Saturday, February 28, 2009

My first Remicade treatment has come and gone and I wish I could say that it went without drama. Once again the nurse missed my vein and the fluids and medication leaked out into my arm. I am so tired of needles and nurses that I could just break down and cry...which I did while they were thumping my arm trying to locate a new vein. Can someone please explain to me how a fat person can have such small veins? It makes me want to scream. Can someone also explain to me why it took them three attempts and puncture wounds before they figured out that maybe they should use a smaller needle?? They loaded my body with six bottles of Remicade at $1000 each and to say I am quite frustrated with the fact I feel just like I did before is an understatement. I am spending yet another Saturday night without my Husband as he had a concert to attend that I just couldn't even fathom attending with him. I am frustrated, depressed, sad, and angry. I just want to curl up into a ball and cry uncontrollably. I would not wish this horrible disease on my worst enemy. A person should not have to endure the sort of pain and suffering that I have been dealing with and to make matters worse, it is getting worse with every day. I have hit the stage of the disease where weight is falling off of me and with every stroke of my hair I can pull out clumps that should still be attached. I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't function like a normal human being. I am confined to my home and wishing for the light at the end of the tunnel. I was told that while some people notice an immediate difference after their first treatment, many do not notice until after their third. My third treatment isn't for another six weeks and I just pray that I am able to make it that far.

On a lighter note when checking on my blog this evening I noticed that I was awarded another award. It brought the first smile to my face on this cold February evening. Thanks to the ladies at A Dash of Life and Raoulysgirl. I will be awarding the same award to some of my fellow bloggers later on. I want to take my time doing so and to be honest, I am worn out and ready to hit the recliner with my trusty heating pad.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I know it's only been a little over a week since I lasted posted something but it feels like it has been an eternity. Unfortunately this post will probably be my last for the next few weeks.

As I have mentioned before I have Crohn's disease and for the past eight months I have been getting sicker and sicker as the days go by. After my dreaded colonoscopy at the end of January it was discovered that my disease was not in remission as my Doctor had first thought but that it was mildly active. Normally this would be when I would be prescribed additional meds and started on heavy doses of steroids, this time for whatever reason my body is not responding to any of the medication, including the steroids. The only thing the steroids have managed to do for me is make me balloon up and feel like an old woman. After another painful weekend and sending my husband out on a bowling adventure with my sister and my cousin and their significant others while I stayed at home suffering I decided enough was enough. I am tired beyond words and am weak physically and emotionally from this. I have spent more money on co-pays and new medications this year than I would like to even really think about. So I made a decision that I knew would come eventually but one I have been dreading since I was first diagnosed several years ago.

Next week I start my first Remicade treatment, which for those of you who aren't familiar with the drug is an IV infusion that is done every few months. I get to go the the hospital and sit for a few hours while the drug is slowly pumped into my system. With this decision comes a lot of fears, the first being that it involves needles. I am embarrassed to say that I am a nervous wreck when it comes to needles and that fear became worse over the summer when I was admitted to the hospital. My nurse, without any care shoved the needle into my arm, an event that about sent my sister through the roof because she witnessed the neglect the nurse showed me, which isn't that big of a deal, but later that night when another nurse came in to take my blood pressure she put the cuff of whatever they call those things right over top of the needle which ended up shoving the needle through my vein allowing all of the IV fluids and medications to leak out into my arm for over a 24 hour period. There are no words to describe the pain and discomfort that is caused when the fluids leak out. My arm swelled up and became no use to me for about a day or two. Ever since then I have become a little on the ridiculous side when fearing the worst...ask my Aunt who had to witness my reaction during the course of being tested for TB. Anyway, the fact that this procedure involves needles is a little on the scary side for me but one I am dealing with...slowly.

I think the thing that scares me the most is that my body will now be dependent on this drug. I will have to have this done every two to three months now and for the rest of my life which is a very long term commitment when you are only twenty five years old. I am the biggest procrastinator on the face of the earth and am known to not do or complete tasks until I absolutely have to. I can't tell you how many times I got grounded as a child because of the fact I always waited until a day or two before a project or a report was due before I would start it. I think it's funny now because believe it or not, I always scored better on the last minute projects than I ever did on the projects I would start on time and actually dedicate myself to. I guess it's how I roll. It's just the thought of knowing that I have no choice with this and that now for three hours of my life every two to three months for the next fifty or sixty years is going to be filled with needles and a commitment that I can't get out of is just mind boggling.

And then of course are the what ifs. What if Daniel and I for whatever reason were to both lose our jobs and I would no longer be covered by insurance, how in the heck would I be able to come up with as much as $12,000 to pay for the treatment? What are the long term affects of the medication? This drug was put on the market back in 1998 so the longest someone has been on it is ten years. What if in twenty years other organs start shutting down? Will I be able to get pregnant and continue with the treatment while pregnant? Will my child develop cancer in his or her thirties because of the drug that I took while pregnant? I read that my chances of getting lymphoma is greater. Great...I may not be sick with my Crohn's but I may face cancer, is it worth it? The question that scares me the most is what if for some reason I can't get the treatment, whether it be because of lack of insurance or whatever, what will happen to me? How sick will I get without it because my body has become reliant on it to function? What if?

It is because of the fact I currently am scared to eat anything for fear of the aftermath and the fact I am to tired to even think about cooking and posting about a meal that I am going to be taking what could turn into a two week hiatus. I am currently living on toast and when I am feeling rebellious, a couple of bland scrambled eggs along with a large glass of V8 Fusion to keep the vitamins in my system. I don't imagine that you guys want to see post after post of toast with scrambled eggs so I am going to spare you. My poor husband though, he has been living off of leftovers, leftovers that I made on Saturday which I couldn't even finish. My poor pregnant sister had to take over the reins. It was a meal that turned out really good and one I didn't even get to enjoy, I promise it will be recreated when I am more alert and I will be more than happy to share with you. Until then, keep me in your thoughts and hold tight until I am back.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Murphy's Madness Pizza

Over the summer Daniel and I did pizzas for one of our family dinners. We had never really experimented before but we put our heads together and came up with a few favorites. I have already shown you our garbage pizza and next up is our Murphy's Madness Pizza. This is the family's over all favorite and my sister who does not like tomato based anything which includes regular pizza sauce fell in love with this one because we use Alfredo sauce instead. This is definitely an easy pizza to put together and with the help of a store bought crust doesn't take to long to do.

1 Pizza Crust
1/2 lb. ground sausage, browned and drained
1 sm. onion, sliced and sauteed
1 C. Alfredo sauce
1-2 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 C. sauteed mushrooms (optional)
2 tbsp. butter
2 dashes worchestire sauce

1.) In a skillet over medium high heat brown sausage until done, drain and set aside.
2.) In the same skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp. butter and add sliced onions, cook until translucent, add dashes of worchestire sauce and mushrooms. (We made three pizzas which is why there are so many onions in the skillet)3.) Take pizza crust add a layer of alfredo sauce, layer sausage, onion, mushrooms if used, and then sprinkle with cheese. Cook until cheese is a golden brown.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's Chili by George!!

For those of you who are residing in Ohio like myself I am sure you can relate to the fact it's cold outside and I am tired of all of this snow already. When it comes to the seasons, winter is at the bottom of my list of favorites. Saturday was our weekly family dinner and when trying to come up with something to make I decided I wanted something quick, easy, and warm for the belly, so I settled for a nice big pot of chili. You can't go wrong with chili when the weather outside is miserable.

This recipe for chili was one I found on and it has been my go to chili for some time now. I have never been a big chili fan but this is one I can say I actually enjoy. Daniel and I both like to add some shredded cheese to our bowls and Daniel also adds some chopped onion.

It's Chili by George!!

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup chili powder

1.) Place ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and crumble.
2.) In a large pot over high heat combine the ground beef, tomato juice, tomato sauce, kidney beans, pinto beans, onions, bell pepper, cayenne pepper, sugar, oregano, ground black pepper, salt, cumin and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. (Note: If using a slow cooker, set on low, add ingredients, and cook for 8 to 10 hours.)

Sorry no was eaten before I could grab a picture or two.

Cajun Meatloaf

As I mentioned in my profile I absolutely adore Ree Drummond who is the author of the blog, She is living the life I have fantasized about since I was a teenage girl reading the hand me down romance novels my Grandma used to buy. I can still picture it, married to handsome yet rugged cowboy, a mans man but still a helpless romantic. A cowboy that would sweep in on horseback and rescue me from the life I lived in little ol' Bellbrook to live happily ever after on his family owned Ranch in the middle of no where. I would be the loving wife and mother, responsible for caring for her family and making sure all of the handsome ranch hands were fed during the cattle drives.

Fast forward to the year 2009 and I am married to an ex-Navy man, Mustang loving, young boy at heart and the only cattle/ranch hands I can see are two Great Danes and a hefty Black Lab. Instead of living on a sprawling ranch far far away from Bellbrook, I am living in a small ranch style home a stones throw away from Bellbrook. I guess that's why they were called fantasy's, it's no where near my reality. Not that there is anything wrong with my reality, well except maybe the ranch style home. I think my Husband would agree with me when I say it would be nice to take him and our little cattle and move across the country and live on some wide open prairies out there. Maybe someday Sweetie...don't forget to pick us up a lotto ticket

Anyway, three days after I started this entry :), I love a majority of the recipes that Ree posts to her site and when this one popped up I knew I had to give it a try. I love meatloaf, especially my Step-Mom's. Meatloaf with a side of mashed potatoes, green beans, and a slice of buttered bread, mmmmm.

Cajun Meatloaf:

*3 Bell Peppers (2 if they’re large) - I’m using a red, orange, and yellow. Any color works well.
*2 Medium Onions (I used 1 lg. which was plenty)
*1 bunch of Celery (5-6 ribs)
*8-10 Cloves of Garlic
*3 Eggs
*6 Tablespoons of Butter (I used 8 tbsp.)
*1-2 cups of Breadcrumbs
*1 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
*1 tsp. Black Pepper
*1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
*1/2 Cup of Milk
*1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
*1 Cups of Ketchup
*2 Tablespoons Honey (I did not use the honey)
*2 lbs of Lean Ground Beef
*1 lb of Ground Pork

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.) Chop all of the fresh vegetables (peppers, onions, celery) into a small dice and mince the garlic.
3.) Over medium high heat melt 6 tbsp. butter. Once the butter begins browning add the vegetables and garlic. Add about 1 tbsp. of salt. After these have cooked for a few minutes add worchestire sauce, black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Next add about 1/2 cup of ketchup. Continue to cook while stirring for a few more minutes. Remove from heat.
4.) After allowing the mixture to cool for a few minutes add 1/2 cup of milk. Stir until combined. Next add at least 1 cup of bread crumbs. Continue adding bread crumbs until mixture is a nice thick paste.
5.) In a separate bowl place the ground beef and ground pork, whisk three eggs and add to meat.
6.) After allowing the vegetable mixture to cool down, begin incorporating into meat. Keep working together until the meat and vegetables are well blended.
7.) Spray a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray. Next, using your hands, form your meat mixture into a loaf on the sheet pan. Make the loaf around 6-8 inches wide and about 1 1/2 inches thick.
8.) In a small bowl mix together 3/4 cup of ketchup and about 2 tbsp. of honey. Slather this sauce over the top of the whole meatloaf.
9.) Place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes.

This recipe makes quite a bit of meatloaf which is good as I have been trying to make recipes that will go the extra mile when it comes to leftovers. I was a tad worried when I added the nutmeg and I think next time I will try it without, it was good either way. The final decision was going to have to come from Daniel and I knew this was a keeper when I talked to him this morning and he said he was eating a piece of meatloaf for breakfast, after he had eaten a piece for a snack when he got home from work last night.

Sorry that there is no picture of it after it was finishing baking, I think we all know what meatloaf looks like though!

Monday, February 2, 2009

My all time Favorite Taco Salad

This taco salad was one of the very first meals that I ever made for Daniel and for as long as I live I will always remember his initial reaction to it. This isn't the normal taco salad that I grew up eating and after the face he made the first time I don't think it was his normal either. He was a trouper though and was willing to at least try it, it was all down hill after that :). The boy fell in love with it and I think if I made it everyday for dinner he would think he was the luckiest man on earth. The addition of the Catalina dressing gives it it's flavor and it was that addition that gave me Daniel's initial reaction. He had thought I had lost my mind, like I said though, he tried it and fell in love with it so it's all

1 lg. head iceberg lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1-2 bunches green onions, chopped
4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and drained
2 packets taco seasoning
1 bag cheese flavored Doritos (we use the family size)
1 bag shredded cheese, we use mild cheddar
1 6 oz. bottle Catalina dressing

1.) In a large skillet add ground beef and cook on medium high heat until done, drain any excess grease and then add taco seasoning packets along with the water called for on each packet. Cook meat until sauce has thickened.
2.) In a large mixing bowl combine lettuce, green onions, and tomatoes. Add ground beef mixture and toss together.
3.) Add shredded cheese and mix.
4.) Take bag of Doritos and crumble in the bag, add to the mixing bowl.
5.) Add Catalina dressing and gently toss everything together.

Veggie of the Week-Shallots

Shallots belong to the lily family. There are more than 500 different types. In addition to shallots, onions, garlic and leeks also belong to the Allium genus. Generally, shallots produce a reddish brown bulb that adds flavour to many dishes. Sautéed or cooked shallots have a sweeter taste than onions. There are many shallot-based products such as shallot pulp, frozen shallots (or chopped shallots) and peeled shallots.

The most important areas of production in the Western world are: France, the Netherlands, the United States of America and Great Britain. Other production areas can be found in South-East Asia. Ten thousand hectares of shallots are cultivated in China, Indonesia, Thailand and the neighbouring countries.

Handy to know:
● A halved shallot can help to relieve cold or flu symptoms.
● Shallots contain substances that can help prevent cancer.
● Slice shallots just before use to preserve their sweet taste.
● Shallots are an important ingredient in Worcestershire Sauce. This sauce is mainly used as flavouring in meat dishes and marinades.
● One shallot contains twice as much vitamin C as an onion.
● In recipes, substitute an onion for a shallot. You will notice the difference in taste, more pronounced and sweeter.
●Put a peeled shallot in the water to rinse your windows for a steak-free and shiny result!

The benefits of eating shallots:
Shallots are rich in vitamin A, B, C and E. Shallots contain few calories: 50-60 calories per 100 g. Regular consumption of shallots will reduce cholesterol levels and improve the blood circulation. The very high concentration of flavonoids reduces the risk of cardio-vascular diseases.

Where can I buy shallots?
Shallots can be bought at most supermarkets and greengrocers. In the supermarket, shallots are in the fruit and vegetable section close to garlic or onions. Shallots are packed per 10 to 12 bulbs in a net or bag. Shallots can also be bought loose.

What is important when buying shallots?
The first rule is that a firm shallot is fresh. You can tell an old shallot by a yellowy-white or green shoot growing from the head. Avoid packaging containing any rotten shallots.
Picture and Info provided by

Steak Da Vinci
1 1/4 lbs boneless beef round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup diced shallot
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
8 ounces linguine, cooked, warm
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1.) Spray large skillet with cooking spray: heat over medium heat until hot.
2.) Saute beef, onion, bell peppers, garlic, and shallots until meat is browned and onion tender, about 10 minute.
3.) Add remaining ingredients, except salt and pepper, linguine, parsley and Parmesan cheese, and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
4.) Simmer, uncovered until thickened to desired consistency, about 15 minutes.
5.) Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
6.) Serve over linguine: sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pico de Gallo

I love Mexican food and while I realize that being a Crohn's patient Mexican should be at the bottom of my food pyramid I can't help but enjoy it every now and again. During our few trips to the local Mexican joints I absolutely must get my fill of the complimentary chips and salsa, it's the staple of my meal and if I am not careful it becomes my entire meal. I am fortunate that my Husband shares my love of chips and salsa and he and I both especially love Pico de Gallo. My wonderful Husband attempted to make some Pico de Gallo on his own several weeks ago and to say that it had a strong onion flavor would be an you honey! So after he almost bought the store made kind yesterday I promised that I would make it fresh for him at home, with a little less onion of course. This is the creation and it met his approval although I think he would have liked a bit more jalapeno. I love Mexican but I do not love heat so he compromised and didn't insist on me adding anymore.

10-12 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp. salt
lemon juice

1.) In a large bowl combine tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, cilantro and salt. Add a splash or two of lemon juice and carefully mix together.
2.) Cover bowl and refrigerate for several hours to allow the mixture to marinate together.

I serve mine up with tortilla chips and this go round Daniel is enjoying his with Frito Scoops.