Flying the Nest – Goodbye Children…

Nobody told me that the hard part about parenting is when they are 18 and move out.

It’s so hard.

You no longer make any of their decisions for them.  Even though the last 18 years you were making all of them.

Worse than the fact that they don’t need you, you feel forgotten about.  Did I matter?  I gave my life to raising these children and making sure they had everything the last 18 years.  Do they remember?

They seem to not have any attachment to you and aren’t sad at all that they don’t see you every day.  In fact, it’s hard to convince them to carve any time out to visit with you and even if they do, it’s seems like it only happens when you’re buying them something or shelling out money for an expensive meal or entertainment.  And I was close with my kids.  We always had a good relationship.  I can’t imagine if there was a rocky relationship to start with.

It hurts.  It’s lonely.

There is a huge adjustment period for the parents, yet we weren’t given time or warning that things were going to change so drastically and so quickly.

We used to talk every day.  In fact the kids always would fight to come into bed with me and have one-on-one time at the end of the day.  Taking turns and booting each other out.

Now weeks go by and if I didn’t text or call, I don’t know when I would hear from my girls next.

I’m told this is how I know I did my job.  They are confident and independent and ready to fly.  But why did it have to go so fast?

Anyone else out there experience this?

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Homemade Gluten Free Noodles

Delicious and easy Gluten Free Pasta?  Yes, it’s so good and it only has 2 ingredients!

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I doubled this recipe since we have 2 hungry children that love pasta and us adults can’t get enough either.  All you need is:

1 cup + ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour + a little extra flour for workspace (or any other 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)

3 large eggs

I use a kitchen aid with the pasta attachments, but you could definitely do it by hand, rolling the dough out and cutting it into strips.

Directions

Add 1 cup + ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour and eggs to a food processor using the dough blade.

Mix well until dough forms. Do not overwork dough.

Remove dough from food processor and place on a floured surface.

If dough is sticky, add a sprinkle of flour and knead dough for 1-3 minutes until the texture is still wet but not sticky.

Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside as you prepare your pasta machine or workspace.

Cut dough into four sections, working dough in batches.

Flatten section on a floured surface and coat well with flour so it’s not too sticky going through the pasta machine.

Run it through your pasta roller on the largest setting (0). (To get clean edges, fold the dough onto itself and roll through the 0 setting twice). You can also cut the dough in half again to make for more manageable strips.

Run dough through the roller on setting 1, then setting 2 until you have lasagna strips.

Run the strips through pasta maker to make linguine or spaghetti.

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Add noodles to salted boiling water for 2 minutes. The pasta cooks quickly.

Drain and rinse noodles with cold water. Enjoy immediately with your favorite sauce. 

We like to have a bar of things to choose from when it comes to pasta, pizza or taco/burrito night.  So, we had pans with sautéed vegetables, a pan with seasoned ground meat and bacon, a bowl of tomatoes, tomato sauce and alfredo sauce, along with parmesan cheese to top it. Everyone does their own thing to make the pasta the way they love it.  The adults usually put all of it on our pasta 😊.

 *More pictures to come*

Iron Infusions & B12 Shots

I have gotten 2 out of 5 of my iron injections and I’m already feeling like I have more energy. Wahoo.  I’ve been down-right perky actually.  It feels good to almost have normal oomph levels.  Since testing my ferritin levels and finding out they were really low, I’ve asked to have my Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D levels tested.  At first my doctor didn’t want to test my Vitamin D levels, but when my B12 came back low as well, she had a change of heart.

I am now signed up to receive B12 shots once a month for the next year. I’m so excited about the future of clearer thinking, energy and perhaps my metabolism will fire up too. 

The only issue I’ve had with the iron infusions is that my stomach is so torn up.  It makes me a little concerned about exercising because of the bathroom issues.  I already have so much trouble with my tummy from the Celiac and microscopic colitis, so this iron has been doing a number on me.  I’ve been trying to take more fiber, drink the probiotic shots and I’ve even taken the tummy steroids to get things under control.  Not ideal.  Steroid anything is bad for the Cushing’s, even if I am in remission.

My doctor has also agreed to refer me to another endocrinologist in San Francisco since my regular endocrinologist seems to have a deaf ear lately.  I really like her, but sometimes she gets in these funks where she won’t listen to my concerns and thinks I need to see a shrink instead of testing me for recurrence.  She then will go into that it’s normal to be scared that you’re sick when you’ve been sick for so long.  I get it, but my symptoms say something is going on.

I’m hopeful everything will normalize in the next few days with my digestion.  Until then, I’m enjoying my new-found liveliness.

Celiac – The Second Round

Diagnosed with Celiac again. Yes, again. Two years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I had a negative blood test but my biopsy showed significant damage, so my GI doctor decided that I had Celiac. A year later I was seeing another GI specialist since I seemed to be having issues still and that doctor said that my Celiac result was negative for both blood and biopsy.  I was confused but he said the damage was from microscopic colitis and not from Celiac. He wanted me to use steroids to help with my gut when I would have a flare up from the colitis, however, this is a no go for me because of the Cushing’s disease.  I am really sensitive to steroids and start to get Cushing’s symptoms immediately no matter how small the dose and even if it supposedly is only absorbed in the gut (which is not true for me and my endocrinologist agrees).

Fast forward another year and my blood test for Celiac came back positive, but my biopsy didn’t show enough damage to be diagnosed with Celiac so my GI doctor said, “well, stay away from gluten if it makes you feel better but you don’t have Celiac so you really don’t have to stay away from gluten if you don’t want to.

 My primary care doctor and endocrinologist both had strong opinions against that and have marked in my record that I definitely have Celiac disease.  Their argument being that my GI is so messed up and I’m severely deficient in ferritin, probably because of intestinal damage making it nearly impossible to absorb vitamins.  Also, I did feel much better that year I was gluten free even though I was having other issues, so they said that’s my answer.  So, as of yesterday I finally resolved myself to having celiac disease and can no longer eat gluten.

This is harder than if I had been told without a doubt that I had Celiac, since there is question.  Who wants to give up bread and pasta if they don’t absolutely have to?  However, I have been feeling awful tummy wise for the last two years and it has been getting worse and been affecting my mood, clarity, etc.  A sane, normal person would give up gluten without a diagnosis just to feel better, but I’m special.  My daughter has been pretty mad at me for “goofing” around with not giving up gluten since she has been diagnosed with Celiac and has been gluten free for two years.  She has iron clad will power and once was told she couldn’t have gluten, she never touched it again.  She is 13 years old and much smarter and more mature that me 😊.

I am still on a quest to find out why I have such a hard time losing weight.  I am not convinced that this is the only thing wrong with me.  I am constantly in fear of my tumor coming back and my latest theory is that it is back or in another place and I have cyclical Cushing’s disease and that is why sometimes my results are abnormal and then they retest me and they are normal.  I also have Hashimoto’s disease and having a thyroid problem does not help with weight issues either. 

Lately I have been able to find other people that have had Cushing’s disease online that have been successful at losing weight.  This is so encouraging to me since in the past I only would find people in remission that have remained at least a bit chunky.  Until this week I had never found anyone online that was skinny or fit.  These people that I did find are about 10 – 15 years younger than me and didn’t have Cushing’s as long as me, but I still remain hopeful.

Stay tuned on my journey.  I am determined to get my gut working without pain and bloat.  I can’t wait to be fit and as healthy as possible.  I am going to get toned and tight, even with leftover Cushing’s issues and thyroid issues and I’m excited for my journey to contine.

Chicken Veggie Meatballs

Large package chicken thighs (about 4lbs)

1/2 cup Gluten free bread crumbs

2 medium Carrots shredded

1 Zucchini shredded

3/4 – 1 cup of Kale pulverized in food processor

2 eggs

2 tsp or a couple cloves chopped Garlic

Salt & pepper to taste

2 TB Mint

2 TB Tarragon

Olive oil as needed for frying up the meatballs.

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Cut chicken into smaller pieces and then grind chicken thighs in kitchen aid with meat grinder attachment or buy ground turkey/chicken.

Shred carrots, zucchini and kale (you could do any type of mixture of veggies you want). Line the colander with a paper towel and let the vegetables drain of extra water.

If you don’t have gluten free bread crumbs, you can make them with gluten free bread in the food processor, which I needed to do this time.

Mix veggies, ground chicken, seasonings, bread crumbs, eggs with your hands really well.

Roll into 2” balls and cook on high heat with olive oil on the stove.

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I usually have at least two pans going to cook up all the meatballs. It takes a few minutes on each side to brown up and cook through the meatballs. I try to keep them round and uniform looking but they usually look triangular or square. I’m not sure how people get them to stay so round.

20170612_171403The kids love them so much. All of the veggies make the meatballs so moist and they are really flavorful. I have been serving these with zucchini noodles tossed with kale cashew pesto (recipe to come in the future).

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Mega doses of vegetables snuck right in to their mouths. I made 65 of them the other day thinking I wanted to be able to have plenty leftover for lunches. No such luck! My 13 year old ate 15 of them in one sitting and they were all gone by morning. But I’ll take it!

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Although it takes quite a bit of time to grind the chicken and shred the veggies, it is well worth it in my opinion. Nothing is better than having all of your children like a meal! Those successes are far and few between.

 

 

 

Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes

This has quickly become one of my family’s favorite. It is super easy and so delicious.

You’ll need:

5-6 large potatoes peeled

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

Package of muenster cheese

2 tsp minced Garlic

Salt and pepper

Potato flour or other GF Flour

1 8oz package of chopped ham (optional)

Chives  (optional)

Pam non-stick spray

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Peel and slice potatoes.

Toss with potato flour. Then add garlic and salt and pepper to taste and toss potatoes.

Spray crockpot with Pam and layer potatoes in crockpot alternating with slices of cheese, ham, chives, and potatoes. Most of the time I make this without the ham and it’s good just potatoes and cheese. But you could add bacon too.

Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low 8-10 hours. Some of the cheese gets slightly crusty along the side and that’s what we all fight for since it’s so darn tasty.

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Serve and enjoy!

 

Pomegranate Walnut Chicken & Jeweled Rice

Happy Persian New Year – Nowruz!

Yesterday was the start of the Persian New Year. Like all good foodies I hear they celebrate for the next 13 days. This seems like a great time to celebrate to me too. I am not Persian and I don’t have any Persians in my family (yet, who knows, I do have 4 daughters that could marry one) but since it was the first day of Spring yesterday it seems so fitting to celebrate and learn about other cultures and cook some exotic food instead of the same ol’ boring meals.

I’ve learned that the Persian New Year is called Nowruz or No-Rooz, translated into “New Day”

Here are some No-Rooz Greetings: No-Rooz Mobarak (Happy No-Rooz, Happy New Year); Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak (Happy New Year to you); No-Rooz Pirooz (Wishing you a Prosperous New Year); Sad Saal be in Saal-ha (Wishing you 100 more Happy New Years).

I decided to make jeweled rice and Persian Pomegranate, Chicken, and Walnut Stew for our dinner celebration tonight. I followed the recipes I found online and have hyperlinked them, although I will go through the recipes with the pictures I’ve taken as well. I am terrible at following recipes exactly, so I do add more herbs and spices than called for in almost everything I make since I love to indulge in the rich flavors.

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One thing that I noticed as we were eating dinner last night is that we really could have used bread and yogurt to tame the tangy-ness. Although both dishes were delicious on their own, there needed to be some mild flavored side dishes to counterbalance all of the tangy-ness from the pomegranate molasses and the different berries. I had decided against the bread originally since I didn’t have the time or patience to do something gluten free.

Jeweled Rice

Serves 6-8

3 cups basmati rice

Cook the basmati rice first. I used a rice cooker, but you could do the traditional on the stove method. Since we have to cook gluten free, I didn’t do the pita bread like in the original recipe so I didn’t get the tahdig at the bottom, which is supposed to be special and decadent.

1 TB dehydrated minced onions

2 generous pinches of saffron

½ cup boiling hot water

½ tsp sugar

The peels from one orange, white pith removed, sliced thinly

1/3 cup sugar

½ cup barberries

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup chopped or slivered almonds

1/8 cup slivered or chopped pistachios

2 TB orange blossom water

2 TB olive oil

3 TB butter

3 TB sugar

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Pulverize the saffron with ½ tsp of sugar and then pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over the bowl of saffron and add minced onion and set aside to steep for at least 30 minutes.

Pick through the barberries for stems or leaves. Rinse well and soak in cold water for at least 10 minutes. Do the same for the raisins in a separate bowl.

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Basically, you are going to fillet the oranges getting all of the bitter, white pith off of the skin of the orange. Slice thinly and boil in water for a couple minutes, drain, rinse and repeat twice to remove bitterness from the peels. When finished, put the peels back in the pot and add a cup of water and 1/3 cup of sugar. Cook over medium heat until the peels are translucent and the syrup has thickened. Remove orange peels from syrup and set aside. Add 2 TB orange blossom water to syrup and soak the nuts in the liquid.

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Chop your nuts if you didn’t buy presliced or chopped. I buy most of my nuts at Costco, so I just did it myself. The pistachios had the skin on them even though they were shelled, so I had to soak them in water to loosen the skin and then chop them.

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Put a cup and a half in a separate bowl and pour the onion, saffron water on top and stir. Melt 3 TB butter in a pan and add the drained berries, raisins, and orange peels with 3 TB sugar. Heat through and simmer 2 minutes. Set aside. I tried to crisp up the saffron rice a bit on the stove to make up for the lack of pita bread creating the tahdig, but it didn’t really work.

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Pour remaining rice onto a platter and top with ¾ of the nuts, berries, raisins and orange peels, while drizzling remaining orange blossom water and orange peel syrup over the rice. Scoop out saffron soaked rice on top of rice mound that is on the platter and put the remaining goodies on top of the rice. Enjoy!

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Pomegranate walnut chicken

Serves 4-6

2 cups shelled walnuts, finely chopped

1 cup pomegranate molasses

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6-8 thighs or a mixture of the two kinds of chicken

1 large onion, peeled, finely chopped

¼ tsp turmeric

Dash of cinnamon

4 TB olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Water

¼ cup sugar

Put walnuts into food processor to finely chop. Just pulse a few times, you don’t want it to become a paste. Heat olive oil in pan and saute walnuts for a minute or two, stirring frequently.

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Add pomegranate molasses and 2 cups of water. Mix well, cover the pan with lid slightly ajar and simmer for 30 minutes on low heat.

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In a large heavy pot, saute onions in 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until golden brown. Add turmeric and stir well.

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Cut chicken into small pieces. Place chicken pieces into the pot. Add salt, pepper and a small dash of cinnamon. Cook until golden on all sides.

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Pour the pomegranate walnut mixture into the pot, mix well, and add more water if needed. Chicken pieces should be covered in liquid. Return to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for two hours. The dish will be rich and creamy.

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Add 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time. Mix it well without shredding the chicken. Taste and add more sugar if you like it sweeter. It should be well-balanced between sweet and sour.

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