Garden Plans

I’m really, really sick of winter. I’m tired of the ice chunks that surround our driveway. I’m tired of the extra time it takes to get out the door in the morning. I’m tired of the dry skin. I’m beyond tired of scraping my windshield. Sadly, this is Canada, and it is only February. Luckily, the time changes soon and that will give us an extra hour of sun in the morning (at least I think, I really have trouble wrapping my head around Daylight Savings).

The temporary cure for this feeling of never-ending winter is thinking forward to Spring. That beautiful season of sun, relative warmth, and green things poking up outside (though when it finally arrives I will probably be complaining of the mud….we live in a very muddy place). With Spring comes garden planting. I’m so very excited!

We’ve already started planning our garden out this year. Kurt has been reading books about seed saving, and such. I’ve been writing up lists of plants, and drawing out plans. We would like to have: tomatoes (a variety or two), hot peppers, kale (red and blue), radishes, carrots, beets, broccoli, garlic, zucchini, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, as well as a few herbs. Our garden space isn’t huge right now, so we try to be economical with how much a plant takes up versus how much it produces. We are also trying to plant mostly heirloom varieties suited for our region. Hopefully this will increase our changes of healthy plants. We are lucky to have a few options for seed producers local to us.

We will be starting some plants early from seed in the house, starting some outside when the frost is gone and we will also be buying some plants. We will have to wait and see what works best. Hopefully we have a good crop of beauties!

(Last year’s tomatoes)
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What I Learned from My Diet

My elimination diet is officially over. Here are the things I learned about myself, food and life in general though the process:
– flax milk is horrible and should not have ever been invented
– despite what everyone else seems to think, Bob’s Gluten Free All Purpose flour was, in my opinion, gross
– surprisingly with all of the restrictions, what I missed most was eggs
– also surprisingly, I did not crave anything
– life without an after school snack is almost not worth living
– when offered a donut, I am capable of saying no
– the time and money needed to eat healthy on a restricted diet is really shocking
– gluten-free products are almost all rice
– the second ingredient in Rice Crispies is sugar (silly me thought they were just rice)

And the most important thing I learned (the entire point of this endeavour):

– from what I can tell I have no food allergies or sensitivities, other than those I already knew of (whole wheat flour, pork and high fat foods).

I wish there were an ending to this story, but currently there is not!

Around Here Lately:

We’ve been trying to enjoy the sun. And itching for Spring.

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We’ve been watching some wanted visitors.

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And plotting against some unwanted ones.

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We’ve been smiling about nature’s free car wash.

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But unhappily dealing with the leaky window aftermath.

Oh Winter, you’re wet, cold, cruel, yet beautiful.

Sushi Bowl Recipe

So it turns out one good meal idea came out of my highly restrictive, not at all fun elimination diet.

This recipe is super quick, easy and adaptable to what you like/have around.

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Cook short grain rice (sushi rice); you could also use regular old rice if you prefer. I mixed mine with a little red quinoa that was in the fridge. Once cooked add a splash of rice vinegar and a tiny bit of sort of sweetener (honey, agave, sugar, etc.) to the rice and stir it in.

While the rice is cooking chop up some of your favourite sushi ingredients. I used avocado, cucumber (cut out the seeds), green onion and canned tuna. I left the chunks fairly big.

Dish up your rice and add your toppings. Add any ‘garnishes’ you want. I added sesame seeds. Then cut very thin pieces of nori (the seaweed wrappers used for sushi). I just used scissors for this and it worked great. Sprinkle on top. Add soy sauce, wasabi or ginger if you so desire.

Dig in!

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Super healthy, quick and easy, what’s not to enjoy?

Elimination Diet Update

Well it has been a little over a week and the results are in. I don’t feel better at all. My hives are still there and my tummy troubles haven’t subsided. I’m keeping it up for now because maybe something will change, but I’m also going to the doctor’s to see about an allergy test.

I was really hoping I’d have some great recipes to share with you. The trouble is with so many restrictions, making anything is really hard. Kurt made one thing that was really good. We were going to try to make tortillas, but they just didn’t work, so he somehow magically turned it all into pie. The crust was a lot like cornbread, but made out of sorghum flour. I wasn’t there when he made it though, so I don’t know what else he used.

I did make squares yesterday that turned out pretty good. Here’s the link. They are grain, dairy, egg, refined oil, and refined sugar-free. I’m pretty sure they fit in the restrictions of any diet, except a nut or coconut allergy.

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I had to use walnuts instead of almonds for the crust since I made them on Family Day and nothing was open. I slightly overcooked it, that it why the crust is so dark, opps! I also have been keeping them in the fridge, otherwise they are just a gooey mess. They really satisfy my desire for dessert though, and that makes me happy!

Here are some other things I’ve been eating:

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So, I will probably keep it up for at least another week, unless my doctor says otherwise. We will have to wait and see.

Real Homes: Simple Bathroom

A few months ago I decided to re-do our downstairs half bath. It was a fairly dark room with not much excited going on and I figured it was a simple place to start since it’s such a small room.

Here a before picture from before we moved in:

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I was inspired by this picture. I really liked the half and half paint separated by a thin piece of trim. I decided though, to do the colour on the bottom since it’s much easier to paint white near the ceiling!

I also changed out the light fixture, hung a new mirror, changed the toilet paper and towel hanger and hang a plant up. I was really happy with how it turned out.

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Valetine’s Day

Every year Kurt wants to skip Valentine’s Day. I don’t know what his problem is with it. Personally, I love all holidays and think any excuse to celebrate and do something special is great. We usually just make a special meal and a desert. This year, however, I plan to be a few days into my elimination diet come Friday, so food may not be the best way to celebrate.

What we have decided to do it go on a moonlight snowshoe. I saw it advertised in the paper. One of the nearby conservation areas is hosting it for free, including lending out the snowshoes, so I’m really excited. I think it sounds like a great way to enjoy each other’s company, get out of the house and be in nature, all for free!

I also saw an idea on Pinterest (I can’t find the original right now) for celebrating with kids and I’ve adapted it. The first day of the month I hung a ribbon on the wall and a little heart that says: “I love you because” now each day I add another heart with something written on it.

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I think it’s important to take every opportunity we can to tell people how much we love them. I want our relationship to be strong and for Kurt to always know that I love and appreciate him.

Anyone else doing anything special for this lovely month?

Elimination Diet

I mentioned last week that I am doing an elimination diet. For those of you who don’t know, this isn’t a weight loss diet. I am doing it in order to (hopefully) figure out what foods I am sensitive/allergic to.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had tummy troubles. I’m usually able to control it for the most part by being very careful about what I eat, drinking a lot of water and trying to keep stress down. This isn’t always enough though. Sometimes I still get really bad pains and gas after eating. This sometimes lasts for days. I also get hives. They used to just pop up every one in a while, usually on my back. For the past 3 weeks, though, I’ve had many and as they go away more just pop up.

So the plan is to follow a strict diet for 21 days. This time is to heal my body and allow everything to sort of settle and calm down. Basically I’m not eating: soy, dairy, eggs, red meat, wheat, gluten, citrus and sugar. After the 3 weeks I will introduce one food every day and pay close attention for any symptoms. This should help me pinpoint what the problem is.

Supposedly once you’ve figured out what it is, if you avoid it for 6 months you can generally re-introduce the food with success. I’m really hoping that will be the case if I find out it’s something that’s a staple to me.

So far I am feeling fairly crummy, which I’ve read is to be expected for the first few days. I’m really hoping it gets better soon.

Here are the sources I’ve found useful:

http://www.balancenaturopathic.com/resource/Elimination%20Diet.pdf

http://www.cleanprogram.com/media/files/elimination-guide.pdf

http://global.oup.com/us/companion.websites/9780195371109/pdf/00_Mullin_Appendix_3.pdf

Absence

Sorry for the explained absence. I struggle this time of year with motivation to do anything. The days feel too short (especially since the sun goes down before 6), tasks seem too big and the house seems to cold. I put things off until they just go undone.

So, what’s new? Not a whole lot. We’ve been busy on the weekends with visiting others and having people visit us. We are getting quotes for new windows (expensive!) and I’m trying to convince Kurt to let me paint the living room white. I have 7 white paint chips taped to the wall and he thinks I’m crazy (they’re all the same- he says).

It is my birthday next Monday, I’m excited!

I am planning on starting an elimination diet for 3 weeks starting next week, so I’ve been planning for that. I tried one a long time ago, but I had to stop after a few days because I was just so starving! I’m hoping a lot of planning will get me through it. I will post more on this soon.

Little by little some of our rooms are starting to come together so I’d like to do a few room updates. Maybe I should wait until we have baseboards? But who knows when that will be…it doesn’t bug me enough to really get on it, not like our beige living room.

More to come!