Monthly Archives: February 2013

Found these today…like Kind bars but cheaper $3 for a box

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my baking breakdown

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I want a cookie, or a brownie or some cake!! I don’t really care which, just something sweet to eat since starting this gluten-free experiment. Yogurt does not count.

So I found some cool recipes on blogs I follow and headed to Sprouts Farmer’s Market for the ingredients. I decided to try and make the Twix bars gluten-free style. Shortbread cookies, the special flour, it all started to add up quickly in price. Why the hell is brownie mix $8???? And I can’t afford a $25 dessert. I suppose those who have to do this always make one special dessert a month?? I don’t know.

I could feel the tears welling up but I pushed them back and turned in circles on the gluten-free/baking aisle, cursing gluten and the prices. I debated leaving with nothing but I really needed a treat.

I decided on some plain brownie mix, chocolate chips and some Reese’s peanut butter cups/pecans to chop up for flavor.

The actual breakdown happened when I called my mom to tell her about my dismay.  I am pretty sure she could hardly understand what I was saying, “glutenSOBexpensiveSOBstupid.”  That is what I would guess it sounded like.  And like a good mom, she reminded me this could be temporary and hopefully a short period of time will help me feel better and I can go back to normal.

I was directed to do this diet for six weeks and so far it’s working  (no “bathroom sickness” or bloating). I don’t know if I am more upset because the special flour is $8 or if it’s because I could have to eat like this forever. I know I am being a weenie, and seriously God bless people who have to eat gluten-free indefinitely.

I got some more labs today that are somewhat sensitive for Celiac and will go from there. (I can’t afford the tTg or whatever it’s called with my deductible). Here’s to good lab results and yummy brownies tonight.

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no more (disposable) bag ladies

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March 1st.  That’s the date that the official bag ban goes underway in Austin and the day I have to start having a memory.

I happen to have about 20 of the reusable bags that I can’t ever seem to remember to bring in the store.  Usually on my shopping trips, I will start filling my basket with goodies and get halfway through the store before I’m like “dammit I left the bags in the car.”  And in my sloth, I cave and get the standard bags rather than parking my cart and running to my car.

The real question is: what is the money maker for this new ban?? What will be the invention that reminds even the spaciest, most forgetful consumers like me to remember to take the bags in? 

I’ve been brainstorming, hoping I could cash in, but so far I haven’t come up with any winners:

1. Fold-up bag that fits in your wallet–probably too hard to fold and would be super hard, I’m imagining origami to get the thing back in your wallet

2. GPS-type app–alerts you whenever you have arrived at a known grocery location or mall, can set reminders for your phone, it might work but I’m not tech-saavy enough to create this technology

3. Windshield sticker–like the kind you get when you get your oil changed but says don’t forget your reusable bags, low-tech, but I know how I become complacent to the “change your oil soon” reminders.

For now, I will just try to work on my pulling into H-E-B, grab my bags routine.  

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Where all my bags never leave, the back of my car. 🙂

For more information about the ban, check out http://austintexas.gov/bags.

gluten schmooteeenn

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I went to the doctor on Saturday about my crazy stomach and told her the hell I had been suffering through periodically for the past year.  She told me it sounded like it could be related to gluten and we could (a) order an expensive lab test to find out or (b) just go ahead and try a gluten-free diet and see how it went.  

Since I have a large deductible to meet, I decided to opt for the latter and try some supplements and a gluten-free diet.  When I got home, I googled a combination of gluten, gluten free, what is gluten, starting a gluten free diet.  Luckily, I was able to find some good advice from some fellow bloggers:  “don’t go buy all the gluten-free stuff at the store, it’s nasty” and “don’t eat gluten-free, eat healthy.” 

I figured out the basics of what is allowed and am on Day 3 of this new gluten-free experiment.   I went shopping for the first time at Walmart today (which is probably the antithesis of health or anything healthy) and spent about two hours reading labels.  I found some things that unexpectedly had wheat flour in them: tomato soup, potato bread  (is not very potato-y), and of course every cereal known to man except Chex. 

I did however realize through my shopping experience that a lot of the things I eat very VERY regularly have gluten in them.  It does make me wonder whether maybe there is something to my crazy tummy troubles and my diet.  My normal diet was mostly whole grains, oatmeal,  and lots of sweets (I love cookies!!).  I figure it can’t hurt to try and see if this helps, because so far avoiding alcohol, spicy, greasy and “bad processed” foods hasn’t been working. 

I looked at the gluten-free department but was mostly disgusted by what was there.  I just know by looking at that package it can’t be good.  The only gluten-free labeled stuff I ended up with was some Udi’s bread (which the crust tastes like cardboard, the middle wasn’t too bad), Apple Cinnamon Chex (yummy) and some Amy’s freezer meals for me to take to work.  Otherwise, I stuck to fresh foods and vegetables. 

The bakery department did make me kinda sad though.  Delicious-looking cupcakes and breads were staring at me at every turn.  I did however find some awesome blogs Gluten-free Goddess and Gluten is My Bitch featuring some pretty rad looking GF desserts.  I can’t wait to try the Twix bars at GIMB or the chocolate cake at Gluten-free Goddess. 

Hopefully those tasty desserts will give me the motivation I need to keep this GF thing going.  I decided on a goal of a month of gluten-freeness before I choose whether to continue.  Day 3….it’s only day 3…..

 

The End of the Beginning

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Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Winston Churchill

I just turned in my final assignment for my Bachelor’s in Nursing program. I can’t believe that it is actually over and I have done it!!  I got my RN in 2011 and started immediately after in a bridging program from an associate’s to a bachelor’s.  I have literally been in school since Kindergarten and can’t believe I will be entering the “actual life” portion of my life.  I have a good job here in Austin, soon to be two bachelor’s degrees and an awesome family and boyfriend.  I feel like I have finally completed “the preparation” for life and now I get to live it.

Brad and I are saving for a house right now and I know only good things are to come.  I feel so blessed to have had these opportunities in my life.  Now to living and learning and shaping my career: such a surreal feeling. 

Thanks to my family and roommate for putting up with my mood swings while doing projects, discussion boards and assignments. 

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My sister and I at my first graduation (BA in Communication) in 2009

 

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My besties, Michelle and Chrissy at our RN graduation in 2011

 

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After finishing our last day of clinicals in the RN program, we jumped in the pool in our scrubs in a show of success (and because we hated those pickle suits).  Tonight I’m celebrating the end of my RN-BSN journey in a more tame way–with a nice dinner of top sirloin center cuts wrapped in bacon and baked potatoes.  

Here’s to the future 🙂 and the beginning of my life!!

 

Texas wine country

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Last weekend we headed out 290 toward Fredericksburg to celebrate our friend Rachel’s birthday. We stayed at the Exotic Resort Zoo, which proved to be rather interesting. The “resort” was a couple of cabins decorated with dinky animal print and weird elephant pictures, but that didn’t really matter.

Anytime you can get drunk and pet a donkey in the middle of the night, it’s a good time.  Outside the cabin area is a small petting zoo with donkeys, geese and deer who will walk right up to you. The best part however is the tractor/trailer tour (free if you stay at the resort). The animals are so domesticated they come running when they see the “meal wagon.”

I liked the camels best. They are calm, gentle and eat out of your hands. My boyfriend, Brad enjoyed pouring food into the Buffalo’s mouth. Overall, it’s a good place to have some barbecue, drink some beers around the campfire and relax. Only negative was the hot tub wasn’t working.

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Brad and our friend Zach feeding the buffalo

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But the weekend didn’t stop there, we took a quick run through Texas wine country on 290.  Here’s a quick rundown of the places we stopped at:

Grape Creek Vineyards:
http://www.grapecreek.com
High quality production, our guide was really friendly and knowledgeable, free glass if you did the tour also, tour includes looking at their cellars and trying from different barrels before the tasting. $30
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Favorite wine: Cabernet Blanc. Nice sweet strawberry taste and is palatable for non-wine drinker like me. Brad liked the Merlot and bought a bottle.

Pedernales Cellars
http://www.pedernalescellars.com

Definitely the place I enjoyed the least. They give a decent number of tastings and a free glass with tasting. The girl who was doing our tasting seemed annoyed with her job and didn’t provide the “experience,” which I think is half the fun. The redeeming quality was the beautiful views of Hill Country out on the patio and Moscato.

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Rachel with a giant bottle of their wine, probably not supposed to pick that up 😉

Favorite wine: Moscato, but mostly because we drank a bottle with Rachel’s heavenly birthday cake.

Woodrose Winery
http://www.woodrosewinery.com

This place was my favorite of the wineries!! First of all, you actually get to sit down to drink, which is awesome after standing all day. The tasting was in this old dance hall style room with wood floors and vaulted ceilings. Our guide and owner, Mike, was knowledgeable and efficient. I took the Sweet Flight, of course.  I even could tolerate the Port here, it was paired nicely with some dark chocolate. (The Port at Grape Creek was really overpowering for me).

Mike educated us on the tannins and how drinking a red wine in between bites of steak, for example, makes each bite taste like the first time.

Favorite wine: 2010 Sea Breeze. Sweet and fruity just how I like it. Brad purchased the Unfiltered Cabernet/Syrah.

By this time, we were all “wined” out and swung by the Garrison Brothers Distillery. They have a great hometown operation to make real quality Bourbon. Even my whiskey-hating self can tell it’s top notch. The tour is $10 and walks you through their process. It’s a small group who work together to make it happen.  The owner even signs and numbers every bottle. The atmosphere was exceptional: music playing, free beer and horseshoes before you even head to the tour.
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And of course, we ended the weekend like any good Texan would: stuffing our faces at Dairy Queen. 🙂

For more information on wine tours on 290, visit http://www.wineroad290.com.