Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘COOKING’

LAND MINE

Loss of a family member is especially hard during the holidays. I made it through Thanksgiving, then Christmas and New Years. We left an empty chair at my husband’s place at the table on Thanksgiving. I cooked the traditional dinner, maybe more celery, onions and mushrooms in the dressing. We put up a Thanksgiving memory tree. Wreathes and lights went up on the porch. But no garlands. Lights and garlands were not on the stairs in the house either. I sent out a Christmas letter with the cards, sharing the news of my husbands passing to those I hadn’t phoned. The Wild Thing gorilla I bought for my husband celebrating his first cancer surgery now is wearing blue lights. The Nativity didn’t surface this year.

I made some cookies but not many. My husbands favorite I totally reinvented. Tasty but I hopefully won’t do that again. Of course, I don’t know if I will make those cookies again. For the most part, I haven’t made any of his favorite meals, except for biscuits and gravy for Christmas morning. Christmas Eve we normally have the family over. The holidays became very busy so our youngest daughter’s family wasn’t able to make it but our oldest daughter and her husband were able to come. I didn’t cook. We went out for Chinese instead.

I don’t know if survival mode was in session, that I was purposefully omitting things that would bring me pain. I’ve donated some of his stuff but his closet and dresser are still packed with his clothes. At the store, I avoid the men’s department. Of course, I’m not spending a lot of time in the woman’s department either.

Various things happen that alert me to the fact his spirit is with me. I will truthfully say that I wish I felt his spirit more often. EXCEPT WHEN THE BLOCKS ARE ON! My phone DID NOT pick up any messages on Christmas.

On New Years day I picked up one of our catalogues to look for a couple of items. Turning the pages, I saw MANY THINGS that I would have ordered for my husband. I wasn’t expecting the pain that generated in my body when I remembered he was gone.

I order a new Inspirational Calendar every year. I write my bible readings, Queen Of Heaven readings and daily happenings in it. I ordered it late this year and when it arrived I put it somewhere where it would be SAFE. It was so safe that I couldn’t find it. Finally on New Years Eve it surfaced. It was NOT IN A PLACE I would have looked. The second week of January has the message “Every night, sit still and ask yourself, “What have I done today.”

It has been two months since he passed, I’m not waking up from a bad dream. More difficult days are coming: The anniversary of my mother’s and brother’s death, my husband’s birthday, and my father’s passing. I’m NOT looking forward to my first trip to Woodhaven.

Anniversary’s are TOUGH! “WHAT HAVE I DONE TODAY?”

NEW FRONTIER

QUEST FOOTNOTE: I took a photo of the NEW, GREEN MOTORCYCLE ornament I bought for my husband. I tried to share the find with my family. I sent the photo in TWO messages. Neither of the photos were received. I took a photo of the motor cycle hanging under an angel with a trumpet announcing his ride. That photo was received.

In a recent trip to Costco I discovered The New Frontier cookbook by Ree Drummond. It is my practice to open a new cookbook at random and see if the recipe fits into my style of cooking. To be honest, I have no idea what recipe I opened to. I put the book back down because it didn’t have nutritional information. Before I left the store, the book was not only back in my hand, but in my cart leaving the store. I had noticed that she had MANY photos showing the steps.

Did I NEED to see the steps in making the recipes? I didn’t think so but I was intrigued. And I am so glad that I did. Two of her daughters are no longer at the evening meal each night. Her household has shifted to mostly male, growing teenage boys. My household has also changed. For many years I cooked the meals that my husband liked — meat and potatoes, no salad and very few vegetables. Now the world is my oyster.

Since my husbands passing, I have made three oriental recipes. More are on the pipeline but the traditional menu for Thanksgiving put a hold on my experimenting. Thankfully my son is more willing to try new foods. He even suggested that I didn’t need to peel the potatoes when frying them. I’ve discovered that red potatoes work better than rustics. Onions don’t need to be diced as small. I can even add peppers.

Have I mentioned that I like to read cookbooks. This one fits right in. Ree introduces each recipe with a short thought ramble. It has already reminded me of many cooking adventures in my life.

I decided that I would only read two recipes a morning in the new book. It was a good choice. I have started my day with laughter many times. I’m almost finished with breakfast. I have to admit that many of the recipes will be a challenge. They are designed for from 6 to 8 servings. I’ll either have to cut the ingredients or freeze the leftovers.

QUEST

I love Christmas. I love decorating the house — over the years we have had garlands hanging from many places. Our tree has so many ornaments it is hard to see the branches. Garlands with lights wind their way up our stairs. I added garlands to our front porch., wreaths to both our front and back porches. I added ornaments to the back yard.

Christmas for me is more than presents. We have always had limited funds so my purchasing reflects that. I have made many presents over the years. Since I like to bake, cookies have also become gifts.

Since my husbands passing, I’m not sure how much I’ll be doing this year. We have a Thanksgiving Memorial tree up. Our granddaughter and our Great did most of the decorating. Many angels are on our tree. After my father passed, I had a dream in which I was a pilot for the Blue Angels. I DID NOT SHARE MY DREAM. That year, for Christmas I received THREE SETS OF ANGELS from our children. The next year, there was a skirmish between my newest angels and the set of 6 small angels I bought when I was in high school. I gave my granddaughter the story of Wings to read in my book Journey With Me before asking her to place the small angels at the top of the trip. She wanted to know if I was setting her up, they had already hung some angels on the tree. I told her she was safe — I HADN’T PUT ANY ANGELS UP.

Since that day, I have added many of our angels to the tree. I remember not only friends but many of our cats and dogs. I have many ornaments from the travels with my husband. I already had an ornament celebrating his fishing. I NEEDED AN ANGEL — for him.

Therefore the QUEST. I DID NOT access the internet. In fact, although I mentioned my quest to my children, I didn’t ask them to find something for me. I attended the German Market downtown but no ornament called his name. A few years ago he had purchased a lovely red bird for me. I already had an owl.

A few years ago he renewed his love of ham radio, that was an option. Another option was an old car. He had a 1964 Lincoln Capri that was being restored. We already had an ornament celebrating a motor home that we lost in the tornado. Then I remembered the motorcycles. I went to Las Vegas for work and bought a Harley Davis miniature for him. Advancing age had convinced him to sell his bike but an a good day he still wanted to ride. Our son said his Dad was out riding a bike in heaven. And I found a green Hog for him. Is it a Harley? Does it matter?

I don’t know how much decorating I will do this year. I think I have decided to put the lights on the porch and possibly up the stairs in the house. I’ve decided that I will make a few of our favorite cookies. I haven’t put all the ornaments on the tree. Nor have I bought Christmas cards.

Since I rediscovered my thought ramble Learning The Ropes, I have changed the name of my “friends in high places” to my spirit team. I have NO IDEA who is helping me at any given moment. And I WELCOME THE HELP!

LEARNING THE ROPES — 11-20-2019

I planned to write a new thought ramble and thought of the title Learning The Ropes. I saw that it had already been used. So I read it. It deserves to be reprinted. The fun I had when my friend passed deserves to be shared again. My husband has joined my team on the other side. My husband was involved with ham radios. My CD player WOULD NOT play a CD I chose. When I was able to listen to it, I understood why. That same day I was NOT ABLE to change the TV to a program I wanted to watch. Giving up, I went out to fax a copy of his death certificate. Returning home — I was able to change the TV to that station. I won’t bore you with all the FUN I’m having. This Saturday we are gathering to celebrate my husband’s life with music, stories and fun. More than four days since he has passed, he has learned the ropes. LET THE FUN BEGIN.
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Mischief is afoot. I would raise the white flag but I know it won’t do any good. It took me awhile to become aware that someone was in training. But I’m a bit slow at times. Christmas is coming and my life will be busy. Not necessarily with parties and celebrations but baking and decorating the house seems to take more time and effort than it used to. I refuse to admit that it is because I’m heavier and older. I can’t do anything about being older but wouldn’t you think I’d be able to do something about the weight? I needed a few ideas to write a ramble about so they would publish during the time I was occupied with Christmas. My friends in high places are happy to oblige.

Anyway back to training. My friend Dorothy passed on Tuesday. My favorite knife DISAPPEARED on Wednesday morning. I have searched and searched without success. I remember putting it in its holder on the sink — GONE! I think life was relatively calm from Wednesday to Sunday but then my memory isn’t what it used to be. I know I should keep notes of the happening in my life but I don’t unless my attention is drawn to a happening — like my knife disappearing.

Saturday we celebrated Dorothy’s life. Sunday got my attention. Did she have time to rest, visit with those on the other side and was now ready to expand her knowledge. I don’t know but Sunday got my attention. It started with my husband’s poker game floating face down in the toilet. When did it go for a swim? Good question. I went to Mass and let the rest of the household sleep. I walked and it started to rain as I entered church. The gospel was the same as the reading at the service on Saturday. Our music director was late and a cantor with an excellent voice lead us in song.

On the home front, my husband’s day was interesting. Vitamins and pills had a life of their own — falling on the floor and spreading around the desk. He mentioned other happenings but I don’t remember. We decided we should take life easy and go out for breakfast. The restaurant was so packed we left for another place. Everybody must have been out for breakfast, finding a parking spot at the restaurants was impossible. I won’t bore you with the search just let me say five restaurants later we finally stopped to eat. Thankfully the food was very good.

Returning home, I wanted a cup of tea. Eight boxes of tea cascaded out of the cabinet all over the floor. I often switch to herbal teas early in the day and I have an assortment. I was reminded of all the flavors as I picked up the boxes and tried to get them settled again. Sometimes one or two boxes will fall — as if someone is helping me with the choice — but eight??

I wrote CELEBRATING A LIFE. Evidently some of my writing didn’t pass — the computer refused to save it. I deleted and changed a few thoughts. The ramble was saved!

I wanted to print something off of the computer and used the computer in my husband’s office. Trouble, trouble again. The computer had issues, when it finally let me access my e-mails — they were all gone. I was reminded of the fun my family experienced after my father passed and was learning how to mess with electronics the day of his wake. Our son and our daughter’s boyfriend each had different computer issues on that day.

Four days to visit and rest — that is about right.

MEMORY LANE

We came home from the camper on Tuesday. We weren’t home very long — maybe a half hour when our phone rang. It was a person that I have known for many years but don’t speak to often. I was happy that I was at home to talk to her.

Wednesday morning, I found a cookbook published in 2004 at our campground. A new one is being compiled this year and I was curious what recipes I had shared before. Looking through the cookbook, I found four recipes that I had submitted. One recipe for chocolate frosting I had forgotten. One recipe I had resubmitted. I also found many recipes submitted by friends who no longer camp there. One written for a rum cake brought laughter.

Back in the city, I had shopping to do. While I was at the store I overheard a woman mention she wanted to wait for the mother of a child that she had taught in school many years ago. She recognized the child. When I asked how she knew the child, she mentioned she had a good memory, the mother had posted pictures on Facebook.

Leaving the store, I passed a younger gentleman who asked me how I was, addressing me by name. He used my name two more times. Evidently he knew me. His face was vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place him. I mentioned that he looked familiar but I didn’t know where I knew him. He told me that he knew me from Unique, a clothing store that has been gone for more than 10 years. I did not work at the store, although I probably shopped there often. My memory is not what it used to be. I was surprised that he remembered me.

Later that evening, I found an exercise DVD that I had searched for at the camper and at home unsuccessfully. I also found two books that I had forgotten. Both books will go out to the camper for reading when the temperature climbs again.

While we were still at the camper, I realized I had NOT planned meals. The summer before, I had used our slow cooker often, keeping the heat outside. Making the supper when I had energy in the morning, having supper ready at night when I was tired.

AIR FRYER

I just have to share. I am having the BEST TIME! I have been cooking for more years than I care to count. I have developed many recipes that are staples in our house. Saying that, I must confess that I have gotten bored with many of the recipes I make. I have heard of two different cooking programs that two of our daughters are enrolled in. If I was working, IF I had more money, I might be tempted to enroll in one of the programs. They give you a list of meals that are available for the week. You pick out the meals that you want delivered, and the complete meal is delivered to your house. Most of the items needed are included with instructions for preparation.

So why am I writing such a glowing report on these programs? I looked at our daughter’s menu book and realized that although many of the meals looked DELICIOUS, my husband WOULD NOT want to eat any of them. Maybe it is a good thing that I don’t have extra money to spend.

On the other hand, I really like to cook. I just need inspiration. Enter a cookbook I found last summer for the slow cooker. Everything I made from the recipes was delicious. The slow cooker allows me to prepare the food in the morning when I have energy and finish it in the evening when the energy is gone.

Next appliance in our house was the instant pot — along with five (5) new cookbooks. Paging through the recipes, looking for ideas. MANY have been successful. The problems come when I don’t really read the ingredients or interpret the instructions. I have doubled ingredients or used apple cider vinegar instead of apple juice. I bought an Air Fryer in October. It sat in it’s box until March. I didn’t make anything in it until April. I made roasted chicken breast. It was fantastic! I was hooked. The appliance is easy to use and even easier to clean.

When we visited our daughter in Central Illinois, we visited Barnes and Noble. I came home with TWO (2) new cookbooks for the Instant Pot. One its the Healthy Air Fryer. It had a recipe for Blooming Onion. I remember having the onion when I was young at a joint that had peanut shells on the floor. It was delicious.

I made it last night. I had a couple of issues in the preparation but considering I was tired, I’m ready to make and eat it AGAIN. There are many more new recipes to try in my newer cook books. It is not one of the home chefs programs, doesn’t come delivered with ingredients ready to cook, but new ideas — hopefully ones my husband will enjoy. I promised I would only experiment with his tummy one night a week.

REWIND

I can’t count the number of times that I have started over . Weight up — new diet. Some with success for a short time but the weight came back — again and again. The problem is that for the most part I eat a healthy diet. Because of sodium restrictions I don’t eat a lot of processed foods. I don’t drink pop — regular or diet. I don’t eat a lot of bread or cookies or candy. In other words I don’t have a lot of food to give up in order to quickly lose weight. I learned that limiting meat doesn’t work for my body so vegetarian isn’t an option. I’ve been reading that some people have been successful by increasing their vegetable intake and decreasing the amount of protein. Still open to new ideas but treading cautiously. I prefer chicken thighs to chicken breasts. A recent article mentioned that chicken drumsticks and thighs were packed with vitamin K-2, a tough to find nutrient that blocks plaque buildup inside arteries.

I acquired an Instant Pot in the Fall. My plans to use it more often hasn’t worked out as I had planned. I have enough cookbooks. I just haven’t taken the time to develop enough recipes. I also have an older pressure cooker. I have used it for years when I’m cooking dried beans. Recently I used it to make turkey bone broth. A recipe in a new instant pot cookbook suggested it cook for an hour and a half. One and one made two. I realized I could use my older pressure cooker for the purpose. I was comfortable using it, and an hour and a half on the stove — adding heat to the house, seemed worthwhile. The result was fantastic. I’ve also learned that chicken feet are available for purchase at Wal-Mart, an ingredient mentioned for bone broth.

Because of the weather — January, February — I have limited my walking outside. We have a treadmill but I don’t like to use it. When we had our daughter’s dogs as guests, I stopped exercising. All three wanted to help me and I must admit, their help wasn’t needed. When the dogs left, I continued to be lazy. Any benefit I had gotten from exercise was soon lost. My neck became more stiff, hurt to turn when driving. Although I had continued with bone broth, my knees were rebelling. Lack of exercise, weight or weather — it is hard to tell.

I decided that I was going to increase the number of steps I walked each day. I wasn’t going to settle with 2,000. I aimed for 5,000. It is easy to get that number of steps when I’m shopping or walking outside. It is harder to get them when I’m restricted inside. Still stretching– I’m trying to increase the number of steps to 6,000.

Weight is down slightly, not enough to jump up and down and rave about, but my wrist is smaller. I’ve had to tighten the band on my watch. I’m hoping that reduced weight and increased steps will improve not only my weight but my walking ability. `

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