Crock pot Chili with Cornbread

Don’t you just love coming home to the smell of dinner cooking?

A crock pot is the best way to eat healthy while saving time and money, and mine is my best friend in the kitchen. Except maybe my Krinkle Kutter from the Pampered Chef. And my cast iron skillets. And my marinator. And my coffee press.

Anyway, here is a family favorite that satisfies:

brown 1/2 half pound of ground chuck or bison

carmelize an onion (brown it along with the meat if you like)

add the above to the crock pot

add 1 quart jar of diced tomatoes (or two cans) to your crock pot

add 2 cans of tomato sauce to the crock pot

add a fistful of garlic powder, a fistful of chili powder, and a fistful of cumin powder

and anywhere from a dash to a fistful of cayenne pepper, depending on how brave you are

~~let this cook all day and keep your paws off the cooker~~

one or two hours before serving:

sift together 1 cup of yellow cornmeal, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt and 1 TBSP baking powder into a bowl, stir.

In a separate bowl:

whisk 1 cup of kefir (or buttermilk) with 1/2 cup millk and 1 egg.

add 1/2 tsp baking soda to the liquid mixture

add 1/4 cup melted butter to the liquid mix

Slowly add the the liquid to the mixed dry ingredients and mix only until combined. Be sure not to overmix!

Spoon the cornbread mixture over the cooked chili and let cook for another hour or two, (on high)

for another hour or two, depending on your crock pot strength.

(If you have a different, favorite cornbread recipe, by all means use the one you like the most, but do try the above …so you know)

Autograph their napkins, and try to avoid the paparazzi.


Sweet Poison

This is a letter in my hospital email:


In October of 2001, my sister started getting very sick.  She had stomach spasms and she was having a hard time getting around. Walking was a major chore.  It took everything she had just to get out of bed; she was in so much pain.

By March 2002, she had undergone several tissue and muscle biopsies and was on 24 various prescription medications.   The doctors could not determine what was wrong with her.   She was in so much pain, and so sick she just knew she was dying.

She put her house, bank accounts, life insurance, etc., in her oldest daughter’s name, and made sure that her younger children were to be taken care of.

She also wanted her last hooray, so she planned a trip to Florida (basically in a wheelchair) for March 22nd.

On March 19, I called her to ask how her most recent tests went, and she said they didn’t find anything on the test, but they believe she had MS.

I recalled an article a friend of mine e-mailed to me and I asked my sister if she drank diet soda?   She told me that she did.   As a matter of fact, she was getting ready to crack one open that moment.

I told her not to open it, and to stop drinking the diet soda!   I e-mailed her an article my friend, a lawyer, had sent.   My sister called me within 32 hours after our phone conversation and told me she had stopped drinking the diet soda AND she could walk!  The muscle spasms went away. She said she didn’t feel 100% but, she sure felt a lot better.

She told me she was going to her doctor with this article and would call me when she got home.

Well, she called me, and said her doctor was amazed!  He is going to call all of his MS patients to find out if they consumed artificial sweeteners of any kind.   In a nutshell, she was being poisoned by the Aspartame in the diet soda… and literally dying a slow and miserable death.

When she got to Florida March 22, all she had to take was one pill, and that was a pill for the Aspartame poisoning!   She is well on her way to a complete recovery.  And she is walking!   No wheelchair! This article saved her life.

If it says ‘SUGAR FREE’ on the label;   DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

I have spent several days lecturing at the WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE on ‘ASPARTAME,’ marketed as ‘Nutra Sweet,’  ‘Equal,’ and  ‘Spoonful.’

In the keynote address by the EPA, it was announced that in the United States in 2001 there is an epidemic of multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus.  It was difficult to determine exactly what toxin was causing this to be rampant.   I stood up and said that I was there to lecture on exactly that subject.

I will explain why Aspartame is so dangerous:   When the temperature of this sweetener exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants.   The methanol toxicity mimics, among other conditions, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus.

Many people were being diagnosed in error.   Although multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence, Methanol toxicity is!

Systemic lupus has become almost as rampant as multiple sclerosis, especially with Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi drinkers.

The victim usually does not know that the Aspartame is the culprit.   He or she continues its use; irritating the lupus to such a degree that it may become a life-threatening condition.   We have seen patients with systemic lupus become asymptotic, once taken off diet sodas.

In cases of those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, most of the symptoms disappear. We’ve seen many cases where vision loss re turned and hearing loss improved markedly.

This also applies to cases of tinnitus and fibromyalgia.   During a lecture, I said,  ‘If you are using ASPARTAME (Nutra Sweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc) and you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting, pains, numbness in your legs,





Joint pain,

Unexplainable depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss you probably have ASPARTAME poisoning!’   People were jumping up during the lecture saying,
‘I have some of these symptoms.  Is it reversible?’



STOP drinking diet sodas and be alert for Aspartame on food labels!   Many products are fortified with it!   This is a serious problem.   Dr. Espart (one of my speakers) remarked that so many people seem to be symptomatic for MS and during his recent visit to a hospice; a nurse stated that six of her friends, who were heavy
Diet Coke addicts, had all been diagnosed with MS. This is beyond coincidence!

Diet soda is NOT a diet product! It is a chemically altered, multiple SODIUM (salt) and ASPARTAME containing product that actually makes you crave carbohydrates.

It is far more likely to make you GAIN weight!

These products also contain formaldehyde, which stores in the fat cells, particularly in the hips and thighs.   Formaldehyde is an absolute toxin and is used primarily to preserve ’tissue specimens.’

Many products we use every day contain this chemical but we SHOULD NOT store it IN our body!

Dr. H. J. Roberts stated in his lectures that once free of the ‘diet products‘ and with no significant increase in exercise; his patients lost an average of 19 pounds over a trial period.

Aspartame is especially dangerous for diabetics.   We found that some physicians, who believed that they had a patient with retinopathy, in fact, had symptoms caused by Aspartame.   The Aspartame drives the blood sugar out of control.   Thus diabetics may suffer acute memory loss due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are NEUROTOXIC when taken without the other amino acids necessary for a good balance.

Treating diabetes is all about BALANCE.   Especially with diabetics, the Aspartame passes the blood/brain barrier and it then deteriorates the neurons of the brain; causing various levels of brain damage, Seizures, Depression, Manic depression, Panic attacks, Uncontrollable anger and rage.

Consumption of Aspartame causes these same symptoms in non-diabetics as well. Documentation and observation also reveal that thousands of children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD have had complete turnarounds in their behavior when these chemicals have been removed from their diet.

So called ‘behavior modification prescription drugs’ (Ritalin and others) are no longer needed.   Truth be told, they were never NEEDED in the first place!

Most of these children were being ‘poisoned’ on a daily basis with the very foods that were ‘better for them than sugar.’

It is also suspected that the Aspartame in thousands of pallets of diet Coke and diet Pepsi consumed by men and women fighting in the Gulf War, may be partially to blame for the well-known Gulf War Syndrome.

Dr. Roberts warns that it can cause birth defects, i.e. mental retardation, if taken at the time of conception and during early pregnancy.   Children are especially at risk for neurological disorders and should NEVER be given artificial sweeteners.

There are many different case histories to relate of children suffering grand mal seizures and other neurological disturbances talking about a plague of neurological diseases directly caused by the use of this deadly poison.’

Herein lies the problem:   There were Congressional Hearings when Aspartame was included in 100 different products and strong objection was made concerning its use. Since this initial hearing, there have been two subsequent hearings, and still nothing has been done. The drug and chemical lobbies have very deep pockets.

Sadly, MONSANTO’S patent on Aspartame has EXPIRED!   There are now over 5,000 products on the market that contain this deadly chemical and there will be thousands more introduced.   Everybody wants a
‘piece of the Aspartame pie.’

I assure you that MONSANTO, the creator of Aspartame, knows how deadly it is.

And isn’t it ironic that MONSANTO funds, among others, the American Diabetes Association, the American Dietetic Association and the Conference of the American College of Physicians?

This has been recently exposed in the New York Times.   These [organizations] cannot criticize any additives or convey their link to MONSANTO because they take money from the food industry and are required to endorse their products.

Senator Howard Metzenbaum wrote and presented a bill that would require label warnings on products containing Aspartame, especially regarding pregnant women, children and infants.

The bill would also institute independent studies on the known dangers and the problems existing in the general population regarding seizures, changes in brain chemistry, neurological changes and behavioral symptoms.

The bill was killed.

It is known that the powerful drug and chemical lobbies are responsible for this, letting loose the hounds of disease and death on an unsuspecting and uninformed public. Well, you’re informed now!

Please print this out and/or e-mail
to your family and friends

Electrocutee…NOT Electrocutie! ..or what to expect when you’re shocked.

Entering the ER unit is always an adventure. My favorite aspect of the job is not knowing what waits in each room. As I start my beginning rounds, I have to be ready for anything, and it generally sets the pace for the night, with the exception of new incomings (ambulance arrivals) and law enforcement offerings.

On this particular night, I was directed to stay in the stretcher/triage area of the emergency room. Having been through a lot emotionally and physically this week, I let go a sigh of relief. This meant that I would be monitoring only up to 4 patients,  and these would inevitably be transferred to the unit or elsewhere in the hospital. So when I arrived in the stretcher/triage area, it was even more of a relief to find only 2 patients there, both having just received their morphine and on their way to Pleasantville. Whew!! I could actually sit back for a bit, catch up on some shop talk, check my messages (maybe a quick social networking update…or two) and just be.

Ok, that lasted for about 1/2 hour. Now I’m ready for some action!  …still nothing. Stretcher #2 starts to snore.  #1 wants to know if she can have something to drink. (morphene gives you the cotton mouth big time) no drink, but ice chips will do. Ahhh okay I’m downright bored now. The paramedic student beside me asks if it’s okay to go smoke a cigarette. Sure, what could happen?

Of course, what could happen? What happens is this: during the silence of the weak and convalescing 2 patients, and the paramedic gone, I get the call. The call to run over to Trauma 1 because there is an incoming  bringing a 26 year old female in her 38th week of pregnancy who just got electrocuted. Now that’s more like it! With the security guard on the watch, I run over to the trauma area, ready all the machines, meet the OB/GYN folks and help them set up, adrenaline on stun, everybody’s ready…. and here comes our white trash princess, cursing and badmouthing everybody from the county to the White House. On getting more information, we discovered that she was trying to watch Babe and felt a shock go up her left arm. She also asked if she could deliver the baby while she was there. The baby  was fine, except for a slightly elevated heartbeat. When asked, the mom revealed a 2 pack a day habit. Well, Duh! So, baby is fine, mom is fine, we didn’t deliver a baby, and now our white trash princess decides to bring her white trash mom in on the scene and they begin to trash talk our hospital. That’s where I draw the line. When you insult the hospital I work in, aren’t you insulting me, and my decision to work here? We were ready and waiting for you and your baby, ready to save your life, ready to spring  into action to revive you, and you curse our facility because we won’t deliver your baby early for you? Have a nice day.

The wait is over!!

So, I’ve been waiting for one of two types of envelopes. A small, thin letter that would say “No, you did not qualify for a seat”, or a letter saying “Please complete the following forms and report to the school for your orientation to complete the final four semesters of Nursing school.” This would, of course, come in a large envelopes with all of said forms.  They would contain the forms to take in to the doctor’s office for a complete physical, the forms for a drug test, a background check, immunizations, etc., etc., etc….

My youngest son loves to check the mail. Lately he has been playing games with me. One day he’d say “Mom, you got a leeetle envelope from the school”, and there would be just bills. Or one day he’d say “Mom, you got a great big envelope from the school” and there would be junk mail. My poor mail carrier. Then we got a new mail carrier a few weeks ago, and soon after, we started getting other neighbors’ mail. Oh, no! I wondered if maybe our neighbors were getting our mail as well. This could be a disaster! What if my letter was sent to the wrong person? What if they “return to sender” and the school doesn’t hear from me and they give some one else my seat? All these thoughts went around and around in my stomach, all the while my son kept saying that there was either a large acceptance package, or a small, thin “NO” letter. Meanwhile, all my classmates are asking me if I have heard anything, and I am asking them. It has been a stressful  month, kind of like the last week of gestation. Is this it? Is this it? Is it time yet? How about now?

Finally the wait is over. My  beloved son just brought me the big envelope. Without a word. Just brought it to me. I started praying before taking a nap, fell asleep in the process, and woke up to my youngest son bringing me the mail. Not a word. He just set it beside me, and it was the only item that came in the mail for me that day. It was all I needed. I have made it halfway through nursing school now, and it is time to finish!

I can’t remember how many times I had to read the letter to know it was real. It was like I was still dreaming! What is really cool, is that my daughter in law, who lives behind us, received the same letter. We can carpool, study, practice, cry, and laugh together. I believe this experience will make or break our relationship! With work and compassion and empathy, I intend for this to strengthen our relationship.

We went to orientation together yesterday, and got a lot of instructions and paperwork to finish up.

Then we went shopping for white leather regulation nursing shoes.  ehhhhh.. not very sexy. (or are they….?)

Class starts August 10!

Hello Kitty Gone Wild

Everybody knows I love Hello Kitty. I’ve been a fan since I was about 10, and growing up with her, I’ve discovered her many different sides and attitudes.

Being in the medical field, I always try to find the interesting scrubs, the ones that aren’t so booooring.

Well, my Hello Kitty scrubs make me feel good. They are Asian inspired, and every single time I wear them to work, someone compliments them, and just loves them, and it always seems to make that shift even more fun!

One day a young man, who had just been released from prison, decided he wanted to celebrate. And celebrate he did. He tested positive for all kinds of party goods, and when the paramedics brought him in, he was talking incoherently, and so fast no one could understand him. His heart rate was 175 on admission. As the time went by, his heart rate came down to 125, and his speech became a little easier to comprehend each time I did my rounds. Having an interest in tatoos, I couldn’t  help but notice the vibrant, diabolical, flaming tatoos on this young man’s body. Flames, weapons, skulls, belligerent phrases which I won’t mention here. It was quality artwork though. Mean, but good work.

On this particular evening, I was wearing my favorite Hello Kitty scrubs.

I was finally able to understand him, and he told me that he liked my scrubs, and that he also liked Hello Kitty. Hearing this brought a chuckle, followed by an “oh, really?”

“Really!” he said, and told me that he had a Hello Kitty tatoo. “Do you want to see it?”  Of course I did!

Now I like tatoos, and I like Hello Kitty, so I thought I was in for something cool, but….

by the time I turned around he had his drawers down, and was pointing to the Hello Kitty on his groin.

This is a first for me, and I have to wonder what the motivation was for this particular art expression.

I have my theories. Do you?

Drive + Text = BAM!

Somebunny loves me!

As I was getting a newly emptied room ready for a new arrival..(We don’t have long, sometimes a minute, sometimes the Paramedics come in as we are putting on new sheets and cleaning up blood or vomit or pee…or worse)…I found a plush stuffed bunny that had been given to the previous patient. I set it aside, then when I had a minute, I found out where she’d been moved to, set off down the hall to take her the bunny. Maybe it was her main source of comfort, maybe it had some sentimental value (like the one still on my dresser that was brought to me by a close friend when I had been in the hospital). I found the 17 year old girl, who immediately saw the stuffed bunny and said “I don’t want that. I’m 17 and too old for stuffed animals.” I told her my age (I’m not telling you), and about the plush bear still on my dresser.” You can toss it.”, she said. My heart sank. As I turned around to leave, I noticed a little girl (maybe 5 or 6 years old) and decided to ask her if she liked bunny rabbits. Her eyes glowed, and her arms opened wide, and I placed the bunny into her open arms. She wasted no time saying “Thank you!”. Suddenly my heart was too big for my body. I wish teenagers could have an easier transition from innocence and wonder, to tact and appreciation.