How Many Steps Per Day To Improve Quality Of Life With CKD?

If you have been following along this week, then you know I have been talking about exercise and CKD. In the archives of this blog, you will find lots of walking videos, that are low-impact aerobics. Walking is my main form of exercise, whether on the treadmill, outdoors, or using some of my favorite walking videos, I walk a lot. I also walk a lot at work. But, after I was first diagnosed it was so hard to work. I was exhausted all the time, with feet, back, and leg cramps. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to work. I worked part-time and felt like it was daunting. I still work part-time but have started to pick up the number of days of the week that I work. I don’t see myself working 5 days ever, not because of CKD, just because it seems like no life at all to only have two days a week off. Now that my second child is grown I have no real reason to need to be at home so much. The more I move around the better I feel, and the better I feel the more I can accomplish. This would most likely be true for you too. I am stronger, fitter, more active, and happier. But, that is just me, one person. What do other people with CKD say on this topic?

Well, good thing you asked because that is the topic today. This study is pretty new, and it used a survey format to ask people with CKD how they felt their life was going with certain amounts of exercise. The target number of steps was at least 7,000 per day up to 12,000 per day. The average age of the participants was 40, pretty young considering most CKD studies are done on older populations, with about half being men and half women. You can read the study here, but the study showed that the more active these people with CKD were the better they felt their quality of life was. The survey that was used is from the CDC and you can see the survey questions here. Walking is low impact, easy to do, and free with no equipment needed other than a device for assistance if you need it. You can even start by sitting in a chair and marching or holding onto your walker. You will only get stronger. Be patient and take your time. I have been fitness walking for years and 12,000 steps per day are hard to achieve. It is a lot of steps. You can not expect to do it in one day, or even one year, possibly, depending on where you are at. It is a goal, and goals take time. I give myself one full day of rest where I walk way less than 7,000 steps. I need that day.

I still have days where I feel yucky, but those days are mostly related to poor diet choices, and or not staying hydrated enough. Hydration is a huge stickler for me in what positions I am willing to take as a nurse. Having drinks at work can be frowned upon, but I am not in the need to care. If I get dehydrated I feel like crap. Working for me is almost like a workout, and I hydrate before I even get there, just in case I may not have time to grab a few guzzles of a drink. Since I drive 30 minutes to work, I have adequate time to down at least 8 ounces of fluids before I get there. I try to get 16 ounces in.

Invest in a step counter. Now, with that being said you don’t need a fancy one. I used to have a Fitbit and I loved it. But, it died, and I just never replaced it. Instead, I put a free step counter on my smartphone and I take the phone everywhere. There is workout apparel that can accommodate holding a phone so it can count your steps, or just put it in your pocket or even your bra.

If you need someone to walk with you to motivate you, adopt a dog. There are so many dogs in need in the world, or just foster it. The chances are good the dog will have to go to the bathroom. If you are new to dog ownership, or older, choose a manageable breed. Basic dog training for bigger dogs is recommended if you are new to walking. You don’t need your dog dragging you around.

Always talk about exercise with your doctor, especially if you are new to exercise. Take your time. If you can only do 1,000 steps on your first day, that is fine. Do 1,001 the next day. Add a couple of steps each day.

Tomorrow, or Friday, I will share some more of my favorite indoor walking videos that you can try.

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What Does $30 Of Meat Look Like From Misfits Market?

Welcome back to another food budget topic. I have chosen to go even lower carbs on my health journey. I will write more about that in a future post. I had good success losing weight last year following 100 grams of carbs per day. I lost about 20 pounds and was able to maintain that pretty easily. But, then the holidays came, and business of life, and I slacked off. I only gained about 5 pounds back, so I am still ok with that. However, as you know I have CKD and I want to lose more weight to improve my metabolic markers even more than they already have. This is not Keto, at least not yet. I assume I may have to go Keto to get to my ultimate goal weight, but I could be wrong. For now, I am eating about 75 grams of carbs or less per day, but not less than 50 as that would put me in Ketosis. I have been doing this for about ten days and have already shed one inch off my chest and waist. I have not weighed myself, yet. I have to say this way of eating, and this time I am including my husband, and sort of my daughter as she is now an adult. She does not need to lose weight, but she likes a lot of the garbage food I am no longer buying. I will here and there let her get some, but not like she used to. I simply don’t need it in the house. The only thing I really crave is potato chips. I actually feel really good. I stay within the protein limits I have calculated for myself and my CKD. I try to stick with healthier fat options than high saturated fats. I honestly feel good. I have noticed my dry eyes and mouth have improved immensely. It does not seem to be having any negative effects on my kidneys, and the hip joint pains I was experiencing following plant-based have gone away. Those are all good things. The only thing I need to see is if it will affect my Lipid Panel in a negative way.

So, back to the title. Since we had started our extreme grocery budget challenge, which we have kind of steering away from it the past couple of weeks, but I will start again this week, I was not buying at Misfits Market. While their prices are good, I am noticing fewer and less organic options, and more items labeled natural instead. Natural can mean a lot of things. Plus, it is expensive. So, last week I made an order for 30 dollars of just meat. That is the required amount you have to purchase cold items to cash out. I picked what I wanted, but I don’t think I picked two sausages. I thought I picked one chicken, but I got two sausages. These seem to be good quality. I have had Diestel products before, and the True Story chicken sausages are awesome. The other ones I have not tried yet. So for 30 dollars, I got 5 meat items. This seems OK to me, but not great considering they are not organic, except for one. I may continue to buy from here if I find organic options, if not I probably am not going to try to incorporate Misfits into my budget.

I prefer organic meats if I can afford them on our extreme budget. I only eat beef on average one time a week, but I do like pork and chicken. I like turkey too but my husband really only likes it on Thanksgiving, lol.

Another fun challenge, along with the grocery budget, is $5 dollar dinners. I will be starting to share some $5 dollar dinner ideas for low carb. I really think it probably will be hard to get 5-dollar dinners low carb with quality meats. We will see. I have one already to share tomorrow.

The one thing I really am liking about this new way of eating is its simplicity of it. My grocery list is easy, and my meals are easy, it is just easy. I know a lot of influencers spend a ton of money on snacks and keto drinks. I don’t see myself doing that as most of the drinks I dislike, and some of the snacks are plain gross. They swear they are delicious but they most certainly are not. They are super expensive and not really that good for you. Anyway, I might share some of them too. There are a few that I have tried that I like, but there are way more that I don’t. The consistency is strange, as is the texture, and taste.

That is it for today. Come back tomorrow to see my first low-carb 5-dollar dinner option.

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Kidney Class: Week 11

Welcome back to another week in the American Kidney Fund, Kidney Education Class. This is week 11, and I will be sharing slide 11, with comments from my personal experience with CKD, and my experience as a nurse.

In week 10 I discussed how the number one cause of Kidney Failure is Diabetes. This week I will discuss the #2 cause which is Hypertension, sometimes referred to as HTN, or High Blood Pressure. They all mean the same thing.

There is a short video below that explains how HTN damages the kidneys and can lead to Kidney Failure. There is no sound on this particular video. My thoughts and comments are under the slide that is the property of the AKF and provided to me as a Kidney Coach.

I encourage, you, my readers to leave me comments and or questions. That is the best way for this program to work. I do not accept spam, so please do not waste my time. If you would rather not post a public question or comment, you can email me at healthbuddymelissa@yahoo.com

As you can see in the slide HTN causes 25% of kidney failure cases. This is a large amount. Keeping your blood pressure in good control through healthy lifestyle changes, exercise, diet, and medications when needed are all vitally important. As someone with CKD, and as a nurse, I understand the importance of keeping my blood pressure under control, and so far I have been successful. However, CKD in and of itself can lead to high blood pressure. So, keeping your CKD well managed is also very important.

Kidney Class Week #9. How Does Diabetes Cause Kidney Disease?

Hello, and welcome back to week #9 of the AKF Kidney Education Class. I am a volunteer Kidney Coach and each week I share one slide from the class, with my own experience with CKD, thoughts, and experience as a nurse sprinkled in. Before Covid I would do this class in person, now I have decided to upload the slides, and allow people to ask questions and leave comments. As long as this blog is here these posts can remain for many years. If the AKF gives any updates to the slides, I will update them.

This slide, see it below, along with a video that explains it, even more, discusses how Diabetes causes kidney disease. Almost 50% of all kidney failure cases are caused by Diabetes., and Diabetes is the leading cause of Kidney Disease. Controlling your blood sugar is the best thing you can do for yourself if you want to avoid kidney failure, and you have Diabetes.

I don’t have Diabetes, but it does run on my father’s side of the family. I am checked for Diabetes at least yearly. So, far I have had no issues with that. I try to follow a low-carb diet, about 100-150 grams of carbs per day because I don’t want to get Diabetes, either.

Please check out the other weeks in this series, there are a lot more to come. I generally post them every Wednesday. Feel free to leave me comments and questions. I will allow all legitimate comments and questions. I will not allow spam.

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The Many Faces Of Kidney Disease!

Good morning! Have you been following along each week in my Kidney Classes? I am an AKF Kidney Coach and each week I share another slide in their kidney education program. I have not done an in-person class since before Covid. This week I am sharing two slides #7 and #8 because just sharing #7 would make no sense.

You will notice in the short video below that there are many faces of kidney disease. Not just old people get kidney disease and it is becoming more prevalent in younger people.

Read each slide, below, and then I will give my thoughts, and experiences after. These slides are from the AKF Kidney Education Class. I share each slide and then talk about my experience with CKD, and my thoughts as a nurse. I am an AKF Kidney Coach. I had to take their training class and pass their exam to be able to present this information to my readers. This is a complete volunteer position. Other posts on this blog are not AKF posts and are through my Health Coaching service.

My face is one of the many faces of Kidney Disease! In the video, they discuss 3 causes of Kidney Disease, Nephrotic Syndrome, FSGS, and kidney stones. But, there are many causes of Kidney Disease and two are the biggest High Blood Pressure, and Diabetes. Keep reading!

Playing to win to beat Kidney Disease through education, prevention, and better screening. But, who gets Kidney Disease?

Anybody can get Kidney Disease, at any age. It is true that as we age our kidneys begin to weaken, just like the rest of the aging body. So, being over 60 is a natural risk factor for Kidney Disease. But, having Diabetes and or High Blood Pressure are the two biggest risk factors for getting Kidney Disease. If you have Heart Disease you are also at a higher risk of getting Kidney Disease. Some cases are genetic, or can even be caused by infection, such as Covid with earlier strains that actually attack the kidneys. Dehydration, Anemia, and certain metabolic disorders can also possibly lead to Kidney Disease. There are studies being done on the effects of certain diets and foods and how they may damage the kidneys. It is already established that high salt content in the foods we eat, can lead to issues with kidney health, as well as a high-fat diet. Certain races of people are also at higher risk. Come back next week to continue the conversation.

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Kidney Class Week #5

Welcome to week 5 of the AKF Kidney Education Class. This week I will be sharing slide #5 and discussing the information. This one is pretty self-explanatory and I don’t have a lot to add to it. There is tons of information about CKD on this blog, and you can see the previous 4 weeks of slides in the archives. I hope everyone is enjoying these, and please leave me questions in the comments, or you can always use the contact form to send me an email. I am an AKF Kidney Coach, and this is a volunteer position, and all of their slides are their property and are shared with the express permission to do so.

I was stage 3B to 4 when I was first diagnosed in 2017. With massive lifestyle changes, dietary changes, and getting rid of bad habits I am now hovering right around stage 2 or at stage 2. I have not been given a definitive reason as to why my left kidney failed, but I was determined to make it better. So, for me, for this slide, I would like people to know that it is possible for the kidneys to get better and I wish doctors would talk to people at stage 1 or 2 so lifestyle changes can be made early rather than later. I think a routine renal panel should be included as part of every yearly physical no matter how old someone is, especially with all of the over-processed foods or society consumes. There are 5 total stages of CKD, and you can read the slide below to see what they are. If you are at stage 3 you probably are showing subtle symptoms that may be easy to ignore or blame on something else.

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Is It Good News Or Bad News?

Hello, and welcome to another Humpday post. If you read here often then you already know a few things about me. One is that I have CKD and get lab work every 6 months, but I have been stage 2 for two cycles now. I had my lab work for both doctors done on Monday. Lipid panel for my GP and a renal panel for my Nephrologist. I have been feeling kind of yucky since I got the Covid booster and was thinking maybe I was slightly anemic. However, I am under a great deal of stress right now with my nursing job. I am thinking that is some of the reasons I am so tired. Anybody who has CKD knows stress is not a good thing. Anyway, I have a plan for that, it just will take some time.

My Lipid Panel has come down significantly. I have been fluctuating quite drastically. Whenever I try to lose more weight, by decreasing carbs, it shoots up super high. Then I modify my diet and increase my fiber intake, and it comes back down. This time was no different. I increased my carb and fiber intake and decreased fat and meat sources, and it came down, though not to normal. So, I still have to tweak my diet some. Statins will kill my kidneys for sure and I do not have any intentions of taking one if I can avoid it. So far my GP has been really good about monitoring the labs and not nagging about a statin. I have no symptoms of any heart disease so that is why she is probably not pressing the issue.

My renal panel I was slightly disappointed, but only slightly. Before January of last year’s first set of labs for 2021, I was hovering around 47-49 with my eGFR. So for 4 years that was my baseline after I recovered from the left kidney failing. I worked very hard in 2020 to lose weight, modify my diet, even more, deal with stress, and manage my CKD. The results were that in 2021 I was able to get my eGFR to 60 and 61, putting me at stage 2 for two cycles, or 12 months. I just had it done Monday, which would count for January 2022 and my eGFR had slipped to 57 and my creatinine was only very slightly above normal. Even though I had hoped it obviously was still above 60 I can live with 57 because that means that is my new baseline, 57-60 which means I still have room to improve. One very important correlation I have noticed is that when my urine Albumin is below normal is when my eGFR improves. Even though my urine Albumin was in the normal range this time, the last two times it was below normal, my eGFR decreased. This tells me having Albumin in my urine, even at normal levels is harmful to kidney function. The way to solve this is to decrease my protein intake, especially from meat sources, and processed foods, back down to 10-15% of my daily intake. I have been talking about this for some time how these foods are detrimental to the kidneys, possibly. I think the correlation is very strong in my case. Over the holiday week, I ate things I would not normally eat, prime rib, donuts, bakery bagels, chocolate, cookies, etc. My fiber intake decreased and my intake of beef and processed foods went up. Now, I am not saying I will never eat these things, but my moderation was not moderate enough. Plus, these foods are high in Phosphorus and Sodium. I think I have narrowed down the correlation between too much Phosphorus intake and how my body responds, my eyesight is worse, and my tastebuds are affected. I do not drink enough either, this time of year because it is not hot and I am not as thirsty. I have to work on this more. These types of foods are also generally void of potassium. I typically eat a lot of potassium. Typically at least a banana or potatoes every day. I have not been doing that for the last two weeks due to trying to follow a lower-carb diet. How do I know when I am not getting enough potassium? I get leg cramps, terrible annoying leg cramps. I had no bananas or potatoes in the house, but I did have mandarins. One of those relieved the leg cramps in a matter of minutes. Learn to know your body signals that something is amiss.

So, all in all, I am pleased with my labs, but I realize it could have been better if I had eaten better, exercised more, drank more water, and dealt with my stress levels better. I am sure my kidney doctor will want to repeat them in 6 months, so there is that.

Please note I am stage 3A to 2, not on dialysis, not a diabetic, controlled blood pressure without medication, take only Vitamin D and Sodium Bicarb. How I eat and manage my CKD may not be what you need. We are all different, however learning to manage your CKD, is vital to your wellbeing. If you would like to learn about how a health coach can help you, please use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email, or you can just email me at melissa@healthbuddymelissa.coach or you can simply click on one of my available plans below to learn more.

Tomorrow, I will share my top posts for 2021, things I will be doing with this blog in 2022, changes to my life I will be making, and so much more for the new year. Be sure to come back and read all about it. If you like this content please like and share to help increase my views and search engine ranking. I will also be discussing topics for monthly posts. Next week I have a super packed week, so I am unsure how much blogging I will get done.

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Meatless Meal #3

Hello, and welcome to another Humpday! I hope this Christmas week 2021 is seeing you healthy and merry! I had shared a couple of weeks ago that I was skeptical about getting the Covid booster shot. I got Moderna, and my daughter got Pfizer the first two shots. I listed why I was skeptical, but on a spur of the moment yesterday, I had to go to Walmart anyway so I decided to see if they could do them. They got us right in and we are both now boosted. I knew I was going to spike a high temp, I always do, my immune system is hyper-responsive apparently. But, I knew some of my friends who don’t usually get high temps did with the booster. So, I was prepared for it. It took about 8 hours but at bedtime, my temp was 103. With CKD you aren’t supposed to take Ibuprofen, and Tylenol is pretty useless against a fever that high. So, instead, I took a baby Aspirin and 2 Extra Strength Tylenol and went to bed. I kept water by my bedside for hydration, which is important with a fever. I woke up once to use the restroom and my temp was still 102 so it didn’t do much. I put a cool cloth in my armpits and went back to bed. This is an old trick we old nurses know. You can put them in the groin area as well and on the forehead. I still had a low-grade temp when I got up this morning, but it is now gone. I had little nausea and a lack of appetite for lunch and dinner yesterday. Interestingly I did not get a sore arm this time. All in all one day of feeling cruddy for extra protection against the scourge of society was worth it.

One of our Christmas week traditions is we drive around and look at Christmas lights. I hope my husband will still want to do this once our last child leaves the nest. We go out to dinner first, and if you have CKD like me, that is always a challenge. This year I am going to eat salad, a meat source, and veggie. I will steer away from potatoes and bread, I hope, lol.

If you were here last week then you know that I am trying to encourage my family to eat two meatless dinners a week. My husband is less than enthused, and my daughter is OK depending on what the nonmeat is. For example, she isn’t going to eat beans plain and simple. So, today I decided to do a meatless lunch. Yes, I am the only one that ate it, but oh well, hopefully, they will come around. I am trying to eat beans at least a few times a week. Lunch is a meal I can make and they can have it or make their own, so they had their own, lol.

My lunch consisted of beans on toast. This is something that a lot of people in England enjoy for breakfast. I always thought what a strange breakfast and for people to actually want it seemed strange to me.

My lunch consisted of 1/2 cup of pork and beans with a sprinkle of brown sugar, Dave’s 22 seed thinly sliced bread, 10 red grapes, 1 cutie mandarin, and a tablespoon of Cool Whip topping. I warmed the beans with the brown sugar then I kind of mashed most of them down like a refried bean consistency. I then spread some of the bean mixture onto the two slices of bread and put them together like a sandwich sliced in half. You can see I sampled it before I took the picture. I have to admit this was very good. I was totally surprised. The rest of the beans I just ate on the plate. I cut all the grapes in half and put the mandarin in the bowl. I sprinkled one sprinkle of salt on them and then the Cool Whip. There is nothing better than sweet and salty. It is a very light salty taste as it is just one shake of the shaker. The bread and cuties were both organic. The grapes are really not that good, probably because they are out of season, but I won’t waste them. This was very filling and should hold me until dinner. If it doesn’t I will have one of my favorite snacks salt and vinegar almonds. If you are a potato chip lover give them a try.

Nutrition info for the above meatless meal: Calories 351, total fat 5 grams, saturated fat 0.5 grams, sodium 641 mg, total carbs 65 grams, fiber 11 grams, net carbs 54 grams, protein 14 grams, vitamin a 10%, vitamin c 33%, calcium 18%, iron 17%

As you can see this is a higher sodium meal if you have CKD try and buy beans with no sodium added. Organic beans should be lower in sodium than non-organic varieties. Or, you could make your own from scratch. Beans and whole-grain slices of bread are higher in phosphorus, so if that is a concern for you be sure and take your phosphorus binders or consult with your doctor about eating these foods first.

I am going to try to avoid any more carbs for today. We will see how that goes. Some days are better than others. I am not Diabetic but I do have a goal to lose baby belly fat that I have been carrying around for many years. Reducing sugar and carbs is the best way to do that.

Let me know what you think. Do you do meatless meals to try to cut down on meat consumption and or your grocery bill? Maybe for better health or environmental reasons.

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How Does Life Long Learning Prevent Dementia?

One more day to turkey day. Are you ready? I am prepping today, and even though there are only five of us there is still a lot to prep to be sure the meal is warm when everyone is ready to sit down. I also need to find the table runner that I made many years ago. I am creating some table decor using Dollar Tree items. Be sure and come back and see pics tomorrow. I am not a fancy person. You will never come to my house and think it is elegant, but it is comfy and homey and that is what I like. We also decorate the Christmas tree tomorrow, as well, and that takes some prepping. Plus, my Buffalo Bills are playing Thursday Night Football. I have to watch that! My husband and daughter are completely unprepared for the Family Cook-Off, but hopefully, once the holiday is over they will get their act together to share next week.

What does any of that have to do with life-long learning? Nothing, lol! This month’s health topic is Dementia. I did a post on 12 modifiable risk factors for Dementia. I will be expanding on each risk factor in upcoming posts. Today, I will discuss life-long learning.

Studies have shown that education, especially good education before the age of 20 can help prevent Dementia. However, life-long learning has also been shown to decrease, or prolong the risk of Dementia. Why? Well, the brain is complicated, but studies show that learning can preserve cognitive reserve, and create new synapses. Synapses are junctions between brain cells that transmit information from cell to cell. Reading was shown to be number one at improving the brain and cognition. Not, TV, or video games, though those may help other areas of the brain. Learning a new language was also high on the list. Remaining curious, asking questions, keeping up on current events, using critical thinking skills, doing research on topics that interest you, having a hobby, painting, music, learning to dance, are all great ways to keep your brain engaged and learning. I personally love to learn new things, and I always ask questions and research. I think some people find that annoying but I don’t care. I don’t always learn the same things though. I try to stay on top of topics in my line of the profession but also related to CKD, dogs, elder care, etc because those are the things that are in my life right now. A few things I really want to learn in the very near future are vlogging, grant writing, ALF Administration, IV Care, wound care, phlebotomy, management skills, all things nature related, green energy, retirement prep, Microsoft Office, Excel, Word, Spanish, and sign language. That should keep me busy for a while, lol. Some of these I have already started to prepare for. I know some basic Spanish, but not enough to carry on a conversation. The same is true for Sign Language. You don’t want to go back to school? Read this article to learn other ways to learn in adulthood. This website shares 23 places to learn online for free for adult learners.

I am technically always reading and researching for this blog. It takes a lot of time and effort to put together even a short but good post. It takes much more time and research for longer posts. I tend to not make them too long because I know for me a super long post with repeating keywords, and images are just plain annoying. I know why blogs do it, but it chases me away. The value in those posts is for them, not their readers. Below, please enjoy a couple of videos on the topic of life-long learning and Dementia prevention.

I will try to remember to share my table art tomorrow, but it may be the day after Thanksgiving. If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching services, please use the contact form at the end of the post to send me an email.

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Family Cook-Off #4: Breakfast For Dinner!

Hello, hello! As promised this week’s Family Cook-Off results are in! My husband was the judge this week. So, it was mother against daughter. Caitlin cooked on Monday, and I cooked on Tuesday.

Here were the rules made by my husband:

  1. The meal had to be a breakfast for dinner meal using a grain, fruit, and a meat.
  2. He judges based on flavor, presentation, use of the items above, and effort put into the dish. He is also biased towards his daughter, lol.

After I profusely objected to a daughter bonus he tried to impose at the very end, he was forced to declare a tie. That means we each get a 5 dollar scratch-off ticket.

This is what Caitlin made:

Everything Bagels with butter, bacon, scrambled eggs, and sliced apples. The items were made into a bagel sandwich. She then added Yum Yum Sauce. That was the clincher! She lost points for giving two tops to one sandwich, lol. So, picky.

I bought some organic Bob Red’s Mill pancake mix. I think that is the proper name. I made small pancake sliders. Then I made breakfast sausage patties. I had some delicious homemade peach preserves that my friend made me earlier this year, and I needed to use them up. I figured that could be my fruit. I spread the preserves onto each slider piece, put the sausage in between, and voila a delicious sandwich. I also offered freeze-dried fruit in a variety pack, and no one even tried them, sadly. I lost points because he said my fruit was not a fruit, even though he did not specify in the rules what fruit meant. BTW that pancake mix is awesome!

Not next week, but the week after, will be the 5th competition. That is the week of Thanksgiving. Read about my choice for that week, here.

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