Sunday

Life with MS

Thank you @positivelivingwithMS and @hanyagordan for this perfect meme. #takethatms



Thursday

Soothing MS with Cooking and Nutritious Food: Roasted Veggie Chowder

Probably one of the best lessons learned so far with my MS:

"Become more aware of what's really worth your energy." 


Couple things worth my energy:  The nature around me and cooking for my family.

Here is the last of the roses for this southern California girl!  The bushes are all pruned up but this beauty, cut probably a week ago, just keeps amazing me.   Often it's the little things that are most important to us.  Have you noticed something lately that has inspired you?



Farmers market is another inspiration.  The bounty of our local agriculture is amazing!  After several years of dry winters and a continued drought here in Southern California, we are finally getting some rain.  And boy are we getting it!  And this cooler, "stay indoors weather", has been encouraging my cooking.



Today there were plenty of vegetables that needed using:  potatoes, brussel sprouts, two carrots, red and green bell pepper and an onion.   After rinsing and drying the veggies, the potatoes were cut in large cubes and brussel sprouts were cut in half. Drizzled with olive oil, fresh rosemary, sliced garlic and sprinkled with salt, they were placed on a cookie tray that had been sitting in a 400 degree oven and until nice and hot.  Roasted for about 15 minutes then added the carrots (they were small) and the peppers.  Roasted another 15 minutes.


In the meantime, saute one diced onion and 4 tablespoons butter in heavy cast iron pot or some good soup pot.  Saute until nice and soft.  I added some dried thyme at this point to add some depth to the flavors.  Possibly wine or sherry could be fun at this point.


When the veggies are done, drop into pot of onion and butter.  Stir and combine.  Add the chicken or veggie stock.  About 4 Cups depending on amount of veggies and desire of thickness. Then add 1/2 Cup 1/2 and 1/2.  Or cream, or something to add a nice creamy texture to the soup.  Or don't and just use homemade broth.  That's up to you!



I added a partial bag of frozen corn and got everything nice and hot.  Then added a handful of rough chopped fresh flat leaf parsley for good color and freshness.  Of course, it is a chowder, so ground some good old black pepper on top.   In fact, I might go have a bowl right now.  Dang, this is one tasty soup!



ROASTED VEGGIE CHOWDER

INGREDIENTS:

Mixed veggies for roasting:   (Anything found in the pantry or refrigerator should work!)

1 lb yukon gold potato
1 lb brussel sprouts
1 onion
2 carrots
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 cup frozen corn
4 tbls butter (sweet - not salted)
4 Cups chicken or vegetable broth

fresh rosemary or other herbs from garden
fresh parsley for garnish
Salt and pepper

Place cookie/roasting tray in oven and Turn on to 400F.

1.  Dice/Cube/Cut in half/Slice veggies to desired size.
2.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and fresh rosemary.
3.  Carefully place potatoes and sprouts on hot pan and roast for 15 minutes.
4.  Add carrots and peppers to hot pan and roast another 15 minutes or until done.
5.  Saute onions butter over medium heat, until soft and translucent.
6.  Add roasted vegetables, blend with onion.
7.  Add broth and bring to boil.
8.  And add 1/2 and 1/2 and reduce to simmer.
9.  Add fresh green rough chopped parsley for garnish.
10.  Add fresh ground black pepper and serve!

And because soup just is not enough for this family, we added mini Salmon Salad Sliders.  Yum!



SALMON SALAD SLIDERS

1 can Salmon
1-2 tbls mayonnaise
1 tbls pesto (premade)
add basil or spinach leaf for color

King's Hawaiian Rolls - because I had some left over.  Toast or bread or lettuce leaves work great too!

This is a super easy recipe. Of course you can make these as difficult and gourmet as possible.  But for me, when my MS acts up, I want to keep it simple.

Gotta love when carrots love each other!

Monday

Tools for Living Better with MS

I was recently asked about the tools used to help my life with MS.  It made me pause to consider what were the items that truly created a better life for me.  Not just the normal things here and there but the items that really make a difference.  Here are the results:


1.  Reliable, bluetooth earbuds.  For some reason listening to music helps me stay focused and on point. It might be because the there can be quite a bit of useless noise in the house.  Or a wandering mind which can be brought into line with the beat of some good music.  My earbuds of choice are LG bluetooth.  Mine are a bit older but love them.  Used the corded ones for years but went through about a pair a month. The cords frazzled and fried.   As iPhones get larger my desire to carry it with me everywhere is not there and ability to leave it and move around the house with ease and music is a beautiful thing.  Since music comes from my phone it is interrupted when a call arrives, creating an effective work environment.  



2.  Hydroflask.  Keeping cool and hydrated is important for those with MS, especially as summer is soon upon us.  As a person who does not want to fill this world with too much plastic, my use of reusable water bottles has been going on for years.  Of all the water bottles used in the past, the Hydroflask is my favorite.  It keeps drinks cold, cold, and hot, hot.  I love the small size and carry it everywhere.  Wouldn't mind having a larger one but for now this one will do.  It's easy to take the lid on and off and also comes with a sipping lid for hot beverages and a spigot lid for quicker access.   



3.  Safe Walking Shoes.  Asics just happens to be the brand that has fit my feet for years, including my 10K and 1/2 marathon days.  But find the brand that fits you best!  Today I'm lucky to just walk, but a good pair of walking or running shoes that tie safely and have good traction is essential for folks with MS.   Being ambulatory can be challenging and in an effort to be as safe as possible I purchase a fresh pair of walking shoes each year.  



4.  Bandanas:  One of my favorite things ever. Can blow a nose or use as a way to cool the body down.  Get them wet and put one in the freezer.  On hot days, take it out and wrap around neck for a quick cool down.  Stays wet for quite awhile.  In an effort to reduce plastic, I use bandanas to wrap up my lunch and other essentials.  Easily washable and yes, can be dipped in cold water and used for instant cooling down. 


5.  Essential Oils.   Ahhhh.  So many reasons to love oils.  They smell good for one.  And that can put just about anyone into a better mood.   Bath salts before bedtime can help sleep.  Lavender oil on the bed sheets can help induce sleep.  Cedar wood in the diffuser can help one sleep.  A blend by doTerra called "Balance" seems to be custom made my for MS.  A little on the bottom of my feet just gives me the boost of confidence needed to get through the day.  Morning time - tired legs can feel refreshed with peppermint oil and aloe vera gel rubbed gently into the muscles and nerves.  Often it seems that the placebo effect can be quite effective.  Essential oils are difficult to test and substantiate.  But they're beautiful, smell great and make a positive difference in my life.  

6.  "Notes" software.  As an iPhone/Apple user all of my notes post across devices.  This is huge for my MS.  Everything to do is written down from one device or another and there, keeping my lists in line.  With horrible memory at times, lists are necessary and this is a tool used everyday.  Write everything down and it will be in one place.  Sometimes I use journals and other places to write things down but generally, kept in one place they are more effective.  
7. Handwritten notes of gratitude.  As a tool?  You bet.  There is something about the slowing down of handwriting, of the hand-eye coordination and the brain stimulation of penning a note to a friend.  Several times a week I will correspond to a friend or family across the country or down the street. Within each note is a moment of gratitude, a compliment or something positive.  It's easy and common to complain about what doesn't go right.  But what about what does go right?  Do we thank the hotel manager for the wonderful job they did do?  Call out an exceptional staff member by name because we took the time to slow down and pay attention.  Be present.  Be thankful.  Shower the world with love.

Click here for some beautiful designs.  


8.  Healing teas:   Enough with the pharmaceuticals and drugs.  Can we really achieve wellness with natural remedies?  You bet!  First off - do you want a wake-up, refreshening morning tea?  No caffeine but a boost of energy?  maybe peppermint and lemongrass.  Or...if you are feeling nervy and want a soothing tea, go for the chamomile or a soothing/night time tea.  Some special teas might be ayervedic "pitta" tea that reduces heat in the body.  Or a Chinese healing tea full of royal chrysanthemum and dandelion root.



9.  Port a Potty.  My favorite - Travel John.  this has saved me more than once.  Ever had to pee and just knew you would not make it to the restroom?  This little contraption has found it's way into all of my travel bags and large purses.  So easy, so lightweight.  So practical.  Just having one with me seems to give my bladder the confidence it needs to hold strong.  The day I didn't have one was when I peed all over my jeans.  Oops.  #lifewithMS



10.  Research!  Read and learn as much as possible.  We must become our own advocates and knowledge is power.