GF Baking Adventures: Cinnamon “rolls”

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It’s been another day for baking something sweet and delicious. Today, as the wind whipped through the trees and the sound of crinkly leaves hit my ears I began to long for cinnamon rolls.  It’s hard to get good GF cinnamon rolls.  Either the roll is too tough or too dry or the whole darn thing just falls apart.  Today my son and I decided to take that challenge and make them ourselves.

We used a muffin pan for our delectable treats and filled it with muffin papers.

Then we mixed:

One can Sweetened Condensed Milk (Low Fat Version)

Two eggs

Two cups Pamela’s Baking Mix

1/4 cup thoroughly pounded up walnuts ( my kids hate nuts in baked goods, so I will often mash them into a powder in order to add them without the kids noticing.)

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

We mixed that together until it was thoroughly blended.  Then we filled the muffin cups halfway.

In a separate pan we mixed our filling:

1/2 stick butter

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup walnuts (once again smashed to smithereens.)

We mixed that up and let it boil for a minute before taking off the heat.  Using a teeny tiny funnel I had lying around we poke holes into the center of the uncooked muffins and poured about 2 tsps of the filling into the center of each muffin.  The filling oozed out on the top of each muffin, forming an inner circle of goo.

We popped these in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

While we waited for the muffins to cook we prepared the glaze:

1/2 stick of butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup powdered sugar

We mixed the vanilla and butter until melted, then stirred the sugar in until smooth.  We removed the mixture from the heat.

Once we removed the muffins from the oven we discovered the filling had left a central whole in each muffin.  We filled these in with the remaining filling.  Once finished we drizzled the glaze atop each one and sat down to enjoy them with a glass of cold milk.

They are delicious!

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Adventures in botulism.

Yesterday afternoon I got Botox.  I didn’t get it to look younger, and having had the procedure done I have to give props to those who do.  You are committed to your appearance if you voluntarily get thirty some odd shots in your face four times a year.  Of course, I am a bit of a needle phobe, so perhaps you are just less of a scaredy cat than I.

I brought my mother, in part because I was afraid of the treatment, and in part because I was getting the results back from my MRI.  Given the recent and dramatic changes in my migraines, I half expected to be told I had a giant brain tumor.  I wanted my mom there if that was the case.

The good news.  No tumor.  My MRI is fine.  Visibly there is nothing wrong with me. I have simply had a nine week long headache.

The bad news.  There is nothing visibly wrong with me.  No quick and easy fix.

So my doctor moved on to the treatment.  He injected my eyebrows three times each, my forehead in eight different places, my temples, the back of my skull, my neck, and my shoulders.  I would love to tell you it didn’t hurt.  All I can say is it hurt significantly less than the nerve block, but it turns out my face doesn’t like being poked a bunch.

Then he told me the side effect might be a headache.

Wha????

It turns out that our muscles don’t enjoy being punctured so much.  I can take up to a week for the treatment to work, and during that time my headache will likely be worse.  It certainly was yesterday.  It’s not much better today.

Oddly increased pain isn’t the worst part of this.  My feelings are.  I have been in tears on and off since the injections.  It’s like a floodgate opened up. I have been crying about my pain, my separation, my career, my friends, my family, the people I used to know, you name it.  I can’t seem to get back on even keel.

I have had emotional responses to muscle stimulus before during massage.  There is a theory that the tension in our muscles contains hormones or chemicals that can cause an emotional high or low when released.  I just didn’t think this could happen as a result of Botox.  It is happening though.  I feel everything, all at once, in a crazy, uncontrollable, roller-coaster ride kind of way.

I really wish it would stop.  For one, crying makes my head hurt more, which makes me cry at the unfairness of crying causing more pain, which makes me hurt more, which upsets me more, which leads to more crying… rinse… repeat. Secondly, I am done being the crazy emotional girl.  Going through instant menopause was enough.  I am really looking to get back to a stable world where I can at least anticipate whether or not I will be miserable in ten minutes.  This whole crying because a friend sent me a lovely text message telling me I will get through it or crying because damnit the kids drank all the milk, again, is too much.  Lastly, if this happens every time I get Botox injections I will be signing up for a huge emotional crazy fest every three months.

So far the Botox hasn’t helped.  I am trying to stay positive.  He said it could take a week.  I am hoping the headache gets better day by day.  I guess I wait and see.

P.S. I do not look any younger as a result of the injections.  All my wrinkles seem to be in place and I have been informed I still make crazy weird faces when I express myself.  So that’s all good.

Pin Cushion

It’s been a hell of a week.

I went in to the doctor on Friday last for a Occipital Nerve Block, hoping that it, unlike the infusion treatment, would end the now two month long headache from hell.  The normally kind and non-torturing physician’s assistant took out a huge syringe with matching needle and shot me four times in the very base of my skull.  He claimed it wouldn’t hurt.  He lied.

The block was inordinately painful to receive.  I was swearing halfway through the first injection, blubbering through the second and by the third was sobbing quietly while trying desperately not to move my head.  He felt really badly for hurting me so and got to the point where he was murmuring my name and patting my shoulder awkwardly between shots.

Sadly, the pain was for naught.  The nerve block didn’t work at all.  I didn’t get a single minutes relief.  The headache from hell, which at this point really should be given a name and address, is still here.

On Monday I called and freaked out on the doctor’s poor receptionist.  My mom suggested I not be the ‘patient’ patient anymore and instead see how responsive my doctors are if I become the ‘crazy’ demanding patient. Unfortunately for my doctors’ future interactions with me, crazy demanding worked. I had tests scheduled the following day and a new treatment scheduled for today.

Today I get to have 34 botox injections in my face, head, and neck.  I am scared they will be as painful and as ineffective as a the nerve block.  Today I should also get my test results back.  I don’t know which to be more frightened of, a response telling me there is nothing they can find wrong with me, or a response finding the source of these headaches.

I certainly don’t want to have a brain tumor or odd swelling head disease or anything, but I also don’t want to spend the rest of my life being turned into a human pin cushion and guinea pig because no one can figure out how to cure me.

It seems deeply unfair that I would reach 38 and already know what it’s like to be really old.  Sick, unable to do what I want, always conscious of how much energy I don’t have to expend.  I should still be conquering the world, not trying to figure out how to survive it.

GF Baking Adventures: Zucchini Bread.

Fall is approaching and the urge to fill the house with the enticing smell of freshly baked goodies grows within me daily.  For years now I have struggled to find GF replacements for the breads, baked goods, and fall treats I used to make.  Happily, I have finally hit upon an ingredient that gives me moist and crumbly GF baked goods.  Sweetened Condensed Milk.
I have used it in a variety of different recipes and the result is always the same.  Crumbly, moist breads that don’t fall apart.

GF Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 egg
2 1/2 cups Pamela’s Pancake Mix
1 tsp Molasses
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Clove

Mix your sweetened condensed milk, egg, molasses, and zucchini until the zucchini is evenly spread throughout the batter.  Add in your Pamela’s Mix 1 cup at a time, stir well between adding.  Add your spices and mix for another minute or so.

For muffins:

Place in muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on top. (about 10-14 minutes depending on your oven.

For Bread:

Place in 8×8 casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.  (Between 15 – 20 minutes)

Stick with a toothpick, it should return to you clean. If not, bake another minute or two and try again.

Let cool five minutes, then slice.  When slicing, run the knife through once, wipe it, then slice again.  This will prevent the knife from gunking up and removing large sections of the top of your bread when you cut again.

Final Step:  Devour

Lists.

Today, despite hitting the wall yesterday, despite being unbelievably tired, I managed to accomplish rather a lot.  I cleaned out my clothes and did most of the laundry. I organized and put away the pile of debris littering my living room.  I baked a GF zucchini lasagna for the family and some funky cinnamon Mochi for myself. I hung out with the kiddos and played “stuffy toss”. I even managed to clean up after myself.

There is a much longer list of the myriad of things I didn’t manage to do today, but I’ve decided that list can go fuck itself.

The wall.

It’s been nine months since the final surgery that removed my uterus and remaining ovary.  I have been getting more active, more energetic, better.  Sometimes better enough to forget that it’s only been nine months.  Often, better enough to forget that my doctor told me it would be, at minimum, a year before I felt completely better.

So I get busy. I work, I work out, I play with the kids, I see people, and the whole time I am thinking “Woo hoo! I am getting better!” I feel energetic and great!  Even with migraines I feel miles above where I used to be.

Then I run smack into the wall.  BAM!

Yesterday I hit the wall after I saw the doc for a nerve block for my migraines.  I got home, blearily handled the kiddos while I waited for their dad, and then went to lie down because I could not keep my eyes open.  I am not exaggerating.  I could not stay awake any longer.  I hit the bed and I slept for three and a half hours.  Then I ate something, went back to bed, and slept ten.  I am exhausted and distracted today, unable to focus for very long on much of consequence.  My energy level is super low.

This has happened before.  It’s like I have used up all my spoons, and have to recharge before I get any more.  It’s not unusual, in fact I should expect it, but I never do.  I did when I was super sick, when I had to spend all my energy just not screaming at the kids or Lee or crying all the time because I hurt too much to be a human being much less a wife and parent.  Now that I am much better I forget how much farther I have to go.  I get greedy and impatient with myself, eager to return to the levels of energy I had before all this madness started.  Eager to leave behind the woman who watched the world rush around her while she lived in a quiet little room, too hurt to participate.

Unfortunately, the wall has no pity.  It is relentless.  I run into it and there is no running past it, no getting around it, no breaking through.  All there is are days of sleep, rest, and the feeling that I can’t do anything.   The feeling that I am right back in that room.  The wall will not let me by until I have taken the space and time I need to recover.

So I dial it back.  I spend less energy.  I try to regroup and build myself back up.  I hope this time I will have more energy than last, that I will be that much closer to healed.

That this time I will finally get completely out of that room.