Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Catching up - it's what I do...

Once again, here I am apologizing for my lack of posts. A huge part of the reason for this is that there is so much going on in our lives that I cannot share publicly. Yet. Next week I'll be at liberty to open the doors on the last two years. Yep, two years. It's been a long and winding road, with more than a few hairpin turns and cliffhangers.

Looking back, I'm stunned at just how much has happened. I've shared with you the frightening health issues we've faced - my mother in law and sister in law with cancer (both now cancer-free and thriving!), my husband with his mass and subsequent surgery and tests (benign!). We've lost loved family members and friends. We lost our sweet Sadie. Dreams have died - while I didn't share publicly - we had found a wonderful property in Colorado that would be our family retreat, and my husband and I's legacy to our children. 80+ acres of glorious hills, trees, streams and ponds. Two residences, including one that could (after a bit of renovating) sleep the entire family including all my future grandkids, lol.  Everything about it was perfect. Until it wasn't. Not once but twice, the property fell out of escrow. In the end, it cost us too much, financially and emotionally, and we made the decision to walk away. So hard to let go.

Professionally, as you've seen on the blog, I have had to slow way down. The demands of our circumstances have taken precedence over anything else. While I do plan to resurrect the newsletter, and simply do more, that time is still a bit off. Nearly every bit of my energy right now is going into my family. That said, I haven't been completely standing still.  Within the next months there is a HUGE addition coming to Recipe For Fitness. A whole new area of service that I'm really excited about.

At home, we're settling into our new routines. Our son-in-law is deployed, and Shiloh and Bear have moved back home. Loki is thrilled with his new playmate, but Hunter and Bear are still deciding who is alpha, lol.  We love having Shi here, and can't wait for the time when the kids permanently move back to Arizona. We'll have all of our chicks close again. Though, Joey is threatening to move to Alaska, lol. He runs the out of state jobs at hubby's company and recently spent time just outside of Anchorage. He absolutely fell in love with it.

The hubby and I are STILL waiting for our camper. I am unclear on why it's taking a month for them to replace a countertop, but I've been banned from handling the matter. Evidently Bill doesn't want to have to bail me out of jail. Pfft. In the meantime, we've booked a couple trips - for my birthday we are returning to our beloved Colorado. Mountain air, hot springs, fire pits and red wine. Hell YES! Really, really looking forward to some couple time. Then in November, we're heading out to Las Vegas to see Santana at the House of Blues. Yay!!!!! Can't wait!!!

In the meantime, I'm gearing up for my fall garden. Woohoo! I've still got two thriving eggplant bushes, plus my insane basil. Sunday I winterized the asparagus beds, and started prepping the other beds for the next season. I can't wait to get my hands in the dirt again! It's such amazing therapy.

Well, there you go. That's my update.
I hope all is well in your world.

Monday, September 12, 2016

I'm still here - I promise!!!

Wow! Can't believe it's been so long since I've posted. Crazy! I'm sorry.

The heat has wrought pure havoc on my garden - though the sweet basil and lemon basil continue to grow wild. It's great!! I haven't had to buy basil at the market since spring! Woot!! This week we're finally enjoying temps below the 100's... but it won't last. Next week is supposed to jump up again. I can't wait for it to cool off enough to start planting my fall garden.

From the kids' last visit - there's actually
3 dogs there. Lol! Bear, Hunter and Loki.
This week, though, is more of the crazy. Lol.  Today and tomorrow are stacked with my continuing education course, attempts at gluten free baking, recipe development research, household rearranging, and packing. This morning our son-in-law shipped out for deployment. We'll miss him so much! Our daughter is finishing up her packing, then Wednesday morning we head to California to load her up and bring her home. While it'll be nice to have her close by, I'm sure she'd rather have her hubby. Lol. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes Bear (her lab) to adjust to living with (not just visiting) our Hunter and Loki.

On the personal health front - I've got a fabulous new doctor - a Naturopath, and I'm thrilled. My former doctor just wasn't cutting it with this menopause crap. My first appointment, the new doc sat with me for over an hour - asking questions, explaining treatments. He called me by name throughout. I cried. Finally someone in the medical field was actually listening to me! He ran a ton of bloodwork, and asked if I was ok with making immediate changes to my drug protocol while we wait for the results... Oh, you mean the ones that aren't working???Ummmm, YES!! He pulled me off the drugs the previous doc had me on right then and there. I went home with hope, a shot in the butt, and a new protocol. Within 48 hours the night sweats were gone. Within the next 24 hours the low grade headache I've had for months was gone. Wow!

Once my bloodwork came back, he spent another hour with me going over it. Incredible!! We're working together to restore my health using a whole-life approach and I love it! I am so looking forward to feeling good again! It's such a relief to know that the wonkiness in my life isn't just "me" - it's a direct result of my hormones being out of whack. And we're fixing it. I'm so grateful! If you're in the phoenix metro area, and looking for a doctor who actually cares, check out Protea Medical Center in Chandler - Dr. McCarthy. You will NOT be disappointed!

Currently, my treatment includes a T-shot once a week (combination of testosterone and estrogen), and a daily progesterone sublingual and a thyroid pill. We're watching my bloodwork and adjusting as we go. Additionally, he suspects a correlation between my joint flare ups and gluten - so I'm on a 30 day gluten-free diet. I've been GF before, but for some reason it's particularly challenging this time. I don't know what my deal is but it's been rough. Weird.

So, being me, I'm doing a ton of research and testing. Today I managed to create some banana chocolate chip muffins that are TASTY, high protein and GF. Next time, I'll add another mashed banana, just to make that flavor stronger, but the experiment was a success!! Next up is my first attempt at making artisan GF bread. Hopefully it'll knock this insane craving I've had for french bread. Lol.

In other news... The hubby and I recently made the decision to invest in a camper and ATV. We wanted the ability to take off on whim - with the dogs.  We both have a love of camping, though haven't done any in years. The idea of a toyhauler was especially appealing - we could load the ATV right in and hit the road - and be able to get around wherever we go. Plus with the smaller set up, we wouldn't need to upgrade Bill's truck (an expense we don't want right now).

We did tons of research (of course, lol), shopped and shopped, and finally made our choice. We carefully examined the specs for each and it was perfect! The Can-Am (street legal) would fit just right into the Forest River toyhauler (little one). So... we did the deal. Picked up the trailer, headed over to load up the Can-Am and BOOOOOOO. No joy. It seriously didn't fit. Not by a little... by a LOT. Turns out our trailer has an upgraded cabinet tower that isn't listed on the spec sheet. Crap. Much scratching of heads, a lot more cussing, and finally the good folks at the dealership said they'll figure it out. So we dropped it all off with them and let their team scratch their heads and swear. Lol.  They did indeed figure it out and we are currently waiting on a new countertop - then we'll be ready to go.

They sent me a pic of the ATV inside the trailer so we know it really fits now. Lol!
Like I said, we got the little trailer, lol.  But it's just perfect for us. Bill and I and the pups can head out into the wilderness - hike, play, fish, whatever! It can actually sleep 6, but we've told all the kids it only sleeps 2, haha! You'll keep my secret, right? ;-)

We've already scouted out our first campsite - not too far from home, but up in the pine & aspens. Can't wait!!
There's our setup! Woohoo! 

Ok - I've got to get back to my studies. What's the subject of my new certification? Well, let's just say I know more about sperm than I ever thought there was to know. LOL!!

And if you were interested... Here's the muffin recipe....

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (GF)
makes 6 muffins

1 cup Glutino GF Muffin flour
2 mashed ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 c greek yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c Enjoy Life (df) mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees & spray your muffin pan
In a medium bowl, mash bananas. Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla and mix well.
Add flour and mix well.
Add chocolate chips and mix.
Pour into muffin tin and bake 15-18 minutes. They're done when you can insert a sharp knife and pull it out clean.
Allow to cool 5-10 minutes.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Welcome to the Surface of the Sun...

Happy Monday! I don't much care for Mondays, but that doesn't stop them from coming. It's been a pretty typical one, with me making lists, goals, and plans - then getting to round-about-3pm and realizing there 'aint no way I'm getting this all done. Lol. Like I said, typical.

Hope ya'll are staying cool. We've been running the AC like crazy. I don't even want to think about the bill. Our area has had way too many triple digit days and there's no end in sight. Haven't even had a good monsoon yet. People like to say, "oh, but it's a dry heat, right?". Sure. Sure it is. Dry heat like opening the oven door when it's set on broil - you know, singe your eyebrows and nose hair kinda heat. But yeah, it's dry. Lol.

Recipes around here lately have been pretty simple - light & fresh meals that can be put together in a snap. It's too darn hot for anything else. Mostly salad based dinners... topped with rotisserie chicken and chopped veggies, or taco meat and black beans... that kind of thing. Tonight's dinner is a twist on the recipe I shared last week - Summer Steak Tart. I'm swapping out the steak for rotisserie chicken, exchanging the feta for manchego and pecorino cheeses. I'll share the results tonight.

One thing I've had a serious hankering for lately is spaghetti squash. Haven't seen any in my local stores. And the ones I planted have stubbornly refused to bear fruit. Buggers. Speaking of my garden...

It's summer. And it's hot. Ugh. Next summer I'm planning to utilize some garden shading - not sure yet what exactly that will entail, but losing crops makes me mad. I never did get fruit out of my Armenian cucumbers - the vines are still growing, but I think they're about done. I got quite a bit out of my regular cucumbers, and my tomatoes were an absolute triumph - still are, in fact. I'm harvesting cherry tomatoes every day. The cabbage and cauliflower went to seed while we were in England, but I left them in the garden because they were pretty, lol.

Now I've got pumpkins, cantaloupe, and watermelon all struggling to produce in two of the beds. A third has my second batch of corn that hasn't made it to maturity (seriously irritating). I've cleaned out and amended another bed and replanted using the three-sisters method (corn, green beans, and squash all together).  Haven't had a lot of luck with any of those crops, so maybe lumping them together is the trick.

I've also seeded a few empty sections with more fun stuff... broccoli, cilantro, dill, more peanuts, more peppers. I'm sunflower crazy, so I've also sowed a bunch more of those, including in the front yard around the big Fir tree. I had tried to do this several weeks ago... dug a little trough all around the tree, laid in fresh soil, put in my seeds. And the all came up! I was so excited and couldn't wait for them to grow and bloom. Then the guy who mows our lawn came. Yep. He ran them all over. I may have shed a few tears. So... I went out and got some little fencing and did it all again. Lol. You can see they're popping up. Woohoo! My pumpkins and watermelon seedlings in the front yard are also doing great. Maybe I'll get something out of those since the ones in the backyard are giving me fits.

My herbs are going crazy! I've got lemon basil, sweet basil and thai basil that have all thrived beyond my expectations. It's awesome!! My oregano was doing really good until this week, drat. I've got nice strong tarragon, savory, and parsley, though I'm hoping to get more of the first two. Seeds are in, so we'll see. My carrots are poking their shoulders up, and my peppers are all doing well. My favorite part of the day is picking a pepper for my breakfast omelet :-) I've got several different varieties, so it's fun to play with them all. I have discovered I prefer red jalapeno's over green ones. Lol. They're hotter.

The pups are doing great. I've been working with Loki in the pool - he loves to be held while in the water, and he loves to swim, but he still won't get in on his own. Weirdo. Hunter on the other hand...

Lol!! He adores that thing! And so far, hasn't been able to bite through it! Yay! Once Loki decides to venture in on his own, I'll get another floaty for him. This is the one I bought from amazon and it's really great.

Life has been as crazy as usual for our family. We've got a lot of things going on. Some days I manage to keep all the balls I'm juggling in the air. Some days not so much, lol. But hopefully this week brings us good news on a couple different fronts. Cross your fingers for us ;-)

Signing off - me and the guy "helping" me write this post. Lol.
Yes... he's laying on the keyboard. What a goober.