SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH – How being true to myself and finding my voice saved my thyroid

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Hello All :)

So as you know most all of this blog has been about how a change in diet saved my thyroid. I am now realizing that it wasn’t JUST the diet, but SPEAKING MY TRUTH was just as effective in clearing any and all of the negative energy I was storing in my throat chakra, and subsequentlly, my thyroid.

For those of you who don’t know about chakras I advise you to do a little research as I don’t want to get into “what a chakra is” in this post. 

Since I was 19, I have suffered from BULIMIA and DRUG ADDICTION. The bulimia stemmed from pure self-hatred, for no other reason than I am a perfectionist, and I could not forgive myself for f*cking up my life (rather I led myself to believe I f*cked up my life by choosing food, alcohol and/or drugs to cope with stress instead of just dealing with everything life handed to me).

I didn’t want to write about this before, cause who wants to bring up all of their shit and post it on the internet for the world to see? Surely not me. However, in the past few months I have gone through SO MANY CHANGES, I felt like I was doing a disservice by withholding this information about my past. I had so much shame, regret, and disgust for myself, I couldn’t admit my struggles without feeling like I was going to be judged, because ultimately I was judging MYSELF.

Months 3 through 7 of this diet were f*cking horrible. The restriction triggered bingeing, and I fell into a pattern I couldn’t break out of. It had been years since I had been in a binge/purge cycle like that, and it was just downright embarrassing. I didn’t want to admit that I needed help. I couldn’t even admit that I needed help. So instead of reaching out I ate and puked (not vegan, mind you) fast food every night for almost 4 months. I stayed up all night and slept from noon til 6pm every day. I drank in the morning. I basically drank until I passed out. I can admit this now because this is THE LAST TIME I am ever putting myself through that hell again.

Of course since I was hiding this from everyone (including my boyfriend, who I was living with), no one was able to help me, and I continued to lie to everyone’s face and profess that I was “fine”. I was not fine. Nothing about months 3 through 7 were fine. Thank God I dragged myself out of it. I don’t know how, I don’t even really know when. I just came to a point where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. And decided to help myself.

I went back to eating only vegan foods, but I allowed myself to eat bread, soy, and sugar. It was the only way I could be OK with the diet and not feel like I was depriving myself.

Throughout this time I stopped taking all of the supplements, because I was seeing them come back up in my vomit (gross, I know) and I felt like I was throwing money down the drain (I already WAS throwing money down the drain but it’s easier for me to justify throwing up McDonald’s than throwing up expensive supplements).

Almost immediately I started getting better. I stopped focusing ALL OF MY ATTENTION on food and started focusing on healing. I got out of the house, got a job, got 3 actually, and stopped feeling sorry for myself. Having money in my pocket and getting out of my head really helped re-build my self-esteem. So as my esteem built, I gained more confidence, started making friends, started singing again, started wearing clothes that were actually brightly colored and not black, etc.

All of this happened very quickly, almost too quickly. Before I knew it, I was happy. And I was Shauna again. Happy, loud, exuberant, crazy, silly, ridiculous Shauna. Unfortunately this was not the person I had become during my relationship. I had a really bad pattern of choosing assholes who treated me like garbage – basically because I was treating myself like garbage, so why should I expect anyone to treat me differently? My (now ex-) boyfriend was the nicest guy I had ever met, he was so amazing, and I changed for him. I became the person he wanted to have a relationship with, unknowing that that person was NOT in alignment with my true self. He wanted a housewife, someone who blended into the background, who stayed home and cooked dinner, who never went out or even thought of going out or doing anything without him. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but that is NOT who I am. I am crazy. I am very alternative. I am extremely self-aware. I am a Leo! I am a drama queen. I LOVE being the center of attention. I LOVE standing out. And I want to have a career as a musician. Which means I won’t be home every night to cook dinner. I am unconventional. And there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I am who I am. I LOVE who I am. And I’m sick of changing myself. No one ever even asked me too! I just didn’t love myself enough to realize I was in a toxic relationship. Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT my ex’s fault, he did nothing wrong. He clearly stated what he wanted when we first started dating. I just wasn’t strong enough to tell him that in my heart, I wasn’t really any of the things he wanted. It took me 4 years to realize that. And he is NOT the first guy I’ve changed for. I did it with EVERY GUY I ever dated. I’m the f*cked up one. Not him.

So there you have it, THE REAL TRUTH. I can only admit it now because I FINALLY don’t give a shit if you don’t like me after reading all of that. That is my truth. I am done being a people pleaser. It got me NOWHERE. 

SO, after I realized all of this I moved out, quit my job, quit everything that wasn’t in alignment with what I HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN I HAVE WANTED – to be a rock star. And I’m good. I’m a great writer. My original songs are f*cking awesome. And I’m finally letting them come out instead of stuffing them down and puking them out.

Today, I have never felt better, and I don’t feel the slightest bit sick.

I am going to get my labs done in in a few weeks, I will post the results as soon as I have them. But I know in my heart, I found my voice, I spoke my truth, and this is how I saved my thyroid. 

Comments are welcome :)

 

It is 2014 and I have PROOF that I AM SAVING MY THYROID!! Timeline of My Labs.

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Ok so these numbers may still look high to you but if I show you where I started (and I will!) you will be like WHOA!

When I was first diagnosed with hyperthyroidism on AUGUST 9, 2012, these were my labs:

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I don’t know exactly what all the numbers mean but I do know that they were all super high, except for my TSH (which has not budged very far from <.006 throughout this whole process).

So after 2 months on METHIMAZOLE, prescribed by my prior endocrinologist, these were my labs from 3/4/13:

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The Rx made my thyroid slow down way too much too fast, which is why I ended up gaining 25 lbs while taking the meds. I stopped taking the Rx the day after I received these results.

After only 2 months of stopping the medicine, my numbers climbed back up to basically where I had started. Here are my labs from when I FIRST started the vegan diet (labs are dated 5/14/13):

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These were taken 6 months later, on 9/24/13:

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And finally, the big kahuna, my labs after 9 months, taken 12/24/13:

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:)

If for some reason you can’t see these photos,

My (FREE)T4 was 4.54 at the start of the diet, after 9 months it has dropped to 2.44.

My (FREE T3) started at 22.1. It is now 6.5.

I AM A WALKING, TALKING, FREAKING MIRACLE!

And I feel AMAZING!

I still have a ways to go before I am technically “normal” again, but compared to where I started, I am light years ahead of my wildest wishes.  I am balancing my thyroid through diet – and diet alone! – and that is all I ever wanted or could have wished for.

Anthony said I would be back to “normal” in 1 year. I really, truly, can say that I whole heartedly believe he is correct, and my thyroid WILL be back to normal by May of this year.

THANK YOU ANTHONY WILLIAM! You are a miracle worker. I believe :)

Anthony’s Site:   http://www.medicalmedium.net/

Please post comments, I would love to hear your feedback :)

Update – Day (I lost count). So 7 months and 3 weeks later….

Hello All! Obviously it has been awhile since my last post (like 5 months or something terrible – sorry! I’ve been so busy!) and I have had so many people ask me how I’m doing, I figured I should at least take 10 minutes to give y’all an update.

So it’s been almost 8 months since I started my diet, and I have to say, I FEEL AWESOME! Since my last post, my life has changed dramatically. I moved, got a new job, 2 new jobs actually!, and got off my ass and stopped feeling sorry for myself. That was HUGE. I think the change in attitude has probably helped just as much as the diet has. As for the diet, I am still (almost 100%) vegan, BUT I am not as strict as I was in the beginning. I eat bread, I eat other gluten products, I eat out about twice a week, I have a beer every now and then, I eat (some) sugar, I drink coffee, I eat soy, and on special occasions, I cheat and have dessert that is definitely not vegan (like on Thanksgiving!). I have to give myself these lee-ways or I go crazy. Literally, months 2 thru 4 were not fun for anyone.

As for my symptoms, they are much less noticeable and for the most part I can carry on my day like any normal person. I have TONS of energy (almost too much, but I do have some manic/depressive tendencies and I’m definitely going through a manic phase right now), and I feel really good! On bad days, like if I’m working too hard and overwork myself, I’ll overheat, but not to the extent that I was overheating before. I can sit down for 10 minutes now and be OK whereas before I would sit down and not be able to get up for hours. And I’ll just get a sheen of sweat all over my body instead of dripping sweat everywhere.

Overall, I could not be happier with my progress. My labs are still whacky, my T3 and T4 are still high, but they are lower than they were when I started… not dramatically, but every time I get labs done, they are lower. My TSH is and always has been >.0006, even on/off thyroid drugs, so that is one # I have not seen change. I am scheduled to have labs done at the end of this month so when I get those numbers I will post comparison labs from now and when I started so you can all see my progress. :)

Ok I have to run! Wanted to say though that I purchased a book called Veganomicon, which I have been cooking from for the past 2 months and everything I have made from that book is AMAHHHHZING so if you don’t already have it, go get it! I got a used copy on Amazon for $10.

XOXOXO Shauna

@The Farm Kitchen

Day 80 – Recipe: M Cafe’s Chickpea & Dandelion Salad (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

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Let me start off by saying that I really hate bitter greens. There are only a few vegetables that I don’t like – one of them is fennel, and the other is the entire bitter greens family (endive, radicchio, frisée, God I hate frisée). Dandelion greens definitely fall into that bitter green category. If you haven’t tried them, well, they are really bitter and pretty disgusting. So why in the world did I make this dandelion greens salad, you might ask?  I really don’t know. I guess it seemed like a good idea when I found the recipe.

I used to eat this salad when I worked at M Cafe in Los Angeles, and though it wasn’t my absolute favorite, I still liked it and ate it frequently. This is probably the only way you could ever get me to eat dandelion greens. The tahini dressing is really nutty and creamy, and the sweet caramelized onions are a great compliment to the bitter greens. It really is a tasty salad, and if you like bitter greens you will like this dish a lot.

Dandelion, albeit gross, is really good for you. It’s one of those cancer-fighting, antioxidant, calcium-rich superfoods. So I kind of forced myself to eat it… and truthfully I picked some of it out. I like everything in this salad but the damn dandelion. Honestly when I make it again I will probably swap it out for some Tuscan kale.

So since I made this salad sound so good, I’m sure you really want to make it now :). But it’s worth a try, it’s easy and doesn’t require a lot of chopping. I served it with the Eggplant Tabbouleh I wrote about last week and it was the perfect compliment. So if I haven’t scared you away yet, copy, paste and print (someday I will figure out how to make a print button for these recipes, I promise).

M Cafe’s Chickpea & Dandelion Salad

For Tahini-Lemon Dressing:

  • 2 T sesame tahini
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For Frizzled Onions:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into paper-thin half moons

For Salad:

  • 2 15-ounce cans organic chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup red Bhutanese rice (or short grain brown rice), cooked
  • 2 cups celery hearts and inside leaves, sliced thin
  • 3 cups fresh dandelion greens, washed, dried and chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For Tahini-Lemon Dressing:
Combine the tahini, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, sea salt and black pepper in the mixing bowl. Adjust dressing with additional sea salt, black pepper or lemon juice, to taste.

For Frizzled Onions:
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, and add the yellow onions. Fry the onions over medium heat until golden brown and “frizzled.” Transfer to absorbent toweling to drain excess oil. Season with sea salt and reserve.

For Salad:
Combine the chickpeas, cooked rice, celery hearts and dandelion greens in a mixing bowl. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of frizzled onions to bowl. Moisten salad with about 1/2 of a cup of the Tahini-Lemon Dressing and mix well to combine. Taste salad, and adjust with additional dressing, sea salt and black pepper as needed. Transfer salad to serving bowl or platter and drizzle additional dressing, if desired. Top with additional frizzled onions to garnish. Serves 8.

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Pictured with Eggplant and Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh.

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Day 74 – Recipe: Eggplant and Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free)

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I’m getting a little confused about which day I’m on but I think it’s day 74. I wish it was day 364. When I’m home or when I’m at a vegan restaurant I don’t mind being on this diet, but whenever I’m out at a restaurant that has amazing smelling meat or pizza or waffles or bacon – you get the picture – I just can’t stand it, I get depressed. I love food so much, and being restrictive in my diet feels so unnatural to me. Sometimes I just want to say screw it and eat some boneless wings. The last couple weeks have been really hard. I’ve definitely eaten some things I shouldn’t have eaten (they were vegan, but processed) and I feel guilty about it. I hate feeling guilty. I wish this diet was easy. It’s not. I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing it because I don’t want someone to take a scalpel to my throat and cut me open. God that really sounds horrible.

Anyways, for about 2 months we had fresh basil and mint growing in our kitchen and I rarely used it. About a month and a half into it we started having a severe gnat issue and I couldn’t take it anymore – my boyfriend took the herbs to his parent’s house in Sedona to plant in their garden. Less than a week later I came across this recipe with copious amounts of both fresh mint and basil and was like Damn The Irony! Fortunately we were going to see his parents over the weekend and they brought us a bunch of herbs so I could make the dish. Yay!

So I found this recipe in Shape magazine, I changed it a lot but the original recipe is from Clotilde Dusoulier’s new vegetarian cookbook, The French Market Cookbook. She used whole wheat couscous in her recipe, to make it gluten-free I opted for quinoa. I think it turned out really good. The herbs kind of overpowered the eggplant, mostly because I used spearmint which is too strong for this recipe, I would suggest using Mojito mint which is much milder. Also her recipe called for harissa, which I couldn’t find anywhere, so I used an Asian chili paste instead, I think it worked just as well. So here is my version:

Eggplant and Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 8 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Lbs small Italian eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cups white quinoa
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T tahini
  • 1 T harissa or Asian chili paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh mojito mint leaves, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, sliced

Directions:

  1. Cut eggplant into small 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a colander, sprinkle generously with salt, then toss to coat; let rest 1 hour. Rinse thoroughly. Turn onto a clean kitchen towel, roll up, and squeeze gently to absorb liquid.
  2. While eggplant is resting, mince the onion. Place minced onion, quinoa, 1 tsp sea salt, and 3 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. (To cool faster, spread onto a baking sheet and chill in the fridge.)
  3. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Place eggplant cubes in skillet and toss well, until coated in oil. When eggplant is hot, cover and let steam in skillet for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Eggplant should be very tender. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk tahini and harissa or chili paste. Whisk in lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure it is incorporated before adding more to prevent curdling. Whisk til smooth.
  5. Pour the dressing over cooled quinoa and toss to combine. Fold in eggplant, mint, basil and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Enjoy!

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I served this dish with another Greek-inspired salad that I will post tomorrow. You can serve it with falafels, dolmas, hummus, pretty much any Mediterranean food, or just eat it by itself.

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It has a hint of spice to it but overall is pretty mild. If you want more spice, add more chili paste.

 

Day 72 – Recipe: Tanzanian Green Banana and Yam Stew (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free)

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While flipping through a vegetarian cookbook at a restaurant, I came across this recipe for Banana and Yam Stew and instantly was intrigued. At first I thought it sounded really gross but the more I read I became extremely curious. I must’ve read the recipe over at least 4 times, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Bananas in a stew? I decided I had to make it, even though it is not stew weather at all right now, it sounded so interesting – and I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

Thankfully it turned out really good. And it took less time than I expected, which is always a bonus. My boyfriend wasn’t as crazy about it as I was – he doesn’t really like cloves (which I didn’t know beforehand), and truthfully the cloves were a bit overpowering. When I make this again I will adjust the spices (this is reflected in the recipe below). I can definitely see eating it when it’s cooler outside, it’s a great winter stew, very hearty, warming, and slightly sweet. The recipe makes enough for about 12 people, I ended up freezing half of it because there was so much. I won’t make my boyfriend eat it again though, Mom and Dad I hope you like cloves!

Green Banana and Yam Stew
Adapted From Linda McCartney on Tour

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

  • 2 pounds yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped

  • 1 large tomato, chopped roughly

  • 1 large carrot, sliced into thin rounds

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 green bananas, sliced

 

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the yams or sweet potatoes and cook until slightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate or bowl. In the same pot, heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the jalapeno, cilantro, onion, tomato, carrot, garlic, and spices. Cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the arrowroot mixture. Add the bananas and yams/sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve alone or with quinoa or couscous. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

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Not the most appetizing color, I promise it tastes better than it looks here.

 

 

 

Day 64 – Breakfast for Dinner: M Cafe’s Vegan “Benedict” over rice (gluten-free)

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I was hoping to make this for breakfast on Sunday but unfortunately I didn’t wake up until the morning (and most of the afternoon) had passed. Woops. I’ve had a bad streak of insomnia lately (that I’m currently trying to fix) which has led to me sleeping through most of the day. This is really the only reason we had breakfast for dinner. Well actually it was technically my breakfast, but it was Colin’s dinner. Sorry Colin! I don’t think he minded though.

Anyway, as I mentioned before I used to work at M Cafe de Chaya in Los Angeles. I know I have given many of their dishes the title of “my favorite”, but it’s hard not to because all of their food is just amazing. This is absolutely my favorite breakfast item there though, and I was stoked to find the recipe online. I had made a different version of this recipe a few years ago (it was in a book that I bought at the restaurant) and it turned out terrible, it didn’t taste anything like the one I used to eat all the time. Probably because it was the wrong recipe. This is the right one. Yay!

The one I found online was for the Smoked Salmon Benedict, which is the non-vegan version, but I adapted it to reflect the Vegan Benedict (obviously) which is really only different because it is topped with tempeh bacon instead of smoked salmon. Technically it is served over grilled baguette slices, which makes it more like an actual benedict, but I always ordered it over brown rice because that’s how Alicia Silverstone ordered it whenever she came into the restaurant. I’m not ashamed to say that I copied her. But she had the right idea, this is awesome over brown rice. And better yet, gluten-free. So here it is, the Vegan Benedict with rice instead of bread… it is time consuming and you will use more pots than you want to clean but it’s all worth it. GO MAKE THIS NOW!

M Cafe’s Vegan Benedict Florentine with Soy Hollandaise

Ingredients:

Scrambled Tofu:

  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained on paper towels
  • 1 Tablespoon Earth Balance (I used the Soy Garden variety because it was the only one made without canola oil)
  • ¼ cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons scallions, julienned (optional)

Soy Hollandaise:

  • 4 ounces Earth Balance
  • ½ cup Veganaise
  • 6 ounces (1/2 a block) silken firm tofu (Mori-Nu brand)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Dash of Tabasco

Tempeh Bacon and Garnishes:

  • 12 ounces tempeh bacon (Lightlife brand)
  • 1 small bunch green kale, washed well, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced thick
  • Brown Rice, cooked
  • Minced chives or black sesame seeds for garnish

PREPARATION

For Scrambled Tofu:
Crumble tofu coarsely by hand. Heat Earth Balance in a medium sauté pan. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes or until translucent. Add carrot and sauté 1 more minute. Add crumbled tofu, turmeric and sea salt and black pepper to taste. Heat through and add a few Tablespoons of water. Let simmer until tofu is thick and creamy, and resembles soft-cooked scrambled eggs. Fold in scallions, adjust seasonings, and reserve.

For Soy Hollandaise:
Melt Earth Balance and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in blender and blend well to combine. Drizzle in Earth Balance slowly until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning and lemon if necessary. Reserve.

For Tempeh Bacon and Garnishes:

Blanch kale in lightly salted boiling water until tender. Keep warm and reserve. (I did this the night before)

Heat tempeh in a large non-stick skillet til hot and set aside.

To Assemble and Serve:
Place 1/2 – 3/4 cup cooked brown rice on each plate and top with 2 slices tomato. Place steamed kale on top of tomato. Spoon scrambled tofu over kale and lay 2 slices tempeh evenly over tofu. Heat soy hollandaise in a double boiler until just warm – do not over heat or sauce will break. Spoon warm sauce over tempeh and drizzle around the plate. Garnish with chives or black sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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I like a lot of sauce :)

Since there are so many components I blanched the kale and cooked the rice the night before.

I also didn’t bother warming the hollandaise in a double boiler, everything else was hot so I just poured it over, it warmed on the plate.

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