Going…

There’s so much fun in traveling.  I love going to a place and seeing what that place has to offer.  I just arrived home to Grand Junction from visiting my brother and sister in law, and their kiddos, north of Seattle. 

When you are flying people ask “where are you going?”  “What is your final destination?”  On the way to Seattle I love the question.  On the way home it’s a different story.  I love visiting my family up north.  I see them about every year to year and a half, depending on how my money flow is.  And going home gets harder as the kids get older.  My niece is 4 1/2 and my nephew 2.  My niece is starting to get that auntie comes…and leaves.  It’s starting to get harder as we play harder and I find out things like my niece loves running and photography, two passions of mine.

And I sit on the Tarmac in Salt Lake City watching videos she and I made and pictures we took and the tears roll down my cheek.  I’m sure I look a little crazy:  yoga pants, ball cap and tears but going home is the hardest right now.  

Miss these two munchkins, and their parents, a lot right now…and always…

  

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Always a critic

Lately there have been a lot of articles written that are anti gluten free or anti any “free”:  dairy free, etc.  People saying that it’s all in our heads and that the incidences of these conditions aren’t real.

A New York Times author, I won’t say his name because he doesn’t deserve the recognition, just wrote an article on how a restaurant overseas blatantly said on its menu that it doesn’t have anything gluten free and then the writer went on his “everyone is faking it” rant.

First, I’m glad that the owner put that on his menu.  It makes it easier for me to not go to that restaurant.  I don’t waste my time or waste the owner/manager/server’s time by asking questions.

Second, it’s his prerogative to not serve anything gluten free.  It’s what he wants to do and I will NEVER piss and moan because someone makes that their choice.  I know it’s gotta be a pain to stock foods that you aren’t sure if you will ever use and to try to keep cross contamination to a minimum.

Third, if you don’t get it, don’t talk about it.  This writer has never eaten something and then been cramping for days on end, lived in the bathroom, couldn’t think clearly, etc. because the smallest particle of gluten affected him.  He thinks it’s all in my head and, this is evil, but I wish people who write about things like this could live in my shoes for a month.

I bet he wouldn’t be poking fun.

So until you get it, don’t write about it.  Knowledge is power, don’t be a jerk because you don’t get it.

Recipe:  Pumpkin Cupcakes

I admitted in an earlier blog that I’m not a big pumpkin fan but I am up to try new things.  A few weeks ago I saw a recipe for pumpkin cupcakes (by Gluten Free Mama) and, since I’m a sucker for baking, thought I’d try them out!  Fall means baking in my world so break out the mixer!

Pumpkin Cupcakes:

1/2 cup butter                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 cup brown sugar                                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup sugar                                                                                                                                                                            1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)                                                                                                                                2 tsp. vanilla                                                                                                                                                                               2 eggs                                                                                                                                                                                        1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I use Jules)                                                                                                                                   1 tsp. xanthan gum (if your flour doesn’t have it mixed in)                                                                                                          1 tsp. baking powder                                                                                                                                                               1/2 tsp. baking soda                                                                                                                                                                  1 tsp. cinnamon                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 tsp. ginger                                                                                                                                                                        1/2  tsp. nutmeg                                                                                                                                                                         1 cup chocolate chips or walnuts, if desired (I used chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl mix together the flour, xanthan gum (if needed), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  In a mixing bowl cream butter with brown sugar, sugar and vanilla until creamy.  Add pumpkin and mix well.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add egg one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  With mixer running on low speed, slowly pour in flour mixture until combined.  Scrape down sides of bowl and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds until well combined.  If desired, add in chocolate chips, walnuts or other desired filling.

Using a two inch scoop, fill cupcake liners with batter.  Bake for 26-28 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched.  Place on cooling sheet and cool completely.  Frost with frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup shortening                                                                                                                                                                    4 oz cream cheese                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 tsp. vanilla                                                                                                                                                                           1 1/2 cups powdered sugar                                                                                                                                                     1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Cream the shortening and cream cheese until soft.  Add vanilla, mix well.  Add cinnamon and slowly add powdered sugar.  Mix on high speed until smooth.  If needed add 1-2 tsp. milk to achieve desired texture.

These cupcakes smelled and tasted amazing.  They were very moist, flavorful and the chocolate chips added that “sweet treat” feel.  The cinnamon cream cheese frosting finished the cupcakes off perfectly.  I had my best friend, Shawna, taste them.  Shawna LOVES pumpkin and has a “30 days of pumpkin” challenge where she eats something with pumpkin every day for 30 days.  I call her the “Pumpkin Queen”.  She thought they were delish and gave them her stamp of approval!  My co workers also loved them and they stayed moist for a few days, which is unlike most gluten free baked goods.  My parents also gave their stamp of approval…three groups approved!

The other thing I loved about this recipe is that it is so easy to whip together.  If you need something quick, this is the recipe!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

As always, don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for recipes like this or on Twitter!

The Great Cheerio Debate

Earlier this year Cheerios came out saying that they would start making their products gluten free and the whole gluten free community was excited…until they came out.  We found out that their testing methods weren’t the best, that batches were tested together, etc.  If you want to read all about it check out my Facebook page or to go the Gluten Free Watchdog‘s website.  They are on it.

This evening I saw that Fox News had reported on it and had posted it on their Facebook page.  I wanted to know what people were saying about it but wish I hadn’t.  I started reading comments and was first angry, then hurt.  People are on there making fun of people with “made up” gluten allergies, saying it’s a fad that everyone is now jumping on, etc., etc.  “Give me the extra gluten” and more comments like that.  Even making fun of a little girl that has a service dog that detects gluten and keeps her safe (yes, it’s a real thing and I think it’s cool).

I think the thing that irritates me the most are the people who have NO idea what it is like to live in my shoes and others with Celiac Disease as well as gluten intolerance and wheat allergies.  Celiac isn’t funny.  Celiac almost cost my dad his life.  Celiac disease made me super sick for years and I should have just eaten my meals in the bathroom.  That is the honest truth.  It pisses me off that people make fun of something that they no NOTHING about.

Maybe I shouldn’t get so worked up but this is my life and this is something that is important to me.  I work hard to bring awareness to this disease and then a bunch of idiots comment on Facebook and I feel like I’ve been set back and all of my work is for nothing.

All this over a box of cereal.

This is what I want to say to all of them:

Tale of the Blood Moon

I’m going to blame this week on the blood moon.  It was a crazy, weird week and not just for me.  Our office had weird things happen (to individuals), I’ve talked to several other people who said things were just “off” and people just seemed off kilter.

First, I will say that the eclipse and the blood moon were beautiful.  It was awesome to watch the moon slowly “disappear” under the shadow of the earth, for it to change color and then to reappear.  It won’t happen again for a while so I was excited to witness it.

Along with a full moon come weird happenings.  Anyone who has worked in a hospital or nursing home or anyone in law enforcement will tell you that full moon DOES affect people.  I don’t know why but do know that I used to hate working at the nursing home on a full moon, residents get kinda wonky!

And that’s how this week went:  two friends with cancer, car started doing weird things, my fridge sprung a leak and I was just in a little bit of a funk.  That’s why I haven’t written.  What do you write when nothing is positive and uplifting?  What do you write when someone who is your age suddenly is sick and you can’t do anything for them?

One of my friends who was diagnosed with cancer is just a few months older than me.  When I was told about it, I sat and cried for two hours.  Cried for her, cried because I felt helpless and cried because the scary truth came super close to home:  cancer doesn’t discriminate.  Cancer doesn’t care if you are a good person.  Cancer doesn’t care if you have a family.  Cancer is a mean, mean, mean disease.

Then I started thinking about Celiac Disease.  I’ve read studies that show an increase in colon cancer in Celiac’s that have not been diagnosed early on or those that have been diagnosed and haven’t been gluten free.  It’s one of the many reasons why I try to be as gluten free as humanly possible, I want to eliminate that possibility as much as I can.  Could it still happen?  Yes.

So this isn’t the happiest of posts but it’s a real look into my brain this week and into my emotions.