I cannot tell you how happy I was to say good-bye to last week and have the new week greet me this morning with sunshine and cool autumnal temperatures. Have you ever had one of those weeks where bad things pile on other bad things? One of those “When it rains; it pours!” weeks? We just did and I am ready to get on with life and be joyous again.
There were, as there always are, bright spots in the week. My youngest, older brother came to visit us with his wife and we did the town (Stillwater) and talked, laughed and cried until I was hoarse (seems to happen more now than ever before). Like nothing else, their visit took my mind away from the troubles that loomed, a funeral and facing an uncertain future.
We still face the uncertain future but the funeral of our auntie is behind us. A church funeral is not what I would choose but it was exactly what Janet ordered starting with the casket and right down to the hymns that were sung and the luncheon the church ladies served. She would have been ecstatic had she been able to attend and afterwards would have come to us and said “That was a really nice service wasn’t it?” To which, we would all shake our heads in agreement resisting the urge to scream “No, it was bloody horrible.”
Funerals and a bit of age-ism at McKesson have made me think about my life. Mostly it has made me think about the clutter in my life and thus I have resolved to clear away some of life’s detritus. We have accumulated family treasures after losing both our parents, and now this auntie, but with her recent passing it is time to clean house. I think it will be liberating and in any case we will learn something about selling on eBay.
Midst the drama this week there were the day-to-day events as well. When we got home there was talk of colder weather knocking at Minnesota’s back door, so I went down to our wild apple tree and surveyed the goods. It turns out that this year has been a bumper apple crop year for our naked tree. Naked, as in no sprays or treatments, just a plain old tree that produces a lovely yellow apple with a pink blush.
I got out my ladder and set it carefully on the lumpy, bumpy ground and with some trepidation climbed to the top and stuck my head and hands in to the heart of branches and leaves. When I was done I had a flourishing bucket of apples, mostly perfect but a few with some minor damage or possible worms (My dad always used to say “They have only eaten apple, so how bad can they be?”).
Faced with a bushel of fabulously untouched apples what do you do? Make something of course, so with half the bushel or slightly more I decided on apple butter and found this recipe for Naked Apple butter just what I wanted with a few tweaks.
Kris’ Naked Apple Butter
- enough “naked” apples to nearly fill your slow cooker, cored and sliced but peels left on
- 2 good-sized organic pears, cored and sliced but peels left on
- a smidge of water or apple juice
- vanilla creme stevia
- 1/2 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
Fill your slow cooker with apple and pear slices and add a little bit of liquid (I added less than a quarter cup of water). Put the top on the slow cooker, turn the setting to high and let it go for 4 hours or more.
During this time the apples will cook down and when they can easily be mashed with a fork this stage is done. Once they were mashed up I took my Bamix and blended it until it was smooth and almost glossy.
Now leave the cover off the slow cooker and cook until the apple butter is the desired consistency. I wanted mine really thick like the “bad” batch the author of the original recipe obtained in 2012, so I let it cook for two hours or until it was caramel colored and really thick.
When it was “Kris perfect” I stirred in 1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon and two droppersful of Sweetleaf Vanilla Creme Stevia and stirred well. I then added 1/2 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt or to taste. I then placed it in 2 pint jars and will keep it in the freezer.
By the way, the second batch I made didn’t turn out as perfectly as the first. I didn’t add pears to the second batch and I didn’t let the apples cook quite as long as the first batch, so I would let them cook as long as you can stand to wait, stirring every so often to keep them from sticking to the bottom as they are wont to do.
I served my buckwheat pancakes this morning with the apple butter and I thought it was a very tasty combination. They had no added sugar, and with the peels left on, the apple butter was full of fiber. Now can you say that about the maple syrup my spousal unit had on his pancakes?
As I haven’t shared any health insight perhaps I should before I say “Adios” for this week. Someone asked me a question this week about progesterone having read my blog entry titled “Paradoxical Progesterone“. I conclude after reading her vexation about trying to balance how she feels with what she has read, that while “Googling” things can be dangerous going to a doctor who you trust explicitly can be even worse. If an uninformed doctor tells you to do something you do it without a question. If you read something online you question it, you ask more questions, you seek other opinions and then maybe, just maybe you try it.
Such was the case with this perplexed reader. Her medical people have been telling her to take Progesterone but every time she takes it she feels horrible, has hot flashes, and cannot sleep. If she takes Estradiol she feels good, sleeps well, and has a good libido. However, she is being bombarded with information that says she is basically killing herself taking unopposed Estradiol, so now she is scared and stressed out with no money to have blood tests run at the moment (which she knows would be the best).
Here is what I know about progesterone that could counter what doctors tell you. If you have weak adrenals, aka adrenal fatigue, taking progesterone can cause all the side effects this reader is complaining about. That means if you have been diagnosed with weak adrenals progesterone will only make things worse until you heal your adrenals or get on a maintenance dose of HC.
On the Yahoo! Adrenal group one of the moderators used to warn people with adrenal fatigue away from progesterone, so she is my best source of information on the subject. I do know in my own case when my adrenals were struggling progesterone would cause sleepless nights and general agitation.
My best advice is, as always, listen to your body. If it is complaining about what you are doing there has to be a reason and you need to stop and re-evaluate your course of action. Listening to your body is, in the end, the most difficult course of action but it is also the one that will assure success.