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3rd Day of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas, my Chi-town friend gave to me…a super cool t-shirt and some other feel-good goodies. Listen, I will 💯 accept a gift early and then put it back in the gift bag under the tree to open later and officially open and celebrate it during the twelve days of Christmas.🤷‍♀️🎄

And so today I am celebrating and grateful for the kind of friend who remembers you when they’re out of town, who remembers you even in the midst of their own trials and tribulations, who remembers you and your trials and wants to bring you joy and comfort. Happy Christmas! 🎄

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Doctors’ Group Says Antibiotics Can Be Taken for Shorter Periods.

I read this article this afternoon: “Doctors’ Group Says Antibiotics Can Be Taken for Shorter Periods.” Some key points:

👉 “The American College of Physicians (ACP), says that for several types of infections, shorter courses of antibiotics do the job — and even do it more safely.”
👉 “In general, the ACP says, [certain non-complicated infections] can be managed with five to seven days of antibiotics, or even three days in certain cases, instead of the traditional 10 days or more.”
👉 Antibiotics kill the good bacteria.
👉 Antibiotic overuse contributes to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
👉 “One particular concern, Fincher said, are potentially fatal gut infections caused by antibiotic-resistant C. difficile bacteria. Those infections often arise after a person has had antibiotic treatment that destroyed many of the good bacteria in the gut.”
👉 “An estimated 30% of antibiotic prescriptions in the United States are unnecessary…”

⭐ ⭐”Ask your doctor, ‘Do I really need this?'” Boucher advised. The next question, she said, can be about duration: If the prescription is for 10 days — the “default” for many doctors, the ACP says — patients can again ask why.” ⭐⭐

Ask the questions! Trust me.

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Easy Like Sunday Morning Hash Brown Scramble

This is actually a go-to hot breakfast for me on mornings when I’m home. I got the idea from a library book, but I basically made it my own.

What I Use:

  1. 2 large eggs (see note below)
  2. 2/3 cup refrigerated hash browns
  3. Coconut oil or olive oil
  4. ¼ of an avocado, chopped (see note below)
  5. Chopped onion (I “eyeball” it, see note below)
  6. Chopped garlic (I “eyeball” it, see note below)
  7. 1 shake cumin seeds
  8. 4 shakes of immunity blend seasoning
  9. VioLife Shredded Like Cheddar Vegan “Cheese” (or real cheese if you’re that lucky)
  10. Sauerkraut (raw, for topping)

What I Do:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add cumin seeds, wait for them to “splutter.”
  3. Add onion and garlic, sauté until translucent, not brown
  4. Add immunity blend seasoning & stir (adding the seasoning to the oil instead of on top of the food later draws out the flavor better)
  5. Add hash browns and stir to coat. Spread out across pan and allow to cook several minutes.
  6. Scramble up the eggs with some salt & pepper.
  7. Flip hash browns and check progress. Allow to cook several more minutes.
  8. Add the eggs, avocado, and then “cheese.” I just sprinkle whatever amount of fake cheese looks or feels right.
  9. Scramble! And keep cooking until done.
  10. Top with a bit of sauerkraut for probiotics before serving.


  1. Eggs: Grass-fed animals are more relaxed and less stressed than their mass-farmed counterparts, and this is transmitted to the food itself (Source: Gut Gastronomy).  We get our eggs from a local farm, Bethel Trails, where we see the chickens running around, free, living their best grass-fed life!
  2. Onion/Garlic: So onion and garlic are amazing in my book because they add great flavor. But also important: they’re prebiotics and feed the good bacteria in our gut. But they can also irritate the GI tract. So right now, as I am rebuilding my microbiome and recovering from the infection from hell, I “eyeball” my amounts.  It basically looks like this, I make one thin slice from an medium-sized onion. Then I halve that slice. I chop that half. Then, I look at it, and think, “that looks like it’ll upset my stomach, and ultimately, I use half of that. Copy that for the garlic, and that’s how much I use. LOL.
  3. Avocado: So here’s a pro tip ICYMI: you can save the unused portion of avocado and keep it from browning by using lemon.  I just throw it in a ziplock back, squeeze the lemon in, and shake it to coat. Then, I push the air out, seal, and I can use it at lunch and/or dinner. Important because, as I noted the other day, avocados are good for gut health!

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Everything a Modification

Everything is a modification these days as I continue my long, slow recovery! But I’m just #grateful to be able to eat. And eat more foods. And healthy foods that have prebiotics and probiotics and all sorts of good-for-me nutrients.

Someone asked me the other day about Trent. How does he handle all this new eating stuff I’ve got going on. And the truth is sometimes we eat separately. But sometimes are recipes I can modify, and he still likes them.

This is one of those. Trent actually really likes and requests this white bean and sausage stew. I modified it because I can’t do tomatoes. They’re just too acidic and too hard to digest. I used butternut squash in place of tomatoes. I roasted it for 15 minutes or so at 400° first to get it a bit tender going in. To account for the missing juice, I just added more broth. We used plant-based “sausages.” Last night’s version has light red kidney beans instead of Great Northern. That’s just because I forgot to check to see if we had a can of Great Northern. We did not, and I didn’t soak any dry beans beforehand either. Finally, I used collards instead of kale because collards are in season now, and we have friends who share the bounty of their garden with us.

The modification is obviously not the same. The flavors are different but the concept is the same. And it’s still really good, especially on a cold, wet night like last night. In fact, the modification is good enough that Trent actually requested it. And if that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

The kidney beans were an accident, but a gut happy one, believe it or not. Kidney beans are actually good for digestion and bowel regularity. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. It’s that insoluble fiber that’s good for digestion/bowel. Source: Healing Foods.

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French Toast Overnight Oats

What I Used:
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 banana
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. chia seeds
1 c. oat milk
What I Did:
Mash the banana in a bowl.
Mix in all the other ingredients.
Put into glass Mason jars.
Let sit overnight.
Optional: serve with fresh berries, banana, cinnamon.

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Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body

🎵🎶 Have I told you lately that I love…the public library? 🎵🎶

Tonight I’ll go to bed #grateful for the FREE opportunity to learn more about how to heal my gut; to get some new recipe ideas; to learn from the experience of someone with unique educational and life experiences; and to lose myself in fiction.

SN: both of these fiction books are by Native American authors, with Native American settings, and Native American characters. One or both were recommended by either NPR or Time.

The Jones novel sounds like a Native American Stephen King. So I grabbed it obvi. I first read Erdrich a few years ago on Christmas break: The Round House. Loved it. Loved. And so I read LaRose and Future Home of the Living God when they came out. Both wonderful. Picking up this new Erdrich was a no brainer. Looking forward to some good fiction over the next three weeks.

I haven’t done much non-work related reading since I got sick at the end of August. I just haven’t been able to concentrate. Find myself reading the same sentence over and over and getting distracted easily. I have to save all my reserves for work-related reading (strategic move worksheets, purpose statements, email-upon-email-upon-email, ordinances, comp plans, etc etc etc). And then I spend time researching and reading about my illnesses, treatment options, etc.

So I am really hopeful that I can enjoy some pleasure reading over the next few weeks. Because, in the words of Joseph Addison, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

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2015: Got Jazzy With It

At the beginning of the year, I chose the following words to guide me through 2015: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Over the course of the year, I intentionally tried many new things, said yes to invites I’d normally decline.  And it’s been a wild ride!

In my original post, I’d said I was going to try a Zumba class.  I did.  It wasn’t really my thing.  But I also tried a Jazzercise class. And that? Stuck.  In March, I updated here on the blog that I’d not only joined but had already done 35 classes.  I said my next goal was to get 50 in before Earth Day.  I didn’t really update after that (in my defense, I got busy and defaulted to short Facebook updates).  But in April, I hit the 50 class mark.  And just last week, I hit 150 classes–my goal for the year (just in time).


Hitting my Goals at Jazzercise

Jazzercise was definitely outside my comfort zone.  As I explained in the March post, group activities–especially of the exercise variety–are not really appealing to introverts like me.  Further, I’m not known for my grace or rhythm, so dancing? Not so much my thing.

Alas, it was a great decision.  Not only has it helped me to set and achieve some fitness goals for myself, but it also introduced me to a number of really awesome women.  They are fun, funny, and supportive (not just of fitness goals but more on that in an upcoming post).  When we first started, my new 2015 friend Angel and I would sometimes just end up rolling on the floor laughing at (and with) one another.  Today, a woman who was there for the first time told me after class that she was getting confused about the moves, so sometimes she just watched me.  I laughed. Because I get confused.  Everyone does. Even our awesome instructor.  And we laugh about it.  Which is great because everyone needs to be able to laugh at herself.  And we laugh at ourselves and with each other every class.

Having friends in class really motivates me to keep showing up–this is something I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t decided to go on and get outside of my comfort zone.  I’m so glad I did.

Next post: getting WAY outside my comfort zone by deciding to run for City Council.

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Tomato-Basil Chicken Stew

After I posted about this on Facebook, I got several requests for the recipe, so here it is:

What I used:

  • 1.5 lbs. chicken breast (from Bethel Trails Farm, thawed)
  • 1 bag of (frozen) October beans that I got from the Farmer’s Market this fall (you could use the canned bean of your choice from the grocery)
  • 2 (28 oz. Mason) jars of whole tomatoes (with their juices), which I got from the Lazy Farmer at the Farmer’s Market this fall. You could use canned from the store.
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 BIG handfuls of baby spinach (kale would work, too, I think)
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh basil
  • pinch or two of salt
  • a few shakes of black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

tomato basil soup 2What I did:
I put the tomatoes in the crock pot first, and I smashed them up with my big wooden spoon. Then, I threw everything else but the spinach in the crockpot and gave it a quick stir. I threw the spinach in on top and set that baby on low for 6 hours.  6 hours in, I checked it, and it needed a little more time.   After another hour, it was good to go, so I stirred, shredded up the chicken, stored some more, and served with some shredded parmesan cheese.


This was REALLY easy.  And it was VERY yummy.  The size would be good for a family.  Trent didn’t eat any, so I ate it for dinner and then lunch a few times during the week.  I froze the rest.  I think this is a good freeze-for-later meal.

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Eat Fresh, Buy Local

Once summer starts, I almost exclusively grocery shop downtown at the Simpsonville Farmer’s Market. There are several reasons I choose to support the farmer’s market and spend my time & money there as opposed to a chain grocery store:

  1. I get fresh, nutritious foods. Seriously, nothing tastes better than produce that has just recently been brought in from the field. It doesn’t just taste good, either—it’s good for me!
  2. Further, I know where my food comes from. At the Farmer’s Market, I meet the people who grow the food, who raise the animals. In talking to them, I learn about what (if any) pesticides they use and how they treat their animals. For example, I know that the bacon I buy comes from fat, happy pigs who lived a really nice, comfortable, happy pig life. In fact, I’ve even been over to the farm to see them—and their chicken friends who roam free, enjoying a happy chicken life without hormones and antibiotics.

    Fat Happy Pig at Bethel Trail Farm, Farm Day, 2014

    Fat, Happy Pig at Bethel Trail Farm, Farm Day, 2014

  3. The vendors share with me recipes and ideas for cooking the fresh, local foods they sell me. Honestly, half the time I don’t know what on earth I’m doing in a kitchen, but I have gotten some fabulous advice from the very people most familiar with the food.
  4. I get to connect with people from our community. I meet and get to know people as we stand in line and chat about selections. We share ideas and opinions on the produce and what to do with it. I’ve learned from fellow market-goers much in the same way I’ve learned from the vendors. And this sense of community is important—it contributes to one of the best things about Simpsonville: the small-town feel we maintain despite a population of nearly 20,000.
  5. I get to support local farmers. It’s not easy trying to make it as a farmer (or really as any small business) in today’s globalized economy. By purchasing straight from the people who grow or raise the food, I’m helping to give them a fighting chance, and that’s important because…
  6. It stimulates our local economy. When we spend our money locally, it stays local. Also, spending money at the farmer’s market spurs spending at other small, local businesses—particularly those in our downtown area.

Really, once summer starts, I can make full, healthy, tasty meals for me and my family with ingredients that come from the Farmer’s Market and from local downtown merchants.

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Me To City Council: on the Farmer’s Market

What follows is the statement I read at city council tonight about the Simpsonville Farmer’s Market.  I love the Farmer’s Market. It is one of my favorite things about living in Simpsonville.  And I was not exaggerating when I said that Simpsonville wasn’t my first choice when I work an hour away.  I tried subtly hinting that (especially after Trent started working in Pendleton, too!) we should move closer to work.  Getting married and moving to Simpsonville more than doubled my commute.  Pendleton, I’d tell him, is a great little town.  And we know several people who live there! And our commute would be  substantially less. Oh, think of the time we would save! The things we could do with an extra hour and a half a day! I was pretty sure this was temporary.  Surely, we’d be moving somewhere else sometime soon.  I kept all my doctors, dentists, hairdresser, dog groomer and boarder, etc in Anderson. After all, they’d been my people for almost ten years. I wasn’t ready to let them go–especially since we might be moving back that way in the not-too-distant future. But then a funny thing happened.  I read about a Farmer’s Market in Simpsonville. I love a good Farmer’s Market.  How awesome–local, fresh food! I’m in.  So I said to Trent, “let’s go!” And he said, “Where is that?” And I said, “City Park, apparently.”  And he said, “Where is that?” We Google mapped it eventually. That’s how not Simpsonville we were–we didn’t even know there was a city park or where it was. But we found it. And I fell in love. With the market, its people, their fruits, vegetables, jellies, jams, soaps, eggs, meat–everything. I went back the next week and the next.  I met people, talked to them.  They gave me not just food but also tips on how to cook it.  I learned recipes. I also learned more about my community. And I ventured out into Downtown Simpsonville, where I found more wonderful people and small, local businesses. And now I love Simpsonville, and when we talk about moving closer to work, it’s me who says, “Oh, but I love Simpsonville. This is such a nice place.” And that all started with a visit to the Farmer’s Market. So when I heard that the city was planning to fee & tax the vendors in a way that would discourage their continued participation (particularly when a nearby city has offered them a new home without any of the red tape), I was incredibly disappointed in this city I’ve come to love. Luckily, a man who has come to be one of my favorite councilman, Matthew Gooch, got the issue put on the agenda for tonight’s council meeting. And I knew I had to speak. You can sign up at the door to speak, and you only get two minutes.  I drafted, revised, revised some more, practiced, and got myself a two minute speech for the meeting. This was it:

I work an hour away. Simpsonville wasn’t exactly my first choice to live. But the Farmer’s Market and its people were the first to make me feel like Simpsonville is my home and not just a place I live because I got married. The Farmer’s Market was also my introduction to Downtown Simpsonville. Without it, I don’t know if I’d have started doing so much of my shopping with the small businesses there. Now, I do–and spend my tax dollars right here in the city with brick and mortar businesses that do pay taxes and fees for business licenses. Because Simpsonville began to feel like my home, I not only started doing retail shopping and dining here, but I also started obtaining my regular services here. I switched to a local dentist, local doctors, a local hair dresser, a dog groomer (amongst other service providers). My money now stays in Simpsonville, and it all started at the Farmer’s Market. This is one small example of one of the market’s major benefits, which is borne out in national and regional research: farmer’s markets stimulate local economies. If you need another example, you need look only to Exchange Co., a brick & mortar business that got its start at the market.

Not only does the market stimulate our economy, it also provides two other major benefits to our community:

  1. Increases access to fresh, nutritious foods, and
  2. Supports healthy communities.

Research supports this, too, but it should be common sense. People are more likely to choose healthy options if those options are made readily accessible as they are at a farmer’s market. With market leadership working on being able to accept SNAP, WIC, and Seniors Nutrition Program benefits, this is ever-more important. The farmers market can make fresh fruits and vegetables the first choice for our most vulnerable and cash-strapped citizens. This is always good for our community.

Thus, Simpsonville should be doing everything in its power to encourage and support—not discourage—the Farmers’ Market’s growth.  Asking each vendor to obtain a license and charging hospitality taxes will discourage vendor participation and limit options.  It’s in your power to make an exception to a rule that shouldn’t apply equally to those vendors as to others.  And I implore you to make that exception, allowing the market to run as it always has.  It’s good for the city and it’s good for its citizens.

Three of the council members expressed what their vote would have been: leave the farmer’s market alone to do as it has always done. Officially, the taxing and licensing of vendors will go back to committee.  For now, the market lives on.  In the future, I’ll be stalking the Recreation Committee, chaired by Mr. Gooch. We cannot allow another city to reap the many benefits of our farmer’s market. Also, I don’t want to drive to Mauldin for all my Saturday rituals and business, but I will. I’d just rather the city I live in, the city I love, the city to whom I pay taxes, embrace the farmer’s market and all the good it does. And so the fight goes on.

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