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

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sloppy Ging

My Mom was never much for Sloppy Joes when I was a kid. It wasn't very diet friendly for starts, and she didn't make many things like that -- the occasional meatloaf, but rarely a Sloppy Joe.

So go figure that when I got to high school, that delectable treat became one of my favorite lunches. Some people called it mystery meat, but I loved the tomaty tang of it. I LOVE a good Sloppy Joe.

When I was married the first time round, I liked to occasionally make Sloppy Joes, but it wasn't a fav of the ex's. And Jeffrey can take it or leave it. Thanksfully, the times I made it for my Randy, he enjoyed it very much.

Being gluten free really puts a crimp in a good Sloppy Joe, that's for sure. I mean, no bun, some sauces have gluten, etc.

But last night, I had an epiphany and created the new GF treat -- The Sloppy Ging! I hope you'll love it as much as I do. (I'd serve it with a side of corn and some salad if I had to add sides. Or maybe some nice cole slaw). Me, I just had some sliced pineapple for dessert. Even Jeffrey enjoyed it -- I caught him sneaking a couple of spoonfuls when I went into the kitchen. He's already had dinner, too!

Sloppy Ging (serves 3-4)

1 pound of lean ground meat (can be beef, turkey or chicken. I use 4 percent lean beef).
1 t. olive oil
Garlic Salt and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning, to taste
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
1 handful sliced mushrooms (leftovers)
1 can GF Sloppy Joe sauce (read the label -- I tuaws one with no gluten or MSG)
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni (GF Tinkyada if you're GF)
1/2 cup shredded cheese, your choice

Season and cook the meat, onions and mushrooms til almost done, dump in the macaroni, and add the sauce. Let simmer for a few minutes. Turn of heat. Sprinkle with cheese and let melt, covered, for about 10 minutes.

LET me tell you, I didn't miss the bread at all! The al dente elbows (Tinkyada is my brand, cooked the quick cook way) absorbed some of the sauce (Tink is good that way). Even though there were four servings, I wolfed down two. It was GREAT! I'll finish the leftovers tonight, I'm sure.

Re: The perfect bread: Thanks to Carrie (Ginger Lemon Girl) I have a recipe for a bread I want to try soon. She suggested I do it with a hand mixer, and I can do that later in the week (after March 1) when I've got some time. But I might just put it in the bread machine...I know I shouldn't because of rising cycles and all, but hey -- what do I have to lose but a couple cups of flour. Thanks, Carrie, Love ya!

Much love, Sloppy Ging (it's aptly named, I'm tellin ya!)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Staff of life (A Sunday Blessing?)

OK, I admit it. I MISS soft, white bread. And the occasional soft bun.

Gluten-free Steve asked me that questions for his wonderful blogging event, and I said I missed Wonder Bread.

I can honestly say I can manage to adapt ANY GF FOOD I WANT, but I have come up a big fat zero on the bread scene. Cornbread? No problem (no sugar!). Biscuits? Got it. Pancakes and waffles? Good to go. I even like my beer bread, but it isn't a sandwich bread by any stretch.

But dang it, I want a sandwich on a piece of decently soft bread.

Last week, for instance, I noticed that my colleague was eating a turkey sandwich he brought from home. It was on that Captain John Durst's bread (the butter kind, the one that is light yellow) and I honestly SWOONED over it. I can't get it out of my mind.

But I have not to this moment found a bread mix or recipe that works for me. I admire my friend Melanie who has found bread she likes to make in her Zo, and Cassandra who can make it in her machine AND in a mixer. I am envious of ALL of you who have a bread you love sitting on the counter (or in the freezer). I DO have a flour mix I like, finally. But no bread.

But I'm stumped. Help me?

Here are the parameters:
•I would buy a good loaf of bread if you've ever tasted one. I sure haven't.
•I don't have a stand mixer here, so I have to mix it with a hand mixer.
•My bread machine is 1.5 pounds, not two. So that lets out GFP mix and its derivatives.
•I have sensitivity to sorghum and oat flours. (I DO like Pamela's mix, but it has lots of sorghum, and last time I made it, I got really sick to my poor stomach).
•I need a recipe that begins X cups of gf flour mix and that uses primarily brown and white rice flour. I don't want to go out and buy millet or amaranth or whatever. Keep it way simple.

I welcome the exchange, fellow GF buddies. Let me know what you think.

Where's the blessing? I have friends I can turn to for help. HELP!

Much love, and thanks for the help!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More from Amy's Kitchen

Last night, in spite of a tummy ache, I tried the Amy's Kitchen Ziti bowl. This is a great little fast food item (heat and eat) that all of you, whether GF or not, might actually enjoy. It's gluten free and dairy free, but don't let that fool you. It is a tasty dish.

Moms, this could be good healthy finger food for the kiddies. And you'd not mind cleaning up after this one.

I have to tell you, though, the thing I liked the most was the little green peas in it. That's a real Sicilian touch (according to my relatives) to put sweet peas in a spaghetti sauce.

Good stuff. Alas, I can't get it in my stores. I can't really get anything much in Kroger here any more. I'm really peeved at them.

But Amy's Ziti Bowl was close enough for this Italian girl.

Another word on that individual mini Amy's Pizza:

The other night, when I got in from school, I wanted pizza, and all I had was another brand than Amy's. I tried it, and it just didn't have the substance of that small Amy's pizza. So I am really happy to confirm that Amy's dairy free individual pizza IS indeed a good choice.

Much love, and all that jazz,

A P.S. My bro Gluten-Free Steve, who read about the Ziti here, found some in his local Whole Foods and had it for lunch today. He enjoyed it! I of course still can't find it here in Hooterville, but I would buy it if I could find it. I guess I'll just have to settle for the Palak Paneer (YUM YUM -- Amy's, you ROCK Indian Food IMHO).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Some good news, at last!

Randy and I are going to Lisbon, Portugal, to present a paper in May!

We submitted it to an international literary journalism conference, and it was accepted. This is a very selective, small conference, so we are delighted our paper was selected.

Now, how to be gluten free in Portugal....

Much love, and check out Gluten Free Steve's blog event this week. Yours truly is featured, typos and all!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A delightful Amy's Pizza and some hot ceral, too.

A few weeks ago on The Celiac Chicks website, they said Amy's Kitchen was having a free food giveaway for people on Gluten Free Diets. Since I a) eat a LOT of Amy's frozen products (they're the only GF frozen food I can get in Milledgeville) and b) love free stuff! I entered the contest.

Their PR representative contacted me and said I didn't win, but they wanted to send me some products to try since I blog about GF products. A week later, I had a package on my doorstep for four Amy's items.

Here's my report on two of them:

The first I tried was Amy's Organic Rice Cereal Bowl. (It's in the pic above near the top right.) I'd had a bad day and needed some warm comfort. It took about two minutes in the microwave, and it was ready. I must have done something wrong, because it exploded all over the place. But I just scraped it up and ate it anyway. I loaded it up with some heart healthy margarine and Splenda (which is how I like cream of rice cereal). It was delicious. It reminded me of when Jeffrey was a baby in Germany, when we would make "Creamy Feet" as he called it. (The ex called it Cream of Das Wheat.) I used to love Cream of Wheat, and this harkened back to that treat. ONLY thankfully, not wheat.

Now, it probably cost as much as a whole bag of cream of rice cereal for one serving. You have to weigh the price for convenience. But it was made with agave nectar for a slight sweetness, and it really was delicious.

The second item, well, it really rocked my sad little world. This was an individual rice crust, dairy free pizza. Again, delicious, and I would buy this if I could get my stupid Kroger or Wal Mart to stock it.

I followed the directions to the letter, adding some turkey pepperoni, sliced onion, and sliced fresh mushrooms to the top. It was crisp all the way around the crust with a tangy sauce and nice melty cheese. But what I really loved was the thin, crisp crust. I've only had pizza two other times since I went GF, and this was every bit as good as the ones I'd tried out (without the risk of Pizza Parlor CC).

Jeffrey, who had a pizza from Domino's that same night, came in while I was devouring my treat. He tried to steal it and I SCREAMED at him not to. It was that good.

Now, I'm in Tampa this weekend and did some recon yesterday to see if I could find these in Publix and the local health food store. I didn't see them.

But if they sound appealing to you, you should try to get your store to stock them. I know I'd buy the mini pizza again.

Two more products await me in the freezer. I'll report back.

Much love, and THANKS, Amy's, for sending those to me.

P.S. Some of you have asked about Wednesday and how it went. Excrutiating. It has been a tough week all around. We're still not done. This isn't over. My agony continues and is now compounded by embarrassment and horror. Please keep all of us in your prayers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More on the Martha decision

Here's is Martha's official response.

As the VP noted in my comments, and as I said, yes, allergies DID win the popular vote, but they're not going to be the specialty publication Martha will produce next -- pets will.

I'll be that cute little Beagle Juno who won Westminster will be on a cover near you soon.

Thank you for contacting Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
We appreciate your interest in the Martha Stewart Omnimedia family of publications.

As Martha stated on the program, though the "allergy-free" special issue was the popular winner, she felt that since many of our readers have pets, that this was a better fit for the organization at this time. This was supposed to a fun thing for fans.

We value your feedback. We have shared your message with the Martha Stewart Omnimedia editorial and advertising teams.
We have also forwarded your message to Martha Stewart.
Thank you once again for taking a moment to share your thoughts.
MSLO Customer Relationsjavascript:void(0)


Much love,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dang it, Martha, we trusted you: A PROTEST

I should have stuck with my original thought: Martha Stewart was NOT going to ask her audience to vote on a new magazine without already having one planned. And knowing her love of animals, I should have known Martha would go to the dogs.

My daddy always said, "Lie Down with Dogs, Wake up with Fleas." Well Martha, I hope you're happy. And I hope you get fleas.

She did this to the entire allergy community today on her show. Even though a whopping 58 percent of those who voted (many times I might add) voted for a publication that would cater to people with food allergies, Martha's new mag will be PET CENTERED.

Will foo on you Martha poo.

Now, I was taught in journalism school, "Never pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel," and also, "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own them." In other words, she owns the cards, so she calls the game (Cliches are us today....sorry). I have to say I'm not surprised.

But I am OUTRAGED by her faux poll and subsequent decision. No WONDER the votes disappeared last week! Did she not know we were out there?

I think our 58 percent who voted to be heard and posted more than 700 comments (most of those were ours -- did you read any? HEART wrenching, some of them) should reply to this by doing one thing:


I am going to give my money, my time, my business, and my attention, to someone who takes my daily plight with food intolerances and allergies serious consideration. I won't buy her sheets. I won't buy her toys. And I won't buy her magazines.

As my sister Janet used to say about Liz Claiborne, well, it involved the F Bomb. You get my drift.

Who needs Martha Stewart (or her dunderheaded daughter, Alexis)? Let's show her OUR buying power.

We're here. And We'll Steer Clear!

Much love, and take that, Martha -- right in the old pocketbook! And that's all I'm gonna say about that.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

The last day of my 50th year (A Sunday Blessing)

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 51 years old.

I am a sentimental old fool when it comes to my birthday.

I never thought I'd live past 23. In fact, in high school, I was sure I would be dead before I finished college. I always had a macabre sense of humor...AT one point I even had my funeral planned.

I'd like to take this little bit of blog space to thank you, my friends and my family, who visit here looking for wacky stories and recipes from the South. This blog has been my respite since August. It keeps me on my gluten free diet, it keeps me positive that I'm healing myself. And it lets me have new friends in places I never dreamed about.

My blessing is that I have so much good in my life, even if there are challenges I face every day. No one said it was going to be easy. If it's too easy, I generally don't appreciate it. So here are some people and things I appreciate as I move into this next year. I hope one year from today, all these things are still as vital a part of my life as they this minute.

Randy, I appreciate you AND love you because you love me for all I am, and all I am not. Jeffrey, I appreciate you AND love you, even if I do want to make you walk home some days. Daddy, I appreciate you AND love you more than you'll ever know, especially since you know how hard I work every day and love me unconditionally, even when I disappoint you. Mary, I appreciate and love all you've done for my Daddy. When my mother died, I never thought he'd be happy again, but 10 years later, he is as happy as I've ever seen him, and healthy, too. Friends, too many to name, I hope to be as good a friend to you as you've been to me. Students, current, former, and future, know that I try to teach you the best I can, but YOU have to take it from there. I am so proud of you and I genuinely appreciate all your successes. Adopted sisters, brothers, childre, nieces, nephews, and grandbabies, I appreciate your tolerance of my need to make my circle of life larger than it is.

I had pneumonia on my 50th birthday, and the year that followed that day had a lot of medical challenges in it. I'm proud to say I got through them all. The year to come certainly has its challenges in store, but I hope all the lessons I've learned in the past 50 years will serve me for the next 50.

Much love to you all, and thank you for being here for me!

P.S. I do have one request. I am facing something at work Wednesday that I dread, and I need strong, encouraging thoughts. I can't tell you what it is, what it's about, or anything like that, but do know it will be something tough for me and a few of my colleagues. If you pray, pray for us. I need all the positive affirmations I can get right now.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gimme a swig of that -- Redbridge Beer Bread

Yes, I did use the B word. Baking. But this is MY kind of baking -- so, so easy.

I mentioned the other day that since Redbridge worked so well with brats, could it be possible it could make a decent beer bread. You know that recipe, I'm sure -- I think I discovered it about the same time I discovered beer, which was around 1974. Anyway, all beer bread takes is some flour, some baking powder, some salt, some beer, some sugar, and an hour in a loaf pan. Easy peezy.

Well, friends, Redbridge makes one heck of a loaf of beer bread, as you see from that picture above. It was perfect in an hour, great crust, dense crumb, no sog. Gosh, it would be good with soup, goulash, chili, a ton of cheese under the broiler, or just warm with butter. I tried one slice, and the only thing I'd do is add more salt to the mix.

Here's the recipe:

1 bottle GF bread (or just regular beer for you non GF folks) 12 oz. Use a room temp bottle if you have one.
3 cups GF flour mix (I used some Arrowhead Mills baking mix I wanted to get rid of. Turns out it was the GF equivalent of self rising flour). If you're not GF, use plain old all purpose flour and follow along.
1 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. xanthan gum (leave out if you're not a GF baker)
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt (this is important to flavor. I didn't use enough).

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and pour on beer. The batter will be thick but not lumpy.
Pour into a greased loaf pan (or bake in muffin cups)

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 50 minutes or until it is crusty on top and sounds hollow when thumped.

Put out on a rack. Take a stick of butter or margerine and run it over the top lightly to glaze.

That's it. Worked great.

Much love, and boy now my house smells like bread!

P.S. I had to add this: I just got home from having dinner with a former student, and while I was gone, Jeffrey ate 2/3 of the loaf of bread with a whole stick of margerine. I would say that qualifies it as a success.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Redbridge Brats

Yeah, I know the Super Bowl was Sunday. It's been a busy week.

But I tried an experiment with some Redbridge (GF) beer I had in my refrigerator in Tampa, and it turned out better than great! I just had no idea it was substitute-able for regular old beer in some of my favorite recipes.

But it was.

I browned a package of 6 GF Stadium brats in a skillet with a tight lid, then covered them with a jar of deli sauerkraut drained. (I think if your skillet can hold it, you could use up to 10 sausages of any kind, but brats are the best this way.) This jarred kraut is usually in the deli section (might be in a plastic bag if it's Boar's Head) and it is more crisp and tasty than the canned stuff to me, and it is an integral part of this.It costs more but is worth it. And if you don't want to pay more, use the canned stuff but DRAIN and RINSE it. Then I added a whole bottle of Redbridge GF ale to the skillet, lowered the heat, and cooked it down to a syrup (about 20 minutes).

Ah, beer brats, just like old times. Top them with mustard or horseradish. Delish!

I also used to have a recipe for Beer bread -- it was 12 oz. of beer, 3 cups of self rising flour, and a tablespoon of sugar, baked an hour in a loaf pan. I'm going to try this this weekend with Redbridge, my flour mix, 1 t. baking powder, 1 1/2 t. xanthan gum, and 1 t. salt added to the tablespoon of sugar.

I'll try it and I'll report back.

OH...stay tuned this weekend for a product report. I got a goodie package from Amy's Kitchen the other day, and I have four products to report on. I should be done testing them in a couple of days.

Much love,

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tag - You're It

This thread has been running around the blogs for a while, and my friend Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl Fame got me the other day. And she totally tagged my entire circle of GF blogger buds (can't wait to read those).

I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself that are little known but true. And then I am supposed to tag seven more people who must then tell and tag. That is easy: I tag:
Joy Peterson of "A Floor Full of Food"
Julie Boucek of "Because I Said So"
Kyle Hitchcock of "Kyle Hitchcock Photography"
Rachel Mino (I don't know how to spell your last name!) of "The Mino Twins"
Jenn Watson of "The Watsons"
Alexsandra of "Touched by Words"
Joy Ashley of "Joy to the World."

Here goes:

1. I am an only child, and I never, ever wanted a brother or sister. AND I always knew I'd have an only child if I had children at all.

2. In 1961, I was the mascot for the Pepperall High School Marching Band. I was a little roly poly girl (I weighed 100 pounds when I was 5 years old, but lost 40 pounds by first grade). I was pretty cute. I actually was a competed in baton contests until I was in 8th grade -- but not very well. That's me in the picture on the end. I know...all together now, AAAAAAAwwwwwww.

3. I was on Wheel of Fortune in 1986 -- went to California for it and everything. Then I asked for a J in the speed round and didn't win much. I did win one puzzle "Nature of the beast" and won $1,000 in crap and the fabulous parting gifts. I still have some of the crap around somewhere...

4. I love to eat peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon. Don't ever eat peanut butter at either of my houses if that bothers you. I can also eat an enormous quantity of peanut butter in one sitting -- like, a small jar. It's a gift, I tell ya. I got it from my Mama.***

5. I always wanted to be a ballet dancer, but since I looked more like the little hippos in Fantasia, I never made it. When I was 10 or so, I would make fake toe shoes and pretend to be a luck there. The best I have done is become a clogger.

6. I was never in the 11th grade. I skipped it because I hated my high school so much. I was grossly unpopular in high school (but not in college. I was a "student leader" there). Some day, God will punish those jerks who made me hate high school so much. I also graduated from undergraduate school at 20 and finished my Master's degree by 22. I didn't get my Ph.D. til I was 39....late bloomer, I guess.

7. You would never believe how easy it is for me to get my feelings hurt. NEVER would believe it. But I do, almost every day in some way. But I don't cry -- I only cry when I am SO INCREDIBLY ANGRY I could hurt someone. THEN I cry a lot.

*** I will never stop missing my Mama. I think about her still, and miss her tremendously.

So that's it.

Any questions?

Much love,