Homemade Food-Processor Mayonnaise

I’ve found that gluten-free mayonnaise can be difficult to find. Hellmann’s makes good store-bought mayonnaise and label it as gluten free. However, with Jacob having so many other allergies – soy, dairy, etc., I had to find a way to get around store-bought mayonnaise. Luckily, my parents gave me a Julia Child cookbook. Here is her recipe for food-processor mayonnaise. So easy and so yummy!! Jacob compares it to a milder form of Bloomin’ Onion sauce from Outback Steakhouse. Hmm … now I’m craving steak!

1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon-type mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Several grinds of pepper
Seasoning to taste: I like to add a little bit of garlic, paprika, and dill
1 cup vegetable or olive oil

1. Break whole egg into the container of a food processor (or electric blender), add 2 egg yolks, and process 30-45 seconds, or until thick and lemon colored. This allows the eggs to “absorb” and “bind” to the oil.

2. With the machine running, add the lemon juice (or vinegar), mustard, salt, pepper and seasonings.

3. Still with the machine running, and by very small dribbles at first, start adding up to 2 cups of olive oil and/or vegetable oil. After about 1/2 cup has gone in, add the oil a little faster, until you have a thick mayonnaise. Taste carefully, processing in lemon or vinegar and seasonings as needed.

Refrigerate in a covered container; the sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Posted in Corn-Free, Dairy-Free, Fructose-Free, Lacto-Vegetarian, Meals Under $5, Nut-Free, Ovo-Vegetarian, Paleo/Primitive - Safe, Pescatarian, Recipes, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegetarian (lacto-ovo-vegetarian) | Leave a comment

Happy New Year!

While the new year typically brings resolutions, we don’t do resolutions in our house. The no resolution mantra is two-fold. First, if something needs a resolution, why wait to one time a year? And second, many resolutions fail … especially if you try to change too many things at once and don’t have a cemented plan. Therefore, instead of resolutions, we have goals.

Some of my goals this year include:

1. More blogging! My goal is at least three times a week. To help achieve this, I’ve made some weekly topics, like Tidy Tuesdays (cleaning ideas), Wordless Wednesdays (help me bring my camera back out of hiding), and Frugal Fridays.

2. Red more novels. I love to read. Now that I’m actually getting my life back and will have time for ME, I will be reading more. Murder mystery. Suspense. Sci-fi. How-To books. Looks like I should dust off my library card. After I get done reading a book, I’ll post a little review about it here.

3. Become active again in a women’s fellowship/Bible study group at church. In fact, the new year’s women’s fellowship start this Wednesday! Looks like I’m in luck. One evening a week to fellowship with friends, while discussing invigorating topics. The 8-week study starting this week is on the book of Galatians. Women’s groups are great for support, prayer, and friendships!

4. Host a once-monthly young adult pot-bless in our home. We tried doing this last year with several couples and it lasted a few months. It is always a fun time. Good food. Good friends. Good discussions. Too often, people our age get tied up at work and in our own personal lives. Taking some time to join our friends helps us step out of our normal routine. Expand and strengthen friendships. I think the first or last Saturday or Sunday of the month would be a good fit. We plan on inviting one family at a time. That way it’s more personal.

5. Bring back game nights. Some couples have date night. Jacob and I have game night. Typically on a Friday night, we will play a game – whether that’s a board game, card game, or online. It’s a time to unwind from the week (no doing homework on Friday nights!) and prepare for the weekend. And it’s also a time to spend with each other (just the two of us). We usually end up giggling a lot, too. Sometimes game nights may be replaced with movie nights.

What are your goals for the year? How will you reach them? Are they attainable? What is your support system?

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So Much News!!

Well, the new year has come. And with it, a wonderful upper respiratory infection, which I so lovingly shared with Jacob. Fortunately, I am on the mend and feeling much better. In the past few weeks, a lot has changed, so I will do my best to update everyone.

We spent Christmas in St. Louis with Jacob’s family (which is where we got sick). What can I say, we are a sharing family!! To be truthful, it’s my own fault I got sick. We found out a few months ago that in addition to gluten, I’m also allergic to conventional milk (organic is ok) and soy. Milk isn’t a big one for me, but I do enjoy soy … and it’s in a lot of things, including vegan chili. During our holiday, I consumed untold amounts of soy (unknown until it was too late). Typically, soy will give me asthma – either immediate or delayed-onset. I believe the soy sent my immune system into overdrive. When I encountered the germs, my immune system was already on attack and couldn’t handle one more thing … so I got sick.

It should be noted that soybean oil and soy lecithin DO NOT contain soy. While they are made from soybeans, the soy protein is removed or denatured during the process and should not cause allergic reactions. Most autoimmune reactions are to the food’s specific protein. Avoid the protein, avoid the reaction. I believe the conventional milk reaction is due to the chemicals/drugs they use on the cows and how they treat the milk.

We ended up coming back home a day early. Jacob took me to Urgent Care, where the on-call physician uttered, “Eww. Oh dear,” when she looked at me and hear my lungs. She prescribed Prednisone (steroid) for nasal and pulmonary inflammation and amoxicillin. After about 5 days on antibiotics, I wasn’t seeing any difference, so I traveled to see my GP of 5 years. She, along with my pharmacist, said everyone around here has bronchitis/sinus infections. Yippee. She gave me new antibiotics and cough syrup with codeine. If this didn’t work, it was a virus that I’d just have to wait out. Fortunately, the meds worked!! I still have some nasal congestion and a cough, but for me, the cough is always the last thing to leave. It also helped that I took the whole week off from work. I couldn’t imagine going to work while I was so sick. Besides, working in public health, most employers are willing to let you stay home if you feel ill.

I am, however, looking forward to going back to work next week … which leads me to the next big change. For those of you close to me, you know the troubles I’ve been having at work. In research, we work on what is called “soft money,” or salaries funded by government grants. With the national deficit and budget restrictions, it was only a matter of time before the lower-levels started to feel the pinch. As such, our 2012 budget was cut by over half a million dollars! And, as a temporary employee, I was one of the first on the chopping block. My appointment was supposed to be from May 2011 to November 2011. However, my boss was able to extend my appointment – a month at a time – through January 2012. Since we had the budget talks in October, I have been actively searching for another job. In this economy and in this area of the nation, it is difficult to find a job for someone with my experience and credentials (masters in public health, primary experience in research). I also wanted to be a bit picky – I was tired of commuting 40 minutes each way (gas is expensive!) and I was tired of working on soft money. Finding a new job every 6-12 months is not fun. I went out on a limb and applied for some positions in Cedar Rapids. I wasn’t sure I’d qualify, but I went for it. I applied for about 40 positions. Most turned back with, “We hired someone else,” or “You don’t qualify exactly.”

Two weeks before Christmas, I had my first and only interview. As a close friend told me, “It only takes one!” The interview was at Mercy Medical Center Cedar Rapids for a histotechnologist position. While I’m not a certified histotechnologist (yet), I am qualified to certify, meaning, I’ve taken all the classes and I’ve had enough experience to take the national certification exam. The position would be preparing and processing tissue samples (from cancer biopsies and autopsies, etc.) for the pathologist. With a new cancer center opening up this spring, they are expecting a huge influx of samples. The interview was held with the team of women I’d be working with. They are a wonderful, fun bunch of women. Shortly after the new year, I was offered the position!! I will be starting on January 16th (exactly 1 month after my interview). My hours would be from 0530 to 1030 or later, if needed (depending on amount of tissue to process). While the hours are cut (almost by half) and the pay is slightly less than what I’m getting now, God proves to provide.

Here is the perfect example. 1) My position was extended just long enough for me to get another job, without being unemployed. 2) My new position is part-time, with the option of going full-time if things ramp up dramatically. 3) Jacob was denied a promotion at work this year, but got a large raise instead. His raise covers exactly the income that we lost with my position. 4) As a part time position, I will now have time to spend outside in my garden, be the housewife I love to be, and start my business. Because all of this was in God’s timing, it all worked out – even better than I could have imagined!!

And this leads me to the next bit of news. After a lot of talking, research, and thinking, Jacob and I have decided to open up a gluten-free bakery out of our own kitchen. I owe this idea to friends at the University of Iowa. After tasting my gluten free desserts and seeing my love of baking, they kept encouraging me (Thanks Kris and Jenell!). While I haven’t started the paperwork process yet, it will start soon (probably in February). The bakery will be called: Maple Tree Bakery, specializing in gluten-free goodies. Since our house is entirely gluten free, there is less likelihood of contamination at-site. And I’m very careful about where I obtain my ingredients. The bakery will first be posted on Facebook as a page and then a website will follow. Ideally, it will be a per-order basis. If you want something made with a decent amount of start time, e-mail me or call me and I’ll get it made. The website will be pretty intricate with choices, allergy options, etc. The spring/summer will bring the opportunity to sell these items at the local farmer’s markets, too. I hope to be able to advertise with the gluten free group of eastern Iowa and by word-of-mouth.

Basically, I’m getting the best of both worlds … I get the mornings to myself (4am wake up call), my science genes are satisfied at the hospital, my cooking/baking/gardening/housekeeping genes are satisfied at home during the afternoon and with the bakery.

Posted in Adjusting, Traveling | Leave a comment

Brew Day Preparations

The most important aspect of brewing is not the ingredients or the method, but rather how clean your equipment is. All equipment that comes in contact with the beer after the boil must be sanitized.

We typically clean all our equipment before and after a batch. While we’re brewing on Saturday, we don’t want to wait around and clean all the equipment before we brew. We typically clean a few days in advance.

1. Wash the brew pot, spoon, measuring cup, tablespoon, yeast jar with a lid, and a thermometer. We use our dishwasher on the rinse cycle and heat sterilize.

2. Wash all of the bottles and a satellite fermenter with a natural soap. Rinse with distilled water (available at grocery stores). Sterilize in the oven. Over the tops with squares of foil and place in a cold oven. Heat to 340 degrees F and keep in there for 1 hour. Let cool on it’s own. Do not open the door. Opening the door may cause a draft to sweep in, changing the temperature of the glass too quickly, causing them to shatter.

3. Wash the fermenting buckets, tubing, and airlock with a natural soap and sanitize with 95% alcohol (500mL of Everclear and 300mL of water in a spray bottle). Cover the items with foil and keep covered until ready to use on brew day.

Posted in Cleaning, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Lacto-Vegetarian, Nut-Free, Ovo-Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Products, Soy-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian (lacto-ovo-vegetarian) | Leave a comment


Hello friends!
I apologize for not writing anything for a while. Recently, I found out that I will be losing my research job. Currently, the end date of my position is December 22nd, but it *may* be extended. As such, any time spent online is searching for jobs, applying, and waiting.

I miss blogging and sharing! I hope to get back into it soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pumpkin Spice & All Things Nice (GF Ale)

All equipment that comes in contact with your beer after the boil (liquid is called wort – pronounced wert) must be sanitized.

5.5 oz (~2 cups) GF oats (90 min)
6.6 lb sorghum extract/syrup (60 min)
3 oz molasses (60 min)
1 oz bittering hops (45 min) – Perle pellets, 7.5% acid
2 lb 2 oz pumpkin puree (30 min)
30 oz pumpkin pie filling (30 min)
1 oz finishing hops (15 min) – Centennial pellet hops, 10.3% acid
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp ginger (10 min)
1/2 cinnamon sticks (10 min)
2 tsp vanilla (10 min) – rehydrate yeast about now
1 oz aroma hops (5 min) – Centennial pellet hops, 10.3% acid
8 oz maltodextrin or dextrose (5 min)
13 oz honey (flameout)

Priming steps:
1. Roast pumpkin at 350 for 1 hour to caramelize the sugars. Cool. Puree in food processor.

2. Roast oats at 350 until brown (approximately 20 minutes)

1. Add 2.5 gallons distilled water to brew pot. Heat to approximately 150-180F. Soak oats for 30 minutes.
2. Add 6.6 lb sorghum extract and 3 oz molasses to pot. Tun heat to “7” and bring to a boil. Takes about 60 minutes to boil. Stir to prevent scorching.
3. Place bitter hops in large tea ball (don’t compress). Add to brew pot when mix boils. Boil for 45 minutes.
4. Add pumpkin puree and pie filling with 30 minutes remaining. Stir every 5 minutes.
5. At 15 minutes, add finishing hops.
6. At 10 minutes, add in all the spices.
7. At 5 minutes, add in the aroma hops and dextrose.
8. Remove brew pot from heat. Add in honey and stir.
9. Place brew pot in ice bath in kitchen sink.Gently stir the wort to cool.
10. Add 2.5 gallons ice cold distilled water into fermenting bucket. Pour wort into fermenter and add yeast. Pour between pot & fermenter 2-3 times.
11. Secure lid and shake or rock for 5 minutes to aerate.
12. Reopen fermenter and remove enough wort to fill 2 satellite fermenters. Use sanitized cup and avoid touching the wort.
13. Replace lid and place airlock, which has been sanitized and filled with alcohol.
14. Ferment at 60-70F. Fermentation typically beings in 12-36 hours and continue for 3-14 days. Actual fermentation time depends on temperature, yeast strain, amount and type of fermentable sugars, etc.
15. Now that the fermenter is sealed & set aside, take your wort sample from the satellite fermenters and pour it into the hydrometer test tube, leaving the hydrometer in it, until the hydrometer floats. Record the specific (original) gravity and the potential alcohol readings. Pour the sample into an old beer bottle (satellite fermenter). It is used to take hydrometer readings without opening the fermenter. If the satellite becomes infected, the readings are still accurate.
16. About 5-7 days after brewing, take a hydrometer reading & record it. If the readings stay the same for 2 days, your femerntation is complete. If you’re unsure, do not bottle, error on the side of caution. To determine the alcohol content, subtract the final alcohol percentage from the original potential alcohol (6.5% – 1.2% = 5.3%). Once you’re confident that fermentation is complete, you can 1) allow the beer to sit for a few days to settle, then bottle, 2) transfer to a secondary fermenter for at least 5 days and then bottle, or 3) bottle immediately.

When bottling time comes, I’ll post on that, too. It’s so hard to wait!!!

Posted in Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Lacto-Vegetarian, Maple Tree Brewing Co., Ovo-Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian (lacto-ovo-vegetarian) | 1 Comment

Gluten Free Beer

Have you always wondered about brewing beer at home? It’s a very simple process. And it teaches you patience as you wait for the sugars to ferment to alcohol. But it’s worth the wait!! As a Celiac, the first thing I missed was my weekly beer!! I started a hunt for excellent gluten free beer. The best on-the-market beer I’ve found is AB’s Redbridge. But, I’m a bit biased as two of my uncles work at AB in St. Louis.

According to this press release from the Celiac Awareness Foundation and the makers of Budweiser, a Gluten Free Sorghum Beer is being manufactured for National Distribution:

ST. LOUIS (Dec. 20, 2006) – Adults who experience wheat allergies or who choose a wheat-free or gluten-free diet, now have a beer that fits their lifestyle. Redbridge is the first nationally available sorghum beer. Beginning today, Redbridge will be sold in stores carrying organic products and restaurants.

Redbridge is a hearty, full-bodied lager brewed using imported Hallertau and domestic Cascade hops. It is brewed with sorghum and has a well-balanced, moderately hopped taste.

“We set out to create a fine, hand-crafted specialty beer made without wheat or barley,” said Angie Minges, product manager, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “We’ve made Redbridge nationally available to make sure adults who experience wheat allergies or who choose a gluten-free or wheat-free diet can enjoy the kind of beer that fits their lifestyle.”
Redbridge contains 4.8 percent alcohol per 12-ounce serving. It will be available in 12 ounce, six-pack bottles. Redbridge is brewed at the Anheuser-Busch Merrimack, N.H., brewery.
“Brewing a beer made with sorghum was an exciting process,” says Kristin Zantop, brewmaster, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “We use only the highest quality ingredients to brew Redbridge as is the case with all our beers. Sorghum is the primary ingredient. We then use the lager brewing process using imported Hallertau and domestic Cascade hops without adding wheat or barley to give Redbridge its rich, hearty taste.”

Read more at the National Celiac Awareness Foundation website here:

While Redbridge is great, I was missing the variety of different beers. After a few months, my husband and I decided to try some home brewing and see how it turned out. While the initial cost of supplies was expensive, it was worth it. You may be able to get supplies at-cost or cheaper through someplace like Amazon or eBay. However, we wanted to get “clean” supplies so there was absolutely NO possibility of contamination.

To start, there are online stores (or local stores, if you live in a large city) that offer starter kits. We got ours from the Home Brewer’s Outpost. The kits usually contain the following items:

  • 6.5 Gallon Fermenting Bucket with Lid
  • 6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket with Spigot
  • 5 Gallon brew pot (stainless steel)
  • 3 Piece Airlock
  • One-Step No-rinse Sanitizer
  • Siphoning Package (Racking Cane, 4 ft. Hose & Springless Bottle Filler)
  • Liquid Crystal Thermometer
  • Triple Scale Hydrometer
  • Bucket Clip
  • Quality Bottle Capper
  • Bottle Brush
  • 21″ Stainless Steel Spoon
  • Fermtech Auto-Siphon
  • Step-by-step instructions

You’ll also need to purchase at least 48 bottles (hold about 5 gallons, which is a typical batch). Most bottles come with lids. Have fun with the bottles and labels. Instead of paper labels, which would have to be printed, glued on, and washed off between each batch, we opted for a more creative, although initially more time consuming, idea. We etched each of our bottles with our brewing name: “Maple Tree Brewing Co.” It also has our logo of a maple leaf (appropriate, right?!). That way, when we give away our beer to friends, they know the bottle is ours. We keep the types separate by colored dots on the lids. Since you can’t reuse lids (similar to canning lids), there is little waste.

The Home Brewer’s Outpost does offers gluten free kits that provide the sorghum syrup, priming sugars, hops, and yeast. I recommend using the kit the first time. It will help you get a “feel” for home brewing.

Our first batch was brewed in June 2011. We made 24 bottles of an orange-honey ale and another 24 of orange-ginger ale. The overwhelming majority loved the orange-honey ale. The orange-ginger was a little bitter and had a bit of a “soapy” after taste. It got better with age.

Our next batch – Pumpkin Spice Ale – is coming up this Saturday – just in time for the holidays! We are both very excited to be starting our second batch. Jacob is the brew master and I’m the assistant … although it’s a lot of team work. I’ll get into all of the details of brewing – how to clean your equipment, how to brew, the order and timing, and all the “technical” stuff. Once I find my brew book from the last batch, I’ll post the recipes on here, too. I’ll also be sure to take plenty of pictures to share. Be sure to visit my site on Sunday or Monday.

Posted in Adjusting, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Lacto-Vegetarian, Ovo-Vegetarian, Products, Recipes, Soy-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian (lacto-ovo-vegetarian) | 2 Comments