Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas accomplished!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  My family was very blessed this year.  First of all I am typing this blog from my new Dell Inspiron mini!  I really wanted a netbook quite badly but I knew it was out of our price range this year.  As luck would have it my husband went to an IT conference a couple of months back and won one!!! He kept it a secret and gave it to me on Christmas Eve.  I'm still not fully recovered from the excitement.  I also got a new camera.  A Canon Powershot.  A big upgrade from my last camera!

Christmas Eve I stayed up late making bourbon balls.  I had a hard time with these as they were hard to form without melting and obviously once formed you have to work fast with the chocolate.  They don't look too pretty but they tasted amazing!  I could've eaten every single one.  I must say I made twice this many but the first batch fell out of the fridge into the floor! :(  I used this recipe for Kentucky Bourbon Balls.  I did use a few extra tablespoons of bourbon and a bit extra powdered sugar to make it easier to roll.  I also put the mix in the freezer for an hour or so instead of waiting overnight in the fridge.  Honestly these were a huge pain in the ass to make but they are so delicious I'll make them again for certain!

Here is a picture of me and my daughter enjoying the finished product.  She wasn't really eating hers, just posing!  They are an interesting creation because straight from the fridge you barely taste the bourbon...let them sit on the counter for an hour or so and you would probably fail a breathalzyer! lol!

Here is a gift I was very excited about!  Mom and Dad got me the cast iron skillet I've been wanting forever and have been to lazy to buy.  I am excited to start cooking with it!

Christmas dinner was delicious and gluten free!  Mom made her famous deviled eggs, sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes.  I made the cranberry sauce and some Bob's Red Mill wonderful bread mix.  We had ham and turkey!  It was amazing!  The best meal I've had in weeks!  The best part of Christmas was enjoying time with my family!  We spent the day playing Beatles Rock band!  Even my parents were singing along!  Such fun!

Today was the last of our Christmas festivities!  Our friends Jessi and Danielle were to have a party last week but it got snowed out and was rescheduled for today!  It was an all appetizer party!  Everything was delicious.  Just for me they got gluten free crackers and made gluten free brownies!  I was also able to enjoy several of the dips!  I'm so glad I have friends who make special accommodations for me!  I know how hard and expensive gluten free can be so I would never expect anyone to cater to me but they insisted!  I am so very lucky to be blessed with great friends and a great family!

New Year's is fast approaching.  I can't believe 2009 has passed so fast!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Mayhem!

It's been a crazy week.  Last Friday things were looking good.  We were invited to a party that night, I was getting together with my best friends Saturday afternoon, and we had another party to attend on Sunday.  Well Friday afternoon it started snowing and kept snowing for three days.  Two feet of snow.  We were snowed in all weekend!  No parties! 

Cocoa didn't know what to think of it at first.  He was a bit bewildered.  He grew to accept the snow and almost like it!

Even enough to go for a walk with me!

While snowed in I watched Food, Inc.  I never wanted to eat again!  LOL!

I quickly recovered upon making cranberry bliss bars!  I followed the linked recipe except I used Pamela's Gluten Free baking mix (which is WONDERFUL) and for the icing I only used 1 cup of powdered sugar. Also I skipped the white chocolate drizzle.  Seemed unnecessary.  These are so delicious.  Make them and you will be glad you did!

Well I must go.  We have a get together at my father in laws house in a few minutes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fat Girl Spins!

I'm trying to get back into exercising.  My energy is soooo low so it's tough.  I'm getting B12 shots and I take various vitamins every day so we'll see what happens.  I'm still having tests done and going to doctors, who knows when I'll get straightened out.  Luckily today I decided to spin.  Honestly I had talked myself out of it and had even told my friend I wasn't going and then I thought JUST GO!  So I did.  A workout as always!  My legs are already sore!

After spinning I came home and made dinner.  Flounder with crushed popchips baked on top, Annie's Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese, and a salad with feta, dried pears and cranberries, and ranch.  Very tasty and so quick!  I love quick dinners on gym nights!

My husband is supposed to bring treats in to work tomorrow so I made some Pralines! I got the recipe from Gluten Free Frenzy.  I followed the instructions exactly.  I've never made these before but I have had them in New Orleans.  These tasted like the ones I had there so I guess that's a success.  Too bad I have to give most of them away!  Then again maybe that's a good thing! Not so healthy! 

This is a random dinner from last week that I thought I'd blogged about and then realized I hadn't!  Breakfast for dinner!  Omelet with ham and cheese, Rice Pecan bread with butter and jelly (not a fan of this bread), and vanilla Greek yogurt with raspberries.  I know paper plates are environmentally unsound but damnit they have Burt and Ernie on them!!!  I love Ernie.  Please don't laugh! :P

This dinner was a pork chop sauteed and then simmered in barbeque sauce with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, brussel sprouts roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper then sprayed with Braggs, and Lundberg parmesan risotto.  YUM!

Tomorrow I have a doctors appointment and I dentist appointment.  I am so dreading that! :(

Monday, December 7, 2009

Busy, busy, busy...

I've not had a lot of free time lately.  First there was Thanksgiving.  After dinner I had to hit the road for DC and my cousin's wedding.  Bridesmaid duty if you couldn't tell!  I'm on the far right with the goofy expression! Then as soon as I got home I had to head straight to my sister in law's house for dogsitting duty.  So here are some random pictures.

Me and my cousin's puppy Potter.

I've been to my favorite Mexican restaurant twice in the past week.  It's a bit easier to be gluten free there.

Saturday morning was super snowy.  It's actually surprising that we didn't get a real snow before now.  WV is typically snowy from October-April. 

While snowed in I made flourless peanut butter cookies!  Some plain, some with chocolate chips, and some with butterscotch chips.  I liked the butterscotch best.  Basic recipe: 1 cup peanut butter, 3/4 cup sugar in the raw, 1 egg, and a handful of butterscotch chips (if using).  Bake 10-15 minutes at 350.  May need more or less time.  They are a bit finnicky.

Finally got to try Trader Joe's Vodka sauce with some gluten free pasta.  Very, very good.  Leftovers the next day were even better.

Tonight is chili night (unpictured as it's been blogged about before).  To go with I've made Bob's Red Mill GF cornbread mix.  Not bad at all!  :)

So for a basic rundown so far...the GF diet does seem to be helping as much as I wish it didn't (have I mentioned my obsession with scones and cookies?).  So I guess that makes it worth it.  Such a challenge though.  Today I found out my favorite brand of flavored coffee is off limits! Oh well.  I'm going to focus on the yummy things I can eat and not dwell on what I can't have.  I'm finding with a bit of effort you can work around most any recipe and come up with a tasty alternative!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving preparations!

It's been a crazy week.  I was doing so much better at the beginning of the week.  The gluten-free diet has really helped.  I've not been nearly as bloated, achy, or had as many itchy rashes.  So naturally just as things seem to be going well I get step throat.  For the fifth time this year.  You read that right, fifth.  I don't even have tonsils! 

I've learned this week that gluten free takes tons of planning.  I want to be prepared for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow so I'm making some safe stuff to eat. 

First up my all time favorite side dish, baked mac and cheese!  I used gluten free pasta obviously.  Then I melted 2 TB butter in a sauce pan, added 1 TB gluten free flour mix, and 1 cup milk.  Heat until bubbly.  Then I stired in 8oz. of shredded Kroger casserole blend cheese until melted.  Add 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream and mix with pasta.  Pour into pan, top with sharp cheddar and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. 

For dessert I have made a flourless chocolate cake.   I got the recipe from All Recipes.  I made it last week for an office party and it was really good.  Very, very rich!!!  I followed the directions except I make it in a springform pan with no water bath. 

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!  I will be eating around Noon and then hitting the road to D.C.  Big weekend ahead.  I'm so nervous! 

Monday, November 23, 2009

A time of thanks!

I can't believe Thanksgiving week is already upon us!  Time is going by so fast, it's kind of depressing!  I have a busy week ahead.  I work Monday through Wednesday, Thursday I'll be having Thanksgiving dinner at my mother-in-laws and then immediately leaving for D.C.  Friday I have a manicure appointment, the wedding rehersal, and then the dinner.  Saturday is my cousin's big day! We'll get our hair done and then the festivities begin!  I'm so nervous!  I don't want to do anything to ruin the wedding!  I've only been a bridesmaid once before and it was a much more casual affair!  Wish me luck! 

So as for food I am continuing my gluten-free trial.  So far, so good.  I've had mishaps due to my improper checking of ingredients before eating but overall this week as been good.  I do think some of my problems are easing up so I'm going to keep at it for a few more weeks to be certain it's not coincidence.  This will be tough this week with Thanksgiving and travel though.  Anyhow here are some highlights of my meals this past week!

This is an experimental casserole because I didn't feel like going to the store.  It contains gluten free pasta, broccoli, non-fat yogurt, tomatillo sauce, leftover turkey, and montery jack cheese.  It was actually very, very tasty!

Chili with ground turkey.

Crockpot turkey with sweet potatoes.  Brown/wild rice on the side.  I loved the sweet potatos, my husband however thought they were the grossest thing he'd ever tasted!  I put them in the bottom, put the turkey on top, and then topped with butter and wine.  It gave them a strange savory taste that I liked and he hated.  Go figure!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another weekend flies by!

Yesterday I went to another of my favorite restaurants, Delightfully Yours.  I got my favorite thing on the menu, the butternut squash and bacon panini with sweet potato chips!  It is so, so good.  For dessert we all three split a slice of bourbon pecan cheesecake.  Heavenly!

I got a cranberry scone to go and had it as a midnight seems someone took a bite of it before I got to it though.  Naturally my husband denies responsibility! ;)

This morning I got up and made fried eggs.  I served mine with Oikos plain yogurt, a touch of honey, and a little bit of Enjoy Life Very Berry Crunch granola.  On the side are some clementines that I shared with my husband.

For dinner I made shepherds pie.  The base is ground beef, carrots, and corn (usually I'd use mushrooms but I was out). The topping is homemade white cheddar mashed potatos.  Very tasty!

I also made some pumpkin butterscotch muffins for breakfast tomorrow (I may have snacked on a couple this evening).  I got the recipe from All Recipes.  I subbed gluten free baking mix for the flour.  These are surprisingly tasty.  From the smell and texture of the mixture I would never have guessed they'd be so amazing!

I also decided to make some cranberry sauce.  I used the recipe in this months Clean Eating magazine.  This is the before cooking picture.

This is the after.  I love making cranberry sauce!  It's one of my favorite things to eat and it's fun to make, especially when the cranberries start popping!  I'm easily entertained that's for sure! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I've been on hiatus!

I've totally been lazy about blogging this week!  I went back to the doctor on Tuesday and she basically had no answers for me.  All my bloodwork is good except for a B12 deficiency.  As you can tell I absolutely am not vegan and I eat a lot of meat, eggs, and dairy so there is no reason my B12 should be low.  The doctor admitted she was clueless so due to internet research and help from my cousin who is a nurse, I've requested that she test me for celiacs/gluten intolerance.  It seems the blood test isn't very accurate and EGD is standard but I had an EGD several months back and while they noted inflammation of my small intestine they didn't biopsy it!  Doctors are so frustrating.  In light of the inflammation and my symptoms I feel that regardless of the blood results I'll be doing a trial run of a gluten free diet to see what happens.  Couldn't hurt.  Might help.  So this week I've had a few gluten filled favorites.

Cinnamon raisin English muffins with peanut butter for breakfast. Why the greenish tint I have no idea.

Hibachi steak and noodles from Fujiyamas.  Saved some for lunch! 

Cracker Barrel biscuits with blackberry preserves.

Tomorrow I'll probably have a scone from my favorite bakery.  Then I start the trial diet and if goes well it may be my permanent diet. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Holiday favorites

I'm not super crazy for the whole Christmas season in that I don't like Christmas music, crowds, snow, or putting up decorations.  I know I sound like a total Scrooge, but truely I'm not.  I just like the simple things about the holiday season.  Being with my family and friends especially and also all the lovely food.  Seriously all my favorite foods are around this time of year!  Pumpkin, cranberry, gingerbread, and eggnog!

This morning upon arriving at work my wonderful boss gave me a box of Bigelow Pumpkin Spice tea!  So yummy!  I've mentioned my love for tea many times here and this tea does not disappoint! 

The highlight of my weekend was a trip to Panera Bread where I got the gingerbread bagel and and a gingerbread latte!  I've been waiting all year for the gingerbread bagel to be back!  I got one to go and toasted it for breakfast this morning.  :)

After work I went to the grocery store and they had the Cliff holiday flavors on display!  I had to buy several of each!  Plus they finally have Silk Nog!  I love soy nog! 
The rest of todays meals weren't nearly as exciting as my bagel. Lunch was a Healthy Choice meal.   
Okay but a little bit peppery.

Dinner was a roasted chicken from the deli, Annie's white cheddar mac and cheese, a Dole Autumn blend salad, and two grape leaves from the olive bar.  I was starving and wanted to have something I could eat as soon as possible! 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'm officially a sloth...

Despite two rounds of antibiotics and a big shot in the butt my sore throat is back!  I'm about sick of this!  Perhaps it's a virus but I swear I've followed the don't get sick rules to a T.  I really need to get back to the gym but I'm scared I'll catch something worse or over-exert myself and further tax my immune system.  Anyhow I have a doctors appointment on Tuesday so I'll just try to hang in until then. 

These pictures are from yesterday because I fell asleep before I could blog!  Breakfast was Blueberry Kashi Go Lean waffles, Nutella, and strawberry All-Fruit.  Brown Cow Greek yogurt on the side.  I had this exact same breakfast today minus the All-Fruit.

Yesterday's lunch: An Amy's spinach pizza pocket and a low sodium V8.  Yum!

By dinnertime yesterday I had developed a HUGE lasagna craving.  So I made some.  No low-fat veggie filled recipe here.  All meat and cheesy goodness! :P  Lasagna is my all time favorite food!

This lasagna was today's lunch!  Yum!  Leftovers rock!

I made a mistake and bought a bag of Reese's candy that was marked down post Halloween.  These Reese's pieces along with the Reese's sticks and PB cups have been torturing me ever since.  I've had a few over the past couple of days...

The past two days I've been drinking this tea.  I usually hate green tea (I love black tea though) but this tea is quite tasty.  No bitter yuckiness like most green tea.  I obviously have been sick and run down plus my stomach is always acting ugly so I thought this was the perfect combo! 

Forgot to add I grabbed a Gingerbread soy latte after dinner tonight.  I've been craving one all day long!  So, so good. Lattes with soymilk are so much tastier than with regular milk.  Obviously I did not take this picture...

Anyhow one more day of work and then I get the weekend to rest.  If I am feeling better I'd love to do some Christmas shopping...we'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eggnog season is in full swing!!!

Nothing exciting going on in my world today.  Except for it being the slowest work day ever.  I don't know what was going on but everyone was feeling it! 

Lunch was leftovers from my mother in law's Sunday dinner.  Beef stew with whole wheat rolls.  Also a grapefruit Izze.  Those are yummy.  I came home feeling blah.  Crashed on the couch and watched Nirvana Live at Reading.  Then I went to dinner at Macado's again.  No pictures because my sandwich looked nearly identical to the one I had Sunday night.  Except it had roast beef, cole slaw, cheddar, and bbq sauce. 
After dinner I had to race on over to Starbucks to get the first eggnog latte of the season.  I'm proud to report they finally got this right.  Every year I eagerly order an eggnog latte and every year they scorch the eggnog and it tastes terrible.  Well the curse has been broken.  This one was right on!  Now I must hurry back for the gingerbread.  It's another favorite.  I'm a huge Starbucks fan.

The remainder of the evening was spent talking to my cousin on the phone.  Since I rarely, or um never, post pictures of myself I decided to throw up this not so flattering shot of me and my cousin.  I'm the one that is a full foot shorter. :P