Tag Archives: cooking


Mark’s brother demonstrates how to fry hush puppies (using polenta):

Video of the men frying the Thanksgiving turkeys:



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End of an(other) Era

Last Wednesday Mark had a milestone of his own; he ate a Wendy’s burger and chili-with-crackers for the last time.

Last Wednesday Mark was diagnosed with Celiac disease, an intolerance to gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye, but is also used as an additive in processed foods. No one is totally sure what causes Celiac, but it is an autoimmune disease that targets the digestive tract. In Celiac patients, the body reacts to the absorption of a protein in gluten (gliadin) by attacking parts of the small intestine, which causes the breakdown of the small intestine and difficulty absorbing certain vitamins and minerals. Mark was diagnosed because of his moderate anemia. We started the diagnostic process in March, when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and it’s taken till now to determine the cause of the anemia.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking. Seriously? This family has ANOTHER weirdo disease? Pretty crazy, huh? Well don’t tell anyone, faithful blog readers, but we’ve decided to go for the world record in rare diseases in one family. I don’t know what the current record is but I assure you, give us enough time and we’ll beat it. Or if not, we should at least get featured on House.

I am grateful that we’ve been able to gradually slide into this. Last month Mark tested positive for the Celiac associated antibodies so we knew Celiac was a strong possibility, but the doctor gave us a list of a few other things it could be instead. Two weeks later Mark had an endoscopy/colonscopy and we got a 99% diagnosis of Celiac, but had to wait another week for the biopsy results to be sure. This gave Mark and me lots of time to research the disease, learn what a gluten-free diet would entail, and get used to the idea.

I’m really proud of Mark. He is a “foodie,” so having to give up a lot of his favorite foods is a huge sacrifice. His doctor said if he follows a gluten-free diet he will hopefully go into remission within a few months, but if he ever re-introduces gluten (in any real amount) he’ll get sick again. To that end we’re getting used to some new foods, cleaning out the pantry, and creating a better method of food storage (because I’m not going totally gluten-free). We’re also very particular about what foods Menininho eats because his immune system is still developing. If we keep gluten out of his system now, his pediatrician said we have a better chance at preventing him from getting Celiac (hard to know for sure, since the exact cause isn’t known, but it certainly won’t hurt).

Along those lines, if you’re interested in gluten-free cooking, I’ll be posting recipes to these blogs: Take That, Martha! and Healthy Eats.

I’m hoping that we can turn this bad luck into a kick-start into healthier eating for our family. 🙂


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Diapers and Bread (but not together!)

At the risk of sounding like TAMN, I feel the need to be excited about/document/get advice from fellow bloggers about my homemakery doings. I know I’ve said it before, but being home all the time is still a difficult adjustment for me, even though I enjoy spending all the time with Menininho, so I’ve decided to try to throw myself into homemaking and see what new skills I can acquire (none of these new skills are going to include organization because I can admit there are some things I am just never ever ever going to be good at and that is one of them!).

I finally got Menininho started on cloth diapers this morning. The reason for the delay is that I’ve had trouble finding washing soda (it’s not at Walmart or Safeway) so I had to order it from Amazon and if it doesn’t show up this morning, I told Fed Ex I’m not paying for the shipping. I could *really* use some feedback on folding the diapers. I looked at a few diff. sites on how to do it and decided the “newspaper fold” looked easiest (I’m using Chinese prefold diapers). However, none of the sites I looked at really showed how to fold the diaper with the baby in it. Check out my first attempt!

The second time around I did a little bit better:

However, even though the diaper is for a 15-30 lb baby, and Menininho is not yet 15 lbs, I’m barely able to fit this diaper around him. I must be doing something wrong. Thoughts? I just got him up from his morning nap and the diaper did leak. His right side is soaked through the diaper (not the cover, but the cover didn’t cover it). He also pooped through the diaper. 4 diaper covers may not be enough, after all…

Now, on to bread. We got a breadmaker from one of Mark’s labmates when we got married and I’ve never used it. I had every intention of doing so when I was pregnant, but didn’t happen. So, Monday morning I decided “Today is the day!” and scoured Anne Bean’s blog for the best way to make wheat bread. She is pretty much my DIY healthy cooking hero. If you’re interested in the recipe I used, plus loads of other whole wheat recipes, making your own baby food, doing compost, etc., check out her blog. You can find the link to her whole wheat recipes HERE. It’s worth noting that her whole wheat bread recipe makes a 2.5 lb loaf. My breadmaker only goes up to 2 lbs and Anne was kind enough to send me an adjusted copy of the recipe.

I wasn’t able to find all the ingredients for the dough conditioner that Anne suggests, so I left the conditioner out. The bread is a little dense, but still tastes really good, if I do say so myself! I was so excited to try this out that I stayed up till 12:30 with it. I felt so domestic eating a slice of my homemade bread with some of my homemade peach jam on top, haha! Here is the finished product!

I’m planning on just making all our own bread from now on. I saw Anne’s cost breakdown and making my own is going to be a LOT cheaper than buying.

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Lots to update on, so this post is a little bit of everything, hence Smörgåsbord.

First, we had a big life-changing event in our family a few weeks ago (actually it’ll be a month this coming Monday…wow time goes fast!). Mark got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He hadn’t been feeling quite right for awhile (lost almost 1/3 of his body weight, not able to sleep at night b/c of leg cramps) but he wanted to wait to go to a doctor till I was living in CA with him. When Mom came down for Menininho’s blessing she figured out that Mark had diabetes (my little sister also has it, so Mom’s been through this before). Sure enough, Mark was diagnosed a week later. Long story short, the doctor who diagnosed him was terrible and caused us a good deal of stress, but we were able to Mark in to see an endocrinologist at Stanford by the end of the week. She’s great and very impressed with Mark. He’s memorized just about everything there is to know on the subject (including bringing in some Swedish research articles to discuss with her at his 2nd appointment) and has been extremely adept at controlling his sugars. It’s not an easy diagnosis to get and I’m really proud of Mark for the positive attitude he’s had about this and how proactive he’s being in taking care of himself. [Right now he’s sitting here telling me that he wants to know the derivative of his blood glucose waveform in order to stop oscillation so he can correct based on the rate of change instead of the poor data based on the low sampling frequency he has right now….say whaaaaaat?]

We did have a good laugh over a couple of things associated with the diagnosis. For starters, during grad school I had to evaluate a healthcare program for my Program Evaluation class. I chose the Bag of Hope program that the JDRF does. I never thought that we would end up the recipients of the program! Mark (read: Menininho) is now the proud owner of a teddy bear with patches to show him where to give shots, hahaha.

Also, not too long ago my friend Jeanette posted on her blog about how, after seeing a commercial for the One Touch blood tester, one of her young daughters was so enamored with the product that she professed a desire to have diabetes one day so that she could use it. Well, Jeanette: between the two of them, my sister and Mark have used every blood tester product out there now. Lindsey should rest assured that should she ever get diabetes, One Touch is indeed the best product out there. 🙂 Mark is VERY excited to get his new One Touch pump in a few weeks because of all the doodads on it.

Today was a rather bipolar cooking day (i.e. – the best of times, the worst of times). I decided to make scalloped potatoes for dinner in order to use up the rest of our Easter ham (we bought a fair sized ham for Easter thinking we were having 2 families over for dinner that evening, and then one of them canceled last minute so she could potty train her son). I worked really hard to get dinner in the oven before Mark came home. However, I misjudged how long it takes potatoes to cook (at least 2 hrs), so we didn’t sit down to eat till 8:40 or so. But, even after over 2 hours of cooking, the potatoes were still hard! Mark and I really tried to eat them, but they just weren’t edible. I put the leftovers in the fridge and I’ll try to cook them longer tomorrow to see if the dish is salvageable.

I had also decided this afternoon that I *needed* to make strawberry shortcake. Luckily, I just happened to have all the ingredients handy. I must say, they turned out great! I’ve included a picture below, though I’m not sure it does the dessert justice. I used Splenda instead of sugar (couldn’t taste a difference) and sugar free whipped topping instead of heavy whipping cream. This success made up for the scalloped potatoes failure for sure!

I know I have more to post but I am so tired I honestly can’t remember what else has gone down recently. Oh well. 🙂


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Thanksgiving in Pictures

With all the papers I have to write this weekend, I don’t feel like doing a drawn out post. Quick Thanksgiving recap: I picked up my darling husband at the airport Tues. night and we spent the next 4 days celebrating with his family. My brother joined us for part of the holiday as well.

The Grown-Ups’ table

All the yummy desserts

Mark made pumpkin cheesecake all by himself! Unfortunately, it didn’t have enough time to set.
It tasted great though! 🙂

Scott (Mark’s brother) and Matt (my brother) definitely approved of the meal!

The boys promptly fell asleep

Euchre is a tradition (Kevin, Mark’s other brother, and Mark)

So is going through all the ads for Black Friday shopping! Paula is queen of ad collecting.

Mark looked nervous to hold his 2 week old cousin, Maddie

But really, he’s a natural!

I also got the chance to spend some time with my old roommates, Steph and Yevgenia.
I’m not a huge fan of the picture though b/c instead of looking pregnant I just look kinda fat, haha.

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I know you have all been waiting on the edge of your seats to hear about my foray into canning. (Just kidding.) Well, I had a lot of fun, but that was mostly from socializing. 0:-) I have to give most of the credit to the 4 quarts of my peaches that were canned to the lovely Lonica. She sterilized the glasses, cut up the peaches, stuffed some of the jars, and then put the jars into the special sealer thing. I worked on taking the skins of peaches and filled some of Lonica’s jars. Oh and Lonica and Beth also created the sauce (?) that goes in with the peaches. But, I loved hearing book recommendations from Lonica and Barbara, listening about Barbara’s adoption story of her daughter, and trading stories with Beth. Beth and Barbara’s kids are too cute! Although I don’t think canning is really up my alley, good company makes anything enjoyable and it was a perfect way to pass the afternoon!

I think next week I am going to make some more jam with Beth 🙂 Also, the four of us were talking about doing a Brasilian dinner some night soon. I love Brasilian cooking and I’m more than happy to teach anyone who wants to know. So, if you are interested in joining us for our little cooking party, leave a comment!

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I had this goal of trying out lots of new things while Mark and I are apart, in order to keep me busy and to just have more experiences in general before Lil Z is born. Unfortunately, those first 14 weeks of pregnancy knocked me on my rear and a month later I’m just starting to get back into the swing of things. So, when Beth sent out an email to all the ladies at church asking if we were interested in canning/making jam, I knew I had to say yes.

I bought 18 pounds of peaches. Thankfully, Beth was willing to pick up everyone’s peach order for us. Then this afternoon, she taught me how to make jam! It was not as hard as I thought it was going to be, though definitely messy. I had a really fun time getting to know her better and the jam smelled soooo good! Instant Christmas presents!

If anyone else wants to learn to make jam I’d be happy to show you and to make more! Or, we could give jelly a try 🙂

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