Stop the Nonsense!!!

Stop the Nonsense!!!

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Hello folks! I know I haven’t blogged in awhile. There are many reasons why that I am not going to get into, but there is something that’s really been bothering me and I can’t seem to get it off my mind, so here I am to speak about it. I know this may upset or offend some, but please try to see it from my perspective.

I am upset and you could even say angry about this whole ALS ice bucket challenge hitting the world by storm. To me, it’s nothing more than a nonsensical gimmick that’s creating a bunch of lemmings.

For starters, I think it’s awesome that SOME people are actually donating. I do understand that donations are up an immense amount, BUT I don’t believe for one second that the millions of people participating are actually donating. I know of many celebrities who are donating thousands instead of the $10 or the $100. I also don’t believe that people “get it” at all. I don’t think they understand what it’s even for or that they are still supposed to donate even if they participate.

With that said, here are some reasons why I’m angry about this.

1. If in fact it’s mostly to create awareness when donations aren’t being made, I do not believe for one second it’s making people more aware. The people that care or care to know, already know what ALS is. I don’t foresee a huge amount of people doing research to see what it is.

2. Why do you HAVE to donate to ALS? Why can’t you pick a charity that you want to donate to? Why can’t each person pick someone that has relevance to their life or loved ones and donate to that?

3. Why aren’t people showing receipts that they actually donated? That’s what I’d rather see. But to go along with that, I don’t think people are doing it to be kind and generous. I think it’s for fun, recognition, attention, or whatever it is. It’s not to do good, for most people. Note, I did not say all.

4. BUT, for those people that I mention above that actually want to do good, why can’t you do it quietly? I am not saying this to toot my own horn, but I donate to causes I think are worthy ALL the time. I don’t tell people because I don’t need them to know. I also don’t have a lot to give, so it’s not maybe worth a trophy of any kind, but I do what I can because it makes ME feel good to actually help other people.

5. Also, why do you HAVE to donate the amounts designated? Why can’t you give what you want? And if can’t afford $100 and don’t want to do the ice bucket business, why don’t people still just donate $10 or $20 or whatever they can afford? No one knows whether people are actually giving or not, so why not just make a donation….period! What if we just give humbly where God calls us to give, in whatever amount we can, and that includes times AND money AND gifts and whatever else you think is appropriate to donate.

6. And this probably should have been number 1, but I am super irritated about the fact that SO many people are wasting all this water. It’s SO useless and worthless when there are SO many that could use good clean water. We take that for granted. Maybe people could donate to this charity or this charity or this charity or this charity or any charity that helps people get clean water that you can find, instead of wasting your cooler full of water or your backhoe full of water.

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And furthermore, what does ice cold water have to do with ALS anyway? What’s the goal here? What’s the end game? I can’t take it. I haven’t gone on Facebook all week because it’s just lemming after lemming doing this stupid challenge. You know how many charities could actually be helped if you picked and chose which one you wanted to donate to and ACTUALLY donated without wasting the water?

No, I don’t care to see your video that was the same as the last person and the person before that and before that. It’s not cute or funny or helpful. It’s just plain nonsense! Make a video showing the check you sent to a charity or a screenshot of the email confirmation of the donation you just made online if you need some recognition.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

This should never have been about a “challenge” to see what others will do. It’s taking away from what it’s actually supposed to do. It’s not about getting credit or taking credit for something like this. It SHOULD be about the true spirit of giving.

Just think about what I’m saying…..

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Paleo Crackers

Paleo Crackers
Paleo Crackers

Awhile ago I had decided I wanted some homemade crackers. I had never tried to do so before, but thought it was worth a shot to try. Here’s the recipe I used below. The original recipe had 1/2 tsp black pepper in it, but I thought that was too much. They were too peppery for me and I love pepper. I reduced it to 1/4 tsp and I think it’s perfect. You can play around with that. I also don’t love salt, so I don’t add extra on top of the crackers, but you certainly can. As you can see, there isn’t much to them, but I do really love them, and love having them around when I want a snack, because they’re MUCH healthier than a lot of other options.

Paleo Crackers

Ingredients
2 cups blanched almond flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions
Place all ingredients in food processor. Pulse it until “dough” forms. It may not all stick together completely, but it needs to get to be where it’s all blended and is sticking together. Roll out dough to about as thin as you can, but still be able to pick up the pieces. You may want to roll out between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Cut into small squares, maybe 2 inch square, with a knife or pizza cutter. Can sprinkle with extra salt, but I don’t do so. Bake for 12-14 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven.

This is what it looks like in the food processor. Don’t be fooled by how much is in there. My food processor is tiny, but it’s great for me. I don’t use it much, so this size works wonderful. :)

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Here it is rolled out and cut. I peel away the really thin, not so pretty ones on the outside and attempt to re-roll it. It doesn’t always work so great because of all the oils in the almond flour.

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As you can see, it makes quite a bit. Both of these pans are full. There should be about this many, if you roll them out thin like you should. They taste much better/better texture when they’re thin.

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And here are the beauties all baked. They’re super tasty, healthy, and so easy to make!!

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Projects Galore

Projects Galore
Projects Galore

I’ve got so many projects in progress, I’m not sure which to work on completing first. I don’t know why I started so many at one time and didn’t finish some, but oh well, that’s life. I just don’t tend to work well that way, I guess. I like to start something, complete it and move on. This is a new avenue for me, but it’s making my house more messy because it means more unfinished ‘stuff’ lying around.

I am working on something for myself, something that’s been in the works for a long time, and some goodies to sell. I have not been great at adding things to my Etsy page. Etsy is a weird thing. Unless people know your shop is there, it can be tough to sell your stuff. There’s so many thousands of things and I can’t afford to “advertise” to promote my goods on there, so it’s not been great for me. I’d love to sell more stuff, but I don’t have a good way to do that. I’m not sure exactly how. Maybe people just don’t like what I make. HA!

At any rate, here’s some of the fun stuff in progress and some recently completed projects.

Don’t mind all the junk in the background. I don’t have a good place to display garlands.

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Coffee Cup/Mug Cozy

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Mason Jar Cozy

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Inside of the mason jar cozy.

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Another cute bunting I made for my niece.

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Tote bag I made to fill with girlie books for my niece for her 1st birthday.

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Here’s some buntings and embroidery hoops that will be up for grabs in my Etsy shop soon.

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This is what I’m working on today….mini flags for more bunting, medium flags, and large flags, finishing hoop, making more hoops, and still working on a magazine craft that’s for myself, so it doesn’t matter if it takes awhile.

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Grain Free Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Grain Free Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Over the weekend I had a hankering for some coffee cake, and yes, I said hankering. It just seems to fit. :)

I’ve hardly ever made coffee cake in my life, but I thought I could figure something out from looking at several different ones. This is SOOOO good!! I would love to eat it everyday!

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Grain Free Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
1 egg
1-2 Tbsp honey (depending on how sweet you like yours. I don’t love super sweet, so I don’t add a lot.)

Cake
6 eggs
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp almond extract
heavy/full 1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted (make SURE you sift)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (you could use pecans instead)
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon (I may have used more. I love cinnamon.)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch round pan. I use coconut oil spray.
Beat together all filling ingredients. Set aside.
Combine eggs, melted butter, yogurt, honey, and almond extract and mix well. Add in the sifted coconut flour, baking soda and salt.
In a separate very small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients.
Pour the cake batter into the greased pan and spread evenly. Drop bits of the topping mixture over the batter. Top with cream cheese filling in chunks. You do not need to worry if this is spread evenly. Using a knife swirl the filling and topping throughout the batter until you are able to sort of smooth it all out so it’s an even layer.
Bake for 30-35 until the cake starts to brown. The cream cheese parts may seem to be a tad jiggly, but it should be fine once it cools. Don’t bake until the cream cheese seems “hard” or the cake will be dry.
Cool before slicing.

You seriously won’t be disappointed with this if you love coffee cake and cream cheese. :)

Oh, and one other thing; a few weeks ago I ordered a new kind of coconut flour someone had told me to try. I was happy to oblige since it’s a family-owned business based out of Minnesota, where I live. It was a good price and a good-sized bag, so I decided to try it. I love it. It’s super finely ground and just has a great texture. It’s called Wilderness Family Naturals and here’s their website and here’s the coconut flour. I haven’t tried anything else from them yet, but think I might next time. I love the size because it’s not a small bag, but it’s not huge either. Those that use coconut flour know that you don’t typically use a lot at one time because it’s dense and soaks up a lot of moisture, so the bag size is perfect. AND, it’s organic!! Go. Try it. Now. :)

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Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread
Cranberry Orange Bread

I had some fresh cranberries that I had frozen way  back around the holidays. I’m working on a freezer clean out, so I thought I should find something to make with them. For some reason cranberries and orange sounded good together, so I searched and searched for recipes, not finding anything that sounded amazing and/or had ingredients I had at home. I thought I’d try to make a loaf of bread, so I sort of did a combo of several recipes and put them together to make this deliciousness.

A couple of notes on this. First, I would make sure the cranberries are completely thawed if you are using frozen, but I would recommend fresh. Secondly, if you can, chop the cranberries, at least in half. As with a lot of gluten free and grain free recipes, texture is a HUGE deal, and you need the right consistency so it all stays together well. I think this would have been perfect if I would have chopped up the cranberries, because when you cut into the bread, it had a tendency to crumble a bit because of having to cut through the whole cranberries. Otherwise, maybe a touch less coconut flour. As always, with coconut flour be careful how much you use. And don’t ever go over that amount…not even by a tiny bit.

So here it is. And btw, it is grain free and dairy free, as well as gluten free. And it’s quite citrusy/orangey, so if you don’t want that strong citrus flavor, you can cut back on the peel/zest. Don’t leave out the juice. The zest is what’s most potent. :)

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Cranberry Orange Bread

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups almond flour/meal
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
zest AND juice of 1 large orange
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1 cup fresh cranberries

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a typical 9 x 5 loaf pan. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and soda, and the salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, orange zest, and orange juice. Warm the honey and coconut oil together just enough to easily stir in the microwave for a bit and then stir to combine. Add this to the eggs and whisk to combine. Be sure this isn’t too hot or you will start to cook the eggs. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir well. Fold in the cranberries. This will be quite thick. Spread into loaf pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove from pan and allow to cool the completely on a rack.

 

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Smoothies

Smoothies
Smoothies

Lately I’ve been on a smoothie kick. A GF friend told me about a drink mix she likes that provides good nutrition. I had heard of the company before, but didn’t know much about it. It’s actually for weight loss, I believe, but mostly I wanted to make sure I was getting supplementation for vitamins and minerals and what not because of my malabsorption issues. She gave me some to try. I was smitten from the go. I’m not a chocolate lover, nor is she, so it’s perfect that she had this sweet cream flavor. It smells so good, I think I could just eat the powder. It’s by Visalus and the product line is ViShape. I think there are other flavors, but I’m not sure about that, but I don’t really care because this vanilla-ish flavor goes with just about anything. You can mix it just with milk, which I do almond or coconut, but I like an actual smoothie with fruit. I’ve tried many different fruits, of which I love blueberries the most, I think. I use frozen fruit because then you don’t have to add ice to it either, and then just add a scoop of ground flax seed. It’s SOOO good! I’ve played around with it a bit too, adding things here or there. My most recent concoction is to die for. Seriously. I’ve had it every day and I’ve yet to get sick of it.  It’s a Carrot “Cake” Smoothie and this is what I do.

Ingredients
1/2 cup or so of carrot juice (Bolthouse Farms is amazing)
about 1/2 cup of coconut or almond milk
sprinkle in some cinnamon (I like it heavy on the cinnamon)
1 banana (frozen, if you have it. If not, add a handful or two of ice)
1 scoop (which is probably about 2 Tbsp) ground flax seed
2 scoops protein powder

Directions
Blend it all together in blender until smooth. I like mine thicker. Add or take away liquids accordingly. If you don’t use flax seed, it will be runnier, because that gives it bulk too.

All my other smoothies are basically just the protein powder, frozen fruit, and about 10 ounces of coconut milk. I seriously love this stuff!! The cherries are best with almond milk and blueberries with coconut milk, in my opinion. I’ve tried raspberries and strawberries too. I have peaches in my freezer to try next….after a few more days of carrot cake. :)

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Blog hop

Blog hop

Today I’m just going to give you this. I follow the Gluten Dude’s blog. Today’s post has resonated with me heavily. A staple on his blog is a lady name IrishHeart. She wrote about why this gluten free “trend” or “fad” should not be called that. She wrote about why there needs to be more understanding, comprehension, compassion, tolerance, etc, etc, etc of Celiac Disease and what we all go through or have gone through. It’s not that simple that we feel better just because we eat gluten free. Most of us have other complications that haven’t or won’t resolve themselves from going too long without diagnosis. Maybe THIS will give some people a clue as to what it’s like to have to deal with this everyday. Maybe this will help people see that we need to support each other, including those without CD, instead of beating each other down.

Go. Read. Now. Understand. Have compassion. Give her props. Remember this the next time you want to poke fun of something you have no comprehension of.

And I think this is very befitting of this situation and a reminder for everyday.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26

that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

CompassionWordCloud

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Bunting, bunting, and more bunting

Bunting, bunting, and more bunting
Bunting, bunting, and more bunting

Okay, so yes, I love all things bunting. There are so many different varieties and styles and colors and even materials you can use. I think bunting is mostly would be defined as flags, but I use bunting and garland interchangeably, because to me they’re one in the same. They’re fun and happy and most people can find a place to put one. Even holiday ones are fun. I’ve made them with hearts for Valentine’s Day or just because. I’ve made shamrock ones for St. Patty’s Day or because you’re Irish. :) I’ve made travel-themed and crochet flags and fabric ones as well. Here’s my latest one for an Instagram #payitforward2014 project for a friend there. It’s so cute! She loves all things British, so this will be perfect….I hope.

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Here are some photos of some of the other ones I’ve made. I’m working on some crochet flowers now to sell. They’re so cute!

I forgot to take a photo of the full garland, but this is what I used to make the hearts/Valentine’s ones. :)

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And this little gem is my #wip. It’s so cute! This is also for a pay it forward gift, but I think I’ll be making more of these to sell.

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Jimmy Kimmel at it yet again

Jimmy Kimmel at it yet again

I think I need to move to a cabin in the woods….where there’s little civilization. I need to be away from social media and really all media, I think, for awhile. I’m just sick and tired of the way people are “allowed” to treat each other so unkindly, one of them being the way people treat others who are on a gluten free diet. People just don’t have ANY clue what it really means and how serious it is. I do realize that those folks who are on this “fad diet” (and I use that phrase loosely because that’s not at all what it is) for whatever reason are the ones making it worse, BUT it shouldn’t matter to anyone else even if it is just a “diet” for them. But also, if you are choosing this “diet” then know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, so that other people don’t think it’s just a big joke. I got involved in some big debate last week online over people’s intolerance to those with gluten issues. It got ugly. I got really upset at the awful way people treat each other and think it’s okay to do so.
Today, I heard about a recent Jimmy Kimmel show where he’s at it yet again, poking fun of people on a gluten free diet. Here’s the link to the show. Just when you think that he’s going to say something half-assed okay about those “that can’t eat gluten for medical reasons,” he then says, “it annoys me, but I get it.” Why does it matter to him? And what’s there to be annoyed about? Do I need to send him some information on just how awful of a disease it can be? And by the way, Jimmy, I’m pro-pizza AND anti-gluten. You can be both and still be just fine. See below. Yep, that’s gluten free. Jerk!!

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Grain Free Biscuits

Grain Free Biscuits
Grain Free Biscuits

I was trying to find a good biscuit recipe that was grain free and still tasty. I tried a couple and wasn’t thrilled with anything. I decided to use my smarts to try to put together my own with using the others as a start. Here’s what I came up with. They’re so delicious…in my opinion anyway.

 

 

 

Grain Free Biscuits

Ingredients
2 packed cups almond flour (I always use blanched and this brand)
1/2 cup tapioca starch (you could probably substitute arrowroot or potato starch, but they all have a bit different consistency/starchiness, so not sure if they’d turn out the same)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 heaping tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (whole stick) butter, cold
2 large eggs
3/4 tsp vinegar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender, incorporate the butter until it becomes pea-sized pieces. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and vinegar. Add this in with the flour mixture, and again, using the pastry blender, blend together. Sprinkle your counter with some starch. Pat the dough into a round, and using a biscuit cutter, cut the dough into biscuits. Mine made a perfect 8 biscuits. Bake for 20 minutes or until they start to slightly brown.

Enjoy!!

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