Monday, May 30, 2011

I have Syringomyelia.

I have had it since 2004. It is post traumatic and sometimes I feel like it has completely taken over my and my fiance's lives.
I have Syringomyelia, Syringomyelia does not have me.

Syringomelia symptoms come on suddenly after a fall or minor trauma. Symptoms include but are not limited too:

Inability to regulate body temperature
Loss of sensitivity to hot and cold
Numbness and tingling
...Loss of Bowel and bladder control
Muscle weakness
Paralysis (in severe cases, quadriplegia)
Chronic pain
Neuropathic pain
Chronic severe headaches

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nail crap and Nivea Soft review

So I FINALLY got my hands on some China Glaze Crackle polish!


But I do have pictures of a few other mani's to tide us all over until I can cook or try a new product.

Oh Quick review first, Nivea sent me some lotion to try for a week Nivea "Soft" for body and face.

Went on quick, absorbed fast, made my face feel too greasy but on my body was AWESOME. It worked like a thick cream without feelig greasy or taking forevr to absorb. 5 hours later and after vacuuming the whole house and spending 3 hours outside with the dog my skin is still moist and comfortable but not the least sticky.

Made me get a small bump on my chin (I have a super sensitive face!) But otherwise I think I am going to ditch my Neutrogena and buy a big bottle before they DC it!

Here is my sparkle mani:




Saturday, May 21, 2011

Medic alert bracelet your will WANT to wear

Thank you Michelle Vorbeek again for saving my life.

Example here

My medic alert bracelet is just over a year old and I wore it to the hospital the other day and the lady said "Ah! I like this! Where did you get it?"

Even my nana has a Michelle Vorbeek Medic alert bracelet now.

All the kewl kids are getting them for reals.

Keep cool and safe, I wonder if she can add compazine to my bracelet...???


Sulfite allergist gives new list of "No No" foods

So I am allergic to sulfites and sulfa drugs.

I have to be seriously careful about what I eat.

So imagine my surprise to find out a new list from my allergist of no no foods.

Following foods contain Greater than 100 ppm of sulfites (very high levels, strict avoidance advised in people with sulfite allergy)

* dried fruits (prunes)
* bottled lemon juice (non-frozen)
* bottled lime juice (non-frozen)
* wine
* molasses
* sauerkraut (and its juice)
* grape juices (white, white sparkling, pink sparkling, red sparkling)
* pickled cocktail onions

Between 50 and 99.9 ppm of sulfites (moderate to high levels of sulfite, avoidance advised in people with sulfite allergy)

* dried potatoes
* wine vinegar
* gravies/sauces
* fruit toppings
* Maraschino cherries

Between 10 and 49.9 ppm of sulfites (low to moderate levels of sulfite, may cause symptoms in people with severe sulfite allergy)

* pectin
* fresh shrimp
* corn syrup
* pickled peppers
* pickles/relish
* corn starch
* hominy
* frozen potatoes
* maple syrup
* imported jams and jellies
* fresh mushrooms
* imported sausages and meats
* cordials (alcoholic)
* dehydrated vegetables
* various cheeses
* corn bread/muffin mix
* canned/jarred clams
* clam chowder
* avocado dip/guacamole
* imported fruit juices and soft drinks
* ciders and cider vinegars

The Hell? Maple SYRUP?! I freaking love maple syrup. I already use rice vinegar and am lactose intolerant anyway so the rest of this didn't bother me so much but...Corn muffin mix? Corn muffin tops are a staple in our house I make them and toast them in the toaster oven!

And if I can't have my pickle relish on my Tofu Pups I would want to pass away from it. I LOVE pickles. Hell I make my own! Can I eat those?

Ugh....sucky new list.

Crash (fiance) said "So basically you can't eat anything without risk of dying?"

Uh yeah basically that.


Salted Caramel Molted Choco-cake

So I made some vegan caramels (let me tell u now, easy ingredients list but it took me two times to get the batches right! But at least I could use the first batch for Caramel Powder (Thanks Mattie!)

Salted Caramel-Filled Molten Choco Cakes

4 oz vegan dark chocolate, chopped (those dark choco candy making wafers work great, as do dark chocolate chips)
3 tbsp unsalted vegan baking "butter"
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal and 2 tablespoons hot water)
1 tsp guar gum (plus 2 tsp hot water)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp all purpose flour/Garam flour (garbanzo bean flour for gluten intolerant)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 chewy salted caramels
or 6 caramels + pinch of sea salt for each

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease and flour a 6-cup muffin tin.

In a small bowl, melt together 4-oz dark chocolate and the vegan butter.

Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes until mixture is close to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the flax egg, guar gum and water, sugar, vanilla and salt.

Mix with spatula until is just moist (about 2-5 minutes)DO NOT OVER MIX or your cakes will be flat and crumbly.

Sift flour over egg mixture and fold in. Add cooled chocolate/butter mixture and fold with spatula in until batter is uniform and no streaks of chocolate remain.

Divide evenly into prepared muffin tins.

Gently push one caramel into each of the muffin cups (or one caramel and a generous pinch of sea salt) and cover with batter.

Bake at 400F for 9-11 minutes,OR until the tops are just set. Let cakes cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of each pan and turn cakes out onto a large plate or cutting board. Use a spatula to transfer cakes to individual serving plates.

Cakes can be served right side up or still inverted.

Note: if you over stir the cakes will be a bit crumbly. So try to stir gently and I recommend NOT using a mixer but plain old arm work.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

African dessert

Note: there is a vegan cream called Mimicreme that woks really well here instead of dairy cream.


Mango Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart ice cream

Any fruit ice cream will serve for the Coupe Mount Kenya, especially peach ice cream. Fruit sherbet may also be used. Canned pineapple may be substituted for the fresh, but it does not have the same zing.

Mash 4 or 5 RIPE MANGOS, peeled and pitted. There should be 2 cups.

Whip: 1 cup HEAVY CREAM with
1/2 cup SUGAR until stiff.

In a 2-quart bowl:

Combine: 2 cups MASHED MANGOS
2 Tbs. LEMON PEEL cut in tiny ribbons
1/2 tsp. SALT.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Pour into freezer trays or a 6-cup mold and freeze.


Yield: 1 quart sauce mixture

In a 1-quart sauce pan:

Simmer: 1 cup PINEAPPLE JUICE (canned) and
1 cup SUGAR until it dissolves and a syrup is formed.

Add 1/2 cup WHITE RUM. Cool.

In a 2-quart bowl:

Cut 3 cups FRESH PINEAPPLE in 1/2-inch dice.

Pour the Pineapple Rum Sauce over the pineapple.

Marinate for several hours.

Place 1 scoop MANGO ICE CREAM in a 6-oz. wine glass.

Top with 3 to 4 oz. PINEAPPLE RUM MIXTURE

Garnish with 1 Tbs. PISTACHIO NUTS, coarsely chopped.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

vegan baking

so in an effort to get Crash to eat more veggies and to cut out meat and dairy I have begun vegan baking and cooking again.

We are predominantly veggie just because its cheaper and healthier plus if I can get away with not having to touch raw meat or eggs I am all for it!

So when I saw this recipe that used my fave ingredients and found a suitable substitution for condensed milk I jumped at the chance to try it:

Also try making Cashew Vegan Cream cheese too, so good on bagels and toast:

Its this lactose intolerant's dream cream.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Weight management and spinal cord injury

So I am unsure of how many people know this but I have a spinal cord injury on top of my arthritis.

So whereas before I was running 3-5 miles a day, now it i often painful for me to get up stairs or do daily chores.

Case in point: Today I managed to clean a cat box, make muffins, make dinner for Crash, and clean the tortoise cage and take the do out twice for a short 1 block sniff and p-mail trip.

After that my legs and arms were hurting so badly I had to lie down and stretch them out.

I actually made the mistake of watching the Biggest Loser Makeover tonight and it made me feel like crap watching how hard they were working out knowing that since I was in the hospital again I have not been able to get back to the gym.

The fact is there are not a lot of personal trainers (who are affordable) who work with people who have arthritis and a spinal cord injury, they are just too worried (rightfully so!) that they are going to tell you to do something and have it blow up in your face.

I do have one personal trainer who has been working with me but since I hurt my ankle we have been seriously hindered by what exercises I can do. So I had tried to make lower fat meals at home only to have Crash bring home cookies and refuse to eat whatever low fat high veggie thing I made for dinner.

So I was talking to some online crip friends (tongue in cheek) and one of them gave me a site that talks about realistic expectations with spinal cord injury, I am not going to re-write everything they said but there was a few things I think bear repeating even if you don't have a SCI

Ultimately, it is really up to you to take control of your life. With practice, you can improve your self-talk to improve your overall health.

• Be honest with yourself.

• Do not try to be perfect.

• Avoid over exaggerations.

• Do not try to predict future.

• Keep a positive attitude.

• Do not be self-critical.

• Recognize the good with the bad.

• Pat yourself on the back for a task well done.

Reducing Stress

Managing stress is an important key to maintaining healthy behaviors because your eating behaviors often change when you’re under stress. People who constantly experience symptoms of stress are often at higher risk for serious health problems including illness, addiction and depression.

No one is going to be stress free, but you can minimize the impact of stress. There are many things you can do to feel better emotionally and physically.

• Get enough sleep.

• Eat regular, healthy meals and snacks.

• Participate in regularly physical activities because your body can fight stress better when it is fit.

• Cut down or cut out use of caffeine and tobacco.

• Seek a balance of work and play.

• Hug somebody!

• Be assertive with your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.

• Be socially active with friends and family.

And on that note, I leave you.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dog Massage

Yes I massage my dog. I learned from a massage therapist, took some basic anatomy courses of mammals and physiology and now I am master at massaging large animals. Because Kayne Micheal is 80 pounds, this applies.

And what do you ask, does it do massaging your dog?

Well, in the case of most over bred, or bred to look a certain way dogs, most of whom are not exercised enough, eat too much, and don't live in a place where the ground is similar to that of a forest floor...well it helps them to live longer in short.

We walk our dog almost every day on concrete, we live in a hard wood floor apartment, and on the second floor.

Needless to say Kayne Micheal had joint issues before from his nightmare of being used as a bait dog. Now that he is 4 years old what seems young to us is middle aged for him and his hard early life is showing.

Thus every night his collar comes off and the massaging wand (yes he LOVES the back massager)comes out.

He is so used to this as soon as he is done helping papa move the car to off street parking he comes bounding in and hops on the bed and gives me "The Look" ie dog speak for "what are your hands broken? get to rubbing mama!"

In fact if I don't get going, he will sit by my head and whine and paw at me until I get up, and start giving him a rub down.

Both Crash and I noticed that the massage in conjunction with him sleeping on a Serta Baby mattress (We found one used that didn't smell like pee) has him a lot more limber in the AM and sleeping through the night like a champ (before he would cry, toss and turn on his blanket on the floor bed.

His bed is so comfy now I have climbed in his cage and cuddled up next to him during thunderstorms (He is TERRIFIED of them and only being held and sung too calms him down) I ended up falling asleep with my arms wrapped around him. That's some mattress!

So go give your dog or cat or other large mammal some TLC today.

Monday, May 02, 2011


In celebration of spring and gardening and soon upick berries and apples (My favorite time of year!!!)

I changed up the template.

Kayne Micheal and I sat outside on the porch watching people drive too fast and enjoying the lovely weather (chilly and overcast, but not raining!)

My deck garden is once again active and my plants are enjoying being outside i the fresh air. Soon the Tortoise can move to the porch to enjoy the early morning sunshine as well (when I get his pen together again...whoops)

So I am all a twitter to finally start eating local fruits and veggies but only the hydroponic and green house fruits and veggies are available until May.

I am using this calendar:

Thank goodness most intrepid NYS farmers utilize cold boxes and green houses or I would not be able to enjoy my blueberries this AM.

So in celebration of early blueberries, I give you this recipe (one of my favorites) although I admit, I hate to waste blueberries IN something when you ca just eat them by the handful instead..

Blueberry Crumb Bars
Adapted from by Smitten Kitchen

Recipes like this make me wonder why I don’t use more. After seeing a blueberry crumb bar on another site, I immediately wanted to make them but the first recipe seemed overly fussy. I knew there was a simpler way to do it, and lo and behold, All Recipes had it. Once I swapped the shortening for butter–of course–and dolled it up with some lemon juice and lemon zest, they were just as heavenly as the 176 commenter promised they’d be.

I could imagine easily swapping another fruit or berry for the blueberries–I’m especially thinking something tart like sour cherries or cranberries in the fall (I’d use orange instead of lemon with cranberries). But if you have blueberries on hand, do not miss a chance to make these.

These are easiest to cut once chilled, and store even better in the fridge than they do at room temperature–something unusual for cookies!

Yield: I cut these into 36 smallish rectangles

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. (This took an extra 10 to 15 minutes in my oven.) Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Some notes by Rogue Writer: In an effort to lighten and add more nutrition:
I am a health nut, and though I cannot say for certain that it adds anything I use pure turbinado sugar (unbleached) or organic cane sugar as well as wholewheat flour usually substituting one cup Garam flour for one of the three cups of flour. Also in the topping I mix in 1/4 cup ground flax seeds (I substitute a mashed banana or 1 tbsp ground flax and water for the egg.) Its the flour sugar and butter that have the heaviness so I usually end up halving the butter and using fat free greek yogurt for half...which lends nicely for a crumble, but not so much a bar.

Editors note:

That kitchen mixtress! I told her about my hemming and hawing over the lack of nutrition and amount of fat in the bars I love and she says "Try this tart" I examined ingredients and am happy to say not only are they more nutritious but the fat is decreased and this is SUPREMELY easy to veggetize!

So without furthe ado:

Blackberry and Coconut Macaroon Tart
Adapted from Super Natural Everyday

My attempt to swap the whole wheat flour with matzo cake meal was only moderately successful, though I’m not sure if it has to do with the baking-unfriendly bread of affliction or the fact that my coconut was “medium” not “fine” as suggested. If you’re trying it with matzo meal, it might be worth it to grind everything together in a food processor and if you need an extra tablespoon of melted butter to pull it together, go for it.

Some long-winded notes about volumes: The original recipe called for an 8×11-inch tart pan, which I did not have, or the equivalent of in volume. I ended using 2/3 of the crust recipe and 3/4 of the filling (2/3, which would have been correct, seemed like too much of a headache with 4 egg whites) to fill a 13.75×4.25-inch tart pan I have (but never use, because no standard recipes work in it!). Instead of suggesting pan sizes you probably don’t have, I’ve done what I should have from the get-go and scaled the whole recipe to 3/4 of the original volume which should nicely fit in a 9-inch round tart pan (with removable bottom) or an 8-inch square cake pan with the understanding that the first bar will probably not come out cleanly! Unless you have an 8-inch square cake pan with a springform or removable bottom, in which case, I’m jealous of how well supplied your kitchen is!

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour, spelt flour or matzo cake meal
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon natural cane sugar (I used a coarse Turbinado because I had it on hand)
Generous 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
6 tablespoons natural cane sugar or lightly packed light brown sugar
3 large egg whites
6 ounces fresh blackberries, halved (feel free to swap any berry/cherry you can find in season)
1/4 cup pistachios, crushed

Make base: Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom or an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment. Generously butter parchment and sides of pan.

Combine flour, coconut, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in melted butter until evenly distributed in dry ingredients. Press mixture firmly in the bottom of the pan to form a solid, flat layer, like a shortbread cookie base. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.

Assemble tart: Stir together coconut, sugar and egg whites. Evenly distribute blackberries across tart base. Using a small spoon or your fingertip, drop little tufts of macaroon filling around the blackberries, allowing them to stay at least partially uncovered.

Bake for 20 to 25 until the peaks of the macaroon filling are bronzed. Let tart cool, then garnish with the crushed pistachios (I pressed mine in just a little bit, so they’d stick better) before slicing into skinny wedges or small squares.

(Taken directly from Smitten Kitchen GO THERE NOW!)


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Reviews and blues

So on the rear end of my job money spiraling away, I did buy myself some treats to cheer myself up, and of course, to review.

So in no particular order:

Emjoi Emagine Epilator: I started with the Braun silk epil and was certain that epilating my legs was simply going to take less the time of shaving (1 a week vs every day) but after using the Braun I noticed that each and every time I used the machine I got ingrown hairs or it stung like the dickens!

So I invested a little money (89 bucks) and bought the emjoi Emagine.

All I can say is WOW. First of all it has twice the tweezers and is super fast and very grippy! I got done with both arm pits, my legs and my happy trail in under 15 minutes.

Although my armpits are always a tad ouchy, before was hell and the Braun Tweezers would tear at my skin and pinch. Not the case with the emjoi emagine.

I simply skin in over my skin and in one slow pass it takes out the hair, ALMOST painlessly.

Now the size makes for doing the bikini line and face a little scary (I now wax my face, I am not putting anything that loud to my lip) but as long as you twin your nether hair, the emjoi works great, just use only one side.

Now I can have smooth legs for weeks instead of hours in the time it takes to shave.

STRONGLY recommend.

Wooly Rhinoceros Yarn:

Just bought a skein of CashMerino. It feels like straight up cashmere. The test knit was a delightful pebbly texture due to the thick and thin stranding of the yarn and the dye was vibrant.

This yarn is available on Etsy at:

Earth shoes sandals:
So ever since it has become warmer weather I had been eying these sandals at Wegmans.
I went online to compare the price and found that Wegmans had the CHEAPEST deals and the widest selection thus far in Earth Shoes so I snapped them up (39.95 plus tax)
Wearing these I had no "First day in new sandals" uncomfortable. Which for spinal cord injury girl is rare. The dropped heels helped with my chronic calf cramping and I found myself wearing them even inside the house because they were more comfortable than being barefoot, which if you know me is saying a LOT.

There are so many styles, it would be amiss to only mention one, so go to to see mine, but buy some for yourself, your feet will thank you.

OK kids, that's all for this segment,this girl went through yet another hospital visit with migraines from hell and two days in be with sunglasses.

Next? My dogs new collar, my new bling,and deck gardening for dummies.