Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What a Great Man! And...a Recipe for Gluten-Free, Cholesterol-Free Chocolate Oatmeal Blueberry Balls

We had the glorious opportunity to escape for a few days to a cabin near a mostly-frozen lake.  It was strange to leave the green grass of home and go where the snow still lingers.  Total relaxation enveloped us, and it was worth enduring the slush and ice.  My husband is a great man, and it was awesome to chat with him for hours about education, our children, and the joy of the gospel.

As we were enjoying these days off, we knew that my husband would likely get a phone call soon about his yearly physical exam results, particularly his cholesterol level.  Yep...a few hours after we returned home, the phone call came that his cholesterol levels are high.  So...we are launching into not only using the low-fat gluten-free recipes from my cookbook, but hoping to invent desserts to reward his efforts to eat cholesterol free.  It is a new level of learning and cooking for sure.

I hope you will enjoy the new recipe I invented for him.  He longs to eat something sweet after dinner, and he likes these...which is always a relief when inventions are in the works!  Our two daughters liked them, as well.  Give these treats a try. :)

Chocolate Oatmeal Blueberry Balls

1 cup gluten-free quick oatmeal
1 teaspoon cocoa
2 tablespoons Blueberry Craisins®
4 tablespoons date pieces
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons vanilla almond milk

1.  Pulse oatmeal in blender or food processor until it resembles coarse flour.  Pour into small bowl.
2.  Add remaining ingredients.
3.  Form into one-inch balls.  Chill until ready to serve.

Makes 14-16 one-inch balls

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Product Review of Ultra Gel; Mom's Awesome Gravy!

Ultra Gel is a great product.  About a month ago, my brother was making some jam out of his frozen raspberries to serve at a dinner for our family and others.  He mashed the raspberries with a fork, added some sugar, and added Ultra Gel until it was the consistency of jam.  It was a delicious way to get raspberry jam with minimal effort.  

A few days ago, I cooked one of my favorite recipes:  "Slow-Cooked Roast" on Page 146 of my cookbook.  I strained the broth from this roast in preparation for my mom to use for a demonstration about making gravy.  She wasn't just teaching me how she makes gravy.  My 85-year-old mother also taught a group of young women (ages 14-15) how to make gravy, which is awesome! :)

She taught them to make a cornstarch gravy (2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch whisked into 1/4 cup cold water and added to 1 1/2 cups boiling broth).  This is the type of gravy I have made since our diagnosis of celiac disease.  I have been intrigued, however, by how my mom makes gravy with Ultra Gel.  So I was watching intently as she taught these young women how to make gravy with Ultra Gel  (4 to 4 1/2 tablespoons Ultra Gel whisked into 1 1/2 cups boiling broth).  It was every bit as good as the cornstarch gravy, and even better since the beef flavor came out more fully.  Maybe it is because you don't have to dissolve Ultra Gel in a liquid before it is added to the broth.

I wish you could see how well my mom navigates around with a power chair or a walker or a cane since her second hip replacement a few years ago.  She has pain from three bone diseases due to late diagnosis of celiac disease, yet she doesn't let that stop her from helping and teaching and showing service.   She taught these young women last night--not just to make gravy--but how much fun cooking can be.  She is a great example to me. The following quotes personify how I perceive that she embraced the teaching she received from her own mother, my grandmother:

"A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them."

"[Her] intuition is to do good and to be good..."  
"No amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family."  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/the-moral-force-of-women?lang=eng  

These quotes remind me of my wonderful daughter-in-law, as well.  As my husband noted after a visit to their home recently, she is a great mother to our granddaughter and puts a lot of effort and love into motherhood.  She is an amazing person and nurtures and teaches our granddaughter, even when she could be doing many other things right now with her gifts and talents.  

Our daughter-in-law has also willingly adapted their diet to help our granddaughter to feel better.  So far, our granddaughter hasn't shown positive testing for celiac disease, but a diagnosis of gluten intolerance has been given.  A gluten-free diet has been the key to keep the rashes away that have shown up due to eating something with wheat.  

I am grateful for the wonderful example of these two women!