Evening Grills & Portland Thrills

Being in my anti-social bubble and having house guests don’t really work well together. Especially since two of the three guests have never been to this city and are considering it for their future home.  The third guest was my daughter and those who know my spirited oldest can probably imagine that being a mopey mom during her visit from Boston was just going to have to be put on hold.  “I’m only here for five days! You have to do things with us!”

Of course I was thrilled at the opportunity to spend time with my daughter and I enjoyed being a co-tour guide for our guests.  I love our city with all it’s cool neighborhoods, gloriously green parks, funky shops and markets.  I got reminded why I love Portland so much.  And, I’m pretty sure by the end of their visit we made converts out of the questioning Bostonians.

We spent time at home enjoying some grilled burgers and a simple salad on their first evening here.  On their last evening here we were back home again enjoying a smorgasbord of left overs from all of our outings.  We tossed a few uncured all beef hot dogs on the grill for my dad and whoever else wanted some.  Dad didn’t notice they weren’t Oscar Meyer and even asked for seconds!

IMG_2028 IMG_2032 IMG_2033 IMG_2040

Everything in between those days involved a whirlwind of activity that included many happy hours with delicious food.  Boston does not have “happy hour” which means cheaper food and drink for a specified period of time.  Portland has some amazing happy hour foods and drinks all over the city.  The guests were thrilled with the inexpensive tabs.

Lest we not forget to mention that one of the guests was celebrating her birthday during this visit and quite by coincidence my “pseudo daughter” was giving a performance at their new venue.  ‘ZigZurah’ dances with Offbeat Belly Dance, “a genre-defying belly dance show at it’s finest”, says their WordPress blog.  I am here to say that you haven’t seen talent until you’ve seen these amazing women shake their stuff.  They are fantastic entertainment and the best part is the dancer choose their own music so there could be traditional middle eastern music, zydeco, hip hop, jazz and everything in between.  I give a double thumbs up for their new venue that I hope will be readily available for them in the future.  The space was more open and light.  And, wow!  I had one of the best beet salads I’ve had in a long time.  I held the feta, but it wasn’t even needed since this multi-green salad was bursting with flavors and a sherry vinaigrette that tied it all together for an amazing flavor combination.  Something new on my salad was carrot foam!  Yes, foam!  Check out that picture!  Is that not the most beautiful salad?  That foam was like a fluffy orange cloud and I want to figure out how to recreate that!  It was delicious.


IMG_2097 - Copy

IMG_2060 The amazing and talented ZigZurah

 IMG_2063 IMG_2065 IMG_2077 IMG_2092

I had a great time with my daughter and her guests.  My anxiety remained low which made it easier to enjoy our outings.  For most of the days they were here the weather was perfect Portland visitor weather with only one torrential downpour to remind them this really is one of the rainiest cities on the west coast.  I’m pretty sure that didn’t dissuade them, though.

It’s back to quiet here in our house.  I do love my quiet time.  However, I now sit in silence feeling more cheerful having seen my kid.  I will hold on to this feeling for as long as I can.




Put That Prilosec Down!

My co-worker and I have been complaining to each other about our irritating issues with heart burn we’ve had recently.  Not one to usually suffer from this ailment, I have had increasing bouts in the past several years after my stay in the hospital for a surgical procedure.  The anesthesiologist insisted on pumping my IV with Prilosec.  She said it would lower stomach upset and vomiting, common side affects of the anesthetic used during surgery.  We battled one another as I demanded she listen to my request and honor my refusal of Prilosec.  The after affects would be much worse, she contended.  I said I was willing to take my chances.  I knew the evils of this nasty drug and I did not want it. Frustratingly, she gave it to me anyway and the results were disastrous.  I’ll spare my readers the awful details, but I will tell you I suffered horrible heartburn and acid reflux daily for five full months after my surgery.  I had the most difficult time enjoying food.  I could not eat without pain.  My beloved coffee was the worst culprit.  I reluctantly gave it up.  I felt horrible.  Heartburn ruled my life.

When I was fed up enough with my anguish I sought out more permanent relief.  I could not imagine suffering at this level for much longer.  I began researching natural relief from heartburn.  I finally made an appointment with my naturopath to get her advice when all other attempts failed.  She prescribed a probiotic with 20 billion CFU.   This is when I learned about the amazing benefits of this wonderful supplement.  It helped to restore beneficial bacteria in my belly and prevented the overgrowth of bad bacteria as well as naturally lowering my stomach acid.  She helped me come up with a new diet plan to incorporate healing foods and I was on the path to recovery.  Within a month my symptoms were gone.   As I healed I began to integrate my regular diet back into my life.  I eased back in to coffee drinking; a love (and addiction) I truly enjoyed.  Things were back to normal for me and I felt good.

Over the years I have had a few mild cases of heartburn that resolved quickly with some temporary diet changes.  Recently though I have been suffering again, rather severely.  I made diet changes to no avail, I lowered my coffee intake, but just cannot eliminate it completely.  The pain of caffeine withdrawal is not something I want to endure.  I know, this is bad, but I’m picking my battles right now.  I purchased the same probiotics that had been recommended to me years ago and I think I am breaking the cycle, though it’s precarious.  I must be careful with what types of foods I consume so as not to upset the delicate balance I’m trying to create in my gut.  I have begun the ritual of drinking one half cup of homemade ginger lemon water each morning upon waking.  A mason jar filled with this healing liquid sits on my kitchen counter and it is the first thing I put in my body.  Lemon is a great detoxifier and ginger is a wonder spice filled with digestion friendly properties.  It also gives my sluggish metabolism a kick start, an amazing side benefit that has resulted in a bit of weight loss.  I drink licorice tea and chamomile tea through out the day.  Chamomile calms the spasms of the esophagus when it is under duress and licorice reduces acid reflux.  I deduced that I need to keep a grain free diet as it seems to exacerbate my symptoms.  My diet has consisted of fresh made juices, smoothies and salads topped with various proteins. I am beginning to feel better, however if I stray from the strict diet I’ve created, my body reacts and lets me know I better stay the path.

My co-worker on the other hand, says she has suffered from regular heartburn for 15 years. A recent story she shared about waking in the middle of the night and vomiting stomach acid horrified me.  This is when I learned she has taken Prilosec for as many years as she has suffered.  I explained to her that what she thinks is helping is actually systematically destroying her digestive system and making her ailments worse.  While Prilosec does suppress the secretion of stomach acids, over time it actually does the opposite.

It takes time to heal your body from the affects of heart burn.  Prilosec is the “quick fix” most people look for, which is unfortunately the way of our society these days.  Kick the symptoms and keep on moving.  This is all prilosec does.  It reduces symptoms, but it does not heal.

Here’s a look at what I’ve been eating and drinking to heal my malady.  It has taken time; about two weeks.  I still haven’t remedied all my symptoms, but I am much better.  To me, it’s worth the work and time.  I want to heal my body, not cover my symptoms.

Ginger lemon water-  Fill a pan with filtered water, add one half of a medium sized lemon and about a two inch knob of fresh ginger.  Set on stove top and heat to boiling.  Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  The goal is to extract all the goodness you can from the lemon and the ginger.

IMG_1862 IMG_1866

 A spot of tea…..IMG_1918 IMG_1919

A nice carrot ginger juice soothes a rumbly tummy.

A nice carrot ginger juice soothes a rumbly tummy.

I have been getting creative with proteins and veggies.  Our lettuce, spinach and arugula are growing well and producing delicious greens for meals.

I love grilling season!!!  Here are some grass fed, organic tip steaks getting the heat!

I love grilling season!!! Here are some grass fed, organic tip steaks getting the heat!

freshly grilled beef on top of a bed of quinoa, carrot shreds, various spices and a mix of greens from our garden!

freshly grilled beef on top of a bed of quinoa, carrot shreds, various spices and a mix of greens from our garden!

More grilled meat!!  This time it’s chicken breast sitting on a delicious mix of veggies.  There’s shredded raw yams and carrots, minced fresh ginger, sliced white onions, candied pecans made with pure maple syrup all on top of more yummy green veggies from our garden!


A Dijon vinaigrette sprinkled on this salad was delightful!

A Dijon vinaigrette sprinkled on this salad was delightful!