Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Gluten Free Thanksgiving!

I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year!!! Wahoo!!! 11 Adults and 6 children will be on their way to my humble abode and I can't wait!!! Everyone is traveling at least 2 hours to get here... so I'll be doing all the cooking here. It should be interesting! It'll be a long day, but I'm really excited to do it. Not only do I get to pick out the recipes, but I get to make everything I love gluten and dairy free so I can eat it all too! Woot woot! No more longily staring at yumminess that I can't touch. :) Some of you are asking how I'm making my dinner gluten free, well here you go! Here are my recipes! It's really not too much different than anyone else. Just a few extra steps here and there, and lotsa love ;)
I woke up at 6 this morning and put in a lovely 20 pound turkey.
I cook my turkey in a bag... (I don't want to hear anything from you plastic haters out there, I like it- I do it)
I melted 'earth balance' butter with some fresh minced garlic and poured it all under the skin. I stuffed it with 3 onions, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and then stuffed 3 slices of my gluten free bread in the opening so that it stays nice and moist inside and closed it all up. No one eats the stuffing in the turkey in our family, so I don't do it. I then put a bunch of chopped onions and cornstarch into the bag and shook it, dropped the turkey on in, rubbed it with oil, and then rubbed it with a spice blend.
spice blend: a mix of lawrys seasoning salt, powdered garlic, course ground pepper, and freshly chopped rosemary and thyme.
close up the bag, flip it breast side down, you're in! I'll be flipping it in an hour or two before it gets too soft to flip without it falling apart.

For my pumpkin pie crust:
For the pie:

My stuffing:
I toasted 4 slices (diced up) of my favorite Udi's brand cinnamon bread- then set to the side.
I cooked red sweet pepper, minced garlic, chopped onions, and celery until the onions turned clear.
At the same time I made some quinoa cooked in chicken broth ( I like to use 'better than bullion. It does contain trace amounts of Whey protein, but it doens't seem to bother me)
mix it all together and put it in a pie dish... (I'm going to add a bit more toasted bread once I make my rolls!)bake at 350 for 30-35min!

Rolls: I'm using Pamela's gluten free white bread mix

Green bean casserole:
I plan on making it pretty much the same... just with homemade 'cream of mushroom soup' copied a little from this recipe and green beans I picked and blanched this summer- YUM!

Cream corn casserole:
MY FAVORITE!  I bought a ton of fresh corn this summer and made my own cream corn... but I'll be using just one bag of that in replacement of a can--
2 cans of cream corn, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, salt, pepper- mix and pour in a pie dish (feel free to add yummies like chopped onions and things. be creative!)
then top with crushed (gluten free) corn flakes and then put a few pads of earth balance butter here and there on top. Bake 375 35-45min. until it's no longer watery, but a bit firm.

We may make a few other things here and there, but these are the staples. If I do make more, I'll add them to the post!... And maybe I'll add some photos of what I make after it's all done :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!

Next I'll be making some

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Little Sea, Seattle

Oh Seattle! I adore you for no apparent reason at all. Maybe it's the glamour of your dreary skies, constant rain, or the city surrounding the sound... or the I-hate-them-but-can't-get-enough-of-them ferries, well dressed folk wrapped in scarves, the green landscape, or the Tullys (or Starbucks) that meets you at every corner. Oh Coffee. oh wonderful coffee.
Maybe it's the chocolate?
I really have no idea. I just know that I love it there and will go any chance that I get!
This last weekend was crazy wonderful. Packed with wedding-y activities for a couple that we love, fun shopping, and time spent with  my beautiful sister, neice, and sister in law. Even the little brother in law was there! It was like a dream come true kind of trip for Lydia... she danced with a 'princess' (the bride at the wedding), went swimming with mom and dad, saw big boats and tiny boats at the expo, went shopping, had cake, and stayed in the same bed with mom ALL NIGHT long. Seriously the only thing that could have made her weekend better was if Jack Jack, O-Oh, and Ava were there too! She's too cute, seriously.

It was hard with two kids, of course, but thoroughly worth it! As strange as it is... I love traveling with my kids. I think 3-4 days is definitely the limit that my kids can handle with their little schedules being thrown to chaos, but those few days are a blast! I think they like it too :)
It's almost like fuel for Lydia when we arrive at a new place. She's all charged up and ready to spring on a new adventure. She can't wait to go shopping, get fun treats (like fro-yo) that we don't normally get, and play in hotel swimming pools. She sleeps well in the car, entertains herself and her brother, and usually sleeps just fine in whatever bed we put her in. Probably because she's simply too worn out from WAY too much excitement to care :)
Grayson, on the other hand, could just care less. He feeds off his sister's reactions and the overall emotions of those present and just goes with whatever. As long as he knows where his mom, dad, and sister are... all is good in the world.
I'm really thankful for this. I know that many kids just aren't travelers. I'm not saying that my kids are perfect, but I do believe that they are pretty good at it and I am very grateful for that.

That being said... I'm also so very thankful for being home. There's nothing like your own bed after a long trip skipping from one bed to another. I'm also thankful for no longer living out of a suitcase
---okay... wait. I'm still living out of that suitcase since I haven't 'fully' unpacked....---
Anyway! I'm glad to be home and being away just made me love my little place in this world even more. We have so much to be thankful for and as thanksgiving preparations will be starting tomorrow, I feel primed for it all.

Thank you Lord for our wonderful trip, for the beauty of Seattle, for the sound of the rain, for my sweet family, for friends that we love, for making new friends, for bringing us all back safely, and for this awesome little place we call home. <3

Grayson taking breakfast into his own hands at the hotel & Lydia getting an italian soda at the wedding :)

We all had a great time at the wedding :)

This was obviously taken at the end of the night ;)

Lydia admiring the little boats at the Pacific Marine Expo

My sweet boy

Holding hands, tickling each other feet, and giggling on the ride home :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm not ready!!!

I just realized that yesterday was the 14th... which means that Grayson's birthday is now less than a month away! How did this happen?! He is my BABY boy! I am almost positive he just came out of my belly a couple days ago right? Wow... now I feel like there's no time to prepare for a party! I know what you're thinking... Oh it's easy... just get some plates, napkins, make a cake, send an invite, and then you're good! The thing is, I'm thinking emotionally here. I am just.not.ready. for this. Maybe this is why parents often say their little ones ages in terms of months. That could be me, I guess? "Hello, my baby is 46 months old." "No, he's not a toddler... I just had him 32 months ago."
What if I start feeding him purees again? I could do that too!
Okay, okay.. I'll stop being ridiculous. It's just going to take me a while to come to terms with this. That and I need to go order some plates and napkins and send those invites out....

FYI if you're reading this and you're planning on coming and you're one of those people that plan ahead (and obviously I haven't thought ahead and sent invitations yet)... It will be an all love, tickles, cake, snuggles, refreshments, and no gifts kind of party. (We currently have so many toys that they should rent their own storage shed.) I'm excited to celebrate my sweet boy with all of you and love on him and watch him, and I'm sure lydia too, eat their own weight in cake too!

Oh Grayson my sweet baby boy, we love you!!!

How could anyone resist those cute ears, beautiful eyes, little button nose, and that amazingly sweet smile?!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dear blogs, I like you much.

..... A few blogs worth mentioning that I visit frequently for recipes! 

Since finding my intolerance to gluten and dairy I've had many people come forward struggling in their own diets. It's hard when you're diagnosed with an allergy or an intolerance all of a sudden. It  like being sent to a foreign country where none of the ingredients in the stores are remotely recognizable or even in the same language! Sorghum flour & xanthum gum????.... I had absolutely NO idea these things existed a year ago. It took me long enough to pronounce them let alone know what the purpose of them were. Not only must you walk into this new territory of endless new ingredients, but you'll also learn that anything that sounds remotely delicious or close to edible and is already made for you comes at a ginormous cost! There's no more dropping by the beautiful cereal aisle and picking out any box you like. In fact there's no more picking up a box at all and just sticking it in the basket. Well, maybe eventually, but first it'll take reading EVERY label. If you don't take the time and just grab a snickers then you may end up paying for it... for days... and days. 
I've never struggled with something as hard as my diet. It's not a choice for me. I can't just cheat for fun. I actually have found that even one bite of  little Miss So&So's amazing homemade cheese this or whole wheat that will leave me in stomach pain or with mouth sores that can last for days. It used to be that I could cheat and have a bowl of ice cream every once and a while and only have mild reactions, but it's just not like that anymore.  

So a question I get a lot is...What is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance?
In simple terms... which is all I feel like doing right now... (if you want a better one, google. you can find anything on the internet!)
allergy: even a tiny bit of said item can cause a VERY bad reaction and can be life threatening. The reaction can happen almost immediately. Intolerance: non-life threatening and reactions can come on gradually. you may even be able to have a tiny bit of the food without a problem at all.

Now I'm not 100% sure I don't have an allergy to dairy or wheat/gluten, but out of my little self diagnosis based on trial and error... well. I'm not dead :) From what I have heard from friends, doctors, and random people I've met with the same diet, trial and error is a much more accurate way of finding out than any blood test anyway. 

A few more questions I hear a lot as well.... How do you live?! What do you eat?! Is your whole family 'forced' into this diet too??

1. I live just fine, just slightly bitter when I see you eat ice cream on a cone from a convenient location bought with pocket change. I'm kidding. Well, kind of. I have found ways to make the things I love and have also opened myself up to trying new things as well and have come to love those things too. It's kind of a give and take. I thought about the things in my diet I REALLY didn't want to let go of... like chocolate and ice cream. I spend a little extra on those things and it make me feel a whole lot less 'deprived'. I've been surprised by how many things I've weeded out of my diet without a care in the world too. :)
2. I eat EVERYTHING. I probably eat a larger variety of things than most people do too. It's not just meat and potatoes for this little lady! I have come to love so many different new dishes and I think I've become more knowledgeable about what is going into every meal I make as well! I'm not afraid of cooking out of my comfort zone as much and my family doesn't get as bored with the same old meal plans rotating every month. It's nice... which brings me to...
3. (nice segue, I know) bahaha... I crack myself up. Wow I'm horrible at this blogging thing! Ah, but I know none of you probably care.
okay... I'm digressing...
so! My family DOES eat what I eat and I eat what they eat too!... most of the time. The thing is I don't want them losing the enzymes in their sweet bellies to break down gluten or dairy though simply because I don't feed it to them. We don't always eat the same breakfast or lunches. I always have yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, and various cheeses for my hubby or the kids to enjoy with their meals. sometimes I just make a dish dairy and gluten free, set some aside for me, then add some dairy products for the rest of them. It really isn't that big of a deal. I hardly buy anything prepackaged or go to any health food stores and I don't really seem to have a problem cooking things that I like.

I'm not sure if you care about any of this at all, but being that I find myself in conversations with acquaintances or friends regarding my diet at least 3 times a week... it's nice to just release it into some written words.

Can you even say 'written words' when it's been typed?
I wonder if that little phrase will disappear in a few years...
Typed words?
That just sounds lame.

Once again I apologize for the horrible grammatical errors. There once was a time where poor grammar bothered me to no end, but I have 2 children now and talk in grunts, points, and giggles the majority of the time. Poor grammar is the least of my problems. 

If you find that the links up there aren't to your liking and you need help with a recipe, just ask!
I really don't buy too many of the specialty flours and strange ingredients and I do just fine. There's almost always a way to make a recipe you love to taste great and still be gluten or dairy free. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome Juneau

June, Juneau, Junebug, puppydoo (yes I am even surprised when that comes out of my mouth!), JuJube...
These are the names I call my our,  new puppy :)

Here she is!!!

Isn't she adorable??? I love her soft, little, floppy ears and her kind eyes!

She fits perfectly in the double stroller under the kiddos :)

I've always scoffed at people that dress their dogs up in sweaters... until now. Well... kind of. It's so cold outside, but we're crate training her and she's doing WAY better when we take her outside to potty rather than try to get her to use a piddle pad. I couldn't bear watching her shake in the cold... so now I own a dog sweater. bahaha... Interesting fact: I made it out of an old sweater sleeve!

Grayson adores her! She does have the horrible desire to nibble his sweet ears (I mean who doesn't?!) so I often have to separate them for a little while!

Oh Grayson :)

Of course I had to add one of me and my sweet girl. We definitely spend the most time together! We play all of the time and cuddle even more. I'm attached!

Most of you that know me are wondering how I of all people came to a point where  I  would get a dog.
I've been known to have an allergic reaction to almost all dogs and, unfortunately, even this one at times. It hasn't been bad at all though. I feel like it's going really well and I'm hoping that my body acclimates. I've been licked by her and haven't gotten hives, had my face up to her and haven't coughed or sneezed.... the only thing is my eyes get a bit itchy, but I feel like that's absolutely bearable and a small price to pay for the joy of a new puppy! 

Everyone keeps asking me what breed she is... 

Her mommy is a brittany spaniel and her daddy is a boston terrier (not actual picture of them)

Kind of a strange mix, I know, but I've always liked bostons and brittany spaniels are beautiful! I think she looks a lot more like a spaniel right now, but it'll be interesting to see what she ends up looking like when she's an adult. The owners seem to think that she'll be about 20lbs or less... so not too tiny, but not too big! Perfect for our little family! 

There's so much training to go and I have no idea what I am doing, but I'm working with her a lot right now. Any ideas on how to keep her from teething on my children is welcome! :) 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gluten and dairy free, but not free at all.

I spent most of my day at the Doctor's today. I left my house with so much hope and excitement. I really thought that I was going to find answers. I wanted to know what I'm allergic to, why I feel the way that I do, and get a plan of action to take control of my health so I can start living life and eating without fear or pain. I ended the day  feeling defeated and disappointed.
I've been to doctors before for the same reason... always coming back disappointed or with unnecessary (in my opinion since they never work) drugs. It all started in high school when I was misdiagnosed with an ulcer and given medication to 'fix it'. The medication didn't work so they kept trying new things and nothing helped. I gave up on taking the medication and just started taking action on my own. I became my own little google scholar and started trying suggested ideas that others had done. I began by eliminating things from my diet to see if I could find anything that happened to be upsetting me. It didn't take my long to discover that I couldn't have dairy any longer. I still had stomach issues, but nothing that I couldn't live with. As of recently I noticed more and more issues that I couldn't escape. I don't know if my body just changed after kids, but either way I knew I had to figure out what was going on. I had an endoscopy/colonoscopy and expected to find that ulcer that the doctors were STILL blaming all of my discomfort on. It simply didn't exist. In fact, I have very healthy 'guts' without anything wrong! Definitely something most people would like to hear, but I had almost wished that they would have found something obvious that was easily treatable so I could fix it and move on. Not so much. The gastroenterologist just told me "I can't see anything wrong and I dont know why you're feeling the way that you are. We're just going to diagnose it as IBS, but I'm not sure that that is really what it is or not." She then referred me to the allergist. She did tell me that I should try a gluten free diet for a while and see if that helps... so I did and am now gluten free as well as dairy free. Now when I try to eat Gluten I find that my reactions are far worse than even my reactions I used to have if I accidentally had dairy. Go figure.
The doctor I went to see today was the allergist. You could imagine how excited I was to finally make it to her. It made sense that she would have the answers. I had this vision that she would do a blood test, find out what was wrong, and I would adjust my diet and live it out forever more happily ever after.
My appointment started with me arriving early to fill out paperwork. I did so while holding Grayson and trying to keep Lydia in her seat in the lobby. Not so easy!
By the way... I was still excited at this point.
All of the nice old ladies and gentleman were fawning over my sweethearts and I had actually answered every question on the questionaire without Grayson melting down or Lydia destroying anything in the lobby.
An hour goes by and we're now past nap time. Lydia is playing musical chairs and Grayson is having to be moved around constantly in order to keep him from melting down. I'm exhausted
They finally call me in and let me continue by wait in a little room for another half an hour....

***Thank you Miranda for the idea of bringing crayons to draw on the paper on the bed... it helped!****

I promised trick or treat candy to Lydia if she simply was a good girl and colored... that also helped!
there's nothing like bribing your children when you're exhausted. :/
The nurse came in...asked a few questions
another 20 min.
Grayson is now flailing and crashes into sleep.
I'm wiped. Lydia is now watching Go Diego Go on netflix on my phone
I'm praising God my iphone and praying the doctor will just come in before I start crying and leave.
She comes in and asks me some questions and I share with her everything I'm going through.
I explain to her how hard I've been working to avoid all of the stomach pain.
I share with her my recent visit to urgent care for being in such bad abdominal pain for 3 days that I thought I felt like I my stomach was going to explode...etc....
I told her sincerely told her everything.

Her response:
"Unless you're having serious reactions where your throat is swelling up or your lips are swollen, then I don't find a need to test you for allergies. Some people have 'intolerance'. You may have a lactose and gluten intolerance."
I agreed to that, obviously... except not so excited that she wouldn't even test me to check for any allergies?
I explained to her how casein also bothers me and how I randomly get even worse reactions even when I don't have items containing either gluten or dairy... she rolled her eyes.

long story short... she made me feel like a complete idiot and gave me 3 little pamphlets on how to eat healthier and sent me off. She said "I think the gastroenterologist did a good enough job and I don't find it necessary to do any more testing"

Defeated. Not only did she treat me like a hypochondriac, told me I couldn't bring my children (despite the fact that Lydia sat quietly without a noise watching Diego without the sound on in a seat and Grayson was asleep the entire time), but she just waved away all that I am going through like it was nothing.

This isn't what I want for myself. I didn't bring this about. I am most definitely not making up my pain. I HATE going to the doctor and have only gone in the past for emergency reasons. I don't just go for fun and make up ailments. It took me a lot of strength to finally try to figure out what was wrong and go to see her. It also took a LOT of time and will be costing me a LOT of money that will be going to absolutely nothing. Money that could have gone to many other things that our family needs. ugh.

Next is an appointment with a naturopathic doctor... I hope this one goes better.

I needed to let all of this out. Writing it down makes it feel like I'm not going through this alone.
I know that the Lord is within me. I know that He has a plan. I know that He has the answer to all of this. I do, but yet I feel like I'm alone? For some reason my heart isn't taking hold of these truths. I'm not TRULY believing and trusting the Lord with this or I wouldn't feel the way that I do right now. Why? :(...  I feel like there's a disconnection between my heart and my mind right now with all of this.

-Would you join me in prayer this week as I continue to give this all up to the Lord?-

(please forgive me for any misspelling and all of the horrible grammatical errors... I don't plan on editing this post. :/ )

A recent Gluten and dairy free recipe I made and loved for those of you in the same boat:
Spinach Stuffed Pork Roast

1 small pork roast
1/2 c chopped onion
2 cups chopped spinach
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon italian seasoning (I used rosemary, basil, oregano seasonings)

I caramelized the onions in a saucepan and then added the garlic and spinach and cooked it just until the spinach wilted. I added the seasoning and cooked another minute. I cut the pork into a spiral, laid it flat, and put the spinach mixture on top of it in an even layer. I rolled it up and secured it with a tooth pick. I cover the roast with a light coating of olive oil and sprinkled it with pepper and salt.
In a small roast pan I spread out some onion wedges and set the pork roast in it. I surrounded it with some little purple potatoes, covered it, and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours.

It came out super delicious! It would be good with more of a basil/pesto mixture too. I served it with some yummy home canned pears. Let me know if you make it  :) (please excuse the horrible quality photo that makes it look awful.. promise it was good!)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's been awhile!

A lot has happened since my last post! I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep up with a blog very much, but it
seems I decided to 'break' for the entire summer!


Life has changed SO much.This summer, Lydia embraced her second year of life and although I couldn't really call her a 'terrible two', she had many of -those- moments. It stretched me spiritually, emotionally, and physically, and taught me more and more about myself as a wife and a parent. She's learning and changing so much that it's hard to keep up! She's now moving out of as many fits and understanding SO much. I'm continually surprised by what she's able to comprehend and how quickly she learns new things. She's into asking us questions now about the world around her. Fun, but also a new challenge for me! I like this little her. This 'little helper' she's become. I'm really enjoying connecting with her, teaching her about everything, and observing her sweet little heart as she makes sense of her surroundings. She's in this new phase where she calls me 'my mommy' instead of just mom or mama. It's probably the sweetest words I've ever heard! Everything she asks me ends or starts with it. "My mommy, I put the bowl in the sink?" "I stay with my mommy?" "My mommy lay by me?". It makes me feel special. That it's not just a name, but almost as if she's chosen to claim me too :). Oh how I love you sweet Lydia Evelyn! You will always be my baby girl.

Grayson is 10 months old now and growing fast. He is so completely sweet, cuddly, and loving. I enjoy his quiet personality and am filled with joy with each kiss and snuggle he shares with me. I feel like I can't get enough of him. He's breezed through all of the little baby stages so quickly and has moved onto a little toddler that it's been quite the whirlwind.At 5 months he was already standing, crawling, and sitting up. At 8 1/2 months he decided he was ready to take on walking. Now at 10 months he signs 'more' and 'all done' and has quickly moved onto climbing everything and making new discoveries in my cupboards. He laughs and giggles at everything, he's not afraid to go head first (literally off of anything), and is always at my heels if not in my arms. One of my favorite things about this sweet boy is his love for his sister. The moment I snatch him out of his crib he's looking for her. He gives my morning snuggle and a sloppy kiss, of course, but then he's halfway out of my arms with his eyes peeled for her. The moment he sees her it's pure glee on his little face! He does that weird inhale squeel and wiggles out of my arms to follow her. They play, snuggle, give kisses, fight, and they even tattle on each other. I love it. This whole siblings thing is amazing. It makes me want more children!

-- don't worry, not yet! ;)--

Grayson's birthday is coming up soon and I just feel so unprepared for it. Not in the whole napkins, plates, forks kind of way... but just that I'm not ready for him to start into his second year. Having two little ones makes your second's first year go by even faster than the blink of an eye. Lydia's first year went by fast, but not this fast! I think that's one of the main reasons I'm not ready for another child for a few years. I'm afraid it'll only make my babies grow up even faster and I really just want to relish every moment of their littleness that I can! I find myself rocking them more, reading to them more, putting off laundry and chasing them more. I just feel like time is going by way too fast and it's so evident when I look at their sweet little faces. Oh Grayson I'm not ready for you to grow up and Lydia please slow down too!

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton