Category: Other

Channeling My Inner Child in the Kitchen

I happened to run into Tiffany Hinton, author of many beautiful gluten free (+many other allergen-free!) cookbooks, at the Bountiful Eatery (gluten free, healthy quick food restaurant in Chicago) anniversary party a few weeks ago. She graciously offered to send me an electronic edition of her recent publication, Kid Approved: Mom Certified,  as long as I promised to hit the kitchen with it! Here’s my review of a recipe I made (with some adjustments to make it more diabetes-friendly): Apple Crisp!

To lay out my alterations up front, I used about half of the recommended amount of sugar, half of the brown sugar, extra cinnamon (yum) and Chex Instant Oats! I noted the recipe called for 1/2 cup of GF rolled oats, but (first) I didn’t have oats sitting around and (second) the only bag at my local grocery store was enormous and almost 20 dollars! I eat the Chex oatmeal packages often before I hit the gym, so I made the substitution for convenience and cost-sake.

A few things I learned from my creation experience–while the cook book is made to be kid-friendly, many of the recipes (including the crisp) definitely need adult help for things like peeling and cutting apples. I also made note to cut the apples thinner next time, rather than just the width that comes from an apple slicer. The instructions weren’t specific, so it was a learning experience. Lastly, the recipe needs to bake much longer to have the delightful gooey apple consistency. I left the glass dish in the oven for 70 minutes, but I believe it could have used at least 20-30 minutes longer.

Overall, the cookbook let me channel my inner kid, as the recipes were simple yet enticing with many ‘kid-food’ ideas,  and I look forward to exploring Tiffany’s publications that are more geared toward someone who is a more experienced cook/baker!

See below for some pre- and post- pictures of my baking! Don’t forget, serve a la mode (I used Lactaid Vanilla 🙂 )

Take it easy, but take it.


Pre-Cooked Top View
Pre-Cooked Top View
Pre-Cooked Side View--look at those layers!
Pre-Cooked Side View–look at those layers!
Browned and ready to eat!
Browned and ready to eat!
Love baked apples! (ps- they really don't need a lot of addition sugar, regardless of recipe!)
Love baked apples! (ps- they really don’t need a lot of addition sugar, regardless of recipe!)

Midterm Madness Meals

Never have I agreed with a random tweet more: “Meals during midterms are whatever can end up in your bag in under 60 seconds.” As the fall semester of my junior year in biomedical engineering and pre-medicine pushes on, I’m coming to learn the glory that is creating a quick meal at the end of a hectic day full of circuits, thermodynamics, biochemistry, quantitative physiology, and MCAT class.

It’s mid-term season. Days run from 9am-11pm, engineers are falling asleep on the busses to the engineering campus, and the cold air is not helping. But, a diabetic-celiac always has to have a plan A. And a plan B. And a plan C.

Plan A: Wake up early to save time to pack a nice lunch and take out food from the freezer for dinner. Well, losing sleep for making a sandwich was not going to happen this week.

Plan B: Take food out before going to sleep, including preparing most of lunch and something simple for next day dinner. Well, after 7 hours of class, 4 hours of office hours, 2 busses, last minute homework, and running a load of laundry so I have something to wear for the next marathon-esque day, a hot shower and crashing on my three [yes, three] fluffy pillows happened before I could think about food.

Plan C: The “Oh man, I have no idea what I’m doing about food and I’m starved” plan. The “I just walked in my apartment and realized I haven’t planned a single thing for dinner” plan. The “I only managed to pack an apple, a few cheese sticks, an Enjoy Life bar, and a packet of oatmeal, which I didn’t even have time to find hot water for, was my lunch today and now it’s already time to eat again” plan. Well, that’s definitely happened a few times this week. But, I figured I’d share my glorious plan for dinner after my MCAT class tonight and before I finish that darn circuits homework due tomorrow. Yay for plan C.

So, most often, I just have a bunch of packages of frozen veggies in my fridge by this far out since my last grocery run, but today I realized I still had a few asparagus spears left from the other night, a bell pepper, and some onion. Plus, I’ve always got Tyson Grilled and Ready Diced Chicken on hand–which has been a life saver when beautiful protein is ready from freezer to plate in 1.5 minutes. So, what better than a southwestern-style pizza on an Udi’s crust?!

This is what’s going to end up in the oven at 9 pm, leaving me about 25 minutes to get work done ’til the timer goes off:

-Udi’s Crust

-BBQ sauce [not pizza sauce!]

-Mexican Shredded Cheese Blend

-Diced Onion and Bell Pepper

-Cut up leftover asparagus

-Tyson Grilled and Ready Diced Frozen Chicken

And, like I mentioned, about 25 minutes in the oven [be sure you spray the baking sheet or it sticks!] and I’ll have an ideal Plan C.

Please let me know if you have similar crazy schedule quick meal ideas! I’d love to repost them.

As always, take it easy but take it.


“A Gluten Nightmare.”

I think there’s a moment when you truly know that a non-Celiac, or non-diabetic,  just *gets it*.

Maybe it’s when he/she decides to order gluten free at a restaurant because you are, but that already happened with this person, and for some reason, it didn’t have that *gets it* moment.

Maybe it’s when he/she spots gluten free menus at restaurants even when you’re not around, but again, didn’t have that  *gets it* moment with this one either.

Maybe it’s when he/she recognizes three buzzes as dropping and two buzzes as rising when your Dex is sitting in the other room and heads for the juice or reaches for your pouch with syringes and insulin–well, that was the non-diabetic *got it* moment.

Today, was the non-celiac *gets it* moment.


I went to a Chicago Cubs game with my father today, as my birthday gift for him, and sat in the boiling hot, but ultra-fun bleacher seats. As we endured the high heat, a short drizzle, and then some more high heat, we had some Redbridge Gluten Free Beer, some pistachios, and a Cubs loss. However, not without *bum, bum, bum* a “gluten nightmare.”

I asked the *gets it* guy what I should blog about today, after he’d told me I need to be more on top of blog writing, to keep up with my followers, and I know he’s entirely right, and I recognize I’ve been overly MIA, but accelerated organic chemistry does tend to have that affect on life–a total sucker. But, in the simple words of the *get it* guy, this should be my post topic:


“Went to the ball game and got beer splashed all over me. Gluten nightmare.”



Now, when I told him this happened, I just complained about the drunken idiot who managed to spill two full beers all over my legs and feet [luckily not my head], but never gave a gluten-anger anecdote. He not only picked up on it, but provided me with a fantastic blog topic, and also a way to sneak in a bit of thought on another topic.

For all of the ignorant people you may meet in your life, and I guarantee many will be in your college existence as I am finding out, there will be at least one out there who *gets it*. I’m fortunate to have found a few of these, most of whom make it into my blog in some way or another, but my point is not to abandon ship on finding friends, and important people, in your lives that *get it* despite being totally unaffected by whatever your *it* or *them* may be.


I realize my writing has left this ominous presence of some male in my life who is finding his way to *getting it* [and not in that way!]  and that you don’t know much else about this person. But on a diabetic-celiac blog about my college life, I think that’s all you really need.


Take it easy, but take it.



The non-diabetic highs of life.


It is absolutely pathetic that I have been entirely MIA for now seemingly endless weeks. Here’s a quick rundown of life since last post:

-finish sophomore year at UM: check.

-have a decent GPA: check.

-get home and decide to take a few weeks off of CGM-ing [spurred by a broken monitor]: check. [skin is screaming “thank you!”]

-be able to run a 5k by the end of July for the Big 10 5K in Chicago: currently at 2.5 miles. getting closer.

-give a speech at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center benefit: check.

-get asked to speak again at the University of Chicago Discovery and Outreach event for donors: check.

-trudge through the first of two six week sessions of organic chemistry: unfortunately, check-in-progress. bleh.

-turn all patient experiences into becoming the optimal patient care intern at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago: check.

Speaking at the UChicago Discovery and Outreach Event!
Speaking at the UChicago Discovery and Outreach Event!
Speaking at the UChicago Celiac Disease Center Benefit--Spring Flours! [ps-I love high stilettos--they've become a personal trademark!]
Speaking at the UChicago Celiac Disease Center Benefit–Spring Flours! [ps-I love high stilettos–they’ve become a personal trademark!]
Life has become yet another whirlwind of driving up and down Lakeshore Drive, absorbing insane organic molecule structures which at some point, definitely give off an aura of make-believe, and beginning my summer internship at the RIC.

There’s a certain type for elation that only a chronic patient can have when working with other patients–a main reason I want to go into medicine down the line. Though I cannot disclose the particulars of my internship and work at RIC, working on the spinal cord injury floor has given me a new appreciation for life and all that I do have going for me. It’s important that, though as chronic illness patients we do definitely struggle, we recognize that we are, in the grand scheme of things, extraordinarily lucky and that life can change in an instant–as it has for many of the patients who I work with, many of whom I now can call friends of my own.


In the diabetic-celiac world, quick finger pricks between patient rooms, in the parking garage before a gluten free packed lunch on the road to class, in the middle of class before my little bag of pistachios as a snack, on the side of the workout room before my bootcamp workout class starts after organic chemistry ends and I battle traffic home, with all the injections in between are the norm right now. Though admittedly the Dexcom could alleviate some of the hassle, because my stress is much lower in the summer, I have decided to give my arms a much needed break–and an added bonus of losing awkward tan lines!

I was also recently diagnosed with a few serious, anaphylactic allergies, so reading ingredients labels has begun all over again as I have to check my once favorite foods for a new list of no-no’s including shellfish [which I never ate anyway] and oregano/marjoram [which I have determined as absolutely impossible as companies decide to label their ingredients as “spices” to protect their special, secret recipes forcing me to spend endless time on hold with dozens of companies–ugh.]


All in all, life is good. I don’t have to worry about groceries, dinner plans, or blood sugars on my own [my mom has absolutely made massive changes to my insulin regimen that have drastically overhauled my too-comfortable higher range mid-day blood sugars and I couldn’t be happier.] The biggest frustration I’ve had recently was attending a music festival at Northwestern University last weekend, heavy backpack on my shoulders all day long (but a new, cute backpack!) that decided to bleed black ink from the design all over my shoulders and new shirt. As if it weren’t already difficult enough. The company is replacing my backpack, the dry cleaner is working on my shirt, and my skin is no longer tinted black so things are on the mend. I did determine, however, that the BEST method for keeping insulin cold all day in the sun is to buy the cheap, one-use, crushable ice packs and to break a new one every 3-4 hours. My insulin was almost colder than the refrigerator in my friend’s dorm room all day long. #diabeteshacks

Have supplies, will travel! Enjoying "Dillo Day" at Northwestern with an old friend who specifically cleaned her fridge for me!
Have supplies, will travel! Enjoying “Dillo Day” at Northwestern with an old friend who specifically cleaned her fridge for me!


Take it easy, but take it. I’d love to hear from you guys about things you want to read about, questions, your lives–anything.



PS- My mom is famous for her cheesecake, for decades. I’ve taken it upon myself to work on perfecting the art of a cheesecake and made one recently for her birthday; it was absolutely delicious!


Yum, cheesecake with strawberries and a raspberry glaze.
Yum, cheesecake with strawberries and a raspberry glaze.


that awkward moment when you meet someone, busy munching a bagel, who reaches toward me for a handshake. uh…yeah, no thanks.


don’t give me gluties.


Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 9.42.52 PM


take it easy, but take it–sans gluties.