About Me

Monday, October 3, 2016


8 eggs
2T milk
2T olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/8C  bell peppers, diced
1/8C onions, diced
1/8C spinach, chopped
Krazy Jane’s
optional: parmesan or feta
Sauté vegetables in oil over medium heat. Mix eggs and milk, pour over sautéing vegetables, cover. Cook until almost done, about 5 minutes (will continue to cook a bit after removing from heat).

If you are using an oven safe skillet, then you can start it on the stove, then put it under the broiler to finish even more quickly and get a nice golden brown top.

Lentil Loaf

2C  lentils
4 C broth (vegetable or chicken or water with bouillon)
2T olive oil
1/2C onion, diced
1/4C bell pepper
1/4C carrot
1/4C celery
2 eggs
1C bread crumbs
1C oats
1T Worcestershire
1 ½t Italian herb mix
2 garlic cloves or 1/2t garlic granules
3/4t pepper
1/2t salt
Bring broth to a boil, add lentils, reduce to simmer, cook 30 minutes (most of the liquid should be absorbed). Smash about half of the lentils with a potato masher or heavy spoon.  In separate pan, sauté vegetables in oil until almost soft. Mix all ingredients together. Press into greased loaf pan (or any other pan). Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Let sit for about 15 minutes before slicing.

This is great as is, but I like to top it with a ketchup glaze (ketchup and brown sugar whisked together and microwaved until smooth) about 5 minutes before it is done cooking.

I have also formed these into “meatballs” and pan fried them. If you do this it helps to smash most of the lentils and refrigerate the balls for a bit before frying.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Stuffed Pepper Casserole - and Meal Pairing

In my book (shameless plug: Eating on the Cheap) I talk about meal pairing and this is a super example. Watch the meal transformation:

Saturday - chicken and broccoli pasta

  • cooked a pound of pasta, but only used half for tonight

Sunday - pasta marinara with ground beef

  • used rest of pasta from Saturday
  • cooked a small amount of ground beef to add to sauce, then used that pan to cook more ground beef and ground sausage
  • added leftover sauce to cooked meat
  • also cooked rice in the pressure cooker while browning the meats

Monday - stuffed pepper casserole

  • used meat, sauce, and rice from Sunday

With the magic of prepping ahead, the stuffed pepper casserole took less than 10 minutes from refrigerator to table. 

I sliced bell peppers, tossed them in olive oil and layered them in the bottom of a pan, then put them under the broiler while I warmed up the filling (that was already cooked.) 
Then I dumped all the filling on top of the pan full of peppers, topped it with a mix of breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and Jane's Krazy salt and broiled for another couple of minutes. Super easy and delicious! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sleep... aka How to Remember What Day it is...

"The importance of a good night's rest" is an expression we have all heard. Very few people give it the dire and devastating level of attention it deserves. I'm not a doctor, but I feel pretty confident saying that humans could live longer without food than we could live without sleep.

I have a tendency to attract mentally fragile people (most of whom have been tricked into thinking that I am handling my mental illness well.) Nearly every time a person comes to me with a confession of considering self-harm it is after some time of either no, inadequate, or restless sleep. Even one night of bad sleep can cause a person with mental illness to begin an awful spiral. It might take more "stable" people longer than one night, but they get there as well.

For many, many (like, 40) years I refused to take sleeping aids. I have a real aversion to taking meds and the one that I tried knocked me out so well that there would be no way for a kid to rouse me and even if they did, I wouldn't be any help to them. But, alas, the crazy teaches lessons you might not want to learn.

Recently, I was having more periods of confusion and more thoughts of self-harm and just plain negativity than I could handle. My psych knows that the idea of taking pills is ick to me and is great at accepting that. She found a not-so-scary med (basically super Benadryl) to try just when I had trouble sleeping and it worked beautifully. What happened, though, is that I realized that I always have trouble sleeping, it is just when it became drastic that I was labeling it as a problem. For the last two months I've been taking a small dose every night and, while all my problems haven't magically disappeared, things are much easier to handle. It is also very easy to see when my sleep isn't great because now I have an accurate baseline.

This is a long intro to a story about the repercussions of inadequate sleep.

Wednesday night I stayed up super late binge watching "Lip Sync Battles"... 'cause I'm a wild woman. I had to work Thursday morning and was groggy and more ditzy than normal. Nothing crazy, just tired. Well, that meant that I dozed off Thursday early evening, but then woke up feeling refreshed two hours before I should have gone to bed. Then, of course, I wasn't ready to sleep, so I stayed up too late again and then tossed and turned all night. I had fitful dreams - Paige washing my windshield with a washcloth while we were driving - me forgetting to go to work because I thought it was Saturday (complete with a tearful, blubbering call to my boss) - grocery shopping without enough money - and more that I can't remember.

So, I woke up Friday morning in a panic because I thought, to begin, that I had forgotten to go to work and then couldn't remember what parts of that were a dream and what day it really was. I get in the shower and work out in my mind that it is Friday and I have to be at work and probably didn't call and leave a frightening voicemail for my boss. Then I remember three or four things that I forgot to do at work the night before that need to be done for a party today and so I need to rush to be a little early. I'm beating myself up because we weren't even busy and I don't know why I didn't do them! I get out of the shower with a plan to be a super fast get-readier. Then I realize that I don't have any clean socks that work with my good work shoes, but, have no fear! I have a backup pair of work shoes! Actually, I have one shoe. Dang it, where is the other one. I look everywhere, seriously, everywhere. I finally give up and am just going to wear the ones that will show the "sport" sock markings. Then, I spy the other sneaky little bugger peeking out from under a pair of flopped over boots. Okay, now I'll only be about 5 minutes late when I need to be 15 early. All that's left is to grab the baby and my glasses and head out. Glasses. Glaaasseeesss... **insert your favorite curse words, I probably said them*** I could have sworn that I knew exactly where they were... Frantic searching for 10 minutes and they are nowhere NO WHERE. Fine, now I'm 15 actual minutes late/30 minutes later than I wanted to be. I throw the baby into car and then into the preschool and speed off to work sans glasses. I run in the building and grab the plates and bowls to do the things we forgot the night before only to find that they are already made. It takes me a solid five minutes to figure out what you might have noticed if you have been able to follow this story - that I didn't work Thursday night, I took a nap on the couch. That's right, I forgot the fact that I did not work, therefore did not forget to do the set up. The people who did work did the set up as they should have. Today is Friday...

Sleep. It's a good idea. Tonight I will take a little extra medicinal sleeping help.

Luckily, I am in a place where I can realize that this is fine and I can fix it. It has not made me feel like a worthless piece of excrement who doesn't deserve to waste breath that good people might need. Does that seem ridiculous? Yeah, it should, but it is part of life for crazy me. A day like today could very well have sent me into a spiral that would last days or weeks. Today, I can laugh at it and know that tomorrow will be better.

P.S. The glasses were found tonight, under the pile of clean clothes that I frantically threw around trying to find the dang shoe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Timeline of a Ruptured Ovarian Cyst

There is a surprising lack of detailed information about what to expect with a ruptured ovarian cyst online. There are a lot of technical articles, but actual nitty-gritty details are missing. What follows is my personal account of symptoms with my best guess of what was going on in red, I won't promise this is what everyone experiences and the details are not always ladylike, but here goes:

  • Around the first of August, I started feeling ick. Not awful, but just a little off. I wasn't able to eat as much as normal and felt slightly nauseous, fatigued, and mildly achy. This went on for about two weeks. Cyst is growing, starting to press on stomach and nerves.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 11 about 10:00 pm I had horrible body aches, starting in my lower back all of a sudden. I went from just fine to a mildly sore back to all over, hurts-to-move pain over the course of about a half hour. I took some ibuprofen and heated up a rice sock and went to bed. Cyst begins leaking fluid.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 12 I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I was taking 800 mg of ibuprofen at a time just to be able to function. My appetite was next to nothing, the nausea was worse, and diarrhea started. Thankfully, it isn't the "have to get to the bathroom immediately" kind, just very, very loose stools when I do go.
  • Thursday, Aug. 13 I felt somewhat better, but still needed ibuprofen and rice socks.
  • Friday, Aug. 14 I felt okay, just a little achy until about 5:00 pm when my right shoulder and neck really started hurting and the pain seemed to move down my right side until my whole right side hurt. I wasn't strong enough to hold my toddler. About 8:00 pm the pain under my right rib was so bad that I couldn't sit upright without wincing. by 10:00 pm I had to stay completely still on my left side in order to avoid screaming out in pain. I thought I had somehow broken a rib without knowing it. Breathing was hard and a deep breath was impossible. I tried laying in a hot bath and having the hot shower hitting my back and side and nothing helped. Ibuprofen and rice socks didn't touch the pain. I promised my husband that if it wasn't better by afternoon I would go to the urgent care. Cyst fully ruptured, fluid spreads throughout my abdomen, mostly under my right rib.
  • Saturday, Aug 15 I woke up as bad as I went to bed. I absolutely hate going to the doctor, but I didn't even wait for my husband to make me go, I managed a shower, made a pb&j for the toddler, got her dressed and headed to the urgent care. I was in so much pain that the doctor there asked why I hadn't gone to the ER instead. I still thought that maybe I had pulled or broken something and wasn't sure it was ER worthy. He said he would call over to the ER to tell them I was coming and that he was certain it was my gallbladder. I dropped baby off with Daddy at work. When I arrived, the on call doctor and the nurse, who had recently had her gallbladder removed, both agreed with the urgent care doctor that it was definitely my gallbladder. They started an IV with Demerol that provided some relief and drew labs to determine liver function and white blood count and lots more. At least only under the rib and  neck still hurt. The second dose of Demerol took away the pain in my neck, but I still couldn't lay flat without pain. The labs came back normal which confused the doctor because I presented with such classic gallbladder symptoms. She ordered a CT scan, still expecting it to be my gallbladder but wanted the CT to be able to check the entire abdomen. All this time, the only question anyone needed answered was whether I needed emergency surgery or could wait until Monday. The CT came back showing a 1 cm hemorrhagic cyst on my left ovary and a 2 cm hemorrhagic cyst on my right ovary as well as evidence of a ruptured cyst and fluid in the abdomen. The pain apparently was from fluid going under and around the gallbladder and irritating the nerves around there making the pain mimic gallbladder pain. They sent me home with a prescription for tramadol to take every four hours and told me I could also take ibuprofen with it if needed. Basically, I just need to manage the pain until the fluid is reabsorbed. I came home and tried to rest covered in rice socks and was able to sleep a bit, but still couldn't lay any way but on my left side without significant pain.
  • Sunday, Aug. 16 Still significant pain, but manageable with the tramadol/ibuprofen/rice sock combo, very little appetite, mild nausea, and diarrhea. My abdomen is rumbly, almost feels like pregnant kicking. Now we have added insatiable thirst and severe fatigue. I could barely get out of bed without needing a nap. Pain meds are working, but causing the additional symptoms, fluid is being absorbed.
  • Monday, Aug. 17 I finally can lay any way I want and sometimes the pain is mild enough that I only take one tramadol (instead of two) and no ibuprofen. I'm still using the rice socks constantly and still feel rumbly. I am absolutely exhausted, still with mild nausea and diarrhea. I have a horrible headache. I took tramadol at 11:00 pm and didn't need to get up for it during the night.
  • Tuesday, Aug 18 I finally feel human again. I haven't had any pain meds since last night and only have mild pain, similar to light menstrual cramps. The exhaustion and thirst are mostly gone and I was able to eat some breakfast without feeling sick. Still with the diarrhea, though. Most of the fluid has been absorbed.

I would love to hear if this experience is similar to anyone else's. I don't know how long until I am back to 100%, but I feel close. I am a little concerned about the other two cysts and just hope that they go away on their own or at least rupture now while they are small. No one seems to know why this happened or how to prevent it other than taking birth control pills to stop ovulation, which isn't an option for me because extra hormones and mental illness don't go well together, at least for me. I will update this if anything else noteworthy happens.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How I Aeropress

Doug found the Aeropress for me a year or so ago and I resisted buying it because I was happy with my french press method and  thought it was just a gimmick. My mother-in-law got me one for Christmas and I was super excited to try it (although still skeptical that it would see long term usage.)
Some people are a little nutso about theirs! LOL

Yes, a competition! (click picture for link)

I am as surprised as anyone that, now half a year later, I am still using it every day! I initially didn't like that I had to make one cup at a time, but I've now made some adjustments to fix that snag. Making one cup at a time still yields the best tasting cup, but the method I'll describe is a tremendous improvement over drip, tied with a french press, and infinitely better than a Keurig.

I use the inverted method, which eliminates dripping during brewing time.The numbers below follow the picture as you would read starting at the top left. 
  1. Heat 28 ounces of water to 180*-190*
  2. Add 4 tablespoons (59g) quality freshly ground coffee (fairly fine grind), a bit more if your beans aren't terribly flavorful
  3. The grounds go to about the 3 level
  4. Add enough water to fill and stir gently
  5. When it looks like this, stir another 5ish seconds, about 15 seconds total, top off with as much water as will fit
  6. Slightly wet the filter to make it stick to the lid, I do this as I pour the remaining water into an insulated carafe (my old Thermos french press)
  7. Screw on the lid and let brew 3-4 minutes
  8. Flip over and slowly press the plunger down into carafe (as an aside, ladies - if you happen to have a diastasis recti or are trying to remember to do your kegels, this is a great time to do your exercises)
  9. Enjoy delicious coffee; Batman mug not required, but adds to the experience.

Right now I use the paper filters that came with the press, but when they run out, I will probably get a stainless steel, reusable filter to let through some of the oils that are trapped by paper that I miss from the french press.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Picture Puzzles

I came up with an easy and fun craft for Christmas presents this year. I even think the recipients really liked them! I admit to having made things that I loved making, only to realize that not everyone actually wanted them - oops.

I saw a backsplash made with 4 in ceramic tiles that had art work sealed onto them and that got me thinking about what else could go on tiles. Here is what I came up with:

Picture Puzzles! 

Look at those adorable kids!

We were at Lowe's a while back and I saw these tiles:

and they kind of struck me as something crafty, but I didn't really have any project in mind. Then I saw the backsplash project and something clicked.

  • Step 1: Get the backing and all the glue off the tiles.

There were two different types of glue on the back of the tiles, one was Elmers-y and came right off by rubbing or with the nail brush after a few minutes soaking in warm water. The other was more hot glue-y and was a pain in the butt to remove, a knife, patience, and very soggy fingers finally got it off. The packages of tiles looked identical so I couldn't find a way to tell which glue was used.

  • Step 2: Facebook stalk your recipients or find photos in a more conventional way. Print the pictures on regular paper, not photo paper or it won't adhere well. 
  • Step 3: Measure your tiles and crop your photos. My 1" tiles were actually 7/8" each. This is super important to get exact or your tile will show and the puzzle will look weird when assembled. Mine were mostly 4.4" square which is 25 tiles.
  • Step 4: After you measure, mark a piece of tape with the measurements to act as a guide on your paper cutter or on a piece of paper. We tried several ways of doing this, but I think the marks on the paper cutter worked best.


  •  Step 5: Mod Podge and then Mod Podge and then Mod Podge some more. If you hate brush strokes then lightly sand between each coat, but I don't mind them, so no sanding here. Use the Mod Podge to glue the individual squares to the tiles and then let it dry about an hour. Then start top coating. Let each layer dry most of a day (12-24 hours). I decided the magic number was 4 top coats and two on the sides.

  •  Step 6: If you are making 15 of these things, plan to have your table become craft central for a week or so. (The cups in the middle are bath salt scrubs for my Book/Wine club - epsom salt, baking soda, sea salt, coconut oil, lavender oil and a couple drops of food coloring)

  • Step 7: To be kind, make a copy of the photo to be used as a guide and number the back of each tile so they can be put back easily if you aren't in a puzzle doing mood.

Overall, this is an inexpensive and pretty low skill level project, the only hard part is being patient between coats.