Traditions of Love

Here we are on our wedding day in front of the church.  I am a direct descendent of the second minister of the church, which was burned down by the British during the Revolutionary War.

I married my husband on July 21, 2001, when I was 31 years old.

We had met when I was 26, and three years later, became engaged. We had a 2-year engagement, where we saved to pay for both our wedding and honeymoon. I remember writing that check to the restaurant for the reception…it was painful to see that money one minute and hand it over in the next, but what a fun night we had!

He is the youngest of ten, so we had a very large wedding party with his five brothers, my three sisters and brother, a girlfriend of mine, and a niece and nephew as flower girl and ring bearer.

We were married in the Protestant church I grew up in, and we also had a priest officiating, to represent both of our faiths.

Chris and I love a good party, so we planned our reception to be fun. Once in a while, I hear a comment about how much fun our wedding was—as well as how much food was there! We had picked a local restaurant for our reception, and although Chris and I didn’t get to eat that night, we knew our guests would be satisfied with the several course dinner.

We had hired a DJ and because we had different generations of people attending, we tried to select dancing music that everyone could enjoy. Chris and I danced to Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight”, which was about as slow as it got that night! And our cake cutting song was Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Pride and Joy”.  I can’t remember what the entrance songs were at the reception, but I am sure they were just as upbeat and jazzy.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn about and enjoy many different traditions from my husband’s family. Christmas Eve was the first tradition that I experienced and we continue to enjoy every year. We’ve hosted it a few times, and it’s just a big party overloaded on family, food, and gifts!

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband’s family had a baby shower for me, complete with a cookie tray and a beautiful stork that was made by my father in law and had graced the family baby showers over the years.

When my daughter was Sophia christened, my mother made her Christening gown, and she was able to wear a baby Christening ring that has been in my husband’s family for generations.

This past weekend, we went to a family gathering that allowed me to be part of yet another family tradition. A nephew on my husband’s side had gotten married this past February out in California, and his parents held a summer reception at their home here in Connecticut. It was a big party, complete with a tent, white tablecloths, and catered food.

But what was really special for me were the cookies that his aunts and myself made for dessert.

The tray before the unveiling.

One of my sister-in-laws organized our baking a few weeks ago, and when the seven of us were done, the tray that was made would be the pride of any upstanding Italian wedding! It had anginettes, layered cookies, two kinds of biscotti, raspberry bars, peanut butter and chocolate cookies, chocolate anisette balls, linzer strips, almonds, and little chocolate kisses interspersed.

I couldn’t attend the building of the tray due to an upset stomach, but I was able to see the final product when it arrived at the party house. What a beautiful tray! I was glad that I was able to bake and participate in the cookie tray event. It was a special tradition, that I hope we aunties continue to do, over the next generation of weddings and showers.

The layers of love in this tray are fit for any Italian wedding.

I wish my nephew and his now six-month bride a wonderful life full of great memories, happy days, and yummy cookies!

What traditions does your family enjoy?

Yours in Lyme Adventures,





Kale Supreme

Here is my own recipe I created for the Kale Supreme dish I am bringing to a family gathering tomorrow.

You can adjust the ingredients to whatever veggies and meats you like, just be sure you have enough meat to balance the veggies.  Since I am limited in what foods I can eat, I use at least 2 meats when I make this dish. For this event, I chose to add bacon as well…who doesn’t love bacon?  It gives the dish enough salt and complements the sweetness of the roasted brussel sprouts.



Olive oil (in a pourable hand-held container…you will be using a lot of olive oil!)

Garlic- 2-3 cloves, cut up

Kale -1 bunch,  stems removed and leaves chopped up (you can put it in a processor or cut the leaves with scissors)

Brussel sprouts 1-2 containers, depending on your own taste (I used 2 here) cut in half pieces

1 lb bacon cut up into bite size pieces

1 lb chicken cut up into bite size pieces

1 lb sausage either removed from casings or cut up into bite size pieces

Any other veggies you like: red peppers, broccoli, or asparagus cut up would be good in this


Pre-heat oven to 375 or 400, whichever you prefer.

Mix chicken, sausage and bacon in separate bowls w/ olive oil.  Place each meat separately in baking pans and cook until done. I line my pans with foil just to make clean up easier. Put some olive oil in the pans as well to discourage sticking.

Put kale into a bowl while meat is cooking.  Mix with more olive oil to coat the leaves.  Add salt if you like.

Cook garlic in olive oil large pan (like what you use to make a large pot of homemade sauce in) and add kale once the garlic is almost browned.  Add a little more olive oil if the pan is dry.  You can put all of the kale into the pan, (it will fill to the top of the pan!) putting the stove on a medium flame or temp. It will cook down to cover the bottom of the pan in about 7 minutes or so. Stir the kale from time to time and continue to add olive oil as it cooks so that it doesn’t stick to bottom of the pan.

Once the kale is done, add the meats to the pan just to mix it all together.

After you halve the brussel sprouts, put them in a bowl and again, toss them with olive oil. Put some more olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish and put the flat sides of the sprouts on the bottom of the pans.  You will need to let the brussel sprouts roast  for about an hour at 375.  If you want them darker, just roast them longer!

Once the sprouts are golden brown, put the kale and meat mixture into a pretty serving dish.  In the picture above, I used a lasagna dish.  But any rectangular or other heat-resistant dish will do.  Add the brussel sprouts on top.  Try not to steal a few to munch on!

Cover with foil or a top and keep in the fridge until you are ready to heat it up and eat!

I suggest taking the dish of the fridge and letting it get room temperature before heating just to hasten the heating time if you are serving the whole dish.

A few notes:

This makes about 3 or 4 individual meals for myself. It keeps very well in the fridge for a few days.  And when I want to heat it up, I just put the portion I want in a sauce pan with some olive oil to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

Another variation would be to make the kale and cook some shrimp with lemon and olive oil  and bacon as the meat addition.  I would cook the shrimp on the stove and bake the bacon in the oven as directed above, since shrimp cooks very quickly and you don’t want to to over cook it.  I can’t handle the shellfish, but I am sure that would be yummy! Salmon or cod might work well, too.  You  just want to be sure you have enough of the fish to enjoy with the kale. And the fish may not last as long in the fridge, so you want to be sure to eat it before the fish gets too fishy!

What other variations can you come up with?


Yours in Lyme Adventures,







Full As A Tick

I never heard this expression before, and it wasn’t until I researched phrases with the word ‘tick’ in it that I came across this clever idiom.

Sadly, it takes different foods for me to be full as a tick now. I really miss baking and eating my favorite dessert of cookies and milk.imgres-3 Diving into a bowl of my husband’s homemade sauce on pasta with buttery garlic bread on the side can’t happen at my place setting anymore. Potato chips with my special sour cream and onion dip is a snack that I have to pass by. Summer corn on the cob and shrimp cocktail with another homemade sauce recipe are now distant culinary memories. And no more summer desserts like s’mores or ice cream. Pancakes or waffles with syrup–out. Toast with jelly and butter–gone.





All gone from my diet and my taste buds.

And forget about wine or mixed drinks. Those delicious refreshments would clearly turn me into a stinging human, capable of electrifying any number of appliances in my home. And that something I do not wish to do with my time right now.

imagesNow, it is kale, protein, green tea and water that make me full as a tick. Today, I realized that eggs need to be taken off my menu, too.


Well, that makes more room for more of those good-for-you greens in my diet, right?

What makes you full as a tick?

Yours in Lyme Adventures,


Work Smarter, Not Harder


Today, the weather is beautiful outside with no humidity, and I’m feeling relatively normal for me, so it’s a ‘cook in bulk’ day today.

I was advised that I need to do this, since I have such a limited diet and must prepare fresh meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Every. Single. Day.

It’s taken me a while to figure out what I can eat as well as how much I should eat. I also know that once I start a task, I have to stay in close proximity in order to finish it. Otherwise, the short-term memory function in my brain shuts off, and lunches are left partially complete on the counter, laundry is left in the washing machine for days, and animals don’t get fed.

So, I pulled out the chicken, bacon, and tea kettle to made my bulk food. After putting the meat in the oven, and turning on the timer, I went back to into my happy little office to working on a few writing projects.

My attention span is short and quick, like the squirrels that zip up the oak and maple trees in my yard. Writing work is interrupted by taking my Scrabble and Dice turns, checking my Twitter, Facebook and Word press accounts, reading and perhaps following random writings of bloggers, and responding to anyone that comments on a post or follows me. I get up to meander around the house, check on my blooming perennial garden outside, open a few windows, put some odd objects left on the counter or dining table away, water my plants. It’s like I have ADD with a hefty dash of Alzheimer’s sprinkled in. Quite a combination.

I  smelled the bacon instead of hearing the timer.…triggering me to get up and go back into the kitchen. The meat was done.

I decided today to actually cut up all the meat before storing it, since I always cut it up when I eat it in one of my three main kale and meat combinations anyway. Smart, right?

My green tea is brewing in the kettle. I like to keep a glass container of it in the fridge to drink so I have some variety between tea and water. My new batch for today will be ready to drink.

I also have some fresh kale that I need to chop in my Ninja. It’s a pain to do, but it definitely helps having it all ready to toss in a salad or a pan of olive oil. And I recently discovered you can kale and brussel sprouts frozen, too. Victory in the kitchen will be mine!


Now if I could just remember to close the cap on my water bottle next to my laptop….

Yours in Lyme Adventures,


Kale Fail


I have a sweet tooth. A big, bad one. No cavities, but a sweet tooth nonetheless.

And I enjoy baking because of it. Although I will readily admit that I am more like a “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade” baker instead of “Martha Stewart It’s All Good From Scratch” baker.

On my quest for eating better, I am really missing my desserts. I’ve been eating a lot of kale lately (See my post Adventures in Kale), so I decided to research kale brownies.

I came across a few recipes, one that had too many ingredients, including butternut squash and other foods. The one I settled on didn’t have 25 ingredients, and although it listed brown rice flour and arrowroot for the ‘flour’ and no eggs, I figured I could substitute coconut flour and just increase the liquid.20160526_104221_resized

And so began a new kale adventure.

I gathered all my ingredients after making a special trip to the store to purchase the zucchini and coconut milk, more coconut flour, and coconut sugar. Going over the recipe and my ingredients back at home, I discovered I did not have baking powder, only baking soda. Ok, no biggie. I’ll just use the baking soda. It can’t possibly make THAT much of a difference, right?

The recipe also called for kale finely chopped. I had already chopped mine in my Ninja food processor, so I was all set there. I grated the zucchini as directed, and mixed the dry ingredients, which included cocoa, to give it the chocolatey goodness I was after.

When I went to add the coconut milk, I used the metal can opener that pokes holes in the can, only to discover nothing came out when I tipped the can upside down! So, I opened it with the rotary one, and realized I hadn’t shaken it as instructed on the side of the can. I solved that problem with a frustrated “REALLY??!!”, and mixed it in the can with a wooden spoon.20160526_105209_resized

Next came the coconut flour and other dry ingredients to the milk. As is its nature, it sucked up all the coconut milk, so the mixture ended up more like a thick, brown, play dough instead of a creamy brownie mixture. I added half the can of the coconut milk, but now I realize I should have probably added the whole can.

After putting in the kale, the mixture looked more like a pile of dirt and grass from my backyard. I hadn’t ‘finely’ chopped the kale, so pieces of it stuck out from the blobs of brownie mixture. It didn’t “pour into the pan” as the recipe explained the next step. I had to literally plop the mix into the pan and spread it with a spatula. It was pretty bad.

At this point, I just figured, I’m the only one whose going to eat this stuff (you can supply your own expletive here), so I might as well bake it and see what happens.

Well, baking it for a half hour, it smelled pretty good. But it didn’t change in its appearance. It still looked like dirt and grass from my backyard when it was done.

I took it out of the oven, only to be met with a pile of coconut flour, zucchini and kale that didn’t bind together. I couldn’t even lift one whole brownie out of the pan. It just disintegrated.20160526_120401_resized_1

Sadly and happily, that batch went into the pail.

I’m going to try it again next week, but this time add eggs to the mixture and a whole can of the coconut milk to see if that will help bind everything together.

And I’m definitely going to ‘finely’ chop the kale.

No one likes to get a kale leaf stuck in his or her teeth when eating a brownie.

Yours in Lyme Adventures,


Adventures in Kale

Dedicated to my brother-in-law, Kale Bogdanovs


I never thought I’d ever have a relationship with kale. Turns out, never say never.

My brother-in-law is named Kale. I can tell you that he is very funny, smart, and always up for a good laugh and a good time. He’s a native Australian, and while he was living and working in New York, he met, wooed, and married my youngest sister. It was a rather quick wedding, held at the New York City Hall, and we met his parents for the first time a short time before the actual “big day”. His parents are truly lovely people, and why not? Kale is a lovely person.

But I digress.   This is not about Kale, the man, but rather, it’s about kale, the leafy green vegetable, the “oh, so healthy super food” that I was encouraged to eat my both my naturopath and dietician, but of which I had clear reservations.

The first time I saw it, I had left my dietician’s office with “Be picky about your liver!” ringing in my ears. (See my post Be Picky About Your Liver to learn more about that meal!)

There it was, a red leaf variety, in a cute wicker basket, just waiting to be plucked by me. I am not an adventurous cook, so at first, kale didn’t have much fun in my kitchen. I’d merely just chop it up and toss it in my salad, measuring it out so I’d be sure I’d be getting a healthy amount of the magic green stuff. It took a few salads to get used to the taste, but I found that if I chopped it up finely in my Ninja processor, it really didn’t bother my taste buds too much.

On Monday, a friend of mine read another post about my new “research life” in dealing with Lyme and the Wahls Protocol diet. This particular diet advocates for 9 cups a day of specific fruits and vegetables. I admitted that eating 9 cups of anything didn’t strike me as feasible, but she suggested cooking the kale with garlic and olive oil. “It cooks down to nothing and it will be easier to get the nine cups in.” Ok, I’ll bite.

The next day for lunch, I removed a fresh mound of kale—if you’ve ever purchased kale, you know what I mean—from my fridge. As I removed the leaves from the stems, some of it I put into my Ninja to chop up for salads, and some I put in my beautiful All-Clad 12 inch frying pan, covering the bottom. I roughly chopped up two cloves of garlic and drizzled the kale and garlic with olive oil, turned on the gas, and waited for it to cook down.

While that was cooking, I fished around my fridge to see what else I could add to the meal. I found 3 lone slices of uncooked bacon, one left over baked chicken tender, and some broccoli. Perfect.

Once the kale and garlic were almost done, I threw the bacon in the pan to cook, cut up the broccoli and chicken and tossed them in to heat up as well. I added a little bit more olive oil as well.

Fairly soon it was all ready, and wow! I was impressed with myself! It actually looked rather appealing in my pretty terra-cotta edged dish!20160524_120119_resized

But tasting it was even better. The kale absorbed the olive oil so it didn’t have as bitter a taste, and anything with garlic and bacon is a sure-fire winner.

Today, I made kale with sweet Longhini sausage and garlic for lunch. Again, it was another delicious meal.   I baked the sausage first in the oven, (work smarter not harder here!) then sliced two links and threw them in the pan to brown once the kale and garlic were done. Since my kale had already been chopped previously, it cooked down rather quickly this time. I had cut the garlic into thin slices today, anticipating a quicker cooking time. Next time I do this, I’m going to remove the sausage from its casings and just brown it with the garlic, then add the kale. But I have to remember to keep more bacon on hand. That would have been dynamite! And add more kale!  I only cooked three cups of kale, but it definately could have used more in this dish.


I’m really dying for some kind of dessert. I did find some recipes for kale brownies. I’ll have to try that next week.

Yours in Lyme Adventures,





Dedicated to Michelle Armstrong, Shelton, CT

When I was in college, I became enthralled with a computer game called Tetris, thanks to my roommate Michelle. The object of the game is to create rows of lines using geometric square and rectangular shapes. A four-line group is called a Tetris, and the computer would start slowly dropping pieces from the top of the screen and increase speed until the pieces were flying down, the player frantically trying to place them correctly to make lines. I recently found another version online, and I am once again obsessed with the game. Only in this version, you are playing against another person, and each time you complete a line, it sends another line to your opponent. You still need to clear lines and try to beat the other player in a 2-minute time frame, but it moves more quickly since your opponent can easily send over more lines than you are ready to handle if they are really good at placing their pieces before you.

This game requires you to be able use what you have as well as think ahead, much like addressing a pressing problem. Right now, my problem is Lyme disease, and it’s a tougher puzzle to figure out than a Tetris game.

In my research about Lyme, I’ve come across different books. My go-to book right now is The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments by Bryan Rosner. The 11-chapter book is clearly written and has sections about antibiotics, detoxification, and detailed information about supportive supplements. What I really love about this book is that it gives a holistic approach to treating this disease. Rosner has a detailed portion as well about how there are two very different views in the medical community about how to treat Lyme. He advocates for being knowledgeable about Lyme and to use all available resources, both traditional and non-traditional. Relying on one particular therapy will not help treat or cure your condition, since Lyme is a multi-faceted disease that mutates and has co-infections attached as well. He does state that it is crucial to find the right combination of therapies and also realize that time plays an important role in healing.

I’m also reading Terry Wahls book, The Wahls Protocol. She reversed her debilitating MS symptoms through diet, after researching cellular growth and health. And what a diet she has! It’s all healthy fruits and vegetables, and you need to eat 9 cups a day each of sulfur rich vegetables, leafy greens, and colorful fruits. Not an easy task! The most of the leafy greens I can do a day is 4 cups. My body can’t handle any fruits right now, as much as I’d love some grapes or pineapple, or even an apple, which is not my favorite fruit!  She does advise building up to the 9 cups, however slowly you need to do it, but she urges to just start eating the right foods now to rebuild your sickly cells.

One of my favorite mantras that I gleaned from my graduate work is, “Work smarter, not harder”. And I’ve tried to put this into practice whenever I can, especially with my Lyme issues. A few months back on a more healthy day, I had visited the bookstore and was astounded at all of the gluten-free, vegan, and paleo cookbooks out there! But I refused to buy even one cookbook as my food sensitivities made it hard to actually use any of the books I’d seen. I’d made that mistake early on, buying a smoothie cookbook, only to find out after a big swing of a healthy yogurt and strawberry smoothie, my body couldn’t tolerate the fruit or the dairy. Live and learn.

So, I hit my library instead. After first searching the internet for book titles, I’d then go and peruse the stacks, leaving with about 10 or so cookbooks, thinking that maybe one of the books would be helpful in finding some recipes that my body could tolerate. Many cookbooks later, I was able to photocopy 10 or so recipes. There are just so many foods that my system is sensitive to right now. Sugar free recipes include sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Gluten free ones include flours made out of almonds or rice, which I can’t tolerate. But I haven’t given up yet. I’ve got two more books on hold at two different libraries–one called Recipes for Repair and another Breaking the Vicious Cycle–that I am hoping will be returned soon. It seems like I’m not the only one with food struggles!20160413_103853

My Lyme adventure is just like a Tetris game: some of the pieces fit, and some don’t. There are gaps in my healing that need to be filled. I keep hitting a wall, but someday, I’m hopeful be able to clear out the lines with the right combination of building blocks.

I’ve already had some success when I started with my naturopath and my dietician back in March, and I just recently went to another holistic practice. The owner who runs it has given me some extra supplements to try. He has helped other people with Lyme, as well as a particular client with very similar issues to mine, so that gives me confidence that I am on the right track.

I am anticipating even more positive results with the start of this new regime of mine. And with the inclusion of more books, of course! I just have to keep finding the right ones to help with my personal Tetris puzzle!

Yours in Lyme Adventures,





What’s For Dinner?



When I was growing up, I remember my mother speaking of a friend who would make different meals for each her three kids, because each kid liked or disliked certain foods. My mother frowned on that practice and when I had my daughter, I vowed I wouldn’t become that mother who pranced around the kitchen, singing the Burger King jingle, “Have it your waaaayyyy….” as I prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My kid was going to eat whatever was put in front of her. The line was drawn across the counter, and I wasn’t going to cross it for any reason. What. So. Ever.

I’m not a creative cook. I know how to make a few meals, but I’m not the kind of cook that relishes in new recipes and trying out new dishes. I like to make what I know will be a good meal, one that my kid and husband will eat, and preferably involves meat, sauce, cheese, or breadcrumbs. And a green vegetable, for my own healthy peace of mind. Both of my sisters are great cooks as well as my aunt and mother. Whenever I hear of a meal they are making, I secretly wish I could be more like them, but I just don’t get a thrill out of making a dish that could possibly be a dinner failure. I live with two picky eaters, so that extinguishes any burning fire to crack open a cookbook, gas up the stove, and work some culinary magic.

The joy of cooking was further ripped from my spatula soon after my Lyme diagnosis. I turned into the one who needed separate foods to eat from my family! Oh, the irony of it all! Over the first few months, I was so sick and new to the whole illness and food thing that I was eating pretty much eating what I normally would eat, with painful results. Four months into it, I am still finding out what foods will set off a burning or itchy reaction in my muscles. Cheese, yogurt, fruit, tomatoes, lemons, balsamic vinegar, green peppers, onions, sugar, wheat, nuts…these are just some of the demons that wreck havoc on my frail system. And being married into an Italian family, it’s not easy to stomach this new reality.

Going out to eat or to family events for meals is very tricky, as you can imagine. I am so limited to what I can eat: protein, leafy greens, and water. And I need to also be sure that I eat enough of these to keep my hunger at bay and my stamina up. I’m living like a like a cow or horse, totally deprived of chips and dip, pasta, or even a plain old peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

It really stinks that I can’t get my nourishment from food. I take several different supplements that help me maintain some energy, and I am starting to incorporate more leafy greens into my diet as a result of learning about The Wahls Protocol, written by Dr. Terry Wahls. She pretty much reversed her MS symptoms through a very Paleo diet. It’s a very interesting book and diet, but much of what she recommends to eat, in particular fruits and sulfur-rich vegetables, I can’t eat right now. On top of it, to follow the diet correctly, you need to eat 9 cups of leafy greens, 9 cups of colorful fruits and vegetables, and 9 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables every day. That is A LOT of food over the course of a day. Her guiding principle is to reinvigorate your body at the cellular level and give it the nutrients it needs through plants and not processed foods. It’s an eye-opening concept and one that I am forced to embrace because my body just doesn’t like any processed anything. In another post, I’ll let you know how the 27 cups a day of fruits and vegetables goes….

So now, in addition to continuing to research ways to help combat my Lyme disease, I have also turned into a recipe researcher, someone whom I in my BL (before Lyme) days I’d never, ever met or even wanted to know.  I’ve gotten numerous cookbooks from the library, all with their glossy covers that spotlight a happy chef, promising great recipes and securing wonderful health. But they end up being returned after  few flips, since the recipes will call for ingredients that I can’t possible eat without feeling like an electric eel. I’m now starting to check into Pintrest more. I can type in wheat free + sugar free + dairy free + nut free and get some kind of food result that should work for me. This morning, I was researching salad dressings, since I need something to add some taste to all those nutrient leafy greens I can eat. Let’s hope for the best! And I don’t mean Hellman’s!

Yours in Lyme Adventures,




Be Picky About Your Liver!


Dedicated to Maureen Wasik, The Dietician, Hamden CT

I’ve developed some severe food sensitivities since being diagnosed with Lyme. So severe, that I basically can’t eat anything on the food pyramid except protein, leafy greens, and water.   It leads to a boring plate, let me tell you.

I recently went back to my dietician for a follow up appointment. At my last appointment, she had asked me to weigh and measure all of my food and drink and keep track of symptoms, so I presented her with my food chart. Right away, she picked up on my less than healthy Gatorade Zero entry.

“What’s this?!!” she crowed, “Gatorade Zero with artificial sweeteners??”

I quickly cut her off, “No, no…I learned very quickly…” and I held up my plain, boring 16 oz. Tervis tumbler of clear, filtered water, taking a swig. “I’m back to plain water.”

I explained how I tried that zero drink because I wanted something with a taste. “How about a little lemon?” she countered.

“Nope, that bothers me, too.” I was drinking lemon water for weeks before I realized that lemon is a fruit and probably was accounting for the light stinging I was feeling all day.

“You poor thing!” she murmured as she perused my chart some more.

We continued on with our meeting, and she asked me the question I was dreading: did you try the liver? She had also asked that I try eating liver since it has so many nutrients in it.

Luckily, I had been away the previous week, so I could use that as an excuse. I really just didn’t want to try it. I had childhood memories of my mother making liver and onions for dinner….and they weren’t good memories.

So, now, I was stuck. I had to try the liver. But not just any liver. “Be picky about your liver!” she said, highlighting that organic liver would be the best for me to eat with all the issues I was encountering. And I immediately told her what a great title that is for an article. We chuckled a bit over that one.

I went to the local health food market afterwards, intending to just pick up some kale, another food she wanted me to try, and lo and behold! There in a refrigerated case was all organic meat. A pound of beef was about $18.00! Wow! I kept looking and of course, there, off to the right, were two lone containers of organic chicken livers! If didn’t know any better, I would have thought that there was a huge demand for chicken livers that day and I was just a lucky shopper to get one of the last containers. I picked up one container of the deep, red, jiggly livers (there was no way I was going to buy both of them!), determined to try them for lunch. They looked pretty gross to me, but I was actually starting to get really hungry, and I thought what better time to eat a new food but when you’re really hungry? I was hoping that the hunger pangs would override any bad taste reactions I was anticipating once I actually start eating these oh, so healthy but really icky looking organs.

I found the kale–I picked a red kale variety since it looked prettier and more open to eating than the lonely, limp green one in its nearby basket–and then went down another aisle, only to find organic bone broth, another food product we spoke about. It seemed that I was destined to be at that store that day.

When I got home, I quickly researched cooking liver. Some recipes said to dredge it in flour, which I couldn’t do without a reaction. So I decided these livers are just going to be cooked naked.

I rinsed off the livers first. Next, I chopped up and cooked a whole yellow onion in olive oil…it smelled so good! I had put a few trays of bacon in the oven as well while the onions were cooking…might as well add bacon to the mix. Bacon makes anything taste good!

(This is the best way to quickly make a pound of bacon: line 13×9 metal baking pans with foil, leaving enough foil to fold over the short ends of the pans, lay 4-5 strips in each pan, cook until desired crispiness at 425 or 450. When it is done, clean up is so much easier and all of your bacon is ready to eat!)

Once the onion was done, I dumped about 7 oz of the livers into the pan…it sizzled and browned right away. I let it cook for a while, cutting into it a few times to see if it was done enough for me.

When it was all ready, I scooped up the livers and put them in to a pretty white pasta dish that has raised vegetables on it and terra cotta edging. I was trying to make this meal as pleasing to me as possible. I reasoned, if it looks good, it will taste good. Then I covered it with the onions and bacon, again, trying to avoid the inevitable, which was only moments away.

Now, my pretty plate was full of onions, bacon….and liver. I sat down to eat, and I ate about half of it. The gamey taste of it wasn’t too pleasing to me…but the onions were wonderful as was the bacon. I think next time, I’ll be picky about my liver and cut it into smaller pieces. As it was, I had only cut it into chunks as I ate it, and being it was my first time, I really went full force at it like I was a liver lover or something.

My dietician said I get an A for effort…how about a different meal besides liver?

Yours in Lyme Adventures,









Walking Science Experiment

20160413_103853When I first believed that I had lyme in December 2015, I talked to numerous people about lyme and what to eat. A close girlfriend of mine had a very severe case of it and still struggles with it daily. One of the things I heard from her was to eat gluten free products. Lyme feeds on sugar, and gluten transforms into sugar. So I began to stock up on gluten free bread and crackers. I even bought gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix to try out.

It was so early on in my illness that I was having inflammation constantly, and I wasn’t eliminating anything but the obvious carbohydrates like regular bread, cookies, crackers, and sweets. We like breaded chicken and pork chops, but for me now, that meal was out. I bought gluten free bread crumbs to try out one night. It was a pain cooking with two different types of bread crumbs, but I knew I couldn’t pass off gluten free as regular to the keen eyes and stomachs of my daughter and husband.

The gluten free bread made by UDI’s wasn’t bad…as long as you toasted it. So, I’d make it w/cinnamon or peanut butter in the morning, or use it on tuna fish sandwiches for lunch.

And the cookies were very sweet…a yummy delight to me!

I was still eating cheese at that point, so I’d try to eat gluten free crackers with them. Again, not too bad, but still facing issues with inflammation.

I was also eating fruit. I had read somewhere that pineapples have a compound in them really good for combatting inflammation. Great! I loved pineapples and I was dealing with inflammation– a win-win in my eyes. So, I bought Dole canned pineapple already cut. I made sure there was no extra sugar—I was starting to become a label reader at this point, and I knew sugar was not good for me by my own body language.

But even eating the pineapple or a regular apple for a snack would give me inflammation. After a while, I realized that fruit is all natural sugar—and my body for some reason just couldn’t handle it. So there went the fruit. I was also drinking lemon water daily, thinking that would help to cleanse my body. It would be three months before the light bulb went off in my head: LEMON IS A FRUIT—maybe that is why I was also having a constant stinging in my system every day!

Ok…with the fruit gone, I still felt like I had some options. I loved vegetables, and I could still eat my tomatoes, cucumber, and mozzarella salad for lunches and snacks. So, I began eating that religiously in the morning for my snack. It was a favorite, although I’d still have inflammation, however slight.

I was steadily becoming a label reader, checking carb numbers on anything that was packaged. I knew that anything higher that 5 or more carbs per serving would cause my inflammation to perk up. At one point, I compared the gluten free bread to regular bread, and I soon discovered that the carb content in both was virtually the same! And since a carb is a carb, my body couldn’t handle either type of product. So…that cut out the gluten free market from my diet.

As the months ticked by and I made my way to my first naturopath appointment in March, she took me off cow cheese as well. Oh man! That hurt. I loved cheese, and it was a natural source of protein! Now, the options on my plate were really getting smaller. Since she prescribed some heavy duty supplements, I was also directed to drink at least 64 oz of water a day! That seemed like so much I would float away! But she knew more than me about my health needs at that point, so I began tracking my food and drink intake as instructed, and drank the 64 oz of h2o a day. I had a Tervis tumbler I had gotten for work which held 20 oz of fluid…and as the days ticked by, I could drink one of those at one meal, so 60 ounces or more became no big deal.

In addition to the naturopath, around the same time I went to a dietician because my meals were becoming less and less in terms of calories and content, and I knew I needed help. She instructed me to get at least 4-6 oz of protein with each large meal. And that definitely helped me feel satisfied and not get lethargic during the day. She had also suggested that I begin cooking in bulk to have meals on hand for myself, since my diet was so compromised. So I decided to go to the library to find some cookbooks that would help me. All of mine were for regular people meals…not tick sick people!

I took out a few books that I thought might be helpful, including a Paleo slow cooker cook book. The next night, I went through the book and found a few recipes to try out. Stuffed peppers sounded good…it was made with things I could eat and using the slow cooker for something other than chili would be great.

I know that early on in my illness, I had read on some website about foods to avoid, and yet it never occurred to me until after I made the stuffed peppers to recheck that list!

I made the peppers the next morning, and kept the residual turkey and pepper meat mixture to eat for dinner. I took a little taste of it after cooking it on the stove before stuffing the peppers, and noticed a little buzzing in my system, but I didn’t think anything of it. At dinner that night, my husband and daughter had pasta and sauce, and I ate my turkey and pepper mixture. Within an hour, I was so itchy under my chin and my neck and my stomach! I couldn’t believe it! It was so bothersome I had to take a Benadryl.

I checked that list again, and sure enough: no tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplant! So much for the stuffed peppers!

Every day there are new symptoms and things to learn around lyme and my body. I am truly a walking science experiment. And now I know to keep a copy of foods that I can’t eat in plain view! Experience is the best teacher they say…for me, it can be a painfully itchy one!

Yours in Lyme Adventures,