Holidays: celiac, dairy/egg/nut free style!

Happy Thanksgiving!

turkey

My favourite holiday.

Yesterday my mom [dad had to stay home sick], her best friend + family and my best friend + financee joined us for a turkey dinner, making for 10 of us total.

Hosting holiday meals enables me to eat without having to be meticulous/ feasting on only vegetables (If another restaurant offers me salad with oil and vinegar implying that it is a real meal, I will probably loose it on them). I also find cooking cathartic.
[besides the fact that our stupid oven only has one rack]

A delicious turkey dinner really can be prepped in only one hour in the morning, and one hour pre-feast. I would suggest getting up to do all of your prep in the am, then near meal time when you are busy mashing potatoes and making gravy you have little to do.

Our menu this year and how I altered it to be suitable to my dietary needs[everything is approximate as I did not measure]:

Turkey– defrosted two days in advance, I woke around 0730 to prepare the bird for the oven to be ready at 1700. I cleared out it’s guts, and then prepared it’s massage oil: aprox. 1/2 a cup of vegan butter [Costco has a brand containing soy, or earth balance has soy free], about a tbsp of salt, about 1/2 tbsp poultry seasoning, 1 tsp dried parsley, 2 tsp garlic powder, combined.
**Please remember if you are celiac or cooking for a celiac to check the poultry seasoning’s ingredients, all are not the same. The no-name brand at Sobey’s is gluten free. Spices only.**

I threw a chopped up apple (core and all, you won’t be eating it), 4 whole cloves of garlic and a hacked up onion in the cavity of the bird, choosing to cook the stuffing separately for more even cooking [ie; no dry meat-stuffing sucks the moisture out of the meat, and also retains the core temperature low, for longer, causing the outside of the bird to over cook].

Next I sliced a tiny slit to separate the skin from the breast of the bird, and massaged aprox. half of the massage oil into it’s flesh. Then I replaced the skin, and did the same with the entire outside of the bird.

Popped her in the oven at 325 degrees F covered in tin foil, 6 hours and 30 minutes later, all areas were at a perfect 85 degree celsius {I got a fancy new meat thermometer which would beep when approaching perfection- if you don’t have one the correct cooking time for poultry is 15 minutes per pound of fresh or defrosted meat, adding up to 50% the time if frozen. My bird’s core remained slightly frozen still (0 degrees C in the centre, 1 degree near the surface), even 48 hours later taking only 1 extra hour to reach safe eating temperature}. This brought us to 1430 which was too early for dinner so I wrapped the bird in tin foil, and then covered with dish towels to retain the heat-she was still PIPPING hot by dinner time.

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I know what you are thinking “Turkeys are so much work! You have to baste, and brine and BLAH BLAH BLAH….”

Nope, I don’t baste. I’ve heard it doesn’t actually make a difference [from food TV and personal experience]. Brining scares me with a 20-something pound bird and keeping correct storage temps so I didn’t do that either. The turkey was moist, and flavourful despite all of this.

Turkey Gravy– A total flop in my opinion. No one complained, but I think they were just being polite. I used the drippings from the bird, and just combined them with a gluten free mix (clubhouse). HUGE mistake.
Traditionally I would use a bit of corn starch, the drippings, garlic, salt, and the good old fashioned bubble until thick method….but I decided not to due to the amount of people at my house and felt I would get distracted from it with visiting and it would be lumpy. Next year, back to old faithful. The mix was gross in my opinion.
** Note: all gluten free gravies will become jello as leftovers due to the corn starch. Just heat it up and it will melt just wonderfully**

Mashed Potatoes– peeling optional (I usually don’t for added vitamin content, but know your audience, I peeled them this time) boil them up until soft, drain, add a huge spoon of vegan butter- I would approximate 1 tbsp for every two potatoes, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper and throw into the kitchen aid mixer until smooth. I made such a huge batch this year I had to do many batches in the mixer-became impatient, and thus some of the taters are lumpy.
Patience. My husband always tells me I have none of that…. whatever that is….

Balsamic Shaved Brussel Sprouts– I bought a few bags of pre shaved brussel sprouts for ease on cooking day, drizzled them in honey garlic balsamic and olive oil and baked at 325F until they were slightly crispy. Meh. I’ll slice my own sprouts next time. These were too fine for baking.

Corn– frozen, boiled, bam!

Roast Carrots– local farm carrots, sliced up (left the skins on, vitamins people!), mixed with EVOO and salt and then spread thinly on an oven tray and baked at 325F for one hour (until the edges are becoming caramelized. Had I not made the turkey so early, I would have thrown these into the turkey pan in the last two hours of roasting for a better flavour.

Stuffing– 1 bag of vegan gluten free bean bread cubes from The Griffin takeaway + 1 half cubed loaf of The Northern Bakehouse bread + aprox. 1/3 cup melted vegan butter, 1 boullion chunk (not all are made equal, Knorr Homestyle Boullion is the only GF one at my grocery store)  +1 cup water, poultry seasoning and garlic to taste, 5 stalks of celery sliced thinly, one apple diced finely, one carrot diced finely and then mixed up with your hands in a big bowl, packed into a pan, covered with tin foil  and baked at 325F for 40 minutes. Next time I would add 1/2 cup more broth water as some bits of bean bread weren’t as soft as I would have liked. Otherwise I think this one was a success.

Cranberries– from a can, good ol’ Ocean’s Spray brand. I was expecting up to 14 guests, and the nostalgia from my childhood makes me prefer these to home made anyways. Maybe one day I’ll make them again… [if you want to: cook up fresh cranberries + white sugar + lemon juice + chia seeds+ only enough water to keep the bottom of the pot wet until it resembles jam. All to taste of course-thanksgiving is about cooking from your soul, not a book. Been there, done that. It tastes good…but nothing beats the gelatinous can-shaped ones. HA!]

Rolls– Gluten-full from the grocery store [which no one ate, so I will just skip next time and be 100% GF], and gluten free from The Northern Bakehouse brand.

Sparkling Juice and Cranberry Gingerale provided by our guests [most of whom don’t drink alcohol]

Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Spiced Whip Topping [ordered from The Griffin Takeaway; an amazing gluten free bakery in Saskatoon, and brought by some of our guests] + Vegan Ice-cream by So Delicious brand (and regular vanilla for non-dairy free guests)

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***Take caution, The Griffen Takeaway is NOT nut free, but they take allergies and cross contamination seriously. I have never had any reactions ordering their food. Buy at your own risk…. But also…:) Live a little. ***

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

I am thankful for: a job which challenges me, a supportive family, my loving husband, the oodles of caring supportive wonderful friends in my life, and you sweet sweet blog readers! 

 

Moving On From Self Doubt

Yesterday I ran the EY River Run Classic Half Marathon.

RIVER CITY 2011
This was my first ever half marathon, back in August of 2011. (above)
I had just finished nursing school, just started my dream job as an emergency RN, just got married, and was in the best shape I had ever been in up to that point. I was able to train with three friends who through running became some of my best friends.
The race kicked my butt. It was painful, it was hot, it was hard. I left feeling more accomplished than any other day in my life. Non-athletic Sarah just did something few complete. She ran a half-marathon. Running was an outlet, a way to prove to myself I was capable of anything I set my mind to.

Flash forward to July 10, 2011: it was a humid, overcast day. One of my best friends and mentors signed up, and paid the $70 just to pace me. I was full of expectations. There was no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t achieve my 6-year goal of running a half marathon in two hours and thirty minutes-just one month ago I ran a 2:34 with digestive issues.

By 8km my  mind started to collapse. I started trailing behind, loosing time. I started thinking about how stupid I was for trying to conquer such a lofty goal (4 minutes faster in less than a month). My toe went numb, and then incredible pain. I was nauseated, my hands were swollen. I started working myself up so much I couldn’t breath because I was fighting back tears.
This is pretty much how the rest of the race went. I beat myself up emotionally. “You can’t do it”, “Just quit now”, “Why did you ever think you could do this? You aren’t an athlete!”, “What a bad friend, wasting Rebecca’s time”…. and on and on it went.

I knew my goal was gone….and then a few minutes later, a PR was also gone. I basically whined, and cried on and off from 8km all the way to 20km. I was ready to pull out my debit card and call a cab. I threatened to hitch hike home. I didn’t fuel properly, because I had already given up in my head. I drank way too much water, not enough salt…and hardly any carbs. Becky wouldn’t leave me. She encouraged me. She pushed me to work harder, and she pulled back when she saw emotionally I couldn’t push harder. She tried to remind me, just ONE MONTH ago, this would be a GREAT time.

At 2:42, 3rd to last, with tears streaming down my face, I crossed the finish line.

RIVER CITY RUN 2016

Today, after almost a full 24 hours of sulking, it brings tears to my eyes. Not because I am upset with myself for the time anymore-but because I was my own enemy. My own self-though process destroyed me. The race was over in my head after it had barely just started physically.

I took my time to sulk. I am now surpassing those demons that told me I wasn’t good enough on race day. I am good enough. I am MORE than ENOUGH.

I am pulling out of the full marathon in September, not because I think I can’t do it…I know I can. I want to love running. The best part of running is the self awareness, and confidence it gives me…. I lost that somewhere in this race.

I have two more half marathons this summer, one in august and September (switched down from the full). My biggest goal being to show myself love, and the love of running again. Run for enjoyment. Run to prove to myself I am ENOUGH.

…Because I am. 🙂 On to bigger, better things. SEE YA LATER SELF DOUBT.

Perfectly Permanent Birthday

IMG_5477Another year has come and gone, and I am once again incredibly blessed in all aspects of my life.

For my 26th birthday today, I booked the day off, and spent it EXACTLY how I wanted.

I slept in until about 8:30 when the sun was just starting to rise and my Dad called. [He is always the first person to tell me happy birthday-he always beats G because he calls first thing in the morning, I love it.] I had a nice hot shower while I listening to my new Adele CD (a birthday gift from G along with a beautiful rose gold band and my favourite perfume), and put on some simple but pretty makeup and blow-dried and straightened my hair. I got into my favourite cute-comfy clothes.

 

G and I hoped over to the mall where I had a nail appointment for a pedicure. I was pampered and Graeme had his own hair cut and then got us both a starbucks.[BTW. It ALWAYS snows on my birthday..and of course in december-fashion it was snowing a bit when I came out with my sandals on :)]

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Next we went and purchased a variety of gluten free cupcakes from my favourite Cupcake Conspiracy downtown before returning home.

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We had about an hour before our next event which was perfect time for G to shower/shave [clean face just for me!] + put on some cologne [also a big deal, he hates cologne and I love it]. While home I got my Indigo delivery from black friday! Whoooo! Total surprise to receive a package on the weekend (Im assuming long hours for christmas)- but it contained some stocking things for G…as well as 3 candles I got for amazing deals. They all smell amazing! Happy Birthday to me! I also got to chat with my mom on the phone for a bit.(Mom + Dad contributed to our refugee sponsorship for my birthday which I appreciate wayyyyy more than a gift!:))

After we were done at home, we headed over to pick up my brother and then went to Famoso-my favourite pizza place for a casual lunch with a bunch of my friends! [some had to work and what not][the BEST gluten free pizza…and  I have NEVER been contaminated accidentally which is a huge feat at such a restaurant!]

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We had about another hour and a half before we had to head to a very special appointment so we came home. I had a cupcake and tea while cuddling with G watching my favourite show of the week: Last Man Standing on netflix. I was also able to finish up my goal list for the year! Fun things coming up!

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Finally, we went for the most anticipated part of the day. MY TATTOO!!!! Shannon at Alchemy Tattoo was AMAZING,  warm, kind…and didn’t seemed bothered at all by my type-A nature. She stencilled out my design twice, the first one was a bit small, the second perfect, and then she put the stencil on my arm around FIVE times while I hummed and hawed about exactly where I wanted it (I wanted it to be relatively straight even when moving…which is tough on the area I chose). Finally once I had decided, she reassured my fears of the pain, and started. Within 5 minutes, and essentially no pain [I have had paper cuts and running chafe that hurt more], it was done!!:) I absolutely adore it! My only regret is not going sooner. (Keep in mind the photo is five seconds after it was done, so all the blue is just from the stencils, all that will remain in a couple days is the black ENOUGH..and hopefully a  lot less redness. I’ll post a good pic when it is healed up.)

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After the tattoo we came home to do exactly what I wanted- to hang out at home! We are now relaxing on the couch, watching youtube videos, reading, sipping tea.

The only plans left are to watch my favourite movie, Marley & Me, maybe wrapping my final stocking gifts for G for xmas, and bed early for work tomorrow! [I planned a lunch out for this purpose…I’m a morning person!]

I am so incredibly thankful for this beautiful life I have, with so many wonderful people. Thanks for coming along for the ride. 🙂 Here’s to 26!

 

 

The Big Bad I.V.F.

Today we received the news we have been dreading for 3 years and two months; we can not achieve pregnancy and our only choice to proceed to IVF or adoption.

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I won’t lie and say we aren’t devastated… but I refuse to wallow in self-pity today. We will pick ourselves up, we will carry on, we will recalculate our dream of a family and what that means to us.

Our plan as of now is to begin saving the 12-20 thousand dollars we will need for IVF- and when the time comes we will then decide if IVF indeed is where be believe our money is best fit for starting our family. We are also planning to take an epic one-month-away adventure some time in the spring to cleanse ourselves of this grief. After our appointment, we went to the batting cages and hit out our anger, IT FELT GOOD. We spent the day together, as we always do, and focused on supporting one another.

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Instead of wallowing in grief and sadness…I want to talk about how infertility has blessed us. YES, blessed. I believe that you are given a choice about everything in life-maybe you can’t control outcomes, but you control the way you handle it. You control the way you treat others, and you control the way you share your story to affect other people’s stories….

  • I know the depth of my God’s love. This has been a huge comfort to me. He is teaching me so many things through this process about my own spirituality and faith.
  • I am 100% with the perfect, most wonderful man for me. My husband has been the biggest source of love and support I could ever have imagined. Through this process, we have been forced to delve deep into growing our relationship- the statistics are real- infertile couples are THREE TIMES more likely to divorce. We refuse to become a statistic and will make every effort to keep our marriage #1 in all of this.
  • I am not alone. Ever. 1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility in Canada; 1 in 4 worldwide. The amount of people in my life who have secretly struggled, and shared their journey’s with me is astounding. Their willingness to share their most intimate emotions, heartbreaks and triumphs has been so inspiring. I have had ZERO bad feedback sharing our journey. Only an outpouring of love and support.
  • We have enough. We may not have every thing we want, but we have food, we have shelter, and we have secure jobs in which can afford us the opportunity to one day try IVF.
  • I am enough. I have learned, and am still learning… I AM ENOUGH. As I am, who I am, where I am, how I am. I AM enough. A life long journey that has peaked in this struggle.

So where do we go from here? We carry on. We find new goals, we persevere. We blast FIGHT SONG and sign LOUD in the car…because we have SO much to live for.

“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”

Excuse me as I spend the night with my favourite man, my favourite wine, a bubble bath, and my favourite TV series. Thank you for all of your love, support, and kind words. I am overwhelmed by the love you have all shared.

***On a side note: I am a part of a group of people in Saskatoon making an effort to help a family of 5 come to Canada fleeing violence and poverty. If you feel so inclined, please check out our fundraising page. Any support you can give is very much appreciated.****