On the Wild Inner Self and Breakfast Quesadillas

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I used to be a wild child of sorts. I say of sorts because somewhere in my excitable nature, that lively and unfiltered strain of myself still lurks. You know, the part that spontaneously dances like mad with the grace of an uncoordinated five year old. Well, I suppose you don’t know but rather my sister does. Or the part that picks the most obnoxious parts of obnoxious songs and sings them loudly and repeatedly without thinking twice (Sorry Lindsey). Or the part that occasionally likes to split a bottle of wine on a Wednesday night and frolic around in the park and play on the playground. Yes, that slightly wild and silly part that I suppress sometimes (a lot more than I should) not only exists, but reels like crazy deep down. And I’m okay with that, now more than ever.

The past few months of this winter really had me feeling older than my years, down to aching joints and grumbling mornings to boot. I found myself suppressing my inner happy go lucky self in order to be taken more seriously and try to be more productive. Over the last few years actually, that has been the trend. After college graduation, I thought it was time to “grow up”. But I think the opposite of what I wanted to happen, happened. And I didn’t expect it. I became less interested with myself, more tired, and frankly more boring. I was working hard, and had some successes, but wasn’t really happy. I felt like a stifled, shushed, whiny, and tired-of-it-all woman. At my own hand no less.

This year, and even more so with the recent coming of spring, I find a familiar feeling bubbling up inside of me; something that makes me take a step back and wonder, “Hang on, where the hell have I been??” The other morning, I woke up with “Another One Bites The Dust” stuck in my head (don’t ask), and suddenly found myself belting out some Queen and shakin’ it like nobody’s business–like it was automatic. And it is, because it’s who I am. I’m dancing like crazy. I’m not being overly cautious. I’m not catering to what “they” might think. I’m finding more and more happiness with letting that wild vibrant spirit of mine come to light with the realization that I was perfectly imperfect before I tried to “grow up” too much. Perhaps I tried to suppress that part of me to make up for the time I thought I’d lost. My battle with undiagnosed gluten issues, food allergies, and ADHD made being successful difficult. Really difficult. I managed, but I had to work around these things for a long time and had to work A LOT harder than I do after diagnosis to make it all jive. Maybe I tried to kill that wild, silly, lovely part of myself because it reminded me of more hazy, uncertain, and unhealthier days. But the fact is, I’m not unhealthy anymore. I’m bursting with life and heart and crazy big opportunities that demand my inner vibrancy! It’s been a long time coming, but now I’m just finding I’ve reached that refreshing balance of being young at heart while still being a capable professional gearing up to take on the world. This is my crazy state of grace.

By the way, this really has nothing to do with gluten-free Breakfast Quesadillas, other than the fact that they’re also quite bold and pack a punch of spicy flavor. Oh well. I feel like my own authentic self now more than ever before. There’s something to be said for that.

And no one said it better than Pink Floyd… so shine on you crazy diamond.

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!”

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Gluten-free Breakfast Stuffed Quesadillas

This recipe is free of: Gluten, Soy, Lactose (contains Casein), Peanuts, Legumes, and Refined Sugar.

Yield: One large Quesadilla

  • 2 brown rice tortillas, or gluten-free tortillas of choice (I use Food For Life brand).
  • 1 cup grated almond jalepeno jack cheeze (contains casein, but no lactose. I use Lisonatti Foods brand)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 eggs, scrambled
  • Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne (optional) to taste
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • Salsa of choice for serving (I use Mrs. Renfro’s Medium Salsa)
  1. In a small fry pan, saute diced onion and green bell pepper with spices.
  2. Add 3 eggs and cook until it becomes scrambled. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a larger fry pan over low/medium heat, add the first tortilla to the pan and cover with shredded almond cheeze. Add the scrambled eggs on top and sprinkle with a bit more cheese.
  4. Add the second tortilla on top and press down until the cheeze starts to melt. After about 3 to 4 minutes, carefully flip over the quesadilla and allow to cook the rest of the way on that side. The edges may get a little crispy, but just keep them pressed down with a pancake flipper or spatula.
  5. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with chopped green onion and salsa. Serve hot.

Earth Hour 2013

Earth hour 2013

“The World is using the equivalent of one and a half planets to support life on Earth.”

Earth Hour 2013 is coming up tomorrow, Saturday March 23 at 8:30pm (Eastern time) and I couldn’t be more excited! It snuck up on me this week and I nearly forgot all about it until yesterday evening, even after I recently wrote an article for Delight Gluten-Free Magazine about celebrating it with a gluten-free twist in the March/April issue….safe to say it’s been a busy week! We’re planning to switch off all our lights and appliances, have a candlelight yoga session, and indulge in vegan blueberry pie–the recipe will be posted on Sunday!

This morning as I was writing this post, I was quietly listening to the news in the background. They were discussing a nominated CNN Hero, Doc Hendley, for his work in bringing clean water to those living in impoverished areas where safe water is scarce. It’s sadly not news to me that many people in other countries must walk for 4 or 5 hours just to reach their water for the day, and it’s dirty water at that. Today is World Water Day and I feel incredibly lucky to live in a place where clean water is available to me whenever I turn on the sink. Clean water should not be a privilege. It’s so vital that we take care to preserve the resources on this planet through our everyday actions and by celebrating our planet every day. Check out the awesome video by EarthHour.org for 2013:

In the spirit of celebrating and sustaining our mother Earth, I’d like to share five easy but effective things that I try to do on a regular basis to help sustain our planet:

  1. Turn off the water faucet while brushing teeth to save water.
  2. Use sustainable candles and candlelight instead of lamps a few nights per week.
  3. Bring reusable grocery bags on shopping trips. If I forget, I am sure to recycle the bags by using them for small trash bags in the house or in other ways.
  4. Use (or upgrade to) energy saving electronics and appliances whenever possible. My latest energy efficient purchase was an energy star ultrabook laptop.
  5. Buy local produce often. I love supporting the local farmers and economy in this way. A bonus is planting a garden annually ourselves.

Delight Gluten-Free Magazine March/April issue 2013

For more ideas to celebrate Earth Hour and Earth Day often, check out my article in the March issue of Delight Gluten-Free Magazine for tips and fun vegan/raw food recipes. I also have a plethora of easy and earth friendly recipes I’ve posted throughout the life of this blog that can be browsed in the Recipe page or by typing in keywords such as “vegan” or “earth day” in the search box in the upper left corner of my site.

Happy Earth Hour and World Water Day!

How will you celebrate the planet today?

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Quote of the Day

Everyone I’ve met that has Celiac disease or severe food allergies of any kind, I feel an automatic unspoken sort of connection to. It’s a mutual feeling of understanding, of having “been there”. While I’ve never met Zooey Deschanel, I think she’s the epitome of making the most of her situation with multiple difficult food allergies. I learned Zooey is allergic to gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs from her appearance on Top Chef where she was a guest judge who challenged the contestants to create an allergy friendly vegan lunch for her and her family. It was fantastic to see her embracing herself and her health, while bringing allergy awareness to the mainstream food shows.

I fell in love with this so true quote from Zooey Deschanel, which can apply to everyone regardless of their walk in life:

Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.

 

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Sprinkles & Allergies now on Bloglovin

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/4052415/?claim=ctnvdrq7bqv”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I’m popping in for a quick minute to let everyone know you can now find me on Bloglovin.com for your blog following convenience! I just started using bloglovin to follow all my lovely blogging friends in one place and let me tell you, it’s much easier than typing in the different urls each day and sorting through bookmarks. For some reason, I was never big on google reader, so this is ideal for me. Follow Sprinkles and Allergies over on bloglovin to start streamlining your blog reading!

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The (almost) Isolation of Severe Allergies

Sometimes writing things down can be a kind of therapy. A way to empty out all my thoughts, clear my head, and make sense of some of the loose ends. So today, I’m writing something I need to read myself. The other day, I was feeling a little similar to Charlotte in Lost in Translation, someone who ultimately wasn’t really being neglected by someone else, but was actually neglecting or not acknowledging a part of herself. (I included a clip from the movie above, a beautiful scene that happens to include one of my favorite songs by Air).

Isolation is something I’ve fought feeling and understanding for quite some time now. Just recently have I allowed myself to acknowledge that I’ve been feeling this in my subconscious for years. Not all the time, but just enough to let it silently throw me off kilter sometimes. It’s a difficult feeling to put to words, but I’m guessing there might be thousands of other people out there that will instantly understand my sentiments here without me writing another character. It’s not really about wishing things were different, because I’m extremely happy where I am in life today. It’s more about a silent state of mind that hits periodically; a reflective, almost anxious but not quite, tingling that tries telling me I shouldn’t venture out too far because I’m different. Really different. By nature. Once recently, I let this feeling slip over me and talk me out of going for a day trip alone, trying to eat out at a restaurant I really missed, and just exploring somewhere I’d never been before. I wasn’t afraid of the possibility of getting sick from food, having an allergic reaction, or getting lost. I just felt a melancholy thought that if anything happened, no one would understand or could understand. “How could they understand?” I thought. Sometimes I didn’t even understand what I was reacting to and still slip up in my own kitchen at times. I realized how very wrong I was to let this deter me. This day trip represented more than just a day trip. It’s living life.

I think periodic feelings of isolation began for me when I started to feel the physical symptoms of chronic disease some 5 years ago. I felt stabs of mortality, pain, fear, anxiety, and sadness before all my diagnoses. I truly felt alone for the first time in my life, even though everyone around me was trying to help. Since then, I’ve overcome so many obstacles and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. Things have changed drastically for the better. I will never complain about the blessings that many severe food allergies and Celiac disease have brought me and these things ultimately taught me great lessons and great joy. I will never curse them away. But I’ve changed so much as a person through this journey, I don’t quite recognize who I was before all of this happened. Sometimes it results in a more reserved, reflective form of myself who shys away from uncertainty. These waves of isolation represent more than I think they do though. Maybe I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. Feeling isolated is not the same thing as feeling different. Isolation is really something you create yourself. It is not just a byproduct of circumstance. It is a closed state of mind, an un-celebration, if you will, of what makes you bold and beautiful. Maybe isolation isn’t that you think other people won’t understand you, but that you aren’t fully understanding yourself.

I’m mainly writing this down so I don’t forget what I’m now understanding, however rambled sounding it may be. Isolation is a choice. It can be a detriment, or it can be a catalyst to challenge the status-quo of your own life. If I had given in to feelings of isolation before, would I have ever reached out and started this blog? No. Would I be snapping photos and contributing to a magazine I love? No. Would I be a freelance writer? Certainly not. Today, I’m using this understanding to go even further towards what I might be unsure of and what might seem challenging to me.

I was just going to end this post on that note, by was struck by a strong memory. In one of the first conversations I ever had with my now fiance, he said something simple yet profound.

Life isn’t waiting, so neither am I.

Funny how fragments of life well lived come back in the moments when you really need to see them the most.

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Almond Orange Blueberry Muffins (Grain-free)

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My mom is an excellent baker. She might tell you otherwise, but that’s expected. She’s so humble and extraordinarily kind…I wish I was better at emulating her example. When my sister and I were little, she would get us both involved in baking pastries and cookies. I specifically remember her teaching me to roll out the dough for pie crusts, and me sneakily nibbling on the forbidden dough. I’d usually get caught doing that or licking the cookie dough bowl and get a stern, “Bethany Marie! There’s raw eggs in there, you know better than that..” Whoops…sorry Mom.

I remember us loving her lemon poppy seed muffins and classic blueberry muffins. My own version of the blueberry muffins has a sweet citrus twist from organic orange oil that I think plays well with the berries and hints of warm vanilla and cinnamon. My mom doesn’t live near here, but I’d like to think they’d be Mom approved. And you’d be proud, mom. I didn’t lick the bowl….this time. I love you for all you’ve taught me through the years. You’re simply the best.

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Almond Orange Blueberry Muffins (grain-free)

This recipe is free of: Gluten, Grains, Soy, Dairy, Peanuts, Legumes, Yeast, and Sugar.

Yields: 9 or 10 muffins.

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 30 – 35 drops Stevia (liquid) or more if you like it sweeter.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil. I use Simply Organics orange flavor. If you like it fruitier, add 1 teaspoon instead.
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (other non-dairy or dairy milks can be used instead).
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (or about 4 to 5 blueberries per muffin).
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (except blueberries) and set aside. Combine the wet ingredients (except blueberries) and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined. I did not need to use an electric mixer. Carefully stir in the blueberries until combined, being sure not to squish them too much. (**An alternative way would be to pour the batter into the muffin tin first, then add 4 to 5 blueberries per muffin).
  3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or lightly oil the tin to prevent sticking. I used liners, but the muffins did stick a little to them until they cooled completely. I was able to peel the liners with no problem after waiting several hours for cooling.
  4. Pour the batter into the muffin tin evenly. I used about 1/3 cup measuring cup for this.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until muffins have risen and are golden brown on top. Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin to make sure they’re done. If the toothpick comes out clean, they’re ready. Let cool and serve with butter or orange marmalade.

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Homemade Buckwheat Soba Noodles (Vegan)

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I find it the sweetest thing when someone makes something for you, whether it’s a card, a hand-crafted gift basket, or a meal from scratch. While writing my fiance a Valentine’s note in his native Russian language, I got to thinking about how last year’s Valentine’s day. Around that time, I was making gluten-free heart shaped ravioli and experimenting with different delicious fillings. This year, I’m surprising my fiance with homemade buckwheat soba noodles. He actually was the one who introduced me to buckwheat years ago. He would recall his childhood memories growing up in Belarus (eastern Europe) and often eating buckwheat porridge with his grandparents. I thought I’d bring back some of those familiar flavors for him with this earthy al dente pasta from scratch. And really, what beats fresh pasta? Especially when it’s protein rich, delicious, & secretly healthy.

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Top buckwheat soba noodles with a classic spicy red tomato sauce or dress it with a refreshing dill yogurt sauce for a Greek twist. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day, and remember; it’s only a Hallmark holiday if you let it be one! Make something from the heart <3

Dill Yogurt Sauce with buckwheat soba

Buckwheat Soba Noodles (Vegan)

This recipe is free of: Gluten, Soy, Dairy, Peanuts, Eggs, Processed Sugar, & Legumes.

Yield: About 2 large servings of pasta

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed meal
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon garlic powder or onion powder for flavor
  1. To make the dough, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Grab the dough and press together to form one large ball of dough.
  2. Kneed the dough using your hands for a few minutes. If the dough seems too dry, add a little more water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time). If it’s too wet, add a little more buckwheat flour.
  3. Dust a cutting board with buckwheat flour (and optional garlic/onion powder) to prevent sticking. Roll out dough until it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick. Trim the sides until you get a nice rectangle shape. Take a chef’s knife or pizza cutter and slice the dough into desired thickness for noodles (about 1/8 inch across).
  4. Let the noodles sit for a few minutes while you bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and drizzle some olive oil into it to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
  5. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft, but still a little firm. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Immediately drizzle with olive oil or other desired oil to prevent sticking. Top with desired Red pasta sauce or Easy Dill Yogurt Sauce (recipe below!)

 

Easy Dill Yogurt Sauce (Dairy-free)

  • 1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt, or dairy-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (I used dried dill, 1/2 tablespoon for a more subtle flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Serve on the side of buckwheat soba noodles or drizzle on top.

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