I love the band Social Distortion. There is always a song for each happening in life and, although this may seem like it will be a band tribute, it isn’t. I’ve had some experiences in the past few weeks that … Continue reading
There are things that I really have missed being gluten free. Egg rolls, although Feel Good Foods make them and I can’t get them in Western Colorado. Good bread but there is decent bread out there, just not the same as regular bread. Burritos and the like…because there was no good tortilla. Until Mission Tortilla.
My parents had found Mission Tortilla’s when they visited Washington, I believe. They brought a package home for me. They were delicious. Then they went to Arizona and found more and brought me a package…and then a drought. Nothing in Grand Junction and I checked every time I went to any grocery store. Then, behold, one day they were at my local City Market. Goodness, I was happy. Fajitas were on the menu that night!
The thing about these tortillas is that they are like the real deal. Soft, foldable…so tasty too. Of course, like any gluten free item, they price point is up there but it’s worth it even though there are only six in a pack.
If you miss tortillas I would highly recommend that you try these!
As you can tell, I’ve taken a little break from writing. Some of it because I’ve, honestly, not felt like writing because I felt like everything I would write would be not overly positive. Not because everything is horrible but because that’s when I feel like writing the most. The other part is that I’ve been busy and putting my brain to writing seems to exhaust me.
That brings me to this. I’ve been tired. Like sleep 10 hours a night tired. And thankfully I’ve had this weekend off so I’ve been going to bed at 9 after struggling to stay awake. I mean, six o’ clock and I could go to bed tired. Then I sleep until 7 or 8. I’ve been tired for a while but the last couple of months it has started to really bother me. I went to the doctor and they did a complete blood panel and everything came back normal. My T3 (thanks to my hypothyroidism) is a little off but nothing to be overly concerned about. Nothing to explain this feeling of exhaustion. Unless it’s mono, then all I can do is sleep it off. I go back to the doc in a couple of week to see if the new meds for the T3 are working and will have them do the mono test at that time.
Also, I know this is the time for people to go out to eat with their families and it can be a struggle. No matter how many times you ask if a meal is gluten free, ask the server to mark it on their order, mistakes can happen as can cross contamination. This happened last week, I went to a restaurant with a friend. I made sure the server knew it had to be gluten free (asked about each item on the list and requested it three times) and then when it was served I asked several times again. It wasn’t gluten free, my tummy told me that, and I spent most of the night with a tummy that tried to get rid of the food as quickly as possible.
Now, I know I take a chance when eating out. This is the first time in over four years that this has happened, people around here tend to get it right, to understand how important it is. But this was one time when care wasn’t taken no matter how careful I was.
I’m sure some of this contributed to my lack of energy this weekend. I did have an amazing Thanksgiving and had the energy to prepare the meal with the help of my mom and dad. I did have the energy to finish decorating the exterior of the house and it took all day on Friday to do the interior of the house.
So I’m taking little steps with the little energy I have. Thank you for your patience as I took some time off the radar. I will be better in the future.
When it comes to holidays, we don’t do much tradition for meals. Yes, for Thanksgiving we have turkey and stuffing but then it kind of varies. For Christmas we don’t do ham or turkey (or rarely do turkey), we do things like shrimp scampi or steak or something like that. For Christmas Eve this year we ordered in pizza from Chicago’s Pizza in, where else, Chicago. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about that!
So when it comes to dessert, I usually take it on. I LOVE baking and for a holiday is no different. I want to do something that is unusual, last year for Thanksgiving I did tiramisu. This year I found a recipe that will remain close to my heart: Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake. Anytime you have whiskey in the title, you have my attention. The only issue was that this wasn’t a gluten free recipe and, if you have tried converting recipes in the past, sometimes you have luck and sometimes you just throw it away. This one turned out SO good! I have to share and, maybe for Christmas, this will be your dessert. Also, I found this recipe at www.loveandoil.com, I want to give credit where it’s due!
Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
Yield: 12 servings
Total Time: 2 hours
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups gluten free flour
- 3/4 cup dark or dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup decent quality Tennessee whiskey or bourbon (I used Pendleton)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- pinch cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup heavy cream (I ended up using light cream, that’s what I get for shopping the night before Thanksgiving)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously butter a standard (12-cup) bundt pan. Dust with 1 tablespoon each flour and cocoa powder, and tap and turn until pan is completely coated. Dump out excess.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, whisking until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and mix with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until dry ingredients are almost incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add warm water and whiskey and mix until just combined and no dry ingredients remain (do not overmix). Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the deepest part of the pan comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then gently invert onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
- To prepare caramel, place sugar and cream of tartar in a medium, high-sided saucepan set over medium-high heat. Pour water around edges. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 2 minutes (the steam buildup will help dissolve any stray sugar crystals on the sides). Remove cover and continue to boil, without stirring, until sugar caramelizes to a light amber color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Watch it carefully, as it can go from golden brown to burnt in no time if left unattended.
- Remove from heat and quickly whisk in cream and butter (mixture bubbles a lot, this is normal), then return to low heat and whisk until completely smooth. It may seem like it is seizing, but keep whisking and most of the hard caramel chunks should dissolve. I had a few left and strained them out. Remove from heat and let cool for about 2 minutes, then stir in whiskey. Transfer to a heat-proof container and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour, or until thickened yet still pourable.
- Pour about half of the caramel over the top of cake, letting it drip down the edges and pool at the base. Slice and serve and drizzle with additional caramel as desired. Cake will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
I love baking and got this love from my mom. She and I would spend time in the kitchen making cookies, bread, anything that could be baked. When dad was diagnosed with Celiac, she went above and beyond to copy favorite recipes so that he would still have the foods he loved. She also discovered new recipes that have become favorites.
This is one of those recipes: chocolate chip scones. If these are at a breakfast, they are sure to be gone in a second. I love making this recipe because it’s quick and easy…perfect for a brunch!
GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES
2 cups Bisquick® gluten-free mix
1 cup chocolate chips (I use mini chocolate chips for more chocolate per bite.)
1-1/3 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free almond extract
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or use a nonstick cookie sheet.
In large bowl, mix Bisquick mix and chocolate chips. In a measuring cup, mix whipping cream and 1/2 teaspoon of the almond extract. Stir into Bisquick mixture until soft dough forms, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons additional whipping cream if necessary.
Divide dough in half. On a surface sprinkled with Bisquick mix, pat each half into a 6-inch round. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove parchment paper with scones to cooling rack.
1/4 teaspoon gluten-free almond extract
1 cup gluten-free powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk or water
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle half the icing over warm scones. Sprinkle with almonds. Drizzle with remaining icing.
Each scone is approximately 250 calories each but for a special occasion or for a brunch this is a perfect treat. These scones also freeze well if you are looking to make them ahead of time. I make them without the frosting as I feel they are sweet enough with out it.
The Bisquick baking mix can also be used for your favorites such pancakes, waffles and even pizza crust. It’s great to have on hand so you can make your breakfast favorites!
I’ve been waiting for Feel Good Foods to release their line in Grand Junction for a while. Last fall they brought their dumplings to town and then, more recently, I saw their freezer meals in stores as well. While it’s the egg rolls I really want to try, I decided to jump in for a Chinese dinner.
I chose the vegetarian dumplings and General Tso’s Chicken.
The dumplings came with a sauce which I chose not to use since I wasn’t going to eat all of them. The directions seemed simple: a cup of water in a saucepan and one tablespoon oil, add dumplings, cook until the bottoms brown. The bottoms browned but the dumplings kind of broke open. The flavor was good, a bit of a sweetness to them, and next time I will try the sauce as well.
The General Tso’s Chicken was easily popped into the microwave and was ready in less than five minutes. The flavor was really good with broccoli and rice with the chicken. Usually General Tso’s is spicy but this had just a tinge of spice so if you usually stay away from this dish, this is your opportunity to try it!
I like the General Tso’s because it’s an easy meal for work or after a long day. I will be trying other meals and the dumplings again. But, Feel Good Foods, can we please get egg rolls?
I find myself apologizing a lot, mostly because I’m gluten free. I hear myself saying “I’m sorry but I can’t eat there” or “I’m sorry but I’m gluten free” or “I’m sorry I’m a pain” and I’m sure there are many more.
A couple weeks we were in Minneapolis for a business trip and I apologized for not being about to eat somewhere and my boss (who is also a good friend of mine) said “Don’t apologize, you have no reason to apologize”. This got me thinking: Why do I think I need to apologize?
I think because I’m so far from normal (what is normal anyway, but I digress) and because I have a disease that makes me stick out like a sore thumb, it makes me apologize for special treatment. Now, I’m not one to have attention drawn to myself on purpose for something like this. Yes, I like the spotlight but find it in other ways. Having to always draw attention to yourself, especially in a social setting, can be very disconcerting.
For example, I am a member of the Grand Junction Lions Club. Every week I call ahead for a gluten free meal. The people at Two Rivers Convention Center have been amazing at providing for my needs but sometimes my meal looks so very different from what everyone else has and typically they are jealous. I don’t blame them. Like last week I had a chicken breast and salad but my dessert was a chocolate cupcake topped with a strawberry. They had St. Patrick’s Day sugar cookies. They wanted my cupcake and so it goes. People ask me “why did you get that” and I tell them that I have to be gluten free and the typical response is “maybe I should be gluten free”. That is another topic for another day.
The end of the story is that I am different. I need to embrace it and continue using it as a way to speak out on behalf of those of us that don’t have a choice. We need to stop apologizing…I need to stop apologizing. I need to accept it, make the statement and just make sure that people know without it becoming my entire identity. It’s a part of who I am, a PART, not all of me and so from now on, I won’t apologize. Friends, if you hear me say “I’m sorry but I can’t eat there” or something similar, some apology for who I am, please stop me.
I saw this picture and it may be my new mantra:
So accept it, you are who you are. That makes you (and I special) and we have things to offer the world! Happy Sunday!
I typically don’t travel much and when I do, it’s pretty much to the same locations over and over. Recently, our company was taken over and that means traveling for trainings. I’m excited about this possibility since I’m getting to go to a few places I haven’t been before and a few that I haven’t been to in a while.
Last week my travel took me to Reno, NV. I have never been to Reno so I was excited to go there. We were staying at the Grand Sierra Resort and it looked like a nice place but I am always a little hesitant eating in cities that I’m not familiar with.
My manager and I flew in on Monday and, after quickly unpacking, headed straight to In N Out Burger. I’m in LOVE with In N Out as I know the fries are straight from the potato and the protein style burger is safe to eat. It was everything I’d dreamed of…and believe me, I was dreaming of In N Out Burger.
That night we had our first gathering with the new company at Charlie Palmer’s, inside of the Grand Sierra. I spoke with the server and explained my need to be gluten free. He was knowledgeable and was able to tell me what was safe to eat from the salads and appetizers to the dessert and everything in between. He even made the whole table have the creamed spinach without bread crumbs so that I would be able to eat it.
Two nights later I was on my own as my manager had flown home. I had posted on Twitter that I was looking for places to eat in Reno. I got a few suggestions from the Reno/Tahoe Visitor’s Bureau and other people in the Twitter-sphere but got a suggestion from one of my co workers that proved to be a gem. She told me to check out Great Full Gardens and it was amazing. They are all organic and used to a gluten free lifestyle so it came as no surprise to me that they would be able to accommodate my needs. I had the best grilled cheese sandwich and amazing homemade tomato soup. I could have eaten that the rest of my life, I think.
As I was waiting for my taxi, I wondered around the area and found a cupcakery two doors down. This place was super special as Batch Cupcakery bakes only gluten free, paleo and organic cupcakes. Oh, be still my beating heart! I LOVE cupcakes. Sometimes more than I love eggrolls. So I couldn’t help but walk in there and figure out which of their four, yes four, types of cupcakes I wanted to take back to the the hotel with me. They had lavender, pumpkin, red velvet and one other kind. I took the red velvet and headed back to the hotel to go for a run so I could earn the deliciousness that I was about to have. It was as amazing as I imagined!
The last night I opted to go to PF Chang’s as they have a great gluten free menu and I rarely get to have Chinese fare anymore. Their lettuce wraps were amazing as usual but I opted to try their GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken with brown rice. It was so good and had amazing flavor. I went home fat and happy!
The next day I left Reno after having an amazing experience. I am looking forward to going there again in the future.
Oh, on my way home through Salt Lake City, I ran across this sign in the B Concourse:
Awesome! I didn’t get to eat there on the way back but next time I’m in that airport, you bet I’ll be looking to see where I can eat!
Thanks Reno for a great experience!
January 1, 2013 was my changing point. The week before I had looked in the mirror and was not happy with the person I saw. I was as heavy as I was when I moved to Colorado in 2005, was making bad food choices and, although I was working out from time to time, I didn’t have a set plan. With many bad health conditions running in my family, from heart disease to diabetes and so much more, I decided that I wanted to control as much of my health as possible. I decided to take control of my health and do what I could.
So January 1st, 2013, I took a picture of myself so I could track my progress. I recommend doing this if you are going to start a weight loss journey, it’s very motivating. My goal was to work out five times a week and have a certain caloric intake everyday. I think I drove my parents crazy counting calories. I also cut out alcohol for the first month, retraining my body. I kept to my goals and did a workout five times a week, stayed within my calories.
The weight started coming off, slowly, which is the way I prefer it. Every month for the first year, I took a picture and could see the difference which was so very encouraging. Last year I didn’t take as many pictures, once to show what a difference a year made and that was about it. I had a few more pounds to lose and did that by doing an Arbonne Detox Bootcamp with which I had huge success.
This morning, for some reason, I decided to take another picture and did a comparison from two year ago. Totally crazy…I am actually sharing it because I’m pretty proud of where I came from.
The story here is don’t quit. It’s easy to give in and go back. It’s easy to say “I’m at a plateau and can’t keep going” It’s hard to stay the course and keep moving even though it’s tough. So keep going, move through the tough parts to the parts that will be the huge reward!
I don’t always keep in tune with what is going on in the world. I typically do enough so that I can talk intelligently and know the facts. I don’t like to sound ignorant so I educate myself.
Not everyone does this, which was evident by this interview that included TV talk show host, Joy Behar. If you haven’t watched it, please do. Unless you are in a good mood because it will tick you off.
I spend time trying to educate people about being gluten free: what my reasons are, what it means and how I keep myself healthy. What irritates me the most is people not educating themselves on why they are eating gluten free. Admittedly, a lot of people that don’t know why they are eating gluten free are the ones who don’t have a medical diagnosis that requires it. They do it because they feel better or, in some cases, because it’s the newest thing. There are those people.
Ms. Behar is a prime example of talking without education. Of speaking out of ignorance. We are “needy” because our diet requires it. Celiac Disease isn’t something in our head, it’s a REAL disease. In fact, Ms Behar, I invite you to feed me pasta and hang out in the bathroom with me while my not real disease kicks in.
Part of me hopes that this negative publicity is a wake up call to this lady but, who am I kidding? I have seen her before and she isn’t the brightest bulb so I am highly doubtful that it will change. I just hope that other people won’t pay attention to her…and we can continue our education and bring positive light to eating gluten free.