Saturday, August 25, 2012

Getting ready for Fall

I'm feeling Fall-ish. It's mid-August and my love of Summer is fading. Quickly. VERY quickly.

Of course I'm stretching it by saying "love" when I actually barely tolerate Summer. I love the fun things that Summer brings - family vacation, added time with Kaitlyn and neon pink toenails (what??). But Summer is honestly something I could pretty much do without.

It's too DAMN HOT.

I think I could handle the 90's for a few months but when it peaks in the 100 to 105 range I just want to hurt someone curl up and cry. It is so completely miserable. And then add almost NO RAIN and it gets to the point of unbearable. I don't want to be outside or go anywhere that requires me to be outside. And working outside? Forget it. My front flower bed looks absolutely AWFUL because I just can't bring myself to get out there and work. I even try to get my shopping done in the morning on Saturday because I don't want to be out after Noon. That's pretty bad. And it limits my fun too!

Bring on Fall.

Honestly it probably won't even being to really FEEL like Fall until October, possibly November, but I can create Fall inside the house. I am trying to get rid of my Summer smelling candles and once they are gone I will put away all remnants of Summer. I have to admit that my Easter stuff is still in the front room. Not packed. That's embarrassing. Maybe since I have confessed I will make myself pack it all up for Preston to put away. I mean, before I know it I will be pulling out the Halloween stuff!! OMG!

So before Fall gets under way I should wrap up Summer.

Little pink cupcakes.

Literally bite size for an adult but perfect for for a pretty two year old.
A sweet, pink Happy Birthday to Baby O! She's growing up super fast!
We had birthday celebration (early) and good time with family.
Kaitlyn is back home with her Mom and getting ready for 4th grade. We had a GREAT summer and miss her!!

Back to Fall.....Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

I have been making this for YEARS and it's one of my favorites. The zucchini reminds me of Summer but the cinnamon in the bread makes it feel Fall-ish so it's a great transition bread. As I was making it today I couldn't help but think that it didn't seem very chocolatey - until I mixed it and remembered how deliciously brown and chocolatey it gets.

First mix your dry ingredients: flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Then your other ingredients (in a separate bowl): sugar, eggs, canola oil, vanilla and grated zucchini.
I know, it looks like a wet mess - but wait for it.

Now, add the dry ingredients to the zucchini wetness.
And mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Spread (because it's so thick you can't pour) the batter into your pans.
Bake and let it cool.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Splenda sugar mix for baking OR 2 cups regular sugar or Splenda
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and eggs; beat until well blended. Add oil and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in zucchini. Add flour mixture and stir just until moistened. (Batter will become VERY thick) Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Divide and spoon batter evenly into loaf pans.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then cool completely on a rack.

I made two loaves and they are delicious. Once cooled you can stick a piece in the microwave for about 30 seconds and it tastes like it's fresh from the oven!!

On the future agenda....pumpkin recipes. First on the list are Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze...keep your eyes open!!

In the mean time, keep cool and think Fall!!
Hugs & kisses....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Welcome baaaack.....possibly...

Oh my blog. Why have a strayed so far away from you? How did I ever get so lost??

Well I'm back. (Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back)

I hope.

The month of July was packed full of fun, family and activity but somehow I just forgot to write about it. Possibly because I have been physically miserable in the midst of enjoying it all. As much as I can with this horrible heat. I mean, I know it's like 115 in Phoenix but it's SUPPOSED to be 115 in Phoenix in the summer. But it's like 105 or something here and I keep thinking "this isn't Phoenix". What. The. Heck?

Enough about the heat though....

About a year ago I lost my very favorite cardiologist. Dr. S didn't exactly wander off and get lost, he moved to Kansas. So while someone else gained his greatness, I lost it. Several months ago my second cardiologist, Dr. T, decided that my heart rate wasn't where he felt it should be. Mind you, after my heart attack Dr. C and Dr. S both said "oh, you have a naturally high heart rate". We all seemed fine with that. I guess Dr. T never got that memo. (Why did you leave me Dr. S?) So he upped one of my medications. A few months later he still wasn't happy so he upped it AGAIN. And I began to feel miserable. I went from being fairly active and able to take walks with Shiner to hardly being able to walk to the mail box. And then as the summer progressed I noticed that there were times I just couldn't breath. Couldn't even catch my breath - with hardly any exertion. Strangely enough that just didn't seem right to me. We were in South Padre in the middle of July and I was getting up early to walk Shiner on the beach. I would get about 10 minutes down the beach and had to turn around to head back. By the time I reached the condo I could hardly breath. It was not only extremely scary but incredibly frustrating.

Geez, I just want to take a darn walk!!!

So, a change in cardiologist seemed necessary. Welcome Dr. D to my family of doctors. My first appointment went like this:

Dr. D: So what brings you to see me?
Me: I had a heart attack in October 2010, I have 6 stents and I'm having trouble breathing on a regular basis.
Dr. D: Well that's not good is it?? (smile)
Me: Not really. 

I know - it seems odd that he didn't know that. For some reason my OTHER doctor had not released my file to my NEW doctor. OK, doctor's are generally awesome and intelligent human beings but they can't magically figure out a patient's medical history without a file. And it's really quite impossible for ME to explain to the doctor everything that has gone on with my heart for the last two years. I signed the release (before the appointment) and did everything I was supposed to do - but no file. And we wait. So he set up another nuclear stress test (YUCK) and an echo-cardiogram. Fun times. My blood pressure and "cardiac" reaction were great. My breathing?? Yeah. Not so much. I almost passed out. And not from being out of shape (which I currently AM) but from lack of oxygen. Possible diagnosis? Asthma.

REALLY?? Seriously??? (insert a string of very bad words here)


I'm partially encouraged because it could be caused by the medication that Dr. T kept "upping" the dosage on. But at the same time I'm highly frustrated. It's like a big slap in the face. 

And to top everything off my blood sugar has decided to go all wonky on me. That's just great. 

But we wait. Dr. A treats the blood sugar problems "temporarily" until Dr. D. and I can figure out what the heck is going on with my breathing. I just know that once I can exercise without passing out things will normalize again. I have faith. Most days.

Have I mentioned lately that I hate all of this? Am I thankful to be here and have a life to live? Absolutely. But that doesn't change the fact that every time I turn around I feel like I hit another wall. Don't get me wrong, I don't walk around feeling sorry for myself but there are days when I'm pretty darn pissed off about it and struggle to not throw things and scream. There are also days where I just want to stay in bed and cry and eat not-sugar-free bon bons (WHAT??). Most days I just take it all in stride and remind myself to be thankful. 

By the way - today is an angry-throw-things kind of day. Just saying.

It's also a day where breathing seems extra difficult so that might add to my general frustration.

But I'm glad to be back to my blogging. Maybe venting my frustrations in writing will make me feel better. And maybe not but it's worth a try!!

Summer pictures and yummy-ness to come soon.

Hugs & kisses....