Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A new little pet project.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a bit of an attention span issue. So, to combat the winter blues, I have started a dessert page, called Sugarface Bakes.

Sugarface Bakes

It is a blog filled with recipes for gluten/dairy/soy/refined sugar free baking! Yummy desserts. Some are from blogs that inspire me, but most will be my own twists on things, and my own original recipes.

Check it out!

With Love,

Just wanted to say...

I just wanted to say that I feel better today. Yesterday was a rough one for me. But today has been a lot better, and here's to tomorrow being even better! :)

With Love,

Maybe it's me.

Maybe it's the cold. Or the snow. Maybe a combination of the two.

Maybe it's something in my brain that doesn't work.

Maybe it's loneliness. Or being too far away from home.

Maybe it's that I don't know where home is anymore. Or that I don't know where it will be in the near future.

Maybe it's everything.

Maybe I should give up. Maybe not. Maybe I should crawl in to a hole and never come out again. I think I would miss my family too much.

Maybe I need to reconnect with my own spirituality.

Maybe I need to get out more.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's me.

I am feeling so sad right now. So sad I feel alone and empty inside. So sad that it consumes me. So sad that it's hard to breathe. It's hard to think. It's hard to feel. So sad that I think about too much. So sad that I don't think enough.

How can I be here but not? How can I want to be distant but also want to be close? How can I reach out to others but also recoil when they reach back? How can I want to be alone but feel lonely at the same time? How can I feel so useless?

I just needed to get that out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pesto with a twist, and Daiya Cheese

So, being gluten and dairy free, and being the obsessive researcher that I am, I look at lots of blogs on this topic. There is all this buzz about the blogosphere on Daiya cheese... I had never heard of it, and couldn't find it anywhere...

Lo and behold, today, while at one of my favorite fresh markets, (Sunflower Farmer's Market that is) I walked by the dairy ("dairy") aisle and saw in brand new fashion a package of DAIYA CHEESE sitting there... granted, it is a little pricier than regular cheese, but at $3.99 a bag, I thought I would try it and see what all the kerfuffle is about.

Here are some pictures of the package so you can get an idea about what I am working with:

As you can see, it's definitely not NOT a whole food, but it is definitely not something made from scary ingredients either. But does it taste good?

Well, I tasted it, and I have to say it tastes a LOT better than the rice cheese I have used in the past. So, I decided to make a dairy free (vegan) Pesto. And, let me just say, that the finished product is DELICIOUS.

So, I love pesto. I don't know about all of you, but it happens to be my favorite thing at Italian restaurants. But, pine nuts? $19.95 per pound? Yeah, right. I instead use RAW sunflower seeds. Much more cost effective, and just as tasty if you ask me.

I also get my fresh basil at Sunflower Market, which just so happens to be right up the street from me, making my life so much easier... It's about $4.95 for a big bag of ORGANIC Basil!

So, typically, the recipe calls for, (and I want to note that up until the last month, I have been using) PARMESAN SHREDDED CHEESE, but since going Dairy free, that's not an option for me. So, in steps the Daiya... Here is the recipe and some pictures for you.

2 cups PACKED fresh basil leaves
1/3-1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (or pine nuts)
3 cloves of fresh garlic (or I use the minced garlic, and use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of it)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheese (or Parmesan)

In a food processor, add the fresh basil leaves and sunflower seeds and garlic and pulse it a few times until everything looks really chopped up. Then add the salt and pepper, pulse again. Add the cheese and turn the food processor on, while pouring in the olive oil fairly slowly.

That's it. Taste it, make sure it's the consistency you like, and then just eat it and enjoy it!

It will stay good in the fridge for about a week, but it freezes really well. I like to freeze mine in individual snack size plastic baggies and then just defrost it with warm water when I want to use it. I don't cook mine, because I like the raw pesto best, but you can definitely cook yours if that is the way you like it.

Me personally? I like to put it on toast and devour. :)

If you are curious about the bread that I use, it is called UDI'S WHOLE GRAIN BREAD. It is SO SO SO GOOD.

I think that I can safely say that Daiya Cheese is now among Udi's Bread as the only product of it's kind that I will buy when I buy it.

With Love,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What I've been up to lately...

So, I've been pretty absent from this old blog for a while now... sorry lovelies. I've been trying to keep busy. I finished my last photo session of 2010, and then, it's been quiet. I have a potential new wedding client, but that won't be until March if I get the job. So, what is a (sorta) out of work photographer to do?

(All of these pictures have been made possible by the use of one of my fabulous Christmas presents from husband: My new SPEEDLIGHT! )


I've rekindled my love for knitting,

taught myself to knit in the round,

taught myself a new stitch (the gorgeous HERRINGBONE) by knitting myself an oversized cowl,

began crocheting a new scarf for my sweetheart out of fisherman's wool,

rediscovered my favorite book, and said goodbye to my favorite snack,

found a surprise inside the book that makes me laugh, 
saved an almost perfect train table from an untimely death by trashcan, (and thereby cinching my mother of the year award)... did I mention it was FREE?...

ordered some new music from some old favorites,

and downloaded MATT AND KIM'S SIDEWALKS ALBUM, (that was all caps, because I can't express without shouting how wonderful this album is) Hellogoodbye's Would it Kill you? Album, and all of the Pomplamoose stuff I could find, (no pictures on this one, sorry)...

decided that KID TO KID really is the happiest place for parents on a budget but who love expensive shoes,


A nod to my high school days with these kid size purple doc martens! ($5.99)

found some gems at ROSS DRESS FOR LESS and TJMAXX, (including but not limited to an enamel coated cast iron casserole dish that I've wanted for ages, and it just so happens to be in cobalt... and some new chucks for cheap)...

found a new gluten free/dairy free cookbook that makes me want to live in the kitchen, 

got a new work station, 

am still learning how to use my Christmas present from the Mr... (yep that's my Rolleicord Va Type 1!!!)...

 I also decided that I HATE blogger, because I had to pay $5 for 20 GB of storage because the Bass turds (What? Fish poop is gross but it's not a bad word) said I ran out of storage space. Whatevs. 

I wanted to do some mobile uploads of my mommy-son date tonight at CUPCAKE CHIC in Orem. But we still live in the cheap dark ages where we don't have cell phones with data plans, so Sprint charges us up the wazoo for sending photos to email... 

Back to Cupcake Chic... They are currently the ONLY cupcake bakery that I know of that sells Gluten Free cupcakes. Z ordered a chocolate one, (they only had two cupcakes left - chocolate and red velvet) and we sat down to test it out... the verdict? 

Well, I tried a bite of it, and I will say that Z scarfed up the frosting, which to me tasted like sugary shortening... not my favorite flavor... and wasn't really in to the cupcake part, because it was pretty dry and crumbly... not my favorite texture... but it tasted OKAY... not great. The upside is that it only cost $2.25, which is kind of a rip off, but not for specialty stuff. 

But I am giving major MAJOR kudos to these guys for trying what everyone else seems to be scared of trying! 

Also on a side note... PIZZA PIE CAFE (my local favorite) is selling GLUTEN FREE PIZZA now! :) And it's pretty dang good... I think I would like it better if had a different texture, but I am not going to be a whiner. I'm just stoked I can eat at my favorite pizza place again! 

I have added to my no eats list. Currently I am gluten (duh) free, DAIRY (oy) free, and SUGAR (yeah you heard that right) free... So my diet is restricted, but it's okay. I am not only losing weight, (yep, it's true!) I am feeling better, and I am actually regulating my insulin resistance problem which means there might (PRAY FOR US PLEASE!) be a chance we will be adding another baby to this family this year... which would be, well, in one word... A-MAY-ZING.

So, I am going to do better about blogging... well, I'll try. :) 

Thanks for reading! 

With Love, 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goodbye 2010

Well, I figured that I should start the new year and the new decade with something. I would like to take a moment to reflect on the year that was. Only for a moment, before moving on to the future.

2010 brought new experiences with it. I started a business, with great fear and trepidation. I learned that I am very capable of following my dreams, but that I am riddled with self doubt. I consistently question if I am up to snuff, or whether I should throw in the towel and let someone with more talent and drive take my place. However, I also learned that people like what I do. I learned that I DO have talent, and instead of getting mired down in all the what-if's, I decided to just work hard at improving my art. I learned, and hopefully proved, that having a nice camera isn't the only thing you need to take pictures that are lovely. You need talent too. I am finally starting to believe in myself, which feels amazing. I can't tell you how incredible it felt to start a year with huge amounts of self doubt, and end it feeling very confident in my abilities. Being a hobbyist photographer for the past 13 years was fun, and so I decided to take it to the next level. I have loved photography for a long time, and even won second place at a local state fair in California for a picture I took in high school. But I was always too afraid to try anything for fear of rejection. However, with the encouragement of my beautiful husband, and my wonderful mother, I tried to make my passion in to a business, and I saw tremendous success for my first year. I can't describe how amazing it feels to follow a dream and see it come to fruition.

I grew a little closer to my Heavenly Father too. There were times this year when I got really low, and needed help. He never failed me. Ever.

I was able to help people, which felt amazing. I have never really felt that I could really serve others, because, well, I felt so inadequate. But, this year, I looked for opportunities to serve others, and I was able to. Please don't misunderstand me, I am not tooting my own horn, but expressing gratitude for those who let me serve them, because I feel I gained so much from those experiences. I hope that this year I can do more than I did this last year. Doing good for others feels so good.

I saw my son grow exponentially. After going gluten free, he has grown physically, but I feel it is largely responsible for how healthy he is. He is thriving, and living and breathing and keeping me going most days. I love watching him learn and explore. He is such an amazing little person, and it has been my honor to be his mother. I look forward to another year of amazing moments with him.

I went gluten free... a few times. I learned that my body can't handle certain foods at all. I gained better health by learning to listen to my body. I hope that this next year will keep me on the right path to better total health and well being. I am now totally gluten free, and loving it most days, and hating it others, but either way, sticking to it. :)

I went back to school this last fall. I realized that I can't run faster than I have strength. Putting too much on my plate doesn't make me happy, or a better mother or better wife, or better person. I have learned to pace myself. I realized that I may need to wait until my son is older to go back to actual school. I also learned that right now, what I want to study can wait. I can go out in to the world and have life experience right now. Classrooms are not meant for me at this time in my life. And I also learned that that's okay.

This last year I took a hard look at my attitude and decided I needed a change. Positivity is the key to success in every aspect of life.

We had financial troubles that were unexpected, and we worried that we wouldn't have enough to stay afloat. However, with much heartfelt prayer, and a lot of hard work, I was able to keep our heads above water in the last few months with my "hobby" and that felt incredible.

2010 showed us that maybe the path we were on was the wrong path, and so we have re-evaluated everything, and taken an unexpected turn, which we hope is the right choice for our family.

We saw the thrill of "one more semester!" and then the immense let down that comes with, "two more semesters!"

I got bit by a dog, in the face, and stayed amazingly calm while wiping the blood off of my face.

I cleaned up more barf than I care to ever again, because of a bout with the stomach flu that my son had.

I decided on my birthday in December that 2010 will be the last year of my life that is spent wasting my life being overweight. I am DONE.

2010 brought me some new faces whom I love and will be forever grateful for.

In 2010 my son spent his last Sunday in Nursery, and will now be a Primary member.

I hope that 2011 will bring all the happiness that all of us want. :)

With Love,