Showing posts with label Food Allergies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food Allergies. Show all posts


Gluten-Free Circle

A special thanks to Mashup Mom for the heads up on this one.

Gluten-Free Circle has a section where you can sign up to receive free products or coupons. I just signed up myself so I can't give a personal recommendation on whether this is genuine or not. It was worth a shot for me, though. If interested, go directly to the sign-up page to find more info & sign up!

If you have had personal experience with this organization (good or bad) I'd love to hear it! If you sign up & receive anything, please let me know so I can verify with my readers that they are legit!


The Sand Pool

If you've known me for long on Twitter, Facebook, or my old blog site, then you've heard me mention the "sand pool" more than a time or two.

It's easy to tell someone that our "sand pool" is just that: A pool...filled with sand. It just doesn't quite sink in, though, until you see it first-hand. It's at that point that you realize I'm not talking about a tiny kid's pool filled with sand. I'm talking about a giant, L-shaped pool that is 12 feet deep at it's deepest point, and is filled with sand.

It has taken us 2 summers to get this "pool" to where it is today. When we first acquired it, it was full of not only sand and rocks, but weeds...and LOTS of them! The weeds, combined with many, many sprouts of maple trees (thanks to "helicopter" seeds that are in over-abundance here) left this "pool" anything but fertile for growing anything "normal".

With the kind help of a neighbor and many new tools I didn't even know existed, we pulled, we dug, we plowed, we made it look pretty. After doing so for two summers, we have finally seen the fruits of our labor. This year, we had very little of the weeds and maple. We were finally just dealing with a sand pool with some rocks on the top.

What next? We really wanted a garden, but the entire rest of the back "yard" was concrete. Literally. All of it.

That left us a couple of flower beds and some pots in the front yard to grow in. The local rabbits would have been quite pleased had we chosen this option. (We did use pots for some snow peas and carrots and a show-down with the rabbits about left us having rabbit stew for dinner!)

After much research over two years, we decided to build a square foot garden...ON the sand pool!

I've got tons of pictures and fantastic fruits, veggies, berries, and herbs growing.

For now, have a look at what we started with (Ignore the green on the sides. The houses on either side of us BOTH went into foreclosure. To say there is overgrowth is an understatement. I've done all I can on my side. I'll be going over to the other side to try and fix the problem spots within the next couple of weeks.) Enjoy!



'Poo Free?

Nope. I’m not talking about baby poo. I will be in a bit, though. I’m talking about the other ‘poo; known to most as “shampoo”. If you’re familiar with the “movement” then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, let me explain.

There are a group of people throughout our country (world?) who are going ‘poo free, or no longer using shampoo to wash their hair. No. I’m not kidding. Yes. There are really people like this. No. These people are NOT crazy. Okay, maybe some of us are, but we were that way well before we went no ‘poo.

Yes. I said “us”. I am now, officially, in the “no ‘poo” category. I’ll give you a minute. I’ll even say it for you. EEEWWWWWW. All better? Let me explain further. I have a husband who is OCD. One of the things he is OCD about is cleanliness. If I did not look or smell clean being ‘poo free then he would not allow me to continue; if he had to tie me down and shampoo my hair himself. Instead? He’s considering ‘poo free as well.

There are some people who literally use nothing to wash their hair. This article talks a little about that method. I use a different method currently. (I say currently because I’m still in the “detox” period that they talk about.) My method may change.
I currently use baking soda followed by a mix of apple cider vinegar/”regular” vinegar/water. Those with dry hair use all ACV. Those, like me, with oilier hair use either a mix as I do, just straight vinegar, or no vinegar of any kind. I’ve recently been reading about those who have oily hair using lemon juice as a rinse instead of a vinegar of some sort. I’m considering trying that.

I also now use only a 100% boar’s hair brush. Mine is round, but there is a “regular” shaped one too. I brush in the morning upon waking, just before stepping into the shower, & just before I go to bed. This helps distribute the oil properly & gets dirt out of my hair. I also wash my brush every 2 weeks with baking soda & vinegar.

They say that there is typically a 6-8 week period of “detox”; especially for those with oily hair. (That would be me!) I have been remarkably surprised, though. My hair has not been near as greasy as I feared. Before, I would have to wash my hair every other day or I would have so much oil I could do an oil change on our car…and the neighbor’s. I still shower daily, but only wash my hair every 3 days. I know…again you’re thinking, “EEWWW GROSS”! Really. It’s not. Like I said, if it were, my husband would personally shampoo my hair! If I don’t tell you, you cannot tell any difference between my hair now and my hair before.

There are some who only wash with the baking soda once a week or once every 2 weeks. Like I said, I’m not there yet. Don’t know if I’ll ever be. Right now, I’m happy with where I am almost a month into going ‘poo free.

I plan on giving another update after getting fully past the detox period. I’m curious if I’ll see more of a change in my hair or not (for the better). Look for an update in a couple of months.

What are your thoughts? Would you ever go ‘poo free? Would you ever even think about it? Are you going to stop reading my blog because you think I’m gross? Isn't this a delightful idea? Think of all the money you'll save!




There are times when change comes to your life. Sometimes you plan for that change. Other times, that change happens upon you unexpectedly.

This week, our family has experienced quite a bit of change.

As you’ll see this coming week, all of us girls changed our hair. We had talked about doing what we did on many occasions. Wednesday, however, was the day we took the plunge. We did it for a good cause. I’m excited to tell you more about that this week…with pictures!

This week we’ve also decided to make a change to our kid’s bedrooms. We have been looking at trying to make this change for some time, but had not yet been successful. We pick up the biggest part of the change on Sunday. The kids are really excited. I’m excited to tell you more about it & show you some pictures this coming week.

We’ve also been making some changes in how we live our lives. Our oldest is gluten-intolerant, but can tolerate spelt. For years, we’ve been buying spelt flour in 25lb or 50lb quantities to save money. Sometimes, we’d find someone to split our order with. Other times, it was all ours. The problem with spelt, unlike wheat, is that it goes bad quickly. We’d fill up our freezer with glass gallon jars filled with spelt to extend its life. Now, we’re ready for something different. We’ve just ordered our first batch of spelt berries and will be milling our own flour. Stored properly, the spelt berries last years. Now, we’ll be able to save freezer space for other necessities and mill our flour when we need it. We’ll also be able to save money by milling our own cereal for her instead of paying $4-$6/box for her cereal. That alone will net us a HUGE savings.

We also had an unexpected, but very unpleasant change this week. My husband lost a good friend this week because of choices that friend made. If you’re a regular reader, then you’re familiar with what happened. That friend has been forgiven, but their relationship will likely never be what it was before.

Change. Good. Bad. Change. We all need change in our lives, we just don’t always know when or where that change is going to come from. We don’t always get to choose the change in our lives.





I'm the type of person that almost NEVER cooks something exactly as the directions say I should. I love altering recipes. Thus far, in 13 years of cooking and 11 1/2 years of marriage, I've only had one bad outcome. Just say, "garlic mashed potatoes" to my husband and you'll know. What's worse is that we'd only been married for a couple of months at that point. But I digress...(Our marriage is now going strong...despite that "hurdle". LOL)

About 2 years before I got married, my grandmother gave me her old 1950's Betty Crocker cookbook. I have used that cookbook many times. When we got married, I was also given a new (1997 edition) Betty Crocker Cookbook. Until yesterday, I had never compared the two. Sometimes I'd pull out the old book for a favorite recipe. Sometimes I'd open the new one for something that wasn't in the old book.

I always loved that the old book gave the most basic of instructions. For example, it tells you how to remove the feathers off your chicken before cooking it. For some reason, the newer book doesn't give those details. I can't imagine why? Don't most people have live chickens that they must be-head to eat living in their back yards?

So yesterday, I was looking for a good Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Knowing that I was using whole-wheat spelt flour instead of "regular" flour, I figured I'd check and see what the old book said as well. I was absolutely dumb-founded at what I discovered. Not only were the recipes different, they were VASTLY different. As in, you ended up with the same cookie (sort-of), but began in two very different manners.

The "old" cookbook called for:

  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used organic, unsalted butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used organic, alcohol-free vanilla)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used organic, raw sugar)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I used organic)
  • 1 well-beaten egg (I used organic, cage-free)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used organic whole-grain spelt flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used sea salt, but will frequently just leave it out completely)
  • 1/2 tsp soda (I used organic, aluminum-free baking soda)
  • (1) 7-8 oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used 3/4 of a 10oz bag of Enjoy Life chocolate chips which are Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Soy-Free)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnut meats (I skipped this)
Yield: 5dozen (or 60) cookies

Surely, the new cookbook can't be that different, Amy. Really. You're probably just mis-reading something or not looking at the yield right. I mean, come on! They're chocolate-chip cookies! How different can two recipes be...especially from the same cookbook?

The new cookbook?...exact same cookie with the exact same yield:

  • 1/2 cup shortening (Again...I'd use butter here)
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (Wait! Didn't I just use my shortening? Okay...)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (same)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (is this different from just "sugar"?)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (WHAT! The "old" recipe used 1/2 cup!...and now I'm packing it also.)
  • 2 eggs (Again...WHAT! The "old" recipe used ONE egg!)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (WHAT? Why are we using ONE full cup MORE flour?)
  • No salt is called for in this recipe. No complaints here.
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (I wonder who used "pop"...and that they thought they had to define this as "baking" soda?)
  • (1) 12oz pkg semisweet chocolate pieces (Again...WHAT! This is almost TWICE what the other recipe calls for. Yes. I know there's more flour...but still...WHY?)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts (So if we're using nuts this time, we're using THREE times as much!!! The other recipe only called for 1/2 cup!)
Yield: 5 dozen (or 60) cookies (WHAT!!!!???? So I used twice or THREE times as much as the
original recipe on many of the ingredients and I don't get any more cookies? WHAT world
are these people living in?)

After seeing this, I will always go to the old cookbook first...because I don't need the food companies designing my recipes around how to best make them money.

Seriously. This recipe has twice as much fat and more than twice as much sugar. Umm. No. I'll stick to my "simple" recipe. Thanks.


Traveling With Food Allergies

Do you have a "traveling" food? We do. PBandJ's. We have family members who are gluten-intolerant. So, to make things much easier (and cheaper) when traveling, we pack our own food for the trip. I have never felt more accomplished than before this trip, however.

We've made homemade jam before (freezer so the fruits are still raw), but I had never made my own nut butters until this trip. My kids were so excited to help make their own "butters". We had almonds, cashews, & peanuts (all organic and raw) to choose from. I even made a small batch of "combo" nut butters.

We had our system. One child labeled the baggies as they chose what type of butter & jam (or raw honey) they wanted. Another was responsible for putting the PBandJ's into the baggies while another was my runner bringing me more bread when I ran out & taking completed sandwiches to the freezer. I am the only one allowed to "spread" for a trip as I don't spread quite as liberally as I do for home. (There's only so much jam that can be cleaned off the floor of a car during its lifetime...and ours already has 240,000 miles worth of PB&J's.)

Here is a pic of our "loot" just before packing them into the cooler:

We also travel with 2 cases of bottled water, GF organic yogurt, GF organic chips, GF cookies & treats, Lara bars, Fruit Leather, a plethora of GF "convenience food" including GF & Feingold canned items we feel might be served while we're away, GF versions of basic cooking items (vanilla, etc), more frozen bread, more PB & J to make sandwiches for the way home, and a small stash of trash bags and regular & cloth napkins and homemade baby wipes.

Anything cold goes in a HUGE 5 day cooler. An 18gallon Rubbermaid tote holds our dry goods. It is a trip (excuse the pun) to travel with a child with allergies; especially when you'll be in an area without ready resources for part of your travels.

We're loaded with food...and somewhere in between we find the space for our clothes.