New Year’s Eve ~ 2008

We have never really been big New Year’s Eve celebrators, in fact, I think I have only made it to midnight once in the past 6 years! LOL!  Last year we spent the evening at our neighbor’s house and made it past midnight!  Probably had something to do with the multiple Red Bridge beers that I had that evening.  Oh, that and another neighbor suckered me into playing Singstar with her.  I say “suckered” because not only do I not sing, I certainly don’t sing in public.  Well, I did that night.  Boy, I feel sorry for those who had to listen.  LOL!

There are many gluten-free drinks that those of us who have to follow the GF diet can enjoy.  There are several GF Beers out there, including Red Bridge, Bard’s Tale and New Grist.  There is hard cider, such as Woodchuck, which comes in all kinds of flavors, all of which are GF.  Wine is gluten-free and a personal fave.  I like reds the best, such as Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.  There are also numerous liquors that are GF that can be enjoyed.  Absolut  (I am not sure about the flavored vodkas, so please verify before drinking those) & Stoli are both GF and wonderful with cranberry juice (Ocean Spray is GF, as is Northland) or 7-Up.  Champagne is also gluten-free and a must at midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Here is a nice list of gluten-free alcoholic beverages from www.celiac.com

I don’t see a lot of celebrating going on tonight.  My sweet daughter is recovering from the stomach flu, as am I, though I had a very mild version of it.   I think the only reason I may make it until midnight is because I took 2 naps today!  Yes, I said 2!  I went back to sleep this AM after Hannah fell asleep on the couch.  Then, I fell asleep this afternoon on the couch while watching my all-time favorite Christmas movie, Elf.  It appears that USA is running Elf all day, or having an “Elf-a-thon”! 

If we were feeling up to it, we would be having an appetizer night, as we do most New Year’s Eves.  We do shrimp cocktail (naturally GF, as long as your cocktail sauce is GF , McCormick’s is), veggies & dip (T. Marzetti makes a GF dill dip), cocktail wienies (Lit’l Smokies are GF and we cook them with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce), nachos (made with Hormel chili w/beans & cheese), queso (Rotel Tomatoes & Velveeta) and the party nectar of the Gods, Buffalo Chicken Dip.  For desserts & sweets, we usually gobble up leftovers from Christmas such as fudge (peanut butter & chocolate), gingersnaps & peanut butter blossoms

Well, time to go check on the little girl.  I hope you all have a fun & safe New Year’s Eve & day.  Tomorrow I will be making  my pork & sauerkraut, a tradition for good luck on the new year.  I will make sure to share how I make it here in the next day or two.

Happy New Year ~ 2009!!!

What Have I Done?

Saw this post on another blog and I had to play. I am a sucker for these things! Copy this list, post on your blog and bold the items that you have done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (does crochet count?)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked (are you kidding…my Mom would KILL ME!)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (would love to one day)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke (sorry to all that had to listen ;) )
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (Does candy for the Camp Fire Girls count?)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving (hell to the NO!)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bibe
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (define famous….)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

What have you done?

How Excited Am I?!

This year for Christmas I got the most exciting gift! Well, I actually got quite a few, I had a very nice Christmas. But, there is one in particular that will allow me to be very creative. It is Carol Fenster’s 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes cookbook! WOOHOOO!! This cookbook is absolutely amazing! Not only are there tons of baked goods (we all know I have a sweet tooth), but the meals look wonderful! My Mom, who doesn’t have to eat GF, is going to buy this so because she wanted to try out so many of the recipes. Plus, she will have ideas for Jon and I as well.

Here is a picture of me with my new “toy”:

Thanks so much, Kelly, Greg & Noah!

Thumbprint Cookies

These cookies have to rank right up there with my favorite cookies from my childhood. I love that you can add any kind of jelly topping that you like to them. I was afraid that when I had to go gluten-free that I would miss out on my favorites like these, but, I was wrong. My wonderful Mother has made these every year for me, even gluten-free. She uses Gluten-Free Pantry’s Beth’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour as the flour in the recipe.

Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (gluten-free flour mix)
1 or 2 tsps xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts
Your favorite jellies / jams

Heat oven to 350. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla. Work in flour, xanthan gum, and salt until dough holds together. Shape dough by teaspoonfuls into 1 inch balls.

Beat egg whites slightly. Dip each ball into egg white, then roll in chopped nuts. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Press thumb deeply into center of each. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet; cool. Fill thumbprints with jelly / jam before serving.

Thanks again for making these, Mom!! I placed half of these in the freezer so I can enjoy them for the next few weeks, too! BTW, don’t freeze with the jelly in them, leave them as is and add the jelly once they are defrosted. ;)

Now, in the picture above I have my new favorite cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms. They are awesome too!

Old Fashioned Gingerbread ~ Gluten-Free

Another favorite dessert I enjoyed as a child was Gingerbread or Gingerbread Cake. I haven’t had this in years, so I decided that it was high time to make it gluten-free. I took a recipe from allrecipes.com and converted it to be gluten-free. It was a fairly simple recipe and not very time consuming at all. Not only did I sub GF flour, but I cut the butter in half and added in 1/4 cup applesauce, I also doubled the spices. I am only typing out the recipe as I made the cake below.


Gingerbread

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used Bette’s 4 Flour Blend by Authentic Foods)
1 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup hot water

1. Preheat oven to 350. Pam or grease & flour a 9-inch square pan.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Add in the applesauce. Beat in the egg and mix in the molasses.
3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, spices, xanthan gum. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan.
4. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven. Check after 45 minutes or so, as I didn’t have to cook mine longer than 50 minutes. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

I flipped my cake onto a plate after it cooled and topped with powdered sugar. I served it with Cool Whip.

Weekly Menu Plan ~ December 28, 2008 ~ Last Week of 2008

What a whirlwind the last week has been! Phew! I am glad it is over. I will be even happier when we are back to our normal routine and some of this craziness is gone. Yes, it was wonderful to see our family and spend time with them, but everything seems so chaotic. It will be nice to return to the somewhat predictable schedules that we keep. During the last week we had so many fabulous meals & treats. It all seemed so smooth, too. The meals were all prepared gluten-free or mostly gluten-free to avoid cross contamination. Neither Jon or I got sick, so that is a plus. ;) We also enjoyed lunch out one day at Red Robin. We had a hard time with the service, mostly just being slow and not following through, but Jon and I felt great after eating there. It was really busy, so that may have been part of the issue.

So, this week is still not back to normal, but we don’t have any real big plans. I doubt that I will even make it until midnight on New Year’s Eve. ;) I am getting old, you know.

Sunday ~ Burgers with sauteed mushrooms & pepperjack cheese, sweet potato fries, steamed broccoli and salad

Monday ~ Homemade Cheese Pizza (I may add spinach to mine and pepperoni to the kids) and salad

Tuesday ~ Salmon with garlic dill seasoning, quinoa, roasted brussel sprouts & salad

Wednesday ~ Turkey Tacos or Turkey Taco Salads, mexican rice & refried beans

Thursday ~ Pork & sauerkraut, mashed poatoes & veggies

Friday ~ Leftover medley/Breakfast for dinner

Saturday ~ Spaghetti & meat sauce, steamed veggies, foccacia bread (Chebe Mix) & salad

Baked Goods for the Week
I think I am taking a break on the baked goods this week. We have tons of fudge, cookies & cake leftover and I am thinking that my husband will kill me if I make anything else. ;)

I will probably have to make bread, though.

Oooh….I almost forgot. My sister got me the most amazing cookbook for Christmas. She got me Carol Fenster’s new cookbook, 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes. WOW!! This cookbook is amazing! Not only are there tons of baked goods, but the meals…..I am in heaven!

Another wonderful cooking gift….hubby got me a huge griddle for cooking pancakes, bacon & such. This thing is so big that I can cook a pound of bacon on it at one time! OMG! It is amazing! So much easier than standing over a pan going through rounds of 6 or 7 strips at a time.

Don’t foget to pop over to Cooking & UNcooking, M-Elle is hosting this week’s GF menu swap. And, as always, Orgjunkie has tons of menu plans up.

Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday. :)

Remarkable Fudge ~ Gluten-Free

This recipe has got to be my all-time Holiday favorite. I remember eating piece after piece of this when I was a kid. My Grandmother (Dad’s Mom) made this (and a lot of it) each Holiday season. I finally asked for the recipe last winter and started to make it myself. I was a little intimidated by the fact that I needed to use a candy thermometer. I didn’t have one, so I used an instant read meat thermometer. That didn’t work so well. The pan of hot bubbly goodness was too hot to hold the thermometer over to see it reach the desired 236 degrees or “soft-ball stage”. As you can probably tell, a candy maker I am not. LOL! This year I used a different thermometer, still a meat thermometer, but it is one of those that you can place in and run the wire outside of the oven and it fit nicely in the pan, without my holding it there, and then I set the temperature alarm to go off when it hit 236. Much easier.

Remarkable Fudge (Grandma Turner)

4 cups sugar
1 cup butter (1/2 pound)
1 ½ cups evaporated milk

Cook above in buttered, heavy 3 qt saucepan to soft-ball stage (236 degrees) stirring frequently. Add:

1 12 oz bag milk chocolate morsels.
1 pt. Marshmallow crème (2 small containers, 7 oz each)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts or pecans (I omitted)

Beat until well blended. Pour into 13 x 9.5 inch glass baking dish. Score while warm, cut when firm. I freeze some of this and then keep the remainder in the fridge b/c I like it best cold.

Pair this with the Peanut Butter Fudge that I made last week and what more do you need?

Fudgilicous!

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