Nail Gallery

I love to do my nails. I love natural stuff and all, but I want my nails done. When I was in high school I had acrylic nails. I know, super bad for you, especially for a kid. Some time in college I must have stopped that. In beauty school, Miss Jenny taught us about the evils of artificial nails. Of course, Alaska had pretty lax rules concerning nail techs at the time, so she was just watching out for us. Anyway, when CND came out with Shellac my manicure schedule was changed. I used to paint my nails at least, AT LEAST once a week. I was a hairdresser, do you know how hard that is on your nails? Now that I am a housewife my nails still take quite a beating. But my polish looks great. Plus, I have Pinterest to get new manicure ideas.

So, I wanted a place where I could save pictures of the manicures I have done. Then I remembered I have a blog! I can make my own gallery! So much better than flipping through all the pictures on my phone. I’m still not skilled at adding pictures to my posts so this might take a little work. WordPress probably has a tutorial I could use, but that would require effort. I’ll just mess up a page and then I’ll look for help. It’s the way I work!

 

 

Don’t think I need to do that Forth of July mani again, ever. Almost as bad as my gallery work. This blog may never be pretty. Or maybe it will become a job and I’ll get training and go to conventions and my life will change. But probably not. I think I’ll check out some more manicures on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GF DF Coco-nutty Chocolate Muffins

Coco-nutty Chocolate Muffins

Makes 6 Jumbo muffins or 12 regular muffins

  • 3/4 cup GF flour blend (I used Montana Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix, it is mostly oat flour)
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seeds (remove and set aside 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup hemp protein powder (like Manitoba Harvest Pro50)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

 

  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup coconut/almond milk (any dairy-free milk)
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon old-fashioned molasses
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional toppings:

  • sliced almonds
  • coconut chips (big flakes)

 

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease muffin tin or use paper liners.

Pour vinegar and dairy-free milk into small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.

Mix that tablespoon of flax seed meal (you took out of the 3/4 cup) and mix with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside

Combine first 8 ingredients through chocolate chips in large mixing bowl.

Stir together pumpkin puree, sugar, molasses, vanilla, flax mixture (egg replacer) and milk/vinegar mixture in a small(ish) mixing bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry. Gently stir until combined. Divide batter into muffin tin. (I use a measuring cup.) Top with sliced almonds and coconut chips (optional).

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean (hard to avoid chocolate chips though).

Almond Joy Muffin

 

I have a problem with Almond Joy Granola (minimalist baker). Every time I make it, I must eat it until it is gone. I have one bowl for breakfast and another one for afternoon snack and one more before I go to bed. My children may get one bowl, if they are quick. Favorite granola, hands down! Now,we also have our favorite chocolate muffins, but they have whole wheat flour and wheat germ and I am trying so hard to keep my child gluten free. So, what if we substitute ground almonds for the wheat germ and add in coconut because coconut goes with chocolate and almonds? I’m thinking these could be the next favorite muffins. (wrote this before muffins were actually made)

(written after muffins made and eaten) These taste nothing like the Almond Joy Granola or the candy bar (from what I remember). These muffins are super chocolaty with coconut and almond accents. I’ll probably try again for a more pronounced coconut flavored muffin, but for now I’m happy with chocolate!

I made these muffins last night. After they had been baking half an hour, I turned off the oven and left them in there overnight. This morning I served my (wary) children, each half a muffin. One picked the coconut off of the top and left the rest crumbled on her plate. My other child didn’t leave a crumb. So a mixed review. I thought they were yummy. Gluten free, dairy free,vegan, high fiber, what is not to love? I’m thinking I’ll have another one for snack. Is it snack time?

Is It? Is It Here? FALL!

I clearly remember the first time I found that I liked Fall. It was my freshman year of college. School didn’t start until the end of September, so for the first time in my life I could see Autumn coming. I wasn’t dreading the beginning of school. I enjoyed the weather getting cooler and the leaves changing. Plus, after school began I felt pretty collegiate walking around campus under the canopy of colorful foliage. Now, holy cow, people are going crazy over Fall. Were people always crazy about Fall, but because we didn’t have Pinterest we didn’t know? I like pumpkin, but get a grip! Pumpkin doesn’t have to be in everything! So, I’m gonna share some pumpkin recipes. Just kidding, no really I am. Only my favorite one though. I found I don’t care for savory pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin chili, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin pasties? I found a whole page of savory pumpkin recipes from the Huffington Post, go ahead knock yourself out. This recipe is from Grandma Velma. She wasn’t really my grandma. My dad called her Aunt Velma, but she wasn’t his aunt either. Grandma Velma was vaugly related to us. Her family and my grandparents came out to Oregon from Arkansas about the same time. She was a character. She sewed quilts and watched soap operas all day. I have five quilts in my closet she made, plus an afgan and we were barely related! Just imagine how many quilts her actual grandchildren have! She was a great, old fashioned, Southern gramma. And a great cook.

Pumpkin Cake Roll-From Grandma Velma

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese (like Tofutti)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter (like earth balance)

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and flour a jelly roll pan and line with wax or parchment paper.

Beat eggs on high for 3 minutes. Gradually bean in the sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients, fold into pumpkin mixture. pour batter into prepared pan. Top with nuts.

Bake for 15 minutes. Lay out a tea towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

When the cake is done carefully turn it out onto the sugar covered tea towel. remove the paper from the back of the cake. Roll the cake in the towel and let it cool.

Beat all the filling ingredients together until smooth.

Slowly and carefully unroll the cake. Smooth the filling over entire cake and roll again (with out the towel).

Chill and slice to serve.

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Dairy Free Tuna Noodles

GF and DF Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • 1 half medium onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 quarter bell pepper, diced (I use red)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2-2  cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese shreds
  • 1 tablespoon potato flour
  • 1 or 2 7 oz cans tuna, drained
  • 3 cups (dry) gluten-free elbows
  • crushed potato chips or vegan Parmesan to top (optional)

Cook noodles according to package directions. Saute onion, celery and pepper in olive oil or vegan butter in a medium sauce pan. Add seasoning and milk. Heat through. When little bubbles form around edge of pan, stir in potato flour. When most of the lumps have disappeared (don’t worry, it will be fine, just keep stirring) add in the cheese shreds. On low heat, stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in tuna. This is the time to add more milk, if it looks too dry/thick. Mix tuna sauce into cooked and drained noodles. (OR now you can add more milk, if it looks too dry.) Pour noodles and sauce into 2 qt casserole dish. Top with crushed potato chips or vegan parm. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, uncovered.

wp-1467992822513.jpg

There it is. Up at the top so you don’t have to scroll through all my story-telling to get to the recipe. I hate when you have to search to find the recipe. (I know I am guilty of doing this.) I don’t care about your husband or your cat. I  really don’t want to hear about your fabulous trip to NYC. And I don’t want to see your gorgeous photos because I am jealous! (I have no talent in photography) I just want the recipe! So, now I can story-tell to my little heart’s content and it won’t be in anyone’s way.

I have a recipe for DF tuna and noodles, but now we are trying to be gluten free for my sweet daughter. This girl is a trooper. She has had so many health problems and I am just amazed at how she handles them. The only times I have been in the ER have been with her. I think that because her birth was so difficult, I am more nervous for her. I feel like she needs more protection. I also feel like I have let her down. I should have been more in tune to her body. I know I can’t make sure she doesn’t get sick, but oh, I want to do just that! Anyway, in my attempt to be a more overbearing mother I have decided to eliminate gluten from her diet. Now we are going to be dairy AND gluten free. I am praying that it makes a difference in her health. I am going to be super vigilant for 6 months to see if it makes any difference. Then I might relent and let her have Chick-fil-A nuggets because I hate to deny her of her favorite things. This is where my darling husband would say “Are you the mom?” Yes, I am the mom, but I also know how hard it is to not eat your favorite food. I so wanted my children to be able to eat whatever they wanted, but being healthy is more important. And that is the moral of today’s story.

Alaska! What to Wear?

I used to live in Alaska. My husband and I met and were married there. There are things that I miss about Alaska. Like the mountains, oh the mountains, and the wildlife and the fresh fish. But I don’t miss the mosquitoes, or the cold wet summers. Now, summer can be beautiful in Alaska. Short, but beautiful. There are summers that are warm and sunny. However, every few years summer is not like summer at all. This was one of those years. We had a couple of beautiful days, we even went swimming one day. But most of the time it was cool and raining.
We had been planning our Alaska trip for several months. Meaning that my husband bought plane tickets and then we did nothing at all to get ready until the day before we were set to leave. I looked online to find a packing list for summer in Alaska. Go ahead and look, the pickings are very slim. Especially if you aren’t going on a cruise. Luckily all I had to do was think back a few years and remember what I wore. Mostly jeans and short sleeve shirts. Maybe a dress, if it was warm enough. Shorts and tank tops aren’t really necessary in Alaska. To complicate matters our stay was for one month. And I had no idea how often we would have access to a washing machine. So, here is what to pack for one month in Alaska in the summer.

14 pairs of underwear
3 bras
10 pairs of socks
2 pairs of jeans
1 pair shorts
1 casual dress
4 short sleeve shirts
3 long sleeve shirts
2 sweatshirts
1 workout outfit
3 pairs of pajamas (1 summer weight, 2 winter)
1 pair hiking/tennis shoes
1 pair flip-flops
1 swim suit
1 jacket
1 beach towel

Clothes for Alaska

This is an updated list of what I should have packed. I actually brought two swim suits, but only wore one and I only brought 7 pairs of sock and bought 2 more while we were there. And one day I borrowed a pair of shorts from my aunt.

This is what I wore on the plane. The pants have a stretch waistband and are super comfy. I am not a fashion blogger (obviously), but I don’t want to look like a hot mess when I travel. This outfit with the stretchy pants and tank top under a button down denim shirt was comfortable and didn’t look horrible. I call that a win.

Travelling Clothes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a wonderful time visiting family and friends. And I am so happy to be home!

Please remind me to NEVER fly the red-eye again, especially with children.

 

What is in a Number?

I’m starting to think that my ‘ideal weight’ is an unrealistic number. Why did I pick this number? Have I ever been my ideal weight? Was it in high school? It is starting to piss me off. I log my calories and exercise online (MyFitnessPal). It’s a good tool. Too bad losing weight isn’t as easy as calories in versus calories burned. Many may argue that that is exactly what goes into losing weight, but I seem to be stuck. At the end of every day my app tells me that in five weeks I should weigh three pounds more than my ideal weight, this magic number that I am striving toward. However, I am still seven pounds away from this number. Three pounds, seven pounds, these are small numbers. I know there are millions of people struggling to lose large amounts of weight and my complaining is just petty. Here is the thing that I am wondering. Where do we come up with our ideal weight numbers. I looked online for my BMI. The healthy range for me is between 94.7 and 128 lbs. That is quite a range. 95 pounds? Really? 95 would be a healthy weight for me? Maybe if I was a vegan marathon runner. Or an Olympic gymnast. So, I chose a random number in the middle of my range, but I can’t get there. Should I keep struggling to get to my ideal weight or should I say “Never mind, THIS, the weight that I am right now, IS my ideal weight”. That sounds like a great idea.

 

THIS, the weight I am right now, IS my ideal weight!

Good-bye random number that may never appear on my scale! I am not going to feel guilty about not reaching an imaginary goal. I am going to celebrate the size that I am!

Jambalaya My Way

Marrying someone from a different ethnic/geographical background than your own expands your horizons. Learning to cook Louisiana style foods has been a learning process for me. I haven’t heard of other people making Jambalaya this way, but I think it works best. Most recipes call for cooking the rice in the same pot with the meat and tomatoes, but I had a hard time with my rice sticking or becoming a gummy mess. So I decided to cook my rice in the rice cooker and then just stir it in to the cooked meat and veggies.

2 cups uncooked rice (cook in rice cooker)
1 lb chicken (breast, thigh, combo)
12-16 oz anduille or smoked sausage
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 ribs celery, diced
1/2 Bell pepper, diced
1/2 bottle Gluten Free beer* (like Omission)
16 oz canned tomatoes
2 tsp Garlic
2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Basil
1/4 tsp Sage
salt and pepper to taste (or cajun/creole seasoning)
2 tsp tamari* (gluten free soy sauce) optional

So, what I do is cook the rice in the rice cooker and while that is going I start the chicken in a deep skillet on the stove. I usually cook it frozen (because planning ahead is not my forte) and then chop it up and plop it back into the pan. Then I add the sausage and brown it up a bit. Next comes the veggies. When the onion is translucent I deglaze the pan with beer.  Let the beer cook down a bit. Add the tomatoes and spices. Stir it all together and let it come to a simmer. Pile the rice on top and stir it all together. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

It may not be the traditional way to make Jambalaya, but it works for me.

*If you aren’t GF just use regular beer and soy sauce.