About Me

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gluten-free, Egg-free, Cane Sugar-free Chocolate Protein Bars



Whew, that was a mouthful of a title.

The day before I found out about my egg and sugar intolerances, I was spending time with my friend Lexi and we attempted to make Macarons. I already knew about my gluten intolerance and Macarons are gluten free so we decided to go for it! Macarons use almond meal for their main ingredient so we had a bunch left over when we were done.

I was poking around at it and mentioned to Lexi, "This would make a great base for a protein bar, wouldn't it?" Being the awesome, innovative lady that she is (she makes the most amazing things just by guessing measurements and they always turn out delicious!), she got right to it.

The next morning I found out that I was intolerant to sugar cane and eggs and was about to go crazy when I remembered that I could eat everything in the bars we had made the day before. I won't lie, I was addicted to sugar. I eat pretty healthy except when it comes to the baked goods department, and then I'm sunk. So, to know that I could still get my sweets fix and not be poisoning myself at the same time, that was great news. :)

These bars taste so good that sometimes I'll bite into one and get instantly scared that I'm eating something I shouldn't be. Yep. Guilty pleasures that aren't so guilty. :) Also, they're "free" by nature, not by replacement so they aren't really that expensive to make. That's a huge relief to me too, I've been really overwhelmed by the prices of gluten free baking ingredients.

Lexi and I made this up and I've further tweaked it so there's not really an exact recipe. It's just kind of one of those "sense it as you go" type of deals. You can substitute or tweak it as much as you want and I'm sure they'll still turn out great.

Approximate Recipe:

2 cups almond meal (We bought bulk almonds and ground them in a food processor)
1/2 + 1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (found it in the bulk section of my grocery store)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (dark is super tasty but regular is really good too)
1/4-1/2 cup Gluten-free oats (the only specialty thing you need. It's pricey, so I just used a little)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey (pretty much use as much as it takes to make it all stick together)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Grind the almonds in a food processor or blender.
3. Leave about 1/4 cup of almond meal in blender and add 1/2 cup raisins.
4. Blend the 1/2 cup of raisins and almond meal (the almond meal helps prevent the blended raisins from becoming a sticky mass).
5. Mix almond meal, blended raisins, extra 1/4 cup of whole raisins, coconut, cocoa powder, gluten-free oats, and salt together.
6. Mix in honey until is all sticks together. Using your hands works the best. :P
7. Put into a lightly oiled 8X8 pan and bake at 250 for 10 minutes.

The salt adds a little bite to it all, without it I thought they were too sweet. Baking really firms them up and into and actual bar. For some reason the taste changes. Don't ask me why. :)

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Here's Lexi's blog too, if you want to check it out!
Mrs. Lemonmint

Rachel






Friday, April 20, 2012

And thus, my journey begins...

I've been struggling with my health for quite a while now, but especially in the last year. I found an awesome naturopath in my area and she ended up recommending that I get tested for food allergies and intolerances. I did the allergy test and everything came back negative (I used to be allergic to peanuts and now I'm not anymore!) so she decided to test my intolerances as well.

She had already suspected gluten so I had been off of that for two weeks already when the test came back. I wasn't feeling any better so I knew there had to be something else. It turns out that I have a 6/6 intolerance to eggs (both the white and the yolk, as well as duck eggs) a 4/6 intolerance to wheat gluten, wheat, spelt, and rye, and a 4/6 intolerance to cane sugar. Cray-zay.

I was beyond thrilled at first because I finally know what is probably making me sick!! I have muscle aches, joint pain, constant headaches, horrid stomach aches, depression, anemia, and a really low energy reserve. And now I've found out that I can start feeling my age again?? AWESOME. This high lasted a little while until I realized how drastically my lifestyle would have to change. It's a good trade off, honestly, and I'm really not complaining...but it was still a shock.

I let myself be upset for a little while and then I kicked my butt into gear and decided to do something about it. If you know me at all, you know how much I love to bake...and not having cane sugar, gluten, or eggs at my disposal makes things a bit more difficult. Not impossible...but difficult. And more expensive...but more healthy. I know all of the plusses of eating healthier and all of the substitutions I can find, but it STILL SUCKS, okay?? I had just perfected my chocolate chip cookie, guys. For reals. So basically, yes I was upset.

This isn't tragic by any means, but it's still a little depressing to walk through the supermarket and know I can't eat 75% of what's there. And apples and almond butter are great snacks, but not when you want a delicious, sugary brownie or a creamy hard-boiled egg.

Plus, I'm a frugal person. Knowing that I might have to spend 3X the amount on special flours than I was previously spending did not make me a happy camper. But, knowing my nature, I'll find frugal ways of baking once I get into my groove.

I know I'll have moments of ups and downs, but I'm doing alright now. Yesterday I made my own allergen free chocolate chips and today I made an allergen free chocolate protein bar.

YES. I can do this!



Friday, April 6, 2012

Silk Dyed Easter Eggs

Silk Dyed Easter Eggs!







This one is my friend, Alayna's, hers turned out with perfect detail!



Enjoy!

Rachel 


Monday, April 2, 2012

Reason #32 1/2 why we're awesome.

These were taken on my phone starting in 2010. 
The fact that we are both making the same face in almost all of them is completely by chance...I guess we're just the same breed of goofball. :)

Inaugural Fred Meyer date hat photo, Nov 2010 

Hicks in Pullman

Howdy Pardner

Dorky rain hats



Ahm a Polar Bear! 

So. Much. Fuzz.


Winky face birthday hats for Rachel. Sean was covered
in green glitter for days after.

Butchart Gardens 

Honeymooning Pirates

U.F.O. (Unidentified furry object...on our heads)

Mohawk and Dinosaur helmets

Pixie Haircut Tips

This is what I've learned in my flirtatious dance with my pixie cut. For a longer post with pictures from the different stages of my cut, click here: Evolution of My Pixie Cut

Tips on getting a pixie cut:

Know your cowlicks. It turns out I have at least 5 that I didn't know about...until I cut all of my hair off..They make things problematic. My main one is right in front at my bangs, so I have to fight with it.
You'll learn how to work with them eventually, but don't be dismayed.

Find a model with hair like yours before you get it cut. It helps when you're not expecting something that is impossible for you to get. I kept looking at pictures of women with fine, thin hair and thinking that's what I wanted. I have a large quantity of thick hair and it looked nothing like theirs. Mine is unique and still really cute, but it was still a surprise at first.

Find a really good hairstylist to do your initial cut. We're not talking Supercuts, here.

When growing out your cut, don't go for the "I can't cut it!! I need length NOW" route. This is how you get the mullet stage. The top and sides need to grow out first so keep trimming the back of your neck until the sides and back are similar lengths and you can grow it out as a bob. 

You can trim it yourself. If you don't want to look like a homeless man, you need to get your hair trimmed quite often. I usually wanted to every 2-3 weeks...which can get pricey if you go to a hairstylist. Especially if it's really short you can do it yourself with clippers, scissors, youtube, and a lot of patience. It may not be as trendy and cute of a cut as you could get from a salon, but you'll save a ton of money and it will still look cute. I usually do this for trims and every few months I'll go into a salon for a cute style. 

Invest in products: There's a huge difference between just letting your hair dry (mine usually gets very poofy and looks like a toupee) and when you put texturizing clay or some kind of product in it. 

Take time to style: Depending on what kind of hair you have, (thin, thick, fine, etc) you will still have to take the time to style it, but it will take shorter time than longer hair and will look cuter than a ponytail. 

Be bold! If you've decided that a short cut would look good on you, go for it! If it doesn't, you can always invest in cute hats. ;)