Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Egg Roll and Wonton Wrappers Recipe -- Egg Free and Allergy Friendly

My friend Zoe and I have both been off of gluten for ten years. Something neither of us have had during that time was egg rolls. We've had spring rolls made with rice paper wraps, but it just isn't the same. Perhaps they make gluten free egg roll wrappers available to buy, but I don't know of anything locally. Egg rolls have been something both of us have missed, so we decided that when she came to visit, Zoe and I would make some egg rolls, with homemade egg roll wrappers. This wasn't my first time making this dough, but I'd only used it to make wonton wrappers before, not egg rolls.

The last time I'd made this, even for wontons, though, was at least 7 or 8 years ago. So I was really excited. I posted my recipe for homemade wonton and egg roll wrappers here on my blog 12 years ago but since then I'd converted it to make it gluten free and egg free (since I eat neither) but never ended up sharing it here. 

When Zoe and I were making this, the first time I tried doing it, it failed miserably. You see, I was trying to make life easier for myself and use a store bought gluten free flour mix, but the dough sucked. Even though I added extra xanthan gum to try to make it more pliable, the dough kept ripping, didnt hold together nicely, was so hard to work with, and just made me want to give up. I told Zoe that making the dough shouldn't be nearly this bad, and I think the problem was that I wasn't using my own homemade mix. (There's this assumption that store bought products are more tested and official and better than homemade, which is why I thought it would work.)

Eventually I decided that enough was enough and I started over with my homemade gluten free flour mix, and from the first instant I saw that my memory was correct- while gluten free dough is always harder to work with than gluten dough, and the lack of gluten affects the flexibility of the dough, this dough was a dream to work with compared to the dough from the store bought flour mix.

To make my egg roll wrappers I first rolled it out a bit, then rolled it through my pasta roller (makes it a lot less work on your arms, and makes the dough more even) and then I rolled it some more with a rolling pin. The reason for this is the dough from the pasta roller is not the widest, and you want to have wider egg roll wrappers than what a pasta maker rolls (at least mine), but the pasta maker alone works fine for wonton wrappers which are smaller than egg rolls. The edges can fray a bit, so pressing them together can help, But just be careful, because the dough is fragile.

When making these egg roll wrappers, just note that they will not be as thin as regular egg roll wrappers, so you'll just have to deal with a somewhat thicker wrapper. Again, gluten free dough doesn't have the gluten to allow it to stretch that way.

This recipe makes enough for approximately 10-12 egg rolls. (To be honest, I didn't count, I just ate.)

Please note- do not make substitutions for this one. Use exactly what I say in this recipe or I can't guarantee that it would work- the dough is very finicky. Other than egg. You can use an egg in place of the ground flax seeds and boiling water.

There are some other gluten free (but not egg free) egg roll wrapper recipes out there, but many of them use hard to find ingredients. This recipe is all normal and easy to find ingredients, other than xanthan gum, which is a staple for gluten free cooking, so that falls under "normal" ingredients for this. It was important for me to make this recipe so that it works

Part two will be how to make the actual egg rolls.

Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Egg Roll and Wonton Wrappers Recipe -- Egg Free and Allergy Friendly

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

My Thoughts on the Sleepsteady Mattress Protector

I remember when my brother, Josh, was diagnosed with an allergy to dustmites. The first thing I remember my parents doing was putting a mattress protector on the bed in his room to keep dust from getting into his mattress and to protect him from being exposed to any dust mites that may be there already. The mattress protector was plasticky and gross. I didn't want to touch it. When you put a sheet on it, you still could hear the sound the plastic made from underneath. And if your sheet accidentally came off in your sleep, you'd have the really pleasant experience of having your skin stick to the gross plastic.

It really, really, really put me off the idea of mattress protectors. Because in my mind they all were some type of torture, and something you only used as absolutely needed, because it was the "less bad" option. Like if your kid was a serial bed wetter, yes, having a mattress protector is important so they don't ruin the mattress, but only because a mattress protector is less bad than a ruined mattress. Fortunately my kids were all potty trained young and not bed wetters so I didn't need to deal with that.

When my kid was diagnosed with dust mite allergies, I didn't want to have anything to do with the mattress protectors, because of how awful they were in my experience.

But then I was asked to review the Sleepsteady mattress protector I decided to give it a shot. Couldn't hurt, right? At worst I get an icky plasticky mattress protector.

I was never happier to be proven wrong.

This mattress protector is unlike anything I had ever tried before. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

White Rice: a Staple Food That Often Goes Unnoticed -- With Recipes

I grew up eating a lot of rice. As in multiple meals a week. My father has a sensitive stomach and rice was his "medicine" allowing him to manage without stomach pain as long as he ate it regularly, and so, it was a staple in our home. Being gluten free myself, we have a lot of rice in my home too. I always get shocked at people that cook just one or two cups of rice, since I cook 4-5 cups at a time and sometimes more, because I use rice as the base for so many meals. Here's some more about rice that you might not have already known:

In this vertiginous life where we receive tons of new information every second, we may feel lost trying to keep up to date. This situation occurs in all aspects of our life, well, at least in mine, particularly when planning my family’s meals.

I am constantly searching for fresh ideas for cooking and keeping the line of frugal, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. With all the incoming information, new trends, new cooking techniques, new superfoods, and so on, I forget that I already have in my pantry all I need.

One of those unnoticed and underused ingredients is rice. Yes, rice, as you read. People are unaware of all the benefits and use this grain offers.

All about rice

Friday, June 24, 2022

Top Tips for Parents Taking Online Degrees

One of my bigger regrets in life is that I got married and had kids before I went to college and got a degree, which meant that I went into motherhood without much money making capacity since I didn't learn any profession. For people in that situation, who realize that they need a college degree to be able to increase their income potential, but are already parents, getting an online degree is more doable than going to college in person. Here are some things to consider if you are planning on doing an online degree.

Taking an online degree can be hard when you have no dependents, but when you are a parent, taking an online degree is even harder, and you may find it more and more difficult to keep up with all of the tasks that you need to do to get the top grades. Then, if you are already thinking about focusing on parenting rather than also boosting your education, here are some top tips for parents who want to take an online degree.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

My Recent Frugal Accomplishments

Some of the amaranth I foraged

Today's the special day where I get to share with you the things I did to save money, also to remind myself that I did actually do frugal things when I feel like a failure there, and to hopefully give you some ideas of what you can also do to save money. or remind you of how you are already doing that.

So here are some of the frugal things I did since the last time I shared such a post (wow it's been a while!):

My Recent Frugal Accomplishments

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Thai Coconut Rice Pudding with Jasmine Rice, a South Asian Dessert

My kids love rice pudding; it is something I can always agree to get them to eat. But my rice pudding is somewhat different than this recipe, and I can't wait to try this Thai version of rice pudding. It looks like a terrific gluten free vegan comfort food. 

With over 1.7 billion people, millennia of written history and a great number of different languages coexisting, South Asia is a subcontinent that hosts Indian, Thai, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Sri Lankan people, to name a few. Even though its land area is larger than the entire European Union, due to the West's lack of knowledge, South Asia still is quite difficult to conceptualize.  

In terms of culture, this region is very diverse: for example, the Dharmic religions like Hinduism or Buddhism live side by side with Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. As a result, many different lifestyles end up coexisting and giving birth to the identity of an entire subcontinent. However different they might be, some unifying cultural and culinary factors can be found. 

The most versatile, nutritious and unifying ingredient 

Rice is the staple food in South-Eastern Asia; this grain plays a huge role in this region and is a common factor that can be found in nearly all of its countries. Rice is the seed of cereal grass; it is a great source of carbohydrates, which helps people to stay energized, satisfied and healthy. Moreover, it is very versatile: rice is referred to as a staple food because it acts as the perfect base for any dish. Savory or sweet, this grain can be combined with any source of protein, vegetable, spice or sweetener and the outcome will always be more than perfect. 

There are as many recipes with rice as there are types of this grain. It comes in several varieties: arborio rice, which is Italian, medium-grain rice; Basmati rice, commonly grown in Pakistan, India and the Himalayas; Brown rice, mostly known as a more "nutritious" grain, and Jasmine Rice.  This last variety is a long-grain type initially cultivated in Thailand which was named after its color, similar to the jasmine flower. This grain contains an exceptionally high amount of manganese, great for wound healing, regulating blood sugar levels and for the nervous system and bone structure development. 

We would like to encourage you to try this jasmine rice recipe by Mahatma® rice, which is guaranteed to make you fall in love with this variety of rice and will also make you feel a little bit closer to Southeast Asia and its culture through their flavors. There is nothing more perfect to get to know a region than trying out its cuisine.  

Thai Coconut Rice Pudding with Jasmine Rice, a South Asian Dessert

Monday, June 20, 2022

Preparing to Start Our Summer Construction Project

A rough sketch I made when trying to figure out how to design the floor.

For a long time I'd planned to build my son a loft bedroom above our stairway that doesn't reach anywhere (because we made the second floor into a rental unit) but things came up and then I was waiting for answers regarding my divorce that would affect my finances. But I never got answers, and my son needs a room of his own more and more lately, so I decided that this summer we'd do it, we'd build him his room.

To build his room we'd need to first remove everything that we store on the stairway (we'd be able to move them back under the loft once it is built) and since we don't have room for that in the house, I'd keep those things in my yard. Summer is not only a time that my kids are off from school and so we can do this project, but it is also a time that it doesn't rain, so putting things out in the yard won't ruin them. 

I'd had this rough guess in my head how much this project would cost. I have no idea why but the number $2250 stuck in my head as how much this would cost. I made a plan for how to build this room, what type of wood would be needed, where it would be needed, how long the would would need to be and how many boards I'd needed, and then asked professional carpenters if my plan was safe and if the wood I wanted to use was strong enough for the room to be safe, and I got the go ahead. And then I priced it out.

Much cheaper than I'd thought it would be. Much much cheaper. Of course, that is just talking about the wood, but still.

Friday, June 17, 2022

5 Reasons Why Extended Car Warranties Are Worth It

If you have a car one of the biggest expenses, after gas, is repairs. But are there ways to lower these expenses while still making sure your car stays in good working condition? Yes, an extended car warranty can help with that. Read more to find out how it can help.

If you've recently purchased a vehicle, you may be considering ways to protect your new asset. Of course, insurance is essential, but you might want to take things one step further with other plans.

Extended car warranty provides coverage for things such as breakdowns and repairs. However, it's typical to have doubts about whether or not it is a suitable investment for you.

Below we are going to talk about just five reasons why extended car warranties are worth it.

Interested in learning more? Then keep on reading!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Remote Working Problems Nobody Ever Mentions

As a parent, figuring out how to do everything between work and your kids and all your other responsibilities can be challenging, but working from home helps with that. But as someone who works from home, I can tell you that there also are challenges involved. However, I work for myself which has its own perks and difficulties that are different from when you work remotely for another company. If you are considering working remotely, here are some things you might want to consider that are challenges in that situation/

For whatever reason, your organization has started to work remotely. You thought this was a good idea because you’ve heard everyone talk about the benefits of remote working. It can help you save money, it allows your employees to be more productive, and you eliminate carbon emissions created by commuting to work.

Okay, there are (admitedly) a lot of things to like about remote working. It can very much be a viable option for your business - and for many other businesses. Nevertheless, you can’t deny the drawbacks as well. The problem is, hardly anyone talks about some of the problems that stem from working from home.

So, this post will uncover them! Carry on reading to find out the remote working issues nobody ever talks about:

Monday, June 13, 2022

Functional Medicine A Bust For Me

I'm dealing with some health issues still with an unknown cause. I've gotten four diagnoses (in addition to my mental health ones), Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, fibromyalgia, IBS, and Hashimotos thyroiditis. However, I have some symptoms that don't fit any of those diagnoses and we've yet to figure out what is causing them, let alone how to deal with them. This is quite frustrating, to say the least. 2 years on and still it's a mystery. 

I've been to so many different doctors, but for each specialist, it was me doing the research about what the issues can possibly be and which doctors were the right avenue and then asking my PCP for the referral, not the PCP figuring out what type of doctor to send me to. It has been quite frustrating that I need to be in charge of all this, not a doctor, and needing to do my google sleuthing, and then following up on it. Like shouldn't a doctor be the one trying to help, and not me doing the doctor's job?

I was thinking about what might possibly help. About 4 years ago I went to a functional medicine doctor paid for by my insurance, and he had some ideas about what the cause might be, but he wanted me to do special testing not covered by insurance, and it was too expensive for me to afford, so I never did it.

Friday, June 10, 2022

6 Job Ideas For Parents

We all need money, unfortunatey, to survive. But when you're a parent, that isn't always so easy. Many jobs do not work well with having a family and can cause big work-life balance issues. Here are some jobs that are more suitable for a parent with little ones.

It can be challenging to find a healthy balance between raising children, holding down a job, and bringing in a decent wage. Many hard-working parents are better off taking a part-time or flexible job that allows them to spend time with their children and satisfies their need to work in a role they enjoy.

Here we look at six exciting job options ideal for busy parents to fit around raising their families.

12 Amazing Gifts For The Girls In Your Family

Some kids are really easy to figure out what to gift them. Others can be extremely challenging to figure out what they'd enjoy receiving as a gift. For those of you trying to figure that out for your children, hopefully this list will give you some inspiration.

When it comes to buying presents for either your own children, family members, or friends' children it is always a good idea to find out what sort of toys or games they are into. This way you don’t get something random only for them not to like it. If you get something they like then there is a higher chance they will play with it for longer than a day. If you are trying to navigate the minefield that is buying presents for girls then fear not, we have twelve ideas below that will hopefully give you some inspiration.

Gluten Free Egg Free Cheesecake Recipe -- Easy, Allergy Friendly, and Delicious

I made a delicious gluten-free egg-free cheesecake recently but one of my kids was disappointed that I didn't make enough for them to have seconds, so I decided to make it again especially since it wasn't hard. 
Of course the first time I didn't write down the recipe, so I had to do this from scratch. The second time I made it, I used less flour than I did the first time and I was worried it wouldn't solidify, and it took longer to cook, but it ended up so moist and delicious and, dare I say it, better than the first time? 

The only slight issue with it is that the top ended up with a bunch of little holes on it, I guess where the liquid evaporated, but to be honest, neither I nor my kids cared, but if you want something that looks perfect, I've heard that baking cheesecake in a pan of water is supposed to help, but I can't verify that it works for this recipe.

This recipe is allergy friendly, other than dairy. And I have a sensitive stomach and much dairy bothers it, which is why I used fake milk (rice milk one time, almond milk another), but cream cheese and butter in small amounts don't bother me. I can't promise this will be good for you if you have a sensitive stomach, but just putting it out there. You can also use milk for this recipe... I assume. But I can't promise because there's lemon juice in that. So feel free to experiment. Or just leave this recipe as is.

Oh, another thing that was important to me was that a recipe didn't have a ton of ingredients, I wanted to use cream cheese and what was in the house only. No whipping, no food processor, no mixer.

Basically, this came out really delicious and I highly recommend it. And if you do need an egg free cheesecake but don't need to be gluten free, of course, you can just use the gluten alternative.

Gluten Free Egg Free Cheesecake Recipe -- Easy, Allergy Friendly, and Delicious

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

College and University: The Complete Guide for Supportive Parents

You would think that with my oldest kids being 14 and 12, college is a far away concept for me, but my 12 year old has already looked at colleges that he wants to go to, and my 14 year old has also talked about it. If you, like myself, are thinking about college for your children, whether it is something immediate or further in the future, read on to learn how to be a more supportive parent.

As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. This becomes increasingly apparent when they reach pivotal points of their life and start making decisions that can impact their future. A key point for most teens? The point at which they leave school and decide what direction to take next. Your teen may decide that higher education is on the cards for them and you’re going to want to do what you can to make this journey as positive and beneficial as possible for them in every way, shape and form. But what can you do to assist with this and be as supportive as you can? Here are some suggestions that can help!

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Why Choose a Home Appliance Warranty?

If you own a home, you might be worried if anything in your house breaks or get destroys, because you don't have a landlord to come fix those things. You may have heard of homeowner's insurance, but what about home appliance warranties? Read more to find out.

Repairs are an inevitable part of living in a home, regardless of whether you are a homeowner or renting.
Appliances break, faucets leak and HVAC units can stall in the middle of a heatwave. You can purchase home warranties to protect your appliances and systems rather than depleting your savings on the unexpected and unplanned costs of repairs.
Are home warranties worth it, especially if you take care and look after your appliances?

Where To Find The Top Hotel Executive Recruiters?

If you're looking to increase your family's income, you may be considering the hospitality industry. When going in that direction, you might want to consider going through a recruitment agency. Here is what you should consider.

One of the most essential components of every company is the process through which new personnel are brought on board. If there is not an effective process of hiring taking place inside the firm, the business will be unable to grow and flourish. Because of this, it is of the highest necessity to engage the most brilliant persons through the utilization of an efficient recruitment process.

At this point in the process, the picture gets more complicated as a result of the emergence of agencies that take on the job of recruiting as part of the services given to a company. These organizations are required to have an exceptional level of judgment and skill due to the sensitive nature of the job that they conduct.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

A Great Frugal Book Haul

I love reading. It is one of my favorite things to do in down time. Yes, movies and shows are also great, but there's nothing like being curled up with a good book. Growing up I used to satisfy my voracious book appetite by going to the library and bringing home massive piles of books every week or two, often with books ordered via inter-library loans so I could get my hands on books from my favorite authors and try books recommended to me by the librarians that got to know my taste. I almost never bought books, other than some select favorites, because I could get what I wanted from the library.

Moving abroad to a non English speaking country has made reading more challenging for me. There aren't as many libraries here as there were where I grew up, and at least in my area, most don't have English books, and there definitely aren't interlibrary loans like we had growing up. So I never bother using the library because going there was like perusing someone's personal bookshelves, and not like actually going to a library with a large selection and variety. (Our local library has maybe 2 or 3 bookshelves of English books, all told, mostly all old books that locals donated.)

So, so starved as I was for reading material, I got to the point where if I'd see a book in English, I'd give it a shot, as long as it wasn't something that sounded absolutely terrible. I couldn't be picky with such limited options. 

Here and there I'd check out second hand book stores, but the selection there was very limited, and honestly, most of the books there were quite overpriced. 

Instead most of my reading came from books that I borrowed from friends, but that relied on my friends having the books I'd wanted to read. I also found out about these little free libraries placed in bus stops, where people left books they no longer wanted and picked up books that others left there, and that helped a lot, but it wasn't usually the books I wanted, but at least it was something.

I finally found out about and where I could get cheap books with free international shipping, and when a friend didn't have a book I was looking for, or when I loved the book I borrowed from a friend so much that I wanted to own it, that's where I'd purchase it from, by checking between the two to see which had it cheaper.

But there was this one place where I have been able to find great cheap books locally, and all my taste.