Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Zucchini Lasagna & Why We're GF

If you've been coming to my blog for a while(or noticed the blurb on my sidebar,) you know that every recipe I share here is a gluten-free one.  I've never talked about why we eat gluten-free.  My goofy, impulsive, energetic older child, known here as Whirling Dervish, has ADHD.
WD screwing around on top of a stump during our Christmas tree hunt captured on my camera phone.

Gluten-free diets have been known to be beneficial in all sorts of situations like with autism, and lesser known it can help with the symptoms of ADHD.  Let's back up a bit.  Being my first child, I had no reason to believe that he was anything but "all boy."  I didn't realize that his not being able to sit still or take a nap at the early age of 1 was not "normal."  Boys just jump around a lot.  No biggie.  4 separate times by the time he was 8, I had to take him to the ER or walk-in clinic for bleeding head wounds for running into walls.  Ok, maybe that's not normal.  At least that's what the social workers said.  Telling hospital social workers, "No, I don't beat my child" is super fun by the way.

Other ADHD symptoms were also apparent.  He had a tough time slogging through his schoolwork.  Not because he didn't understand the material, but because he couldn't hold his focus for long enough.  His 2nd grade teacher(idiot!) kept him in at recess constantly for not finishing assignments in the allotted time and being disruptive.  She told me that he needed to shore up his basic math skills.  He could do advanced multiplication and long division at that point and tested in the 99th percentile in math.  He was bored.  The list of symptoms runs on and on.  You may wonder why we didn't put him on the drugs.

WD was a tiny kid - in the 4th percentile in weight for the longest time.
WD and his 7th grade lacrosse team.  He's totally a normal sized person now.
The stimulant drugs are all appetite suppressants, and we didn't really want to see him slide off the scale.  So we tried behavioral therapies.  And when I was at my wit's end, after much internet research, tried a gluten-free diet as a last ditch effort before giving in and turning to the drugs.  As it turned out that's all he needed.  We can tell when he's had a bit of gluten, because the aimless wandering starts up, and the back talking(impulsivity) becomes an issue.

Alright, if you've slogged this far, you deserve some lasagna.

What does lasagna have to do with any of the above?  Sometimes other things can look like gluten.  If he's sleep deprived, crankiness will set in, and he may be a bit snappish.  The other day he had slept over at a friend's house, and was acting a bit snippy.  He claimed to have not eaten anything glutenous.  To check to see if it was an ADHD symptom or just tiredness, I gave WD a list of 3 things to buy from the grocery at the bottom of the hill.  Ricotta cheese, zucchini, and onions.  Organized thought, and the ability to remember a list is a big deal with ADHD.  It's also basically the same cognitive function test given to determine concussions and dementia.  He came back with all 3 items.  I mixed 1 1/2 cups of the ricotta with 1/2 cup milk and set them aside, and the zucchini and onions went into a pan with some mushrooms.

I used ground turkey in my sauce.  Lasagna is just layering.  For this one I put a layer of meat sauce, followed by 3 cooked gf lasagna noodles, a layer of half the ricotta mix, half the zucchini mix, a handful of shredded mozzarella, and some grated parmesan, more sauce, and continued on layering like this until the last layer of noodles, finishing up with some tomato sauce and parmesan.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  It was delicious, and my tired boy ate a large rectangle before crawling into bed.

Thanks for popping in and reading this diatribe about ADHD, that was supposed to be a post about lasagna.   I'm linking this up to Gluten-Free Homemaker's Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesdays.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book 'Em

I've been sharing our progress on our new bookshelves here and here.  We need the new bookshelves, because our book situation has definitely gotten out of hand.  I'll be weeding through our books as part of my efforts to get rid of 40 bags in 40 days, but I also used a few of our no longer needed books for a fun craft project, Book Vases.

It'll be fun to decorate the new bookshelves with these.  They started as old college texts.  It's been quite some time since CG and I were in college, and I doubt they'll be of any use to our boys, since texts change almost yearly(huge money racket, but that's a rant for another day.)

I pulled off the covers.  This is easier done with a paperback, but not too difficult with a hardcover either.  I sketched a fluid half vase shape, and cut it out.  This process would be super easy on a bandsaw, but for those of us without a full wood shop, scissors will do just fine.  Just cut a dozen sheets at a time, checking every now and again to make sure that your silhouette hasn't gone too far off course.

A little bit of hot glue

 and some finessing of the pages, and you have a fun art piece.

Thanks for popping and and crafting with me.
Home Stories A2ZTuesday To Do Party

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Built-In Bookcase - Part 2

I had high hopes that our new bookshelves would be in use by now, but as is often the case with DIY, regular life stuff gets in the way.  There were lacrosse & soccer practices & games, party planning, Mardi Gras, and helping some good friends with moving(their new home is so ridiculously gorgeous, that I can't wait to share it with all of you sometime after the official housewarming party.)  Here's where we left off last week.

Some luan was added to box in the open 2 x4s.
My Handy, Hunky Computer Genius

Everything gets pre-primed before being attached.

We used some scrap to make some mockups of the molding.  I knew I wanted to do a board and batten treatment for the bookcase, and needed to figure out how we would integrate it into the baseboards.

The top and base molding were mitered on the chop saw,

and the battens that wrap around the sides were mitered on the table saw.  The battens were ripped from a sheet of mdf to save on cost.

Again, everything was pre-primed before fitted.  We haven't really had a real winter at all this year, but it is still NY, so painting was done inside.

After the notches had been cut in the baseboard to accept the battens,

and the battens fitted, everything was glued and nailed into place.  The grey wall panels will be painted out white.  Please ignore my filthy foyer floors.

And here is where we stand at the moment.  The top has been cut, and the vertical battens are in place.

We still need to stain the top, cut and fit horizontal battens, create shelf supports and install shelves, and paint the whole unit.

Thanks for popping in and DIYing with us.
The DIY Show Off Keeping It Simple

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Phone Dump

I have a confession.  I'm a bad blogger.  I do not carry my giant camera around with me at all times.  I don't even always have it on me when life dictates that I should.  Last month, we attended a christening, and I whispered to CG's aunt that I'm a bad blogger, I can't believe I don't have my camera.  She had me covered and took plenty of pics which she posted here.  What I do have with me at all times is my phone, and I find myself snapping pics with my underpowered camera phone quite often.  Here's some of what I've captured on my phone recently.

Herringbone marble tile clearanced for next to nothing.  Unfortunately there were only 5 sheets of it, so I couldn't even grab it for a future bath remodel.

While flipping through kitchen mags(yes, I did already remodel my kitchen, but I'm addicted to kitchen porn,) I saw this pic and had to snap a pic of it.  Why would a magazine take a closeup pic of such an ill fitting apron front sink?  Why would the GC be ok with his name being associated with this level of work?   The kitchen as a whole was absolutely stunning with this one exception.   Am I too much of a perfectionist or would this bother you?

I love this upholstered headboard that I found at HomeGoods the other day.  Too bad I'm not redoing any bedrooms right now.

The winter that never was must be just about over, because "Chippy" the chipmunk is back.  See his little head poking out of the wall?  SB refers to all chipmunks seen in our yard as Chippy, and honestly believes that it's the same animal.

SB & the Princess holding hands while listening to instruction at TAGS(tag, activities, games, & sports.)

What have you captured on your camera phone recently?  Feel free to link up your phone pics at this impromptu link party and blog hop.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Creamcheese Cookies w/ Ganache

I often talk about making what's-in-the-frig soup.  But standing in front of an open frig or pantry door can sometimes inspire dessert, too.  That's how these Creamcheese Sandwich Cookies w/ Ganache filling were born.

I had some strawberry flavored cream cheese and mascarpone left over from making King's Cake for Mardi Gras the other day.

I also had some Bob's Red Mill all purpose gf flour in the pantry which I wanted to try.  If you've checked out my baking recipes, you'll notice that I tend to make my own flour mixes.  That's because when we went gluten-free the choices were fairly limited and finding our way meant a lot of experimentation with various gf flours.  By the time the big companies came out with gf AP flours, I had already established my own ratio of flour mixes for breads, cookies, cakes, etc.  I couldn't imagine that any one mix could do it all.  But my SIL had a friend who had recently gone back on gluten, and I inherited all of her gf supplies, including the AP flour.

I started by creaming together a cup of cream cheese with 1 cup of butter, both at room temperature.  I added in 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 cup of strawberry flavored agave nectar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, I whisked together 2 cups of the AP flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soday, 1/4 tsp salt.  Combine the dry ingredients with the wet in the mixer.

I dropped the dough by the tsp on a parchment lined cookie sheet and baked for 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are just golden.

I happened to have some ganache sitting in the frig leftover from a truffle making session, too.

These little cookies were begging to be sandwiched.

Thanks for popping in and baking with me.  I'm linking up to Gluten-Free Homemaker's Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Something Swanky's Sweet Treats Thursdays.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras

Am I the only one who's had a devil of a time trying to post today?  Blogger stopped being friendly with IE9.  I could write a blogpost on my other computer using IE8, but that's not the computer that holds my pictures.  I finally had to download Google Chrome to write this post.  Happy Mardi Gras, all!  We like to get together with our best friends every Saturday, and this week's theme was Mardi Gras.  The kids made masks.

We had shrimp, crab cakes, cajun potatoes, jambalaya, and of course King's Cake.

I shared my gf King's Cake recipe with you all last year.
After dinner, the adults went out into the "man cave" and the kids attacked the cake.  WD's friend, The Tank, pulled out his metal detector and found the 2 francs coin that I had hidden in the cake.  Score one for brain power.

Mardi Gras marks the last hurrah before the Lenten period.  I'm joining in on the 40 bags in 40 days movement this Lent.  My home is stuffed to the gills with things we don't need, things that don't enrich our lives, things that should really be donated or put on freecycle.  I hope to hit my goal or even give away more than that.

Thanks for popping in and celebrating with me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Built-In Bookcase - Part 1

I've spent many an hour at the Barnes & Noble cafe sipping coffee while thumbing through books and magazines.  Before SB started school it was our weekly date.  We'd go to storytime then while away the morning with a snack and a stack of reading material.  We still manage to have a Barnes & Noble "date" on occasion.  Consequently, we have a houseful of books.

I've shown our family room wall of books & media here, and of course each of the boys has bookshelves in their bedrooms.  But we needed more bookspace, and I was tired of looking at the 70s jail cell bars that were separating my foyer from my living room.
Stupid bars separating my foyer from the LR behind my FIL

So a project was born.  I was hoping to have finished this over the weekend, but my brother was visiting with his newly-minted fiance(Yay! Finally!) and all construction work came to a grinding halt.  I actually took the recipocating saw to those bars a really long time ago, leaving a blank space over a half wall.

I punched a hole into the wall and shined a flashlight around to make sure that there weren't any wires or anything in there.

Then started the demolition process.  The studs were taken out very carefully with an oscillating multi-tool, so as not to damage the wall on the other side. 

At first I had only been planning on having a bookcase that was the width of the upper opening, but after staring at that hole for awhile, I decided to take the bookcase all the way to the wall, so as not to have a weird little corner space.

CG jumped in on the rebuilding process.  We're a team, and he likes building things.  Using construction adhesive, we attached a sheet of v-groove paneling to the existing drywall for the bookshelf back.  There were some wires along the left side, and instead of rerouting them, we planned to box them in.  For symmetry sake, we built a matching box out of 2x4's for the right side, too.

A 2x4 header attached with our Kreg Pocket Jig, and a sheet of Luan on top are starting to make this half wall look a bit more like a bookcase.  I wish I had a "tada!" after photo to share, but we'll try for next week.

Thanks for popping in and DIYing with me.
Tuesday To Do Party