Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It's raining.  Again.  The rain has been falling for the last few days.  And what does weather like this call for?  Other than umbrellas?


He doesn't show up as well in the photo as I'd like, but he's there.  A little asiago cheese duck, sitting on a ham wrap.  Keeping him company are yellow bell pepper slices, grapes, blueberries and broccoli.

added to What's For Lunch Wednesday

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers

It's been a slightly more challenging foods week here.  Pumpkin has lost some teeth, and Peanut has a dental appliance.  Soft foods are called for.

So, ta-da!

 Leafy looking pasta (which the package described as grain shaped, but the girls don't read Italian) in a green sauce, decorated with small Asiago cheese flowers.  Sliced baby carrots that have been steamed, with another flower, raw snap peas, grapes and blueberries are today's fruits and veggies.  Yes, the raw snap peas aren't exactly soft.  But they can be shelled. 

I call the green sauce 'pesto', but it's not, really.  It is a bag of frozen spinach, thawed and drained, tossed in a food processor with 4 cloves of roasted garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of finely grated Granna Padano cheese.  The ingredients were whirled together until a kind of soft paste was formed, and the spinach was no longer recognizable.  Normally fresh basil would be in there too, but we don't have any.


Seeds will be started indoors soon.

I hope all of you living someplace with a last frost date before the end of May really, really appreciate your climate.

added to What's For Lunch Wednesday

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where did my mind go? Chemo Brain and the "Ooh-shiny's"

Chemo Brain.

Have you heard of it?  That awful loss of your mind that happens when you've had chemo.  Did you know that even cancer patients who've had surgery, but not chemo, get it?  Yep.

Sucks, doesn't it?

Some things aren't mentioned to patients (or the general public) about chemotherapy.  Or any cancer treatments, for that matter.

"Your short term memory will be affected."  This they tell you.
It kind of makes sense, because the chemo is killing the little grey cells.  But it happens to people who've had their cancer treated via just surgery as well.  That part doesn't get shared so much.

"You get distracted more easily."  Some patients are told this, some not.  Some researchers I worked with called it the "Ooooh shiny! Effect" or, the "Ooh-shiny's" for short.

What is it like?  Well, bloody annoying for the person who has it.  I'm sure some folks who work or live with the person don't enjoy it either.  Some of the survivors I've spoken to were afraid to even mention this to their care givers.  They were (almost unanimously) terrified it was a symptom of something else.  Like metastases to the brain.  Or some form of dementia. 

You are trying to have a conversation with someone about something, like a book you've been reading, and all of a sudden, something grabs your attention.  Something you only partially saw, maybe.  Out of the corner of your eye.


Your train of thought has been completely derailed.
Poof!  Right in the middle of your sentence.

And it happens again and again.  You keep going off on a tangent.  Or you completely forgot what you were saying.  Or what the person you were talking to was saying.

Now, everyone has this at one time in their life.  But with someone who has been (or is being) treated for cancer, it happens a lot more.

Does it go away?

It depends.  (Do you hate that answer as much as I do?)

Most people see the effects gradually diminish following the end of chemo.  If you've never had chemo, but still got the Ooh-shiny's, things will (probably) be totally back to normal after 36 months.  If you had many rounds of chemo, it could take as long as 10 years.

Want to know more?
Check out the links below.

Memory Loss In Cancer Survivors Not Always Due To Chemotherapy 

Chemobrain Is Real but May Need New Name

Canadian Cancer Society - Changes in memory and concentration 

Central Neurotoxicity, Memory Loss, and Their Relationship to Chemotherapy

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hooray for Leftovers!

Tuesday's lunch for the girls is - Monday night leftovers!  With raw veggies!

Here we have brown rice and Chicken Adobo, in a purple cabbage leaf.  OK, part of a purple cabbage leaf.  The leaves are huge!  The girls will happily munch the cabbage when raw, but complain of the taste when it's cooked.  Not a problem.  Raw it shall be.

Rounding out the veggies we have snap peas in the pods (which can also be eaten) and baby carrots.  Grapes and blueberries are our fruits.

The girls adore Chicken Adobo.  It is so incredibly easy to make in the slow cooker that it doesn't feel like cooking at all;  more like assembly.  Put all the stuff in the slow cooker, turn it on, leave it alone.  And the rice?  Pfft.  I don't own a rice cooker, but make due with a smaller slow cooker that we call the Frankencooker.  I think supper took all of ten minutes to prepare.

added to What's For Lunch Wednesday

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day!

April 1st is a very popular day here.  The girls love to play tricks on us.  They also like having special meals, like breakfast-for-dinner, or cupcakes that are really cottage pie.

Today's lunch was requested weeks in advance.  It's a partial duplicate of one Peanut took to school a few years ago.  The reactions from her classmates were priceless.  We will have to wait 'til lunchtime to see what happens this year.

Blue Moose Pasta with Green Cheese!

The "moose" are actually Elk pasta from IKEA (it's organic), cooked in coloured water.  The cheese is mini bocconcini (fresh mozzerella) dyed green.  I used a purple cabbage leaf to hold the pasta and cheese, instead of our usual romaine lettuce.  It has such deep colour that the edges look almost black in the photo!

Kiwi, blueberries and yellow pepper slices finish out the rather garish colour scheme.  I do rather like the natural blue and green contrasted with the artificial blue and green, though.

And of course, napkins folded to look like shirts.

added to What's For Lunch Wednesday