Thursday, February 26, 2015

Organization - Your Medicines

Last week I talked about having a medical information binder.  It can not only save you time but it could also be a lifesaver.

This week, let's look at your medications.

Should you keep your medications in the bathroom?

This is something that we all do that we shouldn't. Your bathroom has temperature and humidity changes that are not the best for your medications.  It is far better to keep them stored out of the sunlight and where the temperature is relatively constant. And if you are like me, somewhere that you will remember to take them!

One of the ideas that I like is to keep your medicines all together in a plastic bin.  There are all sizes and price points available these days.  I was looking at the web site for the Container Store and saw some that might do the trick.  They even have a handle so that you can just pick up and go when you are traveling. Also with the lid on the box, it is easier to keep it away from your pets.

The sides are translucent but the top is clear so you can easily look in it.
Disposal of unused medications 

Somehow every time I go to clean out my medicine cabinet, I find unused prescription medicine.  Now you know that these days you are not supposed to throw those medicines in the waste basket.  But do you know what to do with them?  I found a web site that will direct you to the closest pharmacy that will take back the drugs for proper disposal.  You can go to Dispose My Meds and click in the upper right hand corner on the word "locator" and then fill in your zip code.  It will then show you where you can go in your area.  Also, check with your town.  Where I live, we can take old prescription medicines and sharps to town hall for disposal.

Prescriptions for controlled substances have federal guidelines for disposal.  Those guidelines are as follows:

1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers. 

2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.

3. Put this mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a seal-able bag. 

4. Remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the empty containers. You can cover the label with black permanent marker or duct tape, or scratch it off .

 5. Place the sealed container with the mixture, and the empty drug containers, in the trash. 

We sometimes forget to take medicine. It is not out of the ordinary for me to put reminders in strategic places.  

Just a little reminder hidden away!

Of course the other thing you can do is use the alarm function on your cell phone.  That is an easy way to remind yourself.

I hope you have a great weekend!  Take care!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Organizing to Make Diabetes Easier

We all know that eating in a healthy way and exercising are an important part of diabetes care. But are there other things that can impact our care?

Of course our mental state and thoughts about the disease made a difference. It is felt that one of the things that can help is to have our physical space set up so that we can easily find supplies and remember to use them.

IMG_3008 (2)
I probably should not admit that my desk looks this messy

This month in Diabetes Forecast, the magazine of the American Diabetes Association, there is an article on de-cluttering and organizing to make your home a bit more diabetes friendly. It just so happened that I have been thinking about cleaning out and de-cluttering my work space. I am beginning to think that perhaps some of my occasional dread and unproductiveness could be due to the amount of stuff I seem to have collected on my work desk. It all starts innocently enough. I have several piles around the desk. One pile is bills that need to be paid, one pile is either correspondence that I have not responded to yet or articles that I want to read. There is yet another pile that is special offers that have come in the mail. (Hate to miss those specials, right?) Along with the other things that can just accumulate on my desk, it means that I end up working in a smaller and smaller area. This does affect my attitude toward my work. The more that accumulates, the less I want to work and the quicker I am distracted from my work. So, I will have to take time to clean off my desk. And let me add the word “AGAIN”. I seem to be able to conquer the clutter beast only to be faced with it again in a few months. While it is disheartening, it just seems to be the way it goes.

Silent Sam      Medical            Info

But is there a way to de-clutter or organize to make dealing with diabetes easier? Yes, it seem that there are things that you can do to help yourself. One of the first things that the author talks about is having a binder where you keep all your medical/emergency information. I think that having such a binder is a great idea. First of all when you are going to the doctor, you can just grab the binder and take it with you so that you have all the information on hand to give the doctor. Also, if you have to go to the hospital, you have all the current information right at hand.

One section of the binder can be a contact list all your doctors, pharmacy, and any other members of your diabetes team.  You will want the name, specialty, and phone number included.  You might even include a copy of your insurance card. 

Silent Sam

There could also be a section that has a list of all your current medications. Depending upon the type of organizer you are, you might want to keep the receipt from the pharmacy that gives the name of the medication, the prescriber, and the date you had it filled in the binder. If you don’t want to have the receipts there, you could just have a list but you will need to update the list each time you refill or get new medications. (This is a moment where I would suggest to you to use the KISS* method.  Make it as easy as possible to keep up as possible.  If you are thinking of keeping a list, do a bit of soul searching as to whether or not you will really keep the list up.) With the pharmacy that we use, you can go on line and print out a list of your prescription records. You can just print and insert into the binder whenever you get a new or refill prescription. 

Silent Sam List of Medicines

I would also keep a general calendar of when you have doctor’s appointments. By this I mean a page that has all 12 months on it and you note what months you are due to see part of your diabetes team. You could then put actual appointments in the correct month. When you go to the doctor and are asked when you are due to see another one of the team, you can look in your binder and it will be all mapped out.  Also, one look at the first of the month and you can tell if you need to make an appointment to see one of your doctors.

You might want to have a section that indicates where to find your medications in the house.

Also, a section with some general information about how to recognize and treat diabetes related problems like hypoglycemia.

I think that having such a binder is a great idea. How easy to just grab the binder on the way to the doctor's or the hospital. (Think of how impressed they will be with your organizational skills!)

The most important thing is to keep up the information. Part of being able to keep the information current is to have it in a convenient place. You need to think about where to keep the binder. The location would depend upon how you do things in your house. I know that when we pick up a prescription, it ends up on the dining room table and then the medicine is removed from the bag and put in the bathroom or on the dining room table (so we will remember to take the medicine). For us, getting the receipt in the binder would be best if it was in the dining room but we don’t really have a place to put it there. So the next best place is in the kitchen. It could go by the cookbooks. As long as where you keep it makes keeping it up to date as easy as possible for you.

Next week some other organizational ideas!

Thanks for reading!

*KISS method – Keep It Simple Stupid an acronym used by the U. S. Navy.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Valentine’s Day Dilemma

Here it is roaring up on us – Valentine’s Day.  That day of hearts and love and PRESSURE.


I sometimes wonder if there are more people who love Valentine’s Day or if there are more that dread it.  I also wonder if a greater share of men dislike the day.

Silent Sam and I do not celebrate events in a big way.  We usually get cards (one funny and one serious) and then sometimes a gift and sometimes not.  This is a year that we are not exchanging gifts for Valentine’s Day. 

But I was wondering about gifts that would not be the usual flowers or candy.  So, if you are looking for some ideas, I have a couple for you. 

1.  I received the following gift a few weeks ago and I thought it was really cool. 


It is a jar with 31 little envelopes.  Each envelope has an inspirational card in it.  The gift is available from 1-800 Flowers.  Here is a link to it.

2.  My next idea actually goes back to my high school days.  One year I gave the love of my life a keychain engraved with our initials.  His on one side and mine on the other.  My girlfriend thought is was a great idea and she did it too.  Her gift was infinitely more humorous since her initials were “VD” and his were “BS”. Still it was a nice gift. You can check your local jewelry store or here.


You are right, I just love telling that story.

3.  The American Diabetes Association has many items available that not only can help you but you are also donating via your purchase. Their shop is located here.

4.  I have talked about medic alert bracelets before.  It is nice that you can find cool ones to wear.  If you need one or want to look at an interesting selections you might want to check out Lauren’s Hope Medical I D jewelry.

5.  Another type of gift is to make a donation to an organization that helps people with diabetes.  I have just heard about an organization that looks like it deserves your attention.  It is called Spare a Rose Save a Child

spare a rose

Those are just a few ideas for you to use to celebrate Valentine’s Day without flowers or chocolate.  Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Add subtitle text

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rustic Vegetable Soup

I know, three weeks of recipes in a row.  But I have found these soup recipes to be a great addition to our meal repertoire. Although I will admit that when Silent Sam looks at me on Saturday morning (pre-grocery shopping) and asks what I am going to make for Sunday soup night, I feel a bit snarly. (What? Try something new AGAIN?

Truth be told, I really hate making something and having it not work out.  I really bugs me.  So this whole try out new soup recipes thing is a bit hard for me.  Maybe that is why I am such a bad cook.  Maybe if I tried more, I would learn what would work and what does not work.  It is a good thought but I don’t think it is going to happen.

Today’s recipe is from the Crock Pot: Diabetic Recipes cookbook.  This cookbook has crock pot recipes and it touts that every recipe is 350 calories or less.  If you would like a copy, you can click on the picture above and it will take you directly to Amazon.  You might find it a good investment for $3.90. (plus shipping)

Completely off subject, I did want you to know that the Crock Pot is 75 years old.  That is right, brides have been getting crock pots for that long.  The venerable appliance is enjoying a resurgence of popularity these days. Apparently, you can even buy them with NFL logos on the sides.  They appear to be very expensive though…
seahawks crock pot
Rustic Vegetable Soup
Serves 8


1 jar (16 oz) Picante Sauce
1 package (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables
1 package (10 oz) frozen cut green beans
1 can (about 10 oz.) condensed beef broth, undiluted
1-2 baking potatoes, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1 medium green pepper chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

We used mild picante sauce and think that was just fine.  Also, the original recipe calls for the vegetables to be thawed.  I am not sure why but I did not thaw them.  I did use the Birds Eye Steamfresh mix that has carrots, corn, and asparagus.  The asparagus did not come out well in this soup.  (I used it last week with no problem but it came out stiff in this recipe.) So you might want to not use that particular blend. 

Also, we could not find condensed beef broth.  I used regular beef broth and it worked out well. In contrast to some soup recipes, this one does not have a lot of fluid; it is not real “soupy”.  It is a lot of vegetables, potatoes, and peppers with some broth. 

Although the recipe calls for eight servings, we only had four servings. 

Take all the ingredients EXCEPT the parsley and put them in the crock pot.  I mixed them up a bit.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. 

Stir in the parsley just before serving. 

I did not use the parsley.  I sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese over the top.  Okay,since the soup is so low in calories, I was willing to add a few calories. 

Nutritional Information
Calories – 80, Total fat – 0 g., Saturated Fat - 0 g., Protein – 3 g., Carbohydrate – 16g., Cholesterol – 0 mg., Fiber – 4 g., Sodium 540 mg.

I hope that you enjoy these soup recipes as much as we have.  It has been a nice change for our Sunday night suppers.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup


I hope you are doing well. I made another new Sunday night soup this week and I am dying to share the recipe with you. We really loved this one.

Do you have problems with crock pot recipes not having enough taste? We seem to run into that frequently. I am beginning to think that part of the solution is to stay away from recipes that say that “kids love it” because those recipes seem pretty bland. I am not sure that I have found the exact reason why some work and some don’t. For example, I made a recipe a few weeks ago that called for a tablespoon each of basil, oregano, and parsley. I thought that was enough spice to make it work but I was wrong. The soup just ddidn'thave much taste.

So, when I started to make this week’s soup, I decided to not just follow the recipe but think about what I knew had worked in the past. For example, the original recipe called for using 2 cups of cooked chicken. I took out three chicken breasts and started to cook them. While I was doing that I started thinking. The recipe called to cook the mixture for almost 5 hours on high. That is a long time for cooked chicken to be in a crock pot. So, I stopped cooking the chicken breasts – they were slightly browned on each side – and put them into the pot slightly cooked. (next time I would not cook them at all)  

Also, as you will see, the recipe calls for two cans of condensed soup. That can be a lot of sodium. The original recipe also called for using seasoned salt and salt and pepper. Instead of doing that, I used Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb. I also added a tablespoon of pesto to the recipe. I thought it might be a good addition and add some taste to the recipe.

The soup turned out great. It was creamy and flavorful. It was also good for lunch the next couple of days.

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
6 servings

 Inspired by recipe from Six Sisters Blog -


1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
5 cups skim milk
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables. I used the Birds Eye Steamfresh with carrots, asparagus, corn, and beans
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
1 tablespoon of pesto
2 cups of uncooked egg noodles


1.       Put the soups, milk, Mrs. Dash, and pesto in the crock pot and mix using a whisk.
2.       Add the chicken and vegetables and stir.
3.       Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours
4.       Add the noodles and cook for an additional ½ to 1 hour.

Changes I might try for next time –

Let me start by saying that we really liked the soup this way. While I hate to tinker with something that we like, there are a couple things I would try.

I think I would try low sodium soups. I would not say that the soup was salty but I just think it would be a good idea.

I would also try it with fresh vegetables rather than the frozen. You could also try frozen that did not have corn in it. It  would be a way to reduce the starch.

Nutritional Information –

I fed the recipe into one of those on-line sites that then tells you the nutritional information. I do not know how accurate it is but here is the information.

Calories – 410, Total fat – 13.2 g., Saturated fat – 3.4 g., Cholesterol – 87 mg., Sodium 850 mg., Total Carbohydrates 36.5 g., Dietary Fiber 2.7 g., Sugars 12.8 g., Protein 32.9 g.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sunday Night Soup

Several years ago, my neighbor was talking about the concept of  having soup for supper on Sunday nights during the winter.I actually talked about it for a couple of years but never quite started doing it until this year.

If you regularly read this blog, you know that I am a self-admitted terrible cook.  When I make a recipe, it has to be easy.The idea of Sunday night soups was  appealing but it meant that  I had to find recipes and then make them.

There are soup recipes everywhere. I discovered that some of them are more involved than others. I immediately discounted any recipe that called for cooking then putting everything in the food processor or blender and then doing more. Too messy! Too involved! I found some easy recipes and we stared having soup on Sunday nights.

I would say there are two problems with Sunday night soup.The first problem is that  having Sunday night soup just begs to have bread with the soup. For those of us who might have a tiny (HUGE) problem with portion control, this is an issue. We had gotten to the point where we just did not have bread in the house very often but with Sunday soups, we would buy a loaf at the grocery store each week. So, the advisory is to watch your portions with the bread.

The second problem is the sodium content in soup. Canned soup is infamous for its high sodium and if you are using that as a base in your soup, you are starting out with a lot of sodium. You need to  use low sodium broth as a base.  We have had a problem with soups tasting salty.  Here is where some of you "real" cooks might react - I never add salt when a recipe calls for it. For some reason, soup recipes will have these great phrases like "add salt to taste" or my absolute favorite "salt" with no instruction as to how much.  I just leave it out.

We have found several recipes that we really like.  Today, I am giving you my favorite so far.  This recipe is from Crock Pot: Diabetic Recipes.  (It is available from Amazon)

Italian Sausage Soup     Serves: 8

Sausage meatballs

1 lb. bulk mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2  cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt


4 cups hot fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup uncooked mini pasta shells*
1 bag (10 oz.) baby spinach
Grated Parmesan cheese
* or other tiny pasta

1. Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into marble-size balls.

2. Combine broth, tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes in Crock-pot slow cooker. Add                    meatballs. Cover; cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours.

3.  Add pasta 30 minutes before serving.  When pasta is tender, stir in spinach.  Sprinkle with                  Parmesan cheese: serve immediately.

Nutritional info:  Calories: 170, Total Fat: 6 g., Saturated Fat: 3 g., Protein: 14g., Carbohydrate; 15g., Cholesterol: 45 mg.,Fiber: 2 g., Sodium: 700 mg.

If you have looked at my recipes before, you know that I give you the recipe as it comes from the source and then I tell you how I changed/screwed it up.  So here it goes with this one.

1.  The first time I made this, I did not use low sodium broth. THAT IS A MISTAKE. The soup was still good but too salty.  You should not substitute regular broth.

2.  I used panko bread crumbs rather than regular.  This move might add a little more sodium but I wanted to make sure there was plenty of flavor.

3.  One bag a spinach in my grocery store is 5 oz.  So I used two bags.  (In case I have not said this before, I am a huge fan of adding spinach in recipes.)

4.  Instead of garlic salt, add just garlic powder.  Once again, just trying to cut back the sodium.

If you are looking for soup recipes, I suggest that you look at Pinterest. I have a board there where I have pinned "Sunday Night Soups" (and probably some things that don't apply..)  Here is a link to my Pinterest page.

I feel that I need to apologize to those of you who are nice enough to read this blog regularly.  It has been dark for a few weeks. Sometimes, it seems that life gets in the way.   But just think, it means that I have more recipes for you!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday

Do you ever wonder if you are the last to know something?  I felt a little out of touch this morning when I heard about "Giving Tuesday".  Here is a video that explains the idea/movement.

I then received an email from the American Diabetes Association.  They have received a pledge from Sun Live Financial to triple each gift.

"Give today and your gift can have TRIPLE the impact to Stop Diabetes®.

TODAY ONLY! In honor of Giving Tuesday, our national sponsor, Sun Life Financial, will triple your gift, dollar-for-dollar — up to a campaign total of $75,000. That's triple the funding to help families coping with diabetes, and triple the funding for the research that will unlock a cure."
If you would like to make a contribution today to help the American Diabetes Association, here is the link to the donation site.  

Of course my snarky side suggests that they should hold this day BEFORE all the shopping days but I guess that just having a worldwide day of giving is pretty important no matter when it is.

Thanks for reading!