Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes and Gluten-Full Pancake Mix

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

I really like these pancakes because they are high in protein, gluten-free, and have no added sugar.  Since they aren't sweet, I've used them as "bread" for egg and cheese sandwiches and such.  As always, if you have a gluten allergy, make sure the oatmeal and other ingredient are certified gluten-free.  Oatmeal is often contaminated - one study I read said 70% tested positive for gluten. 

I wanted to use up a homemade pancake mix that I had mixed up a few months before I knew I needed to go gluten-free.  Since Lo could still eat them, I made up the rest of the batter for him (see second recipe) and made protein pancakes for me. 

Regular Pancakes on top,
Protein Pancakes on bottom
(Gluten-Free) Protein Pancakes

1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (uncooked)
1/4 cup low-fat/FF cottage cheese (or 1 scoop vanilla protein powder instead)
4-6 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Blend together the oatmeal, cottage cheese, egg whites, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to make a batter using a blender or processor. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add the batter and cook over medium heat until both sides are lightly browned. Use your choice of toppings.  The flavor is more egg-y than typical pancakes. 

Add some honey or sugar to make it sweeter like pancakes. If you want them thicker, add more oatmeal or a tablespoon or two of gluten-free flour.

The pancakes in the picture were made with the protein powder option instead of cottage cheese.  The batter was thin, so I added tablespoon or two of gluten free flour.  I have made the cottage cheese version without the need to add flour, but they looked much thinner than the ones pictured - more crepe-like.  

If you look at the picture above, you can see the difference between the two pancakes recipes - the gluten-free plate on the bottom have more "texture" to them from the oats (and thus more fiber!). 

Pancakes are ready to flip
when bubbles form!
(Gluten-Full) Pancake Mix 

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

Stir the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Store the mix into a 2-quart jar. To make pancakes, stir 1 1/2 cups of pancake mix, 2 eggs, and 1 1/4 cups of milk in a mixing bowl until smooth. Spray skillet with nonstick spray (or butter or oil) and heat pan over medium heat (I prefer cast iron). Cook the pancakes for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  You can tell when the pancakes are ready to flip because bubbles will form on the uncooked side.  Serves 4.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

January/February Books

I've read 3 books in the five or six weeks and had pretty different opinions on all of them.  Water for Elephants was definitely my favorite among them, I would recommend In Cold Blood for people who like crime stories, and I wouldn't recommend Stern Men to anyone.  Have you read any good books lately? I'm always looking for suggestions!

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (3.5 stars)
I decided to read this because Capote is such a good author and I like crime novels.  The book is about the murder of a family in a small town in Kansas.  I liked it a lot, though it was slow in parts.  I never really connected to any one of the characters, but did enjoy the perspective from each.  People who don’t like crime novels wouldn’t enjoy this though, as there really isn’t another story line to it.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (4 stars)
This is a historical story told from the view of a elderly man in a nursing home about his experience working for the circus as a vet when he was young and how he fell in love.  I liked the book a lot, especially how honest it seemed about the negative aspects of the circus.  My mom read if first and said she didn’t like it because she doesn’t agree with how animals are treated in circuses and such – but to me, that’s exactly the point of the book – it’s honest that animals/performers were (are?) treated poorly and the consequences of that treatment.  The character descriptions were really rich and I was able to picture each one as I was reading.  I haven’t seen the movie yet.  I’d like to, but I think Robert Pattinson is in it and he kind of creeps me out.  I really glad I wasn’t picturing him as the main character while I was reading it – I didn’t actually know what part he played, but I could have guessed if I really thought about it. 

Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert (2 stars)   
I read this book because I liked Eat, Pray, Love (same author).  I did not like this book.  It was incredibly slow and there wasn’t much of a point to the story.  Most books either have mystery, drama, comedy, a love story, or a moral/life lesson, but I didn’t get any of that.  The drama was minimal, it wasn’t funny, no mystery, and I’m not sure what the moral/life lesson could have been.  It was basically just about an average girl who lived on a island.  It was really disappointing because the author could have cut out half of the middle of the book and added a love story for the main character in the second half – instead it was glossed over in the final chapter and the epilogue.  Or she could have at least included what it was like for the character to be sent away for school and her interactions with the non-island culture.  I just don’t even get a sense for what the purpose of this book was.  It was well written, but not interesting at all.  I couldn’t wait to finish it (I don’t really ever abandon books, and I was sure it would get good at some point). 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Grilled Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Calzone

BBQ Chicken Calzone with Pineapple Salsa
A few weeks ago when we were making pizza, Lo froze half of the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough that he had mixed up.  He was having gluten-full pizza, so we didn't need one big enough for both of us - and we were curious if it could be frozen.

We popped the dough in the fridge to thaw last week and I told Lo he could come up with something to make with it.  Since we've had a lot of pizza lately, I suggested calzones or something of the sort.  And since we usually grill our pizza, I thought he should try to grill these too.  One of our favorite pizzas is BBQ Chicken and Pineapple pizza, so he decided to base it off of that. If you don't want to make these on the grill, you can probably cook them in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes - until the crust is browned. 

This was one of the best things that he's made - and he's made some pretty delicious meals!  The calzone itself would have been pretty tasty, but the pineapple salsa that he topped it with paired so well with the filling!

Grilled GF BBQ Chicken Calzone with Pineapple Salsa

ball of pizza dough, divided in two
4 strips of bacon, cooked
1 sweet onion, chopped and divided
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded (he grilled 3 breasts and used about 1.5)
BBQ sauce, about 1 cup
cilantro, chopped, to taste
shredded cheese on filling
more shredded cheese on top of crust after grilled with a little salt and pepper

Cook chicken with your preferred method and chop or shred.  Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp.  Remove bacon from skillet to a plate lined with a paper towel.  Cook 1/2 of the onion in the bacon grease until softened and slightly browned (reserve other half of onion for salsa).  Stir together chicken, onion,  BBQ sauce, and cilantro.  Set aside.  Prepare salsa and set aside.  Oil grill grates and preheat (or preheat oven if not grilling).
Using gf flour or corn meal on a pizza peel or baking sheet, press dough with your hands as thin as you can without it tearing, to form 2 circles (or as close as you can to circles).  Some dough instructions suggest that you wet your hands to make it easier to handle - other dough may require a little extra flour or corn meal.  Spoon half of the filling onto one side of each circle, leaving enough dough to fold over filling (you may not use all of the filling).  Fold other half of dough over the filling and pinch the edges of the dough together to prevent the filling from leaking out.  Carefully transfer calzones to the grill (Lo used a big spatula).  Grill for approximately 5-8 minutes, until the bottom is browned.  Carefully flip the calzone to grill the other side.  Grill for 4-5 minutes until both sides are grilled.  Immediately sprinkle extra shredded cheese, salt and pepper on top of the crust of the calzones.  Allow to cool for a few minutes, top with pineapple salsa, and serve.  Serves 2-4, depending on amount of dough and appetite.  We got 4 servings using 1/2 of the dough from a package of Bob's Red Mill GF Pizza Crust. 

Pineapple Salsa
1/2 onion, chopped (from above)
pineapple tidbits
lime juice
chipotle pepper flakes

Mix ingredients together, until salsa is of your preferred consistency by adding more or less lime juice.

Grilled GF BBQ Chicken Calzone with Pineapple Salsa
uncooked calzones

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Workouts: February 20 – February 26 BUSTED

This was a super-busted workout week – terrible.  Having the day off on Monday, a lunch scheduled on Tuesday, and an appointment on Friday for which I had to flex out my lunch (which means my workout), means that I did 2 workouts all week – I guess 3 if I count volleyball on Monday.  I have a volleyball tournament on Sunday, so I’ll get at least 4-5 hours of actual playing time, which should make up the difference – especially since I’m not really in volleyball shape!  I could have done evening workouts on Tuesday and/or Wednesday, but mostly didn’t feel like it because I wanted to get stuff done at home.

Noon:  Off work for President’s Day, so no workout (with a realtor most of the day)

Volleyball: Women’s Power League (we won 1/3). We were missing our setter for the first 20-25 minutes, so those first two games were rough, since I was setting when I was in the front row (and I’m not a setter) and we were playing with 5. 

No workout: Lunch with a ex co-worker

Noon: WOD, 5 Rounds – Row 500 meters, 10 jump lunges, 10 one leg kettle bell deadlift, 10 mountain climbers (each leg), 10 situps, 10 prisoner squats.  It wasn’t as hard as I’d hoped, but I’m still trying to not use my arm a lot because my elbow has been sore at night, and I also still have the sore spot on my leg that worries me for jumping/running.  I was slightly sore the next day, so it was somewhat useful.

Noon: Spinning at Capital Club
No yoga after work – looking at more houses with a realtor J

No workout: Leaving work early for my highlights at Phia Salon, so I needed to flex out my lunch

Volleyball tournament in Dayton.  This will likely kick my butt since I’ve only been playing volleyball once a week.  Volleyball isn’t exactly a hard cardio sport, but it does require a ton of jumping, diving (and popping back up), and hitting, so I’ll certainly be sore. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jules Gluten-Free Trial Pack #1

Jules Gluten Free makes some of the better gluten-free flour and baking products that I've had.  My friend gave me bags of the GF cookie mix, all-purpose flour mix, and oatmeal, and while I haven't used the cookie mix yet, the flour is great for any baked goods I've made.  The flour has xanthan gum mixed into it so you can substitute it cup for cup to convert regular recipes to gluten free recipes. 

The products are kind of expensive, but you can order special trial packs and bundles, which make the overall cost of the products more reasonable.  I ordered the Trial Pack #1 for $55, with free shipping and was really happy with the package. 

The package included:
  • JGF 5lb All Purpose Flour
  • JGF Cookie Mix
  • JGF Oats
  • JGF Bread Mix
  • JGF Grahams/Ginger Snaps Mix
  • Nearly Normal Cooking e-Book
  • JGF Cookie Mix e-Book
  • Dinner-A-Day e-Book
Included in the box will be these items from Jules’ Product Partners: 

  • TH Foods - Crunchmaster multi-grain cracker samples, a coupon and an informational flyer
  • Erewhon - Brown Rice Cereal 10 oz. box (full size) and an informational flyer
  • Savory Choice  - box of vegetarian broth packets and an informational flyer
  • Go Picnic- full sized sample of Turkey Stick and Crunch and coupon
  • Earth Balance - Coupons for discounted products, Cooking with Coconut Brochure which includes 12 recipes, and a bamboo spreader
  • Kettle Cuisine - Coupon for FREE product and an informational flyer
  • Living Without - magazine
  • Vance's DariFree - 2 sample packets and an informational flyer
  • Enjoy Life - full sized bag of mini chips, a Survival Guide and a coupon
The site claims the value of the box is $115, but the Jules products are only worth $60, so you are essentially paying for the products from the "partners".  I also don't really think that ebooks are worth $10 each either.  But I still found it to be a good deal because the shipping was included and I will actually use most of the partner products that were included, especially the Go Picnic (love those for meals on the go or traveling), the chocolate chips, broth packets, and cereal. 

I highly recommend the Jules' baking products and am excited to try the mixes that I haven't used yet.  The trial pack is only available while supplies last, but I would expect another one would be offered. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spicy Bean Enchilada Casserole and Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I like to make meatless meals every now and then, especially if it's good enough that Lo can't tell it's meatless (trickery, I know).  I cooked up a big bag of pinto beans and froze half of them.  The rest I used to make Spicy Bean Enchilada Casserole.  The recipe calls for refried beans, but I just made my own by sauteing pintos with seasonings (shakes of cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and chipotle seasonings), adding some water, and mashing them with a big spoon (I don't have a potato masher).  The recipe calls for black beans, but I just used the pintos that I cooked.  We really liked this meal.  Lo didn't know that it didn't contain meat until I told him.  He doesn't like it when I trick him, but he already said it was good so he couldn't take it back. 

Spicy Bean Enchilada Casserole
adapted from Once a Month Mom
Casseroles never look pretty...
  • 1 can of red enchilada sauce (or see homemade recipe below)
  • 12 ounces frozen whole kernel corn, thawed or microwaved until just cooked
  • 16 ounces refried beans
  • 12 soft corn tortillas (6 inch)
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained, rinsed (I used pintos)
  • 14.5 ounces petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch baking dish (or 2 8×8-inch) with cooking spray. Spread half of enchilada sauce in bottom of dish. Spread about half of refried beans on 6 tortillas. Place tortillas, bean-side up, over sauce in dish, overlapping to fit. Stir together remaining enchilada sauce, corn, black beans and undrained tomatoes in large bowl. Spread half of corn mixture over tortillas in dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat layering with remaining refried beans and tortillas, corn mixture and remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake 35 minutes or until hot in center and bubbly around edges. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Freezing Directions: Prepare according to directions above except do not preheat oven and do not bake. Instead, once assembled, cover with foil and freeze. To serve: Thaw. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until hot in center and bubbly around edges. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into 8 pieces. 

 On to the sauce:

The enchilada sauce recipe makes 5 cups, I froze the remaining that Lo didn't use in the Enchilada Meatball recipe (which were also frozen).  This is a pretty spicy sauce, but we really liked it.  If you have a tender tongue, don't add any extra cayenne.

Enchilada Sauce
Tammy's Recipes

3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water*
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup gluten free flour - I used Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Flour
Optional: Cayenne pepper added (to taste) at the end, if you like hot enchilada sauce
1. Place all ingredients into blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a 3- or 4-quart sauce pan. Or, place ingredients into a 4-quart sauce pan (no heat) and blend with an immersion stick blender until smooth.
2. Heat mixture in sauce pan over medium heat, whisking frequently, until mixture thickens and boils. Let boil for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Cool. Taste, and whisk in some cayenne pepper if you want a hotter sauce.

*I had to add a little extra chicken broth, as it thickened a little too much.  Add extra to your preference.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What is Gluten Intolerance?

I've been gluten-free since August 2011.  When someone finds out that I don't eat gluten, they either ask me why, or if I have celiac disease.  I usually respond that I have a gluten intolerance and I get sick when I eat gluten, which is completely accurate.  Some people accept that, while others are still suspicious that I'm doing it for some other reason.  It really sucks when I get the feeling that people don't believe me.  I think some suspect that I'm just doing it because one of my closest friends found out she has celiac disease about 2 years ago.  While I did come to a partial realization that I may have an issue with it because I never got sick when I was hanging out with Kelley (and eating the same things she was), I certainly wouldn't give up beer just to be like her (no offense, Kelley).  Beer was one of my greatest delights.  The darker or the hoppier that is was, the more I liked it.  I tend to not be someone who does something because everyone else is doing it - especially if it means I'm giving up something I love (hello, Combos!).

I tested negative with the celiac blood test, but the test isn't always accurate, and I hadn't been eating much gluten in the weeks prior to the test (which is very important).  I was supposed to have an endoscopy to see if there was intestinal damage, but I cancelled the appointment.  You have to eat plenty of gluten before the endoscopy so that you body shows a reaction, if there is a reaction.  I was sick enough the first week every time that I tried to eat gluten, that I didn't want to tolerate 2 more weeks of nausea, dry-heaving, and major "digestive unrest" (use your imagination for that term).  I don't need a diagnosis - its very clear to me that I can't tolerate it.  As Lo will say, he's never known me to not have a stomachache, until I stopped eating gluten.  I've pretty much always had stomach issues of some sort, and it's amazing to not have those anymore.  When I also consider the fact that my cousin has celiac disease, my mom has a definite wheat allergy and probably celiac (and other autoimmune disease), and that this is something that can be inherited, I don't need to push my luck considering that it also makes me feel so bad. 

Anyway, the point of this story is because I read an article today really made a lot of sense to me and that I think others could benefit from reading, especially if they suspect gluten intolerance or if they have other autoimmune disease.  I think this is the best explanation of gluten intolerance and the ramifications of continuing to eat gluten.  Here's the link:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February Birchbox!

I signed up for Birchbox after reading about it at Allison Lehman: Show + Tell.  Birchbox is a monthly subscription service for upscale beauty products.  For $10, you get a box with 4-5 generous samples including makeup, skincare, fragrance, body, and hair care.  Even though I don't wear a lot of makeup regularly, I love trying new products, but hate to spend a lot of money on things that I may not like.  The boxes are customized according to a profile that you fill out, though I don't think everything was appropriate for me based on my profile.

With Birchbox, if you like an item from the monthly box, you can order it with free shipping.  There is a point system in which you receive 10 points for every box you receive and 1 point for every $1 that you spend on products.  100 points = $10 for future purchases.  If you have a beauty-loving friend or family member, you can purchase gift subscriptions of 3, 6, or 12 months.   The best part is that there is no commitment - you can cancel your subscription before the first of the next month if you don't want it anymore. 

Wanna try Birchbox?  I'd love it if you used my referral invite: Click here

On to the box!
This is what I received in the February Birchbox:
    1. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant - This is an exfoliating powder to which you add water to create a paste to buff dead cells away.  I did not have high expectations for this, even as I was using it.  It was a little hard to create the right consistency (especially not even knowing what the consistency should be).  I had to make some adjustments with more powder and more water to get to a paste that I could massage on my face for 1 minute.  I didn't feel like it was really doing anything while I was massaging it in, but after I rinsed, I could tell a HUGE difference.  My skin felt SO clean and so smooth.  I was shocked, because it's been a little dry and flaky in patches lately.  It still felt really soft and smooth in the morning.  I would love to use this regularly, but at $50 for a full size bottle, it's above the price that I'm willing to pay.     
    2. Eye Rock Designer Liner - These are single use, stick-on eye liner strips.  They are pretty crazy, so I don't know when I'd wear them except for a costume party or to be funny.  I just don't wear eye makeup like that.  I'll hang on to them for the right event, so I can't really give a review of these. 2 packs of 4 are $13, which isn't bad if you have something specific to buy these for.
    3. Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint - I'm not a big fan of tinted moisturizers because my skin get a little oily throughout the day.  I use a moisturizer and then mineral powder foundation, so this type of product just isn't my thing. Full-size $38, which I'd never pay for any tinted moisturizer.
    4. Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum - I was surprised I received this because I didn't indicate that I am concerned about acne in my profile.  I do get blemishes here and there, so I wasn't terrible disappointed.  I didn't really like the serum much though because it was pretty liquidy, which made it hard to dispense the correct amount without squeezing out too much.  I can't speak for how well it works, as something like this needs to be used for a longer period of time than that sample will allow.  It didn't burn or dry out my skin though.  Full-size is $29, which seems like a lot, but if it's a product I needed and liked, I'd probably pay for it if I had a lot of acne. 
    5. Supersmile Powdered Mouthrinse - Add water to this powder-filled pouch to create a mouthwash to freshen your breath and whiten your teeth.  I really like the convenience of this because it would be easy to throw in your purse or for travel.  Pack of 24 is $16.  I'd probably buy these if I traveled a ton or was on the go all of the time.  As it is, I usually only use mouthwash at night, at which time I'm home. 
    Overall, I still really like the concept of Birchbox and will continue my subscription for now.  As far as matching my profile, I didn't think the blemish clearing serum was a good match (my skin concerns were aging and sun protection), nor the Eye Rock Liner as I selected classic, natural, and trendy for beauty style, but not adventurous which I really think the Liner suits.  I'm also disappointed that I received so much skin care versus makeup because I selected "the latest makeup color" as something that I would splurge on.  After looking at all of the products that could have been in the February Birchbox, there were definitely several products that would have been more appropriate for my profile. 

    Note: I purchased my Birchbox subscription on my own accord and am not being reimbursed for this review.  I just really like the concept.
    *referral link included

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Whole Foods Values

    Whole Foods claims to have lots of values in the store, but they are hidden amongst so many tempting and more expensive items, that it’s hard to get out of the store without feeling like it should be called “Whole Paycheck”.  They offer free Value Tours about once a month, and while I haven’t been able to go to one yet, I definitely want to go one of these times.  I will say that I get great deals on bulk goods (beans, rice, quinoa, etc) and spices (only buy the amount that you need) – and if the Friday One Day Sale is something that I want, it’s usually a great deal. 

    I read this article on the Whole Foods Whole Story blog, and thought it may be worth sharing.  It gives examples on what you can buy for $20 at Whole Foods using the The Whole Deal value guide and online coupons, including meat and organic produce.  The article is a few months old, so some of the produce may be more expensive if it’s out of season, but other produce is in season now and probably less expensive.  Click here for the article. 

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Beef, Pork, Beef?

    When looking through my freezer a week or two ago, I came upon a gallon Ziploc bag with a roast in it.  It was once labeled with masking tape, but the tape had fallen off (masking tape isn’t good on plastic bags in the freezer).  The roast looked like it was getting a little icy inside the bag, as if it wasn’t sealed well or the air wasn’t removed before freezing, so I wanted to use it up in the next few weeks.  I have a vague memory of when we froze a couple of batches of meat, and we had clearly rubbed it with some sort of meat rub before we froze it.

    The one little problem was that I had no idea whether it was a pork roast or a beef roast- as we’d frozen batches of both at different times.  Initially I thought it was beef, recalling the memory of packaging/rubbing it with seasoning (more accurately, making Lo do that).  I also had some packages of gravy that I wanted to use (a GF one and non-GF one), so I thought I’d make a roast this week.  I had him throw it in the crockpot when he got home from work to get it started.   When I got home and looked in the crock, I had doubts that it was beef, but it was really hard to tell because it was still mostly frozen and was covered in a rub.  Lo thought it looked more like pork too. I was a little disappointed, because I was hoping for beef.  Since we’ve recently had (and still have frozen) pulled pork, I decided we’d still make a roast of it.  I asked Lo if he thought it was weird if we used beef gravy on pork roast (if that’s what it turned out to be) and he said no – which is good, because I really wanted to use up the gravy!  I cut up some potatoes, carrots, and celery and threw them in the crock.  I also drizzled some hot sauce and Spicy A1 on top (because I’m trying to use up some condiments).  I sliced a container of white mushrooms to caramelize in the skillet before adding to the crock by adding some concentrated beef stock crystals to the water in the skillet so they’d get a really beefy flavor.  Once all of the liquid from the pan had been cooked off, I deglazed the pan with a little more water and poured the mushrooms and juice into the crockpot. 

    Lo went to crossfit, so I left a note telling him to check the temp on the pork when he got home and if it was done, he could eat it with some of the gluten-containing gravy.  I had a 9:10 volleyball game, so I wouldn’t be home until after 10.  When I got home I asked him if it was pork and whether he liked it.  He said it was, and he did, but it wasn’t as tender as he expected.  At first I thought it was just because I cooked it on high instead of low – but once I thought about it, I realized that the only pork we had in the freezer was tenderloin, so it should have cooked tender no matter what.  As we were transferring the rest of the roast and veggies into a glass container, I decided it looked more like beef and asked him if he was sure that it was pork.  He didn’t really know because he ate it with beef gravy, but now that he was looking at it, it looked like beef.  Finally I just tasted some and it was, in fact, beef.  I had it for lunch the next day and it was quite good!  It had a spicy taste to it, which could be from the condiments I added to the crock – or from the initial rub.  Since I don’t know what it was rubbed with, I guess we’ll never know. 

    Moral of the story – mark your meat.  More specifically, write in marker on the bag instead of tape - unless you have freezer tape.