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National Cancer Prevention Month

February is National Cancer Prevention Month, which strikes a strong chord in my heart.

Cancer is, sadly, very common in my family. . . . it’s the genetic curse that just keeps showing up uninvited. Ruining health. Bringing sadness and grief. And stealing loved ones away. 

From skin to liver to prostate to breast cancer, it seems like almost everyone in my family develops at least one form of cancer.  Just in my immediate family: My mother has had oral and cervical cancers and melanoma. My grandmother has had multiple melanomas removed in the last few years. My grandfather did, as well.

Then, about a year before he died, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His health had deteriorated too much, by then, and there was nothing that could be done. Time went by, his condition worsened even further, until he was confined to a wheelchair and couldn’t walk. A few weeks before he died, his doctor started mentioning the possibility of mesothelioma as being the cause of his health issues, but we never found out if he actually had it.

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My grandparents’ oldest child, my Uncle Jerry, died in his early twenties from stomach cancer. . . . Uncle Jerry and GrandadI know that I’m already at a very increased risk for developing cancer just based on genetics alone and believe me, I’ve tried to limit exposure to anything cancer causing. I’ve never smoked. I’ve traded tanning beds for the lovely and pale look – and an occasional spray tan. I’ve cut back on bacon, sausage, and red meat consumption. I’m scheduled to have a suspicious mole checked. And I’ve seriously considered genetic testing, although that bullet hasn’t been bitten, yet. But for now, I’m more than willing to do everything else I can to try to keep the disease at bay, and the more knowledge that we share about the evil “C Word” and the small steps that we can take to prevent it, always helps a little. Hopefully, one day soon, there will be a cure.

The Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center shared a few tips for preventing cancer during all times of the year, which I am to elaborate on. They aim to raise awareness of the rare but preventable cancer mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos exposure, a toxic material that many do not know is still legal and widely used.

Cancer Prevention Month Checklist

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My Kitchen Essentials.

I don’t know about your house, but the flu has been making its rounds here. Major coughing/sneezing city. Which is why I’ve been a little absent around here lately. And completely putting a wrinkle in my resolution to make 2016 a healthier year. 

But I’m here now, and joining up with BlueStar to bring you My Kitchen Essentials.  BlueStar has an amazing line of ovens, ranges, salamanders, etc that make up my fantasy dream kitchen. Check them out at BlueStar (and try the Build Your Own BlueStar page to see all of the amazing color options) and also check out Big Chill

So, what are my kitchen essentials? The things that I absolutely could not do without. Basically, this is a kitchen version of the deserted island game. . . . 

My number one most essential item: My Kitchenaid.

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Look through recipe photos on here, and you’ll probably see my trusty Kitchenaid mixer. I had always fantasized about how much quicker and easier baking would be with one, but let’s face it – fancy stand mixers are not exactly cheap. Which is why it was a completely unexpected surprise Christmas present from my mother a few years ago. You have no idea how shocked I was to unwrap sparkling, brand new mixer.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: My mother is not good at surprise presents. Bless her heart, she tries. . . . But I always find out. Usually because I’m the one who has to wrap it or like this past Christmas, I happen to see the email saying, “Your DSLR camera bag has shipped!”. 

But she got me good with the mixer! And it’s been the best present ever, and something that has been well used (kinda obvious, right?). And guess what? All those daydreams about how much easier it would be to bake with a stand mixer were true. It really is.  Need fresh whipped cream? A little heavy cream and sugar, turn on the mixer, and let it do its job while you do yours. 

2. The new Phillippe Richard cookware. 

I’ll just put it nicely, but the old cookware had seen its last day several times over. Handles were missing or if present and accounted for, only hanging on by a thread. Or scarier, melted. You don’t even want to know how that happened.

The pots were dinted and dinged up and way past their prime. So, of course, my big goal on Black Friday was new cookware. I would say that I waited in line for hours in the freezing cold to score a good deal, but it was 70 something degrees, I was sweating in my boots, and the line was only 15 minutes long. Easy. And I got new cookware out of it, that I love. 

Cooking nostalgic, comfort food, like my Mother’s famous (well, famous to me) pizza burgers, is so much easier with an actual handle to grab on to now. And let’s face it, safer, too. 

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3. Measuring cups, spoons, and a digital scale. 

Because I like to bake, and as we all know, it helps to be as precise as possible. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it in style. Like with my new measuring spoons. . . . . 

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Aren’t they cute? Even the dogs like them. Plus, digital scales make it so much easier to get even cake layers. Just weigh out how much batter you put in each pan before baking. 

4. Mini Ice Cream Scoop Thingies. 

I’m not really sure what to call these, other than, well. . . . mini ice cream scoop thingies. Cause that’s what they are. Basically. And you can use them for so many different things, which is probably why I have more than one set. 

Cookies.

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Meatballs. Truffle candy. Dog treats. Ice cream, of course. And diy bath and body products. Such as, bubble bath scoops: 

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And the finished product. Sort of. The one above is Wild Blackberry scented (which are still drying, and I haven’t gotten around to photographing it, yet, because. . .  .well, it’s been like 40 degrees) and the ones below are Frosted Cranberry (which I obviously have photographed).

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5. A chopper/blender/food processor.

I have this love/hate relationship with blenders, food processors, choppers, etc. Love? Because it’s so much easier dumping nuts or cookies in them to grind up than doing it by hand.

Hate? Because I always seem to lose at least one part for each one I’ve bought. And it’s always the most important part. The blade, the lid that has to be on and in the locked position for the darned thing to work, the actual container you put the ingredients in, etc. Basically, if I wanted to, I could create a Frankenstein chopper/blender/food processor thing from all the mismatched parts in the cabinets. 

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The latest blender/chopper pureeing fresh pumpkin. And surprisingly, none of the parts are currently missing. 

 

So, if I’m headed to a deserted island kitchen, apparently, I’ve got a lot of stuff to drag along with me. Now, what are your kitchen essentials?