NOTICE

At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
DO NOT RELY SOLELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS INGREDIENTS AND INFORMATION DO CHANGE.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

Please Be Advised:
I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Recent Reflections - July 2019: Happy Birthday, Hubby!



This is the seventh Recent Reflections post of 2019.  Recent Reflections goes live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  Each Recent Reflections post covers something that I'm reflecting on.  If you'd like to share a post with a similar theme, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post, and I'll hop on over and leave a comment (and maybe some other readers will, too).

This month, I will be reflecting on my husband.



My hubby's birthday was on Thursday.  It's hard to believe another year has gone by.  We've reached that point in our lives that we've known each other longer than we haven't, and we've been married nearly longer than we were single.  It doesn't seem possible!  Time truly flies...very fast...at ultra-sonic speeds...in a blink of an eye!

Hubby, Happy Birthday and I love you!  I'm so glad the Lord brought us together.  Who would have thought that two Michigan kids would have to go to college in Tennessee to find each other?  Go figure. :)  I'm grateful every day for you, even if I don't say it.  You work hard, you love fiercely, you're loyal beyond words, and you definitely make my life interesting! :D  Like every couple, we have our ups and downs, but I'd rather have life with you than without you even on the worst days.  I can't even imagine a day without you in it, and I hope I never have to.  I hope you have many more birthdays on this earth with us, and I hope those years can be counted as wonderful!

Readers, thanks for bearing with me as I gushed a bit about my spouse.  If you have a significant other, please take time to tell them you love them and do something special for them, especially on their birthday or your anniversary.  We aren't guaranteed tomorrow, so make today count!

I truly hope this post has been a blessing to your heart, or at the least made you stop and think a little.  What has God done in your life lately to bless you?  What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!




Monday, July 15, 2019

Weekly Weigh In: Week 4, July 15, 2019

I have decided to do a new feature that will run at least through the summer, but possibly longer.  It will go live every Monday, and it will be a weigh in that will share how I'm doing health-wise.  This will not replace My Quarterly Report, but I do think it will give me more accountability with my health.

Here is my fourth weigh in:

1. The Selfie: The selfie is me as of today, July 15, 2019.  

2. Weight: Not only did I lose the weight that I'd gained, but an additional pound to boot!  I am so glad to have lost 2 lbs.!  I still have many more to go, but I'm thrilled!  I do not expect this to be the norm (I am aiming to lose about a pound a week), but I'll take the weight loss as it comes.

3. Health News: I was able to walk an average of over 6,000 steps a day again last week.  I am not sure the weather will cooperate with that goal, but I'll do my best!  I know that part of my weight loss success over the last week had to do with staying busy (I tend to eat when I'm bored, and I'm trying to break that habit), so I'm going to keep that in mind.  I always feel better when I'm active more than sedentary, so that is what I'm going to really focus on this next week - keeping busy and really striving to not give in to laziness and procrastination.  That is not always easy, but I do believe it is necessary!

4. Diet News:  Well, I did try to eat more protein, and I did overall, but I did still eat more carbs than I probably should.  That being said, I did find myself making better choices overall in regards to less processed food.  For now, and my goal for next week, is to choose less processed overall and aim at choosing protein or all natural (think veggies and fruits vs. chips as a snack) whenever possible.  We'll see how I do.  Old habits die hard, and changing the way you eat without resorting to fade diets that only last so long and result in weight gain the day you get away from them is doubly hard.  I am striving for life-long changes, not quick fixes, so I know this will be a long process, but some great change once it all clicks into place. :)

5. Other News: I greatly appreciate all of you who have been praying for me and mine.  My dad's knee surgery went really well, and he is recovering wonderfully.  He is starting to get bored already (he is normally a very active man), so please pray that he doesn't do too much too soon and undo what the surgeon has done.  Thank you!  He still will need a total knee replacement in future, but he has definitely bought himself some time in that department by having this surgery, and we are grateful for it.  Also, my husband is doing much better and so am I.  I am tired from helping out at my folks all last week along with taking care of my own home and all the other things we had going on, but it's a good tired, if that makes sense.  We still have a very busy few weeks left before there's a noticeable lull in all the action, but that's probably a good thing.  It's better to be busy than bored for sure!

How are you doing?  Do you have anything you want to weigh in with?  Any health progress or goals you want to share?  If so, please leave a comment below (with a link to your post, if you have one and wish to leave it), and I'll respond ASAP.

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Gluten-Free Strawberry Crisp (Nut, Wheat, Egg and Fish-Free, Can Be Soy and Milk-Free)


It's summertime, and that means strawberries up here in Northern Michigan!  There is nothing better than fresh strawberries, especially Michigan berries (sorry, California, but it's true).  If you are like me and looking for a way to use those beautiful berries before they go bad (assuming you haven't eaten all the ones you've purchased/picked in a timely manner or  assuming (like me) that you bought/picked way too many to eat fresh, turn into jam, etc.), this crisp is a great way to do it!

This crisp is a great alternative to strawberry shortcake.  It is wonderful plain or with ice cream or whipped cream.  It is also great hot or cold.  It's like eating an oatmeal cookie with strawberry jam, I mean, come on!  That's good eats right there!  Did I mention that this recipe is nut, wheat, egg and fish-free, and can be soy-free (if you use all soy-free ingredients), and milk-free (see variations)?  It is!  Allergy-friendly and delicious!  What more could you want?

Note: The gluten-free flour and baking mix I recommend do not technically contain soy, but the one contains xanthan gum and the other contains guar gum (see "Soy-Free" under variations for more details) which can cause issues for people with soy sensitivities or allergies, and that is why I will not claim that this recipe is soy-free.

Gluten-Free Strawberry Crisp
Cups of fresh strawberries, quartered or halved (depending on size) 
(and that's 4 Cups after quartering or halving)

1/4 to 1/2 Cup white sugar
(I always use cane sugar.)

1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
   
Topping:
1/2 Cup gluten-free flour blend or baking mix 
(I recommend Pamela's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour or King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix)
   
1/2 Cup gluten-free quick cooking or old fashioned oats
  
6 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 Cup salted, full-fat butter
  
1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
   
2. In a large bowl, gently toss together the strawberries, white sugar and lemon juice (if using); set aside.  (Note: The amount of sugar is based on how sweet you want the filling, and that lemon juice is added for a bit of brightness and balance of flavor - it is not essential, but recommended.)
   
3. In a separate large bowl, combine gluten-free flour, gluten-free oats, brown sugar,  and cinnamon (if using).
    
4. Cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly.
   
5. Pour fruit mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, and then sprinkle the gluten-free flour mixture over the top of the fruit.
  
6. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. (Note: Because the strawberries tend to release a lot of water, you will want to cook this until the topping is pretty golden brown.  The first time I made this, I thought it was done at 40 minutes (as seen in the pictures above), but I realized after I'd taken the pictures that it was still pretty liquid-y, so I decided to put it back into the oven and cook it for about 10 to 20 minutes longer until the filling looked like bubbling gel vs. bubbling liquid and the topping was very golden brown.  It was wonderful set after that and delicious!)

Serve hot or cold, plain or topped with ice cream or whipped cream as your diet allows.

Makes 12 to 24 servings, depending on size. 

Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using substitutions!):

  • Milk-Free: Use lard, coconut oil, or a dairy-free butter for the butter.  You may need to add 1/8 teaspoon of salt (1/4 teaspoon if doubling the topping amount) to the topping, however, if you use an unsalted fat.  
      
  • Soy-Free: Neither Pamela's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour or King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix claim to contain soy, but Pamela's contains guar gum and King Arthur Flour's contains xanthan gum, which can cause issues with people who have soy sensitivities and allergies, and hence the reason I won't claim this recipe is soy-free already.  You can use regular flour (if you can have it) or a soy-free, gluten-free flour of your choice. 
      
  • More Topping: If you want more topping, you can double the amount of topping.
       
  • Different Flavors: I can use almost any fruit combination you desire, even frozen fruit (though the cooking time may need to be increased if you use frozen fruit).  You could use a combination of strawberries and another fruit or even sub apples (all one type or a mix of a few types, peeled or not based on preference), blueberries, rhubarb, raspberries, cherries, peaches, pears - anything you wish as long as it doesn't exceed 4 Cups of fruit, and you can use any combo that appeals to you.  I would not, however, recommend using canned fruit or bananas as the consistency would be greatly changed, and the result would be more mush than you'd want.
     
  • Sugar Substitutions:  You could use any sugar substitute that is approved for baking for the sugar.  Make sure that you sub it according to the recommendations for that sweetener.  Not all sugar substitutes are subbed with a 1:1 ratio.  I would not recommend using honey, molasses or other liquid sugar, however, as that would greatly change the consistency, and the result would be more mush than you'd want.
     
  • Topping Variations:  If you can have tree nuts, you can always add up to 1/8 Cup pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc. to the topping.  You can even sub nuts for the oats, though I would not exceed 1/8 Cup of nuts regardless (unless you are doubling the topping amount, then you could use 1/4 Cup).  You can also increase the cinnamon amount to up to 1/2 teaspoon (1 teaspoon if doubling the topping amount) if you want more cinnamon flavor.

Looks yummy, right?

It is!


Enjoy your weekend!


Monday, July 8, 2019

Weekly Weigh In: Week 3, July 8, 2019

I have decided to do a new feature that will run at least through the summer, but possibly longer.  It will go live every Monday, and it will be a weigh in that will share how I'm doing health-wise.  This will not replace My Quarterly Report, but I do think it will give me more accountability with my health.

Here is my third weigh in:

1. The Selfie: The selfie is me as of today, July 8, 2019.  

2. Weight: I am a bit bummed to report that I gained back the pound that I lost, but I am glad it was just that and not more.  Too many carbs this last week (along with not feeling well that kept me down more than I wanted to be) played into this, I'm sure.  I am not going to give up, though.  I'll keep trying on improving my lifestyle choices, and eventually I will be where I want to be. :)

3. Health News: I was able to walk an average of over 6,000 steps a day last week.  I hope to do the same this week.  It's going to be insanely busy, so we'll see if I can accomplish this.  I am also fighting a lot of congestion (with 99-range temp off an on, which is high for me as I'm normally 96 to low 97-range), so that's making all I have this week to do feel a little more daunting.  I'm sure I'll get through it, just I'd like to get through it with a smile. :)  Prayers and thoughts appreciated, please and thank you!

4. Diet News:  Though I did meet my goal of avoiding the coffee creamer (yay!), I didn't avoid the carbs like I'd hoped (boo!).  My goal this week is to eat more protein-based overall.  I think this will help with the weight issue.  We shall see!  After I make this more habit, my goal is to eat less and less processed (on the whole), but this will take time.  Wish me luck!

5. Other News: So, this week we have our tent meetings at church nightly, Monday - Thursday, my Dad is having knee surgery on Wednesday, my boys and hubby are doing their lawn-care job on Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday there is normal, busy weekend stuff that includes church visitation and church services.  I am not sure how involved I will be with helping my Dad out, but I have made myself available as needed.  Please pray that his surgery goes well, and that there will not be any complications.  I get my Factor V Leiden from him, and he's had blood clots before, so we naturally will be praying that doesn't become an issue.  His surgery is supposed to be outpatient (arthroscopic to repair a meniscus tear, clean up some other issues and repair anything else they can that way to hopefully buy some years before he will need a full knee replacement), so the surgery should be relatively minor with easier and quicker recovery.   Anyway, we appreciate your prayers that all goes well, that he has a smooth recovery, and that he (and the rest of us) stays/get healthy (I don't believe any of us has anything contagious - horrible allergies are most likely - but my hubby is on an antibiotic and steroids for his asthma/congestion since he's had it for a month).  Thanks!

How are you doing?  Do you have anything you want to weigh in with?  Any health progress or goals you want to share?  If so, please leave a comment below (with a link to your post, if you have one and wish to leave it), and I'll respond ASAP.

Have a great week!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Weekly Weigh In: Week 2, July 1, 2019

I have decided to do a new feature that will run at least through the summer, but possibly longer.  It will go live every Monday, and it will be a weigh in that will share how I'm doing health-wise.  This will not replace My Quarterly Report, but I do think it will give me more accountability with my health.

Here is my second weigh in:


1. The Selfie: The selfie is me as of today, July 1, 2019.  

2. Weight: I am pleased to report that I lost a pound over the last week!  I am still up from what I was since my last Quarterly Report, but I will focus on this weight loss and just move ahead from here.  Hopefully, next week I will have another pound loss (or more) to report as well. :)  

3. Health News: I am fighting some allergies or a head cold, but otherwise feel I am doing well.  I am trying to walk at least 6,000 steps a day (at least on average).  I was able to average over 6,000 steps a day last week, so I am hoping to do the same this week (if the weather and health cooperate).  We'll see how I do!  It's supposed to be a crazy busy week, so we shall see.

4. Diet News:  Overall, I think I am doing pretty good, though my changes are slow.  I am finding making a series of individual choices normally works out better for me than sweeping changes.  For example, if I have to decide between drinking some decaf black or with creamer, the better choice is black, so I go with black more often than not.  If I want to treat myself to some creamer, I try to pick one that has better quality ingredients and less junk.  I do the same with meal choices, including eating out.  I do splurge on occasion, but I am finding that never works out well for me.  I am having to be more and more cautious, and it can get a bit depressing, honestly.  I would love to just go out and eat whatever sometimes, but that simply is not reality anymore.  I am just grateful that there are so many good choices (that taste good!) available now.  I am also grateful that I do feel bad when I eat junk because I know it is not good for me, so having a near immediate consequence (that isn't life threatening) helps keep me honest.  This week my main goal is going to be avoiding using that coffee creamer I mentioned above.  I like it, but I don't need it.  Wish me luck!

5. Other News: Like I mentioned above, this week is going to be insanely busy.  My middle kid is fighting a virus and/or allergies (and he may have shared it with me) and my hubby sounds like allergies (and/or virus) have gotten the better of him (he insists he's fine, but he sounds awful, so he may have been the one to share the ickies with me).  Please pray that we all feel better soon and that my youngest and oldest stay healthy.  July, as a whole, is our busiest month for activities, and we need to be healthy!  Thanks so much!

How are you doing?  Do you have anything you want to weigh in with?  Any health progress or goals you want to share?  If so, please leave a comment below (with a link to your post, if you have one and wish to leave it), and I'll respond ASAP.

Have a great week!