As we all know 2020 has been a very interesting year. I say interesting because so many things have happened in my bubble and in the global bubble. There have been positive and not so positive things that have occurred and I feel like I want to make sure I try to tip the scale at the end of this rollercoaster year in a positive direction.
My mini me and I made a fun and festive holiday treat for our neighbors. Being at home alot more these days has its ups and downs. We have seen and done more driveway chats with our neighbors than we have done in years! With this being said we have plenty of time on our hands, on the weekends, to be creative and productive, so we thought making treats for our neighbors would be a nice way to spend our Sunday afternoon.
We didn’t want to bake, because we assumed people will do that for themselves. Instagram and Facebook have surely displayed all of the banana bread, cookies and soups people have been whipping up over the last several months, so we decided on something sweet, salty and crunchy.
I think this has many names if you look up recipes on Pinterest.
White Christmas Mix
White Out Mix
We did not follow a specific recipe. We used what we saw for a gluten free inspiration. Everything but the pretzels were normally gluten free. I personally like the gluten free pretzle sticks, but and shape will work.
We loaded our ingredients in the bowl. No real measuring. We sort of eyeballed the dry ingredients. This is very simple and fun for kids.
I melted the white chocolate. My mini me still isn’t ready for the stove, so while she scooped I melted the white chocolate wafers down to creamy deliciousness. I use a glass bowl that fits perfectly over a sauce pan, creating a double boiler.
I didn’t take a picture of the mixing process, but once the chocolate was ready I poured it onto the crunchy mixture and gently folded everything together. My goal was to evenly coat the dry ingredients. This is was an easy step and where our treat making story has two results.
With the first batch we added the candy and sprinkles on top…after we spread it out onto a pan lined with parchment paper.
This version looked prettier, but when packaging it up….the candy didn’t stick completely. I had to collect the mm’s and add them to the containers.
With this batch we added the candies into the mix and coated them at the same time. We added the sprinkles on after we spread it out . This way the sprinkles didn’t melt and turn the chocolate pink.
Next, we allowed the batches to cool and harden. This took about an hour. While this was happening we gathered what we needed to get things ready to package and send to the neighbors.
We put our tasty treat into disposable tin pans. I already had them and they are something that can be recycled when the treat is gone. No need to return a dish or container. In the past I have used cute, printed metal tins. I don’t know about you, but I can only store so many of my own, so I don’t want to burned someone else with storing a seasonal tin.
We added tags and bows. Nothing crazy or fancy. I wrote a holiday message on the back side and a quick note of ingredients. I have no idea about allergies, but I know that if we received this I probably wouldn’t eat it because I would be scared of gluten.
My mini popped on her elf hat and hit the sidewalk delivering our delectable delight with a dash of holiday cheer. Mission accomplished!
Gluten Free Merry Munch Mix
Gluten Free Pretzles
White chocolate melting wafers or white chocolate chips
This is what we used, but you can honestly add whatever you want…coat it in chocolate and it will be delicious! I am hoping to create a another medley next week. I will post and share.
Wishing you a fun and festive holiday season-whatever you celebrate. I hope you can take time to enjoy, rest, and spread some holiday cheer!
October is almost over and things have been smooth. We all are in good health, school has been manageable and I have been able to enjoy some of the typical Fall things that bring joy. I know so many of us are over all the things that have been weighing us down, so this post is a hodgepodge of positivity.
Getting the pumpkins for the porch was very important. I love pulling up to my house after an exhausting day at school and seeing the colors of Fall. Fall is my favorite season, so I am soaking up all of its beauty.
I had to get all the colors this year. Typically I go with a couple of mums, but this year I felt the more the better. I thankfully found ones reasonably priced. I may love the look, but I am still going to be thrifty.
We are taking full advantage of the cooler temps. Walks are still important for our mental and physical health. It has been fun getting out and seeing what our neighbors have done to celebrate Fall or Halloween.
I have turned into a two cups of coffee a day person. I have only had a morning cup for years, but with the challenges this school year has brought….I need an afternoon pick me up. Of course I am going to enjoy my liquid sunshine in a festive and seasonal mug. Finding the joy in simple things.
Baking is something that brings me joy, relaxation and sadly unwanted calories. This was an apple crisp I made, gluten free of course. I think this one was a total success. I did what I always do for the apple mixture, but the topping is where I got creative and think was a total win. I used gluten free pancake mix! I substituted the flour for the mix. I would love to post a full recipe, but I am a toss stuff together kinda gal, so I apologize, but if I make this again…which looks very likely, I will post the process.
When I think of all of the changes I have had to make this Fall, how I am teaching, what I am teaching and who I am teaching….I have needed to stop and smell the leaves. I was taking the dog out and took a moment to take in the simple beauty of my side yard. Taking in these tiny moments have helped my head and heart. Being overwhelmed seems to happen daily-for some reason or another, but remembering to give myself grace and stop to enjoy all the things that are around me has helped with my anxiety and my focus.
There are so many things out of my control right now. I think this is true for so many of us. Making healthy choices is getting me through my masked up, sanitized days.
Pacing myself with what I am teaching and not forgetting the fun has been something I have been thinking about quite frequently. Remembering I am not able to use materials the same way was a but of a downer when I started in September, but in the last couple of weeks I have had to make a shift and bring on the fun. Books make me happy, so fee nee titles to read to my littles has be a simple solution to things I felt were beyond me.
I am also shopping my TpT store. Being so overwhelmed and I forgot about an activity I made last year. Someone purchased it and it jogged my memory to print ant use with my kiddos. Looking at resources I used to take from school to school…out of my bag…is no more, now I am looking at how I can repurpose, adjust and reinvent myself. All the while keeping it fun for the kids and myself.
Halloween fun throughout the house also helps elevate some of the outside world stressors. I hope that as you read this it gets your wheels moving and grooving in a positive direction. Find the joy in what you can, wherever you are.
So if you read my blog, you know I have to eat gluten free. I have slowly been making peace with this new lifestyle. With that being said I try not to let my limitations effect my people.
My mini and I were picking up some fresh fruit in the grocery recently and she stopped to ask me about the strawberry glaze that come in the produce section. She was intrigued. She said she wanted to make a pie.
How great is that!
I did remind her that we would or I would need to pick up a GF crust. So after yoga I made a stop at Whole Foods. I have also tried GF crust from Trader Joe’s. Both are ok. However today’s purchase was not the best.
They came in a two pack…this one was a disaster.
We didn’t let this unfortunate crust derail or mission to create a little bit of summer!
The intact crust was baked and cooled.
So, for the rest of this tale I wish I would have taken pics, but I was living and not thinking about writing about this.
My mini has been taking a life skills class at school (aka culinary). This class is offered to all grades and children learn about nutrition, food prep, cooking and sewing. She really has learned alot and gained to most amazing level of confidence. She has knife skills!!
She washed and cut all the strawberries.
Added the store bought glaze.
Folded everything together.
I poured in the crust…the bowl is heavy.
Topped with Cool Whip.
Garnished with strawberries.
I truly love how this class has changed how she views food and herself. As a teacher I know schools offer “home economics”, they call FACS in one of my schools, but that isn’t offered until middle school. I really think there is immeasurable value in teaching elementary aged students how to take care of themselves.
Since I am not food blogger or chef I apologize if you need a recipe. Pinterest has amazing options out there. Just search strawberry pie. I know for our next strawberry pie making adventure we want to make the gel from scratch. I love a goal.
My hope for this post is you yourself will try to create something new and delicious or you will encourage a small person in your life to make something yummy, that inspires them to try new things.
Last Christmas I was very sad…throwing myself the biggest holiday pity party.
Every year I look forward to baking and eating our family cut out cookies. I baked them with my mom, my husband and now with my mini. The smell of them baking in the oven kicks off Christmas for me.
Last Christmas I had no desire to bake. If I wasn’t making what I knew, wanted and expected-I was baking nothing. This was probably terrible for my people because they still deserved their happy holiday. None the less that was my mindset and I did not forget to invite myself to a spectacular party.
My hubs is really a rock solid human. He saw how down I was and paid a very big bill at a GF bakery, for some very acceptable cookies and a yule log. These treats were not our festive favorites, but he and my mini were holly, jolly and supportive. Thankfully they are equal opportunity cookie consumers.
Let me just add….they did have plenty of delicious, festive, gluten filled cookies and cakes, because they can and should, but not baked by my gluten free, miserable hands.
So, on to this year.
I did not want a repeat of last year. I try to fancy myself a person who learns from their past choices and decisions, so this year I was determined to find a way to make my beloved cookie safe and tasty.
I do not want a new recipe. I am sure there are many options out there…in fact I know there are, pinterest shows me so, but I wanted something familiar. I want my family recipe.
I found my saving grace. I found a GF safe flour that has a 1:1 conversion. No experimentation with ingredients. The front of the bag had the magic words! I was beyond pumped. I could use just like typical flour. Cue the angels singinng!!!
Cookie dough was made and seemed ok.
I baked….sort of holding my breath.
Cookies came out…cooled and then it was time to taste.
I was pleasantly surprised. They tasted very close. The texture was palatable. Gluten free happiness!
Time to frost.
This is what I love the most. We frost and sprinkle together!!
This year I accepted and with this positive attitude memories were made, family tradition continued and calories were not counted!
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I’m really making peace with being gluten free and with trial and error I have found a cake that has good texture. I am very thankful I have found this mix at Trader Joe’s.
It takes about an hour to bake. This is longer than a typical mix, but it is dense. It does not rise up very high, but moist and small is worth it.
I don’t really enjoy canned frosting, so I decided to look for a homemade option. I went to pinterest of course! There were endless choices, but I decided to use a basic butter cream and cream cheese hybrid concoction. I am terrible at following a recipe.
I am that person that tweaks and adds things. Sometimes it works in my favor and sometimes it is an apology.
Cereal for dinner is always a back up!
I read, in a few online recipes, bakers were adding dehydrated strawberries. I figured I would give it a try. I buzzed the strawberries and added them in…fingers crossed. The result was fabulous.
Oh…and yes I made it all. I used to love to bake. I find it relaxing. Going GF has limited me. I was very happy whipping this up. I was home with my mini me…she needed a sick day, the weather was snowy and I didn’t want something from a bakery-happy birthday to me!
Made a wish….
I have been trying to eat better and get my yoga on. That being said…. I wanted to slob out!!!
We went and got gluten free pizza and these loaded fries. Total perfection on a snowy week night. Lots of calories and zero dishes!!!
We went out again!!!
Since I have gone gluten free I LOVE wings. Like really love them….crave them. This was the perfect way to wrap my birthday week. It was salty, spicy and satisfying.
My gluten free journey continues. Blessed to have another year to keep learning and expanding my options.
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Whether you read my blog on a regular basis or this is your first time- welcome. Writing about being gluten free is going to be something that I want to post about on a semi regular basis. This is still new way for me to live and I feel like I learn different things all the time.
My hope is my story will connect with you on some level.
I have only been living GF for 19 months. I am still a newbie to this lifestyle. I did not choose this-it choose me. Celiac was finally my diagnosis to a 15 year struggle with IBS.
To live my best life I have to eat gluten free.
I have written other posts about this journey, so check back through my blog. Some of those are a combination of positive and sad feelings about going GF. Each one was written in real time as I make my way on this new path.
Here I want to focus on a handful of positive observations I have had lately.
Bye Bye Angelsoft
This may seem like a silly thing to write about or too much information, but it is a solid reality. We shop for and by less toilet paper. I don’t live part time in the bathroom anymore!!!! Saving money and time….winning .
Bye Bye GPS
Not stressing about where to find a bathroom is a new observation. I used to plan around if and where a restroom would be. This anxiety I had over making sure there was one made my day miserable, especially with travel. It became a norm sadly, but now I recently stopped doing it. I am just going about my day care free. This little stone is gathering no moss.
Bye Bye Butterflies and Anxiety
So now that I don’t have that panic, stress and worry over: feeling sick, will I be sick, or when will the cramps kick in- I noticed about a month ago I don’t have that jittery feeling anymore. I think it is a two part situation.
1. My physical health is improving
2. My mental health is improving
Bye Bye Bloat
This is one of my favorite changes. It is a new sensation to not feel gross all the time. It is great to fit in my clothes after eating a meal. It is awesome to not hear a thunderstorm in my stomach. That was sometimes embarrassing. I could cover up the other two with a fake smile and a loose outfit, but I couldn’t hide the rumbling.
Bye Bye Fatigue
This is a battle I have won. I used to complain about being tired. I was sort of a broken record. I don’t think I was even aware how annoying and fatiguing I was! Now if I am tired it is a normal sort of tired. I don’t wake tired.
I am not up sick in the middle of the night and I sleep better.
My inflammation is down and I sleep better.
I can do yoga now…..I sleep better.
I can accomplish more in my day….I sleep better.
Finding what works I think is the key to any necessary change. I have adjusted my diet and seen life changing benefits. At first I was happy I had an answer, then I was mad at all the food I couldn’t eat and now I am just trying to find balance with my new existence. Allowing myself grace, knowing I might have a bad day and trying to practice patience with the process.
So I recently posted about living gluten free. Maybe you read it…maybe not. Check it out if you have time! I just wanted to add a quick extension story.
These cookies!!!! I have had them for a bit. Tried them…and somehow did not appreciate them fully. So good. The box is now empty. Completely not helping the fitness cause, but sometimes it is necessary. Maybe it is my current mood or maybe they are a great GF Girl Scout substitute.
School has 1 more day. I am ready for summer. I have wished my students well and I clearly am in need of some sugar! I bought these at a local grocery store. They were not crazy expensive. Total win! Finding something I think tastes good and I can justify the cost is a struggle at times.
As you can see I am still looking for the “ups” to this new foodie adventure. Happy snacking! Happy night owl snacking! Being a night owl is a totally different conversation. I love how an idea forms.
If this little snippet was mildly entertaining drop me a line. If you have and delicious suggestions I am always open to new GF things I can try-leave a comment.