Tuesday, 4 December 2022

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Treats

Left to right: Coconut Cream Fudge, Mocha Fruit Cake,
Rum Balls.
I know a lot of people with chronic illnesses, like me, tend to have gut issues and find some foods just don't agree with us.

My big issues are gluten and dairy.  I also love food, and despite the December heat, I love sweet treats for Christmas.

So here are a couple of recipes for treats I like.

Coconut Cream Fudge

2 cups  caster sugar
3/4 cup coconut cream
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 tablespoons dairy free margarine

Flavour: tablespoon cocoa, or 2 teaspoons instant coffee, or dash of vanilla extract.

1. Place first four ingredients in a saucepan.
2. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
3. Allow to boil to 115 deg C.  (Soft ball stage)
4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
5. Add flavour and beat until thick and creamy.
6. Pour into a battered tin.
7. When partly set, mark into squares.
8. Allow to harden, then remove from tin.

Coconut Condensed Milk

2 cups  caster sugar
3/4 cup coconut cream
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 tablespoons dairy free margarine

1. Place first four ingredients in a saucepan.
2. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
3. Allow to boil to 100 deg C.
4. Allow to cool and use as normal condensed milk.

Rum Balls

12 Gluten Free Weetbix (the plain ones, not cinnamon coconut - as that has hard bits in it.)
1 cup Coconut Condensed Milk (recipe above)
1 1/2 cup fine desiccated coconut + extra for rolling
2 to 4 tablespoons rum

1. Crush weetbix in a large mixing bowl.
2. Stir in other ingredients. Mix with hands until well combined.  (Easier if you use disposable rubber gloves.)
3. Form into small balls, and roll in coconut.  Refrigerate.

Mocha Fruit Cake

1 cup dried mixed fruit
1 cup strong black coffee
100 grams chopped dark chocolate (check ingredients to be sure it's dairy-free)
1 cup gluten free self-raising flour
(optional tablespoon rum or brandy)

1. Soak fruit in coffee overnight.
2. Mix in chocolate and flour (and alcohol if using)
4. Place in small cake tin and bake in moderate oven for 25 minutes.

Turkish Delight

2 cups caster sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons unflavoured gelatin
2 tablespoons rosewater
dash pink food colouring
1 cup icing sugar

1. Line a small cake tin with aluminium foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place sugar, water and gelatin in a large saucepan, and bring to the boil.  simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Stir in rose water and food colour.
4. Pour into lined tin and refrigerate overnight.
5. Remove Turkish Delight from pan, cut into squares and roll in icing sugar to coat.

Coconut Cream Ice Cream

Coconut Cream Ice Cream

1 can coconut cream, chilled
1/4 cup caster sugar

flavour options: vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons instant coffee or tablespoon cocoa, or other flavours of your choosing.

1. Mix ingredients and place in ice cream churn.
2. Churn until light and creamy.

(If you don't have an ice cream churn,  beat ingredients in a regular mixer until thick and creamy.  Partially freeze, then beat again.  Partially freeze and beat again.  Then freeze.)

Friday, 9 November 2022


I have been inactive on this blog lately, because I've been distracted by some other projects.

I've been busily writing and painting, and I have three new books out in the past two months.

There is a new novel:

There's a new children's book:
And there's a new poetry anthology:
So those have been keeping me busy.

You can find all of them at www.lulu.com/spotlight/IrisCarden.  Soon, they'll also be available at most online bookshops.

Wednesday, 15 August 2022

I'm Fine

When I'm having issues reaching
my feet, is a really bad time for
the kitten to learn to untie shoelaces.
"I'm fine," I said, as my son cut and filed my toenails.
"Uh huh," he replied.
"It's just that my bad hip doesn't like me to bend that far for any length of time," I explained.

"I'm fine," I said as my son put my shoes on for my walk.
"I'm fine," I said again as he took my shoes off after the walk.  "It's just that my feet are a long way away at the moment."

"I'm fine," I said as I cracked an egg and dropped it all over the stove, entirely missing the frypan.
"So I've heard," my son replied.

I've come to the conclusion that "I'm fine" means something entirely different for a person with a chronic illness than it does for a healthy person.

When I, use the term, and I suspect when other people with chronic illnesses use it, it actually means: "There's nothing happening at the moment that requires immediate medical intervention."

Wednesday, 18 July 2022

The Horrifying Truth

It was a freezing cold morning, and I was lying in my nice warm bed, waiting for the coffee my son had offered to bring me.

He was taking an unusually long time, and I thought back to our conversation.

As well as offering me coffee, he'd asked me to cut his hair (he hasn't had his hair cut in about 12 years) and talked about the upcoming taekwando competition (neither of us has done taekwando since before his last haircut.)

The whole conversation had been an hallucination, or possibly a dream.

That's when the horrifying truth hit me. There was no coffee being made!

Tuesday, 17 July 2022

More on the Shade Sensor

The Shade ultraviolet light sensor,
which is much tougher than you might
expect a small electronic device to be.
A while ago, I reviewed the Shade ultraviolet light sensor.

I love this device. It helps me track how much ultraviolet light I'm exposed to each day, and lets me know when I should probably call it a day and go inside.

Since my review.  I've learned something more about the Shade. This thing is tough.

If, for example, someone accidentally threw the sensor into the washing machine with a load of clothes, and found it a week later, after several more loads of wash were done,  firmly attached to the inside of the washing machine drum, it surprisingly would still work. (That magnet is really strong, there was no way the device was coming away from the drum without help.)

Please note, I do not recommend, suggest, or in any way encourage, putting the Shade or any other electronic device through the wash.

I'm just saying, stuff happens.  With brain fog and a bit of sore joint clumsiness, more stuff might possibly happen in my house than in a healthy person's house. You might experience something similar, or maybe not. I'm not saying you're exactly the same as me. But if you are like me, you might be reassured to know that the device you're using is tough enough to handle it.

Related post: Review: Shade UV Light Sensor

Love this Blog? Endorse Me!

Sometimes, It Is Lupus has been nominated for a Wego Health Award.

The specific award nominated this time around is Best in Show: Blog.

If you love this blog, please endorse (vote for) me, by clicking below or on the badge on the right-hand column.

Find my nominee profile here: https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/14081.

Tuesday, 12 June 2022

Utterly Exhausted

Image: sleeping kitten.
Utterly exhausted.
I'm utterly exhausted!

Usually I have energy in winter - it's summer that wipes me out.

This winter's the exception.  I'm sleeping all night and most of the day.

Even when I'm awake I'm struggling to stay that way.

What's different this winter?  I don't know.  Maybe it's the emotional strain of all the losses I've experienced lately (in less than three years, my best friend from high school and her mother have both died, my father died, my brother died, and lastly my beautiful cat died. Oh, the kitten in the picture is new, not the cat who died.)

Maybe it's the strain of a heap of unexpected financial pressures. (From a neighbour complaining that my trees need to be cut down, to the air conditioner and washing machine needing repairs, to endless other small and large niggling financial pressures.) Being sick is itself an expense, and not being able to work limits my income.

I'm assuming it's emotional strain that's causing the fatigue, because to be honest, I haven't done anything physical in ages, so it can't be physical fatigue.

Maybe it's just lupus being lupus and doing the unexpected. Winter is time for aches and pains - fatigue usually belongs in summer.  This winter, I'm getting the aches and pains, but also the fatigue.

Either way, I'm struggling to be awake.

While you’re here…

Is my writing of value to you? Would you like to give $1 or $2 to support this blog, and my other writing?

You can become a Patron (give a small amount of money each month) here: https://www.patreon.com/IrisCarden

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Tuesday, 22 May 2022

Super Soups

Split pea and celery soup.
It's the tail end of autumn, and it's starting to get cool here.  By that I mean the temperature is in single digits in the morning when I wake up.  I realise that in England and places like that this morning's six deg C temperature would have been considered quite mild, but here in the subtropics we call that cold.

To me, that means it's the perfect time for soup.

Soup is quick to prepare, nutritious, and can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated. For people like me who have limited energy for cooking, but need really healthy food it's perfect.

It's simply a matter of throwing the ingredients in a saucepan with stock, simmering until everything is tender, and then blending if you want a smoother texture.

Here are some of my favourites:

  • Split pea and celery.  
  • Canned five bean mix, frozen diced vegetables and canned tomatoes.
  • Chopped sweet potato, red lentils, canned tomatoes, lemon juice and curry powder.
  • Ham bone, split peas and carrots.
  • Bacon and canned tomatoes.
A big pot of any of these makes up several tasty, warming meals for the cold weather.

So lovely, lupies, what are your favourite easy winter warming meals?

Sunday, 20 May 2022


Here's some news for Sometimes, It Is Lupus:

One of my earlier posts has been republished as an article in iPain Living Magazine.
The original post is This Little Lupie Went Wee Wee Wee.

And it's also made Healthline's list of Best Blogs for 2018.

Monday, 9 April 2022

It's Complicated

Image: dog holding toy hotdog.  Text: "What can you eat?"  It's complicated.I received an email from a screenwriter who is writing a script which includes a character with lupus. One of the questions he asked me was: "What can you eat?"

Well that's a big question, isn't it?

What I can eat has changed several times over the years. None of those changes have increased the things I can eat, sadly.

So what can I eat?

  • Not dairy.  It used to just be no lactose, because lactose gives me reflux - nausea and heartburn, sometimes bad enough to be mistaken for heart attack.  Now it's no dairy at all, because even lactose-free dairy products are causing severe post-nasal drip.  If I eat dairy products, I end up choking on post-nasal drip.  Waking up in the middle of the night coughing and choking is most unpleasant.  I've decided I don't want to die by drowning on my own secretions.  If I did, I could end up as an urban legend like Bloody Mary - you know, you look in the mirror and say three times "Snotty Iris", and my ghost appears and drowns you in snot.  So, it's now a no on the dairy.
  • Not gluten.  Gluten upsets my gut - gives me irritable bowel syndrome - wild, unpredictable, swings between constipation and diarrhoea. It's most unpleasant, and can be very embarrassing.
  • Not much fat or alcohol.  Lupus has been messing with my liver for years.  My liver enzymes are always off at every blood test.  (Sometimes too high, sometimes too low, totally unpredictable.)  I need to be gentle on my liver.  So I eat low fat food mostly, and limit to alcohol to the occasional glass of wine at Christmas or a birthday.
  • Low GI carbohydrates.  This is the newest thing.  My pancreas is struggling, so my blood sugar is now not being properly regulated.  Yes, the name for that is diabetes.  (Because I didn't have enough health issues already.)  So now I have to be aware of the Glycaemic Index of the carbohydrates I eat, and not over-eat carbs in general.
What can I eat?  Well, it's complicated, and it gets more complicated all the time.

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