Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wheat Where?

On this whole gluten free journey I have been surprised where wheat or gluten products might turn up. You might be surprised too.

Soy sauce- it's not all soy. Go to the pantry and pick up your bottle. See- wheat. Bummer. There is wheat free soy sauce. However, I am only allowed to have sea salt, so soy sauce is staying away from my pantry. Actually many sauces contain wheat products- teriyaki sauce, Worchestershire, and most steak sauces.

Spice blends- this can be a sad one for me. Many of the steak seasonings or seasonings with "smoke flavor" have some form of gluten. And of course the ever present MSG- the G stands for glutemate = gluten. So I make most of my own spice blends. There plenty out there that are gluten free, but I am wary of "natural flavor". Shiver down my spine!

Salad dressing and marinades- I stay away from these especially when eating out. Gluten products are often used as thickeners. Again it can be as small as that "natural flavor" or it can be all out labeled. Some products are labeled gluten free. I can breathe a sigh of relief when I see that! I also stay away from anything marinated at restaurants because of this.

Communion wafers or crackers- I had forgotten about this until I went to church on Sunday. Some churches are starting to have a gluten free tray or allow people to bring in their own. I will say that I broke mine into a tiny piece but it had me concerned all day! Next time I will plan ahead. This does however make visiting churches a bit interesting.

Shampoo and soap- Wheat derivatives are often used in hair care. On my very nice Jason's shampoo bottle it was listed clearly- hydrolyzed wheat protein. And I have been wondering why my scalp issues haven't cleared up!! I have switched brands now. Sorry Jason's. I also changed my facial cleanser, and it has made a difference. It is amazing how it is the small things that have a big impact.

Lotion, sunscreen and beauty products- Yep. Lotion. Often same as the shampoo.  Or have you ever seen tocopherol listed on an ingredients list? It is vitamin E, but is often derived from wheat. And there are lots of other words like that to look for. Gotta check your source and that can be time consuming. My eyes have been much less irritated since I stopped wearing makeup. There is gluten free makeup out there, but again, you have to do a lot of research.

Ok, my brain is tired. I am sure that there is something else out there that I will remember later. We'll just add to the list then. Until then I encourage you to do some label reading and start noticing where wheat turns up or gluten. Once you learn to recognize it you won't wonder why people are starting to get sensitive to it. It is everywhere!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Breaking in Summer

Well, I have two new best friends.
Oops. Hold on I can get a better picture than that. It'll take me a minute. Camera over the shoulder..... There.

Meet my crutches. They definitely need names. They will be my constant companion for a couple of weeks. I mean it has been six years since I have been on crutches. I had to say hello to them again.

Here is how the story goes: A few months ago I won a gift card from my insurance company for filling out a silly survey. Yay! $50 for free!!! Well, when it came in the mail it was to Wal-mart. I loathe shopping at Wal-mart, so I sat on it for a while while I dreamed about what to purchase. A new blender? A covered dutch oven? It had to be something that I wasn't going to run out and buy, something that I really wanted. On Tuesday I finally made up my mind. Iron skillets! Into the car I went early in the day, because we all know that Wal-mart isn't quite as crazy in the early morning hours. I found the skillets. I pondered the sizes. I roamed the store and pondered some more. Then went back and loaded two iron skillets into my cart.

Being early morning, the self checkout lines were really the only things open. I hate them, but ok. I scanned my things and my skillets. I even had to get help with my gift card. All was well and bam. The skillets, which were nested in each other landed on my feet. Yes both feet. I didn't feel a thing. Shock I guess. I picked them up, put them into the buggy and headed to the car. No one noticed. Ok. Walking to the car kind of hurt. My pants leg rubbing on my foot kind of hurt. Uh oh.

So, being the stubborn person that I am I ran one more errand. I actually had a long list of them to run. But while picking out some tomatoes at Burger's I decided not to run any more errands. Pushing the gas pedal on the car hurt, too. Oh no. I decided to go to the Dr. 

I got X-rayed and went home. I iced both of my poor feet. Yes, both. The skillets landed squarely on the tops of my feet. I waited for the Dr. to call with the reading from radiology. And he called. Fractured left foot. Great. I made it to the orthopedist yesterday and got this beauty.

I look like a transformer coming to life, or dying. Just call me Re-boot, bootleg, whatever else you can come up with. The good news is that my right foot is just badly bruised and will hurt for a few months. Excuse me? Yes, a few months and my left foot of course will hurt for a while. So, I am on crutches for 16 days and then can walk in the boot. Being on crutches is reminding me of when I broke my ankle. I actually had some great times visiting with friends then. I hope this break will be as enjoyable. Of course, now I have Dave that I usually shop for and feed. This should be interesting. Oh yeah, and my limited diet that I have to cook everything on. Hmmmmm..... hello crock pot, salads and loads of fresh veggies. Perhaps some smoothies shall be my BFF. Oh wait, can't carry a cup on crutches. Crap. Backpack to the rescue! Maybe I can talk Dave into grilling some too, and shopping, and dishes. One more look at the foot.
I will be right here on the couch for a while. You know where to find me.

Re-boot signing out

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Update on Sick Chick

Atta Girl has done really well being in the house. She is a bit restless, and who wouldn't be when you are used to being outside all day. She likes to listen to Cocteau Twins with me and watches T.V. She likes big moving things on T.V. or lots of action. Not surprisingly she is not a Jeopardy fan. She can't answer the questions. For your viewing pleasure a few photos.

Sisters...... sisters...... the sisters have been checking each other out a lot.

Here, they meet eye to eye.

And my poor Lleulu looks a little ashamed that there is a chicken in the house. I can't say that I blame her. It is a bit unusual.

Don't worry Lleulu, the house will be all yours again soon. Have patience!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Summer Wedding

Here are some pictures from our short trip to Boone. Gotta enjoy those memories with family!

The beautiful bride Jessica, Dave's cousin.

Grandma with her Great grandbabies

Dave and his sister Katherine

Our niece getting kisses from her great grandmother. You don't get those everyday!

Katherine's husband Michael and their smiley boy

It was a really short trip. We were worn out when we got home! It was so great to see everyone.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Silly Girls

My chickens are silly. They like to get into a basket at the same time. I tried to capture the moment for you, but Pickle moved. Lydia kicked her out. I would too. There just isn't room for two!
Silly chickens!! They crack me up all of the time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What's Growing in the Garden

I should say, what's growing in the front yard since I mixed veggies in everywhere. Here you go.

Bell peppers
Spicy Basil

Green beans

Juliette tomatoes

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Adventures of a Sick Chick

Caution: this is about a sick chicken. It may contain graphic descriptions that may not be pleasant.

A few days ago I discovered that we had a sick chicken. I could tell that Atta Girl had a yucky poop covered behind, but didn't think much of it. That is until I saw that flies were following her around and seemed to be swarming her. Flies do not normally follow the chickens around. So, I caught her to get a good look at her. I could tell that her backside was not well, but being only me as Dave was at work, I couldn't get a good look at her.

Friday night two of my friends from college came over and I forced Hunter to help me get a good look at her. I caught her, he held her and I hosed her down and saw that her rear side was covered in maggots. My poor girl!!!  Rebecca got a photo of us in this process that is probably somewhere on the internet. I coated her rear in diotemaceous eath- it helps prevent larvae from hatching, but I now know doesn't do much once they are present. I called my friend Laura who is an avian biologist and waited to hear what she had to say. She said that we did well and to keep an eye on her.

Saturday morning came around and we were getting ready to go to Dave's cousin's wedding in Boone NC. When I went out to check on my girl she wouldn't leave the roost and her backside was absolutely covered in maggots. (Note that when I say backside, I don't mean her vent-where she poops from. I mean the area below her vent.) We went into action to try to do something for her. A fellow chicken owner said that flea and tick spray would kill the maggots. He also had a prescription for antibiotics for his chickens that he called a refill in for near me. He figured that she had an infection that drew the flies to her in the first place. Off I went to the store while Dave packed. When I returned, we got to work.

Dave and I hosed her off again then sprayed down her rear side with flea and tick spray. As the maggots fell off we could see just how many there were. My poor baby! Of course, I got no photos of this process, but it is probably for the better. After a couple of dousings she seemed pretty maggot free. I used a hair dryer to get her feathers nice and dry. We didn't want her body temperature to drop. We then poured hydrogen peroxide all over her backside to kill whatever we could. And then I dried her off again. Most of her feathers were missing from her backside. I felt like a really bad mom that should have done something sooner. But, I didn't know!! And I keep thinking if she wasn't a pet she would have been killed. We gave her antibiotics and Dave drove her over to my mom and dad's while I got ready to go out of town.

I think that I worried the whole time that we were gone. My mom assured me that she was resting and even a little bit feisty. We picked her up on Sunday afternoon. She seemed happy to see us. Ok, not happy, but we were familiar to her.
Dave fashioned her a cage in the dining room. She can't go outside for awhile. She needs to be in a clean environment while she is healing. Here she is getting adjusted to her new surroundings.
She has a roost, room for food and water and enough room to walk around a bit. She mostly sleeps on the roost. I know that she misses her sisters. You might also be wondering why put her in your kitchen/dining room? Chickens get lonely if they are isolated. Sure we could put her away in a room, but she wouldn't see us very much. Many times when they are isolated that is when they give up. Not Atta Girl!! She will be seeing a lot of us. And Lleulu.
Lleulu still thinks that it is all about her. Can't you tell? Look at the look that she is giving me! I got out the camera and she wanted her picture to be taken. Silly kitty. She isn't quite sure what to think about a chicken in the house. She knows them from when they were little and looks at them from the back door all of the time. This is a little different though!
What cute sisters!! I'll be keeping you posted on Atta Girls progress. And if you want to see a chicken in the kitchen that isn't in the freezer or a pan come on over!! We love company!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pastured Chicken

A couple of weeks ago I loaded up my big old cooler with ice and drove about thirty minutes away to a farm in Powder Springs.  I think that I have mentioned them before~ Bray Family Farms. They grow delicious produce, grass fed beef, pastured pork and pastured chicken. I ordered five chickens from them. I went to the farm to pick them up. It was a great experience.

There were people waiting when I got there, so I got my cooler out and mosied on over to scope the scene. The chickens had been caught and contained in small crates. They were removed one my one and slipped peacefully into cones. Shortly there after, to spare you the details, they were cleaned and put on ice. When you were next in line your chickens are brought to you and you put them into your own bags and into your own cooler. 

This was my first time ordering and picking up chickens processed straight from the farm. Let me tell you, I will always buy my chicken this way if I have any choice. The chickens lead a happy life on a pasture in a chicken tractor. Their end is peaceful, no commotion. Seriously I saw their eyes in the end and they were content. This is how we should all view our food sometime. Don't worry, my girls never saw the cooler!

So I brought my chicken filled cooler home, cut my chickens in half and put them into the freezer before we went out of town. They lay nice and flat if you cut them in half. I couldn't wait to cook one though. Here she is:

Oh my lands!!!! Isn't she a beauty? I have never seen skin so crispy and golden. I made my potato rub and exchanged the dill for marjoram. I also tucked some Thai basil under the skin. Mercy! It was divine. I did nothing to this beautiful bird after I put her into the oven. I think that the secret to the pretty skin is starting off at a high heat, around 425, for twenty minutes or so, then turning down the heat to 375.  Let's have one more look:

I cooked some asparagus to go along with this beauty.
I like my asparagus with lemon pepper and dill. Yum yum.

Dave devoured his meal. So did I. In between bites of chicken he said, "So... tell me about this chicken.... was is raised like ours?" The taste in flavor is so different from store bought chicken. This was the most delicious chicken that I have ever cooked. Dave agreed.

The Bray's have another round of chickens ready to come to the table on July 7th. If you are interested in ordering some, check out this page. You put a deposit down and then pay the rest when you pick them up. Also, it might seem like a high price for one chicken, but think about it. The Bray's get them when they are a day old and care for them in every way until they are ready to go to your table. That means many hours of care as baby chicks, lots of feed, moving the chicken tractors every 2-3 days, catching them and butchering them. And I mean butchering in the nicest way possible because they were the best dressed birds that I have ever seen. Also, these birds eat grass and bugs and they run around! The typical chicken bought from the supermarket may have never seen the sun, ate only grains and most likely barely had room to walk around.

Ok, I'll get off of my soap box now. If you have the chance to try a pastured chicken you'll be hooked. I am going to cook another one soon. My mouth is watering thinking about it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Bit of Bragging

I don't brag often. Really. Except about my delicious cooking. Ok. I do brag about that. I was thinking today that I need to brag on Dave more. He is a pretty fantastic husband. He doesn't shop or cook, but generally I enjoy doing those things. He does clean the house and mow our lawn and our neighbor's lawns. He also tends to the chickens and loves them and our cat Lleulu. I think that is pretty special.

But that isn't what I want to brag on him about. He is an amazing musician. I mean it. A-m-a-z-i-n-g! Every time I hear something that he has written I get a proud smile on my face. I love to walk in the door and hear him playing his guitar, especially something that I don't recognize!

Lately he has been working on building an amp. This is the second one that he has built. I don't understand how it works, but I do know that it has tubes and resistors and wires. I also recognize that this one has an incredible sound!! Way to go Dave!! He has been carrying different guitars through the house to hear how they sound on this new amp. Wowzers! I am one lucky lady to have such rich beautiful sounds flowing through my house.

Keep up the good work Dave! Thanks for filling our home with music.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


It is official. I had my one month check up. My healthy eating plan isn't a temporary thing. My Doc says I should continue on this path for the rest of my life. I kind of knew that in my gut. It makes me feel like I wasn't silly for completely cleaning out the pantry, going gangbusters looking for cookbooks, and sticking to it.

My body is changing. A few people have commented lately, "Have you lost weight?". My reply, "Uhm,  maybe. I have no idea, but my clothes are baggier." I have told you all that the swelling in my legs has gone down and it has continued to do so. My ankles are probably the smallest that I have seen them since I was 16 or so. So crazy!!! I don't recognize my own legs. And..... I have lost ten pounds. I had no idea that I lost that much. Most of it was probably inflammation. My healthy eating plan and homeopathic meds have helped flush out the bad stuff and reduce the inflammation. My energy levels are still low, but I do have a good amount of energy in the morning. I am trying to plan things around that, but it is difficult.

I found out that I can have all fruits and vegetables. Yay!! That is so exciting. Funny how joyous eating a watermelon or cantaloupe sounds. No dairy. Ever. I will try to stay away from sugar and yeast. And gluten is not my friend. I will probably be spending a lot of time talking about gluten from here on out. Eating gluten-free, dairy-free, brown rice-free and sugar free is a challenge. I really want to share any information that I can. Especially good eats and treats.

The challenge will be to eat like a hippy but not be one. I mean I might start sprouting, fermenting and eating raw. Ok, only fermenting a couple of things. I hate the smell. Sprouting is easy and delicious. But we will get into that another time.

So, my friends ask, "What does that mean when we eat together?".  Most likely if we are eating in a home I will bring along a big salad or some hummus and veggies to share. I am not going to die if I eat off my my plan. I just might not feel good. I will be cautious. I will be careful. But treating me to a teaspoon of sugar here and there might make me smile! I am learning how to be prepared for eating out, weddings and get togethers. There are some good restaurants that have a gluten free menu. And many others have a list of gluten free items. Don't worry, I will be writing some about that too.

Actually I am excited. This is a challenge that I am fully capable of accepting. I will feel better, Dave and I are eating healthier and maybe you will be too if I find some stellar recipes. Alright, gotta go search out some more good eats!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Blooms

Amaryllis. I think that it is a Red Lion.

Daisy gardenia~ these things bloom profusely and their fragrance is intoxicating.

Marietta Red marigolds. Beautiful!!
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