Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Gaylord Thanksgiving - Part Two

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel was fantastic. We had a room with a balcony that overlooked the Delta Atrium (if you have never heard of/seen pictures of this hotel Google it) so we had a beautiful natural view inside. We went as part of the Dreamworks experience package so we got quite a few perks.

Seeing Shreck for the First Time
We woke up our first morning and were able to go to a fun and gluten free safe character breakfast. I know some people are very self conscious about the chef coming out and confirming your allergies, but I love it. The chef came out of the back, asked if I was gluten intolerant or full blown celiac, told me he would cook all my food in clean pans and toast my gluten free cinnamon raisin bread (that they provided!) in the oven, and delivered my food to the table (everyone else had a buffet) himself. It was so refreshing to be able to sit back and enjoy a meal worry free, not to mention the chef was more than happy to smooth any ruffled feathers and ease any worries. This means I got to enjoy my daughter's elation at meeting new characters, and I got to share in the excitement that she was not completely terrified. I had an amazing breakfast.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Fried Rosemary Potatoes,
Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Fresh Fruit
Lunch later was going to be at a little Irish pub we had dinner at the night before. They had quite a few gluten free options and the hamburger without a bun that I had was hands down the best burger I have eaten... ever... in my life. Unfortunately they were closed so I was not able to try the pork belly (sounded like bacon overload to me) that I was yearning for. We ended up having pepperoni, cheese, and crackers out of our cooler. It was cheap and simple. It also eased my sticker shock at dinner.

We ate at Cascades American Grille for dinner. The waiter we had was a little ignorant of gluten issues but when I started explaining everything he could "just tell the chef," he did end up getting him out of the back. This chef seemed a little less happy to come out front but he was still informative and polite. I was able to order a lamb shank with a lemon mint gremolata and goat cheese polenta. When I asked about the polenta the chef was able to tell me the source and also informed me that it is local and dedicated gluten free. Two things I love to hear. The lamb shank fell off the bone and was on a bed of white and sweet potato gratin that was to die for. The polenta was creamy with the tangy goat cheese bite that I love. Again it was great to be able to just relax and enjoy my meal.

On top of the amazing dining we were able to see a short Christmas show featuring the Dreamworks characters, music, and dancing. The baby loved this for the most part although she did cover her ears for one song. It was great to see her dancing in the front row. We also got to meet and greet with characters from Shreck and Madagascar. Amazingly our 9 month old found this fascinating and exciting instead of scary. She also sat beautifully on Santa's lap for pictures and just talked to him. No screaming!

One of the cooler (pun completely inteded) things we did on the trip was ICE! A full on ice sculpture experience featuring Merry Madagascar. The baby was not too thrilled with this one but the adults loved it (I think toddlers and older kids would enjoy this too with a hat... and gloves... and multiple legging layers). You put on parkas (babies do not like big coats), go into a giant convention hall chilled to 9º, and look at a world of ice carved by Chinese artisans. They even had slides that make you go surprisingly fast! I also loved how the experience ended with a full size ice carved nativity scene. It's truly amazing to see. I wish we had been able to spend more time looking at the sculptures but the baby thought her face was going to freeze off so we walked quickly.

We finished the night with a lovely horse drawn carriage ride around the grounds to look at their 2 million (yes MILLION) Christmas lights. There was an adorable 7 month old girl in the back seat so my daughter spent the entire ride talking to her and singing at the top of her lungs. It was hysterical. After the ride we said hello to the horse, the baby stuck her hand up the horse's nostril, and we went to the room to get ready for bed.

Our visit was exhausting and exhilarating all at once. In terms of gluten free friendliness I give the Gaylord Opryland a definite 5 stars. Maybe next time I will get the courage to try and order room service! I would recommend the Gaylord as a great family vacation spot Christmas or no, but the Christmas festivities were truly a treat. 

Happy eating!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Gaylord Thanksgiving - Part One

Happy Thanksgiving!

Historically on my family's side Thanksgiving is time for a sedate meal and the inevitable PBS specials on the Grandparent's TV. Then I married my husband. His family is crazy (in a good way I assure you) and suddenly I found myself looking forward to Thanksgiving. This meant a HUGE party, lots of food, and Aggie vs Longhorn heckling. 

About two months ago I had a revelation. I'm gluten free now... WHAT WAS I GOING TO EAT?!?! Now I love his family but they simply don't understand the whole you can't touch bread then touch my food thing. It's a lot to take in when trying to cook for a lot of people. I get it. That's why all my parties are completely gluten free and if no one catches on that's perfectly fine.

I swear 2 hours after I made this revelation and already started planning my mini meal I received an email from my mother in law asking if we wanted to go to Nashville for Thanksgiving. I was ecstatic! My in law's are spectacular in general and are amazing with gluten free-ness. So they worked everything out, made all the reservations and we got to have an amazing holiday.

I'm not going to lie, I super over packed... I didn't ever use the GF bread I packed. I somehow miscounted the days and ended up with way too many clothes. I don't even think some of the stuff I packed saw the light of day. New mom, newly gluten free, slightly OCD... lesson learned.

There are a few things I packed that were definitely needed

Gluten Free Mini Pancakes (made with GF Bisquick)- The baby loved these, we gave them to her both warmed and frozen. She liked them both ways. I made hers dairy free as well then put them all in a gallon size freezer bag. We were able to use hotel mini fridges or put new ice in the cooler every day so they did actually stay frozen the whole time. These were great during the character breakfast.

Happy Baby Organic Puffs Sweet Potato - Happy baby makes 2 flavors of little cereal puffs that are gluten free. Sweet potato and strawberry. We have a history of strawberry allergies in my family so sweet potato was the obvious choice. These were great for the car seat, or in a pack n play in the hotel. They are perfect for grabbing with little fingers, they melt, and they don't make a huge mess.

Happy Baby Organics Simple Combos and Meals - I  usually make my own baby food but for this trip I wanted commercial food that could be kept in a suitcase. Happy Baby simple combos come in those fun little squeezey pouches. Boon makes spoons you can attach to the valve on these and then spoon feed the baby. We didn't use these at all. My daughter loved slurping the food out of the pouch directly. It was also far less messy that way (except the one time she decided to experiment with squeezing the pouch from the bottom). The Happy Baby meals also have a lot of gluten free options that still contain starches and grains such as millet, and brown rice. Not to mention the baby was the only one to have turkey on this trip ha ha.

Gluten Free Snacks for Grown ups - Pepperoni, string cheese, crackers, fruit snacks... Not only were these great in the car, they were great for those times we couldn't find a gluten free place to stop for food.

Once we got to the hotel everything became easier, they have a great gluten free environment. Reviews coming soon!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Product Review

Annie's Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

Once upon a time I used to buy huge multi-packs of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The blue box standard is easy and great for those 2am study sessions. After going gluten free I found myself missing my cheap and easy fall back.

Annie's Rice Pasta & Cheddar is a great alternative. The pasta is tender but not soggy, the cheese sauce is akin to the sharp salty funk you know and love. But the best part is the blue box. This is something you could serve for your child and their friends without any of the other kids knowing anything is amiss. 

The only downside I have found with this so far is their recommended recipe is missing butter. If you look on the bottom of the box they do say, "for a rihcer sauce add 2tbsp butter," but this is not something you see readily. When making the pasta the recommended way the sauce comes out watery and does not stick to the noodles well. The butter is a necessary addition in my opinion.

Like most things gluten free the price is higher than it's gluten-full alternative, but I think it's quite reasonable at around $2.50 a box (at my local HEB). You can also order it in bulk off of Amazon for around the same price a box, around $30 an order.

Overall I would give this product a 4 out of 5. I think it tastes good and has a great texture but it is still a boxed mac and cheese. I often add ingredients and turn it into my own concoction. I would definitely recommend it for a quick easy meal or a baked mac n' cheese base.

Happy eating!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Travelling Gluten Free

The Dreaded Road Trip

Something that most gluten free people dread is the road trip. All those fast food pit stops are out of the question. Finding restaurants in your own town is a chore let alone exploring an entirely new city.

Our first road trip as a gluten free family is happening next week and I am freaking out a little. I've called the hotel to ask about a gluten free options, we are doing a character breakfast with Shrek. I've got a packing list, a set of gluten free commercial organic baby food puches (so much easier to take care of than home made when on the road), and have started packing the things we don't need for home.

When planning your gluten free vacation make sure to plan, plan, plan. You don't want to be stuck without something in a new town without your favorite grocery store.

Gluten Free Packing List
Gluten free baby foods - We bought happy baby. They have some dinners that have gluten free grains and pastas. It's great. They also have some gluten free baby puffs (sweet potato and strawberry) that we are trying to track down locally but you can order off of Amazon.

Gluten free bread - I am baking a loaf of Bob's Red Mill Wonderful Bread Mix the day before, slicing and storing. I am not a huge fan of the frozen breads, but if you don't want to bake the best frozen loaf is Udi's.

Cheese cubes - Naturally gluten free, naturally tasty.

Pepperoni - Hormel is gluten free and the family favorite

Fruit and veggies - Easy things to snack on and an easy way to satisfy the sweet craving without candy.

Granola/ Granola bars - Usually I would make my own granola but this time I don't think it will happen. I will probably buy Soyjoy although it is not my favorite. It is the best commercial alternative I have found and I know plenty of people who love them You can also buy gluten free loose granola.

If you have any other gluten free favorites for road trips please share! I would love to try some great products.

Happy eating traveling!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Keep it Clean

Home Made Cleaners

Okay now I know what you're thinking. You are all about gluten free! What about my recipe? Here's the deal though. We had baked potatoes yesterday. We are having taco rice tomorrow. Tonight is leftover night. We will be more experimental and have more new recipes next month. After I make my new meal plan ha ha.

I love home made cleaners. I use them literally every day. Since our kitchen is a combo gluten/gluten free place I fell compelled to really clean as often as possible. Sometimes the dishes just pile up too high, or the baby is sick, or life happens. It's a reality of being a family. The house won't always look perfect, but at least my kitchen can be clean.

Now not only are commercial cleaners a little scary (can you really pronounce any of that stuff), they are so stinking expensive. There are two cleaners I don't make at home. Bleach and Soft Scrub. But lets face it, Soft Scrub is glorified bleach. For everything else it's some combination of lemon juice, lemon slices, vinegar (always the high acidity), baking soda, washing soda, borax, salt, and lots of water.

Since I am here as a gluten free guru lets start go ahead and talk kitchen cleaners. 

As a sort of all purpose cleaner I mix equal parts vinegar and water and add a few drops of tea tree oil. The vinegar dissolves most gunk and what it doesn't clear off on the first swipe you can soak off by simply placing a rag soaked in the cleaner over the gunk for a few minutes. The vinegar does a great job of eliminating odors. The tea tree oil is an antiseptic and it smells great! The vinegar smell will dissipate after about 20 minutes.

If you have really stubborn stains on a light colored counter warming the solution will do wonders. Also putting a dish of it in the microwave for about 10 minutes and then wiping it clean with a damp rag will eat away at all those nasty crusty bits. The steam in the microwave will have the acidity from the vinegar in it. It's awesome. 

If you have stainless steel in your kitchen use baking soda with a dash of vinegar to scour it clean. It will make it gleam. If you have a stainless sink this is a great time to trick your children into helping you clean. It's a science project! Everyone loves that fun foamy sensation.

Once a week I clean my sink and all my counters with Soft Scrub. There's some things that are best killed with bleach.

Here are a few more cleaner recipes.

Glass Cleaner
1 cup rubbing alcohol
1 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Use with newspaper to prevent streaking
Drain Cleaner
1/3 cup baking soda
1/3 cup vinegar
Pour baking soda first then follow with the vinegar. Wait 5 minutes then flush with hot water.

1 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle is a great fabric softener

Furniture Polish
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice

Carpet Cleaner
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup borax
1/4 cup vinegar
Mix the paste well, rub it into the stained area, let dry and vacuum up.

Hope these work well for your family!

Happy eating cleaning!

Monday, November 14, 2011

One Pot Spaghetti

I know what you're thinking. Everyone can make spaghetti. It's so easy! The catch is that I make it different. In our house spaghetti is a one pot meal. 

1lb ground beef
1 Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 Jar of water
Handful of gluten free spaghetti

Brown the meat in a large pot. Add the sauce and water and bring everything to a boil. Break your spaghetti in half and drop it in the pot. Cover and reduce heat. Cook until spaghetti is tender.

Happy eating!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chicken and Rice

This is my husband's favorite meal. It's a great crock pot staple. I usually have little containers of the premixed spices ready to dump in the pot to make my life easier.

3 cans of gluten free cream of chicken soup (or 3 servings of home made)
1 1/2 cans of water (1 3/4 cups)
2 chicken breasts
1 1/2 c uncooked rice
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp minced onion (dried)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
pinch of paprika

Spray your crock pot with non-stick spray. Put soup, water, soy sauce, spices, and rice in the crock pot and stir well. Place the chicken breasts on top and cook on high for 4-6 hours.

Happy eating!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Breakfast Baby

Hash Browns

A great mushy finger food for your little one is country style hash browns. It is also fairly easy to make. If you don't want to buy the pre-cut ones from the freezer aisle follow this easy recipe.

Cut your desired amount of potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes
Put some oil onto a non-stick skillet
Heat to 375º
Put potatoes into the skillet and cover
Cook for 10 minutes, flip
Cook for 7 minutes, flip
Cook for another 3-5 minutes

Spoon a few hash browns out for your little one and take a heaping helping for yourself.

Happy Eating!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Gluten Free Kitchen

Organization Tips

If you live in a house that is not 100% gluten free there can be mix ups at meal time. It happens to the best of us. The best way to pair down on the problems is to eliminate as many of them as you can.

Buy gluten free tools
I know that this can get expensive very fast but if you are going to be making multiples of meals, or you use wood and bamboo separate cook tools is essential. Wood and Bamboo tools are great for cooking, especially if you have nonstick cookware and the floppy silicone just doesn't cut it. I love bamboo tools, but because they are made of porous materials no matter how many times you clean them there can be trapped gluten. In my kitchen we have 2 drawers on either side of the stove. One has "gluten tools" and the other "gluten free tools". Ideally we would also have separate measuring cups and separate kitchen aid mixers but small baby steps toward the ultimate goal is sometimes best. Until your kitchen is converted ALWAYS cook the gluten free items first, use separate spoon rests, avoid wooden tools, and ALWAYS clean your tools in the dishwasher. 

Key items to buy duplicates of early -
Serving Spoons
Pop Up Toasters (or buy a toaster oven with mini pans for toasting and roasting and clean it often)
Cutting Boards (especially wood or bread boards that catch the crumbs)

Clear out the pantry
That cornstarch that you may have used after scooping flour with the same tablespoon, or the baking powder that doesn't say it's made on gluten free equipment, toss it. Clean out that pantry that has been accumulating random containers and spices for years and organize it in such a way that you have all of your gluten free items separate from your gluten-full ones. In our house we have one shelf that has all of my husband's gluteny snacks and the untouchables like flour and Bisquick. Another option is to have a completely separate "pantry" for your gluten free items. This is a space issue for us but I would love to have two places to keep cooking ingredients. If I did I would have 2 containers of everything to use with my 2 sets of measuring cups and my 2 mixers. That is, of course, in a perfect kitchen.

Be compulsive about cleaning linens
Pot holders, towels, and rags are often teeming with gluten. You used the pot holder to pull out the pan with your husband's garlic bread. Your friends came over and ate hot dogs and wiped their greasy hands on the hand wiping towel. Your dish rags are used to clean everything. I keep a hamper in my kitchen and I have about 30 of those red and white $.79 towels from Ikea. Every time I use one to clean a counter that may have had crumbs on it, or use a pot holder to grab the pot of real spaghetti they immediately go in my handy hamper. It keeps things clean and safe.

Consolidate Recipies
We only have a few recipes left that are not exclusively gluten free. Among them are spaghetti, pancakes, and chicken and dumplings. Work as hard as you possibly can to make all of your recipes completely gluten free. Grandma's chili that is thickened with flour, exchange that with cornstarch. All those cream of chicken and cream of mushroom standards, learn how to make your own (Next week there will be recipes!) and adjust your amounts to cups instead of cans. It is possible to please everyone.

It's a slow process and it definitely takes work but making your kitchen gluten free is a great move. I'm still in the process so I know it's difficult! Stick with it and do it one step at a time.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken n' Dumplins

This is one of my favorite meals. I could eat this every day for a year and I think I would still love it. It is also one of the few recipes I brought into my marriage that my husband loves. I count that as a personal win. That being said it is an all day fairly intensive process, but it does leave your house smelling FANTASTIC!

1 chicken (I usually buy a 4.5 - 5lb bird)
1 bunch of celery
6 carrots (ish)
2 onions (I use white)
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp kosher salt

2 cups gluten free Bisquick
2/3 cup milk or soy milk (This is what the original "Bisquick Standard Dumplings" recipe says, I always add more milk. Somewhere around 1c until I have a sticky dough, not a short dough. I like my dumplings to be less dense.)
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter

In the morning take all the guts out of the cavity of your chicken (and give the dog an amazing treat, trust me) then place the bird in the crock pot. Cover it with water. Add the salt and bay leaves. Cut an onion into quarters and add it to the water. Peel three carrots, cut them in half, add them too. Cut off the base of the celery stalk and pull out all the skinny little puny stalks and toss them in. Then cut of the leafy tops and toss those in too. Cook it all on low for 8 - 10 hours.

After it's cooked pull out the bird and the veggies. Strain the yummy broth into a large pot and put over medium heat. Peel and chop the remaining carrots, chop the remaining celery, peel and chop the remaining onion. Dump all of the veggies in the pot.

At this point you have to get all the meat off of the chicken. I generally have a 2 bowl system. I put the whole bird in one bowl, pull out all the undesirable bits (bones, gristle, wilted veggies, skin..), then shred up all the meat with a couple of forks. Now if you haven't done this before BE CAREFUL, it is easy to miss the skinny little rib bones.

Pour your shredded chicken into the pot.

Let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile mix the bisquick, milk, egg, and butter together until it makes a biscuit like dough. (Sometimes I double the dumpling recipe because I REALLY like dumplings. If your pot is large enough it still works quite well)

After the 10 minutes is up use a large spoon to scoop dollops of dough into the soup. I usually end up with about 6 or 7. This last time I also made mini dumplings for my daughter. Put the batter in a zipper bag, cut off a corner, and pipe small dollops into the broth. Cook uncovered over low heat for 10 minutes, cover and cook another 10 minutes on low.

Let cool (or just eat loudly and slurp in a bunch of air with the soup) and enjoy!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Crock Pot Mac n' Cheese

What's that? Gluten free macaroni and cheese? No need to use 3 different pots? Just dump it all in one place and go? Brilliant!!

16oz uncooked gluten free macaroni
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
1 egg
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried mustard

Spray the crock pot with cooking spray.

In a separate bowl mix milk, cream, egg, and spices.

Pour macaroni into crockpot then add milk mixture and cheese. Give it a good stir and cook on high for about an hour and a half. 

DO NOT MIX IT UNTIL IT IS DONE! RESIST THE TEMPTATION! I know it smells amazing. I know it's getting that lovely gooey look. But trust me. If you mix it, it will fall flat and the texture will get all funky.

At this point we generally top it with some sort of meat, most commonly bacon, but get creative.

P.S. Okay I have made this once before and it turned out great but this last time the liquid and cheese had to be stirred in after it was all cooked. I had a pot of milky macaroni with a cheese crust. After stirring it tasted fine. You have been warned!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Meal Planning - How to Start

The Basics:

Here's what you need to know. I am a control freak. What I am about to teach you is but a small part of my meal planning routine. My other plans never see the light of day. That is the part when I write down every breakfast, lunch, and snack I am planning to eat for the next month. Like I said, control freak. 

Now really, meal planning is a great tool. Especially if you need to manage your grocery budget better. I only have to make 3 or 4 trips to the store a month. I get most of my shopping done in one go and then I know exactly how much wiggle room I have for the non essentials. 

I like to have my "arsenal" of meals. In our house we have 4 meals that we make for dinner all the time. We have a few that we will make maybe once a month. Then we have the favorites that we make every couple months. We very rarely eat out, unless it is a special occasion.

If you have never planned your meals before start simple. Just plan weekends, or pick one day a week to make one of your favorite meals. Then slowly move up to planning 3 dinners, then 5, then the whole week.

First things first - decide how you are going to notate your plan
You can choose to use google calendar (my personal favorite, I can share it with my husband and he can object before it's time to make the grocery list and leave), a giant whiteboard calendar in the kitchen, a datebook, whatever else you can think of. Pick a planner and stick with it for at least a month. If it's not working find another place and try again. Keep trying different layouts and methods until you find the one that fits your needs.

Second - collect your recipes
Whether you like a recipe book, a recipe box, or an online service having all your recipes in one place is essential for meal planning. That way you can sit and thumb through your recipes at the beginning of the month with your meal plan. This is extremely helpful when you are sitting on your couch at 11:00 at night with a cup of hot tea and your husband asks you "What are we having for dinner tomorrow?" and you realize it is in fact the end of the month.

Third - get a crock pot
When you plan your meals, you can start cooking in the morning and what was once a complex venture becomes a "dump and stir" meal. Not only is this an easy way to make sure you have dinner on the table at dinner time, it's a great time, money, and energy saver.

Take the leap and get started!

Happy Eating

Monday, November 7, 2011

Breakfast Baby

Roasted Pumpkin

The easiest way to keep my daughter gluten free it to make her food myself. That means starting out every morning with a lovely hand made breakfast. During the week this means mommy-is-still-tired-because-she-is-21-and-hates-getting-up-at-8am-but-will-because-she-loves-you purees. Recently this has been pumpkin with nutmeg and cinnamon (it is delicious, she has begun to share so she lets mommy have some).

How to cook the pumpkin:

Preheat the oven to 400º

Get a small pumpkin (pie pumpkin) and cut it in half. Remove the seeds and place the 2 halves meat down in a baking dish with about an inch of water.

Cook for about 40 minutes until skin starts to pucker away. Take the meat out of the skin and store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

At this point I simply mash up the pumpkin with a fork but you can also put it in a blender or food processor and puree it until it is smooth. Children 6m old and up can handle plain pumpkin but don't start spicing it up until 8m with the go ahead from your pediatrician.

I add a few small dashes of both cinnamon and nutmeg to my daughter's pumpkin. Some other flavors that go great with pumpkin are apples, other winter squash (butternut or acorn), peaches, or brown rice. Have fun with your baby foods and get creative!

Happy eating!

Taco Rice Skillet

This is a recipe I got from my mother in law. It is a weekly meal in our house.

This works best with an electric skillet. Honestly it's the only way I have ever done it. If you are going to use a pan on the stove I suggest halving the recipe. It makes a serious amount of food.

1lb Ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
1 package of Taco seasoning (I use Old El Paso original, but any gluten free seasoning will work)
2 cans of Ro-Tel (I tried using another brand once, the Ro-Tel works the best)
1 cup of uncooked rice

Brown the meat and the onion together on high heat in the skillet.

Open the cans of Ro-Tel and drain the liquid into a measuring cup, then add water to the liquid to make 2 1/2 cups of watered down tomato-chili juice.

After the meat is completely browned add the liquid, taco seasoning, Ro-Tel, and rice. Mix it all together.

Reduce heat, cover, and let cook for 20min or until the rice is soft.

Top with cheese, or sour cream, or you can dip into it with corn chips.... The possibilities are endless.

Happy eating!

Beginning to Blog

In the beginning...

My name is Tori and I am sitting in front of my computer stumped. Sure we all know what blogs are. Many of us read them every day. But how many of us think about how this seemingly perfect string of posts started?

It's a daunting task, trying to rise to blogging expectations.

Yet here I am! I am a proud 21 year old stay at home mom with a beautiful 9 month old baby girl. 5 Months ago that gorgeous baby was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. 4 and a half months ago so was I. It's amazing what you learn from your children.

Gluten free living has become substantially easier in the past few years. My younger sister is a diagnosed celiac and I remember trying to find her food when she was younger. I doubt she will want to eat a salad ever again. Now I can go walk around my local grocery store and they have convenient labeling on every shelf "gluten free".

That being said, the same does not go for the baby section. Do you realize how hard it is to find truly gluten free rice cereal without cross contamination? Or gluten fee teething biscuits? Or even gluten free baby food? Sure there are products out there but who wants to order everything off of Amazon for 3 times the going rate. Not this mommy!

Some of these issues resolved themselves when my husband and I decided to make our own baby food. But somehow I do not think I'm going to whip up a batch of "cheerios" for my little one to pick up and munch. But who knows, that could be my next project!

Today (okay maybe tomorrow, I do need to cook dinner) it starts! Millet Mommy will have recipies, product reviews, and organizational tips to keep your home and your life gluten free. Both for you and your children.

Happy eating!