Friday, March 30, 2018

Happy Easter From Monsanto!

You Can Have It!: More Than 125 Decadent Diabetes-Friendly Recipes

The publisher was kind enough to send me a copy of this cookbook.

The subject is very near and dear to my heart, as both of my parents were diabetic, and Dom is borderline.

It's a large glossy paperback-  8.5 x 9 inches.  248 pages and LOADED with full-color photos.

Although I'm not diabetic (YET, anyway), I'm looking forward to giving some of these recipes a whirl!

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Biggest Loser Cookbook series, an indulgent comfort cookbook filled with recipes for anyone who wants to be healthy, whether they have diabetes or not!

Whether you’re managing diabetes, want to lose weight, or just plain want to be fit while eating insanely scrumptious meals, weight-loss expert Devin Alexander is here to assure you, “You Can Have It!” The celebrity chef on the hit series, The Biggest Loser, and the author of the New York Times bestselling The Biggest Loser Cookbook series and The Most Decadent Diet Ever!, Devin Alexander, has created a collection of easy diabetes-friendly recipes that seem simply too good, and too decadent, to be healthy. Using her chef secrets, tips, and techniques that helped contestants on the hit show lose weight and that wowed customers in her restaurants, Devin Alexander has crafted more than 125 easy diabetes-friendly recipes that bust the myth that eating well means giving up the comfort foods you love. Best of all, Devin is living proof that these meals work—even as a chef, around food all day, she's lost 70 pounds and kept it off for close to 30 years! With beautiful photographs, doable tips, simple techniques, affordable ingredients, and mouthwatering meals, this is the cookbook every person who cares about their health (whether they have diabetes or not!) will want to own. Inside you'll find hundreds of decadent, simple-to-prepare dishes, including:

*Bacon Ranch Flatbread Pizza
*Drippy Taco Burgers
*Waffle Fry BBQ Bites
*Cheesy Lasagna Rollups
*Dark Chocolate “Pudding”
*Sexy Trainer’s Strawberry Caipirinha
And many more!

Even if you're managing diabetes, heart health, or trying to lose weight, no type of meal is "off limits" and no favorite is forbidden. With small tweaks and the right approach, Devin is here to show that, yes, You Can Have It!

Media Personality, Multi-time New York Times Bestselling Author, Restaurateur, Healthy Comfort Food Chef, and Weight Loss Expert, Devin Alexander, is the Chef of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”. Devin’s unique approach to healthy cooking and her motivational personal story have landed her regular, major, national television appearances for over 10 years, making her America’s Go-To Expert on Decadence without Consequence. Having maintained her 70-pound weight loss for close to 20 years, she lives and eats her message: you don’t have to deprive yourself to be fit and healthy.

Devin has shared her Devinly™ Decadent secrets as the host of Healthy Decadence on Discovery Health and Fit Tv from 2007-2011, as Host of “America’s Chefs on Tour” on PBS and through frequent appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Biggest Loser, Dr. Oz, Access Hollywood Live, The Doctors, Dr. Drew, The View, OMG Insider, Dr. Phil, FOX, CNN, HGTV, USA, Style Network and others as well as through over 500 magazine features including Prevention, Women’s Health, Men’s Health and Shape. She’s served as Culinary Advisor to Men’s Fitness Magazine and as Cooking Expert to Women’s Health in addition to penning columns in Clean Eating, Muscle & Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Hers, American Fitness and others.

Devin is the author of eight cookbooks. Her first cookbook, Fast Food Fix (Rodale, 2006) was featured as an editor’s top pick in USA Today and her follow-up The Biggest Loser Cookbook (Rodale, 2006), a companion to the hit NBC show, spent months on The New York Times Bestsellers List as did her The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook (Rodale, November 2008). Devin’s The Most Decadent Diet Ever! (Broadway, 2008) revealed her secrets to living healthy without sacrificing the foods we all love and “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening” (Broadway 2010) provides the answer for people who think they are too busy to cook. It sold out on QVC. Next she wrote The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook (Rodale, November 2010), The Biggest Loser Flavors of the World Cookbook (Rodale, March 2011) and The Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook (Rodale, 2011), which spent weeks on The New York Times Bestsellers List.

After 9 years as the Owner and Executive Chef of CafĂ© Renee Catering, Devin now travels the country lecturing and consulting for major U.S. food and cookware companies. She’s a proud Ambassador of the American Diabetes Association, a Blogger for The American Heart Association, served on the Advisory Board of the American Culinary Federation’s Chef Child Foundation and spent years as Larry King Foundation’s Go-To-Chef to speak on “Obesity in America”. Her dessert line, Devinly Delites™ is heading to mass market soon.

When she’s not in her kitchen or traveling, Devin can be found on the beach by her home, playing her favorite sport, beach tennis. She plans to obtain a world ranking. :)


Sunday, March 25, 2018

MILITARY UPDATE: Shulkin says he would, if he could, add Agent Orange vets and illnesses

VA Secretary David Shulkin suggests he favors expansion of Agent Orange-related health care and disability compensation to new categories of ailing veterans but that factors like cost, medical science and politics still stand in the way.

Shulkin told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday that he made recommendations to White House budget officials last year on whether to add up to four more conditions — bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, Parkinson-like tremors and hypertension (high blood pressure) — to the VA list of 14 illnesses presumed caused by exposure to herbicides used during the Vietnam War.

“I have transmitted my recommendations to the (White House’s) Office of Management and Budget. I did that by Nov. 1st,” Shulkin said. “And we are in the process right now of going through this data. In fact, we met with (OMB officials) on Monday. They asked for some additional data to be able to work through the process and be able to get financial estimates for this. So, we are committed to working with OMB to get this resolved in the very near future.”

Shulkin didn’t say which of the four conditions, if any, he wants added to the presumptive list if and when cleared by the White House.

At the same hearing, the VA chief was asked his position on Blue Water Navy veterans of the Vietnam War who also suffer from illnesses on the VA presumptive list but aren’t eligible to use it to facilitate claims for care and compensation.

They “have waited too long for this,” Shulkin agreed, but then suggested the solution for those veterans is blocked by medical evidence or swings on the will of the Congress.

“I would like to try to find a way where we can resolve that issue for them rather than make them continue to wait,” Shulkin said. “I do not believe there will be scientific data (to) give us a clear answer like we do have on the Agent Orange presumptive” list for veterans who had served in-country. “For the Blue Water Navy ... epidemiologic studies just aren’t available from everything I can see. So, we’re going to have sit down and do what we think is right for these veterans.”

Vietnam veterans who served even a day in country who have illnesses on the presumptive list can quality for VA medical care and disability compensation without having to show other evidence that their ailments are service connected.

Shulkin said VA “recently” received the last report of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), which found a stronger scientific association than earlier studies between certain ailments and herbicide exposure. In fact, however, VA has had the that report, Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014, for two years.

It was written by a committee of medical experts that reviewed medical and scientific literature on select ailments and herbicide exposure published from Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2014. Released in March 2016, the report found evidence to support raising the strength of association between herbicide exposure and bladder cancer and hypothyroidism. The report upgrades the link from “inadequate or insufficient” evidence to “limited or suggestive” evidence of an association.

In years past VA decided that for some ailments, such as Parkinson’s and ischemic heart disease, “limited or suggestive evidence” was enough to add these illnesses to the Agent Orange presumptive list. For others, including hypertension, a more common disease of aging, VA deemed it wasn’t enough.

This last NAM report, however, looked again at cardiovascular conditions and herbicide exposure. It didn’t upgrade the link to heart ailments but it did affirm limited or suggestive evidence that hypertension is linked to herbicide exposure.

It also studied whether Parkinson’s-like symptoms should fall into the same limited or suggestive category as Parkinson’s disease itself. The 2016 report found “no rational basis” to continue to exclude Parkinson-like symptoms from the same risk category. Parkinson’s disease itself was added to presumptive list in 2010.

VA secretaries under both the Obama and Trump administration reacted more slowly on the last NAM perhaps, by law, they could. Congress in 2015 let a portion of the Agent Orange law expire, language that required the VA Secretary to decide on new presumptive conditions within 180 days of accepting a NAM report.

The impact was immediate. Although a senior VA official tasked with reviewing this last NAM report said then-VA Secretary Bob McDonald would make his decisions within three months, it didn’t happen. McDonald left it to his successor. Shulkin waited more months and, in July 2017, vowed to decide by Nov. 1. OMB blocked an announcement, however, presumably over projected costs.

Cost also has been a factor in Congress not passing legislation to extend VA benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans diagnosed with illnesses on the presumptive list. Budget analysts a few years ago estimated a cost of $1.1 billion over 10 years.

Also, NAM did conduct a review of medical and scientific evidence regarding Blue Water Veterans’ possible exposure to herbicides and concluded in a May 2011 report that “there was not enough information ... to determine whether Blue Water Navy personnel were or were not exposed to Agent Orange.”

Blue Water Veterans remain ineligible to use the Agent Orange presumptive list. A lone exception is granted for veterans with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In every session of Congress going back years, Blue Water Navy bills have been introduced. They would, if passed, “include as part of the Republic of Vietnam its territorial seas for purposes of the presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure (to) herbicide agents while in Vietnam.”

The current House version of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (HR 299), introduced in January 2017 by Rep. David Valado, R-Georgia, has 327 co-sponsors. Yet prospects of passage remain dim. Valado reminded Shulkin at a mid-March hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Committee that six months ago Shulkin said he was seeking more recommendations from “subject matter experts” on the issue and would be ready to update Congress in the coming months.

“Have you come to a decision on Blue Water Navy veterans?”

“I am aligned with you that these veterans have waited too long,” Shulkin said, “and this is a responsibility that this country has. And, as our veterans get older, it’s unfair. ... I believe it is imperative upon us to resolve this issue.

“I also believe,” Shulkin continued, “that there will not be strong scientific data to help resolve this,” in other words to justify benefit expansion. “This is going to be an obligation that we feel as a country, that these veterans shouldn’t be waiting any longer. And I am on the side of trying to find a way to resolve this for the Blue Water Navy veterans.”


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spring Has Arrived in the Deep South!

The weather here is gorgeous.  It will be pushing 80 degrees today. 

We had a blast last weekend.  Wendy and Bubby came over for St. Patrick's Day and spent the night.  We had all of the usual... Irish soda bread, oat farls (pictured), corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and Bailey's/Jameson's on the rocks for dessert!

We finally got Dom's blood pressure under control this week.  Chemo starts Monday.  Please say a prayer.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A St. Patrick's Day Prayer

Blessed St. Patrick's Day!
From 'St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer':

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer Recipes for St. Patrick's Day and Easter

I got turned onto Moscow Mules a couple of years ago.  I've tried many different brands of Ginger Beer.  "Brooklyn Crafted" is my favorite.

I wanted to share these fun drinks with you guys:


Ginger Whiskey Cider


2 oz. Hard Cider
1 oz. Whiskey
Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer Mini in Traditional, to fill
Crushed Ice


In a 12-16 oz. high ball glass, combine the hard cider and whiskey. Fill the glass with crushed ice and top with Brooklyn Crafted.

Apple Ginger Bourbon Fizz


1 oz. Bourbon
½ T apple butter
4 oz Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer Mini in Traditional
Lime Wedges


Add ice, bourbon and apple butter to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pour over ice. Top with Brooklyn Crafted and garnish with a lime wedge.


Gingered Apple Sparkler 


1.5 oz. handcrafted Vodka
1.5 oz. sour apple liqueur
Splash of Angostura Bitters
4 oz. chilled Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer mini in Lemon/Lime
1 maraschino cherry


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, liqueur and bitters; shake well. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with Brooklyn Crafted and the cherry.

Peach Nectar Ginger Beer


1.5 oz. Handcrafted Peach Vodka
3.5 oz. Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer Mini in Mango


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the peach vodka and Brooklyn Crafted; shake well. Strain into an ice-filled glass. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Fun St. Patrick's Day Ideas

We have become HOOKED on EXPLORE CUISINE.  Although I'm strictly a Corned Beef gal on St. Patrick's Day, I made one of these earlier this week.  Love their products! 

With Dom's cancer returning, I'm trying to focus on HEALTHY.  These products are free of artificial colors. Explore Cuisine integrates beans, peas, lentils, and rice to provide you with nourishing meals which are easy, quick, colorful, and simply delicious!

All Explore Cuisine products are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and jam-packed with nutrients.

This was delicious!  I adore Pine Nuts!
Green Lentil Penne with Deconstructed Pesto


1 package Explore Cuisine Green Lentil Penne - cooked, drained
2 T. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
Handful fresh basil leaves, rough torn
salt and red chile flakes to taste
3 T. pine nuts, toasted
Parmesan cheese (optional)


Heat oil in a small sauté pan
Add garlic and cook one minute
Toss penne with garlic oil. Gently fold in torn basil
Season with salt and chili flakes
Garnish with pine nuts
Add cheese if desired

I'm going to whip this up in a couple of days.  (In between doctor appointments).  The pine nuts got me again! 

Organic Edamame and Mung Bean Fettuccine in a Light Pesto Sauce


7 oz. Explore Cuisine Edamame and Mung Bean Fettuccine - cooked and drained
2 large yellow squashes, peeled into ribbons with a peeler
3.5 oz. pecans - peeled & halved
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
3 oz. pine nuts


1 large bunch of fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
2 oz. olive oil
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt


Peel skin from garlic cloves, and chop into big chunks.
Using a food processor, pulse basil, garlic, and nuts several times until finely chopped.
Add the salt and olive oil, pulse until blended. Pesto may be thick, so add more olive oil for a looser consistency.
Lightly toast the pecans, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts in skillet.
Mix the fettuccine with the sauce, gently fold in the remaining ingredients.

Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

An Update on our Patient

We had to drive into NOLA for a visit with Dr. Safah at the Tulane Cancer Center.

Over the summer, his blood pressure dropped dramatically from the Velcade and Revlimid.  They took him off of his blood pressure medications.

All was well for months.

Flash forward to yesterday.  It was SKY HIGH.  Again at Tulane today it was around 180 over something.  An hour later it was 160 over something.

So, Dr. Safah wants to get his blood pressure normal before any new chemo.

We have an appt. with our family doctor tomorrow morning, then a meeting with our Slidell Oncologist shortly after.

Once again, Dr. Safah is calling the shots.  We go to Slidell for treatment out of convenience.  The new plan is Kyprolis and Dex.

Once his blood pressure is normalized, they'll begin giving him infusions of KYPROLIS:


He'll be taking that along with Dex.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to Save Your Time, Money and Sanity

The publisher sent me this today. 

It's a beautiful 368-page cookbook loaded with full-color glossy photos.  As Dom and I are now dealing with Dom's cancer once again, things will be chaotic with doctor visits.  This cookbook will be used- A LOT!

Don't Freeze Up at Meal Time -- Reach Into the Freezer Instead

Let's admit it: we all want to save time and money while still putting healthy and tasty homemade food on the table. But how? Karrie Truman, creator of the much-beloved blog Happy Money Saver, is going to let you in on a secret: the answer is freezer meals.

When she was an exhausted young mom, Karrie found herself serving processed or fast food at the end of a busy day even though she knew it wasn't what she wanted her family to be eating. Then she discovered freezer meals. Immediately, she had home-cooked, easy and delicious food at her fingertips and more time to spend with loved ones.

In Seriously Good Freezer Meals, Karrie shares 150 recipes photos that will change the way you think about freezer cooking. You won't find your mother or grandmother's freezer meals here (except lasagna, of course). Her recipes include Morning Energy Bars, Empanada Hand Pies, Coconut Cashew Basil Curry Soup, Smoky Grilled Louisiana Turkey Legs, and Layered Chocolate Mousse Cake with tons of vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options, too. Plus, she adds a bulk-batch chart for ease in making large quantities of each freezer-meal recipe.

Karrie gives you all the tools you need to become a freezer-meal genius: information on shopping, cooking, freezing, thawing and everything in between. The book includes beginner, intermediate and advanced meal plan programs to guide you in cooking 7 to 50 meals in a day. You read that right: 50 meals in a day. No more excuses: it's time to start cooking delicious meals that will have you feeling anything but left out in the cold!
Get it HERE
Hi! I'm Karrie Truman, wife, mother and author of the blog Growing up in a large family I've always been keen to find ways to cut costs and more importantly time. I try hard to live my dream of spending time my family while still having tons of fun (sometimes trouble) by living life to the fullest. You know, doing crazy things like making 50 freezer meals in a day, raising chickens, learning to make things the old-fashioned way, and dancing to 80’s music while cleaning my house.

I live and blog out of Eastern Washington with my husband and four amazing kids who keep me running around and steal my heart. 

My website helps folks find delicious recipes, learn ways to live life to the fullest while on a budget, make things from scratch, and learn to try try again when things go wrong. My goal is to keep you all cooking in the kitchen and laughing along with me when things don't always go as planned. 

175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes

Dom recently bought me a pressure cooker, so I was tickled to receive this cookbook from the publisher!

This is all new to me, but these recipes are very easy to follow.  I'm no longer intimidated by this new contraption!

Delicious meals in a fraction of the time that stovetop or roasting methods take.

With their many function features (some have as many as 7), electric pressure cookers help make delicious and healthy foods that are not only easy and quick to prepare, but use much less energy. Clean up is minimal, too.

Bestselling small appliance cookbook author Marilyn Haugen uses her expertise to create rewarding recipes for this ingenious small appliance. There are recipes for every meal of the day. In a hurry? Done. Low and slow? Got it. The perfect stew or roast? No problem. Entertaining? How about Coq au Vin with Creamy Mashed Potatoes?

Haugen has created super time-friendly recipes for those frantic mornings like Sausage, Hash Browns and Pepper Casserole or Quinoa, Millet and Almond Bowls. And even on the busiest of work weeks, Beef Barbacoa Tacos with Chiles can be on the table in no time flat. Butternut Squash, Quinoa and Pomegranate Casserole made the night before can just be reheated.

These inviting recipes are sure to become family favorites that will be requested time and time again. The home chef can impress family and friends with the wide variety of satisfying dishes effortlessly created in an electric pressure cooker.

Take a Look Inside HERE