Baking soda and apple cider vinegar hair wash

Oh allergies, you always like to keep it interesting. Right as one allergic reaction clears up, another one just takes its’ place. Yesterday, my face and neck broke out in a rash and hives I haven’t seen in a long time. I noticed that the rash was limited to where my hair fell on my skin. I read my shampoo bottle (just used it for the first time the night before) and it had macadamia nut oil listed in the ingredients. Ugh.
 So, in an effort to cleanse my hair of the allergen without potentially adding new allergens (like fragrances) I did the baking soda/Apple cider vinegar rinse. I have to say, I’m highly impressed! The baking soda acts as the shampoo, and the apple cider vinegar is the conditioner. There is a really good tutorial here:http://hubpages.com/style/Natural-Hair-Care-Baking-Soda-and-Apple-Cider-Vinegar but I’ll try to abbreviate it a bit.  

 First, mix baking soda with a little water until you make a paste. Set aside. Next, in a spray bottle, mix one part ACV to four parts water. In the shower, wet hair and separate into layers (I just did two, top and bottom) and spread baking soda mix onto roots. Careful not to do too much, as sodium bicarbonate will dry out your hair. Let it sit for a minute, then rinse. For the ACV rinse, part hair again, and spray into roots first, then all over. Let sit a little longer (like 3 minutes) and then rinse. It does not get that slick feeling like you just used conditioner, but wait til your hair dries! It feels so soft and it really shines! Even better, the itch is gone, sweet relief.   

(Before: notice red rash and bumps on face and neck)

 
(After: still red, that will probably stick around for another day or too, but still much much better!) 

 
 I tried this to help with my allergies, but I heard about it from people who just prefer it over the store bought shampoos and conditioners. It does seem to have a cleaner feel, and it feels like it gave my hair more volume. I’m a big fan!

 

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Salsa Chicken and Blender Salsa!

Here’s a little pro tip for you- rotisserie chicken costs less per ounce than frozen boneless skinless chicken breast. Not much less, only about 2 cents per ounce, but that’s pure meat, like, after you…. Peel? De-meat? Unbone? Shuck? (There’s a better word for this that I can’t quite reach) There are approximately 2 lbs of meat on each chicken. Meat that has already been prepared. Meat that has already been prepared better than I could have prepared it. And at SAMs club, they only cost $5, coming in at just 12 cents per pound. I love buying a rotisserie chicken, peeling (?) it, and putting it in the freezer in 2 cup portions. One thing we use it for is salsa chicken. It’s an easy dinner made easier. This recipe makes a lot, for the two of us. We use it for quesadillas, lettuce wraps, on top of rice, and nachos.

Salsa Chicken

  

  Salsa chicken quesadillas :
    
Ingredients

1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded (if using frozen, you can Boil it and then shred)

Salsa (recipe below) 3/4 cup

1/4 cup chicken broth (water or veggie broth works)

1 can of green chilles (optional)

1/2 packet taco seasoning (I use a mix found here: http://www.thegardengrazer.com/2012/04/taco-seasoning.html?m=1  Because it’s gf)

Ranch seasoning to taste (on my home made mixes page if you need it soy free)

Directions-

Dump all ingredients into a sauce pan and mix and shred. Let simmer until liquid thickens. 

Blender Salsa

My husband loves making salsa. And I love that my husband loves making salsa. This is the first one he ever made and it’s kind of one of our dietary staples now. 

  
Ingredients:

2 cans Rotel chiles and tomatoes mild

2 cans fire roasted tomatoes

Cilantro

A lime

White onion

4 jalapeños 

Directions:

Roast the jalapeños before hand. This is optional but we like that taste. You can do this by broiling in the oven or cooking on the grill. Wrap them in tinfoil and put in the fridge to sweat. About an hour later, peel the jalapeños, and dice along with the onion. Put all cans of tomatoes, jalapeños and onions into the blender. Blend til smooth. Add cilantro (stems cut off) and lime and blend again. Salt to taste.

Gf/soy free Creamy Chicken (Crock Pot)

If you didn’t see my last blog post, hit that little button at the top some where (the menu) and go read “Home Made Mixes,” I was able to use both the creamy chicken and the Italian seasoning in the super simple family favorite of ours. The thing is, “yummy chicken” only requires four ingredients (chicken, cream cheese, Italian seasoning, and cream of chicken soup). It’s kind of already “gluten free” but the cream of crap soups (I know, they’re actually delicious and I usually put them in everything) have wheat flour listed as the third ingredient. Also, I couldn’t do the seasoning mix because it has soy protein. Hence, the home made mixes. And you guys, it was so good! Better than any yummy chicken I’ve made yet. So here’s the recipe: 

Creamy Italian Chicken in the Crock Pot

  
Ingredients:

Home made cream of chicken soup (recipe is listed on the menu under home made mixes)
Italian seasoning mix (recipe for home made soy free version is also under home made mixes) 

Cream cheese (cut into cubes)

Chicken breasts (approximately  2 of the big ones) 

Directions:

Dump ingredients in crock pot (chicken on the bottom) cook on low for 4-6 hours (I was always told 8 but that was with frozen chicken and I usually do thawed) Shred chicken with forks while mixing the rest. Let sit for 10-15 more minutes. Serve over pasta or rice (we usually do rice).

Home Made Mixes

So as an update, I’m eating eggs, meat, and dairy again. I’m still not eating gluten, soy, nuts. I had my last throat dilation for (hopefully!) a year or more. I had my last dilation Monday. I got home and realized the pain was worse than I thought. My Gi put me on Percocet and some antibiotics. That night, around 8 pm, the stomach flu I had apparently caught came on. The next morning, I pulled a neck muscle. I was sitting up in bed and heard a “pop” and realized I couldn’t move my neck more than a couple inches. Needless to say, Tuesday was one of the worst days, ever. I had a heating pad on my neck, a throw up bucket to my side, and I was totally drugged out with pain killers, Tylenol, and anti nausea medicine (which apparently did nothing). The good news is, by thanksgiving I was feeling much better. Anyway, I’m appreciating my health a lot today! I bleached the toilet (as pretty as Gatorade purple and painkiller pink were, it smelled terrible) put the Christmas tree up, and made all of the gluten free/soy free things I’ve been meaning to make. Ranch and Italian seasoning dry mix, and cream of chicken condensed soup. 

Ranch Seasoning

  
I got this recipe from http://project22hundred.blogspot.com/2013/07/recipe-simple-delicious-ranch-pasta.html?m=1

And look at this handy graphic, you don’t even need to read the “recipe”. Just mix these things together!

 
I doubled and added 1/2 tsp salt. I keep it in a jar to add to things like salsa chicken, chip dip, etc. 

Italian Seasoning Mix

  
I got this recipe from http://cincyshopper.com/copycat-good-seasons-italian-mix-recipe-2/

I tripled this recipe. I also didn’t have enough oregano so I used the “Italian seasoning” spice (it’s just oregano and thyme) and I did not add extra thyme. 2 tbs=1 pouch of the good seasonings stuff. 

Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

  
This one blew me away with how easy it was! (Recipe is from http://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/homemade-condensed-cream-of-chicken-soup/)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup milk

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

3/4 flour (I used gf flour blend) 

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 black pepper

1 tsp salt

Directions- add chicken broth and 1/2 cup milk to sauce pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Meanwhile, mix flour and seasonings in separate bowl. Add the rest of milk and whisk to get rid of lumps. Add to sauce pan and simmer til it thicken. For me, with the flour I used, it literally simmered maybe 1 minute before it reached the right consistency. But the recipe says it could take up to 10 minutes. This makes the equivalent of 2 10.5 oz cans. 

Top 8 free Pasta And What to do With All That Food You Can’t Eat

I have been so lazy lately when it comes to cooking. You just don’t realize (when you spend most of your life eating “convenient” meals) how many dishes and how much effort making “real food” takes. I had about 10 dinners I used to make before all of this that required 2 pans, tops! And for ingredients, a can of cream of whatever soup, a protein, and some seasoning= heaven at little cost to you. Now, every time I want to eat, I can feel a head ache coming on. Not from hunger, but just from thinking about the hassle. Tonight, I finally made a simple, tasty,healthy, gluten, dairy, egg, but, meat, and everything else (top 8 if you have egid)  free meal! Pasta with sautéed spinach garlic and tomato:

  
I used:

Half a package of gf noodles (made from brown rice) and prepared as directed. 

A handful of grape tomatoes, quartered

One Onion

Olive oil

Minced Garlic

Lemon

Salt and pepper to taste
Two handfuls of spinach (I chopped, but if you sautéed the spinach with the tomatoes and onions, you wouldn’t need to)

Directions:

  1. Prepare pasta as directed 
  2. Sauté the onions and tomatoes in olive oil til onions are translucent.
  3. Add garlic. Cook til fragrant. 
  4. Add spinach. Cook til spinach is heated through.  
  5. Combine with pasta and squeeze a lemon (or add lemon juice)

  And at the end, there are only two pots and a cutting board you have to wash. Yay!
Oh, and I’ve been trying to think of what to do with all the food we have that I can’t eat and my husband doesn’t like (like soups, mixes, and stuff like that). We gave some of it away, and some of it I turned into blessing bags. I get so sad (especially as the weather gets cooler) seeing homeless/down on their luck people out on the street but I never know the best way to help. Enter, blessing bags! Each bag has a can of soup, a spoon, a granola bar, some candy, and hotel toiletries and they are sitting in my car, ready to be passed out! 


  

Brownies For Weirdies

My all time favorite dessert has to be a gooey, warm brownie. So I gave it the ol’ gluten/dairy/egg free shot tonight, and I’m so happy I did. Like, it felt pretty spiritual when I bit into it. Everyone hears God differently. I think he spoke to me through this brownie.

I have been waiting so long to try a brownie recipe because, let’s be honest, those jerks that try to sell you on the black bean/avacado brownies have obviously never eaten an actual brownie. Because, if they had, they would know that vegetables have no place in the brownie world. They just don’t. Stop trying to make veggetable desserts happen. They’re not going to happen. 

  (*I’ve never actually tried bean/avacado brownies, I’m sure they’re fine, and I’m sure bark tastes a lot like chocolate if you really try/wish hard enough. It’s just a matter of principle for me)

So these brownies are made really just like normal old brownies. Flour, sugar, oil, vanilla, cocoa, the only odd thing is milk (I used rice milk) but chocolate and milk are a good combo. Avacado and chocolate, on the other hand….

1 1/2 cup gf flour mix (needs to have guar or xanthan gum as well as tapioca starch)

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup flour 

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup oil (I used olive)

1 1/4 cup sugar  

1 cup plus 2 tbs milk (I used rice) 

1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Mix first four dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix last four ingredients. Allow wet mix to sit for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Mix the two together. Pour into greased 8×8 pan. Bake for 30-35 min or until knife comes out somewhat clean. Then you’ll get a little something like this:

  

Here’s the link I used: http://petiteallergytreats.com/fudgy-gluten-free-egg-free-brownies-vegan/

I really like the recipes on this link. It’s the first site I’ve actually wanted those stupid banners to Pop up asking me to subscribe. 

“I can’t believe it’s not cake!”

I’ve been having dreams. Dreams about cake and frosting. It’s like my subconscious is trying to tell me it misses something. I’ve been pretty afraid to try gluten free baking again. I even got the baking bug the other night and made good old fashioned lemon bars that I couldn’t even eat. I’ve just been scared to try because gf flour is so stupid expensive and the recipe has to be a tried and true one. I finally got the courage up to try it again (my last batch of pumpkin muffins ended up in the garbage and kind of kept me from wanting to try gf recipes again). But the dreams have been speaking to me so, I made my first gluten/egg/dairy free cake today! Oh man, what a time to be alive! When you can have your fake cake and eat it too. Obviously, I got the recipe on Pinterest. It’s actually just a lemon “crazy cake” recipe (ya know, the ones from the depression era that don’t use milk, butter, or eggs) and then I subbed the flour for a King Arthur gf all purpose flour mix. I also made a lemon glaze with powdered sugar, rice milk, lemon, and vanilla. The recipe (for the cake) called for lemon extract, does anyone even use lemon extract? I don’t. So I just halved the water and added 1/2 cup of lemon juice. I love it! It’s cake that actually comes out of the pan in one piece!! 

Here’s the link I used http://www.sweetlittlebluebird.com/p/crazy-cakes.html?m=1

Here’s my modified recipe:

-Preheat oven to 350

1 1/2 cups plus 3tbs gluten free all purpose flour mix (I’ve heard this works with your own mixes as well) 

1 cup sugar

1tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbs lemon zest (about two lemons, save for juice) 

-mix these dry ingredients together in a greased 8″ square pan. Make three impressions (two small, one big) in the first small impression, put 

1 tsp white vinegar

In the other small impression put:

1 tsp vanilla extract

In the large impression, put:

5 tbs vegetable oil

Then squeeze lemons into a 1 cup measuring cup (should fill half way) then fill the rest with water and pour over mixture. Mix until smooth. Bake for 35 min or until toothpick comes out clean.

Glaze:

I kind of eye balled all of this, but if you’ve made any kind of glaze before you know what kind of a consistency you are looking for. Mix powdered sugar, lemon juice, and rice milk together until desired consistency. Add a little vanilla if desired. Pour over hot cake. Enjoy!