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Archive for the ‘Gluten Free Discoveries’ Category

On Fridays I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Family time – Since our family from China is with us for such a short time each year we need to pack in a lot of togetherness in just a few weeks. Family brunch, kiddy pool, and games day made for a lovely gathering this week.

2. More family time – Our daughter and son-in-law hosted a family BBQ last week for his family and ours. It was so nice to touch base with Tim’s side of the family again and to spend a few hours together.

3. Garden joys – Because I came to gardening quite recently I am still learning much about making my garden flourish. This year besides my herbs, I planted kale for my smoothies, and a small amount of zucchini, onions, green beans, and peas. We have a couple of deck rail planters for flowers and a small ground level triangular bed near the confluence of two sidewalks. Sadly, I cannot get down to weed that bed at this point, so I rely on others to help with that bed. However, the raised beds and rail planters are easy for me to access and I have learned more about pruning and deadheading this year which has resulted in a more verdant garden. I have not yet cooked any of my delicious peas. By the time I pick them and shell them with my grandchildren we have managed to enjoy every single sweet pea that we have picked!

My beloved built me raised bed planters which allows me to tend to my garden even with my limited mobility and this week he and my son and daughter-in-law finished a third planter for me. It’s a bit late for planting up here in central Alberta but my husband went out to nurseries and home centers on a quest to rescue some end of season vegetable plants. After much searching he found some dilapidated tomato plants and our plant rescue project has ensued! We’ll see if together we can nurse them back to health and encourage them to produce some tomatoes.

4. Kids and grandkids – I am exceptionally blessed to not only have wonderful children, but also an amazing daughter-in-law and son-in-law. They are as dear to me as my own children and I thank God for joining them with our family. Our grandchildren are pretty special, too, and I love spending time with them and hearing their thoughts and dreams and observing the uniqueness of each one.

5. Health networking – It has been somewhat frustrating to try and figure out what I’m doing or not doing that has recently stalled my recovery. One element I never accounted for in the past was the gluten free aspect which has been part of my life now for over five years. Identifying and addressing food sensitivities five years ago made a huge difference in managing my fibromyalgia. Though I am diagnosed as gluten intolerant and not celiac, I have connected with the celiac community and share observations and discoveries with my fellow GF friends.

Recently a celiac friend asked me if I have trouble with raw veggies. I was surprised and relieved that I was not the only one with the GF / raw veggie digestion issue. I do pretty well when my raw greens are whirred to oblivion in my Ninja, but not so great when eating them whole or in a salad. They just do not seem to digest properly if I ingest quantities of raw veggies. Part of the problem is that I am exceptionally sensitive to the preservative that is used on most packaged and store-bought lettuce and several times have grown violently ill after eating salads made from packaged lettuce, so I avoid lettuce completely. In the summer I grow and use my own kale and in the winter I buy organic kale or organic spinach and manage that just fine. My physiotherapist mentioned using a grow lamp / hydroponics system to grow veggies inside during the winter. I’ll have to investigate that option for the future.

 

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On Fridays I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

I’ve missed several weeks due to a busy schedule and ongoing fatigue and issues with my fibromyalgia. Thanks for sticking with me.

1. Family – Our family from China surprised us by arriving a week early for their annual time with us. We had no inkling this was the plan thanks to some sneaky familial assistants on this side of the world. It is an incredible blessing to be able to spend time each year with family who lives and works so far from us.

2. Health update – Last year at this time I had just gotten home from hospital after emergency hip replacement revision surgery. Though I have had quite a few setbacks over this past year, I am doing far better than I was a year ago. I am still dealing with some fatigue and low stamina and have been surprised to realize that social interaction absolutely wears me out. My doctor is working with me to try and eliminate any obvious reasons for this tiredness. I’m not quite three months past my iron transfusion treatments so perhaps I just need a little more time for that to fully take effect.

My one-year post-surgical checkup went well. The bone grafts and range of motion look good. I still need to do physio and was warned that a revision surgery means the joint will never be as stable as the original so lifelong strengthening and caution are both necessary to help avoid another revision.

There are several other health issues that cropped up during this past year and one may require surgery. After this long year of many health issues I am willing to try almost anything to avoid surgery again. We’ll see how the surgical consult goes first. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which health issues are simply age related. A friend recently mentioned she was having age-related health problems. She told me that aging isn’t for sissies. Yep. We’re a brave lot, and not always because we want to be.

3. Infused water – While attending a conference last month I was introduced to infused water served in those lovely glass dispensers. The fruit and herbs look so pretty in the dispenser and the water is flavorful and refreshing. For my birthday my husband got me a double dispenser with a nice wrought iron looking stand. My herb garden provides the perfect source for delicious and interesting ingredients for a variety of fruit and herb infused water combos. I’m having fun with both the experimenting and the delicious water.

4. Rural living – Though we live in a small town just outside a major city, we have to drive past fields of crops regardless of what direction we go when we head out of town. I love observing the various stages involved in planting and harvesting each year. Currently the canola fields are that trademark cheerful sunny yellow. Pretty soon the flowers will disappear, and the stinky sock stage will be upon us. Don’t you love my technical terms? Canola has a stage in the growing cycle when the plants indeed smell like dirty gym socks. Don’t you wonder who ever had the idea of using the seeds from this stinky plant to produce an oil you cook with?

5. New restaurant – This week we tried a delicious meal at a Brazilian steak restaurant. The salad bar had little placards above each item listing all the ingredients and indicating whether the food was nut, dairy, or gluten free. At lunchtime there are six meats offered and special servers move from table to table providing portions of meat cut from a long skewer. Each place setting includes a small set of tongs which diners use to hold the serving of meat while the server cuts it off the skewer. The meat servers brought by three kinds of beef, one of chicken and two of pork. Our server urged us to try the Brazilian cheese buns, a Yorkshire pudding style popover made with cheese instead of pan drippings. I told her I could not have any since I had to eat gluten free. She broke into a big grin and told me the cheese buns were gluten free and eating them would “change your life!” While they did not change my life in any significant way, they certainly were absolutely delicious!

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On Fridays I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Seeing improvement – The iron infusions appear to be producing results. My stamina is slowly increasing, the underlying muscle pain is subsiding, and I am thoroughly enjoying the renewed healthy-looking countenance. I still feel quite tired in the mornings but perhaps a recently diagnosed tooth infection has been contributing to that. I am so very grateful for each answer, each treatment, and each bit of improvement.

2. Book club – My daughters and their friends host a book club I’m participating in. We had to set aside getting together for a while due to complexities in all our lives but are scheduled to resume meeting next month. This time around we are reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook and am listening through a second time for clarity and detail.

A film has been made of this book. I’m not sure if it has been released yet but I will probably end up seeing it unless reviews indicate it portrays objectionable elements. (The producers would have to twist things around to do that, but isn’t that what happens sometimes with films?)

There are not many movies based on books that I have enjoyed once reading the book. My husband and I recently watched Unbroken and found it disappointing. Laura Hillenbrand’s book is full of rich detail and carefully crafted phrases which, woven and layered together, create a deeply satisfying literary canvas. Most of the movies based on books that I have seen have to either give you the Dummies version for sake of time or want to deviate from the storyline in the name of artistic expression. I don’t have high expectations for this film either, but we’ll see.

3. New gluten free discoveries – Trying packaged gluten free foods can be…..interesting. I understand that those who must eat gluten, dairy, soy, and egg free need to be more creative with baking and may not have much to choose from in prepared foods. So many of these items I’ve tried have grainy textures, are extremely dry, or are strange tasting. I’ve recently learned I’m not fond of the taste and texture brown rice pasta, but I do have a couple of other new-to-me Italian GF pasta products on hand to try soon.

After chatting with the dietician at the Ellerslie Sobeys earlier this month, I bought some Schar brand products from Germany. The cheese bites – small crackers in several shapes – are very tasty with no weird textures or flavours. Their Honeygrams also have great flavor and a texture fairly close to graham crackers

Tate brand gluten free cookies out of the States are exceptional. Both the Ginger Zinger and Chocolate Chip varieties have the taste and appearance of home baked cookies like no other GF cookies I’ve tried. I found the Zingers at the Italian Centre and the Chocolate Chip at Ellerslie Sobeys.

4. New dishwasher on the way – My new dishwasher is ordered and is scheduled to be installed at the end of the month. After chatting with the sales lady while she wrote up my order, she volunteered to give me free delivery instead of the usual $50 charge. And that was an unexpected blessing!

5. Yard clean up – The wonderful young woman who helps me around the house called me on Saturday morning. She and her husband and three small children wanted to volunteer to come over and clean up our yard. What a blessing their help was! The day was sunny and warm, so my husband and I prepared a simple picnic style lunch to enjoy with our friends on the deck at lunchtime.

Here are a few special order and other Mother’s Day cards I made this year.

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On Fridays (or as you know, sometimes later than Friday) I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

Progress! I’m slowly creeping toward posting again on Fridays. Sunday instead of Monday is a tiny step in the right direction.

1. Iron infusions done – My IV iron treatments are done! My body is in the process of resetting and I look forward to greater stamina and improved strength in the future. Good thing they told me it takes up to three months to feel the full effects or I’d be chomping at the bit wanting to see quick results.

By the way, maybe some of you medical experts could clarify whether IV iron treatments are called transfusions or infusions. There seems to be mixed information about this. Even my nurses during treatment interchanged the terms.

2. Grocery savings – The first Tuesday of the month several local grocery stores offer 10 – 15% off your total order. This week I went to the Sobeys at Ellerslie to shop. They offer 15% off and have a large gluten free / organic / natural foods section that I like. On Tuesday I met the manager of that section, a young woman who is a registered dietician and loves to help people with their special diet questions. It was an extra bonus to chat with her in addition to receiving the discount.

3. Visit with a ministry friend – Another area pastor’s wife came for a visit this week. I’ve been so out of the loop the past year and most of my contact with ministry friends has been via electronic media. It was a special blessing to have face to face time with her

4. Dishwasher – We are reminded in Scripture to give thanks in every situation, but often I find my default reaction is complaining like the children of Israel. I have not yet quite figured out the blessing of the situation, but our dishwasher broke this week with a terrible grinding sound and the burning smell of an electrical fire. It already had smaller problem which would cost at least $100 for parts plus the repairman’s cost so we decided to replace instead of repair.

The dishwasher is my number one favorite kitchen appliance, but I have never had one perform without the need to call a service person at least once every two or three years, so I’ve always opted for an extended service contract. And, I do have an extended warranty on my dishwasher which would normally take care of service and parts, but the dishwasher and contract were with Sears which went bankrupt in Canada last year making null and void my contract.

When my DW went kaput right before a week of company and one of the most intense weeks in the year for us and the college, I slipped into panic mode. Prayer and common sense have since prevailed, and I am employing the Japanese style of dishwashing as my sister-in-law calls it – wash dishes under hot running water using a soapy cloth. I have reminded myself that I have someone coming to help me around the house while my guests are here, and I will be chill about dishes being stacked in the sink if I need to rest instead. I am still trying to recover from my unexpected medical journey this past year and fretting over dirty dishes is not worth a setback in my health.

5. Craft area clean up – I usually employ a delightful piling system when working on projects. I have everything spread out on my desk, the floor around my chair, and any reachable nearby surface. My husband calls me messy, but I claim it’s the hallmark of a creative mind. But to keep peace, practice discipline, and salve the twitchy part of me that is the highly sensitive person, I purge, clean and tidy periodically. My wonderful house helper is better at organizing than I am and her recent suggestions for taming my craft space are currently being implemented. It’s already looking neater and I really do enjoy the calmness a tidy space evokes.

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On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

So….I did not get around to posting this until Tuesday, but I am trying to get back to writing regularly even if the result is posted later than expected!

1. Medical update – Thank you to all who have been praying for me. I have continued to have some good progress and some significant setbacks in my recovery.

I have a great physiotherapist and after a couple of good weeks last month, we mutually decided to bump up my daily physio / activity to include both in each day. Previously I could do one or the other without extreme fatigue, but not both. I should have gotten out and moved, rested for a period of time, and done my physio, but I misunderstood and did them back to back. Several hours later I began experiencing severe muscle spasms in various parts of my body which precipitated a major flare in my fibromyalgia. Working with my therapist I am again slowly building up activity but am still experiencing the FM flare symptoms.

This week brought some encouraging news, though. I was referred for iron infusion on January 2 due to my iron deficiency anemia. and just heard yesterday that I will have a series of four infusions beginning April 18. I am told it will take up to three months to feel normal again after the treatments, but I am grateful for the help and hopeful that I will be able to run around some with my grandchildren when they visit in July. I’m moving back to my core FM management plan to see if my basic food sensitivity diet and stricter attention to my management plan will bring even more healing, strength and stamina.

2. The spring that will not come – We are not alone in this, but the Edmonton area has had the most snow and cold weather than any spring in many years. Minus 21 C at night is not normal for this time of year! However, with longer days and the sun peeking through, the snow and ice are gradually reducing. I am grateful that the sidewalks and road in front of our house are safe enough now for me to walk across the street to check our mail.

3. Birthday lunch – Three of our children plus our son-in-law have birthdays in March or early April. Good Friday is a holiday here, and after our church service we met for birthday lunch at place that works for everyone’s dietary restrictions. We each thoroughly enjoyed our meal and especially enjoyed spending time together as a family.

4. Pizza night – Our in-town daughters joined us for a DIY pizza night last week. We watched a movie Talbert style – everyone slinging comments and critiques during the viewing which can be either annoying or amusing depending on your viewing preference, but overall lots of fun!

5. Short shopping trip – We returned to the nearby Italian Centre on my husband’s day off and took our time to “poke around.” They carry so many items that we recognize from our travels in Europe and many other products that are new to us. We left with some interesting gluten free pasta, clotted cream, specialty butter, various cheeses, my favorite black raspberry spread, and several things on my grocery list.

Hope to have a new FFF for you this weekend. I’m also working on some Titus 2 Thoughts for the near future. Thanks for sticking with me while I still struggle with my health.

 

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On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Family in Houston I have family living in the Houston area. Though they were affected by Hurricane Harvey (like everyone else in the area) they are all safe, for which I am grateful.

We live in the town of Beaumont, Alberta. There is also a Beaumont, Texas east of Houston. A distraught mother was trying to get news of her family in Beaumont, Texas, and was somehow connected to the Beaumont, Alberta emergency dispatcher. Instead of rerouting her, he took the time to track down her family (after contacting emergency services in Beaumont, Texas.) He made sure she found out about her family (they were safe) and did not pass her off to someone else or tell her she had the ‘wrong number.’ Pretty impressive and admirable. The Canadian way, as they say.

2. Orchids and ice cubes I learned something new and wonderful about orchids lately – you water them with ice cubes! Probably most of you knew this, but I was surprised and delighted to learn that I could water them by adding three ice cubes once a week. With my former reputation as a house plant killer, this was welcome news indeed. I received a beautiful orchid plant shortly after my surgery and it’s still looking great (thanks to the weekly ice cube watering!)

3. Out and about My recovery from surgery continues slowly, as requested by my surgeon. I am doing better on crutches when I occasionally try them out, made it to church for the third week in a row, and have begun to do an errand or two each week when someone is available to drive me. Last week my husband and I enjoyed breakfast at I-hop, where I found a gluten-free friendly selection on the senior’s menu. My stamina is still fairly low so these jaunts wear me out, but I am hoping to gradually build up that stamina as I carefully and regularly get out and about.

4. Eggs Our local drug store has the best regular price on a dozen eggs of anyone in town. A bonus is that on Tuesdays seniors receive an additional 20% off. This past week I asked my husband to pop in and get a couple dozen eggs. Our store had a buy one get one free special on the eggs because they have a best by date of mid-September. They also gave the senior special so we got those eggs for less than a dollar a dozen. Nice deal and an unexpected blessing.

5. God’s peace in the midst of challenges Our family is experiencing some challenges. It is a comfort and a blessing to know God’s peace as we face these challenges. Things may be unexpected or unwanted by us, but God has a purpose in all He ordains. We are praying for His will and leadership in all He brings our way.

I did not get out to take any photos this week. Hopefully soon!

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Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

See this picture? I took it today. It is a blue sky with clouds and sun. I am very thankful for that blue sky after a long stretch of dismal gray days. See this second picture? I also took it today. No more snow in the yard! Shadows from the sun! I am extremely grateful for the snow being gone, for sunshine, and for blue skies!

We seem to attract interesting animals in our neighborhood. Drake and Dessa Duck showed up again this week, hanging out on a neighboring roof and complaining about the late April snowstorm. Yesterday this rabbit was spotted ‘running laps around the house’ as my helper, Kathleen, pointed out. See how he hides in our brownish grass? Amazing to think that he was pure white just a few weeks ago. At least we have not had any visits from the moose that were spotted outside our town earlier this week.

Yesterday when I was out shopping I passed a grocery cart with two little girls in it. The younger one grinned and waved as I walked by and the older one scowled at me. I’m not sure why, but this made me really miss my own grandchildren. It is easy to focus on what you do not have, but it is not profitable or even proper for a Christian to do this. I am so blessed to live at a time when I can regularly see or speak to my family in China through technology and spend time with them at least once a year. This is what I will focus on: just a little over two months before they get here!

I don’t regularly buy Tide unless it’s on sale. At the store, all the varieties had sale prices on the shelf tags except the one I prefer. When I took one to the front to get the price checked, the Tide I liked was only $2.50 a bottle! I zipped back to the display and grabbed three more bottles. Good deals on things we need are always a blessing.

I discovered an interesting-looking gluten free scone mix this week made by the Namaste company. I have tried and liked several of their other products so I was hoping this would also be good. I made it today and am very happy with the results.

Here are a few of the cards I have been working on for Purple Grandma Designs

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