Social Distortion

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

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Scones

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!


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.

Optional icing:

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!

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I’m a traveling woman…

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.

Amazing from Great Full Gardens!

Amazing from Great Full Gardens!

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!

Red Velvet deliciousness from Batch Cupcakery!

Red Velvet deliciousness from Batch Cupcakery!

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:

Salt Lake City Airport

Salt Lake City Airport

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!

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The Road to Health

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!


The Danger Zone

There are times where I just don’t eat.  Yes, I know that that isn’t healthy for me but sometimes it comes down to necessity.  There are other times where I’m limited on what to eat because I KNOW what is safe and what isn’t.

What I’m referring to are the parties that are coming up for the holidays.  If you are Celiac, or gluten intolerant or have any type of food allergy, you know what I’m talking about.  You walk into a party, look at the food and just know that you can’t have any of it.  There are times, like the fundraiser I was at last night, where I don’t even bother to look at the food or ask because it just seems like a waste of time.  I’m not being negative, just realistic.

But there are options, besides starving (like I did last night because of lack of preparation, totally my fault!).  Here are a few of my tried and true tips:

1.  Eat before.  What can it hurt to at least have a snack before you go so if there isn’t anything, you at least don’t want to chew your arm off in hunger.  It nearly happened to me last night, don’t think I won’t do it.

2.  Take a snack.  Yes, you might look odd grabbing crackers out of your purse but at least you know it’s safe and you can eat with the people you are hanging out with.  If you don’t want to be “that person”, sneak away to another room and quickly eat.

3.  Suck it up and eat later.  This is what I did.  Well, not the suck it up part, I did whine a little but I waited and ate after the event.  This was bad because I was so hungry that I didn’t eat anything healthy, it was all junk.

These are things I consider when I go out to someone’s home, to a party and, sometimes, when dining out with friends.  Sometimes I know that all I can have is a plate of veggies which won’t take me far so it’s better to be safe than sorry.  So the lesson is prepare, prepare, prepare!

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The nightmare comes true

As a Celiac, my worst nightmare is being served the wrong food.  When we had a Carino’s here, they served me regular pasta once and it wasn’t a pretty sight.  I complained, the kitchen manager said “we need to train better” and it was a LONG time until I ate there again.  Only then did I tell them I was gluten free when I was seated but when the server came over to get my drink order, when I ordered food, when the food came, etc.  I checked and then triple checked.

Last week I wanted soup for lunch and was going with my mom.  She is also GF and eats at Chili’s a lot and since they had soup there, I thought I’d try it.

Chili’s isn’t my favorite place to eat.  I’ve just never been a fan of their food but I’m willing to step outside my little box and go somewhere that isn’t my favorite.  We were seated, asked for a GF menu and they have a nifty Ipad thing at each table now with allergen menus, games and where you can also pay your tab.  I took a look at the menu, decided on the unlimited soup and salad combo and ordered the soup off of the GF menu, reiterating that I needed to be gluten free and also asking that I not have cheese on either.

Since it was unlimited, I decided to have a second bowl of the soup.  I flagged down another server, who had been assisting ours, and asked for the GF soup, no cheese.  He looked at me, said “that soup doesn’t have cheese on it” and my heart sank.  I had been served the wrong soup.  He was apologetic and brought me the correct soup the second time around.

When our server came back, my mom kinda let her have it.  She told her that we had, several times, told her that we were GF and the soup that was brought wasn’t.  All she said was “I’m sorry” and stood there.  I explained to her how sick I get but it didn’t seem to register.  We asked for a manager and all we got from her was “I’m sorry” and I told her that her staff needed better training.

I can tell you that that may be my last visit to Chili’s…ever.  Not only were they not attentive to my needs but, when a huge issue of negligence came up, no one seemed concerned.  A place like that does not deserve my business.


Bringing it back to normal

I ask myself a lot “what is normal”? Normal seems to be a word that we use a lot but doesn’t have a “real” definition since what is normal for me, isn’t normal for you…for the most part.

Well, a few months ago I did a detox bootcamp: 28 days of eating right and bringing my pH balance back to normal. Yes, there is a normal pH balance.

What most people don’t know is that our bodies, because of what we eat and drink, become acidic and results in weight gain and, as we are finding out, may play a part in diseases like cancer. Our bodies NEED to be closer to a normal pH balance or they freak out.

This bootcamp was super scary to me. We had to eliminate gluten (done!), dairy, soy, whey, caffeine, alcohol and many other things. Well, I love cheese, was a caffeine junky (we are talking three cups of coffee, sodas at lunch and an energy drink in the afternoon…every day) and love my beer and whiskey. It was going to be a rough 28 days.

But I learned a lot. A lot about food, a lot about how the body processes food and a lot about myself and who I WANT to be. You see, when your body is acidic (toxic), your fat cells store the toxic stuff because, well, what else does it do with it? So you gain weight and you aren’t able to lose weight on diets because you are still eating toxic/acidic stuff. Make sense? So you can go on that Weight Watchers diet with the WW cookies, etc but if you are still eating crap, your body still stores the crap. Just an example and nothing against WW.

Anyway, I did it as a test and I had great results. I didn’t need to lose weight but lost 10 pounds…lost 8 inches too. It taught me that what we eat is so much more important that we realize. It made me realize that taking the time to shop and MAKE food is way more important that I ever gave it credit. And it made me realize that I want a healthier, happier, pH balanced me. I also realized how I want to help my friends and have been able to and have been able to share in their happiness as they discover health and life.

28 days is nothing if you have a longer life. I encourage you to find a program like this, or ask me about the program I did. Get healthy, get happy!

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And on the outside…

There is a debate in the gluten free world over whether or not skincare, shampoos, etc that might have wheat, barley or rye in them can affect those with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance by bringing out the symptoms of these two diseases.

I’ve talked with several people who have the skin rash symptom of Celiac Disease, Dermatitis Herpetitformis, have breakouts when using lotions, shampoos, conditioners and even hair coloring which asks the question:  “If Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease and affects the gut, why do “topical” items bother us?”

I don’t have an answer to this and hope to speak to a dermatologist (I’ve found one who is well versed in this, so I hear) and find out what the story really is.  I know as a Celiac, I’ve slowly started changing from the store brand skin care items to ones that are certified gluten free, just so I know I’m on the safe side.

Thoughts out there?

It’s not as easy as it looks

People go on diets all of the time to lose weight or, as in the case of my athlete/bodybuilding friends, to do a competition of some sort.  Cutting out certain foods helps you achieve those goals and can help you get much healthier.

But there is a difference between choosing to cut out a food group or just a couple of foods and being forced to cut out foods.  When you choose to cut foods out, you have the option of bringing them back into your life when, or if, you choose to.  When you HAVE to cut a food out it’s not quite as easy.  Especially when the item you have to cut out of your life is in EVERYTHING.

Which is where the bet comes into play.  I was out with some friends a couple weeks ago watching football and enjoying an adult beverage.  When it came time to eat, my friend Kim and I discussed what we wanted (we are quite familiar with local restaurants and what we can and can’t have) and ordered.  Somehow the topic turned into an “it’s not that easy” discussion.  Now, Kim is right, eating gluten free can be challenging and frustrating.  Gluten is in all different types of foods, most you wouldn’t think.

So Kim and Craig bet.  Kim bet Craig that he couldn’t go a full week of eating gluten free and he accepted.  Then I told him where wheat was and what he couldn’t have.  First, beer.  He looked at his beer sadly but decided he could give it up for a week.  Then I moved into the liturgy of “you can’t have pasta, bread, breaded foods, certain kinds of ketchup, certain types of soy sauce, most Chinese foods, cereals…” and the list went on and on.

I think finding out that “little” things like ketchup, soy sauce and salad dressings can contain wheat is surprising but wheat is a binder, and thickener, in almost everything.  I mean, a friend of mine made chili with a seasoning packet that had, yes, wheat.

Well, the bet lasted under eight hours when Craig decided it wasn’t going to happen.  I don’t blame him, if I wasn’t Celiac, I wouldn’t be gluten free either.  I would be feasting happily on my Chinese food with soy sauce.  I won’t lie, though, I helped enjoy the spoils of Kim’s winnings and was happy about it.

Go on guys…bet again.  I’m ready for it!

Staying on the Positive Side

Last week I was out with some of my friends watching football and somehow the topic came around to eating gluten free.  Ok, let’s face it, almost every time I’m around the topic comes around to gluten free.  I don’t try, it just happens.  It just so happened that this day it was double trouble:  two of us are gluten free.

I’m used to being gluten free and although it’s not my favorite thing in the world, I’m ok with it.  Yes, I have times when I really want an egg roll (yes, I’m back to the egg roll) but overall, it is what it is.  My friend Kim misses certain things in life like Bud Light and Taco Bell.  I don’t blame her, it sucks somedays.  The topic turned into “eating gluten free sucks” which turned into a bet between Kim and my friend Craig.  The bet?  That Craig (not gluten free) was to eat gluten free for a whole week.  The loser to buy dinner and pay an monetary amount.  While it sounds easy (cut the bread, pasta and beer) it isn’t that easy and is quite tricky.  That topic, and the results from the bet, will be in another blog so stay tuned.

What got me thinking was that we too often look at the negative side of things.  We look at what we CAN’T have and aren’t thankful for what we CAN have.  I’m super thankful that my friends bought gluten free buns last night so I could have a normal hamburger.  Was the bun like a normal bakery bun?  No.  But it was the kind of bun I CAN have.  Do I miss Bud Light?  Yes but there are gluten free beers that are good.

I’ve started hearing it more and more from those that are gluten free.

“Oh, I can’t have that.”

“This gluten free diet is too expensive.”

“I hate to read every label.”

“The gluten free diet is hard.”

While all of these might be true, let’s try to be thankful that eating gluten free is SO much easier than 20 years ago, even five years ago.  Let’s be thankful that there ARE foods out there that we can eat, no matter the cost.  Let’s remember what we CAN have and not feel restricted by what we can’t.  Let’s adjust our way of thinking and see the positive side of things.

Make it a point this week to listen to how you talk, especially about eating gluten free.  When you want to say something negative about eating gluten free, make it into something positive and I bet your whole outlook will change.

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