Three Months and an Identity Crisis

Mama L and I have now been sugar free (and very low acid) for 3 months. 🙂

It’s been interesting to say the least.  The first two weeks were just plain torture for me.  Looking back on it now I still can’t believe how unbelivably difficult it was for me to give up sugar.  I guess it shouldn’t have been such a shock…considering how much sweet stuff I baked on the regular…but I just never imagined it would be so rough.

After we made it 8 weeks I had every intention of reintroducing sweet treats (made with alternative sweeteners) and I did try that.  The sugars were fine…even kid approved.  Tested them out on my adorable neighbor kids.  But I didn’t like the way they made me feel.  Plus I started to obsess over what I’d make next and when.

I decided that even the alternative stuff had to go.  I want my body to absorb nutrients and I just don’t think it’s going to do that if it has the option of living on sweet…real or fake.

I’m not saying I’ll never eat / bake a sweet again.  Not saying that at all.  But for right now my plan is to go as long between sweets as possible.

While I’m 100% resolved to that plan it’s also bringing about a little identity crisis.

What am I if I’m not ‘Jennifer the cook / baker’?

Ever since I was a pre teen I’ve been the family baker.  Creating in the kitchen has always been one of my greatest passions.  And no matter how hard you try…something savory is never going to have the wow factor of something sweet.  It just doesn’t.

So who am I now?

I need a new passion.  A new hobby.  I even pulled up the list of continuing education classes at a little local junior college.  Side track break here…can y’all believe that this little rural type junior college offers continuing ed classes in beginning Chinese?   Maybe I’ll learn to speak Chinese.

It’s hard too because I love bloging.  I adore my regular readers.  Y’all got me thru the first 13 months of celiac.  Starting this blog was the very best thing I did last year.  It forced me to get out of my funk of having yet one more health problem and instead channel that sadness into creating stuff for the blog.  Creating stuff that made the celiac a non – factor in so many ways.    I hate that the focus of the blog has to change.  I don’t want to lose y’all…or to lose this great source of support. 🙂

Anyway…that’s where I am now on the food front.

I do still allow liquid Splenda drops in the occasional drink and in my Cream of Rice but that’s pretty much the extent of my sweet consumption right now.

Now…how bout a little transformation Tuesday?  This is what three months of no sugar did to my body.

combined

Lower bod the first week of June vs the last week of August.

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It’s also been a little over 3 months since I chopped off all my hair to grow out the grey.  Pics from last week.  I have a lot of natural waves / curls (depending on the weather) so right now it’s just wanting to stand straight up or out to the sides most of the time.  It’s a mix of white-grey and gun metal.  I really like the gun metal.  I’m going to do a full before / after post in December…when it’s been a year since I stopped the dye.

This has been one of the very best things I’ve ever done for my heath.  Putting those chemicals and smells onto my body wasn’t healthy and I’m so glad I finally said enough is enough. 🙂  Don’t get me wrong…I HATE the length right now because I just don’t like short hair on me but once it grows out I’ll have no complaints at all about this decision. 🙂

Mama L has had an amazing transformation too but y’all know she won’t let me post her pics.  She also won’t let me pick her out some new clothes for her new bod.  Please please please let me dress you, Mama L. 😉

So anyway that’s a look at where I’m at right now.  Thanks so much for reading.  I’ll still be posting at least once a week (hopefully more).  I’ll share savory gluten free recipes…music…and I’m also going to just start bloging about whatever too.  Hope y’all will hang around. 🙂

Banana Bread / Muffin Update

Sorry the blog is kind of slow right now.  I’m in the middle of a post holiday lupus flare and the debilitating  fatigue that comes with it. 😦  I was hopeful my body would get back to ‘normal’ this week but my energy is still super low and the eats still haven’t been all that creative.

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Naan from the Bread Book.  I had mine with steak and cheese.  A cheese steak ‘wrap’ of sorts. 🙂

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Fried Mahi which I used for my version of an open face Fillet o Fish.

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My new go-to banana bread / muffin recipe. 🙂

During the holidays I wrote about how I use butterscotch pudding in my pralines.  That’s pretty much all I ever use it in and I have a few boxes left over from the holidays so I was trying to think of something to use them in and thought why not try some in banana bread.

I took my basic recipe (recipe at the end of the post)…used  cup4cup for the flour…added some pudding…and made muffins plus one small bread pan.  They were so good Mama Lupiac asked me to make a second pan the same day. 🙂

This doesn’t have anything to do with lupus or celiac but every now and then I stumble across a site and feel the need to spread some blogg-y love. 🙂  This blogger liked one of my posts so I went to check them out and have been hooked ever since.  It’s a blog full of retro ads.  If you like old retro stuff check em out. 🙂

Retro Adverto

Hope y’all had a great week and have an even better weekend. 🙂

 

 

Banana Bread / Muffins

This full batch will make 2 pans of mini muffins plus one small bread pan.

1/2 cup softened Butter
1 cup Sugar   (I used 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar)
2 large Eggs
1 1/2 cups Flour  (I used cup4cup)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt  

6 tbsp Butterscotch Pudding 
2 mashed very ripe Bananas
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream butter and sugar(s).

Add eggs, dry pudding, sour cream and vanilla.

Mix well.

Add flour, baking soda and salt.

Mix until just blended.

Pour into pan(s) and bake 15 – 20 minutes.

Recent Eats and Re-purposed Rustic Rolls

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I’m still struggling with lupus fatigue and had to take an out-of-town trip this week plus I’ve started working on getting Christmas decorations moved over to the house.  They stay in storage the rest of the year.  If I ever win the lotto the very first thing I’m telling the architect of the house I’d build wouldn’t be all my many kitchen demands…it would be for them to incorporate a HUGE closet for all of the Christmas stuff.  I’d put my decorated (and covered / dust protected of course) tree on a rolling board and just roll it in and out each year.  I’m not even joking.  So anyway I don’t have a new recipe today but I do have a re-purposed one.  🙂

First some pics of recent eats

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Blueberry Banana Pancakes (and bacon).

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Fried Mahi and Macaroni and cheese.

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I used this HEB store brand gluten-free pasta for the mac and cheese.  For those with an HEB in your area I highly recommend this shape (they had other shapes but this is the only one I’ve tried).

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New batch of flour and pot of Pintos.

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Mexican Cornbread.  I’ve been working on this recipe for a while.  It’s almost at the point I’m ready to call it done and share.  🙂  I think it just needs one…maybe two…more tweaks.

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Chocolate Chip cookies.

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Cookies and Milk.  Clean plate at Casa.  🙂

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Rustic Roll dough.

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Focaccia ?

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I knew I was making spaghetti sauce and wanted to make a batch of gfandme’s crusty bread (rustic rolls for me) to go with it but I forgot to add the sugar to the yeast and didn’t think about it until it was way too late to add any.  It rose but I wasn’t sure how it would taste so instead of going thru the whole cast iron pot / heating process I decided to just stick it in a regular pan and see what happened.  I pressed it out a little and thought ‘hey this looks like focaccia dough’.  I tried to do the classic focaccia dimpling but the dough was a little too wet to hold the dimples.  You can see in the baked pic that it did hold a few of them though.

It was a little too sour from the lack of sugar but actually turned out really well.   It made a really nice pull apart dipping bread.

I will make it this flatter ‘focaccia’ shape again but I would do the whole heated cast iron process (and throw in some Italian herbs).  I’d just press it out in to the flatter shape first then drop it in the heated cast iron.

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Spaghetti (with parm and ranch…I know. little Italian grannies everywhere are rolling over in their graves at the thought of ranch) plus dipping bread.  So good.   🙂

This week most of my cooking will be Thanksgiving prep.  I’m working on an acceptable dressing and still deciding / testing dessert(s).

Pecan Cups

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One of the very worst parts of lupus is the debilitating fatigue.  All of the lost sleep last week just really knocked me down.  Over the last 4 days I’ve slept 14 hours / 10 hours / 13 hours and 9 hours plus little cat naps throughout the day.  You can’t help but feel like you’re sleeping your life away when you fall into a fatigue flare.  😦

Today I was feeling better so I decided to try this recipe I’ve had saved for months.  I need to start doing some trial runs of new recipes I might want to do for Thanksgiving.

This Nut Cup recipe is from No Gluten, No Problem.

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I followed the recipe just using my flour blend for the flour and Karo syrup instead of Agave.  These were great and so easy.  I usually have all kinds of problems when making pie dough but this was very easy.  No rolling and no messing with tablespoons of water.  Just mix 3 ingredients…divide and press.

Pre celiac I always bought the store crusts in the aluminum tins.  Even though I’ve got my household eating gluten-free* I really  only like the filling of a pie and since I’m the only one who has to eat gluten-free I’m thinking I’ll probably just still do the premade crusts for everyone else and leave me a little of the filling to the side.  I’d rather use the time (and ingredients) on something else that really needs to be gluten-free.  I haven’t decided for sure but that’s where I’m leaning right now.

*Edited to add…I only cook gluten-free now.  So if my family wants to eat something homemade then they eat gluten-free.  They still eat whatever they want outside of my cooking.  I know some people think it’s bad to go back and forth from a gluten-free diet to one full of wheat so I just wanted to clarify that.  🙂

Have you started planning for Thanksgiving?  Anything new you’re trying for the first time?  Will you do a trial run first? 

Five Things Friday

Since I’m just now today trying to introduce soft solids (don’t have any food / blog worthy pics or stories to share) I decided to do a ‘getting to know you’ type post today.  No pics just words.  If that’s not your thang…I hope you have a really good weekend…and the Friday summer song is at the end of the post.  🙂

I think my blog makes it pretty clear that my biggest passions are cooking and music and that my family is the most important thing in the world to me.  So for this I’m doing …five random things that would probably never make it into my day to day writing.

1.  When I was little (like 4ish) I wanted to be a meat market lady when I grew up. 

My Meme owned a beauty shop that was attached to her house.  One of her friends / customers (Sally) worked at the little meat market around the block.  Sometimes she would bring our meat order with her to her appointment and sometimes we would walk to the market to pick it up.  She would let me behind the counter and would let me pick up the meat and put it on the paper.  Can you image a business letting a kid do that today?

I was so fascinated with the big rolls of butcher paper.  At home I’d gather up the largest brown leaves I could find in the yard plus some rocks then I would make Sister Lupiac play Meat Market.  I’d ‘wrap’ up her ‘order’ of rock ‘meat’ in my leaf ‘butcher paper’.  Of course her ‘order’ was just whatever I told her to order.  She’s two years younger than me and it’s really a miracle she never actually tried to eat the rocks or the leaves.  🙂

2.  I have two post grad degrees and still manage to say some of the ‘dumbest’ things. 

For example one day I was on my way to renew my drivers license.  I got to the the location only to find it had moved.  I called home…from the car…on my cell…to ask if anyone knew where it had moved.

Mama Lupiac:  I don’t know do you want me to look it up?

Me:  No that’s ok I’m going to have to stop and find a phone I’ll just ask them for directions.

Mama Lupiac:  What do you mean find a phone?  How are talking to me right now?

There are far too many similar exchanges to count but this is Mama Lupiac’s fav…so here’s another chance to laugh about this one, ML.  🙂   

3.  I lettered in football in high school.  🙂 

I was one of the first female managers for my high school football team.  The grandpa of a curent NFL QB was our coach.

I’d loved football from a really early age and in 7th grade read a story in Seventeen about a girl manager for her highschool team somewhere in Wisconsin.  I decided right then I was going to do that when I got to high school…and I did.  🙂

4.  I am ridiculously passionate about music.  But more than that I can hear a song and tell you exactly where I was when that song was playing at some point…what I was wearing…the weather…who else was there and sometimes what they were wearing too. 

I know this isn’t special and most people do that with songs that are important to them.  I do it with songs I’ve heard once or even songs I don’t even like.   Earlier today…cue the TV show Dallas theme song – hardly a song that should evoke great emotion or a trip down memory lane.  When I hear that I’m instanly 6…at my Aunt S’s and she’s teaching me to eat ham / cheese and potato chip sandwiches (chips INSIDE the sandwich).   Thank you so much, Aunt S for that life long addiction.  🙂

Again, nothing super special but certain people in my life think it’s a parlor game kinda talent.

(Also some people are probably reading this right now and wondering if I’m 90 and what the heck a parlor game is?  Young’un’s, it’s like gaming but with everyone in the same room instead of hiding behind computers or TV screens.  😉 )

5.  I am a HUGE anglophile

I just know I was meant to spend a winter living in a London flat on the Thames just once in my life.  🙂  Hunter Green Wellies / Black Riding Pants / Knee length Sweaters…OK maybe fashion wise I was meant to do that in the mid-80’s but still  🙂 …

I love love love all things UK.  The love affair started when I was about 8 and my Mema bought herself a small new color TV for her bedroom and gave me her old little black and white.  I took it home and put it in my room but without cable all it would pick up was CBS and PBS.

Back then the only way we got any BBC programing was from PBS on Saturday nights.  I got addicted to reruns of old BBC shows.   I was definitely the most ‘cultured’ elementary school student in Rural Route South TX.   Then came Princess Diana /all things Royals /  Def Leppard / Duran Duran / George Micheal and later, Nigela.  Coupling will forever be one of my most favorite TV shows ever produced…anywhere.  And today I have a London proxy account so I can access British content online.

Bonus ‘getting to know you’…to address an email I recieved.   I write this blog for myself.  I write it for my family and friends who have shown nothing but overwhelmingly positive support.  I write it for my readers…current and future who might take some meal inspiration or just comfort in hearing from someone suffering similar health issues.  I value all feedback but this space is and will always be a reflection of me…not what someone else would like me to be.

So to the person who felt the need to take time out of their no doubt busy day to let me know that all the smilies I use here are quote “f—ing stupid”…

I’m so sorry you feel that way.  🙂   I drew smilies on every letter I ever wrote long before computers.  I love smilies.  It shouldn’t bother you that I do.  If it does then you shouldn’t waste your time reading something that annoys you so.  🙂

But if by some small chance someone has a gun to your head and is forcing you to read this space then by all means type ‘salsa’ five times and I’ll call 911 for ya.  😉

So there you have it…five random things.  How bout y’all?  Any fun random things you’d like to share?  Or just wanna make fun of mine? 

Only two more summer weekends left.  Enjoy (and please eat something cruchy for me)  🙂

Yumm and Uuuuggg

This week has been a mixed bag.  Some really good eats

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If you’re like me and hate lime in your corn tortillas…La Banderita is really good…gluten free…and no lime.  🙂   I’d never tried the Joe’s mix before and it was really good.

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Cheese Enchiladas / Ranchero Sauce / Rice / Beans and sad clown water.  (Ten days without a root beer or any kind of soda.)

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My new favorite pan – this square muffin / brownie pan.  🙂

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These pics don’t do this cherry / lime concoction justice at all.  I followed this recipe from Simply Gluten – Free subbing Cup4Cup for her blend and making it as muffins instead of a loaf.  I left out the nuts and also iced them with Key Lime Pie icing.  I love Cherry Limeade so I thought the flavors would probably work well here too.  They definitely did and the cake part was so good.  It would be great with cherry icing or even a simple vanilla / buttercream too.

So that was the Yumm.

On to the Uuuuggg.

A broken tooth.  😦   I’ve never even had a cavity but now thanks to my absorption issues I have a very badly broken tooth – as in not savable / must be pulled.  Thankfully it’s the very last tooth at the back of the lower teeth so it can’t be seen but still.  😦

I take a blood thinner for my lupus clotting disorder and  that has to be adjusted for a few days before I can have the tooth pulled on Monday.  Like I said I’ve never even had a cavity so I’m kind of scared of the extraction.  Hopefully it won’t be too bad.

Needless to say the eats around here won’t be blog worthy for the next week but I have some saved recipes to post.

Kickin’ the weekend off a little early here on the blog.  Only three more summer weekends left…make ’em memorable.  🙂

Easier to Quit Meth?

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That’s a pic of what was sadly I mean hopefully my last Root Beer for a while.  😦

I’ve written before about not demonizing / excluding any food from my life (except for gluten of course) but I think we can all agree Root Beer isn’t exactly ‘food’.   It’s not even really the sugar that I’m concerned with it’s all the chemicals.  I figure with two autoimmune diseases all the chemicals can’t be good.  SO I’m going to try to stop the sodas in drink form.  I’ll never stop making the Coke / Dr. Pepper cake.  🙂

Wish me luck.