You’ve Decided to “Go” Gluten-Free, Now What?

Not that I am an expert at this gluten-free thing. at all. BUT, I am a recent devotee and having successfully moved myself and two toddlers to a gluten-free diet. during the holidays. while traveling. I feel as if I have a little bit of varied experience with this so far. I kind was forced to dive right in on trying to figure out how to live “normally” again. I have also been hit up by friends a few times in the past 4 months “So, I am going/am thinking about going/HAVE to go gluten-free, can you offer me some good brands/snacks/recipes because whatthef*ckdoIdonow?”

Most recently I got that text from my BF Kelly (aka, Kel Dos). Her daughter, my Goddaughter just got her Gluten Intolerance test back.  I won’t go into details, but this little Ginger* has been sick since she came out of Kelly’s womb and long story short, her test showed up for just what I suspected, gluten intolerance. She scored twice that of “normal” levels for Anti-gliadin IgA. And so now Kelly is freaking out about snacks and school and food and just life in general because lifestyle changes are challenging and well, that is the first thing people do when they are advised to go gluten-free; freak the funk out. I did.

Freaking-Out

The first thing I hear is “I don’t even know where to start”.  Well, neither did I so I hit up  Pinterest (duh) and searched “How to Go Gluten Free” and found “Gluten Free Goddess” ‘s blog. This gave a good place to start, I recommend you read it for yourself.

Here are the top things that I wish someone told me about going Gluten-Free:

  • You cannot be “kind of” gluten free. To feel and see the real effects of a gluten free diet, it is all or nothing. Even a crumb can send you running to the bathroom and/or into the fetal position for hours if you are Non- Celiac gluten intolerant or Celiac.
  • Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, farro, malt…and for the die-hards, oats and quinoa have similar properties and some of the gluten intolerant folk can’t digest them either.
  • Gluten is hidden EVERYWHERE! Start reading labels if you don’t already. Here are some products you might be surprised to find gluten in: Soy sauce, mustard, BBQ sauce, ketchup, malt vinegar (anything with malt or barley), potato chips, soup, salad dressing, your Thanksgiving turkey, french fries, canned soup, lunch meat, candy, beer, fast food (it is not real food anyway, you shouldn’t eat it.),  fake flavoring (like that sprayed on chips and crackers), wine coolers and other malted beverages, artificial colors and food dyes (did you know that these are ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES in over 100 countries outside of the US?) In fact, it is best to just avoid all processed foods altogether.
  • Give yourself a two week “wheat break.” It takes your wheat-addicted taste buds that long to adjust the different flavors and textures of “alternative” flours. No bread, bagels, “replacement crackers”, pasta etc.
  • When you do decide to dive into the world of gluten-free baked goods always, always toast your bread.
  • Gluten-free pasta will crumble into a billion tiny pieces if cooked too long. It still tastes fine, unlike wheat pasta that kind of disintegrates or becomes starchy if overcooked.

It is daunting at first but what you are really doing is setting yourself up for  some good ‘ole “clean eating” and by day 3, the pain in the ass that it is to plan and cook and not know what the hell you are going to make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…it will all be worth it. It is absofrickinalutely amazing how much better you will feel. Ask anyone who has made the choice, they will tell  you the same thing. And the best part, it is almost a guarantee some of you will see weight loss.

wheat bellysexy wheat belly

It has to do with inflammation, read more about that here, here, and here.

The next question I am asked is “what are some brands you have found that you like?” so far here is the breakdown:

Bread:

I have tried Glutino, Rudi’s (sold at my Costco), both are fine, but my kids dig IN to some grilled cheese when it’s on Glutino’s Multigrain Sandwich Bread. Also garners the “Gluten-Eater Seal of Approval” from Matt. Rudi’s is ok, but it’s easy and cheaper for me to buy, so that is the stand-by bread for when we don’t have any of the good stuff.

glutino multigrain sandwich breadI also found a pin from InspiredEats.net (and lives in my neck of the woods, apparently!) “Udi’s Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread – apparently the best GF sandwich bread that does not need to be toasted”

udi's gluten free sandwich breadKel Dos and my Ginger were our taste testers and it passed the “grilled cheese test” with flying colors.

Kel Dos text

Snacks:

Glutino brand is pretty spot on when it comes to their snacks crackers and chips and pretzels, oh their pretzels! I think they taste better than regular pretzels. They are pretty crunchy and don’t have any weird texture or flavors. Matt approves of these as well. They are about $6.99/ 14 oz. bag at our local store but I found if you in bulk through Amazon   you are buying them for about $4.99/ 14 oz. bag. ($2 savings/bag and I like that.)

glutino pretzelsAlso getting a thumbs up from Glutino: Tortilla Dippers, Potato Crisps, Pretzel Sticks, All snack crackers.

I would save the calories and pass on the following from Glutino, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate vanilla wafer cookies (aka fake Oreos. I found another brand of fake Oreo’s that are awesome, but can’t remember what brand they are. Will be sure to update when I find them again.)

I also found Private Selection Sea Salt Rice and Bean Chips are delicious and get the Gluten-Eaters Seal of Approval from my good friend, G. (Private Selection Labels can be found at Kroger and affiliate stores.)

Bagels:

Hot damn, do I love bagels. In high school, every single morning (if I made it on time) I would buy a bagel from the caf (they were shipped in from a local joint in my hometown, Elaine’s Bagels. Holy moly are those the best bagels I have ever had in my life. And I miss them.) When I was working in downtown Boulder prior to birthing my nuggets, every morning on my way to work I would stop in at my local coffee joint, The Cup and I would order a toasted sesame bagel with veggie cream cheese and a large Yerba Mate (yeah, I don’t drink coffee, but I love the owners and baristas.) I love bagels. I love them and I miss them.

I have replaced them with an ok, gluten free rendition from Udi’s. Really make sure these are toasted and eat them while they are still hot. I mean, nothing can replace the deliciousness of a NY style bagel so this is just something I will live with.

Save the calories on Glutino brand bagels, they are hard and gross.

Pasta:

There really are a lot of gluten free pasta out there and it’s kind of preferential. I really don’t care if I am eating corn or quinoa or rice pasta, but my neighbor across the street, she is very particular and often times I am on the receiving end of products she doesn’t like. Not a bad deal, right? So my recommendation is to try out a few and see what you like. My other recommendation is not to eat gluten free pasta when it is cold. I found out the hard way that it is just gross. And lastly, corn pasta needs a little extra loving in the water (or sauce) as I have found that it takes a long time to cook through. I have served my family crunchy spaghetti more times than not lately. Hmnmm, a foodie that can’t cook spaghetti…..

Spices mixes :

Make your own, there is so much filler crap in most of those packages and it is cheaper to make your own. Go to the bulk section of your natural grocery store and stock up….or, you can be as lucky as me and have access to Savory Spice Shop in Boulder.  I found some great homemade spice recipes on Pinterest. You can also search by the specific spice mix you’re looking for, taco mix, Greek Seasoning, Cajun Seasoning, Steak Seasoning etc.)

Flour, Baking mixes and Xanthan Gum?:

THIS was my biggest fear. I had just figured out high altitude baking and now this? And what in the hell is xanthan gum? Fear not! Bob’s Red Mill makes a very versatile gluten free baking mix. (and is sold at my Costco!) I use it as a 1 to 1 ratio and typically add some amount of xanthan gum to it even though it already has it in the mix. It’s what I used for my gluten free chia blueberry pancakes.

and xanthan gum, btw is like a “gluten replacement” to add volume and viscosity to baked goods and breads (and this kick ass cheese sauce!)

(EDITORS NOTE: After posting on Facebook, one of my favorite gluten-free friends left me this comment: “I use the Bob’s Mill General Purpose for savory recipes, as I find the presence of garbanzo flour to lend itself best to things like quiche. King Arthur’s general gf flour is great for pie as it is less savory, but so is the price.” Thank you Vicky for that great advice! Always great to hear from others with experience!)

ALCOHOL! also known as, “Oh no, I can’t drink beer.” You are wrong! You can, you just have less choices! And really, let’s look at that as a good thing because who really needs WALLS and WALLS of choices of beer when you really just need one little section.

99_bottles

I found a local craft brew called New Planet, they make a Raspberry Ale that I really like.

also check out this pin – 5 Gluten Free Beers Worth Trying by Food Republic. I have had the Omission Pale Ale, it was a fine pale ale, as far as they go. I don’t really like them particularly, so…

Also, there are a variety of hard cider’s on the market, Woodchuck makes different flavors; they’re good, but too many or you’ve got a belly ache on your hands. Most hard cider’s are gluten free (Hornsby and Harpoon’s are NOT, beware).

Liquor is iffy, as some vary brand by brand. Like gin for example. I love me some Bombay Sapphire but not anymore! I read somewhere it has gluten in it, I read somewhere that it doesn’t. I’ll go by what my belly tells me and that is “Girl, why are you doing this to me?” and so, it is no more. A simple google search of  whatever your product is + “gluten free” after it should come up with enough search results for you to make your own judgement call on whether or not to eat it. Also beware of the mixers put in your drinks. For example, I’m going to assume a lot of margarita’s are made with a bottled mix unless otherwise noted. Stay away from that crap, seriously, margarita’s are not supposed to be bright, lime green anyway.

It is also important to note that us folk that can’t tolerate the gluten, have difficulties with artificial sweeteners, coloring (!), and flavoring. You wonder why kids are so insane at birthday parties. It’s not the sugar, it’s all of the chemical dye pumped in them from the food coloring. THESE CHEMICALS ARE ILLEGAL IN SO MANY OF OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. Do not eat them, do not feed them to your children, it is poison.

I also get this a lot – “How did you know you’re kids had gluten issues?” After I got my initial recommendation to go GF I read up on what some symptoms could be, it made perfect sense.

It started when Grant was about 9 months old he laid his head down on some carpeted steps and cracked both of his front teeth. I thought that was really weird, but I have always had bad teeth (despite my almost obsessive flossing and brushing) so I thought little of it. Turns out people with gluten issues tend to have bad teeth/weakened enamel etc. When he was 2 1/2 he started Pre School 2x/week. He missed his first day because he was puking and from that point on until 13 months later he had the “stomach bug” approximately 13 times. He had big, dark “allergy shiners” under his eyes, but tested negative for all allergies. Diarrhea, rashes on his bum, skin issues on his face, congested nose, sleeping issues, behavior problems (from an otherwise very nice little boy), lashing out, mood swings. I know the latter part sounds like a typical 3 year old, but not mine. I pulled the gluten and less then 3 days later my little Nugget came back. The rashes and dark circles and belly cramping and mood swings and sleeping issues…everything went away. Brody was different, he was only 16 months when it was pulled from his diet and I saw NOTHING other than this…..His teeth are super sensitive. Since he started teething his teeth bleed. If he bumps his head and he has something in his mouth, you can expect bloody teeth. Like they are not properly secured in his little skull. He also chipped both of his front teeth when he bonked his head another time. So, the enamel issue raised a flag for him. Recently we gave him some gluten to see what would happen, you know, to see if he really was intolerant or if it was just me. Yeah, he is, and it really crushed his belly, and he definitely let us know about it for the next 3 days, and it was rather unpleasant. ‘Nuff said. Kids are not supposed to be sick all of the time even if they are in day care, if they are I would look deeper.

“What do your kids eat for snacks? And what about Cheerios, aren’t you in prime Cheerio time with your youngest?”  Currently in my pantry for snacks, Go-Go Squeeze, Clif Kids Organic Z Fruit Rope, Lara Bars, apple cinnamon rice cakes, dried fruit, freeze dried fruit (my MIL is a THRIVE representative), Glutino Gluten Free Pretzels, Pirate’s Booty, Veggie Straws, popcorn (air popped, not bagged). They love to dip the pretzels in hummus, tzatzki, yogurt dip (mix in a little cinnamon and honey and it’s a dip!) peanut butter etc. Also, of course, fresh fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt (buy Greek and mix in your own fruit, jam, granola, chia seeds or try this doozy of a recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough greek yogurt, it is amazing!). Or if they can come up with something healthy, I’m not one to say no. Sometimes Grant wants to make muffins or bake something, I’m all for it! It’s definitely not as convenient but I make my own with individual snack bags and vacuum seal them. 15 minutes of prep saves a lot of time when you can just grab and go and not have to worry about it on your way out the door. I always have snacks on me. Always. My boys can turn into ravishing (whiny) dinosaurs in a blink of an eye.

As for my Cheerio replacement, Amazon Subscribe & Save to the rescue again. I have Nature’s Path Organic Whole O’s, Gluten Free Cereal, 11.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6) delivered to me every 3 months (it saves about $0.84/box this way.) They are made of rice, have a slight sweetness to them (they are not bland) and are very crunchy. Neither of my boys care that they aren’t eating Cheerios, it’s not a big deal. In fact, I like them better, they are crunchier.

Whoa. Bet you didn’t read that in one sitting.

So now, for your benefit, I shall end this long-haul of a post but will leave you with this little teaser, coming soon: How To: Travel Gluten Free and some Gluten Free apps. Yeah, I know…so exciting.

*Names are changed to protect identities, but appropriately nicknamed “Ginger” due to her incredibley awesome, Strawberry Shortcake red hair.

ginger's dont have soulsPS – I LOVE Gingers, LOVE them.

White Bean Chicken Chili and Cornbread……

Whenever I need some recipe inspiration I head over to my friend Sharon’s, Tasty Recipes board. To date she has 194 pins in there full of great recipes! The best part is, is that she tests them out and lets me know which ones she likes. She is also responsible for sending me the most incredible cauliflower recipe I have ever eaten in my life. It is a cauliflower-hater converter recipe, that’s how good it is, but that is for another time.

And, I have to give her FULL credit here, because I forgot to in my REDEMPTION post…Sharon is the one that told me to melt the peanut butter in with the chocolate. It was her idea, not mine, I cannot take credit for this CRITICAL step in the Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Banana’s, aka, Monkey Pops. Thank you Sharon, “Let’s all thank Sharon here for making our Monkey Pop making more efficient and tasty!”

Side note: My Costco just started selling Dole Banana Dippers, 64 pieces for $7.89!!!! That equals $0.12 per ONE STINKIN BANANA SLICE! Seriously? Don’t be lazy and save some moolah…make these yourself (plus, they contain SOY! AHHHH!)

DO try this at homeproof

Last night I pillaged Sharon’s Tasty Recipe board and found this recipe for White Bean Chicken Chili, and also from Couldn’t Be Parve.com, CORNBREADaint nothin wrong with that

I did, as usual, make a few edits to both recipes:

To the Chicken Chili, I added a 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes and I simmered it for an hour to let it really reduce down and give it a thicker stock. It created a more “chili” consistency than “white bean chicken soup with chili flavors” consistency that it was occurring after simmering for 25 minutes (as the recipe states.) I am thankful I planned for time.

So, I live in a milk free house. Like, just cow’s milk, the liquid. We do have dairy products here (as mentioned yesterday.) Grant drinks almond milk and rice milk. I did not want to use almond milk in this cornbread recipe (it gives it too nutty of a flavor for my liking) and I ran out of rice milk. My substitution, fat free yogurt, with about 1/4 (?) of a cup of water added to the batter after I had mixed everything up. Really, I have no idea how much water, I just stuck the bowl under the faucet and ran it until I thought it would be at the right consistency which was, very thick. I had to use a spatula to scrape it in the pan and spread it around evenly, that’s how thick.

Now, the reason I chose this recipe was for the honey butter drizzled on top and soaked throughout. I typically would not have done this, but, since I replaced the milk with yogurt I felt NO SHAME dumping ALL OF it, ALL OVER and OH HOLY, MY WORD, you guys, I love cornbread and this was awesome. Very moist, lightly sweetened and I am staring, right now, on my desk, at my third piece today.

I mean, what is left of it….

Redemption is Mine! (and Some Other Things)

Oh hey, hi there. I’m back from my hiatus. I didn’t know that a side effect to a nasty head cold was writers block. Apparently it is. I bet you missed my humor. Not to worry, I think I can bring it today. The past few weeks, no. Today, we will see. It seems as if the sun is finally shining down on me right now and I feel, kind of ok and my nose is working and my head is a little less foggy so let’s take a looksey at what we have been doing here in Schogerland.

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Bananas (REDEMPTION!): Actually, redemption has been mine for more than a month now, but I have been too busy fending off nasty, preschool germs to actually get around to writing something about it. I love dark chocolate and I love fruit and any chance to combine the two, I will. So, when I miserably failed at this the first time, I would not let it deter me from trying again. Because CHOCOLATE. COVERED. BANANAS! Well, let me tell you, I kicked this ones ASS the next time I tried it.

Monkey Pops!now referred to in our household as “Monkey Pops”

Here’s my take: I used organic semi-sweet chocolate and melted a few dollops of peanut butter (I also tried almond butter, and YUM too!) over a make-shift double boiler. Trick here is to do this slowly and once it starts melting, stir, stir, stir!  And then turn down the heat and continue to stir because chocolate is temperamental and you want it smooth and creamy, not gritty and crunchy-ish (which will happen if you get it too hot and do not stir.) One interesting tid bit I discovered, the almond butter had a lot of natural oils in it, which really helped make the chocolate a bit more pliable. If you were not to use some kind of nut butter because of allergies or what not, I would recommend adding a bit of oil (I usually use safflower oil because it is tasteless and light and does not contain soy.) Also, a side note about canola oil; 80% of canola oil is from GMO rapeseed crop. You can find organic canola oil, but here is an interesting link about the rapeseed and I will let you decide for yourself about your future canola oil use. And last, before I get off of my GMO and soybean soapbox (am I getting annoying on this topic yet?) Did you know that most, if not all* vegetable oils contain soybean oil? And if you are really interested in finding organic vegetable oil, I challenge you on that one and let me know if you are successful. Because I have yet to be. SOY! I angrily shake my fist at you!

Whoa, ok, Monkey pops – I bought these little craft sticks at Michaels, great for little hands to grab and give the banana an easy for dunking in chocolate. Also, regarding “dunking” in chocolate, it is more like a “spooning.” Spoon the chocolate all over the bananas and then tap the stick lightly on the side of the bowl to ensure full coverage and get any excess chocolate off. I lined them up on a waxed paper (organic!) on a cookie tray and froze them for about an hour.

The only downside to these is that we have a French door freezer, with handle at three year old level. When we bought the fridge we specifically asked the sales associate if he thought a toddler could open it and he told us, “absolutely not.” Turns out he LIED TO US! Can you believe it? An appliance salesman LIED to us to make a sale?! Seriously. Anyhow, it is NOT toddler-proof and often time I find Grant with a chocolate-lined mouth whenever these are in the house. But really, who can blame him?

Cd Tea Light Holders: Seriously, I am the last person that would display tea lights, just not my thing, not my decor style. Plus, my house is still lacking surface area to put said tea light on**…. BUT, I thought this would be quick and fun and I just happened to have about 37 blank discs scattered around my office…three year old “lily pads.” What I didn’t know was HOW satisfying it would be to watch my P90X Shoulders and Back disc***, melt into a nice, shiny bowl (it was burned from a friend, so no money wasted.)

 “Take in the fact that you just did that.” – Tony Horton

It was really neat to see how different cd’s turned different colors. P90X, those are the pink ones. Ironically, the “toddler lily pads” were the green ones. This was fun to do with Grant, I had him stack the cd’s on a glass and we put them in the convection over to watch them melt. It took no time at all!

Here’s a tip: Do not let them fully cool before you pull off whatever glass you are using as it’s mold, but also, you will not be able to pull them off immediately when they come out of the over because of the little plastic center piece. That will stick to the glass when it is hot. So it needs to be warm-ish when you pull it off.

Flower Pot Hand Project: I have to admit, I probably would not have done this project if I didn’t have a Cricut. Ahhhh, my Cricut. The most amazing product to come into my craft arsenal. ever. I also happened to have the “Walk in my Garden” software so this project was cake! It just took about 10 minutes of prep on my part and after I demonstrated to Grant how the pieces went together, he pretty much did everything else by himself (minus cutting out his hand/flower stem.)

We had to make multiple hand flower pots for BOTH of his gardening grandmas

This one is for Grammy!

Pantry Organization: This pin is fantastic. I already have my pantry’s organized in categories, so I wanted to pin this one in particular since it’s uber-organizey.

My neighbor recently saw our pantry and described it as a mini-grocery store. And the more I look at it (because I often just go into my pantry to look at it’s beautiful organization, serious.) the more I am concerned that this is the one thing you will judge me on……

No. I am not OCD

I have been wanting to buy baskets for our pantry for a long time now, but those suckers can really add up! And my mom did a good job of teaching me how to be frugal so I held out for an entire YEAR until I found something inexpensive and not tacky or cheap (Happy one-year-living-in-my-house anniversary to me last week, btw!) I found the blue and green metal mesh containers in the dollar section at Target (for $2.50, oh the irony). Now everything is now nicely categorized into their own little basket: Cereal, kids snacks, pasta, straws, potatoes (in that cute little metal circle bin at the bottom). The other side has bins for baking stuff, crackers, and pretzels etc. Plus, it is amazing how much you want to keep your organized pantry, organized, once it is clean. I am happy to report that our pantry still remains this clean and organized, despite the fact that not much in our house ever stays that way (see: three year old and 10 month old).

Kid Plate Organization: Another 3am pin that I didn’t pin and now can’t find. This is why. It was simply a diy project to make file folder holders out of cereal boxes. Cover with nice scrapbooking paper, and use in a cabinet to organize your kid plates. Because any parent knows, kids plates to not organize neatly. This pin was just about the easiest one I had done. ONLY because I did not make this out of a cereal box, I used a file folder holder thing that I bought at IKEA that did not fit it’s intended purpose and has been shoved in my desk for the past 8 months. I have been looking for someplace to use them and NOW I FOUND THE PERFECT SPOT!  In our “Kid Cabinet.” Grant (and soon, Brody’s) cabinet of self-sufficiency!

That cute bucket for the cups, Target dollar section as well. And only $1!

Organic Post Update: I TOTALLY meant to include this on my Organic’s post. But there is a quick way to determine if the produce you are buying is organic, conventional, and most importantly GENETICALLY MODIFIED! Here’s the pin if you would like to read more, but in a nutshell: Conventional produce gets a four-digit number. Organic produce gets a five-digit number that starts with 9. Genetically modified items also get a five-digit code, but that code starts with 8.

Examples 4139: Conventional Granny Smith apple

94139: Organic Granny Smith

84139: Genetically Modified Granny Smith

Ok, that’s about it for today, nap time is coming to an end and it is 80 degrees outside. But before that, I just couldn’t leave you without one last illness update. I know most, if not all of the folks who read this blog are also my friends on Facebook.  And I am sure you have seen a few updates since, oh, Labor Day about our wonderful concoction of household ailments…but I am not sure you are quite aware how awful this “introduction to pre school” has been to our household. Ready for this:

Stomach Flu:

Grant – 7 (yes, 7!  The first time it lasted on and off for 6 weeks, now you know why I am a puke-cleaner extraordinaire)

Brody, Me, Matt – 2, Brody decided he also wanted to join in the big kid fun on our very tropical, Christmas vacation. That was awesome.

Have you ever had to take care of your children while you are suffering from the stomach flu? This is what hell is like.

Common Cold (of head, chest and sinus variety): This is just about ongoing these days. I got home from my 1/2 marathon on a Monday (1.16.12 to be exact) and on Tuesday, 1.17.2012, I got the most raging cold I have had in a while. Today is April 22…I still have it. Matt, Grant and Brody all have snots and chapped noses as well. Nothing more pathetic than a sick baby, I say.

Ear Infection: Wouldn’t be cold season without a few of these lovelies! Grant has had about 4, Brody 1, Matt 1. Me, no thanks! I’m not an ear infection person, I stick with my whacked out stomach issues thank you very much. (and from the time I started this post last week, until now, you can add THREE MORE EAR INFECTIONS TO THAT LIST! Brody, 1 more  and Matt, 2, omg.)

Whacked out Stomach Issues: I can typically regulate this with my diet, but for some reason, they have been creeping up on me from no where. They suck. I’ll leave it at that.

Conjunctivitis: (Or, as better put by my BF Kelly “Who touched the poo?”) Yeah, GROSS! That shizz is nasty, contagious, and hard to get rid of! Both kids had it one an off for about a month. Grant, maybe 4 times, sometimes we would double up and go for both eyes with this one! He was also lovely enough to share with his brother.

And last but not least, a lovely case of Impetigo, from the pre schooler, who else? (Or as better put by my BFF Kelly, “I had to google what Impetigo was, and I am really sorry I did.”) Thankfully, that lasted a few days after treatment, but the after effects are SUPER dried and cracked skin at the sides of his mouth that he keeps licking, and picking, and it keeps bleeding and we are now on week 6 of the whole “Impetigo and after effects” journey.

Thank GOODNESS for spring and the outdoors! I’m headed out there right now.

*Unscientific data, based on my own personal research

**The tea lights now live in my bathroom, on my tub. The one that I fell in love with when we bought the house, but have only used twice…..

***Day 1 of P90X was Shoulder and Back for Matt and I. I was unable to lift a cup to my lips for the next week, and so started my hate/hate relationship with Tony Horton.

The Friday Flop

Last week I posted about all of my so called “failed pins.”  When I look back, it was more like, some of them didn’t meet my expectations and I could probably figure out a better way to do it. So they were not real “failures”, but more so “flops.” Well, I had a few more this week and so I have decided to start a series called The Friday Flop. Just a simple wrap-up of my less than stellar “pin” attempts and how I could have improved it. Also, I am not a quitter, so I’m sure I will update on my sequential attempts.

Failure #1

Frozen Banana Bites: I did it again.  I saw a the picture and didn’t read the pin, I didn’t even pin the pin, and what happened? A big chocolately, banana-y (but delicious) mess. Here, take a look and tell me what you would ASSUME this picture meant because this is the exact pin I saw:

You might say, “Huh, it looks like they dipped an entire banana in chocolate, froze it, and then cut it up because how else would you get that little delicious banana nugget cut so perfectly?”

Or you might not, but my first glance at this, that is what I thought. And it was most likely from my iPad, so also a smaller version of the picture. Because a rationally thinking person would say. “But, if you cut through frozen chocolate, isn’t it going to crumble and fall apart?” No? You wouldn’t ask that? Because I did and my mom even asked the same thing, because she is smart and taught me everything I know. Yet, I insisted that what I saw was the correct way to do it. So that’s what I did. 1) Melt chocolate, 2) dunk/smear banana with chocolate, 3) freeze, 4) cut…..5) chocolate crumbles off banana onto plate (or floor, or counter,  or shirt…most likely shirt in our case.)

This is a CHOCOLATE COVERED FROZEN BANANA, people….I know what you’re thinking. And gross (I totally thought the same thing) and it makes me giggle every time I see this picture. Yes, I am like a 10 year old.

It was not the correct way to do it. It is now, quite obvious to me that this picture shows sliced bananas that are then dipped in chocolate or have chocolate poured over them, because THAT MAKES TOTAL SENSE. That flat part I’m looking at, that was the part on the tray. Seriously, a genius over here. Geez I wonder where I put my brain sometimes.  Regardless though, chocolate and frozen bananas are freaking awesome and make a nice little treat. Make these.

Failure #2: Bleach Pen T Shirt.  Insert frowny face here. Seriously, this is my saddest failure yet. And I even read the directions. However, I suppose it is my own fault for deviating a bit from them. It’s like the time I made homemade cream puffs from scratch and Martha told me to use parchment paper but I didn’t have any so I used tin foil instead (BECAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE, RIGHT?) and then the entire batch, all 50 of them burn because I didn’t use exactly what Martha had called for. The cream puffs were for a Christmas party that night. The raspberry cream filling had already been made so I had no choice but to drive to the store and buy parchment paper. The cream puffs turned out perfectly. I have had it in my arsenal of cooking tools ever since and learned that when Martha asked for parchment paper, she does not mean tin foil.

Cute shirt, cute little gecko…what could go wrong?

Well here’s the thing. I used my the wall vinyl from my Cricut (What is a Cricut you ask? Only the worlds most awesome crafting necessity!) and also, I realized as I was sitting down to do this project, the Bleach Pen I bought was gel. I don’t think I did that on purpose because I probably wouldn’t have bought gel had I been in my right mind (hmmm, a theme is popping up here!) So I used the gel bleach pen and the vinyl and…..

Voila!

Not quite what I was expecting. But not quite disappointed at the loss of the t shirt. Costco made these fabulous Calvin Klein t’s affordable and so it simply gives me an excuse to buy a few more. In the meantime, this t shirt will now become my tester shirt. I’m going to get a liquid bleach pen and some contact paper and give it another try. Oh no, this project is far from over. I will not give up on this one.

I can’t be the only one with miserable first (or second) attempt at some of these Pinterest projects. What projects/recipes/tips/etc. have you tried and failed at? And what would you have done differently or how did you fix it?  If you would like to put together a little write up and have a guest spot on The Friday Flop, let me know!