Tuesday, March 25, 2014

5 days post gluten and a new to me bike

It has been 5 days since I have eaten gluten.
Well, except when I was making Mac n' Cheese for the kids. 
The noodle timer beeped my natural instinct was to pop one in my mouth to be sure they were ready.
I chewed it up, realized what I did and spit it out!

If you are wondering why I have quit gluten you can catch up here.

Now, I must confess.
My Mother In Love has been preaching that no one should eat gluten and I thought it was just a bunch of malarkey.
She has talked about it WAY before it was cool to be GF.
I am sold.

I feel so good.
I have had none of the daily upset stomach that had become the norm.
I have virtually zero pain other than when I wake up in the morning.
I can't sleep in our bed comfortably yet, but that will come.
I am not exhausted by the end of the day.
I don't have the bloated feeling in my stomach and I have lost 3 pounds.
I also feel energized!
This last weekend I worked in the yard, planted flowers, cleared our yard of all the sticks that blow from the woods during storms, cleaned the chicken coop, pitched straw, cleaned house, placed pavers in one flower bed and much more.
These are all normal weekend chores, but all of this in two days would have had me totally exhausted and barely functioning.

Yesterday I went to Mikes Bike Shop in Cannon Beach and bought myself a new to me bike.
It is a cute little shop packed full with a ton of bikes, helmets and gadgets.
Jameson asked "are you sure you even know how to ride a bike?"
He and I enjoyed a trail ride from Netul Landing to Fort Clatsop while Madalyn was at a friends house.
It was fun and Jameson grinned ear to ear the whole time.
It's moments like that I don't want to miss because I don't feel good enough to participate or for fear that it will knock me down a couple days.
I can't wait to go again with sister.

Tonight after dinner Jameson asked if we could go on a family bike ride.
We saddled up and headed to check on the cows and goats at Papa Moo's because he is out making tractor deliveries.
I would guess it's about 1/2 mile one way.
There we got to see a fresh calf and we are double excited for tomorrow because Dottie West the lone Jersey Cow appears to be in labor!
We pedaled our way home and I dropped the family at the driveway so I could continue on for another mile or so before heading back home.
I tried to pedal the entire time even if it meant I had to pedal slow.
I pulled in just in time to meet The Farmer headed back out the driveway because Papa's cows were in the road!

I sit here thankful for all the encouraging words, texts to see if I am ok, offers to take our kids, suggestions, love and prayers.
There is zero doubt that the Linders are truly a blessed bunch.

Now, if I could just figure out a way to make water taste as good as coffee!

Blessed is me..

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

I love to bake so I plan on testing out some GF recipes so I can still have the same yummy treats I have always enjoyed!
When you Google any GF recipe approximately one bazillion pop up.
Most are disgusting.
I have made many GF desserts in the past, but since it looks like I am going to be making a shift from
rootin for gluten
just say no to gluten
I thought I best get to compiling a list of tried and true recipes.

Today I found this banana bread recipe and since my bananas were turning a lovely shade of brown and yellow polka-dot it was a perfect time to try it out!

I made a few substitutions
I used:
Duck eggs instead of chicken eggs
Olive oil in place of canola oil

My choice for the GF baking mix was Pamela's baking mix
In my past GF dessert making I have found that some baking mixes taste beany.
I don't love that.
 Pamela's doesn't have any hint of bean.

I also made muffins instead of bread because they are easier to grab on the way out the door and our kiddos love muffins.

I baked them for 20 minutes and it made 24 muffins.

I also didn't go to the trouble of using two bowls. 
I whizzed up all the wet ingredients, salt and soda in my blender then dumped the baking mix in.
This is a double bonus for me because I can pour the batter right into the muffin cups without many drips and I only have one thing to wash.
When you have an almost Amish kitchen with no dishwasher minimizing dishes is a must!

The muffins are SUPER moist and don't fall all apart like some GF breads do.
I slathered on some butter and ate one right after dinner.
It was DELICIOUS and Madalyn gave me a thumbs up!

Blessed is me...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tired of feeling crummy and what I am doing about it!

Next month marks 3 years since our big move to the Kraft Dairy.
When we began working on the house and property I began experiencing some pains in my joints.
They would come and go.
Sometimes it would hurt a little sometimes it would hurt a lot.
Sometimes I felt like I was almost dragging a leg!

We chalked it up to a lot of things:
work-since I stand most of the day
wrong shoes-listen a girl has to look good and I love wedges

The pain would come and go; not ever staying very long.
Then it started to come and stay longer, but also started affecting my muscles.
It didn't feel good, but I didn't think much of it and I didn't have time to deal with it.

I chalked it up to being work related.

I would complain to The Farmer because it is his job to listen to incessant whining from his wife about how she just doesn't feel good.

The pain began to become more frequent lasting a week or more at a time.
It was getting increasingly worse and it was starting to include weakness in my hands and legs.
A couple months back we spent the weekend doing chores and butchering chickens.
By Monday I could hardly move.
I was exhausted. 
Not just tired, but totally spent. 
It took me days to bounce back.
If I was a celebrity I would have surely been admitted into a swanky hospital to recover.
Alas, I am not a celebrity so I laid on the sofa as much as I could and The Farmer would build blazing infernos so I could lay in front of the fireplace under blankets trying to get warm..
I was a hot mess 
which is not a good combo when you have two little kiddos and a business to run.

Then, 5 weeks or so ago I was coloring my first clients hair and my feet went numb and felt hot.
I also was experiencing numbness in my arms and hands if I raised them very high.
I texted The Farmer who said he thought I needed to get to the dr. 
I then texted Dr. Schacher who said the same. "get to the dr within the week"
I did.

There our Dr looked me over and said
"it sounds like fibromyalgia, but we are going to start with blood work because the weakness isn't usually associated with fibro"
He wanted to rule out things like diabetes's, thyroid, arthritis and a bunch of other stuff I thought only old people got.
Enter the vampire.
Hands down Dr. Baxters nurse is the best at drawing blood.
Not. Kidding.

We waited.. and waited.. and waited..
all tests are within normal range.
I'm not gonna lie I was a little disappointed everything pointed to normal because it meant we still didn't have answers.

This week I went back for a follow up
More blood work, poking and prodding.
It hurts a whole big bunch if you touch certain parts of my body. 
For instance: my arms, back or thighs.
Poor Dr. Baxter poked the front of my thigh and I smacked his hands without even thinking.
It hurt and it sends shooting pains through wherever was touched!
The places he touched were all fibro tender spots he tells me.

Then he said:
"I think you have fibro and I want you to cut out all GLUTEN for the next 4 weeks and start exercising. Call and let me know how you are feeling in 3 weeks"
He also informed me that the best medicine for fibro is 2 hours of exercise a day!
Who on earth has time to exercise 2 hours a day???!

So today I am on day 2 of gluten free eating and I am doing a-okay.
Oh, but believe me on Wednesday when he said no more gluten I figured that since I already had gluten that day I might as well gorge myself on Fultanos breadsticks and pizza!
It was delicious and it will be missed.
So will:
Cinnamon Life cereal
Dave's Killer toast- I have a serious love for toast.
Pasta from The Supper Club

Fortunately for me Grandma Debbie has been preaching GF for years, so I am pretty familiar with what I can and can't have.
I have also become a pretty good GF baker.

I have also added in some Young Living oils as well as supplements and vitamins.
 I'm looking for a bicycle, considering yoga and am trying to eat more veggies.
Luckily for me I work with the best massage therapist in the county.
She has relieved a weeks worth of pain with even 30 minutes of massage.
Water, water, water I have to drink MORE water!

Let's face it I am ready to feel better.
I want to sleep an entire night without wrestling around trying to find a comfortable spot and I would like to be able to sleep in our bed again!
I want to spend days working outside with The Farmer and letting the kids climb up on my lap without having to tell them to be careful.
I would like Dr. Baxter to be able to give me an exam without him having to fear being slapped!
I don't want to spend my weekends off recovering from a busy work week that has taken it's toll.
I'm ready to not feel like an old woman!

So here is to making changes and feeling a whole lot better!

Blessed is me...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Steak fingers in lard...

Tonight we had steak fingers for dinner. 
They were of course fried in lard and were delicious.
I have had a few people ask how I make them so here you go!

 You can use beef or pork cube steak.
Tonight we had grass fed grass finished beef raised by Papa Moo.
In case you don't know who Papa Moo is he is The Farmers dad.
He has been farming his entire life. 
Born and raised on a dairy farm in the Skagit Valley. 
He along with his brother ran the family dairy beginning when he was in 8th grade. 
I would say Papa Moo knows a thing or a zillion about raising animals.

I start with frozen cube steaks always using two packages.
The reason I prefer frozen ones is they are easier to cut into strips.
I let them thaw just enough to pull the steaks off the paper.

Cut into strips of desired thickness

Soak in egg wash
Tonight I used a duck egg with milk because since we moved the hens into the new coop they haven't laid any eggs.

Dredge in seasoned flour. I use a very generous amount of 
garlic power, seasoning salt and pepper

While I am preparing all of this I heat up the lard. 
Now before you get your panties in a twist about lard and how it's bad for you do some reading.
All lard is is rendered pork fat.
It is ok to use and not nearly as bad as people tout it to be.
Your grandma probably used it for frying, pie making and baking.
It is part of the reason her food tasted so good and her pie crust were to die for.
I use snowcap, but as soon as I can get my hands on some leaf lard I will render my own.

I start with one and half bricks and heat on medium.
My stove dial ranges from low 1, 2, 3, 4, ... 9, high
I turn the dial to 6
Always make sure the lard is HOT before putting the food in.
You can put a drop of water into the grease and if it sizzles it's ready.
This will ensure that it doesn't soak up a bunch of the grease.
Also, don't over fill the pan. I usually fry 5 or 6 pieces at a time.
I prefer that my food float in the lard while it cooks rather than resting on the bottom of the pan.

I usually have to add the remaining half brick of lard about half way through cooking
ALWAYS let it heat back up to temp before you continue cooking.

I drain whatever I may be cooking on paper towels and keep them warm in the oven at 225 degrees.
They get gobbled up and usually everyone goes back for seconds.

I store the leftovers in a ziplock and no kidding they don't get that yucky greasy feel even after being in the fridge.
Jameson usually eats them for breakfast and lunch and there is none left by dinner the next day.

Try cooking in lard and let me know what you think!

Blessed is me...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The new coop!

Today we finished up our chicken/duck coop!
The kids are going to add some finishing touches by painting the ugly plywood.
Madalyn wants to paint a barn mural on it and Jameson wants "Barnyard Coop" across the top.

What is really exciting is that the only thing that isn't repurposed is the chicken wire!

Mad was great at helping find the treasures in the barn.

 The Farmer and Jameson built some walls using leftover plywood from when we were working on our house and 2x4's from Johnny's stash in the barn.

Roofing tin up on the ceiling to keep out the mink, coons and whatever else tries to wiggle their way in.
We have found many uses for the stacks of tin we have!

An old wooden ladder for roosting was found in the old cow stalls.

Wood gutters from our house for a feeder trough.
The back of our house still has wooden gutters and we probably need to get those changed out this summer.

Old drawers from a cabinet in the barn and wooden crates from Grandma Moo for nesting boxes.

The cabinet door that matches the drawers to let them out into the pasture during the day. 

The sign above the door was painted on barn wood by my Grandpa Don long before painted signs were cool.
The screen door is from Grammi Julie.

No coop would be complete without a chandelier!
This was in the dining room of our house when we bought it and is just one more reason I love The Farmer.
He humors me and does things like this for me even though I know he thinks it's silly.
The Linder girls love sparkly things so I am certain our hens do too.

The Farmer bribed some of  hens to go in and they scratched around and ate some food.

Tonight when the birds roost up on their old chicken tractor behind our house we will move them to their new home. We will keep them locked in tight for three days so that they can learn were they need to lay their eggs as well as where they need to go when dusk comes.

Soon the little Linders will be open for business selling free range organic chicken and duck eggs!

Blessed is me...

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dinnertime chats

This went down on Friday.

Madalyn: "How do babies get in moms bellies"
Me: "Go ask your dad"
Madalyn: "WHY? Why can't YOU just tell me"
Me: "We can talk about it at dinner"

Dinner table.
Madalyn: "About that conversation?"
Farmer: "Well you know when the bull jumps on the cows?"
Madalyn: "Yes"
Farmer: "That is how it happens"
Madalyn "Wait so you JUMPED on moms back?! Is that true mom"
Me: [trying to keep a straight face] "Pretty much"
Madalyn: "My husband is going to jump on my back for 5 seconds and then he is getting off me!"
Farmer: "Well you're only 8 you don't need to worry about for a long time"
 Jameson; [silence]
Farmer: "What is one thing you are thankful for this week?"

Blessed is me...