Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our house to yours...Happy Thanksgiving!!!  Please remember to slow down and enjoy the holiday!  For those who are traveling, safe journeys!

We will be traveling across the street to our friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner.   :)   My contribution to the meal is a cheese dip and crackers (both regular and gluten-free), a pumpkin pie, an apple pie, and a gluten-free, baked pumpkin custard.

Have a great holiday!  Blessings to all...


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Wish Came True...

Quote for the Day:
"Good things come to those who wait"
~English Proverb

I'm going to be completely honest here.  There is something that I have wanted, wished for, coveted, dreamed of, searched for...and however else you want to phrase it...for a LONG time.  Well...for several years, anyway.  I've even looked on the secondary market, ie, estate sales, auctions, thrift stores, etc., trying to find one at a "reasonable" price that I was willing to pay.

Finally, last week I saw it on sale, with an additional discount, and a rebate, too.  Plus, if I purchased it through and used my Upromise Mastercard, I received an extra 10% off the price.  

In the words of George Takei...

How could I pass up an AWESOME deal like that???  I told Andy about it and he said, "buy it"!

So I did!  I ordered it last Friday and it arrived yesterday...

What ever could it be????  Here's a peek inside the box...

That's right, Baby!!!  A KitchenAid stand mixer!!!

Yes, it is the "baby" of the KitchenAid mixer family...the lowest model...and it's white...(I've always dreamed of having one in RED, but I wasn't willing to pay another $150 just to have the red one)...but it is MINE!  All MINE!  :)  And I couldn't be more thrilled to now own it!!!

It is VERY HEAVY, so we had to find a place for it where it could stay and be used without having to pick it up and move it.  So I cleared off part of the portable dishwasher and here it is in it's new "home"...

Well, technically it's only a temporary home till Andy finishes renovating the kitchen, at which time it will be moved over to the other counter that will be set up as the cooking/baking station.  But, since the renovations have been "in process" for 2.5 years, I'm not holding my breath on this!  

In the meantime, it works just fine sitting on the dishwasher.  I know this because  I used it today to make pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow!  :)


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gluten-Free Update...

Well...some good news for once!  LOL  

After 3.5 weeks after eliminating gluten from my diet, I am happy to report that I am down 8.2 pounds, lowered my BMI by 1.6 points, and am feeling GREAT!   No more afternoon "brain fog"!

I'm happy with the results and plan to keep plugging along.  

The food has been wonderful...last night was home made chili with GF home made cornbread!  OMG, was it ever good!  Even Andy exclaimed how good the cornbread was...and he's not that much into cornbread!  (I was raised by "southern" parents who ate cornbread with beans...and Andy was raised by "yankee" parents who ate yeast rolls with beans, so I've worked hard over the last 31 years to bring him over to the "cornbread" side of things!  He still prefers yeast rolls, but he did say the cornbread last night was very good and tasted just like "normal" cornbread.  LOL)  I did have to learn a new way of making chili because my previous, fail-safe recipe used a can of tomato soup...which, unfortunately, contains wheat flour.  But this chili did turn out quite DELISH, I'm happy to say!  :)

I used this recipe for the chili, but used canned red beans and canned great northern beans instead of the dried beans, and also used ground venison instead of ground beef.  For the cornbread, I used a basic recipe found in one of my cookbooks, but used GF corn meal and GF All-Purpose Flour instead.  These are easy to find in grocery stores that have a "health foods" section.  Bob's Red Mill is bringing gluten-free and organic items to mainstream grocery stores, so I look for their packages.

I made a batch of Baked Oatmeal last Sunday and have been having that with a cuppa coffee in the mornings for my breakfast.  I keep the baked oatmeal in the fridge and heat up a small serving in the microwave each morning for breakfast.  It is WONDERFUL and VERY filling!  You don't need much!  LOL  

When I first started this journey, I purchased this cookbook...

Because all the recipes are for the crockpot AND are gluten free, it has been a GODSEND for a person like me who doesn't like to cook!  

Yes, the recipes in the book are from her website, but I have noticed that there have been upgraded changes to the recipes in the book and I also like having the BOOK in the kitchen when I'm cooking.  It's handier to flip through and plan meals, than to keep clicking through web pages and then printing out the recipes you want.

So that's it for the most recent update!  I'm happy and well-fed!  :)   Life just doesn't get much better than that!  :)

Now, I've got to take the car into the shop to see why the less-than-a-year-old remote start isn't working.  :(


Friday, November 22, 2013

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day...

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and today, November 22, is "Purple With a Purpose" day.  I am wearing my purple ribbon today for my mom who died of pancreatic cancer in 1987 at the age of 68.

This information about pancreatic cancer is from the site:
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal tumor types because it's too often diagnosed in a later, advanced stage. But a new study suggests that a simple blood test might help spot the disease earlier.
The study is described as small and preliminary, and investigators cautioned that the initial findings will need to be confirmed in larger trials.
"Pancreas cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States," said study coauthor Dr. Nita Ahuja, an associate professor of surgery in the department of oncology and urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore. "There have been minimal to no improvements in the survival from this disease in the last 40 years. There are over 40,000 people diagnosed every year and about that many deaths."
"One of the main reasons for the lethal nature of this cancer is that most cancers are diagnosed too late once they have spread to other organs," Ahuja said. "Around 8 percent have spread to distant organs such as the liver or lungs, while another 10 percent have locally spread to major blood vessels. However, in the patients where cancer can be detected early and has not spread, a long-term cure is possible with surgical removal of the cancer with the surrounding lymph."
Ahuja's team had previously identified mutations in two genes, called BNC1 and ADAMST1, that typically occurred in the presence of pancreatic cancer. Since both mutations are found in 97 percent of early stage pancreatic cancer tissues, the researchers developed tests to search for signs of the mutations in blood samples collected from 42 people already diagnosed with early stage pancreatic cancer.
Reporting in the current online edition of the journal Clinical Cancer Research, Ahuja's team said both genetic markers were found in 81 percent of the tested blood samples, but not in samples taken from patients who either did not have pancreatic cancer or had a history of pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas). 
And Ahuja stressed that the test is not designed as a screen for the population as a whole -- only for those already deemed to be at high risk for the disease.
"The eventual goal is to develop a cost-effective test to test patients who are at high risk," she said. "The beauty of this test is that it can be repeated every year as you go for your annual physical."
Dr. Smitha Krishnamurthi is an associate professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology with University Hospitals Case Medical Center & Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, in Cleveland. She applauded the research, saying that "if pancreatic cancer could be detected at an early stage, more patients would be cured."
"This study presents an encouraging step in the right direction," Krishnamurthi said. "The authors have developed a blood test that detected the earliest stage of pancreatic cancer and correctly identified most of the healthy individuals tested. However, this was a very small study. The blood test must be studied in many more patients with early stage pancreatic cancer and healthy individuals to really know if it will be an accurate and reliable screening test for pancreatic cancer."
I am praying for the day when a lab test becomes available because I, with our family history, will get it done as soon as one is available.  In fact, I'd love to be a part of a university study regarding pancreatic cancer for people at high risk due to family history.  If I ever hear of one, I will readily sign up for it.

But for today, I wear my purple ribbon in remembrance of my mom and the 40,000 other people who will fall victim to the disease each year.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quilted Pillow...

Last Sunday I whipped up this pillow to put between my knees when I sleep to relieve the stress on my back and left hip while sleeping.  My chiropractor recommended that I use a pillow for my left hip pain that has been waking me up at night.  I found that a pillow helped, but I didn't like all the room in the bed that a full-sized bed pillow took up.  I decided to take some extra quilt blocks that I had laying around and then add a piece of fabric to the back.  I then took the scraps of polyester batting that I trim off when squaring up quilts and used them to stuff the pillow.  

It turned out great!  It is as long as a bed pillow but is about 1/2 the width so it doesn't take up much room, since we only have a queen-sized bed. 

I actually did this LAST Sunday, but forgot to blog about it.  My bad.  :)

Yesterday I went to our local Loose Ends Fiber Arts monthly meeting.  We are a group of people who enjoy working with fiber and with our hands.  We have knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, and yes, quilters!  We bring projects to work on and to share.  We share ideas and information...and then we have a pot-luck lunch and share food, too!

While I was at the meeting, unfortunately, my lower back started hurting for no apparent reason, so I had to leave early.  

It seems I've had a flare-up of my back issues.  I've been on heavy duty pain medications since yesterday's meeting and unable to stand or walk for more than a few seconds at a time.  The only comfortable positions are sitting down, or lying on my back (which is unusual because usually lying on my back hurts my back.  Go figure.)  Therefore, today has been spent sitting and quilting or cruising the internet for lack of being able to do anything else.  :(

I'm going to call my chiropractor first thing in the morning and get into his office as soon as possible.  I hope he is able to correct whatever is going on and hopefully get me back upright soon!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


How I feel today...

I hope I don't offend anyone with this video...I think it's HILARIOUS...and is just how I feel today.

On my days off from work, I am usually running around going to appointments and doing errands, especially since I've started going to the new chiropractor...twice a week appointments, ya know.  But today I have nothing planned but to stay INDOORS and RELAX!

And today is a GREAT day to stay indoors because we woke up to this...

Yep...our first snow of the winter season!  It's pretty when you don't have to go out into it!  :)

I plan on working on a small quilt that I started Sunday night for Quilts for Kids, the organization supported by Downy (fabric softener) that delivers home made quilts to children in hospitals!  It's been a couple years since I've made one for them, and I was itching to spend some time at my sewing machine.  Sometimes I just need to take a break from hand quilting and get some quality time with my sewing machine!  I had some leftover squares from a quilt I made for my niece, Kristin, so I thought I'd put it to good use.  All of the fabric used in this quilt was from my pre-cut scraps from other quilts!  (I use Bonnie Hunter's scrap user's system.)  This means that when I finish a quilt, I take the small pieces of fabric that are left over and cut them into usable size squares and strips and store them according to size.  Then when I need a certain size for another scrappy quilt, I go to that size box and pick out what I can use!  It makes it much easier to use up scraps that way!

This is what I was able to whip up fairly quickly...

I still need to add the green top and bottom border, but that will get done today.  Then I can find a backing from my stash, pin-baste it, and machine quilt it!

I figured that QFK probably gets more quilts for young children than for older kids, so I thought this would make a good quilt for a teenage girl.

I also made it a couple inches bigger so it would work better for a teen.  I hope they don't think the "subject matter" is inappropriate.  I think it's cute/funny...but then I've been told I have a really warped sense of my husband, no less!   LOL  He POLITELY calls it "the Schrock sense of humor" but I know what he REALLY means!  

Once I get this blog post done, I'm going to pay some bills online and then go barricade myself in my sewing room and get this quilt knocked out as fast as I can.

I've been asked how my gluten-free-ness is going...
So far, so good.  I think I may have inadvertently had some gluten (in the soy sauce) when we went out to eat Friday night at the local Chinese buffet, but as soon as I realized it, I stopped eating anything with it on it.

It really isn't as difficult to find things without gluten as I had feared.  You learn to read labels on EVERYTHING.  I'm lucky in that I don't have celiac disease, so if I inadvertently do get a tiny bit, it won't destroy me.  

Now...realize that I haven't cut out sugar entirely, but have cut down on it drastically!  So far I have lost 1.6 pounds, but I think I just look healthier overall because everyone at my doctor's office yesterday couldn't believe their eyes!  The nurses and doctor kept saying "you've lost weight", "you look so good", etc., etc., etc!   Note...the last time I was in my primary care's office was the day before my first chiropractic treatment and at a time when I was probably at my worst with pain, swelling, etc.  Since going gluten-free, my ankles have stopped swelling and I'm starting to lose the "carb face"...that extra weight around the jowls brought on from eating the wrong kind/too many carbs.

But I'm definitely going to have to keep that purple sweater in mind that I was wearing yesterday because I think it really took the pounds off of me from all the compliments I got!  


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gifts For ME!

Quote for the Day:
"The manner of giving is worth more than the gift."
  ~Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur

One of Andy's customers came by the house yesterday and told him that his wife was selling off some of her antiques and collectibles and wanted to know if Andy wanted to come by and see if he wanted any of them.  (Andy has become well-known in these parts as being a wheeler and dealer in antiques and vintage glassware.)

Unbeknownst to me, Andy went over and bought quite a bit from her.  I didn't know about it till he got home and asked me if I wanted to come out to the car and see what he got.

The first thing he showed me was this beauty...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE stained glass, so I immediately went gaga over it!  :)

THEN...he pulled this out of the box...

OMGoodness!!!  I was just over the top with this one!!!

I think I know where I'm going to hang them, but they both are heavy and will need a good, strong nail to be hung on.  They both have chain hangers already attached!

The Singer sign will definitely go in my sewing room window, and I *think* the bird will get hung in the kitchen window where the sun comes through nicely!  


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Time For a Change...

Quote for the Day:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
~Albert Einstein

Since starting with my new chiropractor a month ago, I've seen GREAT improvement in my back and right knee pain.  I still have the underlying problem...osteoarthritis...but the symptoms are significantly reduced with the atlas orthogonal adjustments and decompression therapy.

That's the good news!

The bad news is that I still have the osteoarthritis, which is a chronic, progressive, degenerative disease.  

Dr. Leonette, my chiropractor, has encouraged me to cut out wheat and gluten from my diet.  He said he thought I'd experience significant arthritis relief if I did.  

Well, I'm a "scientific" type of person who has to know the "who, what, when, why, wherefore, etc." of things, after all, my nursing degree IS a SCIENCE degree.  So I went to our local library and checked out "Wheat Belly", by Dr. William Davis, and spent 4-5 days reading up on the how and why wheat is bad for our bodies.  The book was interesting and informative, but when I read the chapter on wheat and osteoarthritis, I was sold!  

The book recommends that you go off of wheat when you aren't going to be working because some people go through withdrawals since one of the reactions to wheat is a morphine-like chemical reaction.  That...and the blood sugar spikes it why wheat is so addicting!  :(

I decided to start my gluten-free journey this weekend since I'm not working.  I started on Saturday by going grocery shopping to get the "real" food that I need...veggies, meat, cheese, etc.  No processed foods.

Gluten-free lifestyle does mean that you have to cook and plan ahead, so today I put a brisket in the crockpot with cabbage, potatoes and carrots for supper tonight.

I also made some mini omelet muffins based on this recipe.  

These will be stored in the fridge and can be taken out and heated in the morning for breakfast.  To make them, I sprayed the pan with oil, then put in a layer of sausage followed by some cut up fresh mushrooms, black olives, and then grated cheese.  I then took eggs and whisked them with some milk, salt and pepper, onion powder and a touch of garlic powder.  I poured this mixture over the top of the other items and baked at 350 degrees F until an inserted knife came out clean...about 20 min.  These will make a quick, healthy, high-protein, gluten-free breakfast food for  me in the mornings.

When shopping yesterday, we learned that my favorite coffee creamer is gluten-free!!!

In my morning coffee I just like to use half and half, but if I have a cuppa in the afternoon, I like to make it "special" with a little flavored coffee creamer.  

At this time, I'm not completely giving up sugar, but I am cutting back and am going to try to get my "sweets/sugar" from natural sources like fruit.  I've started a board on my Pinterest page for gluten-free recipes and you can follow it here if you'd like.  Right now there's a lot of dessert recipes on it, but that is because we are entering the holiday season and I'm thinking ahead to desserts that I can make and remain gluten-free.  

I've also ordered a gluten-free cookbook that is all crockpot recipes..."Make it Fast, Cook it Slow" by Stephanie O'Dea.  Ms. O'Dea has celiac disease, so all her recipes are gluten-free.  I've followed her blog for several years simply because I like to use the crockpot as much as possible, and the gluten-free part is an added bonus!  :)