that came along with the script. This antibiotic, "Avelox", has MANY serious warnings about causing tendinitis, nerve damage, heart palpitations and other awful sounding problems. RED FLAG again! I already have nerve damage and heart I want more? So, what did I do? I shrugged it off and took the medication. I figured it would either kill me or cure me. Later, while helping my daughter with her shower, my ankles started to hurt. The pain slowly went from my ankles, up to my lower legs. Now, I often have nerve pain these days, it's just a byproduct of the neck surgery I had last year. This seemed a little different. So, today is Wednesday and I am still in pain and I am about to leave yet another message for the "phone nurse". Hopefully, I will get a call back at some point and maybe they can come up with a script I feel comfortable taking!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Just As Promised....

Happy New Year, Everyone! I told you I'd eventually get around to posting a picture of my super cool hand warmers! All right now, try to keep the laughs down!