Monday, November 23, 2009

My assistant showing my remedial sewing skills. Getting better!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scarf Tales from the Craft Den

Pins are in! It is 11:30PM and I have 7 left to pin. Hubs should be home soon, I think I am done for the night!

The Joy's Hope Scarf Along Challenge

I am in this thing for real!

I'm doing the "Scarf Along" Challenge to help me get over the fact that I am afraid of my sewing machine.

I love my sewing machine, but I am so uncomfortable and afraid of making mistakes.

Julie @ Joy's Hope is changing this for me.

I cut my fabrics! I gave the dog an elk antler to keep her busy, next comes sewing....... eek!

Laboratory Farming

This is what scientists do at lunch when their minds wander. Welcome to the Lab Avocado Farm!

What am I up to?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I heart the farmers market!

Summer was quite interesting here at Casa Allergic
I had a back injury and was not working.
Money was a little tight, we got a new puppy and I was rehabbing my injury.
I started to look for ways to save money and help myself get better.
My puppy needed to socialize.
I found a solution to it all!

The local farmers market

The dog got to meet people and learn how to behave in public
I got to walk around and re-learn movement
I found fabulous produce, saved money and supported local agriculture

Seek one out in your neighborhood!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recipe: Tuna Pasta Salad

I work full time
I get home from work around 6pm, sometimes as late as 10pm
I'm starving when I get home and I'm not great at planning/cooking ahead
One of my favorite go-to meals is pasta salad

So us allergic folks have to get a little creative

Most imporant is noodles!!
I have found my favorite:
Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta
I love this stuff, it is a corn/quinoa blend
Even non-allergic "hates all my hippy food" hubby loves it!

Here is my "recipe"
(I don't measure, it drives people crazy but I just can't do it, too much work)

Tuna Pasta Salad:

Pasta noodles, boiled
Mixed veggies, cooked
Mayo of some type ( I love the new olive oil mayo)
Tuna ( I prefer chunk light)

Mix things together, it's super tasty if you can remember to make it in the morning so the flavors can mingle
It's not pretty but it sure is tasty!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Frugal Product Review - Nellie's Dryerballs

I happened across these at my local ALDI on the clearance rack for $4. You just pop them in the dryer with your clothing and they claim to soften, reduce drying time, and reduce lint and wrinkles.
I do try to line dry when possible, but usually just towels and things. I find line drying makes clothes very stiff, so I have to tumble them to soften them. Some days we have time, some days they go right in the dryer. Maybe we can make the clothes dyer just a little bit "greener."

The verdict:
I am somewhat undecided about the effectiveness of this product. I do think it is helping with drying time, I'm not sure about any of the other claims. Because I got them on clearance, I think it was a good buy, I'm just not too sure I would pay full price

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Frugal Finds: Oriental Grocery Store

Gluten free and frugal?

It is possible!

Soon after your diagnosis you will go shopping.

You will gasp at prices, you will nearly faint at the health food store.

You'll cry when something you bake falls apart, and you add up the cost.

How on earth is a frugalista supposed to be gluten free and fabulous?

Meet your local Oriental grocery store.

Hunt around; its in your town somewhere

Why is it worth the hunt?

White rice flour from the health food store is usually $5 a bag

At my local Oriental store - $1.19 a bag

Soak that in people, that's huge!

I also found tapioca starch for about a $1 a bag, and rice noodles for about $1.50

Hunt and search for an Oriental store, Mine is tiny but packed to the gills with amazing finds.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Ice Cream Cones

Dole whip and Gluten free ice cream cones

Don't you love summertime? It's fun to reminisce about all the fun things we used to do as kids. I lived 1/2 mile from the local Dairy Queen, it was such a treat to ride our bikes as a family up there and get ice cream cones.

Then came the allergies...

Gluten free and dairy free people need love too!

Meet your new love, the dole whip ice cream cone

Fist thing first, the cone

Goldbaum's gluten free ice cream cones:

These things are great, I have not had a cone in many many years, but it is exactly what I remembered!! They can get a bit drippy if you take too long to eat. I savor every bite!!

Next, Dole Whip.

Now, this is gluten free but its not 100% dairy free. I've been dealing with my allergy for many years, so I know what I can handle. I can have tiny amounts of casein, but not whey.

I'm very lucky in that there is an ice cream shop about 6 miles from my house that sells Dole Whip. Call around, bug your local parlor until they start selling it!! It comes in many flavors, the favorite in my family is Pineapple.

It's my own personal trip back to Hawaii every time I eat it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cooking with Bette - Cream Soup and Biscuit Mix

Cooking with Bette Hagman

Don't look here for Bette Hagman's recipes. go buy her book "Gluten Free Gourmet"
I'm too cheap to buy anything and I bought this book.
You will make every single thing in this book.

I will post from time to time tips and tricks for following her recipes.

Cream Soup Base:

I got my neat glass containers at IKEA, $2.99 and $3.99 depending on the size
To make my cream soup base dairy free I used store brand soy-based infant formula. Seems odd but it works!

Biscuit Mix:
I used the infant formula again and the tool you need to make this is a pastry cutter.
You will thank me.
Keep cutting the shortening until you just have a crumbly mix, not globs.
Make sure you store this in the fridge!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Baking - Hamburger Buns- gluten free/dairy free

Every gluten free guy or gal usually starts out the summer with the bun less hamburger. A good ole meat patty perhaps wrapped in some lettuce, cut with a knife, eaten with a fork.

No more my friends!
We must stand up and fight this!
We deserve a hamburger bun!

So, as with everything else in our world; we take to the kitchen.

Meet your new friend, Kinni-Kwik:

All you do is mix this stuff with milk (or soy, rice, almond, hemp milk for the no moo-juices folks like me) and then bake in whatever format you need.

I needed hamburger buns so I looked around to see what I could use:

Ramekins! What are these things for anyways? We all have them, and I don't know one person who makes Crème Brule anyways.

So you bake according to the instructions on the back and this is what you get!

They taste somewhere between a bun and a biscuit.

Now what on earth can I use to bake hot dog buns??

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Container Gardening

This year was my first year "gardening." Because our yard is beautifully shaded by huge trees, its not so good for growing things. I decided since my front porch is the only place that gets any sun, I would try out container gardening. We arbitrarily picked out seeds that sounded tasty, next year I'll put a lot more thought into it.

We did lettuce:

It's in a big "pedestal" planter, covered in netting to keep my crazy squirrels and bunnies.

Seriously, they are nuts.

Next was bell peppers:

Yes it is growing in an upside down Mt. Dew bottle. I like the idea of those upside down tomato planters, but I'm too cheap so I made my own!

Lastly is the dying peas:

I forgot to take a picture before they started dying back. Very tasty but you have to grow a million plants to get enough to make a dish. Not on the plan for next year.

Watering your garden can be a pain since my hose is in the back yard, so I needed a watering can. Again, we are frugal and we like to recycle so here is what used to be an orange juice bottle we pulled from the recycling bin:

Hubby just drilled some holes in the top and it works perfect! It's the perfect size too, water is heavy and I'm not supposed to lift heavy stuff.

All in all I'm happy with my first foray into gardening. I'm amazed every day that I can eat something that started as a little packet of seeds! It's been very frugal for us, seeds don't cost much, and we either used pots we had lying around or re purposed things from the recycling bin!

Next project on hubby's list is to make a rain barrel, Can't wait!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Product review - Trader Joe's Gluten Free Brownie Mix

mmmm, brownies

In the old days of evil wheat flour, I loved to make scratch brownies. My gluten free scratch baking attempts are still in the learning phase. So whats an allergic scientist to do?


Ahh yes, the insanely expensive gluten free mixes. So when I spied this baby at Trader Joe's I had to get it, gotta love their prices!

I added chocolate chips to the batter, and used all applesauce instead of oil.

seriously delish!

Hubby ate several, and he hates gluten free food

Gluten Free Boy loved them as well; I brownie bribed him to get him to help me out with some gardening

I ate a lot...

...worth every calorie!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I got married, and then I broke myself

I'm married!
We got married May 16 in Frankenmuth, Michigan. It was beautiful and everything I could have ever hoped for.But Kel, what did you eat?
Let's start with the night before the wedding. Uno Chicago Grill @ Birch Run.
What's an allergic scientist to eat at a pizza joint?
Freaking Pizza!!!!
It's a gluten free dairy free pizza that I did not have to make myself
I almost cried.
It was fan-freaking-tastic
I ate the leftovers in our hot tub in the honeymoon suite, seriously.

The next day was the big day!
The Bavarian Inn at Frankenmuth is awesome, their head baker has Celiac, so they cater to us allergic folks! So, I got to eat an actual meal at my weddingIt was fish, it was really really good.
Especially with a glass of German Riesling

So when I got diagnosed, I realized I would not be able to eat wedding cake, cut the cake, take silly pictures etc.
Oh no my friends, remember the aforementioned Celiac baker at the Bavarian Inn??
That right there is heaven, aka Gluten Free Black Forest cake. The whole thing
I almost cried for this one too, it was so amazing.
The few remaining slices were split between gluten free boy (A friends teenage son who has Celiac disease and is my gluten free taste tester) and myself
I may have eaten leftovers in the hot tub

So did I mention I broke myself?
I managed to herniate a disk in my back
It's very painful, physical therapy is hard
But all that matters is that there is some progress
Gotta get back in the kitchen and make some good food!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gluten/Dairy Free Finds and Reviews

What's left to eat?

I just ordered 12 lbs of Pamela's Products Amazing Bread Mix because its so good I could weep.

I bought more Glutino Lemon wafer cookies last night, they taste like the normal wafer cookies I ate as a kid.

K-toos - not very good by themselves. They leave a weird aftertaste that I am still trying to figure out. I'll name it the Icky Gluten Free Taste. Not at fan of the IGFT. I still hold out hope for a purpose for these cookies, I miss my Oreo substitutes, Joe-Joe's from Trader Joes!

Glutino Multigrain crackers - Too savory! I'm not a huge fan of lots of herbs and seeds in my crackers, these have a LOT. Very good crunch, I just want them to be bland crackers to eat topped with tuna or peanut butter etc.

Envirokidz Cereals - so far so good! I bought one of each flavor, so far The koala rice krispie imitations are awesome, chocolate flavored even! Today I had Panda puffs, reminds me of Kix!

Lunch every day
I live for my lunches! I have a sammy with homemade bread, olive oil mayo, fresh cracked black pepper (yes we keep a pepper grinder at work) some turkey lunchmeat and sky high grean leaf lettuce. I also have an apple, grapes, carrots with hummus and some sort of snacky cookie like thing

More to come on dinners!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gluten free??

I shall now be known as the gluten free scientist. Actually, the dairy free, gluten free scientist.

After MANY trials and tribulations with my health, my neurologist of all people recognized that I may have an intolerance to gluten. So I've been gluten free for a week now, with some occasional "oops, I didn't read that label good enough."

I'm feeling better. Not great yet, but better. I kind of didn't want this to be the answer, like what is left to eat??? But I'm doing good, granted I have spent about $300 in a week on food and supplements, but I like to eat!

So here's the plan according to the doc (who spent over an hour in the room with me and I seriously love, she made me feel normal when everybody else made me feel crazy!)
  1. maintain my dairy free diet
  2. additionally, go gluten free
  3. drink copious amounts of water
  4. take 4 prescription fish oil pills every day (they are good, no fishy burps!)
  5. take B-12 supplement
  6. take Histidine supplement (its an amino acid)

So that is in addition to my heart medicine, and my vitamins and as healthy a diet as is still available to me!

I've done a lot of cooking/baking/eating

Verdicts so far:
Bob's Red Mill GF Flour (all purpose) not for making cookies!!!! It's very "beany" the aftertaste is the strangest thing EVER

Pamela's Products GF bread mix is heaven sent!! I made it in my bread machine today, Oh Pamela, I love thee!

Glutino Flax bread, in the freezer at Hiller's - decent, like dry multigrain bread, good with a nice dollop of mayo, black pepper, turkey and an insane amount of lettuce. Would make a terrible PB &J tho

More to come, this scientist needs to go to bed, busy day in the lab tomorrow!

finding my own little place in this world, making it my own