Unripe Avocado
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Maximize Fresh Produce | Avocados

Here at Flawed yet Functional, I am all about maximizing the dollars I invest in groceries. I do not want to be throwing anything away or forgetting to use ingredients I’ve bought. A problem fruit for me for years was avocados. The ripe period of an avocado is so short. If only there was a way to capture that perfect time of ripeness!

How to Store Avocados

Avocados are full of good fat, and are the perfect additive or side to so many dishes. Yet it is hard to plan a menu around when the avocados will be ripe. If it’s winter, avocados take a few days to ripen on my counter. In the summertime, they just might be rotten before grocery shopping day is over!

Take these avocados, for example. All four are rock hard yet the darker one will ripen the fastest and the brighter green one, the slowest. The odds of these four being ready to eat on the same day is not good.

Avocado Spectrum

However, you don’t need to plan your meals around the ripening schedule of avocados any more! Here is the super simple, 2-step trick to preserving ripe avocados for 1 to 2 weeks and prevent avocados from rotting for good!

1. Ripen the avocado on the counter until dark green/brown and soft.

Ripe Avocados

The avocados must be ripe before going on to step two! Be patient, let the avocados get quite soft but not starting to shrivel.  Leave the avocados on the counter, checking them daily, to see when they are ripest. Make sure they have plenty of space and are not likely to get knocked off the counter or smashed by other fruit/veggies. Then…

2. Put the ripe avocado in the refrigerator.

Yep, that’s it. Stick it in the refrigerator. It doesn’t matter where you put them either (so long as they aren’t squished!). I’ve put them in the crisper, on the shelf, and in the door with success in all locations. The cold of the refrigerator will stop the ripening process keeping that delicious avocado in that perfect period of ripeness for 2 weeks. Yes, 2 weeks!

If I’m totally honest, I’ve found a lone avocado hidden under some carrots in the vegetable drawer that had been there for who knows how long. It was a little brown on the inside, but not past the point of eating! It had been there for over 2 weeks, possibly 3 or 4.

If I’m really, really honest, I’ve found forgotten avocados in my fridge many times. So this method really is tried and true, if not on purpose, by accidental forgetfulness!

Storing avocados this way allows me to have multiple avocados ripe and ready for eating at any time. The only special menu planning I do for avocados now is I don’t plan to eat them for a couple days after grocery shopping so they have a chance to ripen.

Ripe avocado from fridge

I bought 10 avocados on my last shopping trip, and by day 3 after shopping, all were ripe and in my fridge. I used two to make Cilantro Avocado Mayo today, and I have no worries that all 8 will be ready any day I want to eat them!

That’s it! First, let the avocados ripen on the counter then second, put them in the fridge. How simple is that? They will stay perfectly ripe for up to two weeks. Amazing or what?!


Do you use avocados regularly? What is your favorite way to eat them? How do you store avocados??

how to ripen avocados

Autoimmune Protocol Food Journal
Aside

Autoimmune Protocol | Reintroduction Phase

If you’re new here, my journey through the Autoimmune Protocol began on February 19, 2018. The elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol lasts 30 days or until symptoms subside. My autoimmune disease is Type 1 Diabetes. I have never heard of a diabetic using the Autoimmune Protocol to manage Type 1 Diabetes. Since I’m forging my own trial (as far as I know!), I am documenting my results and journey here to help other Type 1 Diabetics who might be looking for alternative blood sugar management solutions. (Check out the first 5 weeks here (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).) Today I will outline my plan for the Reintroduction Phase, and my 3 keys for a success!


The elimination period was not smooth sailing for me as weeks 3 and 4 were filled with sickness and a diet-busting meal at the beginning of week 3. Due to my sleep and routine being so thrown off, in addition to the sickness, I really couldn’t flesh out what was causing my higher blood sugar those weeks. At the time, I blamed my routine and sleep being thrown off, but now I am thinking the dinner out was as much the culprit. It could have been any one of those factor or all of them combined.

Thankfully, my blood sugar returned to normal range in weeks 5 and 6. Since I was past the 30 day mark, and I thought my blood sugar was leveled out. I decided to start the reintroduction phase.

Reintroduction Phase

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

Once the symptoms of the autoimmune disease have stopped, you can reintroduce some of the foods that were eliminated during the elimination phase. There is a best way to do this, and I wish I’d known this back when I first did an elimination diet in October 2017. Foods need to be introduced one at a time and symptoms monitored for 3 days to a week after eating before introducing another food. In my first attempt, I introduced the foods I missed the most first and only waited 2-3 days between introductions. I definitely rushed things.

Choosing which food to introduce first matters too. In the graphic above, the Reintroduction Phase is broken up into four stages. The food in stage 1 is the most likely to be accepted by an autoimmune impaired body, and stage 4 is the least likely to be accepted. Within each stage, it does not matter which food you try first, just pick one and keep the results as clean as possible.

How to Reintroduce a Food

I gathered most of my information on reintroducing foods from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach. I highly recommend that book if you are looking for answers to an autoimmune disease!

After selecting a food to reintroduce, eat only a small bite at first and wait 15 minutes for a severe reaction. At this point, you are checking for severe allergic reactions. If you’ve gone gluten-free before, you know your body can change its mind as to what foods it likes or doesn’t like!

If the first bite goes fine, then have a normal-sized bite then monitor symptoms for 2-3 hours. Again, this step is looking for severe adverse reactions. As long as those two bites go well, have a full serving of the food then monitor symptoms for 3 days to a week.

Keys to Success

Reintroducing foods and monitoring symptoms can add up to a lot of data/details, so carefully documentation and maintenance of diet and lifestyle are key. Here are 3 key tips to successfully reintroducing foods as a Type 1 Diabetic on the Autoimmune Protocol.

Food Journal

Autoimmune Protocol Food Journal

First of all, a food journal is essential. You will be documenting SO many things. It is impossible to keep each day straight let alone look for patterns over days, weeks, or months.
A food journal does not have to be anything fancy. Mine is a $.25 spiral bound notebook that goes on sale just before school starts each year. Dedicate an entire notebook to the journal; it will get filled up quicker than you think! Don’t rely on scrap pieces of paper, use full size paper so you have plenty of room to write everything out!

The food journal is the main reason I’ve been able to stick with the diet for so long and to figure out which foods are not agreeing with me. I tend to over-exaggerate my blood sugar levels over days/weeks. If things are not going well, I tend to negatively think I’ve been off for a week or more, when in reality it has only been a few days. It has been so important to have a written record so I can go back and see a clear picture of what really happened.
Make note of anything of consequence along with the major measures for your autoimmune disease. You won’t regret more detail when you go back to review the results. I have Type 1 Diabetes, so I monitor the following things:

  1. Fasting Blood Glucose
  2. Sleep notes
  3. Supplements taken
  4. Breakfast Food
  5. Snack
  6. Pre-Lunch Blood Glucose
  7. Lunch Food
  8. Snack
  9. Pre-Dinner Blood Glucose
  10. Dinner Food
  11. Supplements
  12. Snack
  13. Pre-Bed Blood Glucose

Jotting down these things throughout each day was a game changer! There are SO many moving parts in one’s diet, and many lifestyle routines, habits, and choices make a difference in blood sugar level too. I’m so glad I went through the effort to keep this journal. It is helping me tremendously analyze my results.

Healthy Habits

Healthy habits like consistent sleep (8-9 hours), consistent bed and wake time, and exercise are vital for a healthy body. Keep these routines consistent throughout the reintroduction phase. You want as few variables as possible when trying new foods, so don’t let your lifestyle habits prevent a clear reading on how the food is affecting you.

As a Type 1 Diabetic, these are the healthy lifestyle habits I stick to every day:

  1. Wake up at 5:45am every day – even on the weekends!
  2. Time in God’s Word and prayer – beyond communicating with my Lord and keeping that relationship growing, I need His peace as I go through each day. This diet stresses me sometimes.
  3. Exercise – I do a Fitness Blender workout Monday through Saturday.
  4. Consistent mealtime – Breakfast at 8am, Lunch at 12:30pm, and Dinner at 5:30
  5. Bed time at 10:00pm every day – even on the weekends!

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Since I am a Type 1 Diabetic, blood glucose or blood sugar is my primary indicator if a food is agreeing with my body or not. I test four times a day: fasting or first thing in the morning, before lunch, before dinner, and before bed. My goals for each of those times are as follows:

  • Fasting – less than 130
  • Pre-lunch – less than 130
  • Pre-dinner – less than 130
  • Bed time – between 100 and 150

For my non-diabetic readers, a non-diabetic’s blood sugar level is around 100.

Measurement of Results

The plan for the near future is to reintroduce one item from phase 1 then watch my blood sugar for 3-7 days and make note of any spikes. My criteria for a successful reintroduction as a Type 1 Diabetic:

  • Fasting Blood Glucose less than 150 – This is the biggest indicator that a food has irritated my gut. If I wake up in the morning with a blood sugar higher than 150, that’s when I know my body is off track. I wish I was consistently under 130, but it doesn’t look like that will happen (dawn phenomenon? Not sure…).
  • Pre-Lunch Blood Glucose less than 120 – My normal pre-lunch blood glucose is usually around 100-120, so if it is above that (even if still less than the accepted 130) I know my body is not tolerating that food well.
  • Body tremors – I have doubts that any food besides gluten will do this, but if I’ve ingested gluten, I get the shakes three days later. It feels like the organs inside my rib cage are shaking. I do not do anything to treat this symptom. Although it feels bad, it goes away in a day, and it has happened enough times that I know it is only a sign of gluten exposure.

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

My plan for the Reintroduction Phase of the Autoimmune Protocol is to choose one food at a time, wait 3-7 days between new foods, document my results in my food journal, and keep my health lifestyle going every day. I am hopeful with careful analysis and cooking to be able to reintroduce foods that I’ve been without these past weeks! Egg yolks is first up on my list, I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!


Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

Sewn Welting
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Reupholstered Wood Side Chair | Part 5 – Welting

Continuing on with my first re-upholstery project (See Part 1, 2, 3, and 4 here.), I finished the welting/cording around the chair back insert of the chair! I put off this project until almost the end because it intimidated me. Sewing the welting seemed like it would be tricky. The few tutorials I had watched told me otherwise, but I was scared nonetheless. Today I’m going to show you how I put on my big girl panties and just started. Creating gives me joy, and I can let fear of uncertainty take that joy. No more!

Joy and fulfillment in hobbies is something I’ve mentioned on social media a couple times, but I really believe you should do the things that bring you joy. Working on a hobby leads to a fulfilled life. Even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes here and there, do that thing that brings you joy. Read that book. Sew that skirt. Plant those flowers. Paint that wall. Bake the  cookies. Do those fun-filled things and enjoy them!


I’m kicking myself for how I felt about this step. It scared me. I’d never sewn welting before, and I was intimidated. Sigh. It was so easy. Like really, really easy. I didn’t even have to pin the fabric while sewing, and I’m a fairly beginning sewer so I use pins! The upholstery fabric is nice and grippy. It doesn’t slide around so sewing it was a dream. And attaching it to the chair back insert? A breeze. Why did I put this off for so long again? Oh right, I was scared and just didn’t try.

Here’s how I attached welting (aka piping or cording) around the chair back insert on my wood frame side chair.

Measure and Cut Strips

The fabric for welting needs to be cut along the bias or diagonally across the fabric. This leads to lots of waste which is hard for this cheapskate to take, but the end result of a professional finish is worth it! At this point, I’m also glad I bought 2 full yards of upholstery fabric. While I only needed 1 yard to cover the seat and back of the chair, I needed almost the entire remaining yard for the welting.

Using a straightedge, mark two inches in either side of the corner.

Mark Fabric for Welting

Then extend those two starting points to the other edge of the fabric. One, 2″ strip was not quite long enough to go all the way around the seat back insert so I cut another 2″ strip and sewed the two strips together.

Make a 2″ wide strip the perimeter of the chair back insert (the distance around the insert) + 8 inches. The extra 8″ is arbitrary, you could choose any amount, but you do want several inches extra, on both sides of the length of welting, to make the finish seam nice. I made mine 60″ long.

Cut Fabric Strips

Sew Cord into Strip

Fold the strip in half, inserting the welting cord into the fold of the fabric. Put the zipper foot on your sewing machine and sew the cord into the fold as close to the cord as possible.

Sewing Welting

I did not pin my fabric but just sewed slowly making sure my fabric stayed folded in half and the pressure foot tight against the cord.

Wait until you’ve finished sewing to cut the cord to length. There will be extra as you attach the welting to the chair, so a bit of cord hanging out is not a problem. I just left the pile of cord in my lap and fed it into the sleeve of the fabric as I sewed.

Sewn Welting

Staple Welting on to Back Insert

Using 3/8″ staples and a pneumatic staple gun, attach the welting to the edge of the chair back insert.

Stapler

Beginning at the middle, bottom of the chair back insert, staple the beginning end of the welting to the chair. Place the first staple a couple inches back from the end of the welting cord. You will need extra room from both ends of the cord to wrap them together to finish the welting.

When stapling the welting, make sure the welting is flush with the side of the chair back insert and the staple is as close to the cord as possible. To accomplish a tight staple, face the chair back insert with cord side of the welting facing you. Put the nose of the staple gun over the cord and staple tight against the cord.

Pardon the blurry picture! Light was low the day I was working on this!

Staple Welting

Continue around the chair back insert, stapling securely as you go.

When you get to a corner, make a couple notches (triangle cutouts) in the excess fabric to allow the welting to bend more easily and not have extra fabric bulk up at the corner. I made my notches as I worked around the chair back insert.

Notch Corners Welting

When you get back to the beginning, you should have extra welting overlapping your starting point.

Welting Overlap

Use a seam ripper to open up sleeve of the fabric an inch or so beyond the intersection point of the welting. Lay the fabrics on top of one another. Line up the cords and trim to there is no overlap.

Cut Cording Welting

Trim the excess fabric from the outside fabric, leaving an inch beyond the intersection point. Fold the fabric over so that it will have a finished edge.

How to Make Welting Seam

Fold and hold the fabric tightly and secure with staples to finish attaching the welting.

Welting Seam

Notes:

  1. This method of continuous welting around the chair back insert is made up by me. I’m not sure it is an actual upholstery method, but it seemed to make sense to me to create continuous welting around the chair back insert.
  2. I made a mistake and put this seam at the top of my chair back insert! Think through the starting point carefully before beginning to staple!

Trim Excess Fabric

Trim the excess fabric as close to the staples as possible. Use very sharp scissors for this step. My sewing scissors were not sharp enough. My husband sharped them as best he could, but I still was not able to trim the excess nicely. He was kind enough to do it for me. A stronger hand can cut better with my scissors apparently. I need to add a good pair of sewing scissors to my shopping list! Any recommendations?

Re-Attach Chair Back Insert

With the welting attached and trimmed, put the chair back insert back into the chair!

My insert has two prongs at the top of the insert that rest in divots in the top frame of the chair. The insert is held in place by three screws that go into the bottom of the frame and up into the chair insert.

Attaching Chair Back Insert

Step back and admire your work!

Finished WeltingCan you believe the step I stewed and sweated over for so long was really quite painless?! That just goes to show you, sometimes you just need to start. The worrying and fretting get you nowhere! And just maybe the project isn’t as hard as you think!

To attach welting to a chair back insert, first cut the strips of fabric and tightly sew the cord into the fabric. Then beginning at the middle bottom, staple the welting around the insert leaving a couple inches at the beginning and the end of the cord unattached. Finish off the welting with some folding and stapling. Then trim the excess fabric and put the chair back together!


Any other procrastinators/worriers out there? Do you delay the start of the project because you are unsure about how to do it? Any suggestions for sewing scissors? I really do need a new pair…

Attach Welting to Chair Back

Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries
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Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries | Paleo, AIP Recipe

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! I am an insulin-free Type 1 Diabetic currently working through the reintroduction phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. Sweet potatoes are a mainstay in my AIP Paleo diet, and I’ve made them many different ways. Today I’d like to share a favorite recipe of my family’s: Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries.


So I eat a lot of sweet potatoes. A lot. My last grocery shopping trip (to feed a family of four for two weeks) included purchasing 21 pounds of sweet potatoes. Ha, 21 pounds! It’s funny to me that I used to think sweet potatoes only appeared at Thanksgiving and now they make a daily appearance on my plate!

sweet potato fries sliced

Roasting is the most flavorful way to eat just about any vegetable. The intense heat of the oven really brings out the best in veggies. Toss on some seasoning if you want to amp up the flavor. I’ve experimented with a variety of seasoning combinations, and truly, most anything is delicious on a sweet potato. Garlic and onion together are a winning combination in my book. They go together like peanut butter and jelly!

Besides roasting and the spices, another key to this killer recipe is bacon grease. Instead of using olive oil or coconut oil (very acceptable if you don’t have bacon grease on hand though!), use a couple tablespoons of bacon grease to coat the fries and help the seasoning stick to the sweet potatoes. I pour any bacon grease into a mason jar after I cook bacon so I usually have it on hand.

sweet potato fries spices

The bacon grease should be soft, so just toss the spices and grease on the potatoes then stir with a wooden spoon. Keep mixing until the fries are evenly coated.

sweet potato fries seasoned

One final note for success: spread the fries out in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. A single layer is key for quick, even cooking. I usually have two pans of these when I make them, and I find them cook just fine using both the top and bottom rack of them oven.

sweet potato fries on pan

Hands down, my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is roasted. Slicing them in these uniform 1/2″ sticks allows for quick, even cooking with a lot of surface area for crisping. I roast them for about 15 minutes at 425° then put them under the broiler to add more color and crisp. Don’t be afraid of a little black! That’s delicious char right there!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I usually make enough of these fries to eat as leftover for breakfast or lunch the next day. To reheat, place the sweet potato fries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place under broiler and cook for a few minutes, watching carefully so they don’t burn! Flip the fries over and broil for another 1-3 minutes. The fries will be good as new! A much better texture than if they were reheated in the microwave.

Garlic & Onion fries are delicious plain or serve them with Avocado Mayo (AIP friendly) or Chipotle Mayo (Paleo friendly). Enjoy!

sweet potato fries plated

Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries

Paleo, AIP sweet potato fries, a savory side dish that will please the whole family

Course Side Dish
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Paleo
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 164 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes peeled, sliced into 1/2" sticks
  • 2 Tbsp bacon grease
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2" fries, about 3 inches long.

  3. Place sweet potatoes in a large bowl and add remaining ingredients: bacon grease, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt, and pepper. 

  4. Stir the sweet potatoes until all the fries are evenly covered in bacon grease and spices.

  5. Spread sweet potatoes on lined baking sheet, leaving space between the fries. Use a second baking sheet if necessary.

  6. With rack in top 1/3 of the oven, bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil for 3-6 minutes or until desired crisp and color.

Recipe Notes

This recipe has 25g of carbohydrates per serving.

 

Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries

diabetes testing supplies
Aside

Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetes | How I Became Dairy-Free

This is the story of how I can manage my Type 1 Diabetes without insulin. We left off my Gluten-Free, Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetic journey in the late summer of 2017. I was managing my diabetes completely without artificial insulin through a gluten-free diet that was high in vegetables.  However, in August and September, my fasting blood sugar was getting higher and higher. I was about to discover that other foods can inflame the gut and raise blood sugar. Dairy-free and grain-free were about to be added to my diet description.

Why an Elimination Diet?

In my effort to bring my blood sugar down, I started eating more and more dairy and meat. Zero carbohydrate foods, right? They can’t raise my blood sugar, right? Wrong. They can. I will try to explain what I know…diary is inflammatory. If the gut is inflamed, the villi do not form a tight wall. It becomes very permeable, allowing partially digested food into the blood stream. This can trigger an autoimmune response and raise the blood sugar level.

Jumping back to August/September 2017, I couldn’t figure out how to lower my blood sugar, so I checked out a book from the library that was recommended by a friend, The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Meyers. This was sort of a last ditch effort. My thought was that my blood sugar levels were getting to the point that I’d need to go on insulin again, but if this book claims it can fix my autoimmune disease, what do I have to lose?

As I jumped into the book, it resonated with me. Yes, this is what I was going through, and I was willing to try anything at this point before going back on insulin. While I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my “use-food-to-heal-my-body” theories,  I had just enough gumption to try it.

Blood Glucose and the Elimination Diet

diabetes testing supplies

The book has a 30 day elimination diet that is nicely laid out with exactly what to eat each meal along with recipes and shopping list. I followed it to a T. I bought every item and made every meal. Everything that wasn’t allowed (coffee, alcohol, sugar, grains, dairy, nuts, nightshades etc.) I stopped eating.

My blood sugar improved dramatically and immediately. As in the first official day of the diet, my fasting blood sugar was 126. (I had stopped coffee a couple days before and basically began eating according to the diet the day prior to officially starting.) That first day’s fasting blood sugar was perfectly in range (less than 130). The next day it was 111, the next 135, 124, 110, 104, 132…my blood sugar was between 100 and 140 every morning.

What in the world? This is the power of eating food that nourishes your body!

I attributed the dramatic blood sugar change primarily to the elimination of dairy. Cottage cheese and brick cheese were my go-to snacks prior to the elimination diet, and I was probably having upwards of 8 servings of dairy every day. Possibly overdosing on dairy. 🙂 Looks like dairy-free is the life for me going forward!

Me and the Elimination Diet

Paleo AIP Food Prep

The Meyers Way threw me into the kitchen like I had never been before. I like to cook and enjoy being in the kitchen, but this diet was a whole new level of cooking:

  • Zero processed or convenience food
  • 100% fresh vegetables, no frozen or canned
  • TONS and tons of vegetables at every meal = lots of chopping!
  • No easy sides or bases to the meal, i.e. corn tortillas, rice, beans, potatoes

I’d love to tell you I thrived and found joy and purpose in making fresh meals that clearly were healing and nourishing my body. However, that would just not be true. I found the extra hours in the kitchen a huge burden and the results of my effort were lacking in the flavor department. The amazing blood glucose results were the only reason I could hold on for two weeks of this diet.

Yes, I’m sad to report, I only stayed on the diet for two weeks! After two weeks, I was happy with my blood glucose numbers, but I was very unhappy with the tastiness of my meals and time in the kitchen. I started the re-introduction of foods after two weeks, and I now know, this was likely too soon. However, I continued to have good, in-range fasting blood sugar results for six weeks post elimination period.

The book did not mention a reintroduction schedule, so I began withe the food I missed the most. First, I introduced eggs, whole eggs. I did not separate the yolk from the white. I just ate the whole thing. These had no effect on my blood sugar so I continued on with nuts, followed by coffee and chocolate. Last, I introduced alcohol. All of those were fine. My morning blood sugar was still in the 100-140 range, and it stayed that way for six weeks after the diet.

After the Elimination Diet

After my short stint in the Meyers Way diet, I began a strict Paleo diet. Now that I wasn’t eating dairy or grains, the name for my diet was/is Paleo. Now that I had a name for the way I was eating, I could find tons of recipes via Pinterest or blogs I already knew about, Against All Grain for one.

Want a funny story? Dan has been wanting to eat Paleo for years. I always poo-pooed it because of the amount of pressure on me in the kitchen. After our first son was born, we were eating Paleo and using Danielle Walker’s cookbook, Against All Grain, as our primary recipe source. When I finally stopped eating Paleo, I sold the cookbook because I hate keeping things I’m not using. Now, in November 2017, I’m back on the Paleo bandwagon for good, for life, and I needed a cookbook. What’s the first one I buy? Danielle Walker’s Meals Made Simple, and I’m planning to buy Against All Grain again soon. Ha. Isn’t life ironic?

Even though the Meyers Way diet only lasted for two weeks, I saw dramatic effects on my blood sugar. I also figured out I have an sensitivity to all grains and dairy. Eliminating these from my diet allowed my gut to heal so it wouldn’t leak foreign objects into my bloodstream. With my bloodstream clean, my beat-up pancreas is able to produce enough insulin to keep my blood sugar within normal range for a Type 1 Diabetic. The taglines for my diet now include gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free; this diet is commonly called Paleo.


Insulin-free, Type 1 Diabetic series:

  1. Gluten-free Type 1 Diabetes
  2. Eat More Vegetables

Dairy-Free Grain-Free Diabetes

Dust Cover on Chair
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Reupholstered Wood Side Chair | Part 4 – Dust Cover

Upholstering my wood desk chair is going swimmingly, slowly, but trucking along nonetheless. The chair was taken apart prior to me documenting, but so far I’ve made the chair weight bearing, built the cushion, and attached the top piece of upholstery. Today, I’ll show you how to attach the dust cover on the bottom of the chair.


After attaching the top piece of upholstery fabric in Part 3 of this series, the chair looked like this. It looks finished, doesn’t it?

upholstered desk chairIt isn’t though, if you know where to look. See the burlap hanging down from the front frame  of the chair? That needs to be hidden behind a dust cover.

A dust cover is a thin, lightweight piece of fabric used to hide the under or backside of an upholstered piece of furniture. It hides structural pieces to give the bottom of the chair a finished look. The dust cover also protects the insides of the chair from dust.

I purchased my dust cover by the yard from Jo-Ann’s. At first, I picked up a pre-packaged dust cover from the upholstery section. It has 5 yards of fabric in it which is way more than I needed for this project. So I opted to purchase a different version from the bolts so I could purchase just the amount I needed. For this project, I purchased 2/3 of a yard, and it was just enough.

The dust cover fabric I purchased was grey. It is usually black. If I were purchasing it again, I would look elsewhere for black. The grey was so thin, it was see-through if not double layered. Perhaps it was supposed to be double layered? No one will see it so it doesn’t matter, but I would like the look of opaque black better.

Cut Dust Cover to Size of Chair Bottom

Just like with the other fabric parts, cut the dust fabric to roughly the size of the chair with a few inches on all sides. I planned to tuck in all the edges, so I didn’t bother with a very precise cut. After cutting the fabric, lay it on the chair to make sure it fits, trim as necessary.

Sizing Dust Cover Fabric

Tuck Edges Under and Staple

To make the edge look more clean and finished, tuck the extra fabric under towards the inside middle of the chair before stapling. Then following the same North-South-West-East pattern, secure one staple on each side. The reason for following this pattern is to keep the fabric centered on the chair. If you work around the chair, you will pull the fabric off center, possibly enough to not have any left to finish stapling at the end of the chair!

Always start at the top (north) then pull the fabric taut and staple at the bottom (south). Go to one side pulling the fabric gently, but not too tight, secure with a staple (west). Finish up by pulling the fabric taut on the other side (east).

I used short, 1/4″, staples to secure the dust cover. This layer is not structural and will not see every day use, so these short staples should be plenty to hold it in place.

Attaching Dust CoverContinue working around the chair in this pattern, always securing staples opposite each other, until the whole dust cover is secured.

Stapled Dust CoverTrim Around Edges of Legs

The dust cover fabric will be bulky at the corners, by the legs of the chair. Trim some of the overlapping fabric before securing the staples. I didn’t follow a specific method for this. Just trim any folded up fabric to thin out the layers and allow the dust cover to lay flat.

Dust Cover at LegSee how thin this dust cover fabric is? I didn’t expect it to be so see-through when I purchased it. In the end, it is the bottom of the chair, no one will see it. However, I like the finished look of an opaque layer though, and if I were doing it again, I’d buy black dust cover fabric.

Dust Cover on Chair

And now a chair with a finished dust cover! No more burlap hanging all jagged from the bottom of the chair! Even though the dust cover is a little visible from this angle, anyone standing up will not see any of it. The solid grey line looks more clean anyway than jagged burlap!

Chair with Finished Dust CoverAttaching the dust cover was probably the easiest, fastest step in finishing this chair. I think it took about 5 minutes, including cutting, stapling, and trimming the fabric. Following the North-South-West-East pattern is key to the fabric laying evenly without puckers or overstretching in any direction.


That’s one step closer to a finished chair! To see the rest of this upholstery project, click on the links below!

  • Part 1 – Structural Elements
  • Part 2 – Build the Cushion
  • Part 3 – Attaching Top Layer of Upholstery

Dust Cover How To

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Cinnamon Apples | Paleo, AIP Recipe

As my diet is currently limited under the Autoimmune Protocol, so sweets are few and far between. I originally made Cinnamon Apples as a breakfast side back when I ate a Paleo diet, but I’ve found it to be so much more versatile than just a breakfast item. It even passes for a dessert in my book. The natural sweetness of the apples is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth!

How to Make Cinnamon Apples

Apples are one of my favorite fruits. I eat them just about every lunch. With a little extra effort, you can jazz up ordinary apples by just tossing them in cinnamon and cooking on the stove-top with a little water. These apples have no sugar added and make a great topping or stand-alone side dish!

No Sugar Added

There is no added sugar in this recipe for several reasons:

  1. I am a Type 1 Diabetic so I try not to add carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar, if I can help it.
  2. Sugar does bad things to your brain. Everyone’s brain, whether or not you have an autoimmune disease or are as fit as a fiddle. In recipes like this, I try to rely on the natural sugar in the fruit without supplementing.
  3. Refined sugar is prohibited in the Autoimmune Protocol.
  4. It is just plain delicious without more sugar!

Cinnamon Apples Raw

Toppings are Everything

Do you want to take a meal up a notch? Go through the extra effort to add toppings. If you’ve made potato soup, fry up bacon and chop some green onions. It takes the soup from good to great. If you’ve made pudding for dessert, toast some coconut and throw some fresh berries on top. It’s really the extras that take an ordinary meal to the next level.

Cinnamon apples are very versatile as a topping. For breakfast, put them on oatmeal, grain-free porridge (from flax seed or spaghetti squash), or sausage patties. For lunch, toss the cinnamon apples on top a salad, yogurt, or cottage cheese (if dairy is in your diet). For dinner, apples and pork go together swimmingly. Top grilled pork chops with a scoop of cinnamon apples or even mix into pulled pork.

Cinnamon Apples with Pork

Simple Sides Improve the Meal

Making more dishes is more work, but a couple simple sides really help to balance out the meal, making it more satisfying. These cinnamon apples only take 25 minutes from start to finish and can cook on the stove while you work on the rest of the meal.

Some meal suggestions:

  1. At breakfast, serve cinnamon apples alongside breakfast sausage patties and sliced avocado.
  2. For a kid-friendly lunch, serve cinnamon apples in place of applesauce or apple slices. A helping of these next to Almond Butter & Jelly Roll-ups would be delicious!
  3. Cinnamon apples could be a side for dinner with any pork main dish, meatloaf, or hamburgers.
  4. Dessert – serve cinnamon apples topped with coconut whipped cream or toss the apples on top of pudding or ice cream!

Cooked AIP Cinnamon Apples

Recipe Notes

My favorite apples are pink lady, so that is what I used in this recipe. Pink lady apples are crisp and sweet with a slight tartness. It isn’t necessary to only this variety, use whatever type of apple you enjoy most!

Make sure to watch the apples as they cook. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, it needs more water or less heat. Add only a little more water at a time, about 1 tablespoon, or turn down the heat to low. Then continue cooking.

Enjoy this simple, tasty addition to your recipe box!

What super simple recipes are you enjoying lately? Have any recipes with less than 5 ingredients to share?

Cinnamon Apples

The perfect side dish or topping to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert! Cinnamon apples are Paleo, AIP, Dairy-free, and Grain-free. Enjoy them today!

Course Dessert, Side Dish, Topping
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 74 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 4 medium Pink Lady Apples Peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Slice fairly thin, about 1/8th of an inch thick. Thicker is ok too as long as it is consistent. All the slices should be the same thickness.

  2. Place apples, cinnamon, and water in a small saucepan. Stir to cover apples with cinnamon.

  3. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Cook time will depend on thickness of the apples. Continue to cook until very soft and flexible.

  4. Serve hot as a side dish or topping. 

Recipe Notes

This recipe contains 16 net carbs (19g carbohydrates and 3g fiber).

Cinnamon Apples

AIP Blood Sugar Results
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Autoimmune Protocol | Review for Type 1 Diabetic

For the last six weeks, I’ve been going through the elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol. This is the strictest time period of the Autoimmune Protocol. Many foods are eliminated to reduce inflammation in the body, allow the gut to heal, and halt the progression of an autoimmune disease. I am a Type 1 Diabetic, and I went on the Autoimmune Protocol to bring my fasting blood sugar back into Type 1 Diabetic normal range (less than 130 when I wake up).

Due to some chocolate candy I ate over the holidays in late 2017, my fasting blood sugar was high, over 160, every morning when I woke up. Even if I didn’t eat carbohydrates after dinner, my fasting blood sugar was high come morning. Once I discovered the source of the problem (dairy in candy), I eliminated it from my diet along with coffee and alcohol which I suspected might be aggravating the problem. I did not see significant improvement, so on February 19, 2018, I began the elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol to heal my gut and return my fasting blood sugar to normal.


I’m happy to report the Autoimmune Protocol has been successful in bringing blood glucose back into normal range for a Type 1 Diabetic without the use of artificial insulin. It has decreased my A1c and solidified the need for healthy routines to manage Type 1 Diabetes.

Just in case there was any doubt, I am a diagnosed Type 1 diabetic. In April 2017, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. My stats at diagnosis: A1c 9.6, blood glucose of 512, and GAD65 200+, higher than the test result could show. No question about it, I am a Type 1 Diabetic!

Let’s jump into how the Autoimmune Protocol enabled me to have even more control on my diabetes than I did previously with just a Paleo diet.

A1c Results

An A1c test gives an average blood sugar level from the previous 2-3 months. I had taken an A1c home test before beginning the Autoimmune Protocol. The result was 6.3. This is still good for a Type 1 Diabetic, as the goal is less than 7. The chart below translates the A1c (middle number, 4-14) result to blood sugar level.

A1c Chart

As you can see an A1c of 7 means the average blood sugar level was less than 154mg/dl. This is the goal for all Type 1 Diabetics. My result of 6.3 translates to an average blood sugar level of less than 134mg/dl. While this is technically still in range, my fasting blood sugar was too high, 160+ on the regular.

After eating strictly on the Autoimmune Protocol for 6 weeks, my A1c result was 5.8. This means my average blood sugar for the last 2-3 months was 120mg/dl. According to The Diabetes Council, this is a normal blood sugar level. A1c results of 5.9 and above are considered pre-diabetic.

A1c after AIP

This is the power of the Autoimmune Protocol! My average blood sugar levels are in normal, non-diabetic range!

I am not saying I’m cured; I am still a Type 1 Diabetic. Here is what I believe is going on in my body:

  1. The autoimmune response, i.e. the attack on the beta cells of my pancreas, has stopped. Largely due to eliminating gluten but gut health is further improved through the Autoimmune Protocol.
  2. With my gut wall healed, not leaking foreign substances into the blood stream, low carbohydrate foods, like dairy no longer raise my blood sugar.
  3. Since my pancreas is functioning, around 20% I think, my body is able to handle small doses of carbohydrates and return my blood sugar to normal range after eating.
  4. The Autoimmune Protocol allowed my gut to heal from the recent dairy exposure allowing my fasting blood sugar to come down almost to normal Type 1 Diabetic range and allowed for lower blood sugar results throughout the day with less variability.

Speaking of variability, let’s take a look at my daily blood glucose results.

Blood Glucose Results

As I analyze my blood glucose numbers from the last six weeks, it is difficult to measure how blood glucose improves when it bounces around each day. I am going to focus on averages, max, min, and range of my blood glucose throughout the six weeks of the Autoimmune Protocol.

AIP Blood Sugar Results

 

Let’s discuss each of the measures in the chart above.

Average

I calculated the average of my four blood sugar tests from each day for the week before I started the Autoimmune Protocol (Control Week) and the final week of the Autoimmune Protocol. Blood sugar levels are not a uniform distribution, so a straight average is not a perfect representation of average blood sugar level, but it is the best I have with the tools available to me.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol lowered my average blood sugar level from 142 to 122. Success!

Maximum

I calculated the maximum reading from the control week and from the final week of the Autoimmune Protocol. Prior to beginning the Autoimmune Protocol, I was having spikes over 200, but once on the protocol, the spikes were much lower, 162.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol has made lower blood sugar spikes.

Minimum

This is simply the lowest reading of the week. There is very little change from the control week (79) to the final week of AIP (81). I still think this is a win. I’m not looking for blood glucose levels lower than 80. Since my pancreas is still functioning, it will keep me from going very low as it won’t give me too much insulin like an injection could.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol has stabilized my blood sugar on the low end too. There are no cases of going too low and needing additional glucose.

Range

This is my best result, I think. The range is the difference between the max and the min (Maximum – Minimum = Range). To describe it, the range is showing the swing or variation in my blood sugar. A non-diabetic would have very little variation in blood sugar levels because the pancreas is keeping everything in check, constantly monitoring blood sugar and insulin levels. The blood sugar range of a Type 1 Diabetic could be all over the place if the insulin input does not match the carbohydrate load ingested. I have to be extra careful because I am not taking additional insulin, and I do not know exactly what carbohydrate load my pancreas can handle (my guess is around 20g carbs per meal).

The range of my blood sugar readings has decreased from 149 prior to starting the Autoimmune Protocol to 81 after six weeks of AIP. This means less variability in my blood sugar. This is a major win in my book. Less dramatic swings in blood sugar must mean good things for my internal organs and overall management of diabetes.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol has made my blood sugar more stable. There is less variability between my highest and lowest readings throughout the day.

 

Routine

Routine is so important. During Weeks 3 and 4, my morning routine, evening routine, and sleep patterns were all thrown off as illness ran through my entire family. I stuck to the AIP diet throughout these weeks yet the results were not the same. Take a look…

AIP Results through Sickness

While the average blood sugar was a little lower than the control week, the range was higher. My blood sugar was not as controlled even though my diet was right on. When healthy routines are not in place, it has a major impact on my blood sugar levels.

Here are the major routines that were thrown off during Weeks 3 and 4 resulting in less blood sugar  control:

  • Going to bed at the same time every night
  • Waking up at the same time every morning
  • Exercise every day
  • Drinking water

Once my family’s health returned, and my routines were back in place, my blood sugar levels returned to Type 1 Diabetic normal. That is the power of good, healthy routines!

Conclusion

The Autoimmune Protocol works! If you’ve been looking for hope to manage or even cure your autoimmune disease, this is it. It is working to manage my Type 1 Diabetes better than conventional medicine can with artificial insulin. The Autoimmune Protocol is addressing the cause of the disease: the foods that trigger an autoimmune response. By removing those foods, your body can heal and return to normal functioning. There is hope for autoimmunity, and there is healing. The Autoimmune Protocol is a good place to start.


If you want more information, check out my beginning post, weekly reviews (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), or contact me!

AIP for Type 1 Diabetic

Upholstery Corner Fold
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Reupholstered Wood Side Chair | Part 3 – Flexible Metal Tack Strips

Thank you for joining me on Part 3 of my first upholstery project. This is a beginner upholstery project, and I’ve learned a lot along the way! In Part 1, I made the seat weight bearing; in Part 2, I built up the chair cushion; and in Part 3, I am going to attach the top lay of upholstery, the decorative fabric, by using flexible metal tack strips. This was by far the most challenging piece thus far, but I’m happy to report, it turned out well! Flexible metal tack strips saved the day!


Part 2 left off with the seat of the chair stuffed and comfortable topped with a layer of muslin.

Finished Muslin Layer

“All” that is left to do it attach the decorative fabric. I purchased 2 yards of Pindler’s Campbell upholstery fabric in Aqua. Having no idea how much fabric I would need, I turned to Google to find general recommendations for upholstery yardage basic on chair type. Two yards is proving to be more than enough, but I’m still glad I didn’t scrimp. I ended up having to do the seat twice because I messed up, having extra turned out to be a great idea.

While I did read tons of tutorials and watched video after video about chair upholstery, not one of them was exactly the same type of chair that I have. In the end, my primary source for how to upholster this chair is my careful notes and pictures I took when deconstructing this chair.

Each step of the way has been fairy smooth, until this one. The original upholstery was leather. It was laid over the seat of the chair and tacked into place using upholstery tacks. The leather was cut just under the tacks on the sides and front of the chair. The tacks and most of the rough edge (which was really very straight!) were covered up by nail-head trim.

I’m using fabric, not leather, to cover the chair, and fears of being able to staple and cut the excess off in a straight line were confirmed. I couldn’t do it. On one side of the chair, I tried the same technique as the leather used: staple it then cut straight just under the staples. I either don’t have the right scissors or mine are not sharp enough (or both!). Cutting a straight line was impossible once the staples were in place.

On the back side of the chair, I tried to tuck under the fabric then staple, but the curve of the chair frame left me with excess fabric. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I tried making a pleat. It didn’t look too good. Hmmm…maybe I’ll give it one more try…

Final Upholstery Mistake 1

I gave once last go on the other side of the chair. I folded the fabric under once again and tried to staple it. But try as I might, I could not pull it straight without it buckling, having extra fabric and just not laying nice. Final Upholstery Mistake 1I started to get really frustrated then I realized I must either be using the wrong technique or the wrong tool. Back to Google to try to figure out how to make a nice clean edge! Through that searching, I discovered flexible metal tack strips. These beauties create a clean line tucking the fabric inside the mouth of the tack strip and hammering the tack strip closed. Thereby creating a tight, clean, staple-free edge. Genius!

Ordering this new part set me back about a week due to my lack of reading abilities. I ordered it from Amazon and accidentally selected no rush shipping. Doh! So instead of two day delivery, it took a week.

I watched a few videos on YouTube to learn how to use the tack strip (This one was very thorough.). After my crash course of learning how to use it, I dove right in.

First things first, tear off the first piece of fabric, being careful to remove any stray staples as well. Measure and cut a new piece of fabric. I was unable to reuse this piece because I had cut one section right below the staples. In order to use the flexible metal tack strips, I needed about an inch of overhang on each side of the chair.

Cut Fabric

Measure from the front edge of the frame to the back edge of the frame (22 inches for this chair).

Upholstery Measure for Top Layer

Measure from the left edge of the frame to the right edge ( 26 inches for this chair).

Upholstery Measure for Top LayerAdd 4 inches to each measurement to give two inches extra all the way around the chair. Then measure, mark, and cut the fabric. For this chair, I cut a rectangle 26″ by 30″.

The extra 2 inches was plenty. I probably didn’t need to leave that much, but it gave me plenty of extra to tug on. Most of the 2 inches gets cut off in the end.

Measure and Mark Fabric

Cut FabricLay the fabric over the seat of the chair to make sure there is excess fabric on all sides.

Lay Fabric on Chair

Staple Metal Tack Strip

The metal tack strip comes in a roll. Use one end of the roll and staple it to the chair. Hold the tack strip with the tab with the circle against the frame of the chair. Staple, putting one leg of the staple through the hole in the tack strip and the other leg outside the tab of the tack strip. Leave a quarter inch gap from the bottom of the tack strip to the edge of the frame, where you want the fabric to end.

Flexible Metal Tack StripCut off the tack strip using tin snips. I did not try to wrap this around the corner. I cut individual lengths for each section around the chair.

You can see my aim with the stapler wasn’t too good, so some of the tabs got two staples. I wanted it to be secure!

Flexible Metal Tack StripStaple one row of this flexible metal stripping all the way around the frame of the chair, except the front.

Staple Upholstery Chip Strip

With the wrong side of the fabric facing out, attach the fabric to the front of the chair using a few placeholder staples. These are staples that aren’t fully sunk into the wood frame. Their purpose is to hold the fabric in place while another step is performed. Make sure the fabric is centered left to right and enough excess to cover seat and all the way to the back frame of the chair.

tack front edge of fabric

Attach an upholstery chip strip against the top edge of the wood frame. Staple securely in place.

At this point, I did not want to go to the store to buy the proper chip strip, nor did I want to wait for a delivery by mail. So I did what any resourceful girl would do, I made my own. I cut strips off the cover of a standard spiral bound notebook and stapled them in place.

makeshift chip stripRemove the tacking staples and smooth up the fabric to admire your handiwork!

smooth upholstery edgeLook at that smooth, secure edge! I love it when things work out like I planned!

Make Relief Cuts

Make relief cuts in the fabric to allow the fabric to flow smoothly around the legs and arms of the chair. The best way I found was to make a “Y” mark with a fabric marker then cut with scissors.

Upholstery Relief CutsThe upper tips of the “Y” should be at the outside edges of the arm/leg. The tail of the “Y” needs to be on an angle toward the middle front of the chair. On my first piece of seat fabric, I made the “Y” relief cuts straight toward the middle of the chair. This left me without enough fabric on one side of the arm.

Make the relief cut for each arm and leg of the chair then tuck the inner part of the “Y” into the arm/leg of the chair and pull the excess fabric snugly around the sides of the arm/leg.

Upholstery Relief CutsAttach Fabric to Metal Tack Strips

Starting at the back of the chair, to make use of the front already being securely stapled, gently pull the fabric taut and tuck it around the top of the tack strip. Push the fabric into the teeth on the underside of the top of the tack strip while tapping the tack strips closed just a bit with a rubber mallet. Be careful not to cut yourself!

Fabric into Metal Tack StripTrim the outside/corner edges as needed. You will notice a lot of extra fabric there. I folded the fabric in to make a clean edge then trimmed as much of the overlapping fabric as I could so that the tack strip would be able to close around it.Tuck Fabric in Tack StripOnce the fabric is partially secure, trim the excess fabric along the bottom of the tack strip. This part scared me because I was afraid to trim too much and mess up, requiring me to cut a whole new piece for the seat. The flexible metal tack strips allow for a tight hold without much fabric overlap. So trim the fabric right at or above the tack strip that is stapled to the chair. This little bit of fabric will be hidden once the strip is fully hammered shut.

Trim Excess Fabric Tack Strip

Next, carefully tuck the fabric into the track strip while hammering it closed. Use a flathead screwdriver to push the fabric in while keeping your fingers free from the rubber mallet.

Take care at the outside corners/edges. I had to trim out extra fabric a few times. The outside edges aren’t the smoothest, but the final result is SO much better than my first attempt!

Look at that neatly tucked line!

Metal Tack Strips FinishedAttach remaining chair sections of the seat cover in the same manner:

  1. Tuck fabric around the tack strip into the top teeth
  2. Partially hammer tack strip closed while continuing to tuck
  3. Trim excess fabric right at or just above bottom of tack strip
  4. Carefully tuck in fabric while hammering all the way closed

Front Corners

Corners require special consideration in upholstery. If folded/stapled correctly, they look great. If not…they look like a DIY job. I read a couple of tutorials on how to handle corners, and I tried to put that knowledge all together to make this corner work. In the end, it isn’t a perfect result, but I’m accepting the result as this is my first upholstery project!

I had the chip strip stapled to the front of the chair and a tack strip on the side of the chair. My goal was to keep the front of the chair smooth and fold the fabric into the tack strip on the side. That’s confusing as I write it! Hopefully it will make sense with some pictures.

Pull fabric taut around the corner of the frame and secure with a staple. The staple should go on the side of the chair, not the front. Make sure the staple is as close to the metal tack strip as possible. The picture is deceiving. To get the staple very close, hold the stapler with the handle in the opposite direction. That way the staple gets lodged very close to the metal tack strips.

Corner by Metal Tack StripFold the fabric on the side down tucking the front fabric under the side fabric, like a present. The folded edge should cover the staple.

Upholstery Corner Fold

Then trim as much of the overlapping fabric from the front side of the chair as possible while maintaining the clean fold. Repeat tucking/trimming and hammering the tack strip in as you did with the other sides of the chair.

Finished Edge with Metal Tack StripFrom the front of the chair, that corner now looks like this:

Upholstery Corner FoldRepeat on the other side of the chair until the entire seat upholstery is attached.

upholstered desk chairupholstered desk chairIsn’t that a satisfying sight? The chair is 90% complete! I just made that % up, but it is almost done! At first glance, it might seem like it’s done but it still needs a dust cover, nail head trim, and piping around the back insert. It’s close, so very close!

In Part 3, I learned how to use flexible metal tacks to attach upholstery with a clean edge and not use staples. This also allowed me to work with the curve of the frame of the chair so that the fabric did not buckle or pleat as it did when I tried staples. The right tools make every job easier. If you find yourself frustrated in a project, take a step back and re-evaluate.

  • Is there another way to approach this step?
  • Would a different or new tool make this part come together easier?
  • Should I learn a new skill to make this project come to completetion better?

Frustration turns off your brain’s ability to rationally think through a problem. Taking a deep breath, a step back, and going back to the drawing board is a great way to get the project going again.


What are you working on these days? Do you enjoy DIY? Organizing? Spring cleaning? Reading about other people’s projects (I love that too!)?

Desk Chair Upholstery

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca
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Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

My recent journey through the Autoimmune Protocol landed right over my birthday. A girl needs dessert on her birthday, right? Since I am a Type 1 Diabetic, I did not pursue an AIP compliant cake. It would likely be based in arrowroot flour, cassava flour, or coconut flour. The first two being so high in carbohydrates that I try to avoid them in recipes as they cause my blood sugar to sky rocket. In my efforts to find a sweet treat that doesn’t raise my blood sugar too much, I created this recipe, Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding.


Let me take you back to the beginning. Once I realized my birthday fell during the Autoimmune Protocol, I was initially deflated. Creme brulee is my all-time favorite dessert and my go-to for my birthday or special occasions. Dairy is a no-no for me right now, so I did what any girl would do, head over to Pinterest to see what would come up for “AIP Desserts.” Shockingly, the first one to pique my interest was an AIP-compliant tapioca pudding. I wasn’t sure if I liked tapioca, but I LOVE pudding (and it is extremely similar to creme brulee!), particularly homemade pudding. A fond memory from my childhood is still warm chocolate pudding cooled just enough to form the layer of “skin” on top. Mmmmm…this might make some texture people cringe, but I love it!

I gave the original recipe a go, and it was good. It struck a light bulb in me though, and I decided to experiment a bit with this dessert to make it suit my palate better. I tweaked the original recipe a bit to create my own version: AIP Compliant Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding.

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

Cinnamon is a delightful spice that can be savory or sweet. To up the sweet cinnamon flavor in the pudding, I put a half a teaspoon of cinnamon in the pudding right from the beginning. Cinnamon compliments the maple syrup very well. Then I topped the pudding with fresh berries: blackberries and strawberries. The berries up the sweetness factor but they are lower on the Glycemic scale making them a better addition for a sweeter dessert than adding more maple syrup.

My other tweak was to up the maple syrup flavor. I chose to use Grade A maple syrup as my sweetener because that is what I had on hand. However, the maple syrup flavor was not intense enough for my liking. I really wanted the maple flavor to shine though so next time I will use grade B for more maple flavor and nutrients.

In the absence of Grade B maple syrup, I chose to add some maple extract to the pudding. In this way, I got a more robust maple flavor without adding more sugar. I tried to keep the maple syrup as low as possible so the dessert wouldn’t raise my blood sugar as much.

A couple notes on this recipe:

Cook the pudding until the outside of the tapioca balls are translucent but the middles are still white. They will continue to cook as they cool.

Cooked Tapioca Pearls

Add any flavors or seasoning before beginning to cook the tapioca. If you add it at the end, or just adjust by adding more, the stirring, after removing the pudding from heat, will disturb the tapioca balls. The suspension will break, causing the balls to fall to the bottom and form large lumps of tapioca. No good. Don’t do it.

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

Enjoy this recipe as is or top with fresh berries. Strawberries and blackberries were looking great in the stores this week, so that’s what I put on top!

Fresh Berries on Tapioca

Just in case you think this flavor combination odd, in my pre-diabetic days, my husband would make homemade berry syrup on Saturdays to go with our traditional pancake breakfast. Do you know what makes a strawberry or blueberry syrup killer? Cinnamon. No joke. It will take your homemade syrup to whole new level. Add a half a teaspoon to your syrup then taste and adjust. It is delicious!

Tapioca with BerriesMaple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding is gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free. Proof that when you are on the Autoimmune Protocol, you can have your cake and eat it too! Enjoy!

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

A tasty AIP, Paleo dessert that is dairy-free, grain-free, and gluten-free. 

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soaking Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 224 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 can coconut milk, full fat
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup, grade A Grade B is preferable, if you have it.

Instructions

  1. Soak tapioca pearls in the filtered water for 1 hour in a small saucepan.

  2. After soaking, add the rest of the ingredients to the sauce pan. Stir to combine.

  3. Over medium heat, bring tapioca mixture to a simmer.

  4. Reduce heat to low, maintaining a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until tapioca balls are partially translucent, about 10 minutes. If the pudding starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat.

  5. Remove the pudding from heat and pour into individual serving cups or ramekins.

  6. Cool completely in the refrigerator.

  7. Eat plain or topped with fresh berries.

Recipe Notes

This recipe has 17 carbs per serving.

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca