Thursday, December 01, 2016

Now, switching gears again.

For a long time we were doing home improvements, using the visitors as an excuse to get a bunch of things done around the house and now that's all done.  I still have some cleaning I need to do in my bedroom, the master bathroom and the laundry room and I plan to do that, but now there's not as much of a sense of a deadline to get it done.  So, we are doing some other things; starting to think about maybe getting ready for Christmas, filling out college and scholarship applications and sending ACT test scores, singing in the choir for the Christmas cantata, a Christmas bazaar this weekend, Christmas shopping with my old homeschool group, a Christmas party with my new homeschool group, a board game day and the thing I seem to do most, putting the dogs in and out and in and out and in and out.  I keep busy.

Speaking of our dogs, my daughter painted this picture of Cosmo at her art class.

I may also have gotten a job last night, part time.  A company called me to transcribe documents for them and they are going to give me a chance.  Hopefully that will go well.  I am proud that my husband can support us without me working, but I need something to do and we need money for the extras and the unexpected (vacations and vet bills, basically).  So we'll see how that goes.

As I fill out the college applications, I am sitting here worrying how my son's dysgraphia will affect him at college.  I hope that he will be able to get accommodations.  I probably need to take him to get him tested to verify his dysgraphia so he'll have something official.  This extra year between high school and college makes this whole process easier, giving me time to get all of this done.  I'm thankful he stayed home this year for that reason and also because if his going away to college had happened 2 months after my mom passed away, I just don't think I could have taken it.  ;-/


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thankful.

Thanksgiving sandwich.   Yes, it does have a moist maker.  :-)
We had a great Thanksgiving. Our oldest son,, his girlfriend and her parents came Wednesday night and left this morning.  while they were here, we had 2 Thanksgiving meals and lots of leftovers, played a bunch of games and got to know each other a bit.   It was great.   We had so much fun and shared so many good times, it was hard to pack it all into just a couple of days.   Everyone was tired, but it was like vacation, you get exhausted but you feel like it is worth it.  



My family camped out in the living room last night due to my daughter's bedroom being used by my son's girlfriend, my youngest son having to share with my oldest son and not being able to sleep in the new again bunk bed with someone else moving around and making the bed squeak and my husband needed to sleep in the recliner because he had fallen and bruised his ribs.  

Dinner the first night was at a completely gluten free restaurant, Wheatless in Bowling Green, Ky.  

Sweet potato pie.   Yum.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Painted rug.


I got a 40 something dollar rug from Walmart in a pecan color and used some Waverly stencils  (not exactly this one, I can't find it on Amazon) in different colors with acrylic.  I'm not sure if it needs a few more circles or not, but I don't have time to do it before our visitors arrive.  I'm a little hopeful that as we set the couch edge on the rug and time passes, it will lay down better.  :-/    I think it looks better stenciled than plain, but I'm not sure I like the rug in general.  Still, you can't beat 40 something dollars for an 8 x 10 area rug.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bathroom reveal.

Our bathroom is painted and has a new shower curtain.  Originally when we moved in our whole house was builder's flat white paint and I was pregnant with the youngest when we moved and was very soon afterwards put on bed rest and then I had 3 kids aged 5 and under and then when the baby was 10 months old my husband lost his job and we couldn't afford very many home improvements.  At some point, I used some leftover lavender paint from my daughter's room and gave the bathroom a coat of paint.  Then later, I stenciled some words on it;  hope, love, etc.   Then a couple of years ago when my son brought home 2 friends for spring break, one of them put up signs underneath my words that made it say things like love hurts and hope floats.  I thought it was funny and left them up.  But finally, I had enough.  We went to Lowe's and got some paint.  It's a little bit more green than we thought it was going to be, but I like it.  The shower curtain just made it, in my opinion.  So here it is, our less than 40 dollar bathroom makeover.











It needs the bath mat smoothed out a little and the hamper has a lot of laundry in it, but I don't feel great today, so this picture will have to do.  :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Happy Gluten Free Thanksgiving.

I first went gluten free 7 years ago this November, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving.  By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I was already feeling so much better and there was no way I wanted to eat gluten, even to celebrate one of my favorite holidays.  I have been experimenting with recipes since then and these are some of the best I've found.

Turkey:
The main dish, the turkey.  Isn't that already gluten free you ask?   Not necessarily, which is weird.  Some of the prebasted turkeys will have wheat products in them.  Read the label.  Also, if you are not the one cooking the turkey, ask questions about how it is prepared, whether it is basted, has gravy  etc.  I found out last year that my mom-in-law puts "a little bit of flour" in the cooking bag to keep the bag from sticking to the turkey.  (She's recently stopped doing that, thank goodness.)  

Stuffing.
I have really been experimenting with stuffing this year.  I love stuffing, but to me, it means a simple cornbread sage stuffing.   Here's the recipe I use.
1 package Pamela's cornbread mix, baked and crumbled, NOT putting sugar in it as directed.
1 large stalk celery, chopped.
1 small or 1/2 of a large onion.
3 tablespoons poultry seasoning or sage.
A sprinkle of onion salt.
1 cup chicken broth or broth from your turkey.

Crumble cornbread and mix all ingredients together, press in a 13 x 9 pan and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  It doesn't need to cook, exactly, just kind of toast and blend the flavors.
You can take your grandma's recipe and adapt it to use a gluten free bread or cornbread.

Potatoes and other vegetables..
I usually just cook the potatoes and mash them with butter, salt and milk (Lactose free milk and margarine if my oldest son is home).
But if I'm feeling fancy, I might make scalloped potatoes.
Yes, potatoes are naturally gluten free, but the boxed scalloped potatoes contain gluten and most of the cream of something soups contain gluten, so you really have to think before preparing your gluten free food.  

Fortunately, this is easy and wonderful.
8 potatoes sliced thin - you don't have to peel them.
1 can Progresso creamy mushroom soup - which is gluten free.
1  1/2 onion
a few sprinkles (very light) of garlic salt.  Check the label on this, it may contain wheat.
10 slices american cheese or 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. 

Layer in 13 x 9 pan and bake 1 hour at 400 degrees.

Cover with foil. 

Bake at 375°F for approximately 1 hour or until potatoes reach desired texture.
For a crispy top layer, uncover during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.  

Other veggies can be prepared as long as they don't contain any toppings made with wheat products.  Casseroles are notorious for their cracker toppings!  What about some nice corn on the cob? 


Rolls. 
Ingredients:
3/4C pineapple juice
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp plus 1/3C granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, partially melted
1C unseasoned mashed potatoes
4 1/4C all purpose flour
Directions:
In a measuring cup, combine warm water (roughly 115°F), yeast and 1/2 tsp granulated sugar. Allow yeast to proof.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add remaining ingredients. With mixer on low, add yeast mixture. Slowly increasing speed to medium, continuing to mix until ingredients are well combined.
Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm location for 90 minutes or doubled in size.
Prepare a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper or lightly greased.
Divide dough into 16 equal portions. Shape into a ball, placing seam side down in prepared pan. Cover and allow rolls to rise for an additional 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Store remaining rolls in an airtight container for up to several days.
Mashed potatoes may be seasoned with butter and cream or milk, omit any other flavorings or seasonings for the purpose of making these rolls.

ADAPTED FROM KING ARTHUR FLOUR

Fudge Pie.

1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup gluten free Bisquick.
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Beat together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, butter or margarine, eggs and vanilla in a medium-size bowl.   Put in pie pan you've sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Allow to cool to room temperature. 



Crustless sweet potato pie.
Sweet potato - cooked without salt 4 cup, cubes
Sugar - Granulated (sucrose), 2 cup
Milk - Nonfat (fat free or skim), 2 cup
Eggs  6 large
Butter - Unsalted, 5 tbsp
Vanilla extract  2 tsp
Cinnamon, 2 tsp
Pumpkin pie spice, 2 tsp
Salt 2 tsp
Pamelas Products - Gluten Free Baking Pancake Mix, 6 tablespoons (Or baking mix of your choice)

Mix with mixer until it is smooth-ish. :-) Pour into 2 pie pans and bake at 350 for 1 hour, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. This pie only has 223 calories per serving, whereas a quick google search tells me that regular sweet potato pie with crust is 300-400 calories a serving. You won't miss the crust, trust me. :-)
 
Caramel apple dip
1 8-ounce package cream cheese-softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
Mix the two together until smooth.
Pour into a pie plate or small baking dish.
Pour a 16-ounce container of caramel dip-found in the produce section-over the cream cheese mixture and spread all over the top.
Top with Heath chips found in the baking aisle.
Refrigerate until serving.



Blackberry Cobbler
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 cups flour (I use Pamela's gluten-free)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 cups blackberries
2 cups boiling water

Cream 1 cup of sugar with the butter; add flour, baking powder, salt, and milk; mix well. Pour into a 12x8x2 baking pan (or an 8-9 inch square pan if you've halved the recipe). Pour blackberries over batter. Sprinkle remaining sugar over berries. Pour boiling water over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.  

Jam Cake

3 large eggs
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup strawberry jam
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups Cup4Cup gf flour
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping sides of bowl to incorporate all.
Add jam and mix again.
In a small bowl, combine the gf flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir well.
Add dry ingredients to egg mixture alternating with the buttermilk.
Beat until batter is smooth.
Pour batter into baking pan, and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool.



Monday, November 14, 2016

Hanging mirrors.

I've wanted these mirrors up for a couple of years.  I thought it would look cool in our living room and draw the eye up .... but now I don't know if I like them or not.  Trying to live with them for a while and see.

 The mess beneath them was going to be moved to the bedroom but is probably not now.  hopefully it will be tamed at least .   :-p

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dressing up a present.

I needed to wrap a slightly irregularly shaped baby gift and I was at the end of the last roll of non-Christmas wrapping paper .   when I finished wrapping it, it did not look good .   I decided to make a little painting to decorate it a little .   I has to look on pinterest for ideas since everything I draw is girly, but I am pleased with the results .

Painting the bathroom.

In her own meticulous way, my daughter is painting the bathroom.  I was going to do it.  I have time now that I'm unemployed, but she knew that I'd just walk in there and start painting with no prep because that's what I do and she couldn't stand that, so she has been coming home from work and working on it every night this week.  Last night she finally got the green paint up there.  We thought we were picking a very subtle, light shade, but it's bright in that small room!  I think I like it.  We'll see how it looks with the shower curtain back up and the pictures on the walls.

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