Friday, January 27, 2012

two little monkey's

Monkey



See,


Monkey 


Do!



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Never thought I could do it.


Guess what!


My daughter is twelve and I can finally French Braid!  

Go me!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pinky swear!

When choosing the color of your first cast...


I suggest you choose a lighter color, so people can sign it.


However, I wouldn't suggest wrestling with your ten year old little brother...


...just in case he accidentally breaks your other pinky, too.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The 'E' Word

I had a mental breakthrough the other day.  Not breakdown...breakthrough.  It was one of those 'ah-ha' moments where I realized that my subconscious is still alive and kicking...and it can affect how I do things...without my approval.  


Butterfield Canyon 10/16/2011 (15 lbs heavier)


A month ago, as I was slowly losing weight and feeling healthier than ever, I made a promise to myself.  I promised that I would start to exercise if I reached a specific weight I hadn't seen in well over three years.  As it so happens, I was just two pounds off from reaching that goal.  I was set on starting this thing called 'exercise' within a few days...you know, if the scale would, uh, cooperate, that is.  


Each morning I would step on the scale and watch it go up or down, but never down more than a few ounces.  I started to become frustrated and wondered if maybe my age was the reason for my plateau.  Regardless, there had to be a logical reason why I couldn't lose that extra pound...right?  


Then it happened.  Light bulb!  Deep within the dark recesses of my brain, I began to see the light.  It wasn't the scale or my age that was the problem.  


It was me.


I've never been much of an active, athletic girl.  I like doing things and being active, but not when it's in the form of 'exercise'.  A leisurely hike in the majestic Utah Mountains, a stroll around the neighborhood on a warm evening, or even speeding around the track in a go-kart.  It's all good and it's fun.  Exercise, however, is not fun.


This morning I woke up and performed the same daily ritual and the scale was two pounds less than yesterday.  I had finally lost that extra pound.  I celebrated and then...


I exercised.


It was a start and that's all I can do.  Start.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Amish Meat Loaf

My Facebook friends have asked me to post my Amish Meatloaf recipe. Of course, I can't take the credit for this scrumptious recipe because I found it in an Amish cookbook several years ago.  I can't remember if it is in Volume I or II and they are both packed away in storage until we move.  If you love Amish cooking, you'll want to buy these two books. They are my favorite, and I have several different Amish cookbooks.  


  
  

Amish Meat Loaf

Ingredients 
2 pound uncooked lean ground beef (I use 93/7 usually)
3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal (Gluten-Free if needed)
2 large egg(s)
1 cup 2% reduced fat milk
1/4 cup onion(s)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sauce:
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
Instructions:
Beat eggs; add milk to the oatmeal and let sit for 5 minutes.  In large bowl, add ground beef, eggs, onions, salt and pepper; mix well.  Add oatmeal w/ milk to the ground beef and mix well.  Place into loaf pan. Bake 350* for 45 minutes. Cover with sauce and bake additional 15 minutes. 

I usually double my recipe to feed our large family and to have leftovers.  Our family does not eat many leftovers, but we don't waste a morsal here.  So yummy!!!  The next day, if you have leftover meatloaf, make a grilled meatloaf sandwich on your favorite bread....Gluten-Free if you're like me.  When it's done grilling, add some sliced tomatoes and a piece of lettuce. You can put some mayo on it, but really you don't need it. 

*My suggestion* Double your sauce recipe so that you have leftovers. Warm the leftover sauce in the microwave and then drizzle over each slice as it is served. YUM!!  It's also great to have a bit leftover to drizzle on your sandwiches the next day.  :)



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gluten Free Cookie Mix Review

Recently I purchased a box of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cookie Mix after reading several glowing reviews online.  I even watched a YouTube video on how to prepare the boxed mix, just in case there were some secret gluten-free baking tips I needed to know.  Oh, and I even searched for reviews on how to make it better,  because that's just what I do.  



Let me first confess that I was a self-proclaimed "Cookie Snob" until my snobbiness morphed into complete "Baked-Goods Snob".  I can't help it that I'm extremely picky with what baked goods I'll eat. Cookies have to be almost under-baked on the inside with a tiny ring of crisp on the outside.  Brownies need to be fudge-like and of double thickness....not overcooked thin bricks.  That's besides the point...or is it?


Before my body decided to let me know, with a vengeance, that it could no longer tolerate gluten, I was extremely proud of my ability to bake amazingly scrumptious treats.  Other people would ask me for recipes and others would just insist I bake this or that for an upcoming get together.  Banana Bread, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies,  Brownies (a crowd favorite!) and crisps....all wonderfully moist and decadent.  Obviously, I had a talent for baking.  Key Word: had


When I went Gluten-Free on July 16, 2011 I did not bake...I was scared to.  Partly because I didn't know squat about gluten-free baking, but mostly because I was seeing this as an opportunity to change my horrible eating habits.  Being Gluten Intolerant was a wake up call for my health and I needed to manage my weight...quickly.  With this realization, I decided that I was not going to buy "Gluten-Free" processed foods or find substitutes for items I always ate. I stuck to whole foods and in turn, I've lost a little over 20 pounds and I've dropped two full dress sizes.  Hip! Hip! Horray!! 


But I digress, my recipes were tried-n-true.  I had spent countless hours perfecting each one, complete with specific baking times that included one for 29 minutes for my brownies.  Twenty. Nine. Minutes.  Why not just thirty or... twenty-eight and a half?  Because that one extra minute (in my oven) was the difference between ooey-gooey brownies or too dry brownies...once they cooled.  
I baked when I was happy. Sad. Depressed. Angry...and Hungry.  My favorite past-time was taken from me instantly and a new world of eating was plopped right in front of my face.  I couldn't cheat because I would get so nauseous that I was dreaming of ways to induce vomiting.  So, I just didn't bake.  


Until today. 


When I saw the box mix, I started to crave my cookies again.  I had to buy it and, honestly, I figured that if Betty Crocker was endorsing a Gluten-Free Mix, then it would most likely be pretty tasty...at least something I could work with as a base so I wouldn't have to have a dozen different flours in my pantry.


I followed the directions on the back of the box to a "T", very excited to finally have a gooey chocolate chip cookie.  The dough had a "wet sand" texture and when I tasted it, felt sandy in my mouth.  My heart sank for a moment. I had heard about gluten free baking and some of the issues with it, read blogs of famous gluten-free baking bloggers who have perfected the right combo of flours in order to prevent gritty dough, and I've even contemplated purchasing a well-known baking mix online...just so I could start baking again. 

The cookies looked really good when I pulled them out of the oven.  There were twelve soon-to-be-gobbled-up cookies with light tops and golden brown edges.  I waited for just a couple minutes and then scooped them off the sheet and onto a plate.  They were a bit crumbly, but I wasn't going to let that deter me.  Once they cooled enough to handle, I ate one.  I chewed it,  swallowed it and then tried very hard not to cry.  I didn't want to be too harsh a critic.....I mean, I hadn't had a cookie since July.  I really wanted to like this cookie, so I broke a cookie in half and willed myself to like it.  It felt like I had just eaten sand, or a few tablespoons of brown sugar all at once.  I grabbed a napkin and discreetly spit it out.  Then I proceeded to turn off my oven and dump the rest of the cookie mix in the garbage.  My kids seemed to like it, but I think they just miss their mama's cookies.  

So there you go, folks.  This is my review of the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix.  No offense to Betty Crocker....you can't please everyone.  And hey...thanks for saving me from gaining a few extra pounds.  

I do want to try the cake mix though.  Maybe I'll make one of my famous crisps, but use the yellow cake mix as a topping.  There has to be something I like, right?!