Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cabbage, Apple & Ginger Salad

When I worked at a pediatrician's office, my boss passed along this recipe. My new doctor said I should eat more cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower (they are estrogen inhibitors), so I was excited to recover my photocopy of this delicious salad out of my mess of a recipe binder. It's considered a detox salad, but I don't like to think about that... just taste and see for yourself.

Red Cabbage and Apple Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette
Laraine Perri, Health magazine, July 2008

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups packed shredded red cabbage
2 cups packed shredded Napa cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup golden raisins,plumed in hot water
1/4 cup toasted, unsalted sunflower seeds

Whisk together first five ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil, salt and pepper; set aside. Toss cabbages together in a large serving bowl. Toss apple slices with lemon juice to keep from browning. Add apple, raisins, and half of the sunflower seeds to the cabbages. Toss with the dressing. Garnish each serving with remaining seeds.

Nutrtiiton Notes:
*Cabbage is an estrogen inhibitor.
*Ginger improves circulation and has anti-inflammatory properties.
*Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium which, among other things, helps strengthen bones and calm one's nerves.

Monday, February 07, 2011

USA: I'm Just Another Woman in the Rising Statistics of Stress and Food Intolerance

I thought I was ready for this. Turning my head left, I glimpse what response is on Ron's face. He is generally a cynical man and my bull-shit detector because I believe in the best of everyone. However, I am not believing the best today. Ron appears unphased, and so I look forward again at the doctor.

She rambles on about wheat, magnesium-deficiency and the disaster of soy, but all I can think is "Why is perfectly natural stone ground wheat a detriment to my diet? People have been eating this for thousands of years, and I eat the good kind, not the processed kind!" I'm the one that needs help, though, and that's why I'm here. After years of fighting this on my own, and with some success, sickness has ultimately conquered.

I am scared mostly by what this new diet she is describing will mean for my social life. In the past I tried some pretty rigorous diets that left me feeling alienated and starving at family and social gatherings. Often I was criticized for being too skinny, but I just didn't want to hurt anymore. In the end I found hardly any consistent links, so I didn't want to put myself through any more than I absolutely had to. Eating a balanced diet should be good enough, right? I mean, maybe I'd created this illness in my head.

The doctor tosses me so much information out that I can hardly process it all. I feel like an amateur juggler being thrown a new object every couple minutes. Not just balls but objects of different shapes and sizes that all somehow relate, but I won't know how until I smooth out my technique. I can see she senses my fear and uncertainty, but she is confident in her advice and continues talking.

"Why don't you get your notepad and write this stuff down, honey?" Ron encourages. "Oh, uh, yeah," I stutter and begin jotting down advice. Something about stress, inflammation, estrogen, the supplements I need, the books I should read.

"Well, let's take a look at you. Have a seat in this chair," she says. She checks my skin, face, hair, nails, hand, feet, stomach; she really looks at me and tells me what she sees.

"Now let's look at your blood." The doctor motions us up, and Ron and I follow her lean 5' 10" frame across the faded jungle green carpet, past her multitude of certifications hanging slanted on the wall, through the lab and into a tiny hallway/room where the microscope sits on a table against a wallpaper of patient files. She pricks my ear, swipes it with a half inch square sheet of plastic and places it between two slides under the eyeglass.

She shows me everything, the inflammation, magnesium and zinc deficiencies, signs of stress. I appreciate this. Any doctor who has taken my blood before just checked levels, and they certainly didn't explain the process of detection.

By the time I leave her office, it's been two and a half hours she spent with me, more than I paid for and more than I ever got from a primary care physician. At the front desk the receptionist hands me seven sheets of printouts on what the doctor and I went over. He encourages me to maintain weekly email updates so that I don't have to come in as often. "I want to check that blood again once the wheat is out of your system!" the doctor hollers from the back.

I bundle up and tip-toe across the icy parking lot to my car. Ron has left early to got to work, so I am left alone with a mixture of hope, bewilderment and fear as I turn the ignition. I must learn to meditate. I must train my brain to enjoy broccoli. No more Saturday pancakes. No more sandwiches. No more smoothies with bananas and soy milk. No more corn. No more crackers when under attack. How will Ron and I ever share a meal again? I hate eating separate dinners. I want to cry, but if this plan works it will be worth it. I can do this, I tell myself. I can do this again.

On the way home I stop at Wendy's but I don't tell Ron that's why I'm not hungry for dinner. It is my last "Stick it!" to a stomach that attacks me under the influence of both healthy and unhealthy foods. This better be damn good year.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ribbon Flowers

This year I'm getting married. It could be no other way that I would hand-make as many things as possible. I am designing my dress, and my mother is making it. She will also make my cake. I'm making the invitations. I'm thrifting a great number of other things. I may even make the candles. And yes, I will also make the flowers. The idea of ribbon and fabric flowers disgusted me at first. Dirty-pink-old-woman-curtain-looking things came to mind. Ugh. But then I saw these. I fell in love. I HAD to make them.

I don't usually do the crafty sort of thing with needle and thread, but I've done some sewing in my time and thought this shouldn't be so hard. Well, many many many attempts later, I have what looks like a decent ribbon flower. My technique needs refined, particularly with folding consistent petals, but I'm proud.

Notes to self:
Don't use shiny ribbon - it doesn't hold! It just slides around.
Use strong enough thread. Many of my flowers could have been saved if not for weak thread.
Make small folds in the ribbon, or your petals will be flimsy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wedding Quilt

I'm terribly excited about the quilt my soon-to-be mother-in-law is working on as a wedding gift for Ron and I. She was kind
enough to let me have my input, so I sent her a draft and she reworked it to fit a queen size. She (Gail) is also posting her progress as she goes on her blog Sip and Sew. Oh, goody!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Lemony Shrimp with White Beans

This is one of my favorite meals. It's simple to prepare, has minimal ingredients and yet the flavor is well- balanced. I got it from Real Simple, only modifying it from using butter to olive oil and swapping the couscous for jasmine rice. Serve it with a vegetable or salad for a full meal.


1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (or use frozen salad shrimp)
1 can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 ¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and scallions; cook 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until they begin to turn pink. Stir in beans, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cook until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Serve over rice.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Gourmet Grilled Cheese

My fiancĂ© has this goal to plan out all the places we eat when we travel. He figures it’s a waste of time eating the same old cheap fast food junk when we can forge new experiences and broaden our tastes. For example, yes, it may be a routine drive home from the holidays with his parents, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few minutes to enjoy a meal we’re proud to say we ate. I completely agree. So in Cleveland we stopped, and thanks to UrbanSpoon we had a lunch we’ll never forget.

What was so great about Melt Bar & Grilled was their a) reasonable prices b) extensive selection c) fresh, and quality ingredients d) casual and lively atmosphere e) menu options for both our tastes. Oh, yeah, and rethink everything you knew about grilled cheese.

a) Seriously. For my insanely awesome veggie burger plate complete with house-baked bread, slaw and a mound of fresh-cut fries, $8 is a steal.

b) I promise you’ll find something to suite your palate. And if you thought fried Twinkies was only for the fair, you’re officially wrong. Also, we rarely do alcohol, but if you like beer with your grilled cheese, they have a huge and not-your-ordinary selection.

c) Yes, they make their own dressings and sauces, including the chipotle tofu mayo that was slathered on my sourdough.

d) Friendly servers? Check. Spacious dining? Check. A Christmas Story lamp? Check.

e) Boy can have his meat and cheese. Girl has vegetarian (and vegan!) options. It’s a win-win.

Wanna see their menu? Click here.

2 locations: East & West

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Morning

Every Christmas proves to be a showcase for the year's best in crafting, and this December 25th was no different. My sister, Josey, finally finished my 2-year-in-waiting quilt, Mom crocheted a cozy, beautiful hat and scarf for Miranda, and Mom also made baby Scotlynn's first doll. Runner-up crafts were Josey's home-made candles and my usual jewelry-making. Miranda began knitting this year, and although she didn't make anything for family members, I can testify to a gorgeous scarf she made for a friend.

The number of presents under our tree grows so much every year because we keep adding in number to our family. There is no greater blessing to me than a big family. Baby Scotlynn is the newest addition, as she was born in October, and my fiance joined us for the first time, too.

"Holly", Scotlynn's new doll.

Miranda's hat and scarf.

My finally finished quilt - it ties for favorite gift along with my tea set.