Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thin Mints? Samoas?

Have I mentioned that it's Girl Scout Cookie time? To date, we have just over 100 boxes sold. The girls want to hit 300. The past 2 years we've had grandparents in the hospital during our selling season, meaning parents were occupied & not as able to go around selling cookies. Phil has taken the girls out once & I took them out delivering & collecting orders today. We also have door tags to hang on doors if no one is home.

We are signed up for SIX cookie booths! Yes, SIX! Hope we do really well at those!

I found myself kick into salesperson mode as we were walking around. Some neighbor guys were standing outside & I hollered out as we got close, "Did you get your Girl Scout cookies yet?" Got some orders there. I thought, "If only I could get people to spend money that quickly on Pampered Chef!"

This time of year is quite difficult on a Celiac. Do you KNOW what it's like to have over 50 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, MOST OF WHICH ARE THIN MINTS, in your house and NOT be able to eat even one? Not because of losing weight, but because I don't want to get sick. I do, however, have a recipe for gluten free Thin Mints. While I AM supposed to be losing weight, I might have to mix up this recipe. It's been awhile since I made these. I could use Splenda, but that just wouldn't be the same. All I know is I want Samoa Thin Mints! (um, yeah, you say it like it means some more thin mints)

So, thanks to someone on the Internet who created this, here is the GF thin mint cookie recipe!

1-1/2 Cup GF Flour (I use Bette Hagman's rice mixture for all my cookies)
1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 Cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon mint extract (I used McCormick's)
3 (1 oz. squares semisweet chocolate) (I think I doubled this amount)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter until creamy. Add the sugar, and beat
until mixed well. Beat in egg and mint extract. Mix GF flour, cocoa and
salt together and add mixture by halves into creamed mixture, beating well
after each addition. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface
roll dough into two 1-1/2 inch diameter cylinders. Wrap each cylinder in
waxed paper, and refrigerate 5 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prior to baking place cylinders in freezer for
30 minutes. Remove one cylinder at a time, and slice 1/4 inch thick pieces
with very sharp knife. Place on cookie sheets about 1-1/2 inches apart.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Melt 1/4 cup butter and the semisweet chocolate in a
double boiler or in the microwave. Drizzle over warm cookies. LET COOL AND

NOTE: I found that this last step worked best if you place the cookies on a
wire rack and then drizzled the chocolate over them. That way the coating
will not puddle around the cookie.

ANOTHER NOTE: This year I saw another recipe that melted mint chocolate
chips instead of the semisweet chocolate over the top. This might taste
good too! You might want to leave the mint out of the cookie though and
just have it in the coating.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A New Breed of Dachshund

Most people who know me are aware that I have, um, unusual dreams. The other night I dreamed that my girls had guinea pigs, or were they hamsters? They were the little ones that look like mice with a bit of fuzz, not the bigger ones with long hair. Anyway, in real life, or in AWAKE life, I do not like rodents. I can look at them in a cage, if they are the pet type, other than pet mice or rats, but that's it. So, the fact that I even let my girls have these was strange. Stranger still, I actually LIKED these little critters & let them crawl in my hands & on my arms.

At some point we had to put the little guys away because my sister-in-law, Robin, was coming into the room with her dogs. In HER real life, she right now has a black lab named Lindsey. She's had labs and Golden Retrievers over the past 20 plus years, but never a small breed of dog. Though her "grand-dog" is a Yorkie-poo. In my dream she had dachshunds, but only one was in the room with her. It was a red haired dachshund, a bit shorter than average (in length, that is, not height), and very well-fed, ahem, FAT! This dachshund was so cute. He was sniffing all over the place trying to find something (perhaps the rodents). He had a special feature that only his breed had: his nose lit up RED like a lightbulb when he sniffed! I asked Robin about him. She told me her parents had traveled to South America to find these dachshunds. They were a special breed found only there. The best part was the name of the breed: The RUDOLPH Dachshund!

I was curious to see if there was really a breed like this, and did a google search. No, there isn't. BUT, I found this really cool article about a blind/deaf dachshund NAMED Rudolph:

We need a puppy. Can't have one in this house, but ONE DAY....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Photo Challenge

My friend Linda listed me as part of a photo challenge. I've never done one of these, and I have to scratch my head because the rule is you have to post the 6th picture in your 6th file in your photo folder. There is an assumption that you have A photo folder. We have SEVERAL folders with photos, so I guess I need to find the 6th photo folder!

Okay, I found the 6th photo folder, the 6th folder in that, and the 6th photo. This is a picture of my parents-in-law on their 50th Wedding Anniversary, October 24, 2004. We went out to eat, just them, my parents, and the 4 of us in our family, at a nice Italian Restaurant (pre-Celiac diagnoses--phew!).

This is fitting since this coming Sunday, February 1st, will be one year since we lost my father-in-law. It's hard to believe a year has gone by. What a nice memory to know they had a marriage that lasted 50 years, and beyond!

Now I am supposed to challenge 6 more people, I think! Here are the rules:
Now, I'm to pass on the challenge...
The Challenge:
A. Open "my pictures" folder.
B. In the 6th folder, take the 6th picture and post it on your blog.
C. Write something about the picture.
D. Challenge 6 new people to join this challenge.
E. Put a link in their blog to let them know they are challenged

Now 6 more people. Hmmm. I'm not sure 6 people READ my blog! On the off chance they do AND have a blog AND want to do this, here is my list:
1. Becky Kiser
2. Stephanie Green
3. Nils Smith
4. April Reed
5. Tonamonie Stampanelo! (my nickname for her)
6. Linda Mary

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sick & Tired

Just a quick blog post to say I am sick & tired of being sick & tired! I have actually had a good stretch of not being very sick (other than the thrush in the fall). This weekend the stretch came to a screeching halt. Fever, headache, lovely things flowing from my nasal passages. Guess it's time for a trip to the doctor.

While I've been living on the couch (when I wasn't in bed), I did get some crafting done, so check out my crafty blog! I also managed to get my "Mid-Month" Pampered Chef letter out at nearly the end of the month. OOPS!

I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the new Pampered Chef products up close & personal. I think I may have earned one free product this time. The reality of not being a director is hitting now as I have earned almost all of the new products for free as a director for about 3 years. This will certainly mean less stuff for my cabinets! Trying to find the "sunshine" in the clouds!

Hope anyone reading this has had a wonderful weekend resting in our Lord.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flat Out Flat

Last night one of my online buddies asked a group of us if we knew the term "flat-out." I had heard it, but wanted to give her something to look up, so I found a definition online.
flat out
adv. Informal
1. In a direct manner; bluntly: told me the truth flat out.
2. At top speed: running flat out.

I thought I could use that to describe what happened today. I had a "job" of sorts. There is a company in San Antonio that does studies to be used in law suits about vehicle accidents. They need vehicles like the ones used in the accident & they need people to "be" the accident victim, or surrogate. I always thought being a surrogate mom would be fun (no, not really, just that I liked being pregnant), but being a surrogate accident victim is faster and pays well.

Today they needed someone my size AND they needed a vehicle just like ours. So, we got paid for the van AND for me being there. I got there on time, but had to wait a bit for the right people to arrive and tell me to pull the car around back. As I got close to the back, the car felt like it wasn't quite right. When I got out & the man got in to pull the van into the bay, the tire looked low. When he pulled in, air was rushing out! My tire was going flat, in a hurry. It was going flat with rapid speed. It was becoming bluntly flat. Yes, it was flat-out flat! They needed the van THEN and they needed it with an INFLATED tire. I was so afraid they would tell me I'd need to go home & they couldn't use me, but they got a can of fix a flat to hold it through the session.

The money I received was about what I used to make with Pampered Chef in an average or even slow month as a director. It was WAY more than I am making right now at anything. It was hard to deposit that money and have to drive straight to the tire store. It seemed unfair to have to immediately give away a good chunk of change. I had plans to get a little bit of something to use for making cards & such to sell.

Then God reminded me that HE had provided that money for our NEEDS. We NEEDED a new tire. If I hadn't had this job, the tire probably would have gone flat somewhere else & we would have had no money to pay for a new tire. He also gave the guy at the tire store the grace to give me a better price for the tire we got than it cost. They were out of the lowest price type, so he offered me the next size at a $10 discount. It was still more than I'd just paid for a tire at Wal-Mart. I wasn't trying to bargain. I had no idea you COULD bargain. I just told him, um, flat-out, that it cost me less than that at Wal-Mart. He lowered the price so my walk-out cost was less than what we'd paid at Wally World.

If anyone's counting, this is our 4th flat tire since mid-October. Need a ride anyone? LOL!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I must be an old fuddy-duddy

I've never been stylish. I've never been trendy. I've never had a clue what made something be in style. I was in my prime when Laura Ashley & Gunne Sax still had a tight grip on the fashion world. How I loved those days. I love flowers. I love floral prints. I loved the whole English Garden look even if my mom did tell me my clothes looked like bedspreads & curtains she had as a child.

Now I am just old, fat and would be happiest to spend my days in a t-shirt & pj pants or shorts (depending on the time of year).

Yesterday I checked in to see who on my blog roll had posted. I was gone all day so I did not see the Inauguration. My niece (The Kisers in my blog roll) had posted a picture of Michelle Obama in her yellow dress at the Inauguration. My niece (and later her commenters, apart from this old aunt), all raved about Michelle's outfit. I do think it was a pretty outfit. I like the fabric & feel for the person who actually sewed it. That was some heavy brocade! Here is what my perspective was, though: It's a very pale yellow and she is wearing olive gloves & teal shoes. Why? I didn't (and still don't) get the color combination. That means one of two things: Either someone has totally changed the color wheel from the last time I saw it OR I am an old fuddy duddy and don't get the new color choices. I'm pretty sure it's the latter. In fact, when I asked on Becky's blog about the shoes, one of the commenters told me that Olive, Teal and yellow all go together. That proves it. I'm an old fuddy duddy.

And in case the styles weren't enough to make me feel this way, it dawned on me that for the first time EVER the president is about my age. He is younger than my husband. The first lady is a year older than I am. I'm not sure I'm ready for my generation to be the leaders. Aren't we too young for this? Didn't we just finish college?

If I am going to be old and be a fuddy duddy, then I must share with you that when I first saw Michelle Obama's ball gown, I thought it looked like cotton with pom-poms on it. Up close I could see that it was much prettier than that. Still, I had to laugh when I read this comment, because it means I am not alone in my age & fuddy-duddy-ness, "It looked like an old chenille bedspread I used to have." I guess what goes around comes around. Maybe my niece & those gorgeous 20-something year olds (seriously, every single one of these ladies is drop-dead gorgeous) should all take pictures of their bedspreads. They might be all the rage in the fashion world one day.

P.S. Don't tell anyone but when Becky was 7 years old she wore a dress very much like these dresses in my wedding. She told me she loved the dress and wore it almost every Sunday to church. LOL!

Edited to add:I typed in "ball gown bedspread" and came up with pages of links. Poor Michelle will go down in history as the First Lady who wore a bedspread. It's okay. She probably wore her mom's old draperies in high school & college. She is about my age, you know.

Monday, January 19, 2009


The day is finally upon us. For a year (or was it more?) it seemed we heard the cry, "CHANGE!" from the mouth of every candidate running for the office of president, perhaps from every candidate running for any office. In about 12 hours from the time I write these words our nation will undergo a change. It is being heralded as "Historic." President-elect Obama seemed to cry the loudest, "I promise to bring change to our country." So, there will be change.

This will be our first president with an African heritage. It has taken longer from the end of slavery to this day than it took from the beginning of our nation til the end of slavery. I am thrilled to part of a nation who is, in part, fulfilling part of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. In God's Word we read, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female...." It is historic to see that portion of the verse being lived out before our eyes. I am glad to know we have come to this point.

Yet, there is a part of me that wants to cry out, "Obama is not the hero that caused this!" This change, the one of putting a man with a partial African background into the office of president IS historic, but it is ONLY happening because of those who went before him. As Natalie & I have been reading through a series of books set in the 1800's, we have seen bits of what started this change. There were men, thousands of men, black AND white, who fought and gave their lives so that EVERY human being would have the freedom we treasure in our nation. Even then, though, there was not equality. We know of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., but I suspect there are countless more who fought for this cause and likely gave their lives doing so.

Then there is that "African-American" title that wanders through my mind. I have heard Africans living in America say that the people here who descended from Africans, but have lived here for generations upon generations, are not African-American. They are Americans who happen to have an African heritage. Obama truly is African-American. I am not sure how I feel about that. He's been to Africa as I have. He has seen how the people live in villages. He has visited his relatives still living in villages. My hope is that part of the "change" he hopes to bring about would be in helping bring an end to some of the problems in Africa, slave trade, genocides, endless wars between tribes. I know his role is to take care of America, but I hope somehow that this fits into that description.

Change....what kind of change is this man going to bring to our nation? Is change always good? Has he told us WHAT this change is he proclaims to the multitudes? Does it mean those of us working in the "middle class" or even "lower middle class" will take our hard earned money to provide for those who choose to not work at all? Does it mean parents who choose to live on one income so one parent can be home raising the children will be forced to both be employed while the government cares for our children? What does it mean to those who have fought for equal rights for ALL humans, even those deemed unfit or a bother and so are killed? Yes, there is a genocide in our nation and the target is unwanted children. If we kill them before they are born, even if they are old enough to survive outside the womb, and call it science or choice, is that a good thing?

The "left" has elevated this man to hero status who will conquer those on the "right." The "right" cries out that this man is connected to terrorists and not an American by birth. Will this change that he brings raise cheers from his loyal followers, or will he surprise his opponents and listen to their voices as well?

Tonight we watched a bit of Disney's Kids Inaugural Night. It seemed to be initiated by Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden, who had children/grandchildren in attendance to listen to their favorite Disney singers. The theme was two-fold: We support our military families, and Kids are the Future. The words they used were very good. They were very "non-partisan." It is true that our children will be the future of this nation. Yet, even my 10 year old child noticed they were all wearing Obama shirts and putting him on a pedestal as the one who would lead our children to fulfill all their dreams. I told her (this was not a new conversation, but one we've had several times) that even if we disagreed with his stand on issues, he is going to be our next president and it is historic that he is the first African-American president. I told her (again) that the Obama girls probably get home from school & watch Hannah Montana just like she does. She's a pretty sharp girl and she seemed to see through that to something that finally struck me. If kids are the future, why do we need Obama's face on t-shirts? Why not put, "I am a kid and I am your future?" Why are we parading him as this great hero to children? They don't vote (thank the Lord! LOL!). Are we sending subtle messages to them so when they are old enough to vote they will believe whatever the media tells them to believe? Of course, when I told Natalie that one day she will get to vote & needs to vote for the RIGHT candidate (whomever that may be), she reminded me (again), "I will be 22 before I can vote!" She'll actually be ALMOST 22 before she can vote for president. That happens when you are born in late November in the wrong year!

My dad and others have said several times that the president alone isn't going to make all the changes we seem to think he is. It will take the congress and judicial system to work with him to make things really change. I know he is right, but if the legislative and judicial branches are aligned with the executive branch, THEN we will see changes, whatever they might be.

It's easier to fear & wonder about these changes. I am reminded that it isn't the president, the congress, or the Supreme Court who ultimately have the final say. It is the Supreme God who has the ultimate authority. He does not change. Numbers 23:19 says, "
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" Hebrews 13:8 tells us, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

That verse I mentioned about no difference is slave and free really wasn't about setting slaves free. It was about a freedom that comes with a change. The change is in realizing that we are sinners & need the Lord's forgiveness. The freedom is one that frees us from the shackles of guilt and eternity spent away from Him. Here is the entire verse:

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28

My hope is not in a new president. My fears of what he may do should not concern me. My hope should be solely (and souly) in Christ, for HE does not change when all else around us does.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Tooth, the Whole Tooth & Nothing but the Tooth

Warning: This is not for the faint of stomach (YES, I AM queasy even as I write this!)

We are pretty far removed from the "My baby lost her first tooth!" and thankfully the, "MO-O-O-O-MMMMMMMMMM, THE TOOTH FAIRY FORGOT TO COME," days don't happen too often. Good thing as that tooth fairy has a really bad memory! We are to the the stage when a child says, "Mom, I think there's a hole in my tooth," we shoot up a prayer, "Lord, PLEASE let this be a baby tooth!"

My elder child, who can sit and watch operations on Discovery Health while my other child & I cover our eyes so we don't barf, discovered a tooth that "looked like it had black on it." Um, well, yeah, that would be a cavity, dear. "Oh, no! I hope it's not a grown up tooth!" Yeah, us, too.

We've concluded that it's a baby tooth and there are other teeth growing in around it. She has never had the best mouth for teeth coming in. They come in at very strange angles and locations. Not out of the roof of her mouth or anything, just not exactly where they should. Last year she had a baby tooth that cracked and half of it fell out. The big tooth came in, and that half a tooth would just not budge. Thankfully it finally did. Now she has this "black looking tooth" that is very wiggly and another tooth growing in kind of in front of it. It NEEDS to come out. We told her she should just keep wiggling it til it comes out. Okay, I told her that. Daddy said, "Let Mommy pull it if you don't want me to do it." Natalie's words are more like, "That's GROSS! Pull it out now or you'll choke on it in your sleep!" And, knowing Natalie that thought comes with this one, "How will she get MONEY if she swallows it?" Why do kids get money for dead teeth anyway?

Bethany decided before it comes out we needed to take a picture of it. So, you have been thoroughly warned. This is not pretty. I've got the full face then a close-up. Lovely. Just lovely. Any dental students out there needing a patient?

P.S. If you like pictures like this, let me give you my dad's e-mail address. He has lots of pictures from the "healing process" of different surgeries he's had in recent years. Excuse me while I go find a bucket to use.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What's for Dinner?

I have managed to make a new meal for the past 6 nights. Tonight we finally had LO night (left over). A gluten free diet & a restricted budget means I cook a lot anyway, but typically about once a week we end up getting take-out Mexican fast food.

This is what I made this week & the opinions of my family:
  • Saturday: Fresh Italian Sausage with a box of Scalloped Potatoes (Wal-Mart brand is gluten free) and frozen veggies (I did cook them first)---pretty good by all but Natalie, who won't eat much meat
  • Sunday: Chalupas---a winner by all counts
  • Monday: Split Pea Soup with salad---salad was good! LOL! Soup was okay by 3 of us, picky Natalie not so much. THANK YOU TO THE CLARK FAMILY for a ham steak I had in the freezer! It was a wild hog steak---shot during "hog season." (grin)
  • Tuesday: Chicken Strips (coat with an orange juice/dijon mustard mix, then finely ground crackers) with potatoes & veggies---Adults liked this, kids thought it was bad. The crackers were not one the kids like anyway (a gluten free healthy grainy nutty cracker)
  • Wednesday: Porcupine meatballs with veggies---pretty good ratings all around, at least once the girls got passed the idea of eating something called porcupine
  • Thursday: Tamale Pie with salad---Picky girl said yuck, Mom said so-so, but would prefer a firmer cornbread crust & Bethany & Phil said it was a keeper (though Phil said it would be better without tomatoes---he doesn't like tomatoes). They ate more tonight!
Since I actually had to budget & plan some foods we could use for 2 weeks time, I think we've done pretty well. I've made pancakes for breakfast once, had cereal some days, sandwiches for the kids, we've had some yogurt (but I think the girls' yogurt is gone now) and I plan to make French Toast in the morning. I need to bake some GF bread if I'm going to eat any!

I still have on my menu plans:
  • Hamburgers with onion rings. I bought myself some GF hamburger buns before Christmas & think we have some regular ones for these picky people who can't just have bread on a burger. I also picked up a deep fat fryer (oh, so healthy---HA!), so I've told the girls we can do onion rings
  • Red Beans & Rice---I have leftover little cocktail sausages & I think some of the sausage from Saturday
  • Tacos for Sunday. We usually do Taco Bell for the 3 of them on Sunday b/c they have "Taco Sunday" with cheap tacos. I usually get Taco Cabana since it's gluten free. We'll do La Casa de Garrison this week
I have a can of alfredo sauce, a pack of turkey bacon, a pack of regular bacon, a big chunk of mozzarella cheese & some colby cheese from my parents, several cans of tomato type stuff (diced, sauce, paste), and bags of white beans and pinto beans.

What other ideas can you think of with these ingredients?

And what have YOU had for dinner?

I Caved!

I'm loving the withdrawal stories! You gals are GOOD!!! I had to go pick up a prescription today at Wal-Mart. I discovered that Wal-Mart only charges $5.60 for this medicine whereas CVS (drug store) charges the full amount we can pay for generics: $10.00. That's another post for another day, but it meant I had a little extra money for COLA! Okay, okay, I actually had already been down the soda aisle & put some Sam's Choice Cola for 67 CENTS in my basket. To ease my guilty conscience, I also put a Sam's Choice Root Beer in for the rest of my family. With the extra money I DID go to the fresh produce section & found STRAWBERRIES on sale! Plus apples, oranges & bananas were marked down, so I got fresh fruit! Yea!

I was SO tempted to buy a bottle of Coke at the check-out. I had already looked to see if they had a dispenser in the lobby with 25 cent Sam's Choice cans of cola, but they didn't. I waited all the way til I got home & then had some. It was good. I had 2 cups, but there was lots of ice, so it wasn't REALLY 2 full cups.

They say confession is good for the soul. I just know cola was fun for my mouth & tummy! hee-hee!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Coke Addict in Withdrawal

Until about 3 years ago, I was an iced water fanatic. I would drink the water because it left me with a prize: a cup full of ice to chew. The ice was just perfect for chewing after soaking in water for awhile. Yes, to all you dental experts, I DO know it's bad to chew ice. I also knew that eating ice is often a sign of anemia. I learned this when I was pregnant (and as a note of interest, pregnant women in third world countries will eat dirt when they are iron deficient; I heard about the dirt eating from a Kenyan, then read about the reason in a book). However, my anemia had never been given much attention (apart from pregnancy: Take these iron pills & see me next month). Turns out the anemia was a tell-tale sign of my Celiac Disease.

So, I got on a gluten free diet, took massive amounts of iron, and stopped craving ice. Good, right? Except I also stopped drinking lots of water every day.

You would THINK now that my body was eating healthier (at far as gluten goes), that I would be craving healthier foods. Nope. I started drinking Coke! Or Pepsi. Or even generic store brand "Cola." It really makes no difference to me. I went from drinking about 1 Coke per week to drinking about 1-2 daily or every other day. We have this great drive-in restaurant here called Sonic. They are "Drink Central" with about a zillion combinations of drinks you can have made to order (non-alcoholic). They even have a "Happy Hour" when drinks are half-price, so I can get a BIG Coke for under $1.00!

Make that I COULD, past tense, get a Coke. We are on a strict budget now, at least until the next payday. Okay, we're usually on a strict budget, but we are not even going to get half-price drinks at Sonic. I had my last Coke on Saturday! It is now in the wee hours of Thursday. I think I've only had a 'hankerin' for Coke once. Let's see if I can last all week!

Any other recovering Coke addicts out there? I know at least one of my friends is. And she's one of my 2 or 3 faithful blog readers! LOL! Let me know YOUR food or drink withdrawal story!

"I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me!" Phillipians 4:13

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hunting for perfect recipes

Much of my life revolves around food:
  • My full-time job (mothering my kids & being a wife) involves trying to get enough calories into one child
  • Having Celiac Disease, EVERY trip to a restaurant or grocery store is a time consuming activity looking for the "hidden" or obvious traces of gluten (I got "glutened" over Christmas because I failed to read labels & paid for it)
  • Most foods have to be home made for me to eat them, so more time is consumed in the food department
  • My part-time Pampered Chef job, obviously, involves food
  • Because of Celiac Disease, and the "cure" of gluten free eating, I have gained 40 lbs. (30 of that came in about 7 months), so now I am pouring over cookbooks trying to find recipes that are light, healthy, filling, tasty, AND gluten-free
  • The other child and the other large person in this house also like to eat, so I try to feed them periodically
Naturally gluten-free foods are meats (not filled with goopy flavorings, but plain, old-fashioned meat) and vegetables. A few grains are also GF. Most prepared foods in stores that are budget friendly are full of gluten. Most gluten free prepared foods, or mixes, are pricey (bread mix can cost from $4 up to $7 for ONE LOAF), so I generally do without or make my own.

I enjoy cooking. That is, I enjoy cooking when I have space to cook and recipes that I know will work. I tend to try new recipes fairly often. I absolutely love learning to "copycat" recipes. When we lived in Africa, especially in Zaire, there were many foods we didn't have available to us. I found a book before we left the states called, "This for That," which had all kinds of substitutes. When I got to Africa, I found some missionary cookbooks which had been left behind and several of these substitutes were the same as my book had. Interestingly, it was obvious from the recipes that there had been brighter days in Lodja, Zaire, when more ingredients were available to the locals than when we arrived. Here we live in the land of plenty, and while I probably could pay a price for most anything I want to eat, the electric company has yet to accept the excuse, "I'm sorry I can't pay my light bill, but I had to buy some gluten free hot dog buns at $6 for a pack of 4." So, I'm on the quest for more copycat and homemade recipes.

My family has fallen in love with Bush's Maple & Bacon Baked Beans. I am armed with a crockpot and a package of dry beans, but I cannot find a copycat recipe for this. I would also love to make Ranch Style beans. If you happen to have amazingly delicious recipes for these, please feel free to share!

The main reason I came here to blog about this, though, is that I found a recipe that made me say outloud, "You have GOT to be kidding." I've ALWAYS wanted a recipe for Ranch Style Dressing. You know the kind you get in the powdery packet and mix with mayo & milk? Remember when it first came out & it had to be buttermilk for the mixing? Not the bottled stuff. Even Hidden Valley does their dressing a disservice when they bottle it. They alter it somehow. Well, in my search for copycat Ranch BEANS, I saw a listing for "House Ranch Dressing," in the copycat recipe listings. Eager to find this supposedly easy recipe, and mouth watering at the thought of dipped carrot sticks and cucumbers in my dream recipe, I clicked on the link. Are you ready for the recipe? Think you can handle this great news?

House Ranch Dressing
2 packages Ranch Dressing Mix
2 cups milk
2 cups mayonaise

Yep. I'm serious. I wonder if anyone got paid to list that. The ideas are now filling my head: Pancakes: 1 cup Bisquick.......... Taco Bell Tacos: 1 lb. ground meat, 1 packet Taco Bell Seasoning......

You know, I might be able to write a cookbook. Yep, I have definitely found the secret to the perfect recipe.