Updates – May 2017

Last summer, I was on it with my blog posts.  I had a notebook listing possible recipes I was going to share and a timeline of sorts.

Then life happened.  My sister passed away.  I’ve been in survival mode for the past 9 months.  Today is the 9 month anniversary of her death.

During the summer of 2017, I’m planning to have at least two blog posts each week.  One being a travel blog post.  I’m almost finished with my November Universal/ Disney blog posts.  Next Saturday is my final one.  After that I’m going to begin sharing the mother-daughter trip to Berea, Kentucky on Saturdays.

The other blog post is going to be my Writer’s Workshop post.

I may have other posts but I’m not guaranteeing it.  I do want to have more related to different types of intervention for students.

I’ve been posting food related posts on my other blog – My Food Journey.  I began that blog when I started to the Whole30.

Recipes that I’ve shared so far on My Food Journey are:

The recipes on My Food Journey are either Paleo, Whole30, Dairy Free, or Gluten Free.  If I have any recipes that don’t fall into one of those categories, I’ll share the recipe on this blog instead.

 

On My Food Journey, I’m planning to post one or two recipes per week during the summer.  I also want to share different Whole30 or Paleo resources so that when I go back on the Whole30 in September, I’m ready.

 

Have a magical day,
Traci

Sophomore Year = Operation Desert Storm

During the 1990 – 1991 school year, I was a sophomore in High School. I was boy crazy. Each week, it seemed as though I had a crush on a different guy.

I would listen to music on Z-93. Back then you would have to listen to the radio and then press play on the tape recorder, if you wanted a single of a song or you would have to go to a place like Music Go Round to get a single of the song.

We had one phone in my house.  It was located in the kitchen so EVERYONE could hear your conversations.  I lived with my grandparents.  My grandma would get on me if I took too long on the phone because we did not have call waiting.

Operation Desert Storm was in full force.  Two specific memories from the tenth grade involve Operation Desert Storm.

Mrs. M. was my 10th grade English teacher.  She had a son who was involved in Operation Desert Storm.  So we had constant updates about what was happening with her son since she was in constant worry about him.  We were suppose to be learning how to write and understand literature not learn about her son.

Needless to say, my grade that year in English was low.  My mom was not very happy with her teaching and her as a person because of the lack of instruction I had that year.

My writing has suffered because of that lack of instruction.  I struggled during the remainder of my high school and then college career.

 

My high school also had an idea for the students sign up to be pen pals with some of the soldiers over in the Middle East.  I wrote back and forth with one young man a few times.

I don’t remember much about the letters or the young man.  I was just happy to help with the morale of those who were serving the United States of America.

Now my junior year was much more memorable.

Until next time.

Have a magical day,
Traci

 Mama’s Losin’ It

2 Yummy Do It Yourself Cream Cheese Flavors – Cinnamon Brown Sugar and Strawberry

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Cream Cheese

  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

-1 tub of WHIPPED cream cheese, room temperature

-1/4 c. brown sugar

-1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Directions

  1. Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Mix with electric mixer until blended.
  4. Enjoy with bagels.

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese

  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

-1 tub of WHIPPED cream cheese, room temperature

-1/2 c. diced strawberries (cut into tiny pieces)

-1 Tbsp. sugar

Directions

  1. Cut the strawberries.  Place in a bowl.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the strawberries.
  4. Mix with electric mixer until blended.
  5. Enjoy with bagels.

5 of My Favorite Gluten Free Snacks

  1.    Larabars

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These are a snack that I have loved for a long time not just since I went gluten free.  When my father-in-law was trying to watch his sugar, I introduced him to these bars.  When I tried them myself, I fell in love with them.

I do have a recipe for homemade coconut cream Larabars.

2.  LiveGFree Pretzels

liveGfree Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks

These are part of the Aldi gluten free line of products.  These taste just like regular pretzel sticks.  Yum!

At $1.89 a bag at my local Aldi, that’s not bad for a gluten free snack.

I also like Aldi for their gluten free goodies.  They have a caramel apple snack bar that is so good.

Aldi also clearly label items that are gluten free or naturally gluten free.  It makes it so much easier to find food that is safe for me to eat.

3.  Blue Tortilla Chips and Salsa

My students eat lunch with me.  They know that I usually have a yogurt, blue tortilla chips salsa, and mini sweet peppers.

There are two different brands of blue tortilla chips that I absolutely love:  Frontera and Garden of Eatin’.  Both are gluten free.

Indigo Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

I can get both at Fresh Thyme which is one of my favorite grocery stores.

I enjoy salsas that contain fruit flavors.  Currently my two favorite are Heritage Streetfood’s Apple Salsa and Fresh Thyme’s Tequila Lime Salsa.   I find the Apple Salsa at Kroger’s in the natural foods area and the tequila lime salsa at Fresh Thyme.

4.  Apples and Nut Butter

I core the apples and then cut them into slices.  I dip the apples into a nut butter such as peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter.

If I want freshly ground nut butter, I go to Fresh Thyme and get it there.  However if I want to be budget friendly, I get it at Aldi.  I can get the cashew butter for about 5 dollars a jar.

SimplyNature Creamy Almond Butter

I have a recipe for almond joy apple bites which is another way to use apples and nut butter.

5.  Puffcorn

When I was growing up, my mom would get Mikesell’s Puffcorn for us.  We would enjoy it as a special treat.

She still loves Puffcorn.  Her favorite flavor is the Salted Caramel Puffcorn.  My favorite is the Movie Theater flavored Puffcorn.  The Wee One is beginning to like Puffcorn.

Original Puffcorn Delites

Aldi has a Simple Nature White Cheddar flavor that is also delicious.

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I hope these help with your gluten free snacking.

happy eating

Freezer Slow Cooker Kits – March 27, 2017

This weekend, I did some spring cleaning in my chest freezer.  I cleaned it out.  Then I made some freezer slow cooker kits.

What are freezer slow cooker kits?  The kits are ready to go into the slow cooker.  You may or may not need to add some extra ingredients to the slow cooker.

I ended up making 11 different kits this weekend.  My goal is to use 2 of them each week for the next 5 weeks.  During the 6th week, I will use the remaining freezer kit.

During those 6 weeks, I’ll plan for 2 to 3 additional meals.  So much easier to plan during the busy last weeks of school.

I went to New Leaf Wellness for the recipes for the freezer slow cooker kits.  Kelly  and her team have created different lists of freezer meal kits.  I  ended up following the Gluten free Aldi plan.  I made all of the them except for the sausage stuffed mini peppers.  I would have enjoyed the meal, however; the rest of the family would not like it.

Here is a list of the recipes I made:

  1.  White Chicken Chili
  2. Strawberry Balsamic Chicken
  3. Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscano
  4. Chicken Sausage and Peppers
  5. Ham and Sweet Potato Soup
  6. Italian Chicken with Spinach
  7. Beef and Black Bean Chili
  8. Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I also made some recipes from the Whole 30 Meal Plan.

Here are the list of the recipes I made from that plan.

  1.  Garlic and Mint Pork Roast
  2. Citrus Chicken
  3. Beef and Cabbage Soup

 

To keep me accountable here is when I plan to use the various kits.

Week of April 3 –

  • Strawberry Balsamic Chicken
  • Beef and Black Bean Chili

Week of April 10 –

  • Garlic and Mint Pork Roast
  • Chicken Sausage and Peppers

Week of April 17 –

  • Citrus Chicken
  • Ham and Sweet Potato Soup

Week of April 24 –

  • Beef and Cabbage Soup
  • Italian Chicken with Spinach

Week of May 1 –

  • Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscano
  • White Chicken Chili

Week of May 8 –

  • Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I spent around $100 at Aldi and then $28 at Target getting the items for the freezer kits.  About $20 of the Aldi’s grocery haul and about $20 of the Target haul were for the freezer kits.  So I ended up spending about $88 for all 11 freezer slow cooker kits which equals about $8 per meal.  Not bad.

happy-eating-1

 

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes (Gluten Free)

This weekend was the Wee One’s first Boy Scout camp out.  His camp out was located 20 minutes from our house so it was not that far away.  He’s always been our homebody.  When he was in Cub Scouts, he would be the first one in the tent when there was any hint of darkness.  He would not emerge from his tent until it was daylight outside.

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What Surprised Me About Getting a Tattoo

1.  It didn’t hurt at first.

When I was getting my tattoo, I ended up feeling a lot more pressure than pain.  There was a few times I actually felt pain.  However, most of the time it was more pressure.

Two days later, I felt pain especially when I moved my left arm.

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I was just looking at the pain chart for tattoos.  Shoulders are supposed to be the least painful so I’m glad that’s where my tattoo is located.

2.  After getting the tattoo, I was in shock.  I felt emotionally and physically drained.

We went to Zoup afterwards.  I remember feeling as though I had run a million miles.

It took my body at least 2 hours to stop feeling that shock.  Then I was ready to take on the world.

I took my mom on a shopping errand after we got home from getting the tattoo.

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The Sunset as we were running our errands

3.  How I would only have to wear the bandage for two hours

Once I got the tattoo, it was covered with a bandage.  I only needed to wear it until I got home.  That’s it.  I was supposed to allow the tattoo to breath so it could heal.

4.  How much I would I would fall more and more in love with it.

I love looking at the tattoo.  It’s so pretty.

5.  How much I would have to care for the tattoo during the first two weeks

I had to make sure I washed my hand each time I took care of the tattoo.  I also had to use only all natural non scented soap to wash my tattoo.  Then I had to rub coconut oil over the tattoo.  I could only use paper towels to dry my tattoo.

I was not allowed to scratch my tattoo because it could spread bacteria and cause the ink to smear.

Have a magical day,
Traci

 

Changing My Diet

A week or so ago, I started to feel really bad.  Headaches and stomach aches plagued my world.  I was easily irritated by everyone and everything.

After four completely miserable days, I finally figured out that I probably have a food sensitivity.  So I’m now trying to eat as little to no gluten after I ate a bunch of foods that contained gluten and I started feeling ill once again.

Within 2 days of changing up my diet, I am already feeling so much better.   I’m craving fruits and veggies.  I’m wanting more water.

Yes, I’m avoiding gluten as much as possible; however, I’m also rethinking my whole diet.  There are foods I have loved for a long while that are gluten-free so that helps.

With this change, I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve not really loved bread.  I eat it, yes.  There can be several days that I don’t eat any bread.  Then I crave bread and over indulge on their deliciousness.

For the past few years, I haven’t eaten Subways because the smell of the bread in the restaurants bothers me.

I also have a love/ hate relationship with pasta.  Sometimes I want it especially mac and cheese.  Yum!  Sometimes I can go a while without eating pasta.  It all depends on my mood.

Join me on my journey as I’m change my diet.  I need to keep myself accountable during this time period.

I’m going to miss some of my favorites at different restaurants.  However, I’m planning to make some substitutions when I can so I can still enjoy those favorite flavors.

It’s been 3 days since I started this change.  Here is what I’ve eaten during these three days.  Mind you I’m cutting out the majority of my caffeine intake and avoiding gluten as much as possible.  I’m still eating sugar because I feel as though I will fail if I get rid of everything.

Tuesday –

Breakfast – green smoothie – spinach, Greek yogurt, frozen mixed fruit, and oj, coffee with creamer

Lunch – oatmeal with walnuts and freeze dried strawberries, unsweetened applesauce, water

Dinner – McDonald’s bacon ranch salad minus chicken, small fries, ranch dressing, and Sprite

Snack / Dessert – Blood orange, Garden of Eatin’ blue chips with apple salsa

Wednesday –

Breakfast – 2 Van’s cinnamon apple waffles with peanut butter, water, and Milky Way Frappe (Co-worker surprised me with it.), coffee with creamer

Lunch – cheesy broccoli and rice, Garden of Eatin’ blue chips (not certified gluten free) with apple salsa, blood orange

Dinner – beef strips cooked with oranges, Feta cheese, and olives, spiralized zucchini and radish salad with homemade mustard dressing

Snack / Dessert – 2 sour gummy worms, piece of chocolate

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Thursday –

Breakfast – 2 pieces of Gluten free bread from Aldi with peanut butter, cheddar cheese stick, cup of mixed fruit, coffee with creamer, water

Lunch – cheesy broccoli and rice, Garden of Eatin’ blue chips (not certified gluten free) with apple salsa, Greek yogurt parfait with Gluten free granola and freeze dried strawberries

Dinner – turkey burger made with green chilis, lettuce, peppers, salsa, and shredded Mozarella cheese, homemade home fries, Sonic cherry limeade

Snack / Dessert – Blood orange, piece of chocolate

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Happy eating,
Traci

Forgotten Chicken

I’ve made this dish twice.  The first time, we ate it but didn’t quite enjoy it.  After we had it the second time, the Wee One thanked me for cooking it.  The next day, he ran out to my car after I pulled up in the driveway after work.  He wanted to eat the left overs for dinner that night.

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What We Ate in Universal Studios – Florida – Day 3

I’ve shared what ate on Day 1 and Day 2 of our visit to Universal Studios in Florida.  This Wednesday, I’m going to share what we ate on the third day of our visit to Universal Studios.  We visited Islands of Adventure on that Tuesday.

When we got to Islands of Adventure on that Tuesday morning, we darted over to the Hogsmeade area of the park.  We rode the rides and then ate at the Three Broomsticks for our breakfast.

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Inside the Three Broomsticks.  When we were at the Leaky Cauldron the day before, we were given a flag with a number.  They sat us and brought us the food.  At the Three Broomsticks, we had to carry the food to our seats.  They had an outdoor seating area with a view of Hogswarts so we sat there instead of inside the restaurant.

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I got the traditional English breakfast once again.  Hubby got his American breakfast and the boys got their pancake breakfast.   I didn’t take photos of their breakfasts since they were the same as the day before.

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The Wee One decided to try pumpkin juice.  YUM!!

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My hot Butterbeer – DELICIOUS!

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The hamburger and fish sandwiches we got at the Comic Strip Cafe in the Toon Lagoon area of Islands of Adventure.  The Imaginative One had the hamburger and I had the fish sandwich.

The fish sandwich was too dry so I don’t recommend it.

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Once we were done at Islands of Adventure, we went back to the resort so that the boys could swim.  The day was perfect for swimming.

Hubby and I decided to get a grown up drink from Atomic Tonic.  We got a key lime frozen drink that was absolutely YUMMY!

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The chocolate frog we got at Honeydukes.

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The dinner we got at Bayliner Diner.  The Imaginative One got a hot dog, I think.  The Wee One got himself a kid’s cheese pizza.

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I got th delicious Philly Cheese steak flat bread for my dinner.  It was so good.

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We went to the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium after we were done with Islands of Adventure.  Hubby wanted some chocolate rocks from there.  I got myself a macaroon and a box of chocolates.

I ate the pistachio macaroon for breakfast the next day.  Four of the chocolates were eaten when we got home from the trip.  I still have two more to indulge in.

 

I hope you enjoyed what we ate while we were in Universal Studios.

Have a magical day,
Traci