The Anatabloc Logs, Week 3, week of July 16th

Pin It My apologies on being tardy with my log. Sometimes The Urban Domestic Diva goes from "lots of doing" to "too much doing." It's no wonder I have Crohn's Disease!

I do wish to make one comment in reponse to a questions asked of me last week. I am not paid by Star Scientific. They have not contacted me to do this, and I am not getting any compensation or free samples. I started doing this because I was keeping daily logs for my GI anyway, so why not just share some of my experiences with others to help us all hopefully get on paths of healing? That was my only motive. Anatabloc is so new, I thought it might help others to follow someone weekly who is on it to see how someone with my disease reacts to it. That's the truth, pure and simple.

This report will be short and sweet. Because things are going swimmingly!

My bathroom visits are 98% normal. The most normal I have had in I don't know how long. No pain. No cramps. No fevers. Nothing. Normal. My tummy in general is a lot more calm, even when eating things that usually really disrupt it.

My energy is way up! I cleaned the house like a madwoman Saturday, from 10 am to 10 pm with just sitting down once. I even baked some stuff for my blog in between and did loads of laundry.

I have noticed this week that my gums have been sore and swollen. They just started feeling normal again a couple days ago. Not sure if the lozenges were too harsh for my gum tissue? I used listerine a couple times to keep them from getting infected and they seem a lot better as of right now.

I lost weight over the past few weeks. Nothing monumental. But my clothes fit better. A few people at work said I look healthier. They wanted to know what I was doing. Of course, I told them! I have a few people at work trying it out now, too. One for severe excema. I hope it helps her.

I have been thrilled with how this has been working for me. I still cannot believe it. I added a probiotic supplement and multivitamin to my morning routine. If Anatabloc is supposed to help your body take down inflammation to heal, I am hoping to give my body some tools to actually do some healing. Maybe even some aloe vera juice as well to help soothe the lining of my digestive tract might be in order this week as well? It helped when I was first diagnosed, actually. Diluted with a low-sugar juice and it isn't so bad!

That's it for now. I truly, truly hope this is a long term soultion for auto-immune disorders versus some of the harsher drugs out there. I hope that doctors take this supplement seriously and really look into all of it's possibilities.

Until next week, take care of yourself!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

RECIPE: Prickly Pear and White Chocolate Muffin Cookies

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I adore my very Italian family. They show their love with hugs, kisses, yelling loudly and food. If you tell an Italian from the old country you like something you have tried while they had you over, be prepared to get a lot of it in your future. I once told my mother I liked Eggplant Parmesan, and she pretty much made it for me at every family get together until I begged her to stop. That goes the same for my husband and bags of figs, or the gifted bags of freselle rings in the pantry I can't possibly eat in one lifetime, or boxes of gifted clementines for my daughter who was eating them with gusto at my parent's house. I tried a dishwasher cleanser that my father gave me and I told him it worked miracles. Now every time I visit, he has two set aside for me in a bag. My husband keeps finding them under the sink. He is less impressed.

Italians are the most generous people I know. They will feed you until you can't move, even if it means they will eat nothing but rice the rest of the month because of budget constraints. Food and giving to others is the way you enjoy life in their eyes. It is the way you show love and kinship, and if they can provide that for you it gives them great joy. So recently, my husband enjoyed some prickly pears with my Godparents at Easter. He raved about how good they were. Well, guess what arrived a few weeks ago via my father? A giant bag of prickly pears!

Many were green, so we waited for them to ripen. You will know they are ready when they have a brown-red color versus a green color. There were so many, I wondered if I could bake with them. The following recipe is what I came up with. After making them, I added nuts. Prickly pears have small nut-seeds. They are soft and usually are eaten. If you aren't used to it, the added nuts mixed in the cookies meld with the texture and you won't notice them. You can also just skip the diced prickly pear and make double the syrup using all 4 pears. You may need to cut back on your liquids, like the sour cream. My husband loves prickly pears, so I went for more fruit bits in the cookies. I call them muffin cookies because they are very cake-like. I think you could try adapting the recipe for muffins and they would be great! Just lengthen the cooking time and maybe adjust the leavening a little to make them true muffins.

Prickly Pear and White Chocolate Muffin Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup or so prickly pear syrup from 2 prickly pears (see below)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix Ins:
1/4 cup sweetened, dried cranberries
1/2-3/4 cup prickly pear fruit, peeled and diced into small bits
1/4 cup chopped pecans (macadamia or pine nuts can work, too)
1/4 cup white chocolate chips


Cut both ends of your prickly pears and discard. Peel the skin and discard. Dice two pears and reserve for later. Roughly chop the other two and place in a small food processor. Puree until smooth. Pour in a small saucepan and cook at a low simmer for 10 minutes, or until reduced down and thickened. Push puree through a fine sieve so you have about 1/4 cup smooth syrup. Discard the pulp. Set aside the syrup to cool down.

Preheat oven to 375˚, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Mix the flour with the salt and baking soda. Set aside.
Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy with a mixer. Add the egg and mix until fluffy. Add the sour cream, syrup and vanilla. Mix until combined. The batter will be a lovely, creamy garnet-pink color. With a spatula, fold in the nuts, cranberries, diced prickly pears and white chocolate until well combined. Feel free to not put in all the prickly pear if you have a lot as to not overwhelm things.

Drop batter by the Tablespoon about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10-15 min. or until golden on the top.  Cook longer if making muffins. Cool cookies on wire rack. Sprinkle them with powdered sugar for garnish.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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In honor of the middle of summer (which I may add, is going so fast it's depressing me) I am posting a great infographic with grilling tips. I have to say, my sister is a single mom and I am always impressed how amazing she is with her grill. She just rules her grill like a grill'n diva! I am kind of a wuss about things "on fire". So I leave the grill tasks to my big "brawny man". You see, I had an accident with a lit candle, a bathrobe and a Q-tip at an ex-boyfriend's house in college. Surmise what you will. I was fine with the "stop, drop and roll" technique, but my ear with the Q-tip in it while rolling...was not. Ouch. 

So no open flames for me.

So here's to all you Grill'n Brawny Men and Grill'n Divas! Enjoy!


RECIPE: Blueberry Lemon Elderflower Breakfast Cake

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I had some organic blueberries from my mother that were starting to crinkle up and dry out. Basically past the point of eating fresh, but not quite bad enough to toss out without feeling pretty guilty (Italian-Catholic guilt, gotta love it!). The best thing to do with berries like these is either make an ice-box jam or bake them into muffins, breads, cookies or cakes. Deciding on the latter route, I concocted a breakfast cake yesterday morning to use up most of them (tossing the really crinkly-mushy ones). I thought St. Germaine elderflower liquor would be a great way to add a sunny flavor to brighten them up a little.

I love Elderflower liquor. It has a wonderful floral, citrus flavor. When I bake with it I get a lot of questions about it. You can purchase syrups from various International markets and even at Ikea. They are great in summer cocktails, too. The flowers come from Elderberry bushes. You can harvest those as well to make syrups and tinctures to help colds and coughs (so my Mother-n-Law says). And there is always the famous quote from Monty Python's Holy Grail, "and your Mother smells like Elderberry wine!",highlighting another great use for the berries. I have not tried making wine yet. Might be fun!

I used whole wheat mixed with regular flour to make the cake more wholesome for breakfast. You can choose to go all one way or another. You can also add a different nut to your crumble like cashew or macadamia if you don't like almonds. But whatever you switch to, keep it a lighter flavored nut versus earthier so as to not hide the floral notes of the Elderflowers.

So there you go. Save some blueberries. Save some money. Impress and feed your family for breakfast. Pretty sweet.

Blueberry Lemon Elderflower Breakfast Cake


1 quart blueberries, rinsed and picked thru
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp Elderflower liquor, like St. Germaine

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Crumble topping
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. Raw Sugar (light brown is fine, too.)
Dash of vanilla
2 Tbsp. slivered almonds


In a small bowl, mix the rinsed berries with the lemon juice and liquor. Let sit for 30 min.

Spray an 11 x 7 pan with nonstick spray. Then preheat your oven to 375˚.

In another small bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and salt with a fork. Set aside.

In another small bowl, make your crumble. Mush the butter with a fork, then add the sugar and vanilla and mush some more. Next, add the flour and with your fingers, press the mixture around until clumpy. Mix in the almonds and continue until well mixed and crumbly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg with the oil. Add the milk, vanilla and sugar and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture while whisking until smooth and combined. Don't overdo it! It's why I do these kinds of cakes and pie crusts by hand versus the mixer because I feel the batter doesn't get overworked. With a spatula, fold in the berry mixture, liquid and all. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top. Bake on the center rack for about 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden and toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm with some java.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

LIFESTYLE: The Anatabloc Logs, Week 2

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I wish to thank all the people who have commented and shared their experiences with my audience and I this past week regarding the anti inflammatory supplement, Anatabloc. It was so encouraging and insightful! A few people asked why I only started on the lower dose versus the recommended one. To respond, I wished to start slowly because I did not know how my body was going to react to anatabine. I always feel caution is key when starting anything new, especially with your body. But I have upped the dosage to two three times a day this week, and have had no negative side affects. The mild headaches have gone, too.

As far as benefits, I can give you a rough overview in a nutshell. I am keeping a more detailed journal to share with my GI in a few months, but I won't bore you with specific details.


As always, I notice when I eat my regular diet of low sugar and whole grains v.s. processed food, sugar or refined flour, I do much better in general. Thus, the week started out a little rocky because of my nephew's birthday party last weekend (who can resist birthday cake or Doritos? Well, not me.) But even though I had a little pain and drama in the bathroom, it was not near as bad as it usually is. And once the week got under way, I was back on my healthier eating habits. SO that was good.

The past two days, I have had no pain in my gut at all. And completely normal, minimal bathroom visits.! I could jump for joy! I also have had a lot less drama in my stomach, especially at night.

Allergies for the summer are non existent. I feel like I have wide-open air ways. It's kind of crazy.

I have lost 5 lbs. or more and I have a ton more energy.

I think quicker and clearer.

I am kind of happier and not as stressed out. It's bizarre. Maybe it's the Vitamin D3 in the pill? But I have read that anatabine lessens inflammation in the brain (look at a recent Alzheimer's study by the Roskamp Institute) Maybe I need to make my father take some! I already gave my Mom some for her joints.

And here's a subtle thing. I noticed a small, dark age spot that formed a few summers ago on my lower cheek starting to lighten, for no reason at all.

Oh, and my husband has seen a marked improvement in his vision. He told me he can see things close up without blurriness. He wouldn't believe it if he wasn't experiencing it himself. Also, his cracked and bleeding feet that have been giving him problems for years with Athlete's foot and swelling have completely cleared up. I saw them this morning and I have never seen his feet look so clear!

So that's all to report for now.
I am curious to see if the past two days with my happier tummy continues at the level it's at. If so, then this is truly a miracle pill for me. But we'll see.

Until next week's check in, peace.

RECIPE: Easy Brined Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

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Grilled chicken is often a light and easy thing to do during the summer. However, it is often innocuous flavor-wise as well as dried out. I am not a huge fan. If we grill chicken breasts it's usually for a bigger dish like an Asian salad or pasta toss. But sometimes you want something light and easy as a main for those busy nights, and I have the ticket right here.

Brining the breasts in one simple step is easy. After reading a Cooks Illustrated, we found that brining does not get better with time or salt amounts. The protein will only absorb so much salt water, period. Usually it only takes an hour to get it to that point. We tried it a few times this summer, and it worked wonders on our "no-fuss chicken nights". The secret is just one simple hour-no more, no less. From there, continue with your recipe.

We served this chicken with a simple Caprese salad and corn on the cob. Pretty easy. Pretty yummy. This just might make me a "chicken on the grill fan" yet!

Easy Brined Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

1 lb. chicken breasts, trimmed
1/4 cup salt
water to cover
11 x 7 square pan

Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 cup chopped parsley
1/8 tsp. ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth (I dissolved 1/4 tsp. "Better Than Bouillon" in 1/4 cup warm water)

Lay the chicken in the dish. Pour cold water over to cover all the chicken. Add the salt and mix until dissolved. Let sit at room temp. for one hour (any longer will need refrigeration). Take the breasts out and rinse well under cold water and pat dry. Add them to a gallon sized sealable bag. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the parsley with the lemon juice, garlic, chicken broth and pepper. With a fork, whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Add the marinade to the chicken in the bag. Push the air out and seal. Mix the chicken around with the liquid and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 hours. The longer the marinating, the better.

Grill the chicken over low flame until juices come out clear, about 4-5 minutes on each side. A meat thermometer should read 165˚-175˚ in the middle. Serve warm.

LIFESTYLE: The Anatabloc Logs, Week 1

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Some of you may or may not be aware that I have Crohn's Disease. I like to blame my crazy, stressful career for it, and in particular, some of the mentally abusive ad agencies I have been at in my past. I was diagnosed in 1997, and I have been on steroids and on Mesalamine to keep it under raps. But as all chronic conditions go, they all eventually worsen over time. Though I have been luckier than most, my disease seems to be getting a little worse the past few years. What is odd, is that I feel fine. My doctor and I have been at odds as far as going on auto-immune suppressants. I guess I want to wait until I really am feeling worse, and she is saying that I am gambling, which I know I kind of am. But these new drugs are powerful and weaken your immune system. My friend passed away two years ago by getting Lymphoma after being on one of them for RA. These drugs have a long list of side affects.

Well, I had said goodbye to my last refill of Mesalamine, and needed to get my blood work done to start the autoimmune suppressants last week. But my husband had been chirping in my ear for a while about this new anti-inflammatory supplement on the market called Anatabloc. He follows the stock market and had read about the company that makes it, and all the studies and trials that are out there for inflammatory diseases. After an MS study they ran, he urged me to read up and give Anatabloc a try before making the jump to the stronger drugs. After doing research online, I felt it was all too good to be true. It was as if the angels heard my prayers and answered my faith that in my lifetime, medicine was going to figure out how to help some of these diseases we suffer. People with a variety of inflammatory diseases such as Rosacea, RA, Crohn's, joint pain, and MS had posted that this stuff is amazing and was helping many of them manage their disease better. What did I have to lose? My colon, but hey, that was in the cards anyway.

Anatabloc comes from the tobacco plant, ironically. I won't get into what it does or how it is made. Here is the link to the site, and you can do some research on your own. From what I have read, it seems safe to use, and you can buy it at GNC.

So my husband and I started a minimum dose 7 days ago. I hope to do a log on how I feel and the interactions with it over the next 6-8 weeks and see how I am feeling. So you can follow my "log" to see if maybe it might be something that can work for you, too. I have ulterior motives for the log. I want doctors to see how and if it is working, including my own. I know she will be skeptical if I ask her about it off the bat. So I am just going for it. Then we can get a GI done and see if there is improvement or not. If not, then I will suck it up and go to the stronger drugs.

Wish me luck!

Week 1, Anatabloc Log

The day we started, my Crohn's was misbehaving. I was having a little stomach pain and went to the bathroom 4 times in a day. They were not happy visits. I also was suffering from my allergies with sinus pressure and left ear pain. I also had lower back pain the whole previous week from carrying the laundry basket funny.

I end this week very surprised an encouraged. Surprised because everything I read said you will not notice much until 30 days on Anatabloc. I have to say, the past two days I have had no stomach pain at all, and each of those days day I had 2 NORMAL stops to the bathroom. And when I mean normal, I mean normal. I got too ahead of myself and ate a huge bowl of no sugar added ice cream, last night. This was a bad idea, because I had a minor flare up this morning. So I upped my dosage to two lozenges this morning, and all is quiet in my tummy since.

My back pain disappeared after two days. My sinuses were super clear after three with no more ear pain. I had a slight headache the first 4 days on it. But that seems to have stopped. I also have to say that my mind seems "clearer". It's hard to explain, but I have a lot more energy and my brain thinks quicker.

My husband reports that shockingly, his near eyesight has improved. His head is clearer. He has a lot more energy and he feels that his mind is sharper. And it has helped him quit smoking, which my husband said was what the supplement was originally for!

Miracle Supplement? Time will tell. We will keep plugging along. Other than today for me, we have only been taking 1 lozenge 3 times a day. I may increase mine, but we'll see.

RECIPE: White Chocolate Amaretti Berry Trifle

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I was tasked with a cool, light dessert for my Mother's 4th of July picnic. I have always wanted to try a trifle of some sort. It's like sweet, creamy deliciousness meets "lasagna". It always looked very dramatic for serving to guests, yet easy in theory. So as my mother was asking me for a dessert, I was staring at my Gooseberry Patch calendar with a  giant "summer berry trifle" recipe as the feature for this month. Thinking "culinary karma" was at work, I told my Mother that was what I would make. But the Gooseberry recipe was a little too processed for me. I wanted more complex flavors infused throughout to compliment summer berries like almonds and kirsch. I also decided to use crumbled Amaretti cookies to kick up the flavors even more while adding texture. So on July 3rd, I got down to business.

In my recipe, I made a white box cake. (Betty Crocker, to be exact. All the reviews online say that it is the best box cake for white and vanilla cake, fyi) Because of how moist this cake is, it got a little mushy in the trifle. You can try pound cake, angel food cake, or even lady fingers. If using lady fingers, I might double your melted jam/liquor mixture. Lady fingers need a good-yet-restrained soaking.

The women at the picnic said it was little too mushy but was still very good. The guys said it was lip-smacking good and wanted seconds. So go figure? I guess if you want more of a "bread pudding" consistency, go with a moister white cake. I may try something a little more absorbent and "structurally solid" next time around. Either way, this was a hit flavor wise and is now being requested by The Hubby for his birthday treat.

White Chocolate Amaretti Berry Trifle
Best if made the night before, refrigerate for at least 5 hours


1 White Box Cake, baked in a 11 x 7 or 13 x 9 pan according to directions. Cool completely. Cut into 1"-2" squares

16 oz. strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
6 oz. raspberries, rinsed
1/2 pint blueberries, rinsed and picked through

12 oz. good quality white chocolate, chopped roughly
1 cup heavy whipping cream plus another 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

1/2 tsp. almond extract plus 1 tsp. almond extract, divided

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup Amaretti cookies, crumbled in a ziploc bag with your hand or a rolling pin

8-9 oz. low sugar strawberry preserves
1/4 cup kirsch (or other cherry/berry liquor-or Amaretto would work nicely)


Assembly is easy. It's the prepping of every layer that's time consuming.

Bake your cake if not store-bought according to package directions, cut into rough thirds and chop into 2" squares. Set aside.

In a small saucepan heat the 1 cup whipping cream until hot. Add the white chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Take off heat and let cool down until room temperature. (if this is too warm your whipped cream will separate, so take your time to cool it down.) In a chilled mixing bowl, whip the 2 1/2 cups whipping cream until soft peaks form with the 1/2 tsp. almond extract. Carefully fold in your white chocolate mixture until well combined. Set aside in the fridge until you need it.

Toast the almond slices in a pan until golden. Take off heat and toss in the crumbled Amaretti cookies. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the berries together. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the preserves over medium heat with the rest of the almond extract and the liquor. Heat until melted, bubbling and able to be drizzled. Set aside.

In a clear glass bowl or trifle dish, layer 1/3 of your cake squares along the bottom. It can be loose.
Drizzle 1/3 of the melted preserves over the cake.

Layer about 1/3 of the mixed fruit next. Try to do this as evenly as possible.
Next, sprinkle about 1/3 of the almond crumble evenly.

Now add 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture evenly.

Repeat until you have 3 layers. Save a handful of almond crumble and berries for garnishing the top.
Store chilled for at least 5 hours-or over night.

Using a large serving spoon, serve it up with some chilled coffee!

INFOGRAPHIC TUESDAY: "Cost of Child" explains why "we can't have nice things".

Pin It Well, here it is folks; depressing truths in bright, happy colors.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my kid. Raising her is the most challenging, most rewarding thing my husband and I have ever done. But as we shake our heads wondering where all of our money is going, this pretty much sums it up.

I really don't care though. Love and family is about sacrifices. And with this "Cost of Child" infographic staring at you in the face, it's no wonder families all around this country are cutting back so they can still do right by their children. I do wonder if the food costs are based on processed, manufactured food or making things fresh and local? Would that amount go up even higher of you try and cook quality meals for your kids?

So I guess I will still be shopping thrift stores and brown bagging it to work. The good news, according to this, more sex seems to be in my future once monkey girls leaves the nest! WOOT WOOT! Light at the end of the tunnel, I guess!

What have you done to cut back so you can still provided a full life for your children? If you don't have kids, does this make you rethink having them? It's an expensive endeavor, though fulfilling. Please share!

Costly Kids
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