Monday, June 11, 2012

Slip and Slide and Easy Gluten-Free Cookout with Friends

On a hot summer's day, we decided to put up a slip and slide on the lawn (since we don't yet have the pool up) and invited friends to join us.  My friend A. has Celiac and so is gluten-free also.  I knew she'd be blessed to go out and not have to worry about what she could or couldn't eat, or whether what someone claimed to have made gluten-free actually was.

We did a super-easy menu.

Hamburgers (with buns for the glutenous and lettuce wraps for those of us who are GF, which this week includes RoseBud, myself, Daisy (by choice) and the boys, on whom I am experimenting.  Mr. GT and Pepper chose buns)

Brats from our pigs.  Brats may or may not be gluten-free.  Ours are.

Two kinds of potato salad--the traditional mustard/egg kind and Yogurt Potato Salad (a boring name for a great salad!)

Yogurt Potato Salad (another recipe we've been making for over 20 years)

4-5 medium red potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
3 T. plain yogurt
1 T. mayo
1 1/2 t. dijon mistard
1 t. thyme
2 t. fresh basil, cut in thin strips
2-3 radishes, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste

Peach-Black Bean Salsa

1/2 c. peaches, diced (can be fresh or canned)
1 can black beans, drained
2 c. frozen corn kernels
1 t. cumin
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. lime juice
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 green onion, sliced thin
salt and pepper to taste

Mix well and chill.  Serve with GF tortilla chips or Fritos (which are GF--at least the traditional, way-too-thin-for-scooping (ask me how I know this) are.  Check the bag for the Scoops.

Fresh veggies (carrots, plum tomatoes, celery, pepper strips)

Crystal Light (is GF) pink lemonade

The kids are all really sore and scratched up today from the slip and slide.  RoseBud, especially, who went flying off the end a couple of times, is full of scratches.  We finally had to add some more plastic to the end to extend it.  Fun!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Today's gluten-free: Strawberry Pie, Pea Soup and Chick Pea Crackers

Pepper made a Sky-High Strawberry Pie.  And because this is not a foodie blog, I'm going to link you to the recipes.  Lazy.

Sky-High Strawberry Pie, original  (from Taste of Home.)
We've been making this awesome pie since 1994!  We never use the whipped topping or pudding on top.  And we've always made it with a graham cracker crust.  We didn't have any GF graham crackers in the house so we used...

...Gluten-Free Crumb Crust  (also from Taste of Home).
Modified by substituting coconut powder (finely-ground coconut) for the nuts and honey for the juice concentrate.  Nuts, while themselves gluten-free, are often processed in a facility which also processes wheat, so they may be cross-contaminated.  You have to read the label.  We didn't have any uncontaminated nuts in the house.  This crust was easy and tasty. Pepper made it by herself.

After we finished dessert, (kidding) we had pea soup.  Pea soup is naturally GF.

Ham broth (I also often use just water for a vegetarian soup)
Dry split peas
1 large onion, diced
carrots, sliced
potatoes, cut in small cubes
salt and pepper to taste
oregano (dried or fresh)
2 bay leaves
chopped ham, if desired (my family doesn't desire)

Cook peas in broth or water with onion.  When peas start to soften add carrots, salt, pepper, oregano and bay leaves.    When carrots are nearly done, add potatoes and cook until all vegetables are tender and peas are mushy.  Add ham, if desired.

Then I went for uneasy.  I tried these crackers, which were neither easy (although they weren't THAT hard) nor that tasty.  I'd say they were fine.  I don't know if I'll make them again.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gluten-Free is Easy!

RoseBud has been gluten-free since December, due to some health issues she had.  Probably 60% of what we eat as a family is gluten-free because of that.  She's remarkably disciplined and can cook for herself, so if she can't eat or doesn't like what we're having, she makes something else.  She's feeling much better, btw, and can tell if she eats something with gluten in it.

So I've been wondering if going gluten-free would help anyone else in the family.  Specifically, I'm thinking about the boys.  All three of them.  So with the end of school and the advent of summer I'll be regaining control over everyone's diet and I thought we'd all try it.

You all know how I'll never be a famous foodie blogger, but in an effort to show that being gluten-free isn't really all that hard, I thought I'd toss a couple of recipes on the blog.  Heaven knows I don't blog about anything else!

So my theme is that gluten-free eating, at least at home (!!) isn't all that hard.  In most cases, cooking for RoseBud has mainly involved reading labels.  There have been a few minor substitutions I've had to make, but nothing complicated.  I don't go for complicated anyway.

My theory about simple gluten-free eating is that you can't expect to directly substitute for every glutenated (I made that word up!!) food you eat.  If you try, you will often be disappointed.  In other words, if you try to replicate your grandma's 200 year old chocolate chip cookie recipe, it won't work very well.  If you can be happy eating a nicely textured coconut/peanut butter cookie instead, you can, well, be happy!

We happily eat lots of beans, fruit, veggies, meat and eggs here, and not so much bread/pasta/gluten in the first place.  I'll talk some more about that in another post.

Anyway, lots of things are just plain naturally gluten-free and fine to eat without any modification.  Instead of our afternoon go-to snack of graham crackers, Banana Boy made (almost all by himself!) fruit salad and everyone felt happy!

Banana Boy's Fruit Salad

(we are also not so much measurers in this house!)

a handful of grapes
a banana, sliced
an apple, diced
plain yogurt, enough to coat everything
a splash of vanilla
the dregs of the honey jar (about 2 T.)

Mix gently and share with your sisters!

And for dinner (remember, I never said I was a photographer...)

Gluten-Free Taco Lasagna
(My ingredients were home-made (beans cooked from dry, tomatoes & sauce canned from the garden, home-made taco seasoning).  Be sure to check labels of purchased items for gluten-free status)

2 lbs hamburger
1 large onion diced
1 qt tomato sauce
1 pint (14-16 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 pkt. gluten-free taco seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
3 c. pinto beans

Brown hamburger and onion.  Add remaining ingredients except beans and simmer 20-30 minutes.  Add beans and mix gently.  

More ingredients:
gluten-free corn tortillas (I used Chi-Chi's brand and I used 14 of them)
grated cheddar cheese
black olives
other taco toppings as you like

Spread 1/2 of meat sauce in a 9x13 pan.  Top with gluten-free corn tortillas to cover.  I used 6 in the first layer.  Cover tortillas with grated cheese.  Top with remaining meat sauce, then more tortillas (I used 8 in the top layer), more cheese and black olives.

If I was making this for us at home (It's for a potluck tonight) I'd also top the final layer of cheese with jalapenos.  Bake at 350 until heated through and cheese is slightly browned (30-60 min. depending on if it goes right into the oven after assembly or if it has been refrigerated).  You can sprinkle with other traditional taco toppings after baking like diced raw onion, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, etc.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Other Star


The four runners and the alternate.

The girls had a GREAT time, which is really the point, after all!  They came into sectionals ranked 14th out of 16, so there was no pressure.  They knew they weren't going to State, so they could just go, have fun and enjoy the experience of getting to Sectionals.

Waiting for the hand-off.  She ran the 3rd leg.

They ran their race with everything they had and ran just shy of their team best time.  RoseBud felt like she has really figured out her strategy for running a 400 now and tested it last night.  It won't help her anymore this season, of course, but she'll go into next season with more confidence that she CAN go out harder at the beginning of the race and still have energy left for the finish.  She ran a 1:06+ and was pleased with that time.  They actually finished 12th, better than expected!

Rehashing the race and finding out their splits.

They were laughing and smiling after their race and they all said how much fun it was.  One of the senior girls on the team had ordered t-shirts for them all with their sectional, the date, and all the girls' names with their events on the back, so they wore them to the meet.  And RoseBud wanted a t-shirt from the meet (cross country meets always have shirts available for sale and she has quite a few, but only really big invitationals for track sell shirts, so she didn't have any to this point.) so I bought her a shirt.

The weather was a little dicey--it was VERY windy until the storm blew through.  There was a 30-minute delay and then it cooled off beautifully and the wind died down in time for RoseBud's race.

And we're sending 3 other events to State!  Altogether a very nice night!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Going to Sectionals!

Regionals went well.  We qualified over half the team for something at sectionals later this week.

RoseBud jumped 14' 2" in the prelims.  She was a little disappointed, but glad to have finished her season that well and happy she had met her goal of breaking 15' at least once.
Long jump take-off

While I was watching a race, I heard them announce her name, but missed what they were announcing it for.  I assumed it was the results of the long jump.  Counting, I estimated her to have finished 5th or 6th.  Not bad!

A few seconds later, I happened to glance across the track and saw her on the long jump runway.  OMG!  She was in the finals!!!  THAT was what they were announcing!!

I sprinted around the outer fence over to the long jump area in time to catch her first jump from afar.  I don't remember what it was but her second jump was 14' 7.75"--very respectable for her.  She scratched on her third jump and ended up 9th of 9 finalists (top 4 go on to sectionals).  Still, she was thrilled to have made the finals and to have completed a better jump in the finals than in the prelims.  Yay, Seagull!

She finished 6th overall in the 800m with a time of 2:36.48.  The top 4 finishers qualified for sectionals.

After the 800, her coach thought she looked tired and she said her legs were wobbly.  He substituted an alternate for her in the 4 x 400m.  She was a little disappointed, but she's a team player and she knew it was better for the team if they wanted a chance at qualifying.  They finished 4th with a qualifying time of 4:22.76, so they're going to sectionals!  The coach said he will run her at sectionals, and since it's her only race, she should be nice and fresh!
Team player, RoseBud contemplates block-holding strategy for her 4 x 400m teammate. (That's the starting block she's holding.  When you use a starting block, someone else stands on the end of it to keep it steady when you take off.  She held the block down.)

Way to go, RoseBud!  A great way to finish your season!

(I added photos to the previous, Conference, post.  Check 'em out.  And thanks, T, for taking all these great pics at the meets!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Rose Bud's 4x800m came in 6th out of 7.  She was the first runner and they were 4th after her leg.

She finished 5th (out of 16) in the 800 with a time of 2:38.08.

Her best jump was 14'2", not enough to make the finals. (earned her 12th place out of 17)

Their 4x400m finished 3rd and she ran 1:06!  Her best finish of the night.

The girls' team finished 5th overall, not too bad, considering they've had a tough season.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

15' 4" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and a quarter inch!

She broke 15 feet!!!

Rose Bud has been consistently jumping in the low-mid 14s.  Her previous best, set this year was 14' 10.5".

She qualified with a 14' 7" and then had her super-jump in the finals.  She said it felt far, so on her way back, she glanced at the tape and saw it was over 15'.  Then she asked how far it was and started jumping up and down.  It got her 4th place (she was a little disappointed since 3rd and up get medals).

They have a new long jump coach this year, a woman who has recently moved to the area and previously coached at the college level.  This lady, new to the area, was just looking for something to do and picked OUR school district to coach in.  It's definitely been to our benefit!

She's been consistently running 1:08 and change in the 400, which doesn't get her better than 6th or 7th usually.

But their 4x800 has been doing well, earning 2nd, 3rd or 4th, depending on the size of the meet.  She's been consistent at 2:35ish for that.  They were 3rd tonight.

In an interesting twist, a freshman on our team who's been doing very well at the Triple Jump this year jumped long jump for the first time in competition last night.  She won the meet at 15' 11"!!!  Rose Bud was really excited and amazed for her teammate.

And THAT spirit is what contributed to their team winning the Sportsmanship trophy! (as well as the overall meet)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Track 2012 ~ Home Meet 2

Meet 3:  RoseBud ran in the 4x800 (they were disqualified for a lane violation), the 4x200m (4th place), 4x400 (5th place) and she did the Long Jump (5th place with a 14' 4" jump).

Home meet #2 (overall, Meet #4). In this jumping picture, something went wrong with her shoulder. Her coach looked at this pic and said she had perfect form, but whatever happened with her arms threw her off and she made a terrible landing. She wasn't hurt, but she was laughing about it. Anyway, she's knows at this point in the jump that something is wonky. You can see it on her face!
Just before the wonky jump, she cleared 14' 8.25" (her personal best is 14'9") She came in FIFTH with that jump. The other team had a banner day and all jumped 15' or better. You could tell they were surprised because they were all hopping up and down hugging each other.

This is the 400m, her first time this season she's run the open 400.  She came in 4th with a 1:06.84.  (her best is 1:05.30)

Taking off in the 4x400m.  She ran the first leg and did well.  She was third until the final 100m and then she sprinted past everyone to put her team in first place after that leg.  They finished the race 2nd.  But more impressive to me than her run was her team spirit.  One of the runners had a sore leg and didn't want to run this race so they pulled in a freshman who had never run a 400m or a relay before, just 15 minutes before the race.  RoseBud took her to the back of the track, ran her through a baton transfer, kept giving her tips and encouragement and then after RoseBud had run her leg, she was there at the side of the track coaching and encouraging the new runner through her whole leg of the relay.  She's a great leader and a super team-player.  I'm so proud of her!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Track 2012: Home Meet 1

RoseBud missed the first Track Meet of the season because she was competing at Forensics regionals that day. She qualified for State for the second year in Forensics (last year she earned a Silver at State). Here is the second meet of the season, the first meet at home.
Running the first leg of the 4 x 800.  They came in second (of two teams) and her split was 2:39.

Her first long jumps of the year.  She scratched the first 3 and jumped 13'5" on the 4th jump.  The winner jumped 14'10".

She also ran the first leg of the 4 x 400 and they won that race.  Her split was 1:09.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Friday, March 2, 2012

Something Interesting, For a Change

I know it's Lent and all, and we're jumping the gun just a bit, but I found all these neat Easter ideas online today. I keep meaning to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon, but haven't done it yet. So these came from someone's Pinterest board, but I'll just link them for you.

This fun idea came from Housing a Forest. We used NuPastels, so we didn't watercolor wash them. We just used more pastel and rubbed it around.

And from Owlhaven's blog (which she repinned from someone else--I don't know much about this pinning, but it seems difficult to credit the original creator.) I made:

I used my digital scrapbooking program (I actually have SBC Studio for the Mac, but it's no longer available) to make this.  Do look at the one on Owlhaven's blog to see the original.  She printed hers to use as a framed poster, but I left mine as a .jpg to use as my desktop photo.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I won a blog award! Isn't this cool!? It's my very first time, mostly due to the fact that no one reads my blog because I never write anything on it. But my online-someday-to-be-in-real-life friend, e. of Ordinary Time tagged me so now I get to play!  BTW, if you are looking for a great, down-to-earth, gentle, wise and interesting blog to read, go check it out.  She's mama to 9, almost 10, children, several through adoption, and she has two little boys the same age and seemingly of the same personalities as my boys.  We have big plans to meet up together someday in person and compare notes.

So, thank you, e!  My very first tag, ever!


The rules of the award are:  1) Thank the person who gave you this award (see above),  2) List 7 things people may not know about you,  3) Pass it along to a few other bloggers.

So, here goes.  I hope I can think of 7 things that are vaguely interesting and not totally embarrassing.

1)  In my head, I am a runner.  I always imagine myself being a runner.  I like to run.  I've taken up running for extremely brief periods of time since I was in high school.  I was even on the track team for 3 days.  But mostly, this hobby remains in my head.

2) I love rutabega.  LOVE it.  Love it.  Rutabega was a vegetable my grandma always made for holiday dinners.  She was a fantastic comfort-food cook.  I actually make many of her not-heart-healthy recipes often.  Everything had butter in it or on it.  Yet there were always at least 3 vegetables on her table, and rutabega was often one of them.  Mashed, with salt and pepper and butter.  I have one child who loves it as much as I do.

3) I married my high school sweetheart.  I was 16 and he was 17 and we were on the math team together.  I decided one day that I liked him and was going to have a crush on him.  So I did.  After 4 months of being "frenemies" he asked me to prom, and the rest is history.

4)  I hate gardening.  I hate dirt and getting dirty.  I like to look at flowers and eat vegetables.  I tolerate picking vegetables and I like to can them.  But don't make me plant them or weed them.

5)  I make really good Indian food.  I love to cook.  I love Indian food.  And since the boys joined our family, I've been learning and practicing and cooking Indian.  And if I do say so myself, I think I'm pretty good.  I've never fed my Indian cooking to an Indian person, so I guess that would be the definitive judgement, but all 7 of us are dedicated Indian foodies and they seldom say the restaurant is better than mine.

6)  I don't like dogs.  I'm not afraid of them, I just don't like them.  Growing up, there was never a time that we DIDN'T have a dog in our family.  I liked our dogs just fine, but we were never a mushy, let-the-dog-lick-your-face and sleep on your bed kind of family.  Dogs slept in their dogbed and didn't go on the furniture.  Mostly you opened the door and let them out and put food and water in their dish.  At least, that was what I did.  Maybe my parents were more crazy about them.  I just knew they were a lot of work (guess who had poop duty all her teenage years???)  So when I grew up, I never felt any need for a dog.  I didn't have any desire for the hassle.  Except that a few years ago I started wanting a dog.  I started looking at the humane society at dogs.  And a year ago a puppy walked out of the back room at the humane society and into my heart.  Luckily, we were blessed with a perfect dog.  Truly perfect.  And I like her.  I even love her.  But I don't let her lick my face and she doesn't go on my furniture.  :P

7)  I love to drive.  I love to drive on long trips.  I never get to drive on family trips because Mr. GT gets carsick if he's not driving, but I love to take the kids and take off somewhere.  I even had plans to drive to Texas to visit Leslie a couple of summers ago, but something got in the way (don't remember what anymore).  Maybe next summer....

And now I have to pass the award on to a few friends.  Well, I'm a boring person and I don't read that many blogs.  I have about 10 favorites that I read, so I'll give you a couple of my faves...  One is Leslie at Recovering Noah.  Leslie is the one who organized the trip to SCH we took a few years ago.  I love her blog because she is real and she makes me laugh out loud.  Actually, she often makes me snort.  Another is Nikki at One Tiny Starfish.  Nikki is another connection with SCH.  She is passionate about humanitarian work around the world.  And a third is Jimmie over at Jimmie's Collage.  Jimmie is a fellow homeschooler and another gentle soul.  She posts tons of great links for homeschooling and has lots of wise advice.  She's another online friend I'd love to know in person.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Banana Boy, 9; Pepper, 11; Sunshine, 6; Chaya, 1; Daisy, 13 and Rose Bud, 16

(organized?  on-time? with-it?  When have I ever been!  --Yes, today is January 13!)