Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sparky! The Portrait

This little guy was the light of his family's life.  I think Sparky's name was pretty fitting :).  
Of course losing him this past year was very difficult.  I was honored to be asked to paint this portrait in his memory.   Sparky's portrait is a 5 x 7" watercolor.


Buffalo Chicken Dip ~ Yum!

I am clearly not following the idea of letting 'food be thy medicine' with the last two posts and I promise I will change that in the new year!     This buffalo chicken dip is a favorite of anyone who eats it, including me.   Thankfully I don't make it that often.    This recipe is so simple.     I'll have to update this post with a photo next time I make it, in my hurry I forgot to take one!

Ingredients:
1-block of cream cheese (I use light).
1-jar of Marie's blue cheese dressing (also can use light, found in produce section)
1-small jar of Frank's hot sauce
Chicken (I use one roaster chicken, pull the meat.   You can use canned chicken but I don't think its as good).
Shredded cheddar to garnish- optional

I use either my Blendtec or food processor and toss the cream cheese, jar of dressing and most of the hot sauce in and combine.    I add the rest of the hot sauce a little at a time - this is a personal choice for hot-ness.  Pull the meat off the roaster chicken (easiest if still got, I throw it in the microwave for a minute or two if needed).   Mix the chicken in by hand.    Some people use cheddar on top, I don't think it really adds to it.     Microwave until warm (depending on the microwave anywhere from 3-8 minutes).
Serve with solid tortilla chips.   Flimsy chips with break!

A note on the size..  we have a large family so when I brought this to Christmas eve, I made a double batch.  There was only a few bites left!

Enjoy!

Sweet Party Chex Mix

Merry Christmas!  
Well, I'm a little late with that wish so let's say "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" instead.    This holiday season proved to be another whirlwind.  I always get really busy with paintings as people want them for Christmas gifts.     This year I was looking for something new and easy for Christmas eve with my family, that could be dessert-ish (I reserve the right to make up my own words in this blog).     My friend Christina has been raving about what she calls Christmas Crack for  few weeks so I tried it.  You can find her recipe here.    I feel a little guilty even sharing this because its SO bad for you - and sorry to my GF friends this does not qualify.   (although, you could nix the golden grahams, use GF pretzels...hmmm...we could make it work!)


Ingredients:
1 box Golden Graham cereal
1 box of Rice Chex
1 bag of pretzels (broken)
peanuts or whatever nut you like
1 bag of peanut m&ms (choose the color per the season!)
1 bag of sweetened coconut
2 cups of corn syrup
2 cups of sugar
3 sticks of butter


Start by mixing all dry ingredients.   This makes a large batch and I needed to use 3 bowls, and just add a third of each item to each bowl- I would otherwise not be able to mix it all.    Remember to break up pretzels a bit, I forgot regardless of that suggestion and I think they'd take the gooey mix better when broken.    

Pre-heat your oven to 250. Cook your corn syrup, butter and sugar in a large saucepan for about 10-15 minutes.   If you have a candy thermometer, it should reach 234.  I do not and just let it slow boil for that amount of time, while constantly stirring, and it was fine.     Pour the liquid over your dry ingredients and mix.  I consider this the not-fun part but I can be a lazy baker.   

Here's the important part- don't forget to spray your pan with PAM!   I did and it was not pretty.   For some reason only after I filled a pan did I think to use parchment paper  as an alternative (I had run out of pam).   Parchment paper also works and helps clean up efforts later.    Bake for one hour, this sets the sugary mix.  You can then let it cool most of the way, and break into pieces. 

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

~Sausage Stuffing~

Thanksgiving is only a few days away so I want to share my favorite stuffing recipe....


Sausage Stuffing

You'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups of diced celery
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • bag of fresh spinach
  • 2 tsp  rosemary
  • 2 tsp poultry season
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 15 oz of bread cubes   (I use gluten free from Sweet Ali's)
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth (depends on the level of moisture you prefer)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms
  • 32 oz of Jimmy Dean pork sausage  (I've read that its GF but do your own research!)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325.  In a large pan or stockpot, cook sausage until no longer pink.    Add mushrooms, onion, celery and garlic and cook 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.    Transfer the sausage mixture to a large bowl, and add remaining ingredients.     Mix well and pour into a greased 4 quart casserole.    Bake covered for 60 minutes.     (I usually watch and add extra broth as needed while baking...)


Enjoy!



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Entry Flooring...

I have another tiny project to share.     Like many old city houses, we have an addition off the back of our house.  It has fancy wood paneling (insert sarcasm here) which I immediately painted, so now it just looks 'charming'.   Anyway, when this addition was built, the old exterior back door was left on the basement entrance.   We immediately took that off, because I could not come up with one reason why we would need a door there.   The threshold of that (exterior) door is still there.      

When you enter through our back door, there are steps up to the house in front of you.   To your right, are steps to the basement.  Until recently, when you looked down, you would see peach concrete under your feet.   Yep.  Never a proper floor was had.   The steps into the basement also concrete and the little hallway too - all with this peachy color paint.    As a side note, Scott and I have purchased two houses in our married life and both had an excess of peach and orange paint that someone was trying to pass off as neutral.   You can probably imagine how I feel about that.

When heading to our basement, which is finished, it really feels like you're going to another location, or a separate building, if that makes sense.  I think its the concrete hallway.
  
We had a dilemma, how can we make this look a little nicer, and look like the interior of a home, without spending much?     There are larger renovations in our future, namely the dangerously small steps to the basement.  We didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that will likely be ripped out down the line.    I considered tile, but we aren't handy enough to do that ourselves, which means too much money.       

We were at Lowe's and found this great vinyl tile that looks like wood!  Vinyl has come a long way folks, I swear!   It's even textured like wood.     For an investment of maybe $40, we were able to transform the entryway from a peach concrete pad, to an indoor space!   We spent a couple of hours on a Saturday night (we are wild people).     The tiles blend in with the wood already on the stairs leading up to our dining room.    It looks 100 times better for hardly any cost, and we feel pretty handy.    We also used this to tile down to the basement entrance.    Once I get the hallway to the basement painted, it will look like a real interior space!

Here are some before and after photos:

BEFORE - Peach concrete floor: 

























AFTER:  Looks like wood to me!  (Don't mind the carpets, for the safety of pets & humans on the tiny steps!)
  

~Pumpkin Pie Crunch Bars~

Here I am, back with fall pumpkin cravings.   I want to try about 25 more fall recipes but I am running out of time :-).    I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course) and would only make a couple of small tweaks.   It is very easy, one of my current requirements for baking or cooking.   This is a great bar recipe to take to a party, so easy to transport... or just keep all to yourself and eat an excessive amount of them.

Pumpkin Pie Crunch Bars
You'll need:

  • box of gluten free yellow cake mix
  • 1- 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1- 12 oz can of evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of stevia or if you're not picky, plain old sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 cups of chopped pecans (they make for a nice crunchy top)
  • 1 cup of butter, melted  (yikes!) Try coconut oil or ghee.

Preheat your oven to 350. 
Grease the bottom of a 9x13 pan.   
Mix your pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. 
Pour into your pan.
Sprinkle dry cake mix across the top of the pumpkin mixture. 
Spread your pecans over the top.  Pour that butta' all across the top. 
Bake.  

The original recipe said to bake for 50-55 minutes.   I'm not sure if its because I used a ceramic thicker 9x13 pan, but mine took significantly longer.    At 55 minutes, it was still like jello in the center.    
I would plan for 50-55 minutes but - you may run into the same problem.     Just bake until the center firms and doesn't wiggle.       

Let them cool for a bit, but then cut before storing.   The buttery pecan 'crunch' top makes them hard to cut once they're chilled... The force to cut through the top will squish  the bottom pie-like texture.  Store in the fridge, they are good chilled, like pumpkin pie.

In the end, I think I could have baked mine a little longer, but it still was pretty yummy.   The middle of mine had that slightly undercooked dough look, but I find undercooked cookies, cake and brownies quite delicious so it didn't bother me.  

Enjoy!


Oh yes, almost forgot to mention this recipe is a slightly altered version of the one found on this blog.  She has some pretty good looking food over there!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Dreaded Garage, Props to My DH

I know, I started this blog with the intention of posting a lot of 'house stuff' and haven't delivered.   Recovering from a double-move-downsize this year has more difficult than I anticipated.   I have to admit that ignorance was bliss for me going into this last year of our lives.    The truth is, I haven't felt like any room is 'finished' to post.    Maybe I'll just start posting 'so far this looks like' photos...! 

So this brings me to the garage.    I want to take a minute to say I'm so proud of my husband who has finally taken charge of the garage.   It was a scary place and every time I pulled in, I was afraid I would hit something  (and sorry, but I did whack a couple of things here and there).    He went as far as organizing the tool chest.. and had a friend, who we are grateful to, spend two days building shelves and reinforcing the top so we can store more 'stuff' up there.  

It made a huge difference, and while we still need to go through things, it provides for a large and desperately needed sense of accomplishment.   So here you go:

BEFORE:



AFTER:


~Baked Oatmeal~

I've had this on my list to try for months.  A work friend gave it to me, and now that the weather is cold  it seems like the timing is right!  It's pretty filling... and although barely, it IS road-worthy.  I'm a fan of anything I can carry with me out the door because I have never, ever been a fan of mornings.

Since there are only two us, I froze a few pieces for later, and wrapped the others so they were ready to take on the road.   Pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds, wrap in foil and run!

You can easily customize the recipe below with different fruit, nuts, flax seed, maybe a little peanut butter....mmmmm... My gluten free friends can partake too.


You'll need:

1 cup canola oil
1 cup pure maple syrup (try splurging on one that isn't full of chemicals :)..)
½ cup brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
6 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 cup of gluten free, all purpose flour mix
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups almond milk
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 cups Cranberries, blueberries, or raisins
1-2 cups of pecan pieces (walnuts or almond pieces)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heat Oven 350
Grease a 9x13 pan
Mix together oil, sugars and eggs.
Add oats, flour, baking powder, salt, milk, vanilla.
Fold in fruit/nuts.
Bake 30-35 minutes.


P.S.  Of course you can use regular rolled oats, flour and milk if you'd prefer.  I haven't used cow's milk in a year and a half!


P.P.S  Does anyone think I actually ate that small of a piece?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

~Mini Pumpkin Pies~

Here's a fun, easy, bite-size way to enjoy pumpkin this fall.  I love the sprig of mint on top!

Mini Pumpkin Pies

  • 3 packages of pre-baked frozen mini pastry shells (15 count/each, try Athens Mini Fillo Shells)
  • 1 - 15oz can pumpkin
  • 1 - container of cool whip or similar whipped topping
  • 1 - tsp pumpkin pie spice (extra for garnish)
  • 1 - (3.4 oz) package of cheesecake flavor instant pudding)
  • Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Take the shells out of the freezer to thaw.

Next, combine the pumpkin, whipped topping, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl.  Whisk until smooth.   Add pudding mix and whisk until smooth.

Put the mixture into a large ziploc and cut the corner off.   Pipe the mixture into the pie shells.    Add a topping of whipped cream on each pie.    Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice on the top of each - and add a small mint garnish to each.    Makes 45. 

This recipe was something I found on familyfun.go.com.  


~Sausage & Eggs Cups ~ A Quick Breakfast!


I'll have some house updates soon - I promise!  
In the meantime, I want to post this quick breakfast idea.  
Grab your muffin tins..and pre-heat the oven to 375.
I used a pound of sausage and 7 eggs... Line each muffin cup with sausage- just make sure its evenly coating the cup so that it bakes evenly. Crack an egg into 'cup'.  I suggest using medium eggs, because they will otherwise run over.    Salt and pepper the eggs, and bake them until the center sets..  Throw a little cheese on top at the end of you'd like.   Here's a side view... Yummy and great to re-heat! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our Next Adventure ~ The Bungalow

We sold our home together last December.  It was our first home together, purchased right before we were married.    It was pretty exciting because not only were we starting our life together, we bought a beautiful *new* house.   I never thought I'd have a brand new house.       After four years we admitted the neighborhood wasn't what we hoped for, didn't seem to be going anywhere, and our house was more than we needed... really.    So we put it on the market, sold quickly, and found ourselves with nowhere to live!  That of course is the short version...

We decided to rent in the neighborhood we wanted to buy in, after all, we'd get a much better feel of the area.   Our crappy rental, as its affectionately known, is on the very edge of Chicago.     We are surely testing the borders and can't get closer to the 'burbs.   

On to the important stuff!   After months of searching, waiting, hoping, we found our house!    It's a cute little bungalow in the heart of Edison Park.    And did I say 'little'?   Be aware I am both nervous and excited about our tiny house adventure.   This purchase was made over a lunch hour, based mostly on location.    It needs some love and more space, but we'll get to that later.   

Here's a picture of the house now:


Scott and I always liked bungalow style homes.    This one is missing a lot of its original charm...and we hope to bring some of that back.   We have lots of plans for the little house.     I'll post more about that in the future!   We close in July and I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

~Gluten Free Corn Bread~

Don't let the words "Gluten Free" scare you away from this cornbread.  I have to say, its the tastiest GF bread I have over the last year.. and in the cornbread category, it ranks up there with any of its gluten filled counterparts.  Use it for a sandwich, why not?  

I found this recipe (and adjusted it slightly) in a cookbook I've come to really like, Cooking for Isaiah.   Its filled with what I term 'normal' foods that are also not too difficult.. not to mention beautiful photos that make me hungry and inspire me to eat good food.



Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk (or rice)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup cornmeal, preferably medium grind
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour blend
1/4 sugar (I use Truvia)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temp, lightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350ยบ
Grease a loaf pan.. 

In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the milk mixture, eggs and oil until just blended.   Pour the batter in to your loaf pan. 

Bake until golden, and a toothpick comes out clean, which will be about 45 minutes.  Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.   


For more allergy friendly recipes, check out Silvana Nardone's blog


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eat Your Carrots!

Just a quick thought.  

Are carrots still good for you when you coat them in butter and brown sugar?
I hope so~!  

 There's no special recipe for this... after you boil your carrots, throw them in a pan with some butter (or as I do, non-dairy substitute) and brown sugar.     Make sure stir well as the butter and sugar melt.    





~Sausage Pesto Pasta~

My husband goes back for fourths on this dish, need I say more?
Everyone loves a good pasta dish now and then.  While I don't recommend eating pasta all the time... this is a great easy meal that will give leftovers all week if you're just cooking for a couple.   It could definitely be a hit as a dish-to-pass at potlucks or holidays.... and its not terribly unhealthy!  

I adapted this recipe from a friend's blog which you can find here.  Its perfectly yummy as-is, I just tweaked it to our tastes.    I added more sausage, tomatoes and pesto... and also felt mushrooms were a nice addition... and ricotta! I have a small obsession with ricotta, and while I try to eat as close to dairy free as possible, ricotta is a weakness and sometime necessary evil.     Ricotta is also delicious on pizza...but now I am getting off track.  

So here you go:


Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 # italian sausage (mild, gluten free in my opinion)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 24 oz & 14 oz can diced tomatoes 
  • Pesto - around 2/3 cup to 1 cup...depending on taste
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 10oz (or so) of cooked pasta (I think any type will do, I use GF)
  • 4 c fresh spinach (or 4 handfuls)
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated parm
  • 1-2 cups mushrooms of your choice, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 15 oz fat free ricotta (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook sausage, onion, and garlic until the sausage is cooked thoroughly.    Add the mushrooms as the meat starts to brown.         

Next, add tomatoes  and simmer for about 10 minutes or so.   Then add pesto, and salt & pepper to taste.  Cook your pasta while you're waiting on the above....

In a large bowl add the spinach, pasta, mozzarella and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese.  Add in your meat/tomato mixture and carefully mix until combined. 

Pour mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and top with the remaining parmesan.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or you see bubbling.

Enjoy!





Saturday, April 14, 2012

Simple Fresh Salsa ~

I invested in a Blendtec a few months ago....by invested I mean, damn that is expensive!  It truly is an investment, but what a great machine.   This puppy makes everything, and so far, one of my regular favorites is this salsa.

There's nothing like fresh salsa... and its pretty easy to find a good gluten free corn chip so this is a snack I love.    Most ingredients I have on hand regularly.    The recipe makes a decent amount of salsa and I have used the leftovers to scramble into eggs or top chicken for dinner. 


Ingredients:
4 oz can green chiles, not drained
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cumin
14.5 can diced tomatoes, not drained
1/4 of a medium onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Add the green chiles, lime juice, garlic, salt and cumin to the Blentec, secure the lid and pulse about 3 times.  Add tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.. secure the lid and pulse about 3 more times. 

Simple easy salsa that's ready in minutes!  Love my Blendtec!

(Amended from the Fresh Blends book of Blendtec Recipes)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter Lilli!

On Good Friday nine years ago I drove 2+ hours in to small town Indiana to pick up my baby Lilli, named after an Easter Lily.    I was a single girl who put a lot of thought into the best breed for me.    I strongly considered getting a pair of mini-daschund's prior to this - boy how different my life would have been had I gone down that path....Lilli  changed the course of everything!    In the end, I loved the idea of a 'lazy bulldog' that didn't need a big yard.

I don't quite remember how I found this breeder, but knowing what I know now, I can say I was extremely lucky that they were decent people and that Lilli was healthy.   She was the last left in her litter, named Mercy on her papers,  and I was in love from the moment I saw her pictures.       She looked like a little white piglet with pinky skin... I was surprised to see her speckles appear as she grew up.

I have been very fortunate with Lilli's health as compared to a typical bulldog, and she had no issues until a couple of years ago when we found bladder stones.    My love for Lilli and the english bulldog breed changed my path in life!    I married a guy who had to love my dog and not mind when she wanted to crawl into bed (after all, it's her domain, lol!).   I started volunteering for Chicago English Bulldog Rescue and have since tried to educate everyone I know on the breed and the challenges of having an EBD.    

Lilli & I have encountered our share of challenges this past year or two as she ages, but she will always be mommy's girl!


Here's her photo coming home: 
Her 'new baby' gift:


Here she is about 6 months old:

The heart shaped speckle:

Last summer (she loves the pool and jolly egg!)



And here she is today! 




Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Balls ~O~ Energy!

I'm excited to start sharing healthy recipes I've tried.   You would consider me a bit of a lazy cook/baker.  I have big aspirations and I love to read cookbooks but don't USE them enough!

I like to call these "balls" and I've had some fun conversations discussing my balls with my husband.   No bake is great for hot summer days when you don't want to be using the oven.   They are full of healthy ingredients as well and can be gluten and dairy free depending on your ingredients.    These make a satisfying breakfast on the go too!

Ingredients:
2 cups of oatmeal (I used Trader Joe's Gluten Free Rolled Oats)
1 cup of peanut butter 
2/3 cup of honey
2 cups coconut flakes
1 cup of ground flaxseed
1 cup of chocolate chips (I use GF/DF chips)
2 tsp of vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients well.   Then add wet and mix & mix.   This part is easy yet boring.   Chill in the fridge for a half hour, roll into balls and chill again for a good hour or so (I do this overnight).   I roll into about an inch to an inch and a half, and this should make about 36 balls.   You will be able to take 2-3 bites with this size, they're pretty rich.  

P.S. The substitutions are endless... but I try to keep things on the healthy side.    Try raisins for a little variety.... and wrap them in foil to make them look like giant 'kisses'!  Fun on the go. 

The Beginning.


Where to start... I live in Chicago with my husband and our fur children…errr.. dogs.  Yes, I am one of ‘those people’ who refer to my dogs as children.    I started this blog as a note to self… a place I can put my thoughts to blog-paper, so maybe I’ll have less swimming in the old noggin.   I enjoy reading a handful of blogs and they have become quiet a resource of information on various topics.   

Topics I’m in to:

Dogs:
My first bulldog is Lilli, who is now nine years old and a cranky senior.   We have our challenges with Lilli.  My husband and I decided to add another bully to our family in Spring of 2008. We met and fell in love with Alice, who was rescued from a puppymill.   Don’t get me started on that.    She was only with us two short months and the loss of Alice propelled us heart first into volunteering.  We thought it was the only way to heal the rip in our hearts.    Fast forward to Bruiser, our third foster.    Bruiser is what we call a “foster failure”.   I couldn’t let go.   It happens.    In the meantime, we have become all sorts of passionate on the topic of animal welfare and bulldogs in particular.   

Art:
I am an artist and finally found my path back to this happiness.    Watercolor is probably the most popular medium I currently work in but also really love ‘paper painting’ using an acrylic base painting and building on that with collage.    Starting out with just pencil, it was serendipitous to fall in love with color.   I am not into art-speak, and was always bored by the gallery discussions such as how a branch and an egg have deep meaning…  I just don’t do it so don’t expect deep enriching thoughts on the topic.   

Food:
I love food.   I went from being one of the pickiest eaters in the universe, to someone who will try just about anything.    I used to be known for saying “Ew, I don’t like that” when I have never tried the food in question.   With a love of food came extra pounds.    I could blame it on a desk job, age, marriage, pizza, a serious addiction to sweets.  At the end of the day, I strongly believe food was taking me down.  I am being slightly dramatic when I say this, but, food was poisoning me!     You’ll read below and understand why I have become somewhat passionate about this topic. 


Health:
Completely related to the food topic.  I had a litany of problems, most of it that little stuff that I was so used to feeling, it just became my version of normal.     Everything came to a head in the Spring of 2011.   I suffered from the same winter colds, no biggie.   When I ended up with a sinus infection I took the normal antibiotics and was cured… except that chronic dizziness and a mental fogginess.    After weeks of dizziness (boy is THAT annoying) I went to an ENT, thinking maybe I had some fluid in the ear. I was also experiencing a mental fog, and at the time didn’t know ‘mental fog’ was something people suffered from.  Frankly I was just terrified because I felt like I was forgetful and plain old out of it all the time.  How could I be losing my mind, I am only in my 30’s?!   
I didn’t understand what was happening to me.   Back to the ENT, I passed every test with flying colors and he could find nothing wrong, but he wanted me to see a neurologist to rule out MS.  MS?! I was terrified and upset.     

The reality was, I was physically a mess.   For years I suffered from chronic fatigue.  I annoyed my husband with the phrase “I’m tired”, but it was the truth, I was exhausted every day of my life.  When I got home from work all I wanted to do was sit on the couch. I suffered from back problems throughout 2011, to the point I saw a physical therapist, the pain in my middle back felt like it was choking the air out of me.  Nothing helped.    I was never athletic, I always felt deterred by the wheezing that would start shortly after starting to exercise.   I had stomach problems ..oh were those fun.    I would eat something small and could bloat to the point I looked 4 months pregnant (and no, that is not comfortable).   I won’t gross you out with all the other details.    I almost forgot – the headaches.  My husband repeatedly asked me to get a CAT scan because he feared the worst….since yes I had headaches almost every day of my life.    For years I dealt with mood swings and the “d” word was discussed with my doctor (depression).   You know, the sadness and funk you can’t escape from, but don’t want to admit to or talk about?      Really, when I think about all the things going on, YIKES!    I gave up on traditional medicine.  Timing was everything and a sign pointed me in another direction.   A facebook post from a friend talking about food allergies got me reading…and researching… and a recommendation from another friend had me make an appointment with a chiropractor who specializes in gut issues.    I have never been a fan of chiropractic aka the unknown but it was time to open my mind.    I saw the doctor and started a 30 day detox, or what turned into a 60 day detox using supplements and still eating real food – not one of those wackadoo detox plans.     I did a blood panel for food allergies/sensitivities.    I came away with a list of foods including gluten and casein (in most dairy products).   I was devastated by the gluten, as I am a lover of all things pasta/pizza/bread/baked goods. 

I stuck to the detox though, and quickly started feeling better.  I started dropping weight.   Three pounds, seven, ten, and ended up losing over 20 pounds without even trying.   More importantly, I felt like I hadn’t felt in years.. I can’t express it appropriately in words, but I forgot what it was like to feel normal.. not have pain, fatigue, stomach issues, etc.    One of the most monumental changes I experience was the calmness and peace I felt, my mood swings were gone.  My life changed.  The more research I did on gluten and dairy – the more I understood why I should avoid it – and so should you!   The number of ailments connected to both gluten and dairy is staggering! I am honestly convinced anyone’s life could be changed for the better with the elimination or drastic reduction in products that contain wheat.    There are a ton of alternatives now, and as people become educated, more options become available for GF and DF substitutions.    I can now feel my body telling me “your full”.       

Ailments related to gluten & dairy, cured with elimination:
*Headaches = cured!
*Mental fog = cured!
*Dizziness  = cured!
*Improved skin
*Less joint pain
*No more bloating!!
*IBS = CURED! No drugs needed
*Weight loss (20+ pounds and counting)
*Fatigue eliminated
*Mood swings – cured!
*Back pain – CURED – no drugs needed!
*Food cravings – eliminated

So check in now and then – hell – you might find a valuable nugget of information. 
The path for me began with tidbits of knowledge I strung together.   I am still in the beginning of my journey for health, good eats, and overall happiness.. so I will share triumphs and struggles along the way.