Give Me Strength.

We have a right to be angry…

Stressor continues to greet me as though I am the largest piece of shit in the world. It makes it difficult to keep a solid day of believing in myself. I can’t avoid this person (well, any more than I have been), so mostly I’m just venting here for venting’s sake, and maybe a little reassurance.

An old friend of mine wrote to ask my opinion on something. On the one hand, it was overwhelming- because she was asking for a considered opinion, not a one-word answer. On the other, it was validating that she sees me as someone whose opinions are sought after.

The job hunt has not been going well in terms of seeing fruit for my labor. I have been vigilant and thorough in presenting myself in my best possible light, but so far, nothing. As we discussed in my last blog, I needed to step away and maybe find some balance. It. Is. Not. Easy. I’ll tell you that much. With me stressing myself out, bystanders asking how things are going, and Stressor breathing down my neck…

So, I have taken some time to do some “me stuff”. I got a haircut, teeth cleaned, etc. I spent today cleaning set-in stains off of my pillow and mattress cover- stains that happened during the medical stuff, and that really just bummed me out colossally thereafter.

I also did some cleaning up in the craft room. Again, I found some stuff from Xmas. I’m not really surprised. Things were much harder than… I went back and read my posts from the last two years. It shocked me. And validated me.

Girlfriend has been lovely, but she also wants me to be able to stand on my own two feet. At least she’s usually kinder about it though.

I also trimmed and polished my toenails, and I’m loving them. I did my fingernails, too, but the polish has since worn off.

My ankle continues to improve, but I keep tripping up on various things, which has made recovery from the break harder.

Holiday Wrap-Up

Preparing for the holidays this year felt a little like this: 1

“Making Christmas”, from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Although I love handmade and low-cost/no-cost gifts, I usually don’t make gifts for the holidays. I’d rather surprise people than rely on my creativity to come through for me in precisely the way I expect, at precisely the right time, in order to deliver a Martha-esque experience to my loved ones.

But, this year was especially tight on the budget. While I am hopeful things improve, it was challenging for me to create something out of nothing this year. If it weren’t for my friends and family, I wouldn’t have been able to do much of anything.

So, I decided to make cookies, which I make fairly often and with good results, thereby eliminating any pressure. Here is the classic recipe, if you don’t already have it.

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Phoebe from Friends, citing a “family recipe” for cookies.

 

My health was also wackypants this holiday season. For most of it, I felt like this line from the film, Frida:

“I feel like a rich girl with a new suitor every week. Except all of my suitors have turned into doctors.”

Of course, that was a little melodramatic of me, but it is what it is. I felt such complex feelings about dealing with my health at Xmas. On the one hand, I had the holidays to distract me from life’s more unpleasant hurdles. On the other, to be honest, it was hard getting into the holiday spirit at times.

I couldn’t really cook much. I didn’t want to write about what I was feeling. I tried to savor the moments of joy when they came, and in that respect, I think I was successful. I’d be lying if I said this was the best Xmas ever, but there were some truly joyous moments that really helped me get through the tough stuff.

New Year’s brought a welcome respite, with some quiet time shared with the one I love, and that felt exactly right. I hope you and yours found similar moments of perfection.

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Happy New Year! 🙂

 

Road Trip Round-up

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Road-tripping can be a challenge for anyone, but it’s particularly challenging bringing food allergies along for the ride. Add to that a vegetarian requirement, a budget requirement, and an overall desire for healthier choices, and it can seem insurmountable. I have not traveled with children, so I can’t speak to that challenge. But, here are my thoughts on road-tripping for two, based on our more successful moments. As always, you are responsible for your own safety.

Road-tripping in general:

1. Take shorter trips before a longer one. Prior to our most recent multi-day trip, we had taken several day-long road trips. We had also been camping together. Know the other person well, because you are going to be in a confined space together for hours on end. Account for the possibility that at least one of you might be overtired and cranky at any given time.

2. Bring something fun for the passenger. The license plate game is our perennial favorite, followed by travel bingo. I also take lots of pictures.

3. Bring a pillow, blanket, and possibly earplugs & an eye mask for the passenger to take a nap. I also brought my U-shaped travel pillow. You’d be surprised what a difference these creature comforts make.

4. Bring your favorite music. Be open to music you would otherwise not listen to if you plan on listening to the radio. We had an unexpected but delightful 70s interlude at one point.

5. Make sure your vehicle has been checked out by a mechanic, and spring for the best emergency auto-assistance plan you can afford. Have some sort of emergency funding available, even if you think you will never need it. You don’t know what the road has in store, and it’s best to be prepared.

Eating in motion:

1. The number one thing that works for us on any road trip is bringing a small cooler full of fresh food. At least on the way there, we are guaranteed something safe & satisfying. If you are able to, re-filling on the way home is highly recommended. We don’t always refill, but the times we have were so much better. You don’t want to be making food choices at odd hours of the evening. At least I don’t, because at that point, I will pretty much eat anything.

2. Don’t count on healthy choices being readily available. Yes, I saw bananas and apples more than I expected, but they were often more expensive than the easily found day-old hotdogs.

3. Bring fruit and vegetables. I had a large container of leftover salad that would have otherwise gone bad. I brought my camping utensils & a small bottle of dressing and had lunch in the passenger seat. I could feel the difference between this and my carb-laden choices on previous trips. Just make sure your salad is travel-friendly: no mushy stuff like sliced tomatoes. Grape tomatoes work better. I used diced Quorn cutlets for protein. Orange slices in their own container were also a great snack, and apples travel pretty well, too.

4. You will probably want snacks at some point. Even the healthiest among us needs a little treat now and then. If you pack healthier snacks, you lessen your chances of reaching for the powder-coated tortilla chips that seem to pop up everywhere. We brought veggie straws and popcorn for treats. There was also one chocolate rice confection that wasn’t even eaten until the ride home.

5. Stopping to stretch and have a meal: totally advisable if you don’t have allergies, a personal decision if you do. We did stop, and I was fine.

The Allergies:

This is one area where I cannot and will not advise you. I’m not a Doctor. I’m not even a good example. But, here’s how I handle it:

1. I mostly eat food from home, but when I do buy convenience store food, I choose something that seems relatively safe- like fruit, or I stick with foods that have been safe in the past. There are plenty of people that can’t do this, and it isn’t actually in my best interest, either. For example, with a nut allergy: the person handling the fruit could have just eaten a package of nuts. Foods that were once safe can easily not be, due to changes in the manufacturing process or cross-contamination. The point is, you can never be sure, which leads me to #2…

2. I always pack my medication. So far, every attack I’ve had has been treatable with OTC medication. But, that does not mean it’s something I can count on. The first time I had a full-blown attack, I didn’t even know I was allergic to the food in question- just that it had made my throat itchy in the past. The severity of an allergic reaction can change over time. I always make sure that others know where my medication and medical information is.

3. I know that I cannot control my exposure entirely. There are factors that cannot be planned for. For example, I planned to the best of my ability, and then had to walk past my allergen on the way to some random bathroom in the middle of nowhere. Any time I venture out, I have to face the possibility of a medical emergency, but I also don’t want to stop living my life. I am lucky that I can actually make this choice. There are plenty of others who cannot.

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

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Let me preface this post by saying that my uterus demanded bean and cheese enchiladas. (PMS). While I love these (maybe a little too much), I haven’t had them in about 2 years, and had never made them myself. Yes, I know they’re fattening. In fact I could tell you long tales of precisely how I know this information, but let’s just leave it at “yes, you can be vegetarian and overweight.”

So, this was a blast from the past for me. But, I felt really confident and proud of myself that I am in such a better place now: to realize that I can now enjoy these without having them every weekend was really a breakthrough moment. I never had an eating disorder, but I did have some really bad eating habits back in the day. To be able to allow myself to eat things that aren’t so healthy once in a while, to get it out of my system and move on… well, it’s just good.

It was fun to actually look up the recipe (mostly for quantities’ sake), to pick up the items, and to give it a whirl. So forgive me for going with the easiest route, and choosing this basic recipe. I’m certainly not advocating one brand over another in this case, but their recipe was easy and filling, as promised.

My modifications weren’t all that complicated. I obviously used vegetarian refried beans. I used 3/4 of a can of salsa, and 1 can of enchilada sauce. I skipped the onion. I used farmer’s cheese for the top, and sprinkled them with cilantro. Because I wasn’t feeling 100% while preparing them, I took advantage food chopper for the cheddar, and the “stir” setting on the mixer for the filling.

Next time, I will absolutely go for 2 cans of enchilada sauce, with salsa at the ready. And obviously, there are a thousand other ways to make enchiladas, which I might try later on to lighten them up a bit. But for now, this was perfect.

Sharing is Caring: Barilla: “If gays don’t like it, they can eat another brand of pasta.”

There are plenty of other pasta choices out there for gays, straights, and everyone in between.


More Awards, Yay!

So, this is where I’m at right about now.

I am truly floored by the love and support from each of my followers. Thank you so much for your wonderful posts and thoughtful comments.

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liebster-blog-award

Liebster Award

Thank you Dispatches From The Gypsy Roller!

It’s been great watching this blog evolve from a blog about cooking in the tiny kitchen of a trailer to maintaining healthy choices in the midst of change.

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Some translations of “liebster” into English from the German:

beloved
dearest
sweetheart

The purpose of the Liebster Award is to highlight the efforts and contributions of those who are new to blogging. Here are the guidelines for the award:

  • Add the award icon to your blog.
  • Link to your nominator to say thank you.
  • Each blogger should post 11 facts about themselves.
  • Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Choose 11 up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers, go to their blog, and tell them about the award.

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Here are 11 facts about myself:

1. I used to take pictures of almost everything I ate. Oddly enough, I do that less now that I have a blog. Weird. (EDIT: BECAUSE MY CAMERA AND PUTER ARE NOT SPEAKING TO ONE ANOTHER RIGHT NOW).

2. I’m kind of a nerd at heart.

3. I started this post around Xmas time, and somehow never got back to it.

4. That quote about introverts and extroverts at a party: both can do it, but the introvert feels drained afterwards, while the extrovert feels energized. Yes. (I WAS MOSTLY THINKING OF ALL OF THE XMAS HOOPLA WHEN I WROTE THIS ONE, BUT IT HOLDS UP FOR OTHER SITUATIONS AS WELL.)

5. I’m allergic to soy. And nuts. And fish. And a few other things. These are only issues when I’m around others. People can be surprisingly careless.

6. I like cake. A lot.

7. My laundry basket is sometimes so full that I could decorate it with ornaments and use it for an Xmas tree. (OR, YOU KNOW, A SUMMER TREE WITH ORNAMENTS…).

8. I went swimming once so far this summer.

9. I eat the same things most of the time.

10. I find these lists really hard to complete.

11. I like iced coffee. (ALL YEAR, BUT ESPECIALLY IN THE SUMMERTIME).

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Here are my answers:

  1. What do you think are the three best items to donate to the food bank? Corn, artichokes, and beans. Because I like them, and maybe other people would, too.
  2. What book are you currently reading and would you recommend it? I am not reading much of anything at the moment, but the last book I re-read was Unbearable Lightness. Yes, I would recommend it, though it might be triggering for those who have or had eating disorders.
  3. How do you typically spend your time between eating dinner and going to bed? On the computer or watching a movie.
  4. Describe your favourite local restaurant. It is this cute little Italian place, where everyone remembers you and your likes/dislikes.
  5. What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to food? See aforementioned Italian food. I consider coffee a guilty pleasure, too, because it isn’t that great for you, but sometimes it helps get you through the day.
  6. Who is your favourite artist? Well, I like the courage of Kahlo, but it’s hard to pick an overall favorite. Different art for different moods.
  7. What is your favourite fruit or vegetable that grows in or around the area you live in? Tomatoes from the garden. Hothouse tomatoes are garbage.
  8. Which quality do you appreciate most in people? Loyalty.
  9. Describe favourite way to spend $10. Lunch. Probably a caprese panini with iced tea. ( I JUST SPENT $10 DOING EXACTLY THAT. GUESS I CALLED THAT ONE.)
  10. In a perfect world, who would cook you dinner every night? The chefs at my favorite restaurant.
  11. Which kitchen utensil or piece of cook wear do you use the most? I have a smallish fry pan that’s the perfect size for most meals.

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Here are my nominees: 

Do you want to play? Well, consider yourself tagged for any of these awards. I am very selective about the blogs I read, so if I’m mentioning a blog, it’s because I actually read and enjoy it. Many of my favorites no longer accept awards, and I believe it’s best to share the love anyway.
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I am currently reading:
Aside from the blogs already mentioned in this post, I am currently reading the following. If I forgot your blog, it doesn’t mean I don’t read it anymore, it just didn’t show up on the Reader when I made the list.
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http://veggiewitch.wordpress.com/

http://peacelovequinoa.com/

http://veganmonologue.wordpress.com/

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Here are my questions:
1. Alvin, Simon, or Theodore and why?
2. What is your favorite lunch?
3. Favorite summer activity?
4. Favorite salad?
5. Favorite cartoon as a kid?
6. Do you garden?
7. What did you want to be when you grew up?
8. Favorite small appliance?
9. I blog best when I…
10. Favorite movie?
11. Song that is stuck in your head?
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shine-on

Shine On Award

Thank you You Can’t Eat That!

You Can’t Eat That is devoted to demonstrating all of the wonderful culinary options available to people with food allergies.

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illuminatingbloggeraward

Illuminating Blogger Award

Thank you Peri’s Spice Ladle!

Peri’s Blog is *the* place to go to for accessible Indian recipes.

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Blog of the Year Award 1 star thumbnail

Blog of the Year 2012

Thank you Healthy Frenchie!

Do you like healthy living? Dogs? Cool pictures of scenery? All can be found at Healthy Frenchie. Good stuff!

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Happy Xmas in July! 🙂

Achoo!

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It’s just a little cold, but I’m a bad patient. Why is it these things happen at the worst possible time? Of course, I have my own thoughts on that… we work ourselves into the ground, past the point of common sense, and so, when little bugs come around, blammo! If I was getting enough sleep and relaxation, maybe I’d be better prepared.

But, no sick days for me. And cooking? Not so much. Though, these really are the times when it’s best to have something good and healthy. So far, I’ve compromised and gone for good and healthy, but with minimal effort, like sandwiches. I still need to roast some veggies, and knock a few thousand things off of my to-do list. I’ve mostly done raw foods. I tried a grilled cheese, but let’s just say it was not blog-worthy. I don’t cook well when I’m sick.

So for tonight, maybe get those veggies prepped with as minimal effort as possible, maybe some long grain rice or some such to go with it, and that’s all folks. Now, if I could just get some elves to help me with the to-do list…