Tales from the Other (Gluten Free) Side

So for those who have followed the blog for a long time—and I mean a really long time—or who know me in real life, y’all know that I’m gluten free. Celiac is a giant heap o’ dog poo, but being GF beats barfing every day. I also come up as allergic to wheat (which came up after I gave up the wheat) so I got hit with the double whammy. Why does wheat hate me?  Oh, yeah, because it’s delicious. Like I don’t totally miss a really good sour dough. I swear to god, a sourdough bowl is about as close to heaven as anything. Which means, I’ll never get to go there again. I had my chance, and I squandered it.

Anyway, my digestive system is a hot mess. Because I don’t have a gallbladder anymore, I have a really hard time with fat.  I’m allergic to red meat. I can’t eat wheat. I’m not a huge fan of fish, but I’ll eat it under duress. At least my cholesterol is good, I guess.

M, the great and wonderful DH, is a Type I diabetic. His blood sugar goes wonky if he doesn’t have meat. Actually, it’s been wonky for about the last year, if we’re being honest. Like bad wonky, not, “huh, look at that” wonky. We’ve tried lots of things to make it not horrifically bad. We count carbs, I mixed up the grains (no wheat is allowed in my house, but otherwise, we’re good). We tried all of it. Quinoa, soy pasta, wild rice, brown rice, blah blah blah.

Well… It turns out that the diet that seems to suit him the best is Paleo.

Big breath. I agreed to do it with him. Me, the girl who loves sugar, as my replacement for bread. And love. But I think I just repeated myself. Aren’t those two words synonymous?

Now, I can cook, but some things I don’t play with. Like pasta. But today I had a hankering for gnocchi, so I found a sweet potato gnocchi that fit the diet.

It turned out great!

Hahahaha! No. This is real life, in a real kitchen, with a real non-chef at the helm.

Some of my gnocchi dissolved in the pot in which they were supposed to boil. It was like soup. Actually, soup looks good. Even bad soup still looks like there’s something redeemable about it. This, uh, did not.  It looked like… I don’t even know. If success is angels weeping, or unicorns and rainbows, I suspect that this is some low-down Elder gods crap. No messing around with the minor gods, either. This is full on elder god vomit soup. (You know, if I ever write a cookbook, I’m going to have a recipe name “Elder God Vomit Soup.” It will be as good as it sounds) I’d describe it in more detail, but I would have to use more colorful language than I usually do on the blog. But trust me, words have flown, my friends. Words. Have. Flown.

So I was all, “I’m going to outsmart this gnocchi, for reals. I’m gonna show it who’s boss!” So I decided to just skip the sad boiling part, and move on to pan frying. I made sweet potato pancakes the other day and they were awesome, if awesome is a relative term. They were distinctly edible if one did not expect real pancakes. So this should work right?

Gnocchi laughed in my face. Like straight up labeled me it’s b****. It sort of started falling apart in the pan where I was trying to pan fry them. And by sort of, I mean it did. Sort of. I think the idea here is that I was “sort of” trying to pan fry them, and I sort of pan fried gnocchi into crumbs.

The kids were all excited, saying things like, “It smells so good!” Sure, kid, go ahead and give me your saddest face when I tell you that the pile of burnt crumbs in the pan is the gnocchi I was attempting to make. Uh huh. We all feel that way. Here’s a quarter. Now go watch some TV while Mama cries into a skillet. Yeah, I know you’re 12 and not falling for that quarter thing anymore. And yeah, I know I actually gave you a plastic penny I found at the bottom of my purse. Don’t judge. It could have been the really old breath mint that’s been down there since 2007. Consider yourself lucky.

Granted, my children are both accusing one another of passing gas, so who knows how these things actually smell. “Better than dog farts and tween feet” is not a resounding endorsement for my culinary skills.

So, next I resorted to baking the things. I mean, that should not turn out wretched, right? They’re in the oven right now.

And… they’re out. DH has gamely tried one. He is literally the least picky person on the planet. His response was, “It’s not… bad. Maybe it will be better next time?”

I’m not sure if it’s hope or fear I hear in his voice.

Looks like we’re having chicken.



It’s Been a Long Road

I haven’t written here in an age. I was kidnapped by aliens. Uh… No, I took in a family of squirrels and we sang songs and had  some crazy adventures.  Actually, I joined a circus.

Haha, no on that last one for sure. I am terrified of clowns. No slight to Stephen King, but I won’t be seeing It any time soon. I’m just not that kind of girl. I can barely tolerate the clowns at the rodeo, but that’s like combining two things I am rather afraid of–cows and clowns–and putting them all in one space. I tolerated the place once for the kids. NEVER AGAIN.

I know, I know, you want to know who is afraid of cows. This girl, right here. They’re big and they stampede, and, I don’t know, they look at me funny. Whatever. Don’t judge. Or go ahead and judge. It’s not like I’m not aware of the weirdness.

Anyhoo, I’ve been gone for a long time from the blog. Like, a long, long time. Admittedly, I didn’t write much either during that time. I tried to, but I didn’t. Life gets in the way sometimes.

For instance, I got an endorsement on my teaching license. Then I decided that another master’s degree would work, in a field completely different from both my first masters and my endorsement. So I got to take a whole new set of classes, because none of my previous coursework could transfer. That’s just how I roll. All that school took a lot out of me, and what writing I did–usually to the tune of 20-50 pages a week–went to that.

During that time, my job got insane, and even when I wasn’t doing schoolwork, I was living in my office.

That first spring of grad school, we decided to move. Put our names on a list for another house in a new development further out in our desert valley.

We somehow got picked first round, and we had to fix up our old house and put it up for sale. That was a trip. We’d been there for 15 years, had two kids there, and let me tell you, kids are gross. Since I’m not the best housekeeper in the whole world, the house needed some gussying up. That took a about a month.

Selling a house with two cats, two dogs, and two children to clean up after, while going to grad school and working full time, wasn’t fun at all. Every showing, one of us would have to come home, pack up said dogs, cats, and children, and load everyone into the car for anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours. The cats loved going on car rides, so they were a joy to locate any time we brought out the crate. It was a laugh riot. I’ll admit I was a little relieved when we lost the new house–at least my house was fixed up and I wouldn’t have to get up at 4:30 AM to make sure it was spotless in case someone came over to look at it.

The day before we were going to take the house off the market–after all, we’d lost the other house–we sold it. We thought maybe the builder of the new house would take our money, because our buyer’s were paying cash and wanted to close in two weeks. Our other house wasn’t supposed to close for almost six more weeks after that, so we thought, maybe….

But the builder had already sold our house, so we totally lost out on that. So we went house hunting, since now we needed a place to live.

We found another house (one I like better! And the backyard is mature and done! Woot! I do need to fix the bathroom, though), so we wound up moving after all.

Six weeks after that, we went on a family vacation to Mexico. It was fantastic!

Except that I came home so sick. So, so sick. Pretty sure that the Health Department made a logo for Norovirus that very accurately explains my life for about two months. You can find it if you look for it. It cracked me up when I saw it.

Six weeks after we got home, just as we were finding out that I had had a raging case of strep for ALMOST TWO MONTHS, the dog died. He was old, but he hadn’t been sick, and even the weekend before, he’d been okay. Unbeknownst to us, he was riddled with cancer. True to form, he decided to die on my daughter’s birthday. While I was in my roughest semester of grad school, and had been sick for two months. When I’d sort of delayed getting her birthday presents (grad school, work, sickness, still unpacking boxes, etc). In my defense, they were supposed to arrive on time–on her exact birthday. I figured I’d have time to wrap them up, right? But then my town flooded, and the presents got stuck on the other side of the hill, and the bakery lost my order for the cake that I knew I wouldn’t have time to make, so my kid had her 12th birthday with no presents, no cake, and a dead dog. I freaking owned parenting that day. Thankfully, I had friends who came through for me, and I think she had a nice day. We got our toes done, a friend brought over some presents, and I made her a cake. It wasn’t red velvet, as she had requested, but she was still happy about it. My kid freaking rocks.

A few weeks later, we were in PetSMart and found another dog. A rescue dog. One who is so much like Frank that sometimes I look outside and I don’t see the dog I affectionately call “Beet Juice,” I see Frank.

In any case, my plate was pretty full for about 16 months. I fell off social media, I didn’t blog, I didn’t even watch TV. I worked, I cooked, I sort of cleaned sometimes not really, and I did school work.

But now I’ve graduated, we’re all moved in, we have our dogs and cats, and life has sorted itself out. And I finally finished the book I started way back in 2014, when I started on my various endorsements/moving journey.

Coming at the end of this month is The Devil of Dunmoor, the follow up to Highland Deception. I’ve worked on this book gradually for three years now, and I have to say, I am really proud of how it came out. After many fits and starts, and several complete rewrites, it’s finally out, and done, and it’s coming out soon! (October 28, to be exact). I’ll keep you posted when it’s up for pre-sale. 🙂

I hope all of you have a wonderful day.