Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Meal Plan for the week of 6/28 - 7/4

This week I'm concentrating on making most baked items with almond flour. I'm still doing a lot of experimenting with what my body needs from me right now. I've been getting really good at eating gluten free but I feel like there's something I'm substituting that's actually hurting me rather than helping me. To experiment, I'm going to mix in a few things from the Selective Carb diet (SCD) and try to monitor my sugar intake... not just with sugar itself but the carbs that turn to sugar and are higher on the Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load list. There's a lot more to be done before I think I'll reach my ideal diet to feel great! I'll let you know how this goes and please leave me any tips you have.
You can download our meal plan for the week here: http://snipurl.com/yd89s

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Garden Update 6/27 - Cucumbers a plenty! Crazy tomatoes!

I've pulled the first three cucumbers off the vine!

Now, here's where I still need advice from you pros... how big should they be when they are harvested? And when it starts to change color - is it good or bad? Any advice would be great!
Also, we had a big storm and it's really messed up the cucumber trellis and the tomato cages. I knew the wire cages wouldn't last forever but hopefully I can figure out a good supplemental bamboo situation so that they can keep on growing. I'll get that done tomorrow as well as some pruning. One thing I have had a lot of advice on is that pruning the crazy branches will keep the plant producing more!
I hope everyone's had a great weekend. And just remember, it's almost the 4th of July holiday weekend. That should help you get through this week a little better :-)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Garden update: 6/20

I'm learning lots of fun lessons about gardening lately! The most important thing I've learned is that I didnt have a great space plan in place. I planted things like zuchinni/squash/cucumbers/watermelon too close together! Dont get me wrong, I'm glad everything has grown beyond my expectation but if I dont handle it the right way, a lot of my planting will have been in vain.
I started this weekend by cutting out a zuchinni plant entirely. There were three plants too close together and it was causing moisture problems for all of them. There was really disgusting looking mildew killing everything and it had to go before it ruined all three plants. I hope this gave the other two enough room to breath and continue producing. We've gotten four great zuchinnis so far and they've tasted great!!
Also, I'm going to experiment with putting my cucumber plant on a trellis after it's already grown a lot. I made the mistake of going on a vacation ;-) and not securing the cucumbers to anything before I left. It feel like they grew a mile while I was gone and they desperately need to be climbing something tall to get them off the ground. I'll let you know how that goes. If you have any budget friendly suggestions please let me know!
The corn looks almost ready to harvest - maybe another week? And the tomatoes are growing awesome green tomatoes right now.
The peas have perished and have been removed. I'm going to rework the soil and plant something else there. Weather above 90 degrees has just been too much for them and they didn't make it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Favorite Friday: Burger Up!

Today's Favorite Friday post is about a new Nashville restaurant: Burger Up. Started by Miranda Whitcomb Pontes, who also owns the Frothy Monkey coffeehouse down the street, it has a great vibe with a casual, hip atmosphere. The best part is... they now have a gluten free bun & gluten free beer! 
My husband and I were able to go out on a date this week and the waitress didn't look at me like I had three heads when I said the words "gluten free bun & beer"!!! Yay! Having come home from West Palm beach with some restaurants that were beyond horrible to me, it was a great feeling.
I got the Woodstock which had some really amazing bacon. Added sweet potato fries and a Bard's beer. When I got my beer, I was surprised that it was a Green's Dunnel Dark beer. They had run out of the Bard's and substituted for the same price. Now, I love Bard's but I also really love Green's. This was exciting!
The flax/quinoa bun was amazing! It was the first time I've been able to eat a burger and have it feel authentic. Bravo to you bun master - whoever you are! I need to meet you and get some tips on how you bake. 

My only complaint is the noise level, which I hear they are working on. And of course there's the price. $15 for a burger and fries isn't awesome but it also isn't bad at all when you consider it's from a local ranch (Triple L Ranch) in Franklin. I'm always willing to support local, natural food!
Overall, I cant tell you how great it felt to have a nice meal out with my husband without having to ask for a gluten free menu or get told "there's always lettuce to eat" by hostesses. Thank you everyone at Burger Up for knowing those of us with allergies want to eat out too! We appreciate it more than you know! Check out the menu at www.burger-up.com

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Meal plan for the week of June 7-11

Here's my meal plan for the week! http://snipurl.com/x69p9
I'm out of town part of the weekend so the husband is on his own for that part but otherwise we're stocked with fresh food and recipes ready in the binder. A reminder: I only specify breakfast and lunch. We choose from the list for our dinners, that way it's more flexible and we can find something we're in the mood for that night.
I hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Favorite Fridays: Purely Clear natural face moisturizer

* sorry for the late post. I know it doesn't make sense to have a Favorite Friday post on Saturday but it's due to a technical glitch. Enjoy and hopefully it'll be fixed before next time!

I have so many favorite things these days and most of them I've found from people I love sharing them with me. So I want to start "Favorite Fridays"! I might be something gluten free, a favorite organic product or anything I've stumbled upon that you might love too! It's not for money or advertisement, just something fun that's worth recommending.
My first Favorite Friday is going to be about Purely Clear,  a new facial moisturizer I've found that's  most organic and completely natural.

Here's the list of ingredients:
Organic sweet almond oil, organic aloe juice, organic coconut oil, organic rooibos tea, emulsifying wax, kosher vegetable glycerin, squalene, organic olive oil, palm stearic acid, organic jojoba oil, avocado oil, sodium PCA, witch hazel, vitamin E, xantham gum, lecithin, ionic silver, black willowbark extract, rosemary, neem

I bought it a few weeks ago from a local store I love, The Green Wagon in East Nashville. For years I have been using a great Neutrogena oil free facial moisturizer with SPF 15 in it. As far as complexion goes, it's never done me wrong. But lately I got to thinking about the synthetic chemicals & how SPF is probably unnecessary given that I'm in an office all day five days a week. I'd rather put SPF on when I know I'm going to be outside and need it. I surely don't need extra chemicals being rubbed into my head for no reason. So I started on the hunt for a natural face lotion. My skin is pretty sensitive and I get zits easy so I was anxious about trying something new. When I found Purely Clear at the store, I noticed it has a 100% money back guarantee. I like that. It

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The first peas are in! Some garden photos...

Not much to say, I just want to share some photos from my garden! I had a few photos left on a roll of film leftover from the weekend so I made a trek to the garden to photograph what's growing so far. Here's the first of the peas - they're the first vegetables I've ever grown!!!

The Zuchinni is taking over!!:
and one of some hay just for fun!

Growing like crazy! The organic garden is getting awesome.

Tonight consisted of several hours working in the garden! I had to do three things: weed, replant my pepper plants because the cutworms had gotten to them, and lay down some more landscape fabric because the darn bermuda grass has taken over again!
I had four bell pepper plants that I started from seeds. Only one is currently surviving. The other three were pinched off by cutworms. It was a rookie mistake. Usually I know better... the same thing happened to my tomatoes and I finally got it to stop by placing empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls. For some reason I didn't think about it with the peppers but it's ok -  I just had to go buy a few more. It also gave me to opportunity to change it up a bit and I bought one Anaheim pepper and then two new bell peppers. I wanted the Anaheim because they're good for dished like Chile Relleno... yum! They look like this:
After I planted the new peppers I got to work on weeding and laying down some new landscape fabric. The bermuda grass in my garden has gotten out of control. I had been able to control it for a few weeks by mulching with grass clippings. Lately it hasnt been working. I've had to dig and remulch three times now because it's so hard to control. We've also had some crazy rain lately and it keeps me from being able to weed. Luckily I found some all natural weed barrier fabric that's made out of corn! It's called Easy Gardener Natural Weedblock. No chemicals, all natural materials:
You can read more about it here: http://snipurl.com/wzu8n

Tomorrow I'll take a picture of the garden as a whole! However, yesterday I took a bunch of pictures for fun with my old film camera. I'll post those separately since there's several and they're more for fun!
I hope everyone had a great day and enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend!

Trader Joe's saves my budget, Whole Foods saves my life

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the existence of Trader Joe's. It allows me to get fresh, organic items cheaper than Whole Foods. It's my budget conscious utility store. My favorite items there include honey plantain chips, gf toaster waffles, organic onions, apples & potatoes. They make being gluten free so easy! There is a small "g" shaped symbol they print on their gf items and put on their shelves where the item is sold. They're easy to look for and if you are looking for something specific, just ask the customer service person for a gluten free list. They will give you a printout of all the gf items in the store!
My only complaint is their ability to let the shelves get bare. There have been a lot of times that they will be out of something I need for several days.
Whole Foods on the other hand, is a store that has saved my life. When I started removing gluten from my diet, it was difficult. Difficult but worth it. When I started cutting out dairy, it got a lot harder & a lot more emotional. When I also figured out I had to avoid soy... I really started to panic. What in the world will I eat? Whole Foods gave me a place to stand in the dairy aisle and stare. I stared at all of the options and my anxiety slowly eased. Finding coconut milk Kefir has fulfilled my love of yogurt. Finding coconut milk ice cream has made me feel like a girl again, a real girl who wants some ice cream when I read a magazine. It's amazing all of the little things you do with food that make you feel happy. When I cut all of these foods out, I knew it meant a lifestyle change. I'm excited about that! My body was telling me something and I know now to listen to it. But I also wanted to feel like I had the ability to treat myself on occasion. Whole Foods has given me that freedom. So Trader Joes, thank you for having easy, quality items at a great price. Whole Foods, thank you for the fresh and diverse foods along with a side of sanity. You've saved my life.