Category Archives: Gluten-Free

feeding the mother of all adrenaline crashes


Holy mother of all adrenaline crashes.

When I tell you that I am in a nearly comatose-like zonked out state from my Listen to Your Mother experience this weekend, I am not exaggerating.

Well, okay, maybe a little. But Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, am I exhausted. I feel like I could sleep for the rest of the week. The month.

Hell, make that the rest of this year.

I don’t know how you people who do things like run marathons or perform for thousands are able to function after this kind of rush. I really don’t. I took today as a vacation day from work and after doing some errands, I spent most of the afternoon in bed.

I know this is the aftermath of an intense week, which included heightened stress — some good (pre-show prep) and some that I could have done without, thank you very much. I’ve had a jackhammer of a headache since Thursday.  I haven’t been sleeping more than a few hours per night nor eating very well. It’s Mercury retrograde. And this weather — steel-gray sky, colder than usual even for Pittsburgh — ain’t helping matters.

No wonder I want to retreat to my bed.

Time to recharge the batteries, starting with tonight’s dinner.

I wanted soup, something hearty and healthy and fast. Enter this bowl of deliciousness, right here.


Tortilla Soup from Cook the Pantry: Vegan Pantry-to-Plate Recipes in 20 Minutes (or Less!) by Robin Robertson.  (Note that the addition of shredded cheddar is my doing.)  I really like Robin Robertson’s recipes for their simplicity and speed.

I couldn’t find the exact recipe online and since I noticed that other bloggers include a publishers’ permission when posting Cook the Pantry recipes, I’ll refrain from posting it here because I’m not interested in being sued. It’s pretty basic; you probably have something similar in your culinary repertoire.

All these ingredients are staples in our house — olive oil; garlic; chili powder; salsa; diced tomatoes; frozen corn (I used canned because our frozen corn has been recalled); vegetable broth (I used homemade stock); and black beans.  I didn’t have scallions and we didn’t miss them.  I did have an avocado and vegetarian chicken strips, which I substituted for the Soy Curls listed as optional in the recipe.

Tortilla Soup and Salad - 5-9-2016It came together quickly, as promised.  I served the soup with a simple green salad (lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, with a slight drizzle of olive oil for dressing) which was last night’s leftovers.

The Husband and I liked the Tortilla Soup. The kids, as expected, didn’t want anything to do with this.  Whatever. Their loss. They opted for leftover rotisserie chicken and nothing else. They’re 14 and perfectly capable of making their own dinner if they didn’t like what was offered.

Simple, convenient and fast. Can’t ever get tired of recipes like that.







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Zagat N’at: My Best Pittsburgh Eats in 2015

If you live in the ‘Burgh and like to eat  — which probably applies to all 2.3 million of us in this region,  give or take — it was hard to miss the buzz earlier this week that esteemed foodie guide Zagat has named Pittsburgh as the Top Food City of 2015.

That probably comes as a surprise to those around the country whose knowledge of ‘Burgh bites is limited to the NFL’s broadcast footage during Steelers games of Primanti’s sandwiches piled high with fries and coleslaw.

Now everyone knows what we know: there’s more to Pittsburgh food than fries, pierogies, and Iron City Beer. Pittsburgh has some fantastic restaurants and eateries that appeal to every palate and pocketbook.

I say most because, with certain exceptions, we do tend to be a bit meat-centric ’round here. As a vegetarian, I feel that choices can be limited.  Taking things even more extreme as a gluten-free vegetarian, dining out can present some challenges; however, Pittsburgh happens to be a friendly and creative town. I’ve found that most restaurants are more than accommodating to patrons who, like yours truly, have certain quirks regarding their food.

Because we don’t eat out very often, I consider my expertise about the local food scene to be somewhat limited in scope. I tend to rely on the opinions (and posts) of my blogging friends BeezusKiddo and The Steel Trap for such matters.  That being said, I did have some enjoyable Pittsburgh dining experiences in 2015 that I thought I would recap here:

Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh
220 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh  (Downtown/Cultural District)

Because it’s not every day that one gets to sing along with a Beatle, The Husband and I treated ourselves to Ringo Starr’s October concert.  Before the show, we indulged even further with dinner at Vallozzi’s.  We’re not adventurous eaters — certainly not before something like a concert — so Italian is always a good option for us.  Vallozzi’s, which was close to Heinz Hall, advertised the availability of gluten-free pasta on their menu.

I started with a glass of the house pinot grigio.  We were starving and had some time before the concert so we selected the fried arancini as an appetizer. (This was not gluten-free, but they looked so good — and had quite a few rave reviews on various online sites — that we decided to try it.)

Vallozzi's aranciniphoto credit: Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh Facebook page

Vallozzi’s arancini were absolute perfection: five lightly breaded balls of risotto stuffed with buffalo mozzarella and nestled in a thick tomato sauce.  They were delicious.

Next, onto the entrees. (We skipped salads and the soup of the day was Italian Wedding.) Our pleasant waitress informed us that they were out of the gnocchi, which was The Husband’s first choice.  He opted to keep things simple and chose the Vallozzi Pizza, with tomato sauce and provolone.

I inquired about the gluten-free pasta, which was also mentioned on the menu at the restaurant. After checking with the chef, our waitress reported that they could substitute gluten-free spaghetti in any of their regular pasta dishes.

And did they ever! I chose the Creste Di Gallo with wild mushroom, truffle, and parmesan cream baked with brown sugar bread crumbs.  Our waitress very helpfully pointed out that the bread crumbs were not gluten-free, nor was the cream; I thanked her and said that this was perfectly fine and shouldn’t be an issue. And it wasn’t. It was a spectacular meal, one of the most memorable I’ve had this year. I could eat this for dinner every night. It was sublime.

(Listening to Ringo was pretty awesome, too.)

Alexander’s Italian Bistro
5104 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh  (Bloomfield)

When you want authentic Italian in the ‘Burgh, Bloomfield is the place to go.  It’s also where you want to go when you’re invited to be part of a literary reading at East End Book Exchange, located four blocks up the street. Back in January, our family headed to Alexander’s for dinner after the Acquired Taste event I participated in as a reader.

We found Alexander’s to be very family-friendly yet with a more upscale ambiance than most restaurants that are categorized as accommodating to patrons dining with children. As with Vallozzi’s, the availability of gluten-free pasta on the menu was appealing to me. (Are you sensing a theme with this post yet?)  I choose the pasta with clam sauce which was absolutely delicious. It had the perfect amount of clams, oil, herbs, and parmesan.

Alexander's Pasta with Clam Sauce

This dinner occurred nearly a year ago and some details are lost to time and memory, but I do recall that the four of us enjoyed the experience and our meals (with leftovers for several days!). We would definitely return again.

The Porch at Schenley      (Oakland)
221 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh

I work in Oakland, which makes The Porch one of the preferred lunchtime places when dining with colleagues. In addition, The Girl participates in a workshop that often brings us to the Oakland vicinity on the weekends. Occasionally, we treat ourselves to brunch at The Porch.

Recently, The Girl ordered a cinnamon roll. Decadent doesn’t begin to describe this.

Cinnamon Roll - The Porch

It was almost as big as the plate.

Cinnamon also has a starring roll in these warm cinnamon-glazed donuts with fruit syrup.

Cinnamon Donuts at The Porch

Garden Harvest Salad, with field greens, chicken, roasted vegetables, goat cheese, walnuts, and tarragon vinaigrette. The Girl opted to forego the roasted beets and oyster mushrooms.

Garden Harvest Salad - The Porch

Although the Quiche du Jour is always an excellent choice at The Porch, the star of this meal is the Crispy Taters. Smashed potatoes, perfectly seasoned … I could eat a plate of these for brunch. (And dinner. And a snack.)

Quiche - The Porch

Cheers to all the chefs, restaurateurs, food staff, waitresses and waiters, and enthusiastic diners (especially my food blogger friends!) who make our city such a fun foodie town!

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Weekend Cooking: Small Bites

For this week’s contribution to Weekend Cooking, I thought I would offer you what I’m calling “small bites” – a few fun-sized book reviews that are shorter than regular posts but ones that you might enjoy sampling nonetheless.

Grain BrainGrain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent KIllers
by David Perlmutter, MD with Kristin Loberg 
Little, Brown, 336 pages, 2013

As a child, I remember my dad having frequent headaches (they run on that side of the family). When I got my first headache in first grade, I knew that I inherited this trait.  One of the reasons I decided to go gluten-free two years ago was to see if dietary changes would help with my migraines – and they absolutely have. They’re not completely gone (I doubt they ever will be) but they’re much better than they ever have been…so much so that I was able to discontinue the daily migraine prevention medication I took for several years.

Neurologist David Perlmutter’s belief is that we have the power to change our genetic destiny. Inflammation – particularly in the brain –  is a major culprit for many chronic diseases and he offers a 4 week plan for potentially reversing the course of Alzheimers and other conditions by addressing our consumption of wheat, carbs, and sugar.

“How often do we hear people say things like, ‘I’ll probably get [insert disease here] because it runs in my family.’ No doubt our genetic heritage does play a role in determining our risk for various health conditions. But what leading-edge medical research now understands is that we have the power to change our genetic destiny….We now know that the food we get or avoid, the quality of our sleep, and even the relationships we choose actually choreograph to a significant degree which of our genes are active and which remain suppressed. Here’s what is most compelling: We can change the expression of more than 70 percent of the genes that have a direct bearing on our health and longevity.” (pg. 126-127)

Salt Sugar FatSalt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
by Michael Moss
Random House, 446 pages, 2013

It’s fitting that the cover of Salt, Sugar, Fat looks like a ransom note because in a sense, the food giants that Michael Moss calls out by name in his Pulitzer Prize winning look at the industry are holding the health of millions of Americans hostage with obesity, high blood pressure, skyrocketing cholesterol counts, diabetes, and much more.

What makes Salt, Sugar, Fat especially eye-opening is how deliberate and strategic these efforts have been on the part of nearly everyone involved in getting food on our plate. This is a very well-researched book, with countless examples of how the food manufacturers, chemists, and marketers have exchanged one crappy ingredient for another (reducing fat but increasing the sugar, for example) and how government incentives (who remembers free government cheese?) exacerbate what is an epidemic and major health concern.

Pandoras LunchboxPandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal
by Melanie Warner
Scribner, 267 pages, 2013 

Pandora’s Lunchbox is similar to Salt, Sugar, Fat, but with a little more of a “just-a-regular-mom-like-you” kind of tone. Inspired by Ms. Warner’s quest to discover how long a slice of processed cheese really does last and other similar experiments. Like Michael Moss’ book, Pandora’s Lunchbox also is incredibly well-written and well-researched (Ms. Warner has a background as a reporter writing about the food industry) while shedding a light on the marketing of processed food and the chemicals in some of the most common things we (and our kids) are eating.

Animal Vegetable MiracleAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver
Harper Perennial, 2008 (audio)

My first reaction was that this didn’t seem any different from other books and blogs promoting eating locally-grown, in-season food  – and then I remembered that Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was published in 2008, before concepts like farm-to-table and eating what’s currently available were household words.  Seven years later, it’s still relevant and worth reading because there are still people who don’t understand this – although, chances are, if you’re reading this, you probably do.

The Kingsolver family decided to eat locally for a year, either by growing their own food or purchasing very locally, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle chronicles their efforts by the seasons. While this tends to get a little preachy and repetitive at times (you kind of feel bad if establishing a vegetable garden that’s the equivalent of a small farm operation isn’t for you) but it’s well-written and includes brief sections by Ms. Kingsolver’s husband and daughter.

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

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Weekend Cooking: Toasted Avocado and “Chicken” Sandwich

Toasted Avocado and Chicken Sandwich

Every summer seems to bring its own particular food or simple meal that I become completely obsessed with and crave nonstop. Before going gluten-free, it was pasta salad  – which I still love, of course, but it’s been difficult finding the right GF pasta that can make it into a second day of leftovers. There also was the summer of hummus, cucumber and tomato sandwiches. So good.

This year belongs to the avocado. More often than not, my go-to dinner is smashed avocado and tomatoes (a humble guacamole, nothing fancy) for dinner with tortilla chips. That’s it. I don’t need much more than that.

Avocado toast is all the rage on many of the food blogs I read.  I hadn’t really been swayed to try it one way or another, but it certainly wasn’t out of the question because, avocado, yo.  I’ve been instituting “Buffet Night” once a week  – usually a Saturday or Sunday – where dinner becomes a free-for-all, a smorgasbord of still-good leftovers where at least one damn thing on the table is bound to meet the approval of everyone in this picky-eater family.  So one night we had some leftover mock chicken strips but not quite enough to make fajitas for all or something resembling a meal.

I had an avocado that had just reached perfection, and I looked at it and the fake chicken strips and thought, hmm … this has possibilities. And so, the Toasted Avocado and “Chicken” Sandwich was born.

(This is definitely not a Melissa Original, by any means; a Google search on “avocado and chicken sandwich” yields 2 bazillion hits, but I certainly felt like a brilliant five-star chef.)

It’s so easy. And so good. All you need to do is toast some bread (I used Aldi’s gluten-free white bread), and mash an avocado. Spread on the toast.  Add chicken. I used Beyond Meat’s Lightly Seasoned Chicken Strips. You can add tomato, as I’ve done on several occasions.

A simple and satisfying summer sandwich.

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.


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Weekend Cooking: Homemade Gluten-Free, Tofu-Free, Mock “Chicken” Noodle Soup

Melissa's Gluten-Free Vegetarian No Tofu Mock Chicken Noodle Soup

Just in time for a holiday weekend, I’ve caught a nasty case of (what I am fairly certain is) bronchitis. We didn’t have any plans for this Memorial Day, but I was hoping to do a few things around the house other than cough my way nonstop through the weekend. Instead, I sound and feel miserable (“Mom, you sound like you’re coughing up a hairball,” The Boy told me last night. “Or maybe two cats.”)  He has a way with words, that kid. And he’s right.

Last night, I wanted a bowl of chicken noodle soup in the worst way possible. This is easier said than done when you’re gluten-free and vegetarian. Fortunately, after finding some recipes on Pinterest and taking scraps from here and there, I was able to throw together a steamy, soothing bowl of what I’m calling my Homemade Gluten-Free, Tofu-Free Mock “Chicken” Noodle Soup. I made this up as I went along, so forgive the imprecise measurements. I also have no affiliation with the products mentioned; I’m just a happy customer.

Homemade Gluten-Free, Tofu-Free Mock “Chicken” Noodle Soup

2 tbsps. olive oil

onion and garlic (I used about 2 or 3 cups of Birds Eye Recipe Ready Chopped Onions and Garlic, as I wanted a lot of both)

a few dashes of dried thyme

a few dashes of dried parsley

8 cups hot water

4 cubes Not Chick’n boullion (I like Edward & Sons)

about 2 cups small-shaped gluten-free pasta (I had a choice between elbow macaroni and medium shells; I went with the macaroni)

I had about 1/3 of a package of Beyond Meat Lightly Seasoned chicken strips remaining in the freezer, so I decided to add them

Heat 2 tbsps olive oil in pot.
Add onion and garlic blend along with the dried thyme.
Saute for a few minutes till it is nice and sizzling.
Add 8 cups hot water, then the Not Chick’n boullion cubes.
Stir and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in the parsley.
Add pasta and continue to boil for the package directions (mine was 7 minutes)
Microwave the Beyond Meat chicken strips and toss in the pot.
Add salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t add salt, as it didn’t seem to need it.

This seems flexible enough to add carrots, celery, or peas if you choose. I hate celery and didn’t have carrots or peas, otherwise I would have probably added those.

The result was exactly what I’d hoped for – a very soothing, comforting bowl of a classic favorite.

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Weekend Cooking: The China Study All-Star Collection: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes from Your Favorite Vegan Chefs

The China Study All-Star Collection

The China Study All-Star Collection: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes from Your Favorite Vegan Chefs
by Leanne Campbell, PhD.
BenBella Books 
304 pages 

When T. Colin Campbell and his son Thomas M. Campbell published The China Study ten years ago, the possibility that the food we eat (particularly animal products) might be affecting our health was seen as somewhat radical.  A decade later, being vegan is practically in vogue.

While some may choose to dismiss The China Study either because of the controversies surrounding its research methods or skepticism or personal dietary preference, there’s no question that more people are more cognizant of what they are eating.

I’m one of them.

As regular blog readers know, I’ve been a vegetarian (well, pescetarian, if we’re getting technical) for almost 19 years. During the past year and a half, I’ve been adapting to a gluten-free diet to help with stomach woes and migraines, both of which have greatly diminished. I follow a lot of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan blogs and of course I can’t resist checking out any cookbook from the library that might offer a few new recipes fitting those categories.

The China Study All-Star Collection was a cookbook that recently caught my eye because two of my favorite vegan chefs, Dreena Burton of Plant Powered Kitchen and Lindsay Nixon of Happy Herbivore fame, have recipes in this book. The author, Leanne Campbell is the daughter of T. Colin Campbell, who advocates eating “whole, plant-based foods, with little or no added oil, salt, or refined carbohydrates like sugar or white flour” (from Whole, pg. 209).

Not all the recipes are gluten-free, but many offer suggestions for modification – or, if not, could probably be made GF with some minor adjustments. The photography is well-done throughout the book and nearly every recipe includes a photo.

What I Made: Haven’t had the chance to try any of these yet.

What Looks Good (all of the recipes I listed below seem to be naturally gluten-free or easily modified):

Apple-Swirl Loaf, by Dreena Burton (pg. 15)

Caesar Salad, Jazzy-Style, by Laura Theodore (pg. 80 and 82) ~ with a tofu-based Caesar Salad Dressing recipe also provided; this one is GF except for the croutons, which could be easily substituted

Fresh Corn Salad, by Leanne Campbell (pg. 86)

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes, by Dreena Burton (pg. 106) ~ this looks perfect for the fall!

Everything Minestrone, by Lindsay Nixon (pg. 114)

Mellow Lentil “Sniffle” Soup, by Dreena Burton (pg. 117)

Sweet Potato and Yellow Split Pea Soup, by Chef AJ (pg. 121) ~ another one that I want to try this fall

Sneaky Chickpea Burgers, by Dreena Burton (pg. 127) ~ the oats in these would need to be GF

Barbeque Portobello Sandwiches, by John and Mary McDougall (pg. 128) ~ obviously, the buns would need to be GF

Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos, by Lindsay Nixon (pg. 134)

Savory Mushroom Stroganoff, by Laura Theodore (pg. 162)

Most of the recipes are accompanied by bright, well-done photography and none of the directions seemed particularly cumbersome.

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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State of the Blog: My Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2014

Delaware State Fair 2010

In some ways, 2014 was not my best year of blogging.

In other ways, it was excellent.

The not-so-good was in the quantity of posts.  I ended the year with 137 new posts. By my standards (admittedly, pretty high to begin with), that’s pathetic. How do you call yourself a blogger when you ONLY BLOG FOR A THIRD OF THE DAMN YEAR?!

But you know what? We’re not going to dwell on that. Another year is here and there’s always room for improvement, right?

Instead, I want to focus on the 10 most popular posts in 2014 here on the blog. By most popular, I’m talking number of views.

Unless you happen to be a big-name blogger with thousands of followers and a book deal (or three), every blogger wonders if anybody is out there reading. Even when you check your stats and see numbers that indicate that someone, somewhere in the world is paying attention, there’s still a lingering doubt that wonders if what you’re saying in this space makes a difference.

I’m not a big name blogger and I certainly don’t have a book deal (yet), but I know this: I’m incredibly proud of the 10 blog posts I wrote that received the most views in the past year. thanks to all of you. (Some of these were written pre-2014, but for various reasons, experienced a bit of increased traction over the past 12 months.

Links take you to the actual post.

10. The Sunday Salon: Yet Another Best Books of 2014 List
I love lists. I especially love lists that feature books. So, when everyone was sharing every possible incarnation of best books lists several weeks before the end of the year, I had to jump into the fray by offering up my list of “best books I read in 2014 that were published in 2014.” Apparently, other people like lists of books as much as I do. (That’s good because I have more such lists from 2014 in the works.)

9. Book Review: My Beef with Meat, by Rip Esselstyn
A post from 2013 that continues to get a decent amount of traffic. I’m not sure if this is linked someplace, but it resonates with people for some reason.  

8. Book Review: The Returned, by Jason Mott
I’m guessing that this review got some attention because of the TV show that it is based on. Of all the books I’ve reviewed, it was just okay … not one of my favorites.

Seinfeld - show

7. Punch Lines: On Jerry Seinfeld and Autism
When comedian Jerry Seinfeld mentioned in a November 2014 interview with Brian Williams that he thought he might be on the autism spectrum, several people saw Mr. Seinfeld’s statement as less than … what? Less than genuine? Less than heartfelt? In the ensuing backlash, I wrote, “If we truly believe that there isn’t one autism, then there’s no room for throwing punch lines when one of our own is vulnerable.  We need to truly reflect on what the meaning of “not one autism” means and we need to truly embrace the spectrum for what it is – as a place where we all need to co-exist together.  This isn’t a battle of who has the more difficult autism – because we are all fighting difficult battles.  And through it all, there is too much at stake for us, for our kids, for our friends and our loved ones.”

Kristin text

Text message Kristin Mitchell sent to her boyfriend, who was later charged with killing her. Photo credit: The Kristin Mitchell Foundation,


6. forever 21: remembering kristin
I never met Kristin Mitchell, yet her murder at the hands of her boyfriend has profoundly affected me in a way I can’t quite put into words. I am humbled to use this space to remember her with this post (which has been repeated here several times) and to honor her memory however I can.

5. Book Review: Sea Creatures, by Susanna Daniel
My most popular book review, one that was written for TLC Book Tours in August 2013 but continued to get a lot of traffic this year. 

Philadelphia Flower Show

4. For Sonya
Probably my most controversial post, but one that I don’t regret publishing.  This case brings out the nasty in people in a way I never imagined.

3. #SaveDallas and a Piece of Our Childhoods
I was pretty active on Twitter during the six weeks after “Dallas” was cancelled by TNT and fans were trying to save this iconic show. Unfortunately, our effort wasn’t successful but I still think it was worth it.

Daffodils in snow 4

2. On National Adoption Day, Baby G. Still Waits
I am beyond humbled that this post is #2. Thank you for caring so much about Baby G. As we go into Year 4 of this ordeal, her story and that of my friends becomes even more heartbreaking and maddening. I hope and pray that 2015 is the year they are reunited as a family … because as we turn the calendar to another year without a resolution in this case, they are still waiting. (A disappointing update on this is that the ACLU of Wisconsin declined to take the case.)

And the most popular post of 2014?

1. Weekend Cooking: Hits and Misses with ALDIs LiveGFree Products
Seriously, I should send ALDI an invoice for this one because this has been my #1 top-ranked post since I hit publish on it back in May 2014. I even had the guy who worked on the LiveGFree packaging email me! For real. This has to be on some website someplace (I can’t figure out where) but it is has staying power. Who knew?

As I typically do at this time of year, I’ve been reflecting on the blog and my writing and what I want I do here. I have some thoughts and goals, but would like to hear from you. What posts resonate with you most? Do you most enjoy the book reviews? The food posts? The advocacy posts, such as the ones about Kristin and G.? What do you want to see more of in 2015?

Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy and safe New Year!

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