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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Recipe For Life! (To Thank You All)

I've been mortally scared three times in my life. The first time was the period before Jeffrey was born, when I was in the hospital for seven weeks and his health (and life) were uncertain. The second time was when my Mama got sick and eventually died from complications from open heart surgery.

And the third time occurred over the past three weeks.

I've always been terrified of cancer. I'm so thankful I don't have cancer.

I learned something these past few weeks, and it is a recipe I think belongs on this blog: it's My Recipe for Life.

Take one part pure emotion, from friends, students, and family from here to Washington State to New York to Tampa Bay to Spain to Belize and Wales and back again;
Add a generous dash of humor, from the Hamster Dance to Fierce Frog and Operation games and Witchy-Poo Hats and casting Satan out of my office for good measure (Shundra, you were right all along);
Sprinkle with heartfelt treats, like homemade GF pound cakes, ginger cookies, Coke Zeros, and Snickers Bars (as Snickers are naturally gluten free);
Brighten the flavor with cards and flowers and beautiful letters from dear, dear friends. Emails in the middle of the night. And Facebook notes. And phone calls burning up the wires!
Fold in the gathering of dear friends and my dearer family, flecked with an hour of Polka Joe and Oma and the Ooompahs;
Salt with a good cup of tears, a little displaced anger and some bitterness, because we all got scared in the middle there;
Pepper with cursings at cancer from those who sadly know all to well about it;
Toss generously with strong, fervent prayer, positive thoughts, and a knitted Linus blanket.
For good measure, add a miracle.

Serve in the beautiful silver bowl from the Peachtree Street Girls, while wearing a Braves Cap!

I can never, ever, thank you enough for all you've done for me this past few weeks. New friends. Old friends. ALL friends. You have given me the strength I needed to get through yesterday. And we did it together.

At this moment, pick the song of your choice and join me as I rejoice!

Much love. Really.


Monday, October 29, 2007

No cancer!

I'm home. I'm fine. There's no cancer.

More later.

Much love and THANKS for all your thoughts, prayers, poems, presents, and love!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sour Cream Pound Cake (A Sunday Blessing)

OK, so it's Saturday. I'm a little preoccupied tomorrow.

One of the few foods I've been missing terribly since I went GF is pound cake. Sour Cream Pound Cake. That was one of my Mama's signature dishes, and I loved it. I can't make a pound case for spit, so I have been without. Tommie, our wonderful secretary, made me one last Christmas before I stopped eating gluten.

I miss a good pound cake. So versatile -- can be cake, can be frosted, can become strawberry short cake.

My favorite part of the cake is the crusty crumb outside of it. It has to flake into crunchy bits. I thought long and hard about how to make that happen with a GF flour mix, and finally found a blend -- Carol Fenster's, I believe -- to use for it. I surmised (and I was right) that a combination of sorgham flour and corn starch would do the trick.

A few weeks ago, i asked (ok, begged) my student Rachel Stubbs to ask her mother to make me a Sour Cream Pound Cake. I told her I'd provide the flour mix for it, and all she had to do is make the cake.

Last Tusday, Rachel bought me the cake, and it was the crunchiest, most beautiful pound cake I've ever seen. True, the color is a little different because of the GF flour mix. But except for being a little bit denser than my Mama's cake, it was perfect.

When Rachel gave me the recipe -- it turned out the be the same recipe I had in my recipe box. My Mama's cake, from her Mam's kitchen, from her oven. Kharma Kale!

So without further ado, here it is.

GF Sour Cream Pound Cake By by Me and my Mama and Rachel Stubbs and her Mama (whose sister studied Home Ec with my Aunt)

Flour mix:
1 1/2 c. each sorgham flour and cornstarch
1 c. tapioca flour
1/2 c. corn flour (not masa de harina)
(there will be a little mix left)

1 1/2 c. butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups flour mix
1 T. Xanthan gum
1 8 oz container Sour Cream
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. lemon extract and 1/4 t. almond extract (or you could add any flavors of your choice)

Cream butter and add sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well till fluffy.
Sift flour mix, salt baking soad and add xanthan gum. Add butter alternately to dry mixture with sour cream, ending with flour mixture. Then blend in extracts.

Bake in a greased and GF FLOUR MIX floured pan at 325 degrees for 90 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes, and then remove from pan and cool completely.

Much love and happy pound cake!

Surgery update: Surgery is Monday at around 8 a.m. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A day at Atlanta Motor Speedway

I am exhausted, and the last thing I needed to do this Friday before my surgery, was spend seven hours walking around Atlanta Motor Speedway's "Fan Fest."

But Jeffrey and I have a tradition: If I'm in town, and it's not raining, we head to AMS for the qualifying/happy hour day of the race. We've actually done this four times -- once with Susan -- and we always have such a good time. We play the games at the exhibits, we walk and look at collectibles, and we make fun of the Knuckle Dragging NASCAR Hell Fans.

See there are fans like us -- Jeffrey in his vintage Valvoline Pit Crew shirt (which 10 people asked where we got it) and Goodyear jacket and Jimmie Johnson hat (for me, because I don't wear NASCAR gear because I don't OWN any NASCAR gear). Nice people in regular clothes, a tshirt or hat (or both), a jacket here and there.

Then there is Knuckle Dragging NASCAR hell fans.

You know, like the couple dressed in matching Dale Jr. wear (from head to toe), smoking Marlboros, drinking Miller Lite in a Chevy koozie while hauling a wagon with a no. 8 flag flying off the back AND a bumper sticker that says "Jeff Gordon is Gay." Or the woman with boobies to her navel wearing a (braless) Tony Stewart Tank Top and cut off denim short shorts, chain smoking, popping gum and drinking a beer in a can while her daughter talked about how much she wished she could have sex with Kasey Kahne. LOUDLY talking. While chain smoking. And drinking.

But I am so tired. My poor back, which is already dreadfully tender, got worse as the day went on. I went to the Richard Petty House to get some Goody's, only to find it has aspirin in it, and I can't have any of that now that surgery is only 72 hours away. So I stumbled on, but we had a great Mom and Son time. It's amazing what amuses my son.

Here are some cute pictures from the day:

Jeffrey driving a simulator at the Pep Boys booth

My son WITH The Pep Boys. I was tempted. SOOOO tempted.

Jeffrey driving a giant CROCS shoe simulator. I was impressed. I bought Crocs at AMS.

Some of the fun/cool/things that happened:

1. I met a guy who works for a sports advertising/marketing firm in Atlanta who wants to talk to some of my students for internships. AND he works for Fathead. I won Jeffrey a Fathead Elliot Sadler poster for his house. Fair and square.

2. They had a great Crocs booth and display -- not only did I find a pair of size 8 Mary Jane Black Crocs (which I've wanted) BUT i got a whole of cool free Croc stuff because I'm a suck-up. Shoot, if I hadn't already paid for my operation, I could have had some cute as heck fleece lined Crocs. Maybe Santa... (AND Julie/Joy/Jenn/Rachel -- BABY CROCS galore in every size. CUTE!)

3. I managed to have a completely GF and nonCC meal! The Johnsonville Brats people had plain grilled brats, no where NEAR buns, so I had two (they gave me a deal). I also had at least a whole NASCAR burger patty that they were serving in a cup, no condiments, and no bread! Imagine.

4, Of course, we spent $16 on sodas (I forgot the cooler rule at AMS, i.e., only idiots don't bring coolers). At least we bought them from a church group inside the grandstand.

5. I met, for a brief second, that metrosexual NASCAR driver, Michael Waltrip. He was very frou-frou with his hair and all, but he smiled and gave me a high five. Couldn't get the phone out fast enough.

6. I got lots of good junk that will stuff Randy and Jeffrey's stockings this year. Cool stuff. Can't say what cuz Randy reads this blog :-)

7. Got stopped by the State Patrol and sweet talked my way into a warning. Carter is a speed racer. Thank GOODNESS Jeffrey started telling the trooper we were going to Hampton. THAT was one of Jeffrey's favorite parts. He loves it when we get stopped, even if almost never happens (thank GOD!)

8. Got at least 10 free bottles of bleach and 10 free packs of trash can liners from Dollar General. AND a T-shirt.

What can I say. I was tired and sore, and I'm hurting right now (hello Xanax?) But it was worth it to see my baby smile in the stands as the cars roared by. There's nothing like our special trip to AMS every year, and we are already planning for March.

Much love, and vrooom vroom.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fake Spaghetti

Make your meatballs browner than these. They're a little underdone.

In my family, there are two kinds of spaghetti sauce - real sauce, the Grandma Redente model from Italy, and fake spaghetti. Fake spaghetti is what you make when you're lazy and you don't want people to know it. I remember when I was first married (the first time) I made an Italian Meal for my parents and inlaws (outlaws) together for dinner. Only my Mama knew for real that it was fake spaghetti.

I have a confession here -- my favorite fake spaghetti used to be from Shoney's. Now, of course, I wouldn't go there, but there was something about the meat sauce. But I don't make spaghetti with meat sauce unless someone requests it. I usually make my Fake Spaghetti.

OK, so in my family, when we want the taste of real sauce but not the work, here's how we do fake spaghetti: we make meatballs (and maybe cook some mild and hot Italian sausage), then add a jarred sauce to the drippings.

Yesterday I decided that I would need some fake spaghetti next week after surgery, so I decided to use the ground beef I had in the fridge to make meatballs. My recipe is very authentic (i.e. from my Aunt Jeannie, and from my Mom, whose parents were born in Italy). Point of contention: my uncle Sebby doesn't like onion in his meatballs. Neither does Randy. So we argue in on the Redente side on how to make the meatballs). We also argue about size. My Aunt Jeannie used to make them really big like a baseball; my Mama made them like a golf ball. I'm in the golf ball camp here.

And to eat them right -- eat the meatballs and sausage first with your salad, THEN eat a bowl of pasta with sauce.

So here is a recipe for real Italian meatballs that will make just about any jarred sauce taste great.

2 pounds 8 percent fat ground beef (these have just enough fat but not too much).
three eggs
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs (I use GF but you can use any kind -- even italian flavored)
four to five cloves of garlic finely minced (VERY FINELY MINCED)
1 small onion or two large shallots, very finely minced (optional - I use onions for me, shallots if Randy is eating them)
1 T. Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning (or italian seasoning of some kind)
1 T. Parsley, dried or freshly minced
2 t. garlic salt
1 t. pepper
1/2 c.parmesan cheese grated (I don't care if you use green can stuff).

Mix this up -- don't mix it too much, but it should hold together when you roll into balls. If it is a little loose, add more crumbs or cheese til it is stable.

This should make about 18 golf ball sized meatballs. (I always have to eat two or three). Brown a small amount of the meat in the hot oil to check the seasoning. Add more garlic salt or pepper if you think it needs it (but I don't think it will). Brown the meatballs in olive oil in a pan of your choice. If you're going to add sauce to the pan, make it a high-sided pan. When the meatballs are cooked almost through (about medium) drain off fat and return to pan. Add the sauce. Stir well and simmer. If you're making Italian Sausage too, just buy them, cut them into links, prick them with a fork, and cook them 2/3 of the way through in hot water in a frying pan. Drain well and add to sauce. If you skip this step, you can get a similar taste in your sauce with 1 t. dried fennel seeds.

You can also put the cooked meatballs in the Crockpot, add sauce, and simmer away all day while you do something else, like hike the Adirondacks.

This is a little more work than just browning the beef and adding sauce, but it is so, so worth it. I can make this up in about a half hour total. And it makes great leftovers for pizza toppings and sandwiches. Serve on the pasta type of your pleasure. My Dad prefers penne, I like thin GF spaghetti, and sometimes I just like it on bread with more cheese.

Much love, and I hope you enjoy half of a family secret recipe. Maybe someday we'll make some sauce.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Let it rain (more than A Sunday Blessing)

I love music of all kinds, and I love to sing. Songs are often the "art imitates life" I refer to in conversation. I mean, if I can use a rap by Eminem in my Mass Media Law Class to explain the FCC....well. I love music for what it means.

I especially love old hymns and gospel music. I'm the epitome of "make a joyful noise," but I was in a church choir since I was a little kid, and have always loved singing hymns. In fact, the biggest thing I miss about attending church is being among the fellowship of a choir.

This morning, I can't get a couple of polar opposite songs out of my mind. One is an old hymn, the other classic rock. Go figure.

If you've ever been to a church revival, you know the first one -- Showers of Blessing. It comes from the verse “There shall be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26

There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

I also keep thinking about a song by Eric Clapton, "Let it Rain." He wrote the song with Bonnie Bramlett, and it's a classic, too.

The rain is falling through the mist of sorrow that surrounded me.
The sun could never thaw away the the bliss that lays around me.

Let it rain, let it rain,
Let your love rain down on me.
Let it rain, let it rain,
Let it rain, rain, rain.

I am trying to be strong, and thanks to the showers of blessings I've received from my friends and loved ones this week, I am hanging in there. I am very grumpy and unusually needy right now, but I am hanging in there.. Your love and friendship is washing away the mist of my fear.

THANK YOU to all of you who have assured me of your love and support this week. From the blue ribbons showing up on Facebook sites to calls, cards, letters, Coke Zeros, flowers, and hugs galore, I am hanging in there.

We can make it one more week. Then we'll know. It's going to be a long week. But then we'll know.

Much love, and I can't thank you all enough.

P.S. Thank you Carrie (Ginger Lemon Girl) for my Shoo Fly Pie! I wish I could be sitting with you now, eating pie and talking about GF cooking.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A recipe! Southern GF Cornbread Dressing

stolen with love from Jeff Houck's Blog, The Stew

Today at the store, I caught an enormous sale on Butterball Fresh Turkey Breast, and that got me thinking about this recipe. I posted it a while back on the Celiac Listserv and never got it on here.

This is my family's recipe, adapted for GF. My Grandma Rudeseal from Alto, Georgia, taught my Connecticut Yankee Mama how to make this in about 1955, and Mama taught me in 1982 during a long-distance call from Germany, where my ex was stationed with the Army. No printed recipe for this exists in my family.

I have actually taught this recipe to others who don't know how to make dressing, so in a sense it's TNT -- the procedure is, at least. But this will be my first try with GF breads. I trust they will be fine. You need to know two things before you begin. 1. You have to know how dressing is supposed to taste (like Stovetop, only better). and 2. You have to know what thick oatmeal looks like.

If you don't have a cornbread recipe, my Southern GF Cornbread recipe is in my Recipes and Resources guide to the right. To make a smaller batch, halve everything -- just make sure it's 2 to 1 cornbread to table bread. And you non GF people -- use plain cornbread and plain bread, and drop the Xanthan gum. It's still a great recipe.
Makes: A LOT about 7-8 cups of dressing total, which will serve about 10 people with leftovers.


For the crumbs:
4 cups of cornbread crumbs, made FROM A NON-SWEET CORNBREAD RECIPE If your favorite recipe calls for sugar, leave it out. (This is roughly two recipes of my cornbread, which I make in an iron skillet. It is very crusty, so I use mostly the innards. Crumble it up into crumbs but do not dry it. Can actually be made way ahead and frozen, just thaw before mixing.)

2 cups stale GF bread or rolls, torn into little pieces, but not toasted into crumbs or croutons. A not-too-sweet bread, again, is better. I am saving some Bob's Red Mill bread for Thanksgiving right now in my freezer.)

MIX these in a large bowl and let stand to continue to dry slightly. I often do this the day before, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and put in the oven (no heat) over night as a "storing place."

2. Aromatics
Saute the following in a large skillet until crisp tender.
2 large onions diced or 8 large shallots, chopped (I prefer onions, but my husband won't eat them, so I also use shallots with equal success).
1-2 cups celery, finely chopped (depends on how much you like celery).
(Optional, and not southern: One package mushrooms, sliced)
2 sticks melted margarine -- can use light margarine for this.

when cooked, add this Seasoning to the pan til warm and dissolved:

GENEROUS amount of Poultry Seasoning, at least 2 tablespooons
1 T. each Salt and Pepper (or to taste, see below)
2 T. Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb (again, optional: not southern, but good)
1 T. Onion Powder (not salt)

Dump the skillet contents on the cornbread and mix.
Add enough low sodium GF chicken stock or broth to make the dressing the consistency of thick mushy oatmeal. (If you have GIBLETS and like them and aren't using them for gravy, add them here). *Note: In my family, we always have homemade stock with chicken bits in it. Warm it up and add it in. There is nothing wrong with some chicken bits in the dressing.) ADD STOCK A CUP AT A TIME, mixing in between. You don't want cornbread soup, and depending on the crumbs, it might take more or less stock. Usually it takes me about 4 - 5 cups for this amount of dressing. (so have one of those aseptic quarts handy for starters, but I've added chicken boullion cubes in water in a pinch).

MIX Thoroughly: Taste it. Here is where I adjust seasonings -- very important to do now, because the last few add-ins will make it taste weird and are unhealthy. IF you like a sage-flavored dressing, add dried ground sage here to taste. I almost ALWAYS have to add more poultry seasoning here, but I don't like sage so I don't add that. If you DO like sage, add it in addition to the poultry seasoning.

NOW, when it tastes good to you, add:

Four eggs beaten (or the equivalent in egg replacer of any kin)
2 T. Baking Powder
1 T. Xanthan Gum (just to make it rise lighter)

to the bowl and stir. It should still be like mushy oatmal.

Pour into a greased baking pan. Top with slivers of sliced margarine.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. During baking, feel free to baste with your turkey drippings or a little more chicken broth or stock.

It will rise up slightly, and you know it is done when the crust on the top is golden brown and the casserole is firm. It holds well and reheats beautifully by just basting it with broth/stock. You could easily make it ahead, freeze and thaw it, then reheat.

Serves ME :-) with leftovers, and I often share with my guests.

Questions you might have:

Why no sugar? It's a southern thing. You can use cornbread with sugar, just don't taunt me about it :-)

Can I do all cornbread? It's not as good that way to me, but sure. I'd keep at least 1 cup bread pieces. But the cornbread is more porous and not as light when made into dressing by itself.

Can I add other veggies? Sure, shredded carrots are great in this and add moisture. A lot of people want corn in there, and that's fine. Just remember -- mushy oatmeal.

Can I leave out the onions all together? Sure, but it just won't taste right. If you add any more celery, you won't be able to taste anything else. If you prefer leeks or green onions, they'll work.

Can I leave out the salt? Sure, but it will need some light salt or something. Add it to taste if you want to instead as prescribed. And you don't have to use low sodium broth -- just DON'T ADD SALT til after you put that in there. Salt to taste.

Do I have to use that much margarine? Well, no, not really. You can cook the veggies in broth with a little margarine. But use a little for taste, even if it's light.

Can I use butter? Heck yeah. Or half and half. Just don't use oil. It will taste oily.

Can I stuff it in the turkey? Yes

Much love, and I might have to make some thing for next weekend. I'm hungry for it.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Julie Caroline Harrell Boucek

I am looking around my office here at GCSU for a picture of Julie Boucek with me. On my file cabinet is one of the Julie taken when we went to New York. We had the wildest weekend ever there. Then there's one from the Senior Luncheon in 2001, when Jenn, Joy, and JP graduated. It's a pic of me and my three J editors. I have one on my desk at home of Julie, Randy, Jeffrey and Me from her wedding.

Today is Julie's birthday. Princess, take a bow.

I will never forget the day Julie came to Georgia College. She sat down in my office for registration (I can't even remember who else was in there with her) and said, "OK, let's fill up my schedule. Princess has to graduate." From that day on she was "Princess." I call other students princess, but there is only one "PRINCESS." I even gave her a pillow that said that...

I remember when I approached about running for editor. She didn't know. She didn't think she could do it. She did it. She changed that paper forever. From redesiging it, to bringing news back to it, I credit her as the person who got The Colonnade on a road that it remains on today. She won our first major GCPA awards in years.

Julie is actually the one who nicknamed me Carter. She would never call me Ginger, but she made it clear that only special students could call me Carter. Now, of course, even though I'm a Miller, legions of students call me Carter.

I remember her coming to my aid when the psycho Colonnade editor tried to run it in the ground. When the psycho Colonnade editor published a bootleg edition.

When she was editor, when the Nuwabians started calling the office 24-7 to threaten us because of Nick's editorial.

Uncle Buck and the Clock Tower. That Uncle Buck is about to be a Daddy in Tampa and is also still a good friend....priceless.

"Whose Dean of Students are you? You are certainly not MY dean of students."

When she got mad at me (and that happened a lot) she called me "Ginger Rude as hell Carter"

I remember the Sunday morning she showed up on my doorstep at 7 a.m. threatening to drive to Tampa to kick Jack Wing's butt.

I remember trips to Louisiana and Kansas City and Athens. Hauling ASS down 1-75 to the State Capitol so she and Will Bennett could testify before a senate committee about an open meetings law (that passed). "Carter is a speed racer."

The Pen Man. Randy. etc. I better never make that girl too mad -- the things she knows about me I've never told a soul...of course, then, so do I.

And when she met Bill...and I got divorced and found the man of my dreams, Randy. And she got engaged (called me screaming, on my voicemail. When I got engaged and called screaming on HER voicemail. When I called her and knew she was pregnant before she'd told much of anybody. When Hendley arrived in this wonderful family.

Oh yeah, one more thing I remember. "Whooooa."

And last week, the call..."CARTER, this is Julie, I am trying to stay calm here, but you better drop everything you're doing and call me right now. I mean it. I am a nervous wreck."

The greatest honor Julie (and Bill) ever paid me was considering naming their baby boy Carter Harrell Boucek. Of course, they have a dog named Reagan and I had the last name of a southern Democratic president. Clearly wasn't going to work. The thought, though, moved me beyond words.

Julie, you are a light in all our lives. We love you so much. You are a true friend. Hendley is a blessed baby girl, and Bill has a wonderful wife. And Max and Carol, you know you did good. And Julie, I'll always love you for the love and support you've given "the baby." Jeffrey Carter - Colonnade Mascot. You took him to his first dance. HE has your picture on HIS dresser, too.

We have laughed and cried and laughed some more. I cherish you, my Julie.

Happy Birthday.

Much love, more than you'll ever know.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A test I didn't want to fail

My CA 125 results came back today, as promised. The results are elevated. This is not good. This raises my level of concern. We were at orange. We're at Red.

This was a test I didn't want to fail. With all the symptoms and indicators I have right now, it was the last news I wanted. For the past week I've maintained a positive outlook. That's going to be my challenge now. It still could be a positive outcome, but I'm steeled now for other news.

So here's what happened: I called my doctor's office today, since they told me to call today to get the CA 125 results. I talked to the lovely nurse, who found the result, and immediately (but sweetly) put me on hold. The next voice I heard was that of my doctor.

I had an "oh shit" moment. You know exactly what I mean. (Those of you who know me know, there's only one thing worse than an Oh Shit moment. It's an Oh F*&K moment.)

She gently explained that it was elevated, and that combined with the cyst, the symptoms, my age, and the ultrasound, well, I just blurted out, "this can't be good."

In other words, it was my "oh F&%K" moment. Already.

She asked me if I was ok, and I said of course.

Now, instead of thinking it's nothing, I'm thinking, it's not much. That's all I can muster right now.

Your questions, answered:
1. Until she does the pathology on the ovaries (both are now coming out for sure) we won't know for sure about cancer. But she did say she would get both ovaries out in the surgery and make sure the pathology is back before I wake up.

2. She said for me to bring my meds, and my other preparations, in case I have to spend the night. She said she might have to "open me up." She said to be prepared. I will pack a bag full of drugs and gluten-free food. And a Coke Zero. Would it be inappropriate to bring margaritas?

3. We're still staying with the same date and time. Oct. 29. Randy, my Daddy and Mary, and most likely Amy will be at the hospital with me Monday morning.

I am amazingly overwhelmed at the love and support of my friends, family and students -- even my friends who read this blog. I have a couple of examples that I want to share with you:

•Amy Burt, Jan Clark, Robin Harris, Elaine Whitaker and Scott Dillard -- you know, the girls -- had a party for me Sunday where each of them brough me inspirational thoughts and gifts to get me through this tough time. We laughed, and joked, and cried. So many things stand out and I have been reading and repeating their affirmations. But let me tell you about the frog. Amy Sue produced this blue and green spotted frog, and reminded me to Freely Rely on God. I named the frog FIERCELY because I'm FIERCELY relying on God. And Jannie, well, she brought me a bag a goodies, including a complete Halloween witch costume, plus a BROOM. And the board game Operation. I ALWAYS wanted my own Operation -- I guess my Mama knew I'd have real ones in the future....or would choke on the funny bone. This weekend, I plan to play operation and drink Green Apple Pucker to excess (if it's Gluten Free. Oh I hope so.)

But with verses from Psalms, and Isiah, and Psalms, and Jannie's imitation of Winston Churchill, I left there uplifted. Never, Never, Never give up.

•Jena Simonds sent me the most beautiful flowers and a card I will treasure forever. She also has volunteered to come up before and after to stay with me and help out, since I will be at home for about a week after the surgery itself.

•Mary Jane Pennington brought me a card with a Fairy Godmother in combat boots. She will grant wishes and kick the crap of anyone who gets in the way of my happiness. The boots are purple, too.

• My Belizian sister Angelita Ellis (more on her in a day or so) called me last week, and she writes me daily. She was headed to a special mass where they would pray for me. In Belize.

•My "sister" Susan, see Sunday, brought me a note from her parents, who reminded me I am their kid and they love me. And then Susan let me cry and say mean things about people and curse a lot. AND we went shoppping. While shopping, Susan took notes on Gluten Free cooking so she could bring my favorite thing, a squash casserole. I love a Goggins squash casserole.

•Tommie bought me my own back of Snickers in the office. Snickers are naturally Gluten Free. Ah hell, they're Snickers. So sweet!

•Jess has called me from UNC and written almost daily. She knows how to lift me up.

•My Joyous, Joy Ashley, has first started a blog because she liked mine :-), then she wrote about me. I cried like a baby. I love you my Joyous.

•Jessica, Dorita and Jodie have messaged me daily to remind me they love me. They CANNOT know how much that means to me.

•Shundra came in and cast Satan out of my office and said not to worry, I will be healed. You'd have to know Shundra to know how much that means to me. I love that crazy girl -- we've been through a lot.

•Randy put gas in my car. You have to understand -- we keep all our finances and stuff separate. I have never put gas in his car. He did it twice. I told him I hoped he wasn't planning to take me to Disney World. Poor love, I am more worried right now about him.

• Gretchen, I love you. You know why.

•Messages, emails, calls, cards, wall posts on facebook, wall posts here, hugs, from here and afar, from Wales, from all over. Bless you all for reaching out to me. Bless you all. LOVE you all.

So now, here is what I continue to need from you, if it's not too much to ask:
1. I need to know you continue to pray and think good positive thoughts for me, for my Randy, who is also upset, and for my Daddy and Mary, who are also worried. I know they would appreciate your kind thoughts and prayers.
2. Jeffrey does not know any of this and will not know until the last possible moment and when I know for sure what is going on. If you call me and I say I can't talk because I'm with Jeffrey, please understand that this is why.

Ummmm....Kate and Carrie, if you have any of those yummy GF cookies and pies left, can you send them to me? Just kidding. But i am starting to worry about the dining issues that are going to emerge the week after surgery when I'm alone with Randy. I will be cooking and baking up a storm this weekend and next.

It has come to my attention that some people think I'm a little selfish for sharing news about my medical condition on my blog, and with my students in classes. If you know me, you know I'm likely to tell you when I have a toenail problem. If you don't want to talk to me about it, I understand. But know that I've told people who matter to me. If I've told you, you're special.

Well, that's the update. Sorry I didn't include the recipe. More recipes in a couple of days.

Much love, Ging

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeting

sorry, but Monday has sucked.

Today was National Grouch Day, and I was crowned its queen.

I have about six complaints I'd like to lodge to the universe today, but I can't blog them here. All involve my getting insulted by something someone else did or said to me today. Students and faculty. Friends and family. All equal opportunity offenders.

My emotions are on edge. There is no question. Two weeks from now, I will know something.

There were two deaths over the weekend that upset me -- my friend Doris's dear mother, who was in her 90s, died after a long, useful life, but a short illness. It hurts to lose your Mama no matter how old you are.

And my friend and colleague, Chesley, found her husband dead Saturday morning. He died of natural causes in his sleep. He was 61 and they'd been married fewer than 10 years. So in love. This is devastating to me.

And me, I'm a ball of nerves. Tom Petty may have warbled that "the waiting is the hardest part," and he is wrong, of course. But waiting still sucks.

You need a laugh now, don't you?

Six nuns in town stopped at the local pub for a cold beverage. Smile for the camera, ladies.

Much love, and grrrrr. I'll have a new recipe from last week tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to my Daddy (A Sunday Blessing)

Mary serves Daddy the cake

Oct. 15. 1923, was a pretty important date in history. My Daddy, Leman Iven Rudeseal, was born in Alto, Georgia.

I don't think they called him Leman Iven -- according to his baby Bible, given to him by my great grandmother, he was Iver Leman. Somehow it got changed around. As long as I've known him, of course, he's been Daddy. That's almost 51 years. But his initials were L.I. and always, people called him "Rudy." For years, my Mama was "Mrs. Rudy." The Rudy, I have always thought, came from the Navy or from the Georgia Power Company. The only people who call him Leman are other men whose last name is Rudeseal, and Mary, his longtime partner in love and life.

Saturday night, we threw a brthday party for Daddy at his home in Atlanta. His best friend from college, the spry, chipper, 81-year-old Harry P. Johnson.
Rudy and Harry, bringing new meaning to BFF!

So was my "sister" and college best friend Susan Goggins,

Susan and me, still crazy after all these years

and Daddy's neighbor, Gretchen Cannon, also came over. We heart her so much.
Beautiful Gretchen

Harry and his lovely lady, Martha, were there.

I decided to cook Daddy a dinner of his choice and make him a gluten-free coconut cake. We talked on the phone this week about one of the dishes my Mama used to make he really liked -- Countryside Chicken Bake. I decided to make it -- it's GF, with only a small adaptation. We also had salad, bread, and carrots. AND CAKE! Mary set a beautiful table for everyone to enjoy, and we all sat around, drinking margaritas and nibbling on cheese, crackers and green beans. It was great fun.

The dinner was fine (once we got the chicken in the casserole cooked -- how embarrassing for me). But the cake, it was really delicious. No one would have known it was a gluten-free cake, had I not told them.

The blessing part of this, of course, is that at 84 my Daddy is still healthy and happy at home, surrounded by people he loves, and still blessing people all the time. I know Gretchen counts on him for fatherly advice, and to Susan he might as well be here other father. He's been around her for 31 years! Randy loves talking to his father-in-law, and he came up from Tampa for the party, even! For Jeffrey, well, there is no one more important to him than his Papa, They are best friends on such a deep level.

Jeffrey and his Papa

For me, it's a blessing that I have been so lucky to have someone to guide me to who I am today. He gave me my sense of humor and sense of justice -- sadly, I wish I had his math skills -- and he has given me so much more,

My Daddy is a great story teller, and my love of story telling has come from him. I hope one day I'm as good as it as he is. I just love to sit back and listen to him talk about things. One of things I'd love to do is have time all alone with him, just him and me, to talk -- about when I was little, about when he married my Mama, about life.

So. Here's to my Daddy, and many many more happy birthdays with gluten-free coconut cake (and Countryside Chicken Bake).

Much love, and Daddy, I love you!

Countryside Chicken Bake

We dug into the Countryside Chicken Bake

Six chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless.
3 cups cooked rice (we use Minute Rice)
1 cup celery
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 T. chopped dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 T. Mrs Dash Herb and Garlic

2/3 cup Italian Dressing (our traditional is Kraft Italian)***
2 T. Butter or Margerine, melted
I can Health Valley Cream of Mushroom soup.

Mix rice, veggies and spices and place in a large baking dish. Top with chicken breasts. Top with dressing, marg and soup.
(When my Mama cooked this the first time in the early 1970s, to her, "salad dressing" meant Kraft. Not Miracle Whip, which is probably what the author meant -- Italian dressing. Guess what? It's great that way!"
Bake at 350 degrees hour until chicken is all but cooked through. Top with cooked mini carrots, sprinkle with paprika, and heat 15 more minutes.

Serves about six people. Double for a crowd as I did, but for goodness sake, crank up the heat some and leave it in til the chicken is cooked!

GF Coconut Poke Cake

Gf Coconut Poke Cake

1 package GF cake mix, white or yellow (I used Bread of Life) make to directions, sustituting
•In place of milk or water in the cake mix, use light coconut milk (about 1/2 cup)
•Add 2/3 cups shredded/flaked sweetened coconut
•Add 1 t. Coconut extract

Make cake by directions on box til done when a tester inserted comes out clean.
Take a fork and poke holes in the cake all around the surface, til it is covered.

Mix one can sweeted condensed milk with 2 t. coconut extract and pour on cake while the cake is still warm. You can also pour on a can of Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut (NOT MILK). Whichever's easiest. Coco Lopez is in the drink aisle of the story.

Refrigerate this overnight at least, or a few hours. Cake will be cool.

Take one can of heavy whipped cream and cover the top of the cake with it, then spread on a thick cover of flaked coconut.

Take cake out of fridge about an hour before cutting.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

A tribute: In memory of "The Colonel"

My friend Janet's Daddy died this morning in Dothan, Alabama. I am sad. He was very sick (with Cancer).

This is a food memory of sorts. It's in honor of one hell of a man.

But first let me tell you about my sister Janet. Janet Lynn Davis (that other name) Richardson has been my adopted sister for 30 years. We met the first week of graduate school at Auburn University, when I was a scared to death, woefully unprepared, and at least four years younger than all my classmates. She and I became fast friends, and from the beginning, we shared a love of Julia Child, the Manhattan Transfer, and The Music Man. I can and have told her anything and everything, since I don't have any sisters and I get to choose mine. (I recently sent an email to Janet via her REAL sister Gail, noting I'm the sister she never met..)

Some of our best memories revolve around food and drink. Like the time we went into a nameless liquor store in Columbus, Georgia, on a Saturday morning looking for Riunite (Reunite on ice...very nice) for an Oxtail Soup Party at Johnny Garrison's house that night. We asked for two bottles, and the clerk looked at the two of us, and said with a straight face, "would you like those chilled?"

Janet looked at this guy with a straight face and said, "Do you have any straws?"

We also used to have this routine: I'd say, "You ain't nothin but a two-bit ho" and she'd said, "shut up or I'll hit you with my bag or quarters".

Recipes, music, opera, backgammon, runs to Columbus, "the little stable boy." Dim Sum, peaches, venison, bagels, BODYGETTA! (war damn eagle), Germany, Penzeys Spices, Tortilla, all things Spanish, kitchen gadgets...Janet and I share so much. We've had periods when we drifted out of touch, but reconnecting has always been like one of us has been out of the room for five minutes. We can talk for hours.

in 1980, a few weeks after I married my first husband, Janet married Don Richardson. He is one of the best professors I ever studied with (Psych of Communication, Fall 1977, AU). I love him almost as much as I love her (which in case you haven't guessed, is a hell of a lot). One thing I love is their anniversary tradition -- they always have pizza because that is what they ate as their wedding dinner. They performed a hilarious "reader's theater" derived from "The Princess Bride" at our wedding. It brought down the house, especially when Don broke into his imitation of Peter Cook with "Mawwige...." and "Twue Wuve."

One of my favorite food memories is from 1978, when Janet's Daddy, Col. Ed Davis, was in Columbus for some Army business. I have always called Janet's parents, "The Col. and Jimmie." Well, they were stationed in Washington then, near the end of The Colonel's career, and he called Janet to meet him at our favorite Chinese place in Columbus. She let me go along.

We're eating wonderful Chinese food and talking about stuff, and The Colonel tells a story about eating the food in Vietnam in his earlier, distinguished military career. A Vietnamese officer offered Ed pigeon during a meal, offering the most honored treat to him as a, well, honored guest. And, as the the Colonel put it, with an earnest voice, "I had to tell him with regret that Col. Davis did not wish to suck the brains out of the pigeon."

I am holding all the lovely people who love Ed Davis in my heart, my thoughts, and my prayers today. I know this is a sad time. But I know I will never forget him. I am blessed to be a part of his extended, albeit adopted, family.

I'm not there with you Janet, in person, but I am there. You know that.

Much love, Ging

Janet sent me this note today: I wanted to share:

On Friday afternoon, the minister who was to give the eulogy came to
talk to us all, fishing for anecdotes to include in his remarks to the
assembled masses.

I read him your blog posting about Daddy's squeamish stomach in
Vietnam. Bob (the minister) thought it was hilarious. Even after mother said
she didn't think he ought to use it, he did. He read it verbatim during
the eulogy, citing "Janet's best friend Ginger" as the author. It was the
hit of the eulogy. Thanks so much for sharing. Gail was even able to
remember the name of the officer who invited Daddy to dinner at his house.
(Don't ask me to try to spell it.) She said the one pigeon was the centerpiece of
a meal for 8 people!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It is what it is

artwork by Carrie Ann Saville

(Sorry if you think this is sappy. I need to write this. Thanks for reading.)

I used to have a roommate, Betty Ann, who said , "I'd give my left ovary for...." well, everything. A hot man. A new car. A new record.

Turns out, I will soon get my chance to do the same. (How's that, PR Girls Gone Wild?)

As not to bury the lede (as we say in journalism) I am scheduled for surgery on Monday, Oct. 29. I have a golf-ball sized cyst on my left ovary. My doctor, Dr. Marisol San Inocensio, is going to tee off and slice it -- and my ovary -- in laparascopic surgery on that Monday.

Questions? Of course, I hear you Julie Boucek. And Joy and Jenn, I'm thinking, "A gallbladder is not a necessity." Why do all my surgical emergencies happen in my PR Writing class?

1. Wait. How did you figure that you had this? It was first uncovered three years ago when I had my appendix out. It was small then and soft. It's big and hard now, and it is causing some symptoms.

2. What symptoms, you ask? Well, actually, major pelvic and back pain, lower abdomenal burning, significant bloating (not glutenating bloating, either) headaches. Nausea. Toilet things not related or like anything I had pre GF.

3. When did I notice them? They've gotten worse in the past six months and more noticeable since my intestines have been healing. Dr. Catie did an ultrasound after I complained a four weeks ago, and I got the results Wednesday. Monday I called the doctor to make an earlier appointment, and when Dr. Marisol saw the ultrasound, she moved me into the office today.

4. Why then? We're waiting for my CA125 Ovarian cancer screening to come back, and making sure I don't have a high white count to do the surgery. She and I would have done it Monday, but I have too many advisees and papers. I can wait til Oct. 29.

5. But not later. The ultrasound report said to "pursue aggressively." Bless them all, they are. Bless them.

6. Wait, you said....ovarian cancer....does that mean? Well, we don't know yet. We will not know for sure until she goes in on Oct. 29. She told me, and I quote, "I'll go in, and I'll take the cyst and the ovary, and maybe the right ovary, too. But if it's cancer, I'll close you right up." The ultrasound, she said, didn't read like it is cancer, but ovarian cancer is silent and pervasive. We'll know when we know. Randy, bless that sweet man, is thinking more positive than I am, but I always front load the worry so the relief is so sweet. We're encouraged and cautious at the same time.

I've never ever had someone tell me something in my body could be cancer. That's disorienting. But I digress.

7. This is the important part to me. I believe in positive energy and prayer, and yours will be a great support. I am in the hands of brilliant doctors and Someone who knows that my work here is not yet done. The Girls Gone Wild have to graduate.
I need to be here for My Randy and for My Jeffrey and for My Daddy.

8. I repeat. My work here is not done.

9. I ain't going nowhere without a fight.

As Dana wrote on my facebook site today, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:27.
I like that. I claim that. Don't worry about me -- use that time usefully. Think positive. Pray. etc.

I ain't going nowhere. And thank God I know I'm not alone.

Much, much love, and remember, it is what it is. And we'll deal.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Midterm stress release!

It is midterm, and boy howdy, can I tell all around.

This was just what I needed today! Thanks to the brilliant, lovely Whitney Fee for sending it to me!
(sorry, I can't make it hot link. Worth the cut and paste.)

Much love, and ROTFLMAO!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

In praise of strong, brilliant women (A Sunday Blessing)

Who among us can honestly say we love our doctors?

Well, let me step up and say, I do. I especially love my two two women doctors, Lee Edwards and Catherine Robets.

Lee is a Ph.D. -- my shrink -- and Catie (Katie? Sorry if I mess up the first letter) is an MD -- my internist. When I finally leave Milledgeville for a full time life with my husband in Tampa (or wherever) I will make special trips back to see them, if they'll still have me. I will never, ever find better doctors.

They're amazing. I sing their praises. I am blessed to have them in my life. They are the eptiome of precision health care.

I went to both of these woman about the same time --around the year 2000. I finally got in as one of Lee's patients when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis at the age of 43. She has seen me through some real trauma and pain -- physical and mental -- and has been there whenever I have needed her. She's a wonderful woman, wife, mom and grandma to a new beautiful little boy. She lives on a farm around the corner from me and loves the outdoors and her horses. She is a little bit older than me, and I so look up to her. I can't tell you how much I admire her as a person.

Catie, well, she inherited me when Earl Berman left town. I am sad about the circumstances he left town under, but not sad that he left. I was about to switch doctors. Catie was about 14 then (fresh into practice after all that residency stuff in Savanah) and she and her husband, Reed (Jeffrey's doctor) were the cute new doctor couple in town. They've made quite an impact on the medical community here. They're MUCH loved around here. They're still the cute doctor couple in town, with two adorable kids. She said the other day she finds me amusing. I didn't take that as an insult. It's nice to go to a doctor who likes to see you come in the door.

Let me talk about the main reason I admire these medical professionals so much: They listen to me and trust me. That's not always easy and is a great skill both share. They know when to push, when to laugh, and when to hug.

There are two examples I have that have made a tremendous impact on me:

When I went to see Lee the day after I asked my ex for a divorce, she asked me point blank if I was sure. I said yes. So she said, very simply, then I'll support you in your decision. And she did. Probably one thing that has meant the most to me is that she came to my wedding -- and the party afterward. She, more than anyone, knew how desperately miserable I was in my first marriage, and how hard I'd worked to find the happiness and love I share with my Randy. I know she has to have a line between doctor and patient, but one reason I love her so much is because she knows when it's ok for us to be friends. The look on her face in the wedding pictures and videos I have is one of pure joy. I am proud she was there to share it with me.

And Catie, well, she takes me seriously, even though that's not an easy task. I'm an obese woman with type II diabetes, arthritis, gluten intolerance and God knows what else. I'm a little tiny bit of an alarmist, but I'm not a hypochondriac. I am about 90 percent on diagnosis. If I call Vicky, her nurse, and say, "I have bronchitis," I always do. Instead of looking at the outside, she listens to me. She trusts my judgment of ME. My favorite example came, well, twice. Once was when I called her office and told Suzy, her nurse then, that I thought I was blowing my gall bladder. Within an hour I had a call that said they'd made me an appoint with Dr. Harinder Brar, and I should go straight there. (P.S. love him too.) The next morning, I had surgery. The second time came even more suspiciously. I was presenting the symptoms of appendicits, and she believed me...even though my appendix was not distended or ruptured. She sent in me for more tests, and I ran into Dr. Brar who worked with her on the diagnosis. Turns out it never presented classicly, as they say on Grey's Anatomy, but when the path report came back, I had early acute appendicitis.

I've been having a crisis of confidence about another of my long-standing doctors, and it was Catie (OK, I admit it, I always call her Dr. Catie) who gently encouraged me that it was OK to seek a second opinion on a recent medical change the first doctor has ignored. I know, if this latest medical....what to call it? A scare? A crisis? is worse than it looks (and I am very worried it is, and I suspect that she is too. I just get that feeling) that she (and her wonderful nurse Vickie) will be there for me AND with me if I have to go through any weird stuff.

And so will Lee. She and I talked at length about this need to change doctors, and she was, again, supportive of me. She knows I'm apprehensive about this latest diagnosis. And she is there for me.

Do you love your doctor? If you don't have a Lee Edwards or Catherine Roberts in your life, I suggest you go find them. You deserve it. My life is more complete because of their presence, and I thank God every day for them. They are a blessing on Monday to Saturday, not just this one Sunday.

Much love, and happy Sunday!

P.S. Jess, I love you to death. Thanks for being there for me. YOUR Sunday is coming.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ode to Corn Dogs

First, a confession. I love hot dogs. The cheaper the better. Don't tell me any Upton Sinclair-isms, I don't want to hear them. I on purpose have avoided "The Jungle" my whole life. I like dark grilled hot dogs, almost burned, on the grill. I love them any way. Some day I'll tell you about my hot dog Reuben...

But no question, I love a corn dog. At the fair this time of year, I can't wait to have one. I love them at convenience stores, too. They're just special. I love them.

But being GF, well, it presents a corn dog "vacuum" that I wanted to fill. One woman on the CD forum suggested cutting them up in corn bread batter, and though that sounded yummy to me, it just wasn't the same.

I needed shape. Crunch. A whole hot dog. And I didn't want them deep fried.

So today I tinkered with my corn bread recipe and, using my corn stick pan, created some mighty pretty -- and I might add, mighty tasty -- corn dogs.

Here's how they looked in the pan (and is a look at a cast-iron corn stick pan, if you've never seen one).

And here's how they looked, top and bottom, when done:

No penis jokes, please.

Corn Dogs (makes 7 at a time if you have a corn stick pan)

•One package hot dogs (7 regular size) or 4 Big Dogs, cut in half
(Trust me that mine are GF, but they also cost $1 a pack. You can use all beef, etc.)
1 cup corn meal (GF)
1 cup corn FLOUR (gf)
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs or egg replacement equivalent
1 heaping teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
about 1 cup milk or buttermilk, or a mix of the two (it takes more buttermilk)

Mix all the batter ingredients except milk, and slowly add milk till you have a medium thick batter (like medium oatmeal).

Spray or oil the corn stick pan, but do not preheat it. Add a scant tablespoon to cover the bottom of each stick but do not fill. Nestle hot dog in stick but do not press in too hard. Batter should come up around (if you're using a cut hot dog, put cut side up.) Cover each til stick is filled and rounded. It's OK if the hot dog is peeking out a little on the end. Using a knife or your finger, draw lines between each stick to make sure they're separate and independent. (you will have batter left).

Bake at 350 degrees for between 45 minutes to one hour, until it is toasty brown and the bottom is crisp (you can lift the corn dog out to see if the bottom is crisp).

If you don't have a corn stick pan, which you might not, try this: Spread one-half batter on the bottom of an 8x8 baking pan.
Put the 8 dogs in a row on top about an inch apart, spread out, and top with remaining batter. Bake about 15 minutes and score each corn dog in the pan. Finish baking until crisp and dark brown.

Let cool slightly, remove from pan, and eat.

The corn flour adds a distinctly different texture to these, more like the processed, thick batter on the corn dogs at the fair. They're just not as greasy. I suppose they could be very low fat depending on the hot dog you choose.

Much love, and pass the mustard!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Your gluten-free moment of Zen

I love Jon Stewart's show, and I especially love the "moment of Zen" segment he closes with every night.

I had a Gluten-free moment of Zen yesterday.

Setting: "Scoops" ice cream shop in downtown Milledgeville.
Characters: GF Ginger and her Spanish host son, Simon. Simon is working back in Spain but came to town, well, to see me. He was in Georgia for a wedding. We'd had a wonderful lunch and stolled up the street for dessert.

We peruse the ice cream offerings in the quaint shop, smelling the flavors and looking at all the rich goodies.

Me, to clerk: Is your ice cream base made with flour?

Clerk, to me: There is gluten in all our ice cream (Note that she said gluten. Aha! She's in the know).

Me: Really? Even in the plain flavors?

Clerk: Yes, we tell patrons worried about gluten issues that we cannot guarantee that any of our ice cream flavors are free of gluten. We do this to protect their health.

Me: Hmmm. That's strange. Even the sorbet?

Clerk: That is probably the safest.

Simon and I chat a second.

Me: OK, I'll have the sorbet.

Clerk: Would you like that in a cone?


Well, at least I had a great time with my beloved Simon.

Much love, Ging

Finally, Friday

or in my case, FRIED-Day, which describes my mental state right now.

I don't know where to start, but maybe a nap would be a good place.

Let me start with the good news: I have met the keymaster, the gatekeeper, of the GF food stash at my local Kroger. Her name is Jessica. I love her.

Today, for a second time, we discussed some possible things she could order in the GF/organic section. Really, considering the size of Hooterville, it's decent. They have lots of Amy's GF, but they didn't have the rice-crust pizza. They had lots of Bob's product, but not the new oats. And they have three or four Larabar brands, but not Jocalat -- which is a mind-blower.

So we chatted, and I went away to hide marked down food so I could get it later today (seriously), then went to check out. She caught me at the register and had ALREADY ordered three kinds of Jocalat, the Amy's Rice Crust Pizza, and the Bob's oats. She is looking into the GFP Brownie Mix (which will keep me forever out of WalMart except for Monster Truck runs for Jeffrey). And I can order Pamela's bread mix online.

But I was so pleased.

This weekend, because of a pot luck at work Wednesday, I'm going to be prepping some food and baking. I'm going to make a muffin in honor of my friend Kate. I'm going to make Carrie's pizza dough. And I'm going to make my own breakfast sausage casserole. OH, and Banana Nut Bread.

until then....I think that nap is winning.

Much love, sleepy Ging

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Crock Pot Pozole

Randy came up for the weekend on Friday, an extra-special treat because 1. there was lots of good football last weekend, 2. I was clogging at a festival on Saturday and he'd never seen me with the group in performance, 3. We RARELY get back-to-back weekend visits, so I was happy I would get to see him two weekends in a row! Almost like a normal marriage. Jeffrey was also thrilled he was coming -- Jeffrey absolutely adores Randy! It had also been good weather for the past few days, and I knew it would be a beautiful weekend.

I was right. It was. USF (go BULLS) won on Friday and now are no. 6 in the nation. That makes my sweetie happy, so it makes me happy. Auburn won on Saturday. See Below. The festival was wonderful (I bought some great local honey, and the best treat ever -- hot fried pork rinds, spicy, cooked in a vat and NO GLUTEN.

Friday night, I wanted something easy. I wanted to veg during the day (the boss was away, no faculty meetings, just papers to grade). I got a pound of stew beef and a prime rib roast for Sunday on the markdown tray at Kroger. I came home and made this stew. I'd read about Pozole in a newspaper section, and I thought, well, I'll try it. It was amazing. GREAT comfort food, and so delicious. I'm going to make it with pork next time. The seasoning blend is my own concoction -- I have it the easy way and MY way, with my Penzeys spices. Try it either way.

Pozole is a Mexican/Colombian comfort food. What makes this a Pozole is the addition of the hominy. After I made it, before I named it, I read more about it. I had heard of Pozole, but I'd never eaten it. This is awful close to authentic....

Crock Pot Pozole

Note: This is not a a spicy dish, but if you like spicy food, add the hot Rotel).

2 pounds of lean cubed pork or stew beef (either works, but pork is traditional) You could use individual boneless pork chops too.
2 cans of drained hominy, white or yellow
1 can cubed potatoes
2 cans Rotel with chilis (mild is really mild. We use Spicy
(or any other tomates with green chilis or Chili Style)
1 cup chopped carrots
4 garlic cloves
Optional: One chopped onion

1 package GF taco sauce
(or 2 t. cumin, 2 t. ancho chili powder, and 1 t. red pepper flakes)
1 package GF ranch style dressing mix (I use Penzeys mix -- 2 T.)
2 T. Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herbs seasoning
1 t. dried oregano

Put meat in the Crock Pot first, then add all the other stuff. Stir it and put on simmer high for five hours, then on simmer low.

Before serving, garnish with grated cheese, pickled jalepeno peppers, a dollop of sour cream, or a squeeze of lime. OR, just serve it as is...

I was astounded how good this was. We had it with GF cornbread, but I'd also serve it with warmed GF corn tortillas or chips.


Of special note for me today. On this day in 1991, I was diagnosed formally and officially as a type II diabetic. While I've only gotten very precise with this in the last 18 months, I mark the date because it changed the course of my life forever. I don't want to blog about how horrible I felt, or how depressed I became, or how scared I was -- just that, to loosly quote the musical Rent, I'm living with it, not dying from it, God willing.

Much love, and happy fall day to you!


Monday, October 1, 2007

Much Larabar Love

If you mosey on over to the Larabar site

You'll see that your favorite wacky southern gluten free blogger chick has been named
(trumpet sounds, drumroll please)

The Larabar Fan of the Day!

See there I am with my sweet Randy in one of my favorite pre-married pics of us. I still had red hair then! GAH!

I'd like to thank the Larabar Blogger Dude, Lewis, who thinks I'm a stalker :-) circa Kathy Bates in Misery, for this honor. Lewis, blog on with your bad self.

I'd like to thank that weird guy from Mississippi at Vitamin World for introducing me to Larabar.

And I'd like to thank the academy...wait...never mind.

All you healthy people out there -- or those of you like me who just want to be healthy: Buy a Larabar. They're delicious.

Much love, and have I mentioned that Cocoa Mole is my favorite flavor, thank you very much!