Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Day 68: Crock Pot Apple Cider

Well, it snowed today. When I woke up this morning there was a good six inches on top of my car, and it was wet, thick, solid snow that stuck to all of the tree branches, and broke a bunch of branches, and even toppled some trees.

Seriously. Tomorrow is May first, and the world is completely covered in snow. In the spirit of extended winter, I made apple cider today. Back when hubby was in school, he got it in his head that he wanted homemade apple cider, so I figured out how to make it and made him a couple batches. It's pretty easy, but I make it in the slow cooker, so it just takes forever. It also makes my entire house smell like Christmas and fall for a few days.

I've tried it with peeled apples, and with apples that still have their peel, and I decided the biggest difference was the amount of prep time. The recipe is extremely exact, I know. You quarter some apples, add some water, throw in some spices, and cook it until they're done. If you mess up a tiny bit, then it's all gone wrong. Kidding.

Quarter some apples and put them in a crock pot. I put too many apples in, don't fill it this full, but I just used all that I had, and I'm stubborn. Pour water in, until the apples start to float a little.

For sure you need cinnamon and cloves, and I added ginger, allspice and nutmeg. I forgot to put nutmeg in the picture. I added a teaspoon or so of cloves, two sticks of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of each of the spices at first. The spices you can always add more of at the end, after you taste it, but the cloves and cinnamon need to cook into the cider. Also, I would suggest adding a couple tablespoons of brown sugar. I was out this time, so I used white sugar, but it was definitely better with brown.

Turn your crock pot on low, and let it cook all day. It typically takes about eight hours, but you want the apples to cook and all the flavours to marry. Last time that I made this, I made it in two different crock pots at the same time. Admittedly, they had different amounts of apples and water, because they were different sizes, but after eight hours, this is what they looked like.

You want them to look like the one on the bottom, however long that takes. It might actually take less time, but as long as you don't burn it, you can leave it in.

I maybe forgot I had made apple cider until 10:30, so mine cooked for a little more than ten hours. I added my sugar then, and since it made exactly three cups, I didn't store any. However, you could. I have poured it straight into mason jars and sealed them, or just let them cool and put them in the fridge for a few days. It microwaves well.

The perfect remedy to a winter that just won't end.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Day 67: People Suck

People suck.

Somebody got bored and smashed a back window on my husband's pickup.


The police said similar things happened around the neighbourhood he works in. Figure somebody went around with a spark plug on some fishing line, threw it threw his back window, pulled it out, and moved on. No reason, nothing stolen, just some kids who got bored and committed random acts of violence.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Day 66: Shoppin' in the Big City

I went shopping for interview clothes today. For someone who works at City Hall, I have a surprising lack of dress clothes. Maybe because I could wear jeans and t-shirts to work everyday and no one would notice...

I haven't bought clothes for myself since summer time, except some pants when I need them. Mostly because I gained a lot of weight before being diagnosed (because my body stopped processing nutrients, and I had zero energy, but was always hungry), and I'm having a hard time shedding it now, because gluten-free things are higher in calories (more fat in flours like coconut and rice), and I'm listening to my body and eating when hungry rather than counting calories and forcing myself to eat a regulated amount.

So the point is, I promised myself I wouldn't buy clothes until I could fit the clothes I want to buy. I'm only a pant size or two away from a comfortable size now, so it's not totally far-off.

But.. my temp job that I've had for almost a year ends in two weeks, and I need to begin the job hunt. Part of that, is interviews. Which means I need a few well-fitting, classy, friendly, not-slutty dress shirts, and some well-fitting dress pants. I'm hoping I don't need to do too many interviews, but I do need to be prepared.

I took Banana with me, because I kind of hate shopping with a purpose for myself. I can shop and buy fun clothes, but hunting for a situation-specific shirt? Yuck. So basically, we'd walk into a store, I'd follow her around for a bit, and then just wander off and look at pretty things, and then come back and try on everything she grabbed. I might be the most spacey friend she has. She didn't mind though. It's much more fun to shop for someone else because you can forget about the insecurities you have about your own body. And you can make them try on ridiculous things. It's a barrel of laughs.

Ooh! I also went to Bath & Body Works, because they just opened one in the mall in the bigger city. Previously, the closest one was eight hours away, and mostly I just bought stuff there on our trips to the states to visit my in-law family.

Denny's Gluten Free Menu
I ate breakfast at Denny's - Pepper Bacon Avocado Omelette, with hashbrowns and no toast. They actually brought it out to me without avocado, so when I realized, they brought me a plate with some avocado on it. Mmm. I love avocado. They had a gluten-aware menu, but what I ordered wasn't on it, because it was a new feature dish, and the gluten friendly menu was old, but I checked all the bits and pieces.

And we had lunch at Wok Box, because they are amazing. Well, maybe not totally. They threw a fortune cookie in my bag with my takeout box. Which I know isn't a big deal, but it makes me wonder if the guy who made my food knew it was a gluten allergy, or if he just didn't think about it, because it's a habit.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Day 65: The One That Could Have Been

Today was Banana's graduation ceremony. Hubby went out with me, because he has several friends that graduated too.

Actually, today should have been my husband's graduation day. Right out of highschool, he went into that very college, taking a degree in audio engineering. Three quarters of the way through his first year, the school announced that they were cancelling that program, and only third year students would be able to finish. Frustrated, and unable to take the program he wanted, my then-boyfriend finished his first year and went into a completely different trade. He couldn't transfer to another school, without taking another four years, because his first year was very Bible-focused, and those credits didn't transfer.

It's been three years since then, and several guys who were in their first year with him graduated today. Thinking about that was a little bittersweet, because I wonder how much would be different now if he had finished out his degree there. At the very least, I would have to work a lot more, and we would owe a lot more money. At the very worst, we wouldn't have gotten married. Who knows? When one thing changes, so many other things can...

Anyways... So we watched a few of our friends graduate. It was long, boring, and minorly interesting at certain parts. I counted how many girls wore heels, because Banana had mentioned they were specifically told not to wear heels. There were six. 64 women graduated, and 58 of them managed to wear flats.

PS, bonus points to anyone who caught the Friends reference...

Friday, 26 April 2013

Day 64: Grad Banquet

Banana graduates from college this weekend! Congratulations, Banana!

The graduation ceremony is tomorrow, but the banquet was tonight. Each grad gets two extra tickets, so their parents can come. Since Banana's parents live in Thailand, her siter flew in from BC, and I got the other one.

I agreed to go months ago, long before I knew anything was wrong with me. As the date loomed, I got a little nervous. I haven't done a banquet yet, or anything where I serve myself from a table of food options. I meant to eat before I left, but I didn't really. So I shoved a box of crackers in my giant purse. Because that's a normal thing to have in your purse.

During the mingling portion of the banquet, I said hi to a few people I knew, and I tried to meander past the serving tables to get a look at what my options were, but it was hard to do, and most of the dishes were covered. Ah well, it was too late to do anything about my options.

Then the MC announced how the tables would be going, and added that everything on the tables except the pasta salad and one salad dressing was gluten free. I was impressed. But which dressing? I had to hunt down a staff member and ask. It was the ranch. Also, the buns at the front of the table were also not gluten free. Obviously.

So I had a great meal with some chicken, mashed potatoes, a couple types of salad, and gravy! They had gluten free gravy. As in, they didn't have gluten-ey gravy!

I was really impressed, and my tummy was happy.

I love trendy college kids who insist on eating gluten free... but only en masse. On an individual basis, I tend to hate them.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Day 63: Humpty's

I feel like I've been eating out a ton lately. I don't think it's been more than once a week, which is actually less than I used to eat out, but more than I planned to, or than I did at the beginning. Also, eating out is such an ordeal now.

We went to Boston Pizza actually, but we mistimed it and went at dinner time so it was pretty busy. Instead of bothering to wait, we crossed the road and went to Humpty's. My husband has actually never been to Humpty's, but he always pictures Denny's when I mention it, so he never wants to go. But I got him to go, and then he realized he had never been, and was amazed at how many things looked good on the menu.

I tried to Google gluten-free Humpty's options, but I couldn't seem to find anything, so I just asked the waitress when she came by. She said the fritters were gluten-free. I always get confused about the many potato options, so those are the ones that are little potato chunks shoved together in a cylindrical shape.

I asked a million questions, and changed my mind several times, and ended up getting a Popeye omelette. Spinach, mushrooms, tomato and swiss. It was pretty good. Certainly not the most amazing breakfast in my life, but it was enjoyable. It came with toast too, which I had put on the side and Hubby-Darling ate it. Not that he minded.

The thing with breakfast is that eggs and most egg dishes are safe, but most of the extras are not. Ham, fritters, toast, wraps, pancakes and croissants are all (usually) a no-go. So if I stick to a plain and simple breakfast, I'm probably safe. I just have to stick with boring.

So the verdict on Humpty's is: It was breakfast. I couldn't find any non-breakfast options, so I'm pretty well stuck to eggs there. I will go if other people want to go, because I can eat something, but I won't be going out of my way to eat there.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Day 62: Lemon Butter Shrimp

Well, today I ate leftovers. So I can say that yesterday's casserole heats up just fine, and still tastes great. I was saving this for a lazy day, so here's the shrimp I made a few days ago, before the other shrimp I made. If that makes sense.

I love shrimp. I really do. I have a hard time eating it with other things, because I just want to eat shrimp, not shrimp with pasta or anything. I did serve this with pasta, but of course I made gluten-free pasta, and this spaghetti turned out gross. Hard, like it wasn't cooked enough, but also gloopy and sticky at the same time, despite the fact that it had olive oil poured over it. Whatever.

Anyways, the shrimp dish was super easy to make, and I'd definitely make it as an appetizer if I ever had those kind of parties. It was better on it's own than with the pasta. Oh, and I bought the kind with tails on, and that's kind of hard to just eat with spaghetti. Tails on is better for an appy.

1 lemon
Stick of butter (1/2 cup)
Pound of cooked, peeleed shrimp
Italian seasoning

Thinly slice the lemon and place in the bottom of the pan. I used an 8x8 pan, and needed 9 slices of lemon. If you use a bigger pan, just slice them thinner.

Spread the shrimp on top. Sprinkle italian seasoning on. I wish I had a measurement for you, but I just sprinkled until all of the shrimp had some on it. You don't want it overpowering, but don't underdo it either. Slice butter and set little squares on top, so that it melts down and makes the shrimp all buttery.

Pop in oven at 350F for 15-30 minutes, until it's done. The shrimp is cooked, so you're just looking for the butter to melt and everything to infuse. That took 25 minutes for me, maybe because my shrimp was frozen.

Now, of course I didn't take a picture after it was done, because when an amazing-smelling dish comes out of the oven, my first thought is not to pull out a camera. It's to pull out a fork.

But the butter melted, the shrimp cooked, and the lemon infused. It was amazing. Super easy to throw together, and then you just pop it in the oven and forget about until you serve. My kind of dinner.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Day 61: Breakfast Casserole

I made breakfast for dinner. Like many a human being, that was one of my favorite things growing up. My mom would make big stacks of fluffy waffles, and I'd painstakingly fill every single square hole with syrup. Or she'd have a big plate full of soft pancakes, and we'd cover them with sliced bananas, strawberries, whipped cream, and syrup. Waffles were more common. Either way, she'd freeze all of the leftovers and we would heat them up for breakfast in the weeks to come. Way better than freezer waffles.

I haven't actually tried either pancakes or waffles, yet, but I do have some gluten free waffles in the freezer that my mom bought for me.

Now that I'm an adult, I don't have breakfast for dinner much. Hubby isn't as big a fan as waffles or pancakes, and I'm not as big a fan as bacon. We would often (once a month or so) go for dinner somewhere that served all day breakfast because I wanted breakfast, and he didn't. But I wanted eggs and hashbrowns and toast and all of that.

Guess I can't do that now... Well, maybe I could. It'll be awhile before I do.

Anyways, we needed to have dinner tonight, and the only thawed meat in the house was bacon. I didn't really want bacon and eggs. I found hashbrowns in the freezer, so I searched for "hashbrown bacon" on Pinterest, hoping for something that used both, not literally hashbrown bacon.

I read a couple recipes and then came up with my own.

So here it is, my Breakfast Casserole. Or my Hashbrown-Bacon-Egg Casserole. Or my yummy food.

12 ounces (or so) frozen hashbrowns
1/4 cup butter, melted
6-10 slices of bacon
1 cup shredded cheese
3 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons Lowry's seasoning salt

You need enough hashbrowns to cover the bottom of your 8x8 pan. I measured out 12 ounces, but then added a few more to make it perfect.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Pour the melted butter over the hashbrowns and put them in the oven for about 25 minutes. You really just want them to be warm. I stuck them in (still frozen) while the oven preheated, and checked them every few minutes.

While the hashbrowns warm up, cook the bacon. You want it crisp enough to chop, but don't burn it.

Chop the bacon into small pieces, and set aside

Beat the eggs with a heaping spoonful of sour cream. I'd guess it was about 1/4 cup, but I just stuck a spoon in and mixed it into the egg. Add the seasoning salt now too.

This is my egg beater. Sadistic or no?

When the hashbrowns are warm, sprinkle the bacon on top evenly.

Add the cheese, and then evenly pour egg mixture all over dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

Also fantastic with ketchup. Or at least my husband thinks so.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Day 60: Happy Two Months

Today is the 22nd again! That means that there are exactly two months until my birthday (yes, I still count down like a seven-year-old) and it also marks my celiac anniversary.

So, two months in. Early on, this was really the time frame I was looking forward to. In two months, things would be normal, I would feel okay. Two months is enough to time see if the gluten was making me sick, or if I'm still sick to test for other things. Two months makes me not a newbie anymore.

Umm, yeah. I still feel like a newbie. I'm still incredibly new to all of this. I'm still floundering. Today, I started craving McDonalds or Burger King. I never liked either of them to begin with! I still feel sick sometimes without being able to pinpoint a culprit.

I like to think that by the six month mark, I'll be where I want to be, but I don't think I will. It could take years before this really becomes normal.

I have three more weeks at my job, and then I have to work somewhere that won't be as forgiving about missing time, being late, or going home sick. I knew all along that mid-May was my timeframe to be "back to normal" or else.

So even if I don't feel normal, I'm going to have to start sucking it up and acting normal in T minus three weeks. In the meantime, I promised myself I'm going to make it through my last two paychecks without missing any time. I might actually miss a bit of time, but I absolutely have to work it back with lunch breaks and staying late. Or so I promised myself. I have to get used to showing up for work. Oh, that sounds so bad. I wish you knew how chill my boss is.

I rewrote my resume today. I don't think I've written one since I got married. I browsed some jobs, and emailed it off once. I do still have three weeks. That's not even normal quitting time yet. And I am crossing my fingers for another city job. I'm pretty well guaranteed a city job, but two of the three I applied for last for like six weeks, and the other one lasts for like three months, so I'm holding my breath for that one. But even if I do get it, it doesn't start until June, which leaves me two weeks without a job, and more than a month without a paycheck...

Wow. I haven't written such a rambling post in a while. I guess everytime I cross a little landmark I start thinking about what all this means. Oh, and my cravings have been really bad lately.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Day 59: Cheesey shrimp and pasta

I made another yummy shrimp/pasta dish. I only made it for me, because hubby didn't want shrimp twice in three days, and he has stuff in the house still that I can't eat, so it's easy enough for him to just feed himself.

I made pasta shells, which always turn out better than the same brand's spaghetti, and near the end threw some frozen peas in. I cooked some shrimp with chili flakes and garlic powder, and then tossed it all together with a bit of olive oil and some parmesan.

PS, if I ever say the word parmesan, it means hubby didn't have any. Haha.

Pretty yummy, although nothing to write home about, but it was really easy and quick to throw together. Before I figured out the main, I was going to roast some asparagus. I loved it so much last time, and I bought some today. But when I settled on shrimp, and hubby backed out, and I found a good recipe that had peas in it, I just didn't bother. Save it for another day. Maybe a day when I eat something to take a picture of. Something about asparagus. It's so pretty, it's just begging to have pictures taken of it.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Day 58: Earl's

Banana and I made another trip to Saskatoon today. You must think I go there all the time. It's funny. Before this January, I had been there exactly four times. All four of those times revolved around a surgery I had five years ago (MRI, consultation with a surgeon, surgery, and then a check-up). But that's life, I guess. When it rains, it pours, and whatnot.

Anyways, because her hair henna didn't work two weeks ago, she called the store and they said if she could come back in, they would do it again, for her. So we pretty much made a 2.5 hour drive for a hair appointment.

Lush is really amazing though. They told me it would take about an hour and a half, so if I wanted, they could give me a foot treatment while I waited! So Banana and I soaked our feet in water with a bath fizz, and then had them exfoliated, masked, and lotioned. A-maze-ing. Seriously.

Afterwards, we went to Earl's. We have a friend who's going to school in Saskatoon, and so we said she could pick the place. I googled Earl's gluten-free menu, and it was pretty sad, but it did say that the menu varies restaurant to restaurant. Okay, I'm acting like I was optimistic. I was not. I've been to Earl's before, and I don't really like it, I think it's overpriced, and last time, the server was rude. But, I haven't seen this friend in awhile, and she really had her heart set. So we went.

I stared down the menu forever. Not a thing on it said anything about gluten-free (no pasta or pizza alternatives), and everything I studied was not safe. I pulled out the googled menu, and there were only two things on it and on the menu in front of me; a garden greens salad and a blackened chicken dish. I don't like blackened chicken. So when the waitress came by again, ready for our order, I told her that I couldn't have gluten, and she says, "Oh! We have a gluten-free menu. Do you want me to go grab it?"

It was a single sheet of paper, not laminated or anything, and it at one point in time, it was wet. It was wrinkly and honestly felt like either a kid's menu shoved under the front counter, or something they just forgot about entirely.

There were exactly 13 options on this menu. Three of those were steak (I don't like steak either). Three of them were burgers or sandwiches, served without the bun. Pardon me if I don't want a chicken breast topped with lettuce, tomato and mayo. Pardon me if I don't know how I'm supposed to go about eating that. There was the blackened chicken, and then a salmon dish and a chicken dish, both of which had a star that said the sauces would be omitted. Then there four salads. The garden greens, two that would be served without the chicken, and a mexican style salad (beans and such) that would be served without the taco.

The only things on the menu that didn't have something omitted (not alternatives, or subbed out, but actually just omitted) were the garden greens, the blackened chicken and the steaks.

Okay, I know I've talked about good days and bad days before. They have nothing to do with being sick, and everything to do with how much I can handle, how much I want other food. Some days, I can sit there and watch a friend eat a burger or a sandwich and not even bat an eyelash. Other days, I drive past Tim Hortons and tear up a bit. Yesterday was a very bad day. The worst I've had in a few weeks. Today wasn't all that much better.

So I'm really struggling with everything already, and now I'm staring down a menu that says, "You can't have anything normal. We don't care about your allergy. It's obviously a preference, so you can select an inferior dish from this crappy menu, because you made a choice." At least, that's how I felt. All of my options were inferior.

So I ordered a salad, one of the ones that was supposed to have mushroom-breaded chicken on it. It had brie cheese, apple, a maple dressing... It sounded good, and if not for the asterix that reminded me I can't be normal, I would have been happy with it.

When I ordered, the waitress said, "So you don't want it with the chicken, right?" I was kind of like "Uhhh... Yeah. Hello?" But I just said, "Yeah. Also, I have a gluten allergy." She says, "Okay... Allergy... Wait, what kind?" Seriously. I'm holding the gluten-free menu, ordering the gluten-free salad, I want the cooks to know it's an allergy, and she doesn't remember what kind? So I had fantastic hopes for cross contamination...

Banana got the same salad. She had decided on it before I did, but of course she got the chicken. A different waitress brought our food, served the sandwich first, then the "Maple salad with chicken? And maple salad without chicken? Wait, you didn't want the chicken, right?" Oh my gosh. I know I shouldn't be so neurotic about cross contamination, but I am. What if she dropped something on my plate? She'd just pick it up and move on. Ugh.

So, lesson from today? Don't go to Earl's. Ever again.

I think I was spoiled by Moxie's, or something.

But... I do have the most awesome friends ever. I had been talking to a sales girl back at Lush, and found out her mom had Celiac too, so we were sharing experiences. I admitted the one thing I wanted the most was poutine. I could just make it, if I buy gluten-free gravy, but you can't buy good cheese curds here. She said there was a restaurant downtown that had a bunch of great GF options, including poutine!! I really wanted to go there, but we went to Earl's instead. So after we were done, without telling me, they drove to The Hollows, and I had poutine!

It made me so happy. Partly because I was really hungry and really needed something I could eat, and partly because I had been craving poutine so bad. It was fantastic, too. Made with gluten-free chicken gravy, and cheese curds, and it was actually layered, not just slathered on top. Mmm. Best poutine I've ever had. (Okay, maybe not really, but it should felt that way.) I was so glad for my friends. I'm really lucky to have so many people in my life who understand what this all means to me.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Day 57: Lemons, lemons, lemons!

Today was a lemon kind of day. Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "But Robynne, it's Friday! It has to be a good day!" Well, I actually find Friday to be the worst day of the week. It means that I've done five straight days of my job, and my brain is just done. 4:45 on a Friday is the worst time of the week. Because to me, it doesn't mean I have 15 minutes left before the weekend, it means I've worked almost 40 hours in five days. I really hate my job.

But that's not what I meant at all! Today actually was a fine day, despite being Friday. Yesterday, I bought four lemons. Today, I used all four of them. That's what I meant by it was a lemon kind of day.

For dinner, I made lemon butter shrimp. It was stellar.

Then I made lemon loaf, because hubby has been asking for some for weeks.

While that was baking, I made lemon pudding again.

Now, you've already heard about the lemon pudding, but I've added pictures for you now.

I'll save writing about the shrimp for one of those highly unproductive days that I just want to lay on the couch and watch Mad Men.

So! The loaf! I was slightly disappointed by it, honestly. It was a little dry and crumbly (classic gluten-free texture), and it didn't taste all that lemony. I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe Starbucks' lemon loaf? Well, this didn't come close.

But it has flax, and egg whites, and lemon.. Okay, it's not healthy bread by any shot, but it's probably a bit better for you than Starbucks' version. Also, it's still really yummy.

I found the recipe here, but of course I didn't have that combination of flours, so I just used my own.

2 lemons - zested and juiced
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter - softened
1/2 cup egg whites (this was four eggs for me)
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F, and spray a loaf pan. I use a piece of paper towel and olive oil, because it doesn't have nasty things like petroleum, and everytime I use it everything pops right out.

Whisk together the flours, starches, flax, salt, baking soda and baking powder thoroughly in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Cream together sugar, egg whites, soft butter, milk, the zest from both lemons and vanilla thouroughly. It will be a bit soupy looking.

Add in the bowl of flours, and mix well. It becomes thicker the longer you mix. I started doing something else while my mixer was going, and I think mine got a little too thick. Turned out well, but maybe stop it before it looks like this.

Pour (or scoop) the batter into your prepared loaf pan.

Bake for an hour. Mine took 50 minutes before a toothpick was coming out clean everywhere. Let it cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then run a knife around the edges and pop out onto a platter.

While it's cooling in the pan, put your icing sugar in a large bowl and juice your lemons into it, making sure not to get any seeds. Whisk until smooth, and then drizzle over loaf. And apparently, the entire plate too.

Mmm! And if you just so happened to finish making lemon pudding, pour some of that on top of a slice. Lemon. Heaven. I'm telling you.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Day 56: Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

There are three things I want from the dinners we make.
  1. Gluten Free, obviously
  2. Delicious, or at least enjoyed by my husband
  3. Healthy
Guess which one usually gets left by the wayside? Yeah... We're not so healthy all the time.

Tonight though, I won on the first two. I usually aim for easy too, and this was easy, but time-consuming. I found it on Pinterest, of course, and my hubby agreed to make it for his turn to make dinner, mostly because bacon was involved.

It's really easy, you mash potatoes, mix them with some cream cheese, other stuff and spices, put that in a casserole pan, and then sprinkle cooked bacon and cheese on top. I threw the potato mix in my KitchenAid, so they were whipped and creamy without any elbow grease at all.

5 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (I used 3 large baker's potatoes, and got 4 cups)
1/2 cup milk
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon crispy cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel, quarter and boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until soft. Drain potatoes and beat with a mixer until smooth.. Add milk, cream cheese, sour cream, parsley, garlic salt, and nutmeg. Beat at a medium-high speed until nice and creamy.
Spoon into a 9x13 baking dish (I used an 8x8 because I had less potatoes) that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with cheese and bacon. Cover and back for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts.
Serves 12 people.

So yeah. I meant to halve it, which is why I bought three potatoes, but I had close enough to the right amount that I just added the same amount of other ingredients. It came out very very creamy, and made a ton. Hopefully we'll actually eat the leftovers...

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Day 55: Cactus Cut Nachos?

Yesterday was a friend's birthday. She worked until ten though, so we went out pretty late (I've been going to bed at ten lately...), and then there were only three of us. It was fun though, just to have a girl's night. I know I recently went out with two other girls, but that was a whole day trip, not just going to a bar, having a few drinks (or rather, watching them have a few drinks) and chatting. I'm still not drinking. I know certain alcohols have gluten, and I know others are safe. People keep telling me the safe ones, but then certain mixers aren't safe... I'm still working out what I can and can't eat, I don't want to freak out about drinks too. Also, I really only drank before when other people were drinking. It wasn't detrimental to me, and I don't really mind drinking a soda and watching my friends get tipsy. It's no different than munching on my rice cakes and watching my friends enjoy nachos, or pizza, or what-have-you. Plus, then I can drive home.

Anyways. So we went to Boston Pizza, and I had some cactus cut nachos. I haven't had them in FOREVER, but I figured the potatoes would be safer than the nacho chips. I didn't google them, to see if they actually were, I just checked everything that came on top of them, and ordered. I was maybe feeling a little wreckless. One of the girls ordered wings, which I might have been able to eat, so I ate one, again without googling it. Dangerous. The other girl ordered breaded chicken bites with teriyaki on top of crunchy asian noodles. I looked and admired.

I actually felt fine today, so everything I ate was fine. Well, I felt a little off, but more in recovery from the miso soup yesterday, than a brand new sick. I maybe should google those nachos and wings now, just to see, but I don't want to. I don't care.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Day 54: Sushi

I met a friend for a lunch date today. We used to meet at the sushi house and have lunch together all the time. As in, every couple of months. Last time we went, I admitted that I only went there when I went with her, and she said she hadn't been since the last time we were there together. That was over a year ago, but when we planned lunch, we just had to do sushi.

I knew it would be risky. I didn't know if I could communicate a gluten allergy to the server (everyone who works there is very Japanese). I knew a lot of things are breaded and deepfried, or covered with sauces.

So I got there a little early, and studied the menu. I used to get a bento box with teriyaki chicken, a salad, some rice, some california rolls, and some sushi. But that was really out of the question, so I analyzed everything else I knew I liked.

Cali rolls were safe, my second favorite dynamite rolls were not. The bagel roll, which has cream cheese seemed to be. So I settled on that but knew I'd still be hungry. A side of rice would be hard to not eat with soya sauce, so I got some miso soup. It has tofu, and green onion in it.

Several slurps into my soup, I thought about how the broth tastes like beer, and googled it. It's made from fermented wheat, barley, or rice. Which means there's a 70% chance it's bad. I put it aside and didn't touch it again. I also managed to eat all my sushi without dipping any of it in soya sauce. I also managed to avoid the fortune cookies. That was hard. Those things are my favorite.

But I feel like all that work was for naught. I feel glutened now, and I'm pretty sure it was the soup. If I hadn't gotten the soup, and I didn't feel bad now, I'd know sushi was safe. But now I don't know. It could be the soup, but what if the soup was made from rice? What if the sushi was cross-contaminated? Urgh. Stupid me. Asian food is supposed to be the safest, because they don't have this wheat craze like America does. But soup? Blurgh.

So... I might eat there again sometime. When someone else wants sushi. That will never be my husband, so it might not be for a long time. Until then, I don't really know if sushi is safe or not. And then, it would depend on the place and how they assemble it. If the tempura sushi touches the same stuff mine does, it wouldn't be safe anyways.

Haha. So, my friend got two rolls with tempura shrimp. When the server came out with our food, we couldn't understand what she said, so my friend just took the first plate, and then my plate was just covered in breaded shrimp and the sushi was slathered in an unknown sauce. I just stared at it for a second, and then said, "Uh, that's not mine." And then we realized we'd accidentally switched. Haha. I freaked out for about a second.

Bombs are things that do not belong in this world.

As all of the news from Boston continues to come out, and we cry over the events, we hear the final numbers, we pray for those in critical condition, and sensationalise each of their stories, I will be praying for Iraq.

I know we're all sick to death of hearing about war in the Middle East. I know we have all heard how bad it is, how dangerous it is. I know you know that people live in fear because of political unrest. I know that that is all far removed from your circumstances, and it's hard to relate to. But can you relate to being overlooked? Can you relate to people dying?

The day that 2 bombs when off in Boston and killed (at last count) 3 people and injured 170, at least 15 bombs when off across major cities in Iraq, killing (at last count) 31 people and injuring 200.

These bombs were mostly car bombs, travelling down major highways during rush hour. People were driving home, going to buy groceries, maybe picking up their kids from daycare, and that's the last thing they'll ever remember.

Yes, a marathon finish line is an awful place to die. Yes, it was conniving and cruel. Yes, we should shed tears. But maybe #prayforiraq should be trending on Twitter. Maybe we should be Instagramming pictures of the children of these Iraqis. Maybe we should have heard something about it. We'll never know their names, their ages, their stories. We will never hear anything about them, but we will soon hear countless heartwarming and heart wrenching stories from Boston.

What's the difference, I ask you? Their skin is a different colour? We don't know how to pronounce their names? They live halfway across the world? They are people too, killed by bombs too, unexpectedly. They were innocents, going about their day. They had families and jobs. They had hope, happiness, love and life.

What's the difference?



Monday, 15 April 2013

Day 53: Stuffed Chicken and Roasted Asparagus

I made the most amazing dinner tonight. I have a hard time cooking classy delicious things that my husband enjoys. I'm a big fan of things like goat cheese, alfredo, parmesan... He doesn't like cheese that isn't cheddar or mozza.

But I did make something! Cream cheese and herb stuffed chicken breast with roasted asparagus. Hmm?

I also threw some potatoes on the side, because hubby didn't know if he'd like asparagus, so I made something else just in case.

I sliced open the chicken breast, and then spread garlic and herb cream cheese on it, and then spooned in some fresh herbs that I'd blended with butter, specifically parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Next time, I'd mix the spices with plain cream cheese, and use a little less. I stuck toothpicks through to keep it closed and placed it in a corningware pan and drizzled a little olive oil over top. Baked it for 30 minutes at 400F. It was hard to check for doneness because I didn't want to cut the chicken. The olive oil in the pan turned green because of all the fresh spices in the chicken.

After cutting off the bottom bits of the asparagus, I rinsed it and placed them on a pan. I drizzled about four tablespoons of olive oil over top, and then sprinkled sea salt and cracked pepper. Roasted them for about 15 minutes at 400F, until I could stick a fork in them easily.

The potatoes were baby potatoes that I quartered and then put in a frying pan with olive oil, until they were done. The temperature was pretty low the whole time, so I could time all the dishes for the same time.

All in all, delish! Really classy dinner, without a lot of work. The most work was probably slicing open the chicken. I have a hard time cutting straight.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Day 52: Malaysian Curry

I had curry again today! This is the third time ever, in my life. When I was fourteen or fifteen, a friend of mine made Indian curry and had a bunch of us over. It was really good, but she made it not so spicy and we had those yogurt drinks with it. And then three weeks ago, Banana and I made Thai curry, and I ate it while babysitting. And then today, I helped her make Malaysian curry. It actually has a different name, as I'm sure they all do, because each country makes more than one curry, but I don't know them.

It was really good! Insanely spicy, though. As in, I was actually sweating and my face was all red, and Banana found it tasty, and a little hot. I'm such a white girl.

I probably couldn't buy a curry mix from the grocery store and make it, because mixes like that usually have other stuff added in, but these were mixes Banana brought back from Thailand with her. The ingredients were all just dried and ground spices and peppers. Pure food, no crap. I love Asia.

It had potatoes in it, and I ate it over rice. Very filling, very delicous, very spicy.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Day 51: Babies

So... I have another confession. I have a guilty pleasure. It's buying baby clothes.

I don't have a baby, I am not pregnant, and none of my close friends or family members have a baby. I mean sure, I have friends with babies, but not close enough to buy them clothes.

So I have a pink Rubbermaid tote set aside for "Planning for baby". So far, I only have baby clothes, but I plan on picking up some bibs and socks. Unisex things that don't go bad, out of style, or warp.

Alright, so you get it if I explain I'm just planning ahead; spending money on expensive things before we need them and have no money? It actually makes a lot of sense.

There was a Multiples sale today in town. Basically, moms gather all the stuff they want to sell, price it, set it up, help sell it, and then get some money. Like a giant joint garage sale dedicated to babies and baby stuff.

I somehow managed to convince my husband to go with me (I think he went with me because he knew he could control my spending a little better if he was there), so the two of us got up this morning and went baby clothes shopping! Which really meant that I explained at least six times to people I knew that I am not pregnant, nor planning to be. Once I said I was just thinking ahead, they all got it, they all have babies. But yeah. I'm not pregnant. I don't plan to be until I get a handle on this celiac thing. Feeling nauseous and having cravings is not conducive to pregnancy. Oh, wait...

I only bought half a dozen outfits, and they were mostly green or yellow onesies. It was a lot of fun looking at all the tiny socks, itty bitty shoes, adorable little dresses... I might have a problem.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Day 50: Being a Goof

I went on an adventure today. My friends and I used to often go for walks with cameras and just have a blast walking strange places and taking fun pictures. Banana and I planned to do that today, but I had to go grocery shopping, so we couldn't start until it was already dark. We drove around a whole bunch, and then walked across a bridge and back again. Two young women, walking across a bridge late on night on Friday... Yeah, everyone who drove past thought we were drunk. I may have played it up a bit, by stumbling or doing silly things, but I can neither confirm nor deny that.

It felt really great to feel young again. To just goof off with no purpose, and nothing to worry about. I haven't done that in a long time. I worry too much.

Also, we meal-planned today, which we've been meaning to do for the last 49 days (actually, more like a year). It feels good to have the next week all planned out, ahead of time, and not stress out about food last minute.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Day 49: Muffins, muffins, muffins.

You know, I've been baking most days lately. The thing is, that I keep tweaking the recipes for what I have on hand, and they usually come out mostly okay. They need a little more tweaking, and I take notes and plan to remake them with slightly different ingredients. But then I don't have the same ingredients on hand, so I make something different the next time.

So basically what I'm saying is that I have several recipes that I think will be fantastic the next time I make them, but they aren't just yet. I don't want to tell you about them until they are good, in case my tweaks aren't enough.

I've mostly been working with greek yogurt in muffins. It seems to make the recipe fluffy and lighter, but moister too. I like the concept, if I just get the ratios down. Today I made some chocolate chip muffins, but I wanted them more chocolatey, and they came out too chocolatey... Sad.

These muffins look better before being baked than they did after.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Day 48: Greek Yogurt Peanut Butter Dip

I've been trying really hard to eat more fruit lately. I try buying grapes and blueberries and things, and they just go bad in my fridge. I mostly buy bananas and apples, because my husband is usually good at eating those. I eat bananas, but it's hard to eat apples, because I chipped a front tooth when I was seven, and if I take a bite out of an apple or beef jerky with my front teeth, I might lose the filling and re-chip my tooth. I eat beef jerky with my back teeth, but I pretty much only eat apples when they're sliced up. Slicing them up takes a lot of work, so I don't eat them much.

Unless... I have a really yummy dip for them. It's really easy, creamy, rich, and sweet.

Spoonful of plain greek yogurt, spoonful of peanut butter, squirt of honey and some cinnamon. Mmm. Hubby hates it, because he hates greek yogurt. I swear I can't taste it, I just taste sweet and peanut butter, but he gags after a little taste.

I also dipped some arrowroot cookies in it, and would dip crackers if I had some that weren't onion flavoured. It seems pretty versatile so far. Mmm.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Day 47: Hungry Games

I got my husband to watch The Hunger Games for the first time tonight. He hasn't avoided it on purpose, he's just not a movie-watching person.

The concept of the books (and movie) is just mentally-stunning. How far would you go to stay alive? Would you kill to stay alive? If you and 24 people were told that only one of you would come out alive, would you want to be that one person? I know I wouldn't. I'd stay alive as long as possible, try to out-survive everyone else, but I wouldn't kill. I couldn't. Would you? Could you?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Day 46: Stages of Grief

I read up on the five stages of grief today, out of curiosity and boredom at work. I found it really interesting, because the model was originally based on people faced with impending death, but was later found to apply to any traumatic event (divorce of parents, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, drug addiction, onset of disease or chronic illness, etc etc etc...). Isn't it funny how we deal with different things in the same way?

I read through it all, and then reread it, and applied it to the last couple months of my life.

Stage 1 - Denial. If you remember, I was standing in the bathroom at work when my doctor called me and diagnosed me. After I hung up, I stood there for a few more minutes, thinking that'd she'd got it wrong, or there was a better explanation. I remember leaning over the sink thinking, "This can't be." The rest of the day, I looked into the likelihood of false positives and secondary tests. I didn't tell anyone besides immediate family for a few days. I claimed I wanted it to settle in, but really I didn't believe it was true.

Stage 2 - Anger. There was a lot of anger for the first few weeks. I'd snap at my husband when he ate normal food, I'd slam dishes around because I couldn't find anything to eat. The classic phrase is "Why me? It's not fair!" I know I said that a lot. It wasn't fair. I was mad at my body, mad at my genetics, mad at manufacturers who put gluten in ridiculous food. I was mad a lot.

Stage 3 - Bargaining. They say this is the stage that lots of people don't go through, and is often the shortest. Early on, I remember thinking sometimes that I'd rather have any other disease than this. I remember wishing it had been cancer, with the screwy logic that at least you can get over cancer. I would've done anything for a healthy immune system, but there was nothing to be done. I also sometimes told myself that I could eat a little gluten and I'd be fine, but I don't know if that was bargaining or wishful thinking.

Stage 4 - Depression. This stage flip-flopped with anger, but it sat heavier and lasted longer. During the days that I couldn't write about much, and then the days that I didn't write at all, I didn't want to eat, I didn't want to think about eating. I didn't clean my house, I didn't do dishes, I just sat on the couch and tried not to think about eating. Whenever a meal was brought up, I either got mad or really upset. I didn't want to see friends, go anywhere, or do anything. I cried a lot, too, when no one was around. I felt like this diagnosis was the worst thing that ever happened to me, I was convinced that it would never get better or easier.

Stage 5 - Acceptance. This one slowly phased in. First, I had an easier time explaining it somebody, and then started to get excited about cooking new food. I don't know if baking a lot brought it on, or it helped me to bake a lot again, but making new food every day for a few days was super helpful. I also found a recent renewed energy, and managed to clean, if with the help of my husband. Going places is a lot less depressing. Going to a restaurant where I can't eat anything with friends is a "Oh, shrug, I'll get a soda" kind of thing, instead of an emotional tailspin. Finding places I can eat is exciting, instead of desperate. Bumping into strangers who understand or are willing to help is fantastic and exciting, instead of frustrating. I don't want to push everyone away anymore. I don't feel like my friends will stop hanging out with me (because I'm needy, whiney, difficult, hard to talk to, can't eat out, etc), I know that they don't care what I do or don't eat. It doesn't change their lives, it doesn't need to.

I feel so fantastic, looking back. The acceptance really sneaked up on me, but considering the last month or so makes now look hopeful and full of promise. Life seems simple again. I used to say nothing would ever be simple or easy again, but now I know that someday eating gluten-free will be simple and easy. Life is good.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Day 45: Hair Dye Party

Hair dying party today!

We also cleaned our house, and I went to the gym, but mostly we dyed three heads in my kitchen.

Solid brick of henna

The henna dye is a solid brick. You put in a double boiler and then pour boiling water over it, and stir until it's the consistency of yogurt. I'm a pro with yogurt, so I dyed both heads while they took pictures. After it's the right consistency, you cool it down until you can touch it, and then basically just smear it through their hair. There's a bit more of a system; you start with the roots, and work back to front. But really I just smeared. And then you wrap it in plastic wrap to hold it all in and make it work more or something. Or maybe just to make fun of your friends.

Henna, ready to be applied
We started with Banana, who was supposed to come out red. All mixed up, the henna was a greeney-brown. All smeared on, it was a greeney-brown. After sitting in the plastic wrap, it started oozing green. Like, really gross intense green. And it continued to leak and ooze until she finished and washed it out. It was really worrisome, but we hoped for the best. After all was said and done, and she washed it out, the water ran out a rusty brown, and her hair had a red tinge to it. Certainly not fiery red like it promised, but red. Once it was all washed and dried, it looked... exactly the same! Greasy and oily, but the exact same colour. The henna was supposed to moisturize and condition, but it looked really oily. Gross.

The first application, done
While Banana's was sitting under plastic wrap, we did the other one. This one was supposed to be chesnut brown, with hints of red. All cooked up, the henna looked mud brown, and it went on the same way. Very brown, very dark, and very muddy. It washed out the same as Banana's, with lots of little chunks of dried henna, and very muddy water. Her hair is too thick to blowdry, so I won't know if it worked at all until tomorrow. I really hope at least one of them wakes up with slightly different hair. It says it will develop over the next few days...

Round two, all done!
And then we did mine. I picked a dark red, almost purple hair dye, figuring it would be pretty red on my blonde hair, but if I bought a red, it would come out RED. I got worried while they were applying it, because they kept exclaiming how PINK it was, or commenting or more or less pink spots. I don't want pink hair. Once it was all applied, it looked like a very dark red. Rinsing it out was scary though, because the water stayed blood red for a really long time. It FINALLY ran clear though! And then I blow dried it, and it looks fantastic! I love it. I think I actually had my hair this same colour a few years ago. It's weird how dark it is because I've been blonde for so long, but I like the red. It's not too red. Hmm?

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Day 44: Moxie's and Saskatoon

A few days ago, one of my friends texted me to inform me that I was going to be kidnapped today and taken to Saskatoon. That's the biggest city in the province, and it's a 2.5 drive from here.

So, today, I was not in fact kidnapped, but I did willingly get in a car with two of my friends and we drove there. Halfway there, we stopped at an A&W because they were hungry (I packed snacks and ate before we left), but all I can eat there is condiments and milkshakes. I got a strawberry milkshake, no mustard, thanks. And then I drove the rest of the way there, because eating poutine or burgers and driving is not fantastic. Lesson learned: A&W is a bust.

In Saskatoon, we had a ton of fun. We spent most of the afternoon at the big mall there, and went jean shopping, shoe shopping, and I made one of the girls try on several pairs of fluorescent pants. We also went to Lush, which is easily my favourite cosmetics store! They have so many amazing smelling things, and innovative products, and everything's natural and handmade.. Okay, I'm not a commercial, but I could spend all of my money there every paycheck and be perfectly happy. But, sadly, I was broke. Both of my friends bought a couple cosmetics, and they both bought henna dye.

I mentioned yesterday to Banana that I wanted to dye my dark hair again, and asked if she'd do it tomorrow. It's been blonde since August, but I guess I'm getting bored of it. I'm actually not. I'm loving being blonde, but I'm not loving the upkeep. Bleaching my roots every six weeks? And it never bleaches the exact same, so I have so many different shades of blonde throughout... Anyways. I decided we'd dye it dark again tomorrow, and Banana said she wanted to dye her hair again too, a lighter brown, or a red maybe.

So we found this henna dye at Lush. I've seen it before, and I'd love to do it, but it says that if you've bleached or lightened your hair, it will come out much more dramatic. So using henna to go red will make me look like Ariel, and that's a no-go. Sigh, I'll just use unnatural chemicals to artificially colour my hair once again.

But the other two girls saw them, and Banana decided she'd try the henna instead of a dye, because her hair is close enough to natural to look fantastic with it, so she bought the red one, and then the other girl thought that was awesome and bought the chesnut one. They're both going to come over tomorrow and we'll all dye hair together. We're all going a little bit red too, which is kind of funny, but I don't think we'll look all twin-sy.

ANYways... So, we had a blast shopping, and then went for dinner! I googled gluten free restaurant options in Saskatoon, and we decided to go to Moxie's. They don't have a dedicated gluten-free menu, or even specifically gluten-free dishes, but a few blogs said they will accomodate and there are a few dishes that just don't have gluten.

Oh my gosh, I loved it. I told the waitress right off the bat that I had a gluten allergy. She said that whatever I order, she'll ask the manager if they can make that gluten free, and then the manager will supervise my dish, and bring it out to me. Wow. I was really impressed. She also said the mango chicken was for sure gluten free, and then other dishes like rice bowls with naan bread could be removed. I debated a few options, but went for the mango chicken in the end.

One of the other girls got the mango chicken too, so when the manager brought our food out, he handed Banana hers first, and then announced a mango chicken, and then my "Allergy". That's what he called it. Haha. But my cooked veggies looked different than the other cooked veggies. Everything about my dish was totally separate and sacred. So impressed. We also got dessert, and again, the manager assured me my espresso mousse was gluten free, and he brought it out again.

Everyone was really nice about it all, and they made totally sure everything was safe. This is by far the best restaurant experience I've had since I was diagnosed. Very impresseed. The celiac forums told me to stay away from Moxie's, but I disagree. I also didn't feel sick once later tonight. Very, very impressed. Why does Moxie's have to be so far away from home?

The other two girls got several drinks, but I have decided not to drink. I know there are gluten free alcohols, but I decided that until I figure everything else out, I'm not going to try to figure that out. It's easiest to just avoid liquor. Soooo, I drove home. Which was fine. Driving for two and half hours at night with two tipsy friends is far superior to driving for two and a half hours with a dog in the backseat, like I did several times this winter.

I had such a blast today. Really good to get out of the city and not have complicated eating times.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Day 43: Symptoms

Somebody once asked me how soon I started feeling bad after eating gluten, and what happened, so here's my own personal experiences with being glutened, so far.

The first thing I notice is feeling dizzy, or a dizzy-like headache. This sets in within an hour. I quickly find it very hard to focus on anything, and catch myself squinting to look at basic things directly in front of me (potholes, stop lights, door knobs, sidewalk cracks, etc). Depending on the severity, my whole mind might be abducted by "brain fog". I might find it hard to form sentences and fumble with words, I frequently forget things, I sometimes feel confused, and I just plain know my brain is functioning at its best.

The next thing I notice is my tummy. I feel "unwell". It varies from nauseous, gassy, to severe stomach pains. I haven't gotten the stabbing pains since I was diagnosed, thankfully, but that just means they're of symptom of a lot of gluten. I usually want to throw up just over an hour from eating something bad. My stomach feels rumbly, but not hungry, like I ate a whole nest of bees and they want out.

I also start to feel really really tired. Some people say it's like they just got out of bed, but for me it's more like I could just fall asleep right there. I sit at work and think about putting my head on my keyboard and passing out. I stand in public places and stare at the floor, wondering if I could sleep there. If I stumble, fall or collapse, I often just stay on the floor, or lay down and want to sleep there. Standing up after sitting is hard, and keeping my eyes all the way open becomes a chore. I feel exhausted. It's actually feels worse to get a whole night's sleep and then eat gluten than it does to pull an all-nighter.

I usually feel pretty bloaty later. If I eat gluten at lunch time, sometime in the evening I find my pants are suddenly too small. And then I get really bad gas. That's easily the most embarrassing part of all of it. I've never really burped or farted much in my life, but lately, and more so now when I mess up, I start burping lots (and can always taste whatever I recently ate, which isn't normal I'm sure), and then passing so much gas. It's ridiculous, and awful. Sorry if that's TMI... I'm not even going to get into what my bathroom has seen...

Blurgh. So, overall, gluten makes me feel crappy and rundown. As I'm sure you can guess, before I was diagnosed, I just felt awful every day. I'd say I felt sick, and Hubby would ask how, and I'd say I just felt awful, or yucky, or cruddy. I had no words. I felt this odd collection of sick, but I felt it all the time, and it was always the same. How do you explain something that has become normal to you but isn't normal to the rest of the world? Without a name, it's pretty hard. Now I can rationally tell my friends that I fell and feel stupid because of "brain fog". Before, I'd just say I was tired. It gets old, and frustrating, feeling tummy-yucky and brain fog all the time. I'd say I felt nauseous, but it wasn't the same as "I'm going to throw up" nausea, it was "my stomach hates me" nausea.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Day 42: Cornflake Chicken

I guess our stomachs took a trip to see my sister-in-law down in Georgia tonight. We had mashed sweet potatoes and cornflake chicken. I said all we were missing was lemonade and watermelon. Not that I'd actually know. I've never been to any of the "Southern States". As in, I've been to Arizona and California, but not Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, etc... But I wanted breaded chicken, so I made gluten-free cornflake chicken instead.

I took a few drumsticks, dipped them in some spices, slathered them in mayonnaise, and then rolled them in crushed cornflakes and then baked them. I really liked how they came out, but hubby's not a fan of any part of a chicken that isn't boneless skinless chicken breasts, so... He also said they'd be better deep-fried, but I am not going down that route.

I mixed some garlic powder, onion powder, cracked pepper and sea salt in the first bowl. You could use any spices you felt like, and you might be able to get away with omitting them. I just dabbed the chicken in the spices, or sprinkles them on top of it.

I squeezed a bunch of mayonnaise into the second. I actually had to add more after that picture above. I use squeeze mayonnaise because there's no chance of somebody sticking their knife in the jar with breadcrumbs all over it.

And the last bowl is gluten-free Nature's Path corn flakes. I put them through my blender, because they're bigger and thicker than normal Cornflakes, so I couldn't crush them in a baggie. Liberally roll your chicken in this bowl, and get as much to stick as possible.

And then they go onto a wire rack over a roasting pan and bake! I cooked them at 350F for 30 minutes, and then bumped it up to 400F for another 10.

This was honestly my fix for all my KFC cravings. Not as finger-licking good as the real thing, but certainly yummy.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Day 41: Coconut Flour Flax Bread

I've spent the last few days hunting for a bread recipe. I flip flop between wanting to make a normal bread with a abnormal flour, then deciding to make a gluten-free recipe, but then they all have complicated ingredients I don't have. Actually, I mostly don't have yeast. All the recipes that didn't have anything weird had yeast, and I haven't felt like going to the grocery store. Not lazy, sick, I swear.

Anyways, I hunted down one today that I had everything for! Such a good reason to pick the first bread recipe to make, huh? It's very high in fat, with nearly a dozen eggs, flax, full-fat yogurt, and coconut flour! They're good fats, but they're fats. So maybe remind me to not eat too much at once...

I considered cutting back the amount of eggs, but I know you need extra liquid with coconut flour, so I just went with it.

Oh, did I mention I didn't sleep last night? Like, not more than two hours all told. So I've been a bit loopy, pretty grumpy, and just not able to function all day. I managed to whip this bread together and toss it in the oven, and that's about the extant of my cognitive abilities. Actually, I don't think making this bread was very intelligent. My plan was to go to the gym, come home, take a pill and go to sleep until I look like Rip Van Winkle. About the time I should have dragged my butt upstairs and gone to bed, I decided to make bread. As if that makes any sense. I just hope I get some sleep tonight...

Anyways! The bread! I found it here.

It's very flax-ey in flavour, and very very dense. Definitely yummy fresh and hot and slathered in butter, but probably not my go-to bread. But now I got my first bread out of the way, I'm unstoppable!

1 cup coconut flour, sifted
1 cup flax seeds, ground and sifted
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
10 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup plain full-fat yogurt (Actually, I used vanilla yogurt, because that's what I had, and I thought it was fatty enough. Turned out great.)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat your oven to 325F, and grease a loaf pan.

Mix together flour, flax, salt and baking soda. In a seperate bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut oil, yogurt and vinegar.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing after each addition (I just left my stand mixer on low and slowly added spoonfuls.)

Pour into greased loaf pan and bake 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cutting board. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Day 40: Creature of Habits

40 days. Can you believe it? If this were Lent and I were just fasting, today would be the last day. We used to fast when I was younger. For the 40 days before Easter, we wouldn't eat any animal products. That's how we said it. Looking back, we were temporary vegans, but we never used that word.

Anyways. I guess the point is that tomorrow will make this the longest I've kept to any specific diet, my whole life.

I made those banana muffins again today. I'm a total creature of habit. They're super easy and super nummy. I should have made them with a different flour, but I didn't. Habits.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Day 39: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Alright, so I actually made these cookies yesterday. But between picking up a stray dog and hunting down her owners, and going to the gym, and then a brief trip to deal with dumb doctors who don't know anything (not me, actually. I'm not the broken one for once), I didn't have much time to do anything else.

But I did make these cookies yesterday. I didn't really say anything about them, because I decided they weren't worth talking about. It's so funny. I pin something normal on Pinterest, like banana muffins, chocolate chip cookies, pound cake, or spaghetti squash, and no one repins it. And then I pin some flourless, milk-free, paleo, chickpea-filled weird stuff, and it gets a buttload of repins. I guess the people repinning from me never actually make the stuff they pin.

Now, I'm not saying everything weird, new or healthy is not worth making, but sometimes it is.

I made these cookies last night. They're a version of the flourless peanut butter cookies that have been around forever, with chocolate. Makes everything better right?

Well you know what? If you haven't already picked up on this, I wasn't too impressed with them. The blog I found just raved about how perfect, how chewy, how crunchy, how crumbly, how delectable these cookies were, but I found them to be hard, and chewy. Not in the chewy oatmeal cookie perfection way, though, like you have to chew way more to swallow, like it gets stuck in your teeth and you have to pry it out, like you have to take small bites because the edges are really hard.

The blog did say that she used a heaping cup of peanut butter, and depending on your climate, etc, you might need more. I'm thinking I just needed less, because once the dough was all mixed up, my bowl was oily. I could pick up the dough in one big ball, and oil would drip off of it. Kind of gross, if you ask me. So maybe just too much peanut butter. But I baked them anyways, hoping for the best. I honestly don't know if they would come out better with less peanut butter, though. The finished product wasn't oily at all, or dry at all. They were the right amount of dry:not dry, they are just hard and chew-chew-chewy. And super strong on the chocolate taste, which I'm oddly not a fan of.

Okay, so I could give you the recipe for this, or I could at least link you to the blog, but since I sound so negative, I don't really want to. If I ever bother to make them again and they come out better, I will.

The whole point of all of this, is don't believe everything you see on Pinterest. Be aware that the more odd, or innovative a recipe is, the odder it's going to come out. Cookies without flour, bread without milk or eggs, brownies with chickpeas... The finished product will be effected by what you put in it! I'm not saying don't try it, but I am saying your favourite classic chocolate chip recipe that you have loved for years, will probably stay your favourite. Classics are classic, and new things are odd.