Archives for May 2011

Rice Is the New Pasta

I’ve shared the recipe before for my ultimate comfort food, homemade Mac ‘n Cheese. That has to be one of the recipes that I miss the most since discovering my wheat allergy. Obviously, the macaroni is not allowed because it is made from wheat flour. But would you believe that regular tomato soup contains all three of my enemies… wheat, soy, and corn (high fructose corn syrup)?!

I’m proud to say that I have fallen in love with this yummy meal all over again now that I have found new ingredients to substitute with. The only down side is that with these organic ingredients, it is no longer the $3 meal it once was.

I combined and baked:

Six large handfuls of rice pasta (very precise measurement)
One container of creamy tomato soup (16 oz)
Half a bag of shredded cheddar cheese (1 cup)
A little pepper to taste

Although it was not quite as good as the original, I’m more than happy with my replacement. I was a little surprised that all that cheese didn’t bother my stomach. I really wanted to go for the leftovers the next day, but I knew that would be pushing it on my milk tolerance. Now I’ve started looking through some of our other old favorite recipes to see how they can be reinvented.

Mac 'n Cheese

Cystic Fibrosis: Diet

May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness month! Since I didn’t know anything about CF before I met Jesse, I’m taking some time to learn and share some information about CF.

Proper diet and nutrition is important for everybody, and having CF makes paying attention to diet even more important.  Just as mucus forms in the lungs making breathing difficult, thick mucus also forms in the pancreas preventing normal digestion and absorption of food.  To combat this problem most CFers require a high-calorie diet that is also high-fat.  Most of you who know Jesse also know the he really likes to eat!  I know that the idea of being able to eat as much as you want may sound ideal (because I used to think so too), but there are times when eating so much is not so enjoyable for Jesse.  Like when we get home late and we’re tired and I just grab a little snack from the pantry.  A small snack like that is not sufficient when his daily intake needs to be at least 5,000 calories.

Jesse eating spaghetti

The reason that calorie intake in so important is because of all the extra energy that is needed for breathing.  It’s also important to have the extra pounds so that when an infection hits it doesn’t completely knock him down.

The tricky part of a high-calorie diet is making sure that all these calories come from a healthy source.  Because the pancreas is already not functioning well, CFers run the risk of developing cystic fibrosis related diabetes.  So while soda and sugary snacks may be an excellent source of extra calories, they aren’t the best idea in trying to avoid adding diabetes to our list of things to worry about.  Instead, Jesse tries to get most of the extra calories from protein shakes, whole fat milk, and adding extra sauce to almost everything.  Probably our most used trick is always adding lots of extra cheese to Jesse’s portion of the meals that I make.

Cheesy TexMex

Lastly, the most important part of Jesse’s diet: ENZYMES!  Most all CFers require digestive enzymes to digest foods.  Jesse needs to take about 8 enzymes with meals, maybe extra if there’s lots of cheese.  Forgetting to take enzymes means that the food is not digested which can lead to an intestinal blockage, often resulting in a very unpleasant trip to the hospital.



Space Shuttle Endeavour

Early yesterday morning, Jesse and I headed across the state for take two of trying to view the shuttle launch.  If you remember, I had gone to the first scheduled launch which was a no-go so we were really hoping for a better outcome this time.  We were not disappointed!

Our friends, Kevin and Julie, met us at our house around 11:45 Sunday night and we were on the road just after midnight (I wasn’t kidding about early morning).  We got to our prime location around 2:30 in the morning and there were already plenty of people staking out their territory.  Many people had their tents and campers set up along the sides of the road.  We parked the car and walked around deciding exactly where we were going to set up our “camp,” then went back to the car to unload.

It was awesome to get there while it was still so dark because we could see the launch site all lit up.

Night view

Let me just tell you that although it was totally worth it to ensure a great view, sleeping on a cement block under a bridge is something I don’t feel like I need to experience more than once.  I appreciated my bed a little extra last night.  It was pretty chilly and very breezy right at the edge of the water.  I don’t think I slept more than a few minutes here or there despite my wearing several layers and several blankets.  I’m not a very outdoorsy type person, just in case you couldn’t tell that.

Kristin freezingJesse watching sunriseOur campJesse waiting for launchKevin and Julie

Around 6:00 Monday morning we “woke up” to enjoy the sunrise.  It was absolutely beautiful to watch the sun peaking through the clouds while we ate breakfast.  Watching the shimmeries over the water as the sun got warmer was amazing!  We even saw a dolphin playing out in the water in front of us.

SunriseSunrise 1Sunrise 2Sunrise 3Watching sunrise

On a side note, I thought that spending the night outside would be a nightmare for my allergies.  Turns out that all the salty, sea air did wonders on my sinuses.  As we were sitting there I realized that I was breathing better than I have been in over a week.

The excitement was building as the launch grew closer, I thought Jesse was going to explode with the anticipation.  Someone nearby had their radio on so we could hear the final preparations and checklists.  Then the countdown started.  We heard the radio announcer say “lift off,” but then it took another second before we saw anything.  Then the smoke started billowing… then the glowing fire as the shuttle rose into the air.  Completely awesome and amazing!!

(My pictures are off center because I was watching it for real instead of through the camera, so I was shooting blindly.)Launch 1Launch 2Launch 3Launch 4Launch 5After launch

The sound came a lot later, long after we couldn’t see anything anymore. It was like a long rumble of thunder the grew louder and then slowly faded. We just sat amazed as we listened again to the radio announcer tell us how far away it was now and how fast it was traveling. So cool!

Kevin had his camera with the fancy lens for even more amazing pictures.  He and Jesse were taking turns shooting some great pictures throughout the day.  Here’s an even closer view of the launch: