DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yeast anxiety

I have been wondering, do I have this giant "baby bump" because I gained weight or because I'm bloated? I'm watching some g/f writers talk about how they look pregnant after being glutened (and the pictures document this is true.) But I'm pretty sure I'm not being glutened, so is it a reaction to something else? (Okay, do I need to be paranoid? Am I being glutened?)

A couple of weeks ago at the Gluten free expo, I got that bouillon sample that got me wondering again about what yeast I can or can't have. My allergy test says no bakers or brewers yeast. I'm pretty sure that survey says no yeast extract or torula yeast. I'm completely confused about nutritional yeast but have been told very definitely/definitively that it's okay.

So what are all the things that might have bakers or brewers yeast in the process and/or ingredients? Obviously the commonly known things like bread and beer. Wine, grain alcohol, and apple cider vinegar? Vanilla extract? Sake? Sauerkraut?


Listen, I know I "look fine." I'm not trying to say that I'm overweight or fat. But I dress to cover up this thing that looks a whole lot like the photos my 17 year old niece keeps posting of her baby bump. (OMFG, WTF. Why do people post daily "selfies" and why, oh why, do people post photos of their naked belly? But I digress...)

I have several dresses I bought and haven't worn (and a couple I didn't buy this past weekend) because all I can see is this thing protruding into the room, getting everywhere before I do. I keep rationalizing that I'm bloated but my period was last week. It's too often but it's not all month, okay.

Do I accept that I have to "diet" to get rid of this thing? Or am I constantly eating something that I think is okay but it's not? Do I have to be more strict? No grains? No nuts? No legumes? No nightshades? No sugar? No fruit? What?!


I used to make eggs and leftover potatoes and veggies for breakfast sometimes. Since I can't have the eggs, I decided to make these with my leftovers. They were okay. I think I'm not a fan of casings. But the flavor was good.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Checklist Manifesto

I've been wanting to read The Checklist Manifesto for a while and finally decided to listen to it. I'm tempted to buy the book. I thought it had some very valid points and good examples. There was also some good pointers on restricting the scope of a checklist that I'd like to review in more detail than the audiobook allowed. I definitely recommend this book!

Mmm, squash.

We got some squash, zucchini, and cucumbers coming in the garden.
green skirt, yellow sweater, navy shoes and scarf

from the garden

dinner: fish, asparagus, and squash cooked with potatoes.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Home show, version: too many

I started some black eye peas and cashews (separately) soaking Friday night to use on Saturday. I didn't get to either, so this morning, I tried to get a start before we were to leave for the Home Show.

I cut up some salt pork and put it in the pan with some onions and carrots, added the peas and some spices, using my new cookbook for a guideline. I added a couple cups of veggie stock and water to cover and got it to boiling before covering and reducing the heat.

I had a smoothie for breakfast using this Spectrum brand "Decadent" mix of chia, flax, coconut, and cocoa. It was pretty good with blackberries, almond milk, and hemp. I mixed in some Enjoy Life chocolate granola for some sweetness and crunch.

I let the peas cool while I got ready to leave, putting the whole pot in the fridge before leaving.

new YELLOW shorts and scarf
My husband Mick thought I should wear a hat and found a visor that matched my shorts. It was a freebie from MS Lifelines. I was surprised when someone called out to me about my hat at the Home Show. I ended up talking to a guy for several minutes. He had been on the board of the MS Society in Dallas; his dad died of MS at age 71. He had another relative with MS and his cousin now has it. He almost cried talking to me. O_O

I picked the brain of one of the Master Gardeners about my bugs--ants, pill bugs (roly polies), snails, slugs. Organic gardening is hard!

Mick and his parents ate lunch; I had a Kits Cliff Bar. I was really hungry when we left so when we got home, I had my black eye peas, after adding Applegate andouille sausage.

Later, I used the cashews that had been soaking, and strawberries previously picked from my garden, to make cheesecake. Mick was rushing me so I didn't make the crust. Also, I haven't bought a new spring form pan yet, so I decided to pour the mix into muffin pans. I covered the minis with Enjoy Life graham cracker cookie crumbs, so maybe they will flip out of the pan and have a little crust. Maybe.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Summer Wardrobe Refresh

I always feel kind of weird when I make plans with one of my friends and then my husband has his helpers come over to do manual labor. When I'm leaving to have fun. It seems wrong. But I can't cancel my plans! They were just finishing up planting the grass as I left.

That is NOT a toy truck.

My friend J saw some yellow jeans at Ann Taylor that she said I have to have. I went shopping with my friend M after going to Nourish for lunch. She liked it but also doesn't like "weird" things like quinoa; I was surprised she said she really wants to take her husband.

Blue T and Hallmark scarf
We went to Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, and Banana Republic. It was exhausting. I have a complete yellow warddrobe, with some other bright colors and a little black. I had to leave some things since I still had a budget. M surprised me by buying a scarf for me that I wasn't even considering because it was too much. But it is a perfect match for all the yellow I bought. You'll see. :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Grocery Shopping: Whole Foods edition

Mick thinks I'm crazy but I took this photo for you.

It doesn't include everything--like the purple asparagus, Earth Balance soy-free mayo, and almond milk. I always check out the local stuff and bought some honey and prickly pear syrup. I found the coconut aminos I recently ran out of. OThe Theo chocolate bars were on sale. I found the Mimic Creme that I've heard of (I'm looking for the whipped cream instead of the creamer though), and another flavor of instant oatmeal--strawberry, and eggless marshmallows. I was looking for the chili flavor Way Better chips; they had other Way Better chips but not those. And then I saw these Garden of Eden Pico de Gallo chips--the second flavored chips I found without yeast! I hope they are awesome.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The first beautiful zucchini

It's that time of year when I need to go harvest every day or two from the garden. The zucchini will rapidly become overwhelming. I'm getting this amount of strawberries every time too! Yay for freezers.

From the strawberry patch

First zucchini (and parsley)
I used zucchini and parsley from our garden, with Sprouts bulk hot Italian sausage, sweet potatoes, Delallo gluten free pasta, and marinara sauce.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Glasses. Freaks. Men.

I haven't been to a Freaks at the Table meeting in a long time and have really wanted to go, so I planned to attend after a work thing. During the social hour of the work thing, I visited with people who have known me a long time as well as some newcomers. I was really surprised at the positive reactions I received about my glasses. Someone (older) even suggested I looked like some sexy (in the day) actress who wore glasses; of course, I immediately forgot who she said.

Someone I really like (and should totally be friends with IRL) introduced me to a guest who was really interested in my hot mess-ness. She has a client who works at Celebration and she wants to introduce me. Celebration does stem cell therapies. While I know that research is being done with stem cells for MS treatment, I don't think I can handle more guinea pig treatments. Anyway, she was very nice, enthusiastic, and very complimentary, telling me such nice things that I'd like to think are true but I don't feel it.

I met with some Freaks at Nourish, where we chatted for a couple of hours. I decided to try something different and had the Asian chicken wraps and marinated beet salad. I really liked the wraps; the other Freak who had them thought they were too messy. She has a whey allergy so we discussed that, how all the info is about lactose and not whey. She mentioned whey being added to something unexpected but it wasn't something I would (could?) eat so I forgot what it was. The beets were shaped like noodles and were good but I liked them better with the nutty Asian sauce for the tacos.

I also had dessert, an apple crumble. It was too dark for a photo but it was cooked or baked apple chunks with a quinoa crumble. It was okay but it needed something more IMO, something to make it less dry I guess. I actually didn't realize (think to ask) that it would be quinoa. I mentioned to the owner that I don't avoid quinoa but I minimize it because I've heard it's related to amaranth which I'm allergic to. It seemed like I got a weird reaction, like she was agreeing with me but she wasn't sure whether or not I could eat it.

I really like her but she did rub me the wrong way when she started saying allergies are anaphylactic and the rest is sensitivities. Perhaps I misunderstood what she was saying but I *so* don't agree with that opinion.

She also told me about an app to track the lady cycles after I mentioned that my husband Mick suggested it seems I always get "sick" right before my period. She uses it with her doctor to help see when and why she has symptoms. I'm going to check it out but I'm not sure about the amount of tracking it seems I would have to do.

I was sitting next to a guy who is a bigger freak than me. He reacts to chicken so he doesn't eat meat except some fish occasionally  He and the owner are friends and were talking among themselves quite a lot but they did rejoin the group. I think that sometimes when people have chosen to be super strict, they come off condescending, like they have it figured out and you could too if you just juiced, ate raw, gave up meat, or whatever. "Just" get past the part where everyone struggles and quits and you too can have excellent health (except it sounds like he still has struggles...I'm so confused!)

Mick called as we were wrapping up. He seemed upset, said it's almost 10, are you coming home, I'm going to bed. O.M.G. It was 10 after 9, so I got home at 10. And when would I ever NOT come home? So dramatic! Of course he was still up when I got home and he's still up now that *I* am going to bed.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bring along those sample chips

We had a networking event at my office today. It was catered. Everyone was eating. There was a soup that was like a chowder but looked like squash soup and I thought that would be a good mix to try sometime. It had crab and/or shrimp (I didn't eat it obviously so I'm going from what I gathered), chorizo, maybe corn, curry...

I ate a bag of Way Better chips I got at the Gluten-free Expo. They were yummy.

the pond in our courtyard

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pudding. And Macaroons.

I can't stop making this pudding. I tried using the strawberries to make a sauce. It doesn't look good but it tasted pretty good.

I found macaroons at Sprouts. No eggs! Cute mini macaroons.

Update: I have never seen these macaroons again. So sad.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Garden Update: strawberry edition

The strawberries are coming in! I wonder why my back hurts...







corn; cucumbers in front

fig, pomegranate, apple

a mess collards etc.

more mess Swiss chard etc

last of the cilantro; celery mess in next box

last of lettuce and parsley, green onions

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Failed cinnamon rolls

I picked up that Chebe cinnamon roll mix at the Expo. I tried making it today.

FAIL! I think I should retry and use a mixer instead of hand mixing. And I need a rolling pin. It was really disheartening to spend the time making these and then have nothing to eat.

So I made bacon and a smoothie.

Then we went to the Vizsla club event. They made a special meal for me and even brought some fruit for dessert. I was really disappointed that they only had beer and wine, no well drinks. Not that I have to have a drink but I was expecting that I could have a drink (and they sold me a drink ticket for a well drink--I got a refund.) I got a neat pheasant dish and quail napkin rings in the silent auction. And we got a VIP back for our volunteering--it included shirts and hats and drink glasses that are really nice.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Technology, Soup, and Bunco

I don't talk about my finances much here, and I don't plan to lay it all out, but I know I'm a contradiction. I'm a saver but also a spender on lots of little things; my husband Mick just spends on the big things it seems. I'm on top of and in charge of our bills but he set a lot of our services up so I can't always take charge. I recently automated a bunch of payments because I missed a few here and there when I was really busy, stressed, overwhelmed and/or under the weather.

I get a check each month for my drug trial visits, and of course we get the random check for rebates or when my work reimburses me for amounts larger than petty cash. I usually stop by my bank to deposit them when I can.

We are saving for our backyard landscaping projects. I had a money market account with a mutual fund company, but with interest rates so low and our project so big (and needing a long amount of time to save for it), I left a small amount for emergencies and transferred the rest to a higher interest savings account that takes a bit more time to access. We have a small amount automatically transferred weekly to the account sand then I transfer larger amounts when they accumulate.

I heard that a lot of banks will deposit checks from the image so I checked my bank's app and it does not have that option. I didn't find it on the website either, although I didn't look very hard because I realized, if I'm going to deposit checks by image, why not skip the transfer from bank to savings and deposit directly.... As far as I can tell the savings institution does not have an app but their website allows uploading of images. I tried it today and it was super easy. I may never go to the bank again!

I made the Mama Rose's Green Chili soup with chicken. Mick ate some but didn't really like it. It was quite spicy so I was surprised. I saved it for tonight's Bunco group and took it in a crock pot. It was almost gone when the night was over. They liked it. So I can add another thing to the list of things I and others like that he won't eat. Sigh.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mousse and worsening symptoms

Since I had to go to Scottsdale for my doctor appointment, I decided to lunch at Nourish on the way. I didn't really need to eat out, but it's my safest option, I didn't have any more leftovers, and sometimes I get ideas from their menu. I decided to try something different--the corned beef and sweet potato hash. It was pretty good although I don't like the fatty bits. It came with roasted seasonal vegetables, beets and turnips I think. My usual teriyaki rice bowl is still the best thing on their menu.

They had a chocolate mousse on the daily menu so I decided to try it. It was avocado, raw cacao powder, chipotle powder, and coconut nectar. There was a "crumble" on top made of raw cacao powder and almonds. The mousse and the crumble were very good. I'm definitely going to try adding some chipotle powder to my next batch of chocolate "pudding."

Since my last visit with the (assistant at the) endocrinologist office, I've had blood work done three times and had 2 medication adjustments. Today, he said that 125 Synthroid appeared too low and 137 was too high.
He asked about how I was feeling. Even though I have had (sporadically) more energy, I also am tired. I actually think worn out might be a better way to describe it. Until he asked, I thought it was just my brain shutting down on me because my eyes are causing me so much trouble. I will think I'm having glare issues and then realize my eye just isn't working right. The twitching and watering are driving me nutty. And so much hurting. For the longest time I did not have "pain" that they kept asking about; now it seems nearly constant. Describe it? WTH. It's pain. It hurts. The fucking end.

He went to get the doctor. Doc said I shouldn't wear contacts; he said this several times. I asked if it might resolve and he said no. Well, that fucking sucks but I guess I should appreciate his bluntness; at least he's telling me what I need to know.

He also said that the tears I'm generating are salty like crying tears, so they don't help, they aren't oily like the normal eye generates. He wants me to use eye drops every hour and always before the eye gel. He wants me to use the gel every hour when I'm reading (working, etc) and to close my eyes every 5 minutes when I'm watching TV. Wow. That's really damn convenient.

Remember when I was complaining that I feel like I'm losing myself to my diseases? Let's recap how Grave's disease is making my life different from normal:
  • My eyes tear up, making it difficult to see.
  • Tears run from my eyes, making it necessary to have tissues available all the time.
  • I can't wear mascara or eyeliner because I have to wipe it off when I am "crying" or adding eye drops.
  • I have to use eye drops, which pool up in my eyes and run down my face, so I can't wear makeup or blush.
  • I have to use eye gel, after which I can't see for several minutes, so I'm losing a lot of time throughout the day.
  • I can no longer wear contacts, so I've lost my self image. I will never see myself as pretty or sexy again. I'm sure I sound like I'm overreacting, but that is how I feel right now.
  • By wearing glasses, I feel I've lost my ability to "just do it" for lots of things. For example, I have to take my glasses off to get dressed, change clothes, put my hair up. And I don't want to do any of those active things like hiking or agility or exercise because I have these uncomfortable things on my face and I sweat on them and it's gross and I know I'm just complaining but I hate it.
  • I have to stop what I'm doing to clean my glasses because I splashed on them while I'm cooking, washing dishes, giving the dogs water, cleaning house, etc. The best part is when I do clean them and find out my eyes are just fucked and my glasses aren't dirty.
  • I get to wear a super-not-sexy sunglasses clip to reduce my sun squinting/eye watering action. When I get my prescription sunglasses, I will get to change glasses multiple times a day and carry around the pair of glasses I'm not wearing.
  • Let's not forget the $$$ I spent/need to spend on glasses and prescription sunglasses.
  • Of course there is the time (I can never get back) and $ for eye doctor visits.
  • I have a lot of headbands I will never get to wear again (they are impossible to wear with glasses--I used to take them off to wear sunglasses while driving).
The doctor wants me to go back to the eye specialist since I'm having change/pain in my eyes. Oh, fucking goody, more time and money, gone.

He also told the assistant that the lab results aren't showing specific numbers he wanted to see (Tbad or something?) that show Grave's disease levels I think. So I had to have my blood taken before I left.

The gal who took my blood seemed to do fine stung and it kept stinging/hurting. She tried moving it I think (I have trouble looking) because the blood was coming out very slow. That makes me think she didn't get a good stick but I don't know. She said I have a lot of scarring on the vein. Well, shit, what the hell am I supposed to do about that? I've had my blood taken at least once a month for about four years, and pretty regularly before that for several years too. I've never had a doctor tell me that was going to be a side effect. Maybe the neurologist who suggested I participate in the drug trial should have mentioned that I'd be ruining my veins. But why would he do that? He thinks thyroid disease is treatable. Dumbass. Anyway, she got a tiny amount and said it would be enough.

They told me to continue my medication until they call with an update and they'll decide then what lab work I need to have done between now and my next three month visit.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mustard greens

I got this book at the Gluten Free Expo from Rhonda's Cooking. I tried the mustard greens (from my garden!) with chicken using the Namaste coating and a sweet potato.

Fantastic dinner!

Pretty comfy, not sure how I look...

With a sweater (feel less "fat")
Update: Salmon with leftover mashed potatoes and leftover mustard greens the next night!
Leftover greens

Monday, April 15, 2013


I went Berridge to get my ladybugs. I explained the three areas (roses in the front, garden, and "farm") so they recommended 3 bags (2000 each). He told me to wet the roses (not drenched) and let the ladybugs out at the base.

He also sold me some stuff for my slugs infesting one of my roses. And I picked a few more plants to add to my garden.

Check out my creamed corn and hot dogs. Making a quick version of creamed corn isn't as good as canned but I'm not sure if they make canned creamed corn I can have. I keep forgetting to look.
"mac and cheese"

Sunday, April 14, 2013

High Desert Hunt Club

We went hunt training with the dogs. It was a long day, watching Teka since everyone else cannot watch their own dogs or keep them on leash consistently. At least they had fun!

At the lodge
Teka found one

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Phoenix Gluten Free Expo

I went to the Expo today. The man didn't want to go, which worked out for me because I could chat and go in whatever direction I wanted and not worry about his boredom or whatever. Here's who/what I saw:

Tito's vodka: the guy was nice and confirmed it is made from corn, no yeast in the process. No, they weren't giving out samples. :(

My awesome cute friend at Celiac and the Beast gave me Red apple Lipstick samples and Erewhon cereal coupons.

Tonto is a restaurant in Cave Creek. It was the first sample I found I could eat: CAKE! Several other restaurants were represented. My favorite restaurant Nourish was there; unfortunately they weren't giving samples! Sauce was giving out samples of salad premixed with cheese so I skipped them. I talked to the lady at old spaghetti factory and found out they cook with soybean oil so that is off my list. The White Chocolate Grill and Tryst Cafe have gluten free menus.

This was an unexpected find. Way Better makes a chip that is flavored and doesn't have any yeast product. I'm pretty sure this is the very first one I have seen. And they are pretty good--more like corn chips than potato chips though.

Wei of Chocolate is no longer at the farmer's market so I've been concerned about my stash running out. When I saw them, I made a beeline and bought my favorites and a sampler bag. It was my first time using my credit card with one of those phone gadgets. They email your receipt right away; it's pretty cool.
Namaste makes the pizza crust mix I can have so I was excited to see them. They have a bunch of coating mixes. Now, I'm not saying you couldn't do this yourself, but I work full time, have a very full social life, have crappy unpredictable health, and am responsible for any healthy eating in my house, so I look for weeknight shortcuts. These are like awesome versions of Shake and Bake but with more uses. Yep, I bought some. Also available at Whole Foods and Sprouts.

This company was giving out bouillon samples. I didn't get a good photo of the back but it says no active yeast and then lists torula yeast in the ingredients. Huh. I got a sample but I don't think I'm going to use it.

Melaleuca sells all kinds of stuff direct. They had lotion that appeared safe in addition to all kinds of personal care products.

I talked to a guy at Kinnickinick, a really popular booth giving out bagels and donuts. He said they need at least one or the other, eggs or yeast for any baked product. SOL.

I was at the Sauce Goddess booth with another multi-allergy person and I think we overwhelmed the poor lady working there. She had spice mixes and sauces. The sauces had soy--boo--but the spice mixes didn't. However, they were mixed with sour cream and the samples were given on crackers. No and no. She ended up opening new containers and pouring a little in my hand. I only wanted to taste the one she gave me last and by then my mouth was all funky from the others. I'm having some trouble buying spice mixes (especially expensive ones at Whole Foods) when I know how to make spice mixes.

I had to fight through the Sprouts line (going around 3 sides of the room) to get to Mama Rose's teas and soup/meal mixes. The tea sample was good. I was able to eat 2 of the 3 soup samples too. They were fantastic. I bought several. They are available at AJs currently. I skipped the ridiculous Sprouts line. They were giving out full size samples of many products so it's worthwhile for other people, but I looked and only saw a couple of things I knew I could have and mostly things I knew I couldn't and maybe one or two that I'd have to look at to determine. Best product they were giving out: Clif's Kits Organic chocolate coconut almond bars. LOVE those.

Udi's was in a separate booth giving out snack bars but only had the chocolate chip ones that have soy. The lady showed me the box for the cranberry ones and they look like I could have them. [I had one later and they are like oatmeal bars--pretty good.]

There were several pasta tables. The worst was giving samples. I asked about how he was cooking it. After I had the bite, I realized it was a fresh pasta and I had missed asking a question about ingredients. I'm dreading the egg. Damn.

The other pasta table was Hodgson Mills, giving coupons and 4 in one measuring spoons. NICE!

I got some gummy fruit that is marketed to kids.

I bought a subscription to Delight Magazine and got a free back issue. (I've already looked through it and can use maybe 10 recipes.

I previously bought a Chebe bread mix at Sunflower market but never got around to making it (fear of failure) so I almost skipped their table. But I saw a mix for cinnamon rolls--yeast free cinnamon rolls. Really? The price on the mixes was very good so I bought a few different ones to try. Really, I'm going to try!

Arbonne had a couple of ladies there so I ordered a "refill" on my eyeliner. I've tried some other gluten-free ones but they don't compare to the Clinique eyeliner I used to use. I don't really like the pencils that you have to sharpen. These twist out of the container and stay soft. Love.

I saw some cool stuff at Rhonda's Cooking and chatted with them. I got the cookbook "So, What Can I Eat Now?" They also had that motto on their T-shirts--so cute. I got some goodies along with it and felt like I will probably be seeing more of Rhonda.

I saw Jewel's Cupcakes giving out samples. Celiac and the Beast loves them so I checked it out. I couldn't have the samples but they had 2 cookies in stock that were safe for me so I bought one of each. [The oatmeal raisin was good but I'm not really an oatmeal raisin cookie kind of girl; the snickerdoodle was very good, not Chino Bandido good but no one is, so it was very good.]

I also ran into a lady I used to work with years ago. Apparently she has had Celiac for years. I had no idea, which makes me wonder if she was eating differently and I didn't notice or she wasn't eating differently. (We didn't work closely together.)

I thought it was a worthwhile trip but exhausting.