Gluten Free v.2.0

I went gluten free, mainly to address joint pain,  in January of 2014 after reading the Wheat Belly book.   It was life-changing with regards to the joint pain I had.  Flash forward to last October.  I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease after a really long journey with my doctors.  More than one of my doctors.  Let me just say that you know your body better than anyone else.  Be your own advocate.  I had to switch doctors to find one that truly listened to what I had to say about my body and how I felt.  I finally found a doctor that ran the right tests and not just a TSH.  What I found was that I would absolutely need to be gluten free.   I was already gluten free. No problem, right!?

Not so fast!  With some thyroid symptom’s worsening still, I was compelled to do a little more research.  Research that led me to a little thing called the AIP diet.  Well, it’s not so little.  It’s HUGE actually.  And daunting.

The Autoimmune Protocol Diet.  It would seem that there are actually proteins found in other foods that are similar enough to gluten to cause a reaction.  Who knew?  Not this girl.  Cross reactivity.  The list of cross reactive foods contains a lot of things I eat – including a few that I’d already suspected that I have an issue with.  Corn is not my friend.  I’ve suspected this for the past couple of years.  I thought it was an allergy but testing showed that it wasn’t.  I still eat corn because really, who can pass up warm tortilla chips and salsa?  But I knew that every time I ate corn I would pay for it later.  Ditto for potatoes.

So when this AIP thing showed up on my radar a few weeks ago I said, “Nope.  Nope.  Nope. Not doing it.”  You see, eggs are on that list.  And I have chickens.  Chickens that live in an adorable coop.  Chickens that I fought city council to have.  Chickens who should start laying in a month or so.  I am clearly committed to eggs.   But as I started to read more and more, I decided that I can try anything for a short time.  I’m not giving up everything on the list at once.  I’m going to do this gradually.  After spending a couple of days getting my head around it, I made a decision.  As of today, I will not be eating dairy, eggs, corn, rice, oats, or potatoes for the next two to three weeks.  Coffee either.  But I don’t have more than one cup of decaf a week anyway, so that’s no stretch.

But breakfast seemed to be an area of concern.  What the heck was I going to eat?

More research.  Google is my best friend.  A few clicks and voila:  Maple Bacon Sweet Potato Hash.  

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Yummmm.

I made a smaller batch and told myself I wasn’t going to eat much of it.  But it was just so good.  And just maybe this is going to be a little easier than I think.  At least if we eat at home.  Eating out may be even more of a nightmare than it was anyway.

So today begins another journey toward wellness.  And you know what they say about a journey:  The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu

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Vincent van Gogh, Path in the Woods. Paris, 1887 )

 

 

Monday Musings

Hello, peeps!  I’m having sort of a lazy Monday morning to finish off a pretty lazy weekend.  I had an acquaintance (notice how I didn’t say friend?)  ask me what I’d “been up to” lately.  I don’t cross paths with this person often so that’s probably a fair question.  A few answers came to mind.

  1.  Well, I’ve spent the last year recovering from a traumatic accident and surgery.
  2. I’ve been solving all the world’s problems like famine, disease, and terrorism.
  3. Spiritually? Physically? Socioeconomically?
  4. I’m alright, slight bruises here and there, nothing i can’t handle (this is probably close to the truth).
  5. Today I’m a rutabaga, but tomorrow I’m thinking I’ll be a coconut.

But what I actually said was, “Nothing much.  Same old stuff.”  This must not have been the answer she was looking for because after few more minutes she repeated the question.  And then followed up with the zinger:

Haven’t you gotten bored yet since you aren’t working?

WHAT?  Bored?  Me?  She must not know me well at all.  Now, you must keep in mind that I have never in 22 years known this woman to “work”.  She stayed home with her children (which is ALL KINDS OF WORK) but did not have a job outside the home.  Then after the divorce, she lived off support from her ex-husband and talked about trying to decide what to do with herself. She did that for years.  And all of that is fine. Fine for her, but apparently not for me because she was all sorts of judgmental about me not working  for the last 6 years.  Never mind that I put in 25 years teaching science to high school students!  In the end, I just shrugged her off and said, “I knit.  I read. I have hobbies. I keep busy.”

But last night at meditation class, a retired friend said, “We are’human beings’ not ‘human doings’.  The meaning of life is to live it fully in each moment.  Our worth doesn’t come from a job.” She makes an excellent point!!  And she also pointed out that they aren’t hobbies at all; they are passions.  And she’s right again!

So here’s what I’ve “been up to” in the last few weeks.

  1.  Hubby and I put in a no-dig fence for  the dogs.  It’s not a tall fence, but it looks nice and works for our two dogs.  The golden is too old and not a jumper or otherwise we would have needed a taller option.
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Shawzy looking out.  She’s adorable, is she not?

2.  I finished up a few knitting projects.  One,  a pair of socks for the hubby (to be discussed at another time) . The other is a baby sweater for a friend.  I think the sweater turned out quite cute.  Entirely made from leftover sock yarn.  One solid gray and the other a self-striping.  Thrifty and cute both.

3.  Exploring local coffee shops.  I take my dog to Pittsfield, IL to be groomed.  While I wait, I support the local economy.  There’s a gift shop, a diner, and a coffee shop that I love there.  Not to mention a few antique shops.   Free Press Coffee and Tea is a favorite.  Great atmosphere (and it’s attached to a historic hotel), good coffee, and even some gluten-free choices (with more to come).  It was pouring down rain last week when I was there so it was a cozy place to kill some time reading and enjoying a breve.  (We did have snow on Saturday though!)

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Free Press Coffee last winter.

While I was there I bought a cup to add to my hand-thrown coffee cup collection.  I love it.  It makes me happy having my tea in it.  Small pleasures.  Isn’t it a beauty?

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Cup by local artists at Crooked Clay Creations.  

4.  Yoga.  I’ve started a gentle yoga class to help improve my core strength in the hope it will alleviate some back pain.  It saddened me a little to feel like the youngest member in the class, but it’s okay.  I like it.  I love the instructor who’s very helpful at guiding me away from moves that might cause me trouble.  She’s one of the those people that you meet and know instantly that you could be great friends. AND, I’ve flexed my stiff spine in ways that it hasn’t been in over a year.  That’s a good thing.  I pay for it a bit afterwards, but that’s getting better too!   I’m only going once a week since it’s a 40 minute drive, but I bought a DVD to try to add a couple of days on my own at home. I’ve committed to 10 weeks and from there we shall see.  Maybe I’ll switch classes or add another class to the schedule.

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A class at my yoga studio.  Not MY class (notice the “youngsters”).  My class would look much more “mature”.

5.  Reading.  Always a given.  But this time I am reading a book that I have looked at many times but always put it back.  I don’t care for the circus.  Never have.  I’m not sure why either.  I just don’t like them. I’m not sure what kept drawing me to this book but I can’t tell you how many times I read the blurb on the back.   We have a locally owned bookstore that I try to support,  so last week I didn’t put the book back on the shelf.  Instead, Andy wrapped it up for me in brown paper.  (I love that old-fashioned nod to times past.)

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Isn’t it lovely?  Sort of like a living room filled with friends.

Anyway, the book that followed me home is The Night Circus.  It’s very well written.  Reads like a dream. . .both literally and figuratively.  It’s not what I expected.  It’s much, much better.  It’s not a dash to the end, it’s more of a slow contemplating read with stops to imagine the magical circus the author has created.  And I think it may be one of those books that I will be sad to see it end.

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6.  Watching Blackhawks hockey with the family!

7.  Getting my pictures in order so that I can begin the scrapbook of last year’s vacation.  I think I’m about ready to start it.  It’s an overwhelming number of pictures to sort through.  Plus the idea of telling the story which turned out so different than we had planned. I know I’ll cry often while I do it.   It’s daunting.  But soon I will get to it.

8.  Laundry.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Grocery shopping.  And all the other mundane things we do to keep a house running.

9.  Tangling.  Doodling.  And drawing.

10. Cleaning up the yard and raking leaves.  I love my big trees – but oh my- the number of leaves to rake!

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The front yard leaves.  Doesn’t include the back yard at all.  That’s a ditch under there.

11.  Sometimes I just sit in my chair with the dog on my lap.  Small pleasures. (Again.)

So!  That’s what I’ve been up to.  It’s been pretty damn awesome too.  Part of me wonders if that acquaintance can say the same.

 

New Favorites (and a few old ones too)

Holy cow!  Has it really been a month since I wrote a post here??  I’d like to say I have been really busy.  Really, really, super busy.  But maybe not.  So what little thing triggered the response that led to this blog post?  Well, another blog of course!!!  Which is my first new favorite.

Rubber Shoes in Hell.  Seriously, what a great name!  I love quirky titles on anything.  Yarn.  Books.  Blogs.  Wine, even.  And this one is a gem.  Maybe it’s the fact that we are both women of a “similar age”?  Or that we the share experience of raising a son?  Perhaps a similar sense of humor.  Or that some of the discussions with her husband remind me of the tenor discussions with my own?  Or that we both think Donald Trump is a narcissist? Whatever the reason, I love this blog and encourage you take a peek.


“Captain Serious” kisses the cup.

Blackhawks Hockey.  My gosh, what a long dry summer without hockey to watch especially on the heels of the Stanley Cup win.  But theeeeeeyyyyy’rrrrre baaaaaack…but without a few of my favorites.  Losing Brandon Saad was heartbreaking.  Same with Patrick Sharp.  And there were others.  Several.  The words “SALARY CAP” are definitely not favorites of any hockey fan.  Or player.  Or team for that matter.


Photo credit: Jessfuel.com

Photo credit: Jessfuel.com

Zoodles.  A.K.A. Zucchini noodles.  I’ve been making them for years now using a vegetable peeler for ribbon-like noodles.  But they got so much better when I bought a spiral slicer.  If you want to see how I make them, check it out here on the Against All Grain blog.  She has some great grain free recipes.  I wrote about the slow cooker Moroccan chicken recipe some time ago.  Since then I’ve made it again. . . only not in the slow cooker and I found it to be better.  And the “cauliflower cous cous” is the best stuff for those who’ve given up grain.  But back to the zoodles.  I use them instead of spaghetti and they are awesome!!  Just make to use at least one zuke per person because they sort of shrink down a bit.


I love it so much!!

I love it so much!!

A song from this album came on the radio last weekend and I fell in love with it all over again.


Biscotte Yarn

Now I haven’t actually touched this yarn.  I hope it feels as nice as it looks.  The self-striping colorways are just beautiful and I can’t wait to knit with it.  (If you read the Rubber Shoes in Hell blog post from above, this might make great fin mittens for homeless sharks!)

Clown fish colorway will become a pair of Dory socks!

Clown fish colorway will become a pair of Dory socks!


An Experiment in Scones

Grain-free Cinnamon Pecan Scones

Grain-free Cinnamon Pecan Scones

So calling these a scone might actually be a stretch.  I think maybe I need to research recipes for gluten-free scones rather than grain-free (and also gluten free).  These came from the Wheat Belly 30 Minute (or less) Cookbook.  I guess they tasted okay.  My husband said he liked them – but he hardly ever says he doesn’t like something I make unless it’s cauliflower. I found the texture to be a bit too crumbly.  Not dry at all, but it just wasn’t what I think of when I think of scones.  I can make a traditional, awesome scone with wheat flour. (sigh).  The quick mug muffin from the same cookbook is amazing though.  So I will continue my quest for a gluten free scone that tastes and feels like a “real” scone.

I’ve Gone Crackers!

I have another recipe to share.  I know that grains are not my friend, but since coming home from Germany, I’ve eaten far too many.  Remaining gluten free. . .but eating far too much rice and corn. A few were okay – as I actually needed to put a few pounds back on that I lost while in the hospital.   I bought some great blue cheese at Whole Foods in St. Louis last week and needed a cracker. Need?  Want?  meh.  A soft, cream cheese like this just screams for a cracker!

St. Agur blue cheese.  A new favorite!

St. Agur blue cheese. A new favorite!

So a quick search turned up The Nourishing Home and these little gems. (How did we cook before we had the internet??)

Simply Herb Grain-Free Crackers

Simply Herb Grain-Free Crackers

They were a hit with my husband as well. They were quick to make (I threw everything in the Kitchen-Aid mixer) and only require a few simple staples from the pantry. I didn’t modify the recipe at all and they turned out quite well.  I added dried rosemary and parsley this time.  Next time, who knows.  I do think Herbs de Provence would be terrific in these. Or maybe garlic and Parmesan?   My only issue is that the ones along the outside of my baking sheet got way too dark  compared to the ones on the inside.  But maybe I rolled them a little thin? She says to store them in the freezer but I don’t think they are going to last that long!

Nom! Nom!

Since my accident I have not been so inspired in the kitchen.  It’s more a matter of getting a meal fixed.  Necessity – but nothing much inspired about it.  But today was different.  This recipe came across in my email recently and sounded so good that I decided today was the day.

http://againstallgrain.com/2015/06/03/slow-cooker-moroccan-chicken/

Slow-cooker Moroccan chicken with almonds, apricots, and cauliflower “couscous”

I can’t take credit for the recipe.  It came from the Against All Grain website. (Check it out. Lots of good stuff there.)  It was delicious and even my cauliflower-hating husband agreed.  The “couscous” was wonderful and I will be adapting it for future use with other recipes.  The chicken was spicy and fragrant; my house smelled amazing all afternoon.  Definitely a keeper!