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

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Live and learn

On Feb. 10, I had a relapse of the stomach flu that, I swear, has sidelined me until today. It included a sickly birthday, a sickly weekend with Randy here for Valentine's Day (I dined on applesauce and Ginger ale) and a six-hour stint in the emergency room for dehydration. What a week!

My last full meal was last Thursday night, and it didn't last. A chicken breast and some carrot raisin salad....Monday night, we took out a job candidate, and all I could manage was half a baked potato. And Ginger ale. God bless my namesake beverage!

I learned a lot about gastroparesis this last week, mostly from the ER doctor who gently cared for me yesterday. He knew right away that my poor addled stomach was the reason I couldn't shake this virus. Two bags of fluid and some Demerol later (yay!) I slept most of last night and some today. He said bed rest, but I can't miss any more classes -- I feel too guilty to stay home.

So that all comes in way of telling you, my wonderful friends, where I've been. I'm still not out of the woods yet, as I still haven't eaten solid food beyond applesauce. But I can watch The Food Network without gagging again (for the most part, haha). That has to be a good sign.

I'll get back to more regular blogging soon, I promise.

Much love, and thanks for wondering,

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Be my Valentine

(My Mama's cake looked like this, with pecans on the top.)

I've been seriously sick for two weeks now with a stomach virus (I think it was the flu) and have been functioning on one engine for most of the past week. So yesterday and today I vowed to stay close to the couch, rest, and try to get ready for a busy couple of upcoming weeks.

I had one of those "deja vu all over again" moments while watching my friend Paula Deen on TV, though. She was making a strawberry cake...the same one my mother made for my birthday, those last few years she was alive.

I remember the last time she made it -- 1997. She brought it into my kitchen in a pan, and said, "Enjoy this, because this is the last one of these I'm going to be here for." She was right, of course. She died three months later, to the day, from my birthday.

So as down in the dumps as I've been being sick, this cake made me remember all those 40 birthdays with my Mama around. She always made a big deal about my birthday. She had this tradition -- one present for every year. (MY Daddy, to this day, keeps this tradition alive in his own way, and I love him for that.) I remember all the lengths they both went to to make my birthday MY special day. My Randy more than does his part now, since Jeffrey, well, if it's not HIS birthday.... But it's true, I'm still a little girl about my birthday. I guess I'll be that way until the day I can't be that way any more.

That just reminded me of a scene in "Fried Green Tomatoes," but I digress. Friend green tomatoes might just kill me right now...

But back to my Mama's strawberry cake (which, originally, came off a Duncan Hines box. I still have the original box recipe.)When I looked closely at the recipe, though, I realized it was easily convertible to gluten free with a gluten-free white cake mix for a two-layer cake. That's the only thing I'd do differently.

I wish I could tell you I'm making myself this cake for my 52nd birthday this week, or for my sweetie this weekend for Valentine's Day. With all my stomach woes lately, I don't think I could take the sugar bomb. But hey, this might work for you. And if you're not gluten free, use a plain old white cake mix and enjoy.

Oh, and if your Mama is still around to make you a birthday cake, give her an extra hug and a kiss. Oh that I could do that one more time.

Much love, and happy, happy love day.


Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake
from Paula Deen
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix (I would use a Gluten Free Pantry Mix or other white mix to make a two-layer cake.)
1 (3-ounce) box strawberry flavored instant gelatin
1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2cup vegetable oil
1/4cup water
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Garnish: sliced fresh strawberries
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 2 round 9-inch cake pans. (My Mama always did this in a sheet pan. I like it better that way.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 4 cups
1/4cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream sheese,m softened
1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
1/2teaspoon strawberry extract
7 cups confectioners' sugar
One cup chopped pecans (My Mama's addition to this cake)
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup strawberry puree, reserving remaining for another use. Beat in extract. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of cake.
Note: For pinker frosting, add 2 to 3 drops of red food coloring to frosting.

Monday, February 2, 2009

News from the Gluten Intolerance Group

My GIG friend Carol pointed out a new guide from the Gluten Intolerance Group that suggests safety tips for a gluten-free hospital stay. The guide is HERE.

Having been in the hospital with gluten issues, I know how important this guide can be to our safety.

I hope it helps you, or someone you love, in a time of need.

Much love, and THANKS, Carol, for the suggestion!