Friday, December 20, 2013

She Stood In the Storm

Via dumpaday.com

Holiday Survival Guide

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Holiday Survival Guide:

We all know that the holidays are a crazy time filled with temptations and falling back into old habits with old friends. Here are five easy tips to avoid eating gluten and dairy during the whirlwind of roast pigs, dancing cookies, and cheese trays.

1) Don't be afraid to ask for the menu ahead of time. 

  This way, if you need to bring your own substitutes, you can do this! If they are planning on making sandwiches, you can bring your own bread. If they are planning on making pizzas, you can bring your own crust!

2) Request that vegetable sides be made without butter.

  Many parties are guilty of taking a perfectly good vegetable side dish and floating it in butter. They can still add the butter before the dish hits the table, but you can scoop out some of the veggies before dairy goes near it.

3) Steer clear of all gravies!

  Gravy is created by adding flour/cornstarch to the meat drippings, they can also be finished with cream. It's also very high in sodium and many people will create more gravy through the use of bullion which contains MSG.

4) Bring your own side.

  If you are concerned that there will not be a side that you are able to eat, offer to bring your own side. Make sure that which ever side you choose to bring will fill you up. I have spent many parties munching on my own Texas Caviar and fresh fruit.

5) Hit up those fruit and veggie trays!

  Raw fruits and vegetables are get ways to fill up before the main meal. Plus, when everyone else is munching on their cheese, crackers, and pretzel, you won't feel tempted to break your GF/DF lifestyle. (Cheese is always my downfall, Wisconsin is known for their cheese. Yum... Cheese)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Enjoy your Thanksgiving with your loved ones, keep in mind that it's not about the food--its about the family and feelings of love!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cranberry Sauce Without Added Sugar

I really like this cranberry sauce, because it gets its sweetness from the fresh oranges and pomegranate seeds, which means that I don't have to add any sugar to the sauce. Plus, its the easiest thing to make for Thanksgiving: you put three things in a pot and put a lid on it.

Step 1: Remove the seeds from your pomegranate and juice your oranges
Step 2: Put the cranberries, orange juice, and pomegranate seeds into a pot
Step 3: Put the lid on it (and cook it over medium heat, stirring occasionally)

Literally. That's it.  Isn't this amazing?  Just taste it and be amazed.

Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes

One of the best things about family dinners is the mashed potatoes!  After becoming dairy free, I lost all hope of the delicious, fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes that I know and love.  After exploring different types of milks and butter substitutes, I have found a winning combination that fools all my friends.

Can I get a drum roll, please?!

And the winning combination is: ORIGINAL-UNSWEETENED ALMOND MILK AND EARTH BALANCE BUTTERY STICKS!!!

So here's the steps to making mashed potatoes for everyone who is not exactly kitchen inclined:

Step 1: Wash and peel your potatoes.
Step 2: OPTIONAL: If you are short on time, you can cut your potatoes into equal cubes to boil them faster.
Step 3: Place the potato (cubes) in a pot of water with a (TINY) bit of salt and bring it to a boil
Step 4: Boil until fork tender
Step 5: Drain and mash the potatoes
Step 6: Place 1 cup of almond milk with 3 TBSP of buttery sticks in microwave for 30 seconds
Step 7: Slowly add the milk/butter mixture while mixing to ensure you don't over saturate your potatoes. (No one likes water logged mashed potatoes)

EAT PAPA, EAT! (Still not Christmas...)

The Best Dam* Dressing. Ever.

The Best Dam* Dressing.  Ever.

Why is this the best dressing ever?  Because the mix of sweet, savory, and insane textures creates a palate experience that is out of this world.  Plus it's ridiculously simple, but looks very impressive :)

So this dressing is created in two major steps:

Step 1: Create the "wet" ingredients that will be the source of liquids for the bread to soak up.
Step 2: Fold the "wet" ingredients into the bread cubes and cover for 30 minutes.

THAT'S ALL FOLKS!

Here's what you're going to need:

  • 1 lb of Italian Sausage
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Bread cubes (I make mine from Gluten Free Cornbread and Gluten Free Sourdough)
"Wet" Ingredients:
Step 1: Brown the sausage
Step 2: Add in carrots, celery, and onion.  Sauté until soft
Step 3: Add in the sage, rosemary, and thyme
Step 4: Add in the apples
Step 5: Cover and remove from heat
Step 6: Allow to cool and then place in the fridge until Thanksgiving Day!

"Dry" Ingredients (AKA Bread cubes)
Step 1: Cube your bread, during this time of year I like to use the pre made breads (or bread boxes) so I'm not attempting to bake everything all at once.
Step 2: Season bread cubes with sage, rosemary, thyme and allow to dry
Step 3: If not stale enough by Wednesday, place cubes in the oven at 350F and shake every 5-10 minutes until stale

On Thanksgiving Day:
Step 1: Reheat "wet" ingredients and add about two cups of chicken stock
Step 2: Mix "wet" and "dry" be careful to fold the bread cubes, rather than stir.  You want the dressing to have unique textures and not just a pre-made box kit.
Step 3: Cover for a minimum of 30 minutes for the liquid to get absorbed and then transfer to serving dishes and keep warm in oven, covered loosely with foil

Tips:
  • If your dressing seems to be really dry, add some more chicken stock.
  • If you are worried about your dressing becoming too wet with the two cups of chicken stock, then add in the solids and scoop the liquids of the "wet" ingredients in until desired dampness occurs.
  • I like to keep the bread cubes and diced veggies chunky so that you can see what you are eating.

Enjoy the delicious-ness!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tasty Turkey

The turkey is Thanksgiving's Santa.  The holiday just isn't complete without the bird.  While some people love to be applauded while bringing out the bird and finish the moment with the act of carving the bird at the table.  Impressive, no?  That sounds fun, but also like a whole mess.  My family partakes in the tradition of carving the bird in the kitchen and leaving the...less than impressive...carcass behind where people aren't staring at it.  Which turned out to be a good thing, because last Thanksgiving my turkey carcass was an angry Pterodactyl.  Don't believe me??

Anyway, no matter how you slice it, the turkey should be moist and delicious, with a great skin crust. Here's how you do it:

Step 0: Take out your turkey neck and giblets
Step 1: Rinse off your turkey
Step 2: Pat your turkey dry
Step 3: Place turkey in roaster
Step 4: Rub turkey down with coconut oil
Step 5: Optional: Take sage, rosemary, and thyme and fill it in between the skin and the meat.
Step 6: Optional: Fill the cavity of the turkey with 2 quartered apples, 2 stalks of celery, 2 carrots, and ½ onion.
Step 7: Form a "turkey breast plate" from foil to protect your turkey breast from overcooking.
Step 8: Place your turkey in a preheated 500F for 30 minutes
Step 9: Drop the temperature down to 350F and immediately (and quickly, don't want that oven door open too long!) place the breast plate on the turkey's breast.
Step 10: Cook until the turkey thigh reaches 161F

Make sure that you allow the turkey to rest for at least 20 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the bird, otherwise you get super dry meat and a whole lot of juices.

DELICIOUS!

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole.  It's a classic.  Like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Here's the issue with green bean casserole and being GF and DF.  Cream of mushroom soup, slight issue with that creamy bit.  My solution?  Create my own "cream" of mushroom soup by using chicken stock.

Step 1/3: Cook your green beans by snapping off the ends and boiling them in water (or chicken stock for extra flavor!)

Step 2/3: Create your "cream" of mushroom soup:

What you will need:

  • Fresh Mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 Sweet onion, chopped
  • Butter substitute (I prefer the Earth Balance Sticks)
  • AP Gluten free flour or brown rice flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Ms. Dash Table Blend (Dark green lid)
  • Chicken stock
Step 1: Sauté mushrooms and chopped onion in the butter substitute, with seasonings until soft
Step 2: Scoop out mushrooms and add a more butter to create a rue
Step 3: Add enough flour to make a paste with the butter
Step 4: Cook the rue until slightly browned (to get rid of flour taste, or get rid of the grittiness associated with brown rice flour)
Step 5: Add the chicken stock in small amounts, making sure to eliminate all the lumps before adding more stock
Step 6: Add your mushrooms and onions back in
Step 7: You should have a liquid-y but slightly thick sauce to coat your beans in! (I definitely wouldn't eat this just as soup.


Step 3/3:  Place your drained green beans into the pot with sauce and stir until coated and put your green bean casserole in your serving dishes

Some people just HAVE to have toppings that aren't available to some of us.  All you have to do is have two different serving dishes and top one with fried onions/cheddar cheese and leave one alone for the rest of us ;)

I had this casserole sit in my fridge from Monday to Thursday last year, and all I had to do on the day was put it in the oven to reheat it!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Master Schedule

Thanksgiving Week Master Schedule

Monday:

  • Print any new recipes
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Wash and prep fruits and veggies
  • Begin to Thaw Turkey
Tuesday:
Wednesday:
  • Roast Squash in oven
  • Check bread crumbs.  If not stale enough, bake on pan sheet in oven at 350F shaking every 5 minutes until stale.
  • Set Table
Thursday: BIG DAY

1000 AM: Prep turkey and place in oven
1015 AM: Cranberry Sauce
1100 AM: Complete the final discount double check
1115 AM: Clean up around house and kitchen
1130 AM: Start reheating all the pre made sides
1200 PM: Assemble the fruit and veggie trays
1215 PM: Reheat Stuffing Step 1
1230 PM: Mix in Stuffing Step 1 to Stuffing Step 2
1230 PM: Begin to boil potatoes
1245 PM ISH: Take the turkey from the oven to rest for 30 minutes
1245 PM: Make Gravy / Reheat Other sides
0100 PM: Make Mashed Potatoes
0115 PM: Carve turkey
0130 PM: DIG IN AND EAT

I know that seeing Thursday might seem like a lot to do on one day, but it doesn't take 15 minutes to start the cranberry sauce or boil water, its just that 15 minute increments are easier for everyone.  Also, most of your work is done on the other days, so you are really only reheating and dishing out your sides. Hope your Thanksgiving goes smoothly!  Recipes are coming tomorrow ; )

Thanksgiving Shopping List Surprise!

Moms fighting over carts, kids are screaming, aisles are crowded, food off the shelf, there are no thawed turkeys to be found, and too many cranberries to count.  These horrors are typical sights I have experienced while doing my Thanksgiving shopping the day before, or even worse, when I've forgotten something and have to brave the stores the day of.

This year I've dedicated myself to creating plan.  This plan is going to ensure that I have the least stressful Thanksgiving. Ever.  The first step is writing down all the ingredients of my dishes and completing the shopping.  On Monday.  (Because I don't personally feel like waiting hours in line because I forgot oranges)

Without further a duo, my I present, a Thanksgiving day list. Be our guest, be our guest.


  • Turkey (I like to buy 2 pounds per person, because who doesn't like leftovers?)
  • Cranberry Sauce
    • 1 bag of Cranberries
    • 3 oranges
    • 1 pomegranate
  • `Dressing
    • 1 lb Italian Sausage
    • 4 granny smith apples
    • 1 bag of celery
    • 1 bag of carrots
    • 2 Large Sweet Onions
    • Gluten Free Cornbread
    • Gluten Free Sourdough
    • 2 cartons of chicken stock (I like low sodium and MSG free)
  • Mashed Potatoes
    • Potatoes
    • Original, Unsweetened Almond Milk
    • Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • Squash
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Brown Rice Flour

If you'd prefer to shop like a normal person (You don't like to walk multiple circles around the store?!) here's the list in geographical order:

Fruits and Veggies:
  • 1 Bag of Cranberries
  • 3 Oranges
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 4 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 Bag of Celery
  • 1 Bag of Carrots
  • 2 Large Sweet Onions
  • Potatoes (red or russet, I like red potatoes)
  • Green Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 Butter Nut Squash
Breads:
  • Gluten Free Cornbread
  • Gluten Free Sourdough bread
Soups:
  • 2 cartons of chicken stock
Baking goods:
  • Brown Rice Flour / AP Gluten Free Flour
  • Earth Balance Sticks
  • Original, Unsweetened Almond Milk
Optional: (These are foods that I already have on hand at any given time)
  • Frozen (Sweet) Corn
  • Frozen Pumpkin Puree
  • Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Coconut Oil

Okay, there you go.  What are you waiting for? Get to the store!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Plans

Thanksgiving Week Specials!

We've made it! The turkeys are gobbling, the cranberries are sparkling, and the pumpkins are roasting... Ah, let's take a moment to smell and listen to wonders of the holidays! I will be sharing some of my favorite Gluten Free, Dairy Free recipes in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I will kick off the week by sharing my Thanksgiving shopping lists and cooking schedule. I also hope to add a daily post of something that I'm grateful for. Keep a look out!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dreaming

I think it's important to for us to dream big, without hesitation or reservations. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Simple Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce is the greatest thing ever. Since sliced bread. Well, with sliced bread, on the side. Covered in Garlic. Yum.

Here's a super simple recipe for spaghetti sauce that contains zero preservatives.  You can make as much or as little as you like, so there is no wasting that giant can.  This recipe is also a great way to sneak in additional servings of vegetables for your kids!

You'll need:
- Assorted roasted vegetables.  (I like garlic, tomatoes, and onions at a minimum, but here I had some squash that was going to go bad, so I also included that)
- A blender
- Seasonings

Step 1: Roast your vegetables.  You can find my method here.



Step 2: Blend your vegetables together with seasonings. (You may need to add some water, but tomatoes have enough liquid to start the process)



Step 3: Enjoy your spaghetti sauce!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Zombie Dreams

Best thing happened as I walked out of my terrible infusion.  I. Found. A. Zombie Family.  Normally I really detest these family clings (with the exception of the cat lady I found once.  No joke, one woman, eight cats) but how can you hate it when they are zombies?!

For your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Frozen Banana Ice Cream

One major change that I'm doing with my diet due to my MS is decreasing the amount of dairy I consume.  I'm working towards completely removing the dairy, but I haven't done that quite yet.  I wanted to find an alternative to ice cream (since it's my favorite dessert.  Ever.  That's Wisconsin for you).  Dear ole Pinterest has yet to fail me!  I found that ice cream can be made from a variety of frozen fruits, but the one that is the closest to ice cream is frozen bananas. Here's the recipe:

You'll need:
- blender
- bananas

That's it!  All you have to do is collect those black bananas that you didn't get around to eating and place them in the freezer.  Once you want ice cream, blend them until they are creamy and smooth!

Optional add-ins: oreos, peanut butter, almonds, chocolate, nutella (!) etc. The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Chill, Dude

Because everybody should have some increased cuteness/chilling before finals week:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Seasonings Round Up

Here's the recipes for my homemade seasonings:

Taco Mix:
1 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp oregano
pinch of salt
pinch of brown sugar

Pumpkin Pie / Christmas Time
2 TBSP cinnamon
2 tsp ginger (not everyone likes ginger, start out sparingly and add if you like it)
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cloves
2 tsp sugar

I'm still adding more, so keep checking back!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Yoga Moods


As we approach the last week of classes, I figured that these moves might come in handy.  Variations are also acceptable for those who lack flexibility (or balance, like me!).

Credit: an untraceable pinterest pin, if you find it, let me know?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Choose Your Vegetables


Many of the principles of picking out your fruit also apply to vegetables.  Here are some simply rules to follow:

1) Buy in season.  There are many different seasonal charts for fruits and vegetables.  Here's one that I follow.

2) Buy from bins, not groups in bags. One spoiled apple will ruin the bunch.  Over-ripe fruit releases a gas that will make the fruit around them also begin to rot.

3) Use your eyes.  

  Here's what you don't want:
      - Mold
      - Soft spots
      - Bruising
      - Wilted leaves
      - Sprouts (potatoes, garlic, onions) 

   Here's what you DO want:
      - Bright and lively colors usually contain the highest level of nutrients.
      - Crisp and firm leaves.

4) Use your nose. Make sure that your vegetables don't smell sour.

5) Use your hands.  Gently feel the vegetables to make sure that there are no bruises, no soft spots, and the appropriate firmness. 

6) Choose the smaller vegetables.  This seems counter-intuitive since you want to get the biggest produce for your money, however, the smaller the fruit, the higher the skin:flesh ratio.  This ratio is important because the highest level of nutrients are found in the flesh just under the skin.

7) Don't settle.  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE! Take your time in picking out the highest quality for vegetables.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baking Bacon

Bacon. Bacon. Bacon.  Is there anything better than baking bacon?  Absolutely not.  The age of hot splatters burning hands is over!  Hallelujah!  Here's the easiest way to make bacon!

You'll need:
- one sheet
- tin foil
- BACON!
- perhaps an oven (at 375F)



Now, pay attention because this is very complicated.

Step 1: Wrap the sheet in tin foil.
Step 2: Place bacon on the sheet.
Step 3: Place sheet into a preheated oven. (350 for turkey bacon, 375-400 for regular bacon)
Step 4: Walk away for 15 minutes (or you can take a hint from me and longingly gaze at your lovelies through the oven glass, I find that the anticipation makes the bacon taste that much better!)


Check out that view:


Once you take your bacon out of the oven, make sure that you place it on paper towel to drain and absorb the excess grease.


Last step: devour.


  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Finding Beauty

Challenge: At some point today, stop and gaze at something for a minimum of three minutes.

What do you see?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Roasting Vegetables

Roasting vegetables is a great way to intensify the flavor of the vegetables without adding tons of calories.  Traditionally, roasting vegetables requires coating the vegetables with oil before baking them.  You do this because the vegetables have a tendency to stick to the cookie sheet due to the caramelizing that occurs on the bottom of the vegetables.  However, I do not use any oil!  How do I do this?  Low Heat. Longer cooking time.  TIN FOIL!  Let's get started.

You need:
- vegetables
- knife
- cutting board
- cookie sheet
- tin foil
- seasoning
- oven/toaster oven

Oh! Pretty colors!


Step 1: Cut your vegetables in half.



Step 2: Season your vegetables (I only use pepper).



Step 3: Place your vegetables on the tin foil and place it in the oven!



Step 4: Once the vegetables have a little char on the top, the outsides have started caramelizing, the inside is tender.

Now you can use these vegetables in sauces, soups, as thickeners, in salads, etc.
DELICIOUS!!





  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Don't Skimp on the Shrimp Scampi

One night I was really hungry.  It was Friday. It was lent. I had meat, meat and oh, shrimp!  Three guesses what I chose to eat... Throw in a random frozen vegetable pack, butter, pesto and noodles, you've got a dinner!  Here's my version of Shrimp Scampi.

Gather your ingredients:
- 1 lb of medium/large pre-cooked shrimp
- one bag of frozen vegetables (or, if you're ambitious, fresh vegetables)
- one package of (gluten free) noodles
- small amount of butter
- small amount of pesto
- pepper/Ms. Dash to taste

Step 1: Thaw and de-tail your shrimp. (Also, make sure that your shrimp is actually deveined, half of the shrimp pictured below were not)



Step 2: Boil some noodles!  I use a full package of gluten free spaghetti, but you can use whatever you have laying around.



Step 3: Melt some butter in your pan for the shrimp.



Check out those cutie shrimp just waiting for their butter bath... aw!



Step 4: Let the butter bath ensue.  Heat under medium heat.



Add whatever seasoning you would like at this point.  I'm currently trying to stay lower sodium, so Ms. Dash and pepper is what I use!



Step 5: Add the pesto, about 2 TBSP.



You can definitely use your own pesto, but my stomach was yelling and I was short on time, so Classico to the rescue!



Step 6: Cook the vegetables according to the package.  I don't typically like to boil or microwave my vegetables, but once again, I was hungry!
























While the vegetables are cooking, the shrimp have probably begun to curl up.  When this happens, take your shrimp out of the pan.  If you fail to do this, you are probably going to over cook your shrimp and make them chewy.  Gross.



Add the vegetables into the butter sauce and allow the excess water to evaporate out.  The butter sauce is going to reduce and become super thick and delicious.  Plus, the thicker the butter sauce, the better it coats the noodles.



Here's everything, you just need to mix it together!



And here's the finished product:


Yum!  This is also good with other types of fish, I put some leftover salmon on top of mine and oh boy... it's angelic.




  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oh, My Omelet!

"Good Morning, Good Morning! It's time to get up now.  Good Morning, Good Morning! To you, and you, and you, and you." Oh!  You weren't lucky enough to be woken up by your mother singing to you every morning?  Trust me, you're the luck one. (I love you, Mama!)

Well, if you don't have a mother bribing you with song, here's a good way to fuel your body for a full day: OMELET!

Here's what you need:
- small pan with cover
- cooking spray
- 2 eggs
- splash of milk
- seasoning
- toppings
- small amount of low fat, good melting cheese (love munster and american)

So I may have forgotten to take a picture, but
Step 1: mix together the eggs, splash of milk and seasoning and beat.



Step 2: cook your toppings together. (I usually go with onions, tomatoes, peppers and spinach)


Step 3: Take the toppings out of the pan and pour the eggs in.


Step 4: Cover the eggs. (It help the top cook a little bit)


Step 5: once the bottom of the eggs have set, pull up the sides of the omelet and tip the pan to allow the uncooked eggs to run to the exposed part of the pan.


When your omelet is almost cooked, place the toppings on top.


Like this: Yum!  And then cover to help it firm up on the top.


Last step: Flip the omelet in half and enjoy!


Optional: Top the omelet with pureed roasted tomatoes.  So good!!



Enjoy!






Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tysabri: Take Three

  It's that time again!  March 19th marks the day of my third Tysabri treatment.  I've noticed a couple of differences between this time and my previous treatments.

1) The period leading up to my Tysabri.  In past treatments I was having major, sharp joint pains and muscle aches in the three days leading up to Tysabri.  However, this time I only had an ache in my right ankle.  I did not have any major muscle aches in my hands or feet! (Third time = Pro)

2) The placement of my IV.  In every past experience I've had in the infusion center my IV has been located on my left forearm.  This includes my three days of steroids and two Tysabri treatments.  Unfortunately, my nurse was unable to locate the "big, juicy vein" that the other nurses used.  She stuck me on the inner arm bend of my right arm.  This was not a pleasant experience.  Any movement that I made was worse than in the past.  I have a theory that this is because I'm right handed and when I need to do something, I instinctively reach out with my right arm.  Also, the twisting motion of my right arm seemed to be more painful that when the IV was in my left forearm. (Third time = Con)

  (Can you say... OWWW!)

3) The LFT (Liver Function Test).  In times past, the lab has always been very busy, so I have to work around its schedule. This means that I will go down to the lab after my infusion is over and have blood drawn or the lab tech will come up in the middle of my transfusion and take my blood then.  This is the first time that the blood was drawn from my IV site before the medicine was hooked up.  And I'm pretty sure that this is the way the infusion nurses and lab techs prefer to take my blood.  I also prefer this method: I only get pricked once!! (Third time = Pro)

4) During the transfusion I experienced two new things: 1) I had to powder my nose (that was an adventure, especially the belt) and 2) I fell asleep. While editing posts. While watching Twilight. 

 (Check out that angelic appearance, yes, I'm an angel)
5) Post-transfusion reactions.  Normally, I am full of energy (for about three hours) and then proceed to be on ups and downs.  AKA:  I'm the Energizer Bunny for three hours and then I'm Sleeping Beauty after she has eaten three Thanksgiving dinners worth of turkey and is experiencing a tryptophan overload.  This time I noticed that I still have the ups and downs, but I'm also experiencing excess joint pains that were not there before.  I also have weakness in my hands.  (These are the symptoms that usually occur leading up to the treatment, not following the treatment). (Third time = Con)

Anyway, when it comes down to it, this was not my favorite transfusion.  But! It's over, that's that.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Choose Your Fruit

So the grocery store can be a confusing place,  like Lady Gaga's mind.  Here are some easy to follow rules for selecting the best fruit in the store.

1) Buy in season.  There are many different seasonal charts for fruits and vegetables.  Here's one that I follow.

2) Buy from bins, not groups in bags. One spoiled apple will ruin the bunch.  Over-ripe fruit releases a gas that will make the fruit around them also begin to rot.

3) Use your eyes.  Make sure that you are selecting fruit that does not contain mold, soft spots or bruising. Also, make sure that you are picking appropriately colored fruit aka: not white watermelon or green strawberries.

4) Use your nose. Some fruit, such as melons, release a sweet aroma.  If the fruit is beginning to spoil, the fruit releases a sour odor.

5) Use your hands.  Gently feel the fruit to make sure that there are no bruises, no soft spots, and the appropriate firmness.  Some fruits such as apples and pears are supposed to be firm while other fruits such as peaches and plums should be slightly tender to the touch.

6) Choose the smaller fruits.  This seems counter-intuitive since you want to get the biggest produce for your money, however, the smaller the fruit, the higher the skin:flesh ratio.  This ratio is important because the highest level of nutrients are found in the flesh just under the skin.

7) Don't settle.  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE!  Make sure that you don't settle for an unripe fruit, there are many different types of fruits out there.  Try to mix up what you buy based on the season!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friends, Chinese, and Edible Art

It's the little things that we take for granted. For instance, I enjoyed an all-you-can-eat buffet tonight with an old friend. I'm lucky that I have friends who want to get together for chopsticks (and every fried food imaginable). I'm lucky that DT has this ability to make me smile regardless of what's happening in life. Dessert didn't taste very good tonight, silver-lining: I have a friend who can make accidental edible art by smashing coffee tainted brownies with her fingers. Enjoy:

Not kidding, this actually landed in this position (after being nearly flung off the plate by an overzealous DT).