Charting life's circuitous path

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To Thine Own Self

I’m in my 30s.  I’ve gone from being the burrito eating couch potato teenager who hated to even walk across the parking lot let alone down the street, to a woman who’s realized that her body isn’t entirely her own.


It doesn’t belong to someone else, either.  Apparently, it belongs to itself.  I only live off of it like a camper van with limited access parking on someone’s land.  I just take up residence and from time to time, stomp all over it, mow it, tidy it and generally live off of it.

And I had no idea what it was going through. 😮

I still don’t, not really.  Yesterday, my mood decided to pack its bags for the south and I turned into a short tempered, upset and angry ball of sap.  I dripped malaise everywhere and brought our entire house down with me.  Had anything happened to make me mad?  No.  Everything was going really well and in fact, just hunky-dory!  But I was back to where I had been during the winter: verge of tears, shaky emotions and short of wick. 😦

What I had done was eat dairy on Thursday.  For the first time in over two months, I had milk, cheese and butter.  I was expecting typical lactose intolerance reactions – bloated tummy, stomach pains, etc.  What I got instead, was a revisit of Winter Hell 2014.

pickles2I’m not 100% sure if the dairy caused my emotion spiral, but there are apparently a lot of people who have experienced the same thing.  I just never knew that something so inconspicuous could be so dramatic.  I’ll be giving the dairy thing a go again later in the month, but this time I’m going to pay attention to how I really feel.  If dairy does cause me to experience a mild depression for two days after eating it, trust me, it’s gone.

And that’s the funny thing about this whole elimination diet thing.

I never knew that I would be so sensitive to food.  When we reintroduced wheat/gluten last week, I had the most horrible stomach cramps.  I had to clutch my blue heated rice bag to my tummy all night to get to sleep.  The experience was so bad, that I don’t think I want to go through with it again, but we will at least once more to see if I react the same way with only a “bit” of gluten.


How’s the hubby, you might ask?  He’s actually doing better than me and I was only doing this to go along with the ride!  We both felt bloated from the gluten, but the dairy hardly fazed him.  Except for a bit of tummy twinge, he did okay.  No headaches, no nothing, really.  Disappointing, since that would have given us at least something.

Then there’s me.  All in pain and with a shattered emotional well-being.

Go figure.  🙄

And you know what really upsets me about all of this?  It isn’t that I might have to be gluten and dairy free for the rest of my life.  Sure, it’s a bit of a social pain to be the dreaded triad of any guest list (no, sorry, I can’t eat that bread with butter or the steak you lovingly prepared…).  But that’s not really all that bad.  What’s really bad is that I didn’t even have a clue that the food was doing all of this damage to my body and all the while it was just trying to do its best.  The poor thing had to deal with the constant barrage of gluten and dairy and I was ignoring all of it.  😥 Just thinking about all of the stress it had to go through when I was a teenager makes me want to cry.

Well, not any more.  I’m going to be better at helping my body be the best.  I’m going to try to listen to it more carefully and not ignore the subtle shouts to “just stop it!” it sends my way.  Try is the key word here.  I’m nowhere as in tune with my body as I ought to be.  But at least I’ll stop to listen. I think it deserves at least that. 🙂

picklesHere’s a recipe for pickles that’s easy and delicious.  I tweaked it slightly from the Flour, too cookbook.  They’re amazing on salads, sandwiches and on their own.  Both slightly sweet and tangy, they fit the bill for complex flavors.  Oh, and those croutons poking out behind my spinach leaf?  Ian’s Gluten Free Italian Croutons. They’re so delicious that I plan to buy them regardless of whether we’re gluten or dairy intolerant.



  • 4 English cucumbers (or homegrown cucumbers that are at least 6 inches in length)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp Ball Dill Pickle spice (or your own pickling spice, if you have some)
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder


  1. Slice cucumbers about 1/4 in thick and place in a large container with a tight lid.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and vinegar and heat on medium until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add all of the spices.  Pour over cucumbers and let cool to room temperature before you refrigerate.

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Sun-dried Tomato Hummus and Lentils

hummus 2I’m learning a lot about myself on this gluten and dairy free journey.  I’ve been shocked by just how “routine” our meals had become.  After ditching a lot of processed foods years ago (or so I thought!), it was a real eye-opener when I found that the only gluten free “meat substitute” was Quorn tenders.   😮   My entire repertoire of substitutes contained wheat and I was stuck in a very scary situation.

What’s for lunch??

I hadn’t realized just how much my lunches depended on some form of sandwich.  Of course, homemade soup and salad were still the shining stars, but I was dependent on the “quick fix” meat substitutes provided.  Want a quick meal?  Just heat up a few chik’n tenders and voila!  Not sure what to eat but starving?  Fix up a quick veggie burger and you’re done.  While a bit healthier than, say, eating out or gorging on high fat red meat, it honestly wasn’t much better. :/

Enter gluten free eating and suddenly I had to actually cook.  And here I thought that was what I was already doing!  Ha!

So, lunches and dinners around this house have really changed.  I’ve started making meals from my vegan cookbooks that I’ve never tried before and we’re eating a much more varied green diet.  It wasn’t like we weren’t eating kale before, but we’re eating it with quinoa now!

Here’s my latest discovery: homemade hummus!  I’ve never bothered making it before and I’m not sure why.  I guess I thought it’d be easier to just buy it, but honestly, I find the store bought hummus to be a bit too much – too salty, too oily, too something.

This hummus, on the other hand, is delicious!  I snagged the recipe from a blog I discovered called The Simple Veganista.  Julie’s blog is both beautiful and packed full of really delicious sounding recipes.  This was a definite winner and has converted me over to making homemade hummus for life.  🙂

(And that piece of bread holding it all together?  That’s my first loaf of gluten free bread.  🙂  Not too bad, but I can’t say it was a definite winner.   I’ll be experimenting more with different recipes and hopefully come up with something that I can post.)


Sun-dried Hummus with Lentils

(Notes:  This recipe hails from The Simple Veganista.  I don’t buy tahini so I opted to leave it out.  I also used the 1/4 cup or so of soaking liquid from the tomatoes as part of my water count.  Julie suggests adding more olive oil to replace the tahini, but I didn’t bother.  It tasted wonderful to me, but suit your own tastes.)


  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 6-8 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes, diced (I used dried ones without the oil and followed her advice of soaking them in water for 15 minutes before proceeding)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup water, as needed


  1. Add all of the ingredients, except the water, to a food processor and pulse until thoroughly mashed. Add water as you pulse to reach the right consistency for you. 🙂


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Good Morning Muffins

My freezer has been the home of two 1 gallon sized bags full of apples for the last month. My mother went apple picking and brought me her leftover bounty.  Lucky me!  😀  So far I made an Apple Frangipane tart, a Cardamom Apple Crumble pie and a batch of Carrot-Apple-Nut Muffins.  At least that’s what the Williams-Sonoma Baking cookbook calls them, but I don’t really like that name. It’s too dull, too blah and these muffins are anything but.


They have yogurt and protein powder to make them perfect for breakfast.  They’re spiced with cinnamon and ginger but the sweet tones of orange and apple create balance.  The carrot melts away into the soft crumb and the pecans lend an earthy crunch to an otherwise light muffin.

I tweaked the original recipe a bit to make it work for half a batch and the ingredients I had on hand.  It called for yogurt, but I only have greek so I added a bit of skim milk to give the dough enough liquid.  It also called for bran but I wanted to really make these muffins more than just a treat, so I added 1 scoop Raw protein powder (you can’t taste it at all).  Raisins were also called for but I wanted to match the flavors of the holidays so I swapped them out for orange flavored cranberries from Trader Joe’s.  It was a great decision since the citrus note worked well with the more subtle apple flavor (and who doesn’t love the sweet tang of the bright cranberry??).


I LOVE these muffins.  Would they be even better with a cream cheese icing? Perhaps.  Course, then I wouldn’t be able to justify their “healthiness” but sometimes life calls for icing.  If I had some on hand, I’d probably whip up a batch.  The crunchy sugar topping, however, is a nice treat with a cup of morning coffee.

I think “Good Morning Muffins” has a nice ring to it. 🙂

Good Morning Muffins (or Carrot-Apple-Nut Muffins)

(Note: This will make 8 large muffins or 9 regular sized muffins.  Original recipe from the wonderful Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook. My edits are in red.)


  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 scoop Raw Protein Powder (or 1/8 cup wheat or oat bran)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar (or 1/3 packed brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup greek yogurt + 1/4 cup skim milk (less if batter seems too wet)
  • 1 tbsp melted margarine (or unsalted butter)
  • 2/3 cup grated carrot
  • 2/3 cup grated apple
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped and toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup orange flavored cranberries (or raisins)
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar with 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a muffin pan for 8 or 9 muffins..
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, protein powder, baking powder and soda, salt, spices and brown sugar.  Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, whisk egg until blended.  Stir in yogurt, milk and butter.  Pour over dry ingredients and stir until just moistened (about 10 strokes).  Add the fruit, nuts, and cranberries.  Stir until evenly distributed (only a few strokes).
  4. Spoon batter to the top of the cups.  Sprinkle with the spiced sugar mixture.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool and store in a container.