Monday, April 25, 2016

4th Night of Passover!


Can't believe the holiday's already here. We had our own seder the first night, and it was with just Dad and I. I cooked almost everything and was the 'leader' of it, too. Seder lit. means 'order'. It's really a ritual dinner that goes in a specific order. You go over the symbols of the holiday, read the story, sing, eat, drink, and more. (There are 4 cups of wine. If you, like me, can't have wine, you can have grape juice instead.) One of the symbols is the roasted lamb shank, and some vegetarians use a roasted beet instead. I decided to do that since the lamb shank we had used for years had to be thrown out recently. Roasted beets are interesting...:iconseychelles-plz:I don't think I've used an actual beet before for anything. I've had beet salad or canned beets, but those aren't the same. They're already prepared. Apparently, beets get kind of leathery and soft on the inside. Their juice seeps out a bit, too. I probably was more fascinated by that than I should have been.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:

The roasted egg turned out the best out of the last few years I've been trying to do it myself.:iconranranruuplz:It turned out speckled and had a long crack. I used lettuce from a salad container we already had for the lettuce part of the plate. Why not? Already had it that way. 

I didn't make as much of the charoset as I usually do. Don't really need to. It can go bad pretty quickly, so why make a lot and possibly throw a bunch out?:iconsighingplz:Especially, if you most likely will be the only one eating it after the seder. Our family version is just chopped up apples, crushed walnuts, grape juice (was wine, but again I can't have it), and some cinnamon. I used one apple this time instead of 2. Probably added a little too much cinnamon. Cinnamon can be healthy, though.:iconpolandplz:Still ended up tasting good. Generally, we have it chunky. Some families puree it into a paste. Some add dry fruit. Some add honey. (Although, it's pretty sweet the way we have it, as is.) There's like a million different recipes for it out there, but it's usually some form of fruit and nut mixture. 

I made the Passover granola, again. It's really good!:iconinloveplz:It seems to get better every year. This time I added slivered almonds to the mix. Made my 'famous' popovers, too. Did 3 batches. 1 for ours, and 2 for our friends' 2nd night seder. That's 36 in total. That's a lot of popovers!:iconawkwardplz:I was worried we'd run out again at the 2nd night's seder. (It felt like they were really angry about it back then.:iconscaredplz:) Turned out we had some leftover from there. So, yay! More popovers for us! 

Made 'zesty garlic' chicken instead of getting a rotisserie chicken for the main part of the meal. Used the kosher of Passover Zesty Garlic dressing we got at QFC and cooked the chopped up chicken in it. Kind of like I would with a simmer sauce. Tasted and smelled awesome!:iconfrancisplz:

Made a kosher for Passover angel food cake with a chocolate glaze. The cake itself came from a boxed mix. Didn't have to add much. I think just water. The glaze was adapted a bit from a recipe on Epicurious. I made my own kosher for Passover confectioner's sugar. Regular ones use corn starch, this one uses potato starch. Corn is kitniyot, so since I follow Ashkenazic tradition, I can't eat it during Passover. And, to be honest, I've found that certain forms of corn don't agree with me now.:icontinoplz:(Ever since my IBD symptoms started.) I like it, though...Even with Sephardim, they have to be careful with kitniyot. They can eat it, but it has to also be scrutinized to make sure nothing that would be considered chametz has gotten into it. I think they also have to find kosher for Passover kitniyot products. So, it's not so cut and dry like some make it out to be. Anyways, it was kind of fun making my own.:iconchibihungaryplz:I didn't know it was so simple and easy to do. I also made a little less of the glaze than what the recipe would have made. I spooned it over the top of the cake. It looked pretty messy when I was done, but still tasty looking too. When we got to it the next night, it almost looked like a giant donut.:iconheroamericaplz:The glaze had hardened quite a bit, and there's a hole in the cake. It's very good. Still have a lot left. We also had macaroons, candied fruit slices, and chocolate covered candied orange peels for dessert. The orange peels are always interesting. Really tasty and they seem unique. They come from Israel, and the packaging is really interesting as well.

There were 12 people at our friends' seder. They always have a lot of people for theirs. The hostess' nephew brought along 2 of his friends. So, there were 3 more people that were somewhat close in age to me. Much closer than usual. Kind of was more refreshing that way. Seemed like I had some things in common with them, too. Her nephew is so energetic and friendly. We've met a few times before. The rest I think were regulars. It was nice catching up with people, too. We were told to bring the popovers and wine. Funny how other people brought wine as well.:iconusaplz:There was, luckily, sparkling grape juice. Interesting number of people that stuck with it, and didn't seem to have any wine. There was brisket, green beans (also kitniyot, so I couldn't have it), salad greens, matzo ball soup (theirs always comes out a bit weird, and everyone seems to add salt to the broth), a Sephardic-style charoset, hard boiled eggs, the popovers, fruit salad, kosher for Passover chocolate chip cookies (they're like drops of edible cookie dough. Really good), kosher for Passover peppermint patties, candied fruit slices, and macaroons. I was really stuffed by the end.:iconfeelingfullplz:So many desserts, too. Some people say it's hard to make/find desserts for the holiday. I highly disagree. There are so many options...:iconawwwplz:

Made another thing tonight. It was a fisherman's stew. The recipe was from an old Passover cookbook. Funny how it says 'the new' on there. I used salmon for the 'fish' part. They didn't specify what kind of fish. There were also tomatoes, potatoes, green bell peppers, onions, salt, and pepper. Seemed like a decent amount of vegetables, and healthy that way.:iconeestiplz:I was worried that it called for too much salt, but it seemed just enough. I'm not used to adding salt to things when I cook. A lot of the time I find other seasonings to be more than enough. The vegetables helped a great deal with the flavor, too. The 'broth' was just added water. Seemed fine that way. Would have been interesting with dashi, now that I think about it.:iconkikuplz:It seems pretty flexible. Found out through MyFitnessTracker's app that it's really low in calories, too. So, it's a win-win that way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

National Pet Day!


This holiday was on Monday, but I think we should celebrate them every day. Yay for pets!:dummy:They're amazing! We have 2 cats, Rosie and Tasha. Rosie is a tortoiseshell tabby with an attitude, and Tasha (short for Natasha) is a Turkish Van who seems to have some dog-like tendencies. Tasha also has very soft rabbit-like fur, and large paws.:iconseychelles-plz:It'd be awesome if someday they ended up buddies. Yesterday was Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. One of my fave sandwiches! I haven't had a good one in a long time.:iconpolandplz:

My gastroenterologist responded to the email about me being frustrated, on Monday. I think I kind of scared her, but I voiced what's been on my mind before and how I felt about certain things after I saw her last Monday.:iconhongkongplz:(I always try to be as polite as possible about stuff like this, though.) I feel, especially with something like this, that I should ask questions, stick up for myself, etc. I'm basically my own advocate. Except, I still don't feel I know much about what I have.:iconlietplz:I've been really frustrated about the diagnosis lately. Do I have Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis? Seems like it'd be good to know. They are sometimes treated differently. She has been very hesitant to say either of them. She responded by saying sometimes it's difficult to know for sure which one. She also brought up how looking at my colonoscopy back from the end of July, suggested Crohn's. Since the inflammation was seen throughout the entire colon, and was less severe in the rectum. Apparently, the inflammation is most severe in the rectum with UC. (She also didn't bring up how my stomach and duodenum were slightly affected in the endoscopy part.:iconhanatamagoplz:Another sign that suggests Crohn's.) She brought up that IBD test from back in August that indicated UC. So, as of right now, she can't be 100% sure. So, why was I diagnosed with UC in my after visit summary that Monday? Why did the results from my sigmoidoscopy come back saying there was no sign of UC? That specific wording.:icongermanyplz:I could see it'd be more understandable if they said there was no colitis that showed up in the biopsy, but to specifically be talking about UC...If unsure, why not use colitis or other terms that were used to describe it in the past? After reading that she can't tell for sure still, Monday's appointment seems even weirder to me.

She mentioned that hair loss could be a lack of adequate amounts of protein. She said this before when my hair first came out in large chunks.:iconusaplz:I had asked her back then if she could recommend a nutritionist who deals with people who have IBD. Preferably someone local. She never got back to me on that. This time she said she'll ask my primary if there are any locally for me. If my primary doesn't know of any, she'll tell me about ones across the water. (At least she didn't ignore it this time.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:) She also asked if I was taking a multivitamin. I am, but I don't think that would help with my protein...:iconswissplz:She said if I have additional questions, we can schedule a phone appointment to discuss. Sometimes, not often, it's hard to hear what she says because of her accent. Talking on the phone kind of makes it more difficult than just emailing her.:iconohboyamericaplz:

She asked at the very end how I was doing with Miralax. I hate this stuff.:iconromanoplz:The first day or two was alright. I wasn't crazy about it, and it made the iced green tea that it was in sweeter. I thought ok, having it slightly sweeter I'm somewhat ok with. It's been tasting more and more similar to that nasty laxative I had to take for the colonoscopy/endoscopy. (I couldn't keep that stuff down too well.) It's certainly not nearly as bad, but I'm getting a slightly familiar taste.:iconwtfukplz:Maybe I haven't been stirring it up all the way lately? Although, I've been stirring it until it runs clear. Anyways, its been turning my stomach a bit lately. Each dose has a lot of powder. Everyone seemed to be raving about this stuff. I don't think it's that great so far. I almost threw up after having it the last couple of mornings. It's not really helping with my constipation, either. I've just been feeling more and more stuffed over time. Eventually something's going to burst...:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:At least, that's how it feels. I still think it's a partial obstruction, or maybe it's specifically a stricture. They can happen often with Crohn's. I've read that laxatives might actually make it worse. So, I don't know. 

I have an appointment with my primary care doc this afternoon. Maybe I can bring this up with her. I feel like something is wrong, but my gastro is shrugging it off. (It seems this way, anyways.) Especially after the test results came back better a few weeks ago. I'll ask her about the nutritionist, too. I might do my next blood draw while I'm there. Maybe it'll indicate something towards why I feel this way. 

Also, my stomach's been hurting in general a lot lately. It started hurting more just before starting Miralax. It's gotten to the point where I look at food and wonder if it'll cause me more pain.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:I don't think I've had such bad stomach pain for so long. I've been eating a lot less lately. It wasn't like I was eating a lot on a regular basis beforehand. Maybe talking to my primary about it will jump start something for it.

Pesach or Passover is coming up quickly. It starts the night of the 22nd. Our friends are doing theirs on the 2nd night. So, we'll have a family one for the 1st night. Sometimes, the order is flipped. I think the last few years it's been the same, though. I still think just having Dad and I will be good for our seder.:iconthailandplz:Laid back, less cooking, etc. Although, I do like when there are guests. It's a different sort of atmosphere. 

Yesterday, I finally got around to some planning and figuring out what to make for it. I think for a 'special' dessert for our seder I'm going to make a kosher for Pesach angel food cake with some chocolate glaze drizzled over it. Sounds good.:iconfeelingfullplz:The cake mix has been sitting for a while. It's never been opened, but I should finally get to it. The chocolate glaze will be from a recipe I found online. It's originally made for donuts, but they said it's good for cakes, too. It's not labelled specifically as a kosher for Pesach recipe, but it could be. It's only about 4 ingredients. All of them are ok for Pesach normally. It might also take any off taste from the cake away. Sometimes kosher for Pesach cakes can have a slightly strange aftertaste, and occasionally be a bit grainy. The chocolate might help with that, if that's the case. 

I think our friends will ask me to make popovers for theirs. Last time I didn't make enough. Hopefully, they'll tell me how many people are going beforehand. I'm thinking of making 3 batches. 2 for their seder, and 1 for ours. Each batch has about 12 popovers. If they tell me that there will be more people, I'll try to make more. But, that's an awful lot.:iconawkwardplz:They cook and cool quickly, at least. I don't really know why people like them so much. I like them, but some people go crazy over them every time I bring them. Last time they also asked for a salad or vegetable. 

Found 2 interesting recipes from my The New Kosher for Passover Cookbook. It's not really new anymore. I think it was put out by an Orthodox Jewish women's group. They're recipes compiled from their members. Some are a bit strange, but others look really good and straightforward. One of the recipes I might make is Gulyas soup. Gulyas is another way of saying goulash. It sounds really tasty.:iconfrancisplz:Has some garlicky sweet and sour stuff going on. The other recipe is a fisherman's stew. It sounds very filling. Its got fish, potatoes, onions, green bell peppers, tomatoes, and a few other things. Not traditionally the way most people think is a fisherman's stew. Most think of a non-kosher way. They don't specify what kind of fish, so I'm assuming it doesn't really matter. We have salmon, so I might use that. Although, if we want a white fish, maybe cod or tilapia would be better. 

I'm not going to cook a lot from cookbooks this year, because I feel a lot weaker lately.:iconwtfromanoplz:I'm hoping I can get to these 2. I might make a matzah pizza, too. That won't be from a recipe. It's also easy to throw a few ingredients on top and heat it up. It might have spaghetti sauce (this one seems ok for Pesach), mozzarella (still have quite a bit), some dried basil, maybe some garlic, maybe a few vegetables, etc. Could have fun with it.:iconyayhanatamagoplz:

I'll make kosher for Pesach granola for the breakfasts. This stuff is awesome!:iconinloveplz:I think it would actually be great year-round. But, it wouldn't feel like it's a special holiday food that way. It's very simple to make. One batch makes a lot. Usually more than 8 servings. So, it tends to last for a while after the holiday. I like that it's from scratch, simple, and doesn't have many ingredients. Also, that it's like candy and doesn't disintegrate in milk (unlike most store-bought Pesach cereals).

Also, the seder plate will be slightly different this year. I had to throw out the lamb shank we had in the freezer when it stopped working. We had used that same bone for years. I think it ended up being around 14 years. It was petrified by then and looked cool. So, I'll have to find something to replace it. I think I saw chicken neck bones at a local market. I could roast one of those in the oven. Another option is some people put a roasted beet in place of it. That would be interesting, too. Some feel that it's best not to use a bone, thinking that we should be different and not recreate the ritual sacrifices that we might have done in the past. Also, some are vegetarian or vegan, and its been a good alternative for them. So, I'm still debating which one to use.:hmm:The beet might be easier, though.  

Should be interesting to see how the holiday food will affect my gut. First Pesach after being diagnosed. It'd be funny if the food actually helps me, and I feel a lot better.:iconlaughingplz:Kind of an experiment that way.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

National Caramel Popcorn Day!


One of my fave types of popcorn!:dummy:Kettle Corn is another awesome type of popcorn. Its got a sugar and salt coating. Too bad I can't really have either of them anymore...They affect my guts. But, other people should enjoy them!:icontinoplz:It's also National Walking Day. That's a good thing to celebrate. Not only is walking healthy, but you can find some interesting things out there. 
This is my wallpaper for April. It's Ciel and Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler again. Kind of thought it was funny and 'different'. It seems like they're surprised at what I'm doing every time I see it. I think I remember that there was a scene like this in the anime. Can't remember what they were looking at, or why they seemed shocked...:iconusaplz:

My beagle calendar's pic features 3 beagle puppies in a cart of some sort near a garden. It's cute. The info blurb mentions their hunting history. They were used for hunting rabbits and other small animals by the English. They're known to be friendly, and according to them, aren't a good choice to have as a guard dog. I kind of beg to differ on that one.:iconwtfromanoplz:Buster was very friendly, but if he felt someone was threatening/intruding, he would attack/defend himself and us. That might have been because of his background, though. He was very strong. The tip of a beagle's tail is always white. It was to help the hunters find them in the bushes or deep in the woods.

My Jewish calendar's main pic features a painting titled Passover Seder, by Jacobus Hermanus Otterbeek, oil on canvas, The Hague, Netherlands; 1877. This is one of the rare paintings they feature that I actually like. There's a family gathered around a long table with the seder plate in the middle. (Including a baby, there appears to be 8 people.) There's an interesting candlelit chandelier. Some people are leaning towards the left with pillows. That's actually what's encouraged during the holiday. To show that we are free enough to sit comfortably. (I think it was the way the Romans supposedly sat. And, it was considered a leisurely way.) The 2nd pic features a pillow case, anonymous maker, made out of linen and cotton, Elzas (it's now the Alsace region, Germans call it Elsass), France; 1745-1775. Some people do use special pillows if they use them. This one seems to have Adam and Eve next to the tree of knowledge, and a snake curled around the trunk, in embroidery. Adam and Eve are oddly shaped...:iconwtfukplz:That story isn't apart of the seder, though. Cool to see how old it is. Still looks like it's in great condition. The 3rd pic features a seder plate, by Tepper Pottery, Paris, France; c. 1850. It's in black print. It has 'matzah' written in Hebrew in the middle. Then, there are several different scenes for each spot. Very detailed. Kind of cool and fancy looking.:iconchibihungaryplz:

The month-long holidays are: National Garlic Month, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, International Guitar Month, Jazz Appreciation Month, National Garden Month, National Pet Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. 

Went to my gastroenterologist's appointment on Monday. It was really early. Ended up getting up at about 5am.:iconlietplz:We were in the area an hour early, though. So, we went to the Starbuck's right next to it until it got closer to the appointment time. I felt like an overstuffed sausage.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:Had to walk slightly slower than usual, because it hurt to go faster. Kind of annoying. We talked about that, meds, how the blood test results came back better, etc. My sed rate is really close to remission level. I think it was 26, and remission's at 20. I thought, and still think, that was just mainly the aftereffects of the prednisone. Like it gave me a boost to help. It was still in my system at that time. She wants me to do another blood draw soon to see. 

She thinks azathioprine needs a little more time to work. She's wants me to go to 2 and a half pills a day. 3 were too much for system. 2 might be a little too slow. 2 and a half might be just right for it. She wants to wait and see a bit longer with this med at that dose, before making a decision to go on heavier meds. 

She did say that it seems I've lost quite a bit of weight. (This is while I felt really bloated and full. So, I probably weighed slightly more than my current usual.:iconheroamericaplz:) She even asked me if I was planning to beforehand. She had my actual weight, and I usually don't like to see it. I go by sizes instead. I don't think any of the doctors I see like that too much.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:But, interesting to hear from her that it's 'real'. It didn't seem to concern her too much, which is good. I also forgot to ask her about seeing a nutritionist.:iconhanatamagoplz:I'll try emailing her about that. 

She seemed to think what might be causing my pain and symptoms was the constipation. Not the colitis part. Also, I noticed that she had my diagnosis as Ulcerative Colitis this time. Despite how almost everything pointed to Crohn's and she felt that it was before. I still forgot to ask her what I really have...It's bugging me now.:icongermanyplz:This weird back and forth. I'll probably email her about it, too. At least we know it's IBD. 

She wanted to know what was happening with me on the inside, and made an immediate appointment for a sigmoidoscopy. It was scheduled for about 45 minutes after the appointment. I really didn't want one. I'm not used to enemas, and they made me do 2 beforehand.:icondisgusted-hongkong:They were in liquid form, and you're supposed to be able to squirt it up there. I needed to have some help. (So embarrassing.:iconawkwardplz:) They told me I'd feel like liquid was filling up the front of me on the inside. I didn't. (Probably a sign of how blocked up I was.) About 2 minutes into both times, I did start to feel a lot of abdominal pain. After all that, I got onto the bed, and the main nurse tried to put an IV in me. The needle really stung, and she said as long she doesn't see any physical damage, it's ok.:iconinsultedplz:It hurt even more when she started the fluids. I think she thought my veins were too hard to find, and she didn't want to go searching for another. Still, that's kind of disturbing. I just noticed today that she really bruised me badly. I don't think all the fluids were actually making it through...

I was in and out of it during the procedure. They told me before it that I'd be asleep the entire time. Hence, another reason why I don't think it all went through.:iconsighingplz:I occasionally couldn't take my eyes off the monitor. Interesting to see my insides. The only time I felt I actually fell asleep was in the recovery room. No one was around me, and there wasn't much noise. So, why not?:icononionlullabyplz:My gastro showed us the results after I woke up, had some apple juice, and got dressed. Apparently my colitis is much better. There doesn't appear to be very many ulcers or bright spots. It's not a deep red, either. Good that it seems to have made progress. I just don't 'feel' it yet. 

I also feel a bit strange about all this.:iconswissplz:I don't remember if that little section they looked at was affected before. They only looked at the 'sigmoid' part of the colon for this procedure, which is a small section of the lower left part. I know part of my stomach, a little part of my duodenum, and part of my colon were affected before. The colonoscopy showed this. Only Crohn's shows up in patches. So, what if that one section didn't have much of a problem to begin with? What about the rest of it? Also, I don't suddenly get so constipated out of the blue. I know prednisone might have played a part, but it's out of my system now. I didn't change the amount of fiber I take in. Pretty much eat the way I did before. So why? My hair is starting to slowly fall out again, nails are getting weird, etc. So, I know I should see a nutritionist about how I'm apparently still not absorbing things too well. Oh, and to suddenly have it go back to this. Maybe my body's giving me signs before the tests indicate it. Something just seems off to me.:iconkikuplz:She also started talking about something and how it's been a year. It hasn't been a year. The 8-month mark for azathioprine just hit a few days ago. I was 'diagnosed' a few days before I started azathioprine. To me, that's not close enough to be called a year. (Maybe at 10 months...) She's also been somewhat slow in getting back to me on these things. I kind of felt the only thing she took really seriously was my constipation, but in a strange way. I'm still very frustrated and confused about what's going on with me.:iconromanoplz:I really want to feel normal, but I don't yet. Makes it even more frustrating to see good blood test results. I'll email her about a lot of this stuff. Plus, maybe the blood draw coming up will indicate something.

After that, I was very hungry, although still in kind of a weird drug-induced haze. So, we went to IHOP. I got their Banana Foster's Brioche French Toast combo. The sides were turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. I was so hungry, I ate the whole thing...:iconseychelles-plz:I also hadn't had food since about 5:45am, and it was around 1pm. So, makes sense that I'd be hungry. It was all very good. Not sure if the meds made it taste even better or something, though. 

Next, we went to a QFC that's not far from where we were. We did our annual Pesach (or Passover) shopping. This place seems to have the best selection of kosher stuff in general, and Pesach stuff, in the region. It's pretty awesome.:la:Pesach starts the night of the 22nd, so there's not that much time left. There are dietary restrictions. You can't have anything leavened or risen like bread. If you're Ashkenazic (Jews that came from Germany and eastern Europe), like me, you can't have what would be considered kitniyot, as well. Things like beans, rice, corn, etc. Sephardim (Jews that came from Spain and the Mediterranean. This group is actually larger) aren't restricted as much. They can eat kitniyot. There's been some fights in the past about it, and many people think avoiding kitniyot is stupid. Others fire back saying it's tradition. I find both of those cultures' views on it interesting, though. Pesach is 8 days long, so you have to plan for that amount of time.

I'm going to lead the first night's seder at home. It'll be just Dad and I. Less cooking this way...:iconranranruuplz:The 2nd night's seder will be at a friend of the family's place. Same place we go to every year. There's usually a lot of people there. They usually ask us to bring the popovers I make for Pesach and a salad or vegetable. Last year we ran out of the popovers really quickly. I think I thought one batch for their seder and one batch for ours would be enough. This time I might do 2 batches for theirs and one for ours. I didn't remember they were going to be that popular, and they didn't tell me the amount of people that were going. If I don't know, how much should I make?:iconchibiswedenplz:The popovers are essentially just matzah meal, margarine, salt, and eggs. Very simple, they come out nice looking, and seem puffed up. They cook and cool rather quickly, too. I found a tasty sounding salad dressing that might be good with a salad if we bring it. It's 'zesty' garlic dressing. Many times if other people get a salad, they bring a not kosher for Pesach one, so this would be handy to have.:iconchibinitalyplz:Even if we don't bring a salad. Some of the people that go aren't Jewish, and some of the ones that are aren't that strict (or they might be Sephardic, therefore it won't matter to them). 

I'll try to make my granola again for my breakfasts during it. It has honey, matzah farfel, nuts (usually walnuts, but could be any nut), raisins, and oil. Matzah farfel is just broken bits of matzah. The recipe's flexible enough you can essentially put whatever nut and fruit mix you want in there. It's all mixed together, and then thrown into the oven to bake. Have to move it around a bit so it doesn't scorch, but it's really good in the end. Kind of like candy. One batch lasts me most of the holiday. Not sure about too many other meals during the holiday yet. Last year, I seemed to have been a lot more on top of it. I had planned most things a month beforehand. I at least got to looking at one of my Pesach cookbooks. Have a few possibilities from it.
I tried a new thing from Costco that are chicken and vegetable Korean steamed buns. (They say they're Chinese-style and look like small baos...) They're really good. A tray of 6 and dipping sauce is one serving. The box has 6 trays in it. It's not that many calories, either. Each serving has 15g of protein. That's a lot!:wow:

I also got their brand of mozzarella. It comes in 2 logs. It's the cheese I'll have for this month. Also, basically the smallest portion of cheese I could find there. Every other cheese was huge. Hard for only 1 person to eat. I thought since it's 'fresh' it wouldn't last a month, but the label says best by sometime in May. That's not even an expiration date. Maybe it stays fresh for longer than I think. It's pretty tasty, and I can put it on or in so many things.:excited:

Also, got honey and balsamic mustard at a place called World Market. The mustard comes from France. World Market has a lot of interesting food from around the world. Lots of European stuff. Some Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, and Indian stuff as well. There's a few other places things come from, but these seem to be the main ones. They also have hard to find spices. I found 2 of the ones that are used frequently in my Jerusalem book. Good to know they're there. They also have soup mixes, pancake mixes, German sausages, candies, potato chips, drinks, simmer sauces, honey, chocolate, cheeses, alcohol, coffee, etc. from those places. The mustard that I got was a sample size. About $1.50. Not bad. It's tasty, too.:iconfrancisplz:

Watched the finale of Gintama last week. I didn't want it to end, but they basically said at the end of the episode that they'd be back. Also, they said the end is only the beginning. The shinsengumi (the police) were forced to leave the country. Not sure where they're going, though. The Yorozuya (Odd Jobs- Gintoki, Kagura, and Shinpachi) will stay behind to protect Edo. Although, they're also in a very vulnerable position. It seems like the new government is slowly crumbling, though. There were hints that the citizens will eventually revolt against the Shogun, and they'll make a new government without a Shogun that's just for the people. I hope that actually happens. The manga is pretty far ahead, but the mangaka (creator of the manga, and he has had a say with the anime version) said recently that he's thinking of ending it soon. So, maybe they're going to wait until the manga's finished. I kind of hope he's joking about it, but I don't think he is. Things have changed so much already with the last couple of story arcs in the anime, it makes sense they wouldn't be able to keep this ever changing atmosphere up for too long. It's never going back to what was 'normal' for the series. The usual inside jokes and such. It's amazing how long this series has lasted already. The mangaka really is awesome and brilliant.:iconawwwplz:He's one of the few mangaka I feel would be really amazing to meet. Him and the mangaka behind Kuroshitsuji. She's amazing, too. (It'd be interesting if they ever did a series together...2 brilliant minds would make something epic.:iconfinallyplz:) Maybe he'll come up with another cool and hilarious series in the future. When both the manga and anime officially end.