Monthly Archives: December 2013

Menu Plan Monday, December 30th!

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The last menu plan for the year. Wow–it’s been a crazy year food wise. I am not at all sorry to say good-bye to the old year and look forward to the new year.

There is no theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Celiac Family this week. Instead we’re doing a round-up of our favorite recipes from the year.

Some of the recipes that I got most excited about this past year were recipes that I modified from their original version to a version that I could enjoy without side effects. These included Potato Soup, Strawberry Shortcake, Apple Dumplings and Lemon Curd. Some favorites that I created from scratch were Salmon Burgers, Apples and Mushrooms, and my Leftover Platter. I can’t wait to see what kind of yummy cooking I can get into in the next year!

Christmas Breakfast!

Christmas Breakfast!

Another quiet week around here. I’m itching for some sort of routine, but I also love having the whole family home and just being able to do things in a random manner. After this week it’s back to school and work!

Sunday
Breakfast: Almond butter and strawberry jam toast, coffee, and broccoli and sweet potato fries
Lunch: Chili, coleslaw, Forgotten Kisses cookies (recipe coming this week!)
Dinner: Popcorn, sautéed apples in earth balance with leftover mushrooms and onions, fish, and croutons

Rest of the week:
Breakfast:
Eggs all kinds and all ways!
5 Ingredient Detox Smoothie
We got our first strawberries this week! Just as I used up the last of the frozen ones from last season! I will be making this “granola” so I can have cereal with strawberries on top.
Some breakfasts to fill the freezer. I haven’t decided yet on these choices:
Paleo Chocolate Breakfast Cookies
Paleo Chocolate Chip Muffins
Super Healthy Banana Breakfast Donuts

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: either waffles (we missed doing these last week!)Waffles or Pancakes
I am going to attempt these gluten-free egg rolls. I’m a little nervous so I hope they work out. We’ll be having them with fried rice and chicken for those who eat meat.
Chicken nuggets, french fries, a frozen veggie with butternut squash nuggets for me
Pizza, Salad
Smoothie (Clean out the freezer smoothie!), popcorn
fish, sweet potatoes, veggie
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

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The Man In The Gruewe Suit

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I first saw him in my preteens/early teens during the Christmas season. I was minding my own business dreaming of sugar plum faeries and Christmas surprises when I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. The sight was so astonishing that I immediately ran down the hall (quite out of character for me!) and slammed the door to my room. My sister (we shared a room) not unreasonably asked what was wrong and that was the first description I was ever able to give of the man in the gruewe suit.

He’s not a full sized man (that would be creepy!) but maybe the size of Peter Pan. What color is gruewe? Well, that is not a color you will find in your Crayola crayon box! First his suit looks dark blue, but when you blink it turns purple. That makes you look again and this time it looks bright magenta! That doesn’t seem quite the thing so you look again and it’s a pearly gray. You nod in satisfaction because that finally seems somewhat normal, but then it changes color again. It’s not really a rainbow color and it’s also not any one color. You would have to see it to understand completely I’m afraid.

A common expression after the bottle of excitement is sprinkled around!

A common expression after the bottle of excitement is sprinkled around!

The Man In The Gruewe suit carries around a bottle of excitement that he likes to sprinkle around liberally. Excitement affects everyone differently, but a little seems to go a long way for everyone. Squeals of delight are often heard right after he has opened his bottle of excitement! He can be seen most of the time around Christmas because he loves it when people make surprises for others and get excited about it, but sometimes he can be found around birthdays.

He does not like sickness of any type (nothing exciting in that and besides he can’t bear being sick!) nor does he care for people who are too down to earth to enjoy themselves and are always worrying about the electric bill and such things.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen the Man In The Gruewe Suit but I think I caught a glimpse the other day. Have you ever seen the Man in the Gruewe Suit or anyone like him?

Merry Christmas Everyone! Hope you have a wonderful holiday and some splendid family time.

Menu Plan Monday, December 23rd!

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Whew–I am exhausted from last week. I ended up having 4 parties and an introvert and 4 parties does not mix well at all. I am glad that this week is slower paced and that we don’t have big plans for Christmas. Although, I’m sure the princess will think that they are big plans because every time she hangs an ornament on the advent tree she squeals with delight that Christmas is one day closer!

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Celiac Family is Entertaining. Now I’m not planning on entertaining anyone this Christmas, but I thought I was until plans changed last week. So my menu is pretty much the same. I am adding in a few of our favorite treats as time and energy permit. I already have some of this yummy egg nog cooling in the fridge and hopefully today I can get some of this dairy free fudge made. I missed having fudge last year!

Anyone for bunny pancakes?

Anyone for bunny pancakes?

We literally have no set plans for this week and that is so wonderful. We will probably stay home except when we take the princess to the park to run off steam! I see lots of playing with Christmas toys in the future with maybe some gingerbread men or houses throw in.

Sunday
Breakfast: Eggs in a hole, toast
Lunch: random leftovers
Dinner: dairy free nachos (with daiya chedder cheese and brown rice tortilla chips) and side salad

Rest of the week:
Breakfast:
Eggs all kinds and all ways!
Smoothie
Apple Clafoutis

Easy Cinnamon Rolls (for Christmas breakfast!)

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: Waffles
Shepherds Pie/Tex Mex Shepherd’s Pie from “Happy Herbivore” by Lindsey Nixon for me
Clam Chowder, salad, rolls, egg nog
Sweet & sour meatballs, grilled shrimp with fruit salsa, sweet potato casserole, grilled vegetable
Salmon BLT on sweet potato roll so I can play with my new Christmas present!
Pizza, Salad
Smoothie (Clean out the freezer smoothie!), popcorn
fish, mac & cheese (Annie’s but I’m working on my own version coming soon!), veggie
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

Our First Christmas

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Our first tree as a married couple!

Our first tree as a married couple!


We got married in June and I wasn’t even thinking about our first Christmas married until sometime in November. We were committed to staying on budget so that we could save up for a house and suddenly I realized that there were a whole bunch of things that I hadn’t even thought of registering for. Things like a Christmas tree (fake because of allergies), ornaments, manger scene, lights, maybe a stocking or two, and all the regular Christmas decorations that just regularly appeared out of storage every year at my parent’s house.

The thought of having to buy all that stuff was overwhelming–I knew I didn’t NEED all that stuff, but I did WANT some of it. So I started doing research and figuring out how to make it all work.

First the tree–we managed to get a hand-me-down one from someone who didn’t want theirs anymore. It had seen better days, but it wasn’t quite the Charlie Brown type yet. And besides with some lights and ornaments–no one would and no one did even notice! We did buy some lights and a couple of special ornaments, but a friend from church went through their vast collection of ornaments and gifted us with quite a few.

Then I started searching and I decided that I wanted to try for eco-friendly themed Christmas tree decorations. First up, I made cinnamon ornaments. It was easy and fun and it made our small apartment smell like cinnamon for the whole Christmas season!

Then I decided to string popcorn and cranberries. The popcorn was fun and was a delightful way to re-watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas”! The cranberries…well not-so-much. Our fingers got stained, the needles seemed extra sharp on cold fingers, and the cranberries were cold and uncooperative with being strung on a string. By the time we were done my husband had silently vowed never to try that again and both sets of fingers felt battered and bruised.

Over the next year I found a couple of yard sales that sold wooden beads that were painted to look like cranberries and those have adorned our tree since that fateful year. Stringing cranberries that year made some lasting memories that we get out and dust off every year when we get out our tree and ornaments for decorating.

How about you? Do you have any fun stories about Christmas decorations?

Product Recommendation: ESSE Reuseable Bags

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Some of my favorite ESSE reusable bags!

Some of my favorite ESSE reusable bags!

Reusable bags have taken this area of Florida by storm. A few years ago there were numerous deals where you could get free bags from several different grocery stores and everywhere you looked you were encouraged to “Bring Your Bags” with you. The only downside was the shock I got when my 20 plastic bags worth of groceries only fit into 3-4 reusable bags! I soon got into the green groove and started taking my bags with me everywhere I went. And then my bags started taking over the inside of my trunk!

I wouldn’t always take the time to fold them, my daughter liked to play with them which included carting them all over the house, and then they started to wear out and not be easy to fold neatly anymore. I started getting frustrated with the clutter inside my trunk and was unable to simply grab a bag or two when I went into the grocery store.

Then I discovered ESSE Reusable Bags! It stared out as a groupon deal and I was thrilled with the idea. I bought a set and I just loved it! The regular grocery bags folded neatly were easy to carry, the t-shirt/”plastic” bags were awesome for carrying around in your purse, and the produce bags were the best that I had ever used. I got compliments from almost every cashier and bagger and I just loved their simplicity and style.

Imagine my dismay when less then a year later I discovered a rip in one of the seams! I quickly jotted off an email expressing my disappointment and within the hour I received a reply apologizing that it was a weakness in some of the bags. They offered to send whatever bag I wanted to replace it and they followed through because in less then a week I received a replacement plus a special mini-bag.

I am so thrilled to use bags that not only help me keep plastic bags out of the landfill, but to support a small business with excellent customer service. I highly recommend ESSE Reusable bags to anyone who is looking for a step up from either plastic bags or regular reusable grocery bags.

Menu Plan Monday, December 16th!

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What a busy week! This week seems like it will be equally busy with several parties and the ending of school for the year 2013! Then it’s vacation and Christmas and I am excited about that!

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Celiac Family is Christmas Favorites. Growing up we would always have another big meal like Thanksgiving on Christmas Day, but now that I’m responsible for it myself we tend to do something simpler on Christmas Day. If I could eat it I might even be one of those who order pizza–just so everyone could have time to play/read including me! However, I am planning on some simple and quick cinnamon buns for breakfast and my favorite grilled shrimp for Christmas dinner. I will also attempt to make my own egg nog like last year as the soy filled kind bothers me. First I have to find the recipe I used!

Since I forgot to take a picture of food this week, here's a picture of my manager scene!

Since I forgot to take a picture of food this week, here’s a picture of my manger scene!

More easy recipes for this week! I have a brunch, a luncheon, a date out, and a cookie bake coming up this week so simple foods are a must or I would probably give up on cooking all together. I will be baking some Pumpkin Molasses Cookie Dough Balls (subbing a gluten-free flour mix for the regular flour!) for the cookie exchange and I will also be finishing up (including these treats for the dogs I know: Peanut butter and Pumpkin Puppy Treats) and delivering Christmas presents to coworkers and friends!

Sunday
Breakfast: Fried potatoes and eggs
Lunch: Dinner with the family: Chicken and stuffing casserole (leftover salmon for me!) with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, olives, broccoli, and corn.
Dinner: Apple, leftover pizza, and pickles

Rest of the week:
Breakfast:
Leftover Pancakes
Eggs
Smoothie
This gingerbread subbing pumpkin instead of zucchini!

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes
Lunch out with hubby (packed lunch for the princess)
Christmas Brunch with Bible study
Christmas Luncheon at work (bringing some protein like a fish fillet as they’re having ham and turkey)
grilled cheese
Sloppy Joes with Lentil sloppy joes for me!
My husband’s clean out the fridge veggie soup–maybe I’ll be able to write down the recipe for you all!
Pizza, Salad
Smoothie (Clean out the freezer smoothie!), popcorn
Spiced Salmon, baked potato, veggie
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

A Few of My Favorite Things

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Look around your desk/room/house. Go ahead–I’ll wait until you get back!

You saw lots of stuff right? Maybe more than you would like to admit. I know I have too much stuff. In keeping with my theme this year of less stuff I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things. There’s nothing like appreciating what you have to curb your enthusiasm for attaining more stuff. And let’s not forget about being thankful for what you do have. So, in no particular order here are a few of my favorite things.

My favorite flannel nightgown!

My favorite flannel nightgown!

1. My flannel nightgowns my mom made. They are quite old and will not hold up to close examination. There are holes, worn spots, piling, stains, and all sorts of wear. What has not worn out on them is the love that my mom put into them all those many years ago when she made them for me!

2. A book: “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom. One of my favorite stories of all time. I learn something new everything I reread it. And this edition given to me for my 13th birthday is just the right size/shape and has a delightful map inside it.

3. A lamp. This lamp is terribly old. In fact if my memory serves me right my great-grandfather reworked it from a gas lamp to be suited for electricity. I did buy a new lamp shade a couple of years ago to match the color scheme in my room, but I love this old lamp.

4. This chair. It’s pretty old too and like most of our furniture someone gave it to us. The reason this chair makes me so happy is that I can sit in it and my feet rest on the floor! Only people with short legs will appreciate the enormity of this accomplishment. I think it’s safe to say it’s the only chair that I can do that in my house.

Coconut whipped cream atop a triple chocolate avocado shake!

Coconut whipped cream atop a triple chocolate avocado shake!


5. Coconut whipped cream. I was so thankful to find such a wonderful substitute for whipped cream. Now I think I like it even better then I used to like regular whipped cream. Such wonderfulness!

How about you? What are some of your favorite things?