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5 tips to stocking a gluten-free pantry

To start, let me just say, being gluten-free is no snack at the beach. It’s time-consuming, expensive, and a general pain. But, for many of us, it’s a necessity of life. I decided to eat gluten-free about a year and a half ago, after nearly a decade of misery that was quickly leading me to hate food. When I finally switched to a gluten-free diet, I realized just how much I was consuming, and why I was miserable all of the time. Gluten is like a little mouse in your house, hiding in the tiniest, most unassuming places, so if you have decided to change your lifestyle and rid yourself of this persistent pest, here is a list of what to buy, and what to watch out for.

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My Thyroid Cancer Journey

Three and a half years ago I was diagnosed with cancer, albeit the “good” kind: thyroid. Considered “good” because it is the only type of cancer that doctors ever use the word “cured” with. I kept a journal during my ordeal in order to keep my friends and family updated during my surgery and recovery; and also with the hope to reach out to others who are newly diagnosed, to give them some comfort when they just don’t understand what’s happening with their bodies during their ordeals. Today I relish life because I am cured. Here is my story.

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“A” is for Apple

I’m taking a food writing course this fall, hoping to hone my writing skills and discover more about myself as a potential food writer. Yesterday’s “Writing Prompt” (a fifteen-minute daily excercise) really hit me on who I am as a whole. The prompt is this: “Much has been made of the apple as cultural and literary symbol.  Write your own apple memory– be it the first apple pie you made, planting an apple tree (you Johnny Appleseed, you!), apple streudel, apple eaten down to the core, apple blossom parade or festival (there really are such things), drawing an apple on construction paper, the Wicked Witch’s apple in Snow White, apple whatever.”

Here’s my response:

I wish I could say that when prompted by the word “apple” that it conjures memories of the iconic fruit — so engrained in our society and culture through fairy tales, fables and lunch boxes. I could say that it harkens me back to my grandmother’s apple orchard, and her homemade applesauce that to this day, I cannot find any that compares. That I was always the first one served the steaming, fresh-from-the-pot sauce because I was a chubby kid and I wasn’t allowed to have sugar in mine.

I could say that it reminds me of the first time I ever visited my husband’s parent’s house and I picked an apple from their crabapple tree, not knowing that crabapples must be the spawn of the Sour Patch Kids.

I could also say that “apple” reminds me of learning to type in school on an old Brother electric typewriter, the hum of which is still stuck in my head. That the word “APPLE” was one of the first words they had us type in order to limber our fingers while learning the QWERTY keyboard.

Alas, no. None of these things come to mind immediately when hearing the word “apple”. These are memories that had to be dug out and re-cultivated. For me, when I hear “Apple”, it’s inherent meaning is my computer. My livlihood. Apple Computer. Macintosh. For over twenty years, I’ve had one incarnation or another of an Apple computer, usually several at one time, and cannot imagine my life without it. My first being an Apple II SE, a tiny all-in-one unit with a 12″ black and white screen and a whopping 20MB hard drive, which by the way, is displayed proudly on a shelf — I never had the heart to get rid of it. So even though the apple is the daddy of all fruits, that which keeps the doctor away, or poisons wayward princesses, to me, it’s home for another reason. It sustains me as a designer and every morning when I sit down at my desk and look at that little apple with the bite out of its right side, I know that today, life is good.