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Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Time

Many people have the misconception that by being on a gluten free diet you will lose weight. Sorry to disappoint, but that is not a fact and sadly, I am living proof of that. Being gluten free is a lifestyle not a weight loss plan. For the last couple of years, my weight has been on my mind. From the moment I wake up, to the moment I fall asleep it's there, like a dark cloud that won't go away. But, I can't seem to motivate myself to actually do anything about it. I see other people dropping weight and getting in shape and I just sigh and wish that my jelly belly would just disappear. Why oh why does it have to be so hard?!? Is it that my metabolism has slowed down the older I get? Or do I give into my cravings more often than not? (Probably the latter) I've managed to find all the fattening treats that are gf so that I can indulge in my cravings without getting sick. But guess what? I am sick. Sick of my chubbiness, that is! I keep trying to remember the feeling of being slim...when I could wear a bikini and felt ok about it...I want that again! Is it possible? I'll be 39 years old here in a few short months, that would be the new 19, right??? On top of that, my brother is getting married in Vegas, Vegas people! We know what that means, the place where skin is in! I have 2 1/2 short months to slim down!  So please, send me lots of motivation...I'll need it! And as my niece Kama* says, I'm going to "get my sexy back" gluten free style! 


Monday, December 6, 2010

What's Chili Without the Cornbread???

It's like Mexican food without the tortillas, Italian without the pasta...I'm sure you get the idea. My dear friend, Janea, and I decided we were going to make some good comfort food for our chili Sunday dinner. We decided to make chili con carne with a side of gluten free corn bread. Thanks to Bob's Red Mill's gluten free flours, we baked some pretty good corn bread. It disappeared as quickly as the regular corn bread did! I am so excited to do some more gluten free baking. Looking at the baking recipes isn't as intimidating as it was before. Thankfully, my local Henry's Farmers Market carries a wide variety of the 50 gluten free products that Bob's Red Mills has to offer. You can also order it online at

We followed the directions on the back of Bob's Red Mill Cornmeal bag. It called for milk, which we substituted with almond milk. We also used Xylitol instead of sugar.

Delicious with some butter and a drizzle of honey!

Try it out and have a sweet gluten free day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

To Bake or Not To Bake???

I must admit, I am not very good at baking. It hasn't been a huge deal since I try to avoid eating bread because of weight issues. The times that I have attempted baking, it just doesn't turn out quite fact, 5 times out of 10 I screw it up! And now that I'm f0llowing a gluten free diet, the baking part looks a little too complicated for scares me. So many ingredients are usually involved, it's just overwhelming. I'm sure you've noticed in my past blogs that I like simple, easy recipes and use store bought baked goods when I need them. I just like short cuts, what can I say???

Well, last night, my dear friend Amy brought me a gift. It was a delicious loaf of pumpkin bread, just out of the oven. She did what I haven't been brave enough to do, lucky me! So, as I'm enjoying a slice with my morning coffee, I'm thinking that maybe she can help me with my little problem. One important piece of info she gave me was, Jules Shepard. Apparently, she has a flour recipe that can be used in any recipe that calls for flour. You just take an old favorite and substitute. Amy used her sisters pumpkin bread recipe and did this. And let me tell you, it worked!

So the question is, to bake or not to bake. Am I going to let my fear deprive me of some home baked goodness? The flourless chocolate cake that I've been craving for weeks? Crescent's? Real sandwich bread? I do believe that it is time for me to step out of my comfort zone and discover the art of gluten free baking. No more Udi's for me...ok, only sometimes. Okay all you gluten free newbies, join me by clicking the link below and let's get to baking!

Fresh Yeast Bread Can be Easy & Delicious!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunday Brunch Part II

Well, my Sunday brunch didn't turn out to be the way I had envisioned. Sadly, my poor mom ended up in the hospital that weekend. She was out by Saturday afternoon and thankfully was well enough to join us Sunday morning. I did make the Chicken Posole, which everyone loved! My friends helped out by adding some pastries, which I have to say, I was a good girl and didn't touch any of it. (No matter how good it smelled!) And most importantly, we enjoyed a few Mimosa's together.  It was a good time and my momma was happy. It's strange when your parents get to that age when you start worrying about their health and well being more than ever. This was a wake up call for me and now we're planning on joining a Zumba class together so we can both stay healthy.

I did treat myself to a delicious solo breakfast the following day. I try not to eat too many breads but, since I had bought some to make French toast, I went ahead and made myself some.

I used the Brown Rice bread from Trader Joe's. It's about half the size of regular sliced bread but much denser, not so good for a sandwich but, great for French toast. I made a mixture of egg, a splash of almond milk, a tad of vanilla, lots of cinnamon and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Melt some butter on the griddle, dip the bread and cook. I topped it with the left over fruit salad from the day before, which consisted of papaya, mango, pineapple and a splash of rum. Then topped it with Agave Maple Syrup (from Trader Joe's) and a dollop of whipped cream.  We all deserve to spoil ourselves with some good sweetness every now and try it out and let me know what you think.

Have a lovely day everyone~

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday Brunch

Since I started working a few months ago, it's been hard to get together with my girl friends and I miss them so! I have finally planned to have a little brunch with the girls and am very excited for them to try out some gluten free foods. On the menu we have:

Chicken Posole
Ham & Cheese Quiche
Gluten Free French Toast
Fresh Fruit

I can't wait for Sunday! I'll definitly be posting some pictures and their comments on my gluten free goodies.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

2 (12 ounce) packages frozen hash brown potatoes
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup cooked diced ham
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Squeeze any excess moisture from the potatoes and combine them with the melted butter or margarine in a small bowl. Press this mixture into the bottom and sides of an ungreased 10 inch pie pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and arrange the ham and cheese evenly over the potatoes. In a separate small bowl, beat together the eggs and the cream. Pour this over the ham and cheese.

Return pan to oven for 30 minutes, or until the custard has completely set. This recipe serves 5.

Chicken Posole

2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
3 cups water
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
3 cups white hominy, rinsed and drained

sliced radishes
shredded cabbage
squeeze of lime

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and cook until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 20 minutes. Remove from skillet, drain, and cool. When completely cooled, shred chicken with a fork.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic until soft and transparent, about 5 minutes.

Return shredded chicken to the skillet. Stir in the chicken broth, water, oregano, salt, and chili powder. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook about 90 minutes.

Stir in the hominy and cook until tender, about 15 minutes more. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt and chili powder, if desired. Garnish with sliced radishes, shredded cabbage and a squeeze of lime. This recipe serves 10.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Morning Breakfast Rush

It's Monday morning and the breakfast rush was on at 7am here in the Carranza household..."mom, I want waffles", "I'll just take a banana shake", "um, I don't know what I want, hmmm"...yes, they all want something different or don't know what they want at all. This happens just about every day. And while all this is going on, I'm becoming slightly light headed because I too am hungry. Finding tasty cereals to keep me afloat hasn't been too hard to find. We have our Gluten Free Rice Chex, Gluten Free Corn Chex and my favorite, Mesa Sunrise. So as soon as I have a minute, I pour myself a bowl along with some almond milk and eat until the indicisive child decides on what they want for breakfast.

One of my favorite, healthy breakfast foods are quiche cups. If I can get myself organized enough, I make enough of these to last me a few days. You just pop a couple in the microwave for a minute and voila, breakfast is served! They're great little pick me ups, as well. And you can get creative with the ingredients so they never get boring.

Quiche Cups
3 large eggs
2 tblsp heavy cream
1/2 cup diced canadian bacon
3/4 cup shredded cheese
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and all water squeezed out
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion

Heat oven to 350F
Line 12 cup muffin pan with foil baking cups, spray the cups with the cooking spray.
Thaw and drain spinach - I wring it out well in my hand.
Mix the spinach, eggs, cheese, Canadian bacon, peppers, onions, salt in a bowl.
Fill the foil cups with the mixture.
Bake at 350F or 20 minutes, testing so that a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from cups to serve.

Remember, mother always said 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day' and we all know, mom's are always right! ;) So, eat your breakfast, even when you're on the run!

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Snacking and tasting can be such fun!

It’s been about 4 months since I began eating gluten free. Most of the time I do pretty well with it. The thought of feeling as tired as I used to and breaking out with ugly acne around my jaw line, keeps me away from gluten for the most part. I can’t lie though, I have cheated. Until I got caught, that is. I was tasting some, warm just out of the oven, oatmeal cookies that I baked for the kids, you know, just making sure they were edible. When I was about to grab a third one my son, Christian, says to me, “Hey, you’re not supposed to be eating that! It has wheat in it!”  I know, I know…shame on me! So, yes, I have my kids to thank for keeping me on track, making sure that I don’t eat wheat (or their goodies).

With today's hustle and bustle , it seems like I'm constantly running out the door hungry...not so good when you're about to pick up a car load of wild children. So, I had to find something quick, yummy and gf to snack on while on the road. I stopped by my local Fresh & Easy to see what I could find. I found the most delightful and nutritious little snack ever, the KIND bar. These little bars are sooo good and have protected the children from the wrath of a hungry mommy...I just love 'em! BTW, they can also be found at your local Starbuck's now!

If you're like me, I can't, for the life of me, think straight when I'm hungry. Keeping easy snacks around is  helpful since I don't really sit down and have a full meal when its just me. So here are a few ideas to keep the bear away. I keep a few hard boiled eggs in the fridge, getting your five (or is it 8 now?) servings of fruits and veggies is also important. Yogurt, especially Greek style yogurt, helps to satisfy hunger pangs. But my favorite is Riceworks chips with a side of delicious home made hummus! The really nice thing about hummus is that it stays good for 7 days when refrigerated in an air tight container.  Below is a recipe, courtesy of for thee best hummus!

Cilantro Lime Jalapeno Hummus
1 cup washed cilantro
1 jalapeno (seeds removed, reserve some slices for garnish)
1 16oz can garbanzo beans (drained)
1/2 cup tahini paste
1/2 cup lime juice
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp black pepper
olive oil (garnish topping)
paprika (garnish topping)

In a food processor add garbanzo beans, garlic and salt and blend until smooth.  Next add, lime juice, tahini, sour cream, salt, pepper, jalapeno and blend until smooth. Lastly, add cilantro and pulse until cilantro is mixed in.  Garnish with olive oil and paprika.

And before I sign off today, I have to share my midafternoon snack with's a little Mexican/Japanese fusion...edamame sprinkled with Tajin, d'lish!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thank you Zee!

My name is Michelle. I’m 38 and have 3 beautiful children. I have a wonderful husband of 8 years, surprisingly he's still around. I say this because having a wife who was never in the mood for anything, and I mean anything, he has been the most patient and loving man I could ever ask for. 

Thanks to Facebook, today I am gf*. If it wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t have gotten in contact with my long lost friend Zeneta, aka Zee, whom I haven't seen in years and lives way up in Oregon. She had noticed my wall posts where I was constantly complaining about being tired…I really was tired. No...I was exhausted! Dangerously exhausted! I would wake up tired, drive my kids to school and upon returning home had no energy to do anything on my long to do list. So, sluggishly, I’d make myself do laundry, wash the dishes, do my shopping, never doing as much as my mind wanted to do. I had no energy to do anything with my kids. I didn’t spend time with my husband. I began gaining weight because I couldn’t bring myself to exercise. It was all getting very depressing. For years I wondered what was wrong with me. People would say “You’re a mom, of course you’re tired!”, but I knew that falling asleep at the wheel on a daily basis was not normal, even for a busy mom.

So, there I was on Facebook, posting another comment about how tired I was and that’s when Zee sent me a message. She asked if I was gluten intolerant…never did I think I was intolerant to any kind of food. I loved food! Especially pasta, cookies, cakes, pies and everything that had gluten in it! Of course, this was bad news for me. How in the world would I adjust? No more pancakes? No more buttery croissants or beer bread? No more beer?!? How could this be???

After the initial shock, I began researching gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease. While reading the symptoms, I got goose bumps realizing that I had many of the symptoms. Could this be the end to my chronic fatigue and forgetfulness, the bloating, the joint pain and even the (sorry) constipation? And I came to know that the annoying little rash on my arm, which has been haunting me for at least 9 years, has a name, Dermatitis Herpetiformis…I was blown away! Is there still hope for me to lead a normal, active life?  I believed it was definitely worth a try and so began my journey.

I had no idea where to begin so I hit the World Wide Web. I found a gazillion web sites full of information and recipes and gluten free stores. Gotta love the WWW…what would we do without it?  But boy, it was a bit overwhelming. So, I started simply by eating what I had here at home. I just read labels, avoiding anything that had wheat, rye and barley. I even called a few manufacturers if the label was confusing. Needless to say, I didn't eat a whole lot. 
After about 3 days, the acne that had been around my jaw line for months, disappeared! Then after a week, I stopped falling asleep while driving! This was all the convincing I needed to give up gluten for good!

My only dilemma now, was finding ways to have the same food that I was used to eating but, without the gluten. Many of the sauces, dressings and marinades out there have hidden gluten. What to do? Search, search, search! Now, I am literally obsessed with looking for ways to make my old faves gf and new dishes to satisfy this gluten free girls’ appetite. So my mission is to share my findings and experiences with all those gluten confused people out there. You are not alone and there is hope!