Monday, 30 December 2013

How I Survived The Holidays

The holidays are full of gluten. Left, right and center, there is nothing but gluten. Everyone makes and gives baking, there are dinners constantly, everyone has at least one Christmas party to go to, and then of course there is Christmas day! A lot of people who try to avoid gluten-free, or just eat less gluten give up over the holidays. I know several intolerant people who are just saying Oh well, and feeling sick because there is too much temptation.

But as a celiac, I don't have that luxury. So how did I survived the holidays?

Merry Christmas from Lola!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Home, Safe & Sound

Well, my husband is home. We survived eight weeks apart, and most importantly, neither of us were diagnosed with anything life-changing. Or really anything at all. In fact, nothing of major note happened at all. Isn't that beautiful.

Since this is my blog, and I get to say whatever I want here, I'm going to tell you the truth.

I've been freaking out a lot.

Especially on Friday. I was very nervous on Friday. It's not going to make a lot of sense to a lot of people, but I got the fairly life-changing diagnosis call on the day that M finished school last time. In fact, I got the call while he was being driven home. I had wanted to go pick him up, but there was something he wanted to go to before I could get him home, so he hitched a ride.

If my diagnosis had come in the middle of a work day, while M was just at work, or while I was home, eating lunch, or during any normal, run-of-the-mill moment in my life, I would be over it by now. I would have repeated that exact moment over and over again until that specific set of circumstances would be manageable. But it didn't. It happened during a set of circumstances that had never happened before, but would happen again.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Say Cheese!

I realized that I had five different kinds of cheese in my fridge, three of which were dairy-free.

Now before you go thinking I'm some kind of cheese freak, let me explain.

  1. The first cheese was a brick of soy cheese, the first one I bought when I decided to try eating dairy-free.
  2. Next, was a pack of dairy-free Swiss flavoured cheese slices.
  3. There was also a pack of dairy-free cheese shreds.
  4. My husband bought a bag of Mexicana style cheese last time he was home.
  5. And I had a container of feta.
I was in the mood for cheese toast, but I wasn't sure what kind of cheese, so I went with all of them! Excluding the feta, that is. I love feta, but maybe not on a toasted bun... Haha.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Ipsy Glam Bag!

And now for something completely different!

I'm pretty good at staying off-topic, but this one is way out there. I have a love of makeup. Lately, I've been looking for and trying out gluten-free makeup, but sometimes I don't bother. It's bad, I know the risks. I mean, I use gluten-free shampoo! You'd think I would use gluten-free lipstick...

Anyways, I found this website and fell in love. Ipsy (aff link) is a makeup subscription service, dreamed up by Michelle Phan. You fill out a quick questionnaire, and then once a month, Ipsy sends you a little makeup clutch with 4-6 full-size products, for only $14.95/month! It's $10/month for Americans, but us Canadians have to add $4.95 shipping. Which I'm still okay with! This month, I got five products, which averages each product at $3! Plus I got a makeup clutch.

I'm a huge fan of getting mail. Opening my mail box to find anything that's not a bill is a great feeling. When I opened my mail box to find a hot pink bubble wrap envelope, I got so excited. It's all about presentation.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Banana Bread

I'm not going to say I'm an expert on banana bread, but there are twelve loaves of banana bread in my kitchen.

I used the same recipe for each one, which is why I'm no expert. I thought about trying a different recipe for them all, but that would require a lot more time, effort, footwork (different ingredients) and I can't possibly taste them all, so I wouldn't have results for you!

Ten loaves in my freezer!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Flour Blend

I'm not going to say this is the be-all-end-all of gluten-free flour blends. I'm not even going to say this is the only flour blend I will use. I'll more than likely use a different grain every now and then, and I'm perfectly happy to use store-bought blends. But if I want a big mix of flour that I can use confidently, this is the one I will turn to.

If I don't need a lot:

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup potato flour
1 cup tapioca starch

Pour each flour into a large bowl and stir gently with a long spoon, or dump them all into a large ziplock bag and shake gently.

If I need a large batch of flour:

1 lb brown rice flour
1 lb white rice flour
1 lb coconut flour
1 lb potato flour
1 lb tapioca starch

I needed the largest pot in my kitchen, and then I stirred gently with a wooden spoon, and a whisk once the tapioca starch was less likely to get everywhere.

It's important to note that coconut flour is very dry. When I use this flour, I always add a little more liquid to whatever I'm making (applesauce, banana, water, milk, yogurt, etc). I also add a little xanthum gum, about one teaspoon per "batch". I'm admittedly not very precise with my xanthum gum.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Baking Exchange + Glutened = Crazy Week!

This week has been a little nuts.

I signed up for a baking exchange at my work. The concept is that you make a dozen "somethings" for each person who signed up, and then you go home with a dozen other "somethings" from each person. It means you get a bunch of holiday baking, but you only have to work with one recipe! When one of the girls ran around asking everyone if they wanted to sign up, I was conflicted. I love baking, you know that! The idea of making a whole bunch of baking and sharing it sounded splendid! But there was no way I would be able to eat any of the other stuff... Oh well! I signed up anyways. I figure I'll take some home for M to enjoy, I'll share some with my family during the holidays, and I'll leave some up on my desk for everyone at work (who didn't want to bake) to enjoy.

I picked banana bread. I figure one loaf of banana bread is equivalent to a dozen cookies, and I saw these adorable loaf pans at the grocery store. They're cardboard and silicon oven-safe loaf pans that are cute enough to gift the baking in. They're reusable, and come with a bag and a red ribbon for each pan. Easy-peasy giving and presenting. Plus, I won't have to wash my loaf pan a bazillion times.

Twelve people signed up, which means I need to make twelve loaves of banana bread for Friday. That's not too hard, right?

Except that the only evening I have off this week is Friday.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Daiya Swiss Style Slices

The next stop on my dairy-free expedition was grilled cheese sandwiches. I can pretend I planned it that way, but I'll be honest. M and I were talking about what to eat one Saturday and I announced I wanted grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. However, I can't eat bread, cheese or tomato soup! Well, at least not any of the "normal" kinds. Since we needed some other groceries, M and I went to the grocery store and picked up a loaf of Udi's gluten-free white bread and a pack of Daiya Swiss Style Slices.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

For The Love of Baking

I love baking.

It's a love that has been fostered in me by my mother, through years of rolling cookie dough, giggling as we cut out shapes, watching magic happen underneath the beater blades and best of all, staring through the oven door as whatever I made takes shape.

Christmas cookies!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Main & Thatcher Boston Pizza

I've reiterated this a few times, but I'm a creature of habit. Once I find something I like, I stick to it. I love trying new things, but I like safe, familiar things even more. As such, there are a few restaurants that I eat at much more often than anywhere else. Boston Pizza on Main & Thatcher is one of those. Maybe because I know people who work there, maybe because they've treated me so well, but either way, it's always the first place I mention when someone asks where I want to eat.

I've hesitated to write a review because I recognize that I'm very biased. I've heard from other gluten-free people that they're aren't so accommodating, but I find them amazing. They do have a gluten-wise menu that you can ask for, but I typically just order off the regular menu and make adjustments. I don't order the same way at other Boston Pizza locations, but the staff at this one know my husband and I. Over the past few months, I have ordered some pretty crazy things. I often pay an extra dollar or so for a substitution, but I don't mind.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Brown's Social House

A couple weekends ago, I decided to brave something unknown. Going to new restaurants makes me anxious, even when they have amazing gluten-free-friendly reviews. A new restaurant opened downtown not too long ago, and I haven't really heard much. I mean, I know people who went, and they said the food was good, the atmosphere was nice, etc, but they really aren't going to know how the place treats a gluten allergy. Suffice it to say, I was nervous.

But, feeling adventurous, I went to Brown's Social House! The service was incredibly friendly. The hostess asked if we'd been there before, and quickly explained their menu. The waitress was was friendly. I told her I had a gluten allergy, so she said she'd grab a manager. A minute or two later, a very nice gentleman appeared and walked me through the menu, bottom to top. Yes, bottom to top. I don't know why, but he even commented that he always starts at the bottoms of menus. Anyways, he pointed out every dish I could eat. They'd all need substitutions or accommodations made, but there were several options for me. Some of them sounded sub-par without the bread component, but a few sounded even better like that. Like the breakfast burrito I ordered.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Leyda's in Saskatoon

There is a 100% gluten-free and nut-free restaurant in Saskatoon called Leyda's. I've been wanting to go for months, but I always end up trying on Sundays, and they are closed Sundays! Finally, this past Saturday, Banana and I found a chance to go!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Gluten Free Support Group

The second-ever gluten-free support group was last night. Last time, eight or nine people showed up. I figured more would come this time, but for some reason, there were only four of us. All four of us had been to the last one, too.

Two of the women were the ones that organized it and put it all together. The third was one that I remember from last time as a non-stop talker. Irrelevant, unrelated things that she just didn't stop talking about.

I arrived a little early, and sat down alone while the woman running it ran around like a chicken with her head cut off. The next woman to arrive was the talkative one. I recognized her, but I don't think she recognized me. She sat down next to me and said, "So, how long have you been diagnosed with all this business?"

I smiled and said, "Nine months." I was thinking that morning that if my celiac disease had been a pregnancy instead, I'd have a baby by now.

She gave me a smile that I can only describe as an 'Oh honey' smile and said, "You're still learning."

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Tattoo the Second

Well, I got another tattoo. I've been wanting a second since the day I got my first - completely addictive! Quite honestly, I didn't long and hard about this one. I did think about it, I did plan it out, and I did carefully go over the sketch. But there isn't a whole lot of meaning behind it. The design, the pose and the location truly mean nothing to me. It's pretty, it looks great, and I love it. That's what ultimately matters. Besides, why not decorate my body with pretty art that everyone can appreciate?

So anyways. It's a robin, like my name. It's also my favourite bird, because of its name.

There's always this moment before I do something permanent that I think, This is the last time I'll look like this. When I got my ears pierced (when I was a tween), I sat there holding my ear lobes, feeling their undamaged flesh. It was the same when I got my nose pierced. On my way to my first tattoo, I took a picture of my leg. I've never shown anyone, because it's literally a picture of my bare thighs. Not the most attractive picture. This time was no different. As my tattoo artist got everything ready, I sat there with M, thinking that my back would never look the same. I was more excited than nostalgic, though.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Wok Box

I think it's about time I tell you about one of my all-time favourite restaurants. Well, I guess I have before, but I really only mentioned it, the first time I tried eating out and then again when I quickly stopped by for lunch.

I've eaten at Wok Box (the Regina South location) pretty much every time I'm in Regina. Actually, I can't think of a time I've been in town in the last nine months without eating there.

There is a little sign on the glass beside the till that shows wheat-free friendly, vegan friendly and vegetarian options, listing all the mains, sides and sauces you can eat in each group. I've ordered all of the mains (excluding the pho soup) from the gluten-free friendly section, and have not been disappointed. One of them is supposed to come with udon noodles, and I have to select rice noodles instead, but the others are regularly made with rice or rice noodles. There aren't a lot of options, with two noodle bowls, two rice bowls, one curry and one soup, but their attitude towards it makes it worth it.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Montana's in Saskatoon

This is a guest post from Robynne's husband, the infamous "M". He had a memorable experience while out without his doting wife, and wanted to share it with you. It has very little to do with gluten-free, but it does have to do with eating!

Earlier this week, one of my classmates wanted to celebrate his birthday at Montana's. Eight of us all went out, and six of us had every intention to get very drunk.

Friday, 15 November 2013

My Strainer Fiasco

Contamination is one of those tricky subjects. A lot of celiacs will turn blue trying to avoid any form of contamination, refusing to eat food that even entered a kitchen containing gluten. Some people seem to think contamination isn't a big deal at all, giving me looks when I ask that they wash that knife or grab a new spoon. There's a spectrum of people at every level in between.

Personally, I do as much as I can. People who live in my house eat gluten. That means my kitchen has gluten in it. Crumbs get on the counters, dirty dishes go in the dishwasher, things happen. I wash all of the dishes in the same loads, and I definitely don't have a separate set of utensils. I don't use a dish if someone else has used it, no matter what they used it for. I don't put my food on a bare counter unless I just wiped it down. I think I toe a pretty safe line.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

What do I want from Life?

When my husband and I drove the two and a half hours to Saskatoon, so that he could start school and we would spend the bulk of eight weeks apart, we talked a lot.

He asked if this is what I want to do. Is this, right now, what I want to be doing forever? The answer is no. We've talked about this. I want to work a job that I enjoy at least until his apprenticeship is done, and then I want to start trying to have kids. I want to take maternity leave from whatever job I'm working, and I want that mat leave to last twenty years. I want to be a homemaker, a stay-at-home-mom. I don't think there is anything wrong with being a working mommy, no matter how old your child is. I used to baby a six-week-old so her mom could go to work. There is nothing wrong with that.

But I don't want to work. I want to be a full-time mom. I want to devote my life, my energy, my every waking moment to raising children that are each 50% me, and 50% my first love. First, because I know I will fall head-over-heels for each of those children.

I know that plans are nothing. That plans are just God's funny page in the newspaper. I know that all of these may change. Maybe we'll find ourselves expecting before M is done his apprenticeship. Maybe we won't have kids right away. Maybe I'll find a job and fall in love with that, and I'll want to go back to work. Maybe money will be tighter than we can handle, and I'll have to work. Who knows? Plans are just that.

But in the meantime, we talk. We toy, we jest, and we dream. What if we did something else? What if we started a business? What would we do if we could do anything? What kind of business do we want to see?

We spent much of the drive talking about this. Playing with the future and bouncing ideas back and forth.

So what would we do if we could do anything?

Open a gluten-free milkshake place/diner with some old-school arcade machines to make it a sweet hang-out spot. And it would also be a truck-stop with fantastic bathrooms.

How we got to this place, I couldn't tell you.

After our weekend, when we ate at an amazing gluten-free Mexican restaurant, we changed it up. We'd open one of those. He says our town doesn't have the demographic for a Mexican place to thrive, but who knows?

I love cooking, and baking, and serving food to others. I love making people something to eat. I love milkshakes, I love Mexican food.

He loves arcades, he loves old-school things. He would be happy tinkering and fixing and upgrading.

But only for so long. I don't know that we could make a go of this and be happy with it for years and years. There's a chance that it would be our passion. There's a chance that we would fall in love with the restaurant business. There's a chance we would never want to do anything else.

But is it a big enough chance to gamble our lives with?

Friday, 8 November 2013

Jerry's Artisan Burgers & Gelato

I'm quick to say a place is my favourite, but this place is my favourite. First of all, gelato. I shouldn't have to say more, but this place is so amazing, I do.

I was pointed towards Jerry's the first time, because I expressed a need to have ice cream, and M's new flatmates said there was a gelato place not far from their house. They have two display cases filled with ice cream, gelato and sorbet, all made by them. I did have a hard time finding two gluten-free chocolate-free gelatos, for my friend (who has a chocolate allergy) and I, but that is a little bit specific, so I don't blame them.

On my second trip there, I noticed their billboard advertising a gluten-free friendly menu, and a sign saying breakfast was served until two pm. I'm a serious lover of breakfast at all times of the day.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

EE Burritos in Saskatoon

This weekend, I finally got a chance to go back to EE Burritos. M & I went there in February, before I was diagnosed, and I haven't managed to get back since. I remember loving the food, but I had no idea how they were for gluten-free.

EE Burritos is this little restaurant on the corner of Ave P & 22nd St. It's not exactly a nice area, and as far as I understand, Ave P has quite the reputation. The restaurant is in a strip mall, and entering it is a little weird. They also host a small Latin American grocery store, so you enter into that, and the restaurant itself is to your left. The dining room is large, with several tables and a bar, and enough room to easily maneuver between the tables.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Coffee Encounters

There's this little coffee shop downtown that I quite like. Coffee Encounters has a fun, hip feel, and plenty of menu options. Mostly, I like it because they sell gluten-free treats. Depending on the day, they'll have cupcakes, muffins, cookies, squares, cake... I wish I could eat a sandwich there, but a cupcake suffices most days.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Duck Duck Goose

There's a little tapas bar in Saskatoon, just off of Broadway, that I've seen several times called Duck Duck Goose. Late Saturday night, my friend and I decided to go there for a couple drinks and see what kind of food they offer.

They have several options which are all odd. Or at least couture, or however you say fancy food nowadays. I ordered bacon wrapped dates with a molasses sauce, my friend got a duck poutine, and we split some grilled asparagus with Romesco vinaigrette.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Antonella's Cheddar Pasta Sauce

I recently stumbled across a new brand at Safeway. New to me, not to the market. They are a Canadian brand, but all of their sauces are gluten-free. Meet Antonella's! They have four different flavours of pasta sauce, but I only bought two to start off with. I will, however, definitely be picking up the other two.

The two I bought

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Sadly, I am not doing anything at all for Halloween this year. I have to work both jobs, and one jobs forbids dressing up, so I'm not dressing up for either. Because I have to work all day, I won't be handing out any candy, or going to any parties. My hubby isn't much for dressing up, so although I'm sure we could find a party to go to on the weekend, I won't even bother. I'm just going to let this one pass without any fanfare at all. And that is totally okay with me.

I think.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

La Bamba Cafe in Saskatoon

On Sunday, my husband, best friend and I had dinner at La Bamba Cafe. It's another one of those hidden gems. It's just off of 8th St, which is a busy thoroughfare, but the restaraunt is in a strip mall that includes a dry cleaner, a pet groomer, a confectionery, a dentist, and a Christian Science bookstore. It looks a little sketchy, and I questioned that I was in the right place, and then I wondered what I was about to walk into.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Hollows in Saskatoon

The Hollows is this little gem of a restaurant, buried in an iffy area of Saskatoon. Driving by, it looks like a run-down Chinese restaurant. A out-dated neon sign reads The Golden Dragon. Underneath, broken neon lights list typical Chinese dishes this restaurant once served. The large window nearest the door has a new, white window decal that reads The Hollows.

Monday, 28 October 2013

My Trip to Saskatoon

I got back pretty late last night, after a full and emotional weekend.

We drove up to Saskatoon on Saturday, but we didn't leave until after six, so we got there pretty late. I dropped M off at the apartment he'll be staying at, and then went to my friend's house. She had a pretty rough weekend, family-wise, so I stopped at a gelato place on the way. Gelato is way better than ice cream at fixing problems.

We stayed up late, talking, and then driving around, and I slept in her bed and she slept on the couch. She insisted. I was totally okay with the couch.

We went to her church in the morning, went out for lunch, met up with some of her friends who were in town for something else, and then went shopping. After that, around four, I met back up with my husband, spent some time with him, then went for dinner with my friend and husband. After dinner, I dropped M off, said goodbye and drove home.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, and a blistering mix of happy and sad.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Here We Go Again...

Pros of my husband being in a trade:

  1. He loves what he does
  2. He makes physical things every day, and feels accomplished
  3. He works approx. 10 months of every year, instead of going to school for 8 and only working for 4
  4. Every time he goes to school, his apprenticeship level increases, and he earns more money
Cons of my husband being in a trade:
  1. Once a year, he leaves me for two months
Do I think the cons outweigh the pros? No. Do I think that is a really sucky con? Yes.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Annie's Pasta and Cheese

I got around to making my little box of Annie's Rice Pasta Shells & White Cheddar. Let me just say, I will definitely be buying more of this. It is quick, convenient, cheesey, and most importantly, gluten-free. Now, I know I threw my whole dairy-free thing in the can with this, but I so don't care. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Catelli Gluten Free Pasta

Catelli came out with a GF pasta! I'm not sure when this development took place, but I love it. All of the gluten-free pasta I've bought so far has been brands I'd never heard of before, which isn't a problem, but it certainly is nice when you can buy something made by someone you've enjoyed before.

What I really like about Catelli's pastas are that they are made with four grains. White and brown rice, corn and quinoa. Most GF pastas are either rice, or corn. If I only bake with a blend of flours, why would my pasta be made with only one?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Nail Polish Strips

Let me do a review on something completely unrelated to gluten: Nail polish.

I've bought gluten-free pretty much everything else. If it soaks into my skin, scalp, or hair, it has to be gluten-free. However, nail polish is just something I'm not worried about. Mind you, a few months ago, I wasn't worried about anything other than lotion, so that might change. If you can prove I should be worried about it, I might be.

In the meantime, I will buy whatever nail polish, and happily paint my nails a million colours. I've always loved painting my nails. I find it relaxing. I tend to chip it off within the day or two, but the more complex it is, the longer it tends to last.

So when I stumbled across the idea of nail strips, I thought it was brilliant.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Finally! A GF Pasta in a Box!

My best friend has long since raved about her favourite boxed pasta and cheese. I'm not really sure what makes it so special, but it's probably more wholesome and less processed than Kraft Dinner. I mean, I love me some KD, but I have always avoided reading the ingredients. Ah, this is Old Me talking. Old Me loved KD. I would eat it every once a month, maybe two months, but when I did, I ate a whole box by myself.

I never bought a case, and I hardly ever had a box on hand, but suddenly, out of nowhere, a craving for some bright orange super-processed cheesey pasta would hit, and it would all I could think about eating until I ate it. M hates it, always has, always will. Partly because he doesn't like pasta, partly because processed cheese makes him sick.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Soy Pudding

When I found this soy pudding for just a little bit more money than normal pudding, I was sold. First of all, it says Gluten Free. The normal pudding doesn't, but it doesn't directly contain gluten, so it's a bit of a risk. Second, this stuff is lactose free. Not dairy-free, per se, but lactose is close enough for me. It's not like I have a casein allergy.

I was, admittedly, a little bit skeptical, but I love pudding, so I just dove right in.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Gluten Free Chex Mix

M's dad lives a 16 hour drive from here. I am told only Canadians measure distance with time, but it's the only way I know how. So his dad (and sisters and grandparents) all live South of the border. Which is great, and we've gone to visit them a couple times, both over Christmas. His grandma makes Chex mix every single year for Christmas, and M's dad picked up the habit (and the recipe). I'm not hooked on it, because I've only had it two Christmas's, but M loves it, and misses it around the holidays.

When my family, up here, decided to have a Christmas/Thanksgiving dinner, I had to figure out what to bring. Something gluten-free, without being really obviously gluten-free, and something everyone would enjoy. I thought of Chex mix, for M's sake. I didn't use his dad's recipe, I used a recipe I found online that called for a slow cooker.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner

This is my second major holiday of my gluten-free life. There really are only three a year: Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I tackled Easter by avoiding my family and having dinner with friends, and the friend who cooked made everything completely gluten-free (and mostly vegetarian).

I did have a big family dinner back in May, which I cooked, and made completely gluten-free. (That family was just my parents, siblings and SO's.)

But this time, we had a big family dinner. My grandparents, their children, their children, and all the SO's involved. Oh, and one great-grandchild. In years past, we would all gather for Christmas at my grandparents' and do a gift exchange. It was our family tradition. In the past five or so years, my grandparents bought an RV and started driving south to Arizona every fall. They come back up in the spring, and completely miss Christmas (and, of course, all of the snow).

Monday, 14 October 2013


Happy thanksgiving! Well, to all you Canadians. Any Americans reading this are probably wondering what on earth we're doing eating Turkey in October. Well guess what. That's when thanksgiving is. So suck it up.

I'll tell you all about my thanksgiving weekend later, but right now I need to tell you about my latest addiction.


Oh my gosh, you guys. This stuff is amazing.

I was never a fan of squishy green stuff as a kid, so I don't think I had real guacamole until after I was married, and every time I've had it since then, it's a "Oh my gosh this is so freakin' amazing, I need to eat this every day" moment.

So recently, I got a craving for it, and when I looked for it at my grocery store, this is what I found.

Sunday, 13 October 2013


As I'm sure you've noticed by now, I'm not one to go all out on most of my meals. Every now and then I get in a mood and whip up something fancy, but on the norm, my cooking is just like my mom's; plain, simple, easy, and delicious.

So when I found some GF pizza shells on the 50% off rack (read: about to expire), I picked up a squeeze bottle of pizza sauce and some ham. Time to test this cheese stuff on a pizza.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

(Un)Cheesey Eggs

For my second adventure with non-dairy cheese, I made eggs. Oh so exciting, right?

I often eat eggs for breakfast, and the quickest, simplest, and yummiest way that I've found is to crack two eggs into my little egg pan, and then stab each of the yolks with a fork. After it's mostly cooked, I flip it and cook the other side.

It makes one round piece of fried egg, without dirtying a whisk or having any runny yolk. I usually crack some sea salt and pepper over the top too, but today I tossed on some shredded cheese, and let it melt while the second side cooked.

Friday, 11 October 2013

(Un)Cheese Toast

Well, my forays into dairy-free eating have begun. I still have this magical ability to sabotage myself instantly. I had a glass of almond milk, and then some cottage cheese. I made the following cheese toast, and then ate nachos and cheese. I can't do it, guys. I don't know what's wrong with me.

So, although the "cheddar flavoured loaf" scared my pants off, I opened it up and sliced a couple pieces. It actually felt like play-dough (which - OMG - I discovered has gluten in it!), blech.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Back to Glutened

Well, it's been awhile since I felt this way, but I guess I got sick again. Like, gluten sick, as opposed to dairy sick, and contagious sick. It started Wednesday night, right after my fifteen minute break at work. All of the sudden, I felt like I hit a brick wall. I was sapped, and had zero energy, and then my stomach started cramping. My coworker said I looked like I was going to throw up, and I should just go home, but I really wanted to stick it out and make it through the night. There was less than an hour left at that point. So I sat down a bit longer, toughed it out, and went home, feeling like total crap.

All day Thursday, I just got worse. I wanted to curl up under my desk and die/nap. A couple of my coworkers could tell, and one of them told me to go home, but I had to work after work, and I didn't want to miss both. In fact, I didn't want to miss either.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Thoughts of Halloween

Well, it's October third. Do you know what that means? It means I woke up and didn't want to leave my blankets. It means my cardigan isn't warm enough for being inside. It means my wet hair felt crunchy by the time I got to work. I means I'm moving to Florida.

Okay, I'd probably never move to Florida, but this time of year every year, I daydream about warmer places, I look at plane tickets, and I resent my winter coat.

And yet, I still live here. And I am going to keep living here, at least this year. I will most likely suffer through a snowy halloween, or at least the kind where children wear costumes over their snowsuits.

So anyways, enough complaining about the cold. I will embrace it. I will learn to love it. I think.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Attempts to eat Dairy Free

So, I've (mostly) come to accept that maybe I can't eat dairy. I feel unwell every single time I eat cheese, ice cream, or a cream sauce. Milk in my cereal seems to be okay, but nevertheless, I decided to try cutting it out.

I went to the grocery store last night with this in mind, and looking for something to make/eat for dinner. M wouldn't be home, so I just had to feed me.

I grabbed some soya cheese (seriously though, my cheese should not be called a "loaf"), and some other things, and then realized I was holding a cheese and grapes platter. Come on, Robynne. I put that back, thought of some other ideas, and then went to pick out some whipping cream for alfredo sauce. Come on! I picked up some almond milk, and then debated yogurt. No, Robynne. I ended up with cottage cheese, because I just couldn't think of anything to eat, and then I forced myself to leave.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Pizza Hut

I drove by Pizza Hut yesterday, and for the umpteenth time, I noticed their sign proclaiming they now have a GF crust. I've considered and discarded the idea over and over, and yesterday, I thought, I'm feeling brave and lazy, let's go to Pizza Hut. M was all for it, so that's what we did for dinner.

When our waitress brought our water, I asked, "So, tell me about this gluten free crust."

And she did. She said it can not be 100% gluten free, because they have an open kitchen and an open oven. She said the only toppings I could have are ham, pepperoni, and all the vegetables. She also said they will wipe down the counters, change gloves, wash the knife, etc. Awesome. So I ordered ham and pineapple. M had the buffet, which is just great for him.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Two Years

How do I get through an entire weekend without making food once? I honestly don't understand. I didn't cook a single dinner, or even a lunch. I actually don't think I ate the last two days, besides pb&j, coffee, and some "granola" bars.

I did do something this weekend, though! I got around to taking our second anniversary photos. Neither of us wanted to, but we both knew that if we didn't do it yesterday, it would never happen. And I would regret it forever if we missed a year.

I threw on a dress I'd just bought (and fallen totally in love with, by the way) and he threw on a dress shirt (I later thought he would have looked better in just a t-shirt, especially since he didn't tuck the shirt in, but oh well) and then we got our roommate to grab my old little digital camera and snap a couple pictures of us.

I think they turned out pretty great. Certainly not proffesional quality photoshoot, but great enough to frame one or two and keep them for years to come.

When I printed one at Wal-Mart, the man working the photo department said, "Keep that frame! You should use it every year. That's such a cool idea!" I've heard that over and over, when I tell people our (my) plans. My only regret is that I didn't make a chalkboard in time for our photos last year. I wanted one, but finding chalkboard paint, and then hunting down a frame took too long and I didn't have them in time. We did take a box of sidewalk chalk to a graffiti wall, and at one point we wrote "One Year" but those photos look weird, and you can barely see the chalk over the bright spray paint.

So anyways. Here are the best of our little photo shoot. If you aren't married yet, or have been married less than a year, I really suggest doing something like this. I think it'll look fantastic in several years.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Gluten Free Support Group

I stumbled across an ad for a gluten-free support group meeting the other day, and I thought, How on Earth did I not know about this? Well, it turns out it was the very first meeting. So I guess that was lucky. I toyed with the idea of going, decided not to, decided to, and eventually M said I would regret not going, but chances are that I wouldn't regret going. So I went.

It was last night, and the meeting only lasted an hour.

I expected the meeting to be full of pretensious, obnoxious, quinoa-eating, GF-fad people and people who didn't know what they were talking about. As it turned out, there was only one woman who didn't know what she was talking about, and nobody was there as a fad-eater.

I was, however, the youngest person. By about 20 or 30 years. I also was the newest celiac, with everyone else's diagnosis dates ranging from three years to twenty-two, and one woman whose husband was diagnosed in the 1960's. I didn't really learn anything, as this was more of a "gather, chat, share, and support each other" kind of meeting. Which was really nice.

I talked about my diagnosis, how sick I was, how sick I've been, how hard it is not to cheat, and how I really shouldn't eat dairy but I do. And I got nods, sympathetic smiles and "I've been there" looks. The other women talked about their struggles, their peripheral symptoms, their children, and husbands, and just plain struggles.

One woman was IBS, so she was free from gluten, soy, corn, potatoes, dairy, and a growing list of smaller things. A few women weren't diagnosed, and hadn't seen doctors (they got a few disapproving looks), they just found they felt better eating gluten-free. One of these women said her mother and grandmother struggled with chronic constipation, so she went GF to avoid that, and has never actually been all that sick.

One woman was, well, kind of ignorant. She talked about seeing a naturopath, having digestive issues, and being told not to eat gluten, dairy or soy. She talked about a few of her favourite recipes, one of which used oat bran. There was a definite look shared amongst the group. Oats are one of those iffy things that people disagree on. She caught that, and said she sometimes substitutes with wheat bran. That's when one of the older woman said that wouldn't be gluten-free then.

Another woman talked about how wheat causes cancer, and how nobody should eat gluten, because you'll get cancer. She knows because her dad died of cancer, her brother has cancer, her uncle died of cancer, she knows all these people who have cancer or died of cancer. Thing is, none of them had stomach cancer, or intestinal cancer. There was brain cancer, lung, skin, and breast.

I mean, you're free to believe what you want, and eat what you feel safe eating. But I don't think you should go around spouting crazy and make uninformed people afraid. Also, every single person in the room had a problem with wheat. She was kind of preaching to the choir.

For the most part, though, I really enjoyed it. It was nice to chat with women who understand what I went through, and what I go through every day. One of them was actually friends with my mom, and although I hadn't met her before, when I was first diagnosed, my mom passed along a form letter from her. It was a "Hi, welcome to gluten-free. It sucks. These products rock, you can buy them here, and here are a few basic recipes I rely on. This is how I make my flour. Feel free to email me." It took a week before I even read it, because I didn't want help. I didn't want to talk to people. I was angry, I felt alone, and I pushed away everyone who wanted to help me. I admitted to this woman that I had gotten her email, but had never made anything, and didn't even want to read it at the time. She smiled, nodded, and said, "I know. It's hard, you don't want anybody's help, and you're so angry." It was such a weight off my shoulders (one I didn't know was there) for someone to verify the way that I used to feel.

It really was nice to just sit in the company of half a dozen people who understood. I've had a few conversations with other celiacs (slash other gluten free people for various reasons) and sometimes I walk away shaking my head, and sometimes I feel a bit better about things. I won't be calling up these women and regularly hanging out with them, but I will definitely try to make it to the next meeting.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Ironic Foreshadowing

I was just looking through my wedding photos today. (To explain, I decided that we would take photos every year on or near our anniversary, and our anniversary was a week ago, but we haven't gotten to taking any photos. I really want to get on that, I just need some inspiration. As such, I was looking through our wedding photos.)

I live in the middle of Saskatchewan, so we had decided to do a farm photo shoot. It's really pretty, and they turned out stunning. Ironic, though, isn't it?

In one picture, I'm actually laying on wheat (*Okay, maybe it's not wheat, but it is dried farm grass). Oh my god. Just looking at that makes my skin shiver.

I obviously didn't know I was allergic then, if I even was (I know I had celiac disease, I don't think it started effecting me until some time after marriage).

But looking at them now, it just seems a little ironic.

And maybe a bit like foreshadowing.

And yes, I am shamelessly posting several gorgeous photos from my wedding over two years ago. I'll never stop loving looking at myself in such a pretty dress.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer

So, you know that I've been on a serious coffee kick lately, right? Like, three weeks ago I had never had a cup, and now I can't make it through morning without one.

Well, I'm also trying really hard to embrace fall this year. Normally I pretend it's summer until the day it snows, and then I count down the days to the next summer. This year, I'm trying to find things to love about every season.

Also, one of my favourite blogs, Pintester is having a Pintester movement, so I decided to make this for the purpose of submitting. I realize this is the very last day to submit, but I've been tired and busy.

So in honour of those three things, I made a dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo pumpkin pie coffee creamer. Aren't I fancy?

I found it here, but of course this wouldn't be a real Pintester post if I made it that exact way, so I substituted something. I couldn't find any pumpkin pie spice! I don't know why, when my grocery store is already selling Christmas lights, but I couldn't. So instead I threw in undetermined amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

So there's everything I used. That container of white stuff is coconut milk. I opened the can yesterday to try a few spoonfuls in my coffee. You can also tell I like No Name stuff. Hey, it's cheap.

So I threw everything in my blender, including the spices I didn't picture before.

And then I hit go. I didn't really expect it to be this colour, but hey, that's cool.

I threw it back in the container that had had the coconut milk, because I am very against dirty dishes.

And bam. It was super easy to whip together, and I feel good about all the ingredients. I tasted a spoonful of the stuff, and ohmygoditwasamazing! It tasted like thick, creamy, pumpkin pie. I could have eaten the whole container with a spoon. Honestly, I liked it better before I put it in my coffee. It did taste like pumpkin pie, and I didn't need to add sugar, but I just didn't like how my pumpkin pie stuff started tasting like coffee.

A normal coffee drinker would probably love it.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Good Days and Bad Days

I've said before that I have good days and bad days when it comes to not eating gluten. Some days, I'm A-okay with that, and will happily sit at Burger King or Dairy Queen and enjoy my ice cream, while my husband/sister/friend/mom enjoy a burger and fries. Sometimes, I just can't do it.

Well, the last month or two has been almost entirely good days. I've balanaced my hunger levels, so I know how much food I need to get through the day, and I don't even want to eat a greasy, fatty, cheap burger anymore. In fact, I don't even want fries. It's fantastic. It means I have been finding myself eating ice cream, or sipping an iced coffee and watching someone eat something solid more often that I would have thought. And I'm totally okay with it. It means I get to spend time with people I enjoy, while they do/eat what they want, and I have something yummy and indulgent. It may not be the healthiest habit, but it makes life feel a little more normal. (Also, I'm in my early twenties. The announcement "let's go to xxx fast food restaurant" after nine pm is a pretty normal thing with friends.)

I don't have a hard time looking at Pinterest food boards anymore, I'm constantly thinking of ways to adapt amazing recipes. I don't even have a hard time going to my mom's house and seeing dinner on the table (that I grew up eating at), food in the fridge (that I spent years raiding every hour), or watching my mom cook childhood favourites. I just shrug it off, and look for something that I can eat.

I find myself saying "I probably can't eat it, I won't risk it" more often than "I don't want to read the ingredients, I just want to eat it. I'm sure it's fine." I really am dealing well. I mean, sure, I'm not perfect. I whine, I complain, my proximity to food I can't eat increases my whining. But there's a difference between complaining about the hand you were dealt and trying to change it. I'm okay with the fact I can't eat the lasagna in my fridge (that our housemate made), but I'm going to complain that I want to.

Does that make sense?

Anyways, the whole point is that my "bad days" have decreased to the point that days are all just the same.

Except yesterday.

Yesterday morning, at work, somebody bought a dozen doughnuts. And since my desk is front and center, they set them on the ledge of my work space so that everyone could grab one. PS, the ledge is about twenty feet long. This wasn't a proximity I was concerned about for allergy reasons. Yes, I could have moved them, or made a stink, because that could harm me, but they were a good ten feet away. I just knew every time someone discovered there were doughnuts, and I watched everyone pick one out, and they discussed what kinds were left. That's not easy for anyone to deal with.

Our food supply is dwindling low, because we haven't gone grocery shopping, so lunch was a little hard. I found something to eat, but I kept thinking about Subway and Quiznos and Pita Pit.

Then, after work, I had one hour to eat, change and go to the other job. We had some defrosted chicken in the fridge, and I had been planning to fry it up with a little BBQ sauce all day, so as soon as I got home, I started on that.

And then I broke down in tears. All I wanted for dinner was ramen noodles.

I don't even like ramen noodles all that much. I mean, I survived on them for a year or two, but I don't really like them. And yet, suddenly, they were all I wanted to eat, and the fact that I could never eat them ever again really upset me, to the point that I stood in my kitchen, sobbing.

I cried for most of the time I spent at home, and I was super grumpy by the time I got to work.

Honestly, I don't really know what happened. I mean, yes, I had a bad day, food wise, but this isn't the first time those kinds of things have happened, and I've dealt with them a lot better. I just hit my limit and fell apart.

Thankfully, I only cried at home, not at either job, which I guess makes this all a lot better. I can't imagine how embarrassed I would be right now if any of my coworkers caught me crying over ramen noodles.

I just wanted to let you know that I am dealing a lot better with everything, but I guess everyone has a bad day once in awhile.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Spoon Theory

Have you heard of the spoon theory?

Essentially, two girls were in a diner, and one was trying to explain how she felt, what it was like living with a chronic disease or chronic fatigue. She ran around the diner and grabbed all the spoons and gave them to her friend. She then talked her through a normal day, and for every activity that required energy, she took a spoon away.

Wake up, and take a shower. There goes a spoon.

Make breakfast, so there's a meal in your stomach to cushion the many pills you take, that's a spoon.

Throughout the day, she slowly lost most of her spoons, until they got to the end of the day, when she had one spoon left. Make dinner, or do laundry? You can't do it all, you only have one more spoon.

I stumbled across this theory a week or two ago, and thought it was really interesting. What I didn't like was the culture of "spoonies". People who are living life like this, who feel like life takes something tangible every time they do something, connect and call themselves spoonies. To be honest, I mostly didn't like the culture because a woman online snapped at me, and was very rude, while identifying herself as "another heavily-medicated celiac spoonie" as if that was some excuse for her terrible attitude. I looked into the culture a little more, and anyone who identified themselves as a spoonie on their public profile bothered me. They were either rude, self-centered, or hiding behind this label as an excuse.

As I slowly processed it all and examined my life, I realized I was one. I used the word "go-juice". I'll frequently tell M, "I'm running out of go-juice". He's heard that all the time. He also watches me lay on the couch and beg him to do something as basic as grab me a glass of water. Sometimes he calls me lazy, sometimes he understands that I'm just sapped. What he doesn't understand is later, when I get up and have enough energy to do something else. It's not that I'm completely worn out, or exhausted. I'm weighing the pros and cons of whatever task I'm facing against how much energy it's going to take. I am aware that my energy is limited, and it's quite tangible to me. Even when I wake up in the morning, I know I only have so much energy to get through my day. Sometimes I have more, sometimes I have less. There are certain things I can do to get more, and certain things that I usually skip over to keep as much energy as possible.

As I came to the realization that I am, in fact, a spoonie, I started using the word "spoon". I've been telling M things like, "But that'll cost me two spoons" "I don't have a spoon for that" "That's worth the spoon".

I'm not going to identify myself as a spoonie. I'm not going to hide behind that word and use it as an excuse for everything negative that I do. I am, however, going to remind the close people in my life that my energy is a tangible, real thing, that slowly goes away, whether or not I like it. I am going to use the spoon theory for exactly the same reason the first girl came up with it. To explain to all those normal people out there how I face every day, and why I make the decisions that I do. It's not that I'm lazy, or even sleep-deprived. It's just that I'm out of spoons.

I wish I didn't have to use the word "spoon". I keep looking for something else, just so I don't have to identify with all those jerks, but I haven't found something quite so understandable and tangible. I like go-juice, but juice is liquid, viscous, and refillable. I think I'll stick with "spoon" for now. A lot of people have heard the spoon theory, and will understand, so until I find something that rocks my socks, I'll keep going through spoons.

There's this moment that happens almost every day, sometimes more than once a day. When I am still, laying on the couch, sitting in the car, sitting in my chair at work, and the time comes that I have to get up. I stay still for a moment longer, and mentally go over my bone-weary body, feeling all the spots that are just wiped. I feel the dull ache in my back, I'm hyper-aware of my stiff joints, and then I think about whatever it is I'm about to do or want to do. Sometimes I sit still a moment longer, and that's when I know I'm a spoonie. When I take that moment to go, "Is it really worth it?" Whether "it" be a glass of water, a grocery shopping trip, or even just the act of getting up. It drives my husband nuts. We'll pull up in the car to wherever it is we're going, and he'll jump out, and then realize I'm still in the car. He'll walk around to my side, and I'll just be sitting there, staring at my purse in the back seat. I take a deep breath, reach back, grab my purse, and go. He used to get frustrated, but now that I've explained how I'm feeling and dealing, he understands. He'll often open my door or grab my purse for me. The moment to breath gets longer and longer as the day goes on. Early in the morning, it's a few seconds, but late at night, sometimes I'll tell him to just go in without me, because whatever it is just isn't worth what it's going to take from me. That's all just in the car, but this also happens at work, when I realize I need to grab a paper from the printer, take a message to somebody, or even just pour myself a cup of coffee. I'll put it off, I'll sit still, I'll take a moment to breath. And it's the worst on the couch. Once I lay down, there's almost no getting up. I can rationalize myself out of anything if I'm laying on the couch.

Thing is though, I've been doing this for at least year and a half. When I worked my old super-boring job, I missed a lot of days doing this. I'd be sitting/laying somewhere, and think about going to work, and ultimately decide the energy it would take wasn't worth it. I wasn't necessary for the workplace to function, and if it was going to take just a bit too much from me, I wouldn't go. I would stay put. I'd talk myself into going often enough that I kept my job. My boss understood, and when I was diagnosed, he understood twice as much. I couldn't have explained then how I felt about my energy levels, but he understood anyways. Now that I am necessary for the workplace to function, I haven't talked myself into not going, not even once, to either job. But I talk myself out of other necessary things, just to sacrifice that bit of energy for work.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Our Anniversary

Today is my second anniversary. Two years ago today, I made the biggest promise I've ever made. I promised to love, to cherish, to obey, and to honour a man. That's not always easy, and the last two years have had their ups and their downs, but I can honestly say I have never loved him as much as I do now.

I can hardly believe we've been married for two whole years. Time just flies by with him. The first year was quite an adventure, as we moved twice, and adopted two fur-babies. The second year was a little more settled, we're still living in the same house, and we only adopted one more fur-baby, but we did spend two months apart, and we spent half of the year dealing with Celiac disease. The last two years have felt non-stop, but I love being busy. We've figured a lot of things out, and it's starting to feel like life will be just like this for the rest of forever. I know more things are certainly going to change, but it'll always just be me and him, at the core.

Since our anniversary fell on a Monday, M insisted we both take the day off work. I reluctantly agreed, and it's a good thing I did. I ended up getting scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday at the store, so I wouldn't have had a day off normally. Thankfully, we took this one day to just be together, all day. It was splendid, and I had the best time.

We spent the morning getting pampered. Well, I got pampered. I had a massage, a facial, and a pedicure. M had a massage. He then spent an hour sitting around the spa, waiting for me to be done, which he was totally okay with, but I felt a little bad. Ah, well.

Afterwards, we went out for lunch. We just decided to go to Boston Pizza, and both had meals we've had before. After lunch, we opened the presents we got each other, and then did some running around. I know it's totally lame to do errands on our anniversary, but we both work office hours, so we never get a chance to do errands.

We planned to go to Rock Creek for dinner, because it recently opened here, and neither of us have been, but I had an alfredo dish for lunch (Boston Pizza got GF alfredo!!), and I didn't feel so good. I keep forgetting that I'm lactose-intolerant too. I like to pretend I'm not.

We spent most of the rest of the night laying around at home, me nursing my tummy, and then we went to the midnight launch of Grand Theft Auto 5. I know, I know. I can't believe we went, either.

I went because I wanted Sims. It's the only video game that I play a lot, and really enjoy, and I went to play it yesterday, but I lost the most recent disk, and the lovely thing about PC Sims is that you only need the most recent expansion pack to play. So if we just go out and buy a newer expansion pack, I can keep playing. The video game store was closed by the time I decided to do this, so we waited until 10pm, when they opened for the GTA5 launch, so I could buy Sims. M's one condition to this hair-brained scheme was that he was allowed to buy GTA. I'm kind of against the game series in general, but he convinced me he's a responsible adult, who can make his own decisions, and isn't going to drive around killing hookers in real life. So I caved, and we each bought a lame video game.

Fantastic anniversary, huh? I wish I wasn't sick so much, we could have had a lot more fun. Ah well, he still loves me, and I still love him.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Melrose Place in Moose Jaw

A new restaurant opened up here. I'm not quite sure when exactly they opened, because they had an "Opening Soon" sign up for like two years. Last night, my in-laws wanted to take M and I out for a late birthday dinner for M and his step-dad (their birthdays were in August), and for a pre-anniversary dinner (mine and M's anniversary is Monday). They suggested Melrose Place, and I thought, "What the heck. Let's walk into another restaurant totally blind. I didn't get sick from the first one." I want to try new things, I don't want to be stuck going to the same two restaurants forever.

There used to be two Melrose Places in Regina, but one closed down, and now one opened here. My in-laws had been to the currently-open one there, but none of us had been to the one here.

The atmosphere is great. The restaurant is huge, and very nice. It's very modern, without being ultra-modern. It has an expensive feel, without making me want to backpeddle out the second I walk in.

The menu looked good, with a very Greek influence, offering things like spanakopita and souvlaki. I really had no idea where to even start, and I instantly had a bunch of questions. So when the waitress came with drinks, I told her I had a gluten allergy. She had a vague deer-in-the-headlights look that let me know they don't have GF-friendly menu. She offered to bring the chef out, so that was good, I guess.

The head chef came out, and, well... I was a little shocked. He managed to swear three times while he was standing there, and he didn't seem to have a high knowledge base of gluten. He told me that no BBQ sauce has gluten in it, and then corrected to say that his [stuff] doesn't. He basically did one of those "You could eat just about anything on the menu, then. Except bread." I hate those. Now I'm stuck staring at the menu, breaking things down, and sending the waitress back with a million questions.

Which is exactly what I did. The first one was about the potato skins, an appetizer that is baked with bacon, cheese and such. She came back to say, "You definitely couldn't have the potato skins. Potatoes are a starch." Oh boy. This chef really had no clue, huh? Was he going to say no rice, too? She also informed they are deep-fried, so that was still a no.

I ended up getting some lamb souvlaki, served on a bed of rice, with a side of veggies and a baked potato. Because I wanted my potato; take that, chef. It was delicious. Well cooked, the right temperature, flavourful, and presented well.

No one had any complaints, and nothing had to be sent back (not to say M and his parents are picky, they're just... selective. And, well, you know me).

On the way home, my mother-in-law asked everyone for a rating out of ten, and we all agreed on six. It was good food, good menu, good atmosphere. We had to actually ask to get a water refill, and although the waitress pretty much ignored us, we could see four or five waitresses just standing around. Oh, and the head chef had no clue what etiquette meant, or what gluten was.

I would recommend it to a friend, but I would recommend they don't get their hopes all up.

Melrose Place on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Kergano's in Moose Jaw

There's this restaurant here, that I have heard mixed reviews about. It's kind of a hipster place, and I've heard it's expensive. M went there once, before we were even married, and he said the servings were huge, but the prices were high. He had this poor opinion of it, and every time I brought it up he shot it down. I essentially gave up, even though I don't think you should ixnay a restaurant because of one experience (unless that experience was baaaaaddd).

Today, we were wandering around downtown, looking for something to eat before our bank appointment. I suggested Kergano's, he shot it down, I got frustrated. I didn't think his reasons for not wanting to go were valid enough. He caved, and we went. Although neither of us were all too happy about it.

I had literally no idea what I could possibly eat; because it's a local place, I didn't bother to Google it.

The inside was nice. It is a small restaurant, but decorated well, and has a fresh kind of feel to it. The decor is very shabby chic. We were the only customers in there, so it was nice and quiet.

The menu was short, although it looked delicious, there wasn't a whole array of options. And basically every single option was a burger or sandwich.

I informed the waitress (after looking over the menu) that I have a gluten allergy, and she said they have a gluten free bun! I got really excited. Then I asked her to go through all of the menu options, because the font was really hard to read, and I needed to know specifics.

One burger had onions rings on it, one was breaded and deep-fried (although she informed me they could "bread" it with coconut and deep-fry it - no thanks), one had a gravy on it... Almost every single one was unsafe. Which means that the restuarant is for gluten-free people who don't care about cross-contamination, or about small amounts of gluten. I decided on their regular burger, because she said the patty was made in-house, but first asked if it had bread crumbs or anything in it. She said, and I quote, "No, I can't imagine they would put bread crumbs in a burger." She asked the chef, and came back. It did.

So I got a veggie burger. Which I was still totally excited about. I was still going to eat a burger with a bun in a restaurant. I had a side of spinach salad, figuring it was the safest bet, and it was delicious. When our plates came, M asked me if I was sure the bun was GF. I picked up the top piece and squeezed it a little. Hard, dry, and unpleasant. Yep, it's GF. Okay, it wasn't like a stale bun, but you know as well as I do that you can squeeze a bun and tell the difference. Kind of depressing, huh?

My veggie patty fell apart every time I took a bit, but I didn't mind at all. You know why? That means there wasn't a sufficient binder in there. And I am A-okay with that.

So... Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes. The food was pricey, but I've seen way worse. Will we go back? More than likely. M seemed to change his mind a little, realizing it wasn't all bad, and they do have a GF bun. Will we frequent it? Hell no. They don't know the first thing about a gluten allergy, and I don't want to have to walk the waitress through each ingredient again. Having a GF bun is great. Having a burger with bread crumbs in it, to go on a GF bun? No thank you.

Overall, I'd give them probably a seven out of ten. M might give an eight, from a non-GF viewpoint, but either way, I would suggest checking them out.

Kergano's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Slow cooker lasagna

Working 11 hours in a day, between two jobs doesn't leave much time for eating. I usually have one hour between getting off work and having to be at work. Thanks to two very different dress codes, I have to change in that time too. Some days, I just down a can of chicken and rice soup, some days I heat up some leftovers, and some days I actually have it together enough to make an actual meal. By that, I mean my husband who gets home fifteen minutes before me sometimes starts dinner, unless I put something in the slowcooker. The problem with slow cooker meals is that I usually have to put it in at lunch time. If I have it together, I can prepare it the night before, toss it in at lunch, and eat it at dinner. Otherwise, I have to prepare it at lunch hour, which leaves me less time to eat another meal.

Yesterday was one of those days. I prepared it at lunch, and ate it at dinner. There were three reasons I selected this recipe.

  1. I miss lasagna. Like, a lot.
  2. I bought gluten free lasagna noodles awhile back, but I haven't had the time to prepare a lasagna (let's be honest, they are a little intensive. 
  3. My roommate recently made a lasagna, and has been slowly eating it over the last week. Staring at it every time I open the fridge made me desperate enough to try anything.
I wasn't really sure about this recipe. The blog I found it on said she thought it would dry and crunchy, but it wasn't. I thought the same, but even worse, because my noodles would be gluten free. But they weren't! Actually, they were a little bit soggy. The recipe says to cook on low for three hours, but I had to cook it for four, because my time is a little limited. I would still highly suggest it to anyone, GF, or not.

I found it here, and I made some tweaking. First of all, she didn't mention any beef, although her picture shows some. I wanted beef, so I browned some, and layered it in there as well. Second, M hates parmesan, so I took that out and added a little more mozza instead. This recipe is pretty relaxed, and you can do whatever tweaking you like.

Here's what I used

1 box lasagna noodles - uncooked
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 - 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1/2 - 1 pound ground beef
1 jar spaghetti sauce

Here's what I did:

Brown the ground beef. Mix the cheeses and egg together in a bowl. Layer.

Start with sauce on the bottom, then dry noodles. I had to break mine to get them to fit in the pot, and then I put the broken pieces around the edges. Layer some cheese, beef, sauce, noodles, until you run out. Finish off with some sauce.

You can add cheese for the last half hour, which I didn't for two reasons. First of all, I wasn't home half an hour before I ate this. And second, I wanted parmesan, M didn't, so I put parmesan on my plate after I served it.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Robynne and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

You ever have those days that by 9am you just want the day to end? Today was one of those days.

It started self-inflicted. I stayed up until midnight watching How I Met Your Mother. I knew it was a bad idea, and I knew I would pay for it, but I didn't care... then.

I usually wake up at 7, force myself out of bed by 7:15, get dressed and done up by 7:30, and then eat and leave for work at 7:45. Today, I woke up at 7:20, got out of bed at 7:30, got dressed by 7:40, and that left five minutes to eat breakfast. Whoops.

I poured some cereal, like I eat every single morning. The milk says it expires today, but it's usually good for a few days, so I sniffed it. I have this problem where expired milk smells normal to me. When I worked at a grocery store, someone brought in gone-bad milk. I smelled it, and it smelled fine. I got my coworker to take a whiff, and he spent five minutes gagging. So... I have a problem. I asked M to smell the milk this morning, but he has a cold coming on, so he said it's fine too. I poured it, and it looked a little funny, but I told myself that was all in my head.

I took a big bite, and instantly spit it out. I then spent five minutes over the sink, rinsing out my mouth and dry heaving. So... I guess the milk went bad. Awesome. I then went to throw out the contents of my cereal bowl, and threw out the spoon too. And I couldn't find it, so I just sent the bag out with M with a spoon in it. Oh well.

By then, it was time to leave for work, so I just grabbed an applesauce and left. Got to work just fine, and early enough. Clocked in, put my purse away, and realized I was wearing sandals. Like, bright blue plastic flip flops. I wear dress pants and dress shirts to work everyday, with black flats, not flip flops.

Thankfully, I keep a back-up pair of ballerina shoes in my purse. They're comfortable, and small, so they store in my purse nicely. I've kept them there for months, and used them every now and then. So then I was wearing leather dance shoes at work, but no one noticed.

Over the next ten minutes, I proceeded to log in with the wrong password, answer the phone wrong, and spill water on my pants. The day really did not get much better from there.

Lesson learned? I need sleep more than How I Met Your Mother.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

A Summary of my Summer

Hey, remember how I didn't blog for a month and a half? I didn't post once in July, and I missed most of June and August. Well, I said I didn't really do anything, and I didn't make anything, but that's not entirely true. Well, I didn't really make anything. But I did a lot of things. There was a lot going on in my life, though, and I just couldn't bring myself to blog about stuff. I was better, stomach-wise, but worse time-wise. One of the main problems is that I left my one-year-term-job. I had a routine, and it became simple to fit blogging into that routine. I also had a little reminder at work to jot down what I'd done, or what I was planning, and could blog about it later. When I stopped having an office, and a desk, and even a computer I logged onto every day, blogging slipped too. I did post several times after the job, but it all started slipping. I couldn't find a routine, I didn't have a pattern, and then when I did, it was a pattern of constant work. Starting the new reception job puts me at a computer, and better, gives me several hours a day where there is nothing for me to do but read blogs. So eventually, I get around to writing my own blog. It's been good.

Well, I'm sure you're wondering about my summer, which I neglected to tell you anything about.

The first thing that happened was a roadtrip to Edmonton on June 26. Banana and I bought tickets to Taylor Swift, a mere 8-hour drive from here. We spent two nights in a hostel, a half day at the West Ed Mall, a night enjoying the best concert I have ever been to, a dinner at the most hipster restaurant I've ever been to, and the day back enjoying cliche roadtrip things. We went to Ikea, we took a picture with the world's largest Ukranian Easter egg, and we visited a Ukranian heritage village. It was a grand adventure. Of course, I had all sorts of gluten-related anxiety, but everything worked out so well. I also had a lot of "firsts" (prairie girl over here - Ikea is exciting!), but it'd be hard to blog about that now.

Oh, and of course, my birthday was on June 22. I turned 21. Whoo. Now I can drink gluten free alcohol anywhere in the world. Big whoop-de-ding. I had a little bonfire, and had hot dogs and marshmallows. People kept complaining there weren't graham crackers. I wasn't gonna buy them if I couldn't eat them. I was really concerned about my first GF birthday, in terms of cake, but my lovely mother took care of that. She bought a Betty Crocker mix, and made me an amazing pinata cake. The mix was actually spectacular, and tasted totally normal. Everyone kept saying they couldn't tell it was GF. I would highly recommend it.

Oh, and my in-laws took hubby and I out for a birthday dinner, and the lovely waitress at Boston Pizza overheard that it was my birthday, so this happened at the end of the meal. I looooove Boston Pizza birthdays, with the singing and the clapping, and the attention. Halfway through the song, something clicked in my brain and I realized that they had just brought me a cupcake. Probably the most depressing birthday moment I've ever had. When the song ended, Hubby pointed it out, and I started laughing. I took a picture, and then passed the cupcake around and everyone else had some. It was really just a funny moment.

The first week of July, I started my favourite job ever. It's a summer program that runs every year for six weeks, and this was my third year working at it. Essentially it's a drop-in, free, city-funded kid's program. We ran games, crafts, and activities for kids aged 6-12 at a park. My park had a pool, but not every one does. They all have playgrounds and shacks, though. Once a week, we take the kids on a field trip. I wanted to blog about this job every day. We did so many amazing things, had so many adventures, and had so many crazy things happen. But to protect the kids' privacy, I hesitated. Also, this is a gluten-free blog, nobody comes here looking for cool egg carton crafts, or ideas for field trips.

Two weeks into that job, on July 13, I got a tattoo! So that's fun. I've been thinking about getting a tattoo ever since my husband got one done, in February, 2012. He had a celtic rope tattooed on his left ring finger, as a wedding ring. I thought about what I could get for him, and decided to get an M on my right thigh. I wanted it to be easily hidden, but I also wanted to show it off. If I wear short shorts, or a swim suit, you can see it, but that's about it. It's just black, and has filigree all around it. It's probably about two inches by two inches, and it took about forty minutes to get done. PS, that hurt like hell. I almost threw up. I don't handle pain well. But I totally want another one! Someday.

Fresh Ink
Healed Tattoo

We also went to the wedding of two friends of ours. I love weddings. They remind me of my own, and the pure, unadulterated love the newlyweds have for each other reminds me of when I felt that way about my own husband. Not that I don't still feel that way, but let's be honest. Everything slows down eventually. I love the emotion of weddings. The happiness, the joy, the excitement. I also love helping. Most of the recent weddings we've been to, we end up being wedding monkeys, and that is where we are happiest. Both my husband and I rely on being needed, and love helping whenever asked. I'm more like that than he is, in truth.

Crappy cellphone pic of us. And yes, I let him grow that stache.

I got over a couple of things, over the summer. I finally had some alcohol. Not like I was dying without it. I just finally got frustrated enough to start googling, and figure out what I can drink. Now I'm that obnoxious person at bars, who requests mojitos made with bacardi. Oh well. I still don't drink a lot, so it doesn't make a difference to my life.

I also ordered my first real burger, no bun. I got it at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, because they don't make any crap, so it's a lot safer than other places. Also, they were my all-time favourite burgers before. I ordered a cheese burger, with ketchup and mustard, hoping to make it a little less pathetic. It didn't help.

Cheese burger, no bun.
And I discovered my new favourite treat. A dipped cone, in a cup. I know it's not truly safe, because they could get bits of cone in the dip chocolate when they dip other cones, but it's fantastic for the every once in awhile treat.

And I think that's about it for my summer. I'm so sorry for my absence, but I hope this all makes up for it!