All the Lemons!

11-26 & 11-27

Happy National Bavarian Cream Day AND National Cake Day!

I have been feeling moderately crummy and put writing pretty far down on the “to-do” list this month… Getting out of bed, putting on pants and maintaining aa look of “I’m fine, I’m not feeling nauseous and exhausted at all!!!” all had to come first…

So here’s a back-dated post and a little health update:

I had no idea what Bavarian Cream was – but apparently it’s only use is in pie.  Stupid fucking pie.   I looked up some recipes and settled on one that seemed fairly straight forward:

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What I neglected to take into account with this one is that I don’t know what scalded milk means.. and gelatin is disgusting.  I also took the easy way out on the crust and bought another package of adorable mini-crusts.

The first part of the recipe called for “softening” the gelatin…

Which basically means combining the powder with cold water and watching it turn into a solid-like blob that does NOT look like Jell-o at all.  And all I could think while doing this was “WHY DID THEY GRIND UP THE HORSE HOOVES IF I AM JUST GOING TO MAKE IT SOLID AGAIN!!!!!!”  I also thought “Who was the first person to try using horses hooves to thicken their pie filling?”  Seriously!  Who – decades ago – was working in their kitchen and thought “You know what would make this pie more fluffy and delicious? The hooves of my beloved horse!”

I’ve never actually looked into whether or not gelatin is ACTUALLY made from horses hooves… but  my brother told me it was true when I was a little girl so…. it must be a fact.

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I literally gagged while watching the gelatin solidify.

The next step in the recipe was to beat the separated egg yolks…

Which meant I first needed to separate the egg yolks….

I spent some time digging around in our cabinets before starting this recipe and found a magic tool that has been missing from my life: an egg separator!

My angle food cake could have been fucking fantastic, if only I had used the stupid egg separator.

Look how beautiful that is!  No more trying to pass the yolk back and forth between two shells, no more trying to catch the yolk in my hand and dropping it – just beautifully separated egg yolks!

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Somehow I still managed to smash an egg on the counter though… I’m not sure why I turn into the Hulk every time I crack eggs for baking – it just happens.  GINA SMASH!

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I never knew how beautiful egg yolks could be – they’re the perfect shade of yellow and look so happy and sunny – if you ignore the fact that they’re actually unborn chickens and I’m about to heat and beat some chicken fetuses…

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The recipe called for heating and combining the egg yolks, sugar, salt and milk in a double boiler… which I don’t have… so I did it on low in my favorite stainless steel pan.  Same thing, right?

Next I added the blobby hooves and threw up in my mouth.

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While the fetus-hoof mixture cooled, I got to work on the egg whites.

Since finding the electric mixture (in the least likely place), I’ve felt like a badass who can whip anything.  In reality, I’m still not very good at whipping stiff peaks in egg whites – but I feel like fucking Julia Child when I try!

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I’m not sure if those could be considered “stiff peaks” but they were shiny and fluffy so I checked it off the list.

Things took a turn for the flat when I tried to “fold in” the unborn babies and feet…

It basically undid all the whipping and peaking I had just done!  What was the point of doing that if I was just going to make it into a gooey flat batter anyway?!?!?!  Was it supposed to stay fluffy?  WHERE DID I GO WRONG!!!!!

I tried mining it a little more to see if it would pouf up but that only seemed to make it more flat.  I had to accept that the elusive stiff peaks were still out of reach.

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They turned out a little sad looking and mostly tasted like un-whipped cream.  Since I have no reference for what they SHOULD taste like.. I think I did it right?

Next came National Cake Day.

I debated making a cake from a box and going back to bed, but Ryan had been asking me to make a cheesecake ever since I came home with graham cracker crusts so I decided that cheesecake  has *cake* in the name and totally counts.

My blog, my rules.

Cheesecake seems incredibly difficult to make – so instead of finding a fancy recipe online, I went with the one printed on the graham cracker crust package.  Seemed like a safe bet.

The first ingredient was a 1/4 cup lemon juice. I didn’t have a bottle of lemon juice in the refrigerator, but I did have a bag of lemons?  I don’t know why I had a full bag of lemons, but there they were.  In my mind, squeezing enough lemons to make a 1/4 cup lemon juice would be easy – it would take maybe one whole lemon, right?

Wrong.

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I squeezed all but one damn lemon to get enough lemon juice. I also forgot that lemons have seeds that will need to be individually plucked from the lemon/the cup of juice… and that it will burn and sting when you put your fingers into a measuring cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

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Next, the recipe suggested mixing together the cream cheese, condensed milk, lemon juice and remaining ingredients (I forgot what they were – brain fog)

The nice thing about cheesecake is that no stiff peaks are required – just basic mixing.  So I mixed the shit out of it and wound up with a fairly creamy filling.  I added it to the crust and put it in the refrigerator to set.

I felt pretty confident about this and – having never done this before – I thought all cheesecake recipes didn’t require baking…

Ryan quickly informed me that it was “fucking weird” not to bake the cheesecake and was definitely not right….

For fear of an upset stomach, I didn’t try it… but Ryan did… and thought it tasted “mostly like cheesecake” but also that it was sticky and weird and should have been baked….

Now for the fun stuff: (12-18)

After some more blood tests, some more conversations with doctors, it’s becoming more and more likely that my little thyroid buddy is not just a run-of-the-mill lump.  Nothing is official, nothing can be confirmed until the biopsy, but there is a particular antibody (Antithyroglobulin) present in my blood that swings the pendulum a little more towards cancer.  It doesn’t rule out Hashimotos, but when combined with the size and structure of the nodule, the normal TsH levels, there being only one nodule… it adds one more check mark in the cancer column.

I’ve known this for about two weeks.  And for two weeks I’ve been having an internal breakdown with a smile plastered on my face.  I know that regardless of what the biopsy says, this isn’t going to kill me.  Thyroid disease will not be the end of me, thyroid cancer will not be the end of me.  I’ve spent two weeks reading about the odds, the outcomes, the treatments, the success stories.  This is all very treatable.  Knowing that I will be fine doesn’t make it any less scary.  It doesn’t remove the fear and anxiety that comes along with any medical situation.

As I start to come up from air following my quiet breakdown, I’m beginning to feel calm again.  I’m beginning to feel like everything will be okay eventually.  I know that I will feel worse before I feel better, I know that change is in my future, but it feels manageable again.  It feels less scary.

Here’s what I need you to know:

I feel shitty 99% of the time, but not any more that I did a month ago or two months ago.  I’ve had these symptoms for awhile now.

I need patience from others more than anything.  I’m not fragile, I’m not dying.  I’m not incapable of functioning and I’d like to not be treated like I’m going to break if I work too hard.  But I’m exhausted and forgetful right now.  I’m irritable and nauseous, I’m emotional and I’m stressed feeling.  Have patience with me – give me a minute to remember what I’ve forgotten, leave a stack of post-its for me so I can write myself a note,  forgive me if I need a nap sometimes or if I’m quieter than usual.  Some day I will be back to normal – or as close to it as I can.

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