Saturday, February 28, 2009
Recently, someone on one of the celiac boards I follow said she made crispy rice squares using Rice Chex in place of the regular Rice Krispies cereal. Why can't a celiac use Rice Krispies to make those yummy bars? Because they use malt flavoring, which is made from barley, which contains gluten.
But the awesome folks at General Mills, who make Chex, decided to switch the formula and make Rice Chex gluten free. I had pretty much given up on cereal when I found out this news, so I was really happy to hear it. Still, I don't eat cereal or bread nearly as much as I used to because going gluten-free has changed my palate. Once in a while though, having a good cereal option is such a luxury. And it means that I can have crispy treats again!
The recipe to make these is basically the same, just substitute Rice Chex in place of Rice Krispies. Also, make sure the marshmallows you buy are gluten-free. To experiment and make these dairy-free as well, I tried Smart Balance in place of butter and couldn't tell the difference. Go and make these. They're amazing. Treats like this instantly make me feel like a little kid. Remember making these with your mom? It was so exciting to cook with her, and it was simple enough that you could be involved too. The perfect intro for little bakers. Of course Julian helped me with these. He's pro.
On a completely different topic, I turned 28 today. And Wade turned 41. We have the same birthday, isn't that cool? We both caught colds, so we're just staying in and watching "Religulous". Julian keeps asking me, "How old are you today?" And I say, "Today I'm 28." And then he'll ask, "But how old were you yesterday?" And I reply, "Yesterday I was 27". He did the same routine with Wade, trying to wrap his mind around the numeric shift. I think he believes that all children's parents have the same birthdays, and he's been feeling a little left out because it's not his birthday today too. All day long, he's been toasting us with his water glass, saying, "Happy Birthday to Mom and Dad!" Sickness aside, this is a great birthday.
Friday, February 27, 2009
The photo above is what I use as deodorant. I don't use traditional deodorant - I make my own. Partly because I'm a hippie, and partly because I get enormous satisfaction out of not buying what people think is absolutely necessary for survival. It makes me feel more crafty. Also, have you seen the ingredients on antiperspirant/deodorant bottles? Full of chemicals that are probably not good for your skin to be absorbing. This mixture is all natural, and completely safe.
-equal parts cornstarch and baking soda (if you're allergic to corn, maybe try potato or tapioca starch?)
-tea tree oil
Apply powder mixture with a soft brush, like something you would use for makeup.
I mixed mine in a small tin because I liked the small size and portability. There is no set amount of drops of oil for this recipe. I just pour a few drops in and put the lid on and give the tin a good shake. Once it looks like things start clumping together is when I stop with the oils. If you add too much oil, just throw in some more baking soda and cornstarch. Also, don't feel like you're stuck with these specific oils. Any anti-stink oil combination will work. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial though, so you might want to stick with that one.
I'd also like to add that this is not an antiperspirant. Sweating is not bad, peeps. It's your body's way of cooling itself down as well as getting rid of toxins. In my opinion, this is not a process that should be stopped or plugged up by aluminum that's found in antiperspirants. Sweat on, you crazy hippies.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
No, this isn't a poo joke, although I do find those so amusing because I'm mentally a 12 year old boy. What you see above is what I use as my shampoo and conditioner. I didn't know it until kind of recently, but this kind of hair treatment is called "no poo", short for no shampoo. I've been using this method for over a year now, and my hair is fine. No, I don't smell like Courtney Love. In fact, most people probably can't even tell that I use anything other than regular shampoo on my hair (Unless I do stink and I'm totally unware of it. You know, the theory that you can't smell yourself? If that's the case, I apologize to all within whiff-range).
The main reason I started doing this is because once I went gluten-free, I realized how much stuff had wheat in it as a thickener. Nearly every beauty product you can think of. And I wanted to absolutely minimize my risk of getting glutened. Also, I have the world's most sensitive skin and everything gives me a rash. Doesn't that make me sound so precious? The thought of me covered in rashes? Just adorable. You love it.
This is the most simple recipe ever. I don't have any set amounts, I just eyeball things. Which is also how I tend to cook. So, I just keep a small plastic bowl and a small plastic pitcher in the shower now. Shake a few teaspoons of baking soda into the bowl. To make the "shampoo" you just need to make the baking soda damp in the shower, and add it to the roots of your already wet hair. Rub it in and rinse. The "conditioner" is just some apple cider vinegar, about a quarter cup, in the pitcher. Fill the pitcher halfway with warm water, and pour it on your hair. Leave it for a few minutes and then rinse. Sometimes, when I'm feeling like an extra fancy hippie, I add lavender or peppermint oil to the cider-water.
Not only is this hella cheap, I'm not coating my skin with gross chemicals or washing that junk down the drain to pollute our ladyfriend, Earth. Now let the comments pour in, telling me what a dirty hippie I am.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I need to post this and proclaim my everlasting love for Daniel, who made me this great lolcat caption picture of Stevie. Maybe I'm mildly retarded, but I swear to you, the lolcats never get old to me. Neither do fart and poo jokes, just so you know.
On a completely separate note, have you ever experienced the joy of making your own croutons? Right, I know. Nothing mind blowing. But seriously, make your own croutons. They're so much better than the ones you can buy and eleventy-billion times cheaper. I used the butt of a loaf of millet bread I made that was a little too dense. Millet hiney. So, I cut 1 inch cubes, threw them on a baking sheet and baked them at 400 degrees until they turned golden. Next time around, I plan on adding parmesan or olive oil. My salads are going to be so happy.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Have I mentioned on here that I want to start my own gluten-free bakery? It's been a dream of mine for a while. The plan was to go back to school and become a registered dietician, and have enough income to eventually fund my own bakery. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that despite my interest in nutrition, I simply do not want to spend all of my time in hospitals showing people a grainy photocopy of the food pyramid. The real goal is the bakery, right? So instead of going through a bunch of unnecessary steps to get some job I don't really want in the first place, I'm planning on just doing the bakery in baby steps.
So I've been working up some of my own recipes for when I eventually open, and have gotten a few really great cookies down so far. When I first went gluten-free, I didn't care about cookies. That didn't last long. I love cookies and think about them all the time, I'm not even kidding. If you ever see me and I have a far off look in my eye, I'm probably thinking about cookies. Cookies and bacon. Not together though.
I went from not caring about cookies to accepting ready made ones, or pre-packaged mixes. These are decent options I suppose, but I love to bake. And to be honest, most of the packaged cookies I've tasted have the texture of sand. Every time I would buy a package, I'd tell myself "I can make something better than this". The need for improvement is a great motivator. Also, businesses that already exist and are thriving. I'm looking forward to trying some great GF bakery foods in my travels. I know many companies sell online and ship their products, but that ends up being so expensive. When I lived in L.A., I found The Sensitive Baker in Culver City to be a great source of inspiration. I was super excited that Babycakes was coming to town also, but then we moved and I haven't had the chance to try them yet. Maybe when we visit NY I'll get to taste one of their cupcakes.
I see no point in trying to re-invent the wheel, so my method of getting cookie recipes is basically to plunder the internet for regular cookie recipes, and then tweak the ingredients to make it GF. So far, I've had great results and these cookies blew my effing mind. Most of the fun of this comes in not really knowing what the results will be though. I love experimenting with different flours, and even when things do go wrong, I always learn something from the process.
What kind of cookies do you like? What would you like to see in a bakery, gluten-free or not?
Monday, February 9, 2009
With the weather being so gorgeous the last few days, we took full advantage and made dinner on the grill last night. Why does food taste so much better when it's grilled? These are sweet potato wedges, a skewer of onion and yellow squash, and a skewer of onion and mushrooms. Nothing fancy, just brushed with olive oil and then sprinkled with salt and pepper. But jeez. They were amazing.
Indiana Jones and his dad were hard at work plowing a small plot for our garden we're going to plant this spring. I am so excited at the thought of having a garden that I find my mind wandering and planning what kinds of delicious vegetables and herbs we'll grow. And then I imagine myself saying "I need some kale for tonight's dinner. Don't run to the store, Wade. I'll just get it from the garden." Eeeee!! I have a lot in mind, and this little section that we've plowed might not be big enough. We might need to start another one soon.
This is my first real garden I'll have since living with my parents, because I've always had apartments before. We've grown porch herbs, but they never really thrived. And I've always wanted much more than just a weak little basil plant covered in L.A. soot. I want rows of squash, carrots, and beets. On my to-do list is to start looking up organic gardening tips. Do you know of any?
Here's our little compost heap that we also started yesterday. I'm not entirely sure how the whole composting thing goes, but all I'm doing is taking a pile of dirt, leaves, and grass, removing a layer, dumping in food scraps, and then covering it. I hope that works. From what I understand, the pile needs to be turned and stirred often because the heat and gasses that build up from decomposing matter can start a fire. That would be a suckfest, so I'm going to have to do my homework and figure out how to not blow up my back yard.
It seems so appropriate that as I'm planning my dream garden, I'm also reading this book. I've only gotten about halfway through, but I can already say that I would recommend this. The main idea of the book is stated right up front: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Seems simple enough, right? But Michael Pollan goes in depth to explain how for decades, the government has been trying to create imitation foods that have the same nutritional value as real foods, but always fall short. A perfect example is baby formula. No matter how many times scientists have reformulated it and added the new keyword nutrients (now with Omega 3!!), it never will match up to human milk. We're overloaded with edible foodlike substances, but not actual food. There's a section of the book that says if the product you're looking at is boasting its health benefits on the label, it probably isn't that healthy at all. You won't find broccoli bragging about its nutrients, because big business can't modify, fortify, and trademark broccoli.
I know I'm very late to read and review this because it's been out for a while now, but I'm a busy mom and don't have nearly enough time to devote to reading as I'd like. Still, this book is informative and I feel that taking control of our health starting with what we put into our bodies is so important.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
A couple weeks ago, Julian and I Obamiconed ourselves. Have you done this yet? It's pretty fun. Julian reminded me a few minutes ago about his Obamicon, so I decided to share ours here. Right now, he's totally annoyed with me because I won't give him a turn typing.
I realize this is not the most interesting post, and I promise to be posting some crafty or gluten-free stuff up here soon. For now, I'm going to help Julian practice writing letters of the alphabet. Today the schools declared a snow day, even though there was only an inch of snow. What's that about? I guess it's kind of like L.A., where the everyone would freak out and the news would flash "STORM WATCH!!" across the screen at even the slightest chance of a sprinkle.