I love cooking for The Man on Saturday nights. After a fun day together doing whatever it is we do, I get to really pamper him and make something yummy. This week it was ribeyes the size of a baby. Yes, that is a regular sized dinner plate. With the bone, that puppy weighs 1.7 pounds. Grilled to perfection over hardwood, with grilled asparagus, a yukon gold potato and Gruyere gratin and pretty darn good GF biscuits (Bob's Red Mill mix), we are both in serious food comas, but fat and happy. He only ate about half of the steak, and I ate maybe a third, so tomorrow morning will be steak, egg and cheese biscuit sandwiches with fried cheesy potatoes and really amazing coffee from Cameroon. My god, I love good food.
I will say it right from the beginning. I am not a fan of baseball. To sit at home and watch it on TV is like watching grass grow. The Man, on the other hand, is a big fan. He will even listen to games on the radio, which is even more boring than TV. However, when the opportunity presented itself on July 4th to go to a Smokies game, I conceded defeat and agreed to go. Due to the horrible weather and the friend that offered the tickets having to work later than expected, our plans fell through, and it made The Man very sad. I don't like that; I put him through far too much lately for him to be sad. I jumped on their website and looked for tickets. To my glee, they're cheap. When I say cheap, $9.50 for the good seats, $7.50 for the less desirable seats. Movies aren't this cheap! The seating chart isn't very user friendly, and I've never seen the stadium, so I didn't know if the cheap seats were any good. I splurged and went with the good ones. I found a pair of seats that were in the second row right at first base! I texted him quickly to make sure we didn't have plans, and bought them.
As I said, I don't like baseball, so I wasn't looking forward to this at all, except that I knew he would enjoy himself. The stadium is about an hour from where we live, in the mountains near where Dollywood is. Parking is right on site, and reasonably priced at $3 (or so The Man tells me). The tickets were waiting at the Will Call window and quickly picked up. It is a very small stadium, much smaller than he is used to, so even the cheap seats would give great views. We, however, were sitting in prime seating. Even I understood that from the moment we sat down. You could see everything so well, which made it easy to follow the game. He couldn't stop smiling. There is a lot going on besides the game, with little activities all over for kids and families, stuff on the field between each half inning, music, mascots... It's pretty impossible to get bored. After the game there were fireworks, a really wonderful display that they postponed from the 4th because of weather. Being that close to the field, it was right over our heads and quite special.
The Smokies didn't win, but we had a great time and will be doing it again really soon. Yes, I admit it. I had fun at a baseball game. I'm not sure I'll become a swag wearing fan or tune in to games on the radio, but I will root for our team and see them as often as possible. Maybe I should look into season tickets next year?
It's a beautiful day here in East Tennessee. Got to sleep a little later this morning, thanks to staying up way too late watching Silver Linings Playbook.
If you haven't seen it, please do. Brilliantly written, directed and cast, it is a very fulfilling emotional roller coaster. Plus, staring at Bradley Cooper for two hours really isn't the hardest thing I've done this week.
Ran some errands with The Man, then a really terrific lunch at a new Mexican restaurant in town. So good I went to Yelp as soon as we got home. It's so new that it wasn't there yet, so I was the first to review it! Gave it 5 stars and four thumbs up. If you're in the area, please check out Old West Mexican Restaurant on US Hwy. 411 S in Maryville. You will not be disappointed. I'll post pics as soon as The Man emerges from his food coma, otherwise known as the afternoon nap :-) (I was too busy stuffing this amazing food in my face to take pictures, but he got a great one of the entire spread.)
The remaining part of the day will be filled with some light housework, a movie or two and cooking dinner - grilled NY strip steaks, warm herbed potato and greens salad with bacon onion vinaigrette and a lovely Italian blood orange soda and pinot grigio spritzer. Thinking about making more of the maple bacon popcorn as well, so I can tweak the recipe a bit. It really is the best I've had, and it's pretty damn easy to make. Maybe there will be enough to hand out some samples this time.
Oh, for anyone interested, I have a meds update: After a call to the doc on Friday, I got a generic prescription for the anti-inflammatory, and found a voucher for a free month of the anti-depressant. Picked everything up today for about $14. At least I have a month to find out if it works. Still working on getting help with the anti-depressant so I can continue to take it, but this is a start. Fingers crossed, because I'm really getting tired of feeling like a tin man that's been left out in the rain.
(He finally woke up! Doesn't it look delish?)
Well, I saw the doc today for the results of my tests. What a shock I got. My body thinks I'm healthy as a horse. Not a single problem anywhere - thyroid is perfect, insulin levels ideal, heart is great, blood pressure is 100/80, red and white cells exactly where they should be, no sign of any of the auto-immune markers, nothing at all wrong with me. He seemed surprised that I wasn't thrilled. I would have taken anything at this point, something, anything that will explain why I hurt all of the time. After a nice long talk he really feels that it is a combination of two conditions, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Much better than MS, but I'm not doing back flips. What I know of both conditions is they really aren't manageable, and certainly not curable. He has prescribed two medications, one is an anti-inflammatory, and the other is an anti-depressant that has also been shown to help with pain management. We also discussed the GF life, and whether it really is making a difference. Neither of us think so, but have agreed that I will continue until I see him again in 6 weeks to make sure. Definitely better to keep the toxins in my body down to a bare minimum.
Since my life would be so incomplete without road blocks, I hit a big one when I tried to get the scripts filled - my insurance won't cover any of the cost until I've reached my $2000 deductible. The monthly total for these two will exceed $450. I should be covered for the first month, I'm trawling the pharma websites for free 30 day trial vouchers. I already checked into Walmart, but neither are part of the $4 prescription coverage they advertise. I've also filled out a couple of applications for drug assistance. Plus I'll call the doc tomorrow and see if there are lower cost alternatives, maybe something that is on the $4 plan. All this, and I don't even know if it will work!
Wow, did we have a great day on Saturday for our March Against Monsanto. The weather was perfect, the crowd was awesome, and the group we were with was more fun than should be allowed by law. The Man took a bunch of pics, and has graciously allowed me to post them. If you haven't met him, there's one of him as well, holding our four footed marcher, Rufus.
Take a gander at the pics.
The estimate is about 750 attendees, with some saying it was closer to 1000. There were whole families with signs, every possible age group, and lots of four footed friends. A young man with a guitar sang protest songs with such passion it was like we were back in the 60's. State Senator Frank Nicely (R-Strawberry Plains) spoke about being a farmer and how he will lobby for labeling laws in Tennessee and at the federal level. We're not looking to put Monsanto out of business, though that would be the ultimate gift. We just want to know what is in our food.
Being part of something world wide was pretty overwhelming. Knowing that millions of people all over the world were doing the same thing at the same time, working towards making the world's food supply safer..... well, it was a pretty cool feeling. I am so glad that we all did it. However, the work does not stop there. We must continue to fight against the poisons that this conglomerate are forcing in to our food. Contact your local representatives and demand they vote for label disclosure. Sign every petition you can get your hands on. Do your shopping at the farm markets that are everywhere; supporting local small farmers is the best way to make sure the stuff you're buying is clean. Buy local meat when possible, it is readily available if you look.
For further information about the cause, please see these websites:
A great new app for both iPhone and Android is Buycott. Scan the barcode on a product and see if it has GMO's, is made by a company that is a subsidiary of Monsanto or the Koch brothers.
Be aware of what you're eating, and be active in making others aware. Talk about it to friends and strangers on the street. Together we can make the changes needed.
It somehow seems fitting that I hit my 30 day mark protesting against the one thing that makes so many sick. The weather is perfect, and I'm very excited to be spending this auspicious day with two of our besties, Aja and Michael. They are both incredibly passionate about food, and about safe food, I am so blessed to have them in my life.
Before the rally we are going to the farm market for a bit of organic local shopping, and meeting up with a few more friends along the way. I'll take a bunch of pictures and do a follow up this evening.
If you are in the Knoxville area, please join us in our fight for food equality. We're not asking for Monsanto to stop doing what they're doing, just be upfront about it with proper product labeling and let the consumer decide if they want to take the risk. Give the people the power to make their own decision!
March Against Monsanto
Market Square, Knoxville, TN
1p-3p - meet at the events stage
Hmmmm.... the first post was eaten up by some unseen force, so I will repost it.
It was a long day of running around like a nut while accomplishing very little. I pondered this question after The Man inquired what kind of wine would go with dinner - Is it wrong to just stick a straw in the wine and slurp it up like a juice box? In deference to The Man, I went with a glass. It was a big glass, but still.... The shiraz he picked went perfectly with dinner - grass fed aussie beef burgers, slow cooked bacon and onions, and vintage australian cheddar (completely coincidental..... unless you think it was a brilliant move to pair aussie beef with aussie cheese, then of course I did it intentionally!) on grilled bread (Udi's for me, multi-grain for him) with oven fries with himalayan sea salt and smoked paprika. I would have taken a picture, but alas, it was scarfed up before it occurred to me that it looked and tasted so brilliant that I should document it. Maybe next time.
Went to the doctor today. First visits with a new doc can be stressful, but I went in to it with an open mind and a willing heart.
Dr. Rivers is very relaxed, listens well, doesn't talk down to you, and spends as much time as you need to get to the source of the problem. He sat with me for over 45 minutes talking about symptoms before he even examined me. He put me at ease pretty much immediately. After I answered all of his questions and he examined me, he said we were no closer to a solution but he had a better idea of what could be the problem. I then went to his lab and the nurse took about a pint of blood out of me. They will be testing for:
The last two are long shots, and not really the focus, but we are trying everything.
I go back in two weeks for the results. He also asked me to take a small Aleve (225mg) twice a day until I go back. If it helps with the pain, then we will be leaning more towards arthritis. If not, then we keep looking deeper. I can stay off the gluten and wheat if I like, and I can keep taking my zyflamend and curcumin. He is very open to supplements and the holistic aspect of healing, so I think we will make a great pair. Together we will figure this out and get me better.
The only way he could be more perfect is if his office didn't have a scale in it..... oh well.
Saturday is the March Against Monsanto in Market Square. It is something we are both very passionate about so The Man and I are going, rain or shine. I was thinking about it yesterday on my way home from work, and something occurred to me. If you look at what the majority of people have a food sensitivity to, it is all things that have been modified over the years. Wheat and other grains, soy, corn, peanut, dairy.... these are the biggest culprits lately, and all have had their biology changed by the good people at Monsanto.
Since I'm me, I delved a little deeper. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:
o Approximately 6% aged 0-2 years have a food allergy
o About 9% aged 3-5 years have a food allergy
o Nearly 8% aged 6-10 years have a food allergy
o Approximately 8% aged 11-13 years have a food allergy
o More than 8.5% aged 14-18 years have a food allergy
I will leave you with one final thought - when we were getting our food from local farmers that grew things in real soil with things like manure and compost instead of insecticides like RoundUp, we were a whole lot healthier. Now that companies like Monsanto are messing with our food, we are a sick nation. Every step they take forward to make us "safer" makes us sicker. Girls and boys are hitting puberty at record low ages, yet no one has connected this with the hormones in the dairy we feed them to make them "big and strong". Feed a baby estrogen and things are bound to speed up. Put Monsanto bastardized wheat in everything, and suddenly we are a nation of celiacs. Well, one of the things that this GMO grain does to bugs is turn their insides into mush and kill them. Sound familiar?
Start doing the math, people. Fight for your food this weekend, and join a march where ever you live. If you're in the Knoxville area, come to Market Square and march with us. Rain or shine, it's time we took back the power and had control over our food.
We've been wanting to plant stuff other than marigolds and herbs, but the ground is just not yielding. Since the ground is too hard to till without something with a motor (we'll do that at the end of the season and get it ready for next year), we were looking for raised bed ideas. I've been researching for weeks, and everything was so expensive, even if I built it myself. I found a container gardening system at Home Depot that would work, but it was about two square feet and over $40 just for the container. I was giving up hope that we could do this with any sort of a budget. A trip to Ollie's today solved the problem - a plastic pond liner on clearance for $30. It's larger than the container garden at HD, and multi-leveled. The Man and I discussed it, and figured it would work with a little modification. Holes punched in the bottom, a bag of rocks, and four bags of topsoil resulted in just what I was looking for. The different levels are helpful for different kinds of plants, and with the smaller pots propping up the one end that might cause problems, I think it worked out splendidly.
I broke up the bunches that were already in the pots, giving the lemon balm and lavender their own pot, the cilantro a place with some marigolds, and the rest of the marigolds, oregano, sage, thyme and parsley a home in the new bed. I added a pineapple sage, basilico and opal basils, plum tomatoes and an heirloom striped beefsteak tomato. In the third pot is an heirloom yellow bell pepper. I had one bag of mulch left over, so I spread that around, but I'll probably add more. I must say, I am rather proud of myself. The peppers are already standing straight up, and everything else looks happy in their new home. I never thought I'd be able to grow anything but kids.