Mean Girls, Cliques, and the Beauty of having a Child who Doesn’t Really Get it…

I HATE mean girls. Unfortunately, I can recall at least a few times in my youth when I think I acted like one. Not because I truly was a mean girl, but because I wanted to fit in with those girls and be accepted. Gah, what was I thinking? If I only I could go back and have a re-do. I think having a daughter is a way to show us women the errors of our younger days and make us question everything we did growing up. It’s like a constant flashback into our past.

My 11-year-old daughter, E, is sweet and usually just wants to fit in. Basically me as I was at 11 years old, except she has Celiac Disease, Alopecia and some intellectual disabilities added in. Mean girls just gravitate towards her like a heat-seeking missile. But mean girls have gotten smarter since my day – now they are not quite so obvious. They’re little master manipulators who, when you speak about them to teachers and parents, the adults think and say, “she’s so sweet and such a good behaving girl.” Right – she’s the one spreading rumors about other girls and dropping F-bombs at recess. And I won’t even touch on how these “sweet/mean girls” treat kids like mine who don’t go to the same church on Sunday. Sometimes being left out of everything at that age can be just as bad as if these girls were just outright nasty. It’s madness and it’s heartbreaking from a parent’s perspective.

But I guess I’m kind of lucky: my sweet, quirky, awesome daughter lives in her own world and is basically oblivious to much of the meanness. It’s me who is bothered the most by it. She has “friends” who don’t invite her over to play, who only come over to ask her to play as a last resort, and who never ask her to do anything. And E typically doesn’t think twice about it. Only yesterday did she FINALLY tell a mean girl in our neighborhood, “no” when she came and asked her to play, after she asked a neighbor kid right in front of E. But the satisfaction I felt was short-lived when I realized that E’s feelings were actually a little hurt.

So now the challenge is trying to raise E to have confidence and at the same time not be arrogant, to have empathy for others and yet not get taken advantage of, and to take the time to listen to others and not lose herself in the process. Most of all, I just want her to be “nice.”  I’m not trying to change the world or anything, but if more of us parents could strive to raise our children this way, maybe at least a few good human beings would come out of it.


Gluten Free/Whole 30 Menu for Week of 26 June 2017

I’m late posting my weekly menu – sorry.  On the bright side I am on day 8 of my Whole 30 so YAY ME! I thought it was going to be almost impossible to give up my daily fix of coke/diet coke but truly it hasn’t been that hard, and while I’d like to say to say that I have been drinking tons of water, the truth is I have been drinking 100% juice mixed with water and plain iced tea (on top of the occasional glass of ice water).  So this is what I’m cooking this week:

Chicken Puttanesco with GF Pasta (not for me) and broccoli

  • I already made this and the sauce-part was delicious but my chicken didn’t turn out very tasty. Then again, I’m not a huge chicken fan so…

Marinated Flank Steak with Oven-Roasted Potatoes

  • I already made this too and it was so darn good. I have to be honest though – there is no way in hell I am cooking with dates – I think they’re nasty, so I left them out. It was my first time using coconut aminos and I thought it was alright (I saw mixed reviews online).

Roasted Chicken with Sausage and Potatoes

  • I haven’t made this yet and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to because I’m having a heck of a time finding Whole 30 compliant sausage (which is the only reason I even want to make this!).  As if finding gluten-free sausage isn’t hard enough….

Avocado BLT Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps

  • Having these tonight and I can’t wait to try them! Will probably break down and make GF grilled cheese for the kids though because they will freak out if I put this on their plates.

Paleo BBQ Chicken Casserole (served on Buns for Hubbs and N)

  • As crazy as it sounds I am leaving out the spaghetti squash because we don’t like it and E and I will eat it over salad. Hubbs and N will probably eat it on tradition (gluten filled….gasp) buns. That is IF I can ever find Whole 30 compliant BBQ sauce.

Skillet Beef Fajitas with Salad

Hope you all have a great week.

Happy cooking!




Gluten Free Menu for Week of 19 June 2017 – with a long intro

Holy cow, it has been forever since I’ve updated my blog! In the month-plus since my last post we have moved, Hubbs has returned to real active duty, E has started piano and golf lessons, N has started Junior Golf, and I am STILL working on my real estate class. For somebody who doesn’t work anymore, I sure feel like I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to each day. I also have decided I am tired of all my stomach issues and am going to try the Whole 30 to see if I can figure out what the heck my body does like to eat – and as an added bonus, I’m hoping to lose some weight.  N has been having serious stomach pains also, that his new on-base doctor (yes, we are back to receiving our health care on base) thinks is just “constipation.” To which I said, “yeah, that’s what we were told for about 4 years with E, who has Celiac Disease.” The doctor said, “really, because Celiac usually presents with diarrhea.” “No shit,” I wanted to deadpan (ha, what a pun) but didn’t. Maybe this Whole 30 thing will help N too.

So, here is my gluten-free and Whole 30 menu for this week:

Monday – Grilled Steak with mushrooms sautéed in Ghee served with Salad

  • I’m going to season my steak with Whole 30 approved spices, and cook the mushrooms with either the light olive oil or Ghee (fancy butter apparently). I’ll use the olive oil and some balsamic vinegar as dressing. Yum

Tues – Grilled Chicken with Oven Roasted Potatoes and Bacon and Brussels Spout Hash

  • I plan to just cut up some potatoes, drizzle light olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper, then cook them at 425 until they look done.

Wed – Cute Little Breakfast Muffins

  • I’m omitting the peppers because I don’t like them in my eggs and adding tomatoes because…YUMMY!

Thurs – Grilled Chicken with Salad and Oven Roasted Cauliflower Rice

  • I have no idea how this “rice” is going to turn out, so I’m already dreading cooking it. But, if I am to become a better cook I need to get out there and try new things…

Friday – Crockpot Sweet Pork over Lettuce with Avocado

  • I’ll admit, I’m nervous about this one because truthfully I don’t really like pork. But because I have to go out of my comfort zone on this Whole 30 thing and keep things still gluten-free, I thought we’d try this.

Sat – Grilled Salmon with Avocado served with Southern Green Beans

  • I am SO excited to make these green beans. I LOVE green beans! I will probably end up adding some white vinegar to them though, which is allowed on Whole 30.

Hope you don’t mind the Whole 30 additions!

Have a great week and happy cooking


Why Can’t My Kids Just Get Along???

So there I was, in a hospital bed, holding my brand-new baby girl, when hubbs brought our then 3-year-old son (N) in to meet his sister.  N walked right over to us and said, “where’s my sister” and was less than impressed when he realized that his baby sister (E) really was a baby and wouldn’t be up running around with him anytime soon.  I think that moment has pretty much defined the rest of their relationship…

They are now 13 and 10 and just cannot stop bickering. They don’t physically fight thank God, because E can hold her own and would probably beat the crap out of N, no matter how big he is getting. Spending time with either of them individually is great – they typically act the way they have been raised to behave. But put those two together and it’s like like Rocky and Apollo Creed, like Donald and Hillary, like Tupac and Biggie – it’s maddening. And I don’t know how to fix it.

  • I’ve tried spending more one-on-one time with each of them and having their dad do the same.
  • I try to make consequences for their actions as fair as can be (I try to keep my end goal – raise them to be good, well-rounded adults, as well as my more immediate goal – try not to breed resentment against their sibling in mind).
  • I reward N for his good grades, helping around the house, etc. (he is more on track and cleans up after himself), but I refrain from comparing them to each other.
  • I remind N (in private) that E has some diagnosed difficulties and although she can be challenging to be around sometimes, it shows what a great person he is when he accepts that and treats her right.
  • I remind E all the time about all the things that make her wonderful and why I am so lucky to be her mom. I truly do try to tell her these things all the time but especially when I can see her getting frustrated.
  • And I ALWAYS tell them when they are mad at me “I love you, even when I’m mad or you are mad at me,” because you just never know what the next moment is going to bring.

Here is an actual example of bickering from last night, while the three of us were playing Skipbo. There were 4 piles of cards lying in front of us, 3 of them had 8’s showing –

N: Wow, there’s triple 8’s

Me: Yep

E: Double 8’s

N: Triple

E: I call it double

N: It’s triple, E! Mom, tell E its triple!

Me: Does it really matter? Somebody put down a 9

E: Double 8’s

N: (throws down cards) I’m not playing anymore if E’s going to mess around

Me: (looking at N) You are not quitting. Yes it is triple. E, it is triple, you know it’s triple and are just trying to annoy your brother. Knock it off.

E: Why can’t I call it double?

And then it was my turn and I had two 9’s so we no longer had a triple (thank God). But that is just a small taste of the constant, unnecessary bickering.

Will these kids ever grow out of it or am I destined to have two bickering adult-children?



Gluten Free Dinner Ideas for Week of 8 May

We are moving in less than 2 weeks and as you can imagine, things are hectic around my house! The majority of our household goods are currently being dropped off in our new house over a thousand miles away, and we are “roughing it” here in OKC. With that said, my menu planning has been fluid, but I still wanted to share what I shopped for and plan to make some time this week:

Parmesan Chicken Tenderloins with Salad

  • This is somebody’s Weight Watchers recipe and since I’m planning on starting Weight Watchers (again…ugh) soon I thought I would try this out. I’m making it right now and really it’s similar to several other Yummly recipes I use, so I’m sure we will all like it. I substituted ground-up GF bread for the regular bread crumbs, of course and I don’t have any GF Italian Seasoning so I just used Garlic Powder, Pepper and Parsley. Smells delicious. If it turns out good I’ll post some pics.

Tuna Salad over Salad

  • Another WW recipe I wanted to try. My kids will NOT eat tuna so I plan to make them GF grilled cheese on the day I make this.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes with Little Smokies in GF BBQ Sauce

  • I HAVE to try these, they look delicious! Although I’d be happy with just the potatoes, I’m going to make some Smokies in BBQ Sauce to appease the rest of my family. My daughter will not touch anything she deems “spicy” so this is the GF BBQ we use:
  • Image result for sweet baby rays

Ranch Meatballs with Rice and corn

  • My kids love meatballs and these sound a little different so I thought we’d try them this week.

Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole with Salad

  • OMG I love this recipe! I am going to double the artichokes though (and hope nobody notices) because I LOVE artichokes. I also bought provolone AND Swiss cheese because last time my kids thought that it was missing something, and I’m curious to see if they still think so if I switch the cheeses.


Have a Great Week!


The Countdown is On

The last few weeks have been CRAZY, and I haven’t taken the time to update my blog. I realized this morning that this is my outlet, my me-thing, so I need to take at least a few minutes every week or so to write down what’s going on. Who knows, maybe somebody out there in cyber space is going thru the same crazy things as me and needs to read my thoughts as much as I need to put them in writing…

It’s tough being a military family. For those who aren’t in the military, I think it’s easy to forget about the sacrifices that the youngest members of the military family (our kids) make. I often hear that “kids are resilient, they bounce back quick”  when we talk about how moving affects military kids, and I’m sure my kids will be OK. In fact, I’ll be all up in their business this summer making sure that they are indeed, OK. But the fact remains that in a little over 2 weeks (holy cow, only 2 weeks) my son and daughter will be forced again to leave their friends, their home, their schools, their sports teams, and their familiar surroundings, to move YET AGAIN for the military. We are actually pretty lucky, my kids have only had to move three times, and we are hoping this is our last move. But I do worry about them.

E, my 10-year-old daughter, is typically my handful. She has Celiac Disease, alopecia, hashimoto’s thyroiditis and eye problems. She has also been diagnosed with a mild conduct disorder, anxiety, and learning disabilities (as well as a below-average IQ, but we aren’t sure just how accurate that was).  With all that, she is still the sweetest girl and would do anything for anybody and on the days I can get her to focus and listen to me, I enjoy her immensely.  It has taken a couple of years to get her the help she needs at school and I wonder if I will be starting over once we move? She thinks she has several friends but I see the way they treat her and know they get annoyed with her, so I worry about her making new friends too.

N, my 13-year-old, has Type 1 Diabetes. He also currently has a broken tendon in his finger (mallet finger) that may require surgery.  Because we are so close to moving, we can’t do anything here (see, craziness). He’s like a clumsy baby deer on his long legs. He’s a good kid, but a typical boy who loves to irritate his sister. His personality is almost a perfect mix of my hubbs’ and mine – he is sometimes outgoing (like hubbs) and sometimes introverted (like me). My concern for him is that, like me, he appreciates being alone and I don’t want him to isolate himself once we move.  An acquaintance of his committed suicide earlier this year and it was a wake-up call for us. I’ve already got him signed up for golf and we are planning fishing trips for after we move, so hopefully that helps.

It’s much easier for me to leave, although I am starting to feel a little bit sad. I’m sad not because we are leaving Oklahoma, but because this assignment turned out completely different than we thought it would. Hubbs thought it would greatly impact his career, and that he might even retire here – it didn’t and he can’t get out of here fast enough. I thought I was going to have a great civil service job and that we would settle here until the kids finished school – I had a so-so job that I left right after N’s diabetes diagnosis because I felt that my supervision wanted me to choose between my family and my job.

And now I am leaving behind the only “career” I have ever known and trying something else that allows for more flexibility for my family, since E will most likely be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the next few years.  I am leaving behind the basketball moms that I have come to love and will miss them, and I have one friend here that I already miss because she too is moving and her life is just as crazy as mine (another military family).

Here’s what my former “homey” house looks like now:

Living Room.jpgN Room.jpg

Did I mention that this house has been on the market over 100 days, has dropped $20K, has only had 5 showings, and has had NO OFFERS!

Like I said, military life is tough – for all of us, not just the active duty member.


5 Reasons Why I Will Never Win “Mother of the Year”

For every good deed I do as a parent, it seems there is an equal inadequacy that makes me feel like a failure (similar to Newton’s 3rd Law).  It’s so easy to get caught up comparing ourselves to other parents, that it sometimes feels only natural to question your own parenting skills and wonder how it can look so easy for others. In that spirit, I’ve been thinking lately about why I am not “Mother of the Year” material, and not likely to ever be…

1- I can’t stand stinky, sweaty boys lying around on my furniture. N will come in with neighborhood kids who have all been outside playing basketball or fishing for hours and they will sprawl out on my couch.  Perhaps it’s like OCD kicking in but I immediately want to sweep them off my furniture and hit it with the Febreeze. Does this not bother other parents???

2-  I love kids, I truly do, but I love them more in moderation. Kids (who are not my own) who are here so often they feel comfortable walking in my bedroom to ask me questions, who know what snacks we keep stocked in our pantry, or the ones who think my living room is a gym, are probably here too much. I’ve found myself wanting to make a STOP/GO sign to affix to the front door to let kids know if my kids can play, and whether or not it’s okay to knock and ask.  I’ll sit and play games with them, make them all lunch/snacks, and even watch movies with them – in MODERATION.

3- I don’t like meeting other parents that I have nothing in common with. I know, that’s a kind of dumb statement because how do I know I have nothing in common with them if I’ve never met them? Well, take this for example – E met a girl at school last year who was mean to her half the year, friends with her the rest. E begged me and begged me to meet her mom so she could have a play-date with her. Throughout the school year she told me how this girl’s mom got the crap beat out of her by her boyfriend and went thru rehab (which I then had to explain to my then 9-year-old what rehab is).  We’re a military family subject to a different set of rules, so to speak. Not to mention, I don’t want or need anybody’s relationship drama. I did meet this lady at the end-of-the-school-year party and while we were both nice enough to each other, most of our time spent next to each other was in silence (because we have nothing in common). My kids really want me to be “best friends” with their friends’ parents, but they don’t realize that it doesn’t always work that way.

4- I don’t support the PTA/PTO or any Fundraisers. Not because I am against raising money for my kids’ schools but in the case of the PTA/PTO, I tried one year and the women were mean and very cliquey. It was not at all like the friendly atmosphere I had envisioned. Where we live now I don’t typically support the fundraisers for 2 reasons

  • We aren’t from here so our “circle” is just us. We don’t really know anybody (unless it is parents whose kids are also selling the same stuff) so I think it’s crappy that these fundraisers have special prizes for the kids who sell XX items. Yeah, that’s great – explain that to my kid who can only sell like 9 when everybody else is selling over 100.
  • Secondly, I don’t agree with what the fundraisers are for. You want to raise money to buy microwaves so kids like my daughter, who can’t eat the lunch at school because it has gluten, can warm up her lunch, I’m in. But if you want to raise money so a teacher can get an iPad for her classroom, I’m out. I don’t think that is a necessity, especially in a state (Oklahoma) where the budget is so lacking that they are cutting some schools down to 4 day weeks, getting rid of teachers, and talking about closing some schools.

5- I treat my kids differently. Try as I might, my kids are so very different and I have to tailor my parenting to each. I’m no expert (clearly), but I think this is frowned upon. N is like me – introverted, sensitive, a little more quiet (unless his sugar is high), and appreciates being by himself. E is literally the exactly opposite – she has to go, go, go, is somewhat outgoing, usually can’t stop talking, and is incapable of being alone. When I’m mad at N for something, I know I don’t need to harp on him and beat the issue to death. He’s sensitive and will see that I am disappointed and he will feel bad. E, on the other hand – I’ll get mad at her and she couldn’t care less. But if I put her in timeout by herself somewhere, she will feel the repercussions because she hates to be alone.  Some in my circle think I favor N and am easier on him. Not true, I think it’s just easier for me to discipline him because he’s so much like me.

But the biggest reason I am not winning “Mother of the Year” anytime soon is….I FORGOT EASTER!

6- We are not a religious family. N and I are baptized Catholic, Hubbs and E are not. For many reasons I don’t really follow my Catholic faith anymore and prior to moving to Oklahoma we attended a non-denominational church in Utah that we really liked (that we will hopefully go back to). Anyway, the reason this is important is because as my family was reminding me that I suck because I forgot Easter, I asked them why do they think we even celebrate Easter, and only N really had a close answer. E wants to know, and it is my fault for not continuing with our reading of the Bible that we were doing, or taking her to kids church (another reason I suck), but she was just irritated that I forgot Easter because she was looking forward to a new toy. This is kinda how the conversation went (on Saturday, the day prior to Easter) while we were en route to a friend’s house for dinner:

*Note that expletives will be denoted with ________

Hubbs, speaking quietly: “So, did you get some candy for Easter?”

Me: “Why, when’s Easter? Oh ________, is it this weekend?”

Hubbs: “Are you ________ me? It’s tomorrow!”

Me: “Seriously? __________. You didn’t pick up any candy?”

Hubbs: “You’re the CEO, I thought you were getting the candy?”

Me: “Why would I get the candy? I ________ forgot it was Easter this weekend.”

N (from the backseat): “Mom, did you seriously forget Easter?”

E to N: “Mom didn’t forget Easter, she’s getting me a toy from the Easter Bunny!”

And so it went… we did rush to Target and got some last-minute Easter candy and a kit to color eggs, which ended up being fun because we hadn’t colored eggs in forever. And I planned a last-minute Easter egg hunt with some coins, nails (to confuse them), and pieces of paper with things like “vacuum out mom’s car,” and “go to the driving range with dad” printed on them inside. It actually ended up being a great day. The Easter Bunny can suck it.

So there you have it, the top 5 (with a bonus #6) reasons why I will probably never win “Mother of the Year.”  Anybody else just skating by?

Menu for Week of 10 April 2017

Here is my gluten-free menu for this week:

Mon – Parmesan Meatloaf with Salad

  • For this recipe I only use ground beef (I personally don’t care for ground turkey) and because I haven’t been able to find actual gluten-free breadcrumbs at the commissary, I tear apart some gluten-free bread to use as breadcrumbs. I also use Prego for the pasta sauce.

Tues – Chicken Skewers with Risotto Parmesan and Peas

  • I really like risotto so I’m excited to try this recipe. The last one I tried, lemon risotto, was a bit too flavorful for my family so I’m hoping this will be more to their taste.

Wed – Breakfast

  • Eggs, Sausage and Hash Browns – always a hit in our house

Thurs – Grilled Adobo Porkchops with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy and Corn

  • I cheat and use this gravy that I have found at Walmart and our Commissary:

GF Brown Gravy.jpeg

Fri – Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings

  • This recipe is DELICIOUS!  My kids, who don’t even like real chicken and dumplings (and neither do I for that matter), LOVE this. I use Gluten-Free Bisquick that I add just a touch of xantham gum to (maybe half a teaspoon) when I make the batter to drop into the soup.
  • I also use 1-2 large cans of canned chicken and a frozen bag of mixed vegetables. So good….

Sat – Grilled Hotdogs with Baked Beans

  • I believe most of the Bush’s Baked Beans are gluten-free (we always check before purchasing and the cans say it) so we stick with Bush’s.
  • We purchase Oscar Mayer Selects Turkey Dogs. They are cheaper than regular hot dogs , taste good, and say “gluten-free.” This is what they look like:

Turkey Dogs.JPG

Sun – Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Gluten Free Pasta and Salad

  • This is what I make when we are missing Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill!  I love this recipe!!! I haven’t made it in a little while so I thought I would make it again since I have some heavy cream leftover from last week that I need to get rid of.
  • I don’t use the sun-dried tomatoes. Instead, I cut up fresh tomatoes and sprinkle them and fresh Parmesan on top right before serving.

Hope you all have a great week and Happy Cooking!




The Road to Celiac Diagnosis – E’s Story

When I tell people that my 10-year-old daughter has celiac disease, inevitably they will ask me how we found out.  I think to many people, celiac is a middle-aged woman’s disease and it seems almost inconceivable that a little girl could truly be afflicted.  But as much as I wish it weren’t true, E does in fact have celiac, and it was a long road to diagnosis.

We always knew something was a little off with her. She was the BEST baby – she rarely cried and she slept, which was wonderful. She was much better behaved than her colicky older brother was when he was a baby. But when she was only a couple of weeks old, she would put her legs straight in the air and cry (a lot) when trying to poop. She’d stop crying as soon as she went and go back to being the best baby ever. We mentioned this at one of her well-baby checkups and the doctor said we could try changing her formula – so we did. The brand change didn’t help, so another doctor (by this time we had moved) told us to try soy formula – so we did. The soy formula didn’t seem to make much difference so the doctor told us to give her a few ounces of apple juice, a couple of times of day. That finally seemed to help a little so we stuck with that.  By this time she was about 6 months old.

Around this time she developed other problems, and her tummy issues took a backseat: the pediatrician noticed a lazy eye, that turned out to not only be “lazy” but also had compromised vision. So for a period we spent much of our energy on that. By the way, trying to get a 6-month-old to wear an eye patch and glasses is no fun.

Fast forward about 3 years and I noticed small bald spots on the back of E’s head. Her doctor told me that she had Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks hair follicles.  Wonderful. Luckily, my stepmom did some research and read somewhere (thank God for Google) that Alopecia in kids can sometimes indicate other autoimmune conditions such Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (which I have) so I talked to her pediatrician about it and sure enough, E’s TSH levels were high and she had the antibodies indicative of Hashitmoto’s.

So why am I mentioning Alopecia and Hashimoto’s in a post about Celiac Disease, you may ask. Because one thing they all have in common is they are all autoimmune conditions, and as my endocrinologist once told me, “where there is one, there are usually three.” How true that is, I don’t know.  But read on…

After her Hashimoto’s diagnosis we again approached the doctor about our concerns with E’s constipation, bloated stomach, terrible gas, and to be blunt: huge poop.  At least two more doctors told us that it was just normal childhood constipation and we were given prescriptions for polyethylene glycol (Miralax), that she was to take daily.  When she was about 6, I even asked about celiac and was told by one doctor that E didn’t exhibit the signs of celiac because she doesn’t have diarrhea that has her racing to the toilet.

Fast forward again and E is 9-years-old and we have moved again, this time to Oklahoma City where we are seeing an off-base doctor. Does it matter that all the doctors before were military doctors? I don’t know. But our doctor here finally listened to me when I asked him this question,”exactly how long is my daughter supposed to take Miralax before we investigate what is causing her symptoms?”  He referred us to a Gastroenterologist who told me that he really didn’t think it was celiac but was going to run the celiac panel anyway to rule it out. It came back positive and a couple of weeks later that was confirmed with a biopsy.

I can’t be certain that E had celiac all along, especially since I’m not sure how prevalent it is in infants. Perhaps she only developed it in the last couple of years?  I do wish that more had been done to investigate her symptoms when she was younger though, and that is my fault as her advocate for not pushing harder. I guess there is a fine line between trying to be a good parent and not overstepping your boundaries at the doctor’s office.

When I found out E has celiac and that my other child has diabetes, one of the first things I did was turn to the internet to read other stories to see if anyone had similar experiences, if what we were going through was normal, etc. So I am sharing E’s story in case some other parent is on the fence and not sure whether to push their doctor a little harder to get the answers they need.  My suggestion is do it.




Menu Ideas for Week of 3 April 2017

Oh my, it’s been quite a week.  I meant to put my menu out Sunday afternoon, really I did, but between bouts of vertigo and the stomach flu, I just haven’t been doing much except resting and trying to keep my house “show ready.”  So rather than giving a day-by-day account of what I’m making, here’s a list of what’s on the agenda this week:

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Marsala served over Mashed Potatoes with a Side Salad.

  • I made this last night and I’ll be honest, it didn’t turn out nearly as amazing as I envisioned. It could be partly because my current sickness has made me unable to eat chicken, but even the sauce seemed to be lacking something. However, I didn’t have Marsala wine so I substituted red cooking wine instead – perhaps that is what did it? Also, I doubled the creamy part of the recipe and maybe it was just too much heavy cream? My family ate it and thought it was OK, and I’ll definitely make it again someday but next time I will follow the recipe as written.

Artichoke Crusted Tilapia Fillets with a Side Salad.

  • I love artichoke hearts – my family….not so much. Unless they are chopped up in spinach artichoke dip at Applebees, and they did tolerate them when I made this delicious Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole. But I’m hoping that this recipe will change that so I can integrate them into our menu more.

The Very Best Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese.

  • You read that right, folks! This is seriously the best tomato soup EVER, and I am kind of like a tomato soup connoisseur.  A tomato soup ninja. I know my tomato soup.  For this recipe you can either make the pesto or use store-bought. I use this one, which is delicious, affordable and easy to find in the spaghetti sauce aisle:

Classico Pesto GF.jpg

  • I use my immersion blender for this recipe. Funny this is, I’ve had this hand-held blender contraption since Hubbs and I got married (I am fairly confident he brought it into the marriage) and had no idea what the heck it was for. Maybe once every year or two I would make chocolate milk and put the immersion blender in there to make it frothy and shake-like. Other than that, it seemed like a waste of space and I have been tempted to get rid of it many, many times. Good thing I held on to it, because it finally came in handy!  For those of you who might also be culinary-challenged, this is what I am talking about:

Rival Immersion Blender.jpg

Grilled Salmon with Quinoa and Steamed Corn.

  • Dill sounded good Sunday morning (when I made my menu) so I am going to try this new salmon recipe. Plus, we are moving in about a month and we have a whole tank of propane we have to get rid of, so you’ll see more grilling recipes from me in the future.
  • I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but for years we have used this Pampered Chef steamer to cook our frozen vegetables in the microwave. We’d be lost without it and I actually need to get a new one soon:



  • We get Freschetta Gluten Free cheese pizza.

GF Pizza


Happy cooking, and next week I’ll try to get my menu out by Monday mid-morning at the latest!