Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Sunday Blessing...

on Saturday night.

Auburn 20, Florida 17.

Take that, Urban Meyer. Chomp Chomp!

Much love and War Damn Eagle!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Taking a leek

Ah, the humble leek. It is a beautiful vegetable. Smooth. Slender.

And more than just vichysoisse. MUCH much more.

Until I saw the movie "Sophie's Choice" in 1984, I didn't know much more than that about leeks, but I was captivated by the vegetable when I heard Kevin Kline explaining the leek's nutritive powers to Meryl Streep. They are the food of the Gods, of Emperors, and of smart people who love a mild, onion and garlic taste.

Living in Germany in the fall and winter, I could find leeks at the local market in bunches from local farmers. I tried them with a recipe from The Joy of Cooking -- and I love them that way, just sauteed alone, in butter.

A discussion came up on the CD Website Thursday that prompted me to post there two of my favorite leek recipes. One is a for a rich leek and cauliflower soup -- surprisingly low in fat and calories, but smooth and velvety. It is the only iteration of cauliflower my ex ever would eat. (Me, I love it all kinds of ways.)

The second is for a Polenta Tart, a recipe Mary (my Daddy's Significant Other) prepares for us. She sweetly made it for me a few weeks back, and I enjoy it very much.

Both recipes are surprisingly easy -- and the centerpiece of both is the lovely leek. Make sure you slit them open to the light green, washing thoroughly. They're grown in sand and need thorough cleaning. And DON'T cook the green part -- it's dangerous.

I so envy Fern -- she has garden fresh leeks to experiment with. It's not fall enough here to have any really fresh ones. But they sell them at Kroger. Buy a bunch, and try these. They're delish.

From the 1996 New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas

Leek Polenta Tart TNT

2 t. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c, leeks diced
1/2 red onion chopped
(You can omit onion and make that 1 cup of leeks. Or put in one cup of each. It won't hurt at all. It is good that way, too.)

One quart veggie broth (I'm not a vegetarian, so I use chicken broth with equal success).
1 t. butter
1 c. ground yellow corn meal (GF)
1.5 oz fresh goat cheese
1 oz. smoked gouda cheese, diced in small cubes
1 oz. grated parmesan cheese

Saute the leeks, garlic and onion in the ollive oil til lightly brown and tender. Set aside.

In a separate saucepan, bring broth to boil and stir in cornmeal. Stir and cook on medium heat until thick, about 20 minutes. (I use Arrowhead Mills.)

Add the leek mixture to the polenta, then add goat cheese. Stir til combined. Add the gouda and parmesan. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed. Turn into a buttered deep dish pie pan and chill 45 minutes or overnight.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Invert tart on a baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until crisp on sides and warm throughout.

Serve as is, or top with tomato sauce.

Modifications: I personally don't like this with smoked gouda, so I have added gruyere cheese instead.

...and now the soup!

TNT Leek-Cauliflower Soup

2 T. butter
I bunch leeks, white and light green tops, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 head cauliflower, broken into small pieces (or a large bag frozen cauliflower will also work)
2 whole russet potatoes, peeled and diced in a small dice (not little round ones)
6 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth (or home-made)
2 cups buttermilk (lowfat or fat free OK)

Sautee Leeks in butter for 10 minutes, add garlic for three minutes, then add cauliflower and potatoes. Cover with chicken broth and cook for 10-12 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

Puree with a stick blender until smooth and thick. Stir in buttermilk. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I have NEVER done this, but I'll bet it would be wonderful with the addition of a tablespoon or so medium curry powder added to the leeks.

Much love, and have a beautiful fall Saturday!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Corned Beef and Cabbage Casserole

Thanks to Carrie, Ginger Lemon Girl, for sending me pictures of this dish!

Sometimes, I worry when I post a favorite like this that my friends will think I have no taste at all. After all, this is my second cabbage recipe in one month (though I've gotten lots of props for the Sweet and Sour Unstuffed Cabbage recipe.

When I was in high school, my Mom would make this recipe for us when my Daddy was out of town on business. I always considered it decadent -- and irresistible.

Over the years, I have tweaked it in such a way that it is delicious -- creamy. crunchy, salty, peppery. Sadly, it is again one of those recipes that none of my boys will eat.

And those of you who can only think about breast milk and cabbage -- you need to get over that and try this. It's really good.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Casserole

One can of Corned Beed
One package of cabbage slaw mix -- with carrots if you like that kind (I do).
One can of Cream of Mushroom Soup (Health Valley or Progresso are GF)
-or- if you're not GF, regular CofM soup
One small onion, chopped fine

Cornbread topping (GF) use a half recipe of your favorite sweet GF cornbread mix, or use mine:
1/2 cup GF cornmeal
1/2 cup GF flour
2 T. Sugar or 1 T. Splenda
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. oil
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1 t. Baking Powder
1/2 c. milk (to make a medium thick batter)

-or - if you're not GF -- Jiffy Cornbread Mix prepared

Place cabbage and onion in an 8 by 8 microwave safe baking pan. Microwave for 4 minutes until crisp tender, stir, then add salt and pepper (generous amount of pepper)
Crumble corned beef on top of cabbage
Top with soup mix.
Pour prepared corn bread mix on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until the cornbread is golden brown.
Let stand for 10 minutes, and serve.

Much love, and happy cabbage!

Monday, September 24, 2007


This is a blog entry about support! Three little things of note.


I just joined the Foodie Blogroll, and now my blog is listed among a LARGE list of other food-related blogs on the wild, wild Web. Check out the blogroll to the right (over there ------> on the side) and peruse some of the blogs. I'm honored to be part of the blogroll, and I'm really loving reading the blogs! Foodies are such a loving bunch, My new southern GF blogger buddy Carrie (Ginger Lemon Girl) is on there. We southern blogger chicks have to stick together! (


Well, let me amend that: SOME foodies are a loving bunch. I've mentioned a time before (sadly) my problems on the Celiac Disease forum. Last week there was a brou-ha-ha of epic proportions, over a recipe and its origin. As a result of some behind the curtains Tom Foolery, though, a bright, creative woman who was an asset to that list has left it.

I didn't mention this in my Sunday blessings, but getting to know Kate Chan (of GF Gobsmacked fame) has been a highlight of my month of September. I call her my friend, and I hope she doesn't mind. I am pEEVed that someone ran her off the forum, but she's right and she's strong: Life's too short. We with GF issues have more important things to do than beat someone to death over the geneology of a recipe. So here's to you Kate. You're one classy blogger chick!
Check her out at


Most of my friends know that I'm a big supporter of the fight against cancer, and I am especially a supporter of Breast and Prostate cancer research because my family has been most impacted by those horrible invaders. October, just next week, is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

This story in today's AJC deserves our support -- no pun intended. I swear, Julie, you should send them the "Hooter Hider."
That old bra has some life left in it yet
Breast cancer fund-raiser envisions 750-foot-long curtain

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/25/07
Barbara Mock wants your old, your tired, your well-worn ... brassieres.

No, really.

"We want big, little, leopard and pink — whatever you've got!" Mock said. Each donor should autograph one cup of the donated lingerie with her own name, and in the other, write the name of someone she knows who has, or had, breast cancer.

That way, Mock said, the screen of bras will not just identify Tutu Row for participants and visitors at the Oct. 12-14 event, but serve as a reminder of the cause.

Mock, a costume designer, is used to thinking visually. Having attired ballet dancers for years (hence her team's name), she's also well-versed in the art of creative re-use.

Her cheeky sense of humor has helped motivate her team to become the top 3-Day fund-raiser in Atlanta and No. 2 in the country.

If you want to lend an old undergarment to the cause, sign it and send it to Mock, 2505 Luke Edwards Road, Dacula, GA 30019.

Much love, and we should all support things dear to us!


P.S. Tonight's new show, "The Big Bang Theory," is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. I laughed so hard I wet my pants! It almost made me forget how sick those Brussel Sprouts I had for dinner made me...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Home (A Sunday Blessing)

Since Thursday night, I've been HOME -- in Tampa, at our house in Carrollwood. Yesterday I got to go to the Y and see my buddies, especially Florence. And yesterday afternoon, I saw Randy's coworkers, my friends, from USF.

Tonight, we had dinner at my favorite restaurant in Tampa Bay, Lee Roy Selmon's, with two of my favorite people in the whole world -- Jen and Coby O'Brien. We were extra lucky, too, because Jen's parents, The Kaltriders, were also there. Great GF food from a dedicated GF menu with Red Bridge beer. YAY.

I can't tell you how much it meant for me to see Jen especially, since she's a doctoral student in psychology in Bangor, Wales. It's not like I see Coby that much, or the Kaltriders, either, but Jen and I have had a special friend bond since I met her at a Valentine's Day party at their house in February 2004. it was our first Valentine's Day, my love and I, and we went to this party and had such a great time. I just loved Jen and Coby from the moment I meant them. Coby is an advertising genius, and he has the most amazing, beautiful laugh. (AND he introduced me to Wasabi peas, one of my favorite foods!) And Jen, well, there was the potential that she and I could have nothing in common, but we bonded over an Alanis Morrisette CD...from there, we traded music, and recipes, and just great friendship. Jen was in Wales when we got married, but she and Coby still gave us the greatest party here in Tampa before our wedding. And we were lucky to share in their bachelor and bachelorette parties before their beautiful wedding at St. Pete Beach last summer.

Good, good friends. Lucky us. We are blessed.

Jen and Coby have something else in common with Randy and me -- a commuter marriage. They have it a lot worse than Randy and I do, at least for another eight months or so. I can see Randy every couple weeks -- Jen is in freakin WALES, so this short, midterm trip home is extra special for her.

And we're blessed because we got to see her just after she got in to town!

The whole weekend has been great. I always miss my Randy when I'm not with him, and though sadly I have to leave tomorrow (damn meeting at 8:30 Monday morning!) And we've had a great time -- doing all the things we miss when we're not together. This morning we had a great Cuban breakfast in Ybor City and shopped at the Ybor curb market, then went looking for GF stuff to eat while we watched the USF game. They also won big -- Go Bulls. Last night we had a great dinner with our friend Larry. I'm really blessed to have such a great, understanding husband. Yes, it's horribly tough being apart, but being together is oh, so sweet. I am especially blessed.

Yep, been a blessed couple of days, and I'm glad to reflect on that right now.

Here's a picture of all of us last summer at Jen and Coby's rehearsal dinner -- good times!

Much love, and hope your weekend was as good as mine!
(and Jen, XOXOXO)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Fall Classic (A Salute to Jim's Daddy)

Something about this time of year just makes me crave Brunswick Stew. For my non Georgia friends, the stew, claimed by a couple of cities in the ol USA, is usually a beef/chicken/pork concoction. In Kentucky, it's burgoo, but here, it's stew.

Brunswick stew is an acquired taste, though, and I have my druthers.
1. I like it spicy,
2. I like it corny,
3. I like a dash of vinegary tang in it;
4. I DON'T want no stinkin Lima Beans in it. Or squirrel. Or rabbit.

My college buddy, Jim Auchmutey, is one of the few people on earth I can have a conversation about Brunswick Stew with and maintain my sainty. About 20 years ago, he had an article in the AJC where he wrote about his Daddy, Charles', Brunswick Stew recipe. Jim is a brilliant feature writer, with an exceptional talent for food writing, so I loved that article. I kept two parts of it -- his Dad's recipe, and one by Jimmy Bentley, whom I used to cover when I was a reporter with the North Fulton Neighbor newspaper. I still haev the original Bentley's from the article -- and I told Jim I liked it. He said, modestly, "we like my Daddy's better." I vowed I would cook it some day soon, and made the Bentley recipe for years.

Time passed.

In the interim, I found two Georgia stews I really liked -- Old Clinton BBQ in Gray, and Fresh Air in Jackson, by the prison, "the place where fashion goes to die," according to my dear Randy. Sadly, in a moment of yearning for stew, I went into Old Clinton and found out they add BREAD to their stew, rendering it verboten to me in my GF state of life.

Jim, his wife Pam, and I, have kept in touch and stayed friends for 30 years -- we were all college newspaper buddies, but they got and STAYED married -- so I was saddened in May to see that Charles had died. I had kept Charles' reprinted recipe from the AJC and made it last weekend, and with respect to my friend's Daddy, I present it here -- WITH three sllight additions.

I told Jim about that, and he said he thought his Dad would be pleased.

So here is Charles Auchmutey's Brunswick Stew.

2 1/2 pounds chicken pieces (I used six organic thighs I found on sale)
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I used Ground Round, 4 percent fat, and organic)
3/4 pound ground pork (I had some leftover pulled pork roast)
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can creamed corn
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

One whole Vidalia onion, chopped
I can whole kernel corn
1/8 cup Texas Pete Hot Sauce (or another mild and vinegary sauce, like the one I have from Elgin Smokehouse.)

Remove skin and excess fat from chicken pieces. Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until meat falls off bones, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain broth. After the chicken has cooled, pick the meat from the bones, shredding into small pieces.
In a large skillet, (I JUST PUT THIS STRAIGHT INTO MY CROCK POT ON HIGH FOR TWO HOURS WITH THE ONION) cook the beef and pork together, stirring often and breaking into fine pieces, until the meat is just gray.

Add chicken to beef and pork. Add the tomatoes, corn, ketchup, vinegar, butter, black pepper, red pepper and salt. Mix well. Cook over low heat for 3 hours, stirring from the bottom of the pot often. (Or, if using a crockpot, cook for 5 to 6 hours on low.) Taste after an hour or so to fine-tune seasonings.

Before serving, stir in hot sauce.

Makes A LOT of tum-yummy stew. This freezes well (if there's any left).

Much love, and cheers to you, Charles!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Great moments in Jocalat Film History

Gary Cooper, starring in High Jocalat
(notice the noonday sun in the upper right corner?)

Jocalat: Its whole life was a million to one shot.
Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire in "JOCALAT"
(better than a raw egg in a glass a million times over!)

Jocalatopolis, ein film von Fritz Lang -- Ja Wohl! Ist sehr Gut!

Kiss of Jocalat, muah!

I've been writing about Larabars and these incredible Jocalat bars since I first posted -- check the side bar. They taste like fudge to me, and as a type II diabetic who is also gluten intolerant, they're amazing.

Well now they come in new flavors -- ORANGE and MINT.

I'd take a picture of them, but I already ate them up!

Trust me, they deserve an

Much love and now I'm going to eat this bar!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A beautiful reunion (A Sunday Blessing)

Addie and Hendley playing

I couldn't wait to write my Sunday blessing today. I know it's Saturday -- I don't care.

This morning, Jeffrey and I spent two hours with some very special family.

Last Thursday, Joy Eady Peterson emailed me that she and her husband, Jason, and their beautiful Addison Grace, would be meeting Danny and Jennifer Hill Watson at the IHOP in Millledgeville for breakfast Saturday at 9:30. Julie Harrell Boucek and her daughter, Hendley Caroline, were on their way to Georgia (Julie's dear Granny died. She's in a better place and lived such a beautiful life.) Anyway, the plan was to surprise Jenn, who is expecting her first son, Tyler Reed, at Christmas time, with an unexpected baby shower/meeting. Our friend Kyle was also coming -- Kyle is a new friend to me, but she's an amazing photographer!

I was so excited I could barely contain myself. It was a surprise, all right. We were afraid Jenn would go into labor. She was so surprised, especially to see Julie and Hendley. There were hugs and tears and the passing around of babies. SO joyful!

It was incredibly wonderful to be invited to join these young families who mean so much to me. You see, between 1998 and 2001, these were my "Colonnade kids," editors and reporters for the student newspaper I advised. I'd taught and advised all of them except Danny and Kyle. Plus. Jeffrey adores Julie -- she calls him 'the baby" -- he even took her to the Best Buddies prom in 1999, and they had a great, great time.

I am an only child, so I occasionally "adopt" a student and make him or her my children. Well, these are my children. Jason, well, I have an even more special connection with him. He's working on a Ph.D. at my Alma Mater, Southern Mississippi -- in the same field of study as I pursed, mass media history. He's also studying the same era I did, the 1950s and '60s.

Well, I was beside myself. I'd not met the babies (only loved them from afar) and I got to feed one and cuddle both and kiss a lot of cute baby heads! Addie and Hendley are just angels -- they had a ball playing together, and they're as different as can be!

Jenn looked fantastic -- she sent her pregnancy pictures yesterday (taken by the brilliant Kyle). I was thinking I remember when she first had a crush on Danny Watson. I remember when Julie met Bill, and of course I remember Joy and Jason: two words -- BAVA fest!

I'll never have grandchildren -- Jeffrey's autism may preclude him from even marrying, I don't know. So I hope my "kids" don't mind that I consider their babies my "grandchildren." Julie even came up with a name -- AGC -- Adopted Granny Carter.

Jason said at one point, "did you ever expect something like this would happen?" JP, I did. I couldn't have predicted when or with whom (OK, I figured out you and Joy in 2001) but knowing your character, I was sure that a loving family would be part of your future. You all are everything I expected, and SO much more.

I'm so proud I could just pop. I was on cloud nine. I still am.

My pictures aren't the best -- I was using my cellphone camera -- but they will do for here. I just hope I get to see the ones of me with Addie and with Hendley. They are beautiful, beautiful girls, and I look forward to watching them grow up. Who knows, maybe I'll get to go to their weddings, too! Tyler, too, if Jenn and Danny don't mind.

Hendley Caroline Boucek

Addison Grace Peterson

Julie, Joy and Addie

Jenn, Danny and Hendley

Jenn, Danny and the cute bib they got for Tyler -- Officer Dribble

I am feeling much, much love, as you can see!
Adopted Granny Ging

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Doing the happy dance

I read it last night, and it's twue, it's twue (to quote Madalyn Kahn in "Young Frankenstein".)

Lee Roy Selmon's, MY FAVORITE restaurant in Tampa, has a gluten-free menu AND Redbridge Beer, the best GF beer on the market! (Joy, remember when we took you and JP there when you'd gotten back from your honeymoon?)

Next weekend when I hit Tampa, I hope we'll dine there so I can show my appreciation to them. I know they're an Outback company (and Outback is a leading proponent of GF meals at the GFRAP-Gluten Free Restaurant Association Program). And I'm so happy they've come on board as such active supports of Gluten Free Dining. YAY US!

Of course, my favorite dish is missing from the GF menu, so I've written to find out why. It might be because of a cross-contamination issue, I don't know. But I will post my finding when I get it from the restaurant.

In the interim, I'm so happy! Visit the menu at!

Also, if you're reading Newsweek this week, there's an article about Celiac Disease, which is all the buzz in the CD/GF community. It's good stuff, even if it does focus on the same few people and the same few restaurants in New York. But as we teach in PR class, good PR is good PR is good PR. THAT article is good PR.

As I write this, I can smell meatballs cooking in a Crock Pot down the hall. My students are giving a party for a classmate who just got married. I am afraid there will be little GF I can eat (the meatballs have bread crumbs) BUT I was so touched that a few of the students tried to find GF goodies for me -- including Natalee, who made a beautiful cake. She came into my office, almost apologizing, but said she couldn't find a GF cake mix. No worries, my dear, it's not my party -- but it is SO SWEET the kids worry about this for me.

I am blessed. I said it before, I'll say it again.

Much love,


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11: A rememberance

My dear former student, Christina Homer, sent this to me on Facebook. It was too important, today of all days, not to share,


THE 'little' THINGS, 9/11

As you might know, the head of a company survived 9/11 because his son
started kindergarten & he took him to his first day of class.

Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.

One woman was late because her alarm clock didn't go off on time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike because of an auto accident.

One of them missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.

One's car wouldn't start.

One went back to answer the telephone.

One had a child that dawdled
and didn't get ready as soon as he should have

One couldn't get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.
That is why he is alive today.

Now, when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone...all the little things that annoy me,I think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.

Next time your morning seems to be going wrong:

The children are slow getting dressed, you can't seem to find the car
keys, you hit every traffic light, don't get mad or frustrated:

God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless you with all those annoying little things and may you remember their possible purpose.

...9/11. We will ALWAYS remember.

Much love,

Monday, September 10, 2007

Crock Pot Unstuffed Cabbage

I will say this. I love my Crock Pot! I have one in Milly and Tampa, and both get a lot of use. Today was a red-letter day in Crock Pot land. I made my favorite meal for dinner!

The story: About 16 or so years ago, maybe 20, I decided that I liked stuffed cabbage. Not a typical thing to like, for sure. My Mom was in the habit, once I declared this, of making me stuffed cabbage at least twice a year -- once for my birthday dinner (with mashed potatoes and the strawberry or Watergate cakes I so loved) and once in the fall.

Yesterday, after reading reciped for the upcoming Jewish Holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hoshana, I got a hankering for stuffed cabbage. It hit BAD. I have rarely made it since my Mom died, for all the usual reasons. The fact that NO MAN whom I have lived with in my life likes it is part of the reason. This was a dish for me, by my Mom.

Now my Mom, she found the perfect recipe for me, from her friend Sara Raider Cohen. My copy is stained with tomato and all, but I found it....and had an epiphany.

What if I made this unstuffed, and in the Crock Pot? Would it hold up to the original? Was it (gasp) heresy?

What the heck. I thought I'd give it a try. Know what.


I had to MAKE myself stop eating it so I could share the recipe with you. I ate this so fast, I didn't have time to take a picture.

It would be perfect for the holidays this week -- close to the original, SO tasty. AND it's naturally Gluten Free. I've also made it very low sugar. Actually, very low carb and fat, too, depending on your beef choice.

it's quick and easy, too -- much easier than rolling the rolls. It took me five minutes to put it together, which means I'll be having it more than twice a year. (I swear, Abbey, I thought about it all through Seminar today...)

Sweet and Sour Unstuffed Cabbage

In a bowl, mix:

1 pound ground beef (any grade will do fine)
1/2 c. uncooked Minute Rice (or Success) OR 1/2 c. cooked plain white or brown rice
1 egg
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Juice from one 16 oz (or thereabouts) can of diced tomatoes (You can use any flavor, except chili style)
1 t. Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning (or garlic powder)

Mix and set aside.

In your Crock Pot, layer the following:

1 bag of grated raw cole slaw mix (just the cabbage - I used the one with carrots)
1 small can of drained saurkraut (or 1 c. refrigerated style)
1 small onion, chopped (I used Penzeys dried shallots, 1/4 cup)
The can of diced tomatoes
Give it a stir in the Crock Pot.

Open a large can (around 16 oz) of tomato sauce (GF) flavored with 3 T. Brown Sugar Splenda OR mix in 1/4 c. dark brown sugar. I used roasted garlic flavor myself. Use anything except chili flavored. Hit it with a couple of dashes of hot sauce, or leave that out if you don't like a little bite. (What is REALLY good is Rotel tomatoes in this....with the hot sauce. But I only added hot sauce this time.)

Pour half the sweet/hot tomato sauce on top of the cabbage mixture. If you think it's way too thin (I promise, it's not) you can add half a cup of water. But you don't need it because the kraut and cabbage sweat a lot).

Make between four and eight small rolls of the beef mixture and nestle on top of the cabbage; top with remaining tomato sauce.

Cover and cook on high for at least six hours (I did eight with no problems).

Place two beautiful rolls on cabbage and enjoy. Spoon tomato sauce on your mashed potatoes (wait...I forgot to make them! MMMMMMAAAAAAAAAA!

Much love, and I miss you so much, Mama...


Sunday, September 9, 2007

A gracious plenty (Sunday Blessings)

I got up this morning with a hymn in the back of my mind: count your blessings, name them one by one. And you know what, that's what I'm about to do.

I looked in the refrigerator last night for something to snack on, and I realized it's crammed to the edges. My freezer is, too.
For someone who has just had to make significant modifications to her diet, I'm living rather large. My cup runneth over, so to speak. Yes, I'm blessed.

Jeffrey said he wanted some spaghetti today, so I'm making some for us for dinner. He's such a blessing to me, even if I don't always say it. His love and heart and so pure. He is so simple in his needs. He's really a great son. MY son! I'm so proud of him and what he has become.

I've been kind of whiny lately -- especially Friday -- but a post on the CD Forum this morning brought it into perspective: There are lots of options in today's world for someone who is gluten intolerant. I was remembering when I first was diagnosed with type ii diabetes. That was pre Splenda and I can't remember if there were many good products out there. Times and science change. That is a blessing. I just have to remember that when I find something I love that's GF not to eat the whole jar (Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, for instance. And yesterday, a massive amount of apple butter).

I came home Friday to a Jena postcard! And a Julie change of address card. I am so happy to get real mail instead of a bill I can't pay for three weeks. Jena loves to send me post cards, and I am trying to reciprocate EXCEPT the last one got lost somehow. I'm blessed the mail works from Atlanta to Milly, I guess.

And I'm also SO blessed to have my GF girls to support me so much: Funny they all have J names -- and they're in journalism. Hmmm. So I want to remind Julie, Joy, Jenn, Jessica, Jena and Jodie how much I love and appreciate them. (And JP too -- he's a man, though). Blessed Blessed Blessed! Oh, how could I forget Claire? I declare, I forgot Claire!

For all my whining, I felt so good yesterday I performed with our clogging group at the Library Fair. I haven't danced with the Old Capitol Cloggers in more than two years! But except for the shifting stage yesterday and heat yesterday, I felt no ill effects. I stopped dancing because of heel pain, which is now gone. A blessing, indeed. My Jeffrey was so great -- he always tries to get the crowd to applaud for us...he watched the entire performance. For a kid who doesn't ever sit AND he brought me, and a few others, cold water he bought with his own money.

I had one other blessing yesterday. I wrote rather shamefully about my problems with the CD board moderator. All day yesterday I tiptoed around the board, posting a little, lurking a little. Late last night, while Auburn was losing to South Florida (a blessing for my darling, my husband, who is fighting a cold in Florida, but not for me,) I saw that the moderator's Mother in law had passed away. I never met my new mother in law, Randy's Mom. She died when we had only started dating, but he loved her so much. I know in heaven I'll finally get to tell her what a great son -- what great SONS -- she reared. In spite of our differences, I wrote the moderator a note to tell her how sorry I was. Then I prayed for her family.

She wrote back the sweetest note and apologized for the misunderstanding on the board.. I was touched that, at this time of sorrow, she'd reach out to me. But it was a beautiful peaceful note that really finally put my hurt to rest. So that was a HUGE blessing.

It reminded me of something, something I needed to think about. If you look for things to whine about, you'll find plenty. But there are blessings, bountiful blessings, everywhere. I think I'll look for those instead.

Much love on this beautiful, blessed day!
grateful Ging

Friday, September 7, 2007

Due diligence

...and I was right. It was one of those days. I am so down in the dumps right now I'm in the cellar.

I had a discouraging experience in cyberspace today, and I'm still so broken up about it, I need to vent. So I'm sharing with you, my dear blog readers.

Here's what happened:

First, I was feeling sucky because I'd been having some blood sugar issues all day. I'd already suggested to Jenn Watson that she take Pepto Bismol, but she's pregnant and shouldn't, so I felt badly about that misinformation. And I was hungry.

Since it was a slow day at work today (I was waiting for a meeting), I was happily reading the gluten-free blog roll and read about some coffees in Brazil that are being adulterated by corn, cereal grains, trees and bark. Recalling that I'd seen a post about decaf coffee being gluten free, I made a comment on the Celiac Disease Message Board about the post, questioning products from other countries and labeling issues.

Well folks, I was the second person to do this. A nice lady named Donnie (we call ourselves the conspiracy theorists now and have bonded over this horrible episode) saw the same thing and posted before me. And as if we'd suggested that McDonald's French fries had gluten (BIG debate issue -- I asked Donnie) and vinegar was a culprit (it's not -- it's distilled). We were slapped down. SMACKED down. FLAMED. I am still crispy and sore from being raked over the coals. The moderators all but made fun of us on the board and called us stupid. It was a message board bang (you know, like a gang bang).

To make matters worse, the moderator of this forum, who is a REAL doctor (not a worthless fake one like me) posted a mean spirited parable that was a direct attack on us. I was so hurt I started crying at my desk. I wrote the moderator and expressed my outrage with her handling of my feelings and opinions. I wrote a couple of posts in apologia, and tucked my tail and sulked.

Well, Donnie jumped in and did what I wanted to do. She stirred up the fire. And if the flames weren't bad enough, I pissed on the fire.

After Donnie posted in anger, I decided to, also, noting that we had "two dead messengers" who'd been shot for suggesting people should be wary of internationlly produced products. BAD IDEA. We got out wrists slapped again by the moderator, who said she was leaving for a camping trip and would have to deal with this later.

Take that, you village idiots. How dare you disagree and spread an urban rumor.

So now, HOURS laters, I'm feeling very bruised and wounded. I need information, and in a sense, this site is more than recipes. It's good, solid information for people like me dealing with gluten intolerance and Celiac disease. To make matters worse in my mind, this is the second time I've been flamed. I got flamed the first time I posted by the parent of two Celiac boys who called me "cavalier" in my attitude because I suggested I would go to Quiznos here and order a bread-free sub. HORRORS.

And now I'm in deep regret. I need a resource, but I don't feel like I can post on this site. And I can't stand not sharing my thoughts and opinions. I mean, I am a maven of sorts -- if you've read the Tipping Point, you know what I mean -- I do my homework, and there's a journalist still in me that investigates things. Not posting and lurking will be almost as hard as not eating gluten.

I feel like I've had an argument with a friend. And you, my friends reading this, know I try not to ever do that. I feel horrible.
Defeated. Exhausted. Depressed.

(Needing) Much love (and encouragement right now),
the fire pisser

Snack pack attack!

I'm hungry.

Reallllllly hungry. On the way to work I was craving some Boar's Head sliced turkey (hey, it's Gluten Free -- did you see their national ads?) but a student was coming by to get something signed, so I didn't go. And now it's 9:35 and I am


I'm sure part of this is because I didn't have much dinner last night, just some organic freeze dried bananas (I know, but they were tasty) after clogging. 330 Calories. Come to think of it, I haven't had anything really substantial to eat since Monday night! I had cheese for breakfast yesterday and a GF PB&J for lunch. The day before, I had a GF grilled turkey bacon and cheese for dinner, and miniscule amount of guacamole, cheese and six stale chips for lunch.

Maybe that's the problem. BGF (Before Gluten Freedom) if I got hungry and didn't have anything around, I'd zip through a drive through and grab something to eat. Now? Too risky.

So I dream of food I want to eat, would eat again, if I could....

For instance, Chinese food. Last night, Jeffrey and I went to Big Lots on the way to clogging. I found a couple of things I needed and a few I didn't. Typical Big Lots run. But as we strolled to the car (OK, I strolled, Jeffrey ran) I caught the scent of Lieu's Peking, the best Chinese place in town. I wanted to be like one of that cartoon dog whose nose lifted him to the aroma, and he floated to the source of the tasty smell. mmmmm.mmmm.mmm.....ahhhhh.....

(his name is Snuffles, and he used to be on Quick Draw McGraw....)

Never you mind that I have been womancotting Lieu's for close to two years (they stood up a reservation for one of my classes one day, and I've never gone back. They made me look bad in front of 16 students, and I am unforgiving.) If I could have eaten there, I would have. IMMEDIATELY, if not sooner, pulled up a chair to the stove and eaten stuff straight from the wok. I would have Mongolian Beef, pot stickers, and maybe a side of teriyaki beef....and some Shrimp with Lobster Sauce for good measure. And some Egg Foo Yung. To go.

But in my GF world, Chinese isn't an option. Neither is Italian, most of the time. Fast food? Nope. Convenience food? Hardly. And since I was gone last weekend, the prepared meals in my fridge have dwindled. Mostly all I have is fruit and cheese, and I'm not in the MOOD for fruit and cheese. All I have in my office fridge is, you guessed it, cheese! And nuts in the drawer (and some would say, room 208 Terrell Hall). WHY did I eat all those yummy dark chocolate GF pretzels Jodie brought me? (shoutout to Jodie...You rock!)

Some days are more challenging than others. This, obviously, is one of those days.

Much love, and would you like some whine with that cheese?

Hungry hungry Ging

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What happened in Vegas....

stayed in Vegas.

We had a wonderful visit.

1. I took no pictures, though I toted around the camera everywhere I went.

2. I bought no souvenirs, not even a single tshirt.

3. I did not physically step foot on the strip proper. THE WHOLE TIME.

4. I did not lose any more money than I intended to.

5. I lost more money than Randy did, as usual.

6. I will never stay at the time share there -- AGAIN.

7. and most importantly: I did not get glutenated, even though I ate at two risky buffets and a weird casino rib joint.

We ate two fabulous restaurants, Nob Hill and Cafe Ba ba Reba. They were so diligent about making sure I had no gluten. And we had ribs at a casino BBQ joint called Ellis Island. GREAT ribs, $20 for both of us to have a feast of ribs and chicken. YUM. We also had a great time at the buffet at the Rio (I had a steak and crab legs - yum) and The Wynn. I highly recommend them all. I also discovered a new cocktail at the Rio -- the Washington Apple: Crown Royal, Apple Pucker, and Cranberry Juice. I had several of them on the house :-)

And the flight home was great! I slept, Randy read, and we were seated by a lovely woman and her daughters. They fed Randy shrimp chips and rice crackers.

The amusements:

It was "pimp and ho" night Saturday at the Flamingo. We saw plenty of pimps and hos all weekend. We also saw a lot of people who clearly didn't have any mirrors in their hotel rooms. We saw this one girl, probably about 22, whose boobs weighed more than she did. Her dress was the size of a Handi Wipe. AND she was so drunk, she was stumbling on her stilettos. I kept waiting for her to topple forward and prove she was a natural blond...

The disappointments:
We called the time share place The Bacon Palace, since our room smelled like rancid cooked bacon. NOTHING they did could get the smell out, though I'm not sure they ever really tried. I had a mirgraine for the first 25 hours until we finally gave up and changed rooms. But this didn't happen with a good attitude on their part -- or on mine, to be frank. I pay a lot of money to have this time share, and they treated us like trash. In fact, when I did my owner update meeting, they treated me like a deadbeat. A letter to them is coming soon.

Food at the LV airport: I could barely find anything to eat at the airport, and the biggest insult was at Wolfgang Puck's. I asked if I could buy a chicken breast (from the salad/sandwich with fancy bread and fillings, plus chips). Sure, for full price.
Now I know why you're so rich, Woflie. All I could find without gluten was a chef's salad at Starbucks. It was decent.

So that's about it. We had a lot of fun playing Jackpot Party and Wheel of Fortune on the nickle machines, we enjoyed our pool and the sports book at both the Wynn and Rio, and we enjoyed being together. All we needed for a perfect weekend was a little respect from the Wyndham Grant Desert Resort...

Much love and and a bag of shrimp chips.