Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cease Striving

"Cease striving and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10


I do not have a calculated post tonight.  Nothing clever or catchy.  No play on words like I enjoy doing from time to time.  Today, however, I am thankful.  

It seems like I spend a lot of my mental energy planning out my next challenge.  Plotting, attaining, striving for the goals I have set for myself.  There is nothing wrong with goals.  I believe that having Godly vision is essential.  

"Where there is no vision, the people perish"  Proverbs 29:18 

But, like everything else, these goals, these things I strive to do in my life, must have balance.  What good are a list of Earthly accomplishments if they are not done in accordance with God's will and plan.  I love what Jeremiah says:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not harm you, to give you a hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Today, I am thankful.  

It occurred to me the other day that my dreams have come true.  I have always been grateful for God's blessings (husband, children, health etc)...but a specific time came to my memory the other day that reminded me that MY DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE.  I think that while we are chasing our dreams through life, we can often be so busy chasing, that we don't even realize when our dreams are no longer dreams.  I am thankful to be alive to experience each "dream come true" that God allows me to experience on this Earth.  It is God who gives "breath and life to all things" according to Acts 17:25.  I claimed this verse over my life every day when I was sick and pregnant with my triplets.  I am thankful, today, that I am here; breathing and alive.  

Another thanks is this guy right below!  I prayed for years for God to give me a Godly husband.  I had a rather lengthy mental list and felt like I might be an old maid before I got my answer.  Robb is a wonderful husband and father.  He is high on life and I am grateful for his spirit.  He's pretty spunky (and good looking if I do say so myself).  

And not to forget my three beautiful cowboys and one precious "cowboygirl."  My dreams of being a mother, although seemingly delayed for a season, have also come true.  I would not trade them for the world.  Three little dreams come true.  Thank you God for Your blessings!  I don't deserve them, but I will do the best with what you have entrusted to me.

Today, I am thankful.  

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gobble Gobble


Gluten free eating got you down this Thanksgiving?  I must admit, my G-free lifestyle often makes me feel like my stomach is getting the short end of the stick.  It's hard to watch others eat the things they love, and not drool with envy.  For me, it's self-control by default only at times (not because I want to say no...don't tell my trainer)!  Well, not this Thanksgiving!  Of course, I am still going to practice self control (because I want to fit into my new jeans), but it's not going to be because the entire menu is off limits for me.  Here are some tips and recipe ideas that will help you or the one you love be oh so "thankful" for their Thanksgiving feast!


To thicken gravy:  Use Cornstarch instead of flour.
Need to use cheese in a dish?  Do not buy it pre-shredded.  Buy Kraft cheese and grate it at home.  No anti-caking agents can contaminate it that way.
Need to season meat?  Lea & Perrins Worchestershire is gluten free.  So is French's brand.  Toni Chachere and Cajun Injector are two safe seasonings.  
Need to use a soup to thicken a casserole?  This is often so problematic to me because I
 L-O-V-E casseroles.  Call me a church lady- I love church lady food!  The problem?  All "cream of...." soups contain wheat or flour.  So, here is what I do:  

Cream of Chicken:
Boil your chicken and put broth aside.  Add about 1 cup of broth to skillet...I usually chop some celery and onion and simmer in butter and broth....add cornstarch to thicken.  Keep adding until it is appropriate thickness.  If you need a Cream of Mushroom...just buy a fresh pack of mushrooms (chop up to desired size) and toss them in.  This has helped me make Chicken n Spaghetti...a holiday favorite at my house.  

Need a cracker to dip your favorite dip?  Try Glutino cheese crackers (Wholefoods).
Got a Toddler that needs something sweet?  Try Annie's Fruit snacks (Target or Wholefoods).
Need pretzels for anything:  Glutino's Gluten free pretzels are better than any other brand I have ever had! 
Need to make some good ole Texas Trash?  
- Chex are gluten free (flavors include plain and honey nut).
- Use Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Sauce
- Peanuts (raw or use a brand that does not share a conveyor belt with wheat products)
- Gluten Free Pretzels can be found on the G-free aisle at Super HEB
- Can even safely add some M&M's for you sweet lovers out there!
Need to make a cheese ball?  Use Hormel Spam as it is gluten free for your meat.  Cream cheese and mayo are safe.
Need a G-Free chicken or beef broth:  Pacifica brand is G-Free (HEB).

It's not Thanksgiving unless these dishes are on the table at my house:

Sides:

Ma's Macaroni & Corn Casserole (G-Free style)
12 oz.  corn pasta (I use Schar spirals) - 1 box (can be found at Super HEB in the gluten free section.
2 cans Mild Rotel
2 cans cream style corn
1 can regular corn
1 stick butter melted
3 cups cheese (Remember, buy the block and grate the cheese yourself).

*Do not cook noodles first.  Do not drain any cans.  You will need a decent sized casserole dish.  Dump dry noodles and all canned items into the dish.  The liquid from the cans will cook the pasta. Mix about 1 cup cheese into the mixture.  Bake on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top the last 10 minutes until melted.  

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1/2 bag red potatoes (peeled or with skin on according to preference)
2 cloves garlic (chop off the entire end of the full bulb of garlic (so that all bulbs are exposed).  Take a piece of foil and wrap it completely around the garlic (1 bulb in each foil wrap- not together).  Before you close the top, pour some olive oil over the exposed garlic).  Bake at 350 degrees until garlic is soft...about 30-45 minutes).  

*Boil potatoes, drain, and mash.  Add butter as desired.  Squeeze the roasted garlic into mashed potatoes and stir well.  I season lightly with Tony Chachere's and/or salt/fresh ground pepper. 

Homemade Macaroni: Can be made with corn or rice pasta (I prefer Debole's or Schar corn pasta).  Just follow directions on the box.   Follow your recipe as usual.

Green Bean Wraps

2 cans long green beans (drain).
1 package MSG free bacon- Try Hormel brand
1 stick butter melted
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (Wal-Mart brand...Great Value) is gluten free.  Be very careful...this is the only G-free brand I have found.
Brown sugar (I use 1/4 cup for a large dish).

*Cut each bacon slice in half.  Take about 8 beans at a time.  Wrap the bacon and pin with a tooth pick.  Do this until you have made your desired amount of bundles.  Melt butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic salt together.  stir and pour over green bean wraps.  Bake in oven on 350 degrees until bacon is done.  


Meats:

Free Range Chicken or Turkey is best.  Can be bought from any Super HEB.
*Beware of Red meats (which can often have oats as filler).  
Jimmy Dean makes an All Natural brand of sausage.  I use this often.  No preservatives etc...
*Beware of pre-packaged seasonings as these are usually NEVER safe for Celiac sufferers

Dips:

Hearty Cheese Dip:
1 Large Velveeta
2 cans mild Rotel
1 package Jimmy Dean All Natural Sausage

*Cook sausage thoroughly.  Drain meat.  Add Velveeta and Rotel.  Serve with any Tortilla chips or Fritos.

Cream Cheese/Olive Dip
  1 package cream cheese.  
Green olives (chopped)

Combine mixture and serve on celery sticks. 


Desserts:

White chocolate dipped pretzels/Strawberries
 2 white chocolate baking bars.
1 bag Glutino Gluten free pretzels
1 package strawberries

*Heat chocolate according to directions (stir continuously to keep from burning).  You will need wax paper to lay them on.  Leave them on wax paper until chocolate hardens. Repeat for strawberries. Can dip gluten free pretzels for a nice G-free dessert or shhh!!! (pre-meal appetizer).  Go ahead, I won't tell.

Pamela's Products makes a great brownie as well!  - Find this at Super HEB.  If you are allergic to eggs, there is an egg-less option on the back of the package.  

Mi-Del makes a gluten free Ginger snap as well.  

Hope this helps!  Feel free to message me with any questions or additional ideas!

Have a wonderful G-Free Thanksgiving!

Jessica






Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oops...I did it again!

Oops...I did it again!  


And the consequences were just as unpleasant as the other times.  I am still feeling the effects from it and it has been approximately 8 hours.  All the signs were there as usual; nausea, bladder spasms, headache (which I still have as I type this), instant ulcer at the top right of my mouth, and the eery feeling that my insides (if allowed) would fall out the bottom of my body.  What can I say?  I goofed.  I oops'ed.  And I paid the usual price of physical pain and misery.  

I consumed gluten by accident.  The culprit?  The villain of processed meat.  I knew better, I really did!  They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and apparently my inability to find something sustainable to eat this morning even clouded my thinking.  Whereas I would have normally thought twice about consuming the delectable ham that I chose to consume, my gluten warning system was apparently down due to temporary starvation.  I just oops'ed.  I goofed. And I paid dearly for my lapse in thought.  

The good news?  I did have my trusty gadget "gluten pill" called Glutenflam handy that helps make the symptoms associated with gluten exposure less severe.  I took one of those pills and what normally would have been several hours of misery only lasted about 2 hours.  Once my muscle weakness set in and I had about a 30 minute nap, I was feeling better.  Yes, muscle weakness is a part of the "exposure" package (as well as me temporarily looking about 5 months pregnant). Really, it's true...trust me.  

Other good news is that I had fried fish today.  Fried in....drumroll please..............................................................................................................

RICE FLOUR!  

Shout it from the rooftops people!  It was QUITE good!  I think I liked the flavor better than cornmeal.  That is probably the second time in 8 months I have even consumed a "fried" piece of anything.  Two thumbs up for the rice flour.  You go rice flour!  Okay, I will stop now. 


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Red Folder

My trainer files my information in a red file.  Everytime he goes to pull out my file, he says "I don't know why I even start to dig, your the red one.  Red because your powerful."  


Hmmm....the red one?

It's funny how people's perception of you can often be so far from how you really view yourself.  People think I am red.  Me, the red one?  Sure, there were some areas in life that I felt confident in.  I was always good in athletics, a good student, and a loyal friend.  I can point to things in the past that paint a perfect picture of a red girl.  But, that is the past, right?  As an adult, I find myself regressing.  Regressing emotionally into more of a dull grey.  Does this make sense?  I have had a lot of success as a teenager and young adult.  Sometimes, it's easier to look back than to embrace what is ahead.  It has been a hard road for me from college to young mom of triplets.  Many health problems along the way that nearly cost me my life have left their stamp upon my mind and heart. It's not always rainbows and 'red files' despite what other people assume.  

Everytime I look at that red folder that holds my information, it actually reminds me of how un-red I really am.  The irony is that it reminds me just how much I need one particular "red" in my life; the blood of Jesus.  Because no matter how dull grey I feel, the blood of Jesus covers me.  It covers my sins, it heals me, and delivers me.  A relationship with Jesus specifically sets me free  from all the times I look in the mirror and see dull grey when all I want to see is the red girl.  It strengthens me on the days when all I see is failure, mistakes, and guilt.  When life disappoints and no one understands or takes the time to see past the perceived "red folder."  It's that red, that matters most.  

Monday, November 9, 2009

In The News

*News Flash*

My kids are apparently ready for Christmas.  They have, all on their own, given me their list of demands. 

Their requests?

Leyton would like a pair of blue shoes and a present under the tree.  Today, he shortened his request to:  a pair of blue shoes and a "tree."  

Laci would like a pair of pink shoes and a doll or a princess doll. 

Seth was very specific.  He would like a pair of green shoes (which later he changed to orange shoes) and a "remote control race car."  

Thinking that their requests were cute, I phoned my grandmother to let her know of our conversation.  Apparently, I repeated Seth's information incorrectly.  Because when I said "Seth wants a remote control car,"  Seth vehemently corrected me with "No mama, a remote control RACE car."  Oh, excuse me!  I'll try to be a better mommy next time!  

Leyton has done nothing but call me "mom" all night.  And although I have said before, I will say again, I do not approve of "mom."  Teenagers say "mom," not three year olds!  Three year olds say "mommy."  Let's keep it simple, will ya?

They are growing up, what can I say?  Last night Laci said:

"Mommy, you have a big mouth.  I have a small mouth.  Can you say oink, oink?"  So, I said "oink oink" (as I was told).  She said, "Okay, now say "Yeah Baby!"  

Oh kids say the cutest things.  What wonderfully, funny little blessings!  


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just Another Pit Stop.

Tomorrow I go for round (oh who's counting at this point) of my doctor's appointments.  I have been putting these appointments off for as long as possible.  Since removing wheat from my diet, I have felt 1,000 times better, but something is still not right.  I am 99.9% sure that my adhesions are back.  The problem with this, is it is going to require a laparascopic surgery again.  Although, this is minor procedure, I am not looking forward to another surgery.  My body has been through a lot in the last few years and I feel like I'm on my way.  But, in a cyclical manner, my bladder quits working properly and from past pain experience, it seems like it is probably adhered to my colon.  Adhesions are such an odd disease!  Diagnosing them is challenging because they mimic so many other problems.  Living with them is not something I am willing to do though!  So, tomorrow I will go to Dr. McBride (the doctor who diagnosed my Endometriosis) and Dr. Powers (my urologist) to see if we can come up with yet another comprehensive program to rid me of my weird adhesion disease once and for all.  It seems I am due for just another pit stop in my recovery process, so send some prayers my way.  


Jessica

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trees, Beanstalks, and Whales

At church I have been attending a ladies Bible study by Angela Thomas, When Wallflowers Dance.  It has been a great study on becoming a woman of righteous confidence.  The study always lasts until about 9pm so when I get home the babies are usually in bed.  Tonight, as I walked past the boys room, I heard a sweet whisper to come in and give a "hug."  


Leyton:  Hey mommy where u been?
Me:  I went to church.
Leyton:  You diiiid?  Did you go take pictures in the hallway? (we just took directory pics)
Me:  No, not tonight I went and learned about God.
Leyton:  You diiiid?  God was so happy.
Me:  Yes, I learned that God is big. And he can handle ANYTHING we give to Him.
Leyton:  Yeah, God is a GIANT!  
Me:  No, God is not a giant, not big like that.
Leyton:  Yeah, God does not want us to be sad.  One time, he went down the beanstalk and I cried.  
Me:  Oh, you did?
Leyton:  Yeah, and God wants us to be happy, not sad.  And He told that whale to gobble up Jonah.  And that whale say "YUM! YUM!"  
Me:  Hmmm...
Leyton:  ....Yeah he says YUM YUM...and then he threw Jonah up.  And then that man got in that tree and God said "YOU COME DOWN!"  
Me:  Alright, good stories.  Night Night! love you.
Leyton:  Love you too mommy, thanks for tucking me in with those stories.  
Me:  You are welcome!

Talk about Bible story brain overload.  We will be working on clearing up these woven tales of trees, beanstalks, and whales!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's about time...

It's about time I put my obsession with the Internet to good use.  After countless years of wasted hours on the Internet between the hours of 9pm and midnight, I decided to do something useful. I have a new "mini-job" blogging for a local fitness place.  


So, if you've enjoyed my site, jump on over to the Michael's Fitness page where I am the new systems administrator..  You never know, maybe some of my gluten free recipes and lifestyle tips just might cross over to blog number 2.  I know I've really got you worked up now! :)

If you live in the Liberty area, you might consider checking out Michael's Fitness in person.  If you do not live in our area, come and follow along.  It will be fun (well okay fun as a blog can be I guess).  Re-phrase that...it will be LIFE-CHANGING!  There, that's better.  


Jessica