DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The only freak

I haven't been to a Freaks at the Table meeting recently. The ast one was so small and the one before had people who were there soliciting business (IMO) and it's so far that it really is more than inconvenient and it ends so late. On the upside: dinner! Fantastic dinner! Sometimes dessert! Yummy dessert!

My sunglasses were ready at Sam's Club. Totally inconvenient. I can't believe the one by my house didn't have the same frames. Since I would be all the way over/up there, I decided to go to a meeting. It gave me an extra excuse to skip my husband's work happy hour at one of my least favorite places. (But I would have gone for the people. Maybe. By the time I get all the way over there, most everyone is gone.)

So I signed up and went. And no one else was there. Not even the organizer. And the chef who usually visits and chats was running a class that night. Okay, don't have the meeting anc classes on the same night, and if you aren't getting attendance, let's say because it's summer perhaps, maybe cancel some meetings.

I had dinner at the reserved table. By myself. I treated myself so I wouldn't find it all overwhelmingly depressing. (I'm not sure yet how that worked out.) I thought aboug having a drink but it quickly got too complicated. They use organic (wheat derived, but hey, it's gluten-free, y'all) vodka as the default in the mixed drinks but I could sub out to a potato vodka. But then there was something else unsafe they could leave out of each drink I asked about. But each one was a liquor that was the flavor of the drink. Um, yeah, I'll have water.

I had spring rolls (new/temporarily on the menu) which were good but looked like I imagine mine would look if I ever got around to trying to make them. The sauce was fantastic. I gathered it had at least coconut aminos and cashews, I think.
Spring rolls and crack sauce
Then I had my usual chicken teriyaki rice bowl, but took half to go for lunch tomorrow. Gotta save room for dessert!
I've had this before and it is still super yummy: chocolate torte. When I got home, I ate it all. She gave it to me in a to go container so I took it home as it was quite late; service had been slow and hadn't even really started until they figured I wasn't getting any joiners.
heaven chocolate torte
I feel like I've been a mole in a whack-a-mole game. Goodnight.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Is that a Tardis or a porta potty in your yard?

The well has been completed and hooked up. I was a little surprised by the water tank. Don't ask me how or why this works the way it does. But feel free to comment on the ridonculous color of the water tank. The installer apparently said that he's never seen this type at a residential install--usually it's a shorter, fatter, beige tank. But this is so much more interesting...

I haven't killed my okra yet, but they don't ever "mature."
 I made tacos with my favorite version of cauliflower rice so far: Cilantro Lime "rice."
Yes, I did eat some "rice" for breakfast.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sierra Bonita Grill Part 2

My girl B was off work so we met for lunch. I've only been here the one time but they seemed accommodating.

When I started asking menu questions, our waiter stopped me to let me know they now have a gluten-free menu if I'd like to see it. Apparently, one of the bartenders can't have gluten so they have kicked up their knowledge a notch. The menu was full of choices!

I decided to ask if I order something I haven't had in a restaurant in years now. Enchiladas. On the g/f menu. He said they could leave the cheese off easily. There were 2 chicken enchiladas. I chose the red sauce; it had a nice amount of spice.

Mmmm, half gone...
My friend reacts badly to tomatoes; there are tomatoes in the rice and there is flour and tomatoes in all the beans, so we both had seasonal vegetables. They were so good.

It's not cheap but not too bad for lunch. I would definitely go here again.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

How to waffle

I've made this recipe many times but had less and less success, finally deciding it is possibly the fault of my waffle maker. Last week, we bought a new one, so I was nervous excited to try it again.

My husband Mick asked me if I was going to make "his" waffles now. Um. No. I am not making gluten pancakes on my waffle iron. The best part is that I really don't think I made waffles before, so I'm not sure what "his" waffles are.

I made the recipe (which has a lot of variations/choices) using almond flour, potato starch, applesauce, coconut oil, and water. I also use coconut oil on the iron. I initially forgot and put that oil in my mix too, so I had to double it to correct my mistake. That actually works well since I use an applesauce cup, just shy of a half cup so basically enough, so that it can be room temperature. The waffle maker comes with a cup so I know how much batter to use! Brilliant!

Mick liked them, said they turned out so good, but also had some concern that they are expensive. Yes, I guess a little, but it's so much better for me than having 2 waffle irons and doing my usual pancake process: mine, bacon, his, clean, carefully consider making anything else that day.

We went to his parents' house for nephew A's birthday. I knew they were having pizza so I made my own using the Gluten-Free Creations bakery pizza crust, pizza sauce, Applegate pepperoni, a couple of artichoke hearts, a portabellini mushroom, and Daiya mozzarella "cheese." Of course I forgot to take a photo but I did eat the whole thing. I thought it was pretty good (for me, not for people who can actually eat pizza) although I'm not a huge fan of how the Daiya melts, if we can call it that. But it tastes fine. I thought the crust was decent, cooked pretty well, just not a real thin crust pizza crust. And definitely not a thick crust pizza.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Luci's and Albertson's

My friend M works near me but has a lot of trouble getting away for lunch, so she wanted to meet for breakfast on the weekend. She seemed more anxious than normal about scheduling something while I'm never anxious to go to breakfast. LOL. Something about no wheat, no eggs, no dairy, no bananas, makes breakfast so much less fun.

We decided to meet at Luci's. She suggested because I used to go there often and she thought I still do, but I really just go for drinks (tea, coffee, smoothies) occasionally. They were able to make me breakfast of potatoes and bacon, but it took a while because they had to make it separately. It was good. I would ask for some salsa or pico next time. I also brought a blueberry muffin from Gluten-Free Creations bakery and had a vanilla almond milk latte which was very good.
We checked out the grocery store at Luci's and I got some raisins, YumNuts coconut cashews, and quinoa cookies. I liked the coffee version of the cookies (I got at Whole Foods) better than these orange ones. The YumNuts are fantastic, but a little sweet. I may not buy them again because, in addition to being expensive, they were good enough that I had trouble with portion control!

We went to Poor Little Rich Girl, a consignment shop, and I found a couple of dresses and tops for good prices. I'm back up to 170 so I'm unable to wear some of my cute clothes I bought the last year or two. I hate that I'm gaining and feel like I have little control but maybe I just need to get serious about tracking what I'm eating. But it's kind of depressing. And I do "eat my feelings" I'm sure!

On my way home, I wanted to go to Albertson's for a couple things. But...

I recently heard of some grocery list apps and I want to start tracking prices so I can better look for deals instead of just sales. I set up my store lists but hadn't figured out much more than that. I got to Albertson's and started using it. I quickly figured out to scan the code in case it was in the system rather than typing items in. Then I realized I could just do the items I wasn't getting but wanted to remember. The time consuming part was adding the prices. I spent way more time there than I had planned. I'm kind of obsessive like that I guess!

I love using chipotles in adobo and had a little stash but recently ran out. This has been an unexpected problem. Apparently, most of the brands have wheat, and the most common gluten-free brand has soy! Boo! I found a brand online but the price and potential shipping costs (and inconvenience) has delayed my order.

And then I found these! YAY! They aren't labeled g/f but the ingredients are right.

I also found these ice cream cones. I can't remember the last time I had a cone! No eggs or other yucks--whoo-hoo! (I found the sugar cones online--same brand--but they have soy.)

I have this but wasn't sure it was g/f!
When I got home, I had a late large lunch like yesterday's dinner. Then I spent too much time pulling weeds in the garden. Mick thinks he can let them go and then just roto-till it later. Hmm, pretty sure that's NOT going to work. So I'm digging them out...

I made manicotti for my husband (not me) for dinner. I was so tired then that I had cereal. (Arrowhead Buckwheat Flakes with mixed almond and rice milks.) Good night.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Red pepper hummus

Oh, Bunco night. I always feel like I should go but it's, hmm, something, inconvenient or whatever. But I have a good time and like the ladies so it's good to invest the time in our community.
When you have lemonade...
I made myself dinner to take--shredded chicken and salsa burrito with enchilada sauce and avocado. And a drink, Tito's vodka and lemonade.

hummus ingredients
And then to share, I decided to make hummus. I based it on this recipe but added some roasted red peppers. I thought it turned out very good. The only thing was that it seemed to get thicker with time. The ladies (and the guys who showed up at the end) really liked it and one younger* lady quizzed me on it, she liked it so much!
*I only point out younger because people ask me if it's all old ladies at bunco. No. There are several ladies younger than me! One of them has told me about her naturopath who "cures" allergies. I'm skeptical but trying to decide if it's worth checking out. At least for the additional testing?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mashed potatoes!

I'm in love. I'm in love with my new KitchenAid stand mixer.
The object of my affection.
I made mashed potatoes using it and they turned out so awesome. I think I was able to let them whip a lot longer than I would have with the hand mixer.

chicken slathered in mayo, dusted in seasoning
I also made "Shake and Bake" chicken using one of the Namaste coating mixes. Before shaking with the mix, I used mayo instead of egg wash (an idea I recently saw somewhere; I didn't come up with that on my own!) and Cajun seasoning. I cooked in a thin layer of oil and got really good results. I forgot to take a finished photo though!
chicken in coating
I made last minute corn kernels with butter for his and coconut butter for mine.

Update: I took leftovers for lunch and it was still yummy!


I went to order my sunglasses at the far Sam's Club that had them, since the one by my house doesn't have the smaller width frame. I found them, chatting with the technician about what I was looking for and why. Although I explained that my eyes are super sensitive to the sun because of Grave's disease related to my thyroid disease.
Not these--so wide.
The narrowest I could find. Mine.
She asked if I wanted gray vs brown lenses. She thought the brown would look better (with tortoise? can't you do either?) so I asked about the difference. Of course, they don't block as much as the gray. Um, am I speaking out loud? I'm getting them to protect my eyes as much as possible.

The lady I talked to at the Sam's by my house tried to talk me into a clip on. I obviously wasn't using my outside voice there either. I need larger sides than I have on my indoor sunglasses. Also the regular sunglasses don't cover as much area around the eyes so I'm not protected.

Why do I have to figure this all out on my own? Well, they should be here in a few days and I'm so excited.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shortcut - shredded chicken

I had a burrito with chicken, salsa, avocado, and a taco with chicken, salsa, avocado, and "sour cream" for dinner. The tortilla is Food for Life and the taco shell is Garden of Eatin. The sour cream is not sour cream-y enough to eat like this. I need to try the cashew version.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sadness and beauty

I went with a member of one of the dog clubs we are involved in to evaluate a dog that was listed as our breed at MCACC. It didn't turn out to be. It was quite sad as we have limited resources, foster homes, and adopters for mixed breeds so we aren't able to take any dogs that aren't obviously our breed. Visiting "the pound" is sad anyway. It's impossible to not notice the disproportionate number of pit bulls and chihuahuas. And the dog we went to see was NOT a kennel dog--it was terrified. If we had the foster home for it, we would have had a hell of a time getting it adoptable. Boo--so sad.
Finding beauty outside in the shade of a palo verde

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weekends are for being sick. And shopping.

I don't know why being sick makes me want to eat as unnutritionally as possible. (That's totally a word, spellchecker. I'm pretty sure...)

I thought I was having some allergy issues because of the rain storms but I kept thinking I might be getting sick. Wednesday, I scarfed down these onion rings so fast I almost didn't get a photo.
Pause. Resume inhaling.
Thursday I made soup for dinner. I used a mix and a can of chicken so it was super quick. (Since there doesn't exist a canned chicken noodle soup that I can eat.) And it was pretty good.

Friday, I had one of my first experiences being able to eat the lunch that was brought in. There was Boston Market chicken and steamed veggies (and a bunch of stuff I couldn't have). And I had some more soup.

Saturday, I was sure I was sick. I decided on chili and tater tots. Then I realized I could add some cheese and thought some cheese sauce might work. Well, it's my first time using the Daiya wedge (cheese chunk) but I have this jalapeno garlic havarti so I melted it and put it on top. It was a little too thick but it tasted good.

And the chili was very good. Too bad I've only found it at the Country Store.

Sunday, I was feeling better-ish and we were out of dog food, so we went to Costco. My small kitchen appliances have been wilting and dying on me for a while, but I hate spending the money if I can get around it. I can no longer get around it.

My hand mixer died but I had a stand mixer that had a removable hand mixer so I used that. Then the slowest setting on that stopped working a couple weeks ago, so I know it's just a matter of time.
New mixer!
When my husband Mick and his helpers harvested the corn, the Food Saver started needing extra steps to get a vacuum seal and since then has been pretty worthless. But I loved it before then!
New FoodSaver!
My waffle maker doesn't evenly cook the waffles. I'm sure a little of my problem could be the recipe, but not totally. So we got the iron I should have gotten originally.
New waffle iron!
My rice cooker doesn't work anymore but the one they had seemed pretty cheap so we skipped that. I can't believe I got so many new toys tools!

Back in the day, we would have considered a quick stop for dinner, at least for take out. But now, that's just not an option. So we headed home.

For dinner, I had the rest of the chili and tater tots, but made this artichoke cheese dip from the Daiya website. I didn't really measure things, just eyeballed it, and definitely used too much mustard. It wasn't great but not bad.

Mick had cut open the watermelon he picked but said it wasn't really ready to eat but he thought it could be used for something else. By the time I got to it, I decided to just juice it. I'll use it in smoothies this week.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cauliflower rice (and Whole Foods shopping)

I left work early to go to the endocrinologist. My labs results are fine so they are leaving me at 137 Synthroid. He asked if I saw the eye specialist since our last visit. Apparently he had recommended I do that. And I completely forgot. No recollection at all. I texted myself so I'll do it now. Wow. My brain sucks. I also keep forgetting to call the naturopath about my hormone panel/adrenal tests. Doh.

When I left, I was near a shopping center so I went to Sam's Club to check out the sunglasses in their optical center. I tried on a few and took photos to show my husband Mick (and also to look at since I couldn't really see them on me--I'm kinda blind). I thought most of the ones I was interested in looked really wide on my face. The gal working there immediately pointed out a similar frame that felt a lot better on my face. All of them were much cheaper than I paid for the ones I lost. I wonder if I'm giving up anything...

There was a Sally's nearby so I stopped and got a hair iron that was on sale. I have one but it's very small and I really liked the one I borrowed when we were vacationing so I knew I wanted something bigger.

I'm having trouble finding the brand of chipotles in adobo sauce that doesn't have wheat or soy, so I stopped at Whole Foods. Huh. I didn't realize they were closing that one. It was half stocked. So weird. I picked up a few new items to try but they didn't have the chipotles I was looking for.

Yes, those *are* onion rings.
I got rained on during the drive home but it was dry when I got here. And then a total downpour. And a rainbow! (sorry, no photo) Yay!

For dinner, I made salmon with Arizona rub seasoning so I would have something easy to make while I tried a new recipe. I've been wanting to make cauliflower rice for a while but I know Mick will probably object. I decided to make cilantro lime "rice." I thought it was really good. He thought it was too sweet (I didn't get that at all) and, of course, it wasn't rice. He ate some though. Man, this is hard.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Throwdown trial and error. And error. Rinse and repeat.

This weekend, my goal was to make some awesome dairy-free ice cream for my office ice cream "throwdown." I started by checking all my recipes and finding that I was missing one ingredient from each recipe. Yep, just one. From every recipe. Sigh.

A trip to the grocery store. I have the most exciting weekends. So I didn't make the first one on Friday as planned but started Saturday.

First up, coffee ice cream. Giant fail. I hate straining tiny things out of liquids. The recipe said strain twice. This is what was left, including the lovely layer of coffee grounds, after at least a dozen strains. I tried paper towels, cheesecloth, mesh....
strained down to a cup. of grounds.
I'd like to remake using instant espresso. Or brewed coffee. The ice cream base actually smelled, looked, and tasted amazing, as long as you don't mind eating coffee grounds.

Next I made cherry strawberry chocolate chip ice cream. I forgot to take a photo until I was eating a little in the office today. I liked it but my husband Mick thought he could taste the coconut milk. Hmmm.

Sunday, I made the chocolate peanut butter ice cream. The peanut butter ribbon didn't "ribbon" but mixed in. I added the chocolate chunks listed optional. Mick thought they weren't needed but also the ice cream froze too hard. I only mention that because it didn't soften as quickly as the others for the competition so most of the taste testers didn't even try it.
my ice creams :)
Only two other people brought something; one was a Belgian chocolate ice cream (I heard it was like a Frosty) and the other was a strawberry sorbet made in a Vitamix. Both were completely eaten and the chocolate won. I brought my leftover 3rd and 4th place ice creams home. I got decent feedback but it still was disappointing.


I had picked this mix up at the Gluten-free Expo but I usually end up making tacos or burgers when I have ground beef. Saturday, I decided to make this. It ends with the addition of pasta sauce. I'm not sure why, but I decided to use a Muir Glen portobello sauce instead of my normal Classico marinara. I'm not sure if it was the mix or the sauce or both, but the final product looked like dog food. Or dog poo. I'm not sorry for forgetting to take a photo. It was edible but not good.
available at AJs
There were leftovers and I was not looking forward to finding a way to fix it when Mick suggested it was kind of like a stroganoff. Hmmm. I looked at some recipes to confirm that sour cream is the main missing component. Sour cream. Dairy. Hmmm.

looks like sour cream...
So I found this quick fix non-dairy sour cream and tried it with half a can of Trader Joe's coconut cream. I eyeballed the amount of salt and lemon juice. It did have a kind of sour cream tanginess, but I wouldn't eat it as a sour cream topping. For mixing in, I thought it worked pretty well. And I used regular sour cream for his.
I am not a food photographer
BTW, there was no separate liquid as these coconut cream recipes always say. I assume because I used coconut cream instead of coconut milk, although supposedly it's the same. Anyway, I decided to use the other half of the can for whipped cream, which I've read about a zillion times. Again, I eyeballed the addition of maple syrup and vanilla. It was tasty but thin.

whipping the coconut cream
So I had a big giant depressing (or treatment for depression) bowl of ice cream and whipped cream. So the texture is a little off but it works for me I guess. However, he wants me to make real ice cream for him. I'm not sure I want to use the same ice cream machine bowl for his and mine. But I have the perfect-ish solution.

My hand mixer broke a couple months ago. I've been using my other hand mixer that is actually a removable mixer for a stand mixer. This one is acting wacky, skipping the slowest setting and dropping a beater in the middle of a job, so I think it's time for a new something. I've always wanted, but never wanted to pay for, a Kitchenaid stand mixer. I see there is a highly recommended ice cream bowl attachment. That is SO mine and he can have the one we got as a wedding present (cough) years ago.

Now, someone just tell me why these mixers range so much in price and which one I should get and where I should buy it...thanks!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Garden update--cicadas, a well, and being green.

They started drilling the well. Everyone in the neighborhood can see it. WOW.

Long watermelon!

do watermelon come in "crookneck"?

round watermelon

spaghetti squash--nearing the end...

Okra--too hot for the pods
I heard that there aren't the expected amount of cicadas this year. Imagine my surprise to find them in our yard. Oh wait, we get to see every kind of bug here...

cicada on palo verde

cicada on tree stake

Down to one truck.

Leaving--this "path" can't be planted...
They are done drilling the well. Now the pump installation...

We had a guy come out from an energy audit company to evaluate our house and make recommendations on improvements to reduce our utility bills. We knew it would be a sales pitch but, wow, I didn't know he'd be there that long. It was exhausting. The good news is that there isn't really anything substantial we need to do. Most of his recommendations were about putting film on the windows. I'd consider it but it's a lot of money and I'm not sure it's that much benefit. I just can't tell you how exhausting that was.