Happy 17th Baby Girl!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Today, on your 17th birthday.
A day we thought would never come.

Alas, a day we thought we'd never survive to see...


I was certain, after carrying you for nine months, that life wouldn't be boring. My first pregnancy was so easy and quiet, but not you! You kicked and screamed whilst still in the womb! Oh yes, we always knew that it would be you, and not the sweet Hermit, who would be the nail in our coffin, the signer of the old person's home commitment form.

We salute you...


the only baby who could work a onesie. You,
oh giver of endless grief

holder of the title of loudest screaming banshee,


lover of apple jammies and

current resident of the nastiest bedroom.


You, oh chewer of books, lover of all things ironic, beacon of hope.

Happy 17th

We love you. :)


Creamy Gluten-Free Broccoli Soup

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Jessie continues to do well. She didn't miss a beat after returning from Virginia and was practically non-stop this past weekend. I know that statistically adolescents have a higher recovery rate from CFS so we're holding our breath and hoping that her condition continues to improve.

Her daily does of Lyrica will be reduced by half beginning tomorrow. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted as we progress.

On to a yummy topic!

I used this Broccoli Soup recipe from Foodnetwork.com once before and it was a success. We'll be having it again tonight. It's easy and delicious. Of course, I substitute the all purpose flour with gluten-free and use gluten-free chicken broth. My tweaks also include changing the cream to fat-free half & half, adding an extra carrot, and this time I'm going to sneak a handful of spinach into the mixture. Hey, it's already green and whatever it takes to get the healthy foods in, right? I also don't add the croutons. We just add a little shredded cheese.

Now, I just wish I had one of those immersion blenders. It's on my wish list. As it stands, I gradually puree the soup in my blender, saving a small portion (maybe 1/5) chunky. If you use the blender, be sure to only fill the blender halfway because the heat will cause pressure and, well, you would be in for a mell-of-a-hess, if you know what I mean. POW!

*Image from foodnetwork.com


The Good, The Bad, and The...

Friday, January 22, 2010

{ Diet Killer }

The Good: I found out that the cake last night was originally from Jessie's most beloved Williams-Sonoma Mastering Cakes, Fillings, & Frostings. I've cursed that book ever since Santa brought it to her several years ago - well before the celiac episode. Anyway, it's called Orange Chiffon cake and, yes, it is delicious.

Jessie went to the mall with a friend this evening and my plan is to divide the cursedly high-calorie cake and stash it in the freezer - a.k.a. never-never land.

The Bad: I held her down, pried, tickled, and practically beat the kid. Do you know what she told me? She winged the recipe from the seat of her pants. Apparently, she'll need to bake it again to determine the actual substitutions. Egad. Anyway, she substituted the flour with white and brown rice flour, tapioca flour, and xanthum gum. I was in the other room and did not see a thing. So what I promised, I cannot deliver until a later date.

I have to say that this is without a doubt, her most successful transformation to date. The cake tastes EXACTLY like it did when it was full to the brim of glutenous bad stuff. Even today, it was still moist and light. It has a great spongy texture. Yeah, I'll get the recipe and pass it on - some - day. :(

Sorry the photo is terrible. I had to take it with my camera phone. Jessie seems to have lost the camera charger at the moment. Sometimes don't you just want to...? Oh, never mind.

Have a great Friday night.


Traveling & Orange Cakes

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We traveled from last Thursday through Tuesday of this week, and as always, it took me two days to recover from the trip. Jessie, oddly enough, is doing just fine. She's not sleeping very well. But as most of you sufferers know, it's par for the course. Tonight, if I have to literally hold her down and pry her mouth open, I'm going to make her take some melatonin to get the ball rolling.

Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to post a recipe for a cake that Jes made late this afternoon. I've only tasted it but I'm fairly certain that it's going to ruin any semblance of a diet we had going here.

If you haven't been keeping up with the blog from the beginning, you may not be aware that Jes is a natural baker. I now believe that baking is a God-given talent that some people are just born with. Me - not so much. I'm sure that the talent for cooking skipped a generation and landed on her.

ANYWAY, she adapted a recipe for an orange pound cake. Actually, I don't think it's a pound cake. It's lighter than a pound cake, but not as light as angel food. (told you I'm not a baker). She adapted it to be gluten-free, which isn't easy. Truly, it's utterly delicious. First, I'll have to pin her down and get her to pencil her substitutions into the Williams-Sonoma cookbook, THEN I'll happily pass it along to our gluten-free friends.


Chicken Satay Stir Fry

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I adapted this from a Rachel Ray recipe on Food Network. It will be a new staple for us because it was dee-lish! Try it out

This is not copied exactly from Foodnetwork.com. I changed up a few things.
What's below is my adaptation. Go to the link for the actual recipe. You could really change up the vegetables to suit your taste, we did. The main thing is the satay sauce.

Chicken Satay Stir-Fry with Orange Scented Jasmine Rice

3 3/4 c. water
2 oranges, zested
2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed

Stir Fry:
2 tbs. canola oil
1 pkg. (about 1.3 lb.) chicken breast tenders, sliced into bite-sized pieces
3 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 bunch fresh broccoli
about 4-5 baby portabello mushrooms, rough chopped

*The original recipe uses onion, peppers, carrots, garlic, snow peas, & scallions.

4 rounded tbs. peanut butter
3 tbs. GF soy sauce
3 tbs. honey
1" of ginger root, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 orange, juiced

*As the sauce warms, it thickens. You will probably want to add a little water to thin.

chopped peanuts

Heat water with orange zest to boiling. Add rice, return to boil, stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook rice until tender, about 18 minutes. Fluff with fork.

For stir-fry, heat a large skillet to high heat. Add oil, chicken, garlic, and onion. Stir fry for 3 minutes. Add remaining veggies and stir-fry 5 minutes more.

Heat the ingredients for the sauce under low heat in a small saucepan, whisking to combine.

When ready to serve, I added the sauce directly to the stir-fry pan.




Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Jessie went for a six month check today with her primary care physician and the report was good. She hasn't gained too much weight from the Florinef and, as you know, is becoming much more active. We're going to try to wean her at a snail's pace from the Lyrica over the next 12 months. The general consensus is that she will be on Florinef and Pamelor for an eternity, but she may be fine without the Lyrica.

We won't begin the weaning process for another few weeks because we're heading back to Virginia this week for five days and she always overdoes it a bit when she's around friends. We'll wait until her system has a chance to level off after the trip. If she lowers her dose now, we won't know if the side effect is from that or from playing too hard. So it's best to wait. After that, I'm going to decrease the Lyrica from 25mg twice a day to only once at night. If that goes well, we'll see about reducing it a little more after six months at that dosage. It sounds like so little, but we're both very excited to try it.

The doctor asked what we are planning for Jessie's education next fall. I think that the way this has worked out (junior year at home online), a slow transition back will be easiest. She'll only need one more high school credit her senior year and there's a university about 20 minutes away. If we're lucky, she can pick up a few credits there on a part-time basis. That will give us a decent indication as to whether or not full-time college is within her reach.

It's overkill, I know, but as I said, we're going back to Virginia on Thursday for a long weekend. I'll be house/pet sitting. Wes is living there now and we will get to see him. I'm not only weaning Jessie from a medication, but Jeff and I are being weaned from our son. How's it going? I'm okay, Jeff's not so great. He misses his buddy.

I'm holding my breath right now, though, because we may have to buy a car for him. He HAS to have a car and his truck, which is about to cross the 200K mark, is making seriously scary noises. AGHH! I hope it's not too costly because at this point, you don't want to sink $1000 into an already old truck. I guess, as with everything else, I'll count our blessings and cross that bridge if we come to it, right? Right.


Tired With Tea

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Strange title, huh?

Just thought I'd offer my favorite winter-time tea recipe for you to enjoy. My dad made it when I was a little girl and I've loved it ever since. Everybody's heard of Russian Tea, but this is the real deal, in my humble opinion.

Oh, I was a little off with my optimism. Jessie has required a massive amount of sleep over the past couple of days. But other than being entirely too ornery, she seems to be plugging along. :)

Russian Tea
23 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
23 oz. unsweetened orange juice
8 oz. lemon juice
8 cups strongly brewed unsweetened tea
1 cup of sugar (to taste)
14 whole cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon

I like to heat it in a large pot on the stove to make the entire house smell delicious.



Back From the Holidays AND a Road Trip

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


It shouldn't come as a surprise to our regular readers that we've been on another road trip. My son, Wes (who moved back to Virginia to attend school - boohoo) and Jessie headed seven hours north after Christmas. After a week of "empty-nester-marital-bliss" I drove up to Charlotte on Sunday, spent the night with my mom, then met Jessie and a friend (who graciously offered to drive Jes to our usual halfway point - thank you very much friend).

The truly surprising thing is that other than being REALLY tired and needing a good night's rest, Jes was fine. She told me that she only had one instance of the dizzy head rush - aka orthostatic intolerance.

It amazes me that she has reached the point that she can spend eight days surrounded by teenage friends, constantly being on the go, and staying up into the wee hours of the morning. Any stranger would take one look at her and say that this girl is totally healthy.

Anyway, only her friends and I know that if she stopped taking her substantial amount of medication, a total relapse would occur and she would be confined to her bed or the sofa.

I thank God for her friends, who don't question that Jes sneaks rest periods in when no one is looking. I'm also thankful that she has friends who provide her with something salty when she's feeling light-headed, force her to slow down to watch a movie, and remind her to take her medication.

That's what friends are for, right?


My Pledge

Saturday, January 2, 2010


We won't even call this a New Year's Resolution because those never come true. Or is it that we never keep them? Whatever... this is not that.

I've not blogged here lately which is sad because my Living Chronically connections are probably the most important to me. So, here is my pledge.

(I'll bet you already know what it is.)

I'm going to be a better, more attentive writer.

Actually the reason I haven't written is that Jessie has been doing well - in the health department. Otherwise she's been a pill. But if you wanted to hear about that side of my dear daughter, you'd have to mosey over to my griping blog. Head's up - she's not called Jessie in that blog. Her initials are S.A. and that's all I'm saying about that.

In the spirit of the season, I'm posting our new favorite GLUTEN-FREE candy. It alone can be blamed for the additional 2-3 pounds I've packed on over the past two weeks.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Mounds of Healthy Stuff

1 Bag Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Bag Milk Chocolate Chips (because we can't be too healthy)
1 Bag Dried Cherries
1 Bag Whole Almonds

Toast the almonds then set aside to cool. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, then add the almonds and cherries. Line at least two cookie sheets with waxed paper and mound about one tablespoon of the stuff onto waxed paper. (We used two spoons to make it easier.)

Immediately put the cookie sheets in the refrigerator to cool.

Next, try to control yourself.

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