Gluten Free, Life

Made this a while ago…

I was going to post this long ago. It was something that I decided I was going to make one night. Simple shrimp and creamy tomato sauce. All you need are your favorite form of pasta. Though after my most recent blog you know not to expect a lot of pasta after what recently happened to me. Anyway, in addition to the pasta find your favorite tomato sauce/or make your own and your favorite alfredo sauce. If you’re gluten free make sure you check the labels very carefully on the alfredo sauce. After you have found the two different sauces you need then find whatever size shrimp you like. I tend to go towards the medium sized shrimp that are already peeled and deveined. You can buy the ones that have the tales left on as this is easy to remove once you thaw shrimp out.

Side note: Once you thaw shrimp you should cook them right away. It’s not good to keep thawing and re-thawing shrimp. Or make sure you only pull out of the bag just the amount you want thawed and instantly return the rest back into the freezer. Also, remember this shrimp cook EXTREMELY fast so medium heat is best and keep an eye on them. If they start to form something that looks closer to a circle than a letter c they are overcooking.

Step One: Boil the water for your pasta and add a dash of salt for a little flavor to the noodles. I tend to cook mine only for about 8 to 10 minutes in boiling water so they come out more al-dente. If you like them on the softer side leave them in for just a few minutes more than that. You don’t want to over cook the noodles either.

Step Two: Once the noodles are done drain them and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Once you’ve done that time to pull out your sauces and get those into a pan.

Step Three: You want to start out with the cream sauce first. Then pour in your tomato sauce. Be careful to make sure you get the right balance that you get a nice tomato cream sauce going on. You don’t want it to taste too much like tomato sauce or too much like cream sauce. That’s the trick is getting the mix just right that it taste perfectly creamy with a hint of tomato sauce. When it comes to tomato sauce a little bit goes a long way in this case because it is such a powerful flavor.

Once everything is all combined it should look like this. A nice light pink creamy color and that means that it’s mixed just right

Step Four: Take the noodles that you had drained and rinsed and pour them into the sauce. Mix that all up and leave it on low heat to make sure the noodles are warmed up enough for you to eat them. No one likes cold pasta when they are expecting it to be warm.

Step Five: Take the shrimp that you cooked and pour that into the pot as well. Heat everything together for a few minutes until everything is evenly heated and up to the temperature you want it to. Be sure not to turn the heat up too high because you don’t want to cook the shrimp all over again. You just want to warm them up a bit so you can eat them.

That’s it…that’s all you need to make the dish.

When all is said and done it should look like this

What do you do?

What do you do when you come home from work and feel so alone you just want to cry? Do you pull out a book and start reading? Do you put on one of your favorite go to movies? Do you go in the kitchen and find anything that you know is bad for you but will make you feel good? That last one I used to do that a lot. So much so that now I’m in a whole new health problem of a world. On top of being gluten free I now have to alter my diet again.

So yeah I now feel like why me? Why does shit always happen to me. Just when I start to get some sort of positivity and hope back in my life something else comes along to set it back. I had to be in the hospital on Tuesday because I was in so much pain and vomiting (sorry it’s gross) that I couldn’t stand it anymore. So now I also have hospital bills to stress out over. The end result. It was my gallbladder. I have what is called biliary sludge. That caused me to have the pain and what I ate that day a few hours before caused my gallbladder to make me sick.

So I have to go on a low fat diet and have a follow up with a doctor to talk about where I’m at and how I’m feeling. They said it could be a one time thing or it could occur again so it’s best to make the diet adjustment now. The upside is that there are options out there to eating a fat free/low fat diet. More veggies is a must and less dairy. Though we need a little dairy to survive so that is why they make fat free or skim milk for those that need it. Now it takes even more of an effort for me to plan what I’m going to eat.

So now you will see more low fat and gluten free options on my blog. The good side is low fat and getting back to the gym should help me lose the weight I really want to lose. Now back to my Christmas movies because when I’m sad that’s what I watch even though they tend to just make me more sad.


Vacations are important…

One thing that I have really learned in the past few years is how important taking a vacation really is. There are some companies that if you have PTO they will let you just take some pto in pay instead of taking vacation and your pto will roll over if you don’t use it. There are other companies that do not roll over or pay out your pto because they want you to take a vacation.

When you work in a high stress job or really any job it is super important when you are not at work to NOT be at work. When you go home leave work at work. Don’t check your work emails, don’t respond to work messages unless they are super important. It can wait until the next day when you come back.

What is really important in jobs that you sometimes feel constantly stressed out is taking a real vacation. I’m not talking about taking 3 days off and just staying home. I’m talking about find an airline/train ticket and go away for a week. Get out of town and go somewhere where you can completely be away and unavailable to get your mind refreshed. Make a conscious effort on vacation to be completely away from work. Do not open your work emails. The more that you let your job know that you are still going to answer even when you’re away the more you stress yourself out but you let them think it is okay to be contacting you.

When you are away from your job you need to be away. It is the only way that you are going to remain healthy in your mind. Your job is a job and it should never be in complete control of your lifestyle. You should be in control of your life. When you are on vacation be present on that vacation. Take pictures and go explore things that you didn’t do before. If you are visiting your family be present with your family. Spend time with them and make memories. Your job will be waiting for you when you get back and everything can be taken care of then. Your mind needs time to reset itself when you’ve been working so hard for long periods of time.

If you work in a good company they will be able to survive a week without you. If you have a good team in place they will manage everything without you being there. I am lucky enough that I didn’t need to feel constantly worried about work while I’ve been away. I know that I have good people there and I have a good boss who can take care of any issues with my department while I’m not there.

My suggestions is that no matter what happens at work and how stressed out you are at least once if not twice a year take time to really reset yourself. Take a vacation and go somewhere that you are completely away and unattached to work for a week even 5 days.

When it comes to my blog don’t get me wrong to me that is also “work” but it’s fun work and it’s work that I can do from anywhere but it doesn’t feel like I’m working. The beauty of a lifestyle blog is that I’m posting about my adventures and things like that. Eventually I will have posts about my vacation because I got to go to Disney World and I got to do some cooking while I was with my family. So definitely look for those in the next few days even maybe by the end of today.

Gluten Free

Fried cheese and meatballs

So tonight I decided to try this recipe that I saw while scrolling through Facebook. It was on the food networks Facebook page. The recipe was shared by Guy Fieri and originally it was frying a thing of provolone. I am not big on provolone cheese so I decided to use the recipe but do mozzarella instead. 

I also decided that obviously I can just have fried cheese for dinner so I bought gluten free meatballs at the store. I was not going to have enough time between going to the store for the ingredients for the cheese and to come home and make meatballs. That’s something I need to do when I have time. 

Anyway the recipe for the batter goes like this:

1. 1 cup of cornstarch

2. 1 cup of flour (obviously mine is gf)

3. 2 cups of cold club soda*

4. 1 teaspoon of salt

5. 1 teaspoon of parsley flakes 

6. Whisk together until smooth and refrigerate for a half an hour

It should come out looking like this. 

Now originally they make a tomato salsa to go with this recipe. I’m again trying to save time and not bother with the salsa. I will just heat up some tomato dipping sauce. 

Once the batter is cold and pulled out make sure you have your oil heated. Then simple steps dip the cheese slices into flour and then into batter. Once they are coated in batter they go into the pot. They obviously do not have to be in there very long or else it would be a nasty giant pot of oil and melted cheese. 

After a few attempts it was not holding up so instead I improvised and used the batter as a base and put breadcrumbs on the mozzarella slices. This held up a little better. So they turned out like this. 

I don’t think we need a picture of the meatballs as we all know what those look like. So anyway that is what’s for dinner tonight. 

Until next time…

Gluten Free

Chicken, broccoli, and pasta with cheese sauce…

It’s new recipe time everyone! This time I’m taking my five cheese mac and cheese recipe and kicking it up a notch!

Tonight’s dinner menu is chicken, broccoli and penne pasta with a cheese sauce. I’ve modified the five cheese to only be a few cheeses. 

So obviously the first thing you need to start off with is a chicken breast that you’ve either thawed overnight in the fridge or thawed out in the microwave before slicing it into bite sized pieces. Then you want to oil up your pan. 

My go to oil to cook with

I just like the flavor of extra virgin olive oil but feel free to use whatever oil you like. It’s just to keep the chicken from sticking and to keep it moist. 

Then you want to add your seasonings to the chicken. A little salt and pepper goes a long way. I also like to add a sprinkle of garlic and italian seasonings to my chicken. It just adds that nice bit of flavor to it. 

While you are prepping the chicken make sure you have your pasta water on and are getting that boiling. It is going to take a bit longer to do the pasta than it is the chicken. Also you want to add a bit of salt to your pasta water just for some flavor. You can add oil if you choose though it doesn’t really help it not stick together. You just have to keep stirring your noodles to keep them seperate. Putting a lid on it will help the heat stay in the pan and bring it to a boil a bit faster. 

Once you have the water up to a boil add in the pasta of your choice. Obviously as you can see by the earlier paragraph I chose to use Penne pasta. You can use elbow noodles if you want it to feel more like a mac and cheese. 

Now that your chicken should be done and your noodles are cooking it’s time to prepare the sauce. You want to start with butter and flour and milk to start your base for your sauce. Or as we call it a rue. It will look a little weird at first until you add in the milk. 

Just the butter and flour mix

You will for sure want to have a whisk on hand to make the cheese sauce. 

After the milk is added you have a rue

Once you have the rue started time to add in the cheeses and stir it up until it’s just right when you’re done it will look like this. Depending on the cheese it will be a yellow color or a white color. I like a lot more white cheeses like Monterey and Parmesan. I only add a little bit of cheddar to mine. 

Once the pasta is almost cooked but not quite why not save yourself some extra dishes and add the broccoli right into the pasta water with the noodles 

Let them cook until ready and then pull your colander out and give them a good drain and rinse. Once that’s done time to add it all together grab yourself a plate and enjoy it! 

Gluten Free

Veggie pasta and olive oil

So I’m a big fan of pasta but as we all know pasta can not be the healthiest of your diet options. I’ve cut it down to only indulging in pasta once a week but I thought I’d share with you another version of pasta that I like to eat. Normally I am a big fan of the pasta with your typical variation of tomato sauce depending on your taste. However now and then I like to switch things up a little bit. This is how I became a fan of eating it the way I’m going to tell you about in this blog. 

First things first though when it comes to pasta. Make sure you have a good pan to cook your noodles in. This is by far one of the best things I ever got from my mama. 

Rachel Ray collection
This is the perfect pan to use for so many things but it is also great for cooking straight pasta noodles without having to break them apart. It is one of my absolute favorite pans I have in my kitchen. 

When cooking pasta if you’re like me you can do one of two things to add a little flavor. You can cook the noodles in chicken stock instead of water or if using water add a little salt to it. Contrary to the popular belief adding oil to your pasta water does nothing to prevent sticking. You have to make sure to stir the noodles to prevent this from occurring.  

I prefer my noodles more on the al dente side which means they are cooked but they are not super soft. When cooking pasta you should always try to aim more al dente because especially in the case with this dish you are going to be adding the noodles back into a heating source so you don’t want to have them get over cooked. 

The next step on my list is once the noodles are cooked rinsing them off. Then it’s time to work on the veggies for the dish. I took tomatoes and cut them up and then I took some red, green, and yellow peppers and cut them into bite sized pieces as well. I took some garlic that I had already bought chopped and added that into the pan. I started with just a small amount of extra virgin olive oil to cook the veggies in. 

I also added into it some thyme, rosemary, oregano, and basil and two bay leafs for flavoring. You want to have the veggies be able to absorb some of that flavor while they are cooking. Again you want to watch that you don’t overcook the veggies as well. That’s easy to do if you walk away from the kitchen. 

Once you have the veggies cooked it is time to add the noodles back into the pot and add a little more olive oil into the mix. Stir it all up and it will look something like this. 

Feel free if you feel that you need some sort of meat rather than just pasta to add meatballs to it. I did this and it turned out just as good. I also am guilty of liking to sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on every Italian thing that I eat. 

This is what my dish looked like before I sprinkled in the cheese. You don’t have to add cheese naturally it’s your preference. I just always go in the mindset of cheese just makes a pasta dish taste that much better. 

That’s it that is my simple easy meal that I decided to try out. If you try it for yourself and enjoy it let me know!

Celebrities, Life

When will it end?

Yesterday while I was across the ocean at my job enjoying lovely conversation with people there were young ones losing their lives. The amount of senseless violence is increasing day by day around the globe. Tensions are so high right now that the smallest of incidents is going to set off a war between nations. 

We are supposed to feel safe when we go to see concerts, or fly on an airplane, or go to a church. The reality of today is much harsher. The reality today is that you can’t feel safe anywhere you go. Safety is few and far between in the world we live in right now. 

Those people in Manchester U.K. were just there to have a good time all together. They were there to enjoy the music of someone that they all truly loved. They wanted to have a good time and enjoy something they were passionate about. Instead some of them are now not going to be returning home to their loved ones.

Instead Ariana Grande is not going to be finishing the rest of her European tour leg. Instead people are hurt and crying. Instead of celebrating something good they are mourning. Instead of being able to sleep tonight they will be lying awake probably reliving the incident over and over in their heads. 

We must stop this. Some how some way we must stop the violence. We must end the racism. We must end the sexism against women. We must end the hatred towards our lgbtq community. Instead of forging lines and dividing things further we must bond them together. We must find a way to bring people together and it tear them apart. 

My deepest thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by the bombing outside of Ariana’s concert in England tonight. 


Beauty doesn’t know size…

For many many years going way back in time there has always been immense pressure on women that you had to look a certain way in order to be considered beautiful. You had to have a teeny tiny waste, blonde hair, and big breasts. So in other words you had to look like a real life barbie doll which in reality those measurements are extremely unhealthy. There are still those people today that feel that a woman is not attractive unless she is blonde and skinny. Which I think is why Taylor Swift gets the criticism she gets because most of her girl squad is made up of skinny blondes.

There is still so much pressure on women that you have to be a size 2 in order to be considered beautiful and sexy. We should not be teaching the younger generations that they have to be a certain size to be considered beautiful. We should be teaching the younger generation that it doesn’t matter what size you are because beauty is about who you are on the inside not what size you are.

My waist line does not define the person I am and it should not define the person that you are either. Now do I want to lose a little bit of weight and be more healthy? Absolutely but I’m going to do it for me I’m not going to do it for anyone else. The only person that should ever play a role in how you look is yourself and you should be doing it for you not for anyone else. You should do what you want to do because it makes you happy.

The fact that society is trying to pass a size 2 as being what the normal size should be is beyond ridiculous. The average size of a woman is between a size 10 and 14 not a size 2. Also, keep this in mind that the size 2 of today was not the same as the size two of years ago. If you feel like you need to be a size 2 to make you feel better than go for it but there is a healthy way to be a size 2 and an unhealthy way. When you are trying to be a smaller size you need to take in account yes you need to burn more calories than you consume but you also have to realize that you need to eat a little bit more because you are losing more. So if you eat only 1200 calories and then go work out and burn 500 calories your body didn’t consume the amount of calories it really needs for the day.

We need to stop telling women that they need to be a certain size to feel sexy. Feeling sexy is something that comes from within yourself. If you walk into a room and you have that confidence about you and the way you look than someone in that room is going to think oh wow look at her. If you walk into a room even if your dressed in a sexy outfit but you have zero confidence and your head down than you probably aren’t going to get noticed the way you want to get noticed.

Beauty does not have a size limit and it’s really time to end the thought process that it does. It’s time to stop saying to women that we have to be a certain size. It’s time to stop telling women they need to lose weight in order to be considered beautiful. It’s time to stop telling women that they can’t be a model if they are above a size 0. All of this needs to stop and the only way it’s going to stop is if we make that mindset reality. If we start supporting body positive movement. Start showing beauty at all sizes. Besides that who really defines what one persons idea of beauty is? What I think is beautiful may not be what you think is beautiful.

Gluten Free

The Struggle with Eating out

So for all of you who are like myself gluten free you know that when someone asks you to dinner the anxiety you feel is almost instant. When you start to think about where you are going to eat and is it going to be safe you start freaking out. Rest assured there absolutely are places that you can go to that will be okay for you! More and more places are ensuring the safety of their customers when it comes to needing gluten free diets.

There are some great mobile phone apps out there that will also help you be able to find the right places. My favorite app that I use is called find me gluten free. This app will actually as long as you give it permissions find your gps location and it will tell you what restaurants are around you that are safe for you to eat. It will also display something that will say a certain percentage of users voted this place to be celiac friendly which is great for people like myself and probably a few of my readers. It is available on both Android and Iphone platforms.

This is what the app button will look like on your phone.

Eating out when you are on a certain diet does not have to be anxiety inducing. It is all about doing your research and making sure you know the environment you are going into. You don’t have to panic when thinking about going out to eat with someone. I know what it feels like to sit there and say they always have to adjust where they’re going to go to accommodate me. However, if the person you are going out with is a good enough friend of yours they are not going to matter where you have to go to eat. They’re going to go where you need to go because it’s your health.

I got into the city quite often and I have never had an issue going out to eat. Most of the places that I’ve gone to are very understanding and cautious about my diet needs. Sometimes the managers even come over and let me know that they’ve made sure their staff is aware of my needs and if anything goes wrong to tell them. So far since I’ve moved up here not one place has made an error when it comes to my diet needs. Yes it may be because it’s a big city and they’re more used to seeing a large volume of people with all kinds of diet needs.

At the end of the day is it easier to just stay in and make your own meal? Absolutely but let’s be honest there are some nights that you just do not feel like cooking a darn thing after working all day. I know that there are plenty of days that I myself feel that way. Sometimes I just don’t want to cook and deal with the hassle. There are other days that I start planning my dinner the second I wake up because I’m excited to make it. Don’t be afraid to go out just because you have to be on a special diet. Make sure you take time to spoil yourself and go out to eat. Just be safe and do your research and it will work out. I promise that there are good places out there that have gluten free food.