Friday, November 30, 2012

Gluten Free Quick Tip: Perdue Gluten Free Chicken Tenders

Best chicken strips ever.

And guess what….

There are 21 strips in the bag!

Yep. 21 deliciously breaded gluten free chicken strips in one bag!

And nope. You do not have to drive to Whole Paycheck I can’t get out of there without spending $100 Whole Foods.

Target, people. Harris Teeter. Walmart. And tons of other grocers near you.

My amazing MIL cooked these up for us last night. After a LOOOONG day at school spent struggling between trying to study and checking my phone for Miles updates, I was ready for comfort food!

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Crispy. Juicy. Flavorful. AND Gluten Free.

I asked my MIL and FIL to be honest. Were they are good as I thought they were or was it just my gluten free taste buds?

Nope. It wasn’t just me. They agreed that these chicken strips are down right tasty! MIL said she would buy them again, hands down.

MIL found these at Harris Teeter, but to find a location near you go here and click Where to Buy.

What about you? Have your tried these?

ALSO Miles is one day old!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear Baby Miles–Today is Your Birthday

Dear Baby Miles,

Today is your birthday!

I was hoping you could wait until next week so that I could meet you face to face, but you just couldn’t wait!

I know your Mommy and Daddy and Sister are glad you decided to come today. We’ve been asking them to have you for a long time.

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You’re going to be a November baby – which is very lucky. We don’t have any other family birthdays in November that I can think of which makes you even more special than you already are.

Your Mommy loves the fall and so your house will always be festive in November. Your Sister’s birthday is in October. So the two of you will have even more fun celebrating so close together.

Speaking of your Sister, you are one lucky little boy.

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Your big Sister is going to take good care of you; she’ll definitely show you the ropes at home. She loves to draw and read and sing – So you will always have someone to play with.

Your Mommy is my best friend and sister, and I couldn’t think of a better Mommy for you to have.

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She is kind and funny and most importantly patient – she will love you unconditionally.

And so will your Daddy. He is also kind and funny and patient but he’s also very handy.

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He is going to be the best Dad.

PLUS you are now part of a pretty amazing family. There are lots of us but being a part of a big family is fun!

You have two funny aunts on your Mommy’s side (me and Susan) and an uncle (Bud) and you have an aunt on your Daddy’s side – We all love you so much already. And don’t forget your Uncle Parrish - He will let you get away with anything!

AND your cousins! You have the funnest cousins.

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They are sweet and funny just like their Mommy Susan. They love Ella and play with her when we all get to visit. They already love you too.

And you have grandparents on both sides, great aunts, and great uncles – they will all spoil you.

And me, well I will hold you for hours and hours and kiss the top of your sweet little head. I will count all your fingers and toes and whisper secrets in your ear. I will hide behind my hands and make you laugh. I will tell you all about puppies. I will pretend to take your nose. I will do anything you need or want me to do – I am your aunt. It’s what I was born to do!

I am so glad you are here Baby Miles and I can’t wait to meet you and tell you the story of how I wished for you every night. And prayed for you to grow healthy and strong.

I love you-

Aunt Sissie

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gluten Free Quick Tip: Gluten Free Meatballs

I am buckling down on school work this week. With only one full week of classes left I can definitely say: IT IS CRUNCH TIME!

But last night my amazing MIL made Gluten Free Risotto with Chicken Meatballs and it was so DANG good I had to share!

The risotto was my beloved Lundberg. LOVE. I may have mentioned that risotto a few times…

But the meatballs were new to me:

Amazing!

Al Fresco Tomato & Basil Chicken Meatballs

These meatballs were tender and juicy with so much flavor! And you know how some meatballs have…gristle…yeah, vomit BUT not these! There were no bad bits! Not. A. One.

They were great with the risotto but you could also make them in a red sauce too.

AND if you were feeling really adventurous, you could pick up some Schar Gluten Free Baguettes and make mini meatball subs! I’m just sayin’. Yum. That would be good!

Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Positively…Finished

You’re finished with holiday eating aren’t you?

No? Yes.

Maybe you polished off half a gluten free pumpkin pie over the weekend…

or maybe you ate your weight in open-faced gluten free turkey sandwiches…

toasted gluten free bread with smoked turkey and cranberry/scallion cream cheese open faced sandwiches to be exact.

or maybe you’re just finished with holiday eating because one day was enough for you to get glutened. <<<<  I hope that is not the case!!

I mention all of the above partly because I am so STUFFED I can’t stand it, and partly because I wanted to let you know that you won’t be seeing any holiday recipe posts on this blog until December 1st.

That’s right. I’m pulling a Nordstroms and giving myself time to recover from one holiday before I start celebrating another. My tummy needs it.

BUT you do still have time to sign up to participate in the Blogger Secret Santa!

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Click here for all the details!

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And you still have time to share your opinion on Gluten Free Eating and Fad Diets in a Quick Survey found HERE.

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Happy Monday!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Bigger Your Fork…

Did you stuff yourself with gluten free stuffing?

Did you pig out on gluten free pies – cram in the cranberry sauce – tackle that turkey like a champ?

I did!

Thanks to my amazing family, I was able to eat EVERY SINGLE dish except one. And friends, that made my options BOUNTIFUL!

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Even gluten free Baked Macaroni and Cheese! BIL joked that we should have just called it Sidesgiving because we were overloaded with side dishes! And yet the star of the show was still the MEAT!

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BIL smoked a turkey and it was incredible. I had been looking forward to the above masterpiece for weeks!! BIL knows meats. Period. And smoking the turkey after it’s been brined for 24 hours creates the most flavorful – moist meat.

I’ll say it: it’s better than bacon.

The only problem I had was with the size of my plate…and my stomach! Too small.

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Spilling over the edges a bit…no biggie.

So yes. Even though we had all those delicious sides, to me the STAR of the SHOW was still the turkey!

What about you? What was your favorite dish?

AND did you brave Black Friday?

OH and if you’re looking for something to do with those leftovers, might I suggest:

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Gluten Free Brie Sliders with Turkey and Cranberry! So good Smile

Monday, November 19, 2012

How to Stay Gluten Free on Thanksgiving AND Recipes

So how do you stay gluten free this Thanksgiving when the cooking is out of your hands? Eesh! It seems a little daunting, no? But hopefully with a little support and preparation, you can enjoy Thanksgiving without worrying about gluten coming to get you!

Help Me, Help You: If you’re spending the holiday with close family and friends, then help them create their gluten free menu. Let your family know the ingredients that are safe for you. Provide a list with gluten free cooking stocks or better yet, give the cook a few boxes. Give them the gluten free bread for the stuffing. Whatever you can do to inform and help will make it easier on everyone.

The Early Bird..: gets the ingredients! Show up early. Help in the kitchen. That way you’ll know what ingredients are in what items, and you can even help substitute to keep it gluten free.

Get Cooking!: Offer to make a side item or dessert. That way you’re helping lighten the load and ensuring you can eat that offering!

Show up Packing: When all else fails, make your own gluten free version of items you’re unsure of. Order a few inch thick slices of Boar’s Head turkey from your local grocer.

Stick to Veggies: Mashed Potatoes are cool without the gravy. Greens and such should be cool. Cranberry Sauce? Check!

But most of all, don’t forget: it’s not about the food. Make new traditions for Thanksgiving that don’t involve stuffing and gravy. Create healthy habits that will be good for you and your family!

Still looking for gluten free recipes to help you celebrate?

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Blogger Secret Santa 2012

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Last year was my first year hosting a Blogger Secret Santa and it was so much fun! So much fun in fact, that I’ve decided to host it a second year!

Here’s how it works.

To participate, you simply email me with your shipping info and any dietary restrictions.

After the sign ups have closed, I will randomly pair folks together and send each of you the shipping info for your Secret Santa gift.

Each gift needs to range anywhere from $20 to $25 total and can (or not) be food related.

For example, this is what I received last year from my AMAZING Secret Santa:

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And I loved all of it!

I still use that mug nearly everyday Smile

Basically, there are no real rules as to what you can give – just have fun with it! And then you will get a fun surprise gift in return. I mean, who doesn’t love surprises!? AND getting fun mail?!!

Want to join?

Simply email me with your shipping info by Monday, December 3rd. I will email out the pairings on Tuesday, giving everyone plenty of time to shop and ship to their Secret Santa recipient!

Only open to US blog readers – (Sorry International friends!!)

Have a blog?

Share the Secret Santa with your readers! The  more participants – the more fun!


Check back later this afternoon for some tips

to stay gluten free this Thanksgiving!

And some recipes Smile

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gluten Free Savory Cornbread Stuffing

Do you say stuffing or dressing?

I realize that to truly call something “stuffing” then you should have…stuffed it somewhere, like in a turkey. Ingredients wise, they’re both the same. But stuffing is stuffed and dressing is served on the side.

But to me – it’s all stuffing.

For the past few years I’ve made Gluten Free Brie and Artichoke Stuffing. I hadn’t looked to change it up because it is slap your leg delicious. But change can be good. So this year I asked GHM facebook friends what they wanted a recipe for, and there were lots of votes for a Cornbread Stuffing.

Cornbread? I’m Southern y’all. Cornbread? Done.

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serves 10-12

You’ll need:

  • 10 cups stale gluten free cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix)
  • 1 large onion, diced small and even 
  • 3 pieces of celery, diced small and even 
  • 1 pkg. chicken sausage, casing removed, chopped into bite size chunks (I used Alfresco Chicken Apple Sausage) 
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (nut free? No problem – omit!)
  • 8 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves pulled off and finely chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 to 4 cups gluten free chicken stock
  • salt to taste
  • extra-virgin olive oil

Cook your cornbread before the day you’re making the stuffing. I made the Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread the night before, cubed it that night, and then left the bowl sitting out all night to stale. I covered the top of the bowl with loose fitting plastic wrap, making sure that it was exposed to air in a few areas.

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If you didn’t cube it before, when you’re ready to make your stuffing: cube the cornbread and set aside the 10 cups in a large mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat a large sauté pan with extra virgin olive oil, add in onions and celery. Be sure that when you prep these veggies that you dice them evenly so that they will cook evenly. 

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Sauté over medium heat. Cook until the onion and celery becomes soft and aromatic.

Add in the chicken sausage

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and cook until the sausage begins to brown. Stir in the garlic; sauté for 2 minutes.

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Finally, add in the walnuts, sage and rosemary and cook for another minute to allow the flavors to meld. Stir well to combine thoroughly and then remove from heat.

In the large bowl holding your cornbread cubes, add in the cranberries and the sausage mixture. Add in 3 cups of the gluten free chicken stock  and combine with your hands until the bread is very moist. If the mixture is actually wet (you want a lot of moisture) then add in the last cup of chicken stock. Make sure it’s combined well and then spread into an oven proof pan.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the top is browned and crispy.

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So good! The rosemary and sage really read through and the I loved the crispy topping. The cranberries balance out the sausage perfectly and I loved the crunch from the walnuts!

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Love it!

I made half batch to try out the recipe and Parrish and I killed it! It was a super dreary day here in NC and this stuffing really hit the spot.

So – Stuffing or dressing?

And if you have a recipe you love – share it in the comments!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Are Bananas Gluten Free–An Investigation

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Bananas and gluten?

Well..not quite. But…sort of.

A few weeks ago, the lovely Thierry shared her gluten free story with all of us, and for many of you her issues with bananas rang true. And so she and I did some research

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and what we found is actually pretty interesting!

  • So do bananas contain gluten?

No.

  • Can a person with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance have issues with bananas?

YES!! Definitely. And Thierry and I found two possible explanations.

The first explanation is what I call

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Here’s Thierry with more info:

Bananas contain a protein called lectin, which is also found in many of the “night shade” foods that some people with Celiac or gluten intolerance have trouble with. Lectin is somewhat similar to gluten and can create an autoimmune response. This is due to the body confusing lectin with gluten.  Some researchers even speculate that gluten sensitivity is actually a lectin allergy that was previously unknown. I also found that many of the foods, including bananas, have been processed with GMOs which can contain lectin and can cause gluten-like symptoms.

The second explanation is what I call

bi2

Again, here’s Thierry with more info:

Bananas also contain a protein called chitinase that requires a specific enzyme to break down once it has been consumed. If this protein is not broken down it can cause severe abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal discomfort. Often if someone with Celiac Disease is not healed, meaning that their intestinal system is not in tact due to ingesting gluten, the enzyme needed to break down the protein can be lost. 

In addition to the gastrointestinal symptoms some people experience flushing of skin, headaches, heart palpitations, rash on the skin, and numbness or tingling of the mouth. These symptoms can occur as quickly as moments after consuming food that contains lectin or chitinase or as much as a few hours. Just like lectin, chitinase can also trigger an autoimmune response, because the body sometimes mistakes it for a pathogen.

 


So there you have it! There are two possible reasons that bananas could give you issues. I personally have no trouble with bananas BUT I did receive a ton of emails from readers who do have trouble with this particular fruit. And just because I never have, doesn’t mean I never could.

What about you? Bananas: yes or no?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

EASY Gluten Free Asian Noodle Bowl

Yep.

There is something about a noodle bowl.

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Not a pasta noodle bowl (although I love that too) but an Asian inspired noodle bowl. No matter my appetite or cravings, I’m pretty much always up for a noodle bowl.

AND they are SUPER easy to make. For me, the vegetables can change but there are two basic ingredients I always use:

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San-J Gluten Free Sweet & Tangy Sauce and Annie Chun’s Maifun Brown Rice Noodles

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For this bowl: melt 1 tbsp. of Organic Butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add in the sliced mushroom and cook slowly so that the mushrooms brown. Once the mushrooms crisped on the edges, add in 1 cup chopped kale and turn the heat down to medium low. Continue to sauté until the kale wilts and then pour on 2-3 tbsp. of the sweet & tangy sauce. Stir well and let the flavors meld over low heat.

While you’re doing all the above, bring water to a boil. Add in the amount of Maifun for your bowl and in 4 minutes it’s finished!

Using a fork, lift the noodles into your sauteed veggies with sauce. Using your fork pull the noodles apart while stirring well. Feel free to add more sauce at this point if you want a stronger flavor but taste your noodles first!

That’s it! In less than 30 minutes and you will have yourself a delicious, satisfying, comforting noodle bowl!

Try it with your own favorite veggies and let me know how it turns out - I’m always looking for new veggie combos!

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Thank you guys so much for your sweet comments and emails. Parrish and I both appreciate your support so much! It definitely makes this all feel easier.

AND since I’m administering his IV antibiotics three times a day, I’m pretty much just like Meredith Grey. I’m just sayin’.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It’s ALL about Perspective…and Optimism…AND..

Being a grown up is hard.

For those of you already grown up I know you’re shaking your head in agreement. For those of you who don’t feel like a grown up yet – don’t do it!!

For years I can remember wishing and wishing to be older. As a kid my two sisters were given the luxury of playing in our attic (if you had seen our attic you would not think this was a luxury or necessarily safe for that matter) but to me it was. I would want to go play with them so badly but me and twinsies usually weren’t allowed. We needed to “wait until we were older.”

If you’ve been following this blog for long, then you know that 2012 has NOT been the ‘Year of the Ravellis’. Unless having your “Year” means that everything goes wrong. I’m lucky that God makes me optimistic and that I have an optimistic partner. Otherwise we would be screwed.

As it turns out, being grown up is hard and isn’t always as fun as playing in the attic.

But as I woke up this morning at 6:30am to get Parrish’s IV supplies ready for the 7:00am infusion, I realized that not only was I happy – I was downright giddy. I am so happy to have my hubby home and on  the mend. Even more, I am so excited that I do NOT have to drive to DUKE!

It’s all about perspective – which is what being gluten free is all about too. Perspective. And Optimism. And eating gluten free of course! But keeping perspective and remaining optimistic WHILE eating gluten free isn’t always that easy. BUT it can be done.

So this morning I am currently enjoying a giant bowl of…

my current favorite breakfast: Creamy Cheesy Grits with Crisp Baked Bacon!

I’m also multi-tasking some school work assignments for the week. And you know what I couldn’t be happier about it!!

…and this giant cup of coffee doesn’t hurt either! Winking smile

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I’ve Been In Duke Hospital since Thursday…

So….Parrish has been in the hospital since Thursday.

I know what you’re thinking: “What?!?!” Well at least I hope that’s what you’re thinking because it is definitely been what I’ve thought several times a day for the past five.

I left school on Thursday a little early to head home because I myself hadn’t been feeling well. I had a tight feeling in my chest, which often happens when I’m stressed (hello school work) but when I woke up Thursday the feeling was now a burning sensation as well.

I made it to the doctor by 1:30 and by 2:45 I was walking out with my diagnosis of pleurisy and a prescription for an anti-inflammatory. I called Parrish and he asked me to wait to get it filled. He was at the doctor getting fluid drawn out of his knee and he was going to have a prescription as well.

See, since his ACL reconstructive surgery a month ago, his swelling just would not go down. Particularly a pocket above the knee cap. He iced. He elevated. But to no avail. By the beginning of the week last week, it was becoming harder and harder for him to walk and his knee was becoming tighter and tighter. So he pressured his doctor to see him on Thursday (they didn’t want to see him until Nov. 13th) and draw the fluid out.

When he got home Thursday afternoon around 3:30 he said the procedure went well and he showed me how much better he could walk. He said there was some blood and thicker fluid towards the end of the procedure but the doctor said they would send it off for testing just to be sure it wasn’t infected. I grabbed his prescription and headed to Target.

When I got home from Target an hour later he told me that his surgeon had just called and we needed to head over to the Emergency Room at Duke to have an emergency surgery. His knee was infected and they needed to “clean it out” right away.

The waiting room at 3 in the morning…VIP style.

WHAT?!

The next few days are a blur of waiting rooms, doctors, more waiting rooms, giant recliners I’ve slept in, and nurses coming in and out. Bad coffee, good coffee, and Chobani yogurt. Parking decks, $6.00 parking fees, and homeless guys asking me for money. Fruit, fruit, and more fruit. PLUS frantic emails sent to my professors explaining the situation.

But the surgeon said his surgery went well. The infection has not spread into his blood, it is just in the bone of the joint. But we still have to be very diligent to keep the infection from spreading and possibly eating away at the joint, his new ACL, or even his knee cap.

Life is unpredictable – that is for sure.

But we are hopeful that Parrish will be released today. He’s going to be on antibiotics for another 6 weeks, so he was given a more permanent IV (PICC line) in his arm to administer the antibiotics at home.

Max and Hazel are definitely crossing their paws that this is the case. They forsee a wealth of treats in the coming week to practice sitting instead of jumping up on their Dad.

And it should be said that the gluten free options at Duke are NONEXISTENT. So this gluten free girl has been living on:

Almonds and Apricots KIND bars are pretty much the best. It’s a little sweet with the yogurt BUT it’s still amazing.

Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter slathered on bananas.

Chobani Pineapple yogurt – my new favorite flavor!

Sweet Potato chips dipped in wilted spinach mixed with plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese.

And I have to admit that I kind of love living off snacks. I’ve always been a very snacky person, although I wouldn’t turn down a giant bowl of PF Changs gluten free Singapore Street Noodles either!

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Have a great day! We are fingers crossed for discharge today. And fingers and toes crossed that we can learn how to administer IV antibiotics correctly!