Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meat safety

There is a lot of speculation, questions, and misinformation when it comes to legal meats. Here are the SCD rules to live by.

Grocery store meats are often legal. You do have to read labels, but yes, feedlot beef with no additives, chicken, turkey, lamb, and pork are often legal. Chicken is often not legal, so you must read the labels. Anything injected with natural flavorings or broth is not legal. Anything injected with only salt and water is legal.

Just because it is legal does not mean it is OK for YOU to eat. You will not react well to every meat. If you have an allergy to a particular meat, stay away from it. If you know you have an intolerance to a particular meat, then don't eat it. Intolerances often go away with time spent on the SCD, but it's best to err on the side of caution.

Organic meats are not necessarily better. Feedlot beef and conventionally raised chickens are often fed corn and soy. The real kicker? So are many of the ones labeled "organic" -- which means there is very little difference between them and their feedlot-raised brethren. Some extremely sensitive individuals will not be able to eat any meat that was fed corn or soy. As far as beef goes, look for grass fed, grass FINISHED beef. Some meat that is labeled grass fed has actually been finished with corn -- which is no good if you are sensitive. There is a similar issue with eggs laid by hens fed corn and soy. Often, "pasture raised" animals will not be fed corn and soy -- but you need to check with the supplier to be absolutely sure.

Drain fats well in the beginning. Many people have difficulty digesting fats when they first start the diet. Cutting down on the fat can often alleviate this difficulty. Also, the fat contains the most toxins, so it's a good idea to either choose very lean cuts or drain it if you're eating feedlot beef.

And while we're talking about meat, there are a couple of resources that can help you find clean meats. Whole Foods has a bunch of great regulations in place, and their butchers are ready and willing to answer any questions you might have. There are also many Weston A. Price groups who can help you obtain clean, safe meats near you.

But don't forget that your local grocery store may have enough options for you. My local Costco carries Tyson chicken breasts that are injected with only salt and water, for example. Many of our stores also carry Foster Farms chicken, which also only have salt and water added.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More on compounding

So, I need to call my insurance company about the compounding. My previous post was replied to by a compounding pharmacist, so I sent her an e-mail.

Here are some things I learned.

Anything that requires compounding will require a prescription. Yes, that goes for acetaminophen and ibuprofen as well, two medications that are traditionally offered over the counter. It's for your safety.

Reimbursement amounts vary widely. When the insurance company reimburses a pharmacy for a compounded prescription, often they only reimburse the cost of SOME of the ingredients. Sometimes this doesn't include the cost of the inactive ingredients, and it doesn't include money to pay the pharmacist who took the time to do it.

Some prescription plans have their own compounding pharmacies. Talk to your prescription provider and ask them about their policies. They are there to help you.

Compounding pharmacies vary in the kinds of compounding they provide. Did you know you can get creams compounded? Some of the pharmacies only do creams. Others also do capsules. You really do have to call around. I personally started with Rite Aid -- I just asked the pharmacist there about a compounding pharmacy and she was able to give me the name of one.

And, finally...

What you hear over a phone call is not a guarantee of coverage. Be careful. I have been on the losing end of a couple of those conversations, where my insurance company denied that I had the conversation I said I had.

Hope that helps. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

SCD legal medication...well, not really

I went to Rite-Aid on a break today, because I needed contact lenses and epsom salts for my bath.

I then decided to be responsible, and talked to the pharmacist about both doxycycline and generic plaquenil. See, I could have typed out hydroxychloroquinine sulfate, but generic plaquenil is just a bit easier.

My rhematologist has decided that he would like to try me on one of these two medications. So, I wanted to see if they were SCD legal, and if not, if I could get them compounded.

I talked to them and asked about the inactive ingredients in the two medications. The two of them, not surprisingly, failed to find any information of the sort. Can you imagine what prescriptions are like for people with genuine life threatening food allergies? Yeah, it's not cool.

They provided me with manufacturer information. I called back later to get the NDC, which is a code assigned to each different type of medication. Each dosage strength or form (capsule, pill, liquid) has its own code.

So. The particular form of doxycycline carried by the pharmacy has lactose in it. Boo. I should really not have lactose.

I asked the Rite-Aid pharmacist about a compounding pharmacy. She told me there was one right up the street. Hooray!

I called said pharmacy. They only compound creams, not capsules. Boo. They gave me another number. I called.

The second pharmacy did compound medications -- but they were far away. And they don't ship. But they knew of another pharmacy!

They gave me a third phone number. At this point, I hesitated and called my doctor's office. I left a message asking about the dosage strength as well as the form, because there is doxycycline hyclate and there is doxycycline monohydrate. It's probably the hyclate one, but I'm not positive.

And then it could be really expensive to compound it, so I may just take the chance with the damned lactose after all. Sometimes you have to take the medication. But I'll keep you all posted on what I find out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Palm oil controversy

If you received this month's National Geographic, you may have already seen the article titled Borneo's Moment of Truth. It goes into detail how Borneo's rainforests are being destroyed by palm oil plantations.

Of course my first move was to check my Spectrum Organic Palm Oil, and thankfully, it is produced sustainably.

Oils like palm and coconut are not bad for you. In fact, coconut oil is surprisingly good for you. Certainly, fats that are artificially modified to be solid at room temperature are much worse for your body than the naturally occurring kinds. Coconut oil barely qualifies in this regard; it turns to liquid at about 76 degrees. Also, if you regularly consume these fats along with high amounts of sugar, you are going to have a problem. I am of the opinion that eating sugar is far worse for your body than fat is. Our ancestors ate fat for hundreds upon thousands of years. Sugar is too new to be considered food by our bodies.

So! All of that being said, you don't have to feel guilty about using your Spectrum organic palm shortening. It's produced sustainably and that makes us and the planet very happy.

On to my recipe for today. I made a moisturizer for my son and myself. My son has very dry skin, and my legs get itchy sometimes, so after using it on him, I started using it on myself. Now I'm hooked! Plus, it's 100 percent organic.


2 cups Spectrum palm oil shortening
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic orange flavor (ingredients: organic sunflower oil, organic orange oil)
EDIT: 1 tbsp olive oil

Whip it up with beaters until it gets a bit fluffy. Then use a little bit and see if you like the level of smell from the orange flavor. If you want more, add some and whip it up again. If not, you're done.

Of course, you can use any other extracts that don't contain sugar. Extracts without sugar and chemicals should be rule one for anybody following SCD anyway, so go nuts with whatever's in your cabinet at the time. :)

Put it into any container you wish -- I picked a plastic screw top Ziploc round container to cut down on the chance that I'd break something. Let's face it, I'm a klutz.

You can also use a bit as lip balm if you like -- this moisturizer is completely edible!

I wanted to add a quick note about Spectrum oils. I had been using Spectrum coconut oil to treat my son's cradle cap. I just grabbed a different brand while in a hurry, and it is not working as well at all. It was an unrefined brand -- that wasn't the mistake. So, word to the wise. Apparently brands do matter when it comes to coconut oil.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Starbucks decaf coffee is NOT SCD legal

EDIT: Sorry to report that my information on Starbucks coffee was not valid. I have revised this post to say that their coffee is NOT LEGAL. I was told by corporate that they use the direct method, which uses chemicals. I mention other sources of legal water process decaf below. Thanks!

If I were sticking completely to the SCD rules, I would drink weak coffee and tea.

I don't stick to this rule as well as I should, because I do love a nice strong cup of coffee. I had to learn to drink it black after years of being a latte girl.

I did, however, recently switch to decaf. The general consensus on SCD is that if you drink decaf, it should be Swiss water process decaf. That way, there are no chemicals or flavorings or other nasty things that end up in traditionally decaffeinated coffees.

Of course, this type of decaf costs more. And for a coffee lover like myself, drinking decaf was something like death.

However, I do have an autoimmune disease, and I find that I do better with a reduced caffeine intake.

So! I was on the hunt for good decaf.

And I found it, quite by accident.

I have been told that all decaf coffees at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Caribou, and the Coffee Beanery are water process decaffeinated, but I have not verified with the stores yet.

So, it's more common than you think! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Community Supported Agriculture (and other cheap produce options)

I am blessed to live in Southern California.

For the first year that we lived here, I could not understand why produce was still relatively expensive in most regular grocery stores. At times, even the organic whole foods produce was cheaper! This is why I tell people to definitely shop around and compare prices. Even here, the stores will fleece unsuspecting customers.

And then I discovered...the 99 Cent Only chain of stores.

I was tipped off by a Hispanic co-worker. She scoffed at the price I was paying for fruits and vegetables. "Just go to the dollar store."

I had never heard of a dollar store that carried real food. I said, disbelieving, "They have produce?"

She laughed. "They have tons of it!"

So I sojourned out one day.

Oh my.

Here is where I discovered fresh Roma tomatoes. Six to eight of them, for a dollar. Previously, I could only find overripe, mushy Romas for over two dollars per pound.

I was sold.

Here, fresh salad mixes, zucchini, and bananas (3 pound bags) were always in stock. And, as the season allowed, was fresh fruit. Right now, there are 3 pound bags of plums, nectarines, or peaches for a dollar per bag.

Today I saw mini seedless watermelons, and rubber banded bunches of asparagus. The display was bursting with green peppers -- two for a dollar. There were even some red and yellow peppers -- you know how expensive those are. They were three for a dollar. Large heads of cauliflower, celery hearts, and Mexican squash rounded out the rest of the produce section. Occasionally there will be some organic produce as well.

It's a great way to save money. Right after picking up two pounds of asparagus and two pounds of zucchini (total: $4), I stopped at a chain grocery store, where the asparagus was $2.49 per pound.

Another way you may be able to save on fresh produce is to purchase a farm share through Community Supported Agriculture.

I realize the site is a little vague, but most of them give you a (bushel) box of produce, ranging from 20-30 pounds. Some of them will tell you what's in the box, and some won't. Some are more expensive and some are not as expensive. You can choose weekly pickups, or every other week pickups.

Obviously because I am on the SCD diet, there's a lot of food I can't eat, so it's important that I know what is in the box, and it's important that I can eat a majority of it. So I would need to find one that does list the contents of the boxes.

You have to pick up the box yourself, and there are usually multiple drop-off locations. Some of the farms will allow you to mix and match a couple of items -- for me, this would be ideal. But all of the produce is fresh -- generally picked the same day -- and organic.

I am definitely planning on taking advantage of CSA once I have a little more money. Things have been a little tight this week, so I'm happy to share my tips with all of you!

I would be remiss if I did not mention Costco. I can get a five pound bag of organic baby carrots for $5 every time I go. Right now, they also have five pound bags of organic frozen green beans for around $5 as well. I use them for soup and steam them for lunches and snacks. They also have a pretty good price on avocados most of the time.

Another great buy is their canned wild salmon from Alaska. Six cans for $9 is a fantastic price, and wild Alaskan salmon should have very low to no contaminants of any kind. I personally like to eat it with oil and wine vinegar. Chow down!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Traveling on SCD

I figure that once we ever do end up traveling, I am going to have to bring something like this electric skillet in my checked baggage.

Perhaps I'll look for a kind without a glass lid.

At any rate, I think it would be great to have, not only for traveling, but maybe those kids in dorm rooms who can't eat at the cafeteria.

If anybody has experience with electric skillets (and/or traveling and cooking on SCD), please post them! Thanks!

Friday, October 3, 2008


So, I had never eaten sardines until recently, and I was scared because...well, ew.

I have been having major problems with regular old grocery store beef, though, so I had to come up with more meat choices that were...well, less beef-like.

Here are my tips.

1. Buy several different brands and find a (legal) kind you like -- read the labels!

2. Small sardines are MUCH better than large ones. You can't even tell there are bones in the small ones. The big ones are far more likely to have bigger, harder (and more disgusting) bones. How to know? Well, the cheap cans usually have the large sardines. More expensive cans tend to have smaller sardines. This is only my experience, so your mileage may vary.

3. Smoked sardines are very yummy, but make sure they don't have illegal flavorings added to them.

4. Tabasco sauce (the original is legal) is very good for cutting the fishy taste.

5. Salt is also GREAT for making them seem less, well, sardine-y.

6. The kind in oil will be more filling.

So give them a try. They're cheap and easy. And not too bad, really.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Legal bacon!

Let this be a lesson to you all: Everywhere I shop, I always read labels of random things that I think might be SCD legal, because sometimes you get lucky. It's like an SCD treasure hunt!

For example: Today I walked to a local supermarket, and found out that Fud brand bacon (it's Mexican) is cured with no sugar! Hooray!

I know, right? Fud. Which would be pronounced food.

I thought that was pretty funny.

It's actually made in Texas, so don't worry about imported food issues. Really.

I'm going to make it this weekend! My son is going to be so excited! Yay!

Coconut oil for cradle cap

My son has suffered from cradle cap FOREVER. Seriously. It showed up when he was a baby, and now he's five years old.

It always came back no matter what we did, but I'd heard from somebody that coconut oil might work. Since it has antimicrobial effects, and it's natural, I thought I'd try it.

So, when my son next took a bath, I put a little less than a tablespoon of coconut oil on his head. I just kind of rubbed it in and made sure it wouldn't drip in his eyes.

After 10-15 minutes, we combed his head and then washed the oil out.

First of all, the flakes came right out, without tugging, pain or my son saying, "Ow!" and looking at me all wounded. :) His scalp looked a little red, but not too bad.

We repeated this a week later, and after that, we haven't had to do it. It is literally unbelievable. It's just...gone!

So go ahead and give it a try!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008!

So I came across this link and I thought I should talk a little bit about fish.

For a lot of people following the SCD, environmental toxins are a big problem. When your digestion is all screwed up, it can also be a sign that your body is having a terrible time processing toxins.

So, it's a good idea to avoid toxins as much as possible, yes?

I'd say so.

Red snapper? Very nice.

I'm sad to say that swordfish is RIGHT OUT, according to the link above. That's really sad, because it tastes FABULOUS. Abstaining forever doesn't sound all that great, but then again, neither does eating mercury.

However, light tuna, actual wild salmon, halibut, snapper, tilapia, and black sea bass are all great choice. Sea bass?

Not Chilean sea bass, no. They have to be black sea bass. And yes, you may eat the ill-tempered ones.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Not without my sugar!

I think that a big, big reason that people are scared of trying something like the SCD is the total absence of sugar.

On SCD you can use fruits and honey, sparingly. That's about it.

Here's some fun blog posts that I found on the topic:

Modern Forager confirms that the best sugar for us is honey, sparingly. I agree!

Pay Now, Live Later tells us that we're all sugar junkies -- well, those of us not on SCD, at any rate.

Sugar is a drug. Don't believe me? How about all those people in this country eating themselves to death, with skyrocketing rates of obesity?

That's not lack of willpower, kids. That's ADDICTION.

I was completely and wholeheartedly addicted to sugar before SCD. I did not know what it was like to not be hungry, because I was always hungry. My blood sugar was out of control along with my appetite.

During my first week on SCD, I thought I would die. It was a true and serious withdrawal.

And then I felt great afterwards, and forever more.

I can walk right by those giant muffins, because to me they are no longer food. People look at me with pity. But then I see them returning to the muffins again and again...telling me they just can't stop thinking about them, that "it was calling to me."

Yeah, that's one voice in my head I do not miss at all.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Skillet meals and other snacky stuff

I have been making lots of skillet meals. They are fast and nutritious and they make you eat your veggies! I am a big fan of anything that gets me to eat more veggies.


Take two pounds of chicken or beef. Cook in a skillet on the stove top. If you are still a bit earlier along, you can sort of boil/poach in a small amount of water.

Add onion and garlic at this stage, too. You can also use dried if you know your source -- I got letters stating no additives from The Spice House.

Once the meat is cooked to your satisfaction, add 3-4 cups of water. Top the cooked meat with 2-3 pounds of veggies. I usually use a combo of carrots, green beans, and spinach. Sometimes I throw in a little broccoli but I can't eat too much of it yet.

Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour with the lid on, until almost all the liquid is gone.

Season and eat!

Pretty easy, and you get a bunch of leftovers. I have a huge skillet as you can tell. It is well worth the investment, I think.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olive oil to butter conversion chart!

This is something many of you will appreciate!

See, if you just read Breaking the Vicious Cycle, you'll notice there is a preponderance of cow dairy. Now, that is fine for lots of people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. But it is not fine for ASD kids, by and large, and certainly not fine for me, as I discovered that I am intolerant to cow dairy.

So! Rescue is on the way, courtesy of Olive Oil Source -- a conversion chart! Check it out here...or...

1 teaspoon butter = 3/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter = 2 1/4tsp olive oil
2 tablespoons butter = 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup butter = 3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup butter = 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter = 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup butter = 1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup butter = 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup butter = 3/4 cup olive oil


Monday, August 4, 2008

A word about health care

Today, I popped over to Val's awesome blog, Occasional Superheroine. As a girl geek, it is my duty to read her words. :)

Read this to see what it's like for an uninsured person in an emergency room.

That is MESSED UP.

You know, I have rheumatoid arthritis. And no matter how under control my condition is, I still have RA.

What that means is, I will never be insurable by a private insurance plan. I am screwed. I will have to have a job that gives me employer health care for all time.

I can't just go start a business with some employees if I want to. I can't just work freelance and take out a policy for myself and my family.

Even if I am severely wronged at my job, I can't just walk away from it.

I am trapped.

And that is the state of health care in this country.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fast lunches

Well, I was working from home the other day and I decided to cook myself something special.

So I took some leftover chicken breasts, pulled them into pieces, sprinkled them with my new found legal onion and garlic powders from The Spice House and then fried them in a little bit of olive oil until they were lightly browned.

Then I dipped the pieces in my homemade mayo. I had made a double batch and after it was done, I stirred in 1/2 tsp legal onion powder and 1/4 tsp garlic powder.

And I put a little honey on the side.


I've also made honey mustard by mixing a bit of that legal Great Value mustard with honey. YUM!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Recipe revision and legal mustard!

OK, so I want to let you all know that my new recipe for mayo is easily doubled in the blender, no problem! I will revise my "Stage 1 recipes" section to include this.

Also, Great Value mustard at Wal-Mart is SCD legal. I was surprised, too, believe me. Ingredients: Vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, paprika.

Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Egg drama

So, according to a certain egg supplier's web site, pasteurizing eggs does not kill salmonella.

From Eggology:

Pasteurization heats the egg to approximately 130˚F (any higher and the egg would cook), but heat won’t kill Salmonella until approximately 174˚F.

This is, as you might have suspected, not entirely true. First off, as I said in my previous post, salmonella dies when a product is heated to 150 degrees for 3.5 minutes. I also provided information in that post that tells us that salmonella does not only come from outside the hen.

This other site says that heating the eggs to 134 degrees for 3.5 minutes kills salmonella, too. And their eggs aren't cooking at that temperature

(feel free to insert your own rendition of, "Liar, liar, pants on fire...")

The USDA web site assures us, in fact, that any pasteurized egg product bearing the USDA seal has actually been pasteurized and all the salmonella beasties that might have been in it are, in fact, deceased. They have ceased to be! They are ex-salmonella!

Salmonella? Dead. Yes, dead.

Now, of course, that does not mean that salmonella cannot grow in a previously pasteurized product. There's still a chance that the product could become contaminated from something else -- like if you cut your rare hamburger in half and dip the knife in your newly made mayo. So, you still have to follow normal food safety precautions -- always use clean utensils, and pitch it after a week.

But we don't have to be slavishly brand loyal in order to stay safe from salmonella -- much as companies might wish it to be otherwise.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Safe mayo! No, really!

I have spent a while trying to figure out a way to make truly safe mayonnaise.

There is a risk of salmonella poisoning with any raw egg product. It wasn't always this way; salmonella used to occur only in fresh eggs that were not cooked right away. However, today, salmonella is getting into the eggs before they're even cracked.

People who are immune compromised (many children with autism, or anyone with an autoimmune disease) are going to have a harder time fighting off a salmonella infection, too.

There are a couple of ways I'd researched to make a safe mayonnaise. One was using a cooked mayo recipe. However, in the cooked mayo recipe usually used by the Pecanbread members, the cooking does not kill salmonella -- the mixture does not get hot enough. I stuck a thermometer in it to be sure and it never got up to 150 degrees, which is the temperature necessary to kill salmonella. Not only that, the temperature must be maintained for 3.5 minutes, which is impossible without cooking the egg.

Another way to ensure safe mayo is to use PH test strips, and make sure that the PH is around 3.5. An acid environment kills salmonella.

(I had a citation for that one, I did, but it makes you sign up for this service now. I will give you the link anyway HERE should you choose to check it out).

But let's face it - none of those ways are really all that easy. I want easy! I want safe!

You could also buy pasteurized eggs. However, none of the stores near me carried them.

I was about to give up! I was so mad!

And then I spotted a carton of liquid egg whites at the supermarket.

Ingredients: Egg whites

I was intrigued. They were cheap, they were PASTEURIZED (*choir of angels*)

But would it work?



1/4 cup egg white (egg white ONLY in the carton)
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar
3/4 cup oil (approximate)
ear plugs (you can thank me later)

Dump the egg white, ground mustard, salt, and vinegar into your blender. Put your ear plugs on. Turn the blender on to HIGH and start adding the oil slowly. How slowly? Add it at a speed where you think you will possibly never ever be done with the mayo.

Keep adding it slowly, until the mixture starts to emulsify. If you look inside, at the beginning you will be able to see right to the bottom of the blender. Staring at the blade is kind of scary, so look away now and then.

You'll notice a difference in the sound as the mayo starts to glop together. Keep adding the oil slowly until it has glopped together to the point where you can't see the blade anymore - or if you can, it's intermittent.

Then stop the blender and you will have mayo! Safe mayo! Germ free mayo!

I know, awesome, right?

Keeps for about two weeks, but mine never lasts that long. You can make a second batch right after the first if you want, but give the blender 5-10 minutes to cool down. Running it at high speed warms things up and it could make your mayo end up a bit thinner than you'd like it.


NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT GET LIQUID EGGS. JUST THE EGG WHITES. Why? Because there's about a billion ingredients in liquid eggs, but egg whites are only whites. Huh. Why do they do that? See what this page says:

Liquid eggs are frozen in a blast freezer at -23°C. When thawed, whites and whole eggs are free-flowing, but freezing gelatinizes straight yolk. Therefore, yolk is combined with sugar, corn syrup, glycerin, phosphates or salt to ensure it stays fluid.


So yeah, egg whites for the win!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hey kids, time for your daily dose of statins!

Hey kids, it's time for your daily dose of statins!

You have got to be kidding me.

This explains cholesterol rather well, including some information on the LDL subtypes, which your traditional doc has probably never heard of.

My parents are on statins, and I now make sure they take CoQ10 in order to at least undo some of the muscle damage done by taking the drugs. More on that from Ron Rosedale's article here.

By the way, my cholesterol was checked after a couple months of being on the SCD diet. It was slightly elevated. My 'traditional' doctor lectured me on diet, without bothering once to ask what I was actually eating, mind you.

I'll bet my diet was better than his by a long shot.

I don't think for a second that we should be giving our kids cholesterol lowering medications. Bottom line -- we need cholesterol, as it is essential for all sorts of body processes. Children, who are growing and changing, need it even more.

Statins are, in my opinion, a big cash cow for the pharmaceutical industry, who, as you may have noticed, don't exactly have our best interests in mind.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Robit blog! Robit Robit Robit.

Well, it appears that my blog has been locked by spam-prevention robots. Apparently they thought I was also some sort of robot spaminator. So I am making this post as a draft, and once they decide I am not a robot, then it will go live.


If I were a robot, I would like to look like that one -- all blocky and cool. I'd be low tech and proud of it. Lots of brute strength, not too many brains, because let's face it -- my body is not the greatest (the whole arthritis and autoimmune disease keeps me in a perpetually mid- to low-functioning state), but my brain is OK. I'd like to flip the two and see how that goes for a while.


So, I recently received confirmation from The Spice House that their garlic and onion products are 100 percent pure, no additives.

This is AMAZINGLY good news. Yes, I've already ordered a ton. I used to use dried onion and garlic like it was going out of style.

I threw in a little ground celery seed and ground rosemary to celebrate. :P

Outside of onion and garlic, most spices can be presumed safe. My dad used to work for Griffith Laboratories, a food service company that sold a lot of products, including spices, in bulk. Generally, spices won't have any additives or extra ingredients, because if there were, it could possibly muck up trade recipes, which are incredibly precise. Garlic and onion are a bit more foggy because they do tend to clump when they sit around for a while, so it's always a bit of a mystery whether there's an anti-caking agent or something that shouldn't be there.

I also ordered more probiotics, and I'm making yogurt now, so we're in good shape I think.

I'm trying to not eat any of the almond butter for a while to see if it helps me pull out of my mini-flare. I know I eat too much of the stuff anyway, but this will be hard. Sigh.

My next doctor appointment is still a couple of weeks away. I've got time. I just need to keep remembering my supplements! That is the hardest part for me, because the S. boulardii is in the fridge. Jeffrey is going to try to help me though.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Is there cyanide in almonds or am I just paranoid

Someone, somewhere (OK, it was probably on the Pecanbread e-mail list) mentioned that cyanide was present in some almonds.

Well, you know the research junkie can't let THAT comment slide!

So I went checking around. The almond wiki page mentions that wild almonds used to have cyanide, but apparently there is a common mutation that causes them not to have cyanide.


But then I found another page that said sweet almonds are OK, but bitter almonds are the bad ones.

Also, it says, that when bitter almonds are used for food, the cyanide is removed:

Amygdalin is hydrolyzed to yield glucose, benzaldehyde, and hydrocyanic acid. The production of cyanide defines cyanogenic glycosides. Enzymatic release of cyanide can occur in the presence of beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme found in the seeds and in the human intestine. 6 When the cyanide component is removed, the resulting oil is referred to as bitter almond oil and consists mostly of benzaldehyde. This oil is toxic when consumed in large amounts.

OK, so, what the hell is benzaldehyde? Doesn't sound good.

Oh, wiki saves the day again!

While it is commonly employed as a commercial food flavourant (almond flavour) or industrial solvent, benzaldehyde is used chiefly in the synthesis of other organic compounds, ranging from pharmaceuticals to plastic additives. It is also an important intermediate for the processing of perfume and flavouring compounds and in the preparation of certain aniline dyes.


So. Guess I should avoid that stuff...OH WAIT.

My little bottle of Nielsen Massey Almond Extract has... bitter almond oil.


Well, that's going in the garbage then. Gold standard of flavor, my butt. Rar.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yogurt, take two!

You may remember that I gave Clark goat yogurt way back when, and it didn't go so well. Later I found out my thermometer was off on top of it, so that might have had something to do with it. Or it might not.

Anyway, I waited a long time to try it again. I meant to wait three months, but time slipped a bit past that mark.

I am happy to say that Clark handled the introduction of the goat yogurt MUCH better this time, and he is doing very well. Prior to the trial in late January, he had probably been entirely casein free for six months or so.

Remember that this is goat milk yogurt, which is entirely different from cow milk. Autistic kids cannot handle cow dairy. OK, maybe some can, but it's more the exception than the rule.

I also found out that cow dairy will make my arthritis flare. It's slow but I inevitably decline in my condition. Good to know.

So. Clark is up to about a teaspoon of the goat yogurt and he's doing great. When I increase, he does get a little stimmy for a couple days, but then he settles down. It's great!

Also, the last two nights, Clark has woken up at 5:30 a.m.! It's amazing. I am hoping the yogurt has something to do with that.

We have also had trouble getting out of stage 2. Clark doesn't tolerate many of the stage 2 veggies really well. But I thought I would try peas on stage 3. So far, no issues! I am really happy.

So, what's the lesson here? Everybody heals at their own pace. Just keep going. It's been six months on SCD and we're just barely getting into stage 3. A lot of people can move faster, but we just couldn't. So hang in there! :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Doctor update, part two

I wrote this back on May 6. I apologize for not posting it sooner!

Last night was my first appointment with Dr. Franco, who is the head of the Arthritis Center in Riverside, California. I had been to the center six weeks before and I had seen Dr. Franco's partner doctor, Dr. Lallande, who took lots of blood and asked lots of questions. This was my follow up.

I was of course nervous, as I always am. I was first scheduled for x-rays. They took about 20 of my neck, elbows, hands, wrists, and feet in varying poses. I then became extremely nervous and wished I had called my insurance company ahead of time to get assurance that they'd pay for all of these. And I hadn't met Dr. Franco before. I had a great appointment with Dr. Lallande last time, but who was to say Dr. Franco would be as cool as Dr. Lallande?

Then, sitting on the table while the tech was messing with the x-rays, I had a brief moment where I imagined the doctor saying something like, "Madam, I do not AT ALL agree with my colleague's methods or theories about diet or vaccines; however, I tolerate him because he is an excellent physician. You will not find a sympathetic ear for your hippie theories in this office!" This made me smile in an entirely goofy way.

Next was blood work. I complained that I had blood work last time to no avail, naturally.

Then FINALLY I saw the doctor, an hour after my original appointment time. Apparently he had gotten hung up by another patient. At least one of the assistants came in to apologize while I was waiting.

Dr. Franco was rather exclamatory. He exclaimed about everything. He told me I had an extraordinary capacity to make red blood cells! He told me my adrenal glands were quite amazing, and that he had never seen anyone with such naturally strong adrenals!He also exclaimed on the softness of my skin! Amazing! He saw the x-ray of me bending my head back as far as it could go, and he raised an eyebrow and said I was more flexible than most. He then asked if I had ever been a dancer. Um, NO.

He asked me about the diet changes I'd made. I told him I and my son were on SCD. He asked me to explain SCD, and I started to, and he instantly understood the purpose and the implications. He asked me to bring the book for next time and said, "I think I should read more about this diet."

He spent a few minutes lambasting the insurance companies, and how the pharmaceutical companies are in the business of keeping people sick, and he works to make people well, and if his patients are in pain he can't sleep at night.

He thoroughly explained all of the x-rays and showed me the bone damage that was apparent within my right wrist (a couple of eroded spots and holes). My earliest joints affected showed compression, so you could see that there wasn't really much space between the bones. He showed me a joint in my foot that was also severely affected and I was honestly surprised, and told him it didn't cause me any discomfort at all. He said that was great.

Apparently though I have muscle spasms through my neck, which has caused those vertebrae to curve out of place a little bit. He then exclaimed on my vertebrae, that I had "amazing windows" where the nerves exit the spine.

He then examined me, and pointed out to the assistant that my rib cage has an interesting shape, which makes me a natural variant of...something. The assistant
feigned polite interest.

And then...the verdict. "I want you to take S. boulardii," he said.

I blinked. "Actually, I have some in my fridge, I just haven't started taking it yet."

He told me they have one that is put together specifically for the Arthritis Center. I asked if I could read the label. It had potato starch and I told him I couldn't have that, and he was fine with me using what I had. He said he didn't want to mess up what I was already doing. He figured out a dosage for me from what I told him about my bottle.

Then he asked if I took glucosamine/chondroitin. I told him I had wanted to, but they contain shellfish, and I tested allergic as a child, so I was a little leery. He thought about this at length,and then said I should try a small amount and work up to the appropriate dosage. I checked the ingredients on the supplement bottle and it looked OK, so I agreed that I would buy that particular one.

Next he suggested a supplement to relax the muscles in my neck, but that one also contained SCD illegal ingredients. I told him I would look for something similar.

And then I asked about drugs. "Do you think I need meds?"

He waved his hand. "I don't think so."

I looked at him, and I started to smile, and the grin eventually took up all of the real estate on my face. He then looked at me curiously. "What?" he said.

I said, "I like you very much right now."

He said, "Oh, thank you."

He then told me he thought I was a great mom (they are both very interested in what I am doing for my autistic son), and a straighforward and honest person, and the world needed more people like me.

So! That was my appointment.

A doctor told me I don't need meds.


Now it's Clark's turn. I've got more work to do.

P.S. And I need to find my copy of BTVC! It's been missing for months now! >_<

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How we're doing

I think we are almost ready to move into stage 3. I am excited.

I am still concerned about my son. I wish he could tolerate more foods. But Clark is doing very well now in school. His teachers have seen so much progress with him since we started the diet. He's more focused, more engaged, and less likely to be acting out. He's acting like such a little boy and finally asking WHY. Why, why, why. What a great thing to hear.

My son is five years old. He has taught himself to tell time -- like, on a real clock. My mouth fell open when I realized this.

The problem with Clark will never be academics. It will be boredom, it will be social skills, but it won't be academics. His teachers are trying to give him special tasks and responsibilities to keep him engaged and occupied, because otherwise Clark will act out. See, Clark doesn't put too much stock in what other people think of him. At first it was because he wasn't aware of what the other children were doing. Now, it's because he really doesn't care.

I have to admit, I admire that quality in him. Haven't we all wished at one time or another that we could act without worrying about what others will think of us? And here my son does it, effortlessly.

However, Clark is still battling constant illnesses. He's still not healed enough to handle many foods. Squash is no good. Asparagus loosens up his stools. Spinach does the same thing. All he really tolerates well is the green beans and carrots.

I need to make more yogurt and try it with him, but I was battling the flu and I'm still not completely better, so there was no way I could wake up at 2 a.m. and check the temperature. At least Clark didn't catch THAT. But he caught a cold and was out sick yesterday. Again. It's so frustrating.

I am hoping we can try the yogurt again. It's probably been at least six weeks since we tried it last. I'm going to try the casein first by making an SCD cheesecake and we'll see how it goes again.

As for me, I just started trying legal cheese. I am eating avocados, which we haven't tried with Clark yet, even though I know I should. With the cheese, I am wary. I have been eating it now for two days, and each morning as I wake up, I wonder if it isn't just a little harder to get out of bed, if my fingers aren't a little more swelled up, if my right wrist hurts a little more than the previous day. It should become obvious over the next two days. If I start sliding into true flare territory, then I'll know.

I feel very lucky right now that my son is getting better. He helped me plant flowers on the balcony yesterday. We planted petunias, verbena, and asters. He called them asterisks. :) He still is very literal and loves learning the names of things. Clark and I were in his room the other day. I was sitting on his bed, and Clark had shoved everything out from under his bed with no explanation. He then started to go under the bed. Daddy came in and lay down on the floor, and asked what Clark was doing.

Clark: "I'm pretending it's a parking garage."

Daddy: "Oh."

Clark: "Daddy, what's that?"

Daddy: "What's what?"

Clark: "Come under here."

Daddy: "I won't fit."

But Daddy gamely shimmied a bit under the bed. Clark was looking at the wood slats under his Ikea bed.

Daddy: "Oh. Those are knots in the wood."

Clark: "It's broken!"

Daddy: "No it's not, they're part of the wood."

Clark: "There's another one! And there's a knot. And there. And there!"

Daddy: "Yes, there's a lot of them.

Too cute. :)

Friday, April 18, 2008


About a month ago, I was offered moderator status on the Pecanbread Yahoo! group. I knew they needed the help, and I accepted.

Each day, there are new people joining that list, asking for answers, desperate for someone to listen to them, to help them on their way. Every day there are more people who have noticed that digestive dysfunction seems to go hand in hand with their child's autism, or ADHD, or that there must be a way to help their child with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.

We even get adults with fibromyalgia and CFS, and still others with rheumatoid arthritis. There are other moms with RA who have autistic kids, and we wonder together about this relationship.

There are about 3300 subscribers to this list. There are about 100 messages a day.

Most of the messages are not easy ones. Some ask how to start the diet. Some post lists of supplements, asking which are in line with the diet and which are not. Some post asking for alternatives to their child's current regimen. Some are confused as to how to implement the diet in the face of unsupportive family, friends, and schools; some just need a shoulder to cry on. Some challenge us to explain how the diet works. We do our best.

I would be lying if I said that being involved as a moderator hasn't been draining in some ways. There are some days when I just have to let go and let the other mods handle it. Fortunately we have several.

But I do take responsibility when I feel I am able, and I do my best to answer the questions that I can, because when I was confused, lost and alone, with only my own research and beliefs to guide me, they were there for me. And now I'm not alone anymore.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lunch on the run

So, last week, I forgot my lunch. What's an SCD girl to do? I took a trip to the local grocery store and this is what I came up with.

The avocado was the most costly part, since the cheap avocados weren't ripe (naturally). So I had to get either a GIANT costly avocado, or a smaller organic one, and I went with the smaller organic one.

The whole lunch ended up costing me about $4.75, so it was not bank breaking. The tiny cans of Dole pineapple are the only ones I've found that say, "In its own juice," which means they are the only legal ones.

Pretty yummy.

Sorry for the lack of actual content as of late. I am a busy girl. I'm also now a moderator on the Pecanbread list, so that is kind of cool!

I am tired. I have been off my RA meds for a couple months now, and it's starting to catch up with me. I had moderate to severe disease activity from the start, so it's not entirely unsurprising. I should be getting meds from my new doc in early May. I am still optimistic that I will achieve remission eventually. Just not quite yet.

Cooking marathon this weekend was a bit low key. There was a lot of laundry to do, so less cooking got done. But I did make soup, ketchup, meatloaves with spinach, egg bread, yogurt, and my darling hubby made hardboiled eggs and boiled carrots to help me out. Also I have supplies up the wazoo, including ground turkey! Huzzah! Carolina brand ground turkey comes frozen in a five pound tube and it is legal. I found it at Smart and Final but they are always out of it. This time they had a bunch so we bought two and one is thawing in the fridge right now. I really like making sausage out of it, and this time I am going to make sausage and then fry it up with eggs for yummy breakfast food.

I think I am going to attempt to cook more during the week in the hopes that my weekends aren't wall-to-wall running errands and cooking. Egg bread freezes great, so every week now I make a bunch and toss it in the freezer. We toss a package in with Clark's lunch and it's thawed and ready to eat by lunchtime.

Clark is doing OK but he is sick AGAIN. I am so frustrated with his constant illnesses. It makes it hard to try new foods, because every time he gets sick his digestion goes all to hell too. Argh. His behavior is usually horrible on top of his illness which doesn't help either.

I have a lot of columns planned for this space. This month is bad though because I have a lot of scripts to do for Pendant Audio. And I get tired typing because of the RA too. So don't despair. I'm trying and I'll get there eventually! :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Argh and wow

OK, so I know that it is hard to do SCD when your kid is attending a public school. I know it's especially challenging when at least 80 percent of the kids qualify for free breakfast and lunch.

But how hard is it to understand that our son is to have NO FOOD that is not from home?

Apparently a teacher gave Clark three Skittles. He explained that he thought they were OK because they were a different color than regular Skittles.

And this person is allowed to educate children? Next time I'm going to ask him what color of sugar doesn't have sugar in it. *growl*

The interesting thing though didn't really mess Clark up much at all. This is a kid who spiraled out of control for TWO WEEKS after getting a mini candy cane at Christmas.

Clark told us he ate three Skittles after we asked. But apparently he is bouncing back from it fast. Yes, he had behavior and sleep issues for about four days, but he would have those same issues from eating a vegetable that didn't agree with him previously.

So I think he is definitely healing.

And today was a conversation EXPLOSION!

"I have a grizzly bear on my shirt! Dinosaurs eat snacks sometimes, if they're hungry. Can I have a snack? Oh hey guess what guys, did you know I'm going to the aquarium tomorrow? It's nice and they have fish."

I am stunned. Literally stunned.

Yay Clark!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A new rheumatologist who listens!

So yesterday I made the trek out to the Arthritis Center of Riverside to see a new rheumatologist.

I've been waiting for quite a while until I got my new insurance specifically so I could go to these people. They are very interested in finding the causes of inflammation, and they've done a lot of research on infectious agents and their role in RA. They've written some interesting stuff about mycoplasmas, which are tiny little organisms that seem to be found in much greater numbers in people with RA, specifically within the joints.

They are NOT holistic. I want to make that clear. They will write prescriptions for DMARDs when necessary, but they also have a very cool low dose antibiotic protocol treatment that seems to be very effective. Many patients actually achieve remission this way.

This was my initial appointment, and I was nervous at first. All new patients see Dr. Lallande at first, an osteopath, which means he has D.O. after his name instead of M.D. Osteopaths are capable doctors in this country, so don't confuse them with the osteopaths in the U.K., who are in fact naturopaths and not medical doctors. My own general practitioner is an osteopath and Dr. Lallande seems to follow the same functional medicine philosophy. Dr. Lallande is a cheerful man with a salt and pepper crew cut, very animated and completely interested in what I was saying. I've never felt more at ease.

I started telling him about the dietary changes I'd made and the progress I'd found due to it. I told him I was now following the specific carbohydrate diet.

I paused when he seemed to continue to be friendly, instead of clamming up. I then asked him if he'd heard of the diet.

He had!


He then specifically wanted to hear about my autistic son, and what I thought caused his autism. His own son had received a bunch of vaccines at once, and had experienced some extreme OCD-like behaviors for a few years, so he was curious to know if I thought vaccines triggered his autism. He had also changed his son's diet and done interventions that helped him. Personally I don't think vaccines triggered Clark's problems, but to have a doctor acknowledge the experience of many, many parents over the current medical studies was really something. He thought it was great that my research had helped me and my son so much.

He said, "Keep doing your research! We don't know everything!" Then he smiled, and said, "If somebody had told you, 'You're going to get this disease, and it's a really serious disease, but in getting it, you're going to learn how to help your son,' would you have signed up?"

I said, "Absolutely."

He said, "Of course you would. Every mother would."

Then we moved on to the actual exam. He thought I was doing pretty well. He even remarked to his assistant, "See, she's good, she learned how to treat herself." He checked me for fibromyalgia as well, so they treat that too! Hey fibro people, you should check these people out!

He then proclaimed me to be in excellent health, except for the RA, which is pretty much what every doctor says. :)

Then it was off for blood work, and I come back in May for X-rays and an appointment with the facility's director. He told me that there will be supplements and possibly the antibiotic protocol once they learn what they can from my tests, but if I feel I need Enbrel to hold me over until the other stuff starts kicking in, then I should call and let them know. He told me it can take up to six months for the protocol to really start working, so they will try to minimize my damage in the meantime while we're waiting.

All in all, I was just so thrilled with the appointment. I wanted to hug him, but since I was wearing one of those gowns, I think it would have been a little awkward.

Monday, March 24, 2008

SCD and the doctor

I don't even know where to begin. I guess at the beginning. That's good, right?

Over the past three weeks or so, Clark has been off again, on again sick. However, about two weeks ago, he went from a sniffly nose to a hacking deep cough in the span of about eight hours. He also spiked a high fever, around 104 degrees.

I don't freak out when my kid gets sick. I don't like taking him to the doctor. Kids get sick; it's what they do, and most of the time there's nothing you can do about it except wait it out. Their school environment is like a virus factory.

But this did worry me, and so we took him in. We found out he had pneumonia (joy) and he had his first chest X-ray. This brought back a lot of memories for me, because as a child, I had pretty bad asthma. I had pneumonia multiple times, and bronchitis more times than I could count. I learned to sleep sitting up, and as a result, I can sleep pretty much anywhere at any time, much to the envy of some of my friends.

When my son's doctor told us she wanted to prescribe antibiotics, I told her that sugar caused huge problems for Clark, so perhaps she could give us something sugar free that we could crush and mix up with something. She prescribed Augmentin, which is a combo of two antibiotics, amoxicillin and clavulanate, and she gave it to us in a tablet form that was OK to crush and mix with applesauce, much to my relief. I knew the pills would likely contain corn starch, but I was OK with that short term.

My pediatrician, who is a really cool lady, did caution that the antibiotic might cause diarrhea, so she suggested we give him L. acidophilus along with the antibiotic. While that was a great suggestion, I can't find any that's SCD legal locally, and the stuff from GI Pro Health is on back order. So we just decided to wait it out and see what would happen.

After the first dose, I had a nightmare where Clark literally turned into a monster and was eating my hand with very sharp teeth. My husband pointed out that I was afraid Clark would go back to the way he was pre-SCD, and my mind interpreted this literally.

Clark was OK with the antibiotic. He did start to regress around day three or four, much to our dismay, but it wasn't severe.

And then, on about day 7, we got Clark up for school and he was covered in a bright red rash.

Guess what? He's allergic to penicillin. *head on desk*

So we took him in to the doctor while the reaction continued to worsen. The doctor noticed Clark was a little short of breath, so he got a breathing treatment of what I assume was albuterol. Once again, I was hit by memories of my childhood while he sat on my lap with a mask over his face, and I chatted with him while we waited for the medicine to run down.

We were instructed to give him Benadryl, and I mentioned the problem with sugar again. We found him a kids chewable version with NutraSweet, and we tried that. We were sent home with instructions to keep an eye on him for the next 4-6 hours to see if his breathing worsened again.

We ended up giving him two doses of the Benadryl, and it really didn't seem to help him much. He was also getting weepy and emotional and I figured I should switch to something without the NutraSweet and artificial colors. I was also worried because the rash seemed to continue to worsen. So I picked up some generic Zyrtec tablets and crushed one for him. The dosage is the same for anyone ages 6 and up, and it lasts for 24 hours. I carefully checked the package and it didn't say you couldn't crush them, so I figured it was OK.

The next morning Clark was definitely more cheerful, even though he didn't look much better. I had looked up the ingredients on the Zyrtec in the meantime and one of them did have an extended release component. Since I was worried, I grabbed the same product at Target and asked their pharmacist if it was extended release -- it wasn't, and she said it was OK to crush. Whew.

So far, so good. The Zyrtec tablets do contain starch and a teensy bit of lactose, but they are very small and I think Clark is doing really well with them.

The interesting thing is, I realized Clark has never had antibiotics until now, and I wonder if that's why he's only mildly autistic instead of much worse. I managed to explain a little bit about SCD to his regular pediatrician and she was slightly mystified but didn't try to dissuade us.

And now it's my turn. I'm leaving work early today to go to an arthritis institute, and I'm a little nervous about it. See, even though my son and I have only been SCD for a little while, I've been tinkering with diet changes for the past three years because cutting out grains has REALLY helped my arthritis. Every time I go to a new rheumatologist I have to be prepared, because every time I tell them the diet changes that have helped me, and every time, I get the silent treatment because they don't believe me. I don't know if it will be different this time, but I am resolved.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Cooking marathon!

I know you've missed these, haven't you? Of course you have!

So, this past week has been a bit of a nightmare. On Monday, my husband said, "It seems like the fridge isn't getting things as cold as they should be." I just shrugged; it's hard to say, especially when the thing is opened about a million times a day, and it's not like our five year old hasn't ever left it cracked open.

By the next day, though, it was apparent that things were getting quite warm.

I should also mention at this point that I live in an apartment in Southern California. In SoCal, fridges are not provided with apartments. I don't know why. It's totally stupid. But it's just how it is. So when we moved to California from Chicago, the first thing we had to do was buy a fridge. Our good friends recommended a used appliance store in Burbank called Savon Appliances, so we went there, picked out a model, and it was delivered the same day. Great place, great people, great service. That was nearly two years ago, and it was an older model fridge, so we weren't really that surprised.

I plugged in my nifty digital thermometer and dangled it off a shelf in the fridge. It registered at 50 degrees. My husband called the local used appliance shop where we got it to see if they did repairs. They did, but they didn't have anyone until Friday. We resolved to wait.

Despite taking care not to open it too much, by the end of the day it was hovering at about 59 degrees. Not good. Not good AT ALL.

On Wednesday I took my probiotics to work and stuck them in the fridge, hoping for the best. I had a bottle of yogurt starter and a bottle of S. Boulardii that I hadn't even opened yet. We started throwing things out Wednesday night, and we also cooked the rest of the thawed chicken parts in the fridge. We then scrambled four dozen eggs, partitioned them out (six eggs to a baggie) and froze those too.

I made my son's egg bread and froze it. To my surprise, it freezes beautifully. It doesn't even stick together. Cool. Also, very thankfully, the legal jello was still setting up in the refrigerator for some reason. We were at the tail end of a jug of Welch's grape juice so that wasn't a big disaster.

We ended up pitching a lot of hubby's condiments, one extremely expensive dose of Enbrel, some veggies, and about three pounds of butter. I kept cooking hamburger patties and chicken breasts in the oven, and I returned them to the freezer once they cooled down. I prepared veggies every night instead of a few days in advance so my son would have some for his lunches.

Bottom line, we survived, and when the repairman came by to tell us it would be $100 to fix the fridge, we figured it would just be better to put the money toward a new used fridge. The service call was $40 but he told us it could be applied to getting another fridge if we came into the store.

Friday night, we went to Savon and picked out a new fridge. I of course drooled my way around the appliance store. It's so funny how SCD changes your view of cooking and kitchens. We settled on an absolutely fabulous GE fridge that looked as if it hadn't been used. It did have a couple of biggish dents and scratches in it, but inside, the drawers were pristine with protective plastic across the fronts.

It was bigger than our old fridge, definitely. It's about three inches taller, too. But the DOOR. MY GOD THE DOOR PEOPLE.

OMG, look at all the CRAP you can FIT in THERE!!! (Obviously this is mostly hubby stuff in the door)

It is so great.

So! The fridge was delivered Saturday at 10 a.m., and Sunday we went food shopping. I first went alone to Albertson's, brought all of that home, and then we all went to Costco. We filled up the fridge quite well, thank you, and then it was time for COOKING MARATHON!

First I threw a few pounds of pineapple spears in the oven, covered. I cut a four pound butternut squash in half and put it in an 8" square Pyrex pan. Then I started a pan of turkey soup with wings and drummettes, and I also started a pan of ketchup.

Since the pineapple and squash had to cook for two hours, I thought I might be able to fit something else in there for an hour if I hurried. I decided to make two one-pound meatloaves with spinach. That took a little while, because I had to cook the spinach, let it cool a little, squeeze out the water, then mix up the meatloaves. I put those in next to the squash.

That was phase one, and after that I got to eat and relax for the next hour.

I then took out the pineapple, checked the squash (it needed another 30 minutes), and removed the meatloaf. The ketchup was done too, so I turned it off and let it cool for the next 30 minutes.

I checked on my soup, and added green beans. Yum! I also realized in order to make egg bread for Clark's lunch, I was going to have to boil some more veggies. By this time the squash was done and the ketchup was cool, so I dumped the ketchup into a container and washed out the pan, and then put green beans in to cook.

The soup should be done...oh hey, it's done now. Crap. Well anyway, I'll turn that off and let it cool for a while. The beans might be done too. Then I will make two pans of egg bread and a batch of almond butter brownies, and we should be set for at least the beginning of this week. Yay.

Oh! and you know how I posted about the cod liver oil? Well, I missed the teeny print on the Nordic Naturals bottle that said REFRIGERATE after opening. So I threw out half a bottle. Clark has been a train wreck with sleep AGAIN and now I have it so I am happy. I also bought Carlson's cod liver oil capsule for myself to help with my RA inflammation.

And...I just got new insurance, and now I can go to the Arthritis Center in Riverside! I am soooooo excited and will keep you all posted. They believe in antibiotic therapy, which is super cool. People get cured, they really do, over there. My appointment is in two weeks!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cod liver oil for autistic kids

I've been leery about delving into the wide world of supplements, mainly because I've seen lots of parents of autistic kids who have their kids on something like 20 supplements a day.

I don't want to do that, mainly because I want to be able to monitor his gut healing with his dietary changes, and I think too many supplements could muddy those already complicated waters.

However, I've heard enough about cod liver oil to want to give it a try. I picked up a bottle of Nordic Naturals orange flavored cod liver oil at Whole Foods; this is a legal SCD compliant supplement.

And damn, but it is helping him already!

I had heard about some of the benefits here , (you'll note it has also been shown to help ADD/ADHD kids) but one of the other benefits I'd heard about was that it helped autistic kids with sleeping. I can't find a backup article for that, but other parents told me of that particular benefit. Clark has been on melatonin for quite some time but he still wasn't getting as much rest as we would like.

The results were pretty much immediate. Instead of routinely getting up at 4:30 a.m. or earlier, Clark is now sleeping until 5 a.m. at least. And the other day, when he did get up around 4:30, guess what? After an hour or so, he climbed back into bed and went back to sleep!

I know, for parents of kids who don't have sleep problems, that doesn't sound like much. But for those of us with sleep challenged kids, it's pretty much equivalent to the heavens opening above my head and angels descending, singing the Hallelujah chorus.

Also, he LOVES the oil. He thinks it tastes great. Hooray.

As I add a couple more things, I'll keep you all posted. Clark isn't tolerating the goat yogurt or the probiotics yet, so I have some L. Acidophilus on order and we're going to try the low and slow method of introducing it. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fanatical adherence (why we can't trust labels)

Many people when starting SCD ask, "Why can't we just believe what's on the label?" There are a bunch of reasons, but a quick Google search turned up a couple that I'd like to share with you.

Based upon evidence uncovered by the government. Beech-Nut, its president, and a vice president were indicted late in 1986 by a federal grand jury for marketing as apple juice a product that in reality was nothing more than sugar water and a blend of chemicals that simulated the taste and look of apple juice.

Nice, huh? You can read the story here.

The worst part is that during that time, Beech-nut was trying to capitalize on an increasingly aware market. Nutritionists had been howling about the amount of sugar and starch added to baby foods. Beech-nut started touting itself as an all natural provider of baby foods, and publicly removed sugar from all products except those marketed as desserts.

So, they were telling everyone what a health-conscious supplier of food they were while their executives turned a blind eye toward their apple juice supplier.

The executives did this knowingly, in the hopes of saving the company from bankruptcy. I wonder if they thought the jail time was worth it?

But wait! I mean, come on, that was like 20 years ago. Stuff like this isn't still happening, is it?

Of course it is.

In 2005, in response to consumer concerns about trans fat labeling, the Florida agriculture and consumer services commissioner had his department analyze 33 food products to determine if the trans fat labeling was accurate.

Out of the 33 food products, ONE of them was labeled correctly. The rest? Wrong.

I wrote another post for you about how labeling can be legally deceptive. But this is about illegal deception. And it happens every day, everywhere. We've only just recently noticed that practically every toy out of China is full of lead. What else are we missing?

Fanatical adherence. That's why all of us moms are in our kitchens day in and day out, cooking with ingredients we know and trust, chopping up veggies and meats that don't have long hyphenated emulsifiers, stabilizers, or chemicals to enhance shelf life, using nuts and eggs that don't have hidden additives or other possible tricks of the food industry trade that they don't have to tell us about.

We just make food.

French artist probiotics

In lieu of actual content, I will post this IM conversation I just had with my husband this morning. See, when I got up, my yogurt had just hit 110 degrees. So I thought I would turn off the heating pad for a while. I realized I never reminded my hubby to check on it, so at 10 a.m. I sent him an IM (he works at home).


Me: check my yogurt?
Husband: ok
...I forgot all about it. I have ruined it. it's at 95. I'm sorry! :-( :-( :-( :-(
Me: not necessarily
Me: turn the heat back up to high
Me: tuck the towels around it
Me: we'll see how long it takes to get back up to temperature.
Husband: ok
Me: it should still be OK
Me: I will just have to ferment it a couple hours longer
Me: once it gets back up to temperature
Me: so...hopefully it will be back in range in an hour
Me: then we can turn it down again
Me: and it should be fine if we can keep it in range until tomorrow morning then.
Me: never easy rar
Husband: you sure they won't have all died or whatever?
Husband: it just went down to 94 ... -_-
Me: no, they only die if it gets too hot
Husband: oh
Husband: phew
Me: if it gets too cold then they just don't digest all of the lactose
Me: so when they warm up they start snacking again
Husband: picky little bitches!
Me: serious!
Husband: no, we can only eat when it's warm out! nyah!
Me: haha
Me: is OK
Me: in fact, it's kind of a good thing
Me: I would have had to put the yogurt away around 11 p.m.
Me: now that it got too cold it needs to add a few more hours
Me: so that puts it at 2 a.m. for 24 hours
Me: but then I can let it go until 6 a.m. which is 28 hours
Me: because you can't let it go longer than 30 hours or the bacteria start to die because they are out of food see
Husband: yeesh
Me: they are sensitive!
Me: they are artists!
Husband: and you need the bacteria to eat the yeast inside
Me: they are probably french
Me: the bacteria eats the lactose
Husband: oh god
Husband: too funny
Me: :)
Husband: I actually lolled at sensitive artists
Me: they wear tiny berets!
Me: eet ees freezing in zhair, they say
Me: i cannot vork in zees condeeshons
Me: vhat do zhey expect
Husband: oh good god
Husband: so hilarious

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I know, I know...

So I haven't posted in a while. I'm sorry, I really am. I've been incredibly busy, and I've been working overtime pretty often. I'm also hoping really hard for a new job (!!!) and I tried some cooking experiments that went awry.

I just finished another Pendant Audio script for season 2 of the Kingery, and I'm way behind on recording my lines. Basically, we've been working most nights until about an hour before bed time. And then a situation at work has me kind of angry, so when Clark decided to get up at 2 a.m., I kept myself awake thinking about stuff. I got up at 3 a.m. and played Super Mario Galaxy for an hour. And then I watched half of a really bad sci-fi movie before calming down enough to go back to sleep at 5 a.m. for another hour or so.

But I can post a couple things for you all. :)

First of all, this here is the BEST reason to make egg free brownies:

Licking the bowl, yay! Isn't it strange how the smallest things can make us feel a little more 'normal'?

I also made almond milk. I roughly followed a recipe I found online.


1 cup almonds

Put the almonds in the blender. Add water to the four cup mark. Blend for 10 minutes.

I strained the almond pulp through a clean bandana. It worked very well. Do not try coffee filters. They will rip.

Clark LOVED the almond milk. I was really heartened by how easy it was, so I tried to make almond milk yogurt. This did not work. It separated, which is normal, but it also turned a weird shade of brown, which was not normal. Oh well, back to the drawing board. Marilyn on the Pecanbread list has some good suggestions, so I saved those for when I'm ready to try again.

I also purchased a five pound roll of ground turkey at Smart and Final. It didn't have any additives listed, so I thought I'd give it a try. I left it in the fridge for three days to thaw, and on the third day it leaked through everything in the world. -_-

So I cleaned it all up with help from my hubby and I decided to make a modified version of the chicken sausage recipe from the SCD Recipe site. I improvised with spices I had on hand.


5 pounds turkey
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp ground celery seed
1/2 tbsp turmeric

I mixed it all by hand and then took four pieces of foil and plopped some of the turkey mixture onto each one. I then rolled each piece of foil into a sausage shaped log, and put them all on a cookie sheet. I cooked it at about 325 degrees for two hours. I didn't let them rest for 24 hours and I forgot to poke holes in the foil, but it turned out fine, and Clark loved it.

I didn't even really thoroughly mix the spices, so I didn't take a photo of the finished sausage 'cause I was embarrassed. :)

I liked it with ketchup. Mmm.

Also last weekend I made roast chicken, which turned out beautifully. I then discovered I really don't like roast chicken. I prefer my chicken dry, or fried, not moist. I know, I'm really not a foodie by any stretch. I then made a soup with a whole chicken, and that was no fun either. I am NEVER doing that again. No picking four bajillion tiny bones out of soup! I nearly screamed when I pulled the liver out of one of the chickens, and then later after the soup was done, I saw a vertebrae. A VERTEBRAE. I am so not in touch with my inner cave girl. *shudders*

So, it's back to parts for me, and I think I'm going to keep getting turkey parts, because I really love the flavor of turkey soup. Maybe I'm just sick of chicken. It's entirely possible. Understandable, even.

I've cut out eggs entirely for myself, and I think it's helping with my arthritis.

Oh, and Valentine's Day! I know how this makes me sound but...look, back when I got valentines, kids did not hand out candy with every freaking valentine! Clark was so disappointed he couldn't eat any of his candy, so I whipped up some SCD frosting for him right quick and put it on his brownies today. He was so happy.

SCD frosting (STAGE ONE)

2 tbsp honey
3-4 tbsp spectrum shortening
dash salt

Beat until well combined. Frost and eat. This will firm up HARD in the fridge, so be aware.

OK, that's all for now. I don't even know what stage to put these recipes. Give me some guidance, and I'll stick them where they need to go.

Thanks to the people who are checking up on me. I can only type so much in a day, because my right hand starts to really bother me, so I have to pick and choose sometimes, especially with the writing. I've been kind of all over the place emotionally and I am now having major cravings for non-SCD foods when I get my period. It's incredibly distracting. -_-

Sunday, February 3, 2008

More recipes, and of course - cooking marathon

Saturday I got a lot done. I went grocery shopping with Clark. I wasn't sure what to do, as we had four stores to go to, and we had to get perishables at three of them.

So I tossed our large cooler in the trunk of the car. At our first stop, I got frozen spinach, turkey parts, ground beef, and goat yogurt, so I put all of that in there. The second stop included frozen burritos, which were added to the pile. Third stop was Costco, where I picked up two gallons of skim milk for my darling husband. Those didn't fit, but since it was the last stop, it was no big deal.

We got home around noon, and it was time to start cooking. I hadn't made turkey soup before, so this is what I did.


3-4 pounds turkey parts (I used thighs and drummettes)
2 large onions
7-8 garlic cloves
1-2 pounds baby carrots
4 stalks celery
1 pound frozen spinach
8 oz white button mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp sage
2 tsp salt

In a large stock pot, put the turkey parts on the bottom. Add the onions (quartered), garlic cloves, carrots, and celery (cut into 2-3 inch pieces). Add water to cover and simmer for four hours.

Add the frozen spinach and mushrooms, adding more water to cover. Add sage and salt. Cook for one more hour. Cool and remove the meat from the bones before storing. Also don't forget to remove the onion and celery, as this is stage two.

This soup was really quite surprising to me. The turkey tasted good, and there was a lot of it, so since I usually bring my soup to work for lunch, I will probably be falling asleep in a tryptophan-induced stupor this week. The mushroom taste was pretty pronounced. I would like to try it as a cream-type soup, with pureed mushrooms. That would be really good I think.

Before I started the soup, I started a double batch of ketchup. It takes about two hours for the 12 cups of tomato juice plus 1 cup of vinegar to cook down to where I like it. I also put a large pan of pineapple in the oven for two hours, along with two whole (small) butternut squashes. This time I forgot to include the small amount of water I usually do with the pineapple, but it turned out just fine.

I started thinking about meatloaf. Usually I can't afford good quality ground beef, but I found some that was pretty good for $3 a pound, so I bought a bunch of it. I decided to try a stage 2 meatloaf.


2 pounds ground beef
1 pound spinach
8 oz button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1 large onion, quartered
5-6 garlic cloves
SCD ketchup

In a large saucepan, cook the spinach, mushrooms, garlic, onion, and red wine with 2 cups of water. Simmer until the liquid is completely gone. This will take a while -- probably about an hour. Some alcohol will remain in the dish, but not much -- about 25 percent at most (the equivalent of 1/4 cup of wine), and remember, this is spread out into two meatloaves. If you don't want to do this, try 1/2 cup Welch's grape juice instead. Tell me how it turns out. :)

Dump the mixture into a large mixing bowl and let it cool. Add the ground beef and mix together by hand until the vegetables are well incorporated. Separate the mixture and form into two loaves. Pour SCD ketchup on top to cover. Bake in a Pyrex dish at 400 degrees for about an hour and fifteen minutes. Makes two loaves.

I think the SCD ketchup is important to this recipe to keep the spinach from drying out on the outside. Clark loves this meatloaf, and I thought it was pretty good too.

In the meantime, I had pulled the pineapple, garlic, and squash out of the oven to cool. By the time I got the meatloaves into the oven, I was ready to put the pineapple away, and ready to start my butternut squash soup. I've been toying with this for a little while, so I'm OK with sharing this recipe with you, even if it's not perfect in my mind.


3-4 pounds butternut squash
2 cups SCD legal applesauce
3-4 roasted garlic cloves (a paste)
1 cup water
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coriander
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt

Bake the butternut squash in the oven until done. You can bake the squash whole if you like for about two hours at 400 degrees. Remove from oven, cut open if you haven't already, and let cool until you can handle it easily.

Put the cooked squash in your blender with the applesauce, water, garlic paste, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and salt. Blend until well combined.

I tried it with ginger the time I made it before this time, but I didn't like it. I couldn't find my nutmeg so I will try that at some point too. Probably 1/2 teaspoon would be good.

So that was day one of the cooking marathon. Today I'm making yogurt, veggies, and egg bread so Clark has enough stuff for school this week.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Eat your veggies! and, garlic mysteries solved

OK, so I have a confession to make.

I am not all that fond of my cooked veggies. If I have to eat cooked carrots by themselves, I just won't. I'd rather not eat than eat them.

But of course I need my veggies. I cannot live on SCD applesauce, much as I would like to, because that would make me a Bad Susan.

I'd rather eat meat and almond butter brownies until I pop. Yes, I have done this. It's no wonder I can't lose any more weight.

So! I decided I would try mushrooms, as my next stage 2 veggie. I decided to come up with a recipe that would force me to eat more vegetables, so here we go.


1 pound frozen spinach
8 oz white button mushrooms
1 pound ground beef
1 onion
6-7 garlic cloves
1 cup SCD ketchup

In a large saucepan, put the frozen spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and onion (quartered) with 2-3 cups of water. Cook until the water has reduced about half. Add the beef and cook through, reducing the liquid as much as possible. When it's done, stir in 1 cup of SCD ketchup.

You can add more ketchup if you want, but I would definitely eat this again. I liked it the next day as leftovers, too. I decided to have pineapple with it, but only one spear made it to my plate.

Oh, and by the way, if you were trying to pick out the garlic cloves? Good luck, because they look just like the mushrooms. It's an interesting little treasure hunt, should you decide to attempt it.

This meal brought to you by the number 10.

I think next time I might cut the amount of meat in half, but I'm not sure.

OK, on to garlic! So as I mentioned before, I actually burned my fingertip with all the garlic peeling I was doing. It turns out that I was going about it all wrong.

Get a clean, sturdy drinking glass. Pop the cloves off the garlic head or whatever it's called. Now, put the clove on your counter, and whap it with the bottom of the drinking glass. Turn the clove over and whap it again. Then peel it. The skin will come right off! Yay!

I have thus been peeling garlic with abandon. Abandon, I tell you! :)

I was also told that I can roast garlic. Since garlic is on stage 2, I figured it was time to stop picking the cloves out of soup and other things that I'm cooking. But roasting garlic is a really good way to get a flavorful cooked garlicky paste when you're not going to be boiling it within an inch of its life. So!


Take a large head of garlic and break it apart. You don't have to, but I think it makes things easier. Bigger cloves are easier to work with, too.

Take the big cloves and gather them up in a piece of foil. Don't peel them!

Bake at 400 degrees for about 45-50 minutes.

Wait until they are cool. Then, using a pair of kitchen shears, cut one end off the clove and squeeze out the garlic paste. You can use this in any recipe you want.

And here's a recipe for Spinach Frittata.


1/4 of an onion
2 peeled cloves garlic
olive oil
3/4 cup spinach, drained (you can eyeball it -- I use frozen)
6 eggs

In an 8" skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and break up the onion and garlic in it. Saute the onion and garlic until done. At this stage you can't eat it, so toss it. Salt the remaining oil.

Sprinkle the spinach on the skillet. Immediately crack six eggs on top and mix it around. You can beat them ahead of time but I kind of like the effect of the whites and yolks. Squish it around and move it so the egg will flow underneath the cooked parts.

After about 5-10 minutes on medium heat, it should be solid enough to flip if you're really careful and you have a big spatula, since I can't make a real frittata in the oven. When it's done, cut into four pieces. You're done!

OK, that's all for me right now. I'm in the midst of a cooking marathon so I will probably post about that later. Bye!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cooking marathon, cheesecake, and yogurt


So I never posted about making yogurt. I decided to use the heating pad method. The page you should actually be referring to for temperatures is on the Pecanbread Yogurt page. So be aware that there are some discrepancies between the pages.

I had acquired a thermometer. It was not the best choice, because it was a meat thermometer, and it didn't go any lower than 100 degrees. Oh well, I thought I would just work with what I had.

I held the thermometer in the goat milk as I heated it on the stove. I intended to turn it off once I hit 185 degrees, like the Pecanbread site says, but the temperature climbed really quickly and the goat milk did end up boiling for a few seconds. We're supposed to try to avoid this, but I was going to go ahead anyway.

I took the pan off the heat and put it in my large saucepan which had two trays of ice cubes and some cold water in there.

I then realized another thermometer problem, because you need to cool the milk to at least room temperature. So I kind of had to guess. I splashed a bit of it when my arm and when it felt cool, I added the Progurt as specified -- mixing it with about a cup of the milk and then mixing it throughout the whole pot of milk.

Then it was time for the heating pad. I'd picked a spot on my counter that was pretty cozy, and I made sure to purchase a heating pad that would not shut itself off.

After that, I had to figure out a way to get the thermometer to stay in the yogurt without it touching the bottom of the pan. I tried just wrapping the top of it in foil and sort of balancing it against the side of the pan, but that didn't work.

Then I saw the handle of my colander and I got an idea.

After that, I covered it up and set it on the heating pad. I added some dish towels around the sides of it to keep the heat in, too.

Well, it was hard to tell if it was getting up to temperature because the thermometer was kind of crappy. I got up at 2 a.m. since Clark was up at 2 a.m., and I saw that the yogurt wasn't even up to 100 degrees. So I propped up more of the heating pad against the pan by using a Yankee candle that somebody bought me at my office. I didn't take a photo of it but you get the idea. :)

By morning, it was up to temperature, so I wasn't really sure when to start the 24 hours. I decided to just do 24 hours since 6 a.m. or so and so I ended up fermenting it overnight again.

It came out OK. I was surprised at how thin it was. I dripped some of it with a coffee filter placed in a plastic funnel balanced over a drinking glass. That worked pretty well, as long as I didn't put too much yogurt in there at one time.

And then Clark had his weird reaction, and you're now up to speed.

So. I realized later that my thermometer was in fact off, by quite a lot. I measured boiling water with it, and it registered as 195 degrees. Not good. So all sorts of things could have gone wrong with the probiotics.

I bought a new thermometer, a digital one with a probe. I really like it. It comes with a timer that you can set for 24 hours. That one worked much better and registered the temperature of the goat milk correctly. Hooray!

I was also able to see with my new thermometer when the goat milk yogurt got down to the appropriate temperature to add the probiotics (about 65-70 degrees is a good range to shoot for).

I also started the yogurt much earlier (around 3 p.m.), so I was sure it was up to temperature when I went to bed. The probe balanced in the milk a little easier, and I didn't need my colander this time. I just wrapped some foil around the top of the probe and secured it to the handle of the pot.

And yes, I used the Yankee candle again. :)

I tried dripping the whole batch in bulk but that didn't work so well because there was still too much for it to all go through the colander well. I'll try the handkerchief in the colander method at some point and I'll let you know how it goes.

When I had enough that was dripped, I decided to make a half recipe of the SCD cheesecake in the BTVC book, except I wanted to use all yogurt instead of the dry curd cottage cheese, since we're not eating cow dairy. Here's what I did.

HALF AN SCD CHEESECAKE (STAGE ONE, whenever yogurt is tolerated)

2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cup dripped SCD yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp grated lemon rind (I didn't use it)

Bake in a pie pan at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it browns on the edges. It will be only about 1/2 inch thick, since it's a half recipe. :)

So I baked that, and I gave Clark about a full teaspoon of it about an hour before bedtime. I wanted to be sure I got a clear reaction. He seemed fine. In the morning, though, he wasn't fine. He was stimming, stimming, stimming.

So he's not ready for it. That's OK. Good to know. We'll try again in a month or so.

For me, though, at first I didn't think I liked the cheesecake. I even added extra honey to it. Clark said he liked "cheese pie" so he was clearly fine with the taste.

But then later I went back and ate some plain. And then later I went back to even out the edges. And then I ate some more.

So, I changed my mind, and I really liked it! Yum. I can see how the lemon would really complement the flavor of it, so maybe I will look for that lemon stuff. I guess I've gotten past the initial taste of it, finally. It's kind of like when you first go gluten free and you eat a piece of GF bread. It's not much like regular bread at all, so your brain can't get past that at first. And then you learn to like it for what it is, not for what it isn't.

After that, however, I ate my usual amount of the yogurt that I'd worked up to, and I had a bathroom emergency soon after. So I think that the probiotics were much more active in this batch, because I think the temperature in my first batch got too high, and killed off some of the bacteria before the yogurt was done. Or I ate too much cheese pie. Oops.

As for this weekend's cooking marathon, I'm behind again. My script for Pendant Audio finally got out to the cast, and my darling hubby and I went on a date!

We went to see Cloverfield at the Mann's Chinese Theater in downtown Hollywood. It was fun, but parking was a mess. We didn't realize that there was an awards ceremony at Hollywood and Highland that evening for the ASC Awards, so parking was a little tricky but we managed.

After the movie, we went to the Pig n' Whistle, also in Hollywood. I was surprised to see that their only steak was $25 so I kind of freaked at that. Instead, I ordered a plain hamburger for $15, and Jeffrey ate my fries. Even though the Pig n' Whistle is only about a block from Hollywood and Highland (which is where the mega huge parking garage is), it was raining like crazy so we bought a very large and surprisingly nice umbrella from a street vendor for $5.

We had a great time. We don't get to go out often. Since Clark is autistic and is quirky and manipulative in so many unique ways, we have only had our very good friend babysit for us after Clark is in bed. We got home around midnight and got into bed by 12:45 a.m.

At 1:45 a.m. Clark got up, as he had soaked through everything on his bed. I stripped his bed and changed his pajamas, sheets, and blankets, and went back to bed.

So I'm kinda tired today. But I had so much fun, so I am happy anyway.

I just finished cooking the pineapple, soup's on, ketchup's on, and carrots are cooking. I had enough ketchup to last this week -- until the jar slipped out of my hands about 12 inches above our tile floor. Smash. SIGH. What was worse was I had half a bag of onions on the floor next to the fridge, and considering the glass, I pitched them. Oh well, at least onions are cheap.

I bought some mushrooms to play with this week. I think I'm going to cook some spinach with the ground sirloin patties and add the mushrooms...mmm. Sounds like a good way to test food to me!