Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Spring Cleaning - Sewing Room, Part One

Personally, I wanted to finish off the kitchen next. I didn't have time to clean out the fridge and freezer or under the sink when I did the rest of the kitchen. On top of that, two of the later projects are both in my kitchen (pantry and laundry room). So I wanted to get those things finished so that my whole kitchen would just be done, but hubby had other plans. He has been itching to clean out his office for awhile, so I  agreed to help him, on one condition: I wanted my "office" cleaned too. I should have just finished off my kitchen.

However, he got called in to work a couple extra shifts over the weekend (a week ago), so I just started on my office alone.

http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2013/06/home-organization-101-week-1-the-kitchen-season-3.html

It's really more of a sewing room, but because of it's prime location right off the dining room, it collects all of the clutter. I have a couple of clear organizing drawers, that I try to sort things in to, but that only works for so long. There's also a giant dresser in there, but it's only about half full. I keep my clothes drying rack there because the laundry is in the kitchen. So this is my catch-all room and I hate it. This is what it looked like when I started, Sunday morning (after making muffins):


Friday, 11 April 2014

Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread

Every time I pick up a new pack of my dairy-free cheese, I notice all the other dairy-free products. It's crazy, isn't it? Butter, sour cream, cream cheese, you name it, you can get it dairy-free. I usually eye up all the options, and then buy only what I actually needed.

Cream cheese is my biggest weakness. I used to be a bagel-addict. I probably ate a dozen bagels every month, sometimes more. If I was out of cream cheese, I'd eat peanut butter or Nutella on them, but cream cheese was my very favourite thing.

I honestly have not bought a single pack of cream cheese since my diagnosis.

Not one.

How depressing is that? I consider it, every now and then, but what would I eat it on? Whenever I buy bread products, I usually have a plan for them. I'll buy a pack of gluten-free sliced ham and a loaf of bread and eat sandwiches for lunch a few days. Or I'll buy a package of gluten-free crackers and a little package of goat cheese. Bread products are such a luxury for me, that I haven't wanted to "waste" one on cream cheese.

But I caved. I bought a package of gluten-free sandwich bread and a little container of Daiya cream cheese style spread in strawberry flavour.


The other big problem with cream cheese is that I can't toast anything. We haven't bought a second toaster to be dedicated gluten-free, and even though I cleaned the old one a little, I know I can never eat anything that comes out of it.

I had a solution for that, though! I put my oven on broil, placed two slices of bread on a cookie sheet and popped them in for three minutes. This is how I make cheese toast, and it always works.


Except that without the cheese on top, the bread didn't fare as well. Oh well.


The "cream cheese style spread" comes out of the container and spreads very much like cream cheese. If you're a cream cheese connoisseur like I obviously am, you'll notice the texture is already a little different. It's perhaps a little more airy, and little more light, and it spread a little easier than cream cheese.

As for taste, I like it. There is something about the texture that is just off, but it's still good. I don't think you could trick someone into believing it's regular cream cheese, but I do believe you can content yourself with this if you can't eat dairy anymore.

I'd give it a 7/10: Not the most amazing thing on the planet, but a delicious spread for my toast that won't make me feel sick.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Chocolate Breakfast Muffins

I did work on spring cleaning this weekend, but I got stalled and distracted a lot. My sister came into town (she lives on a farm 1.5 hours from here) and I spent a ton of time with her. I also decided to make chocolate muffins.

A friend of mine posted a photo of her adorable 9-month-old baby covered in gluten-free chocolate muffins crumbs, and I asked for the recipe. I've been in kind of a baking funk for a really long time, but having a clean kitchen now makes me want to bake again. After reading through the recipe and realizing I had everything I needed, I made it. Simple as that.


The recipe comes from Gluten Free on a Shoestring. My friend has the cookbook, but she tracked down and shared the blog recipe.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Clothespin Crafting

Guys, I made the coolest thing. Oh my gosh, I'm so excited. It's so cool. And look at how cute it is!!


My brother is getting married in seven weeks, and I'm planning the bridal shower (six weeks from now). I happened upon this super cute idea on Pinterest, at the blog A Law Student's Journey, and at first I thought "No way. That's way too much work for one little clothespin."

And then I went home and I noticed a giant pack of cheap clothespins leftover from one of hubby's projects. Then I looked, and I found we had cheep black, white and red paint. As well as cheap thin paint brushes and a little paint dish.

Okay. At this point, what's stopping me??

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Spring Cleaning - Kitchen

After my first ever spring cleaning burst, I have been seriously enjoying how clean my bathroom is. It made me happy every single time I walked in there, and I wanted the rest of the house to feel the same. But I knew that on my own, I would fizzle out and stop cleaning pretty quickly, so I went looking for some help.

I found the amazing blog A Bowl Full of Lemons and they are here to save the day! The whole blog is all about cleaning, organizing, planning and prepping. It's a beautiful, beautiful place. At first, I was a little overwhelmed, but at the top of the page is a lovely little button titled Where to Begin. She says before you start organizing, you need a clean house, and she gives you a one week plan to a cleaner home. Each task is small, simple and quick, but if you do them all every day, your house will stay cleaner.

M was a little concerned that I was going to try to clean the whole house in a week, but these are all surface tasks, like cleaning off the kitchen counters, doing a load of laundry, and wiping down the bathroom sink. If you keep up with them, you don't have to do a major overhaul of cleaning, and you have a clean house. So my goal is to keep up with these for as long as possible.

The next step is 14 weeks to a completely organized house. It's a little intense, I know, but I'm really excited to start. Each week is a different room, and the blog walks you through steps to completely clean and organize each room. At the end of 14 week (3 months!) your entire house will be organized! How rewarding is that?

http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2013/06/home-organization-101-week-1-the-kitchen-season-3.html

Week 1 is the kitchen, which is daunting, but necessary. Also, I find that when my kitchen is clean, I feel better and want other rooms to be clean. So I'm glad to start here, in the hub of the home.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Spring Cleaning - Bathroom

I've never really understood the concept of spring cleaning. Growing up, the house always got cleaned over the summer while all the kids were home and bored. As an adult in the last few years, I've never had the drive to suddenly clean my house just because it's spring. Possibly because every spring has come with a huge change. Three years ago, I got engaged and moved between winter and summer. Two years ago, we moved into our house in April, so we did lots of cleaning of our apartment, but not because it was spring. Last year, I was diagnosed in February, and had a huge job change coming in May, so I didn't really ever find the time to clean.

This year, I've spent the last few weeks looking around our house and making a mental list of everything I want cleaned. We got news about a month ago that my husband would be laid off, and I started hoping he would organize, sort, and scrub the house while he was home. He started a new job Monday, and none of my hopeful cleaning happened. (He did do a few projects in the garage and catch up on dishes, though.)

I just kept walking through the house and hating how every inch of it looked. I felt the need to purge. I wanted to take a giant garbage bag to every room, and spend a solid week finding every flat surface again. I was itching to be surrounded by clean, well-lit spaces. And you know what? It might be spring that did this to me! I might be, for the first time ever, filled with spring cleaning! I think I get it!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Hi, I'm a Spoonie

Hi, I'm a spoonie*.

I suffer from a chronic illness that affects me every single day. It changes how I approach tasks in my life, people in my life, and most of all, myself.

I can't explain why I'm sick so I try not to let on that I am.

I have a hard time explaining exactly how I feel, because feeling this way has become so common that I forget that most people don't feel this way.

I don't look sick, so I insist that I'm not.

There is nothing you can do to make less sick, so I don't want you to know how sick I am.

And, most importantly, my energy is a very tangible thing that comes and goes. Tasks cost a certain amount of energy, and I am sometimes forced to pick and choose what I can get done. I'm always a spoonie; my energy is always a tangible thing that I must ration out. Tasks always cost energy. However, some days I have more than enough. I don't even think about it. On good days, I wake up, get stuff done, and go non-stop. Other days, I sleep in my clothes because climbing the stairs to go to bed took the last of what energy I had. There are mornings that I wake up and I just know right away, that it is going to be a "low spoons day"; That I quite simply do not and will not have enough energy to get through everything the day is going to throw at me.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Quick Meals: One Pan Lunch

I love breakfast foods, but I very rarely eat breakfast, so what I really love is breakfast for dinner. Or lunch. You know, I think I'm in love with lunch. At lunch, you can eat breakfast or dinner or whatever you please and nobody judges you. Roast beef for lunch? Cool. Waffles with whip cream? Okay. Peanut butter sandwich? Awesome. See? Nobody cares. Lunch is the best meal of the day.

However, most people don't have a lot of time for lunch. I know I'm lucky by being able to go home every day for lunch, but I still have a limited time to prepare and consume lunch.

When you combine the love of breakfast with the lack of time, you end up with bacon. Bacon and eggs. Neither take very long to cook, and they're whole, real and a part of most clean-eating diets. I add in a potato patty because I'm still a little old-school and I like to see carbs as a part of my meals. Amazingly, I discovered that one egg, one potato patty and two slices of bacon all fits in one pan.

I add the bacon to a dry, heated pan, and let some of the fat come out, and then add the egg and patty so that they cook in bacon grease. Oh, so healthy, hmm? I like to cook my egg sunny side up or over easy and then soak up the yolk with my potato patty.

I like this meal because it's about limits. I can only cook two slices of bacon and one egg, even though my brain says I want two eggs and three slices of bacon. Also, without any added oil, salt or sugar (besides whatever the potato patty was processed with...), it is very nearly a clean eating meal! (Most clean-eating or paleo diets restrict potatoes, which is why I haven't managed a paleo diet yet.)

Monday, 17 March 2014

A Day In The Life

I haven't really told you about my daily activities in months, mostly because my life got really boring, and my meals got really repetitive, but I had quite the exciting weekend, so I'll share!

Saturday - I worked at my retail job from 10am-6pm, selling lots of clothes and catching up with my coworkers, who I hardly see.

6pm - I left work and drove straight to Saskatoon. Ate "dinner" on the road. I had a pudding cup and a couple chocolate peanut butter cups.


Friday, 7 March 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

Growing up, peanut butter cookies were one of my favourites. They were one of the first things I made by myself, without my mom's help. I loved how easy they were to make, I loved pressing a fork down into the soft dough, I loved the peanut smell that filled the kitchen and I especially loved eating them.

Oddly, peanut butter cookies aren't something I've attempted gluten-free. Until now. And I think "attempted" covers it. 

I followed this recipe which is flourless, dairy-free and easily egg-free.

I started out with such good intentions! Even when I saw things were starting to go wrong, I pressed on and made the little fork indents, but... Well. You'll see.