Such a Day

Such a day…TJC in the house, day 3; couple of departmental hiccups – my OCD is closer to the surface than I’d like.  All of the great accomplishments just get tossed to the side of my mind when faced with these minor issues that of course, I’m already rectifying.  The team outdid themselves today.

According to the panel of family, Easter dinner was good…I can’t vouch much for the flavors since my taste buds were fried after last year’s ‘adventure’ as I like to call it.

Might as well write of this now as it’s part of the journey of this blog.  A year ago in the fall I accidentally felt a lump under my jaw; I say accidentally as I don’t normally poke around my body I search of lumps (except for random checks of the girls).  Since I work in Radiology I sought some free advice and was steered towards an ENT who recommended biopsy, CT to seal the deal and the resultant minor surgery to remove the little fella.  We always read/hear about the complications of any kind of surgery no matter how minor but don’t give them much credence as they are rare.   I awoke to feel my airway closing and was quickly shuttled back to the surgical suite.  Again I awoke but this time to feel a trach in my neck.  I had experienced a bleeding event that compromised my airway.  Story short, spent a few days in the ICU experiencing all the things the patients in my hospital do i.e. no having means of communication (asked for a white board, was given a few sheets of paper and the remnants of a pencil); no drink or food and no idea what the next minute would bring.  The staff was great but they knew I was in the biz so I was sort of left to my own devices.  I was getting IV fluids so had to TT a lot – experienced a lot of anxiety  about pressing the call button.  Also, the whole time, I was freezing.  Day two after the deal I had to text my team as I had planned on returning to work straight away.  Briefly mentioned my situation and immediately was blasted with much electronic angst, concern and e-visitors.  Laughing was a challenge.  I will say that I never needed anything for pain. Some surgeries are like that. On the third day (get the irony?) my doc came in and popped out the trach, told me what kind of cancer I had, how it would be treated, and released me.  My husband drove me home on a bright, shiny snowy day.  I looked like shit on a stick…face swollen, green/yellow, Frankenstein stitches down my neck and a hole in the middle of it and hair that needed a cut two weeks prior and had been washed with that waterless stuff (along with the rest of me). As soon as I got home I got my squirrely hair washed and figured out a bathing system.  When all was said and done the most/best/important thing besides being alive was regaining the ability to bathe.  No shower till the trach hole closed which took a bit of time since I talk too much.  You’re supposed to put your finger over the opening when you speak which I didn’t do often enough. My voice gets croaky by the end of the day as I think they first tried to insert a breathing tube and scritched up my vocal cords.  I received thirty-three radiation treatments at a wonderful facility where I was lucky enough to know the staff.  I drove there before work each day, in and out in a half hour unless I had to see the doc.  I resumed the practice of yoga each morning as after the first week of treatment I felt my neck begin to tighten up; I also found a great product, Bio Oil, to massage into my scars.  It also seemed to keep my skin from looking burned.  I still use it every day as everything continues to tighten up overnight.  I have to be diligent with my dental care as I won’t heal properly in the radiated area of my jaw.  I return to the ENT every three months for what I hope will continue to be good news.

I have taste ‘memory’ and an acute sense of smell; texture has become more important.  Some foods are more and some now less palatable.  What is truly miraculous is that my very favorite things (dark chocolate, my favorite beer – Keystone Light and chili spices) still taste great!

My taste buds and I have come to a meeting of the minds.

It’s so ironic that at this juncture I finally have all the food prep gadgets and cookware, wonderful herbs and spices, and decades of collected recipes all beautifully catalogued and ready to share; every day I snare another one to try and so appreciate all the food blog pioneers and those who have posted their faves and above-all, the reviewers.

I’ve always been just a web crawler but now I would like to share the fruits of my labor, as it were.  I credit those from whom I’ve copied snippets or more in my BLOGROLL.

I’ve been sharing the recipes with family and co-workers since I began this project and they are well received for their ease-of-use, ingredient combinations or novelty.

Photos will appear at a later date – not of the prep steps but of random minutia that defines me.

I work in a 6 x 10 galley kitchen retrofitted with wonderful SS appliances and a non-granite Formica countertop befitting the space.

Whew.

If you happen to still be reading this I applaud your endurance.

Here’s the Easter dinner rundown – my next step will be to catalog the recipes as I do in my personal folder – still have much to learn about wordpress.

Spicy Deviled Eggs

Green Beans & Cranberries

Broccoli Salad with Toasted Pecans

Maple Ham in the crockpot

Garlic Smashed Potatoes in the crockpot

Pineapple Trifle

Pizza Wednesdays

Wednesday nights we usually make our own pizzas but I had thawed some frozen salmon the night before so this week it will be Pizza Thursday.   One of my weeknight standbys is salmon with pesto, Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries and  a steamer bag of vegetables.  The salmon recipe calls for fresh tomato slices which, at this time of year, don’t exist in my part of the world so I tried a different simple recipe using mustard, brown sugar and dill.  Once you manage to free the products from  their packaging, this meal comes together quickly and is baked in about 25 minutes.  Both recipes are attached.

Pesto Salmon

Mustard-Topped Salmon

The pizza recipes in my main file are for reference only..I seriously doubt I’ll ever make my own dough (easy as it sounds) as the whole point of this project is to share my methods and prepare creative, healthy meals with a minimal amount of prep and ingredients I have on hand.  Although I occasionally experiment, I tend to recycle  the tried and true favorites.  The recipes in the following Pizzas attachment reference products and their sources.  My dietary choices are based on a combination of research and experience;  we eliminated trans-fats, fast and most processed foods years ago.  Although we now have a more convenient array of organic products available, I still rely on frozen items when things are not in season.  Luckily none of us are gluten/wheat-sensitive as I do use a lot of wheat and grains in an effort to up the fiber ante.  Frozen dark berries and bean dishes add to the count.  I need to make a batch of cookies – dark chocolate chip oatmeal with flax seed. It’s been stormy all morning, I was glad to not feel obligated to work in the yard but the sun suddenly appeared.  Too soggy for yard work but not for a walk.

Pizzas

Oatmeal Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies

Meant to edit the cookie recipe – use white whole wheat flour, Hodgson Mill Multi Grain Flaxseed & Soy Hot Cereal (also used in my morning smoothie) for the 1/4 cup flaxseed and Country Choice Organic Multi Grain Hot Cereal for the oatmeal – serious fiber!!

Super Bowl 2012

It certainly is to the fine city of Indianapolis, and food and spirit merchants everywhere. Also to my family who will enjoy all the great appetizers and main course that I’ll prepare.  It’s perfect timing as I have a lot of leftover stuff from the holidays that is ready to expire (if it hasn’t already) and I’ve found recipes to use it all.  I often consult www.stilltasty.com to confirm what I usually know. This blog has been six years in the making..my original post was a rant against packaging.  Nothing’s changed in that regard except that I’m 6 years older, my hard-working hands are more gnarly than ever, and it’s a  challenge to free any products from their bondage of shrink wrap, blister packs, foil seals, cardboard boxes and the like.  After much trial, error and damaging of products, countertops and my digits, I’ve determined that an industrial strength box cutter will open even the most resistant packaging.  Also at that time I had many concerns about the drivers and road conditions in my city of Louisville, Kentucky and desired to rage against my perceptions of ineptitude, inconsideration, poor city planning, shortsightedness for the future (e.g. lack of light rail, the ‘bridge’ debacle, etc.); I never got the blog going and in the interim, I purchased a large cross-over vehicle; others now fear me.  When feasible I avoid driving in certain areas at times of the day or week when there will be a higher concentration of morons on the road.  Ah, the wisdom of age.

On to the real purpose of this blog.  I began to acquire recipes many decades ago; when I was first married, we (husband & baby daughter) lived next door to my Mother;  we(the womenfolk) began shopping and cooking together on the weekends; those years I spent more time trying to figure out shortcuts than finding enjoyment in the cooking process.  I still won’t bake bread, the 10 minute kneading process mentally puts me off although I can spend an equal amount of time or more prepping herbs & vegetables.  Over the years my collection began to grow from my Mother’s, neighbors’ & friends’ recipes, to clipping from the many magazines I still enjoy (another post) and then came the internet.  I realized how much I enjoyed acquiring recipies but at that point I had so many (in addition to way-too-many cookbooks) that I was only able to use the old standbys I knew almost by heart or resort to spending hours sifting through the collection marked with a zillion post-it notes (kind of like looking through photo albums –  hard to stop once you start).  Hence began ‘the recipe project’.  My 12 year old Dell finally gave up the ghost.  A new PC and laptop, both with a ample memory, speedy processing and  Word 2010 helped to jump-start the endeavor.  After the holidays and during the cold, grey days of winter when I didn’t feel obligated to be outside working in the yard or (thinking about) going for a walk, I began to edit and type my collection. Kind of a daunting task but made more so by the fact that as I began looking up recipes online that were incomplete or needed fine-tuning, I got lost in the blogs and down the pathways my searches took me, enjoying the comments and stories of how someone else’s Grandma or other person in their life prepared a dish for this or that event.   My collection in Word format safely resides on a thumb drive and is synched to the Google Cloud.  My OCD tendencies served me well during the execution of this project;  I changed my font preference a quarter of the way through and of course, had to go back and tidy things up.  My plan is to post fairly frequently as I feel I have a lot to share.  While at work the conversation invariably turns to food;  being the elder foodie of the group the rest expect my input (welcome or not).  My format allows me to search by any method (ingredient, serving size e.g. cookies, function)  and find what I’m looking for instantly.  I can then view, print, email or attach.  I pull them up on my laptop and enlarge the font (while pressing ctrl on your keyboard, move your mouse scroll wheel back or forth – apologies if you already know this) so I can view it from my tiny kitchen.  For now there will be no pictures, I’ve just begun attaching them to baked goods recipes since the finished products are so pretty but I don’t have the time or inclination (talent) to photograph my chopped onions.  Once I got the new computer I started using my other electronics  like my digi-camera and MP3 since I could actually utilize their features.  So, today’s menu is as follows:  Brie en croute with Georgia Peach Chutney & assorted fruit slices; other nice leftover cheeses & crackers that need to go; Crappy Salsa Dip w/Whole Grain Tortilla Chips; Vegetarian Chili with either Skillet Cornbread or Jiffy Corn Casserole and Chocolate Pudding Cake in the crockpot.  I think events like the Super Bowl lend themselves to certain types of dishes.  Future posts will discuss stores andwholesome products I like that don’t have to cost the earth.  Thanks for your time, enjoy the rest of your day. S

Crappy Salsa Dip   Cornbread    Jiffy Corn Casserole   Vegetarian Chile with Guiness   Three Bean Vegetable Chile  Crescent-Wrapped Brie with Cranberry   Chocolate Pudding Cakes crockpot