So, for the last couple of months, I've been experimenting with making homemade, fresh, smoothies for breakfast. I've become very serious about them, have been researching more and more smoothies and such, and finally broke down and spent a whopping $500 on a VitaMix. It's a hell of an expensive purchase, but so far in the last 5 days, has proven to be all it touts itself to be and therefore worth the price. My husband keeps teasing me about being so excited over a blender, but really, is a VitaMix just a blender? LOL It's so much more!!! I'm going to start on here posting about my smoothies, recipes, tastes, reviews, etc. A lot of these recipes are ones I'm making up as I go - several are ones I've gotten from elsewhere. If a recipe is one I've gotten from elsewhere, and know where I got the recipe, I will be sure to link back to that recipe. DISCLAIMER: I want to make it known that I am not doing this to lose weight. While yes, I do have quite a bit of weight to lose, it is not my goal of this smoothie adventure. My goal is simply to start the process, using baby steps, of eating healthier, making sure I'm getting at least my daily value of fruits and vegetables (if not a lot more!), and originally to work breakfasts back into my diet. They're super easy to make, super easy to get vegetables into (not just fruits!), and the whole family likes them.
Did you know that an Australian study, conducted just a few years ago, found that health issues and chronic pain were related to OVER 1 in 5 suicide deaths? When talking about suicide, we often focus on the mental health of the victim, but how often do we address the physical health of the victim? People with Fibromyalgia are at a higher risk of suicide, over all of the other chronic illnesses. Why is that? Well, no one seems to know exactly why other than to infer that constantly being in pain leads to a person becoming severely depressed, and then thoughts of suicide take over. While I don't doubt this is a part of it, I'm nowhere near convinced it's the full reason. This is my personal theory based on my own personal experiences: Many drugs given to FM patients initially are anti-depressants that are supposed to help because depression can cause "phantom pain" and such - and also because of a brain chemical imbalance. However, the drugs that have been designed and specifically marketed for FM are not officially anti-depressants, most likely because researchers realized that it wasn't a depression-like pain. More and more, researchers are finding that FM isn't depression-related, it's more that there's a disconnect between the nerves and the brain, that the nerves are misfiring for one reason or another, and sending signals to the brain that something is going on - whether it's pain, tingling, itching, etc (all are symptoms of FM). These new drugs are working on the brain to see if it's the brain that's misinterpreting the nerves. They're altering brain chemicals and in doing so, they alter the mind set. It's not an overnight thing - it comes on gradually and so subtly that you don't even realize what's happening. When this first happened to me, I thought it was just me. I thought I was the "weird" one. Then I talked to my rheumatologist who informed me that these drugs do carry a risk of suicidal thoughts. Wow, really? So he tried another drug, one that did still carry that risk, but wasn't nearly as common of a side effect. Well, most doctors will tell you that if you take one drug and suffer a side effect from it, chances are sister drugs that carry that same side effect will cause that same side effect in you. Why he put me on that other drug I'll never know. Regardless, it ended up leading me to my own attempt. In many ways, I knew what I was doing was wrong and I fought and fought and fought with myself but I couldn't see any better solution for my family. I was costing them tons of money, I was causing them pain by me constantly being in pain. I honestly and truly felt they would be better off if I was gone because then my kids could have a mom who could go outside and play with them without worries of the sun causing a Lupus flare, a mom who could run around and do cartwheels and practice cheerleading with her daughter, etc. I felt my husband could then find a better wife, one who didn't come home from work so exhausted and in pain that she couldn't even wash the dishes or prepare dinner, one who had the energy to keep the house as clean as his mother, etc. I felt worthless and completely hopeless. Once I was slowly tapered off of the "devil drugs" I had other side effects - seizures, fainting, twitches - and it took awhile for my mind to truly come back to me, but it did. In the meantime, while it was coming back, I did go into therapy. I figured that there had to be those underlying thoughts already in my mind that I needed to address and that the drugs just made worse and more unbearable. Now, keep in mind here, I thought it was just me. Since then, I started researching, I started talking with others that have taken the same meds... and lo and behold, I've come across so many people that have had the same issues with these meds, including one person who lost their mother to suicide and her mother was on very high doses of these meds. It hadn't been linked to the meds but she had been fine before going on them. So, yes, my theory is that the chronic pain definitely makes us more susceptible to these kinds of thoughts, but these drugs, these brain-chemical-changing drugs, can really be what pushes us over the edge. Doctors need to be making ALL patients aware of these possible side effects, but more importantly, all patients' support systems - husbands, wives, mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, best friends, etc. - need to be aware of these side effects. They come on so subtly that when you're in the moment you don't realize what is going on. My husband noticed but didn't understand it. Now he knows; now he knows what to look for and what to do before I ever reach that place. So I leave you with this question: what do you do when you have to make the choice between physical health/being pain-free, and mental health? Which becomes more important? Is it worth the risk and possible sacrifice of mental sensibilities in order to have less pain and a bit more physical ability?
I hope you never need any of the above links, for either yourself or your friends/loved ones, but if you do, please know that there IS help out there. Also, please feel free to contact me. I'm happy to talk to anyone, even if it's just to lend an ear or a shoulder.
So, I know it's been awhile since I've done any *real* blogging. I've been so stupidly busy it's not even funny. Uggh! I'm still doing the music thing, hitting up as many concerts as I can. My body just doesn't want to cooperate nearly as much these days. I did a three-concerts-in-four-days of Imagine Dragons shows back at the end of April that destroyed my left knee (well, okay, in fairness it wasn't the concerts that did it - the cartilage has been grinding away into nothing for awhile - but the shows aggravated it to the point of desperately seeking medical attention) and now my kidneys aren't so happy, either. Ah well... such is life with Lupus, eh? Anyway, my lovely friends in Imagine Dragons recorded this awesome acoustic version of their song It's Time for MTV PUSH and I had to share it here. Maybe I'll even pull my head out of my rear and post more. I just don't want them to all be whiny posts, ya know? ;-) So, anyway, I will leave you with this lovely version of It's Time, officially off of their latest EP release Continued Silence, though originally from their 3rd EP of the same name, It's Time. Enjoy!
So, this weekend was boychild's birthday party (his birthday having been last Friday). We had the party at the Castle Rock Rec Center because their pool is pretty awesome and they have a great set-up for birthday parties. Part of their birthday package includes a store-bought cake. The kids love the cake but, if I'm being totally honest, they're pretty gross. So, I decided to make some cupcakes for the adults. I made these Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and they were quite the hit. Read more for the recipe!
So, I have to admit that I *really* like Wal-Mart's whipped frosting that they put on their cakes. It's much lighter than their buttercream and it's easy to use while decorating. I found this recipe online for a knock-off of this whipped frosting. There are actually several recipes that I'm going to post, but the first one is the one I'm talking about specifically. I haven't made it (YET!) but I plan to do so with the next cake or cupcakes I make. Unless I make Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes cuz those have a very specific frosting. LOL I digress. At any rate, here's the recipe. If any of y'all try it, let me know what you think! Originally posted at http://www.recipelink.com/msgbrd/board_14/tklcc.html (a message board) by Betsy:
Mock Whipped Cream Frosting
3/4 c. milk
3 tbsp. flour
6 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. shortening
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
Cook milk and flour until thick.
Beat butter, shortening, and sugar for 4 minutes in a bowl.
Add flour and milk mixture.
Beat 4 minutes.
Add vanilla and salt.
Chocolate Mock Whipped Cream Frosting
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 env. (1 oz) semi-sweet chocolate or 4 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 c. milk
2 tbsp. flour
In bowl mix butter, sugar, vanilla, and chocolate or cocoa.
In pan, mix milk and flour mixture and cook on low until thick.
Cool in refrigerator.
When flour mixture is cool, mix with chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.
Orange Mock Whipped Cream Frosting
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Grated rind of 1/2 orange
2 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tbsp. butter
1 c. whipping cream
Cook together all but butter and cream.
Cook over hot water.
When thick, add butter.
Whip cream until stiff.
Fold cooled orange filling into cream.
Spread on carrot cake.
Better if made day before.
Must be refrigerated. Can be frozen.
Lemon Mock Whipped Cream Frosting
1 c. milk
5 tbsp. flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 c. shortening
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. vanilla
Shake in shaker milk and flour until smooth.
Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy.
Beat sugar, shortening and extracts until creamy.
Add to cooled mixture.
Beat on high until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth and creamy.
Mock Whipped Cream Frosting with Variations
5 tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. Crisco shortening
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Put flour and milk in a blender until completely mixed or mix with a whisk, but it must be completely blended.
Put into a small pot and cook over low heat until the consistency of pudding.
COVER AND COOL COMPLETELY.
Cream together shortening and butter until light and fluffy.
To that add sugar a little at a time and beat until the sugar is dissolved. THIS MAY TAKE AS LONG AS TEN MINUTES - BE PATIENT.
When dissolved or near to being dissolved, add the cooled flour mixture and beat until fluffy
NOTE: Other flavors may be substituted for the vanilla. Also, liquid chocolate or cocoa may be added. If you like color it takes food coloring beautifully.
Mock Whipped Cream Frosting with Pudding Mix
4 tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. instant pudding mix (any flavor desired)
1/2 c. chopped nuts
Combine flour and milk in saucepan and cook over LOW HEAT until thick, stirring constantly.
Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together for 4 minutes.
Add cooled flour mixture and vanilla; beat an additional 4 minutes.