Tag Archive | oh she glows

Forever, Darling

Despite asking for a copy of my CT scan report, I never did receive it. I thought about calling the imaging facility a few times but, unfortunately, I never thought of it at a time they were actually open. My paranoid brain said “there must be something wrong… why didn’t they want me to see it?”  My more rational brain said “no news is good news… surely if something was wrong, they would have called by now.” And since my blood work was perfect — everything in normal range — that led me to believe all was ok. It has been 7 years since I had my partial nephrectomy (8/13/2008) but I still hold my breath a little waiting for the results.

So at 7:30 this morning, I got to confirm what I was already hoping for — the results were excellent! The images showed “an almost perfect picture of what kidneys should look like”. Not even a kidney stone in sight! In fact the report talks mostly about all the things that aren’t there… no alveolar infiltrates in the lungs. No hepatic, splenic, renal, adrenal or pancreatic masses (the best news, of course!). No gallstones. No pathologically enlarged para-aortic lymph nodes (whatever that means). No intestinal obstructer, appendicitis, or diverticulitis. The only things of note: multiple small cysts in the right ovary (no surprise there) and “fatty infiltration of the liver”. I suspect the latter is related to my former diet and hope to see improvements in that over time. It was certainly nothing the doctor was worried about. And with my cholesterol and triglycerides in great shape, I’m not worried either.

More good news from the doctor:  He thinks this was my last CT scan.  He said I can do an MRI (with blood work and chest x-ray) next year and then switch to just ultrasounds after that. Yea! No more radiation!  I asked how long he would continue follow ups on me and he said “forever”. (Ok, he didn’t say “darling”, but I liked the title anyway!) I take comfort in having him check each year, but I thought at maybe 10 years or so, he would cut me loose!

*****

I haven’t posted any recipes lately, so here are a few new ones:

Crispy Quinoa Cakes from Oh She Glows – These were quite tasty and I loved the texture. Instead of over a salad, we ate these as wraps — whole wheat tortillas, fresh spinach and tomato, and a bit of organic ranch dressing. I’m sure there are other vegan dressings that can be used instead. I served these with a side of corn on the cob. A nice light summer supper. And the best part, the sweet potato (which my husband detests) was so well hidden, he didn’t even notice. I really need to learn to take pictures, but you can see there on Angela’s site.

Also from Oh She Glows, Falafel with a Twist. I enjoyed the taste of these, although they weren’t quite as yummy as the falafel I order at my favorite Lebanese restaurant. These, I did serve over a salad and I think my boys were a little shocked that this was “it” for dinner. I have to admit I preferred the quinoa cakes over the falafel, which ended up being a little too oily for me, since fried. I think I will try to bake them next time instead.

Not a recipe per se, but a college friend of mine, the 40 year old vegan, (be sure to check out her site for more great recipes!), wrote about using Field Roast sausage to have an old fashioned sausage and peppers sandwich. I had never heard of Field Roast, so I was sure to look for them on my next trip to Wegman’s. I found them in the frozen foods’ case in the healthy section of the store. I purchased Mexican Chipotle, which was great if you like spicy. These had a quite a kick, but we all enjoyed these with a hefty servings of grilled onions and red peppers on a whole grain roll. I also bought the Smoked Apple Sage. Ethan ate one and didn’t seem to mind it; David said it wasn’t as good as the chipotle. But if you were ever a meat eater and are looking for a familiar taste, definitely check these out. This week’s grocery order including the Italian flavored sausage, which I think will be awesome, and their hot dogs. I’ll let you know!

IMDb: Forever, Darling (1956)

Time Flies

I can’t believe it’s been 43 days since I last blogged. I hate when life gets too busy to allow time for writing, as it is such a great outlet for me — and I love connecting with all of you. You all bring me such great energy! But even when I’m not physically writing, I’m still writing in my head.

The good news is that most of my busyness has been related to vacation time with family. It’s been a non-stop summer, to be sure, and I’m grateful for the opportunities we have had. The day after school ended we were offto New York City to see Billy Joel in concert at Madison Square Garden. He gave an amazing performance! While in NYC we got to see my stepdaughter for a bit, which was wonderful as well.

The following day we drove over to the NYC pier to get on the Norwegian Gem and we took a cruise to northeast: Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Portland, Maine were our ports of call. It was fun, relaxing, and even educational!

This was followed by a short work week, and the 4th of July celebrations, with a trip to western Pennsylvania to see family and friends. Then another short work week and five days in Minnesota–again to visit family.

All of the travel was great and fun…and a bit exhausting! And of course, it means I’m still digging out at work! I can’t really complain as we were blessed with great experiences and memories and time with loved ones, but now I need to get motivated again. This week had me spending two days in Connecticut for work… and I have to actually work five days in a row!  Whew! It’s been a whirlwind few months!

Speaking of busy… I now enter my busy period of medical stuff… Blood work. Chest X-ray. CT scan. Annual checkup with the dermatologist. Annual checkup with my urologist and my gynecologist. Quarterly appointment with my naturalist. And six month checkup with my oncologist. All within a few weeks. I wish they were a bit more spread out but it’s hard enough to coordinate things as it is, without trying to align things throughout the year. I will be sure to report back as I go.

The summer is flying by and before we know it, it will be time for school to start again. I’m still struggling with the fact that Ethan will be a freshman in high school and really wish time would slow down at least a little. They say time goes by faster as you get older… I must be ancient!  🙂

*****

After talking to someone the other day about not really liking kale, I actually found a new recipe that I thought I would try. My neighbor gave me a big bag of home grown kale from their garden and I made The Best Shredded Kale Salad from Oh She Glows. And….It was awesome!! It made about 8 cups and I think I ate 6 cups of it. Ethan and David enjoyed it as well. I will definitely be making this again! The only modification I made was to not include the cranberries. I didn’t miss them, but I think it would be good with them included also. The trick with kale, it seems to me, is to finely chop it, and to let it sit in the dressing a bit to soften up (as I learned with this recipe). Enjoy!

*****

IMDb: Time Flies (1912)

Magic Kitchen

After spending the last five hours in the kitchen, it seems an appropriate post to talk about some of the latest recipes I’ve tried.

Since we have a three day weekend (yea!), I pre-made the Oh She Glows “Maple-Cinnamon Apple & Pear Baked Oatmeal”.  We’ll have that for breakfast tomorrow morning, plus it will give me some leftovers for Ethan’s breakfast for the week.

Today, I also made the Oh She Glows “Our Favorite Veggie Burger”. This took some prep work (grating carrots, chopping onions and cilantro, mashing black beans), but overall wasn’t too time-consuming. I served these on whole grain rolls with grey poupon mustard. You can add cheese, if desired, and all the usual burger toppings.  David and I enjoyed these burgers, but Ethan wasn’t a huge fan. He doesn’t care for “seeds” (sunflower) or onions… He did eat most of it, but the dog enjoyed the remainder. The batch made 8, so we have some for lunch tomorrow. (Won’t Ethan be happy?)

With the burgers, I made a new recipe for “French fries“. With no oil.  The trick is to partially boil the potatoes first, and then bake with some seasonings.  Everyone enjoyed these super healthy “fries”! I might mix up the seasonings a bit next time (a little less paprika, a little more kick).

Last week, I also made three new recipes:

Smoky Lentil Soup was a recipe I found on the blog, Plant Based Christian. This was a yummy soup, and the best part was the simplicity of preparation. Eight ingredients (if you count the water), thrown into my Instant Pot.  Turn on for 15 minutes. It counted get any easier.

Oh She Glows “Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup“. This was a big hit… except for the fact that David doesn’t like sweet potatoes. I didn’t think they were too strong/sweet based on the way they cooked in the recipe, but he noticed.  Ethan is a fan of curry and I loved everything in this recipe: red lentils (my favorite kind), cauliflower, spinach, fresh ginger…).

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Oh She Glows “Tex Mex Casserole“. Everyone loved this one!  No complaints and definitely something to add to the rotation.  This dish has loads of vegetables and it’s the first time I tried out some vegan cheese (Daiya). Melted within the dish, you would never even know. I opted for spinach over kale, as always.

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I also made the vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Torte that we all love. I took this to work once to rave reviews by everyone! As a reminder, I replaced the tofu with coconut milk vanilla yogurt. I think I’ll go have some now…  🙂

*****

IMDb: Magic Kitchen (2004)

The Organizer

Tumor marker results were good — yay!!!  16.64 ~ consistent with where I’ve been since my treatment finished. I am typically between 15 & 17 against a “normal” range of 0-37. Always a relief to hear.

*****

I previously wrote about the Christmas present I got from my stepdaughter — a Gneiss Spice set with magnetic lids for storing on the refrigerator. I loved them so much that I ordered a make-your-own set of 24 jars and I spent the morning cleaning out my spice cabinet and transferring spices to my new set of jars.

I don’t know about you, but I find it’s really easy to lose my spices. They get buried in the cabinet behind all the other spices and it’s a pain to find them. I buy more, thinking I’m out, and then find the old one later. I had 4 cinnamons, 3 paprikas, and doubles of a lot of things. So I filled my Gneiss jars, labeled them, and put all the “extras” in a Tupperware bin for future use. So now, with the exception of the more frequently used items that are next to the stove, all my spices are nicely organized on my fridge. So handy… easy to find them and easy to see what I need more of. No more doubles and triples, and no more struggling to find what I need when I’m cooking. Given the variety of our diet, I never know what I might need on a given night. While these jars were a little pricey, I think it will be well worth it in terms of saved time and frustration! (I even have a few empty ones for new spices!)

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I’m on a roll with organizing since last weekend I purged and organized the kitchen pantry. Still more work to be done, but it feels good to be less cluttered. It drives me crazy when I can’t find what I need.

*****

The latest Oh She Glows recipe is Immunity-boosting Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms, served over pasta. I was about to ask the boys if they liked this recipe, but at that time, they were both reaching for their third helping, so the question seemed unnecessary. Ethan did pick out the chunks of tomatoes, but otherwise, everyone enjoyed this. We all love mushrooms and haven’t found a mushroom recipe yet that we didn’t like.

I look forward to trying a few more of Angela’s recipes in the coming week. It’s a super busy week and I’m looking to try a few of her quicker recipes, like the 15-minute creamy avocado pasta.  That one is contingent on finding avocados that are the right ripeness! Because we all know the window of opportunity is about two minutes long!

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*****

IMDb: The Organizer (1963)

Chocolate City

I’ve never been a huge lover of chocolate. Never craved it. Frequently felt crappy after eating it. Always preferred vanilla ice cream and cake. Could easily pass up a candy bar.

The exception to all that, however, is if the chocolate is paired with mint (Peppermint Patties and Andes Mints, anyone?) or peanut butter (yep, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, it is). I am usually able to keep my consumption to one such treat at a time, and it’s not something that I do every day. I do try to remind myself that too much processed sugar is not good for cancer prevent and that usually keeps me in check when tempted by piles of peppermint patties at work.

Other than holidays, I don’t typically make desserts for home — for all the obvious reasons, like time and calories.  But when I stumbled upon this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Torte, I knew I had to give it a try. I made it on Sunday (with some modifications) and it was gone in no time. I made it again last night to take to work today and came home with two small pieces (which made Ethan happy).

It’s delicious! And moist and chocolatey. And easy. And did I mention delicious? Even the non-believers tried it and loved it, and a number of people asked for the recipe. If you have sweet eaters in your house, you can at least feel better that there isn’t any egg, dairy, sugar or otherwise processed crap in it.

An important thing to remember… make sure your dates are PITTED!  The first time I made it, I thought I bought pitted dates. I threw them in food processor and created a total mess as the machine convulses and dates and water went splattering out of the processor! The second time, I was sure to double check the bag, and then I chopped them up a bit before blending them. Much better!

The recipe called for “ground vanilla” which I had never heard of, so I just used vanilla extract. And I used almond milk as my selection of plant milk.

Since the recipe calls for tofu in the frosting, I needed a substitution there. (I don’t do tofu because I find mixed opinions on soy and breast cancer so I just stay away.) I couldn’t find any sites that recommended a viable substitute for me, so I ended up picking a coconut milk-based yogurt (vanilla flavored) to help give it a lighter, creamier texture. Interestingly, the second time I made it, the frosting came out a little thicker, but I think it was because I used a different peanut butter. It was yummy nonetheless.

Lastly, I didn’t have a flan pan, so I just used a glass baking dish. (I don’t own any silicone pans, so I did spray the pan with Pam, against my better judgement.  It did allow the torte to come out of the pan easily, though.)  It was a smaller size than 9×13, but I can’t measure it because it’s in the dish washer!

When baking it, just follow the clock. I kept thinking that if I stuck a toothpick in it, it would come out clean at some point. But that never seemed to happen.  So after 35 minutes, I just took it out. (Honestly, since there are no eggs or dairy products in it, it’s not like you need to worry that it’s not cooked fully.)

I know it seems like a lot of instructions for one little recipe, but I did modify, and it seemed like some clarifications were necessary.

Chocolate Torte

*****

Oh She Glows… Tonight it was Cream of Tomato Soup with Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons. Let me just say, those chickpea croutons are addictive!!! I could totally make batches of those just to have for snacks. They were crunchy and well seasoned.  You are supposed to sprinkle them in your soup, but we just ate them as is. Enough left over for a work snack tomorrow! Yea! The soup was great — creamy, filling, and yummy. I made a double batch, so I had to do it in batches in the food processor, but it didn’t matter since it all goes back into the same pot anyway. Good stuff!

*****

 IMDb: Chocolate City (2015)