NEWSY UPDATE and Menu Monday is BACK!!!

I'm somehow settling into my new schedule. *lol*

I have just been worn out the past two weeks. A lot of my being tired can probably be attributed to that fact that I've gotten out of the habit of socializing all day, every day. I'm a quiet person by nature, so when I was home all day, I was usually fine with it. I enjoyed visiting with family and friends, but I didn't mind being alone that much. Now that I am working again, I am talking all day AND I'm constantly meeting new people and introducing myself all. the. time. When the weekend comes, I don't really get a break because I am training to teach at University of Phoenix, and training takes place every Saturday morning until the end of April. On top of that, we have had lots of visitors lately, and have been doing lots of visiting lately. I'm really enjoying have a more sociable life again, but I have to admit that I am looking forward to a quiet weekend at the end of May. *hehe* Something will probably come up before then. :)

In other news, it turns out I was allergic to the balsalazide I was taking as part of maintenance treatment for my Crohn's. During my first week of working and training to teach, I noticed my joints got a lot more sore and that I started to itch after taking my medicine. But I didn't think I had hives, so it wasn't anything to worry over. Each day both symptoms increased until I could hardly walk and was constantly scratching myself. I thought hives were always weals because I had weals once from a freak allergic reaction, and the E.R. called them hives. When Zach finally saw the rash on my arm, he said that that was hives. So I stopped taking my medicine as directed on the literature. After researching, I found out that steroids (the Entocort I was taking during the first week I was on this) can suppress your body's allergic reaction, which explains why I didn't start suffering any allergic reactions the first week. Besides from the reaction, balsalazide can make your symptoms worse. Hip, hip, hooray.

Thankfully I am back on the Entocort, and it is working wonderfully, as it did when I first started on it. (Praise. the. LORD.) I still don't know why I had a minor flare the last few weeks I was on it, but I feel so fortunate it is working, even if it costs more. *lol* (It also stopped my allergic reaction. YAY! :)

I am really enjoying my job, though I never know what to expect or what I should be doing. *haha* Fingers crossed, it will continue into the next fiscal year. We were a little nervous over the government shutdown because my position is under a federal grant, and we had a heard a rumor that the budget would consequently be cut by 25%. I guess we will see...

I'm getting very nervous about teaching...

I'm glad I will be getting a paycheck this month, though I think it will only be a little more than what I made as a graduate assistant. : / At least I got to go shopping...for some work clothes! But hopefully we will be able to ease our budget a bit. :)

The most joyous news I have is that Zach's sister Erin and her boyfriend Josh got engaged over the weekend! He proposed to her on their anniversary, and they are getting married next month in Biloxi. She asked me to be her matron-of-honor, and I'm very excited for them! We figured it would be happening soon, so it didn't come as much as a surprise. But it's always nice to have a big event to celebrate. I'm even a little excited to be going to beach, even though I am not really a beach-y person. I think it's because Zach and I have never been to the beach together...! that I am getting better, I am trying to try new recipes again. I definitely don't want to get into the habit of eating out or grazing on junk food all evening because I'm too tired from working. Over the weekend, Zach's former roommate and his wife stayed with us, and I think one of them mentioned MEATLOAF. For some reason, that sounded soooo good! (I get weird cravings sometimes. *lol*) So I decided to whip up one. It is Paula Deen's recipe, and I think it turned out well. I'd definitely say it's one of her healthier recipes i.e. NO BUTTER! It didn't stay together as well as some, but then again, I'm turned off my gelatinous meat. *ugh*


First of all, I had to get The Young and the Restless going. (Don't judge me.) Victor, Nicki, and the rest of the Genoa City crew keep me company in the kitchen.

I chopped up 1/2 cup onion and 1/2 cup green bell pepper.

I added 1 & 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper to 1 lb. ground beef.

I added in the chopped veggies--my favorite. :)

One egg had to be slightly beaten...

...and added in.

Then I added in 8-oz. of diced tomatoes (juice and all) and 1/2 cup of quick-cooking oatmeal. I couldn't find an 8-oz. can, so I bought a 14+ oz. can and used over half of it. (I'm saving the rest for our Greek salad later this week! I. can't. wait.) I also didn't have Quaker oats or anything, so I just used our Scottish oatmeal because it's quick-cooking, too.

I mixed it all together with my hands. (I decided it looked too gross to post a picture. *lol*) Finally, I pressed it into a loaf pan and started on the topping:

1/3 cup ketchup

and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar

and a Tbsp. of mustard
I mixed it all together and spread it on top. MEATLOAF baked for an hour plus some change at 375 degrees.

[1 loaf]

I served it with mashed potatoes and corn--nothing like home-cookin'!!

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