I try to make a new type of cookie every Friday and have enough recipes that I can not overlap them for at least 5 to 6 weeks. I hadn’t made snickerdoodles in months and it was time. This time instead of using our Crisco like my recipe calls for I decided to add a little bit of butter. I use butter in all of my cookie recipes and they are delicious but snickerdoodles one of the secrets to getting them light and fluffy is using Crisco. So I decided to use both. They turned out amazing light and fluffy just like they should be!

They are definitely a family favorite and they were eaten mostly that first night I made them! I also like to use extra cinnamon when I roll it in cinnamon and sugar. That way you have an extra “cinnamony” taste, which is fabulous.

Maple glazed Cinnamon rolls with chocolate chips

With the weather cooling, it made me want to make some comfort food. This is a recipe I’ve been working on perfecting for the last couple of decades. I used my Aunt’s cinnamon roll recipe and my mother-in-law’s Carmel frosting. I also put whipping cream (not whipped) over the rolls once they’re molded into a 9×13” pan.

Ready to go into the oven!
Molded cinnamon rolls with whipping cream
Baked with Carmel glaze

Pumpkin white bean chili

Chili is the perfect way to start off the Fall season. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to eat chili due to my interstitial cystitis and intolerance of inflammatory foods, which include tomatoes.

Last Fall, we harvested ample pumpkins from our garden which I then (tediously, pumpkin processing is very time consuming) puréed and froze in quart bags. I looked up a recipe for “pumpkin soup” a few days ago and voila! The pumpkin chili recipe looked very enticing. But of course I’m not always satisfied with or don’t have all ingredients for a recipe “on the fly” and since I had very little time, my kids were getting out of school in a few hours, etc, I knew I had to modify, which I did.

The recipe I adapted as follows.

15 ounces of pumpkin purée, cumin to taste, Instapot cooked shredded chicken, 2 cans of white beans, shredded carrots and sautéed onion, 2 cans chicken broth.

I omitted the dairy because I didn’t want it to be a higher calorie soup. It added cream to it as well.

First, I instant pot 2 breasts of chicken for 37 minutes i’m sure you could do the crockpot but this is much faster. Then I remove the chicken from the pot and put the carrots and onions to sauté in the instant pot. Once they’re cooked but not mushy, I put the chicken back in with the broth, pumpkin purée seasonings and beans. Then I warm it up and served mine with my homemade French bread. See my recipe in homemade French bread cheese sandwiches.

This is after all ingredients are added. Mmmmm…

Home canned stewed Roma tomatoes

Canning season is in full swing! I can’t turn down “free food”. It’s not in my nature. Even though I can’t eat tomatoes. They’re inflammatory, my family can. And they love canned tomatoes puréed in soups, etc. So when my husband’s aunt offered her beautiful Roma’s, I said yes! I added a teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt for flavor. The lemon juice adds the acidity needed to help the tomatoes retain their flavor. Yum! 2 batches done in about 4 hours. It would’ve taken less time, but I had children to pick up/drop off at school and work in-between canning! Crazy but good life of a mom!

Homemade French bread cheese sandwiches

I’m all about reusing things from the night before. This French bread I made last night for dinner and decided to use it for delicious cheese sandwiches for lunch today.  With my busy life style, three kids, a dog and husband, it’s hard to keep everybody satisfied and full so breadmaking is a large part of what I do. I enjoy making it because it’s easy for me and because it makes everyone happy! A full belly is a happy one. I alternate between whole wheat and white bread but French bread just tastes better with white flour, in my opinion.

Here is the recipe for French bread:

2 T. Yeast (I prefer Fleishmans)

2.5 c. Water or milk

2 t. Salt

2 T. Oil

6-7 cups flour

Let it rise for half an hour to 45 minutes. Then mold into loaves on large cookie sheet. (Makes 2 loaves). Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. If you have convection, 22 minutes. 

Whole grain oats with blueberries, bananas and raspberries

This is my go to breakfast in the morning accompanied by 2% milk. I use about a half a cup. I also had a spoonful of brown sugar or honey depending on the day.. Sometimes I add a little bit of brand flakes. Which is very yummy and nutritious! When I was doing my interstitial cystitis study who is the dietitian at Idaho State University, she recommended using whole-grain oats over a quick oats which is what I used to use because they are more nutritious and satisfying and they don’t make you hungry is quickly. It’s true! They last me for several hours before I get hungry again. 

Canned Homemade applesauce

Homemade applesauce

Is there anything better than fresh apples cooking in your kitchen? I don’t think so. The smell was divine! It got a little steamy, but thanks to my sweet hubby hooking me up with a sweet set-up for processing apples. It’s not an easy task, but worth it! That’s how my wonderful applesauce waffles and pancakes were created! Don’t forget homemade applesauce cake!

First, I cut out the cores, then boil them in a little water for about 20 minutes. Then I run them through a strainer attached to my kitchen aid (life saver!) afterward, I scoop the sauce into sterilized quart jars and attach canning lids them with rings and then process them in a hot water bath canner for 25 minutes. Yum!

This is the KitchenAid attachment I was talking about. As you can see it is automatic and with the simple flip of the , switch it was delicious apple sauce for you!!. As you can see, I am scooping apples that have been cooked and placing them into the top portion of the processor. Then it will send out the skins and only put the sauce in to the other container. It is quite wonderful! 

My return to the gym after rotator/bicep surgery

So I returned to the gym after 3 months off due to surgery. Having FMS complicates things when getting back into shape. You have to hurt to recondition your body. That’s the way it is.

I started slowly. Twenty minutes of low impact cardio at first, 3 days a week, increasing it 5-10 minutes per visit. This week I pushed harder and did 1 hour. I overdid a little, but it felt so good! My body is sore but I know the results outweigh the pain.

You can’t focus on the “immediate” results when getting into shape after 3 months of little to no workouts. The secret is thinking and focusing on the “long term”. Just like with anything else, you don’t get better or improve by doing something for a short period of time usually. It takes time. I do however know when my body needs rest.

When 1st diagnosed back in May of 1999 (I was 23) I was under the assumption of “no pain no gain”. Now it’s “some pain=eventual gain, but know your limits.”

I don’t know ALL of my limits because I sometimes try new workouts or push a particular workout a little too hard. (I. E. Too much weight, push-ups on my knees v. push-ups using full body weight, planking with both legs extended v. one knee on ground, etc. ). These are just tops and tricks I’ve leaned along my journey to a healthier, happier me.

Pick one (in my case three). workouts you love and stick to them! Do them consistently and listen to your body. Are you getting stronger/more toned/ more endurance? Then you’re doing what’s right for you. Not for your peers. (Trust me, I often see women my age and older go 5 days or more a week). It’s HARD not to compare yourself to them. But you can’t! Because they’re not YOU! Your body is your own and as my PT recently commented every BODY needs rest in between workouts. So that’s my new mantra. “It doesn’t matter how often others work out.” I’m doing what’s best for me and my health. It’s actually a selfish way of thinking but really it’s about self-preservation not selfishness. Who knows what those ladies might go through in the long run? Who knows?

I don’t normally take three months off from work outs, but had to due to my recovery from surgery. I decided to “give myself permission” to not look “photo ready” in the following pic. I’ve gained about 8-10 pounds just eating unhealthy food snd no exercise. Hence the double chin. Getting out of pain from surgery was another journey but that’s for another day. Happy workouts to all!

My first day back at the gym!

Basil Pesto lasagne

Here’s wha you need: lasagne noodles, 16 oz. cottage cheese, lean ground beef, mozzarella cheese. Layer lasagne noodles, cottage cheese, then the meat-pesto sauce, followed by cheese, then repeat layering until pan is 3/4 way full.

This was a happy accident for me. Originally, anti-inflammatory sauce I made was white cheese sauce. Then I found basil pesto pre-made sauce at Costco and it’s delicious!

This recipe is so yummy! If you’re expecting it to taste like “traditional lasagne” you may be disappointed, but if you’re open-minded and like pesto sauce, you won’t be disappointed!

Basil-pesto lasagne

Bad day turned good.

Two days ago I had a struggle with sleeping the night before. This happens sometimes with my fibromyalgia. I have intermittent sleep so even though I got six hours it felt more like four. I can go a few days without getting seven hours. I decided when I have my bad days due to fibromyalgia or ICC flares, I have to keep moving.

Fortunately I have children who need my time. It isn’t an option to “take a day off“ from my responsibilities. Helping them takes my mind off my pain for a time. I give myself permission to have a bad day and then make it a good day. How do I do that? I keep moving. My fibromyalgia was bad due to my lack of sleep. Getting back into shape also requires pain. My muscles felt like they were on fire two days ago. It was a hard day. But I keep going.

Then my interstitial cystitis flared up for no reason yesterday. I hadn’t eaten to make it flare. Super frustrating. Its OK to have bad days because they will come. It’s what you do with those days that matters.

Did I give myself permission to flop on the couch last night for two hours watching Netflix? Absolutely! Did I find an excuse to sit down for 30 minutes in between taking kids to and from activities so that I could write some lyrics to a song ? Absolutely! Did I take a long shower with hot water to ease pain in my muscles? You better believe I did! I took Lunesta (prescription of course) to sleep. It helps me sleep six hours. Then I add an antidepressant call trazodone which gets me 7-8 hours total.

I’m not condoning medicating. But I know myself. If I don’t take medication at night, I wake up every two hours. It’s like having a newborn, without the benefit of a baby. No point waking up every two hours. Therefore. I medicate.

Using a funny app to make a character.