Victory

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Victory. 365/365

Project 365 is now closed. Its purpose was to keep me distracted during the toughest part of the treatment protocol for Lyme disease. But it did more than that. It kept my sense of wonder about the world around me alive. Those with Lyme disease know just how hard it is to stay connected to life, people and the world around them. Looking through the lens, especially the macro lens, opens the eyes to the truth that nothing, and nobody, is too small to make a valuable contribution to the world around us.  Thanks to all those who followed along with my project this year!

Another Fallout of Lyme Disease

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Early Cherry Blossoms -356/365

CVID, Common Variable Immunodeficiency. Another fallout from complications due to Lyme disease. When researchers say Lyme disease is AIDS-like, this is what they mean. Basically I don’t make antibodies as a normal person.  Researchers don’t know the exact cause, but think it’s partly genetic and partly from opportunistic infectious disease. My immune system showed suppressed (via tests) before Lyme disease treatment began and it hasn’t come back on line yet as I wind down antibiotics. A pre- and post- Pneumovax vaccine titer test should show a spike in a normal person’s immune response weeks after the vaccination.

My immune system was all, “Whatevs. I’m just gonna do nothing.”

I have no idea what this means for me for long term, if my immune system will be permanently this way or if will take some time and come back on line. Either way the good news is, my insurance company finally approved pricey/risky IV IG treatment (replacement of IGG antibodies via IV) for 11 months. The bad news is, I have to go through the approval process all over again next month when I have to switch insurance companies. The good news is, it’s only a once per month treatment, not every day. I’m so over being plugged in! The best news is the doc says this should really make a difference in how I feel. A good Lyme doctor doesn’t just focus on killing pathogens. A good Lyme doctor uses every tool in his tool kit and treats the whole person as well as teach the patient how to be as healthy as she can be.

Are we there yet?

A Cracker’s Core Power

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Crossfit ain’t got nothin’ on a cracker’s core power!  The other day, he took care of his business (#2) while balancing on only one front paw. Sorry Internet, I had no camera to catch the action. You’ll just have to take my word for it. He happened to choose a spot with a bunch of tall redwood root shooters, and since he doesn’t like to put his pawsies on anything but soft ground, he simply swung his bottom over the root shooters, tucked and let it all go, all while balancing on his right front paw. If he were human, he’d be one of those guys that has 6 pack abs without even working out.

Juno’s Roar

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“My name is Juno. Hear me ROAR!”  (In a barely audible whisper: “roar.”)

Juno rarely barks. When she does, we giggle. Because it’s an adorable, wee, high-pitched beep that doesn’t seem to fit a tough Siberian husky. Juno is likely the sweetest dog I’ve ever known. The only things that should fear her are buttered baguettes, live chickens and moles. Because damn, when those Sibe eyes fixate on any of those, they aren’t getting out of it alive. But everyone else: feel free to giggle.  

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Halibut with Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce

Halibut Pan Roasted

Halibut with Cherry Tomato and Basil Sauce – 350/365

I know this is a repeat, but it’s been a difficult week between massive amounts of work going on for the landscaping project, and just about everything failing all at once, it’s been hell. I have a running list of the shit hitting the fan this month: our automatic gate failed causing our house alarm to periodically go off at random times like in the middle of the night, our flash water heater kept shutting off (like in the middle of bathing a Siberian husky), our Internet connection stopped due to both a blown antennae and failed router and both our personal PC’s kicked the bucket (I guess Mr. Wild Dingo’s caught my PC’s Lyme Disease).  In addition, a tree fell on our propane tank causing a gas leak while the masons were cutting bricks, sparks flying everywhere. Yah, that was a nice little jolt of adrenaline for everyone here that day. I really just didn’t have it in me last Sunday to make a new dish. But since I never really posted the original recipe, at least this is a great opportunity to share it again. I of course bought too much halibut and saved it for the next night along with the tomato sauce. I shredded the halibut and tossed it over a bunch of greens. You’re welcome Internet.  Continue reading “Halibut with Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce”

On to Redwoodier Pastures

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After 23 years with the same company, Mr. Wild Dingo is ditching the rat race morning commute to begin a new opportunity where two of his office mates will be furrier and the other, although a whiny Lymie, will keep him healthy with home cooked lunches and green smoothies. He’ll still be traveling 50-60% but at least his new office views will kick ass.

When opportunity knocks, you jump in with both feet.

Coq Au Vin

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“People eat because they’re hungry. I want to make food that makes people stop eating.” — Bradley Cooper in Burnt.  

Have you seen the movie? I really liked it because the viewer had to read between the spoken lines. And the dishes served? Nothing short of a work of art. Just as beautiful as I’m sure delicious. Mr. Wild Dingo had to stop half way through the movie because the Chef (Bradley Cooper) had a melt down in the kitchen that seemed extreme to him. But I remember working as a waitress for an Italian restaurant and it really wasn’t too far off from how great kitchens work. I lost count how many times the chef screamed at me. I’m not sure if it was the Italian in him or the chef in him that made him do it. But at the end of the day, he was a decent person.  Great chefs pour their souls into their art and sometimes they only have one chance not to screw it up. Histrionics in the kitchen just doesn’t ruffle my feathers so badly. In fact, I kind of liked it. Feels like home.

I never really cooked much because I never really had time between working and athletic hobbies. But when I stopped working in 2010 for my health and our move to Switzerland, I had a lot of quality time on my hands to teach myself. Even so, I never got around to trying my hand at Coq au Vin, because I’m not a fan of chicken and it seemed like a lot of effort to go through just for a meat I don’t find exciting. But this dish has changed my mind forever about chicken. Julia Child’s recipe is slightly more complex in that she braises the mushrooms and shallots separately in different pans, she simmers her bacon before sauteing it, and she flambes the chicken in cognac before adding a bold wine like Cote de Rhone or Burgundy. I’ve yet to flambe anything yet because it scares the crap out of me. But the day I try it, there will be photos of either a master piece or a burned down kitchen.

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I found this recipe below is simpler, using one stove-to-oven pan, yet still achieves a layered, complex flavor by braising ingredients separately before combining them all to be braised in a lighter Pinot Noir wine. I chose to use my new 5-quart enameled cast iron braiser that was a Christmas gift and it worked fantastically for this dish. The sauce was utterly devine and made the chicken so flavorful.

 

  • 1 bottle (750ml) Pinot Noir
  • 5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 leek (cut lengthwise)
  • 6 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 1/4 lb. whole chicken legs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. small button mushrooms
  • 3/4 lb. shallots, halved
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Directions:
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F
  2. In a large saucepan over high heat, boil the wine until reduced by half, about 15 minutes
  3. Place the parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaf against the cut side of the halved leek and tie with kitchen twine. Set aside
  4. In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot
  5. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Set the pot over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown the chicken, turning once, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate
  6. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes
  7. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl
  8. Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter. Add the garlic, tomato paste and flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the reduced wine and the broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer
  9. Add the bacon, chicken, mushroom mixture, carrots and bouquet garni. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake until the chicken is tender, about 1 1/2 hours
  10. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Skim the fat off the sauce, set the pot over medium-high heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Discard the bouquet garni. Return the chicken to the pot. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Fond Farewell

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Juno gives a fond farewell to one of her favorite Physical Torturers, err, Therapists, Miss Nicole. We are sad to see you go but happy that you are moving on to great opportunities in helping pups feel fantastic. Juno’s Jodhpurs thank woo!

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“Here’s a husky hickey to remember me by Miss Nicole!”

Coprinopsis

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I think this is mushroom species is Coprinopsis from the family Psathyrellaceae and the genus corpinus as is the image posted on 333/365, a shroom with a shawl.  They only grown in one specific location on our property, where as other mushroom varieties appear all over the place.

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This particular species is white with black ink-like spores. They grow in nitrogen-rich habitats such as muck soils, dung, and soft wet decayed wood, which explains why it grows so well on the redwood-mulched fire road down the creek on our property.

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Young, still shaggy Coprinopsis mushroom. – 340/365

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Seeking ink fairies. No sign yet. – 341/365

 

One Pot Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Salad

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One Pot Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Salad – 336/365

It sure is nice to have my appetite back! For the past few years, when I had energy, I’d cook but I wouldn’t always eat what I cooked because of the constant nausea brought on by the incessant antibiotics. Thanks to daily intake of bone broth and probiotics, I can now eat raw and cooked veggies again. I really hope I can manage to stay off oral antibiotics. This is the best my GI has felt in years, even before Lyme treatment. Sadly, I’m still dealing with all over body joint pain but all my other my other neurological and cognitive symptoms are at bay. So I’m still crossing my fingers that the joint pain will eventually vanish as my GI continues to improve.  Continue reading “One Pot Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Salad”