Friday, June 24, 2011

Taxi Fam Day at Whiting Field!!!

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity of a lifetime to taxi the plane my husband is training on! 

Since November, Beau has been learning how to fly on the Navy’s T-34 training aircraft.  (For those of you who don’t know, Beau is in the Coast Guard so don’t be confused- he’s not a Navy guy!)  Hopefully in a week he will be completely done with his airplane training and then he can start learning how to fly helicopters!! 

All geared up for my big T-34 debut with Beau!  Note the different
patches we're both wearing... Beau couldn't find his extra set of
patches the morning of... I'm wearing a funky combo of patches we found at home!

By this time next year, the T-34 will be phased out and the newer and faster T-6 will take its spot.  Because of safety reasons (aka the ejection seat) no one other than military personnel will be able to taxi the T-6… so I am one of the lucky last spouses who was able to taxi the T-34!

It was pretty fun!  I wore Beau’s flight suit (which was ridiculously HUGE on me!), his helmet, and gloves.  When it was my turn, I hopped into the back of the cockpit, an aviator student helped buckle me in, hooked up my helmet microphone, and then my flight instructor drove us out to the tarmac!

Posing for the camera while climbing in the cockpit!

It was super hot inside the plane… Beau said that it’s gotten as hot as 140F when he’s been inside!  Yuck!  But it was so cool to taxi it… you actual use your feet to steer the plane and brake and it’s super hard!  I did some beautiful circles while I tried to park the plane in the tarmac haha.

Me and my instructor heading out!

And it was REALLY cool to have control of the PCL (Power Control Level) which makes the plane go fast or slow.  At one point the instructor let me go quite fast! 

The flight suit was ridiculously huge...!  By the way, the planes
in the background (with all orange bellies) are the T-6 planes.

It was pretty awesome speaking to my instructor (who, no worries, had complete control over my actions…the instruments are exactly the same in the front and back cockpits!).  It felt so official to speak through the helmet mike!

I just HAD to add this picture... look closely at Beau's VT-2 Squadron's slogan --
errr, well the new slogan haha!  Bad body positioning...! 

This was a once in a lifetime experience and I wish I could do it again!  I swear I’d be better at it this time around…  :-)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Amazingly Simple Granola

Probably one of my biggest pet peeves about living a g-free lifestyle is breakfast.  How I watch with envy as my husband pops a bagel in the toaster and then spreads smooth cream cheese on top.  Sometimes this simple act is enough to turn me into a miserable grouch haha.

 Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of gluten free breakfast foods, but most of us don’t have time in the morning to make eggs and things like that.  My day usually starts with Chex cereal or a waffle smeared with peanut butter and jelly (amazing tip: make your favorite batch of pancakes or waffles, freeze them, then defrost in morning for a quick breakfast!).  However, I get lazy in the morning and alternating between those two food choices gets old preeeety fast!

I came up with a recipe for granola that  tastes great and is delicious for breakfast or a snack!  This exact granola recipe was a staple for Beau and I when we went hiking in the Northern Georgia Mountains a few weeks ago.  A perfect snack to eat after a long and sweaty day of hiking on the Appalachian Trail! 
My camera took this amazing picture of the Amicalola Waterfall
in Northern Georgia.  It's the largest waterfall in the Eastern U.S.

1)   Preheat oven to 300 F.

2)   Mix 2 cups old fashioned oats, 1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts), ½ cup small pumpkin seeds (or sunflower), ½ cup shredded coconut, and cinnamon to taste.

3)   Add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and ½ cup agave syrup.  (My husband and I really like the taste of agave syrup and it is completely natural.  If you prefer, maple syrup or honey can be used instead).

4)   After a good mix, spread out mixture on 9x13 cookie sheet and bake between 25-35 minutes, stirring once.

5)   Once the granola is crispy and thoroughly baked, add in about ½ cup each dried fruit of your choice (I like raisins, craisins, and apple slices).  Let mixture cool completely before storing it!

Just a quick note: I haven’t been able to make it stick together in huge crunchy clumps (still working on that aspect…) but I sure have mastered the flavor and a nice mildly crunchy/ chewy texture that is sure to please anyone!
Crazy monkey man aka Beau climbing boulders along the Appalachian
Trail ascending Blood Mountain.

View from top of Blood Mountain... we LOVE the Blue Ridge Mts!

Yet again the crazy man creeping in our cabin... haha!

We stayed at the Blood Mountain Cabins in Blairsville, GA.  Literally
right next to the Appalachian Trail!  Loved our cozy little home!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fabulous Lasagna and Summer Berry Pie

Most people cringe when I tell them I don’t eat foods like pasta and bread.  I tell them, I use rice pasta instead and they act all disgusted!  I don’t quite get it… rice pasta has been one of the best things to happen to me!

I prefer Tinkyada pasta brand… it cooks so well.  It keeps its shape, is great hot or cold, and is easy to make al dente or soft depending on your mood.

I developed a super easy and Yummy! lasagna recipe that anyone can make!  I like to make it for company because it’s a sure crowd pleaser and nobody has to know its not glutinous!


          olive oil
          1/2 - whole onion diced
          1/2 bell pepper
          6-12 cloves garlic (we love garlic so I use 12 lol)
          1 package ground lean turkey meat (or beef)
          3 chicken sausage links (pork, beef, spicy)
          garlic pepper seasoning
          veggies of your choice, I like zucchini, spinach
          spicy spaghetti seasoning/mix of Italian herbs
          32oz jar tomato sauce
          1 package Tinkyada lasagna noodles
          14oz jar no-fat cottage cheese
          fresh or dried parsley
          8oz package shredded mozzarella cheese &


1)  Heat olive oil a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, cook until begins to caramelize.  Add the garlic and pepper and sauté until veggies start getting soft and flavourful.

2)  Add the sausage and ground turkey (chop it with your spoon) and cook it until it starts to brown.  Once meat is thoroughly cooked, pour jar of tomato sauce, spicy spaghetti seasoning (mmm this should be a staple in your kitchen... you can find huge jars of it in BJ's or Sam's).  Let sauce mixture simmer on low for about 15 minutes.  You can either store the sauce in the fridge or use it right away!

3)   Preheat oven 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Our friends Ashley and Tom flew down from Boston!  And
they loved the g-free lasagna!  :-)

4)  In a 9x13 inch baking dish layer lasagna noodles, cottage cheese mixed with parsley, and sauce.  I do this layering pattern twice and then sprinkle shredded cheese.

5)   Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 15 minutes.

6)   Let stand for 20 minutes... if you can't wait to eat the deliciousness then the lasagna doesn't keep its shape... but no worries, its just as YummY!

Now let's talk dessert...!

Beau and I picked 12 pounds of blueberries and 4 pounds blackberries the other day so I thought a fresh berry pie would be a great ending to my dinner party.

I’ve never even made glutinous pie crust by myself so I was a little nervous to make a gluten free one, but it wasn’t bad at all!  Usually when I have to roll out any kind of dough, I end up in tears (just ask Beau haha).  I don’t know what it is, but usually my dough is SO sticky and sticks to the rolling pin horribly!  BUT don’t be afraid, this recipe did NOT stick for me!  SUCCESS!!!!

I used the piecrust recipe from Elizabeth Barbone’s “Easy Gluten Free Baking.”  She says her recipe can be made with either cold butter or shortening, which makes is convenient.  I used butter flavored shortening so my pie crust tasted just like a butter/ shortbread cookie.  It went so well with the berries inside!

photo courtesy of Miss Emma Tang,
berry pie lover!


1 c rice flour
1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 c potato starch
1 Tb granulated sugar
1/2 ts salt
1/2 c vegetable shortening (or 1 stick cold butter)
1 egg
3-4 Tb cold water


1)   Mix dry ingredients together.

2)   Use pastry cutter to combine shortening and flour (I used a fork, works just as well!)

3)  Add egg and water.  Add water by the teaspoon if dough is still dry.

4)  Split dough in half and wrap separately in plastic wrap.  Chill in fridge for an hour.  Let stand at room temp for 15 minutes before rolling.  Please note this recipe makes 2 pie-crusts... if you just need one, then halve the recipe!

I would suggest using a bit more water than noted in the crust recipe… mine was a bit dry (even after adding 3 extra teaspoons water) and kept on cracking when I rolled it out after chilling.  But it pieces back together nicely if you wet your fingers and press it back together!