Hubby Rocks the Meatballs!

Aaron is an awesome cook!  He makes the best garlic mashed potatoes.  When we have people over, they hope to take home leftovers!  :)  He also makes a mean meatball.  He is very cautious to keep the gluten-filled pasta away from the gluten-free pasta.  He makes the meatballs completely gluten-free.  He uses breadcrumbs, usually the Ener-G brand, but this last time he just put some Pamela’s bread in the blended & made his own.  I am not sure what he puts in the meatballs, other than some Italian spices and lots of love.  :)  He used to make normal size meatballs, but the past few times he has made the biggest, moistest meatballs E.V.E.R!   They were heaven in a ball!  They were so big that I was only able to eat 1!  Jon had 2, but didn’t have any pasta with his.  He went straight for the good stuff. 

Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe to share for these.  I can tell you he makes the meatballs & then cooks them right in the sauce, which is usually Prego Three Cheese.  They simmer on the stove for an hour or 2, until cooked through.  I think this is what keeps them so moist! 

These keep well in the fridge and make excellent meatballs sammies, too! 

Now I really want some of his mashed potatoes….hmmmm……

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Ahhhhhh…….. Menu Plan ~ March 9, 2009

Do you know what that is?  That is me sighing in relief.  Hockey season is over!  Jon will still play in a recreation league in the Spring, but nothing like what he has been doing lately.  So now we only have baseball to keep us busy!

This week I have kept our menu plan relatively simple.  Jon’s baseball tryouts runs 5 – 6:30, so it doesn’t really allow for time-consuming menu items. 

Sunday ~ Mexican Pizzas, corn, & salad

Monday ~Salmon, Brown Rice, veggies & salad

Tuesday ~Herbed Pork Roast or pulled pork BBQ, Mashed Potatoes & veggies, & salad

Wednesday ~Leftovers or switch w/Thursday or freezer stuff

Thursday~ Grilled Chicken or Bourbon Chicken, rice & veggies

Friday~ Homemade pizza, veggies & salad

Saturday~ Shrimp Scampi Alfredo & Scallops, veggies & salad

Baked Goods

Carob Fudge (slacker didn’t do it last week ;) )

Bread

Butterscotch Brownies

 

Don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for all kinds of great meal plans!  Also, check out GF Goodness  for this week’s GF menu swap. 

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Product Review: Nature’s Path Cereals

 

Thank God for this company.  That is how I am going to start out this post.  Since I went gluten-free, over 3 years ago, I have purchased & enjoyed many products from Nature’s Path.  First it was the Envirokidz Crispy Rice Bars.  I like them all. :)  Then I moved onto the Gorilla Munch cereal & the Amazon Flakes (like sweet corn flakes).  Then the Panda Puffs and now, the beloved Leapin’ Lemurs, which is the PB Panda Puffs with chocolate puffs in the box too!  YUM!! 

Just recently I ventured out & tried the Mesa Sunrise cereal and loved it.  Not sure why I waited so long to try that.  Today I tried the Whole O’s, like Cheerios, but gluten-free.  Very impressed.  I honestly can’t think of a product by Nature’s Path that I have tried and have not liked.  Truly a very reputable company.  Their products can be a little on the pricey side, but a lot of that depends on where you buy them and watching for sales.  Amazon offers deals on bulk purchases & subscription services.  Wal-Mart was spotted selling the Envirokidz bars for $2.49/box of 6.  The products are well worth the money, in my opinion.  Keep up the good work, Nature’s Path!

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Product Review: Jennies Coconut Macaroons

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Last year when we were in Atlanta over Spring Break, my dear sister’s MIL was kind enough to get Jon & I a bunch of gluten-free goodies.  Jennies Coconut Macaroons were included in this bunch of goodies.  I was a little scared to try them at first because I have never really been a fan of coconut in the past.  However, since going gluten-free, I have learned to have a very open mind and have discovered a lot of new favorites.  This product is one of my new favorites!  WOW!  I was immediately impressed!  Who knew I liked coconut?  Nancy (my sister’s MIL) must have known. ;) 

 

The best part about these amazing cookies is that they have no allergens in them!  No casein, gluten, nuts and no trans-fats or sulfites.  Coconut is an extremely healthy food for you.  Jennies also makes protein bars high in Omega-3.  I was unaware of this until I just went to their website.  I will have to look for those at the store. 

 

This product is a definite must-have/must-try if you like coconut.  Reminds me a little of the Girl Scout Samoa Cookies that I can no longer have. 

 

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Yoga & PACE

Lately I have been running a lot.  I had begun to train for a half-marathon, but have put that on hold for the time being.  I had a heel injury that led to some blood work, that led to some results that say that I may be doing more damage to my body than good by doing so much cardio & endurance training.  So, that left me in quite a quandary.  I had discovered that I loved to run.  It was such an outlet, a stress reliever.  Plus, I was excited to train and run in a race.  However, after doing some reading & researching, I made the decision to put the race on hold for now and back off on my cardio a bit.  I started to read about the PACE program by Dr. Al Sears, MD.  This program was very hard to wrap my mind around at first.  All the information on cardio & aerobics that I had ever been taught or read about was blown out the window.  High intensity intervals with periods of recovery are much better for your body.  Endurance training shrinks your muscles to make you more efficient, your heart is one of those muscles, as are your lungs.  Smaller lungs mean loss of  lung power.  Dr. Sears found that Dr. Dean Ward uncovered clinical evidence connecting the loss of lung power to aging and that lung capacity is the key indicator to how long you will live!  Fascinating stuff, really. 

So, my workout at the gym this AM consisted of an interval session that last roughly 26 minutes, including warm-up & recovery periods.  I think I was more worn out from that than I get from running for 7 miles!  As far as mileage goes, I only logged a total of 3.5, that includes my cool-down walk.  30 minutes.  I then headed to the free weights and did some are work and also used my own body weight to do dips, push-ups & ab work. 

Now, for those of you who know how high-strung I am, I can’t believe I am saying this, but I have started to “practice” Yoga and am really, really enjoying it.  I haven’t ventured outside of my house yet to practice to save myself a lot of embarrassment.  I have been using yogadownloads.com and I just discovered Dave Farmar and the podcasts that I hope to try out tomorrow AM.  What inspired this you ask?  Well, first, the need to stretch.  The running makes for tight leg muscles.  Secondly, Tina at Carrots N Cake is doing a 31-Day Yoga Challenge and I thought this was a great way to learn some yoga, stretch my body and possibly learn some new ways to relieve stress & learn some new relaxation techniques.   I am excited!  It is a new challenge for me, a sort of goal, if you will.  If I do all 31 days, great.  If not, no biggie, it is a great place for me to start.  So far, so good.  I have done 3 days of yoga.  Yesterday was a short, 15 minute session, but tomorrow AM will be a longer 30 -45 minute session as it is a day off from the gym and I want to wake up refreshed and start the day with a great positive attitude. 

My overall goal is to be healthy so that I can be around for my kids & family for a long time to come.  :)

A Difference of Opinion

It is often that Jon and I have a difference on opinion.  Things like homework, TV, friends, bedtime, eating veggies.  It is not often that we have a difference of opinion on gluten-free food, baked goods, to be more specific.  The other day I made some Baked Banana Donuts.  I based the recipe on one I found here.  Obviously I had to make some changes to make the recipe gluten-free.  The changes I made were:

 

Changes

1/2 tsp Xanthan

3/4 tsp Guar Gum

2 1/4 cup Bette’s Four Flour Blend

Coconut (shredded) to tops for baking (should have been added towards the end)

 

What I noticed……a little dry.  Not much oil in the recipe.  Maybe some applesauce, like 1/4 cup for moistness.  I never made the frosting due the the coconut I put on part of the donuts.  Maybe frosting would have helped with the dryness?  Now, Jon absolutely loved them.  He didn’t say a word about them being dry!  LOL!  So, maybe a recipe to play around with and add either more oil or some applesauce or even pumpkin to moisten it up. 

bfd

 

bcu

 

As listed in the original recipe, they do call for frosting.  I just opted not to do it.  Guess I should listen next time, huh?  LOL!

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Spur of the Moment Dining Out

Last night Jon had a hockey game right after his baseball practice.  This left Hannah and I without any time for dinner and with the hockey game not starting until almost 7:00 PM, waiting until after the game was not an option.  Jon has to be at the game about 30 minutes beforehand, so I dropped him off and Hannah and I headed out in search of something to eat.  I didn’t want fast food…..too much of a risk of CC and there were plenty of other restaurants around.  Question was, which one would be most accommodating to my GF diet.  I hadn’t dined at any of them, except Ruth’s Chris & The Fish Market, both of which were a little more than I wanted to spend on a quick dinner.  So, I saw Champp’s and decided to give it a try.  I figured at the very least I could ask them to slap a burger in a clean frying pan and make me a dry salad (I carry dressing in my purse in small packets ~ made by Kraft).  I asked to speak with the manager on duty and she immediately said there would be no problem and headed off to get me a print out of what would be safe for me to eat. 

The manager returned with a nice print out of many things that would be safe for me to eat.  There was chili, several different meal salads, burgers, grilled chicken, fajitas (sans tortillas), steak.  WOW!  I was impressed!  I ended up ordering the Cobb salad with grilled chicken.  They had several GF dressings, but I stuck with my Kraft Light Balsamic that I carry with me.  I know there are no onions in it; those make me almost as sick as gluten.  My salad was HUGE and very, very yummy.  Way too much bacon, black olives &  egg, but still very yummy.  Next time I know to order light on that stuff.  $9.99 for that….great deal.  I will definitely be adding this to my list of places to eat GF safely.  :)

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Menu Plan ~ March 1, 2009

March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb, isn’t that how it goes?  Well, the weather sure seems to be following this pattern, well, at least today on March 1st!  LOL!  Last week we had mild temps….50s & low 60s.  It was nice.  Today, high winds, cold & snow flurries.  I am counting my blessings that we don’t live in the South (how often do you hear from Ohio say that?) because they all seem to be getting more snow than we are!  Atlanta is getting 3-4 inches!  OMG!  Unheard of. 

Well, my meal plan last week went out like a lion!  LOL!  The whole thing was shot to heck!  Baseball & hockey got in the way.  Then sales at the grocery, you know how it goes.  It probably won’t be much better this week.  Aaron & Jon are still in Erie for a weekend hockey tourney and won’t be home until late tonight.  Mon & Tues. will both have baseball practice and a tournament hockey game.  The rest of the week will include daily baseball practice, but at least the hockey is over, or I think it is.  So, here is my tentative plan:

Sunday ~ Breakfast for dinner (omelets, sweet potato hash browns & toast) Baked Banana Donuts for dessert (recipe to follow)

Monday ~ Burgers or Black Bean Burgers, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, & salad.

Tuesday ~ Take Out or quick stuff after hockey

Wednesday~ Herb Pork Roast that got booted last week, mashed potatoes, veggies & salad.

Thursday ~ Leftovers (I am going to get my hair did!!!  ;)

Friday ~ Homemade pizza (hoping to get a pizza stone before then to try out), veggies & salad

Saturday ~ Shrimp Scampi over spaghetti squash or brown rice pasta, veggies & salad

Baked Goods

Baked Banana Donuts

Bread

Coconut Macaroons

Carob Fudge (I finally tracked down all the ingredients!)

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Gluten-Free Overnight Oats

So, I read many different blogs over the course of the week.  Some are strictly gluten-free, others are based on healthy living (eating & exercising).  I have run across many bloggers making “Overnight Oats” a lot recently and it really piqued my curiousity.  I have been in a breakfast rut for quite a while.  Eating what is familiar and what I know can get me through the better part of the morning without having to snack.  I have been eating 2 brown rice cakes, 2 TBSP peanut butter or Barney Butter, 2 egg whites mixed in with 1 Roma tomato & fresh basil.  I also have a couple cups of coffee and sometimes some tomato juice.  I eat around 7:00 AM and am hungry by 9:30 AM.  I am sure some of this is due to the fact that I go to the gym 5 mornings a week, before breakfast.  So, I need something with more staying power.  Whole grains are tough to get when you are gluten-free, as so many contain gluten.  So, this is one reason the Overnight Oats appealed to me.  I have had Lara’s GF Oats (Cream Hill Estates) before, but just a small simple bowl topped with berries.  I believe I talked about it here.   Tina at Carrots N Cake posted not too long ago about Overnight Oats.  I decided that today was the day to try them.  Last night I readied up my bowl and put it in the fridge.  Here is the play by play:

Overnight Oats

1/2 cup oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Certified GF Oats)

1/2 cup milk (could use soy, almond, rice milk or water)

pinch of salt

Cover & stick in fridge overnight.  Mine were in for about 12 hours, maybe a little less.

This AM….

Added 1/4 cup canned pumpkin

cinnamon ~ dash

vanilla ~ dash

Cooked for 1 minute, then stirred & covered again.  Cooked for another minute, then stirred & covered again.  Cooked for 30 seconds more.

Then I topped with 1 TBSP White Chocolate PB and 1 TBSP PB and 1 TBSP Boysenberry preserves. 

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  So creamy and all the flavors….WOW!  I am going to play with the toppings the next few times.  Maybe some walnuts, cocoa or carob powder, chocolate chips, coconut.  I also am going to add in some ground flax seed meal next time for the extra fiber boost.  Wish I could do fruit….banana would ROCK in this!

BTW, if you find the the mixture to thick after sitting overnight, you can add more milk before micro-waving. 

 

I was full a little over half way through the bowl, but finished it because it was so darn good.  I stayed “satisfied” for over 4.5 hours!!!  I wasn’t really “hungry” for lunch until about 12:30.  WOW!  Now, today was my day “off” from the gym and I only did yoga this AM, so the real test will be having this to eat after a good workout and how long it holds me over.  I don’t have anything against eating snacks, and enjoy eating them, but I don’t always have time and if I know I have a super busy day, I can eat this instead and not be starving by the time I can get to eat.  I am one cranky person when I am hungry. 

Sorry I didn’t get a picture.  It was a big bowl of goop that tasted amazing.  One of those “ugly” foods they talk about on Tina’s site in the comments. 

 

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