I’m allergic to the cold. No, really, I am. It all started about a month ago. After a dinner out, I noticed a few red spots on my fingers, followed by a swollen knuckle. I tried not to think much of it, not easy for a hypochondriac, but as the red lumps spread to other fingers and the tops of my fingers near the first knuckle turned bright red and tender to the touch, the symptoms could no longer be ignored. I was officially scared.
Off to the dermatologist we went. He seemed unconcerned but clueless about this malady. Oh, no. What was wrong with me? A sunny, warm week calmed things just in time for Regis, thankfully, but things never cleared entirely. Symptoms were back with a vengeance as a cold snap approaches and the heat had to be turned on.
My right pinky swelled to twice its normal size. I pretended like things were okay for a few days until one night about two weeks ago, my fingers were searing hot, tomato red, swollen, so stiff I could barely bend them, and incredibly tender and painful to the touch. Terrified is what I was. Though I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what was wrong, I no longer had a choice. I had to go to the doctor. While I waited for my appointment two days later, the symptoms subsided a little, but I was uncomfortable all the time. So I did what any good hypochondriac would do: I went to Google. Though the results were somewhat inconclusive, arthritis, lupus, and other debilitating diseases crossed my radar. I was inconsolable.
The rheumatologist was incredibly nice. She asked a series of questions and did an examination. Though I was afraid there would be no medical explanation for what was going on, there was. Chilblains. A rare and old fashioned blood vessel disorder that causes blood to pool in various areas of the body, my fingers, when they get way too cold and are then rewarmed too quickly. Winter in Michigan in a nutshell. The simple way to describe it is that I’m allergic to the cold. Apparently this is a fascinating disease, as the doctor brought another doctor in the office to see my fingers. That’s right, I’ve become an episode of House.
So how do we solve this? Until I can move to California, I hope every day I am at least there by next winter, seriously, every single day, I try to keep warm, which has led me on a quest to find a muff. Not as easy as you may think, considering we don’t live in the early 1900s. I understand gloves would be easier, but I have an aversion to both gloves and socks. (I keep telling you I’m weird). I also now take a baby Aspirin every day. Although the chalky cherry chewable isn’t exactly enjoyable, that Aspirin cured me. I’m still waiting for some of the swelling to go down and afraid that when the weather turns seriously cold I’ll be in serious trouble, but I can bend my fingers and touch them without pain. It’s a good day.
I don’t really have a Segway to Pumpkin Puree, but this is a recipe you need. It’s so easy to make, and is healthier, tastier, and even more economical than canned pumpkin. I have been roasting and pureeing my own pumpkin for years now. I love the flavor and quality. It can also be made well in advance and frozen. The smell it lends the entire how is quite enjoyable too. This recipe comes just in time for Thanksgiving. Whip up a batch of this to bake with and you’ll have the best pumpkin pie or cake that will impress all your friends and family, who will want to know your secret.
- 1 or 2 pie pumpkins
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a roasting pan, I use a 9 by 13, with foil. Fill it with about 1 inch of water.
- Wash the pumpkin(s) and dry them well. I recommend roasting 1 large pumpkin or 2 small ones. Poke pumpkin(s) several times near the top with a sharp knife, making sure to go all the way through the flesh. This prevents them from exploding.
- Place prepared pumpkin(s) in the prepared pan and roast for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in several spots on the pumpkin(s) goes in very easily.
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Remove the flesh from the pumpkin(s), discarding stem, skin, seeds, and yucky pumpkin goo (I don’t have a better name – sorry!). Refrigerate until completely cold.
- Process in small batches in a food processor until the pumpkin is completely smooth.
- It may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It may also be frozen for up to 6 months. I freeze it in ½ cup portions in zipper bags, so it is premeasured and ready to be used in recipes. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or remove it from the plastic bag and place pumpkin only in a microwave safe bowl and thaw in 30 second increments until fully thawed.