About mollykhodgin

Professionally gluten-free wife, sister, and daughter living in Nashville, TN. I love to read, write, cook, and watch lots of TV.

Hurricane Sandy Relief

KidLit Cares Auction

So I know we normally blog about food and wellness, but this is a little different. There are a ton of people in the Northeast still without food, water, or electricity. And even more are facing a cold start to winter with damage to heir homes and no heat. As a former New Yorker, I couldn’t be more scared and upset for them. So I’m giving back and I’m hoping you will want to to or that maybe you’ll know someone who wants to.

My day job is a children’s book editor. So I’ve donated my editorial skills as part of an auction with others in the children’s book industry to help raise money for those affected by Sandy. I’m auctioning off a two-round manuscript critique. I’ll read your manuscript (any length or type, although I specialize in middle grade fiction), send comments and notes, then read your revision, and send further comments. Most people are auctioning off a first chapter critique or a cover letter critique–a two-round revision of any manuscript is gold in the publishing world for an aspiring writer! So please bid for yourself or even as a gift to a writer in your life. But please bid, it’s for a really good cause!

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Ranch Pork Chops

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

I was skeptical of this recipe. I pulled it straight from Pinterest and was a little worried I may end up with a total pin fail (like something from Pintester or Pinterest You Are Drunk), but they were actually pretty good. Plus they were so easy, I’d be hard pressed not to put them into my rotation! I may experiment with adding some hearty root veggies into the pot with the pork chops this fall when they are in season–parsnips and carrots would be awfully good with these.

My one recommendation is not to let these cook too long. I put them into the crock pot frozen at about 7:30 and didn’t get home until 7 last night. My crock pot has a swap to warm feature after a time you set, but just being in the for 12 hours really dried these babies out! The first time I made them, they cooked for 6 hours and were perfectly juicy and tasty.

Ranch Pork Chops

  • Pork chops (I recommend nice thick chops)
  • Ranch packet
  • Cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can water

IN THE BAG: Combine all ingredients.

TO COOK: Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (depending on thickness of the chops) in slow cooker. Serve with a salad and stir-fried or roasted veggies. I had mine with oven roasted butternut squash and stir-fried broccoli and onion.

The Big 3-0

So, I have a confession to make. On Friday, I turned (gasp!) 30. I know, right?!

Anyway, I went into this birthday feeling more than a little trepidation. There’s something about 30. It just feels like a big milestone. And despite the fact that I have a truly wonderful life, I’ve recently come face to face with the notion that part of growing up means making big decisions, and realizing that each decision closes a door or several. I’ve made some awesome choices–I married my best friend, we live surrounded by our great families and we have strong, loyal friendships, we both have great jobs that give us so many opportunities to grow and have money for more than just the necessities. I am so blessed. But that doesn’t mean that a big milestone birthday like 30 didn’t make me take pause and look back at the choices I let go of, the dreams that I probably won’t accomplish, and the ones I still can.

So in the spirit of that, I present my “30 Things To Do In Year 30” list. These are things I don’t want to let another year go by without accomplishing. And I’m sharing it here on Gluten-Free Gluttons because quite a few of them have to do with food, health, and wellness–which means you’ll be hearing more about them!

  1. Pay off my car loan
  2. Get into a weekly workout routine—and stick with it!
  3. Write an original novel
  4. Make at least one new female friend
  5. Get completely caught up on my scrapbooking
  6. Become familiar with Photoshop (you can see my first attempt above!)
  7. Master 3 new hairstyles
  8. Complete one room in our house
  9. Go on a regular date night with my husband
  10. Learn to sew on a button
  11. Go to five Nashville landmarks I’ve never been to or haven’t been to in ages
  12. Fall back in love with my kitchen (more cooking, less eating out)
  13. Finish my house sewing projects with my mom
  14. Master 2 new impressive dinner recipes for company
  15. Finish the scarf I started knitting in 2007
  16. Tame our landscaping
  17. DIY something that scares me a little
  18. Take more walks
  19. Phone a different faraway friend each week
  20. Disconnect more—no laptop, TV, iPad, or Phone
  21.  Celebrate 30 in style
  22. Give back
  23. Get organized and stay that way
  24. Kick my caffeine habit
  25. Travel somewhere I’ve never been before
  26. Buy more farm fresh veggies at the Farmer’s Market
  27. Listen to more live music
  28. Say no and don’t overcommit
  29. Take at least 2-4 day off a month—no errands, no work, no obligations, just fun
  30. Get back on a strict savings plan

You’ll notice #21 is crossed off, because I did, indeed, celebrate 30 in style. I was showered in great gifts–including some serious bling and 2 dozen orange roses from my husband–my work friends decorated my office and took me out to lunch and brought me (apple-free) gluten-free cookies, and my husband threw me a wonderful birthday party at Eastland Cafe with 15 of my friends. They were very, very accommodating to my allergies. I had their organic arugala salad and Mahi Mahi special. yum.

They even let us bring in a beautiful chocolate and raspberry gluten-freecake from Crumb de la Crumb. The party was awesome in every way–and I didn’t feel old at all!

Then, on Sunday, I got to celebrate with my parents, sister, and aunt and uncle. My dad grilled chicken brats and my mom made my fav gf cheesy potato casserole and a gf pumpkin cake with cream-cheese icing. I am one lucky 30 year old!

The Grim, Hypoallergenic Soup, and an Allergy Attack!

For those of you out there with severe allergies, there is no worse feeling in the world then that moment your throat begins to close and you realize you’ve eaten or been exposed to something on your severe allergy list. It happened to me yesterday.

A sweet and every well-meaning co-worker had made gluten-free, corn-free chocolate chip cookies. They were delicious. But I’d eaten almost the whole cookie when I heard her tell another co-worker that she’d used applesauce in place of sugar. I immediately threw away the rest of the cookie, but the damage had been done. I’m very allergic to apples, so I popped a half of a Benadryl®. But twenty minutes later, my throat and tongue started to swell and I could feel my face getting bigger. Another half a Benadryl® and another twenty minutes later, and I had to go home and take another (I don’t drive if I have to take more than one, so I went home before I took #2). As I turned down my street (which faces a large park) I saw a huge black dog all alone in the park under some trees. At that point, I had enough medicine actively working in me that, combined with the fact that I had just re-read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban over the weekend, my first thought was, “OMG! It’s a Grim! I’m going to die.” Yes, I know: nerd alert!

Luckily, my mom was able to meet me there to make sure I didn’t need to go to the hospital. And clearly, the black shaggy dog did not mean my demise was imminent since I’m writing this to you now. The second full Benadryl® did the trick, but I was essentially passed out until this morning, when I groggily got up and made my way out to vote and go to work. But I know I’ll be taking a half a Benadryl® morning and night for the next week to three weeks as the hives continue and my body slowly, but surely recovers. Bummer, huh?

But the whole thing got me thinking about what would have happened if I didn’t find out about the apples right away and had gotten really sick at work. The “Grim” I saw may have been a little more terrifying then! So I thought I should share my reaction plan with y’all and see if you have any other tips or tricks for dealing with a bad reaction.

Molly’s Allergy Attack Plan:

  1. As soon as I start feeling a reaction, I tell someone–preferably more than just one person. I also show them my EpiPen® and explain how it works if they don’t already know. (Multiple family members, friends, and co-workers have had this demonstration and know the drill already). If I’m alone, I call everyone I can think of within driving distance until someone agrees to come over and watch me.
  2. I take a half a Benadryl® and give it 20 minutes to kick in. If I’m still feeling it after 20 minutes, I take another half. If, after 40 minutes and a whole pill, I’m still feeling it, I get myself to somewhere I can sleep and take another pill.
  3. If within 20 minutes of taking the second Benadryl®, I am still feeling reactive (and not just sleepy from the medicine), I immediately go to the ER and get treatment.
  4. Once I have the most immediate symptoms of the reaction under control, I generally sleep for the next 12-15 hours. I do ask that my husband wake me to make sure I get lots of fluids and eat something super-safe. I’ve found that drinking plenty of water helps reduce symptoms and helps my body recover more quickly.
  5. I stick to very safe foods (like the recipe below) for the next few weeks, knowing my body will be more reactive than usual until it recovers from the bad attack. This means no eating out and making sure I prepare everything I eat myself if at all possible. I usually have hives for several weeks after an attack, so I pop a half a Benadryl® morning and evening to help control the uncomfortable itching. I also try to get extra sleep and rest.

What about you? Do you do anything differently after an attack? I’d love any tips for a speedier recovery!

This time around, my awesome mom made me potato soup while she was keeping an eye on me to make sure the Benadryl® was working and I didn’t need further treatment. This is a go-to food for me when I’m reactive as I know nothing in it bothers me and it’s hydrating since it’s soup! Here’s the recipe:

Hypo-Allergenic Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Cups chopped potatoes
  • 3 Cups broth (I use Pacific Vegetable or Chicken Broth)
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • 1 Cup chopped celery
  • 1 Cup chopped, cooked chicken (I generally just pan-fry in a little olive oil)
  • Seasoning to taste–I like salt, pepper, cilantro leaves, organic poultry blend, thyme, or rosemary
  • Grated cheese (optional for serving)

Directions:

  1. Sauté onion and celery in olive oil until slightly translucent.
  2. Add chicken, potatoes, broth, and seasoning. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer soup for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Serve with grated cheese

Voila! Easy, delicious, and safe. Perfect for recuperating with a good book, like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, just don’t let your imagination run away with you like mine did!

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Breakfast Casserole

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

Sometimes breakfast for dinner can be fun. Other times, you just want breakfast for breakfast, am I right? Well this recipe works either way. You can toss it in the slow cooker in the morning for dinner or at night and it will be ready when you wake up. And who doesn’t love waking up to a nice, hot breakfast? It’s great for long weekends or holidays. The recipe geniuses at Better Homes & Gardens really know how to get me! Try it–I promise you won’t regret it! I added a layer of frozen shredded hash browns and it was awesome–but it’s delicious without those too!

Breakfast Casserole

  • 8 uncooked eggs
  • 1/2 pound GF breakfast sausage
  • 1 small can green chilies
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 
1 green pepper, chopped
  • 
1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • frozen GF hash browns

 IN THE BAG: Store eggs (scrambled with whisk and seasoned with salt and pepper), veggies, cheese, and meat in separate quart bags.

TO COOK: Grease or spray the crockpot with the butter. Layer meat, veggies and cheese, repeating until you’ve used all the ingredients—your last layer should be cheese. Beat the eggs and pour over the mixture. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve over hash browns.

 

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Teriyaki Chicken

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

This quick and easy recipe comes from Penny at Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. The sauce is a little sweet for me, so I cut down the sugar. You could also sub a GF pre-made Teriyaki sauce for the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, pepper.

This recipe is perfect paired with rice and stir-fried veggies for a quick Asian-inspired meal. I stir-fryed up some broccoli, cauliflower, and onions and served mine with rice! It was really good! (And yes, I was eating this in my living room in front of the TV–just keeping it classy!)

 

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

  • 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Hot cooked long grain rice

IN THE BAG: In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper.  Pour over chicken.

TO COOK: Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until chicken is tender.  Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.  Skim fat from cooking liquid.  Serve chicken and sauce over rice with stir-fried veggies.

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Italian Chicken and Veggies

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

I’ve seen variations of this recipe on the web and in a few cookbooks–probably because it’s kind of a no-brainer. Maybe I lived in NYC for too long, but nothing says comfort food to me like a cheesy Italian dish. Perfect for a chilly fall day.

This one was a big hit with my husband–I only ate one serving and he finished the rest off over the course of a couple of nights. He requested expressly that I make this one again!

Italian Crock-pot Chicken

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 16 Ounce Bottle of GF Italian Dressing (I used Kraft Tuscan Italian, but I think I may swap for a less sweet Italian dressing next time–it was a little sweet for my taste, although my husband loved it)
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese (I will often add a dollop of cream cheese to this)
  • GF Italian Seasoning
  • 6 Potatoes cut in  wedges
  • 2 cups of baby carrots
  • Fresh basil to taste, chopped

IN THE BAG: All Ingredients.

TO COOK: Place chicken in pot first. Top with carrots. Top with potatoes. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice pasta or with a salad.

Restaurant Review: The Cottage Cafe

I was lucky enough to grab lunch recently with my friends LSS of Frugal Nashville and CBR in their Bellevue neighborhood. I say lucky because I NEVER have enough time to take an actual lunch break–can I get an Amen for eating like a grown-up with conversation and courses instead of shoving a GF sandwich in my face while typing with the other hand?!

photo by the wonderful and talented Kate Murphy: http://www.katemurphyphotography.com

We chose the Cottage Cafe, which I’d been wanting to try for a long time. It’s run by Crumb de la Crumb, the same company that made my amazing gluten-free key lime infused wedding cake. YUM. The cafe is in an adorable antique shop and has a definite “Southern Ladies Who Lunch” vibe to it with floral table clothes, fruit tea, and homemade lemonade. We were so busy catching up that I didn’t take any pictures–bad blogger, I know!–but the food was pretty darn tasty. There were tons of gluten-free options and I actually struggled with what to order because there were so many choices! Imagine me squealing in delight about that!

The appetizer was crackers with cheddar jelly–basically GF crackers with a dip of sweet jelly, bacon, green onions, and fresh cheddar cheese. It was the perfect salty/sweet combo and we cleaned both plates. Then we each opted for the Grilled Cheese. In true Southern style, it was made with Pimento Cheese, Benton’s Bacon, and fried to golden brown perfection in butter. LSS had her’s with salad and CBR opted for GF tomato basil soup. I added avocado to my grilled cheese and had some chips, but I was really saving room for dessert. And I’m so glad I did…

I got a slice of their GF pumpkin cheesecake, which was light, fluffy, and heavenly. And then I got a GF chocolate Nutella cupcake and a GF lemon meringue cupcake to go to share with the rest of the GF Gluttons back at the office. The chocolate was good, but the lemon was the clear winner. The texture was perfect and it was light, fluffy, and tart and sweet at the same time.

Here’s their menu if you want to check it out for yourself. I will definitely be going back!

Patsy’s Chicken and Rice Soup

“I really can’t stay, baby it’s cold outside….”

It’s not Christmas or snowing, but the temperature here in Nashville has plummeted over the last few days. And that means that any of our Northern readers are really feeling the chill. This recipe is perfect for chilly fall days. It’s not a slow cooker recipe, but I’m sure it could be adapted….and it comes to me from my husband’s grandmother Patsy. It’s everything chicken and rice soup should be–tasty, warm, and filling. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as we do. Stay warm!

Patsy’s Chicken and Rice Soup

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Saute onions and celery in olive oil until tender.
  2. Add shredded chicken, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, rice, thyme, sea salt, and hot sauce.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add shredded carrots and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. If the soup seems too thick, you can add more broth or water during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  6. Serve warm!

Slow Your Roll Recipe: Mexican Chicken

If you read my adventures in slow cooking crazy, you’ll know I’m on a serious slow cooker roll. I thought I’d share my recipes so you can slow your roll too!

I adapted a slow cooker version of this recipe and it rocks my socks off. Seriously, hands-down one of my favorite slow cooker recipes of all time. I was so hungry and it was so delish, that I forgot to take pictures. Hunger can make any of us do wacky things.

Mexican Chicken

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon Taco seasoning (I use a blend of cumin, cilantro leaves, salt, pepper, a dash of paprika, and chili powder)
  • Chopped green pepper and sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup Frontera enchilada sauce (you can use any enchilada sauce, but this one is SO good you won’t want to!)
  • 
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions, chopped (optional)
  • Chopped avocados (optional)

IN THE BAG: Sprinkle the bite-sized cubes of chicken with taco seasoning. Add the enchilada sauce and toss to coat the chicken. Add veggies and cheese.

TO COOK: Put contents into slow cooker and cook on low 6-8 hours. Scatter green onions and avocado over the top and serve over corn chips, rice, or on salad.