Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Barburritos ~ Gluten Free, Frugal, and Easy

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I have been making and thoroughly enjoying these wonderful creations of yumminess for well over 20 years!

The first time that I heard about them from a co-worker, I thought either her taste buds were a little "off" or she was pregnant.  ;)  But believe me. These are crazy good and you don't have to be a bit "off" or pregnant to enjoy them. ;) These taste like a whole summer barbecue meal in one handheld tortilla.

Anytime that I am making a pork roast, I make it much larger than we need for just one meal. I always make sure that I have these ingredients ready to make a good portion of the leftovers into Barburritos. I often also make some of it into pulled pork tacos or burritos. After the pork roast has been cooked, these Barburritos and pork tacos or burritos take merely minutes to make.

I usually make my pork shoulder roast in my crock pot and cook it until it is falling apart so that it is extremely quick and easy to pull apart with a couple of forks. You can make these Barburritos with pork roast that is not pulled if you cut it into really small pieces, but I think it tastes better (the barbecue sauce becomes "one" better with the pork) and it is definitely easier to eat. You can also make this with a beef roast, but the pork is tastier, in my opinion, plus it is usually more frugal.

I like to use baked beans that have some style of their own. When I once used some basic baked beans to make sure that they would not be fighting the barbecue taste, the Barburritos were not nearly as delicious. I recommend a higher quality variety like one of the more interesting Bush's Baked Beans, but make sure that the one you pick is gluten free, if necessary.

I love to use KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce on these Barburritos, because being born and raised in the Kansas City, Missouri, area... this girl knows her barbecue sauce. In my opinion, high quality Kansas City style barbecue sauces are definitely the best. If you have another favorite, feel free to use that one. I would probably avoid any that are overly sweet, though.


Pulled Pork Roast (Read directions to judge how much is needed.)
Barbecue Sauce ~ Gluten Free, if necessary ~ I use KC Masterpiece
Baked Beans ~ Gluten Free, if necessary ~ I use my hubby's Bourbon Baked Beans!
Creamy Cole Slaw
Flour Tortillas ~ Gluten Free, if necessary ~ I use Mission's Gluten Free Flour Tortillas


  • Pull the pork roast, if not already done. Place the pork into a large skillet and begin heating over a medium-high heat. 
  • Thoroughly coat all of the pork with barbecue sauce without making it soupy. I have found that if I pretty much cover the bottom of my skillet (about 3/4 to 1 inch high), then it takes a whole regular size bottle of KC Masterpiece. I add a little water to the bottle at the end and shake it well to get every last bit of sauce out of the bottle.
  • Continue to heat the barbecue pork until well-heated through.
  • Heat your baked beans.
  • Assemble your Barburritos: Place barbecued pork along the center first. Top with some baked beans (make sure you do not add much of the sauce or they will be soggy). Then add some creamy cole slaw (again... do not add much sauce , if any). Close up the Barburrito like you would a traditional burrito. 
  • Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Introduction to the Woodwind Family Part 2

Today we will learn about the saxophone, bassoon, and contra-bassoon. They each add richness and their own sense of style to the Woodwind Family, which they belong.

If you missed Part 1 of the Introduction to the Woodwind Family and It's Instruments, you might want to check that out first and come back. There you will learn about the Woodwind Family as a whole as well as the flute, piccolo, oboe, and clarinet.

The Saxophone

The saxophone is basically a combination of the clarinet and the oboe. It was invented in 1846 by Adolphe Sax. It has a single reed and a mouthpiece that is similar to the clarinet; however, its body is made out of brass and it has a flared bell at the end.

The saxophone was originally used in military marching bands, but they joined the orchestra soon after they were invented.

I have found an extremely cool video of the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain performing one of the most popular pieces of music with a saxophone solo. It usually only lasts about one minute and is usually supported by a traditional orchestra or symphonic band. This Saxophone Choir consists of probably all of the types of saxophones available. I have never seen the largest one before! Check out this amazing version of Ravel's Bolero!

The Bassoon

The bassoon is another double-reed instrument (like the oboe that we learned about in Part 1), but the bassoon is almost 8 feet long and made out of wood. It is also bent into a narrow U-shape. 

Since it is about 8 feet long, do you think that it plays high notes or low notes? If you said, "Low," then you are correct. It makes deep, rich tones.

Listen and watch as a Bassoon Quartet performs Paul Duka's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". This is something you do not hear often either. Usually there is only one bassoon (and rarely two) in an orchestra or symphonic band and this piece of music is usually supported by a whole orchestra or band.

They play a variety of percussion instruments and a small recorder/flute. The bassoon is difficult to play and these are very talented young women. Here is "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". I would listen to the whole piece of music, because it gets quite entertaining. If you like Disney Princesses, you might want to also check out the bassoon quartet's "Disney Dance Party".

The Contra-Bassoon

As large as the bassoon is, it's not the largest instrument in the Woodwind Family. The contra-bassoon is the largest. It also has a double-reed and is 16 feet of wooden tubing with a metal bell at the end. If it was uncoiled, it would be almost as tall as a two-story house.

Watch and listen to this contra-bassoon solo with piano accompaniment of Mikhail Glinka's "A Life for the Tsar".

If you are new to the Music Adventures Lessons, please click on the graphic below for an introduction and more information.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mushroom and Spinach Gluten Free Flatbread or Pita Pizza

If you missed my Gluten Free Flatbread and Pita Pizza recipe yesterday, be sure to check it out for more ideas.


Spray oil
Desired amount of Glutenfreeda Artisan Flatbreads or Against the Grain Pita Bread ~ thawed
Pizza Sauce ~ I use Classico Pizza Sauce (it's gluten free and delicious)
Fresh Spinach ~ It takes a lot more than you expect. Read directions below for details.
Fresh Mushrooms ~ I usually use baby bellas but used white button ones today.
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese ~ Gluten free, if needed
Minced Garlic, if desired ~ If not, consider using some Granulated Garlic
Parmesan Cheese, optional


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Thinly slice your washed and dried spinach. See picture to the right to see how thin. This amount isn't even enough for one flatbread, though. 
  • Slice your mushrooms about as thick as the pre-sliced ones you can get at the store after you have cleaned them off with a slightly damp cloth or paper towel.
  • Spread pizza sauce evenly over each of your flatbreads or pita breads.
  • Top generously with your spinach. See picture over to the left. If you want to really taste your spinach, you have to put it on thick because it will cook down quite a bit. Trust me on this. I did A LOT of experimenting over the years in regards to the amount of spinach and this is the best way if you really want to enjoy the spinach on your pizza. Otherwise it truly just gets lost in the sauce, cheese, and other toppings.
  • Now cover the spinach with a generous amount of sliced mushrooms. 
  • Sprinkle with minced garlic, if using.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese.
    Mushroom and Spinach Pizza before adding the cheese.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle with granulated garlic, if desired and you didn't use minced garlic.
  • Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes, or until your cheese is melted and your toppings are heated well. It really depends on your oven, how many pizzas you are making, and how high you topped them. My two pans of pizzas took 11 minutes today.

Here is my favorite pizza with loads of mushrooms and spinach!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Gluten Free Flatbread and Pita Pizzas

One thing that I missed the most when I went gluten free back in October of 2012 was delicious pizzas of all types. Sure there are thankfully some gluten free pizzas at some restaurants nowadays and there are gluten free crusts available, but it honestly isn't the same.

If you are fortunate enough to have a pizza place near you that has a gluten free pizza that is just as good as the full-of-gluten offerings, then you likely will be paying a lot more for a lot less pizza. More often though you will likely be paying a whole lot more for something that just passes as pizza and too often resembles cardboard.

Since I cannot stop loving pizza and I cannot afford to go to my favorite pizza place with some amazing gluten free pizza very often... I have had to experiment with several products over the last few years. Other than the specific flatbreads and pitas I am sharing with you today, my biggest successes have been making pizzas on a variety of vegetables (some with more success than others) and slices of polenta. But those don't totally satisfy a real pizza craving.

My absolute favorite crust these days is the Glutenfreeda Artisan Flatbread and Pizza Crust, especially the "Roasted Garlic" and the "Parmesan and Asiago". They both make super tasty pizza crusts!

When I have trouble at times getting my hands on the Glutenfreeda Flatbreads, I use Against the Grain's 7-inch Lebanese-style Pita Bread. I usually find both of these at my local Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and/or Raley's. I made some of each today.

When I make pizzas, I don't measure at all and I make a whole lot more than we need at that one meal, because it is so easy to make more right then when I have an assembly line type of thing going on and then we have leftover pizza for some upcoming meals. Leftover pizza never goes to waste around here. It also makes it so much easier to make a lot more variations, since my guys and I love variety.

The recipe below for the basic Flatbread and Pita Pizzas is really more like a basic guideline and tips. I find it much more satisfying while making the pizzas as well as while eating them if I just let myself get creative and go with what looks good. I also love to add in special leftovers when appropriate.

Basic Gluten Free Flatbread and Pita Pizza Recipe


Spray oil
Desired amount of Glutenfreeda Artisan Flatbreads or Against the Grain Pita Bread ~ thawed
Pizza Sauce ~ I use Classico Pizza Sauce (it's gluten free and delicious) - or BBQ Sauce!
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese ~ Gluten free, if needed
Your desired pizza toppings such as: pepperoni, ham, Canadian Bacon. hamburger, bacon, sausage, salami, chicken, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, black olives, minced garlic, artichoke hearts, pineapple, and broccoli.
Parmesan Cheese, optional
Granulated Garlic, optional

Here are some of my pizza creations today showing the toppings before adding the cheese. I have meat lovers (with pepperoni and ham ~ I usually use Buddig ham lunch meat. It works great for pizzas and is handy to have in the freezer.), my Mushroom and Spinach Pizza, Combination (ham, pepperoni, spinach, mushrooms, red onion, Roma tomato, minced garlic), Pepperoni Lovers, Veggie Lovers (lots of spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, red onions, minced garlic), and another combo shown on the other crust.

My pizza creations before adding the cheese.


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spread pizza sauce or BBQ sauce evenly over each of your flatbreads or pita breads.
  • Top with your desired pizza toppings and shredded cheese. If you do not have many toppings, you can put the cheese down first and then the toppings on top. This works really good with pepperoni pizzas.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and/or granulated garlic, if desired.
  • Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes, or until your cheese is melted and your toppings are heated well. It really depends on your oven, how many pizzas you are making, and how high you topped them. My two pans of pizzas took 11 minutes today.

My finished Gluten Free Pizzas!

So, what are your favorite pizza toppings? Do you have any that you and your family always eat or do you switch it up a lot? Please leave a comment below.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Introduction to the Woodwind Family Part 1

There are 4 families of instruments: string, brass, woodwind, and percussion.  Today, our focus will be on the woodwind family.

All of the instruments in the woodwind family are basically narrow pipes with several holes and a mouthpiece at the top as well as an opening at the bottom. 

You play woodwind instruments by blowing air through the mouthpiece while changing the pitch by opening or closing the holes with your fingers. Most of these instruments have keys that cover the holes, too. Many of these instruments used to be made out of wood, but today they are made out of wood, metal, plastic, or a combination.

The Flute

A person who plays the flute is called either a Flautist or Flutist. He or she must have an extraordinary control of his or her breath.

When you blow across the embouchure hole of a flute (at the mouthpiece), some of the air goes inside the flute and some does not. The air that goes inside is quickly moving and starts vibrations inside the flute's body. If all of the holes are covered, no air can escape and the air travels all the way down the flute. This creates a low pitch. If only the first few holes are covered, air escapes after a short trip down the flute's body and produces a higher pitch. The flutist can also affect the sound by changing the angle he or she is blowing across the hole.

Flutes are about 2 feet long and usually made out of metal. They are one of the highest pitched instruments in the orchestra.

Listen to Johann Sebastian Bach's "Suite No. 2 for Flute, Strings, and Basso Continuo: Menuet and Badinerie. Be sure to listen to the quicker second part of the video as well. If you want to see something quite remarkable, check out 2 Guys 1 Flute.

The Piccolo

While the flute is one of the highest instruments in the orchestra, the piccolo IS the highest. It is only one foot long and plays notes that are an entire octave higher than the flute. That is a whole scale of notes higher; for example: from C to C'.

Now let's watch and listen to Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 4: 3rd Movement" as it's performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. At the beginning of the selected music you will see and hear the flutes playing. They will be followed by the piccolo. Notice the difference in size and pitches they play. If you watch the video for awhile, you can see many great close-ups of several different instruments as well as hear them clearly. See if you can identify the instruments or try to guess in what instrument family they belong.

The Oboe

The oboe is a wooden instrument whose sound is made by blowing through a double reed at the top of the instrument. Its sound is quite strong and memorable. It sounds kind of nasally or a lot like a duck quacking. 

The musician has to force air at a very high pressure into a tiny double reed, so it is very difficult to play.

Tomaso Albinoni was the first Italian known to use the oboe as a solo instrument and is mostly remembered today for his several oboe concertos. Listen to his "Oboe Concerto in D minor Op 9" with 10 year-old soloist, Pijus Paškevičius.

The Clarinet

A clarinet is played by blowing into a single reed that is clipped to the mouthpiece. The picture over to the right is a clarinet reed.

The reed starts and controls the vibration of the air inside the clarinet. As you blow over the reed, the power of the air makes the tip of the reed bend up and down. In fact, a clarinet reed bends up and down 29 times each second when you blow over it.

The smooth, warm tones of the clarinet come from its straight tubing.

Now listen to Milan Rericha perform the clarinet solo in Gioachino Rossini's "Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra".  If you want a real treat, also listen to Milan Rericha play "Flight of the Bumblebees". It's amazing!

Continue with Introduction to the Woodwind Family Part 2. It includes: the saxophone, bassoon, and contra-bassoon.

If you are new to the Music Adventures Lessons, please click on the graphic below for an introduction and more information.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Introduction to the Brass Family

There are 4 families of instruments: string, brass, woodwind, and percussion.  Today, we will learn about the brass family.

Instruments in the brass family are made of metal (often brass). The sound is made when the player vibrates his/her lips against the mouthpiece while blowing air into the instrument. Loose lips vibrate slowly and create lower notes. Tight lips vibrate quickly and create higher notes.

Some brass instruments have valves. You can press these down in order to change the notes. When you push a valve down, it opens up more tubing for the air to travel through. More tubing means that there is more space for the air to vibrate; therefore, the note will be a lower pitch.

Remember: the smaller the area, the quicker the vibration and higher the pitch.

Here is a drawing that shows how pressing down a valve changes the path of the air and lengthens the air's journey through the instrument.

You can also check out this short video that explains "How Brass Instrument Valves Work".

Not all brass instruments have valves, but they all are long tubes of metal that flare out at one end. The tubes are wound around and around to make them portable and easy to carry. If you stretched them out straight, they would be rather long.

Trumpets are at least 3,500 years old. Early versions were even found in King Tut's tomb!

Trumpets have been used to send signals, frighten enemies in battles, and begin ceremonies for centuries.

Until the 1790's, trumpets did not have valves (similar to bugles) and the trumpeters could only change the pitch by changing the shape and tightness of their lips.

A standard trumpet is 18 inches long, but if you unwound all of the tubing, it would be 4 1/2 feet long. That is 3 times the length of the trumpet.

The finale of Franz Joseph Haydn's "Concerto for Trumpet in E Flat" is one of the first pieces ever written for a trumpet that had valve keys. The piece begins with strings and woodwind instruments. The trumpet enters at about 0:35.

Listen to "Concerto for Trumpet in E Flat" now.

The French horn has a mellow and velvety sound that helps it blend the brass and woodwinds together in the orchestra. French horns are even older than trumpets and the ancient French horns did not have valves either. It was not until the 1800's that the instrument began looking like it does today.

If you uncoiled a French horn, it would be 12 feet long or about two times the height of an adult man.

The French horn is a complicated instrument to master. While holding the instrument and adjusting the tone with the right hand, the player's left fingers work the valves and his/her left thumb works a valve that selects the tubing for higher or lower notes. Since it is so hard to master the extreme high and low notes, musicians usually specialize in only one range (either the high notes or low notes).

In the old days, the French horn was very similar to the horn that people used while hunting.

In Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Horn Concerto No. 1", you can hear how difficult the French horn is to play and can practically see the men, horses, and hunting dogs chasing a fox if you close your eyes and use your imagination. (The French horn starts at about 0:52.)

Trombones were invented in the 1400's as an improvement on the trumpet. Before the invention of valves on brass instruments, the slides on trombones allowed the trombonist to change the pitch by changing the length of its tubing.

Trombones form the middle harmony between the higher trumpets and the lower tubas (which we will learn about next).

If you unwound a trombone, it would be 9 feet long and almost reach the ceiling in a home.

Trombones can also create an effect that no other instrument can imitate. It's called the glissando. The glissando is a quick and smooth change from one note to another. It is made by continually blowing air through the mouthpiece while moving the slide.

Here is an example of a trombonist playing two glissandi.

Listen and watch the solo trombonist in this video of  Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 3". The video does a great job of showcasing several other instruments as well.

Tubas were invented so that brass bands would have a low-sounding (or bass) instrument.

The first tuba was made in 1835. Soon tubas were being made in a big variety of shapes and sizes. Each of these tubas were given a different name. Sousaphones and baritones are popular kinds of tubas.

The tuba is the youngest member of the brass family and also is the largest, so it makes the lowest notes. If you uncoiled a tuba it would be 18 feet long!

In Maurice Ravel's "Pictures at an Exhibition", the tuba is supposed to sound like a cart being pulled by an ox. The tuba is actually playing notes in its higher range, but it still sounds heavy and like it is working hard. Listen to this section of "Pictures at an Exhibition: Bydlo" here. This is another video that shows a lot of closeups of several of the musicians while they are performing.

If you are new to the Music Adventures Lessons, please click on the graphic below for an introduction and more information.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cheesy Hash Browns and Kielbasa ~ Quick and Frugal One-Dish Meal

The other evening I needed something extremely quick, but I was not in the mood for any of my other quick go to dinners. I looked in the freezer for some inspiration and this concoction just came to me. This one-dish dinner is satisfying, frugal, and goes from the freezer to table in mere minutes.

You can easily change it up with whatever you happen to have on hand. I will very likely add sliced mini peppers next time just to add some more color, texture, and pizazz.

I also used shredded hash browns this time, but will likely use the cubed style next time if I have it handy. I think it will add a bit of variety to the texture. This basic "recipe" can be changed to fit whatever you have in your freezer really... different sausages, veggies that do well sauteed, etc.

This is also extremely easy to make gluten free; mine was. You just need to select gluten free versions of all the ingredients. The hash browns, kielbasa, and shredded cheese all come in gluten free and "gluten full" versions, so just watch your labels.


avocado oil (or olive oil)
1 pkg of hash browns (cubed or shredded) ~ Gluten Free, in needed ~ I used Ore-Ida
1 large onion, sliced (or medium if you don't like a lot of onion)
1 pkg of kielbasa ~ Gluten Free, in needed ~ I used John Morrell
2 cups (or less) of Sharp Cheddar Cheese ~ Gluten Free, if needed ~ I used Kraft
granulated garlic, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste (I actually didn't use any salt)


In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil a bit over a medium-high heat (about 2 spins with the oil around the skillet). 

Add the frozen hash browns carefully. Break up if necessary. After the hash browns are no longer frozen (a couple of minutes), add in the sliced onion. 

Add your granulated garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. (You can add more near the end, too, if desired.)

Thaw the kielbasa in your microwave, if needed. Be careful not to start the cooking process in the microwave, though. When thawed, cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces.

As the hash browns and onions start to brown, flip them over. 

Now, break up the hash browns and onions. Then add the pieces of kielbasa into the skillet and stir.

Continue to flip/stir everything occasionally in order to cook evenly and to achieve some browning.

When it is fully cooked and brown enough for your liking, add the shredded cheese. The dish is done when the cheese has melted. 

This would be wonderful served with a simple salad, We each had a small handful of cherry tomatoes with ours. 

What are some of your quick, easy, and/or frugal go-to meals? Tell us about them in the comments section.