Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Update....


I had the endoscopy on 11/7. I should have final biopsy results soon. Initial reports say no Celiac. I'm going on the assumption that this will be what the biopsies say. I continue to search for the reasons of my health issues.

Regardless of the answer, I will leave this blog up. There are many recipes I really enjoyed, and I know others did too. Also, I love cooking, so I will ALWAYS have recipes that will be naturally gluten-free, and I will blog them here to share with all of you.

I appreciate your patience as I go through this process, and in so, reinvent myself again, at 40.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The view from the Wheat field....

Yes, I said it.

My health, continuing to decline despite my gluten-freeness caused us to redo the doctor route.

3 weeks ago I met with my gastroenterologist - a charming fellow who has the standard "Doctors are God" complex belittled my choice of self diagnosis on needing to be gluten free. Denied that he ever told me that my bloodwork was inconclusive, etc. And that all I have is IBS and he'll prove it by doing the endoscopy. Okay, maybe he wasn't that harsh about it - but said it between a wide smile that said "you are stupid". So...for three weeks I have been eating wheat in preparation for my test in early November. I have to say, I feel no different. I'm still tired, I'm still nauseous all the time, and I'm still have the same intestinal issues as before.

I do agree - however - staring down a lifelong denial of gluten, I'd really rather have conclusive evidence that I need to be there. And if I find out I am, in fact, a Celiac and I do, in fact, need to return to eating gluten-free, I will, with joy and newfound peace regarding it. I've come to know so many great folks, great recipes, and great foods since going gluten-free.

IF...I find out that I do not need to return and rejoin the world of Gluten Gluttons, I WILL leave this website here with the recipes that I've found, created, adapted, for others. They truly were satisfying substitutes, ones I'd be happy to eat the rest of my life.

I will keep you all posted. And if I come up with naturally gluten-free recipes on my other blog (, I will post them here as well.

So long (for now), and thanks for all the rice (not to mention tapioca, sorghum and millet!!).

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I bet you're all wondering where the heck I've been....I bet you're waiting with bated breath for my next delicious concoction! I don't blame you!

I'd like to say that I've been on vacation, and that I'm sunning myself on a beach somewhere that there is no internet access! Well...that would be lying and my mother always taught me that lying was wrong. So...

My brand new oven has been out of commission for a month. Nope, not kidding. The first time I turned it on, the lights blew out and I heard a loud pop. Thought it was just the lights. Turns out it's a circuit board, but the warranty company is, shall we say, unintelligent and having trouble finding the right board and fixing it.

Before the guy came the first time (and he's been here 3 time in 5 weeks) the oven worked fine...just no lights. works, but the internal fan doesn't so that causes condensation since it's an in cabinet as to not ruin my brand new cabinets, I thought it better to forgo oven cooking until then.

Factor this in with hosting a cultural immersion student for almost 3 weeks, kids having Vacation Bible School and a travelling husband and you've just run into a point where dinner is hot dogs, salads and whatever you can grab on the go!

So...working on some stuff to get out there for ya, I promise. I'm thinking of making some Peanut Butter Truffles for the Farewell Party for our cultural immersion student.

Thanks for your patience.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer Salad Monday - Layered Salad

So here's this week's installment. Yes, you think layered salad, and your mind harkens back to a simpler time, one of tuna-noodle casserole, Chex party mix, and green Jello salads. A time when we griped because the price of gas was 80 cents a gallon! THE HORROR! True. I was a kid in the 70's. True, I've eaten ALL of these things (well, except for the gas). True, occasionally, I even CRAVE them (again, except for the gas!!...Although...crave that 80 cents/gallon pricetag!)

This version of it is taken from a newsletter that my Mother-in-law, Carolyn, sent to us many years ago (well, not as far back as the 70's). I made a minor adjustment, by adding scallions.

Layered Salad

3 Cups Iceberg Lettuce, shredded
1/2 Cup Celery, cut diagonally
1/2 Cup Green Pepper, diced
1 Cup Carrots, shredded
10 oz Frozen Peas, thawed and drained
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 Cup Mayonnaise
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Dried Basil
1 scallion, thinly sliced
5 Strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large, deep, glass bowl, layer lettuce, celery, green pepper, carrots, peas and cheddar cheese. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder and basil together well, fold in scallion. Pour over the layered salad. Sprinkle bacon over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy! (hey....this goes well with Tuna Casserole....EEEK...I'm just sayin'.....)


You could also try a tex/mex variation of this:

3 Cups Shredded Romaine
10 oz Frozen corn, defrosted and thawed
2 medium tomates, chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles??? Drained??)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup green/red pepper diced & mixed
1 small red onion diced
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese Shredded
1 Cup Mayo
2/3 Cup sour Cream
1 tsp each chili powder, cumin, garlic powder
pinch red pepper (cayenne)

Layer from lettuce to cheese. Mix mayo, sour cream and spices. Pour over top. When serving top with crushed corn tortilla chips!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Summer Salad Monday - Build-a-Better-Burger Salad

Okay, you've missed me right? Finally feeling a little better. Still covered in hives when I stop the meds, so we'll see what happens.

Thought we'd start fresh with Summer Salad Monday's again! Well, it is officially Summer now, too!

Here is one I made a few weeks ago. This is inspired by Cheeburger Cheeburger restaurants just up the road from us. They have the most fabulous burgers, which when going gluten free filled me with fear that I'd never eat again! Well...they do a Serious Salad there where you get to build your own! MMMMMM....I always do the same thing...A serious burger, smotherd in fried onions and mushrooms, bacon, and cheese. Served on my salad of greens with red onion, tomatoes and a horseradish thousand island dressing. MMMMM. I've come to trust them, but cannot go there every time I crave one! Oh well!

SO...I made my own!!!

I started out with a grilled burger and covered in slowly sauteed and simmered onions and mushrooms. I melted cheese overtop and served over a salad of romaine lettuce, sliced FRESH vine ripened tomatoes, and sliced red onions.

Okay, so where's the recipe you ask? Did you forget the horseradish thousand island dressing????

Horseradish Thousand Island Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellman's)
1/3 cup ketchup (watch these! some are not gluten-free)
1 Tbs milk
2 Tbs sweet pickle relish
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 Tbs Prepared Horseradish

Mix all ingredients together and serve over your Salad! :D

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Apology.... loyal listeners/readers (LOL)....I need to apologize for my absence.

Since returning from vacation, I have awoken every day covered in hives. Saturday it got worse and I awoke with a swollen face. Thankfully, Benedryl helped it come down...however, I looked like Botox Jane for a few hours!

I went to the Doc on Monday, and have had a ton of blood tests done. Doc said hives are usually caused by an internal source (i.e. food) vs. an external one.

So...the allergy meds, etc, have left me exhausted and non-desirous of trying to cook new foods...

I AM SORRY...and promise to start experimenting SOON!!!!

Please don't give up on me, and stay tuned!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rice Chex Muddy Buddies



It's just too danged hot here in the northeast to post a soup recipe. It did turn out lovely and worth sharing, and it will be shared...maybe when this heat wave breaks!


Now onto why we're here today! General Mills has caught onto the "gluten-free" trade and is now producing their Rice Chex gluten-free. Says so right on the box. I think this sent a shockwave of joy through the Gluten-free community!


This weeks highlight is a recipe I always wanted to try and never did because I didn't want to buy an expensive box of gluten-free rice chex alternative cereal and use it for something I couldn't share! LOL :D Well, our local grocery store just ran a special on Chex cereals and I got the large box for $2 each! I stocked up, let me tell you!

The recipe I tried was the Chex Muddy Buddies. Extremely easy to create and extremely delicious. A treat that won't heat up your kitchen, and is kept in the fridge, so it's a nice cool treat in this awful heat!

I hope you go whip yourselves up a batch and enjoy! :D

And rejoice that at Christmas we'll be able to do an inexpensive Chex Party Mix to share! :D

Monday, June 2, 2008

Summer Salad Monday - Broccoli Salad

So...just got back from vacation on Friday night. We left the house on Friday morning the 23rd and it was in the 50s in our little Philadelphia suburb. On arriving home last Friday, the temperatures were in the 80's and, lets just say, YUCKY humid.

It's summer. Once again, we've skipped spring and gone straight to summer. Well, to be fair, we had spring in April, winter returned in May, and then June is summer. :D

When it starts to get hot out, I start thinking "salads" for dinners, and sides. Anything to keep from heating up the kitchen. I have decided to start a series this summer for summer salads. On Mondays, I will share with you a favorite summer salad - either a main dish or a side. This should give you a few choices when the mercury reaches the awful temps!

On our vacation, my husband and I were talking about food. Food was a big thing for me this trip. Being forced to eat EVERY MEAL out for seven days really messes with your mind as a celiac. I think I've taken more Immodium in the last week, than I ever had. Granted, it doesn't prevent a reaction for me, but certainly slows the process if ya know what I mean! Well, we were talking about favorites, and my husband brought up his love for his mother's broccoli salad. Not a personal favorite of mine, but for my husband (of 13 years on June 3rd - Happy Anniversary honey!), I'll do anything!

Upon returning home, I emailed my SIL, Anne of Cooking With Anne, I figured if anyone would have it she would. (Well, as an aside, I searched thru every loving newsletter my MIL produced to no avail) Here's Annes response to me, verbatim "Broccoli - a couple nice sized heads, broken into florets. A few slices of bacon cooked crisp and crumbled, a cup or so of shredded cheddar and moisten the whole thing with mayo and cream until it "looks good" lol" . Now, you have to understand my SIL, she is a brilliant chef. Trained, and she cooks for 8 people every day (7 of them kids!!!!). She has an amazing palate, and can take 3 completely unrelated ingredients and turn them into the most amazing meal you've ever had! (Make sure to take time to check out her blog - she is NOT "gluten-free" but several of her recipes are certainly adaptable). Thanks Anne. :D

I kept track of my own measurements for this salad so that I could share it with you all. Now...I know when you hear salad, you hear "healthy". I'd like to tell you that this fits the bill...but...well...I can't. It is FAIRLY healthy. And is better than eating a pound of bacon in one sitting, BUT...this is one of those recipes to be savored and enjoyed!

I wasn't a Broccoli Salad fan when I started making this. I changed my mind. This was totally yummy! and a great summer treat. I dare you to make it for you next gathering or BBQ, I don't think you'll have leftovers, that is, if it makes it to the gathering or BBQ at all!

Broccoli Salad

2 to 3 nice sized heads of broccoli (save stems - recipe on this tomorrow!)
3 green onions, sliced thin
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut in tiny dice (or shredded if you prefer)
2 tbs mayonnaise
2 tbs sour cream
pepper to taste

Cut broccoli into bite-sized florets. Combine with onion, crumbled bacon and cheese chunks. Add mayo, sour cream and pepper. Mix well and chill for about 2 hours before serving.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

:) Okay, so can you tell I'm just so glad to have a kitchen again?

A good friend came over today - all the kids had a playdate and we hung out in my new favorite spot in the house....our own Cafe! LOL :D

Well, while chatting, I decided to whip up a batch of cookies for all the kids, but, I didnt' have a recipe and I decided to just "wing it"...well, these are what I came up
with and they are yummy!!!

Kind of a cookie, kind of like the top of a cupcake! And OH SO DELICIOUS!

NOT FAT FREE, though.......felt the need to warn you!!!!

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

4 oz butter, softenend
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2 cups favorite gluten-flour blend (I used Land O Lakes)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream together cream cheese, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time and continue to beat. Add vanilla. Stop mixer after well incorporated.

Sift together GF Flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Slowly add flour mixture to cream cheese mixture (on low speed so as not to cover yourself in flour!) and continue to mix until all incorporated and smooth.

Drop by tablespoons on a parchment paper covered (or greased) cookie sheet. Leave room for spreading!!!

Lightly sprinkle a little sugar on top of each mound of dough.

Bake for about 10 minutes until a light golden brown, and "crackly" looking.

Allow to sit on cookie sheet for one minute, then remove to cooling rack.

Frost if desired.....I did!


4 oz cream cheese
4 oz butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp - 1 tbs milk

Cream together cream cheese and butter, add confectioners sugar - 1 cup at a time until well combined....add vanilla and continue beating. Add milk 1 tsp at a time to desired consistency.

Frost cooled cookies.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kitchen....' ya go!!! Check out these pix! :D

There's still a few things to finish...and the pass-thru pic didn't turn out well, so I'll retake that in daylight when you can see it better! :D

Let me know your thoughts...

A view thru the pass-thru:

Main work area:

The "Beverage" Wall:

My "dessert" island:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm Baaaaack!!! Sweet Balsamic Onion Chicken Legs

Okay, so I know I owe you pictures of my kitchen. It is not quite Done/'s functional, but there are a few cosmetic touches I want finished before I post pix...they will be forthcoming I promise.

As of 7:00 p.m. Friday May 9th, it was functional! YAY!!! I actually cried when we tested the water in the sink. I think I missed my sink more than anything else!

It does look beautiful, I am sorry you will need to be patient.

I've been busy cooking away in my new kitchen, and enjoying it! I cooked a fajita feast in it on Saturday night. Monday, my eldest and I made Peanut Butter chocolate chip cookies (I'll post soon, promise!), I cooked chili on Monday night for Dinner. Rest has been sort of standard fare for a few days.

Tonight I tried a new recipe...I hope that you like it.

Sweet Balsamic Onion Chicken Legs

4 Whole Chicken Legs (about 2 lbs), cut drumsticks from thighs
Season Salt (make sure gluten free brand!)
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Chicken Broth (I used Herbox and water)
1/2 large onion, cut in thin strips
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat olive oil over medium high heat until pan is hot. Place drumsticks and thighs - skin side down and cook for 5 minutes until skin is cripy and brown. Flip and cook about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to oven save baking dish.

Place in oven.

While chicken is baking add onions and saute 1 minute, add balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, and brown sugar. Mix well and cook until reduced by about half.

Spoon over baking chicken.

Continue to bake chicken until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Serve over rice, if desired!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Promises, Shmomises! A few "kitchen-free" favorites!

Okay, my loving DH reminded me that I promised in my D'itchen post to share some of my favorite convenience, go-to, gluten-free foods!

Well, I apologize I have not made good on that!


Breakfast, the last few kitchenless weeks has been fun to say the least. When I do eat it, I'm eating EnviroKids Panda Puffs OR an apple and a cheese stick, or a Glutino Breakfast Bar. These are all easy grabs! When I have time, and feel like putting in the effort, breakfast is two over-medium eggs over jalepeno cheese grits. MMMMM....

Okay, how in the world do I make jalepeno cheese it is...this serves 2:

1/4 Cup quick grits (make sure source is gluten-free, of course!)
1 cup water
pinch salt
2 slices jalepeno jack cheese
1 tbs butter
pinch salt

Place 1/4 cup quick grits in a micro wave safe bowl, add water and 1 pinch of salt. Cook on high 2 minutes, stir and cook again for 2 minutes. If still too runny, cook another minute.

Immediately add butter and break up jalepeno jack cheese slices into hot grits and mix so they melt well, add salt to taste.

I usually let set up for a minute or two while I make my eggs.

Okay, lunches have been standard fare of salads, or salad sandwiches (where you use a romaine lettuce leaf as the bread!). I've also come to love Kinnickinnick Pizza Crusts. I toast on both sides for a couple minutes, then top with sauce and cheese and pepperoni...mmmmm. The other night I slathered in butter and used as a bread spoon for Pulled Pork! Very Yummy.

Dinner has been a lot of take out (eeek...the word itself sends shivers up my spine!). I'm trying my best to cook at home and relying on some quick "toss in the crock-pot" recipes.

A new snack favorite has totally come into it's own for me! I had tried it once before and not been too impressed, so either my taste buds have changed OR they changed their formula, because they are delicious! Lundberg Rice Chips are AWESOME and come in some really neat flavors. My favorites are Pico De Gallo, Fiesta Lime and Santa Fe BBQ. I have a bag of Sea Salt and a bag of Honey Dijion to try too. I served them one day to my dad (who is not gluten-free) and my husband one day when I was out of other crunch options...they both LOVED them and ate my whole bag. Needless to say, I'm starting to hide them! LOL (just kidding honey, I'll share!).

Popcorn is also a favorite. Fridays are movie nights with the kids, cuddled on the couch with a big old bowl between us all, it's fun!

The kitchen is in countdown mode, and I hope to post some updated pix tomorrow (charging my camera!). Hubby's working seriously hard, and its starting to come together!

:) Thanks for hanging in with me!

It's coming...

No pictures right now.

Cabinet construction has officially begun! All of the wall cabinets are in, and a few of the base cabs!

I'll post some pix tomorrow - camera battery is dead right now! :D

Thought you could use at least an update!

I'm DYING to get cooking again. Crockpots, toaster ovens and microwaves are great for the short term, but I miss cooking so much! Planning my first few "kitchen all done" meals! I'll post for sure!

:) Hang in there Baby, it's coming!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ode to a Ceramic Tile Floor

I am very upset that I have used the "a thing of beauty is a joy forever" as a title for another post. I so hate repeating myself, so I did not.

The tiles we have had for the flooring for almost 2 months have been sitting in our garage. We've been planning colors, etc off this tile (that we got from Home Depot for .49/square foot, I might add!). I liked the tile. Was not sure that I liked it with the paint color we were using...but I liked it. It was always just a little off, but I figured it was my inability to imagine the finished product in my head (unlike my husband who can do that with almost anything! BNB - Big Nasty Brain!) My husband had sent me to Home Depot to look at it, after he had found it the day before...I liked it, so he told me to buy 20 cases...I did. Remember...this was 2 months ago!

This morning, he and my BIL were getting ready to lay the tile floor. I ran off to Home Depot to get 1/4" tile spacers for the job. As I walked into Home Depot, I went RIGHT BY the tile display that had been there when I bought the tile (2 months ago!). There was our tile, I looked at it...but, right next to it was the same KIND of tile with just a little darker color palette. I started to panic. I liked THIS new tile BETTER! Uh Oh. Well, I bought one to take home to hubby and walked in the door and said "You're going to hate me, but, I like this one better". TURNS OUT THIS WAS THE TILE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BUY THE FIRST TIME!!!! SO... we loaded the 20 cases back in my trunk...I took them over, unloaded, returned, reloaded and got the RIGHT ONE this time! I am ecstatic that we did not lay the wrong tile flooring! That would have been sooo soo sad! Not to mention, all my fault and that guilt would follow me to the grave (my mother trained me well in the guilt department). I'm grateful for the divine providence that took me to Home Depot this morning.

As the picture's on it's way down to the floor. My husband underestimated just how happy this tile floor would make me. I have wanted ceramic tile floors in my kitchen since we married almost 13 wonderful years ago. And this isn't the first time we've remodeled a kitchen! (last time the floor was just not level enough for it so we went with linoleum tiles). I am so tickled that it's the best tile, it's tile, and I can clean it easily, and the color palette of the newer tile (which was only .68/square foot!!!) is PERFECT.

So...hum "Ode to Joy" to yourself as you read this post because I am one happy chickie!!!! :D

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Check out my D'itchen!

What is a D'itchen, you ask? A d'itchen is a noun meaning kitchen in a dining room! It is a noun that this family has been living with for two weeks. We're holding our own, with a few kinks (sorry honey!!!). I'm finally feeling like I'm getting into a rhythm with it. I think for me, the hardest adjustment is not having a sink. You don't realize how often you need a sink until you have NO sink!

I'm using some disposable things which are certainly playing on my "Story of Stuff" guilt, for sure. We are using more disposable items than we have used in a while. I am looking forward to having my kitchen for more than just being able to cook. I feel very wasteful right now! I'm trying hard to wash things like morning cereal bowls, and reusing the plasticware as much as I can before it gets tossed...but, let's face it, eventually it does end up getting tossed. I'm trying not to let the guilt overwhelm me.

This weekend's major project was for hubby and BIL to move the gas line. The cook top will now be located in an island and not part of an all-in-one range. I had troubles with the gas smell giving me a headache. Even though I was reassured often that the gas was off, they were working on a long pipe which had residual gas in it. I ended up taking my youngest and oldest and going shopping. When I came home, my house did not smell as bad, and my house didn't blow up (not that I was REALLY worried...but, you know... :D). I have to confess to being astoundingly impressed with my hubby and BIL that they know how to do this and can do it correctly without causing mortal harm to our family! WAY TO GO GUYS!!!!

We had quite an exciting week as far as the electric was concerned. My dad spent most of his time trying to figure out the "what in the hecks" and the "why did they do THATs?". He was able to separate out things that had no business being attached to a kitchen, and was able to create a map to go forward. He will be returning this week and hopefully will be able to complete the electrical, if not at least make a great big ole dent in it!

We also made a lot of major decisions this week. Okay, ones that probably SHOULD have been made before we tore everything out. Some you just have to make on the fly! Those who are flexible will not break!" We changed our approach to the countertops, and will be returning the ones we previously bought from IKEA. Thanks to DIY Network, we saw a couple redoing their kitchen and using granite tile instead of a solid surface granite. Hubby found a beautiful one for our countertops; and after pricing it all out, it's really not much more expensive than the IKEA and will look so much more sophisticated. We also decided on the glass tile for the backsplash (even ordered it!) and we are really happy with the way the colors look with all the other style elements in the room. We're set for the wall color, and now just shopping for an accent color that will fit with our palette .

Probably the most exciting news, is after days pouring over the internet and catalogs and hitting the bricks, we found a very cool solution for the pass thru lighting! We were growing concerned we would have to either forego the lighting or have something that we were less than thrilled with due to the electrical restrictions (transformers, junction boxes, etc etc, over my head!). Well, a trip alone to Home Depot and he found one that is absolutely perfect and has these really neat amber glass shades...SO EXCITED.

Here's a sneak peek at our colors, etc...the wood is obviously the cabinets, the black is the granite for the countertops, the green/grey tile is the flooring, and the multicolor tile is the glass tile for the backsplash. Going with warm tones, coppery, ambery, a light touch of a green...

Stay tuned! MORE TO COME!!! :D

Later this week, I'll be posting a few of my favorite gluten-free convenience foods that I've grown addicted to in the last few weeks! :D

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Now you see it.... you don't!!!

Our weekend was marked with general deconstruction of our kitchen. I am officially living with no real kitchen to speak of! I have set up a make-shift kitchen in our dining room, and we've survived 4 days so far! I'm even having dinner guests tonight. Brave or stupid you say? I'm doing Tortilla Soup in my crockpot. My mom is bringing the bowls so that she can take them home to wash in her dishwasher! THANKS MOM!!! The occasion is my father coming to discuss the electrical work that he will do for us. THANKS DAD!

The floor was all the way down to the floor boards on Saturday...and I can see my laundry room thru one of the holes in the wall, which I know will be patched! :D

The cabinets arrived yesterday. Wait...I mean...the pieces of the cabinets! LOL :D IKEA - build yourself! :D So we got lots and lots of components! So glad my husband and BIL are doing all the work, I'm just keeping the kids out of the way!

I'm hoping by next week the tile floor will be completely laid and some of the electrical will be done or at least planned out. :D I think we'll start building some of the cabinetry in the evenings so that they can hang the wall cabinets as soon as my father is done with the wall electrics.'s underway! :D

Saturday, March 15, 2008

HOLE-Y Pass Thru, Batman!

Demolition has begun.

My husband gleefully measured and taped out the pass thru prior to smashing it with a hammer. Yes, Anne was right...I think demolition is his favorite part of the process.

We encountered some wires that seem to have no function...but are there none-the-less. And some wiring that is there on purpose and will have to be rewired.

We also discovered for certain that it is not a load bearing wall, either. Well, we discovered it was 2 X 3's vs. 2 X 4s and when BIL Jay was consulted to confirm it's load-bearing state his response was "I sure hope not!". BIL was sick today, hoping he heals soon.

This week I will be spending packing up dishware, glassware, everything out of the way. I will also set up my temporary kitchen in the dining room so that we'll have a place to prepare and eat food. I am also considering premaking a bunch of things like chili, meatballs, taco meat, etc. so that I have quick grab - easy heat up meals on hand for the next three weeks.

The construction foreman (aka hubby) has informed me that as of next Saturday evening it will be bare to the floor. :D No counter, no cabinets, no flooring OH MY! He also hopes to have the tile laid, not grouted mind you, but laid. We'll see - if you haven't noticed, I'm the pessimest of the two of us! I'll be happy if it's READY to have the floor laid.

So, enjoy the view from my new "window". More to come! :D

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Kitchen will be in process soon!!!

Okay, thanks to our tax return and the family tax refund and such this year, we will be able to redo our kitchen. Finally!

Neither hubby or I have been happy with our kitchen, it's set up, it's design, it's function. Any of it. There is an AWFUL yellow all over the walls, the green and white checkerboard backsplash - which in a former time would have loved - is very lackluster. Not to mention the green half tiles going around the ceiling, yes, that border is tile...not paper...not paint...TILE! The flooring is linoleum which will not come clean or stay clean no matter how hard I try. The stove, has been lifted off the floor with wood blocks - we think because the previous owner had a bad back and didn't want to bend to cook. There is no, let me repeat that NO real counter space to speak of. And storage? The pantry closet is at the bottom of the stairs and not really part of the kitchen at all. There's a ceiling fan??? And the tiffany-style hanging light? And see that clump of "trees" above the kitchen sink? That's to hide a coil style metal conduit for the electrics for the light above the sink! Not pretty. So not pretty, not functional, lack of lighting, the list goes on!!! We will be keeping the fridge, since we just bought it a year ago! And we will also keep the dishwasher because it is still in great shape...and we can always replace that when we need to.

Here are some pictures of how it looks now...I'll try to post pictures of the process and how it happens. As I type hubby is at IKEA getting final information on countertops, lead times, etc. Okay, the phone just was him...we need to finalize our design tonight because there is a 7 to 10 day lead time on the cabinets!

I'm VERY confident that my husband and brother-in-law can do this. They have done it for me before in our first house. And they did a magnificent job including adding a gas line, installing the floor, the cabinets, the countertop and all the appliances. So, they are equal to the task.

There will be quite a bit of work over the next month or so: creating a pass thru to the dining room that will have a counter top that is shared in both the kitchen and the dining room, painting the kitchen a really cool "coffee bar" color to go with our theme, installing a new tile floor (which thanks to my brilliant husband we got the tile for 49 cents a square foot! unheard of!!!!), Of course, building all of the cabinets, creating an island with a cooktop...oh's all starting to make me hyperventilate! We are working within the existing space, and except for the pass thru, there will not be major construction or wall destruction. We're going for a "coffee bar" theme as I mentioned, cool, sleek, modern with a little bit of a traditional touch...not tooooooo modern....updated. Chic!

I think what stresses me most is to be without the heart of our house for a few weeks, maybe longer. I can live without one of the bathrooms. I can live without the guest room, or our bedroom, or the kids rooms. We adjust....but a kitchen is the heart and lifeblood of the home. Especially our home.

I'm am fearful and hopeful at the same time. Do not be surprised if I do not post much except for renovations over the next few weeks. Possibly months! AHHH! We have a set deadline in mind. It MUST be done by the 2nd weekend in May as we will have out of town guests. MUST be done. Please, let it be done! LOL :D


Friday, February 29, 2008


Okay...I think the literal translation of this word is "Little Meat". Well, let me tell you, there ain't nothing little about this meal! :D

Carnitas is a Latin American meat delicacy, served akin to tacos. I mentioned before that we discovered a Chipotle's nearby (thank you Amber for letting me know! :D). I have been encouraged to try my hand at Carnitas.

Be sure to look below to see the recipe


3 1/2 to 4 lb Pork Shoulder or Boston Butt Cut of Pork (boneless).
2 Tbs Cumin
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp White Pepper
1 Tsp Garlic powder
1 Tsp Onion Powder

2 cups beef boullion or stock (Pacific Foods says "gluten free" on the carton)

Mix cumin, salt and pepper, onion powder and garlic powder together. Rub onto meat and massage into. Place in large plastic bag (or large bowl and cover in plastic), marinate overnight.

In the morning (bright and early). Place 2 cups of chicken broth in the bottom of a crock-pot.

Cook on high for 4-5 hours and reduce to low for 2 or so hours, basting meat occasionally (I used a turkey baster to bring the juices from the bottom to splash over top of the meat).

Spoon off fat, shred meat and set aside (and cover), add a tablespoon or two of the juice to keep the meat juicy.

Serve with soft corn tortillas (cook according to package directions - Mission has "glutenfree" right on the label), and the usual taco accoutrements.


Now...some extras that I served with it were Cilantro Lime Rice and also Black Bean and Corn Salsa. Also a homemade Guacamole. I'll share the salsa recipe and guacamole b/c they were greatly received, but the Cilantro Lime Rice needs more work before I can share it! Trying again in a couple weeks for some company, so it won't be TOO TOO long! :D

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, small dice
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 small red onion, small dice
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced (add seeds back to adjust heat)
1 lime, zested and juiced (use half of zest)
2 Tbs FRESH cilantro, chopped fine
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Let chill for about 2 hours so flavors blend and the heat from the jalepeno comes up.


4 Ripe Hass Avocados
1 limes worth of juice (if not a real juicy lime you will need two)
salt to taste

Cut avocados in half, pit them but SAVE the pits! Scoop flesh into a glass bowl. Add lime juice and salt (hold back on salt and start with a pinch...add more after mashing). Mash avocados with potato masher, or back of a sturdy fork until very smooth. Adjust lime juice and salt to preferences.


I hope you enjoy the Mexican Feast! :D

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chicken Mushroom Mozzarella

Simplicity need not be overlooked. Not in my kitchen. Some days, simple and quick are the name of the game. And today, after baking bread (unsuccessfully!) and making cookies (Land O' Lakes Gluten-free Chocolate Chip - MMMMM!!!!), working on dinner had to be easy.

I've been inspired lately since picking up a copy of "Desperation Dinners" at a local thrift store for 50 cents. There are many quick and easy recipes in the book - granted not many are gluten free - but many are easily adapted to a gluten free lifestyle by replacing some ingredients. As much as I love to cook, I can also appreciate a well thought out recipe that takes minutes to prepare but is followed with hours worth of kudos and enjoyment! :D Be on the look out for some quick and easy adaptations that I'll be testing out in the next few weeks!

This is an old time favorite in my family, and I do not make it often enough. We went to a friends house for dinner one night and this is what she had made us. I have been making it ever since. It's a great recipe to have in your arsenal of "I'm just too tired to think to cook" dinners! :D

Chicken Mushroom Mozzarella

1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breasts (4 - 4 oz breasts is best)
6 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 jar marinara sauce (use your favorite gluten-free one!)
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (be careful if you buy preshredded - some use flour as an anti-caking agent)

Grease the bottom of a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil. Lay chicken breasts in the bottom. Cover each breast with mushrooms. Pour marinara sauce carefully over the chicken breasts (try not to pour so fast/hard that the mushrooms come off them). Bake in a 350 oven for 35 minutes (or until chicken juices run clear).

Remove, cover each breast with shredded mozzarella. Put back in oven for about 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve over your favorite gluten-free pasta.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Influenza and possibly strep have hit our household hard this week. Balanced with an out of town husband due to work (not to mention over worked husband!), Valentine's really took a back seat this week.

Finally getting around to preparing our family celebration for this tonight.

My husband has had a desire, no, a CRAVING for Red Velvet Cupcakes. I think we saw a Bobby Flay Throwdown about it within the last few months which just magnified his craving. Now, my husband does not NEED to be gluten-free, and for the most part is not. Except when it comes to baked goods prepared in my kitchen. They are ALL gluten free. Then became my quest for Red Velvet Cupcakes I could make for him. A special treat for him for Valentine's day. I even had the heart-shaped molds from Reynolds!

This recipe is not too loosely based on the Gluten-free Yellow Cake on . I have always altered the recipe for my own tastes by adding extra vanilla and pudding powder...this made it taste more like the box-mix type cakes. After searching for tradtional Red Velvet Cupcake recipes, I decided to alter a tried and true instead of starting over! :D

The yield will be about 12-15 standard cupcakes if filled 2/3 full pre-bake. And about 12 of the Reynolds Heart Molds if filled half full.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 Cup White Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/4 + 1/8 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/4 Cup cocoa powder (watch your source on this one!)
2 Tbs Chocolate Pudding Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp salt
1 1/2 Tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Xantham Gum
2 Eggs
1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs Red Food coloring (liquid)

Sift together rice flours, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, baking powder and xantham gum. Set aside.

In bowl of your mixer - or in a large bowl - mix eggs, mayonnaise and sugar together until light yellow and very fluffy. I start on a low speed until well combined, scraping down the sides often, and then turning speed to 8 or 10 until really light and fluffy.

Set speed to low and gradually add in half of flour mixture. Scrape sides and return to mid-range speed, add half of the milk and 1 tsp vanilla. Return speed to low and add remaining flour mixture. scraping sides again, returning to medium speed once combined, adding milk. Once all the cake ingredients are combined well, turn mixer off and add 1 Tbs of the food coloring as close to the center of the bowl as possible. Slowly bring speed up to middle allowing food coloring to mix in well. Repeat this step, only add a tsp at a time until the red is your desired color (some are redder than others, and you don't want to over add b/c it will change the liquid balance. OR if you're using a paste or powder color, the ratios are much different). I went for a blood red color! :D

Pour batter into lined cupcake pan or the molded liners and bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese, softened (if you prefer the tang of the cream cheese, use 8 oz and no butter)
4 oz butter, softened
2 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or flavoring (watch this one, sometimes can be gluten containing)
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Whip cream cheese and butter together until very smooth (or if you chose all cream cheese, whip until smooth). Add 2 Tbs milk. While mixer is running, slowly add 2 cups sugar. If it's not the consistency that you like, add more. Be careful not to overdo the sugar it will make it too stiff.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tap, tap, tap, tap....

Okay, I know you are all anxiously awaiting a new recipe! Sorry...been hectic here, all of our "weekly" things have started back up! Trying to get back in the swing of things.

I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I'm working on and will be posting in the next few days! PROMISE!!!

One thing for sure is participating on Cooking with Anne's Ready Set Cook! Check her out. She's not "gluten free" but she's my sister in law! :D And she's great!!! If you check out her blog, check out her Disney Family Blog "Cookies to Caviar" too. One terrific lady!

See you all soon! :D

Thursday, January 31, 2008

100th Post! Creamy Chicken Enchilladas

Something we constantly crave in our house is Mexican food. Okay, it might just have something to do with living in Phoenix, AZ for four years and having delicious, inexpensive, and authentic Mexican food on every corner. If you live on the east coast, there's a pizza joint on every corner. If you live in the Southwest, there are few pizza places, but a TON of Mexican joints! And when I say JOINT. I mean it! Drive thru enchilladas!

We loved living there and we loved sampling all the wonderful Mexican food options. From the everyday taco to the Enchilladas Espinacas with Chicken. Not to mention authentic Tortilla Soup from La Parilla Suiaza

Well, now that we are living back in Philly suburbs, where the most authentic Mexican food close by seems to be Taco Bell. And, well, I'm sorry, but Taco Bell is not Mexican food. And lets not mention it would not be a safe Gluten Free eating environment!

I guess I should be fair, there are 3 Mexican restaurants that are NOT Taco Bell in a 5 mile radius around our house. A few we tried prior to going gluten free. One of our "chain" favorites in Phoenix was Chipotle's. Unfortunately, the closest Chipotle's is on City Line Avenue. WAAAAAAA! If you're going ot have "chain" Mexican, Chipotle's is the place to do it! Just make sure to have the CORN tortillas and not the flour ones.

Okay, I digress.

In desire to have some yummy Mexican food, I decided to try something new.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

2 Cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 1/2 Cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (I do it myself)
1 Cups Jalepeno Jack Cheese, shredded (see note below)
1/4 Cup sour cream (okay I "eyeballed it" but it should be about 1/4 cup)
1 4oz can of diced green chiles

1 Can Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup (as of last confirmation, gluten free but ALWAYS check labels) - strained to remove mushroom solids
1 cup sour cream
1 4 oz can diced green chiles
1 packet Herb-Ox boullion powder (the one that says Gluten Free right on the box)

12 pack of fresh corn tortillas

1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2 Cup Jalepeno Jack Cheese, shredded

Mix filling ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.

Mix sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside. (NOTE: on the herb-ox bullion use the powder packet, not the cubes. If you HAVE to use the cubes make sure to crush it up before mixing into the sauce ingredients).

Spread about 3/4 to 1 cup sauce in the bottom of a 13" X 9" pan. Just enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.

Warm tortillas in a saute pan until "pliable". Fill with about 2 to 3 Tbs of chicken mixture. Roll and place seam side down in a baking dish. Continue with remaining enchilladas.

Pour remaining sauce over top. Sprinkle cheeses over top.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until it's all bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions if desired.

NOTE on the cheeses: If you are not into "hot hot" spicy foods, alter the ratio of cheese or use ALL monterey jack and none of the jalepeno jack. OR if you LOVE hot, use ALL jalapeno jack and replace the chiles with dice jalepenos instead! OUCHY! :D

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Creamy Chicken Soup

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. The white cold stuff came a-fallin' today. Thankfully the fridge and pantry are well-stocked. Probably couldn't survive a nuclear attack, but definitely would not starve in a blizzard!

Any time it snows, I want something that will warm my whole body. We just had soup last night, and usually I don't do two meals the same in the same week, but I just needed soup.

I've been craving creamy soups lately. The only one I've ever made is my mother-in-laws Fish Chowder (note this link is to a NON gluten-free site and this recipe contains a lot of gluten so I am not advocating you try it!), and I haven't even attempted making that gluten-free yet. (Hubby really wants me to give it a go as it's one of his faves!). Anyway, I tried something new and it was just, well, warm, creamy, wonderful goodness. I will say next time I plan on having maybe some crumbled bacon to sprinkle on top with the scallions.

I hope you take the time to make this soup and enjoy it as much as my family did!

Creamy Chicken Soup

2 Carrots, small dice
2 Celery Stalks, small dice
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
1 large clove garlic, minced (or pressed)
2 medium red potatoes, small dice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock (CHECK THE LABEL!!!) This time I used homemade...
2 packets Herb Ox Boullion (currently confirmed gluten-free, but ALWAYS check labels!)
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 cups cooked white meat chicken, diced small (or size you prefer)

Saute diced carrots, celery, yellow onion, potatoes and garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

Add stock and Herb-ox, cover pot and bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Cook until the vegetables are soft.

Blend in blender in batches until smooth (make sure to take out the center of the lid and cover with a towel so the steam can escape).

Return to pot and add half cup heavy cream. Add diced/shredded chicken. Bring to JUST A SOFT boil...remove from heat and serve immediately. Serve with scallions sprinkled on top.

If you are trying to cut calories, you can cut out the heavy cream. I will say, though, it added such a luxurious feeling to the soup!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

As I perused by cabinets, fridge and freezer last night, the pickings were slim, to say the least. Old Mother Hubbard's cabinets were bare, and I had no food to spare! It is definitely time to go food shopping, and to restock even pantry staples. I've been living off my pantry and just adding fresh stuff in each week for a while because we do not have a lot of storage room.

So, I had some frozen ground beef from our butcher (thanks to hubby who noticed it was on sale buy one get one free and got it for about 89 cents a pound!), frozen peas and carrots, a can of Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup, and red potatoes. Seemed a too natural fit for me to make a Shepherd's Pie.

Let me say this, I've NEVER in my life made one, so I winged it. It was a hit, and it is all gone. Even my kids loved it (heck it was covered in mashed potatoes and cheese!).

Shepherd's Pie

1 lb ground beef
1 cup frozen peas & carrots mixture
1 can Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup
salt & pepper to taste ( I used about 20 or so cranks of pepper from the grinder!)

2 lbs red potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbs sour cream
1/4 cup milk, warmed
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced fine

1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar, feel free to use your favorite)

Put potatoes on to boil.

Meanwhile brown ground beef and drain well. Add soup and peas & carrots. Heat until just warmed. Turn off heat. Cover and let sit.

Also, while all this is going on, heat oil and 1 Tbs butter on low heat in a small skillet. Add garlic. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. HEat until warmed and aromatic (but do not burn the garlic!)

When potatoes are done, drain well. Add garlic/butter/oil from the small skillet, sour cream, milk and mash until smooth. (use a mixer if you like, we used a hand masher).

In a deep dish pie plate, pour ground beef mixture in the bottom. Top with the mashed potatoes. Spread around to seal the edges of the meat filling.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until everything is reheated and bubbly. Sprinkle cheese on top and leave in oven, but turn the oven off. Check in about 5 minutes the cheese should be melted.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Okay, so I absolutely love chicken wings. And as the NFL Playoffs begin and life is all focussed on who is going to make the Superbowl, well, I just start thinking about what we're going to serve at our Superbowl Party. Last year we made our famous chicken wings using rice flour instead of regular flour and they turned out great.

The only problems with chicken wings is the mess, and the bones! Well, over the holiday season, I discovered a way to deal with both! A friend brought Buffalo Chicken Dip to a holiday party. I was hesitant to try, but she assured me she had done everything possible to ensure that the dish was gluten free. Oh it was so good.

She sent me the recipe which while explaining why it was so delicious, was daunting to say the least. It also was a layered dip, and I'm much more into a mixed dip. So below is my adaptation of the dip.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 8 Oz Brick of Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 Cup Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing (I've used both Maries and Kraft)
1/3 to 1/2 Cup Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 1/2 Cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded and divided
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Cups cooked, cubed (or shredded) chicken breast meat

Whip cream cheese, blue cheese dressing and wing sauce together until very smooth.

Fold in 1 Cup Monterey Jack, scallions and chicken. Mix well.

Place mixture in an 8 X 8 square baking pan, or 9" pie plate. Sprinkle remaining half cup of Monterey Jack Cheese on top. Bake @ 350 until bubbly and yummy!!!

Serve with tortilla chips and veggie dippers (carrots and celery work great for this!).


I'll post a picture later, we just had some of this last night, so when I heat up a snack later I'll take a snapshot of it to post! :D