Sunday, 31 March 2013

Day 38: Banana Muffins

I got my birthday present from my hubby today! I know... My birthday isn't until June. Oh well.

After using that KitchenAid to make that cake, I announced I wanted one for my birthday. We went to Canadian Tire today, I poked my head into that aisle to get a feel for their pricing, and we discovered they were on sale. Like, more than a hundred dollars off the cheapest one. Hubby says he's been keeping an eye on them for awhile (he wanted one too) and he hasn't seen them that cheap, even at Costco in the States. So we debated, and deliberated, and walked around some more, and studied specs, and discussed, and bought one! We wanted the red Artisan series one, but we bought the black Classic series. The red one came with a pouring shield, a bigger bowl (5 qt instead of 4.5 qt), a handle on the bowl, and a cooler colour. For only $140 more... So we got the very sexy black one. I'm so okay with that.

So, only three months early, I got my birthday present!

Yesterday I pulled some bananas out of the freezer, and peeled them to make muffins, but then discovered I was out of baking soda. So before going home, we grabbed some baking soda, and then as soon as we got the brand new mixer home, I set it up and made muffins! Well, washed it first, of course...

It works like a dream. I swear, I have never had such an easy time making muffins. Or cookies, like I did right after. I am definitely going to be baking more now!

The muffins came out pretty well too! I used a normal recipe that I've made before, and subbed in that gluten-free flour blend that I made for the brownie testing. They had the same weird top as the brownies did, and now I'm wondering if that's a trademark of that flour.

Nothing weird in the recipe, besides flour, but that's always weird nowadays. The bowl in the picture is mashed, pre-frozen bananas. Appetizing colour, no? I do have to say though, I actually used four bananas, instead of the recommended three, because mine were more medium-sized than large, and I had coconut flour in it. Coconut flour tends to dry stuff out, so try to compensate with extra liquid. Here, an extra banana was the perfect amount.

You throw most of the dry ingredients together and then sift them. That's kind of important with this flour, because the coconut likes to clump.

All the wet ingredients and the sugar go in your shiny brand new stand mixer. Oh, sorry, maybe your less new mixer, or just a mixing bowl! Seriously, that paddle in that picture has never touched an ingredient!

And then you mix it, if that wasn't a given... Funny how this is really unappetizing. It's just sugar, butter, mashed banana and egg. It probably wouldn't taste that bad.

And then you fold in the flour mixture to the banana mixture, and mix. And bam! Banana muffin batter. Easy as eating them, right? Oh wait... I guess you have to bake them. This is where I usually mess up. I'm a pro at burning things.

But I didn't! They came out without any sticky bits or any burnt bits. The tops look a little odd, but they were delectable nonetheless. Hubby even ate one and commented on how good banana muffins are!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin pans or use liners. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

Day 37: Easter Dinner

One of the things most celiacs seem to struggle with is holiday dinners. Your choices seem to be:

  1. Go to a restaurant with your family, and hope they pick a safe one, or eat beforehand, and don't eat anything there.
  2. Make the whole dinner yourself, and include little to no items with gluten.
  3. Go to a home-cooked dinner and either risk it, or don't eat anything.
  4. Help somebody make a dinner so that it is gluten-free and you can trust it.
I kind of think celiacs have trust issues...

So, I didn't actually decide to do anything with either side of family. I kind of figured if either want to make a meal, I don't want to complicate their lives, but I might show up. Instead, Banana decided to do an entirely gluten-free dinner with my help. She did make most of the dishes, but I was at a minimum aware of what was in them, and mostly just stirred things together when she handed them to me.

Tonight was the night, although we've spent much of the last week prepping (to minimize work today). The dishes on the table were:
  1. Ham
  2. Scalloped Potatoes
  3. Mashed yams, with a glaze
  4. Green beans
  5. Spinach and strawberry salad
  6. Deviled eggs
  7. Rice casserole
  8. And Trifle!
Okay, so everything was just so delicious that as soon as everything was ready we just dug in, and I completely forgot to take pictures for you! I took some after dinner, which might show you how delicious everything was... But really, I'm sorry this looks like somebody's leftovers. It was just too good to waste time taking pictures!

Ham is one of those sketchy meats that usually contains gluten. As such, we were hunting for one that said gluten-free, when we found a bone-in shoulder that said gluten-free. Not the usual type, but it was GF, so we were happy! We mixed up maple syrup, mustard and brown sugar and brushed it on the ham and then covered it and baked it for about six hours. It went in the oven just after lunch, and came out in time for us to carve and serve. We repeatedly brushed more glaze on over and over throughout the day. It came out tender, juicy and delicious.

Scalloped potatoes usually contain flour. I don't really know why though. You don't add it to the milk to thicken it, you put it as a layer between the potatoes and then pour milk over top of it. So we just scalded the milk a little longer, made it a little thicker, and skipped the flour altogether (as per suggestion of Banana's aunt). It was really delicious. There were of course layers of thinly sliced potatoes, and sharp cheddar cheese and swiss, and I think onions and spices. I didn't put it together, but I did supervise it's baking time. Which was until the potatoes were soft, and then remove the tin foil until the cheese browns. It was a very creamy, cheesey dish.

The yams are pretty self explanatory. We peeled and chopped a few sweet potatoes and then put them in the oven with a lid on until they were mashable, and then we mashed them. We boiled equal parts maple syrup and butter until it thickened (and tasted amazing) and then drizzled that on top of the mashed yams and cooked them a bit longer.

The green beans were put on the stove with a bit of garlic and some butter until they were cooked. And then we ate them.

The spinach salad was really simple. Spinach, sliced strawberries, slivered almonds, crumbled goat cheese, poppy seeds, and a raspberry vinaigrette. Very simple, but flavourful! And easy peasy to toss last minute.

We mostly made deviled eggs because I remembered I had a deviled egg plate I've never used. And Banana wanted to dye Easter eggs with her cousin, who is spending the weekend with her. So she dyed eggs, and then we deviled them. Mixed the yolk with mayonnaise, a bit of mustard and a splash of vinegar, topping them with paprika.

The rice casserole was probably one of my favourite dishes. We cooked up a bunch of wild rice and brown rice blend, and then mixed it with slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and slices of dried apricots. It was very colourful as well as sweet. Half an hour or so before dinner, we poured about half a cup of veggie broth over it and baked it. Chicken broth would be just as good, but we were also cooking for a vegetarian.

Ah! And my favourite dish! The trifle! I could probably devote a whole post to this one! Mmm... Layers of homemade lemon pudding, GF pound cake, freshly whipped cream, blueberries and raspberries! Does it get better than that? Okay, it might. I don't know. I haven't had every trifle ever. But this was perfect. Banana's ten-year-old cousin actually put this all together, that's how easy trifles are to make. She also decorated the top, which I just loved. 

I don't think the eight of us got even halfway through this thing, despite how amazing it was.

So! That's my gluten-free Easter dinner. Not as hard as it sounds, huh? I mean, if you're going to cook everything at home, you need to be careful about reusing bread knives, cutting boards and pans, but if you are aware of cross-contamination, and ensure things like mayonnaise and honey either come from a squeeze bottle or are brand new, you should be fine. Things like that tend to be things other people forget or don't think about, but if you help or remind them, it's sure to be simple!

Hoppy Easter, everybody!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Day 36: Pound Cake

A part of every Easter dinner is dessert. Banana decided that the best gluten-free, yet tasty to everyone else option was trifle! Her aunt (who also has celiac and is a chef and gave her most of the ideas) suggested pound cake, because it holds up well. We went on a hunt for a very elusive GF pound cake mix, because she was told one existed, but we never found it. So, I decided last night that I would make a pound cake from scratch. I've made one before; they're not hard to make. Granted, I haven't made a GF cake at all yet, but I have to cross that bridge eventually. I mean, my mother is the queen of cakes after all.

I looked at a few recipes, and picked the least complicated, but I still needed to buy two of the flours. Since Good Friday is a stat holiday in Canada, I didn't make it to Bulk Barn in time, and hunted for them at Superstore. I found rice flour, and tapioca flour (which I had some of, but not much), but I needed potato starch. We decided to substitute corn starch in, and in case it was awful, I picked up a Celimix white cake mix too.

I used Land O Lake's recipe, and let me just say, it was amazing! I know pound cake isn't the most desirable cake in all circumstances, but it was moist and flavorful  and not gritty or oddly textured at all. Really, really good. We did make a few changes, but that was because I am not the best at planning ahead.

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
4 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour blend
(2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour, 1 teaspoon xanthum gum)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk

[I apologize. I didn't specify that you need gluten free flour, or other ingredient. I'm sorry, I'm going to assume that if you want a gluten free cake, you will use gluten free flour, gluten free vanilla, etc etc etc!

Now, we didn't have potato starch, so we used corn starch, and we also discovered too late we didn't have normal sugar, only berry sugar. It's finer, and it made the batter kind of odd, but it all turned out in the end. If you make this and it doesn't, blame it on one of those two things, not your own baking skills. Don't worry.]

Heat oven to 350F. Grease 12-cup bundt pan or angel food cake pan [I'm assuming they wanted it to have the tube thing in the middle. I don't know why. Pound cake is usually loaf-like. Mine turned out just fine in an angel food cake pan, though...]. Sprinkle pan with flour blend. Set aside.

Combine sugar and melted butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, beat until well mixed.

Stir together flour blend and baking powder in small bowl. Gradually add flour blend mixture alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well mixed.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan.

My cake took just under 60 minutes, and it was perfect. Pound cake is classically a simple recipe, and removing the gluten didn't make this one that much more complicated. I also made it in my friend's Kitchenaid, which might have made this much simpler too. Man! I need me one of them things.

I, of course, didn't take a single picture of either the process, or the cake. I kind of figured it was pretty explanatory, and the cake wasn't much to write home about. It tasted fantastic. I fed it to several gluten eaters before making it into a trifle, and they all enjoyed it, so I think it passes the test!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Day 34: Dreaming

I'm the kind of person who has two different types of dreams. I either dream ridiculous, ludicrous things that could never happen, and don't make much sense at all. They're usually combinations of whatever has been going on recently.

The other type is hyper-realistic. Things that either could happen, or might not really happen, but everything seems logical and happens in a normal way. I usually wake up believing that they actually happened, and sometimes I go several hours before I remember something that didn't make any sense. I've dreamed that my husband admitted to an affair with Taylor Swift and spent a few hours mad at him before.

So, now that you know how messed up my dream world is, I'll tell you about my dream last night.

My husband, my big sister and I were at a street fair, looking at all the vendors and their jewelry. And then I walked up to the two of them eating a hot dog. I don't usually like hot dogs, but this one was delicious and the bun was moist and chewy. I ate the whole thing, and we kept walking, and then all of the sudden, I realized and said something. Both my sister and husband just looked at me and were like, "Uh, yeah, we didn't want to say anything because you looked like you were enjoying it so much." I got so mad at them. How could they just let me eat that? And then I woke up.

At first, I was mad at my hubby, who was sleeping peacefully beside me. And then I remembered how delicious that hot dog bun was. Oh man... I've never tasted such good dream food.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Day 32: Homemade Lemon Pudding

I made homemade pudding today! I'm scared to death of burning milk, so I wouldn't have made it, except that my friend is making a big Easter dinner, and is making everything gluten-free so I can come, and she decided to make trifle, and needs homemade pudding. So she walked me through it, but she made me actually make it.

It's really simple, and doesn't contain anything obscure. The one thing though, I would suggest making this with an extra set of hands.

1/4 cup corn starch
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup lemon juice

Stir cornstarch and sugar together in medium saucepan. Slowly add in milk, whisking together. Whisk frequently to avoid burning the milk.

Put egg yolks in small bowl. When milk mixture is hot, add one cup to egg bowl. Whisk together and then return mixture to pot.

Whisk contstantly until mixture is thick and pudding-like. When it reaches this stage, take of stove immediatly. Add in fresh or bottled lemon juice and butter. Stir until butter is melted.

Pour through sieve, into large Tupperware or large bowl. Let cool before placing in fridge.

If you want it to be more yellow, add lemon coloring to it while whisking in the egg mixture.

See? Super simple. Just make sure you stir constantly, because once you add the egg, it will cook on its own wherever it doesn't mix well, and that's why you strain it.

Warm lemon pudding is my new favorite, though. I never understood why people liked warm pudding, because I always made instant pudding. But now, I understand. Wow.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Day 29: One Month

Well, today marks one month. The 22nd. You know what? My birthday is the 22nd of June... Funny how that goes. The last month has been full of changes and learning experiences. It's been difficult and emotional, but not as hard I thought it would have been.

Honestly, eating at home is a stitch now. I mean, when we're low on groceries, it's frustrating because I can't just run out and grab something, but that's a habit I needed to break anyways. Grocery shopping is difficult, but is becoming easier. Eating out is really hard, and to be avoided as much as possible. Eating at friends' houses is the biggest one though. That's one I never even thought about. I'm a total mooch, and I have often spent entire evenings at a friend's house, and just eaten whatever they eat, or whatever they offer. But that's really off the table.

I'm getting better at carrying a snack with me. I switched purses from a tiny one to a gigantic one, so I've been carrying a Tupperware with a snack and a water bottle almost everywhere I go. That really makes a huge difference. I'm a total grump when I'm hungry.

I also find I'm hungry less. I'm eating normal amounts of food again, I think my body is finally accepting food the right way again.

The last month has been a process, and I know I'm nowhere near the top of that hill, but I feel I've accomplished something.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Day 27: A Battle!

A wild box of donuts appears!

Robynne uses Ignore!

Donuts use Offer!

Robynne uses Apology!

Donuts have fainted!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Day 26: Back to the Vet

Today was Piper's check-up after we gave her antibiotics for two weeks. The vet was hoping all the problems in her pee would clear up, and she would stop wetting the bed. Except that she wet the bed last night. Well, wet the blanket she was sleeping on, but same thing... The point is, we know her problem with inconstancy hasn't cleared up, so we were hoping it was an old age thing, not a kidney thing. Okay, so I took her in first thing this morning, and they stuck a needle into her belly to get the cleanest sample of pee possible. I felt so bad for her. She's so happy-go-lucky. Her tail was even wagging when we pulled up to the vet's office. But then they took her away from me, and she look so sad. She didn't freak out or whine, but she just looked at me... I felt very loved. Usually she just loves me as much as she loves everyone else in the world, but she loves my husband ten times more. When he leaves her in the car for a few minutes, she barks or whines. When I do, she lays down and naps. But today, she loved me more than just a stranger. It was great.

Anyways... So the bacteria in her pee cleared out, which means her infection is gone, but she still has a low specific gravity and high proteins, which either means we need to switch her food or she has kidney problems. The other kidney signs aren't there, so we're talking about switching her food. We also got an estrogen pill to help her not wet herself. Ugh... Why did we adopt an old dog? It's so sad dealing with this kind of thing...

Food-wise, I had a very mundane day. I'm sorry, I'm such a creature of habit. I had probiotic yogurt and some cereal for breakfast, and chicken rice soup for lunch like I have for the past week or so, and then we had tacos again tonight for dinner.

I'm sorry to be slacking even more, but I bought The Love Dare today. It's a 40 day challenge about love and marriage. I'm really going to focus on it for the next 40 days, so I know I won't blog here every single day. Sorry. I'll write when I discover or cook or do something new, but when I have more days like today, I just won't write... I need to take that extra time to focus on my marriage right now. Funny how not seeing much of each other for two months, and then being diagnosed with a disease can do a number on a relationship.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Day 25: Getting Glutened

So... I glutened myself today. Kind of on purpose, and I was kind of aware of it. Do you remember how I said we had two pastas, and one was weird and foamy and tasted weird, and one was normal and yummy and good? Well, we went to buy more of the good kind, and we noticed that it didn't actually say gluten-free on it. I knew I read the ingredients the first time I bought it, so I flipped it over and checked again. Apparently, under the ingredients, in bold letters, it says "May contain wheat" so awesome. We bought a different kind all together, but I still had about a serving left of that one kind. So today, at lunch, I made it. I knew I had eaten only safe foods all day, so I would know if it effected me or not. It did. Oh, did it ever. I felt awful all afternoon.

Actually, the afternoon was about it. I felt bloaty and gassy and nauseous and blurgh at work, until about four, when I started feeling a bit better. By five, I felt okay, and I dragged my butt to the gym to meet Banana. I felt actually good there. Maybe just moving and working out made me feel alive. I did the circuit again, and then 20 min of elliptical. And then we sat in the sauna for awhile. Man, the heat does wonders on my muscles. I hate how I feel in there, all hot and sweaty and burning, but I love how my muscles feel.

So here's a maybe-symptom. After the sauna and a shower I was red and splotchy over most of my body. It looked really bad. Like a rash, but it wasn't itchy or bumpy. It covered my legs up to mid-thigh, my arms, my chest, and my face. Not my stomach, upper thighs or neck. I noticed it was pretty much everywhere I used to have a tan, so it could be heat-related, melanin-related, gluten-related or new-body-wash-related. I have no idea what caused it, but it looked really bad and lasted after I cooled off.

To be honest, I didn't ever actually eat dinner. I had some cheese and crackers and a ham sandwich, but that's really it. Oh, hubby decided my new gluten-free bread tastes awful. We're out of his bread, so he tried some of mine, and it was a nope.

I felt a lot better after the gym, so I might try that the next time I have symptoms. I still have the brain fog, and I'm really tired, but my body returned to normal afterwards.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Day 24: Tuna Casserole

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My mom asked me yesterday to meet her for lunch today during her lunch break, so we went to Boston Pizza. It must sound like I go there all the time, but you need to know it's one of two mid-price restaurants here. There's a few more expensive ones, and a lot of cheaper ones, or family restaurants, but BP's and Original Joe's are the extent of that style of dining. No Applebee's, Montana's, Rock Creek, The Keg, Earl's.... Nope. Just two BP's and one OJ's.

Anyways, so I braved the outside world this afternoon and unburied my car from a foot of snow. No exaggeration. Yuck. I picked her up from work, which is ironically where I used to work until June, and then we went for lunch.

When we talked about it, she said she wanted their original lasagna. It's like lasagna noodles with bolognese sauce and then baked with cheese. That sounded heavenly, so I set my heart on a gluten-free version. Since the noodles and toast were the only offending things, I ordered their Boston's Lasagna, sub GF noodles. Well, they have a create-your-own pasta menu, which is where you actually find the GF noodles (also where it says to add $1 for GF) and you could order bolognese noodles baked with cheese. So the waitress punched my order in like that; Gluten-Wise noodles, bolognese sauce, baked with cheese, and my mom just got the lasagna, but my bill came out $1.50 more than hers. Not sure if you're following still, but basically, we ordered the same thing, and I should have paid $1 more, but the way it was punched in, I had to pay $1.50 more.

So I was just ranting to my mom about how gluten free people basically have to eat inferior food. Why can't I order a pasta dish off the normal menu and sub the noodles? Why does my only option have to be create-your-own? So my mom pointed it out to the waitress, who reacted with a "Here, I'll go get the menu and show you." Which basically means "I did it right. You're wrong." But when she came back, she had a new bill for me, that wrote it up as Boston Lasagna, sub Gluten-Wise noodles, and said she didn't realize there would be a price difference. So that was great, and I thanked my mom, because I wouldn't have said anything.

I spent most of the afternoon at the gym with Banana, after I dropped off my mom again. I managed three rounds on the circuit, and then 4.5 miles on the upright bicycles. That was intense. My legs were like jelly when I got off. But we were thinkers and brought our swimsuits! So we went and sat in the sauna for awhile. Amazing how intense sweaty heat feels great when there's a foot of fresh snow outside. Also, it did wonders on my would-be sore muscles.

For dinner, I made tuna casserole. I know, yuck right? I like it actually, as does my hubby, so we have it occasionally. It's an easy pasta dish that isn't pasta, beef and sauce. I kind of just wing it when it comes to the casserole part. Mostly because most of the recipes I find call for something I don't have when I want it. The easiest recipe I've found calls for cream of mushroom soup, which is something I don't like so I don't keep on hand, but now I can't eat, so it's fine that I've already found my way around that. Last time, I just cleaned out my fridge into the casserole, mixing the last of the sour cream with the last of the milk with some chicken bouillon  to make a cream of chicken like soup. And it actually tasted great. Hubby liked it way better than the version he usually made. The recipe also calls for breadcrumbs and parmesan for the topping, but parmesan has always been on our no-no list (it makes him throw up) and breadcrumbs are a given... This time I wrote down how much of what I used, so next time I make it, I'll have a yummy recipe for you guys!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Day 23: Rice Cakes are not Styrofoam

There was a swap meet in town today, so Honey and I went to that. He has a motorcycle which he obviously hasn't ridden in months, considering it dumped most of a foot of snow today. But, you know, what would bikers do without mid-winter meet-ups and early spring sales? We bought a motorcycle helmet for me. I don't know when I'll ever ride, but now we have one that I like and fits. He also bought a riding jacket for himself.

We did a spurt of grocery shopping, and bought some Rice Minis. Last time I had some, Hubby only got to try the plain ones, and he determined they are Styrofoam.  Taste, texture, flavour, crunch; I guess if it quacks like a duck... This time I bought flavoured ones and made him try the caramel chocolate one, and he actually liked it. But mostly he just thinks I eat yucky food.

Then I went jean shopping with my mother. She used to hate jean shopping with me, but now that she's not footing the bill, and it's not her problem if I don't find any I like, and I'm much less dramatic, it's not so bad. I used to be a very melodramatic teenager. I mentioned this, and she says I've been high-maintenance since the day I was born. So there you go. Some of us are just always a lot of work. (:

I accidentally napped after I got home. Woke up almost three hours later disoriented and grumpy and tired. I should never nap, ever. Of course by the time I woke up, hubby wasn't hungry because he'd been munching the flax and oat granola bars all day...

So I made some pasta, and pureed some chickpeas and mixed them with some pasta sauce for dinner for one. I mixed one cup of chickpeas with 1/3 cup of water, and blended until it was a paste, and then mixed that with a jar of No Name pasta sauce (pretty standard sized pasta sauce jar), and added some spices. I used what I needed and then stored the rest for our next pasta dish. I'm definitely adding ground beef though, because the chickpeas didn't totally blend and have little chunks. It would be fine in a meat sauce, not so fine in a smooth tomato sauce.

And then I went to a movie with Banana! We saw Oz the Great and Powerful. Let me just say, it was amazing. I loved it so much. I would watch it again and again and again. Really amazing. Now, before you rush out and go see it, let me say that you maybe shouldn't trust my movie taste. I tell my friends I loved movies that it turns out they hated. I don't dislike very many movies (except ones like Hangover, Hot Tub Time Machine, The Watch that whole genre....). I've never walked out of the theatre on a movie, even if I disliked it, and a lot of controversial movies that people watch to dislike, I love. So... Don't take my word for it, but I loved it!

Day 22: Recipe Testing

When I cook, I either follow a recipe to a T, or I just toss stuff together until it looks good and keep no track of what I used. So I'm going to try to either use a recipe and modify it a bit, or make something up and write it down to share with you.

You know I said I made granola bars last week? (Or maybe earlier this week, I can't remember.) Well, I made some again. I bought a few groceries tonight, so I picked up some flaxseed, dried cranberries, shredded coconut, and some coconut oil. The oil isn't for granola bars, but I figured the other options (including peanuts and chocolate chips which we already have) would sound good to my husband. They did. He was most excited about the flaxseed, and then he realized he's becoming an adult. Hahah. So I mixed up a personalized batch for him, with rolled oats, chopped peanuts, milled flaxseed, and chocolate chips. And I accidentally tossed in some cranberries too. Oh well. I'm going to try some, and then make another batch tomorrow for me, to get the liquid mixture just right, before I tell you all about that. But I was diligent today and wrote down the amounts of everything I added. And I even measured things! I usually just pour until it looks right.

I also went to the gym earlier tonight, before grocery shopping and after dinner. I managed to do a couple rounds of circuit training, but then only 20 minutes on the elliptical.

Oh, and it dumped about a foot of snow today. Two days ago, everything was melting and there were giant puddles everywhere, and then today, my car is completely covered in a foot of snow, and drifts are up to my knees against buildings. Never move to Saskatchewan. And if you already live here, get out. I'm telling you. Mother Nature needs somewhere that she can just play with and have fun tormenting everyone, and I'm convinced she picked Saskatchewan. I would too, with a name like that.

When I bought the coconut oil today, my husband asked what you use it for. I've read tons of ideas to use it for, but a lot of times it's just an oil in cooking, and that seems boring. So... If you've ever used it, what's your all-time favorite use for it?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Day 21: Babysitting

Okay, so here's something I never thought this whole gluten crap would effect. Babysitting.

Haha. I know, I sound like I'm a preteen girl. But really, I've been babysitting since grade eleven in highschool. When I only had a part-time job, I was sometimes babysitting 4-5 times a week. Mostly for the same family, but I have sat on lots of other children. I haven't managed any children alone at their house since December, so I kind of forgot about it all, except for my once-regular family. I'm still hoping to steal them from their daycare one of these Saturdays.

Anyways, I got a call tonight just after work from a family I've met briefly, but I knew they had my number to call for sitting. They asked if I could watch their kids (who I haven't really met) tonight. Since dinner was almost done, I said yes! Ah, the spontaneous life.

So yesterday, I stuck a pound of raw ground beef in the crock pot all day to make something for dinner, but my husband remembered he had a concert to go to, so he took off before I even got home for work. So at lunch today, I took that pound of ground beef, and threw it back in the crock pot with half a can of pasta sauce, a can of tomato paste, enough water to make it soupy, and a cup of pureed chickpeas (I got brave) and a bunch of spice. Left it on low all day, and the house smelled amazing when I got home. Since hubby gets home before me, he started a pot of water boiling for pasta, and I just had to throw some rice spaghetti in. Let me tell you this, I do not like that rice spaghetti. It was the first gluten-free pasta I'd had at home, and now I've had all of two. But people also keep telling me that pasta is the best GF thing. And this pasta, is not. No way. It's mushy and tough and foams and is weird. The vegetable pasta I have doesn't do any of that. It cooks and tastes exactly like pasta. So now I know which kind I am not buying again... So I added the yucky pasta to the simmering sauce, and it was less than fantastic. The beef had been cooked to the point that it was powdery. I tried to blame it on the chickpeas, but they were not at fault here. The beef was powdery. I guess the crock pot was too warm, or next time I just add the beef right before dinner. Hmm.

So that was dinner. Didn't take long, and then I ran out the door to go take care of two toddlers who had never met me so their parents could go car shopping in the bigger city.

They're asleep now, I'm actually writing this at their house. They were the best kids. The younger one met me, and asked me to pick her up. She curled up in my lap, and poked my nose. Just super friendly, super well-behaved children. I watched a movie with them, read them a few books, gave them a snack, and shipped them off to bed. Then I watched Sleepless in Seattle. And then five minutes before it ended, their mom called to say they'd be home in about an hour.

Of course, I was hungry. I'm always hungry lately. I often munch at babysitting houses, on cereals or fruit or whatever the kids usually snack on, so I know I'm not ruining meal plans. So I looked, and they have Timbits... Mmmmm... and Cheerios. Which would have been perfect, and my favorite brand of bread, and then I had to leave the kitchen. It's easy for me to eat at home because everything I can see, I can eat, but munching at other people's houses is far from safe.

So now I'm hungry, and yet again chastising myself for not carrying snacks everywhere I go. Blurgh.

Lessons learned today: Don't over crock-pot beef, and pack snacks and stop just saying you're going to!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Day 20: Going to the Gym

It's kind of a long story, but here's the short version: I used to go to the gym all the time with my friend who moved to Thailand (who shall be known as Banana from here out) before she moved, and then I kind of stopped while she was gone. And now she's back, and working at the gym again and it turns out I still have a membership I didn't know about.

So, she made me go the gym tonight. She was working, but I worked out.

When we stopped going in early December, we would go 5-7 times a week, and do 25 minutes or so on the circuit training and then 15 minutes on the elliptical. When she wasn't with me, I'd do up to 45 minutes on the elliptical alone.

So tonight, I went. I knew I wasn't up to doing the circuit training, so I just hopped on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes, and then stretched and did some crunches and stuff. Then I felt like I was going to pass out, so I changed and went home.

It felt really good to be moving and sweating again. I really enjoy working out. I don't know why I always procrastinate and don't go. I'm gonna go more, now, which will definitely eat into my baking and blogging time, but will be so good. I'm still weak, and it'll take some time to get back to my old routine, but just sweating felt so good!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Day 19

I felt pretty wiped all day today. You know how you feel the morning after you threw up? Yeah... Didn't feel like eating anything, but I wasn't actually nauseous. Blech.

Anyways. I didn't come home for lunch today. Mostly because at noon I didn't feel up to walking the couple blocks to my car, and then I still didn't feel like it at two, or three, so I just came home from work early at four instead.

For dinner, my husband cooked chicken breast and bacon, and stir-fried it with leftover rice, GF soya sauce, and peas. It tasted just like the chicken fried rice you get from Chinese restaurants. I don't know about this new soya sauce though. Hubs said he cooked it down a lot, so it was stronger than it normally would be, but it was way too strong for me.

After dinner, my friend wanted to go shopping with me, so we went to Bulk Barn and Superstore and then to Tim Hortons for coffee. The kind of hanging out we used to do almost every night before she moved to Thailand. It's so good to have her back.

I love wandering around Bulk Barn now. I didn't buy anything, because I wasn't prepared, but I love looking at all the things I newly understand, and thinking about buying them. Like tapioca! I think I'll make my own tapioca pudding soon. Mmm....

Oh, and I discovered today at work. My friend told me about it last night at coffee, so I spent my spare time looking at it. I had a good day on that regard, because I kept laughing.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Day 18: Coffee Date

You know how I have good days and bad days? Well, today was mostly a good day. I felt okay and normal all day at work, and for lunch I had chicken and rice soup. It was just a normal day, which makes it a really good day lately.

After work, neither of us felt like defrosting meat or cooking, so we ordered pizza. Domino's has a gluten-free crust, and I'm pretty loyal to them (because I used to babysit the owners' kids, but I do also like their pizza). It was actually pretty good. Like, hubby took a slice and declared it delicious. So at least I'm not sacrificing one thing.

After dinner, I had a coffee date with a friend. That was great. We went to the coffee shop where my office goes every morning, and I got a soy London fog. Soy, because I've always had a bit of a problem with dairy, but only in large quantities, like lattes. We sat and talked for hours and it was really good. After the coffee shop closed, we sat in her dad's shiny new car and talked some more, and... then I threw up in my mouth. I'm sorry if that grosses you out. At least I didn't throw up in her dad's car! (Oh, her dad is one of the guys at my office, so... it would not be good.) After a minute when I felt a bit steadier, I drove home, where I threw up again.

So that's fantastic. Finally had a normal day... It could be the soy. Lots of celiacs have soy issues. So I'm going to shy away from soy for a little while, and try again in a few weeks, and hope it wasn't that. Who knows, at this point.

Oh! I also made granola bars at lunch. I had some granola cereal, so I melted some butter, honey, corn syrup and brown sugar, and then added peanut butter, and poured it over the granola and let it sit. They came out delicious. Should have cut them before they totally set, because they got really hard, but they were good, and hubby gobbled them up too. So I'll keep that in mind, make them again, actually write down how much of what I used, and share it with you! Yay!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Day 17: I feel like jello.

Today is our roommate's birthday. Happy birthday, if you're reading this.

Last night my husband and him decided to make a bunch of jello and layer it in a gigantic ice cream pail, because they could. That means two things:

1) most of my fridge is currently consumed by a giant thing of jello

2) I just want to eat jello.

And I feel like that jello. All squishy and squidgey and messy. I feel like I can't hold myself together if I tried, and like I might fall over if the walls holding me up weren't there.

Today is a bad day for my inside body. I just want to eat whip cream and cake and jello until I fall asleep.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Day 16: A Day of Eating Out

Well, today I had to brave my fear of eating out and ordering food. All day, really. We didn't have much for plans when we woke up, but early on my friend (the one who just came home from Thailand) asked if I wanted to go the bigger city with her, so she could get a new phone. Yeah, we live in a small town, in case you hadn't picked up on that. She had evening plans, so we wouldn't spend all day there, just and in-and-out kind of trip. I pointed out that I needed to eat soon, and she said that Wok Box, which is one of our favourite restaurants totally has a gluten-free menu.

So, excited, we took off. We went to Wok Box first, because I was hungry, and now... I had to order. I guess I have a couple of times, I just avoid it as much as possible. I said, "Hi, umm, I'm gluten-free. I want the Pad Thai." My brain was just somewhere else, so every question he asked I had a hard time answering, and I felt really dumb. I also felt really obnoxious, and like "one of those people". I hate that. My friend said the guy practically rolled his eyes when I started talking too. Ugh. I could have just died. So. I had my Pad Thai. It was delicious, and spicy, and apparently not very authentic, but I don't really need to eat true Asain food in Canada...

So we went to the mall, and she got a new phone, and then basically just came home again. She did buy shoes too, I guess. Back in town, we did some quick grocery shopping. Just the stuff I couldn't live without, like milk and butter and greek yogurt.

And then for dinner, she had planned a week ago to have a "Welcome back to Canada" dinner with her friends, and hubby and I were going. So we pretty well got home, unpacked groceries and then went right back out for dinner at Boston Pizza. She picked there because she knew they have gluten-free options.

One of her friends there is a vegetarian. I kind of wish I just had to be vegetarian. It's a lot easier and there's a lot less crossed off your list.

Anyways, I decided on the gluten-free pizza. Thought I might as well get it over with and try one. This time, I ordered, a "Hawaiian pizza with the gluten-free crust, and I have a gluten allergy." Which seems waaaaaay less obnoxious, and actually makes it more likely they'll change their gloves and stuff. People who eat gluten-free keep telling me not to trust BP's, because they don't worry about cross-contamination, but our roommate works there, and he says they usually treat any gluten-free food like and allergy and change gloves and stuff, so....

Also, the more I read celiac forums, and talk to celiac people and stuff, the more confused I get. Some people (being the majority online) are super anal. Like, to the point that you basically should just never eat anything you don't make yourself at home from ingredients that say gluten-free on them. And then I talk to people that just make sure they don't actively consume gluten. I don't know how much I'm going to worry about cross-contamination. I guess once I start feeling better most days I can judge whether or not a certain amount of contamination was too much for me. Like lots of people say they went to a restaurant and that was a mistake so they'll never go again, or they learned not to do a certain thing, or whatever. But right now I have a hard time telling if I've crossed my line because I feel crappy all the time.

Anyways... I think I'm going to avoid going out for dinner for awhile. I felt so awful the whole time, I was probably the worst company ever. I know I'm whiny and sick and complaining, so I should just quarantine myself until I get better, instead of forcing myself on others.

Oh! And my mom made a trip to the big city today too. She stopped by the gluten-free bakery for me, and bought me some yummies! I considered telling that I could just do it because we were there, but we didn't have much time, and I know she wants to be helpful and supportive. I really appreciate her. She bought me waffles, cranberry orange bread, cinnamon raisin bread, and some pizza crusts, all frozen. And she gave me a cake she'd had in her freezer. So now my freezer is full of yummy safe things. =]

Friday, 8 March 2013

Day 15: Happy Two Weeks, Tummy!

Happy two weeks, tummy. Feeling any better? No? You hate me even more? Oh is it just today? Oh, okay... You just wanted to remind me how awful I felt before two weeks ago? Thanks. Thank you, stomach. I appreciate it.

Soo.... Today has been unproductive. I was very glazed-over at work. My sister popped into my office close to quitting time, so we wandered down to the library together so she could look for a book, and I flipped through some gluten-free cookbooks.

[I have a dozen or two normal cookbooks at home, and every time I cook, I find something on or on Pinterest, and I never crack a book unless I remember something my mom used to make. So I am resistant to buying cookbooks anymore.]

So I'm reading some of the gluten-free cookbooks, and they tend to profess a certain type of flour, and stick to it. The most frustrating thing about Pinterest is that every blogger has a different "I swear by this flour" flour. So it's hard hopping from blog to blog. But if I buy one complete gluten-free cookbook that sticks to their guns and covers different meals, and not all the recipes are "replacement" foods, but some are "creatively un-glutened" (that's my term. I just made it up) then I think I would really use it. I only want one, or I'll never use any of them. So that's my new mission. To hunt down one, single, really good, complete, gluten-free cookbook. I need to find it myself, it needs to have lots of pictures, I need to like the writing style, and it needs to cover lots of areas of food.

Anyways, my sister and I then walked over to the fried chicken outlet downtown, and got fries because I know they take a potato, put it through a slicer tool, and then fry it. They do fry the fries in the same oil as the breaded chicken, which makes it contaminated, but dammitall, I just wanted fries! So I had fries. Well, my sister and I split fries. And she didn't get gravy on the side because I'm a mean little sister.

Then we all went home. Within ten minutes of getting home, the main floor of our house had me, my husband, my best friend, my sister, the guy who lives in our basement, and his friend who is staying with him for the weekend. It was a very suddenly full living room. But I like it like that.

Anyways, after my sister left to hang out with her boyfriend, and the two guys went downstairs to nerd out, and my friend went to buy groceries, hubby and I had dinner. He combined barbeque sauce, ground beef, leftover rice and cheese into a yummy soupy skillet dish. It was good, filling and simple.

Just before dinner, I started feeling wiped and weak, but when I got up from the table to do the dishes, I collapsed. Hubs helped me to the couch, where I groaned and felt nauseous, and moaned and whined until he left to celebrate the roommate's birthday (which is actually tomorrow). My friend got back soon though (I mentioned she's staying here for a couple days, right?), and she sat with me until I dragged my butt up to go pee and then brought my laptop back to the couch so I could write all of this.

So basically, I feel like I "got glutened". Long-time gluten-free celiacs describe the way they feel after accidentally consuming gluten as that. The symptoms (whatever their symptoms may be) hit. For me, I notice fatigue and a weakness, and then the "brain fog" that a lot of other people describe, and then nausea, gas, and a general "feeling awful". It seems to be a really common reaction, amongst celiacs who frequent the forums I've been reading. My first reaction is "What did I eat with gluten in it?" and I bet you're blaming the fries (I was too), but this early on in the healing progress, it's perfectly normal for the symptoms to hit for no reason. There's still gluten in my system, and my intestine is still damaged. So this early on, I can't blame it on anything, really. I can't call fries from a breaded chicken place "too much". I'm not going to eat there everyday, but I'm not going to blame them and call them witches. So I guess what I'm saying is that I do need to be 100% anal and obsessive and careful, but I don't need to be pointing fingers when it hits.

[If you're wondering about "brain fog", it's a common symptom described by gluten sensitive, and more commonly, celiacs. I basically feel like a fog descended on my brain. I have a hard time focusing, my focus gets lost easily (earlier, my husband was telling me a story, and I halfway through I picked up my phone and started facebooking. I completely forgot he was even talking until he said something. I felt awful). I feel very distracted and lost. Driving is scary, because I accidentally hit the wrong pedal, I forget which road I was going to take home, and I often just don't use my signal lights. Doing anything is hard because I'm fighting a dense fog around my thinking capabilities, and conversation is difficult. It's like when you're overtired to the point of having to think about focusing, and not being sure what you were doing a few seconds ago. For months, I blamed feeling like this on just being tired, even though I was sleeping 8-10 hours a weekday, and sometimes 12 or more on weekends.]

So... It's been two weeks. I haven't been perfectly gluten-free that whole time, but I have survived to my two week "anniversary". Another 50 weeks, and I'll have done a year... Woohoo....

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Day 14: The Airport

Happy Thursday everyone! Today was a very happy Thursday for me! My best friend came home! She's been in Thailand for three months, but she came home today! (Okay... she actually came home last night. I'm writing this on Friday, because I got home from picking her up after midnight.)

The rest of the day was pretty insignificant. I woke up, I worked, I ate food. I made pasta in the microwave for lunch, because all of our pots needed washing. I've made pasta in the microwave a few times. It always comes out a slightly funny texture. So the gluten-free pasta in the microwave was just fine. I mean sure, it wasn't normal, but I had no expectations.

I'm noticing that I'm starting to expect my food to taste gluten-free. My gluten-free pretzels taste normal to me now, in fact even good. I can see that in some time I'll think gluten-free bread tastes better than other bread like people keep telling me. My taste buds and tummy are slowly readjusting to all this weird food.

For dinner, I made a buttload of rice and fried some BBQ-marinated chicken. You can tell my creativity is sapping, huh? I wanted rice in the fridge, because it's easy to make a stir-fry, or some rice pudding and other yummy things. And last night I pulled out two frozen chicken breasts and put them in the fridge with some BBQ sauce. Wanna know a funny story? Three or four months ago, when we were out of barbeque sauce, we were at the store looking for more, and I found a big bottle with a cool top that I liked, and I read the label which has big letters saying "Gluten-Free" and I said to my husband, "Really? Gluten-free barbeque sauce? What is this world coming to?" Well, this world is coming to me being pre-emptive and smart and I was very happy when I remembered that, because I had read BBQ sauce is on the bad list. But mine's not! How cool is that?

Also, my attitude wasn't directed at the people trying to avoid gluten and eat barbeque sauce, it was directed at barbeque sauce makers who add gluten. Don't worry, I didn't hate on my future self.

Anyways... So after dinner, I drove an hour to the bigger city, and then waited an hour at the airport (the plane was delayed in Calgary, waiting to be de-iced for an hour). And then saw my friend for the first time in three months, and proceeded to hand her a ski jacket, mittens, hat and scarf. And in my car was a blanket waiting for her. It's not even that cold today, but it's a heck of a lot warmer in Thailand. And somebody didn't pack anything warmer than a cardigan, because she didn't need it...

I've written before (on my other, pre-celiac blog) about how much I love airports, because they're just fantastic for people-watching. But I didn't do much people-watching. I was so glazed-over. I was also hungry, because I'm always hungry and we're out of gluten-free snackables. So I wandered over to the little place that sells food. I didn't feel like analyzing and freaking out about ingredients and so on, so I bought some Rice Crisps and an apple. I love that fruit is still safe. I never think about eating fruit or buying fruit, but when I see it, I remember how good it tastes and how much I want it.

And that was my day. I'm sorry. It's been a glazey day. I'm beginning to think much of my near future looks like this.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Day 13: Brownie Testing

I made brownies today. That's right. I kicked my butt into gear, and got over my apprehension about gluten-free baking. Well, I guess I made those cookie bars already, but they were just already gluten-free, not especially gluten-free. So anyways, I made gluten-free brownies today.

I actually made gluten-free vegan brownies. They're one of the more presumptious desserts I've ever stared down. I didn't mean to; I meant to make cookies, but then I realized I don't have much butter or any milk. So I hunted down a tried-and-true recipe that didn't have either. (I wanted to make something that A) didn't come from a gluten-free recipe; I wanted to substitute the flours in and B) something that I've made before, so I can mentally compare how different it is. If I just grab that cookie recipe off of Pinterest, how do I know if it's not always crumbly and dry?) And I've made these vegan brownies a few times, and they are just delectable! They're moist, soft, chocolatey, and leave you feeling slightly less guilty after you devour an entire pan. Okay, just as a disclaimer: I'm writing all of this before I eat any of the gluten-free. Yeah, I have two pans of warm chocolatey brownies just sitting on my stove, and I'm over here blogging? Well, I wanted to tell you how I made them and all of that before I make up my mind about them. I'm being very scientific.

If you're confused as to why there are two pans of brownies, well it's because I have two flours. And the best way to delve into the gluten-free world of baking is to make two batches of the same recipe with two different gluten-free flours, right? It made sense to me, okay?

So anyways.. I made some vegan brownies that you can find here. If you aren't forcibly gluten-free like me, I highly insist you make these!

I set out very scientifically to make these brownies the same, adding the same amounts of the same ingredients at the same time, and then stirring the same and everything. The only differences were:
A) The pre-packaged flour suggests you add xantham gum when you use it, and since the one I mixed up yesterday already had xantham gum in it, I added 1/2 tsp.
B) I accidentally added the baking soda twice to the same bowl, but I put the scoops on top of each other, and I managed to scoop out a full 1/2 tsp of just baking soda and put it in the other bowl. So I really don't think that'll matter.
C) I put the mixed flour in smaller bowls.

So I put all the wet ingredients in the plastic bowls next to eachother. These two bowls are perfectly identical in contents, because the flour was in the other bowl.

Then I put the two flours in other bowls. You can see they're kind of different colours. That's my mix on the right, and Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour on the left. The left one also has a bit of xantham gum, as I already mentioned.

Added the other dry ingredients and stirred...

Poured the wet into the dry. So far, everything is the same.

And now, I mixed them. Things got a little funky here, as you can see. The bowl on the left seems more moist, but I'm not sure what made the bowl on the right so... dry seeming?

See? Dry brownie batter. Not so appealing.

Moist brownie batter. As it should be.

Dry brownie batter after being "poured" into the pan.

Moist brownie batter after being poured into the pan.

The two brownie pans about to go into the oven. They look a bit different, and you can tell the textures are different, but they both resemble brownies.

And voila! The brownies fresh out of the oven. They both look chocolatey, but the right one still has a distinctive texture.

Up-close, brownies from mixed flours.

Up-close, brownies from Bob's Red Mill.

And now! I think they should be cool enough, so I'm going to go grab a square of each. So... As you can see, the right one (still the mix) has little tiny white specks in it, like the powder didn't mix enough into the liquids. I didn't mix it very long, admittedly  but it did look good then, and I've read that you shouldn't mix rice flour for long because it makes things come out hard if you do. So maybe that's a problem.

The left one (Bob's Red Mill) tastes moist, and chocolatey. Smooth and sweet. I honestly cannot remember a difference between this little brownie and the ones I made before. It is delicious, and worth eating a whole pan of.

The other one is also moist, and very chocolatey (I might have just gotten a solid bite of chocolate chips). The top of it is harder and crunchier than the other ones, but the brownie from bottom to almost-top-crust is moist and delicious.

Effectively the same. My results?

A looked better, it was more aesthetically pleasing. It was also squishier when picked up, and had an all-around desirable-ness to it.

B tasted the same, but wasn't quite as pretty. The brownies also didn't fill out the same, so it's not as plump or as pleasant to pick up and eat. But once it's in your mouth, it tastes the same.

I then made the two gluten-eating men in the house have one of each, and our housemate says he can't tell the difference between the two and they're "not bad". My husband says the first ones look and feel more like real brownies, and something about the texture in the second one is just off.

So there you have it people. Scientific proof that Bob's Red Mill flour is better than that flour mix for this specific brownie recipe... I really can't go farther than that. It might be the applesauce, or the baking soda, or anything that makes the flours react differently. I'm going to have to make a few more recipes with each of the two flours before I can decide which one I like better. But so far, I really can't say yay or nay. Neither brownie tastes "gluten-free" which is a win in my books.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Day 12: The beginning of chickpeas.

This morning, just after my husband left for work, he realized he forgot to give the dog her meds, and to take his own meds. Apparently he usually does them together so as not to forget either. So I gave the pooch her meds, and agreed to bring him his at lunch. I then texted my boss to let him know I'd be a tad late, because I slept in a bit. I have a really chill job. Then I texted the hubs to ask where his pills were. Awhile later, after wondering why on earth my husband hadn't texted me back, I opened my phone and discovered I mistakenly sent "Where are your pills?" to my boss. So it could have been a lot worse, but I was pretty embarrassed. When I got to work, he just laughed and said he'd once sent a slightly embarrassing text to one of the engineers instead of his wife.

So that's my funny story of the day. And the highlight of my work day. I have a very chill, very boring job.

For dinner I did some experimenting! I found a bag of baby carrots that are getting kind of old, and cooked those up and glazed them the way my mom always did. She'd always cook sliced carrots, and then stir them with some butter and some brown sugar. I once asked her how much, and she said, "Enough." So yeah, I know they're not "healthy" per se, but they are veggies, and they are delicious.

Feeling inspired by my pulse cookbook, I also cooked a bunch of baby potatoes, and then mashed them with some chickpeas. Someone said you hardly notice once they're mashed. I didn't taste anything different, but they were visible. We're out of milk, so the potatoes were dry in general, but that was my husband's only complaint.

I also fried some plain chicken breast with seasoning salt, another one of my mom's classics. Dinner was good, and felt healthy, even if it wasn't by "healthy eating standards" it was by ours. Ah, now you know. We've never eaten healthy. We're very unhealthy eaters. Have been since we got married. We're all drive-throughs and taco nights, and hardly ever have fruits or veggies in the house.

We went to Bulk Barn after dinner. I read a recipe for a gluten-free flour that is supposed to make things taste gluten-y, and I wanted to try it, but I didn't have any of the ingredients. So I bought about a cup of all the flours, and a very expensive bag of xantham gum, which I've read makes everything better when baking. I also picked up some gluten-free cookies, but shhh....

And actually! The cookies taste legit. Check them out. Kinnikinnick Food's KinniToos Vanilla Sandwich Creme Cookies. They're basically blonde oreos. I was gonna buy the chocolate ones (so normal oreos) but I was afraid of disappointment, so I bought ones that were more different from what I normally eat. I might try the chocolate ones now, though. I've heard good things about Kinnikinnick (if you can spell their name) on the celiac forums, and I might check out more of their products now.

Anyways... I mixed up that flour mix, but I just don't have the energy to make cookies right now. I want to make a batch of cookies with each of my gluten-free flours now, so I'll try to do that tomorrow. Oh, but the flour mix... One of the flours is oat flour, so it's really not like 100% gluten free. And the coconut flour smells amazing. I've never smelled flour that smelled so good. I just kept sniffing it. Mmm... I wanna make cookies with just that flour.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Day 11: The Dietitian

I saw the dietitian today! Remember how at the beginning my doctor told me she'd refer me to one? Well, she did, and they called on Friday and made an appointment for this afternoon at one.

So... I skipped lunch. Bad, I know. I bought a package of peanuts at the hospital and nommed them while I waited, but I'll admit, I was pretty hungry.

Anyways, so I saw two dietitians. One of them was an intern. They were both impressed at how much research I'd already done, and how much I'd removed gluten from my life. They gave me a couple ideas, but I pretty much already knew everything they were going to tell me. They did give me a mock-up of a one-week meal plan, which has some great ideas. I think if I get my crap together enough, I might follow the meal plan spot on one week, just to see how it goes.

They also gave me a couple cookbooks on using pulses, which is really helpful. I have already seen some chickpea cookie recipes, but this is more encompassing. They also named a gluten-free bakery in the bigger city, which sounds bigger and better than the tiny one here, but I don't know if I'll ever make it there.

They were overall helpful, and said I could call or make an appointment at any time if I ever have questions, which is great.

So... It was pretty much time to get back to work by the time I left, which meant I didn't have enough time to go home and eat a real lunch. So I zipped over to the health food store, and bought a slice of gluten-free carrot cake, and this hemp-seed chocolate meal replacement bar. I don't really think I liked it. I mean, it tasted fine, and I wasn't too hungry, but it made me feel kind of weird, and I just don't think it was worth it.

Okay, so after a bad day of eating, I got home after work, just plain starving and so wiped and dizzy that there was no way I could cook anything. And my husband isn't hungry, and doesn't feel like cooking. I passed out in bed for awhile after munching on some gluten-free snacks, and then took a bath because I couldn't stand up long enough to shower. Halfway through my bath, my lovely husband brought me a plate of french fries. How thoughtful. Not something you can eat in the bath. If you should ever eat in the bath. Seems kind of weird to me. And then when I was done, they were cold. I ate one and was all like, "Eww, it's cold." So I ate another. And I definitely thought, "Once I get dressed, I'll go downstairs and microwave these." And then I ate the whole plate. I was soo hungry! Seriously. I get these massive hunger moments, and then I feel so full for awhile, and then Bam! Out of nowhere, I'll be hungry again. So yeah. I ate cold fries. I'm an animal.

And that was pretty much my day. Still don't have enough energy to do much...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Day Ten: Sunday.

I'm sorry. I had another insignificant day. We had big plans when we woke up this morning, but the weather man had other ideas. It snowed a lot, and it was all very wet snow. Which is unusual for Saskatchewan. We usually have -40 very dry winters. But the last few weeks it's been all melt-freeze-melt-freeze, so wet snow, freezing rain and black ice were soon to follow. I don't know the count on how much fell, but I know that our front door was actually white at one point, because it was so windy.

We did leave the house, but only because my husband has a 4x4 F150. My little car would not have made it to the end of the block. Oh? What's that? You say that the busy streets should be plowed soon? Ah! You're so cute. Yeah, the city doesn't have to start plowing until it has stopped snowing for 72 hours. So it could be a week before the main streets get cleared. They'll probably start on Tuesday, but my car is not going anywhere for a few days at least.

Anyways, so we just had a lazy Sunday. Get it? Yeah, I'm so funny.. Anyways... We did go over to a friend's house to sew again today. My sister was the only one that really needed help there, but we all went anyways. After my sister finished the bodice to her dress, we dropped her off at her bf's and came home. Later, my husband and I went to Walmart and bought some sewing extras we've been needing. My seamripper died on me, and I wanted a bobbin case, and he needed buttons. Funny story (as in mildly interesting):

Yesterday, at Fabricland, hubby told me to get him some "Twenty silver buttons about the size of a normal spool of thread". So I grabbed a spool of thread and went button-hunting. I found some great ones, but they only had eight. Kept looking. Lots of okay ones, didn't have enough. Found two different kinds that were close to the right size, so I sent him pictures. He didn't like either. So I sent him a picture of that first one, which I had determined I liked the most. He loved them. Dammit. They only had eight. I asked an employee if they had more, she checked and no. She called the other store in that town, and they had eight more. Not worth a trip all the way across town, since it wouldn't be enough anyways. So I bought the eight, and decided eventually I'll just come back, and maybe they'll have more, but at least I know which ones we want.

So... Tonight, we went to Walmart to find buttons for my dress, and lo and behold! We found very similar buttons to the ones in the picture I sent him. We got them home, and they were the same! The buttons are identical, but the packaging is different. Imagine that!

What'd I tell you? Mildly interesting, right? I need a more interesting life if I'm gonna keep blogging...

So, we wandered around Walmart and bought some stuff for sewing. And that was about our day. Just a chill Sunday.

You want to know what I ate? I guess that might be why you're here. Well, for breakfast I toasted some of my afore-mentioned odd gluten-free bread. And it really tasted better! Being warm made it moister, if that makes sense. It also seemed less dry. Maybe it toasting it really just warmed it up and made it okay for it to be the consistency of normal toast. I'm not sure. Either way, try your gluten-free bread in the toaster.

For lunch, I made hashbrowns. After being offered hashbrowns, potato wedges, french fries or perogies, my sister asked why all the products in our freezer were potatoes. The perogies and potato wedges are actually glutened, I just used to eat them all the time. I still have to laugh every time she asks why we have weird food now.

For dinner, we had nachos. I found another unhealthy normal meal that already is gluten-free. Aren't you proud of me?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Day Nine: The Fabric Store

So, I'm a geek. Or a dork, or a nerd. I haven't really decided.

Anyways, so you remember I mentioned an SCA event a last week? Okay, so it's this, and also this. I know it seems like super intensely geeky, but it's... it is. Yep, it is. It totally is. I mostly do it because:

A) I want to dress in pretty dresses and feel like a pretty princess.

B) I want to sew pretty dresses and feel accomplished, but making your own clothes for everyday is kind of... iffy.

So I do it. I haven't done it much, and thus far I've just borrowed costumes (or garb) from other people. But last weekend, we decided to make our own, finally. My husband went to a woman we know, and she took measurements and started making his doublet. My sister and I went out and bought cotton sheets on clearance, and decided to turn those into dresses so we could practise and not mess up nice fabric.

Yesterday we sat down with a friend and figured out how much we needed of what fabrics, and this morning four of us girls took off for the bigger city to immerse ourselves in Fabricland and spend lots of money.

And that is exactly what we did. We were there for about three hours, and between us all, we spent over $300. My sister says she needs a cheap hobby. I say there's no such thing.

What does this have to do with gluten? Absolutely nothing! Except that this was my first trip away from the city, which also means the first time I couldn't go home to eat. This morning, I packed a little container of three different gluten-free snacks to keep me going. I plan to do this everytime I leave the house, I just don't always have enough foresight. A few minutes out of town, my husband called to say I left them on the counter. Fantastic. So the other girls stopped at Tim Hortons, because unlike me, they didn't eat breakfast. Mmm, let's go to the place that makes bagels, donuts, croissants, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, and muffins! Perfect. I got an apple cider.

I'm learning to deal with it. It really wasn't a big deal, actually.

Shopping was fine too. Towards the end I felt really weak, but that's why I packed the snacks.

When we were done buying fabric, we went to Wendy's. I googled their gluten-free options, like I know I will have to from now on, and decided to get a baked potato, and a hamburger patty with cheese. That sounded good enough.

So I went up, and told the nice Asian lady that I had a gluten allergy, and she looked at me like I was from the moon. Another lady understood and told the cooks there was an allergy, and they had to change their gloves, and I ordered my baked potato. And then I got a drink too, because I'm always thirsty.

Yes, I chickened out and didn't ask for my burger, no bun. I'm a chicken, I know it. I also know that eventually, I will have to order that. I'm just not there yet. And I felt difficult enough telling them I had an allergy. I know I have to. I know that those cooks can't assemble a burger and then my food with the same gloves. I know that's not safe. I just hate being difficult.

Hubby says get over it.


I wish I was one of those trendy hipsters that didn't eat gluten because I just felt better, and then I could eat Mars Bars, and not be an "allergy" person. Ugh. Shoot me now.

So, I survived my first fast food experience. However, I did not manage a first burger experience. I'll get there. I think.

So in case any of you reading care about fabrics, I just wanna tell you what I bought today!

I found this gorgeous chunk of light blue brocade that is just gorgeous. They only had a meter and a half, so I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but it cost less than $5 and it is be-a-u-tiful. I also found a lovely 100% silk roll in the bargain centre. The only colour I could find was hot pink though, so I have the last 5m of hot pink silk! And then I found 100% linen, which was my goal, and I found it in the bargain centre in green, so I shall have a pink and green dress, and everyone will be jealous. And then I got my husband some white 50/50 linen-cotton. He's so boring. Ah, but I've never loved fabrics I've bought so much! I'm psyched to make my dresses!!

One of my friends bought an entire bolt of brocade. And then watching her cut it, we decided all fabrics from now on should be bought in bolts. They are much easier to manhandle when wrapped around a tube.

My dress will be one of these colour combinations, I haven't decided yet which.
But don't worry, it won't actually be THIS style...

Day Eight: The Vet

Today was another one of those severely insignificant days. I'm sorry, I'll try to have more significant days for your sake.

Well, except that last night we noticed our dog had peed herself again. She's done it a few times lately, and she doesn't mean to, or even seem to notice when it happens, so I had to call the vet at lunch. The vet said it could be an incontinence thing, since she is pretty old (about ten) or it could be a bladder infection.

So this afternoon, I took my lovely puppy to the vet, where they weighed her, informed me that her shots were not up to date, stabbed her with needles, and took a sample of her pee. Have you ever tried to get a pee sample from a female dog? Not fun...

Anyways, she was just the best dog ever while they gave her two shots in the bum. She just sat on the exam table, being sweet. And she was very friendly to the other people and animals at the clinic while we waited for the pee test results. And she was very well behaved and never freaked out once. Best dog ever.

So anyways, her pee sample showed she has an infection, either in her kidneys or her bladder. So we're giving her an antibiotic now. Which is kind of sad. I've never had to deal with any dog health concerns before, so this is really sad.

I know she's old, and we knew when we got her that we would have to deal with more health things, but it's just sad. And I know it could be way worse. But seeing her get up from a nap, and turn around and discover a little puddle and look at us like, "what happened?" just breaks my heart. I can't even be mad at her for peeing in the house, because she just didn't know. Sad sad sad.

I'm sorry for going on about my dog, you don't care. She's not gluten-free, and she doesn't eat gluten-free. But that was really all that happened today.

I had chili and taco chips for lunch, we had tacos for supper again, and then I went to a friend's house with my sister, and we measured ourselves and figured out how much fabric to buy tomorrow for dresses.

So tomorrow I'm going fabric shopping. I'll have something to write about then.

I feel so lethargic and out of it. I drove home from my sister's house in a total glaze, and I sat at a red light worrying that I would fall asleep before it turned green and then I would crash and die.

PS, I have a bit of a dramatic fear about car crashes...

Piper, being very well behaved outside of the vet's office.