Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is days away and I’m going to do my shopping tomorrow (I have been in far too much pain today to actually psych myself into it. I was also far too drained to focus on anything other than staying in my PJ’s and not going out in 22 degree temperatures. I’ve wanted a nap since a little after 9:00 this morning. I’m seriously eating dinner and going to bed as soon as humanly possible.), which is unusually late for me, but I have a list and I’m sticking to it, even though it’ll be crazy in the store no matter what.

I honestly don’t think I’ve made a Thanksgiving meal in about 6 or 7 years. It’s been long enough that I simply don’t remember the last time I did it (though I do know that my father was in the hospital at the time), but this year I decided that, despite only cooking for a few people, I’m not making ten plus pounds of turkey for anyone. It’s a lot of food, food that will absolutely go to waste because no one around here eats dark meat (Based on personal preference, nothing more. ), so I am going to re-vamp the menu slightly, but I’m still going to make stuffing because I’m craving it and it’s one of the most awesome things about Thanksgiving in terms of food.

Everyone makes stuffing differently, providing they make it at all, as everyone likes different side dishes this time of year. I don’t know anyone that makes stuffing the way I do, but I inherited the recipe from my mother and it’s good enough that I will pass it down the generational line because there is no way in the world this chick is genetically producing children that can’t cook.

I’m keeping things healthy by including a salad, even if I’m the only person that eats it. Truth be told, I like to tear up my turkey or chicken and throw it right into a salad, even on Thanksgiving. I do not feel guilty about food EVER, but I especially don’t like bringing food issues of any kind to the table during the holidays.

So, I’ve got a nice meal planned, there will be plenty of leftovers, but I’m completely sidelined and baffled by dessert. For the last couple of years I’ve ordered pies and cheesecake for the holidays from a local Italian bakery. I’m not a pie maker, I know my baking strengths and I don’t have the patience for pies, so when it comes to things of that nature, I turn to those who do it for a living. I made the mistake last year of ordering a Pumpkin Pie that was so bad, I refused to eat it. From the crust to the filling, it was one of the worst things you could ever possibly taste.

Pumpkin Pie is hard to screw up, it’s a pie I know how to make without a lot of effort, but I was exhausted last year and there would not have been pie at all if it were left up to me. I think I ordered four or five different pies between Thanksgiving and the end of last year, and the only ones worth eating were Caramel Apple Walnut & an amazing Chocolate Cream that was downright sinful (it took me two weeks to finish it, it must have weighed ten pounds!). All the others stunk, but the Caramel Apple Walnut is consistently good.

I eat fruit year round like it’s a sport, and I have an immense sweet tooth, so even though I had not previously thought about it, I am going to try to snag a Caramel Apple Walnut to cap off this year’s meal. Personally though, at least for myself, I’m thinking of making my awesome brownies. It will take me the next month and a half to eat them because they’re truly divine, and full of dark chocolately goodness and other healthy things that help reduce any issues one might have at eating a small chunk or two, but a lot will depend on how long it takes me to get the main course and the stuffing in the oven.

Fibromyalgia makes it virtually impossible for me to prepare a huge meal in a few hours like I used to, so I’m thinking I will prep the stuffing Wednesday since it’s not a long amount of prep work, and then do the main course and the salad on Thursday. Each takes less than 20 minutes, the oven does all the real work. If I have energy after that, brownies will be made. If not, I’ll settle for a tiny wedge of pie. However, I guarantee that pie will not see the light of day. It’ll come into the house tomorrow afternoon and by Thursday evening, the box will be in the trash. I have serious pie eaters here, they don’t mess around.

My only other real “plan” for Thanksgiving is to watch movies and read. I just want a nice meal and a relatively quiet day. Black Friday will be spent chasing newly acquired black kitten who is SO at home right now, it’s not even funny. Every day she learns something new and shows me a new trick. Yesterday it was the fact that, small as she is, she can open closed doors. I have to admit, I was impressed. Today she ran up and down the stairs like a mad woman, and every time I’d go to check on her, she’d go flying back up the stairs like she’d just committed a crime. If you saw the behavior on video, you’d crack up. It’s entertaining as hell. She doesn’t make a lot of noise, so when she meows, which she finally did Saturday, it is the cutest thing ever. She’s pretty possessive of me, but I don’t mind, except when she speeds after me, nearly knocking me down. She’s a little beast when it comes to following me when she wants to. She’s sound asleep, the next minute she’s right under my feet or bumping her head into my legs. She is the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m thankful that I decided to come from a place of yes and bring her home. She’s already helping me feel a lot better about certain things. I’ve had less headaches/migraines since she’s come home, which cannot be a coincidence. I’m calmer and more centered, and I am not yelling nearly as much as I normally do.

I am not gifting anyone anything this year, other than my love, loyalty, and friendship, and for some people, all three. I might treat myself to something small, but I really just want to survive the remainder of this year with my head above water, and move into a New Year where I can prosper.

I feel bad that I won’t technically be doing anything for Chanukah this year, which begins Thanksgiving night, and is my favorite of all the Jewish holidays. I have such great memories of the happiness of Chanukah that it makes me sad, but it’s also not about gifts. Right now, for me, it’s about remaining focused. I’m doing my best.

This year has taken huge chunks of my soul, but others things have been given back to me, like unconditional love, loyalty, confidence, respect, new friendships that I treasure, old friendships that are the untarnished Platinum in my life, and the knowledge that the more I grow, the more content I am with who I am and where I’m going. Nothing is set in stone, and I’m learning that every time someone tries to break me, I come back stronger from the trial.

I hope everyone has a wonderful, peaceful, happy, healthy, and safe holiday.

Migraines Part II

Migraines Part II

Thank you to everyone that read my first piece on Migraines, and especially to anyone who shared the link or re-blogged it. I really thought I was done with the topic, but because it got such a response I’ve decided to add to it with additional pieces that start with this and will continue with information on various treatments. Some are new, some I’ve tried, some I haven’t, and one I am preparing to try some time this year.

As many migraine sufferers know, we have to be careful what we eat. Believe it or not, sometimes what we eat often plays a role in whether or not we are triggering a migraine. There are so many external factors, like avoiding loud noises, bright lights, strong odors, extreme temperatures, etc., but there are also dietary concerns as well. Not all of these will apply to you, many do not apply to me, but they’re definitely good information to have.

Potential Food & Drink Triggers: Chocolate, ice cold foods (like ice cream), aged cheese (Blue, Swiss, Brie, Cheddar, Gorgonzola, Muenster, Provolone, Parmesan, Feta, Stilton, Mozzarella, and all processed cheeses.), pickles, soy sauce, certain types of red wine & saki, citrus fruits, ripe bananas, kiwi, raspberries, red plums, papaya, pineapple, dried fruit (figs, raisins, dates, & apricots), tofu, eggs, garlic, onions, olives, beans (broad, fava, pinto, lima & garbanzo), cultured dairy products (yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, etc.), peanuts, peanut butter, pizza, potato chips, chicken livers and other organ meats, smoked or dried fish, Sourdough bread, freshly baked yeast goods (donuts, cakes, homemade bread & rolls), crackers, soups made from meat extracts or bouillon (not homemade broth), aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, caffeine found in chocolate, cocoa, coffee, tea, colas, other beverages like Mountain Dew, and certain medications.

Some of these were new information for me, and some were things I’ve known forever about myself. In order to help you out, I’ll go down the list.

Milk chocolate is a problem for me. I loathe white chocolate, which isn’t true chocolate any way, so I never touch it. Many years ago I switched over completely, so now I only eat dark chocolate. It’s so good that a small amount curbs my craving and I actually find that dark chocolate with chilli peppers helps alleviate a migraine at times.

Cheese wise I’m pretty strange. I eliminated cow’s milk from my diet two years ago, I only buy Coconut milk or Almond milk (Vanilla flavored on both. Also, there is an AMAZING Dark Chocolate Almond milk that I literally have a hard time keeping in my fridge. The last three times I bought it there was just a sip left when I went for some, I never knew it had been opened, and I only live with one other person!). You don’t find me buying or using milk or cream unless a recipe calls for it and I cannot substitute. With certain things, substitution is downright evil. I’m also part Italian and I’m never without mozzarella cheese. I would take it with me to a deserted island, I love it. I have threatened to cut my brother’s fingers off if he touches it when I buy it, and I’m not even remotely kidding about that. Mozzarella has very simple ingredients in it (less than four, I believe), and as long as you’re sticking to the part-skim version, you should be fine. Don’t bother with the Fat Free, it’s a bizarre color and is disgusting beyond words.

I grew up with a real love for pickles and even though I’m not supposed to eat them, I can’t resist Sour Pickles. They trigger a migraine once in a while, but I don’t eat them often enough for it to be a real issue. Obviously, I wouldn’t eat them at all if they were any kind of problem.

I never eat ripe bananas, I like mine when they’re still a little green and that seems to avoid the issue there. Kiwi, pineapple, plums, raspberries, and papaya don’t seem to affect me either, I’m a big fruit person and I’m always getting fresh fruit in huge quantities for myself.

Eggs, garlic, and onions are three of the worst offenders with their sulfur content. I love to cook, and garlic and onions are in so many of the starting ingredients to a lot of what I make, so I have to be careful and cut down the amounts I use at times. If I use fresh garlic I simply won’t eat it in the finished product, which helps eliminate the issue. I choose Vidalia onions most of the time which are sweeter and don’t tend to affect me as much as yellow, Spanish, and white onions do. Red onions don’t affect me much either, but onions can still sneak up on me at times.

I love hummus, so garbanzo beans don’t bother me. I have started to get sick from certain things that aren’t on this list, but sometimes it’s hard to decide if something is a real food allergy or something triggering headaches.

I eat tofu maybe once a week. Sometimes it makes me sick and sometimes it doesn’t. Processed soy products can trigger a migraine for me, fresh tofu is different, but can still pose a problem for some.

Under normal circumstances I try only to drink iced green tea, or iced herbal teas. I admit that I’ve got a slight addiction to Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, but a 16 ounce cup once a day that is mostly ice and rarely ever gets finished is not the issue. If I drank it every single day, all day long, I’d be jumping off the walls from the caffeine.

In the end, we are all different. It is extremely important for each of us to know our bodies and know that works for us. What triggers a migraine for you may not be an issue for me, but the second you become a “migraine sufferer”, it is extremely important that you find out what food and drink items have to be eliminated from your diet. Initially I cut everything out and slowly worked an item back into my diet here and there, and that really worked for me, so I highly recommend that route for others. If one item affects you, eliminate it and move on to the next. See what helps and hinders, it will help you make the best choices for yourself.

The next part of this piece in a few weeks will talk about various herbs and a few treatments that some consider radical, but are bringing immense relief to others. Relief is the ultimate dream when you suffer from migraines, and many people will do anything to achieve that goal.

Please let me know if this helped you in any way, and if you have any info you’d like to share or pass along to me, feel free to send me a message or leave a comment. =)