Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gardening Journal: Week of July 26th, 2011

As a refresher, this is what they looked like last time I spoke to you.

This is what the Zucchini/Squash plants look like now.
Still no fruit.  :-(  I was told its too hot to pollinate.

One of the original plants we put in the ground.  See how small.
A lesson in good composted soil.

Not quite the barrel full we had last year, but still fun.

Poor little Cilantro.  
I waited so long to get a good plant in 
only for the squash to hog up all the space.

Sweet Potatoes are now planted in the potato bed.
Last year tomatoes were in this bed which is probably why 
our Yukon Golds did not grow so much.  
We'll see how this goes.

Peppers have been invaded by horned tomato worm.  
Odd they have not touched the tomatoes.  
Still lots of peppers on there tho.

These Jalapenos are growing after we harvested a HUGE bowl full
just two days earlier.  This is the year of the pepper.

Messy overgrown tomato plants
Next year I'd like to keep it two plants per bed.
and a climbing fence like the climbing vine bed.

So neat how long they hold on considering their weight.

Crop Dusting victimizing our Cucumbers

I will be linking this post to:
Wordful Wednesday parenting by dummies
Wordless Wednesday @ 5 minutes for mom
Wordless Wednesday @ Proverbs 31 Mommy


Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Week of July 25th, 2011

I made radical changes in my life this week and signed myself up for College at 41 years old.  I will need this menu plan now more than ever.  My kids start back to school August 15th so I have school lunches on my mind too.  I am going to try real hard to force my son to be a GF lunch packer too.  We have worked out a lot of minor issues of his over the summer just by taking away the gluten.  I feel he must be intolerant.

I did not do any baking last week so no Cheese Batter Bread, no Pizza and no desserts.  What did we have for dinner on Friday I can honestly not recall.  LOL.  Saturday/Sunday we went boating and a friend had us over for fried turkey.  It was delicious!  Fettucini Alfredo was served for dinner on Saturday.

Oven Roasted Chicken, brown rice and veggies

Pork Cutlets, Mac and cheese, veggies.  I am going to use my chicken cutlet recipe only with thinly sliced  port loin pieces.

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Gluten Free Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni

Pizza.  This time I fully intend to make pizza.

Water Park Day, eating out.

TBD,  I like leaving one day blank to accommodate the unknown factor.  Otherwise there is always leftovers or quick fixes.

For other great dinner ideas visit OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday linky roundup. Print

Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Week of July 18, 2011

We, the kids and I, gave my husband a charcoal grill for his birthday this weekend.  We have me grilling like mad every since.  :-D.  Saturday was grilled hotdogs for lunch and grilled steak and shrimp for dinner.  Sunday was grilled Hamburgers for lunch and grilled pork chops for dinner.  We would probably continue to grill each day except I had decided to eat from the pantry this week.

Digging out whats left of the Gnocchi and cooking them up.  I'll top them with the frozen Bolognese I also found in the deep freezer.

Breaded chicken cutlets today.

Can you believe that I found frozen whole tomatoes in the deep freeze?  From LAST YEAR?  LOL.  I'm going to toss those in the crock pot and cook them down into Spaghetti Sauce.  It will be tomorrow's dinner though.  Today I think we will have grilling withdrawal by now.  Lets have grilled Hotdogs and baked beans.  Corn Spoon Bread would also be an awesome idea.

Using that cooked up spaghetti sauce and adding meatballs into the crock pot in the morning.  Spaghetti, meatballs and maybe Cheese Batter Bread.

Pizza.  A few new varieties today.

Fettucini Alfredo with Mushrooms and Broccoli.  My favorite way to serve this dish.

TBD Print

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gluten Free Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip

Gluten free or not, this dish is AWESOME!  Please don't let the orange color of this dip change your mind.  It tastes just like buffalo wings.  I actually never even tried it before this attempt.  I had a friend post that she was making some to bring to a BBQ and I figured hey why not bring this to my church shindig?  Now it ranks right up there with Velveeta dip.  I like to enjoy this with Celery to get that veggie in and plus, celery is what we like to have with buffalo wings.  I also served it with Fritos scoops and Tostitos corn chips scoops.  I used Ranch dressing but I bet Blue Cheese dressing would be an awesome change.  Wishbone Blue Cheese Dressing is Gluten Free.

2 (10 ounce) cans of Chicken
2 (8 ounce) packs of Cream Cheese
3/4 cup Franks RedHot Wings Sauce
1 cup Wishbone Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 bunch Celery

  • Drain canned chicken and place in sauce pan.
  • Add RedHot Sauce and cook on medium-low heat while mashing chicken with the back of a fork.
  • Add cream cheese and still until throughly blended and completely melted.
  • Add ranch dressing and mix until completely blended.
  • Add the cheese and place into a small crock pot.  
  • Place on low to melt cheese and then warm to keep as long as you need it.

Why do I cook it first?  Doesn't that defeat the purpose of a crock pot? Well I was not sure that placing it all directly into a crock pot would adequately melt the cream cheese.  Plus I wanted a chance to fully shred the chicken.  Go ahead and place it all directly in the crock pot.  Just make sure you keep stirring it occasionally and cook it for a few hours (probably 4).  Oh and canned chicken, gross I know.  But when you are in a hurry and don't have any in the freezer go ahead and give it a try.  I promise it will not taste like tuna.

This dip of course is not MY original creation.  To make it gluten free, you have to use the named product bands.  Always double check because sometimes the ingredients change.  Here are some other great versions of this dip:

  1. Frank's RedHot Recipe of Buffalo Chicken Dip
  2. Crock Pot Lady's version of this dip made Gluten Free
  3. Food.com's recipe submitted by BW

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gardening Journal: July 12, 2011

Well......all of the honey dew mellon vines are dead now.  We have no idea why or what went wrong.  None of the other vines seem to be sickly.  I can't see any sort of bug infestation. I mean, there are bugs.  There are always bugs.  I just don't see any signs that this was the cause.  Just odd.  One rather large Honey Dew Mellon hangs from the dying vine.  All of the other vines are doing well.

We did some planting this week.  The purchased Sweet Potato plants went in the potato raised bed.  If we had the forethought, we would have made our own sweet potato plants and rooted them.  Head on over to Home Joys and see how she does it.   We also planted a Rosemary bush and a Cilantro plant (my two favorite herbs).  The Zucchini from last week is doing awesome. The yellow squash does not look quite as well as the zucchini though.  Oh how I hope it pulls though.  We harvested our first bunch of Red Tomatoes just today in fact. Jalapeno's are being harvested by the bushel full.  My husband continues to work on and improve the soaker hoses.  The tomatoes are growing all over the place in a sloppy mess.  Next year the hubs declares that we will grow them on something similar to the climbing beds.

Horned Worm?  Found it on the Bell Peppers!
It is now a bug experiment for the kids.

This is only a few of the massive amounts of Jalapeno's being harvested.
Jalapeno's anyone?

Finally, RED ToMaToEs!! 

I LOVE my cucumbers!

Newly planted bed.  
Bottom Right Cilantro
Bottom Left: Yellow Squash
Middle: Zucchini
Top Left: Rosemary

Newly planted Sweet Potatoes

Behold, the only Honey Dew

Funny how this watermelon has grew enough to sit it's 
little tooshie down on the ground now.
See the new one just to the right?

I will be linking this post to:
Wordful Wednesday parenting by dummies
Wordless Wednesday @ 5 minutes for mom
Wordless Wednesday @ Proverbs 31 Mommy


Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Week of July 11, 2011

Gluten Free Rice Krispies have made it to our town.  Yay!  We are so excited!!! I never made the last three items on my menu from last week.  Sunday was church lunch and birthday party dinner.  I love my little town and the lady who went out of her way to accommodate my special allergy kid.  :-D  We had an impromptu date on Friday night too.  Always nice and very rare for our household.  My brother came home with Dinner Saturday.  I may assign Saturday's his day to cook every week!!!  You reading that brother?!?!?!?!

Sirloin Steaks, Baked Potatoes and Broccoli.  NO real recipe here, just marinade and grill.

Barbecue Country Style Ribs, Gluten Free Rice a Roni and Corn on the Cob.  We just grill our CS Ribs till they are almost done, brush on the marinade and caramelize for 10 minutes.
Home Made Gluten Free Cheeseburger Macaroni, Pecan Pie for Dessert! They had Pecan Pie at church pot luck and I had pie envy.  MUST. HAVE. PIE.  ;-)
Cheese Enchiladas, Refried Beans, Home Made Mexican Rice.  I am eternally in pursuit of a copycat recipe for Amy's Cheese Enchiladas.  If you have one, please share!!!

Friday (Hubby's Birthday):
Taco Pizza, Cheese Pizza.  Birthday Cake.  If you have not tried my Gluten Free Pizza Crust recipe yet, you really should.

Braised Pork Chops, Wild Rice, Broccoli

Spaghetti, Meatballs and Cheese Batter Bread

For other great dinner ideas visit OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday linky roundup. Print

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gluten Free French Toast

This is the first time since going Gluten Free that I even attempted making French Toast.  The thought of eating French Toast never crossed my mind.  I grew up eating French Toast, yet it never crossed my mind.  I have two young kids, yet it still never crossed my mind.  My Celiac daughter really has grown up not having that "relationship" with bread that most folks grow up having.  I think this is a Celiac thing but I also happen to think its a "good" thing.  She is the kid who folks stare at eating her veggies in shock.  The "Salad Eater" is what my family lovingly calls her and we like it like that.

BUT....I left the bread out on the counter.  Was it destined to suffer a life of bread crumbs?  What my dear friend does is make french toast with her going stale bread.  She has said it enough to me to have it a connection in my brain.  You know what, this Bread Recipe of mine works excellent for French Toast.  It does not fall apart, it is not crumbly, it does not get too mushy.  It HOLDS UP to the egg soak. Yay.

6 slices My Bread Recipe
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Valnilla
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Honey

  • Turn your fry pan on medium high heat and add a pat of butter to melt.
  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl wide enough to accommodate your bread slices.
  • Mix well.
  • Soak each slice in egg mixture making sure each side soaks up some of the egg mixture.
  • Fry in your heated frying pan for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  • Serve with some fresh syrup. 
  • Yummy

Equal Exchange Coffee Review

Recently I was asked to review Equal Exchange coffee.  While I am not a huge coffee fan, I absolutely NEED it to help me get along in the morning!  I was immediately interested in this coffee after reseach lead me to the following:
"Created by a genius in Philadelphia, this secret recipe delivers a sweet, sultry and smooth coffee with an unexpected bite and lasting finish. A smorgasbord of roasts in a combination of Latin American beans so fine it will make your heart pound. Feel the love!"

  • Aroma: toffee, molasses, pipe tobacco, cocoa, cinnamon, brown sugar
  • Flavor: complex, chocolate, brownies, chocolate covered strawberries, vanilla, winey
  • Mouthfeel: velvety, fudgy, ganache
  • Acidity: pronounced
  • Aftertaste: chocolate, bitter

Have I told you yet that it is Organic?  Love that.  I tried Love Buzz and French Roast.  This is STRONG coffee.  I am accustomed to a milder breakfast blend type of coffee such as Dunkin Donuts coffee.  My husband loves strong coffee. REAL coffee.  This coffee is what real coffee drinkers would consider really good coffee.

About Equal Exchange:
  • Fair Trade & Organic (100% fair trade, not just a small token amount)
  • Direct from small farmers
  • Available in packaged and bulk 5lb bags
  • Available directly from Equal Exchange at shop.equalexchange.com or via natural foods stores throughout the country.
  • First company to do fair trade coffee in the United States.
  • Works to help farmers improve their quality of product and life through direct relationships, training, (in USA and their countries) pre-harvest financing and fair prices for their goods.
  • Equal Exchange coffees are grown organically and with care to protect the environment.
  • Equal Exchange is a democratically run worker cooperative. One share, one vote for each employee.
  • Recent Media Coverage: http://www.equalexchange.coop/in-the-media/

Try it, you will like it!  Feel free to check out Mambo Sprouts and grab this awesome $1.25 off coupon for Equal Exchange Coffee!

Disclaimer: Mambo Sprouts and Equal Exchange provided me with the product to try and review.  Print

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gardening Journal: July 5th, 2011

So we were cleaning out the dead wasteland of wilted vines from the climbing beds and feeling really sad and sorry for ourselves. For a moment I had to walk away, we had such high hopes. Suddenly, we noticed it.  A CUCUMBER!  Hidden in among the watermelons.  Yay, I had thought they all died.  Mostly the loss was Honey Dew Melon vines but there is still one that survived.  Yay!  I'm not feeling quite so bad after all.

Using mostly garden picked items, this week we enjoyed Parsley Potatoes from our potato harvest, Purple Cabbage Cole Slaw from all those purple cabbages, and Greek Salad from onions, grape tomatoes and that cucumber.  All we needed to add was feta and olives.  Jalapeno's are getting ready so I see Salsa in our future.  There are TONS of tomatoes on the vines but right now only the grape tomatoes are getting red.

This week we will start Celery, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Lettuce in the nursery to be planted end of Summer.    Lucky for us, we have seed pods from the Broccoli that bolted.  ;-D  We also have plans of re-planting some potatoes.

In case you were wondering what happened to our Cauliflower, we messed up.  Apparently we were supposed to fold in the leaves or something like that?  Anyway, I was only half listening when hubs told me.  I'm sure he will do better next time!  :-)

Harvested those Bell Peppers
Hubs wanted to tie up the plant so they had to be removed.
I sliced most of them and put them in the freezer for stir fry.

Put in new watering soaker hoses.  
Part of the problem is that the old hose had a leak
and not all plants were getting watered properly.

New Zucchini.  I'm a die hard, I know it.  LOL

New Yellow Squash plant.
Both are planted in the old onion bed now 
instead of directly in the ground.

I wish a photo could show you just how man of these 
Jalapeno's are on this bush.  TONS of them. 

The very large empty space on the climbing trellis
as a result of removing the dead vines.  

A cucumber!  Those leaves are watermelon plant leaves
which is why we could not immediately see it.  
Yay!  Im so happy to have cucumbers still.

I will be linking this post to:
Wordful Wednesday parenting by dummies
Wordless Wednesday @ 5 minutes for mom
Wordless Wednesday @ Proverbs 31 Mommy
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