Friday, May 4, 2012

picture gallery, no sugar oatmeal ideas

Edited to add: I added Disqus last night so that I could reply to comments in a thread, but I've been told that some people (sisters!) can't comment anymore.  If you are unable to leave a comment, please drop me an email at trappedinnorthjersey at gmail dot com and let me know?  Obviously if lots of people can't comment I'll get rid of it.

I really miss my picture gallery in the dining room of our last house.  I liked having the pictures of everyone we loved out on the walls.  (I did not enjoy dismantling the shelves and patching all the holes when we left.)

In this house I do not have the wallspace for that sort of display, and there is a "no holes in the wall" clause in my lease, which I am halfheartedly abiding by.  Putting up shelves, or sixty-seven 5x7 pictures on the wall, would be more holes than I wish to patch upon leaving.

Enter my deluxe picture galleries from, you guessed it, the garage! The garage is a magical mystery land of unused decor.

The last time I used these, they hung in the upstairs hallway of our house in Haddon Township (three houses ago, long before I had a blog).  Originally they are from Red Envelope, and they have the advantage of hanging from each other, so that the only holes come from the top railing.

If I were a better home decor blogger all the frames would be filled.  Unfortunately I can tell you that these frames will probably live in this 75% finished state for a while, as I do not have many 8x10 prints sitting around.  Also, my computer broke right before we moved, my new computer does not support SugarSync where I stored all my old photos, and thus its going to be a while before I get more prints.  I have pulled a number of photos from my old dining room picture wall, but I have lots of pictures that aren't the right sizes for the new frames.

My plan is to fill the frames with pictures of our friends and family back East so that my kids don't forget what they look like.  Family--feel free to email me pictures of yourselves, especially if you have a picture of the younger cousins.

Its working, the Princess likes to look at it and tell me who is in each picture.

You can also see the Easter pictures we had taken.

 I got the picture CD from Kiddie Kandids and was all excited to share them on the blog, because its the best set of pictures we have taken in a while, only to realize that we no longer own a computer that has a disc drive, so the pictures are trapped on the CD for the foreseeable future.

I put Disqus on the blog so I can reply to each commenter in a thread. I fear this is beyond my technological capabilities. It has run off with all of the old comments.  Here's hoping they return soon.

I am on a diet.  Blarg.

I am generally not a fan of "diets", especially gimmicky ones like eat only cabbage soup or give up one food group and mgically lose weight.  I agree with Michael Pollan's advice of "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."  I have stomach problems, and a few years ago I overhauled my diet.  I don't drink alcohol or caffeine (I wish that I could, but it causes excruciating stomach aches, so I don't.)  I don't eat anything with lactose in it. I avoid most bread products, and rarely eat sandwiches. My diet is heavily vegetable and fruit based.


I eat a ton of sugar.  Like, a hell of a lot.  I love cookies and chocolate cake and banana pudding and cinnamon rolls and orange scones and did I mention how much I love cookies?  This blog would be more appropriately titled Woman Who Loves to Eat Cookies and Frequently Redecorate.

I have toyed for about a year with the notion of going on a no-sugar diet to break the habit.  Last week, I finally took the plunge.  I stopped eating refined white sugar, and products that contain yeast.  At least, I'm trying--did you know that to really do a yeast free diet, you should avoid canned tomatoes, and moldy cheeses, and mushrooms, and vinegar and mustard, and a whole bunch of other stuff that you would never think has yeast??  I am settling for things that have obvious sugar or yeast, like cakes and cookies and bread.

I figured I would start with refined white sugar, because I am unwilling to give up fruit at this point.  A true no-sugar diet would skip fruit too, but I don't think I have quite that much willpower.

I eat generally anything I would normally eat, like salads and fruit, and meat and fish, and as much as I want. I have no problem eating an entire avocado or pouring olive oil over my salad.  I'm just skipping the cookies.  Mostly.  I have eaten one lonely Oreo every night as the Mister and I sit on the sofa and watch tv together.  I may have also had a couple of spoonfuls of Cool Whip. So its not a real "no sugar" diet, just a "extremely reduced sugar diet, so much reduced that its barely worth living for" diet.

I have not had my elevenses snack of raisin bread or English muffin.  I haven't snacked on Oreos all day long.  I haven't had any of the kids' fruit snacks.  It occurs to me that I eat mindlessly.

I've lost two and a half pounds in one week. (That should tell you how much sugar I was consuming, eh?) I'm not hungry, but I wouldn't say that I'm satiated, either.  I feel like I'm on a diet.

The one area I have had trouble with is breakfast.  For the past three years I have had steel-cut oatmeal with dried cranberries every single morning. (I am a creature of habit--I have actually eaten oatmeal for breakfast every day for the past seven years; prior to cranberries I used peanut butter, before learning that Peter was allergic.)  I still want to eat oatmeal, but dried cranberries (and other dried fruits like raisins) are full of sugar.

I've halved the amount of cranberries I put in, but I'd really like to eat a non-sugar topping.  This is remarkably hard to come by.  Google "oatmeal toppings" and brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and agave top the list.  The next group of toppings is nuts and peanutbutter, and since we avoid nuts like the plague in this house, that's not an option either. (Cooking dinner for Peter and myself requires a Venn diagram.)

I tried pumpkin and unsweetened cocoa in my oatmeal, and thought it was disgusting.  Coconut milk is mostly sugar.  Nuts are verboten. I can't eat milk or cheese.

Your ideas for non-sugary, non-dairy, non-nut and non-legume oatmeal toppings are requested.

(Please do not suggest that I give up eating oatmeal. The list of things I cannot eat is large enough.)


  1. easter pictures are super cute!  and what's wrong with topping your oatmeal with fresh fruit? blueberries or strawberries?  that's what i usually put on mine (with some honey, but you can skip the honey!)

  2. I was going to say regular fruit too. Bananas or frozen blueberries or something like that? 

  3. That hanging gallery is so cool! What a great way to not damage the walls too much! I hate oatmeal, so I can't help you too much there!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog the other day! :)

  4. Fresh strawberries!   How about a spoonful of a low sugar jam or Polaner All Fruit?  Or chop up some dried apricots.

  5. How about all-fruit (ie no sugar added) jam?  umm or Splenda brown sugar ( or is that cheating??)

  6. Hello from France ( you've gone international !!!) and thanks for your blog, 
    love the gallery (maybe try putting fabrics on the empty frames, or if enough space tiny objects_I once made a gallery of vintage keys) For your breakfast problem i don't know (oatmeal is NOT popular over here...) but have you tried stevia instead of sugar? does that enter your parameters? otherwise i suggest real vanilla from the bean and not extract (which is often just flavored sugar) and sun flower seeds for a different texture...
    Good luck (i've given up... i mean bread and cheese and patisseries... it's just not human)

  7. Love the new gallery! I like that it all hangs off that rod. I might need to find a similar solution.

  8. So, this may sound weird...I sometimes make my oatmeal with flavored teas instead of plain water (i.e. peach or chai).  I know that it's still fruity in some cases, but it's not really that sweet and you can get decaf.  I actually love the chai tea oatmeal.  Then again, I also make chinese five-spice pancakes and eat them with only a smidge of butter.  Hmmm.  Maybe I just have crap taste in food?!

  9. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    that's an interesting idea!  Actually, five-spice pancakes sound good too.  

  10. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    thanks! Its handy for earthquake country too--less things to fall off the wall. 

  11. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    A vanilla bean is a fabulous idea!  I am definitely going to try that one. 

    How lovely to be in France--how did you find my blog, if you don't mind my asking?

  12. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    An all-fruit jam is a good idea, I will have to try it. 

  13. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    the fresh fruit does seem to be a popular idea, I will have to give it a whirl. 

  14. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Fresh fruit seems to be the consensus.  I wish I could put nuts with it. 

  15. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    thanks!  You have a great blog, your mod-podged R is fabulous.  

  16. Bonjour again !
    i don't mind you asking but you might mind me answering : hang on for a convoluted response! (skip to the end for the direct answer ! )
    Last year i had a short period of unemployment and decided to tackle a room make-over in that "empty" time. So i got my google on for visual candy and fresh and funky ideas, but found that most french site were pretty formal (the official ones like Elle deco, MarieClaire, etc) and the blogs were blah, not bad but just meh. 
    (and also i have this quirk about finding "real life /ordinary people" in my native tongue either boring, stupid uninteresting in what they write, most aren't i'm just a snob and can't stand bad grammar, vulgarity, etc But since my english is far from perfect and i probably don't get all the levels of style, errors etc, i can enjoy all the english/american/australian blogs without pesting against the decline of civilization _my do i sound insufferable!_ and lastly visiting foreign blogs is like opening a window on how the rest of the world lives and it's fascinating! Like your garbage issues, it's so alien to me)
    Back to your blog, i can't specifically retrace my steps because i'm a bit of a blog slut and i get around quite a lot. (see what i mean, it sounds totally less offensive in english to my ear than if i wrote that in french!!!) 
    It probably went something like : Apartment therapy/design sponge/curbly/better after/any of the "one room challenge" blog participants/YOURS
    Mix and match at will.
    I visit blogs according to projects, names, if it's raining outside, sheer luck, random algorithm in my trackpad movment, etc. and i add to favorite if i get attached to the writer and Congrats you made the cut! so i come around regularly and thank you for the few moments of fun you bring to the internet.
    So there you have it.
    Disclaimer : i know it's a double standard because i'm a grammar snob in french but it's highly likely my english is just passable, then so be it, if it's not enough i'll blame the school system!
    PS: If i ever come across some vintage travel poster and you are still searching for some, i'll try and send it to you.

  17. That new gallery wall is genius. Could you use bigger mats for some of the pictures? As for your diet--I think giving up refined sugar is a grand idea. But do consider reintroducing your dried fruit after a while. Fresh fruit--especially berries--are nice on oatmeal. 

  18. Cute photo wall!  That really sucks about the special diet, can you do truvia or something like that on oatmeal?  I usually use sliced up bananas, a little sweetener, and walnuts.  I guess I'm no help. 

  19.  Sometimes I put blueberries and bananas in oatmeal. The bananas always taste sweet to me.

  20. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    bigger mats is a good idea!  It will take me forever to get 8x10 prints.

  21. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    If only I could bring nuts in the house :-(

  22. trappedinnorthjerseyMay 4, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Yes, fresh fruit does seem to be the clear winner here.  


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