Category: Resources

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

So we’re giving this a whirl this year – Gluten Free Thanksgiving! Because so many people are struggling with food sensitivities nowadays, I thought that I’d share our menu and maybe help someone out that’s looking for options at the last minute. I’ve included online links, but you may be able to find many of these alternatives at your local stores. The links are mainly to show the item, because I’m a visual learner.

This is NOT our feast! lol!

Our Menu:

  • Fried Chicken and Gravy (just me and the kids doing this, so I went with something I knew they’d love!)
  • Green Beans (see below)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Rolls
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie

How does that strike your fancy? We are super excited!! Now… how to make this gluten free???

Fried Chicken

My Grandmama made the best fried chicken ever. In the history of the world. Seriously. And I watched her do it a few times, but I was little, so I don’t know if this is how she did it, but I’d venture to say it’s pretty close! I’m also attempting her macaroni & cheese recipe for the first time this year. Usually my brother makes it.

I’ll be using chicken tenderloin, since that’s what is easiest to fry and all my kids like them. I set up two bowls. One has about 3 eggs and a splash of milk whisked together. (I have used dairy free, unsweetened, plain almond milk to do this and it works just fine.) The other bowl gets my dry ingredients. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, salt & pepper to taste, a sprinkle of parsley flakes, and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Dip in the wet bowl, then into the dry bowl. If you’ve got time to kill and want to make it extra crusty special, repeat the dippings. I fry in refined organic coconut oil until done. Refined is important if you don’t want your chicken to take like coconut! I cook an entire two pound bag of tenderloins and we won’t have any leftovers! If you’re cooking for a smaller family, you’ll use less ingredients.

Green Beans

The green beans are just basic beans from a can. I do prefer DelMonte brand to others. Then I add a couple tablespoons of butter (or Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, for dairy free), and some spices. I like to use Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Blend and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, and if I’m feeling extra saucy, just a touch of cayenne pepper! One of my children appreciates the spice, but the rest won’t eat these anyway, so I make them my way!

Cranberry Sauce

We found an easy Cranberry Sauce recipe in The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations cookbook. I couldn’t find the same recipe online, but this one is close: Cranberry Sauce by Ree Drummond on Food Network. The recipe in the cookbook has only 3 ingredients: cranberries, oranges, maple syrup.

Macaroni & Cheese

Mac & Cheese has been a challenge, but our diet has re-introduced dairy now, so I’m more comfortable trying this. Honestly, if we were still dairy free, I’d probably just skip the mac & cheese. My Grandmama made a baked mac & cheese and this is what my son has requested. She cooked the macaroni noodles per the package instructions, then in a 9×9 glass baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray, she layered slices of cheese (cut from a block, not sliced cheese like for sandwiches) with the noodles. When I was young, it must have been cheddar that she used, but I’m told later in life she used colby jack. The noodles were salted & peppered, a splash of milk added so it doesn’t dry out (almond milk ok), then topped with another layer of cheese. This will be my first attempt at this style of mac & cheese. Fingers crossed… For the noodles, I’m using Skinner Gluten Free Elbows, found at my local HEB grocery store. I haven’t tried these yet, either, but based on the mix used in the ingredients, I think they were a good option.

Mashed Potatoes

This is pretty standard. To make dairy free, use the dairy free butter linked above and almond milk and nobody will know the difference!

Deviled Eggs

We love deviled eggs! I just might have to do a separate post about the eggs sometime! We raise chickens, so fresh eggs are killer to peel. This is the whole reason I got an Instant Pot! And it works! (works great for store bought eggs, too) Put a cup of water in the pot, then the trivet, then layer in the eggs. I’ve loaded my pot with up to two and a half dozen eggs before. It’s a beautiful sight. 6 minutes at high pressure, 6 minutes natural release then open the valve, 6 minutes in an ice bath. Cool completely, then peel.

Slice in half. Any whites that are not pretty go into the mash. There should be at least 3 whole eggs in the mash. Mash the yolks and the whites that didn’t make the cut. Add Kraft Sandwich Spread until moist. Salt & pepper to taste. If you’re not dairy free, drizzle in a little homemade ranch dressing. Skip that if you’re dairy free, no biggie. Spoon the mash into the eggs, then come back and add more. If you have any left over, enjoy your egg salad.

Rolls

Once again, we’re entering new territory. I’m going to be taking my husband’s grandpa’s wife’s roll recipe (haha) and trying it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. This is a yeast roll recipe, and I’ve had excellent results with this flour so far, so I’m going to give it a whirl. I will do a half recipe, however, since this is a test. If it’s a flying success, I expect to hear lots of complaining from the children that I didn’t make more!

Dessert

Again, I’m just altering standard recipes. And we’re going crustless. That’s a disappointment, I know, but it is what it is. I didn’t have time to perfect a gluten free pie crust this year, nor do I have time to make gluten free graham crackers. If you have a local store with GF graham crackers, you could probably make a graham crust pretty easily.

Using my husband’s uncle’s chocolate pie recipe, will really be more like a thick pudding without the crust. And that’s perfectly ok. It’s chocolate. This recipe is not dairy free. It uses whole milk, sugar, flour, etc. Again, we’re no longer DF, so I’m not altering the dairy in this recipe at this time. If I attempt a DF version in the future, I’ll let you know. For now, I’m switching out the flour and just dealing with the sugar. After all, Thanksgiving is a special occassion, they’re only getting one slice of pie and it’s not going to last long! Possibly whole fat coconut milk would work to make a homemade chocolate pie.

There’s so many recipes for pumpkin desserts on pinterest, and lots of them are gluten and dairy free! Thank you, internet! I’ll be using a Pioneer Woman (can you tell I love her??) recipe that was found on Walmart’s website! Pumpkin Pie by the Pioneer Woman. Alterations I’ll be making: No crust. That’s it! You could use sweetened condensed coconut milk, if you’re dairy free, but keep in mind that these cans are not exactly the same size as a standard can of Eagle Brand! Just be prepared.

Fruit can also be transformed into a delicious gf/df dessert! This fun turkey would be great for the kids!

As I’ve mentioned before, this is not a recipe blog, and I’ll have to go back at a later date and add pictures. Because I’ve never thought to photograph each item of food. Hopefully this may help someone that’s trying to figure out how to enjoy the holidays with dietary restrictions. This was my son’s biggest concern. The most important thing to remember is to relax and enjoy the holiday with your family. Let the kids help in the kitchen, even though it’s messy. Let them help with the meal planning. Nobody ever said it had to be turkey.

Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and this post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay any more when you use these links, but I will earn a small commission on any purchases you make after clicking. Thanks for helping support our little blog!!!

GF DF Buttermilk Pancakes

We’ve completed 4 months at the Brain Balance Center and I’ve learned how to follow the Balance360 plan pretty well – gluten free, dairy free, and minimal added sugar. While this is not a blog that’s focused on recipes, it is focused on how our family and life are growing. These last few months have definitely been a time of growth! I’m going to be sharing a few of our most loved recipes, to help and encourage other families on their special diet journey.

My family loves pancakes, so I had to convert our beloved recipe. Also, I’d like to note that I’m a little lazy in the kitchen and prefer to use as few dishes as possible, so I sometimes mix my ingredients in a different order than traditional. I have included (affiliate links) in this post so that you can see exactly which products are 360 approved. And maybe someday I’ll get better pictures on this post. lol

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Gluten-free, Dairy-free Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:

Instructions:

In a measuring cup, add the lemon juice, then pour in the almond milk up to the 2 cup line. This makes your “buttermilk,” and yes, it will begin to look like it’s going bad.

Crack the eggs into the bowl of your mixer and begin whisking. Continue mixing as you add the remaining wet ingredients, ending with the almond buttermilk you made. Note that the coconut oil may re-harden if your other ingredients are straight from the fridge cold. That’s ok.

While the mixer is still running, add the powder, soda and salt. Finally, mix in the flour.

Heat griddle to 350° and spray with coconut oil spray. Ladle, spoon or pour batter into the desired size and shape. Cook until the top is bubbly and dry. Flip and cook the other side until done.

Top hot pancakes with Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, fresh fruit or berries, a small amount of real maple syrup or honey, or Polander All Fruit Spread… Or enjoy them straight from the griddle because they’re already lightly sweet from the honey.

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Above, this is what a pancake looks like that’s ready to flip!

I hope this recipe is helpful and that your family enjoys it as much as mine does! We eat this at least once a week for breakfast or dinner. Goes well with eggs, sausage or bacon, and fruit.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and this post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay any more when you use these links, but I will earn a small commission on any purchases you make after clicking. Thanks for helping support our little blog!!!

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Easy Hair How-To with your new Lilla Rose accessories (Flexi-Clip & U-Pin)

I do quick and easy hairstyle demos when I’m at craft and vendor shows, and when I do parties.  Sometime ladies say, “I hope I can do that when I get home!”  Well, this post is just for you!  🙂  This video shows the easy Flexi-Clip twist I most often show, as well as two styles you can do with U-Pins (which works for hair sticks as well).

Lilla Rose, Inc. has also made some style videos to help you!

For even more video help, check out the Sizing & Styling page on my website!  If you need more help, please reach out!  I don’t want anyone to not use their accessories because they don’t know how.

More helpful blog posts:

My favorite flowers for the sweltering Texas summer heat

I am one of those people who have favorite words. Plethora, for example, has always tickled my fancy. And sweltering. Living in Texas, I get to use those magnificent, king sized words quite often!

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But y’all, this is a bit much! We started out with heat indexes around 105° in late June, then had a little relief the first week of July (when I was gone), and it seems to be climbing since! This is the external temperature recorded in my minivan last Wednesday… while we were moving! (photo by my son in the passenger seat)

So what’s a Texas gardener to do?

Well, not much right now, if your garden is in full sun.

So I’ll back up to last month when our temperatures were only hovering around 100°. The heat baked or stunted most of my vegetables, but a few bloomers have risen to the top of my list for their high heat, low water tolerance, and beautiful display.

The Belle of this year’s garden has been the lovely zinnias.

I had some zinnias from seeds saved in previous years. They originally were given to me by a gardening friend. There used to be several colors, but over the years, only pink lasted. This year I added more seeds : Purple Prince (of course) and a mixed pouch.

The tiny red spider zinnias have reseeded themselves for about three years now. The heat did cause many blooms to be to be smaller this year, but these are always that tiny.

The next superstar has been my sunflowers.

In the past, I stuck to the Skyscraper sunflowers because I liked having the giant bloom. But that was so much growth and just one bloom per plant.

This year, I tried Lemon Queen and Giant Primrose, from Baker Creek, for multiple blooms and I found a new love!

And look how lovely they are together!

Of course, I also have one “weed” aka a native sunflower that is found in our pastures, that I allowed to grow in my garden space. Here’s why – when the temp is soaring well over 100, nothing phases this natural beauty!

Is big and gangly with many spent blossoms and beauties at the same time. And my bumbles love it.

What’s your favorite flower for summer?

 

Resources:

Heirloom Seeds – This is the first company I ever used for heirloom seed and they’ve always been excellent seed source!

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – This is the second year I’ve used Baker Creek.  I didn’t have much success with this year’s seeds, but that is probably largely due to the extreme weather we’ve had this year.

The beautiful hair clip my daughter is wearing in the big sunflower picture, is from the wonderful company I represent!

What does it mean to work from home?

I work from home.  There’s a number of ways you can work this type of business, but for me, I do about 12 vendor shows a year, mostly work my business online, and sometimes do in-home parties.  With the ever-changing “algorithm” to deal with, and rural internet service, online work can be a challenge.  I’ve done a number of online parties, where I intended to do a live video.  Thankfully, I have a pre-recorded video stored on YouTube, I can link to when I’m in a pinch.

Imagine my surprise when my live actually worked last week!

LydiaPartyVidScreenShotAll that to give you an idea of what it means to work from home.  So here’s the scene…

I did my live video outside, on the back porch, because my daughters & husband were watching Hello Dolly (rather loudly) in the house.  I called one of the clips by the wrong size.  Goats were bleating in the background.  Sometime, when I turned around to show my hair, I was out of the screen.  My son walked in on the video, then wiped his mouth on his arm in the background.  At least he wasn’t picking his nose, right?  Then a goose started honking loudly.  All that happened within a 10 minute video.

Obviously, working from home is not always picture perfect!  If you’re waiting for everything to be in order before you start your work from home business, you’re going to be waiting forever!

But if you don’t get started, you’ll never be a business owner!  And you’ll never be growing a real business!  It’s work and it’s real life.  It’s balancing homeschool, customer follow-up, and healthy meals.  It’s things not always going as expected.  It’s stretching out of your comfort zone, but the freedom to do it from your comfort zone, with all the craziness going on around you.  It’s earning the title, “work from home mom.”  It’s teaching children to be entrepreneurs, to be responsible, and how to put labels on materials straight.  It’s having a cheering squad in the back seat when you open an incentive award package at the post office.  It’s teaching them that success is within reach, without giving up bedtime prayers.

“Network marketing isn’t perfect; but it is better!” – Eric Worre

Resources:

Ready, Set, Win!

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The Pacific Ocean at Laguna Beach

I just got home from an ahh-maze-ing weekend in Southern California!

Our company national convention was what took me across the country, and boy, was it worth it! If you’re in direct sales, you NEED to attend your company conventions! There is such an energy and excitement that comes from these events, and in my company, it’s like a family reunion for our family of Stylists. Of course, there is valuable training and new products that come along with convention, too!

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My Team Leader’s Brunch

The most exciting announcement at our convention was the introduction of a New Stylist Ready Set Win program! I know many companies already have programs for success in the first three months, but this was new for us and HQ did a bang up job on this program! AND… just wait till you hear what they did for us!!

HQ is giving all, yes ALL, current Stylists the opportunity to go through the program, starting May 1! Who does that?! They love us so much and are so generous with us!!!

I know you’re dying to know, so here’s what can be earned through the Ready Set Win program (and this will be available to all New Stylists at the time of their sign-up, to help get your new business off to a great start):

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  • First Full Month – Bring a friend with you into the business! Studies show that when you start a new business with a friend, you both achieve success together! Enroll 1 new active Stylist in your first full month and earn the Lilla Bag display purse! ($80 value)
  • First Full Month – Reach $350 in Personal Volume (PV) and earn a $75 Inventory Shopping Spree! (Easily achieved with your Grand Opening and 1 additional home party/Style Up!)
  • Second Full Month – Reach $525 in PV and earn a $100 Inventory Shopping Spree! (Easily achieved with 2-3 Style Ups!)
  • Third Full Month – Reach $700 in PV and earn a $150 Inventory Shopping Spree! (Easily achieved with Style Ups, and perhaps a craft/vendor show!)
  • Winning Start – Reach a cumulative $2,000 in the first three months and enroll a cumulative 3 active Stylists to earn a sterling silver Lilla Rose necklace!

And don’t forget, if those New Stylists select the Fast Start kit, that’s a $200 bonus check in your pocket!

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My Team at the Purple Party

Now you see why there was such excitement at Convention? The room went crazy! It’s such a great program to boost sales and grow a team at the same time! And that bag… well, after all, it is purple!

Lilla Rose also provides a training guide to help you achieve each step, weekly training calls, a free website for online sales, a community of helpful and encouraging Stylists, and an upline sponsor (me!) that loves to see others succeed!


Want to hear from other Lilla Rose Stylists as well? I’d love to add you to our no-pressure testimony group on FB! Comment to connect with me so I can invite you to the private group.

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If you’re interested in my own personal story of becoming involved in this direct sales business opportunity, click here.

February is for Chicken Magic… and garden planning

In January and February I get the itch. The gardening itch. I begin thinking and planning in my head. On warm days, I go out and shovel wheelbarrows of goodness from the chicken coop and pile it up in the garden. I cut back the asparagus bed, and other twigs of last year’s garden that need to be cut back.

My chickens have had access to the garden since production ended. In January, I usually begin dumping our kitchen scraps into the garden area. The girls work hard in January & February, moving the mulch around, working in the piles from the coop, scratching where I’ve thrown the scraps, and pooping all over everything.

It’s like magic. Chicken magic.

Chicken garden magic.

But now it gets serious. February is here.

It’s time to kick things up a notch. Seed catalogs began to arrive in January, so the daydreaming intensifies. It will soon be be time to set out onions! I ordered my Baker Creek seeds a few days ago! I’ll start tomatoes indoors as soon as the seeds arrive!

I need to check my garden fence and chicken-proof it again, so I’ll be ready to put onions out. (And then I’ll probably need to clip wings until they get accustomed to the fence again.)

Here are the tools I’m using during this preparation time:

  • Clyde’s Garden Planner – This is a new tool to me, but it looks like it’s going to be a great help!
  • Texas Gardener Magazine – I hang onto my back issues because they’re full of great info!
  • Seed Catalogs from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Willhite Seed Inc (a Texas company), and any other catalogs that come in the mail! They don’t have a paper catalog but I’ve had great success with the seeds from Heirloom Seeds for years.
  • Premier 1 Poultry Solutions catalog – Great options for feeders & waterers, banding, portable electric net, and other chicken needs. I’ve got my eyes on their temperature sensitive outlet for next winter.
  • I promised myself I’m not buying any chicks this year, but if I did, I’d order them in February as well, from Ideal Poultry (another Texas company).
  • Triangle U-Pin in black nickel, as seen in the first photo, is an easy way to twist my hair up when I’m outside working.