Monday, February 28

G-Free Brownies

I converted my Dad's brownie recipe so that I could still enjoy one of my faves. I think they taste just as good as before!

One thing you want to make sure of is that all of your products are g-free. Yes, it takes time to check it all out the first time, but it is worth it in the long run. Enjoy!

Serves: 25
Oven Temperature: 350 degrees
Cooking Time: 45+ minutes

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 eggs
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour (see g-free flour recipe)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Blend oil, sugar, vanilla & eggs.
3) In separate bowl combine g-free flour, cocoa, baking powder & salt.
4) Gently add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until well blended.
5) Spread into greased baking dish & bake for 45+ minutes.

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Homemade G-Free Flour

I am such a huge fan of baking, so my gluten free diet can NOT stop me now! My mom's small group leader is also gluten free and was sweet enough to share her homemade flour recipe. I've included it below because it makes the BEST baked goods. I am serious - so good that even my non g-free husband likes them too.

6 cups brown rice flour
2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch
3 tsp xanthan gum

Sift all ingredients together and store in air tight container for baking use.

Now that you have a new flour recipe, what baked goods are you making? Be sure to share!

Much love,

Location:Steph's G-Free Bakery

Baby Shower Invites

One of my bestest friends is throwing a baby shower for her sister-in-law and asked me to design the invites.  Take a look - I think they are presh.  But what do I know, I'm biased. 

Names & information have been changed to protect the innocent ;)

My bestest bought this really cute paper from staples that has scalloped edges so the pink runs to the edge of the paper - oh. so. cute.

In need of some invites?  Let me know.

Sunday, February 27

G-Free Banana Bread With Sunflower Seeds

OOOooo yummy y'all!!  My first attempt at baking gluten free turned out great!  I borrowed the recipe from this great blog a friend suggested, A Girl Takes on The World - she has the best sounding recipes!  Since I'm new to the g-free life, I wanted to try this simple recipe out for starters.  AND in true Stephanie style, I had to toss in my own little twist.
Here is my yummy banana bread...
   1/4 cup Crisco
   1 Egg
   1 tsp. Baking soda
   3-4 Brown Bananas
   1 cup Brown Sugar
   1/2 cup Rice flour
   1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
   1 tsp Salt
   1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds (unsalted)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the Crisco and  brown sugar and beat together until smooth.
2) Add in the egg, flour, salt, baking soda, & xanthan gum.
3) In separate bowl, mash up the bananas with mixer or a fork and then add them to dough mixture.
4) Combine all the ingredients until well mixed.  Add sunflower seeds.  The dough is not going to be completely smooth as the banana will still be chunky.  Pour into a greased loaf pan. 
5) Bake for 1 hour and ENJOY!

Gluten Free Life - Day 1

Today was such an adventure!  After church we stopped by Super H Mart to shop for produce and meats.  Let me just say that place is A-MAZING!  The freshest produce, the best cuts of meats ALL for cheap.  It's exactly where we should've been shopping all along.  We loved it so much that we signed up for the Super H Savers Program!  I'm in love.

After stocking up on a truck load of food, we went to Kroger where I was able to find a great stock of gluten free snacks, pancake mixes, frozen foods, etc.  Fab!  Unfortunately, I'm a Publix girl and they don't really offer a great selection.  I did chat with the manager today and they are expanding their inventory throughout March.  Fingers crossed that Publix goes gluten free friendly soon! 

Our first gluten free dinner at home was yumm-o.  I made a beautiful beef brisket with sauteed cabbage and smashed red potatoes.  I know - DELISH!  I've even got my first gluten free baked good in the oven (recipe courtesy of Courtney at "A Girl Takes on the World").  The banana bread smells absolutely delish!

My goal for tomorrow is to make brownies using my new homemade flour.  :)  I'll post the results soon.

Friday, February 25

I'm Going G-Free

Wow. “I’m going g-free (gluten free that is)”. That’s hard to get out. Seriously! Just think about it – no more wheat, barley, rye, oats… or ANYTHING that has ANYTHING to do with those lovelies. Sheesh this is going to be hard, but I can do it. Right?

The past five months have been a roller coaster of health issues. Being plagued by knee surgery, followed by a diagnosis of salmonella, then months of just feeling “ill”, arriving at blood work showing HIGH levels of strep and inflammation and finally meeting with a rheumatologist that feels whatever is going on is arthritic in behavior is enough to emotionally kill a person. Let’s not even worry with the fact that a) I’m a newly wed as of September 2010, b) I have a full-time job, c) I also have my very own Mary Kay business, d) you really need more? Let’s just say that life has been real hard – physically, mentally and emotionally. There hasn’t been a diagnosis for my insane amounts of pain and stiffness yet, but I should receive some sort of conclusion on March 7th when I get my blood work back and discuss with my rheumatologist. Pray folks – for good news, my strength if it’s bad news and most importantly, my husband who has been A-MAZING through all of this.

You’re probably thinking, “yeah, so she has some kind of arthritis, why the g-free-ness?” Well, for starters, my rheumatologist mentioned that a g-free lifestyle helps with lowering inflammation levels in patients with arthritis. To me this means LESS PAIN without popping pills and I’m all about that.

Another reason, which may or may not have anything to do with the arthritic ailments I’ve got, is that I have struggled with an odd food allergy for years. Mainly being attacked when chowing down on one of my faves, Chinese food, my family and I had concluded that some form of ginger had to be the culprit. Yet, as I’ve done more research and have gotten information from people who themselves have to be g-free, I found out about the ridiculous amounts of gluten found in soy sauce. Ummm, hello!? I drown my stuff with teriyaki every change I get! And what is in teriyaki sauce class? “SOY SAUCE!” And what is in soy sauce class? “GLUTEN!” Exactly. Besides, I can eat my weight in pickled ginger with no problems at all. My run ins with the “Chinese food monster” leaves me sprinting for the nearest bathroom – my body needs this food OUT, like IMMEDIATELY. I suffer through severe cramps and aches, lethargy, etc. It’s nightmarish y’all. Let me tell you, there is nothing like having a nice home-cooked stir-fry dinner made by you and your husband that sends you straight to the edge of hell. Ugh.

As I like to research (my PR way I guess), I dropped by my local bookstore and picked up Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book “The G-Free Diet: A Gluten Free Survival Guide”. Although I find her extremely annoying on The View, this book was exactly what I needed to get myself motivated. Her story of discovering her celiac disease really inspired me. Although, I don’t feel like mine is the full-blown, cannot touch – think about – see – breath gluten disease, I do think my intolerance is one that is on the moderate side. I’ve even noticed that grabbing a sub sandwich or eating a can of soup can send me into an afternoon of discomfort. Bummer! I’ve also ordered special guides for tackling the grocery store and restaurants that should be arriving within the next week!

My new cooking style is going to start this weekend. (It’s been crazy reading a book about g-free living while eating my peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread! BUT, when you’re on a Dave Ramsey budget and it’s NOT grocery time you eat what is in the pantry!) Since I’ve got some time Sunday afternoon, I’m going to hit up H Mart for produce, Fresh Market for g-free snacks and then Publix to finish out my pantry/fridge restock. I know that sounds over the top, but I want to be able to do this right. I mean, if I only have g-full snacks at home, then how in the world am I going to be able to stick to being g-free?! I feel like, since my case is not as severe as the disease, this is going to be even harder to tackle but, I can do it! After all, my motto is GO BIG OR GO HOME!

For my health (and sanity) I’m tackling the g-free life – jumping in with both feet. I’m nervous, but excited too. Hoping this new lifestyle will help me kick start a new and HEALTHY living!

Anyone else going g-free or know of someone who had to?

Thanks in advance for all of your support!

Philippians 4:13

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Tuesday, February 22

Recipe: Roasted Rack of Lamb

I have to tell you before getting into the nuts and bolts of this post that this is BY FAR the BEST lamb I've ever had.  We made this tasty meal to celebrate Valentine's Day this year... and man, were we in L-O-V-E!!

We paird the lamb with simple steamed spinach with capers and oven roasted tomatoes. Mmmmm...

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 (7 bone) rack of lamb (trimmed and frenched)
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Move oven rack to the center position.
2.  In large bowl, combine bread crumbs, garlic, rosemary, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Toss in 2 tbsp. olive oil to moisten mixture.  Set aside.
3.  Season the rack of lamb all over with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in large, heavy oven-proof skillet over high heat.  Sear rack of lamb for 1 to 2 minutes.  Set aside for a few minutes.  Brush lamb with the mustard.  Roll in bread crumb mixture until evenly coated.  Cover the ends of the bones with foil to prevent charring.
4.  Arrange the rack bone side down in the skillet.  Roast the lamb in preheated oven for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you want.  Let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes, loosely covered, before carving between ribs.

Friday, February 18

Valentine's is for Lovers

(Yeah, so I stole the Virginia state slogan... I had to! It is so appropriate and all.)

How was y'all's Valentine's? I think I topped myself this year!

I will be the first to tell you that I'm SO BAD at being romantic. Don't get me wrong, a candle lit dinner with soft music and flowers is wonderful. I just feel severely inadequate in the creation of romance. Make sense?

This year, I decided I was going to create a movie worthy, home made, mushy romantic Valentine's evening for B. It took me hours of planning out my design, my menu, my gameplan. As Valentine's day rolled around, I played it cool, but the day of my planning went into action. I pulled out the stops - candles, wine, dinner. I did so well that B was totally impressed!! Yay me!! By the way, I'll post the recipes for out menu of roasted lamb, steamed spinach and roasted tomatoes later. They are tres delish! :)

The funny part is, the romance part really wasn't that hard, it just took me some thinking time. What did you do for your Valentine? Or are you an anti-Valentine?

Love to all!

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Thursday, February 10

Arugula Salad

One of our new faves is probably the easiest salad E-V-E-R! 

     Balsamic Vinegar
     Parmesan Cheese

     Wash arugula.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Enjoy!

See... I told you it was easy. :)

Thursday, February 3

Quick Thought

This month is going to keep me busy, busy, busy but I wanted to drop in with a quick little thought of comfort and inspiration.

"The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."

This month as I face new challenges and tackle new goals, the quote above will be my motto & help me push through.

February shall be Fabulous y'all!

Much love!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone