Sunday, May 12, 2013

We have been without internet at home since late December and continue to be just fine with out. I (Wifey) do miss the online community of bloggers but we find that without the distraction of internet or TV in the home we have more time for each other, cooking, gardening and out newest adventure: BEE KEEPING!

Watch out for cheap store honey - it's often made with corn. :(

Stay happy and healthy,

Hubs & Wifey

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We moved North

This blog has been quiet of late. We had the opportunity to move to the Portland, OR area, and jumped all over it. Living near Houston, TX was difficult with our food, and my seasonal allergies. Houston has fantastic food, but it's all gluten, corn, and soy based. Houston has beautiful people, but they are known for big hair, and lots of make up. Which requires corn, and gluten based products. Hubs wasn't able to grocery shop because of the allergens in the stores. Being outside was difficult most of the year because of my seasonal allergies. While we found one restaurant we could both eat in without getting sick it was 30+ miles from our home.

Portland, OR is known for their preference for local-seasonal eating. It is one of the top food allergy friendly places in the US. The people are down to earth and less frequently drenched in perfumes, hairsprays, body powders and make-up - triggers for those of us with gluten or corn in-tolerances.

We are delighted to be here. Currently we are in an apartment, where I wasted no time setting up a porch garden to continue to grow seasonal produce. Our search for a few acres has begun and we hope to purchase a place that will allow us to keep chickens and bees in addition to a large garden. Eventually we'd like to add a cow or 2 goats for dairy.

Hub's new company is much more educated on food allergies. His immediate supervisor has Celiac Disease and understands the need for safe foods, and preventing cross contamination.

There are dozens of allergy friendly bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores within 15 miles of our apartment. It has been wonderful. Even though I still make the bulk of our food from scratch, it sure is nice to go for fish and chips at Hawthorne Fish House occasionally. We can have breakfast at
Old Wives' Tales where they are happy to accommodate all of our allergies. We have tried two other places so far as well. Both fantastic.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday

Oh my goodness I'm so excited about this. I read a blog ( and the author is hosting a "Waste Not Want Not Wednesday" blog share. I often rant about despising the idea of throwing out food. I'm excited to read other bloggers methods of avoiding of the trash can.

Some of my favorite ways to prevent throwing away food:

Meal planning: We plan meals for at least one week in advance. When life is really busy, I usually plan a month or more in advance. I try to plan just enough food for those present at the meal. As a back up plan I typically schedule a "leftovers" dinner a couple of times a month.

Glass container storage: I can see the leftovers in the fridge when I open the door. No mystery packages of food in foil or dark storage containers.

Leftover "remake" meals: Hubs really does not prefer most leftovers, so I always keep baking potatoes on hand. Just about any kind of left-over can go on spuds and it "feels" like a new meal. Whole chicken carcasses are made into chicken stock. Left-over chicken is chicken fried rice, white chicken chili (rather than cooking chicken breasts or thighs I just throw in the already cooked, chopped chicken with the beans and other cooked items), BBQ chicken on top of a potato, and so on. Rice and Quinoa also make a great base for leftovers to "top" and make a new meal out of yesterday's dinner.

Freezing leftover meals: I love to have a "freezer meal" on hand. Since we have multiple allergies we don't have many fast food or pre-made options. When there is enough leftover for a second meal, I freeze it in an oven safe dish. On a day when I know cooking will be a hassle, I put the frozen meal in the fridge to thaw then right into the oven to re-heat.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

We have a garden.  It's all vegetables and herbs.  We have a persimmon tree and an orange tree but both are too young to produce.  Maybe in a year or two.  I love knowing where my vegetables come from.  My back yard.  We use our own compost and neem oil (derived from a plant) in our garden.  None of our allergens are in our garden. 

This was dinner a few weeks ago.  I usually make a huge pan of lasagna with rice noodles that are safe for both of us and fresh ground pork or lamb and safe cheeses.  Then I freeze over half of it so we have "frozen meals".  I usually freeze two or three containers that hold enough for Hubs and I to both have dinner and then the rest as single serve meals, most in portion sizes for Hubs (which is close to twice what I need).  On nights when cooking seems like way too much effort we pull veggies to steam and throw a frozen pan of lasagna in the oven.  And on nights like that we sometimes even eat dinner in front of the computer to watch something on Netflix...

I hope to one day have our own bees for honey, our own chickens for eggs and meat and our own goats for milk and cheese.  And it'd be nice to also have a pond with fish....  For now I maintain a huge garden that enables us to forgo the purchase of supermarket vegetables.  It's a nice start.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicken Stock

Every week or ten days I throw a whole chicken in the crock pot. It's the easiest way to cook a chicken. The chicken can be thrown in frozen and it'll still cook beautifully. I usually just throw it in and crack pepper and salt over the top then leave it on low until 5p or some where in there.

After we eat it for dinner with (usually) potatoes and steamed veggies I dump the veggie cooking water (minus what I pour on our pups dinner) into the pot with the carcass, skin, fat and other bits left over from the chicken. I usually need to add water as there is typically only 3-4 cups of veggie cooking water on hand. When I know I'm making broth I try to save the veggie cooking/steaming water for a couple of days before I make broth. Celtic Sea Salt, cracked pepper and whatever herbs are handy go in. Usually some garlic. If there are older onions in the fridge they go in also.

This sits on low in the same crock pot on my counter for two days. Usually dinner on the second day (the house smell so fantastic) I'm ready to use that broth. I like making thick hearty meatless dishes like split pea soup or potato soup or I'll make a chicken based soup such as good old fashioned chicken soup (with rice or noodles) and we always love White Chicken Chili. When using the broth the same night I just send the broth through a colander right into the soup pot on the stove. If I'm not using it immediately (pictured) I skim it into my four cup glass measure cup and pour it into jars. Once it has cooled I stick the jars in the fridge if I am going to use it within a day or two or the freezer if longer. I usually get 10-12 cups of stock but it varies on how much water I put in. If the carcass is very small I tend to add less liquid so that the stock has strong flavor. I try and keep a few jars in the freezer all the time so I always have a quick meal. The jars of broth thaw quickly in a pan of warm water.

Whatever lands in the colander is trash. Usually everything cooks down into a very mushy three cups or less mess.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

(our) Allergen Free Beer

Over the last year I haven't had beer. Hubs brews his own and controls the ingredients to exclude his allergens (primarily corn and soy) but hasn't attempted a gluten free beer. Mostly because the GF beers I have tasted were horrible. Prior to my gluten intolerance discovery I enjoyed beers such as St Arnolds Brown and Amber ales. I never tolerated the Bud or Coors beers. I liked, in small quantities, a good Guinness but having been through England and Ireland the beer imported to the US just wasn't the same and I never did drink much of it. Greens Dubbel Dark Ale was the first beer I had tasted in about six months. I'd given up on beer, which was okay I prefer wine and had found some labels that were vegetarian (to avoid beef which I'm allergic to) and were really good. The Dubbel Dark was delicious. I had two when usually I'd limit myself to one. I had it with fish and chips that had been coated with brown rice flour and fried in rice oil. The combination was amazing and I can't stop thinking about it. The beer was sweeter than Guinness but richer than St Arnolds Brown. Hopefully I can get Hubs to make a few comments about this beer because all I can really say is it was delicious and before you write off GF beers - try this one. (It's made without corn also. Which I have never seen before.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Planning Saved The Day

We lost one of our dogs quite unexpectedly over the weekend. I have no appetite and no interest in food but life must go on despite grief and today has been an utter waste except for dinner. One look at my menu and I knew to drop a frozen chicken in the crock pot. So now I can smell chicken and I'm thinking about mashed potatoes and carrots. Comfort food. Nearly 12 hours have passed since I got up and I have no idea where it went... But we have dinner! :) Sunshine would be happy about that. My sweet girl didn't miss a meal for anything. So even if I didn't mop my floors or fold my laundry. I walked our dog Scratch and made dinner. That has to count for something considering how hard we have to work to have a meal around here. =) The weekend wasn't just a sad affair. Only a few hours prior to the death of my precocious doggie I discovered a beer. It is all of our combined allergens free. So NO corn, soy, wheat, beef..... Give me a few days to wallow in my misery and then I will give my review of this beer. I haven't had a Gluten Free beer I have liked. And I'll see if I can get Hubs to chime in - he makes his own corn free brew and actually knows his beers. Me - I can only speak to whether or not it tastes good.