Shamleless Plug

I'm embarking on a new part of my life that is happier and going in a direction! It's really refreshing.

I was married May 19th, 2012 to a great guy I met at the C.I.A and we're go excited to embark on a life together. He has as culinary degree to match my baking and pastry degree. It's going to be a Good life.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts on food and cooking. I am but a humble baker, who happens to love cooking and embraces the joy of food.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Being Healthy Re-revisited

I need to be eating better. I pretty much eat crappy most of the time. I know if I even hope to scrape by this holiday season, I'm going to need to build up my body now. I have to stop eating bad processed food and bad frozen food, and switch to better processed food.

I decided my main problem is breakfast, where I try to eat whatever the hell I can scrounge up to keep me somewhat fueled until I get the chance to eat again. Usually this entails leftovers, mac and cheese, burgers, pizza or some other fatty thing.

This is going to get me nowhere fast.

Usually I make something the night before (chicken cutlets, or something), but I always knew that I could make something healthier.

So today I did. I ended up making a smoothie. Tomorrow I'm gonna add some Instant Breakfast.

You need to pick your battles with most things in life. Checks and balances, maybe? It's like the environment. You probably can't wire solar panels on your roof, but can buy those reusable bags, recycle, and turn off lights.

I think being healthy is the same thing too. You can't get 5-8 servings of fruit, on top of whole grains, drinking water, getting calcium and vitamins and minerals and fiber, exercise, sleep. Low Cal, Low Fat, Low Carb, High Fiber, Vegatarian, Vegan. On top of eating organic sustainable AND LOCAL's just too much!!!!!

But you can make a reasonable effort. Drink a smoothie, trade soda for water/milk, eat an apple instead of chips. Take a multi-vitamin. Fast food/fried food once in a long while. Go to a Farmer's Market. Walk around the block. I think it helps.

I can't always eat healthy. But I'm going to make a reasonable effort. Today I made a smoothie, but I also bought peanut butter crackers and cheese crackers in little packages for work for around the time at about 8 o'clock, when I'm famished and my only options are day old bread toast or a cookie. In that case, I think I'm better off with the packages of crackers. But I also bought "Whole Grain, High fiber" toaster pastries (I didn't even know they MADE those!). They're from that Fiber One brand, and I think that helps too. It makes me feel like I'm doing something halfway decent for myself.

I think getting three servings of fruit is better than no servings of fruit. And 20% of my daily need for fiber or calcium is better than none, too. I think doctors and nutritionists would agree with me, too.

It's impossible to get 100% of every SINGLE NEED in your dietary life. You'd be eating ALL DAY and that isn't healthy either.

Every time I think about what I need and how much of it I get and how much of it I don't, I tend to panic a little and feel overwhelmed, but to avoid ending this on a doom and gloom note, I offer you this: winning tiny battles in your war of good intentions is better than nothing. Buying reusable bags does help a little bit. Taking a multi-vitamin helps a little bit. Drinking water over soda helps a little bit.

So I guess I can't get so hard on myself. And you have my permission to not be so hard on yourself too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Marshmallow Junkie

For those who don't know me, and for perhaps some of you who do, I am a marshmallow junkie. Anything with marshmallows in it, from Mallowmars to Peeps to homemade to those tacky marshmallow filled cones, catches my eye. From the cheap bag of store brand marshmallows for the $5 for a package of 16 at Trader Joes, I'm thoroughly hooked on the spongey white stuff.

I don't think I'm a full flegded addict yet; I don't rush to buy peeps on holidays, or anything that I see with marshmallows. To tell you the truth, I think I've grown out of peeps (unless they are stale).

I went to Tj Maxx today, with the intention of buying a bag for work (one to accommodate a travel mug, lunch, snacks, a hat, my wallet, and a reliable place to put my work key), and ended up wandering there for almost an hour, debating bathrobes, fleeces and work pants.

It was the clearance table that caught my eye near the home goods section. A whole table of clearance food items. I browsed it with no intent to buy anytihng, when I saw a package of what I could identify as marshmallows.

They were novel and brightly colored. Shaped into squares and ropes. The tiny label said "The Marshmallow Castle" And upon further search, I saw another package of triangle marshmallows.

I snatched up the quirky package of marshmallows skewered on plastic kabobs immediately, after seeing the $1 price tag. The novelty of colored marshmallows on a skewer was well worth the price that I would usually pay for a bag of regular marshmallows.

No sooner had I stepped off the curb (with only a travel mug, said marshmallows and a purse) did I dig out the package and rip open the crinkly plastic with my teeth, tear off the white/pink/ and blue roped marshmallow off and pop it into my mouth. It's very chewy, like there's too much gelatin- which I suppose, if you're making a marshmallow castle, you'd need a strong, chewy foundation.

Before I even start my car I've eaten 4 of them. And decide to save the rest to display here. But even that didn't last long. I managed to eat about half the package before I arrived home.

The flavor of these marshmallows of pink, green and blue are the artificial 'vanilla' I've come to expect from marshmallows. But it was different than the conventional brands, it's deeper and more distinct. But it isn't vanilla. It's 'vanilla'. It's a bit like how when you eat fruit flavored candy, you can identify 'cherry', 'grape', 'strawberry' and 'watermelon', as such, but it really isn't like biting into the fresh fruit. Vanilla in every candy is no different. I know what real vanilla tastes like, as does probably most level-headed people do. But real vanilla and 'vanilla' cater to two totally different things.

I'm considering going back to Tj Maxx this week, to buy more of these marshmallows.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Dirty Little Eating Secret

You know how the food you eat as a child don't always taste as good when you get older? Some stuff is like that for me: Chicken Mcnuggets, Cadbury Creme eggs....other things I can't recall. I remind you of my shameful little secret here .

Yes. I did make my rice bowl. My mother had made Crispy chicken, my top ten in favorite foods, for dinner on Monday....But we were low on ketchup.

The chicken was great, and I was thinking about leftovers. Then it hit me. My dirty little secret eating habit: Rice, corn, chicken and ketchup. How would I hide this, you wonder?
I remembered how early I wake up for work, and it clicked. Who the hell would know what I ate that day? Duh! Eat it in the morning!

The next day, I went to work a few minutes early to allow time to quickly eat. I heated up the tubberwear, eagerly waiting,wondering if it would taste as good as it used to.

Let me tell did. With that first mouthful, it was as good as I remember it. My palette was not above eating weird dishes of my childhood. I scarfed it down, torn between 'enjoying' and 'getting to work before too much time went by'

So my readers, some things really ARE as good as you remember. So I encourage you to eat that weird food combination so loved by yourself as a child that has been

Friday, September 19, 2008


My blog is disorganized. I know. I'll work on it when I have the time. I'm back at work, and we've been BUSY! So I'm tired. I'll fix this soon for the 4 people who read this blog (which I deeply appreciate, even if it is only a few of you)


Just wanted to say sorry if this blog doesn't meet your expectations (and that came out sounding rude, so I'm sorry again). I promise one day I will be much more precise and careful about how I type. If you'd like a list of REAL blogs (since mine is pathetically amateur), here they are. I read these daily and I find something of value in all of them, in their own special ways. =)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Skipping Over Long Recovery Post and Moving Onto.....

My infection. Yes. I got an infection. A week or so after my appendix had been taken out. (I refer you to here to catch you up ) A particularly nasty one, actually. To me at least.

I was feeling pretty great Thursday. I was up and about and felt pretty fine. Friday I went to into town, just to get out of the house, but not too far away. I went home, I made lunch, I cleaned my room and even showered (if anyone has had their appendix out or a similar surgery, you know what a small victory this is- to get up, walk and stand long enough to shower). I felt like I could go out the next day and go to work for a few hours on Tuesday.

But my body had other plans. That Friday my side felt sore and tender, it was a bit pink. I didn't really think anything of it. Maybe I over did it the other day, maybe I slept it wrong by accident. I told my mother, who thought it looked pink and wanted to go to the ER. But since I felt fine and was just a bit tender, I didn't think there was much that can be done. I figured they'd look at it, tell me to take it easy, and send me home. And since my insurance would probably just slide under as it was, I didn't want to push it with another ER visit.. But I'd keep on eye on it.

So that night I didn't sleep great. When I woke up I felt stiff and sore. And awful. My mother wanted to go to the ER...I didn't (I'm so stupid!!!!!!!!! >.<) But we negotiated down to a Doctor's visit. The on-call doctor prescribed antibiotics on the phone, and I spent several hours watching a marathon of House in the dark of my room, trying to lay comfortably. The antibiotics either didn't do much, or made me feel worse. I just felt crappy. It hurt to walk, roll over or move too much. I didn't feel this lousy since the day I was out of surgery.

By dinner time I managed to crawl downstairs and eat a few bites of pasta, still laying down. I felt horrible, still in pain. I watched "Uptown Girls" feeling miserable, by 9, I crawled back up to my room and finished watching the movie, feeling wretched, and teary. I was still in pain: nausea, tenderness, soreness,elevated temperature, headache since before I took the antibiotics, I was tired. I just felt awful and I couldn't take it.

I figured these were all side effects from the pills (which were many), and I was just overtired and recovering. Along with the infection. So I really didn't think that it was too big a problem. I figured this was how it was supposed to go and I'd feel much better once I had 24 hours of pills in me. Somehow I managed to doze off. I woke up, feeling much, much worse. It took me forever to get the will to sloth myself out of bed and into the bathroom, where I felt disgustingly nauseous. I got back out of the bathroom, and my parents asked me if I was alright, which I wasn't. My mother took my temperature, brought up tea and toast, which I could scarcely nibble, and we waited. I had a fever- 101.7. Crap. And hour later, at about 3 am, my mother took me to the ER, we were admitted quickly and I found myself in an ER bed, getting three vials of blood drawn and on some pretty amazing heavy duty IV drip pain killers. Not Sit-com hospital stay heavy duty (You've seen it. The protagonist gets their tonsils or appendix taken out and they have this "hilarious" bit of song singing or love confessions) , but it made me feel pretty good. They sent me to to ultra sound, and back down to drink awful contrast, and up two hours later for a CAT scan, which confirmed an abscess. The ER doc explained it to me, and it made me feel better. Something like a surgery. I had the impression that I'd be put under again, put into ER for about a 30 minute procedure, and everything would be fine. I was admitted to the hospital. Again.

I was numb with misery. I managed to doze uncomfortably on and off, it took me half and hour to get the will to get up and use the bathroom. I felt like I did a day or two after my last surgery. The doctor who prescribed my antibiotics came in and spoke to me, about what was going to happen. He gave me the idea this was no big deal, I'd be heavily drugged and it wouldn't "hurt", as in, yes, it would hurt a bit, but it'd be okay( lying bastard). So, fine. I'd rather have been in the OR, under, and in no pain, but I guess this would do. But I've been wrong before. The Physician's assistants came in and also insured me it would be okay(because girls around my age have given me SO many reasons to trust them in the past). What ensued at about 12:30 that day was so disturbing, traumatic, excruciatingly painful, that excruciatingly painful, that I can't.....I can't type, let alone relive them in my mind ever again....I'm thoroughly traumatized, shell shocked and whatever textbook word you can come up with.

I screamed, I sobbed, nearly hyperventilated, begging them to stop, telling them I can't go on, that I was scared, hurting. I've NEVER in my entire life have had pain that has made me scream like that. Or sob like that.

I can't go over the details. I don't want to think about it. All I can tell you was my stitches were reopen, bedside and a scalpel was used to open me a bit more. My abscess was drained and gauze was out inside me. My wound remains open, but covered.

It was horrific. I wish they knocked me out. I wish I had surgery. I wish it had gone DIFFERENTLY. This is 2008, not the Civil War.

I'm not exaggerating. Exaggerating is cheap writing and speech. I never knew pain where I screamed before. Begged. I was under a double dose of my pain killer (given with a needle, and not an iv or pill) but it didn't do anything. They had to stop to give me a break halfway through so I could sob and calm down...

........Anyway............after that I slowly felt better. By mid-afternoon I was able to drink water, various stages of watered down apple juice and ate graham crackers.

By evening, my mother came back with my sister, who came with her laptop and a gigantic fruit smoothie. They went to grab some dinner at the cafeteria, and brought me back some soup.

The rest of my stay was uneventful. I watched too much TV, dozed, received heavy IV antibiotics and got shots of pain meds. I had wonderful nurses and my own room on a floor that made me think I was in Geratrics. I got better and better and now I'm home. I wish, wish, wish that I had gone the hour I felt a tiny bit worse, when my infection was low, manageable, non-painful. Not 3 am Sunday morning, with a 24,000 white blood cell count (higher than what it was when I had appendix problems) and feeling awful.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Spent A Month There One Night, Part Two

Warning! there's a picture of my scar at the end. It isn't graphic or disgusting,but if you don't want to see my stomach, then I'd be careful.

A transport came to wheel me up to surgery a bit after 9. I begged my nurse to let me go to the bathroom before that happened, and lucky for me, she seemed pleased that I even thought to think to use the bathroom...but how could I not? I was so pumped full of fluid I'd probably be going till the next morning....

Anyway, so after that was taken care of, I gingerly slid back onto the bed, and my parents, whom I must admit had been getting on my nerves slightly,( my mother had been fussy all night, and my dad was on my case about work medical insurance- which working at a small business, most normal people have the understanding and common sense it wont happen, but my dad seemed to be too...optimistic...or do I mean 'pushy'?) came with me. I had been hoping I'd take care of the rest of this myself.

I went slowly through hallways, and into an elevator, which a elderly man who looked like he worked there, asked me if I was nervous, which I gave him a friendly reply of "Nope, not really." my mother added I was more anxious "Yeah, about missing work." I thought.

They brought me into a new section, and I saw someone who looked familiar, who turned out to be my aunt's sister, who seemed very surprised to see me. And then I was into a room to speak to the anesthesiologist, an older guy who had a German accent. He briefed me, and left me with my parents till the surgeon came. A nurse came in, and helped me take off my earrings and get my stuff together. "Is your bra on?" She asked. I gave her a guilty look. "Yes." I said, and struggled to take it off, which I made into a much more difficult process than necessary. "Is your underwear off?" Another guilty look, and an indignant (and silly) exclamation of "My underwear too!?" So now I was pretty much nude in a hospital gown, waiting to be sliced open.

Finally, the surgeon came, and I was parted with my parents. I felt oddly calm as we went down the hall. She chatted me up about the bakery, and what I did there, and I felt I was being very well behaved and calm, like this was just another day at the hospital.
They put me into a bright white room and I looked around with curiosity. People were around, lights above me, a operating table, standard stuff.

They put me right up to the table and scooted me on, I tried to simultaneously move my IV'd arm onto something next to me, figure out what to do with my other arm, and keep whatever dignity I could muster in a thin gown intact.

They began to slide these cuffs on my legs and I was introduced to people who would be assisting my surgery..who's official terms I can't recall.

"Oh wow! You have Cafe au lait spots!" the girl exclaimed, fascinated (as if she'd never seen one before, which is true for most people, even in hospitals, probably) touching one on my calf. "It's a coffee color with softer skin!" I was taken by surprise, and had no other response but "Yeah, I do!" How socially awkward. But I was about to get surgery, so I think it's the best I could do.

That's the last thing I remember. That was slick and terrbily clever....distracting me with my spots while they drugged me up.

The next thing I know, I'm gasping, dry throated, with an oxygen mask half off my mouth, while many voices called "Jennifer! Jennifer!" Ugh. What? I'm in pain and trying to sleep! My eyes slid open with immense effort, and I'm in a yellow room, with monitors, and other people around me. I groan again, and my eyes heavily slid shut. "Jennifer!" They call again insistently. "What!?" I think.

I'm hurting, my throat is dry, and I'm tired. I struggle with my oxygen mask, pushing it off my face. I can breathe just fine. I don't need a mask. I don't remember if the nurse tries to put it back on, but I push it off again. Then a comment is made about putting in ones for my nose, which I guess I could settle with. I gasp, raspy and hurting. Surgery sucks. My only coherent thoughts were "What the hell is going on here? When can I get drugged and when can I sleep?"

I decide the nose plugs simply will not do, and push them off. The nurse, firmly, sternly, but kindly, tells me they need to stay in. I groan, feeling difficult. She asks what's wrong. I don't remember if I asked for water or pain killers first.

But I remember ice chips, and later, (what an embarrassing thing I'm about to admit) I get some kind of pain shot in a fleshy area. And I don't even care! Moon me to whoever the hell you want for all I care! But for the love of God, drug me up enough to make this pain go away! I feel difficult. I note the time, which is sometime after noon, and take note of people around me. Some kinda good looking guy in some kind of blue scrubs and a clip board-who I remember seeing being wheeled in before, an old person near by also in recovery, nurses in bright scrubs.

They wheel me out into the hallway, I think I saw my parents at some point, and they take me (I think) in an elevator going up, and wheel into what I thought read "Pediatrics"

"What?" I think to myself, "I'm 22-years old, do they know that?" But it sounded calm and quiet. I'm almost all the way down the hall and into a room with a bed, in which I have to get onto myself, they tell me.
"Nooo." I rasp and whine, feeling difficult again "I don't want to move." But they insisted. So slowly inching, I got onto a bed, and was able to not move. A nurse came in, Nurse Mellisa, who asked me a lot of standard questions, and told me if I needed anything to buzz, how often she'd be in to check vitals (which she did as she talked) and put on the pressure leg cuffs on me again. I again fought the oxygen plug, and Mellisa finally pulled it off of me. She left and I was alone with my mother. I don't really remember what was said other than how I felt. She also mentioned going home for a bit, which I insisted on. I just wanted to sleep anyway. Not even TV was luring enough.

I dozed on and off, and my mother left around three. I kept dozing, Dr. Phil or King of the Hill not even being enough to keep me awake, and I woke up again. "Crap" I thought, "I need to PEE." Crap. I considered my options (trying to get up on my own, buzz the nurse, or hold out till the nurse gets back), and finally buzzed the nurse. Who came on intercom and I asked her if I "Could please use the bathroom." She came in, and helped me out of bed and into the bathroom, and saintly gave me my privacy. I honestly can say that I don't remember needing to pee this much this often in my entire life as I did during my hospital stay.

When I finally got myself out, Mellisa was there to help me. I sheepishly asked her if I could please put on some underwear, which she let me, and helped me get back into bed. I dozed on and off for about 20 minute intervals for the next several hours, waking for vitals, water and lame attempts at tv.

When my mother came, she made me attempt to eat, which I really didn't want to, but tried Italian ice, saltines and graham crackers.

The rest of my night is more of the same:dozing, getting up to pee, nausea, pain, and attempts to eat and drink.

I felt lousy, even on medication. I was surprised I wasn't doped up and loopy (and why wasn't I? I hear that stuff is great). I texted and called my boyfriend now and then, to see what was up and when he'd be here, and was pleased to hear he managed to catch and early train. He'd be here by 8:00.

He came to visit, along with my brother and father, and stayed for a bit. It was nice to see him. He didn't say much, but it just felt nice to have him there. He didn't stay very long, which i wish he did, but about the time he left I needed to use the bathroom, again.

The night was the same cycle. I'd sleep for 90 minutes, wake up, use the bathroom, slide into bed, get pain pills and repeat. It was horribly inconvenient. I had to wake up my mother every time and needed her help unplugging the iv and bringing it in with me. I only threw up once or twice the entire night, and it was all water, luckily, so it wasn't too bad.

I finally woke up at about 5 or 6. And knew that I was done sleeping for the night. My mother was up too. I spent some time watching Family Matters before switching to my book on tape on my ipod. I managed to eat yogurt, cherry Italian ice, and apple juice. The new nurse who came in thought that was a very good sign.

Eventually, my iv was pulled out, and I put on real clothes and deodorant, and brush my hair. I felt "better" in the sense that I wasn't groggy or in intense pain. I would be discharged soon and home by noon.

While we waited, we watched "I love Lucy" and made a few attempts at walking up and down the hallway. Which made me exhausted.

When the surgeon came in, I was apprehensive, but ready to go home. She checked out my scar, and told me what I can and can't do, when to make an appointment for a check up and to keep watch on certain other things.

Then she had to take out my iv. Which meant she had to pull the loads of tape that had been on since 2 am the previous day. This is where I was most childish and difficult, shamefully. I wouldn't let her! It HURT! I insisted that I do it, but finally she took it over, leaving me to wince and wither in pain.

I finally got to sink into a wheel chair and start to go home. My mother ran me right into a door frame. x.x I tried to wheel myself around my room before we left, but that movement alone made me sick to my stomach, so I let my mother steer.

My brother and boyfriend eventually pulled up and I eased myself into the front seat and we were on the way home, I was ready to lay downstairs and simply not move for a very long time.

All in all I thought I was a very well behaved patient. I was calm and complacent. Told them everything they needed to know and did it without melting down or becoming too upset. I let them stick me with needles without flinching, crying or fighting. I was friendly, polite and chatty.

Don't get me wrong, the whole experience was bizarre, but not all together "terrible"....well, it was. The pain and nausea was unbearable at times, but I'm alive and healing, and there are worse reasons to be in the hospital.
Recovery time is coming up, sooner or later.

EDIT> I got an infection.