Far too long since I last blogged!

bigstock-pancreatic-cancer-ribbon-77543594-750x465-e1493233420161-1-2020-01-8-00-46.jpgPurple Hope RibbonThis blog has been quiet for far too long. It is the year 2020 and I’ve not had much to say since a few years. I wish I could say that I am well and in good health for the year 2020… but 2019 has left me weakened, recovering from an awful respiratory infection… waiting to start full chemo (they won’t start it up while I have an infection). I have sat here for the first 8 days and just wondered what this year is going to bring.

I know that each new decade brings radically new changes in life… but this is one unwanted change that I am left holding the bag to deal with. It started about three months ago when I went to the doctor because I had a lump in my testicle once more and I was passing blood in my urine. Turns out that the doctor wanted to do a CT scan to look for kidney stones since I am highly allergic to shrimp and the Xray contrast would be an allergen for me. I go to the hospital to get my scanned the technician in training scanned to high. Instead of finding kidneys they scanned my pancreas and found two tumors on it.

I guess it was meant to be since they found it early enough that they can do something. I’m waiting to start a really rough Chemotherapy drug called Affinitor. It is hellaciously expensive… it cost $37,000 just for one month’s worth of it. The tumors are producing the antidote to insulin… called Glucagon that totally has complicated my diabetes. This totally explains why I am using so much insulin.

I am hoping that the Chemo will get it… the next step is removal of the pancreas and spleen which is a very radical surgery. I already have to take a pill called CREON because my body was not absorbing anything from my food but fat. This is the definition of CREON…

CREON (pancrelipase) is a prescription medicine used to treat people who cannot digest food normally because their pancreas does not make enough enzymes. This condition is called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) and may be due to cystic fibrosis, swelling of the pancreas that lasts a long time (chronic pancreatitis), removal of some or all of the pancreas (pancreatectomy), or other conditions.

I have had chronic pancreatitis on and off which explains the nausea and weakness I have had. If I could only shake the bronchitis I would say I am feeling lots better.

Anyhow I hope to post better news. I see my oncologist towards the end of the month and my Endocrinologist on the 17th. We will have to wait and see what more tests will bring after that.

In the interim, please pray for me… I will have a journey ahead of me.

Boo: A Madea Halloween

Boo:  A Madea Halloween

Boo: A Madea Halloeen

As much as I like a Madea movie I enjoyed this one but was disappointed because a lot of the stuff that they showed on the previews wasn’t in the movie.  I won’t spoil it too much for those who haven’t seen it as it definitely has a funny story to it.

Brother Joe and Ms. Hattie are in it… as is our lovable Pot Smoking (but legal now) Aunt Bam.

Madea, as usual, is there to get her own special “Revenge” on those who Get her… as usual, she is running but this time not from the Po-Po but from Zombies and causing mayhem on the way.


[imdb id=”tt5325452″]

Careful with medicine, alternative treatments, and pets.

I have a friend who rescues kitties who told me a very sad story about a poor little white kitten who needlessly died because of a popular alternative therapy treatment… a treatment that was 100% natural and organic.  Her owners tried to treat  fleas with tea tree oil.  While it is true that tea tree oil is highly toxic to bugs… it’s also highly toxic to cats, dogs, and even humans if taken internally.

I am sure that these pet owners were acting with the best intentions as tea tree oil is touted to be a miracle cure in all the alternative health circles.  It cures everything from herpes warts to toenail fungus… kills bacteria… bugs… whatever.  Unfortunately it will also kill your pets.  These are the people who treat their pets illnesses with coconut oil, and other alternative treatments.

Poor little white lady did not make it… they brought it in to euthanize it but the animal hospital had them sign her over to them to try to save it and readopt her.  Unfortunately she absorbed too much of the oil… and it was too late to do anything for her.  Poor little girl fought the good fight, but the oil caused irreparable neurological damage and in the end her skin peeled.

Many things are poisonous to pets… some think it’s ok to give them baby aspirin, people food such as chocolate, and other treats… but things made for people can kill your animals.  If you are in need of care for a sick animal reach out to some of us on Facebook.  There are vets who will answer questions for free rather than see an animal suffer.  Please don’t make a sick animal worse.  Use only products designed for safe usage on pets.

Read more by clicking here from PetMD

Worst Experience Ever – Express Scripts

While at physical therapy today, my therapist asked me to describe exactly what my migraine headaches were like.  There really isn’t anything I can compare it to as the pain is not like anything I have ever experienced.  He offered to try a few things that might help the headache, but the were almost the same identical techniques my Chiropractor has done before.

It doesn’t help when my hip is screaming because of a laberal tear and joint damage that has been giving me a dull chronic pain for ten years.  I am fortunate because my disability kicked in in June, but I was forced to change insurance at the end of July.

Express Scripts or Medco is my pharmacy benefit effective July 1st and they give you great savings if you go mail order.  I could not afford my medicine at the brick and mortar pharmacy.  But I have never, ever, been through the hell that I have been through from any medical provider that I have been through with Express Scripts.

First off it is a battle to get even the basic medicines filled… mainly because I live in a trailer park and have no secure place for mail to be left.  I am often gone throughout the day due to doctors appointments, therapy, and healthcare needs.  I choose to have my medicine sent to my mother’s house which means they have to call and verbally confirm shipping on each and every prescription, mind you I have 27 of them.

Second off they discontinued my Lyrica, needed for Fibromyalgia, and my neuropathy.  I was stopped COLD TURKEY for over 10 days while they chased down a doctor with my physician’s group who was willing to review my chart and refill the medicine.  Unfortunately my family doctor suddenly and unexpectedly departed the practice.  This is a medicine that clearly states do not stop taking it without the supervision of a doctor… and I was cold turkey stopped over red tape getting it approved… never mind I’ve been taking it for more than a year.

Two weeks after that it was time that I could refill my Cymbalta, an ANTIDEPRESSANT which is known if you stop it cold turkey it will rake you over the coals emotionally.  Guess what… same nightmare only this time I requested refill 7 days before I ran out of medicine.  When my neurologist refilled my Depacote, Indomethacin, Relpax, and Zofram he claims that he sent electronically a prescription for Cymbalta.

Well guess what express scripts claimed that they never received it and by the time I tracked down my neurologist my 7 days was up.  I am on day 12 without it… Found out it shipped two days ago on Tuesday have not received it.  I’ve been raked over an emotional roller coaster and no one at Express Scripts seemed to care.  I’ve screamed, thrown things, cried, laughed, been up, been down, and had just about every kind of dark thought you can imagine because I cold turkeyed Cymbalta.  Luckily it’s out of my system now and I’m starting to feel more normal.

Here’s the time frame 7 days to figure out they did not get the prescription (when I got the depakote and other meds in the mail) and get it straight with my doctor.  4 more days to go through the drug review to get it approved by insurance… weekend happened no shipping called Monday to verify my shipping address… get phone call again on Tuesday they needed MONEY as they wouldn’t ship until I paid for it… TUESDAY it’s in the mail and today is Thursday and I’m still WITHOUT MY MEDS.

Express Scripts I wonder how many people you have killed by stopping their needed antidepressants cold turkey.  #SHAMEONEXPRESSSCRIPTS

Thai Basil Chicken

Oh my… oh my… I just got my CSA box and there’s a fragrant bag of fresh basil in it.  Tonight I think I’m going to make some Thai Basil Chicken.  It’s often served in restaurants with chicken that has been ground like hamburger meat… I do prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

This one has never failed to disappoint.  I prefer the Italian basil like I got at the CSA to the Thai Holy Basil in this recipe because the Thai Holy Basil tastes a lot like licorice to me.

Thai Basil Chicken
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Dish out a plate of freshly steamed jasmine rice, scoop the hot Thai basil chicken (pad kra pao gai ?????????????) onto one side of the rice, and nestle your fried egg on the other side of the plate. And there you have one of the most widely beloved Thai street food dishes.
For the egg
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of oil for frying
Basil chicken
  • 1 chicken breast (or any other cut of boneless chicken, about 200 grams)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Thai chilies
  • 1 tablespoon oil for frying
  • 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
  • ½ teaspoon light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 splash of dark soy sauce
  • 1 handful of Thai holy basil leaves
First, fry the egg
  1. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan on high-medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot and sizzling, drop in the egg. Let it sizzle and bubble up, and at the same time, splash some of the hot oil onto the top of the egg (don't flip the egg, unless you really want to).
  3. After the egg looks about right to your cooked likeness, take it out, drain the excess oil, and put it on a plate for later. (I usually skip the egg)
Thai Basil Chicken
  1. Cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces.
  2. Rinse and peel the garlic and chilies, and pound them in a mortar and pestle (alternatively you can just mince them with a knife). They don't need to be super fine, you just want to bring out the oils and flavors from the garlic and chilies.
  3. Pluck a good sized handful of holy basil leaves off the stems.
  4. Now it's time to start cooking. Heat your wok on high heat, and add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan.
  5. When the oil is hot, add the chilies and garlic. Stir fry them for about 20 seconds or so until they get really fragrant, but don't let them burn or get too dry.
  6. Toss in your chicken. Keep stir frying continuously. At this stage you want to continue to stir and cook your chicken until it's just about fully cooked all the way through (depending on the size pieces of chicken and how hot your fire is, it should take about 2 - 3 minutes). If it starts to get dry, add just a tiny splash of water.
  7. Add 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar, and finally a splash of dark soy sauce. Keep stir frying for about another 30 seconds.
  8. Grab a handful of holy basil, toss it into the pan, fold it into the chicken, and then immediately turn off the heat (if you're using an electric stove, you'll want to remove the pan from the burner). The holy basil really only needs to cook for about 5 seconds, and it will continue to wilt and cook from the existing heat of the chicken. This step is important because if you cook the basil for too long, it loses some of its glorious flavor and gets slightly chewy.
Make sure your rice is cooked and ready to be served before you start cooking... believe me on this one, because there's nothing more disappointing than finishing a pan of pad kra pao gai (?????????????) only to realize your rice isn't cooked yet!

Remember that the ingredients listed here are just a guide - they are the amounts I used - but you should really taste test all the Thai food you cook, and make it according to the way you like it!


Fruit Pie Tacos from a muffin pan

Hopefully someday soon we will see some peaches or apples from our CSA.  This sounds like a winner of a recipe.  I’m sure it will delight your family.  I have baked things like this on our gas grill to avoid heating the oven… just watch your temp and check often… your mileage may vary.

Have a great fourth CSA Friends

Easy Fruit Pie Tacos Using a Muffin Pan
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Americana
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Stolen from Columbus radio station Magic 106.3... someone there knows how to crack an egg.
  • 4 Apples peeled & sliced (or peaches, pears, berries or other fruit)
  • ½ C Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon (if it compliments your fruit)
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg (if it compliments your fruit)
  • vanilla to taste (optional)
  • ½ C Water
  • Tortilla’s (flour) 6? size
  • Oil (for frying tortillas)
  • ½ c sugar-cinnamon mixture
  • Whipped cream
  1. Place apples (or peaches, pears, berries, etc), sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water in a sauce pan.
  2. Stir until well blended and cover and cook on medium stirring frequently For 10 minutes or until apples are semi soft. If needed, thicken sauce using 1 Tbl of cornstarch to 3-4 Tbl of water.
  3. Note: Cinnamon and Nutmeg may not work with berries or other fruit. Feel free to use any other complimentary fruit or add vanilla if necessary.
  4. Mix into sauce and stir until thickened. Heat oil on medium heat in a skillet and holding the tortilla folded in half, place the bottom on tortilla in the oil for a few seconds.
  5. Then lay it on one side until browned and then place other side down until browned. Remove from oil and Sprinkle browned tortilla with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Fill taco shells with apple pie filling and top with whipped cream, and sprinkle a little more of sugar-cinnamon mixture on top.
  6. Let it "set" on an upside down muffin tin.


Peacamole – A New Twist on Guacamole

I found this one in the New York Times and can’t wait to try it.  I’m nothing but traditional with some foods, but this actually seems like it would work.  I am hoping to find some avocados to try it out this weekend.  Peacamole adds the flavor of sweet peas to traditional guacamole.  It is said to enhance the color and texture of the traditional guacamole.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or drop a spoon full on top of your favorite salad or tex-mex recipe.

My procedure went well today, but I won’t feel the aftermath until tomorrow.  I have a feeling I won’t be feeling like doing very much this weekend after having several six inch needles stuck in my hip joint.  Good food is always a comfort.

Peacamole - A New Twist on Guacamole
Recipe type: Dip
Cuisine: Meximerican
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Adding fresh English peas to what is an otherwise fairly traditional guacamole is one of those radical moves that is also completely obvious after you taste it. The peas add intense sweetness and a chunky texture to the dip, making it more substantial on the chip. They also intensify the color of the green avocado — and help the guacamole stay that way. Pea guacamole keeps its bright hue in the fridge for a few days without turning brown around the edges. A good dose of lime juice helps this cause. This dish, a collaboration between ABC Cocina’s chef-owner, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and his chef de cuisine, Ian Coogan, is the best kind of greenmarket tweak upon a classic.
  • ½ pound fresh sweet peas, shucked (about ½ to ⅔ cup peas)
  • 2 small jalapeños
  • 2 tablespoons packed cilantro leaves, chopped, more for garnish
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed
  • 3 small ripe avocados, mashed
  • 2 scallions, whites only, sliced as thin as possible (about ¼ cup)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime, more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sunflower seeds
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving
  • Tortilla chips, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a bowl with water and ice. Plunge peas into the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 1 minute. Drain peas and immediately transfer to the ice bath. Drain.
  2. Heat broiler to high and broil one of the jalapeños on a heatproof pan. Cook, turning occasionally, until jalapeño is completely charred. Transfer to a small bowl, cover tightly in plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, use a towel to wipe off the charred skin. Halve, seed and devein the roasted jalapeño. Then halve, seed, and mince the remaining raw jalapeño.
  3. In a blender or the bowl of a food processor, purée peas (reserving 2 tablespoons for garnish) with roasted jalapeño, minced raw jalapeño, cilantro and ¼ teaspoon salt. Process until almost smooth but still a little chunky.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine mashed avocado, scallions, lime zest, lime juice, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the pea purée. Adjust salt and lime juice as needed and garnish with fresh peas, sunflower seeds and flaky sea salt. Serve with tortilla chips and lime wedges.


Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet Potato Pancakes are a savory southern comfort food.  They are not to be eaten with syrup… but savored with other veggies.  They are delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  The redder the sweet potato the better.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: each
  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 4.61
  • Saturated fat: 1.63
  • Unsaturated fat: 1.86
  • Trans fat: 1.11
  • Carbohydrates: 200
  • Sugar: 3.88
  • Sodium: 696
  • Fiber: 3.06
  • Protein: 9.47
  • Cholesterol: 186
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: North American
  • 1 cup carrot (grated, firmly-packed)
  • 1 cup white potato (grated, firmly-packed)
  • 4 egg (beaten)
  • 1 cup sweet potato (grated, firmly-packed)
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ lemon lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp onion (grated)
  • 2 Tbsp parsley (chopped)
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  1. Place grated sweet and white potatoes in a colander over a bowl. Salt lightly and let stand 15 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out well to get rid of all the extra water (you could save this water for soup stock).
  2. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Fry in butter in a heavy skillet until brown and crisp.
  3. Serve immediately, topped with yogurt or sour cream and fresh-chopped chives. Garnish with tomato wedges and lots of fresh, raw vegetable sticks.

Far Too Long since I’ve Posted

I’ve had a heck of a first half of 2015… I’ve struggled with my headaches and other illnesses terribly, but I am surviving.  I am very limited as to how long I can spend on the computer… sadly I’m lucky to make it 1 hour a day in 15 minute segments.  I did get my disability which has taken a lot off of my mind… I am going to be safe in my home for now, my only job is to recover and try to improve my conditions… or at least keep them from getting any worse.

I lost my Dad on my birthday this year… my wake up call was that he was in bad condition and I needed to get their quickly.  We had his funeral on Father’s day weekend.  My prayers are for my Stepmother and her kind daughters, my sisters now.

I’ve subscribed to a community sponsored agriculture program where I bought a share of a local farm.  I’ve so far had plenty of squash, cucumbers, and greens from the experience.  The farmers are so nice and I highly recommend everyone to support their local farmers.

Tomorrow I’m having a minor surgical / mir procedure where they will be going into my hip with a scope, injecting dye, and then scanning the heck out of it.  The goal is to see how the structure of it is holding, and if there is any inflammation that they can address.  I am hoping that everything will come out better.

As always I’m still Cooking and I’ll post the recipe for my famous White Chili – All those at Charter will appreciate.

Allen's Famous White Chili Recipe
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 7-8 Servings
  • Serving size: bowl
  • Calories: 185kcal
  • Fat: 10.35g
  • Saturated fat: 5.58g
  • Unsaturated fat: 3.95g
  • Trans fat: 0.82g
  • Carbohydrates: 6.51g
  • Sugar: 2.02g
  • Sodium: 591mg
  • Fiber: 1.31g
  • Protein: 14.03g
  • Cholesterol: 61mg
Recipe type: Chili
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This recipe has won many ribbons and trophies… for the prize winning recipe you must use a pressure cooker no way around this one.
  • 1 pound Bonless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 each medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, well rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 2 cans green chilies, 4 ounces each
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. white pepper, you may use black use more to taste at end of cooking
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, use more to taste at end of cooking
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  1. In the bottom of your saucepan or pressure cooker (the electronic pressure cooker has a browning setting that will heat the bottom of the pot very hot) add the oil, garlic powder, and chicken cubes. Cook the chicken cubes until they are no longer pink.
  2. Add the beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. OR Pressure cook for approximately 5 minutes and let it naturally release this will force the seasonings into the beans and chicken for a more flavorful white chili.
  3. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Add the heavy whipping cream and the sour cream slowly. Stir it well as the heat in the chili will bring the dairy to temperature quickly.
  4. Once you add the dairy you must keep it on low heat… if you reheat it you have to reheat slowly on low heat. If you bring it to cooking temperature it will cause the dairy to curdle and you will have a disgusting mess.
  5. Serve the chili with a plop of sour cream and garnish with fresh chopped onions or better yet green onions. My grandmother made a relish called “Chow-Chow” that is delightful in this as well.
Shopping and Prepping: When you select your spices make sure you are using quality spices. I have found when I cut corners here the recipe suffers. I will use nothing less than penzeys, watkins or McCormick.

Pressure or Conventional: You may prepare this in a pressure cooker or a large saucepan on the tabletop. I have taken this recipe warmed in a crock pot but it will not come out if you cook over time in a crock pot. I’ve never had this recipe win an award when prepared in a saucepan, for the most amazing flavor it is necessary to prepare this in a pressure cooker. I purchased an electronic pressure cooker on Amazon for $89 in 2011 and have used this every time I’ve made any kind of chili and it works better than my stovetop pressure cooker.

Pressure cooking will force the broth and seasonings into the beans making it much more flavorful. It also unlocks the fiber in the beans making them more digestible. I usually double up the batch on this or triple it for potlucks at Church. I seldom have leftovers and usually find someone scraping the last bits out of the bottom of the pot.


Dill Butter Squash Saute

To all of my CSA Friends, I hope you are enjoying all that squash you are getting.  Try this!

This is a different angle on an old veggie. Even the kids will eat this one! If you’ve got fresh dill in your garden, substitute 2 to 3 fresh sprigs dill for the dried dill weed.

Dill Butter Squash Saute
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 6oz
  • Calories: 92 kcal
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated fat: 4.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.2g
  • Sugar: 1.2g
  • Sodium: 63mg
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 1.6g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg
Recipe type: Vegetable
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
You can add Garlic, and other herbs use this as inspiration to eat more squash... one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
  • 2 sliced zucchini
  • 2 sliced yellow squash
  • ¼ cup butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. dried dill weed (or a bunch of fresh)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  1. Slice the zucchini and yellow squash. Place the sliced vegetables in a large skillet or saucepan with the butter. Saute over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes before seasoning with salt, pepper and dill.
  2. Continue to saute for 10 additional minutes before adding the lemon juice. Stir the vegetables well and remove from heat. Serve hot.