Monday, October 01, 2012

Stuffed Bell Peppers - Gluten Free Freezer Meals

With a new little one on the way, I am preparing now for quick meals for later this pregnancy (when mama is too tired to do anything) and for when the baby arrives. I teased my husband that we were stocking our freezer just in time for hurricane season. He assured me the generator would be ready to go to keep that freezer going should we be hit with a storm. LOL

 Stuffed Bell Peppers is one of my favorite recipes. Peppers are very versatile in what you can stuff them with and most recipes are gluten free. They also freeze well for later consumption so a big plus in my book.

This recipe makes between 14 and 16 stuffed peppers depending on the size of your peppers. The last batch I made was 16, but while working with this group (32), I was only able to make 28 peppers with the recipe. These peppers were huge!


14-16 firm Bell Peppers
3lbs ground meat (very versatile, use beef, chicken, turkey, pork, etc..)
4 cups cooked rice (I like Basmati rice)
2 cans 28oz each of diced tomatoes (I prefer Hunts with basil & oregano added)
1 can 15oz of tomato sauce (Hunts is used here)
spices: salt, pepper, onions (dried or raw - your choice), garlic (powder or minced - your choice), oregano, thyme

Here are the Johns Island peppers (33)we picked up at the farmer's market 3 for $11
Slice the peppers at the top, reserve the tops for later, remove seeds and ribs.
Brown your meat and drain grease
add seasonings and the diced tomatoes
Peppers prepped for the water bath
Here you can see just how big these peppers are.
Carefully submerge peppers into the boiling water to blanch them. They will turn bright green first, and then go dull. When they are as cooked as you prefer, carefully remove them and set them upright in a baking dish. Repeat with additional peppers until they are all cooked.
Take your meat mixture and add it to a very large mixing bowl
Cook rice per instructions on package
Add the rice to your meat mixture
Mix in your tomato sauce until it is the consistency you prefer
Spoon the mixture into the peppers. Be sure to fill them completely.
Top with cheese if you prefer (this was my first batch ever topped with cheese) and bake at 350 until the cheese is brown & bubbly. Mmmmm..... nice and gooey. These are the ones I did for dinner.
Here are all of the peppers filled and ready for their bags.
All of the rest were placed in FoodSaver freezer bags and the air was sucked out, and bag sealed with our FoodSaver. Sealed up, marked and ready to go!! I do recommend thawing completely before baking after freezing. Otherwise, it takes FOREVER for them to heat through. Well I started working on this post back in June. Yes, I know. We have been very busy with our homeschooling trying to get 90 days (half year in) before the baby arrives. Along with nesting for the baby and cooking, I haven't had much time!! I did do another batch of peppers and I stuffed them in the middle with a mixture of 1 whole container of Ricotta cheese, mixed with fresh mozzarella, grated Romano & Parmesan cheese, divided between all the peppers. I put a little of the meat mixture in the bottom of the pepper, then a couple heaping tablespoons of the cheese mixture, then the meat mixture to the top. Then topped them with mozzarella. Oh MY!! They were fabulous and that's how DH wants them from now on! I hope you enjoy the recipe!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Princess D's Epic Newborn Stash!

(L-R, Top Row)Mojito*,Ocean, Lime, Burnt Orange, Sunflower, Bahama Blue (L-R Middle Row)Auburn*, Plum*, Salmon*, Cotton Candy*, Melon*, Tiffany Blue* (L-R Bottom Row) Amber*, Periwinkle*, Violet, Lavender*, Tulip Red, Flamingo
Bahama Blue - dyed originally for John-Michael
Tiffany Blue* I LOVE this color, and love Tiffany & Co!! The knit skirty is handknit by me and the longies set is colorway Iced Giraffe
Tulip Red and a Muttaqin Baby Newborn fitted in Baby Nay's Pink Dotted Elephant
Flamingo with unknown flannel fitted
Salmon*, I had to use the flash so you can see the color differences. NB longies of unknown colorway.
Lavender*, with a Goodmama Newborn Sakura Tea fitted in a Baby Nay print
Cotton Candy*
Burnt Orange - orginaly dyed for John-Michael. This color is either no longer available or is called "Goldfish" now.
Sunflower - originally dyed for John-Michael. Handmade chick diapers by me.
Auburn* - Skirty is hand dyed and hand knit by me.
Lime - Originally dyed for John-Michael. Color is no longer made by Dylon. Fitted made by me.
Ocean - originally dyed for John-Michael. Sailboat fitted made by me.
Mojito* shown with a fitted made in Baby Nay's Lemon Lime
Amber* - shown with longies set in Iced Giraffe
Dress in Mosaic Moon's Autumn Custom with Violet trim on what I believe is Cestari wool. Shown all the diapers I can't wait to pair with it! The * denotes colors I created with various dyes. If there is no star then the color name is given from the package of Dylon dye. I have had such a great time nesting for this baby and creating all these beautiful diaper sets!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cindy Woodsmall Friend of the Week Win

Back on July 2nd, New York Times Best-Selling author, Cindy Woodsmall, posted a giveaway on her Facebook page. The giveaway was for an Amish-made wall hanging. I received word that I had won and got a personal email from Cindy regarding my wall hanging. Today, a package arrived at our door it and was my beautiful wall hanging. I can't wait to get it hung this afternoon!! Here it is for you to view!!
I hope you will "like" Cindy on her Facebook page, find her on, or go out to your nearest bookstore and buy some of Cindy's books!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Odyssey Restaurant - James Island

Last week, my bestie Beth, my dad, and I took all the munchkins to the South Carolina Aquarium and then out to lunch. We decided on a newly opened restaurant on Folly Road, Odyssey, for lunch.

Odyssey is a Greek and Mediterranean restaurant that is tucked away behind the CVS at Camp Road. Greek food is another one of my favorites, and there are plenty of gluten free choices to be had.

The inside is very nicely decorated and we were the only ones there for lunch. We know why.

For starters this restaurant does NOT have a lunchtime menu. So that means you are paying full dinner price on anything you order (unless you get just the sandwich price). It also took FOREVER to get our food. I think we were there close to two hours. And with 3 kids aged 6 and under, we did pretty well with the munchkins.

All that aside, I had a very yummy meal!! Beth and I chose the Dosa, while dad got the Sample Plate #2. A Dosa is a "warm crisp wrap made from rice and white split peas." With this, you get to choose 5 items. I chose - Feta Cheese, Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Greek Potatoes, and Fresh Baby Spinach, and I added Gyros for an additional $2.50. Sorry, but with an $8.35 price meat SHOULD be one of the 10 options you have to choose from. Anyways, here is a picture of my yummy Dosa:

Mmmmm..... yummy!!! It also came with Tzatziki sauce and the Dosa really took the place of having Pita to dip. Mmmm.... Pita. Too bad Pita is wheat. LOL

Would I go to this restaurant again? YES!! Just only for dinner and (hopefully) sans kids. None of the children ate their meals which was disappointing.

If you are on the island and want Greek food, this is the place to go, especially for the Dosa. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spice Junction

So it's that time of year again!! It's right around my birthday so I get to choose where I want to eat for my birthday celebration. I LOVE Indian food. I have since the first bite over 13 years ago.  My husband is not partial to Indian food, he just doesn't have a well developed palate. :)

So during the week of my birthday, hubby was off in Columbia for work meetings. I drove up Thursday night to stay with him at the hotel before we left the next morning for Belmont Abbey and the IHM Carolina Catholic Homeschool Conference.

So deciding where I wanted to eat in Columbia was kind of hard at first. Then I found a listing for Spice Junction. From now on THIS is where we are going!!

 Sorry for the bad picture, this was taken through the front windshield of my Odyssey. There were lots of people around and looking at us funny. Spice Junction is located near the intersection of US 1 and Interstate 26 in West Columbia. It's in the Bi-Lo shopping strip and tucked away near the corner.

This is a no frills buffet. It's $8.99 per person. The decor is similar to that of a cafeteria with a few Indian nick nacks on the wall. What it lacks in decor it definitely makes up in food!! The buffet was large and ample. The owners were super nice and showed me each food that contained wheat in it, and even brought me my own "special rice" that I couldn't have on their bar (the regular basmati rice was fine).

It's all self served including the water. Just fill up your glasses and water pitcher and you are good to go! I LOVE having my own pitcher because I do usually drink an insane amount of water while eating - especially Indian food. At the restaurants here in Charleston, the Indian men don't seem like they want to wait on this Anglo girl, and I end up drinking mine and Joe's water before they come to refill the glasses.

Anyways, just LOOK at this plate. Can you not taste it through the screen?? Mmmmmm.... There is Tikka Masala on the bottom right, clockwise is Butter Chicken, buried is a piece of Tandori Chicken, then I want to say Chicken Curry, then Dal, and their scrumptious spinach & corn dish, and a big heaping of basmati rice in the center. And no, I did NOT eat everything on this plate - I was stuffed. My hubby, on the other hand, ate THREE plates. Yes, and he doesn't care much for Indian. This place is a WINNER!!

My only disappointment has been that before I was gluten free, I had to order Naan and pay extra for it and I got all the Pappadam that I wanted (which I don't much care for). Since becoming gluten free, everyone is giving away Naan, and you have to buy Pappadam. What's up with that??

I do hope the next time you are in Columbia, that you try out Spice Junction. If I have my way, this will be the only place we eat while there!! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grace no more

My morning "coffee" is checking my email and Facebook. This morning I saw a post from my friend Ashley to check out Garlands of Grace's Facebook post.

Ok, so I went and looked. And was amazed. Here is what Garlands of Grace wrote on their wall:

In response to several ladies who have wondered and many others who have presumed, I am compelled to share:
Garlands of Grace in NOT a Catholic run business. I am burdened for all who stand with the Catholic Church and would plead with you to come out and believe the Word of God.

"This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:11-12

I am saddened that I have wanted their headcoverings and promoted their home business by showing others their beautiful coverings. I respect other beliefs, but I can not respect/promote/buy from a business which openly bashes my faith.

I hope you will all join me in boycotting Garlands of Grace headcoverings. Spread the word of their anti-Catholic beliefs, and let's keep our money going to businesses which are Catholic or at least do not spread hatred.

I encourage you that if you are on Facebook, you will join Catholic Coverings, a Facebook group dedicated to promoting Catholic businesses.

*please note that I will not post links to businesses that I am boycotting. If you are interested in seeing what is going on, or you would like to see their items, a simple Google search will get you there. Thank you for understanding!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix Review

Bob's Red Mill Wheat/Gluten/Dairy Free Brownie Mix is a more expensive brownie mix than you typically find in the grocery stores. The price ranges from $4 to $7 per 21oz bag. It can be found at locally at Big Lots for around $4.30, and Earth Fare and Publix for $6.99.

Bob's Red Mill describes it as "A deep and intense dark chocolate flavor combines with a wonderfully moist cake texture make our Gluten Free Brownie Mix an instant favorite. A must for all chocolate lovers."

Directions are simple, preheated oven at 350degrees, a sprayed 13x9 pan, beat 3/4c or 1-1/2 sticks of melted butter (or margarine for dairy free), 1 egg, 2tsp GF vanilla, 3/4c warm water with a mixer on medium until combined. Pour batter in pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool, and serve 16 pieces (2x3 inch).

Each prepared brownie has 210 calories from fat. This could be reduced by using applesauce instead of butter.

The texture is a very thick, chocolate-y, cake like brownie. The chocolate used is Ghiradelli chocolate and the quality shows. Be prepared to enjoy one of these brownies with as scoop of ice cream, or dairy free ice cream product. It is thick, rick, and definitely an indulgence.

Gluten Free brownie lovers - REJOICE!! These are a definite pantry item for those days when you need a good brownie.

Gluten Free living

It's been two months, and it's time to let the cat out of the bag. Late last year, our oldest was diagnosed with a wheat allergy. We are hoping this is the cause of his eczema that started over a year ago. His blood test came back inconclusive due to the horrible blood draw they did at the allergist office.

If you ask Joshua about the experience, the nurses "broke" his arm and "took all" of his blood. It was traumatic not only for him, but for us as well. DH and I decided we would not have him undergo that blood draw again (the first one barely got anything, even after digging in his arm with the needle). Instead, I got busy doing what I do best - research.

After researching wheat and gluten allergies, I discovered my own intolerance as well as my mother's undiagnosed Celiac Disease. DH and I decided that we would not endure the testing either on myself or our son for a full Celiac or gluten intolerance diagnosis.

Instead, we began the journey of living Gluten Free. Since giving up gluten on January 1, our lives have changed for the better. I am going to start bringing you reviews of gluten free "replacement" items, as well as new recipes that we are enjoying.

I hope you will enjoy this new journey with us.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Best Cleaner Ever!!

I LOVE Pinterest!!

I "Pin" just about daily. I have an app on my iPod, so I surf while in bed and look at all the wonderful, crafty things I can do with my "free time."

One of those pins is this cleaner over at Life, Crafts & Whatever.

Alright, so I'm in need of a good cleaner. We have HARD water around here. I have to break out the serious, heavy duty cleaners when I clean my bathrooms.

So I had eh, about a cup of Dawn left, and I heated up a cup of vinegar for 2 minutes. Be careful when you pour it into your bottle the plastic starts to expand and it moves a little on you. Then add the Dawn. Grab a pot holder and give it a good shake. Ooohhh, maybe you can shake it like a shake weight and add some exercise as well!!

Anyways, I took my bottle and headed upstairs to the main culprits. Exhibit A is the "Guest bathroom" this is uber cleaned whenever guests come over, and about once a week-ish cleaned other times. It is not a normally used bathroom. Although, our oldest has started to use it during the night which makes for some interesting cleaning.

Exhibit B is our Master bath. This is the tub/shower that is so big, the four of us take a family shower together (my kids are still little so it's ok), a vanity area, and DH's "reading room." The shower is sprayed after each shower or bath with a homemade refill of Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner and given a quick scrub while we are in the shower.

So I removed all necessary items from the counters, and squirted down everything with this cleaner. I let it set for a few minutes while I gathered my scrubbing supplies.


Is all I can say. This stuff is THE BOMB!! So you know those streak marks through the soap scum that all the other cleaners leave but don't get it entirely? Yep! GONE!!

Know that "hand print" your husband leaves on the back of the toilet wall that he uses to balance himself? Yep! GONE!!

Knot that icky yellow streak down the front of your toilet and around the base from having menfolk in the house? Yep! GONE!!

It looks like I spent HOURS cleaning each bathroom. I usually have to borrow my dads Black & Decker Scum Buster every six months or so to really get our tub clean.


This is my favorite cleaner and I can't wait to make some more!!! I need to go out and buy some more Dawn tonight because this stuff is awesome!!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Help Save Veronica Capobianco!!

Look at this sweet face. This is Veronica. She is 2. She is 4 months younger than my John-Michael. Tonight her Mommy & Daddy are missing her.

Veronica was in the process of being adopted, when at the 11th hour, the Cherokee Nation stepped in and halted the adoption. Court rulings now made this little girl to be taken from the only home she has never known, and driven 1100 miles away to Oklahoma.

In 1830, the United States instituted the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In 1838, the Cherokee nation was forced to move to Oklahoma. The Cherokee call the event Nu na da ul tsun yi—“the Place Where They Cried." Now, 174 years later, the Cherokee Nation made this two year old child embark on her own Trail of Tears, due to the abuse of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1977. On New Years Eve, she was taken from her Mommy & Daddy, put into a truck with strangers, and driven 1100 miles away to Oklahoma.

Please go to Save and join the fight. Spread the news on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and message boards.

Saint Thomas More, Saint Clotilde, Saint William of Rochester, pray for this family & for this adoption!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

Good bye 2011, HELLOooooo 2012!!

We are so looking forward to all of the blessings & challenges that 2012 will be bringing us this year.

Do you do resolutions?? We don't. We make goals for ourselves for the year and strive to meet them. I haven't set down yet with DH and make them up, so will will be doing those and posting those soon.

One new change this year is for my Motivated Moms Planner. Last year, my good friend Tiffany, told me about this planner and it helped to simplify my life! This year, I bought the Motivated Moms App to save trees!!

Starting this year off, I went to The Saints Name Generator and got a name for our Patron saint of the year.

St. Maximilian Kolbe

was chosen as our saint for 2012. St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!!

I hope 2012 brings you many blessings!!
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