Recipe: Berry Ice Cream- No Machine Needed

I love food. Worse, I’m a techie. So, food tech is one of those things I like a lot. I have a man in my life who doesn’t let me get a lot of tech– especially with our small apartment kitchen. Do you see my sad face? Yes, you do. One of the things I’ve wanted was an ice cream maker. I love ice cream. He loves ice cream. We buy it on sale, but I’ve been finding out– it is cheaper and easier to make for yourself. Especially when those lovely 2 quart containers are now 1.5 quarts for the same price! So I searched online for ice cream recipes that didn’t take an ice cream maker to do. I was gratified to learn there are quite a few out there– variations on a theme, plus they are helping me with my research for my mystery series. (So mysterious right?) So, let’s get to the good stuff!  Continue reading

Recipe: Strawberry Lime Syrup (with some writing kicked in!)

Yesterday, I spent the day cooking and enjoying some time in the kitchen. I am a foodie. I make no bones about enjoying food. But by enjoying food, I’ve learned that my life with food is also linked to my writing. Sometimes, when you’re chopping veggies or fruits, focusing only on dicing them properly– you hear your characters whispering. Sometimes, a difficult plot point gets resolved while I’m dealing with a complicated dish because focusing on the steps of the dish force my subconscious to go point by point on my story, showing me where it went wrong. Afterwards, it opens up my mind to what’s to come later on in my writing.  Continue reading

The Cons of going to a Con

I’m writing today about the cons of going to cons. I’m not talking about the monetary issues. That’s always a minus, though for most of us, it is a tax write-off. The thing that most of us don’t always worry about when we’re at a con is our health. Now for me, being gluten free, means I have to always worry about where I’m going to eat if I don’t bring food with me. Luckily there are apps out there I can use to help find great places to eat that are gluten free. But beyond that, it’s about the health. People attend these cons with colds, having been exposed to gods knows what and gods knows who– and with my compromised immune system– I’m just NOW getting over the cough and cold that I caught at Dragon Con. At first I thought it was allergies. Nope. Come to find out– it’s viral. *headdesk*  Continue reading

Dawn of a New Day— Sorta, Mostly, Kinda…

I’m sitting here, enjoying my day off from the EDJ, even though I’m doing the necessary evil around the house. Why? Because for the first time in days, I’m no longer weak, cranky and in the bathroom every 15-20 minutes. I do not wish the norovirus on anyone! It was literally the shittiest 2 days of my life!  :mrgreen: Beyond that, it made me realize that I honestly needed to take my gluten intolerance diagnosis more seriously. I’ve been slowly removing gluten from my diet– and doing well, but I hadn’t gone that final step– and I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to. Why? Because who wants to give up bread, cake, OREOS? *wails* I’m serious, the idea of giving up my Oreos is the only reason I’ll cheat. Not to mention the ten boxes of Girl Scout Thin Mints sitting in my pantry. Of those ten boxes, four of them are mine. The other six boxes are the male’s. But– they have gluten. *sigh* Do you see where this is going? Do you? 

So, laying miserably in bed, between bathroom runs, I had co-opted the male’s Ipad. (Still not sure about it, but I think I want one– it could be useful.) Did more searching and reading on gluten free, especially a couple of magazines available on the Ipad but NOT on my Nook Color. *Gasp* The Horror! The Shame! (I am not happy about that, by the way, just saying!) Realization hit that I don’t have to give up everything I love– but I do have to start cooking and baking to have things I enjoy– like bread. (Which reminds me–I still need to buy the breadmaker!) There’s going to be a learning curve and in some areas, my grocery bill is going up instead of going down, which it had been going with my couponing and such. Let me tell you, it’s not something you want to tell the one you love, “Dearest, with my lovely new immune system disability, we have to pay more for certain foods.” Crash. Burn. Boom. Sigh.

Then I started reading some of the gluten free books I bought, especially on making my own mixes for flours for breads, cookies, brownies, etc. I realized if I could get some of these in bulk, premix them up into special cannisters. I can have my own mixes like I used to buy and it might just save me some money though not as much as before. So, part of me feels better, though part of me mourns for the easier days of gluten laden foods. Because here’s the deal– there’s hidden gluten in many of the foods you eat. Soy sauce– gluten. Yeah, I didn’t want to believe it either, but it’s true! Even some ground spice mixes have gluten in them. I know, ridiculous, isn’t it? But yet, I’ve noticed a big difference– since cutting out the gluten, I’ve had less headaches, less migraines and my intestinal tract has been less irritated. (Except for last week– that was WAY DIFFERENT!)

So, it’s a dawn of a new day for me. I’m embracing my gluten free status– though part of me really really needs someone to develop an Oreo cookie recipe that’s gluten free. I’m serious. Because right now, that’s the only major thing I’d probably cheat over. That and those hot rolls from Manny’s Chophouse with the cinnamon butter. *sigh* The rolls I can learn to make something similar, I hope, but Oreos….I need help. I need someone to come up with a recipe or the company to create a special Cyn’s Gluten Free Oreo Cookie. That would be even better. Because 1 out of133 people in the US are either gluten intolerant, gluten sensitive or have celiac disease. And that’s a lot of people’s needs who are being ignored when it comes to gluten free goodies like Oreos, crackers, ice cream and more. Food manufacturers need to be a little bit proactive here. It’s an untapped market that could really bring big returns and loyal customers, just like in the reading world.

Getting Back in the Saddle Again

Having had foot surgery changed my life. I hadn’t thought it would, but it did. First, it forced me to learn to rely on family and friends. Then it taught me that every so often, you have to stop and refocus on yourself. So, I spent time on me- relearning on how to be me- from walking without limping, to getting healthy, to dealing with my nephew being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and more. Second, having the surgery forced me to reevaluate my writing- I was pushing myself to do things before I was ready. So I took time for workshops, forcing myself to relearn how to write, how to learn how to learn. I even worked on some of my writing I had postponed. Third, I learned that when things change- sometimes you need to stop one thing so you can focus on the change itself. Thus, I dealt with my day job stuff for a while. There were issues there- including some severe headaches and migraines. Which then lead to another health issue- gluten intolerance and photo-sensitivity to fluorescent lights.

So, I sit here after the last ten days learning a lot about what it’ll take to live my life as gluten free as possible. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m lucky that I don’t have celiac disease as some of my other friends and fellow authors do. I’m lucky I can eat some gluten products with some affects– but that it can damage me in the long run. So, I’m weeding it out, carefully, slowly, but progressively. My doctor wants me to go step by step, taking the time to really see how I feel as I make these changes, and following up with him. But there’s a flip side to all this– I’m actually getting some focus. Colour me shocked and surprised! Not only having been put on estrogen for the Kill You/Cry Me syndrome (aka Menopause), but cutting down and out gluten has helped me with my focus. No, it’s not 100%, but it’s better than it’s been in over 5 years!

How much better? I’ve been working on two nonfiction books– having written over 12k in a week, and then writing another 4k in fiction. This is something I’ve not been able to do in years! It’s like a major revelation to my system. Who knew that getting your hormones and getting rid of something your body is allergic to would make so dramatic a difference in how you view life? It’s like seeing the world through new eyes. I’m humbled and I’m thrilled. I’m scared and I’m excited. It’s the scariest thing and I’m hoping it doesn’t end as I slowly try to keep going– one step at a time.