Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recipe and a Return to Blogging! Smooth Healthy and Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Hi everyone!

I have been away a while it is true.  I have been enjoying life, completing my treatment and recovering from my bout with the big C. Life has been treating me well this year, and I am fulfilling many dreams I have long held, such as hiking to the top of a nearby hill, refurbishing my home by painting and replacing flooring myself, caring for my home and garden, spending time with family.

I am so grateful for all my friends who helped me out along the way, my online friends especially are included! Thank you for being a friend by supporting me in any way here, on twitter or wherever our interaction space happens to be.

One thing I have adopted since my diagnosis two years ago this week is healthier eating. I try to eat organic food and make as much from scratch as possible. I learned about nutrition through my journey and it's role in healing and now I firmly believe that our diet is critical to our healing from surgery, chemo and radiation. Soup can be such a wonderful nutritional healing powerhouse, and it is easy to eat when you do not feel well, or just when it is cold out!

I adapted this recipe from a carrot and coriander soup recipe I found. I have been working on it over the last month or so and am happy to share it with you. I had never tried Butternut Squash before, I never knew how luscious and creamy and buttery it is! Ok, duh, so that is why it is called Butter nut! If you have never eaten it before, consider trying it some time, you might like it! I am very confident if you tasted my soup recipe below you would love it at first taste, like I did.

Smooth Healthy and Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 large or 2 small Butternut Squash
2 medium onions
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger or 1 tsp powdered
2 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable if desired
2 tbsp olive oil
Cilantro leaves to serve

PREHEAT oven to 300 degrees

  1.  Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with a spoon. Drizzle with a teaspoon to a tablespoon of olive oil and coat the squash well.
  2.  Place on a cookie sheet cut side down, bake for 40-45 minutes, check for doneness by inserting a knife into the thickest part of the squash, if it goes in easily, the squash is done.
  3.  While the squash bakes, chop onion and garlic finely and sauté in 1 tbsp  olive oil over medium low heat for five minutes until translucent and beginning to brown. Add spices and cilantro and stir and sauté one more minutes.
  4.  Remove from heat until the squash is finished baking.
  5. When squash is finished baking and has cooled enough to handle, remove the peel by scraping with a knife, it should slip off fairly easily at this point. Chop squash into cubes.
  6.   Place baked squash in the pot, add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
  7.  Puree by placing in a blender or with an immersion blender.
  8. Serve with a few cilantro leaves on top.


Please let me know if you try this, I would love any feedback on this recipe.

I will be going to the oncologist next month for a two year follow up, and I anticipate being declared cancer free.  Currently I am not on any treatments, am totally loving life right now, staying super busy picking up my life where I left it off two years ago.

Lately I have been broadcasting live manicures on the new app Meerkat. My handle is @lovenailpolish3, same as twitter. The great thing about Meerkat is that you can ask questions and interact with the person broadcasting. People are broadcasting themselves at work, teaching things, and giving tours, you never know. The troll population is kept in check, so it is a welcoming and friendly space.  I am loving it right now!  Maybe I will see you there!

Thank you for visiting me!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hi Sweet Hearts! An Update

Hi lovely.

Just a quick update to say hi. And where is the time going? February is here already! Next thing I know it will be Easter!

I finished chemo and am trying to choose between radiation to complete my treatment or a mastectomy (I had a successful lumpectomy last year). I plan to choose very soon, it has been one of the hardest choices I have ever made. There is no right or wrong choice, only my preference, from what the doctors tell me at this point.

I have not wanted to photograph  my hands much because they were in a dry cracked condition after chemo and during the last months of 2013.  Now, five weeks after finishing chemo, the middle nail on my left hand (swatching hand) has lifted from the nail bed almost 60% down toward the base of the nail. And three others have begun to lift as well.

I just noticed this last Wednesday, after my nail felt broken.  It was solid, so I ignored it until I peeped under the nail and saw it had come apart from my finger! I do not know how it happened so fast, I did my nails one day, they were perfect, two days later I removed the polish and I could see from a slight discoloration that the nail lifted almost completely off the nail bed. I attribute this to the chemotherapy medication Taxotere, after reading reports of patients online. It is aptly named, it taxes your system and makes you want to cry, but it is better than not having the medication, in my situation. That is the theory anyway.

Happily, I am still polishing my pinkies and my toesies.  They seem to be okay so far. It is weird to open a new bottle of polish and only polish two nails, only two tiny pinkies usually now.

I am not complaining because it could be much much worse, just reporting what is going on with the nails now.

I need to have my third outpatient surgery in a year soon, to remove my chemo port. Then I hope to complete the next steps in my treatment, I have a few more, radiation or mastectomy, eight more Herceptin infusions and five years of medications.

I have seen some people indicate that cancer patients are not heroic, but I have to say I am inspired to see the courage of the other patients in treatment, they are heroic to me. It helps me so much to know that others have beaten breast cancer and other cancers, so maybe I can too..

I so hope that we can find a cure soon so no one has to die from cancer anymore.

I totally plan  to return to this photography and this blog as soon as I can manage, just to show you polish on my one pinkie or some fake nails, just to get some comparison swatches out there of some recent dupes I have acquired.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Essie On A Silver Platter

Happy New Year!!

Here I present to you a Christmas polish gift I was lucky enough to receive, Essie On a Silver Platter. This polish is part of Essie's Encrusted Treasures collection and  judging from the bottles and reviews I have seen, this is a stand out star of the bunch! I have tried two so far, this one and Lots of Lux, and this one is the favorite of the two for me.

This polish is a mix of small warm golden shimmers and beautiful small and medium blue holo hex glitters. The holos shine through the shimmers, although they are embedded in and covered in parts by them. This mixture of glitter and shimmer particles layers smoothly and applies easily. This is a unique finish in my collection. This is three coats for full dimension.  I apologize but I can not remember if I used topcoat here : (  Bad blogger!

Chemo is completed as of today!! I am happy to have made it through this stage of the game. Maybe next year will see me all healed and back up to full strength again.

Thank you for reading this and for being here supporting me through this blog. I appreciate you so much! THANK YOU! I wish for all of us everything we dream of in this new year!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Platinum Linings and My Pink Pony

Hi! Welcome!

I am so happy to be back today sharing with you some of the things that make me smile : ).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! : D  You are a  big platinum lining for me because you have been such a HUGE support to me this year! And you made me what I am today, so I cannot say THANK YOU enough!

Thank you and I love you Mom!

And lest I forget, a huge Thank YOU to our military veterans and their families this Veteran's Day! Your sacrifices are appreciated more than I can ever express. I honor you today and pray for peace so no more of our brave young men and women ever have to be in harm's way ever again.

Now for some nail polish appreciation.

Here is a swatch of an OPI polish I bought this summer after seeing it in person. I stumbled into a beautiful salon and beauty supply store while waiting for my pup to get her teeth cleaned. I saw this polish and decided to look it up online once I got home. But I could not find it! I thought the name was And This Little PONY!  I had to go all the way back and get it, this is the gorgeous glass fleck known as And This Little PIGGY. I love it for several reasons.

It is a beautiful pink with pink, orange and purple glass flecks, but it is somewhat sheer, so I used 3 coats here. This is typical for glass fleck polishes in my experience. I have been so often fooled into purchasing a glass fleck to be dismayed at the impossibility of eliminating the VNL to an acceptable degree. This polish covers enough for me.

The name reminds me of the game my mother played with me as a child. Grabbing each of my toes in turn, starting with the big one:

And this little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggie had roast beef, this little piggie had none, and this little piggy cried WEE WEE WEE all the way home. Do you remember that one? Much laughter ensued after the game finished. So I like it for that reason.

At first I thought it said Pony not Piggy, so that made me want it because I used to have a pink stuffed pony toy as a girl. It had a yellow yarn mane and tail, and over the years it became threadbare from me running around pretending to be riding it, gripping it in between my legs! O.o  My little pink pony had pink leatherette ears and a cute face. It was one of my favorite toys as a kid. I wish I had it still  : O  But now I remember my pony when  I see this fun polish ; ) My Pink Pony. So for me, I will re-christen this nail polish My Pink Pony.

Sorry OPI, but once it is mine I can call it what I want! Bwahaahahaaaaa!

Today I also want to share with you some of the generous gifts I have received and recognize the people who have given them to me. These are some of the incredible "platinum linings" I have found this year.  I received these things as a gift from the companies who generously help people with cancer. I was not compensated for this post in any other way.

These flowers were a gift from the Ceres Community Project, based in Sebastopol, California. 

They provide prepared meals to people in a health crisis. I have applied and now receive meals for myself and my husband four nights per week, they ask only that clients begin paying after twelve weeks a minimum of ten dollars per person per week. I am happy to pay for my meals since it saves me so much effort.  This is such a blessing to me now, going through chemo, it has enabled me to rest and recover instead of cooking!

A Ceres food delivery. They always include a dessert! : D

For dinner last night I had a lentil burger with roasted potatoes. It was a healthy version of a hamburger and fries! It was quite tasty, and much better for me than fast food.  This project is such a wonderful blessing to everyone involved. Here is there beautiful logo.
They train teenage volunteers to prepare the meals in a professional kitchen setting with chefs and mentors. Parents and their children volunteer together also, and they team up to learn to prepare healthy food from scratch. The meals are delicious and tailored to be super healthy, I am so grateful to them. I learned about them before I needed their services, never dreaming I would become a client. I was so healthy and fit I had considered volunteering myself, but they were too far away, but now, once I am better again and able, I plan to do so. The project is expanding to other states, and this is a great thing! Find out more about these wonderful volunteers or how you could help here, at the Ceres Community Project website.

This scarf is a gift from Franceluxe. They give a free scarf to people losing their hair from cancer through their Good Wishes program, more information here. This scarf is finely made with silk and Swarovski crystals, feels so good on my head! I wear mine often as it is comfortable on my growing out hair and not as hot as a wig. I highly recommend these scarves, they are so beautiful!   Good karma for them!

And finally this assortment of cosmetics was a gift to me from all the companies shown and the American Cancer Society. This is a typical assortment of cosmetics a participant in the Look Good Feel Better class will receive in the makeup kit! I have not added it up but I am confident this bag would retail at well over $100. It contained Dior, Chanel, It Cosmetics, OPI Clinique, L'Oreal, Mary Kay and Neutrogena.  I attended a the class held in my area and was given this bag and shown some makeup and hair tips.

Subsequently I answered a call one day and was asked to volunteer for another class as a model. I assumed the students would be people with cancer, and it was a little uncomfortable when I realized I was the only one! I did not know it but I had volunteered as a model for a train the trainer class and received a second bag of makeup! I am proud to have helped teach women how to help others with cancer. This is a great program, and it really does help cheer up women facing a hard diagnosis, so thank you to the American Cancer Society and every company and volunteer in the Look Good Feel Better program.

This is the second kit I received, with items from Olay, Clarins, Biore, Chanel, Mary Kay, Avon, Elizabeth Arden and L'Oreal. I have not used most of them. I am using the Olay sunscreen, and I like it.

And for fun here is a picture of Snoopy. Charles Shultz was from our area so there are many of these Peanuts statues around our town, Santa Rosa, CA. : D

Thank you for reading all of this!