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Quiet night – perfect time for some baking

Made it home after the GOTV Rally at the U with President Obama.  It was a good time and I will have plenty of pictures soon.

Decided I wanted to have quiet night at home – maybe watch a movie with the pup, do some stuff around the house, and bake some brownies. 

Last summer when I was on an elimination diet during the Great Allergy Hunt of 2009, I had to eat gluten free.  Since then, I’ve still kept some of those items in my pantry, not because they are gluten free but because they are super tasty (plus I have a friend that can’t do gluten, so I like to be accomodating when I can).  One of these items is a gluten free brownie mix.  They aren’t dry as many gluten free (GF) baked good tend to be and I often time make my own litte tweaks to make them my own and not just your standard mix out of a box.

In the past, I’ve added GF chocolate chips or strawberry-rhubarb compote.  Tonight I decided to go with replacing the oil called for with some of my homemade applesauce.  Bascially, the recipe is: 1/4 cup applesauce, 1/3 cup water, brownie mix, extra chocolate chips and a bit of cinnamon.  They remain GF and turn out pretty fudgey.  I’m a bit nervous about the applesauce, but I’m sure it’ll turn out.

The homemade applesauce has pretty much turned me off of buying it at the store for two main reasons: 1. it is ridiculously cheap and easy, and 2. IT TASTES AMAZING.  I chose to do it in the crockpot – which took a bit longer, but was worth it in the end.  I also used apples from the farmer’s market, as a part of my quest to eat seasonally and locally.

Basically the recipe is:

  • enough apples to fill the crockpot or pot 3/4s of the way (~8-10 apples) cored & chopped into roughly the same size pieces (do not peel them!)
  •  3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to taste)
  •  1/2 cup water

Put it all in the crock pot (either on high or low), stirring occasionally, until it cooks down and the apples are able to be smashed by a spoon.  I then used a food mill to get rid of all of the peels and smooth it out. 

So good. So simple.


You’re allergic to what?!?!

After 27 years of life my body decided that it was going to be allergic to a bunch of foods.  Let’s just say the process of figuring this out was not an easy one and involved a number of trips to the ER, my doctor, various specialists and more tests then I care to count.  In the process, however, I did find out a lot of things that I didn’t have – lyme disease, cancer, celiac, diabetes – making this whole thing a blessing and a curse.

After a couple of scary instances where my throat started to close after eating I finally visited my local, friendly allergist for a round of tests.

The results?  No more corn, carrots, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, almonds, peanuts, oranges, cantalope, rye, and a few other things.

Huh?  How am I supposed to eat anything? Those things are a) tasty and b) in EVERYTHING.

After some adjustments and struggles, I’ve found that the best way to manage this is to cook for myself.  This was kind of a huge shift, since I used to cook on occassion, but never a lot of stuff from scratch or involving fresh, local items.

That has changed.

I have become a foodie.  People like and request items from me.  I’ve gotten creative and daring.  I’ve found that I have skills and a decent palate, even though I’m limited in ingredients. (seriously, look at the ingredient list on stuff you buy at the store – corn is everywhere!)

Cooking has also been cathartic.  There’s something neat about taking a pile of stuff that you buy at the Farmer’s Market and local co-op and turning it into a fantastic meal.  It’s soothing to the soul.

I hope to share some of the experiences I’ve had – along with the recipes – of my culinary adventures. I also hope to shine the light on what it is like to be someone living with (and having friends with) some pretty unique eating challenges.