My sweet celiac and youngest, Izzy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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Gluten Free Halloween Birthday party

This week is a busy one.  I am busy planning and executing all things "Operation Halloween Birthday Bash" which has morphed so many times, I'm not sure what will come next.  I know one thing is for sure, I'm ready for Saturday to be here ASAP;)  The weather here is frightful and cool misty kinda that made me super productive today in my party planning.

Menu for the party is as follows:
Meat and cheese tray (Boar's Head so it's all Gfree!)
Veggie Tray
Shrimp Cocktail
Hummus and Salsa Tray with Gfree pita chips sprinkled with olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan
Oven roasted Chicken bites and homemade turkey sausage meatballs with Gfree BBQ sauce, Gfree Thai Peanut Sauce, Gfree Terryaki sauce and Gfree Polynesian dipping sauce
Snickerdoodle Chex mix
Gfree Cheese Balls
Gfree red velvet cupcakes make to look like blood shot eyes and Pumpkin Spice Gfree cupcakes

Fun and not too spooky with the exception of the head of cauliflower sitting in red dyed pickling liquid to look like a brain and other apothacary jars filled with different Haloween candies and a tombstone filled with Gfree scary lollipops...spooky spiderwebs and a spooky punch!

Strawberry Fanta or other red colored soda
1 Large can Pineapple juice
and one hand mold filled with ice frozen gummy worms
scoops of different favored sorbet with a melon baller

Potato sack race
3 legged race
apple bobbing
Who can wrap the mummy

Kids will also have water, juice boxes and capri suns and apple cider
Adults will have the option of (sorry guys, haven't found a gfree beer I like yet) beer, pumpkin ale, hard cider, red/white and Hallowine
and perhaps an additive to the apple cider the kids will enjoy;)

This will be ONE FUN PARTY for sure!!!

Martha Stewart has nothing on me;)

So after a day full of major accomplishment, I wanted to share a recipe I thought I had posted already and just now realized I had now...In last months issue of Martha Stewart Living she did a bunch of comfort food recipes and one of them was a yummy Irish Stew which as most of you know, has stout of some sort in it.  So, I invented a "mocked up" version of her Irish Stew Pot Pie Recipe that was TO DIE FOR!
  • 4 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup Gluten Free flour blend of choice (I used Jeanne's blend from Art of Gluten free Baking
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • The original recipe calls for: 2 bottles (12 ounces) stout, preferably Guinness (3 cups) I substituted 1 1/2 bottles of WoodChuck's Hard Apple Cider, naturally Gluten free and the remaining of the 3 Cups with Gfree Beef stock
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 pound cipollini onions, peeled
  • For the Topping

    • 6 medium russet potatoes (3 1/2 pounds)
    • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Make the filling: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge short ribs in flour, coating all sides. Transfer to a large plate. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, brown short ribs, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large plate using kitchen tongs.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add yellow onion to Dutch oven, and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Return meat to Dutch oven. Add stout and rosemary. Bring to a simmer. Cover, and transfer to oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove Dutch oven from oven, and add cipollini onions. Braise until meat is tender and onions are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Shred meat using 2 forks. Season with salt and pepper. Divide filling among eight mini (1-cup) pie plates, or transfer to a 12-inch (8-cup) gratin dish.
  4. Make the topping: Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees. Peel potatoes, and very thinly slice each (preferably on a mandoline). Arrange potatoes over meat to form tight concentric circles, working around the edge and overlapping each potato by three-quarters. Brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes for mini potpies (1 hour for large potpie).

This is a time consuming recipe, no doubt, I won't lie.  BUT it is more than well worth it and for those of you working mommas, do this one on the weekend OR you could substitute the long cooking period in the Dutch oven, in the oven by prepping the night before and sticking it in the crock pot on low to cook.  I also made one big pit versus the smaller pies because we were all eating it together and nothing fancy but the mini individual pies are great for company!!!!

Fun Gluten Free Treats!

SO...Noah is star student of the week this week at preschool, which just means I'm in charge of snacks for the class on Tuesday and Thursday.  Isabelle was star student a few weeks ago and I'll tell you what, coming up with new, fun and creative treats for 3 and 4 years olds that is also gluten free has it's challenges. For her week I made fruit roll up sushi and snickerdoodle chex easy and FUN!

Fruiti Sushi:
1 1/4cups Rice Chex® or Corn Chex® cereal
1cup white vanilla baking chips
4rolls Betty Crocker® Fruit Roll-Ups® chewy fruit snack in favorite flavor (from 5-oz box), unwrapped
12candy worms
Preparation Directions
1.Place cereal in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag and crush with fingers to 3/4 cup.
2.In medium microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips as directed on package until melted and stirred smooth. Add crushed cereal; stir until well coated.
3.Unroll fruit snack rolls. For each sushi roll, spread 1/4 of cereal mixture on snack roll to within 1/2 inch of one short side. Arrange 3 candy worms, side by side, on cereal-covered short side.
4.Starting with short side topped with candy worms, roll up each snack roll tightly, pressing unfilled short side of roll to seal.
5.Let sushi rolls stand 5 to 10 minutes or until firm. Cut each roll into 4 slices. Store loosely covered.
1/4cup sugar
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
2cups Cinnamon Chex® cereal
2cups Chocolate Chex® cereal
4cups popped popcorn
1/4cup butter or margarine
Preparation Directions
1.In small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon; set aside. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals and popcorn.
2.In 1-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated.
3.Microwave uncovered on High 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture evenly over cereal mixture; stir. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture; stir. Microwave 1 minute longer. Spread on waxed paper or paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.
For Noah's turn I decided to do Marshmellow Mummies and Sweet Pepper Race Cars
Marshmellow mummies:
18 large marshmallows
6 thin Gluten Free pretzel sticks (2 3/4 inch) (Glutino makes gfree pretzel sticks and now Snyder's of Hanover also makes gfree pretzel sticks)
1 box (4.5 oz) chewy fruit snacks in three-foot rolls (any flavor)
Black decorating gel (from 0.68-oz tube)

1. Thread 3 marshmallows onto each pretzel stick to make 6 “bodies.”
2. Unwrap fruit snack rolls (do not unroll). With kitchen scissors or sharp knife, cut rolls in half horizontally to make 12 rolls of long strips. Unroll strips; remove paper.
3. Wrap 2 long snack roll strips around each “body” to look like mummy, leaving small amount of 1 marshmallow uncovered for face. With decorating gel, add dots on “face” for eyes.

Sweet Pepper Race cars:

6 Bell Peppers or for toddlers 6 smaller sweet peppers
12 toothpicks
1 Cup Gfree Ranch dressing of choice
12 baby carrots
Assorted veggies similar to veggie tray(cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, celery)

Cut the top 1/4 of the pepper of choice off and set aside, seed and core the pepper.
Run two toothpicks where you would expect wheels to be and thread 4 slices of baby carrots on each end.
Take some of the pepper tops and chop, carrots, and other assorted veggies into small bute sized pieces.
Add a TBSP of ranch dressing in the bottom of the pepper to cover the toothpicks and top with chopped veggies!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sweet 16 and Beyond

Well, Thursday was Lana's Sweet 16 birthday and I let it pass without a new post:).  I figure since I did an earlier blog about all their birthdays I'd be ok;).  It didn't go unnoticed though.  I was up at 5 am that morning getting things ready for her big day, made cinnamon raisen bread which then translated to cinnamon raisen french toast which was her birthday breakfast request.  After the gym it was off to the jewelers to approve a last minute adjustment to her big present and then running errands the rest of the day.  It was insane.....BUT overall, it was a good day.  I think she enjoyed her day.  After school there were chocolate butterscotch cupcakes, balloons and presents...:) She opened her big gift first and not much reaction right away but loved it overall.  I designed a ring for her, yes it was a heart shaped ring with one solid side and one open side, with the solid side encrusted in diamonds from my grandmother's ring and 1 tiny pink birthstone at the corner to offset in color.  It was beautiful.  It is a legacy that each one of my children will get on their 16th birthday, same symbolism and similar but distinct to each child.  The heart had obvious double meaning this year since she had her heart transplant but the second part meaning was that my children, if anyone knows me well already knows this, are my heart and the heart of my family.  I would not be the person I am without any of them! She also got her highlights touched up and a big steak dinner. 

This was also Homecoming week so the girls dressed up most everyday in some sordid crazy outfit and were so cute doing it.  Friday night was the big game and hilariously, The Tigers beat their opponent SO badly that they had to call the game before time ran out.  Saturday we met up with some friends and went to the Cave Springs Pumpkin Patch, which is smaller than our normal Missouri patch we are hoping to go to next weekend, but it was SOOO fun still.  Poor Noah and Izzy are fighting the whole ragweed deal here so sweet Noah was NOT with it at all with his meds...Izzy is used to it now so she was full blown and ready to go:).  We left there, put everyone down for naps and then headed for pics in the square with the girls for homecoming.  ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS GORGEOUS!!!! They were all so beautiful!  Shelby's friends, Shelby and Tori, were there and Lana's friends, Janell and Kailyn and some others showed up and they were all absolutely equisite looking.  My girls have grown up and I realized how old I looked in the pics with them;).  We finished taking pics and Lana headed off to dinner with her friends and Shelby headed off to her BFF's house for dinner, Madison.  Where they had a yummy steak dinner with a not so fabulous desert thanks to yours truly (tried to make a brownie topped with chocolate chip cookie cake that did not work out so well....These girls never complained, just had a fabulous time and ended up having the best night.  So proud of all the girls and can't wait to see them all again next weekend for a fun weekend at the big pumpkin patch with cool weather and lots of stuff to do;)......

Have I told you how MUCH I love fall????

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's October already?

OK, first of all, let me start this post with the entire month of September, I was determined, was trying to kill me.  There was the Harvest Full Moon and the Autumn Equinox...and those of you non-believers that this truly matters or takes a part in the earth's sanity, go work in a hospital around the full moon and tell me you still don't believe.  Anyway, all of last week was just plain and utter insanity, if I touched it, it went caput; if I looked at it, it was weird and the kids moods were CRAZY and all I could think of was PLEASE let October start!  Friday, the last day of the month,  was just trying to stretch me to the limit...Thursday, however,  started with me trying to take the kids to school and the car wouldn't start, this mind you is after we had it's major service done AND replaced the fuel pump and the battery, all in September....see what I mean?  ANYWAY, you know your car not starting can't happen at a convenient, it was as I was in a mass rush to get all 4 kids to school, running late as usual in the mornings and needing to be in 2 places at once WITH a working car!  I yell, "Everyone grab a baby" and both teenagers jumped into action as I yanked the car seats from one car and trasferred them to the much smaller but worked for an emergency car and off we headed...speeding down the road to make up time and hopefully not get a ticket.  All went fine and everyone got to school in time and I came back to relax for a few minutes before heading to my hair appointment.  I so look forward to my hair appointment days with my guy BFF, Brian, doing his amazing job and working magic on my crazy frizzy and VERY grey hair and catching up with all that's gone on since we've talked, texted or seen each other.  SO, after a crazy start to my day, I was feeling good and ready to tackle the rest of the day uneverntfully.....that's when it happened.....I let the dog out of the kennel to let her go outside and hang with me til time to leave and as she rambled relentlessly down the back staircase, she caught me just was in slow motion and I knew it was happening before I could react....high heels, great jeans and me....started to tumble down the back steep staircase.  Over and over I tried to grab the hand rail to stop myself but to no avail.  Finally, right before I hit bottom, I caught myself.  It was one of those moments when you stop, stand up straight and check to see if anyone was looking then burst into laughter at the scene that just unfolded.  Crying wouldn't have helped so you might as well laugh!  OMG, I still cannot believe that happened.  The rest of the day, thankfully was uneventful but that was where I literally said..September is trying to take me out like the mob!  Friday started off somewhat similar to Thursday, still in the "emergency car" trying yet again to get the kids loaded to drop the teens at school, I was dressing to leave when I came out of my room and asked where Isabelle was.  Blank stare from Shelby insued and I heard a tiny little voice upstairs.....I yelled, "Izzy it's time to go, get downstairs" Shelby headed out the door while I tried to figure out where exactly Izzy was.  Next thing I know, Shelby has left the door open and Isabelle has let Brandy out of her kennel and now the dog is running loose out in the front of the house, Izzy is screaming bloody murder that the dog is running away, I'm yelling at shelby for leaving the door open, Lana is putting her things and Noah in the car......OMG, really?  AGAIN?  Thank you Jesus, Brandy came right back looking for a treat I was yelling to her that I had, got her locked back up and out the door we flew yet again.

You guys thought this was going to be one of those great blogs with a recipe didn't you?  HAHAHA, well living with 4 kids and a husband that travels extensively....this one is NOT the happy go lucky blog I usually write;)...Thought you might like a glimpse into a day or two with me.  Back to the story - the rest of the day was ok, cleaning, laundry, the usual.  I already knew the afternoon would be insane so I was preparing myself for this.  I do carpool pick up in the afternoon so that Shelby can get a ride home from the gym when the babies are usually either headed to bed or sleeping.  So, first stop was picking up Kenzie from Jr. High, which I forgot about in my crazy afternoon schedule.  I run out the door in a panic that poor, sweet Kenzie is waiting on me and all in all, was not that late, grab her, get the other three teens and drop three girls at the gym while Lana and I head home to pack her for her first retreat since her transplant, actually her first night away from home since her transplant and it was going to be almost all weekend long.  I thought, when I hugged Isabelle in transition she felt warm to me.  We get Lana packed and ready to go, head to the store for the items she needs food wise to bring to the retreat and a birthday present for her BFF, some pedialyte pops and Tylenol just in case.  Get her to the church and head home to a very feverish little girl.  103 to be exact.  So, Motrin starts off the night, a little dinner and Jason and Shelby head to the movies, Isabelle and Noah head to bed.  About 11 I noticed Izzy was burning up with fever.  Searching my mom mental place cards, I stripped her and tried to get her cooler.  A phone call to my mother and then a few minutes later to my mother-in-law to make sure I wasn't overreacting, I called to say the movie was over...probably 15 minutes from the actual ending it was time to take miss thing to the ER.  Had her redressed and in the car by the time the car pulled in and adreneline rushing, ready to go.  By this point her fever was 105.2.  In a panic, Shelby decided she was going with me and we rushed to the ER.  There was no one there to my ultimate satisfaction and we were seen immediately.  Triage doubted her fever was truly 105 after their first initial reading until we got into the room and even stripped naked again, she started spiking a fever with rosy red cheeks that scared everyone.  Doc came in, checked ears, nose and throat and there was one pink ear, one pink tonsil and alot of uncertainty.  Doc looked at me and said you know if we do a strep test it would be negative but because of Lana we are going to treat with a broad spectrum antibiotic to make sure we get whatever this is.  I said - GO...not my usual response to antibiotics but we just didn't have a choice with Lana.  I couldn't afford for us to wait and it get bad with Izzy or possibly pass to the other kids and then passing to her when she got home.  Strep for Lana is a totally different ballgame.  With Izzy's allergies they made us wait 15 minutes post shot to check for reaction, then they come in to check her temp and it's gone up even more...another 30 minutes later and she was 2 degrees cooler.  By 2 am we were home, no fever and a hungry teen and baby...scrambled eggs and another 30 minutes and we were finally in bed.  THAT is how I welcomed in my favorite month of the day, lovely Oct had started and not a sign of fever, illness, craziness or any obstacle in my way.  Even spent Sunday's cool weather stuffing scarecrows!

Thank you Jesus for bringing in October just when you did;)!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Give Away from Lemon Drop

Another Gluten Free Blogger, Lemon Drop, is doing a giveaway for Halloween!  Believe it or not, there is someone else out there that likes this time of year as much as I do!;)  She has some amazing recipes too!!!  Follow her, you won't be disappointed!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Intestinal Healing

Chelsea Jans founder of We Are Gluten Free, has so many wonderful and helpful hints and healthy living for celiacs.  This article is about how celiacs even living a gfree lifestyle can have intestinal damage that continues to make them unhealthy.  She follows up the article from Brian Dean, RD with a wonderful Quinoa sidedish that is SO yummy! I just had to share...

Issue #6 - Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dear Jennifer,
In today's main essay, guest expert contributor, Brian Dean, RD goes in to a few reasons why you might be feeling less than 100% on a gluten free diet and how to solve this problem.
Also in this issue . . .
Find out why taking a complete nutritional solution can help your gut heal, in today's - Check It Out! And, I eat this grain nearly every week and I think you should to (it's high in protein and tastes great hot or cold) find out what it is in today's Recipe.
I hope you enjoy today's issue of We Are Gluten Free.
"To heal from the inside out is key."
~ Wynonna Judd
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Drink plenty of water. Water helps your body remove waste and can even help you lose weight. A lot of the times when you are feeling hungry in the middle of the day you are actually thirsty. Try to keep a water bottle with you all day and drink at least 4 oz every hour.

The Science Behind CeliAct: Intestial Healing
By Brian Dean. RD

If you were to look at the intestine of someone with celiac disease under a microscope, you wouldn't see a pretty picture. After months or years of intestinal destruction, your intestinal tissue likely resembles a battleground: dead and damaged cells limping, infrastructure in tatters, and once functional machinery lying in ruin.

After all, your body has essentially been at war with your intestine ever since it decided gluten was a threat that needed to be destroyed at all costs.

How to Get Things Back to Normal

Surely, you can call a cease-fire to this battle by avoiding gluten.

But is that enough?

According to research published in Digestion, a team of scientists looked at the intestinal health of a group of celiac disease patients that had been following a gluten free diet for at least a year.

Even though they didn't go near gluten, more than 50 percent of the volunteers still had significant intestinal damage.

You can read more about this research study in The Science Behind CeliAct Part 1.

What's the Big Deal?

You may think that just because you can't feel the fact that your intestine looks like Swiss cheese that it's no big deal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Almost every health issue that people celiac disease struggle with - from osteoporosis to vitamin deficiencies - is rooted in a poorly working intestine.

For example, scientists at the University of Naples looked at the intestines and health in a group of 400 men and women with celiac disease. Like the Digestionstudy, about 50 percent of the volunteers had clinically damaged intestines.

This time they found something even more interesting: that level of intestinal damage was directly linked to indicators of overall health. Those that had the most damaged intestine tended to be the least healthy - as measured by a protein in the blood known as albumin. It's important to note that many of the subjects in this study with injured intestines were following a rigorous gluten free diet.

This research clearly shows that it's imperative that your intestine gets patched up as soon as possible - and cutting out gluten isn't going to cut it.

Are you on a gluten free diet and still feeling sick?

According to a number of recent studies, the answer to that question is a loud and clear "NO!" Your needs for vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are significantly higher if you have celiac disease--even if you follow a gluten free diet.

Click here to find out more about a complete nutritional solution for people with Celiac disease.

What's the Big Deal?

You may think that just because you can't feel the fact that your intestine looks like Swiss cheese that it's no big deal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Almost every health issue that people celiac disease struggle with - from osteoporosis to vitamin deficiencies - is rooted in a poorly working intestine.

For example, scientists at the University of Naples looked at the intestines and health in a group of 400 men and women with celiac disease. Like the Digestion study, about 50 percent of the volunteers had clinically damaged intestines.

This time they found something even more interesting: that level of intestinal damage was directly linked to indicators of overall health. Those that had the most damaged intestine tended to be the least healthy - as measured by a protein in the blood known as albumin. It's important to note that many of the subjects in this study with injured intestines were following a rigorous gluten free diet.

This research clearly shows that it's imperative that your intestine gets patched up as soon as possible - and cutting out gluten isn't going to cut it.

Taking That Extra Step

According to the latest scientific research, if you want your intestine to become normal again, you need to act.

CeliAct contains a scientifically formulated blend of nutrients designed to put intestinal healing on overdrive.

L-Glutamine: The cells of your intestine literally eat this amino acid for breakfast. Studies show that intestinal cells nourished with L-Glutamine bounce back faster.

Zinc: New tissue needs zinc to form properly. Unfortunately, zinc's a mineral that many folks with celiac disease don't absorb enough of. Supplementing with zinc can boost intestinal healing.

Citrus bioflavonoids: Gluten isn't your only enemy. Free radicals - renegade cells that murder healthy intestinal cells - are more active in people with celiac disease. Free radicals get in the way of your intestine's recovery like a tornado flying through a construction site. Citrus bioflavanoids are like hit men that seek out dangerous free radicals and put an end to their reign.

Brian Dean MS, RD first became interested in celiac disease after consoling a crying 14-year old patient who just received her diagnosis the day before. Not wanting her to feel like her life was over simply because she couldn't eat wheat, Brian created a gluten-free meal plan chock full of delicious foods! Since then, Brian's focus has shifted towards boosting the health and quality of life of people with celiac disease.

Studies Mentioned in this Post: Ciacci C, Cirillo M, Cavallaro R, Mazzacca G. Long-term follow-up of celiac adults on gluten-free diet: prevalence and correlates of intestinal damage. Digestion 2002; 66: 178-85.

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Summer Quinoa Salad
by Chelsea Jans
I made this for dinner on Monday night. It is always a big hit. And I like that it is easy to make, I only have to cook the quinoa and I can prepare it ahead of time. I serve it cold as a salad. It goes great with seafood and chicken and is perfect for those hot summer nights when eating something cold helps cool you down.

1 1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup kalamata olives (chopped)
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh dill (chopped)
1/4 cup red onion (chopped)
1/4 cup celery (chopped)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove (finely minced)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. (*Tip instead of preparing it with water, add 1/2 the amount of water and replace the other 1/2 with chicken broth. Then you do not have to add salt at the end.)

2. Allow quinoa to cool to room temperature before you add any vegetables.

3. Add the chopped bell peppers, olives, feta cheese, dil, red onion, celery, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic glove and pepper.

4. Mix well. Add salt to taste. Enjoy.

Try experimenting with different kinds of vegetables or add more to the mix. Or you can even add shrimp or chicken to make it a complete meal.

Let me know how you make your quinoa or if you enjoyed this recipe.