I started writing this post weeks ago, but wasn’t quite ready to “out” myself yet. Â You see, the main reason I haven’t done almost any blogging lately is morning sickness…and then getting out of the groove. Â Yes! Â We are excited to announce the impending arrival of child #4 in December. Â Corice is EXTREMELY excited that she is finally getting the sister she’s been asking for the last two years. Â Martin is just beaming with pride and excitement all the time. Â Braden and Carter are excited, too, though Carter is a bit bummed he’s not getting a baby brother.
So I’m going to try to get back into the groove, though now it will be hard because I have the whole “gestational diabetes” thing hanging over my head again (and I look and eat healthy!).
Thankfully, there are some good foods out there that are not only tasty, but won’t make my blood sugar go crazy. Â Garden Lites Veggie Muffins have 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein in each muffin. Â They do still have sugar (11g) and total carbs of 24g, but for a really tasty muffin, these are pretty great.
(This is what they look like after sitting in the freezer for 6 months and defrosting and refreezing at least once.)
Though you can’t taste the zucchini in the Zucchini Banana Chocolate ChipÂ muffins, youÂ can see a little of it. Â These haveÂ some oatmeal and a great flavor. Â They’d make a great breakfast or snack. Â Carter says “it tastes really good!”
Corice is seriously enjoying her blueberry oat muffin! Â “Oh, these are soooo good. Â Mmmm. Â Mmmm. Â Mmmm.” Â Man, she doesn’t usually make noise like that. Â She likes the blueberries and the little bits of veggies in it. Â “It’s very nice.” Â Carter likes the squishy blueberries. The oats give an nice chew to the muffin.
Corice thinks the Carrot Berry tastes like carrot cake, while Carter thinks it reminds him more of a pumpkin pie. Â In truth, it’s kind of like a cross between the two.
These muffins are all light and fluffy and sometimes a bit extra moist (though that might be because they’ve been in my freezer for quite a few months, and someone had left the door open a crack one day during the summer). Â They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. Â And did I mention they’re tasty?
Marble Falls, Texas… where is that, you ask? Â Precisely.
A few months ago, I bought a Texas state parks pass. Â I’ve decided to get my money’s worth from it this year. Â Last week, I took my family to Longhorn Cavern state park and Colorado Bend state park. Â They are far enough away that we decided to make it an overnight trip and stay in a hotel. Â Before leaving, I checked findmeglutenfree.com to see if there would be any place to eat near us. Â Keep in mind that this is in central Texas where there really isn’t a whole lot. Â A couple of hits came up, some chains, but upon reading the reviews found that they were not really options. Â Then I saw Tea Thyme Cafe and pulled up their website. Â An all-gluten-free cafe! Â I told my family we were going even if it was an hour out of the way. Â But no, it was 15 minutes from Longhorn Cavern SP, so we had a lovely early dinner after a hot day of hiking outside and touring the cool cave.
As we entered Marble Falls, I made a point to read the population sign. Â 6,077. Â Six thousand people and they have an all gluten-free cafe?
How exciting is that? Â I super duper LOVE being able to eat anything at a restaurant. Â People without food allergies or medical restrictions just don’t understand how exciting that is. Â (And yes, I know my boys need haircuts.)
Tea Thyme Cafe is not open all day. Â They close at 5pm, so make sure you go early in the day. Â They serve breakfast and lunch all day long and have a new salad bar from 11-3. Â I think they also have a breakfast bar on Saturday mornings. Â They are not just a gluten-free place, but they do many vegetarian and vegan dishes, and the food is designed to be on the healthier side of life.
Corice ordered the spinach pizza. Â This was a flour-type tortilla pizza loaded with herbs, tomatoes, and spinach (and cheese). Â The herbs really made it special.
Braden had the Italian grilled cheese. Â This is not your typical grilled cheese. Â Slices of tomato and bursting with Italian herbs, it definitely sits apart from your kids’ version. Â Braden loved it!
Carter was adventurous. Â He’d never tried Pastrami before, so the waiter brought him a little to taste. Â He decided on a half turkey and half pastrami grilled cheese sandwich. Â It had dijon mustard (which Carter had never tried before, either). Â They use Rudi’s gluten-free bread, which is soft and tender.My mom ordered the breakfast tacos. Â This was the only dish that I didn’t try because it had avocados (and they make my throat itch). Â She had proclaimed that Martin would have to eat at least half because she wasn’t very hungry and when she saw how big it was, she was even more adamant. Â Martin never even got to try it. Â 🙂
My husband ordered the big breakfast plate, with double turkey baconÂ instead of sausage and bacon (and told the waiter he wanted scrambled eggs as cooked and dry as they could get – weirdo, lol). Â Corice wanted to switch with him halfway through her pizza. Â Lucky for her, he still had about 1/3 of his pancakes left.I got the crown jewel: turkey tacos. Â I thought they sounded a bit strange, but they intrigued me and I went for it.
Now, while I waited for them, a man came out and chatted us up. Â Mom asked if he was the owner. Â He replied “my wife is the owner; I just do what I’m told.” Â 🙂 Â He told us the turkey tacos are one of the best things they have and they love to recommend them to new customers. Â They are kind of like a fruity chicken salad recipe that I have, in a way. Â These have chopped turkey, celery, green onions, cranberries, mandarin oranges, chopped nuts on top, all in a crisped tortilla. Â Instead of mayonnaise, they use vegannaise – so you could eat it even if you have an egg allergy. Â It was astounding. Â I ate every bit, including all that fell out onto my bed of spinach. Â All of it. Â So good.
For dessert, we got a vegan brownie with coconut ice cream. Â My mom told me they could learn from my brownies, as the brownies were a bit dry. Â However, I informed her, it would then make it not vegan (eggs and butter) or even remotely somewhat healthy (did I mention lots of eggs, butter, and sugar?). Â Knowing that it was designed to be on the healthier side, I feel that it was a pretty good brownie. Â But I really loved those turkey tacos…
If you are out that way or want to make a trip to see some cool Texas state parks, I highly recommend taking the time to go to Tea Thyme Cafe. Â We had an excellent waiter and ate excellent food.
The next day, it was hiking to Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park.
I know it’s been a long time since I posted. Â I’ll tell you about that at another time. Â Now I just have to get back in the habit. Â 🙂
Braden learned what often happens to the gluten-free/food-allergic community at holidays: sometimes, holidays suck. Â He was gone for half of the weekend, which included an egg hunt full of Whoppers, and nothing else. Â Not gluten-free. Â Most unfortunately, it was with people that should have known better/cared more.
Fortunately for him, Mom is a sucker for “making up” for these types of things. Â It involved no-bake cheesecakeÂ and helping me review Surf Sweets, of which I had recently received some samples.
Surf Sweets candies are made with organic fruit juice and natural flavors and colors, have no corn syrup or GMOs, and are gluten-free and vegetarian.
Oh, and they’re REALLY tasty.
We first tried the Sour Berry Bears, which have a yummy mix of sweet and sour. Â I said they have just a little pucker to which Braden countered, “Pucker? What do you mean? Oh, I’m used to eating lemons and you’re not.”
The Jelly Beans have a thick candy shell and are slightly grainy inside, but it makes it interesting (no corn syrup!). Â The dark pink ones are my favorite. Â Braden gives them a thumbs up. Â He loves (like you don’t even know) Surf Sweets, because for almost two years he was off of corn, and they were fun treats that he could eat!
Watermelon Rings: “Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet,” announces Braden. Â While they don’t quite meet his watermelon flavor standards (but no candy does), we are both quite fond of them. Oooh, great movie theater hidden-in-your-pocket candy! Â Peach Rings have that sort of classic flavor that you want to take to the movies, too.
Gummy Worms have a delightful chew and a pleasant non-shocking sweet flavor. Â They are fun to play with even for adults (who wants to make mud cups?). Â Braden says “they’re just like any other gummy worm, which is the best thing about them.”
Organic Fruity Bears are sweet bears covered in more sweet. Â Martin joined in to say they’re sweet, taste good, and are chewy.
The Sour Worms have a mild sourness. Martin says “I think they could be sour-er.” Â Braden added that “the gummy part is sour and the outside is sweet. Â That doesn’t make sense.” Â They are having a good time feeding worms to each other like they are fishing and really enjoying their worms, even if they “don’t make sense.” Â Silly boys.
We also received some TruJoy Sweets Organic Fruit Chews, from the same company as Surf Sweets. Â Think of these as an organic version of Starburst-type candy. Â I had to send mine to the refrigerator because they don’t have the chemicals to hold up under the 80+ degrees upstairs. Â The pink and red ones chew a bit differently than the yellow and orange. Â I prefer the pink and red, and think they are greatÂ candies.
Next time you’re looking for a healthier (or vegan or nut-free) candy, check out Surf Sweets.
I recently received an email about the Pillsbury Bake-Off.
The Contest has now expanded the ingredient list to include Pillsburyâ€™s Gluten Free line of products and there are just over two weeks left to vie for the million Grand Prize. The Contest is accepting entries for the Weekend Breakfast Wows and Amazing Doable Dinners categories throughÂ May 8.
The iconic 47thÂ Pillsbury Bake-OffÂ® Contest is redesigned and calling home cooks to compete for theÂ $1 million Grand Prize. This yearâ€™s Contest, which is now open for entries atÂ www.BakeOff.com, will culminate in the finalsÂ November 3, 2014, at the Omni Nashville Hotel inÂ Nashville, Tenn.
For the first time,Â Americaâ€™s vote will be combined with the judgesâ€™ decisions to determine the Grand Prize Winner.
The ContestÂ ingredient list has been expanded to include Pillsburyâ€™s Gluten Free line ofÂ products.
Judges will award theÂ PillsburyÂ® Gluten Free AwardÂ to the Finalist with the best recipe which uses a PillsburyÂ® Gluten Free product and does not contain wheat or any products that include wheat as an ingredient.
The Bake-OffÂ® Contest now featuresÂ four recipe categoriesÂ with two separate entry periods.
“Since we did so well with our work this morning and did a good job pulling weeds, can we watch a movie on the computer?”
“How about we blog instead?”
“Oh, yeah! Â I’ll grab the camera!”
See, there’s no need for a tv in our house (we haven’t had one for 4 years). Â Trying out new foods is more fun anyways. Â 🙂
We recently received some samples from Smartfood Delight Popcorn. Â It is gluten-free, reduced fat(meaning it has less fat than most brands), and made from 100% whole-grain popcorn (my favorite way to get whole grains).
We were just about to sit down and try this when my mom showed up. Â When it comes to popcorn (her absolutely favorite food), she has amazing timing.
Sea Salt excites Grandma. Â “I like this! Â Not too salty; it’s perfect for me.” Â Big, fluffy kernels sport just a little bit of oil and some sea salt.
White Cheddar is my love, and if Carter and Corice’s noises are to believed, it is their’s, too. Â It is actually a light layer of cheese, and it is not salty, like a lot of cheesy popcorns are.
I reached over to the plate to grab a piece of popcorn and they were all gone…again…