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All posts for the month July, 2018

Can it!

Published July 31, 2018 by lynn k scott

Several years ago, I reacquainted myself with the soon-to-be lost art of canning food.  While I am definitely no expert, I’ve managed to can all sorts of food.

I have been a bit lax on canning while I’ve been dealing with my health, the time for resuming preserving food is at hand.  Over the last few days, I have made and canned vegetable broth and tomatoes.

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The vegetable broth is really a piece of cake.  I take the veggies I have, whether from storing them in the freezer or from the fridge, cut them up, put them in the crockpot, add some filtered water and cook on low for 10 hours.  Remove the veggies, drain the broth through a fine mesh sieve and some cheese cloth and then canning commences.  If you’re into composting the cooked veggies can be composted.

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The tomatoes, on the other hand, are one of the most tedious items to can (imho).  Yet, there are so many options for canning them.  For this particular canning, I chose to use remove the tomato peel by blanching the tomatoes in boiling water.  Then the tomatoes go into ice water to stop the cooking process.

After removing the skin, I rough chop the tomatoes and place in a blender and pulse it a few times.  I complete several batches of this and all the tomatoes are placed in a pot and brought up to temperature so then can be ladled into hot jars and canned.

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I have a pressure canner, which I can double as a water-bath canner.  At one point, I had both, but it took up a lot of space.  I will note that certain foods (normally acidic, jams, jellies) use a water bath while other foods require the use of a pressure canner (stocks, vegetables, meat, soups).

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With my change in diet and for the health of my family, I will work at diligently canning more foods to have on hand.  I typically only can what we eat within a year (typical shelf life of home-canned goods).  It’s a great way to use seasonal fruits and vegetables, while they are affordable.  I love opening a can of tomatoes in November that I canned in the summer.  You can still smell the vine.

 

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More Lil Miss-isms

Published July 26, 2018 by lynn k scott

This is from my (then) five-year old lil miss (she’s almost 13 now).

These are two separate conversations.  In the second one, her brother was on leave and spending his two weeks with us.

Lil Miss: Mommy I’m never going to get a job.
Me: How will you get money then?
Lil Miss: Have garage sales
Me: ummm smh lol

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James is brushing his teeth with the water on. The lil miss tells her brother that wasting water is wrong.

I tell her, “it’s ok”. She tells him, “James…Mommy said you are wasting water and it’s not ok.”

Umm….no Mommy didn’t LOL

Not Subjecting Anyone Else

Published July 20, 2018 by lynn k scott

Another failed attempt by Sutter Health Plus to do their job; help patients get treatment.  My journey has taken me to the point that I no longer give a damn what I say or how I say it, because when it comes to dealing with doctors, their staff and the insurance agencies, they have little disregard (in my experience) to actually assisting the patient; in the manner that works best for the patient.

I filed a complaint against my current oncologist’s staff for failing to do their job.  Of course, every complaint is done the same way.  Patient complains, grievance department calls doctor’s practice, “file review” and then issues a form letter that ignores half of what the actual grievance was about, dismisses patient concerns (as if they have been handled) fails to contact patient for clarification on information obtained from doctor’s office and refers patient back to PCP (Primary Care Physician); which patient has never seen.  The PCP is supposed to help with the oncology referral.

The patient is being seen by someone and wants a different doctor.  I didn’t go to medical school, but I’m smart enough to realize that the existing doctor, who already has some knowledge of the patient, should be making (and can make) the referral.  Why should the patient pay more money in copays to see an unfamiliar doctor, have to recount (AGAIN) why they need a referral, to a doctor who has no vested interest in that patient?  I mean, as an HMO, the PCP already gets a monthly stipend for accepting to see that patient; if and when that ever happens.

I’m a ‘bad’ patient, so I have to speak with a “case manager”.  I was already told by Sutter Health Plus, last year, they don’t have those.  The “case manager” is merely a person in the grievance department, who is assigned to deal with me when I call customer service.  Why?  Because I’m not allowed to be upset at their half-assed attempt of treating my disease.  After all, we have to protect the fragile ears of customer service reps, from upset cancer patients, asking…no begging….for support.

The twist in all this, is this person is on the team that reviews my grievances.  They rule the same way, EVERY TIME!  I am not allowed to have someone else review my grievances.  I am only allowed to speak with Carla (my “case manager”) or her supervisor.  I have asked repeatedly to speak to the manager who is above Carla and her manager.

Today, Carla had the nerve to say, “we will not subject anyone else to you and your behavior”.  Hmmm….make me continually deal with people who are part of the problem instead of passing the issue to someone who  1) might have a different perspective on the situation, 2) someone who would be a fresh start and 3) someone who might have the ability to see that my issues are addressed.

I’m such a detriment to the medical community, that I’ve been blackballed by the insurance agency itself.  Could I be nicer?  Perhaps.  Am I going to….NOPE!  Why?  It’s simple, I have had to fight for my basic rights, that I PAY for, just to be treated.  I am holding people responsible and I will not be a doormat because I refuse to let them make any further money off of me because they think they are god in deciding if I live or die.

Sutter Health Plus is in need of major reform (as are most insurance carriers).  Carla in claims needs to be retrained (as does her manager -with whom I will not speak with again).

At this point, I will be utilizing the UC Davis emergency room going forward.  I’ll incur the annual maximum charge and then they can run every test they want, but I’ve hit the maximum.  No patient should ever feel like they are being dismissed or given up on.  Sutter Health Plus (Sacramento, CA) has done just that!

Falafels via the Air Fryer

Published July 18, 2018 by lynn k scott

I’ve seen and heard about falafels for years.  They are a Middle Eastern dish made up of chickpeas and a variety of herbs and spices.  After taking a rest for a couple hours (or overnight) in the fridge, the mixture is ready to be rolled into balls and dropped into hot oil and fried to perfection.

Hold up…that won’t work for me.  Frying is almost non-existent in my house.  I do however, use an air fryer, which has to be one of the best kitchen inventions…EVER!

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I followed a random falafel recipe.  Soaked my chickpeas overnight.  Some of you might be unfamiliar with chickpeas.  I know I was.  I had consumed them at my favorite Indian restaurant.  I even found them in the Indian spice shop I often go to.

Before I decided to make the falafels, I had purchased a large bag of chickpeas.  Remember when I said I was unfamiliar with them?  I had it in my head, I would just grind up the chickpeas and make my own gluten-free, chickepea flour.  My food processor wasn’t up for the job.  My little spice grinder hates me now.  Who knew you had to soak the chickpeas first?  OOPS!!!!   Well, now I know and you should have gotten a chuckle from my culinary ignorance.

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Back to the new-to-me dish.  I looked up the cooking time for air fryer falafels.  It was just 12-minutes, on 370 degrees, turning halfway through the cooking process.

I will say, I could kick myself for not trying these earlier.  They were DELICIOUS!!!!!!  Perfectly crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.  I guarantee, these are on my permanent menu.  They fall in line with my plant-based diet.

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Note:  depending on how many people will be eating these little crispy delights, you might want to halve the recipe if it’s just for a couple of you.

Just another cancer – related update

Published July 17, 2018 by lynn k scott

I have been steadily changing my diet over the last couple weeks.  I will have to say, I actually feel a lot better.  To some, the dietary changes may be extreme.  I believe it’s easier for me, from all the other attempts at dietary changes, because my life literally depends on me being successful.

There have been two times I have “cheated”.  They have been small cheats such as eating soy sauce (has gluten) and I forgot the other cheat.  Anyway, since my body has been eating healthier, it really didn’t care for my choice to upset its new-found balance.  I have done those cheats before, but this time the reaction was stronger.  I have dedicated myself to not doing that again.  I really don’t like the reactions I had and repeat performances won’t be necessary.

I am using my new juicer at least every other day.  I am loving the combinations.  I am using less fruit and even added a few new vegetables.  I’m not really a spinach fan, but am finding it’s pretty good mixed with carrots and ginger, among other vegetables.

I am trying new food combinations.  For example, made lentils for the first time the other day.  Yesterday, I made lentil tacos (no cheese or sour cream) and they were really good.  The more I go without dairy, the more I don’t miss it.

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I have been able to lend support to a friend who’s mother is Stage IV in her cancer battle.  It feels nice to be able to give back to a fellow cancer warrior.

I have also decided, I’m not putting off purchases because of “what ifs”.  I am taking back what the cancer tried to steal from me.  It will not be successful in making me second guess my life and its longevity.  As I have stated before, I have handed this over to God and he is in complete control.  He has brought such peace, that I can’t possibly fully describe the feeling.

I recently made a vehicle purchase.  It wasn’t the right time (credit wise), however, my other vehicle chose to push the envelope, so good-bye pickup, hello challenger.

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It’s almost been a year since I heard those horrible words, “you have cancer”.  Gone from sadness to anger to acceptance to fighting.  I will be successful.  I have cancer but it doesn’t have me!

Lentil Taco “Meat”

Published July 16, 2018 by lynn k scott

In an effort to stay on a (mostly) meat-free, cancer-fighting diet, I thought I would make some lentils in my Instant Pot.  I used this recipe as a guide, however, I halved the recipe because I was cooking just for me.

I did adjust the ingredients and used the following:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • small red onion; diced
  • (2) cloves of garlic; minced
  • half a can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper

I did saute the onions in a bit of olive oil and added the garlic once the onions were just about done cooking.  Added the rest of the ingredients, gave it a stir and set the Instant Pot to 15 minutes.  Quick release when the time was up.

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The lentils were full of flavor.  Sadly, I was out of avocados and gluten-free tortillas, but I still plated and consumed them happily.  These definitely are a great substitution for meat.

I will note, the original recipe says it’s vegetarian, but that’s only if you use water and she uses chicken stock.  If you use water to cook the lentils, it actually becomes a great tasting, vegan dish.

Give it a try…I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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