Monday, December 6, 2010

Comfort food: Roasted chicken

Gluten-free comfort food is easy, and the perfect thing on a cold, blustery winter's eve. Here's my take on this classic entree:

Stuff a chicken with carrots, sage, thyme, and apple slices. Massage the outside with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Place in dutch oven on top of chunks of carrots and red potatoes that have been tossed in olive oil. Roast at 425° for 30 minutes, cover with foil and reduce to 350° until done (internal temperature of 160°). Let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with Brussels sprouts and homemade applesauce.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I wrote this list on Saturday, which is also the last day I took ibuprofen. Have managed my pain since then with homeopathy, and have recovered a fair amount of range of motion. Still have point tenderness over my biceps tendon and my deltoid feels bruised, like I got a tetanus shot, but the pain is so much less, and I don't have the stomach upset from the ibuprofen.

Okay, I mentioned I tore my right rotator cuff, but I failed to mention this is my dominant arm. Yeah, good times. I've mentally been keeping a list of things I am finding rather challenging to do with my left arm. I'm not whining, it's actually kind of funny. Some of the following are impossible to do, and so they are in bold, others are just...a challenge.
  1. Drive (dang standard shift)
  2. Eat steak (unless someone oh-so-kindly pre-cuts it for me)
  3. Go to the bathroom (T.M.I?)
  4. Put on my sling
  5. Sweep
  6. Pick up said sweeped items (much more challenging than sweep)
  7. Use a knife, safely, I must add
  8. Open a jar
  9. Open a can (that may be impossible, but haven't actually tried that one, yet)
  10. Open pill bottles
  11. Raise the roof (woot woot)
  12. Walk the 85-lb dog
  13. Get dressed (SLEEVES! *shakes fist at the heavens*)
  14. Get undressed (SLEEVES!!!)
  15. Shake fist at the heavens (the left hand has now taken over this duty)
  16. Shake hands (again, thank you, left hand)
  17. High five (left only)
  18. Make a bed
  19. Wash, shave or dry armpits
  20. Apply deodorant
  21. Make a ponytail/braid
  22. Untie knots
  23. Tie shoes
  24. Rake leaves
  25. Do two things at once (that's probably for the best)
  26. Brush teeth.
  27. Floss teeth.
Have you ever torn your rotator cuff? If so, what was your biggest challenge?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Woulda, coulda, shoulder

I have been struggling for almost a week with a sore right shoulder. I woke up Saturday morning with a dull ache. Didn't think much about it, the whole right side of my neck has been tight for months, and the muscles on the right side of my upper back have several knots. As I went about my day (got a mani/pedi, helped a friend paint her living room, ran errands, bought groceries), the pain increased and the range of motion decreased. When driving, I found myself needing two hands to push the stickshift into reverse. I massaged some Inflamyar into the shoulder and took some ProTrauma, figured it was just a strain.

Woke up the next day with even more pain and less range of motion, and as the day progressed, so did the symptoms. By Sunday night, the pain was so intense, I couldn't sleep and several times thought about walking a few blocks to the Emergency Department. By Tuesday, I lost the ability to raise my arm to the side (abduct) more than 10°, couldn't externally or internally rotate the humerus (upper arm), or touch my opposite shoulder. Miraculously, I got an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for the next day. Three x-rays were taken and after reviewing them and performing a physical exam, the doctor told me I had a torn rotator cuff, and probable labrum tear. Yikes.

Did I recently hear a "pop" or feel a click in my shoulder, the surgeon asked. My joints often click, and I didn't recall hearing any "pop" or feeling a sudden onset of pain. I figured it happened Friday night, when I was trying to manage the dog at First Friday. But thinking back, my shoulder hurt when I went to Chicago a few weeks ago. And it was kind of achy when I hauled pieces of a tree fallen by a tornado a week or so before that. Then there all those times the ginormous 'potamus has pulled on her leash really hard to meet another dog. Multiply that by seven years.

It's easy for me to blame the dog, but it's not her fault. If I ever felt a twinge in my shoulder after a dog walk, I most likely worked through it. This past Saturday, my arm was achy and I still painted a wall, just limited my movement. Not going to let a little soreness get in my way. I am woman, hear me roar. Owwww. Multiply that by 30 or so years (I'm guessing as a little kid I was pretty intolerant of pain).

Won't know what's going on until the MRI arthrogram this Thursday. I'll meet with the surgeon the following Monday and we'll discuss my options. Surgery scares me, not because it's surgery, but because I will be limited in what I can do. Because I will be dependent on other people (it's happening already). Scary. Oh, the things on the internet about how painful recovery can be...yeah, that's scary, too. I warned the nurse that I'm one of "those" patients, who looks everything up on the internet. She didn't seem to mind.

We'll see what the next few weeks bring. I have been using naturopathic protocols so I can use less prescription and over-the-counter pain meds. Am about to walk to the Farmers' Market to get soup bones to make yummy, healing mineral broth. I just accepted a neighbor's offer to help with walking the dog. I'll be updating this blog with my experiences (OMG, MRI!), hopefully it will be more humor than whine.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

First Friday: Juju's night out

I brought Juju to First Friday last week for the opening night (re-opening) of From Pet Scratch Bakery/Pampered Pet Boutique. The bakery used to be around the corner on Washington Street, and has now moved to a larger location on Main, joining forces with Pampered Pet, formerly located in Shipshewana.

Lynn, from the bakery, has created some all natural and organic dog treats that really are beautiful. I keep trying to convince her to bake equally beautiful treats for people! Most of the dog treats are wheat- and corn-free, two grains that many dogs can't tolerate. I bought a dozen treats and a very special birthday cookie for Juju; she turned seven on November 3rd.

Here are some highlights:

Carob dipped bars and "Cupcake" cookies.

Snowmen! (That's yogurt icing)

Savory pizza treats. Okay, I did take a nibble of this one (hey, it's wheat-free!), and it tastes very pizza-y. All of the ingredients are posted, and are fit for human consumption.

"Donuts" and "Eclairs" with yogurt filling

Cookies! How cute are these? I love the cookie sandwiches with the insets of mittens or snowmen. Lynn is truly an artist!

"Whoopie Pies" and "Cannoli."

There are quite a few more versions, including the classic peanut butter treat. She's even created a little bite-sized, training treat and there are several selections for cats. Mail order is available, check out the website for more information.

This Sunday, November 14th, there will be an open house, part of Shop Outside the Box, encouraging holiday shoppers to buy locally, instead of at the giant box stores.

From Scratch Pet Bakery/Pampered Pet Boutique
108 S Main Street
Goshen, IN

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mind Your Mammaries Month

Leave it to the elegantly eloquent Judy McGuire to come up with several ways of honoring your "magnificent chichis." If I may add to her list, I would recommend finding a wireless bra, or even (oh-so-carefully) ripping out the wire that's already there. Mmm, comfy.

Today in Sex: Mind Your Mammaries Month (via Seattle Weekly).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I thought I'd share a couple of links to websites that are educational and informative.

Feel Your Boobies - Founded by Leigh Hurst, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed when she was 33 years old, Feel Your Boobies is a hip and unconventional campaign to encourage women to perform self breast exams.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure - The largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, the Komen website has a comprehensive Understanding Breast Cancer Guide, answering questions you may have regarding cancer risk, detection, diagnosis, and more.

Ellen Begins Breast Cancer Awareness Month - The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Zucchini ribbons with white beans and tomatoes

My favorite new show is The Fabulous Beekman Boys on Planet Green. Sure, I've only seen one episode, but I watch clips on the website (including the goat cam) and I follow them on Twitter. I just love the idea of The Boys moving to the country and starting a farm, because after all, that's my dream.

Live TV : UstreaI wasn't able to have a garden this year, way too busy. Not sure if I will be able to have one at the house next year anyway, it's very shady, not enough light for growing veggies. Lucky for me, one of my colleagues brought in a care package of giant zucchini and heirloom tomatoes. Ever since I went all gluten-free/all-the-time, I just stopped baking, so zucchini bread wasn't an option for the monster zukenites. I scoured the 'net and found websites for carving zucchini or drying them out to build a shed. I did find one site where shredded zucchini was a substitute for pasta (how gluten-free can you get?), and my soon-to-be gentlewoman farmer, Copeland, sent me a link to her "recipe" for zucchini and lavender soup.

But then I saw the Tweet: "A recipe that will make you happy you have all of that excess zucchini." I was sold on zucchini pasta. Of course, I had to make it my way (read: with ingredients found around the house). Again, no measurements, but if you've been reading my blog for a while, you should expect that from me by now. I shredded two giant zucchini, but only used enough to make myself lunch. I have enough to make a couple of more meals, with variations on toppings. You can adjust your own amounts according to how many you are cooking for, or if this is a main meal or side dish.

Zucchini ribbons with white beans and tomatoes
Monster zucchini
Olive oil
Dried (or fresh) Italian herbs

Several whole tomatoes, choppedCanned white beans, rinsed and drained
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, as needed

Wash, then peel the zucchini into long strips until you reach the core with seeds. At the Beekman farm, they feed the leftovers to the pigs. My chickens back in Oregon would have gone nuts over the cores. These are going in the composter*.

Add olive oil to a large, heated pan, then add dried herbs and garlic. Stir in zucchini strips, and keep stirring until almost cooked (more translucent than raw), then add the chopped tomatoes and white beans. Cook a few more minutes and you're done. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan and more herbs. I didn't add salt, as the parmesan is salty enough for me.
You can see how the sky's the limit with how you garnish the strips, adding tomato sauce or even pesto. I wish I had some fresh basil—how yum would that be with the heirloom tomatoes? Super yum. I just ate a heaping helping for lunch and don't have that post-pasta coma feeling. I'm going to be a little sad when monster zucchinis are no longer available!


What to do with a Giant Zucchini from Pixel remix: the Ann-alog
Zucchini Ribbons by Angela Rae Berg, from
More zucchini fun, via

* Yes, I have a composter without a garden. What else does one do with kitchen scraps?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cucumber salad with heirloom tomatoes

Olive oil, apple cider vinegar and dill dressing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lentils in korma simmer sauce

In case, you haven't noticed my total crush on Seeds of Change organic Indian simmer sauces, I've decided to post another quick and easy dinner idea. I cooked a half cup of lentils until almost done, then added a jar of korma simmer sauce. If you're not familiar with korma, it's a super creamy, super mild, totally decadent curry made with coconut milk. I made the lentils for lunch tomorrow, will serve it on a bed of greens, maybe kale or spinach.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cheesy beefy mac

I needed to go to the store after work and pick up some groceries. Instead, I scoured the pantry and 'fridge and threw together this "everything but the kitchen sink" dinner.

• One bag of rice elbow macaroni
• Half a bag frozen, chopped onions
• One pound of grass-fed ground beef (hidden in the back of the freezer, behind the frozen onions)
• Homemade cheese, with Italian spices and pepper-crusted (grass-fed, organic milk)
• Fresly grated Parmesan
• One cup of spaghetti sauce (Newman's Own Sockerooni)

Sauté beef and onions. Cook noodles until al dente. Splash and smear oil into casserole dish so nothing sticks. Drain meat/onions, add to casserole dish. Drain pasta, add to casserole dish, stir. Stir in crumbled cheese, sauce, top with Parmesan, put in pre-heated oven (350°) until heated all the way through and cheese melts.

Sure, I probably needed to make a bechamel to add to the mix, but this was improv. You don't think I would plan a meal like this on a hot, humid, summer night, do you?

Serve with green salad, have leftovers for lunch. And dinner. And maybe lunch again. Yum.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


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Father's Day

I'm not a huge fan of Father's Day, in the same way I'm not a fan of Mother's Day. Picking one day out of the year to buy cards and gifts to honor people who should be celebrated every's like Valentine's Day. Meh. Show your loved ones you care everyday. It's less expensive than a cheesy card or another goofy tie.

A couple of essays really struck me this morning, so I thought I'd share. Also an article by Tara Parker-Hope on stressed out dads.

For Father's Day 2010: as seen on IMAGINE PEACE, a letter from Yoko Ono.
• New York Times columnist, Nick Kristof's essay to his father, My Father's Gift to Me.
• Balancing work and family's not just for mom's anymore. Now Dad Feels as Stressed as Mom.

Friday, May 7, 2010

President's Cancer Panel Report

“Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety,” the report says. It adds: “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.”
As seen in the New York Times, the President's Cancer Panel has released a 200-page report for 2008-2009 on how we can reduce our environmental cancer risk. Included are industrial, agricultural, water contamination, and electromagnetic and radiation exposures.

Please take the time to download the PDF and read the report. Included are risks regarding the use of plastics, chemical exposures during pregnancy, and non-organic foods. Forty-one percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. That's almost HALF of all Americans. If that's not alarming, than I don't know what is.

Here is a brief overview of recommendations made in the report:

• Particularly when pregnant and when children are small, choose foods, toys and garden products with fewer endocrine disruptors or other toxins. (Information about products is at or

• For those whose jobs may expose them to chemicals, remove shoes when entering the house and wash work clothes separately from the rest of the laundry.

• Filter drinking water.

• Store water in glass or stainless steel containers, or in plastics that don’t contain BPA or phthalates (chemicals used to soften plastics). Microwave food in ceramic or glass containers.

• Give preference to food grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers and growth hormones. Avoid meats that are cooked well-done.

• Check radon levels in your home. Radon is a natural source of radiation linked to cancer.

Would love to hear your opinions. Questions? Comments?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Adventures in Indiana: Farm fieldtrip with goats and bees

I am not a big fan of goat cheese. For a brief moment when living in New York, I switched from cow dairy to goat, buying milk at the Union Square Farmers Market. I never really noticed a difference between the two, not being a huge milk drinker. Goat milk was just fine as a medium in which my cereal sat before I ate it. That is, until someone I worked with mentioned that goat products reminded him of sucking on a wet, wool sweater. From that moment on, all I tasted when I ate anything goat was soggy cashmere.

The other day, I was offered some homemade goat cheese that a friend's mother made. I wanted to try it and see if fresh-from-the-farm cheese was any different from the store bought variety that tasted like not-so-fresh farm animal. The cheese was surprisingly subtle, almost like ricotta, with out any detectable goat taste. It was delicious.

Today I took a field trip to the farm and learned how to make cheese. We started the day by sampling several different flavors, so we would know which we wanted to make. Our choices included Marjoram & Cracked Pepper, Basil, and Asian Spice with Ginger. They were all delicious, but the Marjoram & Cracked Pepper was really good.

Next we learned to milk the goats. We filled a bucket and headed in to make cheese. I decided to make dill flavored, thinking it would be delicious on a gluten-free bagel or stuffed in a chicken breast. When we were done, we were gifted 4 quarts of goat milk and I headed to the store to pick up some cheesemaking supplies (enamel stock pot, thermometer, cheesecloth, lemons). Later this week I will experiment in my own kitchen with making cheese!

The goats were adorable, and very curious.

Me and the master beekeeper.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Super easy, gluten-free oats granola

Many of my fondest memories living in New York revolve around food. Whether it's steak at the Strip House, artichoke pizza at Three of Cups, or caviar and blini at Pravda, my recall can be so vivid, I can still taste these gustatory delights. Breakfast, or should I say le petit dejeuner, at Balthazar will always be one of my favorites. So simple, yet so delicious, a bowl of plain yogurt with fresh mixed fruit and the best dang granola ever. It was about more than just the granola; I loved the atmosphere, early morning Soho, lingering over what seemed like an endless supply of coffee, reading the Sunday New York Times. The restaurant wasn't that busy at that time of morning, no long wait or reservations required.

I have been looking for a granola recipe for a few months now. It's next to impossible for me to find one that is just right, the perfect amount of coconut, the right kind of nuts, no dried fruit to pick out (we won't go there in this blog), and most important of all, gluten-free. Now, I could easily buy one of the gf brands available at the local co-op, but they don't always have oats (there is a huge debate still over the gluten in oats and whether or not it's okay for someone avoiding gluten), often have dried fruit (which I have to pick out) and well, I'm still searching for that granola that reminds me of the perfection at Balthazar. I haven't had the Balthazar granola in over a decade and really couldn't tell you what was in it, but this recipe is dedicated to my early mornings spent in that New York bistro.

Fortunately, I am a gluten-sensitive person who isn't bothered by oats. First, I had to find a recipe to follow, as I had no clue where to begin. I bought the ingredients before I found a recipe, kind of backwards on that one, huh?

Preheat oven to 250°

3 cups gluten-free rolled oats (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup whole raw almonds
1 cup raw cashews
2/3 cup shredded coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
maple syrup
grapeseed oil

Combine oats, almonds, cashews, coconut, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Sprinkle sea salt over the mixture. In a measuring cup, pour in vanilla and approximately 1/4 cup each of honey, maple syrup, and grapeseed (or other similar) oil. Stir well, then drizzle over dried mixture. Combine well (use hands!!!), add more honey or maple syrup until appropriate stickiness has been achieved. Spread into well greased baking sheets (or use parchment paper). Bake at 250° for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool, store in airtight bags or jar. Serve over fresh, seasonal fruit and organic, plain yogurt. You can even stir in a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseeds for extra nuttiness and nutrients.

Feel free to add what you like to the recipe, including dried fruit or other types of nuts. Make it your own. Next time I'll add some brazil nuts, larger flaked coconut, and more stickiness so I can have bigger clumps of granola to munch on. If anyone wants to go to Balthazar and remind me of what is in their recipe, please feel free to do so. Don't forget to bring the Sunday Times.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Join the Revolution!

I am completely obsessed with Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and his campaign for healthy eating. He is trying to change the way America eats, one person, one school, one town at a time. The message is simple: eat fresh, homemade, non-processed food. In other words, get back in the kitchen and cook! If you haven't seen the show yet, it shows Friday nights on ABC. Past episodes are available to watch on Hulu, so you have plenty of time to catch up before next Friday.

Sign Jamie's petition to improve school food, which will help children learn better eating habits, focus better in school (without all that added sugar and preservatives to mess with their growing brains), and have healthier futures. I think an important part of this whole program is to teach kids what is healthy and how to make good choices when it comes to food. If kids knew that processed, chemical, sugar, and fat-laden foods weren't good for them, they wouldn't eat them. Parents can start at home, teaching their children about fresh foods and how to cook simple meals. Grow a garden in the backyard or even in a window box. Learn where food comes from and what it looks like in its natural state.

Here's a clip of 5 Things You Need to Know about The Food Revolution.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Green and clean

While catching up on my blog reading, I came across these tips from EWG (Environmental Working Group). Time to spring clean!

Green, spring cleaning What's the point of cleaning the house if the cleaning product is more dangerous than the dirt and the dust? more >>

Seven ingredients to avoid Not all of the cleaners you find in the store have their ingredients listed on the bottle. You may have to do a bit of detective work, but once you know what's inside, here's a list of things to look out for. more >>

Spring clean your body! Start from the outside, by tossing out those harsh and possibly toxic soaps and shampoos. more >>

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Go Green, Indiana!

Here I go, slacking on my posts again. It's been over a month since my last entry, so I'm borrowing from the INANP (Indiana Association of Naturopathic Physicians) website some info I compiled on living green and sustainable in Indiana.

1. Earth Eats a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog based in Bloomington, Indiana that features news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture

2. Indiana Living Green an online magazine that is a fount of information, including calendars of events and farmer's markets and lists of CSAs (community supported agriculture) and local food resources.

3. Going Local includes guides to local farms and seasonal eating, food festivals, CSAs, and delicious, easy (and healthy) recipes.

4. Sustainable Indiana 2016 a Wiki that anyone can edit, listing green and sustainable businesses, job opportunities, and ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

5. Indiana Department of Environmental Management , since 1986, IDEM provides environmental oversight and technical assistance in communities and throughout the state

6. Michiana Green Pages a directory of socially and environmentally responsible efforts in the area that provide green products and services, and resources for community building, recreation, health, and healthy eating.

Don't forget Earth Day is just one month away!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chickpeas in Jalfrezi simmer sauce

Posted this yesterday while cooking dinner. Whole thing was made in the time it to cook the rice, which is perfect for those of us just who work long days and need a healthy dinner FAST. The Seeds of Change simmer sauce is organic and so delicious; I can't wait to go back and try more flavors. Garbanzo beans are full of soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar. They have a nice amount of protein when served with brown rice and a decent amount of molybdenum, a trace mineral that helps your body process nasty sulfites that are found in processed foods and wine. Garbanzo beans, or chick peas, are also a good source non-animal source of iron.

So tired and hungry when I got home from work. Reached into pantry and grabbed brown rice, a can of garbanzo beans, a jar of Seeds of Change simmer sauce, an onion. In the fridge I found some organic mushrooms and fresh baby spinach. Prepared one cup of brown rice. While rice cooked, chopped 1/2 onion, sliced mushrooms, and sauteed them in large pan with olive oil. Rinsed can of beans, added to pan with several handfuls of spinach. Simmered some more. Added jalfrezi curry sauce (with red peppers and coconut).

So, now all of that is simmering while the rice finishes cooking. Smells amazing and looks like I'll even have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Okay, just tasted it and dang, that's good stuff.

Quick, easy, healthy. Thank you. Time to eat. Good night.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Slow Cooking: Lentil Soup

A few weeks ago, I picked up some beef bones at the Farmer's Market (grass-fed from a local Amish farm). I was hoping to give one or two to the dog as treats, but they were way too small with sharp edges. I piled them into my slow cooker and made some mineral-rich bone broth. When talking to my mother the other day, she suggested I make lentil soup, so I scoured the internet looking for a slow cooker recipe. Not only was this recipe super easy, I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen. Super convenient.

Lentil Soup
Adapted from ABC's Slow-Cooker Recipe Finalist, Mary Sperling of Newberg, Ore.


• 3 carrots, chopped
• 4 ribs of celery, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, pressed
• 6 cups beef broth, 2 cups water (you can do all water, all broth, veggie broth, etc.)
• 2 cups lentils, rinsed
• 1 tsp. dried thyme
• 1 bay leaf (because I love bay leaves in lentil soup!)

Directions Put all of these ingredients in the slow cooker. Set it on low if you are leaving it all day, high if you are starting it around lunchtime. I started around 2pm so I set it on high figuring I'd eat around 8pm.

10 minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, add:
• 1 ½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
• 2 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. ground pepper
• 1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped

Variations to add:
• cubed potatoes at the beginning of cooking.
• one 14 ½ ounce can of diced tomatoes at the beginning of cooking.

I forgot to add the balsamic vinegar and the kale, so each morning when I prepared my lunch for the day I drizzled a bit of vinegar and added a frozen veggie. One day it was broccoli, the next it was spinach; I tried to mix it up, keep it interesting and nutritious.

I also discovered crockpot365's Stephanie O'Dea on Good Morning America! Click here for her recipes featured on GMA.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mammogram 01/07/10

I don't typically get on my soapbox here at holisticanaturopathic. There are so many sites that do just that; I prefer to keep things light with the occasional recipe, recycling tip, medical-related news or link. But something has been happening on Facebook that has caught my attention, but not for the reason intended.

A meme has been going around encouraging women to post their bra color as their status update, all in the name of breast cancer awareness. Even before I found this article, I thought the whole thing was a bit odd, somewhat voyeuristic, and unsure how bra color posting would make anyone more knowledgeable about breast cancer. One thing the Facebook meme did do was make me incredibly aware that I am in dire need of new support undergarments. But as far as activism? Education? Not so much.

I decided to start my own meme. It's off to a very slow start, perhaps because I only sent it to a few friends, maybe because it's REALLY kind of a personal thing, or folks are getting sick and tired of Facebook memes. Here goes: post as your status update the date of your last mammogram, self breast exam (SBE), or clinical breast exam (CBE). Easy enough, right? What? You don't remember the last time you did a self breast exam? When is the best time to do one? Haven't had a CBE in how many years? Maybe you're not quite old enough to get a mammogram, or maybe you are...wait...what IS the age to start screening?

See? Made you think. Or at least do a Google search. You notice your friend got a mammo two days ago (that friend would be me, thank you very much) or did a SBE last Tuesday. So you make an appointment with your doctor or check your breasts in the shower.

These are the American Cancer Society's current guidelines for screening:
  • Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
  • Clinical breast exam (CBE) should be part of a periodic health exam, about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over.
  • Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care providers. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
  • Women at high risk (greater than 20% lifetime risk) should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. Women at moderately increased risk (15% to 20% lifetime risk) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram. Yearly MRI screening is not recommended for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.
The newest meme encourages women to breastfeed because breastfeeding and being breastfed reduces breast cancer risk. I'm in a bit of a pickle because I was mostly bottle fed and chances are I won't be breastfeeding any time soon. And I have old bras.

Now, where is that Victoria's Secret catalog?

More info from
Self breast exam
Clinical breast exam
Early detection and screening

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Slow cookerama

I'm trying to plan ahead and make lunch/dinner for the upcoming week. Working long days doesn't leave much energy to come home and prepare a healthy meal and, although it is very affordable, the cafeteria at work doesn't offer much when it comes to gluten-free.

I checked in with one of my favorite blogs,, and learned how to cook up some beans in my slow cooker. I took half a bag of dried pinto and half a bag of black beans, rinsed them in a colander, drained them, then poured them into the slow cooker. I then added one large, crushed clove of garlic and covered the beans with filtered water (plus two inches, as instructed). I added the garlic because I remember my mom telling me that garlic reduces the gas from the beans. I crushed it because crushing, chopping, or mincing actually activates the properties of the garlic. They soaked overnight, this morning I rinsed them and returned them to the slow cooker to cook on low for about 6 hours. I had a small helping for lunch, with some salsa, grated cheese and cilantro. Will need to make some rice tonight so I can have bean and rice bowls for lunch this week.
When the beans were almost done, I referred to crockpot365 for a chicken and dumplings recipe. The best (and only) chicken and dumplings I've ever had were at Tad's in Troutdale, Oregon. Those dumplings were so huge...they were painfully delicious. Literally. Glutaginous balls of death. I will be using Bob's Red Mill gluten-free biscuit mix, so my version should be a bit more intestine friendly.

My favorite part of using a slow cooker is throwing frozen ingredients into the crock, no thawing necessary, step away, and let it do it's thing. I inherited another, larger slow cooker (I actually think this one is an official crockpot), so I took it off the shelf, grabbed some open packages of frozen peas and green beans, chopped an onion, and added boneless chicken breasts all into the crock. Covered with two cans of gluten-free, organic cream of chicken soup, turned the slow cooker on high and in four hours will drop in globs of gluten-free biscuit dough. One more hour of cooking and, fingers crossed, I hope to have a scrumptious, stick-to-your-ribs dinner of comfort food! Perfect for a snowy, 4° winter day (and lunch this week!).

(I just added some rosemary to the crockpot, along with the biscuit dough. Felt like it was missing something. Almost done, picture to come!)

Friday, January 1, 2010


Hard to believe I've been blogging here since July 2007 and have yet to post anything about one of my favorite quick breakfast recipes. I first had migas in Santa Fe. Don't remember the name of the restaurant, but they truly were delicious. But where I had them doesn't really matter because they are so easy to make, you, too, can enjoy the yumminess of this Tex-Mex breakfast delight. I mostly love this recipe because it's perfect for using up those stale chips that are sitting in the cupboard. It's great the day after a party, perfect for New Year's Day.

The ingredients are simple: olive oil, salsa, eggs, corn tortilla chips, grated cheese and cilantro for garnish.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, not too hot as you don't want it to smoke. Add in a cup or so of salsa per person. Let the salsa cook long enough to burn off the excess liquid.
Scramble 3 eggs per person then add crumbled tortilla chips to the egg batter. Pour into frying pan and stir while cooking egg/salsa mixture.
Serve immediately, garnished with grated cheese and cilantro.