Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hearty Beef and Potato Soup

Nothing says "fall" like a hearty, one-pot-meal soup. And it is easy. I *might* have mentioned in previous posts that I like an easy, gluten-free meal. Because I really do. 

2 lbs Beef tips or stew meat
6-8 red potatoes, cut in chunks
1 onion, chopped 
1 package frozen green beans
1 package frozen okra
1 package frozen corn niblets
1 package peas and carrots
Salt and pepper to taste

Now the directions are my favorite part: Dump all ingredients  in your large slow cooker and cook on low all day (8 hrs). Serve in a big bowl on a cold night. Gluten-free saltines or gf cornbread goes well with this soup, but is certainly not required!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Great After-Thanksgiving GF Meal

Our family had such a nice Thanksgiving but, I am one of those cooks who probably overestimated how much my family would need on Thanksgiving, and the day after, and the next day, and ...

You get the idea! I had too many leftovers.

We were all a bit tired of heating up leftovers with food that was way too heavy. I decided to make a casserole that was a bit lighter with my leftovers, plus it needed to be gluten-free. I had seen those casseroles for leftover turkey with cheese biscuits cooked on top and I decided I could make a good gf version that could be a crowd pleaser, if I used that model.

The leftovers I wanted to incorporate: turkey, gravy, cream-style corn. The things I decided to add: chopped carrots, celery, onions, parsley and of course some lower-fat cheese biscuits for the topping.

And the result was a great casserole that smelled delicious and one that everyone really enjoyed. It was kind of like we had it for the first time rather than a recycled meal.

I even had enough to share with my Mom. We made it a Happy after Thanksgiving Non Warmed-Over Casserole that lifted our spirits. You ought to try it.

Here's my recipe. Mine is gluten-free. Of course this would be good if self-rising wheat flour were used, too,

Turkey Casserole with Cheesy Biscuit Topping

4-5 cups pre-cooked chopped turkey
3 small carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 onion (about 1/4 cup), chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 to 1/2 cups creamed corn
1-1/2 cup gravy (or substitute 1 can of broth with 1 tablespoon corn starch stirred in)
Biscuit topping (recipe below)

In a large greased casserole dish layer turkey, carrots, celery, onion, and parsley. Mix together the corn and gravy (or broth mixture) and pour over the top of the ingredients in the casserole dish. Top with Biscuit Topping and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until topping is nice and browned. To serve: dish out biscuit and turn over, then spoon filling over the top of the biscuit.

Biscuit Topping
1/2 cup sweet (glutinous) rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1-1/4 cups buttermilk (more if needed)

 Mix together rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, cornstarch, baking powder, xanthan gum, and garlic salt. Mix in small pieces of butter with a pastry knife. Mix in cheese. Pour buttermilk into mixture and stir until well mixed. Mixture will be thinner than regular biscuit batter. Spoon on top of the Turkey Casserole and bake as directed.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bringing Joy With Gluten-free Baked Chicken Nuggets

Don't you love the gratifying experience of cooking something for your friends and family that they simply gush over? Perhaps it was a new recipe, and you worried over whether or not everyone was going to enjoy it. But enjoy it they did. It's one of my favorite experiences, and I think it it's because I feel I am spreading a little bit of joy.

Something even better happened to me the other day, and it is my favorite part of having written a gluten-free cookbook. A friend of mine to whom I had gifted a copy of our book stopped me to say, "I tried that baked chicken nugget recipe the other day, and my kids loved it! I was so happy! And I felt good that it wasn't fried!"

And this woman has seven children, five of whom still live with her.

It's in moments like these when I feel like the hard work I've done helped someone. Someone who has to cook gluten-free because her youngest son has a wheat allergy was helped in a small way because of me. That makes me feel great!

In the world today ruled by the self-esteem mentality, the best way to feel good about yourself is helping someone else! I love it!

Here's the recipe if you'd like to give them a try:

“Oven-fried” Chicken Nuggets

2-1/2 to 3 cups Rice Chex® or other unsweetened, gluten-free cereal
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
Cooking spray

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into nugget-sized pieces Salt and pepper to taste
Onion powder
3 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup white rice flour

Prepare the Rice Chex by crushing the cereal in a blender on low or in a food processor. Pour crushed cereal into a bowl or gallon-sized plastic bag. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto the crumbs and mix well.
Before cooking, place a wire rack inside a large baking pan. Spray the rack with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Generously salt and pepper the chicken and drizzle with olive oil. Sprin- kle with onion powder, if desired. Place rice cereal into a medium-sized bowl. Break eggs into a small bowl and beat well. Dredge chicken in rice flour, then eggs, then roll in crushed cereal. Place chicken on top of the rack placed on the large baking pan.
Bake for 10 minutes on one side, turn all pieces over, and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes more or until chicken is completely done and coating is nicely browned. Serves 4.

NOTE: I don't actually drag out a blender or food processor to do this. I keep a box of checks for this purpose, and I roll over the whole bag (that is inside the box) with a roller and use what I need and save the rest - or you could crush it with your hands. Easy to do with less to clean up!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gluten-free Cheesecake Trial 1: Excellent!

Look at this beautiful cheesecake made gluten-free by Deberah. Isn't she amazing! We shared this cake without or football friends and family at our game this past Saturday, and it was a HUGE hit! The crust was excellent; the cake was decadent. Deberah is still working on the recipe because the top of the cake "cracked" a bit, which is more about appearance - but it is one of her cheesecake pet peeves. We will share when we get it just right. And by "we," I mean "my mother, Deberah."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gluten-free Sloppy Joes Makes for Excellent Tailgating!

I know sloppy joes are such a "kid" meal, but I'm not ashamed to admit I love them as much as my kids - even though I always get that Adam Sandler song stuck in my head every time someone says, "Sloppy joe."

This Saturday past, we had a great football game, and a great tailgate with these sloppy joes made with Udi's gluten-free buns, which are the go-to brand when we don't have time to make our own. We also had a veggie tray, fruit, soft drinks, and water. Not to mention my mom's new gluten-free cheesecake. I will share more about it tomorrow!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gluten-free For Me: Getting in a healthy breakfast

I often skip breakfast. I never used to, but I get up earlier than everybody else to get everyone to school on time, and still we are rushing to get out the door. Now, I work at home so it's not like I can't just fix something after I do the "morning rounds." But often I grab something quick (i.e. not the healthiest choice). It's a busy life we live, so I decided to try to do something for me while I'm getting everything together for everyone else.

I love a green smoothie filled with fruits, veggies, and flax seeds. It makes my body happy. But it it takes time to get out the ingredients, wash them, and cut them up (with the right blender you don't have to do much cutting, but I prefer not to eat the apple cores and the like) - time I don't have in the morning.

So last week during my evening preparation for lunch the next day I decided to make sure I had a little something for myself.

I put my kale, cut up apple and carrot, some flax seed and coconut oil in a container the night before and place it in the fridge. In the morning, all the major prep is done. I dump it in the blender with part of the banana, a tiny bit of stevia, and some protein powder (I use a natural brand that is made with good stuff - do your research), poor in a little almond milk, and let the blender do its work.

Even if I don't get to it before I leave, I can make it quickly when I get back and have it while working on a blog post!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Gluten-free Chex Oatmeal

Have you tried this yet? Usually I make my own quick and easy breakfasts using plain quick oats adding in the "extras" myself. But when I came across this gluten-free option half off at publix this weekend, I decided to give it a try. Eli enjoyed it for breakfast, and I enjoyed the price. I bet you could even find a coupon or two to pair with it!

I also love that there are just five ingredients in this product and not a single one is a preservative!

Added to the fact that this non-morning person likes the words "quick and easy" first thing in the morning, I would definitely recommend it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I love this little vegetable. When I was a kid, I only liked them because they looked like tiny cabbages, but now I love them for their flavor. 

Usually I stir fry them in olive oil with a little onion and sea salt, but recently I saw  the following status posted on Facebook by my cousin, "Lemme tell you - If you've never had roasted brussel sprouts, you're doing brussel sprouts a disservice."

He had me at "roasted."

I love roasted veggies!! Maybe it's for the wonderful taste, or maybe it's because all you have to do is stick them in the oven (or maybe it's a combination of taste *and* laziness), but it's my favorite way to cook them.

His instructions were, "cut then in half, then toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 until they blacken."

As you can see, I went with partially blackened because I was worried the kiddos would be put off by them if they were too dark (hey, when your two-year-old eats brussel sprouts, you do what you must not to put him off).

I needn't have bothered. We all stood around the pan picking out the blackest ones. So wait till they all look like this one:


Monday, September 22, 2014

Delight Gluten-free Magazine Sept/Oct

I love opening the mailbox to find something fun! Don't you? A couple days ago, I opened it to find my new issue of Delight gluten-free magazine.  This issue is full of fall recipes and Haloween treat recipes. Personally, I can't wait to try these cinnamon rolls!

Can you believe it is this time of year again?! I love the great fun this time of year brings, and I can't wait to dive into the fun and beautiful goodies.

See any recipes you might like?

Last, my favorite section. I call it the "is there any point in trying to use these recipes for my multiple allergy child" section. You know who you are and (if you are one of those) what I mean. 

Go get yours today!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gluten-free Tailgating: Taco Salads and More

One of my favorite things about fall is tailgating. The excited atmosphere of a crowd gathered to cheer on its favorite team is the perfect pairing to fun, delicious foods. In order to do something a little different - and maybe a little healthier - my mom came up with the idea of individual taco salad cups. It was a big hit!

They turned out quite pretty in clear, plastic cups with their layers topped with tomatoes and a sprig of cilantro.

We layered brown rice flavored with taco seasoning, black beans, chopped green leaf lettuce, chopped scallions, chopped red pepper, grilled chicken cut into small cubes, shredded cheese (use Daiya cheese to make this dairy-free as well), and the garnish mentioned above.

We also added plenty of sides to add-on. Tortilla chips, chopped avocado, guacamole, chopped jalapenos, salsa, and sour cream.

We also had a corn relish with black beans, onions, and peppers of which I didn't manage a picture (I was quite remiss in my picture-taking. I blame it on pre-game jitters). 

Then for desert we had S'mores bars, and you can find the recipe here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Gluten-free, Allergy-free Supplements

Looking for a supplement for you kids (or yourself), but worried about what hidden allergies it might contain? The Our Kids Supplement and Vitamin Retailer website at is the site you need.

Each product description tells you not only what ingredients it contains, but also the ones it does not! For example:

And it has a bunch of supplements and companies from which to choose. One shipment makes things easy!

This site has been a "goldmine" for my son, Noah, who has various nutrients in need of supplementation, but also has multiple allergies and dietary needs which makes it nearly impossible to find vitamins he can actually take. I cannot tell you how grateful I was when Noah's pediatrician told me about it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to school: Allergy-free Apple Nachos

Eli wanted to make a gluten-free recipe he found for Apple Nachos, but he wanted to do it in a way that was safe for his brother, Noah, who is allergic to peanuts. It was pretty simple.

We sliced up some apples and strawberries, added a bit of agave nectar (you could use honey) to a couple tablespoons Sunbutter and drizzled the mixture over the fruit. We added a dollop of vanilla yogurt and topped it with crushed cashews (although we would have used shredded coconut had there been any in the house).

He loved it, and it made a great after-school snack!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pear Preserves

This pear tree stands at my grandmother's house. I don't know how old it is, but it is older than I am (I am thirty-somethingorother). It holds many fond memories from my childhood. Among many other things this tree has been used as a jungle gym, has shaded a princess during high tea, and has even hidden a secret agent or two. I get nostalgic just looking at this picture.

Now-a-days, I love this tree for something more. There are beautiful flowering pear trees that don't produce fruit, and next to this tree seem fairly pointless to me. This tree is huge and produces an enormous amount of pears. My father is regularly at his mother's house grabbing what pears he can reach and the ones that fall helpfully to the ground. What do we with all those pears?

 We make pear preserves,

pear syrup (you've never lived 'till you've had this stuff on pancakes),

and (for my Noah) pear sauce.

[Pear Preserves on GF Toast]

And then we spend the rest of the year enjoying them!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Immaculate Baking Company Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've had this cookie mix sitting on the shelf for a while, and I was glad for an opportunity to try them out. I made the chocolate chocolate chip cookies over the summer, and we enjoyed them, so I had high expectations that weren't disappointed.

The additional ingredients are butter, an egg, and vanilla. I like that it also gave instructions for oil - I've been caught low on butter before - and it makes them gluten-free and dairy-free.

I had to use my hand to get the ingredients well-blended. Butter is that way sometimes. But over all this was easy to do and I would recommend this product for a nice treat.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Easy Slow-cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Why make it in the slow-cooker? It doesn't *exactly* save time. And, let's face it, it isn't a long process to make spaghetti - even if you make your own marinara. So why bother?

Well, as for time, you can do all the prep the night before - brown the meat, add the pre-made sauce, or add the tomatoes and spices - and put it in the fridge to be put in the slow-cooker the night before. It takes the same amount of time technically, but when I only have to prepare the noodles and a quick salad, it saves me time when I need it.

Another reason is for the taste. Cooking marinara all day long enhances the flavor of those wonderful spices, and by the time you serve it up the flavor is divine.

I'm not a huge fan of ground meat, but cooking your meat in the sauce all day means that not only does your meat soak up all that wonderful flavor, but it also is very tender by the time you serve it up in for dinner.

I've been buying cheap sauce for a while now, but I am going back to making my own because it only takes a few extra minutes and it saves me a few bucks. Buy organic canned tomatoes on sale and it still saves you money. Gotta love spending less on organic than non-organic.

Lastly, I have read that the more you cook tomatoes, the more lycopene they produce (look it up to learn more about this fabulous nutrient). Most veggies (and fruits, if you want to get technical) are the opposite. Thank you, tomatoes!

So here is my quick and easy spaghetti sauce recipe:

Easy Slow-Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound ground turkey, pork, or beef (actually, most any ground meat will work - pick your favorite. I used turkey), crumbled and browned.
1 29 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 heaping tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons minced onion (dried)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Brown your meat and drain fat. In your slow-cooker insert, add the tomatoes and spices, then stir. Stir in the meat. Put the insert in the slow-cooker and turn on low 6-8 hours.

Perfect amounts aren't overly important in this recipe. You can add other spices if you like, or use a favorite Italian seasoning. Using fresh garlic, onions (or shallots), basil, and oregano is great if you have the time. Oh, and many people like a tablespoon or two of sugar (and if you do, I suggest brown sugar).

I use Tinkyada brown rice noodles, spirals so it is easy for my two-year-old to eat, and I cook them a few minutes longer than instructed. It's one of the reasons I like these noodles. You can cook them a little longer, making them softer, and they don't fall apart.

One of these days I'm going to pin my bestie (who just so happens to be of Italian descent) down to make an actual recipe for her "gravy" as she calls it - marinara to us - and share her recipe with the world. It's what we are all going to eat in Heaven, anyway. Until then, this recipe will suffice - at least my kids say so.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gluten-free Banana Oat Muffins - An accidental recipe improvement

These muffins are a family favorite, and I have been making them for years. I didn't feel there was any need to improve this recipe because it was already so tasty, but accidents happen, and sometimes they happen for the better.

This happened a few weeks ago when I was cooking in a hurry and I was out of canola oil. The hurry part caused me to grab a half-tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, and being out of canola oil meant that I had to use coconut oil instead.

I've heard for a while now how coconut oil is thought to be really good for you, but often times I don't use it in a recipe because it solidifies and I don't have the time to warm it (i.e. don't feel like warming it). I solved that problem by keeping some in a small ceramic container that I can stick in the microwave for a few seconds. Also, if you have a warmer spot in your kitchen, keep your jar of oil there.

Now these muffins, with coconut oil and an extra teaspoon of baking powder, have a better texture and taste than ever. They do not have a coconut flavor, however the oil seems to add to the fluffy texture, which is also aided by the extra baking powder.

So here is my new recipe:

Banana Oat Muffins

2 1/4 cups gluten-free oat flour
1 tablespoon tapioca starch/flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons coconut oil (I like it warmed to liquid form)
2 tablespoons agave nectar (honey or maple syrup will work as well).
2 mashed bananas
1 cup apple juice (milk or a milk substitute would do, but the apple juice makes it sweeter)

Preheat your oven to 350. Whisk the oat flour, tapioca starch, and baking powder together with a wire whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until dry ingredients are wet. Divide equally into 24 muffin cups of a small muffin pan, or the 12 cups in a normal-sized muffin pan. I prefer these in smaller muffins. Bake 12 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch.

I strongly recommend you turn your muffins on their sides to cool, otherwise the bottoms and sides are wet and gooey when you get them out.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Slow-Cooker Hashbrown Casserole

My family loves breakfast casseroles. However, it is a special treat that I only do once in a while (and lets face it - mostly just Christmas morning) because who wants to get up and put together the dish, then cook it for an hour before everyone gets up? Even if you put it together the night before, you still have that issue of getting up an hour before everyone else. Have you noticed the trend of me not getting up any earlier than absolutely necessary???

Yesterday afternoon I put together our favorite breakfast casserole in the slow cooker and put it in the fridge. Before bed, I stuck it in the slow-cooker, set it to cook for about six and a half hours to be finished about the time I get out of bed (yes, I DO get up a half hour before the boys on school mornings. I said I don't LIKE to). Anywho...

I had some very happy and well-fed boys when they left for school/work this morning. And that made me feel good.

Here's the step-by-step:
Layer in your hash browns.

Then the sausage crumbles. My family likes the hot variety.

Whisk the milk, eggs, and corn starch.

Pour over the top and allow to cook on low for 6-7 hours. Notice that I don't put my cheese on until the morning - it tends to over-brown too long in the slow-cooker.

Get out of bed, sprinkle on your cheese (it will melt quickly), and serve to your happy kids.

I am really excited about being able to make this special meal on a school morning - especially on those pesky testing days when they really need a little something extra. Another thing that I really loved about making this? I froze four serving in baggies to be served one morning when it is most needed.

So, this is the recipe:

Slow-Cooker Hashbrown Casserole
1 28 oz bag frozen hash browns (be sure they are gluten-free - we used Alexia with garlic and salt)
1 lb sausage crumbled and browned (also check the ingredients - not all are gluten-free)
1 3/4 cups almond milk (or milk)
6 eggs
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

Layer in the frozen hash browns into your slow-cooker, then spread the sausage crumbles on top. Whisk together the milk, eggs, and corn starch. Pour over the hash browns and sausage. Cook on low over night 6-7 hours. Sprinkle on cheese and allow to melt before serving.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Great Gluten-free Giveaway!

Good morning gluten-free readers! I've got exciting news for you. It is a gluten-free giveaway over at The Puzzled Palate Blog by our good friend Carly. She is giving away loads of stuff from make-up to skin care to gift cards. And best of all (of course) is that she is including a copy of our cookbook!

Click here to see all the great products for yourself and sign yourself up!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back to School: I Will Survive - And A Veggie Suggestion

Tonight I've had an epiphany, and it is this: I am going to live through this gluten-free back-to-school thing. It didn't feel that way last week, but tonight after football practice, getting together dinners, snacks, tomorrow's lunches, cleaning up from supper, doing things I need to do for Noah, helping with homework, picking kids up from school, cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, running errands, getting hair cuts, and NOT getting any proofreading or writing done (who has time for *actual* work?!), I have taken a deep breath and realized that, "Yes! I can do this!"

Am I the only parent who wasn't ready for school to start? I mean, I had all the bags and crayons and paper and pencils and batteries (hey - I have a special needs kid, the teachers ask for some stuff that seems a bit "out there" to you folks with "normal" lives). But my husband went away (i.e. started a new football season) the same week we started getting up early, going to school, and having practices of our own. And who gets up early the week before to prepare?! Let's do all the suffering at once, people!

But it could have been worse - I could have chosen last week to give up coffee (I plan that big event for the year 2074). Let's face it. I would not be writing about how I was going to survive had that been the case.

So in the big hurry that is my wonderful life (and yours), I decided that from now on, all vegetables will be roasted in the oven (so let it be written, so let it be done). It's easy. You cut up an onion (look up the proper and faster way on youtube), you cut up squash (3 or 4 big, yellow ones) into big, easy chunks. You put it into a casserole dish with olive oil (that healthy, extra virgin variety) and sea salt. And you bake it in the oven at 350 or 400 depending on how soon you will need to be at practice/lessons/church/whateveritisyoudo. It is delicious.

One squash for a small pan, four big ones for a larger one. It really doesn't matter as long as it feeds your tribe.

Serve it outside next to your tomato plants. Because it's pretty.

My nine and two-year-old eat this like it is candy. My two-year-old, when offered this along with spaghetti, ate the squash first while yelling, "Supermom!"

At least, that's the way I remember it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gluten-free Time Crunch: Making Mixes

Remember my crazy rant the other day about how doing a bunch of gluten-free meals on top of everything else was going to kill me? As I sit here typing that sentence I find a little part of my brain mimicking in a not-so-nice way the old saying "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger." I'm human - not the best of my kind, but not the worst either. Anywho...

I'm still working on making this whole life-style thing a little easier, and it just so happened that on Saturday I decided to make my family (who were begging for them) some brownies. Now there are some good gluten-free brownie mixes out there, but I ain't gonna lie. My brownies are scrumptious. (You can click for a link to the recipe).

But I wanted to see how much longer it would make to put together two sets of dry ingredients instead of just one. That way, when I'm running around crazy getting ready for that fun event in which I volunteered to make brownies the day after one of those crazy-writing-running around-keeping children alive-football practice days, I have a baggie full of my own (less than half the price and better-tasting) brownie mix.

Y'all! Since I'm already getting all the ingredients and measuring cups anyway, it took me less that five minutes extra! And I mean "less than."

 Now, I still have to add the eggs, oil, water, and vanilla, but I've saved myself a few minutes anyway. 

I poured the mixed dry ingredients in a baggie. Voila! 
I didn't plan a time to take an extra three hours (who has that?!) to make a bunch of mixes. I took the time I was already doing it anyway. So, I'm going to do this with other things.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to School: Easy Snack Mix Recipe

Crunch, salty, savory. Yummy! 
Want to give your kids this combination, but want it not to be fried? Here is your recipe. This is another one of those "hide it so you don't eat it" recipes. And it is easy!! No cooking - no baking. If you can stir and/or shake, this recipe is for you! We did put cashews in the mix for a little protein, but feel free to leave it out if needs be. It won't make much of a difference.

Easy Snack Mix Recipe

7 cups Rice Chex
5 cups Glutinos Pretzels (approximately 8 ounces)
1 6-1/2 ounce box Van's Say Cheese Crackers
1 6-1/2 ounce package (2 cups) roasted and unsalted cashews (optional)
1-1/2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1-ounce package Hidden Valley Salad and Seasoning Mix (The list of ingredients must say gluten-free, since all Hidden Valley products are not gluten-free).

In a large lidded plastic container, place the first four ingredients. Sprinkle on 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil and gently toss ingredients to cover with oil. Sprinkle the package of Hidden Valley over the snack mix in the bowl a little at a time and toss until all is well-covered. Allow flavors to blend overnight before serving. Store in a cool, dry place.

So that's it. Pour it in, gently stir. Serve it up!

Serve it with fruit as an after school snack!

And remember that panicked post about all I was doing was making gluten-free lunches? Well, here's my first tip: immediately bag this yumminess into individual portions (or bag half of it and eat the rest... I mean... save it for those snacks mentioned above). Grab a bag to stick into the lunch bag.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back to School is official!

Look at those happy first day of school smiles. Never mind that I had to drag Eli out of bed and Noah gave me a complete refusal to eat any breakfast whatsoever. They were happy about going to school and had a great first day. And an even better second day (getting up was better and Noah ate his breakfast).

Evidently, Noah spent his entire second day of school laughing at the slightest provocation. His laughter had his teachers (there are four in his classroom) laughing so hard that at one point one of them had to excuse herself to keep from wetting her pants. I'm guessing that means he is happy to be back at school. That makes this mama's heart happy.

But (there had to be a but, right?!) being "back-to-school" is about to kill me. Perhaps I should say, being "back-to-school" AND having gluten-free and allergy-free kids, one of them with special needs, and the other one playing football is about to kill me. I spend hours, literal hours, every day preparing food (I'm so sick of preparing food that I had chips and salsa for breakfast).

I spent the entire evening planning and preparing supper for that night and Noah and Eli's lunches the next day. I get a load of laundry thrown in, give a few kisses, and check a little homework. We get home from practice for more food, baths, and bed. Then I have to do the dishes.

I married a wonderful man, who happens to be a college football coach and might as well be out of town the next several weeks because his job currently consists of a little thing called, "Summer Camp."

Last night I fell into bed fully clothed. Dare I admit that I took my boys to school in those clothes?

And now, I am done complaining. I want to work on ways to make this whole "gluten-free meals" thing a little easier. I want to have a little bit of time to breath. So this is going to be my focus for a while, and I'll be sharing a post or two along the way about what I am doing to make this easier.

What are things that you do that make it a little easier? Please share!!