Day 58: My gluten free year… still pressing on

Dear Gluten Free Friends,

Yes, I am still pressing on  in my gluten free journey! I ‘ve learned a couple hard lessons about living without gluten that I wanted to share.

1. My husband found the coolest GF restaurant in Dallas for Valentine’s Day! Medieval Times has a gluten free option! Of course I couldn’t eat the bread or dessert they served everyone else…but they brought me a Lemon ice instead. Every part of the meal was delicious and I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything! I also tried my first gluten free Angry Orchard Hard Cider.  This was the second best place I have eaten since going g free, and it was pretty special that I could celebrate Valentine’s day like everyone else without compromise!

I’m learning a lot of compromise since becoming gluten free.

2. Kissing your gluten eating spouse will make you sick. I learned this one the hard way.

So, I have amazing co-workers who gave me Valentine treats (bundt cake, valentine chocolates, a muffin from Central Market) that I could not eat because they contained wheat. I graciously accepted these gifts and thanked them because I could still give them to my husband to eat. The funny thing is…he ate them gradually over the Valentine weekend…and kissed me. He glutened me inadvertently. The rest of the Valentine weekend I was sick, bloated, nauseous and finally realized that I was consuming gluten by proxy. Gluten eating spouses have to brush their teeth before kissing!

3. My makeup and hair care products were topically making me sick. The primer I use from MAC contains barley. This does not upset my stomach or digestive tract, but it does make my eyes burn like salt in a wound. I love MAC make up and it makes me really sad that I have to give up this product, but it is a must. It makes me look like I have pink eye and hurts really bad! Before I knew it was the primer, I was waking up a lot in the middle of the night with me eye balls enflamed. Not pleasant.

My gluten sensitivity is not just about what I eat.  I can’t wear it on my face or in my hair care products.

4. Visiting a hair stylist is going to be as tricky as going out to dinner.

I may not be ingesting gluten, but I can’t wear it either. A lot of shampoos, conditioners, styling products have gluten in them…and I learned this the hard way, too.  It took several days for my eyes to stop stinging after getting my hair washed and cut at Ulta, even though I told him I was allergic to gluten.  I guess I was not specific enough on what I am allergic to…because a lot of product labeling is not easy to understand with all the different scientific terms on the ingredients list. I would love to get my hair colored! He gave me a list of ingredients from the color he would use on my hair so I could Google them. So, at least I didn’t have a a color treatment to deal with….but I am pretty sure that whatever shampoo, conditioner, and styling products he used on my my hair caused my burning eyes (I had to replace my contacts as well) and broke out on my scalp. Lesson learned about the diligence of using gf hair products!


Economic Edibles: Chicken Cheesesteaks

sandwhichI love cooking with beer! When I found this chicken cheesesteak recipe on the blog over at Sally Cooks, I had to try it out! Mr. Cooper and I hate to be in a cooking rut.  These hearty sandwiches were a hit. Thanks so much, Sally!

Here is my take on the recipe:

  1. On the bottom of the crockpot, add a layer onion, green, red, yellow and jalapeño peppers. I used the frozen ones I already chopped (fresh from the farmer’s market).
  2. Mince four garlic cloves. Add to the pot.
  3. Add two large chicken breasts. It is okay if they are frozen, too.
  4. Sprinkle the chicken with a 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  5. Pour a bottle of your favorite beer on top of the chicken. I used a 12 ounce bottle of Bud Light. It was the perfect amount.
  6. Cover and cook. I cooked this for 4 hours on HIGH. Sally suggests you cook it 6-8 hours on LOW. It will taste amazing either way. I didn’t have six hours before my hubby came home.
  7. Once it is done cooking, use a fork and shred the chicken. The meat falls apart.
  8. You can serve this with or without buns. I put two slices of ultra thin provolone cheese on a deli bun and topped it with chicken cheesesteak. Enjoy!

This sandwich will warm you up! There was enough left over for his lunch tomorrow! This one is on my economic edibles list!

Menu Planning + Ideas for saving money

We had some unexpected bills happen this week (car repairs we did not budget). I am genuinely frugal when it comes to grocery shopping.  However, with the car drama, I need to be extra strategic in menu planning.

This is not a “happy housewife” blog post. I am far from the Betty Crocker wannabe that some women in the 50’s dreamed up.   There is nothing wrong with being a housewife…and this situation is only temporary.

I fill my days with trying to figure out ways to make our lives run smoother while waiting on my opportunity. In order to make our income last longer, I have implemented some money saving strategies:

  • I clip coupons
  • I shop the sale ads
  • I freeze leftovers so we can use them in his lunch box
  • I make a plan for the week’s meals

Having a plan is the biggest part of the strategy.  Its just not economical to eat what you are hungry for at the moment. It is much more effective to make a meal that can turn into a next day lunch or pop into the freezer for the next week. Four months into this marriage and unemployment…I have figured this out. Not having a plan is too expensive and not healthy on the waistline.

What you are your ideas to keep lunch and dinner ideas fresh and cost effective?

She’s my Bonus Mom…

We are having our first house guest tomorrow! Ann, my bonus mom, is coming to Dallas to visit for the weekend! Technically, she is my step-mom, but I like bonus mom better.

I’m in cleaning and fall decorating mode to prepare for her visit. Gabi is doing a great job supervising me as I clean.

So happy to have family time this week! If I miss one thing about Indiana, it has to be having family around to do things together.

We are going to shop in Grapevine, watch the Cardinals games, have brunch at Blue Mesa and possibly checkout the Texas State Fair.

Now…I have to get back to folding towels and thinking up some tasty dishes to serve!  Hope you are having a great week!

I may make her my new favorite Cilantro + Lime White Chicken Chili with jalapeño cornbread…YUM!


Side Dish Search: Jalapeño Cornbread (Happy Fall y’all)

My favorite season: FALL! This is my first autumn equinox not in Indiana, and I hope Texas will not disappoint in this season of splendor. The leaves are not turning the majestic oranges and reds yet as they do in Indiana. I am just grateful of how it is pleasant to be outside again. Texas is one hot state!

So is my chili and cornbread! My Texan approved chili has a new companion. Jalapeño cornbread! Yum.

We all have our secret recipes, and mine is chili. I’m not giving away the recipe for it. I will tell you the secret to this amazingly moist and spicy cornbread.


Jalapeño Cornbread

2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (yes, a box mix)

1 can of cream style corn

1 fresh jalapeño pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare corn muffin mix as directed. Add can of cream-style corn and pepper. Blend well.  In a greased baking dish, spread mixture evenly in the pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer than what is directed on the muffin mix box. I baked mine for approximately 35 minutes. Test it around 30 minutes. My oven seems to over bake if I don’t watch it. It is one of the joys of renting!

Serve with your favorite fall stew, chili or soup. What is better than the first day of fall chili? Day two chili! Enjoy!

Dinner Dish: Stuffed Peppers (we miss you, hatch peppers)

Dinner Dish: Stuffed  Green Peppers (we miss you, Hatch peppers)

I prepared stuffed peppers for my hubby tonight while I take my first sewing class since junior high! Sewing together my little baby blanket taggies tonight! Part two of Chevron Baby Taggie will be posted later.