Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More Tests and an Update…

I’m back!  Life continues to throw a plethora of set-backs my way and blogging continues to take a back seat in the line-up of things!  Unfortunately, the doctor visits and a number of tests are taking the front line in my life right now.  I wish I could share something more exciting with you, like the number of delicious recipes that I’ve been cooking up or all the family fun we’ve been having over the last few months, but not today!  God has different plans for me right now, plans to focus on healing my body and guiding me in the right direction to be the best mom and wife I can be through these trials.  Scripture Quote 2

Although it seems SO VERY long ago, we did have a quiet but wonderful family Thanksgiving dinner!  This was the first year that we decided to stay home and attempt our first Thanksgiving meal together as a family.  We did so in part because of the many food restrictions I have right now and I just didn’t want to ask a million questions as to how the food was prepared or end up sitting without anything on my plate.  This seemed to be the best option for us this year and now I can say I cooked my first turkey!

Christmas was a bit the same, we celebrated Jesus’ birthday in the morning with homemade cinnamon rolls (managed to pull together a grain free, dairy free and egg free version) and finished out the evening with a fiesta…carnitas tacos, cilantro lime sweet potatoes and homemade guacamole!  I made a veggie taco for myself and prepared the rest of the meal to my specifications so I could enjoy with the rest of the family.  Although we didn’t see a lot of extended family this year, it was just what our little family needed!

While we’re talking about food, being on such a restrictive diet we haven’t ventured out too much as it is so difficult for me to find anything to eat and enjoy.  But since the hubs and I haven’t spent much “alone” time together lately, for Christmas I put together a little date for the two of us.  It was nothing big, but just what we needed…a trip to the Headquarters at Seaport Village for lunch at Seasons 52 and then to a matinee showing of The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug.  The Headquarters is fairly new, with several dining options and some higher end shopping venues.  I was very impressed by the service at Seasons 52 as they were so kind to accommodate all my “restrictions”!  .  DSCN7346

The hubs enjoyed some “Red Mole” tacos with a side of “Tamale Tots” and a fresh mint lemonade.DSCN7349

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For me, it was a juicy grilled chicken breast (seasoned with only olive oil and salt and pepper) served over baby roasted carrots and potatoes.  Although there wasn’t much seasoning (how I needed it to be prepared), it was still very delicious and I simply enjoyed the fact that I could eat out with no worries!DSCN7353

We had a couple of hours to kill before the movie and decided to walk around Seaport Village a bit since it was such a beautiful day!DSCN7355

I realized I so need more days like this!  Spending time away from home really helped take my mind off any pain or emotional struggles that most days bring.  And any quality time I get with my hubs brings refreshment and a new perspective to my day.  As I continue to go through tests and diet changes, having a positive perspective and a good prayer life has been essential!  It’s been a struggle to even be in the kitchen these days!  While I love to continue to cook healthy meals for my family, I have become quite discouraged when it comes to cooking for myself.  I think I have eaten the same thing for the last month and a half or so (usually some combination of carrots, artichoke, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms and sometimes some sweet potatoes or butternut squash) and I am so done!!  Give me some variety!!!

Since I am so over food right now, here is a quick update on all my lovely tests happening this month…continued blood tests (amino acids, white blood cell count and platelet levels continue to be low), a colonoscopy and an endoscopy.  Woo! Hoo!  Sounds fun!  My prayer is that when these tests are finished I can start adding some foods back into my diet and begin to get back to some sort of “normalcy!” 

And of course I continue to crave the foods I cannot have…isn’t that how it always works?  Unfortunately I don’t have the energy to spend a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen, but every now and then I get the urge.  This week I came up with this delicious breakfast treat….

Grain Free Blackberry Baked Pancake (dairy free and vegan)

Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour

3/4 cup arrowroot powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. sea salt

3/4 cup non-dairy milk ( I used unsweetened almond milk)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add in wet ingredients and mix well.  Fold in blackberries.

4. Spread batter into prepared baking dish.

5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

6. Serve warm as is, or with a drizzle of maple syrup!

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Definitely not your traditional pancake, but the flavor is certainly there.  It’s a dense breakfast treat, so a little piece goes a long way which is why I decided to cut it into small squares.DSCN7362

The blackberries add a wonderful surprise to each bite.  I missed a picture, but ended up topping each piece off with some warm blackberry syrup.  The fam thought it was Saturday morning or something, but it was actually a quick meal to pull together.  I love that it freezes well and can be used as a quick breakfast on a busy morning.

One last hoorah before Christmas break was over…finally put our fire pit to use and roasted some marshmallows while telling funny/scary stories!DSCN7372

Inhaling her smores!DSCN7373

While this one savors each bite!DSCN7374

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MY LOVES!!

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Now we are back into the swing of school and regular schedules which makes this mama happy!  However, I am working on being a bit more flexible and open to what God brings my way each day…heaven knows that God’s plans for my day (and life) and far better than mine!  In fact, oftentimes God will use our experiences in life as stepping stones to prepare us for what He has in store next.  Scripture tells us that He will even take the things the enemy tries to bring against us and turn them around and use them for our good! Scripture Quote 4

Blessings,

J’lene

Monday, October 21, 2013

Amidst All the Craziness…

The days come and go and seemed to be filled to the brim with daily chores, activities, and school.  I am so very thankful to friends and family who have helped us out with our princesses so I can travel to and from the many doctor’s appointments I’ve had over the past few months.  But amidst all of the coming and going our little family managed to pack up and head out on a little mini vacation.  Knowing that going out to eat would be a challenge for me, I did quite a bit of research and calling of restaurants a few weeks prior to us leaving….not to mention a whole lot of cooking and snack making just in case!  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t the slightest bit worried, but at the same time I was excited to get away with the fam!

First up was San Diego….Go Padres!! 

P1000839P1000840 Enjoying a picnic lunch at Petco Park!

Our first restaurant pick was new to the princesses…PF Chang’s!  They were super excited to use chopsticks and experience Chinese food for the first time…perfect timing since they are learning about Asia in history (I knew I could squeeze some school work in there somehow!).

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P1000849 (the infamous meal that made me so ill!)

Unfortunately I had a TERRIBLE reaction to something I ate and was up most of the night.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it to our next destination the following day.  My family was super understanding and let me rest most of the morning.  When I felt comfortable enough to leave, we headed out to catch the ferry to Coronado.

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 At the Coronado landing we rented a Surry Bike for a few hours and pedaled our way up to the Hotel Del to get the hubs and princesses some SUPER EXPENSIVE ice cream at the Mootime Creamery.  It was hot and the hubs was extremely sweaty, so a little scoop of ice cream hit the spot!

P1000856Our navigators!

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 After a long day of biking, we loaded back in the car and headed up to Irvine.  Still feeling apprehensive about eating, I watched the fam enjoy one of their favorite meals of the trip at Z Tejas Southwestern Grill.  The hubs says another trip will definitely be in order!!  While they devoured their meals, I got to open some fabulous birthday gifts…a new wallet, jewelry, a beautiful scarf, crossfit socks, and that awesome spiralizer!

 

All of us were definitely in need of a good night’s sleep before venturing out to the Irvine Spectrum Mall to do some shopping and movie watching.  I think I may have my work cut out for me when these two little princesses become teens…they both love to shop! 

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All tuckered out from shopping we made the last trek of our trip up to Disneyland!  We were blessed to be able to stay not 1, not 2, but 3 days at the Happiest Place on Earth!  Of all the restaurants I had made special arrangements with, Disneyland was by far the best to work with.  On our second evening we went to Rainforest Cafe for dinner and I finally got to enjoy a meal without any worries!  The chef came to our table and talked with me about all my restrictions and together we came up with a meal that worked specifically for me…he made me some delicious veggie fajitas (with only the veggies that I could eat) with sliced avocados and warm corn tortillas.  With all that I had been through thus far on the trip, this was like comfort food to me and I loved every bite!

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 Sadly our trip had to come to an end and we are now back to the craziness of life.  Although I hit a few bumps in the road along the way, we definitely made some wonderful family memories and we are looking forward to the next time we get to do it again!

Blessings,

J’lene