We've been working on our farm and trying to get the house ready to move into. The remodel took longer than expected, mostly because we found termite damage when we took down the thirty year old paneling and had to rebuild some walls.
We hope to move out there permanently within the month and are really looking forward to it. Driving back and forth between our houses is very tiresome...not to mention, expensive!
I write about farm life on my other blog. If you're interested, you can click on the link below. Any gardening or animal husbandry tips would be appreciated since this is all new to my husband and me.
I'm trying to stock up on gluten-free foods because there isn't much to choose from in the small east TX towns around our farm. There is one grocery store, Brookshires, in the closest town (I'm used to having a grocery store within five minutes of my house in any direction). I was pleasantly surprised to find that they stock several gluten-free items like Van's gluten-free frozen waffles, various gluten-free cookies (Pamela's and Mi-Del, for example), and some Bob's Red Mill products. Although, they didn't stock the BRM flour that I like to buy, I can probably request it since they already carry the brand.
We plan to raise most of our own food - veggies, meat, dairy - but I'll still have to rely on specialty products for grains. I bought several cases of Chebe and split them up between myself, my daughter, and my son, who has moved out into his own apartment for the first time at age 19. I stocked him up with a load of gluten-free foods in hopes that he'll try his best to remain on the diet without me cooking for him.
What's up with this new blog format? I don't like it at all.
We have a restaurant near us called the [i]Fish City Grill[/i]. I had eaten there a few times when they first opened up a couple of years ago, but they had very little gluten-free items on the menu. My daughter went there yesterday and found that they now have a gluten-free menu. She spoke with one of the "higher ups" in management that was visiting from Chicago who has celiac disease herself and she said they are trying to add more and more gluten-free items. Apparently, it's a chain of restaurants so watch for it in your travels.
I've been super busy and haven't had time to make any new entries lately, but hey, I feel compelled to go for 10,000 hits since I'm so close.
My husband and I have been renovating the house that we bought (on the 36 acres). We've bought our first goat. He's a character - like a pet dog. We also bought a couple of guard donkeys that don't seem to know they are supposed to be guarding. They are both pregnant and due to foal any time. I'm looking forward to the fuzzy little babies.
In the meantime, my son has gotten engaged and I've been planning an engagement party for him for the past couple of weeks. The party is tonight and I have everything ready except for having the meat cooked. He and his fiance wanted a cookout, so that's what we're doing - hamburgers and hotdogs for 35 people. Whew.
Haven't much to say these days. I've been feeling exceptionally well, so I must be doing something right.
We bought 36 acres and are remodeling the house that is on it. We plan to move out there when the major renovation is done and the barn is built. We've decided on a tractor and will be buying it soon. We're going to try to be self-sufficient. The property has a deep water well that supplies the house and all the property with water. We plan to plant a garden as soon as we get the tractor. When we move out there, we'll be getting meat goats and milk goats and some chickens so we'll have fresh eggs. Also plan to get a windmill to generate electricity.
I made this recipe a couple of nights ago and it was wonderful! It's a salmon topped with crab-cake. I got the salmon part of the recipe from the Dallas Morning News. It called for store-bought crab cakes, which of course, have bread in them, so I looked on www.allrecipes.com for a crab cake recipe that I could make myself and tweak to make it gluten-free. It was super easy to make. The recipe said to serve it with a tartar or roumalade sauce and I usually do have to have some kind of sauce with my fish, but this was perfect without a sauce.
1 lb. crabmeat, shredded (I used 1/2 crabmeat, 1/2 thawed, chopped shrimp, which was precooked and frozen)
1 1/2 Tbs. dry bread crumbs (I used Amaranth bread, but any bread would work, plus I used a little more than called for)
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. ground dry mustard
1 dash hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together crabmeat (and shrimp), bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Beat together egg, mayo, hot sauce and mustard. Combine with crab mixture and mix well.
To serve simply as a crab cake, these can be formed into patties, placed on a lightly greased broiler pan or baking sheet and broiled for 10 - 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Or skip the patty and prepare as described below.
4-6 salmon filets
1 lemon half
salt and pepper
crab cake mixture
1 Tbs. melted butter
Preheat oven to 375F. Rinse filets and place on a roasting pan that has been coated with olive oil spray. Squeeze lemon juice over each one, and season with salt and pepper. Spread crab cake mixture generously on each filet. Drizzle with melted butter.
Bake salmon on the upper rack for app. 20 minutes. The tops should be browned, but if not, place filets under the broiler for 30-60 seconds to brown.
the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way...
I got contact lenses.
This has been a difficult couple of years for me, vision-wise. I've always had great vision and didn't have to wear glasses or contacts up until I was about 40 or so. I had to get some reading glasses. Since then, my vision has gotten worse and I've need some correction for my distance vision. At first I tried the no-line bifocals, but I couldn't use those at all. They were horrible! Then I tried the regular bifocals, but I really couldn't adjust to those either. I ended up wearing my reading glasses to read and do things around the house...like cooking and cleaning and wearing the bifocals to watch TV - just looking through the top part. The rest of the time, I just went without and had slightly blurry vision.
I knew the time was coming when I would have to do something. That time was at the renewing of my driver's license. I couldn't pass the eye exam without the bifocals, the top part for the distance vision. So, I bit the bullet and went to the optometrist, telling them ahead of time that I was thinking that I might need contacts. I've always had such a hard time touching my eyes that I really resisted going the contact route. But I thought that maybe I could get contacts for my distance vision and just put my reading glasses on when I needed to read something.
I told the optometrist all my woes and he suggested bifocal contacts. Who knew? I don't know how they work, but he popped them right into my eye and, voila, I could see! It's quite wonderful. I don't have to stop to find my glasses every time I need to read something. But my distance vision was still blurry. In fact, if anything, it was worse than normal and driving was somewhat of a challenge, especially at night. I went back to the doc today for a follow-up and he tried about four different contacts trying to find just the right blend of distance/near vision correction. None of them worked very well. They either made my distance vision blurry or my reading blurry. So he is ordering two other combinations to try. I'm really, really hoping they work because I'm loving this no-glasses life. It's no fun fiddling with the contacts - taking them out, putting them in, cleaning them, etc. but it's something I can adjust to much easier than having poor vision.
There is nothing good about getting old. Nothing.
I'm not having many people for the holidays, so I'm just going to keep it simple and easy. There will be ten of us, so I just bought two turkey breasts rather than a whole turkey. I'll also make mashed potatoes and cornbread dressing. Mom is bringing sweet potatoes. I can't decide whether to just have a tossed salad or make some other green vegetable. For another vegetable dish, I bought the ingredients to make a new recipe called Yellow Velvet. It has kernel corn and yellow squash in a cream sauce. I'm not crazy about squash, but I like it in some dishes so maybe I'll like this one. I'll probably saute some with onions, salt and pepper, too, since that's the way my husband likes it.
For dessert...pumpkin pie, a new chocolate pie recipe, and fudge (a new recipe that I made today that has rum and peppermint flavoring in it).
Since my guests will be here on Monday night, too, I think we'll have grilled steak, herbed rice, asparagus, and Chebe bread. Maybe I'll make up a pot of shrimp and sausage jumbalaya in my new crock pot in case they're here for lunch.
I think I need another dessert and possibly a side dish. Hmmm, maybe black bean salsa and Mom can bring a pecan pie. I'd make my fabulous gluten-free brownies, but I think I'm overdoing the chocolate a bit. Not for me , but maybe for others.
I still have a lot of house cleaning to do and I can't believe I didn't start much earlier. This holiday just crept up on me and I have less time that I thought I did.
Everything is not normal for me. I can't get to the "blogs" page. I can get to my own blog, but when I click on the "blogs" button to read other blogs, I get an error page. This has been going on for at least two days.
My first child has flown the nest. She is moving to Hawaii. I drove with her to California so that she could ship her car from there. Then I flew home by myself. I can't go in her room yet. I know it was past time for her to go, but it still hurts.
I'm home from my California T-giving holiday. I survived.
I'm really bummed, though. I haven't had a cold/sinus infection/flu or anything like that since going on the gluten-free diet almost four years ago. I don't know if it's a coincidence or if it actually has something to do with gluten. Anyway, I was beginning to think I was immune and was never going to have another cold again, which was a thrilling thought. I was feeling somewhat invincible and smug.
So, no cold for almost four years and what happens? I got a cold [i]on the plane [/i]on the way to California and have been sick ever since. I kept myself doped up on Nyquil and Dayquil so I felt like I was in a fog the whole time, which didn't add any enjoyment to my holiday.
Well, Thanksgiving is almost upon us and for the first time in my life I'm dreading it. It's my favorite holiday, one in which I've almost always spent with my parents, brothers and sisters, and their children. For the last 15 +/- years they've all come to my house for the holiday. Our numbers have dwindled somewhat because of children growing up, going to college, getting married and my oldest brother moved to FL so they haven't been able to make the trip the last two years.
My husband's family, his parents, two sisters and their husbands and children have, for the past 2-3 years, rented a house in California and spent the holiday there. They've asked us each time and we've declined because we (or maybe[i] I[/i]) reserve that holiday for [i]my[/i] family.
This year, because of the dwindling numbers and our guilt from neglecting to spend Thanksgiving with my husband's family, we told them we'd go out to California with them. I can't tell you how much I regret agreeing to that.
First of all, I really don't like to fly. It's not like I have a phobia or anything - I [i]will[/i] fly, but only if it's absolutely necessary. I especially don't like or want to fly during the most traveled week of the year, which is Thanksgiving week. I've been hearing on the news that flights are at 90% capacity. We're taking our little dog, Pearlie, and it will be hectic. I do not like hectic. If our flight is delayed, I'll be worrying about her needing to go potty.
Secondly, this will be the last Thanksgiving in which our children will be living at home regularly. Our daughter plans to move to Hawaii this December and our son will be going to a university in the fall of 2008. From now on, they'll just be home to visit rather than "living" here. Also, we're working on a deal to buy a new house with some acreage, so if that goes through, this is the last year in [i]this[/i] house, the one that my children grew up in and the one that we've always had Thanksgiving dinner in. Neither of my children are able to come to California with us because of their work and school schedules. So they'll be here and I'll be there.
Thirdly, I'll be spending my holiday in a strange town, in a strange house, without my pantry full of gluten-free foods, and I'll be the only one in the house with celiac disease. My MIL has celiac disease and she was supposed to be there, but her father in England is very ill and had to go into the hospital, so she is there. She was sort of in charge of the meal and bringing/buying some gluten-free foods for us. I'm going to have my hands full and cannot carry a bunch of food with me while traveling.
How does one cook a T-giving meal in a rented house, much less a gluten-free T-giving meal? When I'm at home, I start cooking a week or two before the holiday. Me and my fellow gluten-free family members lack for nothing. My meal is completely gluten-free and the non celiacs enjoy it as much as the celiacs. We have stuffing/dressing, pies, cakes, cookies, rolls, etc. and we know that it is all safe to eat.
So I thought that since my MIL can't make it, that we'd end up buying a readymade meal from a local restaurant or grocery store. That is a problem in itself because I'd have to quiz the cooks on every ingredient to see what I could eat. But my FIL called and said he'll be doing the grocery shopping to get the turkey, etc. the day before we arrive. That means he is planning on us cooking the dinner there, which means I'll probably be very limited in what I can eat. I'm hoping to find a local store, maybe a Whole Foods, where I can at least buy a gluten-free pumpkin pie.
I'm a homebody. I want to be in my own home for Thanksgiving.
Well, I am happy to report that all of the food I bought at the gluten-free store is good. The Glutino crackers are excellent. They're a cross between a saltine and a Ritz. The bread, made from amaranth flour is pretty decent, too. Not like wheat bread, mind you, but good enough to enjoy. And the Glutino cereal tasted sort of like a mix between Honey Comb and Captain Crunch.
So, I can't remember the name of the bread mix that I saw on-line that prompted me to go to the store, but I need to find out because the fresh-baked loaf from the store costs $10.00. Something about paying that much for a loaf of bread just doesn't seem right. But, I had an egg salad sandwich on [i]untoasted[/i] bread and it was quite yummy. Usually you have to toast the life out of gluten-free bread for it to be anywhere near palatable. Today I had a BLT on toasted bread. Delish.
I'm looking forward to having the crackers with something and maybe even making a cookie with them. A few years ago, pre-diagnosis, my neighbor made some cookies for me that consisted of peanut butter sandwiched between two Ritz crackers and dipped in a chocolate shell. I can't tell you how good those things were. Of course, I haven't had them since then, but this year may be the year!
While browsing the on-line gluten-free store, I came across a site that gave the name and address of a local store that sells a certain bread mix. As an aside, it said that the store has freshly baked gluten-free bread. So today I decided to check it out. The place is called Delicious & Fit (stupid name if you ask me). Anyway, I was a little confused when I walked in because the store front was actually a small restaurant. When I enquired about the products, they directed me to the back of the store which had quite an array of gluten-free products - mixes, ready made, cereals, soups (like cream of chicken/mushroom), pretzels, breads, bagels, etc.
I asked about their freshly baked gluten-free bread and were they careful about keeping their kitchen gluten-free. The woman told me that every single thing in there was gluten-free! They had a lovely menu that I plan on trying one of these days. So, how did I not know about this place after being gluten-free for four years?
Their food was wicked expensive. I bought one box of cereal (a knock off of Honey Nut Cheerios), a bag of pasta, a loaf of freshly baked bread (still warm from the oven), and a box of crackers that resembled Ritz (but probably doesn't taste like it). My total was 24.56. Yikes.
I can't wait to have a sandwich with the bread and am so hoping not to be disappointed.
I'm a big fan of Starbuck's mocha drinks. My favs are toffee nut mocha frappuccino and when it's cold, I like to drink a cafe mocha from time to time. Hmmm, the last two times I had one, I noticed that I got really bad diarrhea within 12 hours of drinking them. I was beginning to wonder if they had gluten...or something that was making me sick...maybe too much lactose? Anyway, I decided to test it. I went for a week without any. All is well. So I had one a few hours ago and am fine so far. Hopefully, it was just a coincidence. I also thought it might have been because I had them on an empty stomach - skipped lunch those days. Today I had lunch first, just in case...