Take Two

disability and health

It’s always a good plan to start a project, do two things for it, and then disappear for two months – right? Best laid plans… This blog was supposed to be a connection to the outside world and to put my feelings somewhere other than my physical pain or bed-rest guilt. As you can probably surmise, I haven’t been writing like I wanted to, and the following is the reason why.

The past two months have been harder than I was expecting. My health has been up and down and up and then down. The beginning of 2018 saw my health better than it had been since I was a little kid. I still was disabled but I was able to actually participate in life outside of my bedroom. It had been such an amazing time being able to go out more, to actually see friends, to be able to do things with my husband that didn’t involve him bringing me dinner and sitting in bed. I was even able to spend half a day at the zoo and I walked the whole time! My heart swelled with the hope and joy of being able to live a life that had some semblance of normalcy. Well, at least, normalcy for me.

Then in July, two major things happened that set me back to the starting line. First, my medical team started tinkering with my medication and treatments so that I could do some specific testing. Plus, pain and medical issues can be cyclical and I think the medication change coincided with a downswing. I know the testing is so important and needed. I know I am beyond lucky to live in Los Angeles and have the ability to have the amazing medical team that I have. I know having a husband who supports me like I do is rare. It’s self indulgent to feel like I do – but I’m frustrated.

I have spent the past two months in bed – having to decline invitations and cancel on friends and plans. Having to tell my husband that I can’t go out this weekend because my pain level is too high or my blood pressure is so low I can’t walk. Or that I literally have too much blood in my body and I can’t put any pressure on my feet. Having to be in the ER so often that the nurses know who I am.

To add insult to injury, I was denied Disability payments. Receiving that letter put me in a dark and sad place. I’m sure all of that frustration and sadness didn’t help my pain levels. It was such a shock to read that they “recognize I have conditions that impede on daily life. However, we believe you can work part time.” But the biggest reason I was denied was they somehow lost half of my records. Those records just happen to the be the ones that outline a condition that is automatically a ticket to disability. I am able to appeal the decision with all the correct records. I know I will get to the point of Social Security accepting my application.

I know I am going to be okay.
I know I am going to be okay.
I know I am going to be okay.

I keep repeating that I’m going to be okay. I keep hearing that from my doctors. I keep hearing that from my support system. I keep hearing that from my own brain.

And I will be okay. I know that. It’s just been a hard summer. My testing this week will allow me to be able to go back on my old medications and hopefully get my body balanced and semi-functional again. This fall and winter should be a fantastic and fun season. I miss my friends. I miss going out with my husband. I miss having a life.

But I’m going to be okay. And for everyone else who reads this and is having to navigate their lives with this weight on their back, you are going to be okay, too. I am always here to lend a shoulder to those in pain or who need one to cry on. The biggest and most important lesson I have learned over these years of navigating illness and pain is how many people suffer silently and alone. I hope this blog is something that helps people feel that they aren’t alone.

Thank you to all my friends and family who have been that for me.

 

Cauliflower Chowder: Seriously The Best Soup Ever

diet, Food, keto, recipe, Uncategorized
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Soup by Anaiah. Table by Ikea circa 1997.

Lately my husband has been trying out the ketogenic diet – or keto, for those in the know. In case you are not sure what this meal plan is, the most basic explanation is that it is a healthy-fat based, low-carb meal plan. While I have never have met a potato I did not love, I can do without them when I make this for dinner. Nutty cauliflower, salty bacon, and sweet red bell pepper are combined with the subtle herbaceousness of dill and the delectable level of satiating fat this meal plan requires to create a truly memorable dish.

As with all my recipes and lists, I wrote this out old school. Yes, I actually put pen to paper. In one of my many spiral bound notebooks. Not to get all tangentey but – over the years, my near compulsive desire to note take and physically write down everything has garnered snickers and gentle ribbing from loved ones. Apparently, physically writing things down is as relevant as a VCR. I take it one step further and not only hand-write lists and recipes, I edit them with my trusty red LePen fine-tipped felt pen.IMG_7713 Planning the optimal keto meal that contains predominantly fat, with minimal proteins, and even less carbs, can make getting your vegetables in challenging. Luckily, one of the few vegetables my husband can eat, nay, is encouraged to eat, is cauliflower. High in nutrients and fiber and low in carbs and calories, cauliflower is every ketogenic follower’s dream vegetable. It’s dynamic flavor profile and seemingly endless ability to take on different textures with minimal effort make it every home-cook’s secret weapon.

I took a vegetarian recipe I had and made it as deliciously fatty and keto-friendly as I could. This bowl of tasty and filling soup is crazy full of animal fat. If you are eschewing animal products, you can successfully switch out the animal products and revert this back to a vegetarian soup. Another option for the non-keto readers out there is adding a bit of flour to further thicken this baby up. But quite honestly, this recipe works regardless whether you are doing keto or low-carb meal plans. For lack of a better word, it is just simply yummy (and even more so with a crusty baguette and a glass of wine. Shhh, don’t tell my husband I’m eating buttered, crusty baguette without him.).

I’m a firm believer in having fun while you cook and being comfortable with what you are cooking. Take this recipe and hopefully it sparks your imagination to the point you can make it your own. Or, do it as-is and know you will have a knock-you-on-the-floor delicious bowl of soup.And lastly, this soup stays in the fridge for multiple days and freezes well for one to two months.

CAULIFLOWER CHOWDER WITH BELL PEPPER AND DILL

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons MCT oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, de-seeded and diced + 2 slices per bowl for garnish
  • 1 whole head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • Salt to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 beef or chicken bouillon cubes
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Crumbled bacon, to garnish
  • Bacon fat for garnish for cooking + garnishing
  • ¼ cup pepitas, for garnish
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill
  • Smoked paprika, for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a Dutch oven or large stock pot, cook bacon (at least 4 slices but up to the whole package), to render the fat out. Cook bacon until cooked through and crispy. Set bacon aside on a paper towel to cool.
  2. In the same dutch oven, heat butter, MCT, and bacon fat until shimmering but not smoking. To increase the smoke point, you can add a stabilized fat such as olive oil or vegetable oil. Add onions and bell pepper, cooking until the onions are translucent and the peppers soft.
  3. Add garlic, stir and cook for one minute, taking care it does not burn.
  4. Add the cauliflower and stir in hot butter for 3 minutes to slightly cook and caramelize the florets.
  5. Add chicken stock, wine, pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and bullion cubes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Bring broth to a boil for one minute, then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan every so often.
  8. Once the cauliflower is fully cooked, blend the soup with an immersion blender until creamy or to your preference. You can also blend this in a blender. (Always carefully blend hot items in small batches to ensure it doesn’t splatter and injure you.). I prefer to blend this soup until it is completely smooth.
  9. Add the heavy cream and cream cheese. Simmer for five to ten minutes, until the cream cheese is melted and the heavy cream is full incorporated.
  10. Stir in parmesan cheese.
  11. Serve in a bowl garnished with fresh dill, paprika, pumpkin seeds, red bell pepper slices, and a drizzle of bacon grease.

Enjoy!

Pills and rhinestones

Uncategorized

My hair, the husband, and the kitten.

The other night, I went to take my bedtime medication and my daily pill container had a few rhinestones in it. Pills & Rhinestones – my life in two words. Pills and rhinestones, rhinestones and pills, One cures my blues, and the other my ills. I love that I find rhinestones and glitter all over my apartment. It makes me feel like I’m living a life that is more exciting than it actually is.

For those of you who do not know me, I am a housewife extraordinaire and a cat lady to to the max to two adorable fur-bubbies. I’ve spent a good part of my life sitting in doctor’s offices and take more medication than some would say is good for me. I adore cooking and feeding my friends and loved ones. I’m a lover of all things creative – music, art, books, theater, photography, comedy. I’m a native of Los Angeles, which always surprises my Lyft drivers. Apparently I’m the only one. I married a hilarious comedian and writer from Canada. I feel safe knowing if stuff gets too real here on the south side of the border, I can always migrate to the great white North.

Seeing as it’s 2018, I’m pretty late to the blog game. People still read these, right? Hopefully, this isn’t the first and last post of mine you will read. I hope you give me a chance to make you laugh and entertain you in the future. I have a pretty interesting and crazy past and a delightfully domestic and comedic present. I want to be able to share some life lessons I have learned, hilarious and sad stories of what I’ve lived, the odd recipe now and then, support to other people dealing with chronic illness and pain, and, as all pet parents will subject you to, pictures of my 13 year old cat, Foxy, and my 7 month old kitten, Henry. It will be a delightful messy mix that I hope you will enjoy and maybe share with your friends.

For now, I should probably leave you with this and maybe a few pictures of these kitties I keep talking about.

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Foxy claiming me as her person.

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Henry being metal.

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Henry helping me vote in the mid-term elections.