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Friday, May 31, 2013

Importance of a Routine Physical for Adults, even if you have a chronic illness

I have a chronic illness, so I seem to be going to one doctor or another at least once a month during the year.  I also see my primary doctor every 3 months, for pain medication follow-up and a check-in with how I am feeling.  One doctor oversees some labs and medicine, but another may focus on something else; which is why once a year I schedule a routine physical/pap smear with my primary doctor.  I make sure she takes labs for everything I am being treated for, but also labs you would normally get taken at a routine physical.  I schedule my routine physical and also my yearly mammogram in May each year, so I can keep track of when I need to schedule from one year to the next, but I could also say I do it so I know how my health is when I greet my birthday that year on June 1st.

My labs have been all over the place, since I had a gastric bypass in 1996, so I am use to seeing highs and lows all over my results.   During my routine labs, my primary doctor became concerned because my platlet count was sky high and she performed a Hep C test, which was negative. She wanted me to have a Liver Ultrasound asap, to see if I had any problems with my liver.  I scheduled the appointment and was surprised at how painful the ultrasound was on my right side, in fact I was still sore the following day from the ultrasound, because she was having to press so hard to get the pictures. That afternoon, my primary doctor calls me with a new diagnosis, like I need another and I hate the name as well, fatty liver.  It is not from drinking, as I don't drink.  Not sure why I have it, but I do know after having the gastric bypass I have many vitamin deficiencies.  I have lost weight the last couple of years and continue working on getting as healthy as I can be, so understandably this was not great news for me.  However, it is information I need,so that I can try to reverse the affects of fatty liver.  So I now have a new diagnosis to add to my list: Lipedema, Lymphedema, Hypothyroidism, Low Vit D, B12 deficiency, anemia, depression from chronic illness. 

Good news though, is that my mammogram, bone density(1st time having test), and pap all came back fine.  Knowledge is power, so even though I may have new diagnosis to manage, at least I know about it, and it is not sitting in my body undiagnosed and perhaps getting worse.  So now I am ready to greet my 48th birthday tomorrow, knowing where my health stands....having my Routine Physical was a priceless gift for me and my family, so Happy Birthday to me!

Potato Skins, using raw potato skins

If you make the tater tot recipe  you will have a lot of raw potato skins, that you have peeled off your potatoes, before boiling.  If you want to save some of these to make potato skins, you can cook and freeze them for later use.



Raw Potato Skins
Kosher or Sea Salt
Olive oil spray


Wash and Drain your potato skins.

Place skin side up on a sprayed cookie sheet and spray skins with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until cooked thru.  Remove from oven and you can place your normal "potato skin toppings" and place back in over to melt, or eat as is.  You can freeze individually on a sheet pan in freezer and then place in a gallon size bag.

To reheat, place in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Tater Tots


10 Jumbo Russet Potatoes
1 small grated onion
8 Tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon Rosemary
1 tsp salt
canola oil for frying


Peel and cube potatoes.  Boil potatoes until tender. If you want to make potato skins, using your raw potato skins, please see this recipe:  Potato Skins, using Raw Potato skins

Drain and pass through a potato ricer, into a mixing bowl.

Mix onion, flour, eggs,  rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Once mixed, pour over potatoes and mix with a fork.

On a floured surface(I put flour on parchment paper for easier clean up). Take about a cup of mixture and roll into 1 inch logs.  Cut log into tots.

Heat a few inches of oil in a dutch oven to 350 degrees.  Place small batches of tots into oil and fry a few minutes until browned.  Drain tater tots on a wire rack, placed on a covered cookie sheet.

This recipe makes a ton; however, you can freeze leftovers individually on a sheet pan in the freezer.  Once frozen, place tots in a gallon size bag in the freezer.

You may reheat tots at 400 for 12-15 minutes.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Strawberry Pie

I forgot to get a picture of this pie BEFORE people started eating it, so I will have to replace this picture, when I make it next.  It is really pretty, as a whole pie and when I serve it I place a dollop of whipped cream on top.  Everyone who tried it loved it and can not wait for the next time I make it.  We went strawberry picking and the berries were so beautiful and red, my husband asked if I could make a strawberry pie, with some of the berries we picked.

1 deep dish pie crust, baked
1 1/2 quart fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
3/4 cup water
whipped cream


Bake a deep inch pie crust, per package directions.  Cool on a wire rack.

Core strawberries, leave 1 quart strawberries whole and place them in cooled pie crust. 

Mash  1/2 quart strawberries in a medium saucepan and combine with sugar.  Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water.  Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture.  Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes. 

Chill for several hours before serving.  Serve each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

Spinach-Sauced Chicken Breast Halves


1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut into 4 oz portions
3/4 cup Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Scallions
2 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP Flour
1 cup milk
1 bag of fresh spinach or 1 10oz box chopped frozen spinach
4 oz diced Ham
Chopped mushrooms, optional


Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan.  Coat Chicken w/crumb mixture and arrange in a rectangle baking dish.

In a saucepan cook green onions(and mushrooms if using) in butter.  Stir in flour and milk until thickened and bubbly.  Stir in spinach and ham. Cook an additional 2 minutes.

Spoon mixture over chicken, sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.  Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  This reheats really well, so works well for lunch leftovers.

Zucchini Pancakes

I just used the last of my zucchini from my garden making these yummy zucchini pancakes. When our zucchini is coming out of our ears during our summer harvest, I will shred up and package 2 cups of grated zucchini in freezer bags for our freezer. This makes them easy to pull out, thaw, and squeeze out excess liquid, before making these. I also make big batches of these during the season and freeze once made, as they can go directly from freezer into toaster, for a quick snack.

2 cups grated zucchini(you may also mix in other squash or carrots if desired)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp splenda
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
 6 TBSP all-purpose flour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 TBSP butter

Combine first 6 ingredients.  Stir Eggs into mixture.  Add Butter. 

Drop mixture by tablespoons onto a greased griddle or skillet.  Cook until brown, turn and brown on other side.  Serve warm and these may be frozen for months.  To reheat, toast in the toaster. 

Unsweetened Applesauce--2 ingredients

Want to make applesauce for dinner in under an hour, that is healthy and tasty?  Then this is a quick recipe, will sure become a staple in your house.

Apples, I use a mixture of Golden Delicious and Gala; however, you can use whichever apples you normally use for applesauce. About 2 1/2 lbs will make 1 quart.
Cinnamon, optional

Wash, peel, core, and cut apples into small pieces.  After I peel, I use a apple corer/apple slicer and then cut the slices in half.  I place the apples in a pot on the stove.  

Cover apples slightly with water.  Bring to boil, cover and let cook until softened.  About 20-30 minutes.  Once softened, place in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.  You may add more water if needed, during this step and if desired add 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Store in fridge.  You can also use this recipe to make a large batch for canning.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can use it as a guide and make whatever amount you would like, even if you just have a couple of apples.