Friday, January 31, 2014

Politically Correct Nursery Rhymes

My grandmother gave me a stack of books for the girls that she had when I was their age. 
It's pretty awesome to read them to the chirruns and reminisce about my grandmother reading them to me.
And also entertaining to compare the times.

For example:

This would never fly these days. If this was published now, you'd have PETA, DFACS, English teachers across America, the police, and a psychiatrist all demanding that it be removed.
In fact, if it was written today, it'd go something like this:

Tom, the Piper's son,
rescued a pig from becoming bacon.
He went home to eat tofu-bacon,
his Daddies sent him to time out to think about his actions,
and Tom was a good little boy who told his psychiatrist all about it in therapy.

yeah. these times are scary y'al.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quick Update

Just thought I'd drop in for a quick update.

Sasha is feeling great and Greta isn't allowed to go near her. Mama Breakfast is hopefully pregnant and we should have some bunnies soon. But We thought Dinner was pregnant last month and she even got fat, and then, what the hey--no bunnies. 

Lillee has molars now. 2 of them, that I know of.

Maddy is HILARIOUS. Like, for real, y'all, SO funny. She says things like "hey, Mama. Let me have that booby" which I say "No, Maddy, Lillee is eating right now. That's for Lillee to get milk, not Maddy" which Maddy responds, " No, Mama. yee not need boobie. Give it to me."

Oh lawdy, y'all. I just had to take a short break to go spy on the neighborhood. There's this teenage girl who can't get along with her parents that lives a few houses down and apparently she ran to another neighbor's to call the police on her mama. Now the Mama is cussing at the neighbor and the girl is running towards the highway hollering.

Y'all...these people are crazy. I'm gonna go enjoy the entertainment for a bit.


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Perfect Gluten Free Flour Mix

For us, the hardest part of our gluten free lifestyle goal is all the flour products: bread, biscuits, pancakes, etc.

I've tried several alternatives like buckwheat pancakes, buckwheat biscuits, almond flour bread and buckwheat tortillas. The only thing that was edible was the almond bread because buckwheat tastes like burnt dirt. 

So when I saw this line of gluten free products at Walmart, I had to test out the baking mix. Here's what I've found:

The ingredient list in the All Purpose Baking Mix is good. The only thing I didn't recognize on the list was "inulin" which turned out to be a fibrous plant based starch. I imagine it's comparable to arrowroot powder of tapioca starch. 

I looked everywhere for a review or recipe for this brand but couldn't find a SINGLE thing about it, not even on their website, so I just figured, what the hey, I'll just pretend is regular flour. 
Well, Y'all, it worked! I've successfully made biscuits and gravy AND pancakes with it.

The biscuits didn't rise quite as well as normal biscuits but other than that, they were spectacular! This morning I made pancakes with it and my only complaint is that they got soggy way faster than normal pancakes. 
Y'all, I'm talkin bout delicious, not slimy or grainy or dirt-y tasting or any of those horrible attributes of other gluten free alternatives. This stuff is perfect! 

I've yet to try the other mixes and gluten free products from their line, but I'm super impressed with the baking mix. Oh, and the box cost me about $3. It's a bit pricey compared to over-bleached-"enriched"-worthless-gluten-filled-white flour, but it's a super cheap gluten free option. And after a batch of biscuits AND a batch of pancakes, I still have enough left for at least one more batch of ...whatever.

Just so you know, this is all my own opinion, NOT sponsored or paid for or endorsed or coerced or any of those things that might sway my opinion. These people don't even know I exist, so I promise I'm telling you this purely out of excitement and to share with you a great resource!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

6 Tricks to Loosen Up Your Grocery Budget

I promised I'd share some of my tips for my super cheap shopping trip.
We're totally gluten free (except for the cheesecake addiction) but even if you wanted to eat bread or crackers or whatever, you can adapt most of my meals into a "normal" meal.

I'll share my first 6 ideas with you today.
One thing that all of you mom's with chirruns (I know that's redundant, I just like saying chirruns) will understand the need for convenience foods, but if you're anything like me, you freak when you see the price and the ingredient list on most convenience foods.
So I made some of my own!

No more canned soups, preformed sausage patties or strangely un-appealing-yet-delicious lunchables.
Homemade veggie beef soup, sausage patties I made up and froze myself hten divided into packets, and black bean quesadillas. I've use all of these already and it's fantastic. The soup is as easy as dumping it in a pot or slow cooker. The sausage patties saved me nearly $4!! I made 23 patties from a $2 roll of sausage and the the little box of 24 premade patties was like $5.50!!! And they fry up perfectly. And the black bean quesadillas...I made 21 quesadillas for about $4 or $5. Just pop em int he toaster oven and dip in homemade salsa!

Now that my freezer is stocked (I only showed you half of my freezer meals..more to come later), let me show you how I stocked my fridge!
I made up quart size jars of salad. In the bottom of each jar is sliced red onion, shredded carrots, diced cucumber topped with romaine lettuce. One jar will feed all four of us enough to be full! We also have cheddar cheese, blue cheese and pickles to add if we want. For a total of 8 jars, I paid about $8 if you include the cheese and dressing.
I also bought fresh berries and divided them up into snack bags for the girls. I ended up with 10 bags and each bag is enough for both girls to eat a snack from. This is one of about 5 different snack options. Each pack of berries was about $4, so I paid $8 for 10 snacks. That's a little pricey when you compare it to something like crackers or fruit gummies, but it's worth it to spend a little in this area!

We love our sandwiches, but with no gluten and no time to make homemade gluten free bread, I made up these grab bags for lunch. Each bag has some sliced ham, sliced pepperoni and cubed cheese (enough for a whole lunch for the family). When I serve it, we have corn chips and salsa, pickles, a side salad and I either make little roll ups or meat-n-cheese kabobs.
I'd say this probably cost me around $12 because the meat was expensive (I wish I could get it cheaper, but we don't have good grocery stores here) and I think there were 9 bags. If you count the chips and pickles and such, I'd say I spent a total of $15 for 9 meals.

So there you have it, the first few tricks I used to save money and prepare for the month of meals.
One of my biggest resources in SAM's club. I know it can be a major rip off, so you have to be super careful, check your prices and ONLY get what's on your list.
A great buy is a 5lb block of cheese. We go through tons of cheese around here. At walmart, one pound is $4.28. So for 5 lbs I'd pay$21.40. At SAM's, a get a 5lb block for $13.47. Almost $8 back in my budget, y'all! I also buy my chicken there because it's a dollar cheaper per pound and it's not as gross as walmart's. I'd love to get organic chicken, but let's be honest, we too broke fo dat, yo.

So what do you think? Can you use any of these tricks?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Tale of Two Pups

We have a German Shepherd named Greta.
According to the ever-accurate and infallible wikipedia "The dogs were bred to preserve traits that assisted in their job of herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators".
About 2 weeks ago, we adopted my parents dog Sasha. 
Sasha is a miniature Jack Russel, which is basically a Jack Russel who (about 6 generations before Sasha) mixed it up with a Dachsund. Picture a Jack Russel, chop off his legs and photoshop in some stumpy weiner dog legs, and you have Sasha!
 According to the aforementioned truth-wielding site, this breed is "a predominantly white working terrier with an insatiable instinct to hunt formidable quarry underground".
One last note before we begin the gripping tale of two pooches...rabbits in the wild live in burrows and tunnels, thus lending them to the group of "formidable quarry underground" for the terrier to be hunting. And we begin...

It was a warm but cloudy day in the quiet country setting of Albany, Georgia. Kimb was in the kitchen cleaning up from breakfast as the chirruns made messy messes throughout. She swept the floors, tidied the living room, and got the chirruns into their clothes for the day. 

Meanwhile, out back, the handsome husband took their new dog, Sasha, out to play in the yard. Greta, the German Shepherd, was already running her daily laps around the rabbit pen. You see, Greta has this instinctual desire to force groups of animals into submission by forming small groups and herding them where she pleases. Unfortunately for Greta, but quite fortunate for the rabbits, the rabbits are inside cages and the cages are inside a kennel, so there's no necessity for the rounding up of or the herding of the rabbits. But Greta's tiny dog brain that is able to learn up to a thousand commands and can be trained to be a police officer can't quite get a grip on the "no need to herd the rabbits" idea, so she runs laps around the kennel. Laps and laps and laps. Over the course of about 3 weeks, her racetrack has been carved out and is now settled nicely about 5 inches below the level of the bordering yard. 

So there was Greta, running her laps. And out through the door came Scottie-too-hottie and Sasha. Well, Sasha's hunting instincts are about as powerful and useless and Greta's herding instincts, so her immediate reaction was to bolt into the rabbit pen. Scott thought she was just checking out the bunnies, so he absentmindedly began the task of feeding and watering the rabbits. As he began to scoop the rabbit pellet food from the bucket, he caught a flash of brown through his peripheral vision. As he turned to see what it was, he realized that he had made a fatal mistake...

Greta had her jaws wrapped totally around Sasha's neck and was half dragging, half ragdoll shaking her out of the kennel. As Scott's mind processed the sight, he finally snapped into action, yelling and kicking and snatching and running.

Kimb was minding her own business, doing her chores when Scott burst through the door and said "I think Greta killed Sasha". Kimb thought it was a joke, and continued with the housewifery...until Scott walked around the corner with Sasha in his arms--a gaping puncture on each side of her neck. Like..y'all...guts and muscles and junk hanging out.

So long story short, I jumped in the car, rushed her to the vet, she got some stitches, stayed the weekend, got fixed, hates my guts, the vet says she's fine and we're all happy. And the best part? As soon as we got home she tried to sneak out the back door to play with Greta!

This is with the stitches in...she didn't even know she got hurt!


Necessity is a catalyst for innovation.Click here to tweet

I'll share the whole story if you ask for it!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What you have to look forward to

I'll be sharing a few new posts this week, so don't give up on me yet!

I've been pretty busy with life lately, so it's hard for me to fulfill your need to stick-your-nose-in-Kimb's-life. haha y'all know I'm joking, right?

Coming up soon will be posts on things that I find particularly important and I'll be sharing some tips with you on how I do each thing. It's critical to me that I find new and creative ways to save money, keep my family healthy and live as naturally as possible. It's been a weird transition so far this year, but I've been successful with my cloth napkins (for 2 weeks, anyway) and haven't used a single paper towel!

I've been crocheting my own dish sponges, which are machine saving, environmentally friendly, and none of the mystery goop pre-soak soap stuff in them!

I've got a freezer and fridge full of food in just 3 days...enough for an entire month and for a whopping total of...

wait for it...


yep. a hondo and a half.

keep looking for my post on's going to have lots of good info. I can't promise that it will wokr for you, but I can at least give you some ideas. Now, we'll end up spending just a bit more of fresh fruit and dog food later in the month, but it's good to know that we have TONS of delicious, gluten free, homemade meals ready to go.

We've also started homeschool! Maddy can say her days of the week, months of the year, and count to 4. I know...4 is kind of a low number. But we got stuck on counting to 2 for about a week because she'd say "one...two...five...eight" every time. Now it's more like "one...two...tee...four...eight...two...two....two". What can I say, the child likes "two".

Later this week I'll also try to fill you in on how we got a new dog who immediately got attacked by our big dog and had to be taken to the hospital because she tried to eat my rabbits and the big dog didn't want her to. It' s a gripping, gory tale, so check back on that too.

Alright, well, y'all I don't have any photos to share right now, but I've shared a few on instagram lately... you can find them at thekimbp.

K I'm going to sleep y'all.


Miss Patti, we leave now.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fun Fried Cheese and The Protein Poop on a stick!

Y'all, I know this title is a bit tricky.
Let me clear a few things up before I share.

"Fun Fried Cheese" is NOT cheese that has been cooked in fun at a high temperature.

"Protein Poop on a stick" is NOT poop. Nor is it on a stick. 

Neither of these things is as it seems.

Also, if you happen to try the cheese, you should DEFINITELY balance it out with protein poop stick. Trust me.

On to the good stuff:

As part of our gluten free attempt, we've obviously cut out wheat breads. 
That leaves these options:
a) buy a $6 loaf of gluten free bread
b) stop eating all breads
c) make home made gluten free bread that requires 8, 236 ingredients that normal people DONT buy
d) find alternatives to bread

Over the past few weeks we have eliminated (a) due to budgetary concerns. (b), quite frankly, is like quitting cold turkey, and that just ain't happenin, yo! I've tried (c) twice and I thought it was delicious but Scott's review included words like "dirt", "grit", and "strange". And finally, choice (d)...that's where we cook our cheese in superheated fun!

It's so simple, really.
Slice some cheese into squares.
Fry it...til it's nice a crispy brown.
Fun Fried Cheese.
Love it. Enjoy it.
Eat it...sparingly.

(in case you're one of those I'd-rather-look-at-the-pictures types...)

Just a few notes:
cheddar tastes like cheezits...yum!
Mozarella and Monterey Jack taste like crackers.
Extra super duper sharp cheddar tastes like heaven.

Use these Fun Fried Cheese blobs as crackers with dips, tuna salad, crumble into bread crumbs, dip in salsa, eat 'em like cheezits, or even stack some sliced cheese and pepperonis on them for some bite size pizza!

When you're done scarfing down an entire one-pound-block-worth of fried cheese, you're gonna need one of these:

Mix peanut or almond butter with some raw honey. Pretend like it's a cake pop and dunk it in sprinkles chia seeds, sunflowers seeds, flax seeds, etc. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Will you try either of these? If not, why?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Spastic Update

 We all know how nosy you are.
But don't worry. It's not just you!
Everyone has a natural tendency to stick their nose in SOMEWHERE...

So if that somewhere just happens to be my life, I'll be glad to oblige you.

I have here today a lovely sampling of life in the Pannell household.

Just a quick side note...there are not any optional pronunciations of my last name.
Not Parnell.
Not Panel.
Not Pannelli. (yes, people try that one too).

And my mother's name is Patheresa. I just love it when people try to say that one. But she accepts Patricia, Patti, ROB, etc etc.

Moving on.

That lovely Christmas Cookie above is from our afternoon of cookie decorating with Nanny E. That's so funny because it makes it sound  like she's an old granny but she's way young! ha!

Anyway, there's only one cookie shown because the rest look like my kids did them.
They only decorated two, actually.

 The highlight of our Christmas eve was trying to get this dern (yes, "dern"...this is the south, y'all) Princess bed put together. We took more pieces apart than we put together, I think. It was worth it thought. Thanks Granny!

 Just a little update on my crochet adventures. I made this hooded scarf and matching boot cuffs/leg warmers for my little younger sister. Maddy Is pretty cute model, but a bit undersized.

 Here's how my hair is looking after about 2 weeks of no shampoo or conditioner. Just baking soda, ACV and coconut oil. It looks a little rough but a thousand times better!

****the following photographs represent a large portion of our daily activity. Please view with cautions, as lunacy is sometims contagious and may be transmitted through the internets via photobombing***

Also, Maddy doesn't HAVE to wear that helmet. It's her choice.

In other news, Lillee looks like a sweet little old grandma and has cheeks like a chipmunk gathering nuts for winter.

Aannnnnnnndddd....we have another dog! We got her from the parentals, who miss having the cute littel squirrels frolic in the back yard as they sit and watch from their porch, sipping coffee and snakcing on little debbies. Ok, not exactly. She just likes to escape and we have more time and activities for her! Meet Sasha (she also accepts other options such as Cha Cha, Chach, Sa Sa, Pest, Mutt).

We finally got turnips and green from my garden. They were massive. And quite delicious with some bacon and chicken broth.
I way under planted these things. This year I'm going all out.
I'm not keeping a single seed. Everything is goign in the ground.
I don't care if I have to give food away or feed it to the rabbits.
I'd rather have way too much than just a teeny tiny little bit.

And yesterday's crocheting project: minnie mouse bow ear warmer. It's too big for Maddy Moo, but again she makes a cute model!

Does that satisfy your craving for details on our life? Do you feel like part of the family?

What else can I share to make you more comfortable? I'm being a little bit sarcastic, but in all seriousness, we love sharing and chatting so ask away!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Weird Bean Fritters

We love to eat tacos and beans around here. And there's something satisfying about eating a "normal" meal that's totally gluten free without putting much effort into it.

But we get tired of the same old same old crunchy tacos or taco bowls blah blah blah.

So tonight, I decided to try something crazy that probably has already been done but I've never tried it.

Instead of plain old boring, get crunchy if they set too long, bland, 89 cents per can refried beans, I man bean fritters. Yum. Lots of flavor, some extra crunch, and I easily threw in some flax seeds without anyone noticing (try doing that with your run of mill refried beans!)

So here's the basic idea:

you dump a buncha nasty looking stuff in a bowl. Your done!

Ok, just kidding. So this is a can of plain, unsalted refried beans, about a tablespoon of diced jalapenos and an egg.

 Then I put in this much arrowroot powder and this much cayenne. I'm not much for measurements. I'd say I started with about a quarter cup of arrowroot and as you can see just a tiny sprinkle of cayenne. Trust me, it's enough.

Then I added about a tablespoon of paprika and maybe 2 teaspoons of cumin. I also sprinkled some salt in there but I couldn't even guess at how much. Just do what feels good. Unless you have high blood pressure, then do what sucks----> don't use salt!

Then stir all that mess up into some nasty looking goop. If it's still super gloppy and runny add some more arrowroot powder. I added another quarter cup and still wasn't thickening enough so I threw in 2 tablespoons of buckwheat flour. That did the trick.

Now, looking back, I can see that there are two options for your batter. You can make the consistency similar to pancakes or you can make it dry and  thick like mine. The thick stuff worked good for little bite size fritters but if I wanted to make a tostada type dish, I'd make it runnier and make pancake size bean patties. Anyway, here's wouldn't even fall off the fork.

It was all perfect until I thought of my flax seeds. So I sprinkled some of those in too:)

Also, it tastes better if you cook with some good music playing. Although I have to admit, immediately after this song was "The Best Song ever" by ..uh...crap. What are they called? haha I'm stuck in the N*sync/Backstreet boys era. One Direction.

So anyway, heat up some coconut oil and medium high heat and fry those babies up til they're nice and crispy.

Drain them on you eco-friendly cloth napkins (or whatever you drain greasy things on) and sprinkle with some paprika.

These things barely made it to the dinner table. I ate two before serving and each of the girls had one. They're delicious! Also, next time I'll add some cheese and red onion too because those are always good in mexican type stuffs.  And they're great dipped in taco sauce, sour cream, ranch, guacamole, or whatever you dip stuff in at your house.

So here's the recap for those of you that can't follow my ADD recipe:

1 can refried beans
1 egg
2 Tbs diced jalapenos
1/2 C arrowroot powder
2 Tbs buckwheat flour
1 Tbs paprika
2 tsp cumin
cayenne and salt to taste
flax seeds to taste

mix it up, drop by the tablespoon into hot coconut oil, fry both sides, drain on paper or cloth, sprinkle with paprika. BAM. try not eat all of them at once.

So that's what we had tonight. By the way, I have no groceries in my house, which is what inspired this strangeness.



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Gluten Free Organization

I am such an unorganized person. I LIKE to be organized, I'm just not good at it. In fact, I've made countless binders to organize different projects or weekly/monthly lists and they're beautiful and functional...and empty because I forget to actually use them. I tell people that Scott's one thing he'd love to change about me is for me to be OCD. mainly because he likes cleanliness but hates cleaning (and has 2 toddlers who creates messes quicker than is humanly possible to clean).

Now that we're trying to be gluten free while staying within our very small grocery budget, I have to be very creative and detailed in my planning for groceries each week.

I'll be posting some photos and recipes later on,  but for now, here's our plan for dinners the next week or so:

January 1: frito pie (for those of you who are clueless, that's fritos, chili, cheese and sour cream)
January 2: Tacos wrapped in lettuce instead of taco shells, rice, refried beans
January 3: Salad ( we love salad and put tons of toppings on them)

we're supposed to go hunting this weekend so these next few meals may not work out. But I'm trying to plan things that are easy to reheat while we're away from home. The turnips in our garden are ready too so I might just make a huge pot of turnips and greens.
January 4: Vegetable beef soup with cornbread muffins
January 5:  potato soup with bacon:)
January 6: Tuna salad with baked cheese squares and fruit

January 7: Pork chops with green beans and potatoes. Not sure if I'll batter them in buckwheat and fry them in coconut oil or just baked them with spices. We really love our fried food
January 8: Hellman's know the recipe on the commercials? it's mayo, parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. I'll be using either gluten free crackers or homemade gluten free bread crumbs. We'll serve it steamed broccoli and a salad.
January 9: buckwheat biscuits with sausage gravy. I'll have to post about this one because I'll be using all kinds of tricks to stay gluten free.

Last night, by the way, we had sweet potatoes with butter, turnip greens (and a few turnips), and fried salmon patties. We'll have salmon again soon so I'll be posting that recipe and step-by-step as well.

Do you eat gluten free or some other special diet?
Do you have a FANTASTIC recipe to share?