Tag Archives: 31 days

Coming Soon to this Blog!

Orange LeafWhat has happened to this month? Three weeks without a post!

Apologies to those who care and a promise.

I’ve been writing furiously, unless —

  • I had an election to work,
  • IBS reared its ugly head,
  • arthritis inflamed knee joints and finger joints,
  • I had a major allergic reaction to some food I can’t identify,
  • friends came for the weekend,
  • my birthday,
  • sinus infection=antibiotics and steriods
  • Larry has arthroscopy on his knee,

Larry and I are groaning simultaneously these days as our knees ache and swell. Sometimes I forget that I’m 68 and volunteer as if I have the stamina I did when I was only 60! I slowly have realized this month that I need time to recover from some of these things I love to do: helping at a Ladies’ Day at church or schedule company for the weekend one day after working the 15 hours of an election. My mind still things this body will respond as it used to.

Besides working on THE book about my journey of grief (now working on chapter 14), I’m planning a 31-day series in October. I’m joining hundreds of bloggers who write every day in the month of October on one topic. I did this two years ago — didn’t quite make 31 days, you can see my green button on the website: 31 Days Living Wheat-free and Milk-free.

October 1, look for the first post in my new series.

I’m excited about my topic for this year! I chose to write about an aspect of prayer that I need to improve in my own life. I’m pretty good at praying for the sick and those in trouble, and I’ve learned to give thanks daily through my Gratitude Journal. But I’m not as faithful in giving God praise, honor, respect for His power through prayer. I also want to use more Scripture in my prayers. I have 31 days of topics planned but can only promise, Lord willing, to complete the plan. BrownCross

   Are you loving fall in your neck of the woods? Our temperatures have been lovely for September in Tennessee, and the leaves are slowly changing. Love this season for adding touches of the outside around the house.


I’m thankful for

  • cool mornings and clear blue skies,
  • soft gentle rain
  • green apple gourds (have you seen these?)
  • dinner with Larry and friends plus the movie, War Room, on my birthday



Substitute for Whipped Cream

31days.2This month I’ve been sharing my journey of living with food allergies, specifically wheat and milk products. Living dairy-free has not been as difficult for me as living wheat-free because I had been slowly eliminating milk products in my diet over a period of years. It’s been difficult to find replacements for cheese, cream cheese, and cream. Even Cool Whip or similar substitutes for whipped cream contain some ingredients from milk.

I am happy to share my easy tasty solution for this problem.

Substitute for whipped cream


Here are three simple ways to use marshmallows.

1. Add a creme insert for granola bars. I warm up (and soften) granola bars for 30 seconds in the microwave. Then split a marshmallow in half, set it on top of one of the bars, and zap it for 10 seconds. Watch the marshmallow and as soon as it begins to swell, take it out and make a sandwich.Nature Valley Granola Bars

Melted Marshmallows with Nature Valley Granola Bars

Marshmallows as icing substitute.

2. Create icing for a pumpkin muffin.  Warm up a marshmallow and slide it onto the top of a warm muffin.

Marshmallow substitute for icing

Spread it around like icing. Delicious!

3. Topping for hot cider or hot chocolate. Heat up a cup of apple cider and add a marshmallow in the last few seconds. Yummy!

3. Topping for hot cider or hot chocolate. Heat up a cup of apple cider and add a marshmallow in the last few seconds. Yummy!   

Do you have other ways of using marshmallows?  Another favorite snack is just spreading some peanut butter on a marshmallow. Obviously these tips don’t fall into the healthy category but marshmallows are usually $1 a bag or less, making them much cheaper than a candy bar or other desserts.

I’m so thankful for these small treats that remind me of childhood camping trips and roasting marshmallows around a campfire.


Check out other posts in this series.

Wheat-free Apple Butter Bread

31days.2The recipe for Pumpkin Spice Muffins can be easily modified for a second scrumptious fall delight: Apple Butter Bread.AppleButterBread.2

Thankful today for the clear blue October sky as it finally feels and looks like fall in Middle Tennessee.

changing leaves


To see more posts in this 31 days series of living dairy-free and wheat-free, click here.

Best Ever Pumpkin Spice Muffins

31days.2Fall always brings on this need to make something with pumpkin or apples, so this recipe is perfect! The flour blend recipe is here, and if you don’t have a need to use flours other than wheat, just substitute regular flour and LEAVE OUT the xanthan gum. This recipe can also be made into a loaf, but I like the portability of muffins, and they freeze well. The secret in these muffins is in the first step. I store these in the refrigerator or freeze at least half of them.PumpMuff.4


I’m thankful today for:

  • cool days in October with yellow tulip poplar leaves drifting down in the breeze
  • the smell of pumpkin muffins baking
  • muffins and a hot cup of herbal teaPumpMuff.3


Click here for links to each day’s post in the 31 Days series.

Baking Mix: the essential blend

31days.2Note to regular readers: I failed to upload a picture of the finished dish on Wednesday‘s blog. Hop back here to see Apple Nachos.

In my education of living wheat-free I soon learned that baking anything without wheat flour holds unique challenges. Most everything I knew about bread/biscuit/cookie/pie/cake baking was of no help in the new life of gluten/wheat-free baked goods.

I learned how to knead, roll out and shape dough by watching my mother make her big batch of yeast rolls on Saturday nights. I practiced making biscuits with her or an aunt watching over me. By the time I was in high school my home economics classes added to this first-hand knowledge. I had to learn that this new dough from non-wheat flours did not look, feel, or behave like any of the dough I knew.

In my quest to make bread, I read many cookbooks and tried many more recipes. I read labels and tried various prepared mixes but actually have yet to find anything that compares to a yeast bread. Bob’s Red Mill brand carries the largest variety of grains and flours. You can find this brand in Kroger, Big Lots, Whole Foods and other health food stores or order them online. The biggest problem is the expense — they just cost a bunch compared to any other bag of flour.

I finally found the best blend of flours that works for me. Combining different flours makes a big difference in the texture and baking of bread. Any good gluten-free or wheat-free cookbook will provide a description of the many different kinds of flour available from grains other than wheat. Some are rich in protein, while others add crispness

So many types of flour can be confusing.

So many types of flour can be confusing.

I mix this blend and have it ready at all times  I use it for muffins, cookies, and anything that needs a cup of flour.:

Flour Blend for Baking

3 cups of sorghum flour

3 cups of potato starch (sometimes labeled “flour”, just check the ingredient label for “starch”)

2 cups of tapioca starch (also found as flour but it is from the cassava plant

1 cup of oat or rice flour

Carefully mix all these ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Makes 9 cups of flour blend.

Sorghum Flour


This blend works really well but because there is no gluten you must add something to hold the flour together.


Xanthan gum

for every cup of flour add 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum

If you are a reader of labels, no doubt you have seen xanthan gum on many products. This is the stuff that adds the binder to a baked good. If you spill a little on your kitchen counter and even a drop of water lands on it, you end up with a slimy goop. Xanthan gum is made from a plant, in case you mentally lumped it in with other unknown ingredients found on so many of our food labels.

All of these products can be found at Bob’s Red Mill and Whole Foods. I look for the cheapest price and have learned to hunt in all kinds of places. But the best place for price and availability?  A Mennonite or Amish grocery store.

I am thankful every time I find one of the flours I need for baking, but especially glad to find them at a cheap price.

I’m thankful for all those nutritionists, parents of children with celiec disease, Mennonite cooks, and cooks who experiment with baking gluten-free and share their knowledge.


Click here for links to each day’s post in the 31 Days series.

Apple Nachos: My New Favorite Snack

31days.2Searching gluten-free blogs I recently found multiple mentions of Apple Nachos. Obviously not so new to the gluten-free scene, but they are new to me with my own twist.

This is all you need for a delicious snack. Notice all these products are healthy, even reduced fat peanut butter.IMG_0648

And here is the recipe.

1 crisp apple

3 T. peanut butter

1 T. caramel syrup (look for it at Big Lots)

1/4 c. walnuts

1/4 c. raisins

Slice the apple thinly and spread out in one layer. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Heat up peanut butter in microwave about 45 seconds. Stir to smooth out and add caramel syrup. Spread peanut butter on each slice of apple. (Original recipe says drizzle, but mine is thicker and doesn’t drizzle.)

Sprinkle walnuts and raisins over all.

Eat with a fork if you want to do this neatly!

What a quick after-Wednesday night church snack especially for those of us who cannot run into the Dollar General Store or any other quick stop store and grab a candy bar or a package of cookies! The only risk-free snack I can get is marshmallows, but I’ll share my tips with them in another post.applenachos

Thankful for apples, walnuts, raisins, peanut butter, and caramel syrup — reminding me of caramel apples, a fall favorite, but not dairy-free!


Find other posts in the 31 Day Series here:  Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7

Kroger’s New Brand

31days.2I apologize for the big gap in this 31 day project; health issues kept me from writing. I’m still waiting on a shot for my knee but finally have energy to get a short post completed.

Kroger began carrying their new Simple Truth brand a few months ago, and I am so pleased to find items that fit my wheat-free and dairy-free diet. Reading labels and paying attention to prices make a difference in those expensive “health food” products.

In the frozen food section of Nature’s Market I look for frozen waffles on sale.

Simple Truth Waffles

Simple Truth Waffles

If I find Van’s Gluten Free on sale, I gra b them at two boxes for $4.00. I’ve was pleased to find Simple Truth waffles on sale for the same price, but look at the difference in the regular prices of these two brands. Waffles are a great quick alternative for me for any meal instead of a slice of sandwich bread or a muffin.

Another Simple Truth product I found in the refrigerator section of the health food section is this coconut milk.CoconutMilk It’s regular price is the same as other milk’s sale price. Looking at the Nutrition Facts  calcium is 45% which is higher than some of the other milks, and the price was better than my rice milk.  I found the texture of coconut milk to be creamier than other milks which makes it great for cooking, adding to soups or mashed potatoes.

Have you tried any of these new products? Let me know what you think.