Thursday, 29 May 2014

My life, lately

I haven't been doing much that's blog-worthy, but I have been doing lots of things lately, so here's a quick summary of my current obsessions, hair colour and foods I've been buying.

My sister and I dyed our hair from the same box of dye, so now we have the exact same colour of hair. No one will notice, though, because we're sisters, and they expect us to look alike. (PS, we both dyed our hair as close to natural as possible, because we both have grays coming in. What is up with that?)

On my slow journey towards cutting all dairy out, I bought some dairy-free coffee creamer. I've tried a few kinds, and this is my favourite! I honestly can't tell it's not dairy, and I feel just a little bit better throughout my day.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Freezer Meals: Teriyaki Chicken

The second meal to come out of my freezer and into my slow cooker was teriyaki chicken.
Medium - large bag of carrots
Red onion cut into large chunks
2 large cans pineapple (undrained)
4 garlic cloves
4 chicken breasts (or eight chicken thighs)
1 cup teriyaki sauce
Split between 2 bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze
Directions for bags:
Add 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce to pot. Cook low 6-7 hours. Serve over hot rice.
 It was super easy to throw everything in the bag, like easier than the other ones. The only part that took any time was the carrots. I wasn't sure from the recipe what to do with them, so I julienne'd them through my mandoline. The original recipe called for chicken breasts, but my grocery store was absurdly out of chicken breasts, so I substituted chicken thighs, and left them whole.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Freezer Meals - Italian Sausage and Peppers

The first meal from my freezer cooking that I made was Sausage & Peppers.
6 Italian Sausages
2 Green Peppers
1 Red Pepper
1 Red Onion
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Cand Italian Diced Tomatoes
2 Tbs Italian Seasoning
Split between two bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze
Directions for bags:
Add drizzle of olive oil, cook on low 6 hours, serve over hot noodles or fresh french bread with mozzarella cheese.
Just looks like veggies to me!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Celiacs at Weddings

My big brother got married on Sunday.

I honestly never thought I would gain another sister-in-law, but I was more than thrilled to stand up for them and watch my brother gain a wife.

I will share some photos and talk more about other wedding things later, I'm sure, but for now, I wanted to tell you about a really big moment for me.

The bride (my new sister-in-law) is very sweet and caring, and she was very concerned about my dietary needs. She asked the caterer if they had gluten-free options, and actually paid a little more so there would be a gluten-free serving for me (although there wasn't, and I had potatoes, corn and salad. Not sure what happened there). And my mom made the cake, so of course they made sure I could eat some of it. They had cupcakes which were all gluten-filled and one small cake which was gluten-free.

I knew that it would be, and I ensured the knife wouldn't touch any of the cupcakes, etc. The MC announced that there were two different flavours of cupcakes and a gluten-free cake. I went up and cut a slice for myself, and one of the girls who had been at the shower asked me if I knew if it was gluten-free. I said it was, and she asked "how gluten-free," and as if I thought that would be a weird question, she told me her son had celiac disease. I looked at the twelve-year-old kid standing beside her and asked if he was a celiac. He nodded and I said "Awesome!" and high-fived him. I said I was a celiac too, and that the cake was made very conscientiously towards contamination. The boy grabbed a slice and ran off with his cake and his mom and I stood and talked for awhile about it.

I've always thought that I am so glad I was diagnosed after highschool. I can not imagine trying to get through school, especially elementary without eating gluten, or being contaminated. We talked about a lot of the challenges she faces as a celiac parent, without celiac disease, and the challenges he faces towards sleepovers, parties and school lunches. We also talked about the things he hasn't even come near yet, like drinking parties, alcohol, and work situations.

I was excited to meet another celiac (although it's becoming more and more common) and he was thrilled to have cake. Like, actually. When the MC said the cake was gluten-free, he said "Mom! I can have cake?!?!" He acted all cool about it to me, but I know how excited he was. I've been there.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Freezer Cooking

 I love freezer cooking. It's a pretty basic concept, but the application is a little intensive.

Basically, you take some time, and prep a whole bunch of meals and put them in your freezer so when you want dinner, it's prepped and ready and just needs to be finished. Finishing varies on what recipes you do. I've done casseroles that just need to be popped in the oven for an hour or two, I've done barbecue meat that just needs to be thawed and grilled, but my favourite is slow cooker meals. You toss everything in a bag and then thaw it, dump in in your slow cooker and have dinner! Or, put it in a strategically sized container before freezing and then dump the frozen dinner in your slow cooker.

I haven't done this gluten-free, but I did do it a few times a few years ago. I always had a hard time getting all the groceries - it would take me a few days to find everything, and then I had to set aside an entire Saturday to do it all. I'm not sure how exactly I did things differently this time, but it worked a lot smoother.

I figured out what meals I wanted to make, made a combined list of groceries, went straight to the grocery store after work, got home around six, and by ten o'clock everything was in the freezer.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Two-Speed Bicycle

I only have two speeds.

Mode #1: No-Go
I will spend days, sometimes weeks in this "No-Go" mode where I just don't want to do anything. I'm exhausted, I spend a lot of time on the couch, watching Netflix, or in bed with my DS. I stare around at the house, watching it accumulate mess, but never doing anything about it. I eat quick, lazy meals for lunch and dinner and I don't want to go grocery shopping.

Eventually, I guess I get sick of this because I just kick myself into the next mode.

Mode #2: Go-Go-Go
Suddenly, I want the entire house to be clean, my fridge to be full of fresh groceries, and my stomach full of meals I cooked. Typically, this mode starts when other things are going on too. Situations I can't control that demand extra out of me tend to kick me into this mode. Maybe because I realize I simply can't lay around and do nothing anymore, so I kick into overdrive and try to do everything.

Eventually, this burns me out, and I slip back into mode #1.

Hence, I only have two speeds. Like a bicycle, hehe.

I've been pretty slow-moving for a few weeks now, but with my brother's wedding on Sunday (!) I really have to get my butt into gear. I volunteered to help with a lot of it.

Oh, and finally getting spring weather is helping too. My grass is turning green, can you believe it?! Warmer weather makes everyone a little more productive.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Daiya Pizza

A few weeks ago, my sister and I were discussing what to eat for dinner, and I said, "Is it too much to ask for a gluten-free, dairy-free pizza?" She looked at me and said, "Uh, yeah. It is."

I realize that this small town will probably never have a restaurant that offers a DF GF pizza, but you can buy frozen ones! I had to hunt and hunt for one, but after trips to three different stores, I found one! Exactly one.

Daiya Foods mushroom & roasted garlic pizza, to be specific. I really wanted one with meat on it. I'm honestly not a fan of vegetarian pizzas, but when the decision was between a pizza with meat on it and a pizza that won't make me feel sick later, I chose the vegan option. I'm okay with this.

When it comes to ease and time of prep, it's a pretty classic frozen pizza. Didn't take much work, or much time. When it was done, the cheese didn't look melted. The photo above is after it came out of the oven. I thought the cheese was still frozen, but when I poked it, it was melty and hot.

The pizza was relatively good. The toppings were great, and the crust was good. But honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Daiya cheese. I have heard endless raving compliments about it, but I don't like the way it clings to the roof of my mouth. Mind you, I've always had issues with that. I stopped eating peanut butter for years because it freaked me out when it clung to the roof of my mouth. So maybe this is just me. Anyways, the pizza was good. And I didn't feel sick all night after eating it. Two wins.

I will probably buy this again, although I'll probably hunt for a different flavour. I liked it well enough, but I like to try other things too.

I guess I'd give this pizza three stars. It was good, it wasn't amazing, but it didn't make me sick.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Car Cake

This weekend I'm hosting a bridal shower for my brother's fiance and then next weekend is their wedding, at which I will be a bridesmaid. I have a ton of shower- and wedding-related stuff between now and then, so I'm sure you can imagine that I'm busy, stressed out and tired. And I will be for a little while longer.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my sister is getting married in June, so once all this is done, I get to start it all over a month later. Yaaaay.

However, I somehow found time and energy to make a cake! 

And I can actually take credit for this cake!

I bought boxed mixes (I know, but I don't like to risk gluten-free going wrong when it's important), I put together and baked the cakes, and then took them to my mom's house, where she made me decorate probably 50% of it. Naturally, she helped, and it was really her supplies that pulled it all together, but I put in a lot more effort than I usually do. 

I'm really proud of it. 

So before I disappear into the nethers that is wedding planning, enjoy this beautiful car cake that I made.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Yam Fries

I am a huge fan of yam fries. Actually, I'm a huge fan of yams. Hubby doesn't like them so much, but I love them. I quite often order yam fries at restaurants, but I don't buy them often, because hubby doesn't love them. I did buy one recently, and I plans to boil and mash it for dinner some night.

Then one night, while hubby was working late, and I was home alone, watching Netflix, one of the bloggers I follow posted a pictures of her yam fries for dinner on Instagram. And suddenly, I decided I really needed to make yam fries. I've made this recipe before, and I'm pretty sure I've blogged about it before. So I found the pin, I sliced my yam, and I made yam fries.

And that was that. They don't take long to make, and you can prep them way ahead of time and let them soak. You're supposed to let them soak for up to half a day, but I let them soak for as long as it took the oven to heat up, because I was impatient.

Peel, slice, soak, shake, drizzle, bake. Easy-peasy, right? I wasn't totally satisfied with the texture of my fries, so I'll try to remember to slice them thinner next time. They were still delicious, and I whipped up a really simple dip which I love, but I know isn't for everybody. I just mixed mayonnaise with mustard.