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Socks! 04/18/2014 11:37 AM
I finished my ninth pair of socks for this year! Yay! I finished them off last night during the Blue's game; they are currently drying right now in a room that is too dark to get good pictures so those will come later. But yay! Socks!

But here's my problem: I had so much fun knitting these socks and they went so quickly (6 days) that I didn't spend any time contemplating what to knit next. Normally, I get close to finishing a project and my mind starts wandering to what I will do next. But these socks snuck up on me a bit (I had to spend yesterday off my foot because of random horrible foot pain) so they were done a whole day earlier than I anticipated.

So I know I want to knit socks. I just don't know what yarn I want to use. Eye-blinding neon stripes? Pastel rainbow variegated with contrasting blue toes and heels? Tiger stripes? I'm just so torn!
Cheater, Cheater, Pizza Eater 04/16/2014 02:42 PM
There are three gluten-filled things that I really love: bread, pasta and pizza (in that order). Because they are now no-nos, I've really been focusing on finding suitable replacements. I think I'm on a pretty good path with the bread thing (psyllium for the win!) and I've made some good headway on the pasta front (Bionaturae Fusilli is awesome, Jovial egg noodles are good (though they have a weird aftertaste if you eat them plain) and Tinkyada pasta is the devil incarnate). Which leaves me pizza.

The other night I had a pizza recipe all picked out to make when I realized that I misread the recipe; the prep time was not slightly over an hour but rather more than two hours. Oops.

So I cheated and used a box mix pizza crust (Chebe brand, if you are interested. Chebe: the best me-safe cheater bread in the world!) and ta-da! Pizza!


Honestly, it was pretty darn good. The Chebe calls for cheese in the mix so this ended up being a three cheese pizza (cheddar in the crust, mozzarella and parmesan as toppings). It's even good cold - a must for pizza as I do love it that way (though the herbs in the Chebe give it a little mustiness when eaten cold that isn't perfect).

So yay, awesome pizza! I'm pleased. But I still feel like a cheater. Sure, I made the pizza sauce from scratch but the crust came out of a box and I just can't let that slide. At some point I'm going to have to just block off two and a half hours to make "real" GF pizza crust. But first, I'm going to need to buy more mozzarella.
Just In Time! 04/15/2014 04:07 PM
Just recently, I finished my third pair of fingerless mittens. My first two pairs each had issues: the thumb gusset on pair one was too small so that pair was rehomed and a bad yarn choice doomed pair two. But this pair? I think this pair is just right.

Hedgerow Mitts

Naturally, I finished them up right in time for the weather to get warm, so I figured I wouldn't be using them until next winter. Wrong! They were perfect last night during the eclipse.

This pair is made with a broken rib pattern (that was actually entertaining for me instead of mind-numbing, which is how I normally see ribbing) so it is very elastic - no too tight thumb gusset! I also used a much better yarn choice for this pair (a yarn with a good twist and not single ply!) so they should hold up worlds better.

Now here's hoping the weather will be too nice to wear them!
Not Color Adjusted 04/15/2014 11:05 AM
Last night was very cold. And yet Dan and I were outside for a good while last night, watching the eclipse. Of course the eclipse coincided with a major dip in the weather. It might have been 82° the day before, but last night was 42°. Cold. But pretty.

Lunar Eclipse
Lunar Eclipse
Lunar Eclipse

I can see why they call it the blood moon.

In slightly other news, while we were out there watching the eclipse, we also saw Mars (it was orange!), Jupiter, and Saturn. While Mars and Jupiter were visible even during the full moon, Saturn didn't show up until the moon was mostly covered. When we first went outside, the moon was so bright barely any stars could be seen - just the super-bright ones. But once the eclipse started, tons of stars (and a planet!) showed up.

Cold, but enjoyable!
Beer! 04/14/2014 07:35 PM
It's a been a while with the move and everything, but this weekend Dan was finally able to cook up a batch of beer! His plan had originally been to make a wheat beer for me (my favorite of his beers) but the whole celiac thing makes that... yeah. So now, he's making me a wheat beer!


No really, he's making a gluten free wheat beer. It doesn't actually have any wheat in it, but it uses a (gluten free) yeast that is used in wheat beers which is really where a lot of the taste I love comes from.

This time he used a syrup (white sorghum) instead of making a all-grain mash like he has in the past. I like the idea of maybe one day he'll be able to make a GF beer with the full grains, but we need to get a better handle on what makes a GF beer good first. Though I will say, while I enjoy the nuances a homemade mash adds to the beer, I don't miss the house smelling like super sweet grains for days after a brew!
More Bread! 04/14/2014 10:25 AM
I've made another loaf of bread! And I've discovered: after three loaves of gluten-free bread, I have forgotten what normal bread tastes like. (Dan answer: "not much".) But I think that's why gluten-free people say things like "oh, this new gluten-free bread is awesome! It's just like regular bread." I think they've forgotten regular bread. Because GF bread is never like regular bread.

Not that my previous loaves have been bad, but they haven't been very comforting-squishy-bready. Hopefully this lately bread has put me on the road to change that.

ATK Bread

Look at those lovely air bubbles! It's like a legitimate glutened yeast bread! It looks light and squishy! And it is... kinda.

I used a recipe from America's Test Kitchen that included their gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. Honestly, this blend makes the most sense to me since they replace non-nutritious white (wheat) flour with the less nutritious white rice flour. Everywhere else using brown rice which, to me, seems more appropriate if you want to replace whole wheat bread.

Of course, instead of using white rice flour, I accidentally used sweet white rice flour, which I didn't realize was a different until after baking when I was trying to figure out why my bread was a bit gummy. Oops. So yeah, it looks great and normal bread-y, but it's a bit sticky. However! Even a tad too wet, the bread is soft and springy, just like a good white bread. I think that's because their recipe uses psyllium instead of xanthan (or guar) gum to bind. I've read that psyllium husks give GF bread a much more "normal" feel and based on this (improperly made) loaf, I'd have to agree.

I have ordered some of the correct flour so I'll be able to give this a go again soon and hopefully that will take care of the slight gumminess. Stupid baking! It doesn't do well with substitutions (even accidental ones).
Back on Its Axis 04/13/2014 11:31 AM
The world has been righted. I have cast on for a pair of socks.


Seriously, I just got done knitting a tubular-shaped item with a sock-appropriate number of stitches that had to be made in a pair and yet I still felt itchy not having any socks in progress. I suppose there is just something about knitting something with a toe and impending heel-turn.

And now that I have some socks going, the world is how it should be. (Well, except for that whole celiac thing. Still getting used to that. But apparently socks trump celiac. Which shows the awesome power of socks!) This might be a strong indicator of a sock-knitting addiction. Which is good since I'm pretty sure I also have a sock yarn addiction.
Book Four: A New Theme 04/10/2014 08:32 PM
I suppose one good thing about being diagnosed with celiac is that I have more books that are of interest to me now.

The first: Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic by Peter H.R. Green, M.D. and Rory Jones Thrilling title, huh? But it was educational and not normally depressing (despite the earlier snippet from it I shared about my increased rates of, you know, a horrible death.)

I did discover while reading this that I cannot read celiac-realted things before bed. It gives me weird and stressful medical- and disease-related dreams. Not restful.

I've also learned that I'm probably going to be pretty dang low-risk when it comes to what foods I eat and the potential cross-contamination. Honestly, before I was diagnosed (but after I knew I had the gene), I figured I'd be a little more of a risk taker when it came to choosing food. I should have known better given how paranoid I always was when it came to safely feeding my mother.

But yeah, all the pain in my hands and feet I've been dealing with plus a three-day-long reaction-from-hell after eating some brown rice pasta that, best we can figure, was likely contaminated (before it got to me) and I'm definitely on the strictly-gluten-free-is-good bandwagon. (Because three days of feeling like my finger has a serrated knife sawing into the bone with every movement? Not fun. On the positive side, three days seems to be the limit of the pain - I ate that pasta twice and both times hurt like the dickens for three days then things started going back to normal. Which also explains why my hands stopped hurting during the week and a half of my cold - for about a week of that, I lived off of homemade (gluten-free) chicken soup. Felt better, added my normal wheat-based cereal in again and, bam, pain!)

And this post has nothing to do with the book other than I read it. So yeah. I read it. Have celiac? Read this book. It's much preferred over the group-hug-let's-sing-kumbaya-in-gluten-free-solidarity or jump-on-the-gluten-free-fad-diet books that seem to overwhelm and Amazon "celiac" search.

Next up, more celiac-themed reading: Gluten Freedom by Alessio Fasano and Susie Flaherty. I'm really looking forward to this one. My mom speaks highly of Dr. Fassano and he's a pretty big name in celiac so that's cool. But I'm mostly excited by the fact that this book was just published (Amazon shows the publication date as the 29th, but I got my pre-order today) compared to Dr. Green's book which was revised and updated back in 2010. Yay current information!
Mitts Mitts Mitts 04/08/2014 05:16 PM
I'm currently dying to knit some socks. It's like a compulsion. But I only have one pair of 5" cables for my little interchangeable sock needles. And they are currently being used by my fingerless mitts. Of which I only have the thumbs to do. But my fingers have been hurting so much I can barely do anything with them, including knit. So my mitts are just sitting there. Occupying my 5" cables.

Of course, even if my cables were free, I'm still in a bit too much pain to knit. And I have two more cables ordered, being shipped to me as I type this. But yeah, I wanna knit socks.

On the plus side, I think my fingerless mitts are totally awesome.

Fingerless Mitts

Kind of hard to get a good picture of though. But awesome. And my hands are starting to feel better so knitting can happen soon (I hope)!
More Awesomeness 04/07/2014 02:43 PM
Cocoa likes my hot water bottle, too.

Hot Water Bottle Cocoa