Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chilly days and heating pads

I had such big plans for today.  Hump day was going to be conquered with a great workout at the gym, de-glutening my pantry, doing some paperwork, and writing a positive blog post about rising above negativity.  I even included a picture of a goat:

How can you not be positive when looking at that adorableness?
My plans first were foiled by Winter coming to California.  Taking the dog out chilled me to the bone.  I snuggled up to Spartacus with a mug of hot coffee and defrosted my toes before heading to the gym (the walk to which turned me purple again).  Cramps got me off the rowing machine in under six minutes, and I lasted on the Nordic Track just 24 minutes before I started doubling over.  I thought exercise was supposed to ease cramping?
Anyway, I came home and made myself a couple slices of gluten-free French toast to settle a wicked maple syrup craving. 
I ate it.
My wonderful hormone fluctuations aren't the only thing putting me on the brink of a flare.  For some inane reason, my insurance company decided that mail-order prescriptions were the way to go.  I am way too much of a spazz to remember to order things in advance.  Plus, because the insurance is through my husband's work, he is the one with access to the system to place orders. So, I have to remember to need to order my prescription, plus to tell my husband (and make sure he remembers, too!).  To get to the point of this rather boring paragraph, I've been sans-plaquenil for four days.  
So far, so pseudo-good.  But I'm definitely trying to take it easy.  
Speaking of which, I've got a date with my physical therapist I should jet off to.  I'm not sure how much pilates I'll be doing today, but I do know I'm looking forward to getting some of these knots worked out.
How is your hump day going?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Leftover Turkey Pho

Despite only having a 10 pound turkey, we were left with a sizable amount of leftovers.  In years past I would boil down my turkey carcass to make some homemade stock for turkey noodle soup.  Now, because I haven't found any gluten-free egg noodles, and because I'm missing being in college, I decided to go a more Asian direction with my soup this year...
On the Sacramento State campus, near the library, exists this wonderful little restaurant called Saigon Bay.  They introduced me to avocado smoothies, tofu spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce, and noodle soup with options of throwing in bean sprouts, jalapenos, lime wedges, hoisin, and sriracha.  Especially in these gray fall/winter months in Sacramento, that soup really hit the spot.
I decided to pursue making my own replication of that soup.  Now, I would alternate between shrimp and flank steak for my protein, but with all the leftovers it seemed a good time to use up my dark turkey meat (white is for sammiches and tonight's curry).
I used this recipe from Kevin's (hey, that's my husband's name) Closet Cooking as a base for my experiment. When I boiled down the carcass I already had ginger, shallots, and onions in there so I left that step out.  I think the best change I made is that I threw in a bag of dried shiitake mushrooms during my second stock process (after skimming out the solids and the top layer of fat).  This- combined with the ingredients of the star anise, cloves, and cinnamon- made for a very umami experience.  I would suggest starting low with the fish sauce and sugar altering to your tastes.
The result was a very delicious, warming pho. Topped with the rooster sauce and Dynasty hoisin (gluten-free) and a hearty heap of bean sprouts (super healthy!) it was satisfying and light after the previous day of gluttony.  The only change I would make in the future was to use thinner rice noodles.
Kevin (my husband, not the blogger) found this to be a great way to use the leftovers.  I'm happy that we have some leftover stock for the upcoming cold and flu season for a second round of pho- comforting, and the sriracha is great for the sinuses.  We happily slurped down the remainders of the pot for lunch today.
To conclude, I think a new leftover turkey tradition has been born.

Do you have any traditions in regards to your Turkey Day leftovers?  Any of them slightly unusual?
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Wfdw- Turkey Edition

Pardon the dark pic...

I hope everyone had a great day yesterday and celebrated with loved ones. Today makes the beginning of me trying to cram all of my thanksgiving leftovers into new recipes. Lunch was a delicious turkey sandwich on Against The Grain baguette with avocado, tomato, havarti, and spicy mustard.

(Source- Celiacs in the House)
This bread was chewy and delicious.  It had a bit too many air bubbles that made me wonder what I was paying for, but I cannot argue with that sandwich... Mmmmm....  I also used it for garlic bread.
Now, dinner recipes are a bit more difficult since I've yet to find gluten free noodles that can stand up to a soup. Tonight, turkey pho-which will hopefully help me forget that I'm eating turkey. Sunday, I'm throwing leftover turkey AND leftover sweet potatoes in rich curry sauce. Barbecue sauce will mask the flavor in our final turkey meal. Anything leftover from our ten pound turkey at that point will be thrown in the freezer (hopefully for future pho).

Happy leftovers, everyone!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Gluten-Free Thanksgiving!

This is a bit late- I've already had my nap and my post-nap second helping of turkey- but I wanted to say happy thanksgiving, and I hope you all take a minute to give thanks. No matter how bleak things may seem, there's always someone or something that improves your life. Such as anti-malarial drugs.

Love you all, and enjoy the long weekend!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A morbid, but important topic

I have not been posting... the weird thing is that Kevin has been out of town on business these past could days.  With all of my free time you would think I would love talking to my good friend, the internet.  Instead, I've been talking to Spartacus, who isn't the best conversationalist either.  I've probably also been putting off writing about something uncomfortable.

The important post that has been brewing in my mind concerns one of the items on my to-do list from my Spokane visit- taking care of assigning medical power of attorney for my grandparents and filling out their advanced health care directives. With the frailty of human life- especially when you have a chronic illness, it's important to think about your final wishes.

  • Should you slip into a coma/become brain-dead, would you want to remain on life support?
  • Would you want fluids and/or nutrients fed to you to maintain your life?
  • Who would you want to follow through with your wishes and make decisions about your care?
These big questions are important to think about and discuss with your loved ones, whether it be discussing your own wishes or theirs.  

For most states (if not all, I'm no legal expert), the paperwork is readily available to download off the internet and print right at home.  In Washington State, the medical power of attorney required a notary, while the advanced directive only required two (non-relative) signatures.  

I don't exactly know how to end this post... except to say that I hope you think about it. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Menu

I'm back from my trip to Spokane and trying to get back into the swing of things.  I'll post full updates soon, I just wanted to brag about my great Gluten-Free Thanksgiving I have lined up!
I'm excited for Thanksgiving this year- as I always am- because big meals are always a challenge to make.  It gives me a chance to honor the traditions of my family and try new things with my new family.

Seafood-Stuffed Mushrooms (nothing new here)

Olives- a family tradition.  During my trip all of my sibs were together in one place for dinner before I left.  We ate three cans of olives.

Candied Walnut, Pear, and Leafy Greens with White Balsamic Vinaigrette- we've eaten this before (not for turkey day) and it was a wonderful fall salad.

Main Meal
Cider-Brined Turkey with Star Anise and Cinnamon- normally I just rock a soy sauce mixture.

Wild Rice, Fruit, and Pecan Stuffing- to replace my StoveTop.  Yes, StoveTop isn't gourmet, but it's just like Mama used to make (but we both added freshly sauteed carrots, celery, and onions).  But, as the Eat This, Not That people reminded me, they are basically soggy, fattening croutons.  And gluten-y, of course.

Orange-Brandied Sweet Potatoes- about the same as Mama used to make, but with some additions.
Gluten-Free Baguette (thanks, Whole Foods!)... Kevin may get lucky and get some rolls from his mum.
Pomegranate Glazed Carrots
Mashed Taters

The Wonderful and Talented Gluten-Free Goddess has this recipe for a vegan pumpkin pie with a coconut-pecan crust.  Now, I figure it would be just as delicious if I put some dairy, eggy deliciousness in the crust.  Hopefully Karina won't track me down.  

Gluten-Free Goddess

Whiskey-Spiked Whipped Cream
There was almost going to be a second dessert... I'm still keeping it as a possibility if we get a couple more guests.  Frozen maple-mousse pie with candied cranberries.   *swoon*

Wassail or Mulled Wine(for while I'm cooking in the morning)
Pinot Noir- for our turkey pairing pleasure.
Sparkling Cider- because just because you're old enough for wine doesn't mean you don't want cider.

I also have some ideas for leftovers that will hopefully cure me of my leftover- turkey hatred... including a curry and some sammiches.

What dietary restrictions are coming to shake up your Thanksgiving celebration?  What traditions will never change?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lots on my mind

Today I have quite a bit on my mind.
This week has actually been more eventful than usual, and that's not just because I found a new show to watch:

Another strong jawline to enjoy. The superman abs aren't too shabs, either.
Tom Welling isn't what I've been thinking about, though.

I started my volunteer time with the local domestic violence/sexual assault agency.  I worked the crisis line on Tuesday for three hours.  Wouldn't you know it- no one was in crisis for the entire shift!  Just what this bored social worker needed!  Thursday I was on call for SART- the sexual assault response team.  Nada (not too shocking, sexual assaults are, thankfully, not too common).  I'm on call for the overnight shift tonight, maybe I'll see some action.

In the meanwhile, I've been pondering a support group that I could get started for the agency. After assault, it can be difficult for individuals to reclaim their sexuality in a healthy manner.  I would like to help those who were victims of marital rape, date/acquaintance rape, molest, etc, and I would like to help to agency by creating this curricula and the tools to evaluate the effectiveness (evidence-based practice, ftw!).  The clinical staff is very busy, however, and I'm finding it hard to stand by while my social worker skills get rusty.  So, I've been doing some research.

When I'm not trying my hardest to volunteer against the agency's will, I scour craigslist,, and county websites looking for openings.  I applied to a few more part-time jobs this week, but all is quiet on the employment front.  I keep thinking more and more about my future.  Will I ever be able to work full time?  How am I supposed to get experience if I never get a job?  How am I going to get my license?  It will take years to get all the clinical hours.  Until I get a new job my resume is looking pretty vacant.  So, I've been looking at PhD. programs and wondering if I shouldn't just go right into it.  School is easy- sitting all day does kill me, but it doesn't really take any energy.  The PhD program I'm looking at requires the GRE- I think they almost all do.  Did you know that there's no calculators allowed during the test?  I really should have learned to do long multiplication (the problem with being transferred to the "advanced class" right when they were teaching that). Also, analogies are the bane of my existence.

Shut up, Mr. Smiley Face. (Source)

It doesn't help that I'm not doing super well this week.  It may be the kidney infection and/or the antibiotics, but I'm just not bouncing back.  My physical therapy sessions have been leaving me exhausted, my sleep hasn't been restful, and I have wonderful moments of fatigue, chills/hot flashes, nausea, and dizziness.  It just makes me want to curl up with my dog and Tom Welling.
I feel better already.
So, that's what I had been thinking about today- support groups, long multiplication, clinical licenses.  And babies.  Always babies.  Then, my twin sister called me not too long ago to let me know that Mama wasn't feeling too well.

Now, the biggest thing on my mind is my grandmother.  Mama and Papa (that's what I call them) raised me and my siblings.  For lack of anyone else to fill the role (RIP, Mom), they were my parents and will always be my parents.  Earlier today she was taken to the hospital with possible pneumonia and hypoxia.  So far, it's not super serious, but I'm a worrier. Makes my own current issues seem a bit less significant.  However, it doesn't make me stop thinking about the future- especially my strong desire that she be in it for a very long time.

I already had a trip planned up to Spokane- leaving next Tuesday- to go meet my brand new nephew, Logan Scott.  Sooner now, if necessary. I hope my very small group of readers will keep her in their thoughts.

Ballin' on her scooter with my nephew, Riley

Back in the day, it seemed that I could conquer my lupus to take care of Mama.  No matter how crappy I felt, I could always rally when she needed me.
Who or what seems to defy the lupus-odds in your life?