Friday, January 11, 2013

Autoimmune "fun"- Finding your meds

If you have autoimmune disease (or really any disease or condition that flares up from time to time) maybe you can relate:

The past few days my eyes have been bugging me. Well, ok, it's been over a week. So anyway, I bought some over the counter eye drops because I couldn't find the drops I bought last year when this happened.  But they weren't helping. And now, over a week after it started I finally remembered that the opthamologist gave me a prescription for eye drops but I had no idea where I put it.  I hate losing my meds...

I looked in the "medicine bag", the baskets, shelves, purses, bags, pockets, etc. Nothing. Then, I searched my office (which is a small tornado ravaged room also known as my teenage daughter's room).  Checked the shelves and drawers. Nothing. Then I saw my Arbonne bags on the floor and started looking through them. BINGO. Found both the prescription and over the counter drops in THE SAME BOX in a zippered pocket in one of my Arbonne bags.   Figures.

Moral of the story: Know where your medications are. Have a back up just in case (I called in a refill immediately). And don't wait a week until you look for it! Duh. Let's just hope it kicks in by tomorrow. Another day of red irritated eyes and my patients are going to start wondering what I'm up to...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Gluten Free Kitchen Organization: Before and After Pics!

For the next few weeks I am picking up where I left off in the fall with getting the house organized. And I'm more excited than ever! A Bowl Full of Lemons is once again hosting this challenge and with a new puppy coming at the end of the month I need to get a lot of this done before she comes! 

If you want to join the challenge, check it out here.  It might just be the thing to cure the midwinter blues! For those of you who follow a gluten free diet and need to establish a GF pantry, this is a good way to get going. Clear out those pockets of "contamination" or establish "your" area of the kitchen and pantry. The organization challenges are divided into kitchen and pantry.  My pantry is part of my kitchen and has overflow into the laundry/mudroom.   I'm focusing on the kitchen only in this post. As this is an ongoing process in our house right now, I will update this post as I complete different tasks in the kitchen this week. Here's to an organized home!! 

The Before Pictures: 

                             Above the wall oven-I have to stand on a stool to see what is in here!

                      Corner "medicine" and kid plate and cup cabinet. Lots of wasted space in here! 

 The bottom shelf is missing but has our everyday plates and bowls. I have a hard time reaching the top.

 The left corner houses more vitamins, shakes and on top our serving bowls and my great aunt's china. 
It's a lot bigger than it looks in this picture. 
 Under the stove top in our island. Every thing gets thrown in here. The kids figured out the lock so it's worse than ever! 


 Pots and pans corner #1

         Under the sink, of curse. What's the cure for ugly pipes? 

              Catch all space as you enter the house in the kitchen. The counter actually looks fairly good considering it's usual state of despair...

The most embarrassing about these pictures is that at the beginning of last summer I started eliminating stuff from our kitchen.  I had to get rid of everything and anything that may have come in contact with gluten because I was still having contamination issues with food I was making and eating at home. I filled BOXES of stuff that went to the Rescue Mission from our kitchen and we STILL have all this clutter! Ack! Where DOES it all come from! 

And now the After pics:


Everyday dishes on the bottom. Large mugs and frequently used bowls in the middle where I can reach them! Yay!! Larger (lesser used) serving bowls up top. Much better! 

 Above the wall oven. This was mostly an elimination event. Since going gluten free I have made ZERO pies, so the need for 6 pie plates was a bit redundant... And just how many travel mugs do you need when you only drink one cup of coffee in the morning and your office has it for free? Not sure the garlic roaster will stay or the vase/crock next to it-I've never used the roaster and the crock no longer holds our utensils.  Those are things my husband wanted to keep for nostalgia???

 So I had medications, supplement, shakes  and vitamins in THREE different cabinets! Now they all live harmoniously together. This was a good opportunity to dump some expired items.  You should do this every 6 months. Taking expired medications can be dangerous or at the best, ineffective. I'd like risers for this cabinet because there is a lot of wasted space in here and I could consolidate a little more with some risers in there. Most of my supplements and our protein shakes and vitamins are from Arbonne because they are all formulated without gluten and tested after manufacturing. I've never had a reaction to any of their products (and I use their skin care too). 

And now my "special" dishes and rarely used pottery live up where I can barely see them from the ground and I eliminated more kid plates, etc.  I will probably use risers in here too because like the other corner, there is a lot of wasted space and I'd rather not have to reach over the plates to get to the cups. (We're having a "no spend" month so that will have to wait until February or March! ) Our girls are getting old enough that I don't have to fear them flinging my Fiesta Ware across the dining room floor anymore.  Pretty soon we will say syonara to all plastic cups and plates.  Glory be the day....

The kitchen still needs to have the under-the-sink space to be decluttered as well as another run through the drawers and under the stove. The pantry portion will be another week but so far I am happy with the results. It feels much better to have at least some of my ducks in a row! 

Getting your kitchen organized makes meal preparation much easier and if you have a shared kitchen, easier to control for "contamination."  For those with a shared kitchen you will want to designate a cabinet with your separate pots and pans as well as preparation utensils. Remember--Gluten can hide forever in plastic, stoneware and wooden utensils and cutting boards. Generally metal pots and pans are safe but you have to be extra careful cleaning around fasteners and screws on your pots. Colanders should not be shared. They are just impossible to clean effectively for the most sensitive of us. Eating utensils should be safe if washed thoroughly but beware wood or bamboo chop sticks! Good luck with your own kitchen organization and be sure to check back for more before and afters! 

Have a happy healthy day!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Great Clean Up and Clean Out!

Making your home a gluten free zone is one way to make life a little bit easier when you are dealing with gluten and wheat intolerances or allergies.  It's what we've done here at our home. And for the most part it works really well. We even hosted a completely gluten free birthday party for our 3 year old twins twin's and it went very well!  Getting to this point has had it's ups and downs and one of the things that I have found helpful is doing a pantry purge and getting organized.  However, before we were able to start organizing, and after eliminating what we knew had gluten, we first went through a kitchen purge.  Even if your home is not completely gluten free and especially if it is not, clearing out the clutter and getting organized can help you to streamline your mealtime activities and reduce the potential for exposure via cross contamination if everything is in its place.

This is what we've done so far:

Round 1: This occurred after I learned that your cookware can harbor gluten no matter how meticulous you are. Things like wooden utensils and stoneware can harbor gluten forever that you just can't get out. That goes for plastic too. Especially colanders.  The next step, then , was to eliminate all cookware that was made of wood, stone or plastic. This included my cutting boards, colanders, stone bakeware, etc.  Afterward, we replaced a few essential items like my pizza stone, cutting boards and a stoneware baking dish.  (this was about 9 months ago)

Round 2: I went through cabinets and drawers and got rid of multiples of items that I don't need more of. Just how many garlic presses does one need anyway? Apparently we thought we needed 4 of them! Going through your gadget drawer can be an eye opening experience!  (this was a few months ago)

Round 3: This recently occurred when I got a cleaning bug and decided that we needed to decide what we needed to get rid of more "stuff" and only keep what we truly need.  Even after going through the above,  we STILL had coffee mugs in 4 different cabinets and one of those cabinets was a dedicated mug cabinet! (There are essentially only 2 grown adults in our home who drink coffee or tea on a regular basis)  So during this round I was able to clear out another 4 boxes of dishes, mugs, etc.  This included getting rid of our mismatched "everyday" dish collection and bringing my great aunt's china out of storage (the date on the newspaper was 1996) and using our somewhat nicer dishes for everyday and Great Aunt Ruth's china for special occasions. This also helped get one more box out of our basement which we are also cleaning out!(this was a month ago)

Round 4: This was the final gluten purge.  I pulled everything out of our pantry, wiped down shelves, and dumped everything that was obviously or questionably had gluten.  Some of the cereals and unopened products that were not also expired were sent to grandma's or the babysitter's house where gluten is served freely.  Everything else got composted and/or fed to the chickens.  Chickens really like Kashi! Then I tried to rearrange things  into categories like baking supplies, dinner supplies, tomato products, etc.  But, it's still not finished. (also about a month ago-I was on a roll!)

Then, life has gotten in the way. This past month has been sort of nuts at our house.  Along with August and July! I have been reading a great blog by Miss Minimalist as well as two of her e-books on minimalism.  And although they are inspirational and were a big part of why we started downsizing, I am now left with dealing with what I have left.  And it still really isn't "organized" if you want to be honest about it. <sigh>

So, that's why I was so excited to find this 14 week challenge on A Bowl Full Of Lemons! Each week a different room is tackled with all the steps listed to do that week. This week is the laundry room and that's where I am going to start.  Our laundry room also acts as an extension of our pantry at the moment.  But I intend on going through the whole house, so we won't just be gluten free we will be clutter free too!  I'll be going back at the end to do the first four weeks!

So tomorrow I will post before pics of my laundry room. That is, once I get up the courage to air my dirty laundry... hahaha...get it?   Ok, not a comedienne. Want to join me in this challenge?? I'd love the company!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Raspberry Beer Cake!

I just have to share this with you. This cake looks amazing and it will be top on my baking list as soon as it cools off and I feel like firing up the oven this fall. We have a bumper crop of raspberries this year. My only challenge will be finding the raspberry GF beer. But I will improvise if I need to!!

This blog is a great resource for your gluten free needs. Read about the gluten testing he's done. He's even got a gluten free magazine!  I hope you enjoy this Raspberry Beer Cake! :)