Category Archives: Gluten Free

Case of the Mondays

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This past Monday I woke up tired and out of sorts. I fed the pups, let the chickens out to free range a bit before work and went back inside to make some tea. I also made a scrambled egg sandwich on Rudis GF multigrain bread. Since this past year with my allergy, I haven’t really wanted to eat bread. I no longer craved it, but this morning, I knew I wanted an egg sandwich.
As I was walking down the hall, the entire sandwich slid off my plate. Ugh! So it ended up that my dogs had a nice breakfast instead of me. I went back into the kitchen and tured the kettle on. I’ll make myself some tea I said to myself…I grabbed a mug from the cupboard and accidentally bumped it against my sink. It cracked in my hand, leaving me with a cut. I washed the cut, put a bandaid on it and reminded myself that yes its Monday, but I had tomorrow off. I need to get through the day…I MUST get through the day…
The past couple weeks, I’ve been feeling fatigued. Maybe it’s the changing of the seasons, who knows.

Even though the morning didn’t go as planned, no more disasters happened. In fact on my way to work I made myself laugh because at first I was feeling bummed my favorite mug broke…but then my next thought was that ALL my mugs are my favorite! Not just that one. I had many left to enjoy!

Here’s a chicken picture for no reason except that yes, those fluffy furry puffballs are hens. And she’s probably thinking, what you looking at?

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Summer was just here, I swear

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The summer’s coming to end. The days are definitely getting shorter. The weather still has some heat, however my garden is getting tired. The tomatoes are not really turning red and the zucchini are growing few and fingerling sized.

School is back in session which equals to hellish commutes…who’s whining? ๐Ÿ™‚
But I do know that love is about and shows up when you least expect it sometimes.

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Today I decided to take out most of my garden to get it ready for the Fall garden. I usually dread this task because it is admittance that summer really is over. After clippinga and pruning the vines I was left with a few pounds of immature tomatoes. And what does one do with all that fruit? Make relish!

Being raised on the West Coast, green tomato relish wasn’t something that I ever had. However after reading this recipe Farm Girl it had a familiar resemblance of chili verde. So I decided to give it a try.

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I had all the ingredients handy and it didn’t take more than an hour and a half. You can find the recipe on the link above to Farmgirl.

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I used a water bath method to can them. I will share a few jars with my family, however after sampling the finished product it was amazing. Not only can it be used for chips and dip, but I can use it to make chicken chili verde too.

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With the end of summer, good things do come from the changes of the season. Finding the heart shaped tomato today validated my decision to grow food for my family, which I shared pounds of tomatoes with friends and family with my abundant crop…taking the time the other night to look at the beautiful sunset then stare at the stars reminded me to be grateful for what I have and the life I live.

Onwards and upwards to your dreams…

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Mornings

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The garden is GROWING out of control!
I love gardening. Each morning I roll out of bed, feed the dogs, take them out to do their business then let the chicks out. I then take about 20 minutes to observe what is growing in my garden. I scaled back from my normal 12 dozen tomatoe plants to only have 6 this year. I have hundreds of green tomatoes, each day a few turn red. Everyday I find something ripe, something I had not noticed the day before. With the addition of the chickens, I’m intrigued by their crazy antics too.

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I also have 3 zucchini plants that continue to produce lovely green beauties.
An easy recipe to use both tomatoes and zucchini is to make a gratin.
I slice tomatoes and zucchini into round slices. I alternate layers tomato, then zukes, drizzle EVOO, salt and pepper, crushed garlic if you prefer. Sprinkle mozarella on top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The flavors meld together and voila! Delicious!

Here are a few pictures of the garden and chicks…whom are so much fun!

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I also shredded zucchini and made lasagne using the zukes for noodles. So yummy, and gluten-free!!

Tiny little things

I admit openly, that life has its challenges. At times, its easier for me to think and worry about the big issues. The problem with doing that is I feel bogged down, depressed and overwhelmed. However, time after time I am reminded that I cannot change what cannot be changed. I am reminded about the little things everyday…such as…
I had a good nights sleep last night! I woke up this morning from dreaming about some of my favorite people. Yesterday, I definitely had a case of the Mondays when another close friend called me and asked for a hug or two, she was visiting the mall I work at. I received a surprised visit and a reminder that I am special. This morning, I was watering my garden when a tiny little female hummingbird swooped in front of me and landed on a tomato cage. She sat there looking at me for about 30 seconds then zoomed off. My son is home from college for the summer. My apron strings don’t feel so tight, it’s great seeing him sleep in his bed and hear him laugh at my lame jokes!
It really is the tiny little things and small moments that make a happy life…well if it so, I feel very lucky lately ๐Ÿ™‚

More on tiny things, my friend had a tiny little baby and I made this blanket for him.
It’s a go to pattern from Lion Brand, Little V Stitch For baby blankets I always use machine washable cotton or wool yarn. I added a simple picot trim around the edge with washable cashmere.

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I also was given some beautiful porcini mushrooms that I used to make a wild mushroom ,kale and leek soup.

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Here’s my tiny little girlfriend Miss Hummingbird.
Isn’t she adorable!

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Have a great day! Cheers to the tiny things that make a big difference!

Happenings

Lots have been happening around here lately. The garden is taking off, all my seedlings have been transplanted. I have been reluctant to pull out my kale since I’ve been making green smoothies to have on hand for the past two weeks. The marigolds are warding off pests and the ladybugs are hatching all over the place!

I also went to see a specialist last week. I scheduled more tests and finally for once I could talk to someone who understands what I have been feeling. We talked about my digestion system, food habits, mental health, to my surprise accounts for a large problem to my issues, and Rome criteria and of course poo. Did you know there are 500 billion probiotic bacteria on a piece of poo the size of your thumbnail? Amazing!

I walked away from my appointment feeling that there is help for me in the near future. I’ve been very careful about my diet, eating only at home. In fact last week I ate completely raw. I had lots of energy, lessened mood swings and no cravings for chocolate for example…
Preplanning meals has been pretty easy as my husband has adopted my green slime smoothies with open arms and wants to continue to eat gluten free or close to it for as long as possible.

Last night I was at my local Mi Pueblo market and I saw a water trough full of lentils. I just had to scoop and take home 5 lbs. I decided to make lentils for dinner, which would be perfect as I will make it vegetarian as well.

It’s a very simple recipe that I made up this morning. I usually have celery, onions and carrots on hand. In fact most soups and stews begin with the trio. I knew I had a couple leeks that I brought home from the Farmers Market Saturday. Leeks are milder than onion. Replaced the onion with the leeks to give the lentils a creaminess. Last week I pulled out my carrots, boy, have I missed those dragon carrots…so I substituted a orange bell pepper instead. Here’s the recipe…

Indian Spice Lentil
2 cups rinsed Lentils, red, green or brown all ok
4 cups stock, I use homemade that I have on hand, any store brought is good
1 onion diced, I used 2 leeks diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced, I used 1 orange bell pepper diced
2 tomatoes, diced
2-6 cloves garlic, diced, I love garlic so I always add tons more than the recipe asks for
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garam masala, any other Indian curry blend
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or any other healthy oil

Drizzle EVOO twice around heavy Dutch oven pot.
Sweat out onion, carrot and celery for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add lentils and spices. Add stock, bring to a boil.

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Lower heat. Simmer for 20-35 minutes, covered,until lentils are open. Stir occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated. If you like al dente lentils, keep an eye on them after 20 minutes.

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Your home should be smelling very yummy at this point. If you are anything like me, you will not be able to wait until dinner. I just had to have a bowl for breakfast.

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I’ve also been busy deep cleaning all closets and cupboards. Ill be posting a few things on ebay and hopefully making some spending $$ for my trip to Peru, which is right around the corner! More on that next week. Until then, make some happenings!

Earth Day is Everyday

Can you believe it’s almost May!
Seriously where does the time go? I feel as if I haven’t really made the best of the year yet.

I have been spending the mornings before work weeding, planting and watering. The birds are out and the dachshunds are begging for some overgrown kale. Its peaceful. It helps set the tone of the day.

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Last week I had a migraine for days. I admit I am a huge baby when it comes to headaches. Chop my finger off I’m ok, but a headache? I just can’t cope. I felt exhausted by Friday.Saturday night we celebrated my moms birthday at one of our favorite restaurants. I ate a spinach salad and later that night I had a huge allergy attack. I just can’t be sure of ever eating out I suppose. Whenever I have an attack, the next day I’m fatigued and my stomach is sore. I drink fluids but I stay away from eating for most of the day. I know it’s not healthy but really it allows my gut to rest.

This week I have given up eating out, at all costs. I have focused on eating raw. It’s been somewhat of an easy adjustment. By Tuesday I was making green smoothies with my kale. Amazingly, I have had consistent energy throughout the day too. I do make sure I eat breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack and a light dinner.

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For this smoothie, I whirled in my blender…a cup of frozen berries
1 inch of ginger
Large sprig of fresh parsley and cilantro
Half banana
Cup of fresh pineapple
Handful of fresh kale
I looked at different recipes online however all used juice or yogurt. I used 1/2 cup of water instead. I wanted the smoothie to be light and not too sweet.

For this smoothie…
Half peeled chopped cucumber
1 inch ginger
Sprig of parsley and cilantro
I also added fresh lemon verbena because I grow it…
Handful of kale
Half of banana
1/2 cup liquid, I used H2O
Squeeze lime to taste

Experiment with what’s on hand. I almost added a jalapeรฑo to the green smoothie but refrained. Maybe for tomorrow’s breakfast…try different combinations and favors. Have fun with it!

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I put tomatoes and marigolds in the ground this week too. The weather in the Bay Area has been between 72-85 degrees. It’s been lovely really.
I used one compost bin worth of freshly grown dirt. It smells great and full of red wrigglers too!
The tomatoes will love the richly nutrient compost I’m sure!

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These small actions of growing my own food, and eating clean makes me feel good about my life. It’s easy to plant lettuce in pots or even a tomato plant. If everyone grew something they ate, they would feel better mentally, eat healthier and be happier. I’m on my way to a healthier lifestyle and a more happier life too.

New Chapter take 2

I began this entry on April 16 and finally got around to finishing today…
Yesterday morning I had fresh thoughts of a new entry. My husband began his internship at the hospital yesterday. It is quite a change from the white collar office job he had for the past 10 years, but strangely as we get wiser, happiness is the goal in life. And working in an office just wasn’t doing that for him anymore. He wanted to help people, make a difference and be happy. He definitely is happier now ๐Ÿ™‚

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On a gardening note, I invited a couple friends over last weekend to enjoy the celebration of my husbands new job. I have been holding out on pulling beets and carrots until the perfect occasion. Although the temptation was strong to pull at times, I’m happy I waited. The veggies were beautiful and tasted amazing after being roasted with garlic, and new potatoes.

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I also pulled out all the arugula that went to seed the past couple weeks. They grew 6 feet tall! Amazing and at this size…BITTER and SPICY!

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Happy Monday everyone! Here’s a little love(ly) rose to start your week off positive…stop and smell the roses…

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No. 25

I can hardly believe this is entry 25! The past few months have really flown by filled with emotions, happiness, sadness and with life lessons along the way.
This is me doing the the celebratory No.25 dance…

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Jazz hands in full effect…
As for the ‘costume’ it’s from one of my recitals from 35 years ago. So if you are wondering, yes I am a packrat. I was trying to organize my craft closet when I saw the neon hot pink ensemble and had to share it with you guys!

The past few weeks have been really great…Spring has sprung in the Bay Area. It caught me by surprise. I was just feeling the blah ness of Winter in full effect when I woke up to sunshine and a bird orgy outside my window. Literally hundreds of robins, larks and finches in one tree having a blast! So if that’s not a sign of spring in suburbia I don’t know nothing!

My winter garden keeps producing, there’s enough kale to feed the dachshunds, in laws and us, along with the beets and carrots ready to be pulled, although I am secretly treasuring their snugness in the soil.

I started my seeds a couple of weeks ago. This year I will only grow limited amounts of veggies as I typically go overboard by wanting 15 types of heirloom tomatoes and overcrowding prevents me from enjoying the bounty. I will plant tomatillos, 3 types of organic, heirlooms, zukes and 2 types of cucumbers.

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I am still bent on building a chicken coop and raising some chicks for eggs and companionship.
I came across a great sounding pickled egg recipe for Bantham eggs the other day. Bantham chickens are a bit smaller and their eggs are perfectly single sized.

My IBS has been controlled the past two weeks and I haven’t had much upset. I really have been eating only at home with clean simple tasty meals.
While I still have cravings of bread, crackers etc. I know eating any thing with gluten just is not worth the gut ache. I continue to make pots of homemade broth weekly. That seems to anchor my diet and makes me feel normal.
Last weekend I ran the Oakland Team Relay. The weather was perfect, I ran the hardest part of the marathon, uphill for 5 miles, and sustained my energy throughout. I even ran an extra 2 miles afterward! I was so careful and mindful the entire week before about what I was putting in my body. Such diligence really paid off as I ran my best pace ever!
Here’s a pic of me with my newest addition to my medal collection!

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So life is going, which is a good thing!
Happy Spring everyone!

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Humdinger of a Day or Happy Last Day of Winter

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Howie left ,Joey right

I was looking forward to my day off. My husband and I planned on getting chores done and preparing for our sons visit back home next week for Spring Break. Today began with a serious of routine doctors appointments. I had not had an annual in a few years and my husband had to follow up on his vaccinations for his new job. After my appointment I met my husband in the waiting room who surprisingly was being taken care of by two nurses checking his vitals and serving him apple juice. After being poked he stood up, felt light headed and almost blacked out. After two hours of being monitored by nurses and his doctor he was released since he felt a bit better. I drove home and we were greeted by our 2 darling dachshunds Joey and Howie. Well actually one was sick as a dog. There were piles of vomit everywhere. Once we realized which one it was, we cleaned up the mess and took Joey outside for some fresh air. He continued to get sick from both ends. This alarmed us because Joey has had some health issues and been on medicine for an autoimmune disease the past year. He was lethargic. Not his chipper self.
The disease attacks the good blood cells in the joints causing severe arthritis. We are fortunate that we live close enough to UCDavis who treats Joey for the disease.
We took Joey to the emergency where he was admitted right away. The vet determined it was just a bacteria infection. Phew! No relapse of his autoimmune disease!

We all went back home. I felt exhausted. Do you ever think your day is going to be one way and turns out to be a humdinger? Today definitely was that day.
After 6 hours of various medical attention and advice, there was only one thing that I know would make us feel better. For the dogs, warm rice and for the humans, homemade chicken soup.
Lately with my IBS attacks, I make a big pot of homemade chicken stock to use for our weekly meals. It helps keep my gut happy and healthy.

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Gluten Free Chicken Soup

As I relax tonight I am grateful that the day went the way it did. It made me think how life is short. I shouldn’t take my health for granted or my family’s for that matter.

When I checked the mail today I received a package from Juniper Moon Farms.It was my Fall 2012 shares. Perfect timing, on the last day of Winter.

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My shares are from these sweet sheep ๐Ÿ™‚