Marion, Not Just a Librarian…..

If you don’t immediately recognize that title as the lyrics to a song……..please go educate yourself on one of the best musicals ever………..The Music Man.

*disclaimer:  all opinions offered are my own, except the one about The Music Man- that’s a fact.  Nobody mailed me the following meal kit to try – I bought it last Saturday at Kroger and I may have danced a little when I found it.*

There were three things that I genuinely grieved when I had to give up gluten:  freshly baked bread, really good craft beer (especially an IPA made with Cascade Hops), and Chinese food.  I can chow down on some General Tso’s chicken.  The spicier, the better.

Enter Marion’s Kitchen cooking kits.

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Do you see the giant GLUTEN FREE stamp on that bad boy?  I whipped it up for Sunday supper with some brown rice, and while it wasn’t as amazing as some freshly deep fried and tossed in MSG meat that I hope is chicken, it definitely scratched the itch.  I made it *exactly* as the instructions said……GASP……I know.  Next time, I will add more red pepper flakes, and probably teach myself how to make General Tso’s sauce.  But for a quick meal, or to satisfy the craving for Chinese food, this fits the bill.  There are a number of kits that are gluten free and available in the market, so I encourage you to try them, and doctor them if you are adventurous!

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If I am, in fact, able to figure out how to make a really good Tso sauce, I will of course share it with you, my adoring fans.  (Hi Mom!)

Until later…….

mother gumption

 

 

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Just Look at My Biscuits!

Good Sunday morning!

I may need an intervention – I have purchased 8 gluten free cookbooks in the last two weeks.  Amazon is an enabler.  Specifically, the used books aspect of Amazon.  The one I’m most excited about is Alternative Baker

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I was inspired to buy it after watching the first episode of The Great British Bake Show season 2 on Netflix (and PBS.org).  One of the bakers made a gluten free sandwich cake that the judges were plainly surprised by – I doubt they anticipated how delicious it was.

I have always been a baker, from the time I was a little girl and watched my Gramma in the kitchen, baking (usually without a recipe) in her flour sack aprons.  It’s the family joke that I can’t ever stick to a recipe – I always improve it or tweak it or add something to make it mine.  I tried one of those mail order meal kit services once, and was completely disappointed by the meals they sent, so I took the ingredients and did things my own way.  Anyway, back to baking……….the hardest part of taking kiddo gluten free, and now transforming the whole house into gluten free, has been the lack of baking.  Pies, biscuits, cakes, cookies, breads (I used to make a fresh loaf every two days), on and on and on.

I do love a challenge though, so I am arming myself with cookbooks, fresh wooden spoons, and my apron, and I will tackle baking just like I tackle everything else – with grit and gumption.  Yesterday morning, I made biscuits, many thanks to Bob Red Mill’s Biscuit Mix!  I mostly followed the recipe (I added a little more buttermilk than strictly called for – the air is very dry here right now).

I mean – just look at those biscuits!  They were a complete and total hit too, especially smeared with fruit and honey jam.  Baking does exist in a gluten free world!  I’m so excited!

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Isn’t that the truth?  (edited by yours truly.)

mother gumption

Books Make All Things Better….

I ordered three books, all about gluten free living.  I’m frugal, so I bought two used, and one brand new since the used price was nearly the same as the new, and Amazon Prime shipping is the best thing since gluten free pretzels.

I understand now why this cookbook’s resale value was so high.  I honestly feel like every time someone is told that they have to go gluten free, two things should happen:

  1. they should be given a massive hug and told that it’s really not all that bad; and,
  2. they should be gifted a copy of this book:

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It came on Friday and I’ve already tabbed 15 recipes and made 2, with plans to make another on Thursday night.  The first thing I made was a chicken and vegetable dish, which is gluten free anyway, but it was fast to make up and so delicious.  The other thing I made was a gluten free coffee cake to take to work for a team member’s birthday, who isn’t gluten free but also knows I’m not about to contaminate my kitchen for him.  The coffee cake was a hit, and my fellow gluten free secretary was happy to be able to partake for a change.  Long story short…………..go buy this cookbook!

Tonight I made a chicken pesto spinach soup with white beans………here’s the link at Gimme Some Oven (what a great name!)  Again, this went together so fast and easy, and it’s delicious.  I managed to make it between running to the local co-op and getting A to his drum lessons.  And don’t worry – this doesn’t make so much soup that you will go numb from eating it.  Just make sure your chicken broth and pesto are gluten free.

Keep watching for more recipes, adventures, and gf cookbook reviews!

mother gumption

 

Don’t Lick the Envelopes

There are times in your life when things change, irrevocably.  Tuesday afternoon was one of those times.  That’s when we found out that we cannot continue on our loosey goosey, kinda sorta, gluten free lifestyle.  Over the last year, we’ve been gluten free, mostly.  Mostly coming into play when it was doughnut day at work, or when A attended a birthday party.  He was the one that was supposed to be gluten free.  I was gluten free for moral support, and only when he was looking.

As it turns out, both of us are gluten intolerant, and must now go strictly gluten free.

 “That includes your makeup, Mom.”

 Life. Changing. Moment.

We switched recently from a doctor who only focused on the one thing:  ADHD/anxiety.  She didn’t treat the rest of the body, even when I voiced concerns over lack of appetite, weight loss, and increasing side effects.  Our new practitioner is homeopathic/ holistic and works hand-in-hand with our family doctor to ensure that our entire bodies are taken care of.  We have our traditional medicine for strep throat and pneumonia (both recent adventures for us), and we have our homeopath for “maintenance.”

As it turns out, A’s body doesn’t absorb nutrients/ protein like it’s supposed to, and definitely doesn’t process waste and get it out like it’s supposed to.  This leads to all kinds of sticky wickets, including the extreme picky eating and the way ADHD/anxiety meds seemed to build up in his system like a residue, despite the traditional provider telling me that it “wasn’t possible.”

As it turns out, he gets this particular allergy from me.

That said, I am back at figuring out how to be Gluten Free, and not just mostly gluten free, but 100% gluten free.  All the time.  Everywhere.

Fortunately, I have some friends who are also GF, including one of the legal assistants at my firm.  She called my desk today and said “Don’t lick the envelopes” which is secret GF code for Most glue has gluten in it, so licking envelopes to mail out bills is a bad idea.  She also saved the day and gave me a gluten free Kind granola bar as kind of a private gluten free party while the rest of the firm was gorging itself on doughnuts.

With any luck, you will be seeing more of me, and my (mis)adventures.

Until next time, I remain,

mother gumption

 

busy days……

It’s amazing how the days seem to fly by……….every day I have at least one great idea to use on the blog.  I’ve gotten some books from the library I want to tell you about!!  I am going to post this weekend, about the GF cupcakes I made for the Cub Scout Blue & Gold Banquet (and the great response I got from one of the other parents), about the books I found at the library (and hopefully a review of at least one recipe), and we are going to a class at our nature center about Woodpeckers.  Another busy weekend that I will be sharing with you.

In the meantime, look to the left!  I am now on Instagram @mothergumption and I would love for you to follow me!

I hope you enjoy the blog facelift.  Stay tuned – more adventures are headed your way.

mother gumption

 

if you pack it, they will eat it…..maybe

School Lunches.

Already difficult in my house – now even more so.  Or so it seems.

I have always relied on PB&J, Hawaiian sweet rolls with ham, bagels with cream cheese, cheez-its, goldfish, granola bars………..and sadly they have all been banned in their original forms.  Even desserts are different.

*moment of silence*

After a little bit of trial and error (ummm…sorry Aldi’s, but your GF sandwich bread is more like a chunk of memory foam mattress), we have landed on a few stellar lunch options:

Main Course:

Krusteaz GF Honey Cornbread Mix-  my son loooooves cornbread with honey, so I can wrap up a piece with a small container of honey, and he goes to town at lunch.

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Ham slices rolled up and stuck on toothpicks (with cheese cubes and veggies if your child is willing.  Mine is not.)  It’s like little shish kebabs!

Schar GF Bread- has the consistency and smell of real bread- add Peanut Butter and Fluff, or jelly.  For a treat, you can sprinkle GF chocolate chips inside.  Beware- this lasted about 5 days after I opened it- day 6 and it went fuzzy.

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Soup!! – I discovered a GF recipe for Lipton Noodle Soup on Cooking With Dru made with GF seasoning, rice noodles, and GF broth.  Tastes and looks almost EXACTLY like Lipton.  Heavenly!  (She calls for GF vegetable broth, but I used GF chicken broth, or use homemade broth if you can!)

Beans and hot dogs:  oldy but a goody in my book.  Just check your dogs and beans for gluten and/or shared equipment.

GF Chili – pack it in with some corn chips and cheese and even sour cream and you have Petro’s for lunch!  Definitely read the label – most beef chili is GF, but always check.

DIY Lunchables Pizza – most GF pizza crust comes prebaked.  Use a cookie cutter and make mini pizza rounds and pack them with shredded mozzarella, GF sauce, and those Hormel Pepperoni Minis (GF on the label!!)

Sides:

Sides are a little easier, as the regular suspects- fruit, veggies, potato chips- are all typically GF.

Peaches in fruit juice:  You can’t get them in the little cups, but they do come in the cans in fruit juice rather than heavy syrup.  Check the back of the can……..Del Monte packages their fruit in the USA.

Annie’s Homegrown GF vanilla and chocolate bunnies

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Annie’s Organics GF Double Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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Popcorn- easy to make at home too!

Tortilla/ Corn chips- most are GF but double check  (I know that Trader Joe’s corn dippers are GF and tasty!  Tostitos also has a big GF stamp on the front of their bags.)

Cheetos Natural White Cheddar Puffs – I love these, and they are stamped GF right on the bag.

Most Potato chips, but always double check.  Pringles are not GF.

Any kind of fresh fruit or veggie.

Just Desserts:

Pamela’s Chocolate chip cookies – BIG hit – A thought they were mini Chips Ahoy. IMG_9765

Trader Joe’s GF Joe Joe’s-  essentially a GF oreo – the cookie is bit more crumbly but does great dunked in milk!

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Pillsbury GF chocolate chip cookie mix – this is very crumbly when you mix it up, and you have to make the balls with your hands.  When you pull them out of the oven, they don’t seem done as they are very soft in the middle, but follow the box and they firm up while cooling.  These were declared “BEST COOKIES EVER!”

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Annie’s Organics Fruit Bunny Snacks, in a variety of flavors…………..yes, they ARE gluten free!!  (I double checked!)  Also a bonus that they don’t use artificial coloring (food dyes……….)

Aldi’s GF Brownie mix – makes pretty good brownies (out of chickpeas if memory serves……..good protein bonus!)

So, I hope that helps anyone out there floundering at lunch time.  I will definitely keep looking for ideas, and continue to post about new discoveries.

And my Mom always tells me that my job is to pack the best lunch I can, and their job is to eat it.  If I hold up my end of the deal, then I have done my job.  I can’t force him to eat it.  Don’t beat yourself up if the lunchbox comes home nearly full.  Eventually, your kid will tell some other kid’s mother, “My dad makes better sandwiches than Firehouse Subs!”  (FYI, they will probably never tell you that, but they will tell the other parents, and hopefully it will make its way back to you……….true story.  That’s a direct quote from A’s best friend when I ate lunch with them last week at the school.)

Guess what arrived this week?!?  My brand new deep fryer – because oven baked nuggets aren’t going to cut it with my kid.  And he *neeeeds* donuts in his life.  I will keep you updated on the deep fried adventures awaiting me this weekend……..

mother gumption

i tried it their way….time for my way

According to Facebook, knower of all things, I took sweet boy to his pediatrician one year ago today.  I took a picture of him and shared it via Instagram while we were waiting for the good doctor.  I remember the rest of the day very well, so I am grateful to have this reminder of how things have changed.

One year ago, we went to the Pediatrician because the school demanded that we have a “formal diagnosis from an ‘actual doctor'” because the extensive test results I brought them from two psychologists weren’t enough.

One year ago, I began my fight in earnest for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) against the school system’s wishes — I call it dragon fighting.

One year ago, my son’s psychologist (who is awesome) urged me to accept the fact that medication was a necessity.  He recommended a pediatric psychiatrist to handle the meds, but if the waitlist was too long, maybe start with the pediatrician while we waited.

One year ago, I left the pediatrician’s office with more questions than answers and an Rx for Vyvanse.  My pediatrician is awesome, but the number of meds out there is so vast and so different with each child that she wasn’t sure how to direct all my questions and worries.

One year ago, I went back to work and sat at my desk, crying.  Because I felt so totally powerless as a mother.

When I gave him the Vyvanse, he turned into a lifeless zombie.  After that was Quillivant.  Then Focalin, and even Adderall.  The Focalin was the least of the evils, so we stuck it out, even though it meant he had zero appetite, and when he came off the meds, he was hungry, and that also meant hateful.  I read articles about how parents got their kids off meds, how other parents were okay with the side effects because they were easier to deal with than the symptoms.  I read about medications, discipline methods, diets, exercise, vitamins…………the list of what I researched and read about is endless.  I have always felt, in my gut, that something was missed.

We had one more test, performed by GeneSight, which checks the DNA to see which psychotropic meds might work best.  The meds on the GREAT list were all the ones that turned him into a zombie.

But we did learn that he was folate deficient, which they are starting to link to depression and anxiety.  Apparently some people can’t break down folate, which is a building block of serotonin and dopamine.  This explained his constant cravings for bread………

This discovery came on the verge of the “maybe your son needs something more; have you considered an anti-depressant” conversation.

My response – not just no, but oh he** no.

Enter Deplin, a biologically active folate vitamin which is broken down enough to be useful.  I chose to be a believer in the impossible dream.

So far he is 2 weeks med free, gluten free, and taking a daily vitamin (deplin) with no side effects.  He is more even keeled, happier, and loving than he has been in a long time.

Don’t get discouraged – don’t let them tell you there is only one way.  Educate yourself on all the ways you can tackle this path, and always go with your gut.  Some kids do need medication, as do some adults.  There’s nothing wrong with meds.  But you know your kid better than anybody else – go with your gut and be willing to consider different solutions.

mother gumption