Making a Few Changes

I want to let you know that my blog will be “under construction” for the next several days.  I am working to improve my website so that it will be easier to navigate.  I have also hired a designer to give my blog a new look.  Once my new site goes live, I will still have some work to do, but hopefully that will not take long. 🙂

Thank you for your patience and support!

Happy Mother’s Day

I made this cake in honor of all of my “Super Mom” friends out there for Mother’s Day.  I adore you all, and appreciate your collaboration, friendship and support.

This is Jeanne’s (of Four Chickens) Gluten-Free Tres Leche Cake, that I told you about yesterday.  I made it last night so I would not have to be in the kitchen today.

I had my first slice for breakfast...

and my second slice for lunch...

Then my husband sent me off for a facial and a massage.  I was either so relaxed from getting pampered for a few hours or I was still on some kind of sugar high from the best gluten-free scratch cake I have ever made (thank you, Jeanne!), because I didn’t even realize that I left the salon with my shirt on inside out and backwards. 😀

You know what?  I didn’t even care.

Because I came home to this:

Sam and Luke built an amazing battle scene for me (and I was the “princess” they were fighting over!).  I love having boys. 😉

I hope you all had a very special day with the ones you love.

Flash Mob at The Ohio State University

This is not a “gluten-free” related post (although it does give me an idea, see below), but I just had to share this super cool video of a flash mob dance at The Ohio State University (of which I am a proud alumni!!).  Kim, over at Gluten-Free Is Life emailed this to me this morning and I have watched it about 20 times since, it just makes you want to dance! Go BUCKS! 🙂

So here’s my idea: we should organize a gluten-free flash mob!  Can’t you just see Dr. Fasano, Dr. Ford, Dr. Green, Dr. Guandalini and all the other great celiac disease/gluten-sensitivity experts launching into a flash mob at one of the celiac disease conferences??  Imagine the level of awareness we could generate with that! 😀

Have anything fun planned to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?  Maybe a themed dinner?  I have been lost in “Vitamix- Space,” for the past 24 hours and forgot to plan something, so if you have an idea to share, please do!

If You Are A Parent, Grandparent, Auntie, Uncle, Teacher, Doctor, Friend… PLEASE Watch This

Carrots are Carrots… Right?

I had completely forgotten about an article I had read a few years ago until Mike, the boys and I were watching Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution last night (last week’s episode, as the only “Live” TV we watch anymore are sporting events. I am making a conscious effort to minimize how many ads Sam and Luke are exposed to, and I have to say, the results have been surprising!). Mike was actually the one who remembered the article and after jogging my memory for a minute or two, we both ran to the computer to query the almighty Google.

We found the article, on Scientific American, and I really want to share it with you, especially since I just posted my version of a mama made gluten-free Happy Meal. While I make them on occasion for my celiac son who cannot have a “drive thru” Happy Meal (one bonus for dietary restrictions!), there is apparently something more to this than me simply making GF Chicken Nuggets and Fries and sticking them in the McDonald’s wrapping so Sam feels “normal” among his peers… (the following is taken from the Scientific American article, with my emphasis added):

Take a food item—a couple of carrots, for example—and put one in an unmarked bag. Put the other one in a McDonald’s bag. Then have the little genius taste both and ask which carrot was better. Or save yourself all this trouble by reading the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, in which researchers found that the $10 billion dished out every year in the U.S. by food and beverage companies to market to small children is money well spent. Because 54 percent of preschool kids surveyed preferred the alleged McDonald’s carrot, whereas only 23 percent liked the carrot in plain wrapping better. The effect was magnified when the test food was french fries: 77 percent said McDonald’s-looking potatoes, only 13 percent said the other potatoes, and 10 percent said let’s call the whole thing off.

Wow, now that is some “food for thought!”

So yes, I had to try it… I took some baby carrots and placed a few in a McDonald’s fry sleeve and placed some more on a plain white plate then called the boys over to the table. I simply asked them if they would like a snack, then sat back with my camera and watched!

I was really pleased to see that Luke went straight for the plain plate of carrots! I thought that was surprising considering the Scientific American article, but watch as this little “experiment” unfolds. But first, a little more info:

Luke, is 2 1/2 and gluten-free by default (since we are a gluten-free family). He does not watch live TV so he has not been overly exposed to TV ads that target children. He doesn’t watch much television, but when he does, he loves Word World (PBS) and Jungle Junction (Disney); which he watches on the DVR). Luke is also in preschool and hasn’t discovered “peer pressure yet.”

Sam,  is 6 1/2 and has celiac disease so he cannot have McDonald’s (this experiment is also why I choose NOT to take the risk with McDonald’s french fries… I do not want him to develop a taste for those things). Sam also no longer watches any TV during the school week, unless it is for something special like the basketball championship game. I do let him watch a little bit on the weekends, and he likes Spongebob and iCarly (both on Nickelodeon), as well as Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon Network). Since I only recently started fast forwarding through the commercials, Sam remembers all of the commercials from watching those shows.

Click here for an enlightening article regarding TV ads on PBS, Disney and Nickelodeon.

Sam went straight for the carrots in the McDonald’s packaging. I asked him to try the carrots on the plate too, which he did. I then asked him which carrots tasted better, and guess what he chose and why:

He just pointed and said “M.”

Sam even tried to convince Luke that the “McDonald’s carrots” are better and that he should eat those instead!!

Don’t fall for it Luke, stand strong!

Whoa. Talk about a punch in the gut.

I cannot help but wonder if I start to change how I assemble our homemade Happy Meals and instead of using gluten-free “clones” of the McDonald’s food, but rather carrot sticks instead of the fries and cut-up grilled chicken instead of “baked” chicken nuggets (that were probably originally fried anyway, before being flash-frozen and placed in the box)… if other parents might see our healthier version and get a seed planted into their head. Isn’t that how real change happens? 😉

Now that I think of it, I did the cut-up grilled chicken thing last week when we were at Chick-Fil-A after Sam’s T-Ball game, and the boys didn’t give it a second thought:

Have you ever had Chick-Fil-A’s Chargrilled Chicken Breast?? YUMMY!

And FRUIT!

Now that is a GREAT “toy!”

To be fair, I am not trying to pick on McDonald’s, because it is not just McDonald’s, they all do it. Processed food manufacturers do it too.

I will even go a step further and point the finger at someone else… me.

A couple of months ago, we started getting a weekly CSA box delivered to our door each week with fresh, organic produce. It has been a lot of fun for us to try new foods that I would normally not buy at the store because it just wouldn’t have occurred to me. One week, there were “really” real carrots in the box, ya know, the kind you have to peel and trim the tops off of?

Sam and Luke didn’t know what they were, LOL! I didn’t even realize that the baby carrots I usually buy, to save time in the kitchen, look NOTHING like a real carrot!!

Cool video… worth watching

I just saw this video on another blog and I found it to be inspiring and it really made me think.

Any thoughts?

Sometimes You Beat the Gluten, Sometimes the Gluten Beats You

I think I have finally recovered from my GF Pretzel Rod Adventure from last week. Well, at least enough to post a few funny photos!

So why did I even bother, you ask?  Well, that is a very good question!

For Sam’s Friday Fun Snack last week, we needed a gluten-free version of these:

But the only pre-packaged gluten-free pretzel stick available are these:

NOT EVEN CLOSE to the size I needed! Maybe if Sam were pocket-sized…

Now, We LOVE Glutino’s GF pretzels (for GF moms-to-be… they are a GREAT replacement for Saltines to help with morning sickness!), both the little sticks and the twists.  They are a staple in our house and even in our car (well, in our car until yesterday when I had my minivan detailed and I discovered a large mound of pretzel twists underneath Luke’s car seat…(how???).  I have once again vowed that food is banned from the car F.O.R.E.V.E.R.!  Which might last a week, and my kids know it!).  Anyway, I haven’t had a pretzel rod in years and I am not quite sure my boys have ever even had one, at least not Luke.  No big deal, a pretzel is a pretzel until you need to make a “magic wand” in your Kindergarten cooking class!

OYE!

The “pretzel rod” is a MAJOR component in a “Magic Wand,” which is essentially one of these:

I was mortified when I got Sam’s Friday Fun Snack recipe a couple of weeks ago.  How in the heck was I going to make a GF Pretzel Rod??!  I’ve never even made a soft pretzel, let alone a hard, crunchy pretzel!  I started pouring over pretzel recipes online and landed on a few to try out, using my Better Batter Gluten Free Flour.  If any gluten-free flour blend could pull this off, it had to be Better Batter!

Yeah, not so much.  Not sure if it was because of the Better Batter though… I am definitely considering “operator error” as a major contributing factor! 😉

The first batch of dough I made was a real pickle to shape into an 8 – 9″ stick… and even when I achieved the desired length, it hardly resembled s Snyder’s Pretzel Rod!

So unless I could figure out how to shrink Sam like Alice in Wonderland, I had to figure this one out on my own!

Exhibit A:

My lumpy and bumpy 4″ uncooked pretzel stick…

Exhibit B:

It was a %#*&!@ to stretch it out a few more inches!

Exhibit C:

Once I got it to stretch (Exhibit B), I could then roll it, to smooth it out.  But it was obviously still “homemade” looking (this is my issue at hand right now with Sam, he is anti-homemade!)

So, I had to dig deep for some inspiration.

I turned to my role model that I have had since learning how to cook gluten-free:

Sometimes, you have to think “outside the box” in gluten-free cooking; so I decided to go off the Swedish Chef’s “innovation” for making donuts!  I went digging through Sam and Luke’s GF play-dough box!  😀

Disclaimer: The following Play-Doh toy has NEVER been contaminated with “glutonium.”  Santa brought the Play-Doh toys after having removed the gluten-containing Play-Doh! 😉  I still ran it through the dishwasher several times (ick…)

Know what that is?  It is one of these, LOL!:

Oh yes, I did.  I REALLY need some therapy.

The pretzels were pretty good fresh out of the oven but they WERE NOT crunchy pretzel rods! They reminded me of the hot pretzel bites from the movie theater, the kind you dip in nacho cheese.

Anyhoo, by the next morning, they were like a lead balloon with zero crunch. I sent them in with Sam anyway, at least he wasn’t going to have a teeny tiny “magic wand!”  That would not have been good for his male ego. 😉

I also sent Sam in with his own chocolate in a Crock-Pot “Little Dipper,” and some GF sprinkles.

You can find these chocolate melting wafers at Chocoley.com

I love my label maker…

but I hate pretzel rods. 😀

I hope everyone has a GREAT Monday, hopefully you can start it off with a little laugh…