Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kitchen Gadget Confessions

I am a kitchen gadget hoarder!! There I said it, now I guess I can move on with the next step in my therapy :0)

I came to this realization yesterday as I was trying to find a place to store the deep fryer that I got G.I. Joe for our anniversary.

the deep fryer

Which was no small task, since every place that I would normally store a kitchen gadget was already occupied with another gadget.

As I was searching Sasha decided she wanted to count the number of gadgets that I have; I have 11!
Yes, I said "11".
the electric juicer

11 gadgets that I am sure I NEEDED when I bought them or that I just HAD TO HAVE when I asked for them for whatever holiday I received the gadget on.
the crockpot

And do I use every single one at least once a week or ,heck, even once a month, NOPE.
 the manual 4 pc grater

I have gadgets that I did not even know I had and if I did know at one point I sure don't know now.
( know what I am saying :0)

the baby food maker

So after seeing how many gadgets that I had I set out to either sell or donate the ones that I really could do with out and keep the ones that I know I will use or that can do double duty.

I did not get very far.
the food processor ( with food in it )

As I was weeding through them I kept thinking about how this gadget works well for this recipe and this one for that recipe and on and on it went. Until I gave up and decided to ask G.I.Joe for his thoughts on which kitchen gadgets he thought we could live without, needless to say he looked at me and went right back to playing the XBox without ever saying a word.
the blender

So I still have 11 kitchen gadgets and probably will till one of them finally breaks down, at which time I will either replace it or figure that my life is okay with out having that particular kitchen gadget in it.
the magic bullet
Untill then, if you ever find yourself in my neighborhood feel free to stop by for a cup of coffee, some GF coffee cake and to see about borrowing one of my 11 kitchen gadgets.


the hand mixer

the bread maker and the bread storage container

and the ice cream maker

yes, you counted correctly there are 11 pictures :0)

Monday, May 21, 2012

A change of flour

 So when I went GF, do to health reasons, in March I kept reading about all these different types of flour that other GF people were using to bake with. Like Tapioca flour, Almond flour, Garbanzo Bean flour, Rice flour and the list goes on and on.
It is really amazing how many types of GF flours are out there, mind boggling :)

I ended up spending almost a week searching for all the different types of flours that were being mentioned in the different blogs that I read .

In the end I chose to buy mine from , this is a great company that has been in busy for EVER and is family ran and owned. They have a really good selection of GF flours and other assortment of GF items too.
Along with candy, fruit, pasta and other gluten filled items too.

the flours I bought

I use these flours to make GF bread and other GF items that require flour and have not had any problems with the taste and texture once. My only complaint would be the fact that when baking it is a hassle to mess with different flours each time and it can be confusing at times when it comes to measuring or trying to substitute one flour for another if I happen to run out.

Then my eyes were opened to an all purpose GF flour that one of my favorite bloggers, Nicole, at  talks about, in her blog and book, called betterbatter.
This is a pre-mixed all purpose GF that takes the place of all the flours that I have and it also includes xantham gum, the binding agent that GF flours needs to act like a gluten filled flour.
And the best part of this is, it's one bag instead of 3-4 bags. Talk about baking utopia!!

So I went ahead and bought 2 5lb bags of betterbatter and went to baking "town"
my pretty pink boxes

I made the sandwich bread using the recipe in Nicole's book with the betterbatter flour and WOW!! It was amazing. The smell,  taste and the texture were just like the gluten filled bread I was used to making.

bread made with better batter flour


Needless to say I am hooked. No more multiple bags of flour for the girl. No sir!!
I am officially a batterbatter converter :)

And I owe it all to Nicole :0).

Nicole's book 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My 4 hour mini vacation

Our internet issues have FINALLY been fixed, after a week of having no internet tho. I never realized how much our family used the computer everyday, till we were not able to. Kind of a little scary :0)

So I am back..... and hopefully here to stay.

This year Mother's Day was not the greatest of days for me, as far as days go. Not only was I sick, but so were Sasha, Gabriel and Ian, which in my book is a horrible day any time.

Because of that, we really did not celebrate the day in any sort of special way. It was just easier to treat it like any other Sunday, except with sick kids, and then there was not the added stress of trying to make Mom feel "special" while she is wiping runny noses and giving lots of hugs.

And I was VERY on board with this, and no hurt feelings , on my part. But, G.I. Joe was not and did a superb job of NOT telling me.

So imagine my surprise when he came home and presented me with a gift card for a 4 hour mini spa day at the French Quarters Salon and Spa.

Talk about HEAVEN!!!!
For ME!!???? 
on my way to the spa

I'm here!!!! 

the front 

the waiting area

my massage room 

stairs leading up to the second level

my facial room

where I had my mani and pedi

my feet :0)

and me, After my mini vacation

The staff were all so nice and very helpful and understood my need for silence at times and my need to have "adult" conversation too.
I really enjoyed myself and left feeling so relaxed and refreshed and ready to face the world, aka my Army life.

Thank you G.I.Joe, you knew just what I needed and are the best husband in the world.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yearly eye doctor visit

On Wednesday the older two and myself had our yearly Optometrist appointment. In the past, before we moved to Fort Polk, I used to loath going to the eye doctor. It was not everything about the eye exam that I did not like, it was just the machine that blows the air into your eyes.

 Getting set up for the first eye is not to bad, but once that blast of air hits your eye and the stream of tears starts to flow, trying to get situated for the second eye is nearly impossible for me. So much so that I have actually been sent back out into the waiting room so that the assistant could move on to the next patient, since I was not able to get into the " right frame of mind" to get the second eye air blast completed.

But, now I actually look forward to going to the Optometrist. Thomas Vision Center is the place that we go to here in Louisiana, and I love it. The center is sheek, the staff is courteous and friendly and the equipment is very modern ( which means no air in the eye ). I love how they make you feel welcome from the moment you walk in and are ready to answer any questions you might have and how they are able to explain things to you in a way that you can understand. But, most of all, I love how they treat my children.

Making then feel comfortable, welcome and most importantly at ease with the whole experience. There is even a little room set up with toys, books, a t.v., and pillows. How the staff  takes their time to explain each step of the exam process, making sure that no matter what age the kids are, that they understand what is being done and what to expect.
And for this reason alone I will miss this place when we leave/PCS from Fort Polk ( when ever that maybe).
Gabriel and Ian in the kids waiting area
Me and Sasha waiting ; By G.I. Joe
the boys playing; by G.I. Joe
Gabriel after dilation; by G.I.Joe
Sasha after dilation; by G.I.Joe
The results were much better than I thought for all 3 of us, and Sasha still is the only one in the family who does not need glass ( at this time :0).

After the Optometrist G.I.Joe decided to treat us all to a slush from Sonic, Yum!

Sasha and Gabriel showing off the sun glasses they got from the eye doctor
Ian sleeping 
the kids enjoying their drinks and the popcorn chicken they begged for :)

Sonic drinks and popcorn chicken, what a great way to start your day.

Thanks, G.I.Joe :)

Our "home room"

Today was a very dreary day outside. Which made for no motivation when it came time for sitting down to do school work. On days like these I really just want to stay in my bed with my Nook , all snug and warm with no cares in the world except what to choose to read. BUT, given that I am responsible for the education of my brood, I can not . So I had to take it to the next level and find ways to motivate the kids and myself today.
And this is what I came up with...

our home room today

Gabriel and Sasha
At first the kids wanted to work together, but after about 30 mins. Sasha decided she needed some space :) ( hmmm I wonder if she got the smothered feeling, which I know nothing about for course ; -)
Sasha and her Math
So while Sasha was busy with her book work, Gabriel got to work on his Math, Science and baking skills.
By making home made GF chocolate chip cookies.


licking the beaters is a necessity, of course !!
the finished product
Ian  after his cookies
After Gabriel was done making cookies and Sasha her book work, it was time for them to switch places.
My little scholar
always time to stop and smile for the camera
And when it was Gabriel's turn under the tent , it was Sasha's time to work on Science and her baking skills, and her choice was to make home made GF white bread.
My future baker
Sasha enjoying the fruits of her labor
Being home schoolers does not mean that we are always motivated to get our work done, it just means that some days we get to be more creative in how we go about getting our work completed for the day :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2 more for dinner

On Sunday we decided to invite two of G.I Joe's soldiers over to grill and just hang out while we enjoy the nice weather that has come to Fort Polk.

He uses this time to bond with his soldiers and to also strengthen the platoon . Normally he would have all 7 of them over , but everyone else was either working or had plans already. ( which was fine with me since I like these two the best :))

Marcum and Cawley hanging with Gabriel

G.I. Joe manning the grill

G.I.Joe cooked up some turkey burgers, chicken, bratwurst, and corn on the cob. We also had some homemade potato salad, home made mac and cheese and fresh watermelon. YUM!!!

is it done yet???   

the secret "sauce"
We actually made enough food to feed an Army LOL! ( could not resist ). Well at least enough for dinner on Monday, after Sasha's softball game and for lunch for G.I.Joe today.
my plate
After dinner the guys went out back to have a beer and talk "guy" talk while I cleaned up the kitchen and made milk shakes and Dr.Pepper floats, which I forgot to take pictures of, sorry.
male bonding
In the end it was a great way to end our weekend and start our week.