Avocado Shrimp Salad



Ingredients for Cajun Shrimp:
1 lb medium shrimp (31-40 Count), peeled & deveined
1 tsp cajun spice
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Ingredients for Salad:
1 medium romaine lettuce (5-6 cups chopped)
½ lb (3 medium) Roma tomatoes, sliced
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
½ English cucumber (or 3 small), sliced
2 avocados, peeled, pitted & sliced
1 cup corn kernels (from 2 freshly cooked cobs)
Ingredients for Cilantro-Lemon Dressing:
Juice of 1 large lemon (3 Tbsp)
½ small bunch of cilantro (1/2 cup finely chopped) or parsley
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt or ¾ tsp table salt
⅛ tsp black pepper


How to make Avocado Shrimp Salad:
  1. Pat dry shrimp with paper towels & place in a medium bowl. Add 1 tsp cajun spice, 2 pressed garlic cloves, a pinch of salt & stir to combine.
  2. Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp butter & once its melted & hot, add shrimp in a single layer. Sauté 2 minutes per side or just until cooked through. Transfer to a plate & set aside.
  3. Chop, rinse & spin dry 1 medium head of romaine lettuce. You should end up with about 6 cups lettuce. Transfer that to a large mixing bowl. Now add 3 sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, sliced cucumbers, 2 sliced avocados & 1 cup cooked corn.
  4. To make the dressing, start with 3 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice, now finely chop about ½ cup of cilantro & stir that in. Add 3 Tbsp of olive oil & extra virgin has the best flavor. Season with 1 tsp salt & a generous pinch of black pepper & stir that together.


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Source: Natasha’s Kitchen

12 Ways


12 Weird Ways My Life Changed Because of My Chronic Illnesses

August 26, 2015

I believe chronic illnesses can change your life in some weird ways, but sometimes they are the best ways ever. For instance, I wouldn’t have met some of the amazing people I’ve become such close friends with. My illnesses also make ER trips and words like “eosinophilic” just a part of my life, along with “seizures,” “comas” and “spoonies.” My life has changed in some of the weirdest ways, but it’s a good thing. Here’s a list of some of the weird ways my life changed because of my chronic illnesses…

1. I almost always have selfies from a hospital or ER on my phone at any given moment.

My favorite selfies are when I’m drugged from the medicine I take for my chronic illnesses. Someone should learn to take my phone away, but I think it makes for a good text to my best friend the next day.

2. I’ve lost people close to me.

My experience is that when you become ill, people stay for a little while, but when you can’t hang out and you’re too weak to text them back, they might slowly fade away. That even includes family and close friends. And that’s when…

3. I found the world of spoonies.

“Spoonies” are people who are chronically ill and people who deal with being ill. When you find this world online, it can be like magic. You find people like you, people who enjoy the weird things you do. They take photos of their feeding tubes and their ports like it’s nothing, and for a moment when you have to deal with this world, you could feel slightly normal.

4. I set goals for showering, taking meds, eating and anything else.

My goals might be small to some people, but when you have a chronic illness and take a shower, it can be a big freakin’ deal. It’s hard to shower for me; it’s hard to move, let alone do things that are physically hard.

5. Watching Netflix/Hulu/cable has become a sport.

I can tell you all the good shows out, and I can totally win any trivia game on TV shows and movies. I’m really good at Netflixing. It’s a passion at 2 a.m.

6. I’ve learned people don’t always care when you don’t get better fast.

For some reason, some people don’t understand the chronic part of chronic illnesses. They forget that chronic illnesses don’t get better in three months and with rest, and they forget me. But slowly I’ve found the people who stay and stick with me, and those people are my heroes.

7. The guilt of having a chronic/rare/incurable disease is sometimes worse than the pain from the disease.

I have a few moments when I felt horrid because of the guilt. For example, I couldn’t wash dishes and I felt guilty because of it. I want to be there for my family and friends, and I don’t want to make people do things for me. All the money they spend, all the sleepless nights — I notice them and am really thankful for them.

8. People stare at you for weird reasons all the time.

People with chronic illnesses often get stares, whether it’s because you’re in a wheelchair or using a walker, or you have a port connected to a backpack or a feeding tube sticking out of your stomach at the beach or swimming pool… Or for no reason at all. We learn to deal with the stares and we have to learn to laugh about them. But please don’t stare.

9. I’ve learned to enjoy little moments.

I love being able to wash dishes or go to Target on good days, and I love Facetime-ing with my friends who also have chronic illnesses. You might learn to appreciate the little things, too, like the t-shirts your sister got you and the spoon necklace. The smoothie my sister brought me to bed this morning meant more to me than words can say. It’s all the little things.

10. Doctors might call you more than most friends.

I got a call from my allergist the other day, and even this morning they called me. The nurse totally knew who I was. And this happens a lot.

11. I sleep more hours than I’m awake some weeks and vice versa.

A while back, I slept for a bunch of days in a row. Or wait… I was in a coma (coma joke). But sometimes I can’t sleep. Like this week, my body doesn’t want to sleep unless it’s 2 in the afternoon. But last week I was nonstop sleeping.

12. I accepted that my life from this point on is a chronically amazing one.

I might be chronically ill, but I’m also chronically amazing. I will be sick; it’s just a matter of how sick I will be. But I can find the happiness in each day. I will be OK because I will fight until the day my body has no fight left in it. And even then, I’ll fight like hell. And I know I have some amazingly fantastically people who will fight for me and with me and alongside me.

I’m accepting that I’m sick, I’m ill… That changes me — but in the best way possible. It has showed me so much I never knew. It has shown me how to breathe deeply and enjoy the air. It’s been so amazingly wonderful, and my life is good. I like my life. I like the world I have.

I wouldn’t change my spoonie world for a lot. I was born and my journey is unfolding exactly as it should be. I am strong enough to live in my body.


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Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles


Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles


1 8oz of philly cream cheese
1 regular size jar of your favorite Peanut Butter
1 Bag of melting Chocolate/chocolate bark
1/2 Cup of Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
Nuts (optional)

Take your cream cheese, powdered sugar & peanut butter in your mixer & whip together using your paddle attachment (you can hand mix if you would prefer) until fully incorporated. Once combined, use your hands to create little balls, about an inch/inch & a half each
Roll each ball in the Graham Cracker Crumbs, then press them into each ball with your fingers (you dont want loose crumbs). Place each of the balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 1-2 hours (or until solid, if you can wait that long).
Place the melting chocolate or bark in a bowl & microwave for 90 seconds. Stir &, if needed, heat an additional 15 seconds until it’s smooth & creamy. Watch it closely, keep stopping to stir (it burns easily if you use this way).

I recommend using a double boiler, easier & you always get perfect melting chocolate. Using a fork, dip the balls into the melted chocolate. Tap your fork on the side of your bowl to remove the excess. Place back on your parchment lined sheet. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Zesty Vegetable Lasagna


Total Time: 2:10
Cook: 1:30
Level: Moderate
Serves: 15



2½ cup ricotta cheese
1 cup pecorino romano cheese
3 clove garlic
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 large Egg
1 tsp. salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. cremini mushrooms
1 large onion
2 red and yellow bell peppers
12 oz. fresh baby spinach
4½ cup marinara sauce
1 lb. no-boil lasagna noodles
1½ lb. fresh mozzarella cheese


Make the fillings: Combine the ricotta & Pecorino Romano cheeses, garlic, herbs, & egg with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt & pepper & the crushed red pepper in a bowl & set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms & cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onions, & peppers & cook until slightly softened, about 4 more minutes. Add the spinach & remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Toss & cook until spinach is wilted & tender, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Assemble the lasagna: Heat oven to 350 degrees F°. Pour 1 1/2 cups sauce into a deep-dish lasagna pan. Layer 5 lasagna noodles over the sauce. Top with half of the cooked vegetables & a third of the mozzarella. Layer with 5 more noodles & spread half the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with 1 cup of sauce & add another layer of noodles. Add the remaining vegetables, another third of the mozzarella, & a layer of noodles. Spread on the remaining ricotta mixture, 1 cup of sauce, & the last layer of noodles. Add the remaining sauce and mozzarella.

Cover with foil & bake until bubbly (about 1 hour & 20 minutes). Let the lasagna cool slightly before serving.

✴Timesaver: Make penne with vegetables: Toss 1/2 cup of the ricotta with 1 pound of cooked penne. Stir in the sautéed vegetables & serve with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

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Chester Bennington, Linkin Park, and Suicide



Recently, things have been insane. My depression is off the charts and I know that my feeling super sick isn’t helping at all.

One thing that has rocked my world is the death of Chester Bennington. I know that I am not the only saddened Linkin Park fan out there but naturally, their influence on my personal life is what is on my mind.

The whole band is amazing, but Chester was the lead singer and “front man,” so naturally all eyes are on him.


Linkin Park has played a major role in my life since the truly entered the scene back in 2000 (even though they formed together in 1996). Honestly, they got me through high school, hands down. I wouldn’t have made it through without them. I remember my senior year alone, I listened to “Numb” every-single-day.

There is so much irony in Chester’s death. He was the lead singer of a band that kept me from taking my own life and now, Chester took his life. He put himself out there. He put his demons on display for everyone and slayed them. He let me know that I wasn’t alone and that there are others out there who understand me and the things I was dealing with and continue to deal with.

He’s always been a huge inspiration for me and a reason why I put myself out there. He’s a huge reason why I feel comfortable putting my demons and secrets and incredibly painful experiences up front and center.

I’m not afraid to let people know I’ve been sexually abused, I’ve been in domestically violent relationships, I have no relationship with my family, and so much more. I’m not afraid to say, I battle depression, anxiety, PTSD and again, so much more.

It’s okay to NOT be okay and Linkin Park has helped me deal with a lot of that.


Knowing that Chester is gone is heartbreaking. When I heard the news, I seriously felt my heart stop and then drop. I can only imagine what his family, friends, and bandmates are going through. I’m only a fan and I’m crushed.

For those who don’t understand depression, I urge you to educate yourself. You may see warning signs in people you know and be able to help in ways you never thought possible.

It’s terrible and it can’t always be controlled with medication, therapy, a mixture of both…it’s a monster. It’s a beast and it can one hundred percent take over making you feel completely helpless. Suicide is something that has crossed my mind MANY, MANY times. It’s crosses depressed people’s mind all the time. When depression takes over, it’s scary and as someone who deals with depression every-single-day, sometimes I don’t realize just how bad off I am.

Even though I’ve contemplated suicide, planned it out, and was ready to leave this world but I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to die. However, I didn’t want to live anymore either. Thats where cutting came in. It changed the internal pain up external and helped me refocus.

It’s still earth shattering. He saved so many but we couldn’t save him.



Linkin Park Honor Chester Bennington’s Fearlessness and Big Heart in Emotional Letter: ‘You Touched So Many Lives’

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