What’s Happening With My Health??

For those of you that are bored to tears about my complaints, it’s ok.  Come back another day and I promise something delightful.  I really do, it’s right around the corner!

For those of you who want an update here it is:

So remember how I was having a lot of sinus problems?  I went to an ENT in search of relief and after a nasal spray wasn’t doing much, he treated me for a sinus infection with steroids and antibiotics.  The unfortunate result was feeling only minimally better.

That high white blood cell count on a recent blood test?   Well, I thought back to A&P when we were learning about blood and allergies have to be fairly intense to affect your white blood cell count (a part of the immune system).  Since there were clearly some allergies raging in my body I started thinking that it might be a good idea to take the next step and go to an allergist.

They ran a whole series of allergy tests on me.  Have you ever taken an allergy scratch test?  I’d almost rather take a real test.  They make little tiny pricks in your back and then introduce the allergen extract to the broken skin and then you get to wait 15 minutes and they look at which scratches react and how much.  

It barely hurt, but I’m pretty sure each tiny scratch made me flinch.

I knew pretty quickly, by all the itching on my back that I definitely had more than a few allergies.  At least I was warned that it was going to feel like a bunch of mosquito bites.  My back was so itchy!  And I had to lay there  for 15 minutes all itchy and wearing a paper gown.  I tried really hard to think of anything besides my very itchy back that I was not allowed to scratch.  And it wasn’t just one spot, it was many spots all over!  Not exactly my idea of a fun morning.

Boy, sometimes being right sucks.  The nurse came back in with a great big “Welcome to Boise, Idaho!  It would be easier to tell you what you’re NOT allergic to!”

Lovely.

Honestly, I’m glad that she made light of the situation.  It was kind of funny.  And not at all surprising since allergies run in the family.

I’m officially allergic to:

  • 6/6 types of grasses (like what is in lawns)
  • 17/20 types of trees (especially cottonwood and aspen)
  • 16/17 types of weeds (especially ragweed and sagebrush)
  • 5/11 types of molds (most airborne)
  • cat hair, cat saliva (this I already knew having learned the hard way)
  • dog (uh-oh… Ok this I suspected since Jax sometimes gives me hives)
  • cockroach (what the heck?  I’m not making this up.)
  • dust mites

So in other words, I am allergic to animals and the outdoors. 

But there’s good news!  

They didn’t need to run a food allergy test.  (They could have tested for my suspected mango allergy but it required a blood test so they didn’t think it was necessary since mangoes are pretty easy to avoid.)

I can get allergy shots which will help my immune system to calm the heck down.  Shots don’t bother me and the dogs certainly aren’t going anywhere so bring it on.

I was prescribed a new kind of nasal spray that, despite the fact it tastes like burnt rubber if it drains down the back of my throat, has helped my congestion and breathing immensely.

Some of the other things the allergist said would help were:

  • don’t let the dogs on the bed. period.  (They don’t sleep with me, but I used to let them up sometimes.)
  • don’t open the windows (everything outside hates you!)
  • run an air filter (a godsend momsend.  Thanks mom!)
  • vacuum frequently, or better, get rid of the carpet (already in the plans)

So… there’s that.

How about a double whammy?

 

The fun continues!

So you may have read my “why meeee?” (<— that’s really what I should have named it) slightly whiny introduction to my hypothyroidism diagnosis.  It really hit me harder than I expected, especially since I had a hunch that’s what it was before I ever even get tested.  But I guess anyone who has a change in their health may grieve over the loss of their “perfect health”.

And grieve I did.  I still might be a little.  I’ll own it.  I think everyone is allowed a pity party for a little bit, but then, it’s time to chin up, get on with life and focus on the things you CAN control.  Having a good attitude can make all the difference.

Unfortunately, it’s never quite that simple, is it?

Seven weeks later and this is how I felt:

  • sooo tired (still!)
  • easily irritated
  • depressed
  • anxious
  • swollen hands
  • digestion, ahem, issues
  • lack of appetite
  • lack of energy
  • barely a walk with the dogs (maybe twice a week) and NO gym
  • no weight loss
  • insecure
  • miserable

So I called my doctor.  I complained that I was NOT feeling better and possibly feeling worse.  I recounted all of the symptoms I was having.  I was beginning to feel crazy!  Was I making this all up in my head?!?  They told me I could come in early for a blood test.  Winner winner chicken dinner!  My thyroid was still not cooperating.  So we’ve made a medication change and now I get to hope for the best.

I used to think I had a lot of patience.  I mean, I teach 3-4 year olds every Sunday.  And by teach, I mean attempt to manage controlled chaos and give stickers.  Ever heard of herding cats?  Naw, we have some good learning *moments too.

*key word: moments.

I’ve come to the realization that while I may have nearly endless patience with everyone else, I have little patience for myself.  For some reason I thought that I’ll take a little pill and tada!  Everything will magically fix itself.

So when that wasn’t the case it was a little disappointing.

I realized I just have to give things a little more time, have a more positive attitude and focus on my health.  Try to do the little things everyday like taking care of my diet and getting some exercise in too.

Sweet Erin sent me a link to this article 13 ways to treat hypothyroidism naturally.   I thought this article was both interesting and informative.  Although making dietary changes like cutting out sugar and possibly gluten are nearly impossible, I’m working day by day to improve a little more.

I’ve also been reading what your doctor may not tell you about hypothyroidism: a simple plan for extraordinary results.  It’s a little bit of a dry read but very informative.  Knowledge is power!

I am still walking and trying to walk more each week.  I actually had the best walk today that I’ve had in months.  I leashed up the dogs and we walked 3 miles.  And after  I didn’t even feel unusually tired or even take a nap!  *applause!*

I think one of the weirdest things about this whole thing is that to anyone who doesn’t really know me, I seem fine.  I can still function, I just don’t want to and it takes more effort.

Plus, it feels a little weird discussing this with people because I don’t want to be thought of as an invalid and it sounds kind of lame trying to explain it in one minute or less.  And with my allergies, it would seem like I was always getting little colds all the time and I’d feel better in a day or two.  So even though I seemed fine, most days I feel crappy but I still have try to function to get the crucial things done.

If you actually read all of this, you deserve a gold medal.  Or you enjoy reading about people’s suffering.  Or you get a kick out of reading about my weird health issues.  I don’t judge.  But if you did read it, or even if you just skimmed, or scrolled down hoping to see at least one picture. (see below. you’re welcome.  just kidding, it’s not really a picture.) Thank you.  Thanks for listening.

 

 

 

And the best wife award goes to…

….

Well, shoot.  I neglected to mention that we just celebrated our 5 year anniversary a week ago.  October 3rd is our lucky day!

FIVE YEARS!

That’s like… longer than one supposedly takes to get a bachelor’s degree.  (Or so I’ve heard…)

That’s like… half a century!

I have done wedding flashbacks here and here if you want to take a look.

So I’ve decided to celebrate in list form (with a little help from Pinterest):

That’s…

  • a lot of finding endless dirty socks
  • a lot of bacon grease (that man is obsessed)

  • a lot of used kleenexes (mine– bad habit oops!)
  • a lot of laundry (he thinks I have nothing to do all day)
  • a lot of kisses and snuggles
  • a lot of beautiful bouquets of flowers

  • a lot of being obnoxious from boredom on road trips (what? he won’t let me driiiive!!)

  • a lot of craziness (guilty)

  • a lot of bed hogging (also guilty– aren’t I a delight?)

And in 5 years we’ve…

  • adopted not one but two dog children

  • moved more times than I care to count (1..2..3..4…5… yeah 5.  Don’t ask.)
  • bought our first house
  • made it through a broken thumb (his– thank you dirt biking)
  • suffered though a serious bout of food poisoning (I really thought I was dying)
  • laughed until our sides ached
  • managed not to kill each other (if you’re married/in a long term relationship you know exactly what I mean)

  • gone to Mexico

  • gone to Hawaii

This year, he gave me these beautiful pink roses.  Pink roses were the first flowers he gave me while were dating.  Such a sweetheart.

And this pretty pearl pendant.  Pearls have become his anniversary tradition gift to me.

So as you can see, being married is pretty great.  Sometimes you have to compromise and sometimes you have to admit you’re wrong.

But it’s kind of like getting to have a sleepover every night with your best friend, every single night of the week.

Love you Jer.  More than words can say.

September Foodie Pen Pals

So I took the month of August off from foodie pen pals because there was just waaay too much happening.

Things are still up and down with my health.  I have been having a lot of sinus/breathing problems so I finally went to and ENT to get to the bottom of it.  Turns out I’ve had a sinus infection all dang summer but it was mild so I just assumed it was allergies.  However, the smoke from all the wildfires around here really aggravated it this last week and my ENT put me on steroids and antibiotics to make sure this thing gets wiped out.

*fingers crossed*

Time for the foodie pen pal reveal!

If you don’t know what foodie pen pals are, it’s a fun monthly program where you send a box of your favorite goodies (the spending limit is $15 plus shipping) to some one and you get a box from someone else.  You don’t have to be a blogger to participate!  To find out more information and sign up click here.

A big thank you to my pen pal Katie for choosing such thoughtful things!  Thanks Katie!

Getting packages in the mail never gets old, especially when there are surprises inside!  I love savoring the opening of the box:

Included in the box were black bean and sweet corn salsa, peach preserves and an adorable farmer’s popcorn cob.

I have yet to try out the salsa and the popcorn, but the peach preserves are almost all gone.  I really, really, really heart jam.

I sent my box to Catherine, who is also a reader.  Here is her review of what I sent!

Thank you, Meg from Idaho! You are the BEST Foodie Pen Pal ever!

The day arrived. THE DAY. The Foodie Pen Pal delivery day. It took all my energy NOT to open the box until I snapped this photo!

Now it is time to have my goodies revealed. Yay! Meg REALLY sent a lovely sampling of Idaho, including Idaho BBQ spices, potato pancake mix, huckleberry jam, and a postcard from the area she lives nearby.

Of course, there were more! Including, delicious, chewy, freshly baked oatmeal coconut cookies! Meg, you brought so many smiles; thank you again for your thoughtfulness and the time you spent gathering and making the treats!

That’s all the foodie pen pal new for September.  Where did September go!?!

Keep your eyes peeled for an AWESOME sweet potato recipe coming later this week!

Chunky Tomato Vegetable Soup

For those of you who are wondering how I am doing, I’m doing ok.  After taking it easy by walking with the dogs and some light yoga, I find myself ready to go back to the gym for some easy workouts.  My goal is consistency right now, not intensity.

I’ve been trying to focus on my overall health to help my body from having to work any harder than it needs to.  It’s been somewhat of an up and down experience, but I’m trying to stay positive and focus on my well being.

I have been focusing my attention on the things I love: cooking, baking, trying new recipes, finding amusing things on Pinterest to make me laugh, watching funny movies that I’ve watched a dozen times and laugh even harder anticipating the best parts.

I’ve also been focusing on school, despite that Chemistry has to be one of the dullest subjects, I’m forcing myself to be interested enough to do well.

Oh, OH!  And I got to hold my dearest friend’s 4 day old baby.  So small and squishy.  I wish I’d gotten a picture, but it was just one of those moments that you remember in your heart, not on your computer.

Friends, life is full of ups and downs and you just have to play the hand you’re dealt.

Despite the fact that it’s still in the 80′s here, it’s officially fall.  You know how at the beginning of fall you’re just waiting to pull out those sweaters and wearing them while it’s a little too warm to really be necessary?  But you can justify them since the air conditioning is still freezing inside.

Despite cooking real meals again, it’s not always easy to get vegetables in some days.  And all I’ve been wanting lately is soup, which can be a great way to sneak in some veggies.  I make a big pot on Saturday and it will last me about a week.

In my mind, I call this spaghetti soup, since I used Italian seasoned tomatoes, it smells a lot like spaghetti sauce.

Chunky Tomato Vegetable soup

(adapted from Butterflyfood)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups carrot chips or baby carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 tsp thyme

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

2 (14 oz.) cans of diced Italian tomatoes

2-3 cans chicken broth

1 c. whole wheat pasta

2 roasted pepper and asiago chicken sausages (optional)

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and cook until soft.  Add the tomatoes and chicken broth and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the pasta and continue cooking for another 8-10 minutes.  Add the sausage about 2 minutes before the pasta is done.

Feeling Broken

Second day of school.

Running 5 minutes late to chem lab…

I’m carrying my phone in one hand and attempting to run up the stairs.

Trip up the stairs, put out my hands to catch myself…

…And land on my iPhone.

Cursed glass screens!

Thank heaven for the Apple store.  Always there to take my money whenever I break or drown my iPhone.  At this point I’ve lost count of how many iPhones I’ve killed over the years.  One… two… three??  Rest in peace, little guys.

******

But that’s not the kind of broken I’m talking about today.

I haven’t mentioned the fact that lately I’ve been experiencing some health troubles.

As of the last year or so, I’ve unexpectedly and rapidly put on weight.  And for those who are thinking it: I’m NOT pregnant.

(As small rant: when you get to be a certain age.. and married, people want to guess you are pregnant all day long.  Trust me, when I am I will tell you. Or I won’t. But it’s no one’s business unless I want it to be.  Rant over.)

Despite minimal changes in my diet and exercise.

Totally embarrassing.  I thought maybe I’ve just gotten lazy.   Maybe I’m not eating as well as I should be.  I prided myself on being health conscious and a regular in the gym.  I felt like a hypocrite on my own blog.  I felt insecure and stuck.

I just figured I was getting older and my metabolism was slowing down.  But then the fatigue came.  It’s been terrible.   I w0uld sleep 10 hours at night then easily take a nap that afternoon and go to bed at my normal time.

When I did get into the gym, I could push through my workout without a lot of extra effort, but felt exhausted the rest of the day.  I was chugging energy drinks just to stay alert.

Monday I actually went home in the middle of my leg workout.  A leg workout I’ve done at least four times before in the last few months.  I didn’t feel dizzy, or sick.  I just felt so foggy in my brain and I was worried about being able to safely drive myself home.

About a week ago, Jer and I ran into some friends at the store and one of them jokingly asked if I’d been drugged because I was so out of it.  It was only 10:30pm.

I just felt like a zombie all the time!

I’d wake up in the middle of the night soaking from sweat.  But at the same time, I was getting cold a lot easier during the day.

My fingernails broke and split constantly.  Sometimes I couldn’t put sentences together or find the right words.  I felt like someone had poured syrup into my brain.

And recently, my hands started to swell at random times.  Right now, I can only wear my wedding rings sparingly because they have scraped up my finger from bring too tight.

I was feeling like complete crap.

I just couldn’t understand or make any sense of it.  Finally I decided to stop denying something was wrong and made an appointment to get checked out.

I had some blood drawn and today I got my results.

Hypothyroidism.

A part of me loved reading my blood lab tests, and believe me there was all kinds of neat stuff they tested for.  Mostly, this came as a shock.  And a complete disappointment.  Though at least I have answers.  Even though I’d kind of had a gut feeling it had to do with thyroid but I didn’t want it to be true.  All of the sudden, my health was less than 100%.  And I felt broken.  It’s scary thinking that things are happening in my body that I can’t control.

For those of you who might be wondering, I was prescribed some thyroid medication so we’ll see how it works out.  These things seem to always need adjustment which is exactly zero fun.  Most people with hypothyroidism need medication for the rest of their lives.  That makes me sad.  If I’m 26 now that means it’s likely I’ll be taking thyroid medication for at least the next 50 years.  There’s hopes of medical advancement though, right?

Unfortunately hypothyroidism can also increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.  More scary news.  It was recommended to me to take fish oil regularly, which I had actually recently started doing.

My white blood cell count was also high (a potential warning sign of cancer) but in my case they are a sign of allergies.  Allergies = heightened immune system = production of more white blood cells.  I have allergies all the time.  Speaking of allergies, they cause inflammation and it often shows up as dark circles under the eyes where the skin is very thin.  Lovingly referred to by my nurse practitioner as “shiners.”  Hooray for me.

Oh and guess what?  I am also headed to the ear, nose and throat doctor this week.  Fun times over here, let me tell ya!

I haven’t really ever mentioned my health on the blog because it was never really an issue.  I wanted to open up about it because I believe it’s important to be honest about the things I am experiencing is pretty common.  Maybe it will encourage someone else to get their thyroid tested.  But mostly because on a blog, it is so easy to only show the good things, the nice things, the pretty things.  Once in a while, it’s good to remind you that I am only human.  Despite my best efforts to show you that I break things on a regular basis.  I am definitely not perfect.

There is some good news:  I don’t have cancer.  My liver and kidneys are good.  My cholesterol and blood pressure are excellent.  I’m not pre-diabetic.  And my thyroid isn’t being attacked by my immune system.  All VERY good things.  All things I am grateful came back negative.  I’m not going to die, always a good thing.  I know there are a lot more serious lifelong illnesses that people experience and I guess in a way it has helped me to understand the denial and the shock of an unexpected diagnoses.

It does make me kind of sad, kind of disappointed and a little scared for what is ahead.  I’ve never had to deal with anything worse than a sinus infection or having my wisdom teeth taken out.  I wonder if there is anything I could have done differently, wonder if I should have been tested sooner, wonder if there’s anything I could have done better.

So sorry for being so absent in blogland, sorry for seeming so apathetic or uninterested in person.  It’s been a little difficult to function normally.

I’m going to try to be as positive as I can.  I took my health for granted for so many years that I really want to focus more on actively doing what I can for it.

(source)

Please share:

Do you have hypothyroidism and what has been your experience?  

How do you feel about bloggers opening up about their health problems?

August Hiatus

Oh my heck I haven’t posted all month!

Instead, the husband and I have been blissfully enjoying the end of summertime.  Despite an unusually high amount of smoke thanks to wildfires raging all across Idaho.

I took hardly any photographs, enjoyed many late mornings and even later breakfasts.

 

I almost ran out of gas.

Went on a shooting date with the hubbs.  Cause that’s how we roll.  He is an excellent teacher by the way.

Case and point:

 

I think it’s safe to say that I actually have decent aim.

I tried this vanilla bean sparkling water.

 

It’s the perfect hint of vanilla bean and a nice way to curb a soda craving.

 

I got myself ridiculously addicted to chocolate coconut water.

I baked these incredible Molten Lava cupcakes and made up my own buttercream frosting recipe.

Hint: it involves whipping cream.

The cupcakes were part of a baby shower I threw for a dear friend of mine.

The night before the shower, I bought some flowers to arrange and nearly jinxed myself by saying:

Ok, I’ve seen this done once before…

 

They came out splendid, incase you had any doubts.

 

But alas, school started this week and I must once again be a grown up.

C’est la vie.

(La vie.  Easy A fans out there??)

 

Truthfully, one month of summer is just about perfect to reenergize the soul for structure and schedule.

 

We saw The Imaginary Invalid at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and enjoyed a night of hysterical laughter.  It was freely adapted with a French 60′s pop theme.

(source)

A little random but absolutely side-splitting.  The costumes were awesome and I was thrilled that Jer enjoyed it as much as I did!  Clearly I need to expose him to culture more often!

 

After my magic bullet bit the dust one day, my husband got me an early Christmas present:

 

Yippee!!

 

 

 

It also came with a huge cookbook and a dry grain grinder.  This should be fun.  *grin*  Maybe I’ll finally bite the bullet and try my hand at bread.

Maybe.

I had fun experimenting with some of the recipes and making up my own.

 

Carrot watermelon strawberry smoothie.

Fresh watermelon limeade.

 

Apple Cinnamon Dutch Baby

 

I got some new shoes.  Always a win in my book:

 

These Merrells are supposed to be comparable to the “barefoot” shoes which I really don’t care much for, but I hear that they are actually better for weight lifting and so far I really like them.

 

Tell me: what were the best things about the end of your summer?

 

July Foodie Pen Pals!

I’ve been hearing whispers about foodie pen pals but I wanted to make sure I could commit to sending as well as receiving a wonderful box!

For those of you who haven’t heard of foodie pen pals, it’s just as the name implies.  You sign up, send a box full of foodie goodies to the person you’ve been assigned to and in turn, you get your own box of surprises in the mail!  It’s a great way to meet new bloggers and try some new things!  But, you do not have to be a blogger to participate! You can go visit The Lean Green Bean to find out more!

This month, my box was sent to me by Cherie of Cherie Runs This.  I am so glad I discovered her blog, this girl is freakin awesome!  Go check her out!

Look at these funny stickers she added to the box!

My motto: you can never be too rich or have too many cookies.

Home is where the hot fudge is.

Seriously, I LOOOVE hot fudge.  I cannot keep it in the house because I will just eat it with a spoon in a day!

Anyways, I ripped into the box with such enthusiasm, can’t you tell??

The first things I saw were an envelope and a reusable bag from Trader Joe’s!  I had mentioned to Cherie that sadly, the closest Trader Joe’s to me was 8 hours away.

Inside the envelope were stickers and a sweet note and it listed all of the items in my box.  She made sure that:

“… it’s MANGO free!”

I love re-usable bags, if only because I don’t have to fuss with recycling all of the plastic bags, plus they hold a lot more!

Cookie Butter:  When I spotted this I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  I’d always wanted to try this stuff!

It was different than what I was expecting: a more sugar cookie flavor.   But when I read the description it made sense:

“A deliciously unusual spread reminiscent of gingerbread and made with crushed biscuits.”

Depsite my expectations, it is delicious!  I think the label says something about spreading it on things, but I’ve just been eating it by the spoonful. :)

Apple Strawberry fruit wrap:

This little fruit wrap was quite tasty!  The flavor was very true to real apple and strawberry.

And the nutrition stats weren’t terrible!  I mean, fruit is mostly sugar anyways.  How do you think I’m so sweet?  (heh, heh.)

Swiss milk chocolate:  Oh my heavens, be still my heart.

This came in handy during a late-night cramming study session!  ;)

Artichoke hearts: Cherie certainly did her homework!  Yummm.

I can’t wait to add these to my salads!

Toasted Coconut Cookie Thins:  I don’t know if I’ve really mentioned this, but I am a HUGE fan of coconut.

These cookies were crispy and light, not too sweet, but packed full of coconut flavor!  It was like eating a piece of a tropical island.

THANK YOU Cherie!!

*************************************

Last but not least, here is a reader, Emma, who agreed to do a special guest post about the box  I sent to her!  

How cute is this picture?  She officially puts aaall of mine to shame.  Here’s Emma!

Every item I received for my first-time-experience July foodie pen-pal package was new to me!

They were either things I hadn’t seen/heard of, or things I’ve wanted to try, but never got around to purchasing.  I didn’t get to taste everything though – my other half got to the trail mix bars by Mariani (sesame and a cranberry) before I could, but that shows excitement!    (<—this sounds exactly like what mine would do too.)

1 – Chocolove Raspberry in Dark Chocolate bar – I’m not a huge “sweets” fan, but this was wonderful!  The texture had crunch to it, and it wasn’t overly sweet (55% cocoa) and had sprinklings of pink raspberry inside – beautiful packaging and chocolate.

2 – Seasnax (roasted seaweed snack classic olive).  As the grab & go package says, “strangely addictive”, very true…if you like sushi, these are great…even if you don’t like sushi – they’re still addicting, they don’t have an over-powering “seaweed” flavor, probably because of the nice saltiness and olive oil.

3 – Orville Redenbacher’s natural whole grain buttery salt and cracked pepper popcorn – great!  I love cracked pepper and who doesn’t love butter – perfect combo..this was the mini bag package – perfect size!

4 – Blue Diamond butter toffee roasted almonds – these are good to have on hand for “sweet” cravings…they’re healthier than pure candy and they satisfy for sure.

5 – Food Should Taste Good cheddar chips; lot of stuff going on in this cracker/chip – cheddar, quinoa, flax, sunflower, sesame sees, soy, brown rice, tortilla chip/cracker.  The first bite was kind of, “hmmm…” then the sesame seed flavor kicked in (which I personally love) mixed with the cheddar is a nice combo – the texture’s great too – more like a cracker.

6 – Peanut Butter and Co. the Bee’s Knees peanut butter with honey – this is the main thing I never got around to purchasing myself, and have always been curious – no disappointments!  The honey gives the peanut butter a different sweetness from the usual sugar…again, not overly sweet, it’s a nice thick peanut butter, not oily..very good.

7 – Luna bar, peanut butter cookie – I’ve never had a Luna bar before – very impressive for a “whole nutrition” bar.  The texture was great – rice crispiness on top, peanut butter flavor on the bottom.

8 – Stretch Island Fruit Co. all-natural fruit strip (cherry and strawberry) – these were fun…took me back to grade school, only these are waaay better!

9 – Al Dente basil fettuccine noodles – they look and smell fantastic – dinner tonight perhaps?

Thank you Meg for a wonderful AND healthy variety of snacks (and meals!)  This is the perfect start-out to the foodie pen-pal experience!

Thank you Emma for writing a great little post!  I am thrilled that you enjoyed everything!  :)

Until next time!

Foodie Finds!

WordPress: what the heck?  Sometimes it is so weird.  I push “enter” and the next thing I know I’m publishing a barely written post with 4 pictures.  I am a moron.  So sorry for those of you who had to witness that.  Arg…  I wasn’t readdyyyyyy.

Moving on.

These last two weeks have been… well “hell” is the first word that comes to mind, but that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  We were studying the renal system at school and that is one confusing and complicated system.

Morals of the story:

kidneys are important, don’t get kidney stones, if your kidneys fail, you are in trouble.

Thankfully, I made it through the test and am now counting down the days until the last two tests of summer semester.  One the same day.  I am so lucky.

So that’s why this blog has been a little quite.  My life has been eat, sleep and study.  Not even the gym has made an appearance.  I am so bad.

You guys.  Today’s post is going to include a whole lot of FOOD!

I’ve come to realize though I like to try new things, I don’t necessarily like to PAY for them.  What if I don’t like it?  This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

It’s the same thing in restaurants, depending on the place.  If I know I like something, it’s hard for me to try something else when I know I love a particular dish so much!

I tend to stick to my habits.  Sometimes you gotta be adventurous though!

Seasnax:

These were on sale for a buck and I thought, why not?  They were strangely addicting, but I think I’d rather have potato chips. ;)

Food Should Taste Good cheddar chips:

I have Sara to blame for these.  They have lots of cheesy flavor, yum!

Larabars!

I’d tried Larabars once before and wasn’t impressed.  I think it was a cherry flavor and I didn’t like it.  These two flavors are good though!  I liked the peanut butter chocolate slightly better because the chocolate coconut was a little… textury.  I’m glad I gave them a second chance.

Ben and Jerry’s Greek frozen yogurt in raspberry fudge chunk.  

Holy moly, those stuff is GOOOOOD.  I’m pretty sure it was gone in two sittings.  Possibly within one day.  So refreshing with lots and lots of chocolate chunks!

Ken’s Steakhouse lite northern Italian with basil and romano.

My mom actually picked this up for me when she was visiting and I think it’s already half gone!  It’s a bit more interesting than regular Italian dressing.  I really like it!

Nectarines.

This must be a good year for nectarines because I have been going through tons of them!  They’ve been sweet and juicy and don’t stick to the pit (I hate that!).   They’ve even found their way into my oats….

Ah yes,  dreaded oatmeal.

 If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I’m not oatmeal’s biggest fan.  I guess sometimes, when you are a grown up, you have to eat things you don’t really like but that are good for you.

In other news, with temperatures reaching over 100 quite regularly, there’ve been a lot of hodgepodge salads happening.

Such as this one with spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, salmon and brown rice.

Other days, I just had a little lettuce-less salad on the side.

With school consuming my life, some days it’s been really hard to eat well or regularly.  I need to get back to preparing things ahead of time!  In fact, that is my plan for this afternoon– with some homework on the side, of course.  Thankfully, the home stretch is almost here!

 

Recipe! Compost Cookies

Hello everyone!  I have an extra special post today from my cousin!   Sadly, we live on opposite sides of the country and I haven’t seen them in far too long but we keep in touch through facebook and instagram.  Also, she has the cutest weimeraner ever.  Oh, and to say she is an Auburn fan would be an understatement.

She posted these cookies on instagram and I actually thought they were made out of compost!  It turns out they are a brilliant and yummy idea with endless combinations!  The idea is to add 1 1/2 cups of something sweet and 1 1/2 cups of something salty.  I love that combo!

Here she is!

Hi, my name is Anita. I am Meg’s cousin-in-law, and I live in Prattville, Alabama. Yes, Meg has some Southern roots!  (Note from Meg: I love my southern roots!)

Meg asked me to write about a recipe I posted some Instagram pics of, so here goes. Unfortunately, I had already made the second batch, except baking them, so I will try to do the best I can to describe the process.

The link to the original recipe I found is here.

I love to peruse through recipes on my iPad. If they seem too difficult or way too many steps, I immediately go on to something else. I stumbled across this one on Yummly, and it came from the Momofuku Milk Bar. I actually have another recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar in my stash that I haven’t tried yet.

The recipe for their Compost Cookies caught my attention:

1) because of the name

2) because I love junk food.  I am trying to do better about what I eat, but still have lots of failures. I do get out almost every morning and walk 3+ miles, so that helps me feel better when I have my binges.

(Note from Meg: Anita has been doing awesome!  I’m so proud of her for getting healthy!)

So the first time I made the recipe, I decided to go with chocolate chips and crushed pretzels. I learned during this time that it is best to have everything already measured out, etc. and have it close at hand – especially if you are like me and don’t have a stand mixer.

I had my oldest daughter crush up the pretzels and measure them and measure out the chocolate chips for me.  This wasn’t a difficult task for her as she is a college junior (grin). I followed the recipe just like it says and refrigerated the scooped dough for a couple of hours before baking about half of the cookies. Then when I decided to bake them, I put them in the oven for the nine minutes. At this point they looked exactly as it showed in the above recipe, but a little on the pale side, so the timer went on for another two minutes. At the end of 11 minutes, they were gorgeous! And oh, so yummy!

(Note from Meg: oven temperatures seem to vary just the slightest bit!)

So over the next few days I baked the rest of the cookies.

Here is what this batch looked like.

Now, one thought on this, if you don’t have a lot of refrigerator space, I am not sure where you would put all of these cookies.

The recipe says to scoop the dough and let refrigerate for one hour to one week. I have a second refrigerator, so I had more than half of the dough in the second refrigerator, on cookie sheets and pans and anything I could think of to put it on.

These cookies were soooooo good, sweet and salty all in one place!  But I wanted to try them with potato chips and something non-chocolate. I know, I love chocolate, but we have a teenage friend who doesn’t like chocolate, and I try every once in a while to do something without chocolate. So I checked with her to see if she liked the Mike and Ike candies. She said she did, so the plan was forming.

I bought two boxes of the candies and set about cutting each piece into thirds. That took about a box and a half. Then I took some leftover wavy potato chips and crushed them in the bag. Then I got everything else measured out in individual bowls and all within reach and started the mixing process.

I followed the directions and then added the candy and chips. I really wanted to only scoop out one cookie sheet of dough, but then remembered how the dough gets a little hard on the outside and was afraid the bowl would be like that and a disaster, so I went ahead and scooped it all out onto various pans.

This is what they look like after being in the refrigerator for a few hours.

I then waited for a little over an hour for it to chill, then got my oven hot and popped the pan in.

At the nine-minute mark, I checked the cookies. Hmmm. They weren’t crackly like the first batch had been and like the recipe said, but they looked good. They still needed a little more time under the heat, so back in for another minute or two. This batch really spread out on the pan where the first batch hadn’t spread that much. It seems to be a thinner dough for some reason.

But, oh, my!  These taste like gooey sugar cookies with fruity pieces in it. They were still very good!  I still have about two dozen to bake, but will probably do that before we head out for the beach for the rest of the week.  (Note from Meg: Lucky!!)

But don’t hate me for the beach trip, it looks like we are in for quite a bit of rain while we are there. But, hey, a rainy day at the beach is better than a sunny day at home – but home is expecting rain too.  (Note from Meg: Ohh, I think rain during an Alabama summer is the best– especially thunderstorms!)

I hope you will try this recipe.  If you do, let me know what your special ingredients were and what you thought of them.

Blessings,

Thanks Anita!  Boy, I wish I could pop over for a couple of these cookies!  :)  Can you imagine all the fun combinations you could make?

What’s your favorite salty/sweet combination?

The Days You Feel Like You Can’t

The number one greatest thing about my husband is… well, truthfully I could never choose just one.  But he is a great listener.  Which is really good because I talk a lot.  But he also gives pretty awesome advice.  For example:

“Nothing happens overnight.”

Everyone has a day or two (or a hundred) when things don’t go as planned.  That feeling of discouragement sinks in…

When you feel like you can’t…

…do things right

…be on time

…be pretty

…make a change

…learn math/science/how to set the sprinkler system

…remember anything to save your life

…get things done

…make a difference

…be good enough

When those hurdles seem insurmountable.

And sometimes those plans and dreams seem so far away from each other.

Eventually, and more than once, the moment comes when you realize that not everything in life is not directly under your control and that sometimes you have to do your best and let it be.

When that nagging voice in the back of your head is saying “You can’t, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t…”

That part of life where you’re just coming around the bend and don’t know what lays on the other side.

When things are chaotic and so fast paced you can barely catch your breath– and at the same time the days are long with waiting and wondering…

Get up.

Take courage.

Try again.

Keep.

Going.