Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Udi's Whole Grain Bread Review; Raising Kids by Remembering the String for the Tree

Out of all of the gluten-free bread on the market that we have tasted, we like Udi's Whole Grain bread the best.  Somehow the texture is better than most brands, though the taste is similar to several kinds.  I am rating it at 9 out of 10.  We have had a few loaves with holes in the middle, and the last time it happened, it affected about eight slices of the loaf.  I sent in an email to Udi's with the hope that we might get a coupon for a new loaf.   Sure enough, they worked with us in a kind way, will send a coupon in the mail to us for a new loaf, and reassured us that they are trying to fix the problem.

Of course, the best gluten-free bread is homemade (in my opinion), and you will find several great bread recipes in my cookbook. :)


I have been thinking a lot about parenting lately.  Sometimes parents in society need to take the steps necessary to show love for children by providing the string of supportive rules and guidelines for them.  I haven't been a perfect parent, that is for sure, but I definitely want to improve.  The story below about the cell phone is a good one for me, too.  I am trying to learn to leave my cell phone at a distance when I am interacting with family at dinner time and when I am on a date with my husband.  It is a challenge for me since I am so task-oriented, but I know it is worth trying to do better.

Have you ever thought about the miracle of a tree?  Isn't it amazing how they grow toward the light and often withstand the wind in amazing ways?  We can compare this to raising children in light and truth.  This is a story about a tree that didn't stay straight when the wind blew hard.

Not long after Gordon Hinckley and his wife were married, they built their first home. The landscaping was his responsibility.

The first of many trees that he planted was a thornless honey locust. Envisioning the day when its filtered shade would assist in cooling the house in the summertime, he put it in a place at the corner where the wind from the canyon to the east blew the hardest. He dug a hole, put in the bare root, put soil around it, poured on water, and largely forgot it. It was only a wisp of a tree, perhaps three-quarters of an inch in diameter. He could bend it with ease in any direction. He paid little attention to it as the years passed.

Then one winter day, when the tree was barren of leaves, he chanced to look out the window at it and noticed that it was leaning to the west, misshapen and out of balance. He could scarcely believe it. He went out and braced himself against it as if to push it upright. But the trunk was now nearly a foot in diameter. His strength was as nothing against it.

Gordon Hinckley said:  "I took from my toolshed a block and tackle. Attaching one end to the tree and another to a well-set post, I pulled the rope. The pulleys moved a little, and the trunk of the tree trembled slightly. But that was all. It seemed to say, “You can’t straighten me. It’s too late. I’ve grown this way because of your neglect, and I will not bend.” "

Finally in desperation he took his saw and cut off the great heavy branch on the west side. The saw left an ugly scar, more than eight inches across. He had cut off the major part of the tree, leaving only one branch growing skyward.

He said, "More than half a century has passed since I planted that tree. My daughter and her family live there now. The other day I looked again at the tree. It is large. Its shape is better. It is a great asset to the home. But how serious was the trauma of its youth and how brutal the treatment I used to straighten it.

When it was first planted, a piece of string would have held it in place against the forces of the wind. I could have and should have supplied that string with ever so little effort. But I did not, and it bent to the forces that came against it.

He pointed out:  "I have seen a similar thing, many times, in children whose lives I have observed. The parents who brought them into the world seem almost to have abdicated their responsibility. The results have been tragic. A few simple anchors would have given them the strength to withstand the forces that have shaped their lives.

"Every individual in the world is a child of a mother and a father. Neither can ever escape the consequences of their parenthood.

"Said the writer of Proverbs, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6)."


Rosemary Wixom said, "Unfortunately, the distractions of this world prevent many children from hearing encouraging words that could shape their view of themselves.

"Dr. Neal Halfon, a physician who directs the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities, refers to “parental benign neglect.” One example involved an 18-month-old and his parents:

“‘Their son seemed happy, active and engaged, clearly enjoying time and pizza with his parents. … At the end of dinner, Mom got up to run an errand, handing over care to Dad.’

“Dad … started reading phone messages while the toddler struggled to get his attention by throwing bits of pizza crust. Then the dad re-engaged, facing his child and playing with him. Soon, though, he substituted watching a video on his phone with the toddler until his wife returned.

“… [Dr.] Halfon observed a dimming of the child’s internal light, a lessening of the connection between parent and child.”5

"The answer to our prayer of how to meet our children’s needs may be to more often technologically disconnect. Precious moments of opportunity to interact and converse with our children dissolve when we are occupied with distractions. Why not choose a time each day to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other? Simply turn everything off. When you do this, your home may seem quiet at first; you may even feel at a loss as to what to do or say. Then, as you give full attention to your children, a conversation will begin, and you can enjoy listening to each other.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Cheerios!; Product Review of Great Value GF Granola Bars; The Rusty, Dusty Wagon Wheels Are Rolling Again

Before I arrived in South Carolina in September to see my new granddaughter, my son bought some gluten-free cereal so that I would have something to eat for breakfast while I was there. I was delighted to find out that one of the cereals was Honey Nut Cheerios, and it was gluten free! When I got home, I purchased Frosted Cheerios and Multi-grain Cheerios as well.  I love these cereals! I enjoy mixing plain Cheerios with Honey Nut Cheerios, to lesson the sugar load. 

I was fascinated as I read the back of the cereal box about the person (Phil) who works for Cheerios and made changes to the process to make these cereals gluten-free for his daughter-in-law and others. Amazing!  

I am glad that General Mills weathered the storm and stayed with gluten-free production, even though they had an unfortunate, 
one-time incident in July at their Lodi, California facility.  The rail system was down, and the gluten-free oat flour was being off-loaded from rail cars to trucks.  Due to human error, wheat flour ended up in the gluten-free line, and Cheerios cereal was cross contaminated.  They had to recall boxes to prevent more people from getting sick.  A huge thank you to General Mills, and to Phil Zietlow, for removing gluten from the entire process and for making sure that the oats are sorted out and separated from the wheat and barley grains. Phil invented Honey Nut Cheerios as well. :)  

Click on this link to watch a touching video about Phil and how he surprised his daughter-in-law after five years of hard work in figuring out how to make gluten-free Cheerios.



We recently tried three varieties of Great Value Gluten-Free Granola Bars.  Way to go, Wal-Mart, for working on more gluten-free products for us!

I am rating the Peanut Butter flavor at 2 out of 10 (none of us liked it very much), Fruit Mix at 6 out of 10, and Dark Chocolate at 8 out of 10 (though these are a bit too sweet for me).


"Rusty, dusty wagon wheels" is included in the title because I haven't written a blog post since September.  I must admit I have been consumed by several projects, but mostly I have loved spending time with family (particularly two new grandbabies, along with a visit to my 4-year-old granddaughter).  How can I resist?  They are all too cute and lovable!

I feel you would agree that we will gain more satisfaction and joy in life by nourishing our relationships and serving others than by any other way.  So please give a child, a parent, a sibling, or a friend a hug today and perform a good deed for them.  You will be glad you did!  :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Product Review of Perfect Bar; The Joys of Being a Grandma!

Summer is fleeting away and I have been busy with family reunions, trips, and family events.  It is amazing how time flies in the summer and it always does.

Last spring, my husband presented a seminar for some employees, and the owner of the company and his wife were truly kind and giving.  She took note that I had to eat gluten-free food, and provided me with a box of Perfect Bar gluten-free snack bars in place of the granola bars they served to the others for a snack.  So thoughtful!

(Photo Source:  www.perfectbar.com)

These Perfect Bars were pretty tasty.  I am rating them at 7 out of 10 because the texture was thick and pasty.  These bars are more like a cereal bar than a light granola bar, and that may be the reason the texture is heavy.

Isn't it wonderful that there are now several gluten-free granola bars on the market?  Great Value Granola Bars are delicious, along with several Nature Valley Granola Bars, like Peanut Almond & Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel Nut, and Coconut Almond.

I can't close this post without stating how joyful it is to be a Grandma!  We have one granddaughter who is four years old and has brought so much happiness to our family, and now we have another granddaughter who is three days old!  Isn't she darling?  I feel that family can bring the greatest joy we can experience in this life.

"Bernadine Healy, in a commencement address, gave this counsel: “As a physician, who has been deeply privileged to share the most profound moments of people’s lives including their final moments, let me tell you a secret. People facing death don’t think about what degrees they have earned, what positions they have held, or how much wealth they have accumulated. At the end, what really matters is who you loved and who loved you. That circle of love is everything, and is a great measure of a past life. It is the gift of greatest worth.” 11

"Near the end of his life, one father looked back on how he had spent his time on earth. An acclaimed, respected author of numerous scholarly works, he said, “I wish I had written one less book and taken my children fishing more often.”

"Time passes quickly. Many parents say that it seems like yesterday that their children were born. Now those children are grown, perhaps with children of their own. “Where did the years go?” they ask. We cannot call back time that is past, we cannot stop time that now is, and we cannot experience the future in our present state. Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present."

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Product Review of Mom's Place Gluten-Free Corndog Mix

I know hot dogs aren't the most nutritious food in the world, but every once in a long while it is fun to have one.  I always spend the extra money and get all-beef hot dogs.  They are worth the money.  My daughter and son love corn dogs, so it was fun to find this mix.  We loved the taste and I am rating the mix at 9.5.

Preparing these corn dogs was difficult for me, however.  I couldn't get the batter consistency correct.  It wouldn't stick to the hot dogs properly, and I had to press it around the hot dog.  Then I tried adding more water with the hope that it would work better, but it didn't help and made it worse since it wouldn't adhere at all.  It was worth the struggle though, and even though the corn dogs aren't as pretty as the gluten kind, we didn't care. :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Product Review of Chebe Cinnamon Roll Mix...and My Cinnamon Roll Recipe

It was fun to try a gluten-free cinnamon roll mix.  My daughter made these and did a great job. Maybe it was so much fun because she made the rolls and I didn't have to do it. :) The rolls are tiny (about 3 inches in diameter) and the texture is quite dense, but they have good flavor.  I am rating them at 7. We added a glaze and it improved the flavor greatly (to 8.5).

Click on the link to a blog post from one of the authors of  the "Our Best Bites" cookbook, who tried out my cinnamon roll recipe and posted it on their blog back in 2011.  We love this recipe and hope you will enjoy it as well (enough to buy my cookbook). :)


Also, go to this link to check out my ebook:


Friday, April 24, 2015

Comparison of Gluten-Free Pizza

Pizza!  Our family loves pizza!  I enjoy and frequently make my pizza recipe in my cookbook. However, I am happy that there are several brands of gluten-free pizza in my grocery store now and at Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Restaurant, which comes in handy if I am going out of town and need a quick meal for our kids.  It doesn't come without a price, though.  The average price for these pizzas was around $8-10, and the pizzas are quite small.

Here are the pizzas we tried:

Chef Anthony Russo's:  Rating 6.5

Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Gluten-Free Pizza:  Rating 8.5

Amy's:  Rating 7

Udi's:  Rating 7

Freschetta:  Rating 9.5

In our opinion, Freschetta is the winner for sure!  It has a great flavor, though the crust is slightly chewy.  In addition, I need to clarify that I am pretty sure this pizza compares very well with a Little Caesar's pizza, but not with my distant memory of what Pizza Hut pizza tastes like.  For a gluten-free pizza, it is quite tasty.  My daughter (who can eat gluten) commented that it tasted as good as a gluten pizza.  As you may guess, I am still partial to my homemade pizza recipe, found in my cookbook on page 164 and in my blog post of 9-24-14. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Product Review of Glutenfreeda Gluten Free Pizza Wraps; Recipe for Pizza Tortillas

These little pizza wrap is high in price and not worth the money.  I am rating it at 6.  The flavor wasn't great.

I love the convenience of the ever-increasing variety of products in the freezer of many grocery stores that are gluten free. However, I think I will stick with Tortilla Pizza made at home.  These are quick and easy to make, and our kids love them! :)  See the recipe below, which is from page 162 in my cookbook, along with some other great tortilla wraps.

I hope you enjoy it!


Top a corn tortilla with spaghetti sauce, pepperoni or bacon pieces, cheese, and other desired toppings. Put another tortilla on top and fry in small amount of olive oil on both sides until lightly browned and cheese is melted. Cut into pie-shaped pieces and serve warm.