Crumpets: Gluten Free Recipe

I’ve been working with my gluten free flour mixes we bought, trying really hard to replicate the gluten free bread we normally buy from Trader Joe’s. My attempt at a loaf was a total failure. It was gummy and sticky in the middle. It used 3 cups of flour too — and that really frustrated me because we’re working so hard to save money right now. In an attempt to not dump three cups of gluten free flour down the drain, I tried my hand at a crumpet recipe. Wes did the math to divide the recipe in thirds for me so it only used one cup of flour. To make a big recipe, go ahead and use these amounts:

Ingredients:
3 Packages Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Warm Water
3 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Cup Warm Milk
3 Eggs
3 Cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
3 Teaspoons Xanthan Gum
1 Teaspoon Salt
Butter
Makes 25 Crumpets*

Mix the Yeast, Warm Water and Sugar in a glass bowl. Let the yeast “proof” (get foamy) for 5-10 minutes.

Into the Yeast mixture, whisk the Warm Milk, Flour, Eggs and Salt until no longer lumpy. (Mine was still a little lumpy, I have a tough time with hand mixing). Cover with a towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

This is what my batter looked like after rising. It definitely doesn't get as puffy as gluten flour.

This is what my batter looked like after rising. It definitely doesn’t get as puffy as gluten flour.

Cut 1/2 Tablespoon of butter and melt it on your griddle/frying pan at Medium-High Heat. Scoop out about 1/4 cups of batter and pour it on to your griddle for each crumpet. You can “eye” it up – pour enough batter to make the size of crumpet you’d like!

Cook them on the first side until the edges firm up and the top looks mostly dry. Mine never looked that dry and after I flipped them I just waited for the sides to get solid.

This is what they look like after they've been flipped once.

This is what they look like after they’ve been flipped once.

The finished product. Not quite as many holes as normal crumpets either but SO yummy.

The finished product. Not quite as many holes as normal crumpets either but SO yummy.

Instagram Review for March

March Photo Grid

Some cool things that happened this month, as seen on Instagram.

I am sure many of you all are on Instagram, as the photo taking and sharing feature has become more and more prevalent in our lives. I thought it would be fun to compile a review of the last month’s photos for all of you.

A new favorite manicure color, coral polish gifted to me by my dear Aunt. Visiting two sweet dogs, and family members, in Arkansas. Wes and I went and rode the Skyview Atlanta Flyer for my birthday last weekend. Some fitness with a workout on Saint Patrick’s day in a neon race t-shirt. Rosie is white on a white kitchen floor — this puppy was SO HAPPY to see me when I arrived in Arkansas. My favorite dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house: salad with salsa mixed in, chicken salad with avocado and cilantro, and yummy avocado on the side. My adorable miniature schnauzers. I got a new dye job, strawberry blonde for the summer. Visiting the art van and the library and the coffee shop in the library with my aunt and cousin. The adorable black cocker spaniel my aunt’s family was dog-sitting while I was there. Seeing Beaver Lake. A pretty nice month overall.

Roasted Broccoli : Clean Recipe

Last week I was very lucky to get to visit my Aunt and Uncle by marriage in Fayetteville, Arkansas for the week. I had been really stressed and sad lately and was in dire need of a change of pace and a reduction in responsibility. It’s hard work running a household!

One day we decided to have sweet potatoes and chicken for dinner and I thought it would be nice to roast some of my very favorite vegetable to share with them — broccoli! So we got some of that, and I turned the oven on to 400.

I got to chopping, and cut all that broccoli up into florets. My Aunt melted some coconut oil for me to drizzle on it instead of the prescribed olive oil and I did. Then I mixed it all up in a bowl with about two tablespoons of coarse cracked pepper, and a tablespoon of garlic powder (we used garlic salt because that was what I could find but I highly recommend garlic powder or even chopped garlic cloves, the salt was way too salty for me).

After everything was mixed up, I spread it out on a baking sheet covered in foil, making sure the broccoli was spaced evenly so as to get a good sear on it. Then, when the oven was done heating, I stuck the pan in the oven for ten minutes. Their oven runs a little hot, so after ten minutes, I pulled it out and flipped all the broccoli so it would cook evenly and put it back in for another ten minutes. I would go longer if you like more char on your veggies.

Finally, it was done to enjoy with our dinner. Everyone really enjoyed it. My aunt had commented that she had tried roasting brussels sprouts before and no one really liked them but it was nice to see my recipe get such a good reception (I hope they weren’t just being nice!).

OvenRoastedBroccoli

Roasted Broccoli
Serves 2-4 as a side dish.

Ingredients:

2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
2 tablespoons cracked pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted in the microwave

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all spices together in a small bowl or cup.

Drizzle coconut oil all over broccoli florets and sprinkle with spice mix. Toss together and lay out on a lined sheet tray.

Roast broccoli for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Serve!

5k Review for February: The Get Your Rear in Gear 5k

The Get Your Rear in Gear 5k was February 15th in Grant Park.

This race was pretty neat, but very cold. It’s really been unseasonably cold for Atlanta so far this year and I’m kinda sick of freezing ice and snow and rain.

Anyway, the Rear in Gear races raise money for the Colon Cancer Coalition. The founder lost her sister to colon cancer when her sister was only 46 years old so through this foundation their war cries live on, and those cries were to “Get Your Rear in Gear to Fight Colon Cancer.”

I have to admit, this was not one of my best races. Lots of things contributed to the fact — I still had the cough and stuff from the LAST race a month ago — and was struggling a bit with the hills because of it.

Fortunately for me, my time was better than the Hot Chocolate Run, completing in 33 minutes. (YAY for a minute off). But my general 5k time is just under 30 minutes so it was still a tiny bit upsetting. And here are a few race day photos.

IMG_2760

IMG_2757

Blueberry Banana Bread Muffins : Clean Recipe

My brother made this awesome recipe book for me when I got married in 2011. It had all the recipes my family made a lot that we loved and were fairly healthy and easy to cook. My favorite section is the baking section since I have always been a fair baker as far as things I prefer to cook. And over the last year I’ve gone both gluten and dairy free as a means of trying to keep my diet clean and alleviate some of the discomfort I had with eating certain things.

After I went clean eating in the last year, I still made my mom’s banana bread and banana muffin recipes and disregarded the fact that it used probably a full cup of butter. Yum. Butter. But today I’m feeling under the weather and I know I can’t handle eating things outside the norm on top of that so I decided to take my mom’s blueberry oatmeal bread recipe and clean it up. The result is this:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups gluten free rice flour blend (I buy mine from Betty Crocker).
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup Xylitol Brown Sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (avoid HFCS)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 egg whites
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 large bananas)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your muffin tin with liners for easy clean up. (or spray with cooking spray if you’re lazy like me).
2. Combine dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
3. Creating a well at the bottom of the bowl, begin adding and mixing in wet ingredients until combined.
4. Stir mashed bananas into the batter.
5. Fill each muffin tin and bake for 22-24 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

Makes 12 muffins.

blueberry muffins

Belated 5k Review: The Hot Chocolate 5k

Hot Chocolate 5k pictures stitched together. My race bib. Me and running buddy before and then after the race.

Hot Chocolate 5k pictures stitched together. My race bib. Me and running buddy before and then after the race.

Me and Peggy at the starting line before the race. The sun isn't even up yet!

Me and my running buddy at the starting line before the race. The sun isn’t even up yet!

This race was one I wanted SO badly to be a good race. It started out being very cold. We had to be at the race start at 6:30 am for an ACTUAL start time of 7:40 am. And it was COLD out. Wes and I got up a little before the race start and started walking to Turner Field. Turner is right by our house, thankfully, because we actually got a super late start and started walking at 6:30.

When we got to the starting line area, lots of people were out. It was pre race atmosphere but it probably wasn’t even HALF the racers out at the starting line at this time. Everyone was still huddled in their cars trying to keep warm!

My running buddy and her boyfriend came out of their car about 20 minutes to the start and met us out near where they had set up a Zumba stand and a bunch of people were dancing around trying to get warm.

We got into the corral for her race time, instead of for mine. At the start we both realized we should’ve started at a faster gate as EVERYONE was walking! Of course, we had to walk too, partially because we couldn’t get out of the corral, and because our feet were frozen still.

Finally, our line started, and we got to start running. But it seemed like we’d start to pick up pace and a whole line of people would stop in front of us EVERY TIME. It was just a bit annoying. It made me think twice about doing big races like that again.

I was pretty sick from a cold I had caught before this, so I kept coughing all the way through the race. Unfortunately, that and the massive amount of walking ‘racers’ in our corral, really slowed down our race time. We ended up finishing in 38 minutes when we had a personal team best of 33 minutes and we had done a 34 minute race the month before. Ah well, it was a fun race in general and the swag was great! I love the Hot Chocolate 5k Hoodie for working out in cooler weather.

The next race is tomorrow’s Get Your Rear in Gear 5k in our neighborhood of Grant Park.

A Day in the Life

In the middle of my workout at the gym. Fairly typical day for me.

In the middle of my workout at the gym. Fairly typical day for me.

I have a feeling my day to day schedule is going to change a lot from here on when I get finished with training certifications and go out in the world to work. But for now, I have a decent schedule and I can even balance training myself and friends, keeping my house, and cooking clean dinners for my husband many nights.

7:30 am — get woken up by barking Holes puppy. Get up and let the dogs out for a bit while I go to the bathroom too. Go back to sleep for a few hours while the pups hang out in the dog beds in our room, half awake.

9 am — wake Wes up if he’s not getting up, and get up myself. If he’s grumpy at me, I put Holes on the bed to wake him up. (Holes is nicer about it than Nones. Nones tends to think sleeping person equals the suffocate person game.) We go into the kitchen and get breakfast. Either I make eggs or bacon or both, or Wes eats cereal. We sit with coffee and tea and talk for a while before Wes ‘commutes’ into his home office to work and I get dressed in gym clothes to start my day.

10 am — check email (more like delete bunches of junk mail). Get the dogs fed and take them out or walk them.

Between 11 and 12 am — leave to walk to the train to go to the gym. Walking is about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on my energy. Take two trains, one eastbound and then one northbound.

1 pm — IF I get to the gym by this time, I do an hour of warm up on the treadmill while watching The Chew (my favorite show). If I don’t have a lot of time, I skip the TV and do my She Sweats 12 Week Transformation Workout (right now I’m in the Extreme Workout, and I LOVE it. I love doing cardio on the circuit the way they have it set up. You only have to run for 5 minutes at a time and it’s much less boring).

4 pm — If I’m waiting for my workout/training buddy to show up, I might jump in the pool for some laps to loosen up my muscles. Or I’ll go across the street to Caribou Coffee to get a small latte with soy milk. It’s just about the only place I can stand to drink the soy milk nowadays. (Or the fancy Octane coffee shop in our neighborhood).

Alternately, I may jump on the train to meet said workout/training buddy in Midtown to run around Piedmont Park. We’re running a 5k a month together this year. So we’re trying to maintain our running fitness.

Between 5 and 6 pm — I will meet up with my workout buddy. If we’re at the gym, we’ll do a lifting workout I’ve created specifically for her. I’ll do it with her, of course, checking form and trying to help her along. In Midtown, we’ll run around the park.

6 to 7 pm — I’ll get on the train and head for home. Hopes are I get home by 8 pm and start cooking up dinner for my husband.

7 pm — Dinner is cooked. Husband sits at the table with me and talks to me while he eats. After dinner, he goes back to his lair to do some more computer work while I clean up, feed the dogs, and do projects.

7 pm to 12 pm — I do all sorts of things at this time. Cooking, baking projects. Laundry. Working on my quilt. If I’m especially tired, I’ll look at blogs and watch more TV: especially if I missed The Chew that day. I really enjoy that show!

12 pm — I go into the office and beg Wes to come to bed. Sometimes he does, sometimes he can’t. Right now he’s working on a project and he tends to work late into the night. So if he doesn’t come to bed, I’ll take my medicines and go to sleep to do it all again another day.

The ladies of He and She Eat Clean come to Atlanta

I had been meaning to write about this for a little while, but of course I got sick right after Thursday and I had a 5k yesterday to take up all my attention!

So a while back I noticed on Facebook the He and She Eat Clean website had an event up, that the women of He and She Eat Clean were coming to a Ladies Night Out at Atlanta Activewear on Thursday. I tried to convince my friend and workout buddy to come with me. She wasn’t sure but on that day she ended up being able to!

That afternoon I went and hit my usual gym to do the She Sweats Extreme Workout, I had just started Week 1. (I think this was like Week 1 Day 4). So that workout kicked my butt, and then I went down to midtown to meet up with my friend and go to Atlanta Activewear.

We got there right after six and the store was still pretty much empty aside from the proprietors, some of their staff, and the ladies from He and She Eat Clean, Tiffany and Whitney.

We were greeted and offered some drinks (they were serving Sin<less Margaritas and Sin<less Strawberry Margaritas), which were yummy. And they had food out on a table in the middle of the store. ALL clean eating recipes: (from my guess) black bean and sweet potato turkey chili, mock-amole, quinoa with mixed vegetables, a turkey black bean and corn lettuce wrap, fruit, veggies, and hummus dip. Pretty darn good. I need to find some bibb lettuce to make those lettuce wraps for myself.

Finally more people started arriving. The friend and I talked to one of the sales girls about the Hot Chocolate 5k that we had signed up to run on Sunday, she was running the 15k. That was neat! So we talked running for a bit. And then of course about our lives and how we worked in running as part of our schedules, she’s a teacher, so it’s obviously not as easy for her as it is for me!

I got to talk to Tiffany and Whitney a bit. We talked about personal training, certifications, and about what they were doing now and what I wanted to do. I asked Tiffany about shorter running tights because she’s a few inches taller than me, I’d figured she might have some suggestions. She did, but asked me to email her with the question so she didn’t forget (I did that when I got home).

When the ladies were introduced they gave a little question and answer session about clean eating. Tiffany put it really well, as I hadn’t heard it before, “Clean eating is basically where you eat anything that came from the ground, or had a mother. We try to eat things in as close to a natural state as possible without processing, but we don’t eat raw.” Good to hear, and for the most part I cook and eat like this anyway, but erring on the vegetarian side of it while Wes errs on the carnivorous side of it.

Anyway, all in all, it was a lovely night. And I even got a few pictures!

(left to right: Tiffany, me, Whitney). Me with the ladies of He and She Eat Clean at the Atlanta Activewear Girls' Night Out,

(left to right: Tiffany, me, Whitney). Me with the ladies of He and She Eat Clean at the Atlanta Activewear Girls’ Night Out,

Me with Tiffany and Whitney again only we're towards the front of the store with the window display. Atlanta Activewear.

Me with Tiffany and Whitney again only we’re towards the front of the store with the window display. Atlanta Activewear.

2013 In Review

1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I don’t recall doing anything at all for my birthday, I was 30, and my husband didn’t even remember it until later that night when he came to bed. (humph, I’m not holding a grudge or anything, why do you ask that?).

2. What are your most prominent memories from this year, and why? Some good ones, going to Washington, D.C. in January and finally getting on the campus of Gallaudet. Getting to go canyoneering in Costa Rica. Learning how to surf with my sister in law in June in Brooklyn. Being in Arkansas with Wes’s aunt and learning that our dog, JJ, had died at only 4 years old. And grieving the whole time we were there but being so thankful for family to comfort us.

3. What did you do this year that you’d never done before? I learned how to surf, I went canyoneering, I took a personal training course, I became someone’s running buddy.

4. What did you want and get? I wanted a Nike FuelBand and I got it before we went to Southeast Asia again. I also wanted a few specific workout programs (that I had to pay for and print out, and my husband obliged by getting those too.)

5. What did you want and not get? More quality time with the most important person in my life, my husband.

6. What would you like to have next year that you didn’t have this year? Same as above. I would like peace of mind as far as what my husband’s work will be and will we be able to spend a little more time together (will he actually have a 9 to 5-ish kind of job).

7. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I think I did. I learned how to swim without hurting myself, I didn’t make many new friends but I got much closer with the ones that I made before, and I accepted life in Atlanta for the time being.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year? I got fit -and- healthy, and I ran way more races than ever before without damaging myself. (I also got a slightly better body image thanks to starting a really wonderful bodybuilding program through He and She Eat Clean).

9. What was your biggest failure? I think I was never as patient as I should have been with my husband and his work schedule.

10. What did you rely on when you were overwhelmed? Running, lifting, friends (occasionally), but most of all, swimming.

11. What are your strongest recommendations for entertainment from this year? (books, television, movies, music, etc). Music: Sara Bareilles, Danielle Bradbury. Authors: Jim C. Hines, Ann Aguirre, Kat Richardson, and Suzanne Collins. Television: Glee, Nashville, Switched At Birth, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Voice, The Sing-Off, Dancing with the Stars, and The Chew. Movies: Catching Fire, Kick-Ass 2, and Les Miserables.

12. What song will remind you of this year? Brave, Sara Bareilles

13. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year (not necessarily from the song that reminds you of the year). “High dive into frozen waves where the past comes back to life
Fight fear for the selfish pain, it was worth it every time
Hold still right before we crash cause we both know how this ends”

14. What was your most enjoyable purchase? Running shoes.

15. Did you travel? If so, where? (may I preface an apology, I promise this is just because we prioritize travel and I go with my husband as he works). Washington, D.C., Colorado, Costa Rica, New York City, Arkansas, Portland Oregon, Philadelphia, Alabama, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of? Enjoyed our dog while we had her. Spent time with people. Worked on the things that make me feel better (lifting, running, swimming).

17. What do you wish you’d done less of? Been angry at my husband for things beyond his control.

18. Compared to this time last year, how are you different? I am stronger, fitter, happier, healthier, and a lot more sad. I have a new dog and a dear first dog in Heaven watching over me.

19. Compared to this time last year, how are you the same? I am still married (thanks to the grace of God), I still live in Atlanta, I still love a lot of the same things (swimming, running, music).

20. What’s a life lesson you learned this year? That I am stronger than I think, more capable than I know, and that things will usually work out even if the working out (the refinement) is super painful.

A verse:
Psalm 5: 11-12
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.