Monthly Archives: January 2013

Portabella Mushroom Pizza: Redux

A while ago I wrote about some delicious portabella mushroom pizzas I had made. I loved them, but hadn’t made any again in quite a while. Mostly because I just hadn’t bought any mushrooms recently. Also, I haven’t had any Vegenaise or honey mustard or any other potential pizza sauces in my refrigerator in months.

Last Sunday evening I was cooking all kinds of things so that I would have lunches for work all week, and I had 2 mushrooms in the fridge. Hey, I said. Let’s make pizzas, I said. So I did. With 1 amazing change. 

I had read a post on Gluten Free Traveller about using mashed sweet potatoes as pizza sauce. I tried it the same day I read about it, and it was great! So I had the brilliant idea to try this on my mushrooms. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a photo of these amazing morsels, so I’ll have to just tell you what I did, and hope to get a photo next time.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Punch a few holes in 2 or 3 large sweet potatoes with a fork or knife. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, place the sweet potatoes on the foil (don’t wrap them), and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until soft. Another options is to peel and cut the potatoes into chunks and boil them until soft. Which is a lot faster, but I find they don’t get as watery if I bake them instead. I found plenty of other things to do while I waited for them to bake. Like washing dishes, cooking pasta, frying some ground turkey, chopping onions and mushrooms, using most of said onions and mushrooms to make a batch of cream of mushroom soup to put in the pasta and on the spaghetti squash I was baking at the same time, washing the flour & milk mixture I was mixing in my gravy shaker off of the walls and cupboards and general sink area when it exploded after two shakes (I knew warm milk was a bad idea, but I did it anyway. I like to live on the edge like that.), lying on the kitchen floor weeping (not really)… you can always find something to fill your time if you look hard enough.
3. Turn oven down to 350.
4. Cut potatoes open and scoop out the insides. Add a little almond milk (or whatever kind of milk you use) and beat with your electric hand mixer. Well, that’s how I mashed them. If you have another way you like to mash your potatoes, by all means, do whatever works for you.
5. Scoop the gills out of your mushrooms and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. The mushrooms, not the gills. Gross. Put those things in the trash.
6. Spread a nice layer of your mashed sweet potatoes on the mushrooms, then add whatever pizza toppings make your heart sing. (Was that too much? I feel like singing hearts might have been too much for pizza toppings.) I added ground turkey, onions, a few canned mushrooms because I had them out for the soup, and some shredded soy cheese. If I had had spinach in the fridge, I would have chopped some up and added that, too. I tend to just pile on whatever I have on hand.
7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
8. Eat.
9. Die happy. (I mean… not immediately. Just whenever it’s your time, I guess.)

Hopefully I can make them again soon, and then I’ll add a photo of this deliciousness.

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Forgiveness

Hi. This feels like it might be a little disjointed. At the moment, it’s just sort of a jumble of thoughts pouring forth. Maybe by the end I’ll find some order in them. And here’s the thing: I love writing about nonsense. I’m pretty good at it. But hitting the publish button on a serious topic? That takes a lot more courage, and it makes my stomach hurt a little. It’s so much easier to put funny stuff out there for people to read. The serious is scary because it’s letting you see a little piece of what’s below the surface. So just know that this is a little scary for me from the get-go. 🙂 But here goes…

I have had forgiveness on my mind a lot lately. The how. The why. The who. When I have something on my mind and cannot reconcile it with reality, it helps to write out my thoughts. So I got a pen and started writing. I ended up with more questions than answers, but the one answer I got then, and still know is this: When someone has wronged me- whether it’s by my perception or a literal wrongdoing, intentional or unintentional- forgiveness? It has to be done.

Here is most of what I wrote several weeks ago…

I forgive you.
What is forgiveness?
Letting go?
How many times?
How often do I need to forgive and let go of the same thing?
How do I forgive and let go?
Can I forget?

When I remember, I need to forgive again.
Are there special “forgiveness words”?

Do I just say, “I forgive you” 1,000 times until I feel it?
Won’t the words eventually lose meaning if I do that?
I need help.
I can’t let go on my own.
Let go. Forgive. Be free.
If I have to forgive again, did I really forgive the first time? How do I know if it “took”?
“In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” –
Anne Lamotte, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (I haven’t read this book; I had written down a similar quote, and just looked it up online to find the source and the correct quote.)
Do I need to say it aloud?
I don’t want to be angry and bitter. Not anymore. I don’t want to pretend.
Do I need to make a list of things I’m forgiving? And burn them?
I forgive you. But do I? Yes. I have to. I have no other choice.
(Also, I need to forgive ME.)

I reached the end with more questions than answers, but with absolute knowledge that I didn’t have a choice but to forgive. I then left it at that and went on my way.

Today, this subject was heavy on my mind again. I was mulling it over all afternoon, and tonight I decided to see exactly what Jesus had to say about forgiveness. (All references are from the Amplified Bible.)

Psalm 86:5 For you, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our trespasses, sending them away, letting them go completely and forever]; and You are abundant in mercy and loving-kindness to all those who call upon You.

If God is so ready to forgive all of my sins and let them go forever, who am I to hold onto other people’s sins against me, as though they owe me more than I owe God? Who on earth do I think I am?

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

Matthew 18:35 So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.

Mark 11:25-26 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings.

Guys? This leaves NO ROOM for unforgiveness anywhere. Ever. If I get to judgement day and find myself standing beside an unrepentant Timothy McVeigh or Adam Lanza with even a little bit of unforgiveness in my heart, I am no closer to getting into heaven than they are. It’s not going to happen. Jesus is very clear about this: If I do not freely forgive someone, from my heart, letting go of the resentment that I love to hang onto, God will not forgive me.  But it feels so good to hang on! I can’t let go of ALL of it- I need something to come back to, to get out and polish a little now and then so I can remember how someone wronged me. Why would I want to remember these hurts anyway?  Does it make me feel like I’m better than they are? And these verses do not say, “If the person who wronged you comes back and begs for your forgiveness on bended knee, go ahead and forgive them.” It says if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop. Whether they asked for it or not.

I’m not saying it will be easy. I know all too well, from numerous (possibly not wholehearted) attempts at forgiveness, that it is ridiculously hard sometimes. Even admitting that I’ve been hurt can sometimes be one of the hardest things to do. It feels weak, and I don’t want to acknowledge that I am capable of being hurt by someone’s words or actions. (Sticks and stones…) And as humans, I don’t think we can just forget and expect that it will be gone forever. I may need to forgive someone for the same thing again and again. Is that okay? Does that mean I didn’t do it right the first time? I think maybe even if we let it drop once, we just may need to let it go again and again. Maybe every day for a while. I need to want to let it go first, and eventually it could be every other day. And then once a week. And then one day in the future, I may forget it all together.

Luke 17:4 And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).

Every day. Seven times a day. (But who’s counting?)

1 Peter 4:8 Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offences of others].

And there’s the rub: intense and unfailing love for one another. If I don’t love my fellow man, how will I begin to forgive them? But if I do have an intense and unfailing love for everyone, forgiveness shouldn’t be far behind. Because it’s hard to carry a grudge against someone I really love.

I can’t do this alone. I can’t just wake up and decide that my human self can let go of any resentment I carry. I’m going to need help. And I know where to find it:

1 John 1:9 If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

Jesus, cleanse me from anything that is not in conformity to Your will in purpose, thought, and action. Help me love everyone with Your love, and to pass on Your forgiveness to them so that You can forgive me for the oh-so-many things for which I need it.

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The Juice Diaries: Day 3

The final day!

I went to work at 7:00, and was famished until I had my first juice at 8:00. I did not feel sleepy, and my head was clearer than it has been in a while! I would talk about being more focused, but I’m writing a blog post instead of working right now, so that point may be moot. I was hungry all day, but not so much that I couldn’t survive… The bigger problem was just wanting to EAT SOMETHING. It all started when my coworkers starting microwaving their lunches in the break room next to my office. Their food smelled dee.lish.ous. (I know that’s not how you spell delicious. Just work with me here, okay?) From then on, I had some major food cravings. But I stayed strong! (Sort of.) Well, I didn’t eat anything anyway. I knew I had some organic chicken broth at home, and I thought if I could just have some watered down broth when I got there, I would be okay until Tuesday… But Jade convinced me of how proud of myself I would be if I stuck it out. And so I did! My last juice was at 6:00, and that took away a lot of cravings. And then I went to bed pretty early to avoid any more temptations to eat.

As far as the juices go, I genuinely liked them by day 3. Except for #4, because the cayenne hurt my throat. But otherwise I enjoyed them!

Now today, the day after, I feel great! I slept so well last night, and I woke up feeling alert and ready for my day! I was not craving all kinds of junk or sugar or anything. I feel lighter, healthier, and I feel so good about myself. I lost 4 pounds, and a lot of my belly pooch. I started my day with some organic broth, and a couple hours later had a banana. Then for lunch I had a salad with spinach, green peppers, onions, cucumber, avocado, and olive oil. And a few gluten free pretzels. Trying to ease my way back into the eating thing.

All told, looking back? I would definitely do this cleanse again! And I probably will eventually. Next time it will be even easier, since I’ll know what to expect and how to prepare myself for it. And I would definitely recommend the Ritual Cleanse Reset; the juices give you all the nutrients you need, and give you enough energy to go about your regular activities. I’m happy I did the three days- especially for the first time- but I know even a one day cleanse would be helpful for me in the future if I just need a boost and want to give my body a little rest.

Juice cleanse #1: Success! (And I’m kind of proud of myself, too.) 🙂

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The Juice Diaries: Day 2

Today’s notes:

One of the benefits of this juice cleanse was said to be more restful sleep. Well, they knew what they were saying… By bedtime last night, I was relaxed as a cat. And I slept very well! So well, in fact, that I slept right through my alarm that I forgot to turn on last night. Wait… Never mind.

Another side benefit was that I had lost a few pounds by this morning.

My first green juice was actually pretty tasty, and they only got better after that. I’m starting to see why people crave them.

Church was a nice diversion. Wait. That came out wrong. Church was nice. There. That’s better.

I’m struggling with not eating. I’ve discovered that I am way too attached to food! Even though I’m getting all the nutrients I need, I just want the experience of eating something. It’s so unnecessary. I think this experience will help me in the future when I’m only eating because I’m feeling “glushtich”. (what’s the English word for glushtich?) But right now, I want some pasta so badly. Or even some chicken broth would be good. I’m not ravenous, but I am hungry.

Juice 4 with the cayenne was the hardest to get down so far today.

My stomach is making noises I’ve never heard it make before.

I only felt violent a few times this afternoon.

I’m looking forward to my next green juice, and then I get to have the delish cashew one!

And then… Sleep! Work tomorrow should be interesting.

I’m already thinking about what I’m going to eat on Tuesday. I’m thinking a nice salad and some organic chicken broth should start me out quite nicely.

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The Juice Diaries: Day 1

I am up, and excited for the next 3 days!

Sidebar: On Wednesday, I called Ritual Cleanse to see if I could change my shipping address from home to work. It wasn’t a huge deal, I just didn’t want my landlord to have to deal with the delivery. They changed it, and I was expecting the box at work all morning, until I got a notice that it had been delivered at home. My landlord texted me and said she had put the box in the café’s walk-in refrigerator, so I went home for lunch and put it in my own refrigerator. It all worked out great, and I just figured I had called in too late to actually have the address change go through. No problem! (It was my fault anyway for not choosing the correct address in the first place.) Last night, someone from Ritual Cleanse called me because they had noticed that the shipping address had not been changed, and they wanted to apologize for that. Wow. I was not at all upset about the situation, but that was awesome! Thanks, Ritual Cleanse, for the wonderful customer service!

And now, on to the Reset Cleanse…

9:00 a.m. First juice of the day is a green one with spinach, kale, romaine, celery, cucumber, green apple, and lemon. I eat spinach and kale in salads and smoothies. I make kale chips sometimes. I eat cucumbers. This won’t be too… Dear Lord, what did I just taste? Grab a straw and drink like the wind, Sarah. There’s no turning back now.

9:10 a.m. Hey, this doesn’t taste bad once you get used to it. It’s just a new flavor is all. I can do this juice cleanse thing.

10:30 a.m. I WANT SOUP.

11:00 a.m. Juice 2. Green like the first one, but no lemon. Flavor not as surprising.

11:20 a.m. On Pinterest. So many cookies. GET OFF OF THE PINTEREST, SARAH. You can’t have the cookies. Ever again.

11:30 a.m. Peed for the 80th time this morning. Drinking lots of water between the juices, as recommended. Although the recommendation wouldn’t be totally necessary in my case, because I have been super thirsty all morning. Is this normal for everyone on this cleanse? Oop, gotta pee again.

1:00 p.m. Juice 3. Green like the first, but with ginger instead of lemon. Dear God, why? What have I done to deserve this? I… I love food. (I love lamp.)

1:10 p.m. Mother calls to invite me over for dinner tonight because my sister’s family is bringing pizza. (See 1:00 p.m. commentary.)

2:30 p.m. Just took a hot shower. Hungry, but in a way that kind of feels good, you know? You know what I mean, right? No? So that’s just me then? Okay, moving on. Going to sit on my shiatsu massage chair thing for a while. I’m sure there’s lots of toxins in my back that need to be worked loose. Oh! I should hula hoop next! My 5 pound hoop does great at massaging my insides.

3:00 p.m. Juice 4. Lemon, alkaline & ionized water, raw agave, cayenne. If I drink anything else, I might drown. This one is taking longer than the others to get down. Also, it’s a tiny bit spiceh. Because, you know, cayenne. Not bad, though. A nice little change from the 3 green ones.

5:00 p.m. Time for another green juice. Lying on the floor. I have lost my will to live. My attachment to food is stronger than I thought. Have not yet hula hooped. That can wait. Forever. Mom, what does “delirious” feel like?

5:15 p.m. Standing in the kitchen, wrapped in a blanket, drinking green juice. It’s cold in my house. I wish someone would turn up the heat. I should get a roommate so there’s someone to turn up the heat.

5:25 p.m. Tried to change to go to parents’ house. Accidentally put my clean shirt on over the old one. Dressing myself is out; I wonder if I still know how to drive a car.

6:00 p.m. At parents’ house watching the family eat dinner. My family members all look like giant tacos. The delicious kind you get at a taco stand in Mexico. I bet it’s not cold in Mexico.

7:00 p.m. Juice 6. Raw cashew, alkaline & ionized water, cinnamon, nutmeg, raw agave, vanilla. Delicious!! They definitely saved the best juice for the end of the day! This one will go down quite easily. Playing a game with the family, and feeling the best I’ve felt all day!

End of day 1: This day feels like a success! I’m feeling a little hungry, but not miserably so. Actually, I feel pretty well! And I’m pretty sure I can feel the cleanse working. I can definitely do this again tomorrow.

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The Juice Diaries

It’s the night before I begin my first ever juice cleanse. I am exhausted. I left a big pile of work on my desk because I just couldn’t do it. My job is overwhelming right now. I would give anything to quit my job and become a full time sleep study subject. They have those, right? Right? Well, WHY NOT? I come home at night, and I can’t bring myself to clean up the house, so that just keeps getting dirtier. Now my house is a depressing hole.

Do I expect the juice cleanse to fix all this? Of course not. But with the health issues I have, I am hoping that this cleanse will reset my system, and give me the boost I need to come back to work on Monday, focused and ready for a new week. A week when I can get all my work done and feel good about it. A week with no reactions due to weird food intolerances. And since I’ll be hanging out at home with my juices tomorrow, maybe I can end up with a clean house out of the deal, too. Plus, this way there will be no cooking, so maybe I can get the dishes all clean at once.

Stay tuned for first juice impressions.

This makes me strangely excited:

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