Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gluten Free Diagnosis and Diet Change: Part Two: Learning Gluten’s Many Names

Gluten is sneaky. Really sneaky. It enjoys hiding in places you would never imagine it existed. To understand the many names of gluten, let us first take a quick lesson in gluten itself:
From Wikipedia
Gluten (from Latin gluten, "glue") is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and to keep its shape, and often giving the final product a chewy texture. ... Worldwide, gluten is a source of protein, both in foods prepared directly from sources containing it, and as an additive to foods otherwise low in protein.
Below is a wonderfully detailed but long list of grains, flours, seeds, etc. that we absolutely, positively CANNOT have. I like to Google some of the listed items at various times to find out in more detail why they're on the list. Take meringue, for example: I missed it on the list the first time I read it, and only now noticed it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gluten Free Diagnosis and Diet Change: Part One: The Helpful Shopping List

For those recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, removing all gluten from one’s daily diet without any notice is daunting. Perhaps even more daunting than the instant diet change is the first grocery shopping trip after the diagnosis. Suddenly, all of the food that was so easily thrown into the cart last week must now be carefully scrutinized for any trace of gluten; and to your horror, gluten is in all of it!
This is how I felt standing in the store with my husband, both of us looking from one end to the other, wondering if plain meat, vegetables, and nuts were all we would be bringing home that night. But of course that didn’t happen; within two months we were both shopping like gluten free pros.
This is the list to get you by as you learn and research more about gluten and how to avoid it:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Amy’s Free Small Butterfly Embellishment Pattern

It's taken me longer than I thought, but I finally finished designing a small butterfly embellishment! Here is the pattern. If you find any errors or need clarification, please let me know.

Materials Needed:
• Any yarn you want to use
• Any crochet needle that works with your yarn
• Gauge & finished size will change depending on yarn used

**Fine yarn was used for the butterfly in picture, measuring approximately 2 inches by 2 inches (not including antennae)**

Ch 7, sl st back into first ch.
Row 1: Sc 11 in loop, ch 1, turn.
Row 2: Dc 5, sl st in next st, dc 5, ch 1, turn.
Row 3 : Dc 2 in each of next 2 sts, in 3rd st [dc, sl st, dc], dc 2 in next st, dc 3 in next st, sl st in sl st from row 2 (left wings completed). Dc 3 in next st, dc 2 in next st, repeat [] in 3rd st, dc 2 in next sc, dc 4 and sc 1 in last st (right wings completed). Sc 1 around post of dc from row 3, sc in ring, sc 1 around post of dc from row 3, sl st in 1st st from top left wing (finishing on top wings). Fasten off and weave in ends.

Cut 6 inches of yarn (or less if you plan to weave in) and use hook to wrap yarn around both sides of the center loop (on the wings). Tie a knot in back, securing the loop together. Leave the strands for attachment to an object or weave in if you want them hidden.
For the body, cut 7 ½ inches of yarn and fold in half. Holding the loop end behind the middle of the top wings, fold the yarn under the lower wings and bring up along the front to the loop. Pull the strands through the loop and arrange the antennae. **Starching the antennae helps maintain the shape and durability of the yarn**

You can download the PDF pattern by clicking on the image below.


If you don't have Adobe Reader, you can download it free.

Happy Crocheting!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vote Tote!

With GOP elections coming up on November 8th in January (whoops, my bad!), I thought this would be a fun pattern to post. It's free online from Caron yarns, and I'm hoping I'll be able to find the yarn and the time to make one as well! Behold, the "Vote Tote"! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Good Ole' Dad

I know my dad is checking up on his married daughter when he texts me under the guise of the dog. Yeah, Lucie the dog. I play along--it's quite cute. The exchange goes something like this:

Dad: Hi Amy this is Lucie using dad's phone. I've been buzzed again!
Me: Oh, poor defiled little thing ;) I'll bet it feels cooler tho.
Dad: Not only that I got a BATH too! I'm depressed but at least now I can sit next to dad.
Me: Awwww, is daddy being nice to you? Tell him amy says so!
Dad: Um... just normal.
Me: Tsk tsk!
Dad: How are you guys doing today?

Thus is the progression. It's his sweet, non-intrusive way to make sure that we're doing ok. And I wouldn't have it any other way!
Love you, Dad!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gluten Free Spinach & Cream Cheese Lasagna Roll-ups

You know that dinner dish mom made, the one that you went crazy over? This is my dish, one that my mom made often and is still adored when it is placed on the table. Don't let the spinach in the title fool you! This recipe is really good, anytime of the year!

Thanks to gluten free lasagna noodles, I was able to make my memorable dish of lasagna. Here's the recipe, from my mother to me to you! I hope you enjoy! 

Jan's Spinach & Cream Cheese Lasagna Roll-ups 

I don't have a set recipe for this, so you can tweak it any way you want. Depending on how many you want to make, here is what I use to make 10 roll-ups:

10 uncooked gluten free lasagna noodles
1 (10 oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed and drained well (you can use fresh spinach, but you will have to chop it up)
1 (8 oz.) brick Cream Cheese, softened
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce or homemade sauce
garlic cloves, minced
garlic powder
onion powder
Parmesan cheese
mozzarella cheese
1 lb. ground beef (optional, if you want meat)
  • In a big pot, steam 10 uncooked lasagna noodles just until pliable. Carefully lay lined up on wax paper or damp paper towels. You can also let them soak in a pan of water. 
  • In a bowl, combine the thawed and drained spinach and cream cheese. Mix well. 
  • Depending on what else you want in the filling, add now: minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, grated Parmesan, and/or grated mozzarella cheeses (I personally suggest both cheeses). Amounts are up to you. 
  • Mix well. (If you don't want spinach, you can always make a cheese mixture only). 
  • If you want a meat sauce, brown the amount of ground beef you want in a skillet, drain and put back in skillet and add your sauce. Keep separate from spinach mixture. Use small amount of sauce to line the bottom of a 13x9 pan. I use a glass pan. 
  • With your noodles lined up in a row, spread filling evenly among the noodles from top to bottom. Roll up jelly roll fashion. Lay seam side down, with some space between them. Cover with sauce any way you like. You can always make extra sauce to add when serving if you like it saucy. 
  • If you like, sprinkle more cheeses on the top. Cover with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes if you don't refrigerate first. If refrigerated, take out and bring pan to a warmer temp before putting in oven and bake about an hour.

$10 is really close!

Remember the days of childhood, when a $20 bill was your fortune and financial insecurity was being $0.25 short for that $0.75 popsicle? 
Today my husband and I got excited when we saved $4 on a prescription. Four whole dollars! In theory it seemed silly to feel that way over such a small amount, but we smiled at each other anyway because those four little dollars meant one very important thing: we're not out of money yet! I recall silently scoffing at my parents years ago (during those narcissistic teen years) when they proudly exclaimed that the checkbook had balanced. I thought it was such a "lame" thing to get excited about; but then I grew up and got married, and saw money in a completely different light. $4 has become a big deal. 
September has been a difficult month for us. Unemployment and medical bills have drained the bank account, and the credit cards are gaining a lot of unwanted mileage (I'll spare you the sob story; we're all in the same boat right now).  I'm currently laid up resting and unable to work, so what used to be two incomes is now one. Thankfully, the Lord provided my husband with a job just as our account is hitting about $10. It's been incredibly hard to fall back on the trust that God will always provide. We believe it and we've experienced it before, but we also wish it hadn't got so close. $10 is really close. 
But then, I suppose the $4 savings wouldn't be that great of a deal if the timing weren't as it were. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Rare Hand-Me-Down: The Human American Eagle of WWI

We were visiting my grandma over the weekend when she pulled out the framed picture for my husband to see. I've seen this piece of history many times growing up, but watching my husband's eyes light up with fascination renewed my interest in it and prompted me to share it with you. 

The photo was taken in 1918, in Camp Gordon, Atlanta, GA. It consists of 12,500 officers, nurses, and men -- all posed in the shape of an American eagle! (This information is listed on the photo. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can read it down in the lower corners). I can't even imagine the time it took to organize everybody! 

If you look on the right side of the shield, you'll notice a long shadow; that shadow is the photographers tower! My great-grandfather was a cook -- he is standing along one of the two shield side borders (unfortunately we can't remember which side). 

Someday I would love to scan the actual photo, but for now is it resting safely beneath framed glass and waiting to be proudly hung on the wall. 

I find this just amazing!!!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Design Time: Fuu's Kimono Part 1

I was inspired for Fuu's Kimono template by Nuno Life's Mini Kimono pattern (she has an excellent collection of simple and easy sewing patterns for dolls -- you should check it out!). By coloring the shape of the pattern in Excel, I was able to use grids as stitch guidelines for defining different colors to create the flowered design. Each grid represents one stitch, making it easy to not only see how it will look, but also making it easy to write a workable pattern. 
I am now in the process of creating a written pattern... hopefully it will only take a day or two! 

If you're interested in the story of Samurai Champloo, you can check out the homepage or Wikipedia
**Please be aware that this is not an anime for children; it is geared towards adults and contains some adult language. 

One of my favorite quotes from Episode 16: "Lullabies of the Lost (Verse 1)"
Mugen: (to Fuu, about Jin) Tall, dark, and four-eyed here is thinking the same thing: hanging around with a girl with absolutely no sex appeal isn't my idea of fun.
Jin: That's it; you've gone too far.
Fuu: Yeah!
Jin: That four-eyed thing, take it back.
Fuu: Hey!

Friday, September 9, 2011

In Remembrance of September 11th, 2001: To the Victims

I was a Junior in high school, home that day and working on algebra formulas when the phone rang. It was my aunt, telling me to turn on the news. 
We all know where we were when we heard the news and first saw the images. We remember watching live as the second plane flew into the second tower. We remember covering open mouths with our hands as the first, then the second tower collapsed. We remember the fires blazing at the Pentagon. We remember images of the Flight 93 crash site. 
Every September 11th for the past 9 years, I've remembered those images and shed tears for the lives lost and for the lives affected from those lost. I personally knew no one involved, but I feel for everyone who was personally involved and had their lives tragically changed. 

Please feel free to post your thoughts and memories.
Please keep comments appropriate. This post is to remember the victims and to remember those who lost friends and family, not to post theories, post the tragic pictures (some people  are still traumatized) or bad mouth anyone. Please respect these requests.
Thank you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Design Time: Fuu from the anime "Samurai Champloo": Phase 1

The anime genre was a vast unknown until my husband introduced it to me several years ago. My only knowledge of anime was the little clips I caught of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z--not my style and not great representations of anime's full potential in my own personal opinion--but the genre has come a long way since my teen years! He and I are picky about our anime -- good writing, good voice acting, good plot, and exceptional animation are a must! We recently finished watching Samurai Champloo, a great series created and directed by 
Shinichirō Watanabe about the Edo Period in Japan. 
I absolutely love the character Fuu, perhaps because I identify with her in many ways (slightly clumsy, practical but prone to bursts of emotion, always hungry). 
I also fell in love with Fuu's kimono! So, Design Time! 

This will definitely be a larger Amigurumi doll when completed. 
(You can find this wallpaper and others @

♥ Amy S

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Butterflies: Pictures

I have been working on my butterflies over the past few days and have finally been able to take some pictures! 
Butterfly 1

I think this one is my favorite so far. I'm going to add embellishments. This is the 2-D Butterfly pattern. I used worsted weight yarn. 

Butterflies 2 and 3

Butterfly 2 (top) is made of Sugar n' Cream cotton yarn using Nellie's Crochet Butterfly pattern. Butterfly 3 (bottom) is the same pattern but with Row 3 of the pattern skipped to make it smaller. To make the red border I slip stitched around the border. 

The next step I have planned for Butterflies 2 and 3 is starching. The bodies of the butterflies themselves are strong enough on their own, but I am finding that the antennae are too flimsy and don't stick up to my liking without some help. My mother-in-law has some spray starch called "Stiffen Stuff" that I'll be using. 

Also, I'm working on a butterfly pattern of my own. It is currently in the trial and error phase as I try to crochet and write the pattern. I hope to be able to share it with you soon!

♥ Amy S

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Butterflies: The Butterfly Project

In Spring 2013 the Holocaust Museum Houston has scheduled an exhibition called The Butterfly Project. This exhibition remembers the 1.5 million children who perished in the holocaust with 1.5 million butterflies, based on the book "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" which is a compilation of drawings and poems by children of the Terezin Concentration Camp.
The neat thing about this exhibition is that all of the butterflies are handmade donations that can be from anyone. The Butterfly Project offers an activity that is children appropriate for use in the classroom. There are a few guidelines regarding what materials can NOT be used; the following is directly from the Project Page:

  • Butterflies should be no larger than 8 inches by 10 inches. 
  • Butterflies may be of any medium the artist chooses, but two-dimensional submissions are preferred.
  • Glitter and all glitter-related products should not be used.
  • Food products (cereal, macaroni, candy, marshmallows or other perishables) also should not be used.
  • If possible, e-mail a photograph of your butterflies, to
The museum has approximately 800,000 butterflies so far, and the deadline is June 30, 2012. The submission form can be found here.

A special thanks to The Left Side of Crochet for one of the patterns and for including the link to the Butterfly Project -- I had not heard of it until I found her pattern.

I hope this will inspire you to consider donating as well! I'm currently working on several crochet butterflies to donate; I will post pictures and links to patterns soon!

♥ Amy S

Monday, August 22, 2011

Design Time: Poncho Pattern Phase 2.5

(This post was transferred from a previous old blog.)

I've had time on my hands lately to think more about the poncho I WILL get around designing one day (crosses fingers), and I realized that as far as the random stripe design goes, I'd rather go back to the simple two-color, same-size strips like the movie's design. Now I must choose the colors....and this time, I have to make a final decision. Suggestions, anyone?


Design Time: Poncho Pattern Phase 2

Princess Mia's Pink Poncho
(This post was transferred from a previous old blog.)

Earlier I posted my decision to create a pattern for a crocheted poncho based off the one featured in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. Now that I've selected the poncho I want to crochet, I've been thinking about the colors and the stripe pattern. I want something a little more personal in color, as well as a varying stripe pattern.

I created a color palette for various colors and shades, based mostly on combinations of my favorite colors. I ended up choosing the first pair, brown and pink.

I used a Random Stripe Generator to create this stripe pattern:
This is the mark-up that I will use to start measuring and counting size and stitches:

The pattern progresses...

Design Time: Poncho from Princess Diaries 2

(This post was transferred from a previous old blog.)

When The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement came out in 2004, I recall being captivated by one of Anne Hathaway's costumes that sadly got so little screen time: her poncho. It looked so comfortable and casual that I wanted to wear it. At the time, however, I gave little thought to trying to make one. Fast forward to 2011. As I skim the seemingly endless crochet patterns for a poncho/wrap that will suit my style, I suddenly recall the one I admired 7 years ago.

After YouTube-ing several videos to capture screen shots that covered enough angles, I finally came up with a reasonable pattern idea in my head. Transforming the image into a beginning sketch took a bit of time, though, and honestly, doesn't look all that great right now. I'm hoping my sketching skills will get better as I progress with the next step: measurements.

Wish me luck--I'm heading into an area of pattern creation that I've never been before, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A 150 Mile Change of Scenery

Yep, it's moving time. And that includes all of my yarn. A huge bin full. I'm kind of hoping that our next place will be a bit bigger, seeing as my yarn is already stashed so far back in the living room coat closet that it takes five minutes to dig it out (and another five to pry out the curious cats).

Did I mention that we have only three days to pack? And being married to a gaming nerd like my husband, this is what would happen if I let him be in charge of the packing:

Part of me is sad to be leaving; the other part is looking forward to the change. Here's to the next chapter of our unfolding lives! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Tribute

I lost an old friend on Tuesday. Our family dog, Hans, had to be put down. A combination of old age, deafness, blindness, bad arthritis, and worsening glaucoma helped my parents to make the final call. I'm glad my old buddy of 16 years is out of pain and discomfort, but still, losing a pet who'd become a part of the family for 16 years is hard to accept. Since I'm not living with my parents anymore, it's not hitting me as hard because I don't miss seeing him walk around the house all day. I have a feeling the next time I visit will be a bit teary-eyed. Hans was a good dog -- our first family dog. He will be missed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm a Little More Than Useless!

Lately I've been feeling pretty useless as I lay around the house recuperating. I see a million little things to do or that need doing, but playing Minecraft and watching TV are about all I can do these days. Tack on a bad case of the "my anti-depressants aren't working as fast as I'd like them to" and I find myself sitting up at three in the morning, a tissue in hand, curled on the couch and listening to the cat crunch its dry food as I think about how pitiful I am. About how many days have already gone by. About times in the past that were very similar to this very moment. About things I want to do now but must wait to come.
So I started praying and just let the tears come softly. I can't completely put into words what I'm feeling but I know God understands exactly what I'm trying to communicate--even if I can't. My depressed thoughts wandered down self-pity lane, I stopped to wallow in my lack of creative writing inspirations, which caused me to drift along past projects and ideas that had never fully taken shape or space on paper. I remembered an old list I'd made of ideas and things that had sparked ideas. I remembered writing a Relient K song down on that list. I remembered the song, and I began crying again, this time because the words touched me where my heart needed the encouragement.

I've forgotten that I'm more than useless.

"More Than Useless"

I feel like, I would like
To be somewhere else doing something that matters
And I'll admit here, while I sit here
My mind wastes away and my doubts start to gather

Whats the purpose? It feels worthless
So unwanted like I've lost all my value
I can't find it, not in the least bit
and I'm just scared, so scared that I'll fail you

And sometimes I think that I'm not any good at all
And sometimes I wonder why, why I'm even here at all
But then you assure me

I'm a little more than useless
And when I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once

So I say if I can't, do something significant
I'll opt to leave most opportunities wasted
And nothing trivial, that life could give me will
Measure up to what might have replaced it

Too late look, my date book
Is packed full of days that were empty and now gone
And I bet, that regret
Will prove to get me to improve in the long run

And sometimes I think that I'm not any good at all
And sometimes I wonder why, why I'm even here at all
But then you assure me

I'm a little more than useless
And when I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once

I’m a little more than useless
And I never knew I knew this
Was gonna the day, gonna be the day
That I would do something right
Do something right for once

I notice, I know this
Week is a symbol of how I use my time
Resent it, I spent it
Convincing myself the world's doing just fine
Without me
Doing anything of any consequence
Without me
Showing any sign of ever making sense
Of my time , it's my life
And my right, to use it like I should
Like he would, for the good
Of everything that I would ever know

I'm a little more than useless
When I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once

I’m a little more than useless
And I never knew I knew this
Was gonna the day, gonna be the day
That I would do something right
Do something right for once 

Thanks, Relient K!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unfortunate Hold

Life throws curve balls into your plans. I am a Weak Thing right now, struggling to keep working at my job but thinking that I've reached the breaking point. This throws a bit of a wrench into our plans and may even result in a move. All my crochet ideas, my poncho design, have to wait for now -- between missing work, shifting medications, and feeling all around terrible, there's no time or budget for yarn shopping :(

It's disappointing. It's depressing. And most of all, it's stressful. I know it will all work out, that it will all be OK, but I feel helpless and at the mercy of my own body. Sure, it's easy to promote my Weak Things verse when I'm feeling good; but at times like these, I'll be honest, it's hard to keep that mentality going. I don't want to be weak, sickly, and anxious. I want to feel good, to feel normal. 

Whatever happens, whatever comes, it will be hard and it will try my faith, as it does every time. But I know I will come through.

It just may take more time than I wish.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Charitable Crocheting

There are several charities out there that can use crocheted/knitted/sewed items. Heck, you don't even have to sew! Several of them also need items that are purchased. If you have extra yarn laying around or want to specifically purchase some for these projects, here are some wonderful ideas! 

Newborns In Need, Inc. -- "Newborns in Need is headquartered in Pfafftown, North Carolina and is dedicated to making a baby’s introduction into the world one complete with basic necessities and as stress free as possible for the family." (from their "About" page) This is a wonderful site if you're interested in donating preemie/newborn items. The website has several patterns available for you to download, but as long as it meets specifications, any infant pattern will do. They also accept handmade bereavement outfits for the little ones that unfortunately don't make it. Here are some great patterns: 

Operation Gratitude -- "Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions. Our mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people." (from their "About" page) Scarves, hats,neck gaiters and yes, even your old Beanie Babies! Scroll down to where it says 4. Craft Projects and the first paragraph is for knit/crochet scarves, including patterns and important specifications. You can also check out the blog for more detailed information.

There are, of course, many many more out there. But these two should keep you busy for a while :)
If you would like to include one that you know of, please feel free to put the link in a comment below!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Celebrating 1 Year!

May 28 was our one year wedding anniversary! We celebrated by going to see the Phantom of the Opera and dressing up. It was a wonderful show! But even more wonderful is the fact that we are even deeper in love with each other now than we were a year ago when we said "I Do." I didn't think it was possible to fall deeper in love with my husband, but it was, and I can't wait to see how much deeper the love grows as the years progress!

To My Love: 

"I made the choice to wait for you,
You made the same decision too, 
And I know we'll be happy. 
We had so many chances to throw it all away,
But we both stayed strong and God brought our lives together that one day.
Now I kneel and pray and I thank God that you are safe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lessons I'm Learning From My Cat

My cat Rufus always needs a way out. When we let them outside for a few minutes of time in the "wild" he's always very interested and curious, sniffing the bushes, going beyond the point he's allowed, etc. But if we close the back door, he gets nervous. Really nervous. It's like his adventure mode kicks in as long as his umbilical cord to the safe inside world is not cut off. As long as that door is open, he'll branch out, search, discovery, and even enjoy himself. If the door closes, he recoils to what he knows is safe, what is secure, and what is constant.

The same applies to being held. If you hold him snuggly, he starts to fret. His claws start digging into you as he looks around wildly. He feels trapped because the power of your arms do not allow him a way out. But hold him gently and he's a bit more tolorant--still not thrilled about the whole situation, but at least he knows that he can get away.

Just recently I realized I'm much the same. I always need a way out. If I feel trapped, I panic and try to retreat to my safe zone. I'm not talking about Claustrophobia, though it sure sounds like it. I'm talking about the non-physical. I fear the entrapments of sickness, the stress that comes along with it and threatens to complicate anything and everything I could possible imagine. My current job is a good example. After taking an 8 week leave of abscence for medical reasons, I came back to work as scheduled, nursing what would become a terrible sore throat. I made it back my first day and then missed two. I made it the next 2 days and the sore throat was gone. Finally! I could get back to my life! Monday was good. Tuesday I couldn't get out of bed and was exhausted beyond belief. Wednesday was the same. My boss arranged for me to work at home to make up the time. Thursday and Friday I struggled through. I called my doctor; I got better.

Now I'm fine. I'm back at work full time and living as usual. I don't feel a need for my "out." Yet I can't help but wish that this feeling for a safety backup would cease to be so extreme in the hard times. The fear is so real at the worst of it--and so distant at the best of it. I wish rationality would stay in the worse times.

I wonder if Rufus wishes for a closed-door adventure? But then, he's just a cat.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gluten Free Orange Chicken Recipe

I love orange chicken but I've yet to find a place that serves a gluten free option. So the next best thing is this recipe I found on another blog--we absolutely raved about it and had to pace ourselves so that our stomachs wouldn't explode. mmm...Cafe , your recipe is awesome, THANK YOU!

Gluten Free Orange Chicken
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2" cubes
1/2 cup flour (we used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose GF Baking Flour)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons GF soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons green onion
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Heat oven to 350. In a shallow dish combine the flour, garlic powder and pepper. Dip each piece of chicken in flour mixture and coat evenly.

Melt butter and pour into a shallow baking dish, large enough to accommodate chicken in a single layer. Arrange chicken in pan and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine water, fresh orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, orange zest and whisk over medium heat for a few minutes. Then stir in brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and green onion and let it come to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and let it dissolve and add it to the sauce until thickened.

After chicken has baked the 30 minutes, turn each piece over and pour 1/2 sauce mixture evenly over chicken. Bake another 30 to 40 minutes basting frequently.

Serve chicken over rice with extra sauce on the side.

Recipe taken from mmm...Cafe

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Picking It Up Again

It's actually been a while since I've done any crocheting. The last thing I crocheted was a handbag for my sister/maid-of-honor to carry in the wedding--which I actually ended up using to carry around a mirror and lipstick for touch-ups that I forgot to apply. So now that it's coming up on our one year anniversary, I thought it was time to pick up the hook and yarn and get back into it.

I tried this pattern and absolutely hated it. The end result wasn't bad--pretty cute in fact--but the wording of the pattern drove me up the wall! To look at it, you'd think the outer border of the butterfly would be crocheted in one set, but instead it had me crocheting tips and then borders--do you know how many ends that leaves to weave in? A lot.

I don't mind a difficult pattern, but it has to justify itself with the finished product. This little guy wasn't worth the hassle for me to do it again. On to the next project! 


So first of all, let me start out by saying that I realize this blog is one in a trillion, and this is more for journaling purposes than a desire to change the world. I just want to post crochet patterns, share favorite gluten free recipes, and chronicle my wonderful married life with the man I love. I don't yet have a "direction" for this blog, other than what I previously stated, and perhaps I never will. Whether this becomes something or not, I'm doing this for me -- for fun :)