It’s amazing how fast this year has gone by, especially these past few months.Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before we know it. A time for being thankful and appreciating all we have. I have never been more thankful in my life. I have so much to be thankful for and since today is the 6th, I want to write 6 things I am thankful for.
- I am thankful that I have met and married the love of my life. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to go through all of this, and be in the spirits about everything, as I am. He is my rock.
- I am thankful for my mom and dad. My mom has been so helpful, coming out to take care of us while I’m going through week one of my chemo cycle. I’d like to think I’d be able to take care of myself when Charlie is at work during my bad days, but It’s so comforting to have my mom here. She helps with so much, and provides relief to Charlie to know someone is here with me and helping with taking me to my doctor visits and chemo infusions. And my dad has been very strong and supportive to be able to be without her during those times. Things wouldn’t be as easy as they are without you guys.
- I am so thankful for my wonderful family and friends for all of the tremendous support everyone has shown Charlie, my parents and me. It means so much to me that everyone is so kind, compassionate and encouraging as we go through this difficult time in our lives.
- For my health, I feel so lucky and grateful that I am handling this treatment the way that I am. I am grateful for the days I feel well, and grateful for the days I don’t because I know it could be worse.
- Health insurance. A million years ago, shortly after I met Charlie and I was riding my bike to and from work on the crazy streets of Chicago (actually, Austin is worse for bicyclists, go figure), I didn’t have health insurance. I think at some point, I may have had some catastrophe-type coverage if I got hit by a car or something like that. However, bicycle catastrophe insurance aside, many restaurant workers do not have health insurance. Without getting too preachy, it seems a little crazy that millions of food industry workers in the US do not have access to employer provided, either full or partial, health insurance. Without our family coverage through my husband’s employer, I have no idea where we would be right now. So, I am EXTREMELY grateful for our health insurance.
- Frank, our cat, is such a wonderful companion for me during my treatment! As I write this, he is laying on a bright pink throw blanket (thanks Melinda!) next to me, keeping me warm and keeping me company. He is also possibly watching me to see if I’m gonna get up and give him a snack. As he rests his head on his foot, all snuggled up, he has no idea how much comfort he brings to me. Not only is he the main subject in my photography, but he is a part of our family. He is such a great cat that always wants to be around us; he sometimes seems like a dog. He is a Korat (?) mutt, and they are known to form strong bonds with their owners. Thanks, Frank, for always hanging out with me and sitting in your shoebox apartments in the kitchen and my craft room to keep me company.
Now I’m on my “up” week again, which means this coming Monday I’ll be going in for my 3rd treatment. We’re almost half way through! After only 2 treatments under my belt, I feel like I’m becoming a pro at this. Not that I want to be a pro at it, I just feel like I know the treatment, myself and my body well enough that I’ve got more of a routine down. I have come to appreciate and I look forward to this week. It helps me keep my head up when I’m not so strong. This is when I feel the most normal. I kind of feel guilty for taking for granted how normal life was and how normal felt about 6 months ago. Those days when I came home tired from work and the gym, I never realized how simple my life was. Maybe this was my reminder to not take things for granted and to live more in the moment. So that’s what I’m doing, or trying to do during this treatment. When I’m feeling good, I take advantage of it, and live my life, and when I’m not feeling good, I’m just thankful for all that I have.
As for crazy cravings, I have been craving chocolate donuts(which I made into vegan donuts) and oreo milkshakes like crazy. So what does the vegan who can’t have dairy or soy do, well she makes her own oreos, of course…duh! At the end of last week, in between watching Jerry and Let’s Make a deal, I was feeling better and had some more energy, so I created a recipe for vegan oreos. And I am gonna toot my own horn here, they were AMAZING. I would say better than those soy and preservative filled store bought ones for sure, but of course, not as mechanically perfect. I just appreciate the art of creating things from scratch. I love the concept of working with my hands to create something that is normally manufactured. I also appreciate the health aspect of it, and the reduced environmental impact. After eating a few of the Oreos, while snapping some pictures, Charles and I had some of the oreos crushed on top of some vegan vanilla ice cream, with of course, a little fudge sauce to top it off.
And here is the recipe! For all the non-vegans (or Vagans, as my Dad says, like us vegans are from a different planet or something), the recipe has the alternatives for you. I love me some infographics, so here is one about veganism.
O (no-she didn’t)-reos (Soy free and Vegan)
*This makes enough for about 16-24 cookies, depending on how much you roll out, and how many times, You can always halve the recipe, or freeze the rest of the dough and make half the filling so you can roll the dough out at a later time. There is no harm in having frozen cookie dough on hand, if your freezer space allows it. Well, that’s the thought process of a pastry chef anyway.
|Coconut oil, or unsalted butter, melt, cool slightly||8 oz, 228 g|
|Sugar||3/4 c, 150 g|
|Flax seed eggs, or eggs||1 T plus 3T water, or 1 egg|
|vanilla extract||1 1/2 t|
|Dairy, soy free chcolate chips, or chcocolate chips||1 c or 210 g|
|Unbleached All purpose flour||1 1/2 c, 210 g|
|Dutch-process cocoa powder||3/4 c, 90 g|
|Baking soda||1/2 t|
|Coconut oil, or unsalt butter or shortening, softened||4 oz,|
|Powdered sugar||1 2/3 c, 208g|
|Vanilla Extract||1 t, 5g|
|Almond milk, milk of your choice||1 T|
Take the melted, cooled butter and add the sugar into a medium bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, or if your like me and don’t own a microwave(by choice) over a double boiler. Once melted and slightly cool, add the bloomed flax eggs, or regular egg with the vanilla and whisk. In a separate bowl, sift the dries, i.e. the flour, cocoa, BS and salt. In the mixing bowl, and the butter/chocolate mixture and then add the sifted dries. Paddle the ingredients until it comes together. Take 2 pieces of parchment paper and place the dough on top of one. Now place the other piece of parchment paper on top, and take the rolling pin and roll the dough out. Roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. You may have to do the dough in batches so it’s easier to work with, and roll it a few different times between multiple parchment sheets. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate the dough till it is stiff. Pull the dough out of the cooler, and take a circle cutter, about 1 1/2-2 inches (the size of an oreo) and cut rounds out of the dough. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake 350F for 20-25 minutes, till just hard but not be careful not to burn them.
For the filling, with the paddle attachment on the mixer, add the butter and powdered sugar. Once mixed, add the vanilla and milk, till smooth.
Once cooled, spread about 1-1 1/2 t of the filling into the center of the cookie. It works best to use your fingers(clean!) to spread the filling around the inside of the cookie. Top with another cookie, and repeat until all the cookies have met their match.
Go ahead and reward yourself for all your hard cookie work, and dip that sucker into some milk already!