Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How Do You Keep Your Bones Strong?

February is historically my least favorite month of the year. It's cold, I have no interest in exercising, and all I want to do is curl up in bed and hibernate. Living in Washington over the last couple of years, that tendency has only increased. The lack of sunlight really got to me, and since I was studying nutrition, I realized I needed to pay more attention to supplementing my diet in the winter. Wellesse Calcium and Vitamin D3 Liquid has been an important addition because it contains three ingredients that are so integral to bone health: calcium, vitamin D3, and magnesium. As a 30 year old woman, maintaining strong bone health is very important to me, but I also know that it's important for men as well. So I asked my boyfriend to test it out and see what he thought. Like me, he's very in tune what what he puts into his body and can usually tell what feels right, so I thought it would be good to hear from a male perspective. Here's what he had to say:

December was dark and cold for me, much like any typical beginning to a winter season. However, this was my first winter experience in eighteen months, as I had been in Hawaii last year. Although it was filled with holiday cheer, it was also a month of stressful traveling, as Iris and I moved about from Seattle to Los Angeles to Massachusetts to New York.

Iris and I had decided to begin a new adventure, which will eventually lead us to Missouri to study permaculture and hopefully learn to live a simpler life. In truth, it will probably not be as simple as it may sound. This particular journey has not been without its fair share of bumps in the road. Nutrition, for example, tends to take a backseat to all the other priorities. When Iris approached me with the idea of trying out the Wellesse products, I turned to the fast absorbing Calcium and Vitamin D3 Liquid.

For the past two weeks, I've taken a daily dose of the orange flavored supplement, and almost immediately I noticed an effect. My body needs the sun to stay in good spirits, as my mood and overall health have always benefitted from Apollo's glorious rays. Being in Hawaii last winter, I had no need for vitamin D supplementation, but this year has been quite different. I personally don't believe that vitamins are necessary all the time. That being said, I know there are certain situations when our bodies need the extra boost. A cold winter in the northern hemisphere is one of them.

Once I began taking the Wellesse Calcium and Vitamin D3 Liquid, my mood improved. It felt to me as if I'd been spending time out in the sun. This particular supplement was my favorite flavor of all the Wellesse products I tried, but also seemed to be the most beneficial for me. I'm used to spending a lot of time outside in the garden over the summer, so I needed a quick boost to help my mood and keep me healthy through to the sunny spring months. I will definitely continue taking this supplement throughout the winter.

So there you have it. He's a very picky guy (no offense, honey!) so an endorsement from him means something to me. 

Wellesse wants you to be able to try their products out for yourselves and see what you think.  The first 50 people who respond to this link (ages 18+, U.S. residents only) will receive a sample pack. This will include: a 2 ounce sample of Wellesse Multivitamin, Calcium, Iron and Vitamin D3.  Be sure to visit their Gluten Free page for information about their Certified Gluten Free Liquid Supplements!

Monday, January 28, 2013

5-Ingredient Mondays: Easy French Bread (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Nut/Yeast-Free)

Welcome to the second week of 5-Ingredient Mondays, the place to find easy gluten-free meals with 5 ingredients or less.

I listened to your comments from last week and made some small changes to the rules:
  1. The dish must contain 5 ingredients or less. But to make it easier, pantry staples are not counted as ingredients. 
    1. Examples: salt, pepper, olive oil, baking soda, baking powder...basically if you think you would find the ingredient in any kitchen, you don't have to count it as one of your 5 ingredients. On the other hand, if it's a staple in your kitchen but not the average American's (i.e. coconut oil), count it. If you're unsure, go ahead and add the link. I'm not a stickler for rules!
  2. The dish must be gluten-free. Your recipe can be paleo, vegan, or anything in between. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Side dish or main dish. The purpose here is to create a place where you can come to find recipes that you know will be gluten-free and super simple. 
  3. You must leave a link to your own recipe that goes to that week's 5-Ingredient Monday post, not on this static page. 
Your recipes don't need to be from this week, so feel free to check your recipe list for your favorite recipes to share.

The linky will be live through noon on Thursday.

Gluten-Free French Bread
This delicious bread comes the closest to french bread I've had since going gluten, egg and yeast free. It has a crispy outside with a soft and chewy inside. Note that I use white rice flour, which is NOT the same as sweet white rice flour. I don't recommend changing the flour, so if you can't have white rice flour, experiment at your own risk.


1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons whole psyllium husks
1 tablespoon oil (canola, olive, etc.)
1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
1 3/4 cups white rice flour (254 grams)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. Stir together milk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit for a minute, then stir in psyllium and let sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir in the oil and applesauce.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the middle, pour the wet mix in and stir. It will eventually get clumpy and you'll need to knead it until it comes together in a dough. Alternatively, you can use a food processor to mix them together.
4. Form into the shape of a french bread, about 8 inches long. Place on baking sheet and brush liberally with extra oil.
5. Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to rest at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Note: Make sure your oven is preheated so you can get the bread straight into the oven. It won't rise much but you want to make sure the baking soda and baking powder are working in the oven.

Wondering what to eat with your french bread? Try out this delicious Sweet Potato Basil Soup from Deanna at The Mommy Bowl. She tested out my bread for me and her family declared it a hit and said it tasted like "real french bread." I agree!

See how Christine's french bread turned out at Real Food With Christine.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Romantical Fridays: The First Date

Read the last installment here

Can we talk about relationships for a moment?

I was ten the first time I "fell in love." I was eighteen the first time I really fell in love, and I was nineteen the first time I got my heart broken.  I was twenty-four when I finally fell in love again and twenty-eight when I broke his heart. I was still twenty-eight when I fell in love again.

For the record, I don't recommend jumping from one relationship to another. But we don't really control when love finds us, do we?

In my first relationship, I learned not to give everything you have to someone else or you'll be left with nothing for yourself. I learned that loving someone does not mean you have to become one person.

In my second relationship, I learned how to hold back, how to avoid getting hurt. I also learned what it felt like to really be loved and desired. And I learned how to let go when it wasn't working.

By the time I moved to Seattle, I had reached this intriguing balance when it came to dating. I knew how important it was to hold onto my own life and priorities. I also knew that no relationship could succeed unless you were willing to let the other person in. Having just gotten out of a relationship however, I wasn't sure I was ready to let someone else in.

I wasn't even sure I knew how.

I think the moment when I knew my walls were crumbling happened on that first date with Blue Eyes.

I had basically wrangled him into asking me out, since he was being so slow about it. I pointedly mentioned one of my favorite movies (Paul Rudd's Role Models) at least five times until he got the idea and invited me over to his place to watch it.

"Oh what a great idea," I smiled demurely at him. You have to work hard in Seattle to get a guy to ask you out.

Now here's where you'll learn a little more about Blue Eye's quirks. He has a tendency to think in grand romantic gestures but forget the small details.

Case in point? He forgot to rent the movie.

He also had this sweet idea to make gluten-free noodles from scratch, but before I left my house, he texted to ask if I could bring some white rice flour because he had forgotten to buy it. 

If I were one to pay attention to flags, I would think these were blue flags. Not red because they weren't a big deal, just kind of strange and sometimes annoying.

But on that cold winter night, I didn't care if he asked me to bring my own flour. I didn't care if we got to watch Role Models (he wouldn't have enjoyed watching me swoon over Paul Rudd anyway). I was on cloud nine.

I had an epiphany that night. In the bathroom no less. I was washing my hands in the sink and looking into the mirror, and I saw that I had the hugest grin on my face. My family will tell you that I am not the smiliest person around. I tend to hold my happiness deep inside. Yet I realized that when I was around him, I couldn't help but radiate joy.

I knew right then, staring into the mirror, I knew.

This was it.

I don't even remember much from the rest of the night, just that I couldn't get that goofy grin off my face.

And we made homemade gluten-free pasta, in case you were wondering. He baked sweet potatoes and I cooked up some vegetables. That wasn't just the first time I realized I was falling in love with him. It was also the first time I realized we worked together really well in the kitchen. For a gluten-free foodie like me, that was a big deal.

Like, maybe I could marry this guy, big.  

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gluten-Free, Vegan Skillet Biscuits

I had a strange day in the kitchen. I was re-watching old episodes of Roswell last night when I got this sudden urge to eat pancakes. As it was pretty late at night, I curbed my impulse to jump up and run into the kitchen; instead, I forced myself to go to sleep. But I woke up thinking about blueberry pancakes.

Blueberry muffin pancakes, to be precise.

My idea was to take a muffin recipe, add blueberries and cook it in a skillet like a pancake. And it worked!

But that's not the recipe you're getting today.

Why not?

Because those blueberry muffin pancakes were made with whole milk and butter. Like, real butter. From a cow.

They were amazing.

Side note: I've been able to add back in a number of foods, in a miraculous and strange and wonderful turn of events. But we're not talking about that here. I'm afraid I'll jinx myself.

Now I know many of you don't eat dairy, so I wanted to make the pancakes again dairy-free. I thought it would be an easy substitution, but when I tweaked them, this is what happened.


Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside biscuits. Perfect for Sunday brunch with bacon and eggs biscuits. Roasted chicken with a side of biscuits and gravy biscuits. 

Ooh yeah.

Come on. Do a little dance with me. A biscuit dance.

It looks something like this.

(Twirly twirly. Doo doo doo. Ooh la la. Yeah.)

Gluten-Free, Vegan Skillet Biscuits
Originally intended to be pancakes, this recipe was a happy accident. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, it's a favorite that reminds me of Southern-Style Biscuits.

1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups white rice flour (not sweet white rice flour or brown rice flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons oil or melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Stir together the milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle. Begin heating a skillet on medium to allow it to get nice and hot.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. 
  3. Add the oil, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla to the milk and stir.
  4. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and stir together just until completely mixed. 
  5. Add oil to your skillet, then scoop the batter into the skillet, about 1/3 cup per biscuit. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip. Immediately put the top on the skillet and cook for another 4 minutes. Serve hot. 
Makes 5-6 biscuits. 

In case you're wondering, I'm working on those blueberry muffin pancakes. Still trying to make them dairy-free for you before I post the recipe!

This recipe is linked to Allergy-Free Wednesdays

Monday, January 21, 2013

5-Ingredient Mondays: Gluten-Free Sirloin Steak with Orange Caramelized Onions

For a long time now, I've wanted to have a set schedule for posting. On Mondays I post X. On Tuesdays I post Y, and so forth. I've never trusted that I could stick to a schedule. But now I'm going to try. Well, at least for two days each week. Baby steps, right?

On Fridays we now have Romantical Fridays, the continuing tale of how my boyfriend and I met and the challenges we're planning on undertaking starting this spring.

Mondays will now be 5-Ingredient Mondays. Every Monday I'll post a gluten-free recipe with 5 ingredients or less. This is a challenge for me and I think it would be fun to make it a challenge for you as well.

Let's face it. Nobody loves Mondays, and the last thing you want to do Monday night is make an elaborate dinner. You need something simple and healthy for the beginning of the week.

There are two rules for 5-Ingredient Mondays. One, the dish must contain 5 ingredients or less - I'll give you a little leeway here as I counted "salt and pepper" as one. Two, the dish must be gluten-free. That's it. Your recipe can be paleo, vegan, or anything in between. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Side dish or main dish. The purpose here is to create a place where you can come to find recipes that you know will be gluten-free and super simple.

Got it? If you have a recipe you'd like to include, add it below. Your recipes don't need to be from this week, so feel free to check your recipe list for your favorite recipes to share. Please make sure you link to this page on your own recipe as well. I don't have a badge for 5-Ingredient Mondays (yet), but I'll get to that eventually for those of you who like to put up the badge.

I'll leave the linky open through Tuesday since this Monday is a holiday. Hoping you're at home relaxing!

Sirloin Steak with Orange Caramelized Onions
Seared on the outside with a black pepper crust, tender on the inside, this dish will have you salivating. Serve over a bed of greens and top with the caramelized onions for a pretty dish in less than thirty minutes.

1 pound grass-fed beef sirloin steak
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 small or 1 large onion
1 tablespoon of fat of choice (olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, butter, etc.)
Juice of one medium freshly squeezed orange

  1. Salt and pepper both sides of the steak and allow to rest while you slice your onions. 
  2. Slice the onions into thin slivers and set aside. Heat a cast iron pan on medium. I find every burner is different but you want it to be hot enough to sear the steak, but not so hot that the oil will splatter. 
  3. Once the oil is hot, place your steak in the skillet. Cook for 10 minutes. 
  4. Flip and cook for another 4 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to rest on a cutting board before cutting. 
  5. Immediately add the onions to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often to cook evenly. You can turn your heat down to medium-low if needed, depending on how hot your burner gets. 
  6. Add orange juice and let cook down, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  7. Slice steak and serve with onions.
Serves 2-4

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Permaculture Homestead: To Be Continued...

I took this photo on my first date with Blue Eyes. Can you guess what we were making? 

If you've missed the beginning of this romantical saga, you can catch up here:
Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Meet Blue Eyes
Part 3: How to End a Relationship Before it Starts 
Part 4: The First Kiss

I know many of you were waiting for our first date post, but I've decided to hold off until next Friday. There are so many more stories to tell:
  • our first date 
  • the first time we said those magical three words (as with everything else, it was more awkward and comical than magical)
  • the first fight
  • the first (and only) break up
  • the make up
  • that time with the garlic (you know what I mean)
  • The great salt debate
And all good things come to those who wait. So Fridays will now be Romantical Fridays here at The Daily Dietribe. Join me every Friday for the continuing saga of an idealistic Arizona boy who meets a realistic East Coast girl (who just happens to be living on the West Coast at the time) and convinces her to move to the Midwest to start a permaculture homestead. Will they succeed? Will they kill each other trying? Stay tuned to find out...

Definition of Romantical:

All romantic and shit.

Baby, this trip is romantical.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Permaculture Homestead: The First Kiss

Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Meet Blue Eyes
Part 3: How to End a Relationship Before it Starts

Blue Eyes was only three years younger than me, but I think a generational gap occurred in those three years. I remember my uncle once commenting on how quickly I typed. I told him it was because I was on AIM (instant messenger) all the time. That was my generation. Blue Eyes is of the texting generation. Although I get as nervous as the next person waiting for a crush to call, I was still hoping for exactly that. A call.

I got a text.

And more texts.

Random texts.

Out of the blue texts.

Texts that said: You make me smile. 

Of course, that made me smile. I would respond and then wait by my phone for hours.

I couldn't figure out what went on in that time. I assumed that either A) he had texted me and then dropped his phone in the toilet, B) he had texted me on his break, then had to go back to work, or C) he was just plain annoying and didn't get texting etiquette.

I think the truth was a combination of B, C, and D and E. As far as I know, he never dropped his phone in the toilet. This is a good thing since he and his roommate had a terribly dirty bathroom, which I would later avoid as much as possible.

What were D and E? Well, I had heard through the grapevine that he was intimidated by me. I was older than him, I was working on my second master's degree and...well...he thought I was really pretty. I patted myself on the back a few times when I heard this. Heck yeah, I intimidated him. I am woman, hear me roar.



What was E? Probably that unfortunate incident of sleeping in another guy's bed. I'm still trying to live that one down. Poor sweet, innocent me, branded a harlot. If only he knew how far that was from the truth.

But he didn't know. He didn't know me that well and I didn't know him. What I knew was this: He worked at a grocery store, had gone to community college briefly, and had a distinct dislike for anything having to do with the government, consumerism or even the word money. He had once decided to do an experiment in which he tried to go a whole year without money. With only a symbolic dollar in his wallet, he wanted to know what would happen if he neither made nor spent money for a year. When he told me this, I was actually intrigued. I've always loved social experiments and appreciate people who go against societal norms. He was shocked when I didn't immediately tell him he was an idiot, as that was the usual response he got.

So this was what I knew.

What did he know about me? That I had just gotten out of a long term relationship, that I wasn't interested in anything serious, and that I may have slept with someone else after flirting with him.

When I look back, I think that things could easily have fizzled out after that first night. We really didn't make sense together. We came from different backgrounds, we were going in different directions, and there was a distinct lack of communication.

A text message does not a real conversation make.

None of that mattered though. I was determined to live in the moment and right then, all I wanted was Blue Eyes.

After weeks of texting, Facebook flirting and other such modern day dating nonsense, I finally had the chance to see him again. My housemate was singing at a Seattle bar and I knew Blue Eyes was coming. I dressed way too nice for the occasion, in black boots and a little black dress. I knew I looked hot. I also knew I was so nervous that I sweating in my dress. Not hot.

I went with my girlfriends. Blue Eyes came with his friend. We sat across the table from each other and barely said more than five words to each other all night. Everyone else was aware of our interest and knowing that they were watching us only made it worse. By the end of the show, I knew something had to be done.

We all decided to move onto another bar, and I very deliberately hung back. So did Blue Eyes. Our friends didn't get the memo though and kept walking slowly with us. It was raining so we tried to give them the one umbrella and use the excuse that we didn't all fit under it. They still tried to walk with us.

Hello...Were they not paying attention? Clearly we were trying to be alone. I was not one for making the first move, but if I could just get him alone, I was going for it. Enough of this nonsense.

I couldn't say that though, not in front of him. So we continued on until we got to the bar. There, fate intervened by way of a cover charge. Our friends didn't want to pay a cover, but Blue Eyes quickly paid for me and we escaped inside.

Once inside though, there was more of the same. Halting conversation and darting glances. Eventually, Blue Eyes stepped outside with some other friends, and I later learned that he had been asking for advice. He, by the way, denies this. According to our mutual friend, however, he went outside and asked what to do. Our friend told him to ask me to dance.

Whether it was our friend's idea or Blue Eyes thought of it on his own, it worked. He asked me to dance. I said yes. What happened next was a case of he said/she said.

He said I kissed him.

I said he kissed me.

Apparently we kissed each other.

I would like to tell you it was the most romantic kiss I had ever experienced, but that would be a lie. This is real life after all, not a romance novel. We were in a bar with lots of other people and I knew our Facebook obsessed friend was lurking with his ever present camera. The last thing I wanted was a snapshot of us kissing showing up in my newsfeed.

And so our first kiss is not the one I remember when I think of those first few months. Nor was the second kiss. No, the moments that I'll remember come later. But that's another story for another day.

What came next was our first date. And it may interest you to know that he made me a completely gluten-free dinner at his place. But more about that tomorrow.

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Permaculture Homestead: How To End a Relationship Before It Starts

Start here:
Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Meet Blue Eyes

There's this myth in Seattle, about how Seattle men are passive in dating. Basically if you, as a woman, want anything to happen, you have to make it happen because he won't. Well, I'm here to tell you that after two years of living there, I can unequivocally say that that is no myth.

It is absolute truth.

Blue Eyes, however, grew up in Arizona and Missouri. So what was his excuse?

After our romantic walk in the rain, I didn't hear from him. He had my number. It was clear I liked him.

What kind of game was he playing???

Oh riiiight... I always conveniently forget this part. As I sat here trying to remember what happened next, my boyfriend's voice just popped into my head saying, "Really? You're going to tell this story as if I was just acting weird but leave out the rest of that night? Don't you remember what happened? You were the reason I was unsure about pursuing you." 

Sigh. Shoot, he's right. It was totally my fault.

So let's go back to the night of the costume party. Blue Eyes and I had taken our walk in the rain and when the bar closed, we went with our friends to their apartment nearby. I have to admit that Blue Eyes was not the only good-looking guy there, although he was the only one I was so fascinated by. But being newly single, I had a bit of a wandering eye, and a few drinks hadn't exactly focused it.

As with the night we met, we had different ideas about what happened that night. 

Here's my side of the story. I want to proclaim right now that I was completely innocent. Dumb, but innocent.

Once we got to our friends' apartment, I knew we were at the point in the night when something might happen between Blue Eyes and me. Something more than flirtation. At one point he left to get food, and I used this as an opportunity to panic. Did I want something to happen? He seemed like a really nice guy. Not the kind of guy you just have fun with. And I was never any good at "having fun" anyway. Actually, I'd never had fun, just serious relationships. Who was I kidding? I couldn't play around here. And the kicker: He was three years younger than me! I was almost thirty. I couldn't get involved with a twenty-five year old.

As I sat on the couch, this feeling came over me. I'd experienced it many times over the years. It was a feeling that told me that this guy was genuine and that he really liked me and I had better run. I'm not proud of it. But that's what I was feeling.

When one of the guys who lived at the apartment asked me if I wanted to sleep in his room, I initially said no and that I would crash on the couch. But he cajoled and assured me nothing would happen and he was just asking as a friend so that I would be more comfortable. I told myself I just wanted a nice bed to sleep on. After all, I was sleeping on a blow up mattress at home. But if I'm being honest, I was running away from someone else.

And nothing happened that night. He slept on his side of the bed, I slept on mine, and I headed home first thing in the morning. We remained friends and that was that.

But here's what Blue Eyes saw happen. He went out with a friend to get food and came back - with a sandwich for me no less. When he came back in, he saw me walking into a bedroom with this other guy and the door closed behind us. We didn't come back out.

Needless to say, he left and had no intention of pursuing me after that.

I never knew until months later that Blue Eyes had seen me go in there. I knew of course that I had disappeared without saying a word to him. But I chalked that up to a drunken miscommunication and managed to forget all about it. When I didn't hear from him after that night, I couldn't figure out what had gone wrong.

One thing I've always been good at is knowing how to end a relationship before it's ever started. 

Of course, you all know that wasn't the end.

It was still just the beginning.

Read the next installment here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Permaculture Homestead: Meet Blue Eyes

If you're just beginning, start here.  

"But I don't think it's serious. I wouldn't let that stop you."

Those words played in my head for days. Our housewarming party was over and I was feeling much more confident in my new life in Seattle. I had dropped a few pounds without even trying (don't you love when that happens?), was in the swing of grad school, and had quickly developed a close bond with my new housemates.

I missed my ex. I couldn't deny that. But I felt free for the first time in years. I had no idea what my future held, and that was a glorious thing. Yes, being single felt good.

My single mind, however, was stuck on Blue Eyes. I knew nothing else about him at this point other than that he was dating someone, but as my housemate told me, it probably wasn't serious. Since he had stayed overnight at our housewarming party, I had to assume she was right.

A little Facebook stalking did nothing to help my cause. His relationship status said he was single and I only found one picture of the two of them. (Oh come on, don't act like you've never done the same thing...)

So here was my dilemma. Aside from the fact that I wasn't interested in getting involved again so soon, I had absolutely no desire to date someone who was not completely single. I had unfortunately begun falling in love with my ex while he was still in the process of breaking up with someone and the ramifications of that had reverberated throughout our whole relationship. Nope, wasn't going there again. Lesson learned.

Nonetheless, I couldn't stop talking about him. Exhibit A - An excerpt from this old g-mail chat I found with a friend:

he's really cute. has the most beautiful blue eyes i have ever seen.
2:45 AM and he's smart. and he likes socrates, which i just think is cute. and he likes to bake bread.
  and he likes rain.  
My grammar is horrendous when I'm chatting.

But back to the point. How could I not be interested in someone who liked philosophy, baking bread, and rain? Add in cute with pretty eyes and you'd just described my perfect man. Well, actually if you threw in a ranch, a horse, and money, that would be my perfect man. But I didn't know Blue Eyes. Maybe he had all that too.

But no. I wasn't going to pursue it. No way, no how.

I went back to my yoga and school and finding myself.

Until a few weeks later.

I was at a costume party and in walked Blue Eyes. He was wearing a mask and a hat rakishly tilted to the side. My heart jumped and I silently panicked. What to say? What to do? Was he here with the girl he was dating?

Breathe, woman, breathe.

We briefly said hello but that was it. I found some of my other friends and chatted gaily with them, laughing as if I wasn't aware of every little thing he did. As if I wasn't aware that he was dancing with the Amazonian brunette in a skimpy red dress.

Thankfully my housemate had my back and she did a little scoping for me, coming back with the news that he had stopped dating the other girl not long after he and I met.

Yikes. Did that mean he liked me? No, I was getting ahead of myself. It was probably just coincidental. Act cool.

At one point, I remember he walked right by me as if he didn't see me. I turned to my friend, flabbergasted. "What was that? Is he ignoring me?"

She just laughed and said she didn't think he knew how to act around me.

Oh great. Ms. Awkward and Shy, meet Mr. Awkward and Shy. How was this going to work?

Finally I got up the gumption to talk to him and we moved outside where it was quiet. It was raining that night, just a soft drizzle. He liked rain. I liked rain. It was totally a sign.

I don't remember what we talked about, except a few stray details that have remained in my memory. The coat he was wearing was his grandfather's. He told me I had beautiful lips. Yes, he really said that, and no he didn't follow it up with a kiss. Did I mention how awkward we both were?

We went for a walk in the misty rain, my fanciful nature in overdrive. I was on autopilot, for the first time in my life not thinking about what would happen in the future. Not imagining that we would get married someday. Just living in the moment and enjoying it.

I think that was the beauty of what happened there. I never once in those first few months considered that I might have met my happily ever after. I just allowed myself to enjoy it, and in doing so, opened myself up to someone I might not have considered otherwise.

If I had known what was in store for me, I think I would have run. Thank God I didn't know.

Read the next installment here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Permaculture Homestead: The Beginning

In my last post, I mentioned I'll soon be moving to Missouri with the hope of beginning a permaculture homestead and retreat there. Some of you wanted to hear more. I want to tell you. But how do I tell a story about a journey that has yet to begin and has countless endings?

I can't tell you the future without first telling you about the past. I think I shall begin as my favorite stories always do:

Once upon a time...

I moved to Seattle with a goal in mind. I was going to get my master's degree in nutrition and become a bad ass registered dietitian. I would learn everything there was to know about traditional nutrition science, and then I would teach people what I knew. The power of a gluten-free diet, real foods, cooking with love...all this and more I wanted to share.

And so it began.

I found a large house in a small town and moved in with four other students, vibrant women who fascinated me with their beauty and intelligence, their carefree ways, and dedication to seeking out the dream.

I was not the only one so intrigued. 

Five single ladies in one house attracted a lot of attention, and we found ourselves surrounded by beautiful men. I myself was intimidated, not so sure of my allure to feel confident around all these glorious specimens of manlihood. So I did what any self-respecting woman in her late twenties would do. 

I had a glass of wine.

Or perhaps it was vodka. It's hard to remember the little details. What I do remember was sitting at a table at a bar one night, feeling completely out of place. I saw my new housemates talking, a woman I had just been introduced to (who would later become a good friend), and men. Lots of men.

I was just getting out of a long relationship and I had no intention of getting into another one. I wasn't even looking to date. I just wanted to "find myself", you know...that thing that we do after a break up that involves yoga, therapy, good girlfriends, and eating healthy. Or maybe it's that thing we're supposed to do all the time but that we stop doing when we're in a relationship. Either way, I was doing it.

Daily kundalini yoga. Lots of good gluten-free food. Therapy. Me time. Losing a bit of the weight I had gained before the break up.

Truth be told, with all that self-care combined with moving across the country and losing the person who had been my best friend, I felt a little...floaty. Really that's the best way I can describe it. Like I was floating through life, not really clear about where I was or what I was doing. I was having fun and could feel myself coming out of the cloud of depression that had been weighing me down for so long. But I wasn't quite solid yet. I no longer lived in New York, but my feet were not exactly on Seattle ground.

That night at the bar something happened that I don't remember.

If this is a fairytale - and who doesn't like to imagine their life that way - then that was the night that I met my prince charming.

Or so he tells me.

I was drunk and I have no memory of ever having a conversation with him that night.

Oh I remember seeing him. He was one of the men sitting at the table. He had these piercing blue eyes and a brown cap on. Maybe he was wearing a sweatshirt? If I remember correctly, my thought process as I looked at all the men was, "Cute. So cute. Really cute. Ooh...pretty eyes...yum. What am I doing sitting at this table?"

And then I immediately found a man who I didn't think was attractive and talked to him all night.

Right. Because that's what you do when you're a wuss and are afraid to talk to the pretty boys.

Now, there's apparently another version of this story. While I maintain that my boyfriend and I did not meet that night, he tells me that I cornered him with one of my housemates and asked him lots of questions. According to him, he was actually feeling much the same as I was. Intimidated by the beautiful ladies and a bit out of place. I'm guessing he probably had a drink or two that night as well.

Not that I would remember.

Fast forward to the next night.

I'm with my new housemates and we're throwing a housewarming party. Of course, I don't know anyone since I'm new in town. Another housemate is also from New York, a third from Florida, so between the three of us, we've invited approximately zero people. But the other two have lived in Seattle for years and they seem to know everyone.

So here I am, getting dressed, putting on my makeup, fluffing my hair. Having a sip of wine. And I have no idea that in a few hours, my life will change.

It happened like this. I was drunk. Yes, that happened a lot in the first couple of months in Seattle. Don't worry. I've settled into being an adult now and only drink once or twice a year. Not as much fun, but much better for my health.

Anyway, on that night I was rather...shall we say tipsy? I remember hearing a stray conversation and this is when my inner geek jumped out. I had no idea he was even there, but suddenly I heard the word, "Legolas." I looked around. The man with piercing blue eyes was talking about The Lord of The Rings. All fear of handsome men forgotten, I accosted him. Legolas, you say? Aragorn? Let's talk.

The rest of the night was a blur. I remember music and singing (many of the guests were musicians), hula hooping, and most of all the excitement of a new crush. Blue Eyes and I talked in the kitchen as the sun came up and I remember downing another glass of wine because I was sure I would sober up and be like Cinderella at midnight. That is to say, awkward and nervous. I'm not condoning the use of liquid courage. But you know I'm nothing if not honest, and that's how the story went. 

It was one of those parties that never ended, with a number of guests staying up until 5am, then crashing for a few hours, only to wake up and get brunch together. Blue Eyes came along - no, he did not sleep in my bed nor was there even any kissing that first night or anything beyond conversation. He slept on the hammock downstairs and I slept chastely in my bed. But I was excited to see that he was coming for brunch, and not a little nervous at being around him...gasp...completely sober.

I had no chance to be awkward and shy however, since he sat as far away from me at the restaurant table as possible. So I chatted with the gorgeous man next to me, which was easy to do since he had a yummy British accent. My eyes kept straying to Blue Eyes though, my heart pitter-pattering in a way I hadn't expected to feel again so soon.

I was already smitten.

On the way home, my housemate (one of the two who knew everyone) asked me if I liked any of the guys at the party. I immediately staked my claim on Blue Eyes, lest any of the other ladies had any interest. My housemate nodded and said, "Yeah, he's cute. I think he's dating someone though."


My heart sank.

"But I don't think it's serious. I wouldn't let that stop you."

Read the next installment here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Easy Carrot Cake Hot Cereal (Gluten/Grain/Sugar/Nut-Free, Vegan)

In my last post, Three Truths and a Lie, I talked about some new things in my life and asked you what you wanted to hear about. Surprisingly to me, everyone who commented said they wanted to know about the plans for a permaculture homestead in Missouri. I was sure you would want to know about the cleanse I'm doing, which is something I have no interest in writing about. Honestly, I'm really tired of talking about food. Not tired of cooking it or developing recipes. Not tired of eating it. Just tired of talking about it. So I was grateful when I realized that wasn't what you wanted to know about.

Perhaps you're tired of talking about food too?

Or maybe it's as one of my clients said to me the other night, "Cleansing is old news. I want to hear about permaculture." Well friends, if you're ready for something different, so am I.

Of course, I realized right away that I couldn't explain my goals without first explaining a lot more. This is why I didn't post the next day as promised. Or the next. 

I've been writing something I've wanted to tell for a while, something that maybe I'm just writing for myself. But the story's in there and it wants to come out. It's the story of how my boyfriend and I met, the story of the last two years of my life, and the story of a vision that has grown between us and that I hope will soon come to fruition. 

I hope you'll enjoy it. 

But while I'm still busy writing, please enjoy this recipe for Carrot Cake Hot Cereal. This was born out of a longing for oatmeal, something that I'm not eating these days. It tastes nothing like oatmeal - oh well - but it satisfied my craving and might do the same for you. 

Plus it's really good for you. 

Carrot Cake Hot Breakfast Cereal (Gluten/Grain/Sugar-Free, Vegan) Print-Me

Simple, healthy and delicious. What better way to start your day? 
Feel free to sub in your favorite sweetener if you don't use stevia.

4 cups diced carrots (about 6 carrots)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
2 cups water
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons coconut oil
30 drops vanilla liquid stevia (or your favorite sweetener to taste)

  1. Combine carrots, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a medium pot. Add 2 cups of water. You want the water to just cover the carrots, so you may need to use a little more or less. Bring to a gentle boil for 15 minutes or until the carrots are easily mashed with a fork. 
  2. Take the pot off the heat and mash the carrots. Stir in flaxseed meal, coconut oil, and stevia. Taste and add an extra pinch of salt if needed.
And now I've said I'm going to write about my boyfriend, so I guess there's no turning back. Good thing he doesn't embarrass easily.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Three Truths and a Lie

Happy 2013! Let's start the year off with a game. Three Truths and a Lie. You guess which is the lie. If you guess right, I'll...I don't know...put a turkey on my head. 

1. I want to bake cream cheese cookies. I want to share my recipe for turkey pot pie with you. I want to experiment with various flours, making the same recipe over and over until I can give you all the substitution answers you want. But I'm following the autoimmune protocol recommended here and I am avoiding coconut right now, so there's no baking in my immediate future. Oh yeah, and I'm on a cleanse this week so there's not even any cooking in my future, much less baking.

2. When my boyfriend and I moved out of Seattle, our original intention was to move to Bellingham. However, life intervened. Or fate. Or something. We're now traveling around visiting various family members until spring, when we'll drive our little car to Missouri and attempt to start a life there. Our goal? Permaculture homestead and retreat center. Oh yeah. Come April, it's on.

3. After eating very carefully all week in New York City, I made a conscious decision to go to my favorite gluten-free restaurant. I stopped at S'Mac and got the gluten-free Mediterranean Mac and Cheese. I ate it with gusto and utter delight. Three days later, I couldn't stop myself and went again. My reaction was so mild as to be negligible, and I've learned that by following the autoimmune protocol, I can get my inflammation down enough to enjoy a special treat every once in a while. Can't do it often, but so good to know. (And yes, I am aware that this is probably not the best thing for my gut. But sometimes it's the best thing for me.)

4. I am a horrible liar. I sat here forever trying to come up with a credible lie to equal my truths. Couldn't think of a thing. So we'll play a different game instead. You get to pick tomorrow's post. You get your choice of any of the above truths or the recipe for the Carrot Cake Hot Breakfast Cereal in the photo above. Gluten/grain/dairy/soy/nut/egg/sugar-free. What's it gonna be?

p.s. Cleanse or no cleanse, you will get the recipe for the cream cheese cookies. I made them for my family's Christmas celebration and they were devoured too quickly to take a photo. But I'll make them again and...sigh...give them away. If you want a dairy-free version, check out my dairy-free cream cheese cookies here.

Oh wait! I have a lie! I hate green beans. No, I mean I love them. Right. I LOVE green beans. (Lying. So lying.)


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