Tag Archives: gluten-free

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? 🙂
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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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 🙂

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 jalapeño 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.

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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Reality Checking

This week was a reality check for me. I must figure out my health issues. I experienced extreme mood swings, insomnia, too many bathroom check ins to count and even some crying when on…
My doctor must have accepted a billion new patients in the New Year so getting in to see him is like playing the lottery.
The constant positivity that helped me this week was from my husband Ron and from the Great Outdoors. When I felt my lowest and most frustrated a walk at nearby Lake Chabot seemed to make my worries go away. It’s a man made lake that is a hidden treasure in my opinion. The dam was built around the 1900s. There’s oak, manzanita, eucalyptus and redwood tres nestled within valleys and canyons full of towering California Laurel. It’s heaven to me. Today my husband and I were up early to try a trail run that goes around the 14 mile lake.
We set off and began our adventure. As we hit mile 6 we found ourselves in a new world filled with various kinds of fern, turkey tail mushrooms and blooming columbine. We felt so far removed from the world, surrounded by nature. I felt alive and good.
My husband and I began running half marathons a few years ago. We usually train on road, around city streets. So trying this trail was exciting for us as it was something a little different. The trail was not paved, consisted of dirt and rocks, branches and lots of poison oak. One thing that struck us as different were the attitudes of each trail runner we encountered. Typically, my husband and I always say hello to walkers and runners on our normal routes when we are out. Most people reply back, some look the other way and some pretend they don’t see or hear us.
Today on the trail, the runners were exuberant! Happy to see us and share what a beautiful day it was! This was the experience as we passed every trail runner! It was great! This motivated us to run further and share with other trail runners the enthusiasm we also had for such a beautiful day.
It created a steady stream of goodness for the rest of our run.

Here a a few pictures I took on our run. If you are ever in the Bay Area, check Lake Chabot and other East Bay Parks out. They are seriously good for the soul. 😀
Have a great week!

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When the going gets tough the tough gets cooking…

I heard on the radio today that the third Monday in January is called Blue Mondayhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2265639/Most-depressing-day-year-Feeling-Blame-Blue-Monday-2013.html. Often people are low because the holidays are past. Resolutions have been made and not being practiced…etc…So if you are feeling a little low today it’s alright, everyone knows… It will be better tomorrow.

Here’s a sweet little posy I picked from my yard today…

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I did some gardening today. We are getting ready to add lavender and white sage to our plot. My husband dug out a narly root. The sun was out, the dogs mowed down the kale patch. Yes my dogs love kale and arugula! Crazy dachshunds!

I admit I was felling a little blue at times today but cooking really changes my mental state. Maybe it’s the act of creating something nourishing. The smells from browning sausage permeate throughout the house…mmm…I follow a great blog called Tartlette.
Being gluten free, I do need to be careful following some recipes, however Tarlette is great inspiration to me. And I make recipes up too. There are sweet and savory recipes on Tartlette. Check it out. I’m making Ratatouille tonight.
Heres the recipehttp://www.tarteletteblog.com/2009/03/recipe-ratatouille-in-kitchen-with-mom.html?m=1

Over gluten free penne, it’s divine!
Also on the back burner , literally is a sausage, mushroom, pesto sauce which I’ll serve over penne as well, that I just made up, I used my favorite prepared pesto. Here’s how it’s done…
Brown 1 lb Italian sausage, I used hot
Drain fat, sauté sliced mushrooms, 1cup
Boil and drain 1lb pasta
Combine pesto, mushrooms and sausage. Sprinkle cheese if you want.
Eat up!

Have a great week friends!
My pups felt a little blue too today:-)

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Ratatouille stewing…