Gluten Free

When I was in second grade I couldn't stop throwing up. I went from the doctors' office to home to the doctor's office and missed school for 2 weeks lost 14 pounds and wasn't well for a long time after that. When leaving for state basketball my freshman year...my stomach hurt. State basketball my senior year...my stomach hurt. In college whenever I had strep throat (which was 3-4 times a year) my stomach would hurt and lead to dry heaves during basketball practice, and after my final basketball season I got strep throat and took antibiotics, got strep throat, took antibiotics...repeat for a total of 6 cases of strep throat..in 3 months!

I've always thought of myself as being tough, but looking back at all of these times when I've felt sick has lead me to question whether I'm really tough at all. To everyone else I might look like the sick kid.

Over the past year and a half, I've had a stomach ache probably 3-4 times a week (my bf would probably think that number is too low) and felt so uncomfortable that I couldn't sleep laying on my stomach.

I finally broke down and made a doctor's appointment though I felt like the most unsick crazy person in the waiting room. We talked and talked. She thought my symptoms didn't really sound like anything, and was leaning toward a diagnosis of IBS, (irritable bowel syndrome..the universal your stomach hurts for no tellable reason, but we'll give you a diagnosis so you feel less crazy! diagnosis) however, with my insecurities I may not have explained all of my symptoms that well and also hid some thoughts and tried to not sound too crazy.

She took blood and it came back showing some bacterial infection in my stomach...I went through 2 rounds of antibiotics and Prilosec and tried to convince myself that fixed everything. It didn't.

I started recording what foods I ate and how I felt knowing that things might stay in my system over time and not point to a clear answer, but it was a start. Then I just decided to try and eliminate some of the big alergens from my diet, one at a time, and see what happened. I started with milk. I looove milk. I drink it by the glassful at night with all kinds of baked goods. I didn't want it to be a problem with milk, but remember growing up that my dad (whom instilled in my my love for milk) had once seemed, to me, to be lactose intollerent. After about a week, I had mixed emotions when the stomach aches hadn't gone away. I googled and googled and googled and found symptoms of celiac disease (oh that word sounds so daunting). It really sounded like most of my symptoms. It was going to be an extreme experiment which brought back all of my insecurities...how will I maintain this experiment at work lunches, will by bf think I'm crazy?...what about my farmer parents...gluten free has become such a trendy catch phrase around the more libral areas of the state.

Well it's been nearly a month and overall, I feel great. It would be nice to say that I haven't had a stomach ache since...but I have, however few and far between, and could be attributed to cross contamination. I haven't been "checked" for Celiac (you have to be eating gluten for that test to be accurate..and I haven't wanted to feel sick) So I'm still experimenting, trying to convince myself that I know what the results will be before I have the test run....to minmize the crazy feeling :)

Here I am at Thanksgiving with my parents who have totally adapted dinner today for me. My mom has found a new sweet potato recipe and is substituting corn starch for flour, was very interested in making homeade gf cornbread stuffing, axed out the green bean casserole (which has been on the table for most of my 26 Thanksgivings) substituted for creamed corn, and modified the gravy to be made with cornstartch instead of flour.

I brought a gluten free pie crust home and made homemade pumpkin pie that I'm praying no one can taste the non-gluten difference in.

This meal, this feeling, among hundreds of other blessings, is what I'm thankful for.


Simple DIY Milk Frother

Oh my goodness. I just had the best milky sweet hot caffeinated beverage cup of coffee from home possibly ever, and that's with having owned this and this and this...so I've had some experience with trying to produce an equivalent to the addictive concoctions produced at the wonderful-comforting-$4/cup-of-coffee place that resides on almost every street corner.

Anyway, this is so simple that it's probably not even worth mentioning and I was probably the only person that couldn't come up with this myself..but I had to get the idea from here.

image from thekitchn.com

And paired with about a 1/4 cup of strongly mixed Nescafe (or I'll try Via next for an even more authentic taste but the Nescafe is 7 packets for $1.50.,,can't beat that!) and some honey this is officially my morning drink of choice and it only cost me about 30 cents!

Ok, that's all for now. I couldn't wait to share. Have a great weekend!


Raspberry Cake

I am unfortunately not feeling all that creative at the moment. It's been kind of a blah day. I don't feel like I've been particularly productive today, and I need my Saturday's to feel productive, because if not, then it becomes Sunday which is the day before the next work week starts so I feel pressure to relax, but I also have to get done all of the things that needed to get done on my two, tiny, fly-by, days off from work! Guess I should get over it and go be productive. However, I have one I'm-too-old-but-still-watch-highschool-drama tv shows to watch that has been sitting on the bf's dvr since Monday...yeah, I think I'll do that instead...

But first, Raspberry cake. We neeeded a dessert. We had eggs, flour, buttermilk...and raspberries. So what better to whip up than a raspberry cake. From start to serving plate took about 1 hour (if you like warm cake..which I happen to love)

Raspberry Cake
recipe adapted a smidgen from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cupplus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries*

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer** at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix** in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. Using a spatula to aid, empty bowl of batter into cake pan and smooth top. Drop raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

* I didn't measure my raspberries, I just used a whole carton.

** My stand mixer was dirty...and had been for two days. As I hate doing dishes, I chose to do the beating by hand. I probably didn't beat it for for the durations listed, but no harm was done.


In the Christmas Spirit!

A browse through target.com and this DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte got me totally in the holiday spirit...even though it's only November 12th! I need to find some room for these cute little trees and one of these and one of these cozy homeade feeling stockings! The bf isn't big on Christmas decorating since we both spend the time right around the holidays at our parents' houses, but this might be the year I force the Christmas spirit upon him!

and a recap from my birthday!

He also made this delicious pizza

and bought some wonderful gluten free (more on that later) cupcakes (470 calories a piece!) from Whole Foods, and tonight I polished off the last one!

Also working on some blog updates that I hope to be excited to share...there was one final birthday surprise!


28 To Dos before 28!

Ahh..great birthday. I'm sitting here blogging with my glass of wine (that the bf brought home along with flowers and a dough hook for my stand mixer!) while he cooks supper in preparation for watching some Monday night football.

I've compiled this goal list of things to accomplish during my 28th year on this earth. I'll keep updating this post as I cross things off the list. Without further ado...

1. Finish P90X..all 90 days of it.
2. Take a class (photography, cake decorating, biomedical engineering..something!)
3. Go 1 entire month maintaining 3 blog posts per week.
4. Bake and decorate a layer cake.
5. RECYCLE! (even though i have to drive my stuff to the closest center because my unit doesn't offer recycling pick up).
6. Finish the bf's kitchen cabinet project.
7. REad all 633 pages of The Book of God (I've owned this book for going on 8 years!)
8. Run 13.1 miles while being timed.
9. Break out of the ugly brown leather work shoe rut.
10. Buy an outfit that makes me feel stylish and beautiful..without paying too much attention to the price tag.
11. Go out to dineer at a restaurant I've never heard of based only on online reviews.
12. Cook a meal for someone besides the bf!
13. Pretty up the bf's laundry room..with this as inpiration!
14. Read more books...6 in the next year! (audio books count!)
15. Take more pictures.
16. Go sledding!
17. Wear earings once a month (that's 12x more often than I currently do!).
18. Plan a date once a month.
19. Fix my shaking washer/dryer problem.
20. Send out birthday cards to loved ones on time.
21. Make my own Christmas cards.
22. Call in sick :)
23. Take a trip (that doesn't involve an amusement park or a casino).
24. Make gifts..that are worthy of being given.
25. Keep a plant alive for a whole year.
26. Make popcorn balls and share with the office.
27. Eliminate chemical cleaners from my house and my life!
28. Laugh and smile more.


Kitchen - Life in Grace

Today while aimlessly blog jumping (ya know,following a link from a regular read to a have never read before to another have never read before..but looks interesting so I'll look around for a while) I came accross what will most likely become my new daily read: lifeingrace. Check out this lovely Lutheran, sahm, and modern homeschooler...looks like a lot to be admired for.

Anyway, I fell in love with her kitchen. It's not my style at all, but comes accross so warm, cozy, chic and traditional all with torquise cabinets! I guess that's what drew me in; how wild that color of cabinet is and how effortlessly it just..works. Love it.



Some events prompting gifts are right around the corner. I have dropped several hints about inexpensive wants / needs for the bf to pick up on, but in true guy style, he seems to be at a loss for what he could 'get' me that would fill the requirements.

Why is it that guys have such a hard time with gift giving? It doesn't have to be some big expensive purchased gift it could be all kinds of inexpensive..or moderately expensive... thoughtful items. Something to aid in any of the new hobbies I've acquired over the last 6 months..tools, classes, etc. Or just a nice dinner at a restaurant he picked because he thought I'd like it, or even something practical (I've been very appreciative of the vacuum, stand mixer, and other like minded practical gifts that many less great girlfriends would have been appalled at)

But since he's the one at a loss for a gift at the moment, this post is for him. Here are my exuberant, unnecessary flat out wants....
A fully automatic esspresso maker with (the absolutely required in something this expensive) milk frother:

or this digital SLR camera to enhance my blogging and family photos...

Either would be a great option...



So, today is November 2nd..and I happened to post yesterday, so when I discovered that November is National Blog Posting Month I was free to join (as long as I post today...and every day for the rest of the month!) Well, I'm not promising anything, but we'll see how it goes.

We had a lot of snow last week.

I ended up going to work every day, unfortunantly, and the roads were a mess...but the trees were beautiful. The evergreens where prettier than this leafless one..but this one happened to be in the parking lot and I could get a picture of it without wondering outside into the cold wet stuff...so it will have to do.

And what goes perfectly with a snowy cold night?...Chili and cinnamon rolls.

I needed the cinnamon rolls to be a quick baking exercise so went with a yeastless variety. They lacked the gooey, chewiness of a good risen roll, but they were fresh and warm and cinammony and buttery and frostingy..and perfect.

No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls
Made up by me...but resembles many online recipes

1-1/4 C flour
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C Milk

1/4 C cinnamon
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T melted butter

2 T butter or margarin, melted
3 T softened cream cheese
2 T milk
2 C Confectioners Sugar

Wisk the flour and salt together. Add the cubed butter and cut in until pea sized. Add in the milk a little at a time while mixing with a spatula. When the dough starts to come together, ditch the spatula and get in there with your hands.

Pull dough together and turn out on a floured flat surface. Roll into a long rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.

Spread melted butter out on the dough. Add the brown sugar next (I actually didn't measure...use as much or as little as you want). Sprinkle evenly and then add the cinnamon in the same manner. Roll from the long side of the rectangle towards you so that when you have it rolled up it looks like a long dough snake. Cut into 1" segments and place in lightly greased 9" cake pan, or pyrex, or cookie sheet...I like to have the edges touching so they stay together instead of spreading out. Bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes until just starting to turn golden on top.

While they cook mix together the cream cheese frosting by beating the butter with cream cheese. Then add the milk and continue stirring until well combined. Add the sugar and stir until all lumps are gone. Mixture should be thick, but will drizzle off of a spoon. Drizzle frosting on rolls while still hot. Serve warm. Makes 12 small rolls.


Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

I've been attempting to cut the chemical heavy cleaning products out of my life. I'm really not one of those crazy, overbearing, tree hugging nut, but I do care about our environment and my own health..and think if I'm not spending a fortune on the more "natural" (the most over used word in recent times) products then it can't hurt, right? I've already started not using soap to clean the kitchen or bathrooms. I was converted by my mother who sells great antibacterial microfiber products and other chemical free cleaning solutions from the Norwex company.

So when I arrived early to a meeting with my homeowner insurance agent last week which happened to be in the same parking lot as the Vitamin Cottage, and I found it on sale...I couldn't resist.

Dr. Bronner's is very gentle, non detergent, castile soap. With one look at the label it appears this stuff is right out of 1969 and to still be so popular must have quite the cult following. it's full of a strange peace and one God kind of messages. I didn't see anything on there that was negative or directly offended my Christian beliefs..so I was in.

After rushing home to google all of the 18 uses the bottle promises I was a little skeptical. Right now I'm using it as a body and face wash and really like it. I want to get to the point of making my own cheap and chemical free dishwashing and laundry detergent (which many people say this stuff can be used for)...but for now i'm still using up the large bottles of warehouse purchased, chemical heavy stuff that I've already spent good money for, but when I make the switch I'll let you know what I think.