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Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY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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Monday, May 25, 2020

Weekly Weigh In 2020: Week 21, May 25, 2020

Weekly Weigh In will go live every Monday, and it will share how I'm doing health-wise, and it will give me more accountability with my health.


Here is my twenty-first weigh in of 2020:

1. The Selfie: The selfie is me as of today, May 25, 2020. {Happy Memorial Day!  I hope this day of remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms is a good one for you and yours.  Freedom is not free, and we will never forget!}
   
  
2. Weight: My weight went up about a pound again.  I'm not thrilled to be on this roller coaster of weight gain and loss (I go up and down all week long and have been for weeks).  I am changing my diet dramatically (aiming at no added sugar in foods, sticking with honey as my sweetener of choice, avoiding caffeine in all forms (chocolate, tea, coffee, etc.), and being careful about starchy/sugar fruits and veggies), and I am sure that eventually that will help with the weight loss efforts, but that will take some time.  We'll see how it goes.

3. Health News: I averaged just over 9,500 steps per day last week.  I am hoping to get at least my 6,000 steps per day average this week, and will do so as long as I can be out and about.

I finished up my halter monitor on Saturday, and I have my TeleHealth meeting with the cardiologist on Friday.  I am hoping we have some direction after all of this, even though I suspect more tests in my future.  We shall see!

I will keep you all updated on how things go.  Thank you for your prayers concerning this matter! 

4. Diet News:  As I mentioned above, I've revamped my diet completely.  I feel like I am making progress in the right direction, but there's definitely a learning curve.  The biggest thing I want to still work on is making sure I watch my salt and carb intake (I'm a potato chip lover).  I cannot cut back the salt too much as it drops my blood pressure too much, but I don't want to go overboard either.  I am also wanting to make sure I go more protein and good for me veggies and fruits, and try for whole grain vs. processed ones.  I am also going to be working on cutting back on the chips with the plan on making them a sometime treat vs. a daily one.  Wish me luck!

5. Other News: Please continue to pray for my middle kid.  For almost 8 months now, he has been dealing with an unknown health issue.  We're hopeful that we will be able to keep his appointment in June, and are grateful that he's basically been stable symptom-wise right now.  If you'd like a current update/rundown on his condition, you can click here.

As to our week, home improvements (if possible - we've gotten done most of what we can without an extension ladder/scaffolding) and {safe} graduation celebration this weekend.  It's going to be a busy week!  Please pray for good weather this weekend as our son's drive-by open house is outside, and rain would put a damper on things!  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!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Family Favorites - May 2020: Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake (Soy, Nut and Fish-Free, Can Be Milk, Egg and Wheat-Free)



I decided to keep posting a family favorite recipe from the blog (with any adaptions that we use regularly, if applicable) on the fourth Friday or Saturday of every month this year.  {Sorry for the late post!  It's been another crazy week!}  This recipe will be one that we make quite often and that we all enjoy greatly.  This post is the fifth Family Favorites recipe of 2020.

If you have a recipe on your blog that you consider a family favorite that you'd like to share, please comment below with a link to the recipe, and I'll make sure to pop on over and visit your site to check it out (and leave a comment), and hopefully some of my other readers will, too.

This month's Family Favorite recipe is Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake.  This is simply a reposting of my original recipe with some tips and tricks added in.

Though we make this gluten-free now (see variations below), this recipe is still a favorite among family and friends.  It is all the flavor of cinnamon rolls without all the work!  These go together quickly, and are perfect for brunch or breakfast.  Did I mention they are soy, nut and fish-free (if all your ingredients are), and can be milk, egg and wheat-free?  Oh, yah!  What's not to love?





Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake 

Cake portion:
3 Cups soy-free flour (unbleached white or white whole wheat work great)
(When I made this with gluten, I use King Arthur All Purpose Flour.)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Cup white sugar
(We always use cane sugar.)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 Cups milk
(We always use whole milk.)

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 Cup full-fat, salted butter, melted


Topping/Filling portion: 
1 Cup full-fat, salted butter, softened 

1/2 Cup brown sugar, packed
(We always use cane sugar.)

1/2 Cup white sugar
(We always use cane sugar.)

2 Tablespoons soy-free flour (unbleached white or white whole wheat work great)
(When I made this with gluten, I use King Arthur All Purpose Flour.)

1/2 to 1 Tablespoon cinnamon

pinch of salt (no more than 1/8 teaspoon) (optional)
(We always use this.)


Glaze portion:  
2 Cups powdered sugar

5 Tablespoons milk
(We always use whole milk.)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of salt (no more than 1/8 teaspoon) (optional)
(We always use this.)
  1.  Preheat oven to 350oF.
      
  2. Grease a 9x13 glass baking pan with butter and set aside.
       
  3. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients from the cake portion except melted butter until well combined, then mix in the melted butter until well combined and pour cake portion into the prepared 9x13 glass baking pan.
      
  4. In another large bowl, combine all ingredients for the topping/filling portion until well combined and creamy.  (Note: The salt in this portion is optional.  I like adding it to make the sweetness pop, but some think it's overkill, so follow your personal preference here.  Also, the amount of cinnamon is based on personal preference.  I preferred it with the 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon, but if you love a lot of cinnamon flavor, you may want to use the full Tablespoon.)
      
  5. Drop the topping/filling portion evenly over the cake portion by tablespoonfuls, and then use a knife to swirl the topping/filling portion through the cake portion.  It should look marbled when you are finished.
      
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted near the center comes out nearly clean. (Note: The toothpick/cake tester will never come out completely clean due to the nature of this particular cake, and you wouldn't want it to as your cake would be completely overcooked at that point.  You are looking for the parts of the cake that don't have the topping/filling swirled into it to be done - it should look like baked cake, not like cake batter.  If it looks like that and the toothpick/cake tester are coming out nearly clean, you're good to go!)
      
  7. While the cake is baking, mix all the ingredients for the glaze portion in a medium bowl with a whisk until well combined. (Note: The salt in this portion is also optional.  I like adding it to make the sweetness pop, but some think it's overkill, so follow your personal preference here.)
      
  8. When the cake it done, immediately drizzle the glaze over top of the cake. (Note: Pouring the glaze over top of the hot cake causes the glaze to melt into the cake and adds to it's gooey texture.  If you don't wish it to be quite that gooey, wait to add the glaze until the cake has cooled to just warm instead - about 10 minutes.)
Enjoy this cake warm or at room temperature for best results.  One recipe makes 12 generous portions or up to 24 small servings.

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

  • Milk-Free: Use non-dairy milk and non-dairy butter of your choice in place of the milk and butter in this recipe.  I do not recommend using oil for the butter unless you wanted to use coconut oil, though.  A solid fat is needed, so you could even use lard if you choose in place of the butter.
      
  • Egg-Free: Use an egg replacer in place of the eggs.  For ideas on what to use in place of the eggs, check out my ingredient substitutions page, though I wouldn't suggest using the applesauce, banana or pumpkin substitution unless you want that flavor in your cake.
     
  • Wheat-Free: Use a gluten-free baking mix in place of the flour.  I recommend using either King Arthur Flour's Gluten Free Baking Mix or Krusteaz Gluten Free Flour.  Both can replace the flour at a 1:1 ratio (i.e. 1 Cup mix = 1 Cup flour), and taste great!  You can also use another gluten-free flour of your choice, but note that you may have to add up to 3 teaspoons of xanthan gum or ground flax seed to the recipe for textural purposes.
      
  • Other Glazes:  You can always use a frosting/glaze of choice for the glaze like cream cheese, chocolate, orange, maple, caramel, etc.  Use whatever is your favorite and fits your allergen needs.





I hope you will give this recipe a try soon and that it becomes a family favorite for you, too!


Monday, May 18, 2020

Weekly Weigh In 2020: Week 20, May 18, 2020

Weekly Weigh In will go live every Monday, and it will share how I'm doing health-wise, and it will give me more accountability with my health.


Here is my twentieth weigh in of 2020:

1. The Selfie: The selfie is me as of today, May 18, 2020.
   
  
2. Weight: My weight went up about a pound.  I'm not thrilled to be on this roller coaster of weight gain and loss.  I am staying as active as I can, so I'm assuming diet has a big part to do with the weight issues.  I am going to try a different strategy when it comes to food (no keeping track, just making wise choices and trying to eat only when hungry and watch portion sizes), and see how that goes.  Wish me luck!

3. Health News: I averaged just under 6,000 steps per day last week.  I am hoping to get at least my 6,000 steps per day average this week, and will do so as long as I can be out and about.

Last week was...interesting.  I ended up going to the ER on Tuesday morning due to possible TIA (I had numbness/tingling on the left side of my body).  They did a ton of test and kept me overnight for observation.  All results were encouraging, so the doctors there were leaning towards complex migraine with aura, though a TIA cannot be ruled out 100% (it is just less likely for now).  Because I've been having some back trouble, and I have a history of said back trouble causing similar numbness/tingling issues, my primary doctor agreed to let me try chiropractic to see if it helps me vs. sending me to the neurologist for now.  

So far, the chiropractic has helped with some of my back/neck issues and even some of the chest pain/heartburn issues I've been dealing with since this whole heart arrhythmia came to the forefront.  I'm hopeful that this will be the ticket to help with any future numbness/tingling and maybe even help some of my other symptoms I've been dealing with.  If not, I will be seeing the neurologist about a migraine possibility, and I'm already talking will be seeing the cardiologist about the heart stuff, so at least we have a plan.

Also, my trip to the hospital expedited my visit with the cardiologist, and some of the tests she would have asked for were done while I was in the hospital.  Instead of waiting literally months for both things, I will be doing a TeleHealth call with her the end of this month after my halter is finished (I will be done with that the end of the week).  This is great news!  I'm going in with a lot of information for her already, and we can focus on seeing if there are any other more telling tests that I can get done sooner than later.  Talk about a blessing in disguise. :)

Another piece of good news is that the Coreg does seem to be really helping, so that's an encouragement as well.  I may end up needing the dosage tweaked eventually, but it is a blessing that it is helping.

I will keep you all updated on how things go.  Thank you for your prayers concerning this matter! 

4. Diet News:  As I mentioned above, I'm still tweaking this.  I feel like I am making progress in the right direction, just my body isn't aware of it yet, if that makes sense.  Hopefully, I will keep making good choices and see progress in the weight department soon.

5. Other News: Please continue to pray for my middle kid.  For about 7 1/2 months now, he has been dealing with an unknown health issue.  His appointment that was supposed to be last month has been moved out into June due to COVID-19 which has us a little bummed, but he's basically stable symptom-wise right now, so it's all good.  If you'd like a current update/rundown on his condition, you can click here.

As to our week, home improvements, graduation plans, and 20th wedding anniversary are in the mix.  Not sure what we'll do to celebrate the anniversary, but we'll at least go for a scenic drive, just the 2 of us.  It's not what we planned, but we'll make it special. :)  I'm just thrilled we're doing home improvements!  That is definitely part of my anniversary present. :D  And the graduation plans are going well.  We've got most everything figured out on how to celebrate safely, so that's a big plus! :)

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!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Recent Reflections - May 2020: My Son's Graduation



This is the fifth Recent Reflections post of 2020.  Recent Reflections goes live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  {Sorry it is late this month - last week was a crazy week!}  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 son's graduation.


When this school year started, I envisioned the end of the school year going much differently for my Senior.  We had plans for a nice open house with food and guests, a decent size crowd coming to his graduation, and lots and lots of extended family time.  Then COVID-19 hit, and all those plans changed.

We won't be having the grand open house or graduation, but we will still be having a version of them that are safe - drive-by open house and online streaming for the graduation.  We will be celebrating his accomplishments, even if that celebrating looks a bit different.

Stephen, 
We are so very proud of you!  You've worked so hard and accomplished so much.  I know that the celebration we are doing is not the celebration you or I envisioned, but I hope you will find it just as special, if not even more special!  Love you, son, and we can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for you in the years to come!
Love,
Mom

To all the other Seniors out there, congratulations!  I wish you all the best, and hope that you've found a {safe} way to celebrate all your accomplishments despite COVID-19.  Way to go, Class of 2020!

I truly hope this post has been a help to you, or at the least made you stop and think a little.

Maybe you want to share something in comments that God has done in your life recently to bless you as a means to be an encouragement to others during these trying and difficult times?  Feel free to do so.  Positivity and blessings are always welcome!  



What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!




Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Rhubarb Custard Pie (Soy, Nut and Fish-Free, Can Be Wheat and Milk-Free)


In this house, we love rhubarb.  I've made all sorts of rhubarb goodies - Rhubarb Coffee Cake, Rhubarb Sauce, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, Strawberry-Rhubarb Freezer Jam - but one of our hands-down favorites is this recipe for Rhubarb Custard Pie.  It was passed along to me via my family cookbook "The Sommer Seasons", and the original recipe is from my great grandma Evelyn Sommer.  It's got an amazing sweet-tart taste, a rich, creamy custard, and is an all-around crowd pleaser.  If you like rhubarb, this pie is for you!  Did I mention it is soy, nut and fish-free (if all your ingredients are), and can be wheat and milk-free (see variations)?   Yep - it's a keeper!

Rhubarb Custard Pie
1/2 recipe for my Easy Pie Crust, prepared but not baked

1 1/2 Cups white sugar
(We always use cane sugar.)

2 Tablespoons soy-free flour
(All-purpose white flour works best, and I recommend King Arthur brand.)

3 whole eggs

1 1/2 Tablespoons salted, full-fat butter, melted

3 Cups finely sliced rhubarb
(Amount of rhubarb is after cutting, not before.)
  1. Preheat your oven to 450oF.
     
  2. Roll out your prepared pie crust dough, and put it into a 9-inch, glass pie dish.  (Note: I find that glass pie dishes are best for baking pie, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  Also, make sure that you are only making half the recipe for the Easy Pie Crust as that recipe makes 2 crusts and you will only need 1 crust.)
      
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and flour.
      
  4. In a small bowl, beat the eggs slightly and then add them to your sugar and flour mixture until just combined.
      
  5. Add the melted butter and the sliced rhubarb to your sugar/flour/egg mixture and mix thoroughly.
      
  6. Pour the rhubarb mixture into the prepared crust-lined pie dish and bake for about 10 minutes.
       
  7. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temp to 350oF and bake another 30 minutes longer or until a table knife comes out clean.  (Note:  Your pie should be set like a custard pie or cheesecake.  A little wobble in the pie is good (think set Jell-o or custard - if the pie's custard moves all together and doesn't look like liquid moving, it should be good to go, especially if the knife comes out clean), but you don't want a huge wobble (think bowl of cream - any wobble that is extremely obvious and looks like liquid moving is too much).)
      
  8. Allow the pie to cool completely before serving and store any left overs in the fridge.  (Note: I normally make this pie the day or night before I want to serve it as it is best very cold.  I just allow it to cool on the counter until it is cool enough to stick in the fridge, put it in the fridge, and then leave it there until I am ready to cut and serve it.)
Makes 8 to 12 servings.  You can serve it plain or topped with sweetened whipped cream or even ice cream if you are so inclined and your diet allows. :)

Variations (Please keep your individual allergen needs in mind when making variations/using substitutions!):

  • Wheat-Free: Use a gluten-free pie crust of your choice (not graham cracker-type) in place of the regular pie crust.
      
  • Milk-Free: Use a dairy-free butter of choice for the regular butter.  You could probably also use coconut oil or lard as well.  Do not substitute any other oil (vegetable, canola, almond, avocado, etc.) for the butter, though, as you need a fat that has a solid form for this recipe to turn out properly.  You will also need to use a dairy-free crust, like this recipe.
      
  • Other Fruits: You can sub any fresh fruit for the rhubarb that you wish that you think would taste good in a custard pie - raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, apple, etc.  I would not recommend using a soft fruit like banana, though, as it would greatly alter the texture of the pie.


Have a great week!



Monday, May 11, 2020

Weekly Weigh In 2020: Week 19, May 11, 2020

Weekly Weigh In will go live every Monday, and it will share how I'm doing health-wise, and it will give me more accountability with my health.


Here is my nineteenth weigh in of 2020:

1. The Selfie: The selfie is me as of today, May 11, 2020.
   
  
2. Weight: My weight went down half a pound.  I'll take it!  Hopefully, this week I will continue the downward trend.  Here's hoping!

3. Health News: I averaged just over 8,000 steps per day last week.  I am hoping to get at least my 6,000 steps per day average this week, and will do so as long as I can be out and about.

I did end up going off the Coreg for about 48 hours (with my doctor's permission) the end of last week to see if it made a difference in my heart monitoring progress.  I was hoping to go about twice that long, but I was just too miserable (lots of symptoms ranging from dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain and lack of sleep), and my husband said I needed to be done with the experiment.  I felt miserable enough to agree.  I did have some tachycardia during that 48 hours (though it was very minor - just over 100 during rest) along with the other symptoms described, so there's that.  At least the doctor will be able to see what my heart did on and off the Coreg, and we can conclude that the Coreg is at least helping a little bit.  I'm still having some issues even on the Coreg, but they are not as scary, and I can sleep, so that's good (and the symptoms tend to be less and less the longer I'm on Coreg).  I've got about a week and a half left on this monitor, and then we'll see what the results are.  I'm supposed to meet with the cardiologist after that (in-person or TeleHealth is yet to be determined).

I will keep you all updated on how things go.  Thank you for your prayers concerning this matter! 

4. Diet News:  I'm working on portion control more along with avoiding caffeine and sugar, and that's making a little bit of a difference.  I have to eat with the Coreg which I take around 8:30am and 8:30pm, so I am trying to determine how much I have to eat at that 8:30pm slot and not throw off my whole eating plan.  So far, I seem to do the best eating a handful of nuts with it.  My main plan for now, since my intermittent fasting is thrown a bit off, is to make sure I'm not overeating.  It's still a work in progress, but I feel like I'm finding a new groove.

5. Other News: Please continue to pray for my middle kid.  For just over 7 months now, he has been dealing with an unknown health issue.  His appointment that was supposed to be last month has been moved out into June due to COVID-19 which has us a little bummed, but he's basically stable symptom-wise right now, so it's all good.  If you'd like a current update/rundown on his condition, you can click here.

As to our week, home improvements and more graduation plans.  It's going to be an insanely busy next few weeks!  My husband and my 20th wedding anniversary is next week, too.  We can't go anywhere, but we'll still enjoy some time together.  He even has a few days off work, so that will be nice.

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, May 4, 2020

Weekly Weigh In 2020: Week 18, May 4, 2020

Weekly Weigh In will go live every Monday, and it will share how I'm doing health-wise, and it will give me more accountability with my health.


Here is my eighteenth weigh in of 2020:

1. The Selfie: The selfie is me as of today, May 4, 2020.
   
  
2. Weight: My weight went up another half a pound.  I am not super happy about this, but am glad it is not more.  Hopefully, I'll be able to lose this week.  We shall see.

3. Health News: I averaged just under 9,000 steps per day last week.  I am hoping to get at least my 6,000 steps per day average this week, and will do so as long as I can be out and about.

So far, so good with the heart halter monitor.  I've not had any issues with the electrode pads which is great.  Also, so far, none of the triggered events have been associated with any tachycardia, A Fib, etc., so that's good.  However, I am suspecting that the Coreg is the reason that any events have been associated with normal heart rhythm (my heart rate will get up in the upper 90s, maybe up to 105 (50 -100 bpm is considered normal range), even when I'm laying flat when my heart rhythm would normally be in the 50s or 60s, and I'm experiencing some breathlessness, dizziness and/or chest pains at times with that upper 90s/low 100s range heart rate).  Though this is great news (Coreg could be all I need to fix the issue for now), Coreg could be masking what is really going on with my heart.  That being said, I am going to be contacting the doctor to see if I should go off the Coreg for a few days (when my husband is home so that I have another adult with me if things get interesting) to see if that is the case.  Please pray for wisdom in this area!  Thanks!

I will keep you all updated on how things go.  Thank you for your prayers concerning this matter! 

4. Diet News:  I'm still think I'm doing better with my diet on the whole.  I've done great avoiding sugar, caffeine and carbs, but portions are sometimes an issue.  I will keep working on that.

5. Other News: Please continue to pray for my middle kid.  For 7 months now, he has been dealing with an unknown health issue.  His appointment that was supposed to be last month has been moved out into June due to COVID-19 which has us a little bummed, but he's basically stable symptom-wise right now, so it's all good.  If you'd like a current update/rundown on his condition, you can click here.

As to our week, graduation plans!  Graduation will definitely not be like we planned, but we will still do something to {safely} celebrate our son's achievements.  Other than cementing those things, we don't really have a lot of plans.  We'll work on home improvements as we can, maybe get some hiking in, but otherwise, just enjoying no school. :)

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, April 27, 2020

Weekly Weigh In 2020: Week 17, April 27, 2020

Weekly Weigh In will go live every Monday, and it will share how I'm doing health-wise, and it will give me more accountability with my health.


Here is my seventeenth weigh in of 2020:

1. The Selfie: The selfie is me as of today, April 27, 2020.
   
  
2. Weight: My weight went up half a pound.  I am not super happy about this, but am glad it is not more.  Hopefully, being able to be a bit more active and paying more attention to what and how I eat will have a more positive impact next week.

3. Health News: I averaged just over 8,100 steps per day last week.  I am hoping to get at least my 6,000 steps per day average this week, and will do so as long as I can be out and about.

Last week was interesting to say the least.  I almost ended up in the ER Monday night due to tachycardia issues, but they subsided enough that I didn't have to go in.  Instead, I got in touch with my doctor on Tuesday morning who told me to come in for an EKG if I had another episode.  Within a few hours, I was having another episode, and headed in for that EKG.  Unfortunately, by the time I got there and they got me hooked up, the episode was done (it gets twice as long to get into the doctor's office due to COVID-19 regulations).  However, I was able to start on Coreg (which is making a huge difference), and I was also able to expedite getting my halter and my TeleMed appointment (the doctor thinks I am dealing with a type of SVT).  I got my halter on Thursday and will have that for a total of 30 days, and I will probably have my appointment with the cardiologist at some point after that, before if there are urgent issues found.

Please pray that they will find any issues that need to be found, and that I won't have a reaction to the electrode pads.  Me and adhesives have an interesting relationship, and I can sometimes blister from them.  So far, so good, and I haven't really reacted to them at all other than a little redness that goes away quickly after they are removed.  This is a huge blessing and praise!


I will keep you all updated on how things go.  Thank you for your prayers concerning this matter! 

4. Diet News:  I'm still doing better with my diet on the whole.  I have to be very careful with sugar and carbs and caffeine.  I've essentially given up on anything caffeine containing, and I'm avoiding anything with added sugar as much as possible.  Yesterday was a more carb loaded day, and I had more palpitation issues than I had been.  There is definitely a learning curve going on right now, but I will figure it out.

5. Other News: Please continue to pray for my middle kid.  For nearly 7 months now, he has been dealing with an unknown health issue.  His appointment that was supposed to be this month has been moved out into June due to COVID-19 which has us a little bummed, but he's basically stable symptom-wise right now, so it's all good.  If you'd like a current update/rundown on his condition, you can click here.

As to our week, we're trying to start on some home improvement projects as we are able, and we'll be out enjoying the nice weather as we can (It's 64 outside right now!).  We've decided to order our Senior's cap and gown and diploma within the next day or 2, and we'll decide on the graduation and open house in the next few weeks.  I'm thinking we'll try to do some sort of ceremony when we can and then do the open house at a later date when more people can attend.  We're not sure yet, but we'll see.  If we wait to do the ceremony when Michigan is fully opened up again, it could be next year, and we're not sure we want to wait that long.  We'll see what we come up with.

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, April 25, 2020

Family Favorites - April 2020: Gluten-Free Baked Potato Soup (Wheat, Nut, Fish, Egg and Soy-Free, Can Be Milk-Free)



I decided to keep posting a family favorite recipe from the blog (with any adaptions that we use regularly, if applicable) on the fourth Friday or Saturday of every month this year.  This recipe will be one that we make quite often and that we all enjoy greatly.  This post is the fourth Family Favorites recipe of 2020.

If you have a recipe on your blog that you consider a family favorite that you'd like to share, please comment below with a link to the recipe, and I'll make sure to pop on over and visit your site to check it out (and leave a comment), and hopefully some of my other readers will, too.

This month's Family Favorite recipe is Gluten-Free Baked Potato Soup.  This is essentially my original Baked Potato Soup recipe made gluten-free, and with a few tips and tricks added in.

This soup is a favorite because it is hardy, tastes exactly like a loaded baked potato (another family favorite), and is pretty simple to make.  It's also a crowd pleaser at potlucks and family get-togethers.  We make it quite often in the fall through spring when it is colder out as it will help heat you up from the inside out.

If you're a fan of loaded baked potatoes, you simply must try this recipe out!  You won't regret it!





Gluten-Free Baked Potato Soup

2/3 Cup full-fat, salted butter or bacon grease or a combination of the 2
(We always use bacon grease if we have it.)

2/3 Cup potato starch

4 Cups allergy-friendly chicken stock/broth
(You can use any brand that fits your allergen needs, but Pacific brand is a good one.)

3 to 4 Cups milk
(We normally use and highly recommend whole milk, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  We also always use the 4 Cups milk.)

4 to 8 baked Russet potatoes, cubed (peeling is optional)
(You can also cube and boil your potatoes to desired doneness vs. baking them.  We also almost always use the 8 potatoes.)

1 1/4 to 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
(We always shred an 8 oz. block (which makes 2 Cups shredded) of cheddar and use that vs. getting a package of already shredded cheese.)

1 Cup sour cream
(We normally use and highly recommend Daisy.  We also recommend using full fat vs. low fat sour cream.)

1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon onion salt
(We normally use McCormick's.)

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
(We always use Himalayan Pink Sea Salt when we add extra salt, which is normally needed if you use the larger amount of potatoes like we do.)

1/2 teaspoon ground black or white pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery salt
(We normally use McCormick's.)

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
(We normally use McCormick's.)

1/4 teaspoon paprika

12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
(When possible, we use and highly recommend Hormel Natural Choice Bacon.)


1. In a stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter, bacon grease or combination over medium heat. (Note: The nice part about using bacon grease is that you get the bacon flavor throughout the soup.  If you don't want to use bacon grease, you can definitely use butter instead.)

2. Whisk in potato starch until smooth.

3. Gradually stir in the stock and milk, whisking constantly until thickened.

4. Stir in potatoes and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. (Note:  As I mentioned above, you can use boiled potatoes vs. baked potatoes, and I will share in variations how to use mashed potatoes.  The main thing is that you want the potatoes pre-cooked for this soup vs. raw.)
  
5. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. (Note:  You're just trying to get the potatoes heated through at this point and allowing the broth to thicken a bit.  The longer the soup simmers, the thicker the broth will get.)
6. Mix in cheese, sour cream and spices and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.
  
7. Stir in bacon or sprinkle on top of individual portions before serving.  (Note: The bacon can get a bit chewy is stirred in (like in the picture above), so I recommend sprinkling it on the top of individual portions vs. stirring it in.)

Makes roughly around 2 1/4 quarts or 8 one Cup servings.

Variations (Please keep your individual allergen needs in mind when making variations/using substitutions!):

  • Milk-Free: Use dairy-free milk, cheese, sour cream/yogurt and butter for the regular milk, cheese, sour cream and butter.  Daiya and So Delicous have some great options.
      
  • Veggies vs. Spices: You can use 4 green onions (chopped fine) or 3/4 Cup onion (diced fine) for the onion salt, 3/4 Cup celery (chopped fine) for the celery salt, and/or diced or dehydrated garlic to taste in place of the garlic salt.  You can either add them in when you add the potatoes or cook them for a bit with the melted butter before adding the potato starch - whatever your preference.  If using onions, celery and/or garlic instead of the salts, you may need to increase the amount of table salt to 1 teaspoon or more according to personal preference. You can also use 1 teaspoon fresh parsley (chopped fine) in place of the parsley flakes.
      
  • Bouillon vs. Broth/Stock: Use 4 Cups water and 4 chicken bouillon cubes in place of the stock/broth.
      
  • Bacon/Meat Options: You can use the bacon that is already fully cooked or even real bacon bits/crumbles (not the imitation ones).  You can also leave the bacon out completely, add ham or cooked and shredded chicken - whatever you fancy.

  • Add Mushrooms: Add fresh or canned mushrooms (drained) with the potatoes, if desired.

  • Mashed Potatoes vs. Baked/Boiled Potatoes: Use mashed potatoes in place of the baked potatoes; amount based on preference, 2 to 4 Cups.

  • Different Potato Types: If you don't like Russet potatoes, you can use another type (i.e. Red, Michigan White, Yukon Gold).  Peeled or not is also your choice.  You can add as many potatoes as you like as long as they are covered by the liquid in the soup.  I normally try to use 1 to 2 potatoes per person.  If you are planning on using more than 10 large potatoes, you may have to double the recipe, though.

  • Different Cheese: Use any cheese for the Cheddar that you like best (i.e. American, CoJack, Cheddar Jack).
      
  • Flour vs. Potato Starch: You can use regular flour or a gluten-free cup-for-cup flour in place of the potato starch.
      
  • Topping Ideas:  As I mentioned above, this soup tastes like a loaded baked potato.  Due to this, whatever you like on top of a baked potato, you can put on this.  That means more sour cream, jalapenos, green onion - whatever you fancy!
      

I told you this was an easy soup to put together!
YUM!

I hope you will give this recipe a try soon and that it becomes a family favorite for you, too!