Archives for September 2011

Blog Redesign

As you can see… we redesigned my blog!! What do you think? I love it. I’m so glad that I happen to be married to such an awesome web designer, otherwise I don’t think I could afford such a customized blog design.

The blog redesign was initially Jesse’s idea. Since my last design he has been to several design conferences and his design skills have improved greatly. He suggested that I really should think about making some changes to update the look of my blog. At first I said no because I hate change and I still liked the old design. Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that some changes would really be an improvement.

Old blog design

Apparently, I happen to be one of Jesse’s more picky “clients.” But that’s only because I see all of the sites he has created so I know what he is capable of doing. I also know from experience that he can make my blog display just about anything that I’ve dreamed up in my head. While we were working he kept trying to tell me things couldn’t be done… but then he figured out how to do them. I’m helping him broaden his skills even more.

The main goal of the design was to create a much simpler look. We thought that there was just too much color that was drawing attention away from the actual content. Now I still have a cute, crafty, custom look that is less busy and easier to read. We’ve added a couple new features: the sidebar now has a few affiliate links and links to other sites I use and we added a shop button in the menu bar to share some of my favorite allergy-free snacks and treats!

I’m very happy with our finished product and hope you like it too! Thanks for making me a new site, Jesse!

The Year of Allergies

I realized that one year ago today was when I went in for my allergy testing and this crazy journey first began. I still remember how it felt like my life would never be normal again. After a year of allergy-free living, I can finally say that I do feel normal again and that it was worth the trouble.

The actual testing experience is something that I hope I never have to experience again, it was no fun at all. My results got me signed up for allergy shots as a therapy, which completely overwhelmed my immune system and were soon discontinued.

Allergy test

The most surprising and helpful solution is the diet changes that I’ve made. When I started the caveman diet I thought it was temporary… until I saw how much better eating that way made me feel. As I result of the diet, I’ve had to learn a whole new way cooking. I now have to make everything from scratch and I love it! No one needs all those chemicals and such added to their food anyways.

Lemon juiceSquash layer

This year we’ve been quite adventurous with our food choices, trying new meats and fish that neither of us had ever eaten before. I’ve also been forced to figure out how to buy, prepare, and eat many new vegetables that I used to walk right past in the grocery store.

Butternut squash

Substitutions has been the name of the game around our kitchen. I’m always testing recipes to see what I can eliminate or replace. Now that I’ve discovered so many alternative grains and sweets, I’m convinced that I’ll never go back to the way we were eating before.

New foods

Even though we have tried to make the best of my diagnosis, it hasn’t been easy. When we first started buying all these new foods to try our grocery bill was through the roof. It has taken a lot of time and energy to keep our grocery budget under control. It’s been hard on my body too. A complete and instant diet change freaked out my metabolism. Without trying I lost a lot of pounds very quickly leaving many people thinking there was something wrong with me even though I was constantly eating. Now I think my body has adjusted and I’ve leveled out a little. I’m much smaller than I used to be, but I’m happy where I’m at now.

Looking back, I can’t believe I waited as long as I did to get this allergy stuff figured out. I remember having constant headaches and stomach pains. I remember feeling so nauseated that I often spent hours in bed each evening, too sick to do anything else. I’m glad what was wrong with me was so fixable. I can’t believe how allergy-free I have felt through this spring and summer! The seasonal, outdoor allergies still bother me too, but not as much as the foods did.

All the extra work in eating meals and avoiding foods is nothing compared to feeling so much healthier than I used to. It truly is not hard to say no to foods that I know will make me feel sick. My allergy-free life rocks!

Veggie Tales

I’ve mentioned that we were lucky to be able to leave the farm with lots of fresh produce to bring home and enjoy. We have been eating very healthily as I come up with creative ways to use up everything we were given. The other night we had two new vegetables that I had not cooked or eaten before. We enjoyed both of them.

I was really looking forward to trying my first butternut squash and I was not disappointed. I have three squash so I found three recipes that I want to make with them. Jesse had his mind set that he did not like butternut squash so I was extra determined to find a recipe that he would enjoy… and I did. I win!!

I started by cutting the squash in half lengthwise and scooping out the seeds. Then I peeled off the skin.

Butternut squash

I cut each half into small cubes and tossed them in olive oil.

Cubed squash

Then I spread them out on a cookie sheet. In retrospect, it would have been much better to use a dish to cook them in. I thought the cookie sheet would leave them farther apart to help them get crispier, but they were quite juicy and leaked onto the bottom of my oven.

Cooking squash

I drizzled just a tad of honey and sprinkled salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little chili powder on top. They cooked at 375 for about 25 minutes.

Finished squash

They were delicious! It tasted very similar to when I make roasted potatoes, you almost couldn’t tell it was squash if not for the color. It was very tasty and I can’t wait to try my other squash recipes.

I also had a turnip to figure out how to use. I had tried a piece raw before we left the farm so I thought we should try it cooked too. I boiled it until it was soft and mashed it. Then I cooked some carrots and green onions in olive oil and stirred in the mashed turnip. It’s kinda funny if you can imagine Jesse and I sharing one turnip… but it was enough to give us a taste. It was fine, tasted pretty much the same as mashed potatoes. We ate and enjoyed it, but I don’t feel the need to have turnips again any time soon.


Those are my veggie tales for this week. Any favorite recipes that I need to make with my remaining squash?