You need this by when????

Jon comes to me this morning at 7:16 AM and shoves a piece of paper in front of me to sign. It was from his math class. It basically went over policies and how assignments would work. As I got to the bottom, I see that he needs a TI-83 calculator (they run about $80). Yikes! He informs me that he needs it today. WHAT? Do you want me to pull it out of my butt?? Seeing that Staples wasn’t opened yet, and even if it was, I wasn’t rushing right over there for a calculator. Why didn’t he tell me he needed this the other day when he mentioned the form he wanted me to sign? Yes, he was gone all weekend, but we have been over stuff like this in the past with posterboard being requested at 9:00 PM at night for a project due the next day. I told him that he would have to use his old TI calculator today and just let his teacher know that my broom doesn’t work on such short notice, making sure to let the teacher know that the short notice was not her fault, but his. Reluctantly, I went over to Staples later this AM and bought the beloved TI-84 calculator (not the TI-83, b/c it was sold out, of course). According to the GM of Staples, they will need the TI-84 by the time they are juniors in high school (like my son is going to hold onto and not break this in the next 3 years…yeah!). Also, with the rebate offered, it was the same price. That is really the only reason I bought it. He would have had to wait otherwise. Then the checkout girl said the funniest thing to me. She asked if I wished to purchase the extended warranty plan on the calculator. I told her only if it covered the calculator being lost. Obviously, it doesn’t. πŸ˜‰

So when Jon came home today I gave him his new “toy”. I told him that we bought the first one, but if he lost it or broke it, he would be buying any future TI 83 or TI 84 calculators that he was required to have. He seemed fine with it. Let’s see how long he can keep it. I hope that I never have to post about it here again. πŸ˜€


A Successful Dinner Out

So last night we met my Mom and Step Dad for dinner because they were bringing Jon back to us from Dayton. We met at P.F. Chang’s since they have a great gluten-free menu and we had a gift certificate and a free appetizer coupon. We ordered the gluten-free lettuce wraps for an appetizer. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu and made sure to bring out the gluten-free soy sauce for us. The lettuce wraps were amazing. I tried to get a picture, but it didn’t come out. For the main course I ordered the Singapore Street Noodles and Snow Peas with Garlic. Jon ordered Philip’s Better Lemon chicken with no lemon pieces (LOL) and his broccoli on the side. God forbid the broccoli have the sauce on it. Then he says he didn’t like the taste of the broccoli. Well, duh….it is plain, steamed, un-seasoned broccoli. Needless to say, I took the broccoli off of his hands and added it to my dish. For dessert Jon ordered the Flourless Chocolate Dome (sans raspberry sauce, berries & cream ~ Silly boy!). I had a couple bites….YUM!!!

Some pictures:

Singapore Street Noodles:

Jon and his beloved dessert:

By the time dinner was over, Jon was ready to go home to bed. This is my child who never sleeps. He has never been a good sleeper. Never wanted to nap as a young child, always fought going to bed. Well, Grandma Linda & Grandpa Joe wore him out! He golfed twice, went to the driving range, played putt putt, swam and stayed up way too late. He was worn out by 2 grandparents! LOL! Here he is trying to get some rest after dinner:

We came home and he was in bed before I could even tell him to get ready for bed. There was no arguing. No fighting. No sound. Nothing. I think we may have found a solution to all of our problems. So, Grandma Linda & Grandpa Joe, hope you are up for Jon again this weekend. πŸ˜‰

Weekly Menu Plan for August 25 – August 30, 2008

So last week I did pretty good and only deviated from the plan on one night because pork loin was on sale and we hadn’t had it for a while. Let’s see how I can do this week. We are now back in the swing of things with school. The kids have been 3 days so far. Jon is ready for summer (2009) and Hannah is counting the minutes until she goes in tomorrow. I am also getting ready to make some Pamela’s bread for Jon to take for lunch this week.

Sunday ~ P.F. Chang’s. We are meeting my Mom & Step Dad for dinner. Jon spent the weekend with them in Dayton, so we are meeting them to pick up Jon. Love the lettuce wraps and Singapore Street Noodles.

Monday ~ Salmon, brown rice, steamed green beans and salad. I may make some more Broiled Parmesan tomatoes for myself, Aaron won’t eat them.

Tuesday ~ Filet Mignon, baked sweet potato/yam, steamed broccoli & salad. Jon will eat this, Hannah will not. She will have Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with broccoli and salad.

Wednesday ~ Cheeseburger in Paradise for the kids and I. Hannah has ice skating.

Thursady ~ BBQ Baby Back Ribs (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Sauce ~ I will post the recipe below), baked potato, steamed peas and salad.

Friday ~ Chicken Tenders, pan-fried potatoes & corn. I will post the recipe below.

Saturday ~ Homemade pizza (Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread Mix crust) with cheese & turkey pepperoni for the kids and fresh veggies for me. Maybe a margherita style. We will probably have salad along with this.

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

2 racks of pork back ribs
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
Salt & Pepper

1. Do this step earlier in the day or at least 2-3 hours before you want to grill your ribs. Heat oven to 350. Cut each rack of ribs in half. S & P both sides. In a large, glass pyrex dish, pour some BBQ sauce. Coat each rack of ribs with sauce, don’t be stingy. πŸ˜‰ Place ribs in dish in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil.

2. Bake ribs in oven for 2 hours at 350.

3. Remove ribs and let cool down before placing in fridge or hold aside to place on the grill.

4. Heat up grill.

5. Baste ribs with some more BBQ sauce. Place ribs on grill for just a few minutes a side to finish off cooking.

Chicken Tenders
**Recipe Courtesy of my sister, Kelly. I think she got it from the Bisquick Box

3 chicken breasts (cut crosswise into Β½ inch strips)

2/3 cup of Bisquick (or Pamela’s baking mix)

Β½ cup Parmesan cheese

Β½ tsp salt or garlic salt (I used a seasoned salt – Nature’s Seasoning)

Β½ tsp paprika

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 450. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Mix Bisquick, cheese, salt and paprika in ziplock bag. Dip chicken in egg and then place in bag to coat. Arrange in single layer on cookie sheet and drizzle with butter (I sprayed butter-flavored Pam on it instead). Bake 12-14 minutes, turning over half way through. Chicken strips should be golden brown when finished. Serve with honey mustard and enjoy!

I also make my own Honey Mustard with mayo, spicy brown mustard, a touch of yellow mustard and a drizzle of honey. I don’t use specific measurements, I keep tasting and adding until it tastes how I like it.

Make sure to check out Fresh Ginger, she is hosting the Menu Swap this week. She has lots of great stuff on her menu incorporating eggplant, one of my favs!!

Tomatoes Galore

This year Aaron and I decided to plant some veggies along the side of our house. We decided on (or Aaron bought and brought home) tomato, cucumber and zucchini plants. The cucumbers did okay for a while and I maybe got a dozen cucumbers. They were awesome, but now the plants have all shriveled up and died. Not sure what happened there. The zucchini plants took off, but never have really produced very many zucchinis. I think I have picked maybe 6 or 7? I wish there were more. I could eat zucchini for breakfast, lunch & dinner. The tomatoes have completely taken off. I have more than I know what to do with. I plan on learning how to do some canning when I meet my Mom & Step Dad to pick up Jon tomorrow. I would love to make my own marinara sauce this fall & winter. So until I figure out the canning, I wanted to try out a recipe that my sister passed along to me a while back, but I never made. It is called Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes. I asked where she got the recipe and while she isn’t positive, she thought it may have been Southern Living. I had these along with a grilled burger with swiss cheese, mushrooms and roasted red pepper and sweet potato fries (made by Alexia).

Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes

2 firm medium tomatoes
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1 TBSP grated fresh parmesan cheese
1 tsp chopped fresh basil or 1/4 tsp dried basil leaves (I only had dried on-hand & it was great)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1TBSP grated fresh parmesan

1. Heat oven to 350.

2. Core tomatoes. Cut crosswise into 3/4 inch slices. Place in a single layer on rack in broiler pan.

3. Mix mayo, 1 TBSP parmesan, basil & mustard. Spread about 1 tsp mixture over each tomato slice. Sprinkle 1 TBSP parmesan over tomatoes. Bake about 8 minutes until hot.

4. Set oven control to broil. Broil tomatoes with tops 6 inches from heat for 2 to 4 minutes or until topping is golden and bubbly.

**I cut this recipe in half b/c I knew that I was the only one who would eat it and Kelly (sister) didn’t recommend reheating the next day.

These were so very good. I know that I always say everything is great, but I wouldn’t share things I didn’t like. πŸ˜‰ Great use for all of those tomatoes coming out of the garden now. Great dish to serve at a cookout for the upcoming Labor Day weekend!

I am editing to add a note….I made these again for lunch today with fresh basil and it was in a whole different league. Not that it wasn’t yummy last night, but, OMG…..totally TDF today. Go for the fresh basil. πŸ™‚

Sushi & A Sleepover

Anyone who knows me knows that my darling Hannah, who just turned 6, has not spent the night away from home yet. This is mostly due to me and my anxiety about her being away from me. O.K., it is all due to me. There, I admitted it. I am moving on. So yesterday on the way home from the store it dawned on me that Jon would be staying with my Mom and Step Dad this weekend and we only had Hannah. I thought that now would be as good a time as any for her to spend her first night away from home at Grandma Mary & Grandpa Mack’s house. I knew that G & G Mary & Mack would be thrilled, if they were available, and they were. I said that it needed to take place that night (Friday) before I changed my mind. So Aaron and I made plans to go out to eat and walk around the mall. We decided on Molly Woo’s, a Cameron Mitchell Restaurant here in Columbus. One thing I really like about Cameron Mitchell restaurants is their experience and willingness to accommodate gluten-free diets. I have always had great meals at all of their places.

I picked Hannah up at school, met my Mom & Step Dad at our house to pass off Jon and then packed up Hannah to go to Grandma’s. We dropped her off and I nearly had a heart attack, but nothing that a glass of wine or three couldn’t fix.

We arrived at Molly Woo’s and I decided to have sushi. This was pretty much the first time I was going to eat sushi. I did go with my Dad to Otani when I was a freshman in high school. I had to do a report for Social Studies on sushi, so Dad took me there. I don’t really remember being crazy about it at all. Recently my sister has found a new love in sushi and has begged me to give it a try again. I have been hesitant b/c it is hard enough to eat American food gluten-free, sushi & Japanese food sounded very intimidating. So, if there was any place for me to give sushi a try, a Cameron Mitchell restaurant is the one I felt most comfortable doing so in. There were 4 different kinds of sushi on the GF menu. Spicy Tuna Roll (togarushi & cucumber), California Roll (snow crab, avocado & cucumber), Veggie Roll (have no idea, no description) or Spicy Salmon Roll (cooked salmon, sriracha mayonnaise & cucumber). I chose the Spicy Salmon Roll. Aaron was having no part of the sushi, so I was on my own. I would have loved to try the Spicy Tuna roll too, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it and then it would go to waste. I am going to save that until I go have sushi with my Mom and we can share some dishes. Along with my Spicy Salmon roll I ordered the chicken lettuce wraps (these aren’t offered GF, but the server told me that they would be happy to make them GF for me ~ she brought it up, I didn’t even have to ask, very impressed). My Spicy Salmon Rolls were served with some fresh ginger on the side (to cleanse the palate ~ like I know what I am talking about!) and some wasabi. I can’t have the soy sauce there and they didn’t have a GF option. No biggie. Next time I can bring my La Choy soy sauce with me. Honestly, these rolls were amazing by themselves. No soy sauce was needed. I tried the ginger along with the rolls….OMG…I am SO in love. I see myself having to get carry-out sushi from Molly Woo’s on a semi-regular basis now.

After dinner we walked around the mall and bought Hannah a Camp Rock nightgown at The Disney Store. She loves it!! She had a blast at Grandma & Grandpa’s house! I only called 3 times; twice last night and once this AM on the way to the gym. So, I guess you can look at it this way, I had a glass of wine for each call I made. πŸ˜‰ A good time was had by all.

Garlic Pork Roast with Parmesan Cheese & Pea Risotto

So my menu plan for the week was derailed once again, but for a good meal. I had planned on making grilled chicken Thursday night, but when pork loin roast was on sale for $1.89/pound, I couldn’t pass it up! I bought a 5.5 pound roast and put half in the crockpot and made pork loin chops out of the rest, froze and will cook next week. I found this crockpot pork recipe this week when browsing through a slow cooker cookbook that Betty Crocker wrote.

Garlic Pork Roast (serves 10)

3.5 pound pork boneless loin roast
1 TBSP vegetable oil (I used EVOO)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 medium onion (I omitted this b/c my body doesn’t like onions and my family would leave me if I served them anything with visible onions in it)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup chicken broth or water (I used broth; the Great Value brand says “Gluten-free” right on the side)

1. Trim excess fat from pork. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork in oil about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides. Sprinkle with S & P.

2. Place onion & garlic in 3.5 to 6 quart slow cooker. Place pork on onion & garlic. Pour broth over pork.

3. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 – 10 hours or until pork is tender. I cooked mine just over 8 hours and it was fall apart tender. It would have probably been fine after 6-7 hours.

This was super yummy and everyone liked it!! Another bonus, 1 serving is only 200 calories and 10 grams of fat.

Parmesan & Pea Risotto (This has been modified from Lundberg’s Basic Risotto Recipe)

1 cup Lundberg Arborio White Rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
4-5 cups hot chicken broth
1/2 cup to 1 cup frozen green peas

Heat EVOO in a heavy, non-stick, 2 quart pot. Add rice and stir rice until grains are coated with oil. Add wine and stir constantly on medium heat until wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup hot broth, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes, adding the remaing liquid, 1 cup at a time. This rice creates its own creamy sauce; add additional liquid if more sauce is desired. Add frozen peas and stir during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and serve immediately. Yields 3 cups or 5-6 servings.

Everyone loved the risotto except for Hannah b/c she despises frozen peas. She wanted me to exhange her frozen peas for some canned peas. LOL!

I had a bunch of steamed mixed veggies and a salad on the side.

Dark Chocolate & Cherry Brownies

Every year for Christmas my Mom gets me a subscription to a magazine. For the past few years it was Southern Living. This past year she asked if I wanted to continues SL and I decided that I would prefer Cooking Light. I love to browse new recipes and prefer healthy cooking because it really seems to fit best with the gluten-free lifestyle. I have saved every edition and have tried several recipes. This months issue, September 2008, rocks. I have earmarked at least 4 recipes to try. I decided to give the brownie recipe a try today. There were several reasons that this recipe jumped out at me. First, I love chocolate. I haven’t always liked chocolate, but ever since I was pregnant with Hannah, chocolate is #1 in my book. I thought it was just a pregnancy thing, but since she is now 6 years old, obviously that is not the case. Second, the recipe calls for cherry preserves. I love Polaner All Fruit Spreads, especially the black cherry. Third, there are only 155 calories and 5 grams of fat per brownie (ROCK ON). And finally, did I mention that I love chocolate? πŸ˜‰ So, I set out to make these this afternoon. I had all the ingredients on hand, which is odd for me. These were super simple to make and adapt to gluten-free. I used an all-purpose flour mix of rice flour, potato starch (not flour) and tapioca starch. These were amazing. I really can’t put into words how good they are. They are moist and chocolatey. I am not sure why they are called dark chocolate, because there is no dark chocolate added to the recipe. The black cherry preserves add a nice, subtle flavor and definitely help keep the brownies moist. I took a couple pictures. I really meant to take one before I cut the brownies, but was so excited to eat them, I forgot. So, please excuse the messy, cut up pan of brownies. I did manage to get a picture of Hannah’s before she dug into it. Both of the kids ooohed and aahhed over how good they were. Jon had 2 and begged for more, said they were the best brownies he ever had!

Hannah’s serving

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Brownies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
A little less than 1 tsp of Xanthan Gum (for those making it GF only)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup water
5 TBSP butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 large egg white
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and spray with PAM (I didn’t have parchment paper, so I just sprayed my pan with PAM; also, I only own an 8 x 8 pan, not a 9-inch square).
3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, xanthan gum, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine cherry preserves, butter and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add preserves mixture to flour mixture; stir well. Add egg & egg white; stir until smooth. Stire in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Garnish with powdered sugar, if desired. Yield: 16 servings. Calories: 155; Fat grams: 5.4.

Perfect way to end the day!