Thursday, April 29, 2010

This is the first time I've hated birds

I normally love birds. Even when they're annoying and loud, I don't fault them. That was until I started a garden for the first time. Those little things keep eating my tiny tomato plants and now they've taken my squash and zucchini seedlings too.
I'm totally open to suggestions from you pros out there. Right now I think my best bet is to cover the rows of squash/zucchini with a netting. I also found a great suggestion online about using empty toilet paper rolls around the tomato plants until they get bigger. That will keep those buggers from snapping off the stems at the base.
I'll let you know how it's going but feel free to let me know if you have ideas! It's been a ton of work to get this garden going and I'm too excited about it to lose it to the birds :-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My crazy meal plan and grocery shopping process

My friends and family think I'm crazy but I always end up going to 4 different grocery stores when I do our main shopping trip for the month. Splitting up items between Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Publix & Kroger make it more affordable to eat organic and be selective about our meat choices. I used to have a coupon system but since I've made the switch to buying mainly unprocessed or organic foods, there isn't much to use with coupons. Now I mainly clip them for staples like olive oil, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.

My husband is in school getting his undergrad business degree after a few years of playing music on the road. We made the decision for him to go to school and only work part-time, so our budgets are tight yet we still have to stick to organic, fresh food because of my gluten/dairy limitations. Here's how we stick to our budget:

1) When I'm ready to make our meal plan, I start by taking an inventory of what I have left in the pantry. 

2) Next, I go to and look at the deals for the week in Nashville. I concentrate on Publix buy1get1free deals and Kroger's sales. Be careful not to buy things you wouldn't ordinarily need anyway. A sale's not a sale if you weren't ever going to

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Contemplating the move to Casein Free

I really need some honest feedback from the Casein Free community(is it cassein or casein?)! When I was first researching this switch to being gluten free I knew cutting out dairy (casein) would probably be next. In cutting out gluten, I felt better and reacted so badly when I ate something I shouldn't have. I thought it would be enough but lately I've been having some lingering small problems with sinuses, asthma and general body aches. My immune system is still not up to snuff even though the gf diet has helped tremendously.
My acupuncturist suggested trying to cut out dairy. As many of you know, it was another overwhelmed moment. I feel like I've just started getting the hang of things with my gf diet, and I really am having a hard time getting motivated to cut out dairy. I'm already lactose free but I love a big glass of organic milk. I have been reading that people who can't digest lactose have a much higher probability to be allergic to casein as well. I know it will be worth it... the little lingering health problems and "foggy brain" I get after I drink milk are worth getting rid of, I'm just a little overwhelmed.
What is everyone's experience with this? Have you also gone dairy free? If you have any good resources for me to check out please pass them along!

Under the orange umbrella with a strawberry limeade

It's been too long since I blogged! I was talking to a fellow blogger friend (and real friend :-) about that this afternoon. I love it so much but there are many times you just can't get to it!
Nevertheless, I've been outside enjoying the weather a lot lately and it's been fantastic! So today I decided I wanted to be outside and I wanted to blog... so I'm blogging from outside!! I'm sitting under my brand new orange umbrella from Old Time Pottery (that I got for $35) with a strawberry limeade and enjoying the mild temperatures:

A few updates on the garden:
The seedlings are on their way to being real plants:
 and I have a plan for everything that's going to be planted:

If you can't read my geeky chart above (hey, I'm a graphic designer), I'm planting Sweetie tomatoes, Beefsteak tomatoes, Brandywine tomatoes, peppers, corn, peas, carrots, onions, squash, zuchinni & watermelon.
Yes, that's a lot! Especially for a first-timer but I'm guessing the plants aren't all going to live and I'm going to learn a lot of lessons about gardening so I figured I should start out with a bang and see what will grow. I'm fully aware I may lose several plants throughout the process but I'm excited to try!
A big thank you to my friend Matt who runs a community farm on his property and taught me a lot about what to put where and the different intervals to plant. I hadn't even thought about not planting everything at first, you want to plant things like carrots, corn and onions a little at a time so they aren't all ready at once. The other plants regenerate and grow continuously so you don't have to worry about those.
I also fenced it in with T posts and garden fencing. It was a little expensive, but again, I'm learning the first garden definitely costs a bit. However, I'm hoping that I'm laying the groundwork for using it for several years. I'll update it with a good photo this weekend. There are a few other things to get done first. I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful day in Nashvegas! If you're not in Nashville, take a moment to appreciate whatever it is that's around you. And if you're gardening this spring let us know what you're growing!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My first GF Easter meal

My husband and I have a tradition of making an Easter Ham with our friends. This year was even better because we had an extra guest... their brand new baby boy! He obviously didn't get to try the ham but he did get to hang out with us all day on the patio.
This year we had to do things a little different. We made it a lunch because my husband has to work on Sunday. Oh and then there's the fact that I'm gluten free now :-) so the meal needed a few alterations. We had our traditional "funky ham", sweet potato casserole & Alex's asparagus (regular & white). It was a great meal! Here are

The Cinnamon Roll Of Your Dreams

Cinnamon rolls are one of the things I miss the most since I've been gluten free. My friend Jasika sent me a link to these cinnamon rolls on and they are AMAZING :-) There are step by step instructions and photos here:
We made them last night and wrapped them up to bake in the morning. They were so good my husband claims they're better than a regular gluten-filled cinnamon roll!
Make sure to pay attention to the notes. They really do