Its May already

I can’t believe that it is May already! I hardly posted last month (April) at all! This is directly related to the fact that I’m depressed, and when I’m depressed I just don’t feel like cooking/baking. Of course I did cook/bake but only because I had to feed myself, there was no joy in my kitchen. I’m still miserable and I relate this directly back to my horrible job. Its getting worse and worse every day, and they have broken my code of ethical conduct. I must get another job because I cannot remain with a company that treats their employees like crap and breaks my ethical boundaries soley for the love of money. Unfortunately summer (and a recession) are approaching and I fear it will take more time than I would like to get a new job. So I’m stuck in a rut with no way out (I really need money, especially this month)! I wish people would stop getting married and having christenings and birthdays all in the same month. Spread them throughout the year a little would ya! We’re looking at over $1000 in gifts alone this month, not to mention new clothes (I’ve gotten wider, he’s gotten thinner) and a vet visit (my poor Miles had an abscess on his back we didn’t know about and it suddenly burst around midnight on Friday! We had to take him to the emergency vet clinic on Friday, that cost $250. I love my Miles and there is always money to be found for my kitties. That is what savings are for!).

So why am I writing now? First of all I wanted to make sure I try to write more this month, maybe if I force myself I won’t feel so down. I know I love to cook/bake, so if I force myself to blog I might actually start enjoying the kitchen. I really need enjoyment.

Secondly, I need some advice. How do you tell family members (his family, not mine) that going out of their way to make food for me specifically for their baby’s Baptism party makes me very uncomfortable, and at the same time angry? Never mind the fact that I think its a disgrace to serve guests frozen lasagna and store bought cake (that is their planned menu) but to go ahead and insist on making me something special for me, even though I insist that I don’t want special treatment is crazy. You’re not making anybody else anything special (frozen lasagna is very much not special), so why me? Plus they don’t know what their doing! They actually asked me if pasta contained gluten. Pasta! What do you think pasta is made with, cheese, bacon, oranges!? I fear they are going to make me something that I have to refuse, and to have somebody go out of their way to make me something specific and then not eat it is beyond rude, but there is nothing I can do about that! I have to risk being rude in order to prevent poisoning myself. I’ve already offered (more than once) and Brett has already offered (more than once) and Brett’s mother has already offered (more than once) to make food for the party. Now, Brett’s mother can’t cook worth a damn, and I’m likely to get food poisoning of another sort from her cooking, but the point is that Brett’s sister-in-law refuses to let us bring anything and insists on making something special for me while serving processed crap to the other guests. AND she doesn’t know the first thing about celiac disease, even though we’ve told her I seriously think she belives that this disease is just an allergy! I sent Brett a bunch of pdf’s regarding the celiac diet to forward to his brother in the hopes that his brother and his wife realize how serious a problem gluten can be and realize that you can’t just open a cheap can of pasta sauce and pour it on rice pasta and assume I won’t get sick.

I am seriously considering not going to the christening. First of all I’m atheist and find going to church and pretending to believe in god just so that his family won’t discover that neither of us are Christian is very uncomfortable. I don’t have any problem with people practising the religion they choose, it is their choice, everyone must do what they feel is right for them, but nobody (at least his family) seems to want to give us the right to not believe. Still, I have dealt with this in the past and the religious aspect is only a small part of the problem. The real issue is that the dinner situation makes me so very upset. All I could do last night was think about it, and think about ways to actually tell them no. I already have, but they just won’t listen! I don’t know why she won’t let me at least bring homemade Cesar salad or dessert. I have a garden full of yummy lettuce just waiting to be eaten! I have no problem sharing my garden. I love to share my garden!

Anyway, I better not continue rambling, its making me upset. Any suggestions/comments let me know. I’m at a loss about what to do at the moment.

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Horrible

I had such high hopes of updating my blog at least every other day. Instead I’ve had two horrible, horrible weeks from hell which was topped off this morning with a doctor’s appointment.

I’m too tired, cranky and upset to go into details at the moment. But rest assured the blog is still here, its just tired cranky and too upset to bake. Via la chocolate bars and pre-packaged comfort food.

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Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Muffins, gluten-free

editedpumpkin and sunflower seed muffins 015Today I decided to create a pumpkin muffin recipe. In the fall I had purchased some quite lovely pie pumpkins. I roasted them and froze them in the freezer ready to use in a recipe. I’m sure you can used canned pumpkin puree as well, really its the same thing, I just like to do things the hard way. I didn’t have any walnuts, and I thought that chocolate chips were a little too sweet for muffins so I used sunflower seeds to give the muffins a bit of crunch.

Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup of your favourite gluten-free flour mix
  • 1 tsp gf baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp gf baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (you can omit these or add walnuts or dried fruit, I’m sure cranberries would be amazing!)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C) and grease a 12 cup muffin pan. Alternatively you can use muffin cups.
  2. Mix together all of the dried ingredients (NB: the sugar is not a dry ingredient), set aside
  3. Beat the butter until smooth and white (4 minutes or so), add the sugar and cream until fluffy. Then add both eggs, continue to beat until the mixture is nice and uniform. Mix in the pumpkin puree until well blended, if using homemade make sure you do not have any pumpkin lumps.
  4. Blend the dry ingredients and wet ingredients. This will be a very thick mixture! If using a hand mixer, be careful not to burn it out the motor!
  5. Fold in sunflower seeds.
  6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Make sure they are done by inserting a toothpick in the top of the muffin. If the toothpick comes out clean then the muffins are done, if there is goo stuck to the toothpick continue to bake for a few more minutes and then check again.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the muffin tin. Failure to do this will result in damaged muffins.
  8. ENJOY!

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Carrot and Parsnip Soup, Gluten-free, Vegan

carrot and parsnip soup During a recent grocery trip, I saw the most lovely parsnips out on display. This led to an impulse purchase of 3 huge parsnips. When I arrived at home I was at a loss — what do I do with parsnips? Normally I only put them in my vegetable stock, but this seemed a waste. I remembered an old recipe for a roasted carrot soup I occasionally make — I decided to improvise and use parsnips and carrots in the soup! The result was delicious! Its a thick, heavy but healthy vegan soup. Some of you may not want soup as its spring, but there is still snow everywhere here, so this hearty meal is still just wonderful!

Carrot and Parsnip soup with Coriander Seed and Thyme

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs (450g) carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1.5 lbs (680 g) parsnips, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 large Spanish onion, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups water

Directions:

  1. Put the parsnips, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, coriander, pepper salt and oil into a large bowl. Stir until the vegetables are evenly coated in oil.
  2. Roast in an oven set to 400F (205C) for 45 minutes. Stir the vegetables a few times during this period.
  3. Put roasted veggies in a large pot, add water, using a hand held stick blender puree the vegetables. You can also use a blender or food processor.
  4. Serve immediately or keep warm on stove by keeping a burner on low. Be careful not to let the soup boil as it is thick and it will bubble up like lava and splash all over the kitchen. If you look at my kitchen ceiling fan you will know that it gets height.

VOILA! Enjoy! I served mine with a few slices of Glutino cheese bread. I would have preferred homemade, but I was too lazy to make a loaf. Speaking of lazy, I must now go clean my kitchen ceiling fan. I’m not going to enjoy this task.

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I broke my blog!

I managed to break my blog layout somehow. It might happen again, I’m in the midst of updating the css. Finally I have time to do things! I’m on night shift this week so I have the whole day to update css, cook, bake, read journal articles and post recipes. So get ready for a flood of new gluten-free things! And I apologize that the site may look like crud for awhile. I’m not a great css-er.

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Where am I and why am I not writing?

So, why haven’t I updated my blog regularly this month?

Good question, and the answer is: I have been sick. First with some sort of cold, then with some sort of virus, and this week I was glutinated by something. I don’t know what. When I’m sick I don’t write coherently, and I don’t want to cook or take photos of my food. I’m just grumpy and you don’t want to be anywhere near me!

Previously I mentioned that I didn’t get intestinal distress from gluten, just the rash. Well, apparently being gluten-free for the last while has changed that fact. Not only did my stomach revolt but I had a severe, severe, severe headache for 2 days straight (you try using a microscope and counting chromosome aberrations all day long with a headache. Its not pleasant).

Now that my stomach is better, the dermatitis herpetiformis has again erupted with gusto all over my elbows, knees, scalp, back of the neck and in the scar I have on my right cheek. I’ve had to wrap my elbows in bandages just so I cannot scratch because my new insane short term goal in life is to scratch off all 30 layers of dead cells on my elbows and destroy the underlying basal lamina. Will this result in permanent scarring? Hell yeah, but at least I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I stuck it to the man! Or rather, my elbows. My knees are also itchy, but since it snowed AGAIN last night I will be wearing jeans again today, and its really hard to scratch knees while wearing jeans. I am going to work, and I should maintain some sort of decency. Plus its a biology lab, and not wearing pants in a little dangerous.

And no, I don’t know what I ate. This makes the whole situation even worse.

Any road, as previously mentioned it snowed again last night. So I must go clean off my car and get to work. Hopefully I won’t feel like mud and I’ll be back to the kitchen soon. I’m getting a little tired of Lara bars. But not the cherry pie Lara Bar *bliss*.

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Gluten-free shampoo

When I was diagnosed with Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) I immediately looked up the ingredients in all of my health care products (soap, shampoos etc) in order to determine if they contained any gluten containing products. I had to change my soap and my moisturizer but my other regularly used personal hygiene products were gluten-free! Hurrah!

Getting rid of the gluten-filled products and eliminating gluten from my diet vanquished the DH on my knees, elbows and face, but the DH on my scalp continued to worsen. Last week I had had enough and once again looked up the ingredients in my shampoo and conditioner. Low and behold those a**holes had decided to change the formula of my favourite shampoo and conditioner to include a wonderful gluten-filled thickening agent.

So I switched to Dove, which is supposedly gluten-free (I hope).

But Dove doesn’t keep my hair in check. The frizz free formula makes my hair frizz like there is no tomorrow (I have hair that is wavy to curly, it never does just one, parts of my head will be really curly, and others will just be limp and straight). I’ve had a really, really big afro all week. Its horrible. My hair is nice and clean and soft but POOF!

If any of you know a gluten-free shampoo that actually gets rid of frizz please let me know. I can’t take my hair being this big. I wish it were the 80s, I’d be so cool.

Please see this photo: http://www.nirvanix.org/hair80s.jpg

That is what my hair looks like AFTER I try to straighten. Maybe I should just cut it all off.

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