Tag Archive: Food -N- Drink


The struggle is real

Recently I wrote about my stomach problems. I’m here to give you an update. I finally went to the doctor and he diagnosed me with Gerd. Which I had already decided I had from googling the symptoms i was experiencing. I didn’t want to have it, but it was that or stomach cancer. He gave me some medicine and a list of foods to avoid. I took the medicine for a month and a half, then i starting having side effects. Now i am just trying to manage it with diet, avoiding acidic foods (tomatoes and citrus), coffee (very hard) and alcohol. I discovered i don’t have to avoid all alcohol and when i do eat or drink something i shouldn’t the flair ups are not severe because most of the time i’m being good but sometimes ….. I just have to have that cup of coffee.

Some of my symptoms are caused by allergies and intolerance. I discovered i’m lactose intolerant and allergic to eggs. In the midst of all this i decided to go back to being vegetarian further limiting my food choices. A friend asked me “Can you eat real food at all?” “No not really.” So its challenging, but i’m up to it. I feel so much better now. 

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Since I eliminated some foods: soda, processed meat, coffee and cutting back on others I have noticed some changes. For one thing, I really miss coffee. And my stomach is getting better. I am starting to pinpoint some foods that should definitely be avoided and some that I probably should eat more of. Also I need to eat more regularly and eat real meals instead of just snacking. I should eat less sugar also.

All this is an attempt to avoid going to a Gastroenterologist since I did that when I thought I had an ulcer. Meaning I know what tests they are going to want to do and I am not ready for that.

In the interest of healing myself, I googled probiotics and found some sites with lists of foods high in probiotics. There is a good slide show at Livestrong.com. Briefly the list is:

  • Green peas – raw
  • Dark chocolate
  • Natto – Japanese breakfast food
  • Kefir
  • Miso
  • Kombucha tea
  • Umeboshi plums -eaten by Samurai
  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut – unpasturized
  • Pickles – made with fermentation
  • Cheese
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi

Looking over this list, there are some foods I recognize, some I don’t and some I never eat. I knew about yogurt and kefir, in fact I have been having a half cup of kefir in the morning and evening. I didn’t know about green peas although eating carrots and celery seemed to help. I knew dark chocolate had some good things for you. The fact that miso contains probiotics explains why I can eat the miso ramen. 6 foods are Asian, apparently the Asian way of fermenting foods either produces probiotics or doesn’t kill them. I never eat pickles, sauerkraut and never tried Kimchi because of the vinegar allergy, also I don’t like sauerkraut. Now I can claim that my allergies are killing me.

Progress is being made. I am writing down everything I eat so when I do have an ‘attack’, which is still happening I can look at what I’ve been eating and make adjustments. If nothing else, I know what to do to get relief. The pain doesn’t go away as quickly as it I had a pill to take, but it does go away.

Here’s the plan

Lately I’ve been complaining about my stomach. Sometimes it really hurts, so bad at times I have trouble walking. Nothing has made it feel better, when it hurts I have to lie down with an ice pack and sleep. I was trying to adjust my diet, but since I don’t know what foods are aggravating it, this is a very hit or miss proposition.

I’ve been googling the symptoms and that is an exercise in futility, there are so many things it could be, symptoms matched GERD, so I started avoiding cola, coffee and alcohol, but that didn’t seem to help.

While scrolling through Facebook I came across this video, “Vampire Fungus”, which said, if you have problems with bloating etc etc watch this video. I normally don’t, but I was feeling desperate for some relief. It was long, the man referred to doctors with laughable names. Seriously I laughed at their names, until he said Dr. Oz. (Wait a minute! Wasn’t Dr. Oz exposed as a fraud? Not sure about that) Now I had to listen to the end, just to see how ridiculous he was. What gets me is the promises, I will tell you now what you need to do now to get relief, oh but first, I’m going to tell you five reasons blah blah. I might have bought his product, but he annoyed me.

So what was he selling? Probiotics. Which I can buy at the health food store, of course not the super de duper ones he sells for $70. I bought some and am giving them a try. I’m glad I didn’t buy his, since the best ones at the health food store had coconut oil in them. Yeah, that would have been great.

Another first

My friend Mary sent me an e-mail about an oyster crawl. It’s like a pub crawl, except you eat oysters instead of drinking. Rose also got the invitation and decided to come. It was at that point I realized I had to admit, after several times saying I liked oysters that, I had never had any. They never asked me why I said I liked oysters when I had never had them, I probably couldn’t have given them an answer.

We got these ‘badges’ in the email, with instructions to print them out or save to our phone/mobile devise. My printer is currently not working, and I was having fits trying to save it. I finally managed it, and then we didn’t need to show them.

My first stop was the bank. The second was the subway, I briefly considered stopping at Starbucks, then discarded the idea, only to regret it when I saw how long the wait for the train was. The first restaurant on the oyster crawl was Grey Lady down in SoHo, took me a while to find it. Rose was waiting for me, Mary was delayed by train problems. Rose has said to expect rain, so I brought my umbrella, but it was snow at this point.

We got two dozen oysters, I wrote down the names of the oysters, since I was planning on writing about it, but I can’t read my notes. It looks like we had ‘fisher plane'(Fisher’s Island) and ‘moom shoal'(Moon Shoal). I’m pretty sure that one of those is wrong, anyone reading this that knows their oyster names is probably laughing at me. I even checked my Instagram, and although I had posted this same exact photo, I didn’t note the names. (Name correction courtesy of Eating the First Oyster)

This is me eating my first ever oyster. Photo courtesy of NYC Photo.

After the oysters I had a shot of Lemon Vodka.


This is the second place we went on our NYC Oyster Crawl. True to form I wrote down the name of the oysters, “Blue Point”, and didn’t write down the name of the bar. I’m pretty sure it was Bait & Hook. There are two reasons I’m sure, one is the pictures look like the place we went, two the website says they have happy hour oysters: $1 Blue Point, and three it is one block over from Professor Thom’s. Which is where we went next. Not for oysters though, for loaded tots. Anyway these are my oysters. I only got 6, Mary got clam chowder, she wasn’t feeling the oyster love right then.

Rose got a full dozen. She apparently was still hungry for oysters. Of the three types of oysters I ate this day, these are my favorite. The oyster love continued to the next time I was at Fairway, standing at the seafood counter looking at the hunks of rock that supposedly hold oysters, thinking to myself, I wonder if I could shuck those.

Is my Keurig killing me?

The only appliance in my kitchen is a Keurig. Recently I read an article about the hazards of using a Keurig. After describing how you can never empty the water completely and the sludge and microbes and mold that will grow in it, she went on to talk about the foil that seals the top of the plastic cup and the actual toxicity of the plastic, I was convinced that the mold would kill me, or the foil would give me Alzheimer’s or the plastic would poison me and make life not worth living. Then I read an article that disagreed with the first article, convincing me that my Keurig is not a death ray masquerading as a single cup coffee maker.

Fully realizing that anyone can claim to be an expert and write anything and pretend it is Gospel, after all that is what all those anti-vaccine idiots did to convince gullible parents to not vaccinate their children and endanger us all. By the way, is it possible for an adult to get a pertussis vaccine shot?

It just so happens that I use a filter for my Keurig, so I don’t have the plastic cup and foil lid problems but there is the still the reservoir with its supposed mold growth. Here is where I put my own brain to use. I am extremely allergic to mold. If I was drinking mold everyday, in the form of my morning cup of coffee, I would be sick. But I’m not. So I’m still using my Keurig, and loving it.

More cooking with Bella

A while back I read a blog with a recipe, really good cheap eats, or something like that. The recipe was Tuna 3 Bean Salad. I had to tweak it a little, changed the tuna to canned chicken and replaced the vinegar with lime juice and omitted the yellow onion. I used canned chick peas, pink beans and black beans. It turned out pretty good and it was pretty with the different colored beans so I decided to make it again. This time I bought dry beans instead of canned beans.

First you soak the beans, boil for two minutes and soak for an hour, since its the same for all the beans I thought I would do them together. What could it hurt?

Let me tell what happens when you soak chick peas, pink beans and black beans together. The chick peas and pink beans absorb the color from the black beans, so you end up with green chick peas and grey pink beans. It goes from being a pretty multicolored dish to a dull grey looking mess. I’m pretty sure it tastes the same, but the next time I make it I will cook the beans separately and take pictures along with providing the directions.

While scrolling through my twitter feed I came across the following tweet.

Even though I grew up in the South I have been living in New York for almost all of my adult life, I was sure I would be familiar with most of these foods. As this list demonstrates New York and New England have some major differences at least food wise. A few of these I have eaten, some I have known of for years, some friends have talked about but most had me scratching my head and saying: “What the ….”

The link in the tweet takes you an article with only 9 of them, the following link is for the original article with all 22 items.

22 Things You’ve Definitely Eaten If You Grew Up In New England

After saying “What I missed not growing up in New England!” @eladyland said, Florida probably has a list too; hmmm no, not really. After giving it serious consideration, I could only come up with two, and one of those is southern not Florida specific. Biscuits and gravy, and strawberry shortcake.

The strawberry shortcake I am talking about it the kind you get at the Strawberry festival in Plant City. Where you get a plate with a biscuit on it, a huge biscuit, split in half, then you walk along a table with a bowl of strawberries and a bowl of whipped cream and pile them on.

Biscuits and gravy is not a Florida food. I don’t even know if you can get it there. The gravy is sausage gravy, basically a white sauce with sausage in it. The sausage is cooked before adding to the gravy so its not real greasy, but you can still feel it sticking to your arteries when you eat it. The biscuits are huge, as big as my brother’s hand. You can’t get it here in NYC, it used to be available at Denny’s or Perkins but no more. Even when they had it the biscuits were small.

Whenever I go visit my parents I make them take me to every restaurant in driving distance that serves biscuits and gravy. I just love it.

Those are the foods I remember from my childhood. Everything else, is pretty much what everybody had as a child.

Cooking with Bella

Sometimes I cook, not often but it does happen. I have your typical NYC apartment, small with a stove, counter top, sink and fridge in a little recessed area, not a separate room. When I was looking at apartments there was one with a separate kitchen, the oven couldn’t open all the way it was so narrow. I said no, I don’t cook but my friend does and she visits me. I like my little cooking area even though I don’t cook.

With my allergies and costs going up and my salary not going up, I have started to do a little cooking. My most recent endeavors started with hummus. I was going to a convention over the weekend and needed lunch. I always make chicken salad and take crackers for these things. Normally I make the chicken salad with cream cheese. This time I wanted to go a little lower fat so I thought I would mix it with hummus but I was out. The problem when I buy hummus is I have to read all the ingredients and it gets tiring. That’s why I bought a can of chick peas (garbanzo beans) to make my own. I drained them, mashed them with a fork and added some hot sauce, lemon juice and some of the liquid that was in the can. It turned out O.K. not a smooth as from the store, next time I’m going to try buying dry peas and cooking them myself and using my blender to get the hummus smooth.

Tuesday I cooked lentils. I had bought an Indian dinner to prepare that was red lentils in tomato sauce after I ate it I thought it was pretty good and should be easy to make myself, so I bought red lentils. They have been sitting in my cupboard ever since. Now I decided to cook them, I was flush with success after the hummus. I looked up the directions online and put them on the stove. The directions were from a blog and I started reading the comments. Partly from envy because there were so many and I get a pitiful amount of comments. Then I heard a sizzle and looked to see the pot was boiling over. It was a good thing this was the Tuesday before the Wednesday I was off since I had now had to spend a couple hours scrubbing my stove top. No it didn’t take that long to clean up the boil over remains, but the whole story of why I spent two hours cleaning my stove could take up a blog post of its own. That story, along with the story of the wet wall in my bathroom will have to wait for another day. The lentils weren’t ruined, just slightly overcooked, I added tomato sauce and grated cheese to make it a tasty dish.

DSCN0477Tonight I decided to make candied ginger. I started eating it for my stomach and got addicted to it. It’s another thing where reading the ingredients is tiring. Unlike the hummus and lentils, I have never made candied ginger before. So I googled it, then went to the store. Now, there was nothing in the instructions saying how to pick out good ginger, not thinking it made a difference I just kept filling the bag until I had a pound, bought some sugar and milk (I was out of milk) and headed home. Besides not knowing how to pick out good ginger, I had completely forgotten the directions said to ‘peel and slice ginger’. I don’t have a peeler, so the ginger was washed and sliced and I made candied ginger with the peel on. It took forever to slice the ginger, Alton Brown says to use a MANDOLINE, so I think I will get one. After cooking the ginger ‘gently’, which I had no idea how to cook something gently, till it was tender, there again “HUH? Tender, yeah no idea.” the directions say to weigh the cooked ginger and add an equal amount of sugar, then add 3 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil. I checked two recipes and both had the same amount of liquid, I was skeptical but followed the directions. You can see by the picture, there is a lot of liquid there. Where did it all come from? Can you see now why I don’t cook? The directions also say to cook until the ginger gets dry, about 15-20 minutes. It took much longer and I started to panic, thinking maybe I had ruined it. For pity’s sake, I can ruin boiled eggs.

DSCN0479Eventually it was done and I poured the ginger out onto an aluminum cookie sheet. You can see it here. I am not sure if I saved any money, but it is really tasty, I had to force myself to stop eating it. I will definitely be making it again, after I buy a peeler and a mandoline. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my culinary efforts. You might want to mark this down on your calendar, it is a momentous occasion. It’s actually worthy of a parade. Someone else will have to make the arrangements for a parade however, I have candied ginger to eat.

Then there was

On the subway, a lady with ash blond hair with dark roots wearing a headband with gold roses on it. She looked like she could have been the high priestess of some obscure religion. Or just making a fashion statement, like, “I’ll wear roses in my hair if I want too. Nobody can stop me.” Then she got off off at 77th St. I must find out if any out of the box religions have a temple or something there.

It’s very possible I was drunk when I made the above observations. At least that’s what I wrote on the page after that.

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Last night I tried some expensive eye cream, the rash is spectacular isn’t it?

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Sunday is the only day cars can park in front of my building.

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This is the reigning queen. She gave me one chance to take her picture.

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Beer gets siphoned into this bucket, then it is put into the bottles.

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With a spigot, unfortunately this one was leaking, I think a part was missing? Not sure but we coped.

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This is the priming sugar mixture before boiling. After boiling it is put in the bucket before the beer is put in.

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Sanitizing bottles.

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And here they are, ready to be filled.

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This is a wort chiller. When we brewed we had to put the beer in an ice bath, now Rose uses this, which she says in super duper fantastic and so much easier.

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This is the carboy with the brown ale in it, originally “Caribou Slobber”, I dubbed it “Bronze Medal Brown Ale” 😉

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This is the siphon to transfer the beer to the bucket, there is tubing that is attached to this.

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If your tubing comes out of the bucket you end up standing in beer which leads to a condition known as ‘beer feet’. I wonder if this ever happened to Sam Adams.

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Bottles are filled,

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Caps are sanitized,

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And this nifty tool squeezes the caps onto the bottles.

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We have beer!

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I had to carry mine up these stairs

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And here they are, my sixteen bottles safe and sound. Ready for consumption in 2 weeks.