Santa Cruz Nostalgia

Well, more like general nostalgia/ennui. This has been a bad weekend – I stayed out too late and drank beer Friday night, and my stomach is still punishing me for it. And the more I learn about IBS the more overwhelmed I feel. Before I knew what was wrong with me, I had an easier time just living my life. Now that I’ve done more research and I know how bad IBS can be, I’m becoming more and more anxious about leaving the house. I’ve started carrying Immodium everywhere I go. This is basically crazy, because my symptoms were never as severe as the ones I’m reading about online; it’s like now that I know I’m sick I feel like I should act like a sick person.

I don’t have a great support network in DC, and actually some of my friends have been really unsupportive of  the changes I’ve had to make (like cutting back on alcohol), which isn’t helping.

Anyway, I’m currently on the hunt for a new gastroenterologist* and blogs by people who are managing IBS and living normal lives. And I’m trying to cook more, so I don’t eat stupid crap because I’m hungry (yes, 3/4 of a pint of Almond Dream Bites, I’m talking about you).

Today, I tried to recreate Annie’s Cashew, Sesame and Pimento spread, which every hippie in Santa Cruz knows intimately. Like the Roti Lady and Vegan Sushi Guy, Annie apparently plies her trade only at natural food stores in Santa Cruz, and we used to polish off a large tub of this stuff at every co-op meeting ever. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I learned that I am not the only one out to crack Annie’s code. I found this recipe on http://freetobehappy.com/snacks.htm and made some tweaks because it seemed a little blander than I remembered.

Non-dairy Cashew Sesame Spread 
(Makani’s attempt at making this delicious spread called Annie’s Spread available in Santa Cruz, CA)

1 c. raw cashew pieces- soaked in water for 12 hours

1/8 c. sesame seeds- soaked in water for 12 hours 

½-1 c. water

3 T. pimientos

2-3 t. Red Star Nutritional Yeast

2 t. tamari

1T. lemon juice

1t. agar

Blend in blender the cashews, pimientos, yeast, salt, lemon juice, agar, and add water to appropriate consistency. Add last after all else is blended and blend a little more, the sesame seeds.

That last sentence is the best part of the recipe. You can click the link for the original (blander) version if you’d like. I think I added a little too much water, and I might up the agar flakes next time I make it, because the consistency is more hummus-y and less Annie’s-y, but the flavor is pretty close. It made me feel a little bit better about having a lame weekend and letting my body rest.

*There’s a story about how I much I hate gastroenterology, but I’ll save it for another post.

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