Friday, February 28, 2014

My New Favorite Gluten-Free Recipes


Our month is up and it's been an extraordinary adventure. Our eating habits completely changed as a result of going one full month without gluten in our diets. Yes, it was the shortest month of the year, which we highly recommend for challenges like this. Twenty-eight days later, we eat more leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. We eat a lot less bread-type foods like sliced bread, pizza dough, biscuits, and cookies. And we feel much better, but that has to be because we now make much healthier overall choices rather than because we haven't been eating gluten.

The dietary challenge resulted in some experimenting in the kitchen, as well. Here are my new favorite gluten-free recipes:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-free cookies | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. lightly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 TBS warm water
3 c. gluten-free all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 c. chocolate morsels
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Cream the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and water. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and thoroughly mix. Stir in the chocolate morsels and pecans by hand. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Gluten-Free Savory Biscuits


Gluten-free Savory Biscuit Recipe | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Gluten-Free Savory Biscuits
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 1/2  TBS sage
1 1/2 TBS thyme
3 c. gluten-free all purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2/3 c. milk
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

Combine onion, sage, thyme, flour, sugar, and salt. Use a fork to fold in the butter. In a glass measuring cup, still together egg and milk. Stir baking powder and cream of tartar into the egg-milk mixture. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour-butter mixture. This will make a pasty, moist, lumpy mixture. Turn it out onto a clean surface dusted liberally with gluten-free flour. Roll out to about 3/4-inch thickness. Use a floured biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits. You might need a small metal spatula to lift the cut biscuits onto a floured baking pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake on top rack of a 450-degree oven until edges begin to brown. Brush again with melted butter immediately after removing from oven.

To be posted soon: We also came up with a few new non-bakery, gluten-free, healthy eating recipes!

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dancing with My Eye Doctor



Vote Micki & Bill | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Two left feet and bifocals abide in my repertoire of dancing tools. What were they thinking? Raise money for students. Give people a chance to realize their educational dreams and life goals. That's what they were thinking. Okay, I'll give it a whirl.

On May 31, in the hands of the esteemed Dr. William Walker, I will take to the dance floor for the Randolph Community College Foundation. We will spend 90 seconds proving that even writers lacking rhythm can put on a show for a good cause. Thankfully, my partner not only has rhythm, he has music. He's a member of two bands. He had our music selected and the routine roughed out before our first dancers meeting. It's going to be heck of performance.

There will be blog updates on my adventure with Dr. Walker. Wish us the best. No, wait, I'd rather you voted. Vote today. Vote tomorrow. Vote often. Stuff our ballot box. In addition, I'll post information about our fundraising events. Come and spend your money at our events. It's all for education. And even though ours will surely be the bestor at least most entertainingperformance, we only win if we raise the most money. So vote. Donate on our behalf. Buy tickets to the event. Twirl and dip through this journey with us.

Here is the link where you can vote/donate online:
http://www.randolphccfoundation.org/vote.html#!/~/product/category=2215386&id=19867711

From the bottom of my heart to the tips of my two left feet, I sincerely thank you.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wisdom Gleaned From Gluten Free


Hubby and I are learning a lot on our gluten-free February adventure. So much so, I had to devote one of my columns to this experiment in addition to my blog. The most poignant lesson learned was that our diets, prior to February first, were flour-based carb heavy. Apparently, our bodies derived the majority of their nutrients and energy from pizza, pasta, and bread. Much of the sliced bread was consumed in the form of decadent gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches for which Hubby has become known. Not long after giving up gluten it became obvious that our growing spare tires had nothing to do with age—our go-to excuseand everything to do with amber waves of grain.

While we did achieve the gluten free grilled cheese sandwich, the bread was not quite as savory. And it crumbled. Not even hot, melted cheeses could keep it together. But it did look appetizing sitting next to our hot bowls of soup before we tried picking them up and biting into them.

Gluten free grilled cheese & soup | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Picture perfect sandwich before it all came apart.
A little over a week into our experiment, Hubby and I began craving vegetables. All Hubby wanted for supper one night was a salad. When I asked him for supper suggestions, he went into brilliant detail of a fresh salad filled with lots of organic greens, wedges of orange, silky pecans and pine nuts, dried cranberries and raisins, creamy feta crumbles, and sharp cheddar shreds. And if I wanted to top it with glazed salmon, that'd be fine, too.

While we began craving vegetables, we quickly grew tired of rice. We hadn't even eaten all that much rice. However, with our wheat flour substitutes primarily consisting of rice flour, our bodies put up the hand at all things rice. I purchased enough gluten-free flour to live on homemade pizza, pasta, and grilled cheese as we'd always done, but our digestive systems voted the high gluten-free carb diet down.

Chocolate chip cookies don't need gluten | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My new favorite chocolate chip cookies are gluten free.

We discovered there are a few things we prefer to enjoy free of gluten. My chocolate chip cookies are much better made with the flour substitute. And the pecan waffles we made one snow day morning were out of this world. While we don't prefer loaves of gluten free bread for sandwiches, the crumbs made from the loaves, doctored up with homegrown dried oregano and basil, make amazing Italian bread crumbs perfect for meatballs, veggie balls, and breaded cutlets and eggplant.

February is not over, yet. There is more to discover. And at the end of the month, I will share some of our new favorite gluten-free recipes born of this experiment.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare



Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Beauty in the Winter Beast


A humble, pure peace descends upon the soul that sits quietly surrounded by the brilliance of falling snow. Before giving up on the cold, harsh winter, here's a brief look back at some of the beauty Jack Frost bestowed upon us in 2014.

Winter Storm Pax in central NC | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Winter Storm Pax showered beautiful snow upon us.
February Storm 2014 | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
The storm looked ominous at times. 
Snow Birds | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A female cardinal took refuge on our dogwood.
Welcome Sunshine | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
We were so happy when the sun finally broke through.
Carolina Blue Skies | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Brilliant blue North Carolina skies. 
Snow Leaf | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A lone leaf dropped onto a bed of snow.
White Valentine | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Dicey roads and a blanket of snow made
our white Valentine's Day a bit of a challenge.
Snow Bath | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Our statue was snug as a bug in a snow drift. 
Holly Berries | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A few berries left for the snow birds.
Spring Flowers | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
As the snow melted, our spring bulbs pushed
out of the ground and screamed to the world,
"It is nearly time for spring!"
Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Gluten-Free February


Going Gluten Free for February | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
 Let the gluten-free experiment begin!
After overhearing an acquaintance discuss his recent battle with wheat products and newly found love of gluten-free living, I'd had enough. I love bread, as does Hubby. We enjoy homemade breads and pastas, delicious pretzels and crackers, and flour-based confections of all kinds. We make pizza nearly weekly. But wheat has gotten a lot of bad publicity lately. And our acquaintance was fueling the fire with his talk about how terrible wheat foodstuffs can be on our systems, and how healthy he's been since cutting out gluten.

On our walk home from our Friday evening check-in with the locals at our favorite wine bar, I suggested we, too, should consider living gluten-free. The spines on Hubby's back stood on end as he vehemently made his oppositional argument. We were, after all, headed back to our home where a bowl of freshly risen dough awaited sauce, cheese, and a hot oven.
A few last-ditch remarks floated upward into the chilly night air with no further response from Hubby other than a grumble from the depths of his hungry digestive system. I let it go.

Then, while I was lazily enjoying Saturday morning in my pajamas, in our bed, catching up on the Facebook posts I'd missed since checking before going to sleep the previous night, Hubby said, "Okay, we can try it." Then he made his way to the kitchen to make coffee.

I decided not to make a big deal about his surprising change of heart. Rather, I continued to be lazy until I was sick of doing nothing, then I went to the store. I spent $33 of our February food budget on gluten-free food items. I bought all purpose flour, pretzels, crackers, and pasta. My plan is to change the ingredients, but not how we eat. Hubby will still enjoy cold cut sandwiches on slices of homemade bread. We will still have pasta on Wednesday and pizza on Friday. I just hope I'm not taking the joy out of the meals along with the gluten. I'll keep you posted!

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare