Feb 132017
 

Logan has had a cold this week, which means he’s not sleeping well, which means we aren’t sleeping well….! I’ve been exhausted all week. So I was super surprised on Saturday morning when I went to the gym and hadΒ energy for days! It was a great workout! I did 30 minutes of strength training–body weights, free weighs and kettlebells, and then 30 minutes on the elliptical.

I could have kept going, too, but I had things to do! I went to the store to get groceries and then home to make this dinner:

SLOW COOKER 3-BEAN TURKEY CHILI

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 231

From: http://www.skinnytaste.com/crock-pot-3-bean-turkey-chili-3125-pts/

Ingredients

  • 1.3 lb (20 oz) 99% lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chilies
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can small red beans, drained
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • For the Topping:
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro for topping
  • optional toppings, shredded cheddar, avocado, sour cream, etc

Instructions

  1. Brown turkey and onion in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through.
  2. Transfer to the slow cooker with the beans, chilies, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder and cumin, mixing well.
  3. Cook on high 6 to 8 hours or low 10 to 12.
  4. Garnish with onions, cilantro and tour favorite toppings.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=51725

I’ve made several Skinny Taste recipes before and they were always really delicious.

Our friends had a baby last month (their third!!) and we signed up for their meal train dinner. It was so amazing when we had Logan and friends and family made us meals. It was so so so helpful and generous and we ate some really great food.

Originally we were going to do Michael’s mac n’ cheese but our friends are dairy-free at the moment so I decided to make them chili. I’ve been craving chili for awhile now.

I browned the ground turkey and onions. (I added a teeny bit of spicy ground pork for some flavor.)

The recipe called for three different beans — one being chickpeas! So odd. But I went with it and it turned out to be a really good addition. I did black beans, red kidney beans and garbanzo beans.

I mixed it all and it cooked in the crockpot all day. It smelled really good.

After lunch Logan took a nap and I decided to take a nap, too, and ended up sleeping for over 2 hours!! Catching up on sleep after four days of no sleep, was awesome.

When it was done cooking I packed everything up and we went to our friend’s house to take them dinner and meet the new baby! NEW BABY SMELL!! Oh my gosh the baby isΒ sooo teeny tiny and adorable. I cannot believe that Logan was ever that tiny. It’s crazy. (Especially considering Logan decided to walk this week.)

So for the meal train I took our friends the pot of chili, a loaf of French bread and all the toppings: cilantro, chopped red onion, green onion, shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream (for the kiddos who aren’t dairy-free). Also in the bag was a bottle of wine and some homemade gluten-free brownies (from Bob’s Red Mill). πŸ˜€

We spent a little bit of time catching up and snuggling with new baby and then went home to get Logan to bed and open a bottle of wine for us:

There was just enough chili left over for Michael and I to have dinner, too. My one complaint about the recipe was that it said there were 10 servings in there but really, it was more like 5 or 6 generous servings. I guess she made the servings small to keep the calories low.

Ok I kind of loved this chili. It was so good! Lots of flavor and texture. I enjoyed the chickpeas, too. At first I thought they were weird to add to chili but the texture was great. The beans weren’t mushy.

This recipe is a winner! I would make it again for sure.

On Sunday I went swimming and then Michael and I got to go out for a Valentine’s Date Day. Michael’s sister babysat this guy:

I planned our date for this month. Our date started with lunch. We went to Ten Barrel Brewery. I’ve never been and it was a cool place with a fun vibe. We both got the Pearl IPA.

It was a pretty decent beer.

Michael got the personal sized pizza and the salad lunch combo:

The crust wasn’t anything special but the flavor of the sauce and the spicy pepperoni were really tasty. I got the Seoul Sandwich which had Korean steak with sauce, pickled carrots and shredded cabbage on it. It was really, really tasty! The meat had a fabulous flavor to it. I would have liked it a little spicier but it was a really delicious meal otherwise.

Next up was the highlight of our date day: A mini spa day! We went to Sole 2 Sole Reflexology in North Portland. I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never tried reflexology before.

It was such a good experience! We both LOVED it! We were in a semi-private back room with two chairs. We sat down in our side-by-side chairs and then we soaked our feet in barrels of hot water while the therapists massaged our arms and hands. They also put some hot neck wrap things on us. Those were nice.

Then they dried our feet and started the foot and leg massage and reflexology. It was SO GOOD! I get massages once a month (thank you insurance)Β but they rarely spend that much time on my legs or feet, which is a bummer. So this was a really nice treat because it was a full hour on your feet and legs!

The reflexology part was really interesting. Hard to describe, but nice. It was a lot of pressure-point massage and the massage therapist did some massage around my knees, which was really nice.

Michael fell asleep. πŸ™‚ I dozed in and out of very deep relaxation. It was so nice. The place was great and I would totally go back again. Michael enjoyed his surprise Valentine’s date and he said had he’d known what I had planned he would have run extra miles on Saturday to really get the full benefit of the massage. πŸ˜‰

It was a great date and we went home to be with the baby and just hang out for the rest of Sunday. Kinda lazy, which was nice.

Feb 012017
 

This is my first baby. His name is Yggdrasil. He’s been known as Fat Kitty here on the blog. I wanted to share his story and tell you guys what’s been going on in our world the last few weeks.

I got him as a kitten 15 years ago. I’d never had a pet before and when I moved out on my own after a bad breakup, I decided I wanted a cat. This was before the internet was really a big thing and I went through the newspaper ad section for people giving away kittens. I picked up the phone and started calling.

It was probably the fourth ad I called. No one else picked up the phone, or the kittens were given away already. The fourth person I called said they had a kitten named Gizmo they were giving away. I drove out to their apartment to meet him.

I had no intention of getting a cat yet. I wanted to meet him and see how I felt. So as a result, I had nothing–no litter box, no travel carrier, no food, nothing.

I met “Gizmo” and immediately fell in love. He was this tiny little kitten with so much spunk and energy:

The woman giving him away had rescued him. He was homeless on the street and saw some kids abusing him with rocks and sticks. She rescued him but couldn’t keep him. I knew immediately that he was my cat.

I took him home after just a few minutes of meeting him. I put him in the car and he ran around smelling and looking at everything. He loved the car and actually got up and looked out the windows like a dog.

On the way home I stopped at Target and bought litter, a litter box, toys, food, a carrier, and a scratching post. Then we went home to get acquainted.

His new name was Yggdrasil. (Drazzle)

Our first night together was rough. In the middle of the night he managed to knock over a giant (and very heavy) planter of lilies I had on a bookcase. It broke and shattered everywhere. I decided to put him in the bathroom with his litter box for the night because I thought it would be safer.

I got up to use the bathroom early that morning to find that he had managed to escape out the window in the bathroom! He had pushed the screen and slithered out! I was SO DISTRAUGHT! I panicked. I went outside in the dark and searched everywhere for him with a flashlight.

I was sobbing. I couldn’t believe he was gone! I imagined him lost and scared or hurt. I lived right by a freeway and a really busy street and I knew that was dangerous.

I left the front door open and put a bowl of cat food just inside the door hoping he’d come back. I laid down on my bed and cried. All of a sudden I felt a little wet nose on my hand. He had come back! And jumped on the bed and gave me little kitten kisses. I was so overjoyed that he was ok!

That was our first day/night together.

The next few months were great. Yggdrasil was the most playful, active, sweet kitten I’d ever met. He loved me fiercely and I loved him back. The only problem? While I was at work he destroyed my apartment. He got into everything! He was probably bored, or lonely, and just destroyed stuff. I’d come home to all my books on the floor, the garbage overturned…you name it.

I realized he needed a playmate.

A coworker’s cat had kittens recently and I decided a playmate was exactly what Yggdrasil needed. I met the kittens and picked the runt of the litter. I brought her home (a little too early, I think) at 7 weeks old and introduced Maya to Yggdrasil.

The first two weeks were brutal. He was not happy. I honestly thought he might kill her. πŸ™ So much growling and hissing! I have a scar on my leg from their first meeting! I kept them separated for about a week. I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to keep Maya.

But one day I came home from work to find them snuggled up together on my chair, grooming each other. And it was sealed. They loved each other. I was so happy! They kept each other company, they cuddled, they played, Yggdrasil stopped destroying my apartment…. πŸ™‚ And he got really fat because he ate all of Maya’s kitten food!

This is how I used to read books:

He always helped. πŸ™‚

And whenever I’d come home from work or the gym, he’d be waiting for me in the window:

These two are always together:

When we brought Bella home a few years ago, Yggdrasil wasn’t too happy. It was a very long road before he finally got over it. And then last year when I was pregnant it was like these two bonded over it and they even started sleeping next to each other and cuddling a little bit:

I was glad he got over the new addition(s) because at 14 years old he was finally no longer a kitten (he acted like one until last year) and was kind of turning into a grumpy old man.

Yggdrasil was always a little plump. Several times the vet told me he needed to lose some weight and I tried a lot of different things, nothing really worked. I did get a special feeder a few years ago that did work well and we’ve been using it since.

The last few years Yggdrasil has had some health issues, but nothing major. His kidney levels were a little elevated, so I got special prescription food that helped that. He’s also had issues for most of his life with throwing up. Part of that is that he’s always been a binge eater. I think it stems from being homeless as a kitten and not knowing if he’d have food. He just never shook that fear, I think. So he scarfs down his food and it upsets his stomach so he throws up.

The vomiting started to increase this past year. I saw the vet a few times and we tried different food. We got some liquid antacids that I give him once or twice a day to help. That helped a little bit.

At his last vet appointment in November we switched the food again because the vomiting was getting a little worse. The doctor wanted to run some blood work after a few days of trying that. I put it off. Part of the reason was scheduling, we were constantly sick and everything got put off, and the bigger part was denial. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to get bad news. I just couldn’t deal with it. πŸ™

Recently I’ve noticed that he’s lost more weight. My Fat Kitty was no longer fat. He was noticeably skinnier and that was upsetting to me. I took him in to the vet for blood work. It came back normal, which was good I guess…It wasn’t his kidneys. But the vet said the only other thing she could think to explain his recent lack of appetite, vomiting and weight loss was cancer.

My heart split in two. Yggdrasil was my first baby. I loved him more than anything for a decade and a half. I couldn’t imagine something serious being wrong with him.

The next step was to schedule an ultrasound and x-ray to see if there was something wrong. This happened the week of my birthday. I sunk into a very deep sadness and grief, imagining the worst. It was breaking my heart and he was all I could think about.

A week later I got the news of the ultrasound and tests. Thankfully it wasn’t cancer. Unfortunately it was pancreatitis. The treatment for that is often steroids and because he has a slight heart murmur, that might not be an option.

The vet felt like his pancreatitis was “mild” enough that we could skip the steroids. She also felt like he might have inflammatory bowel disease. These two illnesses are probably going to be chronic and flare up occasionally. Having a diagnosis is good and I’m glad I spent the money on the tests to find out. It’s better than just assuming it was the worst (cancer) and not enjoying whatever time we have left together dreading the inevitable. I’m hoping that we can manage these illnesses and have a few more years together!