Archive | February, 2012

Live Your Best Life

27 Feb

Chef Kefi’s Recipe for the Uninsured

21 Feb

Since I’ve started nursing school, the threat of two things has scared me to death: manual removal of a rectal blockage and getting sick.  If I add in that I am essentially uninsured, do I even have to tell you which one is more petrifying?

I left the land of the insured after three years of enjoying surprisingly great coverage. During that time, you know how many times I was actually sick enough to go to the doctor? Two.  Now that I’ve been uninsured for a whopping 12 months, you know how many times I have been DESPERATE for some antibiotics to soothe my aching, swollen glands? At least four.  John Boehner is laughing maniacally somewhere at this cruel irony.

Every June since I was about 7, I have suffered a horrible ear/nose/throat infection that is about as awful as an easily-treated-first-world-non-tropical-disease-that-doesn’t-kill-you can get.  This first bout with the “June bug” led me to do something I’m not even sure I should admit to on the internet: I dug through my medicine cabinet and prescribed myself an incomplete round of the nearly-expired amoxicillin I had squirreled away from god knows what (note to readers: this is not a good idea).  I hope when future anthropologists use this as a primary source to explain why penicillin is no longer a viable antibiotic, they will mention that I didn’t WANT to do this and that I am truly sorry to future generations.

Now that I had gone all Typhoid Mary, those pathogens flocked to me like flies on honey (how cruel that karmic retribution preys first on the uninsured and desperate rather than the assholes who decided we don’t all deserve health care).  Two months later, I was sick again.  Two months after that, I was sick AGAIN.  Then again at Christmas.  And yesterday morning, I woke up that same dreaded feeling: a tickle in my throat.  

Through all this, I have happened upon a bizarre triad of semi-medical treatment to kick a cold/infection (for at least the next two months).  THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL– but lemme tell you, it’s the only thing that’s gotten me through this year of not being able to GET medical advice from a medical professional.


  • ZiCam, whatever kind you like. The dissolving tablets taste less Zinc-y than the chewables.
  • Several bottles of some kind of juice with at least 100% of your daily recommended Vit C per serving.  I like NAKED Power C, Mango V-8 Fusion or regular ol’ orange juice–but it has to be REAL JUICE.
  • Green Curry (the spicier the better) with as many tissues as possible close at hand


1. Take ZiCam every 3-4 hours as directed*.  Do not eat 15 minutes before or after. Do not consume the Vit C juice within 30 minutes of taking ZiCam. Be vigilant about this.

2. Do not leave the house without your Vitamin C supply.  You should be drinking some kind of beverage chock FULL of Vitamin C whenever it does not interfere with ZiCam dosage and will probably end up drinking 3,000 calories and 3000% of your recommended amount of Vitamin C*. (But, Chef Kefi, isn’t Vit C water soluble and won’t you just pee the excess out? Yeah maybe, but this ish ain’t scientific–I’m just telling you what works for me.)

3. For as many meals as possible, eat the spiciest green curry you can find*. For DC people, Royal Thai in Chinatown is the best bet for my money. The spice will get your nose running–blow it as often as possible to clear out your sinsues. It is gross–best to order takeout.


Live Your Best Life

20 Feb

If you stare at it long enough/ the mountain becomes unclimbable./ Tally it up. How much time have you spent/ waiting for the soup to cool?/ Icicles hang from January gutters/ only as long as they can. Fingers pause above piano keys for the chord/ that will not form.  Slam them down./ I say: Make music of what you can.

Holy Moly: Chocolate-Banana "Nice" Cream

17 Feb

My fingers are still sticky from licking the bowl of this one: an “ice cream” with only three ingredients, no dairy, no bad fats, and about 1/1000 of the calories.  This is some damn crazy talk.  My brilliant cousin Joanna gave me the original idea, and I added chocolate and almond butter

Yes–that streak IS where I licked the bowl.

Before you start in on me about how someone whose New Year’s resolution involved eating kale cannot POSSIBLY know good ice cream, let me make one thing clear: although I enjoy healthy food, I LIVE for ice cream.  I keep a spoon in my car just so I can crack into some Chubby Hubby on the way home from the store and I’ve been known to plow through a gallon of Moose Tracks in a single day.  Once, BF Kef stared into my freezer for about 6 minutes, completely shocked that the two gallons of ice cream he had left there just three days ago were now nowhere to be found. 

(Wow- re-reading that paragraph makes me realize I am exactly one pint of mint chip away from being a guest on an upcoming Dr. Phil episode. The point is– I know my damn ice cream.) 

So, suffice to say I am thrilled to find a treat that is just as delicious as ice cream, without the pesky sugar, fat, and otherwise processed crap.  Plus, I can make this stuff without the checkout clerk giving me that look that says, “…wait, but weren’t you just here last night for a gallon of ice cream?”

 Chocolate-Banana “Nice” Cream


  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1 TBS unsweetened coco powder (I used carob powder)
  • 1 TBS of your favorite nut butter (I used almond)


1. Put bananas in the food processor for 1-2 minutes.
2. Throw in the other two ingredients. 
3. Puree to desired consistency.

Yep, that’s really, really it.

I-Only-Have-Eyes-for-You Carrot Soup

14 Feb

I began my Valentine’s Day celebration with a fine man with an advanced degree staring deeply into my eyes.  Yep, you guessed it, I went to the optometrist.  It has been many, many moons since my last actual eye exam (HourEyes not withstanding), and I’m pleased to report I don’t have glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, or presbyopia.  What I do have is a pair of baby blues who, apparently, are sick to death that their owner who never takes out her contacts.  It seems this results in the development of some new blood vessels around the cornea, which sometimes gives me the appearance of being an extra in a Ben Stein Dry Eyes commercial.

The easy (and medically-valid) solution to is taking out my contacts at night. Because I am not yet QUITE a medical professional (come on, 19 May!), I chose to augment the doctor’s orders with my own little remedy: Carrot Soup.  Turns out, my grandmother was onto something and carrots ARE actually good for your eyes, particularly your night vision. Who knew? 

So- today we’re working with a Carrot Soup that’s easy-peasey and won’t break the bank.

(And to the fine man with an advanced degree who is about to take me out to dinner without asking me to choose between Focus 1 and Focus 2– Happy Valentine’s Day!)

My pathetic attempt at artsy food photography.


  • 2 lbs of carrots (I used baby carrots for ease’s sake)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion or 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 TBS cumin
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 TBS fresh ginger (optional)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 c broth
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 TBS honey (more/less to taste)
  • A dollop of Daisey (some sour cream), for garnish (optional)


1. Heat oil over med-high heat in a soup pot. Throw in onion and garlic, then cumin, and lemon zest/juice.  Allow to sautee until fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. 

2. Add carrots and combine well so carrots get all the good flavorings.  Cook covered until carrots are soft, approximately 7-10 minutes. Add the ginger, then the apple and give the whole thing a good stir again. Cover and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the coconut milk, then the broth. Stir until combined and allow to boil.  Let the soup simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.

4. If you like a brothy soup, let simmer for an extra 5 minutes and proceed to step 5.  If you like a creamier soup, puree it in a food processor until you get to the consistency you like.

5. Once your broth is where you want it, add in the honey to taste (this counteracts the lemon so nicely, in my opinion).  

6. Like all soups, this tastes way better when you let it cool and sit for a few hours.  When ready to serve, do a dollop o’ Daisey and serve!


Live Your Best Life

13 Feb

Love Ever After

12 Feb

Despite being a somewhat pragmatic, generally critical member of our commercialized society, I still love Valentine’s Day.  Today I share a photographer’s account of New York couples married more than 50 years–incredible and touching. Enjoy!

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