gluten free

Pad Thai from Home

Jordan introduced me to Thai food 2 years ago and almost every time I visit her we go and get Pad Thai from the best Thai place in Fayetteville. It wasn't until I started researching clean eating and new recipes that I was interested in trying to make my own Thai food.

I took a chance on this Pad Thai dinner starter and I am super glad I did! There were some microwavable versions but there is something about putting my dinner in the microwave to cook that doesn't sound very healthy or appetizing.


The starter came with the rice noodles and sauce packet. I added some thinly sliced chicken and fried up an egg to spread in. Next time I want to add some sprouts and other veggies.




The best part was Kyle loved it, it took about 20 minutes to whip up, and the whole meal cost about $5 total for the starter, chicken, and egg!

I know I'm always looking for convenient, healthy, and budget friendly so I had to share!



 P.S. This is gluten and dairy free!

-N




Gluten Free Blueberry Donuts


This shift over to gluten free eating has been extremely rewarding for me, but I sure do miss a few specific gluten-filled foods. I have been craving a Saturday morning trip to the donut shop lately, so instead I did a little research and landed on a recipe that looked too good to be true.  The photo doesn't really do justice to how awesome these little cake donuts tasted (I couldn't find a donut tin on my on-a-whim trip to get these ingredients, so I used a mini cake tin)--the lemon glaze was so perfect and so easy. 


Ingredients

1¾ cup gluten free flour 

¾ teaspoon xanthan gum 

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup blueberries

½ cup pure maple syrup 

4 tablespoons coconut oil

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

¾ cup plain yogurt (Greek or coconut milk yogurt work)

2 extra large eggs

1 cup powdered sugar

Juice from 1 lemon


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a donut tin or a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set aside. I used a mini cake tin because I couldn't find a doughnut tin.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and nutmeg. Place blueberries in a small bowl, add a tablespoon of the whisked dry ingredients and toss to coat. Set aside.
3. Place the maple syrup, coconut oil and shortening in a small saucepan and heat over a medium-high flame, stirring frequently, until all ingredients are melted and have begun to simmer. Remove from the heat and add the yogurt. Mix to combine.
4. Pour the maple syrup and yogurt mixture into the center of dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add the eggs, and mix. Fold the berries into the batter until they are evenly distributed throughout. 
5. Fill the wells of the donut pan or muffin tin about ¾ of the way full. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until the the cakes spring back into place when lightly pressed. 
6. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack. 
7. While the donuts are cooling, place the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and mix well, adding a few more drops of lemon juice until a thick paste forms. Add more lemon juice by the teaspoon until the glaze is thick, but easy to pour.
8. Dip each donut in glaze and set on parchment paper.

Happy baking!

-J

(recipe adapted from Gluten Free on A Shoestring)


Apple Crisp Granola




Ingredients:

3 cups gluten free rolled oats 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large apple, diced (I prefer Granny Smith)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar



Preheat oven to 325F degrees.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together until combined.  Fold in the apple. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, applesauce, maple syrup, and brown sugar.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined.  Spread onto two baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes, making sure to stir the granola every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning.  Allow granola to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheets for crunchiness.

Happy breakfasting!

-J

Let's Get Personal


What a title, right? It scares me a little, and I wrote it.  I'm not really sure how else to preface what I'm about to discuss, so here we go.

Last week I had every woman's favorite annual doctor's appointment.  You know the one.  Bleck.  I dread that day the entire month leading up to it. My first appointment was three years ago, which I had no choice but to make because I was doubled over in pain.  I returned less than a year later to learn I had six bursting cysts on my ovary, which explained why I had basically been crying through my last two weeks of college. As the doctor wrote my prescription, he asked, "So...were you wanting to have kids someday?"  I didn't like his tone.  

I'm not one of those people who feels called to one specific career for the rest of my days.  I want to do a lot of different things, and I change my mind often.  Poor Daniel--he gets so excited and supportive when I tell him about a new dream job, and then a week later it changes.  I'm so thankful for the stability and security his job dedication provides us, because I'm all over the place.

The one thing I've never questioned, though, is my desire to be a mother. It's more of a need, really.  One of my earliest embarrassing memories is of my adult male neighbor walking into my childhood living room while I was pretending to breastfeed a babydoll--I was probably four or five years old and quite bothered that someone would disturb such an intimate moment between my pretend child and me. 

When I learned I had PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome), I was preparing to move to Northwest Arkansas for a full time nanny job (and also kind of for my boyfriend, which I wouldn't admit then--but he's my husband now, so yay!).  Graduation was two days away, and I was pumped to do daily life with a couple of very cute little ones who I assumed would help prepare me for my future children. The thought of those children never actually existing broke my heart.

Daniel and I had already discussed where we thought our relationship was headed--I wouldn't have moved here if things weren't serious.  But all of a sudden I felt like I was being unfair to him--he had no idea he was discussing spending the rest of his life with a woman who may not be able to give him children.  He LOVES kids.  I was nervous.

I told him what was going on and that I completely understood if he wanted to rethink where this was going.  He didn't.  We weren't engaged or anything yet so I didn't want to freak him out with questions about his opinion on adoption, but I didn't have to worry about that for long, because he brought it up.

In the last two years, our hearts for adoption have grown from "This is an option." to "How many children can we provide for?" I was never against adoption--not at all.  I was just a young, single college student who didn't plan on thinking about raising children until I was happily settled into married life.  But the Lord had other plans for me.

In the year leading up to our wedding, we began researching the adoption process and talking to families in our church about what it looked like for them.  We are blessed with a church family full of adopted and foster children and are so inspired by what these parents go through to bring their kids home safely.  We are so excited to begin that journey in the future!

During my appointment last year, my old doctor told me I probably needed to start trying within a year if I was serious about wanting to have a baby.  This was two weeks before Daniel and I got engaged, and wasn't exactly the most exciting news for him.

"So we have to get pregnant on our wedding night, basically?"

We both see babies as a huge blessing on a marriage, but, like a lot of couples, we would like a little time to figure out and enjoy each other before we add more humans to the mix.  We agreed that I'd get a second opinion from a new doctor after the wedding.

A lot can change in a year, friends.  The first year I lived here, I was unemployed for almost five months, unsure of how to make friends my age since I didn't go to school here, and pretty dang depressed.  I did a lot of sitting and applying for jobs and eating like a college kid with Daniel.  I ran with Penny almost daily, but I got sick to my stomach all the time and didn't feel all that great in my skin.  That's me on the left that year:


Early last year, I ended up finding out I was gluten intolerant on top of being lactose intolerant (apparently they're often combined), and a lot of my issues were symptoms of eating against my body's wishes.  I gradually changed my diet, cut out fast food completely and eventually went almost totally organic and gluten free.  I had more energy and began working out twice a day, because I liked running to wake up before work and I liked doing yoga to relax after sitting most of the day.  I didn't realize how it was changing me until my bridesmaids got here two days before the wedding and asked where most of me went, haha.  It was then I decided to weigh myself (I don't like to weekly track my progress by the number on the scale because of past unhealthy weight loss obsession experiences)--I had lost 30 pounds.


I'll admit, feeling better about myself definitely made my wedding day more enjoyable.  I didn't eat any gluten or dairy in the three weeks before so I had no chance of getting sick to my stomach.  After that, I knew I needed to make it a permanent lifestyle change (which is why I keep posting all of these gf/df recipes!).  Instead of being frustrated with my limitations, I needed to start appreciating the body God gave me and what it was capable of and allowing it to feel its best by treating it well.

Fast forward to my appointment last week--this one was different than all the others.  I didn't go in because of pain, for one.  I also saw a new doctor, who was very pleasant and optimistic about the measures we could take to try and have biological children--we sat in his office and talked about them before my exam.

Afterward, though, he laughed and said, "You're very healthy.  Whatever you've done to improve your symptoms, keep doing it and I think we'll have a baby, no problem."

I hadn't changed my health habits with the intention of bettering my chances at having children, but apparently it did that, on top of all the other positives.  Not that I know how hard it will be to get pregnant yet--we aren't currently trying--but it was such happy news!

Even so, I'm so thankful for the past couple of years of uncertainty, because who knows if our hearts would have been so intensely opened to adoption otherwise?

Hooray for the Lord's healing, provision, and promises.  I don't know exactly when or how our children will join our little family, but it's crazy to think one or more of them may already be breathing somewhere on this earth.  I'm praying for them, and for those who may not exist in our physical world yet but have already been thought up by our great God.

Thanks for wanting to share in this adventure with us!

-J