Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Still Dreaming After All These Years

I had a kitten that looked like Skippyjon Jones…scruffy white chihuahua-like. He even wagged his tail like a dog. We crossed paths near a clinic where I was being treated and became traveling buddies. Before I met Skippycat, a nurse (?) at the clinic pulled me aside and secretly asked me to take something to a contact at another facility. A nursing home maybe? Nearby? I think I was in Garrett, Illinois. Such a small peanut of a town, but I didn’t know my way around. She behaved as if it was some huge secret…very important for me to be discreet. When she came back with the package I was to deliver, I was surprised by the contents. I expected there to be drugs in it. In a small zip-loc bag were about half a dozen long metal clips…like you might see hanging on a lanyard or name tag. I was puzzled by the mission…and confused about exactly who and where I was to take them.

I hopped on an old thick-framed bicycle…very much like the one my grandpa used to have. It was kind of top-heavy and awkward to ride. I saw the kitten and picked him up. He seemed to like me so I took him with me. Skippycat sat in front on the top bar of the frame with his paws on my handlebars. I rode in the snow-covered, unpaved roads heading east..still unsure where I was going. Up ahead, there was a line of men walking into work, something had them backed up. All the snow maybe. I spotted an old neighbor, childhood school mate of mine. Wanted to say hi to Doug because he’s always glad to see me. Wanted to tell him I was up visiting from Florida. I was unable to find him again after I got closer, so I continued on my mystery mission.

I ended up riding into someone’s home. They were nice to me…wasn’t really odd at all that I was there with my kitty on my bike. I walked around the house, still trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing and where I was going. Skippy found a bowl of water to lap at. That’s where I noticed he could wag his tail like a dog. My littles showed up there eventually…or my kitten morphed into them. I’m not sure.


Best Ever Single Crust Peach Pie – and It’s Gluten Free!

On the drive home from Orlando last month I stopped at a Georgia fruit stand to buy peaches. I love good peaches and these were superb! Perfectly juicy and sweet with a strong peachy scent.

I purchased plenty so I could make my favorite fruit pie–a must-share recipe. If you like peach pie, I strongly encourage you to try this one. Very tasty and very simple.

I found “Mom’s Best Peach Pie” in a Taste of Home magazine several many years ago (June/July 1994). You can view it online HERE. I’ve used this recipe numerous times since I first discovered it. I’ll likely use it many more times in the future.

Whenever I make pie, I prefer to use my favorite “Never Fail Pie Crust” from Marcia Adam’s Heartland cookbook. It’s a cinch to mix up, easy to work with and it tastes great too. This time I substituted my gluten-free all-purpose flour into the recipe. Simple enough. Mostly.

Marcia’s recipe makes 4 crusts. Since I only needed one for this pie and I didn’t know for sure how it would turn out with my gluten-free adjustments, I halved it. I reserved the second crust to use in another pie that I’ll tell you about in a later post.

If you opt to go with the gluten-free route don’t try to roll the dough. Instead, you’ll need to place your dough ball into the dish and press it out evenly over the bottom, up the sides, then flute a nice edge along the top of your pan. I pre-baked mine in a 375°F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.

A gluten-free crust will be more crumbly like a cookie but it will serve its purpose well…and it will taste YUM! Anyone with gluten restrictions will truly appreciate this. There aren’t a lot of extra odd ingredients to purchase so it’s a relatively simple way to enjoy delicious fruit pie!

Never Fail Pie Crust ~Heartland (with adjustments)

2.5 cups GF all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
7/8 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 egg
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup cold water

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the shortening and beat until the mixture is crumbly, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, beat the egg well and add the vinegar and water. Pour over the flour-shortening mixture and beat until well-combined, about 1 minute. Form the dough into 2 balls, wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Mom’s Best Peach Pie ~Taste of Home (with adjustments)

1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 baked pastry shell (9 inches)
3/4 cup GF all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
6 cups sliced peeled fresh peaches

In a small bowl, combine flour and sugars; cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle two-thirds into pastry; top with peaches. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.

Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until filling is bubbly and peaches are tender. Yield: 6-8 servings.

A New Me – Gluten Free?

I’m very lucky to have received from my parents, a healthy body with a good metabolism. I’ve never had any serious health issues and never any problem losing weight. In fact, I used to have a very hard time putting on pounds…even when I was pregnant.

Well…the weight “problem” ended in my late 30’s and I no longer have trouble gaining a pound or two…or five…or ten. Still, my weight is easy enough to control as long as I eat well and remain active.

But lately, I’ve developed digestive issues. Specifically, acid reflux and fire belly…and it’s yucky like it sounds.

Whenever health issues trouble me or a member of my family, I become a mad woman googling symptoms and searching websites. This time was no different.

I discovered that acid reflux is not a small problem. If left untreated, it can most certainly lead to esophogal cancer, which is 2nd only to pancreatic cancer in claiming its victims’ lives.

Cancer scares the shit out of me. I’ve seen it close up and watched it take people I love in an ugly and humbling battle. I don’t want this for myself, and I most certainly don’t want my children to lose their mother that way.

So off to the doctor I ran. In a short interview and an even shorter exam, I was prescribed Prilosec…a proton-pump inhibitor. This worked great…truly a wonder drug. I took it religously each morning like an old lady…hating the fact, that I need a drug now, daily for the rest of my life.

But just this past Christmas it stopped working…so I quit taking it. With high hopes, I decided to try and address the problem by way of a new diet. My problems all started when I removed milk from my diet and replaced it with soy. I was told that cutting milk would not be the cause of my problem…but I couldn’t let loose of the fact…the timing. Was it really just a coincidence?

So when the Prilosec failed me, my thoughts went back to the milk/soy swap. If the absense of milk was not the problem…maybe the presence of soy was. Maybe my problem stems from a food allergy so I cut it. I hoped that I could stay off pills and control the acid instead with a lifestyle change.

Then my daughter mentioned that some people with soy allergies also have gluten problems. Interesting connection. So I decided to try cutting gluten from my diet. Not an easy thing to do though. It’s in practically everything…especially foods that I love. Like noodles and cookies. It’s even in canned soups and vitamins and candy.

Difficult to avoid, but not at all impossible. I found that knowing where gluten lies is the hard part. Living without it is easy. I just hope the change is my answer.

Keep Moving Forward – At My Own Pace

Still holed up here…hibernating. I’m hoping for more snow tomorrow, but starting to get busy for spring! Organizing, cleaning, taking charge! Grabbing life by the balls, while I still can.

I’ve been thinking about my resolutions for the new year. I’m on track with better eating and increased activity. I think I want to run again. Oops. I typed it outloud. I’m going to have to do it now.

I’m not going to run in the cold…or at least I won’t start out that way. I brought in the mini-tramp from the garage. I’m going to run in place on it, in increasing time increments. Easy enough, right?

Resolution One: I would like to run a race again this year…preferably with family and/or friends…at Walt Disney World!

I guess that encompasses the whole eating right plus exercise bit. I HAVE to do that too.

My second resolution has to do with my blogging. I don’t want to stop. I have to remember why I do it. I like writing. I like photography. I like to share and interact with others.

Resolution Two: I will continue to build my blog this year…to set goals for my sites, seek information about blogging, to exercise what I learn and pursue my visions. Whether or not anyone else reads my blog, I want to love it.

There are more goals to set…but I am resolving at this moment to step away from the computer and get my dirty dishes washed.

To my subscribers…I apologize for my cry-baby, end-of-year rant. It was one of my moments of self-loathing. I have them every now and then…somehow it recharged me. Dose of humility that drives, I guess.

Happy Old Year!

The end of another year is near now. It’s time to check back on last year’s resolutions…to compare where I am now, with my expectations then. I haven’t looked yet. So I have no idea if I should be happy with myself or disappointed.

Let’s see.

Resolution One “Along with the normal, improve my eating habits and start an exercise program, I am proclaiming that I intend to become a regular blogger and find ways to improve it to the point of where I’m secure enough to share.”

Wow! I do blog regularly now…which is what I meant by regular blogger…and I have improved to the point where I like sharing what I write. The normal “improve my eating habits and start an exercise program” …eh..not so much.

Resolution Two “I resolve to take a photo each day.”

For the most part I’ve done this too. I do miss days…and quite a few lately. But more importantly to me…I learned how to use the manual controls on my point and shoot camera…and I purchased myself a new Canon dSLR this year. Problem is…now I want more lenses.

I also mentioned that I fantasized about actually getting out of my van to take photos…strolling through the woods or canoeing down the river with camera. I still need to work on this. I need to make more time for my camera and myself.

Resolution Three “I WILL return to healthy eating and exercise!”

I have botched this terribly. I eat too many sweets and over-processed foods, not enough fresh fruits and vegetables or water…I eat too much in general and I eat too late. Exercise does not exist in my day-to-day life.

I guess I’m not a total failure but I’ve really got to get on the stick with my eating and exercise habits. Time now, to think seriously about changes and goals for 2011.

How about you? What are your resolutions for the new year?

All Right Now…for Now

The result of the biopsy is in! The cells were reactive. I was still cloudy of the outcome when he told me this. Do all doctors talk this way? I gathered from his tone that this is good news. I found out later at home on the Internet…reactive = benign. But he’s not going to let me jump for joy over this. The cells were reactive, no indication of lymphoma at this time…but there’s a chance that the sampling was too small…and that a full biopsy and possible removal of the gland may be in our future. What a pessimist. We go back in six months.

The result is reactive because my baby girl is fine. I can put the fear of lymphoma out of my head. I have bumpy kids that’s all. I’ll continue to keep an eye on their nodes…to watch for any sudden growth or changes. But we’ve passed this now. And now is all we’ve got. The present is a gift…oh, happy day!

A Little Girl Goes to Surgery – Photo Diary

A New Gown

A New Gown

Wondering why she needs to change her clothes…

A Perfect Fit

A Perfect Fit

Trying out the elevated bed…

Still Wondering

Still Wondering

Little girl in a big place…

Terror Sets In

Terror Sets In

Afraid of what happens next…

Empty Room

Empty Room

Waiting for her return…

Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

Hoping to see her on her way back to us…

Still Waiting

Still Waiting

Watching for her for more than an hour…

Back at Last!

Back at Last!

Now let me take her home…

Mad Girl

Mad Girl

Narcotic does wonders for her…

Moving On

Moving On

Heading home to recuperate…