Strawberry Overdose!

So cheap and juicy!

Regina Spektor sings, “Hey remember that time when you OD’ed? Hey remember that other when you OD’ed for the second time?” in her song “That Time.”

It’s a great song, and while I know she was talking about drugs, I can’t help but relate right now. Because I totally OD’ed on strawberries, and a part of me knew I was going to.

I’ve had an inkling for a while that the three times a week rule is more of a ballpark. Sometimes, I can get away with 4-5 times. And sometimes, 1-2. It depends on the food. Strawberries, it seems, are more of a 1-2 time food.

I ate about 5 strawberry cherry muffins early this week, and I used about 6 strawberries for the batch of 10. So that’s like 3 strawberries, over the course of 4 days. Not a lot, but a lot of times. Today, on my drive home from work, I wanted sugar so I had some freeze dried strawberries. One handful, fine. Two handfuls, fine. Third handful, verging on mediocre and I thought, “Hey, I think I’m overdosing.” But then, like a drug addict, I guess, I got hungry and wanted more and decided I was invincible. So handful number four, and it was like FIRE in my mouth. I feel hives on my tongue. It’s unlike most of my allergic reactions, because it’s not swelling per se, but it feels exactly like a hive only on the back of my tongue, not my skin.

I had one more to see if I was crazy and of course the hive flared back up. So yes, I am crazy, but probably for experimenting. While driving. Um, clouded allergy judgement anyone? (I was safe, though, hives just hurt they aren’t like fatal or anything, and I knew I wasn’t at risk for anaphylaxis, just discomfort. Sure it was dumb, but I promise it was not as dumb as it seems).

I then decided to do what any normal person does. Stop to pick up dry cleaning that’s been waiting at the cleaner’s for over a couple of weeks. There’s something about proving to myself that I’m not sick that makes me really want to do chores. I bet that these days, if I had an anaphylactic reaction, I’d consider cleaning my apartment before using my Epipen. I’m motivated by stubbornness and control issues. You can’t stop me, I say!

Anyway, as I climbed the stairs to the cleaner (4 steps), I noticed I was not as spry as I usually am. That confirmed this reaction. This burning on my tongue is not a hallucination, it’s not insanity, it’s not psychosomatic, it’s a real reaction. And since I am not allergic to strawberries, it must be an overdose.

I’m Cindy, and I overdosed on strawberries. But hey. I also finally picked up my dry cleaning.

Win/win?

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins – Vegan and Gluten Free

There are three days a year I absolutely need to eat pumpkin pie: Sept 13 and May 12 & 13. I do this in honor of my beloved late friend Bernard Herman, who loved him some pumpkin pie. We started a tradition in May 2005 to buy Bernard a pumpkin pie for every momentous occasion, in homage to him eating my friend Elyssa’s pie when she was out of town, in the most Goldilocks of ways. It was just so something he’d do, and he loved the food so much. Plus, as my friend Zach pointed out, what college students ever got to say the sentence, “We’re going to buy Bernard a pie?” We did.

And so every year since his passing, I keep the tradition alive by eating pumpkin pie on his birthday and the anniversary of his death/the following day when I found out about his death.

Except I can’t eat pie. It’s been secretly breaking my heart since the whole “no wheat or eggs” thing started 60+ days ago. How would I eat pie today? What if I couldn’t eat pie again?

Enter pumpkin oat muffins. I’d made them before as an erroneous cookie, and I’ve experimented a bit since, but since the whole “3 times a week” diet thing started, and since I’ve been trying to avoid any contact with egg yolks so egg whites are out of the picture, I’ve steered clear of desserts. Until now.

The following recipe is based on a pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe from Cooks.com. I had the original before this whole thing started, and it’s delicious. But if you’re looking for an egg and gluten free alternative, the muffins are great. Also, since I can’t have nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger, I replaced those with extra sugar and brown sugar. Refer to the original recipe for the proper spices. But seriously, delicious either way.

I don’t typically measure so much when baking, especially when I’m playing around with ingredients, because you really can’t tell how many oats equal one cup of flour. So the below are total approximations, but I feel like you can sense the consistency as you’re baking. Plus, if it’s a little gooey (it was the first time) you get a great souffle. Who doesn’t like souffle?

3/4 cup corn starch

1/2 tsp baking soda

~ 2 cups oats

~ 1 tsp brown sugar

a heaping cup of sugar

3/4 cup oil

1 tsp salt

1 can pumpkin

1/4 cup applesauce (to make 1/4 cup applesauce, since I can’t eat prepared foods, I used this applesauce recipe from allrecipes.com. I trimmed the portions to 1/4 the original amount to make sure I only made as much applesauce as to replace one egg, ie 1/4 cup).

Preheat overn to 375.

Mix flour, sugar, bakind soda, salt, brown sugar, and oats. Add in pumpkin and appleasauce. Mix well.

Drop into a muffin tin. If you don’t have little paper liner things, dab a little corn starch into the tin to keep the muffins from sticking.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a knife can be removed without any residue.

Steroids, Part Deux.

I just got back from the hospital a little bit ago.  Because I decided to finally do the right thing and take care of myself when I’m having a reaction.  Fine, I decided a little too late – should have gone at around 6:45 when the hives (hives!!! haven’t seen those in forever!) started and the throat started closing.  But benedryl helped until I ate again at dinner time at 8:30.  One of my hives started burning like crazy – had to ice it to stop the pain – and my throat started closing again and I got weak and tired and couldn’t speak easily.  But I could breathe just fine, so…

After much debate and two more benedryl, I made my way to the hospital at 10pm.  Was taken kind of quickly, got a snarky, “So what do you eat?” from the triage nurse, so I responded as though it was a typical question on her form, because I don’t have time for that rudeness, and was ushered off to the “chairs” in the ER.  Because there weren’t enough beds.  Two hours and only one nurse later, I still hadn’t seen a doctor.  And my swelling was subsiding by this point but I knew I’d be screwed for the next few days for not taking care of this sooner.  So I approached the bench, if you will, and talked to a doctor who was doing paperwork.  She said she understood, and ordered some steroids (Prednisone) and Pepcid (an antihistamine that blocks stomach histamines, as opposed to benedryl which blocks other histamines).  Easy as pie.  Because she and I both knew what I was there for.  I was alive, just needed medicine, and doctors don’t prescribe meds in the middle of the night except in ERs.  I waited about half an hour for the prescription to be filled, talked to a resident soon after, and he monitored me for an hour – wherein I got a rash all over my stomach and back (what is with these skin reactions?) but he said it was no bigs and as long as my throat wasn’t worsening, I could go.  So now I’m on the steroids for the next few days (just in time to stay up all night retelling the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, woot Passover! Maybe I’ll pull a Rabbi Tarfon and stay up until the zman comes), more pepcid, more benedryl…

Guess I won’t be trying wheat on day 30, which is tomorrow.   Not sure if this month of a cleanse has been successful or not. I guess I learned that I’m not crazy and that I can take care of myself and how to do so, but I don’t know if I narrowed my allergies at all.  Because I didn’t positive to apples, and all I ate at 6:45 was an apple…so…something is amiss.  But we’ll figure it out.  This’ll end.

Anyway, things I overheard in the emergency room:

1. “I smoked marijuana before I came here because I was nervous about the surgery.  So I thought that if I was gonna die today I may as well enjoy myself and go out with a bang, I was so good when I got here but I’ve been waiting so long it’s all gone now.”

2. “She found the knife, was playing with it, and then tased herself.”

3. “I’m not going to pee in a cup. I don’t have to pee.  I feel like I’m going to throw up, I’m not here to pee.  I’m here to sit down.  And get better.”  BEAT. “I have another cup in my purse from the last person who told me to pee.  I’ll pee when I have to pee.”

Let me tell you, it was no Grey’s Anatomy.  I was dying for Lexie or Christina or someone but mostly it was a bunch of tired NYers who are total honey badgers (ie: don’t give a fuck).

And yeah…I’m awake.  That’s what ‘roids and 5 hours in a hospital will do for you.