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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gluten Free Mini-Muffins

Jeff made incredible mini muffins tonight for a party. They were a huge hit and nobody even knew they were gluten-free.

The recipe took him about 30 minutes total to prep and bake. We used Jules Gluten Free Flour and the recipe from her beginners cook book.

They had frozen bannanas and blueberries. Yummm!

AND...I soo used my new pampered chef mini muffin pan on this one!

I'll also be linking up to
Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taco Time: Updated Allergy Information

A few months back, I posted about Gluten Free items at Taco Time.

While I was in Taco Time today, I spoke to the Director of Operations for many of the Salt Lake City Taco Time locations. I had a great chat with him about the "old days" of Taco Time (my husband and I both worked for and managed Taco Time restaurants while we were in high school). I asked him about the spices and seasonings and the potential that they may have gluten.

He referred me to a nutritional chart that is also on their website.

The flaw in the chart is that it does not specify "gluten" but it does specify "wheat."

Here's the run-down:

Everything has "wheat" except crisp ground beef taco's, pork street tacos (be careful, the chicken street tacos do have wheat), ground beef enchiladas, chips, cheddar fries, mexi fries, mexi-rice, and refritos. (Be careful to avoid the stuffed mexi fries as those do have wheat.)

Everything has "soy" marked. This is probably in one of the seasonings.

Everything has "dairy" except pork and chicken street tacos, chips, mexi fries, and mexi rice.

Eggs is only listed in the chicken BLT and the chicken rancherito.

This list was updated on Taco Time's website on Sept 2010.

Happy Eating!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Feeling Good in my Garden!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about saving money in the garden. I finally put some of those practices in action.

We went to Lowes and used buy one get one free coupons to buy $20 worth of vegetables for $10.

We also bought two trees and some much needed fertilizer.

The past two weeks, we requested bids from five different tree companies. We had a giant pine taken down, a sycamore I hated destroyed, and another pine trimmed. The cheapest bid came in at $1200 for all the work, stump grinding in all. We negotiated that cost down to $1100 by paying for the job by cash.

Now that the two trees are gone, our yard felt a little empty. We thought it would be nice to plant another crab apple in the front and add a quaking aspen in the back. Both trees are supposed to have a fast growth rate, low water needs, and grow around 20 feet. This is much better than our enormous trees from before. Yesterday, we got the two trees planted and the first part of our garden in. I'd say it was a very productive day!

Have you got your garden in?

Measuring Depression: Physical Signs

One strategy used to measure depression is to look at the physical traits that are around the person.
*How organized is their home, bedroom, or office? Is it typically this way?
  Was it this way before they were depressed?
*Are they keeping up on their physical hygiene? Do they remember the last time they   showered or brushed their teeth?
*Is the vehicle they drive being regularly maintained?
 *How is their yard or balcony? Are indoor plants being cared for?
By looking at the physical surroundings, you can start to get an idea for the internal state of the person. If the person is recently depressed, you can compare recent behavior to past behavior. The cleanliness and completed tasks are a way to measure varying levels of depression; typically the more disorganized and undone things are, the deeper the depression may be.
For me personally, I know I am feeling the best when my yard is cared for, my children are clean, and my dishes are done. Some other things may be falling apart (I can't be perfect!) but these three areas are key peices of insight to my mental health.
I also find that the previous areas (yard, children, and dishes) are coping strategies for me. I enjoyed reading Ginger's blog today on how she used her coping skill of nature (inSERIOUSLYsane: The Healing Power of Nature).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Behavior Modification: Low-Cost Reinforcers

I worked in our latency aged group home today and was reminded of a very simple, yet some how easily forgotten concept:

Reinforcers MUST by defination be reinforcing to the person involved.

If you're trying to motivate any child, youth, or even yourself, the reinforcer (or award) must be something that is enticing enough to make you want to change. The reinforcer must also be frequent enough for the child's developmental level or the difficulty of the task.

Free Reinforcers that worked for my non-compliant youth today included:


*Playing a Board game after positive behavior

*Being read to

*Watering the plants

The youth teeter-tottered all day but he had a slightly better day today, then yesterday!

Progress, regardless how small must be celebrated!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Finding God in Trauma

One exercise I have been developing for helping abuse victims heal from trauma is developing a conversation with diety. I give the assignment for the client to write out what a conversation would look like. We then process how that conversation would feel. We then use this conversation as a way to anchor an alternative feeling to the abuse as a way to de-sensitize and help the client visualize another reality to the abuse.

This is an example one of my clients gave me permission to use:

I imagined that I had a conversation with the Father. He told me things would be hard down here. I nodded and said “I am Strong.” He told me that things would happen to me that I wouldn’t choose and that He wouldn’t choose for me, but that He wouldn’t intervene because of His plan. I told Him I trusted His plan and repeated, “I am Strong.” And “You can depend on me, Father.” He said the things I would see, He would be there for and He would send others. I told him I would watch for them and I would believe in Him. He said, “Others will want you to give up, they will teach you to hate me, that I am the source of your pain. You will want to believe them. The choice will be yours, but I believe in you. I believe you can live through it and heal through it.” I was confident and said, “I will be strong. You can trust me.” He said, “Others will cause you pain but I will place angels and sentinels to be by you.” I told him that I would watch for them. He told me that I would question His plan and His existence. I promised that I wouldn’t and He cried. He said, “Down there, earth there are people hurting my children. I see them and I hear their pleas. I need one, one to hold them, comfort them, and understand the abuse they’ve seen. You will hurt, but I will heal you. You will cry and I will send one to wipe your tears. You will heal, and then heal my other children. You will give them what I have given you."
I personally believe that healing from abuse happens in many stages and based on the client, spirituality can be one way to help the individual find peace.

Monday, April 4, 2011

DivinitaSole: Modest Swimsuits!

This isn't a deal post, for once, but a fashion post!

DivinitaSole has THE cutest swimsuits ever. Plus they have a design button and details on which type of suits flatter each body type and then the style number to the ones they have in that style. You then can design a swim suit with style, patterns, tops, and bottoms.

They come in pretty pricey, but I am willing to buy a modest, flattering swim suit for $84 plus shipping. Victoria's Secret is more expensive for less material!!

This is the one I love!!! Plus check out: for a way to win one of these fabulous suits!

Food Storage Steals-Utah Only

In Utah, I just got word from my good friend Becky who rocks at family preparedness that Macey's is having excellent food storage sales. Here's the break down from Becky (who should start her own blog some day!):

55 gallon blue water barrel $34 ($40 at Walmart)
5 gal storage bucket WITH lid (not gamma) $3
Gamma lid $4 (instead of 7 at Walmart)
5 gal water jug for camping $3
Butane stove with 4 cans for butane $20, pretty good deal
Siphon/pump for 55 gallon barrel $7 (I got mine for $9 at Walmart)
Butane cans $1.59 (Beats $2 in Salt Lake City)
They also have some good prices on TP for your storage too.
Augason Farms whole eggs #10 can, $14 (plus a bunch of other items so you don't have to go to Salt Lake City)
Hope fellow Utahn's can stock up

Free Audiobook: "A Biblical Approach to Anxiety"

I was uploading my free "Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom and thought I'd see what else Christain Audio had to offer.

As I like to provide alternative ideas to dealing with mental health concerns, the title "A Biblical Approach to Anxiety" stood out to me. Even better that it is free today.

I'll do a review of it once I've listened to it. If you've read it, what were your thoughts?

A Biblical Approach to Anxiety

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Save 45% on Organic Snacks

Amazon has Jammy Sammy Organic Snacks for 45% off!




Use code: PLUMOR33 for 30% off. Use subscribe and save for an extra 15%


Total reduction: 45%


Happy Organic Snacking!

Gluten Free Grocery Items

The local gluten free specialty store in my area has a newsletter they send out every month. This month they featured a cool website I thought I'd also pass on.

Gluten Free Overflow is a website that lists grocery food items that are gluten free.

This site has both search and browse options for many of the food items I eat on a daily basis. The system has a thumbs up or thumbs down rating.

The website also lists the date that the item was varified. As most of us with allergies know, manufacturers change their recipes periodically and you may still want to check the ingredient list to make sure that there hasn't been any changes.

They have things I wouldn't typically think of checking for gluten, like bouillon cubes and medications. All in one simple place.

I like to buy my gluten-free items that I eat regularly from This website could be helpful in identifying which items are gluten-free and then you can purchase and compare taste within.

Now we just need an extensive list like this for fast food!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Saving Money in the Garden

I have loved the past two days of sunshine!

I raked the leaves, pine needles, and pine cones that were left from the fall when the snow hit hard.

I am dreaming about the plants I would love to buy and fill my garden with. I am dreaming (and getting estimates) on having three trees removed. I also am looking to have a more successful vegetable garden. Last years didn't turn out so well.

How would it be to be one of those people who could plant seeds, nourish them, and watch them sprout? I would love that. My grandma does it each year, so it's in my blood but I think my blood needs maturing or something!

There are the traditional ways of saving in the garden, outside of growing seeds. "Trade plants with neighbors", "Plant perennials, divide, and spread", "Collect Seeds," and of course, "Use coupons."

Some good coupons lately came from Lowes for buy one get one free plants.  This is my first choice, not because I think they have better plants, but they have a waranty on their plants that if you do everything correctly and it still dies, they will replace the plant. I have used this policy in the past and it is my favorite way to go. Make sure you save your reciept and then if you need to, dig up the plant, stick it in a box and take it back to the store. Go to the customer service desk like you were returning any other item and they will either exchange it or give you a store credit.

City Deals has a deal: $30 to Glover Nursery in West Jordan for $15 for those of us in Utah. I imagine other city's will have similar deals.

My grandma gets several plants at the end of the season from the local nursery by her home at pennies. However, she is able to bring them back to life somehow (while I always manage the opposite).

I plant ground cover in my back yard, to be able to use in my front yard once I have enough. Then I rotate where the ground cover was and plant vegetables. As a result of crop rotation, I don't worry too much about supplementing my soil. We till the ground, rake the ground, weed the ground, and then plant.

However you plan to spend your money or your time, I believe that gardening is naturally healing.

Happy Spring!