Thursday, February 27, 2014

Disneyland or Disney World? You decide!

So I read about this deal on and it's legit. I just bought it. It's not a scammy timeshare thing and there's no catch, except you have to pick one of the participating hotels, which you can see before you buy the deal. Really worth checking out. Here are the basics straight from the site:

What you need to know:
  • For just $139, get 2 round-trip plane tickets plus 2 one-day passes to your choice of Disneyland (Anaheim, CA) or Disney World (Orlando, FL) after you book your hotel accommodations through the One Stop Travel Agency - a fully-accredited ARC travel agency (A+ rating with BBB) that has provided exceptionally-valued vacations to millions of customers
  • Each voucher covers round-trip airfare for 2 adults or 1 adult and 1 child after booking accommodations at one of the participating hotels/resorts for the minimum nights required (minimum varies per hotel/resort); calculate minimum nights here prior to purchasing); review all terms and conditions here
  • Major airline carriers include American, Delta, and JetBlue
  • Trusted hotels include 3-, 4-, and 5-star options like award-winning Crowne Plaza Universal, Sheraton, Hilton, or Marriott
  • At Disney World, enjoy theme parks like Magic Kingdom®, Epcot®, and Disney's Animal Kingdom® 
  • Near Disney World is LEGOLAND, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, golf courses, and beaches
  • At Disneyland, visit Disneyland Park and the popular Disneyland California Adventure Park
  • Near Disneyland is Knott's Berry Farm amusement park, Angels Baseball games, Anaheim Ducks Hockey games, and famous Los Angeles beaches
  • Satisfaction guaranteed 

Also, use this link so I get the credit for sharing. Then share your own link so you get credit. Awe-some.

XX, A!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Coconut Chews - Gluten and Dairy Free

On a whim I decided to make a cookie recipe I spotted on Pinterest ages ago. The gal raved about them so I decided to trust her. The only problem was the cookie contained gluten and dairy. So I adapted the recipe and crossed my fingers they would turn out. And lo and behold they did! And they were every bit as good as she said they were. I am adding this one to the cookie repertoire, no doubt!

* Please note - you can replace the dairy free butter and gluten free flour/xantham gum with regular flour.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Coconut Chews
Recipe adapted from


1 cup Soy/Dairy Free Earth Balance Butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups shredded, unsulfured coconut
1.) Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together butter and sugars, until they are well-combined.
2.) Add one egg and mix until it’s fully incorporated. Then add the second egg and vanilla, and mix until everything is evenly incorporated.
3.) Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the wet mixture. Mix until well-distributed.
4.) Mix flour and xantham gum in small bowl. Add about 1/2 of the flour, and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of your bowl, and then add the second half of your flour, mixing again until just incorporated. You don’t want to over mix here, or you’ll end up with tough cookies.
5.) Add oats and coconut, mixing until they’re just incorporated.
6.) Roll dough into 1 inch balls - makes about 6 dozen cookies at this size.
7.) Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat liner, leaving about 2″ between each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are lightly brown, but the center is still light in color and puffy.
8.) Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack. Once they’re fully cooled, they can be stored in a ziploc bag or airtight container for up to a week.


XX, A!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

IC Girl Travels to Disneyland

First off - I have to apologize for the font being so wonky. Whenever I blog from my iPad weird things happen and I haven't yet figured out how remedy this. So bare with me. Now onto the post:

There is almost nothing more exhausting than traveling with IC - or any food allergy, I can imagine. From packing food, looking up where to eat or shopping for food, planning how you're going to cook things and store them, and talking to the chef at every restaurant you go it can be enough to deter you from wanting to travel. Not to mention, making sure you know where bathrooms are and dealing with flights, driving, etc. All of the above can make vacation a lot less relaxing, in all honesty. I have to admit I stress big time when I travel. And I especially did during this trip because I was just coming off of a lovely flare and was cruising the crimson wave, to quote one of my favorite movies. ;) There were definitely some rough moments and times I felt anxious about how I was feeling IC wise, but I powered through the best I could. I know if I could learn to relax a little more it would help. But the mind is a strong beast and fear creeps in before you even know it. Overall, I had a good time and stuck to the diet the best I could. My family is very understanding of my potty breaks, fears, and weird food habits so that helps a lot! Anyway, I thought I would share some of my travel tips/tricks in case they helped someone. And if anyone has anything (positive/useful) to add in the comments section below, please do!

IC Travel Tips - Disneyland Style:
While I didn't do this, I know it can help - call your airline ahead of time and ask to be seated by the bathrooms on the plane or at least in the aisle. This isn't always possible, but it can help alleviate the stress of worrying about getting up and bugging other passengers. I was mainly just really tense during the flight, but ended up being fine. My back hurt more than anything after the flight. 

Take a TENS unit. I had no problem getting mine on the plane. I called the airport ahead of time and they assured me I wouldn't and it was true. I never used it, but knowing I had it helped. 

Bring a heating pad or hand warmers. Just stick 'em down your pants and voila! This help can help relax tight belly muscles and warm you up. 

Take your own bottled water. Yes - you can take it on the plane. TSA just has to run a special test on it first. Do make sure it is unopened, however. Also, I always pack a couple of bottles in case I can't get to the store that night after we arrive. Most stores sell either Evian, Fiji, Eternal Water, etc. There are also PH drops you can buy to add to any type of water if you are sure you won't be able to find proper water. Also, Starbucks typically sells Fiji bottled water. So if you can find one (which isn't too hard, usually) they may have Fiji. 

Look up a local grocery store that you can take a taxi to or drive to (if you get a rental car - which I recommend). Then stock up on IC safe drinks/foods.

Book a room with at least a mini fridge - and a microwave if you can. 

Pack enough snacks and water. You can bring any food/drink into Disneyland - except alcohol. So do!

Call restaurants you plan to eat at ahead of time and ask about ingredients and if they can work with you. I didn't do this, but did check out the menus ahead of time and talked to the chefs at a few restaurants we ate. Most were very accommodating. 

Take Prelief with all restaurant meals. And stick the IC diet the best you can. Especially, the few days before you leave. Get your body in its best shape to start the trip and it will help in case you accidentally eat something bad or have a cheat day. 

Take meds regularly and don't forget to eat and drink water! The less hungry you are the less likely you will be to make a rush decision and eat something bad!

Supposedly, at Disneyland you can get a disability pass for people who have trouble waiting in lines and they cannot ask for medical proof, as it's illegal - I got that info directly from Disney's website. However, when I went to customer relations they told me they had nothing to offer me and I would just have to utilize fast passes or have my party wait in line and join them later. I was embarrassed to fight, since there were people in wheelchairs with obvious disabilities waiting in line, so I just walked away feeling defeated. But I know I was within my rights to ask for this and was only turned away because I look healthy on the outside. I also know Disney is trying to cut down on abuse of this pass and I'm pretty sure the man thought I was a sheister. I may write a letter because I was very hurt that they would not help me at all. I was not willing to argue in front of those with obvious disabilities and was embarrassed by that point so I (probably wrongly) walked away. Everything worked out fine and I was able to use the bathrooms and wait in line okay, but it would have just been added peace of mind to have the pass. So if you go to Disneyland fight for it or call ahead to make sure you do everything right to get it!

That being said - Don't be afraid to get out of line to use the bathroom! Just be polite and forget the rude people who may seem irritated as you walk by. You won't ever see them again and if they want to fight they will end up looking like a fool by being rude to someone with a medical condition. Also, millions of kids have to go potty and are in and out of line so it's totally acceptable at Disney. 

There are lots of bathrooms at Disney, but it may help to locate them before you go. Also, there are employees (aka cast members) all over who can point you in the right direction, if need be. 

Get meds refilled, instillations, physical therapy treatments, etc. done a week or two before going.

Get a comfortable backpack to wear. They hold more (food, water, meds) and are easier on the body. 

Wear and bring your most comfortable clothing. For me, that meant packing warm clothing, even though it was like 70 degrees. I get cold very easily so I wore leggings under my loosest jeans and sweaters every day. I'm sure I looked like the biggest dork in Cali!

Try to relax and have fun. My biggest struggle is with worry. I worry about all of the above. Maybe I don't trust myself to take care of myself well enough or my body to behave or my surroundings to accommodate my needs. But I know when I relax and am assertive about what I need it helps tremendously! I'm still learning to be that way. I'm very shy and internalize things a lot so IC has been quite the struggle and embarrassment for me. But I'm growing and changing because of it. 

What do you do to cope when traveling? How many of you feel limited when traveling? I would LOVE to travel internationally, but it definitely makes me nervous with language barriers and foods in South American or Asian type cultures. I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Please feel free to share your tips/tricks in the comments below. We're in this together! 

XX, A! 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

My sister found this recipe. She is so much better than I am at finding recipes that actually work. Maybe it's because I find normal recipes and think I can magically transform them into dairy-free gluten-free treats. But this doesn't always work. Either way, I'm happy she has a knack for doing this because it gives me new recipes to make! These cookies are better than normal Sugar Cookies, in my opinion, because they aren't as sickeningly sweet - therefore, you can eat more. I say, that's a good thing. Jeremiah even thinks so. And he can eat gluten. The cookie recipe comes from the Yummy Allergen Free BlogSpot and the frosting recipe is from the Lofthouse Sugar Cookie recipe (I'll post both links below). I recommend rolling the cookies pretty thick and baking for less time if you want to keep them soft. Also, I substituted an egg and coconut oil for the applesauce and they turned out just fine. Even a little softer. One other thing to note, my sister and I both used King Arthur Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and it worked excellent. I didn't have, nor did I want to go buy, all of the other flours and King Arthur makes an excellent blend. The recipe I'm sharing contains all of the above mentioned adaptations. But whatever way you choose to make them, these cookies are delightful and I'm beyond happy with how they turned out!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
Recipe adapted from:
3/4 cups dairy free margarine (softened)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups King Arthur Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Baking powder
Powdered sugar for rolling


1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Cream together margarine and sugar.
3) Add egg (or applesauce), coconut oil, and vanilla and mix well.
4) In another bowl sift or whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
5) Cover work area and rolling pin with powdered sugar. Roll dough 1/4" - 1/2″ thick, or thinner if you prefer a crispy cookie. Cut into shapes and transfer to a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

6) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes depending on cookie size and desired softness/crispness. Let cool on sheet for a few minutes then remove to cooling rack.

1/2 cup coconut oil (do not melt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon almond milk (you may not need this at all)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil until creamy (with an electric mixer or a stand mixer). Cream together the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and the pinch of salt. Once smooth and creamy, add in almond milk (if needed... you don't want your frosting to be runny). Beat at medium-high speed for a minute or two until light and fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired, and beat until combined.

Now frost those cookies. :) I actually prefer mine plain, as I'm not a huge fan of frosting. But will admit this frosting was better than typical frostings made with shortening or butter.


XX, A!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Carob Hot Cocoa

I have been so deprived of hot cocoa for the last two years. I used to drink it like crazy all winter long with so many marshmallows you couldn't see the cocoa for miles. I don't know why I never thought of using carob powder to appease my palate. But I am glad I did now. I was worried it might not taste that great, and while it's obviously different, it still has a rich chocolate like essence to it. It helps fill the void for sure. And carob is full of minerals and good things, supposedly, so that's a bonus! I really really enjoyed this drink! So IC-ers and chocolate allergic rejoice! I could best describe it as a rich, nutty, coffee-like chocolate flavor. So if you're into that, give it a try.

Carob Hot Cocoa

1 cup rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or lactose-free milk (or use real milk, if you don't have dairy issues)
1 teaspoon carob powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
sugar to taste 
Butt loads of marshmallows, if you want (yes, BUTT loads, I said it)

Stir carob into milk in saucepan over medium heat for a couple minutes, until hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat and add vanilla, sugar, and marshmallows. 


X, A!