Erics Blog

Just an average guys thoughts

Gluten Free Lasagna

At the request of a close friend, I am publishing my recipe for gluten-free lasagna. This is a very simple recipe and uses ingredients that are readily available. As always, check the labels of any products to make sure they are gluten-free. If you are not sure, call the manufacturer.

I will start out with the fact that this recipe is supposed to be easy. You can make the sauce from scratch and there are thousands of recipes for that available, but that is not the intent of this recipe. Speaking of the sauce, the sauce is the heart of this dish. Without the sauce, it is just mac and cheese! Although a very tasty mac and cheese, it isn’t what we are looking for.

The first ingredient is the sauce. I prefer Prego as it is gluten-free and also, in my opinion, the best “base” sauce. By base sauce, I mean that it is good to start with but almost everything can be improved upon!

As you can see, the sauce is in the pan over low heat, jut to get it warm. This is where you add spices. Oregano, Basil, Salt, Pepper, and Garlic are added. Below is the chopped garlic. Only use half of the chopped garlic for the sauce.  After a few bubbles develop, turn the heat down to simmer.

Now comes the meat. I used roughly 1 1/2 pounds of ground chuck and 3/4 of a pound of ground sirloin.

Brown the meat over medium heat. You are not trying to blacken the meat, just brown it.

After five minutes or so, drain the grease off and continue browning the meat. At this time, add the other half of the chopped garlic, salt and pepper to the meat. Cook for three to four minutes and then, drain the meat and add to the sauce.

You will notice in the picture above, that the sauce has been transferred to a larger pot. I forgot that this recipe is for two trays of lasagna and since I am only making one, we are going to have sauce left over for either spaghetti or baked ziti later during the week.

This next part is optional. Sausage. I take two mild Italian sausages, cut them out of their case and brown them. Then, using my trusty chopper, I chop  them up into fine cubes. Then they are added to the sauce.

I allow the sauce to cook for at least two hours on very low heat, tasting periodically and adding spices to taste.

Now, that the sauce is ready, time for assembly.

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

 Start the assembly.

Using a glass dish, add a layer of sauce, then one row of noodles. These gluten-free noodles do not have to be boiled and this saves a lot of time as well as noodles!

The next layer is mozzarella cheese. You can use whole milk, part skim, sliced, as pictured above, or shredded. It is a matter of taste and personal preference. Below, I used sliced whole milk mozzarella cheese.

I then add a layer of sauce before adding the next layer of noodles. I have found that in several instances where I have ordered lasagna out, it was dry. This prevents that from occurring.

Time for the next layer of noodles. You will notice that the noodles are opposite from the first layer. This “interlocks” the entire dish and after it is served, keeps everything from falling apart.

The next layer is the Ricotta cheese mixture. I mix in a large bowl, one container of whole milk ricotta cheese, one egg,and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Then I “trowel” it out on top of the noodles.

Then, a little more sauce.

Now, the final layer of noodles, sauce, mozzarella cheese and a liberal sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Then, it is into the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Take the lasagna out and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

Some quick tips.

Use one jar of sauce for one tray of lasagna, or do what I did if you want extra sauce for later, use two jars.

Make sure you place the lasagna on the middle rack of your oven. Recently, I made this for a friends baby shower. Unfortunately, as we had Thanksgiving turkey the week before, I forgot to raise the rack to its normal position. After an hour of cooking I smelled that horrid smell of something burning. When I took the two lower trays of lasagna out, the bottoms were burnt. I was very sad but as usual, I can fix almost anything! I waited until the lasagna had cooled in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning. I loosened up all the sides, using my barbecue spatula, broke everything loose from the bottom of the dish, and then, placed a cookie sheet on top of the dish and flipped everything over. The dish came right off and then, I scraped all of the burnt sauce and meat particles away. Then, I cleaned the dish, added some leftover sauce to the bottom of the dish and put everything back together.

As the lasagna had to be reheated anyway, everything should be fine. It was and no one knew what had happened. In fact, this post is a direct request from my friend because the lasagna was so good!

I hope everyone enjoys this as it is one of my favorite dishes. If there are any comments or suggestions, please feel free to add them and enjoy!


January 3, 2012 Posted by | Food, Gluten-Free Foods and Diet | , , , | Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Bloomin Onion!

As we did not make it to the Outback last night, I decided to make a bloomin onion for lunch today.

The ingredients and procedure can be found here. Outback Steakhouse Bloomin Onion – Recipelink.

The fist step is to make the sauce. As I was missing a few ingredients, I substituted wasabi paste for the horseradish, and chili powder for the Cayenne pepper. It came out tasting exactly the same. For the dry ingredients, I used gluten-free flour and eliminated the cumin, as some Celiacs have an issue with cumin, I am one of those.

Now to slice the onion. The wife, a few years back got me this nifty onion slicer, which supposedly, makes things easier. Go to the footnotes to see if it really helped!

Now, that the onion is breaded, time to fry! You will notice that the onion in the next picture doesn’t look like the one above. There is a reason for that, which can be found at the bottom of this post.

The directions say to fry for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Using the gluten-free flour, a little less time and temperature are necessary. I cooked this one for 9 minutes at 325 degrees.I can assure, that the onion isn’t burnt. It came out toasty brown.And after exactly 4 minutes and 20 seconds….The onion was delicious and crisp. It tastes virtually identical  to the one at the Outback.


Now…some cooks would leave the above post as is and say that first time out, everything came out perfect. In this instance, that won’t be the case!

As I have never done this before, I wisely purchased three onions. The picture of the plated onion would be number three. What happened to numbers 1 & 2, you may ask? Let’s just say, you have to break some eggs before you can make a omlet, so I will now tell you what happened.

Onion number 1:

As I purchased this new 10 inch frying pan and basket, I was dying to use it. This would be where onion number one met its demise. Apparently, the thin aluminum pans are not the best at heat control. I placed the onion in the oil and went to wash off the plate. Upon my return, the oil reached a temperature of over 500 degrees basically, incinerating onion number one. Burnt on the outside, raw on the inside. In the trash it went! 😦

Onion Number 2:

Onion number 2 was doomed from the start. The handy-dandy onion slicer cut the onion right through the base, which left most of the onion in pieces. After shutting off the oil, I placed the onion, or what was left of it, in the oil and it promptly fell apart. This also allowed all of the breading to fall off and subsequently burn. Now, the gallon of oil I used was ruined! Luckily, I bought a spare gallon! 🙂

Onion number 3:

With onion number three, I nearly made the same mistake with the slicer that I did with onion number 2. So, I cut the onion half way with the slicer, then used my trusty knife to cut the remaining portion of the onion. As the oil was ruined during onion number twos demise, I brought out our 20+ year tried and true, steel pot and french fry basket, along with fresh oil!

Using the steel pot on the stove instead of the gas burner outside, stabilized the temperature and the onion came out nearly perfect.

I will fry up some chicken wings next week and hopefully get the hang of using the aluminum fry pot and then attempt this again.

All and all, a reasonable success. As it didn’t last very long, I can only assume it was good, as the wife promptly went to take a nap!

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Food, Gluten-Free Foods and Diet | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of the Ducane 4400

As promised, here is my review of my new grill.

I purchased this grill from Grillsdirect (Hayneedle) and after all was said and done, the price paid was $495.00 including shipping.

The grill arrived at 3:00 pm Friday. As others have noted, it came on a pallet. The bottom of one side of the box was damaged and I feared the worst. After going through the shipping issues, I would really have been upset if the grill arrived damaged. I ripped the box apart before the delivery person could leave to make sure there was no damage. Fortunately, there was none!

It took roughly one hour to assemble the grill. The instructions are nothing more than a bunch of pictures. A few pointers for those who purchase either the 3400 or the 4400.
There are 16 black bolts in one bag and 4 black bolts in another bag. All of the bolts in the 16 bolt bag are for the base/wheel installation. The 4 longer bolts are for the top of the grill.
Speaking of which, do not tighten any of the bolts for the frame until the doors are in. Also, when securing the top to the frame, place one bolt in and put the nut on just a couple of turns. Then put the other side bolt/nut in. After they are both in, then tighten them so the top is centered in the frame.
Another assembly tip, unscrew the bezel that holds the ignitor in place. Then, remove the ignitor and install the wires. Then, reinstall the ignitor. It is much easier to take it out and put it back than to try and attach those wires in a small space.

Firing up:
As I was putting the side trays on, I heard a loud bang from my garage. It appears as though the main spring for my garage door broke. I had to cut the broken piece off, re-thread the remainder of the old spring on to the new cone, and readjust the spring. This took about a half hour. Just enough time to burn in the new grill!
The grill fired right up (burners) and got to over 600 degrees in about 10 minutes. Heat doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Cooking the first meal:
The first meal was a few strip steaks. The grill cooked evenly and seared the outside and as you can see from the pictures, was cooked to perfection. My son seemed to enjoy it as it was the first thing he ate on his plate!

Second meal:
Rotisserie chicken. I put the chicken on the rotisserie, seasoned it, and let it spin for an hour and a half. The skin did not get a crispy as it did with the other grill, so, I decided to crisp it up a little by turning on the two bottom burners for 5 minutes. Do not repeat this mistake! There is no picture as the skin was burnt in a short period of time. Fortunately, the interior meat was still tender and juicy. I got lucky…again!
Third meal:
Hamburgers. I go to the meat market and get a bunch of ground chuck, add my seasonings and then place the meat in zip lock sandwich bags. One burger per bag, then freeze them. I usually have 10-15 burgers in the freezer at any given time. You never know who may show up!
I placed the frozen burgers on the grill and they cooked evenly on one side, flipped them over, cooked on the other side, flipped over again to get the “diamond pattern” on the burger, flipped over again.
Toasted the bun, and on they went. They were cooked perfectly, for me anyway, medium rare, just a pink line in the center of the burger, and were delicious.
Side burner:
Last night I made spaghetti with meatballs. As we got home a little late, and I took out too much meat for the normal number of meatballs, I had to cook two batches of meatballs. To boil the water for the pasta, I decided to use the side burner on the grill. It took about as long as it does on the stove to get the water to a boil, but, the grate on the burner is sturdy enough that when the 10 inch pot was put on it, it didn’t move around.

After using the grill it was time for its first cleaning. Everything on the exterior cleaned up easily. The grates cleaned up fairly well. I may have to do a little more brushing.

For grilling, this grill we do everything I want it to do. It is well designed (mostly, see below), easy to maintain, and after some modifications are made, will probably be the last grill for quite some time.

The placement of the rotisserie burner ignitor.
Where the line comes out on the burner, it gets red hot when the burner is on and actually bends upward. I can see this failing in short order. As it is, the spark is very poor and I suspect that this is a wire issue as I switched the wire to several positions on the back of the ignitor. I’ll be calling Weber Monday regarding this issue.
The tube that feeds the rotisserie burner is exposed and all of the drippings land directly on it. This cannot be good in the long term. I plan on correcting this issue.

The side trays are an extra set of burners!
The side trays, as others have noted, get very hot. Too hot to touch! I have read about the heat sink modification, but, I am going to call Weber and see if they have a ready made solution for this.

Heat loss out the back.
Others have pointed this out and I plan on calling Weber to determine why they didn’t just extend the back metal piece up two inches to keep the heat in.

Planned modifications:
Depending on what Weber says, I will block off the rear panel to keep the heat in.
I will add some protection for the rotisserie burner tube.
I will add, again, depending on what Weber has to say, the heat sink modification for the side burners.
I like the way the lower portion of the grill, the drip area, is constructed and angled to the opening for the drip pan. I think that adding an inner liner of say one of those aluminum baking pans, to the bottom should keep that area from getting dirty.

As the paint has already splintered on the flavorizer bars, when I get a new set, I may convert this to a rack with lava rocks.

Favorite feature, a toss up between the drip pan and the “backstop” at the rear of the grill.

This grill is actually a little bit smaller than the Charmglow 4 burner. But, the cover still fits!

My one year review, which is overdue, will be coming out around the same time as the “Q” review.

February 10, 2011 Posted by | Food, The Ducane 4400 | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Running Day 14.

After yesterdays incident, I was a little concerned about today. As I awoke, my right calve is still a little tight, but there is no bruising and it has loosened up considerably. In the interest of looking toward the long-term goal, I am going to take the rest of the week off and return to the running program next Monday.

As to what caused this injury, my own stupidity! As I was in a hurry yesterday to get the run in before Marshall woke up, I didn’t bother stretching and just started running. As everything felt so good, I thought I was going to get away with it, apparently, my body had different ideas! I won’t make this mistake again!

As for the rest of the day, I have some running around, not literal running, to do and then the remainder of the day will be for rest. I think I am going to slither over to the meat market and see if they have a decent rib roast for Friday night dinner. I see the Ducane is getting “jealous” as the Q is getting the bulk of the work lately!

The Atkins diet has done its job. Although I did gain 7 pounds from the Tour de Bar, which I also noticed that the last time I had a binge, the weight gain was also 7 pounds, that weight is now gone and I am back to 225 pounds. Unfortunately, it appears as though when I took Marshall to the doctor, one of those sick kids has transmitted yet another disease to yours truly! Can the parents not read? Sick kids go on the other side of the wall, well kids go on this side!

The next entry for the running blog will be Monday, but, there should be something on the Q page.

February 10, 2011 Posted by | Running | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running..Day 13…Bad Luck! :(

Today, the run started off great. The temperature outside was a crisp 62 degrees and there was no wind. After the first 1/4 of the run, it was obvious that the gluten issue has gone away. The way I can tell is that my senses, more particularly, my sense of smell, returns to its normal self!

While running, I can smell flowers, sprinkler water, and unfortunately, cigarette smoke, from a 1/2 block away!

The first lap was uneventful. It seemed that I could run forever. I wasn’t even breathing heavy and still breathing through my nose.

About 1/4 of the way through the second lap, I felt a “snap” from the back of my right calve. At the Tour de Bar, my good friend Steve was there with a gigantic bandage around one of his calves. I asked him what happened. He said while playing tennis, his calve exploded! In the pictures he showed me, it didn’t look good!

With thoughts of Steve in my head, I immediately stopped running and tried to stretch out my calve. This had no effect. I limped home and continued to stretch. As of this writing, there is no difference. The calve is very tight and painful. I hope I didn’t do any severe damage. Time will tell.

After I get back from dropping Marshall off at Daycare, I’ll have an update.

I am not superstitious, but maybe there is something to the number “13” being bad luck!

February 9, 2011 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running | , , , , | Leave a comment

Porterhouse Steak on the Q

Tonight, for dinner, it was a porterhouse steak. Publix finally got someone who doesn’t cut these things 1/2 inch thick, so I grabbed this one.

Medium rare:

After a five minute rest:

Marshall eating the best part:

And, Sophia gets some “scraps”!

Another perfectly cooked piece of meat on the Q! Tomorrow, I am going to see how it works as a tanning bed, as everything else that gets cooked on this grill comes out perfect! 🙂

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Beef, Food, The Weber Q 200 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running…Day 12 Gluten Strikes!!!

After a day off to recover from the Tour de Bar, and actually to recover from the dietary issues is more to the point, it was time to hit the pavement running!

As I exited the front door, a chill of cold air hit me. Apparently, we must be in some sort of cold front! I did my usual stretching and began the run. As I suspected, there were no ill effects, physically, from the Tour de Bar. No cramping, soreness or anything else. Also, and what I was fearing, was the effect that ingestion of gluten has caused.

One of the effects of gluten is a bloating sensation. I am not referring to a little bit of gas type bloating. I am referring to the “third trimester” type of bloating usually associated with pregnancy. The bloating itself isn’t really an issue, it just means you have to go up a notch or two on your belt. Unfortunately, what happens with the excessive bloating is that it expands everything and something has to give. The “something” in my case, would be my lungs. It becomes very difficult to breathe and as far as taking deep, controlled breaths, that is out of the question.

Todays run was one mile. The first lap went well until the 3/4 point, where I began to have trouble breathing. As I ran the second lap, the problem worsened and as a result, I had to stop to catch my breath.

Some may consider this a step backward, but since I know the cause and the fact that hopefully, by Wednesday or Thursday, this issue should be resolved, I have high hopes of getting to the 1 1/2 mile mark by Friday.

According to the test strips, I am still in deep ketosis and as proof of that, I weighed myself this morning and the scale read 228 pounds. I am hoping that by tomorrow or Thursday, I’ll be back to the Sunday morning weight of 225 pounds.

For those that have gluten issues, and for those that don’t understand it, the reaction to gluten takes approximately one week to recover from. Over time, it can take years to recover from as your system gets so damaged, it needs time to repair itself.

To read about my issues, go here: Gloom of Gluten

If you have any of the symptoms, it might be a good idea to get tested. 1 in 135 people have Celiac disease…and do not know it. Others have some sort of food allergy and are usually diagnosed with the catch-all, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Running | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pain at Wounded Knee!

Many of you know that I have a damaged left knee. Here, I will detail exactly how this came to be.

Around May or June of 1998, it was time for my favorite band, ZZ Top to come in concert. The venue was the Pompano Beach Amphitheater. The weather was in the 60s, slightly windy, with a chance of rain. As the concert began, so did the rain! In fact, it rained most of the night. Nevertheless, the band played on and another great show was in the books. Time to go home.

On the way out, Teala lost one of her contacts. Several others were assisting us attempting to locate the missing lens. While looking, I pivoted on my left leg and heard a “pop” from my left knee. It was loud enough that the others standing by heard it as well. Teala asked me “What was that?” I said “nothing”! Meanwhile, in my my own mind, I knew exactly what it was.

Back in my high school days, I played football as well as wrestling. These are two sports that require a great deal of use from your legs. The one thing no one in these sports, or for that matter, any sport, wants to hear, is the “pop”. The pop is usually a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Which isn’t the most painful injury to have, but, in some instances, other parts of the knee are damaged and along with that damage, comes the pain.

At the time, I had insurance with a company called United Benefits Life. I do not think they are still in business. The plan I was on used doctors that subscribed to the insurance company and the coverage was an HMO. I looked at their list of “approved” Doctors and picked one that was near my office. I will not mention is name here, however, if anyone would like to know the name, contact me and I will give it to you. I do not want to see anyone make the same mistake I made.

After making an appointment with the doctor, he examined me and said we would need to do an MRI, which is pretty standard procedure. He suspected a torn ligament, possibly an ACL. The doctors words to me were “Just take it easy, rest and after the MRI comes back, we will see what to do next”. So far, things had gone as I expected. After calling the doctors office repeatedly for six weeks, I was told that the request for the MRI was turned down.  At this point, I asked, “What do we do now?” I have been walking, if you could call it that, on this knee for seven weeks since I injured it. The problem with a torn ACL is that the ligament stabilizes your knee and without it, you tend to fall down a lot as your knee is very unstable.The doctor sent in a request for another MRI and, exploratory surgery. Finally, in October of 1998, the doctor called and said that the surgery was approved.

This should have been a red flag. The purpose of an MRI is to see in detail, what exactly is wrong and what needs to be corrected. Without it, you, as a surgeon are flying blind. You do not know what you are going to find wrong!

I went and had the surgery done. After the operation, I spoke with the doctor who informed me that I had a 60% tear of my ACL. Now, I may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but I do know that 60% is more than half of something and to me, 40% of an ACL isn’t going to last the rest of my life. Then again, what do I know? After all, I am just a “lowly home inspector”!

Two weeks later, I went back to the doctor and he said everything was healing fine, I had good range of motion, and to go on with my merry existence. Everything should be fine! At this time, I learned that most of this doctors practice includes performing surgeries on older clientele. And by older, I mean 70-plus! I informed him that I was 38, played golf, roller-bladed and was very active. He said everything should be fine.

A week later, I was performing an inspection at a property in Plantation, Florida. My Client and the Realtor were the only people present including myself and the home was vacant. As we were leaving the property, there was a large step leading out the front door. I placed my left leg on that step, and then went to put my right foot next to it. At this time, I felt intense pain, and for those that know me well, that is about twenty times more than the average person can withstand, in my left knee. I turned, twisted, and landed on the ground with a large “thud”.

My Client and the Realtor had looks on their faces as if they had just witnessed the worst thing in their lives! I was laying on my back, my left leg, contorted around and under my right thigh. As I lay there, the image of a building being demolished in a controlled explosion, was racing through  my mind. I told everyone present to leave me alone, give me a couple of minutes, and I’ll be OK!

I got up after a few minutes and could not put any weight on my left leg. Whatever happened, it was much worse than the ACL tear. I called the doctor and he said, “It sound like you sprained your knee”. I informed him that although I am not a doctor, I know my body and this was far worse than anything else I have ever felt from a pain standpoint. He told me to ice it down and I’d be OK.

It was at this time, that I realized that this guy was a f***ing quack! Here I am, unable to walk and the expert advise given, was “to ice it down”? I immediately changed insurance companies and then started looking for a new doctor. At this time, I happened to stumble on a name, Dr. Robert Baylis who was listed as a board certified orthopedic surgeon and many other accreditations. He was also a sports medicine doctor. These type of doctors specialize in athletes. I contacted Dr. Baylis and made an appointment.

I met  Dr. Baylis and told him the story. We are now in the second week of November. After hearing the story, he said he would examine me. He did and his findings were that I had a torn ACL. Well, no shit Sherlock..I just told you that! I was beginning to wonder exactly what type of racket these doctors were running, when Dr. Bayliss said..No…No….You do not have an ACL  at all. It is completely gone. Your Posterior as well as you Medial ligaments are torn, and you most likely have torn cartilage, if you even have any left, and torn meniscus. That doesn’t sound good!

It wasn’t. Dr. Balyis said that there would be no need for an MRI as there was no question in his mind that there would be extensive damage found and he would just have to do the surgery and fix what he could. He also informed me that I would most likely be a candidate for total knee replacement. I should mention that Dr. Baylis is not one of these “slice first and ask questions later” surgeons. He tries to let the patient keep the original parts as well as reduce surgeries as with each surgery, there are risks and damage.

In December of 1998, I had my second surgery of the year. ACL reconstruction. The MCL and PCLs heal them selves so all that was left to contend with was the cartilage, or more precisely, the lack of it and the torn meniscus. The meniscus was trimmed and then, to address the missing cartilage, holes were drilled in the bones in order to produce artificial cartilage which would act as a cushion. After the surgery, Dr. Baylis said it was just about as bad as it gets. I had to stay off the leg for six weeks, then began rehabilitation.

Immediately after the surgery, I was in a machine, Passive Continuous Motion machine (PCM),that constantly extended and retracted my leg so as not to lose any range of motion. I was in that machine about 22 hours a day, for six weeks. My range of motion was very high compared to the average individual and I owe that to hard work, dedication, and that machine.

One of the drawbacks of this surgery is that almost immediately, your leg atrophies, significantly. This required, first, some therapy to maintain the range of motion, basic exercises to learn how to walk again, and strength and conditioning. Til this day, stretching is still the hardest part of the regiment. I loved doing the strength portion of the rehabilitation. Speaking of which, I pushed my self and nine months after the surgery, my legs were stronger than ever. I could leg press 1,000 pounds and several of the members and trainers at the gym, took notice at how hard I worked and the results that were obtained. My doctor was also amazed as I was the quickest to recover from such a devastating injury, that he had seen.

In January of 2000, I began to experience pain in my left knee. It wasn’t in the joint or the ACL and was just a “stabbing” pain at my kneecap. I went back to the doctor and he did an X-Ray. When your body and in particular, bones, are damaged, they regrow as a way to heal themselves. Unfortunately, in some instances, the bones heal in a different direction than what they were in originally. Which is what happened. A bone spur was growing downward from my kneecap and stabbing whatever is under your kneecap.

Time for surgery number three. Dr. Baylis went in and 45 minutes later, all was done. A little grinding, some trimming of more meniscus, and I was good as new! I remember Dr. Baylis saying after the first surgery, this won’t be the last one. Your knee is a mess and we are going to try and do everything to avoid the inevitable, replacement. This surgery was good for five years.

In May of 2005, The week before my wedding, my good friend Paul had the bright idea of going to Bimini for my bachelor party. At the time, Paul had a recently renovated 45 foot Hatteras and as a frequent diving buddy that I was, thought it would be a god idea to go via the boat. At the time, this seemed like a great idea.

We gathered up six other friends and off we went. Things were going along as well as can be expected, when I decided it was time to make another Tequila Sunrise and, check on the rods and other assorted items that were stored down in the staterooms. Did I mention that the seas were around 3-5 feet? Now, three to five foot seas in a 45 foot boat, especially the Hatteras, aren’t much of a big deal. Unless of course, you are in the bottom of the vessel standing on one leg, especially if that leg has a surgically repaired knee!

The boat came up out of a wave and slammed down on another at the precise moment I decided to reach over and replace a loose fishing rod. There was a familiar pain emanating from my left knee. It wasn’t a pop but it was painful. I suspected I had torn some more meniscus. Thirty or forty Tequila Sunrises later, a day with the Miami Dolphin cheerleaders and the return trip, seemed to have quelled the pain. I never told the wife that I had injured my knee until after we got back from the honeymoon.

When we returned, I saw Dr. Baylis and he ordered an MRI. The MRI revealed that there was a bunch of bone growth and some more torn meniscus. Another surgery was scheduled and the knee was “cleaned out”. It must have been pretty bad because after this surgery, the knee felt great. It also appeared as though we were starting to develop a time line. The knee was fine for another five years.

Fast forward to February, 2010. While at Disney on perhaps the coldest day of the century, my left knee was locking up. This was something new. My knee had never locked up before. I gutted it out for three days in Disney and then when I returned home, time to see Dr. Baylis again. Another MRI was done and this time, it was revealed that there was more bone growth, bone spurs, and more torn minescus. The problem this time was that the bone spurs were growing around my ACL which was restricting its functionality and eventually, the bones would fuse around it rendering it useless.

April, 2010. Time for more surgery. Now there was a serous problem as the decision to perform the surgery could have some adverse effects. As the bones were growing under the ACL, it was being stretched and once the bone was removed, the fear was that the ACL would become loose and then, break shortly after the surgery requiring another reconstruction. The decision was made to do the surgery.

As there was so much bone growth, there was a lot of cutting that had to be done. This was going to require more recovery time. There would be no, “three days and you are good as new” recoveries that I was used to in the previous two surgeries! The wounds bled for almost ten days. For the first time, there was now fluid in my knee that was oozing out and required daily changes of my bandages. The actual pain was worse than most of the other surgeries as this is what happens when you cut into bone.

After returning to the doctor, there was still a locking sensation present, but now, it was in the back of my knee instead of the joint where it was prior to the surgery. It was actually present prior to the surgery, but the joint locking in the knee itself, was the major problem, which has been corrected. I went for therapy and the locking was still present.

One of the problems with getting older is arthritis. This occurs more frequently with injuries and as if the rest of the knee wasn’t such a mess, I now had an “arthritic” knee as well. What this means is that our plans of staving off a knee replacement are waning. It has now become an unavoidable inevitability, but unfortunately, if the knee is replaced, a new set of problems arise, which at this time, I don’t care to even think about!

At this time, I am getting by with an arthritis knee brace and am doing everything in my power to strengthen my leg. It may be a fruitless goal, however, I want to give myself every opportunity to avoid knee replacement.

So, what have I learned?

  1. Do not settle on the first doctor that you are referred to
  2. If you have a joint injury, seek out a sports medicine doctor.
  3. Which ever doctor you choose, make sure he is a “cutting edge” surgeon (Dr. Baylis actually built his own “jig” for elbow surgery, which will be documented on this blog).
  4. Make sure you have the best insurance that you can afford.
  5. Learn all you can about your specific injury.
  6. Check out your doctor every way you can think of. Go to a rehabilitation hospital near the doctor and ask how many of the patients he has sent there required “extended ” stays or had “complications”.

The purpose of writing this post, and a couple of other posts that deal with health-care issues, is to help others learn from my mistakes. I would honestly hate for someone to have to go through some of the things that I have.

Feel free to contact me or make any comments.

As I am preparing to enter phase three, weightlifting, of my rejuvenation process, I took measurements of various parts of my body. As I suspected, there was a great difference in my leg measurements. My left quadriceps was 1 1/2 inches smaller in diameter than my right leg and my left calf was 3/4 of an inch smaller them my right leg! It looks like there is going to be a different method of training with regards to my legs!

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Home | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tour de Bar Wrap up!

First, a special thanks to those that put this event together every year. You know who you are! 🙂 Putting on my golf outing every year with only 20 people is a struggle. Getting what appeared to be over 100 riders at this years event, all on the “same page”, must not have been an easy task. Job well done guys!

As I promised the wife, I sustained no injuries…that I am aware of! The adjustments made to the bicycle early Sunday morning, helped tremendously in the overall comfort of the ride. Those adjustments would be angling the seat back one notch and, straightening out both wheels. The wheels were bent as a result of more than one crash in the previous years, and I hadn’t completely adjusted the spokes until Sunday. They are just about as straight as they are going to get.

Now, for the bad news…Apparently, either the chicken wings at Brus room or some of the food at the party contained gluten. The likely suspects could be the chili or the Quesadillas. I woke up at what I was hoping was 5:00 am….unfortunately, it was, in fact, 1:30 am! I woke up with the sweats, bloating and a burning sensation in my stomach.

Then of course, Samantha decided that this would be the time to receive some loving from her Daddy, so, no sleep has been had and I have visited the bathroom three times already this morning! Friends often ask what the big deal is with gluten. These are the after effects when I ingest gluten, and, now that I have been “clean” for two months, the effects are intensified. Not to mention, it was the first time in two weeks that I had alcohol and the ten beers and five shots probably haven’t helped the situation.

Today will be spent  dealing with the effects of gluten and hopefully, it will be out of my system by Wednesday. The seven pounds gained in one day should also hopefully be gone by Wednesday. In the interest of accuracy, I stepped on the scale before I left yesterday and then again, this morning. The results were not pretty!

225 lbs. Sunday morning, 232 lbs. Monday morning. This is one of the uncharacteristic effects of gluten. Normally, true Celiac sufferers, lose weight or cannot add weight. I and as I have learned, others, gain record amounts very quickly.

As I will be hampered by the gluten issue, todays run will be canceled, which is unfortunate because the rest of my body, physically anyway, has no ill effects from the bike ride. Legs, back, none of my muscles hurt at all, so tomorrow I’ll be back to the running.

Until then…have a great day!

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Family and Friends | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicken breasts on the Q

Today, the Q got a workout. Breakfast, lunch, and now dinner. Tonight’s dinner is barbecue  chicken breasts. First the breasts, with a little bit of McKoricks steak seasoning on them. I know, steak seasoning? The chicken breasts don’t know the difference..I asked! 🙂

After heating up the grill, I turned the burner control down to low, which produced a temperature of about 325 degrees in the grill.

After flipping the breasts every 10 minutes, it was time to check the internal temperature. Luckily, my assistant had the required thermometer!

The internal temperature was 155 degrees so it was time to add the sauce. I prefer Bullseye as it is a sweet sauce and also gluten-free. Again, my assistant was very helpful!

All of the cooking was expertly supervised by the ever-present Samantha, seen here, dipping her toes in the pool.

Almost done:

And, plated up almost ready to eat:

The dinner was served with creamer potatoes with garlic, butter, and parsley.

Everything was quite good! The “Q” does it again!

Off to bed for a good nights sleep, then pancakes on the “Q” followed by the “Tour de Bar”!

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Chicken, The Weber Q 200 | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment