RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Top Ten Most Interesting Things About Having Chronic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Posted on

Note: Acute carbon monoxide poisoning = getting exposed to a high level of CO and passing out or vomiting or whatever quickly, and chronic poisoning indicates a smaller dose of exposure over a prolonged period of time (in our case, six months for sure, and potentially up to eleven more at our old place across the hall).

Also note: this is a very serious issue, and I spend a lot of time on the verge of tears.  I’m not making light of anything that has happened, but rather, trying to use humor and sarcasm as a coping mechanism so I don’t go even crazier than I already am.

1. While acute poisoning is totally “normal,” chronic CO poisoning is considered “controversial,” and you have to fight for treatment.  That makes not one, but TWO controversial illnesses I’ve had in recent years!  Remember: it doesn’t matter what they say.  As long as they’re talking about you, that’s what counts.  I’ve always loved controversy, even if it is only with my insurance provider right now.

2. My musical tastes have been opened up.  While my inner feminist would never have been able to look past Eminem’s grossly offensive lyrics, said inner feminist is in a bit of an intellectual coma these days, and poisoned me has been spending months having a passionate musical relationship with Eminem.  I love his voice, his intonations, his lack of caring what others think of him, and his catchy beats.

3. I’m a fucking survivor, yet again.  Now, at the tender age of 34, I have survived everything from devirginizing teenage date rape to a disease many people never recover from to six months of freaking chemical POISONING.  And those are just the things I’m willing to share publicly!

4. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers.  If you thought of Michael Jackson when I said those words, you thought correctly.  They are the treatment for CO poisoning (both acute and chronic), and starting Monday, I get to spend 1.5 hours a day, five days a week, for 30-50 sessions being cool like him.  Besides him being dead, the King of Pop, and likely a child molester, Michael Jackson and I are pretty much the same.  How cool is that?

5. I do not ever say, “Damn you auto-correct!” like everyone else does.  As someone who only remembers her name these days because she has to pronounce it so often for people who can’t comprehend ARE-ee-en, my spelling has gone way downhill in recent months, and if it weren’t for auto-correct, I probably just wouldn’t be able to text or write at all.  Then where would I be?  Stuck actually TALKING to people?  Right.  Because I’m super talented at THAT, lately, too.

6. As soon as I don’t have a headache anymore, I am going to be SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO excited to not have a headache anymore.  I’ve had a nonstop headache for four, maybe five months now.  Are YOU excited to not have a headache?  I didn’t think so.  You just take it for granted.  You probably couldn’t even care less that you don’t have a headache.  But I, I am going to be REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY thrilled whenever the big giant who has been squeezing my head all year loosens his grip.  And there is little more that one can ask for than to have things to be thrilled about.

7. After the Lyme, I was a very grateful person.  I felt full of love and cherished every step I took without pain,  every clear thought I had, every time I put on a small-size pair of pants and they fit.  Now I will be infinitely more filled with gratitude when I get all that back… again.

8. I am learning how to cope with decisions you can’t reverse.  Ever since we found out what happened in here, the issue of Bill dying has been more traumatic than ever.  While I don’t tend to say it, the wish that we hadn’t moved across the hall into what seemed like a dream of a three bedroom apartment has been eating away at me.  Ace mentions it regularly, and I tell her to not feel guilty, we didn’t know, we can’t change anything.  Inside, though, I feel that same guilt, as well as the guilt of saying, “I’m sure everything is fine,” every time Ace said that something smelled funny in here.  I can’t go back.  I can’t say, “You know what, I can’t really smell it like you can, but we need to figure out how to get this fixed RIGHT NOW before anyone dies.” That is so hard to live with.  And I have no choice but to figure out how to live with it, and to forgive myself because the best we can do in life is the best we can do.  We were already months into being poisoned, my decision making skills had plummeted, and I never fathomed that we could be getting gassed on the daily in our own home.

9. My suddenly poor math skills are understandable now, so it shouldn’t be a big deal when I say that in my head, I totally had ten good reasons thought out.  But I’m all out of them.

10. See number nine.  This was the best I could do.  I hope I figure out how to stop wishing we never moved here, I hope Ace recovers fully, I hope my headache stops and my joint pain lessens and I stop getting my period every six weeks with PMS for three of those weeks and every other symptom I can’t remember without referencing the paper I wrote them all on goes away too, and I hope that if anyone else is ever in this situation, they speak up, as loudly as they can, as soon as they can, and they DEMAND that no stone be left unturned until their home is returned to the 100% clean habitable environment that EVERYONE deserves.

I guess I failed at staying humorous, and got a little political there.  Maybe my inner feminist will make it out of her coma eventually after all.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Revisited: Fresh/Healthy Gluten-Free Vegan Fruit-and-Nut bars

Posted on

A couple of Thanksgivings ago I got hooked on my own adaptation of this recipe from Elana’s Pantry for cranberry bars.  I used  a crust that had coconut flour in addition to the nuts she uses, and saved some to sprinkle on top, which was an idea I got many years ago from America’s Test Kitchen, when they did an oatmeal-based recipe for peanut butter and jelly bars.  I love using one mixture for two different textures and purposes in a dish.  This past week my mom sent me a few new recipes from Elana’s site, including this one for Raspberry Streusel.  While I liked the idea of her recipe, it made me long for those old peanut butter and jelly bars, so I jumped ship from her basic recommendations and came up with a new version of that old favorite of mine.

Generally when baking for myself, I use either all stevia or a combo of raw buckwheat honey and stevia, but I wanted to make something that Ace would enjoy too, and she is a firm believer in desserts involving actual sugar.  Since I was already making this vegan and gluten-free, I decided to use coconut sugar as the sweetener, which is a good compromise because it has no bitter flavor like stevia, but is still moderately low-glycemic.  You could easily sub out the sugar for stevia, xylitol, or erythritol, but since these still have fruit in them they wouldn’t be completely sugar-free.

Strawberry-Cherry Almond Butter Streusel Bars:

Filling: (any other fruits could be substituted in same proportions)
16 oz strawberries, cut into halves or quartered depending on size
1/2 cup dried (unsweetened) tart cherries
3 dates, soaked for 10 minutes in hot water, then chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup date soak water
1/4 cup coconut sugar
Cook stovetop on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until strawberries are limp, cherries are plump, and dates have mostly dissipated.

Top Crumble and Bottom Crust:
1 cup nuts- I used 3/4 cup pecans and 1/4 cup walnuts
Pulse in food processor until finely ground
Add:
1 cup almond flour or meal
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (Earth Balance or butter could be used if that flavor is preferred)
2 tbls coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pulse until a crumble forms, then place 2/3 of mix into a greased 9×7 or 8×8 baking dish.
Press crumble down firmly with hands until a uniform layer is formed.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Assembly:
Once crust has cooled slightly, gently spread 1/3 cup almond butter onto it. (You could, of course, use peanut butter instead- almond is just a healthier option.)
Add fruit filling to pan and spread to edges.
Drop remaining crumble on top, scattering about into randomly sized bits and pieces.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then allow to cool before cutting.

These are the bars right out of the oven:

And this is how the layers look once cut:

If strawberries aren’t in season and you want to use apples, below is a similar cobbler/crumble/streusel I made with those, on its way into the oven.  Lining them up makes for a very pretty presentation.

A Short-List-of-Ingredients Recipe: Yes, It’s Possible For Me!

Posted on

I tend to get complaints that I put a whole lot of different ingredients into the foods I make. The main reason I don’t consider this a problem, or much work, is of course bc I am the one who already has all these ingredients in my kitchen, on hand. Also, my way of cooking is to rapidly throw stuff together and hope it magically works (usually it does), and some people need more structure and time than that. For those people, I imagine my recipes look like a lot of effort, regardless of how many times I advise, “Just throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl! It’ll be great!”

This week my VitaMix broke, and as I await replacement parts in the mail, life is weird, bc it’s something I use more days than not. My mom sent me a blender that goes with the mixer I have, and it arrived yesterday. Excited to make a smoothie this morning, I tried to fit the blender onto the base only to discover that they are not a match. This blender top may go with SOME mixer out there, but it isn’t mine.  I was already geared up for a smoothie and am out of sprouted buckwheat, my other go-to breakfast (a new batch is in the dehydrator right now). I glanced from the freezer to my mini-Cuisinart, and decided to have some quick morning fun. The end result- and by END, I mean about 60 seconds later!- was delectable.

Easy Breakfast Porridge That Takes Longer to Detail Than It Does to Make:
2/3 cup frozen berries, blended on high for 30 seconds in mini food processor
1 scoop protein powder
2 tbls hemp seeds
3 tbls milk of your choice
1 tbls almond butter
dash of stevia if desired
Stir all ingredients together and enjoy! Crunchy, sweet, filling, and gorgeous.

Note: you can buy berries in season, toss them on a baking sheet, and freeze them individually.  They last very well that way.  When buying berries, ALWAYS choose organic!  They have more pesticides per acre than any other food.

Goodbye, Grandma

Posted on

While Spring is generally considered to be a time of rebirth, unfortunately around here there has been a lot of loss thus far.  Last month we lost our beloved cat Bill, and just a few short weeks later my Grandma died.  She was my last living grandparent, and lived a very full 96 years.  I’ve no doubt that her healthy lifestyle kept her well for so long; she was a fan of morning smoothies, and did fruit fasts one day a week for many years.  Her husband, my grandfather, cured his cancer in the 1980s at the Gerson Institute, and they were followers of Gerson techniques for health (which I am as well).  One memory that was shared at my Grandma’s memorial was that her father had delivered produce for a living.  Through the depression, when people regularly struggled to for their next meals, my Grandma’s family always had fresh vegetables.

After finding out about her death, Ace and I flew up to say goodbye with my family.  My father let us choose belongings to help remember her, and in addition to a few pieces of jewelry I found some wonderful photos, as well as a telegram.  It was the first telegram I had ever seen in person!   My great aunt sent it after my Grandma gave birth to my aunt, in 1948.  Such a treasure.

We will be driving this weekend to attend her burial in Tucson, AZ, where she’ll be laid to rest next to my Grandpa.  While in Tucson, we’ll be able to visit my maternal grandparents graves as well.

This was the obituary than ran in the local newspaper recently:

Sue Resnick

Sign the Guestbook

Sue Resnick passed away on Monday, April 9, 2012, in Ashland, Ore. She was 96 and had a full life knowing love from the day she was born. Sue spent over 65 years as a resident of Tucson, Ariz., and will be laid to rest there next to her husband, Hyman.

Sue’s passion was caring for others, and she was a hospital volunteer in her 80s, and spent the last 15 years crocheting over 600 blankets which she donated to local hospitals and orphanages. This was recognized with an award from Bens Bells, which she proudly wore daily.

She is survived by two sons, David and Allan; a daughter, Sharine; five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; three sisters, Rachel, Mary and Gloria; and one brother, Saul.

 A family remembrance was held in Ashland, and will be repeated for her family and friends in Tucson.”

Goodbye, Grandma.  You are an inspiration, and I am very sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye before you left.  I wish I had expressed more how much I appreciate and admire your warmth, your progressive nature, your positive outlook, and your stamina. I love you.

A Love of Laundry: My Cat, the Domestic

Posted on

I haven’t blogged this week because I was out of town for a couple days when my Grandma died.  I will be doing a blog in remembrance of her as soon as I scan in some photos, but wanted to share something cute in the interim.

My kitten Chessie enjoys little more than snuggling into a good load of freshly washed laundry.  As soon as I dump the bag out onto the couch, she runs and jumps right in and becomes a purr factory.  It makes for the perfect excuse to leave the laundry there without folding it for a few hours, which is a win-win for me: photogenic cat poses adorably, and I get to procrastinate my least-favorite chore.

Surely there will be more laundry-loving pictures of Chessie in the future, but this is my compilation so far:

Wood and Vine and Dead Roaches

Posted on

I bothered returning to yelp to share this one, as it was the kind of experience I would want to know about before I embarked on a journey to Wood and Vine in Hollywood.

We went to Wood and Vine, which we had dined at before, last night because Ace liked their chicken and waffles.  She was full from other shared plates by the time it arrived, so she asked for it to be boxed and took it home.  We put the box, in its carrier bag, into the fridge for the night.

This morning Ace went to eat her breakfast of chicken and waffles, only to find that it was chicken, waffles AND DEAD ROACH.  Horrified, we sent them the photo on fb and twitter and requested they contact us- I know they’re open today serving brunch.

Having not yet received a reply, I called a short while ago and asked to speak to a manager.  I explained the situation, and the manager accused me of putting the roach in the food myself.  He said there was no way it came from there.  I was clear that it was in with the food when we opened the package, which had been untouched since leaving their restaurant.  It wasn’t alive, or even a whole creature, just the bulk of a body, so there is no way it crawled in from somewhere.  He continued to deny it and accuse me of placing a bug in the food.  I requested a refund, and he promptly HUNG UP ON ME.

The lack of service towards customers that I just experienced is deplorable.  Sure, maybe you don’t want to believe your restaurant has bugs like it clearly does, but shouldn’t you have the decency to treat a customer respectfully?  Who the hell HANGS UP ON CUSTOMERS who are asking to be refunded for a cockroach in their food?  I promptly called the bank and disputed the charge, and I imagine the health department will be interested in this issue as well.

 

UPDATE:

After reading our yelp reviews today, the owner both had the manager call and refund us, and emailed me himself.  He said he was mortified by the situation, and would do everything possible to make sure it never happened again.

More Cookie Dough Balls! High-Fiber Raw Vegan Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Soy-Free Oatmeal Spice Bites

Posted on

Now that we’ve abolished nearly all food categories with the title alone, allow me to introduce you to these:

Recently I made chocolate chip (aka cacao nib) cookie dough bites based loosely upon this recipe, and they were damn good.  The batch of 15 1 inch balls lasted me about a week, and made me curious to try morphing other kinds of cookies into this format.

When I began my recent candida cleanse, I read that oat bran was a sound breakfast choice for an anti-candida diet, so I bought some in bulk and cooked it up expecting it to taste like oatmeal or oat groats.  Alas, it was awful- gluey, pastey, and hard to choke down no matter how much liquid I added.  The flavor itself was fine, and perfectly oaty, but the texture was something I could not abide by a second time, and it has sat in the cabinet since.  I looked up whether it’s ok to eat oat bran raw (it is), and decided to use it in a cookie dough bite recipe.

Because there is a solid amount of oat bran in these guys, I made them into itsy bitsy bites, and I’m glad I did.  They are quite filling (oat bran is mad high in fiber) and I also upped the fiber ante with chia seeds (I wanted a speckled raisin look without adding raisins).  They can be eaten as a dessert, but are filling and protein/fiber-filled enough to be a healthful breakfast or snack.  This recipe also differs from the other in that the amounts of both almond butter and almond meal are less, and coconut milk is slightly higher.  Spice amounts are suggestions, and should be adjusted to personal taste.

Itsy Bitsy  High-Fiber Raw Vegan Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Soy-Free Oatmeal Spice Cookie Dough Ball Bites:
Melt on low heat until smooth:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 tbls almond butter
1 tbls coconut nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 dropper each toffee and hazelnut stevia

Add:
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup oat bran
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 1/2 tbls coconut flour
1 tbls chia seeds
1 tbls cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/16 tsp cloves

Mix until a sticky dough forms, then refrigerate for one hour, or until completely firm. This dough is very easy to work with once firm, but far too sticky to cope with some semi-soft. You could make these into 1 inch balls and the yield would be about 20, but I made them about 1/2 an inch and yielded approximately three dozen.  Sprinkle with additional cinnamon, and toss gently to coat.

%d bloggers like this: