Gluten Free, gluten free diet, Recipes

Broccoli Apple Salad

It’s difficult to stay healthy while your pregnant, and as I am finding out, even more so when you are pregnant with a girl.  This little girl is very picky with the foods she allows me to eat and most of them tend to be sweets.  I like to joke that my son was grown on Mexican food.  Not so much with this one.  She barely let’s me eat Mexican.  I have had times when I have put together a whole bowl of taco salad together and from just the smell alone I know that I won’t be able to eat it.  *sigh*  Meal planning has become very difficult because there’s a lot of food that sound and look really good, but I’m always worried that when I’m done making the meal I won’t want to touch it.

But, there are times when I do crave raw fruits and veggies.  So when I came across this recipe, it looked really good and I thought we could give it a try.  To be honest, I was slightly nervous about making it.  In the past we had tried a cucumber salad recipe from pinterest and it was an epic fail.  I don’t know if I misread the measurements or what, but it tasted awful!  Thankfully this one turned out really good!  Everyone else really likes it and baby approves.  And that’s really all that matters!

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Broccoli Apple Salad
Ingredients
4 cups of broccoli
2 large apples
1/2 cup of matchstick carrots
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1/2 cup of pecans
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

Directions
– Start with your veggies and dry ingredients.  I just bought a bag of pre-chopped broccoli florets.  I’ve bought and chopped the whole head before, but this is just so much easier and faster!  All I did was chop some of the large pieces into smaller pieces and remove any long stems.  Slice your two large apples into bite-sized pieces.  Chop the red onion (I only needed to use about a third of one).  Combine in a large bowl.  Add the carrots, cranberries and pecans and mix together.

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– In a second bowl mix your sauce.  Combine the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt, pepper and sugar.  Mix well.
– Add your sauce into the large bowl with your fruits and veggies.

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– Mix all together.  And voila!  Yes, it really is that easy.  The majority of my time was spent chopping and that really didn’t take that long.

I had been craving raw fruits and veggies so much that I had like a whole bowl full of this salad!  It was so good!  My son even got in on the action.  I had sliced some of the apple pieces without the sauce into smaller pieces and cut off the peels.  After having to persuade him to try a piece (he has refused to eat raw apples for a while, he only likes applesauce from a pouch) he downed a little bowl’s worth.  I was so ecstatic!  Recently he has been doing much better trying new foods and eating big people’s food with us.  Another mom-win for me!

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Gluten Free, gluten free diet, Recipes

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

It seems like so much has happened in this last week!  We just had our latest baby appointment and we found out that we are having a GIRL!!!  We are so excited!  I was convinced that she was going to be a boy because she felt lower than my son had at this point, but come to find out, she is sitting on my bladder!  That certainly explains all the pressure down there!  She is healthy and right on track with her due date.  Thankfully she cooperated much better than my son did during his ultrasound and the doctors were able to get all the measurements they needed.  With my son, we had to come back a second time to finish his measurements because he was wiggling so much.  We certainly enjoyed getting to see our baby girl again!

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Baby Girl at 21 Weeks

Now we know that we are having a girl, that explains all my sweets cravings too!  I had originally planned to make Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies for Christmas but since we had been sick for so long I didn’t have a chance to make them.  I was also concerned that having more sugar would prolong my yeast infection from the antibiotics.  But, sometimes, you just can’t help wanting homemade cookies.  And thankfully I have been clear of the infection now for over a week.

This was my first time ever for making this type of cookie.  And they turned out so good!  I especially liked that my son was able to help with making them.  I had him push the hershey kisses into the cookie after they finished baking and he really enjoyed that.  I’m trying to get him involved in cooking with me more.  So that was a lot of fun.

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Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blossoms
Ingredients
1 cup of gluten free flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
21 hershey kisses

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and brown sugar together in a bowl.  Make sure the brown sugar is broken down and mixed well.  Melt the butter and peanut butter in a saucepan.  Create a dry well with the dry mixture and pour the melted butter and peanut butter into the well.  Mix thoroughly.  Add the egg and vanilla extract to the mixture.  Roll the dough into tiny, approx. 1″ balls onto a greased sheet pan.  This should make 21 dough balls (I only made 20 myself).  Cook the dough for 11 minutes in the oven.  Once you take out the baked cookies start placing the hershey kisses into them.  The kisses will soften for a little bit after being placed in the hot cookies but will harden as the cookies cool off.

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These cookies turned out so good!  So good in fact that I had already eaten several before I took the picture!  Hahaha!  They were so easy to make and my son had such a fun time helping put the kisses in them.  I can’t wait to continue making them as a new tradition in my household.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Bone Broth, Health

8 Alternative Methods to Medications

Wow!  So much has changed and happened since my last blog post!  According to WordPress, it’s been 8 months!  I changed jobs and life got busy.  It was always my intention to keep up with this blog but it kind of fell to the way side as life happened.  My husband has complained about me keeping pictures of meals and recipes on the iPad; I was hoping to write about them later and I never did!!!  Every time I make a meal I think of this blog and how it would make a great post.  Hahaha!  My other issue has been technology.  Our laptops are both old and I couldn’t find a simple way to use the iPad or my husband’s new computer to write the blog and upload my pictures.  So now with more time (and new technology…or at least new ideas to use the technology) I am starting to write again!  Woohoo!

So, to kind of bring everyone up-to-date, in March I changed jobs to become a cake decorator at a local grocery store.  I was looking for a job just to help us through while I was in between jobs, and it turned out that I really enjoyed what I was doing.  So much so that I wished that I had started cake decorating earlier in life.  It was a less stressful job and it was a great outlet for my creative flare.  We found out we were pregnant with our second child in September and also moved closer to both of our jobs, cutting my husband’s commute to almost half the time and mine down to just a couple minutes.  So many big changes for all of us!

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Baby #2 Measuring at 8 Weeks

In December, one by one my whole family got sick with the flu bug and a horrible cough that lasted for weeks.  Even taking plain cough medicine didn’t seem to make much of a difference.  After struggling with this cough for over two weeks, I developed a rash on my neck and decided to visit the urgent care to make sure it wasn’t anything serious.  Strep was going around and I knew some people were getting rashes from it. I was tested for strep and was found negative, they told me it was just blood vessels that had burst in my neck (from coughing so hard) and then sent me home without any help for my cough and what I was sure was a sinus infection as well.  The following day I went to see the nurse practitioner at my OBGYN’s office, who thought everything was viral but could tell I had some sinus issues so gave me a Z-pack to try to help clear that up.  By the end of the week, my cough was still getting worse, my son was throwing up with the flu, and I was running a fever.

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My cousin holding my poor baby sick with the flu

All of this is concerning for anyone, but since I was pregnant, I was really getting worried and was determined to get some more help.  Going on over three weeks now with this cough and being sick, I went to see my PCP.  She was also really concerned about my cough but could hardly give me anything for relief between my allergies and my being pregnant.  So I was given more antibiotics to help clear up my sinus infection and was taken off of work for about a week so I could recover.

Since I have been pregnant I have been unable to use a lot of over-the-counter medications and prescriptions to help me get better.  It has been very difficult trying to recover without any typical medications.  So today I would like to share with you all the alternative methods that I used for getting better:

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8 Alternative Methods to Medications

1) Antibiotics
I know not everyone likes to use antibiotics. They not only kill the bad bacteria but also all the good bacteria in your gut flora. And it’s pretty much clockwork for me now, when I take antibiotics, I get a yeast infection.  However, I had such a nasty sinus infection that it was draining down causing an upper respiratory infection and irritating my sensitive airways.  My PCP wanted to also give me an inhaler but couldn’t because I was pregnant.  So at this point I felt like I needed all the help I could get.
2) Rest
The main thing that I needed that was really going to help me overcome this was rest.  Which is extremely hard to get when you’re a working mom.  My PCP even took me off of work for a week so I could try to get the rest I needed to get over this.  I had so many absences at work that I was about to lose my job.  Sometimes you also have to make some major decisions as well.  I chose to go down to part-time hours at work because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to recover while pregnant and working full-time. I was exhausted, had uncontrollable coughing fits and had just about lost my voice.
3) Tea
Tea is really great for soothing your throat and depending on the ones you drink, they have great healing properties.  I would always add honey to my tea to help soothe and coat my throat and honey has great immune boosting properties as well.  Cinnamon is good for your throat as well.  I personally drank a lot of chamomile, echinacea and tumeric tea.
4) Vitamin C
We all know that vitamin C helps boosts the body’s immune system.  I try to take extra vitamin C while I’m sick.  While I was trying to read up on the whooping cough (I was convinced that I had it this time around) I read a blog writer that said that even though she could not get a diagnosis for whooping cough her research led her to believe that vitamin C taken in very large doses helped her and her family recover much faster.  (“9 Things You’ll Wish You Knew About Whooping Cough” by Sidetracked Sarah).
5) Nasal Rinse
A lot of people that I have talked to don’t realize that as a pregnant person, you can’t take decongestants.  If I absolutely had to use decongestants, I have to closely watch my blood pressure.  So, as an alternative, I use the neti pot as a saline rinse.  It did not clear up my sinus infection, but I am convinced that if I had not kept my sinuses as clear as I had I would have been much worse much faster.  It is difficult to get used to running water through your nose (and sometimes down the back of your throat).  Some people really don’t like it, but at least I could get some relief that way.
6) Bone Broth & Chicken Noodle Soup
Both of these dishes are soothing for the throat and are filled with nutrients for your body.  Anytime that I or my family is really sick I like to make bone broth and chicken noodle soup to help put vital nutrients back into our bodies, especially after using antibiotics.  Bone broth is known to help improve your gut health after your gut flora has been depleted.
7) Steam
Steam was one of the few ways that helped my cough, but didn’t help control it completely.  Since the house we are in currently has a bad moisture problem, I didn’t want to use our steam vaporizer like I usually do.  So I stuck to just localized steam by covering up my mouth and nose with either a scarf or a blanket.  Steamy showers are also a great expectorant.
8) Essential Oils
Since we could use all the help we could get I also tried to use essential oils to help overcome our illnesses.  Being pregnant, I have to be very careful with topical uses.  Most of the immune boosting blends warn against topical use when pregnant or if you have sensitive skin (like children).  So I like to dilute it and use the diffuser.  The group that I order from has an immune boosting blend called Armor that I like to use when we have an illness going around.

So those are the 8 alternative methods that I used since I can’t take most medications.  After several weeks we are finally starting to feel better and get back to normal.  So now I need to start wiping down the house, lysol spraying everything and washing sheets and blankets.  Oi.  I hope you won’t need to use these 8 methods for your family, but if you do, I hope they help you get some relief and get better as quickly as possible.