The low fodmap life

I didn’t choose the low fodmap life, it chose me.

For as long as I can remember, my digestion has been a little … special? Random mild pains, bloating (like debilitating … so much pain ya can’t sit up straight), nausea, vomiting … and we’ll leave the unladylike bits out because my dad’s the only one who reads my blog and he doesn’t wanna hear it.

And that was just life. Stress made it worse. Even good stress, like going on a fun trip! But sometimes, it would just flare up for seemingly no reason.

I learned that I can go 3 days without eating and still function well (going to work, hanging out with friends, walking around Rome all day), as long as I sleep 9-11 hours a night. Not a super common experience, but one I could power through when needed.

Went to all kinds of doctors, had all kinds of tests. The verdict: I’m super humanly healthy! There’s nothing wrong me! Diagnosis: IBS. Which means: gastrointestinal distress with no discernible reason.

A few years ago, I started up with a new PCP and as she was going over my history, I mentioned IBS. And she asked if I’d tried the low fodmap diet, and gave me a handout.

I read the handout. It. was. nonsense. The list of foods to avoid? Seemingly random. But I decided to give it a go. What could it hurt?

A few weeks later, wondering if it was working, I expressed my doubts to the husband. And he observed: you don’t complain after dinner every single night anymore. And he was right! It was our nightly ritual to have dinner, and then for him to ask me if I wanted to: go to the store! go for a walk! go … anywhere! And my answer was always: give me 20 minutes, I need my stomach to settle. Because there were mild pings an pangs, and a 2% chance I needed to be real close to a bathroom. (Sorry, Dad.)

So I stuck with it. I found my triggers: wheat, garlic and onions. And I found out that if I don’t eat wheat, I can eat dairy. Not like, all the dairy I want; but a whole DQ Buster Bar? Only a bit of discomfort that is negated by lactaid. But … I don’t always take the lactaid and come out just fine. Just need 20 minutes to let my stomach settle, but only like a 0.1% chance of needing to be real close to a bathroom.

Are all my digestion issues gone? Nope. But the days of bloating that build and build and build and bring complete misery? That hasn’t happened since I got on the low fodmap train. Immediate stomach-emptying nausea that can hit when stress and anxiety ramp up? Seriously tamped down. I feel my gut clench up and I expect the unbearable nausea, but it’s down to a very dull roar.

So, I’m a believer. It’s a lot of work to eat a low wheat, onion, garlic diet. It’s so much meal planning, so. much. food. prep. (Yay for the instant pot!) And all my digestion woes aren’t fixed. But: I can live a life without the anxiety that I need to be close to a bathroom at all times. And: I can eat ice cream.

Akaemi’s World Famous Pinto Beans (Instant Pot)

Ok, so …. not world famous. Just Josh’s favorite pinto beans he has ever eaten in his entire life that he really wants the world to know about!

These directions are for the instant pot, but could be adapted to stove top or crockpot. The secret here is the spices! And bacon. Also: I don’t eat garlic or onions. This recipe would probably be better with 1 tsp each of garlic and onion powders.


  • 1 lb dry pinto beans
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped into pieces
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1-2 bullion cubes
  • 8 cups water

Directions: Dump everything into the instant pot. Set for 35 minutes high pressure, and let natural release. Natural release takes for ev er, probably 45 minutes?. Also, takes awhile for it all to get up to pressure, so allow for 20-30 minutes there, too. All in all, it usually takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours, so plan accordingly.

Serve with corn bread (start this after the pressure cooking finishes, while it’s natural releasing … you got time), cheese cut into cubes (seriously, this is better than shredded cheese, you get “gloops” of cheese <- Josh’s word, he’s a writer, so it’s legit), and home made french fries.


Happy Day!


I’m a pretty speedy knitter and crocheter. Combine that with the normally small projects that I tackle, and I’m used to producing things in a matter of days. Weeks, tops.

And so I was ill-prepared for what awaited me when I decided to make a blanket for the husband with yarn he picked out at The Tinsmith’s Wife.

Years ago, I made him a blanket – a cowabunga masterpiece, no less – but it’s apparently a very warm blanket. Suitable to winter time. Which, in Texas, only lasts about 12 minutes.

And so, he asked, could I make him a … summer blanket? Something a little less warm? And seeing how summer in San Antonio is an 8 month affair, it seemed a reasonable request.

And the yarn he found! Stunningly beautiful. A purple to grey to black gradient, who could resist! And it was even lightweight, cotton and acrylic. The perfect thing when you want to make something that’s not, you know, warm.

I didn’t have a pattern in mind, so I purchased 3 of the Whirlette mega-skeins in grape squish. And because Scheepjes apparently thinks of everything, I picked up some coordinating solid Whirls, one ball of Frosted and one of Licorice.

I tried out a lot of patterns, showed the results to the husband, and he picked his favorite. And – he asked – would it be possible to have the entire blanket do one fade? Instead of a striped effect of purple-gray-black-purple-gray-black-purple-gray-black, could it just be a single purple-gray-black?

I held my breath and counted to ten, and agreed that yes, I could make it do that.

But, you guys! The good folks at Scheepjes went to A LOT of work putting their balls of yarn together. Like a lot. And getting the blanket to do a single fade … that meant I had to cut apart each ball of yarn at every color shift.

And the ends that made!! So many ends to weave in. I saved them just so I could show them to the husband, so he could appreciate that instead of having 10 ends to weave in, I had … I don’t even know for sure. 30? 50? Let’s go with 68, that sounds more dramatic.*

So I took the granny rectangle pattern, and did a bunch of math to convert it from the regular-weight yarn to something more suitable for the light-weight yarn. This should have been a clue that I might be in over my head, but I was still young and hopeful.

Granny squares (and rectangles) are awesome when you first start out. They are so tiny! Each round is so fast! Time just zooms on by while you make easy-to-see progress!

But then, you get past the purples into the grays, and you realize you’ve been crocheting for-ev-er, and you’re only halfway done. Or … maybe not even quite halfway …

So I finished up with the Whirls, (with just a touch of the frosted whirlette in the gray section), did some math and realized that with the single licorice whirl, it wasn’t going to be big enough.

Ensue shock and pouting.

Math revealed I’d need 3 or 4 more whirlette’s to finish the job. In addition to the one I already had.

My sanity declared that wasn’t going to happen. Additionally, the internet told me that the Tinsmith’s Wife had no more licorice whirlettes in stock. Dropping into Yarnivore yielded no better results. Jimmy Beans Wool online – out of black.

Amazon to the rescue! An Amazon seller had a few balls left! For twice the price that I paid originally, of course.

So I purchased two more.

And then I crocheted. And crocheted. And … you guessed it … crocheted. There are 4,792 yards of yarn in this bad boy. That’s 2 point 7 miles of yarn. 4 months and 4 days from start to finish. (I did make a hat in that same time frame. And half a baby blanket …)

I may, at some point in the distant future, if licorice whirlettes find their way back into existence, add another ball or two. But for now – happy day – I am done!

*I actually really love the way this turned out, way better than if it had been striped. Sssssshhhhh, don’t tell the husband.

Li’l Pinchers

Love these guys!

Ever since I jumped on the instant pot bandwagon, I’ve been in need of an easier way to handle the blazingly hot inner pot.

Enter the mini silicone pinch mitts!

I had just decided I needed some of these guys, when Christmas happened to roll around. And the in-laws did a saran wrap ball as part of the holiday festivities. After all the goodies (and not-so-goodies? disposable underwear surely wasn’t on anyone’s wish list …), we traded amongst each other to get the things we really had our eyes on.

Luckily for me, the husband ended up getting one of ‘my’ little pinchers (and what’s ours is … mine …) and the 16-year-old niece was keen to trade away her pincher for cash and chocolate.

So I have a matching set! I can grab the instant pot without ending up with soggy potholders! (Yay for silicone!) And these adorable guys work pretty well for flat cookie sheets and pizza pans.

If you are now also smitten by the need to own your very own adorable li’l pinchers, these guys are made by Daiso. Which I have JUST LEARNED has stores in the US. In TEXAS, even, guys. Time to go do some shopping for adorable-ized household products …

Sheet Caking

I sheet caked last weekend, but it sounds like another sheet caking weekend is in the cards!

The Texas sheet cake is my go-to cake, as I always seem to have the ingredients for it on hand. I have a half-size jelly roll pan that I acquired at some point in college. (Probably my mom gave it to me? Because only sad single people need half-size jelly roll pans? 😛 Seriously, though, its also the perfect size for couples who, uh, something something no grand babies.)

Anyway, all that to say that I usually cut this recipe in half, because half is the perfect amount for 1 or 2 people. And this recipe lends itself nicely to that.

There’s no flouring involved! Just a little spray buttering!

And then … you boil the ingredients on the stove, so that’s a little weird.

But the cake is baked in 22 minutes! 5 minutes before the cake comes out, start the frosting. Which you also boil on the stove, but you’re a pro at that now.

As soon as the cake comes out, pour the frosting on it.

Wait 5 minutes. And then enjoy. 🙂

Happy sheet caking, everyone!

The way it really happened

The husband posted yesterday about how he launched his novel-writing career. (I hope it’s a career! Fingers crossed!) But, he didn’t quite get our conversation right.

The real conversation:

TH: I don’t want to work any more. [Manly pout.] I want to write a book.

ME: MmHmmmm. [Log into YNAB.]

TH: Complain, complain, complain …

ME: Yeah, it sucks. [Run some reports in YNAB.]

TH: I’ve always wanted to write a book, I’ve started so many.

ME: Yeah, I want to know how the cable guy one ends. You stopped just when it got good. [Budget analysis in YNAB.]

TH: Retirement’s so far away, I wish I didn’t have to wait.

ME: Can you do it in 6 months?

TH: Can I .. what? Write a book in 6 months?

ME: Yeah, can you write a book in 6 months?

TH: I don’t … Probably? Probably, yeah.

ME: Ok, let’s do it. You have 6 months. But that’s all, you’ll need to go back to work after 6 months.

TH: Wait, you mean just … quit my job and write a book?

ME: Yeah. But only for 6 months. That’s when the savings runs out.

TH: Really? You mean for real?

ME: Yeah. But not forever, ok? Just, you know. 6 months.

TH: [Manly cartwheel.]

Ok, ok, so maybe that’s not how it really, really happened. I don’t know that there was any pouting and there probably weren’t any cartwheels. Probably. But, in any event, it all came from a place of careful calculation … not from anything like a ‘heart’. I’m not so noble or generous as the husband’s post would imply. But, I suppose, that’s the novelists’ prerogative.

Found it!

The Find Your Fade craze took the knitting world by storm, and I was not immune. I loved it the moment I saw it, and even though I live in Texas, I needed one.

But … you live in Texas! I hear you exclaim, in shock. Yes, I do live in Texas, so I don’t need an enormous scarf, a blanket to wrap around my neck to endure a long winter. But what I do need is a blanket I can wear to endure the AC. The AC that is always just a few degrees cooler than I’d prefer.

It took months to find the perfect yarn, and then months to find the knitting time to start, and then months to finish the thing, but it is finally done. My very own Fade. It has been found.

Travelled out

I would have told you it was impossible for me to get tired of traveling, but I think it has finally happened.

In the past 12 months, we have been to Idaho (wedding!), Orlando (Disney!), DC 3 times, Houston 9 times, Ireland, Utah (wedding! and BFFs!) and Vegas. And then I went on two knitting retreats and to a knitting conference. And Josh had a guys weekend.

The crazy thing is, we didn’t even really intend for this to be a year in which we saw all the things in all the places. And ensured our cat sitter could pay all her bills.

First up, we suddenly had a wedding to attend! Mormons tend to have short engagements, and the sister did not disappoint on that front. So to Idaho we went. A welcome reprieve from the brutal San Antonio summer and also a wedding! A quick but lovely trip.

And then, Disney World. A friend had called up that spring to ask if we’d like to go to Disney with them, and at first I was all, meh, we were just there last year and we were thinking about going to Ireland anyway. And then she said they’d be staying in a Polynesian Bungalow, and I was like, oh, keep talking, and then I googled it and said OMG we are THERE. If anybody ever invites you to stay in a Polynesian Bungalow with them you say YES. And then you become BFFs for life. With matching Mickey tattoos. (Just kidding. We stayed at the Polynesian, have you been paying attention? She got a Lilo tattoo, mine’s a Stitch.)

And then DC – should be exciting, but that was just for work. Staying in a hotel, working long days, no site seeing. Nothing to report there.

And all the Houston! The husband’s mother moved to Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, so we had a few trips to see her before she left. Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA. Like on the other side of the world. And then the husband’s sister had a baby! So there were baby showers and a false alarm and the real alarm to attend to. Yay for babies!

And Ireland!! We’d been thinking about it for awhile and just took the plunge one day and booked the trip, before we’d had allll the other things on our schedule. An amazing trip, for sure, but it ended up being crammed in the middle of a year of utter madness. 10/10 would recommend Ireland. Muuuuch better food than their English neighbors.

And then b3 got engaged! With another short engagement! So to Utah we went, which had the added benefit of letting us hang out with our BFFs who left us. Not the Disney ones, but our crazy nerdy gaming ones who introduced us to a whole new world of games and then MOVED out of the STATE so now we have NO ONE to play with. Ok, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but in any event, it was fun to see them and introduce THEM to Mysterium. And we played another Time Stories expansion! And also there was a wedding, blah blah, it was beautiful, one of the best I’ve been to, blah blah, mazel tov! (Just kidding, I adore my new sister in law, I’ve had to stop myself from inviting them to visit San Antonio over and over again, I mean I’ve already issued an open invitation and I don’t want her to know I’m a crazy person just yet. Hmm, it just dawned on me that she’s a professor, she’s not stupid, she probably already knows I’m a crazy person … )

And then Vegas. The 30th anniversary of Star Trek TNG was a big draw, of course, but the clincher was that there’s a DS9 documentary in the works. Aaand the husband indiegogo funded it and we got tickets to the convention as part of his ‘donation’. So to Vegas we went, and it was awesome!

But now, for the first time in maybe forever, I just kinda want to stay at home. While I plan my trip to Malaysia, of course.