Sunday, November 30, 2008


WG was looking at the bag of GF pretzels with a very concerned look on her face.
WG: "Why you gave me gluten pretzels?"
Me: "I didn't."
WG: "but it says gluten there" (pointing to the bag)
Me: "the next word is free, so it really says gluten-free."

I must say I think it's pretty funny that the first word WG read was gluten.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving thanks

I am thankful for all the "normal" things this Thanksgiving: family, enough food to eat, a roof over my head, my (and Tim's) job, etc.

I am thankful that the GF diet continues to help our entire family and that following it has become second nature.

I am thankful that WG qualified for at-risk preschool because it has made a tremendous difference. I am confident that she will do well in Kindergarten next year.

I am thankful for my wonderful husband who somehow has the skills to completely remodel our kitchen, plumbing, electric and all.

I am thankful for good friends who I can talk to about anything. When I was teaching in DeKalb, two of "my" moms were so close they were like sisters. I had always hoped for a friendship like that and it's nice to have one.

I am thankful for WG. My friend who is the mother of two preemies summed it up, she said she was thankful for her children and could never take them for granted because with the tiniest tip of the scale they might not have been here at all.

I am thankful for the things that make me laugh so hard it feels like I've done an hour's worth of sit ups.

I am thankful that my grandmother had such a nice ending to her life. That doesn't sound right, but you know what I mean.

I am thankful for caffiene. And the occasional glass of wine.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Last night one of the bedtime stories WG picked was a Berenstain Bears' book. At one point, Papa was eating his breakfast which consisted of porridge.
WG: "I don't eat porridge."
Me: "Oh. Why not?" (I was expecting an answer like, "I don't like it" or "because it has gluten".)
WG (looking at me like I'm stupid): "Because it's for bears."

Friday, November 21, 2008


It "snowed" this morning. Southern snow is not like Northern snow. Flurries make people completely lose their minds. My first winter here I went to the grocery store on my usual day and was mystified when I found that there was no milk or bread in any of the stores. Turns out we were gearing up for a "big storm," which wound up to be a dusting of snow on the grass. School was canceled that day.

WG has not experienced much in the way of snow. Last year one of the very few times it snowed she looked out the car window and asked me what was wrong with the rain. This morning we had some flurries. On the way to school I asked WG if she saw anything unusual out her window. She said she didn't. I asked if she saw the white stuff in the air and she said, "Oh. Yes, I see the white bugs."

Baking day

I'm baking today because WG is sick of corn tortillas and turkey wrapped around cheese. She wants bread, cookies and muffins. I have recently learned a couple handy things regarding GF baking, so I thought I'd pass my secrets on.

* When you are developing your own GF recipes or converting "regular" recipes, ALWAYS bake a single test cookie / muffin / cupcake / whatever before you bake a whole panful. This is important even if you are using a pre-made mix that claims to replace wheat flour cup for cup. This allows you to do some tweaking of the batter if things go wrong without having to throw away a whole panful.

* Sometimes allowing your batter to rest is a good idea because it lets the xanthan gum start to tighten things up. The flip side of this is that if you are using flour to make gravy or a white sauce, it is best to use a plain mix without xanthan gum. The xanthan gum makes gummy gravy that just gets thicker and thicker. Ick.

* It's well-known that you can freeze unbaked cookie dough balls. This works for GF, too. You can also freeze unbaked muffin and cupcake batter. Put the batter in the muffin papers and freeze. When you are ready to bake, use the same oven temperature but they might need an extra 3-7 minutes. I know you could just bake them all and then freeze them. I like fresh-from-the-oven much better than defrosted / reheated.

* Nut flour / meal is the key to really really good GF baked goods that are very close in taste and texture to their wheaty counterparts. I haven't tried extra finely ground rice flour yet but I've heard that helps, too.

The November '08 issue of Cooking Light has a recipe for pecan pie that uses oats to make the crust instead of flour. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks promising. Oat pie crust

I'm deciding on our Thanksgiving menu. I'll post it when I have it all figured out. It *is* possible to have a mostly traditional, absolutely delicious GF Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We have cabinets!

Tim put the upper cabinets in this past weekend. He even put the doors on them (haven't gotten a picture of that yet.) I haven't had doors on my kitchen cabinets since we bought the house. To say that I am excited is an understatement. Even without the bottom cabinets done, I think I already have more storage room than I did. Tim plans to put the lower cabinets in this weekend.

A few weeks ago when he re-worked the wiring Tim was a bit perturbed because there was one bit of wiring that he had no idea where it went or what it was for. When he put the pantry in, our portable dishwasher lost it's home so he took out one of the lower cabinets next to the sink to make a space for it. The mystery wire was right there, sticking out of the wall. It was stripped and ready to go, not capped off or anything. (ACK!) Turns out the electric is already run to put in a dishwasher which is great because that was the biggest obstacle to our installing a regular dishwasher.

Anyhow, on to the pics!



Monday, November 10, 2008

A good review!

My quartet performed for the first time this season yesterday. It went well, we were happy. We were happier when we saw the review..... My heartfelt thanks to "the boys" for making this ambitious program a heck of a lot of fun to prepare.

Quartet plays togetherness beautifully from Knoxville News Sentinel

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Our family loves just about anything that has to do with pumpkin. WG has been after me for a good week or two to make pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is not hard to make, especially with a gluten free crust (you mix it in the mixer and pat it into the pan. No worries about overmixing, either, since there is no gluten to overwork!) but work has been hectic and my kitchen is under construction so I haven't felt like baking.

Today WG is off of school because of the election. (When I was a kid we didn't get election day off!) She got up this morning and asked me if I made pumpkin pie for breakfast. So I decided to improvise and I made pumpkin pie oatmeal instead. It was a hit.

Pumpkin Pie oatmeal (per generous serving)

1/2 cup plain oatmeal
1 cup milk
about 1/4 cup pumpkin
Sugar to taste (brown sugar would be good) I used about 1 T
Cinnamon to taste
Nutmeg to taste

Cook the oatmeal in the milk according to the directions on the oatmeal box. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. This would also be good with a few tablespoons of chopped pecans or walnuts stirred in.

Monday, November 3, 2008

New gig!

I am now the official musician blogger for the symphony! I will be blogging twice weekly through the season about what is going on at the KSO as well as just music in general. My first blog posted today!!! (can you tell I'm excited?) To check it out, go to the symphony's website: and click on "blog."