Saturday, April 28, 2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder... right?

So, I guess I should take a minute and apologize for my absence. I've been a little down lately. I didn't realize it though.. until Jeffrey informed me that I was being negative.

Fact #1: I've struggled with depression my whole life. I'm usually pretty good about maintaining and not succumbing TOO much.

Fact #2: I am naturally, a negative person. Though I've made vast improvements in this area in the past 10-15 years... lately it's been BAD.

That said. I kept taking pictures and had blog posts in mind to share and all the them somehow turned into rants and raves. So I just decided to drink a big fat glass of shut the heck up. I didn't/don't want to bring you fine people down with me, so I just decided if I can't say anything positive or nice... don't say anything.

That and my computer is crap right now. Seriously, my hard drive is maxed out, I have 3GB left on the entire thing. I can't even download a software update. It takes FOREVER to do anything... and I'm not a patient person. So I couldn't upload pictures, or even get an entire post done and posted.

That's going to change REALLY soon. This baby is getting an internal face lift.

Thank you SO much for being patient. I'm sorry I abandoned you briefly. It shant happen again. Scouts honor! {Does that still count, if I was never a girl scout?} Let's pretend I was.

Let's stay positive... and feel free to tell me to suck it up and get over myself. I need to hear it from time to time :)

He brings home the bacon, but I make the DOUGH...

Bread dough that is! Wooo hoo! I feel like doing a happy dance.

I've been wanting to try making bread for a LONG time. My friend Becky had me over and we made some a long while back, it was SO stinking tasty, and overwhelming to my easily overwhelmed brain.

Well, recently I decided to get on a food storage kick and then I realized, it won't do me any good to have the food storage if I don't know what to do with it.

My friend Kyrsten at A Little Bit of Everything, shared her Nana's bread recipe with me recently. So I bought the bread flour, and bought the wheat flour {because I don't have a mill.... yet} and have been waiting for the time.

A few weeks ago, was the day. I followed the instructions and VOILA. It ACTUALLY turned out... pretty dang well, I ate two pieces, before it even cooled yet. Jeffrey and I {mostly I} ate half a loaf that night.

Big mistake. I had awful reflux and couldn't eat anymore for days... then it went bad. {Since Trevor doesn't eat bread and Bailey can't have the wheat and dairy.}

I wish I'd just sucked it up and done it a while ago.

I'm proud of myself 1: for leaping out of my comfort zone and trying something new... and 2: for NOT SCREWING IT UP!

Did I mention this stuff is GOOD! It reminds me of the wheat rolls they used to serve in public school... all warm and soft... man I loved those!

GO TRY THIS RECIPE.... now. Make sure you read the notes from Nana in the comments below the recipe. They are really helpful!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Small Victories!

Bailey's class made dirt pies in class last week. When I found out, I went home and cried {I will admit, I was having a particularly hormonal day, already}. I just KNEW I wouldn't find any chocolate pudding that was Gluten Free/ Casein Free. That's a bit naive of me, since I don't make pudding.... ever. It's one of those things, I can't eat if I make it myself, weird, I know. But it is what it is.

Their diet restrictions get pretty DANG overwhelming at times {A LOT of the time, actually}. It really stinks that my kids GET SICK from eating the dang things. Especially the dairy, which cuts out A LOT of desserts and food items. 

I thought for sure, that my sweet Bailey was going to be the only kid in her class that couldn't eat her dirt pie. It broke my overly weepy, pregnant heart.

Anyway, I was telling Jeffrey and he googled it as we were speaking and he found this pretty dang awesome blog Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom. She has a lot of really good information about food allergies, and recipes, etc.. 

Not only was there a GF/CF pudding recipe. It was also Soy Free... which means Trevor can eat it too! Hooray! It's really hard finding things that they both can have. A lot of GF stuff has soy in it, and the majority of dairy substituted products have soy in it. So, for example, Bailey's GF chocolate chip cookies {by Pamela's Bakery, they are really good}, Trevor can't have them, because they have soy in them.

{Trevor ended up not liking the pudding, he spit that junk out REALLY QUICKLY! I was almost mad at him! Then I calmed down and realized, that's just he crazy talking...}

I also recently found a brand at our local health food store, Native Sun, called Enjoy Life. All of their products are made in dedicated manufacturing plants and are free of the 8 main allergens {because the owner, herself has food allergies}: wheat, dairy,peanuts,tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish. How fantastic is THAT!

I cried as I explored the blog and read the recipe, too. Jeffrey asked me why I was crying over the blog... I ignored him. I was crying because it's really, really overwhelming and hard to eliminate staple foods from your {or the kids} diet. It's more overwhelming, because they aren't all the same intolerances. Even more, overwhelming, that is costs a fortune and it's just flipping EXHAUSTING. Add to that the fact that people think I'm crazy and prudish for not letting my kids have things that everyone else can eat.

 I am aware, that they don't realize that THE PEDIATRICIAN told me to eliminate them, or that they all feel incredibly better when they don't have that stuff, or that it actually is a real problem and not me being a brat... but that doesn't matter. In fact, I'm not sure why it should matter to anyone else anyways. The lack of support gets REALLY irritating and overwhelming and hurtful at times.

 So I cried, when I found a blog that offers easy recipes, products I'd never heard of, and information I hadn't previously known, I cried, like a baby. I make no apologies for my blubbering either... plus I'm pregnant. So, who the freak is going to tell the fat pregnant chick she can't cry... NO ONE.

Happiness is found in the small victories. Like making a chocolate pudding my kids {or kid} can actually enjoy.

What's that you say? But chocolate is dairy? Why, yes... when manufacturers add dairy to it. Chocolate in and of it's self doesn't contain dairy. It's all in the way it's processed. Enjoy Life's chocolate chips are made with dairy free cocoa butter, so it's safe! YAY, for chocolate my kids can eat! Of course, the price point is not a yay. But, you can't have it all.

I usually don't try the kids food. I'm a BIG weenie with trying new food. Let alone, the hippie food.  I did try the pudding... just a dab on my finger. I was feeling adventurous.

It wasn't too bad. I mean, it's no Snack Pack or anything. If I couldn't have dairy, I could make do with it though... Jeffrey agreed.

I would add more chocolate to it though next time {for myself, not for the kids, they don't need extra sugar, or caffein, because raw chocolate has more of both}.

Anyway, try it if you like!

That's my novella for the day. The End.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My first blog award!

My sweet friend Emily at It Bakes Me Happy was so kind to nominate me for a Liebster Award! She loves to bake and try new recipes! She is a busy bee these days with her sweet little girl, so kudos to her for keeping it up! She's a better woman than I!  I'm so flattered so that someone out there likes to read my crazy ramblings! 

WHAT is a Liebster Blog Award, you ask? I wondered the same thing! 

Well "The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note."

So here's how it works:

• Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
• Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
• Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
• Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less
  who you feel deserve to be noticed.
• Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

I've selected 5 blogs I love to read regularly, which are:

1. A Little Bit of Everything , Kyrsten shares all the fun projects, recipes, experiences and all the fun that happens as a SAHM.

2. Wendy Updegraff Photography, Wendy is SUCH a creative and talented photographer. I heart her, SO much. 

3. The Sycamore, Holly shares her thoughts and insights so openly on anything and everything. She always gives me new things to think about. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Allergy Friendly Pear Crisp!

I got impulsive last week and bought a 40 pound box of pears from Publix. They were on sale, and I wanted to put some up. They look so pretty in their jars! The best part, is I could control the amount of sugar in the simple syrup! 
Anyway, it got me wanting a  pear crisp. So here you go! 

One word.


Now, lots more words.
This was delish! If someone served it to me, I'd never know it was Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan and actually somewhat healthy!

And man, it was easy-peasy, lemon squeazy.

I found the original recipe at a blog called Gluten Free Goddess. I've adapted it for my needs. I only used pears and I wanted to make a bigger pan that serves more than just four people, because that would barely feed me. So I adjusted that and a few other things based on what I had on hand.

Here is my adaptation of it:

{Do you like how it looks like they are sliding off the table? I'm not good at taking straight photos.} 

These are the ingredients {sans the sea salt... I forgot to photo it... and add it to the recipe, woops!}

For the fruit filling:
2 qt. jars of canned pears {so maybe 3-4 cans of pears or 10 to 15 fresh pears, minimum} 
1/2 c. pear juice juice {If you like it more thin than thick and goopy add a little more juice} 
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 good pinches of nutmeg
Pinch sea salt (I forgot this, probably would have been a nice contrast though)
For the crisp topping:
1.5 cups light brown sugar
1.5 cups gluten-free pancake and baking mix {I used Bob’s Red Mill All purpose flour and baking mix}
2.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Earths Balance Vegan Shortening {I use the Soy Free version} 
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x13” casserole dish with vegan shortening.

In a medium to large bowl, toss pear slices in the pear juice, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and a small pinch of sea salt.

In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar, gluten-free flour mix, and cinnamon. 

Add the shortening in tablespoons and rub and pinch between your fingers until moist crumbs form a crumbly topping mixture. {This is when it's nice to have huge man hands... it gets the job done faster! } 

Sprinkle a few behemoth sized handfuls of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the greased casserole dish. 

Spoon in the apple and pear slices; add all the liquid.

Top with the remaining crumble mixture. 
Bake at 350ºF for 35-ish minutes or until the fruit is fork tender and the filling is bubbling and thickened. The top should be golden brown. {Note: if you are using canned fruit, it won't need to cook AS long... so just eyeball it until it thickens, bubbles and turns to goldeny goodness. 

...........and VOILA!

Serves 8ish. We ate half the pan between Bailey, Jeffrey and I.... 'cause that's how we role... we are gluttons. Maybe eating enormous portions is why my hands are amazon sized? Hm.

Yay for healthy, allergy friendly desserts! It made me so happy to know that my kids could enjoy a treat! Especially, since I'm way to lazy to make dessert regularly... and way to much of a stickler to let them have that much sugar regularly. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Food for thought...

It's about 10:50 p.m. I just finished making cupcakes for my daughter's Pre-K class. It takes a little longer, because I have to make a second batch of icing for Bailey and Trevor. Which is fine... I made cupcakes at her birthday that they could eat and froze them... so it wasn't much to whip up the icing.

Though clean up was awful. I learned an important lesson tonight.

DO NOT sift sugar {or anything} into a plastic bowl. There is this thing called STATIC ELECTRICITY and it makes that crap fly up and settle EVVVERYWHERE.


Anyway, as I'm whipping up their nasty icing {which they love because it's made of SUGAR}, I had the thought...

"Why is it, that I'm willing to stay up late making cupcakes for her, but I find it so damn difficult to reign in my temper and have more patience with her?" This obviously applies to all of them, I just have the most trouble keeping myself in check with her... but once again, let's not get into to the ridiculous, awful guilt I feel every second for that.

Anyway, I'm not sure if it's because it's easier to show her I love her in those concrete ways, or to make up for all the yelling, or because I like eating cupcakes {I've had 3 tonight.. no I'm not kidding... I have a problem.}, or because she gets so excited over simple things like cupcakes, the fact that I see SO SO much of myself in her and end up having childhood flashbacks, and even though I know she can't help it half the time... I still lose it on her, or that I just want to feel less terrible, or how about that it's just flipping WAY easier, or that we just all do what we can do and then try again tomorrow.

I don't know...

But it made me wonder why... and it also occurred to me, that Satan is right there playing to our weaknesses... mine is lack of patience, yelling and my mouth... let's not pretend that I don't cuss like a sailor half the time... I'm a work in progress, don't judge.

Anyway, there he is... knowing our weaknesses, and I forget that. A LOT. I also forget to rely on my Heavenly Father to buoy me up in those moments.

So tomorrow is a new day, filled with cupcakes and good times... I guess I will just try not to ruin it for any of us!

Who knew cupcakes could provoke such thoughts? Not I, said the cat.