Monthly Archives: November 2014

Time Out Of Mind

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I don’t know what happened this week.

One minute I was tweeting on and on (and on and on and on) about how long I was waiting for my appointments at Fox Chase on Tuesday and the next thing I know it’s Friday afternoon. Apparently I missed the entry in the “Cancer Patients’ Handbook” that says being sick is a full-time job.

And that time definitely does fly when you’re not necessarily having fun, too.

In keeping with that theme, here’s a quick recipe for whole wheat rolls. They’re from “The Dairy Hollow House Cookbook” which I ordered from Powell’s a few years back.

I need to go and catch my breath. See you next week.


Dairy Hollow House Dinner RollsYum.

  • 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. oil (I use sunflower)

 

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the honey and the water.
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add half of the flour mixture to the water mixture. Stir in the vinegar and oil. Add the rest of the flour mixture.
  4. Knead for about 5 minutes or until it’s smooth and glossy. Place in a buttered bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour or so.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425°
  6. Punch dough down and form into rolls. Place them on an ungreased non-stick baking sheet. Cover and let rise again, about 20 minutes or so.
  7. Bake for about 15 or 20 minutes. Cool and devour.
  8. Enjoy!
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It’s In The Way You Move

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So, something really odd and wonderful has been happening to me over the past couple of weeks.

I’m getting better.

Really. I didn’t notice it at first, but every day I feel just a bit better than I did the day before. Some days it’s easier to say, “Hey! Check it out, world!” than others, but still…better.

This is not me.

This is not me.

Not “do-handsprings-down-Broad-Street” better or even “cartwheeling-in-the-backyard” better, but…you know.

Not as bad as a few weeks ago.

I still can’t move around as well as I did in my pre-surgery days. I can raise my left arm so that it’s straight with my left shoulder and I can do the same thing with my right arm; just don’t ask me to do both at the same time is all I’m saying here. The swelling around my jaw line and neck is starting to recede, but it’s going to need some help from my physical therapists. I have two of them now.

Maybe I’ll start a collection.

What do you call a collection of physical therapists, anyway?

But, three times a day I do my physical therapy exercise regime with the thought that next week I might be able to move both of my arms up at the same time. Sure, it doesn’t sound like much until you realize, “Hey, I can’t do that anymore and I might like to one of these days.”

So, I’ll keep moving and grooving and working hard to get myself back into what my therapists call my “baseline”, which is my old, pre-surgery self. It’s there; just have to do some work to get there.

And when I can raise both of arms at the same time, I’ll be the one doing handsprings down Broad Street.


Braised Carrots

Braised carrots

Ready for the oven.

This is my adaptation on a recipe from Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”

and they’re one of my favorite ways to cook carrots. They’re delicious, easy, really good for you and they’re perfect for this time of the year. What are you waiting for?

 

  • 1 lb. of whole carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. of olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 or so little garlic cloves, left whole and unpeeled (the little guys from the center of the head are perfect)
  • Whole thyme sprigs (you can use a teaspoon of dried thyme, but the fresh is a lot better)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Put everything into a large baking pan. Give it a good toss with your fingers to mix everything up. Add about 2 or 3 Tbsps. of water to the pan. Cover it with foil and give it a good shake.
  3. Put it in the oven and give it a good shake every 10 minutes or so. If it looks like it’s getting dry, add a bit more water.
  4. Check to see if they’re done after 15 minutes or so. Really skinny carrots might be done after 15 minutes, but big, fat carrots might take up to 45 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

The Proof Is In The Pasta

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The apartment smells divine.

For the first time in well over a month, there’s two loaves of homemade three grain bread in the oven. Even better, for the first time since late September, I’m going to have a piece of homemade bread with butter. Actually, I’m going to have a whole lot of bread with butter.

Let me explain.

When you’re a head and neck cancer patient fresh out of surgery and recovering, there isn’t a whole lot you can eat or drink. And when you’ve got a wad of surgical gauze under your tongue and it’s sutured to the inside of your lower lip, you’re usually more interested in hitting your pain pump than wondering what you’re going to have for lunch. And since you’re on a liquid diet, there isn’t a whole lot you can have, either.

But once you’ve mastered ice chips and little paper cups of water, you graduate to something called a “full liquid diet”. The main difference between the two is that on a liquid diet you can see through the liquids, but on a full liquid diet you can’t. It also covers a whole bunch of food that turns into a liquid at room temperature, which sounds a lot like an experiment I did in Chem 123.

Unfortunately that also includes the “sherbet” that melted (separated? fractionated?) into three distinct layers of who-knows-what (goo, maybe?), each one more questionable than the next. No way I was going to eat or drink or slurp that down.

Eww.

Eww.

After a couple of weeks of ingesting gallons of instant breakfast (which I really l like), Jell-O (meh), miso (yeah, baby) and chocolate peanut butter ice cream (thank you, Haagen-Daz) I was finally given the “all-clear” to eat soft foods. I was so happy I did a jig out the door.

Well, almost.

I still can’t eat everything I’d like to (oh, Cheez-Its, how I miss you), but there’s definitely more to life than scrambled eggs.

Like lasagne.

I found this recipe in my “Crockpot Vegetarian Recipes” cookbook (in a typical littleredyarn move, I bought the cookbook before the slow cooker) and it’s everything you might want in a cheese lasagne. It’s cheesy, saucy and surprise, really, really easy to make. It’s also the kind of pasta dish everyone likes, so remember this one for the holidays and Sunday football afternoons.


Cheese and Spinach Lasagna

  • 1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 jar (24 to 26 ounces) pasta sauce
  • ½ cup of water
  • 6 uncooked lasagna noodles
  1. Coat inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray (I forgot to do this and it got a little dark on the bottom). Combine ricotta cheese, spinach, 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and egg in a large bowl; mix well.
  2. Mix pasta sauce and water in a medium bowl. Spoon 1 cup of sauce mixture into slow cooker Layer 2 noodles over sauce, breaking to fit. Spoon ½ cup sauce mixture over noodles; top with half of ricotta mixture. Add 2 more noodles and remaining ricotta mixture. Top with remaining 2 noodles and remaining pasta sauce.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until liquid is absorbed and noodles are tender. Turn off heat. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup of Parmesan; let stand, covered, 5 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

This will serve 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side to something else. Enjoy!