How to Bread, Allergen Free

How to Bread, Allergen Free

I’ve been asked a few times about how I feed my family and what are our standard go-to products, so I am going to release several blog posts about just that. In this one, I’m going to concentrate on being WHEAT free. Not necessarily, gluten free, but wheat free. I am very, very grateful to those who are allergic to gluten. Without those wonderful eaters, we wouldn’t have as much alternatives at our disposal. The double edge sword is a thing: I hate that they have to eat that way, I love that we can jump aboard.

Please be aware that if you purchase something from one of my links, I may be receiving a compensation through the vendor.

Oh man, how I love bread. I used to be the girl who filled up on the bread basket at restaurants, who fought for the first slice of my mom’s freshly baked loaves, who would just be happy to eat bread and butter as a meal. Oh, my first love, bread, how I miss you.

But I don’t really. We have really great substitutes. We can purchase wheat free at the store, but we still need to take a microscope to the ingredients list. We are avoiding so many items that even though it doesn’t have wheat, it could not be safe.

Pre-made store bought bread

For sandwich bread, I love that I don’t have to make the bread from scratch. I have and have mixed my own flours to do so, but I didn’t get the bread making gene that my mom has and it was apparent when we took the first bite. So, I am very pleased that I can order pre-made breads. Our main stays are:

Schar Gluten Free Artisan Baker White Bread, 2 Count: this bread is soft but dense enough to put up with Hank’s dairy free butter, even when cold. Depending on what you need to avoid, this company has a full range of gluten free options that taste great and are kid approved. Buns, baguettes and crackers are amazing and all available through Amazon and our local grocer.

Katz Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins | Dairy, Nut and Gluten Free | Kosher (6 Packs of 4 Muffins, 11 Ounce Each): These English muffins also come in plain, however are currently unavailable through Amazon. Hank loves these with his dairy free butter. I have used them as hamburger buns, sandwich buns and they always get dissected so that he can eat the parts of the meal that he likes, separately. The Katz company has a full range of breads and desserts/snacks, including cupcakes, filled cakes and doughnuts. As we are able to (if we are able to) add additional ingredients, I am hopeful that we can introduce more from this company as they are delicious.

Again, read the label. I once bought gluten free ready-to-bake pizza crust and double checked that there wasn’t egg, milk or pea protein that I didn’t even see that it contained orange juice. Guess what? Hank is allergic to oranges, like – instant vom. I had gotten that sucker home and was so excited to use it and had the hubs double check and there it was: Orange juice. Boo.

Make your own bread

I’ve made my own bread before using my oven as well as a bread maker. Again, I didn’t get the magical bread making gene from my mother, but I have made *passable* bread by using the bread recipes in the book Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: A Crash Course for Busy Parents on Baking without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts.

Colette Martin is an amazing author but also a food allergy mom. She gets it. In her book, she gives tips and encouragement about moving into this new normal of living and cooking. She also teaches how to mix your own flour blends and shares tried and true recipes for everything from the basic bread to scones and doughnuts. She also gives you dairy free options and substitutions.

My best suggestion while using this book and mixing your own flours for other recipes is to measure by grams. I love the Cuisinart Weight Mate Digital Kitchen Scale. It is compact – which means easy to store off my counters. Since bread making is a magical endeavor (ok, not magic, but science), it is important that you measure by weight and not by cup, if the measurement isn’t exact you will get a Pinterest-worthy fail. Trust me, I’ve done it all. My favorite was the raw and runny middle with the burnt outside. That was a special day.

Now, since I don’t love mixing my own flour. I’d rather use a premix blend. My favorite flour is King Arthur Flour, Measure for Measure Flour, Certified Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Kosher, 3 Pounds (Packaging May Vary). Actually, I quite love King Arthur all together. When I post about sweets and mixes, I’ll have a whole section devoted to King Arthur.

As with anything, if you have multiple allergies like we do, check the label, call the company, and observe for any reactions.

Future blog posts will include pasta and sweets for being wheat free, I’ll also start pulling together our other favorite substitutes for dairy and eggs. Is there something that you want to know about? Drop me a message through Instagram or Facebook!

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Bliss … at a time like this

Bliss … at a time like this

Okay, I get it. I’ve not been myself lately.

I’ve been short-tempered, easily rattled, unfocused and anxious. I haven’t been sleeping well, and I’m tired. Not physically tired (although that too), but deep down emotionally tired … from all of it.

These are not normal times. These are not easy days. And the people closest to me bear the brunt of my less-than-blissy vibe.

I’d apologize, but I don’t think that’s really called for. I’m not doing this intentionally, or aimed at anyone in particular. In fact, when I feel this way my instinct is to curl up, stay offline, keep away from humans so I don’t inflict my whatever this is on them.

To be sure, there have been some really great times this past year. For several days around the holidays, my heart was full, light, happy and peaceful. We laughed; we played games with family online, and at home at the kitchen table. What I expected would be a difficult Christmas was actually quite wonderful in a totally unexpected way. That was nice.

There was a wedding (pandemic style, during the fall “lull” … a grand baby born on Christmas Day (we will see her soon, I pray!) and an engagement. Life went on … in spite of the pandemic, the social upheaval, the politics.

Even when I lost my Dad in October, we were able to gather safely as a family and have a private service. I know this is far more than many families have had recently, and I am so grateful for that gathering, the love and the healing that will forever be Dad’s legacy.

Then last week happened. Something changed. What seemed a remote possibility became horribly real. Enough people disagree with the rule of law in this country that the seat of our government was breached, vandalized. People died. It was gutting to watch it unfold in real time.

So you’ll forgive me if I forget my bliss, yes? Because at the heart of all of this, the rules still hold true. I’m better when I spend time each day getting to source, listening to my heart, feeling then deciding. It’s just that what I’m hearing and feeling isn’t bliss. And that has to be okay. For now.

What we are going through now will become our history … this country’s and our own personal stories. We will not emerge from this unchanged. How can we? But I will find my bliss; I will not give up that quest. I will not give up on us, on you, on our country, on humanity.

I was made for these times. To quote Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Soul on deck shines like in dark times.” I will continue to shine … even if there are days when my light is dim.

Carol Pearson is the founder of the 10 Little Rules book series, and the author of 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at select retail stores. Follow 10 Little Rules on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

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Leave the Lights On

Leave the Lights On

We’re at the end of the holiday season. We’ve seen the New Year claw it’s way into our lives. It’s time to start taking down the trees, the lights, the merriment that we used to push the end of 2020 out. BUT – What if we didn’t? What if we left those twinkle lights up just for a few more weeks? What if we leave the kissing ball hanging from our doorway up for just a wee bit longer?

We’re running head long into the darkest part of the year and I know that we can ward off the winter depression, the winter blues or whatever you want to call it, with light. We get excited every year when the holiday lights go up, why not let that simmer just a little bit longer? We deserve it. I’ve said it before, we’ve made it through the longest decade ever, known as 2020. We deserve a bit of light and magic to bring us through the rest of the winter.

I will be removing the Christmas tree, I will be removing the greenery, but I vow to leave up my twinkle lights in my home until, Valentines Day, maybe? I want to watch the candles and lights turn on with their timers to warm my home in the evenings. I want for my children to feel the warmth for a bit longer.

Now, I’m off to Pinterest to search for ideas that aren’t Christmas-y to decorate with. As the kids say these days, It’s gunna be lit, fam.

(did I use that right?)

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These are the ones you never let go.

These are the ones you never let go.

Yesterday was hard. Last month was hard. Last year was hard … and in the midst of the hard there was joy, ease and light. Before the funeral, there was a wedding. Before the election chaos, there was the grace of reconnecting in a powerful way with family. While the pandemic raged, a grandchild was born. Through it all ran a heightened sense of who matters and what’s really important.

As things escalated throughout the day, month and year we’ve just been through, my “people” chimed in … a friend texted, a daughter called, I reached out to two fast friends, a FB group chat proved to be a safe place to be scared, to be supportive, to be hopeful, to be pissed … to just be.

These are my people. My tribe. The ones I resonate with. They don’t all know each other (our tribe members have tribes of their own; it’s more a Venn diagram of the best people in your life all intersecting in your heart and soul).

Today the chaos is quieter, yet the uncertainty and the unthinkable lurk right around the corner. So does my tribe. I’m keeping them.

If you have any doubt who’s there for you, who you can lean on when it really matters, you won’t find them by scrolling on FB or Twitter. You’ll find them in your DMs, your chat strings, your text messages, your phone logs, your mailbox, on your front porch when things get hard and when things are joyous.

These are your tribe.

These are the keepers.

These are the ones I’ll never let go.

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Let those resolutions live and die!

Let those resolutions live and die!

It’s that time of year! It’s time to say good bye to 2020 and hello to 2021, time to air out the house and bring in the fresh air. It is also time for half of my Facebook friends and family to post that they hate going to the gym and seeing those who made resolutions and then watching them fail. BUT, I say, yes! Yes, to the resolutions. Yes, to going to the gym, only if it is only for the free trial period. Yes, to moving a yoga mat from the closet to the livingroom and letting it sit there.

I think that as humans, we look at new beginnings as an important reawakening, but what are we awakening? Is it the resolution or the idea that we deserve some sort of inner change? Do we need to follow through? No. Did we do harm by failing? Also, no. We get into our heads every day and bog ourselves down with how we’ve failed ourselves, but even through those “failures” there is something we didn’t fail. We put ourselves first.

How do we continue thinking of ourselves when our resolutions get away from us? Small changes! Even the very small.

I will:

  • Carry a reusable bag with me to limit my plastic usage from quick trips to the store. Stored in the car or in your purse, you can pull it out and know that you are making a difference to our world. If we’re taking care of the whole, we are also taking care of the individual.
  • Walk after I eat my lunch. A quick five-minute walk – brisk or otherwise – can put us into a better mood. Get that blood moving!
  • Seek the sun! (with, of course, proper protection.) We need the sun to live, but we also need it to feel good. All that Vitamin D is free for the taking, get out there and soak it in.
  • Drink your water! How many of us are living on coffee, wine, or pop (soda?) and forgetting about water? Drink it up!

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

  • I will NOT berate myself for not being able to run that mile, finish that puzzle, have flat feet in downward dog, or finish that book that all my friends are raving over. I will look at my limitations or growing disinterest and decide that sometimes, it is better to let things go. I highly doubt that when I look back at the age of 80, that I’m going to feel bad for not finishing one book out of the thousands that I did read and enjoy.

We’re not competing with ourselves; we should not be seeking approval to treat ourselves poorly because we couldn’t do or follow through with something. We’re coming from a hard year. A really hard year, and it is ok to treat ourselves kindly.

So, feel free to make those resolutions, feel free to tell others about them, feel free to be ok if you can’t follow through with them. But don’t create an inner atmosphere that is more toxic than 2020 was.          

Hank and I were talking today about resolutions. And he said that he had one for me, but wasn’t sure how I was going to work on being even better at it. So, all, here is my resolution that he suggested and I’m going with:

I will be great.

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Musings on Rule #10 for Mermaids … Closing the Chapters

Musings on Rule #10 for Mermaids … Closing the Chapters

The person who moves mountains begins by carrying away small stones.

Indeed, Sunshine. Confucius was right.

And that mountain can be a guest room into which you can’t walk, weight you want or need to lose, new skills you want to obtain, changes you want to make within yourself.

But what if it’s not A mountain?  What if it’s a RANGE? 

I often describe myself as bouncing – I tend to go from project to project, rarely finishing anything in one fell swoop.

There were times I could have and just didn’t want to.  Yet in others were true hurdles and interruptions that were often blessings in disguise.

And it’s cost me a few tears here and there, but I’ve refused to change – or couldn’t – or maybe a little of both.  

I now liken my movements to bees moving from flower to flower, and  recognize it as the SKILL that it is – when applied correctly. 

But at some some point one does have to reign themselves in and wrap things up.  And maybe even look at some of the the underlying ‘whys’ behind each unfinished project.

‘But I can’t!’ you may be thinking.  ‘I have no help!’  

But how many times has a friend offered theirs?  

And how many times have you actually asked for it – slowly, clearly, not thinly veiled? 

And how many times has it come, and you missed it? 

What if instead of automatically saying, ‘No, I’m good thanks’, you tried ‘When I figure out what I need I promise I’ll ask’, and then do it?

What if you recognized that we ALL like to be needed and that allowing yourself to be vulnerable on occasion actually shows strength? (Thank you Robin Rivers for connecting THOSE dots!)

And what if instead of defending yourself to that person who just got off the couch to come in and say ‘Why don’t you get rid of some of this junk?’ you said ‘Oh cool! While you’re here, help me move this sofa!’

It doesn’t always come in a pretty package, Sunshine.

Sometimes the form it takes may be part of a bigger message, lesson, or plan.  

And sometimes, help is just help. 

But at the end of the day it may indeed be more blessed to give than to receive, but to REFUSE to receive may block the blessings.

So get on with it Sunshine. 

Get that $#!+ done and I’ll see you when you get here ❤️

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at several retail outlets including her shop The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

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The Wishing Bridge

The Wishing Bridge

Everyday, Hank comes to me. “Mom, I have a question for you.” I get this question up to three times a day. Rain, shine, snow, wind, bitter cold, blistery hot. I know that it is coming, whether he’s in pajamas or in his day time clothes.

“Want to take a walk with me?”

I hesitate a moment, whether to debate the weather, to finish the drink I was just about to swallow, to decide if the laundry can wait an extra 20 minutes (it always can).

“Please, Cheese, Freeze, Breeze?”

We have a few routes for these walks. We’re lucky to live in a large neighborhood with connecting walkways and sidewalks. Our favorite path takes us in a large circle that has a bridge over a brook.

As we are heading toward it, he collects a rock, snowball, leaf, stick, pinecone – as long as it is small. Well, except the snowball, the bigger the better. Once on the bridge, he takes a second to think about something he wants and then he throws the object over the side to see if it makes it into the water. If it does, his wish comes true. When it doesn’t, he isn’t disappointed, he can do it again tomorrow.

His wishes are for health, for Covid-19 to be over, for us to have a good Christmas, for him to see his friends.

My wishes are for the same, although, I always tell him that I wished for a million dollars.

Taking a moment to focus on the clock as it hits 12:34 or 11:11, I always make a wish. I usually wish for the same things as Hank does.

Do you have a wishing bridge? What are your wishes?

Wendy Price is the author of 10 Little Rules of Hank, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at select retail stores.

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More on Rule #4 for Mermaids … Curing what ails you

More on Rule #4 for Mermaids … Curing what ails you

Ah yes, back to waking up and not being able to go back to sleep … Sigh. But this time I know what I’ve done to ‘deserve it.’

And some of that is holiday. Some is year end business stuff. Some year end personal stuff. You know, life stuff.

But MOST of it is self inflicted ‘off the wagon’ stuff.

Now, I have NO CHOICE but to manage my diet differently than most, and quite frankly I see that as a true gift. Otherwise? Gurl.

And as a rule I don’t weigh every day – only when I can feel something is off. And then if I know why, I just fix it and move on.

But here of late, I’ve gained four-ish pounds that I cannot shake. In addition, each day I can be up as much as ten – and back down six overnight. THAT tells me I’m missing something.

And even still, my first thought is often ‘but I’m not doing anything any different’ (I mean, even when I’ve completely lost mind, it’s at least the same BRAND of frosting 🙄).

But with practice and, for the most part, clean eating, I can FEEL it when something’s different.

So drilling down the list, I now know to not only look for something COMPLETELY new but to revisit labels on the few packaged items I do use.

And you know what Mermaid? I think this time it’s my new supplement! You know, the kind that promises fabulous health and great glowing everything??

So. I will clean up the no-brainer holiday behavior (NO regrets). Deal with life issues by figuring out some semblance of an actual exercise ROUTINE. Eliminate the new supplement long enough to be sure my system is clear before adding it back in, and go from there.

And please know, it’s not so much about the four pounds Sunshine – it’s the fluctuating water weight that is TERRIBLE for your body. It’s the ‘fibromyalgia like’ symptoms. It’s the stiffness, the edginess.

So long story short, in the words of the GREAT Jimmy Buffet, it’s time to get back to treating your body like the temple that it is my dear, not a tent. See you when you get here.

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at several retail outlets including her shop The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

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