Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas GIft

We celebrated Christmas with some of our sweet friends last night. I still can't believe today is Christmas eve. What an amazing time we've had this year! Anyway, we were blessed with perhaps the best present a gluten intolerant girl can receive - food! Lots and lots of sweet snacks and even fluffy, delicious bread! Can you imagine the time spent for someone that has no food allergies to go through recipes and ingredients to make these goodies? We are truly blessed. I can't say that the fudge lasted more than a couple of hours, my kids literally inhaled the sweet stuff. If you have someone in your life that has recently been diagnosed, might I suggest giving them a batch of goodies? I think the joy will be immeasurable - especially at a time of year where food tends to be everywhere.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


We've recently discovered, quite by accident, that my girl can eat oats! I made some chocolate drop cookies for a bible study and she couldn't resist trying one. Then two, and a ton more. We waited and waited for her tell tale belly ache but it never appeared. Since then we've eaten tons more with no issues. Thank you, Lord! This has opened up a new world of food for her, and made my life much easier. We are now eating oatmeal for breakfast most mornings instead of the same boring cereal day after day. I also made some granola to have as an alternative. Box cereals contain so much sugar and other ingredients that I am at a loss about, so this makes me a happy mommy to be feeding them all something healthy that happens to be gluten free.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There's an app for that!

I don't have an iphone. I really don't even want one. I do, however, really, really, really want an itouch. Now, I want one even more. A friend of mine has the iphone and showed me the most amazing app. It's called "red laser". All you have to do "scan" the bar code of any food by taking a picture with the camera and it will pull up tons of information on the product, including any allergens. Can you imagine how much easier this would make my grocery shopping? If there was a food in question I could just scan and know if it was safe for my girl to eat. Simply amazing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas baking party

My gluten girl asked me to have a Christmas party for her friends. We are doing a bunch of fun activities, but she wanted some time just for them. I was not so keen on the idea. I could only think of the work that would go into it, as well as the huge issue of food and what to make. She loves to cook, so we knew we wanted to make it a baking day. The question was, what on earth can we bake that is gluten free and easy enough for all the kids? I finally agreed and told the kids they could each invite 2 friends. That may not seem like much, but when you consider I have 5 daughters the numbers really start adding up!

I frantically searched for a couple of days, and finally decided on Peppermint Meringue cookies. We made them a couple of years ago as gifts and they were delicious. I also found some easy ornaments they could all make together with very little help from me.

The big day arrived with the girls eagerly anticipating their friends' arrival. I had a friend coming over as well so we could work on some of our Christmas craft gifts. Wouldn't you know that after all my careful planning the girls wanted nothing to do with baking or crafting? I ended up making tons of caramel popcorn and Peppermint cookies, all devoured by the girls who didn't lift a finger to help! At least they were all safe gluten free goodies! Our guests didn't even think about the foods being GF, which was one of the best parts for me! I want my girl to enjoy all the fun things she did before, without worry of them being an alternative.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dining out

We recently went out for a family Christmas shopping day and decided to brave the waters of a restaurant that claims to have a gluten free menu. It's only the second time we've done this so it was a bit intimidating and we weren't sure what to expect. We were all tired and didn't really want to take a chance on getting sick, so we were thankful for this option. I requested their menu upon arriving and they had a copy ready for my girl to browse. We all placed our orders, and I requested that her salad be delivered during appetizers so she wouldn't feel left out of the feeding frenzy her sisters were involved in with the bowl of chips and salsa. It took 20 minutes for the salad to be brought to our table. It was delivered with big crunchy croutons on top. I know, this may not seem like a big deal to some, but to a little girl that's been anxiously awaiting her salad it was almost enough to bring her to tears. We sent it back and the salad was replaced very quickly. The rest of the meal went without incident, and we all enjoyed the delicious food - even more so knowing it was a healthy option. The moral of this story? Even when a restaurant claims gluten free foods, you can't trust the servers to understand the intolerance and have to ensure your desires are followed. It can still be a pleasant experience, and even better, we didn't have to do the dishes after our 5 little piggies!

Monday, December 6, 2010

E Mealz

I used to be completely in love with a meal planning website prior to going to gluten free. I had a weekly menu as well as a grocery list to drastically reduce the time spent on my menu planning. An added bonus? The meals were delicious! They were based on the sales at our local grocer, which made it even better. Then, we had to change our diet and I sadly canceled our account. Imagine my joy when a friend called me recently to say she had heard of a meal planning site that offered a gluten free menu! I was even more joyful when she shared with me that it was e-mealz! I immediately signed back up and have been happily using their menu plan. I admit, some of the meals don't suit our family, but the majority do, and the benefits of having a complete, healthy meal laid out for me are beyond expression. No more menu planning for me!

I posted a link up button on my side bar if you'd like to give them a try :)


Our Thanksgiving went wonderfully. My daughter was able to enjoy her favorite foods with no fear of a tummy ache. We had dinner with my in-laws on Friday and it wasn't as successful. We tried to avoid obvious offenders, but something snuck in (or wasn't shared when prompted), and she was sick. Although, I think she would say it was worth it for the wonderful time of fellowship with our family. The hardest part is that when you explain the factors of being completely gluten free most people think you are taking it to the extreme or overreacting. "You can't share mayonnaise?". Ha! "A bread crumb can't possibly make you sick!". So, recipes that would be gluten free in our home aren't coming from a gluten filled kitchen.

We have moved into our Christmas decorating and baking season. I haven't started baking yet, but my first goodie will be peppermint meringue cookies. They are completely gluten free, and a regular treat in our home, which is what we like - things to be normal. I'll share recipes and pictures once we get started. Hopefully, you'll enjoy them as much as we do!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trials and errors

I love to cook. I once dreamed of opening a bakery with all my delicious desserts to tempt customers. That was back in the days of only 2 children. In God's infinite wisdom we were blessed with more daughters, and my dreams of baking were put on the back burner in place of necessity. You know, things like boxed mac and cheese and frozen pizzas since that was all I could manage most days. When we learned of the diagnoses of gluten intolerance I was very overwhelmed at the prospect of having to cook everything. I think overwhelmed might be an understatement. I was completely devastated. After about a week of letting it all sink in, I started to get seriously excited about cooking, awakening a desire that had long since been extinguished. I have actually come to enjoy creating many of our dishes, and now, I don't even consider the time invested - it's obviously worth every effort to keep my girl healthy. We've also switched to a more whole foods diet, without even knowing!

All that being said, there are still some nights that I just. don't. want. to. do. anything. Especially come up with a meal from scratch that is gluten free. It's those nights that the wonderful frozen food section has come to my rescue. We've only experimented with a couple of things, due to the cost, but they are still life savers. To that end, I thought I would share my finds with you, in the hopes of saving you some money (and perhaps time on one of those nights). Our favorite so far has been a frozen pizza by Glutino. Unfortunately, our local grocer has already stopped carrying the variety we enjoy, so we tried another, Amy's. It was not nearly as good, and not worth the price. We've also tried the frozen rice bread. We tried it plain, we tried it toasted, we tried it covered in peanut butter - it was still un-edible. Hubby and I had a date night the other evening and I was in a hurry, so in desperation I grabbed a box of french toast sticks, made by Glutino. They were fabulous! My girl ate to her hearts content and loved every bite. My husband even snagged a couple and said they were delicious.

That's our recent trials and errors, hope they can bless you!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another Cookbook

I was recently blessed by a friend at church loaning me a gluten free cookbook that her family has been using. It had many pages turned down which made my idea search a bit easier :) This book is a much simpler, kid friendly cookbook with a ton more recipes than the first one I purchased. Many of the recipes are simply conversions of our everyday favorites. I also like the fact that the ingredients called for are fairly typical, not exotic things that I rarely purchase (or want to spend money on). I like it so much that I have it saved in my cart on to purchase very soon! All of the recipes are aimed at children, advising them to ask for an adults help in preparing certain items. That being said, I thought it was perfect for me! I do think I could simply tell my older girls what we were having for dinner and they'd be fine preparing it without my help. So, if you are looking for another option in Gluten Free recipes, definitely take a look!

Just so you know, this is not a paid endorsement, I simply wanted to share this resource in hopes that you find something to make your journey a little easier. If you click on the cookbook image above you'll be taken directly to .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holiday Baking E-Book

Yes, I fell off the face of the blogging earth. I just haven't had much to say lately! Today, I found something well worth blogging about! I just came across this Holiday Recipes ebook and had to share - the recipes look simply delectable and simple enough for the girls to help. Those are two requirements for most holiday baking around here! Anyway, here is the link -

I showed my daughter and she was thrilled at the prospect of baking, a truly cherished tradition for us. Thank you, The Baking Beauties, for making this free for all of us!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm back to a Monday Menu Plan! It seems that Friday's are turning into super busy days around here, and Monday's are my computer and catch up days. We survived the fall festival at church by not eating the buns. We've even managed to sort the candy and find many gluten free options. Unfortunately, we did get a belly ache the next day which I am assuming is from the candy that my oldest assumed was fine and ate a bunch before realizing. Thankfully, her attitude about it was wonderful.

I made the decision to remove #1 (my oldest) from her cooking class. They are making quite a few dishes that contain gluten, and it is not fun for her to participate and not eat the creations. On top of that, the other kids all take part so she feels somewhat left out. I thought this might be an issue and I'm surprised it took 3 more classes before she became upset enough to change. It's a fairly big decision since she will be moving from the group with 6th & 7th graders to 4th & 5th graders. We prayed about it and all of us feel it is the right choice. Thankfully, we have some wonderful people leading our co-op and they were completely supportive of our decision.

I am in the process of starting to plan our Thanksgiving dinner. I normally plan it fairly far in advance simply to catch the sales on foods, but this year I have to plan early because it is so much more in depth. My oldest wants pumpkin pie, so I am going to make one for her, but I have to find a good crust recipe to go with it.

Here is our menu plan -

Dinner menu

Monday - Tostadas
Tuesday - Beef Stew
Wednesday - Baked Ziti
Thursday - Baked Chicken w/ rice pilaf
Friday - Dinner party
Saturday - Baked omelet w/ bacon
Sunday - Roast

Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu plan Monday!

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a bit - we've all been fighting off colds.

My daughter had her first sleepover since becoming Gluten Free and I think it went exceptionally well (at least as far as the food!). She brought her own pizza, cookies, and cereal. She said she didn't feel uncomfortable at all eating her special foods. I was so proud of her! Again, preparation is key.

This is our menu plan for this week. You can probably tell I wasn't feeling so hot when I made this plan, hence the many easy meals. I'm thinking a few will change once I get more energy. I'm only posting dinner. Everything else is "fly by night" until we are well. :)

Dinner menu
Sunday - black beans and yellow rice with cornbread
Monday - hot dogs and baked beans
Tuesday - shrimp fritters
Wednesday - beef stew
Thursday - cornbread sandwiches and soup
Friday - steak and potatoes
Saturday - Church fall festival, eating there!

I've checked out a couple of more cookbooks from the library and I haven't been as excited about them as with my first one. I'll let you know if I find anything wonderful. The thing that bothers me about all these GF cookbooks is that their recipes depend on the book's specific flour recipe, which costs additional money to make when I already have mine. I would like them to be more generic so I could use my own mix.

Hope everyone has a blessed week!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some days

There are days when I am so blessed to know I did all the right things to keep my precious girls healthy. Other days I forget to check a label and don't realize it until a stomach ache appears and we pinpoint a specific item. Then there are days like yesterday when my oldest has a belly ache and headache and we can't figure out anything she's eaten to cause it. Those are the times that frustrate me. The only possible culprit we can figure is that she had touched a cracker before eating her own snack - is her belly really that sensitive? Evidently, yes. She skipped her Wednesday night AWANA because she was feeling so bad. It just breaks my heart on days like that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Still progressing

The menu planning has been an enormous blessing. My daughter doesn't get anxious at meal times anymore trying to figure out something safe to eat. I have it hanging in our kitchen and there are no surprises! We had a last minute dinner party this past weekend and the GF kids managed to avoid glutens - hallelujah! It is possible!

I made my first GF flour mix from a recipe in the new cookbook. I am completely blown away at how much better it tastes than the ready made brand. It was outrageously expensive to buy all the ingredients for it, but I'm thinking it will eventually be much more cost effective. I think it ended up being $24 for everything, but I should be able to make many more batches. It was definitely more moist than the store bought. I've made a bunch of ziploc baggies of it and have it stored in the freezer - evidently it has to kept that way or it will go bad very quickly.

I haven't attempted any more bread. I'm rather afraid of wasting such expensive flour on another catastrophe.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Menu Plan 10/17-23

I have been posting my menu plans at the beginning of the week, but since I am trying to use coupons I am going to be doing my menu plans and shopping at the end of the week (today or Saturday), so this is when I'm going to post it. My menus are based on the sales at our local Publix - my favorite store. I may even try to keep a record of my grocery bill here - perhaps it will keep me accountable. Also, you will notice I'll not typically post breakfast and lunches on weekends. My husband is home those days and our schedule is so crazy that I can't plan anything - so it's fly by night on those days.

Breakfast menu
Sunday -
Monday - pumpkin muffins
Tuesday - cereal
Wednesday - berry corn muffins
Thursday - cereal
Friday - toast
Saturday -

Lunch menu
Sunday -
Monday - GF macaroni and cheese
Tuesday - pancakes
Wednesday - Bob's red mill biscuits & eggs
Thursday - rice cake sandwiches (normally peanut butter & honey)
Friday - pizza
Saturday -

Dinner menu
Sunday - black bean pork chops (slow cooker)
Monday - tostadas
Tuesday - chicken waffles (never made them last week)
Wednesday - potato bacon egg pie (never made it either!)
Thursday - pasta
Friday - slow cooker bbq
Saturday - chicken tenders with fritos for crust

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another day

I took the kids to a park yesterday for a playdate with a couple of other families. I had to run in the store to get drinks and a snack for everyone. I glanced over the labels and grabbed 2 bags of chips that I thought were great choices. You know where this is going, right? We were thoroughly enjoying them until I say in BOLD print that they contained wheat ingredients. How on earth did I miss that? Thankfully, only myself and the little munchkin had eaten them. Un-thankfully, her attitude reflected that for the rest of the day. Sigh.

I made rice and bean corn enchiladas last night and all the kids devoured them and asked for more. I love when that happens! I'm looking forward to lunch when I get to eat the leftovers! The older kids had AWANA, so I made a box of Betty Crocker Gluten Free chocolate chip cookies while they were gone. They are delicious! A bit crumbly, but still good enough for me to eat 4... It was very nice to just crack open a box and cook for a quick snack. It made 2 dozen, so it was more than enough for our entire family.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My three year old, Kyndall, doesn't have any idea what she is supposed to eat. If someone hands her a snack, she eats it - without question. Today at co-op (we homeschool), I brought her a snack of gummies, but due to a mis-communication she was given cheerio-s. Complete accident, but it made me aware of what to do for our next class. She has been so sweet since switching her to the gluten free diet. It's been 3 full days and I've seen a dramatic change. Within a couple of hours of eating gluten she gets very cranky. We went to the ball park tonight to watch hubby play softball and someone gave her a bag of crackers, which she devoured before I could stop her. She crashed about 15 minutes later with a tummy ache. I think we are definitely on the right path - for her attitude and health, but we shall see.

We did great again today - the baked ziti was a hit (it was actually penne pasta, but close enough). I have to make 2 pans since there isn't as much pasta in the GF box. I make one gluten full, and one free for the 3 of us. I make it first so there isn't any "contamination", and I use my beautiful new red strainer just for GF foods. I have stuck exactly to our menu plan, and yesterday was food heaven around here. The hash brown waffles were unbelievable - I ate so many I lost count. Seriously. That. Good. On to dinner - the shrimp fritters will become a staple in our house, as well as the cornbread salad sandwiches. The sandwiches probably don't sound appealing, but my carnivorous husband requested them as a meal in themselves. Oh, and the berry muffins for breakfast - so good. I was in the kitchen most of the day, and it was really nice. I enjoyed every minute of it. To top it all off, Shayla told me that eating gluten free isn't bad at all. How's that for a compliment from an 11 year old picky eater? Yup, I was a rock star yesterday - all by the grace of God! I prayed every time I tried to cook worried that the $8 bag of flour was going to flop in a recipe. It's too expensive to experiment with, but what choice do I have?

Monday, October 11, 2010

GF Menu Plan Monday 10/11-10/17

I haven't posted in a while. I've had nothing worthy to say since every day was full of gluten joy. We were home only one night, the rest of the week Shayla chose to have all kinds of foods that are absolute no-no's. We also had a yard sale 2 of those days and I have no idea what she consumed while I was busy. She was paying for it dearly by this weekend - lethargic, moody, continual belly ache. She felt so good for the first couple of weeks being gluten free that she forgot how bad she felt before. It seems to get progressively worse the more she eats, so that first donut might have been worth the pain, but by Friday night when she chose pizza after her salad she was almost unable to stand the sickness. So, back to square one. I compiled a wonderful menu based on the cookbook I purchased and we will be enjoying it's amazing recipes starting tonight. I am not listing the recipes today, but if you would like one please email me, I'd love to share! Our menu plan always changes throughout the week based on my level of exhaustion, but this gives me an idea of what I have on hand so I can cook without calling my neighbor and asking for yet another missing ingredient.

Kyndall (our 3 year old), and I are also strictly on the GF diet. I've been very good with making wise choices on her foods, but at church yesterday she walked out holding a cup of cheerios. Once again, it comes down to being prepared. Next time I will be bringing a bag of snacks for her that she will like enough to eat instead of throwing a fit for the helpful, innocent volunteers.

Ok, here are the menus.

Dinner menu
Monday - Shrimp fritters with cornbread greens stack (basically a cornbread sandwich with salad as the filling
Tuesday - Baked ziti, salad
Wednesday - Black bean and rice enchiladas, shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa
Thursday - pizza made with Bobs Red Mill dough, salad or green veggie
Friday - ham and tomato cornbread sandwiches with jalapeno mayo and fries
Saturday - Steak on the grill, mashed potatoes, salad
Sunday - chicken and waffles with maple bacon gravy

Breakfast menu
Monday - Berry corn muffins
Tuesday - cereal
Wednesday - eggs
Thursday - banana crepes
Friday - cereal
Saturday - ham & chive crepes
Sunday - cereal

Lunch menu
Monday - hash brown waffles with eggs
Tuesday - rice cake sandwiches (normally peanut butter & honey)
Wednesday - frozen pizza (we found a great gf one)
Thursday - toasted ham sandwiches
Friday - rice cake sandwiches
Saturday - sloppy joe filled potatoes
Sunday - potato bacon egg pie

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Looking back

I am looking over my recent posts and it looks as if I am doing pretty bad with this "diet". I suppose that would be correct since the last 5 days we've had at least one mess up each day, mostly intentional because of our lack of willpower. I can't get down about it, I'm called to "consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds", and this is definitely a trial. I am joyful, because I know that I can try again and do better - for myself and my children. This is not going to be an easy road, nor will it be without many more trials. But, I am confident in this - that we will make it and find many joys in each success and learn from each mistake.


I had a meal planned for tonight - beef stew, but as I was putting the ingredients in the crockpot I was told about another recipe for beef stroganoff (one of my favorites). I already had the meat in the crock, so I added my cream of potato soup and the rest of the ingredients, so excited about dinner. I suddenly realized I hadn't checked the label on the cream of potato - there it was "wheat flour". Sigh. I feel terrible. My daughter said she is going to eat it anyway because it smells so good, but I am just sick that I made a meal without being more thorough. It's my responsibility to feed her and keep her healthy and I failed. On top of that, tonight is AWANA so she'll go to church with a belly ache. I suppose she's done it for months, what's another night? Lesson learned - go with the original, well thought out plan. If I'm going to improvise I will have to actually put thought into it (and I'm not so good at that!).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Caved again...

We had an unexpected visit with a sweet relative from out of town last night and she treated us to dinner at CiCi's pizza. Shayla and I discussed it and came to a joint decision to enjoy the meal and make it our last splurge. Preparation is the key, and I did not go there prepared. We went hungry and tired, and it was lovely to spend a meal not thinking of what we were eating. We filled our plates to overflowing with greasy, poisonous (ie gluten filled) pizza heaven and finished it off with cinnamon rolls. Shayla paid for it with a terrible tummy ache the entire way home and went straight to bed. I think it was a good way to end our gluten life.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baking GF Bread for beginners

A few things to keep in mind when first attempting to bake gluten free bread. (This is my try at Bob's Red Mill GF bread mix).

1. Baking gluten free bread is NOTHING like baking regular bread.
2.It is like using that paste from elementary school (you know, the stuff that smelled so sweet and yummy?), and trying to form it into a loaf of bread.
3.It is NOT meant to mixed by hand and tried to mold into that aforementioned loaf. It shouldn't even be touched by human hands -only a spatula or beaters.
4.It smells terrible.
5.It will stick all over you, your kitchen, and anything else you dare to touch.
6.If you try to use your beautiful new stand mixer it will creep straight up the beaters to the top and stick in places you'll never get out.
7.Your beautiful new stand mixer will not be beautiful anymore.
8. It will look fairly close to normal bread when finished.
9. The first time you toast it in your brand new GF toaster your 3 year old will say someone went "stinky". It smells that bad.
10. It tastes about that bad, too.

Next? I am going to make my own flour mix and try that. The bean flavor as the first ingredient in this mix is too strong to make it edible for regular toast and sandwiches. It needs a lot of something to camouflage the taste.

Flop, Menu Plan 10/3-10/9

Yesterday I caved. My husband and I were blessed with a couple of hours to ourselves and we went to a local restaurant. I made my kids some delicious GF spaghetti, but I gorged myself on crispy onion rings and boneless buffalo wings. Yup, I chose badly. I was unprepared and glutton for fried food. Today Shayla flopped - she had a doughnut at church. She came up to me with her sweet little friends and asked if she could have a stomach ache, how could I say no to that? Tomorrow is another day... Yes, that is one of my favorite movies of ALL time.

I am doing a week of getting by with what's in our pantry for now, but next week I'll be trying a ton of new recipes and hope to start sharing those with you. I am heading in the kitchen now to try to make a loaf of bread, I'll let you know how that turns out.

This is my menu plan for dinners:

Sunday - black bean veggie burgers with corn and rice
Monday - pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and green beans
Tuesday - Crockpot Beef Stew
Wednesday - Baked Ziti
Thursday - Breakfast dinner (eggs, biscuits, pancakes)
Friday - Chicken and yellow rice with peas
Saturday - tacos (with lentils for the "meat")

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Starting from scratch

I was blessed with a gorgeous almost new stand mixer yesterday. I am already imagining the wonderful creations I can now make. Life is good. I plan to make a loaf of bread today. I'll let you know how that turns out. I have a bread machine, but it is covered in crumbs, so the mixer will be doing that duty today.

Today we woke up dreaming of funnel cakes. The local fair is only 4 1/2 months away and that's part of the reason we go. I suppose I'll have to come up with some other delicacy to celebrate that event. The only problem is that I'm not one of those people that can just come up with a recipe. I need clear concise directions to follow. I've only recently gotten to the point of being able to substitute ingredients. Take chicken pot pie for example. The recipe I have calls for Veg-All, so that's what I use. I finally came to the point that I could use just carrots. Yes, I'm that bad of a cook. But, I love cooking. It is one of those rare times I can focus solely on one thing and it rewards me immediately by tasting good - most times. It's a very relaxing time for me. I consider it a hobby and I've forgotten how much I enjoy it lately in the rush of life. I used to dream of owning my own bakery. That's the blessing of celiac for me - I am going to have to return to cooking from scratch. No more processed foods for our family.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I am on my second day of gluten free. No immediate results like Shayla had, but I am committed. I made pancakes this morning and they were awful. Seriously awful. They tasted like beans. At least the kids ate them. I've read that the mixes are all trial and error, some people love the bean flours, others are not fans - I obviously fall into the latter category as far as pancakes go. We had a wonderful pizza last night and the bean flour was fine with it.

I received 2 cookbooks yesterday and we are heading to the store to stock up on delicious ingredients so we can actually eat 3 normal meals a day. The hardest thing is that when we are hungry there isn't anything we can just grab that is moderately healthy. After this weekend, that should be resolved!

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I finally took the big step of cleaning out our pantry. I put all the foods that were safe on one shelf, and the "poisonous" ones on another - which isn't much. I hope to eventually have that shelf gone, but for now I can't bear to throw them out. I am completely getting rid of all the flours and baking mixes. My pantry looks so barren! I still haven't menu planned, but I'm working on it. I've been blessed to be connected with a couple of people that have already been on this path and are willing to answer my questions.

We've decided to hold off on the biopsy for the time being. There are a myriad of reasons, but we mainly just don't want her to have to go through it when we already know what we need to do. If in the future she wants to have it done or if we decide it's a necessary step then we'll proceed from there. As of today I am on the GF diet and so is my 3 year old. The rest of the house will be for any shared meals, and any baked goods. I am going to have a cooking day at least once a week and bake muffins, breads, and any goodies that we want so we can be prepared. I want to have a stash on hand for unexpected trips.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A plan is in order

We've been putting our gluten sensitive girl on the spot too much, asking her what she wants to eat. Honestly, I have rarely done that before - only on birthdays - so this spotlight is a bit overwhelming. She does not like the attention and fuss being on her, she'd prefer to hide in the shadows. That being said, I'm ordering a cookbook tonight so I can come up with meal plans and stop pestering the child. It's called Cooking for Isaiah and I'm super excited about it. This week I'll be using all the wonderful resources I've found on the internet to menu plan. I am posting a list of helpful blogs and websites on the sidebar in case anyone else can benefit from them. I am also going to start a weekly menu list, hopefully posting on Wednesday or Thursday.

I received the referral for the GI doctor, now I have to schedule an appointment. Baby steps.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I took my second oldest girl, Cassy, to the doctor yesterday for a nasty cough. While we there our doctor took some time to explain Shayla's test results. She said that even though everything came back normal, it would be beneficial for her to have a biopsy. The biopsy would definitively show whether or not she has celiac - and all of her symptoms are pointing to that diagnosis. She is hyper-sensitive to gluten. The doctor is also considering the idea that our 4th, Kyndall, also has celiac since she is so tiny. She's barely grown the last couple of years. The doctor reassured us that Shayla will feel no pain and have no memory of the procedure. She shouldn't even have pain afterward. The biopsy will be taken from her small intestine to see if there is damage consistent with celiac disease. If she doesn't have celiac then we know she is simply gluten intolerant. So, we are somewhat back to square one. We'll wait for the referral to the GI doctor and go from there.

We attended a bbq on Friday night and she was "glutenized". No idea what caused it, but she had a stomach ache within 30 minutes. I am assuming that's to be expected. The only way to prevent it would be to bring her own special plate of food - no fun in that at all!

I finally made it to Whole Foods and found some brown rice flour and xantham gum. That stuff is outrageous! Hopefully I can make more things from scratch now. I am having a lot of trouble coming up with more than a couple of days worth of meals. So, a lot to learn this week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 7, Diagnosis

I just spoke with our doctor's office and all of Shayla's labs came back normal. I did not understand this at all since we've obviously had such success by removing gluten from her diet. Evidently, she has a gluten intolerance, which means that she still cannot have any of the wheat (as suspected), but it is not celiac - which is actually an autoimmune disorder and could possibly damage her intestines as well as cause other issues. This is actually the best case scenario, and I think an answered prayer. We are able to "fix" her belly by a simple act of removing a toxic substance - gluten. No further testing, no crazy follow ups, just a strict diet. The diet actually seems easier each day. Today was another great day, and I'm feeling really blessed with a different outlook at the end of our first week!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 6

Another successful day. No test results, but we are so thankful that the gluten free diet has brought such a transformation. I was asked to bring a snack to a bible study tonight, so I made some sugar cookies and sent the "poison" to the meeting - got it out of our house! Once we get the test results back I will banish many more things! We made some gluten free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for us here that are simply wonderful! I can't wait to get to the health food store and stock up on gluten free flours so I can expand our repertoire. I was thinking this would be an expensive undertaking, and in many ways, it is. On the other hand, we will be making most things from scratch, removing the processed foods and expensive pre-cooked meals that saved me so much time, yet cost me more money. I'm thinking it should balance itself out fairly well. As for couponing - it appears to be a thing of the past (a blessing, I think, since I can use the time I spent couponing to cook!). Most of the deals I spent hours preparing for were items that are on the "unsafe list" around here.

I am feeling much more confident. I know there will be setbacks in the future, but for now, we've come to terms with this diet and aren't missing the breads and pastas. It's a huge leap from a few days ago. My favorite season has arrived, and with it all of the glorious baked treats. My sweet neighbor just brought over the absolute biggest pumpkin pie I've ever seen - and Shayla can't eat it. But, there were no tears over the loss!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 5

Wow, I can't believe it's already been 5 days. I am happy to report that Shayla had no stomach pains or tears today! Thank you, Lord! Cereal for breakfast (in a glass bowl!), salad for lunch, fruit for snacks, tacos for dinner (with corn tortillas). We even made it through a MOMS meeting (Mothers of Many Seasons), which has classes for homeschoolers and includes snacks. Shayla packed herself an apple and had me speak with her teacher to explain the reason she was having a different snack. She said the other kids asked for an apple when they saw hers, so that made her feel good.

We haven't received our test results yet, but I'm assuming the diagnosis is correct since we've seen such a dramatic change in her health by removing the glutens. Hopefully we'll get the results tomorrow or Thursday. If they show celiac I plan on having the rest of the family tested as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 4

Today was an acceptable day. This morning Shayla had cereal again, but ate it out of one of those plastic spoon bowls and it appears to have had some gluten attached to it because she was sick after eating it. It also could have been my crumb filled silverware drawer - where on earth does that stuff come from?! Anyway, I'm hoping that's what it was, and not that it is something else going on with her little belly. The rest of the day went great, and neither one of us cried over food! I'd call that a success in itself.

Day 3

It was our first day with Shayla having no stomach pains! Chex cereal for breakfast, rice bread and jelly for lunch (we have marked jelly just for her to prevent contamination from other breads), fruit roll ups, corn tortilla chips and salsa for snacks, pulled pork with salad and fries for dinner. A fairly "normal" food day. I will be experimenting with some new recipes this week so we don't miss our breads.

We did have one moment when she was terribly upset over a candy bar. I took her with me to get groceries so she could choose some snacks and as we were checking out she asked for a Nestle Cookies and Cream bar. I was trying to pay, and told her I wasn't sure if she could eat it or not but to go ahead and get it. She was very upset and hadn't considered not being able to eat one. Candy bars are a rare treat anyway, so that made it worse. By the time we got to the car she had it out and read the ingredients - which included wheat flour. The tears started flowing, and continued the entire way home. She could not be consoled. I am sure there will be many more moments like this, but hopefully they will get less dramatic.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 2, continued

Tonight we went to dinner at a friends house. It started off simply enough, I was going to make gluten free pizza for Shayla and I, while picking up some cheap totinos for everyone else. Evidently, that was not a good choice and it upset Shayla terribly. We went through a list of foods and finally found something she could get excited about - pre-made roast beef and mashed potatoes. I ran to the store to grab the food and thankfully started checking the labels because I realized the mashed potatoes were not gluten free. I almost started crying, again. I decided to look for an alternative and found that, amazingly, tater tots were gluten free! I also found a loaf of rice bread for her to try for lunch tomorrow. Once we got to our friends house there were platters of food for the taking and Shayla walked by at one point and grabbed a slice of cheese. She took a bite before I could warn her to stop - it was on a shared platter with crackers and there were crumbs all over it. The poor girl. She just started crying. She just wants to be normal and said she didn't realize how many things she would have to be careful about. Truly, it was something she would have normally done without thinking, and now we have to constantly be on guard. She ended up very sick, and I learned yet another lesson - bring a snack tray for my gluten free girl!

Day 2

Our first full day of gluten free didn't go as well as I had hoped. I made pancakes for lunch, not knowing that by using the same griddle (even different sides!) I was "contaminating" the gluten free food. I made 2 bowls, used 2 different spatulas, 2 separate sides of the griddle, and she still got a bit sick. Alas, I learned from it. I found a wonderful resource that lists all the safe and unsafe ingredients. I am going to print them up and carry them with me so I can read the labels and actually understand what I am reading. I also learned that Whole Foods has a huge selection of gluten free foods - we'll be making a trip there this week.

A few other things about yesterday -

It was my baby's first birthday and I had to make her a gluten free cake so her oldest sister could enjoy it with the rest of us. It turned out completely ugly, and very rich in taste. I have tears in my eyes as I think about it. Needless to say there weren't pictures of that cake. I think it's important to note that I rarely cook breakfast, or lunch. My kids favorite morning meal is cereal, lunch is sandwiches. I have cooked more in the last 2 days than I did the entire week before.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 1

This is the first day in our journey of going gluten free. My oldest daughter, Shayla (eleven years old), appears to have celiac disease. Our doctor advised us that we should start this new way of living immediately, even before we receive our test results (which should take about a week). Essentially it means eating meat, vegetables, and fruits. There are some gluten free options, but they are very expensive and I hope to learn to make them on my own. I did buy some for this first week until we receive "official" results.

How was she diagnosed? She has been having very bad stomach aches about 30 minutes to an hour after eating. She had zero energy - falling asleep in the middle of the day at strange times. She has not gained very much weight (about 3 pounds), in the last year and her ribs are very visible. Her siblings have almost caught up to her on weight! We have removed wheat from her diet as of yesterday afternoon and we are already seeing the effects.

Last night, I cried myself to sleep. I was imagining all the pizza parties that she will miss, and if she does go she'll have to bring her own food. I was mourning the loss of all those delicious birthday cakes. I was thinking of all the extra times I will have to cook. Selfish, but true. We went to the grocery store last night to get some specific foods she could eat and I had to fight my tears. I do not want her to see me cry, I want to be strong and let her assume it's going to be a fun thing, a new adventure. Walking down the aisles of food the only thing I could see was the foods she would never again eat without severe pain.

Today, I am immensely thankful. I have a daughter that is already smiling and happy. She has more energy from eating just one meal without gluten. She told me after dinner last night that it was wonderful to feel good. How amazing is that? So, our journey begins.