Thursday, October 30, 2008


I was browsing through my old high school yearbook today. Thinking back on those days, I realize how many things I did wrong, how many bad attitudes I had, how many opportunities to touch other peoples’ lives I let slide by.

Now don’t get me wrong; I was a good kid. I was one of the six valedictorians out of my class of 350. I was involved in music (of course). I was in the concert band (playing French horn), the symphonic band (playing percussion), jazz band on and off, pit orchestra, marching band, pep band, chamber orchestra on and off, concert choir, and chamber singers. I even managed our football team for a season.

I think that in high school I was just focusing on all of the wrong things. I always wanted a boyfriend, and now I’m desperately glad that I didn’t have one. I always wanted to be “popular;” well, that’s not really true. I enjoyed being a bit of an oddball, actually. I think what I mean is, I wanted to be accepted.

I was so blessed to have a great group of friends. They helped me get through a rough time in my life with their faithful support and their unconditional acceptance. Without their friendship, I don’t think I would have made it through half as well as I did.

I just know that if I was able to do high school over again with the attitudes I’ve developed and with the life experience I have now, I would have done a much better job.

Oh, and while I made my bread tonight I listened to PFR’s album “Them”. Another *totally high school* flashback.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dinners and a Movie

We had Tim’s family staying with us this past weekend. We had planned on having brats for lunch, but that fell through, so we get to have them for dinner a few times this week! I think we’ll also take some in our lunches tomorrow.

My in-laws all wanted to eat at Panera, even though I told them that it’s fairly difficult for me to eat there. I ended up having a salad (no chicken or dressing, please) and a hot chocolate with soy milk.

Then later Saturday afternoon we went to the cinema. We saw “Eagle Eye,” which ended up being quite good. It has one of my favorite actresses on it: Michelle Monaghan. Unfortunately I got “motion sick” and had to go sit in the lobby and eat ice chips for the last half of the movie, but I’d like to see it again once it comes out on DVD. I’ll do a lot better with it on a small screen.

Here’s our menu for the week, including lots o’ brats.
  • Monday – spaghetti
  • Tuesday – brats and rice
  • Wednesday – tomato soup and grilled cheese
  • Thursday – brats and squash
  • Friday – crepes
  • Saturday lunch – sandwiches
  • Saturday dinner – out, I think

Check out Org Junkie for over 350 menus!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Another quick and easy meal that I made last week was goulash. I don’t have a real recipe for this, so the measurements are just guesses.

  • 16 oz. Tinkyada pasta, or other gluten free pasta, cooked
  • ½ lb. ground turkey (easier on the budget than a full pound of ground beef)
  • Diced onion
  • Tomato sauce
  • Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses

Cook the ground turkey and onions together. Add the tomato sauce and heat until warm. Add some S & P if desired. Add hot sauce (like Frank's) if you want; I always do!

Stir in the cooked pasta and some parmesan. Sprinkle mozzarella on the top and place under the broiler until the cheese melts.

I usually make this in my all metal stockpot so it can go straight into the oven.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Crock Pot Chicken Soup

I made some quick and easy meals last week, and yet I was a putz and didn’t blog about any of them!

Here’s how I made my chicken soup.

Crock Pot Chicken Soup
  • 1-2 chicken breasts
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Gluten free chicken broth
  • Frozen veggies, like corn, peas, etc.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dill and any other seasoning that you like.

Put the chicken on the bottom of the crock pot and sprinkle seasonings on top of them. Then add the raw, uncooked veggies and pour in the broth, enough to cover the meat and veggies. Cook all day on low. Add the frozen veggies about 30 minutes before serving. Take out the chicken and shread/cube it, and add it back in the soup.

You could also add cooked rice just before serving. Or turn it into chicken dumpling soup with a little gluten free Bisquick-type mix. That’s what we did one morning for breakfast and it was yummy! Some of our friends think we’re crazy, but we like having soup for breakfast.

*I was just browsing other gluten free sites and found out that Diana recently made a crock pot chicken soup, too. Check out hers over here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Conductor Video

Bernstein – West Side Story, Finale from Jason Weinberger on Vimeo.

This is totally random, but check out this cool video of the conductor I play under. I love how expressive his face is!

I just did a concert with the Symphony yesterday. It was mostly Latin music, and, of course, Hoe-Down by Copland. It was a fun concert!

I Need Help!!!

The last two loaves of bread that I made stuck to the bottom of my loaf pan. I have a non-stick loaf pan that isn’t scratched at all, and I always generously grease it with shortening.

But still, my last two loaves had their bottoms ripped off as I tried to get them out of the pan.

You can imagine how frustrated that made me!

Do you have a tip for making your bread not stick? Do you think I need to buy a new loaf pan even though mine isn’t scratched? Should I grease it with something else?

I’d appreciate any advice! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekly Menu

Better late than never, right?

  • Tuesday - Cheeseburger bake
  • Wednesday - Chicken veggie soup
  • Thursday - Goulash
  • Friday - Pancakes and eggs
  • Saturday lunch - Chicken and rice
  • Saturday dinner - French toast

I can't believe that I haven't posted my goulash recipe yet. I'll put it up later this week.

Check out Org Junkie for more menu ideas.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Biscuits and Gravy

Last week I used the leftover sauce from my alfredo pie to make a sort of Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast. Although we had reservations at first, both Tim and I really liked it!

I just mixed the alfredo sauce with some cooked ground turkey, warmed it up, and poured it over biscuits. It was a great way to start the day!

I used Mrs.P's Yeast Rolls recipe, although next time I think I'll put in a but more flour. It was quite sticky!

(Sorry for the blurry picture; I don’t know what happened.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Box O' Snacks

Look at all of these tasty gluten free snacks that my kind Mother sent to us!

What fun it was to open up an unexpected package of treats. Apparently there are some pretty cool stores out in Washington, since I’ve never seen these brands in Iowa.

I especially like the Mary’s Gone Crackers Sticks and Twigs, chipotle tomato flavored. Also, Pamela’s Organic Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chunk cookies were to die for! Those were gone in about three days.

We took the rest of these snacks (not the gravy mixes or soap bar, of course) on our weekend trip. Together with the caramel corn, we were eating good! At least snack-wise, haha.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Caramel Corn

Since we're going on a trip this weekend, we made a batch of caramel corn for a snack. We used this recipe here, but made just a half recipe.

Apparently we took it too literally when it said to boil for five minutes without stirring. It burned a bit on the bottom of the sauce, so next time I think we’ll stir occasionally.

Other than that, it turned out pretty good!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chicken Alfredo Pie

I made a Chicken Alfredo Pie for my friends who just had the baby, and I made an extra one for Tim and me!

It’s quite similar to my spaghetti pie, but with chicken instead of beef and with alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce, although I’m thinking those changes are pretty self-evident!

My spaghetti pie recipe calls for 8-10 oz. pasta, but I've been doing less recently and it's been working better. I now do about 6 oz. cooked rice noodles.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Frugal Baby Gift Idea

This is completely off the topic of gluten free, but it is a frugal idea.

My friends just had a baby girl last week. She is just a gem, so cute and small. They named her a good Old Testament name: Hannah.

Since I took Hebrew in college, I made her a name placard with Hannah written out in Hebrew, a Bible verse from Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel, and a little picture of a girl. What do you think of it?

It only cost me $1.50 for the frame and time. I think it’s pretty neat, but I love the Hebrew language. It’s read from right to left, and it’s so beautiful written and spoken.

Even if you don’t know Hebrew, you could make a name placard with the meaning of the baby’s name, a Bible verse to go along with the name’s meaning, and a picture.

In my Adult Sunday School (the young married group), it’s good to have a frugal baby gift idea, because people keep having babies! We’re expecting one more this month, one in November, and one in February. That’s all I know about for now, but I’m sure there’ll be more!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekly Menu

Here’s our weekly menu:
  • Monday – Chicken Alfredo pie
  • Tuesday – Tomato soup and sandwich
  • Wednesday – Pizza
  • Thursday – Barbeque chicken
  • Friday – On the road
  • Saturday lunch – Sandwiches
  • Saturday dinner – Somewhere in Chicago

We are going to Dubuque, IA, on Friday and then heading to Chicago on Saturday. I have a friend in school there, so I’m looking forward to visiting with her!

Traveling can be hard to do gluten free, but it’s more difficult on the “dining out” budget for me. This weekend we’ll probably do fast food on Friday for dinner, pack a lunch for Saturday, eat out somewhere nice for Saturday dinner, and then have breakfast and lunch at our friend’s house on Sunday. Hopefully we’ll make it home in time for dinner.

Check out Org Junkie for her yummy Thanksgiving menu. I guess in Canada it comes earlier!

Hope over to Gluten Free Goodness to get some more gluten free menus.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pepperoni Pasta

After being inspired by a link I found on Org Junkie, I made this pepperoni pasta.

I sautéed some onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil with 3 cloves of crushed garlic. Once they were tender I added a cup of Carrie’s cream soup base, a can of mushrooms, and some turkey pepperoni. Of course I added salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Then I tossed in 8 oz. of cooked Tinkyada brown rice pasta.

I added some parmesan cheese and Frank’s Red Hot just before I ate it. It was so simple and naturally gluten free. We’re definitely having it again!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Yummy Gluten Free Brownies

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix (or sift) together:
1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a separate bowl, mix together:
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt together:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsalted butter

Slowly pour the melted chocolate/butter into the eggs while beating on low with an electric mixer.

Add the dry ingredients and beat on medium until combined. Pour batter into a greased 9x9 pan and smooth flat with a spatula. The batter will be quite thick.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

I created this recipe for my mom. She doesn’t eat wheat, potatoes, tapioca, or sorghum, along with a bunch of other foods. And since she doesn’t keep xanthan gum in her pantry, wheat-free baking is a challenge for her.

She called me a few weeks ago and asked if I had a good gluten free brownie recipe. I pulled out my trusty Bette Hagman cookbook, but her brownie recipe called for potato starch, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum. So that was out of the question!

Hopefully this recipe will work for you Mom. I hope you like it!