Debi’s Tropical Iced Tea

For the daring who want with just some ice

For the daring who want with just some ice

I was craving a Long Island Iced Tea several weeks back while I was wrapped up in the short fiction series I just did on Chocolate Wasteland. When you keep writing about something, you end up wanting it.

I eventually wandered over to my bar (read: two-shelf bookcase) to see if I had the makings for it and to my dismay, I didn’t. Which is weird because normally we have everything. I decided, screw it, let’s make something new!

I grabbed some bottles and the cocktail shaker and started experimenting. It was amazing. When you can’t have a Long Island Iced Tea, you make something reminiscent of home and revel in results.

My first incarnation was pure alcohol. I realized later that I forgot to eat lunch that day, too. I was a bit giggly by the time Chaz got home from work and I was having trouble just watching TV. And the “write drunk, edit sober,” saying from Hemingway was put into effect. It was more like delete-everything-you-wrote-while-drinking-the-day-before.

I swear I was only sipping it! Okay, not eating lunch didn’t help me any.

My second experiment was simply to add something non-alcoholic to the drink to dilute it a smidge. Much like the splash of Coke in a Long Island Iced Tea.

Still tasty and the green tea I chose added nothing flavor wise, only color and dilution. If I could still have this, I would be sipping it on my lanai watching the sun set behind the treeline.

Debi’s Tropical Iced Tea Hunter's Lyonesse Tropical Iced Tea

1 oz. Passion Fruit Rum

1 oz. Guava Rum

1 oz. Cointreau

1 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Tequila


green tea

Add ice, rums, Cointreau, vodka, and tequila to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass with ice and top with green tea.


Annie May’s Sweet Cafe

Annie's 1This is a post I should have written months ago. I was thinking about why I didn’t and I remembered I wanted to wait for my birthday. Chaz was supposed to order a cake for me for my birthday last year. Notice the use of “supposed to.”

I first heard about Annie May’s Sweet Cafe last August from Jessica at Allergic to Air after spending an evening with Johnna (In Johnna’s Kitchen) and her favorite fella in Louisville because they were there working at the Kentucky State Fair. Annie May’s is a gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free bakery. I texted Johnna as soon as Jessica told me about the bakery. Johnna was there the next day indulging in lunch and treats, including funnel cake. Yes, funnel cake.

It was a few weeks before we were back in Louisville and I was finally able to indulge. “One of everything please!” It wasn’t quite one of everything, but it was darn close. There was quite a bit to choose from and it was weeks since our trip to Sensitive Sweets in Fountain Valley, CA.Annie's 2

Vegan Vanilla Cupcake, Vegan Classic Cupcake, Vegan Oatmeal Cream Pie, Vegan Chocolate Balls, and a Vegan Sugar Cookie. I wasn’t as fond of the vanilla cupcake and sugar cookie as I was of the classic cupcake and the oatmeal cream pie. The classic cupcake is a like a Hostess cupcake with a creamy filling in the middle. I was in heaven. As Chaz put it, the oatmeal cream pie put Little Debbie to shame. They were his favorite Little Debbie treats while mine were the Swiss Cake Rolls and Nutty Bars. I always had a stash of them hidden somewhere so Chaz wouldn’t eat them all. The oatmeal cream pie is very sweet and very large. We split it and I still felt like I was on sugar overload just from half.

Annie's 3SIL recently tried the oatmeal cream pie when she went to get me a cupcake a week ago and said she couldn’t finish hers either because it was so sweet. If you manage to get one, make sure you either have someone to share it with or can keep it to eat the rest later.

SIL made the trip to Annie May’s to get me a vegan cupcake at my request so I would have dessert while everyone else had regular cake and ice cream at a birthday party. I really shouldn’t have had the cupcake because it was Chocolate Sunbutter, but I ate it anyway. It was the last vegan cupcake they had and I neglected to tell SIL that I couldn’t have sunflower seeds. Next time, I need to remember to call them ahead of time and special order a cupcake. But we were invited to the party a week before and my brain was focused on birthday presents for the two-year old. Clothes, books, and blocks. OH MY! Annie's 4

We were back in Louisville Saturday because Chaz’s cousin and her husband were in town for a visit. We were trying to figure out how long it had been since we saw them. His cousin thinks 3 1/2 years. I think it was longer. We saw all the extended in-laws for the second weekend in a row (this is where I REALLY love being unemployed) and had a great lunch at a restaurant in town.

Chaz took me Annie May’s before we left town and my intention was to get one treat. ONE. It turned into another, I’ll have one of everything, please! Well, almost one of everything. There were a couple of non-vegan treats that were off-limits for me. Chaz decided we should stay and have our Supercookies. I had the large chocolate and he had the classic (vanilla) along with a small chocolate. One of the girls in the family that was sitting next to us cooed, “Look! They got the Supercookies!” Meanwhile, the dad was eyeing me in a super creepy manner. The Chocolate Supercookies were good. Chaz called them rich. It was super sweet like the oatmeal cream pie and made me want to have a cup of coffee with it. It didn’t stop me from finishing it.

Annie's 5I brought home the Chocolate Mocha Whoopie Pie and the Chocolate Mocha Raspberry Bar.  I managed not to eat them all on the way home or even that night. I saved them from breakfast the last two days. The whoopie pie was soft and the filling just sweet enough. The bar was packed full of raspberry goodness in the middle.

I definitely should not have indulged with all my new allergies and intolerances, but it’s not a regular occurrence nor will it be.

Tip Cups

Tip Cups

Bakeries catering to those of us with multiple food allergies are few and far between. I have no options in Cincinnati as the gluten-free “bakeries” are just gluten-free and don’t cater to other food allergies. If you’re in Louisville, check out Annie May’s Sweet Cafe for a great allergy-free treat.

Autoimmune Hell

SnowI am struggling. Getting answers to help you move forward doesn’t always propel you forward at a breakneck pace to recovery. I am knee-deep in snow without snowshoes. It is a battle to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Fatigue keeps me from being as productive as I want to be. I don’t know whether it is the adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, the food allergies, or the Sjögren’s which finally decided to join the party. I woke up Monday morning and did not want to get out of bed. It was like back in my full-blown hypothyroid days when I had to drag myself out of bed. Somehow I managed it. And somehow I managed to do 20 minutes of yoga then three full hours of cleaning and projects without a break. Normally I stop and sit between tasks to give me a little recovery. It came at a high price. Food Board

My altered diet is slowly driving me into a new kind of insanity that I don’t think the world has seen yet. No gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast, crab, soy, sunflower seeds, sesame, peanuts, pineapple, cranberries, and bananas. Sounds easy, right? Think again. There are also foods I need to avoid to help my body recover from adrenal fatigue. Foods like high potassium fruits, caffeine, oranges, grapefruit, and sugar just to name a few. Now, go to your bathroom and pick up your lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and/or makeup and check for sesame, sunflower, or soybean oil. I use Bare Minerals makeup and knew everything I already had was gluten-free. Turns out most of the lipsticks, lip liners, and lip glosses have at least one of those oils. I nearly cried when I tossed them all in the trash can. The lotion, shampoo, and conditioner my doctor wanted me to try because there was no gluten or soy in it had sunflower oil. Now, go check your favorite potato chips you have hiding in the back of the pantry. Sunflower oil. Just when you think it couldn’t get harder, clean out your fridge of all condiments, pickled veggies, and any meats/fish that were smoked or cured. Clean out the wine rack and vinegars in your pantry. That is just a fraction of what it takes to go yeast-free. I nearly dropped out of my chair when I was looking up online what I needed to do for a yeast-free diet. Everything pointed to the anti-candida diet (ACD). There is some overlap between the allergies, adrenal fatigue, and ACD. I had to resort to the boards to keep everything straight and to help Chaz remember. I’m still not getting it all right, but I’m doing my best. If I have more than I’m supposed to of limited foods I don’t beat myself up, I remind myself to plan better.

RaindropsMy life seems to be a contradiction of illnesses. On the one hand I have a leaky gut. On the other, I am allergic to yeast and can’t have the fermented foods that would aid in healing my gut faster. Sjögren’s is typically treated with different medications which would worsen my leaky gut and the adrenal fatigue. I need sleep to recover from adrenal fatigue but the dry eyes and dry mouth keep me from a full night of sleep. Oh, there is more, but my head is about to explode. I’ve already decided that oral medications for the Sjögren’s will be out of the question. Thankfully, I was able to text with Dr. Cuz about Sjögren’s on Sunday while we drove down to Louisville for a birthday party. She’s the one who called what I’m going through right now “autoimmune hell.” She assured me that a friend of hers (whom I’ve met) has been med free for two years with acupuncture. Now if only the rheumatologists office will call me back! I went in for AAT yesterday and got a list of the rheumatologists use for referrals. The woman who gave it to me recommended the first on the list. When I Googled her after I got home I found she went to UCLA School of Medicine for acupuncture. I like her already. CALL ME BACK, DAMMIT!Happiness

Through it all, I just want to lie down and cry. But I can’t. Sjögren’s won’t let me form the tears to cry. Do you know what it is like to grieve the loss of someone and not be able to cry? Detached. Crying is such an essential part of dealing with sadness and all the emotions that stem from it. I can’t cry and i want to cry about it. But I can’t cry and I still want to cry. Yes, it’s an endless cycle of wanting and being unable.

The bright side is my thyroid, Vitamin D, and iron levels are all within normal limits. Soy has proven to be the bane of my hormones. Last cycle was the first time in a long time that my cramps didn’t have me curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor after tossing the contents of my stomach. No hot flashes either. I’m more thankful to be work-free as I work through all this.  And even as another type of brain fog has seemed to settle, I am still managing to write creatively.

It is a struggle. A big one. I have to remind myself to take everything one day at a time. I have to remember I didn’t get sick overnight. I have to count spoons again in the morning and throughout the day to make sure I can make it to the end. I have to shut myself off from thinking about the future and focus on the present because that tick-ticking of the clock keeps getting louder and louder. If nothing else, I can finally relate to Captain Hook.